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Daniel - Poker Journal

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Seven Years Ago

31 Jan 2006

Ok, I'm spent. Officially exhausted. In the last month I heard a wide variety of accents. I heard "Ya mon!" in Bahamas to "Good day mate," in Australia.

From there it was, "Evenin' y'all" in Tunica, and finally, "Eh, fuggetabout it," in Atlantic City.

It is so good to be home. I wasn't happy with the way things ended for me in Atlantic City, but I'm not complaining.

I was really looking forward to the Borgata event. First of all, there simply is no competition for the Borgata in Atlantic City when it comes to class. It's the closest thing you'll get to the swanky hotels in Vegas. Frankly, the Borgata makes the other casinos in AC look like absolute dumps.

When I got to Philadelphia I decided to meet with an old friend that I met back in 1999. Layne Flack and I were flying from Las Vegas to Atlantic City for the U.S. Poker Championships.

We'd both been out drinking all night before the flight and when we got to the airport we were both feeling goofy. Me more than him.

I started talking to this girl that was typing away at her laptop. I don't even remember what I said, but she seemed easy to talk to.

We ended up meeting in Atlantic City (this time I was totally sober) and having a lot of fun. Totally platonic and 100% on the friendly.

At the time I met her, I was probably a little insecure about my writing skills, and just my conversational skills in general. You see, in 99' all I did was play poker so if a sentence didn't contain the words "check-raise," or, "double belly buster," I couldn't carry on a conversation with a “normal person“. Or so I thought.

Aileen was one a dem' smaaart girls. She was studying to be a mechanical engineer at the University of Pennsylvania at the time. She got me started on reading again. The first book she recommended was called Angela’s Ashes and I loved it. I went on to read the sequel Tis' which rekindled my interest in reading that I'd lost due to being absorbed by poker.

We hung out in AC for precisely one night, but it stuck with me. A few days later I won my first televised tournament on ESPN and by biggest payday to date: $210,000.

We kept in touch off and on through e-mail for a few years, but eventually that waned.

Well, while I was checking out my old friendster page (yes I had a friendster page) I noticed a message from Aileen. I responded, and she let me know that she was going to be in Philly for exactly two days. It just so happens that I was getting into Philly at the same time.

It had been almost seven years since I saw her, but I was looking forward to catching up and seeing what she'd been up to.

I got a car in Philly and we ended up in Ritten"something" square. Finding a restaurant we could agree on wouldn't be a problem as she is also a vegetarian.

At first it was slightly awkward. I mean I hardly "knew" her and she only met me once. It didn't take long, though, for that awkwardness to subside.

Since we last exchanged e-mails a lot had gone on in her life: she became a runway model, started work at a software company, a member of the Harvard Club, Ivy Presidents, Penn Club of Boston, Children's Trust Fund of Massachusetts, and what seemed like a million other groups she does volunteer work for.

In her "spare time" she brings people down to the homeless shelters to help serve dinner. As insane as all of that seems, it really didn't surprise me all that much. She always came off as somebody who was pretty driven.

We ended up talking about all kinds of things. She was also interested in people, especially the psychology of what makes people tick, etc. That's obviously a topic that interests me since that's what probably drew me to poker in the first place.

We talked, and talked, until our dinner got cold. Finally, her friends came to pick her up and we said our goodbyes promising to keep in touch for real this time!

I find it really strange how meeting someone for such a short period of time can have such a major impact on your life. I meet all kinds of people all of the time, but this was different. Something about how I viewed myself after that night in 1999 completely changed.

I grew up hiding my "smarts." When I was in Junior High School I was in the Enriched program for gifted students. All of my friends were in General studies, while the "geeks" and "nerds" were in the Enriched program.

I never really "felt" as smart as them. I felt more "street," if you will, and didn't feel like I fit in. In the seventh grade, I purposely did poorly on all of my tests and laughed about it. Eventually, I got my "wish" and they put me back in the General program.

It's part of the reason Good Will Hunting was one of my favorite movies. I felt like I could relate to what Matt Damon's character was doing.

Anyway, I'm not really sure how to explain it, but that night in 99' made me feel like it was "ok" to be seen as smart. Also, that I fit in better than I thought. That I was a lot more well spoken than I'd ever given myself credit for.

Wow... this is getting deep, lol! It was just cool to see Aileen again and know that she was doing well.


As for the tournament, I just never had a chance. Couldn't hit a flop, and when I did flop two pair the flush just kept getting there. I was exhausted from the month of travel which probably played a role as well, but I could have been fresh as a daisy and I couldn't have made those hands work!

If I was going to bust out, I was at least happy to have gone out early so I could get home.


PROTEGE NEWS: The first seat for the live final event has been won by TheJest who outlasted RayFlavin. TheJest won the Charter Member seat and is one step closer to being my protégé. For more information on the Protégé program checkout www.fullcontactpoker.com and click on Protégé.

Both TheJest and RayFlavin will also win customized FCP Hockey Jerseys as will all of the final table players: Razrup, jaytrotter10, wildcardsean, --Shack—, BettysTrip, Mutuals, diamondsaur, juliosabala

FCP NEWS: The $10+1 buyin "Boo Yaa Tunica" tournament with $5000 in added money is set to go on Saturday, February 4th at 7:00pm EST. It’s free money, so come and get it!

Also, the FCP Football Weekend is almost here! The winners will be getting in on the 3rd and stay throughout the weekend. We have all kinds of fun stuff in store for the weekend and I'm looking forward to meeting everybody and having a fun weekend.


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