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Daniel - Poker Journal

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PPT and a Little Side Action

16 Apr 2005

I came into the event feeling pretty good and hoping that I could focus despite the relatively small prize pool. Honestly, I don't want to sound like a whiner, but it's hard to get fired up about an event where first place after three days of play is an amount I could go through in 10 minutes playing live action!

Actually I love the PPT. I love the concept, but I think it would have been better if the players all had to post a buy in and then have the half a million dollars added to the prize pool.

What that would do is A) increase the prize pool substantially, and B) it would get rid of some of the "riff raff."

It pains me to see some players in the event that don't even support the WPT. They used to play tournaments years ago, and either because they can no longer financially afford it, or weren't lucky enough to stay afloat, are given a free ride.

I can think of so many younger players that DO support the WPT that were more deserving of an invitation. But hey, it's the first season and it's something to think about for next year. If you ask me, the PPT buy in should be very large- maybe $25,000 to $50,000.

With a buy in that big, you'll have an event with the top pros as well as others who were able to attain sponsorship for the event. Who cares if the field is smaller, that is the goal anyway, otherwise it would be an open event right?

Even if only 20 guys showed up with the $50,000 for example, I'm pretty sure it would be a powerful group which can't hurt the ratings I wouldn't think.

Nevertheless I would try my best to focus on the game and avoid thinking about the money. I was doing fine with that until my aces got cracked on the river which left me on the short stack early. I battled for a while, mostly on auto pilot since there is less you can do with a short stack, and slowly climbed back into contention.

In fact, for most of the first six hours I was browsing through a Hockey encyclopedia called the "Hockey Chronicles" that really had me glued. The book was a gift that I'd received that day from Brian Nadell who knows I'm a hockey fan.

Of course there is more to it than that. Brian and I have had words in the past and I said things I shouldn't have. We patched things up a while back, but Brian was thoughtful enough to bring me the gift as an official peace offering.

I was truly touched. Brian is a good guy and frankly I always felt that way. Probably four years ago now I'd said some things to him that I shouldn't have and it hurt his feelings. It was very childish and immature of me and I later apologized.

So anyway, I had my chips up to 24,000 at one point despite being distracted, reading through the year 1917 all the way through 1989!

Paul Phillips did a reverse-reverse "math guy" play on me and I felt it. I almost called him but at the last minute changed my mind and he bluffed me off of a key pot.

A few hands later my 10-10 went down to David Oppenhiem's A-K when an ace hit the turn.


I actually had three meetings set up for the dinner break. The first one was with Michael Kaplan of Cigar Aficionado. I'd spoken with Michael previously for his upcoming book in the past and always enjoy the conversation. He really "gets" poker and has been hands on watching it grow over the last couple of years.

After finishing with the meetings I ran into Jennifer and Marco and we planned on going to Noodles to eat. On our way there I saw Johnny Chan and Ming Ly sitting at a table with "some guy." Well, so much for heading to Noodles!

Instead I locked up a seat and ordered a vegetable chow mien at the table. Not too long after Jennifer and I sat in, along came Gus and Chip. The game was $2000-$4000 Omaha H/L and $500-$1000 Pot Limit Omaha with no cap which can get expensive in a hurry.

Mimi Rogers just beat up her $15-$30 game winning a cool nickel, and she decided to sweat me for a little while. Man is she a lucky sweater!

As she was telling me about a tough hand she lost in the tournament I got involved in close to a $100,000 pot with Ming Ly. The game was pot limit Omaha and I raised on the button with A-J-J-3 and Ming called.

The flop came J-7-2 with two hearts and a diamond giving me top set and a back door flush draw. Ming checked and I bet $6000. Ming check-raised me $16,000 more and I quickly put him all in.

"You want to deal twice?" Ming asked. I didn't care really since I figured he had a strong draw against my set. Before I decided what I wanted to do though, I looked back at my hand and saw... oops! I totally misread my hand.

While I thought I had A-J-J-3, what I actually had was A-J-3-3 for one stinkin' pair! I gladly ran the hand twice with Ming and was just hoping I wasn't D.O.A.

Ming turned over his hand to reveal a flush draw and a pair. I wasn't in terrible shape after all, and ended up scooping both legs! Funny thing is, had I known that all I had was a pair of jacks I would have zinged them in the muck.

So while Mimi brought me luck on that hand I was slightly worried that I was a little bit distracted. She asked if I wanted her to leave but I told here she could stay for a little while.

Less than 20 minutes later I'd won every pot I played and was winning $240,000! It was scoop after scoop, whether it was Omaha Hi or Hi-Lo. That's more money than the winner of the PPT would get after three full days of play.

At about 3:30 in the morning I'd decided I was going to play my last round when Chip got involved in a five way pot with the tourist. The game was pot limit Omaha and the tourist made it $2000 to go in a five way pot.

There was no muck as Jennifer and Gus had already quit. The flop came 10c 2c 2s. Chip checked from the small blind and I bet out $6000 from the big blind with 3-5-6-7. Why? I have no idea, lol. Actually I was trying to pick it up right there trying to represent a 2..

I got by Johnny and Ming, but the tourist raised me to $12,000. Then Chip went ahead and check-raised $20,000 more and the tourist called.

The turn card was the 8 of spades and Chip bet the whole pot, $80,000. The tourist thought for a moment, and called once again. The river was a brick, the 4 of spades, and Chip went all in for his last $70,000. "I call" said the tourist almost beating him into the pot.

At that point I think Chip knew he might be in trouble when he showed his deuces full of tens. The tourist had flopped 10's full and won a monster pot.

Chip picked up and decided to call it a night, and then to everyone's surprise the tourist said, "I quit."

"You quit?" exclaimed Johnny. "No, no, somebody call the police you can't quit yet!" Johnny was just messing around, but it was clear that he wanted to play a little longer as did Ming.

As for me it was a perfect time to quit as I had an 11:00am appointment and I'd given back a large chunk of money. After a three hour session I won myself $78,000. It could have been better, but it could have been worse I guess.


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