Brian Townsend hasn't played at the World Series of Poker since 2011 but he returned this year and made a deep run in the $10,000 Main Event.
“It's been great to play the Main Event since I haven't been out here in a long time,” Townsend told PokerListings in Las Vegas.
“I've seen a lot of people I haven't been in touch with in a long time so it's great to reconnect.”
Townsend finished 170th out of 6,683 players for a $44,728 payday.
“I think I've played pretty well but also gotten extremely lucky, which everyone has to do to get to this stage.”
At the peak of his high-stakes poker career Townsend was winning and losing millions of dollars playing the biggest cash-games on the internet under the screen-names sbrugby, aba20 and his own name playing as a red pro for Full Tilt Poker.
Since Black Friday Townsend has had to travel to play online poker, but that's not all he's been doing abroad.
In 2012 Townsend traveled to the Sahara Desert to participate in a 250km self-supported super marathon.
“This one in particular was 250 kilometers in the Sahara desert which sounds really crazy but before I did it I was like, 'Oh I can do that it shouldn't be a problem.' Then obviously I get out there and it's like, 'Holy crap it's really hot in the Sahara desert.'”
“But I somehow managed to finish and it was a lot tougher than I thought it would be. It was a great experience and I made some great friends.”
Online High-Stakes Changed Since Black Friday
Townsend had the freedom to travel to continue playing online poker, but he's still been impacted by the effects of Black Friday and the economic downturn.
“The online game has evolved since Black Friday in that there's not as much high-stakes action as there used to be,” said Townsend.
“The mixed games are primarily where all the highs-stakes action is now. Sometimes there will be some high-stakes PLO but it's pretty rare these days.
“There's just less action in general. People are less willing to take big risks than they were before Black Friday just because earning money for some people is a lot harder than it used to be.”
With loose nosebleed action becoming less and less common Townsend has been forced to reassess his approach to the game.
“Since Black Friday I've had to change my mentality on poker in a lot of ways. When I started out I used to just play and kind of go by feel and what my intuition and my gut told me to do.”
“Over the last eight years of playing poker I've really developed into making decisions based on what my cards are telling me to do.”