Johnny Poker Returns to Vegas, Part 2: The WSOP Begins. What Should I Wear?

WSOP Day 1I will be hitting the felt at Noon PDT for my first $1000 buy-in tournament in this year’s World Series of Poker.

I have a critical decision to make, and I desperately NEED YOUR HELP.

My wardrobe.

Do I go with my lucky outfit from Day 1 last year — Tel Aviv Macabees shirt, University of Kentucky ballcap (see picture?)

Or should I vary it up?

For uniforms, my choices include Jeremy Lin’s Harvard jersey, Darius Miller’s Pelicans jersey and a generic Red Sox jersey.

My ball cap selection includes a Joe Morgan commemorative Reds hat, IDF camouflage cap, and ball caps from Harvard and Miami University.

Note that I am saving my lucky Day 2 outfit — Joe Morgan Reds uniform, No Labels hat — for tomorrow’s vote.  And saving my University of Kentucky Anthony Davis uniform for a final table.

Please vote in comments below:

Johnny Poker Returns to Vegas — Part 1: Leaving for Las Vegas, Getting Into “The Zone”

WSOP Day1CloseupOf all the well-wishing emails, comments, and tweets I’ve received over the past 24 hours, only a critical one really stood out.

It came from my friend, Jim Fannin, a world-renowned mental performance coach, whose client list features an all-star team from virtually every major professional sport.  I didn’t realize until we spoke that he has also counseled plenty of famous poker pros as well, including one of my favorites, Phil Gordon, a pro who once placed 4th in the Main Event of the World Series of Poker (WSOP).

Jim was taken aback by my negativity in the email I sent friends announcing my trip to Vegas — I had written that repeating my final table finish from last year would be “an absurd implausibility.”  Jim let me know in no uncertain terms that this was the kind of attitude that could send me to the rail in a short time.

To help turn me around, Jim gave me a quick coaching session that was invaluable.  His mantra, to “clean my mind” and “stay in the zone” — a strategy that was brilliantly described by Tom Chiarella in this Esquire piece — requires me to wipe away all of my defensive rationalizations of sure defeat (Jim calls this my “safety net”), and focus instead on my ultimate goal — winning a WSOP bracelet.

Indeed, my un-coached visualizations from last year proved prophetic.  My goal — my dream — was to make the final table of a WSOP tournament.  Indeed, I did, but I was so crippled by my tiny stack of chips and sheer physical and mental exhaustion, that I was soon eliminated — in 8th place.  Of course, I couldn’t have been happier making the final table, but Jim urged me to think bigger this time and envision a championship.

Jim FanninSome other tidbits of advice from Jim Fannin:

  • Drink a ton of water.  I’ve heard this continually from my personal trainer (see below) and every medical professional that’s treated me; but constant hydration in the uber-dry Vegas climate, as well as with the mental challenge of 12 straight hours of poker ahead of me, will be critical to keeping my mind sharp.
  • Stay away from caffeine.  This seems counterintuitive — I credited Diet Coke with keeping me alert during the late hours of the grueling 4 day event last year.  But caffeine’s high also has very deleterious consequences:  It dehydrates you, clouding your mind; It has a boomerang crash effect once the caffeine wears off; and it keeps you from sleeping well to recharge the next day.  That sure was the case last year — on Day 4 last July, I was the walking dead.
  • Breathe deeply at the table, take brief mental breaks, and keep my jaw unhinged and relaxed.  Jim instructs that the world’s most successful performers think less thoughts than the rest of us.  Keeping my mind clear and focused on the present (definitely not the past) is critical to empowering me to trust my math skills and my intuition that served me so well last year.  As far as the jaw, Jim suggested that I think about how Michael Jordan stuck out his tongue on his greatest plays — he was in “the zone.”
Click here to review and purchase

Click here to review and purchase

Want more advice from Jim Fannin to empower your performance in any field?

Check out his latest book, The Pebble in the Shoe: 5 Steps to a Simple, Confident Life. I highly recommend it!



I’ve also sought counsel on how to stay in the best physical shape for the grueling week ahead.  (And yes, sitting for 12 hours, focused on cards, may be nothing like a day of painful physical labor, but for this broken down, middle-aged man, it is grueling!)

My personal trainer, and this Web site’s regular Thursday columnist, Josh Bowen, sent me the regime below for tomorrow morning, with a picture that will help me visualize my ultimate goal.  Between the visualization and the water recommendations, I think Josh and Jim are working in concert.

Join me if you like:


Bert and Ernie Come Out


Project Speak Out: Bullying Prevention, Part Two

Powerful video.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Parenting Pride and Paradoxes

Parenting Pride and Paradoxes

You know those extraordinary moments as a parent where you see your child behave in a particularly challenging situation that lets you know, “They are going to just fine as an adult”?

Those “moments” when your child acts adult-like provide a sense of satisfaction to a parent, a sense of relief and security and great pride.

And we never forget them.

jyb_musingsAnd they become more frequent with time.

And begin to correspond inversely with those extraordinary moments our children experience when they see a parent behave in a particularly challenging situation that makes them wonder, “I can’t believe my parent is acting like such a child.”

Those “moments” when the child’s parent acts child-like also provide a sense of relief, security and great pride–in the children —that they can be a successful adult.

And they never forget them.

Michael Steele: Wrong Message?

RNC: “please keep a tight lid on this.” [BET]

John Y. Brown, III: The DOMA Decision

Sometimes, Sigmund Freud, was quoted as saying, “A cigar is just a cigar.”

And if Siggie were alive today he’d probably offer a corollary that “Sometimes same sex marriage is just same sex marriage.”

I don’t want to get all controversial about this….but this DOMA decision by the SCt has me worried.

No, not worried so much about the threat to the institution of marriage between a man and a woman caused by same-sex couples wanting to marry. We heteros have already done a fine job of that ourselves and can’t–with a straight face, so to speak–even try to blame same sex couples for piling on.

Frankly, I don’t think same sex couples care a great deal about what we heterosexuals do in our personal lives. It’s not all that interesting, I admit. But I kind of like knowing that gays are analyzing our sex life every chance they get. And lucky them! That allows gay people time to think about other things—like decorating and dressing nice. They sure got us on those two fronts.

I’d even go so far as to say we heteros could probably learn a thing or two about not always talking and thinking about gay sex and gays marrying. Maybe it does scare some of us. But I suspect anybody who talks all the time about how bad gay sex is, is talking about gay sex because, well, he just likes talking about the topic…. and it gives him a sort of cheap thrill he doesn’t get by talking about heterosexual sex.

And that’s fine. I’m not judging them. I’m really not.

Heck, when I was in elementary school I acted that way myself. At recess I’d chase girls pretending they were gross and I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But even though I swore I was trying to avoid gettin’ the cooties, there I’d go chasing after these very girls who we thought had cooties and trying to touch, pinch or push them anyway I could. And it wasn’t a coincidence that I’d always chase and push the ones I wanted the most to like me back.

It didn’t really work out well for me. And wont for politicians talking about animal marriage this time. But on that playground I did get a little thrill out of it all and suspect these older fellers talking about gay-this and gay-that get some kinky thrill in their own way, too, when they are chasing and pushing around gay people in the political playground. I could be wrong. But I know what it looks like when someone says they don’t want girl cooties and then can’t stop chasing and talking about girls. 

Read the rest of…
John Y. Brown, III: The DOMA Decision

Julie Rath: For Love of Linen

Want to do something nice for yourself this summer? Love yourself up by adding linen to your wardrobe. Men are relatively limited in their options for staying breezy on blazing hot summer days, but as I’ve mentioned before, linen is a hot weather essential due to its lightweight and breathable qualities. The reason it can keep you comfortable is that the cloth absorbs up to 20% moisture without feeling wet.

You can buy linen either off-the-rack or through a custom clothier (if you’re a R&Co. client, you know how crazy I am for custom). Check out these fabric swatches below for some linen sportcoats I recently ordered for two clients.

Men's Personal Shopper: Custom Linen Sportcoats

Fabrics can made solely of linen as with the shirt below from Hartford, or they can be blended with other fabrics for a more refined look. The fabrics for the sportcoats above are combined with cashmere and silk, which makes them drape beautifully. We’ll pair them with everything from jeans and a henley or v-neck t-shirt to dress pants and a dress shirt and pocket square.

Read the rest of…
Julie Rath: For Love of Linen

Jason Grill: Put Me in Coach

IMG_2651Recovering Pol Jason Grill writes about his love for Kansas City Royals baseball in our new book, The Recovering Politician’s Twelve Step Program to Survive Crisis, but only this week did he have the opportunity to step on the field of the Triple-A baseball squad in his hometown. 

In the picture at left, Grill receoves the Kansas City Entrepreneurial All-Star awar from Liberty Mayor Lyndell Brenton.

A hearty Mazel Tov to Jason Grill!


UPDATE:  We just learned that the Kansas City Royals are a MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM

Who would have guessed?

Did JFK Really Say He Was a Jelly Doughnut?

My high school German teacher insisted he did.  This dude says no: [Huffington Post]

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show