Monday, May 29, 2006


Well, I finally got on tv. In the first two episodes of ESPN's coverage of the 2005 US Poker Championship, I can be seen at various times to the side of John D'Agostino and Cong Do while they rake in monster pots. I'm wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt and a blue Florida Gators hat.

Paul is prominently featured in a segment on the WPT Championship in a syndicated show called "Inside Poker." They show about 30 seconds of an interview he gave on a patio at the Bellagio during a break early on day 6. "Inside Poker" airs on the Altitude channel in the Colorado area.

Peter "Nordberg" Feldman just won the WSOP Circuit New Orleans main event for 532k. I don't know Nord personally, but I read his blog consistently and consider him a peer. He actually plays lower stakes (or did until now) than I do. His blog considers many of the same topics as mine - ups and downs, struggling, trying to improve play, and taking shots on the circuit. His breakthrough is yet another in a recent string that makes me believe mine will come any day now.


My parents took me to the emergency room this morning for what turned out to be a corneal ulcer, a bacterial infection of the eyeball most likely caused by overwearing my contact lenses. I was in excruciating pain this morning but treatment removed 95% of the pain and I appear to be just a few days away from a full recovery.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


About three hours after writing my last post, I started feeling sick for the first time in a year. I came down with a pretty standard cold, and haven't been out of the house for more than half an hour since. Today my nose has been spewing mucus like a geyser, but my throat is no longer sore - so I think I'm coming out of it. Last night I sustained a mysterious injury to my right eyeball, and now it aches and stings and makes me want to drink myself unconscious. Looking at this computer screen aggravates it, and I'm going to try to avoid screens and sunlight until Tuesday, when, if it hasn't repaired itself, I will visit a doctor.

So tonight I find myself hunkered down in the basement all alone with absolutely nothing to do, as none of the housemates are in town and 95% of my self-entertainment involves bright shining screens. It's an odd situation mentally - I'm completely miserable and hate each moment of passing time, but I'm excited about both the recent past and the near future. Due to the sickness, I played a lot of poker last week. I've been running well and playing well, and I do honestly believe I am going to find great fame and fortune this summer.


Wednesday: +5499
Thursday afternoon: +5780
Thursday night: +4087
Friday morning: +587
Friday night: +3432
Million Guaranteed: -640
750k Guaranteed: +42
Sunday afternoon: -3082

Year to date: 117,067

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Smell the Roses

Two days ago I was strolling along the Continental Divide at 13,000 feet under the midday sun (eat your heart out, Wolf) when it occurred to me

Why would I want to play all that much poker?

I like poker a lot. It might even be my favorite thing to do. But there are a ton of other things I like to do too, and now happens to be a time when many of those things are available and at their best. Right now playing frisbee golf, climbing mountains, going to the Southern Sun, watching the NBA playoffs, and a dozen other things all seem like more fun than PartyPoker. So I'm just not going to be playing much.

A good reason to play is to make money. I know a lot of guys who are looking to put away a million dollars in the next few years. The boom may dry up, and it might be difficult to make easy money playing poker in the future. That's a chance I'm going to take. I've made a lot of money already, and don't think I'm going to want or need all that much later in my life.

I haven't played in eight days. I might feel like playing tonight, and put in a session, or I might not play until Mandalay Bay. I'm only going to play if I really want to.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Ping Pong, Part II

On December 27, 2005, I wrote about ping pong

...I got crushed repeatedly. Normally I play these guys pretty even but on this night I had no chance.
It got me thinking. I don't really get into "the zone." I tend to play solid and feed off the mistakes of others, be it in ping pong, frisbee golf, ultimate frisbee, or poker. It's very rare for me to play "above the rim" and beat people. My victories come when people beat themselves. I don't know anyone who has had more success playing frisbee golf and poker than I have, though I know friends who are more talented at these games. I tend to surpass them because I do not make as many mistakes as they do. If they play flawlessly, they should beat me almost every time.
It's important for me to stay patient. Sometimes when I am losing I press and force things a bit. When I think about my greatest successes in poker, they came when I was patient and gave myself the chance to get lucky. I lose when I try to outplay people and I make mistakes. If an opponent plays his best against me, he will usually win. But most people don't play anywhere near their best, no matter what the game.

I'm pleased to say that I no longer feel this way about competition. Not long after I wrote that post my ping pong game started improving quickly and within a couple months I was crushing anyone who would challenge me with ease (Wolf and I have not yet had a second battle royale after his narrow victory in February but I do imagine I would beat him today). Not only do I easily destroy my friends in ping pong these days, but I do it by beating them - slamming shots past them and breaking them down with constant pressure, not just waiting for them to make mistakes.

I've also come to believe that in frisbee golf, the sport/game I am probably best at compared to the field, I do outplay people. I do make fewer mistakes than most of my opponents, but I'm also capable of consistently making shots that many cannot.

When I wrote the original ping pong post, I generally employed a "setmining" or "nutpeddling" weak-tight strategy in poker. I was easily bluffed and rarely made moves. My profits came from exploiting the mistakes of less-skilled players, not outplaying regulars.

Today that has changed as well. With a lot of help from Paul, Joel aka gamblegambel, ReMMy3, Alex aka Concatenate, PiMaster, and Mike Odeh, I've become a loose, aggressive, bludgeoning, outplaying sort of player. I don't mind playing against regulars and I like to make moves. During my last three full-table sessions my hands won percentages have been 13, 14, and 14. In the past I was usually at 10-11%.

Last night at a party in Saint Paul I got crushed by the two best ping pong players I have ever played. While these two guys were nowhere near world-class, they made me look foolish with spin shots I have seen only on television. I came in expecting to dominate and walked out mindblown, stunned but excited to know that the game could be played at such a high level. As good as I've gotten at ping pong, there are players, even at an amateur level, that are light years ahead of me, playing a game that hardly resembles the tap-tap back and forth I am used to.

And the same is true of poker, of course. The luck factor is so huge that it's not always obvious, but there are players who are incredibly good at poker. As good as I've gotten, I'm still a slow learner, and it will be a very long time (if ever) before I'm truly elite.


Thursday Afternoon: +17,150
Friday Afternoon: +3781
Monday Afternoon: +3914

Year to Date: +101,362

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Return to Canterbury

I hadn't planned on playing any live poker here in Minnesota, but on Saturday an old friend told me he was going to Canterbury Park the next day for a $440 NLHE tourney. I mulled it over, figuring I would not be up by 10:00 AM Sunday, which was when he was leaving for Canterbury. But at 9:20 on Sunday I woke up thinking about poker and what I was going to need to do to win my first tournament.

I bluffed and bulldozed my way to 8700 chips from our starting stack of 4000 without a single premium starting hand. I even got pocket queens and ace-king suited to fold to me when I had pocket tens. I played exactly the kind of game I've been trying to develop the last couple months, strong, aggressive, loose, powerful, and controlling. Unfortunately I got KK against AA and that was all she wrote.

I've been having a great time here in Minnesota. I feel refreshed and ready for a big online push before the WSOP, which is now just 45 days away.


Sunday (Canterbury) : -440
Monday Afternoon: +3849
Tuesday Afternoon: +1924
Tuesday Night: -4230

Year to Date: 76,517

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Best Show on Television


Wednesday afternoon: +4909
Thursday afternoon: -6458
Friday afternoon: +6776

Year to date: 75,414

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

April Top 15

15. Hunters and Collectors - Holy Grail
14. Supergrass - Roxy
13. Weezer - Hold Me
12. Greenhornes featuring Holly Golightly - There is an End
11. Cardigans - Love Fool

10. Trey Anastasio - Tuesday
9. Madonna - You'll See
8. Veronicas - 4ever
7. Cardigans - You're the Storm
6. Cardigans - Erase and Rewind

5. Duran Duran - Success
4. Weezer - This is Such a Pity
3. Shawn Mullins - Beautiful Wreck
2. Nina Gordon - Tonight and the Rest of My Life

Song of the Month: Cardigans - Live and Learn

PiMaster Gets Third

Chris "PiMaster" Viox got third place yesterday in the Midwest Regional Poker Championship $5k Main Event for $45k. Adam "The Crier" Friedman won it, his second straight win. Of course I had my usual 5%. I've now had four friends make scores of 28k or more in the last month and a half, and I've had decent pieces of three of them. Despite the staking factor it's been very frustrating for me. I don't like standing on the rail making prop bets with Adam Friedman's parents or clapping for Rondy Roy or having some greaser tell me he thinks Erica Schoenberg has a great body. And I especially don't like watching video interviews of Alex "YAHTZEM" Jacob on

I want to be at the final table myself. I've now missed the money 13 straight times in live NLHE tourneys, and I've never made a really deep run in a tournament with a buyin of 1k or more. It's clear I've played pretty weakly in the past but I do feel I'm starting to get it together. In this event I was starting to play really well, and thought I was ready to make a run if not for the bad beat.

Oh well.

Mandalay Bay in June is the next possible stop on the circuit for me. After that there is the WSOP where there will be about 18 life-changing opportunities.


Thursday Tournament: -1060
Thursday Afternoon Online: +3279
Friday Tournament: -1560
Sunday Tournament: -5100

Year to Date: 70,187

Monday, May 01, 2006

Quick Update

  • I busted out today from the 5k event with 9sTs against AsJ on a Js7s4s flop for a 19k pot when average was around 14k - J on turn, 4 on river.
  • PiMaster aka Chris Viox played awesome poker all day long and made the final table of 9 with a stack of 77k. One other player has about 90k and then Adam "The Crier" Friedman, who absolutely crushed the incredibly weak field, has over 320k.
  • This was by far the weakest main event field I've ever seen in my life.
  • My computer is broken.
  • I couldn't get a reasonably priced change of flight to watch the final table, so I am going to Minnesota Monday afternoon.