Survivor01’s Weblog

March 19, 2011

DeepStacks Live Training in Reno

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 6:57 pm

I make friends very easily, hopefully its because of my sparkling personality but mostly because of the situations I find myself in and I like to believe I’m an outwardly friendly person! I made friends with a guy at my poker table during the recent Randy Coutour Charity event, he was friendly and we chatted until our table broke. We later ended up side by side once again at the final table. Reunited like old friends, we got to know each other a little better while waiting for play to resume. We finally introduced ourselves and this friendly guy turned out to be Chris Torina, President/CEO of DeepStacks Live, a new innovative training camp for poker players of all skill levels. Well, being the poker sponge that I am, I began probing for information on what the training would consist of. They were just starting out, but had an online live session coming up with some very big names teaching on a real felt with live students and a new 360 degree camera. It all sounded exciting and something no other training camps had ever tried, so he had my full attention. I signed up and watched the live stream training online and was totally surprised at how great the concept was and the ability of the instructors to communicate to the viewing audience. The practical one on one teaching was exceptional in comparison to other camps where you are typically one of three hundred people sitting in an audience listening to pros lecturing. Been there, done that….no thanks! I vowed to watch for the beginning offerings for live classes so I could experience what I had just watched on the live stream.
My wish came true in the form of satellite offerings on Full Tilt for a DeepStacks main event and class in Reno. I only played one satellite and did go fairly deep but the satellites were only offered once a week and at a high buy-in. I decided to wait for something more affordable, and wha-la! a contest magically appeared on Facebook to enter and tell why you need the DeepStacks Live training and about yourself and your poker resume. I jumped at the chance to enter and won!! I was on my way to learn from the top pros we see at final tables on television.
Once I arrived at the training center setup at the Grand Sierra, I was greeted by a very friendly staff and invited in to meet the pro’s who would be teaching the course. I knew Mike Matasow and Mike Mizrachi were the head line instructors but I soon learned there were other very knowledgeable and capable pros on staff as well; Adam Levy, Justin Smith, Tristan Wade and Chris Torina. The group was split up on to two tables and the course began with basics and revved into cash games for about an hour. Everyone was given chips to play with and the cards flew out. Every single hand was played and analyzed. Situations in position with specific cards, and player type was set up and discussed. Have you ever even heard of a training class like this for live play? Hand for hand the pro’s talked the strategy, possible hand strength and ranges, power of position, using your observation to your highest advantage, tells, hand choices, strategy for playing trap hands and special plays you’ve never tried, every single element of tournament play. PRICELESS!
I found the instructors to be totally amazing with their genuine concern that every single student was getting all the concepts and individual attention. When they saw someone struggling, a pro would move a chair to sit behind that student and co-play the next hand illustration. There was total dedication to this class and its students when it came to the instructors. The table I was on had several beginners so it gave me a wide open door to ask many questions and dominate the conversation when I could. I had some situations that I really wanted to cover from my WSOP main event, and this was my best opportunity to pick the minds of the greatest of great’s right here and now. I asked Mike Mizrachi if he would stay behind during a break and discuss a few situations with me and he obliged without hesitation. The information was invaluable! Whatever they charge for this course, it’s not enough…..
Overall I felt this training session exceeded my expectations and will impact my game forever. NEVER have I been so excited to have an opportunity to actually SIT with name pro’s who were teaching top notch poker skills! There are NO other poker camps, seminars or schools who are teaching on this level for “live” poker. I repeat NO WHERE! It is my intention to continue following this path of learning the changes in poker strategy and play for as long as I need too, so I will be returning to another one of these courses as soon as I can. My only disappointment was when the class ended……I could have stayed there for hours!
To get more information on this specialized training go to


March 1, 2011

I want to be the Person my Dog Thinks I am! And how Sam Chauhan has influence my Life

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 8:22 pm

In this journey of re-creating myself, I’ve expanded on many things in my life and one of those activities includes supporting something very emotionally close to my heart, dog rescue. Steve and I began participating in a Papillon rescue group a couple of years ago, and it has been one of the most rewarding things we could have ever done. The feeling of giving a discarded and neglected pup a second chance in life is like winning the lottery. The other day I was visiting with a friend and in this conversation the phrase “I want to be the person my dog thinks I am” came up. It was so profound, I never forgot it. When I came home and was greeted by all three of our “girls” with barks, kisses and adoring looks that phrase came to a full realization, these little fur balls actually think I am the center of their world. I am their security, trust, the person they hold responsible for their well-being and most of all the holder of their unconditional love. Is there a better feeling anywhere?
So on this journey of life changes, it is my deepest hope I can live up to being “the person my dogs think I am” and maybe even surpass their expectations as well as my own.

How Sam Chauhan has influenced my life

Have you ever met someone and just knew they were going to be trouble? Maybe you’ve met someone for the first time and just knew they were going to be your best friend for life. Intuition is a great feeling when it works for you in a positive way, and that’s what happened to me when I first met Sam Chauhan.
A year ago in Reno I walked up to Sam Chauhan, introduced myself and promptly told him I had read his book The Minds Power Unleashed and there would be a book review published very soon. I was very impressed with its simplistic reading and common sense understanding. There was something about this guy that seemed familiar yet he was a stranger. I walked away after a short conversation and thought that was probably the last time I would have any interaction with this guy as I could never afford his fees for mindset coaching, yet I set it to the back of my mind not quite ready to dismiss him all together.
After my nice run in the 2010 WSOP main event with a life coach in tow, I found myself thinking about Sam Chauhan’s mindset book once again. I had loaned out the book to a friend so picking it back up to review my thoughts was not a convenient option. I was talking to my friend Debbie Burkhead regarding her upcoming poker cruise and suggested that Sam Chauhan might be an interesting addition to her series of poker seminars that were to take place on the first poker cruise. She agreed the interest in Sam and his coaching methods were cutting edge and the interest from poker players was high, so he was added to the poker cruise, and I was going to get my chance to really hear and learn from a proven poker mindset coach that had first peaked my interest over a year ago and I had never lost my curiosity about.
Once the cruise was underway, Sam appeared in the poker room almost immediately making his rounds meeting cruiser-players and mingling in games. My curiosity lead me to pursue several conversations with Sam as well as a few pots on a 2/5 NL cash game. When the time came for Sam’s seminar, the room was full! Nearly every single player showed up to hear this mindset coach and what he could do for their game, myself included. While Sam’s presentation was way more than I expected it to be, I knew he had a full tool box of challenges and secrets still to be unveiled. His enthusiasm and “tip of the iceberg” deliverance of how to improve your poker game was so enticing, but how to get to be a student of this widely popular Poker Mindset Guru was beyond me. I certainly was not the caliber player of Antonio Esfardari or Phil Hellmuth, so how was my level of player able to afford the Cadillac of poker coaches? Call it luck or call it destiny, I was among many players at that seminar that were invited to fill out a questionnaire to be among the chosen to try a group coaching session to last six months for a very reasonable fee. I of course jumped to be the first one to fill out the chance to experience something I believed would not happen for me. Myself, and four other lucky players were chosen to participate! I am now in my fourth month of coaching within this group and it has been a fantastic ride. Sam’s no-nonsensical exercises and methods to improve on positive thought patterns and breaking negative patterns and actions have far reaching results in my poker as well as my personal life.
Having this unique opportunity to be a part of Sam Chauhan’s coaching gallery has also afforded me another opportunity as a Mindset student. Last weekend I was one of eleven students to participate in Sam’s Mindset Instructors Academy. Although I have no interest in becoming a Mindset coach, I saw this clinic as a way to improve myself and apply the knowledge in other facets of my life. The learning experience was golden and the interaction within the eclectic group of students was fantastic. I rarely meet a stranger and as luck would have it, I made ten new friends that weekend as well as soaking up all that Sam had to offer in this study of human nature.
The Mindset Instructors Academy was three short days from 9am to 5pm each day. On day three I remarked to Sam that I really felt strongly that this clinic could have continued on for another two or three days as all the material was so interesting and interlocked with many other avenues of interest, there just wasn’t enough time to learn and experience it all. Just to entertain your curiosity regarding the agenda of this clinic I am listing a few topics of interest.
Understanding the conscious and subconscious mind
Decision making and understanding the processes
Priorities, how you make them and hold them
Power of vocabulary, powerful words and words of persuasion
SPL or Subliminal Persuasive Linguistics
Turning negative patterns to positive (Anchors) goals
Breaking Habits
There is so much more I could list but as a consideration to Sam I will not put his entire program on my blog! I will say emphatically if you ever have a chance to attend one of Sam Chauhans coaching groups or seminars do not pass up the opportunity. I am taking what I’ve learned and applying it to my life which yes, does reach my poker game. In addition to applying the many strategies, methods and teachings I have acquired, I am adding yet another tool to my tool box, Reiki. More on this as I experience this ancient Japanese practice to inter peace, balance and higher understanding.
A healthy body and a healthy mind can do wonders; setting goals and reaching them are life changing.

February 16, 2011

If Opportunity doesnt Knock, Build a Door

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 8:35 pm

My new lease on my poker life this year is going to be an open door. What I mean by that is, I am putting all my energy out to the universe to see what is returned to me. So far I’m happy to say its working.
I came closer than ever to winning my main event package to the 2011 PCA when it was snatched from my grasp by a one outter. I couldnt have played the hand more perfectly, so I had to accept that it wasnt in my destiny to go to the Bahamas. Then weeks later my karma turned. A friend had a full ride package for the PCA ladies event and she couldnt go due to a family emergency….she was “giving” me the trip package. My excitement and anticipation for a great trip knew no bounds! The door of opportunity was opened and I was about to walk through it.
The PCA ladies tournament was “The” best ladies tournament I have ever played in. There were very few novice players and many top notch players to play past if I were to reach the money. For whatever reason, PokerStars changed the payout schedule to only pay top 8, this was certainly not a change for the better in my estimation as the year before there were about the same number of players with a payout to the top 16. If PokerStars would like to build on this tournament and pull more and more numbers, paying less spots is NOT the way to do it. Things that attract players like myself to a non-open tournament like this are location, buy-in, structure/starting chips and payout schedule. I’m encouraging PokerStars to revisit this payout structure and re-consider paying more spots. I played a very steady game and took only one truly bad beat not of my own making, which did cripple me. I finished in the 13th spot out of 90+ players.
I just returned from Atlantic City where I played the Borgata Winter Open. I arrived only one day before the main event, but tried to squeeze in a couple of qualifiers to save some money but I was prepared to play this tournament with a direct buyin. The starting chips were 30,000 with 75 minute levels and a structure that rivals the WSOP main event. I knew that slow and steady would win the race, so my patience kicked in and I went into day 2 with 65,000 chips, far above the average stack. My girlfriend Roz Quarto was right there with me in chips and would dominate day 2 as chip leader. Back on my table I continued to play slow and steady picking my spots and trying to read my opponents with careful consideration. Two key hands hurt and crippled me to the point of not being able to get lucky and make a satisfactory recovery to continue. The first hand that I lost about 10K in chips was a set over set as I suspected, the other was my KK running into AA, I’m NEVER folding KK preflop in this situation so my opponent doubled thru me.
I’m now back at home, with the Venetian Deep Stacks going on and plan to play a few days of selected buy-ins. I will also be proceeding this month with continued training with Ari Engel in hopes of moving my online game to a more productive level. In short, I really need to play more online tournaments to keep feeding my live buy-ins. I also have a three day training seminar this month with Sam Chauhan, my poker mindset coach. I’m most excited about this seminar as I look to the future to build my skills and gain any edge my opponents may not have. All it takes is a vision of what you can be and taking that first step to make it happen.
My goals for 2011 are set and I have begun working towards them. I am building my mental game and keeping a poker journal in which I hope to accumulate enough helpful information to translate into a teaching tool of some level. Giving back from what I win in poker continues to drive me. I never actually thought of myself as a mentor, but without looking it happened. A close friend of mine who was looking for her motivation asked to come over to my house and watch me play. Of course I was happy to do it so we got together on a Sunday and we talked about every play and what my reasoning and thought process was behind every move. She left with more enthusiasm than she came with, and went home to play some 45-90 sngs. That same night she took 2nd and has continued to dominate a ladies league she is playing for a WSOP seat. It has become a double edge sword of sorts, on one side I have a positive motivation to continue my journey to bigger and better levels in my poker and I have the gratification of paying it forward for another poker player furthering her own poker aspirations. If it gets any better than this….I’m ready!!

December 17, 2010

2010 Year of the Woman? You aint seen NOTHING yet!

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 4:54 pm

2010 isnt quite over, yet many venues in the media are giving 2010 to the women.  Its true women have made a huge splash this year, Liv Boree took a major title in Europe, Vanessa Selbst took down two major titles plus a great showing at the WSOP, and Kathy Liebert; leading woman tournament player in the world was inducted into the Women of Poker Hall of Fame.  There are so many more women I could mention that have made a mark on their poker careers in 2010, but why should I have too?  Women have been making an impact on poker for many years.  All we want to do is be recognized for our poker complishments, not necessarily our gender.  Why say this woman or that woman was the last one standing?  Is it so important to emphasize a gender?  Does anyone ever say, this guy is the last Afro-American standing?  Arent we all just poker players?  So why is everyone so absorbed in the number of women playing poker?

The womens market is a very sought after demographic.  The problem with acquiring  any percentage of this demographic is that women have less disposable money, are often providing a second income to a family household, and of course are the primary caregivers to a growing family.  A small percentage of the womens market is made of ladies who devote their career and income to poker and who do have or make the time for poker and traveling the various curcuits.  So how do the poker venues draw women into their fold?  The answer is easy, MARKETING!  Have you ever heard the phrase, “Build it and they will come?”  Finally a poker venue has opened the flood gates of ideas to attract women poker players of all levels of skill.

PokerStars began two womens leagues a couple of months ago to attract more women to their online tournaments and qualifiers for their live tournaments, even before that, they provided qualifiers for major live tournaments in London and the United States.  Based on a point system, PokerStars has impressed even me with their due diligence and concern to accomodate women players in both America and Europe.  Precise times for anyone to make any number of online tournaments and qualifiers makes it so easy and convenient for ladies to play no less than two tournaments a day if they so wish.  In addition, PokerStars has gone another step further and keeps a running ledger of every woman who plays in the leagues and accumulates points towards prizes that include cash, trips, live tournaments and lots more.  The numbers have indeed been an impressive 150 and often tops 200 players in the league games.

There have been many women organizations working the womens poker market for several years, but one stand out organization has to be the  HHPT, also known as the High Heels Poker Tour.  HHPT is co-ordinating with PokerStars, freerolls, qualifiers and partnership/sponsorship to provide women a way to win their trip package to the Bahamas /PokerStars Caribbean Adventure series.  A recent FREEROLL sponsored by HHPT drew over 300 players online.   A highly sought after package and trip, this getaway will also highlight a poker seminar featuring Beth Gains theory on Eat, Play, Love for ladies to tap into their spiritual self as well as maintaining a confident poker mind.  It appears PokerStars has opened the flood gates to the womens poker market and is on the way to swimming happily to the top.

I’d like to take a moment to THANK PokerStars personally for finally opening a venue to invite more poker players in a wide open market that I am a part of.  You took a chance on a market that doesnt respond in over whelming numbers, but does indeed respond, and is grateful and thriving in this opportunity.  I hope it continues on for a very long time and turns into a great relationship with womens poker.

October 21, 2010

Preparation is the best Poker Medicine

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 11:17 pm

I’ve been playing poker for years, probably longer than I’d like to admit to anyone, but playing tournaments not so long.  Not until this past year had I given thought and effort towards preparing to play a long tournament.  I wanted more than anything to have a great showing in the main event at the 2010 WSOP which I did by finishing 489th out of 7319 players. I never gave much thought to this process until recent articles about several poker pros that have been utilizing life coaches, dieticians, and physical trainers and living a less than partying life style.  Okay, so I don’t live the party life style, scratch that one off!  There must be something here though that I’d been missing because I now give all the credit of my deep run in the WSOP to pre-tournament prepping.

First I took a look at my thought processing during a poker tournament.  I have a little check list I go through every time I sit down at a tournament table.  Get to the table early to watch players get ready, NO talking, listen intently to the player interaction, watch player’s movements, learn their betting patterns, see as many cards as possible, watch how they handle chips and learn any tells if possible.  This is the short list but you get my essential thoughts of first impressions at the table.  My interaction with my opponents always has room for improvement and my pattern of thought is probably very typical of many players, but I needed a change in this area to give my game an additional edge and a stronger motivation to move forward with confidence.

Poker has changed tremendously in the past five years.  It no longer takes a seasoned player of 20 years to win huge tournaments but only a player of 20 years of age to win one.  There are probably many reasons why but for this blog article I’m going to pick a couple of “key points” to analyze.  The largest and most reported point of poker today is the fact that young minds have entered the game, with that; the game has totally emerged as a thinking strategist game.  More players are playing the people rather than the cards with more aggression and courage.  The ability to disassociate the value of the hand has become key in many successful strategies. As  result hyper-aggressive players have emerged that create emotions in their opponents and exploit them to their advantage.  These kinds of players often wear on us as frustration sets in as well as other negative emotions.  So how do we combat these emotions and players?  Learning how to make adjustments in your game and thought processes can only improve your ability to cope and play a more competitive game and overcome these obstacles.  If you are going to have an accomplished poker career you have to take this seriously because the player across from you certainly is.  Enter the life/poker coach.

I turned to a life coach who applied her skills to my specialized needs for my game.  I explained to her where my head is in my personal life as well as my poker life and we met in the middle by cleaning out my needless mind clutter and reaffirming my positive energy. This takes a lot of self exploration which I found I needed pretty bad.  If my mind wasn’t on what I was doing at the poker table, but somewhere else, how in the world was success ever going to be possible?  So with that, we began cleaning out my wandering thought issues and learned patterns of thought to enable my thought processing at the poker table to be only poker.  Once this felt comfortable we tackled my ability to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand.  This in part requires absolutely no interferences, diversions or distractions of ANY kind during the days of a long tournament.  A support system at home is paramount.  In my case, my husband and I discussed that I shouldn’t be involved with anything of a distracting nature during the WSOP, and he would deal with everything until I was available after the tournament.  Secondly we developed a little reminder list for keeping myself aligned with my goals.  Acknowledging to yourself in a positive rather than negative will drive your efforts towards your ultimate goal.

This is my list:

A – Affirming the goal as if you’ve already achieved it!

V – Visualizing the end result

I – Identifying the form any resistance has taken

C- Clearing the resistance that stands in the way of achieving your goal.

*There is no such thing as losing, just learning lessons to set yourself up for your next win!

Thirdly and probably a very important acknowledgement for me was to never have negative thoughts about what was happening.  Letting go of negative emotional energy was as simple as recognizing its influence and existence.  The reason for this is simple, your subconscious doesn’t know the difference between positive and negative, and therefore processes every thought as a positive.  Keeping negative thoughts out of your thinking at a poker table is very difficult.  I learned to focus and concentrate on individual incidents, analyze to a positive solution quickly and move on to the next hand and play without any further thought or analysis.  This helps to eliminate steaming, tilting, emotional and stress factors as well as getting stuck in your thoughts of how you should have played that hand over and over in your head and questioning your last move or lack of.  MY confidence and attitude improved to the degree that even my poker friends could see the change in my over all demeanor.

You may not recognize it but fear is a major influence on our game.  Hesitation, reluctance and lack of courage to follow through with a decision often keep a player from advancing on a consistent basis.  To overcome this emotion I have changed two things in my game.  Focus and applied logic.  Certainly there is way more exploration on both these topics than can be written here, but I have total confidence that I can continue to grow in this area of my game with the help of my life/poker coach.  Changing my behavioral patterns thru coaching reflects my ability to focus on a competitive level allowing me to advance in my game.  I no longer let outside thoughts and influences invade my train of thought while at the table.  Following this change, my thoughts on logical deduction and math options improved.  It just seemed like a natural thought occurrence that I’d never had before, so it was all new and made possible by clearing out my fear.

Dieticians can be costly.  When you see specially prepared foods being delivered table side to famous players, don’t you wonder why they are doing that?  It is no secret that you should eat a balanced diet to keep your mind and body sharp for the long haul ahead, but you don’t have to pay the extra dollars for a specialized meal schedule unless you just want too.  I pack nutritious snacks such as granola bars and fruit to get me through until the dinner breaks.  Then at dinner I eat protein, vegetables and very little carbohydrates as those make me feel tired and sleepy. All through the day I drink water, Gatorade and Green Tea.  No alcohol.  This is no time or place for any kind of impairment.

Physical fitness also can play a part in your ability to maintain your stamina for long sessions.  If your back starts hurting or you get cramps easily, you have to combat that somehow so that your comfort level is maintained and your concentration remains on the task at hand.  There are no rules against getting up at the table when you’re not in hand and doing a few stretches.  Several pros have work out regimes we read about them constantly; I however really do not have an exercise program in which I am faithful.  Walking, getting plenty of rest and not over exerting myself has helped me get through long sessions but this part of my “program” will improve with time.

For those who might be interested in further investigating a life coach for their poker career, I recommend Lisa Ulshafer who has helped me beyond my expectations.  Find Lisa’s services at



August 5, 2010

Going Deep in the 2010 WSOP

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 4:51 pm

I’m finally getting around to writing my WSOP blog.  I have been putting this off for several reasons, one being I had to get my head wrapped around this whole experience!  Once I realized just what a great accomplishment I had reached it impacted me like no other poker tournament can.

I want to start by thanking my husband Steve for talking confidence and support to me every night when I came home.  He really did have surprise on his face when I said, I’m baggin, not much but I AM bagging again tonight.  Second, I NEVER could have gotten past Day 2 without my poker/life coach, Lisa Ulshafer!!  She rocks!  All your support on the phone, twitter, posts and coaching PAID off!  I’ll never go through another big tournament without her.  Last but not least I HAVE to Thank my girl JoAnn Bryan, she was on the rail every single day cheering me on, texting me vital info, keeping all my family and friends updated on twitter about my progress and running food and drink to me.  You dont know what that meant to me for you to be there!!

I’m told we were down to four women left in the field when I went out, thats a bummer but not the most important detail of the tournament to me.  I really dont want to be known as the last woman standing, I didnt realize this until recently.  The noteriety that follows this title is nice acknowledgement dont get me wrong, but the acknowledgment of how deep you go into this main event is more gratifying than I can explain.  For anyone who didnt get the news flash, I went out 489th of the 7319 player field.  Nothing to sneeze at!  I have a renewed understanding of self confidence and courage to tackle these huge fields of players now.

Playing the short stack as I did was very difficult.  Besides being prepared mentally for this tournament, I had to use the new tools Lisa had given me to my best ability, one very important aspect of that was focus and concentration.  I made some awesome lay downs, QQ preflop to KK and AA, and again when I had JJ in the bb against a raise and a re-raise that was AK and AA.  I never really fell into a table of terrible players, just overly aggressive which I didnt have any trouble adjusting too, thanks to my MavenVT training.  The reason I surmised why I couldnt build my stack past 130K was I never got involved with a big hand in a big pot.  Beside the hands I just mentioned that I laid down, I NEVER had any other big pairs and rarely had a big Ace.  So you see, I stole, bluffed and maintained that short stack in a patient state waiting for the my turn at the deck.  It really never came.

My exit hand was devastating to say the least.  This is how I remember it.

UTG, I see 10/10…I push all in, the blinds and antes were so high, it was my only move.  Mid position/huge stack called, late position/huge stack re-raised and everyone folded back to the mid position player.  He calls the re-raise, this makes me a little nervous, I smell really BIG hands coming, but the possibility of a triple up which I really needed.  The flop was 9/K/8…mid bets, late raises, mid re-raises, and late pushes all in.  I see a set vs AK???…..mid finally calls and its set of 9’s vs set of K’s…wait, it gets worse!…the turn is Ace, and the river a 10!!  Set over set over set even if mine did come on the river, I needed late position to have AK not KK to win the hand.  Bad luck!

I was pretty down and wanting to leave the table badly but you must stay in your seat after going out until the runner comes to fetch you for the payout line.  I didnt realize the ESPN cameras were on me until the guy next to me whispered it and I looked up to see them in my face.  Hopefully that tape will end up on the cutting room floor.

I was very disappointed to go out that day, it wore on me for at least two days.  I’m not sure exactly what woke me up to my achievement of going so deep in that tournament except to say that today I am one PROUD poker player to have made the top 7% of the playing field.  I’m looking forward to more success and with the highest expectations and readiness of any poker player.  My confidence is HIGH!!

June 24, 2010

Women in Poker and the WiPHoF

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 5:11 pm

Women in Poker and the WiPHoF

Now that some of the controversey has died down regarding the WSOP ladies event, I’ll add my two cents.  This was only my second or third time playing the ladies event, so I maybe do not have a real stake in an opinion of what happened last week.  I seldom play ladies events, usually because I am looking for a higher buy-in event but basically because I typically play better in open events.  I have always supported women’s events, social groups and special organizations that further ladies poker, but that doesn’t limit me to women’s only poker.  However, I do endorse the belief that women’s events should be presented and preserved as just that, women only.

While sitting and listening to the opening comments of the 2010 WSOP Ladies event, I was surprised that nothing was mentioned about the obvious men situated around the room at various tables.  About 15 minutes into play, Jack Effel, tournament director, did make the announcement of regret that the WSOP was unable to deter several men from playing in the ladies event.  While I felt Mr. Effels apology was sincere, I felt the history and integrity of the event was lost forever this year.  In times past since 1977 when the first ladies event was held, there hasn’t been a man allowed to play in this event forever preserving the integrity of the WSOP.  But recent challenges in discrimination laws have sent ripples through out many ladies events around the country resulting in casino’s having to allow men to play.  The WSOP is no different.  They simply cannot go against the law in this situation.  BUT WAIT!!  Is there a solution??  You bet there is!  Every casino has the right to refuse service to any patron, and that includes poker players.  If the men are determined to enter and play a ladies event, event organizers have the right to refuse entry or service of any gambling game in the casino to any player!  A simple refusal of entry to the remaining events at this year’s WSOP would send any poker god fearing player to the curb and give them time to reflect about their decision to play a woman’s event and if it was REALLY worth all this fallout.  One of my favorite phrases is, “There is no crime if there is no time”.  So let’s hope the administrators at the WSOP give this situation their full attention and come up with a fair solution to keep the history and integrity of the Ladies event intact.


Just in case someone doesn’t recognize this abbreviation, I am referring to the Women In Poker Hall of Fame.  It is once again time to induct two very deserving ladies into an organization that preserves the stance of women in poker.

The ladies presented before the general membership and reining committee are:  Kathy Liebert, JJ Liu, Betty Carey, Jennifer Harman-Traniello, Phyllis Caro, Nani Dollison and Annie Duke.  I believe each of the ladies is very deserving to be considered for this honor with the exception of one, Annie Duke.  I really don’t think I need to go into any explanation for my negative opinion on this person simply because of the very public admonishment Annie herself has taken to the public against women’s poker.  I realize many times that these kinds of nominations become popularity contests and while many women do not agree with Annie’s views on women’s poker, she is a popular brand in the poker industry, and will accumulate some votes.  I would hate to think I might miss the induction ceremonies this year, but that will happen for me should Annie Duke be inducted.

With all considerations I would like to encourage all active ladies in poker and the general public to cast their votes for the most deserving two women on the list.  Who are those two?  That is for each of you to decide!

May 19, 2010

Sam Chauhan – Minds Power Unleashed, Book Review-Part 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 5:25 pm

I met Sam Chauhan last week in Reno at the Jennifer Harman charity tournament.  The first night’s event was a mixer cocktail party for players, sponsors, pro’s and industry people to relax and network if that’s your thing.  I actually was trying to make my way to the exit towards the end of the evening, when I bumped into Sam.  I introduced myself and began talking about his book which I had just started reading.  He was very congenial and asked my impressions thus far.  We spoke for a bit and I told him I would be doing a book review for my blog network and would welcome his comments. 

So Sam, here is my first review, part one.

If you don’t know who Sam Chauhan is, you haven’t been keeping up on your poker intel.  Sam has gained popularity among some of the highest level poker players in the industry as a life coach and poker guru.  Some of his clientele includes Phil Hellmuth, Antonia Esfandari, Gavin Smith, David Williams and Paul Wasica.  Most will testify the great change Sam has helped them to make in their lives, even to the point of financial, health and personal gain.

Sam Chauhan has a way with words, and when you begin reading his book, Minds Power Unleashed, you will be happy to enjoy this very easy read.  The very simplest of thoughts and phrases never meant so much as too read it in the context that Sam communicates it in.   Sam uses a technique known as Neurolinguistic Programming.  These tools are used to improve or change beliefs patterns and communication effectiveness with yourself and others.  This may sound a little psycho analysis, and it probably is.  But once you read in depth about this method of change you will see the simplicity of the method.

I’m finding myself in every single chapter of this book.  My thought patterns and beliefs as taught to me in childhood are identified as some of the very elements of my life that are holding me back from making the positive changes that will bring me a happier successful life.  The changes you must make are often simple but difficult.  You require explanation for every change you make.  Why should I eat healthier?  Why should I exercise?  Why should I apologize?  The answers are simple, to lose weight and feel better about myself, to promote a healthier running body, to be a forgiving and understanding person.  The motivation is there, but what promotes the motivation to make these changes?  Sam delves into a deeper meaning of promoting change, such as positive affirmations.  Vocabulary becomes a huge tool in your own thought processes.  Do you use positive words?  I “can”, I “will”, I “must”.  Often we use negative words in general conversation, its natural.  So we “must” make the change to become positive in every way of our lives if that is what you desire.  Kick out the negative and bring on the positive!!

Something I’ve heard before but I guess never really sunk into my thick skull, it that there are NO failures, only life lessons.  All of us complain about how something went south on us, or something went wrong unexpectantly.  But do you ever say, “Hey, that’s life, I learned something, I won’t do it again, and life goes on”.  I seldom have felt that way or said that, until now.  I am making this change.  Failure is a thing of past for me.

In the book Sam encourages you to actually participate in taking steps to making positive changes.  I saw an opportunity to put these exercises to the test, so I am using these tools every day with great expectation of a positive outlook.

My first list consists of disempowering beliefs versus my list of empowering beliefs.  I read the empowering list aloud to myself ever morning.  It’s like changing the familiar road I drive to the grocery store every morning.  Now I drive a different way and it feels good.

Do you talk to yourself?  Of course you do!  Everyone does, and if you deny it you’re only hurting yourself.  Sam takes you down that road of communicating correctly within yourself.  Sounds deep huh? It’s not really, like me you probably haven’t taken the time to really analyze how you treat yourself.  As I read this particular chapter, I began thinking I never talk to myself in a affirmative way.  What I mean is I don’t use the proper positive vocabulary in order to drive myself to make my thoughts, beliefs and patterns to have a positive outcome.  Power vocabulary is a huge tool in this method of improving yourself.

Where does your conscience and unconscious mind come into this whole picture?  Something I never knew, your unconscious mind does not process negatives, and it processes every thought as a positive.  This becomes an imbedded pattern you now must overcome.  Keeping a positive communication with you redirects those patterns down a good path and away from the negative.  Reprogramming your unconscious mind is a task that takes practice, after all, I’m an adult who has been on life’s path for a very long time, and change doesn’t happen overnight, but it does and will happen if I want it too.

This blog cover through chapter five.  Next week I will pick this up with a review of my progress and what is next to come.

April 29, 2010

Getting Ready for the 2010 WSOP

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 2:51 pm

Getting Ready for 2010 WSOP

It’s just about that time again, the one we dream of every year, the 2010 World Series of Poker!  Every year I tell myself the same thing right about March, I’m going to start my regime to get healthy, work on my stamina, sleep right, work on my game non-stop and win as much money as possible to play many events.  Well, here it is almost May and I have three out of five of these under control!

For the past year I’ve been taking better care of myself health wise, well, because I had too.  Neglecting one’s health is not smart, and I found that out the hard way, but I am on the mend and feeling pretty darn smart!

I’ve stepped up my efforts to improve my game by adhering to TheMaven’s training and poker method.  This tool has proven to be the most valuable in my toolbox in the history of my poker playing.  My excitement has no bounds for what I might accomplish at this year’s WSOP.   In order to create my optimum playing machine, I decided to improve my poker mindset as well.  Body and mind working in sync is most important to create good results.  I have hired a life coach to fine tune my focus and concentration and am seeing results after only a few sessions.  Poker has changed so much in the past five years, it’s gone deep into a thinking game and has see a huge growth in great players.  You need as many weapons as possible in your arsenal to be a contender; it’s just gone way over the top of anyone’s expectations.

Lastly, I have been silently squirreling away my bucks for my WSOP bankroll.  It’s more than I ever would have dreamed I could have in preparation for this year’s events.  PokerStars has been the source of most of my winnings, though Aria poker room has been a big contributor as well.  I’m actually looking forward to playing the ladies WSOP event this year as I’ve won one seat already and have a tournament coming up in the Pink Ladies Championship to win another.  Of course the mother of all events, THE MAIN EVENT is my first goal and biggest priority.  While I do have the buy-in for this event, it would feel so much better and most like an accomplished goal to win my way into this event.  I’m sure I’m playing around six or seven events this year, but I will do so as I feel I am physically and mentally ready each day.  I won’t push myself when I don’t have the correct focus or am just too tired from previous day’s activities.

Three out of five of my preparation goals aren’t too bad; I have time to work on the other two.  It’s my belief that a healthy body and mind will support better sleep habits and the stamina will follow.  I’m a working project in progress and I will not give up.  These goals are mine to reach and I will reach them with my determination and courage.  Good luck me, and good luck to you if you’re at my table; because you’re going to need it!!

March 24, 2010

Who’s “Big Slick”, and how did he get in the game?!

Filed under: Uncategorized — survivor01 @ 9:02 pm

I’ve really been stepping up my online game with great expectations of finding “my A game” with new tweaks and fine tuning.  Things are progressing as expected with a new strategy and method of play resulting in more cashes.

As I’m spending more time online, I keep running into Big Slick.  He likes to run races, make hits and see the river with Ace high.  He thinks very highly of himself in most instances and costs players lots of money!  My question, is he over-played or not playing to his highest value, or maybe even lost in the hand?

Hope Big Slick doesn’t hold it against me, but I have to be honest in my own opinion of AK.  I’ve been playing poker for longer than I want to admit to most people.  I’ve seen the game morph into a more strategic and mathematical game as young minds enter the game with strong focus and determination to beat the game and make it their own.  With these changes range of hands have gotten much wider and have become situational more than positional.  Enter Big Slick.

The old scheme of Big Slick has been and continues to be a raising hand.  Most players have always been eager to throw Slick into a race and felt comfortable with a coin toss result.  They never stop to think they also had a 50% chance of losing.  Big Slick is and continues to be a good starting hand but a drawing hand.  Taking Slick to the river as Ace high is absolutely ridiculous as AK is NOT AA.  This is a huge mistake to think AK is going to always win at the river with no hit on the board, yet players still get married to the hand and continue to lose chips. 

Situations dictate just how much he is worth, but recently I’ve been seeing a new avenue for Big Slick to trek down.  Ace/King is getting folded.  That’s right, folded.  Three bet comes to me, raise and re-raise, I’m folding.  Hand strength is everything and AK once again is just a drawing hand.  I recently min-raised under the gun with AA and got a re-raise by KK, a call by JJ and the player holding AK pushed all in.  In a 4 bet situation I don’t know about you, but this is an insta-fold.  Playing AK conservatively early in tournaments is a smart strategy, playing stronger in mid levels is productive, but gambling with AK in late stages of tournaments is essential.  You are often getting down to the short hairs of the tournament, maybe shorthanded with huge stacks versus short stacks, so you have to start gambling to win the tournament.  Enter Big Slick with his hat and cane with more power than a drawing hand.  How did this situation just change?

 Raising with AK when the pot hasn’t been opened makes a perfect situation to portray a strong hand.  Depending on the action in front of you, there may even be a situation that would dictate a re-raise to keep the hand heads up.  You are now playing a part, representing a very strong hand, AA, KK, QQ so that you can set up the story you are about to tell on the coming board.  Telling the “believable story” will win this hand without even hitting the board.  Let’s take a look at this fairy tale.  You’re down to 12 players with huge blinds and antes when the pot is opened for 20K.  If you re-raise to 45K it guarantees you a call, and if you re-raise to 150K, the only hands that will call you here are going to be monster hands that are going to cost you all those chips.  So the better re-raise would be 90K-100K putting the proof and pressure on your opponent.   Methodical and precisely played AK can be more than a drawing hand, it almost becomes a semi-bluffing hand.

If you are obsessed with poker as many of us are, you probably watched the 2008 WSOP final table where Dennis Phillips limped into the pot, 300K in early position with AK.  The next player to act was Ivan Demidov who quickly raised with AQc to 1.2M sensing a limp from early position as a weak hand.  In response to his set-up, Phillips methodically re-raises the hand a healthy 3.5M.  Demidov calmly raises again to 8.2M putting heavy pressure on Phillips.  The pot sits with 12.5M.  It will cost Phillips over 4M to see the flop after Demidov has 4 bet the hand!  Phillips only thinks for a moment and makes the 4.7M call.  The pot is now 17.2M.  The flop is 8/10/J rainbow, Phillips makes it 4.5M with Ace high only with K kicker.  Demidov sits back comfortably and announces I’m all in.  Phillips is visibly frustrated with the results of this hand and is now under tremendous pressure.  Who is telling the most convincing story so far?  Phillips sees the writing on the wall and folds losing a monster pot with a powerful drawing hand that was semi-bluffed for a pot over 37M!!  Who told the most convincing story, and what key points did either of these players miss?  Clearly Phillips amateur status and mis-understanding of a 4 bet as a powerhouse hand played a key part in this story.  He was unable to throw the hand down with signs of strength coming from his opponent, opting to see a flop.  Not until he drew a dry board and Demidov came over him all in did he concede.  A very costly AK hand.  Depending on stacks and relation to blinds, I believe many pro players could have either pushed after the first re-raise from Demidov or certainly would have thrown the hand away after the 4 bet without even seeing a flop.  On the other hand Demidov felt such weakness from Phillips after he limped in early position and clearly was a weaker amateur player that he could gamble and pull the trigger under tremendous pressure representing a monster hand when in reality he held an inferior hand.  The “believable story”.  This example may be the extreme because of the additional pressure of performing at the WSOP main event final table.  But this is the stage we all want to reach, so why not learn a lesson from those who have?  After all, they deserve to be sitting up there where we sometime hope to be.

Focus, strategy and reading your opponent have opened new doors for Big Slick.  Practicing and running hands will hopefully open a few new plays and believable stories for my game as well.

Big Slick, you can play in my game anytime!

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