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Daniel - Poker Journal

Where to Begin?

14 Jun 2005

So much so that I don't even know where to start. I guess the no limit hold'em rebuy event is as good a place as any:

I played wild and recklessly in the $1000 buy in no limit hold'em event with rebuys trying to amass a large stack of chips. After 12 rebuys my mission was accomplished.

For the first time in the WSOP I found myself deep in a tournament with a decent amount of chips. The event paid 72 spots and with 73 players left I had about 32,000 in chips which was above average.

A friend of mine decided to walk by and say, "Congrats on your first cash." In other words, the kiss of death!

I ended up going broke with two pair against a straight making several shorts stacks lifetime fans along the way. Oh well, I wasn't there to finish 72nd obviously.

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I got deep again in the $2000 limit hold'em event. I was down to 500 early when someone reminded me that I'd won this event last year. That lit a fire under my butt and I went on a tear. I made my first cash official, but was disappointed to come in 36th.

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Amidst all this, I attended a party over at Wynn as they were having a special poker tournament for Net Jets best customers. A few names of note that were in attendance included Matt Damon, Pete Sampras, and Wayne Gretzky.

I'd seen Matt around several times, but never introduced myself. I dunno, that's just not my style really. As I walked by his table, though, he grabbed my arm and told me that he watched me on TV all of the time.

We ended up talking for about 10 to 15 minutes and he really blew me away. I'd heard that he was a nice guy from several people and man were they right.

He was playing in the event while his girlfriend was by his side watching. We talked poker for a little bit, but mostly we talked movies. I've seen several movies he's been in they rate pretty high on my all-time favorites list.

I told him that I don't even like action movies at all really, but the Bourne series was awesome. He genuinely appreciated the compliment and you could tell. Seemed like a really straight up, low key guy that hasn‘t let fame get to him at all.

After I let him get back to playing I walked around to some of the other tables saying hello. As Gretzky went over to get a coffee I decided to go against my norm and introduce myself.

He didn't have a clue who I was, so the meeting was rather awkward. That's why I don't do that!

As I kept walking I noticed Pete Sampras and he called me over. He apparently watches a lot of poker on television and knew who I was. As I got over there he had very few chips.

Then he won a race and was back in business. As I was saying my goodbyes he said, "Wait, you can't leave now!"

The whole event was a lot of fun and everyone seemed to be having a good time. The room was set up beautifully and the tournament went off without a hitch.

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No other tournament finishes for me, but Marco Traniello has been on fire which is a pretty amazing story. If that name sounds somewhat familiar to you it's became that's Jennifer Harman-Traniello's husband.

Marco had never played a hand of poker before he met Jennifer I don't think. He's watched more high limit poker, though, than anyone else in the world over the last few years as a "professional sweater" as he likes to call himself.

Well it looks like all of that sweating Jennifer in the biggest games in the world has turned Marco into quite a player. He is at the final table of the pot limit hold'em event tomorrow. Not only that, he's already cashed FOUR times at this year's WSOP. That's pretty crazy. Oh, and no, I don't believe Marco has read a poker book in case you were curious!

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Yesterday after another early exit for both Barry Greenstein and me, we headed over to Wynn to play another match for $500,000. Barry wouldn't tell me what game he was going to choose, but my money was on pot limit Omaha.

Barry did say, though, that if I didn't like the game he chose I could have a rematch in 7 Card Stud. When Barry got there I asked him what we'd be playing. "Pot Limit Omaha," he replied.

"I knew it! I knew you'd pick pot limit Omaha. OK, let's play stud then," I said.

The match went back and forth for a while. I was up early, then he was up. I was even, I was down, etc. At about 11:00pm I started hitting some hands, though, and finally pulled ahead.

At midnight I was up less than $100,000, but was on a mini rush so I wanted to continue. Barry looked tired, but I thought I'd ask anyway, "Another hour Barry?"

"Hmm... let me think about it. Ok, another hour is good," he said after some thought.

I was really hoping to widen the lead in that hour, but I won maybe 20,000 more before quitting time. I ended the night up $92,000 and the match will continue when we are both out of a tournament.

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Today I went a little crazy in the pot limit Omaha event rebuying 16 times. It's really not that hard to do in that game actually, but I clearly could have avoiding going broke on several of the hands.

After the rebuy period, nothing materialized for me and I was out by 5:00pm. Barry was still in so I headed home to catch up on some TV.

I watched two programs that really stuck with me: MTV's True Life: I'm flat broke, and an episode of 60 Minutes dealing with yet another Catholic Priest pedophile and some mind reader.

I'm Flat Broke- this one was tough to watch. It was a documentary covering three different people who are all struggling financially. A 21 year old black kid named DeMarlon, who was living in a shack in Illinois with his parents and five brothers and sisters.

A Mexican girl named Sandra from Oakland, CA who was trying to braid hair to make ends meet.

Then finally an 18 year old self-proclaimed "white trash" girl from Indiana who was working in a restaurant trying to make enough money so she could go back to school.

The stories that really hit home for me most were Sandra’s and especially DeMarlon‘s. DeMarlon really wanted to go to the Army and make a better life for himself, but he had problems with reading. He also had a record for a crime he committed as a teenager.

Anyway, watching these people's lives made me feel horrible. Not only for them, but for the fact that I know I could do more to help people like that. They want to work, they want a better life, and I have the means to make it happen.

I have no illusions of being able to save the world, but it did make me feel like I need to make more of a difference in this world. By that I don't mean winning bracelets, I mean changing people's lives for the better.

I was blessed with the ability to make a lot of money fast if I work hard. I don't really need too many fancy toys (gotta have the Golden Tee though), and overall I feel personally obligated to make the most out of my gifts.

This episode in particular, though, made me realize that not only are people struggling to survive in third world countries, but so many people in this country are barely surviving!

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The Catholic Priest- This story made me sick to my stomach, especially because it's become all too common. I don't even know where to begin, but in one part of the story they talked about a special center specializing in help for Catholic Priest pedophiles. Now, if you have a special center for Catholic Priest pedophiles there is something really wrong going on here!

I have nothing against the Catholic faith at all. I just find it so disturbing, the number of cases against the Priests. My personal beliefs aren't exactly in line with Catholicism, because I believe that we can all have a personal relationship with God. I don't feel as though we need a Priest as a buffer between us and God.

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The Mind Reader- This guy blew me away. 60 Minutes focused on a guy named Mark "Something" and he could "read your mind." It's was uncanny.

Of course, as he explained how he does it he went into great detail explaining that he can't read minds, but he can read thoughts. The two are very different. He can only take what you give him, so if you focus on a number for example he can guess it with remarkable accuracy.

His methods are highly based on body language which got me to thinking, "How awesome would this guy be if he played poker?" I honestly, and truly believe that he is the best poker player in the world bar none. I don't even care if he's ever played a hand of poker in his life! If he could read thoughts the way I saw him do on the program, a quick lesson in poker basics would make him the best no limit hold'em player in the world.

Which again, got me thinking about what I've been doing lately. I've always felt like my greatest asset, or gift at the poker table is my ability to read others thoughts. Either based on facial expressions, the way they put their chips into a pot, their eyes, their throat, their posture, etc.

Lately, I've just been playing the cards! That's simply not good enough. This mind reader guy helped me to realize that I haven't been utilizing my biggest strength: the ability to read people.

It's like wow, what an epiphany! Tomorrow is the $5000 NL hold'em event and frankly, I feel like I'm going to win it! As crazy as that sounds, and as unlikely as it is to happen, I think I've found what's been missing these last few months.

So on that note, it's time to get in my 8 hours of sleep and go on a tear in the tournament tomorrow.

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