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Daniel - Poker Journal

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From Sweet Sixteen to Elite Eight!

06 Mar 2006

I'm doing it. I'm played the best I can play. I'm taking my time, I'm making moves, and I'm trusting my gut. Oh MAN does that feel good!

The vibe down there at Caesar’s is electric. Last year, the set at the Golden Nugget was awesome. Well, they topped it this year. The crazy thing is that it's all happening IN the poker room.

The NBC crew uprooted the entire tournament area and made a very practical and awesome looking set out of it. It's a part of the whole poker room, but it doesn't disturb the live games at all.

On top of that, they have rafters so that even if you aren't in the first row, you can see all of the action comfortably.

Ali, the "tournament guy" is doing a good job of announcing the action at the featured table as well as the surrounding tables so that people can really keep up with what's happening.

Last year they did an awesome job with this event and this year it's just more of the same. While everyone is praising the production of the show, it should be mentioned that there is a key reason that NBC can put on a show that trumps all of the other poker shows: money.

Since NBC is a big time network, they have more money to spend on a high quality show. the WPT and the WSOP do the best they can with what they have and I think both do a great job... but let's face it, they are no NBC.

If you are a poker fan, you need to do what you can to make sure this show gets sick ratings. If that happens, then who knows, maybe poker will REALLY make it mainstream with a regular show on one of the networks.

So anyway, my first match today was against Greg Raymer, and Josh really gave me some great advice that played right into my style anyway. It was almost like, just do what I like to do and it will work fine.

With Greg, I was playing possum, using a ploy that Layne Flack coined, "Why do the pushin' when the donkey is doin' the pullin'." In no way am I implying that Raymer is a donkey, but it best describes what I wanted to do with him.

I wanted to give Raymer a chance to bluff in spots where I showed a significant amount of weakness. Eventually, after setting up the "possum ploy" Raymer went for it for all his chips on the river.

The next problem I faced was that I just didn't have much of a hand. With a board of K-J-2-8-2 I had a J-7. If he wasn't bluffing, I was dead and it likely meant that my tournament was over. I called him, and he turned over 10-5... a total bluff!

On the break I checked into my room, wanting to relax for a while before my sweet 16 match against T.J. When I couldn't find my room, I asked one of the cleaning ladies where 1401 was? She pointed over to what I thought was an entrance to some kind of VIP elevators or something. Nope, it was my room!

Oh my, they did me up right to say the least! The room is ridiculously big. There is a bar with a fridge, a dining room, a living room, a TV room, two bathrooms, a large bedroom, and a balcony.

Nice. Poker players getting treated like royalty! NBC and Caesar’s have done a good job of "winning over the players" by adding money to the event, hooking us up with rooms, allowing us to pimp our projects by wearing logos, giving us free grub, etc.

Frankly, I think they "get it." Without the co-operation of the star players, they don't have much of a show. It's a, "You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" attitude on both sides. Myself, and all of the other players genuinely appreciate feeling like they understand that we ARE important. That we are the actors, entertainers, athletes, or "talent" if you will.

They RESPECT the fact that each one of us puts up $20,000 of our OWN money to play in this thing. I've done poker shows in the past (I won't name them) where some players have been treated like "paid talent."

There is a huge difference, I hope you all understand this. On this one show I'm referring to the players were treated like cattle, or like B and C list actors told when they could go pee and when they couldn't. Meanwhile, the crew running the event was simply filming an event where the players paid their way, getting NOTHING, not even a free room, in return.

The players agreed to interviews. The players agreed to pose for photographs. The players agreed to not wearing logos The players agreed to give up any rights to how they would be portrayed on the show. What did they get in return? A total lack of respect from the crew and producers, a bad structure... oh, and did I mention that they also had to pay juice to play in the event?

Just so I don't confuse the issue, the show I'm referring to wasn't the NBC, WPT, WSOP, or the Superstars show. Also, I wasn't the one being treated poorly... they know better than that, lol. In fact, I didn't even play in the event or wasn‘t a part of it at all.


So after hanging in the room for a bit, I headed downstairs for my next match against T.J. I have a history with T.J. We've actually been heads up in a tournament three times over the years. Twice in limit hold'em (which was my bread and butter, especially in my early 20's), and once in Pot Limit Omaha.

Going into this match, I was a perfect 3-0 and feel like I hold over him a little bit. I think that my style matches up really well with T.J. T.J.'s biggest strengths are his pre-flop moves, especially late in a tournament.

If I could get to the flop, though, I felt like I'd have the advantage, simply because I fight harder for the "nothing" pots than he does. If I could avoid disaster, and get the match done early, I'd be in good shape.

The longer the match would go, though, the more it favored T.J. and his excellent pre-flop play.

I'm not going to tell you all about the hands- you'll either have to read about them in Card Player or watch them on T.V. when the show airs next month. I could tell you, but I'm tired and it's getting late.

Tomorrow is going to be a long day so I need to get some shut eye. I'm playing "Sheiky" in the quarter-finals and I plan on "giving him what he deserves," as he might say :-)

If I happen to beat Sheiky, I'll face off against the winner of the Farha/Forrest match in the final four. Here are my picks for the rest of the way:

McManus over Ferguson
Seed over Greenstein
Negreanu over Sheikan
Forrest over Farha

Seed over McManus
Negreanu over Forrest

Negreanu over Seed... (hey, gotta stay confident right? :-)

Also, here are the updated standing for the pool I ran amongst the players:

1. Chris Moneymaker 48
2. Mike Matusow 47
2. David Oppenhiem 47
4. David Chesnoff 44
4. Eli Elezra 44
6. Josh Arieh 39
6. Erick Lindgren 39
8. Patty Landis 37
9. Mark Seif 35
9. Gavin Smith 35
11.Rene Angeli 34
12.Scott Fischman 33
12.Michael Mizrachi 33
14.Daniel Negreanu 32
15.John Juanda 31
16.Barry Greenstein 29
17.Todd Brunson 24
18.Paul Phillips 19


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