Tag Archives: Rush Poker

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…

Redux

Aight, I’m back home and have done a “visibility” makeover. I’ve changed my twitter and my blog url to something easily recognizable, I’m beginning to lay a concrete plan for my progress, I want to blog more regularly, and I’m still trying to get a rakeback account under my name so I don’t have to be so secretive all the time. Yes, I still value my privacy, but I think it’s just good business to not be such a prude anymore.

My last stretch of the WSOP was eventful but not as profitable as I would have liked. After my last post, I was able to take down the inaugural Aria 8-game mixed event. It wasn’t a huge cash, but it was like my second time playing mixed live so I was more than happy to beat the field. I doubled up in the first level during PLO when my top set QQ34ss held vs. a flopped nut wrap+fd on QT2fd. Got c/r potted on flop and money went in on turn with my binked flush redraw. Things were cruising more or less after that. I felt that theses mixed game players generally had limit poker backgrounds, so I steadily gained chips through the big bet games where players lacked imagination. At the final table I had some decent luck in razz to knock out a few players, and heads up I declined a chop with 2:1 in chips vs. a Russian Stud Champion.

As I was trying to qualify for the WSOP main I got the worst food poisoning of my life. We ordered Thai and I threw up everything I had eaten for the past two days 😦 It was not a pretty, and my stomach was so weak I couldn’t even handle water. My main event dreams were shattered, but perhaps it’s a good thing as it’s probably best from a bankroll perspective to not to compete in another $10,000 event until I’m more seasoned.

My mindset was pretty crushed after the sickness, and I extended my trip to desperately try to compensate for the lost time and opportunity. Although I didn’t make money my last last week, I don’t regret it at all because other good things can and did happen in Vegas.

Anyhow, since I’ve been back I’ve put in five live sessions back at Fallsview. I really did miss this place, but never really found legit reason to go back. Now that I’m not playing online so much and have been re-inspired with live cash, I look forward to taking the degen shuttle outside my condo to work on my craft. The hourly isn’t as good as RUSH during its peak, but I have yet to book a losing session since I’ve been back and it’s always nice to play with old friends. Even though the 5/10 has a maximum of two tables going on at any given time, the game’s never too bad and it’s just a matter of deciding whether the 2/5 is more profitable.

CPT may also be in the works. My sister is going to college in a week so I won’t be able to make it for the ladies event, but I have a good feeling about this. The CPT will be getting decent coverage and it seems as if it will draw a good crowd. This means great cash games for me.

Anticipating good things coming with hard work and focus; stay tuned!

White Horse

I’m in Vegas chillin in my condo taking another personal day off. Women need these, ya know. It was a tough choice since my days in Vegas are limited and the action is really great at every casino every day. I figure I’ve been through a lot these past few days and I can spend another day grinding online.

My accounts got hacked by someone who was once relatively close to me, and though I won’t go into details, it made me really bitter and closed me off even more to the world. I eventually got the money back, but I still just really don’t understand how people can be so vindictive.

My RUSH results since I recovered my FTP account has stagnated. This has been due to a mixture of trying to force results by making up for lost time, subconscious tilt, and some pretty sick coolers with deeeeep stacks. Well, the field may be slightly tougher these days as well, but tbh I’m not too worried about that part.

Anyhow I cashed in the WSOP ladies event for 69th, which was a disappointing finish considering I was really hoping to take it down. Even then, I had a lot of fun and I was impressed by some very skilled female players.

A few days later I played the 6 max event on a recommendation by a skilled friend, but busted soon after dinner break after being table chip leader and doubling 2 shorties up and coming back late after a nap. In a short-handed game 10 minutes of blinds and antes can really hurt. I should have definitely been more diligent for this $2500 event. A few days later I played a Venetian Deepstack and min-cashed after 12 hours. Tourneys are so rough! Some believe that cash is much more stressful, but tourneys require so much more stamina and luckboxness!

Anyhow, so I’m 4/5 in tournament cashes with 1 final table this year. Well, 4/6 if you include the mega-satty I played a few days ago. Not bad, but I want to WIN something desperately. Other than last session, cash has been pretty amazing. There’s been good games at pretty much every casino I’ve gone to, and it’s been a steady climb.

It was my birthday a few days ago, and though I can`t say it wasn`t eventful, it was a pretty depressing day for personal reasons. I won’t go into detail, but it had to do with my current priorities being in conflict with what others are expecting of me. Thus, the personal days off, and I realized my last session was was certainly premature as I was playing in an emotionally unstable state. I only have about a week and a half left of time here, but it’s still probably a better idea if I take some more time off for myself before I push even harder for the last stretch. I don’t have a main event seat yet and I probably won’t play if I don’t win one.

All the best from Vegas 🙂

Back "home"

I am now in monotonous Toronto, having just finished an average breakfast and ready to go work off the pounds I’ve gained from Tianjin’s incomparable meals. My mother is still bickering incessantly about my upcoming exam and finding a real job, a husband, and buying my first home. In other words, there is still very little here for me, and soon enough, I can see myself living very far away, where the people are friendly, the costs are low, and the food always tastes good.

I am very stressed atm, as I feel like I have a ton of pressure on me in the next few months. I want to prepare and plan for WSOP, but I have to retake CFA in early June and will have to put hundreds of more hours into studying. I am also setting up an online business for my stepmom, hoping she will gain financial autonomy and eventually be able to work full-time from home. In China I was euphoric and felt blessed to be where I am with myself, but here I am lonely, unadjusted, and a social anomaly. I don’t even know where to begin to take care of everything, and have just been grinding mindlessly in a subconsciously tilted state.

At least the weather is getting nicer and the company of my sister is helping. When I was in Tianjin I saw family I hadn’t seen for 17 years. Everyone was so accommodating and for the most part I felt like I was able to return the favour by being a good guest. Being there during Lunar New Years was especially crazy; for over two weeks the vibe was bustlin’ and fireworks went off day and night on the streets and sidewalk. It was festive even though it sounded like battle explosions and didn’t allow for any sleeping in. It was great to bond with my cousins and for me to imagine what I’d be like if I never came to Canada. My eldest cousin, Rui, is a total G. She’s so socially adept and knows exactly what to say to whom, knows the ins and outs of Tian Jin and has guanxi (connections) in every niche. I stayed with her family and she took me around everyday for three weeks without a dull moment. Her friends are absolutely hilarious and so entertaining to the point where when we go out to eat after clubbing or ktving, the servers and staff would stand around our table and eavesdrop like it was a sitcom. She’s getting married in August (which she amicably refers to as doomsday), and I can’t wait to go back for the festivities. My second cousin has been living in Yunnan (a laid-back tropical province in China) the past few years, doing her Masters while running a bar on campus with another business on the side. I’m envious of Rui’s extrovertedness, but I was more comfortable and bonded better with Juan (hard J, not “h”). She was very independent, more reserved, and super witty. My last cousin who’s a few months older than me (I’m the youngest) is already married and recently had a baby girl. His wife is beautiful despite the extra pounds from the pregnancy, but he’s still a total player. He and his wife would go out in a group together and he’d send her home to stay out with his buddies to find “xiaojie” aka PR girls/hookers. The girls in the family used to make fun of him a ton when we were kids because he had a different last name. In Chinese culture he is traditionally deemed to be less important in the Liu family because he carries the last name of his father rather than my aunt. Regardless, he was still spoiled since he was the only boy in our generation and got a ton of special treatment from our grandparents.

On my trip back I also helped give birth to puppies! Rui’s poodle Dou Dou was pregnant when I was living there and I become one of the only people she’d let close to her pups. They were so adorable and my dad seriously considered bringing one back with us to Toronto. My stepmom isn’t very fond of animals so we decided against it. I would prefer a bigger dog anyway.

I can definitely see where I get some of my personality from. Did I mention our entire family are big fish? In a drinking sense, that is. 白酒,literally “white alcohol”, is a common Chinese liquor with alcohol content between 40-80%. It’s nasstttttty, and the men in the family drink copious amounts of this stuff with every meal. My first few days with relatives were relatively tame as they were unsure of what to expect from me. The first time I went out drinking with my cousins they were worried I couldn’t handle my liquor. I was ecstatic that they could keep up and definitely bonded exponentially after that.

I wish I could post all the details about every night we went out, but I feel like I should just make a conscious effort from now on to blog more frequently rather than wait a month and try to regurgitate everything that’s happened on another continent. I’ll just fast-forward to my Macau experience. My time in Tian Jin was hectic but I did manage to fit in ~30 hours of RUSH. I’m still kind of upset at myself for not being able to make a quality video before I left, but at the same time I’m also glad I didn’t unnecessarily make the field tougher than it has to be. I had a $100+ hourly in China though I was running above EV and have noticed the games becoming more competitive. My friend and I decided to meet up in Macau (he’d been living in China) for the Macau Cup and grind some cash. We were going to play the events regardless, but we played some qualifiers on Stars and were both able to win a Main Event seat. The one he won was value-added and had 2 nights of Grand Lisboa thrown in, so that was a nice bonus for us. I invited Rui to come with me as she had never been outside the PRC! It made me really happy to do this for her. I ended up playing tournaments all four days of the trip rather than grinding cash as expected. I made it deep in both the 200k gtd and main event, and for the most part poker was good. I was being mindful of the tournament strategies Alex had taught me, and for the most part I think I played pretty darn well. Event #3 200k gtd was a 2-day event that drew 190 entries and also my first live event of the year. It was nice to see the diverse backgrounds of the players and I felt like I fit right in as many of the players were Asian but also spoke English. At one point I was at the table with the PokerStars Asia pro Celina Lin. She is very pretty and doubtlessly charming with her Australian accent, and a class act as a rep of PS, but I couldn’t help but cringe when I noticed how vocal she was with her strategy and decision-making process. She openly discussed her thinking with her neighbour for everyone to hear and even during pots. Not in a Negreneau-type way, since it was much more about expressing her knowledge and critiquing plays rather than drawing reactions and tells. It made me very self-aware of the comfort I have gained in my own game, and also allowed me to acknowledge the depth of my jealousy towards this sponsored pro. Anyhow, the fields were pretty soft and I kept playing my own game. Before I knew it, it was day 2 and I was at the final table with cameras and camcorders hovering over my shoulders. It wasn’t a big cash, but it felt good nonetheless to make money in my first tournament in awhile.

Cash however, was a different story. The night after my final table and before my main event day1, I had a few hours and went to check out the 25/50HKD (6000max) side game. I was initially thrilled to see there were 5 tables running, but soon after I got there I realized it was all regs and one mainland fish everyone was gunning for. I thought about getting a table change right away, but decided against it since I couldn’t stay too long anyway and it’s not like the regs were good. Did I mention this was my first time playing live since L.A.?! I felt sooo good to be back at a live table, but it was

so

insanely

slow.

After the obvious fish got stacked I opened the table up and played a lot of hands successfully until I made an awful spewy play during a squeeze to a straddle and ran into KK. I soon realized basically no one is ever bluffing and they all play very straightforward, with the exception of excessive limping and calling any raise amount. Isolating was difficult since if one player calls five others will follow, but if no one calls even hands like AQ and TT don’t wanna play heads up. It was profitable for these regs because there were several teams of 2-3 players at any given table. There was no blatant collusion per se, but my reg neighbour got very friendly by the end of my session and gave me the scoop on the various players and how there were a few of them who never played without their friend sitting beside them. I thought it was wise to get up soon after that tip since it was getting late and although it sucked to finish my first session stuck I had to get up relative early for the tournament the next day.

Day 1b of the Red Dragon Event was a fun but tedious 12 hour day. The tournament drew 321 from all over, including two teams from Japan who were obnoxious at times, with one player who would get up and yell something along the lines of “Japanese pride” every time someone from his team won a decent pot, and get really in-your-face with his opponents. I have definitely seen better sportsmanship coming from Hellmuth. Anyways, I was also very impressed with the sheer amount of female players in the tourney. With five tables left I was drawn to a table with five other players aside from myself! Unfortunately I couldn’t pick up chips when i needed them and only played for 10 minutes of day two to finish a disappointing 24th. I think getting deeper would have pretty much sealed my decision to move to Asia. Anyhow, since I hadn’t had much time to spend with my cousin doing touristy stuff we explored a few temples and I treated her and Alex to Zaia, a Cirque du Soleil show at the Venetian.

Rui and I made our way back to Beijing finally after a delayed plane through Zhuhai, invited some friends, and spent my last night in China eating Peking Duck and partying at a club with a literal bumping dance floor. I was very sad to go indeed.

Beijing huan ying ni (Welcome to Beijing)

So I’ve been in China for about 4 days now and I’m loving every minute. Unforunately I can’t upload any pics from my BB, but my dad and stepmom have arrived with a new camera so I’m sure there’ll be new ones coming soon.

The tl;dr version is basically having great food, buying awesome affordable gear, and indulging in a really happening vibe in Beijing. A friend from school was kind enough to take me out to the party scene and I have to admit I am seriously considering moving out here. Really, to make US$ while having minimal expenses along with world-class food and entertainment options really can’t be beat.

The flight was a drag with United, and taking the airport express to save 75Y (~$17) might not have been the best option for my first time alone in the city (I’m working really hard to beoome a life nit), but I got there with everything intact and immediately fell in love with my boutique hotel, esp. since they upgraded me to a suite for my first night. I had a sick view since the hotel was mere metres from the east gate of the Forbidden City, and had all the luxuries I could wish for, especially since I had started coming down with a cold. I spent some time figuring out how to get my phone to work with a Chinese SIM (I kept getting weird cryptic messages since my BB doesn’t support mandarin), and eventually gave up trying to contact my friend and went downstairs to eat instead. My dinner was amazing and comforted my cold symptoms, and the only complaint I have was them bringing me a serving of a specialty green tea (though it was delicious), when I had confirmed my request for basic complimentary tea. I mean, I suppose I could give them the benefit of the doubt for not hearing me properly, but chances are good that they are aware I won’t be able to say no after the meal and 25Y isn’t much for a foreigner anyway (yes, even though I look Chinese, speak Chinese, and act it for the most part, they say it’s obvious – something about my “demeanor”). So on my first night I had tomato and egg noodles (homely fave), hot and sour soup, some marinated jellyfish and cucumber, and 2 servings of tea that was worth more than half the meal itself. The dining room had a pleasant atmosphere and the service for the most part was very inviting. In addition, I was very satisfied to go up to my room and draw a long bath while watching Forrest Gump on HBO and sleeping at a reasonable hour I was not accustomed to.

The second day was just as awesome in a totally different sense. I shopped and haggled til I dropped, bought a plethora of goodies for amazing prices (even though I still got ripped off a lot compared to if I were local), and had two pleasant meals outside. The two malls I went to were pretty touristy, but I didn’t care as there was a huge selection and the items were all much better quality than you’d expect. You really don’t realize how many foreigners are in the city til you come to one of these, and the young shop girls able to bargain in 3-4 languages will let you know. The first meal was after the shopping, which is highly unusal because I am usually very cranky and unfunctional when I don’t have food when I wake up, but I was simply too eager to shop and felt like I didn’t have time to lol. I found a small bunch of street vendors in an alleyway off the road. There were exotic skewers, buns and dumplings of all kinds, and all the customers were local, so it had to be good. I ended up ordering a plate of goodies at 1Y (~0.15) per item, costing me a grand total of 5Y for an a la carte meal cooked in front of you. After going back to the hotel to relax for a bit and go through my purchases with glee, I made plans and took a quick nap before I went across the street to the famous Beijing night food market and had a bowl of specialty soup that lists for 30Y, that I paid 20Y for, but probably could be sold for 5Y to a local. It was divine, and the ingredients really were authentically nourishing – pig skin, shark fin, chicken, fancy herbs and mushrooms, quail eggs. Along with a local favourite, lamb skewers, it was another divine meal.

So my friend met up with me pretty late as he had a business meeting in Tianjin, but nonetheless he was a great sport and took me out exhaustedly two nights in a row. My first Beijing nightlife experience was at Xiu at the Park Hyatt, a trendy upscale lounge/bar catering mostly towards foreigners and hot locals. I hadn’t waited in line for a club for a long time, but this one was definitely worth it. There was an extensive live band that played very current club jams, and the vibe in general was very energetic and enticing. The drink prices were standard for Western bars, but when you see a round costing 350Y when you just bought a year’s worth of accessories for less, it’s kind of a reality check of sorts. But hey, let the foreigners have their status with their drinks costing a month’s avg salary – the city’s not complaining. I especially felt classy when my friend ordered a round of shots and having forgotten that I was sick and couldn’t breath properly, I basically choked/poured the shot onto my face -.- Anyhow, I decided to stick wtih wine for the rest of the night.

The next day was sort of a write-off as you might expect. I attempted to play poker but realized the mere sight of the pixels on my screen sent my head swirling, so I nursed my hangover until I was ready to do it all over again. I had also run out of RMB (I thought I was responsible enough to make what I had last 3 days), and by the time I was ready to step outside the bank was already closed. Anyhow my friend took me out for Yunnan hotpot with fabulous broth. It was a pleasant surprise that I had already started feeling much better, probably between the soups and the alcohol killing the cold germs in my system (ha!). Then we stopped by a lounge in another trendy boutique hotel called the Opposite House, a place I considered staying in before I remembered I’m supposed to be a nit grinder for awhile. Oh, did I mention there is NO LAST CALL? win!?… I’m not sure yet. Well then around 2 we went to a pretty local club called Coco Banana and had decent bottle service there with some of his friends who were all foreigners as well. It was a very different scene from Xiu (this place still had squatting toilets ><), but the vibe was still good and still way better than anything in T.o. imo.

I am writing this at the end of my 4th day, where I am now in Tianjin, reunited with my dad’s side of the family. This morning I was approached by a poker friend online who needed my help. He’s a tournament player trying to SS Rush, and I was glad to be useful and sent him my almost-finished basic strat video (I just have to blur out my SN in every frame and edit some minor parts, though I don’t think I’ll ever be truly satisfied since it’s my first video project). You can see there’s not gonna be much poker strategy on this blog, with my primary focus being on tl;dr trip reports and rantings related to the game, but I highly recommend any decent player to pick up the very profitable Rush on FTP. I may post the vid here on this blog soonish.

I went back to the clubbing district (Sanlitun), had a brunchy meal at a fusion Chinese restaurant and roamed around The Village til it was time for another city. I then went back to the airport to pick up my parents and I would just like to make a quick comment about how incredibly blessed I am. I clumsily left my new LV purse with EVERYTHING – passport, RMB, CDN, US, credit cards, etc. etc. in the washroom stall. Realizing 5 minutes later, I ran back to the restroom, and was completely fortunate that the washroom attendants were honest and valued being recognized with merit in their jobs rather than years (…a lifetime?) worth of salary. They asked me to fill out a claim/comment form, and insisted that I note that nothing was missing from my bag and to praise their integrity in the incident because this will bring them great honour at their next meeting with their supervisors. Wow.

Anyhow my 3 cousins who I haven’t seen for 17+ years picked me up by approaching me and asking if I was who they thought I was. It was a fine reunion that made me really fuzzy inside. We waited awhile for my dad to arrive and headed back to my birthplace, Tianjin. The journey was an intense two hours because the drivers are all crazy. No one checks their blindspots, and it’s all a huge cutthroat race to them. It was also a hoot when my cousin had to stop about half a dozen times on the side of the highway as cars were zooming inches from him to manually wipe snow off the windshield since his wipers were broken.

So I’m here on my cousin’s desktop since her internet isn’t set up on my laptop, but soon I will have wireless here and I can play some pokerz to not feel completely unproductive. I am staying at my eldest uncle’s house, who has 3 lovable dogs. I have already realized that I have a lot more in common with my cousins than I expected. I’m very exhausted atm and probably should’ve done an even briefer summary to be prepared for the festivities tomorrow, but I’m glad I expended the energy.

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.