Overtaxed and recovering post-WSOP
It's been a fun poker-filled summer. Looking back I can say I've been playing a lot of different kinds of poker -- live and online, tourneys and cash games, lower buy-in events and higher ones, and in different places, too.
I am writing a few weeks after the conclusion of the WSOP, and like most I'm still recovering. I didn't play as many events this year, partly because of the tax situation and how it affects being a player from Mexico playing in the U.S. It's a little tough to manage a 30% discount from your payouts, so really it's not very good business for me to play too many tournaments in the U.S. when there is no way to get some of it back against your expenses.
Of course, just being there and amid the whole WSOP atmosphere it was hard not to resist playing. I was originally planning only to play three or four events, but I ended up playing eight. But still, that's not as many as I'd play if it weren't for the tax situation, without which I'd probably play 20-25 events.
In general it wasn't a great Series for me. I didn't have any big scores and I only cashed in one of the first events (the $5,000 eight-handed NLHE). I did recover some of the tournament losses in a few cash game sessions, which was good. Otherwise I just spent my two months in Las Vegas just relaxing and chilling. I didn't really stress too much about poker during that period, unlike a lot of the pros who go and grind nonstop every summer.
I had a nice apartment with Lynn at Palms Place and so didn't have to stay in a hotel room, which made it much more comfortable. We had our own refrigerator filled with healthy food (thanks to Lynnie, obviously) and even though I was playing and she was working we were able to have a regular routine that made it all much more like a home than being on the road usually is.
During the WSOP I did make a trip down to Medellin for the LAPT Colombia stop in June where I finished ninth in the Main Event and I won the High Roller event. The LAPT High Rollers aren't as big as others, but a win is still a win, and the payout was enough pretty much to help save my summer, poker-wise. Since the WSOP I've been to LAPT Peru in Lima where I didn't cash but also had a great time as usual. I always enjoy the stops on the Latin American Poker Tour not just for the poker but for seeing lots of friends. And the food there, oh my good. THE BEST, I´ve always like peruvian cuisine but after visiting a couple of place I must say it´s now pretty high on my list. I highly recommend Astrid & Gastón and Central which were absurdly good. (Both are in the top 50 restaurants in the world list) I definitely missed playing online poker while in the U.S. In fact, I didn't realize how much I liked playing online until I happened to stop for two months. So that may be another reason why next year I probably won't be going to Las Vegas for that long during the WSOP, perhaps only for the Main Event and a few right before. The main reason would be the World Soccer Cup in Brazil which I plan to attend!
I'm getting back into playing online now and having to do a little bit of work to get back into the swing of things. Tournaments aren't too difficult since I've been playing them all summer and thus thinking about tourney strategy a lot. But in the cash games I'm having to remember certain things like bet sizing and to shake off a little rust now that I'm back online. Truthfully, though, it only took a day of playing to remember what I knew before, and I've been grinding pretty much every day since leaving Vegas.
I've been working on my cash games a lot this year, doing a lot of study and reviewing my play in order to try to improve. I'm winning, although I'm not focusing too much on winning but rather just trying to learn and become better. I intend to play more High Roller events and those often feature lots of successful cash game players, so by playing more cash and improving my own game I'm preparing for those events, too.
I think playing all of these different varieties of poker -- live and online, cash and tourneys, different stakes and buy-ins, and so on -- helps keep my mind flexible and able to adapt to different situations as they arise. It also helps when it comes to recognizing and responding to different styles and types of players.
That's kind of what poker is all about -- and what keeps it interesting -- constantly facing new situations and being challenged to respond.
Angel Guillen is a member of Team PokerStars Pro