Friday, September 30, 2005

Lots to tell

Bleh, I let it happen again. Too many things to write and not enough time to write them. I have 15 minutes here at the Internet cafe to write about the past few days so it'll have to be short. Here's a summary of what I've been up to.

Tuesday: Shigetoshi
Wednesday: Shigetoshi
Thursday: Hiroshima-Kyoto
Friday: Temples of Kyoto
Saturday: Laura

On Tuesday I met Shigetoshi at a train station near his house. Sasaki Sense dropped me off and he spoke with Ken for a few minutes before they left me on my own. Shigetoshi brought his whole family, wife Chica, 11 year-old son Hoshi, and 7 year-old Anri. We went to a very nice Unagi(eel) restaurant for lunch and tried to talk to each other. Shigetoshi knows very basic English and his family members knew none. Needless to say, it was very difficult to talk to them but we tried our best.

We went to do some sightseeing near his hometown of Kurume City then went to his house to drop off the wife and kids. His daughter is ridiculously cute and his son is your typical 11 year-old, probably plays too many video games, collects Magic cards and spends way too much time indoors. I gave his daughter some finger paints and Care Bears stuff and she loved it. I gave him an outdoor lawn game and he responded with a very uninspired 'arigato'. Oh well.

Kurume Dity is about an hour and a half drive from Fukuoka City where we were headed that night but we ended up taking off pretty late. We went to see Shigetoshi's mother who is my Grandma's cousin and her sister who obviously is also my obasan's cousin. They were all very thrilled to meet me. It's interesting to me how they still feel such a strong sense of family even though I'm so distantly related. We took pictures and looked through old photo albums and finally headed off for Fukuoka City, arriving around 11:30 PM. I was exhausted and crashed immediately.

Shigetoshi let me sleep in until 8 AM but couldn't wait any longer than that. We had a busy day of sightseeing and he really took me to a lot of cool places. I saw a famous temple, Fukuoka tower, like the SpaceNeeedle of Fukuoka, and a museum dedicated to Fukuoka's history. It was very frustrating, having such a limited ability to communicate, but we had a good time regardless. He spent way too much money on me and I felt really bad. He dropped me off at my hotel around 5 PM and drove back home. I had met him once before, in Hawaii 17 years ago, but it was good to really meet him and get to know what little family I still have over here. He drew out a family tree for me and showed exactly where we were linked. He's a ridiculously nice guy and I really appreciated his enthusiasm.

That night we ate sushi with Ken's uncle Ichiro. We again had too much soju and went to bed feeling good. Thursday morning we went out with Uncle Ichiro to the best ramen place in Japan. It's become a big chain with about 30 restaurants throughout Japan. They have a day once a month where the bossman comes in and cooks for everyone that it's a really big event. This was that day so we joined the throng outside the restaurant and bullied our way in once they opened. Ichiro knows the bossman and we got a nice seat up front and talked to him while he worked. Well, they talked to him, I smiled and nodded.

After ramen, Ichiro drove us to the train station and we headed to Hiroshima. They have a really nice museum there and it was very humbling to see all the effects of the atomic bomb that the U.S dropped on them. War is fucking brutal.

I only have a minute left here so I'll post the rest later. Laura is waiting for us and we're off to see more temples. Sayonara.

Monday, September 26, 2005


People in Japan really like to drink...and I`m easily swayed by peer pressure. The past two nights have been pretty hectic but thankfully I`m drinking nothing but water tonight.

We arrived in Fukuoka City on Saturday night around 7 PM. Ken`s uncle is subsidizing a hotel for us because his son is studying for the Japanese version of the SATs and we can`t stay at his house. We checked in at the hotel then met Uncle Ichiro and his friends for dinner. We ate at a really nice place that had a lot of Korean influence. Our main dish was a lot like Sundubo(Soon-Doo-Boo) but was homemade by the lady of the house and much better than the Sundubo that I usually eat on North Aurora. Ichiro was drinking really fast and was drunker than Ken had ever seen him. Ken thinks he was trying to keep up with me but I think competition is silly, especially in something as juvenile as drinking.

We woke up in the morning with a slight hangover and caught a train to Ken`s mom`s hometown. Allen was stationed here and was able to woo the beautiful Tempura chef named Akiko thanks to 2 of his golfing buddies, Shimomini San and Sasaki San. We`re staying with Sasaki San and we had a great time last night. He broke out the good soju and he and I got smashed. Ken was worried for our safety so he stopped early but I wasn`t going to miss out on drinking with the coolest 70 year-old in the world.

We woke up at 5 AM this morning without a hangover due to the quality of the soju and went hiking all day. I got pretty sunburnt because it was an absolutely perfect day. We hiked right next to a dormant volcano that emitted lagre quantities of sulfuric smoke. After hiking we went to a hot springs place and soaked our muscles. It was really nice to do something active after all these weeks of overeating, starting in Jacksonville and never ending.

Like I said before, tonight we`re going to chill and get some rest. Tomorrow I head to my Cousin Shigetoshi`s place to see him for the second time in my life. He`s pretty much the only remaining Japanese relative that we keep in touch with and I`m excited to see him. Ken is staying with Mr. Sasaki and we`re meeting in Fukuoka City on Wednesday. I have a few pictures that I want to put up but I`m going to have to wait until I`m at a newer computer.

Go Seahwaks! Yankees Suck! Mariners aren`t going to lose 100!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Tokyo: Round 1

We`re off to Kyushuu today with a brief stop in Hiroshima to see the Atomic Bomb Museum. It should be pretty intense.

Tokyo has been great. We stayed with Ken`s friend Ryo, a real-life Buddhist monk. Yesterday we woke up early to go see a ceremony that he was taking part in. His temple is one of the biggest in Tokyo and it was cool to get to check it out. He`s a hard partier but he sticks to his faith when it`s important. He`s 19th in his family line, one of the oldest consecutive lineages in all of Japan.

After the ceremony we went to Shibuya and hooked up with Scott for lunch. It was great seeing him and catching up. He really digs the program he`s doing and is seriously considering re-signing for another year. After lunch, Kenny and Nabe went back for a nap so Scott and I went to Electric City, an overhyped district of Tokyo with a buttload of electronics. The bargain shopper in me was pretty disappointed because everythign was still really expensive and the tourist in me was a little annoyed because it all seemed so pointless. Sure there were a lot of electronics stores but they all sold the same stuff and they all looked and felt the exact same. Meh.

Scott had to head home so we took a picture in front of the electric monstrosity and parted ways. I got back to Ryo`s apartment around 4 PM and we all got ready to go out. Around 5:30 we headed to a very nice restaurant near the Tokyo Dome. Ken`s brother Matthew met us there along with 2 other friends for a party of 7. We ate a lot of really good food and drank a lot of good alcohol then went out to some other bars. We had a good time and didn`t get home until around midnight. I hit the wall around 9 but I couldn`t drag the party down by wussing out early so of course I kept it real. As soon as my head hit the pillow at Ryo`s I was out like a light. Ken said that all the Japanese guys thought I was dead this morning because I wouldn`t wake up no matter what they did.

It`s been a long few days and I`m looking forward to relaxing in Kyushuu. As I type this, Ken informs me that his uncle wants to take us out drinking tonight with a bunch of his friends. Joy.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Made It

I`m finally here in Japan. We`re staying at Ken`s friend Ryo`s apartment. I slept a lot on the plane so I feel great right now but we`ll see how I hold up tomorrow. We`re scrapping the trip to the expo and we`re going to Hiroshima on the 24th instead. I`ll try to post some pictures tomorrow. Sayonara.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Contact Info

Before I forget, here's Ken's cellphone number in Japan:

If you call from Japan use: 090 9844 1671
Outside of Japan use: 011 81 90 98441671

It's free for him to receive calls so hit us up. It might cost you a pretty penny, but, WHATEVER! Please remember that Japan is 16 hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone and call during decent hours. If you want to prank call Ken at 4AM, that's cool too but make sure he doesn't wake me up.

I'm kinda pissed that I didn't carry my camera around in Barcelona and I won't make the same mistake in Japan.

The Homeland

I'm in San Diego for 12 hours to recharge my batteries and wash some clothes. I'm off for Japan at 10 AM tomorrow and I'm really stoked. Kenny has given me great directions and I should be able to find him at the train station, about an hour away from the airport. Here's our itinerary for the moment:

Sept 22-23: Tokyo
Sept 23-24: Nagoya for the Expo
Sept 24-29: Kyushu with Ken's family and my cousin Shigetoshi
Sept 29-Oct 6: Kyoto with Ken's family and Laura hopefully
Oct 6-15: Tokyo with friends and Scott hopefully
Oct 15-21: Hong Kong

We may skip the Expo, depending on the recommendations of Ken's friends who have already gone. In that case we would catch the train to Kyushu on the 24th. I can’t believe that this is my first ever trip to Japan, or Asia for that matter. I’m really amped period but having one of my boys as my tour guide really puts the icing on the cake.

Here’s my first poll:
What is your favorite nickname for Kenny?
(a) Hawk (because of the Barron nose)
(b) Sky (because of Kenny “Sky” Walker, slam dunk champ in the 80s
(c) Bones (no explaination needed)
(d) Tweeter (no real reason)

One day I’ll learn how to make an interactive poll but for now, just vote in the comments section.

I’d really like to see Scott and Laura during this trip. I think my next post will be from beautiful Tokyo. I’m waking up in 5 hours to catch the train back to the airport, what a rough life.

Sweet Caroline Posted by Picasa

We be clubbin Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Coolest City in Europe

Will and Kat just boarded their plane to Seattle and I have an hour left here in the Philadelphia Airport. Seems like a good time to write!

Most of you know how much I love Europe. I think that Barcelona was the coolest city I've ever been to and that's saying a lot. It's hard to describe what makes it so great but Barcelona has all the old architecture and history that I love about Europe yet remains one of the more progressive and hip places I've ever been. I'd really like to move here someday soon and I'll be applying to their business school next year.

I really feel strongly about the above paragraph. I think that I often overexaggerate things and always romanticize the place that is freshest in my mind but this isn't the case here. I think my favorite cities in the world are ranked in this order: Barcelona, Istanbul, Budapest. Of course Seattle will always be number one but that goes without saying.

At the tournament, no less than 3 people asked me if I had gained weight since Mone Carlo. I immediately went to the bathroom and purged my paella.

I forgot to thank Conrad and the entire PokerStars team for giving me the chance to play in this tournament. I was on TV for a while so that has to make them pretty happy. I have a great relationship with those guys and I really hope that it continues.

Pauly ( is a really funny and cool guy. I told him that I read his blog and he acted really flattered then went on to tell me about the million different people that he's met and told him that they read his blog. He was probably more excited when Isabelle Mercier said she read his blog than when I said that I did. I read his blog the other day and he introduced me as "the best player under 26 that you've never heard of". Obviously this is quite an exaggeration but I really hate the fact that he has to put "26" now insted of "25". Growing old sucks.

The best player under 25 that you've never heard of? Carl Olson. He's an absolute machine and continues to amaze me. I stayed up until 7AM one morning in Barcelona to watch him win almost $60K in an online Pot Limit Omaha tournament. He was getting advice along the way but it's amazing that he really doesn't know PLO that well and relied on his sick tourney skills. Congrats, Carl. He's now committed to going to Foxwoods in November and I'd really like to qualify and hang out with the guys who taught me how to win at poker.

It's nice to be back in the states, albeit for less than 24 hours. I'm off to Japan tomorrow morning and I hope my body can handle all this travel. I think I'm still running off of the huge meals that we had in Jacksonville. I can't wait to get to Tokyo and hang out with Katsumi again. I'll post my Japan schedule tonight, once I get home to San Diego. Hopefully I'll be able to hook up with Scott, Laura and my cousin, Shigetoshi. Talk to y'all later.

Monday, September 19, 2005

EPT Barcelona

It´s cool to see 5 comments on my last blog. I really appreciate feedback and it kinda fulfills the purpose of this blog, keeping in touch with my friends, family and loved ones. Davis is right and I´m really bad at keeping in touch with people but it doesn´t mean I love them any less.

I always want to sit down and write a novel for each blog but I think I´ll start dropping little posts daily, one paragraph or so, while on the road. There are 3 computers at the hostel we´re staying at and Internet is free. The problem is that everyone wants to use it and you always have to wait a little while before getting on then suffer through people constantly asking when you´ll be done and breathing down your neck. I got tired of it and I´m at a cafe that charges 2 Euros per hour. It´s a small price to pay for my sanity.

The tournament didn´t go too well and there were a lot of things that really pissed me off. They had 325 entrants after declaring that they were capping the number around 270. In order to get a winner in 2 days they had to shorten the blind levels to 45 minutes. This was extremely frustrating because usually you get a little more value for your 4,000 Euros. If I had paid to get in I would have been extremely upset. As is, I was merely a little disappointed.

My opening table was about as sick as you can get. I had a difficult table in Monte Carlo but I think my relatice position at this one made it worse. I had Gus Hansen 2 to my right and a young Finnish kid directly on my left who was capable of putting me to the test with nothing and probably calling me with Ace-high. He´s the kind of player that you absolutely need a hand to play against: unbluffable, fearless, and a seemingly insane lack of regard for chips. He was very good at sensing weakness and picked up a ton of pots. The other six players were all very good as well and nearly everyone I talked to speculated that the selection process had been rigged. All I know is that it was the toughest day of poker of my life and I had to fight for every chip.

I don´t think I made too many mistakes but I didn´t have very many hands at all and it was very frustrating. Gus doubled up early and with more big hands an aggression he had built a monster stack. He opened in middle position for 1250 and I called in position with 77. after this call I had about 11000 left. The flop came down T43 with 2 hearts and Gus bet 1150. This bet could mean absolutely anything and I called, planning to reevaluate on the turn. I could have raised here but I had no desire to play a big pot against Gus. The turn paired the 3 and Gus checked. I had seen him make flop bets then check-fold on the turn 3 times in the last orbit so the first thing that went through my mind was getting him to fold. In retrospect I think my bet of 3500 was my crucial mistake. I think I should have checked it through on the turn then called a medium sized bet on the river. As it played out, Gus instantly check-raised me all in. I had seen him play top set, Quad Queens and an overpair to the board earlier in the day where he check-raised his opponent all in. However he had always taken his time in those spots, counting his chips and asking his opponent how much he had before putting them all-in. This time he quickly jammed and I thought there was a good chance that he was bluffing. If he´s bluffing one-fourth of the time here then I think I have to call, rather than folding and leaving myself with just over 6000 chips. This was the last hand of the 200-400 level and blinds were moving up to 300-600 with a 75 ante. Leaving myself with 6000 chips in that scenario at that table is absolute suicide. I guess I´ll never be known for my big folds. Half the time people will be amazed at how I made such a big call and half the time people will be shocked at how I could make such a terrible call. Such is life and I don´t regret calling at all. I really wish that I had checked the turn through but there´s no going back. I was shocked to see that Gus had JT. I expected to see a big overpair half the time and some sort of semi-bluff the other half. It seems dangerous to check the turn with just a Ten but he probably knew I had a medium pair and planned on owning me, which he did.

It was a great experience and I learned a lot. The Finnish kid on my left, Ilari was incredibly difficult to play against and I enjoy learning from people who give me fits. I think he was a little too reckless but it´s hard to tone it down without losing your fear factor. There was one hand where he called an all-in from Christer Johanson, easily the tightest player at the table with Ah5h getting about 1.5-1 on his money. This can not be a good call but the image that it produced was very valuable. He was able to pick up a ton of smaller pots because people knew he was unbluffable. He called the 5 or 6K more without even thinking really and it really terrified me. Without that call I would have been more likely to test him with check-raises and whatnot. Anyway, he´s 22 and very, very good. Watch out for him soon.

Here´s a list of my starting table with a link to their tournament history. It´s pretty sick.

Seat 1: Pascal Perrault:
Seat 2: Christer Johansson:
Seat 3: Theo Jorgensen:
Seat 4: Really weird dude, ran KK into AA for Gus, 5th hand of the tourney.
Seat 5: Peter Eichardt:
Seat 6: Gus Hansen:
Seat 7: Daniel Larsson:
Seat 8: ME!
Seat 9: Ilari Sahamies:

I talked to Peter Eichardt at the club after the tourney ended and he said that in 15 years of tournament poker it was by far the tougnest table he´s ever had.

One last rant before I go. Being on the TV table really sucks. There are constant pauses while people fix their microphones or they ask for chip counts. We get way fewere hands per level that all of he regular tables. The worst thing ever was when we came back from dinner break all the other tables were playing and we had to wait 11 MINUTES for a CAMERAMAN to get back from dinner. The dealer dealt our first had with 34 minutes left in the round. I was irate and tilted for about 2 levels. I am going to write Thomas Kremser a letter and plead with him that he makes sure to have someone on his staff on the set at all times to make sure the TV crew doesn´t slow us down. It´s hard to blame anyone because everyone on the crew and tournament staff is really cool and they really are trying hard but it´s just insane to penalize us like that.

After I busted I went to a club called Razzmatazz with Will and Kat. The club is a marketplace during the week and a club on Friday and Saturday nights. It feels like an abandoned warehouse and there are 8 or so different rooms all playing different types of music. It was really cool and we had a great time.

The next night, after the tournament ended I went to a nother club with Noah and a bunch of Scandanavian kids. The club was called Sutton and it was one of the coolest clubs I´ve ever been to in my life. There was a huge line outside but Noah went to the front and we all got right in. They led us to one of the private tables where we got 8-10 bottles of Moet champagne and 6-8 bottles of Absolute vodka with mixers. These kids really know how to go all out. We had a great time and I felt a little out-of-place but I met a few really cool guys and it was a great night. We spent way too much money but every once in a while I think it´s worth it. It wasn´t even one of the top 10 amounts that I´ve ever spent at the bar.

I´ll post my reflections of Barcelona soon and also post my schedule for Japan. I have to email some friends who are over there so that we can meet up. Adios!

Friday, September 16, 2005

I definitely need to get better at posting while on the road. Sorry for the long lapse and I hope it won’t take so long ever again.

Will, Kat and I arrived in Barcelona around 11AM on Tuesday and decided to go to Valencia for 2 days since we’d be spending so much time in Barcelona during and after the tournament. I originally had planned to play in a smaller tournament on Wednesday but I decided it would be more fun to check out another city and I’d also be able to adjust to the time change better. We had a great time in Valencia and I don’t regret going at all. We found a very basic place to stay, San Jose hostel. It was pretty ghetto but pretty cheap so I was fine with it. The heart of the city is really old and it reminds me of a lot of great European cities with amazing architecture and cool little mazes of roads that make the cities really fun to explore. One word to the wise: If you ever travel with Will, do NOT let him navigate. North is South, East is West and we always wound up at the train station no matter where we wanted to go. We had some really bad meals at some really cheap restaurants and drank quite a bit of beer. Two places that I highly recommend if you ever go to Valencia: Bar Pilar, great atmosphere, delicious mussels and relatively inexpensive, and Radio City. It sounds pretty cheesy but Radio City was the coolest club we could find. There were more locals here than any other place we could find and the dance floor was pretty crowded. On Wednesday night we cut a mean American rug until it closed around 4 AM.

Thursday we caught the train back to Barcelona. The round trip ended up being around 60 Euros, pretty expensive compared to the travel I did in Eastern Europe but I guess it’s to be expected in Spain. We checked in at the Barcelona Princess around 6 PM and left the memories of the San Jose Hostel far behind. This hotel actually has a door on the shower and a window that looks out over the city instead of a brick wall. I went to the casino last night for a bit and hung out with the PokerStars people who have been kind enough to sponsor me in this tournament. I met some really cool people and got my first taste of the Barcelona nightlife. Will and Kat stayed out until about 4 AM again but I came back early to make sure I would be well rested today. I’m really excited for the tournament and let’s hope I get lucky.

Here are some good places to receive updates:

The second page is run by a guy named Pauly and he’s a really great writer. I met him last night but I’ve been reading his blog for a few months now. He’s covering the event for Poker Player newspaper and I think he’ll have updates throughout the day. Of course I’ll try to post as much as I can. Let’s hope I don’t have any time for posting because I’m busy playing all night. It’s about an hour 'til gametime so I'm going to head over to the Casino. Talk to you soon.

Monday, September 12, 2005

God Bless Jacksonville

I'm in the airport here in Atlanta and I can't help but think of the great time we had in Jacksonville. The hospitality we received was unreal and we are definitely appreciative. It was great to see Kenny, Will and Sean and really nice to meet the families of Kenny and Will. I'd definitely like to come back to Jacksonville soon. Let's hope Barcelona is cool, I have a feeling it might be.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


We had a really fun football weekend down here in Florida. The results may not be what we envisioned but we had a great time. Both games had a great atmosphere, great weather and, of course, great friends.

Interlude: Some of these entries are starting to sound a little sappy and contrived. I’ll try to stop doing that and just write off the top of my head.

The Gator game was great. We bought a six-pack of Sparks and one half-rack each of Beast Light and Natty Ice. Will’s cousins hadn’t ever had the pleasure of indulging in Sparks and they were very impressed by its smoothness. Tailgating at the Swamp is a lot bigger than at Husky Stadium. It seemed like the entire state of Florida was having a party in the parking lot and you couldn’t help but get fired up. We were a little disappointed with the lack of hotties in the state of Florida but it is possible that we just weren’t looking in the right places. I might just be spoiled by So Cal as well.

As far as the game goes, Florida won 41-3 but didn’t look nearly that good. Chris Leak looks a little shaky and I’m not a huge believer in their offense. Tennessee will be slightly tougher than Louisiana Tech was this week and I think the Gators are going down, even though it’s in the Swamp. You heard it here first.

The game didn’t end until late and we got home around 11PM, ridiculously tired from drinking all day but ready to do it again on Sunday. Unfortunately I entered a tournament on PokerStars and didn’t get to bed until 4 AM so when Aunt Bev served breakfast at 9 AM, I was a little tired to say the least. She made quite a feast with 50 eggs scrambeled, sausage, bacon, biscuits and OJ. We got to the tailgate site around 11:15 and met up with Ken’s cousins. This one was a little less eventful and I think Seahawks tailgating is a little bigger and better then what we experienced. We still had fun and threw the football around and I was feeling really good heading into the game.

The first half was so-so. We turned the ball over too much but the defense stiffened in some key spots and we were lucky to go into the half up 14-13. I love Hasselbeck and I think he’ll take us far but sometimes he has a little too much gunslinger in him and he makes ill-advised passes. Anyway, I liked how we played the first half and I figured if we could hold onto the ball, the game was ours.

Well, obviously we couldn’t hang onto the ball and the Jags defense really got it going. I think they started sending more blitz packages and we couldn’t take advantage of one-on-one coverage. In the end it really came down to their defense making plays and our offense failing to do the same. It is really tough to run on this Jags defense and I’m not ready to panic over one game. Hopefully we establish the run next week and can get in a better rhythm. And, uh, NOT turning the ball over 5 times would be cool.

After the game we went to Aunt Linda’s house to say farewell and ended up going to Beach Road Chicken House, a Jacksonville landmark. The chicken was good and it was served like fried chicken should be: in large quantities and as greasy as possible. We stuffed ourselves, said our tearful goodbyes and headed back to hang with Will’s family. We watched the Sunday Night game and hung out like one big happy family.

I’m very tired and I hope my fatigue wasn’t reflected in this blog entry. The pictures I posted are:
  1. Ken and Will at Steak and Shake, a horrible restaurant we stopped at on our way to Orlando. Kenny is very skinny and we decided that he looked like a Haitian Refugee. We said things like, “poor thing, probably hasn’t eaten for days!” and other comments on Ken’s lack of insulation. I don’t know how much I should rag on a guy for being too skinny while I’m pretty overweight but that’s beside the point.

  2. The 4 of us at Alltel Stadium. What a beautiful day for a football game.

  3. Kickin back at Uncle Tim’s place. Does it get any better than a huge hammock by the river at sunset?

Tomorrow it’s goodbye Jacksonville and hello Barcelona. It’s a long day of travel but I can’t wait to play some live poker and experience Spain at the same time. I have a feeling we might get some good pics there. Hasta la vista.

Haitian Refugee Posted by Picasa

The Superfans Posted by Picasa

The Good Life at Casa de Will's uncle Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Booooo Orlando

What’s up. We’re at the Days Inn Orlando and I have a secret to share: Orlando sucks! The traffic was really nasty on the way down here and we didn’t arrive until 3 PM. All the parks were shutting down and the clubs weren’t opening until 10 PM or so. We went to the Universal Studios City Walk but it was all so phony. Bob Marley had a restaurant there, a “tribute to freedom”. I have a feeling that if he were still alive, Bob Marley would be pretty upset about being a part of such a hokey place.

Bored to tears we resorted to drinking. We had a few at City Walk then came back to the hotel with a half-rack of Coors Light and a fifth of Gin. The most fun we had down here was playing beer grenades in the pool. We passed out pretty early and we’re on our way to Gainesville. It’ll be great to see a college football team score some points and WIN a game. Poor Huskies. Full tailgate and game report coming tomorrow.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


The 4th Amigo Posted by Picasa

Check out the nipple peeking through. Scandalous!

P.S. If anyone knows how to condense all the pictures under one blog, let me know.

Aunt Linda Posted by Picasa

The Boys Posted by Picasa

Family and Good Food

My blog is finally cool enough to receive spam comments! I feel so special!

Jacksonville has been fantastic. Ken, Sean and I arrived Wednesday night and Will got here tonight. We really haven’t done much but Southern hospitality lives up to the hype. Last night we stayed with Ken’s aunt Linda. As soon as we arrived at her house she started feeding us, starting with Ritz crackers, herb and garlic whipped cream cheese and martini olives. Quite delicious. As soon as they were done she put a huge plate of fried alligator tail on the table. The meat was pretty tough but the flavor was mild and we ate a ton. Ken’s cousin came over along with his wife and baby daughter. We played around a bit and finally, dinner was served. Squash casserole, boiled okra, black-eyed peas, white acre peas, jumbe prawns, smoked ham and homemade biscuits with homemade blackberry and peach jam. We finally squeezed down some rum cake for dessert and called it a night. It was all about family and a ton of good food, just like the South should be.

We woke up at the crack of noon. Aunt Linda was ready for us with scrambled eggs, smoked ham, grits, extra-large biscuits and OJ. There’s a tropical storm brewing but the sun was out for a bit so we went to the beach. The Atlantic is much warmer than the Pacific but the wind was a little crazy and the waves were too choppy to go swimming. We visited Ken’s cousin and planned Sunday’s tailgating festivities then went home to wait for Will’s call. Around 5 he called with directions to his aunt and uncle’s place and Linda drove us on over.

Aunt Bev and Uncle Tim live right on the water in an insane house. I’ll take some pictures and post them before the end of the weekend. Will’s cousins, 2 dudes about my size, came over and we watched Sportscenter for a while. Dinner was catered tonight and featured a poker table-sized platter with all the BBQ you can imagine piled high: Ribs, chicken, shredded beef, jumbo prawns, baked beans, potato salad AND a case of Michelob. I absolutely gorged myself silly. We went to Will’s cousin’s house for the season premiere of the OC and Monday Night Football. He just dropped us off back at the pimp pad and we’re getting ready for bed. The theme of the night: Family and good food.

Tomorrow we’re renting a car and driving to Orlando to hit up one of the theme parks. Uncle Tim got us tickets for the Florida Gators game on Saturday so we’re meeting Will’s cousins early to tailgate. Sunday of course is the Jags-Seahawks game so we should be busy the next few days. If we get a hotel tomorrow night with wireless I’ll get another post cranked out. Go Seahawks!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I've been on edge for the past few days, eagerly anticipating the start of my travels. I don't know the exact reason but I am seriously addicted to traveling and experiencing new things. I hope I never get numb to all the amazing things that I get to do.

It's 2:30 in the morning and I finished packing a few minutes ago. I just sent out the traditional mass e-mail that makes me feel so loved. I don't really know what I want to accomplish with this blog but it helps me really capture an experience when I sit down and retell it to people. I hope you get something out of it too.

I need to leave the apartment around 5:45 AM to get to the airport on time so that means 3 hours of sleep for Mr. B. Next time you hear from me I'll be in Jacksonville. Let's hope it isn't too muggy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Travel Calendar

I tried looking for a calendar to add as a link on my blog because that would make it easier to schedule stuff but all I found was a pay site for $19.95 a year. Forget that. But it got me thinking about the next year and what I want to do. I've already posted some of this but I'm going further into the future now:

September 7-12: Jacksonville, FL for Seahawks v. Jaguars.

September 12-20: Barcelona, Spain for EPT Barcelona.

September 21 - October 19: Japan/Hong Kong with Kenny "Bones" Barron.

October 23-30: Dublin, Ireland for EPT Dublin.

Thanksgiving: Hanging out with my sisters in San Diego with a cream cheese beago.

December 13-17: Las Vegas for Bellagio WPT Event.

December 17 – January 3: Seattle to see family. Mom's back from sabbatical!

January 20 – February 6: Copenhagen/Scandinavia for EPT and hanging out with my cousin.

February 8-11: Deauville, France for EPT. Defend my title!

April 1 – June 1: Road trip to all 30 Major League Baseball stadiums.

June 18 – July 9: Berlin, Germany for soccer’s World Cup.

July 14 – August 20: Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker.

September: Start business school somewhere (Nor Cal hopefully)

Some of the poker tournaments may not work out and some may be added. My real goal is to use the time from November 1 to March 31 to see if I’m cut out to make a living playing poker. These past few months I’ve been enjoying life a little too much and I need to be more responsible with not spending more than I earn. At some point I will sit down and outline some goals for myself as far as money earned over these 5 months. I’ll be sure to let you know as soon as I do that!

I really would like to do the baseball road trip in August and September since the playoff chase is so much fun but I really think I need 2 months and the WSOP just doesn’t allow it. That was a ridiculously long run-on sentence.

We’re probably moving out of this place at the end of the month and I’m lobbying hard for a 6-month lease. That would mean the lease ends at the end of March and I’d be more flexible to move in with my loving father in Nor Cal. During the stretch of baseball road trip, Germany and WSOP I’ll be able to store my stuff at pop’s place for free. Don’t get me wrong, I love it down here but part of being a nomad is picking up and leaving sometimes. I’m really going to live up the last 5 months here (November-March) and hopefully I’ll stick with this long enough to blog all of it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005


Event #1 of the WCOOP is underway! 3,062 entrants, $1,531,000 in the prize pool, $306,200 for first place. I’ve played one hand, 88 in the SB. Flop was 234, I bet 40 into a pot of 60 and both players called. Turn was an A and I check-folded. I’m all the way down to 2450 from my starting stack of 2500.

There are two absolutely horrible players at my table. They will probably go broke soon and I hope I get a hand before then. One is very loose and passive so when I pick up a hand I’ll bet it very aggressively at him. The other is intensely aggressive so I’ll try to trap him for a lot of chips.

DAH! Just got moved to a new table. I didn’t recognize anyone at the last table but at my new one, I have S 18, one of the hottest tournament players on Stars, iMsoLucky0, a very good 2+2er, AND ME argent, a very well respected player. Talk about a bad beat!

Jc6c in BB, one limper and SB completes. Flop Q72 with 2 clubs. I check and call a bet of 40 into a pot of 60. Sometimes I’ll play draws aggressively but early on I like to keep the pot small. The turn paired the 2 and I checked and called another 40 chip bet. I would have folded to a bigger bet but I was getting 4.5-1. River missed and the bettor had 8c7c. Down to 2280 chips and blinds just went up to 15/30.

Carl just messaged me that he has 7325 chips. I hate him with a passion that burns deep within my soul.

iMsoLucky0 just min-raised and I called in the SB with Ks8s. The flop came As3s8h, giving me a huge hand. A pair and a flush draw is never in bad shape. I check-raised the flop hoping he would remember the hand where I played my draw passively. He just called and I hit my spade on the turn. I bet a little under half the pot, hoping he’d read weakness but sadly he just called again. Too good for my shenanigans. The river paired the A so I no longer had the nuts but clearly he had a hand like AJ or AT so I valuebet 380 and he called with AhJh. Up to 3075 chips.

Gah, just lost a big pot with AA on button. One limper and I raise to 120. Flop is 3c7d6d. He checks and calls 180. Turn is Jh and he check-calls 420. The river is the ugly 5d and he thinks, thinks then bets 360 into a pot of 1485. It really feels like a flush so I cry a little bit and fold. Down to 2235 at the first break. I think it was a pretty easy fold but I just hate leaving all those chips out there.

I opened with AQo and got reraised by a tight player so I just folded PF. AQ is ridiculously tough to play out of position. The re-raiser just played a hand the same way and had AA so I’m hoping that means my fold was good. Down to 1935 chips with blinds at 25/50.

Yikes! Tight player has loosened up and raised UTG+1 to 155. I had AhKd in the SB and re-raised to 600, trying to get as much in preflop as possible. Raiser just called, a terrible result. AK is a crappy hand to play OOP postflop. The flop was J-high and all hearts and I pushed for about the pot. She quickly folded and I was back up to 2500ish.
Just played a bad hand. iMsoLucky0 opened to 125 in EP, a very small raise. I decide to just call in LP with TT. The flop is JJ7 with 2 diamonds, he bets 175 into pot of 325 and I call. The turn is 3d. He checks and I check. I don’t think he has much here and I’m hoping to pick off a bluff on the river. The river is another 3 for a board of JJ733. He checks and I bet 300, hoping for a call from A-high. Well, he calls with A3 for a boat. I don’t really like how I played this hand but oh well. Down to 1860, blinds just went up to 50/100.

Bleh, another one I’m not sure of. iMsoLucky opens for 300 and I’m in the SB with AK. A standard re-raise is to 800 or 900 but that’s putting half my chips in OOP. I push and he calls with 99. My push basically announced my hand to him and he could call with 22 there AND fold AQ pretty easily. I think I like re-raising to 800 then pushing on any flop. This looks like a much stronger hand. Anyway, the board made a 7-high straight so we chopped the pot. I’m very bad at poker. 1810 chips still.

ME argent has raised my blind every time so I made a stand with AT moving in over his 300 chip raise. He folded and I’m up to 2100. I just blew one hand. Floded to me in SB and the BB has let me steal all day. I decide to just call with Q9 and he insta-checks which probably means he had the FOLD button checked. Flop is K-high, all clubs and I check-fold. Missed out on 150 free chips there.

Good god, I'm playing so bad. Hit a gutter to take out top set. Here's how bad I'm playing: blinds 50/100 CO limps, I make it 500 in SB with AK, CO and I each have about 1800 to start the hand. Flop QJx and I bet 400? WHY!?! Lord knows I'm not folding but I like a c/r AI here better. He minraises to 800 and I call planning on pushing on the turn. But the turn is a T and I check-call all in vs top set. I am sooooo good at poker.

3505 at second break. I need to pull my head out of my ass.

Picked up TT and restole, got AK and stole. Up to 3955.

iMsoLucky opened in LP for 450 and I called in BB with 44. AQ4 is the greatest flop in the world and I check-called a 600 chip bet. I lead the turn K for 750 and he raised essentially all-in. He had KJ and the river J was irrelevant. Up to 6500. He thoroughly outplayed me the whole time and I got very lucky there.

This table is ridiculous. No flops, all raises and re-raises. Very tough.

Just lost about 2K. I open to 450 on button with 98o, BB defends. My button raises had all gone uncalled until this one. The flop is T66 with 2 diamonds, giving me a gutshot straight draw. BB checks and calls my 450 bet. The turn is an 8 so I have a pair and a gutter. I like my hand but I check behind. The river is a complete blank and the BB leads for 555. I try to pick off a bluff but she has AT and it’s all hers. Down to 4736 with blinds up to 100/200.

Oh lord, just donked off all my chips. I’d rather not talk about it. Let’s just say I’ve had better showings. The only good thing I did was trade 5% with Carl. LET’S GO COLSON10!!!!!!!


Well, poker hasn't been going too well. Actually, side games are still going well but I've been running very bad in tournaments. I think I'm starting to let it affect my play and I'm looking forward to the 2 months overseas. There's one big tourney that I'm playing tomorrow, event #1 of thw WCOOP, the online version of the World Series of Poker. It should be fun and let's hope I go far. There's a ton of hype surrounding these evnts and the winner tomorrow will take home a few hundred thousand. I'm also going to play in a smaller tourney at Ocean's Eleven Casino on Labor Day. That one will pay the winner around 30 grand. These will be the last poker tournaments that I'll play before Barcelona. I'm going to try to focus and play my best game. I think I might keep a running log and have my first in-depth strategy Blog. I'm sure you all can't wait.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Tough Life in the Big Easy

Entry #10! My first milestone! Believe me, it’s a small miracle that my lazy ass has lasted this long. I really think this will be a great place for me to post travel updates while abroad.

Today Kele and I were supposed to look for new apartments but we ended up playing video games all day. Danielle wasn’t too pleased when she got off of work but we promised to do it tomorrow. We shall see. I feel bad because I’m going to be gone when we move and they’re going to have to move all my crap. I don’t have that much stuff and I absolutely HATE moving so I don’t feel thaaaaat bad.

Man, the events down South sure are sad. We went to New Orleans last year right around this time for Seahawk’s opening day and there was a huge hurricane threat at that time too. It’s really difficult to hear these warnings hundreds of times over the past 20 years and not experience some sort of Boy who cried Wolf effect. I hope those who survived land on their feet and may those who passed away rest in peace.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Are you kidding me?

If you notice the time stamp on this entry, it’s as early as you’ll ever see me writing. Thursday is the day that the yard gets mowed at my apartment complex and of course they do it at 7:30 in the morning. 7:30 in the morning! Are you kidding me? Sometimes I think it’s an elaborate joke and there are cameras set up in my room to see how angry I get then Ashton’s going to burst in laughing but it never happens. The lawn mower keeps going and I’m forced out of bed. Thursday = the worst day of the week.

Yesterday Kenny called me at 12:30 and we discussed the Japan-Hong Kong trip in more detail. I’m getting extremely fired up for the next two months of travel. My roommate, Danielle, heard me on the phone so she burst in and made me go to the beach with her. I brought my long board out and she brought her boogie board. The waves were bigger than I’ve ever seen and joyfully there weren’t very many people out because school just started down here. It was fun but after catching one wave I kept getting crushed by a huge set while trying to paddle back out and eventually I quit fighting against the waves. I need to get stronger before I can get good at surfing. I need to do more push ups and practice hopping to my feet at home. Right now my knee keeps dragging on my board and it’s really important to spring directly into a standing position. I’ll get there someday.

Last night we went out to dinner at a Mexican place called Las Olas with another couple, the dude works at the Four Seasons with Danielle and she’s becoming friends with the girlfriend. I don’t really mind being the fifth wheel and it was a lot of fun. Afterwards we came home, Danielle and Kele went to bed, and I played a little poker. Sadly, I lost about $100 and called it a night. One of these days I’ll have a sick day to tell you about but I’ve been having some bad luck in tournaments. Kele has the day off today so we’re going to look for cheaper apartments together. Should be fun!