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Daniel - Poker Journal

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To Burbank and Back

26 May 2006

I flew in from North Carolina the day before and got caught up on a few things. For one, I played in the Wednesday night Negreanu Open and caught up on some e-mails, hit 200 golf balls, watched the tube, and before I knew it I had to try and get some sleep for my 6:00am wake up call.

After watching the season finale of The Surreal Life I looked at the clock and it was almost 2:00am. I slept awkwardly, and at about 5:00am I felt like I had to puke. Luckily, that was a false alarm and I slept for another hour.

I didn't have to pack a bag since I'd only be leaving town for the afternoon. I threw on an FCP dress shirt and some pinstripe dress pants and headed to the airport, armed with only a few issues of The Hockey News.

My flight was scheduled to leave at 8:35am and I didn't get to the airport until 8:00am. Normally, that means you miss your flight, but with no bags to check and my boarding pass in hand, I went straight to the security gate and made it there during the boarding process.

I was picked up at the Burbank airport- my favorite airport in the world- and we headed to a studio about ten minutes from the airport. When I got there, Brian Fidler, my protégé was already in the make up chair. I sat down alongside him and we caught up on a few things.

Brian and I were there to shoot a couple of shows for a new poker show called, "Poker Parlor" that will air on the WB, and wherever else the Ultimate Poker Challenge airs. The show is similar to the Learn From the Pros show hosted by Howard Lederer and Chris Rose.

On the Poker Parlor your host is none other than Ali Nejad, who you'll remember from the live web cast of the Protégé final. Brian was shooting a specific segment on his own, while I joined Ali, Kenna James, and Ted Forrest on the couch to go over some hands and basically talk poker.

If you remember the one pilot I shot a few years ago for the WPT called "Poker Corner," the way the analysis of hands is handled on this show is very similar.

I was scheduled to shoot two shows that day and had a flight back to Vegas at 6:30pm. By about noon, I realized that it just wasn't going to happen. Jessica-the chick that basically did everything from organizing flights to getting players Columbian olives if they wished- booked me on the 9:10pm flight home.

We got done at around 7:10pm, though, and on the way to the airport I called in to see if there was an earlier flight. They informed me that there were seats on the 7:55pm flight and considering the fact that I was dealing with the super casual, super smooth and laid back Burbank airport I figured I could make it.

I was at the airport at about 7:30pm and had to wait in a small line to change my flight. No sweat. I made it to the gate at 7:47pm and made the flight easily.

When I got on the plane I noticed a girl sitting up front kind of staring at me? I figured she must have recognized me from television or something, but she did look vaguely familiar.

I stopped by and asked, "Do I know you?" She replied, "Yeah we met at a charity poker function in LA a little while ago."

Now I started to vaguely remember. She had a seat available up front next to her and offered it to me which worked out well since I could get off the plane quickly and head to Bellagio to play some poker.

She is an actress/yoga instructor that actually knows Sheiky. She texted Sheiky when I got on the plane and he typed back, "Tell that kid he can't play a lick." LOL.

I ended up chatting with her during the entire flight which made the flight seem like it took a total of 15 minutes. I've been having some issues with my inflexibility, tight hamstrings, etc. and she shared some good exercises for me to try. Also advised me to start taking up yoga and I think that's a great idea for sure.

We parted ways after the flight and I headed straight to the Bellagio. I started my session at about 9:15pm and when I got there it was David Benyamine, Doyle, and Eli playing three handed (Jennifer showed up later).

The game was $4000-$8000 Hold'em, Omaha H/L, Stud, Razz, Stud H/L, A-5 Triple Draw, 2-7 Triple Draw, Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha, Stud H/L Regular, No Limit Hold'em, No Limit 2-7 Single Draw, and Chinese Poker (we took that out though).

I'll say it again people- this is REAL poker. You won't ever see it on TV, but this is what poker has always been about despite the recent push in the last five years to make everything hold'em. Hold'em is a great game, but it doesn't encompass all of what poker is.

I started out pretty hot and was up about $140,000 in the first hour or so. I wasn't tired at all, surprisingly, and felt like I was playing pretty good. I took some pretty sick beats on the session but was able to lose the minimum when I lost those hands.

I got beat by a one outer, and three two outers on the session which usually spells disaster. I made some good bluff calls and stole a pot or two myself, though, and maintained about a $100,000 cushion despite the tough beats.

Near the end of the night I got a little tired and actually lost $30,000 in a pot where I started out playing the wrong game. At that point the game was three handed with me, David, and Eli, and I thought we were playing Razz. Eli raised with a 7 and I defended my bring in with a K up and A-5 in the hole.

That's not terrible in a three handed Razz game, but it's not a very good hand in Stud H/L Regular. Well, we weren't playing Razz we were playing H/L Regular and I found myself in a bad situation and by fifth street was now committed to calling all the way down to the river. The hand cost me a bet on three, four, five, six, and seven. Had I folded I lose $1000 on the hand, but instead, I went off for $32,000 when I got scooped by a better pair and a better low. Oops!

Eli quit shortly thereafter and I ended the six hour session down $64,000. Not a terrible result in that game, but I was up close to $200,000 at one point. The good news is that I got an eight hour massage and it really helped loosen all of my tight muscles. I feel much looser right now.

I woke up late today, and while I planned on going to the golf course to practice I realized that I have a ton of work to do. This blog, but more importantly several writing assignments and other media related stuff.

STACKED is being released in less than a week and there are a lot of last minute press related things that I need to do.

So right now I'm flipping through the two playoff games. Carolina seems to be handing it to Buffalo right now 3-0 while the Mavs have a 25-19 lead on the Suns.

Tonight, I may do any of the following: 1) Go play at Bellagio 2) Go to the Movies 3) Stay home and get writing work done. At this point I really have no idea and can't decide. Maybe I should run a poll or something? :-)


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