Tag Archives: CFA

WBCOOP & St. Jude Fundraiser Results

Xuan thanks those who contributed to her team’s St. Jude fundraising campaign and qualifies for WBCOOP 2013 by sharing her best moment on PokerStars!

It is a rather long video, so I would understand if you jump to
1:39 for my WBCOOP story, “My best moment on PokerStars” or
6:46 to see me pick the winners for my St. Jude fundraising contest

I finally made it back to Toronto on attempt #3 after doing one of these on #2:

Attempt #2

Attempt #2

I won’t be around to play the WBCOOP main (I will be en route to APPT Seoul!), but I still wanted to share my experience as a poker player and blogger.

I submit my entry for WBCOOP 2013 by telling the tale of my years between 2007-2009. Highlighted by WoW degeneracy, grinding SNGs, live cash games, WPT satellites, almost giving up on the dream, studying for the CFA, and finally winning a Battle of the Planets triple shootout to renew my passion for poker.

Once again, a big thank you for those who helped with my St. Jude campaign, and congrats to Zhihao Zhang, Ian Modder, Christian Harder, and Jen Shahade for winning an hour of my time! I will cook, clean, teach…you name it!

Adam Pliska
Chris Ling
Christian Zetzsche
Christian Harder
Eric Salinas
Gabe Felkel
Ian Modder
Jason Mo
Mitchell Hecht
Nga Dinh
Rupert Elder
Steven Kerr
Vimy Ha


Battle of the Planets win
Jennifer Shahade

Happy 2011! tl;dr 2010

2010 was an insane year of transitions. The tl;dr of my 365 days:

– Grinded a lot of RUSH and made a RUSH 6max $1/2 vid that never got launched (partially because I was too cheap to buy the full-version of Camtasia when I didn’t finish according to schedule). Paid for MTT coaching.
– Visited family in Tianjin, China, and rekindled with people I hadn’t seen for 17+ years. Had so much fun (and good food) I thought about permanently moving to Beijing.
– First time in Macau: not a very long trip and went there originally to play cash, but went deep in 2/2 events so didn’t have time. Grand Lisboa has sick rooms.
– Got everything hacked. Not fun. Mental game shot.
– Studied a ton for CFA exam, but not hard enough with poker (still) as a distraction.
– My first WSOP! Had own condo for a month and a half to grind cash. Rio was hit and miss but Venetian games were golden everyday. Won biggest pot of career of 1000bb at Caesar’s. Played 2 WSOP events, 3 VDS, 1 Aria 8game, and 1 Caesar’s main. Played a lot of 8-game online.
– Met a good man in a situation I wasn’t ready for.
– Made a vid for the Big Game. After the telephone interview (happened in Barcelona) I was told that if I don’t hear back from them til Jan it was a good thing…
– Took a leap of faith and became convinced playing liveaments was the way to go. Took a lot of reflection to make poker my #1 priority rather than just an auxiliary compromise.
– Fulfilled a dream of being a night/blood elf on Halloween. Costume was meh but it sure was fun reliving my ultimate nerd days.
– NAPT L.A: Rented place off Craigslist that didn’t end up having furniture, final tabled (no cash) 8game to a good start, some sick beats in others (e.g. flop straight on 7h5h3, get it in 100+bb deep vs. Ah7x who goes perfect perfect for a boat.) Didn’t feel significantly outmatched at any time which was a great enabler for my confidence. Sweated Van for 4th in the main in Compton, saw a Laker’s game and went to Disneyland.
– EPT Barcelona: My first time in Europe! Won mega satty and cashed in a side, got owned on first hand played in the main (review to come). Found a reliable roommate for the first time in awhile. Visited Gaudi’s spiritual/architectural gem; the inspiring/humbling/empowering experience will linger for a long time.
– IPT San Remo: lots of nomming of the pasta and pizza. First sense of loneliness on the road by myself. Binked mega satty and 1k side, got owned in main and ladies’. So far Italians in Italy are the friendliest people I have encountered.
– EPT Prague: Flew in right in time for 2nd level of the main and gave the eventual winner a lot of “positive vibes”. Prague is as beautiful as someone once dear to me described, but it’s even colder. Had lots of beef goulash and got hustled in Chinese. Went to a black metal bar and a strip club with midgets.
– Home for the holidays: was fortunate enough not to get stuck at an airport. It’s nice hermitting with family and eating home food. All caught up on Dexter, Bones, Modern Family, House, and my sister. NYE party was kinda nuts and became another friendly reminder to pour my own drink and not leave them unattended.

I joined a new gym today and was so exhausted when I came home i fell asleep super early so I woke up in the middle of the night and realized this was one of the only times I can force myself to blog. It’s just that on these trips I sometimes have to make an effort to be social all the time so when I finally have some time to myself I rarely feel like I’m in the mood to reflect publicly again. Hope that makes sense and doesn’t get misunderstood. I apologize if this post isn’t even a real post, but it will have to do for now. I don’t want to head off to PCA and kick myself for not blogging again.

Happy New Years, 2011 is going to be grand…

Update pre-WSOP

I’ve been back in North America for roughly two months now. I’ve readjusted to Westernized living, went on a road trip with my sis, lost some friends while simultaneously reconnecting with old ones, and had several of my accounts hacked, all while attempting to study for my next CFA exam in June and preparing for the World Series.

China seems like a blur. I still miss a lot of it, but am having trouble remembering why. That’s a characteristic about myself I’m not crazy about. I can connect and disconnect with people and places so easily it feels rather superfluous. Besides basic necessities, I feel as if I can adapt to anything and nothing really phases me anymore. This isn’t to say I don’t appreciate what I have or that I won’t miss something if I were to lose it. Some may regard this as being jaded, but I’d like to think that this is what makes me very human. After all, isn’t it our adaptability that makes us more advanced than other species?

Anyhow, so Anny and I took a road trip to Montreal so she could visit the McGill campus and make a more educated decision on what college she should attend next year. Unfortunately, I left my blackberry on the stupid bus and have been playing phone tag with the lost and found department for some time. This may or may not be a good thing since I don’t feel very social these days anyway. I remember when I was still in school I used to adore Montreal so much. I thought it was vibrant and eccentric, with a lot more character than plain old Toronto. On this trip however, my sister and I agreed that the city kind of felt a little trashy. Funny thing is, I don’t think it’s the city that changed. Anyhow, I hope Anny ends up making a solid decision for her future so I can start supporting it, whatever it may be.

Guess who’s back

Are you there, blog? It’s me, X.

It’s been a long while since I last posted, and EVERYTHING has changed. I feel like I’m finally on track again after my huge derailment in April last year. I won’t get into details, but things were intense and dramatic. Depended on people I should’t have, realized some huge leaks in my game and my life, and have basically restarted from scratch.

Satelliting into the LAPC was great and I got to play with a ton of pros and aspiring players alike. Day 1 I was sitting to Eric Liu’s right and with a table full of cabbage patch kids, but I think I played well and ended the day off with a decent stack. My day 2 didn’t go as well, however, I had Phil Laak (not that he is a great threat) to my left and Elky at my table, who I ended up busting to in one rotation when I had AK and QQ vs his QQ and AK of which I lost both flips. I went back to T.o. for a little bit and got into swing trading with my stepdad. It was definitely a good time to be in the markets after the crash in March, and poker was put on the back shelf for awhile. I was able to completely pay off my student loans in lump sum, which was a huge load off my shoulders. Then a good friend of mine encouraged me to go to the world series, but unfortunately, my middle name is still Murphy and I got denied at the border because I didn’t have a return ticket (I wasn’t sure how long I’d be in Vegas/L.A. for). The border guard then had the nerve to ask me for my e-mail so he could “let me know when to come back next so I can get across”(!)

So realizing I’d be stuck in T.o. for at least awhile longer and having found a new interest in finance, I hastily enrolled in the CFA and then studied 300+ hours of material of which I had no prior background. I took my level I exam in December and am still waiting anxiously for the results *fingers x’d*

With more market money my family went on an amazing cruise with Royal Caribbean. We visited some beautiful islands, and I spent a decent amount of time playing e-poker there against fishy tourists. The rake was really ridiculous and most people bought in shortstack so results weren’t anything to brag about. After that, I have my connected friend to thank, who helped me tremendously the next time I was in L.A. Unfortunately it was evident my frazzled circumstances leaked through to my game, as I was really uncertain whether to continue pursuing the poker path due to making what appeared to be ridiculously easy money trading at the time, and it was evident I was forcing things to happen rather than just playing well and letting things unravel naturally. I did, however, enjoy playing in the media event at the Bike’s Legends of Poker in their new tournament room, and got to meet some celebs and nice people.

Another huge thing that happened was me meeting someone I really connected with at the tables. Ironically, it was his consistency to take my money (he always had position on me heh) that inspired a lot of our early conversation. This person helped me regain perspective on my goals and encouraged me to start playing online again and seriously study the game. My past few months of success there have him to thank.

So I’ve been back in T.o. since September, initially studying like 5-8 hours a day and playing for 2-3 hours. When my nose is in my books, I think to myself that getting a “real” job in finance will be rewarding and stable. Then I am reminded of the neverending 9-6 grind and I give thanks that I am able to maintain a decent winrate at poker with rakeback so I don’t have to. It’s not the best trait to have, but I also work immensely harder and am more thirsty for success when I am desperate. When I got back from L.A. the second time, I started going on 2+2 more, opened a new rakeback account, taught myself PT, and was able to book a couple of wins in large MTTS to immediately get myself back on my feet. I was especially proud of taking down the PS Battle of the Planets monthly triple shootout, since I had saved my entry from being on the SNG leaderboard like 2 years ago.

Initially I was nervous about how I would do in cash games online, since live players generally have infinite tells and tendencies that are highly exploitable and unavailable online. I was also aware that the online world was much more difficult for similar stakes, so I am really glad I was able to overcome that skepticism with objective results. These days I’ve been playing 9-12 tables of NL100, with the exception of today – they just came out with RUSH poker…it’s definitely been a thrill to play. Unfortunately since I’ve started playing online, my desire to play live is practically nonexistent, but I’m sure once I do again, I’ll feel right back in my niche. Another benefit of online play is, I never have to consider feeling like I’m being exploited because I’m a girl. Even though my FTP name is very feminine, players automatically assume I’m a guy and it doesn’t give me the opportunity to level myself 🙂

Also started talking to a great MTT player who went to my school who I’ve known from awhile back and have learned some valuable lessons on pushbotting and grinding MTTS. I think it’s important to diversify and have lots of tools and skills in my arsenal. He’s been really helpful and is also encouraging me to continue pursuing this poker path against the possibility that when I got back to China in Feb I will like it too much and settle there with a “real” job.

So that’s the summary of the rest of 2009 since my last post. I’m a lot more objective now, and I am dedicating more time and resources to meeting goals and deadlines. I’ve realized I can’t just wade through situations hoping for the best; it’s up to me alone to make shit happen. I have definitely also learned to value money more, and be more careful of whom I keep close to me.

Finally, I’d like to offer my condolences to the people of Haiti in the recent Earthquake. The private island of Labadee where our cruise stopped was beautiful, and I am very saddened by this tragedy. I am, however, very touched by the response from the international community, even the poker sites, for their efforts in contributing to the cause. I am uncertain yet as to how much I will pledge (even though tbh I’m not a huge advocate of monetary donations anymore), but since there’s really no other way I could help, it’ll probably be a % of my earnings for the week.