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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....

1 comment:

  1. Hey Benton, nice write up. Actually commented before but noticed it wasn't here so doing it Thanks for the plug and see you soon!