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Daniel - Poker Journal

Operation 80

11 Mar 2010


OK, so last May before the WSOP me, EDOG, Ivey, and Ted The Idiot, were all drinking and talkin' golf. My game was coming around nicely at the time, so I made a bet with them that I would shoot 80 or better from the blue tees at TPC Summerlin by next year's WSOP. At the time my best round ever from there was 86. I made the bet, and in August after the WSOP I had some time to work on my game and before leaving for Europe in September I shot 83, 84, and 83 in that last week.

Since then, I haven't had any time at all to work on golf. None at all. Looking ahead to my schedule, I started to realize that it wasn't looking good for me as I was running out of time. So I called my guy Christian and said we need to get to work! I leave for Austria on the 19th and won't be back in Vegas until April 14th. Then I'm home, but I'll be playing the WPT Championship on the 19th. Immediately after that I'm headed to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final.

Originally I thought May would be totally free, but I'm now committed to a project from May 2-10. The good news there is that it's all in happening in Vegas, and I'll also probably have 2-3 days off in the middle of that depending how it goes.

So Operation 80 must start now! Yesterday Christian came to the house and I hit 110 balls on my simulator. He noticed a key flaw immediately and we worked on two things:

1) My right knee was locking when I took the club back. That's bad. So, we worked on hitting balls, but also maintaining my knee flex. Essentially it's like hitting the golf ball with just arms and is designed to keep my lower body quiet which historically has always been a problem.

2) Getting my weight to my left side at impact. This was a secondary focus and something I definitely need to work on, but first we need to make sure I'm not swaying on the back swing.

Today we went to the course to see where we are at. The greens were aerated. Sand all over them, huge holes which caused the ball to have a mind of it's own when it hit the green, and it was also chilly and windy. Not ideal golf weather.

The whole round Christian had me focusing solely on keeping my right knee flexed on every swing. It's a drill, and when you practice properly it's not supposed to give you immediate results. In the past, I always gambled when I played so there was never any time to dedicate solely to practice. We always had to make the best of what we had at the time.

A symptom of swinging with just my arms was two fold, me coming over the top a lot, and also not hitting the ball anywhere since I wasn't getting ANY weight behind it at all.

I played the whole 18 like that and shot 57-59=116. A laughable score, but it's a starting point to work from and improve on. Tomorrow I think Christian said we'll focus on getting to my left side and that should help a lot. The way I was hitting the ball I had no chance to carry a few of the holes and I ended up making a 9 or a 10 on the hole.

I'm keeping the goal simple for tomorrow. Just shoot better than 116. A modest goal to say the least. Before I leave for Austria I'm hoping to be back in the mid 90's. We shall see.

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Basketball tonight! I joined a league this year with some of the guys from Poker Royalty and I'm excited to play! It's an under 6' 2" league and our team lost last week. Neither E-DOG or myself could play, but we'll both be there tonight. I used to love playing basketball and I just love team sports.

There was one summer in high school where I played basketball everyday and got to the point where I was decent. We used to play a game called "American 21" which was every man for himself and we'd often play with 14 people, all of which were taller than me. I could never get a clean shot off, 1 on 13, so I developed an odd fade away jumper/sky hook that I got pretty good at, but it looks really ugly!

I was devastated when I got cut from my high school team that year. All of my friends were on the team and they were really good. I was just hoping to ride the bench and offer moral support. I would have been a real team player for sure.

It was my first, and only run in with affirmative action. My school at the time had 75% Chinese students. One Chinese student named Sam tried out for the team. He was maybe two inches taller than me, but he was just awful. He couldn't dribble, he couldn't shoot, he didn't speak the language very well, but in the end Mr. Barker put him on the team. Everyone was shocked by it. I worked hard to get on that team and it got me excited about school. Well, getting left off the team left a bad taste in my mouth.

I was already a gambler by that time and I challenged Mr.Barker to a one-on-one match for $100. I then told him I'd play Sam and if he beats me I'd give them both $100. I wanted on the team so bad!!! Mr.Barker game me some lame excuse about basketball being a team sport, not a one-on-one sport, whatever loser.

So, instead of going to school since there didn't seem to be a real point to it all at that point, I spent my days playing snooker at the pool hall. Eventually I found poker so I guess I should thank Mr.Barker for cutting me.


It's fun to play games! I have been working really hard this year. I've played 6 tournaments already this year, plus the Premier League and the NBC Heads Up. On top of that, I've been working hard on other poker related responsibilities. That doesn't leave a lot of time for fun and games, but I'm going to "play" this week before another long road trip that will see me go from Austria to London, London to Toronto (maybe), to New York, then to Mohegan Sun, and finally back home to Vegas.

Shower time, 6:00pm tip off!










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