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Epiphany77: I lost £200k in a drunk homegame!

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Thinking it cannot get any better after the amazing Jdawg91 talk, the Awkward Banter hosted by Scarmaker is back with a spectacular second episode. Let's see if you can spot the moment when Charlie "Epiphany77" Carrel regretted his decision to do this.

Scar:
You know, although even I myself am tired of my own cracks at this, when it comes to you, I guess there is no other thing I can possibly start this with. So... tell me Charlie. What is up with the clothes?

Charlie:
Well, they're clothes that I enjoy wearing. I've never really had the urge to dress anything less than garishly.

Scar:
I mean, is the seizure-inducing blend of colour mish-mash supposed to give you an edge at a live table?

Charlie:
Heh. If we're talking about edge, it does actually help there in a few ways. I mean, who is going to fold to a guy looking like he's had to use a fake passport to get in and dresses like he's out of Austin Powers? There's a lot of ego flying around in poker and I think in the same way people hate losing to girls, they hate losing to... whatever I am. A manchild.

Also in long term EV, it's pretty sick how much media coverage my clothing got me, which always spurred me on to gogogo with the clothing - more colour --> more media attention --> more moneyzzz $$$ ---> help more people in the world long run.

Scar:
So, basically, you are admitting to be a media whore.

Charlie:
Unintentional benefactor of media whoring circumstances. That's one way of not admitting the truth to myself. Anyway, the main reason I dress like this is because I like it and not much else :P

OMG the shower flooded in our hotel room and they've put this massive dryer thing in room, it's so fucking noisy. *Headphones on*

Scar:
They should call Steve O'Drier to fix it.

Anyway, I like that you mentioned big egos being a huge part of the poker world, it is something I think about a lot lately. Over the last couple of years you played everything from €200 turbos to €25,000 high rollers. How do different stakes compare in the "average amount of egos" at the table?

Charlie:
I think that on average a player in a 200 euro has a lower ego than in the $25ks, but it is definitely a lot more polarised in highrollers. Like, if you took the field in the $100ks, you have people like Igor and Gruissem on one side, who are beautiful examples of humble humans.

Scar:
And it's gotta be tough to keep your humbleness when you get to bang Liv Boeree on a regular basis.

Charlie:
Then batting for the other team you've got the Scott Sievers and Doug Polks of the world. Igor manages to keep his head firmly rooted on his shoulders, despite all his success :) They're two of my favourite people in the poker world.

Scar:
You consider Scott Seiver a big-ego kinda guy? In a way that it hinders his game? Scott always seemed to me like a great guy, who just likes to troll whenever he can.

Charlie:
I cannot speak massively confidently about him as I've only met him a few times, but this one memory sticks out:

The first time I'd met Igor, we were talking and the subject of whether mathematics was a universal and objective truth or a human construct came up. Fun topic. Then Scott moves to our table and the conversation tone turns from 'I think x' and 'I disagree with Y' to 'Z IS TRUE AND THERE IS NO DOUBT ABOUT IT' (Z being Scott's opinion).

Charlie:
Anyway, what's next on the agenda? I'm afraid I'm a bit short on the hooker stories, so may need to stick to poker related stuff :P

Scar:
Yeah. We had JDawg last time, who is an online guy as pure as whatever it is that he snorts down in Tijuana. However, you are crushing it on both live and online fronts. Did you have any troubles transitioning? Are there any specific things you'd say you do differently in a live tourney?

Charlie:
:D It was a fun interview for sure. Yeah, I struggled quite hard. I started off playing my super tight ranges, then realised everyone else sucked postflop, so played like 60% VPIP. Then I realised that meant I sucked preflop.

Also always felt people were soul reading me. Turns out like 1% of players are any good at that kind of stuff. Mais oui, I'd say I play live tournaments incredibly differently to online. There is so much more information and so many more variables to adjust to. I love live tournaments so much. Plus everyone is a tell box, if you know what to look for and how to apply the knowledge.

Ooh, I have a good poker story actually, that I've only told my closest friends. It's about a private game I went to, where I played all the biggest pots of my life in very short successions.

Scar:
Go on.

Charlie:
'ite, so I'm sitting the Vic (local London casino) one day, grinding 5/10 or something. Normal day. I was sitting with around 6/7k and suddenly I was asked to move up, which really confused me, because we were 9-handed already. Turns out they allow CERTAIN people to skip the lists - 'Superstars.' So, this kind of elderly, loud and cheerful looking gentleman sits down. Let's call him Norbert, for the sake of not breaking TOS.

Scar:
Sounds like Negreanu.

Charlie:
Heh, louder than Negreanu, if you can imagine.

Scar:
I can, but I'd rather not. Continue.

Charlie:
Hahaha! Mkay, so he sits down and says instantly 'I don't like playing the the 5 pound chips, could we not?' and hands the cashier person a bag of money. Like, a big motherfucking bag of money.

Scar:
A pre-tip.

Charlie:
And obviously nobody says no so we all start playing 25/25. Norbert sits down with like 20k and the great thing was that he was on the direct right.

So I greet him, order us both a fruity cocktail (if you ever go to the Vic, order a Deep Stack with three shots of rum rum) and then I go to the cashier to top up my stack. I come back with an extra 30k and put it all on my stack and tell him 'I was the table bully before you came, maybe we take it in turns?'

Scar:
So much live poker GTO stuff right here.

Charlie:
So, basically this game runs out normally, Norbert ends up raising me on the river, walking off round the casino to a roulette table whilst I'm tanking for like a $25k decision. I end up folding, he comes back and laughs his ass off as shows me a bluff. Obv.

But his laugh was so contagious that I couldn't help but join in. That bit of the story cut short, he invites me quietly to a private game. The game is to be in Spain in 4 days and I am told that the game doesn't allow pros, but Norbert liked me so much that he'd make them bend the rules.


Scar:
I can only imagine what did you let him do to you that made you "cut the story short."

Charlie:
Hahaha, you gotta do what you gotta do. Anyway, I get my shit packed to Spain and this game is set in this mansion, beautiful house in Spain. The game is as insane as I was promised.

Scar:
Weren't you at any point worried that there might be something shady going on?

Charlie:
Yeah, I asked like 90354643 people and had mixed reviews on the shadiness, but I trusted Norbert 100000%. He had so much money he couldn't care less what happened. So, the blinds were... let me get this right.

Scar:
1 house / 2 house with a 4 house mandatory straddle.

Charlie:
25/25/50/100/200/400 (British pounds), then blind raises were encouraged. Essentially yeah.

Scar:
So, pretty much everyone was on some kind of a blind?

Charlie:
I think sometimes we had an UTG.

Scar:
Some nit refused to re-straddle to 800.

Charlie:
Yeah, we didn't let him back. We had a few blind raises to like 2k by the end and I was definitely the only reg at the table. There were different variaties of whales. Oh, and Norbert HATES running it twice, so there's that.

So first big hand I play, I flop top set (imagine the feeling) and get it in for like 30k each, TT vs A4hh on T73hhx. I lost and at this point, I'm shitting myself that it's rigged.

Scar:
What a feeling that must have been!

Charlie:
But the dealers were legit, I recognised one from EPTs and spoke to him during breaks. But like, when I picked up kings 3 hands later, I was like 'Oh fuck, this is the end. They've got me.'

Action goes: Like 5 people in for 800, I make it 6k, two callers. Flop: KK4. My poker face did not stay in tact in those few seconds. Luckily everyone was pissed on champagne.

Scar:
So far it seems that you are the one rigging the game. You just let the first guy bink that heart in the first pot to not make it look so suspicious.

Charlie:
Yeah that was my thought. So, I was like 'fuck this, I'll maximise the bink hand' Ended up winning like a 40k pot or something small. 'Small' :'(
It's like the 2nd biggest pot of my life at that point.

Scar:
Right after the top set vs hearts hand.

Charlie:
Yahuh. Okay, so I ended up crushing the game for a while. Then this hand comes up (prepare the brag hand alarm) :

We are in some straddle with AQo, BTN opens to 1200, another straddle to our right, who is on like, 15k, calls. We 3bet to 5.5k, kinda small, hoping to induce calls from SB whose range we annihilate. Two calls.

Flop was like 643ssx, we have no spade. We cbet like 4.5k, so if the BTN calls and SB jams, we can 3bet. BTN raises to like 20k, we call. Turn is an offsuit 6. BTN shoves for 55k & we tank for like a LONG time. I had been quick the entire day so nobody gave a shit. Must have been like 10 minutes though.

There's this live tell that is consistent among 90% of people which I'd rather chop my balls off than tell you. I saw it eventually and ended up calling. River was an offsuit 3, I show my hand sheepishly, he mucks. $$$$$$. I ended that day of the private game like 130k up <3


Scar:
That has to be one of the neatest walls of text I have ever read.

Charlie:
Haha, why thank you, Sir. I ended up 50k up in *****. Shit, I mean Spain.  Aaand then moving on quickly, I have played in the game like 6 times more... and have lost 200k total </3 So that's my story anyways.

Scar:
Hahaha. As a man who hates happy endings, this is gold.

Charlie:
Yeah fuck fairytale endings.

Scar:
I guess calling all-ins with no-pairs can't be that good of an overall strategy.

Charlie:
Haha turns out it's not winning in the long run :D

Scar:
I also bet that the "90% consistent live tell" was him accidently turning his cards over totally wasted, which is what you were actually waiting those 10 minutes for.

Charlie:
It's all about the waiting game :D

Scar:
Anyway, all of that brings me to this. You are able to fly to play private games to unspecified locations somewhere between US East Coast and Israel, yet You did not make your way to WSOP this year. How is that so?

Charlie:
Hahaha. I decided to take a rain check on that one. I had some personal stuff going on that was depressing me and I realised I was falling into the trap of playing poker all day every day and not doing shit that I really love. Not that I don't love poker. Poker is bae.

Do you take much time off?


Scar:
I take ALL time off. That's why I am breaking even at NL100.

Charlie:
Tiltbook can't run itself!

Scar:
It actually kind of can.

Charlie:
It sounds like you need some poker life coaching! Quick shout out to my friend Evan Jarvis, who is legit amazing at life coaching. He's got that poker and life balance down to a tee.

I think I'm getting there. Taking Vegas off was one of the hardest things I've done in a while and it has been the most rewarding.

Scar:
Feel free to elaborate on the whole "giving up on Vegas this year" thing more, if you like. I think a lot of people look up to people like you and your MTTs scores and stuff and think "this guy has to be having the most amazing life ever," playing EPTs, WSOPs, 25/50 online etc.

Charlie:
Basically, there is this website called futureme.org

You send yourself a letter (email) that is sent back to yourself in the future (however many years you want). I recently got one from myself that was sent when I first started playing poker. The email said a bunch of stuff like 'If you find yourself being emotional rather than logical, you need to sit down and have a long ass think about your life.' Also 'I hope poker is going well. It'd be sick to have a five figure bankroll by now'

And 'These are the things that matter to me now. Compare and contrast' Those things were Maths, a bunch of friends, singing, reading, philosophy, psychology etc.

I realised I really do not leave myself any time for the shit that used to matter to me. That still matters to me. So that, mixed in with some family issues, mixed in with being madly in love with my girlfriend who has to stay in UK to do her artwork (she runs a business and draws people's pets, check it out, she's insane). Plus the opportunity to start new hobbies (now doing Brazilian Jujitsu, cooking, gym). All dat together meant that I wanted to bail on poker and Vegas and my friends out there. But the addictive lifestyle of poker was so hard to tear away from.

Scar:
Did your girlfriend draw the jaguar in JDawg's pic? Because it did look insanely real.

Charlie:
Haha, nah, Jdawg is too sick to have that drawn in.

Scar:
So, basically, you felt like you are giving poker way too much of your time and other important things are passing you by?

Charlie:
In a nutshell, yeah

Scar:
Yeh, Although I have it completely vice versa, I guess I can understand it. I can imagine that it is unlikely you will deem this decision as a bad one in 5 years time.

Charlie:
Probably not, but who knows, maybe I would have won the Main Event :P

That is it from Charlie and me for now. Next time we’ll talk about Chris Ferguson, pale ale, Charlie’s coaching career, Doug Polk and Julio the Awful Egg Scrambler. In the meantime,  feel free to fantasize about riding a horse along with the one and only, Epiphany77.

 

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