Archive for June, 2009

Check Raising the Devil

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Quick little update everyone. I played in Event #24, the No-Limit event on June 11th and quickly busted out. I lasted two levels and ran into some big hands early and could never quite recover. I eventually lost by hitting the 2nd biggest possible straight only to run into the nut straight. Read my Pokerlisting’s blog on this event.

I had plans to play in the limit tournament the following day. My strongest event but I just couldn’t get any sleep that night. Actually, it’s been quite a problem for me since I’ve been back in Las Vegas. I’ve been battling a case of insomnia it seems like. Some days, going to bed as the sun was coming up.

On the day of the limit event, it was already 9am, and I still couldn’t fall sleep. I decided I couldn’t play in that tournament because I just wasn’t going to be sharp enough to be successful. This off schedule sleeping habit is getting ridiculous!

On a positive note, I have been able to read Mike Matusow’s new book, Check Raising the Devil. I’ve known Mike almost as long as any other professional poker player. I’ve known Mike for more than 10 years now. In the mid 90’s, Mike Matusow, Jennifer Harman, Daniel Negreanu, and myself were regulars at the biggest limit game at the Mirage. Those days, Mike was a bit quieter than he is now.

I must say, based on my personal experiences with Mike, that I’m really enjoying his book. I can tell you from what I know about him and other reputable sources close to Mike, that his book is very truthful. I know some of it seems unbelievable but it’s a really accurate and extremely entertaining account of his life. I would definitely recommend buying this book.

A lot of the stories are new to me but I’ve heard some of them before through other people and I remember Mike sharing some of his stories with me over the years. And the single biggest thing most people don’t realize about Mike, is that he is actually a very nice person. Mike is a really kind and caring individual. I know some of it gets lost in his outbursts and tantrums on TV but on a personal level, Mike is a very good person.

If you’re not already familiar with some of Mike’s challenges, it’s pretty public information that he suffers from bipolar disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). When Mike was younger, he would self medicate himself with a cocktail or different types of drugs. Of course, this only led to bigger problems for Mike. All of which is pretty well documented in his new book.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to so far. Outside of playing some poker, I did have a chance to go out and socialize a couple of times with a few of my close girlfriends from Cali that are currently in town. We went out partying at the Bank this weekend. I also went to dinner at Jasmine’s at the Bellagio a couple of nights ago. One of my favorite chinese dining in Vegas.

There’s one event I’ve been looking forward to playing most besides the World Championship 10k No-Limit event is scheduled today at 5pm which is event #33 – 10k Limit-Holdem. I will definitely be playing in this tournament and looking to win my first WSOP bracelet! Wish me luck everyone!


Blame it on Rio

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I’m back in Vegas everyone!! I participated in my first WSOP event a couple of days ago. Event # 14 $2500 Limit Holdem (6-handed). I quickly built my chip stack to 13k after the first four levels of play, but ended up busting out late in Day 1 after going completely card dead after the dinner break. I’ve been back in Las Vegas for a week now. I was hoping to play in a few earlier events but as soon as I drove back from LA, I woke up the next morning with a bad cold flu. I had to wait almost a week until I was able to play my first event.

(photo courtesy of
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(13k chip stack after 4th level before dinner break)

Since my last update, I made a sudden decision during my last week stay in London to hop on a plane back to Vietnam and spent a week there. I did some charity work for a few days and had an opportunity to clear my head from poker. This was my goal for staying in Europe and Asia for the entire month leading up to the WSOP, to mentally prepare myself for the WSOP and get myself spiritually and emotionally in the right state of mind.

While I was travelling through Vietnam, I had some amazing personal experiences that are a little difficult to explain. Through charity work, family, and friends, I was able to meet some very wonderful people in my recent visits. Some of the most wonderfully charitable and humble people I have ever met in my life. I had some eye opening experiences and moments that I cannot possibly explain in a blog. Let’s just say that I have a deeper understanding for life and my place in this world. I’d like to send out a very special thank you to Thay Hung, anh Phan, chi Thuy, and anh Banh for all the things they have done for me to make this charity journey a complete success!

(Xin thành kính cảm tạ Thầy Hùng (Hà Nội), người đã dành trọn tâm huyết cho chuyến làm từ thiện này. Và cũng xin chân thành cảm ơn anh Phán, chị Thuý, và anh Bằng đã cùng chung sức cho chuyến từ thiện này.)

Now that I am back in the states again, I am excited about playing poker again. I rarely get to step completely away from poker and I feel completely refreshed and with a strong desire to play really hard and put in the effort that is necessary when you are trying to navigate through some of these very deep and competitive WSOP fields.

I’ve only had a chance to play 1 day so far but I’ve noticed a trend where there are more and more unrecognizable faces every year. I am pretty sure some of these guys and gals are experienced and successful internet players so I always need to take caution and not assume I have a huge edge just because I don’t recognize somebody.

I also want to congratulate my friend Steve Sung for winning Event #4 for his first WSOP bracelet. Steve took home a cool $771,000. I’ve known Steve for a couple years now and he’s a really good guy and I’m extremely happy for him. And what Phil Ivey did in Event #8 isn’t very surprising at all but still amazing. Ivey is truly an amazing player and I heard rumors that he won close to $10,000,000 on a side bet for winning the Seven to Deuce event.

I’m hoping to have some of the same kind of success too and right now, I’m trying to figure out which events I want to play next. I believe there are 56 events this year so I have a long ways to go still and I’m trying to pace myself. I don’t want to burn myself out and throw money away when I enter a tournament. I really want to win every tournament I play.

I think there are a number of different places you can get WSOP results and updates. Keep your eyes out for me. Hopefully, I’ll make some big waves in one of these events soon and generate some excitement. Until then, I will keep you posted on my progress. I look forward to catching up with old friends in Vegas and most importantly enjoying myself but don’t be fooled. I really want to win that bracelet and will give each and every WSOP event my absolute best effort.