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Daniel - Poker Journal

Day Two in the Books

23 Jan 2007

I woke up really early on day two, somewhere between 5:00am and 7:00am. I felt good and decided to restart my workouts. I headed down the gym to work on my arms. I have about the weakest upper body strength of anyone I know. I have some strength in my legs having run long distance in high school, but my arms are just useless at the moment.

After working out I headed to the food court area since thatís the only place you can get online out here. I took care of some e-mails and stuff and then headed back up to my room to try and order some room service.

I looked over the menu to see if there was anything I could put together and came up with: two slices of wheat toast, with peanut butter and jam (they didnít have peanut butter), a sliced banana, some Raisin Bran cereal (I brought soy milk), and an orange juice. I placed the order a 9:45am, giving me plenty of time to eat, shower, and then head to the tournament.

At 11:15am I was already losing my mind. First of all, I was absolutely starving, and for the last hour or so I was told that it was ďon itís way up.Ē Give me a break. I was really started to get angry and was losing my cool. Not only does the room service selection absolutely suck, but on top of that, it wasnít even coming!

At 11:15am I decided that I needed to go and find food somewhere. I double checked the food court but there is not one item in that whole place that is suitable for me. I then tried looking upstairs, downstairs, everywhere. I was yelling as I talked to myself! I think people around me had to think I was a little insane and I donít blame them.

I tried going into the buffer, hoping that there was something there I could eat. Nope. Nothing, and I mean nothing. I left the buffet eating nothing and was totally lost as to how I was going to get food. Then, luckily, after some people saw me losing my mind, one of the staff was able to get me four slices of whole wheat bread with some peanut butter and jam.

After scarfing that down I felt a lot better. I calmed down a little bit and took some time to myself to relax so that I wouldnít have another outburst. The people here in Tunica are all really, really, really nice. So many people were willing to help, and Johnny Grooms, the tournament director was able to get me a veggie sub from Subway up the street. Thatís all that I ate the entire day outside of a small package of almonds.

Itís so frustrating to me. I understand that the culture here is different, but in my opinion, when you have guests coming from other parts of the world you should at least offer some alternative healthy food choices. For example, when I throw a party at the house, I donít cater it with only vegan options, I serve guests what THEY want to eat. Every year when we stop in Tunica the players have the same complaint: the food is far too unhealthy and the choices are limited.

Just for the tournament I would think that they could offer a few more room service choices. Adding for example: A Veggie Burger, Chow Mein, Brown Rice with Vegetables, Pasta Primavera. If they had even TWO of these options on the room service menu Iíd be happy.

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By the time I was seated to play I cooled down and was ready to play. The game today felt really easy for me. I seemed to intuitively know where my opponents where at and had very little trouble avoiding difficult decisions. One hand in particular should have been a very difficult call, but I didnít think about it for more than a second:

Blinds at 600-1200 with a 200 ante and I raised to 2800 with 33. Amir Vahedi called from the BB. The flop was J-8-9 rainbow and it went check, check on the flop. The turn was a 4 and Amir bet 3500. I decided to call thinking that Amir may be bluffing and that Iíd have a better read by the river.

Well, the river was Q for a final board of J-8-9-4-Q. Not exactly a great board for 33, but when Amir bet out 7000 on the river I didnít think he had anything at all. Seriously, despite five over cards and a four straight on board I felt like I had the nuts based on a physical tell as well as an understanding of Amirís betting patterns. I called quickly, and Amirís hand went into the muck. I showed the hand anyway. That was a key pot as it got me to 100,000.

I lost three meaty pots today. One with AQ all in vs. A7. It was the only hand Iíve re-raised pre-flop the entire tournament as it was a unique situation. Tom Franklin went all in under the gun for 9300 and I was in middle position with AQ. The blinds were 800-1600 at that point, so I raised it 8000 more making it 17,300. I did that to get the hand heads up since I didnít really want a hand like 10-10 in there.

The flop came Q-4-4, but then the turn and river were spades so I lost that pot. I then lost two pots to Amir: He raised on the button and I called from the BB with A-4. The flop was J-J-8 and it went check-check. The turn was an Ace and I check called. The river came a Q, and despite feeling like I was beat this time, I paid him off. He had 9-10. One hand before the night was over, I was in the small blind with 6-7 and Amir limped in from late position. The flop came A-7-6. I bet, he called. The turn was a 4, I bet and he called. The river came a 3 and I check and called again. This time he actually had A-7, so I felt like I saved some money as I would have played the hand on the flop since he was pretty short on chips.

I ended the night with 120,700 which puts me in decent shape. The structure has been good. Itís only slightly different than the Bellagio structure, but the set up for the event is very similar. 5 levels per day with no dinner break. I think itís excellent.

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One thing Iím not a fan of, I believe itís a recent addition to rules at both the Bellagio and here, is the rule where if you show one card the dealer is obligated to show both of your cards. That is a terrible rule and interferes with the psychology of the game unnecessarily.

Thatís not the only rule that I donít like. In fact, in the last six years or so weíve accepted some tournament rules, but these rules have absolutely no solid reason for being in place and actually limit the weapons a player has at the table.

Iím talking about showing your cards in a heads up situation. For example: on the river my opponent goes all in. I have middle pair and am considering a call. In the ďold daysĒ you could turn your hand face up and get a reaction from your opponent. It might help you figure out if he is bluffing. Or, say YOU bet it all on the river and your opponent is considering a call. YOU could show him one card, only adding to the psychological warfare.

The key thing to consider here, is that your opponent doesnít have to look at your hand. If heís afraid that heíll give off a tell or get confused, he doesnít have to look! If he wants to, though, he can get some free information.

I would happily challenge all of the tournament directors in the country to a debate on this issue. You could assemble 100 poker players, with top pros, mid level players, and novice players. They could try to explain why these rules are necessary, and then I would get my chance to explain how these rules meddle with the game more than is necessary. I am very confident that the majority of the players would agree with me that the tournament directors donít have a valid reason for implementing these rules.

The only points Iíve ever heard them make are easily debunked. 1) Collusion. This one is just silly. No two players that were actually cheating would use this method of cheating. They would NEVER show each other their hands on the river if they were cheating because it would bring unnecessary attention to them. The idea that this rule prevents collusion doesnít have a leg to stand on.
2) It slows the game down. This could be possible in certain cases (a la, Phil Hellmuth putting on a display), but this isnít enough of a reason to make poker LESS of a skill game. This game is about people, and people reading skills. We arenít playing online here.
Those rules likely wonít be changed, but this latest attempt to further limit a playerís weapons of psychological warfare is crossing the line, AND it slows down the game on top of it! I show a player a 7, and the dealer then has to grab both of my cards, and show them not only the 7, but my other card as well.

This is clearly a case of tournament directors interfering with a players ability to play the game the way itís always been played. Who are they protecting exactly? What are they protecting against with this rule exactly?

Aside from these rules just being a little too Nazi-like, there is another important reason to scrap them all together: television. When players utilize their right to show a card it adds more excitement for the viewers and gives the commentators more interesting things to talk about. It makes the game ďcoolerĒ and even more of a chess game. How could that possibly be a bad thing???

The implementation of these rules were not well thought out and the players themselves are the ones who should decide whether they have any merit. Iíd love to see these rules changed, but Iím not holding my breath. Whatís next, I canít talk to a guy when Iím heads up with him in a pot? Or worse, no talking at all? Iím sure that would make for great television!

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Anyway, as I said I would happily debate the whole lot of TDís and would be happy to bet on the outcome of a debate on this issue. In the meantime, I have a tournament to win! I believe there are about 48 players left and I think Iím sitting somewhere near the average in chips. 27 players get paid, and if Iím able to hang on until the money this would be my fourth consecutive cash in a WPT event. Iím trying to find out if thatís a record (you know how I am with records and stuff) and Iím pretty sure that it is. In fact, I think 3 probably ties the record and four breaks it. The only guys I think may have done four straight are possibly The Grinder or Juanda.

Time for breakfast, lol, and then off to the tournament.

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