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Daniel - Poker Journal

Same old, same old…

11 Dec 2004

I wasn’t even sure if I was going to wake up and play the tournament today. At about 11:26am my mother asked me if I was going to wake up and play the tournament today, and I told her I hadn’t decided yet, but probably not.

Then I called Juanda to see if he made the final table the night before. If he did, well then I really couldn’t justify another day off. John didn’t answer his phone though and I decided to get up and head in. I jumped in the shower, had my mother pack me some fruits and vegetables and I left the house a little after noon. I showed up about half an hour late and had 4850 of my original 5000 stack.

I don’t like showing up late, but it’s better than not showing up at all I guess. I tried to be upbeat when I got there, but by 1:00pm I was already uncomfortable, distracted, and totally bored. I didn’t play any hands though so I wasn’t giving my chips away.

In fact, the only two playable hands I got were Q-Q and A-K. Of course, both of those hands were misdeals! I hovered around even for a while and then the following hand came down: A player limps from early position, I raise on the button with A-Q of hearts and both the SB and limper call.

The flop came Q-10-7. They both checked, I bet and they both called. The turn came a 4, and again they both checked to me. I bet, the SB folded and the limper called. The river card was a 5, and the limper bet? I was like, “6-8 of diamonds?” Of course since it’s limit hold’em I had to see it. Well, it wasn’t the 6-8 of diamonds but it was the old set on the river trick. The guy called me down with 5-5 and hit one on the end.

Another bizarre hand occured in the next round. I raise with the 10-J of clubs, the button calls and the “Fives guy” re-raises from the SB. I call and the button folds. That’s not a typo ladies and gentlemen, the button folded!!!

So now the flop comes Q-9-4 giving me an open ended straight draw with position. The “Fives Guy” bet, I raised, he re-raised and I decided to make it four bets- he called. The turn came a Jack giving me additional outs against his AA that I put him on. He checked, and I took the free card.

The river blanked off, the “Fives Guy” bet and I am pretty certain that I saved a bet on the river by folding. The next hand I played was a multi-way pot. Three people limped in and I also limped from the cutoff with Q-9 of hearts. The flop came Q-J-2 with two hearts. You can’t ask for a much better flop than that. It goes, check, check, check, check, and bet right in front of me. I considered flat calling but decided that it would be best to raise.

The SB called two bets cold as did the first limper. The initial bettor also called. The turn was the 8 of clubs. It was checked around to me and I decided to bet once more. The SB raised me and it was folded around to me.

At this point I am absolutely certain that I need some help. The river is another total blank, the SB bet and I folded again. *Sigh* I think I started to get visibly frustrated at this point. The cards have been spitting on my face all week and frustration was setting in big time.

So now on a short stack, I raise it up from first position with A-K with the Ace of spades. Both blinds call me and the flop comes down J-10-2 of spades. They both check to me and I bet. The SB check-raised me and I just knew it wasn’t coming. That’s just how I’d been feeling all week, and sure enough it went blank-blank and I had another free afternoon.

Now I realize “That’s poker” and normally I’m very good about it. I am only human of course and getting beat down like a step child everyday will take it’s toll on anybody. What I need to do is bear down and focus on playing well rather than focusing on the negative: bad luck, bad play, boredom, smoke, slot machines, and a lack of desire.

Just when I thought I was out of my funk it reared it’s ugly head. On the bright side, I didn’t play badly for the second straight day despite the fact that I got destroyed. Tomorrow is the $3100 no limit hold’em event, and at this point I don’t really know what to do. I’ve already bought into the event, and all I can really do is try to pay attention. I’ll leave the Sports Illustrated at home, the headphones at home, and try to just bring my game face.

You know, if you told me before the Bellagio started that I would have scored zero points and still have the lead I would have laughed at you. Juanda however, must be equally frustrated spending at least 10 hours a day in every tournament trying to rack up points. He scored 84 points for his 8th place finish, but a 10th, two 11th’s, a 14th’ and several other close finishes has to be demoralizing.

As we speak, he is playing heads up with Allen Cunningham in the 25K limit hold’em heads up. If he wins, he’ll face Howard Lederer. By winning both matches he would earn some points, 280 to be exact. If he were to make it to the final he’d earn 400 points, enough to pass me. I just called the Bellagio and he has an early lead on Allen (come on Allen!)