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Daniel - Poker Journal

NBC Heads Up, American Idol, and Australia

01 Mar 2008


I lost to the Grinder in the first round of the heads up. Didn't really catch any cards and tried one bluff that didn't work as he had a strong hand. That's pretty much all the play you are going to get in those matches. My overall record in that tournament is now 4-4 but I don't put much stock into it either way.

Frankly, I was already a bit tilted when I noticed that they changed the blinds in the first level from 100-200 to 150-300. The blinds go up every 15 minutes and it's pretty tough to develop much of a game plan before the blinds force you to play push poker.

I play the 5k sit n' gos on PokerStars all the time and there is, oh, about 10 times more play in those than you'll get in the NBC Heads Up. It's a bit frustrating, but I do understand the time constraints the crew facing when filming this event.

If I were filming it, though, my way of cutting costs would be to just film highlights from the early matches and then only shoot the final 8. In a perfect world the matches would average about 3.5 hours (or about 80-100 hands) with a format like this:

10,000 in chips
60 minute levels

25-50
50-100
100-200
150-300
200-400
300-600
400-800
500-1000 (stay there for the duration)

If you only film the final 8 that would be a total of 7 matches. That could be done on Saturday and Sunday with the previous matches beginning on a Wednesday through Friday. The 32 matches could all happen simultaneously in a larger room, then the final 8 could be shot in the cozier room with all of the camera crew.

By changing the format it would create a much more prestigious event. Anytime you can't fold a hand like QQ pre-flop correctly, you have a structure that's too fast and is too dependent on luck.

This really isn't sour grapes. There is no shame at all in losing to the Grinder, he's a great player, got better cards, and played them better than I did. I hope he does well in the tournament. I just find it a bit frustrating that when playing in made for TV events, due to the difficult task of shooting on a tight schedule, most events (outside of High Stakes Poker) force the action rather quickly.

Televised poker is at a point now where I feel like we need to take the game to the next level. There is certainly room for shows with fast structures, but in order to keep poker fresh and prestigious, we need events that are high in skill and low on luck.

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Last night I watched the whole week of American Idol and so far, I think it's a pretty good season. I must have listened to David Archuleta's rendition of Imagine like four times already. The guys are much better this season than last year I think.

I'd say the most intriguing girl thus far has probably been Danny Noriega. Decent voice and I think Simon thinks he's cute. I also like the dude with the dreadlocks, he seems like a cool dude. Actually, I can't think of one person that I've ever met with dreads that I DIDN'T like? Growing up in Toronto I had a lot of Rasta friends and they were all cool, laid back people. Stress free for sure. Maybe it was the ganja, who knows.

On the girls side the little Filipino chick has a cool vibe, but I don't see her winning. Actually I don't see any of the girls winning. Archuleta has to be the early favorite, but you wonder, how in the world is he going to top Imagine? It was sick good.

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PokerVT is looking good for the April launch. I have shot more than enough stuff for the launch so now it's up the tech guys to get the other aspects of the site done.

The book is close to the editing stage too and we should be really close for a WSOP 08' launch.

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It's about 3:00pm and a car is picking me up at 5:30pm to take me to LA where I connect and fly to Australia. I'll be there till March 8th and be back for the Shooting Stars event at the Bay 101. After Bay 101, I'll be in Vegas shooting 10 days of voice over work on the APPT shows. The shows are going to be high quality as the WSOP team is actually cutting the shows.

After that I'm off to Europe for a loooong time. Italy for the EPT, than a week in London to do more voice over work for some EPT events, and then back to Monte Carlo for the EPT final. When that's over, it'll be time for the WPT Championship at the Bellagio and then I'm looking at May to get some much needed relaxation time in.

It's a pretty nutty schedule recently and in the near future and I definitely feel a bit of the wear and the tear. Especially because on every trip I take, I'm having fun. Probably parting a bit too much, but I'm thoroughly enjoying what I'm doing now, and in some ways, I feel like I'm 23 again.

With being 23 again, though, there is both good and bad. On the fun scale I'm doing really well, on the focus scale I've been slipping for sure and not putting in my best effort in the tournaments that I've played.

I guess it's to be expected. Recently divorced, being single takes some getting used to and sometimes I'm not really sure what I'm doing. I feel like focusing on fun for the time being is definitely the best way to go.

I just haven't been as psyched about playing in these tournaments recently because I'm having trouble finding any real meaning in these events? I feel like I am able to gear up for prestigious events and stuff, but there haven't been any new tournaments that fit that category in quite some time. The WSOP has that vibe for sure, especially this year with all of the 10k buy in events. Before that, I actually am excited about the EPT and WPT Championships, but my only worry there would be fatigue.

I'm at a weird place right now in life. A transitional period where I have lots of responsibilities that cut into my time to grow, and "find myself," if you will.
It's kind of exciting actually, being in this new place, but the added stress of deadlines, etc. makes it tough to feel totally free.

My poker game is at a weird place too. Much like my first season on the WPT where I didn't do well. Only difference is that I have more confidence in my skill level now than I ever have. Problem is, I've developed a bad habit in tournaments recently: the dreaded Matusow blow up!

Nothing to worry about. I never expected to be a perfect poker player that doesn't go through highs and lows. Being a bit older now, though, makes it much easier for me to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not get caught up with confidence issues, etc.

It just comes down to will and drive really, and at the moment, my attention is a bit divided with "life stuff" which means poker takes a back seat for the time being. Have no fear, though, this has been a pattern for me over the last, oh, 15 years as a poker player and when the storm settles, I usually come out blazing.



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