*****Part 3*****

"On The Grind" 
From my first table draw of the summer, I knew it was going to be a great one.

I was one of the first players seated at my table, I had arrived a little early and was in my seat listening to music. I was trying to focus and get in the zone, as I usually do before the start of any major live event. I was attempting to keep myself from thinking "OMG, the ****ing world series! Lets goooo!!!!", I was instead trying think of hands and situations and keep my emotions in check.


As more players arrived I knew it was going to be a fun and entertaining table draw. Jeffery Lisandro on my immediate left, and Captain Tom 3 to my left, with a few other old school regs and a couple guys around my age. Being the first open event as well, people are yet to be burned out and agitated, it made for a great time.


Captain Tom gave a short speech and gave the enthralling "Shuffle up and Deal!" to start the event. After doing so and making his way to our table, everybody started to chatter and liven up a bit.
After an hour or so of play, Lisandro and Tom started exchanging Jean Robert-Bellande stories.

Apparently the 2 of them had been the very first people to stake him; to say the stories were entertaining and hilarious would be an understatement and I wish I could retell them, however it is likely best that I do not (I don't want to be "that guy"). 


Between JRB stories, discussions on poker legislation and news, minor debates on politics, and all around enjoyable chatter; it made for an unforgettable table draw and I couldn't have asked for a much better start to my series.

 

******** Part 4 ********
"The Real Part 2/Backing History"
Something that I feel is important to mention, that I probably should have done before I discussed playing at the series, is that I am a backed player. I have been backed throughout my entire poker career, and wouldn't be where I'm at today, or the player I've become, without having been backed by great people.

The first person who backed me really was Baza88. When he picked me up I was a barely profitable micro-low-stakes donk and was working at subway. I didn't even own a computer at the time and would walk 4 miles each day so I'd have access to one. He started me off in 2$ 180's and micro mtt's, within 1.5 years I was able to play the 2011 WSOP under him(sold action to others as well), in large part thanks to his encouragement and coaching while with him .
When Baza decided he wanted to drop me, April of 2012, I was still in Toronto with Chris (we had decided to move there for 6 months). At the time I knew what I wanted to do over the next 3-6 months (go to wsop, then get back out of usa in time for WCOOP), but didn't really know how I was going to achieve it without a great backer.

I was pretty worried when he told me that he was looking to drop me. I started looking for a new backer right away (while I was still in make up and trying to clear), but the market for horses who need help with moving costs and such to get out of the U.S.A was pretty slim (still is I'm sure), so I was having great difficulty finding someone.

Luckily for me a good friend of mine was backed by Dirty already, told him about me and convinced him to pick me up. Definitely one of the luckier things to have happened in my career, as I have not only found a new great backer, but a good friend as well.

After finally getting backer stuff situated with Dirty and formulating a plan of some kind for WSOP/WCOOP, it was already early May. He had been saying he was fine putting me in most of the 1-3k's and selling action a bit for 5k's/main, but I wasn't really comfortable with the fact that doing so could easily have me 40-70k deep heading to Mexico (with bricking events and borrowing for living expenses), and trying to grind out of 40k+ make-up on a 30-60 ABI.... No Thanks! I've done that once already, and the prospect of having to do it again seems pretty unpleasant. So, we decided to compromise by having me try to sell as much as I could, up to 75%, and whatever I didn't sell we would take under the roll.

With 2+2 being down I thought it was going to be difficult to sell, but once again I was fortunate to have an acquaintance (who bought action in my wsop last year and this year) tell some of his friends about it and have 1 show interest. Mad Marvin being the one who did so, and who also decided to completely buy-out my package. 

When Marvin mentioned me on twitter and said he'd take it all, it was music to my ears! While I wasn't really that worried about selling out, as I'd be playing the series either way, having a well known professional, who was just picked up by a major site as a "Pro", taking my action was great for me for many reasons.  Firstly building a good relationship with someone likely to buy future action makes selling much easier. Secondly having a well known player vouch for your game and your value as an investment = great for reputation. Thirdly having that player willing to rail you deep in events is a nice confidence boost and can be great for your game. Thus it's pretty understandable that I was very excited when he said he wanted it all.

Apparently there has been a major perk lately in backing me: sick amounts of run good... Since picking me up (mid April) Dirty has gone on a 300k+ upswing in mtt's (he ft'd some SCOOP's, won a 1k in canada, and ft'd an event this year at the series). Mad Marvin binked the WPT championship for 1.2, my friend who bought most of my main action chopped the Mill not long after buying from me. Lastly, one of my investors in a 3k I did this year won his first bracelet and 200k+. Guess you could say that i'm the "Midas Horse".  


Back on track

One of my favorite things about the series is who you can meet there. It's really nice that there is a good a reason to meet online poker friends/backers/horses/2+2 legends/etc, especially when normally you are located around the world from each other and thus don't really have a good excuse to be in the same area.


Add the fact that you also get the opportunity to not only meet, but play with online and live legends of the game as well as various "celebrities", it truly is an awesome experience you should enjoy at least once in your life.


Antonious and Robl playing 1k-2k PLO
 

Victor Blom (Seat 1 with the ski cap)

 

LuckyChewy, Jason Mercier, and Jason Senti
 


Johnathan Duhamel and I
 


"Boston Rob" and I