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Daniel - Poker Journal

Pretty Amazing Trip Around the World

10 Oct 2010

I should be on a plane right now landing in Las Vegas soon, but I changed my flight one more day because I was out really late again last night and didn't get enough sleep. I've been having a good time this month and life is good.

The trip started with me going to LA for a couple days. I hung out with Regev, Oren, and the Farkash family in NorthRidge and this family IS my family. I love them all so much. Oren and Regev were my best friends in high school and I used to spend every weekend at their place (that's how I learned Hebrew they are Israeli.) Whether I see them once, twice, or more in a year, nothing changes in terms of the family bond. They are my brothers for life. Love those guys, and loved spending time over there and know that I need to do that more often.

They were staying right where I was filming another cameo in a movie directed by Joseph Kahn, a name you may recognize as being the top music video director in the world, working with anyone from Brittany Spears to Eminem, Rhianna to Katy Perry, he's done it all and his videos rock. Well now he's devoting his time to making an awesome film called Detention that should be released in a bit over a year. Kahn is a smart guy, and I think you guys are going to love this movie. I guess it could be described as a high school comedy/horror film and I laughed a ton just reading the script.

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After filming I flew to New York to do a media blitz, promoting our show the PokerStars.net Million Dollar Challenge. I did a night out in New York and ended up having a blast that night. Thanks ladies for helping me change my opinion of New York city!

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Then if was off to London where I'd stay for quite a while and in someways reconnect with lots of friends I don't spend as much time with anymore. Whether it was an after hours club with Hellmuth and Matusow, or having drinks in a private 20's bar with Antonio and Laak, I was a lot more social in the last month than I normally am.

I've been in a good mood I guess. I played really good poker in London, making the quarter-finals of the WSOPE heads up event, narrowly missing a cash in the WSOPE main event, had a few deep runs in WCOOP events finishing 11th in the $10,000 8-Game mix, maybe my best event, and then getting my first cash in an EPT, cashing in EPT London. I "played" the high roller but was totally spent by then. Nonetheless, I played a super crazy style and ended up getting unlucky in a pot that may have forced me to try and play my A game. It's a silly hand, but I had 2-7 vs Erik Seidel on the turn where the board read K-2-6-7 and we got it all in. He had AK and called, and the river was a K otherwise I would have had a ridiculous chip lead in the tournament and may have actually settled down.

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I had some great meetings in London with some of my fellow PokerStars Team Pro teammates. Andre Akkari and Alex Gomez, Barry Greenstien, Vanessa Rousso and Arnaud Mattern, etc. We have so many good people on this team and I'm extremely proud of my affiliation with PokerStars. It's a large corporation at this point, and I'm very impressed with how well it's run, despite it's size.

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We signed Liv Boeree! I was very excited about that signing because I truly believe Liv is the whole package and was the top "free agent" on the market.

1. Resume- she is a legit player, not just a pretty face. She won EPT San Remo and she's also had plenty of cashes since, coming second in an event at EPT London as well.

2. Attractive- She's very photogenic as evidenced by that FHM spread she's done as well as plenty of other photo shoots. She has a great smile, and while attractive, she's very approachable with the fans.

3. Likable- I'm pretty sure everyone loves Liv. I have never heard anyone say a bad word about her.

4. Well Spoken- she's articulate and does great interviews.

5. Hard Worker- not only does she play a full schedule of events, but she is more than willing to work hard in terms of promoting the game.

I remember Liv's first day as a Team Pro and it had to be overwhelming. Meetings with loads of new people, interviews, photo shoots, etc. I spoke with Liv and her first impression was similar to what anyone who works for PokerStars quickly realizes, they are very well organized and everyone inside the company is very motivated and care about the company. It's an amazing team, I'm genuinely proud to be on it.

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I was in London for a few weeks and it was time to go, but I miss the city. I really like the vibe there as mentioned before, and I'm a big fan of the UK Poker. Some amazing young players coming out of the UK recently, and I find them very likable for the most part.

I landed in Toronto and spent a day at my brothers house the night before my big Alternative Hockey League fantasy draft. This may sound silly, but this pool is probably my biggest passion and I just love it. My team is pretty awesome and I've been a part of this same league for 15 years. It's a keeper league and is much like actually running a real NHL team. It's pretty sick.

I held the draft at a cool sports bar named "Wegz" near my brothers house and we had a cool set up for it. If you check my twitter account at www.twitter.com/RealKidPoker you'll see loads of pictures I posted recently. I tried to post them here, but I suck at tech stuff.

At the draft I ran into "the guys" who all have the same passion for the greatest hockey pool in the world.

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That night I had to drive downtown in my 2004 Toyota Tundra that I won for WSOP Player of the Year and stayed at the Park Hyatt for work in the morning. The next morning I worked with Jennifer Hedger on the NHL Charity Shootout Poker event and she was lovely! We worked well together and I'm a fan. Had no idea until half way through shooting that she was 4 months pregnant!

After we finished work in record time, I napped at my hotel before heading to the Air Canada Center for the home opener for the Leafs/Habs game. A storied rivalry, and the Leafs hadn't won a home opener in 10 years!

I got the invite from PokerStars who has two of the best seats in the whole arena. Right on the glass, right behind the goalie. If you order a drink while watching the game and sit in these seats, be advised to NOT leave your drink on the rail because when these big boys come crashing into the boards, you'll end up with beer in your lap!

There is nothing like watching a hockey game from there. The sound of the puck hitting the glass sounds like a shotgun blast, and when two guys come crashing into the boards it's surreal.

Leafs won the game 3-2! After the game some of the Leaf execs took me over to a VIP area in the sports bar "Real Sports." This bar in absurd. It was rated the #1 sports bar in all of North America and I can see why. I ended up closing down the bar and just had a blast.

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The next night we had a fun little poker game at my friend Chris' place, you may know him from the HardCore Poker radio show and also from his columns in the Toronto Sun.

We played two sit n' gos and I didn't win either of them. Kessel was left off the board also, but Tyler Bozak got a sniff of the money in the second one. Those two guys are like best buds and seem to really get along, but are very competitive with each other at the poker table. When I asked them who the better poker player was, they both said "Me."

I really like those guys and they've won me over so much so, that despite knowing the Leafs won't win the cup this year, I'll be rooting for this team. After all, I'm still a Toronto boy at heart and still bleed blue and white.

The next night the Leafs played Ottawa and once again I got the same seats. This time I brought my cousin/Goddaughter to her first ever NHL game and she had the time of her life! She wanted a jersey, so we looked everywhere for a #42 Bozak jersey because we thought it would be funny, plus she said Bozak was way hotter than Kessel, lol.

She was on fire, banging the glass, yelling and screaming, and at one point the ref threw a puck over the glass and she caught it! She was so excited, I'm so glad I brought her.

Leafs crushed the Sens 5-1! After the game we went over to Real Sports again. For Elizabet walking around the ACC with me was a bit surreal. Poker is very popular in Toronto and I feel like I took more pictures and signed more autographs that night than a full week at the WSOP. It's just a madhouse. At first she felt uncomfortable with people staring, but eventually she was totally into it and thought it was pretty cool.

Bozak and Kessel joined us for a bite to eat and then we ended up talking hockey/poker for quite a while. I met some of the other Leafs as well, but mostly hung out with those two. They are such great guys and I promised them I'd wear a Kessel and a Bozak jersey again sometime on TV in the future.

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I didn't get home until 3:30am chatting with Elizabet till late. She is a brilliant woman in school majoring in environmental studies and I'm very proud of her. She is at the top of her class and really has her head on straight.

I was supposed to fly out at like 6:00am, but I was just exhausted and decided that I'll veg here at my brothers house and watch football and play the Sunday tourneys on PokerStars and fly home tomorrow.

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It's been an amazing trip spending more time with family and friends than I have in the past. I did neglect my body, however, so when I get home it's time to get back on the P90X kick and get back into shape!

There will be plenty of trips ahead this fall as it's a busy season for me travel wise, but I am going to take a family vacation/poker trip to Sydney in December. I'm really looking forward to that trip because I really like the vibe in Australia as well as the people.

Ok, this blog is a book! Sorry no pictures, but check out the pics I posted on my twitter account.

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