Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Cash Game at Grand Casino: Good, Better....

The idea sounded odd from the beginning.  We buy a new Bible on a Saturday night -- then go to a casino to win money to pay for it?!

We didn't need to win the money, really.  But that was the itinerary last Saturday night.  After buying a new Bible at a mall, we drove to The Grand Casino in central Oklahoma.  It was a different opportunity to share the things of God -- even though an old phrase came to our mind several times during the drive: a fool and his money are soon parted.

Unlike some poker rooms, Grand Casino offered a choice of games on a weekend night.  With a long  waiting list for traditional Texas Hold 'em, we chose the shorter wait of Limit Hold 'em -- with set bets at every level.

BLINDS: 1/3 (Limit 3/6)

IN THE POCKET: Ace-10 of diamonds

We took $60 to a full ten-player table, and won an early pot with a high flush on the flop.  But some chases have failed since then, and now we're down to a lowly $9.  We need to find a good hand to play -- and fast.  We call, prepared to push if someone raises.  But no one does.

ON THE FLOP: 10-6-6

With two pair and top kicker, the decision is obvious.  We go all-in for our remaining 6 (two times the standard bet).  A couple of players call.  We hope they're chasing something else.

ON THE TURN: 3 (as best we recall)

The minimum bet is now six, and a man across from us keeps betting -- with another man calling.


Now we feel better -- with a hidden top two pair.  But the man across from us bets again, and gets called again.

We turn over our cards with hopeful confidence.  But the man across the table shows 6-8.  He hit three of a kind on the flop!  And he had us beaten all along.  We hake his hand, and take our leave -- as another cash game ends with us busted.

MINISTRY MOMENT: We won almost all or money back playing Ultimate Texas Hold 'em (the small table version) on the first floor.  And as we did, a dealer noticed the WWJD bracelet on our list.  That led to a discussion of church practices, which seemed to clear the table of other players.

"What does your group do that's different?" he asked.

We explained several things which make our worship distinctive from other Christian denominations -- most notably the keeping of a seventh-day Sabbath.  By that, we mean worshiping on Saturday as opposed to Sunday.  Did you realize that's "WWJD" -- what worship Jesus did?
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was his custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. - Luke 4:16 (NASB)

The Bible calls Jesus Christ the "head of the church" (Ephesians 5:23) -- yet that head of the church went to synagogues on the "Jewish" Sabbath!  Of course, some would note the "church" didn't really begin until after Jesus was resurrected.  Yet that was the Lord's example.  And despite what some white supremacists might try to tell you, that's because Jesus was Jewish:
For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. - Hebrews 7:14

While Jesus came from heaven to earth, His "family line" was Jewish (Luke 3:23, 33).  So He kept the Jewish custom of a seventh-day Sabbath -- and He never mentioned changing that day, before or after the resurrection.

That's one main reason why we never play poker on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons.  We try to put God before any poker payday.  We'll have more from our Grand Casino trip in upcoming posts.

CASH GAME COUNTER: 2 gains, 6 losses, 1 even in 9 sessions - down $156.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Learning Curve

And now today's poker lesson.  Actually, it came from an online chat we played some time back.  While we don't remember all the details, we suspect this was a successful "all-in" moment:

Fish:  Bluff at a dry potfoolish it only helps the all in player when you chase off the others
Dealer:  aloncapecod wins Main Pot ($1185)
Me:  Thank you. (scribble scribble)
Fish:  I figured that bernadette needs the help
Me:  We all need help from time to time - right?

We'll leave it up to you to determine if Fish's advice is correct.  Debate it in our comments if you'd like.

But our pretend "scribbling" of the advice is a reminder that there's always something new to learn at a poker table.  Former WSOP Main Event champion Jamie Gold once said on TV he was still "learning" the game.  If he's still learning, shouldn't we all?

And you know, that's true in life as well.  It's good to learn new things every day.  In fact, a book filled with knowledge recommends it:
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - Matthew 11:29

The "me" here is Jesus Christ.  The Son of God gave advice that is timeless, yet easy for all of us to overlook in the daily rush of things.  But Jesus also said....
Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. - Matthew 5:48 (NASB)

It takes a lifetime to become "perfect" -- or as the original Greek says, "complete."  To learn the sort of perfection Jesus had (as in sinless and holy) takes daily effort.

We recommend quality "learning" time in the Bible - then a conscious effort to apply what God's Word shows you there.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. - II Peter 3:18 (KJV)

Can you say "amen" to that - because you're doing it?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Equal opportunity?

The ultimate "final table" in poker is only a couple of weeks away.  And again this year, all the survivors at the World Series of Poker Main Event have one thing in common.  They're all male.

This fact hasn't been overlooked by some women.  One wrote a column pointing out only four percent of the entries in this year's Main Event were female -- and making comparisons with corporate boards.  We're not sure that comparison is completely valid.  After all, anyone with $10,000 could buy a place at the Main Event -- regardless of gender, skin color or national origin.

But the author's real point seems to be that women shouldn't be afraid to sit down and play poker.  And that point seems valid to us -- a point equally valid for believers in God.

Sometimes fear creates stereotypes, and vice versa.  People might not play poker based on fears of what others around the table might think -- or what their friends away from the table might think.  But is that how a believer should live?
There is no fear in love.  But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.  The one who fears is not made perfect in love. - I John 4:18

This verse is based on the understanding that God is love (verses 8, 16), and we should love our brothers (verses 20-21).  It's very possible a "brother" (or even a sister) in Christ could be waiting at a poker table -- or God could use you to develop one through your witness and example to them.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. - Proverbs 29:25

We've heard ministers put it this way: Let God be your confidence.  And God is the One who truly should be feared -- not humans:
But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him. - Luke 12:5

Are you afraid of losing money at the table?  That's understandable.  Then find free places to play.  That's how we started.  If your town doesn't have live games, there are plenty of places to play for free online -- and who knows, you might score a win every once in a while.

We've played in tournaments over the years where women have done very well, making final tables while we stared from the outside.  They certainly were not excluded.  So what's holding you back from the table?  And even more importantly, what's holding you back from approaching God's group -- joining others in worshiping and following Him?

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Little or a Lot

One of our posts this week examined the success rate of online gamblers.  We found it interesting that the people who wager the least wind up winning most often, in terms of percentage.

If you think about it, that concept is true with many things in life.  Working during the week is a good, profitable thing -- but working non-stop in extra-long shifts can lead to burnout, disconnected family relations and other problems.  Here's another example, which comes from a surprising source....
Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses. - I Timothy 5:23

Yes, you read that correctly - a Bible verse actually recommends drinking wine.  And this was recommended to an evangelist (II Timothy 4:5)!  But note the wording: "a little wine."  Not a lot.  The Bible indeed warns against that:
Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags. - Proverbs 23:20-21

Go too far with alcohol, and you risk big trouble.  Have a little, and there can be benefits -- something in fact medical research has shown with wine on a "Mediterranean diet."  The research with online gamblers indicates the same kind of thinking applies there as well.

There's a church-sounding word for all this....
Let your moderation be known to all men.  The Lord is at hand. - Philippians 4:5 (KJV)

Other Bible translations use "gentle" instead of "moderation."  Yet it's along the lines of the same principle - not going to extremes in the things we do or say.

We know from personal experience that if you sit too long at a cash game poker table, you're asking for trouble.  The odds can turn against you, and big losses can come -- or you can become so tired that you make bad decisions.  So moderation matters in poker as well.  As a beer company put it well years ago: know when to say when.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Poker Day 413: Three's a Crowd

Anything can happen when we walk into Arrowhead Poker on a Sunday afternoon.  For instance, the poker room could change its name.  We found Sunday that's happened; a sale to new owners means it's now called River City Poker Room.  But another Sunday adjustment proved to be more bothersome for us....

BLINDS: 1,000/2,000

FORMAT: No-Limit Omaha, high hand only


The managers decided to play "alternate blind" rules -- one blind of Texas Hold 'em, the next of Omaha, then back and forth.  But under Omaha rules, only two of our cards can be used to complete a five-card hand.  In other words, our "three of a kind" pre-flop is really only a high pair.  But it's a good pair, and some loose-playing losses have knocked us down to 7,000 chips.

Add all that up, and we're going all-in with this hand.  Another man calls us, and turns over J-6-7 (we forget what his fourth card was).  He has our missing Jack, but we still have the lead.

ON THE FLOP: 3-6-7

Well, we did have the lead.  He now has two pair, and our only real hope is for the board to pair.


Nope, not that one -- and we don't have an open-ended straight draw, because we have to use two of our cards to complete the best hand.


His two pair knocks us or in 14th place -- and while our chip situation really left us little choice except to push there, we learned a lesson about a format we seldom play.  A high pair in your hand in Omaha is good.  But three of something actually is a bit confining; it limits the kind of high-level hands you can make.

MINISTRY MOMENT: "Are you going to zap people with that?" a man to our right asked about our card protector.  No, not really - it was a simple AA battery.

"I brought it to remind me," we explained, "I receive power from the Holy Spirit of God.  Do you believe in the Holy Spirit?"

"Of course," the man answered.  "I'm a Catholic."

Uhhhhhh -- hold on a minute.  We didn't correct the man's explanation.  But who says the Holy Spirit is only given to certain denominations or church groups?  Some early apostles had to be correct about that kind of thinking....
After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: "Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.  God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith." - Acts 15:7-9

Peter learned this lesson through an encounter with a man named Cornelius, which is detailed in Acts 10.  It appears people of all backgrounds can receive God's Holy Spirit... if....
We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him. - Acts 5:32

That's a very big if.  If you think you have the Spirit, ask yourself: are you obeying God?  As fully as you know how to do it?  If you're not, confess it to God in prayer -- then get busy doing the things which God enjoys.

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 145 final tables in 413 games (35.1%) - 24 cashes.  Our string of three final tables in a row at, uh, that poker room is over.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Against All Odds

Why do you never hear about professional poker players winning slot machine jackpots in casinos -- or scoring a big win at the blackjack table?

Perhaps they know something ordinary "high rollers" don't.  An essay in the Wall Street Journal has a revealing analysis of gamblers in online casinos.

Since the newspaper might put the essay behind a "pay wall," we'll sum it up this way: over a two-year span....

Just 11% of players ended up in the black over the full period, and most of those pocketed less than $150.... Big losers of more than $5,000 among these heavy gamblers outnumbered big winners by a staggering 128 to 1. 

But wait, you say -- poker is different from ordinary gambling.  This report took that argument into account.  From "Sitting at the Virtual Poker Table"....

About one-third of the poker players classified as "most involved" by the Harvard researchers ended up winning money over time, while just 10% of the rest ended up in the black.

So when it comes to poker, it can pay to play on a regular basis.  But when it comes to other casino games, the opposite is true:

The lightest gamblers—the 10% of customers who placed the fewest wagers over the two years—also had the highest winning percentage. About 17% of them ended up in the black—tough odds but still better than the dismal 5.4% winning percentage of the heaviest gamblers.

There are many conclusions we can draw from this study.  One of them is contained in the book of Proverbs:
Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom? - Proverbs 17:16

That verse sounds harsh.  But how many casino players take time to study their chances of winning at the games they play -- for instance, at a slot machine?  With a little thought and research, some money could be saved.

(We should note here the proverb "A fool and his money are soon parted" is not from the Bible -- but it rather surprisingly does have church roots.)

The study also indicates in poker, practice can make perfect -- but not completely perfect.  We'd compare it to a baseball player.  If he gets a hit three times out of ten, he's considered very good.  he Bible talks about "practice" as well....
Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them to practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundations on the rock. - Matthew 7:24-25

Practicing the teachings of Jesus does not make you immune from storms - but you'll be able to weather them better.

There's one more Biblical point to make from this study.... but we'll wait to see if you can find it.  We'll bring it up in a future post.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


It's tempting to say the other "horseshoe" has dropped in the Tim Giardina case - as in Horseshoe Casino.  The navy officer we mentioned here recently has been stripped of a top position with U.S. Strategic Command and demoted one star.  It's all apparently because he's accused of bringing counterfeit chips to an Iowa poker room.

We've already pointed out one lesson of Giardina's story.  Here's another potential one.  Keeping in mind Giardina is innocent of criminal charges until proven guilty, we'd offer him this advice.  If you feel compelled to cheat at poker to be successful at it, maybe you shouldn't be playing cash-game poker in the first place.

The Bible offers several examples of people who tried to take ethical shortcuts.  Consider two people named Simon...
When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." - Acts 7:18-19

The Simon who made this request sounded ready to share spiritual gifts.  But in reality, he was practicing sorcery and magic (verses 9, 11).  An apostle formerly known as "Simon" gave him a blunt answer:
Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money!  You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God.  Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord...." - Acts 7:20-22

Yes, we know -- a large number of Christian ministries seem to constantly ask for money.  But this blog never has.  And in this case, Peter turned down a donation because he could tell the other Simon didn't have the right motivation.

Gifts to God can be good things.  But the spiritual gifts God offers require something else in return:
Peter replied: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." - Acts 2:38

"It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.... Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." - Acts 4:10-12

Success in God's eyes doesn't come through cheating or shortcuts.  It comes through repentance -- real repentance, not a counterfeit.  And it comes through accepting God's Son as your Savior.  Is that the game plan you're taking?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Take-Away

Our last post attempted to show how if Jesus was a poker player, He might take chips from players as much as He gives them.  This leads to an important follow-up question: what kind of things that God want to "take" from us?

Maybe "take" is a misleading word to use, considering some of the Biblical examples:

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked: "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?".... Jesus replied.... "If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." - Matthew 19:16-17

Some people say keeping God's Ten Commandments is easy.  Others say they're deceptively hard, especially when it comes to living a spiritually deep life.  But here's how Jesus specified them in this case:
Jesus replied: "Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and 'love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 19:18-19

Several of these points go against some people's self-centered human nature.  And that's the very point Jesus may have been making.  God wants to take away our sinful nature, and put on His more loving and giving nature.
"All these I have kept," the young man said.  "What do I still lack?"  Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.  Then come, follow me." - Matthew 19:20-21

It's not so much that God takes things away from us -- it's that we have to be willing to give them up.
Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. - Luke 17:33

Our lives need to become more like His life -- devoted to God, and following the example of Jesus Christ.  Yet the man Jesus was teaching in Matthew 19 apparently wasn't ready to make that kind of commitment...
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. - Matthew 19:22

Which matters more to you: a big chip stack (or bank account) now, or the opportunity of living forever with God and Jesus?  If God should take away the former, the latter still will be eternally better.

So consider it carefully.  Maybe Jesus does want those poker chips -- for a very good reason, that He will reveal to the world someday.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

All Give, No Take?

The inevitable question had come up about the strange card protector we were using.  We used it to refer to Jesus Christ -- and one player was a bit puzzled when we asked if he believed in Christ.

"I do," he said.  "But I have a hard time believing Jesus would be at a poker table, trying to take all my d**n chips."

This admittedly prompted some soul-searching on our part.  After all, God is a giving God.  And....
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. - John 3:16

God gave Jesus Christ for us.  But does that mean God never takes things from us -- even from loyal believers?  There's one big Biblical case which disproves that:
...."Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."  In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing. - Job 1:21-22

If Job had been a poker player, he would have been called deep-stacked.  He had massive holdings of livestock (verse 3) -- yet God allowed Satan to take all those blessings away from Job (verses 9-12), including the blessing of good health (2:4-6).  Technically God didn't do the taking, but He permitted it to happen.

God can take things away from us for other reasons as well....
The Israelites persisted in all the sins of Jeroboam and did not turn away from them until the Lord removed them from his presence, as he had warned through all his servants the prophets.  So the people of Israel were taken from their homeland into exile in Assyria, and they are still there. - II Kings 17:22-23
The nation of Israel was in a very nice land -- but God took it away, because the people kept sinning.  So did the coming of Jesus (the Son of God) make things any different?  The Lord said no:
"Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit".... When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus's parables, they knew he was talking about them. - Matthew 21:43, 45

The Pharisees thought they were in line for God's future blessings.  But Jesus's parables (especially the one beginning in verse 33) warned them the blessings would be taken away.

So if you think of God and Jesus as keepers of a big "payoff window" ready to toss out gifts to poker players, you're missing the full picture.  They take things from us, as well.  A future post will examine what we should be ready to give up.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Real Deal

Tim Giardina is off the hook -- a little, at least.  Prosecutors in Iowa have decided against filing state charges against him, for allegedly playing poker at a casino with counterfeit chips.

But Giardina isn't completely in the clear.  He's the man we mentioned in our last post: still a Vice-Admiral in the U.S. military, a top officer in the Strategic Command -- and his alleged "vices" could get him demoted or fired.  He could face federal charges, for using bogus chips.

We've never tried to play poker with counterfeit chips.  We've assumed the places where we play are smart enough to know the difference between the genuine chips they hand out and the fakes.

But this case raises a bigger question to us.  Are you trying to live a counterfeit life? 

"This is the only life I have," you might say.  OK, but are you living it in a counterfeit way?  Many people do....
You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth.  Selah.  You love every harmful word, O you deceitful tongue! - Psalm 52:3-4

Counterfeit words at a poker table can throw other players off the track about a hand.  Counterfeit words away from the table can ruin relationships -- for instance, telling family members you aren't gambling with their savings when you really are.

Sadly, there even can be counterfeit Christians.  Some people who are turned off by God see them as hypocrites.  But here's the refreshing thing -- Jesus Christ saw through such people, too.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.  I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. - Matthew 6:5

God doesn't want people who are counterfeits.  He wants real people, who really live a godly life:
...The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. - I Samuel 16:7b

If you're trying to win at poker through counterfeiting or cheating, please stop it.  If a top military official could be caught in the act, do you really think you can keep getting away with it?  And if you're living a counterfeit life, admit your falsehood and fakery to God in prayer.  Repent of it -- then starting living by the truth, as Jesus is the truth (John 14:6).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Poker Day 412: Better Late Than Never

We backed our car into a parking spot at Arrowhead Poker.  We got out of the car, having already checked our pockets for our poker tools (note pad, pencil, prop).  Then we realized we'd forgotten one very important thing.  It was a Sunday tournament with a $20 buy-in -- and we'd left our wallet at home.

Instead of going inside feeling embarrassed, we drove back home muttering about our own stupidity.  We could have said "Forget it" and worked on other things the rest of the day.  But we finally decided to grab our wallet and go back -- even though it meant showing 25 minutes after the starting time.

The poker room manager was reluctant for a moment -- but eventually split the one table of play into two, so we could have a seat.  Our chip stack was deducted for one round of missed blinds, so we had some catching up to do....

BLINDS: 200/400

IN THE POCKET: 4 of diamonds - 6 of diamonds

We regained our deduction right away, winning two pots in a row as soon as we sat down.  Now we're at around the starting number of 20,000, sitting in the Small Blind.  The group of five is playing somewhat tight, so no one raising before the flop allows us to simply call.


It's a pair -- albeit a drab one.  We're first to act, and check.  But we're a little comforted to see the rest of the table checking as well.


This brings four cards to a straight.  We decide to test how serious the table is, by betting 600.  (We do have a pair, after all.)  Two players call.  But something also tells us a good card is about to come....


Indeed it did!  This puts a straight on the table -- but our 6 gives us a higher straight.  So we bet 2,000, in a "truth or dare" challenge.  One man folds quickly.  The other thinks about it several seconds, then thinks better and surrenders.

We're in a somewhat giving mood, so we turn over our cards.  "I knew you had a 6," one of the folders said.  He was wise.  We're still happy, gaining about 2,000 chips.

We slowly kept building our stack, and reached the final table.  Then came some up-and-down moments, with a top of about 210,000 chips late in the tournament.  We finally held on to make the top three, which earned prize money!

But then a big all-in challenge when we held A-4 failed, as an opponent held A-Q and cleaned up.  That left us forced to go all-in with very little in the Big Blind, and our Queen-high lost to three of a kind.  Yet third place earned us $30 on a $20 investment -- not bad for someone who started the afternoon feeling stupid and ashamed.

MINISTRY MOMENT: Our final-table seat was directly to the Dealer's left.  At one point he dealt the cards a bit loosely for a moment.

"I saw that," we said as he juggled a "burn card" back into the deck.

"What was it?"

"A red Ace."

Sure enough - it was the Ace of diamonds.  He displayed it to the other players.

"Thank you, sir.  Honesty is the best policy."

We agree with that -- but let's face it.  How many other poker players would agree with that view -- even serious ones?  The national news Sunday evening included a top U.S. military official who's under investigation for allegedly taking counterfeit chips to a poker room.

Some people think the phrase, "Honesty is the best policy," comes from the Bible.  That exact quote does not.  (We could find no original source for it.) But the principle is certainly Biblical:
Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight or quantity.  Use honest scales and honest weights.... - Leviticus 19:35-36

This instruction probably refers to doing trade or business.  But shouldn't it apply to everything we do in life?  Look at what could happen if your answer is no....
Shall I acquit a man with dishonest scales, with a bag of false weights?  Her rich men are violent; her people are liars and their tongues speak deceitfully.  Therefore, I have begun to destroy you, to ruin you because of your sins. - Micah 6:11-13

Verse 1 of this chapter makes clear God is saying these words.  Deceitful actions and words might make you rich in the short-term -- but God can make sure you pay for it in the long-term.  May our lives be like Shakespeare wrote in a play: "Every man has his fault, and honesty is his."

UPDATED POKER SCOREBOARD: 145 final tables in 412 games (35.2%) - 24 cashes.  Since moving to Kansas, our record has been strong: 6 for 8 in reaching final tables, with 3 cash wins.