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Daniel - Poker Journal

Good Times

01 Aug 2005

I woke up at about 11:00am and made some last minute preparations since the guys were scheduled to be over at the house by 12:30pm. The coolers were full, the chips and dip were out, and the catered food from Whole Foods was on the way.

The mammoth limo arrived right on time and everyone was making themselves comfortable. Eric Rosenberg of Poker Updates was also there to help get some shots of the weekend for Full Contact Poker.

There were people in the backyard by the pool, others wandering in the kitchen, some on the computer, practicing Golden Tee, or even getting a massage in my lounge chair.

After about 15 minutes of getting comfortable it was time to start the matches. The first game would be heads up limit hold'em and Chadwick had a dilemma on his hands. He could go with Eric Rosenberg or the young DCSports.

After playing with DC for just a little bit last night, I already knew that he was the guy Chadwick should pick. Instead, he went with Eric Rosenberg... the camera guy! LOL.

MATCH #1 Limit Hold'em: Within the first five minutes I made two straights against Eric and had an early 3-1 chip lead. Despite fighting off SEVEN all in confrontations, Eric finally got whittled down and that gave me a 1-0 lead on the day.

After a short break it was time for match number two: a best two out of three match in NFL Blitz. Chadwick looked around the room, but couldn't find anybody who he felt would have a chance in the game so he decided to take me on himself. To be fair, I used the Arizona Cardinals, one of the worst teams in the game vs. his Green Bay Packers.

MATCH #2 NFL Blitz (2 out of 3): This one was a total mismatch. In fact, in game one I broke several of my records in the game scoring 50 points! The final score in game one was 50-0.
Chadwick decided to give Travis a shot at a comeback and this game came down to the wire. It was my Buffalo Bills team against his San Francisco 49er squad.
In the early going it was an all out defensive battle, tied 0-0 after one quarter. Then I was able to connect on a sweet hail Mary pass and take a 7-0 lead. With just seconds left in the half, though, a defensive mistake cost me a touchdown and we went to the half tied 7-7.
I got on the board again in the third quarter and took a 14-7 lead. With just 1:08 left in the fourth quarter Travis came back strong and tied the game 14-14.
A solid drive by the Bills, though, saw me go 70 yards for a score leaving just 16 ticks left on the clock. Final Score Buffalo 21 San Francisco 14. After two matches I was defending my turf well and had a 2-0 lead in the matches.

Going into match #3 we had a little bit of a controversy. Chadwick wanted to have Travis play me in the NBA Showtime and I wasn't too excited about that since Travis has been practicing more than I have. I finally allowed the substitution, though, and match #3 was set.

MATCH #3 NBA Showtime (2 out of 3): I went with the Toronto Raptors and the trusty duo of Vince Carter and Charles Oakley. Travis went with the Portland Trailblazers using Arvedis Sabonis and some old, short, Santa Claus lookin', white dude that he created.
This old dude was so annoying. He nailed virtually every shot from three point land and was impossible to stop. Travis lead the game for most of the way, but I made a run in the fourth quarter sending the game to overtime tied 76 a piece!
In the overtime I took a four point lead thanks to back to back steals by Charles Oakley and it looked like I might be able to steal an early victory. Then that annoying little bugger gets hot and nails a three at the buzzer to win the first game 91-90. The old dude broke a record scoring all 91 points.

For game two we switched sides and I decided to switch strategies. I'd never really used the Indiana Pacers before, but the combination of Chris Mullin and Reggie Miller from 3 point land sounded enticing. Game 2 was Travis' Blazers vs. my Pacers.

Things didn't go well early and I was down as much as 11. A big push in the third quarter, though, saw me take a brief lead. In the end, though, I just couldn't stop the old dude from shooting the lights out from three point land and lost game 2 by a score of 63-60. That got Chadwick on the board and netted him $500.

The next set of games was scheduled to take place over at E-DOG's bachelor pad. E-DOG wasn't even there, but his roommates Bill and Ryan were home.

E-DOG added an air hockey table since the last time I was there which kept people occupied. Jennifer and Marco dropped by for a little bit also.

Chadwick was practicing at the pool table while Jeffgen was outside working on his special HORSE shots.

MATCH #4 8-Ball (2 out of 3): I really didn't think I could lose at the pool, but anything can happen. Especially if I play terribly. Chadwick had a legitimate shot to win both games 1 and 2 thanks to me missing some easy ones, but in the end I was able to pull it out and won both games. That had me back up 3-1 after four matches.

MATCH #5 9-Ball: 9-ball is a more fluky game so I was definitely worried about this one. Chadwick making the 9 ball in game one had me even more worried.

In game 2, he scratched giving me ball in hand. The one ball was lined up with the 9-ball and gave me an opportunity to go for a 1-9 bank combo in the side pocket. I smacked it in and was back to 1-1.

Game 3 was ugly. I made some really nice shots early on, but then just blew it down the stretch and Chadwick pulled one out with his wife Holly cheering him on, leaving the score Daniel 3, Team FCP 2.

I didn't think I had a prayer in my next match. Jeffgen was out there practicing for an hour and was doing some behind the basket shots that had my jaw dropping, "I can't do that!"

MATCH #6 HORSE (2 out of 3): Jeffgen starts out on fire with all these ridiculous and crazy shots. Underneath the basket, behind the basket, through the leg up and over lay ups. I was doomed, down HORS to H.

Then Jeffgen left the door open and I decided to go with my bread and butter Chris Mullin baseline shot. It's the only real weapon I have!
I was able to make a couple and the good news is Jeffgen was having tons of trouble from that spot! I ended up coming all the way back from down HORS to H, and won the first game!

In the second game I went with more of the same: baseline jumpers. I actually strategized using some poker theory. The shots he was trying to make were very low percentage shots. If he made one he'd pretty much ensure that I'd get a letter, but he just couldn't make that many.
I decided to keep control of the ball by taking very high percentage shots. I could make about 80% and if he missed one along the way, great. Well, it turns out that Jeffgem was having trouble with the easy ones!
His strategy was to practice all of these crazy shots out in the heat. How did I prepare? By not practicing at all and having a beer with the guys inside where it was nice and cool!
I ended up winning game two also HORSE to HO. That gave me a comfortable lead going back to my place, 4-2.

Our limo driver picked us up at 5:15pm and we all headed back to my house to finish off the matches. Next on the agenda was an 18 hole match play vs. Royal Tour.

MATCH #7 Golden Tee: Royal Tour picked the course and went with an easy one, Blue Horizon. Right out of the gate I was smoking him. If I'd been keeping score I'd have been on record pace after nine holes. I think I made zero pars on the front 9, 7 birdies and 2 eagles.
After 11 holes I clinched the win and was now looking at 5 wins to 2 losses going into the final match of the day.

MATCH #8 No Limit Hold'em: Chadwick decided to take me on himself in the no limit hold'em and he gave me a tough test. It was tough to get a read on him, because frankly I'm not so sure HE knew what he was doing!
In the end, though, I grinded him down and ended the day 6-2 which meant a $1000 prize for Chadwick. That, and of course the free trip and all.

By that time Evelyn and David Williams dropped by to check out a cool feature called Inside STACKED that compiled several interviews and some other footage from the photo shoot we did for the game. The piece was just awesome and everyone who saw it agreed.

We all had a little time to hang out before heading back to Wynn for dinner and I had a chance to talk to Chadwick and his wife Holly a little more. Now, this is what blows me away: I have been an MTV reality show freak for years and have watched almost every season of Real World and Road Rules. Something about Holly and Chadwick looked familiar to me when he finally let me know that they were both on Road Rules!

The dude who won my logo contest was from Road Rules! Anyway, Chadwick actually had an interesting question for me. Both Chadwick and Holly are Christians and have had their problems when expressing their beliefs in the public eye. They've both been shunned for expressing their beliefs publicly and wanted to know how I handle it.

I explained to them that being a Christian isn't all that popular. Especially when people connect your beliefs to some of the horrible things that some Christians might do to others. From being too judgmental, self righteous, or just too "preachy." Personally, I hate all that just as much as many of the non-believers do.

All in all, though, I just expressed to them that not everyone is going to like you and if they do then you aren't being true to yourself. You need to be able to go to bed at night happy with who you are and what you believe.

We ended up having a great conversation and I look forward to meeting up with them next time I'm in LA- very cool people.

The time came when everyone needed to head back to Wynn to freshen up for dinner at Wing Lei. We had a private room there for 11 that was just awesome. It was just the finalists, myself, and Team FCP.

Before we started dinner Jason Bo did something I thought was very thoughtful. My birthday had just passed and I didn't get any gifts. Jason remembered that and brought me a gift. Something I'll definitely use for sure too. It's a leather Team Canada jacket that says Canada on the back and has the Canadian flag on the left chest. Thanks Jason, I truly appreciate it.

We started dinner with a few toasts. It seemed like everyone got their turn to share a toast and it got us all a little toasty if you know what I mean! Chadwick ordered up some hot sake and we spun it around the table, literally. I have no idea how many bottles of sake we went through and I don't really wanna know!

Things started to get hairy as dinner was winding down. I had a full eggplant dish that I never touched, because I was already full. I don't know how it happened, but somehow Chris Lash convinced Chadwick to eat the whole dish in two minutes and he'd win $100.

No way. There was no way he could eat all that in two minutes. Well, after about a minute it looked like Chadwick was doomed. Then in the last 30 seconds he kicked it into turbo mode and scarfed it all down! I couldn't believe, then I remembered that he's done a Real World/Road Rules Challenge before so this must have been a piece of cake for him.

Speaking of cake, when the dessert came out it also came with a plate of Wasabi for all 11 of us. Somehow, we got the idea to offer $200 to anybody to eat all that. That could like, kill you!

I decided to ask the waiter if he would do it. He said no, but that his assistant waiter would do it. The assistant came in, but was still saying no. "How about $300?" I said.

Still no. "OK, $500 to eat that whole dish of Wasabi!" It was my final offer and with some heavy coaxing from the others he finally agreed.

This poor guy inhaled like a pound of Wasabi all in one shot. You just had to see his face! In fact, you might get a chance to because we have it on video, LOL. He looked like he was going to pass out, but he managed to scarf down all that Wasabi and won himself $500.

Apparently the poor guy went to the bathroom and threw it all up. He is going to feel that one for the rest of the week!

Our last stop of the night was La Bete where we arranged for a table right next to the dance floor. The place was jam packed, but we were able to get in through the VIP line. It pays to have connections (wink, wink).

We had some more drinks there and had a good time dancing the night away. In the meantime, I had absolutely no intentions of driving home. Not after all the Sake! Sake! Sake! we had at dinner, coupled with the beers during the day, and finally the vodka cranberry drinks at the club.

The always thoughtful Jason Bo and the Governator walked me to the Taxi stand and I hit the sack like a ton of bricks.

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Today is all about relaxing for me. Surfing the net, watching some TV, and vegging out on the couch with Mushu. I've also made a decision to start contributing to the Poker Strategy Forum at www.fullcontactpoker.com. I'm active in the General Forum, but really could do more by adding content to the Strategy section that is already huge.

In other news, my mini-trip to Toronto is all set. I'm on a red eye that gets me into Toronto on the 3rd and I head back to Vegas on the 7th. The main purpose of the trip is to play in the Chris Pronger Celebrity Golf Tournament. I'm kinda worried actually, I already suck at Golf and I haven't hit a ball in forever! Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow!

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