Empire State in Sin City: Brock Wilson ready for escape moment
Brock Wilson must be where the action is. A few years ago, Wilson could pull down the blinds in his apartment and look down on the hustle and bustle of Times Square in New York City as he prepared for his work day on Wall Street as a financial analyst. More recently, that meant being able to pull out his blinds and see the tourists and gamers who give Las Vegas that Sin City vibe as it prepares for the day fighting over the fire at the city’s poker tables.
The 26-year-old moved to Las Vegas in mid-2020 to continue his recently launched poker career. He could have chosen a comfortable three bedroom house in the suburbs with a pool in the garden. Instead, he dropped into the middle of the Strip, a stone’s throw from the poker rooms of Aria, Bellagio, and Wynn.
“I wanted to be on the Strip just because I always like the more urban feel,” Wilson said. “I really liked Manhattan. I lived in Times Square. I kinda like to be in the middle of everything. ”
It was at the end of 2019 that Wilson began to consider moving to Las Vegas. There is no state income tax and he could use the city as a hub as he sets out to travel the world and play poker.
“We were going to go before (2020) World Series of Poker. Then the pandemic arrived. I was like, ‘you know what? I still want to move there. I’m just inside all day anyway, ”Wilson said. “I like it here, the weather is nice. Over time, I have known more people in Vegas. So it made more sense socially, in terms of poker, to live (in Vegas).
Like many poker players, Wilson spent the first part of the lockdown glued to his computer screen. While he was certainly actively playing online poker, he also jumped headlong to improve himself in the game through his education. He identified specific elements of his game that he recognized as requiring work and focused on those.
“In quarantine, I think I have improved a lot. I was playing everyday and there wasn’t much else to do, so I kind of played and then did a few drills and then went through all the hands that I played. I think I have improved a lot in terms of ICM, ”Wilson said.
Moving to Las Vegas only became a possibility after Wilson retired from his career on Wall Street. This process actually started when Wilson was playing poker as a high paying sideline and Jonathan dokler, a player he respected and who also worked in the banking industry, took him to the stake one evening.
“(Dokler) completely crushed me and made me think ‘okay, I need to do a little more study and figure out how to learn a more solid strategy,’ Wilson said. “I was just playing aggressive enough and people would just tell you where they were. If they had a marginal hand, they would call. If they had a good hand, they would raise.
Wilson studied further and became absorbed in the technical aspects of the game. He also widened his circle of poker friends as he made them hands or theories as a means of learning. His game improved and he suddenly had a very good nest egg from his poker winnings. Dokler got involved again – but instead of beating him on the felt, he pushed him to invest his winnings in Bitcoin.
“Since I had a full-time job and all this money was money I was making at poker, I was like, ‘I don’t really need this money. I have a job that allows me to go out on weekends ”. I didn’t really have a lot to spend it on, and I was like, ‘Okay. It’s worth the risk, ”Wilson said.
After investing a considerable percentage of his net worth in cryptocurrency in 2017, Wilson saw his investment increase by 600%. While still bullish on Bitcoin, he realized that his suddenly impressive wallet gave him a unique opportunity to put his money behind one of the players he encountered while trying to improve his game: Ali Imsirovic.
“He was a lot better than me back then, but every time I spoke with him I felt like I was learning something new. I was pestering him on Sundays while he was playing stuff, and he was just like, ‘Yeah. I’m pushing right here. I think this guy would always have done X on a street earlier ‘or’ Call here ‘, ”Wilson said. “If someone is better than you at something, it’s hard to really know how good they are. I just sort of had the confidence. He was winning everything he had ever played. If he played high stakes cash he would win. He would play heads up, he would win. He would play tournaments, he would win.
Wilson cashed in his Bitcoin and in 2018 started buying Imsirovic Chunks from the big players. Imsirovic cashed in what was then the best career payout of $ 3.2 million in actual earnings.
“He ran hot at the start and made things really easy. He just won a lot of different things pretty quickly, ”Wilson said. “It made me not question him at all. I just kept saying, “I’m going to take the maximum.”
As Imsirovic continued to be successful, Wilson couldn’t help but watch with a hint of envy. His bankroll continued to swell thanks to Imsirovic’s success and by mid-2018 Wilson decided he was ready to join him full time.
“I gave two weeks’ notice at the end of May, and the beginning of June is when I went to the World Series and started playing full time and I completely focused on that regardless of not much else since then, ”Wilson said.
Wilson didn’t want to just carefully step into the live tournament scene and test his mettle in smaller buy-in tournaments. He was ready to be neck and neck with Imsirovic and the rest of the big players.
“I always aimed to play the High Rollers just because I felt that playing at the highest level was the most interesting for me. Studying to know the real and correct way to do everything has always been the most interesting. If you can do it right, it makes sense to play the bigger stakes, ”Wilson said.
Things didn’t go as well for Wilson from the start as they did for Imsirovic. He was having trouble finding consistency and a large amount of money was slipping away from him. There were signs he was doing the right things, but the results weren’t there.
“I played around $ 25,000. I had played two or three, and I tinkered with them. I had stacks in it and it kind of turned south as we approached the money, ”Wilson said. “I played a lot of mid-game stuff, and my biggest score was $ 65,000 live. I wasn’t doing it live at all.
Like many people, a trip to the Bahamas gave Wilson the opportunity to clear his mind and make a difference. Wilson traveled to the Bahamas to play in select partypoker MILLIONS World Bahamas events, including a $ 25,000 Super High Roller buy-in. Wilson made his way through 123 of the 125 entries and had a one-on-one with Adrien mateos. The pair struck a deal with Wilson walking away with $ 619,536 and Mateos with $ 520,464. After convincing Wilson that they had to play for the trophy, Mateos defeated Wilson and is listed as the official winner – something Wilson remembers from time to time.
“My friends like to troll me about it, (but) I was able to win the tournament, but he gets the top spot and simply because he said the Bahamas have no policy as to who wins. the trophy, and he was like, “Well, in the ARIA stuff, we always just went back for that.” So I was like, ‘Alright, sure.’ I don’t think that’s true, but little He ended up winning the trophy, ”Wilson said.
Wilson returned to the United States with a big score on his CV and some confidence in his game. In December, he finished second in a $ 25,000 High Roller at the Seminole Rock n Roll Poker Open for $ 301,215. He then took his talents to Los Angeles and won a $ 10,000 buy-in high roller tournament at the Bicycle Casino. He ended 2019 with $ 1.45 million in tournament earnings.
He picked up eight tickets to start 2020 before the pandemic hit. Like much of the rest of the poker world, Wilson then returned to playing online and won 12 World Series of Poker Online wins. As live poker returned in late 2020, Wilson returned to playing the big guys and came out on top of a $ 10,000 buy-in event at Wynn where Alex Foxen and Imsirovic finished second and third, respectively.
During the first half of 2021, Wilson won over $ 900,000 through live tournaments. In June, he played at the US Poker Open and made two final tables, which gave him his first opportunity to play on a PokerGO show. Now he turns his attention to the WSOP Online and in September, he will sit down to play the WSOP, which he had to do previously while on vacation.
The Vegas poker scene during the WSOP has traditionally included other tournament series at other casinos. For Wilson, it’s going to be zoned to the bracelet events, but if it breaks one, it’s going to look for the other better value.
“If I break something, if there’s something else to play, I’ll play it the same day. I’ll bounce around and play everything, ”Wilson said. “I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to prioritize the big guys over a $ 1,600 Venetian. It depends a bit, but in terms of the game my first priority will always be, I think, the WSOP events, because I think they’re just the highest value of everything.