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Daniel - Poker Journal

I’m having fun…lots of it!

18 Dec 2004

One of the things I’ve always loved about poker is that it never ceases to surprise me. For two weeks I was totally bored with it and had little interest. Insert David Pham passing me, a big tournament on the horizon, and loads of pressure- and now I’m lovin’ it!

I read some criticisms in the forum about my attitude towards the preliminary Bellagio events and I guess they are warranted to some degree. At the same time, that’s just “who I am.” I am not at my best unless it is a high pressure situation and there is a lot riding on the outcome. In other words, if my back is against the wall I become a fierce competitor.

So as most of you probably know already I have a huge lead at tomorrow’s final table. The biggest lead in WPT open event history (Layne Flack had a bigger one in the Invitational). So where is the pressure in that you ask? Well, anything less than first place would be considered a huge disappointment to many people. Obviously I hope to win, but at the same time I’m a little more realistic than that- anything can happen at a final table. I think it would be safe to say I’ll make the top three, or even the top two, but there is still work to be done.

Jennifer Harman is playing great and she won’t sit back and be bullied. In fact, in three hours last night the ONLY person that EVER re-raised me was Jennifer. The rest stayed clear and were waiting for others to drop. I was ecstatic that Jennifer made it for several reasons: for one she is my best friend, and two, it means Barry Greenstein owes me another $100,000!

I have a standing bet with Barry that anytime both Jennifer Harman and Mimi Tran play in a televised event, if either makes the televised final table it’s worth $100,000. I’m very confident that I have the right side of that bet, but Barry can be pretty stubborn so I don’t think he’ll be quitting me anytime soon!

The rest of the table… I need to be very careful about the way I put this as to not offend anybody: Nam Le is an awesome player, I’m extremely impressed with his instincts- his brother Tuan recently won the Foxwoods event. Vinnie Landrum is an absolute gentleman and all around nice guy but I feel as though there are some things I can exploit with Vinnie.

Steve Rassi is the epitome of a “Move In Specialist”. He didn’t make a bet other than “all in” for most of the day. Humberto is obviously a veteran player with excellent patience, but his stack is dwindling. My two main concerns are Nam Le and Jennifer Harman. Both have great poker minds and have a great deal of heart.

Having said all that, I’m not particularly “worried” about anybody. As long as I don’t do anything excessively foolish I should be just fine I think.


Tomorrow could turn out to be a long day. A hair cut at noon, interviews and make up at 1:20pm, picking up my two high school buddies Oren and Regev from the airport, a pre-game massage and then game time! As for updates tomorrow, they should be a little more difficult to come by as I can’t have my phone on in the room. I will update the situation at every interval though… time for bed everybody, thanks so much for all of your support.