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Golf, Make A Wish, and Weekend at Daniel's

10 Jun 2006

June 7: I woke up excited about another day at TPC Summerlin. I never check the weather, it's not something I've ever done really. When I got to the driving range, though, I noticed some dark clouds and it looked icky. That's not what it's supposed to look like in Vegas? I'm used to 105 degree weather everyday during the summer months.

After hitting balls for about 10 minutes the horn sounded which meant that everyone needed to head back into the clubhouse due to the lightning. Erick threw out a stat saying that an average of 10 golfers a year get struck which was good enough for me!

Inside the clubhouse they had a card room so it didn't take but three minutes until we were playing some Chinese poker. Chinese poker is a pretty simply game that's a lot like pai-gow poker. In Pai-gow, you get seven cards and have to make a five card hand and a two card hand. The five card hand has to be better than the two card hand.

In Chinese poker, you use 13 cards and have to make three hands 5-5-3. The bottom hand stronger than the middle, and the middle stronger than the top.

There is very little skill to the game, but it a fun way to pass the time. Well, it wasn't so fun for me early as I lost a bunch. Just as the rain appeared to be passing, though, I made a comeback and broke dead even.

We still needed clearance from the starter to go out and play, but then someone said something I thought was really funny. I won't tell you who said it, but here goes, "C'mon now, let's get out there and play. All you atheists must be scared but I'm not worried a bit."

Finally we were given the go ahead so it was time to argue over the handicaps. That's always quite the process, only this time we were doing it in the pouring rain. It was coming down pretty hard, but by the second hole it finally stopped.

As for me I had a rough go on the front nine shooting 56. The back was a little better for me as I shot a 56-52-108.


June 8: Surprise, surprise, we were back at it at TPC Summerlin for a 1:00pm tee time. Only this time, I decided to get out there at 10:00am with my new caddie Josh and play nine holes prior to the big money match. Man did that help. I was hitting the ball great and it helped me to get loose. I seem to always do better on the back nine because it takes me about 7 holes or so before I really get loose.

The usual suspects were out: Ivey, Doyle, David Grey, Barry Greentien, E-DOG, and myself. After about five holes I was playing above my head, but so was everyone else. David Grey started with a birdie-par-birdie and shot a 35 on the front! Pretty sick for a "mid-80's shooter."

Everyone in the group seemed to bring their A-game. I had my best front nine there yet with a 49. On the back nine I was super unlucky. I was striking the ball great but was getting some very unlucky bounces. On back to back holes I hit a 3-wood that made the green, only to kick left into a greenside bunker.

I was still able to put together a 49 on the back for a 49-49=98. It's the first time I've broken 100 since I started playing again and it felt great.


June 9: At 1:00pm I dialed into a WSOP Advisory board meeting. It was the last meeting we'd have before the WSOP started and Jeffrey Pollack went over some of the last minute details concerning this year's WSOP. I'm confident that this year's WSOP will run much smoother than last year.

After the cal I had to quickly get ready to entertain some guests. I was contacted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and asked if I would play some poker with a young fan from Miami who's had some bad luck in the health department.

Ignacio (hope I spelled that right dude :-) and his entire family were flown out to Vegas so that he could get the chance to test his skills against me heads up.

Not really knowing where to meet, I decided to invite the whole family over to my house since I've got a poker table set up in the living room.

Ignacio and company arrived on time at 2:30pm in a stretch limo. We greeted each other (they brought me a pretty pimp Argentina soccer jersey) and then got right down to business. We started with 10,000 each and 100-200 blinds. Ignacio was playing pretty tight early and I took a small early lead.

Then, I couldn't hit a flop for a while and he had me down to about 7500. When the blinds went up to 200-400 I started to make a push back to even and slowly grinded my way to a lead.

Then Ignacio tried his first bluff and I saw it coming from a mile away. On a board of 9-8-6-2-6 I beat him in the pot with KQ, telling him even before I called that this was his first bluff off the day.

At 300-600 blinds it took three all ins before I finally won the match. A lot of you might be thinking that was mean. Why wouldn't I let him win. I don't think he wanted me to let him win, what would be the fun in that? I tried my best to win and I hope and believe that's what he wanted.

After the match we hung out with his parents and his two brothers. Very cool people. My mother seemed to get along really well with his mother (no surprise, my mother is a special lady) and I think they are going to get together for brunch on Sunday before they have to leave.

Before Ignacio left I had Patty put together a gift bag for him. STACKED, some FCP hats, shirts, a mouse pad, a chip set, and all kinds of other goodies.

All of this wasn't going to take me away from golfing though! I brought Lori to Golf Galaxy to get her fitted for some clubs. From there, we headed to the practice range at Angel Park. I had my caddie Josh tag along to help Lori with her swing.

After hitting a bag of balls we headed to the par 3 course. I hit every green. Lori, was hitting the ball much better after Josh made a few minor adjustments to her swing.


June 10: I'm writing this blog this morning before heading down to Caesar's Palace for another edition of "Weekend at Daniel's." This one being the hockey edition. All of the winners won their way to Vegas by participating in the survivor hockey pool that I ran earlier in the season.

The plan today is a poker tournament at 1:30pm followed by a trip to ESPN Zone to watch the game and play some games. Then tomorrow, the gang will be coming over to my place followed by an afternoon of more fun and games. I'll let you know about all of that in the next blog.

In closing, I want to say that I AM preparing for the WSOP by playing as little poker as possible. by keeping my mind fresh for the long and grueling month ahead. I don't even want to think about poker right now, really, and golf has been a great escape for me.

Come WSOP time... I shall be ready.


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