Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Big Stah

Well, I haven't been writing, because much of late has been poker-related, but I felt like updating a bit.

Upon returning from Melbourne, I discovered that I apparently had been's first money winner in a main event. Admittedly, I was the first winner because I busted out 20 minutes before scott Allen (Texas), who actually became the site's BIGGEST money winner as he claimed 5 grand more than me.

I am "Bertiewooster", which is my handle on several sites... the sites I haven't been kicked off yet due to my statius as a U.S.A. player. I am, of course, on the left and Scott is on the right with Jimmy Fricke, a 19 year old kid who eventually came in 2nd to tourney champ and seasoned pro Gus Hansen.

Here is a link worth a chuckle (to me anyway) as the staff sings my praises after I won their Winter Championship Sunday.

Here is an admiring blogger, my head is getting HUGE

That's right- I get to play in another main event this year. I haven't chosen which one yet, as I need to wait to find out if I advance in the Poker Dome in about 10 days. In case I have failed to mention it, I will be playing on the FSN TV show "The Poker Dome". We tape Feb. 10th and my brother Bill and Jay will be there in the studipo audience cheering me on. Of course, I won't actuall HEAR them cheering me on, as I will be in a sealed dome, afixed to a heart monitor- yeah, it's kind of a crazy show.

I must give at least half the credit to my poker partner Beau. He has layed really well and has found most of the tournament opportunities online that we've won. My pal Boudy told me not to worry about assigning credit to Beau, as he will most likely claim it anyway... true dat.

This week was a little frustrating, as I got kicked off another great poker site, ripe with specials and tournaments with amazing "overlays" (value beyond the actual buy in). Being American is increasingly difficult in the world of online poker.

Because of the U.S. Government's Gestapo-like tactics of "detaining" representatives of foreign companies, some who are connected to gaming websites, but the last batch of whom only worked for a foreign bank (Neteller) who services American citizens who SOUGHT THEM OUT, many of these organizations are succumbing to the pressure levied by the U.S. Gov.

Ironically, these companies have yet to break any laws, and are regulated within their own nations (like England and Australia, who are allegedly U.S. trade partners.)

In harrassing the Netellers folks, the U.S. cited the 1961 Wire Act.
In other recent news, the WTO found AGAINST the U.S. Gov, affirming an earlier decision in favor of anti-trust suits by Barbuda and Antigua.

The U.S. opted to interpret the ruling more, basically ignoring the ruling.

I am about as A-political as they come, but I must wonder why I am claiming winnings on my taxes that the governemtn doesn't want to have, doesn't know I have, in order that they may continue to pass laws without a vote that opress my individual freedoms.

I have voted for a variety of parties and candidates and in the past have voted for Republicans, including Bush Sr the first time he ran and wonder what happened to "the less government" banner and am also wondering when democracy will return to my country.

I sincerely hope it is before I am forced to move to Canada.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Homesville/The Guradian

Even though it is cold as hell, I am happy to be home. I am so glad to be back that I am referring to the 14 degree ice-blast as "invigorating".

I was shocked to see that about my blog got over 1500 views last week- WOW!

I got about 2 hours of sleep in the 36 hours preceding my arrival and hitting my own bed last night wa sheavenly, even though I was only able to really fall asleep around 4 am. Seeing Jack this morning was great, except that he totally blew me off in favor of the pecan roll I brought him.

I was wide awake, and opted to endure "The Guardian" on the flight home. I was able to avoid watching this piece of crap on the flight down, but was wide awake coming back and gave in for about an hour. To call this flick trash would be an afront to trash acorss the globe.

It was a blatant ripoff of Officer and a Gentleman except in that it really sucked. i imagine Louis Gossett Jr. developing severe stomach cramps watching Kevin Costner lame up the role he mastered for an Oscar opposite Richard Gere. Ashton played a vapid cadet, and his attempts to add depth were at best, a pathetic and extremely brief vaneer to him playing himself. Strangely, I found myself less annoyed with Tom Cruise for all those times he played himself, as this was not even watchable in my exhausted/bored-to-tears state of mind.

First off- who in their right mind makes a film about THE COAST GUARD??? Surely you jest.

The one edge this trite waste of time had over Officer and a Gentleman" was that the pointless love interest, a story line which and nil to film or to Kutcher's character depth, was WAY hotter than Debra Winger, although the actress was given little to do, aside from an opportunity to betray herself as soon as the opportunity presented itself.

The film's big moment (as indicated by the driving 80s guitar riffs and ultra-lae montage) came when Ashton Kutcher started to smash all the records set by Costner in days past. But really... do you care if he pushes a brick across the bottom of a pool a few seconds faster than Costner's character did in the late 70s? I sure didn't. They blasted a variation of the Navy Recruitment theme, complete with the aforementioned bad 80s guitar riffs over the yawnfest in an effort to dramatize the super-lame montage, but it made me yearn for trailer to Jag, a show I can turn off with the click of a remote.

The joy came when reason cracked my exhaustion-based droned viewing when I realized- "Wait- I can turn this off too!" and I did.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Final Event, then home tomorrow

This event went about how I expected it to when I saw the structure and set up.

I am not a big fan of quickly elevating blinds, and that was how this one was set up. 30 minutes blinds with 11 players per table is closer to a lottery than a poker tournament. I started out like a house afire, but lost to all ins to short stacks. I battled back but eventually had to make a move with a sub-standard hand due to escalating blinds and got by a bigger stack with JJ.

Oh well.

One neat thing was running into a few stars. I saw Roger Federer in the levator as well as Andy Roddick earlier in the week. I actually chatted up Maria Sharapova in the lobby after sharing an elevator ride. Very pleasant girl, that Maria. I didn't notice, but apparently some people find her to be mildly attractive.

I have no idea why she is here, but I saw Michelle Wie walking with her parents in the Crown down by the stores.

I am not going to mention all the poker stars here, but most of them were here.

I am glad to be heading back home tomorrow and am really looking forward to seeing Nadia, Jack, and even good old Tom. It was also really weird not seeing my dad for a movie two weeks in a row and not being able to field neurotic calls from my sister Debbie asking me if I was okay for no apparent reason. I really missed Tom's goofy ass this week and saw only a few people here wearing socks and sandals, though they did make me homesick. I am also way overdue for a cup of java with my pal Mark (who owns the label of the sunglasses I wore during the tourney) and Debcat, whom I haven't seen in ages.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bounced Like a Bad Check

So the main event is over, ending cermeoniously with the groans of horror of the gallery as the river card turned.

Honestly, this might sound obnoxious, but I had no idea I was this good. I could not have created a WORSE scenario than the one I was faced with yesterday, yet I somehow made the money.

I was pretty happy with my initial table assignement, as there were no monster stacks. I had 62,800, the ked on my left had 90,000 and one other guy (whoi started today at my table with 516,000)had about 70K or so. I raiseed right out of the gate, and was immediately staared down and re-raised by the 90,000 kid. Had to fold. Next hand I raised again and was re-raised, same story. It was obvious I was going to steal or bully anyone here. They broke the table up and I was 9K poorer after 3 hands.

At my new table, I raised with top pair ace kicker and had to fold to another re-raise with 3 diamonds on the board, respecting the flush.

Then I was moved to the tourney chip leader's table with 46,000 or so. The leader had about 415,000 by then.

I tried to play a couple of hands, but every time I was in a pot, there would be a raise, and usually, a re-raise. It was obvious I couldn't play any hand I wasn't willing to go all the way with, even that early.

I realized the money was 7 levels and 10.5 hours away, and things looked pretty bleak. I told myself to sit back and wait for a hand. I powered through with pocket 99 and stole the blinds. A long while passed with nary a playable hand and I woke up with pocket tens under the gun (first position). I had to either play them stronger, like I had a bigger pair, or just fold. Any flat calls were an outrigth waste of chips, as you could guarantee a raise, and likely a re-raise on general principle.

I stalled, counted chips, stalled, and raised about 5 or 6 times the blind. I needed to take something down. The small blind called and the big stack (last year's winner, Lee Nelson, author of the noted book on No Limit Hold Em tournament poker "Kill Phil" folded.

The flop came J rag rag, not a great flop for me, but not bad. I put is a solid preflop raise and doubted the small blind would call with out an A or maybe something like KQ with Lee playing behind him. He bet out 10,000 chips. I stalled and stalled, counted and recounted my chips. I knew I had to make a stand and had to get some chips, more importantly. I thought about what I had represented to the table, decided I had probably carried it off and pushed all in. The guy (Peter Scutaris) thought a while before folding.

It worked!

I forced him to folded J9, he had me beaten. He told me later he had put me on queens. Nice to know someone is paying attention. I have to give the guy credit. A lot of players are so weak today or clueless that you can't bluff them because they can't read the board or other players. Ironically, I had semi-misread Peter's hand and put him on two overcards, or an under pair with an ace kicker.

A short while later I caught AK clubs in the big blind. One guy limped in with a flat call and ironically, everyone else folded. The big blind was 1000, and I raised 5,000 to 6,000, the guy called. I believe he was a euro-pro, but there are so many of these guys I don;t have a clue who they even are.

The flop came 256 or something with two clubs.

I immediately pushed all-in with my AK nut flush draw. Plus, I really think I had the best hand anyway. If he had a pair of some kind, I still had 15 outs, and though behind, still would have been the favorite to win the hand. He folded, and I stayed alive. That would be the last pot I would sniff for about 6 hours.

The noted Finn Patrik Antonius or Lee Nelson raised every hand and I honestly saw the absolute worste cards f my life for the next 7 or 8 hours. I didn;t win a hand in that span and hoarded my chips.

In the course of the day, I never saw AA or KK, and had QQ once and Ak maybe twice, a ridiculously horrible display of crap-ola. Antonius raised my big blind literally, for hours on end. I was nearing the point where I needed to hit something to say alive (it comes earlier than you think) and I called his customary raise with QJ hearts. I decided preflop if I flopped top pair I was throwing all in.

The flop came 678 with two hearts. I decided to check raise him all in. I could have just led, but I knew he would call anyway, and I wanted to make a statement, however small it may be. He bet out 15K or something and I imediately pushed all in. He had to call given the pot odds no matter what he had.

He flipped over 28c, and had the lead with top pair. I had 15 outs, with all the hearts, plus the 3 remaining queens and jacks, so I was actually the favorite. The turn card was a 2 hearts, giving him two pair, but giving me a flush. The river was a brick and I doulbed up.

I didn't play a hand for another decade or so.

In the late going, I threw all in once with KQ in the smal blind, clearing out the limpers. I thought Lee Nelson might cal from the button, but honestly didn't care if he did. I knew he had to be weak to just flat call and I could use the double up. If I hit it, I would certainly finish in the money. The very nexy hand I had QQ on the button and tossed all in over Peter Scutaris' raise. All folded and I could coast and wait for a big hand.

None came.

The stats on the other chip stack sizes were not very available, although I had a guy from really helping me out doing his best. They try to limit their access, but he found out what he could. I would onluyplay one more hand that night.

I woke up with AK. I could easily fold the hand and probably make it into the money. Antonius had put in a raise and Peter Scutaris had called. I counted my chips about 3 or 4 times, appearing as though I were contemplaying an allin. I hadn't played ANY hands in forever, so it was easy to represent a big hand. I thought and thought and mumbled "raise". I counted out two stacks of my chips and raised 20,000. I was trying to send the message that I had aces and wanted someone to call, and that the rest of my chips would be going in on the flop. 20,000 is one thing, but 60,000 is another.

It worked.

Everyone folded quickly (even Antonius had some temporary moment of sanity and laid down his J3 or whatever he was playing) and two players said, "nice aces". I smiled and mucked my hand. I didn;t want them to know I had the AK, it was better if they thought I was only playing AA or KK.

I glided into the money, finishing the day in 67th position. I folded a round and threw all in with A7 under the gun with about 40,000 chips. To my surprise, they all folded and I raked in the blinds.

I folded my blinds and was back around 40,000, with the blinds being 3000-6000. It was an all-in fest. There were at least 2 or 3 allins every minute, with the tournament announcer calling out the hands over the sound system.

I had to move soon and was delighted to look down and find KK.

I pushed my chips as though I was miserable but had to and got called by the big blind. he actually had a big hand, too. AK. I really didn't want to see an ace of any kind, but what can ya do. I was still about a 3:1 favorite to win the hand.

Unfortantely, my opponent flopped an ace and picked up another ace on the turn, freezing me out. the worst part was that I hit the case king on the river for a losing full house.

All in all, it was a great tournament, well run, and the structure is terrific. I feel great about being placed in just about the worst of all circumstances and suriviving.

Thank You All Very Much

I just want to say thanks a ton for all you cats who followed along, checked pokernews for updates and sent emails etc.

Many of the players here are either local or wildy popular pros. I spent about 10 hours on the feature table, and these guys generally had 20-40 people around, so it was really helpful to know that my friends and family were home watching the action for updates and pulling for me.

I am taking the rest of today off to lay low, but I will update and write up what happened later.

I am playing a smaller tourney tomorrow, I imagine many of the pros hanging around will jump in as well, so it should be fun.

Thanks again, kids, we did it together.

If his health is on par, my big brother Jon has agreed to come with me out to Las Vegas in a few weeks when I tape the Poker Dome show. It will be terrific to have him, Jay, Maritza (you don't have to force yourself to watch poker if you don't want to!!!) and anyone else who happens to amble by there.

Super Quick Update

Actually slept...a little.

Gotta run out and get some pancakes before the tournament starts.

Juist checked chipc counts. I have 53,000, waaay below avg, BUT am in 67th. There are a zillion "short stacks". One double up to 100,000 or so and I would appear to be in the middle of the pack position-wise, although still well below the avg stack size. If I can double-up, there is a good chance I can stick around for a little while. If I can double up twice early, who knows?

Patrik Antonius, while insane, showed me the value on not caring on every given hand whether or not you get bounced out. The guy stole millions, millions of chips yesterday, it was truly a sick spectacle, but has definitely changed the way I am going to think about the these tourneys, and how I play.

I'm off!

In the Money

I suqeezed into the money.

Passing out, must try to sleep, details later, thanks for following along:)

Still alive, but shortstacked.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Day 2, Aussie Millions

I need to remember the main reason I have a decent stack going into today's action. It isn't because I had big hands (which helped). It wasn't lucky suckouts after questionable calls. It wasn't with big all-ins and flashy moved.

It was primarily laying down big losing hands. I made a few moves that fortunately worked when I was behind in the hand at times, challenged players I thought were weak, but primarily folding big hand was the order of the day.

I keep remembering something Steve Dannemann said (finished 2nd in the 2005 WSOP main event as an amateur.

"A bad fold is a small mistake... a bad call is a big mistake."

So I tried to avoid bad calls.

I think I folded top pair at least three times in the same hour, two to the previously mentioned Mandy. She slowplayed a flopped full house from the big blind. I raised minimum under the gun with a suited king during a time when I was raising constantly and getting a lot of folds. The flop came 3 2 3 and Mandy checked to me. I checked. There was no way I was bluffing into that flop, as it was obvioous I missed it and she would check-raise me even if she missed it.

The turn brought a king and I had top pair. She made a beautiful bet that looked like she was stabbing at the pot, I think it was 1000 chips. I made it something like 2500 to go and she immediately reraised to 7,000.

I knew I had been had. I tried to figure out what the hell she could possibly have. She wouldn't call an under-the-gun raise with a 3 in her hand, would she? Myabe if it was suited, but still fairly unlikely. Any hand with a king I was sure I could beat, with the possible exception of K-J. or maybe K-Q. There was no way she would have flat-called my raise with K-K or A-K.

I mulled it over and gave it up. She wound up having 2-2, and had flopped a full house. I lost a few chips, but avoided losing a lot more with a bad call.

Similar situation against Mandy a few hands later. She had a tendency to raise small, maybe 2.5 times the blind from early position, even with a pretty big hand. She raised from 800 to 2000 in early position. I had AT off suit, and a lot of chips, so I called. The flop came T- rag rag, maybe T-2-6. Mandy bet out 2500. Right there I could have tested her hand with a raise, but I smooth called and figured I would re-think things on the turn card. The turn was an 8, another great card for me.

The problem is that Mandy rifled 8,500 chips into the pot like she had been directed to bet by a vision from the spirit world. Immediately two things come to mind- overpair and trips. I decide that trips are inlikely. if she had pocket tens and had flopped top set, she would most likely have slowplayed it and bet very small or even checked to let me get myself into trouble. She didn;t seem the type to raise from such early position with a tiny pair like 2-2 or 6-6, so I started thinking JJ. If she had QQ or KK she certainly would have raised more than to 2000. But 2000 with Jacks was just enough toi get rid of the deadwood without commiting too many chips.

It pained me, but I had to let go of the 3300 chips I had already invested in the pot. I asked her what she had at the end of the day and she told me J-J= good fold. In exchange, she requested what I had on a hand I rre-raised her from my big blind. She raised from the small blind and I reraised. The flop came A-K-5 or something. She checked and I hammered the pot. Mandy folded. I had 7-7, but when she asked about the hand at the end of the day, for some unknown reason lied and told her I couldn't exactly remember, but it was either 8-8 or 9-9. Not a big difference from just telling the truth about the pocket sevens, bt for some reason, I didn;t want to tell the entire truth.

I made a point of showing the big hands I laid down for the most part so people knew I was stealing. Of courese, I had been stealing on a number of pots I took down, but I kept that to myself.

I only slept for about 3 1/2 or 4 hours again last night and am totally exhausted. I am really hoping the don't try to play 7 levels again today, but maybe 4 or 5 tops. I am not sure if they have a number of levels in mind, or a general idea of how many players they'd like to et down to by the end of the day.

Oh yeah, and "GO PATS!!!" I got to see the game winning kick in the poker rooom. I missed a few hands trying to watch the tale end of the game, but it was worth it.


Well it was an eventful day and I am beat. I need to catch a few hours of sleep, if possible, before tomorrow. I planned to lay low for the first 30 minutes or so to get a feel for the table. But, I got AK about 3 hands in in the Big Blind. There were about 4 "flat" callers, so I raised it from 100 to 600, satisfied to take down the call bets. The players under the gun (first position) called me. The flop was K 4 6, with two diamonds. I hammered the flop, hammered the turn and a diamond came on the river.

I checked, the guy bet and showed QTd for a flush, costing me about 9,000 of my 20,000 stack very early. I got up and forfeited my small blind as I contemplated how the guy could call with that hand from that position. "Terry" would call with a lot worse throughout the day. I had a feeling I would get those chips back about an hour later, and I did abuse Terry throughout the day after the second level or so.

Two hands later I found pocket AA. One raise in front of me, I reraised. The kid (who turned out to be a table nemesis and very solid player) had AK and hit a K on the flop. He tossed all in. I called and dodged a bullet, doubling my stack back up to about 23,000.

About an hour later, I became a card rack, hitting big hand after big hand. In the course of the day, I had AA three times, QQ three times and lied about having QQ and KK several times. At my table was Joe Hachem's brother. After a couple of people got knocked out, Clonie Gowan (Women's 2007 WSOP champion) got seated at my table. I looked down and found QQ. I think it was her second hand there. Hachem's brother had said something to her privately. I was really running the table at this point, by the way. As I raised my QQ, the guy says "MR. Aggressive". Clonie fingered her ships, counting them out. I usually stare at the table, but I sensed her eyeing me to see if I had anything or was stealing. I would never steal from that early a position, but I briefly glanced at her, then looked away to feign weakness. Clonie puched all-in with JJ and I wuickly called her after the rest of the table folded. I hit a Q on the flop and another Q for quads.

On a kind of humorous note, pokernews, one website I am representing, reported the hand live and referenced me as "her opponent" several times without mentioning my name. Thanks for the press, PN!

I got up to about 67,000 or so and hit a dry spell. They moved my nemesis John from the table and put a 19y.o. Korean kid from Ohio named Adam Junglan in his spot a few hands later. This kid was brutal. He raised my big blind EVERY hand for two hours except once. I forfeited my role as table bully to a very quiet girl who raised every hand named Mandy, who is apparently the girlfriend of a pro I am not familiar with. Mandy got hot hands, and I took a few beatings from her, beating her only once in the 3 or 4 times we locked horns.

They draw for new tables tomorrow and while I am (like everyone else) hoping aganst hope I don't get seated next to the dude with 300,000 chips, I will not be sorry to see Mandy at another tale, or Adam for that matter. Pro Mark Vos made an appearance at our table for about an hour before getting bounced by Mandy.

All in all, it was a really good day with some great cards and some dry spells. I am going to have to throw out today's play book and start fresh tomorrow, depending upon who and what size chip stacks ares at my table and where I am sitting.

I ended the day with 62,800 chips. The avg for the tourney is between 48,000 and 49,000, so while I can't coast by any means, I am in decent shape heading to day two.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Tourney Day 1, Flight 2

This is a view from my hotel room at night... the photo doesn't really do it justice, but it is beautiful.

I spent last night relaxing, laying low and trying to get a good night's sleep. I strolled down the riverwalk a bit and got some spaghetti for dinner. No sense in gambling with sushi or something exotic that could screw me up for today, so I played it safe with good old pasta.

I got home about 10pm, filled up the jacuzzi tub and watched "The Matrix" on my lap top computer in the hot tub. Life... it is very very difficult.

I hit the sack (nodding on and off) officially at about midnight. I still can't seem to sleep in at all, and woke up about 5:45 am. I have to admit, I am pretty nervous as the ratio of superstars and pros to amateurs here is ridiculously high. As usual, (and as my friend Joe says) "I would rather die than look bad". I just don't want to get schooled by someone and have to see it on ESPN.

It's about two hours until they shuffle up and deal, I have to be there 30 minutes early, so I heading out to grab some breakfast.

Updates may be available at

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Feddish in Melbourne

So last night Tina and Chris (poker site's representatives) took all the poker players to a nice dinner at a restaurant called Fetish. She asked us to "dress up, as this place is fancy."

Poker players... ya can't take us anywhere. We are like high school kids forced to wear a tie to church, especially online players. On a positive note, I was the only one who wore a jacket and about 3 or 4 of us out of 17 looked half way presentable. I always say, "I'd rather look good than be a good player."

Okay, I've never said that, but I'm thinking of coining a phrase. I am a little irritated that I woke up about 7:30am here. I stayed up late hoping to sleep in a bit and adjust my schedule so I will be prepared to stay up late and be alert tomorrow night.

I must say, it is a pretty nice crew of guys, not a bad bunch of ragamuffins, as my mom used to say when I was little.

I further realized what a pansy I am, as I miss my chick and the autistic goof I take care of. I am not sure how I am going to pas the time this week without tackling my little buddy and pretending I am beating him up (he loves it, really he does.) I miss terribly his smile and laugh and his deliberate efforts to ignore me and do what he wants.

After getting tagged for $25 bucks for breakfast yesterday, I am going to be more careful where I eat and venture out into the city to find an eatery. Mango juice is a nice change of pace, but I'm not sure it is worth a twennyspot.

The tourney starts today and I will likely venture down and get a feel for the room, although I don't start until tomorrow at 11:30am, which is 7:30pm Sunday night for east coasters.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Aussie Millions Recon.

Upon arriving, I scanned the poker room yesterday. They had the 100,000 buy-in event going on. No, it's not a misprint, the buy-in was $100,000. 18 players started and 9 were left when I got there. Phil Ivey and Eric Lindgren were at one table and Eric Seidel was at another.

I am not sure what the scoop is, but a lot of the biggest names in poker are here to play in the main event. There must've been some heavy promotion going down to get these players to take two weeks out of their lives to come here when they could be fleecing tourists in Las Vegas.

I am trying to keep it in perspective, but I am getting pretty nervous. It is a mix of internet players and sharks, with some of the very best pros in the world showing up.

They have a unique format for the main event which starts tomorrow. (I play Monday). You start with 20,000 in chips, which double the usual and the blinds last f0r 90 minutes, instead of an hour, although they do start at 50-100 instead of the customary 25-50.

This format hugely favors the better players and reduces the luck factor greatly. I mean, no one wins anything without getting lucky a couple times, but this structure favors superior players. That may have something to do with some of these pros traveling here for this event.

I am trying not to get to nervous about looking foolish and am trying to forget the schooling Joe Hachem gave me in Copenhagen and remember how well I played at the WSOP.

I have a small freeroll (free tournament) today sponsored by the website I am representing and a fancy shmancy dinner tonight at some chi chi restaurant.


Well, I have kind of had a policy of not writing about poker on the blog, hence very little writing of late on the blog, BUT... since I have faily and friends who wish to keep pace with my goofy exploits down under, I will report here this week.

For those completely in the dark as to what the hell I am talking about, Iwon an entry into the Aussie Millions Poker Tournament in Melbourne, Australia. I kinda targeted this tourney as the one I most wanted to win an entry to, as I have long wanted to see Australia.

I am reasonably exhausted. It wasn't a bad flight, 25 or 26 hours en route to anywhere will take the wind out of your sails. I caught a huge break on the flight from L.A. to Sydney when my chair wouldn't recline, so I got moved to a vacant aisle seat...SCORE!

The Australian airport security is as vigilant as our security, but twice as silly. They run you through x-ray machines repeatedly as you transfer from one plane to another and have already been cleared, doing the laptop-out-shoes-off shuffle.

Everything here is super expensive here, obliterating the short-lived glee I got from what I thought was a favorable exchange rate. $3.50 for a cuppa coffee, $12 to get a jacket drycleaned, and $15 for a vagrant to give me the same hand gallop I can get in any park in Boston for five bucks... highway robbery if you ask me.

I went down to register for the tourney and saw that the field for the tourney will be between 650-750 players. Many of the top pros in the world are here, which is kinda fun, but nerve-wracking to say the least.

There will be two day ones, because of the size of the field. I will be playing on Monday, Jan 15th at 11:30am, which is about 7:30pm EST. I get to play in a little free tourney for players tomorrow.

That is all... losing consciousness.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Maybe I'm Not Too Bright...

...but I AM a Brownie.

This year's plunge into the Atlantic on New Year's Day was a tad warmer than my pal Boudy and I usually like, but it was raining- which kept the yahoos away to a degree. It seems every time the thermometer creeps over 40 degrees, every one and their brother shows up in Southie for the annual L Street Brownie New Year's Day swim.

I used to think my friend Steve "Boudy" Boudrot was crazy when he would be excited upon hearing a "bad" weather report, one including temperatures below freezing or even in the teens, or better yet- involving snow. Something about snow and bare feet doesn't seem to mesh.

After a few years of taking the plunge myself, I began to see his genius.

When it gets warm, or they have some sort of anniversary (which seems ot be almost every year nowadays) throngs of people show up, wantng to be part of all the madness. One problem is, that even on "warm" days, days in the 50s.. the water is usually between 37-40 degrees. When the rookies hit that water, they tend to panic and freeze (pun intended) because they have never felt anyything so shockingly cold in all their lives.

One thing about 37 degree water- you don't tip -toe into it. Ya gotta LEAP baby, ya gotta dive right in.

The crowds were trimmed by the rain this year, and there wasn't much fear of getting trapped behind a line of toe-dippers. I got about up to my waist on a dead run before getting blocked by some guy slipping into hypothermia. Fortunately, he buckled a bit at the knees and I was able to dive over him.

The most common question is... WHY???

Why do you do it, Korte? What are you thinking? You can't even blame this inane activity on drunkeness anymore.

There are a few reasons. For one, it's on of the few times set aside to hang with my best friend in the world. There is a camaraderie there that seems to blossom when we engage in mutually foolish escapades.

Secondly, and I can't explain this, it just feels good. The initial shock of the water is just that, but coming out feels amazing to me. I think it is different for different people. I remember the first year I did it it was very cold and I didn't much like it. The second time I recall feeling a wave of euphoria washing over me about 30 minutes after the swim. I have had that a numbers of times, but not every year, it is sort of a surprise.

The most common result is a feeling of deep relaxation which seems to last throughout the day, acompanied by sleepiness (unrelated to staying up half the night, that's not my gig.) One of the affects I don't quite understand, as it appears to be unique to me, is the seeming bubble of warmth around after getting out of the water.

I look around and people are shivering, freezing cold and shaking, but I feel great and can't feel any cold whatsoever. Someone suggested it is psychosomatic, that they perhaps haven't done the swim as many times, or at all before and "think" they are cold. I would guess that they "are" cold, but I always get a kick out this nonetheless.

This year was strange, as they were remodeling the men's locker room and half the showers were gone and replaced by a construction site. Boudy, myself and rookie L Streeter and old college chum Barry set up camp on some bags of cement. Generally, there is always some woman who has gotten lost and ambles through the men's locker room, but this year it was an epidemic. The worst was some guy bringing a 4 year old daughter through there. I can't imagine anything that would scar a little kid more than seeing some 60 year old guy in the buff immediately after diving into the Atlantic in January.


The kid seemed unscathed, but I may never get over it.

The bonus this year was that we just happened to be the primary photograph displayed on and were splayed across og. B4 of the Boston Globe.

Never figured the Brownies would be my avenue to fame.

(Barry far right, then me, then Boudy.)

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