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Monday, January 31, 2011

Vegas, Utah, PokerRoad Interview, Cardrunners, and FeltStars

Yeah, lots of stuff to talk about/report on!

First off, I'm just getting back to Alabama from a ten day trip out west. I spent 4 days in Las Vegas playing cash games, with decent success I might add, then drove out to Brian Head, Utah, with my friends for 3 days of skiing/snowboarding. We'll get more into this later.

After I landed in Vegas I headed over to Bellagio to play some cash games. I sat in a 2/5NL game to start out the day. After about 2 hours in this game a quit as a small loser. This was the tightest 2/5 game I think I have ever played in. It seemed like every other hand was folded to the blinds and they would chop. On one particular hand, 4 players limped to me on the button, I looked down at 7c6c and decided to raise small, just to try to juice the game up. I made a tiny raise to $20 and then proceeded to watch both blinds as well as all 4 limpers fold. It was about this time that I realized this game wasn't going anywhere, so i racked up and headed over to the Wynn. There was a $15-$30 Mixed game going at the Wynn which was pretty fun, with some cool games like 2-7 Triple Draw, and Badeucy in the mix. I ran decent and won 20 or so big bets.

I also played mixed games one other time at the Aria with stakes of $12-$24 (played with $3 chips) and that was a blast. They played games like Razz-Dugi (split pot where the best razz hand gets half and best badugi gets half), Crazy Pineapple 8 or better, Badeucy, Badacey, and a few other fun games. I won about 17 big bets in this game as well. The only other notable poker session was a 2/5NL game at the Wynn where I won a few buy ins over 6 hours or so.

After all this poker, it was time to do some skiing in Utah. Jon Friedberg, Joe Tehan, John Kim (Nicolak online), and I drove out to Brian Head, Utah, where I had booked a suite for us for 3 nights at the lodge. Of course, leave it to me, an hour and a half into the first ski session I fell pretty hard on my shoulder and tore a ligament. I think it's called an AC Separation or something, but I'm going to the doctor tomorrow in Alabama to find out more. Anyway, this left me pretty much laid up for the next 2 days while the guys went skiing. I stood at the base of the mountain, drank coffee, and watched the skiers come down the mountain. It wasn't all that bad because at night we call played cards (mostly mixed games but some Chinese poker also). It seemed like everyone had a good time so all in all I think the trip was a success.

After getting back to Vegas I spent two more days hanging out with friends and playing some poker, then flew back home. It's always bittersweet leaving Vegas, because I really never want to leave, but at the same time I am always so happy to be coming back home to see my wife. Maybe one day we can just move back there so I can have my cake and eat it too!

So now to the announcements....

For those readers who don't know him, John Kim (Nicolak) is a friend of mine from Las Vegas who is a professional mid/high stakes poker player, a poker podcast co-host, and an instructor at, which is a leading poker training site. A few weeks ago John challenged me to a heads up match over 2 tables of 5/10NL spanning a 2 hour time frame in which he would record and make into a 3 part training video at I accepted his challenge and we played our match. He thought it turned out very instructional and asked me to do dual commentary with him on the video where we each explained our thought processes through the hands we played. So far, 2 parts have been released and were well received, and the last part will be released in a few weeks. This was a cool opportunity for me and I hope to do some type of teaching in the future as I really enjoyed this experience.

Building on the success of the videos, John asked me to be a guest on he and Jeremiah Smiths' poker podcast called "Cash Plays" which is on PokerRoad Radio. A link to the podcast can be found here or by clicking on the words Cash Plays above. During the interview they asked me about my background in poker, and we discussed several key hands from our heads up match. This was a cool experience as well, and I am very thankful that they invited me to be a guest on the show.

Once I told the powers that be at FeltStars that I was going to be a guest on "Cash Plays"they immediately worked with me on setting up a promotion for cash game players on FeltStars that revolves around my Cardrunners videos and me being on "Cash Plays." The way it works is that any player who accumulates 5,000 player points during the month of February is eligible to play me heads up for a free chance at $500. Pretty simple. Accumulate 5,000 player points in February, email with the words "Cash Plays Promo" in the subject or body of the email, then we'll set up a heads up match between me and you, and if you win your FeltStars account will be credited with $500! If you lose, nice try and stick around because we will have a similar promo in March (hint hint!) If you don't have a FeltStars account, just click one of the banners on the side of my blog and follow the instructions to create one. Another reason to create a FeltStars account if you don't already have one is that starting February 1st, FeltStars will be running NIGHTLY $215 and $109 Multi-Table Tourneys. They will have guarantees and since they are new you can definitely expect there to be overlays! Also, I'm pretty sure I will be a bounty in this months 100k Pro Bounty Challenge on Wednesday, February 16th. For only $5.50, you can have a chance of knocking out all 4 Team FeltStars Pros and winning $100,000! Hope to see you there.

As I stated on twitter (follow me @kajunkidpoker) yesterday, my plans for poker going forward are to put in a lot more hands in the 2/4 to 5/10 6max NL games on FeltStars, play more heads up at the 1/2 and 2/4 stakes on FeltStars, and to try to play live cash games by going to Biloxi to play in the 2/5NL game at the Beau Rivage at least twice a month, but hopefully more like once a week. Maybe I'll see some readers form there. If so, make sure to say hi (and don't check raise me!)

In closing, I'll leave you some pictures from Vegas and the ski trip to Utah. Enjoy!

Our view from our seats at the UNLV Basketball Game

View of the mountain

John Kim, Joe Tehan, and Jon Friedberg

Picture Friedberg took of me right after my accident before I went for X-Rays

Pic of me wishing I could still be snowboarding

Jon Friedberg carving down the mountain

Me representing Team FeltStars!

I wonder who drew that FeltStars logo in the snow?!?!

Til Next Time....

Monday, January 3, 2011

2010 in Review (Long)

Hi All. Sorry its been so long since my last post. If you read this, you may be interested in my twitter updates which I do far more frequently. You can follow me there at or search twitter for @kajunkidpoker and click the follow button if you already have a twitter account.

2010 was a very interesting year to say the least. Not only interesting, but definitely the busiest/life changing year of my life. I thought when I moved to Las Vegas in 2003 at 21 years old with no job, no friends, and no clue of how life really worked that it would be the most life changing experience that I would ever have. Boy, was I wrong. Enter 2010....

2010 started off like most other years for me. I spent the first week or so watching all the big bowl games on TV with my Dad. This has kind of become a tradition that I look forward to every year with my Dad. The day after the National Championship game I drove from my parents home in south Louisiana to New Orleans airport and picked up my friend Joe Tehan (follow him on twitter under the handle @tehanj) who had flown in from Las Vegas. We then drove to the Beau Rivage in Biloxi and spent the next 3 weeks there playing both cash games and tourneys while the WPT event was going on. While I didn't do anything of note in the tourneys, I considered the trip a great success because I was able to spend a lot of time watching Joe play cash games online in the hotel room and picking his brain on why he played hands the way he did. I think the learning experience was well worth the money I lost in the tourneys over the course of the 3 weeks.

After I dropped Joe off at the airport in New Orleans, I continued back to Houston to start my online grind for the year. In February I discovered rush poker on FullTilt and played a massive 100k hands over the course of the month. I was very proud of both my winrate and volume that I played in February, but unfortunately I never put in another 100k hand month for the rest of the year. During February I also started building a better friendship with John Kim whom I had met in 2008 through Joe. John is an amazing player and one of the biggest, most consistent winning players in the mid stakes games on FullTilt. You can read John's blog at You can also follow him on twitter by searching @NicolakPoker. He is the co-host of "Cash Plays" on PokerRoadRadio and is an instructor at the poker training website Anyway, in March I decided to make a trip to Vegas and spent some time with John watching him play and picking his brain. I point to this as my most recent "ahh-hah" moment in poker when I think things really started clicking for me. I didn't have a very profitable trip to Vegas, but did make enough to pay for the trip, so again I feel this was a very successful trip. After returning to Houston I continued grinding online for the remainder of March and April with pretty good success.

In May, my life changed forever. On May 12th, in the beautiful town of Nassau, Bahamas, my girlfriend and I were married. It was the most beautiful wedding that I could think of. Our ceremony was held on the white sand beach with the beautiful turquoise water as our backdrop. We were married in our bare feet. We stayed at the Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort for 7 days, 5 before the wedding and 2 after. While there we spent time with my best friend Ben and his girlfriend (now fiancee-congrats brother!) and enjoyed sailing, going to the casino at Atlantis (where Ben's girlfriend made a straight flush in Let It Ride!), pool basketball, waterparks, swimming with dolphins, and much much more. It is a week that I will remember for the rest of my life. Upon returning to Houston it was time for another big life decision for my wife and I. She was offerred a transfer from her companies Houston office to their Mobile, Alabama office. After weighing our options, we decided this move would be a great compromise allowing her to stay in the corporate world and allowing me to be only an hour from casino poker in Biloxi. On May 18th we moved to Alabama! We did return to Houston on May 29th, which was my birthday, for a party for all our family and friends to celebrate our marriage with us. It was a very nice party and it seemed like everyone had a blast.

The month of June was spent living in a corporate apartment in Mobile that my wife's company provided for us while we looked for a new home. During the day I would ride around with our realtor looking at homes. After looking at 50 or more homes, we finally decided on one. After 4 days of negotiations we walked away from the deal because we didn't feel the current owners were being fair with us. Luckily, we found another home within days that was brand new and perfect for us. It was only 50% complete when we purchased it, so we had to wait until the end of July for it to be finished. The good thing about it was that we were still able to pick paint colors, flooring, and countertops for the home. After our offer was accepted I headed straight to Las Vegas for a week to play some during the WSOP. While I only played 1 event (and essentially bubbled), I had a very profitable run in the cash games. I also participated in a tournament at the Golden Nugget that FeltStars sponsored and my table was broadcast live over the internet which was pretty cool. I then returned to Alabama for the remainder of July, and pretty much made preparations for moving all of our things from Houston to our new home in Daphne, which is a suburb of Mobile located just East of Mobile Bay, about 25 minutes from the Alabama/Florida state line.

After closing on our home the last week of July, we officially moved in on August 4th. My wife Kim's parents arrived that day and stayed for 10 days to help us unpack and set up our home. Her Dad was so helpful in changing electrical switches, drilling holes to hang things, installing shelves, etc. and I would never have been able to do those things without his help. The house was amazing and a perfect first home for my wife and I. The only drawback was the huge yard that I would have to maintain. Luckily, my parents gave us a riding lawnmower as a wedding present to help with that. So essentially, I got a new toy.

Just when I thought our life couldn't change anymore, well, let's just say I made a bad read there. On August 26th, which happens to be my mothers birthday, Kim and I found out that we were pregnant! This was a surprise to us, albeit a very pleasant one. Not to say we weren't nervous (I still am nervous), but we were definitely more excited than anything. We were very happy with our lives as they were, but welcomed the idea of this new addition with open arms. A few weeks later my parents came to Alabama to visit us and we told them of this great news. I'm an only child, so this will be their first grandchild. To say that they were excited to find out is an understatement. My Mom and Kim celebrated by going to the Beau Rivage and playing slots, LOL. My Dad and I stayed at my house and watched college football. It was a great day for all.

September and October were tough months for me because I was having trouble getting the internet hooked up at our house. Due to this, I didn't play much poker during this time. I was able to sneak away at the end of October to play a few events at the WSOP Circuit event at the IP in Biloxi. I didn't cash in anything and I ran pretty bad in the cash games. I finally did get DSL internet at our house near the end of October. In October my wife had several ultrasounds so I was able to see our baby growing, and also found out that it is actually a "he". We're going to have a baby BOY!

November flew by. At the beginning of the month I contacted another poker player, Jon Friedberg, who I knew through both Joe and John, and we embarked on a poker venture in which we both help each other to get better. This has worked far better than I ever imagined, as we have found leaks in each others games and worked together to correct these flaws. Although it started as a mutual way to get better at poker, we have became good friends and now have a vested interest in both seeing each other succeed in poker and having a friendship outside of poker. You can visit Jon's website at , watch his poker show "The Showdown with Jon Friedberg" starting soon on , and follow him on twitter under the handle @JonFriedberg. After several study sessions with Jon I played some online with positive results. At the end of November my wife and I came to my parents home for Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving my wife, my Mom, and I left for Las Vegas. We spent 4 nights at the Palms and had a great time. I think all 3 of us actually won money on the trip. It was also cool because my Mom finally played live poker for the first time, logging 30 or so hours over the course of the trip playing $2-$4 limit hold em at the Palms. All 3 of us sat in the same game for a while and it was trippy playing poker with my wife and Mom. No, I wasn't able to check raise either one of them.

December came and went very quicky. During the month I spent time studying poker with Jon and playing 15k hands or so. I also made the transition to playing a little bigger stakes and finally saw my hard work begin to pay off. I fully intend to stay at these higher stakes moving forward. I came to my parents a week before Christmas and helped my Dad with the family business becuase he was sick (he's better now). Kim came to my parents on Christmas Eve and we had Christmas with my parents. I got Mom and Dad a new computer which they loved and got Kim a camcorder to record all the big things that will happen to us next year. The day after Christmas we went to Houston for 5 days to visit Kim's family. We had a great time but ate WAYYYYY too much food. Finally, we returned to Louisiana on New Years Eve and rang in the new year in Louisiana.

All in all 2010 was one of my best years in poker, not necessarily as far as money is concerned, but more as a whole. I feel like I took more time this year to tailor my game to the point where I feel I am a favorite in most of the games I play in. Hopefully I can carry this over into the new year and be able to utilize these skills by playing more in 2011.

While 2010 was by far the most important year in my life, I am glad to say that I KNOW 2011 will be THE MOST important year ever for us, as Kim and I will welcome our son into this world in 2011. He is due on April 21st. I can't wait to meet him.

My resolutions for the new year will be to be the best husband and father that I can be, to always make time for my family and friends, to work more hours than last year, to cash in a live tournament (LOL), to blog more frequently, and to not carry bad days at the office over into my personal life after I leave the table. And maybe to spoil my son a little (or a lot) :-)

First up in 2011 will be the WPT event at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi. Hopefully I can get my resolution of cashing in a live event out of the way this month! I'll try to post a blog after playing the 3 or 4 events I have scheduled. Also, take a look at my wifes' blog located at where she chronicles her life as the wife of a professional poker player and her twitter by searching for @kimbinbama.

As always, join me on the tables at FeltStars. We will have new promotions throughout the year, and will continue to have the 100k Pro Bounty Challenge every month. Click on any one of the banners on my blog to create an account, and email me at for rakeback deals.

Til Next Time....