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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Journal - 11/09/2008

For the last two months I've been elbows-deep in my ship's engine... when I'm not in front of my computer playing poker. My lifestyle is not the greatest at the moment (I have zero social life here in Florida); but hard work is the yeast that raises the dough--so I tell myself.

Let me rewind a bit for those friends I haven't spoken to in awhile. Firstly, I just bought a sailboat with money I've made playing poker (glorified word for working in front of a computer). And for those friends I haven't spoken to in a really long time, I am currently working as a poker player-- a professional poker player, if you will... if you must.

The plan is to sail around the Caribbean from January until May and live off the seas! A pretty idealistic and shoddy plan but a plan nonetheless. When the trip is over my crew and I will sail triumphantly into New York City where I will dock for the Summer season (May 1st to Oct 31st). We will celebrate into the night armed with tales of wild adventures and thick beards to boot... on. That is, if the plan goes accordingly.

I'm not quite sure where this idea of sailing came from. But one day, while sitting in my apartment in Boston, I started looking at sailboats online. I glanced up at the brick-wall-view from my window, and for some reason, the idea wouldn't leave me alone. A long dormant dream had awoken.

So before I set sail I need to take care of a few details: First, I had to find a boat. Basically, I got lucky. After an unsucessful month of seaching online; e-mailing contacts; and a few games of phone tag with hard to contact sailor-vagabonds; I decided to walk around a local marina two blocks away as a last-ditch effort.

I see a boat with a 'for sale' sign on it. My first thoughts: no way I will be able to afford this boat--too nice, too big. I called the number listed and the broker said the owner's of the boat had been trying to sell for over a year. Their asking price was already relatively low, but still pretty damn expensive. So I took a chance and made an offer: 65% of their asking price. Two days later, I received a call back from the broker: "the owner's accept your offer..." Shit. Now I actually have to go through with this!

I will write more about the last couple months, but to give you an idea of what I've been up to... A good friend recently asked me, "Do you even know how to sail?" To which I replied, "There's only one way to learn."

-Ian Graham, November 9, 2008

"Who is staring at the sea is already sailing a little."

-Paul Carvel

Friday, August 8, 2008

Poker - WSOP '08 Event 43

This June I sacked up and went out to Vegas to play in my first World Series of Poker event: Event #43, pot limit omaha high/low.

I wasn't sure if I was ready to play in the world series--yet-- but I found a letter in the mail that Spring that made the decision pretty easy. The Wynn casino and hotel offered to put me up for three nights anytime in June--free... I knew that $2 blackjack we played piss drunk at 4am last New Years would pay off someday! Good work, friends.

I booked my flight and got my tournament buy-in ready...

Three days into the trip, I am middle of the pack in chips, and I am one table away from an ESPN televised final table. I've spent the last two days playing next to (outplaying :D) some of my favorite poker players. And I've even knocked out a couple of them--something I hope to get used to. Of the original 720 players, 18 are left.

Shit is getting real: winner gets $220,000, and I am guaranteed $7,500, if I happen to get knocked out anytime soon. The first big pot at the table I flop a fairly strong hand and the guy first to act goes allin... My mind starts racing. All I can think about is that if I win this hand I will be the chip leader and have a great chance at winning the entire tournament. I play to win and make the call............ and miss my hand completely. It's all over with the turn of a card. No final table, no massive cash prize. Done. I never thought I'd see the day when I was upset about making $7,500. Of course, after collecting my winnings in cash, I was a little less upset. That night I went to sleep replaying that last hand, over and over.

Now I had a day to kill before my plane left for Boston. So I did what any self-disrespecting poker player would do: I sat down in a cash game with everything I'd just made--yep, all $7,500. I was taking a page out of my friend Egizi's poker book, "Bankroll Mismanagement." It was only a $5/$10 no limit game and the next biggest stack had $2,000, so I wasn't truly risking it all--so I'm not really that reckless.

Wearing my nicest suit, I sat down at the poker table and told the waitress to keep the whisky on the rocks flowing. I bought in for $2,000 in chips with a $5,000 brick of $100 bills nestled behind. My goal was to play the part of a guy who was having a good time and who didn't care about the money. I played for a couple of hours, made some money, and got up for lunch before the drinks affected my poker game negatively.

Red wine and filet mignon poolside followed by a sobering read in the sun for a few hours--this too, I could get used to. After lunch, I went back to the cash game and mopped up some more loose action before calling it a day. Walking through the airport I felt pretty bad ass not declaring the $10,000+ in cash on my person. All in all, it was a good trip, but you ain't seen nothing yet.

-Ian Graham, August 8th, 2008

"Do not repeat the tactics that have gained you one victory, but let your methods be regulated by the infinite variety of circumstances."

-Sun Tzu