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Daniel - Poker Journal

Degeneratum at it's Best

26 Mar 2007

So I was eliminated on day one of the Reno tournament and I couldn't have been less prepared for the event. I flew in the night before with about 15-20 other poker players who were on the same Southwest flight, checked in, and then bought into the tournament that night.

After that I went to my room, unable to sleep because of a terrible schedule that I've been on, so I was online till about 4:00am.

Then in the morning I just didn't feel like waking up. I ended up sleeping through the entire first level and showed up for level 2. When I do that, I rarely ever do well. I showed up antsy, groggy, and all around felt pretty sloppy with my play.

Nonetheless, I was able to get my original starting stack up to over $50,000 with some aggressive betting on the flop. The I lost one key hand, and it was pretty much over for me and my psyche.

A player raised my big blind and I called with two red fives. The flop was 6h 4s 3h. I checked, my opponent bet, and I pushed all in making for a $30,000+ pot. He called with Ah Jh and hit a Jack on the turn. That got me back down to $15,000 and suddenly I didn't want to be there any more.

More sloppy play got me down to 2550 with 300-600 blinds and a 75 ante. I was all in on the BB with A-2 vs. A-K and spiked a 2 on the river to double up. About 15-20 minutes later I was sitting on 35,000 in chips!

I then made a sloppy call with K-10 from the BB, defending against an all in push by a short stack on the button who ended up having me dominated with A-10.

I was still ok until this hand: Everyone folded to me on the button so I limped with 6d 3d. I had a feeling one of the blinds was going to get frisky so I decided not to raise.

The flop was Qs Jc 10h. Both players checked to me and I bet 1500. The SB thought for quite a while and the longer he thought, the more clear it became to me that he had a weak J or Q. I planned on taking this pot from him with any one of a million cards on the turn or the river.

He called, and the turn was a 7. He checked, and I bet 2500, planning on building the pot a little bit before bluffing him on the river. He called. The river was another 7 and he checked again. This time I bet $10,000 and he check-raised me all in. I folded obviously and felt pretty unlucky when I saw his hand... J-7 off suit. I had the absolutely correct read on the hand, but he hit a well disguised 7 on the turn and I wasn't able to catch a 9, K, A, or anything on the river to bluff him out.

After that I got moved to a new table and went all in with 55 from the BB vs. AA. I lost that hand, and honestly never felt like I was part of this tournament or had my head into it at all.


Poker players all across America have been duped by what is nothing more than a marketing ploy and many you have bought in hook, line, and sinker. I believe it was Jack McLelland who started this trend and it's caught on with tournaments all across the country. I'm talking about starting with double chips in tournaments. The idea is that there is "more play" yet that statement is completely ludicrous and unfounded. The amount of play in a tournament is based solely on the tournament structure and the amount of chips you actually start with has no bearing on that at all. Yet, I was shocked to hear so many pros I spoke with recently failing to grasp it.

You could start people off with a million in chips, but if you raise the blinds in correlation to the stack sizes it makes absolutely NO difference. Examples:

A typical structure starting with $20,000 in chips:

100-200 (25 ante)
150-300 (25 ante)
200-400 (50 ante)
300-600 (75 ante)
400-800 (100 ante)

Now, here is what the structure should look like with $10,000 in chips:

100-200 (25 ante)
150-300 (25 ante)
200-400 (50 ante)

As you can see, by level six the structure with $10,000 in chips is exactly half of the $20,000 starting chip tournament.

I think the reason some pros believed that the $20,000 in starting chips is better is because they forget what a good $10,000 structure looks like. It's not the starting chips that matter, it's the structure!

Who knows, maybe someone will start a tournament with $40,000 in starting chips, whoopee!!!! Of course they would start the blinds at 100-200 and basically double everything anyway, but I'm certain they could fool plenty of players into thinking that there tournament has "more play."

Don't get me wrong, starting with double chips isn't a "bad thing" it's just completely irrelevant and meaningless. Seriously, You could start players off with $100,000 each, but if you start the blinds at 2500-5000 it won't be any different than starting them off with $10,000 in chips.


After I got knocked, too late to fly home I was extremely bored so I went to my room to surf the net for a bit. That got boring, so I decided to head to the bowling alley to see who was down there. It seemed like everyone was there.

I quickly agreed to a match with J.C Tran, Nam Le, the Grinder, and "Serb," Nenand Medic. I was getting 10 pins from J.C. and Nam, and played the other two even since they said they bowl around 115 also.

Well, my first two balls were beautiful and I went strike, strike! I followed that up with a 9/ and ended up bowling an astounding 167. Everyone was quick to call me a hustler as I destroyed them all, but I explained to them that I recently played bowling on the Nintendo Wii and apparently, it helped!

Of course, in the next game I came back to Earth with a paltry 102 which lost to everyone. In my last set, we played a team match, me and Kirk Morrison versus J.C. Tran and Nam Le getting a 25 pin spot.

Kirk said he was pretty good so I was anxious to see him in action.... dude, he threw the first ball so far into the gutter it looked as though he was aiming for the wrong lane. It was awful! I quickly asked Kirk if he was working for J.C. and Nam! (kidding of course)

After that horrifying start, though, J.C. just felt apart in a bad way, and Kirk and I bowled 125 and 127 respectively which was enough to win my individual bet with J.C. as well as our team bet. After that, the boys needed to get to bed since they were both still in the tournament.

I hung out at the bowling alley for a while longer before the party moved over to the bar inside the casino. It didn't take long before a Chinese poker game broke out between the Grinder, myself, Jeff Madsen, and Nenand Medic. Apparently those guys had been up for a gazillion hours, having played Chinese poker all day prior to bowling. That didn't stop us from playing until about 1:30pm.

Nenand was the biggest joke ever for most of the night. A rush of all rushes, he would turn over straight flushes, quads, etc. like it was easy. Meanwhile, despite not being stuck a lot, I was the only player after hours and hours of play to have no royalties at all!

I finally got my first royalty, a cheap one, full house in the middle, yet still lost money on the hand as I had to look at Jeff's quads, and of course, not to be outdone, Nenand came prepared with even better quads. Nice.

By around 11:00am we all decided to play the LAST hand of the night for double points. Then we played another LAST hand of the night. Before we knew it, we were playing another LAST hand of the night, only this time for triple points. I still wasn't doing any better.

Finally, after about 40 "Last hands" of the night I came up with an idea to play the REAL last hand of the night, for 5 times the points. I ended up winning a big one there with a royalty, so of course, we had to play another... last hand of the night.

After another hour of "last hands of the night" I went on a 200 point rush, going from down as many as 68 points to finishing the night +158 points! How we ever got a legitimate last hand of the night to work I'll never know. It was starting to look like the game would never end, and that's pretty typical of Chinese poker games. They really are sick adventures of degeneratum at it's worst! Everyone smells, really, really, bad in some cases, no one has shaved, and everyone looks hung over.

We were also playing in the middle of the casino so occasionally people would drop by and ask for autographs and/or pictures. Nice picture!!! LOL,

When we finally finished, Grinder's eyes looked like he'd just gone 12 rounds with Balboa.

The next dilemma for all of us was whether or not we should get to the airport. I felt bad for the other people they may have to sit next to so I advised that we sleep it off and get on a plane if we wake up in time for the 9:55pm flight. Well, I didn't and I don't think anyone else did.

So, I'm stuck in the room now until the early flight in the morning. I guess I'll probably be online for most of the night, and eventually will have to take a shower!