Thursday, October 30, 2008

Note to Self...

Another quick poker note. One of the purposes of this blog, that I sometimes forget is to track my mistakes, not just to get abuse from my entire reading audience (my mom and dad) but also to pound them into my head so I won't do it again. Sometimes I forget the obviousness of 1-2. There is no subtlety there. Matt Byrant hits on that a bit on his blog Pobody's Nerfect (I believe that was the slogan of a failed Nerf Golf game) which is a good read and like the Honest Player's blog will be linked on GCP imminently. Anyway, one mistake in my session yesterday was not betting my hand.

I get a little out of line with 5h3h. I raise it from middle position. I have a chip stack and depending on the action of the others it's a hand I'm going in with the intention of bluffing... or hitting and blindsiding somebody. Of course board texture will determine bluffing. I get a couple of callers and a min-re-raise. Guy calls the new total (24 maybe? I was leading out 12 a lot but could have been 10 and therefore 20). I join the fray because I've priced myself in with a bad hand but a possibility to crack a monster. Trouble is or, maybe, good thing is with most players the min-re-raise would mean AA or KK but this guy was doing this a lot with less.

I determine I'm priced in. Flop is 64K with one heart. Might get a hand here. $25 bet by the re-raiser follows my check. Next guy to act calls. Great... Priced in. Turn is J.

I check and the evildoer makes it $50. Next guy calls. There are both deep stacked. There is obviously some implied odds here to go with what I think is a decent price considering the pot size I think I'm somewhere between 5 and 6 to 1 on my money. Not only that I think I'm almost 20% to catch. I call.

I'm distracted by seeing one of my friends Alex T. walking out and I had wanted to say one more thing to him. He cashed out a big day after the tourney too. The river is the 7. I look back not expecting my card to hit and it had hit. I was hoping the re-raiser legitimately had a big hand like KK or so. Mr. Huge set could bet and I could felt him for another 3 to 4 hundred. Still I should have put some sort of value bet out there or an overbet bluff type bet (which I had earlier fell for). Instead I check.

Simply terrible. Bad Bill! Bad Bill! Do not check the nuts on the river in 1-2. Bet, they'll call. Bet, bet, bet. Sure enough, they've swallowed their balls back into their stomachs. Both have KJ for two pair and check it out. The re-raiser in incredulous that I call his $50 bet with my low straight draw when I show the winner. I told him to be thankful I didn't take another couple $100 off him by missing a bet. He still griped about it. I let you off easy buddy. I think, the only bad play I made was not reaping the implied odds that make the chase worth chasing. When you hit there you have to get paid OR you shouldn't chase. I'm breaking even making a 5 to 1 return on my money long run, not winning money.

So, note to self. Bet the nuts.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ups and Downs

Got away from 2nd best hand a lot in the Harrahs tournament today. Then, I ran into AQ on a Q high board. I had QJ in the BB. I got away again. Next hand KQ in the SB. Tight button raises. I call. Flop is Queen high I'm short stacked. I check he bets. I call. Turn is a brick. I realize I can check call for the rest of them or shove them in there (like I should have done on the flop). I push he calls. AQ again. Oh.

Then I burn through 3 buy-ins in the cash game. Guy chased to river a flush on my trips. Made a call against the nuts with a redraw that wasn't a redraw. Guy shoved the nuts on a small pot. Why would he chase away his customer. I called yet my spidey sense was tingling--that's what he wants you to think. It's just odd because, I wouldn't think my image would justify a bet like that. It worked so maybe I out-leveled myself.

Then I go on a bit of heater. Walk out a decent winner including tourney buy-in and Monday night's loss I was chasing too. Pretty good day.

Lots of good photos of the wedding on facebook albums of my friends. Weird a month ago, I would have sneered at facebook, now I have to admit I'm a little hooked. You can completely keep up with people without ever having to talk to them. What could be better? They got a picture up, oh, there's their new kid. There's the lack of 40 pounds they sweated off. All that good stuff.

When I used to be a party promoter and made a living off of bulk evites this would have been so much easier. We had a rule that every guy to get an invite had to invite two (or was it three?) girls to the party. Doing something like that through facebook could make superficiality really easy. Those were different days though.

Monday, October 27, 2008

So much to say...

Alright, I'm back. I'm now half the man I used to be... or now everything I own is only half of what it used to be... no, no, no, I now have a better half. Yeah, that's the line. I'm married and returned from the honeymoon.

Had some ups and downs in the poker room in the lead in to the marriage with my friends in town. More ups than downs so that was good. Gene D tells me he was on a heater before his wedding too, so if I get to play tonight we'll find out if that marriage karma is over or not.

Some quick thoughts...

Spent the h-moon in Disney World. They had the Wine and Food Festival at Epcot. I encourage anybody who likes to eat (isn't that everybody, it's like saying I like to sleep, breathe and circulate blood through my body, or when really full I also like to relieve myself or kind of like 20 year olds on myspace saying they like to party--no kidding) and has to go to Disney World to time it around this event. We got plenty of Photopass pictures, if you email me I can get you the link, even better I can save you some time and just tell you what they look like, me and my lady arm in arm in front of various Disney constructs. There's the big Golf Ball, a big hat, a Castle, some fake countries and more. Sometimes we kiss, sometimes we don't. I think there are probably only 5 to 10 people that will enjoy those pictures and they either share my last name or my brides former last name.

Okay... some things that really stuck in my craw, so to speak...

1. Drunk idiots at Disney World. Just because they are serving wine and beer doesn't mean you need to get sloppy. It's still a children's park, so when you are mawling your girlfriend like you are in a corner of a frat party and Chip N' Dale are doing a meet and greet two feet from you, you might want to rethink your judgment.

2. Profane T-Shirts. Wow, I get married and I'm instantly become an old man. I'm railing against drunks and profanity what's next people going 22 in a 20 mph speed zone. No. When I see shirts that say Bitches' Birthday barely covering a bulging chest over Daisey Duke hotpants and it's not a Joe Francis video it might just be a good site in the French Quarter. When I see it next to it's a Small World ride, you gotta wonder what those girls woke up thinking. "We'll really turn on some infants... or their 4o year old dads, today. Girlfriend... twin... sister... you look fine in your Bitches Birthday shirt, we are going to get some Donald Duck today." Place and a time for everything. Or the "My problem is obvious I got my head up a bass"--with a bizarre picture that is somewho half ass half fish.

3. Parents, some drunk, even worse some sober who use their baby carts as battering rams. Yeah, their kids are in them, and they like to aim for your calves or take out your knees like an Oakland Raider lineman. These people should be put on the Mission to Mars flight simulator for 20 successive rides, take off the video image and just let the spins sicken them to near death. I told one guy (not serious as I would never do this) that if he did that again, I'd use his baby as a stepping stone to get to the front of Soaring.

One time my lady and I were doing the train method to get through a crowd, a big group that astutely thought in front of the only doorway to the Land was the right spot to stop and plan out their day, when this dude shoves his stroller in between us breaking my grip on my lady's shoulder. On his heels but a couple of steps behind was his wife with another stroller and an even heavier kid than the fat one that ran over my toes. So I got behind the dude, with the intention of slipping by to catch up to my lady, sure enough the wife slams the stroller into my heels, with her Easter Island fat headed baby slamming headfirst into my the back of my knees and then says, "Hey buddy! Don't be cutting people off!"

I contemplate crop dusting the kid with the gaseous remains of the dinner I had at Mexico as I look incredulously at the woman. I remember it's the parents not the children that deserve the wrath and I save that juicy penalty for the next annoying family. The dad spins around, remember the guy that drove through me and my lady like we were the paper that high-school football players run through to start a game, and says, "Yeah, show some manners." SuperBill had some truly choice words for that pair, yet the withering pre-emptive glare from my wife reminded me Honeymoon Bill is Mild Bill, not Wild Bill nor SuperBill.

4. The guy in the 2004 PT Cruiser convertible in a parking lot of much nicer cars who insisted in parking in two spots every night to protect his "vintage" vehichle. What a dooschbag. Such doochebaggery demands action. Windsheild Wipers pointed skyward and maybe other methods of mischief were implemented. Course Honeymoon Bill had to get a soda late night to exit the room and to sneak out to the parking lot for SuperBill to get his revenge on.

5. People that stop in front of doorways, or even dumber the aholes who stop after they get off a moving escalator. There's 50 people behind you, moving toward you with nowhere to go, why would you pick your wedgie there?

6. The idiots that completely ignore the warnings to stay behind the yellow line. At Test Track the attendent tells a family, who spoke English quite well, I think they spoke a New Jersey dialect, that the automatic doors were about to open please stay behind the yellow line. The attendant turns her back and the family collectively laughs as their 5 year old girl steps back over the yellow line--she's pulling one over on Disney. Then the automatic doors fly open and just barely miss flattening the girl into a railing. These idiots who apparently can't anticipate two seconds ahead of time barely grabbed the girls hand to pull her out. And yes, they bitched at the attendent for the doors almost hitting their girl. Those fatties should have been made to don mascot costumes and walk the loop at Epcot for a day.

Waiting for the tram one night a lady and her daughter blithely ignored the same warnings. Despite the other 50 people being two steps behind the yellow lines. Sure enough when an attendent about 6'4 220 walked backwards into the fat pair as he was focused on the tram, they got mad at him. Then when he asked them to step back they glared like he was the idiot. 20 seconds later a different attendent walked into them and they got even angrier when he asked them to scoot back. F'ing morons.

Alright, that's enough bitching for today...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Circe Regnet Tonate?

Thomas Wyatt.

He wrote the poem below.

Circa Reget Tonate--means the thunder reverberated through the realm. It references an ancient Greek poem.

Wyatt's imagery refers to a crisis of his time: a King with a bit of matrimonial bloodlust (and incidentally turned the Christian world upside down because of it). Wyatt's viewpoint was from his literal viewpoint in the Tower of London as Ann Bolynn was beheaded by Henry the VIII.

However, I think the poem works well with the state of affairs facing the country now. Literal in places becomes figurative, but still a lot of it works. Anybody that thought I wrote it. Thanks but not true.

Okay... nothing to do with Poker there. Looking forward to Gene D recounting his conquest of Shortys. Sounds like he had a night and a half.

Played Saturday at Boomtown and saw some odd things. I bubbled two off the money. Fun.

Card dead all morning, and just kept waiting and waiting. Made moves to keep my stack from sinking into the felt but that was it. Not the kind of place you can make any big bluffs at. The pot gets to be a certain size, they'll call you regardless of the board. So since I couldn't manufacture any big pots I had to settle for small ones.

Big day is Saturday so this may be last post til then. It also explains why the has been barely updated. Running short on time getting all the last minute details done.

Friday, October 10, 2008

David West and the Hornets are in Obama's posse

Who list his wealth and ease retain,
Himself let him unknown contain.
Press not too fast in at that gate
Where the return stands by disdain,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

The high mountains are blasted oft
When the low valley is mild and soft.
Fortune with Health stands at debate.
The fall is grievous from aloft.
And sure, circa Regna tonat.

These bloody days have broken my heart.
My lust, my youth did them depart,
And blind desire of estate.
Who hastes to climb seeks to revert.
Of truth, circa Regna tonat.

The bell tower showed me such sight
That in my head sticks day and night.
There did I learn out of a grate,
For all favour, glory, or might,
That yet circa Regna tonat.

By proof, I say, there did I learn:
Wit helpeth not defence too yerne,
Of innocency to plead or prate.
Bear low, therefore, give God the stern,
For sure, circa Regna tonat.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

cash wins, tourney beats

Yesterday I played my weekly double.

Did fine in the morning tournament at Harrahs. I looked down at Queens and had a bad feeling. Evil man shoves with JJ. I call. Suicide Bomber scenario that used to always knocked me out. Da Rock of Aces was dealing and threw the Jack in the door.

A guy I regularly final table with tells me after the hand he folded a Queen. I said you should have said it during it and I would have had a shot at the case queen. It always comes once somebody announces there is only one left in the deck.

I left Harrahs pretty unaffected by my "bad beat." The last two times I final tabled I hit my set on overpairs... so it happens. Then I realized I was fine so why was I leaving.

All the folks that went busto in the tournament were hitting the cash games on Tilt. Just like Monday night after that Saints debacle. A room full of tilters... easy money. Now, if I was tilting I just go home but this time why leave?

I crushed the cash game. Made some tough calls with hands I had to call with. Twice I did the annoying verbal freeroll (I hate it when people do it) and put my opponent on the few hands that could beat me. They didn't have it. On guy said, "You play too tight to call that."

Took down my second big win for the week though I burn through a stack and a half of reds with big hands that were second best (again) before I left.

Won at Boomtown's limit game and freerolled their tournament. AJ lost to A10 and I went home after a pretty good day.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Women are the Rake

See Reid's comment on the post below.

Last night after the Saints game, with an open-ended time frame (no trapping here because of ladies) I met up with the Tiltin' Texan, and cash game specialist Joe Busch at Harrahs. I lost half my buy-in with two pair on the first hand. Guy had a weird tricky straight. And this time my read was right as I minimized my loss. Then it was smooth sailing. Despite being down to less than a 100, I got dealt hands and they held and this morning I walked out a big winner.

Got a new Harrahs hat when I coolered a guy. I had 8s9s. Flop was 10d7s6s. We got it in after some action, he said, "I got a straight," I said, "So do I with a redraw." On cue the turn was the 5s. Ouch. Was just thinking I hadn't gotten a straight flush in a while.

Called a guy down with King high, Jack kicker to beat his King high crap kicker. So I was playing good as well as running good. Course it's a lot easier to play good when you are running good.

The Texan crushed it too. People were calling him tight and me loose. Odd. I definitely opened it up a bit and put a lot of money in play. Definitely won money I wouldn't normally have won, and lost some pots I wouldn't normally be in either.

Kept thinking of Negreanu's advice to not leave the table too soon when you are winning. I stayed a few extra shifts and exploited my table image. It was odd I kept showing down crap hands and people kept giving me respect and thinking I had the nuts. A big stack helps. I got real tired and saw one of my stacks disappear in short order and decided I was gone after a rotation, and told the table I was only playing 4 possible starting hands. Fortunately, I didn't even have to make a decision when I got 10-2 o/s and the like. When the two of us picked up, we had probably the majority of the chips on the table. In fact, Tex made a big profit on one his last hands when I said I was getting up before the BB hit. Guy bluffed into him. He had QQ and called him down despite some scare cards.

Terrible night for the Saints. Good Morning for us though.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


My lady (remember say it with the inflection of the Pina Colada song) had to go to a Charity Ball at the Hilton. I would therefore drop her off and play at Harrahs until she was ready to go. Sounds like a plan. Right?

I hate playing under the spectre of a timetable. In the past I've either pressed when I shouldn't to turn a quick profit or left angry because I didn't have time to amass one.

Last night started with a guy running a mini-angle on me. I had a weak top pair, two to a flush on board. I bet he called. Turn was a brick, he checked, I bet, he called. River paired the board and gave the third to the flush. I was done. He got his hand as close to the table as a WWE referee to the mat on the third count when the hero is in trouble--but doesn't hit. I followed suit and checked. He pulled back, THE HULKSTER GOT OUT OF THE PIN (Jim Ross echoing through my mind) and then reached for his chips. He got me in his trap. He fired out more than a small bet.

I said nice move sir. And mucked. He was ready to show me his wining flush, and I said, yeah... nice flush. Stymied he turned over just one of the cards a flush card. Yeah. I know, nice flush. Obviously he was worried about the paired board so when he induced my check behind, he knew nobody checks a full house and that flush was good and value bet it.

So now I'm seething a bit.

Not a good start.

This guy is also playing with his wife right next to him and running good. People are just donating chips to him. She's doing well, with her one move of betting any ace and nobody is calling her. Maybe she was getting a lot of Aces. Who knows. Four or five handed pots, there's an Ace and she's betting. He's also looking at this cards pretty wide open away from himself, and a couple of times it was so agregious I almost said something, because they were clearly visible to his partner--his playing partner.

Later, I look at jacks in the big blind, this wild new player has sat down one away from me and next to the angle shooter. He fires out a $17 bet. The angle shooter smooth calls. It goes around the the table, with action to me with another caller or two. Okay. I put $50 on top. I'm trying to isolate the wild player. He calls, the angle shooter calls (hmmmm) and the rest fold. The wild player is talking about how he has the best hand. I immediately discount his holding way too much bluster. He's probably got AK. If it comes all babies I'm leading out hard.

Baby, baby, baby. Okay. I put $100 in the pot, I thought about letting him lead at it, but I didn't want him to get commited with cards that could hurt me. Wild guy after he huffs and puffs folds. Angle stews forever, then says he's all-in (which at this point isn't much more to my stack compared to the pot). I call, trapped, realizing I'm beat. He turns over KK saying I got Aces with some assurance (right, if you knew I had Aces why play back at me) and I think to myself, well played with the flat call preflop. He beat me pretty bad and I probably should have given more credence to his $50 call.

Just didn't because the wild guy in between probably represented free money to everybody. I'd expect a better hand to play back at me, and actually try and discourage the people to act after him to fold. Well done sir he disguised it well, and I didn't give his preflop call enough credit.

Later, I get my stack up a bit and decide I'm going to play it cute with an EP raise with some suited connectors. Get a few callers. Flop comes out queen high but I'm open-ended. I bet $25. Player in the 1 seat confidently min-raises me (DANGER, WILL ROBINSON). Oh well, I'm certainly getting the odds to call. Turn is sweetness. A beautiful 6. Hello straight.

He fires out $100. I shove. He calls.

We don't turn over. River is another 6. He shows his pocket queens for the new nuts and I pitch my straight disgustedly. Oh well. Another well played flat call preflop. I sucked and he resucked.

At this point, I'm ready to leave. Actually, I was ready to leave after the initial interaction with the angle shooter. It just felt like one of those nights. Course... what I am going to do for the next two hours I'm waiting for my lady.

Alright, back to basics let's just grind out a winner.

Man of mystery Joe Bush sits down at the table.

Later, two guys I've been targeting see a flop with me. Each with a ton of chips and one with a penchant for making huge flop bets only a better hand can call and the other a guy I've got a pretty good read on. He didn't bluff much but he overvalued his holdings a bit (which somehow I blanked on later). I got K10. Flop is K102 rainbow. Guy I got a read on checks. Next guy leads out. I flat call. Then the checker raises puting 5x on top. Sweet. Next guy calls. We have ourselves a pot. I call after some thought about raising and/or shoving. I don't because I don't want a QJ to make a bad call on the flop and suck out on me, that they might get away from on the turn. Yeah, my "brilliant" 1-2 strategy.

Turn is a brick. After some table banter first guy puts out $100. The other dude folds accepting we've got him crushed. I probably got $250 behind. Arghh! I know I need to just push.

Here's the problem, I was at my losing limit for the night if I didn't win that pot. I had another hour and a half to go. I'm trapped. All kinds of factors that have nothing to do with making the best poker decison entered my mind. The best poker decision was put the $250 in. If he has a set of deuces so be it. Who cares. Long run I'll profit shoving my $250 with top two its a no brainer.

I start putting him on the rack. He's passes the Negreanu smile test, he's got a pretty authentic smile a nonfaked smile. He thinks he's got the best hand. Damn it! Remember when I said he overvalued his hands... somehow, I blank on this as I stew.

Then after the banter, I decide to go with the poker factors and start to push in. As I put my hands behind my chips, he's excited about the call. Genuinely. I stop. Oh well. I'll have $250 to play with if I fold... and I muck.

He shows me AK. Table thinks I'm an idiot for folding K10 (they are right). I think the guy is an inexperienced for thinking AK was the best hand in that situation. I can tell Joe is surprised by my idiot hero lay-down. Nothing worse than making a grossly bad play in front of players you respect. No excuse for that one.

As I sit there, and think about it, I can't believe I talked myself out of the hand. I totally let factors non poker related dictate my play, when the best deciosn was shove. It was the only decision. Double ARGH!!!

When I play my inexperienced friends for fun, I have to adjust to two things. One when they think they are beat but they might not be. So, just because their physical tells indicated weakness they didn't really understand the texture of the board or the story of the hand. Figuring out what a player thinks about his holding is only half the battle. You have to determine if they understand what's a good hand. Add in that a couple of them are call stations so you can't bluff them even when they think they are losing and you have to tread carefully.

The other situation, like the guy with just AK, is when the think they are sitting on the nuts with a hand that's beat a few different ways. Course, that mentaility is the sweet spot when isolating bad players.

Any other night, any other time I call. However, on that night, the way I was running, and not wanting to stick my thumb up my ass for another couple of hours, because I had set my limit for the evening I folded. I regret it. That pivitol hand would made a world of difference to my bottom line.

Later, I look at KK in the BB. Limp fest. I push it to 12, almost everybody calls, though the good thing is all the decent players muck when I enter the pot with a raise so it's me and the guys I want. Course it's all the guys I want not just one. Problem with 1-2, I make it too much more and nobody would have called. You either play mulit-way pots or scoop white chips with your big hands. Flop comes out jack high. Guy in the small blind, my friend who I said makes bad, big flop bets only better hands can call--does just that. He ships it for the rest of his chips.

He's got at least a jack.

I decide to flat and hope to build a side pot with someone else.

I almost get a taker who points that out. Thanks for the commentary. Then folds.

Bad player shows QJ. Nice. I show my Kings.

Brick.... Queen. Fun.

So, now I'm nursing half a buy-in and killing time.

JB hasn't called. It's an hour and half past the pickup time. Great, if I knew I'd have more time to play I would have prepared to go deeper into the game cash wise. In fact, I would have been more willing to call that $250 and dig back into the wallet if I lost. I just wasn't going to get too stuck that I wouldn't have time to come back and force myself into bad decisions (that mindset ironically induced a terrible one). Apparently, I had more time.

She texts her and her friends might go out. She never goes out. I'm actually happy she's going out. She'll call me in 20 minutes. Sweet the chaffeur will just kill time getting killed on the table.

An hour passes and I run 10s into Aces. A guy new to the table and stealing small pots in position that are unopened, raises from the button. Well, he got his fish on the hook when I looked at the 10s in the BB and pushed back. He shoved and my short stack was already committed. Trapped.

I bricked out.

I wander Harrahs contemplating eating, looking at the absurdity that is the club on this random Saturday and trying to get in touch with J. I kill another 45 minutes or so, and it's hours after I was supposed to leave. I can't get in touch with her at all. Oh well. I decide f it, I'm going home. Bad day at the office.

When I'm back in Metairie, she says, "Oh, yeah, we'll get a cab. No problem." Later, I start getting texts asking me to pick her and her sister up from uptown. Mmm. That's not going to happen, I'm already in bed. Have to say, saying no is a trap too.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Uh... oh... blogging landmine... politics...

My header on mentions I'd blog about issues facing the Gulf Coast. In the wake of Katrina, I felt that I wanted to touch on some things like that. In fact it used to say "politics" rather than issues facing the gulf coast and today, I warily will broach that subject. Politics and poker are hardly strange bedfellows.

Most politicos, Obama included, are avid poker players. It is said Nixon ultimately jump started his life and later funded his campaign based off of money grown from poker winnings. Currently poker is a political issue, perhaps things are in such a sad state of affairs poker players may not have the latitude to vote on candidates supporting issues important to us such as legalizing online poker, bar-room poker, or home games, but it's important we be aware where our candidates from President to representative sit on these issues.

Therefore, I'm going to get political for a second, and not really feel bad about doing it. More than anything I'm stating my views, undecided views in fact, with the hope that people that feel strongly one way or the other will try and convince me to side with them. It's important that I give my quick background and incoming biases. As a kid to a young adult I've been a Republican. I've admired Reagan's approach to dealing with Terrorists and look at Libya as evidence of force working... when properly applied. Perhaps I'm a mere victim of conservative spin, but national security, having lived in DC during 9/11 and in Europe during a tumultuous time of terrorism in the 80s, has always been issue number one with me.

I was a mile away from the Pentagon when the low-flying plane coming directly overhead shook my apartment so badly things fell off the shelf, and I felt the concussive impact when it hit and heard the blast. I can recant with first-hand experience any conspiracy theorist who doubts a plane really hit. I also watched the aftermath with my own two eyes. I've been at German airports during bomb scares as a child.

I used to live within a short drive of the actual Iron Curtain at the height of the cold war, and could feel the reds leaning against it every day. Western Europe lived under a palpable fear they'd be trampled and though they hated to be in the middle of the nuclear stockpiles in Russia and Stateside, they welcomed, loved and relished our friendship. We were their protectors. Oh what a difference 20 years makes.

I watched television of Russian Army marches with an endless supply of giant missiles (missiles we'd later learn were duds) and think any moment the world would be dotted with mushroom clouds. Germans, who lived in an occupied country for 40 years, appreciated their occupiers us and the Brits being there, because at any moment the tanks might start rolling westward. To say we had some goodwill in the 80s is an understatement. And to say, you can't be an ally as an occupier is just as gross an overstatement.

So, to me national security and keeping terrorists and ill-meaning nationalities an ocean away has always been priority number 1. I lived in a place where the evening news reported terrorism it as a domestic issue and rather than it being a once every ten years event it was a weekly one. Not something I want the U.S. to endure. Then W got elected, moreso because his opponents couldn't handle a national campaign then him being the best candidate. Sorry Kerry fans even four more years of W to me was better than four years of the ultimate hemmer and hawer. Course, sprinkle in Katrina and the mess that Bush turned FEMA into, and maybe Kerry would have done a better job.

I always felt that 911, Bush in New York on the megaphone and the ensuing we are going to stick a boot up the Taliban's ass speech to Congress were the moments, he shined brightest. I couldn't imagine Gore at the helm for either moment. During Katrina, I also couldn't help but wonder if a new President would have tackled Katrina like it was his 9-11. Kerry, or anybody for that matter, probably would have been in the heart of the Gulf Coast or at the Superdome within 24 hours and wrapped his Presidency around saving the coast. Bush didn't need that. He had already had his moment. He wasn't coming with his megaphone, and only after he had been humbled into responding his speech was full of promises that for the most part were empty. It's absolutely shocking considering the mess still down here three years later, that he thinks he did all he could. He thinks he triumphed in the gulf and the sad truth is he was almost criminally negligent.

The ensuing federal debacle, the state debacle, the city debacle, left blood on every one's hands. Anybody who tries to excuse Bush, Blanco, or Nagin is blinded by partisanship or worse. They were all culpable. Michael Chertoff used Brownie as a scapegoat. Though Brownie was terrible, Chertoff was worse and like Bush somehow has eluded the blame he deserves. Every level and layer of the executive has been inept. Every response has been insufficient and inadequate.

So, I became a right-leaning Conservative with a distaste for the W and his cronyism in the executive branch. He also acted like a democrat and grew the government to the benefit of him and his friends at unheard of levels. He mired us in bureaucracy at a moment we needed anything but. Of course Blanco is responsible for not seeking federal aid quicker, of course Nagin and his talk about "putting Benjamins in your pockets" was exposed as inept and a blight on the city rather than a leader, but Bush also bares blame--a lot of it.

Therefore, even before this economic crisis I came into the national presidential election with an even more open mind then I did four years ago. I now label myself an undecided. I'm leaning toward McCain, with Obama's inexperience being my hold-up on giving the other side a shot, and of course McCain to me feels stronger on National Security. That is still, my primary concern shaped by my childhood, even with all the homeland mess Bush has made while pushing Homeland issues.

I've debated though emails and discussions with hard line Democrats and Republicans alike challenging them on what I perceive as weakness of their candidates. In response, I've learned how charged a society we now live in. Neither side can withstand the slightest criticism, or can concede even an inch. It was like pulling teeth to get my good friend, a democrat to admit, Pelosi's partisan speech preceding the bailout was ill-timed at best. I can't get Republicans to admit that while Palin has executive experience it's for a town and state that population wise measure up to Smallville and Luxembourg.

Recently, after a series of emails and Palin's blunders with Katie Couric, I'd been swayed that with one year of her at the helm of our country she could do such terrible things to us due to her inexperience and community college level education I might have to factor her into my decision. Should McCain press down on his "I've fallen and I can't get up" life alert lapel button what the hell were we going to do with a sportscaster as President. She wasn't even a good sportscaster. At least Al Michaels has seen Russians close up, and not from binoculars across the Bering Straits, maybe he should be second in command. He believes in miracles too.

Palin to me is a bad Disney movie playing out on our national stage. I immediately questioned McCain and his judgment when he selected her. To me he was guilty of catering to the Hillary voters who felt abandoned by Obama. It was arguably a shrewd political move, but for somebody who is un-taintably a patriot, there was a taint to him now. Palin, no matter how she moves people or connects with people, is not the best person for the job. She ironically embodies all the flaws of Obama with half the education. McCain's decision was not made with the countries interest in mind it was for his electability and nothing more.

So, it was with great surprise that I watched her at the Republican National Convention knock it out of the park. Not only did she share Obama's flaws she shared his attributes. They both are soaring speakers, they both reach through the camera and pat you on the back as they plow through talking points. Their charms are manifested differently his with inspiration her with a neighbourly I'm watching out for you but they resonate.

At that point, I gave McCain a little more credit for his pick. He had found this unpolished jewel from the great north and shared it with the country. This wasn't a bad Disney movie this was the political story of the new century. We didn't have one leader from humble beginnings, we had two. It was like Lincoln coming out of his log cabin in Illinois at the same time as an upstart (and at the time marginalized minority) Irish Catholic from Massachusetts named Kennedy. We had two near political stars.

Then Couric happened. Oh, Sweet Alaskan Crude Oil!

I now watched Republicans blindly hug talking points force fed them via Fox news, to defend the indefensible. The tape was obvious. You can't defend her. Karl Rove surely came up with the sublime "Gotcha" media refrain that has been oft-repeated and it's brilliant strategy. She was "edited" to look like an idiot. It was the liberal media's fault. Now, the media is liberal, but Palin looked unprepared... because she was unprepared. Gotcha was right. The sportscaster was back. No longer was the Disney movie a happy story, we'd reached the point where the lawyer turns back into the shaggy dog, where the heroic underdog is exposed as being over her head.

Bam! I was now having to consider Erin Andrews at the controls should McCain bite it. Something to look at sure, but something to follow--not so sure. I compared the two worst case scenarios and Obama could be bad for four years but at least he's smart enough to not destroy the country. Could Putin bury Palin in a matter of hours? If the equally woefully under qualified Katie Couric could cast such a bad light on the Veep to be, what could a ruthless former KGBer do.

I watched last night's debate with the dread I felt as a school-boy of the millions of Russians ready to invade Europe. Palin was going to get thrashed. Biden would dance circles around her and they'd have to shovel the Alaskan Caribou roadkill off the stage along with McCain's hopes. You ask die hard democrats and that's what happened. You ask die hard Republicans and she blithely killed Biden time and time again. She was Rocky after a standing eight count suddenly, tirelessly bashing a superior opponent when her face had been beaten to a comic pulp one round earlier with Couric.

You ask me, a now undecided, and neither side is right. She might have done enough. The debate was either a Palin victory or a tie. However, expectations were so low for her, she'd win even if she lost but competed and she did better than that.

That being said, I'm still undecided and in a paragraph or two I'll wrap up and welcome the opinions of my decided friends. However, I do ask that you not take me to task on my opinions up to now. They are not going to change. Even if you disagree with what's written, I don't write them as fact, I write them as decided opinion. Here's another opinion. Palin did two things. One she showed me as deflected questions and marched through her talking points she'd be one of the greatest White House... spokesmen ever. Ari Fleischer, Tony Snow, etc. etc. wouldn't hold a candle to her.

She was charming even Joe Biden when she barreled through his criticisms with a wink and a smile and tiptoed around or bludgeoned over Gwen Ifill's direction. She owned the debate, she connected with the people, and shined. That being said, the second thing she did was not look look Presidential or Vice-Presidential. She looked like a polished TV personality yet I have to ask where is the substance. How many times have I heard an articulate media type give their own opinion outside of scripted lines or prepared talking points and be disappointed? Every time. Sure she looks less inept, but still inept?

However, the marked difference in one short week, has given me the confidence that she can hold her own for a year or two if McCain doesn't make it. But I'm still undecided overall. She failed in one critical question for me. She was asked what would be her duties as a vice-president be, and her response was odd to say it lightly... I can almost imagine McCain "Lumberg-esquely" (Office Space reference) saying, "Ummmm, yeah... You are going to play more of a legislative role than an executive role..." "Doesn't the VP just break ties in the senate?" "Ummm, yeah, wait... how did YOU know that...ummm, yeah... well, you see there is more power for the VP or at least some flexibility of the VP's power in the Senate than traditonally... ummm, recognized... so umm yeah... we are going to move you to the office in the basement..." "Basement?" "ummm yeah, so ummm, yeah they are near the tunnels to the Senate and ummm, yeah we are going to need you to come in on Saturday."

So now, I ask of my friends to take my vote for your candidate. I'm hardheaded, so you won't convince me Palin did poorly in the debate and sway me as a voter that way. You also won't win me by disproving then things I think above. Took me a while to come to this point of indecision, and you can argue til you are blue in the face I'm wrong about Obama's inexperience, but it'll be an ineffectual tactic in getting me to align with your side. What I will want is valid reasons Obama will be a better President than McCain or vice versa. I will want issues that either embodies that I should take as seriously as I do national defense. I will need coaxing that Obama despite his safe and near nonexistent policy making leadership in the senate will MOVE the country as well as he moves his listeners and followers.

I've felt this election is between motivational speaker Tony Robbins and crotchety Mr. Wilson. One who says things we want to hear but really has no concrete formula how to get there, the Robbins of the two says, personal empowerment, bettering oneself will make you successful, procrastinate only procrastination and other platitudes that soar as rhetoric but fail in application. Obama's message is pure of course we want that but what's at the heart of his plan? The other is a Washington insider who is a maverick only on selected issues. He's cranky and he'll fight his neighbors even if they are friends if their sprinklers are interrupting his hammock nap and will beat the snap out of the whippersnappers digging in his flower beds but is he too, now entrenched?

Please, please, convince me I'm not picking between the lesser of two evils once again. I feel one guy hasn't hit his stride and the other is past his prime. Neither is in the sweet spot. Democrats convince me Obama is good for national security and the economy, Republicans convince me it's not business as usual or a man past his prime, and we won't see a replay of Katrina ineptitude.

Or not.

I'm open to the possibility I'm grossly wrong or I've mistated thing badly and I'm uniformed, however, if you want to woo a vote, take my experiences and mold your candidate to my worldview. And don't take yourself too seriously, negative points for absolutists, facists, and rabid polarizers.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Losing chips in my stack, and a tipping point

Not playing the Harrahs weekly today.

Couple of interesting moments from Monday night.

I was playing next to the Tiltin' Texan with two great football pool numbers 4 and 7. Course not so great with a field goal fest waiting to happen with the Steelers/Ravens. Pretty early on needing to factor a safety into the football math to win, I was focused only on the table.

Still, I had a brain fart. I usually keep a stack of 6 to 8 chips in my hand to occupy myself when out of the action. I play with it away from my larger chip stacks and sometimes leave it out there on its own. Suddenly, I was down to just a couple of chips in my hand and the little stack had disappeared. I was dumbfounded. It was like it just disappeared from the table.

I asked the Texan if when he had scooped a pot, maybe I had left it out there and he pulled it in. Yet, in my mind I felt he hadn't scooped a pot since it "disappeared." In fact, he had gotten resucked out on just before that in a big pot and given up chips. Probably the wrong time to ask about me misplacing a paltry few chips. I certainly didn't think the Texan would have done it on purpose--4 to 6 reds--no, way. And to be clear, I certainly don't think the Texan would have taken 4 to 6 blacks or bigger chips for that matter. Maybe in scooping a big messy pot, of which he had a couple, he might think the little stack is a part of what's steered his way and dragged it unintentonally.

Still, I asked only because I was at a loss... even him scooping it by accident didn't seem likely. I hope he didn't think I was accusing him of anything. So, at the next dealer shift I'm racking up my chips. And lo and behold, each stack is one chip higher. Another habit of mine when fiddling in boredom, is to overstack my 100 stacks (though something I'm trying to get away because of using the stacks in big pots). I must have done it without thinking and then a couple of seconds later wondered where my little stack was. A good lesson to me, to stay on top of recounting my chips. Sorry Texan.

The tidbit, was one of our dealers, who shall remain nameless dealt at a glacial pace, getting slower and slower and slower. Tex asked me if he was making a point. Finally it was beyond obvious. It was taking a lot of energy for him to move that slow and the table asked him about it. "That's the first dollar I've gotten from ya'll in 25 minutes," he said. The guys at the other end of the table had been taking down the pots and I hadn't watched them not tip.

I told him, "The faster you deal them out, the more likely I'll win a pot and tip you. I'm not going to short you." Others agreed and it was back to normal. Which is and was true. I never understood why dealers would penalize the whole table and themselves by pitching less hands. Seems like the quicker they go the more likely they'll get tipped. Now, if a table of 10 was winning pots pretty evenly and nobody was tipping, yeah, I can see making a point of it. They got to earn a living. However, when only 3 or 4 guys were screwing him seems like he's hurting himself as much as he is the players by dealing slowly. In general, the faster a dealer pitches the more tips they'll get.

I think I'm a good tipper. Before poker impacted my bottom line as much, I used to toss redbirds after biggish pots and throw around two to three ones for smaller pots. Once I realized what that was doing to my bottom line, and watching other generous players take that money out of play, I'm back to about a dollar a pot. But that includes some small ones. Nothing endears a dealer to me more than a guy who tosses it back saying the pot was too small for a tip. Yeah, he gets that dollar back and then more.

Of course huge pots, and quick dealers that have a happy disposition still get bigger chips and string tips. Now, considering I feel I'm a pretty good tipper by watching the other players as comparison, I'm surprised when dealers use sour tactics on me to get more tips. Moving glacially slow, is a bit of one, but it's directed at everybody. And you can't argue it was effective. Though, I wonder if saying something first (which I believe is discouraged--but he still said something after the fact, so it's not like he was opposed to violating this rule) and then moving slow would be a better course of action.

I once asked the same dealer in the past to extend a courtesy most regulars get, and he haggled for the tip beforehand. He wouldn't do it without a tip. That was tilting. One he either assumed I'd stiff him, even though I've been generous to him every other time, or two he was making a statement to the table that the courtesy had to be bought not asked for. Either way poor form.

The dealers that get the biggest tips are almost always the quickest and most capable. The dealers that are quick and capable who get shorted are the ones that use angles to manipulate the players. I've never seen Da Rock or some of the other good dealers without a smile or a ready chuckle and an eagerness to keep the action going. The players show their appreciation with their chips. I'm sure they have their bad sessions too, when the bad tippers win every pot and the good tippers can't win, but I have a feeling those sessions are far fewer for them than the other guys.