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Daniel - Poker Journal

Vienna, Bucharest, Amsterdam, LA, Las Vegas in a week

07 Nov 2010

In my last blog I mentioned I was doing well in Vienna, and in fact, had the chip lead almost exclusively from the middle of day two all the way down the the final 5. I was in good shape and felt like I had good control of the table when a key hand occurred:

I think the blinds were 60k-120k with a 15 ante. We were five handed and Luca raised under the gun. I called with Kd 9d as did Martin on the button. The flop came K-8-5 with two hearts. Luca made a big bet of about 700k and he had another 1.6 million behind. I called, and planned on folding if Martin raised behind me. If Martin called, then I was going to fold the turn unless I hit a K or a 9.

The turn came a 9 and Luca went all in for 1.6 million. Martin had about 2.8 million and I thought he had an obvious drawing hand since he only called the flop. I wanted him to pay the maximum to draw to his flush so I went all in also, having them both well covered. This is where things get crazy.

Martin throws his hands up in the air and goes into the tank. Both me and Luca are all in, the action is only on Martin now. He tanks for about 25-30 seconds looking flustered, then finally says "Call."

Now some background. Martin had played SUPER tight up until this point so when he overcalled I thought I was dead. I said something like "Uh oh, looks like Martin must have a set over there." Then Luca turns up his AA and I say, "I can beat that," then turn up my K9.

Martin pauses AGAIN. He doesn't turn his hand over, looks at both of our hands, then get this, he turns over 6-7 off suit! This was creepy on so many levels:

1) He played so tight I never thought he'd ever have that hand there
2) He TANKED with the nuts and no action pending
3) After he called with the NUTS he wouldn't turn his hand over

I've never seen a worse slowroll on TV in my whole life, the whole thing was just so bizarre. I still have no idea why Martin would do that, but after I busted I asked him and he said something like, "It was a big pot."

I ended up finishing a disappointing 4th place, but the good news was that I busted right before the dinner break so that gave me time to hang with Amanda and Stapes for a bit before our trip to Romania.

That night we had some drinks at "The BOX" with a lot of the masseuses and media peeps, as well as some of the players. We didn't stay too late because we had an early flight to Romania... as it turned out, we didn't sleep much anyway.

When we got to Romania we checked into our room at the Radisson in Bucharest and I was able to get maybe a 20 minute nap in before having to head straight to a studio.

I haven't spoke much Romanian in many years, so I had no idea how well I'd fare being interviewed in Romanian. As long as the interviews were short and sweet, I figured I'd be fine.

The first one they had me on is this soccer talk show. They are talking a lot about Romanian soccer, very laid back, two guys and me, problem is, I have no clue who or what they are talking about! I know nothing about the Romanian soccer league!

On top of that, this "interview" wasn't an interview. It was a one hour LIVE show and I was on it the WHOLE time! It ended up being a huge adrenalin rush and I loved it. I was so nervous and I love that feeling. In English, there isn't an interview in the world I could do that would make me nervous, but having to do a live show, in another language, well that gives me a rush!

After the interview we went to this palace to shoot a bit for a cool Romanian poker show that I can't tell you too much about. Once again, all in Romanian.
The show went well and I headed back to the hotel and grabbed Amanda and Stapes and we tried to go to dinner somewhere. It was pretty late at that point on a Monday, so finding something open was a struggle.

Luckily we had the mack daddy driver/tour guide Sorin taking us around town and he found a really neat place to eat. The place was closed, but Sorin told them they were open and they came to their senses and agreed that, "Yes, in fact we are open another hour actually." Sorin is pretty convincing :-)

The place was a very traditional Romanian restaurant and it looked like it might have been built in the 1800's. It was very cool.

The next day there was a special tournament at the Regent casino, but before that I did about 20 interviews all rapid fire style, back to back, all in... Romanian. By this point my Romanian was getting much better and I was feeling more and more comfortable, and I know the locals appreciated the fact that I could speak it, despite not even being born in Romania. It seemed like a big deal to them. At the core, I feel Romanian. While I wasn't born there, I was raised like a Romanian and I still cheer for Romania at the Olympics and the World Cup. Being in Romania made me miss my parents a lot. They would have LOVED the spectacle, and would have been very proud I'm sure.

We played the tournament, but I couldn't stay for the whole thing, so despite building up a big stack, I had to start shoving it in blind! I had interviews scheduled, otherwise I would have been happy to finish off the 90+ player event.

Stapes and Amanda were also bought into the event, and while Amanda busted pretty quickly, Stapes made a deep run just missing the final table. They treated us all like rockstars. Not only did I have a guard walking with me everywhere I went, but Amanda also had a security guard protecting her from the fans/media in attendance. I mean, they really went all out. I've never experienced anything quite like that. I guess "The PokerStars.net The Big Game" is a really big deal over there! ha.

I had to go do a fun show called "Happy Hour" which is very popular in Romania, another live variety show, and I think that went extremely well. It was a mainstream show, and by then I'd been speaking Romanian for about a full day now so I was able to talk at my normal speed, and even crack a few jokes which is always tough in another language.

I had to then head right back to the hotel and pick up Amanda and Stapes and head to the PokerStars James Bond themed party. We walked in, and once again were treated with an outpouring of hospitality. They really made us feel like royalty.

I was introduced at the party, said a few words, took a few pics, then we sat and had a few drinks. I got whisked away a few times and while I'd normally worry about leaving my peeps behind, they are both so good at being comfortable in awkward situations that I didn't have much to worry about. They quickly made friends and we had a good time at the party. The Romanian women at the party fell in love with Amanda, which is easy to do, especially after she spoke to them in Romanian! She learned a few key phrases and the women loved it. I originally thought we'd leave early, but we ended up being the last ones to leave!

Our stay in Romania was short, but I really enjoyed it. The next morning we hopped on another flight to Amsterdam. We stayed at the Amstel and it was a neat hotel. Not modern like I'm used to, but very pretty. We vegged for a bit then met Lex and Evelyn for dinner at Dynasty, a Chinese restaurant that ended up being really good. After that we walked around a little bit, had a few drinks, then called it a night. We only had one day in Amsterdam and that's just not enough! Truth is, for all the places we went we'd need at least a week to soak it in, but we enjoyed the little time we had in each country.

On the way home we had a stop in London, then first class seats to LA. I fell asleep during take off and didn't wake up until we were landing. I seriously had to be woken up to land. Stapes and Amanda fell asleep maybe an hour after me, but they were out cold the whole flight also. It was a lot of travel in such a short time.

When we got off the plane we had the silly idea of walking out in our pajamas. I'd never done that before, but thought "why not." Wouldn't you know, the first time I ever did that, as we left the airport some paparazzi dude from TMZ stuck a camera in my face asking me what I was doing in LA. I was a bit shocked, and didn't say anything witty at all, lol. Amanda saw the cameras and she BOLTED! She was wearing medium sized PJs that she was swimming in, so I don't really blame her for not wanting to be on camera.

That night we chilled in the U. S. of A. and as much as I enjoyed my trip abroad, being in LA doesn't suck either. All in all, it was an awesome trip, a 4th place finish, great company, lots of laughs, etc... but I am now back in Vegas recovering from it all. 4 countries in 5 days makes the trip seem like it was a month long, but in a good way.

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My stay at home in Vegas will be short lived. I desperately need a tan so I hope to golf at least one or two days before heading back to LA for the NAPT. After LA I'm off to Barcelona to ride my EPT momentum, then it's back home for a week, then I'm off to Sydney for the APPT.

I'm a little annoyed, but not sure who to blame exactly, that the WPT event in December at Bellagio changed it's dates at some point and I had no idea. My plan was to return from Sydney and play that event, but they moved their dates back a week so I can't play now. I'm kinda pissed about it, but I can't really do anything about it. When I did my schedule for the remainder of the year I looked on the website and it said it started on Dec 13th, then sometime after August the date was changed to Dec 3rd, but I'm already 100% committed to Sydney as I'm going with a group of people and it's all booked. Oh well, it's only one event, but it's an event I have good history in with a 1st, then a 3rd the year after that, and two years after that I was chip leader with two tables left but missed the final table after running KK into AA. Oh well, PCA will be right around the corner and it starts off with a juicy $100k buyin event before the main event.

I feel like things are looking up and my poker game has been really good, and results are finally starting to come in. I'm hoping to make a few more deep runs going into 2011 and get back into the winners circle. In the meantime, I also plan on logging a decent amount of hours on PokerStars.com, the $100-$200 game as well as my micro challenge. On that note, I'm about to log on... I'm "KidPoker" on there btw.

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