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Daniel - Poker Journal

PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge... and other stuff

09 Oct 2009


I'm excited to see how the first show comes off this Sunday. Being a part of a show, and then seeing the edited down version if often very different. I had a blast doing the show and definitely think there are some great moments.

This Sunday, Father Andrew Trapp, a Catholic Priest will be featured on the show. You just don't see that everyday! You just don't wanna miss this first show, wow.

I want to make it clear what this show is: it's a game show FIRST and a poker show SECOND. The blinds go up quickly and they get high pretty quickly, which I actually think benefits the contestants. The slower the structure, the harder it would be for an amateur player to get through a celebrity, a PokerStars Team Pro, and then me. The more luck involved, the better for them.

The contestants are mostly just "regular people." Not aspiring poker pros or internet phenoms, mostly inexperienced players who qualified by playing in freerolls on PokerStars.

What this show is expected to do, is to draw in an audience that doesn't necessarily watch poker on television, but will watch game shows. Tons of money will be given away, and even viewers at home will have a shot at some cash just by watching.

For the contestants, the rules are simple:

20,000 in chips with 400-800 blinds to start, and you face off against a celebrity who is playing for charity. Celebrity wins, $5000 goes to their charity, if the contestant wins, they get a trip to Bahamas for them and a friend valued at $5000 and move on to round two. In round one, I will be sitting right next to the contestant. I can't see any holecards, but I can tell them what I see. They also get one "timeout" which allows them to get advice from me on a particular hand.

In round two the stakes are raised. The contestant plays a Team Pro, and if they win, they get $25,000! For that match, they'll have an earpiece in, and I'll be sitting in an isolation booth where I can see the contestants holecards and give them advice directly into their ear. There is a twist: twice during a match, the pro can shut me up by pressing the dome of silence. When they press that button, the contestant can no longer hear me. Win match two, and it's decision time.

The contestant can take the $25,000 and walk away. However, if they decide to press onward they can risk the $25,000 and play me for $100,000 and also have a chance at a million dollars in the final show. Beat me, you get $100,000 with no strings attached and qualify for a shot at a million in show five.

What I love most about the show, is that this money is potentially life changing for some of these contestants. It's real drama and I'm surprised how affected I was emotionally by it all. I got to know some of these contestants, so I felt their pain, and in some cases... their joy.

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ESPN magazine the body issue is supposed to be on the shelves soon. I'm in it, as are Jennifer Harman, Scotty Nguyen, and Phil Hellmuth and his pretty little nipples, lol.

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I'm back home in Vegas and loving it. Waking up at around 9:00am, working out, eating well, then heading to the golf course for a round. It's been a month since I've golfed so I'm a little rusty, but not that far off. After golf, I head home and play on PokerStars for a couple hours, then I catch up on some Tivo: Survivor, Amazing Race, Curb Your Enthusiasm,Heroes, etc.

Speaking of playing on PokerStars, I've been playing regularly in the $400-$800 8-game mix and really enjoy it. I do want to explain one important thing to those considering playing: you are NOT allowed to dodge any games you don't like. You have to play all 8 of the games, that's the whole point of a mixed game. You can't just play your best games and sit out on your weaker games, it's not allowed.

I've really been into playing poker the last little while and am enjoying it. I won't be able to play on High Stakes Poker this year because I'll be in Europe, but I do plan on playing some live poker in December hopefully.

I'm looking forward to playing in the WPT Bellagio event coming up soon. I'm a streaky player and when I'm focused it often means that scores come in bunches. I didn't realize I was even in the hunt for CardPlayer of the Year, but that gives me a big of extra motivation down the stretch to do well.
One thing I did notice, that I really, really, don't like, is that CardPlayer changed their scoring system for player of the year to include certain online tournaments. That's just plain wrong. There already is an Online Player of the Year award and not one live event counts for those standings, so why should an online event count for player of the year? Big mistake if you ask me and I don't think it makes any sense at all.
Without counting the online tournaments, I'd have a legit shot if I made a final table or two, but counting The JovialGent's online win puts me back about 2000 points and that will be tough to make up this late in the year.

Yes, I am a stats geek, and yes I care about stuff like that. It's why I play tournaments. If it weren't for stats, I probably wouldn't play tournaments at all and just grind playing cash games. Stats are fun!






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