Playing Tournaments against the Pros – “My First Encounter with Johnny Chan”

I have been playing in major poker tournaments since 1998 when I was lucky enough to win a trip for two to Las Vegas playing in a local poker tournament in the small city that I live in. The prize included a seat in the $1000 buy in limit hold em tournament at the Rio’s Carnival of Poker. T.J. Cloutier stated in one of his books that there are lots of local pros who come to Las Vegas to play with the big boys. He mentioned Joe Blow from Iowa. He must have been speaking about me. I was blown out of the tournament in the 2nd level of play. I never had a chance. Despite my poor showing, I was hooked on tournaments. I have played in 60 or so majors over the years and average around 10-15 per year now. I have had a moderate amount of success and have made the final table in 10% of my tries. In the last three years I have won two tournaments, placed second in three and a fifth in one other. I am not even close when you compare me to Men Nguyen’s, Daniel Negreanu’s or Phil Ivey’s tournament percentages, but feel that with a more regular schedule, I can improve on my success. My most significant win was a WPO event in 2001.

I have had many encounters with a number of the top tournament players and each time I come away better than before. I have had my failures but have also held my own. I know that there is a lot of luck in this game and for me to do well, I need my fair share. I still have a lot to learn and will continue to do so. In the meantime I have gained enough knowledge and confidence to play with the best. I am a realist and understand that for me to continue to succeed, I will have to learn everything I can about the game. I don’t have eight years of experience. I have about four years, spread out over eight. I hope to gain more experience in the coming months as I take a much needed break from my other life and embark on an adventure in the tournament circuit. Continue reading “Playing Tournaments against the Pros – “My First Encounter with Johnny Chan””