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Daniel - Poker Journal

The Golf Match is Over, time to sweat in Ivey

07 Nov 2009

First, the golf. The other side, Patrik, Jimmy, and Mikko wanted to bet more on the match this year, but honestly, I did NOT want to kick it up, because I knew Patrik was a lot better than last year and I expected their scores to be much better than a year ago. I was right, Patrik was better and they shot much better than last year. Luckily... so did we.

The day before the match, we practiced hard and shot a 61. That worried me. I told Jimmy after the round we shot 61 and he seemed to think that was pretty good. I confidently said, "61 isn't going to win anything. You have to break 60 to win." I knew for sure they could do better than that, and with Mikko subbing in for Nick last year, I had no idea what to expect in terms of how long he was off the tee. We asked if he was longer than Jimmy and we were told "no way, Jimmy is 20 yards longer than Mikko." Well, we had our spotters tell us a very different story. Mikko is a monster, he hit one 370 yards on #9 and carried a bunker 320 yards out on #13. Sick! He's not as consistent as Jimmy, but he is CLEARLY longer when he keeps it in play. Whatever, no big deal, I don't really care that much, but his length is obviously the key reason that they wanted to bet more this year. They must have felt like it would be "easy money" with such a long hitter on their side.

On day one we played well shooting 29 on the front and 30 on the back. They shot 28 on the front and 30 on the back. We lost, and said, "If they shoot 58, they deserve to win." I didn't feel cheated at all. I thought we played well enough to win, but they played better so they deserved the win. No hard feelings, we tried to stay upbeat and knew we'd have to play even better on day 2.

I found it kind of funny that on hole #16, with them ahead, Patrik was complaining about the match. We shot our best round ever and lost, but didn't complain. Maybe he just felt he was supposed to just automatically win 4 bets if they shot 58? I dunno, but I think it's a case of him winning at everything he does, so losing is so foreign to him that if it ever happens, "Something had to be wrong."

I had a friend get a call from Patrik that night while I was at Bellagio playing Chinese Poker asking him if he wanted to bet more on the match. My friend bet on us on day 1 and was considering it, but then Patrik tells him he needs to be laid a price. HAHAHAHAHA for real??? They just WON on day 1, and now he thinks he's supposed to get a price? That's just too weird. Comical actually.

Day 2 started out great. We birdied the first hole and they parred it for the second day in a row. I made a bomb eagle putt on #3 and through 5 holes we were -6. We blew a 4 foot putt on #6, birdied 7 and 8, then had a total fluke putt on #9.
It's a par 5, and we were long in two in a bad spot in the thick rough. It's uphill to the green, but then way downhill once it's on the green. I always, always chip, even from the fringe, but Christian said we can't chip this one close so we'd have to putt. Sam and Ted both blew it way right and by the hole. I choked up on my putter and hit it WAY too hard. Luckily, it was on line and ended up hitting the pin, and dropping in for ANOTHER eagle! We shot 27 on the front, and they missed tons of putts and shot 31 giving us a nice lead going into the back.

They parred 10, 11, and 12 and it looked like it might be a bloodbath, but they finished strong making birdie, birdie, eagle, eagle, birdie, and par on 18.

We are huge underdogs to those guys on both the par 5's and the par 3's. For example, on #13, a par 5, we simply cannot hit the green in two, but they had a 9 footer both days for eagle. On par 3's, we sucked bad, missing the green about half the time! The longer out we are, the better for them because they have the big hitters.

On hole #15, a short par 4, they had TWO balls on the green! Sam hit one short, it hit a SPRINKLER head and landed on the green! Christian also hit the green, first time we'd ever hit that green in 1, and once again, I drained a bomb that broke about 3 feet. I made three eagle putts on the day. We'd never had two in a round before.

On hole #18 we had 95 yards out, all three of us missed the green badly, but Christian hit one to 20 feet. Ted tidied things up making the putt right off the bat for a 29 on the back for an incredible 27-29=56 round to beat their 31-29=60 round. After 36 holes, we won the match by 3 shots.

You'd think we beat them by 10 shots based on the reaction, but it didn't surprise me too badly. They obviously felt like they had the nuts and couldn't lose, but in the end, we came up big and made tons of bomb putts in pressure situations. That's the difference in this match. They are all better ball strikers than us, and it's not even close! On the greens? We'll kill them. All of my guys are better putters than Patrik and Mikko. Jimmy is a great putter, but the other two just don't have the same kind of feel as my team does on the greens.
If you watched us play you'd think we were drawing completely dead in this match. I'd challenge their spotter to disagree with the fact that we won because we made bomb after bomb in clutch situations. If it wasn't Ted it was Christian in the anchor seat. Sam didn't make any putts on day 2, but he made plenty on day 1.

When we lost on day 1, nobody on our side whined or cried. We said "Good match" and mentioned that if they shoot 58 they deserve to win. No one was bitter, no one said anything.

When we won on 18, they pretty much bolted. Obviously annoyed with losing, but obviously feeling like the match was not fair... yet it was their side that wanted to up the stakes, not us. I had nothing at all to do with setting up the match. I never did any of the negotiating at all. I just showed up, agreed, and tried to play the best I could.

If we would have lost the match, I can assure you we would have said "Good game, well played," shook their hands, and maybe discussed a rematch if we felt we had a chance. There was none of that. They lost and feel cheated. We beat them by THREE shots in 36 holes! We made tons of bomb putts. We could have EASILY shot 60 on day 2 had it not been for all the bombs we made on the greens.

I dunno, maybe it just stings more because they felt like going into the match they were stealing, and that turned out to not be the case. I'm just speculating here, but maybe they were trying to hustle us, and since they lost, they feel like they got hustled. I just wish they could have seen how we won. I wish their spotter would have tracked how many 25+ foot putts we made.

That night me and the boys all celebrated at Kona Grill drinking loads of sake. Lots of high fives, lots of laughs, and lots of sake! So much so, I ended up sleeping on the floor next to a bucket when I got home (and no, I did not drive.)

Today was a day of rest. Tomorrow it's all about Ivey. I'll be there to support him every step of the way. I have a substantial amount of money bet on Ivey in one specific bet: a must win bet against Darvin Moon. I loved my bet early on, but the last WSOP show definitely scared me. He made some plays, did some lying, made some laydowns... he seemed to play really well. The reason I liked my bet originally despite the huge chip disadvantage is that I felt like Moon get outplayed short handed against the more experienced players at the table. However, if Ivey gets down to 4 handed, I have confidence in his ability to finish. He's a great finisher and is very tough to beat, especially short handed.

On the night of the 8th I'll be flying to LA to play in a charity golf tournament with the Entourage guys. I'll only be there for the day and plan on flying back in time to watch the heads up, hopefully with Ivey involved.

Here's a random prediction:

1. Phil Ivey
2. Joe Cada
3. Darvin Moon
4. Jeff Shulman
5. Eric Buchman
6. Steven Begleiter
7. James Akenhead
8. Kevin Schaffel
9. Antoine Saout

I'll be down at the Rio all day. If you want to see a spectacle, you should definitely check it out.


After all that, hopefully celebrating with Ivey on the 9th, I'll get geared up for another season of High Stakes Poker. I'm just hoping to avoid quads for the 4th time on that show! Walking back on that set give me the ebie jeebies sometimes since I've had so many weird things happen to me on that show. I don't claim to have played the best on that show, but I will comfortably lay claim to the fact that I have been the unluckiest player on that show. Hopefully I get a few breaks this season, but all I can focus on is playing the best I can. You just can't let past demons haunt you...




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