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Shirley Rosario
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Scott Lazar Shirley RosarioJanuary 28
I played in the $540 No Limit Holdem Shootout at the L.A. Poker Classic on Wednesday and was happy with the way I played until I talked with Steve. My strategy for the tournament was to play tight until I got down to five handed. I knew that if I made it that far, my normal short-handed game was enough to give me a good shot at winning my table.

For the first hour and a half of the tournament, my chips didn't move around much. I finally lost a decent pot and then a few hands later, I was back in it again. I won a lot of my chips on two key hands. There was an ultra-aggressive player in seat 9 (I was in seat 2), so every time I was in the big blind, he was on the button. There were several times that the players folded to him and he raised without fail. I just wanted a decent hand to come over the top of him. The player in seat 1 (Jack) was a player I have played with on several occasions and is solid. Jack raised and I folded KQ of hearts without much thought. I figured I was probably dominated and he showed me AQ after I folded. Just a few hands later, I got dealt the same exact hand in the big blind. Mr. Ultra-Aggressive didn't let me down and raised. I came over the top for all of my chips. He thought about it for awhile and finally called me with A5. His hand was better than mine, but I thought it was an absolute horrible call considering I only played 3 hands and showed down one which was a pocket pair of sevens. Up to this point, I hadn't got out of line at all and I couldn't understand how he justified calling my all-in when he was not getting the right price. I ended up winning that hand when I rivered a straight. A short time later, I won another pot with KQ of diamonds. The flop was Q75 with two diamonds and I milked my opponent out of 1/4 of his chips.

I made it down to three players and I had a little more than average chips. I thought I had a good shot especially when Jack the solid player donated some of his chips to the other guy. Jack was the person I didn't care to face in a heads up battle. Little did I know that I was going to be eliminated because Jack gave those chips away. Because the other guy won a big pot prior to our "big hand" he ended up having me outchipped and eliminated me.

My final hand, I raised to $700 from the small blind (blinds were $100-200 with $25 ante) with J8 and was called by the big blind. The flop was JT7. I bet $1,500 and was called. The turn was another seven and I bet $3,000 and was called again. The river was a queen. I checked and the guy moved all-in. I thought about it for a long time. I eliminated the possibility of him having AK because he would have raised preflop. I eliminated the possibility of 98 and AJ too. I really thought we probably had a chopped pot and I finally called the last of my chips. He showed AQ. I was in total shock. I called Steve to tell him what happened and he said I basically played the hand terrible on the turn and the river. He thought I should have moved in on the turn (which I agreed with). He said I shouldn't have called on the river because the queen made every possible hand that my opponent could have had. If my opponent had a straight draw with Q9, he paired his queen. He continued to tell me the possible hands my opponent could have had and why most of them beat me. He also told me that if I was going to call my chips on the river then I should have bet them all-in. I explained that I thought I had a chopped pot and he said that was all the more reason for me to bet. I might have got a person to lay down their hand.

One of the difficult things about tournament poker is that a person can play well for three hours and then screw up for one minute and they are out on their butt.

January 24
I played in the Omaha tournament on Sunday, but I only made it through half the field. Surprisingly, there were over 250 entrants and first prize was over $45,000.

My first table was a group of players who actually played okay. Amongst the group was Raymond Davis and I gave him a lot of my chips on a hand where I had second low and trips and he had nut low and ended up making a flush on the river. I wasn't thrilled about giving my chips to him, but he returned the favor only one hand later and I was back in action.

Shortly after I built my stack back up, our table broke and I was moved to a table with a few newbies. Marshall Ragir was seated directly to my left and he told me the table was great. He hadn't managed to take their chips, but he said they were trying to give them away. I more than doubled my stack, but then couldn't win a hand after that. My final hand, I took A266 against A25K. I thought I was in pretty good shape when we turned our hands up until the flop came AA9. On the turn, I was drawing dead and I was out right before the dinner break. I stuck around to have dinner with Steve and the Prince of Docness (both were still in the tournament) and then played some $30-60 live action. It was nice to be able to sit in a casino and play the game that I normally play online. The funny thing was that I actually played with three players that I regularly play with online. It was cool to be able to put a face to their ID.

I am planning on playing in the shootout on Wednesday night and then it looks like I won't be playing until Monday's NL event. Unfortunately, things decided to get hectic on me this month and I am going to miss a few of the events I originally planned to play in.

January 21
I haven't been home much the last couple days, so I haven't been spending much time online. I have managed to squeeze about five hours of play in and I am down a very small amount for the week.

There was one hand that I played yesterday that summarized the way things have been going for me. Three players in preflop for three bets and I had A23J double suited. The flop was AT7 with two spades (I had the nut flush draw). I bet and got one caller. The turn was a nine and the river was a nine and my opponent turned over 9946. I probably sat there for a good two minutes just saying: "wow." What did he think he could possibly beat on the flop? I do not need a shoulder to cry on. I want to play in games like this all day long. If a player gets lucky by hitting runner runner quads, then so be it. I guess my whole point is that I am only losing a few dollars. I haven't compounded a few bad beats into a huge losing session and that says something about how much my game has improved over the last couple years.

Tomorrow is the first event I am playing in at the LA Poker Classic. I thought I was going to play in the first NL event, but things have been a little crazy lately. Since I didn't play in the first event, I figured I would wait a couple days start the tournament series off with my game of choice, Omaha Hi Low.

January 17
It doesn't look like I am going to make the first event at the L.A. Poker Classic which is extremely disappointing, but I have some other important things to take care of that day. The Omaha event on Sunday will be the first event I will play.

Over the past month (or half month) I have done very well in the $30-60 game on Pokerstars, but I had a pretty big loss yesterday. There were a few hands where I made some bad decisions, but overall I played my regular game and things didn't go my way. By the end of the night, I was joking with Steve that it seemed like I was on the butt end of a cruel joke. The good news is that even after that loss, I am still way up for the month and that is what matters. Poker isn't about making the quick easy money, it is about putting in your hours and making a decent hourly rate.

I was surfing some of my fellow bloggers sites today and I have to say that Felicia's is always refreshing. She is a shoot from the hip kind of girl and I always appreciate that whether I agree with the person or not. I can't believe that there are people that criticize her for speaking her mind. I guess I have been pretty fortunate for not taking too much heat for some of the things I say.

January 16
I finally got my phone lines working on Friday. I can't even tell you how happy I was to see the Verizon van in front of my house. The repairman was extremely nice and said that the problem was because of the rain. He said I shouldn't have problems with it again and I pray that he is right. It's been a nice change sitting at my own computer over the weekend.

I played in the Masters tournament on Paradise Poker, but went out extremely fast. I decided that I was going to play a patient game because the levels went up every half an hour which gave us a lot of play. Unfortunately, my biggest hand of the hour ran into an even bigger hand. I got dealt AK suited and raised from late position. The player in the small blind reraised me and I decided to flat call. The flop was AK7 and all of our chips got into the middle. He had pocket aces and I was drawing to runner runner kings. After that hand, I only had $400 left in chips and I ended up going broke with A8 of hearts. I knew I was in trouble when I pushed in and one player called and another came over the top. The original caller folded his hand and the raiser turned up KK.

I played the Pokerstars $215 Omaha tournament last night and didn't do any better. I only made it through 1/3 of the field. After I was eliminated, I played some $30-60 Omaha and ended up making a few dollars overall for the day.

January 12
If all goes well, Verizon should have my phone line up and running tomorrow. I have been a crazy woman over the last couple of days. I actually jumped in front of a Comcast van hoping that the guy would be able to help me. He was only a block away from my house and decided to come take a look for me, but he concluded the problem was in the pole and couldn't help me.

I am disappointed that I missed most of the Masters events on Paradise Poker. I managed to make it to Mom's house for the short-handed No Limit event, but didn't do so hot. I am planning on playing in the main event on Sunday, but I guess it all depends on the phone line situation.

The Commerce events start next week and I am ready to go. I have been doing everything to get myself mentally prepared for this tournament. My trainer at the gym even had me experiment with Tai Chi in our last session. He said it would be good for my focus. I could use some help in that area, but I'm not sure if Tai Chi is really my thing.

January 9
I woke my cousin up this morning before I went to the gym and told her, "If the Verizon guy comes, don't let him leave until the problem is fixed. And make sure you call me."

I got home about two hours later and still no sign of the guy. After two more hours, I decided to call the service center to see if they could give me a time frame. I was on the phone with the computer lady, you know the pre-recorded chick. She told me, "we have your phone line scheduled for repair on Monday January 16."

I clicked "0" so I could talk to a live person and he confirmed that my appointment was for the 16th. I gave him the whole spiel and he managed to move the date to Friday. I begged him and asked him where the closest Verizon store was where I could bribe one of the repairmen and he couldn't help me with it. I told him I couldn't believe that Verizon thought it was "acceptable" to schedule service two weeks after the customer reports the problem. He offered to transfer me to the manager and I told him it would be great. It seems the managers can't speed the process along any better.

So, once again I am sitting at my Mom's house. Her house has been my home away from home over the past week and it still feels like I can't play as much as I want to. Even though I haven't been playing as much, I have been doing extremely well and it only confirms how much money I am losing by not having my computer.

I signed up for the Paradise Masters $200 Short Handed event for tomorrow afternoon. I play under the ID "bite-me" if you get a chance to check it out.

January 6
I am still without a computer and still going crazy. I have played a total of four hours of online poker thanks to my Mom's computer and have booked a small win. I plan on playing in one of the Paradise Masters tournaments this weekend, but not sure which day I will make it over here.

I can not access my Verizon email at the moment, but as soon as I get it worked out where I can check that account from another computer, I will answer my emails.

Speaking of emails, I have gotten some regarding my decision to focus on playing in tournaments, but I think a few people don't understand what my plans are. Some have expressed concern for the high variance of tournaments.

While I am planning on playing more tournaments (actually a lot more), I am not planning on exclusively playing tournaments. I make money from working on my website, playing online ring games, playing in the casinos, and playing in tournaments. I have not made a fortune playing in tournaments, at least not yet :), but it has been profitable. I have built my bankroll up enough through the other things to be able to withstand the high variance of tournament poker and will continue making money by working on my site and playing in online ring games regularly.

January 5
Tuesday's final Live at the Bike show went well. The game was the usual $300-500 buy in NL with $5-$5 blinds and we saw the usual cast of characters. Most of the players in that game are my friends so it was an extra special send off. One player even wrote me a goodbye note that I was able to read through the hole-cams.

I played a little yesterday, but got disconnected after an hour. I did everything I could possibly think of to get my internet connection up and running, but I couldn't get it to work. Two hours later, I tried to use my house phone and realized that I had no dial tone. I spent the next half an hour on the phone with Verizon trying to figure out where the problem was stemming from. After disconnecting all my phone lines, and trying the main box outside, it was determined that I needed a repairman. The woman on the other line said, "Okay, no problem. We can have your phone serviced on Tuesday." I couldn't believe my ears. I said, "No, no, no, you don't understand. I can't be without a phone line for six days." She said that she would transfer my phone calls to any other number. I started getting frantic, "It's not the phone. I need my computer working!" I explained that I work on the computer and I would be losing a lot of money by not having access to it. I told her that I would pay any amount of money to have it repaired. I tried everything I could to have it repaired sooner, but I was not victorious in my attempt.

This morning, I was out running and errands and I decided to take a drive around town trying to find a Verizon truck. I figured I could bribe somebody if I was face to face with them. I had no luck and decided to go home and search the phone book. I found a phone repairman and told him, "I have no dial tone and my home phone is busy if I call it from my cell phone." He told me it sounded like I was disconnected at the pole and that only my phone service would be able to help. That means I am without a computer until Monday (they moved my appt up a day after I called them again).

At the moment, I am at my Mom's house using her computer. I don't have enough time to travel to her house every time I want to log on, but I will probably stop by at least one more time so I can play in the Paradise Masters. It starts this Saturday and should have a pretty good turn out. I am not sure exactly what day I am playing, but if you happen to be playing on the site, look for me under the name, "bite-me".

January 2
I have been playing a lot of online ring games over the past few days and have done well. The $30-60 Omaha Hi Low games are better than ever and I plan on sticking with this particular game and limit. Of all the ring games I have ever played, this game seems best suited for me.

Yesterday, I played $5-10 Omaha on FullTiltPoker because Erik Seidel was playing in the game. I always like to sit down for a few rounds when he is there so I can say "Hi." He brought up the fact that I need my own avatar and said he would see what he could do to get that moving along. I felt honored that he would even suggest it.

I played in a $300 tournament on Paradise Poker last night. There were 56 entries. I finished ninth. I made $500, but wasn't pleased with the way I played toward the end of the tourney. I was chip leader and I was trying to keep the pressure on my opponents. It didn't work so well and I ended up losing my chip lead and had to adjust to my new "average" chip stack. I think I'll try this event again later in the week.

January 1
I don't really believe in making New Year's resolutions. Anytime a person wants to improve something in their life, they should do it at that moment. With that being said, I have made significant changes in the past week and it just so happens that it coincides with the New Year.

I have been very fortunate over the past couple years because I have been able to make a healthy living in the poker world. Now I am able to take my career to a new and even more exciting level.

I now no longer work at the Bicycle Casino either as a prop or commentator for the Live at the Bike show. During the past few months, the two main reasons I kept my job at the Bike were that I loved the interaction with the people I met there (something you don't get from playing online) and doing the show. Of course I can still get out of the house and go play poker without my job at the Bike. I will be able to choose the best games and the most convenient times if I don't have to punch a time clock.

The Live at the Bike show was a great experience. I enjoyed working in the booth with our little "family". Bart, David, Eveliene, Isaac, Donna and Ray were such a pleasure that it was a very difficult decision for me to decide to leave the show. The bottom line is... I have to follow my heart and pursue my true passion of playing tournament poker. I have always played tournaments, but I am making a commitment to devote more time and energy to what I love, starting with the LA Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino later this month. Also, considering the buy-ins for events I'm planning on playing at the Commerce amount to over $20,000, I really do need to focus my concentration.

When I was thinking about making the change, Steve pointed out that a lot of the time when I'm eliminated from a tournament I call him in a state of semi-depression. I told him, "I get so upset sometimes when I am eliminated, but when all is said and done, I am ready to do it again the next day. That is how much I love it." I think I'm looking forward to more of those phone calls now than he is. :)

When I'm not working on my website or participating in tournaments, I will be playing online ring games and tournaments as well as some casino games. I will also likely show up to guest commentate on Live at the Bike occasionally.