He’s Back…

Ohhhhh Trueeeeee

What up party people. It’s been a while, over a year actually, since my last blog post.

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But now I’m back, with less constraints and stress, and better than ever. “So what’s new Zep,” you might be asking yourself. The answer is quite a bit.

The first and largest change in my everyday life is the removal of the biggest burden in my life, graduate school. On December 5, 2011, I graduated with an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Graduating was one of the biggest accomplishments and reliefs of my life. By the end it was a grueling grind, comparable to December of a Supernova Elite chase, in terms of lack of desire to actually do work and finding motivation to do what needed to be done. Since then, not much has come directly from graduating in terms of changing jobs or getting a large raise or anything of that nature, but I have no doubt that this degree will pay for itself several times over eventually in my life.

My social and personal life has changed a lot as well. A lot of this had to do with graduating and not playing online poker and thus having a lot more time for… ACTIVITIES

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So I’ve been going out a lot more, seeing friends, taking my gf out, basically enjoying all the awesome stuff Chicago has to offer. I’ve been travelling a lot, most often to Michigan for weddings, to relax at a lake house, or just go visit some friends / family of my girlfriend who is from the suburbs of Detroit. I have trips planned in the next month for Vegas (WSOP) and Pittsburgh (visit college friends) as well, so I’m taking advantage of the free time for travel as well. Also on the personal front, my girlfriend moved in with me last year, a big step in any relationship, so obviously that has had a huge (positive) impact on my personal life. We’ve been together over two years now and everything is great

My professional landscape has changed a good amount as well. I think I posted this in a previous blog, if not I definitely posted it on 2+2, but my boss left our group shortly after Black Friday, literally telling us so the Monday after. It was a classic case of one door closing and another opening. Since his departure, I have assumed a lot of his responsibility as system administrator and operations manager. I also was promoted in late 2011 to project manager, which wasn’t a promotion as much as just another hat for me to wear, but more responsibility none-the-less.

And now, for what I assume most of this blog’s readers care about… POKER! I took seven months off of poker. SEVEN. And by took seven months off I mean I didn’t play a single hand of any poker game. Since 2004 I don’t think I ever took more than two months off of the game. But obviously that would not last. Around March this year I got the itch. I went to the Horseshoe in Hammond, IA and lucked upon a 10/20 NLHE game that apparently ran extremely sporadically. I went after work on a weeknight, played for about 5 hours and won a very nice amount at a fairly soft table. I would go back 10-15 times over the next two months, but eventually tire of scum regs, having to drive 30 minutes each way only to wait an hour + to get in a game that may or may not break when I get there, and in the meantime play 5/10 1500 max with 8 nits that play 0 hands… it was soooo boring and such a grind. Eventually I decided to sign up for Merge and Lock and give it a try. That was ~6 weeks ago. Since then I’ve run up a nice mid stakes bankroll from essentially nothing by grinding .5/1 and 1/2. I plan on continuing my grind online after Vegas.

Vegas is less than a week away. I’m flying out Monday, Jul 2nd and I’m planning on playing the 10k 6m and the Main Event. The 10k 6m starts Jul 3rd which doesn’t give me any time to get any cash in before that but regardless I plan on playing a lot of cash. I’m probably the most excited that I’ve been for a Vegas trip since the first time I went in 2005… But I’m in a good state mentally and financially and my game is tight and solid so I’m hoping for success out there. I’m going to put in a ton of hours hopefully so we’ll see how it goes. Hopefully I come back holstered up like Joakim

As for the blog, I’m going to try to start updating it frequently again. I’ll try to post poker results live and online, trip reports from recent adventures, current events / topics from the poker, sports, and technology world, and all sorts of stuff in between.

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Get Paid Son

Release from the DOJ

BOOM HEADSHOT. As I posted a few days ago, I expected to get my money back from these sites, especially PokerStars. Under an agreement announced today, the government will allow PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to use their web sites to facilitate the withdrawal of U.S. players’ funds held in accounts with the companies. The five-page domain-name use agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker will also let the poker companies continue to use their domain names to offer for-money online poker games to players outside the U.S. In return the world’s two biggest online poker companies have agreed not to facilitate for-money poker games for U.S. players and to let an independent monitor verify their compliance with the deal.

SHIP IT. This is amazingly awesome news. I would have been happy to get my money out within 6 months… let alone news I can get it out within ONE WEEK! Below is the official statement from PokerStars:

Also, stars has released a very informative FAQ that answers a lot of questions that I am sure many are asking.

Meanwhile, many online poker players are looking for options as to what to do. A hilarious thread started on 2+2 with MS Paints of US online poker players before and after. Here is my favorite:

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Party at the DOJ

Despite the fact that I just lost my main source of income and have a ton of money frozen right now, I am not too upset about it as I said in my previous post. In fact, I actually got a laugh out of the situation thanks to the video below:

[ ] land of the free

As for the author, SrslySirius is known for making some hilarious videos and photoshops on 2+2. Possibly his most well known come from this thread where a guy posts a beat about losing AK all in preflop to 10-6 suited. Its a hilarious thread with some great photoshops, but SrslySirius steals the show with some epic rounders photoshops.

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Black Friday

As many of you probably know, this Friday the FBI took over control of the three largest poker sites, Pokerstars, Full Tilt, and Absolute Poker. Coincidentally, these are the three sites I play on, the foremost being Pokerstars.
Also coincidentally, I was in Tampa for my buddy’s bachelor party this weekend. I was basically out of contact from all my stakes and the poker community for the most part which was not good. A lot of people were freaking out, regulars in my game and my stakes included, and I wish I was there to calm a lot of them down. Regardless this news has brought a shock to the online community and it is pretty ridiculous. I will use this blog post to answer a lot of questions that I have been getting lately and give my opinion on the matter.

Did you lose the money in your account?

No, my money is online in my account and in my stakes accounts. My account is a separate entity from that of the assets of the firm, so it is mine and cannot be used to pay the debts of the firm. I should be safe from any punishment that may be placed on the sites. However, currently I cannot withdrawal or transfer funds or sit at any tables, so my operations are basically shut down. For my stakes, the US ones have the same situation as me and the ones outside of the country are able to continue business as usual. I am working on plans with each of them individually. I have advised them all not to freak out and withdrawal their money for the reasons listed above.

How much money do you have online?

I don’t know, how much money do you have in your bank account? It’s kind of funny how social norms are thrown aside when it comes to poker. I mean I played poker about 40 hours a week for the past three years. Call it gambling, it is gambling, but its a job for me. I know what I’m doing, I know I have edge, and I treat it like a job. I would never ask anyone what they make at their job, but people essentially ask what I make at mine all the time. But to somewhat answer this question, I have about half my net worth online. I am not worried about this really at all. I am disappointed at the lost future profits much more than I am worried about the money I have online.

Is online poker illegal?

I have been under the impression that this answer is no. The legal teams of each site have lawyers who know the laws in and out. They have advised US residents that it is indeed not, but they may have just found loopholes in the system for which to operate. However I can only speculate on whether this is true and can offer no real answer to this question.

What do you think about this?

I think its fucking bullshit. The government says we can’t play online because its not regulated and because underage kids play online. Guess what? This industry is done entirely online. It would be one of the easiest things to regulate ever. It leaves a 100% traceable paper trail. As for kids playing online… who cares? They have to get the money from somewhere right? Shouldn’t someone be able to make that decision themselves? After all, the government allows you to make the choice of whether or not to smoke cigarettes, a habbit that will inevitably kill you. “Go ahead and kill yourself, just don’t gamble in your house while you do it.” Oh and kids smoke underage all the time, I don’t have numbers to prove this but I bet there are more underage smokers in the United States alone than there are underage online poker players worldwide. But that’s A-OKAY with the government because they make billions of dollars every year off the sale of cigarettes. And that’s what this comes down to really. If poker was regulated in the US and the government got its cut (a proposition that many organizations have been working on the past couple years) then this would be a moot point and we wouldn’t even be having this discussion. Each and every day I lose a little more faith in this country, and we become more and more of a joke to other countries. I could continue to rant here but I will refrain.

What are you going to do?

I’m going to graduate. I will finish up school this year hopefully if I can take 2 classes this summer. I am going to play the EPT Main Event in Madrid in three weeks and win that obviously, then I’m going to play the Main Event in the WSOP. By then, the future of online poker should be a lot more clear. For the past three years, I have been working full time, going to grad school, and playing poker like a full time job. It has been both insanely stressful and time consuming. All three were such great opportunities that I decided to try to do all three until one of them became the clear choice of which to drop. Well it looks like the government has made this choice for me, so I’m going to put more effort into the other two, hang out more with my girlfriend and friends, get back in shape, and start sleeping more.

I will post some pictures I took recently from the weekend and give some non-depressing trip reports as well when the dust settles a little from this incident.

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New Office

The company I work for has begun its move to our new location on Wacker next to the Merchandise Mart. I am excited about this for many reasons. One, it is five blocks from my place, so I can walk to work in five minutes which is so awesome. Also, it is way over the top. There is a koi pond in the entrace. All the computers are new and everyone is getting the same monitor setups but with 24″ monitors instead of 19″. I lobbied for 30″ monitors because they’re so much better but IT wasn’t having it. Our intern took some pictures Friday. Check it out.

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ZepHendrix Elite en Tres Salas Diferentes

A stake of mine sent me a cool article today that he found. It is from the largest Latin American poker website, “codigopoker.com”. They did a short article on my recent post in BBV, talking about my typical day and how I life grind like a mad man. It is kind of cool for a couple reasons. One, I don’t think I’ve had anything like this done about me before. Maybe I have but this is the first I’ve known of. Second, it’s kind of cool that it’s in Spanish. I took five years of Spanish in middle school and high school and it was kind of cool to try to read the article, which I understood very little of unfortunately. Either way, it’s always nice to get a little notoriety.

I will also be doing a podcast for CardRunners hopefully within a month. I will make a post about that too when it gets released. That should get around 15,000 listeners which will be some good exposure for me. The link and translation from the article is below:

ZepHendrix Elite en Tres Salas Diferentes

“Poker requires dedication, no doubt. However, there are those who spend more than others, although it seems that the title of “The Grinder of the Year ” takes it ” ZepHendrix “a member of Two Plus Two , which has achieved the feat for the second consecutive year, having the highest VIP status in three different rooms: PokerStars Supernova Elite, Black Card in Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker Diamond Elite.

Clearly Supernova or Black Elite Member Card is not a simple task, but as a poker pro can devote much time to achieve the goal. However, the most incredible “ZepHendrix” is that not only plays poker but has an eight hour days as a stockbroker, he attended the University of Chicago and, as if this were not enough, says having a girlfriend and get along perfectly to have everything in perfect balance.

Of course, the first question was “ZepHendrix” was how a normal day in your life. Ready?

– I sleep between 4 and 6 hours
– I get up at 6 am and arrived at work at seven.
– Get home from work at 5 and twice a week I go to class from 6 to 9.
– Play poker from 9 until 2 am.
– On the weekends I go if something interesting to do and if I do sessions of up to 12 hours.

There, in five steps pokeril recipe for success. Because, “ZepHendrix” no rakeback lives or the promotion of the rooms. According to his profile PTR , hands on three million won $ 232,000 dollars just on PokerStars, mostly in and NL1.000 NL600.

And … how many hands you have played today?”

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Umphrey’s McGee

On this blog I have posted a ton of videos from youtube of Umphrey’s Mcgee. I hope people like what they have heard. I just love any band that is as talented musically as they are. Say what you will about Phish or other such jam bands, I realize that their music is not for everybody. But I think that Umphrey’s McGee actually is. They play every type of music around. They play hard rock, soft rock, metal, country, and songs based on the the sounds of 70s, 80s, and classical music. They also cover tons of songs and I have heard them cover Van Halen, Metallica, the Talking Heads, Billy Joel, Snoop Dogg, and I’ve even heard them cover “Dick In a Box”. There isn’t a type of music they won’t play. Check out this site where you can stream 100s of their live shows. Most are fantastic quality and the people who record the shows truly do a great service to everyone. Here is one of my favorite shows to listen to. Simply stream the music by clicking play on the setlist on the right:

McGeeUmphrey’s McGee Live at 9:30 Club on 2004-12-11 (December 11, 2004)

They also play “mashups”, which is the combination of two or more songs intertwined together to form a new awesome sound. My personal favorite is “Bulls on the Bus” which is a combination of “Bulls on Parade” by Rage Against the Machine and “Mark on the Bus” by the Beastie Boys. You can check it out as song #5 from this show. Or just check out the youtube video of the same show which is way lower audio quality, but nice visually and goes right into “Front Porch”.

Another great mashup is Nemo’s Fat Bottomed Good Times. It’s a mix of “Good Times, Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin, “Fat Bottomed Girls” By Queen, and “Nemo” by Umphrey’s McGee. It is just so creative and quite awesome. Check this band out if you haven’t yet. They have an incredible drummer and two of the best guitarists in the World right now.

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