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Daniel - Poker Journal

Preparing for the WPT Championship

17 Apr 2005

Other than sleeping in and missing an interview the day was pretty full for me. Wendy over at www.pokerroyalty.com had me come in to take some shots for the website. Poker Royalty is the company that represents many of today's top, and/or most marketable players.

Brian Balsbaugh is the head guy and he comes from the golf world having represented both PGA and LPGA golfers in the past. He saw the poker boom happening and has really won over the players with his personality, work ethic, moral values, and business sense.

These days I don't handle any business related offers really, they all just go straight to brian@pokerroyalty.com. Since his company has exploded over the past few months he's had an opportunity to hire an awesome support staff as well. So many offers were coming in for the various players that he represents there was just no way he could handle them all with out some help.

So anyway I'm doing the shots with Wendy, his personal assistant and that takes me to about 6:30pm. From there I head to a meeting at 6:35 that takes me to 7:25pm when it's time to head to dinner with Diego, TJ, Kurt (Suited Up at the forum) to talk a little bit about Kurt's strategy going into the WPT championship.

Suited Up was the lucky winner of the free roll event at Poker Mountain and seems to have a decent grasp of what he needs to do in order to get to the finish line. He'll be in tough against top competition, but I hope that some of the things I shared with him help him through. Him and his girlfriend seemed really nice and Iíll definitely be rooting for him.

After dinner I had a few random people I needed to talk to then I headed straight to the poker room where a $4000-$8000 game was about to start. The starting lineup would look like this:

Seat One: Chau Giang
Seat Two: Gus Hansen
Seat Three: Lyle Berman
Seat Four: Sammy Farha
Seat Five: Johnny Chan
Seat Six: Me
Seat Seven: Ming Ly
Seat Eight: Jennifer Harman

It was a mixed game as usual that consisted of:

Omaha H/L
Stud H/L
2-7 Triple Draw
No Limit Hold'em (1k-2K blinds 1K ante 100K cap)
Pot Limit Omaha (1k-2k blinds)
2-7 No Limit Single Draw (1k-2k blinds 1k ante 100k cap)

I got off to a pretty bad start in Omaha H/L losing almost every hand I played. Within about half an hour I was already down about a quarter million dollars.

I clawed my way back to even though when the following hand came up against Gus Hansen in stud:

I limped in with (J-J) J and Gus raised it with the high card Kd:

Me: (J-J) Jc
Gus: (x-x) Kd

I just called the bet and we took fourth street heads up:

Me (J-J) Jc 5d
Gus: (x-x) Kd Qh

Gus again bet $4000 and I just called looking to slow play the hand a little longer. On fifth street:

Me: (J-J) Jc 5d 10d
Gus: (x-x) Kd Qh Jh

Gus bet out $8000 and I raised it to $16,000. Gus looked slightly puzzled and re-raised me again to $24,000. I didn't think Gus had a straight or a set so I went ahead and re-raised the bet to $32,000. Gus just called, and at that point I put him on a pair and a draw, most likely a hand like K-10 in the hole. On sixth street:

Me: (J-J) Jc 5d 10d 8c
Gus (x-x) Kd Qh Jh 10d

Yikes, that looks like a terrible card but I still thought I had the best hand. Since Gus re-raised me on fifth street it would have been difficult for him to have an Ace or a 9 in his hand unless it was a flush draw. I genuinely felt like that card paired Gus but it would have been a little silly to raise there just in case he already had a straight and was setting a trap for me.

On the end Gus bet out again, and since the pot was so big I had to call hoping that Gus was betting two pairs. Gus came out of the hole with K-K-10 for a full house!

Wow good thing I didn't make a full house or it would have cost me more than the $56,000 it already cost me. It was pretty obvious that Gus started with K-K-10, made two pair on sixth street and then a full house on the end.

Oh well, once the No Limit hold'em round came by I played a few hands fantastically well. It's hard to win with the worst hand after the flop in the cap game, but I was able to do that a few times in monster pots.

This is exactly how I like to prepare for big tournaments. The big game does bring out the best in me and that's the mind set I need to have when approaching these big tournaments.

Since Carlos' birthday, I made a decision to really concentrate on being healthy also. No alcohol in my body until we are celebrating with some champagne when it's all over :-)

Today I have two parties to go to. Bob and Maureen Feduniak are having a Garden Party at 4:00pm and then there is a red carpet affair tonight at 10:00pm at the Caramel. I'll be attending both parties briefly, but I won't be having anything to drink.

Not that I think I couldn't win if I had a glass of wine today or even tomorrow, but I just don't want anything to mess with my level of fatigue.

I also feel really lucky that I drew day two for the championship. That will give me even more time to prepare and then I won't have to deal with the long wait in between. Jennifer was also pretty happy to draw day two, until she realized we are at the same table! Oh well, as much as I hate playing with her because she knows how I think, at least I'll have someone to talk to right?

Oh I almost forgot- I ended up playing for six hours and I won $120,000...