Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Yoni!

I know a lot of people. Well, not really KNOW them, but I am acquainted with them. And that’s fine. In reality, there are only a handful of people that will have a lasting influence in our life. I guess we could go into a deep discussion as to how even the guy crossing the street when we are about to make a right turn at the traffic light could affect how old we are going to be when we go into our midlife crisis, but looking back there is no way we could trace those events back to a specific encounter with somebody. But we can immediately recognize when we meet someone unique.

I have always had a great deal of respect for social media. I am glad I was able to recognize its utility and reach early on. My wife was a bit hesitant at first, but has now seen what I was talking about when I was telling her about making key connections with people that may be somewhere else in the world that will be important for us. We don’t know how long they are going to be in our life, but I am certain they won’t be forgotten like the guy crossing the street.

In a way, I met Yoni through social media. We became acquainted thanks to a mutual passion for poker and started interacting on Tweeter. Man he is something. It’s his birthday today and I’ve been teasing him about NOT congratulating him. He is a bit of an attention whore. And I say this with all the love in the world. But then we also went to Vegas for WSOP 2010 and 2011 and WSOP-C in San Diego and have recognized in the group of friends we have that we are not going anywhere for a while and that our friendship will continue through the years. That much we can be certain of. I would name everybody, but today is Yoni’s b-day and I wanted to honor who he is.

He is a noble and sincere person. There are people that play an angle and a part to the tee in order to gain something but they can at some point be pinpointed and dealt with accordingly. The thing about Yoni is that he will come upfront and frank, sometimes with innocence and playfully but with good intentions. There aren’t that many people like that. He has this childlike quality to him that shows his gentle demeanor and he makes an honest effort to remain true to his convictions. I see that he also is wise enough to learn of his mistakes and move forward, and I respect all of these qualities in him.

Today was his birthday. And even though I teased/trolled him about not congratulating him, the truth is that I wished him the very best all day long today and every other day as well, because he deserves it. He is a great person that can make you laugh and feel good with his jokes and crazy ideas and someone you want by your side during difficult time because he will support you and encourage you along the way.

I haven’t been there for the different times you have needed a friend, but I wanted too. I appreciate you a great deal and I want you to know that I consider you my friend. I really want you to thrive because you have everything you need to do it. I hope you have an amazing time with the people that love you and are close to you and that you continue to keep that amazing attitude that makes you the great friend you are.

Happy birthday Yoni!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vegas 2011

So I made it to Vegas. I had been looking forward to this trip for a long time, the World Series of Poker going at full speed at the Rio and plenty of tournaments for just about any bankroll everywhere else. A few of my friends played WSOP events, some others were aiming for the deepstacks while a few more were focusing on cash playing. It was amazing to see them all.

The Drive

Last year I took a bus for this same trip. Big mistake. My reasoning was that it’s just a few hours away and I could just sit back and relax on the way over, get some reading done and sleep part of the way. It ended up being an uncomfortable ride that included many hours of waiting in the San Diego AND in the L.A. stations. This year I decided to drive.

There is something about the open road. The notion of going somewhere, the uncertainty of the next curve and what will the landscape look like and the focus on nothing else but driving certainly make for quite a Zen experience, albeit a hot one since the A/C unit in my truck is not working. It was a lot of fun nonetheless. A very enjoyable and unintentionally exciting drive as I almost run out of gas past Barstow as there is a huge climb that stretches on for miles and miles without a gas station. I am not joking: the way down was on neutral and praying. The next gas station was about 20 miles after the end of the hill and I barely made it.

WSOP 2011

Summer in Vegas marks the time for poker players to flock from all over the world to compete for a coveted WSOP bracelet or to take advantage of the wide array of different tournaments with decent structures and weak players (both of which can be found at all levels). This is the trip I most look forward to since I started playing poker almost two years ago.

As it turned out, a few of my friends had remarkable runs in WSOP Events. Michelle finished 53rd in the Ladies Event. Then, out of a massive field of about 4500 runners in WSOP Event #54, Nelson ended in the 299th spot while Mony finished 119th. A couple of days later, her boyfriend Fishykis finished 123rd in WSOP Event #56. They played an amazing poker and it was such a delight to be there with them.

Other friends also played these events, but fell short of the money spots, a big shout-out to PokerLawyer, Morris, Brenda, and Camachin, all of them great players and amazing people. For those who work as hard as you do, I know it’s only a matter of time before the big win. I know I’ll be seeing you again next year.

I only played TWO tournaments. That’s all I would allow myself to play. I did well and felt happy with my performance. I finished 5th in one and middle of the pack on the other in a spot where I was ahead but didn’t hold. You know, Poker. I feel good AND motivated, this is going to be an important year for me and I am looking forward to it.   


I was a great treat to spend time with fellow poker players in Vegas and talk about hands, spots, lines and ideal decision making. I feel like I’m in a good spot to continue growing as a player and make this upcoming year a big one. The thing is I am practically starting my bankroll from ZERO since I only had a few hundred in Stars when Black Friday happened and there is no telling when we will get our money from Full Tilt. It sucks because I had worked on a few key elements of my game in the last few months and the deep runs in mtts were becoming the norm, also, I was turning a nice ROI in 27-player SnG’s. But this is no longer an option, so now I have to focus primarily on live playing.

I don’t mind playing live. I actually like it better than online. It’s just that it is so convenient to be able to fire-up a few tables at the click of a mouse whenever I want, as opposed to make a drive to the local card-room or casino a couple of times a week. Then again, I do have the option of playing at a local card-room AND casino, which is more than what a lot of people can say, so no complaining here. In the meantime, they are down to 12 on the Main Event as I write this, so let’s see who makes it to the November 9 and continue working on one day being there.

♠ ♠ ♠