Daniel - Poker Journal
Who's Mr. McGuinty?09 Aug 2005
So I missed my first flight to Toronto and left a day later getting in at 7:30am on the 4th, just in time to make it over to Chris Pronger's Celebrity Golf tournament.
Of course, Gord "Andretti" picked me up in his boss Rick Silver's (of the National Poker Tour in Toronto) white stretch limo that he lets me use when I'm in town.
Gord got me to Lion Head Golf course right on time as usual, but what happened next was a little bizarre. The entrance into the Golf course was blocked off by protestors with picket signs and all.
I had absolutely no clue what was going on, but read signs like:
"McGuinty kills animals"
"Liberals are racist"
"McGuinty should be ashamed"
I had absolutely no idea who this McGuinty dude was, but apparently he pissed off a lot of people!
The protestors surrounded my limo and started shouting at me through the tinted windows. It finally dawned on me that they must think I'm McGinty! It was straight out of a Seinfeld episode.
Gord rolled down his window and was handed some literature. As for me I had no clue what to do. I didn't want to get beat down or anything, but they just wouldn't move and the cops did nothing to help.
Finally I rolled down my window and said, "Who's McGuinty? I have no idea what's going on here guys, I'm not from around here."
Luckily a few of them recognized me and where like, "Hey, you're the poker guy! Cool, let him through guys."
I went from thinking I was in for a beat down to actually signing a few hats.
Once inside I headed to the locker room to prepare. I met Pronger and we talked a little bit about his recent trade to the Edmonton Oilers which he seemed excited about. The team's made some nice acquisitions and should be decent this year, especially with a monster like Pronger back there on defense.
Then I met with the group I'd be playing with. A very cool group to golf with for sure. It was a charity event and every group that paid for the round would play with a celebrity of their choosing. Since a few of these guys were poker players, I became the obvious choice I guess.
I forewarned them that I was going to stink it up out there, but they didn't seem to mind. I gave them all of my best excuses from, "I haven't played in forever" to "I just flew in this morning."
These guys were good and luckily for me the tournament was a best ball event. My goal was to try and contribute at least 3 shots on the day that they could use.
Well, it didn't take long for shot number one. From 41 feet on the fringe I drained a 41 foot putt that had a serious break. Sweet! That was good for birdie for the team and we were off to the races.
By hole number six I knew that I really had my putter working and was feeling confident with it. From about 125 feet I nailed a putt to within one foot!
Then Petey walks right up and nails the putt for birdie. I'll take an assist on that one since I showed him the line.
We finished up strong making birdie on 17 and eagle on 18 for a team total of -11. A nice score, but well back of the eventual winners who shot -15.
After Golf we had dinner and several people said a few words. Mike "Pinball" Clemens the former running back from the Toronto Argonauts said a prayer before we ate and everyone bowed their heads. I thought that was nice to see considering how taboo that sort of thing has become these days.
Then Mario Forgione, the owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs and organizer of the event said thank yous to all of the celebrities in attendance. He actually singled me out and thanked me for making it out there despite all of the problems I had with my flight, etc. I thought that was really nice.
The speech that really got to me came right after Mario. A young nine year old boy got up there and delivered a speech that had everyone in tears.
He was a paraplegic that obviously had trouble speaking, but did such an awesome job telling about a 10 minute story about himself and how thankful he was for everyone being there to support the various charities that help improve his, and other sick kidsí quality of life.
He was such an inspiration. I don't normally cry in public like that, but I just couldn't help myself. It felt so good to be there and be a part of something that genuinely does help so many people.
It's hard to explain, but I made a decision right there and then to do more and more charity work. Maybe it's for selfish reasons in that it makes me feel so good, but so what. These events DO make a difference and I feel great about doing them.
Near the end of dinner it was time to auction off a few items. I had already bought the Edmonton Oilers jersey signed by Pronger as well as a Team Canada Olympic jersey signed by Vincent Lecavalier.
The first item up for bids was a day at Woodbine with legendary Canadian jockey Sandy Hawley for dinner and a day at the track. Now, I'm not a huge horse racing fan or anything, but I just love auctions. I always win!
I ended up buying that package for me and six of my friends for $700. Then the bidding got a little nutty when a trip to Edmonton for a game there with limo service and accommodations went up for bids.
I've never been to Edmonton, but as I said I ALWAYS win at auctions, LOL. The bidding got fierce between me and the Pinball Clemens camp.
When Pinball opened for $2700 I decided to end it right there and bid $3000. Mario then decided to let the Clemens camp know that if they matched the offer they'd give away two packages. They did, and who knows, maybe we'll all go together.
After a fun day and evening I stopped off at a local bar near my mother's place to meet an old buddy Jason and co. We hung out for a while, and then I finally hit the sack hard!
On August 5th I had some media stuff to do. I met my publicist Pereina downtown to do some 'throws' for CityTV. We had lunch and went over a few things before it was time for me to head over to The Score to do a short bit live.
That all went well and the plan for the rest of the evening was to hang out with Rick Silver and the gang: my brother and his friends Mike and Victor. All really big dudes.
We picked up everyone at my brother's house and then headed to one of them fancy, shmancy, restaurants. My brother was drinking Crown and Coke which makes a very mild mannered, quiet guy, turn into a deep philosopher, LOL.
From there we headed to a pool hall where one of Rick's poker events was taking place. Basically, they are totally free poker tournaments that take place in various venues around town. As far as I know there are two competing groups running events like that in the city and are both doing quite well. Both the Red Hot Poker Tour and the National Poker Tour have proved to me at least, that poker and gambling should not be synonymous. These bars are packed with poker players all playing for the love of the game.
From there we stopped off at Jack Aster's for a little while. Someone came up to me and said, "My friend over there is a huge fan, but is embarrassed to come over here."
So I thought I'd play a little joke on him, walking up to him rather forcefully as though I'm really mad about something and said to him, "What is all that smack you been talking about me?"
The dude looked a little startled and confused, but I quickly let him off the hook letting him know I was just messing with him. My brother and his friends however, had crazy, rabid pit bull looks in their eyes like they were about ready to destroy something- or someone.
As I said, they are some really big dudes and having all three of them staring at you like they are hungry for dinner can be scary. I had to quickly let them know that it was all a joke, "Everything's fine, stop growling guys. We're just messing around."
Phew, that was a close one. If I didn't say anything there is no telling what might have happened. I couldn't ask for a better group of bodyguards, but they can be a little trigger happy with the fisticuffs if you know what I mean.
From there we hit a club. It was kinda dead really, but we were meeting a friend of my brother's friend. Now this dude was creepy. Within the first five minutes of meeting him he explained to me, "I can have an army down here in 10 minutes. Oozies, AK-47's, Glocks, BAM! BAM! BAM! I got your back man, I know everybody down here."
Yikes. Thanks buddy, I'll remember that if I ever decided to take over a country or something. My goodness, what do I need an army for?
Feeling rather uncomfortable with the situation I grabbed Gord and told him that it was time to call it a night. No after hours clubs, no AK 47's, no nothin'!
On the 6th I took things relatively easy. I vegged out at my mom's condo and played with Mushu and Foxy (formerly known as Princess). It was really awesome to watch them play.
Foxy is a female puppy with tons of energy and speed that kills. She of course eats any and everything she can from rocks to roses to shoelaces. Just a bundle of energy. (Will post pictures soon)
Mushu seemed like the old grumpy man getting annoyed with this young little whipper snapper. He'd growl, bark, show his teeth, and finally snap when Foxy kept trying to sniff his butt!
I threw a little toy bear around and had them fetch it. Mushu would get to it first because he has better technique, and then the two would play tug of war with the poor little teddy bear.
Later that night I met with some old friends at a Karaoke bar nearby that on of them owned. It was basically just a room with an old Karaoke machine that didn't have any words to the newer songs.
We hung out for a while and ended up talking Golf. Everyone was so inspired that we decided to play a round the following day after everyone figured out a fair spot.
Andretti got me to the Golf course at 10:20am for our 10:55am tee time. That gave me a chance to hit some balls and I was really hitting them pretty good.
Unfortunately when we got onto the course I started awfully bad. A 10 on hole number one, followed by a 9, 8, and a 7. All I needed now was a double bogey 6 to fill the straight!
I shot a 63 on the front which is pretty bad. The course was beautiful. It was called Copper Creek and was a really nice course despite my poor showing.
I picked it up a little bit on the back and shot a 54 for a grand total of 117. I was hoping to shoot around 105, but having been so rusty I knew that was a long shot.
I didn't get nearly enough strokes from my buddies so I ended up losing 6, 6, and 7 bets at $200 a pop playing a Nassau format. Oh well, I'll get em' next time. It was awesome being out on the course and it made me realize how important it is to take time out of my busy schedule and spend some time outdoors. When Lori moves out here I think we are going to spend a lot of time golfing together- she is a natural.
I was home late on the 7th and when I woke up on the 8th I tried to catch up on some of the last minute wedding plans. Making sure the rooms were paid for, getting RSVPs, etc.
Then Jennifer called and asked if I was hungry. Her hubby Marco is in Italy right now so I figured I'd keep her company. We caught up on old times and ended up having a great meal at Bertolini's?
When I got home from dinner my home had been raided by a group of young punks! Travis invited Ed the challenge reporter, Jayson Weber the moderator in the www.fullconatactpoker.com forums, and his friend Chris over to play some poker.
I decided to join them in a $20 freeze out since I didn't have too much on the schedule for the evening. Travis and Ed chopped the first limit hold'em freeze out, and in the second freeze out Chris and Travis chopped us up in 2-7 triple draw.
I was so mad! I was actually playing really good and finished third both times. At least I didn't do as bad as J Web and his back to back fifth place finishes, LOL.
It is fun for me talking poker with these young guys who are so eager to learn. In fact, at dinner I was talking to Jennifer about how important it is to refresh yourself by thinking about poker all the time. These guys are learning things I haven't even thought about in like, 10 years! It's fun to go back and "re-learn" with them. Contributing to the Strategy Forum at www.fullcontactpoker.com helps keep me fresh on what's happening in the low limit online world- something I may be out of touch with.
After the freeze outs I got a call from Tyson and the boys that they were out playing pool. When I got there we had seven players and I set up a little tournament.
In the first round I drew Sam S., the best player in the group. Luckily for me, I showed up late but Sam's buddy "Johnnie Walker Blue" showed up several hours earlier! I beat Sam 2-1 and moved on to the semi's.
There I went head to head with Marcello, another friend from Toronto that is supposedly the best player in his household. That's not saying much however since the guys he lives with suck pretty bad (yeah, that includes you Ice Cream Mike).
I smoked Marcello pretty good and went head to head with Ice Cream in the finals for the title. The line on the match had me as a 1.30 favorite and I felt like that was fair. If I played "OK" I should win easy I figured.
The first game went according to plan, but then I choked big time. I missed a hanging black ball and then ended up giving away the third game also.
Ice Cream jumped out his pants and was high fiving Marcello. He ended that with, "EAT SOMMA THAT!" I don't know what it is about that line, but I just love it.
Then Ice Cream decided to lower his pants and show off his chubby butt. Why? I still have no idea.
After the tournament Marcello had something to prove and wanted to play me one on one. I was up a little bit, down a little bit, and in the end we broke dead even.
That's a pathetic result for me, though, since I'm a much better pool player than he is. I choked a few key games against him or it might have been ugly. I could have "owned" him and had him working for me!
It was about 6:00am by that time and I dropped the guys off and headed to bed.
Today I planned on being at Wynn to play Michael Covington for $500,000 in no limit hold'em at 4:00pm. His flight got delayed, though, so we'll either play later tonight or possibly tomorrow.
Other matches I have lined up include a continuation of my match with John Doe, and apparently Barry Greenstein is in town so I'll give him a call as well.
I'm definitely going to try and golf some this week since my previously scheduled plans have been postponed. I was supposed to be working on a DVD this week, but we couldn't get all of the particulars finalized in time which actually works out quite nicely for me.