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Daniel - Poker Journal

Protege Wins! Golf, Sports, and Vegas Fun

10 May 2006

I'm just having a ball right now. Everyday this week I've golfed in one form or another, either at Shadow Creek with Ivey, or at Angel Park with the wife and friends.

When I play at Shadow Creek we don't exactly play for $5 a hole. Frankly, I hesitate to even tell you what we play for because, well, most of you just wouldn't understand.

There is one core characteristic that helps a poker player reach the highest levels, playing $4000-$8000, that is absolutely necessary: fearlessness. Most of you would call that being a "degenerate gambler" and you might not be all that far off!

Doyle Brunson once said about the players in the big game, "We are all degenerate gamblers, we are just lucky that we were able to find something we could beat."

Now I don't think you have to be a complete sicko to succeed at the highest levels, but if you have no "gamble" to you, it's totally impossible for you to ever reach the big game.

So with that, I'm not even going to tell you what we play for. For one, I don't want to deal with the flack from those that couldn't possibly understand, and two, it's a private matter since it deals with other people. I don't ever discuss how people do in the big game, and I'm certainly not going to reveal who wins what on the golf course. That stuff, is unfortunately, "blog proof."

Aside from the Shadow Creek golfing, I got a lesson with my wife Lori. She hits the ball really well, and finally, she believes me when I tell her she is awesome for a beginner. The instructor was pleasantly pleased to see her swing and if she practices she's going to end up beating me for sure.

As for me, my instructor liked my swing and I was hitting the ball well. The only problem is, I'm totally inflexible. I don't stretch enough and have spent too much time on the couch. That makes me really tight, and I "crouch" over the ball which is a problem.

To fix that, he had me stick my butt out more and try to keep my back straight. Only problem there, is that it was causing severe pain in my lower back.

Eventually I figured it out, though, and plan on stretching my hamstrings on a regular basis. In just a couple days doing that, I've already noticed that I'm getting closer to being able to touch my toes.

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Along with the golf fun, Lori and I entertained some of her friends from back home. Two other married couples, with both the guys being sports fans which always works out great when you meet new people. It gives you a lot to talk about.

We met them at Nine at 7:30pm. That is confusing isn't it? Did we meet at 9:00pm or at 7:30pm? Obviously the restaurant is called Nine, but people from out of town always look at you funny when you say, "Let's go to Nine at Eight."

At dinner the conversation flowed freely. There was never an awkward moment. Since the vibe was so good, I suggested that we continue the party over at the Comedy Stop at the Tropicana. None of Lori's friends had ever seen a live comedy show, so they were in for a real treat.

It was a good group of comics and everyone was laughing hysterically. We also had a dude sitting behind us that had the funniest cackle I'd ever heard. If the joke wasn't funny, it didn't even matter because we had the billy goat behind us!

Everyone figured that the night was over, but no way, we were having too much fun and the party had to go on! I suggested we go to the best nightclub in the whole world: Pure at Caesar's Palace. I'd been there several times now and have gotten to know some of the guys. They always treat me really well and that's always nice in a town like Las Vegas.

One of the guys we were with is a 6' 7" monster. Unfortunately, he was wearing flip flops and they have a very strict policy there so they wouldn't let him in.

That wasn't going to stop us though. We went over to the last open store in Caesar's asking, "Excuse me, you wouldn't have any size gazillions would you?" Luckily, they did have a pair of size 14's which were snug, but they would do.

We headed back to the club and secured a booth. By that time everyone was feeling pretty spunky, and even the uncoordinated white dudes were getting down on the dance floor!

The girls were all chipper also, since Lori was our designated driver for the evening. Sarah in particular, broke more glasses in a two hour span than anyone I'd ever seen before. It was hilarious. At one point, she comes over to me, apologizing for knocking over so many drinks... as she's saying that, she knocked over my drink! LOL. How classic is that? Our busboys had their hands full all night long and definitely earned their tips that night.

It was getting late, so one of the hosts there got us a limo to take them back to their hotel and also brought Lori and I back to our car.

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The next "morning" I woke up at about 2:00pm and planned on taking Mark and Jeff out golfing. I gave them directions to my house, and when they realized that they were on their way to Los Angeles they called to ask, "Was that 15 North or 15 South?"

Oops! I gave them bad directions and they didn't get to my house till close to 4:00pm. Nonetheless, we headed over to Angel Park to try and get nine holes in.

I don't know how, but we finished 18! In fairness, by the 18th hole it was totally pitch black.

I made sure to Tivo the basketball games so that we could chill out at the house and watch the games after golf. Seriously, I should be a Tivo salesman because I would have made two sales that night! Gotta have Tivo, gotta have it!

So we started out watching the Miami game, and our resident handicapper Jeff told us that Miami -5 points was the way to go....er, not so much. Then, in the second game he liked the Clippers +5.5. Once again.... er, not so much. Luckily, Jeff does in fact have a day job!

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It's been a while since my last blog so there is a lot to get to. In my FCP Heads Up Poker League we went to 2-1 on the young season thanks to Jayboogie's win. Since he won that game, I'm going to give him the start again in week #4.

More importantly, though, I got to watch my new protégé Brian Fidler in action as he was playing "Maxima" for $5000 in cash in a heads up no limit hold'em freeze out.

FCP was putting up the money, and Maxima qualified by winning the $10+1 MTT during the Protégé broadcast. Before the event started, I prepared some pretty detailed advice for Brian to follow. If he followed it closely, I was very confident that he would be able to win.

Both players started with 2500, but it was Maxima that got off to almost a 2-1 chip advantage. I was watching the action, and it just looked to me like Brian wasn't getting any hands.

The key question, though, was whether he would give up, or stick with the system? I was ecstatic to see him stick with it and eventually he hit a few flops.

Then, as I was about to call him to remind him about one key strategy change when the blinds became rather high, he made the adjustment himself! I felt like a proud father, lol.

So anyway, The Protégé is off to a nice little start, already pocketing $5000 with a chance to play in the WPT event at the Mirage this week. You'll be able to follow his progress as well as mine in the General Forum at www.fullcontactpoker.com

In other FCP News, I neglected to give props to GB2005 for winning the GSOP pot limit 5 card draw tournament for a cool $38,740. He's one of the tougher young online players out there, and the sickest thing is- he'd never played the game before!

One more thing you guys should know about before I forget. There is a re-deposit bonus going on right now at FCP. It runs from May 9th to May 15th. For all the details on that and the WSOP prize packages click here

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So these days it's mainly about the golf for me, but I do plan on playing some poker as well. I think there is supposed to be a game at Venetian tonight so if I get the call, I'll be playing later on tonight.

Other than that, I have more writing deadlines (surprise, surprise) and have to fly to Los Angeles tomorrow for E3. I'm meeting with some "X-BOX Big Wigs" for a party later in the evening. Also, "MTV" is coming with me. I think he is flying in later tonight.

I’ll only be gone for a day, and then it’s time for me and my protégé, Brian Fidler, to get prepared for the WPT event at the Mirage.

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