Daniel - Poker Journal
18 a Day07 Jun 2006
I'm addicted in a big way. I eat, sleep, breathe golf. I even dream about it. I dread the thought of it getting dark so I can't play anymore. Nothing else even matters to me right now, it's all about improving my golf game:
May 31: I ended up playing 36 holes that Wednesday. The first 18 I played poorly but noticed that I was playing better on the last few holes so I decided to play another 18 with my new caddy. That round went very well and gave me a big time confidence boost: 54-47=101.
June 1: I played a round at TPC Summerlin with a who's who of professional poker players. In fact, we had so many people come out we had to play two groups.
I lost a little bit on the golf course and as soon as the round was done I had to head across town to do a voice over for an upcoming episode of MTV Diary that they did on me.
As soon as that was over I met up with E-DOG, Gavin, and a few of the boys for a late night round at Angel Park's Cloud Nine course that is lit up so you can play late. It's an easy par 3 course with terribly rough greens.
I didn't hit the ball too well there either but it didn't put a dent in my wallet at all really. Once we were done playing nine holes we decided to try the putt putt course.
This isn't your ordinary putt putt course, mind you, this putt putt course boasts several par threes that offer dog leg lefts, bunkers, etc. which require an array of funky shots.
It was a lot of fun, but it was costing me a little bit of dough. With about 6 holes to play, Jenn and Marco dropped by to say hello and then she too got in on the action, getting a stroke a hole from Erick. By the way, I liked her side and she won easy!
The fun all started on the back nine. It was past closing time and the sprinklers were on. So now, not only did you have to line up your putt, but you had to hit it and then duck under the water that was flying at you from three different directions.
After a while I said, "Screw it," and ended up getting drenched. So drenched that I had to drive home with my shirt off. It was all a ton of fun, I think we all felt like little kids playing outside with the hose or something. We were all giggling and having fun with it.
June 2: More Golf. Once again, we all met up at TPC Summerlin, and once again I had a rough start on the front nine. Virtually every round I play, the front nine is where I have trouble. Once I've got nine holes under my belt I start to play a little better.
The first nine got me off on the wrong foot but I picked it up on the back to minimize the damage.
From there I stopped over at Cecilia Reyes house for her birthday party. She reminded me that this was the fourth straight year I made it out to her birthday party. That would make the longest active streak for me!
June 3: Golf, golf, golf. I played another 18 and then hit the range for a couple of hours. I had Patty buy me into the WPT tournament the next day so I wouldn't have to worry about heading down there.
June 4: I woke up in time for the poker tournament and should have been thinking about poker, but that's not what happened. I dreamt about golf all night long.
When I got to Mandalay Bay I found myself practicing my swing in between hands. It was bizarre, but since we were playing so high on the golf course the tournament felt "small" to me. A million dollars if you WIN the tournament is nice, but anything less and it would just seem like a good day on the golf course.
Nonetheless, I tried really hard to focus and my mind was pretty clear. I was well rested and felt pretty focused. I got off to a decent start increasing my stack about 50% to 30,000. I then lost a pot to Gavin where I had aces up to his flush, but bounced back from that the very next hand beating Gavin with top pair top kicker in a good pot.
I made one excellent call with middle pair which cost me half my stack. I picked up on a tell and went with my read.
Finally, at about round 4 I moved in on a guy with 88 and he called me with 66. The flop came Q-Q-10, and the turn was a 6. It didn't bother me a bit, because in the back of my mind I knew that I was only two minutes from the Callaway Golf Center and I could play the par 3 course there.
Before I did that I got a bucket of 100 balls and headed to the range. After hitting those I went to the chipping green and hit probably another 100 balls there.
I checked my watch and saw that it was almost 9:00pm which meant the others would be almost done for the day so I'd have a chance to play a round. Josh Arieh, Robert Mizrachi, J.C.Tran, and Nam Le all showed up and we discussed strokes.
I didn't play well at all, but when all the money was on the line I came through like a champ. On the ninth hole I hit a chip over a bunker to within a foot of the cup for an up and down par. Josh then says, "How much I gotta lay you to do that again?"
"I dunno, I'll take 5-1." I said. We haggled back and forth with Josh offering 3.5 to 1. Finally we agreed on 4-1. Josh and Robert both had action on the don't. This time I hit my chip to about five feet from the cup which gave me a chance. From there, I just drained the putt and won all the money on the day, boo ya!
June 5: I called everyone that morning wondering what time we were playing. Then I heard that TPC Summerlin was closed on Mondays, oh no!!! The guys actually wanted to play poker. Poker? You've got to be kidding me, I had absolutely no interest in spending my afternoon playing poker.
When my money game fell through I called my old buddy Sam from Toronto. Sam and I grew up in the same poker game and were considered the two best players in the game for years.
He's a member at Spanish Trail which is supposed to be much easier than TPC Summerlin but it didn't look that way to me. I forced all of the guys to play higher than they'd ever played before and they obliged.
I hit the ball "ok" on the front (54) but lit it up on the back with a 47 for a 54-47=101. That got the cheese easily. After the round I had a beer in the clubhouse with Allen and Melissa before heading home to bed. I've been getting to bed by 2:00am the latest, which is good for me.
June 6: It was back to the money game at TPC Summerlin. Only this time, the greens were a mess. They looked like sandy beaches! They were working on the greens so putting, something I did very well the day before, would be extremely difficult.
When I got to the course a ton of poker players were already there practicing. Ivey, Arieh, Greenstien, Lindgren, David Grey, Mike Sexton, Martin de Knijff, and Doyle and Dewey who joined us on the back nine.
We split the groups into two. I played with Barry, David, and Mike who all played lights out. Luckily I played pretty well so I kept it close.
Then, on number nine I had the whole of a lifetime. It was a 500+ yard par 5 and I sliced my drive out to the right but had a shot out of the rough to the fairway.
Then I absolutely pummeled a 3-wood to within 80 yards of the pin. From there, I pulled out a pitching wedge and followed through nicely as my ball neared the hole.
I was getting a stroke from everybody on this hole so I felt great about getting it close. A two putt from there would probably win, while a one putt would cinch it.
Then I noticed that the ball kept rolling... into the cup! I made an eagle! A freakin' eagle! With a stroke, that's a 2 on a par 5, lol... wow, what a feeling. My first eagle ever. In fact, it's the first birdie or eagle I've made since picking up golf again. I just skipped right over birdie and headed right to eagle, lol.
That eagle, coupled with a 9 and an 8 had me shooting 52 on the front. I shot a 52 on the back also which was good enough to take a small win for the day as the others all shot great as well.
From there I headed to Bellagio to square up the figures a little bit and to play for an hour or so before picking up Lori at the airport. The poker game was secondary to the golf talk. He needs this many, that guy needs that many... who'll team with who, blah, blah, blah.
In the meantime, in a 1.5 hour session I picked up $210,000 and had to go to the airport. I picked up Lori and now I'm home. I haven't seen her since our trip to North Carolina. That's quite a long time.
Tomorrow the plan is to take a day off and relax....not! No chance. I'm headed out there again tomorrow at noon and am hoping to break 100.