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Daniel - Poker Journal

Birthday Plans

26 Jul 2007

Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday and when my wife asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday, it must have sounded like every other dream day of mine:

1. Golf. The weather has been bad in Vegas lately which is so bizarre to me. I was in Vancouver for one week and it rained every single day. The day I get back to Vegas to play some golf, we get pummeled with rain on the 7th hole. Totally soaked and a lightning warning had us head to the clubhouse early, but unlike Vancouver the rain subsided quickly so we were back out there to finish the round.
Tomorrow the weather seems perfect with a high in the low 100ís. The plan for me is to get to the course at around 1:30pm and hit balls on the range. My general routine is the following:
Hit about 5 good ones with a pitching wedge
Hit about 5 good ones with a 9-Iron
Hit about 7-10 good ones with a 7-Iron
Hit about 5 good ones with a 5-Iron
Hit about 10 good ones with a 3-Wood
Hit about 5 good ones with a Driver
From there I head to the chipping area with just my sand wedge and hit a bucket of balls from 50 yards out, then another bucket from about 30 yards out. From there I plant myself in a bunker until I have that right. After that I chip with my wedge until I have a good feel for it. Finally, to the putting green where I focus solely on speed and donít worry too much about actually making the putts.
By the time Iím on the putting green my buddies show up and hit a couple balls. B 3:00pm, we usually tee off. My absolute favorite group to golf with are my two Toronto buddies Sam and Tyson, along with Ted ďTED!!!Ē Park (Itís an inside joke Iíll divulge later)
Ted will give me about 5 a side and Sam and I are pretty close, with him giving me about 1 or 2 a side. As for Tyson, I think I gave him 1 last time. We usually play at TPC Summerlin unless itís a Monday, in which case we head to Samís course, Spanish Trail.

2. After Golf itís dinner time. Sometimes itís just the guys, while other times we bring along a few more people. We donít go anywhere fancy, especially considering the fact that no one really shaves, everyone is wearing a baseball cap, and we all probably smell a little funky after a full day in the Vegas heat. For tomorrow, despite my mother volunteering to cook (big surprise right?) we are going to do dinner at one of my favorite restaurants- Paymonís. Dinner comes with cocktails, sake if we do Sushi, maybe a few Peroniís at Paymonís or even some wine.

3. My house. We never go out to bars anymore, like ever. Itís either my place or Tedís place as we both have the two most important features: a pool table and Nintendo Wii. The night usually starts out with pool, either 8-ball or 9-ball. Depending whoís there we might do tournaments or just play two man team games. One match up has me and Tyson (#2 and #3 seed) play alternate shot against Sam and ďTED!!!Ē If Sam and ďTED!!!Ē do well against us, weíll change the format back to just Sam and Ted. Whatís the difference? Well, in Sam and ďTED!!!Ē mode Sam gets to run out when itís his turn, and also play alternate shot on ďTEDís!!!Ē turn. Ted is the weakest player so we have fun with it. When he makes a ball we might say something like, ďGood boy TED!!! You did good.Ē He takes the needling wellÖespecially when Sam runs out on us!
Before I forget, I promised to offend some people so here goes: 8-ball and 9-ball is to Snooker what checkers is to chess. In fact, 8-ball and 9-ball are just plain stupid forms of pool compares to the champagne of billiards, snooker. The game is so much more fascinating but will never catch on in America, much like Soccer, Cricket, and other slower paced sports will never make it in a fast paced culture. America seems to be all about instant gratification. A game like cricket, for example, doesnít offer that as itís a slow game with less action then say, NBA Basketball.
Snooker takes more time than 8-ball or 9-ball, but in my opinion itís well worth the extra time to challenge your mind and really think about advanced strategies. My snooker game is akin to the opposite of my poker game. Iím an aggressive risk taker at the poker tables, but in snooker Iím more like a Tony Cousineau/Scotty Nguyen type of player, looking for high percentage plays and always thinking about the conservative play first and foremost. In fact, that approach has always allowed me to do well against players who were much more talented then me because I would frustrate them to the point that theyíd make mistakes. Evelyn Ng and I used to play pool together over 10 years ago, and I think if you asked her, sheíd say that she hated playing pool with me. I play too tight!!! Hey, whatever it takes.
So anyway, the reason I even brought up snooker was that I just received my snooker balls that I ordered online. My table is a little small for snooker, itís a 9 foot, but if we play six reds it will still make for some fun times. Sam and Tyson grew up in Toronto where Snooker is still played regularly, while Ted will be a little green but weíll make sure to spot him. In six red, I figure the handicaps should be something like:
Sam 0
Daniel 4
Tyson 12
Ted 20

Once we get sick of playing pool, weíll often do a small buy in freeze out. The last two times we did that we played 2-7 no limit single draw. I won the first one and came second to this clueless punk kid from TPC Summerlin who drew two and made a hand EVERY time! Brutal, $140 down the drain.

All the while people are in and out playing Wii, which is usually a good way to finish the night. Last night, playing only one game, I bowled my new high score (257).

The night usually ends at anywhere from 8:00am till 2:00pm, and we are usually back to pool by then. It doesnít take much to make me happy on my birthday, and since my wife asked what a good birthday would consist of, I told her itís a day like any other really.


A few more additions to my schedule have come to my attention:

July 30-August 1 I will be in Montreal doing a television show with several NHL players.
August 6th-August 8th I will be in Vail, Colorado for another corporate appearance.
August 13th-August 20th I will be in Las Vegas taking part in a cool show that I canít talk about yet.
August 21st I will be flying to Manila, Philippines for the first ever Asian Pacific Poker Tour event, sponsored by PokerStars who is also the sponsor of the European Poker Tour which will be my next stop.

Add that to my already growing list of travel dates and that adds up to lots of long flights. I believe we are looking at 16 hours to Manila, followed by another 16 hours from there to Barcelona for the EPT event there. After that it looks like I may go straight to London for the WSOP Europe, but Iím unsure if Iíll actually be playing in the WSOP Europe just yet due to some circumstances that may be out of my control. Iíd like to play in the events, but if a few things donít get worked out soon Iíd be willing to skip the event entirely. I think it should all work out fine, but Iíve heard nothing yet as to whether I should be playing in those events.

As for my online poker career, man do I suck! I ran that $200 all the way up to $6107 before blowing $6000 playing two $75-$150 Omaha H/L games on PokerStars. The games were great but I took some tough beats and frankly, $6000 isnít much of a bankroll for that game. As to what Iíll do next, I havenít decided. People send me money in transfers all the time, itís the weirdest thing? One guy sent me $15.09, another guy $6.44, etc. but most of the transfers are for pennies. Hey, it adds up! Keep sending, all donations welcome! LOL.

Iím actually pretty happy with my poker game right now, but it is pretty difficult for me to do well online, especially in multiple games. The higher limit games arenít as much of a problem, but when I sit in the smaller games or even the tournaments, the observer chat can be overwhelming. Paying attention to that makes it impossible for me to pay attention to the game, something I already have trouble with. I donít think Iíll ever be very good at online poker and Iíve accepted that quite a while ago. Iím actually looking forward to getting back out on the road. No distractions, nothing but poker, hotel room, poker, hotel room, repeat. I thrive under those conditions which is a little strange, but hey, whatever works right?

Aside from that, I have a ton of writing on my plate also, from my CardPlayer columns to my syndicated newspaper column as well as the book project, there is never enough time in the day. That, and another gargantuan project for FCP and itís future changes. As you all know by now, FCP is no longer an active online poker room, instead those players are now with PokerStars, but Full Contact Poker the forum and community still exists and will continue to grow especially with the launch of this new project.

Ok, Iím blogged out, time for bed and a full day of fun tomorrow!