Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Recollection of a decade .. welcoming 2010!

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

The holidays have always been a time of reflection for me, a time to look back on what has been and look forward to what may be. This is a special time as we end this first decade of the 21st Century. I’d like to end this present year on a cheerful note and make way for a fresh and bright new year with this video from my most recent charity journey.

There are many similarities between this year and this decade for me. I started the decade playing my cash games, first in Las Vegas and then eventually in LA. I learned my game playing LHE, long before No-Limit became the game of choice in poker rooms. I moved into tournament play halfway through the decade in 2005, making my first WSOP final table with Allen Cunningham, CK Hua, Devilfish Ulliott, Scott Fischman, and An Tran. I’ve done well since then, making other final tables around the world and taking down a tournament here and there.

As many of you know, the decade also brought personal loss and struggles for me. I lost my father two years ago after his battle with health problems. I’ve worked hard to honor him and persevere, but it has not been easy for me. I’m afraid as hardened as I’ve become over the years, I’m still very much Daddy’s little girl.

I’ve returned to my homeland of Vietnam throughout the decade. Each time brings me great comfort and fulfillment, but each time there also seems to dig a little hole into my heart. I’m not sure what it is. I wish sometimes I could just grind away there like I do at the poker table, but it takes more out of me than that.

This decade has also been a time where finding balance has been hard. Poker, my marketing partners, tournaments, the hardships of glamorous travel, trying to find some way to stay connected to friends. It hasn’t been easy, and it seems to get more difficult with every blurry week.

And now 2009 comes to an end, a year as difficult for most of us as any has ever been. I’ve been fortunate in many ways, but many of my friends and fans continue to face grave hardship. For those of you who don’t get to Las Vegas, you would be amazed at the many houses for sale. People who were out of work used to be looked down upon; now, it is commonplace to find friends who have been unemployed for a year or more.

Even though I’ve weathered this year fairly well, it has caused me to become more serious and more focused. I’ve always been known for my aggression at the tables, and I think it is time for all of us to become more aggressive in how we make it through 2010. That doesn’t mean being rude or obnoxious, but it does mean taking control of our situation whatever that situation may be. I also think it is a time to protect our self interest without becoming self-centered.

My plan for 2010: to spend more time at the tables in cash games, to achieve my goals for the year in poker, to do fewer things away from the table but be sure they are more meaningful, to slow down a little bit, to take care of myself, and to reach out to a few old friends. Don’t let the year get started without setting goals for yourself.

I want to also thank all of my readers and fans here on my blog, on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, Chilipoker, and anywhere else you may bump into me. All of the kind words and encouragement are greatly appreciated.

New Year is the time to unfold new horizons & realize new dreams, to rediscover the strength & faith within you, to rejoice in simple pleasures & gear up for new challenges. Wishing everyone a truly fulfilling 2010!

Cheers!

Weathering the storm and staying the course…

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I think many of you will find this journal entry is pretty topical considering recent economic events. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks playing poker at the Commerce in L.A. and something is definitely up. I’m not sure if it’s the economy or what but all of the high stakes games have temporarily dried up. I’ve been playing 100/200 at the Commerce lately because that’s the biggest game going in the high limit section right now. The few times we’ve been able to kick up the stakes, the game will fall apart within a couple of hours.

Las Vegas has been the same way if not worse in terms of high stakes cash games. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I know some of poker players are struggling lately. I’ve heard rumors of different players going broke. I know a ton of players spend a lot of time travelling or playing online. And the live cash games have suffered because of it. But it’s okay because I’m going to adapt and stay the course until better days.

In Nautical terms, staying the course means not altering your path regardless of the obstacles in your way. You weather the storm and reach your destination. In 2008, I ran into a bunch of different storms, personally, spiritually, physically, and professionally. And a few times I was thrown off course and had to find my way again and it’s prepared me for everything to come in 2009. In the past week, I’ve been able to stay pretty even playing the cash games. I ran pretty bad early, losing on some pretty horrific beats. I was able to finish the week strong booking 3 straight winning sessions. I took a lot of personal time in 2008 and now I’m back stronger and better than ever.

After pulling several all nighters grinding the cash games, I was wearied! So what did I do to get away? I took a short break! Last Friday night I went out with my girls to celebrate one of our girlfriend Kayla’s birthday at iLounge Nightclub, one of the new trendy hot spots in Newport Beach. We managed to get the best table in the joint in the Presidential VIP suite, which in my opinion felt like we were trapped in a cell behind bars. HaHa!! Nevertheless, we had a awesome time!

(Birthday girl Kayla)

At the moment, I see clear skies and sunrise. I am really looking forward to this weekend’s tournament at Caesar’s. The Dream Team Poker Event. Quinn Do, Matt Stout and I make up the Pokerlistings team. I know Poker Road has a team in the tournament headed by Joe Sebok. Also, Eric Morris of Bluff Media will have his team there ready to play. My good friends Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, and Tiffany Michelle will make up an all-female team. I believe they are going by the name “Yo Mamma” or something like that. Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Dennis Phillips, Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang are some other players with teams entered into the Dream Team field.

I hope I have more to report after this weekend. I expect good things and even if the cards or chips don’t fall my way, I will stay the course!