Sunday, April 22, 2007

Short drive down the coast

After a week at my family's place... its time to make the move down towards the Ft. Lauderdale regional. We don't start playing until Friday, however we have taken advantage of my Uncle and Aunts hospitality for a week already. So tomorrow afternoon we are going down to my partner Warren's house right in center of Palm Beach... Jenny, Warren and I are going to play a cut-around bridge game with David and Lisa Berkowitz. I will try to post some hands (I know I keep saying that) After that Warren heads back to New York to work until the weekend when he comes back to play the regional. He is very generously letting Jenny and me use his house down here for the next 4 days until he returns. I am anxious to see what Palm beach is like. Jenny and I are seriously considering buying a place down here in Florida as soon as we clear up immigration... We both like hot weather, this is really perfect (I imagine that a few days in August I wont be saying that)

I am doing my best to answer all the questions you have to all my posts... I would really like input on the blog, tell me what you like to read about, what is boring... every bit of criticism will help me make this blog more interesting.

On another good note, I had another monstrous day at poker, bringing my total for the week to +6000... a good weeks work!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Singer Island, Florida

Obviously within the first 24 hours of being in Palm Beach my shoulders and neck were terribly sunburned. So the last few days I've hidden from the sun, although I've tried to spend as much time as possible outside. Jenny and I are staying on Singer Island (just north of Palm Beach) with my uncle Les and aunt Sara. They are both bridge players and we played yesterday for my first Florida bridge club experience in 5 years. The people were nice and friendly.

A lot of shopping being done... Being the genius that I am, no pairs of shorts managed to make their way into my suitcase even though I knew we were coming to Florida.

The sunburn has forced me indoors and I've had a chance to play a bunch of poker. This week has been swingy, on Sunday I played the big Sunday tourneys and also some cash games and lost around $1500. Then 5 winning days in a row has gotten me that $1500 back plus a healthy profit of $2500 for the trip so far. To explain my poker situation... at the spring nationals in Dallas last year, I approached Steve Weinstein who is a world class poker player (not to mention bridge) about training me to play. He agreed to it and staked me to play $1/$2 No Limit Hold em. The deal is he puts up the money and we split the profits. I have to build up my bankroll before I can move up stakes. I am now at $2/4 N.L. which is a huge step from 1/2. So far so good... its really fun and its a good filler of time when there is nothing else going on. There is more to our story which I will get to later...

Just got the phone call, more shopping and sunburning err tanning to do.

Documentary is up on You Tube

OK here goes nothing, I've thought for a while about what to say to you about the documentary, all I hope is that you watch it with the understanding that they took the most heated moments of 2 YEARS of filming and made our story as dramatic as possible. Just to set the record straight... Vince and I are still great friends and he is still one of my favourite partners and hopefully now that he is back from Australia I will get the chance to play with him some again. No matter how much you like someone, or enjoy playing with someone, 5 years of tens of thousands of hands together can bring out the worst in anyone... and when you have cameras in your face after losing a big spingold match, you'd be surprised at what you say or do.

I heard the numbers of viewers, the method in which they come up with this is unknown, however on Saturday when they aired the documentary in Canada, the hockey game had 2.1 million viewers, the documentary had 518000, a new record for W-five (the show that produced the documentary) I'm really proud of that.

Lastly I want to thank Andy Pederson (the evil producer) and Warren (the unlucky camera guy). I think these guys did a tremendous job in livening up bridge for the camera. They took an otherwise boring couple of guys and made us appeal to a large audience, now I just hope that people see the documentary and have a place nearby where they can learn the game, in the end if anyone learns bridge because of the documentary, it will be a success.

Here are the links to the documentary, I'm not sure how long it will last on youtube because I think there may be copyright issues.

Parts 4 and 5 arent working yet but should be up there soon.

Enjoy the show!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

End of the week

So its Saturday and we finished playing tonight so that meant we could go out and have fun. We went over to the house that a lot of American juniors and their friends have rented for the week of the tournament. The house is really cool. 3 floors, 8 bedrooms, huge room on the bottom floor with a pool table and air hockey table.

The night started by me betting Steve Weinstein $100 that I could beat him in an air hockey match up to 7 points, but I had to spot him 4 points. So we started playing and i got 2 quick goals bringing the score to 4-2. Then he fired straight back with a straight shot beautifully placed making it 5-2. A long time rallying until we exchanged two more quick goals making it 6-3. At that point he got a little arrogant about his position and offered me to buy out of the bet for $75... my response "Hell No, lets play" So I tightened up my Defence and pulled out the match with a 7-6 victory. So sweet :)

After the match we went upstairs just as the late NHL playoff game was ending and brought out a copy of the documentary. It was a real experience sitting in a room with like 20 of my friends watching a dramatized version of the last few years of my life. Everyone really enjoyed the show, we had a good laugh because everyone could relate to how i was feeling.

(in pic from left to right, Charles Halasi, Daniel Lavee, John Barth, Joel Wooldridge, Steve Weinstein)

We hung out for a while, took some pictures then came back to our house and were just about to take a hot tub. Tomorrow is a travel day, Jenny and I head to Florida where we will spend some time with my uncles and aunts that live there. I thought the Ft Lauderdale regional was this coming week but there turned out to be an extra week off in there I didn't know about. So our ticket is booked for tomorrow and my mistake earned us a vacation in Florida. Left to Right: Kevin Bathurst, Me, Justin Lall, John Kranyak
Left to Right: Kevin Bathurst, Cata Robles, Me, Jenny

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gruelling couple of weeks

So the last two weeks I've been playing a lot of bridge. Last week was in Toronto, I played the whole week with my mom, sometimes as teammates sometimes as partners. We won the fast pairs early in the week by getting 3 tops in the last round to win by 1 match point. Then in the main event of the regional, the SHEARDOWN KNOCKOUT, we lost by 1 in the semi finals after I fought to make the matches 28 boards instead of 56... kind of ironic. The problem with the event was it was set as a 3 day event, but not enough teams entered. So what ended up happening was they scheduled a 56 board semi final for day 2, and a 56 board final on day 3. The issue was, it was only worth 22 master points for winning this really tough bracket that takes 3 days, so I got all of the teams in the semi finals to agree to shorten the event to 2 days.

On the weekend, my documentary aired on Canadian National Television. It was so interesting looking back on a very important period of my life and having it all taped. They did a good job putting the documentary together so that it can be interesting for non-bridge players. Obviously when its a 44 minute documentary there are going to be lots of things I don't like about it. They got a lot of the bridge facts wrong, but that would go unnoticed to a non-bridge player. One issue was, I was the only one of us who talked about my mistakes in front of the camera... so when it came time to put the blame on someone, the only thing they could do was put it on me. It was very sentimental watching it, and it made me really miss playing with Vince (I know that might surprise you if you've seen the documentary). He really is and was one of my best friends and even though we had rough times, we also had some awesome times. I look forward to the chance to play with him again later this year as he is back from Australia.

This week in Gatlinburg has been one of the most excruciating weeks I can remember. We have a house rented in the mountains which is fantastic, but it means for an extra 10 minute commute 5 or 6 times a day. I've been playing on a 4 handed team in bracket 1, 3 sessions a day. So we have played a lot of tough opposition and really gotten drilled. Somehow we have about 60 points just from winning a couple 1 session board-a-match's and making the semi finals of the first KO. We only planned on being here until Saturday so today there is nothing to play for us. I will play a side game with Melanie Tucker (my partner for the week) this afternoon and tonight we will try to win a 3rd B-A-M.

I have lots of interesting hands to come from these 2 weeks, I just really have been too tired to post on here.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Spiral Raises

OK there are many different versions of this convention, but one thing is for sure, if you are raising on 3 card support after you open 1m and your partner responds 1M, then having a forcing asking big is crucial.

1m - 1H
2H - 2S* Asks partner what kind of raise do you have? then...

2N = Balanced 3 card raise, minimum
3C = Balanced 4 card raise, any strength
3D = unbalanced 3 card raise, shortness in other minor
3H = unbalanced 3 card raise, shortness in other major
3S = Splinter, 4 card support
3N = Balanced 3 card raise, maximum
4om = splinter
4m = 5422 MAX
4H = 5422 MIN

1m - 1S
2S - 2NT = same
3H = UNBAL 3S shortness in other minor
3S = UNBAL 3S shortness in other major
4x = SPL
4m = 5422 MAX
4M = 5422 MIN

This system can also be used after 1H-1S-2S.

NOTE: After BAL 3M MIN, going back to 3 of partners minor is NF
NOTE: After any response, 3M is NF

Also its good to play 1x-1H-2H-2NT = 4S 4H forcing... so you can catch your spade fit when partner has raised on 3 card support.