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PocketFives Training Instructor Assassinato Wins First Triple Crown[ return to main articles page ]

By: Dan Cypra    [See all articles by Dan Cypra]
Published on Apr 29th, 2012
The one-year anniversary of Black Friday meant mixed emotions in the poker community. Many pros are still separated from their bankrolls, but for Alex Assassinato Fitzgerald (pictured), April 15th featured the opening tournament victory of his first Triple Crown. He'd ultimately win a $55 buy-in tournament on PartyPoker, the Merge $60,000 Sunday High Roller, and the Titan Poker $30 Rebuy within a week.

Fitzgerald is a featured instructor at PocketFives Training, which provides top-of-the-line MTT training. You can get one month of free PocketFives Training with the sign-up fee waived by signing up for a new online poker room through PocketFives and making a minimum deposit. Learn how.

PocketFives: Walk us through each of your Triple Crown tournament wins.

Alex Fitzgerald: The PartyPoker win was kind of a lay-up. I ran really well at the final table and nobody really played back at me. The $30 Rebuy on iPoker I was super tired for, as I'd blown up at a long and difficult final table earlier that day, so I was determined to make that tournament count. I still managed to spaz in a few spots, but I took down a lot of pots just by barreling post-flop when the time was right. I felt on my game and satisfied when that win came through.

The Merge High Roller came during the 17th hour in my Sunday session. I'd made that final table two times before on a Sunday, coming in second and third, so I was determined to win it. The structure was a little worse than how I remembered, and to be honest, I won more than my fair share of flips. Still, I was proud I didn't budge or give a pot away. I was grateful I was able to finish the job so late in the session.

PocketFives: Did you at any point gun for a Triple Crown victory?

Alex Fitzgerald: It crossed my mind during the week, but only for a minute. It's a cool feather in the cap, but I've never really gunned for it that much. There have been a couple times I've won a tournament on PokerStars and Full Tilt on the same day and then not played the rest of the week. Now, I'm a little more grateful for the grind and going after everything I should have accomplished before.

PocketFives: It seems amazing that this is your first Triple Crown since you've been a part of PocketFives since 2006. What does this award mean to you?

Alex Fitzgerald: Over the last few years, I haven't really played tournaments on any sites besides PokerStars and Full Tilt. This was just my second week of playing on more than two sites, so it feels really good to get a Triple Crown so quickly. It shows me I can adjust to different player types and make correct adjustments on the fly.

PocketFives: Tell us what's new at PocketFives Training, where you're an instructor. What new videos can we expect to see from you soon?

Alex Fitzgerald: I'll be wrapping up the WCOOP Main Event series. I've never gotten so much e-mail about a video series before. I hadn't really played for months before I played that tournament because of Black Friday. When I finally got back on the tables, I was pissed off because of the amount I lost on Full Tilt and was out to smash everybody.

It probably wasn't the best strategy, and I did go out in the final 100. However, it's not every day you get to examine a hand history where a player tries to win every single hand deep in a PokerStars $5K. While some of my experiments went awry, I think I did a good job of showing how to go after regulars and make your own opportunities in a poker tournament.

PocketFives: Are you still enjoying being a PocketFives Training instructor? What kinds of videos get you the most excited to make?

Alex Fitzgerald: I love coaching. I wasn't half the player I am today before I really started teaching the game. Analyzing hand histories and finding new ways to beat regulars is so addicting to me. I never thought I could make a good living from the side business of writing, recording, and discussing my ideas in poker. To be paid to study and present my ideas in the game I love is such a blessing.

In addition to PocketFives Training, I also do private coaching. You can check out my Coaching Profile here on PocketFives or e-mail Assassinatocoaching@gmail.com.

Most trainers on other sites don't tell you really what they think of any hand; they just give you a rundown of the basic concepts. They're out for a quick buck and really not going to teach you how to win. I don't water anything down. I put everything I can think of into my analysis and really try to give up-and-comers the mental tools they need to succeed.

I've been physically threatened by other pros for giving away so much in my videos, but I think that's the best endorsement I could have. Teaching what concepts people may be using hopefully helps me stay ahead of the curve, so there's a personal motivation as well. Making the best No Limit Hold'em tournament videos I can is a matter of personal pride. It forces me to up my game every day.

The videos I really enjoy making are the concept videos. They take countless hours to make, but it's worth it. For example, you can check out my lectures on opening and 3betting at PocketFives Training today. I'm confident I get more ideas across in those few hours than many hand history reviews get across in 20 hours. I don't waste your time and you will have a better grasp on poker once you're done with them.

PocketFives: What are your thoughts on the rumored PokerStars buyout of Full Tilt?

Alex Fitzgerald: I'm too jaded to take it seriously. I had six-figures on Full Tilt on Black Friday, more than I'd ever had in that account in my life, and there was even more across all of my horses' accounts. A solid year of 60- to 80-hour workweeks was taken from me on that day.

I was planning to go to school and not play poker more than once or twice a week, or take time off to write a book. All of those dreams were dashed that day. It took months for me to realize I was broke again and the grind was back on. I was really bitter for a long time.

If this buyout turns out to be real, I won't even know what to do. It won't be real to me until the money is in my bank account. I've been grinding really hard on a much lower financial scale since Black Friday. I can't even put it into words what it would feel like to get my money back. It will feel like someone giving me a year of my life back. I never expected to see that money again.

PocketFives: Will we be seeing you make a run at the top 100 in the PocketFives Poker Player Rankings any time soon? You're close at #145 worldwide.

Alex Fitzgerald: It would be really cool to make the top 100. I haven't played MTTs exclusively really since five years ago. I think I have a real shot at it now since I'm putting all of my poker playing hours into MTTs.

Pocketfives: What goals do you have for 2012?

Alex Fitzgerald: Just keep it moving. Wake up every day and try to put everything I have into my work. I want to play every hand hard and with respect for my opponents. I want to keep learning and teaching my students how to shine. I want to keep making bigger final tables. I want to win a couple more Triple Crowns. I want to look back and say, "Yeah, 2011 gutted me, but I shut shit down in 2012."

PocketFives: What do you do outside of poker in Costa Rica?

Alex Fitzgerald: The rain forest, the mountains, and the beach are within an hour drive of where I live, so I take advantage of those when I can. Whenever I feel exhausted, I just go lay around on a beach or check out a mountain view with my girl. I see a lot of rap battles and movies. I read a lot of books. I take my dog for a lot of runs. I buy PlayStation 2 games for $2 around the university district and play the hell out of them.

I eat way more than I ever did in the States. Sushi is delicious and cheap, family diners serve full fish casados for $4, there are about 20 different cuisines represented within a five-mile radius of my house, and my girlfriend's family seems to be on a mission to make me fat with all of their delicious home cooking. I've never been happier living anywhere in my life.

Learn how to win your own online poker Triple Crown, and be sure to sign up for PocketFives Training.

Comments

  1. YOU TOOK YOUR TIME ALEX

    BUT WELCOME TO THE CLUB
    Edited By: random.chu Apr 29th, 2012 at 07:01 AM
  2. SHIIIIIP ITTTT Grats bro!
     
  3. Congrats Alex, enjoy the boooost !!!!
  4. Congrats!!!
  5. ohohoho la vida loca!!! very nice! congrats!
     
  6. Gratz Alex! does this mean we will see videos of these wins soon?? :)
  7. great interview, been reading your blog lately and its one of my faves. congrats on staying tough and keeping your head down through life's down swings!!!!!
     
  8. Cant wait for this to be your p5 under title in jan 2013: "I shut shit down in 2012."Keep crushing souls man!
  9. wtf PS2?? get 3 man.
  10. Congrats Alex! Well deserved!
     
  11. Nice!
 
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