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Costa Rica PHT Tournament and monkey off back…

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

I just got back to Panama last night after 5 enjoyable days in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The resort was fairly nice for being all inclusive and less than $100/day.

In the $1500 Main Event they got a respectable ~100 runners. It was a good mix of around 30 Swedish amateur poker club members and Latinos/Gringos from Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Dominican, etc. The first day I played very carefully and chipped up from $15K to $69K only showing down 3 hands (2 all in calls pre-flop of short stacks and 1 successful triple barrel call down of a crazy swede). So, I felt great about not ever being at risk for much of a % of my stack, not getting much for starting hands, and still ending the day with 1.75x the average. We started the 2nd day with 36 players left and 40K average stack. A few hours into the day, I lost a key pot getting c/r all in by the same crazy swede that tried to triple-barrel me the day before. I was trying to jedi-mind trick him into bluff shoving the flop, so obv. I called with my top pair. He had a gutshot and missed, but hit a runner runner flush:eek: From there i was a bit short stacked and picked my spots, until I got it all in with AJ vs 44 PF and lost the coin flip to go out 17th. A bit disappointing considering the field strength and decent structure. Burropoker.com (an up and coming Latin-targeted new site on the cake network) did sponsor me to "wear the donkey" so I suppose it was a freeroll.

There were also some juicilicious cash games. The first night I played in a great 5/10 PLO game. I ended up getting it all in 4x. Once with full wrap vs set and 3x with top pair + flush draw + some type of straight draw vs bare AAxx. I only won 1/4 and lost $1,400 on the night. The funny part was that I was berated for getting it in all 3 times vs AA as a favorite (in situations where i believe most good players would have pitched their AAxx, given the board and action) :D
The 2nd night they got a 25/25 PLO game going (these games are mostly straddled every hand and at least 2-5 buyins deep), but I arrived late and it was full, so I jumped into the 5/10 NLH game. I lost 3 $2,000 pots as a favorite, and still managed to win about $1,800 on the night, so it was a good game. I decided to pass on the 25/25 PLO game when a seat opened as I heard it was playing excruciatingly slow and there was a Colombian "gentleman" in the game that was either berating the dealers or trying to fight the other players every other hand. Sometimes you have to choose +life/happiness ev over +$ev.

Of course my highlight of the trip was playing a $70 drinking SNG and hanging for a little bit with DragTheBar PhilN:) I didn't win the SNG and had to pony up for the $500 2nd chance. I again went out around 17th and didn't make the money.

On Sunday, I decided to forego the live action and play a few sunday tournaments in the room. The internet connection was sketchy and I suck at laptop multi-tabling, so I only played 4 or 5 tournaments. I made a deepish run in the FT $750K but ended up going out 59th.

Although there are a lot of monkeys in Costa Rica, the monkey on my back was a proverbial monkey. It seems like i have been making quite a few final 2 tables but not taking any of them down. *note to self: watch some endlessJ and 7deluxe final table vids to see how the triple crown masters finish*. When I got back to Panama, I decided to play a few Monday night tournaments. Finally I won one last night - the nightly $50 rebuy on Full Tilt for about $11k.

Now, I'm going to heed the other side of the coin of my advice from the last blog. Don't get too down when you make a good showing but don't win it......AND
don't get too complacent when you do win one, because it could easily have gone the other way as well. I'm going to jump right back in it today and watch a video or two and try and put in a LeatherAss-like session.

-Brent

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Heading to the beach and keeping perspective…

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

Tomorrow morning I'm taking a little flight up to Costa Rica to a nice all inclusive resort in Puntarenas, that is going to become even more beautiful when it inhabits a 30+ scandinavian travel group that apparently wanted to include a poker tournament on their Costa Rica itinerary. So, the good folks at PokerHispano.com organized a $1,500 event with a good structure to accommodate the vacationing Norsemen, and posted a $135K guarantee to attract the locals. I hope business and pleasure converge. :cool: In any case, I have a lot of friends in CR and it's always good to go back.
Incoming destination:

Last night I decided to play the ultimate donkament for the first time... the $110 Turbo KO on Full Tilt that runs shortly after midnight, where everyone starts with 10 big blinds. The lack of commitment required for this tournament can be very appealing if you have already put in some hours during the day (the tournament gets > 500 runners and takes about 2 hours in total). I was amazed to see how bad some of the folds/shoves/calls were. Despite the structure, or I guess because of it, a person who has a decent understanding of ICM/math/ranges can really have an advantage. Anyways, I must have run gooooot to get to heads up with a 2:1 chip lead. Then I lost a PF All in with AQ vs 33. Then lost the tournament with 99 vs 55 AI PF. I was feeling bitter to have to settle for 2nd place and lose 4K that SHOULD have been mine! (1st ~11K and 2nd ~7K). I got screwed! What can I break!! Hahahahahahaha..... then I came out of my poker battle haze and realized that is absurd to think that I was entitled to 1st prize. How many times in how many ways must I have gotten lucky to get into the endgame of a tournament with this structure. So, I remembered to keep things in perspective... be happy about the way I played and the nice up-tick in profit, and with more volume the wins will come.
Speaking of wins... congrats to my buddy Bolivar "Ramux" Palacios who won the Sunday Warmup. The Panamanians are bringing it :)

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Goals and Purpose

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

I finally set goals for this year. Like a true poker player, I set goals to be accomplished by the time the WSOP starts. Basically, I created them within 5 categories – Finance, Career, Health, Relationships, and Personal Development. From there I created a kind of operational plan to achieve each one, which could be broken into a weekly plan. I have to say it feels really good to be organized and purposeful.

In 2009, I kind of lived without pressures, plans, deadlines, etc (including trips to Costa Rica, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Vegas, Hawaii). I had a great start to the year capped off in Feb. by winning a big tournament for 100K here in Panama. I had a girlfriend at the time and did some traveling with her, and had some friends come down to Panama, and hardly played for about 6 weeks through March. In April I had some big cash game results, and barely played during May. Then in June/July I had some great results at the WSOP and Caesars MegaStack final. By this time I already had my biggest year to date. Guess how hard I worked in August/September/October? Not very. I’d win a little at cash and quit, or donk around in some tournaments without putting in a concerted effort. By the time November and December came around, I was struggling, which led into January. I had a great time in 2009, but I think it’s better to have a balance. In poker, you will always eventually fall off, if you don’t stay focused. The point of this is that it’s time to get back to work, and I’m excited!

This goal setting/planning has really helped to bring the motivation and faith back. I started this process in the middle of February, enjoyed Carnival, and finished it Wednesday the 17th at the end of Carnival, the start of Lent, and just after the start of the Chinese year of the Tiger (my year, btw☺). It’s like a snowball. Working out and eating healthy helps me to feel better, being organized in other areas keeps my mind clear, and this all sets the table for focused success at the poker tables. I put in enough hands at cash to keep my Supernova status and solidify some leaks, and build some bankroll on some other sites. I won a modest ~$5K, but it’s a good momentum builder for the first 20K hands. Also, I’m starting to apply my focus towards online MTTs. After my initial “get my **** together” session on the 13th, I played well in the Sunday Million on the 14th and got put out 102nd, but I started to feel the grind become easier and more automatic to visualize success – and this is how it always starts for me. After Carnival was over, I just missed a final table in the $109 rebuy, getting 10th. Then, on Sunday the 21st, I felt confident, finishing 4th in the 80-Grand $200K for $17K, and going deep’ish in several others (44th in 2nd chance, 66th in $75K, 148th in Sunday Mulligan). Again, it’s modest momentum, but a good start building towards putting in some successful online MTT volume like some of the great grinders (e.g. 8 time triple crown winners ChipSteela and 7DeLuX) . I also got my car fixed, lost 5 or 6 lbs, and spent some time hanging out a couple times with a good friend that I don’t see as much these days.

I left my intense corporate job, because I wanted to relax, have fun, travel, do what I want, and “live the dream”. I’ve done a lot of that, but what I’ve found is that part of living my dream still includes taking journeys towards objectives, accomplishing things, and challenging myself.

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Faith and BumHunters….

Posted by Brent Sheirbon

Well, 1 month after declaring that I’m going to be blogging more, I finally get around to posting another one. That’s 5 in 5 months. Consistent☺ Well, I’m stepping it up to (at least) weekly after this!

I’d like to nod in agreement with a couple of blogs by fellow coaches.

Giant Buddha makes a great point that every path to improvement usually involves challenges and sometimes failures. When athletes change their mechanics (golf swing, basketball shot, baseball pitching/hitting, football throwing), they usually have some struggles early before eventually internalizing the changes and coming out improved. Businesses normally face some backlash when they introduce changes, and investing is essentially taking a financial and efficiency hit now to reap multiplied benefits later. The key, that many don’t understand, is keeping the faith and embracing it all as part of the process. This year I’m going to focus on enjoying the process and smile when ‘struggle’, ‘failure’, and ‘negative variance’ happen, because I know they are really disguises for growing pains and opportunities to improve and become wiser.

I also have to totally concur with Hunter and Dusty’s takes on Bumhunting. It’s laughable that it has any derogatory connotation wrt Poker. It would be like saying in the business world that “target marketing” is so un-manly and cowardly. Bill Gates is no ****-swinger for targeting PC wholesalers and easy marks like consumers that are likely going to pay him for his products. Now, if he had gone north and sold Windows to every Eskimo in Canada and Alaska, he would be a real man! Not a billionaire, but a champion in the minds of minions☺ LOL. Poker is a business too. I guess I’m a Live Bumhunter, since I’ve chosen to live in Panama and play a lot of cash games and tournaments in Latin America instead of try and travel the WPT Circuit. Surprisingly, the money still spends the same no matter if I took it from a famous poker pro, or a Latin businessman. And, I’m still waiting for a Latina to blow me off because I’m a Bumhunter.

It took me a while to get organized this year, but I'm getting there now that Carnival is over here in Panama, so in the next post I'm going to talk about goal setting and poker. Maybe I'll throw in some random panama stuff and a couple pics, as well.

-Brent

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