The town grows by one when Brian Frasca books a hotel room near the Greyhound Bus Station. Frasca is an actuarial analyst by trade and counts poker as a serious hobby to the point where he travels the 145 miles from his home near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to play on WSOP.com.
It is inside one of these hotels where 26-year-old Frasca earned his seat to the World Series of Poker Main Event in a $320 online satellite under the name ‘XcrazylegsX’. Frasca entered Day 3 with a playable stack of 110,000 and a shot to beat his career-high live cash of $22,896.
2018 is already a solid year for Frasca, who needs to reach 351st place to top his best online score of a few months ago.
The WSOP.com $500 buy-in $200,001 guaranteed Coast-to-Coast Classic Main Event featured a runner-up finish for Frasca where he earned $34,390.
“I’ve been going pretty much every Sunday for the last couple months just to grind Sunday online,” Frasca said. “WSOP has the $100K guarantee every Sunday and other tournaments worth registering. Any Sunday I don’t have anything else going on, I go to New Jersey. It’s definitely worth going there to grind. ”
Frasca’s parents live near Philadelphia which allows Frasca to drive 45 minutes to their home to rest should he put in a late session. The Coast-to-Coast Classic finished near 5:30 a.m. and Frasca says he took a sick day rather than work on a few hours sleep.
If you were to imagine what an actuarial analyst looks like playing poker, Frasca is just that. An assuming zip-up fall jacket combined with pants built for the golf course but comfortable in a chair is his wardrobe. He speaks of the game at a rapid pace and explains complex spots in two sentences. Frasca is not a professional poker player by trade but his math skills are well-versed to apply to today’s game.
Path Paved for Success
Scott Blumstein’s Main Event final table rail featured friends of a similar age to then-25-year-old and Frasca was among them. Frasca already played a moderate schedule of tournaments on the East Coast and Blumstein’s victory encouraged him to chase the Main Event dream in 2018.
On Frasca’s sixth attempt to get in, he broke through.
“I was pretty excited because they run one or two satellites every Sunday on WSOP for a couple months leading up to the Main Event and I was getting in them knowing I really wanted to win a seat,” Frasca told USPoker.com. “I’ve heard so many good things about the Main Event and I knew it was just a matter of time before I win one.”
The nerves of the $10,000 tournament sifted out of Frasca within a few orbits of playing at his Day 1 table. Frasca’s average buy-in online is in the $300-$500 range and he compared the level of play early on to be similar to what he’s accustomed to on WSOP.com.
“Honestly, I was really concerned about being super nervous playing the tournament but I’ve been comfortable. My Day 1 table wasn’t that tough. I didn’t recognize any of the players at my table and I knew I would get some profitable spots.”
2015 Main Event champion Joe McKeehen joined Frasca’s table midway through the day but that didn’t waver Frasca’s progress. Frasca bagged 178,300, good for 15th on the Day 1A chip counts.
The snags of tournament poker hit Frasca on Day 2AB. All-in pots lost with aces versus kings and kings against ace-deuce would crush a Sunday session but the deep structure of the Main Event gives Frasca daylight on Day 3.
“It’s so much different playing this structure, the levels are so long. You get to really play some deep stacked poker which is not common. The online structures are so fast that you’re used to playing 20-big blind poker, which I feel like I’m better at playing. Before the Main Event, I was thinking ‘Do I need to work on my deep stacked game?’”
Online poker regulation in Pennsylvania is here to stay but the websites themselves are slow to rise off the ground. Frasca does profit in spite of the hotel bills and gas costs he foots each time he goes over the digital border. Pennsylvania needs a face to help grow their poker economy and a deep run from an in-state satellite winner is a positive start.
“I love the game so I’m willing to drive to New Jersey to play these tournaments but it’s just a hassle,” Frasca eye-rolled. “It’d be so much easier if I could just stay home and play these tournaments. When PA comes along, the prize pools are going to be that much bigger.”
Time to Play His Game
The Main Event money bubble is on the minds of all players on Day 3, especially Frasca. A min-cash of $15,000 pales in comparison to the $8.8 million first-place Scrooge McDuck vault. Frasca says he is not concerned with coming away with only the minimum but is aware of how to play his best at the moment of a given hand.
“I would definitely say that winning a satellite makes me a lot more comfortable. As far as changing how I play? I don’t think it’s going to change that much. I’m still going to play ICM spots the same way, what I think is correct. Min-cashing is important but at the same time, I’m going to abuse the bubble if I have a big stack.”
Results aside, Frasca will be back to play the Main Event again. Maybe next time with a legion of Pennsylvania poker players by his side.