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Daniel - Poker Journal

A Long Road Trip Ahead

18 Sep 2005

The travel schedule is going to start getting a little rough. I've had a nice stretch of being at home recently, but the coming months are going to get a little hectic.

I had planned on arriving in Atlantic city tonight, but decided to switch my flight to a later one so that I could tie up several loose ends before I leave. I'll be arriving in AC at about 6:00am and the tournament at Borgata starts at noon I believe.

When I'm done in Atlantic City, the next stop is Grand Rapids, Michigan for Luke and Lin's birthday party on the 24th. Luke and Lin are Lori's sister Jodi and Mike's kids and they are having a party for both of them since their birthdays are so close together.

I'll stay in Grand Rapids likely till the 27th when I fly to New York to do a show called, "Quite Frankly" with Steven A. Smith on ESPN. I'll be there for just a day and will either be going back to Grand Rapids or possibly Toronto from there.

On the 30th, Lori and I are going to have a second reception in Grand Rapids so that more of her friends and family can attend. The next day, is one of the most important days in my life- the AHL Hockey draft!

Kidding of course, but I love my fantasy hockey league and our yearly draft is being held in Toronto on October 1st and I'm probably going to fly in for the day to make sure I get all the players I want for the season.

That's what I WILL be doing, and this is what I HAVE been doing:

Yesterday I filmed an awesome commercial for MTV at Wynn Las Vegas. The commercial was an ad for STACKED and the concept is pretty funny. I wish I could share all of the details with you, but let's just say that you are going to get a kick out of the commercial.

That was a full day of shooting and I ended up having a late dinner over at the Cheesecake Factory with Lori, Jennifer, and Marco who just got back from Italy.

The day before that I had a photo shoot at Wynn during the day and later that evening Lori and I went over to my agent Brian's house for dinner with him and his wife Nikki.

I always feel a little awkward that people have to make "special" meals just for me since I'm a vegetarian. I'm just really not big on food and could seriously survive on bread and water.

Nikki ended up making some awesome spinach lasagna following that up with some strawberry shortcake that was, "to die for" :-)

After dinner we decided to play Trivial Pursuit DVD Pop Culture- Brian and Nikki versus Lori and me. We got off to a hot start but the Balsbaughs caught fire and caught up as we both were now going for the win.

In a laughable moment, one of the questions that Brian and Nikki could have nailed for the win was basically, "What is Wayne Gretzky's wife name?" Now Nikki, looks sooo much like her it's scary. People have told her that for years, but for the life of her she couldn't remember the name.

I, of course knew the name and when she guessed wrong I gave her a hint, "Think about the letter J."

"Oh no! Janet Jones," she finally shouted out. Too late :-)

Then the pressure switched back over to team Negreanu with the following movie question: In Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, what did they claim to have invented?"

I'd seen the movie and Lori had not so I was on my own. I just couldn't picture it in my head and was going to guess hair spray. I looked over at Brian and Nikki and they both knew the answer.

Then I pictured Lisa Kudrow and something popped into my head: Post its! They invented Post Its! Well they didn't really invent them but they claimed to anyway.

I did a little dance and Lori and I celebrated with a victory hug. Quality time, and a great evening. I love playing games and playing them with my life partner and wife Lori makes it even more enjoyable- especially since we won!

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A few random thoughts:

Superstars Invitational III is set to film soon and I'm definitely going to do it this year. Last year, I made the mistake of sticking with a pack of 17 poker players trying to negotiate a better deal. We got one, but then the majority still didn't think it was enough and didnít want to play.

I thought the decision was just so stupid. In my eyes it was a case of over valuing the groups worth to the final production. I voted that we should play, but the majority felt like they deserved more.

That philosophy is in so many ways what makes me different than some of the others. I am willing to "take the worst of it" in the short run, because I try to focus on the bigger picture. I try to be easy to get along with whether it's ESPN, the WPT, or FSN. I look at it as a give and take relationship, or better said, a "use-use" relationship.

I actually had a long talk with Steve Lipscomb of the WPT about this. Some of the higher end players are unhappy with what the WPT has or hasnít done for the players. What they neglect to understand is that all of the exposure they receive on the show can translate into dollars if they play their cards right.

For example, look at what the WPT did for PartyPoker. Did the WPT make millions off that? No, but PartyPoker sure did! I personally feel like I owe a great deal to the WPT for what they've done. How soon people forget what poker was four years ago. How soon people forget that there were no endorsement opportunities before the WPT.

Many poker players are short sighted in their thinking. I've always tried to think long term and form solid relationships with everyone I come across. What you do for them, could translate into a favor you can get down the road. Thatís true not only in business, but in life in general.

Before poker hit it big I did a ton of stuff for free or virtually nothing. I'm not an idiot and realize that I could have asked for a little bit more money, but that's not how I think. If it's something I wanted to do- I did it.

Things have changed for me these days on that end, but that's all a bi-product of the things I've done in the past. For example, the WPT got co-operation from me in helping them promote the game and the WPT, and in turn they gave me opportunities to reach you in your living room. It was a win-win situation where everyone got what they wanted.

I feel like some players out there short themselves of opportunities because they are either A) too difficult to deal with, or B) are asking for too much in return. That's all fine and dandy, but when you start to feel irreplaceable that's when you'll quickly be replaced!

The Superstars Invitational II was a smashing success despite the players boycott. The players were quickly replaced as I suspected and the show is the number one rated show on FSN today. I've watched every episode and found the format really interesting, although not necessarily "poker" in the traditional sense.

I'm slightly bitter about not doing it, but not so much. I stuck with the group and my word to not play as we agreed, but this year I won't be so foolish. My interests, or view of my self worth aren't necessarily inline with some of the others who feel like they deserve more just to show up.

The other random thought I wanted to share deals with my last blog. In my last blog I explained that I "dumped off" my chips and there was talk in the forum at www.fullcontactpoker.com about whether what I did was ethical. So, I feel like I should elaborate a little on what happened:

1) I wasn't "singling out" Alan Goering to play pots with ,but Alan plays every pot! He raises almost every hand while the others played much tighter, so if I was going to gamble with somebody early on it was likely going to be Alan.

2) Based on the strategy that I had to use in this event I played correctly. I couldn't stay. I had to either get a monster stack and come back the next day, or bust out early.
People do that all the time. At the WSOP, some people play the next day despite the fact that they are still in from the day before. Their strategy is to play fast early to build a big stack, go back to their other tournament, and then come back to their stack that they hopefully built up.
It's not the optimal strategy obviously as they probably shouldn't even play, but many people do it because they want to play.

3) When I called Alan and said, "He's a nice guy," I was kidding around. He is a nice guy, but I wasn't calling to help him win. Alan Cunningham was also at my table and is a friend of mine while Goering is just an acquaintance. If I wanted to "dump off" I would have given Cunningham my chips.

In closing, I'm not proud, or defending the fact that I played the tournament- I should have skipped it. As far as being unethical, though, I am defending myself 100%. I did what I had to do to give MYSELF the best chance to win. Sounds nutty, but it's true.

Anyway, I gotta run and get packed. This blog is turning into a novel!

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