Year in Review: Poker Life on the Road Part2

We returned from Israel to Philadelphia to visit my Grandma (93 years old!) and my two aunts all on my Dad’s side of the family. We had a nice visit and then drove to Cape May, New Jersey and caught up with “Holy” Cannuli.  You still couldn’t wipe that smile from his face if you tried after making the November Nine Final Table.

We proceeded to NYC and then to San Antonio to watch Phelps in a swim meet competition. We would then head from there with Mike and his fiancé Nicole to Cabo for five days. Mike’s coach Bob came as well.  This was a nice trip where we would golf and went Scuba Diving for our first times!  We played a couple rounds of golf with George Strait and our good friend Chris Stutts as well.

We then went back to Baltimore where Mike and I had lived together for the past six years. It was time to pack up shop as he was training now in Arizona for his last Olympics, was planning to move out there full time, and I had my condo in Vegas now.  Those six and a half years from January 2009 until August 2015 couldn’t be described.  We had about as much fun, good memories, and trips as I think anyone could have in an entire lifetime. Mike and I have shared the high of highs, as well as, some hard times, but we have come out as brothers and I am very proud to call him my best friend.

He has taught me a lot and I like to think I have been a nice support for him as well. Mike enjoys poker very much also and we have lots of similar interests and mutual friends. I look forward to many more great memories as we both are engaged now, with wedding dates set in 2016, hopefully starting families and taking many trips together. Speaking of getting engaged, I just so happened to propose to Emilia a few days later after an all-night poker session in Houston (how romantic right!?).

I came back and I could tell she had a feeling it was coming as it was just about one year since we had met so I went with the element of surprise. I came back and tried my best to look upset and told her I hadn’t exactly been playing all night. I let her get startled and then told her I was picking this up this morning! She said yes and we continued on to Miami to celebrate.

We went back to Vegas and then I went to Houston for the day before back to Vegas where we would gear up for Burning Man!!!!  This is where Emilia and I met exactly one year prior and it was both our first times going to the 70,000 person week long festival in the middle of absolutely no where. I could write a book on Burning Man, but that is a topic for later discussion.  Please feel free to ask me about Burning Man anytime when you see me or while watching my twitch channel (

After another great Burning Man, we returned to Vegas, then home to Ann Arbor to see the parents again and celebrate my 29th Birthday (September 5th). We got to see a Michigan football game. This is always enjoyable and makes for a busy weekend (largest stadium in the country with a capacity of over 113,000). It was really nice to see some of my best friends.  Some flew in and several live in the area still which makes it all the nicer to come back home.

From there it would be to Houston (two more times additionally this month) back to Vegas then to Ft. Wayne, Indiana for one of my very close friends Mclean Karr and Tatajan wedding which was great.  I would then go to Windsor, Canada to play the WCOOP main event and a few other events as well. We didn’t run so hot and there was definitely some online rust going on too and it was not too exciting of an event.  I flew back to Vegas and then Scottsdale, AZ to visit with Mike and Nicole in their new place there. After a good visit, it was off to Houston for another game. We then went to Philadelphia to see my relatives again before flying out of D.C. to go to Forteleza, Brazil for a family reunion on Emilia’s Father’s side.

I would only stay three days before heading off to Berlin from there for the WSOP Europe.  Emilia stayed back with her family and I caught the second half of the tournament series. I cashed twice including the Main Event finishing in 28th place bringing my 2015 WSOP tournament cashes to seven. I also cashed in the 6,420 WSOP Main Event that took place in Vegas in July.

I thought I might have been the only one to do this but there were several others as well!  This was my first trip to Germany and after Berlin ended I shot over to Munich. I had a friend who played basketball for Bayern Munich and was on the German National Team back in 2008 in Beijing. I hadn’t seen him since then and he always said if you are in Germany come hang out.  I looked him up and the timing was perfect. I stayed with him and there was both a Munich futbol match, as well as, a basketball, one in the three days I was in town so we went to both. He works for the club now after retiring a few years ago.  I met him through one of my best friends, Tim Begley who I met in 2007 at a poker table. I met Phelps at a poker table as well.

It’s pretty incredible looking back on so many great friendships and how they are related to poker. I am very grateful for poker and truly believe it has so many skills that apply to the real world.  Whether you play for a living or as a hobby, be aware that the poker table is a good place to get a good feel about someone. Much like they say you can tell a lot about someone on the golf course.  I believe this statement to be more relevant when engaging with someone at a poker table.

I had an early morning flight to Houston from Munich and I decided to stay up all night to play on Pokerstars while doing a test stream for Twitch. I had started to do a few brief streams while in the USA and took the opportunity to try it here.  It went pretty well with about 200 viewers and this made me feel it would be a good idea for me to look to pursue professionally streaming on twitch.

After sleeping the whole flight and arriving in Houston, I would play in the game, then meet Emilia in Vegas.  Her brother Rodrigo and his wife Eula would come visit for the week. We went to LA to Meldman’s “Casamigos” annual Halloween party and then right back to Vegas. This was also the week of preparing for Tommy’s November Nine final table!  We did some simulations and walk throughs with Brian Rast, Jake Schindler, Sorel Mizzi and Antonio popping in as well.  I wrote my last article about the November Nine experience, so I will just say this was a very exciting week and Tommy took about as cold a beat as you could finishing in sixth place getting his aces all in pre against tens and did not win.

It was time to put that $2,000,000 ICM equity bad beat in the rear view mirror. Based on my % was the biggest bad beat of my life for sure.  Not many things could cheer me up but flying to Montreal for the November WPT at the Playground Poker Club was one.  Antonio, Walter, and I had a great week there, lot of fun but the poker 2 outer curse was in full effect and I had several in the main event.

I would return home to see my parents again and then to Houston for what would be my last cash game of the year.  It turned out to be a seriously good game, going over 24 hours straight and I booked my biggest win of the year. Not much more you can ask for to close out the year! Brian Rast then met me in Houston the next day where him and his wife Julianna (also a Brazilian) would fly with me to Sao Paulo to meet with Emilia.

Here we would stay the week and play in several BSOP and LAPT events.  I ended up cashing two events including the BSOP “high roller” final table where I would take one of the worst beats I had taken personally in a long time for the chip lead pot in a sort of unexplainable situation, but that happens!

After getting to enjoy Sao Paulo, Brazil; one of the largest cities in the world, it was off to Punta Del Este, Uruguay.   There was a $2,500 super turbo tournament which was hosted by the Conrad Hotel. I had caught wind of this a month or so back when I heard people talking about it in Sao Paulo and I decided to go. The tournament didn’t go so well and on day 2 I was eliminated.

The good news was that Marcelo, who went above and beyond, got me hooked up with the super internet. They got me a special connection because the net wasn’t good enough to stream with the standard room Internet. Long story short, I played for a while Saturday and then on Sunday ended up having a dream stream. I finished 22nd/5686 players in the Sunday Million and had 1,977 viewers watching the channel live! It was a really cool feeling.

I flew back the next day to Belo Horizonte, Brazil and wrote a poem called “My Fire; my Dream Stream 2016”.  I will read this when I win a MTT on the air and/or hit 2,000 live viewers.  We got to 1,988 viewers a few days ago and the Internet cut out, LOL.  So we are getting very close!

After returning to BH, Brazil I would stream each day during the week and then it was off to Rio. This city was everything I imagined and more. I’m really excited to come back for the Olympics in 2016 and spend some more time here. We rented an AirBnB, and unfortunately, the WIFI wasn’t good enough to stream on twitch (need 2.0 upload speed or better).  That is one thing about Brazil that is a real pain, finding good Internet to stream.

It has been a problem of being on the road and in South American countries but I am learning how to source it!  We then flew to Caratinga, Brazil; a small city in Brazil. My parents would fly from Michigan to meet us. We had an amazing week and my parents met Emilia’s for the first time. I streamed most days even though was short.

Well, this was longer than I imagined and may have rambled on a bit but there you have it. That is my 2015 in review. I hope you enjoyed following me in recapping my year. I am enjoying writing again and I like to organize my thoughts. I plan to write the next article on 2016 Goals and I should be posting my poem in there as well!

Thanks again and the best way to keep up with me is on my twitch channel, as well as twitter: @jgross5 and instagram: jeffgrosspoker.

Share on Pinterest