Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Top 15

15. Fountains of Wayne - Fire in the Canyon
14. The New Pornographers - Twin Cinema
13. Ryan Adams - Two
12. Brandi Carlile - The Story
11. Ryan Adams - Halloweenhead

10. Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers - Green and Dumb
9. Cornershop - Good to Be on the Road Back Home
8. Peter Bjorn and John - Up Against the Wall
7. Ace of Base - All That She Wants
6. Ace of Base - Never Gonna Say I'm Sorry

5. Fountains of Wayne - Seatbacks and Traytables
4. Bic Runga - Sway
3. The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction
2. Queen - I Want to Break Free

Song of the Month: Bob Dylan - Isis

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mandy B Pwns N00bs

My friend Mandy Baker annihilated the final table of the $1k event today here at Caesar's Indiana and took down the $93k first prize. It was a dominant performance over a typically weak Indiana field.

After she won, Mandy said she had accomplished her two goals for the year - winning a live poker tournament and reading The Catcher in the Rye.

Just a couple hours later, my friend Nick "BlueFlare" Saxon won the Bodog Sunday tournament for $25k. Nice day for the House of Pain.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Running Bad

I haven't cashed in four tournaments in Indiana, the Rockies are down 3-0 to the Sox, I've been getting killed in NBA Jam, and, on top of all this, I found out today that Rachel Nichols is married.

No worries though, life is good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

High Roller

A lot of people have asked me "what are you going to do with the money?" It's more a question of what am I not going to do, really.

I'm not going to play cash games as much anymore. The need to reliably make money has diminished. I will play when I really feel like it, but that's about it. I haven't played cash since Baden and might end up really getting away from it. I'm going to stay at 10-20 for NL - it's been great for me and I don't really have much desire to play higher.

I've played two tournaments at Caesar's Indiana, got off to great starts both times but busted short of the money. Tomorrow is a $500 event which is notable cause it may be the last live tournament I play with a three figure buy-in. Live 9-handed NLHE tournaments with small buyins are neither interesting nor exciting. In the future I probably won't play many NLHE tourneys with buyins less than $2500 unless they have a twist like 6-max or shootout.

I am trying to decide how many tournaments I am going to attack in the upcoming months. On the one hand, I know the travel and endless crusading after the Holy Grail was not good for me and contributed to my brief retirement. On the other hand, I'm more confident than ever and feel like I finally belong in the big events. Every one I don't play feels like a missed opportunity.

I certainly won't be going to any of the following locations anytime soon:

Atlantic City

I have a feeling I might get sucked into LA and Vegas WPTs in the following months. We'll see.

As for what I'm actually doing with the money:

Today I bought 33 CDs at a used music/games/books store in New Albany, Indiana. They really sucked me in with the "buy ten, get one free" gimmick.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

POY Update: The Homestretch

With a crowded two months and change to go:


John Hoang - 576
Men Nguyen - 746
Allen Cunningham - 1440
Erick Lindgren - 490
Justin Bonomo - 804
Nenad Medic - 132
Victor Ramdin - 533
John Cernuto - 262
Gavin Smith - 1355
Max Pescatori - 624
Kenna James - 549
Kevin O'Donnell - 192
Marcel Luske - 480
Hung La - 0

Total - 8183

Simply put, nothing has worked out for the Wolf. His thoroughbreds have completely tanked, his up-and-comers have disappeared, his supposedly-solid later picks haven't done too much and his speculative picks have disintegrated. I thought this team was well-drafted but his players have disappointed - very similar to my fantasy football team.


Michael Mizrachi - 1540
John Phan - 2206
David Williams - 372
Scotty Nguyen - 1994
Joe Tehan - 763
Joe Sebok - 1356
Chris McCormack - 0
David Baker - 300
Anthony Reategui - 0
Steve Wong - 666
David Singer - 600
Eric Froehlich - 341
Shane Schleger - 1776
Jordan Morgan - 774

Total - 12658

The story of this team has been main event failures. Guys who can normally be counted on for WPT final tables (Grinder, John Phan, David Williams) have had disappointing years. Nguyen, Sebok, and Singer were all close to top finishes in major events but lost traction at the last minute. Speculative guys coming off big years in 06 (McCormack, Reategui, Wong) have been busts.


Jeff Madsen - 358
Gioi Luong - 2517
Tom Franklin - 416
Kathy Liebert - 1282
Phil Ivey - 1502
Barry Greenstein - 1242
John D'Agostino - 74
Eugene Todd - 1953
Vanessa Rousso - 62
Darrell Dicken - 2084
Jason Sagle - 0
Michael Binger - 997
Paul Lui - 560
Joel Patchell - 0

Total - 13047

Joel's team was pitifully drafted, particularly in the early rounds. Vanessa Rousso's second place finish in the WCOOP doesn't count for POY points. However, expect big things from Paul Lui with the Turkey Shoot and Ho Ho Hold 'em just around the corner.


J.C. Tran - 4458
Shannon Shorr - 518
Thomas Fuller - 1152
Roland de Wolfe - 1831
Joe Hachem - 0
Daniel Negreanu - 2010
Alex Jacob - 800
Bill Edler - 4696
Al Barbieri - 662
Lance Allred - 1296
Tony Ma - 944
An Tran - 432
Daniel Quach - 0
Chris Reslock - 1031

Total - 19830

Bag's team has been hit and miss - lucky for him the hits are currently ranked #2 and #3 in the world.


Nam Le - 2217
David Pham - 5410
James Van Alstyne - 3480
David Daneshgar - 1474
CK Hua - 1356
John Juanda - 235
Cliff Josephy - 38
Minh Nguyen - 0
Erik Cajelais - 1338
Chad Brown - 1423
Scott Clements - 3218
Doug Carli - 922
Tim West - 1224
James English - 954

Total - 23289

With the exception of three mid-round busts, this team gets excellent production the whole way through. It will be tough to beat this team as most of its members can be counted on to be playing hard and often at the year-ending Bellagio tournaments.

Monday, October 22, 2007


October is one of my favorite months - perhaps even my favorite. I have a special connection with October because of some of the things that have happened to me during the month. During college it was generally my best month of the year. It's arguably the top sports month in America. The weather, especially in Minnesota and Colorado where I've been living, is better than people give October credit for.

In honor of abysmal February I listed my "Lame Hall of Fame" and will do so again in four months. In honor of underrated October, here are a few things I think are rather underrated:

Ted Lawson
Danny Wong
Rosamund Pike
Green Day's Imsomniac
Red hair
The Lookout
Airplane food

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

EPT Baden Day Two



I get button to start.

Very first hand cutoff (8) raises to 1100 I make it 3300 on the button with A7o he calls. Flop 932 he checks I bet 4k he shoves I fold. Almost half my stack casually siphoned off on the first hand of the day – not a nice feeling.

UTG limps button thinks for one minute and then shoves – for 16k! lol ok. UTG now decides to call with AK, button has 99. Flop K87 and UTG pumps fist…famous last words…turn 9 of course.

Next hand 3 seat raises to 1200 with 30k behind…Manfred Hammer on the button quickly goes all-in for 44k…LOL…3 folds and Hammer shows AA…nice play.

Cutoff shoves for 3.8k, button (8) calls, I shove for 8.9k with AK in the SB, button calls, cutoff has K4, button has AJs, I make the nut flush, bust cutoff, and double thru the button.

Raise AQ hijack take blinds.

Hijack shoves for 5k I shove in SB with AK BB calls all-in for about 18k with JJ, shover has J6o, I flop an ace and beat em both.

8 raises I reraise KQ all fold

Two new guys sit down to my right with tons of chips – one is a maniacal Spaniard who seems to play well but not sure, one is Andreas Hoivold, winner of an EPT event last year, who played fantastic the rest of the day.

Raise 66 EP all fold.



Fold T9o on the button 7k stack in SB Scandinavian in BB.

Raise K9s UTG all fold.

Raise AJo hijack take blinds.

Raise 22 UTG get a couple staredowns but all fold.

UTG raises I fold KJs in SB

Raise TT BB (LAG) calls. Flop AsKd8s check-check turn Ts he bets 2k with like 16k behind. My gut was saying to just call but I raised to 7k and he folded.

Next hand raise QJs – some dumbass shoves with JTo and gets busted by another guy’s AK who pushed in behind.

Button raises I fold K8s in BB



Playing 7-handed

I limp KJo from the cutoff. Button calls, SB calls, BB checks. Flop T98 BB bets out 800 I call and then the button shoves for about 7k. Folds back to me and I fold reluctantly. I really played this hand like shit.

Raise KQ win blinds.

Hammer raises to 2000 which was unusual for him – he was all about the big pots and I took the small raise as possible weakness. I called from the BB with 95o. Flop came A86 and I checked and Hammer bet 2500. I was thinking about what to do and he looked uncomfortable so I made it 6500 and he folded quickly.

Pascal Perrault sits down across the table with over 100k.

Andreas raises on the button I reraise AK from the BB and decide I am calling a push but he folds.

Fold K6s cutoff

Raise AQ to 2200 and a Scandi shoves for 15k…This should be an auto-call 7-handed but he jerked up when saw his hand and all gestures indicated a beast…I told him I had a big hand and should call and that didn’t seem to faze him…I was quite confident he had TT-AA or AK so I folded…After the hand I whispered I folded AQ – he seemed shocked and said he had AK.

Pascal raises and I call in the BB with Tc8c. Flop Jd4c2c I check-call a moderate bet. Turn Ah check-check, river 2d I wave the white flag and check, he wins with 66.

Raise KJs UTG take blinds.

Hammer raises to 4k with 40 something k behind and I find JJ in the BB. Hammer plays quite tight and overbets most of the time he’s in the pot. Weird and tricky spot – I decided to smoothcall, then checked the QT8 flop, then folded when he jammed all-in for 5x the pot.



Raise AA LP BB calls. Flop 954 he checks I bet 3300 he min-raises I call. Turn is an ugly 9 we both check quickly. River J he bets 6600 I call he has A4 I win not sure what he was thinking during this hand.

7 of the 8 players at the table are way above average at this point, including Markus Lehmann (winner of WPT Barcelona six days later) to my left and an ultra-aggressive young Spaniard named Hector Fuentes to his left with a ton of chips.

Pascal raises to 3500 latish position I find 88 in the SB don’t want to call cause that defines my hand I make it 11,500 he instashoves I fold.

Fold 76s in position to a good player’s raise.

Fold 76o in BB to UTG raise.

I raise to 2700 on the button with KK Markus makes it 7500 in the SB then Fuentes makes it 20k in the BB I shove all-in for 42k Markus reluctantly folds and Fuentes calls 22k more with QQ. Flop comes JsTs4 and Markus announces he folded AsKs turn offsuit 9 river 6s Markus would have made the nut flush. This was a pretty remarkable pot as Markus would have busted me no matter how it was played unless Fuentes woke up with a huge hand in the BB.

Raise KJo win blinds.

94,600 at dinner break.


Miss the first seven minutes of the level running around Baden trying to find the casino.

UTG limps I limp 64s on button and show no interest in a AAQx board.

Raise 44 button calls Hammer shoves for 60k we fold.

Raise A5s EP win blinds.

Fold A8o in SB to cutoff’s raise.

Cutoff shoves for 9500 I call on button with A9o and lose to his 65o.

Fold A7o hijack.

Weak player raises EP I fold KJo in position.

Get a walk.

Give a walk with 82s.

Look at a king and raise the tight guy’s blind, get shoved on and fold K5s.

Markus raises UTG I call in BB with AsQs. Flop TsT3s I bet 3k he makes it 9k I shove for like 40k more he folds that hand went exactly as I wanted it to.

Fold 75s cutoff guys behind me getting antsy.

Fuentes who raises a ton raises UTG I have JTo in SB and a good stack to shove and I think he might be weak…but I fold.



Raise in SB with A8o and win.

Hammer raises to 6500 early position and I fold AQ on button. I think this is a bad hand to play against him as he is tight and superaggressive.

Raise AK early win blinds.

Button (weak player) raises I fold 75s in SB after staredown failed to uncover any weakness.

Two hands later same guy raises to 4500 and I think for a bit and then make it 12k with AA – thought he was strong – but everyone quickly folds and I show.

Then same guy raises again the next hand I call with 97s, Fuentes squeezes from the SB we both fold and he shows KK.

Raise K9s steal blinds.

Raise KQ UTG steal blinds.

Limp 33 in SB planning to limp/shove but Markus shoves for 33k, I fold.

Raise 8s6s and Markus calls in position. Flop 653 two hearts I didn’t really know what to do and bet 5k, he calls. Turn 8 now I know what to do and check, he quickly shoves for about 20k I am happy to call and happier when he turns over A9, river 9 is not enough for him.

Next hand raise 33 they fold.

Get walked.



Julian Thew sits down with 90k. He raises UTG dude calls thought about making a move here with KQ but instead folded. JT bets hard on a 9 high flop and shows QQ.

Fold Q8s UTG.

Raise A9 on button Fuentes reraises 3x he has 45k behind I go deep into the tank here but let him have it.

Raise 8h7h UTG Fuentes calls I think forever checking out his stack (he has about 60k) and then I check he bets 7k I think for a bit and then suddenly make it 40k he folds. This was a clear message to the table – do not fuck with this guy right now.

RainKhan gets the message and walks me.

Raise AQ Pascall calls in BB flop 975 check check turn 8 he bets small I fold faceup he shows 88.

Get walked yet again my walk percentage is higher than Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn’s right now.

Raise from the SB with T7o the old man in the BB calls. Flop KQx we both check. Turn x I fire 7500 he calls reluctantly he has about 25k behind I decide I am shoving the river but it’s a jack which probably hit him I check he checks and wins with A4! Owned? Or just a stubborn old man? Maybe some of both I imagine if I had bet the flop I win the pot. The checking the flop then betting the turn play works well against good players but against old men like this they always assume you have nothing if you check the flop.

Raise KQ on button Fuentes calls in BB. Board of 997AJ is checked down he wins with 87.

128,800 to end day 2.

Monday, October 15, 2007

EPT Baden Day One

The table looked like this:

1 Me
2 Weak loose passive do not bluff donkey
3 Mads Andersen (very good Danish player)
4 Tight-aggressive good player
5 A young kid who busted pretty fast, followed by David Sonelin
6 Guy wearing a Pokerstars shirt who played really well
7 Obvious noob who opened pots for 8x BB, played extremely tight and poorly if he got to the flop
8 Loose-aggressive Scandinavian
9 Old man who didn’t seem to know how to play

10,000 chips to start

I showed up a few minutes late, which I kind of like to do on the first day of a big event. Very first hand I find TT and raise in second position. The Scandinavian calls in the BB. Flop A77 we both check turn Q he fires 200 I felt like there was a good chance I was ahead but folded, guess I didn’t want to fool around the first hand.

The very next hand I raise AK UTG and the same player calls in the SB. Flop 884 we both check turn 7 he fires 225 I fold again yes it is my goal to play as weakly as possible.

Fold 64s UTG.

Two guys limp and Scandi makes it 200 on button, SB calls, I see Q5s in BB and it felt like a good time for a move but I pass.

Raise AA from the hijack Mads calls on the button, both blinds call. Flop 5d4h2s blinds check I bet 400 only the BB calls. Turn 4c he checks I don’t like that card and check – this is kind of my standard play in this spot, it does give them a free river card but it keeps the pot small and they bluff the river if they were drawing and miss and they call a bet if they had a piece cause now they think you have nothing. River 9c he bets 800 I instacall he mucks and a commotion erupts about whether or not I have to show my cards. Just when the floor is being summoned I kill the drama and show everyone my rockets.

Fold T7s MP

Several limps to me I check KQ in BB and jettison on a bad flop.

Raise KJo to 150 in SB, BB calls. Board of 86354 is checked down he wins with K4o.

Raise 99 donkey calls flop QT8 I check-fold to a 300 bet. Huge pattern of me checking and folding when I miss the flop that I will have to use to my advantage later.

9 limps I fold KTo MP.

Fold JTo UTG.

10,750 to end level. This is interesting because I won just one pot during the level yet my stack went up. Paul and I have talked about this some, about how you can win a small percentage of the hands in poker tournaments yet increase your stack if you selectively pick the pots you want to win and minimize losses in other hands.


Scandi accidentally min raises I call on button with 74s Mads calls in BB. Flop J99 I fold to a bet.

6 raises UTG I fold ATs

Three guys limp on my BB I check 6s7s flop comes Jh7c2h I check-fold to a large bet and a call.

Two guys limp I limp A7s on button flop comes AAh6h checked to me I bet 300 Mads checkraises to 900 from the blind. Kind of a valueless spot I decide to call turn 3 we both check river 8 the flush draw missed he checks I think and check and I win – any value to a bet here?

Limp 33 2 limps 4 makes it 600 I fold. I should stop limping or grow some balls and outplay this obvious AK.

Fold A6s UTG

Limps to me I check KJs in BB. Flop K33 checked around turn T I fire 300 and take it dunno if I took the right line here.

Almost no reraising going on I like that.

UTG raises Scandi calls I call with 44 BB calls flop K82 two diamonds checked to Scandi he bets 1k this felt like a spot for a move maybe but I fold.

Scandi raises the button I am expecting him to do this with any two cards – SB calls and I fold my trash in the BB.

6 raises I call 55 in the SB Flop 864 check check turn 9 I fire 425 he folds I think he played this hand well putting me on a middle pair which liked the flop.



Scandi raises the button again, SB calls, I fold K9o in BB like a non-Annette_15 little girl.

Scandi raises, but bigger than normal which felt strong to me, I fold A9s in position.

7 (weak player) min raises I call with QJo flop comes A64 he overbets I fold.

9 raises UTG I think about calling with T4s to try to bust him but I fold.

After a couple limps, Scandi raises to 625 on the button I fold 98s in BB – I admit it, I am playing very weak against this bully but he is one of the better players at the table and I’m looking for other spots.

Limp K2o in SB BB raises I fold.

Raise to 425 with TT from middle position seat two calls then Mads makes it 1925. Had a lot to digest here. I really didn’t think he had AA or KK based on the huge reraise. He has not reraised once before this but it felt like he might be squeezing. There is little chance seat two has a big hand and Mads knows this. Also I have a tight image. My gut said I had the best hand but the math was really terrible any way you looked at it. Calling was a pretty bad choice out of position against a good player like Mads. Reraising was an even worse choice as I would only get action from a better hand and be risking my whole tournament on pocket tens in the third level. I folded, seat two called, the flop came QQ4, seat two checked and instafolded after Mads bet 2400. I ended up talking to Mads after the day was over and he said he had jacks.

Raise button with AdQd both blinds call. Flop Ac6c4d SB checks Mads bets 925 I think a while and call. SB gets out of the way. Turn 9s Mads checks I think a long time afraid of a checkraise but I have shown I will check behind with good hands so I bet 1625 and Mads calls quickly. River offsuit 3 he checks I bet 3000 he instafolds.

Reraise the Scandi with AJs he folds.

Raise AsKs BB (good player) calls. Flop J87 one spade he checks I felt like this was a good spot to pretend to have a hand based on my precedent so I bet 725 he calls. Turn 5 he checks I decide to blow him off his one pair hand and bet 1650 really repping a good hand here but he makes it 4k quickly. I REALLY wanted to make a move here. I mean how can he raise me on the turn and not the flop? What can he have here – T9 and 96 are the only hands that made any sense I felt. Maybe 85 or 75. Compound this with the fact I thought he might look weak. But what a crazy time for a move, no reason for him to do this against the guy who has been tight and checking behind. I fold.

9 limps early, I make it 600 behind him with KsQs, 2 calls, 9 calls. Flop KT2 all hearts everyone checks. Turn Td 9 checks I bet 1125 2 calls 9 folds. River 6d I think a long time, eye his stack, then bet 1625 for value. He quickly makes it 3800 leaving himself with just a few chips and I almost instantly muck in disgust. Checking river is probably the better play but this guy was so weak. I thought I could sneak some value in there. He shows the Ah like it was a bluff, I sure doubt it, but I should probably have check-called the river.

9 raises my BB from the SB to 475 I call with 64o. Flop 874 check check turn 9 he fires 1k I call river 9 check check I win vs his AJs.



Raise KQ take blinds

Fold KJo UTG waiting for antes

Scandi raises button again I fold 82o

Fold KJo UTG again

9 limps I check Q4o flop AKQ he overbets pot I fold

I reraise the Scandi with KQo all fold

Fold T9o hijack T9o has been bad to me the last few months

Fold A6s EP

Fold A5s EP

Scandi makes a crazy call here with 22 on a board of 97543 we will not be bluffing him today.

Raise JJ good player calls in BB flop Ac5c2 check check turn 7c I have Jc we both check again river Ts he checks I bet 650 he reluctantly calls JJ is good I cannot believe he paid this off.

Fold T8s UTG

Scandi raises hijack I felt he was weak 9 calls leaving himself with 1800 pretty sure he is not folding preflop I decide to fold A7o in SB.

Again here I only played two pots in the hour and both were small but I increased my stack because I won both.



Still no ante.

BB is gone 1st hand folds to me on button this is probably criminally wrong but I fold 75o SB shows AK.

Raise AJo BB calls with short stack. Flop Q97 with a flush draw I have no piece whatsoever he bets out 800 with about 4k behind. I think about raising, think about floating, think about shoving but I fold like a wuss.

Felt this guy might be ready to go home and didn’t care anymore.

Fold A8s EP.

6 raises to 825 I’m in the SB with AKo which is a nice spot for lilholdem but a tricky one for me I make it 2700 with no idea what I will do postflop or if he shoves but he folds.

Mads has accumulated a stack thru good play and good luck which sucks for me.

Scandi raises EP I decide to just call this time with AhJh flop comes QJ3 all clubs he quickly bets 1500 he seemed confident I tanked it for quite a while and folded, he just seemed comfortable and even if he wasn’t I thought I might get bluffed on the turn.

9 limps I check 7d5d flop TTd3d he checks fast I decide to check turn Ks he pots it for 600 he has 2400 behind and zero chance of folding a king, and will stack off on a diamond river if he has a ten or king. I call. River is the Kd check check I win.

UTG limps I fold A8o hijack.

Fold A8o MP next hand.

Raise AJo MP win blinds.

Fold A8o yet again next hand.

Mads raises UTG gets three callers so I call with Ac4c in BB. Flop A76 rainbow all check. Turn Kh second heart I bet a mere 1300 and all fold amazingly. Crucial pot there.

Raise QJs last hand of level which is sad to raise the last hand before antes hit. No one calls.



Raise 95s from the CO BB calls flop As9d5d he checks I bet it hard he folds.

Raise A6s MP win uncontested.

I am the single BB Mads raises EP to 900 everyone folds to my AA in the BB. Easy spot to casually call but we are too deep and Mads is too dangerous so I make it 3100 he says that I have a big hand and folds.

Raise QJo EP Mads reraises I fold.

Mads limps UTG Sonelin limps I complete SB with A5 flop AJd6d I hesitantly check everyone else checks. Turn 2c I bet small they fold.

16,575 to end day 1.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Dream Come True

About three weeks ago my friend Nate told me he had a dream that I got 4th place in the Austrian tournament which would be my final stop in this overseas voyage. It is strange that he had a dream about me playing poker and stranger that he remembered it. The fact that it actually ended up happening is a coincidence of such staggering odds that one must wonder if it actually was a coincidence at all.

The day I came to Baden, I first visited the museum at Sigmund Freud’s former home in Vienna. Freud was one of the central figures of my education so I deemed it necessary to visit his museum, especially since it was just a block from the hotel I was staying at. Freud’s work primarily dealt with psychoanalysis – the understanding of unconscious and/or repressed feelings and thoughts. Freud’s obsession with the unconscious mind eventually led him to dreams. His legendary 1899 work The Interpretation of Dreams begins like this:

In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there is a psychological technique which makes it possible to interpret dreams, and that on the application of this technique, every dream will reveal itself as a psychological structure, full of significance, and one which may be assigned to a specific place in the psychic activities of the waking state.

Freud would interpret Nate’s dream as a commentary on his relationship with me, or something of that sort. I interpret it as evidence of Destiny, of a preordained Plan. At the least, I think I will start keeping a dream diary.

My notebook, where I write down every hand I play in the major tournaments, was its own diary of dreams throughout this tournament. I will begin posting the hands on this blog soon. You will see how fortunate I was in this tournament, how often I had to rely on luck to build my stack.

There were many times I was all-in during this tournament at risk of getting knocked out. Today, at the final table with five players, I was all-in with pair under pair – a one in five shot at survival. But I wasn’t meant to exit this tournament in fifth place.

After that lucky double-up, I played my best poker of the tournament and took the chip lead after several hours of four-handed play. I then played a gargantuan pot against Julian Thew, a gentleman, a father of two, a friend, a fantastic player, and a deserving champion. I had the best hand and would very likely win the tournament if I won that pot, but I wasn’t meant to win this tournament. I was meant to get fourth place.

And I am very happy with fourth place. I am very happy with my play today, certainly my best of the four days. I have played a lot of big tournaments, made a lot of mistakes, and been unlucky many times. In this tournament I made few mistakes and was very lucky for four days. I recouped all the losses I had endured on the tournament circuit in search of the Holy Grail. I won a large sum of money that dwarfs anything I have won before or anything I would have imagined possible while growing up.

I am so grateful for all the support, from my friends at home in the States as well as the media and players here in Baden. You know who you are and you mean so much.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Proud to Be at the Final Table

There was a defining moment with about 15 players left where I made a gigantic and correct laydown:

As reported on the Pokerstars blog:

Thomas Fuller, from the United States, raised to 20,000 from early position. From my railbird's perch I'd seen his pocket jacks. Julian asked how much he had behind, and Thomas counted out around 80,000. Julian bumped it up to 100,000, effectively putting Fuller all in, and after a couple of minutes' speech-play, the young American folded.

Ted Lawson led the other players in their guessing as to what Thomas had and he eventually showed them the hooks. Julian tapped the table in appreciation of the laydown and flashed pocket queens.

I was rewarded by making the final table a couple hours later. I was card dead all day but played tight, avoided coolers, and won the key coinflip to get to the final table with half an average stack.

There is one bad player at the final and the other seven are studs. Without naming names:

Vladimir Poleshchuk - Russia - 624,000
Julian Thew - England - 610,000
Denes Kalo - Hungary - 468,000
Manfred Hammer - Germany - 369,000
Anton Allemann - Switzerland - 254,000
Thierry van den Berg - Holland - PokerStars qualifier - 227,000
Thomas Fuller - USA - 190,000
Ted Lawson - USA - 81,000

The payout structure looks like this:

8th - €60,000
*My biggest score ever already!
7th - €83,600
*Filet and Flag
6th - €105,000
5th - €132,900
4th - €160,820
*Place my friend Nate dreamed two weeks ago I would finish
3rd - €225,000
2nd - €375,000
1st - €670,800
*The Lifechanger is the place to follow the final table. I believe they even have free streaming video. It starts at 3 PM local time which is 7 AM MST. I guess my degen friends will probably be asleep but I imagine my mom will watch.

I was a nervous wreck all day but now with a good score locked up I feel relaxed and will go for first.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Noisily On to Day Three

I was chip leader late in the day thanks to tons of good fortune, lost two pots at the end of the day and ended in fourth place with forty left.

I did nothing special at all, just won some gigantic preflop all-ins and a few other pots. I have lucked into a great opportunity here, so hopefully I can make the most of it. Only 24 get paid and the payout structure is steep so there is no reason to care about anything but first place.

Play starts tomorrow at 3 PM Tuesday which is 7 AM Mountain Time in the US. There will be coverage on,, and, though none of it is very good.

There is some chance I won't have internet after I check out of this hotel tomorrow so perhaps the next time you hear from me I will be a millionaire.

Interview With the Duck

I have played more hands of poker with this guy than anyone else, I believe.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Quietly On to Day Two

Today was the quietest day I can ever remember playing in a main event. I didn't play one big pot. The table was chill. I finished with average chips and go on to day two tomorrow at a table of nonames.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


There is no city in the United States like Innsbruck. Salt Lake City is probably the closest, but in Salt Lake City the cabbies don’t drive Audi A4s. 118,000 people live in Innsbruck, which is surrounded on all sides by soaring Alps. Innsbruck has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, in 1964 and 1976. Olympic facilities, including a large, modern stadium that will host games of the UEFA Euro 2008, and a gigantic ski jump that looks like an amusement park ride on the moon, circa 2100, can be seen all over the area.

I did not stay in Innsbruck, though I spent quite a bit of time there. I went to the Alpenzoo, touted as “the highest zoo in Europe.” I’m sure this is true but loses its luster when one considers a) altitude has no bearing on the quality of the animals in the zoo and b) the zoo is located at an elevation of about 700 meters, not really a notably high elevation. The coolest animal I saw in the Alpenzoo was probably the elch – what we in America call the moose – an animal that I have grown increasingly fond of in recent times. There were many birds my parents would have appreciated, wild boars and bison in the same pen, and the half amusing, half mystically aweing Ibex. I don’t know why you don’t see more Ibex used as poker screennames – there are plenty of wolves, tigers, and hawks. Perhaps because there are only 25,000 remaining on Earth.

I stayed in the village of Patsch, about five miles and 500 vertical meters above Innsbruck. In Patsch there are three hotels, two of them doubling as restaurants, one bar, a church, an adjacent cemetery, and zero grocery stores. Patsch was a perfect location for me to rest, recuperate, and pwn noobs.

One day I took a cable car up near the top of the Patscherkofel, then hiked to its rounded summit. Here I stared at the Alps in earnest. The peaks surrounding Innsbruck rise 8,000 feet above the valley, but the truly mindbogglingly awesome Alps went unseen by me on this trip. That’s okay – I’m sure I will return. Perhaps to defend my EPT Championship in Baden next year.

After eight peaceful days in Patsch, I took a train to Vienna. Vienna is filled with stupefyingly ornate buildings. Imagine the most spectacular building in Denver and multiply its “spectacularity” by about three times – Vienna has about five to ten of those buildings. Then again imagine the most spectacular building in DenverVienna has about fifty of those. They just go on and on down the streets.

The Stephansdom is the crown jewel. The outside is not quite as stunning as the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, but unlike the Sagrada Familia, the inside is finished. I walked around and sat in the cathedral for more than an hour. While I did think about poker, and fantasy football, I also thought a little about Bigger Things.

Today, I took a visit to Freud’s home, which is now an unspectacular museum. Tomorrow, I will psychoanalyze my opponents at the poker table in the EPT Baden Championship.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Big Dig

I set a new record tonight for the biggest loss I have ever come back from to record a profit during a day of poker. That's a great accomplishment for a poker player, kind of underrated.

I am extremely fired up for the EPT event on Sunday. However, I am having a hard time coming up with the cash. I can't seem to find a way to get a bunch of cash here in Europe. If anyone knows of a way to get, like, 6k Euro, here, please tell me. Also if anyone who reads this is playing in Baden, or knows someone who is, I could transfer them money on Stars or FTP in exhange for cash.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Barcelona to Innsbruck

We got back to Barcelona on the 17th and I immediately went to the hospital. I didn’t receive much, other than a $85 Euro bill. Everything I was told was pretty obvious and I ended up not using my prescription because the first time I took the pills I couldn’t hold them down and was left with a haunting, disgusting taste in my mouth for hours. The doctors and everyone else kept saying I would get better quickly but I didn’t really buy it – I mean, they didn’t feel the way I did.

But I did get better quickly, once I actually started getting better. There were two to three days in Barcelona where I didn’t eat anything and just felt terrible, and then I managed to get some food down and within 48 hours I was functioning pretty well. I snagged a flight to Zurich and met Stefan there. Nate had gone to Mumbai for work and Reid was working on a farm in Spain. Stefan and I still had designs on Oktoberfest.

We spent one evening in Zurich, just walking around and eating dinner. Zurich was very plush. It has been voted the city with the highest quality of life in the world a couple times, and I saw nothing to dispute that.

We awoke early on the morning of the 22nd and got on a train to Munich. After a quick stop in an internet café to confirm lodging for the evening, we headed over to Oktoberfest.

Oktoberfest is a gigantic festival that takes place every year in Munich at the beginning of the fall. The most prominent features of Oktoberfest, at least from my perspective, are beer, meat, lederhosen and dirndl. There are also amusement park rides and constant singing of German anthems.

It sounds like you couldn’t possibly go wrong with these key ingredients, but somehow it did. The biggest problem was that it was ridiculously crowded. We made a mistake going opening day, though we kind of had to cause of Stefan’s schedule. The outside was a dumfoundingly large festival area, with hordes of people trying to move from station to station and lots of stands selling all sorts of sausage creations. There were many enormous tents, each sponsored by a different Munich brewery. The goal seemed to be to penetrate a tent, and then find an opening at a table. This was the only way to get the beer.

This proved to be quite difficult for us. We spent a long time just getting into a tent, lots of walking, waiting, and jostling. When we finally did get in, it was almost impossible to find a seat. I can’t stress enough how crowded it was everywhere. This scale might supply some comparison:

Clusterfuck Rankings

1. September in Patsch (to be described later)
2. A WNBA playoff game
3. The Island from Lost
4. The DMV
5. The Marrakech Express
6. The waitlist on Party Poker when sefat53 was playing $25-50 NL
7. Fairview High School passing period
8. WSOP main event, day one
9. Opening day of Oktoberfest

10. Beijing Summer Olympics, 2008

It was all made more difficult by the fact that Germans speak German, I speak no German, and Stefan speaks a little. Most people can speak a decent amount of English, but Oktoberfest is a very patriotic festival and it didn’t seem hanging out with Americans was real high on the agenda of most of the Germans. We wandered around trying to get a seat for about an hour, watching the anthems and beer-swilling and dirndl with the frustration of sobriety.

Finally these older German guys let us sit down with them. The only problem was that only one of them spoke English, and barely. Most of these guys, who were part of some sort of civil defense team, had never been to Munich before. Stefan hobbled through some German with this guy while I sat back, just happy to have a beer in my hand and happier to be able to drink it.

The beers were gigantic and Oktoberfest beer is a little stiffer than the normal brew, so just one provided a buzz. We decided to take off after just one, got some currywurst, then hopped a train to Augsburg.

Augsburg is a suburb of Munich, an upper-middle class city of around 100,000, and the only place we could find lodging during the mayhem of Oktoberfest. Stefan had found someone on hospitalityclub who was willing to host us for a night, a girl about our age. After a welcoming beer or two, a couple of her friends came over. Everyone was cool. Germans in general seem to be a very prosperous and fun-loving sort. In fact, Germany seems like a fabulous place to live. Maybe it was just the sample size but most Germans seemed to eat well, drink well, have good jobs, drive Mercedes Benzs, and have a lot of friends. The population was quite attractive, too. Basically, Germany seemed to be a damn good place to live if you were a German.

Stefan and I decided to burn a little candle at both ends and went out to a club with them. I had a really good time. The highlight was when the DJ played Nada Surf’s Blankest Year – I thought of you, Jeremy and Kevin.

The next morning (afternoon) we ate a really nice breakfast and then went to the train station and parted ways. Stefan went to Poland to stay with his girlfriend, and I took a train to Innsbruck, Austria. We had blitzkrieged through Germany and I was tired, but the sight of the wildly soaring Alps kept me awake on the train.

Blogger Championship

Poker Tournament

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Registration code: 4241112

Monday, October 01, 2007

On the Bandwagon

Someone tell me how to get a hold of MLB broadcasts here in Europe.

Slingbox? Should I buy some season pass or something online? Recommendations please.