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Yo, big loss at UB, ouch!! Dinner with friends, sitting on floor for BBall

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Feb 09, '09

Posted: February 09, 2009 01:16 PM

On Sunday night (Feb 1) my son Phillip III and I had dinner in San Francisco at "Gary Danko" with Tony Parker and Ronny Turiaf.  Tony is a really cool guy and is totally down to earth.  I mean, Tony is a perennial NBA All Star, he has at least two Championship rings with the San Antonio Spurs, he is currently featured in the ad campaign for the NBA video game, he is married to Eva Longoria Parker; and he could be one that acts like a prima donna like a few celebrities that I know; but instead he is solid and a great guy.  In fact, both Eva and Tony are as nice as you can be, and they're actually almost humble.  They are a pretty impressive couple.  At dinner I was teasing Tony about him being the unorganized one in the relationship with Evabecause from what I have seen Eva is incredibly well organized--but Tony claimed to be well organized too.  I mean, in my relationship I was totally unorganized when I was in my twenties, and my wife was the one that made sure that the bills were paid on time, that we made it to the airport on time, that I made it up in the mornings if I had a meeting, that we made it to parties on time, etcNow I'm organized and on time, but back then I wasn't.  I guess that makes sense.  I turned to poker because I procrastinated on assignments, I skipped classes, I couldn't get up in the mornings, I was always late for meetings, and I was generally irresponsible and unorganized.  Tony plays basketball, and he probably couldn't come to practice late, he couldn't miss his classes, and he couldn't sleep in every day.

Ronny Turiaf (pronounced row nee) is even more salt of the earth than Tony is.  Ronny plays for the Golden State Warriors, and he plays on the French National team with Tony.  Tony and Ronny have been on one French National Team or another since they were 14 years old!  Ronny played for the L. A. Lakers last year, and he had heart surgery in 2005 that Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss helped Ronny out with.  I love Jerry Buss, and Ronny confirmed what I already knew, that Buss is a great guy!  In fact, because of Buss and his wonderful partner Frank Mariani, I have been going to Lakers training camps on and off since 1996 or so.  The Lakers are my number one NBA team, followed by the Spurs as number two, and then the Warriors are my number three team.  In any case, I noticed that Ronny greets everyone out on the floor when they come back into the huddle with high fives and encouragement, and he seems like he is having a lot of fun, and that can be contagious and fun to be around.  Ronny, Tony, and my son and I had an incredible meal, and we all agreed on one thing: we don't like insincere people.  If you act like a friend, then return my phone calls, at least sometimes.  There is a reason that "Gary Danko" is one of the best restaurants in San Francisco; the food is amazing!

On Monday night Phillip III and I sat on the floor for Golden State-San Antonio Spurs, and what a game that was!  Tim Duncan had 17 points in the first quarter.  Tony had his usual 20 plus points, and a bunch of assists.  And Ronny was impressive in the way that he affected the game.  Ronny had seven points, and some incredible blocks.  Ronny makes the other guys on the opposing team alter their shots, and man can he get up high.  He blocked a Tim Duncan hook shot!  A phantom foul on Ronny was called against Manu Ginobli with 10 seconds left, and Gonobli hit both free throws to take it into overtime.  The Spurs won in overtime.  To me, the Spurs seem one great player away from going on another NBA title run.  Can you imagine if the Spurs got Amare Stoudamire?

On Thursday night my wife and I sat on the floor of the Stanford-Washington State BBall game at the invite of a friend who doesn't like his name mentioned publicy, ever.  My friend is a great guy, and we had a blast!  Many of the Stanford students shouted my name when I walked in, and a few of them asked for a picture with me.  At halftime I ran into Harris Barton and said hello, he is well respected up here in the bay area.  And then Jim Harboughthe head football coach here at Stanford--introduced himself to me, and invited me to hang out on the side lines for a few Stanford football games.  I said, "Well, USC has Snoop Dog, if they can have a rapper on their sidelines, then why can't Stanford have a poker player?"

Late Thursday night Daniel Negreanu emailed me a friendly reminder that as of February 1, I owed him $181,000!  I'm a little short on cash right now, so ouch!  Because of this, I felt like I needed to go to work, and I hopped into a game at UB and won $10,700, and then on Friday I won another $11,700.  It was a good start; I would risk $10,000 a day, and try to win at least $10,000 per day.  On Saturday I lost $20,000 before my wife and I went to "Slum Dog Millionaire," which was a fabulous movie.  One hand I was playing "Spirit rock" heads up and the flop came down 8-8-4, I had Qc-8c, and he had As-8s.  Bye, bye $8,000!  Then I came back and lost another $23,000 playing $300-$600 HORSE against "Get crunk," which was everything that I had left in my UB account, another ouch!  I am still up quite a bit since December 1st at UB, probably at least $150,000, but I took the money off of UB slowly, and spent it on bills.  On Sunday we had floor seats again for Stanford basketball, this time they played Washington, and this time the athletic department gave the tickets to my wife and I.

The Grammy's were amazing, and I loved every song!  In fact, I watched the show several times, and I even stayed up late and bought a bunch of new music at ITUNES.  Then I stayed up later and I printed out lyrics for a bunch of songs including: Kanye West's "American Boy," Kenny Chesney's "Better as a Memory" and "Don't Blink," and Carrie Underwood's "Last Name."  By the way, I'm still up now and it is 8:47 am on Monday morning!  Oh well, I guess I'll just stay up and hit the pillow at 4:00 pm.  I did get a run in at 11:00 pm last night in the cold rain here in Nor Cal, so that is a good thing.  As of February 1st I'm in training.  I figure that I'll need to be sharp, and in top physical condition if I want to win some big poker tournaments in the next few months.

While listening to "Don't Blink" over-and-over a few hours ago on, while reading the lyrics, I almost broke down in tears!  My sons will both be in college in two years, and like the song says, "You just might miss your babies growing like mine didTrust me friend 100 years goes faster than you think, so don't blink."  The song made me think (depression makes you think really hard!), and I realized that I have made some good choices.  I really have put my family first, and because of this I have made some sacrifices.  I have skipped tons of WPT (World Poker Tour) poker tournaments.  I have been picking my sons up from school almost every day that I've been home for 16 years now.  I have shown my boys tons of love.  I have never slept with another woman in the 19 plus years that I have been married.  I have lived up in the Bay Area to keep my wife and sons happy: personally I would love to live in Las Vegas or L. A., but Las Vegas is better for two reasons.  First, there is more happening there poker-wise.  Second, there are no state taxes in Nevada.  I am happy that I have put family first, that's why I need to play my best poker when I do make it to a tournament, I simply do not have time to play bad anymore!

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, and visit his Web store at

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