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Daniel - Poker Journal

Juanda strikes first blood

04 Dec 2004

Ok, now I know this probably isn't the best attitude going into a tournament, but before leaving the house today I told my mother, "I hope I have an early day today."

What I meant of course is that if I wasn't going to make the final table, I'd rather have an early exit for once so I could catch up various things I've been forced to neglect since I've been putting in so many hours at the Bellagio.

Day one was 7 hours on no sleep, day two 11 hours, day three another seven hours. That left little time for me to keep up with my e-mails. I clicked on my outlook express and saw... "368 new messages". Oh how nice. So if you are one of the people who e-mailed me recently and I haven't gotten back to you just yet, I have a valid excuse I promise!

Day four was Omaha H/L, a game I fancy myself to be pretty good at. Before going to my table though I just had to see if Juanda made it through to the final table, "Oh no! That lucky bugger." He squeaked into the final table with 20,000 in chips, last on the totem pole.

It was no surprise to see him show up for the Omaha H/L event even though he was at the limit hold'em final table. Hey, if a miracle like him making a limit hold'em final table is possible, anything is possible right?

The start to my day was ugly. Had a pot scooped on the turn, got quartered. Had a three way pot scooped on the turn, got none of it.

I was pretty zoned out from the action. Omaha H/L in the early stages is pretty straight forward so I put my headphones on and decided to catch up on some reading. On my I-POD I've got all sorts of music, but I also downloaded a few audio books as well.

John jokingly said, "C'mon Daniel, don't make it this easy for me. Concentrate." I told him I was busy reading. He looked puzzled. Then a player at my table asked me, "What are you reading?"

"It's an audio book called Bible Answers." I replied.
"So do you believe in God?" he says.
"Yes I do."
"Ok, then here is a question for you: do you believe God can do anything."
"Then do you believe he could create a mountain so big that he couldn't move it?"

That's a question I'd actually heard before and right away I was like, "Hey, hey no fair... that's a trick question." Actually the answer to that question was somewhere in the audio book that I was reading at the time. I couldn't find it though, but the gentleman let me off the hook, "It's a tough question. You could argue both sides." Kind of like what came first, the chicken or the egg?

Charlie Shoten than came up with another brain teaser, "if you are trying to lose but you win, did you succeed or did you fail?" The whole conversation was creeping me out especially after what I'd told my mother this morning.

Soon after Charlie's brain teaser it was time for me to go bye-bye. Nothing went right for me on the day and by about 3:00pm I finally got my "wish". Or did I?

Juanda's final table was starting as I was leaving, so I waited until late tonight to get a call from my buddy David Williams, "I busted your boy for you."

"Sweet where did he finish?"
"Ok I can handle that, could have been worse."

Later in the evening I got another call from David, "I won!" For a guy who's made over 4 million dollars in tournament poker this year, it amazes me how modest this kid really is. Always talking about how he needs lessons...doesn't know how to play limit hold'em...is afraid to play higher than 30-60...he can't finish... has never won a tournament, etc.

I always try to explain to him, "Dude, you aren't going to get a lot of sympathy from people. That I promise you!" Actually I was very happy for David, he is one of the young stars in our game and it's nice to see a classy kid do well. As you'll read in an upcoming Card Player Trilogy on the Borgata tournament, he is also a fantastic talent. The fact that he is aware of his shortcomings at such a young age (24) is a testament to his maturity and his will to succeed. Guys like that make it in this business.

As for what else is going on in the "exciting life" of a poker player? I've been vegging on the couch answering e-mails for the past six hours... and no, I didn't get to all of them unfortunately.

So tomorrow is pot limit hold'em (a game John actually knows how to play tongue and with John's 8th place finish he picked up 84 points. So my 428 point lead continues to shrink down to 344 points.

***As a reminder, check out John Juanda's blog at his site, www.johnjuanda.com***