Traveling the World Surfing and Playing Poker

So after a long hiatus I’m back!


I’ve spent the last 6 months playing poker and traveling the world surfing, most recently to Hawaii.

Poker gives me the perfect combination of flexible schedule and portability – I can play free poker from anywhere that has an internet connection, and when the waves are up I can drop what I’m doing and go!

Hawaii was incredible!   I went with my fianceé Maria, we stayed in Waikiki for 3 days, and then we stayed on the North Shore for 5 days.  We were lucky to get some late-season swell on the north shore, and Maria snapped some awesome photos.

north shore surf

I’ll be recounting both poker adventures and surfing adventures in my posts from now on.

Poker, too!

Poker-wise I’m continuing to play $5/10 NL, and while game conditions have changed they are still quite beatable.

I’ve seen an increase in aggression in recent months, with many players becoming more tenacious about fighting for pots, and more paranoid about being bluffed.

Here’s an example that illustrates the change in the games, and also a counter-strategy.

$5/10 w/ $1400 stacks.
I raise Q♦K♥ on the CO to $35, and an aggressive, tenacious player in the blinds 3bets to $125.  I call.

A few years ago this would be a turbofold, nowadays a call is totally standard, and some argue for reraising!

Flop: K♦ 3♣ 4♥  (Pot: $260)

Villain bets $165 into $260.  This is a standard-sized cbet especially on a dry board.

A year ago I might have called for pot control, and to see what develops on the turn and river.  I wouldn’t want to build a big pot, because if I got the full 140bbs in my opponent would usually have AK, KK, or AA.

Today, however, I make a glorified min-raise to $400.  My opponent has been aggressive with 3bets, and is paranoid about being bluffed.

He also likely assumes(here his suspicions set in) that I would 4bet him preflop if I had a hand like A-K, and that I might be inclined to slowplay 444 or 333 on such a dry flop.

He quickly reraises all-in for  $1275 total, I call.  He shows 77.

While this player is more aggressive than normal, it illustrates an important point – by making my hand look like I’m getting frustrated and fighting back my opponent’s over-aggression and suspicion works to my advantage.

The hardest part about this hand is hitting top pair, haha!

Good luck at the tables!

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Add Your Comment (5) ↓

#1 steve on 05.01.09 at 11:17 am

cool post, what was your favorite place to surf?

#2 Dan on 05.01.09 at 5:42 pm

Hey Steve,

Thanks for the comment! Hawaii was the best overall experience of great waves, beautiful scenery, clean warm water, and things to do.

That said, Costa Rica(guanacaste region) was really fun, the waves were
more playful and it had an undeveloped, rugged beauty to the countryside.
El Salvador was similar – a bit rockier than Costa, though.

Indonesia and Australia are two of my all-time favorites, I haven’t been there in a few years, but hopefully I’ll make it to Indo in July!


#3 Lizzie on 05.05.09 at 9:18 pm

Ah! So glad you’re back :)

That’s a killer photo… you really are an amazing surfer!

#4 Oliver on 05.08.09 at 6:39 pm

You would not really have been calling for pot control.

You would have been bluff catching.

Since the is a board texture where you would normally expect the 3-bettor to fire a lot of double barrels it is a wierd spot to raise with a strong hand. Villain out levels him self and shoves thinking that your range for raising here is pretty wide but your range for calling is pretty narrow.

#5 Dan on 05.10.09 at 1:54 pm

Hey Oliver,

Thanks for the input! You are right, when we call the flop we are indeed bluff-catching.

Regarding the term pot-control, raising would commit our stack as a dog(against a tight range) which is undesirable.
Folding is out of the question, so perhaps it would be fair to describe our flop call as both pot-control and bluff-inducing.

Good to have solid discussion around here!

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