Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday Sombrero

I decided to play the $3500 main event here at Borgata on day 1b, Monday, instead of Sunday so I could play the super-size online tournaments. That decision backfired as I struck out in the seven I played without coming anywhere near a cash.

Here's an interesting hand from Wednesday's $100 6-max rebuy on Full Tilt where I put myself in an awkward spot:

Full Tilt Poker Game #17970344972: $200,000 Guarantee (Rebuy) (132836229), Table 106 - 60/120 - No Limit Hold'em - 22:38:43 ET - 2010/01/27
Seat 1: sprstoner (4,653)
Seat 2: benba (8,261)
Seat 3: casperPAPL (2,887)
Seat 4: GnightMoon (9,448)
Seat 5: Martin Klaeser (11,459)
Seat 6: PreshaDroppa (9,437)
GnightMoon posts the small blind of 60
Martin Klaeser posts the big blind of 120
The button is in seat #3
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to GnightMoon [Jc Js]
PreshaDroppa folds
sprstoner folds
benba has 15 seconds left to act
benba folds
casperPAPL calls 120
GnightMoon raises to 420
Martin Klaeser has 15 seconds left to act
Martin Klaeser raises to 1,125
casperPAPL folds
GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon calls 705
*** FLOP *** [6h 7s 4c]
GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon checks
Martin Klaeser bets 895
GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon calls 895
*** TURN *** [6h 7s 4c] [8d]
GnightMoon checks
Martin Klaeser has 15 seconds left to act
Martin Klaeser bets 1,995
GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon has requested TIME


Friday, January 29, 2010

Borgata Heads Up Day Two

When I walked into the poker area for my semifinal match, the other three guys still in were discussing a deal. I listened to what they had to say and eventually caved and agreed to a deal where I walked away with a little more than $27k, a little more than my expected value assuming we were all even in skill.

I immediately regretted it. I came here to gamble, to play poker, to win tournaments. I don't know what I was thinking.

Borgata Heads Up

I won five consecutive matches in the Borgata 2k Heads Up event before losing a comically epic battle to Farzad Rouhani in the final round of the winner's bracket. It's not over though. I will play someone Friday night for the right to play Rouhani in the finals.

If I lose the first match tomorrow, I will be paid something like $18k. If I win the first match then lose to Rouhani, I will be paid something like $26k. If I win the first match then beat Rouhani twice, I will win the tournament and receive $49k.

I started at 11 on short rest after an online final table the night before and played till 5 AM (with lots of breaks). I will probably fall asleep for about twelve hours now so the $1625 NLHE tomorrow is likely out.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


The kid who busted me in Biloxi, Jerry Vandystrock, went on to take third place in the tournament. If his kings had held up in a big pot against Hoyt Corkins, he likely would have won the tournament. Ironic from my point of view.

I know that hand against me might have been Jerry's worst of the tournament, I know I had him misled, and I know I could have won that tournament.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My 100 Favorite Songs: #22

Steely Dan - Do It Again

Now you swear and kick and beg us
That you're not a gamblin' 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

Monday, January 25, 2010

Biloxi Day Two

I am rather disappointed, having busted out of the Biloxi WPT with kings against ace-queen in a large pot where all the money went in before the flop. I was reminded of this moment from the Borgata, which is where I am heading tomorrow to lick the wounds from another crushing tournament exit.

Biloxi Day One

Today was pretty delightful. I had the best seat at the easiest $10k tournament table I have ever had. I cruised up to 90k without incident before finishing the day with a pedestrian 77k.

I was touched by this story of a player at my table, and spent a lot of time thinking about how fortunate I was today to play poker and watch some exciting football. From

Six months ago, Connie Voss of Lufkin, Texas was diagnosed with terminal cancer and given four months to live. The math is not in her favor. The #1 item on Connie's "bucket list" was to play in a World Poker Tour event. So her friends banded together and raised enough money to pay her $10,000 buyin, and here she sits, taking her shot at a major poker tournament.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Championship Picks

If forced to choose:

Jets +8 over COLTS
SAINTS -3.5 over Vikings

Lock season record: 1-0
Really like season record: 5-10
Also like season record: 42-47
If forced to choose season record: 77-78-4
All games season record: 125-135-4

Saturday, January 23, 2010

On The Road Again

I am headed to Biloxi, MS to play the $10k Southern Poker Championship on Sunday. After that it will be off to Atlantic City for the Borgata Winter Poker Open.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wise Words From Brian Shelby

"Without the bitter, the sweet ain't as sweet."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Couple Sunday Hands

Early in the Pokerstars Sunday Million:

PokerStars Game #38318259055: Tournament #262020010, $200+$15 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level II (50/100) - 2010/01/17 16:54:53 ET
Table '262020010 442' 9-max Seat #5 is the button
Seat 1: gorav114 (10575 in chips)
Seat 2: Wyslannik123 (10925 in chips)
Seat 3: drritalin (8725 in chips)
Seat 4: .dmmarquez (10900 in chips)
Seat 5: Sage Phantom (10400 in chips)
Seat 6: mcelesti (10650 in chips)
Seat 7: Bergmannen (9400 in chips)
Seat 8: le Goupil (8375 in chips)
Seat 9: Kingston 88 (9300 in chips)
mcelesti: posts small blind 50
Bergmannen: posts big blind 100
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Sage Phantom [Qs Ad]
le Goupil: folds
Kingston 88: calls 100
gorav114: folds
Wyslannik123: folds
drritalin: folds
gorav114 is sitting out
.dmmarquez: raises 400 to 500
Sage Phantom: raises 1000 to 1500
mcelesti: folds
Bergmannen: folds
Kingston 88: folds
.dmmarquez: calls 1000
*** FLOP *** [5c 8c Ah]
.dmmarquez: checks
Sage Phantom: checks
*** TURN *** [5c 8c Ah] [Ks]
.dmmarquez: bets 2100
Sage Phantom: calls 2100
*** RIVER *** [5c 8c Ah Ks] [6c]
.dmmarquez: bets 7100


Late in the Full Tilt Million:

Full Tilt Poker Game #17691343455: $1 Million Guarantee (119771997), Table 88 - 2000/4000 Ante 500 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:33:33 ET - 2010/01/18
Seat 1: BBQchicken1 (66,102)
Seat 2: magikstick8 (109,047)
Seat 3: Jeff Madsen (260,403)
Seat 4: GnightMoon (149,606)
Seat 6: kudos1017 (245,608)
Seat 7: the surf 1 (76,545)
Seat 8: ship hamilton (151,800)
Seat 9: zmeyga (212,368)
BBQchicken1 antes 500
magikstick8 antes 500
Jeff Madsen antes 500
GnightMoon antes 500
kudos1017 antes 500
the surf 1 antes 500
ship hamilton antes 500
zmeyga antes 500
Jeff Madsen posts the small blind of 2,000
GnightMoon posts the big blind of 4,000
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to GnightMoon [8d Qh]
kudos1017 folds
the surf 1 folds
ship hamilton folds
zmeyga folds
BBQchicken1 folds
magikstick8 folds
Jeff Madsen calls 2,000
GnightMoon checks
*** FLOP *** [Ts 9s Qs]
Jeff Madsen bets 7,600
GnightMoon has 15 seconds left to act
GnightMoon calls 7,600
*** TURN *** [Ts 9s Qs] [8c]
Jeff Madsen checks
GnightMoon checks
*** RIVER *** [Ts 9s Qs 8c] [2c]
Jeff Madsen bets 18,300


Wise Words From Lawrence Jackson

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Lawrence Jackson talking about Lane Kiffin on the Jim Rome Show:

"If you drive a Honda, you want to drive a Lexus. If you have a Lexus, you want to have a Benz. If you have a Benz, you want to move on up to a luxury sports car."

Monday, January 18, 2010


I made a couple big runs in the Sunday tournaments today. Although it was a profitable day, I fell short of a memorable score. I also made a costly mistake in a satellite that may haunt me for a while.

I am getting closer - in poker and in life. It is a long road, but I am working hard.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Divisional Picks

Also like:

Jets +7.5 over CHARGERS
VIKINGS -2.5 over Cowboys

If forced to choose:

Ravens +6.5 over COLTS
Cardinals +7 over SAINTS

Lock season record: 1-0
Really like season record: 5-10
Also like season record: 40-47
If forced to choose season record: 77-76-4
All games season record: 123-133-4

Lessons Learned From The Extraordinary Measures Poster


Friday, January 15, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

couldn't be the year, could it?

Things can turn around in the blink of an eye.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bounty Hunter Hand

Near the bubble of the $650 PCA Bounty Hunter tournament. 8-handed. Blinds 1000-2000, 200 ante. I had about 55k which was above average. I found two tens in second position and raised to 4300. It should be noted I would have raised anything decent (down to about 9-8 offsuit, jack-seven suited) in this spot.

The small blind, who had about 65k, called. All others folded. This player was a foreign fellow of about 35 years. I had taken two pots off him, the first when I called his raise in the big blind and the next hand when I called his raise from the small blind with 98s which was eventually shown down. This man was visibly upset with me, as he had come to the table with a mountain of chips and had been grappling with me for control of the table. Although he seemed like a good player, it appeared he was growing frustrated and had it out for me.

The flop came AsKs6x and he bet out 6k fairly quickly. I didn't believe there was any line I could take to buy this pot off him if he had an ace, and maybe not if he had a king. With this knowledge, what is my best course of action?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Last Thoughts on Bahamas

I finished 14th in the $650 Bounty Hunter event down here for $1660 plus three $100 bounties.

I am headed home Tuesday.

I have learned a lot down here about poker and more about myself. The hole I find myself in is even deeper than I imagined and the tools I have to dig out may not be as sharp as I thought they were. But the excavation doesn't have to be a miserable experience.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

PCA Heads Up

I lost to my first opponent of the PCA $1100 heads up tournament. In the best of three format, I lost the first match, won the second, and had a solid lead before this hand came up in the third match:

Blinds 50-100. He has about 3700 and I have about 6300. I limped the button with QJo. There were reasons I limped rather than raised here but they are complicated and I won't get into them here. He checked his option. Flop J43 rainbow. He bet 150 and I raised to 400. He quickly called. Turn 3c, second club. He bet 650, I dwelled for a bit and called. River 2 he bet 1400. I thought a very long time.

Here are some of the things I know about him at this point:
  1. He is a good player, but I thought I was a little better
  2. He has not launched a big multi-street bluff throughout the match
  3. He is fairly nitty
  4. I believed my image to be a little looser and more aggressive than his, but nowhere near wild. In other words, I would expect him to give me some credit for a hand when I raised his flop bet
  5. Nothing physical other than the quickness of his flop call
I put him on one of three hands: 6-5, 5-2, or a full house. When he bet the turn I thought he could have a jack, but the more I thought about this player and his tendencies the more I felt he would have checked a jack to me on the turn. At first I was pretty sure I was calling because many good players could be value/block betting a jack-ten or jack-nine here, but I grew increasingly convinced he would check-call all of his jacks on the turn.

I did think he was tricky enough to bet out with two pair and call a raise, then bet out with a boat on the turn.

6-5 dominated all the other holdings. Everything about the way he played the hand, based on general poker strategy along with this player's unique tendencies, screamed 6-5. I told myself if he had 6-5, that would be precisely how he would play it.

5-2 is only slightly different from the 6-5. The biggest difference is that 5-2 makes bottom pair on the end where 6-5 makes the straight. Often players will check a pair on the end after bluffing their draw, but here a pair of deuces is very unlikely to be the best hand.

After tanking about all this for a couple minutes I resisted the urge to call and threw away my hand. I think my analysis was sound. What do you guys think?

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Wild Card Picks

Really like:

BENGALS -2.5 over Jets

Also like:

Eagles +4 over COWBOYS

If forced to choose:

Packers +1 over CARDINALS
PATRIOTS -3.5 over Ravens

Lock season record: 1-0
Really like season record: 5-9
Also like season record: 40-46
If forced to choose season record: 77-74-4
All games season record: 123-129-4

Friday, January 08, 2010

PCA Day Three

I finished 227th in the PCA. The Fish finished 229th. Normally these would not be notable placements but in this event they are because they paid 224 places a minimum of $15k.

This should have been the most distressing bubble of my life but I am not too troubled. I am still very happy to be down here. After busting out I found some friends and rode down waterslides for the rest of the day, then had a nice dinner with good people. Tomorrow will be more of the same.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

PCA Day Two

I am still breathing in the PCA main event. I spent the entire day as a short stack and emerged with 64,600 chips, which is less than half the average. But it is also my high water mark of the entire tournament.

I am so grateful to still be in this event, not only for the chance at prize money but also the experience. It's so great to play with people like Matt Graham, Annette Obrestad, and Phil Ivey (first time ever). I learn so much every time I play one of these, and nothing in the world is more exciting.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

PCA Day One

I am onto day two of the PCA with 58,400 chips, which I believe is a little above average.

There is nowhere in the world I would rather be right now than in the Bahamas playing this poker tournament. Every day has been better than the last. I was hypnotized there for a while by some things I thought I wanted but did not, but I am remembering what it is to be Tom Fuller - and it's not too bad.

Condolences to the Wolf, who lost an ugly hand to a fish to get knocked out just as this great tournament was getting started.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Vince, Can You Believe This? He’s Reaching For Chips!

It has been a rough couple months.

Eight weeks ago I got sick. Flu. Someone told me they got the flu and they were “80%” three weeks later, still coughing. I laughed. I don’t get sick often, and I certainly don’t get sick for more than a few days. Four weeks after I got sick, I was still coughing. It was getting better, though. I went yurting, and I went snowboarding. My cardio wasn’t there and the altitude gave me a headache, but I did okay.

Then I got sicker. I felt weaker and the cough intensified. I called the doctor’s office, and a nurse told me I had just exacerbated the flu. Be patient, she said. This one takes time.

Two weeks later I was still sick. I went to the doctor. Bronchitis, she said. Here’s some antibiotics. I took the antibiotics, I drank fluids, and I tried to rest. But I’ve had trouble sleeping. My puppy has had diarrhea. And sometimes I would wake up thinking about this girl, and couldn't get back to sleep.

Another devastating rejection. The circumstances surrounding this one are rather distressing, particularly difficult to digest.

During the last two months, I spent a lot of time watching tv, contemplating what I did to deserve some of these awful things, and thinking about why I’m unhappy. The conclusion I came to is something I’ve known for years, but never quite faced head-on: I spend way too much time watching tv and thinking about why I’m unhappy.

I have many good friends. Most of them are relatively happy, or so it appears. I have studied them carefully during this time, looking for patterns of lifestyle, searching for ways I might be able to improve my own life. I lump my friends into two categories – those who are settled, and those who are unsettled. The settled ones have their lives roughly where they want them. There are things they would choose to change, but they are more or less satisfied with their place in life.

The unsettled ones are working hard to make their lives better. They have problems, but they zero in on them and attack them quickly. Some of these people work very hard. They are so involved in the things they are doing to make their lives better, they spend little time thinking about their hardships. They have setbacks like everyone else, but are able to quickly get past them because they move on to fresh pursuits.

I have been living the life of a settled man, but I have no reason to feel settled. It is natural for me to be complacent, to sit back and let life unfold in front of me. Typically I have done just enough to maintain a satisfactory existence. I have enough good things going for me that good people gravitate towards me without much effort on my part, that I rarely need to go the extra mile to get the job done. I have “enough” friends. I date “enough.” I do “enough” good things with my life. I write “enough” quality material. I work hard “enough” at what I do. In the back of my mind, I have deemed this good “enough” and done little to change my life. But no more. I am not happy “enough” to continue on this path.

There is no reason why I cannot be happy. My situation is exceptionally favorable. I have the physical, mental, and financial means to do whatever I want, to accomplish everything I have ever wanted to do. So during this moratorium, I thought carefully about what I most want to do deep down, the sort of things that I have always wanted to do but never had the courage or the desperation to really do right. There are three things I am going to do in 2010, things I have wanted and expected to do as long as I can remember:

1) An all-out assault on tournament poker

I vividly remember watching World Poker Tour for the first time in the summer of 2003. I instantly fell in love with the idea of traveling the country and world playing the biggest poker tournaments, chasing the dream, putting it all on the line and maybe, eventually, finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And I am still in love with that idea.

The rainbow/pot of gold imagery may be fantastical, but this world does exist. You can play half a million dollars worth of poker tournaments in one year if that’s what you want to do. You can win or lose a fortune along the way, and one of these extremes may well be my destiny. But it’s not the money that excites me about the circuit.

It’s the competition. There is nothing that appeals to me more than competing at the highest level, and I have that opportunity. I owe it to myself to go all-out for one year, to give full effort to this one thing I love, to tangle with the best, to compete as hard as I can and let the chips fall where they may.

Here’s a tentative itinerary for the first half of the year:

Jan 4-12
Paradise Island, Bahamas

Jan 23-26
Southern Poker Championship
Biloxi, MS

Feb ?

Feb 23-28
Los Angeles, CA

March 1-3
WSOP Circuit
Council Bluffs, IA

March 8-10
Shooting Star
San Jose, CA

March 11-16
Wynn Classic
Las Vegas, NV

March 20-23
Hollywood Poker Open
Lawrenceburg, IN

April 11-15
WSOP Circuit
St. Louis, MO

April 16-22
Five Star World Poker Classic
Las Vegas, NV

April 25-30
EPT Grand Final
Monte Carlo, Monaco

May ?
Pokerstars SCOOP?

May 29-July 10
Las Vegas, NV

2) Writing a book

In third grade, when other kids were trying to master a complete sentence, I wrote a story about aliens that was over a hundred hand-scrawled notebook pages long. In middle school, outside of schoolwork, I spent hundreds of hours writing a third of an action novel about a prison hostage scheme. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write a book. Yet I have never written one, even though I have the ideal means to do so. I am in a situation where I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I wasn’t ever sure if I had the material to write a compelling book, but a few weeks ago I finally pieced together a structure that should be conducive to my strengths as a writer while appealing to a broad group of readers. The book will parallel my experiences on the poker tournament circuit with my experiences on the dating circuit. The two worlds are not as different as they may seem – the more I think about it, the more I think I can juxtapose the two simultaneous quests for the Holy Grail in dramatic, engaging fashion. Much of it will be first-person but the book will also feature several character profiles supporting the thesis that most professional poker players are brilliant in one area but lacking in others. There will be history, scrutiny, anecdotes, interviews, and mostly real-time trials and tribulations as I plunge into both these worlds. The story will be far more compelling if I have any success in either venture.

I haven’t spoken with an editor or publisher. The goal right now is just to get one book under my belt.

3) A dramatic lifestyle overhaul

This is nebulous, but it essentially means being more social. This will be the hardest one to tackle, as I was born an introvert and have traditionally avoided uncomfortable social situations. I am a good man and a likable guy, but not enough people know it. I have many ideas and strategies to get around this issue. Much of the book will be about facing and hopefully overcoming this dilemma. I have instituted several checks and balances – one of which is the book itself – to ensure the completion of this social renovation.

New Year’s is my favorite holiday because it clears off the muddled slate of another underachieving year and provides symbolic liberation. I am not in high spirits, but I can see light. There is hope, great hope. I do believe I can turn my life around if I work hard enough. It all starts Monday in the Bahamas. I will be staying with The Gambler, a man whose recent troubles make mine look like a float down the lazy river at Atlantis. I can't wait to write the first chapter of the book, of 2010, of my new life.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Week Seventeen Picks

Also like:

PANTHERS -7 over Saints
Bengals +10 over JETS
Redskins +3.5 over CHARGERS

If forced to choose:

Chiefs +11 over BRONCOS
Jaguars +1.5 over BROWNS
RAIDERS +10.5 over Ravens
Titans -6 over SEAHAWKS
Bears -3 over LIONS
NINERS -7 over Rams
DOLPHINS +3 over Steelers
Giants +9 over VIKINGS
TEXANS -7 over Patriots
COWBOYS -3 over Eagles
BUCS +1.5 over Falcons
BILLS -9 over Colts
Packers +3.5 over CARDINALS

Three Team Teaser of the Week:

Bengals +20 over JETS plus Jaguars +11.5 over BROWNS plus DOLPHINS +13 over Steelers

Lock season record: 1-0
Really like season record: 5-9
Also like season record: 38-45
If forced to choose season record: 70-69-3
Teaser season record: 5-5
All games season record: 114-123-3

Friday, January 01, 2010

December Top 15

15. Ryan Adams - World War 24
14. Owl City - The Saltwater Room
13. Monsters of Folk - Whole Lotta Losin'
12. Metric - Gimme Sympathy
11. Red House Painters - Have You Forgotten

10. Monsters of Folk - Dear God (Sincerely M.O.F)
9. Ryan Adams - Anybody Wanna Take Me Home
8. Kenny Chesney - I'm Alive (With Dave Matthews)
7. Ryan Adams - Please Do Not Let Me Go
6. Ryan Adams - Love Is Hell

5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shuffle Your Feet
4. Ryan Adams - Wonderwall
3. Ryan Adams - The Shadowlands
2. Ryan Adams - Hotel Chelsea Nights

Song of the Month: Kid Cudi - Pursuit of Happiness (Feat. MGMT & Ratatat)