General: foxypham

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Transformations...

Sorry I haven't updated in awhile, been sort of lazy about it I guess. Nothing much has been happening since my last entry. I've been grinding live 2-5 NL for awhile and its going pretty well, but have not cashed in any MTT for some time now. Hopefully I'll get a big score in a MTT soon. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Otherwise just got back from Las Vegas for a five day trip, but nothing eventful happened out there. The games were horrible, probably b/c everyone is at Foxwoods now. Only reason I went was b/c my buddy got a room comped at MGM Grand so hotel + flight cost me only $200. It was nice to be around warm weather as it is starting become bitter here in AC and did see the Cirque Du Soleil show "O" at Bellagio which was much better than Cirque Du Soleil KA at MGM (saw that over the summer during the roadtrip). The point of this entry is that I am going to discuss 3 areas of my life that I am going to focus on. I feel if I write this, I'll have to stick to my lofty ambitions:)

Poker

This is the obvious one as it is how I am make a living. I think many poker players out there learn a lot when they first start playing. Poker is such a complex game that there is so much information to absorb at the beginning, that the learning curve is steep. As you become a competent player, the learning curve for poker starts to plateau. These players can beat low/middle limit games, but day in and day out there not really learning much about the game. I feel this is where I am at in my poker learning curve. This is the point where to become a great/elite player, one must push themselves towards excellence and this is where the real learning begins. In an attempt to reach a new level in my poker game, I am going to explore various learning tools. I recently joined Cardrunners to be able to get into the minds of the best online players out there. From the handful videos I've watched already, the MTT videos are OK, but the 6 max cash game videos are ridiculous. Some of these guys are just thinking on another level in cash games. I have also started to read the vast amount of poker literature out there. The books on poker now are abundant and cover many areas of the games besides the fundamentals ie. psychology, tells, bankroll management etc. I am really going try to beef up my online play as I see opportunities in this area. I think online MTT have great value and am plan on playing MTT, SNGs, and 6 max NL cash to build my online bankroll. I will also need to familarize myself with all the software out there like Pokertracker and the many others that are available. The only learning tool I lack right now is another strong poker player to discuss strategy with. As I move up in games, I am confident I will find a so called "poker buddy". Poker wlil be consuming much of my life, but to be the best you must put in the work and effort.

Health Kick

One of the detriments in playing poker all the time is the health consequences. Most poker players get very little exercise and they are constantly eating out. From my personal experience, when I play a lot of poker I lose my appettite, b/c I am not expending any energy while playing. I refuse to be another out of shape poker pro which I see all the time. I have been going to the gym about 3 times/week. I plan on start taking yoga classes in the near future. I am trying to put together a healthy diet too. My good friend is going to school to become a hollistic doctor, so he is sending me recipes on vegetable smoothies that I can blend together. I am going to eat more grains and fruits for snacks and limit my meat consumption. Most Americans have meat in every meal that is just not neccessary. I will have to learn how to cook to prepare the foods that I want to consume into my body. The only setback I see here is that I really have no appettite for eating while playing so I will have to figure a way to increase through other means. From a spiritual standpoint, my father is a Buddhist and I want to explore more about Buddhism and meditation.

Women

This is probably the most surprising/interesting area I want to focus on. I feel that many people out there who will find it hard to admit that they have trouble with the opposite sex. I am going to admit that I have never been a ladies man. The only way to correct this problem is to work on it. I need to start practicing approaching strange women on the street and start talking to them. At first, I will probably look/say stupid things in my interactions, but I'll learn from my mistakes and try to make them better. Its something thats not going to happen overnight, but with time and effort, I feel I can become good at this. I firmly believe that women do not look for money, looks, or social status in men. All these things can help men attract women, but ultimately women are attracted to a man's personality. What this means is that any man despite has age/looks has a chance of obtaining any woman. I really want to get into the whole PUA lifestyle (google PUA if you don't know what it means).

I have set the bar pretty high for myself and I am OK with this. To me life is no fun if there are not challenges to overcome. There are many other things I want to learn/accomplish but the mentioned subjects will be my main focus in the near future. If I am able to follow through on the things I said I would do, I feel I will come out as happier and more fulfilled human being.

Don't Trust Anyone...

Throughout my life, I have been seen by other people as somewhat of a "realist".My thoughts about the world and life in general has been described as negative or pessimistic, though these so called negative opinions are based from actual experiences. I have made a considerable effort recently to become more positive and try to look at the brighter side of things. Unfortuantely, I have put myself in a horrible situation and I feel I must share it so others can learn from the error of my ways.

Since my short sucess in poker, I have been extremely generous with my winnings. I have helped out a couple friends in need and also assisted my parents into a more comfortable lifestyle. I feel obligated to do these things as I have been extremely lucky to have the opportunity to play a "game" as my source of income while many other people I know are working countless hours a week at jobs that they just plain out HATE just to make ends meet. Well I've overextended my genorosity and it has cost me big time.

The Story

The point of this story is not single out a so called friend who has become my achillles heel, but to learn a valuable lesson about trust in the gambling world. I am going to use the fake name "Ted" to conceal the true indentity of the person whom I'm speaking about. I met Ted a couple years ago as we were playing in the same Philly area card clubs. We would soon be driving together to these clubs and I saw Ted as a nice guy to have around to discuss poker strategy and further both our games. About a year ago, we discussed moving to Atlantic City so we both could take a legitimate "shot" at making it in the poker world. It took us an entire year to finally make the move to AC as I was lazy about the entire process and Ted was working trying to build up a poker bankroll. After my two scores at Borgata, I was finally serious about moving to AC this past Sept. and having Ted around I thought would help me immensely in this transition. We could evaluate eachother's game, share living expenses, and it would give me a friend in an unknown place. The only problem was that Ted never built a bankroll during the past year when we were contemplating the move to Atlantic City. Ted just kept making all these mistakes that was stunting himself from building a true bankroll. First, it was sportsbetting and getting over his head with his bookie. Then, he had planned to come down for the Summer Borgata Open to play some prelim events. He ended up going on "life tilt" and blew nearly his entire poker bankroll for the trip on blackjack. So when it was time to move to AC, Ted didn't have the upfront moving expenses. Me being naive and believing in Ted's good faith, I decided to front all the money for our new apartment. To further assist him, I staked Ted in NL cash games where somehow he ran worst than Mike Matusow. The final blow came when I had some cash on hand in our apt (I know not a good idea) and Ted claims that people who he owed money from his past came to our apt. so Ted panicked and gave them the money I had in our apt. So now between the money I've loaned him, staking, and this lastest fiasco half my bankroll has been destroyed due to this relationship.

There are many other details that are missing, but I think all of you get the gist of the story. I wish I have never met Ted and gotten so deeply involved like I have. I have made so many mistakes in this relationship it grosses me out just thinking about it. There were also so many warning signs that gave away that Ted would not be a reliable friend/roomate and I am sick about it everyday that I did not open my eyes until it was too late. Whenever money is involved, you must be extremely cautious to who you associate yourself with. If you decide to play poker for a living, you will run into many seedy characters in the gambling world who are trying to take a shot at you. I know these types of stories in the poker world are a dime a dozen, but I thought I would be smarter than that and now it has happend to me and I must deal with it. This fiasco has set me back significantly, but I feel more determined to be successful in not just poker, but everything I decide to pursue in my life. If just one person learns from my mistakes, then this entry will be well worth writing.


A long time coming...

I know its been forever since you heard from me, but I’ve been busy making the move to Atlantic City. I now live in a completely furnished apt. in a beach town called Ventnor and am one block away from the border of AC. I feel great that I finally moved as I started to think about doing this for about a year now. I still remember when my current roommate and I would drive to card clubs in the Philly area. During the drive, we would talk about how great it would be if we moved to AC and now it is a reality!! I will post pics of my new place when I can as my digital camera was sent back to the manufacturer for repairs.

As for poker, I was on a downswing ever since being in Las Vegas for the roadtrip, but that all changed the weekend before Labor Day. I chopped the weekly Borgata $280 for 19K that weekend. I have only played this tourney 7 times ever and have chopped for first twice now in a tourney that averages over 400 players. I’ve had a sick run in this tourney thus far. I ran super hot in this tourney though as I got it AI PF twice against QQ w/ 2 undercards and won both times. Once I had the big stack, I used my chips as a battering ram opening many pots PF. On the bubble, I took down 14 of 20 pots uncontested. With 27 players left, I had one-sixth of the chips in play. I was really happy with my end game and felt satisfied that I closed out the deal once again. There are very few opportunities when you get to the end of large field tourneys and you have to make the most of these chances when you get them.

Right now I have been playing at Borgata everyday as the WPT is in town. I am loving the action, but have no time to get settled into my new place. I have been grinding $250 and $500 SNGs and played in three NL WPT preliminary events thus far. At the end of the WPT, I will let you guys know how I made out for the duration of the events. In the first tourney of the WPT which was a $500 NLHE event, I started to chat with this kid across from me. He tells me that he’d been grinding MTT for a couple years now, but just had a big score in the Poker Stars Million. I asked him if he was familiar with the tworags website and he responded yes and then I realized I was playing mlagoo!! This just shows how small the poker community is. Anyways mlagoo got knocked out on one of the worst tournament plays I’ve ever seen. The blinds were 75-150 and mlagoo was in the BB with about 3000 in chips. There were 4 limpers and went it came to mlagoo he popped it up to 750 to go. One of the limpers in MP was short stacked so he called AI to mlagoo’s raise and then the SB also called the PF raise. The flop came T52 rainbow, SB checked, and mlagoo went AI for about 2K. The SB instant called with T5o and mlagoo was felted. After the hand, the SB mentioned how he thought mlagoo was stealing from the BB and that’s why he called even though the pot was contested. This play just shows how soft live MTT are!! I feel for you mlagoo and sorry if I took away your thunder for your next blog.

I’m heading out to get some rest for the remainder of the WPT events, but I will make a big effort to keep you guys updated as often as possible!

Moving to AC!

I have finally decided to make the jump and move to Atlantic City. I will be living with a friend who is a fellow poker player. He is a really strong player who uses a lot of psychology in his game. His only problem is his bankroll management is not the best. I feel that we will compliment eachother very well as our strengths in poker are different (mine being discipline, patience, and game selection and his being reading people and manipulating his table image). This should give us a lot to learn from one another. We just found a place in Ventnor which is a beach town right next to AC and will be moving down at the beginning of Sept :)

Its now been 3 weeks since I've been back from the road trip. I've been going to Borgata every weekend playing 5-10NL as well as $270 SNGs. The cash games have been very swingy lately for me as I am not playing optimally. I lose focus after playing long hours, make too many moves for live cash, and been losing patience. I am really dissappointed in my live cash play and will move down to 2-5NL until I refocus. As for the $270 SNGs, these are incredibly juicy. They pay 1500-600-400 and there are always at least 2 players that if they do not get hit w/ the deck, they have no chance of cashing. The strategy is horrible as people are playing way too loose in the first couple levels. A couple weeks ago I cashed in 3 straight SNGs and am making an emphasis to play more of them next time I'm down at Borgata. Playing these SNGs also makes a good change of pace from the grind of NL cash games.

BTW, Matthias is back in the Philly area and doing really well. He has a 10 inch scar on his head and wearing a neck brace from the car accident. Apparently what happened was that he was driving on highway in Texas where the roads are hilly. He couldn't see far in front of him when an accident had created a backup on the road. As he approached the backup, he didn't have time to stop and when right under a truck. Everyone has told him how lucky he is to be alive and if I was with him as a passenger, I would probably have died. We are both really pleased with our fortune and this is just another reminder to never take anything in life for granted!

PS
Matthias and I are heading to AC this Thursday and I'll have a trip report up after we get back. I am going to make an effort to blog a lot more regularly on this site and to include actual POKER hands!

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!
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