Survivor, Jim Nantz, Masters, March Madness and oh yeah Pokering and Slow Rolls
Anybody else feel their skin crawl in an, "Oh no it's wall to wall Jim Nantz time of the year" kind of way. Nancy, as I call him, has the syrupy slow Masters storytelling voice that to me is like getting a Cinnabon when you were craving a cracker. Overwrought? Yes. Overdone? Yes. Over him? Absolutely.
I think Jim Nantz is great at what he does, okay, let me rephrase I actually I don't think that at all. I recognize some people think that, and accept I'm in a minority that doesn't. So fine. Let me say this, I once thought he was very good, maybe great, but like a one-time significant other's annoying friend, I have a maximum carry capacity before I start doing eye-rolls in my mind, and then in front of her, and then she points it out and then I say I have allergies, and then my girlfriend says no you don't (in an annoying Jennifer Aniston dismissive way), and then I don't answer, and then I roll my eyes some more and she points it out again saying "Like...oooooh my GAWD, he's roooolling his eyes again," and then I just flat out say "I'm am allergic, I'm allergic to you!" and then I wish a pestilence on her out loud. Maybe that's just me, but that's how I feel about Nantzy..
But you can relate, surely you had some third wheel, who followed you and your sweetheart around in college or just out of it, and at first their stories are entertaining and a break from the norm, then you realize they never, ever stop. Okay, the first time you farted on the subway was funny, the fifth time, not only are we beating a dead horse like Stallone and a boxing movie, but now I'm scarily aware of just how often you fart, and feel bad for blaming the dog most times you come over..
Yeah, maybe that's why when March Madness is over I barely tune into the Masters. I've had my fill of Nantz.
Truly, after wall to wall basketball by the time, the final four hits I somehow find the desire to want Clark Kellogg to talk more. It's crazy, because you start off not liking Kellogg. I mean even his mother doesn't want Clark Kellogg to talk more. She watches and like the rest of us hopes Steve Kerr is feeling loquacious. Clark Kellogg, is only superceded by Bill Walton doing a game badly. Now, they are both painful, but Bill Walton lost his stutter and never stopped talking. He's so bad I begin to think maybe that stutter was divine intervention for his parents sake when he was a boy. I know that's a horrible thing to say, and I don't mean it for anybody else that suffered/suffers a speaking problem other than Bill Walton, but there might be a reason he couldn't talk right.
And, I think the Grateful Dead finally became truly grateful dead as a way to stop listeing to Walton. Walton was following them around for years, and I bet that big red head's non stop talking in the audience made them crave the big sleep.
Okay, so it's almost that bad with Clark Kellogg, but over the course of two weeks Jim Nantz' prattling actually makes you crave more of Kelloggs input and you even cringe less when he says "Big Fella."
Actually, what it is, is I think Nantz is that pretty girl that you dated for about five months and you always forget why you broke up because she was so hot. Every old friend starts off a rekindled conversation, "With whatever happened to her?" Implying how did you fudge that one up. That's totally what Jim Nantz is. Forget the annoying friend analogy. He's way more under my skin that that. Definitely hot ex girlfriend/worms from the movie Prometheus level under my skin. Truth be told, I probably kind of fell for Jim Nantz at one point. He drew me in, his puns were once novel and almost fresh, and his setting of the scene not quite over the top, but then one day it was just over.
With the hot ex-girlfriend when you reach that point you are running away from her with the desire to set yourself on fire. Problem is you forget about it, because she's Hot, and all your friends worshiped you for dating her. So you might see her a year later, say in March, and weirdly have those butterflies in your stomach all over again, and then you talk to her and you are seriously blinded by her and thinking alright maybe you can do this... but then at one point it all comes back hitting you in the face like a skillet full of barbells. Ugh... Every March it's the same thing with Nantz Like the beaten down boyfriend you go, okay, yeah, Nantz is smooth, this going to be fun ride... maybe, just maybe it can work this ti... NO! GOD NO!
Nantz reels you in on the first week, but by the second week the cruise can't end quick enough, the only problem you are on a Carnival cruise line and there is no power to get to port. You can't finish the NCAAs without him.
Nantz seems, to me, to have lost his way as a broadcaster. Like any idiot who has a camera on him for decades at some point the thought crept into his mind that people were tuning into the Big Nantz and not the Big Dance (he'd probably like that one). Yes, he loves his puns. That's why when Steve Kerr said during the Finals, "No pun intended," I imagined Jim Nantz thinking, "Why would anyone ever say that? The pun is always intended"
Will I watch any of the Masters? There are about four, well maybe as many as eight golfers I care about. If any of them are in contention on Sunday, I'll brave that conversation with my wife, when she asks why I'm watching Golf. When she knows I hate golf. Yeah, I'll watch because one of them will probably be in it.
It's hard to explain to a non sports fan why you tuning into something you don't care about, or for that matter not caring about anybody involved in it, but you are appreciating the sport of it. I have similar conversations regarding the Final Four, when all my teams are out of it, or nothing is on the line for me (which thankfully wasn't the case this year, course had Michigan won, things would have been about two and half times better than they are with Louisville winning). I also have that talk during the NFL playoffs when the Saints and Cowboys are also on the couch like me watching other teams. What do you care my wife asks? It's the playoffs, I say and I think that's explanation enough.
Anyway, I totally was over the top and unfair to Jim Nantz, Bill Walton, and Clark Kellogg above but maybe that's kind of fitting. Only difference is they are so artificial about it.
On to POKER, that's right, that's my excuse for this blog, I played only a few events at the Beau and IP. I made one final table, for chicken scratch, I think the Beau did pay in actual chicken feed, and my chickens thank them, and I bubbled a small tournament that paid three. By that I mean I finished fourth. I ran deep in a few things but nothing to show for it.
At the IP, I played flight 1B of their four flights in Event one. I was building up a stack when I ran Kings into a full house. You want the hand? No? Well here it is anyway. Guy with too short of a stack to be limp-folding, limps with the intention of folding again, then a guy on my direct right who I had a snug read on raises. I peel back King... King. Yum and I'm on the button too!
One of my few big pocket pairs recently. I three-bet. Big Blind suspiciously calls. The limper, as predicted folded. The original raiser stews for a while and then calls. He also did one of my favorite tells, which let me know he was calling knowing he was beat. And he did it dramatically. I mean I already knew he was beat I had KK and he didn't refire at me, but importantly, the fact that he knew he was beat meant he was probably raising the limper in position with maybe a small to middle pair or some suited high connector like KQ. I doubted he'd then call the three bet with anything but the biggest suited connectors, AK, AQ or a middle pair.
I wondered if the blind was good enough to flat Aces there for a moment. He'd only do that if thought what had happened before him was a steal or resteal, and didn't want to chase me out of the pot, but I thought he was just calling hoping to hit something as the pot was big.
The flop came something like 664 (or 446?).
To my surprise the original raiser suddenly led out after the Big Blind checked.
So much for the best laid plans. Okay, did he lead out because he called preflop with the intention to steal if babies hit the board? Hmmmm... No. What he did preflop was a big indicator of weakness, this bet, and this guy was a tellbox so I'm not basing my suppositions on just his betting, seem suddenly strong.
At this point we were probably 1-2, 1-3, 2-3 or at worst 3-4 in chips at the table. Rob Quin, who kept getting Kings against me (okay, twice) was the other big stack at the table and was CL for most of it. We were also a couple of levels from Day 2. I think I had enough chips to be a bit on cruise control. But I wanted... MOAR!
Ultimately, I made two huge mistakes. I recognized my actions were shove or fold which I don't think is incorrect. The pot had gotten bloated with this guys large bet. I couldn't just call the flop and then fold the turn. I think I had like 29k at that point. He bet 7.5k. Granted I could have just called and called and called if I thought I were good, but my gut was telling me otherwise.
Then I focused on the fact that I had Kings and I beat a ton of pocket pairs that think they are good here.
Which means I ignored my gut.
Here's what I should have been thinking. I knew my Kings were good preflop. Suddenly the guy is strong and leading into me. He doesn't suddenly think 99 or 1010 is good now. He can only have quads or a full house. That's it.
So I should fold there everytime. Fold every time and trust my gut.
If I didn't have any tells, or some gut reaction, then yeah I gotta go broke with Kings there a lot, most, or all (?) of the time. But I did have that other stuff floating around my brain.
I knew I'd have chips left if I called (second mistake not getting an exact chip count because he ended up having a lot more than I guessetimated). I also hoped, maybe my gut was wrong as Kings beat so many hands. So I shoved. The blind folded and my opponent didn't call immediately, I'm relieved and thinking I'm good dude's got like jacks here... then, he asks if I went all-in,--yeah, I'm right next to you and just said it right in front of you, i still have my cards and the guy in between us folded. He goes, "Oh, okay I call." I turn over Kings feeling squeamish again and he shows a flopped full house. Fun.
Earlier me and the same villain got into a hand where I called him on all three streets with A10 (Ace high). On the river I deliberated betting not calling, and again erred because if he was on air, the way the hand played out he could easily have AQ or AJ and beat me at showdown. He had AJ, I showed A10 mad that I hadn't just popped him a bit on the river.
To my surprise, when I asked him what he would have done if I raised, he asserted he would have called. His little bets were just "milking" me and he knew where he was at. It was a King high board and I told him I would have played it exactly the same with second pair or King little. Oddly, I don't think he believed me.
This is a leak I got to figure out. I'm real good at making hero calls. But I'm also bad at not recognizing the spots where my read is right but at showdown I could be pipped. Need to find the click back button on the river more in those spots.
I mentioned I got slow-rolled twice at the IP. Late in a mega, I was short and shoved AK. I got called by an older gentleman. I turned over AK feeling vulnerable. He looked at it for a while. Then looked at the dealer who was about to get shift changed, and was talking to his replacement behind, and the player waited some more. What did he feel embarrassed about his hand? Oh... maybe he's got some Ace garbage here.
Finally, after about ten seconds or so, and only at the urging of the rest of the players, he tables two Aces. The table brings up the slow-roll. He replies he didn't slow roll me he was just waiting to get the dealers attention. That's a new one.
Look, I hate slow-rolling I try not to do it, and I think it's sleazy but... if you do it, please at least have a reason to do it, unless you are just a d**khead.. but then I guess you do have reason, your reason is simply you are being your self. Otherwise, if you going to slowroll me, have a purpose. Probably you should not have me outchipped so I'm not leaving when you win the hand. Doing it because you think you can tilt me and I will stay and play bad I suppose has its merits. Of all the excuses for slowrolling, doing it to piss off somebody to exploit them, I can take.
I doubt I'd ever do it, but poker is war so I can accept that. It's also why I refuse to let it tilt me when it happens. I'll get angry after the fact but I wont give up that edge when it happens. Now, if you got a short stack outchipped, and you don't hate the guy, do the right thing and flip the nuts over as quickly and as promptly as possible.
SURVIVOR: I love the strategy and the outwit part of this game. Philip, who is great comedy because he's so delusional about being the leader of an alliance that is all just leaving him around because he can't possibly win and just lets him think he's the mastermind, actually surprised me last night. He manipulated another player, Malcolm into using an idol to save himself, expose the fact he's a traitor, and as a side-effect likely exposed the fact he also threw his own alliance member under the bus by voting for him to save his own skin.
Not incidentally, that member who he voted for was the guy who gave up his idol for Malcolm (who actually wasn't in danger at all). Also, Malcolm had his own secret idol in his pocket himself. I loved the gameplay that went on at tribal. Malcolm took a big risk and bought the message Philip was falsely sending. It's like the ulitmate game of table talk during a big hand in poker. Call or not.
That was a fun episode because normally Survivor is too obvious. They want you to think somebody is going to get voted off then in reality the other person is getting voted off. You catch on, then it's suddenly obvious. But on some nights they are evenhanded and you don't know exactly how it's going to go.
Selective editing annoys me. To be fair, they never outright show you something happening at tribal without it being talked about beforehand. However, sometimes they force red herrings on you which likely are just the tail end of extremely hypothetical conversations the players have no intention of following through on but are fleshing out probably at some producers insistence. They do cheat the viewer a little bit, I think.
Nonetheless the show has to weather the episodes where they pick off the rest of the fans, and Malcolm things will get spicy as the favorites will turn on each other. There is one scenario I think where the laughed at Philip can actually win. To his credit he does have Dawn who is the worst tattle tell in Survivor history in his pocket, if he can keep her around she appears to be the only person buying in that he's the king. The other future ally he has is Sherri from the fans, who has no options but to ride his coattails. If they make the final three, by some miracle, then I think people would reluctantly vote for Philip over the other two. Could be fun.