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Daniel - Poker Journal

High Stakes Poker: Season 2

13 Apr 2006


The start of season two started off very differently for me than season one. In the first four to five hours I was dealt 9-3 every other hand! I wanted to play lots of pots as I normally do, but I was a total non-factor in the first part of the day.

I lost a few pots in the meantime and was down about $200,000 without really even getting into the game. By about 6:00pm, though, I started to turn up the heat and actually started hitting some flops.

The game was short handed for a little while and at that point I really started putting the pedal to the metal. I got a little lucky in a pot against Todd Brunson when my A-Q out flopped his AK and that pot got me even.

From there I continued to cruise and by 2:00am was in complete control of the game. We finished up at 3:00am with me ahead $175,000.

I woke up for day two a little bit late and missed the first 10 minutes of the game. It was a totally different crew of day two with the exception of Antonio.

Early on, I won a few nice pots and was up about $100,000 within the first hour, up $275,000 for the two days. That's the end of the good news.

A surprise player jumped into the game and sat to my right with $300,000 in front of him. No one even knew he was even in town, but Gus Hansen sat to my immediate right.

By that point I had about $600,000 in front of me. Gus made it $2100 to go and I decided to put in a VERY tricky re-raise to $5000 with 66- Gus called.

The flop came 9-6-5 rainbow and I was hoping to win a big one against Gus. He checked the flop to me and I bet $8000. Gus check-raised me $18,000 more and I hesitated, trying to represent an over pair and finally called.

The turn card came a 5 which gave me a full house. This time Gus bet $24,000 and it was time to do a little Hollywood. I wanted to convince Gus that I had a hand like QQ and I think it worked. I just called.

The river came an 8 putting a four card straight on the board. Now Gus checked so it was time for me to figure out how much he was willing to call. I bet $65,000.

Gus said... all in! He raised me another $167,000. Are you serious? If he had 99 or 55, would he REALLY check the river after putting me on an over pair? I called, and Gus turned over 55.

A little later, Eli raised to 2000 and I called from the small blind with 3h 5h. The flop came 2-4-6 with two diamonds and one heart. Eli had 66. That one cost me another $120,000.

Once again, I raised to $2000 with Js 8s and got four callers. The flop came J-5-5 and I bet out $6000. E-DOG called. The turn came a 7 and I decided to check over to Erick. I actually felt like Erick had a smaller pocket pair and it made sense to let him bet the turn. He did, betting $14,000. The river was a 9, and surprise, surprise, Erick turned over 99.

It wasn't over yet. I raised to $2000 with 9h 10h and got four callers. The flop was Q-J-8. That one cost me another $120,000 when I ran into E-DOG's four eights.

So in a short span I ran into quads twice. The first time I was full and the second time I flopped the nuts straight. I also flopped another straight and lost to top full. That, along with a two outer to Erick.

I'm not going to be able to fade that and win. All the beats sent me off a little bit and I ended up paying off Erick when I shouldn't have with the straight. It was just so sick. How many straights and I gonna flop on that show? Am I ever going to have one win?

Luckily for me I went on a sick run in the props. I was down $240,000 in the props at one point, but I ended up going on a sick rush, winning $500,000 straight.

After the show was over I headed over to Bellagio and planned on blowing off some steam. There was a $200-$400 blind NL hold'em game going with no ante. That's about half the size of the High Stakes Poker game.

I sat down with $30,000 and the very first hand I decided to just go all in. I did it again the next hand and was up $1200.

After that I decided to play in the dark. I informed everyone at the table that I was going to do the following:

-Never look at my cards unless someone else bets
-Raise the minimum every hand before the flop
-Bet the minimum on EVERY street without looking

This sounds like suicide, but it's nowhere near as bad as you might think as a strategy. Several of the players were amazed with how well it appeared to work and we broke into a full scale strategy discussion about the merits of using the strategy.

Phil Laak, Danny Alaei, Arron Katz, and several other very tough profiessionals were in the game along with Sammy Farha and the owner of the Cirque de Soleil.

I have played in the dark before and frankly, I'm amazed with how well I've done with it. Danny, one of the best young NL players in the world also shared with me that he used to practise playing tournaments online without looking at his cards.

He tapes over the cards on the screen and plays the tournament totally in the dark. He could have AA before the flop, fold, and not even know it!

I ended up beating the game for $97,500 in three hours. To give you an example of how a hand was played, let's look at this one:

I was in the big blind and five people called, so I made it $800 as promised. Everyone called. The flop was J-10-8 with two hearts. I bet $400 (in the dark) and got two callers. The turn came a 5 and I bet $400.

Sammy called as did the other player. The river came an 8. I bet $400, Sammy made it $3000, and the other player made it $7000.

Now it was time to sweat my hole cards. I looked at the first one and it was 4 across (a 9 or a 10). I looked at the second one, and it was 3 across (a 7, 8, or a 9).

That was a pretty good sweat. When I finally looked at the cards, I saw that I flopped a straight with 9-7. I raised $20,000 more and was called by K-8.

On another hand, I bet all the way and was called on the river by Jack high. I had King high and won another. It was a lot of fun and a good way to blow off some steam.

The whole weekend ended up being an up and down affair. I won $278,000 playing props, won another $97,500 at the Bellagio, but ended up losing $331,500 in the poker game.

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I woke up the next day and decided to play in the "Negreanu Open," a tournament run by the forum regulars that is a lot of fun. It's a $10 buy in with about 130 players. When I play it, in addition to the money added to the tournament by FCP, I also put a $1 bounty on my head per entrant.

There were 139 players, so whoever knocked me out would get $139. I happened to run really good in that tournament, making the final table as the chip leader.

Then I ran into cfinn and we got it all in on a K-J-4 flop. I had AK, she had K9. It came diamond, diamond, and I ended up in 8th place.

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Tonight I'll be going to a drawing party for a new event for CBS. It's called the Inter-Continental Poker Championships and will pit one player from each of 21 countries. I'll be representing Canada obviously.

I will NOT be able to discuss ANY of the details from that show.

(I am running late and don't have time to proof read this blog, please excuse the spelling errors)

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