top of page

Surviving the Doomswitch


What's up all my crazy Check Shove fans? I know I've been really quiet on my blog, YouTube channel, and Twitter account... but it's not without reason. I've done a ton of super interesting stuff in the last four months and I have much to report!

In order for all of these developments to make sense, we have to rewind to July 22, 2016. I had just returned to Florida after a non-stop six-week grind at the WSOP and I was completely exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally. I truly exerted the maximum sustainable amount of effort by playing over 325 hours of poker and coaching two dozen students over Skype during that period.

In terms of execution, my performance last year was exceptional. I woke up early every morning, ate an organic breakfast, coached Check Shove students for two hours, fired every major event in Vegas, and played big cash games if I busted early. I abstained from all the drugs, binge drinking, hookers, pit games, sports betting, overpriced food, expensive hotels, pool parties, clubs, and other morally bankrupt things Vegas has to offer.

My efforts were rewarded with a $33,000 loss plus $7,000 in travel expenses. My year to date results plunged to negative $65,000 plus $25,000 in living expenses. Let me tell you, traveling all over North America for seven months and clocking 991 hours of play only to be stuck $90,000 after all that work was the most crippling financial experience I have ever gone through. Most people will never truly understand how bad you can run for an extended period of time in live poker. I was doomswitched...

It's no secret that many poker players have won seven figures and somehow managed to torch all of it after a long series of incomprehensibly bad financial decisions. I guess it's not that surprising when you consider all of the lottery winners, celebrities, and professional athletes that have done the same thing with even more money. We live in a flawed society that promotes stupid, superficial things that promise short-term gratification while often providing long-term suffering. I believe most people fall prey to these temptations because they've lost their sense of purpose in life.

In the same sense, that's the reason why I'll never go broke. I have an overwhelming sense of purpose. I firmly believe that I have an evolutionary duty and obligation to win as much money as possible playing poker, save all of it, invest it wisely, and perform these actions in a way that legally minimizes taxes and fees. This will allow me to create passive income and free up time to work on projects that will benefit society and provide better opportunities for future generations. I want to create a perpetual cycle of dividends paid, dividends reinvested, and innovations produced.

But in order to do that, I need to take responsibility for my actions. I'm a huge fan of a book titled Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink because it taught me to focus only on the things I'm able to control instead of blaming outside forces for my situation. So to get back on track, I sat down and did an 80/20 analysis of my life. What were the 20% of things that were causing 80% of my problems? What were the 20% of things that were causing 80% of my success? I realized that although I was getting coolered in tournaments over and over and over again, I was willingly putting myself in situations where I had less control over the outcome.

Many tournaments have rake that is too high, levels that are too short, insufficient starting stacks, tough fields that marginalize my skill edge, costly travel expenses that eat away at my ROI, and cancerous tax implications for big scores. At the same time, bigger NLHE cash games are getting harder and harder to find, and when they do pop-up the lineup is murderers' row or the game is private. Don't get me wrong, 2/5 NL will always be beatable for $40-70/hour in Florida and California but winning $150/hour over a 1,000 hour 5/10 NL sample size is basically impossible nowadays. So in my relentless pursuit of a higher win rate, I ended up in the place you'd least expect. I've spent the last four months focusing exclusively on my PLO game.

I know what you're thinking. PLO is a crazy high variance game. But it's a different type of variance because it's accompanied by much larger profit margins. Guys that play bigger NLHE games have finally realized how little incentive they have to play a hand when the equities are so polarized. They fold and fold for hours praying a fish will eventually sit down. The reality of the matter is that all the fish have switched over to PLO because they can get it in bad and actually have a shot at winning. So there's a paradox here. You have to give up control of your all-in equity to gain more control over your win rate by consistently outplaying the fish in the small and medium pots.

That's what I've been doing very successfully for the last four months. I've been touring the country looking for big PLO games in Jacksonville, Houston, San Diego, LA, San Jose, Reno, and Blackhawk. The games I found turned 2016 into a solid winning year for me and now I'm back in South Florida to buy more real estate and play the bigger cash games that go during SHRPO. It seems the popularity of PLO at the Hard Rock has grown tremendously since I've been gone. Last night we had four 5-5-10 games with a $2,500 cap and two 10-10-25 games with a $5,000 cap. I hope this trend continues because PLO is an exciting game that people seem to enjoy much more than NLHE.

Anyway, my South Florida schedule is back to normal for the two months leading up to the WSOP. I'm going to use this time to create more passive income by investing in stocks, bonds, and real estate. Basically, I've chosen to keep 90% of my cash bankroll in a well-diversified, fully automated WealthFront account so I can earn roughly 7% annually and withdraw funds at any time without penalty. I'm also closing on another Fort Lauderdale rental property in two weeks and I intend to add it to my Airbnb portfolio. I'll be blogging about all of this and more to promote the June 1st release of my new book Advanced Concepts in No Limit Hold'em: A Modern Approach to Poker Analysis. It's available for pre-order through D&B Poker Publishing and

That's it for now. I hope you guys enjoy this type of blog post. Let me now if you need any coaching. And most importantly, make sure you run good, have fun, and constantly look for ways to improve!

Are you a Check Shove fan?

Join my mailing list and never miss an update!

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Post Categories
No tags yet.
bottom of page