December 18, 2008
The good news is that the new CR blog network is finally out. I can finally not be embarassed about how my blog looks, so I am really happy about that. I love how the new blogs look and I'm sure I'll get back to wasting way too much time reading about people I'll never know. We reset the counters because some people had run scripts to bump their counts up. I suggest you start blogging today and you too can climb to the top of the blog ratings :).
The bad news is that I have the Flu. I started to feel pretty terrible on Tuesday evening. My girlfriend got the Flu on Sunday and she is still sick herself, so that doesn't bode too well for me. This is particularly bad news because Andrew and I are throwing our annual Christmas party on Saturday, which it looks like I may miss. For those that didn't read my blog last year about it, it's quite a spectacle, and I really hope I get to go.
I slept for 17 hours yesterday. One time when I woke up, my roommate was like, wow, that must feel good. Typically I would say yes, but I feel like death. Everytime I wake up I am COVERED in sweat. Literally I have to take off any clothes I was wearing. I'm also laying on top of a towel because I've already sweated through the rest of my bed (which is a King bed, to tell you how much I've been sweating).
I feel a little bit better today, but probably a lot of that is due to just having slept for about 10 hours. We'll see how I feel the rest of the day, and hopefully I can make a complete recovery before Saturday. My agenda today involves taking 4-5 hours of naps, watching some Simpsons re-runs (the good episodes), and hopefully getting to writing a letter of recommendation for Raptor for college (ha ha).
Take it easy,
December 13, 2008
I've been bad about blogging lately but hopefully this post will make up for it a bit. I'm feeling incredible right now as I went to bed at 930 last night and got over 9 hours of sleep, which hasn't happened in a very long time. I'm always able to fall asleep immediately after hitting the pillow, but I typically always wake up 7 hours or so after falling asleep, which is quite annoying. I don't think I've ever gone to bed this early on a Friday night before, but I decided I wasn't going out last night, mostly because I've been absolutely punishing my body lately and I needed a break.
After Thanksgiving week, which was filled with way too much drinking and eating, the Team CardRunners pros all met in Fort Lauderdale for a week or so. The first three days it was Me, Brian, Andrew, Lee, and the Stox Management guys and their lead pros. It was really nice to get to know some of these guys, although I was disappointed Leatherass couldn't make it down this time, I'm looking forward to hanging out with him at the next one. I learned a little bit about sports betting from Matt Matros, who was awesome to get to know a little bit. The Stox group as a whole is a little bit older, MUCH more mature group of poker players. Some of them have families and I definitely look up to them as people who are able to manage the whole poker scene while staying seemingly productive members of society. Maybe I like them just because they make me feel less old compared to clowns like Stinger, who is actually only a junior in college.
The place we stayed at overlooked a pretty nice beach. It comfortably slept 10 people and I think it was around 6,000 sq feet, which was the biggest house I'd ever been in. I believe it was built at least 70 years ago, although it has been modernized. This place must have been unbelivably nice 70 years ago, because it might have been the nicest house I'd ever been in, 70 years after it was built.
The first few days we spent just getting to know the Stox guys, hanging out, planning out 2009 strategy, and making some videos. At night we would make dinner and then hit up a local bar that had tons of fun bar games, pop-a-shot, beer pong, pool, etc. We must have spent $100 in the pop-a-shot game over the week, which is a lot considering it's 50 cents a game.
On Thursday, most of the Stox guys left and the CR guys came in. Cole, Schneids, Daut, Benefield, Stinger, Peachy, and Menlo rounded out the CR people there. After Lee left, Ezra was left to manage the whole process, which I know was pretty stressful for him. It's just not easy to get 10 poker players to do much of anything, but he did a pretty damn good job of it.
I particularly enjoyed getting a chance to play Stinger HU PLO for a couple hours. I came out on top, which shows how much variance there is in HU PLO. After reviewing our sessions, I realized just how much I have to learn about HU PLO, which is crazy because I have come a very long way since last summer. I do think I am a winning 5-10 HU PLO player right now, which isn't too bad because assuming I can get decent action, my winrate would be pretty nice there. This series should be coming out in early 2009, so stay tuned if you are interested in learning HU PLO.
I really can't think of a player that is better at PLO than Stinger. The guy is just a machine -- he has all the great qualities that you need to be a top poker player, plus he has been playing PLO for two years now. I give him a lot of credit because he started playing PLO before it became "the thing to do," and now he probably has a couple million extra bucks because of it. Eventually when the games get tougher and it is harder to make money at the nosebleeds, a bunch of nerdy poker players will whine about how they wish they could have been playing in the games when people like Stinger made millions. Well this time they only have themselves to blame because Stinger went out and learned the game before anyone else did. Typically to make extraordinary profits in something you need to have good timing as well as good skill/execution. People like myself were lucky to be in the right place at the right time for the NLHE boom, but all of us could have started playing PLO in 2007 when it started to become popular at 25-50+. I guess what I am saying is sometimes it's better to be the first than the best, and if you can be both, then you are going to be in great shape.
As an aside, over and over I see the same thing in the poker world and in life in general. A new trend or idea becomes popular and profitable for a small amount of people. There is a huge race for copycats to do the same thing, hopefully better than the original. I give people like cts/aejones credit for creating new super expensive training materials. This isn't to say these products are worth or not worth the money, what I am saying is that they did something innovative that gave themselves a realistic shot to make a good return on their time investment. I would bet that over the next six months we'll see quite a few imitations, with most of them being poorly thought out, rushed to market, and generally unsuccessful. This isn't to say that in order to be successful in anything entrepreneurial you need to come up with a completely innovative, never before seen idea. It just means that before getting started, you should think about what is going to seperate your product from whatever else is already out there. People don't like change, so if your product or service doesn't offer some compelling difference compared to what is already on the market, you probably aren't going to succeed. It's just shocking to me how often I see people completely miss this point.
The last night in Florida was definitely the best. We rented a stretch Hummer limo to take us from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. No one had a camera, unfortunately, so no pics of us trying to be wanna-be ballers. We grabbed a case or two of beer and enjoyed the 45 minute ride to Miami. Dinner was at Phillipe, which I think is fairly new and was started by the guy who started Mr. Chows, a famous Chinese restaurant in NYC. The bad news is that we must have waited close to 2 hours to get our table and get served, the good news is that this meal might have been one of the best I've ever had, definitely the best Chinese food I've ever had.
I sat at the end of the table with Stinger, Ezra, and Menlo. The first interesting thing that happened was that a table of French people next to us noticed we were waiting for our food so they sent us probably $100 of extra food they had -- Peking Duck, and some other dish which I can't remember. They also sent us over the rest of their wine, which was probably a half of a bottle or so. It was a pretty interesting group, 2 middle aged French gentleman with 3 very attractive French young women.
We got to chatting with these guys and they were in Miami for some Art show that seemingly brought a ton of people into the town. They asked us what we did, probably wondering what 11 kids who looked no older than their early 20s, were doing at this restaurant. Everyone in our group has been playing poker long enough to know you never say poker when a stranger asks you what you do because it will lead to very difficult and/or awkward situations. I told him we had an internet business and he nodded and said "oh, interesting." I figured this was the end of it but a minute later he asked us what type of business we were in. I said "gambling," figuring that would end the conversation. He goes "Ohhhh!! Poker!?!?!?" At this point I knew it was all over.
He started to ask questions about our poker playing, and everytime we would tell him something he would excitedly, in French, tell the rest of the table what we had told him. He said he watched poker on TV once a week and was excited to learn that Menlo had finished 4th in the EPT Championship for about 1mil earlier this year. He later went on to tell us that they were the owners of a large French Venture Capital fund that do early stage investments in internet companies. He asked some questions about CardRunners and said that he thought our business was amazing and we should be really proud because there are people his age that haven't been able to start a business like this one. I told him thanks but our success is also a product of good fortune and timing, he replied by saying that may be true but you must have done many other things correctly to be in the position you guys are. He emailed me the next day and said whenever we come to Europe or if we had any questions in general about the VC process that we should talk to him. It's pretty crazy how just being friendly to people can lead to interesting conversations and connections.
At 1 or so we headed over to a club called Louis or something. It seemed pretty "exclusive" and the door guy was a grade A douchebag so it probably was a pretty good club. The guy at the door made us grease him $100 to get in because a couple of us were wearing polos that didn't have long sleeves. I'm sorry, but when I'm in Miami, I damn well better be able to wear short sleeves because I just don't get the opportunity to do so very often in Chicago. Speaking of door guys, what the hell is with them always being such assholes? I've never been able to figure out if they become assholes because they hate their job, or if that type of guy is attracted to the job. Probably a little bit of both. Just once I'd love to see a really polite door guy.
We got to our table which was supposed to be "the best in the house" but I'd say it was more like average, particularly because it was directly below a cooling vent that was literally blowing out ice cold air. I might have been the first guy in Miami to ever get frostbite. By the time we got settled in it was like 2am and everyone was starting to get really tipsy. We had been drinking since 8pm or so and it was starting to show. The first sign of this was when two guys who worked at the club told me to step aside so they could clean up menlo's puke all over the floor by our table. It was hilarious, because they didn't ask any questions, kick anyone out, etc., they just cleaned it up like nothing even happened. Menlo seemed to keep drinking so I guess he was cool after that.
At 330 or so I was starting to get freaking tired so we some of us had the limo take us home. I hastily packed my suitcase and went to sleep for maybe 2 hours before I had to get up for my flight home to Chicago. I woke up feeling HORRIBLE and then laughed when I saw that Stinger had thrown up all over the place. He literally threw up all over the kitchen/entryway to the house. It was disgusting and just shows these Ivy league schools don't teach their students to drink.
The flight home was pretty miserable, and I was nursing a hangover for the whole rest of the day. I haven't touched any alcohol since that night, which feels great. I gotta get going for now, take it easy guys.
December 08, 2008
I'll have a good blog post about my week in FL. Have a nice Monday.
December 01, 2008
Hi. This blog will likely be painfully short and boring. I had a few quick things I wanted to blog about and mostly I am just throwing this up because I feel I should. It's been a few weeks since my last post and ever since my blogging hiatus in August I have resolved to be a more prolific blogger.
-I've been on a bit of a bender the last week. Monday Melissa and I went out for one of her friend's birthdays, then on Tuesday I went home to my parents' house in Schaumburg. Some of my high school friends were back too so we managed to go out and have some fun Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday was Thanksgiving which was spent eating/drinking with the fam, and then on Friday and Saturday we went to the bars and a few parties. I am feeling a bit drained right now, but it was a very fun week. I can't remember the last time I went out 6 nights in a row, it's probably been 3 years since that happened. Saying that reminds me of one of my college roommates who Junior year had a streak of going out to bars or apartments to drink 27 straight nights.
-Our company is renting a beach house in Ft. Lauderdale for the next 6 days. Andrew, Brian, and I will be down there for the whole time, while some of the lead Stox and CR pros will join us for a few days each. The goal is to plan out some 2009 objectives while also getting a chance to "get away" together and bond/hangout/etc. Getting a bunch of great poker players in once place is also amazing as far as producing good content. We have some good videos planned out that hopefully will go well. If you have any ideas for videos or instructors you'd like to see team up for a video, please let me know.
-I'd like to do some leakfinder videos on some MSNL or HSNL heads-up play. If you send me 1 hour of good 4 tabling footage at 2-4nl+ I will spend time analyzing youy play. Keep in mind that I emphasized good footage -- make sure there are some interesting spots and that you don't just send a boring session. If you want information on how to send this video in, please see Forums>Video Discussion for information on Leakfinder videos.
-The Illini are 6-0 somehow. I can't wait to watch the Clemson/Illinois game on Tuesday.
-Thank you very much to everyone who sent me PM's and posted advice about grad school (and other) options. I haven't had a chance to reply to everyone yet as the response was almost overwhelming. I'm going to get to that while I'm in Ft. Lauderdale. I don't really have an update yet as to what I am doing but I am still planning on applying to MBA programs for Fall 09.
-I am told our new blog network should be ready fairly soon. I am looking forward to it, it is much needed!
November 11, 2008
So it has been getting cold out in Chicago. To make matters worse, the CardRunners office has been without heat since we moved in during the summer. Obviously this has only recently become an issue. Keep in mind that I am risking losing a few digits typing this blog post, that's how much I love you guys. We've been having some management meetings this week and I haven't left the conference room because all of the extra body heat means it's a balmy 65 degrees in there. My office, unfortunately, is a freezer.
Over the past week poker has been going pretty well. I'm up about 75k on UB since the refunds hit, so that's nice. I've never been very good at mult-siting for some reason, I prefer to play all of my action at once on one site as it's harder for me to mentally manage game-flow in shorthanded games on different sites for some reason. I don't really know why that is, i think it wouldn't be an issue if I was playing mostly 6max+, but when playing in 3-4 handed games or less on multiple sites I find myself less sharp. I played a brutal session of 3-6plo on FTP while multitabling on UB, I lost about 8 buy-ins to some guy while playing horribly. I still came out ahead as I ran well at some 25-50nl games, but it's disappointing nonetheless. I'd like to get back to playing some more poker as I've felt very sharp at NLHE lately. We'll see if that happens.
Things have been pretty laid back lately. The only other major thing I'm working on right now is deciding on grad school in 2009. I've always been extremely fascinated with learning about business stuff, and the idea of more school actually interests me when the classes are teaching things I am interested in. Some people with good MBA experience/connections have been informally giving me some advice, but if anyone with some good recommendations for schools or programs would like to PM me or leave a comment here I would really appreciate that. I'm open to pretty much anywhere in the country or world, as I'm mostly just exploring the idea right now and would get serious about studying/applying over the Holidays. Thanks!-Taylor
November 06, 2008
Yesterday was a day I'll remember for the rest of my life, or least until I am old and senile. It started off on November 4th with the election of our new President Elect Obama. I have to be honest in that I was rooting for Obama but I think I'm a bit of a realist in that I don't think simply "change" in our President's office is going to fix our nation's problems like a lot of people seem to think. However, I think it's a step in the right direction and there is something to be said about Obama's charisma and has ability to inspire a lot of Americans. I hope I'm wrong but I think even if God himself was elected President our country is going to be in for some tough times for at least the next year or two, if not longer. I've read a little bit lately about Japan's "lost decade" and I wonder if there isn't a chance we face something similar over here, although that's probably a little unlikely.
Anyway, I'm happy Obama won and cautiously optimistic about the USA's future. I thought McCain gave a very thoughtful concession speech and even though it is just rhetoric it really did make me feel like he could have done a great job as President.
Ezra and Melissa came over at 8 oclock or so and we had a couple beers before grabbing a taxi over to Grant Park to check out the Obama rally. We didn't have tickets so basically we had to head to the north end of the park where thousands of people congregated to hang out and watch the huge monitors they had setup. I'd estimate we were at least a few football fields away from the main place where Obama was standing, but it was still a pretty awesome feeling to be that close to everything. I've never seen Chicago so crowded, there were literally like 200,000+ people packed in shoulder to shoulder.After listening to McCain and Obama's speeches, we trudged back to the train station and rode probably the most uncomfortable train ride I've ever had back to Lincoln Park. It only took about 45 minutes from the end of the speech to get back home, so that was a relief (even though typically it would take 20 minutes).
Not too much of note happened until the midday on Nov 5th when I got an IM from Stinger saying UB refunds were out. Much to my delight I had $191,000 deposited into my account that had been stolen from me from cheaters over the past few years. Even though the money was rightfully mine, it's a pretty indescribeable feeling to be handed that much money when you aren't expecting it. I've made similar amounts of money numerous times at the tables but it's never really felt like this.
I don't really have any plans for the money yet but I definitely owe Gaucho and Trambopoline a nice dinner. I'll never forget when Gaucho first IM'd me almost a year ago saying he suspected there was a cheater on UB. It's sort of an eye-opening feeling for me because I remember being overly skeptical to his claims, thinking that there's no way someone could have cheated me without me figuring out that something was up. I guess the older I get the more I realize how much I really don't know about life. Maybe that's something to take away from this, in fact. It's almost as important to know what you don't know than it is to know a lot yourself. That's something I've learned while working at CardRunners; you can't expect to be the expert on everything, sometimes your opinion just really doesn't matter. You hire the best people you can and you trust them to make their own decisions within the framework that you have set for the company. I could talk a lot about this but that's not really the point about this blog.
Anyway, I don't really know where to go from here. I know I'll always remember November 4th/5th, 2008.
October 31, 2008
I thought I would write a short note about this new promotion that we are running at CR. I don't blog too much about CR stuff because it's my job and I prefer talking about life/random things rather than the stuff I do at work all day long. CardRunners has taken a lot of heat over the past year because we "sold out" and took red pro deals from FTP. Some of our competitors have reveled in playing the david vs. goliath card or even the "CR pros are over the hill, I'm hip and cool and better card," and that's fine, business is business and the strong will survive! I like a little friendly competition, anyway. However, even those who think we are money-grubbing freaks will have to enjoy this new promotion that we are running, thanks to our SPONSOR, Full Tilt Poker.
If you are a CardRunners or Stoxpoker member, all you have to do is sign up at www.trulyfreepokertraining.com and include your CR/Stox name, FTP id, and first preference of free training site. Next, just play at FTP, and log in to your CR Dashboard to follow your progress. Starting on Nov. 1, we'll track the FTP points you accumulate, and after you have 4,500+ points, your next month at CR will be comped! Same goes for Stoxpoker, and it's only 2,500 points! You don't have to spend your points, this won't come out of your Rakeback (MGR), and there are absolutely no strings attached! If you fall short, say you earn 1,150 points, we'll credit you with one free week of CardRunners. Same goes for 2,250 and 3,500 point increments.
Each month you can earn the next month's subscription dues simply by playing at Full Tilt Poker. We've spent a lot of time working out the kinks on this one, so hopefully everything runs smoothly and people enjoy this promotion. I can't guarantee that it will last forever, but the plan is to run it indefinitely and see how things go. The more people that take advantage of this, the better chance that it will continue to run, so make sure to tell your friends :).
Tonight is Halloween, which is one of my favorite nights of the year. I have decided to go as Rex Grossman. I have a Grossman jersey, a clipboard, and a Gatorade cup. I just need to get some shoulder pads and some eye black. I hope I don't see Rex out tonight in Chicago because he'll probably kick my ass.
October 30, 2008
I've blogged about this a few times before, but I've always been an extremely goal oriented person. Since freshman year of college, I can recall three major financial goals I have set for myself. I'm happy to say that as of today I have achieved two of them! The third one is by far the most difficult and I've also revised it.
The three goals are:
-Own Illinois basketball season tickets (achieved today! last row baby haha)
-Own a BMW by age 30 (achieved at age 22 when I graduated college)
-Retire completely by 40 years old
I have modified my goal about retiring because I don't think I want to truly retire until I am in my 60's or hopefully 70's. I changed this goal for a few reasons. First, I'm happy working. It doesn't mean I need to be making tons of money for my whole life, but I like a challenge and for me that is usually met through some sort of job. Also, as I've become older I've realized that there are more attainable things that I'll need to work longer and harder in order to get. For example, I'd really like to have a beach house. I never spent much time on the beach when I was younger, but after traveling a lot over the past few years I've realized how much I would love to have a home in Southern California or Florida during the cold Chicago winters. This wouldn't be cheap to buy nor maintain, so I'll probably have to work a little bit longer than I originally planned.
I modified my third goal because I've thought a lot about my ideal future and what I hope it's like. First, I've decided that I would like to have a large family someday. Kids aren't cheap, that's for sure. Obviously there are a ton of variables that determine how many children I would have, but I think I'd like to have 3+ kids. As an aside, kids are freaking expensive so retiring by 40 is unlikely with a large family. Thinking about this reminds me of my dad's gripes about how expensive kids are, to which I always retort "you didn't have to conceive me you know!" I hope someday I have a kid that's as big of a smartass as I am.
Anyway, after thinking about that retiring goal I have modified it to:
-Save enough money to create an education fund for my children and future generations in my family. I hope that I do get wealthy enough to pass money along to my kids someday, but I've decided here and now that I'm not going to be passing along money to my kids unless it's specifically for education. I think most of the reason I am who I am today is because I learned how to work hard at a young age. I also knew I wasn't going to be handed anything my whole life which is I think is equally as important. Looking around at all of my poker friends, I really can't think of anyone who came from an extremely priviledged background. You can say what you want about all of the spoiled internet poker stars, but by and large they have all worked incredibly hard to come from "nothing" to extreme wealth in a short period of time. Anyway, I hope to have an educational fund for future generations of my family setup by the time I retire. Add that to a beach house and financially I have my work cut out for me for the next 20 years!
I rambled a bit as usual here, I'm just really excited that I have Illinois basketball season tickets now. Someone is going to have to pry these out of my cold dead body because I hope to be going to these games for the next 60+ years.
October 28, 2008
This past weekend I was in Las Vegas for the filming of Poker After Dark. David, Cole and I were lucky enough to be invited to play a 6 handed 200-400nlhe 100 ante cash game with Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, and Gabe Kaplan. The Poker After Dark format is really cool in that you get to see every hand played, so you can really get a feeling for the gameflow and overall vibe of the match. I can't give any specific details about the match so you'll have to watch the show to find out what happens, but I really think CR/Online poker fans will really like this one. The poker that we played was unlike any TV cash game I've seen, it actually played a little bit more like an online game and there was definitely quite a bit of action going on. I've attached a picture I found posted on an internet poker forum, you can see Myself, Cole, and David at the table. I have no idea who took it.
Vegas was pretty low-key for me besides the taping of the show. On Thursday Ezra and I ate at Yellowtail at the Bellagio. In short, I was pretty disappointed here as the food was very expensive and I thought it was good but not great. The house specials seemed gimmicky; they literally had a roll that had pop-rocks in it (popping crap or something). I thought that "popping" was trendy for spicy or tasty, but in fact the rolls popped in your mouth. It was not a pleasant surprise, although I must say I've never been a fan of my food exploding in my mouth so maybe I'm not the best judge of this roll. All in all it was good food but it was just overpriced. Long live Shintaro, the restaurant they closed to open up Yellowtail.
On Friday Ezra and I looked at condos from noon until 5. It was a fairly tedious process and it was eye opening to say the least. The Las Vegas condo market is just flooded with these luxury places that people can't afford. In some complexes you are looking at $1,000/mo association dues on a $500,000 condo. This is just outrageous as far as I'm concerned, even if you have a pool and a doorman. We were thinking about buying a place for the company for when we travel to Las Vegas, but I still think it's probably more economical and much less of a hassle to just stay at hotels when we go to LV.
Friday night Andrew, his gf Julia, Ezra, Cole and I ate dinner at Isla at Treasure Island. I have to say I really like this place. It's not too fancy or expensive, has great Tequila/Margaritas, and is overall just a fun a setting to have a meal and drinks. We had dinner and a few pitchers of margaritas and then a "tequilla godess" came around offering us a tequilla menu to take a shot of. Much to the chagrin of the men at the table, Julia and I chose to infuse our shots with guava (the nectar of the gods). As a short aside, I'm a huge fan of guava juice and I can't understand why it's impossible to find anywhere. Probably something to do with the fact that it's not grown much in the US, I suppose.
After dinner we headed over to O'Shea's to play Beer Pong. O'Shea's is definitely a sight to behold; its location is fantastic and it is close to many high-end Vegas properties. However, it's like taking a time-warp back to freshman year of college as the whole place just reminds me of a big frat party. We headed straight for the beer pong tables near the back. Security guards roam the premises looking for people who are too drunk. I asked one of the guards how they determine who is too drunk and he said anyone who is wobbling is "outta here." (lol) Cole and I beat some randoms and then we got beat by Andrew and Ezra. At this point I started feeling really sick from a combination of eating/drinking too muc and being out late, so I grabbed a cab and went home.
Saturday Andrew and I played golf with a guy from Chicago we know, Jerry. We were paired up with an older gentleman who was very nice but an extremely slow player. The round took nearly 6 hours which was painfully long. That being said, we played at the Wynn Golf Course which was insanely nice. After playing golf 4+ days per week in high school, I've probably only played 10 times since I started college. It was nice to get out there and after playing horribly on the front nine I put it together just a little bit on the back.
That night we had a CardRunners dinner at SW at the Wynn. I decided to call it a night right after dinner and got a very good night of sleep before Poker After Dark. The next morning I woke up, got a massage, and then watched football for a few hours while watching videotape of Doyle, Eli, and Gabe. I felt like I had a pretty good idea of how they played going into the match, so that was a nice little advantage to have.
We headed over to the Golden Nugget at 2:00 for lunch. Cole and I had this chicken panini that was actually unbelievably good. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but if you are at the Golden Nugget definitely check out the Italian place which is near the pool and get that sandwhich. I should also mention that the Golden Nugget was far and away nicer than I thought it would be. They underwent major renovations over the past few years and although it is located a bit off the strip, the facilities are really modernized. The pool area has a cool waterslide that goes through a shark tank, poolside blackjack, and great places to sit and catch sun. I sound like I'm being paid to promote the Golden Nugget or something, but I really was genuinely impressed with the place overall. They did had a couple of casino hosts taking care of us as guests of Poker After Dark, which made Cole, Dave and I feel pretty cool :).
There are a few stories I can share about the show. First, I had no idea that they put as much makeup on people on TV as they apparently do. We were in "makeup" as they say in the biz for probably 20 minutes each. Everyone in the studio seemed to wonder how old we were, as we probably looked even younger with makeup on and none of us look particularly old as it is. I have a couple of funny pictures of David getting his makeup done but I don't have them with me so he may be lucky enough to avoid that public humiliation.
We did a couple of pre-show interviews and then went out there to take pictures. Again, I didn't realize how much really goes into putting together a TV show, but it's a lot more in-depth and time consuming than you would think. The show started soon after this and then honestly I just played poker and acted like myself, the way the studio is setup you sort of forget you are on TV when you are the table which was nice. The last thing I wanted to do was come off like some jackass so I tried to just relax and be myself because typically I am not a jackass, at least I hope I'm not.
At the half way point we had a break and the producer ordered sushi for us. On the way to the bathroom outside the studio David and I ran into some girls outside of the doors who were like "OH MY GOD, are you guys playing on Poker After Dark?" We said, "Yea!" They were like, "OMG are you guys famous?" We told her "No! We're actually just normal kids who happened to play a lot of poker." They seemed pretty impressed by us (obv our CardRunners patches) so they asked to take some pictures with us and we happily agreed. It was a really great feeling to meet people who were huge poker fans and it was nice to be able to chat with them for a few minutes. We then headed back into the studio to go play the second half of the show.
After the show, we were all pretty tired but we did manage to get over to Body English for a few bottles. This club was pretty rocking for a Sunday night and we probably had more than our fair share of drinks in celebration of our appearance on PAD.
That's all I've got for now.
October 16, 2008
I always enjoy using the phrase "cartoon character" to describe someone whose actions consistently deviate from social norms. I'm trying to think of good examples, maybe like the guy who shows up drunk at a cocktail party and consistently argues the opposite political side of everyone else at the gathering. Other examples include personalities like Charles Barkley or my personal favorite, Bobby Knight. There are plenty of these people in the poker world, one that comes to mind is this guy we call Stevie Ballgame (what makes that funny is that I am unaware of any good reason why we call him that). I love that guy, he won $500k in a tourney this summer and took a very sizeable portion of it out gambling/strip clubbing. Anyway, I am now officially a cartoon character:
I've been waiting a long time for these avatars. I've played a bit the last couple of days and it is sort of weird to stare at your face on 5 different tables while you are playing. I will say that it has encouraged me to use the different avatar emotions more often. I'm not quite sure if that's a good thing, because when I catch a bad beat I want to put the angry face on, then I just start to get more pissed off looking at myself like that. I think the avatar they did for me is pretty spot on, except I wish I had my hair shorter than it appears on here.
The last few days have been fairly unexciting. Last night we pretty fun though as Melissa cooked for her roommates, guy friends, and me. She loves to cook and I must say is damn good at it. We all ate way too much food, which considering it was Mexican food, might not have been the best idea. It was a funny scene post meal; 6 guys strewn across the couches watching the NLDS.
I didn't really blog about this weekend because I was busy ranting in my last post. Thursday night I hung out with Ezra at his new apartment. He's got a pretty nice 1 bedroom place in the Gold Coast. The area is extremely quaint for the city and his apartment has a nice lake view as well as ample space to hang out in. Ezra was done fasting for Yom Kippur, so being the good Jew-Friend I am I brought him a Lou Malnati's pizza and we hung out for a couple hours. It was the first time in awhile I can remember just hanging out with someone without having the TV on in the background. Very nice, indeed.
I came home and really couldn't sleep. I don't know why, I think my mind has been racing lately due to a variety of reasons. I'll get into some of those in more depth in some future blog posts, but mainly there are just a lot of personal, work, and economy related things going on now and I don't think I spend enough time actually reflecting on what is going on around me. I think that because I am a pretty busy person I need to take some more time to actually sit down and think about what is going on. It's crazy, because these last two years since I've been out of school have been an absolute blur. If someone were to ask me what I did during these two years, I'd be hard pressed to say too much besides "worked, traveled, hung out with friends," when in reality I've consistently been jam packed with lots of stuff.
Writing about this sort of makes me think about when someone will come up to me and say something nice to me about being a young entrepreneur or having poker success. When I sit down to think about things, i really have had some good successes. I guess I just come to take them for granted because I've been fortunate to have them at a young age. Overall I think reflecting on what's going on in life is something I need to improve on doing. Otherwise things just blend together, which I think is fine for much of life but it sure would be nice to have as many vivid memories and emotions about my life as possible.
On Friday night, my roommates, a couple girls we know, and I went to the Seven Ten Lounge in Lincoln Park (www.sparetimechicago.com/index.php). It's a short walk from our house and has half priced appetizers before 8pm on Friday. Obviously we ordered 8 appetizers instead of getting a meal, which was probably mildly cheap but considering we racked up a $200+ tab while bowling seems reasonable. The bar itself was pretty cool. It is divided into three main sections. On the far side of the bar is an eclectic pool lounge, complete with old couches and some dinner tables. The middle area is just a bar with TV's and some standing area. On the far end they have 8 bowling lanes, with a waitress that serves you drinks and a bar close by in case you are really thirsty. The lanes themselves are very old fashioned. It's basically a no-frills, old time Chicago environment. In fact, you have to keep score for yourself as there is no electronic scoring. This didn't really bother us too much because we were mostly playing a drinking game throughout the evening, not worrying too much about the game.
Afterwords we went over to Lakeview to meet up with our friend Jim and some girls he was with, including a few of my good friends from high school. I had never been there before, but we went to SoPo, which I actually liked a lot. (http://www.sopochicago.com/) The crowd almost seemed more Lincoln Park than Lakeview, which I guess shouldn't be very surprising. All in all it was a fun time as a group of 8 or 9 of us just sat and bs'd at one of the tales for a couple of hours.
On Saturday I hung out with Melissa pretty much all day. We caught a train and went to Millenium Park to check out the Wired Next Fest, which is basically a tent that has up and coming technology on display. I feel a little nit picky saying this, but the whole production could have been run much better. I was disappointed that some of the displays had bad to horrible descriptions of what their technology was or did. It looked like the people who created the stuff (read: extremely smart science types) also developed the exhibits explaining the technology. When there wasn't a guide around to explain what was happening, often times it was very hard to follow what was going on. That being said, it was still an awesome display of American ingenuity. Some cool highlights:
-protective body gear that feels like underarmour, but protects you in a collision. my roommate was there and saw them put this fabric around someone's finger, smash it with a hammer, and he couldn't feel it. crazy.
-printers that print ink that completely evaporates in 24 hours. this way you don't have to waste paper on something that you will only need for one day.
-a game where you strap a headband around your head that measures brain activity. you sit across the table from another player who has done the same thing. the goal is to minimize your brain activity. to measure the winner, there is a ball that sits between the two of you that is setup on a track. whomever is able to minimize their brain activity more (ie no thinking, being nervous, etc.) causes the ball to move towards the other person. it's kind of like a high tech staring match. i OBVIOUSLY killed melissa in this game, although she claims it's because she was nervous from a crowd of 30 watching us, and that she has more brainpower to begin with so it's hard for her to tone it down. i don't know how i feel about that.
Anyway, that's pretty much it for my weekend. Saturday night I didn't do a whole lot, and Sunday was filled with football and some CR stuff.
Take it easy,
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