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Well, its January 31st, the last day of 2008.  So I thought I'd review my year on the poker table for you.  I'll hit some highlights, and some lowlights.  And hopefully, when I'm done, I'll have demonstrated that it was a very good year.

HIGHTLIGHTS

1.  2008 started with me coming in third in the Tournament of Champions (ToC) finals for our local poker club.  With over $9000 in the pot, this was a biggie, and it was a great way to start the year.  And with my 3rd place cash prize of nearly $2000, my year was off and running with a bang. 

In 2007 I had been very hit and mostly miss in poker play.  I was working hard to learn tournament style poker, and continually improved throughout the year.  The ToC had thirty people, and it was great to play them all down to the final three.  A highlight of this tournament was that I had pocket Aces THREE hands in a row.  Unheard of.  On the first one, I raised, everyone folded, and I didn't make much.  On the second one, I raised, one guy called, and I made a little.  On the third one, I raised, another guy moved all in (since I couldn't possibly have Aces three hands in a row), and I made a fortune.   

2.  The second highlight occurred just a couple of months later in the finals for the other poker club, My4Aces.  We had played many months, twice a month, go qualify for this one, and it was a free roll.  But it wasn't cheap.  There were thousands in the pot that we had raised throughout the year.  And in this one I went a little further, with a 2nd place finish. 

The highlight of this one was when I was struggling at the final table, and had K-8 in the small blind.  The guy under the gun limped in, everyone else folded, so I flat called, hoping the big blind would too.  And she did.  The flop came K-K-8.  Full house for JP.  I checked, the big blind checked, and the other guy bet out.  The only hand he currently could hold that was even close to mine would be if he had K-8 also.  Since I didn't think he would call with that, I figured he had either a pocket pair (maybe 8's!) or A-K.  Either way, he was very wrong for not raising with it preflop, and I was going to make him pay.  Unless an Ace came on the board. 

Well, obvious the Ace never came.  I checked, and he bet again on the turn, and I called.  Then on the river I bet, he moved all in (more than me) and I called to win a monster pot.  This double up took me all the way to second place.

3.  Later in the summer I was invited to play in the Moose Lodge monthly game in Aurora.  Three full tables of people I'd never met.  And 7 hours later, I was the winner.  This win pocketed me another $1200.  And it is also notable that I went back to this game the following month and took 3rd, so it was no fluke.  Two times playing in this one put around $1700 in my pocket in 30 days. 

4.  I only visited two casinos in 2008.  The ones in Colorado are $5 max bet, so I don't include them as real ones.  In fact, I rarely set foot in them.  But my job took me to Connecticut this summer, and I had a room at Foxwoods Resort and Casino....which is right down the road from the Mohican Sun Casino.  Both are fantastic.  The only problem was, I was there for training.  My instructors were constantly waking me up, because I was leaving the poker tables with just enough time to shower and get to the class. 

I didn't mind though, because I was WAY up.  I made over $1400 playing at the Mohican Sun, and another $1600 at Foxwoods.  And that includes what I was losing goofing off on the roulette table or at blackjack.  (Actually, I made $1200 one night at blackjack, so the rest of the week was basically a freeroll.  I did lose it back, but I had a blast doing it).  So I left Connecticut with $3000 profit after deducting all other gambling, dining, and any other expenses I had other than the room.  And since it was for work, the room was free anyway. 

5.  Getting my own custom chips.  I also got my own tables and quality chairs.  I can run as big of a game as my house will hold now.  Too bad I live in the middle of nowhere and its winter.  Hard to get to my house, let alone have 30 people park, in bad weather.  Oh well, spring is just around the corner.  And thanks to my buddy Ben, who gave me a customized chip case that holds 2500 chips.  Now I just need someone to carry it for me.

6.   Starting this blog.  I get maybe 25 readers a day, on average.  But I really don't write it for anyone but me anyway.  It is a great form of release.  I'd rather come on here and yell at Mickey Mouse than sit at a table and yell at a friend. 

7.  Getting my wife to play!  She has played in maybe 6 tournaments, and she's won 2 and finished 3rd in another.  Also, its been great hearing how well my son is doing playing in Hawaii.  I'd like to think I've taught them at least a little of what they know.

8.  Getting to know the people I've gotten to know.  Its amazing that I now regularly play with millionaires, and with low paid cooks at the local rescue mission.  I play with professional athletes, as well as one man who has AIDS, but since he is a doctor, he is able to help others suffering with the same disease.   I play with hard partying drinkers, as well as a group of recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.  I play with military leaders, and the biggest left leaning anti-war hippies around.  And you know what?  When we sit at the table, none of the rest of that crap matters one bit.  We're all friends trying to WIN each other's money.

9.  Any other win or cash I had during the year.  Plus, I learned how to play CASH GAMES this year. 

All in all, 2008 showed a profit for me of around $10,000.  Not too shabby for a part time average poker player.

LOWLIGHTS

Oh sure, there were many.  Lets just start with any game I made a stupid move in that cost me all my money or chips.  There were many!  But lets look at some specific ones:

1.  Being accused of stealing.  I know, nobody came out and said "JP is a thief", but the overall feeling was there when I was responsible for the money one night, and $100 disappeared out of the prize pool.  We later found out who the real thief in the group was (more on that later), but at the time, it really hurt.  I was ready to bail on everyone rather than hang around people that thought I was a thief.  I'm really glad this all worked out, and the whole group seems really tight now.

2.  Two of the last two cash games I've played.  Basically, I have returned a bunch of money I've won in the past year in the past couple of weeks.  In short, I felt like I was so up for the year that I could take some chances at monster pots, and I lost.  If not for these two games, I would be talking about $11,000 profit for the year instead of $10,000. 

3.  Barry and Lisa moving to Oregon.  They were my favorite poker buddies, and they've moved away.  The groups I play in have seen other divorces, splits, problems, quit playings, etc.....but Barry and Lisa leaving hurt the most.  I just wanted to say that, in case they read this. 

4.  Fighting with Mark.  It goes back to #1, but much further than that too.  I think it killed one of the poker clubs, and I hate that.  Some say the club needed to die anyway, but I miss it.

5.  Beating Jerry the other night when I bluffed with two diamonds, and he called with A-A....only to see three more diamonds on the board, even though one was the Ace of Diamonds....giving him trips.  (OK, that's really not a lowlight, but it felt like one at the time).

6.  Anytime I've made someone else angry at the poker table.  There have been fights, arguments, **** contests, etc.  That's just part of the game.  The game has a lot of tension, and sometimes it boils over.  And to anyone that has been a part of that with me this year, I am sorry.  I know I've already told you that, but I mean it.

To anyone on Fannation who suffers the same fate, I'm not sorry.  Its the internet.  Just remember that NOTHING I say on Fannation outside of a private group or in this blog is serious.  I'm just running my mouth. 

7.  And lastly, I'm sorry for any blogs I've written that didn't live up to any standard you might accept.  They can't all be Tolstoy.  Some are just a grocery list.  But thanks for reading anyway.

AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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