Archive Jul 2007: foxypham

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TILTED in Vegas!!!!!

Location: Lansdale, PA

WARNING: This blog contains negative content they may damage your positive demeanor so please read at your own risk!

I am back home now after spending 10 long days in Las Vegas. Let me first tell you guys the biggest piece of news since the last blog. Matthias on his ride back to Alabama was in a car accident somewhere in Texas. I have recieved all this info secondhand as Matthias lost his cellphone in the accident. All I know is that his wagon ended up underneath a tractor trailer and he suffered a concussion and other injuries. It seems he will make a full recovery, but had to spend several days in a ICU. The likely cause of the accident is that he fell asleep at the wheel. I will post more details as I get them, but even I am in the dark about the incident. Obviously, this makes me feel guilty as a driving partner would make a significant difference in long distance driving. Looking back on the situation, the only reason to ride back to Alabama with Matthias would just to be a driving partner. We were making no more recreational stops (lack of time) and I would of just flown home to Phila. after arrving in Alabama. Hopefully he makes a full recovery and we all wish him well!

All I did was play poker in Las Vegas and it did not go well at all. I attempted to satellite into the ME a second time and only lasted into the 4th level. I played 2-5NL cash and was down $2527 in 64 hrs. of play. The reasons for this poor performance including running bad, bluffing way too much, cold calling PF raises w/ any 2 cards, tough games, lack of regular poker playing before arriving in Vegas, and stress from the roadtrip. It seemed I could not do anything right and I made all the wrong moves in crucial situations. I do not want to get into all the details, but my first session at the Wynn set the tone for the trip. I was playing in a tough 2-5NL game with an uncapped buy-in. I bought in for $500 when these two hands came up. The first hand my KK ran into AA on a AKQ board and we got AI on the flop. This is just a cooler that happens to everyone. I reloaded back to $500 and the very NEXT hand get dealt 66 in the SB. A middle position player who has over 2K behind him opens for $15, the button calls as do I. The flop comes 652 w/ a flush draw and I check to the PF raiser, He fires about a pot-sized bet of $40 and then I make a $150 check-raise trying to represent a flush draw. My opponent thinks I'm tilting from the hand before and pushes me AI where I instant-call w/ my top set. He shows 99 and the turn comes a 9 to ship him the pot. What a sick two hand sequence? Right there I should of realized this wasn't going to be my trip and found a flight home immediately. Instead I stayed for another week to get pounded in 2-5NL rentlessly. If I played my usual solid ABC poker, I should only be down around 1K in cash for the trip. It was inevitable that I was going to lose in Vegas, but I could of taken a much smaller loss for the trip. A couple other nights, I played like a maniac and bluffed too many pots. In low stakes NL cash games, I believe that ABC poker is the most profitable way to play and I went against my own advice. Poker is all about maximizing your wins when you are running good and minimizing your losses when not running so hot. I am OK with my loss in Vegas as I have been running well this year and on the road trip had 5 straight winning sessions in very short periods of time. One last note on Vegas was that the cash games I played in were the tougest ones I've ever encountered. Everyone says the best action during the WSOP is at the beginning, because by the time the ME rolls around a lot of the fish have gone home. I will not make this mistake again and come much earlier in the WSOP for the side action in upcoming years. This year I had no choice as the roadtrip was planned already and the ME was the only time we could go through Vegas.

As for my future, this is up in the air. I need to move somewhere where I can get a lot more live action in. I am contemplating moving to the LA area, Las Vegas, or Atlantic City. I am leaning towards Atlantic City due to lower costs, familiarity of the area, and having people I could live with. If I moved to the LA area or Las Vegas, I would know nobody there and the cost of living is higher in those areas especially LA. I will look into the situation more closely and let you guys know what I decide upon. I want to give poker 100% of my effort to see where it takes me. Right now, I do not think I am a much greater player than everyone else out there. I feel I can be successful due to my BR management. I require a very simple lifestyle and do not spend much money. For example, I bought my first pair of sunglasses ever 5 weeks ago and I had the same pair of sneakers from when I was 16 to 23. I am getting into minimalism which is having as few possessions as possible and trying to follow that infamous quote from Fight Club "The things you own end owning you". I do not drink, smoke, rarely play in the pit (on the roadtrip I only played in the pit once in Deadwood and it was $3/hand Blackjack), and HATE strippers. Strippers are really fake and its obvious there after your money, in the real world women are more discreet about their intentions! This discipline will keep me away from the traps I hear about all the time with other poker players.

PS
If anyone has any advice/tips on my future plans, I am open-minded and will listen!

Viva Las Vegas!!

Location: Las Vegas

Well, I have finally arrived into the sin city! This is my first visit here and I am really excited about it. Let me first tell you guys what happened in SoCal. In LA, we spent one day at Santa Monica which was incredible. I loved everything about it: the beach, girls, and biking. Matthias and I then headed down to Venice Beach where a very liberal and hippie crowd hang out. There were a few hundred people gathered on the beach for a drum dance (my first) and the atmosphere was surrreal. For those of you who don't know, a drum dance is a few hundred people gathered in a circle. There are all type of instruments being played and they combine to make a snchronized beat. If you want, one can dance in the middle of the huge circle. It was cool just seeing everyone relaxing and enjoying themselves. That night we headed to Commerce. I heard the action here is crazy, but the rake stinks. They rake $6 or $7 every pot no matter how big and they even rake a $1 when players chop! I played 5-10NL w/ a buy-in of $300 and grinded out $860 in 4 hrs. of play. The table was incredibly passive and I just kept taking the small pots that nobody wanted. Matthias played 2-5NL and lost $200. I couldn't keep an eye on his play, but I saw he made one big mistake when he called AI w/ 66 on a flop of 789. There was only $20 in the pot and his opponent bet AI for $70 on the flop, Matthias called with 2 other people to act behind him. I think I gave Matthias too much credit and forgot that he is a complete novice to the game and still needs a lot of tuteledge.

After LA, we headed to San Diego to stay with Matthias' friend Jeff. The first night we were there, we headed to a great Mexican place by the beach. The Mexican food on the west coast doesn't even comes close to what I usually get back on the east coast. The next day Jeff had to work so he made an itinerary for us in SD. As we headed to the Subaru, Matthias noticed an oil leak under the wagon. The gas casket valve had cracked leaking oil, and took Matthias 4 hours. to make the necessary repairs. So much for sightseeing in SD. That night we headed downtown to check out the nightlife. The first bar we went to was Altitude. It is on the top floor of the Marriott and was a open-air bar. It had a nice view of Petco Park (where the SD Padres play) and you could easily watch a baseball game from the high venue. We then checked out another club before calling it a night.

Matthias and I arrived into Vegas on the 4th of July. It was a scorching 110 degrees when we came in. We got a place in this hostel in downtown Las Vegas. There seems to be some really neat people traveling staying here, but I haven't had the chance to meet them because I've been playing tons of poker since we arrived. On Thursday, I played a $550 satellite for the ME and placed 50th of 420. They were giving seats to the top 19 in this satelllite. I found the field to be incredibly weak and everyone was playing super cautious in an attempt to slide into the money. This is an ok strategy when there are 25 players left, but I found that people were implementing this strategy when they were 70 to 80 players left. I didn't think they realized how much poker would still have to be played. I maintained an average stack most of the satellite and then shoved w/ 33 in early position w/ 18K in chips. The blinds were 1-2K w/ a 300 ante so I was going to shove with a wide range of hands. A tight player reshoved AI on the button so I thought I was dominated, but luckily he showed AK. He flopped a K and there goes my entire poker life. JK. That night, we went to see KA Cirque De Soleil at the MGM Grand. We wanted to see LOVE Cirque De Soliel, but tickets were all sold out due to its popularity. I was not impressed with the KA Cirque De Soliel. The show told a tale of some jungle bandits kidnapping two of the emperor's children and their rescue. The acrobatics were cool (it was my first Cirque De Soleil experience), but the storyline was really difficult to follow. In the show, the performers spoke a made up language so that only made things more complicated. They tried to mix in comedy, but given the background of the storyline, it did not fit in well. Others in the audience seemed to be thorougly entertained, but I have high standards in any recreational acitivities I partake in. For example, I enjoyed when Matthias and I went skydiving, but everyone else who jumped seemed to have a much better experience than me. It seems the only thrill I get is playing poker! Spoken like a true degenerate. After the show. Matthias and I played 1-2NL at MGM. We were at the same table so I could further teach Matthias about the great game of NL Texas Hold Em. The table was soft and Matthias and I ened up with $450 and $250 profits respectively.

On Friday morning, Matthias left Las Vegas back to Alabama to tie up some loose ends. This officially concludes our road trip together. I'll never forget about what happened on this trip and it has given me a new perspective on traveling. I hope everyone has enjoyed reading about our exploits. I plan on checking into the Imperial Inn on Sunday and staying for about another week. Later today, I will try to satellite into the ME again as the field is too weak to pass up the opportunity. Even I don't make it into the ME, I will be playing cash until I leave. I will keep everyone updated on how I do in Las Vegas and this blog will hopefully have some poker content for once :).

down but not out...

Location: Hollywood, CA

So I don't even to know where to begin with this blog. Its been so long seen I have last updated a few of you might of thought I dropped off the face of the Earth. I had a nice blog written when we were in Oregon, but the trip took a turn for the worst when our 88' Subaru was broken into in San Francisco. Matthias lost many important items including his laptop, passport, IPod, sunglasses, and spending cash :(. The thieves somehow did not take anything of mine though. The weird part about this was that we always take in our laptop at our destinations and this was the first time we left it in the car. The robbery happened in broad daylight in a nice part of SF Pacific Heights while we were at dinner. The police called Matthias during dinner and notified him of the break-in. The event definitely soured our trip, but we were both determined to move on and finish the trip on a strong note.

Here is a brief recap of what else happened since the last blog. We spent two days in Seattle staying with my college buddy Dayne. Highlights include eating Vietnamese and Thai food, stumbling upon a gay pride parade, and going to the Sunday market in the Fremont area of town. BTW, everybody out there must try Vietnamese food. It is tasty, cheap, and healthy. You can't beat that combination. We also visited a local casino in the Seattle area where I suggested we bump up the game to 5-10NL from the 3-5NL we were playing. One guy was all about it, but everyone else was against it given their silence. The funny thing about this nobody spoke up against my suggestion and everyone just went along and pulled out more money for the higher stakes. I single-handily raised the stakes and came away with a nice $640 profit in only 3 hrs. Matthias lost $200, but had a down outlook before the session. I am a firm believer in having a positive attitude before entering any session. Coincidence you tell me?? We then stayed in Portland for one night where I got ancupuncture at a local school for the first time ever for recurring stomach problems I've been having. I did not feel any different after the treatment, but ancupuncture is a cumulative process and I was pleased with my first visit. We then drove down the Oregon coastline to stay at Cape Blanco State Park for the night. This was by far the most scenic destination on our trip. In SF, we met up with my distant cousins Danny and Elisa. It seems Asians keep in touch with distant family as I have met my third-line cousin before. That is my grandmother's cousin's grandchildren. Haha!! BTW Danny and Elisa were really supportive after the robbery. We walked 6 to 7 mi in SF visiting all the day attractions and had terrific food at Chinese and Mexican joints. Our next stop was in Monterey which is south of SF where we both went skydiving from 18000 ft, which they claim is the highest drop point in the world!! It was a 90 second free fall and I was not nervous at all before the dive. I also skydived 4 years ago in Australia, but all I remember from that dive is jumping out and doing a few flips, then the parachute opening. It was the first time for Matthias and he was all gased up about the experience. We are about to leave LA for San Diego and I'll write about our exploits in LA in my next blog.

PS I plan on arriving in Las Vegas on July 4th and attempting to satellite in the ME. I feel I owe myself the opportunity given how good I've been running lately. Even if I fail (which I won't), I would like to play in cash games for a week or two durning the ME. The road trip will end for me in Las Vegas (how fitting) and I am looking for a cheap place to crash while Vegas. If anyone can help me out, e-mail me at edwardpham@hotmail.com. BTW, I am really low maintenance and don't need any special accomodations for ex. I am willing to sleep on a floor with my sleeping bag. Thanks everyone for your support!

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