My Take Aways from a Brutal Bubble at MILLIONS South America

There I was back in Rio, Brazil. I have been several times as my wife is Brazilian and my room mate (2008-2015) & best friend Michael Phelps competed in his last Olympics there in 2016 which was an incredible event to attend. Rio is a beautiful place that I have great memories of celebrating with others. This time I was looking for a celebration myself.

The stage was set as the partypoker MILLIONS tour broke into Latin America for the first time. My energy was at an all-time high as I had just signed my sponsorship with the fast emerging poker giant, my wife also was super pregnant expecting our first born (Joseph – who has now arrived one week ago). This would be my last trip of travelling/poker before life would have a big adjustment; adding an addition to our family. I was ready to have a great week.

The Story of the Bubble

After being knocked out of the Main Event which sported a spicy overlay of around $600,000 I was feeling a bit let down. I then saw the $10,300 High Roller & entered right away. I was really in the zone and had built up a nice chip stack nearing the end of Day 1 as we approached the bubble.

Long story short, I lost a sick hand KK to A6ss w/ 14 left w/ the Ace falling on the river (11 would hit the min cash of $20,000 & $300,000 going to the Champion). I had to go to sleep then as one of the shortest 3 remaining & the bubble looming. I have played poker since I was 15 years old and one thing that certainly has remained constant is that it is never fun to bubble no matter how big or small a tournament is. As the buy-in gets bigger and you travel further, the pain does increase as well.

I was looking to avoid the bubble at all costs but sure enough early on day 2 we had arrived at 12 players just minutes into the day and it was now me as the shortest stack. James Romero who is a very talented player held AKss and was up against the covering ATcc all in preflop. The board ran out J97ccx as I all of a sudden was a favorite to cash! The board bricked out, however, and a few hands later I found myself all in A7dd to QQ. With no improvement, I was the 12th place finisher and 1st to not cash.

I have bubbled bigger tournaments but this one hurt what felt like the most that I could remember. Having to call my wife and give that news really stung. I wanted so badly to deliver a great result in her home country for her family and friends there. It wasn’t to be and I had to lick my wounds and return home with just a min-cash in the $1,000 Millions event.

To me, bubbling tournaments and defeat is where the real learning comes. Winning a tournament or hitting a big score is amazing and is why we play the game but dealing with the pain and adversity looking back over the years is where my real growth as a player and person has come.

Although I had some rough run outs and literally couldn’t have come any closer to arriving into the money of this tournament, the reality is there were lots of hands and spots to improve on. Looking back on the tournament I know that and what I chose to take away is that I am responsible for the outcome and I am committed to working on my game and being prepared for the next opportunity that comes knocking.

Next up…

I won’t have to wait long as one of my favourite stops on tour is just around the corner, Montreal for the partypoker MILLIONS North America at Playground Poker! I have been coming to this venue since March 2012, 1-4 times a year. I literally can’t wait for this and hope to see all of you there. I will be there May 20-27, please stop and say hi if you see me! I won’t be bubbling this one.

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