Thursday, May 5, 2011

Black Friday & Other Ramblings

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, I actually had a blog post mostly written out the day before Black Friday and was going to finish and publish it on that Friday, but then deleted it because it would have been a silly post in light of what had just happened.

It was mostly about NAPT Mohegan Sun, where I got on the feature table with people like Daniel Negreanu, Victor Ramdin, Vanessa Selbst, and Andrew Li who is one of my best friends in poker and goes by the name of azntracker.  It was my first feature table and it was a really loose fun atmosphere and probably would have made for great tv, but who knows if it will ever even be edited into a broadcast at this point.  I'll be sure to link to it if it ever shows up somewhere on the internet.

After we both busted from that tournament, Andrew and I spent a day together that started with going to breakfast at Mohegan Sun with Kevin Thurman, who goes by WizardofAhhs on PokerStars and needbeer on twoplustwo.  It was supposed to be a quick breakfast because Andrew and I were planning on going on a road trip around the New England area that day, but the breakfast ended up lasting around 3 hours because we were having such a good time talking about poker stuff.  Ironically one of the bigger topics was how we all were putting in a lot of volume the last few years on PokerStars since you never know how long the games will last and you might as well make as much money as you can while you are still able to.  Little did we know the games would be unavailable to Americans just 2 days later.

After that Andrew and I drove around Rhode Island and went into Newport and toured a few mansions which was really interesting, then the next day we drove to Boston and had lunch at a restaurant inside Fenway Park. I've been to quite a few baseball stadiums over the years but there really is something majestic about Fenway. It's funny coming from Arizona where people definitely enjoy sports, but people only really care about the teams when they're doing good.  It's just not the same as a city like Boston where everyone is fanatical about it and every radio station talks about sports all the time, even the music stations.  I kind of enjoy that culture where people are so passionate about things like that.

So after Fenway we had a few hours before we had to catch our flights, so we went visit my friend Sam and hung out at his apartment for an hour or two, talking a lot about poker stuff.  It's almost sad thinking about those conversations now, because we were so naive about what was about to happen.

Well then we flew home and the next day, Black Friday happened.  I won't go into the details because many other people could give better accounts of it than I can, but basically the 3 biggest American online poker sites were blocked for Americans by the Department of Justice.

My first reaction was that I was dumb for leaving so much money online, but then I pretty much instantly realized that PokerStars would never screw over its players like that.  And true to form, they initiated payouts about 10 days later, while a certain 2 other sites haven't even begun payments yet 3 weeks later, one of which just filed for bankruptcy.  So much kudos to Stars for the way they've handled the situation so far.

As for me, after a few days of trying to comprehend everything that was happening, I started trying to figure out what I wanted to do now.  If it was possible I wanted to try to relocate in time for SCOOP, so I could attempt to defend my Player of the Year title (and win some money hopefully).  I was really close to getting a place in Vancouver and then in Costa Rica, but it was just stressing me out way too much to try to relocate with a kid and a dog and get set up in a new country in a span of 2 weeks, so a few days ago I decided to just hold off and relax for a while, and it was definitely the right choice.  I'm in a good enough spot financially right now where it doesn't make sense for me to rush into anything.

So now the plan is that we are going to go to Cleveland in a couple weeks and bring the baby to visit with my wife's family, and while we are there we are going to make a road trip to Toronto for a few days to see if it's somewhere we'd want to relocate.  We definitely won't actually relocate until probably August at the earliest though.  Since the WSOP is coming up in a few weeks it really doesn't make much sense to get a place now then come back to Vegas for 6 weeks immediately after that.

We aren't even sure we want to relocate at all yet anyway.  If I can find a way to, I'd rather stay here in the Phoenix area since we just bought a house and we do really like it here.  I might try playing some live cash games after WSOP and see how that goes.  Honestly I don't even know what kind of cash games go in the Phoenix area anymore as I haven't played cash games in the casino since 2004.  I could always fly out to Los Angeles for a few days at a time and play some games at Commerce too.  I don't really know yet, but I'll worry about that after the WSOP is over.  For now I'm just going to relax; no use stressing about it now.

Besides this all just gives me time to hang out more with this little guy, and that's definitely not the worst thing in the world.  :)

One last thing...I have no idea what my future is at PokerStars and with Team Online, but no matter what happens I've thoroughly enjoyed representing the best online poker site in the world.


  1. Maybe this is a stupid question but can't you just go through a VPN from Phoenix? You can open foreign bank accounts easily enough regardless of where you live.

  2. They are asking for lots of proof that the person actually did move, like utility bills and a foreign phone number and stuff like that, before they actually reopen your account

    And also they've already caught some people using a VPN and shutdown their accounts.

    And also since I'm a paid representative of the site (at least for now) it would be kind of dumb for me to do even if I somehow knew I could get away with it.

  3. Not a worry in the world that morning, so innocent. Great post, George.

  4. Great post jor-J, im in the same boat, relax for a bit and figure things out as they come. Cute kid!

  5. Hope this all works out well for you. Very interested to see which route you'll take. It's always been a pleasure playing with you.

    And god your son looks so cute. I'm actually really glad for you that you get to enjoy all the family things now. Many fathers would love to be around as much as you can. Take care :)

  6. I really hope u relocate Jorj, cuz I love to rail u !

  7. if you dont relocate, you can probably make some decent 3-figure/hr cheese for a bit coaching Euro players. Get set up with some quality vitural workspace/video-con SW. It may also give you and Deb an excuse to travel a bit for some live sessions. Picture this: Get a villa at an EPT location for a month. Bust out on day 1 of the EPT, as per usual. :P Coach out of villa for 20 hours of 1-on-2 sessions $150/hr sessions that week, for a cool 6 grand/week... 25K/mo., Wife and kiddo are soaking up culture while u r giving the degenerates lessons. Repeat quarterly. ez game.


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