Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Brandon's Tired!

I’m finally home after a rough couple of nights. Yesterday I met Carl, Fowler and Steve at the Commerce Casino just south of L.A. Actually, we were pretty close to Compton. I even got to drive on Slauson for a bit but Dr. Dre was nowhere to be found. Carl and I played $20/40 for a bit before going back to his hotel. The local Ralph’s had a great selection of Mexican and Latino beers so we bought some Dos Equis Green and a Brazilian beer called Brahma. For a bit of British flava we added a half rack of Newcastle, my favorite beer. The beers were delicious and we played cards until 4:45 in the morning. I now consider myself a decent Chinese Poker player despite losing $20 to Steve. I drove home this afternoon and I feel worn out. I think I’m gonna hit the hay early, around 2AM.

Kenny called me today with my Japan itinerary and it looks like I’m in trouble. I arrive in San Diego, from Barcelona, on the 20th at 9:30 PM. My flight to Tokyo leaves the morning of the 21st at 7:15 AM so I have less then 10 hours between ridiculously long flights. I need to get to the airport around 5am for international travel so, uh, I’m gonna be a wee bit tired. I’m young and I’m a savage beast so I think I’ll survive.

I played a few tournaments today and did very poorly. I felt too tired to play cash games so I’m ending the day down $350. Happens.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Much Respect for the God of Porn

Last night was a lot of fun. I got to Huntington Beach around 8 PM and Chris was working burning CDs for a friend. I hopped online for 20 minutes and made $700 playing $20/40. I hit some big hands and got pretty lucky. So far at $20/40 I’m winning at an insane rate of 23.75 BBs/100 Hands. Usually that number is around 3 for an expert player so I think I’m definitely in a nice upswing. Let’s hope it continues.

Carl called and I found out that he was at a bar real close to Chris’ apartment. However, Chris’ roommate Ashley had gone out to buy some chicken, salad and rice and was in the process of making dinner so I couldn’t just run out to meet him. Dinner lasted until about 10:30 and I called Carl but they had already gone back to L.A. Chris, Ashley, Kevin(Ashley’s bf) and I went to the bars anyway and had a few drinks before heading home. Trish, another one of Chris’ beautiful friends, came by the bad for a minute then drove us home. All the beautiful people live in the HB.

On the way home we made a pit stop at Savon Drugs to buy some beer and guess who we saw in the parking lot? None other than the Zeus of porn, PETER NORTH! I was insanely excited but everyone else thought I was acting a little weird so I tried my best to suppress my emotion. But seriously, how often do you get to see the elite of any discipline on the street? I’d be excited to see Michael Jordan, basketball’s G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) shopping at Savon Drugs. Same goes for Bobby Fischer, chess G.O.A.T. or Israel Kamakawiwo'ole(RIP), Hawaiian ukulele G.O.A.T. Why shouldn’t I pay the same respects to porn’s G.O.A.T.? Porn has had a profound affect on all of our lives! Well, maybe just mine….anyway enough of that.

We played high-low/red-black at the apartment until Ashley passed out and Trish went home because she had to work at 9:30 AM. Haha, work. Haha, 9:30 AM. Crazy talk. I showed Kevin how to Shotgun beer without spilling or spraying all over himself and we had a real good time.

The cable guy came to Chris’ apartment at the ridiculously early and ironic time of 9:30 AM so I’m kinda beat right now. We had some breakfast with a different Ashley and came back here. I think it’s time for a nap before I head up to L.A. to see Carl tonight. Maybe I’ll have some cool poker stories to tell tomorrow. Wow, this might be the longest and most irrelevant blog entry of my life. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Tourney Day

Today is the first day that I entered all 3 big Sunday tourneys on Party Poker, PokerStars, and Paradise. It was a lot of fun and I think I’m going to play in them regularly. I was one of the first players out of the PokerStars tourney because I chose to gamble and either get a big stack or be gone. My big draw missed but I’d play it the same way every time and that’s what’s important. I never got any cards on Party but I managed to hang around for quite a while. My QJ ran into 55 on a Q95 flop and that was that. I lost a real big pot on the bubble(50 got paid) in Paradise that would have put me in the top 5 with first place at over 30K with QQ vs T7 all-in preflop. Kinda nasty but that’s what happens sometimes. I still managed to finish 39th and made a little money but it’s always disappointing when there are thousands at the top.

Today, on Party a guy asked if he could transfer me 1K on Party in exchange for 1K on Stars. I agreed, only if he transferred me the money first. He said that was fine but he wanted me to sit at an empty 30/60 table on Stars and buy in for 1K, just to prove that I had the money in my account. So I sat down and all of a sudden someone else sat down and Stars automatically posted my SB. I had Ts8s so I raised and the BB 3-bet. I called, flopped a flush and ended up winning $209. That pretty much paid for my Stars big tourney entry and the money I won on Paradise almost covered my Party entry so for the day I’m only down $58. Not too shabby, but pretty disappointing when I could have won a few grand. Maybe next week?

I’m headed up to Huntington Beach tonight to hang out with my friend, Chris. Carl and his friend Fowler are coming down too so it should be fun. Hopefully I’ll have an entertaining post for you tomorrow. Carl is in L.A. for the 5K WPT event at the Bicycle Club but sadly he got knocked out on the first day. He’s in SoCal until Friday so we may end up going to the casino at some point. I really love the fact that people have to smoke outside here. It’s pretty much my favorite law. Peace.


Finally, I'm putting in some time playing poker. I've played for about 12 hours over the past 2 days and done pretty well. I've lost about $450 in tournaments but won about 2K playing side games. My friend Aaron gave me a sick Excel spreadsheet that lets me see my current bankroll and how it flucuates. It's even color coded for red when my account goes down and green when it goes up. I think I might start posting about poker strategy and crap someday but today is not that day.

I called US Airways and they had no record of me ever buying a ticket. WTF. They said that I could do it over the phone if I knew the flight #s so I ended up doing it that way. I still had to pay $1290 but PokerStars is paying $1000 of that. I ended up losing $290 on the deal and for a cheapskate like me that really sucks.

Tomorrow is one of the biggest days for online poker tournaments most of the websites have their biggest tournies on Sunday and there are hundreds of thousands of dollars to be won. I'm going to try to wake up early(slim chance) and do something outside then come back to sit in front of the ol' computer. Wish me luck!

Friday, August 26, 2005

So Cal Rocks

Today Renee, Nichole and I drove down the 101 Freeway, from Carlsbad to La Jolla. It's really one of the most beautiful stretches of freeway in the world. I really enjoy where I am. L.A. is too busy and the Carlsbad/Encinitas area is much more my speed. It's relaxing here and the overall atmosphere is amazing. All day Nichole and Renee reiterated how much they would love to live down here. I'm telling you, it's really great. They're leaving early tomorrow because Nichole is going camping with her friends Sunday night. They were originally supposed to stay one more day but they're cutting it short for the camping trip. I wish they could stay but, as a person who values their friends over almost anything in the world, it would be extremely hypocritical for me to want her to do anything else. So tomorrow they hit the old dusty trail for 20 hours. Here's to them getting home safely and coming back soon.

I've had some real issues with my Jacksonville and Barcelona trip. Three days ago I bought the tickets at US for $890. They said that I'd get a confirmation email within 4 hours. Well, as of yesterday the confirmation still hadn't come in so I logged back on and there was no record of me ever buying the ticket. I looked up prices again and they were $1290! I was pissed to say the least but I figured that I must have screwed up(yes, I have made mistakes before) and I grudgingly bought the more expensive ticket. Well, as of tonight I still haven't received a confirmation email and I just logged onto the website to find NO RECORD of ever buying a ticket. So, I'm giving them a call tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to convince them to get my ticket for $890. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Friends are Good

Today was a good day. I rolled out of bed at 11AM and went for a quick dip in the pool. Renee and Nichole showed up around noon and it was good to see them. Renee is my best girl friend and someone that I dated for almost 2 years. Nichole is her 16 year-old sister. They were in L.A. for 4 days and are here for 2. We deicided to go downtown to shop, eat dinner and ultimately head to Petco for the Padres-Astros game.

TWO-AND-A-HALF hours later they finished getting ready and we left the apartment. By now we were pretty hungry so we sopped by In N' Out. The Double Double animal style is by far the best fast food burger you'll ever find. Sadly, the girls got cheeseburgers but what are you gonna do, they're girls. We finally got downtown around 3:15 and went to a cool outdoor mall. I forget the name but I think it's pretty famous. They pranced around and looked for clothes while I checked out other women. It really wasn't too bad. We ate at Moose McGillicutty's and ate some of the WORST food any of us had ever tasted. If you're ever in San Diego, stay away from Moose McGillicutty's, trust me.

We got to the ticket office at 6:35 and there was a huge line. Renee bitched at me a bit for not buying tickets early but I was confident that I could bust out my scalping skills if necessary to make up for bad planning. As we approached the line a girl was waving 2 tickets. I said, "how much?" and she said, "take 'em!" Sweet, 2 free tickets. Then a shadier character came up and sold us a $12 ticket for $10. $3.33 per ticket works for me, even though one of the tickets ended up being $3.34.

The game was awesome because I finally got to see Trevor Hoffman come out to AC/DC's Hells Bells. This has been a dream of mine for quite some time and the reality lived up to the dream. Hoffman is the quintessential closer: Intimidating goatee, good strikeout pitch, and AWESOME theme music. The Padres were up 7-2 in the 8th but a few ripped singles and a timely Joe Randa error gave the Astros the necessary 2 runs and I finally got to see Trevor. I went right by the bullpen to watch him warm up, then when the 9th inning started we head the familiar "dong" and as all eyes turned to the bullpen door the crowd got to their feet, erupting in cheers as Trevor bust through. Serious goosebumps, man. This may seem trivial to most people but to big baseball fans it's truly a great experience. He walked the leadoff hitter, a cardinal sin in baseball, but got the next 3 batters, F9, K, and F8. This was aso a historic save for Mr. Hoffman. With save number 425 he passed John Franco and now is alone in second place for all-time saves. He's 54 away from passing Lee Smith for number one and I think he'll do it. He already has 32 this year and shows no signs of slowing down.

The game today showed me how crappy the Padres really are. Their execution was atrocious and any good team would have scored 12 runs tonight. Funny how their 63-63 record has them in first place by 6 GAMES!

Well, I got a bit sidetracked there but the main point here was that I had a great time with the girls. I love it down here but it's hard to meet people when you don't have a job and don't go to school. It really gives me a greater appreciation for my friends and family and I'm going to try really hard not to lose touch with any of them.

We're going to cruise down the 101 tomorrow and be lazy. The 101 is a real pretty highway and it whould be a lot of fun. We''l do some more shopping/girl watching in Pacific Beach and the girls will head home Friday morning. I'll definitely miss 'em.

Poker on the Backburner...I'm sick with the TRAVEL BUG!

Maybe I'm just a moron but I can't figure out how to put a picture up in my profile. I can send pictures and use them in posts but I can't put one up as my permanent picture. All my picture files are too big and I can't figure out how to shrink them. Oh well. Plain blog.

I'm in the middle of 3 weeks down here in Carlsbad. It may sound crazy but this is the longest stretch of time I've spent here since moving down 5 months ago. I really do like it down here and I'm excited for the late-October through early 2006 stretch of time when I'll be here for a couple of months straight. I wanted to play a lot of poker during these 3 weeks but my deposits have taken a while to go through and I used all my online money for the WSOP. I'm putting 20K back online and I have 30K in reserve for emergencies. I'm only going to 2-table the 20/40 and 30/60 for a while until I get used to playing again. I feel like I've been on an insane 4-month vacation. It's been awesome but I need to get back on the horse and start making a living again. Sadly, it won't be happening until late October since I'm leaving on September 7th for nearly 2 months.

I'm so ridiculously excited for these next few trips. On September 7th I'm flying to Jacksonville to met 3 other SuperFans(Will, Sean and Kenny) for the Seahawk's 2005-2006 opener. The game is on the 11th so we'll have a few days to hang out at Will's uncle's place. Supposedly he has a fat pad and owns a big boat that he takes to games and tailgates with it. Hmmmm, tailgating on a boat, sounds like hell. The first night will be at Kenny's aunt's house since Will is flying in on the 8th. She's promised some down home Southern cooking so I'm looking forward to that.

On Monday the 12th, I'm flying to Barcelona for a 4,000 Euro poker tournament. PokerStars is sponsoring me in this one so I'll be wearing their gear. I think wearing a logo is worth the $5,000 tourney entry, $1K travel expenses and 3 nights in a 4-Star hotel, don't you? The main event is on September 16th but I'm going to play in a smaller(1,000 Euro) tourney on the 14th to practice and try to gain some points in the European Player of the Year rankings. I'm 18th right now and the top 10 get Professional Poker Tour cards. The PPT has 5 free tournaments a year, paying 500K in prizes for each tournament. It's a very exclusive list and getting a PPT card would be sick. It's a bit of a long shot but I want to give myself the best chance. There's another 1,000 Euro tourney on the same day as Day 2 of the Main Event but hopefully I'll still be alive in the big one. I'll bring the cash just in case. I don't know if I explained this well and, due to the fact that I can't figure out how to cut and paste into this page, I'll put up links to what I'm talking about on the side bar under "Links" until they no longer become relevant.

Will and his girlfriend Kat are accompanying me to Barcelona so I'll have some friends to do non-poker stuff with while I'm there. I'm pretty excited to see the Spanish riviera and check out the nightlife. European Playa of the Year, Noah Boeken claims that Barcelona has the best nightlife in the world. Hopefully he'll share some of his pimpjuice with me.

I'm leaving Barcelona on the 20th to and I get to spend 2 days back in Carlsbad. On the 22nd I'm flying to the homeland, JAPAN! I've never been and I can't wait to go. I'm going with one of my best friends, Kenny Barron. He's a definite groomsman in my wedding(if that ever happens) and a serious candidate for best man if I didn't have such an awesome brother....but I digress. He speaks Japanese as well or better than he speaks English and has friends and family scattered all over the islands. He'll be the perfect tour guide and I am excited beyond belief. I'll probably write more on this later. We're still trying to hammer out the details and I'll post updates here.

The one thing I know is that I'm coming home on October 20th. I want to chill for a bit BUT, the EPT is in Dublin from October 29-30 and I'm definitely going for my last chance to add to the European rankings. So, basically it will be 3 months at home until the EPT Copenhagen from January 25-28. I'll definintely write more about the EPT in future blogs. Those 3 months should be a good time to put in work and see if I have the ability to put in serious poker hours. The only snags will be Thanksgiving and Christmas but if I can limit myself to 2 weeks of vacation over the 3 months I'll consider it a success.

OK! That covers future travel plans. Hopefully my entries will be about day-to-day happenings from now on. Goodnight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Do or do not:; There is no try.

Well, I've tried to blog in the past and I've always been too lazy. I'm sure this comes as a big surprise to all of you who know me well. Really though, I'm gonna give it a solid effort this time and hopefully I'll stay consistent with my entries. The theme of the blog is my life and it will cover poker, travel, and other hobbies of mine. I hope I can deliver some entertainment to y'all and provide an avenue for friends to keep tabs on what's happening in my life. Talk to you soon.