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Weekend at Daniel's Hockey Edition

13 Jun 2006

June 10: I woke up a little late and skipped the early breakfast at Cafe Lago at Caesar's Palace. Instead, I met with everyone at the poker room at Caesar's Palace.

The room was hopping. Lots of "name players' were floating around either playing in the televised tournament being held in the tournament area or playing in the $400-$800 mixed game. It seems as though the regular daytime game that used to be at Bellagio is now being played at Caesar's.

We had our two table tournament set up in the high limit section right next to the $400-$800 game. As soon as I got there I tried to memorize 20 new names in about a five minute span. I think I did pretty well, although some of the names were annoyingly similar. We had Greg, but we also had Craig. We had Jenn, then we had another Jenn..

Once I said my hello's I sat down in my seat and started getting to know everybody. I met Rich from Guelf who is a cartoonographer. No, he doesn't create cartoons, he just takes pictures of cartoons.

Kidding of course, he is a cartographer. I had no idea what that was, but he explained to me that he actually makes maps and stuff like that. When I introduced him to people, though, I always introduced him as a cartoon photographer. He was a good sport about it.

Jeff Goldenberg, an FCP guy who always does an awesome job organizing events like these, actually busted me early on. In the last Weekend at Daniel's it was him and I at the end and I ended up busting him.

Well, as is custom in Weekend at Daniel's freeze outs there is an additional rule called, "It's my party I can rebuy if I want to" that allows me, and ONLY me to have one rebuy.

I used my rebuy well, busting Jeff on the very next hand with 88 vs. AK, lol. That almost seemed cruel...almost.

From there I went on a little tear and went to the final table as one of the leaders. Then I ran into the ladies. The ladies just always get me. First it was Victoria, who at one point was down to one single big blind. She then doubled through me about 412 times and ran her 600 into close to 20,000.

After Victoria got finished destroying me it was Jenn's turn. I found it funny that Yoda, from the rail, was coaching Jenn who's only played poker maybe three times total. She seemed to be doing fine with her "no raise pre-flop policy."

I ended up finishing in fifth. Heads up it was Rich the cartoon guy and Jenn, the newbie. Since we had to head over to New York New York the blinds were getting up there quickly. That's when Jenn went from a calling station to an all-in maniac.

In about four straight all in hands Jenn came out on top begging the question: is poker really a game of skill? Kidding :-)

After the tournament everyone loaded into two limos and we headed over to the ESPN Zone to watch game 3 of the Edmonton-Carolina Stanley Cup final.

I had a strong opinion on the game, feeling like Edmonton was a good bet to win game 3. I made a phone call and fired $20,000 at it laying -1.08.

Once we arrived at ESPN Zone we were ushered to the back where we had a private room just for us. Also meeting me there were Matt and "Little Matt."

I never had a little brother, but always thought it would be cool. Little Matt isn't my brother by blood, but I look at him like a little brother just the same.

Little Matt is quite an athlete, but he didn't know much about hockey. I did my best to let him know a little bit about the rules and I think he got the hang of it. Ryan, an Oilers fan who lives in Calgary (isn't that a sin?), also helped Little Matt with the rules.

Edmonton scored an early goal and most of us cheered. Yoda (the same Yoda from the a forums)and Jenn live in Carolina.

Edmonton scored another goal in the second period, but the whistle blew. Maybe one of the worst calls by a ref I've seen in a long time. The puck was just laying out there on the ice and he blew the whistle?

Carolina tied it up in the third, but Edmonton came back with a late goal and won the game 2-1.

We ran a pool on the game where you had to pick the score after each period and also pick who you think would score the first goal for each team. In the first period, not only did Ryan pick the right score (1-0) but he ALSO had the goal scorer.

That gave him a nice start to the weekend's competition. You see, each activity we did over the two days would be worth points toward an overall competition with a cash price. Yoda and Jenn obviously were in the lead after winning the first tournament, but Ryan and Jenn cut into that lead with the hockey game.

The next contest was ESPN trivia and I was partnered up with Greg. Greg was the greatest partner I could ever ask for. He knew none of the answers, mind you, but he never disagreed with me, lol. I got us into the finals where we needed to sweep five questions.

I got #1, #2. #4, and #5 right, but the #3 question was totally stupid. Something like, "Kate Smith sings a song for what hockey team?" What kind of a stupid question was that! Ask me a hockey question for goodness sakes. I missed that one and we were done for.

Before we headed upstairs to play some games I had to, just had to, make somebody eat something for money, lol. I know, I know, it's sick but I just love watching people eat for money.

Ed looked on the skinny side and I noticed that he'd already pounded down a sirloin steak and fries. He seemed eager, though, saying that he'd do anything for money.

So with an untouched plate of carrot cake with 8 small pieces of cake, I figured I'd give him five minutes to eat them all. Then everyone informed me that it would be a "piece of cake" (ha ha ha), so we got him down to three minutes.

After he downed the first four pieces in less than a minute I tried to buy him out, "$100 if you quit now... $200 now." He said he wouldn't quit if I gave him $1000, lol. This was apparently an important goal in Ed's life. He did it in less than two minutes and was now $500 richer.

After the trivia was over we all went upstairs to play games. Me and Little Matt went off to play some racing games one and one and he must have cheated or something because I was killing him every time and then in the last few seconds he always zipped past me, doh! Hey, what can I say, the kid is good.

I later found that he's WAY better at the football throw. I scored 38 points and felt like that was a score little Matt couldn't touch. Not only did he beat that score, he made me look foolish scoring 89 points! Man, kid's got an accurate arm.

I actually won a $100 bet on him when Brett bet me he could beat it... nope, last time I checked, 42 doesn't beat 89, lol.

Little Matt used to be a quarterback before his accident. When he was 10 years old he suffered a pretty brutal accident where he suffered burns to over 40% of his body. That obviously slowed him down, but it's not going to stop him. Since I last saw him when he was in LA for a surgery about a year ago he's looking much, much better. He's headed out to LA for another surgery and I'm hoping it all goes as well as the last one did.

The scheduled festivities were all done for the day, but a few of the FCP crew headed to Tao, the nightclub at Venetian for a little while. Ryan and Jenn decided to join us as well.

We had a table right in the heart of the action. If you've never been there, you wouldn't believe how insanely crowded it is there. When you get a table, though, you are supposed to have some room. Supposed to that is...

At the table next to us was Carson Daly and his "entourage of scantily clad women fawning over him. Well, they spilled over into our booth and just decided to make themselves a drink while they were at it, lol.

We got security to move them, but it was a never ending sea of women. Once we got rid of one group, there was another group of leaches and money hungry cockroaches right behind them.

I went over to Carson to let him know it was nothing personal, but he was totally cool about it. He basically told me he invited a total of four people and had no clue who these other people were!


June 11: At 11:00am the whole gang, including Matt and Little Matt arrived at the house. There was a spread of breakfast/lunch food and all types of drinks. We also had the poker table set up, the Golden Tee, NBA Showtime/NFL Blitz going, and we had some High Stakes Poker playing on the big screen with some Bob Marley blaring from the computer.

Ryan, of course, found the basketball net in the backyard and decided that he wanted to gamble a little bit. He won $300 on the hockey game so we let it ride on a shooting contest. I won the first one for $300, but he got even in a hurry.

After that, me and Little Matt went one on one in my basketball game. Now that's a game that I can kick his butt in!

Next on the agenda was a Golden Tee tournament, a sit n' go, and some NHL Hockey on my X-BOX 360. Guess who won the Golden Tee tournament? Take a wild guess? C'mon, you can do it, who do you think won..... ME!!!!

We played in heats and it was sudden death right from hole one. If two or more people tied with the same low score they would advance until there was only one man standing.

I won my first heat on hole #3. In the final round, I made eagle on a par 4 and totally shut out my opponents. I won the finals on hole #1.

The sit n' go came down to Little Matt and Brett I think? Little Matt was busting people left, right, and center, but in the end he went down in second place. Brett was gracious enough to give Little Matt the FCP Negreanu jersey, and in turn, Little Matt gave Brett his STACKED chip set (he already has one).

My mother joined us as did my wife Lori. The house was full but not totally cramped as people seemed to spread out. I was trying to get the controllers for the X-BOX 360 to work but couldn't figure out what was going wrong for some reason. Luckily, we had a "tech guy" in the house. Greg is a tech guy so I put him on it. All he had to do was get the controllers to work... some tech guy, he couldn't fix even get my X-BOX controllers to work! :-)

We hung out at the house for a few hours before heading down towards the strip to a place called Fast Lap. It's an indoor go-karting place that is nicer than any one I'd ever been to and the carts were pretty fast also, going about 40 mph/h.

We all had to wear a "head sock" which looked pretty ridiculous if you ask me. We were then divided into heats. Where you finished in your heat would determine the order for the championship final.

In my first heat I had a decent run, but almost wiped out on the same turn twice. I wasn't using the brakes enough on the turns and crashed into the tires twice. The right side of my body is now bruised pretty badly, but that wasn't going to stop me at all.

I still finished in the #2 spot in the championship final which was a 20 lap race. On lap #8 I had the fasted average lap of 30.25 a lap, which meant I was gaining on the leader. Then disaster struck as my kart just died on me. I was eliminated from the race and was sick about it. Maybe when the golf addiction is over I could see myself trying racing. It's way more fun than I ever thought it would be.

Since I was derailed from the race, Ryan cruised to an easy victory (again) and Little Matt came in second.

After the races we took everyone back to Caesar's to freshen up a bit. Racing actually takes a lot out of you and I have a newfound respect for race car drivers, they really are athletes.

We all met in the lobby at around 5:00pm. The plan was to head over to PT's Pub for the final competition for points- a pool tournament.

I drew Ryan in the first round and played about as bad I could possibly play. I won the first game because he scratched on the black ball. He then went on to win the next two and beat Yoda in the finals.

So, the winner of the first place prize was, not surprisingly, Ryan and Jenn who pocketed $1000. Second prize got $600 and there was a tie for third place, which was split $200 a piece.

After pool, I was done for. My back started to tighten up really badly. The crash into the tires was really starting to hurt and the first thing that came to my mind was...."Oh no, I have to golf tomorrow!!!"

We dropped everyone off at Caesar's to enjoy the rest of their vacation. It was an awesome group that gelled exceptionally well. It seemed like everyone got along so well so that they didn't "need" me there. That was refreshing.

I said my goodbyes and headed home to hit the sack... hard.


The next morning I got a massage to stretch the muscles in my back for a round at Shadow Creek. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to play, but when I got out there on the range I started to loosen up.

Shadow Creek is a very different course than TPC Summerlin. It's much longer and much tougher. Doyle, for example, usually plays from the red ladies tees and gives me 7 strokes a side. At Shadow Creek, though, there are no red tees so we'd have to play from the same spot.

I adjusted with Doyle and took 2.5 strokes a side. I matched up with everyone out there except my partner E-DOG. In a team match, it's kind of silly to bet against your partner.

I had bets with all the others though. Doyle gave me 2.5 a side, Ivey gave me 5, Sexton gave me a stroke a hole, Greenstein gave me 7, and David Grey gave me a stroke a hole and 1.5 strokes on the par 5's.

I hit the first two greens in regulation and started to hear the whining early. I bogeyed both holes but still won the money. At the end of nine I shot a 51 which is a decent score at Shadow, especially after missing so many short putts. I had a different caddie and it took us some time to get in sync.

I started pretty strong on the back nine going bogey, bogey, par, triple, bogey, double........ 10.....12! lol. We had to skip hole 14 because they were working on it.

Despite the 10 and the 12 I still wound up winning a decent amount of money for the second straight time. Of course, my improved play is also costing me strokes in a hurry.


Today, I'm hooking up with Boston Rob & Amber to shoot a few things. I can't really tell you anything more than that. Also, the Protégé, Brian Fidler is flying into town, so later tonight I plan on watching him play down at the Bellagio and then having a pow wow with him.

We'll be leaving for Lake Tahoe on Thursday and I want to get in some time with him before the tournament to make sure he's prepared. Oh, and I could use the practice too :-)


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