Thursday, May 27, 2010

My interview with Faraz Jaka

On Wednesday, I got a chance to talk with Faraz Jaka. Faraz was recently ranked by ESPN as one of the top 10 poker players in the world, and is a 24 year old graduate of the U of I. Since 2007, he has over 3.4 million in poker tournament earnings, including 7 cashes at the World Series of Poker. I thought it would be fun to chat with him as the WSOP gets underway on Friday. I'll be airing the interview in an edited version next week on the air, but this is the full thing. Hopefully, he'll be able to make it down for a couple of Illini games this fall, showing off a new bracelet.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Quick update:

Today is Monday, the day after Lost wrapped up. I'm going on 2 1/2 hours sleep. Managed to not screw up on air. Which in itself is quite astounding.

Things have been nice and quiet for me over the past week, which is nice. And Julia ended up going out of town for the entire weekend, so I really didn't have a ton of obligations or things to do, so I got two night of good, solid sleep, and allowed myself some time to just relax. It was spectacular.

Unfortunately, the heat has kicked in, and so has my obscene reaction to it. I tried running on Saturday evening, with the temperature still at 80. After 30 minutes, of a 52 minute run, I felt like my body was going to shut down. Not good, considering I was 2 1/2 miles from home. But I busted through it. Good lord I hate hot weather. Well, I shouldn't say that. I hate how my body reacts to it.

Got in a solid softball game last night, with the Crackmonkeys defeating the Astronutz, 24-1. 3 of the Monkeys had previously played on the Nutz, and 2 of the Nutz have played on the Monkeys, so lots of drama there. Just glad it is over with, and we got extremely lucky to have scored 24 runs. In 3 innings. Most of them in a 17 run stretch with 2 outs in the 3rd. Yikes.

Going on vacation in a couple of weeks. Can't remember if I posted the official destination list in my last post, but here it is:

Raleigh for 2 nights
Charleston for 1
Savannah for 1
Atlanta for 2
Nashville for 1
Then back.
Should be fun. Looking forward to getting on the road. I love driving around more than flying to and from. Love the freedom involved in it. If I had a month, and a ton of cash, I'd just hop in a car and just go and figure out where I'm going later. So, apparently, I need to work on gaining some cash. So that I can quit my job, and then just drive around. That would be alright. Ultimately, I'd love to do a tour of every baseball stadium during a summer. We all have our weird dreams.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Marathon results, poker results, and Julia prepares to graduate!

I realize I haven't had a ton of substance of late, so i apologize for that.

Let's see. The Illinois marathon was on May 1st. The Cation Crazies team did very well, in that we all finished within our goal times. I'm proud of my Dad and mary, who both lost weight, and completed a difficult goal while going through classes/work/searching for a job. It's a matter of scheduling and making time for yourself. They both did it, and we finished our relay.
For me, I did 13.8ish miles in 2:02:30. It's not the greatest time I've ever had in a marathon. But considering my knees have given me hell over the past 2 months, I'm thrilled to have finished it. I also want to give out a shout to two members of the Illinois soccer team, Danielle Kot and Christina Sahly. They were running with Coach Janet Rayfield, and I passed them with about a mile left in my relay. And they were nice enough to come run with me for that last mile, and really pushed me, to the point that I felt like I was going to puke. While that part wasn't fun, I did enjoy the opportunity to hang out with some good people while running. I owe both of them a drink once they complete their eligibility.
I recovered pretty well, actually, and the next morning, I felt pretty good. It wasn't until I tried to play softball that my left knee completely locked up. That was fun. I tried to convince my personal trainer, rebma, that I had burst my bursa sac in my knee, but of course she didn't buy it. Mostly because it wasn't true. That's beside the point.
I've finally gotten back to running this week, and feel alright about it. I think I'm going to do Mahomet, but I've got to figure out what more race that I can get in over the summer. Any suggestions, I'm listening.

Poker: I did not cash in either of the free tournaments for which I received entries. The first one I played was on Sunday afternoon, and I stayed in for about 2 1/2 hours or so, and just didn't play well. I felt like people were able to toy with me a little bit, because I actually felt like I was out of my element, and played like it. I put way too much pressure on myself, and was overthinking everything, and trying to do way too much. Basic tournament play, which players without a TON of experience can understand and complete, can get you rather far in large tournaments. I veered from where I was comfortable, trying to do much, and trying to do things that I don't have the experience to do yet. And I felt like it. Made some bad decisions, and had to live with it.

Tuesday night, I played in the $109 tournament, with a bunch of people that are well above my "poker income" level. But I have to say, I played a lot better. I played more solid, basic, tournament poker. I was able to make a couple of moves when I had position, and played a couple of hands/cards that were out of my normal comfort range. Unfortunately, I put myself in a coin flip position when I knew a guy didn't have the better hand (my 8s, versus his Ace King offsuit), where I'm a 55% favorite, and he hit two pair on the flop, and a full house on the turn. For me to have any chance in a tournament like that, I have to get lucky a couple of times, and win those coin flip situations. Had I won that hand, I would have been in very good position after two hours of play, and who knows what happens. But I didn't, and I played good enough to play for another hour, but that was it. It was a terrific experience, and I played pretty well when I got decent cards. So I can't complain.

What I've learned, pokerwise, is that I need to get a little bit more multi-table tournament experience. So I'm going to try and do that once I hit my $100 bankroll (I'm at 84, was as high as 86, so its slow, but getting there), and also move up in my cash games as well. I also think I play a little bit better against better players. It forces me to use my critical thinking skills, and I think I did well on that.

OK, Julia graduates on Saturday. That's good. She's worked very hard over the past few years, and ever since we started dating. It will be a new chapter for the two of us, as she won't have classes on Monday and Wednesday (and sometimes Thursday) night, and for at least the next three months, I don't have much announcing to do. This weekend, she'll walk on Saturday, and she's got a lot of family and friends in town. Should be fun, and overwhelming at the same time.

Outside of that, it's been a busy few weeks. My last announcing gig will be on Tuesday. And then...who knows?

Oh, final trip details on destinations: Raleigh, Savannah (with a quick stop in Charleston), Atlanta, Nashville, possibly a quick stop in Lexington. I really like Civil War history, and so we'll do some of that.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Restaurant to remember in Chicago

For all my friends in Chicago, and also for me, so that I go back there the next time I'm there.

Las Mananitas
3523 N. Halsted St. (Boys Town near Wrigley)

Poker tournament on Sunday and Tuesday. Excited and nervous. More on that later.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Yesterday was Star Wars Day...

May the Fourth be with you.