Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lyrics of the Year

15. The Rolling Stones - "You Can't Always Get What You Want"
You can't always get what you want

14. INXS - "Pretty Vegas"
Falling asleep at the wheel again baby
You're drifting over the line
Your hands are tight but you're losing grip quickly
Fix me, can you read the signs?
Thumbin' your way to Vegas, dirty
And dreamin of the other side
Save your tears and laughter
Because it doesn't matter what you find
It ain't pretty after the show
It ain't pretty when the pretty leaves you with no place to go

13. Fountains of Wayne - "Seatbacks and Traytables"
Customs a massive expanse
And I'm digging into my pants
Is this Oklahoma?
I remember this place

Trade one town for another
Delayed now why did we bother?
An X on the calendar square
New city, same stuff

Seatbacks and traytables up.

12. The Jayhawks - "Blue"
Never thought that I'd miss you
That I'd miss you so much
You brought me through
And you made me feel so blue

11. Franz Ferdinand - "Jacqueline"
It's always better on holiday
So much better on holiday
That's why we only work when we need the money

10. Oasis - "Underneath the Sky"
Underneath the sky of red
Is a storyteller sleeping alone
He has no face and he has no name
And his whereabouts are sort of unknown

All he needs is his life ln a suitcase
It belongs to a friend of a friend
And as we drink to ourselves
We'll amuse ourselves
Underneath the sky, underneath the sky again
Underneath the sky again

So wish me away to an unknown place
Am I living in a land with no name
I'll be making a start with a brand new heart
Stop me making sense again

All we need is our lives in a suitcase
They belong to a friend of a friend's
And as we drink to ourselves
We'll amuse ourselves
Underneath the sky, underneath the sky again
Underneath the sky again

9. Gabe Dixon Band - "All Will Be Well"
The new day dawns
And I am practicing my purpose once again
It is fresh and it is fruitful if I win
But if I lose, I don't know
I'll be tired but I will turn and I will go
Only guessing till I get there then I'll know
I will know

8. Tom Petty - "Time to Move On"
It's time to move on
It's time to get going
What lies ahead I have no way of knowing

7. Cornershop - "Good To Be On The Road Back Home"
Drinking to my friends
And drinking to my foes
For both keep a young heart moving.
It’s good to be on the trail
From where my heart set sail
Puttin anchor down
For friends and good beer
So I’ll have another one
Then I'll be moving on.
It’s good to be on the road back home again. Again.

6. Van Morrison - "Dweller On The Threshold"
I'm a dweller on the threshold
And I'm waiting at the door
And I'm standing in the darkness
I don't want to wait no more

5. Jimmy Buffett - "Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes"
Reading departure signs in some big airport

Reminds me of the places I've been
Visions of good times that brought so much pleasure
Makes me want to go back again
If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son of a bitches
I've seen more than I can recall

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
Nothing remains quite the same
Through all of the islands and all of the highlands
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane

4. Queen - "I Want To Break Free"
I've fallen in love
I've fallen in love for the first time
And this time I know its for real
I've fallen in love yeah
God knows God knows I've fallen in love

It's strange but its true
I can't get over the way you love me like you do
But I have to be sure
When I walk out that door
Oh how I want to be free baby
Oh how I want to be free
Oh how I want to break free

But life still goes on
I can't get used to living without living without
Living without you by my side
I don't want to live alone hey
God knows got to make it on my own
So baby can't you see
I've got to break free

3. Fleetwood Mac - "Gypsy"
So I'm back, to the velvet underground
Back to the floor, that I love
To a room with some lace and paper flowers
Back to the gypsy that I was

2. Bob Dylan - "Isis"
I was thinking about turquoise I was thinking about gold
I was thinking about diamonds and the world's biggest necklace
As we rode through the canyons through the devilish cold
I was thinking about Isis...

1. Steely Dan, "Do It Again"
Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gambling man
Then you find you're back in Vegas
With a handle in your hand
Your black cards can make you money
So you hide them when you're able
In the land of milk and honey
You must put them on the table

You go back, jack, do it again

Friday, December 28, 2007


Originally posted July 7, 2007

I prepared for the WSOP main event by getting the hell out of town. I drove to Silverton, Colorado and met my old friend Nate. We backpacked into an enchanted place called Ice Lake Basin. I was sick and Nate was breathing through sea lungs but the weather was fantastic. We thought about climbing some peaks but weren't up to the challenge. So we skipped stones into Island Lake, got sunburned and bug-bitten, and played cribbage. We talked about girls and what we want to do with our lives and girls we want to do in our lives, and music, and really, what else is there?
We hiked out in time to watch the Silverton 4th of July Home-town Parade. It was awesome. The people were fired up. Happy to be there, happy to be alive. Jets flew overhead, even though Silverton has a population of less than 1000. Classic cars and bikes came by firing beads and candy at the kids. A firetruck sprayed people down.

When it was over I drove to Vegas. It's 100 miles between Shiprock, New Mexico and Kayenta, Arizona, but you don't know the significance of that number until you're there. It's many hundreds from Kayenta to Vegas.

At 9:30 PM, I got to Vegas. Jim Morrison was yelling about Mr. Mojo Risin' as fireworks were exploding above the Strip. I was delirious.

The next day I woke up and felt a little closer to fine.

I play Saturday. I have an advantage over those who have spent the last week in Vegas.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


June was a microcosm for the year. I endured the worst night of my life, and three days later had (to that point) the best day of my career while making it to a WSOP final table. There were a lot of people who helped get me through those bad times and again I thank them. Especially Zaxelrod, whose own stories of personal devastation showed me that it may be a long road to happiness, but it can be achieved.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


I arranged my day's schedule around those Warriors playoff games. Those games, especially the ones in delirious Oakland, were the most entertaining basketball games I have ever seen. It was such a joy to see their joy, the players, the fans, and especially Coach Don Nelson. He had the look I sometimes have at the poker table when things are going astonishingly well - feigning like this kind of success was expected, standard, accustomed to. That was why it was so joyous, because it was so unexpected. Those Warriors were so entertaining, so glorious for two magical weeks. They gave me hope.

Monday, December 24, 2007

All I Want For Christmas

I thought about this a lot in Europe and concluded there are only two things I want that I don't currently have:
  • A girlfriend
  • A major poker tournament championship
There are plenty of things, like good health and good friends, that I have now and need to maintain. Those really are the only two things I could think of that I want right now.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

2007 POY Pool Final Standings


John Hoang - 576
Men Nguyen - 826
Allen Cunningham - 1440
Erick Lindgren - 586
Justin Bonomo - 1477
Nenad Medic - 1412
Victor Ramdin - 533
John Cernuto - 1061
Gavin Smith - 1553
Max Pescatori - 624
Kenna James - 449
Kevin O'Donnell 192
Marcel Luske 480
Hung La 0

Total - 11,309


Jeff Madsen - 358
Gioi Luong - 2517
Tom Franklin - 451
Kathy Liebert - 1498
Phil Ivey - 1502
Barry Greenstein - 2202
John D'Agostino - 74
Eugene Todd - 1953
Vanessa Rousso - 1562
Darrell Dicken - 2084
Jason Sagle - 0
Michael Binger - 997
Paul Lui - 670
Joel Patchell - 16

Total - 15,884


Michael Mizrachi - 1610
John Phan - 2206
David Williams - 930
Scotty Nguyen - 2180
Joe Tehan - 763
Joe Sebok - 1356
Chris McCormack - 1440
David Baker - 300
Anthony Reategui - 36
Steve Wong - 666
David Singer - 1992
Eric Froehlich - 341
Shane Schleger - 1962
Jordan Morgan - 744

Total - 16,526


JC Tran - 5748
Shannon Shorr - 998
Thomas Fuller - 1152
Roland de Wolfe - 1831
Joe Hachem - 0
Daniel Negreanu - 2106
Alex Jacob - 800
Bill Edler - 4777
Al Barbieri - 750
Lance Allred - 1296
Tony Ma - 944
An Tran - 432
Daniel Quach - 0
Chris Reslock - 1103

Total - 21,937


Nam Le - 3177
David Pham - 6562
James Van Alsytne - 3588
David Daneshgar - 1474
CK Hua - 1356
John Juanda - 235
Cliff Josephy - 338
Minh Nguyen - 48
Erik Cajelais - 1338
Chad Brown - 1567
Scott Clements - 5138
Doug Carli - 1182
Tim West - 1224
James English - 954

Total - 28,181

Next year's draft will happen some time in the next couple weeks. If you are interested, let me know immediately.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I knew we were going to have to talk about it eventually. I was dreading the conversation. Laura was going to grad school on the East Coast the next fall. We had been able to maintain the long-distance relationship before, because I travelled so much and could afford paying for her to come see me. I didn't really expect to be travelling much in the future though. She would be back in school and have less down time.

There was the chance to do something huge. I could move to Boston. Before she chose her grad school, I could have made a plea to her to come live with me in Boulder. I considered these options.

We had to be so sure of each other to do that. What a commitment. Just one step below marriage, and in some ways, more of a leap than marriage.

I never really asked her, but I had a hunch she would have been willing to do it if I had made that proposition.

The conversation came in an afternoon drive from Fort Collins to Boulder. It just sort of happened, and it was far less painful than I had imagined. We were on the same page. Arguments and pain come from disagreement. There wasn't anything we disagreed on, really.
In fact, there wasn't much we ever disagreed about.

I still can't believe that I was actually in love with a girl and let her out of my life. It took me 23 and a half years to find someone I loved, and it took me five years just to fall for this girl. Letting her go was the boldest thing I've ever done. It may have been the dumbest, also. I still don't know.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


March was the worst of it. I was struggling at poker, and struggling to deal with poker jealousy. I was losing at poker and I was moving around too much. There was no stability, there was no routine. I didn't have enough to be proud of.

Thank God for college basketball.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 Tournament Results

Live Tournaments:

#: 30
Cashes: 3
Hours played: 288
Total buy-in: $157,128
Total earnings: $282,721
Net: $125,593
Earn/hr: $436.09

Total buy-ins received: 72.03
Net buy-ins: +42.03
Buy-in average per tournament: +2.4

It's interesting to compare these numbers to 2006, when I cashed 13 times out of 72 (18%). This year I only cashed 3 times out of 30 (one of which was a teams event, so only 2 of 29 real tournaments, less than 10%). But in 2006 I never cashed in a $10k+ tournament, and I never finished higher than 9th in a $500+ big tournament. This year I had two major final tables (both 4th place) for my two cashes, one in a big buy-in event.

Online tournaments:

I'm not sure how many I played, because I usually multitabled when playing.
Hours played: 152.6
Net: +$8984
Earn/hr: +$58.87
I had two opportunities for major scores, but both went awry in very unlucky fashion and terminated in 10th place finishes.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Ten Thoughts on Survivor: China

I was behind throughout the season, so I never posted on my beloved Survivor. Here's ten thoughts on this season:

1. This was a very standard season. First, the outstandingly annoying people were voted off. Then a powerful alliance formed and controlled the game. Then, a strong contender made a mental error and paid the price. The final four was the usual mix of a male/female ancient alliance, one wild card, and one freeloader who had no shot.

2. It was great to see someone finally pull the trigger in one of those do-or-die, now is the time to get rid of the threat situations. Amanda stepped up and made the move where so many in the past have sat idly by. Interestingly enough, later, she needed to make a similar but more obvious and easy move and failed to pull the trigger.

3. Amanda is the prototype of a Survivor champion. She is smart, but not smart enough to be viewed as a threat. She is beautiful, but not so sexy as to arouse jealousy from competitors. She is nice. She played crafty, but kept it quiet and buried the craftiness below the friendly, sympathetic exterior. She had all the tools, and played a great game right up until the last two days in China. There she had the chance to eliminate Todd, but passed and instead sent Denise home. Then she choked at the final Tribal Council. Todd's superior public speaking skills were the difference in the game.

4. One time I was watching Survivor and afterwards CSI came on. A man in a fireman's suit broke into a house and set everything on fire. The family in the house was shown suffocating, desperately trying to crawl through the flames to safety. The segment ended with the evil fireman watching them die, then locking the door and walking outside. It was one of the most disturbing things I have ever seen on television. It sickens me that this kind of atrocity can be shown in full detail and a tiny portion of Amanda's ass had to be blurred on Survivor. This country really has some screwed up ideas when it comes to censorship of violence versus censorship of sex. This has always bothered me, and the juxtaposition of that beautiful butt against that heinous burning really brought it home.

5. Erik - virgin. Amazing.

6. Jean-Robert came off exactly as I, or anyone who has ever interacted with him, expected.

7. It's too bad Jean-Robert was on the show, because he ruined it for other professional poker players (like me) aspiring to be castaways. They have an asshole every season on Survivor, they could have just had some hotel doorman or waiter be the Obligatory Asshole, but instead Jean-Robert was the professional poker player asshole and now it's gonna be harder to get on the show now that a pro player has been on. I can't complain though, I've never applied. When I do I might spin my profession a little different though.

8. Aaron got screwed. Hard. I think all the mixing and swapping they are doing early in the show hurts continuity, makes the tribes harder to follow and root for, and is very unfair to the players.

9. Jeff Probst really does a great job. I can't imagine the show being as successful with anyone else.

10. Next season - fans against favorites - seems like a good concept.


Originally posted February 8 2007:

When Harrah's released the '06-'07 WSOP Circuit schedule, I was immediately surprised and amused to see "Harrah's Council Bluffs" listed as an early February tour stop. I also immediately got the feeling I'd likely wind up playing it, as there has never been a closer major tournament to my home and the field would likely be softer than the snow sure to be falling during the event. Right away I had two visions - one of me crushing the field and cruising to a dominant win, and one of me watching episodes of "Lost" on my computer in a lonely hotel room looking out on the plains.

Sure enough, when February 2007 arrived, I booked a flight to Omaha and a room at Harrah's Council Bluffs. From the start, the trip felt like a business trip/mission. There was none of the vacation feel that usually accompanies my poker expeditions to more attractive climates and locales. I alluded to this in a blog entry, noting there was only one reason to go to Council Bluffs in February, and that was to get first place.

Of course that didn't happen, I got my money in quite badly in two places, and I was back in the hotel room before the end of the first day (not knocked out the last hand of the night as I previously reported). The next day I woke up, constructed the Top 15, ate a lunch at a decent buffet, and fired up an afternoon session of online poker. Things went smoothly, as they tend to on Kazakhpoker, and it was not long before I redeemed the money lost buying into the tournament. I then took a short break, took a shower and a walk around the casino, and then went back to business. This was to be a marathon day of online poker, my longest session since a disastrous bleedathon a couple days after exiting from the WSOP main event.

The night session went poorly from the start. I did not run well, and I'm sad to admit I exacerbated the losses by continuing to play while hungry, tired, pissed off, and hellbent on chasing down my losses. This was amateurish behavior, activity I accost my pro friends for doing, and certainly something that I know should always be avoided. Playing long hours trying to dig out of the red almost always leads to a deeper hole, and I've known that for a long time. I don't want to ever let this happen again.

When I finally wrapped up the session, it was 1:30 AM and I was starving. I called down to the front desk for a late check-out, a shuttle to the airport the next morning, and a list of dining options. I was given only one: "Aces" 24 hr Diner.

"Aces" was exactly what I thought and feared it would be - a mildly repulsive Midwestern greasy spoon serving up a predictable menu of "country favorites." I quickly ordered eggs with bacon and toast, and sat back in the booth listening to a disappointing array of hollow modern pop tunes on the restaurant'scruddy overhead speakers. There is a time for Chingy and the Pussycat Dolls, but sitting alone in a booth in Council Bluffs Iowa at 2 AM in February watching an old sweaty man exhaustedly fry food is not that time. It was, however, an appropriate soundtrack for the three drunk kids at the next booth who saw that I was alone and asked/bludgeoned me to join them.

I'm polite, lonely, and always looking for a good story, so I readily agreed and sat down with them. The crew consisted of a loud, friendly, mildly obnoxious, and overwhelmingly mediocre young cocktail waitress; her BFF (best friend forever), a spectacularly unattractive lifetime Omahan; and the waitress's boyfriend, a pretty calm and regular dude who was the only one I found remotely tolerable. While doing my best to fend off the advances of the beefy BFF, I learned only a few notable tidbits from the natives. Omahans look down on Iowans, for one. When I asked what was the best thing to do for fun in the area, I didn't get much of a response. They asked me if I wanted to take the third wheel to my room, then asked if I wanted to get high. I considered the latter - it would have been a satisfactory end to a troubling day - but ultimately elected the company just too undesirable to pursue anything but minimal social relations.

I waited more than half an hour for my food, and couldn't eat it fast enough when it finally arrived. As I sat there eating the greasy food, listening to and participating in the inane conversation, trying not to be rude to the nasty girl coming on to me, head pounding from staring at a computer screen all day, it occurred to me that I may have reached a new low point on the poker tournament circuit. But really, and especially now as I write this, I realize experiences like this are what "it's all about."

I remember my senior year in college my friend Nick had a day where he went around the Twin Cities on buses and his bike, just poking around. I'm not sure I've ever seen him more excited than he was when he got back to the college after his day interacting with different strangers around the Cities. He told the story of his day with great excitement, and nothing he said sounded remotely exciting. But it was a REAL experience,and that was what had him so pumped up. Macalester was quite a bubble, and he had popped it for one day.

Most of my time is spent in the high-stakes poker bubble, where no one cares about what most people care about. It's pretty nice really - real life isn't really that cool for most people, I don't think. But the bubble is better with a taste of reality. Council Bluffs was a fairly shitty experience overall, but I was able to find a bit of something real and American. I enjoy having a lifestyle that allows me to see the high-class Omahans as well as the simple Iowans.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 Retrospective Part One: January

The ten hit the river and I went up to my room at the Borgata. I was so devastated. It’s so different than being depressed though. I wasn’t remotely depressed, just very disappointed.

I was so exhausted too, but I couldn’t sleep. I had always heard about jet lag and just laughed – I mean, you sleep when you’re tired, right? It doesn’t make sense to not be able to sleep when you’re tired, but I couldn’t.

It wasn’t the worst night to be jetlagged though, because Roger Federer was playing in the Australian Open final. I wrote my blog, which made me feel better, and watched Federer win in straight sets. In fact, he never lost a set in that tournament. Then it was like 4 AM, and I had a flight in Philadelphia in five hours. I managed to kill an hour and change and then it was time to get a cab to Philly.

Alex had an early flight too and I talked to him in the lobby. I know he honestly felt bad for what had happened to me. It made me feel better.

The cab ride was like an hour long. I slept in and out.

I don’t remember if it was one or two flights to Burlington. I think I got there around noon.

Laura picked me up and we drove to her house. I went straight to bed. I remember thinking, that was the only thing I wanted to do at that time. I just wanted to be in bed. Preferably with Laura.

I slept for 24 hours. It was twice as long as I had ever slept before. I haven’t slept more than eleven since. I was up for a few minutes a couple times and that was it. I went downstairs. It was a new day.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Five Diamond Day Two

Had 15,600 to start.
Drew the BB to start and folded 53o to a raise.
Walked Martin Deknijff the next hand with 32o.
Folded KTs in the cutoff with the big stack in the BB. That one was close with 14k in my stack.
Moved to new table with 13,500, would have been UTG but now I get the button.
John Hoang raises button to 2,500 definitely an ATC spot for him I ship it for 12,700 in the BB with QJs he folds.
Fold A9o MP.
Fold A8o UTG this would have looked huge.
Jon Kalmar raises EP two guys call i have K9o in BB with 12k and fold.
Hoang limps cutoff I am prepared to jam any medium queen, any king, any ace even knowing he will call real light but his range is literally BELOW an average hand here but I pick up 72o and fold - he later shows down J2s. This hand summed up the whole tournament for me, just complete shit. This was the worst cards I have ever had in a main event. I thought it could not be worse than the 2007 WSOP main event but this one shattered all records. I won ten pots in 9.5 hours of play and only had a pair in two of them and never better than a pair.

Fold 54o 3rd pos flop is 632.
Shove AJo UTG for 11k Erik Cajelais shoves for 25k behind me and then Fred Berger reshoves behind him. JJ for Cajelais, AKs for Berger, board comes KTxxx.
I think I was actually supposed to fold this AJ here but it was a lighter than usual shoving spot because the table was really loose and aggressive and I had John Hoang and some young kid to my right who never let it get to me unopened. Still though it was probably a fold.

Carrying the Torch

Almost all my good friends got knocked out yesterday or today (day 1b). It has been ugly for my group of friends.

I thought about the hands I played yesterday. The three big ones were the KQ where I could have bluffed, the KJ where I did bluff, and the KJ where I could have called on the end. The KQ is the one I really regret. I should have made that move. The KJ where I bluffed I maybe should have bet more, and maybe shouldn't have done it at all. The KJ where I folded I just felt he had it. I don't regret that hand though I know I was "supposed" to call.

I could have played better, but I didn't play badly. I'm hoping I can get away with one mediocre day of play in this tournament. I feel strongly that I am still in this competition, and strangely confident. Maybe because I am so accustomed to playing weak-tight until I short-stack myself, and then I generally play my best.

I had hoped to play a mistake-free tournament here. That did not happen, so I will not be too disappointed if I am knocked out tomorrow. I know tomorrow I will need to be lucky early, and then I will probably need to play my best ever after that. I do believe I can pull it off.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Five Diamond Day One

The table looked like this:

1 Unknown Asian kid who almost never raised but limped and called raises a decent amount
2 Young guy I recognize but don't know, played pretty standard seemed to have some talent
3 Black guy who played well
4 Shannon Shorr
5 Very loose-aggressive young European kid
6 John Kranyak, very loose kid
7 Beth Shak
8 Old guy I recognize but don't know, pretty weak
9 Me
10 John Myung who played fantastic

30k chips to start
This was unbelievable, I did not play a single hand the first 45 minutes! I once folded A8s UTG, and folded 76o in the cutoff after a guy limped - other than these I never even had anything I considered! It was really amazing and a sign of things to come.
When I finally do play a hand of course it's pocket kings in early position. I raise to 300, the black guy calls, and Shak calls from the BB. Flop Q84 with a flush draw Shak checks I bet and they both fold.
Old guy raises EP I have AJo this is the wrong spot and wrong table for AJo I don't think anyone else at the table folds here but I do.
UTG limps 2nd pos raises to 475 Shak calls I fold A9s on button.
Euro LAG raises I fold QJo on button.

UTG limps I limp QJo flop Th4h2d blinds check UTG bets I fold.
Kranyak raises UTG I call with TT black guy calls. Flop comes Jc7c3 Kranyak checks I bet 1k both call. Turn Jh I sorta thought I was good here and knew they wouldn't raise me without a boat so I bet 2k after Kranyak checked and the black guy quickly called again. Kranyak folded. River Kc check-check and he won with QJ.
Black guy raises UTG Kranyak calls felt it was a good spot for a move with my image but I fold J6s.
Two LAGs limp UTG I limp KQo board comes 765 I have no interest.
Raise KQs MP win blinds.
Fold Q8s EP.
Everyone and their mom limps I check Q6 on in BB flop comes QT5 checked to UTG he bets I don't even think about continuing.
Fold 86s UTG waiting for antes.
2nd pos limps 3rd pos makes it 700 two players call I call in BB with TT UTG calls. Flop comes 963 rainbow checked to preflop raiser he bets it. It gets back to me I think about turning this into a bluff - I'm thinking I can get him to fold an overpair here with my image if I fire a couple big barrels at it but I fold.
Kranyak raises LP I call with A6s in SB flop T54 I check-fold to a large bet.
Kranyak raises I call with Tc9c button calls BB calls flop 7s5d3s checked around turn Kd BB checks Kranyak bets I fold.
Fold T9o MP.
Fold A8o EP.
Fold Q8s UTG.

Fold A8o UTG.
EuroLag raises MP I reraise without looking he folds.
Raise next hand KQs cutoff and win.
First three players limp I limp 86s 8 people see the flop which is Th6h2d I fold to UTG's bet.
Fold A8o UTG.
Fold 96s button to a big raise and a call.
Kranyak raises EP to 75o Shak calls I call with 44 Myung calls black guy calls Shannon calls in BB. Flop KQ7 checked around turn Q checked around river 7 black guy bets 3k all fold.
EuroLag raises Kranyak calls I call in BB with 97o and check-fold on KQ8.
EuroLag raises Shak calls old dude calls I look at 64o and think about squeezing but fold. Then Myung squeezes it because he is a player and I am a nitty wuss.
EP raises Kranyak calls old gut calls I fold 63o in BB.

Black guy (I'm gonna start calling him "3" now) raises EP first hand was gonna reraise almost anything but folded 93o instead.
Shannon raises EP old guy calls I just can't summon the courage to do it with my shit hand and I fold.
Raise 88 hijack they fold.
Shannon raises to 1200 I repop to 3800 in SB with AKs he folds.
Raise 75s EP Shannon calls on button flop TT2 I think a long time and check he bets 1900 I think a while and fold. This one felt really weak with my image but maybe it was optimal? I dunno this was probably too weak. I probably needed to step up to the plate and do something like check-call and bet the river after the inevitable check-check on the turn. Easier said than done I guess.
Raise AdTd UTG old guy calls in BB flop Qc74c he checks I bet 2k he folds.
3 raises EP to 1200 folds to me I look at the As and make it 3700 Myung folds "a big hand" 3 quickly and quietly calls I have A4o. Flop Q83 he checks I bet 5600 he instafolds and makes it clear he had jacks. Two hands later raise JTo cutoff SB calls flop 765 check-check turn 2 he fires I instafold.
Kranyak raises cutoff old guy calls in SB I have A7o in BB which is way ahead of Kranyak's range but I fold.
Shannon busts the EuroLag and he's replaced by who I think was Zach Hyman who won the Wynn Championship event that Toph got 3rd in which I railed quite a bit...More on this later.
3 raises new guy calls I fold A5s in SB.
Raise A2o cutoff they fold.
Kranyak raises EP I look at an ace and reraise 3x all fold immediately. Tuned out to be A2o.

Raise KQo UTG to 1700 and the new guy calls. Flop 533 rainbow I bet 3000 and he makes it 7500. Here I go really deep into the tank thinking about a bunch of things. I started the hand with 29k so I had room to make another raise here without committing. The obvious hand he is representing here is some sort of middle pair "finding out where he's at." But I was thinking if this was indeed Hyman he was a skillful and tricky player and wouldn't make a transparent play like that, so if it was actually him then he was more likely to be trapping with a big pair or have 55. I can honestly say if I knew it was not Hyman I would have reraised to 15k but since I thought it might be him I folded.
Kranyak raises cutoff I call in BB with A7o board of T8333 is checked all the way and I chop with his A9.
Raise KJ in 2nd pos to 1600 and 3 calls. Flop Tc9s3c I check he bets 1500 into 4800 I call. Turn 9 I check he bets just 1500 again I call. River A I bet 4300 he calls with T8 and wins. This one left me sick to my stomach because I was planning on making this exact bet if I hit a king, queen, or jack, and I would have played a big ace the same too.
Very next hand I raise KJo UTG, Kranyak calls, and the old guy calls in the BB. Flop Kd63 rainbow BB checks I bet 3000 and Kranyak calls. BB folds. Turn Qd I check which maybe was a mistake and he checks. River A I think quite a bit and then check. I am so ready to call when he bets 7-8k or whatever but then he only bets 4000. I felt so sick here, I was so ready to snap-call but then he bets 4k into 11k and it totally changed my read. I put myself into these spots all the time and always have to make the read based on player and bet size rather than the way the hand went. I mean there are so few hands that he can have that beat me here, it should have been an automatic call and it was in my mind until he made that small bet. He hadn't been bluffing much posftlop all day long, that was the thing also. He was horsing around a ton but almost never bluffing rivers. I had 10k left. I tanked it forever and eventually got clocked and finally folded.
UTG limps I limp SB with 87o Myung checks BB. Flop 864 I check Myung bets 1200 UTG folds I raise half my stack Myung folds.
Fold 33 EP with 12k.
Raise 99 UTG to 1600 Myung reraises to 5600 I fold he shows me AA.
Fold QJs to a raise now on a 9k stack.
Raise KQs hijack button and BB (3) call without looking at my stack. Flop KQ4 checked around. Turn Ad 3 bets out 2k I shove for 7500 they both fold immediately.

15,600 to end day one.

Five Diamond 15k

Tomorrow I will play in the 15k WPT event at the Bellagio, making it the only tournament besides the WSOP Main Event that I played in 2005, 2006, and 2007. Also like the WSOP main event, I have never cashed in it. I will try to remedy that this week.

Monday, December 10, 2007

5k #2

I will remember two hands from this tournament, both where I had opportunities to make a dynamic, world-class play after open-limping but ultimately took the standard and incorrect route.

With blinds at 50-100 I open-limped in the cutoff with JTo. I limped cause the two guys to my left were playing quite aggressive and I didn't want to get reraised. Well of course then the guy to my left raised to 450 and the small blind (Kevin Song) reraised to 1100. This was such a good spot for me to represent aces and pop it up to 2700. Everything was set up perfectly here - my image, the spot, the fact the other two guys could both be fooling around. Ultimately though I folded, mainly cause Song made such a small reraise out of position which felt strong. Song ended up showing down AJo and the other guy had pocket sixes, so it definitely would have worked.

The next level, with blinds at 100-200 I open-limped pocket kings in second position. The aggressive guy behind me made it 1000, and then an old guy two behind him made it 2500. It folded back to me where I had 8600. The old guy had shown down two hands: one where he had called a raise and then called three big bets on a board of J87xK and turned over a surprising set of eights; and one where he opened for 6x in the first level and showed AA after everyone folded. He was playing a fair number of pots and playing pretty passively. I thought until someone called a clock, and then I thought for half of it and moved all-in. The other guy folded, the old guy called with pocket aces, and I was out.

I have folded pocket kings preflop 7-10 times in cash games, but never in a tournament. There have been a couple chances during the last year. This one was probably the best opportunity yet, but I just couldn't quite do it.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Top Ten Vegas Casinos

10. Treasure Island
9. MGM Grand
8. Flamingo
7. Palms
6. Mirage
5. Caesar's
4. Bellagio
3. Wynn
2. Mandalay Bay
1. Venetian

The Worst:

Hand From the 5k

I won a huge pot the very first hand after I sat down, nearly doubling up in today's 5k event at Bellagio. It was a steady decline after that, mainly because I didn't have many good hands and I got reraised on five consecutive steals during the 100-200-25 and 200-400-50 levels. There really isn't much to report, but I did play an interesting hand against J.J. Liu in the first level that I am scratching my head on and could use advice on.

J.J. is a very aggressive, bludgeoning, and in my opinion, excellent player. We have had a few encounters in the past but she plays so much I don't know how well or if she remembers me. She had about 12k entering this hand in the first level and I was at 18k. She had seen me play one hand where I flopped a set against an obvious overpair and raised a bet on the flop, just called when he bet the turn, and then bet strong on the river. Blinds were 25-50 and she raised to 225 in late position. I had ace-queen of clubs in the small blind.

I'm guessing most people would say make a solid reraise here, and maybe that is appropriate. I don't like reraising, especially big cards out of position deepstacked against tough players. I just called. The flop came Q98 with one club. I bet 350, J.J. made it 1300, and I called. The turn was an 8, I checked, J.J. bet 1600, and I folded.

What do you guys think was the best way to play this hand? What's the best way to play it after the flop if you just called preflop? Keep in mind that J.J. is a very aggressive, fearless player who likes putting pressure on people.

Friday, December 07, 2007


A week ago I turned 25. One of the last milestones. It came and went with little fanfare.

Yesterday I went down to my bank and got $25,000 in cash. The online site I play on sends me checks $25,000 at a time. It was convenient, and a bit of a thrill.

Today I am flying to Las Vegas. I am going to play two $5k events and then the $15k championship at the Five Diamond at Bellagio. $25,000 in tournaments in a week. This is my birthday present to myself.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Top Ten Play-By-Play Announcers

This list is pretty near to my heart, as I always wanted (still want) to be a play-by-play announcer. The two best I ever heard, at least for football, were Pat Summerall and Keith Jackson. I haven't heard either of them for a couple years now so they won't be listed here. Note that this is strictly play-by-play, not color commentary, sideline, or studio. Those lists will follow. There are hybrids like Gumbel and Nantz - for this list, I am just thinking sheer play-by-play skill. Also, Mike Tirico is the worst.

Interestingly enough I had Joe Buck, Fox's #1 guy, and Jim Nantz, CBS's #1 guy, as #11 and #12.

10. Phil Liggett
Kind of a niche guy but really good at his specialty, cycling.
9. Thom Brennaman
Under the radar but now Fox's #1 guy for the BCS and #2 for MLB.
8. Al Michaels
Loosely considered the #1 overall guy by the American pop culture collective.
7. Brad Nessler
Never really had that breakout game, probably cause he's behind Musburger on ABC/ESPN.
6. Verne Lundquist
Verne takes a lot of crap and just keeps on chugging. Aging like a fine wine.
5. Dick Enberg
Still dependable for NFL, college BB, and tennis.
4. Marv Albert
Obviously the greatest NBA announcer ever.
3. Kevin Harlan
The best pure voice in the business.
2. Gus Johnson
Unadulterated genuine emotion.
1. Brent Musburger
Has all the tools - voice, enthusiasm, empathy, knowledge, and storytelling.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Top Ten Led Zeppelin Songs

10. Achilles Last Stand
9. Trampled Under Foot
8. Babe I'm Gonna Leave You
7. Tangerine
6. How Many More Times
5. Hey Hey What Can I Do
4. Over the Hills and Far Away
3. When the Levee Breaks
2. Kashmir
1. Stairway to Heaven