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Views: 1779
Date Posted: Feb. 28, 6:23pm, 5 Comments

I was watching a few minutes of the Olympics Saturday when this Nike video
aired. Nike has put out some great ads over the years, but something about this one really appealed to me.  It stayed with me long after watching it.  I then looked it up online and posted it to PC and CR in the sports forums.  I thought it might make for an interesting blog to break down the specific elements that captured my interest.

The first image is of the graphite constructed spring legs of an amputee as they prepare for a sprint.  The music is spare yet sprightly.  It immediately displays a progressive stop action advancing scenes of the runner sprinting down the track.  It is amazing and inspirational to see what technology has created for amputees to compete at a high level.

The second image series captures a soccer player doing some fancy dribbling.

The lyrics of the song now kick in - "It's not how you start, it's how you finish"

The third image series is Deron Williams dribbling and dunking emphatically.   He is a success story of hard work in the NBA.

The fourth image series is Maria Sharapova taking a forehand and overhead slam.  For us guys, the brilliant touch is the super sexy side cutout from her shirt tease.

This transitions quickly to the fifth image series of an Asian woman aggressively doing martial arts maneuvers with a spear.

More lyrics - "But it's not where you're from, but where you're at."

The sixth series is slightly extended of a Tony Hawk type character on a bicycle, capturing the twirling, acrobatic moves along his course. 

Transitioned excellently into an anonymous bull rider getting spun and thrown.

The pace of the music, lyrics and images increases now as we see a quick series of falls and spills by athletes...

"Everybody gets knocked down, everybody gets knocked down"

- A female gymnast falls off awkwardly off a balance beam
- A female diver catapulting awkwardly into a pool
- Another gymnast falling on her tumbling routine
- A hockey players falling to the ice
- Rampage Jackson, very entertaining MMA fighter, being thrown to the canvas, hesitating and hurting....

"How quick are you gonna get up? How quick are you gonna get up?"

Rampage gets up angry and lunges hard at his opponent with a crushing blow.

Transition to Ladainian Tomlinson juking down the football field.

"Everybody gets knocked down, Everybody gets knocked down"

And finally to Lance Armstrong in his 'Livestrong' shirt powering up the road on his bike.

"How quick are you gonna get up? Just how are you gonna get up?"

Just Do It and finally the Nike logo.

The music is catchy, energizing and snappy. The lyrics are simple, motivational, and inspirational  The transitions are brilliant. The images race across the scene, capturing the variety of sport; sweaty and sexy, slow motion and super speed,  scintillating, sweaty and strong.

A great minute spent celebrating sport.

Views: 1629
Date Posted: Feb. 27, 5:08pm, 0 Comments

As I've stated before, one of my favorite things to do at Poker Curious is interview players.  I decided to contact David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes after his NAPT Venetian final table success.  I haven't spoken to him much the last couple of  years, but I've always respected him as a player and person.  I am looking forward to the interview and I'll let you know when it's up.

In doing the research for his interview questions, I came across an old CardRunners page I was asked to prepare in September 2007.  It featured all the guest pros on CardRunners, with a brief bio and a picture.  It was later updated with CR 2.0 and then disappeared altogether.  Hopefully, it will reappear in improved fashion when CardRunners rolls out the next version of the site, as it humanizes and creates cohesion with the group of guest pros who create the instructional videos we all appreciate.

This is the old list:

X-Aaron Been
X-Serge 'Adanthar' Ravitch
X-Brian 'Bdog4' Cain
X-Harry 'bortarun' Greenhouse
X-Brad 'bradsmitty' Smith
Tom 'brystmar' Berg
Ryan Daut
X-Blake 'Empiremaker2' Stevenson
X-Fabian Sjoblom
X-Dan 'Fruitypro' Weston
X-David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes
X-Brian 'Hookem148' Rue
X-Ian 'IanJ' Johns
Phil 'Jackal69' Shaw
X-Michael 'Johnnydrama' Berra
X-Josh 'jsup' Supsak
X-Jason 'mkind16' Laso
Isaac 'menlo' Baron
Derric 'Sixpeppers' Haynie
X-Andy 'Tufat23' Teng
X-Emil 'Whilelime' Patel

I put an X by the names of those guest pros who moved on or who aren't active.  I had contact with each one of them in my operations manager role or preparing the videos back in the day.  So I have a natural nostalgia for an older time and place that was CardRunners in the early years.

There seems to be a natural turnover as players shift to different stages of their poker careers or de-emphasize it altogether. Many capable guest pros have filled their roles, so it's not a criticism in any way.  I commend the long time instructors like Brystmar, Sixpeppers, and Jackal69 for their longevity and dedication.

I would enjoy interviewing each and every one of them to follow up and see where they are today.  Watching their poker careers ebb and flow, along with their growth as people is satisfying to me.  Poker isn't what they are, but what they do.  When I interview players, I try to focus on a variety of issues, not so much how they play poker.  I sometimes struggle with my desire to dig much deeper into areas of personal interest that might not be of interest to the general public that doesn't know these individuals.  I'm just a curious person.  Poker Curious and life curious.

Views: 1387
Date Posted: Feb. 25, 4:14pm, 1 Comment

I watched some of the streaming final table of the NAPT Venetian main event yesterday.  I was excited to see an old poker friend, David 'Gaucho2121' Paredes playing.  He is one of the few poker players who I've seen try to balance his poker interest with high powered other career options like law school, working for a hedge fund, and being an author.  I know it has created tension in his private life, but he's a very talented player who has done well both live and online.  He has an acute mind for the game and he obviously relishes the challenge when he can carve out the time.

David played quite well, from what I could tell, remaining very composed while nursing a smaller stack for a while.  Then five handed, he got Aces in against A,Q and doubled up to a healthy second place stack.  A few minutes later, he got Aces in against the chip leader's Jacks for the chip lead, only for a Jack to come out on the flop and be out in 5th for $184k.

At that point, Sam Stein had a massive 18 million, where the next largest stack had 3 million, 4 handed.  I figured he would waltz to the win, but kudos to Tom 'Kingsofcards' Marchese, who remained patient and played very well heads up to take down the title.  While checking things today, I found an interview that Tom gave to FTR a couple years ago that was interesting if you are into heads up and analysis of his game at that time.  It's also interesting to see the progression of players who really apply themselves.

Views: 678
Date Posted: Feb. 23, 11:13pm, 3 Comments

I'm back from my short Vegas trip.  The three highlights of the trip all include food and drink.  The first morning, I was picked up at 6:30 am to head out to Green Valley Ranch to hang out with a professional sports betting friend of mine, PC member degenaMATT, to watch some Premier League soccer matches and basketball and do some sports betting.  He allowed me to pick three matches, and bang, I came through 3-0 (beginner's luck obviously). I was putting away the Mimosa's which were excellent, while he was enjoying Crown and Coke's.  It was a relaxing and fun time to do something different from my usual routine.

I relaxed during the afternoon before my evening business meeting at Palm's Place.  Unfortunately, he was feeling under the weather so once we talked for several hours, he asked me for a favor.  He wanted to crash and would I accompany his lovely Swedish girlfriend for a late night dinner?  Being the giver that I am, I obliged.  We had a great meal at Simon in Palm's Place with some pleasant conversation giving me insight on growing up in Sweden.  The restaurant is very nice, but was surprisingly empty.

The last night, we met again in his suite, for extended conversation regarding our working together.  Then we headed over to Little Buddha in the Palms, for a sushi feast.  I was surprised that they cut off the ordering at 10 pm, but we ordered a few more sushi rolls at the deadline and lingered for a while longer.  I guess it's considered the off season, but I thought they were used to serving late hours.


Special thanks to degenaMATT for his hospitality, rides to and from the airport, and use of his laptop. I'm glad to be back home now and resuming my more typical schedule of staying on top of the daily online details.

Views: 689
Date Posted: Feb. 19, 1:24pm, 2 Comments

Where do you go when you are running bad?  That's right, Las Vegas!  I'm flying in Saturday night for some business meetings and will fly back home Tuesday.  That is why I had to switch our Sunday Full Tilt freeroll to Saturday. I usually go each year during the Main Event of the WSOP, which is an incredibly busy time for the poker world, so it will be interesting to see the difference at this time of year.  It will also be strange to have it between 60-70 degrees as the highs, when it's normally 105 in July.  I doubt I'll play poker or gamble, which is par for the course for me.  I'm more concerned with doing business and hanging out to get to know a potential merge partner for Poker Curious.  I may see a couple friends if the timing works out too.  I don't have a laptop these days, so I won't be online as regularly. (hint: don't go into withdrawals from lack of blog updates)  Maybe I'll have some interesting stories upon my return.

Views: 637
Date Posted: Feb. 18, 12:30am, 4 Comments

Lately, it's felt like one thing after another has been running badly for me.  The temptation is there to tilt.  It's scratching at my brain and clawing at my heart. To stop caring. To throw it all away.  Run.  Quit.  Flee.

1. I've been running like utter garbage at PLO Rush lately.  I like the pace and format of the game, but I just can't seem to hold and run according to equity. The other night, actually the last month in general, I've been getting in my money way ahead, often 70% or more in on the turn, only to lose 70-80% of them.  As I drain my BR each week to fund my promotional freerolls, this causes extra pressure to play to reduce or balance the drain.
2. While I reached 5k members this week at Poker Curious, the site is having growing pains and I'm probably losing my longest partner as he no longer has time to give it.
3. I've been negotiating to bring in a new partner, but I keep having to jump through hoops to prove myself.  Some hoops I'm better at jumping through than others.
4. I was trying to book some last minute business trip to Vegas to meet with this potential merge partner, and while we decided on the best times the fares doubled, so now I'm paying more and doubling my travel time to get there.
5. I recently severely damaged my relationship with a couple family members over some misunderstood comments I made in my blog.
6. I've been living off my life savings for the last couple years, and I better not live long...LOL

But do I go on tilt over that? No, that's too easy.  Quitters don't get far in life.  And I am not alone.  I have a wife and kids who count on me.  I have my innate determination to overcome obstacles.  Experience is a comfort.  I know I can overcome difficulty.  I know I will survive.  For every negative, I can identify something small but positive that make my struggle worthwhile.

Watching the end of Black Hawk Down the other night, one of the main characters said something that re-framed it for me.  He was talking about how people back home didn't understand why he enlisted.  What are you trying to be, a hero or something?  He said "no one asks to be a hero....sometimes it just turns out that way."  I don't make decisions or choices in my life thinking I will ever be a hero, but my family needs me to act like one.  I owe it to them and I owe it to myself to never let the obstacles get the better of me.

As Robert Frost once said "The best way out is always through."  See you on the other side!

Views: 662
Date Posted: Feb. 15, 3:21pm, 1 Comment

In the evenings, when I'm tired from work, I tend to stream some online movies while doing some other less work intensive activities.  I realized a long time ago that I'm not as sharp at night, so grinding poker is typically not ideal. You never know what will be on, but the other night I re-watched a movie that I wanted to recommend.  I had watched it a couple years ago that touched me by its poignancy. Elegy (2008) was directed by Spanish director Isabel Coixet based on the Philip Roth novel, The Dying Animal.  It stars Ben Kingsley, who I feel is one of the best actors of his generation, and the beautiful Penelope Cruz, with Dennis Hopper and Peter Saargard playing supporting roles. 


Elegy refers to a poem of mourning.  The movie does a wonderful job of capturing the main character's struggle to find meaning and relationship.  Kingley's character is a cultural critic and erudite professor who is a caught up in a state of 'emancipated manhood.'  Previously married, and with a grown son who resents him for leaving his mother, he has multiple relationships with women, often his students, which are always casual, brief and sexual in nature.  That is until he meets the independent and self-actualized character played by Penelope Cruz.  He is so sophisticated and in control by outward appearances, but lacks something very deep that Penelope touches in him.  The bittersweet second half of the movie impresses that sense of mourning for a life that could have been different.  Life is about love.  Your attempts to avoid the heartache that comes with loving will always be foiled.  Which comes back to the old saying that it is better to have loved and lost, than to have never loved at all.

And if my new age description of the movie doesn't entice some of you 'horndogs', the movie is worth watching simply to appreciate Penelope's 'assets'.

Views: 653
Date Posted: Feb. 12, 7:30pm, 3 Comments

I've been running so badly at the Rush PLO tables lately, I decided I needed to post a pick me up.  So here are a couple of talented DJ's that can lift my mood or mellow me out - Gui Boratto and deadmau5.

Gui Boratto - Beautiful Life



deadmau5 - Not Exactly



deadmau5 - Strobe



deadmau5 - Faxing Berlin



Have a nice weekend...

Views: 705
Date Posted: Feb. 10, 11:36am, 3 Comments

After reading my last blog, SoulMeetsBody asked the pertinent follow up question of how to discover passions or new paths in life to pursue.  Clearly for some, it bubbles out of them from some unknown source consuming them as if they have no other choice.  One of my best friends from high school was like that.  He knew from the age of 7 that he wanted to be a doctor.  He loved watching those anatomy and open surgery educational shows when we were young. Unfortunately, he ended up having a very lengthy and tortuous path, but he never wavered in his determination or passion.  He struggled with the MCAT's and subsequent testing.  He joined the Navy, because he couldn't afford medical school.  They didn't allow him to train for the type of medicine he wanted, so after his 7 years of service he started all over with a new residency and internship. In fact, he just became a partner in a pediatric allergy practice last year, at the age of 41. 

For those of us who don't have one all consuming passion from an early age, the journey to discover our passions involves looking inward and outward.  Take a step in either direction and you are that much closer to finding it.  You may wonder what I mean by that.  When you look inward, you are examining who you already are and what you have done.  What have been the motivating factors in your life to this point?  What gives you extreme happiness and joy?  It could be sports, music, games, movies, or certain hobbies.  You will often identify your passion by seeing what activities you've most enjoyed or have been most motivated by.  When you look outward, you are examining things outside of yourself.  Areas of the world you haven't explored yet.  If you don't find passions within, then it's time to consider looking outward.  You can accomplish this by traveling, taking classes in new areas, studying related subjects to ones you've enjoyed in the past.  By opening your mind to new experiences, you can discover new passions in areas like cooking, the arts, creating or crafting things, reading, adventure, or business etc.

Once you identify your passions, whether they come from from within or without, the challenge is to incorporate them in your world as much as possible.  Invest your time in understanding the various aspects of your particular passion.  Dig deeper. There are almost an endless array of vocations that exist outside of the doctor, lawyer, engineer and businessman world, each with their own value and meaning.  They may not all be equal in compensation, but they are each potentially equal in their passion and relevance to your identity and purpose.  If someone applies themselves fully into whatever vocation they choose, they are all equal in my eyes, and I would hope yours.  Let discovery be your mode and passion be your guide.  As JackDogWelch commented on my PC blog 'would you rather fail at something you love or succeed at something you hate?  I say go for it!

Views: 1043
Date Posted: Feb. 8, 6:33pm, 2 Comments

A CR member PM'd me today to ask my advice regarding some upcoming life decisions he faces.  I gave him a fair but brief response with some perspective, but then I thought it might be helpful to expand on it and share it in the blog.  He is about to graduate with a respected degree and is considering playing poker and traveling.  He asked "how did/do you decide when to move on and when to push harder?

My succinct reply was..."As for your questions, there is no really easy answer. I am a firm believer that loving what you do is more important than doing what makes you money. I have on multiple occasions chosen a more humble less profitable path because I would be doing something I enjoy and find meaning in, rather than chase a higher paycheck or prestige. That isn't always an easy decision, especially when you have debt, expectations, and an investment in your education.

I know of several people in law school, business school and good jobs who quit those to play poker. But poker isn't for everyone. The swings are brutal and the lifestyle isn't for everyone.

The key is to apply yourself in whatever you do. Don't pursue poker because it is easier, pursue it because you love the game, its challenges and feel you can prosper. Many poker players realize they will only last for a while in the game, and look at it as a stepping stone to something else. This can also be a wise choice for many, if you plan accordingly and invest your winnings well."

Thinking about the subject more, for me, it comes down to passion. There are many paths one can take in life and each person has a different set of goals, wants and needs.  Mine weren't always clear as a teen or young adult, but they started to coalesce in my 20's.  I sensed that material and prestige were traps and not things I wanted to pursue.  I preferred to try to find meaning and a humble value in what I did.  I'm not saying I was an overly motivated or a particularly charitable person, but I identified that I wanted quality of interactions over quantity.  I would rather have a few friends than a lot.  I would rather focus on my wife and kids than some social network.  I would rather keep my life simple, than have it become more grandiose and complex.  Most of all, I wanted to discover areas of my life that I could be passionate about.

When I graduated from college, I didn't know what I wanted to do.  I had an International Relations degree with minors in Philosophy and Psychology.  What do you do with that? I drove around the US with a couple friends for several weeks that summer visiting National Parks and various sites.  I lived at home and volunteered at my old Middle School to see what teaching was like in a special alternative classroom setting.  I took off for 9 months to travel around Africa with my best friend from my junior year exchange trip to Kenya. I went back to take classes to become a secondary social studies teacher.  I helped start and develop a small business in my home town with my best friend from high school's father.

I knew the wealthy and conservative community I was living in was stifling me, so my then girlfriend and now wife and I moved across country on a whim to Portland, Oregon to begin a new life.  It was a great decision, despite how unplanned it was.  You can't always know where your decisions will lead you, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take them.  Life can't always be planned out.  One decision leads to another.  Each choice opens up new considerations.  Encounter a roadblock, then find a new path around or blast your way through.  When teaching opportunities didn't work out in Portland, I joined and grew a small African art gallery into a respected sculpture garden and gallery over 12 years.  During the later years, I discovered poker and eventually ended up at CardRunners, helping grow it into the biggest training site out there.  When that opportunity ended, I began Poker Curious to continue my interests in the poker world.  Who knows where it will lead, but I'm already discussing mergers and the future of where it can take me. 

I couldn't have planned my life.  It just happened as I went along.  Growing up I was always a procrastinator in everything I did.  Only by fostering my passions did I learn to really apply myself starting in my later 30's.  I work harder now than I ever have, not because I'm getting rich, but because I enjoy it.  When I got married, I didn't fully understand what for better or for worse meant.  Now as the years come and go, I begin to realize what that meant.  I have to work hard to overcome my faults and hers.  I always thought I would be a great father, but I find my impact is limited.  In the end it comes down to your passion.  If you follow your passion and fully apply yourself, it will work out for the best.  Not always in the direction you planned, but in a direction you can live with.  I can't tell you what career to pursue, but I will encourage you to pursue your passion and life will work itself out along the way.

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