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Moving Forward

The last week has been a total waste. I was correct in my self diagnosis of strep throat, and it kept me coughing and exhausted for the majority of the week even after getting penicillin from the medical center. I got two small sessions of poker in on Thursday and Friday but both times I was by no means at full mental capacity, though I managed to pull off a deep run in the FTOPS 300r which ended generically somewhere in the 50 something places. Otherwise I have been mostly lying about my couch watching movies and longing for the gym, which I returned to this evening with about half the energy as usual. It felt good to be there either way.

Mid way through the FTOPS event I found myself on the same table as infamous online player Chad "Lil'holdem" Batista. Around four years ago I recall doing an interview with pocketfives and mentioning that I thought he was overrated. In the time after that I was critical of his table talk (notably his angry words for "Intervention") and wrote a comical script about the whole affair. In the early few years of my online poker career I was critical of a ton of guys, be it their play or their personality. I've met Chad since and in person he's a pretty chilled out and personable guy, and I think we had a laugh over what we wrote. We had some friendly table talk, and I told him I'd say he's likely among the five best online tournament poker players around.

I don't know if it's been the years of accumulated beats (and I'm not saying mine are worse than others), or the pick up, or the working out, or all the weed, but somewhere along the way I became pretty much the most chilled out guy around. I don't really see the point of hating on anyone anymore, unless they truly and genuinely are a scumbag like say JJprodigy or Men "totally legit poker hall of fame candidate" Nguyen. I believe that's his nickname. The point is, I think most of my early career trash talking mostly came from a place of envy. I'm not saying criticizing someones play or character is out of line, but there are mature and adult ways of going about it that aren't taking cheap shots or being rude. I can still confidently say I think Chad's comments to "Intervention" were out of line (it's old news at this stage, and I'm pretty sure water under the bridge between those two), I can still say that Hellmuth's behavior is pretty clownish (and likely awesome for TV ratings), but these days I'd rather get to know a guy thoroughly and try to understand his motivations than make snap judgments about him. Chad and I talked about blazing some joints together in Vegas and I'd happily follow through with it and supply as talking poker with that guy would be fascinating even if he can't always articulate why he knows what he knows.

Maybe I simply don't have the time to be a hater anymore? After a three week delay I'm finally getting back into my routine tomorrow. I won't be waking up at some insane hour to do a huge Monday (Sunday for you boys in the States) since I'm still getting over the strep, but I'll get up and play a normal sized session. After that I'll head straight to the gym to crush myself, then right back home to get showered and changed. I'll then head over to Crown where prior to eating dinner I'll make sure to chat up at least one girl (no weed allowed on the day until I've attempted at least one pick up which guarantees I won't make any excuses about it) then back home to write an entry for each of my various logs on the new website before I can finally relax and blaze away. Some nights I'll have a girl over, others I'll sit on the computer and review a friends hand history because I'm a geek like that and I enjoy studying poker again these days. If they're comfortable with it, I'll copy/paste the interesting hands from the review into my pokerlog and include our discussion on the hand. Some guys are more relaxed about their play being exposed than others. I'll only be taking one day off a week (likely Saturday) from all of this and the exceptionally strict diet I'm on will prevent me from any late nights drinking or big dinners out. I think to most online players spending that much time grinding is a hellish idea, but I'm really looking forward to it all. I miss my job. Nothing about any of this will change until I leave for the WSOP.

After accumulating five years of material all over various blogs and websites I've decided to consolidate it on a proper website of my own, though it is little more than a Wordpress blog. Either way, as of today I will be updating my website on a daily basis. The reason why I didn't go for a more simple title, like say, would be because some time ago Full Tilt poker apparently purchased all of those. I believe it was during my time of employment with them.

The website seemed like a logical next step since my "poker blog" has now veered off in so many different directions and was becoming increasingly inappropriate for the strictly poker venues it was held at. The poker and general blog content will be still be hosted on those websites the same as always, but the website will allow me to get more depth on topics. The site still needs quite a bit of work in terms of going over old entries and editing them, since they were often written for 2+2 or something else very informal. I likely won't bother for old trip reports since I prefer them in their original version, but for things like informative articles it seems necessary that they read and flow well.

Contained there is every piece of the "Things it took me a while to learn" series, every trip report I've ever written, every informative article on any subject I've written, all previous blog posts, random stories from my travels, and things like detective TJ Cookier comic which remains unfinished.

The main elements of my writing going forward will deal with poker, dating, and fitness. I'll mix in trip reports and informative type things, mostly related to those topics, or anything else that strikes my interest such as fashion or travel. My plan had originally been to start updating on a daily basis for a fitness and poker log starting immediately after the Aussie Millions, but I wound up taking a trip to Sydney and Adelaide with Sirwatts (aka Mad Dog), Luckychewy, and KingDan. I may write some trip reports for that period when I find the time, though that depends on how much time I have available to me. I decided that the first Monday after coming back (today) I would get down to business and begin my serious grinding, working out, and dieting but instead I've caught what I believe to be strep throat and my throat is so fucked that I can't even casually swallow without pain and speak without discomfort, so instead I'll be going to a medical center and hopefully be receiving penicillin (assuming I've properly diagnosed myself, which doesn't seem so hard since I had it 10 months ago and the symptoms I'm experiencing are identical.)

The goals for the poker log portion of the website are to play six days a week, track results, post interesting hands and the feedback I get on them from other intelligent players, and generally give me an area to stay motivated and post quality material. I've got a friendly dinner bet with Ben Delaney about reaching number one in Australia (I'd say he's a big favorite given that he's playing great high volume poker and a couple thousand points ahead of me) and while I have pretty lofty and likely unobtainable goals hopefully they provide the necessary motivation to stay hard on the grind for the next three and a half months. I've also begun accumulating hand histories from other very good players and doing reviews of them for the purposes of my own education, and if it's okay with those players I'll post their HH's and the comments I made on specific hands.

The goals for the fitness log portion of the website are to reach 8% body fat by the time the WSOP rolls around. I'll actually be shooting for 6%, but I'll be a happy man if I can make it down to eight. I'd guess my current level is roughly 15% and based on my research and speaking with my personal trainer, given the exercise and diet routine I'll be enduring 14 weeks should be enough time to reach my goals. I'll be going back on the same diet as before which is almost entirely meat and vegetable based, with only a few unprocessed carbs and no liquids outside of water, black coffee, and protein shakes that have been mixed with water. I'll get into more detail in the fitness section of the website.

Anyway, I'll get into more detail in the future, but for now I'm going to get some rest and try to make it to the doctor.

Aussie Millions Event 1, You Only Donk Twice

I played the first event of the Aussie Millions twice. Much like the Poker News Cup before it, the event was a "repecharge" where players are allowed to play day 1a or 1b and if they bust they can replay it again on day 1c, which was also open to new entrants as well. The end result was an opening event with over 1100 entrants and $1.1 million in the pool at it's $1100 buy in. Hopefully a good sign of field sizes to come.

The second attempt is easily explained. I was a couple orbits late getting into the tournament since I bought in the morning and there was a substantial line awaiting me when I arrived. I folded the first hand with 97o on the BB the first hand I was dealt in, and on the second I looked down at kings:

My stack: ~9,500
Button: ~10,000
I hold KdKc in the SB. Blinds 50/100

Button was an older regular at Crown who is friendly towards me and familiar with the idea that I'm a thinking pro. I didn't remember anything particularly relevant about his play going into the hand.

Preflop: Folds around to the button who raises to 350, I reraise to 1050, BB folds, button calls.

Flop: T 8 3 rainbow
I bet 1600, button calls.

Turn: 2
I bet 3500, button shoves, I call, button shows 88 for a set and I button my jacket.

River: J

I shook hands and wished everyone luck. The hand looks pretty standard, but it made me wonder what I would do with QQ or JJ in that spot. I can't think bet/calling JJ vs someone like him is correct, QQ it's starting to become close. I talked to Jarred about it and he feels JJ is a check/hope for check then value bet river, and QQ is close depending on the read of how wide he'll get it in. Either way, I'm always thrilled to bust immediately in an event without having done anything retarded since I have a whole day to enjoy afterward, as opposed to lasting 9 hours of play and busting 20 minutes before the end such as the day before. I'll never understand those who mope about after busting an event, there's plenty more to be had (although if they're playing above their bankroll I can see where it comes from.) I see it as having the rest of the day off work!

The first day was more interesting. Near immediately I got AK in for 7,500 of my 9,500 chips against AJ at 100/200 blinds and watched a J fall to cripple my stack. After that I won a flip with A8o over a CO raise with 66 and got back a bit above 4000. Then I got a gift:

My stack :~4,000
UTG+1: ~15,000
Blinds 100/200 with 25 ante. I hold 9h3h in the BB.

Preflop: UTG folds, UTG+1 calls for 400, it folds to me in the BB, I check.

Flop: Ac 9s 7h
I check, UTG+1 checks.

Turn: 7c
I bet 325, UTG+1 calls.

River: 9c
I bet 1000, UTG+1 shoves, I snap, UTG+1 tables Qc8c quite quickly and I take down the pot.

After that I faced a limper with 16 BB's in the BB with AJdd, made it 4X and got called (I think shoving is a viable option too.) The flop came J T 4 with a flush draw and when I bet he raised me all in, leading to an instant call. He tabled QJo and when he didn't three out me I suddenly had some breathing room again.

Very little happened for some time after that and when 400/800 75 rolled around I found myself with 8,500 in MP2 and A7o. I shoved it in and the woman with 10,000 in the BB made the call with KsQs. I got out of my chair; KQ never loses.

Flop: Kd Qs 3s

Turn: Ad

"Three ball" I said confidently.

River: 3c

And with the arrival of that card the table broke into laughter except the woman who had caught the horrible runner runner. I shrugged and sat down. Tournament poker is so ridiculous to watch sometimes.

I ran my double up all the way to 26,000 before I played another relevant hand, with PokerNews reporter and globe trotter Gary who took a day off from behind the computer to play with us donks:

My stack: ~26,000
UTG: ~40,000
Blinds 600/1200 with 100 ante. I hold KcKd on the button.

Preflop: Gary raises to 300 UTG, folds around to me, I call, both blinds fold.

Flop: Jd 3d Jh
Gary bets 3600, I decide that with the flush draw out I think a shove represents the widest range since I can have draws, mid pairs, and he probably expects me to flat a jack. I move all in and he calls very quickly with TcTd.

Turn: 6d

River: 9h

A few hands later I raise up A5o in late position to 3000, get shoved on for about 6000 total by QQ, and promptly bink an ace on the river when I make the inevitable call. After that I open the now increased 800/1600 blinds to 3800, get shoved on for 12k by A6o, and have the board run out a continually hilarious K 9 8 4 3; a gigantic dodge for the chop. By the time I stopped winning constant pots and running hot in pre flop confrontations I had my stack up to 110,000. Unfortunately, after that the structure caught up to me.The blinds got up to 1000/2000 and I lost every hand I played to the tune of 30,000 and none of them got past the flop. I tried one light three bet while I was 100k deep with a guy on the button vs his HJ raise and quickly got a gigantic four bet, a poor result to my only three bet pre flop all day if I recall correctly. At the 1200/2400 level I played my first relevant hand:

My stack: ~65,000
BB: ~70,000
Blinds 1200/2400 with 200 ante. I hold Kh9h on the CO.

Preflop: Folds around to me, I raise to 6600 (big bigger than I wanted to raise), folds to BB, BB calls.

Flop: Jc Tc 4h
BB checks, I check.

Turn: Kd
BB checks 9000, I call.

River: 6h
BB checks, I value bet 15,700, BB shoves, I puke and fold.

Not long after that I shipped KQ in MP2 for 36,600 with the HJ sitting out and promptly ran into AK on the CO. I never hit the Q and with 20 minutes left in the day I had busted what was once a huge stack not to mention an entire day of my time. Luckily I was invited to a BBQ that night full of drunk Middle Easterner's where a very friendly drug dealer gave me his weed grinder when I remarked how cool it was, then we all got pissed and had a good time. The two weeks away from the diet are very enjoyable.

Sunday was a very fun day when I ran into Ansky from 2+2 and wound up in a pick up football game with him and the boys from two months two million. I can't even remember the last time I played American football and it was a thrill I've missed sorely. The group is down here doing a number of seminars and playing regularly, and everyone seems really nice and down to earth. A group of his hit Rockpool for dinner, which for all is excellence in quality sure does take forever as a dining experience. Looking forward to more football.

I did very little today except run about town looking to chat up women and getting rained on instead then hit the gym. I wound up chatting up one of the girls playing in the tennis tournament in the hallways of crown from the States. She was really nice and absolutely gorgeous, so hopefully she runs hot in the tournament. Big fail on getting her number though. My boy Luckychewy is coming down very soon and I can't wait to run about town with him again like we did in Vegas. Since there's no relevant event tomorrow and the weather is shit I'll just play online, then play the bounty event on Wednesday. Looking forward to it.

Aussie Millions prelude

It's that time of year again. I look forward to the Aussie Millions more than any other tournament series. It's the perfect length, in the perfect city, during the perfect two weeks of summer. It's especially nice because I don't have to go anywhere to play in a major tournament besides a quick jaunt across the street, and the Australian Open tennis tournament is on just a 15 minute walk away.

Glancing over the schedule I see six or seven events I intend on playing, including the main. I kind of detest live poker these days so I'm not going in expecting much, but I've been working hard at getting up to speed by playing and studying online over the last few weeks, so at least I feel I'm going in sharp. I can't wait to see what hilarious tragedy awaits this year in the 1k rebuys! I've got my friends Mike Watson and Grant Levy staying in the apartment for the series, and I've recently talked Luckychewy into coming down for a visit (his first) so above all I intend this to be an ass load of fun.

I've set the date of the 3rd annual Drunken Kickball Classic on Saturday the 23rd at 3pm, we'll be meeting in front of the aquatic center in Albert park. It's the day of the 100k at the Crown so not too many guys that I know will be playing (except my roommate Jarred, who will likely win it considering what a fucking stud he is.) The plan for the day is to start there with a mix of kickball and dodge ball (must keep a beer in your hand at all times duh) and then walk over to the Belgian Beer Garden a few blocks away where we will continue to get trashed well into the evening. After that we'll probably go out somewhere, I'm not really sure since I'll be so drunk and high at the time I'm not going to presume I could actually plan it now. I'll definitely have people bring cameras so I can do a trip report for that day and I'm very confident it will result in some excellent photo moments.

Let's do this shit!

Response to Lee Watkinson's blog on racial profiling

I recently read Lee Watkinson's latest blog entry. I don't know the guy particularly well, but from what I can tell he seems like a nice guy and I've got no personal beef with him, I simply believe his entry to be very misinformed. Additionally, I rarely give much of a shit about politics (which is what happens when you live in Australia long enough) but in this case I'll make an exception.

Watkinson essentially argues that if you belong to the race or fit the description that most terrorists do, then you should just accept racial profiling. To quote him:

"Look. if you come from suspect areas, have certain backgrounds, even have certain names, ages, male vs female, should all factor into the likely hood of extra attention when boarding a plane.

As far as body scans being an invasion of privacy, get over it if you want to fly. If violates your religion then you are a religious fanatic, that’s the one group I don’t want on a flight with me. Only one person sees the image, its immediately erased, and I doubt they even know who they are looking at."

You can read the whole thing here, it's quite brief:

To refute him I yet again I find myself falling back on the writings of Malcolm Gladwell. In an article he published on February 6th, 2006 Gladwell investigated the effectiveness and efficiency of racial profiling:

"...Figuring out what an Islamic terrorist looks like isn't any easier. Muslims are not like the Amish: they don't come dressed in identifiable costumes. And they don't look like basketball players; they don't come in predictable shapes and sizes. Islam is a relgion that spans the globe."

He goes on to quote New York City police commissioner Raymond Kelly:

"We have a policy against racial profiling...I put it in here in March of the first year I was here. If you look at the London bombings, you have three British cizens of Pakistani descent. You have Germaine Lindsay, who is Jamaican. You have the next crew, on July 21, who are East African. You have a Chechen woman in Moscow in early 2004 who blows herself up in the subway station. So whom do you profile? Look at New York City. Forty percent of New Yorkers are born outside the country. Look at the diversity there. Who am I supposed to profile?...You think that terrorists aren't aware of how easy it is to be characterized by ethnicity? Look at the 9/11 hijackers. They came here. They shaved. They went to topless bars. They wanted to blend in. They wanted to look like they were part of the American dream. These are not dumb people. Could a terrorist dress up as a Hasidic Jew and walk into the subway, and not be profiled? Yes. I think profiling is just nuts."

Poker translation: terrorists are smart enough to balance their ranges. We're talking about guys who are able to coordinate acts of enormous complexity and logistical difficulty; they can figure out people are suspicious of the highly Muslim looking. It's a dangerous thing to underestimate your opponent.

On top of everything, encouraging racial profiling results in greater acceptance of being suspicious and judgmental of people based on appearance. I'm not down with that shit, and besides, you never know when the polite gentleman in a suit in tie is actually a sex crazed, pot head, professional gambler.
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