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Daniel - Poker Journal

OK, OK, OK, So LA Isn't All that Bad

21 Feb 2006

So as I mentioned in my last blog, Lori and I made dinner plans with the guys who won the first season of Amazing Race: Brennan and Rob.

Before getting ready to go, though, Lori wasn't feeling up to it so I went solo. I headed downstairs to the valet to get my car when they told me it was going to be a 15-20 minute wait. That's nuts?

So I stole a page out of the "Amazing Race" book and told them not to bother with bringing up my car, I'll just jump into a cab.

I made it to the restaurant right on time, but of course Brennan and Rob beat me there, but I guess that's what they "do best."

We said our hellos and none of it felt awkward in the least. Since I'd watched the show I felt like I already had a read on their personalities and knew that I'd be able to get along with them.

We met at the Geisha House, this time to actually eat, and had a drink at the bar before heading to our table. The place was just packed with "beautiful people."

It didn't take long before the conversation became concentrated on reality TV and poker, but more specifically the Amazing Race and club poker games where hold'em is seldom played.

Instead, they play all kinds of goofy games: variations on Omaha, double flop, pitches, buys, good old fashioned "kitchen table" poker, the game I got started on.

Apparently, Rob plays 4-5 days a week in private games around town. In fact, he seems like more of a "Rounder" than any of the top pros you see on TV.

A rounder that is, if you are thinking in terms of the movie where Matt Damon and Edward Norton are playing in all kinds of different places.

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So dinner was awesome, as the waiter just kept bringing me all kinds of good food. I washed it all down with a Sapporo and then we started talking about the plans for the night.

I spoke with E-DOG earlier and he was at the Gonzaga game as he's become pretty good friends with some of the players on that team. The basketball team is actually ranked #5 in the country- that's pretty strong.

We hung out at the bar at the Geisha house for a little while before making it to a club called Privilege by 11:00pm. Apparently, this was the hottest club in town and luckily we had an "in" as Casey Thompson of All In magazine was able to secure us a table.

That's tough to do at a nightclub, especially considering the fact that it was nine dudes!

Erick brought along some of the Gonzaga boys and we had little trouble getting in. We had our own private table with plenty of room. About 10 minutes after we got there, Casey showed up with his girlfriend, who also happened to be Miss U.S.A. last year.

We all crammed into the booth and fit pretty well. It was a fun group of guys to say the least and I think everybody had a good time. Brennan seemed "more than comfortable" in this kind of environment. Actually, he was at that very club a few days earlier!

It's funny, how when I mentioned to Rob and Brennan that it seemed as though they had Rob do all the talking, that in fact, both of them agree that Brennan is the guy that generally does most of the talking.

Rob, of course, speaks in "sound bites," though, while Brennan's thoughts wander a little bit and can be all over the place!

So we ended up closing the place and I hitched a ride with Brennan and Rob since it was on the way.

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When I woke up the next morning, I saw that "AllTheWomen" was sitting in the $500-$1000 game at www.fullcontactpoker.com. We'd already played two decent sessions, with me being up about $80,000 early, but eventually he came storming back and won the second session and was up a total of $50,000 overall.

I figured out who it was, actually, he told me a week prior but I totally forgot! I'm really bad at that. He's actually one of those younger whiz kids who many consider one of the best, if not THE best heads up players online.

No, this was no Dreamclown I was dealing with, this guy is the real deal. Many of you might also be familiar with his name, Patrick Antonius.

So anyway, we start out and he jumps out to a big early lead and I'm about ready to throw my computer against the wall. Heads up limit hold'em can be so sick!

In about three hands in a 15 minute span I'd have two pairs and we'd cap the turn. The board would pair the other card, and he'd beat me with an over pair. It was brutal.

He was up about $75,000 before I went on my rush and starting hitting some hands and having them hold up.

We played for five hours, and for four of those hours he was ahead handily. At the peak of my comeback rush, though, I was actually up $30,000!

He won a couple quick hands with a beat or two, and I felt it was a good time to quit since I was planning on going out. I think I won maybe $2000, which is, for all intents and purposes, a draw.

Lori and I had planned on having dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen near the hotel, and while I was walking the dog Jenn called and asked if we wanted to go to dinner. Her and Marco came by the hotel and we all went together.

The food was, once again, totally awesome! I had the Hummus appetizer and the Marsala pasta dish, yum yum.

Conversation was good, as it had been a long time since we all went out. We talked a lot of poker, obviously, but we also covered other topics as well since Lori doesn't play and while she is getting more and more knowledgeable about the game, she doesn't have all the lingo down yet.

So when Jennifer says, "The guy re-popped me on the flop in a 3-way pot with a back door gut shot draw and a back door runner runner spade draw. I pop him back and he caps it! Turn comes a spade and then he hits runner runner on me," it must sound like Russian to Lori!

After dinner we headed back to our hotel, unsure of what we'd do next. Then, out of the blue I see Casey Thompson right outside my hotel! Weird, he was having dinner there with his girlfriend and some other friends.

So we joined them for a drink when they told us about this jazz club called Guys that is supposed to be jumping on Sundays.

Apparently, some poker players were going to be there too, as Danny Masterson, who also plays poker, helps promote the club and has been for a couple years.

It sounded like fun, so we hopped in Marco and Jenn's car and headed over to the club.

The place wasn't huge, but it was INSANELY busy! Luckily for us, we had a table while most of the other people were packed in like sardines. The music was awesome. Jazz is just something you have to listen to live or it doesn't have that same kind of impact.

I looked over at the table in the corner and noticed Liz Lieu. Behind her, I saw one of the nicest guys in poker, Martin de Knijff there with his girlfriend Ama. Then, in a pimp white suit and pale blue tie... it was Patrick!

I had joked with him online that I might run into him later, and what a small world, we did!

We hung out for a while and had a few drinks. We talked about the insane swings we went through during the day, with me wanting to smash my laptop, and him later confessing that he had thoughts of destroying his mouse!

It's excellent competition, and in every way, shape, and form it's been a classy match up the whole way.

While it's been extremely frustrating to say the least, the heads up battle has also been very enjoyable for me. He is very good. As I said, he just might be the best.

Of course, that suits me just fine because I thrive on playing at the highest levels, whether it be online or live. I don't for a second claim to think that I'm a favorite, but I did feel good about staying competitive.

It's really not about the money for me. By playing against one of the biggest winners online, that'll make me a better player. With more experience, I'll hopefully be able to adapt to the game enough so that I feel totally confident with it.

My confidence has been progressively building with each session, and who knows where that will lead me. If I can hang in there with Patrick, then I'll know that I can hang with anybody online.

Live poker? Well again, that is a totally different story! Nobody will be picking up any "clicking tells" on me in a live scenario.

So I talked to Patrick about us playing and he is totally cool with it. He mentioned that he plays one of his really good friends $200-$400 PLO all the time and it's no big deal. That's a very mature way to look at things. I let Patrick know that I'll continue to play him for a while. If it gets to the point where I feel like I simply can't beat him, then I'll quit him... I'm not throwing in the towel just yet!

If he happens to beat me for 200-300 bets, I think I might just pack it in. Until then, you can expect to see me give it my all at www.fullcontactpoker.com.

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