Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve

My 69th post of the year. I can do better in '08. At least I began one. I spent the holidays at Gwen's. Great time. Played lots of games, watched season 1 of Dexter, caught "No Country For Old Men," relaxed, slept until 8 a.m. every day, and emailed a woman named Chloe who seems nice enough. 2007 was a good year in taking a step foward toward proper mental health. I have so many problems that I'm trying to deal with. If I take life one day at a time I will have a better chance at meeting my goals. For some reason I developed a rash last week. It may have been caused by a new shirt I wore without washing it. The right side of my stomach is all bumpy and red. Nasty.

My priorities for 2008:
1. Script with Chris. Write it, finish it, polish it.
2. Poker. I've devoted enough time to this game. Get a seat in WSOP 2008. This is a priority.
3. Money to pay off bills. I need to do this, and my ticket is through poker. Play smart.
4. Write, read, watch movies. I can really focus on this better I think.
5. Exercise. I'd like to compete in racquetball, but I'm concerned my body is falling apart.
6. Non-fiction memoir. I'd like to begin one.
7. Eat healthy.
8. Downsize my apartment, fix what isn't yet fixed.
9. Connect more with friends.
10. Upgrade technology.
11. More Blog entries.
12. Waste less time.

Happy New Year

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still Losing at $1/2

Still trying to figure out the $1/2 limit game on Stars. I’m up to 3,300 FPPs but am down $350 since 6-12 tabling. I’m sure I lose a bit of equity in not being able to assess the table dynamics, but still, my decisions should be fairly cut and dry. I’m going over certain hands this week to see if I can uncover any hidden leaks. I’m trying really hard to keep my emotions in check, though it’s hard when I lose several big pots in-a-row when I’m ahead on the turn. It can be an extremely frustrating game. I like the opportunities for freerolls when hitting certain levels.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I almost talked myself out of sending Christmas cards this year, but I put a to do list together and am now set to get them out the door by Monday. To-do lists are my saving grace. Without them, I’d get nothing accomplished. Another weekend full of stuff to complete. I’ve set my goals and hope to get them done. No distractions, please. It’s the perfect sort of weekend in that I have no obligations to speak of and a load of chores and activities to occupy my time. Heaven.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bad Mood

I was in a fairly bad mood yesterday. Feeling very negative, probably due to my losing session the night before. I have a bad habit of believing I'm very unlucky in poker. Actually, perhaps 25-30% of my loses the night before were due to bad play. I can be a calling station when there's no reason to engage in a hand after the flop. My pride sometimes gets in the way. Playing 12 tables is challenging. Playing correctly against certain opponents is also difficult with so many other tables going on. The big negative is I don't get to see the action with hands I'm not involved in. But with PokerTracker I can study the plays players make. PokerTracker is a pretty amazing program. I hope it pays for itself many times over.

Christmas is coming and I'm quickly mailing out packages and gifts. All of my mailing is finished. Now I have to buy gifts for people hear in the Bay Area and have a few gifts onhand for friends in B'ham. Perhaps a gift exchange will be in the works.

I've created my to do list for the day and plan to stay very focused and busy. It's about the only thing that keeps me from wasting large amounts of time. Goals are key. Meeting daily goals. I sometimes forget about the steps involved in traveling great distances.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I've been getting lots of sleep lately. I feel good and have tons of energy. That's good, because I want to accomplish so much today. A full list of to-do projects. I meet with Chris tonight, so I'm writing three scenes for our latest script. I also want to play at least an hour's worth of poker. 1 million hands is huge commitment, but I think it would be a great accomplishment. I hope I stick it out. I hope I don't go broke trying it. That's what worries me a bit. I'm not sure if I'm playing the game properly. I seem to be losing a little more than winning so far. I'm only 3500 hands into it, but still, I don't want to lose hundreds upon hundreds of dollars here. The month is flying by. I'm making a point of enjoying each moment. When at Gwen's and with friends, I want to be on my best behavior. One of my resolutions in 2008 is to take losing in stride. Not take it personally. This is something I can do. It's really a matter of reshifting energy away from personal inadequacy and more into acknowledging an accomplishment. It's all about shifting thoughts and perspectives. I've had a year now to practice my lists and schedules as a way of staying on track. It's tough to stay focused at times and see things through. But I want to see certain projects through to the end. I want to get a script purchased and made into a film. And I want to compete in big $10,000 buy-in tournaments. I also want to find an appropriate match who is healthy and fun and gets me. What if 2008 were my breakout year. Wouldn't that be something.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Overcoming That Losing Mentality

I've been losing in poker and one of the more challenging aspects of the game is staying positive and confident when you can't win a pot. I begin to question my abilities and wonder if I'm any good at a game I've spent so many hours playing and studying. Last night at Craig's freeroll, I was in pretty good position with around 2000 in chips (started with 1300). I was dealt QQ in the sb. John went all in for his last 300. I raised to 1000 so Johnny wouldn't enter the pot. Johnny, however, went all in and I was forced to call. He had AA. It was the second time he had aces. Unbelieveable. That perfectly captures what has been happening to me this month. Anyway, I was knocked out. Really disappointing. My one big mistake was leaving the table without making sure Johnny had me covered. I realized after I was in the car that it might have been possible that Johnny didn't have as many chips as I had. He had lost a few pots. Anyway, that hand depressed me. I've been playing 1/2 limit poker on Stars to build up practice and perhaps going for the SuperNova elite status. I'm a big loser in the 1/2 game so far. Granted, I've only played 650 hands or so, but it's amazing to me how often I lose. My AA and KK can't win. Suckouts right and left. It's really getting me down. I think I make pretty good decisions when I play limit, but for some reason I feel as though the players can see right through me. I'm a fairly conservative player, but whenever I shoot back, I shoot back at a big hand. I'm hitting the books hard and trying to mix up my game. I need a strong poker weekend so I don't lose all my confidence. If I can lose and still believe in myself and my poker abilities, that would be a great thing. In poker, it's the long run, and I need to remember that. The swing will come my way eventually.

I'm attending a couple of parties over the weekend. Should be a lot of fun. Dorian's hosting a big Christmas party and Reed Smith's Christmas party is on Saturday. People don't call it a Christmas party anymore. It's now a holiday party.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

SuperNova Ideas

An idea came to me over the weekend after studying the VIP point system offered at PokerStars. There is money to be made once a player achieves SuperNova status. $21K for the first million points, and $50k for each million following. What's more, the points you earn translate into buy-in tournaments around the world. That's a lot of money. The time commitment is in the first four or five months where accumulating points is difficult. But it can be done. It's just a little bit mindless and insane. Perfect for me. Anyway, I'm seriously considering embarking on this path. With PokerTracker I can keep track of who is playing at the tables and study their game. I can make this work if I want it bad enough. I see a bright future for poker and my place in it. I find it amazing that such a simple game can generate so much money. And there's money just begging to be made in poker. Shuffle up and Deal!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Tourney Lost

I played in a $50 rebuy tournament on Sportsbet yesterday, having won a satellite into the event. I ended up playing $100 for 1 rebuy and 1 add-on. In the first hour I had AA, JJ and 45s which won some nice pots. I had 8k in chips after the first break. 45 hands were dealt. In the second hour I managed to increase my chip stack to 17k in chips. My big had was my set of 4s against top pair. I also hit another set of fours when AA limped in to my bb. I had 74 and the flop was 844. That was a nice double-up. The third hour was just unlucky and unfortunate. I lost a nice size pot on the river to a queen, and with 11k in chips pushed all in with 77. The sb called with AT and back-doored a wheel. It was frustrating as I was only 14 spots away from the money. I thought I played well though. The players on Cake/Sportsbet are not very good.

I bought a new computer screen that I'm trying out. It's 22 inches, a ViewSonic. I think I'm going to return it though. I want one of those glossy HP screens. If they aren't that much more, I think I'm going to get one.

I've been depressed of late, and those old voice have returned in my head. So I have to be careful with myself, protect myself from getting too bogged down and sad. There are lots of things going well in my life right now. I just need to be patient, continue to work hard, do what I need to do and relax, take things easy and think things through. Poker has so many wonderful qualities to it, but it's sure taxing when you get knocked out on the river. I really hate that, especially in a tournament in which the payout is pretty large.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Overcoming Fear

I’m playing more aggressive poker and winning more pots that way. This is due to the sheets SNG videos I’ve been watching this week. They’re good. The math dictates I can re-raise all in with a lot more hands than I’ve been shoving with. I think I’ve been too passive with my play lately, so I’ve been mixing it up a bit, getting more aggressive when the blinds rise and putting more pressure on my opponents.
One thing I’m having trouble with is delivering the KO punch heads up when I have a 3x chip lead. I lose one or two all ins, then simply crumble with either weak cards or dominated hands. This has happened quite a bit lately and it’s frustrating.
I plan to play the entire day at the Casino San Pablo on Saturday. I can’t wait to jump into that no limit game. There are some really atrocious players who play that game, people who have no trouble trying to mix it up.
I’ve noticed one regular at San Pablo who’s good at button play. He loves raising huge on the button, then going all in when everyone checks to him. I’ve seen him do that three times. The only time I say him show a hand was when he had AQ with a queen on the flop. I can’t wait to one day trap him for all his chips. I still haven’t forgotten about the straight he went all in on, forcing me to push away at higher straight. He perceives me to be a weak tight player. I look forward to getting in a situation with him in which we can gamble it up a bit. This week I’ve been struggling with some very negative thoughts and moments of depression, feeling like a loser again. I haven’t done a good enough job in bringing my tools into action and using them as a means of feeling better. Kevin said something last week that resonated with me. I think I’ve had very low self-esteem in creating a lasting profession for myself. I lack confidence in my writing ability and see myself as a washup. This is what I tell myself anyway. The truth is I can be pretty good when I want to be, only I seem to lack the drive to continue creating more interesting and challenging work. I shy away from challenges that might expose my large limitations. Fear sometimes cripples me, but I’m staying focused on riding above those fears. Poker helps with this, I think. I don’t like playing poker from a place of fear. It’s far better to play from a position of aggression and strength. This is true about a lot of like I think.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kevin's Poker Visit

Kevin visited over the weekend. A short visit. He delivered a paper at a conference in San Francisco, but stayed with me all weekend. We had our usual great time, though I have to say he crushed me in cribbage. I took my revenge in pitch. Poker was an altogether different story. We played at the Oaks for a few hours Thursday night. I ended up down $31. Kevin was down $18. We also played no limit at the Casino San Pablo Saturday afternoon. We started with limit poker while on the waiting list for no limit. I lost $120 in limit. I didn't win one hand. One of the last remaining hands I was in I had AJ and the flop was AKx. A two came on the river and a guy with K2 called me down. What a joke. No limit was a different story. I waited forever for a hand. Finally, with A9s in late position, five folks checked a limped flop of A24. The button, an old guy who is very loose, bet $20, I pushed him all in, and he called with A6. Then came my big hand. I had AA and limped in early position. The same guy bet $20 and four people called. I pushed all in for $160. Two callers. My Aces held and I was up around $400. I remained up $460 for the rest of the night. There was a bad beat at our table as well, which means the table won $150. Unfortunately, Kevin didn't fair so well. He lost $360 total on some horrendous river beats and two mistakes that cost him around $200.

I was happy with my no limit play, considering my cards were cold and I didn't play much. I'm a very tight player. I'd like to loosen up my image a bit so that I can be really dangerous.

A new week, let's make things happen this week!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Full Tilt Strategy Guide

Kevin is in town this weekend, and we’re hitting the card tables real hard. I haven’t been playing much live, so I feel my live game is rusty. My online game has improved a lot I feel. I could use more time studying videos and my own game through the player analyzer.

I reread the Howard Lederer’s chapter on “Leverage” in the Full Tilt Poker Strategy Guide. What a great chapter. I don’t use leverage enough. I will be mixing it up a bit more, trying new things. I’ve been reading some hand history comments on PokerXFactor and in particular placing my hand histories on the site for analysis. PokerXFactor is a wonderful service for players like me and I hope to reap the rewards of my study there by winning a big tourney soon.

I plan to study Annette_15’s hand histories this coming week. She’s on the cover of Card Player Magazine....After reading two chapters from Full Tilt’s strategy guide, I fell I’ve fallen back on my ultra-conservative playing style, waiting for premium hands and not getting too involved in pots. True, I’ve had some bad beats lately, but I also think I’m not mixing it up enough and not getting paid off enough when I actually have a good hand. That’s the trouble with LAG players who have no trouble putting their chips in the pot. They are dangerous and will withstand raises, reraises and the like. It’s hard to know what they have. True, though, the tables I play are filled with not-very-good players who will call anything, so it’s tough to bluff them.

The Full Tilt Strategy Guide is excellent. I plan to read the book cover-to-cover again. Great stuff!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Post-Daylight Savings

Uncle Chris’s 60th and Louanne’s 60th two weekends ago (before Halloween) was quite the family bash. Bob & Alice, Chris & Elizabeth, Mom, Leo & Louanne, were all there. Gwen & Mathew were there. Kim & Kevin threw the party. Lots of fun. I, unfortunately, had a major eye issue that really bothered me all weekend long. In fact, I later discovered my eye was infected. Couldn’t sleep at all Friday-Monday. It was horrible. Felt like I had a piece of glass stuck in my eye. I was fine Fri night, but Saturday morning I was a wreck. I couldn’t see well, my eye was extremely sensitive to light, and I felt horrible. I actually ended up sleeping at the Benicia Best Western from 10-3:30. I felt better after sleeping. I showered, got ready and took a limo with the gang to Kim & Kevin’s. Nice place. All decked out. Great food, fully catered. I had some great talks with Mathew and Gwen about family, life, etc. Gwen wasn’t drinking, and hasn’t been for over a month. She’s still taking her pills. Acts aggressive now and then. Good times all around. Mom was here a few days before. We saw Michael Clayton, which I liked very much. Strong film. Mom, Gwen and Mathew left Monday. I went to the eye doctor Tuesday morning. Dr. Horn gave me antibiotic eye drops that helped a lot. It’s been a week now and my eyes are almost good as new. I still have to be careful. Keep those eyes wet and use the Refresh PM.

Halloween was a great success again. We did a magician’s them this year and Rick was the star: “Welcome to my House of Magic.” Richard’s opening was killer. First rate! I loved it. I think we had more folks seeing the show this year than any other year we’ve put on H skits. Richard is a genius at these things. The special effects this year were truly fantastic!

Writing idea: Memoir: Romanticholic: Confessions of a Hopeless(ly lost) Romantic. It’s the story of my life, what I’d created thus far, all the failures, all the really awful failures, and all the silly stupid ridiculous cowardly things that make up my life. So sad. So pathetic. And oh so real. You can’t make this stuff up unless you’re crazy. I’m not crazy, but I do have issues.

Went to my first Cal game over the weekend, against WSU. Of course I was cheering for the Cougs. They lost by 3 but made the game exciting. I hadn’t seen Cappy in years, but he looks great and is lots of fun to hang around. His girlfriend Annette is cute and sweet and smart.

Sandy is doing well. She hasn’t had any hip issues in a while, and the new prescription diet dog food she’s been on has ready helped stabilize her digession.

My apartment is starting to look very good. My bedroom is now officially nothing more than a bedroom. No desk. No clutter. Just a clear space to sleep and change. It’s nice. I ordered cable the other day and now I have DVR to record shows. It’s basically a life changer. No more VCR. It was time to do that.

The racquetball league has started up and everyone is after me. But I have a few tricks up my sleeve. I’m working out, increasing my endurance, pumping iron, and hitting the ball very hard. Can I possibly win my 4th straight singles league in-a-row? A few players are saying no way.
I’m using the hand analyzer at PokerXFactor and it’s a very good way to learn how to play and improve one’s game. I don’t know why I feel so unlucky in poker, but I do. I feel I just don’t have any luck at all. It’s difficult to get out of that mindset. The number of 3-outers and 5 outers I lose to on the river is really amazing to me. I’m really good at getting it in with the best of it and losing. It’s rare that the reverse happens, but it did yesterday twice. What a surprise. Anyway, I’m studying the game big time.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I played a one-hour cash session on Poker Host this morning. I lost $20, but the session was significant for several reasons. First off, I picked off one of the few bluffs I’ve ever called down online. I was in the small blind and completed. The Big blind checked and the flop was AKT, two spades. It was just the two of us. There as .95 in the pot. I bet out .50 and the bb raised to 2. I thought he was just making a move so I called. The turn was a club 8. I checked and he bet out 3. I called again. The river was a nothing 3. I checked and the bb bet the pot, 10. I thought for a moment. I wondered why the bet was so big. Wouldn’t he just check the pot down if he had an ace or a king. He either flopped a straight or was on a flush draw or was just betting to bet. I wanted to see what he had because I couldn’t put him on any sort of hand, so I called and won the pot. He had Ts8s for the flopped flush with bottom pair. That felt pretty good, picking off a bluff. In my last hand of the day, I had AdJd and raised to 1.5. Two other callers, both behind me. The flop was J84. I bet 2 and was raised to 6. Something felt bad about this hand, either an over pair, a set or something that was going to get all the money in. I wasn’t about to lose my 45 stack to the 3.5 I put in the pot, so I folded. It simply wasn’t worth the gambed. I think that was a good fold. OK, so the reason why I lost $20 today is I actually lost a $50 pot. I had AA utg and the small blind raised it to 6. I flat called and the flop was KT3. The bb bet $11 and I moved all in. The bb called and had flopped a set of Kings. Nothin’ I can do there. All the money’s going in at some point. I thought I had the best hand barring a set. I seem to run into sets a lot.I’m feeling a real wave of creativity lately. Lots of writing ideas. Lots of possibilities. Maybe that’s what Ford Maddox Ford was talking about when he said writers shouldn’t write novels until they’re over 40. I’m over 40. I have been for four years now. I have things to say. I guess it’s time I begin doing what I was trained to do. Write.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Staying Focused

I’m into my 5th week of my Body for Life 12-week program and so far I’ve done a good job of staying on track. It’s an ambitious agenda, but I’m doing my best to stay focused on my goals. Planning is the key. Having a vision is essential. The egg timer has been a godsend. Egg timer? Yes. My Sunbeam egg timer that I bought at WalMart last month has helped keep me on track when I have short 5-minutes chores to complete. I have a tendency to wander and meander when engaged in a project. My focus is easily shaken. When I’m racing against time to complete something, I’m effectively turning the situation into a game. It’s amazing what I can do in an hour now.

Some hands over the weekend: I totally blew one hand, believing I was playing with good players when in fact I’m playing in a $5 tournament with beginners. I had 66 in early position. The flop was AA9. I checked and two other players checked. The turn was a 6. I bet out and both players called. The River was an 5. I bet the pot, I was called, then the third player pushed all in. I folded thinking he had A5 or A9. He had 87 for a straight. Ouch. I was out an hour later. I sometimes out think myself and will fold something that isn’t the nuts, thinking my opponents would only raise if they had the best hand possible. What hurts my game is my bankroll is too low to play better players, so I’m always giving these crazy players more credit than they deserve. I must remember this.

I played a lot of poker over the weekend and was getting frustrated at losing every race I was involved in, while players who pushed every hand won every race. What made the weekend worse was I was losing on the river every time. Such a brutal game at times.
Mom arrives next week. It’ll be nice to see a bunch of movies and eat great food. I think she’ll have a fantastic time!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

One Day at a Time

Hitting the groove with my activities, playing poker, writing, cleaning, living life, accomplishing goals. So much on my plate. My poker game is picking up. Placing 3rd in the $5 $2,000 guaranteed was sweet, because it means I can start playing in larger buy-in tournaments with $317 in my account. I began this account with a free $20, and was down to around $4 at one point. I build it up to $100 two months ago. Now with the extra $200, I can play some satellites and no limit cash games. The players on Sportsbetting (aka Cake Poker) seem a little easier to read than the players on Poker Host. The PearlJammer video on PokerXFactor really helped in showing how tight one must play in certain situations. I’m noticing this more and more. I think not making the WSOP last summer was perhaps a good thing for me, because it forced me to improve my game and seek help outside of my typical improvement arena. PokerXFactor has been a big contributor to improving my game, both in tournament and cash games. I can see how poker can become a full-time profession if you want to get really good.
I received a wink from a woman named Diana last week. We talked on the phone last Thursday and planned to perhaps get together this week sometime. I called her on Monday night but have not heard back from her. This has happened many times to me, and it makes me wonder what I’m doing wrong. Then again, maybe I’m not doing anything wrong. It’s just the way it is when it comes to dating. So I’m looking for more prospects. What’s depressing is tomorrow I’m one year older. 44. How did I get to be so old? I don’t feel old. I certainly don’t act old.
I like how I’m improving in all my primary activities. I’ve been forced to step up my racquetball game because Tyrone has committed himself to becoming a better player. He takes lessons, goes to clinics and tournaments, plays all the time, and practices. He gotten so good, and he hits the ball about as hard as Robbie. He may be better than I am right now, which makes me work just as hard on improving my game. I’ve been focusing on getting my backhand shots down this week. Today I played well and made some smart kill shots. Dorian and I won five games in-a-row before losing the last one. One day at a time.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Goals for the Weekend

I can learn from those who are so focused and committed to achieving their objectives. I can learn from those who have a true vision of what it is they want to accomplish, then do it, despite setbacks, despite being tired, despite whatever internal voice is whispering to them that they simple won’t make the cut. As I enter my 45th year, turning 44 next week, I realize I’ve spent so much of my life dreaming about making accomplishments but never actually going out and doing it. I set the bar so unrealistically high sometimes that I’ve created an impossible situation for myself. So I much learn to make limitations. Take things one day at a time. Set reasonable goals.
Here are my goals for the weekend in each of the six goals I have set for myself:
1. Body for Life: Weekend Goal: a) Upper body & cardio on Saturday; b) resupply food for the week; c) printouts prepared for the week.
2. Chris and My New Script: Weekend Goal: a) Brainstorm writing session of 90 minutes, all ideas that come to mind. b) 90 minutes on scene with Richard’s mother.
3. Don’s Script: Weekend Goal: a) Create a shelf for Don’s Script. b) Open files. c) Spend 1 hour reading what I have. Let’s see what I have.
4. Poker: Weekend Goal: a) Play any freerolls available; b) update all accounts and create poker account action plan. c) Complete Poker Host bonus.
5. Home Remodel: Weekend Goal: a) Spend 20 minutes in bedroom creating a “Complete List” of what needs to be done to complete the bedroom. b) Remove from Garage all Goodwill items and free items to be sent to Craig’s List.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Tough Day, but Plugged Through

An interesting day. Took the day off from gym, slept until 8, was in a fairly fowl mood all day, don't know why. But did manage to accomplish a few things, like creating charts and logs for my poker playing. I can do a better job playing poker, imagining what my opponents have, and knowing when I'm beat. I did figure out how the percentage of bb in different heads up matches determines strategy. No writing today, so I will have to write hard tomorrow so as not to lose any of the momentum Chris and I have. OK, all for now. Bye.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Poker Study Day

I spent today studying poker and watching some PokerXFactor videos as well as learning some of the new features on the site. Good stuff. I learned how to resize my PokerXFactor screen so that I can now watch videos and play poker at the same time. Very cool!
I’m thinking of buying a big monitor in order to play a bunch of games at one time. I need to accelerate my win rate and play rate at poker. Truth is I just don’t devote a lot of hours to poker each day. There’s no way I can win if I don’t play more.
My meeting with Chris went well last night. He created a character who I really like, Jennifer’s friend Sylvia, a testicle crusher, bitter and fun. The script is rising.
My racquetball game is off. I’m hitting shots up and away, and my ceiling game is non-existent. The only way to fix it is to practice, practice, practice. I’m itching to play a MTT soon. And study more SNG strategy. And satellite strategy. My new action plan is to play as many of these as possible to get experience in the big tournaments.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Onward but Tired

I’ve been tired all afternoon, but still try to get some work done. I’m now working on new scenes for my and Chris’s script. The introduction of Richard’s mother will be fun. I really like this script. It could actually turn into something special. It’s sparse and sharp so far. An easy read. I received a wink on match and my first positive email in a while. Looks like I’ll be on a date soon enough. So I’m making progress toward completing my goals by Dec. 9. I really like the 12-week approach. Very good.

Monday, October 1, 2007


October 1 and I’m totally focused on my six goals. I sent the first 17 pages of the act 1 draft to Chris this morning. I think it’s pretty good...some fun lines and a nice rapport between Jennifer and Mark. The more I work on this new script the more I like it. That’s a good sign. Over the weekend I played around 4-5 hours of poker on Poker Host. I’m about 10 hours from my $300 bonus. Not bad at all. Getting real close. I’ve been playing heads up and really like the challenge of it. It’s nervewracking but the more I play the better I get. I have to schedule more time for PokerXFactor. I’m real behind in my video viewing.
It’s the 3rd week of my 12-week Body for Life program, and already I can see results in my chest, arms and legs. Yesterday when I worked on my lower body, I was able to lift every weight I had originally assigned to myself. That’s pretty good. If I can do that tomorrow with my arms then I’ll be very impressed.
Last night I sent five or six new messages to women at match. So at the moment I’ve sent 9 or 10 messages. That’s pretty good. If I have a 5-10% success rate with responses, I should start seeing some dates line up soon. That will take care of Goal #6.OK, time to write a little bit before the work starts piling up.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Since losing in my heads up match with Johnny last Wednesday, I've been playing a lot of heads up at Poker Host in the $5 tables. I've won around $50 or so. Not bad. The blinds go up pretty fast, which makes for a quick game. I'm developing a good reading ability on the players. There really is a lot to reading how players play their cards. You can tell how a player plays pretty quickly.

Tonight is Sunday and I'm sending Chris the first draft this evening or tomorrow morning. Maybe tomorrow morning. The first draft of the first act is pretty good.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Goal Updates

Another solid weekend of activities, projects and items to work on in my quest to complete my six 12-week goals. Goal 1: Work out, eat better, and follow the path presented in the Body for Life book. So far my progess has been pretty good. Chris’s visit threw my schedule off a bit, but I should be back on track this week. Goal 2: First draft of new script with Chris. Good progress was made this week in outlining an acceptable first draft. I’m working on the story this weekend. Goal 3: Don’s script. I haven’t touched it yet. Goal 4: Complete home remodel. When Chris arrived I did a few things to the apartment that made it much more comfortable. I got rid of lots of unnecessary dish ware. And I purchased a few things at Walmart. I have made some progress on this goal. Goal 5: Win $2,000 playing poker. I have been winning lately. I’m up around $100 or so. Not bad, but I need to do better. So That’s where I’m at. I’m also paying attention to the stock market, playing lots of racquetball, reading and spending time with friends. It’s a very busy life.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Chris in Town

The weekend with Chris. Excellent work. We got Act I cooking and now I have to write and revise, write and revise. We saw three movies (3:10 to Yuma, In The Valley of Elah, and Superbad), ate lots of great food, talked about women a lot, and films and what not, played some cribbage, walked Sandy, hit some golf balls (I’m terrible). I want to create a situation where we’re writing together. I know I’ve said this in the past, but I am determined to make this happen. Our new script is very interesting with lots of good ideas. It will be a fun script to read I think. I did a reasonable job eating good food with Chris. No burgers or milk shakes, though I did over do it on popcorn and had a Coke last night. I also ate a lot of food. I went to the gym every day but one and only slept in once. I’ll get back on track now that I’m alone again. My schedule will return.

Friday, September 21, 2007

In San Francisco with Uncle Chris

I met Chris last night in San Francisco at his hotel The Villa Florence on Powell. Cute little place, small rooms, great location. We walked to The R&G Lounge on Kearney for some excellent Asian cuisine. We order hot & sour soup, R&G Special Beef, and the seafood combination in clay pot. Really tasty meal. Very good food (though not cheap). We talked about Gwen and Jill and the depression that our family suffers from. Chris seemed a little bit down last night, not too peppy, and not really wanting to talk script stuff. We waited until after dinner when we discussed the characters in our new story. We went to a Starbuck’s close to his hotel and talked for an hour or so. We brainstormed titles and ideas for the gimmick we’ll be using in the script. Then we walked around the city for a 15 minutes or so before going to bed. The morning I worked out at Club One at the Fairmont Hotel. The place is tiny, but it felt good to get my cardio out of the way. I ate breakfast at Lori’s Diner on Powell, a 50’s-style diner with five vintage pinball machines! I love this place. I could see myself going into San Fran just to play some pinball for a couple of hours. What a great thing. Makes me want to go to pinball conventions and play more games!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Body for Life

I’ve begun a new routine with my exercise. I picked up “Body for Life” last week and will incorporate the 12-week program into my daily workout. Today is Day 1. I actually started a few days earlier. I’m paying a lot more attention to what and when I eat. I have great confidence that in 12 weeks I will look better, feel stronger and have more energy. I like how detailed and specific the programs are. They are also very manageable, lasting only 20 minutes for cardio workouts and 46 minutes for weights. Along with my racquetball, I should be in superb shape by December.
Chris arrives this week. I have created an action agenda for us. I expect us to complete a good amount of work on our script. We’ll have a lot of fun doing it. We’ll also catch a movie or two as well.
I have outlined six goals to accomplish in the next 12 weeks. 1) Complete the Body for Life 12-week program; 2) Complete the rewrite of Don’s script; 3) Complete a first draft of my and Chris’s new script; 4) Complete my apartment remodel; and 5) make $2,000 profit in poker. If I apply some of the tools I’ve learned from “The Secret” and “Life’s Golden Ticket,” as well as “Good Mood,” I might just surprise myself. Unlike last week, which was full of indirection and insecurity, I have a lot of optimism and direction this week. A lot of it has to do with the tools I learned in “Body for Life.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Lacking Focus

Wednesday, September 12, 2007: I lack focus this week. I have a lot on my plate and am easily distracted. My writing projects. What are they and how do I plan to achieve my objective? I have two projects right now, one lasting two years, my rewrite of Don’s script. I haven’t touched it since March or April. I want to get that monkey off my back. My new project with Chris is actually a very good idea. No title for it yet. No pitch, though I see one coming. Poker is taking up more and more of my time. I see I have so much to learn about the game. I’m at the point where I need to develop my own philosophy and approach to no limit. This game is different from all the other poker games because the bets aren’t structured. It’s in a class by itself and I have to figure out how to best take advantage of my opponents. Playing and learning at The Casino San Pablo is excellent training, I think. The players are loose and dangerous. They like to represent hands. There are some skillful players though. Very good players. I would like to be one of them. I am generally a very tight player. I don’t play a lot of hand and feel uncomfortable getting involved in confrontations. I’m not a confrontational person, and that comes out in my poker play. If I can make the opposite sorts of moves of my natural style, I will be a lot more dangerous. This will be one of my goals in my play. It’s called mixing it up, and I could sure do a lot more of it. I’m too ABC. I’m scared of losing all my money. I’m not as good a player when I play scared. I need a goal when I play tonight at Craig’s. I’ll have a bounty placed on me, so that means folks will be taking their shot. They’ll gamble, which means I’ll have to play tight. No problem. I just hope I catch cards and they hold up (like last week).
Anyway, back to being focused. Let’s put together a schedule and tasks. It has worked before. Let’s do it again. A list of 40 action items to accomplish. I can do it. I’ve done it before. It give me energy when I write things down. Go get them tonight at Craig’s.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Where I am in Poker

Assessment of where I am in poker:
OK, I know a lot about no limit. I know the basic strategies and proper plays in given situations. I make mistakes all the time and I’m more conservative than reckless. I have to learn to take more chances and go out on a limb. I have to learn how to switch gears. Allan Cunningham and Phil Ivey are players I want to emulate. They don’t talk much. They keep to themselves. They think through situations. And they put a lot of pressure on their opponents.
In cash games, I don’t put pressure on my opponents on the turn. I think I can do a better job of this. What Howard Lederer calls leverage. I need to apply more of that to my game.
Also: I’m not very focused. I can’t sit there and analyze a game the way I thought I could. I always assumed I’m a good observer. Not so. I daydream and lack focus of what’s going on. I need to do a far better job of paying attention to the table and how things are playing out.
Confidence. It’s of the utmost importance to show confidence at the poker table. When going with a hand, go with it. Sometimes you’ll win, and sometimes not. Stay positive and hope for the best.
Don’t allow the negative voices to interfere with your ability to play aggressive poker.
Another thing I need to be mindful of is at the $1/$2 level the players aren’t really thinking too hard about who’s got what. They’re thinking about their hands. I saw all kinds of mistakes at the table, and players pushing real hard with top pair. When they have a super monster hand, the slowplay. I saw that several times. I often gave players credit for hands they never had. Understanding the skill level of a particular player is crucial.
There’s an awful lot of limping in $1/$2. Not so much raising, to players like to call raises out of position. This happened a few times. There were some obnoxious players showing bluffs. Really obnoxious. One guy out of position check-raised a player on the turn, then flipped over the bluff as he was scooping the pot. So unnecessary and wrong. He lost with everything in short order.
Yes, there is money to be made in poker. One step at a time. I need to increase my bankroll and focus on cash games instead of tournaments. I do well in cash games and no limit is where it’s at.
Detecting who is weak and who isn’t is something I can do a much better job paying attention to. I’m not focusing on that as much as I should. Is he weak or strong? How can I tell, based on how he bets chips in the pot. What can be done to manage the size of the pot but still leverage pressure on my opponent.
I didn’t place much pressure on my opponent in certain situations. I lost some pots on the river because I checked the turn.

No Limit in Vegas

Some difficult hands over the weekend:
QQ in Planet Hollywood tournament. The blinds were 100/200. I had around 4500 in chips. I raised to 600 and a tight player who hadn’t played a hand re-raised to 1200. Another guy called his 1200 and the action went back to me. I just knew the one guy had AA. But the other guy, I felt, had a hand I could beat. I gambled that the other guy would call the two all-ins. If I lost to the AA and beat the other guy, I would have 2500 chips left. But if I won both all-ins, I would have 12,200 chips and be in excellent shape. There was also a very slim possibility that they both had AK, though it was really doubtful. Anyway, I went all in rather than just calling 600. I was out of position and wouldn’t know how to play after the flop anyway. I’m not sure it was the right play, but it was certainly the most gutsy play. Anyway, AA called, AK folded, and I was down to 1200 chips. I pushed with 66 and lost to AA again, and that was that.
The second Planet Hollywood tournament I was involved in lasted an hour as well. I had A3s on the button in a limped pot with 100/200 blinds when the flop came AQ3 rainbow. Everyone checked and I bet 700. One guy called. The turn was an 8. Bet bet 500 and I raised to 1600. He called. The river was a Q. He went all in. I had 1200 left. I didn’t know what I could beat. I was essentially playing the board. The only thing I could beat was a bluff. KK seemed unlikely and no other hand fit what he had. I suspected 88. Or AK, AJ, or AT. I folded. He later told me he had KK, but I find it hard to believe. I wonder if he had KQ. I lost to an all-in a few hands later.
I am just not very lucky in tournaments.
How to behave when I have a good hand. Most of the time I was out of position (it seemed) when I had a good hand. I tend to go all in on the river when I have the nuts. 50% of the time, people call. I should make a smaller value bet sometimes to induce folks to call.
Ceaser’s was tough. I had no hand, only bought in for $100, and played very tight. I lost two hands on the river that I ended up paying off. It was my worst session of the weekend.
I notice the players just do not know who to value their hands. They think they’re strong when their hand is actually totally worthless. One of the worst played I’ve ever seen occurred last night at Bally’s. This one guy who had shown only the nuts in previous hands, went all in for around $600 or so into a $140 pot on a AJT rainbow flop. Another guy who had around $500 in chips went into the tank. I figured he had a set. I might have been best to fold there. There just wasn’t enough money in the pot to warrant a call. Anyway, he called with AKs. It was such a bad call. The AK lost, and the KQ ended up with 1200 chips. It was a horrendous call.
I won $240 playing cash games and lost $120 playing tournaments. Not bad considering my inexperience in playing live. There are a lot of regular poker players now. Some of them are not that great. I have a ways to go, but I’m on the right path. I’m a very tight player and try to pay attention to the game and what’s going on. I do need to improve this though. With more experience and knowledge I should continue to do well at this game. I really need to make going to the Casino San Pablo a regular part of my routine. That’s where I can learn a lot about the game. That’s where I’ll cut my no limit teeth.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

At Mom's

I spent six days in Bellingham at Mom’s, playing cribbage and online poker, watching movies and enjoying the relaxing atmosphere. I love lounging in Bellingham. For the first time I could see myself moving back. I need to make a big score, however. Doable. Very. I’m in such a good place right now. I feel really good about myself and my prospects. I’ve turned into a pretty good poker player. I may not be the luckiest player around, but I usually know what’s going on at the table. I played at the Nooksack once and lost around $170. The players were extremely loose and gambly. Very aggressive and had lots of bluff to them. I didn’t pick up much in the way of cards, but I did trap someone with a set. Other than that, I was in fold mold. At mom’s I played poker online and was able to build my Poker Host account to above $900. It began at $300 and was down to $220 at one point. Two weeks ago it was down to A$550. There was one day at mom’s where I lost around $120 to three sets in-a-row. I had overpairs in two cases and trip 9s on the third case. Brutal. I picked up a set of golf clubs in Bellingham. Dad gave me a set of Nike’s. Sweet! We had a great day together. I feel as though I can hang with Dad and just be. That’s a nice feeling. I’d like to actually get good at golf so Dad and I can play a few rounds together. I think he’d love that. I would like to get fairly decent at the game though. Unfortunately, I’m not very good. It’s a difficult game. But I did manage to get good at racquetball. I can get good at golf, too. Mom, Craig, Craig’s son-in-law Mark and Mark’s son Jake and I played 9 holes at the Country Club. It was lots of fun. I played horribly, but had a few nice shots. My favorite golf score was 8.

This weekend I’m heading out to Las Vegas for the weekend. Should be interesting. I’ve never been more prepared for the no limit tables than I am now. I feel I at least know how to play no limit and know what to do in certain situations. I’m expecting good things to happen. I leave tonight after work.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Shutout at Craig's

Poker at Craig’s: Another losing night, now five or six in-a-row. I can’t even make the final table anymore. Have I become too predictable? Too tight? I was playing six-handed with Jeff, John, Leo, Craig and Than. The table was very loose aggressive, with lots of big raises early in the evening. With 5/10 blinds the standard raise was 75 (7x bb!). It was ridiculous. I did catch some hands early on. With 44 on the button and three other players I flopped a set with an Ace. Another Ace came on the turn and Craig was disciplined enough to fold trips on the river after I pushed all in. I did get him later on though with my QTs in the bb. The flop was QQ5 and I raised Craig’s post-flop bet. He called. I went all in and Craig didn’t believe me. I think my earlier play had led him to believe I was bullying him around. That was about the last hand I won. After the break, with around 2400 in chips, the blinds ate away at me and whenever I was down to around 1400-1500 I pushed all in with whatever I had. I did this three or four times without a call. When the blinds were 100/200 with 25 ante, I pushed with A2 on the button and Craig called with 99. I lost and was out 9th. Another disappointing night of cards. I don’t remember any big mistakes. I folded KQ several times to a pre-flop raise. Other than that, simply card dead.Getting ready to go on a major writing splurge. I’ve learned something about myself this past year: it’s easier for me to stay busy when I have several projects going on at the same time. I find it more difficult to stick with just one project at a time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I played my final summer racquetball match last Monday against Rod G., a third-seeded player who upset Steve. B in the semis. I felt good going into the match, not to nervous and felt focused. Unfortunately, I started off tentative and cold. My shots kept going up, and that’s been a problem with me all year. My shots keep staying up. The first half of the match Rod was simply beating me. He shots were more accurate and more precise. I was playing scared and all the morning crew watching could tell. They told me I was playing Rod’s game instead of Rod playing my game. I had dug myself into a 6-12 hole and it looked as though I was going to lose the first game. But I’d been here before with Tyrone last Winter. I just focused on one point at a time and decided to mix up my serves. I scored two points quickly, then a third before Rod called time out. I scored two more points before losing serve. I won the serve immediately and won four more points to take the first game (15-12). The second game was much easier (15-5). I won the match and took home my third championship singles trophy in-a-row. Now I’m taking some time off and resting my body.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Poker Blues

This past weekend was a difficult one for me at the online poker tables. Fate was crushing me. Simply crushing me. I had many hands dominated, but seemed to lose every contest I was in. I lost several hands on the river when all the money was in on the turn. And I lost 4 big pots with folks who had sets (AA losing to KKK, KQ losing to QQ with a KQ8 board, KK losing to 999, etc.). Holding AK was like having a big hole in my pocket. I dropped two buy-ins worth over the weekend. I am down just shy of $300 playing no limit at the .25/.50 tables. I’m wondering if it’s luck or is it me. At some point I have to think I’m missing something. I play good hands and pay attention. I get my money in good a lot of the time. Often I’m pot committed on the flop or turn and have to commit the rest of my chips when I’m raised, knowing I’m beat. That happened with KQ against another set I ran into. Just when I think the worst is over, more crazy horribleness happens. But the good news is I didn’t break any mice. In fact, I took the bad beats, bad luck and bad play like a true professional. In a way, poker, teaches you to be philosophical about the play of the cards. After the money’s all in, there’s simply nothing I can do about how the cards play out. Accepting that is a big plus in this game where luck is such a factor. Right now I’m gapped up in bad breaks. What that means is at some point the odds will even out and I’m going to be on a tear. I can’t wait for that to happen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's Going On

I will be receiving another $5,000 from uncle Bob, my second cash gift. I need it. I’m cash flow negative right now, primarily because I have made little to no money playing poker. I actually haven’t been playing lately. Writing, stock strategies, etc. Weathering the rocky U.S. economy and the fallout from the subprime market. I’m told things will get worse before they get better. But I’m ready to start buying at the proper time. With up and down days, things will become more volatile in the next month or so. Now is the time to continue to do my homework. CSCO is still on my radar, as well as GOOG, EMC, SNDK. Things will continue to do down, however.

Writing: My and Chris’s script “Soulmate,” is off the ground. Here is a project that can be a quintessential love story with sharp scenes and a nice twist at the end. 3 months of hard work. Don’s script has not moved from the shelf in several months. I’m ready to get back to it.

Poker: Still studying Hoping a good run is in the mix. Also, I must learn when to fold second-best hands. I haven’t been playing live tables because the rake seems so high. I may start playing 6/12 instead of 3/6 just to beat the bad rake. 10/20 on the horizon? I need more money to handle the variance in that high a game.

Poker Wisdom

Don't be the guy giving out implied odds. There's $30 in the pot and I bet $30 on the flop. I have $200 behind. My opp. calls. A third suited card comes on the turn. There's $90 in the pot. I check and my opp. goes all in. If I call I'm giving him the implied odds he was counting on to justify calling $30 on the flop. Perhaps I fold. That way, he is not getting those implied odds. Don't be the guy giving out implied odds. Good advice.

Also, make tough decisions for your opponents. Usually that means the size of a bet.

The Secret

I've been reading and watching all sorts of positive life affirming books and DVDs. The Secret is one. I was curious to see what all the pop hype was about. So I watched the DVD. The message is simple enough: the law of attraction is the one law governing people's lives. What people think is often what they will receive. Thoughts become things. In a way, I have experienced that in my own life. I have always seen my ability to publish, sell something, or make money as unattainable and beyond my life experience. After watching The Secret, I tried thinking of only positive thoughts for a day or two. It was difficult. I've been programmed to accept defeat and failure, to anticipate the worst river cards. Sometimes those river cards come up and I'm in a strange way validating my pessimism. I must train myself to think the other way, to expect the blanks to hit. I've been reminding myself what I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for so many things: a job I enjoy that allows me time to think and learn and write, a family I love, a roof over my head and sweet car to drive, some money to buy things I enjoy. It's a simple life, but I like it that way. I'm a simple person.

One concept from The Secret is this: set a goal so large that if you achieve it it'll blow you away.

Okay, here are two goals:

1. Make $20,000 playing poker.
2. Finish "Soulmate" and "Making a Prophet."

Now get to work!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Strict To Do Lists Work

I accomplished a lot this past weekend and have been making very good use of my time lately. Because I’m interested in so many things and so easily distracted, I have been sticking to a strict to do list that keeps me on track. It’s working. I’m reading, watching movies, everything but writing. I always shy away from writing. I know why. I always think it’s no good. I’ve been doing what I can to rewrite the negative thoughts in my head. I’ve had a fair degree of success. Nothing spectacular, but I am improving.

This morning I played doubles racquetball for the first time in several weeks and went undefeated with Steve. I’ve been playing well lately, certainly since my lesson with Gerry Price. I just hope my ankle holds up. It’s sore again, but I’m beginning to wonder if the brace I wear is actually hurting more than helping. I think it may be hurting. There’s a spot on the brace that pinches my nerve. I’m not wearing the brace the next few times and instead taping my ankle. That should help.

The summer is winding down. Lots to finish. Played poker over the weekend, and though I didn’t win anything exciting, I liked how I played. I thought I made smart decisions throughout. More later.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bridge Lesson

Neil and Jenny’s: I went over to Neil and Jenny’s Sat. night for dinner and a bridge lesson. They have done an amazing job renovating their house. It’s filled with art deco touches and nicely coordinated, vibrantly colorful rooms. I really love their house. We had jumbalaya for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. I should make it and heat it up each week. It was soooo good. After dinner, I gave them their first bridge lesson. I began by dealing out five cards each and playing a very simplified version of 3-person five-card bridge. Then we played with a dummy hand (bidder uses the dummy hand). Then we played with 7 cards each. Then we played with the whole deck. By the end of the evening they were playing honeymoon bridge together. That’s their homework assignment for the next few weeks. I would like to get them to a point where they are playing well enough to play with Jenny’s mother and step-father. That would be terrific. The evening ended with a zinfandel port from Rosenblum Vinyards. Very good stuff. A thoroughly enjoyable evening Saturday night.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Miscellaneous Stuff

I’ve created a new method of accomplishing small tasks. I break each hour down into 5-minute intervals, then assign 12 small tasks to complete. I know it sounds absolutely bonkers and ridiculous, but 5-minute tasks are not overwhelming. In fact, they’re easy to accomplish. This may be the trick to completing larger projects that take me forever to finish. Like home remodeling. Screenplays. I’ve turned tasks into games. I’ve always used a version of this method, but I’ve never broken things down into such small units before. So far it’s worked. I’ve getting things done, even ugly things. 5 minutes is nothing.

I played around 5-6 hours of poker over the weekend. I’m noticing in my cash play that I sometimes sabotage my stack by making ridiculous bets, hoping my opponent will fold. However, it’s clear my opponent has a hand. This happened yesterday when I had AK on a TT8 flop. I had raised prefop and the bb called. The bb bet out and I raised all in. I was pretty much drawing dead as he had AT. I did that again the day before when I had AJ and the board was 679J. I pushed all in and was called by a set. Horrible. I really need to erase that play from my game plan. The only hands calling me are hands that beat me. At any rate, even though I made a few horrid plays, I still managed to win $50 for the weekend. I’m down about $130 total since playing cash games this month. I’m playing very low limits (.25/.50), and finding that when I play four tables at once I do better than playing only one. Perhaps it’s because I play more disciplined. I’m not playing a hand if I don’t have to, especially since playing four tables can get real crazy. The downside, of course, to playing four tables is you miss a lot of information. The game is so easy when the cards fall my way. I’m getting better at picking up weakness. Most of the players at this level will advertise exactly what they have. A big all in push almost always means the nuts. I’m growing less inclined to make this play because it’s so obvious. One play I’ve been doing a lot is betting around half the pot on the river with what appears to be the nuts. If I’m raised, I’ve lost and will fold. It’s a good protection type bet that has actually won me lots of pots when I had nothing.

I leave for Seattle and Calgary in a few days. My current cash flow situation is pretty bad. I need to win a poker tournament at some point because I’m running out of money to pay for things. I’ve reconsolidated my credit card bills so I have one more year to earn a big payday. With the information I’m learning from, I’m hopeful I’ll one day score that big win. Luck sure plays a big part in poker tournaments though. I have been somewhat unlucky with my major holdings (last night my KK lost to QQ when a Q hit on the river...this has been happening to me with great frequency this month). Everything evens out in the long run though.

Screenwriting. I have not been devoting much time to screenwriting, but that is about to change. I have a new script I’m writing with Chris (our romantic comedy) and Don’s Making a Prophet script which I feel absolutely no confidence in tackling. But I am determined to complete the assignment (even though it’s two years overdue). This is where my 5-minute assignment game can really make a difference, I think. I hope. I need to get that script monkey off my back (the way I was able to get Grandudes off my back).
I’ve done it before, and I’m in a good place to do it now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Little of Everything

Tonight I play poker at Craig’s. It’s the second week of a 21-week season. I haven’t cashed at Craig’s in about two months. Overall, my cards have been very cold and it’s really affected my tilt factor. When I lose consistently my confidence plummets. I don’t want to see myself as a hard luck case. I can get lucky, but lately I get sucked out more often than not. At two sng’s over the weekend, I had QQ to an AA and KK. Then I had TT to a KK and JJ. That’s just bad luck. At the same time in a cash game, my AA got cracked to 87 when the idiot hit his straight on the river. All the money went in post-flop. My luck in cash games is very shaky. I do seem to get my money in with the best of it, though.

I’m hitting my poker studies hard this weekend with 12 hours of PokerXFactor videos to review. I may as well watch all of them since I paid for the service. I sure would like to see some kind of return on my poker studies.

Last night, Chris and I began work on our next script, a romantic comedy about a woman who keeps going out with the same guy in hopes that he falls in love with her. She goes out on the same first date with him. Chris came up with the idea and I think it has lots of play. It’s like Groundhog Day, only different. Could have great potential.

Lately, I’ve been very motivated and geared toward work. My To-Do list tricks have been working very well. Lately, I’ve developed this scheme whereas I assign myself 5-minute tasks, 12 of them, and do them. I try and finish before the hour is up. In the meantime, I get an hour’s worth of chores finished. Pretty neat!

I had dinner with Becky last Sunday and afterward she told me she just wanted to be friends. Wow, it’s like a broken record. There must be something very wrong with me because I meet these women who share so many of the same interests I share, yet there’s never any mutual chemistry. How sad. I think I may be single forever. I sure don’t want to be, but I may as well get used to it. My prospects don’t look good and I’m not getting any younger.
At any rate, that’s all for now. No big tournament wins and no one’s calling me up to read my scripts. I’m ready to change that though.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Reading, Medi(p)ocre

I didn’t make the WSOP Main event this year and I’m disappointed, but also doubly determined to make it next year. I feel I have a ways to go to get good at this game. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that I’m really quite average and not nearly as good as I’ve led myself to believe. My reason for thinking this is my recent no limit play at the .25/.50 table. I’ve losing badly at these tables and I’m not sure what to do about it. I feel as though I’m getting out-played. People are pushing back at me and I either can’t make the call or make the call and have a much worse hand. It’s frustrating. Yes, I’ve taken some bad beats as well, and run into some impossible situations, but still, isn’t poker about overcoming these unfortunate situations and still managing a profit? More and more I’m finding myself rooting for luck to temper my losses. That can’t be good poker. I don’t know why, but I really seem to suck on the internet.
I’m reading more these days, trying to read 200 pages every two days if possible. I have so many books at home that I haven’t read. Right now I’m finishing “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,” Ian McEwan’s “the comfort of strangers,” Jim Cramer’s Real Money: Sane Investing in an Insane World,” “Good Mood,” and No Limit Theory and Practice, the Concepts section, which I’m writing out in Word. I’m enjoying reading five books at once. I may start doing more of this because it’s simply how I think, how I am.

Monday, July 2, 2007

High Energy, Bad Cards

I get on these incredibly unrealistic kicks that throw my entire schedule out of kilter. I’m toying with the idea of reading all six Harry Potter books in order to be ready for the 7th and final installment July 20 at midnight. That is simply crazy. And yet, why not become part of the most unbelievable publishing event in history. It would be a lot of fun. I would need to read roughly 170 pages a day from now until the 20th. Okay, that’s fine, I could do that, but what about my poker, which I need to crank up and win money on before my credit cards come due in August? And what about my investing, and the other books I have to plow through. It makes more sense to read through those first, and then read the Harry Potter books. The reality is I have projects to finish first before tackling something so ridiculously impractical and time-consuming. Besides, Harry Potter is not really part of my world. I have movies to watch and other books to read. Okay, perhaps another time.
I went out with Becky last night to see Knocked Up. This was our fifth “date” together. I enjoy her company and have been taking things slow with her. She’s a very sweet woman with strong opinions. So far I like her. We’ll see what develops.
I managed to submit an application to the Disney Fellowship last week. I was happy I did that. It took a bit of effort to complete. I now need other contests to submit my work to.
There are weeks when I have tons of energy, and weeks when I have no energy at all. I have a lot of energy this week. I hope it lasts.
Over the weekend, I spent an entire afternoon and evening with Richard. We really hadn’t spent time together in months. I picked up a few books after listening to him talk about them. They are “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” and “Armed Madhouse” by Greg Palast. I’m about 50 pages into “Confessions” right now. Very interesting.
I played about 30 minutes of poker Friday night and lost $50 on very loose play. I lost about $175 playing no limit holdem. I worry that I’m really horrible at this game. When I lose, my confidence goes way down. I seem to be losing a lot and don’t really know what to do. I guess I could tighten up a bit and only play hands in position. Most of the time I get in trouble when I’m out of position with a good starting hand. It’s tough to play out of position, especially on the turn.Turn play needs improvement. I plan to read my Sklanski book tonight and really work on improving my turn play. I’ve watched all the cash game videos at pokerxfactor and now need to practice what Rizen preaches. I wish I were a better player though.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Dating Again

I met a woman named Becky a few weeks ago through the online dating site called Chemistry. I liked her right away. I thought she was warm, pleasant to speak with, and very beautiful. Our first meeting was at a bookstore/café in San Francisco called Crossroads Café. We talked for two hours and seemed to hit it off. We had a lot in common. We both enjoyed books, classical music, writing. I enjoyed my time with her. We agreed to meet again the following week. Our second date was at a Peruvian restaurant in San Francisco called Mochica. Our second date was really terrific. We talked for three-and-a-half hours. The conversation was effortless and easy. I was really smitten that night, and said so to her the next day. Mistake? Maybe, but I can’t help it. If I like someone, I say so. Save the games for the poker table. She travels a lot and wasn’t available to get together until the following week. We met for breakfast in Oakland at one of my favorite breakfast establishments called Lynn & Lu’s. The energy and enthusiasm was noticeably down a few notches. She had flown back to SF from Chicago the night before and looked a bit weary. Her energy picked up during breakfast and she told a few family-related stories. We also talked about personality profiles. Apparently, she’s taken many personality tests for work. She said she was an I and a J, but didn’t know for sure what the others were. I found the information helpful. After breakfast we walked around Grand Ave., and Lakeshore Ave. She made a few work-related calls and answered a few of my silly questions. I couldn’t help but feel some of our second date magic had disappeared. I just sensed it. She wasn’t asking any questions of me and seemed ready to go. We talked back to her car and I asked when I could see her again. And then she told me where things stood. She said she was really busy the next few weeks and didn’t think we could see each other until things settled down a bit. Having heard this many times in life, I knew what she was saying. It was a very nice way of saying she was not interested. I’ve said the same thing myself. What I had perceived to be a match especially after date two was just another misfire. I told her to give me a call if she wanted, and she said she’d email me. We hugged a friend of platonic friend hug, and that was that. Perhaps we weren’t right for each other after all. But I’ll always have the magic of that second date. It really was a great night. And Becky really is a wonderful woman. I hope she means the man of her dreams and lives happily ever after.

Friday, June 8, 2007


My attitude toward SNGs online is radically different now that I understand the math behind them. As “Sheets” said, SNGs are not poker. I understand what he’s saying. They’re math problems, especially at the bubble stage. I would need a 58% advantage when calling a push on the bubble in a SNG. I didn’t realize that, but it’s true, so the strategy is to push a lot more than call. Pushing is good, calling is not if you don’t have a hand. That means in many situations folding KQ to an all in is the right play on the bubble. Doesn’t make sense, but it’s true.
I’m learning how much I need to learn in this game, and wondering if I have the abilities to become a good player. Doubt is creeping in. The reality is my long-term stats are pretty average. They’re just not that good it seems. I’ve played about 50k hands online and I’m up only $1,200 or so. That’s just horrible. At some point I have to think my bad ROI has more to do that simply bad luck. It is true that I feel horribly unlucky in poker. That may hurt my overall results. I’m constantly worrying about getting drawn out, sucked out and rivered. I may actually be folding more hands than I should as a result. The tough breaks take their toll on my psyche. I’ve been on edge this week and not very happy. The voices that berate me have come again, and it’s difficult not to engage or succumb to them. I’m very much aware of the importance of attitude in poker. It’s crucial. You have to believe you’re the best at the table and deserve to win. It helps my game a lot when I play with confidence, but for the past couple of weeks my confidence has been shaky at best.
So I guess this is my big poker push, learning the game and becoming the best I can be. If it’s a game of good decision making and taking the math and emotional components of a hand as a whole, I think with experience and practice I will continue to improve. Look what I did with racquetball.

Thursday, June 7, 2007


In over a week of study with PokerXFactor, I’ve learned more about poker than I would have thought possible. My head is spinning with all the new knowledge. I’m amazed at the depth and complexity of this “simple” game of Texas hold’em. When I played in Sit-n-Go tourneys, I really had no idea about Independent Chip Modeling or bubble play computations. I knew getting knocked out 4th was not a good thing to do in Sit-n-Gos, but I really didn’t understand the math involved in determining a stack’s effective value relative to the number of chips in the stack and the other stacks. It’s all very interesting. On, the SNG guro is a guy named “Sheets,” who has several lectures on sit-n-go strategy. I’m learning them to improve my game.
I’m amazed how many young 20-something online poker pros there are who are gambling for tens of thousands of dollars. It’s incredible. They’re very good players. I’ve been reading their blogs, which read like testosterone-laden Masters of the Universe describing their various successes and victories in the online battlefield. They buy Bentleys, take trips around the world, and play a hell of a lot of poker each day.
There is a lot of math involved in online poker, and I guess that’s what I’m bringing to my game. A lot of the math. I’m absorbing the material slowly but effectively. One of my favorite online pros is Eric “Rizen” Lynch. He’s a smart player and an accomplished writer. I like his approach to the game. I see him becoming one of the top players in the game before long.
In taking my game to the next level, I see how important it is to practice and analyze my own playing and decision-making. I’m getting better at taking my time when making decisions. I’m also trying to be patient with myself about what to expect in the short term. With two weeks remaining in acquiring my WSOP seat, my chances are certainly increasing, but it’s still going to be a big crapshoot. The game of online poker is much different than it was just one year ago. People know how to play this game. There are no more easy wins. This has been my experience in the month or so that I’ve focused on my game.
Since watching “The Secret” last weekend, I’ve been paying attention to my general attitude and mood, which has not been very good. Being unhappy seems to fallen with my comfort zone. How interesting. I have such a fantastic life, and yet I’m unhappy. Why is this? Perhaps because I am so focused on what I haven’t done, don’t have, can’t achieve, etc. The film rings true...I focus so much on what I don’t have and who I’m not. I’m shifting that energy to focuse on what I DO have and who I am. That’s where my focus on poker comes into play. Poker is an activity that I respond to because I enjoy competition and like making good decisions. I’m also disciplined and patient, and can control my emotions fairly well (though the game certainly tests my patience every now and then). By focusing on the attributes of good poker players, I can become a stronger, healthier person. It’s weird to think a game that carries with it so many negative attributes is actually the perfect way for someone like me to sustain a mentally healthy lifestyle. I’ve certainly never felt more alive than I have this month. It’s as though I’m in college again. The PokerXFactor is fantastic!
My goal is to win a seat at the 2007 WSOP! I want this. I can achieve this. I believe I have the potential to make it happen. Let’s do it!

Monday, June 4, 2007


I had a real brutal 60 hand poker session yesterday that helped define for my current tilt threshold. I had AA once, AK once, and KK twice, losing all four hands for a total of $73. In the grand scheme of things, this is not that big a deal, but for some reason I was really angry with how the hands played out, especially the AK hand which I had lost to a player who cracked my Aces. He had been calling my raises a lot and I guess I felt he felt he had my number, which he certainly did yesterday. On my AK hand, the board was AT8 rainbow. There was $5.25 in the pot, so I bet $3. My opponent called. The turn was another A. All four suits were out there, so I bet $5. He called again. I figured he must have had another ace or possibly a set of 10s or 8s for a fullhouse. That would be a pretty cold deck. The river was a 5. I bet $8 and he raised to $30. I couldn’t believe I had lost this hand again, but I felt I had. I was getting almost 3-to-1 to call, so I did. He had A5, hitting a 5 on the river for a fullhouse. I was so angry I broke my computer headphones. I smashed them into a hundred pieces. I haven’t been that angry since my limit days when I played a lot of limit hold’em online and kept losing.
So what can I learn from this. Obviously, I still have a major tilt issue that comes up when I lose big hands on the river to bad beats. Had my opponent flopped the fullhouse on the flop, I think I simply would have accepted that more than the ugly beat I took. That just makes me sick, but it’s the nature of the game. I happens every now and then, and though I accept this, it still hurts when it happens. At least I wasn’t playing for hundreds of dollars.
Anyway, on the very next hand I was dealt KK and lost to TT when the Tens hit a set on the flop. It just wasn’t my day, so I left the table and focused on other things. My Aces lost to KK when the flop was QKQ. I knew I was dead when I bet small on the turn and my opponent pushed me all in for another 18. I was getting 2-to-1, but knew I was dead. It only cost $16 more to see that I was dead, and there was a small chance that he could have had AK. Nope, he had KK. Pretty brutal day.
If it weren’t for those four hands, I would have been down around $3.75 for the day.
I have two weeks to win an entry into the World Series of Poker. I’m doing everything I can to win one. I’m studying, trying to play smart, and paying attention to my game. The players online have gotten much better and are making fewer mistakes. It’s a different world from just six months ago when Party Poker closed its doors to U.S. players. I’ve been watching the PokerXFactor videos and they are helpful. The problem is everyone else is playing in a similar fashion. I’m trying to think of a way to exploit that type of play, but I’m not there yet. I’m also trying to pay more attention when I’m actually playing. It’s difficult for me to play more than one game at a time. I don’t know how players are able to play 3 and 4 hands at a time. Is it possible to play 10 hands at a time? That just wouldn’t be fun.
If I stick with it, stay patient and don’t get discouraged, I should end up on the positive side. I sure do get discouraged though, especially when the loses keep piling up. I watched the DVD The Secret over the weekend, and I liked the positive message of attracting what you want into your life. I think so much of my life has been spent not really believing I could accomplish anything. That mantra is really ingrained into me, and I realize it’s going to take consistent effort to reprogram myself into believing I can be a success in whatever I put my mind to. What if the past weren’t so difficult to break away from. What if I simply needed to will something into being in order for it to happen.
Take it one day at a time, right, starting with a positive attitude that keeps growing throughout the day. I kept that horrid passport picture of myself for a reason...that’s what I look like when I’m not smiling. I look mean and grumpy. Unpleasant. I want to change that look to something inviting and pleasant. When I smile, my entire face lightens up. It’s true. If I can smile when I take the kind of bad beat I took yesterday, that’s when I know I’m headed in the right direction.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Poker's Next Level

I’ve arrived at the next level in my poker apprenticeship. Last week I signed up with a poker training site, I’ve been aware of this site for about a year. I watched one of their free training videos at and was so impressed with it that I figured the $150 startup fee was worth it. In only a few days, my attitude toward playing poker hands has drastically changed, especially in cash games. Playing cash games online is completely different from cash games at Casino San Pablo. At FullTilt, everyone plays a very tight style. A few people limp, but usually someone raises the pot and everyone folds. There are few showdowns. I lost about $50 playing a $1-2 nl session last week, and felt discouraged because I never got any action on my good hands and had to fold the rest. I realize now just how weak I was with my play. Very weak. In watching just a few of the videos of the PokerXFactor’s resident cash pro Rizen, my cash game online has been completely transformed. I get this game now. It’s all about picking your spots and exploiting weakness. I’d heard these things before, but now it means something. Rizen talks about defending his button rather than defending his blind. In cash games, position is everything. I can see where position will be very powerful at Casino San Pablo. I can see where some of those games will be very juicy and exploitable. I have lots of work to do, however, but I’ll get there. Anyway, when players limp in and I’m on the button, I’ll sometimes stick in a nice raise and take the pot down right there or play heads up with position against someone. That’s powerful. It works. It doesn’t work all the time, but it works more than it doesn’t, which means in the end it makes me money. Through Rizen’s videos and articles in CardPlayer and his blog, I have entered the nerve center of the online poker community, and it is a community. Lots of young kids who do nothing but play poker day in, day out, sometimes playing 10 tournaments at one time. I can only concentrate on one table at a time. I actually prefer just one table, though I can see playing two when I get better (or get bigger computer screens). The game has gone from simply playing good hands to outthinking and understanding your opponent. Figuring out what your opponent has and what he thinks I have. I see now why disguised hands are so powerful when a board hits hard. This is what the top tier players do. They’re constantly disguising and changing tactics. The idea is to constantly change and modify one’s approach. Here is the silver lining: no limit cash games are very hard to play properly. There are so many variables that go into play, and those who have mastered the game and know the proper strategies have a great advantage over other players. Small pot poker makes so much more sense to me now.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Racquetball Tournament

I played in a racquetball tournament this past weekend at Club Sport in Pleasanton. I lost both games I played (B-singles and A-doubles with Dorian). I didn’t play well, though I felt pretty good going into both matches. My arm was sore and giving me problems, but my shots were all over the place, especially in my singles match. I didn’t feel nervous, but perhaps I was too tight, too hyped up. Too something, unfortunately, because I could not put the ball away. And wow did I have opportunities to kill the ball. My opponent, a player named John, was all right, but I should have easily taken him down. I jumped to an early 4-1 lead, then lost 8 points in-a-row. Then another 4 or 5. I came back but lost the first game 10-15. I won the second 15-7, but lost the tie breaker 10-11. Really disappointing. It was difficult not to berate myself and feel horrible about the loss. I don’t like losing. It affects every part of me. It’s like the world has ended and there’s no more purpose to my life. It’s sick. I shook the man’s hand after the loss but did not look him in the eye and left the court right away. I was not a gracious loser and I really need to work on that. It’s hard though. For some reason, I’m invested in the idea that winning means I’m a winner and losing means I’m worthless as a person. That’s the crazy side of me talking. But after years of competing, this is how I am. The loss was a wakeup call in terms of what I need to improve with my racquetball game. I need to be a lot more consistent with my shots. I need to think more clearly and relax more. Take things a little slower. My doubles match the next day was better. I didn’t play as badly as I had the night before, but Dorian and I ended up losing a game we almost won against a good team who was not used to losing. We lost the first game 15-7, but won the second game 15-1. The tie-breaker went 11-8. A good contest. I’m glad we lost the game because my arm was really beginning to bother me. I’m taking the next several days off racquetball, playing two easy league matches Thursday and Friday (cake walk on Friday).

I have less than a month to try and win an entry into the 2007 WSOP. It’s not looking great for me. I haven’t really played in any tournament that allows me a direct buy-in into the tournament. I sometimes question my work ethic. It’s really slipped these past few years. Lots of room for improvement here. When I get stuck, I’m really stuck. Passion is a double-edged sword for me. I have a lot to be passionate about, but for some reason I get drained when I express too much emotion. I feel badly because I have an awful lot of negative emotions inside me. I don’t like hurting people, and sometimes I think I might say something I would regret later. I think that’s why I subdue myself. I don’t like breaking out and acting like an emotional train wreck. I’d look like Mike Matusow on speed. Scary.

I ran around the lake for the first time in years this morning. I was surprised at how easy it was. I actually need to lose about 10 pounds. I’ve put on weight and feel chunky around the middle. Not good!
Tonight I’m watching the season finale of 24, cleaning up, and getting my to-do list ready for tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Don't Worry, Be Happy

I lessen my connection with life by stifling my emotions and downplaying my feelings. I disconnect myself from my feelings, and yet sometimes I can become so angry. I am able to reflect upon my mistakes and inabilities, of which there are so many, and yet what I am not very good at is acknowledging my successes. I don’t drink. This is a great accomplishment considering the family I come from. Everyone in my family drinks. Everyone. I come from a family of big drinkers. How they function day after day is truly beyond me. How the find the energy to get out of bed and work is staggering to me. I’ve never been a hard worker. I’ve always been good at structuring my day and completing small tasks, but when it comes to larger projects, I lose confidence, energy and feel drained. I’ve always been this way. I’ve never really learned how to feel comfortable feeling confident. I really am a very insecure person. Linda was good at picking apart my weaknesses and bringing them to the forefront. I think that’s why her parting words still haunt me. I don’t smile very much. In fact, my default face seems sullen and gloomy, a reflection, perhaps, of how I feel about myself. Given my past and upbringing, it’s not uncommon to feel worthless, lost and depressed. At least I know this about myself. It’s my comfort zone. I love being happy and excited and thrilled about life, and yet it’s not typical for me to feel this way. I think that’s why I’ve shortchanged myself all these years and played life so safe. I do play life safe. Poker helps bring me out of my safeness. I sometimes get angry with myself for calling hands that should have been folded because it would have been the safe thing to do. Safe is how I’ve lived my life, and look where it has taken me. Nowhere.

Monday, May 14, 2007

$300 Tournament at the Oaks

I played in the $300 May Tournament at the Oaks and finished 40th out of 198 players. I was disappointed with how things turned out, though I thought I played fairly well. I don’t have a lot of live tournament experience under my belt, and which I had a lot more. The problem is I don’t have a very large bankroll to fund these $150-1000 tournaments. I need a big win first in order to play more. First place was around $18,000 for this particular tournament. We all started with 4,000 in chips. I didn’t do much for the first several rounds, but then I woke up with AKs under the gun. The blinds were 40-80, so I raised it to 300. The button called and the flop was 9A9. I checked and he asked how much I had left. I had about 3000. He bet 600 and I called. The turn was the 7s. I checked and he checked. The river was what ended up being the case Ace. I bet 1000, he pushed all in and I called and we split. He had AJ. I was setting up a nice 1,000 bet on the river and he probably would have called.
I had AA once but everyone folded, then I became involved in a pot against the big blind. I was the small blind. I had A7s and limped in for 120 (blinds were 60-120). He raised to 300 and I called. The flop was AQx. I checked and he checked. The turn was a 7. I checked and he checked as well. The river was a 2 and I bet 800. He called and couldn’t believe I had two pair. He had AT. He was a very conservative player.
Soon after, we were reassigned to another table. I had about 6,000 in chips when I was dealt AK again. The guy to my right had been raising all in quite a lot and complaining that he needed to go home. He raised again, around 2000 and I pushed all in with my AK. He called and the flop was JT7. Turn was a Queen, and I now had 11-12K in chips.
Then I knocked out a woman to my left in a most ridiculous way. She had played only one hand, AA, and had about 5-6k in chips. The blinds were folded to me and her and I raised to 2500. He went all in and I thought for a minute. I had 83. I eventually called (they were suited and I was getting odds) but she had A8. ugh! Dominated. The flop was 863, followed by two meaningless diamonds and she left the table in a huff. I don’t blame her at all. It was pretty disgusting. Now I had 17k in chips and the blinds were escalating. I needed around 100k to bring to the final table. I had AQ on the button and raise to 2400. The small blind went all in and I called. He had AK to my AQ. I lost and was down to 1200 chips. I went all in again with the same hand (AQ) and won. I was back to 4500 chips and waited for a hand to push. Unfortunately, it was with 89 on the button, and the small blind guy who had AK now had AJ and knocked me out. I played from 11 to 3:15. The blinds go up very fast in the last half of the tournament, but I don’t think there was anything I could have done. I didn’t get great cards, but had AK three times and AQ twice. I had AA once but no callers. Disappointing but fun. You really need a whole lotta luck to last in these tournaments.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Lacking Enthusiasm

I was hoping to play in the FTOPS 1 tonight but I wasn’t able to win a seat. I spent $50 and $75 token to win a seat, but fell short. Totally card dead in the nl cash game and two ring games I played. Disappointing. Sometimes I haven’t a clue how to play Hold’em. By nature I’m a tight, patient, careful player who likes to trap. I occasionally pull off some bluffs, but its very rare. I usually don’t stick all my chips in unless I have something. But lately, especially online, I feel somewhat lost as to what to do. The AK hand that lost to K4 still stings. I’m just not sure how I get away from that hand given how things played out. After all, I did preflop raise. Maybe I check and bet small and keep the pot small. I don’t know. I tend to want to play big pots, but maybe there’s some value in keeping things small and getting opponents to think I’m weaker than I am. I just always seem to get screwed on the river though. I seems to happen more than it should, though I’m sure the stats are accurate and it happens exactly as much as it should. Still, I feel I’m not that lucky a poker player. Some players seem to walk on lucky water. I walk on fire and get burned to a crisp so much of the time.
I enjoy reading other poker blogs. The money the pros play for is so large compared to what I play with. I wonder if I’ll ever play for three- or four-digit bets. There’s something a little bit self-destructive about the life of professional poker players. They all seem a little crazy and irrational.
I’m having tremendous difficulty staying motivated. My motivation for writing has really dried up. I lack confidence and feel like such a failure. My scripts seem very average and not very interesting. I don’t know. I wonder what it will take to change that. I’m losing my belief in myself, and that can be such a crippling thing. Dr. Phil Z. warned me about these moods I can get in. It’s like a mild but debilitating depression that keeps me from staying motivated, even though I have so much to be excited about in life. I wish I could energize myself and stay happy.
What makes me happy? Vivaldi. Baroque music. Winning. Competition. Racquetball. Finishing To-Do lists. Being recognized for an accomplishment. Not feeling like a loser. In so many ways my life is set up for success. But for some reason, I stop myself from truly exploding with life. Perhaps if I can talk myself into getting motivated and excited about things, perhaps if I can keep the demons inside me at bay, I can break free from my own personal doldrums and lead the life I’ve imagined for myself all these years. I have self-knowledge. What I lack at the moment is discipline and motivation. There are two projects I want to complete in 2007: my apartment remodel and Don’s rewrite of “Prophet.” I want to accomplish these. Let’s get to it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Doubles Racquetball Tournament

Spring Doubles Racquetball Tournament
12 teams vied for King of the Club One Racquetball Mountain Saturday: the two divisions of six consisted of me and Dorian, Mark and Scott, Kevin and Ernesto, Lefty John and Harold from Club Sport, Tiger and Steve, and Ernie and Clydell. The other division consisted of Bill and Kent, Sidney and Marc, Rocky and the Commish from Club Sport, Ron and Xavier, Rod and August, and Byron and Glenn.
I was not very confident going into the tournament. I’d taken a week off and my shots weren’t there. Dorian’s signature shot was also noticeably absent throughout the week. But we always seem to play on tournament day. After all, we had won the tournament last year and I was sick with the flu.
I arrived at 7:05 and warmed up until 8. Our first match was with Scott and Mark. We took and early lead and controlled the match from beginning to end. The final score was 15-4.
Our second match was with Ernie and Clydell. This is a good team; however, Ernie plays too far back sometimes and leaves the front left corner exposed. We had a 10-2 lead on them when they started a comeback. Suddenly we were tied at 10. Then 13. We pulled this one out, but just barely, defeating them 15-13.
Then came the big match for two cases of wine between Kevin and Ernesto. For some strange reason, Kevin bet Dorian a case of wine that they could beat us if Dorian played the left side. Charley bet Dorian that Kevin and Ernesto would score more that 5 points. We beat them 15-1. It wasn’t even close. It was a total blowout.
Then came our hardest match, against Harold and Lefty John. Harold has a funky serve with lots of spin, and Dorian was having trouble with it. We were down 8-1 when I called a time out and told Dorian to relax. I was worried we were going down right here.
We got the serve and then mounted a comeback. We tied the game at 8. Then took the lead. Harold was having trouble with my Z serve. We kept the ball away from Lefty John.
The game was tied at 13 when they scored two quick points off unforced errors. We should have taken this one, but at least we kept it close. All we needed was 11 points to secure a playoff birth in our next match.
The last team we faced in our division was Tiger and Steve. We’ve played them many times and usually do well against them. Our strategy was to test Tiger’s accuracy. He makes a lot of unforced errors when he gets tired.
We took control of the match throughout and won 15-9. We ended up being the first seed in our division. Tiger and Steve were the other team, beating Ernie and Clydell in a tiebreaker.
In the other division, Sidney and Mark won all their matches and Byron and Glenn came in second. It was a morning crew playoff, which I loved.
We played Byron and Glenn and beat them 15-6. Byron was tired. The game got off to a slow start with neither team playing very well. Lots of mistakes on both sides, but also lots of good rallies.
Tiger and Steve beat Sidney and Mark, so the finals were set and we were the favorites.
We took an early lead in the first game, ahead 8-2, but somehow managed to blow our lead and the game, losing 10-11. (The finals were best of three, all games to 11). I was furious that we lost that game. I was so pissed I slammed every lob and lob Z Tiger served. We won the second game 11-2.
By the third game, Tiger was noticeably tired, and my right leg was beginning to cramp. But I had energy left and so did Dorian. Dorian’s signature shot also came out of the wood work and he started putting shots away. He controlled the game against and easily won 11-4. The game winning shot was a high plum for Dorian. I said “there is it,” and Dorian buried it. Sweet!
We took home the trophy (my 10th) and now have bragging rights at the club until September.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Steve's Wedding

I was in Missouri from April 24 – April 30. I flew out to attend Steve and Amanda’s wedding, and visit my Jill, Chris and Alexandra for a few days. Jill and Chris are in Kansas City until 2009. Chris is completing a residency program in gastroenterology and working like a dog. His first year in Kansas City has been demanding and stressful. He puts in an untold number of hours each week while Jill stays home with the baby. Jill sometimes gets a little bored. It’s baby time 24/7. Alexandra is a very cute and well-behaved baby. She is so sweet and adorable. She warmed up to me the three days I stayed with Jill & Chris prior to driving to Columbia for Steve’s wedding. I flew into Kansas City Tuesday April 24, arriving at 7 p.m. Jill was there to pick me up. Alex was sick with an ear infection, so we met Chris and Alex at the pediatrician’s office and stayed about an hour or so. From there we got a pizza, went home and played some poker and watched TV. I stayed up fairly late. Played a few satellite games for WSOP entries. It’s now May and I have to hit the tourney circuit hard!
I’m in the midst of poker season now. Poker all the time, though I have some screenwriting duties to take care of as well. If I stay real busy I keep myself active.
Anyway, back to Kansas City. We had lunch the next day at the Ameristar Casino, at a bbq joint that served up some mean pork and beef barbecue. Very tasty. I played poker the rest of the afternoon while Chris played some table games. I ended up playing in a tournament and split 1st with 2 other people, winning around $300. Nice! My big hand was making a flush with Q7 against AJ on a AK4 two-diamond board. I doubled up to 10k in chips and never looked back, pushing blinds off their stacks and knocking the bubble guy off with AT against his 99 (I hit two As...nice!). I left in the afternoon and went to Harrah’s with Jill later that night, playing 3/6 at a very weak passive table. I ended up about even for the day at 3/6.
A funny story about the a freeroll online tournament...I’d played a few that morning and had one left when I hopped into the shower before lunch. Chris took over and doubled my chip stack to 20k. I joined him and we pushed all in several times, and kept on winning with 47, 75, etc. At the end of the day, we were in 2nd place, going heads up with some guy who had a chip advantage on us. We went all in on a draw and unfortunately lost, but it was so much fun to play crazy aggressive poker and do so well. I can see why these crazies win tournaments. They get lucky with crazy holdings and build such a big chip lead that everyone fears them. That’s how you win tournaments, when you’re perceived as being fearless and not caring whether or not you win or lose.
The next day (Thursday), Jill and I went to Crate & Barrel to pick up Steve’s wedding gift. We then checked in at Harrah’s where Kevin and I were staying for the night. Kevin and I played 3/6 until 4:00 a.m. I don’t know why I suck at limit hold’em but I do. I just can’t win that game. I don’t know what it is, but I always seem to lose. I rarely have a really good night. The players in Kansas City are very loose passive. They don’t like raising at all. The players at the Oaks are so much more aggressive than at the riverboat casinos in the midwest.
On Friday, Kevin and I drove to St. Louis to pick up Will, then drove back to Columbia. I stayed at the Courtyard in a room to myself, a good idea since the rooms were small and comfortable. I was very comfortable actually. I slept in most days and stayed up until 4.
Steve’s wedding was a huge success, one of the most enjoyable “gang” get togethers in memory. Everyone, of course, was there, Kathryn & Tom, Susan, Jeff & Laura, Ron & Jeni, Neal & Karin. Amanda looked so beautiful, like a model. Steve was beaming from ear to ear. The food was terrific. I had two pieces of wedding cake. I saw Suzanne and her family...I almost didn’t recognize Suzanne in her glasses. The wedding was at 5 and we partied until 12. Afterwards, we gathered at Ron & Jeni’s for a little Sit-n-Go, which I ended up winning. Jeni and I played heads up for about 30 minutes. It was an exciting match. I was behind, then ahead, then behind, then ahead again.