Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Final Table Part 2 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

right after i bustoed, i did a small video interview with cardplayer, and they asked me about what i thought of the other players, etc. i also did a mini-press conference for papers that wanted my thoughts and stuff about the hand that i busted on, and the overall experience etc. it was kind of surreal how people were hanging onto my every word, and trying to take in any "nugget of wisdom" i could give them about the game.

afterwards, i got out the account numbers of my student bank account that started my poker career at partypoker so long ago, and decided to wire the whole amount to the account. there was a space for me to give tips, but i did not leave any. i didn't know exactly how it was handled in previous years, but the day before, i had consulted a LOT of people i trusted from 2p2 and the like and the consensus was that harrah's was taking out a lot of juice as it was and the dealers should be well taken care of by them.

espn asked me to go to be interviewed by phil gordon and ali nejad in the booth. they actually did a bit of make up work on me, which was kind of funny, and i went and did my spiel. they asked me about my hand, asked me about what my biggest suckout was (the hand against david einhorn). i gave a shoutout to huskiez, the burst, and MSNL, unfortunately more catch phrases like what it do, or lol donkaments weren't out by then, or else they'd definitely be relayed as well.

i then played some 100 dollar roshambo with ali, who i "angleshooted" by not shooting out on 3 (i missed the part where he says 1 2 shoot ok doug? and just assumed he was playing how i standardly play, 1 2 3 shoot) i lost, unfortunately...

i took my family and some friends (the ocho and strasser) to the bellagio to get some food. we ran into ozzy who had just bought a 25k watch for no reason. we ended up eating at FIX. in hindsight, it was a bad choice for a nice dinner, but i guess we just wanted something fast and right after the win (it was getting late at the time)

my parents and my sister went back to their room in the palms, and i just hung out watching the rest of the bout on the ppv broadcast. i heard about how richard lee got knocked out and was kind of pissed off because he donked off all his chips to jamie in idiot fashion...i couldn't help but think, "man, position on jamie, which a huge stack, wtf how do you not take home the bracelet FTW?!?!?!"

i guess it's cause when people say to me, well it wasn't that bad when you got knocked out, etc., i view it very differently. it was the most annoying thing in the world. call it greed, call it pride, but i definitely thought i was playing my best and left nothing on the table, and was disappointed because i knew that i could be back in it so fast as jamie was eager to be an 80/20 dog against me multiple times...

Final Table - World Series of Poker Chronicles

alrighty, decided this one was good enough for a thread of its own. let us gogogo.

the day before the event, a friend of mine flew in from vegas to cheer me on. unfortunately, huskiez, a 2p2er who got me started in the first place was held up because of damn medical school rotations, and so he could not make the final table.

i first went to the bellagio for a haircut, it was the most expensive haircut i had at like 70 bucks, i personally didn't think it was a good job, but what else was i going to do at that point, i was going to be on tv, and i needed to look decent, i suppose.

we went to the interview for espn, where they took like 80 bajillion shots of me at a table with chips, and then i had an interview with lon. the interview i guess wasn't too spectacular, cause i guess i just told them a very straightforward explanation of what i thought about the game, instead of like OMG I'M THE BEST, OBV.

afterwards, i didn't do anything too crazy, i went back and had some dinner, checking online what the betting lines were. apparently, i was 9-1 to win it all, not bad considering i had around 6.7m chips, which was less than the total chips in play. my apparent EV was around 3.6m, but the numbers, i couldn't even fathom at this time. right now, i had only one goal, to win.

i met my parents and my sister later that day, as they had just flew in from ny into las vegas. being a christian, my mother was not too pleased about my outing in las vegas, as she firmly believed gambling was a sin. she didn't want me playing any more poker, regardless of what happened. i'm still sort of split on the issue, i guess i felt it was more about the fun and the thrill of the game rather than getting caught up in the money involved. they stayed in a palms room i reserved for them, and i hung out with them briefly before going back to my own room.

thinking on the final table accomplishment, i won't lie, i got caught up in the moment of glory. i had my fair share of insecurity problems growing up, so this was a moment where i could step back and be like, "yeah, i made it" to all the haters that f-ed me over throughout the years. lame, i know, but that's how i honestly felt for a bit.

a tangible example of this was when i had interviewed for a big consulting firm earlier (not the one i'm currently at), and had put poker in my resume that i got rejected from. i think they scoffed at that, because i heard one of my friends at that company write an email to his coworkers saying, "hey remember that guy who said he played poker in his resume? well yeah, he's now at the final table in the WSOP main event."

day 8

the day of the final table started later than other days, at 2pm instead of noon. we all were there, and before we got to sitting down, we went to the palazzo suites in the rio hotel. they gave us all the diamond encrusted corum watches to look at, as well as samsung ESPN aces as a free cell phone with a year of free service. not a bad deal to make the final table. they also told us that whoever won would get to spend a week or something in the suites, which were pretty much amazing, with its own conference room, dining room, two master bedrooms, a huge bathroom, very pimp.

we then proceeded to walk back to the final table, unbagging our chips and restacking them for the last time. there were introductions a plenty, and it was kind of weird, cause i knew all my friends and whatever were watching now, live, due to the ppv telecast.

after the dust finally settled, after hachem gave his speech, we started to play.

seat 1: richard lee
seat 2: erik friberg
seat 3: paul wasicka
seat 4: dan nassif
seat 5: allen cunningham
seat 6: michael binger
seat 7: me
seat 8: jamie gold
seat 9: rhett butler

blinds 80/160 ante 20

first hand, i pick up AJo in the HJ, so i bump it up to 480. jamie pops it back on the button, and it folds to me. i fold, not too happy about losing the first hand that quickly.

next hand, i pick up 77 in the LP, and again i open to 480. rhett butler calls, and richard lee pops it back to 2 million. wtf...i folded again and rhett folded again. two hands, down 1 million, and haven't even seen a flop...

i decide to lay low after that, and wait for a bone crusher to destroy someone with. after a few hands, jamie limps early position, and nassif bumps it to 700k. jamie calls, obv. jamie checks dark.

flop 235, and nassif moves in and gold calls with a set, obv.

a couple hands later, i limp behind a couple limpers and gold limps

flop J25, i lead out around 400k, gold calls.

turn comes offsuit 7. i check, gold bets 700k, i call, planning to snap off most rivers.

river comes Q. i think for like 5 seconds, and move in for a little less than pot. gold looks at his cards, and says, you're good, and mucks. ugh.

a few hands later, i open again with KQ on the button. rhett butler repops to 1.2m. i'm thinking wtf, do ppl ALWAYS have a hand against me? i make a bad call and it goes to the flop.

flop A93 rainbow. butler moved in, and i fold, sigh.

however, after this hand, i go on a small rush, barring the big hands that i stayed out of (allen vs. gold with trips, friberg vs. gold with straight) i take down a number of small pots, and build my stack back up. it all comes down again however, as i constantly get outflopped.

then came my greatest moment in the tournament.

blinds 100/200 ante 30

allen pops it to 600k, and i call with KQo, jamie calls behind.

flop 335 rainbow

allen bets 1m. i think to myself, i'm just going to outplay this guy, this time, this hand, and i float. jamie tanks for a bit, but folds. turn is an offsuit 7, and allen now checks. i go ahead and fire 1.5m with 3m behind. allen folds, and i'm like omg, i just attained poker immortality since this hand will definitely be on tv. (it wasn't) and i'm up to 7.8m, very niiiiiiice.

a few hands later, friberg gets it all in against gold with JJ vs. QQ. w00t another 400k in the bank. soon after, binger gets it all in vs. cunningham on QJ8 flop AT vs AQ. i'm thinking PLZ ONE TIME HOLD UP DADDY NEEDS A NEW PAIR OF SHOES, but looking calm. (although i said i wasn't playing to move up in pay spots, but for first, if the chance that someone was going to get knocked out arose, it wasn't like i wasn't going to root for that to happen) unforch, a king pops on the turn, and binger stays alive. wah, no auto 6th. at this point the chip counts were as follows:


Jamie Gold $37,000,000
Richard Lee $20,000,000
Allen Cunningham $11,200,000
Doug Kim $7,300,000
Paul Wasicka $6,600,000
Rhett Butler $4,200,000
Michael Binger $3,200,000

at this point, wasicka starts to go on a heater. an orbit or so after doubling through binger, he raises UTG to 700k. i decide to repop to 2.1m with J8o. he moves in for 4.2m more. barf. i posture to save some face, and then fold.

about an orbit later wasicka makes it 700k to go UTG again. this time, i decide to just call with 99. he had been getting in so many pots and staying aggressive, i decided to snap him off with a good flop.

flop 344.
wasicka bets 1m, i think, then i shove for around 2.7m more. he insta calls and i get a sick feeling in my stomach. he turns over...queens.

at this point i try to look for anything to save me. the turn came a Js putting three spades on the board, do i have a spade? no...red nines, great. two outs in the deck, was the magical tour over? i looked in agony as the 7s hit the felt. it was done. it was over. and just like that, my quest of bringing down jamie gold and bringing ultimate glory to 2p2 and MSNL ended.

Day 7 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

day 7, 27 down to 9

i decided not to wear my rivera jersey today, thinking that if i did make the final table, i'd wear it then, following the old torre adage of never bringing in the closer without a lead. (though i had worn it on days 5 and 6, since i figured i was going to bust each of those days)

i started with around 3.6 million in chips. they had 3 tables left, both of which were positioned pretty close to the featured table.

here was the complete seating of my first table, which began as the featured table:

seat 1: jamie gold
seat 2: me
seat 3: lee kort
seat 4: rhett butler
seat 5: prahlad friedman
seat 6: fred goldberg
seat 7: sid jain
seat 8: paul wasicka
seat 9: richard wyrick



here was the payout structure for that day:
10-12 $1,154,527
13-15 $907,128
16-18 $659,730
19-27 $494,797

not too shabby looking, things were looking pretty good. and as crazy as it sounds, my nit side moved aside and i was not at all concerned with this. i was getting to the final table. it was going to happen.

blinds 25k/50k 5k ante

this day starts with ppl firing out million dollar bets, to which i cannot resist but do my dr. evil impressions of "ONE MILLION DOLLARS." prob too lame to make it on espn.

around a couple minutes in, wyrick (the short stack ninja who i played with at multiple tables throughout the series) moves in in the CO for around 550k. gold calls with AKo against wyrick's A7o. KT588 and we're down to 26.

8 minutes later we get prahlad and jain AIPF, prahlad with KK and jain with 88. prahlad actually flops a set with KQx flop, to which jain says, let me get a 200-1 or 1000-1 shot here. to which i nerdly reply, "actually it's a 989-1 shot."

two bustouts

a player busted out at another table nearby. once there was a multiple of 3 at the table, they always reshuffled the tables so they would be even. i imagined that they would do this until it got down to 18. as a result, eric lynch came to our table. we exchanged a few words, being fellow 2p2ers, but he seemed to be all business.

soon after he sat down, wasicka doubles up with QQ vs AQ all in against prahlad. the fireworks were not stopping for the first orbit.

then lynch gets into this hand with gold at around 4:15 on this video:

lynch vs. gold

rizen pushes all in for around 1.7m against gold when gold makes a big raise pf to around 500k with A6o when gold had TT.

i'm thinking wtf...you have to know there was no FE against gold in that spot...and gold wins another big pot, obv.

again, when the fireworks fly and you're nothing but card dead, you can't really do much...i whittle down to around under 3 million and keep on struggling.

i witness a few interesting hands though. the jamie gold bluff and the top top hands speak for themselves on this clip:

top top!

my only big hand with kort was when we had gotten into a big pot on the end of one of the earlier days where he bluffed all in with trash against me where i almost called him down light. i forget the hand exactly, but he was obviously prone to tilt. the hand pissed me off because he slammed down his hand when i folded.

people ask why i didn't say anything during the top top hand. part of me didn't mind because i wanted kort finished off, but part of me didn't know what to say exactly, since it happened pretty quickly, and it didn't seem like the talk would've changed the action at all (i.e. gold probably calls anyway)

30k/60k 10k ante

i dropped to around 2m, being totally card dead. i had to make something going, so given my tight image, i tried to raise UTG K6o to just go for a blind steal. unfortunately, rhett butler and prahlad call me behind.

flop 457 two hearts. i continuation bet for 450k, prahlad calls. time to get lucky i thought...

turn 8.
i think for a bit, and decide that the heart draw out there is not worth getting tricky here. i push for my stack, and prahlad ends up folding. oh wellz. i'm back up to around 2.5m again.
me vs. prah

soon after, prah goes all in against gold. gold ponders for a bit and does one of his funky tv producer math and says i'm getting 2-1 i call, obv. clip here:

prah vs. gold

then comes my hand where i utterly destroy gold. the action folds to gold in the SB, who bumps it to 200k pf. i call with A8d in the BB.

flop comes AA7 two hearts. gold bets 400k, and i move in for around 2m more. he almost insta calls with 76, to which i show him he's all but dead to that very same 989-1 shot. blank on turn, and i'm up to over 5 mil. word.

after dustin holmes gets knocked out in 19th, the tables combine two make two. i get seated at the non-featured table, here's the seating:

Table 1:

1. Richard Lee
2. Michael Binger
3. Dan Nassif
4. John Magill
5. Doug Kim
6. Kevin Aaronson
7. Erik Friberg
8. Fred Goldburg
9. Sirous Jamshidi

not the hugest fan of mcgill, he came off as pretty much an [censored]. jamshidi did not seem to know wtf was going on, so i figured to try to play a big pot with him. alas, jamshidi, after making some donk moves, is eliminated soon in 16th place, so no dice on that.

in fact, 14 players remain at the end of the 3rd level. the day was going at blinding speed...i get moved to the final spot for the rest of the tournament at the featured table. one to the left of gold. luke chung suffers a big beat in this hand here:

chung vs. gold

i bet here because i figure i've got a tight image and can probably double barrel successfully with a decent amount of outs, however luke chung saves me from losing a lot of chips as he fires all in after gold calls. disgusting beat yet once again, and gold wins more chips. you can see me rolling my eyes as gold claims it's a good thing for me that he's getting everyone's chips.

i then witness another gold pot...thorson against gold all in JJ vs. KK...does this guy ever lose? wtf? while i'm somewhat glad that a dangerous player like thorson is out, i can't imagine surmounting gold's ridiculous lead to take the title. heh, so i'm a bit ambitious.

after thorson is eliminated, they announce that everyone's a millionaire. i'm not impressed, as i know that the tax man will make it impossible for me to be a millionaire at this point. so i remark, "time to go for 12..." did i mention i was ambitious?

they conveniently replace chung and thorson with...cunningham and friberg. my luck during the last two days were not the best.

they change the dynamic of the table almost instantly, as cunningham and friberg both take big pots of gold, slowing him down.

leif force at the table, is probably the worst player i've seen in the final 100. he was playing the worst short stack strategy, limp/folding. he gets completely owned by erik friberg in this hand:

friberg vs. force

after force is eliminated, we combine to make one table of ten. this is the first time we play ten handed since day 1, so it's a bit scrunched. the seating is as follows:

Seat 1 - Richard Lee $8,465,000
Seat 2 - Erik Friberg $5,905,000
Seat 3 - Paul Wasicka $4,750,000
Seat 4 - Dan Nassif $5,865,000
Seat 5 - Allen Cunningham $18,000,000
Seat 6 - Michael Binger $3,640,000
Seat 7 - Doug Kim $6,190,000
Seat 8 - Fred Goldberg $4,265,000
Seat 9 - Jamie Gold $27,330,000
Seat 10 - Rhett Butler $5,165,000

a bit better than before, at least i have position on cunningham. visions of the final table were going through my head. although this wasn't the official final table, it was like the most intense game of musical chairs i've ever played. nobody wanted to be the first one out, yet i knew that jamie/cunningham were going to try to use that to their advantage. i adjusted accordingly and kept on some aggression to stay alive.

level 60k/120k 20k ante

richard lee takes a big one off me early on, as i pop his 400k bet to 1.5m with air. he moves in on me, and i throw my hand in the muck. bleck.

a hand soon came up between gold and wasicka. paul makes it 400k to go pf, and gold calls.

flop KT5 two spades.
paul bets 600k, and gold calls.

turn is an offsuit Q
paul checks, gold bets 1.5m, paul moves in for 3m total. gold calls with K7 and paul shows 55 FTW. i was like man, jamie is now going to experience some HURT.

an interesting hand that wasn't shown on ESPN comes up. butler and cunningham limp, i limp with 88, gold limps, and we go fourway.

flop Q74 two clubs.
checks to cunningham, who bets 700k. i bump it to 2.1 million, cause there's a pretty good chance he's on a draw, which he would fold, and i'm pretty sure that even if cunningham had a Q, i have some FE from my nit image. folds to cunningham, who thinks for a bit and then folds. i played with the best, and i won! w00t.

goldberg made some of the most idiot plays. in a limped pot 5 handed, he moves all in on a 742 rainbow flop for probably 5x pot, which folds to gold, who shows J7. goldberg proudly tables 74, and says, "i'm not messing around fellas." good job...i guess? he then follows up by moving all in at random times in small pots...wow. i guess the donkeys still remain even after 8763 eliminations...

but goldberg goes on tilt shortly after binger doubles through him with AQ vs TT AIPF. binger turns an A after a low flop, and goldberg acts like he just got one outered, as if the hand was a lock.

a significant hand soon after happens with me and gold. gold limps in the EP, wasicka and binger limp. i check the BB with K8o.

flop KQ9 all diamonds.
i check here and gold bets 300k, and binger and wasicka fold. i call.

turn 4c
we both check. at this point, i put jamie on a flush draw, air, etc.

river Jo
i check, jamie bets 800k, and i snap it off. i was planning to snap call any non-diamond, non-ace river. i wait till he shows his hand, to which he mucks, and show K8.

goldberg, still muttering to himself about the loss, goes all in pf for around 2.6 million. yep, 16x BB AIPF. richard lee insta calls with KK against his Q3. richard lee takes it down, and the final table is set. sweet justice...i take a swig out of my gatorade bottle and congratulate the other players. it's go time, mofoers.

i ended the day around 6.77m in chips, not too bad, for 5th in chips. ESPN handed out cards for when we would be scheduled interviews, and we did the usual procedure of writing down chip counts, bagging, etc. it was almost surreal, the thought of making the final table, actually becoming a reality. but one thought remained in my head. time to do one thing. take it down.

Day 6 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

day 6



at this point, as a young gun in the field with 45 left, i'm getting a bit more coverage. the pokerstars blogger who was originally covering jason was now exclusively covering me. a bit more pressure was mounting, and i knew it wasn't going to get any easier.

right off the bat as i unload my chips, i notice a bag that was literally bursting at the seams. wtf, i thought to myself...at least it was the other side of the table. as everyone else is getting settled in, the owner of that bag finally found the table.

gold. jamie gold. my first encounter with the chip leader, i was going to figure out his every move before i got involved in a big pot with him.

gold was conversing with aaronson and two other guys at the table, one sid jain and another. it seems that they are regulars at the commerce 25/50 game in LA...thanks for alerting me, pals. gold has over 7 million in chips, around 5 times my stack. it probably takes him around a full 10 minutes to fully organize his chips, as he starts to play the first hand with just a mountain in front of him.

blinds 15k/30k 5k ante

the first hand we get dealt, jain raises to 97k. gold calls in the bb.

flop Q66 rainbow.
jain bets 160k, and gold calls.

turn T
both check

river Q
gold bets 125k, and jain thinks for a while. finally he calls, and tables J8o. i make a mental note that these guys are obv going to be going in guns ablazing.

gold doesn't have much to worry, though. about an hour later, gold opens a pot and guy on his immediate left calls.

flop is 984 two diamonds, and gold shoves for around 1.8 million, hansen snap calls with TT. as gold shows AA, i groan in disgust. you can see allen cunningham in disbelief in this video here:

TT is teh nutz!!!

how the hell was i supposed to win when people were just giving chips to gold left and right?

around 30 minutes later, gold wins another pot getting it all in on an AK6 board with AK against someone elses AJ for around 2.3 million pot. while the carnage continues, i'm forced to steer clear as i'm card dead and cannot afford any ill-timed aggression.

by the 2nd level, there were 9 eliminations. we were only playing to 27, so with 36 left, it looked to be a short day.

for the second level with 20k/40k blinds and a 5k ante, i manage to tread water by using my tight image to steal every so often. but with gold willing to play a lot of pots and repop at will, i couldn't really manuever too much as my cards were just not there for me.

towards the end of the second level,

there's one limper, i pick up KQo on the button, i raise to 150k. gold calls, limper calls and we go to the flop.

flop J63c
gold checks, limper checks, i lead out for around 300k, gold calls, limper folds. (i have Kc) i'm thinking gold probably had a weak jack or a underpair to a J.

turn T offsuit
gold checks, i believe that gold will probably fold to a shove given my tight image and that i have a good number of outs if i'm behind, so i move in for 925k. gold thinks about it, and says, "i'm getting 3-1 i call!" (he was getting around 2.4-1, and his call was incorrect even if he thought he was getting 3-1) at this point i'm thinking wtf was i thinking that he'd fold anything...

as i see him flip over his 98h, i'm thinking omg, wtf. please don't let this lunatic who called me with crap oop on the flop suck out. wtf?!?!!?

but the river brought the beautiful As, and i shouted for joy, "Yes! Yeah baby! The nuts! Well, the nut straight!"

gold quickly tries to save face by saying, "no no, not the nuts." i probably should've pointed out that a 9 would not have helped him, and that it was a terrible call, and that sweet juicy justice had been served and subsequently inked a 10 year deal with pokerstars for doing so, but in the heat of the moment i was just happy to be alive.

the hand is at the end of this video:

video of me pwning gold

the short day ends around 10 minutes later, and i end with a decent 3.6m in chips. was in better shape because there were only 2.5 levels of play and i tripled my stack. the short day was a big relief for all of us players, as we haven't gotten a break in a while.

the day felt kind of anticlimactic, ending so early, but i wasn't complaining. i had dinner with alex jacob and his gf with jason and craftsteak. awesome place, kobe beef filet is exceptional. probably my favorite place to eat in vegas, but i guess i haven't done too much eating when i'm usually busy gambling to have a good opinion on the places. all in all, it was a nice way to cap off a fine evening in LV.

Day 5 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

i went back to the palms hotel room where i was staying with jason, to find jason playing some 200/400 triple draw with FWF. i told them about the AQ hand i played against nobles, to which jason sighed and presumably went on some more life tilt.

there were 135 players left, and this is the point where i start checking up on info on the tournament and see that there are lines on who will make the final table. the line on me i believe was around even money...haha, ok it was probably around 9/1, which wasn't bad considering i had 930k in chips to start.

but i suppose this was when i started thinking seriously that i could make the final table, and it wasn't some pipe dream to play the world series and be on ESPN.

first things first, i thought to myself, everyday is another battle.

day 5

my starting table looks friendly enough, i reunite with my old buddy from day 1, thomas walhroos, and richard gryko, a short stacking ninja who i've played with on multiple days.

the blinds start at 6k/12k with a 2k ante. at this point of the tournament, i'm not as safe as i was on previous starting days, as i had around 80 BB, when i usually hovered around 100-120. i still had breathing room, but i knew there was never a time to let my foot off the gas.

"seat open, table xxx" kept going as rampantly as ever. i wondered why people still kept busting so fast, did they not realize they were playing for bajillions of dollars? in the first level, there were around 30 eliminations, almost 25% of the field gone.

meanwhilist, i chip up and chip down, trying to stay afloat. by the end of the 2nd level, i have around 800k, losing ground slowly. i wondered if i was just going to try to hold on...after some folding to some repops, i'm all the way down 750k, 700k, 650k...then i drop to around 600k or so. i was staying aggressive, but i was definitely getting outflopped and couldn't keep the pressure going.

then at 6:15pm, nearing the end of the 3rd level at 10k/20k blinds with a 3k ante and down to a paltry 560k, i look down at my hand to see some beautiful kings. i make a standard 60k open early position. the big blind, who seemed a bit tight, moved all in. he hadn't shown much aggression throughout the tournament, so thoughts of the scene with rounders with damon and malkovich started floating through my mind. but the day i fold pocket kings preflop for 25bb, is the day phil galfond and phil hellmuth can call me a nit.

i called and he table AKo. not the best hand i want to see, but i'll take it i suppose.

flop JJ9 two hearts.

the dealer slowrolls a...6h. i have Kh, giving the guy 2 outs.

the dealer gives me a juicy Td, and it's gogogo time.

my nit image is a success as i showed that i even thought about folding with pocket kings. the rest of the table bows down to my pressure and i go on a rush in a hurry. i win a 55 all in for 375k against my AQc w00t flipaments, and i'm almost up to two million.

then kevin aaronson and william thorsson decide to join my table. i can no longer take control and have to balance my strategy again. aaronson and i get into a couple tangles, but nothing too serious.

towards the end of the day an interesting hand with aaronson and another player comes up. EP raises to 100k pf, and aaronson calls late position. flop comes 876 two hearts, and EP overbets all in for around 850k. ridonkulous. aaronson thinks for a while. EP goads him saying, "you'll be on TV if you make this call." by this time, ESPN cameras were all over, and it seemed certain that this hand would be televised anyway. (it wasn't) aaronson quips by saying, "let me see if i've made enough money to call you." (164k at that point was the payout) aaronson decides to call with QQ. EP tables ATh, and it's close.

turn K, river 6, and QQ is g00t. aaronson remarks that he had made a mistake earlier against EP, and i say to aaronson, now you'll be on TV, LDO. (again, it wasn't, i suck at telecastaments)

after a few more eliminations they decide to end early (around 11:30) before the 5th level was finished, because they were simply eliminating people a lot faster than they expected. they announced that day 8 would be an off day, because of the speedy tournament, and we packed up our baggies with goodies. i only increased my stack by around 40% or so, which wasn't too bad.

at the end of the day, i went back to the hotel room to be greeted by FWF. it was his last day in vegas, as he was going back home from all the craziness.

FWF looked at the payout sheet and told me,

"man, play for like 15th," he remarked. "there's a [censored] of money at the top of the tournament, you should probably be still trying to chip up. oh yeah and one other thing, don't get involved with prahlad friedman. if it ever gets heads up with you and him with even stacks, you should deal for 2nd place + 1 dollar."

"thanks for the confidence, jackass," as i pondered looking out of the hotel room. but nothing really could take away from the thrill of victory.

another day, another battle.

Day 4 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

Day 4

coming off the first consecutive day of play, and excited from the night before, i'm ready for action again for day 4 of the wsop. jason's been getting craploads of calls and he's already put 12m in his spreadsheet in the win column of the main event (disregarding of course the various pieces of himself he had sold out).

this is the first day i wake up and say to myself, wow [censored] is sick. this whole experience is sick. i'm alive in the tournament, and not only that, i'm doing well. got lucky just when i needed to, and just about everything is going right. i mean granted, i don't have the monster stack that jason has, but i'm chugging along ok. it's a weird feeling of invincibility, but at the same time knowing that at any moment, the cable could be cut with destruction soon to follow.

i get to the table and don't really notice anyone special. good i think to myself, except there are a couple of big stacks to my left. could be some trouble, hopefully i'll figure it out.

as i feel the table out, i play a bit more aggressively, taking down blinds, and lagging it up. however, a guy on my left wearing a full contact poker hat with a big stack, kept calling and putting pressure on me. he kept putting his whole face in his shirt phil laak style whenever he was in a hand. here's a hand that i played relatively meh against him.

blinds 2000/4000 ante 500
i raise to 12000 in the LP with 35o, he calls.

flop 24K. i think, then check. he checks behind.
turn K. i think, then check again. he checks behind.
river T. i think, then bet 30k. he calls, with A6o.

at this point i know that this guy is definitely going to give me trouble, and i'm going to have to get extra special tricky with him.

after the hand, at one point, i'm just doing a routine open late with JTo, and this guy goes all in on me, and says, come on let's gamble! i fold, obviously, and he shows me AKo. i get kind of pissed off, and go oh yeah, you're really gambling there, sir in the most sarcastic voice i can and furiously muck my hand. i can't wait to OWN this mofo i thought to myself.

at this point, our table gets a fill. it's none other than the slowrolling humberto brenes at my table. i thought to myself that losing to the shark card protector would probably be a very bad experience. humberto seemed to be playing really tight, it was just that other people seemed to want to give him money for some reason and went all in when he had aces or kings. he would always make a big deal when he raised, but i generally stayed out of his way. soon after, david chiu appeared right near me as well, two to my right. he arrived with a good amount of a stack. i tried to remember anything about his play i just kept remembering foxwoodfiend's remark that he was the nicest guy alive instead. thanks ariel.

during a break, i talk to my friend huskiez. at this point i'm kind of dejected, after getting sick value betted by chiu and having only around 40 bb or so, and i'm kind of worried that this might be it. he tells me, rightly so, to stfu, and get my head in the game, and that nothing is [censored] over. i take heed, and go back and play.

at some point after we take a break. i call up jason, who tells me about a huge beat where he loses AA to AK. i meet him outside the poker kitchen, and he's sitting outside on the rampish area. he's visibly shaken, i don't know what to say. i've never seen him this pissed off at a bad beat, and i don't blame him. if i were him, you'd have probably witnessed the first homicide at the wsop. he tried to lighten up, remarking that how yesterday he got more text messages than ever in his life, and how today, no one is even thinking about calling him after what happened. i couldn't even utter anything encouraging, even though he still had chips and was moderately healthy, i just felt the injustice that happened.

anyway, remembering that i still gotta play my game, and huskiez words of stfu and play encouragement, i go back to battle. a few hands into the level, this hand happens between me and chiu.

3000/6000 ante 1000

chiu opens for 18k in the CO, so i call with AJ in the SB, another call in the BB.

flop comes down AAQ two hearts. sweet juicy justice i think to myself. i check, BB checks, chiu bets out 30k, i push for another 165k or so, chiu thinks and calls.

he tables AT, and i show my AJ. i cross my fingers, and two bricks pop off giving me a big comeback pot. sweet. pep talks do work.

of course, being the idiot i am, get a bit cocky with the new found chips, and open in the CO with 23o. fcp guy calls, and BB calls. guess i'm going to have to get lucky...

flop 3A3. bingo bongo bango!
i bet 40k, fcp boy calls.

turn 3. hmmm, that's an interesting card.
i bet 100k, fcp boy calls.

river Q.
hmmm, what to do here i thought to myself. could zeebo's theorem really be infallible here? can i safely push all in? what's the move here? he knows that i know that he at least has an ace, so how would he interpret a push? i think for a bit, then i decide that check, check would be the worst disaster in history and probably put me on tilt, so i push.

fcp guy goes into the tank. he comes out of his protective shell, and starts asking me if i really have aces. i'm just PRAYING that he thinks i'm trying to avoid a chop with an ace, just PRAYING, but not knowing what's going on here. he debates about AA, QQ, maybe even a 3. problem is, i did play it exactly like a 3, or a monster bluff. finally, he remarks that he's folding an ace and folds. doesn't show the ace tho, so i can't be sure, and i just muck my hand. info doesn't come free, bro.

an interesting hand develops between brenes and chiu later on. finally chiu goes all in pf, and brenes calls over the espn cameras. it's quite obvious what humberto has, and chiu tells the cameras not to come. brenes calls and shows AA, and chiu shows AKo. i tell chiu that i'm rooting for him after the slowroll, and i predict that he's going to get a flush FTW.

sure enough, a club flush comes for his Kc, giving chiu the win. humberto doesn't look that upset tho, he's all cheery, as he takes another guy down with the very next hand, having KK, again calling the tv crew over. guy gets eliminated, and that's all folks.

4000/8000 1000 ante
a little while later, humberto opens relatively early for 27k. i call with 55 in the CO, and SB calls.

flop T65. checks to me, i think, then fire out 70k. SB calls, and brenes goes, no respect! i laugh to myself, but not out loud.

turn 2c brick. SB checks, and i start doing a bit of work here. i calculate his stack to be around 350-400 deep, so i fire out 150k. SB thinks, then moves in for 195k more. i call and he tables jacks.

river bricks off, and i win a big pot right before break. whew. the COMEBACK kid.

as i'm stacking up my chips jason comes by and tells me he's just been eliminated. bleck. he wishes me good luck, and i tell him i'll call him later.

pretty soon, we all get bumped up to the feature table. the felt kind of sucks, since i've got a crapload of 5k chips, i can't stack them in stacks of 40, so i have to get colored up. but it's pretty fun, getting wired for sound and all that, and thinking i'm going to be on tv.

of course dmitri nobles, the crazy loose pokerstars qualifier on a sick run of cards, is at my table, and two to my left. whoopdee frickin doo.

moderately good hand for me happens early...
blinds 5k/10k 1000 ante
folds to the SB, who completes, i check with 63d.

flop A62. SB bets 20k, i call.

turn 6. SB checks, i bet 40k, he calls.

river 5. SB checks, i think for a bit, then bet 80k. he calls. shows me an ace and then mucks when i show my 6, and berates himself for not raising pf.

so when you're on tv you think you do stupid [censored]. like this hand.

i pick up AQo on the button, and it's nobles, bb. being the idiot that i am, i open limp on the button, sb folds, nobles checks.

flop comes down 9J6 two clubs. nobles checks, i check, i have no club.

turn comes an 8c. nobles bets 10k, i call.

river comes an offsuit ace. nobles bets 50k, i think for a bit, then call. he shows A8. yep, misplayed on every street, [censored].

action ends soon after this hand, and i'm thinking great to myself, time to clear up and refocus for tomorrow. and that's how it was, 135 left for day 5.

Day 3 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

Day 3

i'm not going to lie. going into this day, i had the jitters. maybe it was the air conditioning of the palms, maybe it was from wearing the dirty clothing for the past two weeks, but i was nervous. around 1100 ppl left, and top 870 paid, 14k was a lot of money for me, as my bankroll was only 30k at this time.

but should i fold my way into 14.6k? or risk my stack for more?

screw 14.6k, i'm going for the bracelet.

jason was feeling a bit sick too, coming down with a cough. it didn't really seem to matter for him, as he had a healthy chip stack going into day 3. he was steamrolling his table and just owning people left and right. the day before, we met with craig cunningham, and jason did a little interview for him. i chipped in my 2 cents from time to time, as i was the unknown of the two, talking about the duke game as background, and how i severely owned jason when he was a freshman in a .25/.50 NL game.

i woke up earlier than i needed too again, around 10:00. checking 2p2 posts and pokerpages furiously, i found that i had an aggressive and reportedly assholish player, theo tran, two to my left on my first table. if anything, i didn't want to lose to him.

i wake jason up, as he again groggily gets out of bed. it's showtime baby.

go into the day playing pretty aggressive, stealing blinds and such. fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, theo tangles with other players early and gets banged up a bit.

600/1200 ante 200
one hand i open for 3600 with 96h on the button. sb makes it 5000 more and it's back to me. i think about it for a second, look at his stack, which is about 25k deep, and then fold. theo tran remarks, "dude you don't have to hollywood when you blind steal just fold and move on with the hand."

i said politely, but sternly, "uh, don't tell me how to play my game, buddy."

no real hands between me and theo, but he eventually busts with AQ vs AK aipf, so i think to myself, gg no re.

800/1600 ante 200
i've been playing pretty aggressively, and people haven't really been playing back at me. a woman goes so far as to say, he's raising all my blinds! hey hey wah? so what do i do when i catch some aces?

i open for 4800 with AA in LP. the woman who complains, calls in the BB. i'm thinking to myself, breaking time.

Flop T96 two hearts. woman moves in for 20k, i call. she shows JT, and my hand holds up. sweet juicy justice.

the table has been going ok, i'm chipping up, soon i'm up to 210k chips, when the sickest hand of my tournament happens.

blind 1200/2400 ante 300
in MP, i make it 7000 to go with KK, guy makes it 32000 in the SB who has me covered, i just call.
flop comes down J74. guy bets 40k, i push for 130k more, he insta-calls. i have a sick feeling in my stomach as i have that matt damon moment. i know before the cards are turned over. jacks.

turn comes a paint card. king? no...queen. great. i just put my head down and look at my stack. well, guys it's been fun. 25k isn't so bad.

the river card hits, and someone gasps and says oh man. i'm like...what?! i look at the board.
King of clubs.

wow. i just sucked out for a 440k pot. sweet juicy injustice. i could hardly contain my excitement, as i yelled yes three times and pumped the air. probably caught on tape from espn...pretty embarassing. it takes me a full 5 minutes to stack my chip stack. jason looks across from another table and shakes his head in disgust, pretending not to know who i am.

other than that sick hand, the bubble bursts, and we're in the money. i play it cool, high roller style, not clapping when they announce it, prepared to take down some more chips.

no more real significant hands happen, but i chip down to 370k on some medium sized pots. oh well...still a pretty sick 3rd day. i'm feeling great, and ready for day 4.

Day 2 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

Day 2

it's almost weird to be back, it's been 4 days since i last played. round 2 i guess, as i gear up for war in the pokerstars jersey that i got. it's pretty goofy looking, and jason's got his own customized strassa2 jersey on. i'm jealous.

i'm pretty antsy, as it's the second day and get up pretty early. i check online for random stuff, as jason rolls out of bed around 11:15 am. we hurry on over, unshaven, unkempt. we've left his house that stars was sponsoring, and now we were in the palms. being as that i forgot to do laundry before leaving the house, i had to start wearing my dirty clothes again. palms laundry was [censored] expensive.

anyway, i get seated on a decent table that i'm taking control of. espn cameras are all over the table because the youngest female player ever to make day 2 was seated with me. pretty retarded shtick to get famous, imo. she was wearing a full tilt hat and had a nice rack, but she had a butt chin that really didn't do it for me. anyhow, her style of play was relatively loose, and bad. from time to time she would all in in a multiway pot, when the pot was like just blinds, making it like 20x pot bets when she'd move in. good job? i was just WAITING to pounce.

anyway some hands...

level 250/500 ante 50
pretty uneventful at first, a big hand i had early was when UTG+1 raised to 1500, another person called, and i made it 6000 with KK, UTG+1 folds, and the caller calls the raise.
Flop J92. caller moves in for 14.5k, i call. he shows 33, and my hand holds up. ty, come again. seriously the level of bad play in this tournament is ridiculous.

level 300/600 ante 75
UTG makes it 2000, I make it 6000 with AKo, UTG calls.
Flop 722, UTG bets 4000, i think for a bit, then i call.
Turn K, check, check.
River 7, UTG bets 5000, i call. he shows AT...too easy man, too easy.

after a few more rounds of boring, yet profitable, poker, i get moved to layne flack's table...again. great. fortunately he's to my right so the situation isn't too bad.

level 400/800 ante 100
flack limps, and i make it 3200 with AKo. flack calls.
Flop JQ9 two spades. he checks, i check.
Turn 9. flack bets 5000, i call.
River 3 of spades. flack bets 8500, i fold. bleck.

we chat it up a bit, shooting the [censored], he comments on an unsucessful 7 high bluff i try, "nothing i haven't done before." whoops.

a few hours later, the table breaks. whew, no more layne. where am i going hm....ah table 153...it's a long ways away, i wonder who's there. great.

Phil Ivey.

the worst seat in the tournament...well yeah. suffice it to say i just get owned by him.

anyway couple of non ivey hands...

500/1000 ante 100
UTG+1 limps, i complete in the SB with 99, ivey checks. damn was planning to limp raise him since he was short.

flop T86. i check, ivey checks, UTG+1 moves in for 15k, i call, ivey folds.
guy flips over AT...whoops
turn 7. oops.
river T. ah well i'd rather be lucky than good.

biggest hand of my tournament
i have 88 in the UTG and limp. a loose guy makes it 4000 to go, BB calls, i pop it up to 20k straight. loose guy folds, BB tanks. i think to myself, oh great, wtf did i get myself into here...and he finally asks me, if i fold do you show? i agreed, since i wanted him to fold asap, probably not the most expert play, and he folded...
Kings. face up. WTF IS GOING ON. he gets sick when i show him my eights...wow. i can't believe i got kings to fold preflop. apparently jason's wrong about my nitty strategy being bad...harrington style baby HARRINGTON STYLE.

i end the day at 95.2k, ready for more battle on day 3.

Day 1 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

Day 1.

it's even surreal to be here. the world series of poker. who would've thought that i would be competing in poker's biggest stage just a couple years ago, when i was playing my little hundred dollar games?

my expectations weren't really that high, cause i'm well aware that tournaments are still a crapshoot, no matter how bad the competition is. and let me tell you, the competition is bad. terrible. horrendous. ugly. sometimes you wonder how these people ever came up with 10,000 to play with in any stage of their lives.

one guy at my table, before we even drew a single hand, announced to the table that it was his first time playing live poker, let alone the biggest tournament in the world. i could hardly restrain myself from licking my chops. and sure enough, the guy would stand up, peer at the flop, and check timidly without a hand every time, it was like stealing candy from well, you know.

dutch boyd was on my first table, sitting across from me, limping with a lot of hands. he seemed like he was ready to play, fresh off a new bracelet this year. he didn't really say much, but he pulled off a big bluff with 73o on a broadway filled board that got attention from espn cameras.

an actor named matthew lillard was there too (scream, she's all that, wing commander, scooby doo) who was pretty talkative and lively. whenever i was in a hand, i would always put my sunglasses down and put myself into a statue position. he commented, "i love how you go all terminator, bro!"

level 25/50

another guy at my first table was a 600/1200 badugi player, a scary opponent with position on me. i raised to 200 AKo on the button once, he popped me to 700 in the sb, i called.
flop JJx. he checks, i checks.
turn blank. he bets 450, i call.
river blank. he checks, i check. he has QQ and complains that i don't give him action. whew.

next big hand, i get dealt QQ in mid position. one limper, i make it 200 to go, 2 calls behind me, bb calls, and limper calls. uh oh i think to myself, until...
flop JQJ. checked to me, i bet 600, someone check minraises me to 1200, i'm thinking MONEY, and just call.
turn 7. guy bets 600, i make it 2500, he calls.
river T. guy checks, i bet all in for like 5000 more, he calls. he has AJ, ty come again.

level 50/100

a hand i had with boyd was when i was dealt AQo in the UTG+1. i make it 300 to go, uber-fish aforementioned calls, boyd calls.
flop T9x rainbow, it checks around.
turn 8, checked to boyd, who bets 450, i call planning to take it away on the river, but uber-fish calls, and i'm like meh......
river A. it checks around, and my AQo wins the pot. dutch seems to like my play and plan.

i get moved to another table. layne flack is sitting across from me, being pretty loose and aggressive. i'm being a bit aggressive myself, stealing a couple blinds. then this hand comes up.

level 100/200
a fairly good player limps, i make it 800 to go with 35c, guy calls.
flop is J82. guy looks like he wants to bet, then checks, so i check behind.
turn is an A. guy bets 1500, i call, thought it was a decent float opportunity.
river is a 9. guy checks, i bet 2500, he shows a J and folds. i show my 35c, and layne flack gives me a smirk. SWEET.

level 100/200 ante 25
i then get moved to another table where i happen to have A7o in bb. 3 limpers, sb completes, so i check.
flop 77T. i lead out for 500, a guy raises me to 1500, i just call.
turn J. i check, he bets 2000, i push him all in for 6000 more, he agonizes, and then folds.

a few orbits later, i pick up J9h UTG and i open for 700. the same guy in the previous hand raises to 1400, i call getting insane odds to break him.
flop comes a beautiful QT8 with two clubs. i bet 2000, he moves in on me for like 6000 more, i call obviously. he has AQ and misses his runner runner draw. being lucky is good.

another hand i raise a guy two times in a row with AA when he makes it 800 to go to 3000. the second time, he decides to call. he's in the cutoff, i'm on the button.
flop K9x. he checks, and so i check too.
turn K. not so great of a card, but i'm feeling ok about my hand. guy bets 4500, so i call seeing what he does on the river.
river is a blank. he checks, i decide he's not paying off a worse hand, so i check. my aces are good and i drag in another pot.

level 150/300 ante 25
one limper, i make it 1200 to go with QTd the limper calls.
flop is AT4 with one diamond. limper checks, i bet 1500, guy calls. argh.
turn is a 4d. limper checks, i decide to peel one off.
river Ad. limper bets 2000, i make it 7000, unfortunately he folds.

rest of the night is pretty uneventful, i'm playing with a finnish pro across from me. i try popping a pf raise for a squeeze, but he moves in on me so i lose a decent sized pot with that.

i have 32.8k at the end of day 1, and i'm feeling good making it through the day.

Day 0 - World Series of Poker Chronicles

july 23rd, 2006

day 0.

qualifier after qualifier. i felt like i went into these tournaments almost expecting to lose. the double-shootout structure was so impossible to win, i had lost so many of those this year and the last. after reading a post on 2p2 describing that the best tournaments to win were the 650 buy in tournaments. these tournaments were a set buy in with a set amount of seats to the world series. around 900 or so entered, and the top 55 remaining would get seats. after reading the detailed analysis in how to play those games, i decided to enter a tournament with that structure. although i had the cash to enter in directly, i didn't want to blow my whole bankroll on the WSOP.

i entered three qualifiers at the same time, a DSO on stars, the 650 last chance on stars, and a 535 on full tilt. it was 7pm, my prime time for playing cards. this was it, now or never time. i was all gung ho, ready to dish out some damage. somehow i ended up getting it all in with KK against someone elses set real fast in the full tilt tournament. oh great, a nickel down the drain. but i wouldn't let it affect me. i couldn't. i only had one shot i could not miss this chance, etc.

around 8pm in the 650 tournament on stars, i pick up a couple of aces. blinds 50/100 i have around 5k in my stack. folded to me in late position, i make it 300 to go. another guy raises to 900, who has me covered. i just flat call.

flop KK9 rainbow. (pot 1800)

i check, guy bets 800, i call.

turn is a 3c (pot 3400)

i check, guy checks.

river K (pot 3400)

i think for a bit here. i piece together that he doesn't have a king. he bet a small amount on the flop, which may or may not have been a K, but his check on the turn was suspect because he would want to weasel money in their with another small bet. so i effectively had the best hand. would he bluff if i checked? the board seemed too scary for that. so i pushed all in for 3240. he called with QQ and i doubled through early.

things are going smooth and i manage to make it to the second table of my dso. awesome two chances to make it. of course, things are too good to be true, and a bit of pressure comes my way.

10pm

blinds 200/400

folded to me in the sb, i raise to 1600 with KK. i have 23k, bb has 20k. bb calls.

flop QTx. (pot 3200)

i bet 2500, he raises to 7500. at this point i think for a bit. likely because i raised and it's a blind vs. blind, he might be calling me light. he was also a very good player, someone i thought might be moving against me. i pushed against him. he insta called with TT and i groaned. the turn and river bricked and i was down to 3000, or around 8 big blinds. oh yeah, i also lose in 8th place in my final table at the dso. all my hopes and dreams, down the drain.

very two next hands, i push all in pf and win the blinds to push it to around 4500 or so. carefully identifying spots where i could pressure without getting caught, i then restole a steal to push it to around 6000-7000. in the next orbit, i picked up AK, and moved in on a raise to catch someone with AJ. my hand held, and i was back in it again, at 16.5k at around 11pm.

i cruise along again for a bit, until another devastating blow at around 11:45 pm.

blinds 600/1200

around 10pm, 180 people left, with 55 seats paying. i have 27k, with 97 offsuit in the big blind. two people limp and sb folds.

flop T7x. (pot 4200)

i check, guy A behind me checks, guy B with position bets 4k, i think for a second, then i push against him (he has 19k at the start of the hand, so pushing here was effectively 14k more), and guy A folds. guy B thinks for a bit, then calls with AT. gulp. i didn't think guy B would limp with a hand like AT and was likely on a position steal brick twice again, and i'm down to 8k. great.

i repeat the same procedure, find two spots in the next orbit to move in, then resteal a steal against someone i think is weak. i pump it up to 16k in a hurry, then catch a big break with AA against KK. 32-35k or so, and there's 94 left at 12:15 am.

for the next two hours, play gets slower and much more intense. no longer with a big stack, i fight my way, stealing pots against the middle stacks and getting out of the way of the bigger ones and smaller ones who are willing to move in.

at around 60-70 left, i pick up 88. i was at the point where i had to steal again, and thought 88 would be a good choice to do so. a guy limps (bad move this late in satellite with this structure), and another moved all in. i shook my head, and folded my eights. another guy calls with QQ, and i breath a sigh of relief. if i had moved in there, instead of the other dude right in front of me doing so (with some garbage hand i forget what it was) my tourney would've been over. it almost seemed surreal how things were clicking into place, stealing working exactly as i plan it to, i was in the zone and seemed to have the infinite lives cheat on game genie on. we're literally play 3 orbits of poker in 1 hour, every hand is taking immense amount of time with every decision being critical.

after sweating it out for another two hours, finally number 56 busts out. i pump my fist and yell out a hearty, "JUSTICE!" i call several of my friends that i know would be interested, and recount the key hands of the victory. i told my sister i'd give her 1000 if i made it, and i gave her a stack of 20's, keeping my promise. we subsequently go out to get some late night food nearby to celebrate. i was happy that i wasn't conditioned enough in poker to make this a non-issue, happy that i could appreciate the victory of making a score to a seat, happy that i was going to have a shot, a chance at competing and having a great time, and perhaps making some cash on the side.

that night was possibly the greatest moment in my poker career.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A little trash talk?

poker is a fun game to needle someone in, especially when you're winning. story about sophomore year game

4/4/2007



i had improved my game somewhat, understood what the odds were, what bets meant, what to do in different situations, etc. i was ready to take on the game that had beaten me so ruthlessly in the past year.

the guys in the game were generally a year above me, with a few my year tossed in. the wayne manor game, known as the toughest game on campus. not much of the game to my knowledge exists now, most of the talent has gone on to greener and more profitable pastures online. but back then it was an intense game. 1-1 blinds with 100 dollar buy ins was huge for a college student, and it was time to get some game in.

the walk to the game was usually a cold one in the winter time. who wants to play poker outdoors when the weather's beautiful at duke? there were several characters in the game, the tight passive who was a money cow if you held the nuts, the loud football player who chewed a bit too much tobacco, the cocky upperclassman who thought he could aggress his way out of any situation, the young freshman who looked like he was gollum from the lord of the rings trilogy, a joker who always knew how to keep the table laughing, and the game organizer, a guy we always made fun of for whining too much about how the slow the game was going.

the chips start counting out, whites were one, reds were 5, with the occasional green 25s and black 100s when the bank started getting big. once the game started going, i was in my zone, trying to concentrate on everything that was going on.

the football player was a bit of a dick, an alpha male type who let you know he was the man. i played a hand early with him, i opened early with 66, and he called.

the flop came JKx. he checked, i checked.

turn came a blank. he checked, i bet out the pot, he called.

river came an A. he checked. great i thought, and i checked. he showed QT. i mucked my hand, showing a bit of disgust, to try and make it look like i had a good hand before the A hit. he remarked, "hold em is a game of 7 cards, buddy."

buddy? i'm not your buddy, buddy. good job at winning that small pot. just that remark with an air of arrogance ticked me off. most may have silently thought i was the fish at the table, but oh no. the ass told me straight up that he thought i was the worst player he ever saw last year. this year, things were different.

i opened with 68 of clubs, and three people called. people at the table generally viewed me as a tight conservative player, so i enjoyed the image of having big cards or a big pair.

the flop came down 47T two club. i led out, and the football player decided to raise me. my double belly buster had the advantage of being a deceptive straight if i hit, so i called instead of raising, since he would most likely lead out again on the turn no matter what.

turn came a blank. i checked. the football player decided to check as well.

the river came a beautiful 5 of spades.

"Check."

"Bet." he put out 8 reds and looked at me defiantly, his arms crossed, an obvious sign of strength.

i silently counted out 8 reds, then put it on top of the rest of my stack in one hand, and put 140 total in.

he called almost immediately. i flipped over my hand, and he threw his cards in in disgust.

"you called me with that? drawing to an inside straight..."

i calmly remarked,

"hold em is a 7 card game, buddy."

i raked in the chips to the sound of the rest of the table's laughter.

Balls to the Wall

10/18/2006


i've gone ridiculously crazy over getting to the world series of poker. playing multiple qualifiers a day, spending a lot of time playing during the summer, and just essentially poring my energy into one goal. making it.

somewhere along the line in the past 10 years, i've become completely jaded. a series of events, albeit not so tragic in the grand scheme of things, made me lose touch of what was important in life. it took something like the WSOP to make me realize a lot of things and to reassess the nature of my situation.

when you grow up in an asian immigrant household, trying to meet your parents' high expectations, let me tell you, it sucks. all my life, i've been living in a structured manner, being a momma's boy (even my mom calls me a momma's boy derogatorily sometimes), following the rules as lazily as i could to achieve the harvard or bust goal that had been set out for me.

a lot of my life has therefore been somewhat stressful, with a mother who wouldn't sleep until i practiced my violin, or a father who'd wake up at 3am to make sure i wasn't playing starcraft in the middle of the night. and because of my rigid adherance to the rules, being cool was not an easy task. in fact, a friend of mine still thinks i'm uncool, and references another doug he knows as cool-doug because i've not reached cool status yet. though it was somewhat paradoxical since the cool-doug wanted to meet the uncool-doug (me) after the wsop.

after an event (i won't get to into it since i don't want to be too emo this entry) in 7th grade, and because of the way my life was going, it was easy for me to get into a "me against the world" mentality as someone brought up to me. i always knew that i thought this way, it was just interesting to think about it in an actual idea. so EVERYTHING became a "me against the world" thing. i even created a persona, the tech, to hide behind my insecurities growing up.

towards the latter half of my high school career, i started to change drastically. my outlook on life became totally optimistic, and it seemed like everything was falling into place. my junior year, was actually the best year experience wise, strangely enough. although it was difficult, i actually found most of the work i was doing to be rewarding. i was a young boy prepared to go off to college and find the great things that awaited me, after all my toils and struggles.

that's why the reason why getting into harvard or not was a big deal for me back in the day, was because that was what my worth amounted to be. i had unfortunately poured my heart and soul into the purpose of not just getting into a good school, but a select few in particular. i had equated the reason i was suffering a structured life and was fighting the world was to say "fuck off, i made it, biatches" at the end of it all. but it didn't happen. if you're an avid reader of my xanga, you'll know how the story goes, as i've whined plenty about it.

because of my mindset, i came into college with a meh perspective. i didn't allow myself to let go of things. i didn't let myself mature. that's why i'm still the immature person you see today, struggling to find out what the hell is going on with life, trying to settle into comfortability. the highest points of my college life was when i actually went out there and pursued something, when i tried to make out for myself a purpose. but because of my lack of perspective, it was hard to see the opportunities i had at duke, to be active, to build relationships, etc., which is why i left with such a pang of regret, and wrote that entry for incoming freshman a while back. DON'T WASTE YOUR COLLEGE LIFE! haha i've been saying that to a lot of people lately.

i had this lack of perspective up till even europe, when i was just content being emo, even when i had a great job, a summer to chill, and had an opportunity to explore the unknown. instead i wanted to stay in hostels with internet connections so i could play my online qualifiers on pokerstars.

playing in the world series was awesome fun. at any moment your life is on the line, and the thrill of victory and outsmarting opponents at every turn is awesome, no matter how much knish says it's a pipe dream on rounders. i was given a series of pep talks, most of which were at me being at odds and being tempted to cut my losses and try to sneak into more money. regular tournament strategy dictates that most of the money is found at the top of the ladder, and your expected value rises from going for first. going for first. that became my goal. i wanted to win. to succeed. to acheive.

and so by the luckiest run of cards i've had, (up till day 7, imo where i had to fight to survive) i managed to go far. it was ridiculous. sitting at the final table, a few seats next to allen cunningham, on ppv broadcast for the poker world to spectate, was simply amazing. the lights, the cameras, even the annoying wire you had to attach to your pants was fun. it was almost a dream come true. then i got knocked out. even then, i left with the feeling that i had done everything i could, that i put my game out there.

it was a big reflection, and amongst people i talked to, that i realized that i went all out balls to the walls for the WSOP. i talked about it friends, just how playing would be awesome in itself. most of my life, besides the WSOP, LNY 2004, junior year of high school, was lived passively. it was only when i went out and busted my ass for something that i amounted to something. it may well be God's way of saying i'm living for Him passively as well, and i need to start busting my ass as a christian, or that may amount to nothing for me in the end.

perspective. someone told me recently that everything is about perspective. right now, i feel like i have to make a lot of big decisions that will impact the rest of my life. or maybe they won't. what's important is that perspective, for me to find that bigger picture and start going after it. it took me 10 years to figure this idea out. getting there, well, that's the hard part.

Summer After Junior Year

recounting my experiences during the summer after junior year...during my senior year

5/4/05

i had just gotten off the phone with the morgan stanley dude. FUCK, i thought, i fucked that one up. it's over now, it's over.

for several days after finals, instead of going home, going to london with the rest of my family, instead of going to myrtle, i had stayed in my kilgo dormitory, watching people leave. even most of the seniors had left for a little bit to get away from duke for a bit before graduation.

i remember tearing in front of the computer because i didn't know what to do with my life. my parents were constantly on my case on getting an internship for the summer, it was supposed to be big, as all my sister's friends were claiming. they kept saying, i told you so, in their constant pleas that begged me to stay premed. they had failed with janet, she was gone off to do some fashion shit, that crazy girl. who's going to make this $160,000 education worth something? not janet, that's for sure. a family can only have one burden on its resources. it's your responsibility doug. bring home the cash.

shit just wasn't going right, this wasn't how college was supposed to turn out was it? where was my super duper band that was supposed to be rocking? where were the fun college nights that i was supposed to remember? not only had i failed at having fun and doing what i thought was fulfilling, i failed at getting what i was supposed to do at duke, secure a job, a safe lifestyle. i had been clutch all year, getting stellar grades, that didn't seem to matter now to my parents, since i couldn't come up with the deal clincher, the job. even the tech can only deal with so much pressure.

i had trained with jason, trying to learn the ins and outs of java before my interview with morgan stanley. a last ditch effort to get some sort of respectable internship, i had gotten a miracle interview with a guy who thought i could program in one of their departments. but it didn't make a difference. i was destroyed in the interview. they asked me what the properties of an independent vector was in linear algebra. they asked me all sorts of algorithms i had no clue how to solve in C. in fact, the only question i thought i got right was that i knew the difference between a class and a struct. this was it. it was over. my summer was officially done.

the room was pretty empty except for some shit steve had left for me to store, that lazy bastard. sigh, i wish i smoked, i thought, as this would be one of those kick back and smoke moments like you see in the movies. i thought of how my summer was going to pan out...what was going to happen? would i stay at home all day listening to the mind numbing complaints of my mother everyday as i woke up at 2pm? would it all work out in the end?

all i knew was that the summer had one start, in chicago, illinois, at the scouts.



5/7/2005

after throwing in my two bags and guitar in the trunk of the taxi, i finally started to relax. relax, doug, 4 months of summer to think about. i vowed that this summer, i was going to enjoy it.

"take me to mcclurg court."

it was getting darker in chicago, and there was a long road to the scout's. geetha, the scout's sister also in med school, had asked me how i was getting to their place, to which i half jokingly, half seriously replied, "are you kidding, i'm taking a taxi, obv." coming off a vegas trip where me and the scout were living like kings, it was easy to view subways as a thing of the past. little did i realize, it was almost 45 minutes to the scout, which resulted in a 50+ taxi fare. but it was easily worth it; i'm still not about to lug three pieces of luggage onto the damn L.

i met with the scout at the base of his new residence, an apartment near the northwestern medical school. after a requisite unhomosexual man hug, the type where you give each other a high five and slam towards each other with extra emphasis, we went up to his apartment. he informed me on the way, that we would be going to a club with some of his undergraduate friends (they were still there for senior year, since he only had 3 years of undergrad in the 7 year med program) and that i needed to get wasted. no problem, i needed to get some stress off my chest.

after meeting up with his friends at the club, things were pretty cool. one of his friend, known as the khan, was buying up drinks for the group left and right, and i couldn't refuse, buying him a round as well. drink after drink, i couldn't remember how much i had, except that i drank a whole bottle of beer from drinking so much (significant, because i hate the taste of beer) and something that tasted absolutely strong and disgusting according to scout later on. i had one mission, and that was to get drunk enough to pay back the scout (other story of how he got completely destroyed at duke) and to forget about getting stressed the fuck out.

before i knew it, i was on the dance floor, in the middle of a circle, going absolutely wild. i bet i looked terrifically drunk, which i was, and was definitely over extending my body physically. finally, in a moment of genius, i go crazy enough to start banging my head against the wall, on which a security dude promptly ejected me. scout followed me out, to which i could only sit on the curb, and stare at the floor.

in my drunken stupor, i recanted my life of the past 8 years to the scout, saying all sorts of random shit that didn't really matter anymore, grudges i've held onto, regrets i've accumulated, and girls that rejected me. all this made me realize that my life had been a waste, and that nothing fulfilling was coming out of it. of course i had been fortunate, i was wealthy, going to a good school, etc. but despite all that i felt cheated. part of it was being a selfish little bitch, and part of it was a nagging feeling that somehow, the script was wrong, something else was supposed to happen, and that i was WAITING for it. waiting for something to hit me in the face, for me to discover an opportunity to just follow something.

finally, the scout convinced me to get some food and go back to his place. as he started to play some high stakes poker online he ignored the fact that i was on his floor just flailing my arms as i watched the light rotate in my dizzyness. just thinking about the night, i finally drifted off into darkness....


summer 2005.

i was on my ass, playing some poker online, playing some qualifiers here and there ever since bobby won his seat to play in the world series. my mom, upon seeing me with no job, no future, no life, and playing poker all day was infuriated.

she sat me down for a talk. she told me, she wanted me to be a doctor, that my career path in economics was going nowhere fast. and i couldn't blame her. i didn't have an internship, i didn't have a clue what i was going to do when interviews came up first semester senior year and i had nothing to show for it. she wanted me to be a doctor. the economy could shut you down at any point, but a medical license, that guarantees you safety. security.

i just couldn't picture myself doing that though. taking the route so many others like me had done before. my friend bobby was not finding med school too hot. i just didn't want to think about the future.

she told me about how hard her life was in this country, and how long it took for my dad to find a job in the states, applying to hundreds of places before he finally caught a break. she was annoyed that i wasn't looking constantly for jobs. but i was. i was emailing like 10 places a day, trying to get anyone to hire me, talking to whoever i could. but no one wanted this dorky asian kid with somewhat better than average grades. it seemed like i was applying to college all over again, except this time, i didn't even have stellar statistics or an ace up my sleeve.

that summer however, turned out to be the best summer of my life at that point. a point where i was relaxing and reflecting on how my life was shaped in the past 21 years. it was a time where i was going to decide what to do. las vegas was a great time, exciting watch scout play in the world series, and chilling around new york, eating out, watching entourage, playing video games, it was sublime. last year was a time i enjoyed the company of my friends, somewhat worried about the future, but somehow reassured that whatever happened in the end, it didn't matter.

Perfect Girl? Maybe not...

entry i wrote under obligation when prompted by brian

3/6/2006

so this is some newbish xanga game brian sent me a long time ago, so i'll waste some time to entertain the masses. whelp, here goes.

Rules of the Game:

Tagged victim must come up w/ 10 different points of his/her "perfect lover."
Specify gender of target.
Tag 8 victims to join this game & leave a comment to notify of tag.
If tagged again, no need to post a 2nd time.

The Perfect One (Female):

1. Really really ridiculously good looking - yep, this is an important quality. i'll give it to you straight up, an ideal lover is aesthetically pleasing to look at. i don't want her to be TOO good looking tho, as to making me feel inadequate. that's pretty rare however, as tityta. however, the girl would ideally know she's all that and a bag of chips so she doesn't get that princess complex. which brings me to my next point.
2. Not bitchy - i.e. doesn't think she's all that and a bag of chips all the time. she knows how to get what she wants from me without annoying or nagging me.
3. Competitive - inevitably, there's going to be couple vs. couple games and the like going on with other ppl, and believe me, we're going to come out on top a lot. which brings me to the next point.
4. Athletic - yes i know people are wondering why. believe it or not, i was somewhat in shape in high school...and i think my ideal person should be too, to help with point number 1 and 3, and to whip me into shape again as well.
5. Witty - nothing connects people like laughter. it's difficult to get me to genuinely find something funny, especially for a girl, because i'm very critical of my humor. no, really.
6. Singer - like brian, a good singer would captivate me. but the singing level has to be leet, otherwise it wouldn't really differ my opinion between one who can carry a tune, and one who's tonedeaf.
7. Wise - knows what advice to give in any situation, and more importantly, knows how to get me to agree to that advice.
8. Korean - it'd probably be easiest if the girl were a korean-american for long-term purposes.
9. Compromising - if you want chivalry, you better get ready to serve in the kitchen. it doesn't necessarily mean i want to serve in traditional men/women roles, it just means that i hate double standardizing and being a girl's bitch. equality is good.
10. Loving/lovable - self explanatory. gotta feel the chemistry.



well this list probably sucks, but it's hard to come up with 10 things. seeing as how i'm making a list of the perfect lover, without actually having one, indicates the degree of my loserness. and how bored i am. ok, lata.

Advice

advice i came up with my senior year about college


8/7/2005:

dennis wah made me open to any of you younger kids.

here's some of the advice i can give to those entering college, or still undecided on what they want to do.

a) if you're not sure about becoming a doctor, don't become one. increase the propensity not to become a doctor by about 40% if you're asian. some asshole when i was trying to dissuade someone who "wasn't sure", was like, no you should try it, and see if it fits, take the pre-med classes in case, but the answer is obviously no. if you're not sure, no. ok, maybe you can burn a semester taking a class or so, but if you think orgo is hard in the slightest, drop the idea. it just wasn't meant to be. orgo is a joke, and should be a joke if you are seriously considering med school, compared to what you will have to deal with in med school. note that i'm not saying i'm an orgo master, as chronicled in a previous xanga entry, about my failed all nighters, and such.

a big part of this also is the time, money, and effort it takes to become a doctor. it takes a lot of all these. 4 years more of schooling, 4 more of residency, 2 more of fellowship...plus around a quarter million in loans to pay or more by the end of it all. bobby said one of his aunt's recently paid off her med school bills...when she was 40.

bottom line is, you should RESEARCH the profession of being a doctor before going into it. if you still love it, enjoy it, like the idea, then BY ALL MEANS, go for it. but if you don't, DON'T.

b) never start a relationship in freshman year of college. it's generally a -EV play. here's why:
i) kills start of your social life
ii) if you break up, you have to deal with that person, for three more years around the same people...everyday.
iii) generally, freshman are college newbs, and have the equivalent mindset of a high schooler, no real sense of direction and a lot of insecurity. not good mixes for stability.

c) don't get sucked in the poker craze on campus. it's not worth it. trust me. live poker is just not worth your time, especially if you're starting playing for crap stakes, there are plenty of online markets to feed off of to make money. the time wasted is -EV for sure.

d) go to all your classes. this will increase your average grade by about .3 grade points. it increased mine by about .5. this is the SINGLE most important step in getting good grades.

e) buy books online. you'll save money.

f) call/im/talk to friends to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner. even if they live in edens.

g) if you can, find a very close friend at college. this'll def be the most +EV
thing you can do.


anyway, that's all i can think of for now. for the interactive bit, ask me questions, and i'll try to answer them.

Praise Team leader

reflecting

3/5/2005

why was i here? why have i been put in this position? everything's going amuck...they wanted me to be praise leader? hold up...i just wanted to join the praise team...

it was my senior year and finally i had enough time to commit to the youth group, so i decided to join the praise team. so they made me and clara praise leaders...only a few months later, clara decided to drop out, and i took on the sole responsibility.

usually praise leaders for korean churches know how to play guitar/sing, unfortunately for me, i did not know how to play guitar that well. coupled with the fact that i had to sing as well was a very pressure induced situation indeed. add in a little factor, ooh, say that it was almost everyone's first time on the praise team, dana playing bass, catherine on drums, james on piano, etc, and you get a bit of chaos.

i was nervous. we were pulling a set on the fly, nobody had shown up to practice that week. i told myself things would be ok, but i started having pressure attacks as i knew the ever typical cynical korean teenager would be coolly staring at the projection screen emotionless and would be even more critical of a faulty praise team gone bad.

we started going into the first song, and things seemed to go ok but as we started the second song, something was up. the tempo was too fast which made my strumming a bit off, and i was trying to rectify things by playing faster. sound balance was off and the calculations were going too fast for me to adapt and all i could do was press forward with the worship. i thought if any time for divine intervention was necessary it was now. i got so nervous i lost my pick...and started strumming with my bare fingers. pain shot through my skin but i paid it no attention as i strummed through the rest of the songs like a train...only like a train going into a trainwreck.

at the end of the set, i was utterly ashamed and questioned my limitations, my frustations at the praise team for leaving me alone on a friday afternoon, my purpose on the praise team. as i finished praying, i found my fingers to be bloodied with my finger's ripped skin and blood to be sprayed all over the ovation guitar.

i struggled throughout the year to get things organized, to get people together. it was hard, being the only driving member of the praise team, to get even a decent practice going...and like myself, some of us were just developing the basic skills of our respective instruments. but amongst all the things i was going through during my senior year, i found that if anything was worth doing, it was praise, it was God.

i hope i find that same purpose, something to pursue, as my life seems to be repeating the same theme towards the end of my college career...

Random Thought - 1/16/2005

Random Thought of the Moment

You know how in a serious place, say a class lecture or a business meeting, when a cell phone goes off, they always tend to have these stupid elaborate ring tones, as if I haven't heard Pachebel Canon for the googleth time thank you very much.

Not only that, but when they shut them off, and in turn, get other people to shut their respective cell phones off, the cell phone turning off has a requisite high pitched scale going downwards, creating even more noise than before.

Now is it cell phone manufactuer's faults for putting in the feature that creates noise when you turn off a cell phone? When you turn it off, do you really need an extra noise to let you know it's being turned off?

Or is the fault with those users who can simply turn it off by taking out the battery and putting it back in?

I guess it's a good thing my cell phone shuts off randomly so that this rarely occurs. Plus I have no friends.

Yay for Janet!

i wrote an entry junior year of college admiring my sister for going against the grain

12/13/2004:

*edit*

to answer sonia's post:

i feel like a lot of the times i say shit without thinking about the ramifications and how they might be interpreted.

i don't mean to say being a doctor can't be someone's dream or something like that. but i feel like so many people are being pre-med WITHOUT wanting to go that route, and will ultimately find themselves unhappy because they will find out too late that being a doctor is not what they wanted to do, and they were influenced by societal asian pressures to do things like that.

my friend at med school now, who i feel thinks very similarly as i do, is not finding med school to be a walk in the park, and has somewhat the same sort of laze take it easy mentality. i feel like if you don't have the drive to become a doctor, and being a doctor isn't your passion, and you're doing it anyway, you're just lying to yourself. that is all. -.-; <- liz fob stylez

*end edit*

so today i had to go to this crappy chinese place for my sister's birthday where of course my mom has to throw a hissie fit when the waitress screwed up something like my mom always does...i swear we've probably got spit in our food sometime or another because of mom. she's all into the the customer is always right deal. but that's for another story.

my sister tried to be cute by paying for it. but my sister's po, so my mom was like o OK.

anyhow, onto my sister.

my sister reminds me of the movie moulin rouge, the quintissential starving artist. she's even living in brooklyn where she says artists live or something, i guess she's trying to be with her kind.

my sister's po because it's hard moving up in the fashion business i guess, and you gotta start somewhere. needless to say, my asian parents believe (well at least my mom) that she's wasting her education by having a job that doesn't pay well..

that's where i come in i think. as i mentioned before, i think i'm supposed to play the role of van gogh's brother, who buys his brother's shit cause no one else does. and then i'll sell it when my sister dies for mad g's.

but despite my sister's po-ness, i respect her more than the i-banker making those six figs out of college. because she has the balls (figuratively speaking of course, tho she likes to say "suck my dick, you little shit" a lot) to do what she wants to do in this world, instead of having the life sucked out of them by the very thing i call pre-life. (pre-life being pre-med, pre-business, pre-law, pre anything that involves being boring)

i've lived in my sister's shadow for a long while now, some ppl may call it the harvard older sibling complex (right eddie, gary?), but throughout our waking lives, she was just more concerned with what she was doing, while i mulled around aimlessly, wanting to (obviously) get to the best place possible, while doing the least work possible. i was one of those ppl that tried to optimize the rate of returns against the time i spent (you know like the first hour of work gives you 10 points more, while the second will give you 8 and so on, decreasing rates of returns), but eventually the laze factor settled in. my sister had no such laze factor (at least in high school), and i guess was why my mom's always like study like my sister (again, probably only in high school). so i guess where we ended up going was just.

my sister has gone the asian route, pre-medding and econing, and decided, "fuck that shit" and went fashion. she goes to europe and lives like a native in paris, goes to LA to shoot some videos for hoobastank (sucky band, big name tho), went to some big emmy show or something, showed up on korean TV when they were interviewing ivy league kids or something like that, and will probably do more amazing stuff.

i could never say "fuck that shit" cause i'm too much of a wuss to actually risk it all and do whatever it is i want to do because i've been so blinded by this life that i don't even know what i want to do. sometimes i feel like i live vicariously through her, as scout, in med school, is living vicariously through me. (oh yea, which further convinces me, if you don't know if you want to become a doctor, you don't)

but yea, but it's the little things that my sister will do, like convince my parents that pre-med sucks balls, that being math oriented, i should do something financial and such, taking me to a jimmy eat world concert when i was feeling shitty, calling me up to talk even tho i pretend to be too cool for her, and pretending that i was sleeping in her bed when i came home late so my parents wouldn't kill me(no we don't have a perverted relationship like some sister/brother i know...) makes her a very cool sister indeed.

she does listen to some bad music sometimes tho. and does suck when she's telling me to wake up or something annoying like that. like taking my internet connection. or something.

which reminds me again. 56k sucks. but that's for another entry.

Random Thought - 10/4/2004

Random Thought of the Moment

So as you walk by a pillar or a tree, let's say about 8 feet in diameter, you see someone you recognize. And as you say hi, the pillar blocks your view, and you're like on hold until he passes or you pass fast enough for the pillar to stop blocking the view. But if you keep at the constant speed, the pillar is bound to consistently block your vision from that other person. Now do you walk faster, stop and wait for them to pass, or walk backwards? Walking backwards would make it seem like you're too desperate to see them, and no one deserves that kind of flattery. However, if both think, walk faster or stop, they may just either keep having their vision blocked by the pillar by going in circles, or by stopping at the same time, they'll both look like newbs just standing still.

Random Thought - 8/5/2004

Random Thought of the Moment

So I was having dinner with my friends the other night, and as we're waiting to be seated, my friend looks at another person. It's one of those, my eyes have nowhere to go so I'll just look in this direction and it happens to be another person. Now, this person, noticing that my friend is looking at her, looks back. My friend, taken aback by this lookback, is now on the defensive because his eyes have just coincidentally fixated on her, and now his look was being reflected with the intensity of a laser beam.

In this situation, do you look back EVEN HARDER? Or are you the first to pull away, and look another way. It's kind of like a game of chicken...but it's weird. Random people won't just be friendly, ie you won't see random people just talking to each other, sit next to each other on public transportation...are we generally that untrusting? Hum.

A reflection on poker's ills

entry i made during the summer after sophomore year about freshman year

7/28/2004:

5 am. may 4th, 2003. finals week. i had played way too much poker for my own good. i shut the door behind me to wayne manor. i had an econ final in a day or so, but that was ok, since my gpa didn´t matter. all that mattered was that i got into one of my three schools, and everything would be ok. i would start a band, start a better major, start a new life in a couple of months.

besides, my life at duke was over. preemptively hearing of my departure, my group of friends had officially excluded me from their block. might as well have excommunicated me officially. as some would say, ie jenipuh, i had been character assassinated. oh well, there was steve, the guy i recently became better friends with. he wouldn´t mind a single, and i told him that i´d try to notify duke as late as possible to try to ensure that he got one. (steve later told me that he didn´t mind if my airplane got into a crash, so he could have a single. the dick heh) i wonder what life would be like next year if i stayed at duke...

but i can´t. i started the walk from west campus to east campus. i can´t come back here, i´ve worked too long, too hard for my college experience to be drained like this, doing nothing fantastic with my life. where was the college town i was supposed to experience? where were the masses of asians i was to associate with? where were the classes i wanted to take instead of premed this premed that, the search for knowledge for knowledge sake rather than for pre-professional bullshit? if i stay here, i´ll be pre-med for sure, and that would just be pure injustice. everyone asian here wants to get the fuck out, and everyone else elsewhere seems to be fine where they are. wtf is this shit. wtf is this dur-i-have-nothing-the-fuck-to-do-ham. where were my as gary would call them, dkny wearing fuckers, people of all different kinds, instead of this generic white frat i´m an idiot that thinks i´m cool because i cheer for duke basketball while i drink boy shit. wtf is this nonexistent social scene that leaves you bored in your room twindling your thumbs until you go out and just play poker all night? i´m tired of you saying, duke is a good school. yes academically, but where was my college experience? fuck all that good school shit.

i felt in my pockets. they were empty. i remember my dad visiting me just a couple months ago because he was in the area. he had given me about 400 dollars to spend. over the course of the semester, i had probably lost all of it to poker. was i just a terrible player? (i can now guess why i played so poorly, and what mistakes i made, not transitioning concepts of limit to no-limit, as the two are very different games. now as me and bobby joke around this amount, while still no chump change, doesn´t seem that significant anymore, but at the time i was working without a bankroll...off my own money.)

my studying and eating habits have gone from barely to nothing as my poker addiction stayed, and i wondered why i spent so much time on a game that even if i did win consistently, it would never be enough to justify the time spent. and since i was losing considerably, it didn´t make sense to keep playing...the uber competitive nature in me told me to keep going until i could beat the game. that i was determined to do...

but it wouldn´t matter, i was getting the fuck out of here, no one could remain laughing at me, the sucker, i´d be long gone by then. i´d be in the northeast, where i wouldn´t have to worry about poker or any of that bullshit, i´d be enjoying the rest of my college life there.

i started finally completing the 40 minute walk to east campus, nearing the bus stop. it was far too early for any buses to go to east, and i was not aware of the magical thing called safe rides. it was the longest and quietest walk i took, and it was very sobering, though i spent all of it as sober as i´ll ever be. i decided, that i needed something to eat.

i met up with gary at the marketplace, who looked at me kind of strange. ah gary, a fellow anti-dukite.

"sup, doug."

sup gary. what are you doing here?

"have a fuckin 9 AM final man...chem, man i´m fucked. what are you doing here?"

just came back from the manor...lost a shitload today. you can´t tell anyone man.

"yo, you ok? how much did you lose?"

around two, around two hundred.

i was actually somewhat disturbed by the amount, and somewhat disturbed by my thoughts at the time.

"geez. you gotta quit man. i don´t know why you play poker all the time if you keep losing."

hahaha, i don´t know either...oh well.

i started chomping on my fruit loops, a cereal i´d never get as a kid because my mom thought it was too sweetening. if she knew what other stuff i did like this, she´d have a heart attack.

"so, you really going to leave us here huh. get the fuck out."

hopefully...that´s the plan. i need to just leave this place and start a new life.

"heh man...fuck you. going to leave us...naw man, just kidding. if you gotta go to bahstahn and go to hahvahd to make you happy, by all means go do it."

thanks man.

i really appreciated his comment at the time...i think he was the first one that supported my decision as a friend. as i left him, i thought, i hope he finds his baegeen yuh jah.

when i finally got in the car and left, i had packed everything and left nothing behind, i was prepared never to come back. the only duke item i had was my coach k signed hat (which i lost at wilson! argh!) and was so detached from it that i didn´t even join the duke blogring that esther created.