Thursday, August 25, 2011

Assorted Thoughts

Lots of things in the To Do box:


-Adding a new blogger probably today.

-In the work... the Yearbook will finally come out at the end of this year. We'll have the mock cover up soon enough, though I understand ya'll have reason to doubt us, it's going to happen.

-We'll have two very big additions to the website soon that will add some entertainment to the readers.


-Headed to the Beau, looking to play Sunday because of a variety of commitments family wise from now to then. Maybe some events after that depending on being able to get away.

-Dead Money Tournament also looks a go.


-I must be a nut agreeing to take this on. Looking to coordinate a massive meet the families type reunion trip next year on the panhandle for assorted friends. It's really open to anybody, so email details if you are looking for a week to sit on the beach and have a good time in Florida with wives and kids.

That's only the half of it. The rest is even more boring so I'll skip sharing it.

Okay, some poker. Played the Donkley. Took a gamble in a spot where I thought if I hit I'd be cruising to the final table. In retrospect, probably another mistake. In early position I opened with pocket nines. I think blinds were 200-400 and I made it 1000 or 1100. Shortish stack next to me shoves for ~4.5k. I have about 11k. An even shorter stack shoves for a little less. Big stack that plays a lot of pots just calls.

I think I'm flipping with a lot of his range and there is a lot of side money in there. Probably committed to shoving if I call, but I think with about 4 to 5k left if I call and I m ss, I'll still have life if I don't hit. If the board is ugly and I get a read, I can fold. If it's dry and I get a read I can also "stop and go." So I call. I also have a weird feeling I'm going to hit a set.

Flop comes Q high, I miss my set. I think a ten was there too. I check and big stack cool as a cucumber slides in his chips. He's not afraid to make that play with AK there, but I rethink him preflop and I know he'd probably isolate with those drawing hands like AK maybe AQ. KQ probably finds the muck. I have to give him credit for a big pair.

He turns over pocket queens when I fold. Top set. Bad bet. Even worse when a 9 hits the river (I did hit my set--ha, ha). He said he was scared of the two clubs. Course if he thought about it if I had two clubs I'm calling off my chips, so that bet wouldn't give any protection, especially considering the heavy pot odds. All it did was cost him money both ways.

Perhaps, if I hit my flush, I merely value bet him and he pays me off but saves him some money. If I don't have the flush draw his bet chases away all the hands he can get value from like... pocket 9s that improve to a set on the river.

Sometimes I feel like there is justice in poker. It seems like there is a high frequency of times where you get out of a hand that was supposed to bust you, and later your final chips find the stack of that same player. Later with a few bbs and the blinds two hands away I shove a suited king. The big stack was on the button with AQ and looked me up. Neither improved and I hit the cash game.

Talk to the mysterious Joe B. who gave me the details of a profitable trip to Vegas. I wouldn't be surprised to hear Joe make some more trips reading between the lines. Joe won two massive pots while I was there, both of which I considered playing, but decided the hands were too marginal to play against Joe. And what I mean by that is Joe is very selective about what he plays, and he plays his hands very well. So even if I hit, my profit margin is less than what it is vs. a couple of other opponents.

In one he flopped a set against two players and got all their chips when it went three to a flush on the turn. One guy had the A of the suit and chased it, and the other had maybe two pair. I would have made the winning flush (10 high). When he scooped the massive pot I looked on envious. Those six bills should have been mine.

Joe put his chips on lock down and I got busy trying to isolate a couple of the weaker players (and that table got squeaky quickly). Unfortunately, one of the targets ones was on my left and it was difficult to overcome his positional advantage but I mixed it up with him a good bit and turned a profit. The other, fortunately, was on my right and he paid me off good, and when he left so did the guy that replaced him.

In the hand, I had called his bets twice after flopping a set. Board went three to a flush, with a pair of deuces showing on the turn, and he led out again. I called. I didn't have the full house, I had quads. I was praying he had a set and the board would pair again. Just thinking about the jackpot, that had already been hit that day but was still at 18k or so, made my hand shake a little bit when I called the turn.

River was a brick and he checked. I overbet and he called off. He had two pairs over the deuces. Can't say I like his call that much. Anyway, that hand and a couple of other big ones I picked up in the last rotation gave me a nice little profit on the day.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Link Dump, Know Thyself, Know Karma...

and some poker to follow...

Anyway... link dump:

-One of the great advantages of playing poker and improving at poker is improving your decision making. Sometimes there are other articles about improving as a human that can influence improvement as a player. Here's one "Know Thyself". Sounds like a book worth reading. All kinds of benefits, nefarious and otherwise for the anchoring effect (surely some of you salesmen and negotiators out there already utilize).

-The newest warning to become eco friendly, if we don't stop global warming Aliens may kill us to protect the galaxy. Not just anybody writing this garbage but a NASA scientist. They must be so proud. Makes me reconsider being upset at them killing the space program... with this literal Rocket Scientist at work how'd they get anything into orbit?

If you want to dissuade people from polluting and baking the Earth, and feel threatening them is the way to go just use Al Gore. Yes, sic old Al Bore on them... "Two more hours listening to him? Or filter my smoke stacks. Okay EPA you win." To read how they are trying to scare us with Alien invasion instead go here.

-I've debated folks about Karma but here is a case of what goes around comes around. Now, I'm not saying Karma isn't necessarily some force that works in the background of the universe that evens things out, sometimes it's just folks paying attention to what kind of person you are. Ever work in a restaurant? You probably aren't a difficult customer or a dick to the waitstaff. Well, at least until they are done handling your food and drinks. Hard to like thievery, but Robin Hood might like this ID scam. Tip the wrong waitiress bad? Well, good luck with that credit card balance this month. Read here.

Software is the new oil? The new gold? Maybe it is....


The Harrahs Saturday tournament had 105 players. Not bad at all. I chipped up fairly quickly and then got short when I had a terrible mis-step.

Here it is:

In Big Blind with 10d8d. Blinds were 50-100. EP raises to 250. Two callers I complete. 1050 in the pot. I got maybe 9k to start the hand.

Flop spits out Jack,10,9 (rainbow). I'm open ended with middle pair. I fire out 450. Guy who led out was only one to call. Turn is a King. I try a blocking bet (uh... what?) when maybe a check here was the correct play. Just about every hand I have to give him credit for, except say a pair of 8s (which are less likely with me holding the 8) has improved on me. AK. KQ. KK. QQ. Maybe KJ. Ouch, ouch, ouch. He puts 1k on top.

Clearly the King has improved his hand. It's AK at best, but likely AQ. Easy fold. No I call.

River spikes a 7 and I check call for 2k more. Here it's AQ. Granted some oddly played sets Jacks or 9s could be in the mix but I just don't see that particular player playing them like that.

Maybe I am a call station.

Got to sit next to Kenny Milam and Parfait quite a bit as the tournament progressed. Kenny cracks me up, unfortunately he saw his run of four straight final tables come to an end. Parfait min-cashed and kept me on my toes. Always good and fun to chat with him.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Poker Disappoints

So the computer died.

And when it did I discovered the software that we use for the site, an antique MSDOS application apparently, has gone the way of half of the species that used to fill the rain forest. Eventually, with some help from our friends I've gotten a copy, and been able to get an update on the site (tonight). Though I wonder if part of my love for poker died with that computer.

As I was sidelined, I quite enjoyed not trolling the web for new items or being fully immersed in poker. During that same stretch I've also traveled with the fam for a vacation in Pcola and to a wedding in Washington, DC, without playing much.

Poker has been on the brain in kind of a peripheral way, kind of like I'm musing about the vagaries of an NBA lockout and a poker thought will flutter through my mind. Sometimes a break can consolidate all those loose thoughts and give you clarity, other times as I've just learned they can blend into ennui.

Chino Rheem is a scum? Jungleman is a cheat? Phil Ivey is broke? Full Tilt have perpetrated the world's biggest heist. Guy Lilberte was teamed up on on high stakes poker? Invariably it appears the old saying "the most honest people are the cardplayers because there a handshake and reputation are the only commodities" is as empty as the salesman saying "Well, to be honest...".

Well to be honest, only implies that you are sometimes not honest, and since liars mostly lie, it probably also means the next words out of your mouth will be anything but the truth. As these scandals play themselves out on the forums that's what they feel like... Seems like you peel a layer back and it's somebody saying "Okay, well, here's THE TRUTH."

It's a bit disgusting. When I was in DC we played a home game and alternated decks. One was the most wanted deck they gave out around 2002 in coordination with the War on Terror. The crooks weren't limited to the deck. The Aces and Kings had folded corners. With the Aces slightly different folds than the kings. About as amateurish "a marking" as I've seen. I think my buddy tried that scam in fourth grade.

We played for a while, primarily because I didn't get dealt any Aces or Kings and it was only in a break in the action when I played with the cards and saw my suspicions were correct. We weren't playing for much so I didn't belabor the point. I told the host they were marked and he quickly did away with the deck, albeit somewhat quietly.

It's possible some visitor did it long ago, or it's possible he did it, I didn't really care. I didn't inspect the new decks either for fear of being let down again by poker and deciding I was willing to lose a couple of small dollar games just to enjoy the friends I hadn't seen in 10 years even if somebody was cheating or they were not.

I've been rereading some of my poker books and I keep dwelling on these stories of cheating that a few of them seem to have. In doing a google search to follow up I find quite a bit of unflattering information about many of the people in poker that the masses revere. Seems like cheating at cards is license to steal and even better you don't go to jail.

What's worse is I fear this just the beginning. Protect yourselves out there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Link Dump

How could you not be interested in the vocal stylings of Manny Pacquoio aka Pac-Man (but shouldn't it be Man-Pac), in particular his version of "Sometimes when we touch"... You know after you saw his commercial you wanted to hear more. Here it is.

Hard not to think about boxing with some of these lyrics, but I did have to remind myself this guy could probably deliver a death blow to me before I could blink especially when I thought about making fun of his "frear in me".

In the Ukraine they have all these bears they force to drink vodka in restaurants. It's entertainment and no it's not William The Refridgerator Perry and Mike Singletary these are the real thing, furry, angry beasts. They want to build a reserve just for them. I remember chimps dying of lung cancer and thought Hollywood did them wrong by forcing cigarettes on them, but here, I'm not so sure I understand this. Would you really want a bear, much less a drunk bear, in your restaurant?

Saw this link: "Swedish Man tries to split atoms in kitchen."

More Manny this time with Will Ferrel:

Oh yeah, AROD wrong place wrong time again:

Monday, August 01, 2011

Reap what you sow...

Never thought something as seemingly easy as buying a computer could prove to be so difficult. In the last week, I've made two stops at separate Best Buys, four stops at Office Depots, and finally finding the device I wanted I am ready to go.

Frustration is being told they don't have what you want in stock despite their inventory saying they do, then being sent somewhere else that does... but lo and behold rinse and repeat, then being sent somewhere else with even grander assurances that they have it... but lo and behold rinse and repeat with three options they said were all viable including the first two stops. Finally, before going to my last stop, I said have them pull it out of the back room and set aside for me... I'm not leaving until someone is physically holding it. Eureka it was there.

I don't know if I felt exultation or frustration.

Btw, after the third stop at the chain and dealing with the same questions for the salesmen I embarrassed the wife a bit. He asked "Well, what are you using the laptop for?"

I said quite earnestly "Browsing porn. Is this a good machine for that?"

He said, "yes."

"No, I'm kidding."

He goes, "oh, really."

"Yeah, I'm not really browsing if you know what I mean."

He then started telling me about another customer who had a terrabyte of porn. He said "We saved it for him... and copied it... no just kidding."

I said, "I was just kidding... but I don't think you are."

He was also the salesman that went to the back and never returned after about 30 minutes only to have his sidekick who couldn't eat an Apple much less turn one on tell me that the manager couldn't find it in the back. Maybe I deserved that one.

Now, that I have the computer, and of course nit picking all the bad things, I just need to get the software I lost on my old computer and I can get back to updating the site. Lots of stuff I need to update and maybe a new blog or two to add as well.

Hopefully, getting the software won't prove as difficult as the Hardware.

Played some Donkleys. They pay 10. Recently I've chopped, finished 14th, 18th, and 8th. I've run well in all spots but the last two tables. Took some heat on facebook for announcing I was three for three in recent tournaments calling with A high to double up for my stack. Guess my hubris was paid back with my bubbles.

I've really been playing well (cue more run-bad when down to two tables for bragging). I managed to not go broke with a set. I flopped set over set with another guy OESF draw. I bet, the other set slowplay, OESTFD called. He checked when he hit it on the turn. I checked, other set checked too. River straight flush led out. I tried to find a fold but couldn't. Guy behind me called too. If I was third to act I fold. Straight flush could made a nice payday.

I also folded pocket queens to a three bet by an older player. Thanks to Joe Navarro I knew he was on Kings or Aces even though he had been three betting all morning.

The Ace high calls were the result of some funny lines by my opponents.

The first I had AK from early position and a guy I had played with for three straight tournaments on an opening table called as he tended to do against me when I opened. We had another with us. The flop came out like 885. I checked and the guy I knew insta led out as he tends to do any time a preflop bettor checks. Just felt like he was stealing. He bet sized like a lot of online players would do in the MTTs I played at low buy-ins when I checked the brick turn to him. Let's just call it a go away bet. I decided I was married to the hand. If he shoved the river I was calling. I felt I just had to fade some big cards.

River bricked again and after I checked he shipped the rest of his starting stack. I tried to see if I could fold there but my gut told me to call... I called. He humbly said Ace high with a 4 kicker or something. I showed AK. Another guy called me sniper. That guy I later called with bottom pair of fives and beat his pocket fours. Credit to Caro's tells for that one.

Next A high hand I had maybe A7. Flop was bricks. It was checked to me, I c-bet and one opponent called me as the rest folded. On the turn, he led out (??). I just knew he floated and was making a play here. I fired over the top of his bet (with air) and he called (?).

The river he checked to me and we both had about 2k left. I couldn't make up my mind what to do here. I felt he had nothing... but crappy pair or a better Ace scoops the pot for him. I stewed thinking I was supposed to bet, but with the stack sizes I open it up for him to come over the top and consider folding or have to shove. I considered the show-down value of my hand not very good. I bet, he shoved, I stewed. My gut told me to call. He said King high. I turned over the ace. Sweet.

Last one, which initiated me facebooking was in the second level of saturday's donkley. A guy was getting out of line with a lot of bets. I had AK and called him. The board came out paired with rags and he put out a tiny little scared bet. I should have come over the top but I thought I could pot control by calling. The turn... brick. He suddenly bet big (go away bet). Okay... very odd. Unless he just hit his set what changed... nothing. Maybe he has trips with an ace but just didn't match his betting style. I called with full intention of calling any size river bet if a face card didn't hit. He led out for most of his and my stack. Called. He had AQ. Gotcha.

Played some hands badly too, now that I've gotten the pseudo cyber bragging out of the way, let's get to the lessons I need to learn or relearn. In one tournament an old player limped under the gun. I was SB. I said to myself, self, he's limping with aces. Then I proceeded to put all my chips into the pot and hoped he wasn't. Umm he was, I walked to the door.

Another one involved a guy I thought to be wide open (turned out as the tournament proceeded, I saw that wasn't the case he was just getting slapped in the jaw with the deck in the early levels). On his turn bet, I thought he was full of it and I represented a big hand--nice read Bill. Action on the turn he bet for 1k, I doubled it and a little to 2.2k. Baron Whipple also in the hand let me know pretty quickly my two high cards were drawing dead when he shoved behind me. The kid made it worse by reshoving. Oh, the weakness I "sensed" were two sets, slow played on the flop. I got out of the way, and the kid one outed Baron for quads. Lol, tough game.

Anyway, hope to have the site chugging along soon.