Thursday, July 24, 2008

WSOP Recap Part Three: Moon's Guide to Vegas Dining

I don’t like going to clubs. I despise negative-EV gambling. I don’t play live cash games. I suck at bowling. I spend around two months a year in Las Vegas. There are basically four things I enjoy doing here when I’m not in a poker tournament:
  1. Internet
  2. Going to movies
  3. Going to the gym
  4. Eating

I detest Las Vegas like nowhere else I’ve been, but it does have an incredibly array of restaurants. You could go to a different restaurant in Vegas every night of the year and enjoy every one. There are dozens of excellent places I’ve never been. If your favorite is not listed here, take it easy on me – I’ve probably never been. Post a comment and maybe I’ll go there the next time I’m in town. Here are twelve restaurants I recommend:

For old-school Vegas charm, Vic & Anthony’s downtown at The Golden Nugget is a solid choice. Steak, seafood, wine, and cocktails with smart service and few distractions.
Food ****
Price $$$$
Ambience !!!!

The new Carnevino at the Palazzo is a mouthwatering steakhouse on the Strip. I thank Michael Tedesco for introducing/treating Napoleon and I to one of the top five meals of my life here the night before the WSOP began.
Food *****
Price $$$$$
Ambience !!!!

Shibuya at the MGM Grand might be the finest upscale sushi place in Vegas. It certainly has the most extravagant sake list.
Food *****
Price $$$$$
Ambience !!

Nagoya, on the other hand, is for sake bombs and mediocre sushi. Way west of the Strip at Tropicana and Fort Apache, Nagoya is the perfect spot to roll into on a random weeknight when you’ve got nothing else to do. The staff encourages drinking and won’t be shy about joining in if it looks like you’re having a good time.
Food ***
Price $$
Ambience !!!!!

Kudos to the Shaniac, one of the most cultured Americans on the poker circuit, for introducing me to Rosemary’s, a top-notch restaurant off the Strip. One of the best spots, perhaps the best in Vegas, for a satisfactory well-rounded meal.
Food *****
Price $$$$
Ambience !!!!

The Lotus of Siam is a legendary Thai restaurant with an assuming location in a large strip mall on East Sahara. The Lotus features a vigorous and gigantic menu. Allot a couple hours here to do it right.
Food *****
Price $$
Ambience !!

For a breather during WSOP dinner breaks, there’s a quiet Pho place a few blocks west of the Rio on Flamingo. I’m not sure about the official name of the place; it says “Pho” and is in the same shopping center as a Subway and Ruth’s Chris.
Food ***
Price $
Ambience !!!

It’s three in the morning. You ate eight hours ago and since have filled your body with an assortment of alcoholic concoctions and possibly other chemicals. You need sustenance, and you need it now. Lucky for you (if you have a sober driver), you can get cheap-ass Mexican food 24/7 at one of the twelve million Roberto’s Taco Shops scattered throughout town.
Food **
Price $
Ambience **

Capriotti’s is the place to grab a sandwich for lunch. Like Roberto’s, it seems there is a franchise in every one of Las Vegas’s eight hundred strip malls. Don’t waste your time here on anything other than one of the “Cap’s Specials.” The “Bobbie”, a sandwich stuffed full of Thanksgiving ingredients, is the best bet.
Food **
Price *
Ambience **

For authentic Chinese, duck into the Gold Coast’s Ping Pang Pong. This is where Chinese people eat Chinese food – always a good sign. The taste to price ratio might be the best in Vegas.
Food ****
Price $
Ambience !!

If you find yourself on the Strip wasted late at night with the munchies, head over to the Grand Lux Café at the Venetian or Palazzo. The Lux has a huge, wild menu. Everyone in your group will find something satisfactory, then have no memory of it the next morning.
Food ***
Price $$
Ambience !!

For a casual, leisurely bite to eat, try the Terrace Pointe Café at the Wynn. This is a great spot for a snack, a beer, and relaxed conversation. Take advantage of the outside seating when available, as long as it’s not 112 degrees.
Food ***
Price $$$
Ambience !!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Top Ten Fruits

A week ago, my friend Amanda and I got into a somewhat heated discussion over the merits of the watermelon, which culminated in a bet on which one of us could come up with a better, "more accurate" ranking of fruits. So please cast a vote on which list is better along with your own thoughts in the comments section.

Amanda's List:

10. Orange
9. Blueberry
8. Banana
7. Kiwi
6. Apple
5. Raspberry
4. Strawberry
3. Peach
2. Plum

Moon's List:

10. Apricot
9. Peach
8. Guava

7. Pineapple
6. Raspberry
5. Blackberry
4. Coconut
3. Avocado
2. Cherry
1. Strawberry

Monday, July 21, 2008

WSOP Recap Part Two: Updated POY Pool Standings


Bill Edler - 0
Scott Clements - 848
Kevin Saul - 0
Ryan Daut - 0
Travis Rice - 0
Ted Lawson - 994
Kirk Morrison - 0
David Baker - 1944
Roy Winston - 1218
David Fox - 200
Mike Matusow - 1086
JC Alvarado - 432
Dutch Boyd - 836
Roland de Wolfe - 792

Total: 8,350

Analysis: Four of Master's top five picks have not made a final table this year! Enough said.


JC Tran - 3067
Alexander Kravchenko - 81
Tom Dwan - 2007
David Singer - 1734
Cory Carroll - 1440
Alex Jacob - 0
Chad Brown - 29
Steve Billirakis - 72
Nick Schulman - 0
Shane Schleger - 0
Alex Bolotin - 1520
Haralabos Voulgaris - 0
Eugene Katchalov - 480
Marco Johnson - 1200

Total: 11,630

Analysis: The players on this team don't play enough.


James Van Alstyne - 0
Michael Mizrachi - 2829
Jonathan Little - 0
David Daneshgar - 1824
Theo Tran - 1776
CK Hua - 0
John Cernuto - 1312
Gus Hansen - 2457
Chris McCormack - 120
Tony Ma - 192
Nick Binger - 1262
David Levi - 448
Alan Myerson - 236
Steve Wong - 0

Total: 12,456

Analysis: Hard to win when two of your top three picks are unmitigated busts.


David Pham - 2382
Danny Wong - 919
Robert Mizrachi - 1079
Scotty Nguyen - 1634
Anna Wroblewski - 249
Jared Hamby - 120
Eugene Todd - 490
Randy Holland - 876
Matt Brady - 1720
Scott Fischman - 0
Kevin Song - 1116
Jimmy Fricke - 1392
Alex Kamberis - 42
Kido Pham - 760

Total: 12,779

Analysis: The lack of a real breadwinner is holding this team back, as David Pham's Bahamas result was before the draft and does not count here.


Gioi Luong - 1044
John Phan - 4181
Joe Sebok - 0
Allen Cunningham - 2304
Darrell Dicken - 1068
Gavin Smith - 240
Joe Cappello - 1476
Joe Tehan - 576
Chris Bjorin - 1548
Matthew Casterella - 240
James Mackey - 1926
Matt Graham - 1254
Jeff Madsen - 190
John Racener - 1600

Total: 17,647

Analysis: Get it together, pokerroad radio!


Justin Bonomo - 2930
Daniel Negreanu - 1287
Erik Cajelais - 0
Barry Greenstein - 1686
Steve Sung - 2278
Erick Lindgren - 3459
Sorel Mizzi - 0
Phil Hellmuth - 1590
Lance Allred - 460
Thomas Fuller - 192
Jason Stern - 766
Joe Hachem - 177
Phil Ivey - 2712
Chris Reslock - 556

Total: 18,093

Analysis: Erik Cajelais is one of four third round picks who remain scoreless.


Nam Le - 1515
John Hoang - 0
Men Nguyen - 2798
Michael Binger - 3600
Hevad Khan - 756
Humberto Brenes - 0
Nenad Medic - 2100
Max Pescatori - 2004
Francois Safieddine - 285
Bertrand Grospellier - 490
Tom Schneider - 381
Marcel Luske - 1644
Gavin Griffin - 2855
Annette Obrestad - 0

Total: 18,428

Analysis: The impressive thing about Wolf's team is his two top picks are in the midst of off-years, yet he still holds the lead in what has become a three horse race.

Friday, July 18, 2008

WSOP Recap Part One: Are Tournaments Worth It?

About a year ago I shifted from playing mostly cash games to playing mostly tournaments. I did this not because I was struggling playing cash or because I felt my EV was higher in tournaments, but simply because I find tournaments more exciting than cash games. Since then I've had a few solid scores and am up substantial money during that time period, but now I find myself on a cold streak in tournaments and wondering if it's all worth it.

There are three major problems I have with tournaments. First is the losing. In tournaments you lose and lose and lose and lose. A good player might cash one in seven. So six out of seven times a good player will lose money. When you do cash, you usually don't make the final table. This means you don't make substantial money most of the time you cash. This feels like losing too because you didn't really accomplish any of your goals. Even when you are fortunate enough to make the final table, you probably won't win. I walked into that damn convention center at the Rio 22 times this summer, and I walked out feeling like a loser 22 times.

The second problem is the time commitment. Tournaments require you to carve out a big space of time to play. It's not like a cash game that you can just hop in or out of. When I'm at home I rarely want to devote a six-hour stretch to playing tournaments. I want to play for a couple hours and then do some other stuff.

The third problem is that I have a sneaking suspicion that I suck at tournaments. I probably have no talent for playing them. I've played enough of them now that I should have entered some really profitable phase where I just tore it up and made a series of scores. That's never happened. I've made enough to know I'm a winning player in most tournaments but I've made few enough that I really, really have doubts about my talent.

Of course there are many excellent reasons to play tournaments. They are extremely exciting when you get deep. They are still loaded with dead money. Online cash games are getting tougher and tougher. Fish are few and far between as you move up the limits. I wonder if I can still get it done playing online cash. Perhaps not. Tournaments are still filled with weaklings. The big ones, like at the WSOP, are just loaded with players I know to be worse than me. They also have many players that are a lot better, but at any given time chances are I am in good shape skill-wise versus the field (at least at the WSOP).

If it wasn't for the emotional pain, the repetitive losing, I would probably keep grinding away at tournaments without taking a break. But all the losing wears a player down eventually. Maybe in a month or two I'll feel like playing tournaments again.

The best reason to play tournaments, and the big reason I haven't mentioned yet, is that you can make a monster life-changing score. Many of my friends have done this and now have almost complete financial freedom. For them, it has definitely been worth it.

On a related note, my pal Mike "SirWatts" Watson won the Bellagio Cup yesterday and pocketed $1,673,770. Watts is not a close friend of mine but I like to think we play a similar style and have had similar careers (until yesterday). In reality, he's probably less spewy and more ballsy. He had a rough WSOP, and maybe he was asking himself the same questions about tournaments a week ago.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Mysterious Stop 'n' Go

We had a lot of discussion at the house this summer about the stop 'n' go - when to use it, and if it was even worth using at all. I emerged from those discussions with basically nothing gained. It's really hard to find a spot where the stop 'n' go is the right course of action. This looks like one to me:

With seven players left in the Bellagio Cup $15k WPT (on the TV bubble):

Mike Watson has the button in seat 8, John Phan raises from early position to 200,000, Per Ummer moves all in from the small blind, and Phan calls with QdJh. Ummer shows 8d8s, and he needs it to hold up to stay alive.

The flop comes Ah9c5c, and Ummer retains the lead. The turn card is -- the Qh! John Phan takes the lead with a pair of queens, and Per Ummer needs to catch one of the two eights in the deck to stay alive.

The river card is the 6s, and Per Ummer is eliminated in seventh place, earning $116,350.

We don't know the exact amount Ummer shoved for, but we know it wasn't enough to get Phan off QJo. If it was so little that Phan would have to call any postflop bet no matter the board, then the stop 'n' go would be pointless as well. If Ummer had some amount like 500,000 in his stack (leaving him around 300,000 to fire on the flop) this would be an ideal time to stop 'n' go. And Phan probably couldn't call him with QJ on the A95 flop, so he might have lived to tell another tale instead of busting out on the tv bubble.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Tough Hand

I haven't posted a hand since the beginning of the summer so I'll finish it with my final hand of this seven-week adventure/nightmare/rollercoaster/life experience. This was one of the toughest hands I've ever played, cash or tournament, live or online. The feedback I've gotten on it thus far has been split and I'm hoping for more.

Three hours into day two of the $15k Bellagio Cup WPT I was sitting on about 90k when this hand came up:

Blinds 600-1200 with a 200 ante. Folded to Tim Phan on the button and he opened for 3200. His chip stack was almost identical to mine. His usual raise was around 3x and he had also opened a couple pots for 4k at this level. Scotty Nguyen was in the big blind and I was in the small blind. As Tim raised he joked around that he was going to give a discount because it was Scotty's big blind and he liked Scotty.

When Tim made the raise, I assumed it was pretty likely that he was stealing with a less than powerful hand. The size of his raise, the fact that he was on the button, and his style of play all made it fairly likely he didn't need much of a hand to raise there. This isn't to say he was definitely stealing or couldn't have a hand. I wouldn't expect him to have an unplayable hand there; he hadn't been playing garbage throughout the day.

So I look down at ace-ten offsuit in the small blind and it seems like a pretty obvious spot to put in a big reraise and take down the pot. The problem is, Tim hates folding. When he puts chips into a pot, he almost always defends them. While I assumed ace-ten was probably the best hand, it didn't make reraising an attractive option. If I reraised to around 12k, I felt there was a strong likelihood Tim would call. This would lead to all sorts of ugly situations on the flop. Ace-ten offsuit is one of the worst hands you can play in a big pot out of position. If you hit it, you probably won't make any money. If you miss it, you might get outplayed. In cash games in this spot, I generally smoothcall. It disguises my hand and switches things around so I can represent different hands on the flop if I miss. If I hit, I will almost always make some money out of the hand against a preflop raiser.

So while reraising seems like an obvious play, I elected to call. It should also be noted that I am a gigantic wuss when it comes to reraising. I'm scared to do it, and it's definitely a huge weakness (probably the biggest) in my tournament game.

Scotty folded and the flop came AcTc3c. Right away I hesitated knowing this might be a crucial pot and I might have some hard decisions. I thought about leading out but decided Tim would fire at this pot no matter what he had so I checked. Tim bet 7k.

This was a large bet. Tim makes different kinds of bets in different hands so it wasn't like he was automatically going to make a big bet like that no matter what. The fact that he bet 7k registered in my brain as a clue that he had at least something. If he had nothing, I figured he would have bet less.

My immediate inclination was to call, continue to misrepresent my hand, and then maybe do something funky on the turn like lead out, or possibly check it again. I figured I might get some more chips out of Tim this way if he had a hand like ace-seven. If he had a hand with the king of clubs, I could price him out on the turn. I also wast thinking that I would have a terribly hard decision to make if I raised and Tim reraised. Avoiding terrible decisions is a huge part of my game. I put myself into a lot of funky spots but usually know what I'm going to do beforehand.

I thought about it for more than a minute, which is pretty unusual for me in a spot like that, and then decided to raise to 20k. I raised for the obvious reasons - to protect my hand and for value. I'm not really a big believer in the whole "protect your hand" theory but it does have its merits. More importantly in this hand, I felt like Tim would call a checkraise with a lot of hands I had beat, including some that were drawing dead. Like I said earlier, Tim hates folding once he puts some money in. I really felt if he had an ace he would probably call, even if he didn't have a club.

Two seconds after I raised to 20k Tim said "I'm all in." It turned out he had me barely covered and I had another tough decision. Now I went back into the tank specifically thinking the following: what hands would he do that with and how often does my hand win against those hands. I assumed Tim would do that with any flopped flush, including the nut flush. I assumed he would do it with any set. I figured but was not certain he would do it with AxKc. The hands I really wondered about were
  • AxXc - would he jam with an ace and some random club? AQ with the Qc? Which of these hands does he jam with and which does he just call with? He jammed very quickly, but then again I thought a long time before I raised and he acts quickly in general so he might have just already planned out what he was going to do if I made a normal raise.
  • Gutshots along with a flush draw. KJ, KQ, QJ with a club. How does he play these?
  • Tens along with a flush draw. KT, QT, JT, T9, and on down.
  • AK no club
I really didn't know how he would play these. He wouldn't fold any of them I don't believe but many of them he might just call against me. While I didn't know what he would do with these fence hands - which determine whether or not I should be calling the push - there was more to consider:
  • My image. Today I had a pretty standard, normal image. Nothing crazy of course but not super tight either. Capable of a move? Probably but not necessarily. I believe I appeared to be "a normal player" to Tim.
  • What he perceives my image of him to be. He wasn't doing anything crazy. Sure he was involved in plenty of hands but nothing maniacal.
  • Earlier in the level, Tim had gotten involved in big preflop pot with AJs and after winning it announced that he had lost $90,000 shooting dice during the last break. He essentially said he was willing to gamble today with marginal hands. I didn't take any of this as him trying to establish a crazy image, I basically just believed it.
  • If I fold I have 70,000 and the blinds are 600-1200, soon to be 800-1600. Average was probably around 90k at this point. Great structure, absolutely no worries with 70k at 800-1600 in this structure. Definitely not "shortstacked."
  • The table is possibly the hardest table I have ever been at and I have a terrible seat. Tim is to my right and to my left, in order, are Scotty Nguyen, Farzad Bonyadi, a locked in Gabe Thaler, Jason Lester, some big cash game guy I've never seen who was playing aggressive, and someone new. There's a little more than three hours left in the day. It's not going to be easy to get chips here obviously.
After thinking all this through, I then thought that he would do the same thing with A3 or T3s. Of course in today's era of tournament poker once you are able to answer the question "what can I beat?" you automatically call, and I did call. Tim had the 85 of clubs for a flush and I didn't get anything on the turn or river so I was eliminated.

I should be home on Tuesday evening and will soon begin digesting the WSOP that wasn't on this blog.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Pleasant Day at the Office

Today was completely stress free and I finished the short first day of the Bellagio Cup with 90k. Average should be in the sixties when the combined fields return Monday at noon.

Unfortunately Jeremiah was eliminated from the main event in 146th place. Here's a nice article on one of poker's good guys.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Plot Thickens

My friend Jeremiah is second in chips in the main event going into day four and I have a small piece of his action. Because of this development, I am in no hurry to leave Vegas. I will probably hang around as long as Jeremiah is still in the tournament.

I moved to day 1b (Saturday) of the Bellagio Cup.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Last Stand

The Castle went down in flames in the main event. There were eleven of us and not one made it past the second afternoon. Now most have left and only a few of us remain in the cavernous dwelling. I'm sitting alone in the basement with the shades drawn listening to Bob Dylan. It's 109 degrees today and supposed to be 110 tomorrow. But it's not time to leave yet.

It's been seventy two hours since I busted out of the main event. During that time I've spent about four hours at the gym, two hours swimming, and another two sunbathing. I've consumed eight to twelve beers and one bottle of Knob Creek with some assistance. I've watched about five hours of WSOP Europe and four episodes of Lost.

I played two poker tournaments, the Tilt 1k Monday and the Stars 1k Tuesday. I cashed in both. I played a little tighter and a little more aggressively. I decided I've been taking the passive/small-ball approach a little too far recently. You have to get chips somehow.

The Bellagio Cup $15k WPT starts Friday and I will be playing. It ain't over till it's over.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The Worst Day of My Career

Today was miserable. Everything that could go wrong did. I lost hands in every conceivable manner and busted the last hand before the dinner break.

I am deeply disappointed. I had such high expectations for the World Series and none of them came to fruition. I had faith the whole summer that if I kept my head up, stayed enthusiastic, maintained my focus, and played my best that eventually it would happen. It never did.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Twenty Poker Players Most Likely To Win The Main Event

Off the list from last year: Justin Bonomo, Bill Edler, Jamie Gold, Joe Hachem, Alex Jacob, Marc Karam, Kido Pham, James Van Alstyne and Paul Wasicka. Now on to the annual list; it should be noted that these aren't necessarily the twenty best tourney players, just the ones best equipped to deal with everything the main event entails.

20. Dan Harrington
Although I’m not certain Action Dan is still in action (he hasn’t cashed since winning the Legends of Poker last August), his results in 10k events cannot be discounted.

19. Lee Watkinson
Unfortunately, a Watkinson victory would lead to more creepy Cardplayer features and videos.

18. Andy Black
A force of nature once he gets the ball rolling in a deepstacked event.

17. Patrik Antonius
Has not won a tournament since 2005.

16. Chris Ferguson
Oddly underrated.

15. Erik Seidel
Clearly in top form.

14. Michael Mizrachi
Quietly putting together a very solid WSOP.

13. John Phan
I don’t really have anything to say here, so I’ll just note I’ll be playing day 1d (Sunday July 6th) and hope to avoid everyone on this list.

12. Scotty Nguyen
Closing in on eight figures in tournament cashes.

11. Michael Binger
The most determined player in tournament poker.

10. David Pham
May have found his stride in the nick of time.

9. Carlos Mortensen
The freshest player on this list.

8. Phil Hellmuth
Probably the best when he’s in the zone, but hasn’t found it yet this year.

7. Kenny Tran
The best physical reader in the game.

6. Allen Cunningham
Seems to be stuck in a rut – only $600k in cashes this year.

5. Erick Lindgren
Overflowing with confidence after a monster WSOP.

4. Daniel Negreanu
Seems due for a deep main event run.

3. JC Tran
I pored over the hand histories from the final table of the $1500 NLHE that led to JC’s long-awaited first bracelet. The man did not play a big pot at the final table, until the last hand. He has reclaimed the crown of “best overall tournament player in the world”, which was briefly in the clutches of David Pham.

2. Phil Ivey
The most feared and respected player on the planet.

1. Gus Hansen
Unquestionably the best results in deepstacked events over the last year and the last four years.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Sixth grade was by far the worst year of my life, so when my English/Social Studies/Geography teacher started talking about a standby good luck charm, I was all ears. She said that if you say “rabbit rabbit rabbit” as your first words of each new month, you will have good luck for that month. I instituted this superstition immediately, and my life improved right away. Ever since I have tried to make “rabbit rabbit rabbit” the first three words out of my mouth starting each month. Although I am always paranoid of butchering it and saying something else first, I often screw it up. Sometimes I whisper to myself as I head to the bathroom at the beginning of the day. Occasionally something inadvertent happens (such as being awakened by someone and responding with speech) and I blow it. I’m not quite sure exactly how to do it, either. Wikipedia says “rabbit rabbit white rabbit” is the most common vernacular. Some of the “rules” and specifics are pretty unclear. Part of the problem is I’m always awake at midnight of the last day of the month, and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say it right then or wait till I wake up the next day.

The first time I told this to friends, they couldn’t tell if I was being serious or making the whole thing up. I assure you, I’m completely earnest. Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit is my most urgent application of superstitious beliefs. I’m not saying I believe saying it definitely affects my life, but I can’t say it doesn’t. Like punching in that doomswitch code in Lost Season Two (please no spoilers), I’m too afraid to stop doing it.

I try to pay attention to my luck each month and compare it to how well I executed the rabbit saying at the beginning of the month. I know that in October, when I made the EPT final table, I nailed it perfectly. January was a rough month of poker and I remember butchering it horribly because people were staying at my house after the New Year’s Eve party. I rebounded in February with a flawless execution and won the Tilt 1k Monday four days into the month. In May I botched the saying, had my finger broken in a freak accident the second day of the month, and basically suffered through a month of miserable small-scale luck. I knew June would be the most important month of my life to date as far as pure luck is concerned, yet I screwed it up terribly on my way to the bathroom in a suite at the Rio. I thought I was in the clear a week into the month after two big, luck-aided early runs, but since then the poker has been a nightmare. I try to avoid whining on this blog and won’t tell bad beat stories here, but it has not been pretty. I took extra special care last night and did not say a word between midnight and when I got out of bed in the morning and said it.

In my WSOP preview I wrote “I know it is possible for the best players to have a losing WSOP. I am certain that the only way I can lose this summer is if I am extremely unlucky. Everything else has been accounted for.” Although I do not consider myself one of “the best players”, I still believe the rest of it (except for the over/unders – those were way off). Everything in that preview remains true. I have consistently played well and exhibited none of the usual symptoms of a poker downswing. There has been no stack-dumping, very little negative attitude, no tilty play, just the best poker of my life day in and day out. I made a couple mistakes in the $1500 shorthanded I finished 12th in. Since then I’ve been happy with almost every decision.

Players in a rut often say how much they hate poker. They keep playing because they feel desperate to get the money back, despite a hatred for what they are doing. I still love poker. I just hate losing. Every day I get up excited to play in another tournament, and I’ve enjoyed every one. I like playing the game as much as ever. As long as I feel that way, I’ll keep playing.

Frequent readers of this blog know how much stock I put into things like destiny, karma, “Plans”, dreams, spirits, outside forces, and so on.

Commenting on my WSOP preview, Joe Pelton wrote “under on your results vs your expectations your story arc needs a high level bracelet or an epic fail at this point…” This comment struck a chord with me as I tend to believe that everything that has happened and is going to happen is part of a preordained Plan. At this point, it makes little dramatic sense for this part of the story to end with a quiet exit from the main event. This doesn’t seem like the time for a boring WSOP to end with three cashes, no final tables, and no big result good or bad. It seems like the time for the climax – whatever that may be.

The last fortune cookie I ate, cracked right before I left for Vegas in May, said “You are blessed with good health. That is your form of wealth.” My health has been perfect throughout the World Series. Most people I know out here have had some major illness or other health issue – the Castle has had two hospitalizations so far – while I haven’t even had a sunburn. Whether you believe this is a result of kismet, variance, or simply a healthy lifestyle, I think we can all agree good health is the finest form of both luck and wealth. I am indeed a wealthy and lucky man.

June Top 15

15. Wilco - Either Way
14. Neil Young - Heart of Gold
13. LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge
12. Feist - 1234
11. Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten

10. Manic Street Preachers - Motorcycle Emptiness
9. LCD Soundsystem - Yeah (Pretentious Version)
8. Cake - Long Line of Cars
7. Hunters & Collectors - Holy Grail
6. Sam Phillips - I Need Love

5. Muse - Take a Bow
4. Tift Merritt - Broken
3. Smashing Pumpkins - Cherub Rock
2. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Salvation

Song of the Month: Alanis Morissette - All I Really Want