Sometimes you just have to take a shot. That’s exactly what well-travelled New Jersey grinder Michael Azzaro thought when it came to the 2019 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure schedule.
One look at Azzaro’s history, both live and online, one can see the bulk of his success has come from East Coast venues in buy-ins of up to $1K. But here at the start of 2019, Azzaro has fired in the $25,000 PokerStars NL Hold’em Players Championship and now, he’s deep in the $10K Main Event.
“I’m definitely taking a shot,” Azzaro said. “I played this Main Event last year for the first time. I’ve played the WSOP Main Event three times but have not played any other $10K. So this is definitely one of the bigger buy-ins I’ve played.”
Despite not normally playing in the larger Main Events, Azzaro isn’t phased. He’s an accomplished pro, a WSOP Circuit ring winner, with results dating back to 2010. He has over $500,000 in live earnings and another $850,000 online, where the PocketFiver is known as ‘MikeyCasino.’
“Actually, I wasn’t even going to play until the day before Day 1 because I was going to go somewhere else, maybe to Choctaw to find something a little softer. But I was already here and I wanted to fire it and it’s been working out so far.”
It’s always good when things go your way. However, that wasn’t the case for Azzaro in the $25,000 PSPC where, despite making Day 2, he was unable to cash in.
“In the $25K there were a lot of satty winners, a lot of Platinum Pass winners and I thought it was going to be one of the easiest $25Ks I was ever going to play,” Azzaro said about putting together the biggest buy-in of his career. When that didn’t work out though, Azzaro quickly made up his mind to keep taking shots.
“While I was here I just had rooms booked the whole series so I was like ‘lets just give this a shot.’”
He played in the $1,100 2019 PCA National and picked up a min-cash. But then the decision was made to play the Main.
“I thought if things just don’t go well, I don’t play many $10Ks so I at least give myself a shot at winning some big money.”
As it turned out, everything has been going well – at least through the middle of Day 3. Azzaro has been holding his own with a chip stack sitting right in the middle of the pack.
“It’s been going good, I got lucky on the live stream earlier today – that was great. I just want to play well, play all my hands the best that I can and let the cards do the rest. I don’t want to get my hopes up too high. I try to stay on an even keel at all times.
“Even if I’m the chip leader or the shortest stack, I like to play one hand at a time and live in the moment rather than worry about the next day or two.”
No small part of Azzaro’s success has been thanks to the support system of the East Coast poker community he is representing while in the Bahamas. A fixture on the scene, he’s been bombarded with support from those who he regularly tangles with on the felt.
“I love it. A lot of people, a lot of friends have been hitting me up on Twitter and Facebook just telling me to play good and keep it going and ‘take it down’ and everything. I definitely have a lot of friends in the East Coast poker community and I appreciate all the support they give me.”
And win or lose, what’s next for Azzaro?
“After this is over…I’ll most likely be at Borgata.”
UPDATE: Michael Azzaro’s Main Event came to an end in 44th place earning $28,520.