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Daniel - Poker Journal

A New Challenge Awaits

31 Mar 2010


The month of March has seen me on the road a lot, with few of the distractions I often have at home in Vegas. That's given me an opportunity to finally get around to doing something I could have done years ago, but never really had the interest to do. I have spent the month of March on a mission to learn how to play no limit hold'em cash games online.

As most of you know, high stakes no limit hold'em action has been relatively quiet now for quite some time. Well, with me playing regularly, the games are obviously full with a waiting list. I mean if you have a computer, then you probably have a TV, and if you play poker, and have a TV, you've probably watched a few episodes of High Stakes Poker. If you've watched a few episodes of High Stakes Poker, and you have money on PokerStars, then you jump on the waiting list. If you don't have money on PokerStars, then you get deposit some money on PokerStars, and jump on the waiting list. It's that simple really.

Then if you watch me play online in those games, you see all the fundamental mistakes, you see all the misplayed hands and all the weird lines, and then you feel great about your decision to jump in these games as your dreams have been answered. The donkey from that GSN show has fallen into your lap and is prepared to pad your bankroll. I don't blame you.

I played more hours online this month than I'd ever played before. I played over 60 hours of $100-$200 and I also tried my luck 4-tabling the $5-$10 NLH games to get in some practice mutli-tabling. It has always been intimidating to me, an old school grinder who relies on feel and game flow, but after I got through the first 15 minutes I found the pace to be reasonable. I wasn't timing out, and I could kind of keep up with what was going on.

Since being in London, I had about 4 days before my commercial shoot and I locked myself up in the room and slept, ordered room service, played online, and when I wasn't doing that, I was working on my game.
The only human contact I had was when the room service lady would bring me food and take the last tray away. I never saw the maids. I never left the room. I didn't shave. What was the point?

Well, I'm in the midst of the commercial shoot now and have one more day in London before heading to Toronto for a few days to spend time with my brother Mike and my sister-in-law Ornella. We are going to take in a hockey game, and I plan on visiting Michael Landsberg on Off The Record on April 5th before heading to Connecticut for the NAPT main event, as well as the $25k bounty shootout event.

In the meantime, I feel 22 again. I feel like I'm learning how to play the game all over again, and I'm very proud of the effort I've put in. It's not about the money. It never has been. I love the game of poker and I will always challenge myself to reach new heights, which brings me to the point of this blog:

Outside interests have definitely taken a toll on my poker game, but I am now officially ready to throw my hat in the ring against the world's best players.
My plan is to challenge "The Big Three" to a one million dollar heads up no limit hold'em match. I will play one at a time, and guarantee that I will play each of them for a million, even if I lose the first two.
First on the list is Patrik Antonius. Next up, the wonder kid Tom "Durrrr" Dwan, and finally, the king of poker. Do I really need to even say his name? Phil Ivey obviously.
I've already secured a private room at the Aria casino at the City Center to house these matches, and I've already talked to all three guys and they all agreed to play (surprise, surprise.)
The first match will take place on April 15th-17th at noon and we've agreed to play an 8 hour session and then play it by ear from there, provided it's not over by then.
I should also add, that every year when I write a blog around this time of year I seem to forget to take part in an American custom. So this year, I've decided to join the bandwagon and say a hearty "April Fools" to you all.
Are you nuts??? I ain't playing any of those three guys heads up at no limit hold'em! As for the rest of the blog, about me working on my game, not shaving, etc. Well that's all true.
My first month of learning went very well and I felt marked improvement in my fundamentals as I got more hands under my belt. I started out getting super lucky, jumping out to a $200k head start, and then proceeded to lose back about $180k of it. Since then, things made a turn for the better, and my final tally in March looked like this:
Hands Played: 5684
Profit: $204,734
Big Blinds (per 100 hands): 18.01

I also four tabled the $5-$10 games briefly and came out ahead:
Hands Played: 1177
Profit: $4068.95
Big Blinds (per 100 hands): 34.57

Most of my $100-$200 play has been one tabling, but the last 3-4 sessions have been two tables and I'm comfortable sticking to two tables at those stakes... for now. If I continue to hold my own and feel comfortable, I may be willing to add a third table. So, if you are a high stakes no limit hold'em player, and you are looking for action, you'll find it at PokerStars.com when "KidPoker" is playing. Look out for my tweets (RealKidPoker) because the games fill up very quickly when I sit and the the list often gets 20 deep.

I'm hoping to get in 20,000 hands by the WSOP at which point my focus shifts, and then the goal is to be at 50,000 hands by the end of 2010. My sample size is far too small to give my results any meaning at all, but I hope to have a better idea where I stand after putting in 50,000+ hands.

I'm really enjoying the process. It really is just amazing how much better poker players are today than they were 10 years ago. Fundamentally, all the guys I play with in that game are so damn good. For so many years I didn't need to bother worrying too much about the fundamentals because the average player played so poorly post-flop that I could turn almost any hand into a profit after the flop. Pre-flop decisions just weren't all that important to me. It's what everyone ELSE focused on, but I was more concerned with what they did after the flop where they'd often be lost. Well, players today are no longer "lost" post-flop so in order to compete I needed to finally start caring about what I do pre-flop. It's nowhere near as fun, but it's a necessary evil against the advanced players of today.

Not sure when I'll blog again, but I'm thinking it will be a while. You probably won't hear from me until the NAPT where I'll write a recap of my day one from the Mohegan Sun.

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