The Adventures of Tyler Nals: Northern Florida

Tyler Nals

I have to write the title that way because some people live vicariously through me. Most people can’t travel as much but can read along as though they’re right there with me. That’s as long as I do a good job relaying what happened. And there is plenty to relay on this trip.

It was going to be tough to top what happened to me in Texas. You can find out what happened in Texas by reading A Week at the Lodge Part II. While there was no singular event on this trip that topped one bizarre event in Texas, this trip might end up having a much bigger influence on my life.

If it does, it could have an impact on at least part of the poker community. But that’s a ‘maybe’ so don’t get too excited just yet. I can’t say anything more about the business side. I’ll just say that two potential ideas are in the works. If nothing happens here, no big deal. I’ll move on to the next one. It’s what I do. I’m not the most patient person in the world when looking to get something done. I know this though: Whoever takes the chance wins.

This was my third business meeting in Jacksonville over the past few months. One of the topics discussed might be obvious to you. The other topic is something nobody knows about. It’s something unique and fun, and it could include you if you’re willing to travel to Northern Florida to play poker. If this gets a green light, it’s going to be something that has never been done in the poker world before. We’ll see how it plays out.

The other reason I went to Jacksonville was to play on the livestream. I bought in for $300 in a 2/2 NL DEEP game and finished -$54. Some people might look at that as a failure, and I haven’t watched it back so I don’t know what the announcers said or what friends and fans felt in regards to my play. Not everyone looks at the game the way I do, but I’ll try to explain.

I ran pretty bad in this game and had to make a lot of folds where I had good yet losing hands. I was down more than $200 for a couple of hours but remained patient to find that one spot to get me back in the game. After finding that spot, I moved to the plus side for a bit by being patient, then had to fold a straight when I knew my opponent had a bigger straight.

Basically, I strongly believe most people in my seat would have lost the $300 stack, but I could be wrong. I must adapt to my situation. In this game, there were two players calling pre-flop raises out of position with hands like J3 and K5. One of them ran good and made money; the other one had to rebuy several times.

Based on the table dynamic and stickiness of my opponents, it’s not a game where I could move players off hands. Therefore, my only shot was remaining patient and letting the game come to me. By doing this, either I win a little money or minimize my loss. It ended up being the latter.

I had one friend who watched the livestream tell me that I looked very disinterested in that game. For those of you who have played at my table, this isn’t like me at all. I’m usually engaging without being annoying. I know the border pretty well. I don’t like the player who never shuts up. In this game, I said very little. However, looking back on it, this was for two reasons. One had nothing to do with poker. The other was because I had lost my first two cash sessions since arriving in Jacksonville. I was already down $400 going into this game.

That’s not horrible but it’s not fun either. I’m big on money management. For example, my Win/Loss Record in cash games this year is 61-50. This is pretty good but not dominant.

However, my return is very good. That’s because I never rebuy. By never rebuying, it means my losses are minimized yet there is no ceiling on my wins. This allows me to stay calm during downswings because I know an upswing will take care of it.

In fact, since that livestream and two losses prior, I’m on a 7-session winning streak. There is only one big win within this streak, but that’s okay. I do what I can based on the situations presented to me. Always adapt.

For instance…

After losing three consecutive sessions at Bestbet Jax, I needed to do something different. That something different was to drive 1 hour and 15 minutes to Daytona Beach. I have played in more than 80 poker rooms and Daytona Beach is one of the softest. The players here are crazy friendly. I really enjoy the people.

At the same time, some of them are playing with money they shouldn’t be playing with, which is scared money. I know this because many of them have admitted it to me. Once I see scared money, I attack relentlessly. This doesn’t mean stupidly. I’ll back off when I know I’m beat. Otherwise, it’s Attack Mode.

I played a $155 tourney here and finished 4th of 33 for just shy of $400. I was the chip leader at the final table, but as is so often the case, I tried to take out two short stacks and lost. This lost me the chip lead. When the stacks were relatively even, one of the other players offered a chop for $1,300 each. I was only in for $155 so I agreed, but another player didn’t. I’ll refer to him as Greedy.

Me: “I usually don’t like to chop, but the stacks are pretty even and it saves time for the dealers and staff.”

Greedy: “I don’t care about the dealers. They get paid to entertain us. They’ll stay as long as they need to stay.”

At that point, I didn’t want to chop, I wanted to beat him. He was running incredibly hot though. He literally hit 10 flops in one down. I tried to knock out the stack shorter than me with 22. He called with A7o. Flop: T77. After that, Greedy jammed on me from the SB when I was in the BB with A4s. He did this almost every orbit, so it was a snap-call. He tabled Q6o and turned a 6. No help on the river.

I don’t get upset at these situations. I just remind myself that it was meant to happen this way.

For example…

Rewind to after I lost those first two sessions at Bestbet and prior to the livestream. Since I had lost, I wanted to turn it into a win. I logged-in to a freelance writing site I hadn’t used in months and picked up a few orders. After writing and submitting those orders, I didn’t think much of it.

Within 10 hours, I had received Direct Orders from two new clients. Direct Orders pay more than Open Orders. I accepted and went to work, hoping these clients would like my work. They ended up loving my work, which means more orders in the future. Therefore, by losing in poker, I added a revenue stream. If I had won either of those first two sessions at Bestbet, that new revenue stream never would have happened.  

The next day, I attempted to play at Bestbet Orange Park but there wasn’t enough action, so I drove to Bestbet Jax. I was +$137 and took that momentum with me on my way back to Daytona Beach that night for another tournament.

Originally, I was going to explore some cool spots in Jacksonville Beach and not play poker, but the vibe changed midday due to a conversation. This led me back to poker. I busted the $155 after 3-betting to 67k with AA when I was the chip leader and getting called by As Ks. I tried to move him off the flop, but that was a no-go and he turned a straight. Nothing I can do.

I don’t really understand why some people call for three quarters of their stack with AK, but one of my biggest weaknesses is sometimes giving other people too much credit on their strategic thinking. Fortunately, I have gotten much better at this. And the bust was actually good news.

Busting led to me playing cash at Daytona and finishing +$403. I also made a new friend at the table: Vincent. Good dude. Outside of Vincent, this table was Donkey Central. They were making horrendous calls.

For instance, one player called my pot-sized bet on the flop with 63 on J83. I had KJ. He hung around on a 2 turn and bet into me on a 6 river. I said, “I don’t think you would call my bet on the flop with 63. That wouldn’t make any sense,” and I called. Yeah … I gave his strategic intelligence too much credit.

Another player at this table wouldn’t play any hands unless he had the nuts, and he would overbet the pot when he had it. But the most important player in this game was a dude who looked and talked the part of a professional poker player. That said, there was no way he could be a professional poker player because he thought he was one, which means Ego.

He attempted to bluff me off a big pot early when I had second pair. His story didn’t make sense, so I called. Then he tried to bluff me again and I called. Then he tried to bluff me a third time and I called. After rebuying, he gave it one more shot. And, yes … I called. At that point, he left without saying anything.

Without him at the table, I don’t finish +$403. Some people like to come after me. I don’t know why, but I like it. My live cash win % is 74.8% this year. My online cash win % is 56% this year. Not amazing, but better than 90% of players. And a lot of these wins relate to people trying to outplay me.

You might want to try that against someone else, but I always welcome the attack. Unless I’m at a passive table where I can steamroll, I’m a defensive and trappy player. GTO players will scoff at this, but I don’t care. You can’t argue results.

I went back to Bestbet Jax on my last day in town and finished +$193. I watched a guy get arrested during this session. In fact, I have it on video. Someone will probably ask to see it. Someone might even ask me to sell it to them, but I’m never going to be that guy.

Even though I played well during this session, including some huge folds, I made one mistake. That bothers me. I knew my opponent had a pair of Jacks on a J-high flop when I had KK. I bet for value on the turn and got a call. When an A hit the river, she snap-bet. I open-folded KK.

This is rare for me. I always analyze the situation and try to figure out the puzzle. She showed QJ and said, “Good hand, sir.”

I made an error because if she had AJ, she would have raised me pre-flop. I had been playing with her for hours. I took just as much from her as she took from me thanks to a flush earlier in the session, but I could have had a bigger win if I stopped and thought for a few seconds prior to snap-folding. Then again, I’m human. Therefore, I make mistakes. I just try not to make those mistakes again and again.

Including busting the $360 at Bestbet Jax, I finished this trip +$279 overall. Not really worth it on the poker side, but that’s only at first glance. I had some interesting experiences (see my FB Friends page), I made a new friend, and I regained an old friend. Furthermore, this trip had nothing to do with poker. It had to do with establishing connections and seeing if this is the path to take on the business side.

For those of you that hung with me throughout this article, I appreciate you. And since I appreciate you, two of the topics hinted at earlier involve a movie and a yacht, but they aren’t connected. If this doesn’t happen in Northern Florida, it will happen somewhere else.

My course has always been based on which way the wind is blowing. I never force the issue and like to have the wind at my back—a natural course based on the energy I feel from people and situations. I can’t imagine where I would be without the wind.

Do you play the game of life with the wind at your back or do you keep trying to force situations that don’t work? If you fall into the latter category, try the other side for one year and see how much your life changes. You’re welcome.

Stay tuned on business developments.

♠ Tyler Nals |

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