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Daniel - Poker Journal

What's Next? Time for the EPT?

15 Jul 2007

It's time for a change. Not that I'm bored with the WPT or anything like that, but the European Poker Tour represents a new challenge for me and I'm looking forward to traveling to some other countries, learning new languages, experiencing life outside of Las Vegas, Atlantic City.... and TUNICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The EPT seems to be growing at a record pace much like the WPT did in it's first few seasons. I still plan on playing a lot of WPT events over the next year, but I think I'm going to switch my focus a little bit to the EPT events and see how I fare against the rest of the world's best. The tentative schedule I've put together is pretty packed, but I don't think it'll get any lighter, in fact, if I bust out early in certain events I may fly across the world to catch an event at the last minute. Here's what I have so far, not including any other appearances:

August 26th Fly to Barcelona
August 28th-Sept 1st EPT Barcelona

September 2nd Fly to London
September 6th WSOP HORSE
September 8th WSOP Pot Limit Omaha
September 10th WSOP No Limit Hold'em
September 16th Fly to Las Vegas
September 22nd Fly back to London
September 25th-29th EPT London
September 30th fly back to Las Vegas

October 5th Fly to Baden, Austria
October 7th-10th EPT Baden
October 11th Fly to Spain
October 11th-15th WPT Spain
October 16th Fly to Las Vegas
October 25th Fly to Toronto
October 26th-30th WPT Niagara Falls
October 31st Fly to Las Vegas

November 7th Fly to Foxwoods
November 8th-12th WPT Foxwoods
November 13th Fly to Las Vegas

December 13th-18th WPT Bellagio

January 3rd Fly to Bahamas
January 4th-11th EPT PokerStars
January 12th Fly to Las Vegas
January 19th Fly to Tunica (yippee! I always do well there)
January 20th-23rd WPT Tunica
January 24th Fly to Las Vegas
January 27th Fly to Germany
January 29th-Feb 2nd EPT Germany

February 3rd Fly to Las Vegas
February 17th Fly to Copenhagen
February 19th-23rd EPT Copenhagen
February 24th Fly to Las Vegas
February 24th Fly to Los Angeles
February 24th-28th WPT Commerce

March 1-3 WPT Celebrity Event
March 4th Fly to Las Vegas
March 9th Fly to San Jose
March 10th-14th WPT Shooting Stars
March 15th Fly to Las Vegas
March 30th Fly to tba tournament in Europe

April 6th Fly to Monte Carlo
April 10th-17th EPT Championship
April 18th Fly to Las Vegas
April 19th-25th WPT Championship

That's what I have SO FAR, but it could change in a hurry. There is a WPT Borgata event, a Dublin event, and an EPT Poland event that I may get to as well if I can squeeze them in. I'll also likely be adding the Aussie Millions in January.

In the meantime, I'm flying out tomorrow afternoon to Vancouver for 10 days to shoot some commercials and stuff for PokerStars. I used to have some friends in Vancouver but they moved back to Toronto so I have no clue what I'll be doing with my free time, suggestions welcome! I might even bring my golf clubs, but I wouldn't even know where to go, or with who? If I don't do much of anything with my free time it will at least be a good opportunity for me to catch up on my writing and stuff like that.

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Oh, and I'm out of the WSOP, lol. It was a tough day for me all of day 2 and it wore me down until I finally cracked and made an error for my last 40,000 in chips. Here's how it all happened:

I was cruising, starting the day with 40,000 but quickly seeing my stack rise to over 200,000. Every time I got my money in I was a huge favorite, in fact the key triple up was a hand where I had my opponents drawing virtually dead on the flop (bottom set vs. both players top pair).

Then things went the wrong way fast. The button, a former poker dealer made it 4,000 in the button with Kh 9h. I re-raised from the small blind to 12,500. He decided to take the flop despite only having 25,000 left to play with after the call. This my friends, will NOT be in the book! :-)

Anyway, the flop comes Kd 6h 4h. I hesitate and check to him hoping that he will see that as a sign of weakness and bluff at it. He bet 10,500 and I moved him all in. The turn was a blank, but the river heart put a dent in my stack. Just three hands later I raised with Ac Kh and the big blind moved all in for about 40,000. I literally beat him in the pot, fully expecting him to show me a bluff. I'd been raising his blind pretty consistently and felt like he was gearing up for a play. I was right.

He turned over Qh Jd. The flop came Jc 9c 3c. I'm still a favorite on the flop needing an Ace, King, or a club, but once again, I lost that pot too. That theme held true for most of the day following. Hand after hand I was in a difficult situation having to make a really tough decision, but I think I was 100% right on every single one. Seriously, if I'm wrong I'll eat my hat!

Finally, though, late in the night fatigue started to set in and I wasn't able to keep it together one more time. I raised pre-flop from late position with 10-8, which is a fine play considering the big blind was the tightest player at the table. The button called my 6,000 raise and we took the flop heads up.

The flop was 6h 7s 8h giving me top pair and a straight draw. I bet 12,000, leaving myself with 40,000 left. After lots of dialogue, my opponent went all in. Here's where I became what I call a "price sucker," something I often accuse most math players of doing. I was getting 2-1 odds for my last 40,000, but I still should have folded. This guy didn't look like he was all out bluffing, so my best case scenario was close to a coinflip situation, whereas if he flopped a set I was in terrible shape. I ruled out 9-10 based on a tell that led me to believe he didn't flop the absolute nuts. I was sure he had a strong hand, I was just fooled for some reason and had no clue what he had.

After having laid down so many hands in a row, I just didn't have the fight in me to lay down another one. I called, and he had 8-8. As bad as that call was, it was still really an unlucky situation for me. The only way he is going to play a big pot with me after the flop were if he flops an 8, giving me a pair and him a set. Any flop without the case 8 in it and I don't go broke at all, in fact I'd win the hand over 50% of the time.

It's a shame that I wasted an excellent day of play by ending the tournament that way. In a sense, "I gave up." I couldn't take the heat and got out of the kitchen. Not intentionally at all, I wanted to win badly, but I passed my threshold and turned what was an easy lay down into my end.

Oh well. Seriously... oh well. It really ISN"T the end of the world and it isn't something I'll be losing any sleep over. If I've learned one thing this year from playing poker it's that getting over mistakes quickly is the key to long term success.

There is one WSOP Champion, an absolute genius of a player that's routinely sabotaged himself after making even a marginally bad decision. He has the belief that if he isn't playing perfectly that he shouldn’t even bother trying. I've had many talks with him telling him that his 65% game is good enough to win and sometimes you'll have to depend on that.

The idea that there is a "perfect player" out there is a myth. Not Phil Ivey, not Chip Reese, not Patrick Antonious, not Brian Townsend, are immune to lapses in judgment that will often make them look foolish. Mine just happened to play out on ESPN!! LOL.

Outside of that last hand, I think you'll see that I played some excellent poker and made some awesome reads... and went with them rather than calling! I'm happy with my poker game right now and the hits I took in the two significant events, the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E. and the $10,000 Main Event are not enough to make me lose any confidence at all. If anything, it just drives me even more.

If I had to give my WSOP performance a grade based on how well I played (not results) I'd give it the following:

WSOP Preliminaries: B
$50,000 H.O.R.S.E.: A
$10,000 Main Event: A- (would have been an A+ if not for that last hand!)

I got annoyed, I got frustrated, I had ups and downs, but that's what happens to you when you play tournaments for six straight weeks. It's a tough test of endurance. Speaking of endurance, my tentative schedule looks challenging to say the least.

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