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  • About Yourself
    Gilbert is a pastor & poker player from PA. This article further explains this odd combination of professions and documents his $31k month in July of 2015. https://tinyurl.com/y478patu
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    Rio for WSOP
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    Don't play cash
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    Mid to High stakes

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    971 (2015)

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  1. I grew up in Maryland and when it comes to sports teams I am a complete homer. Caps, Wizards, Redskins, the University of Maryland and of course my beloved Orioles. The O’s are once again horrible this year but a few weeks back I had an opportunity to go to a game. Even though we now live in Pennsylvania, Baltimore is only about 1 ½ hours away so it’s still nice to be able to go to Camden Yards and catch a game. As you can see in the picture at the bottom of this post, our seats were awesome. First row, right behind the O’s dugout. What wasn’t so awesome is that the Orioles gave up 7 runs in the first inning and it just kept getting worse from there. The final score ended up being 16-4. The highlight of the game was in the top of the 9th. Not wanting to waste another pitcher, the Orioles instead brought in their center-fielder Steve Wilkerson to pitch. What was hilarious was he got out all 3 of Tampa’s players that he faced. In fact, it was the only 3 up, 3 down inning an Orioles pitcher had the entire game. The reason it was hilarious is he was only throwing 50-55mph. For those not familiar with baseball, this is extremely slow. Most major league pitchers throw fastballs from 90-100 mph and even their off speed pitches meant to fool batters are still usually in at least the 80’s. Against Wilkerson though the Tampa batters simply didn’t know how to hit something coming in so slow. My Uncle, who had invited us, is 55 years-old and still plays in an adult baseball league. He joked about how many of the pitchers in his league actually throw harder than what 27 year-old Steve Wilkerson was throwing. Interestingly enough, about a week later the Orioles game went into extra innings and the O’s scored on the road to take the lead. The problem was they had already used their closer and other relievers in the game, so once again they brought in Wilkerson to pitch. This time though it wasn’t in a blow-out, but rather he was going to try to earn the save. He ended up doing just that, becoming the first position player in Major League Baseball history to earn a save. Ok, so what does any of that have to do with poker? Actually a lot I think. The reason Wilkerson was so effective was because he was bringing something to the game that the other players had never seen, nor practiced against. Major league players are creatures of habit and have fine-tuned their swings to pitches coming in 80-100mph. No wonder they were flailing away at something that didn’t look or feel like what they were used to. Hopefully you see where I’m going with this. As more and more poker players are reading and studying and going through training sites, the more I’ve noticed players are playing alike. Not all players mind you but you can definitely notice patterns, especially with thinking players who are all basically playing the same style, using the same sizing’s, using the same ranges, etc. Now I’m not advocating just randomly doing stupid stuff that’s –EV, but you do need to throw some change-ups into your game so that people are confused about how to respond to you because it’s not a play they see every night. In the same way Wilkerson’s super slow “fastballs” confounded MLB hitters you need to be looking for ways to have the same effect on players at your table. Now keeping with the baseball metaphor, occasionally your pitch is going to smacked out of the park. Maybe it was a triple barrel bluff or an over-bet that has your opponents shaking their heads and saying that you’re the worst player ever. But from time to time that’s OK. If you’re just simply playing like everyone else then over time you will be more and more dependent on running good and variance not getting the best of you. If players never, ever criticize your play then perhaps you’re not taking enough chances. So what kind of change-up can you add to your game? Are you OK with being made fun of from time-to-time because of your unorthodox style or a play you made? My friend and sometime coach Alex Fitzgerald is a master of this. Get a hold of some of his writings for some examples of how to make this work in your favor. And again I’m not taking about doing stupid stuff that’s –EV, I’m talking about finding weird +EV spots that no one else is taking. In other words…learn to throw some change-ups…you’ll be glad that you did! ____________________________________________________________________________________ As for my July results, it was a weird month. I started out the first week on fire. On the 3rd I won a small tournament and then on the 5th of July I won the Nightly $33 for the 5th time in the previous 3 weeks. In total the first week I was up over 1k. Then for the next almost 3 weeks variance kicked my butt big time. It was one of those stretches where you flop a set of Aces and still find a way to lose to some kind of ridiculous runner-runner suck-out. So I went from 1k up to -1.5k going in to the last 3 days of the month. Then all of the sudden things turned around and on back-to-back nights I final tabled the Nightly $109 on Merge as well as made yet another final table appearance in the Nightly $33. Unfortunately I finished 5th in all 3 of these, busting with KK, KK and AQs. These deep runs got me back to only $400 in the hole and then the last night of the month I ran bad again to lose some more. Long story short, this broke my consecutive months in profit streak which was up to 8 months in a row. Kind of stinks knowing that just another few ladders in any of those final tables there at the end would have kept the streak alive. Oh well, time to get a new streak started! Here’s July’s breakdown… 112..…Tournaments Played 42…....Cashes (38%) 19..…. Final Tables 10.......Top 3 Finishes 2……Wins $6691.61 in total cashes (-12.07% ROI) Now onto my Merge up-date. For those not familiar with my blog, Merge stopped allowing Pocket Fives to track scores on September 5th 2016, so what I’m doing here is tracking where I would have been had they not stopped tracking. I do play some on other networks but Merge gets out 95% of my volume so I thought it would be fun and motivating to keep things going as if though it never stopped. I use Poker Dominator to track all tourney’s so these are the most accurate and up-to-date numbers as of the last day of the month. Merge Lifetime Total: $565,168.26 Career Lifetime Total: $638,007.69 Career number of Cashes: 4938 Follow my monthly results in real-time by following me on Twitter: @YourPokerPastor Thanks for reading...please post a comment with your thoughts or anything you'd like me to address in future blogs.

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