Courtney Gee is back from playing on the PokerStars Big Game in Las Vegas where she experienced the highest stakes and the toughest competition of her life!
Courtney's not allowed to tell us the profits/losses from the session (Damn you PokerStars) but she's got plenty to say about what it's like playing for big money against the best in the world.
If you haven't yet, check out Courtney's first post that went up last week, the day before she played her Big Game session.
Also, keep an eye out for Courtney's new blog right here on PokerListings.com! She's on a poker quest to never work a 9-5 job again and she'll be keeping us in the loop the whole time.
Take it away Courtney.
I felt weird waking up today. Part of it was that I was waking up in my own bed for the first time in a few days, but the other part of it was that my life felt normal again.
In the weeks before Vegas, I would wake up in the morning filled with thoughts about what I had to do to prepare for February 20th. I would go over my schedule for the day. Usually it included hand history review, a few hours of online cash, some practice with real cards and chips, and maybe some live cash.
I also felt a little nervous every morning because it was one day closer to when I would need to leave for Vegas, and I never felt ready.
As it got closer to the big day, I quickly learned that I would never feel ready. From the end of January to mid-February I played ~60 hours of cash games total, spent countless hours talking to friends about hand histories on instant messengers, laid out my strategy for the Big Game (including bet sizing, starting hands, etc), took notes on pros from season 1 of the show, made Word files filled with new things I was learning and things I wanted to keep in mind, watched a few poker videos, and got coached by some great cash players.
While I was doing all of this, I felt like I wasn't doing enough. Now that I look back, I can say that I worked hard and probably did just fine.
I felt extremely nervous in the days before I was scheduled to fly to Vegas. I felt fine the day we got into Vegas, but on February 19th (the day before my playing day), I felt more nervous than I had ever felt in my life.
My friend and I hung out on the strip and had an amazing dinner, and I spent the entire time trying not to think about it and trying not to be nervous. Being nervous during a time like that is strange. There was nothing more I could do to prepare, and there was also nothing anyone could say to me that would ease the nervousness.
I expected to feel nervous when I woke up the morning of the 20th, but I actually felt mostly fine. I went to breakfast and ate as much as possible, and then I went to the set. It was a flurry of activity there and I didn't have much time to think between the makeup, instructions for how to walk on the set, photos, and mic hookups.
When it was finally time to sit down and get dealt cards, the most amazing thing happened: I felt right at home. It felt like any live game I had ever played before. The chip sizes were MUCH bigger, but my practice with the denominations at home and my experience playing with tournament chips made it natural for me.
I no longer felt nervous. I was ready to play. And I proceeded to have an AMAZING time. Playing in that game was incredibly fun and an experience I'll never forget.
The next day it was all over and time to go back home. And that brings me to today, waking up in my own bed and feeling weird about life. It's all over. It's done... I went and played in a huge cash game, I played well, and now it's over.
Back when I was preparing and feeling nervous, I couldn't wait for it to be over so that I could go back to my normal routine. Now that I'm back from Vegas and it's all over, though, I'm a little sad and kind of miss it.
I expected to feel this way afterward. It's kind of like falling in love. It's so exciting because you don't know what's going to happen and you feel anxious and excited and nervous all at the same time. You can't wait to just find out what's going to happen with this new person and you can't wait to stop feeling this way, but at the same time, it's the most exciting feeling in the world.
And then, when you finally get into a steady relationship with this person and life is normal again, you're happy and relieved, but at the same time you miss the excitement. That's how I feel about love at least, haha :) And that's how I feel about being done with the Big Game.
I'm not sure when the shows are going to air, but I would guess in 3-4 months. I have a lot more to say about my experience, but I will have to hold back until the shows air. It will be interesting to see myself on TV and to relive everything all over again! But until then, it's back to the normal life for me.