You've just been offered $129,000 for a silver case with a big number on the outside and an amount of money ranging from a penny to a million dollars on the inside.
$129,000 is more than you've ever made in your life. It will solve every money problem you currently have. The bills will all be paid. The car will be yours. You can travel, you can treat your friends and family and you can gamble worry-free.
And you say, "No."More in this Poker Blog! -->
It's a game show that better demonstrates the human nature of greed even more than the short-lived game show named after the deadly sin. Of course, that old game show featured our own Joe Speaker, but I digress. And this time, we have a shiny-domed Howie Mandell instead of Hall of Fame host Chuck Woolery. Yet again, I digress.
In case you haven't seen, Deal or No Deal features 26 cases with amounts ranging from a penny to a million dollars. You select a single case which is yours if you keep it until the end. Then you begin opening the rest of the cases which eliminates the possibilities of those amounts being in your case.
Periodically, the "banker" tries to buy your case from you based on what's probably a rather simple formula that factors in the dollar amounts still in play. In other words, pick a bunch of cases with small amounts and there's a better chance your case has a big amount and, thus, you'll get a higher offer from the banker.
When the game gets down to about a half-dozen cases or so, the game gets really interesting. I sit on my couch and think, "How could they turn down more than $100,000?" But then I realize it's a lot easier to say that when I'm not the one staring at the possibility of five or ten times that amount.
And maybe that's the mindset we face at the poker table on a regular basis. How many times have you looked down at the nut flush draw, faced an all-in that gave you the wrong odds, and yet you called anyway? How many times have you faced an all-in reraise while holding pocket Q's and had to decided to risk it all on a hunch?
Humans are greedy by nature. Americans are greedier than most. Poker players are the greediest of all. We see that flush draw and imagine the possibilities. We see that big pocket pair and think it can hold up. We're often thinking less about the cards and more about the pot. It's in our nature.
The best poker players fight this urge. Greed is a powerful force. And in many cases it pays off. But then you have to ask yourself: Do I lose more the times it doesn't pay off than I make the times it does?
It may not have the ring of "Deal... or No Deal?" But it's a question that may save you a little money at the tables.<-- Hide More
When you walk in through the sliding glass doors, there are some women on the couch watching "Deal or No Deal" on a 64 square foot projection screen that doubles as one of the house's interior walls. To any observer who has driven through a foggy night, down an construction-crowded interstate, and then down a long, dark, unpaved driveway, this would seem like an ordinary rural house. Though the dozen or so vehicles parked in the back field might be a tip-off, the casual onlooker would only be guessing at what was going on behind the hollow wooden door to his right.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I knew, of course. I'd been there before. In an earlier post, I dubbed it the Spring Hotel. What's more, two of my poker running buddies (frequent readers know them as BadBlood and G-Rob) were already in the room, sitting around a curiously designed poker table. Black speed-cloth covered the top and a familiar dealer sat in the box.
I killed time waiting for a seat by playing a five-handed turbo SNG in another back room. I chopped the tourney and sneaked into the empty one-seat in the main game.
T.J. Cloutier told a story in a book with Tom McEvoy about winning $8000 in an illegal card room in Dallas, Texas. With big money in his pocket, he worried about getting to his car and on the road without getting robbed, or worse yet, killed. He knew one guy in the room was known to carry a gun and could be suspected of being a robber. Sure enough, that guy offered to escort Cloutier to his car. Cloutier said in the book that he wasn't sure whether to be more worried about getting robbed or about the guy who was escorting him.
I thought about this story as I drove the 20-something miles back home tonight. Back in Cloutier's illegal poker heyday, river suckouts were not among the players' chief worry. While calculating pot odds, hiding their tells, and making sure they didn't go broke, they were also worrying about being cheated, robbed, or busted. Every corner was a dark one and all the old school Texas road gamblers couldn't have been happier than when poker--legal, regulated poker--exploded in Las Vegas.
The Spring Hotel takes care of its players. As the sun set, pizza and lasagna arrived as a prelude to the 64 square foot image of Kellie Pickler getting the boot on American idol. After all the bellies were full, the players had their choice of snacks, sodas, beer, and liquor from a fully stocked fridge. I'd venture there are even very few casinos where you can get a can of Diet Coke, a plate of lasagna, a Bud Light, a shot of whiskey, and a Hostess Twinkie all within 25 feet of each other--and for free.
What's more, the Spring Hotel offers a professional dealer in the box. Anyone who has only played home games or player-dealt games does not know what they are missing. When a full-time pro dealer is running the show, the number of hands you see per hour skyrockets. What's more, you can concentrate more on the game and less on making sure you get the card to the eight seat from the three seat without flipping over an ace.
Of course, players are paying to play. The house charges a rake, takes money for a high-hand jackpot (straight flush to the ten or higher to qualify), and expects players to tip the dealer. At the Spring Hotel, the rake is reasonable, the jackpot is not small, and the dealer is good. So, it makes it all worth it.
There will never, ever be a poker game where someone will have an absolute 100% certainty that they aren't being cheated. Whether online, in Las Vegas, in a homegame, or in an underground card room, there is always the chance (no matter how minute) that someone is cheating.
Thankfully, the legal live card rooms and online poker sites have put in lots of money, effort, and security to watch out for cheating. That effort has allowed its players to feel as comfortable as possible while playing. Of course, there will always been worry warts and naysayers who refuse to believe the games are legit. There's no getting rid of those people.
Underground cardrooms are different, however. At the Spring Hotel, for instance, the guys who own the action and run the games often prop to keep the games going. While there is little difference in this and dealers playing in shift in some casinos, there is a nagging part of any reasonable brain that whispers, "keep an eye out for these guys."
I'd been playing a pretty roller coaster game since I sat down. I'd turned a set against a guy on a flush draw that missed and nearly doubled my stack. Later, I gave the dude half a stack back when he pushed all in under the gun. When I found pocket nines, I decided to gamble--putting the guy on 25% overpair, 25% underpair, and 50% big ace. He had aces and I, as expected, lost. Later I picked off a couple of loose players with my top-pair top kicker and made back what I lost with my gambling call earlier.
As the game started to get short-handed (G-Rob and BadBlood had left), I picked up pocket kings in the cutoff. With two limpers to me, I made a standard raise. The button called. Sitting in the big blind, one of the house players re-raised. While the guys has a fairly wide range of starting hands, he's more of a calling station than re-raiser, so I put him on something big (AA,KK,QQ). His stack was fairly short (only $64 behind). I raised enough to put him all in and was fairly surprised to see the button call. As expected, the house player called. When the flop came down Qxx with two clubs, I knew I had no chance of winning the main pot. The house player certainly had either outflopped me or was ahead the entire time. I pushed in my stack and got the button to call with his AJ of clubs. He missed, which was good, because his missed draw almost made up for the money I lost to the house player. Oh, I didn't mention? The house player, indeed, held pocket aces to my pocket kings.
For one half a second--if that--my brain whispered: you just got cold-decked, buddy. Then it was gone. Reason prevailed and I went back to playing.
In the past four months of online cash games, I've had pocket kings 127 times. In those 127 times, my pocket kings have been beaten by pocket aces four times. That's a liitte over three percent if you're keeping score. That is to say, running kings into aces happens. It doesn't happen very often, but it happens. If I were to focus on the four times I'd run into aces with kings, I'd not be able to enjoy the 77% of the times my kings held up for a win.
So, let me get one thing perfectly, perfectly clear: At no time did I ever believe or have reason to believe I was being cheated. To make everything very clear, I think the Spring Hotel game is on the up and up, fair, and not a place where I have to worry about getting cheated. Finally, if you need any more evidence that I'm not worried, I plan to go back.
All of that said, that half-second of worry is what has me pissed off tonight. It's not that I got unlucky. It's not that I only walked away from the evening with $11 in profit. It's that for one millisecond, I had to worry at all.
Who do I blame for this? Well, of course, the government.
Around town, you can find a game just about any night of the week and just about any level you want. The poker boom has spawned a cottage industry of poker entrepreneurs who know the demand is high enough for them to risk getting busted to provide the poker supply. Just a few years ago, finding an underground cardroom in these parts would've been very tough. Now, I get Evite invitations to tournies on the weekends. When I was in Dallas last week, I met people who make a good living running illegal cardrooms. One, if not more clubs there have web sites with schedules, directions, and everything.
The demand is intense. How do I know? Well, I get to play poker all over the world. I have unlimited opportunity to play for as high of stakes as I want online. And I want to play live in my adopted hometown. Why? I love to play live. I love the characters, the camaraderie, and the face-to-face psychological game.
So, if a guy like me who is fortunate enough to get to play poker just about anywhere he wants is hellbent on playing live in rural underground rooms, how do you think the people who are stuck here feel? That is, there's not a legal cardroom within a seven hour drive of this town. If someone wants to play live, they have to play illegally. And if they don't have a homegame, by God, they are going to play in a raked game in one of the rooms around town.
Earlier in the night, there was a three-way all-in preflop for a substantial amount of money in which a house player was the last to call the all-ins. One player held pocket aces. Another player held pocket jacks. The house player held pocket deuces. The house player spiked his deuce on the river and the pocket aces holder stormed out without a word.
Now, his exit didn't allow him to see that the house player donated all of his winnings and more back to the table within an hour. His exit didn't allow him to see that the house player continued to play as loose as he did with the deuces. Not knowing the loser, I don't know what was going through his head as he left. However, I wonder if he thought for just a second that he might have been cheated.
That's my point. The sheer nature of illegal cardrooms offers at least the possibility that the game might be fixed. While I can't stress enough that I believe this game is fair, the mere appearance of any impropriety hinders a player's ability to see things in a reasonable way, to accept that there are donkies everywhere, to accept that suckouts happen, and to accept that they got unlucky. That is, you start to see cheating where it doesn't exist.
So, the government.
I live in a state where thousands upon thousands of lottery tickets are sold every day. The legislators sold the conservative public on the game by saying a portion of the proceeds would go to fund education. This is the same state where 82-year-old ladies get busted for playing poker.
The overall hypocrisy sticks in my craw like a catfish bone.
So, tonight (this morning, actually) as the caffeine makes its way out of my bloodstream, I'm not angry that I got unlucky. I'm not angry that I didn't make any money. I'm not for a full second believing I got cheated.
I am simply pissed off that there is not a legal cardroom in this state where I can go and get unlucky without the worry of being raided, over-raked, or cheated.
I'm just sayin'.<-- Hide More
Poker is like baseball. I've always wanted to be good at baseball. I'm just fast, strong, and talented enough to compete... at poker. The good news is either sport is accesible to the fat and lazy. I've given up my dream of being Steve Guttenberg. Now I'm the John Kruk of poker and dammit I'm looking for food.More in this Poker Blog! -->
As a 12 year old kid, I was a Little League All Star. I'm not totally sure why. I wasn't the best pitcher in the league... but I was pretty good. I wasn't a great hitter, no power at all, but I made good contact. I coundn't steal second with a 9 year old catcher and an underhanded pitcher. Still, I was the perfect utility schlep. They put me sixth in the lineup and out in left field.
I may have played the worst baseball of my life that postseason. I never hit for power, but now, I just hit blooper flies. Yet, because of my size, the outfielders gave me room and almost all the bloopers fell. I never hit for extra bases but had more hits than anyone. We won the division, the region, and went all the way to state. It's a long bus ride to Murray, Kentucky. Actually, 5 minutes in Murray, Kentucky is a very long time. That's another story.
The point is, even though I played lousy baseball, I was very sucessful. I had the game-winning late-inning hit several times. I led the team as a hitter. It's sad but true. Nobody really understands. Baseball is like that. Sometimes hard hit balls land in someone's glove... and garbage bumpers from the tip of the bat drop for wins. String together enough crappy bloops and lousy players are lauded for skill while better players become goats.
Really, that's part of the beauty of baseball.
In poker this delusion of competence is dangerous to one's wallet. And unlike baseball with its billions of statistical qualifiers, poker is measured in simple black or red. If you won money you MUST'VE played well. It is a game of skill after all.
Granted, we all KNOW that isn't true. But how do I know for sure when I am, and am not, playing well. What is the most accurate measure? It isn't money.
Last night, I bought into a .50/$1 $100NL game at Blood's. I sat in at 12:30 and left when the game broke at 2AM. I cashed out at $503.00. I played like absolute crap.
I did make a few good calls, mostly against TheMark and 8-ball Tiltstien. Both have a tendency to make pot size steal bets on missed draws. On several hands I could wait, TheMark was just to my left, and if I had a good read, wait for the bet and win. Still, the two biggest pots of my night were pure suck city.
I have 88 on the button. The entire table limps around and I pop it to $5. Only TheMark calls.
The flop is 2,4,9 rainbow and Mark checks. I bet $12 and he smooth calls.
The turn is a 6, putting a second diamond on the board. Mark bets $20 and I raise to $50. He pushes and I call. He has Q9. I am dominated.
Guess what the river was?
My set of 8s is good. I double up with a 2-outer.
I have no defense of my play here. None. It was obvious he had me beat, or it should have been, but for some reason I thought my turn bet would close the hand. Once he pushed I had no choice but to call. The suckout was dumb.
I have K9o in BB and TheMark straddles it to $2. I call and Mark pops it another $5... which I also call.
The flop is 10, 4, J. I check and Mark bets $6. I call. I have one over and a gutshot. It's a garbage call.
The turn is a brick. I check and Mark bets $15. I have ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO CALL... BUT...
The river is a queen. I have a straight 9 to K. I bet $25. Mark raises to $75. I push for $200 MORE... Mark calls. His 2 pair is no good and I have yet another MASSIVE suckout win.
I finished up big. And didn't feel good about it.
I've struggled to put my poker game into context lately. I THINK I'm a pretty good play, albeit one prone to lapses in concentration. I've had a bad session or two lately and at least one of them was due to a total loss of focus. But how do I know where I really stand?
I suppose the obvious answer lies in my long term win rate. I am a winning player overall. But because the quality of opponents, the stakes, the games, and such are always changing it's not as if all wins come from all games. Instead it is possible that I win consistently against some players and lose consistently against others.
I need to know my batting average, my on base percentage, and my OPS. Actually, those numbers can lie too.
I think I'm OK at poker. But I have no idea.
At least, by now, I know I suck at baseball.<-- Hide More
A few days ago, I asked, "Who the f#$% is Aaron Brown?" Well, Mr. Brown has responded. As i expected, his quote may have been taken somewhat out of context. Or, more to the point, it's impossible for him to explain what he means in just the sentence the writer of the article allowed.
So, since I bet more people will read me than that New York Times rag, I'm going to reprint Mr. Brown's comment from my previous post below. I still don't entirely agree with the premise (and I may respond at some point), but at least it's explained more fully. Enjoy!More in this Poker Blog! -->
Sorry, I've been out of the country with limited Internet access or I would have replied before this.
The quote is not from my book, I spoke with the author, Tim O'Brien, for about an hour. Newspaper quotes are virtually always out of context, after all the article was about poker, not about me. That doesn't mean it's misleading, one of the skills of a good journalist is to take things out of context without being misleading. By the way, Tim O'Brien wrote a great book, Bad Bet, a few years ago.
I am not anti-tournament poker, nor do I think tournament winners are bad players. I do think that an essential part of poker is the goal of making money. Played without meaningful stakes, poker isn't poker. I think most people will stay with me that far.
A tournament is an in-between case. The stakes can be meaningful, but the goal is to be the last survivor, that is to bankrupt everyone else; rather than to make money hand-by-hand. True, you get paid to bankrupt everyone else, so you could say it's about the money, but in my opinion it's a fundamental change to the game to get paid for other people going broke as opposed to earning your money pot by pot. This is not a minor thing, I consider bet accounting to be a defining part of poker (and historically it's one of the key innovations that distinguishes poker).
Anything can be forced into a competitive sport. I used the singing/American Idol example with Tim, but you could substitute hunting versus target shooting or writing novels versus spelling bees or lots of other things. It takes similar skills to do the real activity and to win the simulated competition, but one is real and one is organized for entertainment of spectators. Some people are good at both, some at one, some at neither.
I don't disguise the fact that I think the real activity, at least with poker and music and other things I love, is better than the simulated one; but I don't argue the point. If you like tournaments better, enjoy them. Tournaments give a clear winner, we can know who is the best tournament poker player (at least for one game and limit structure on one day). I like that transparency, anyone can claim to be a great cash game player, tournament players have to prove it. But what I consider to be real poker requires additional skills: finding good games, collecting winnings, managing your play and your life.
A tournament winner can sneer that a successful cash game player is just good at finding rich bad players and keeping them happy, a successful cash game player can sneer at tournaments. I don't support either one. Both activities take similar skills, with some differences. There are enough people who do both well to make it clear that there's more overlap than divergence. Anyone who claims to be a good poker player should demonstrate that talent with top cash game players and with top tournament pros. Doing only one and sneering at the other is not attractive.
There's a separate question about whether tournaments reward good poker. At high enough blinds and antes in the late stages, it's more about the luck of the cards than poker ability. In the early going, it's more about maximizing winnings with weak other players than holding your own with good players, personally I think winners should be chosen by testing them against other good players. In between, it's about careful attention to tournament considerations, stack sizes and remaining players, as much as poker. I think it's possible to design a good poker tournament, but most tournaments are not well-designed in the sense of having a good chance of ranking the players according to poker ability.
Therefore I would not have chosen to be quoted exactly the way I was, it makes me seem anti-tournament. Also, the juxtoposition of the Steve Lipscomb quote makes it seems as if I am mad about my low World Poker Tour ranking. For the record, I have no beef with the World Poker Tour.
[Afterhought: I appreciate the fact that Aaron's response wasn't something like, "Well, I'm the guy who published a book on poker. Who the f$#% is the Luckbox!?!?"]<-- Hide More
I played like crap on Wendesday. Blood and I have been hitting this underground game with a fairly competent dealer and a good atmosphere. In the previous two trips there I'd won about a buyin and broken EXACTLY even. This time I was in no mood to play, and it showed. I've been playing pretty bad poker the last few times and, as he drove me home, I tried to figure it out with Mr. Blood.More in this Poker Blog! -->
It isn't smart to have a poker "style". There are two reasons really. First, if I know a player's "style" it makes it far easier to predict his holding based on his actions and his future actions based on his likely holdings. In this regard, players with a "style" are like computers. They lack imagination.
Second, having a style makes it hard to adjust my own game to my surroundings. When I sit down at a new table I can, and sometimes do, run all over it. I'm an aggressive bastard and people who don't know what to expect can be intimidated. Unfortunately, there are games where that style is just plain dumb and two of the biggest games in G-Vegas certainly fit that mold.
From the day I started playing, my stlye matched my personality. I'm aggressive as hell. I find weakness in other players and try to exploit it. I try to represent great strength even when I have none. Drizz once said I play the "LAG Role" to perfection. I think I'm typecast.
In the underground game and the famed "G-Vegas BIG GAME" the players aren't aggressive, quite the opposite in fact, they'll call damn near anything. In fact, there are several players at each who DO NOT FOLD... EVER! It's a pretty damn ridiculous way to play poker... and pretty damn profitable for everyone else... but it certainly negates my "stlye."
I've been playing when I'm tired... or hungry... or bored. I know better. I've written whole posts about it and won't do so again. Playing when not in the proper state of mind is foolish... for obvious reasons.
I think the solution is to remember WHY I play. I'm not in it for the money. I mean, we keep score with money so I want as much as possible. But I'm not a poker pro... and I don't use the income for my everyday life. Really, the poker bankroll is just that. I use my poker winnings to play poker. That way I don't have to use the family's actual money to play... and I can keep playing bigger games.
Still, the money is NOT a motivation.
Instead, I'm playing because I love the game. In this way the gambling aspect is somewhat irrelevant. It's part of the game, but no different that a squeeze bunt is part of baseball. I want to get better at poker and need to keep that as close as the motivation itself.
I think I lose sight of that at times.
FINALLY: AN UPDATE
A big thank you to all the readers who wished me well. My dad is back home and feeling OK. He had a pretty massive stroke but he's still alive and still... himself. That's good.
My wife will get more test results from yet another specialist next month. I'm quite sick of that crap... I hope this is the end of that.
I'm in negotiations right now for a new contract at work. If all goes well, there may finally be some stability. And I can go back to worrying about the turn and river.<-- Hide More
From tonight's WWdN on Poker Stars
Holding the hammer in early position, I smartly raise from T50 to T175. Beck decides to unwisely reraise to T450. Naturally, I push my T1360.
"well, here goes the tournament," Beck says after calling.
I show my powerful hand and Beck shows the lowly Big Slick. It wasn't even suited!
"HAMMER!" respected actor Wil Wheaton exclaimed.
"knew it," Beck said, resignation evident in his key strokes.
The PokerStars dealer laid out the cards: 2h 5d Tc.
The PokerStars dealer laid out the next card: Ad.
"oof," alan said, apparently unaware the hand was not yet over.
The PokerStars dealer laid out the river: 2c.
"suckout!" team PokerStars member Wil Wheaton exclaimed, followed by alan's, "wow," and then Beck's, "knew it." Finally, Stand By Me's Gordie yelled, "RESUCK."
The final word goes to the teen actor shot dead by terrorists in the classic flick, Toy Soldiers, "in an empty room in las vegas, phil hellmuth just felt a serious disturbance in the force."
If you're going to wield the hammer, respect its power. (Oh, and I was at the Playboy Mansion... happy April?)
From the one and only Blogfather we get this gem from an article in the New York Times on poker:
"The minute you make it a tournament meant to bankrupt someone else then it isn't poker anymore," said Aaron Brown, an executive director at Morgan Stanley and the author of a new poker book, "The Poker Face of Wall Street." "It's the same difference between being a career singer and being on 'American Idol.' Tournament play may be great entertainment, but it's not poker."
Come again? Tournament poker isn't poker because it's meant to bankrupt someone else? Does this guy believe Phil Ivey wants you to keep your money in the ring games?
Am I reading this wrong or is this guy crazy? (By the way, it's an interesting article if you haven't read the whole thing.)
I tried to get the itch back today.
I knew there would be some overlays in some of the day's biggest tournament so I figured I'd risk large chunks of my bankroll in an effort to get back in the MTT groove.
Raise your hand if you think that's a good idea?
Tonight it all ended during EasyCure's charity tournament when I got all my chips in preflop with KK vs. SoxLover's AK. I suppose my first mistake was being ahead. My second was suggesting in chat before I called that his Aces were gonna knock me out. The Ace on the river did.
And I was really hoping to impress the one and only Poker Babe with my advanced play. So much for that.More in this Poker Blog! -->
There Were Highs
I think by now most people heard about the streak last year. I had a pretty good run of it the last few months of 2005 leading up to the WPBT. January made me believe that perhaps the streak would continue. I chopped in a big live tourney at the Coushatta and scored some nice online cashes. When I got back from the WSOP Circuit Event in Tunica, my bankroll had never been higher.
Then February happened.
The Pacific 50K
There was a $9000 overlay today in Pacific's big tourney. On the very first hand, I more than doubled up when I turned a flush. From there I found ideal times to chip up and got myself into the top ten with less than half the field remaining.
70 places paid and I was no lower 30 for most of the tournament. I was feeling really good about my play.
Then a combination of card-dead-itis and an unwillingness to use my big stack during the critical third hour found me near the bubble. I barely scratched my way into the bottom rung before completely misplaying pocket 8s (that would be a preflop limp and a post Q97-flop push into the BB's Q7). It was a disappointing result.
February is a Cold, Cold Month
I guess I'm lying a little. The temperature here probably never dropped below 50 during the day and barely cracked freezing a few times at night.
Perhaps just the cards were cold. Of course, it's hard to blame the cards when you're barely playing.
February wasn't the best month for me. If you don't know, I work in television news. In fact, someone was crazy enough to put me in charge of a newsroom. Four months out of the year, my performance is measured by what a few hundred people each week write down in a diary. They are ratings months, and February is one of them.
I think my bosses have expected more out of me and this was a tough month. My contract was going to come up soon and I could do nothing but hope I got an offer. I wasn't ready to go and I didn't feel like going through a job search. When you're never in one place more than 3 years, it grinds on you. If I fulfill my contract here, it'll be a record 4 years in one place.
Not only were ratings weighing on me, but I was going through an extremely delicate negotiation with a top news talent in the market. The president of the company sent an email telling me to get it done.
Needless to say, my mind wasn't on poker. I manged to lose 2/3rds of my live bankroll in two brutal sessions at the Coushatta and I played very little online and dropped another couple hundred bucks there.
More than anything, I didn't want to play.
The Poker Stars $1 Million
There was an $80,000 overlay in the Stars Million today. I decided to buy-in directly to try and take advantage of that. Things started slowly, but I doubled through with QQ vs. AK after I flopped a set and rivered a boat when the second K gave him trips.
I was feeling pretty good about my game here, too.
Then I fell into the same funk I was in over at Pacific. Maybe I tighten up too much in these levels. Whatever the case, I found myself quickly moving backwards.
Then I violated one of my own rules. Never go bust on a hand in which you check from the big blind. Okay, so maybe it's not a hard and fast rule to follow, but it's as close as it gets in my "It Depends" world.
I'm holding Q7 and the SB just completes. The flop comes down Q93. He bets out, I raise, he calls. I guess I could have figured he had something at this point. The turn was an A. He made a nice sized bet, but I didn't believe he had an Ace, I'm sure he would have raised preflop. However, once I eliminted the Ace in my mind, I decided not to think about what other hand he would make this move with. I push, he calls, and shows Q3. Ugh.
The Barren March
When March rolled around, I had my top talent's name on a contract and the bosses were happy. I then got my name on a contract that keeps me in Lafayette for a couple more years. Then the ratings from February came in and they were a mixed bag, at best.
The work pressures have been greater than they were when I got here. I thought it would have been the other way around. And the pressures make me come home from work and not want to face any pressures at the virtual poker table.
Apart from my play on Stars, I played in a total of four online events in March. It's the least I played in a month in a long, long time. I hit the live tables again, this time in Vegas (bookended around a brief trip to the Playboy Mansion, if you hadn't heard). I managed to lose the rest of my modest live bankroll. I just didn't play well, and, frankly, my head wasn't on the cards.
April is only half over and the bankroll's not looking good this month. I've been playing more, but probably not with the right mindset. I'm jumping in events I shouldn't and playing bad tournament poker.
It's Time for a Change
I've consolidated my bankrolls down to three sites: PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Pacific. For some reason, I've played in just two events at Pacific since February. Part of my plan includes getting back into those soft tourneys more regularly. I also plan on playing more token satellites at FTP and using those to enter guarantees. Finally, I'll likely be playing more SNG's at Stars than anything else. I've had success there and I enjoy them.
I want to start liking poker again. But, frankly, I have to play well to like it. And I'm not gonna play well if I'm not playing.
Let's see if I can turn it around the rest of this month.<-- Hide More
[Updated with the sad, sad results. Apparently agreement with BG isn't the best thing.]
I feel bad because I owe you all a couple more Playboy Mansion posts. I've really been slacking here at Up for Poker, so I vow to get back on track.
But speaking of tracks... I've been working on the Saturday card at Tampa Bay Downs. BG says there are some really obvious favorites in about 2/3 of the races. I guess we'll see how much I know if my picks match his. Without further ado, here they are (TOP CHOICE listed first):More in this Poker Blog! -->
#3 Sweet Devil
#6 Little Bit Foolish
#7 Captain Zones
#3 Sweet Devil, #12 Lucky Dove, #2 Forli's Limit: We both liked the winner in this one.
#1 Windsor Dickens
#8 Rocky Plains
#7 Caper On Holme
#6 Angel by Day, #2 Savannah's Wish, #1 Windsor Dickens: My internet died around here so I didn't get to see it. My top choice got up for show.
#6 Success Affirmed
#9 Toka King, #5 Fire Striker, #6 Success Affirmed: My internet returned just in time to see my top choice turn right out of the gate. That's not a good thing.
#2 Bye Bye Ladies
#6 Stormy Babe
#10 Diamond Fire
#6 Stormy Babe, #2 Bye Bye Ladies, #9 Mysteriousness: I really, really liked Bye Bye Ladies but he came up just short.
#10 Hup Two
#3 Hots Is Hot
#3 Hots Is Hot, #7 Crafty Slew, #1 Volcanic Force: Wasn't too close on this one.
#5 Worldly Endeavor
#7 Splice Girl
#3 Witto Road
#5 Worldly Endeavor, #8 Rolly's Babysnooks, #9 Precocity Princess: My top choice came across first, but, for some reason, I didn't bet it.
#7 Professor Biggs
#9 Big Tex
#6 Sandy's Secret
#9 Big Tex, #3 Drivingmaxandmitzi, #7 Professor Biggs: This was my one and only big hit of the day. Big Tex went off at 12/1 and I had a $5 WP on him.
#9 She Too
#5 Dual Diagnosis
#2 Top Kitten, #7 Debs Gone Shopping, #5 Dual Diagnosis: Huh? Actually, Dual Diagnosis made a nice run after a slow start.
#4 Seneca Summer
#1 Tyler's Jewel
#8 Northcountry Chief
#6 Ceviche, #5 Notonetoquit, #1 Tyler's Jewel: Yet again, the best I could do is find one of my horses in the show.
#9 Secret Samba
#10 Full Flavor
#6 Puzzle, #5 Secret Lies, #10 Full Flavor: Unfortunately, Secret Lies screwed up a nice little pay day here.
#10 Light Night
#6 Lite Up, #3 Lakely, #10 Light Night: If the 25/1 shot Lite Up drops dead, I have the winner, the exacta and the trifecta. Dammit.
#9 National Anthem
#7 Go for Glitter
#8 Peter's Puddles, #12 Unreal General, #3 Major Parker: A fitting way to finish the day. The winner paid $72, the exacta paid $840 and the trifecta paid $8021. I, of course, was nowhere near those horses.
It was a big loss day at the track. I sure better find a way to improve before Kentucky Derby day!<-- Hide More
It was summertime, the time in South Carolina when the nights were as hot as Minnesota days and mosquitoes battled the bats for midnight snacks. It was a time before ceramic chips and thousands of dollars would sit on the table in the G-Vegas poker games. Back in those days, the days where the entire room's bankroll couldn't buy a home computer, we played in my garage. Lawnmower gasoline fumes hung in the air and mingled with the stale beer and liquor smells. We played on K-Mart-bought folding table-toppers and my 11.5 gram eBay chips were the envy of the G-Vegas circuit.
It was on one of those nights, then a pricey $20-buy-in event, that Shep brought his son to the game.More in this Poker Blog! -->
"Kid needs a nickname," somebody mused as we drank it up and slung chips around like we were big-time professionals.
I was one of many that night that figured we wouldn't see the kid again. After all, he was maybe old enough to drive and $20 buys a lot of Taco Bell and mini doughnuts. I was one of many players that night that found themselves wondering how such a young buck was winning. And I was one of many players wondering if we were wrong in introducing the kid to what some people still considered to be capital "G" Gambling.
Somewhere along the way--I can't remember if it was that night or some other time, maybe at BadBlood's--somebody dubbed the kid "The Wolverine." And somehow, it stuck.
Poker is a game that not only can, but will eat your soul if you let it. Just looking at four months of my own stats shows that I am just as tasty to the poker soul-eating monster as anybody. Of course, it wasn't until my soul was half-digested did I stop for a moment and wonder if I had been deluding myself for a long time. Indeed, I wondered if maybe I had let myself believe that I was stronger than all those people who warned about the dangers of getting in too deep. As bar singer Allen Ross once sang in a different context, "It's a slap in the face, it's a kick in the ass. That's what you get, when you get attached."
Wins and losses (and, yes, subsequent losses) had stopped phasing me a great deal. I'd grown numb to all of it. It's what I'm supposed to do, I told myself. And that's true, to a point. We're supposed to see the chips as chips and forget about the money involved.
Recently though, I've had a lot of discussions with Mrs. Otis about my frequency of play. She gently reminded me that I had a lot of other things in my life that I could and probably should be paying attention to. I resisted, of course, because I had a lot of things I wanted to do in the coming months. First and foremost, I wanted to get unstuck. This year has been a tough one and I've slid through a couple of slumps that were downright scary at points. What's more, as I'll likely be spending most of the summer in Las Vegas, I wanted to build up a side roll to fund a few WSOP events. Finally, I've recently become bent on playing in a WPT main event. I'm not sure how the urge set upon me, but it's become a bit of an obsession.
All of that said, I've cut back to 2004 frequency of play (at least in the last couple of weeks). While I can't admit to liking it per se, I think it probably has saved me from going down a dark road toward broke. Broke--poker broke anyway--is something that scares the bejesus out of me.
In the past year, I've met a lot of what I call The Poker Kids. In one particular case, I overheard a conversation with a kid who was talking about getting into a sit and go at a major tournament. His young friends were saying, "Go for it, man."
I heard him mumble, "I think I have an edge." He wandered off and I wondered if he could handle the buy-in to a $100 SNG. About ten minutes later, I found the kid seated between Greg Raymer and Carlos Moretenson. They we're playing for $10,000 a piece. A few hours later, the kid had taken second place to Joe Hachem.
The kids are everywhere. Anyone who even watches TV knows that. There are kids winning millions of bucks before they could've even finished college--if they'd gone to college in the first place.
Out in the mainstream, there are people who have what are some probably legitimate worries. These kids are playing for the kind of money that few seasoned mainstream adults wouldn't spend on a house, let alone risk on the turn of a card. What's more, these kids are skipping an education in favor of the big money available now. Frankly, its hard to blame them, I guess. However, in the event (some would say "eventuality") that the poker boom goes boom, these kids will wake up with no higher education and find themselves virtually unemployable. What's more, if the games do dry up (and I'm not ready to admit that is a certainty), these kids will be reduced to either playing against the best in the world for their rent money or being forced into a real job that doesn't pay in a year what these kids had been making in a month playing poker.
The Wolverine was good and got better. Just a few weeks ago, he drew the seat on my right in a local tournament and we played against each other for several hours. Although I had many years of experience on the kid, he had absorbed so much in just a few years of playing with us. He was making moves when he sensed weakness. He was careful when he should've been. At times, he was outplaying me. And once, when I outplayed him (maybe the only time all night), he pulled me aside to ask how I made my decisions on the hand. He wasn't cocky. He wanted to learn. Somewhere along the way, he has picked up the impression that I know something about poker, and he mines me for whatever information I'll give up. It's flattering, especially when most people consider me a drunk donk.
In one of many conversations with my wife, I admitted something to her that I don't think I've ever written here.
When I was a kid, I wasn't good at much of anything that required physical skill. I was an awful soccer player in kindergarten. I was a worse baseball player in first grade. From second to fifth grade, I was a tragically bad basketball player. From sixth through eleventh grade, I played football, but anybody who knows me knows that I wasn't very good at that either. After that, I played softball (badly) and frisbee golf (pretty badly) to get off my competitive jones. And, yeah, that's what it was all about anyway. It was that Otis family competitive drive that moved me to play games at which I had no talent.
And, in all honesty, when I started playing poker, I wasn't very good at that either. Even after playing through most of my teens and early 20s, I was a losing player. The first time I played in a G-Vegas game, I lost $50 and I thought I'd found yet another game at which I could suck all varieties of eggs.
And then something clicked. I'm not sure exactly what it was or if I can even define the exact moment. It seemed like I slowly formed some sort of poker consciousness and one day realized, "I can be good at this game. I can compete. I can win."
If we're being honest, I know I'm not a great player, but I know that I play poker better than I do almost anything. As I'm nowhere as good as a lot of people I know, I don't know if that realization makes me proud or sad.
What's more, I'm beginning to realilze that I may be a little late in capitalizing on the skill. Had I ten years of my life to focus at my current level on the game, I could be in a position to where I wasn't learning at the expense of other things in my life.
Thus completes the circle of hobbyist to big player to hobbyist.
At least for now.
The Wolverine hasn't graduated from high school yet, but he's one of the best players on the G-Vegas circuit. His results may not be as good as others, but that is largely because he can't round in this town without his dad.
Indeed, the Wolverine has instincts like few others and certainly 500% better than mine. What's more, he's young and his mind is still absorbing information like a sponge. He has a chance to be a top player when he comes of age, should his life take him in that direction.
Problem for me is, I don't know whether to advocate for or fight against the kid's interest--er, passion--for the game. First and foremost, I would kick anybody in the balls that suggested The Wolverine skip college. So, don't think I'm going there. However, is simply saying, "Go to college," enough to protect a young mind from the lure of such a great game? What's more, I get the feeling that the Wolverine feels a lot like I did when I discovered I could actually be good at something. Frankly, I think, trying to discourage someone when it's the one thing they can be good at is just asking to be ignored.
There are no answers here. Everyone has his or her own idea about what's right, about whether poker is a sin, about whether it can be considered a legitimate pursuit. Me? I'm still working on me and trying to figure out how poker fits into my big picture--if at all.
What makes this all much easier is that the Wolverine has a dad, and a damned good one. It's not up to me to make any decisions or actually be accountable.
What makes this all the more hard, though, is that I've got a son of my own and, if forced to right now, I would have to lie to tell him what I think he should do. Fortunately, the kid is more entranced with a sandbox now than a poker felt.
Maybe by the time he's old enough to tell a gutshot draw from the nuts, I will have figured this all out.<-- Hide More
In some ways, all hospitals are the same. The hallways lit by flourescent bulbs that are just dim enough to take the edge off of the cute Garfield scrubs on the overweight nurse behind the counter. I had to drive fast to get to Intensive Care in time for visiting hours which ended at 2:00. By the time I got there, Garfield the jolly nurse was ready to walk me to another wing. My dad was transfered to a standard room.
The good news starts there.More in this Poker Blog! -->
I think my last dozen posts have been on proper perspective. It's funny how major events in the SOMEONE ELSE'S life can give us an impression of the big picture. Still, I think gaining perspective from someone else's life is a lot like TV ads for high def. "LOOK HOW CLEAR THIS PICTURE IS!!" as they show a HD picture on the low tech box you already own. We're limited by the framework of our own experience. No matter how often we encounter the tribulations of others, we view them in the same detached way that we watch Rwanda or Enron or all the other things that totally screwed someone else. It sucks... my life isn't that bad... I really OUGHTA have perspective.
That's not how it works.
On Wednesday last week I was set to meet the wife at the doctor for some important test results. It's been something we've worried about for some time and, as I'm prone to do, I managed to postpone the real concern until the last minute. By that night I was nervous. Then, that same night, my mom called from a hospital in Kentucky. Dad had a stroke. At the time we didn't know how badly he'd been affected. I was scared shitless.
Needless to say, I skipped the famous G-Vegas "Medium Game" on Thursday. I think Otis crushed the table.
So let's get to the beef before we all choke on the bun. I'm not trying to be too dramatic here. It used to be a poker blog and I hope it will be again.
Dad had a stroke in his cerebellum. He's thinking and speaking as well as ever, and he can crush some physical therapy to regain the functions damaged by the stroke. Meanwhile, we got him out of the garbage Eastern Kentucky hospital that recommended, "Let's be conservative here. We'll watch the symptoms for a few days and then start physical therapy. We still don't know what caused the stroke but that shouldn't be a big deal."
Turns out he has a hole in his heart. He's at the Cleveland Clinic now awaiting surgery after they perform more tests. They have to perform more because the film from all the previous tests just disappeared in Kentucky.
The wife got mixed news while I was away. I don't want to detail that right now. But we're still waiting for more doctors and more tests which is the pinnacle of grand suck.
I came back to G-Vegas on Friday, once it was clear dad was headed to Cleveland. I think I'll catch the Indians versus the Mariners on Thursday if any readers need company up there.
I got back into town at about 6:30 and called Badblood for support. I needed therapy as much as anyone and I gave him the million dollar guilt trip about a game that night. We hit a fairly decent raked club for $200NL and played for a few hours. He wasn't in the mood to play live, but drove me there and sat in because he was helping a friend. That was nice.
I won about $140.
The first big hand, I had pocket aces, which normally scares me to death. I was cool as Otis' scalp in December. In early position, a player raised the $2 blind to $10 and was called by two others. I popped it another $25 and all 3 called.
On the pure low card, uncoordinated garbage flop, I was again in a place I'd normally be worried. People lose buyins in 4 way posts with pocket rockets. The original raiser pushed his short stack, another $35, and one player called. I raised another $50 to find out where I was and the caller ducked out.
My rockets held. I won a nice pot.
Thing is, I would usually have tells running across my face like when a crack junkie finds out he'll need to pass the SAT for a fix. The hand was right there but a huge risk was involved. My blood pressure never moved.
What's more, I've never played a more patient game. I didn't fall into bored calling station mode. I just played position and the players and won every time I went to showdown. It's funny, but by focusing on cards, I was able to NOT focus on all the other bullshit. I became a better, more confident player... not DESPITE the rest of my life... but BECAUSE of it.
What doesn't kill us, or the ones we love, makes us SMARTER.
I'll leave you with this. One of my managers just stopped into the newsroom. I'll go ask her now about her husband who had surgery for bladder cancer last week. I found out my grandfather has bladder cancer too.
If you see me playing, beware, my charmed life is getting rough... and I'm playing the best poker of my life.
This is still a poker blog.<-- Hide More
Hello kids, I'm back at work and ready to blog. Here's a quick peek at what keeps us busy these days.More in this Poker Blog! -->
A bit of buggery back in the news. First the latest dog-screw: This is how we reported it:
"WE WANT TO WARN YOU THIS NEXT STORY IS GRAPHIC... AND MAY BE OFFENSIVE.
TODAY... A CAMPOBELLO TEEN ADMITTED TO HAVING SEX WITH HIS NEIGHBOR'S DOG."
I have to a certain extent stopped defending my home state to bloggers elsewhere. This stuff makes it all worthwhile. Here's mor :
"THE SOLICITOR'S OFFICE SAYS THE SIX MONTH OLD PIT BULL LATER DIED FROM INTERNAL INJURIES... AS A RESULT OF THE ABUSE."
G?? You ask... surely this is an unusual news event. AHA! I say... because I like to add flair, this is the SECOND such case in the past few months.
Here one more news quote, just to help the story sink:
"THE NEXT STORY YOU'RE ABOUT TO HEAR MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.
A CAMPOBELLO WOMAN SAYS HER TEENAGE NEIGHBOR... RAPED HER DOG."
God help us all.
FLOPPING THE NUTS
Which brings us to this gem, it was in every show last week and I think it made national news:
"THREE MEN IN NORTH CAROLINA ARE ACCUSED OF PERFORMING CASTRATIONS ON AT LEAST EIGHT PEOPLE.
THE SURGERYS TOOK PLACE IN A SO-CALLED "DUNGEON" IN A HOUSE IN HAYWOOD COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA.
INVESTIGATORS SAY THE MEN ADMITTED PERFORMING AT LEAST EIGHT SURGERIES, INCLUDING CASTRATIONS AND TESTICLE REPLACEMENTS, ON SIX CONSENTING CLIENTS OVER THE PAST YEAR. "
You know folks, this sort of talk... on TV... is what pays my mortgage.
And you wonder why I've tried to make money at poker.
Actually, I'm long overdue for a poker post...I'll get to it this week. But this stuff is just worth sharing.<-- Hide More
Oh, sure. You've pulled a long poker session. You've done the 13-hour binge in the cash games. Your ass is leather. Your back is a mess of knots and monkey fists. Your mind is wandering from how much the guy next to you stinks to...if that dealer would just undo just one more button on her shirt. Damn, it's on me? I raise.
Or maybe, just maybe, you are the potentate of concentrate. Maybe you've sat and played the perfect session--not too long--but every move, ever riffle of chips, every glance from the corner or your eye is so calculated, the world's biggest abacus would never be able to figure out how you reached...the...perfect...conclusion.
Yeah, we're all perfect. We all have pleather asses and perfect concentration for as long as we want.
And where is the damned waiter?More in this Poker Blog! -->
This is a true story.
John was not his real name, but certain matters of legality and discretion preclude revealing his real identity.
There would be a moment that John would be sure he was fine, that every decision would be perfect. He had a monster stack of chips and found pocket queens in the small blind. A well-known pro sat in the cutoff and came in for a standard raise, at the time to 24,000. John figured bumping it to 90,000 would do the trick. It did not. The pro came over the top all-in.
Queens, despite their royalty, look decidedly and appropriately emasculated when you send them into battle for every one of your tournament chips. And in this case, the final table was just a few eliminations away.
It was a decision so tournament-threatening that John had forgotten about another decision he'd made before the final table looked so close.
Fatigue is hard to battle at the poker table. You can buy the dollar-a-minute massage. That might help. Or it might put you to sleep. A beer could do the same thing and chances are your concentration will wane. Coffee could do the trick, but it wrecks your stomach and sends you to the john every twenty minutes.
Our John was in the middle of a physical slide. His concentration and stamina were waning. The tournament's money seemed so far away and the chips seemed so hard to come by. What's more, the tableside waiters seemed to have gone on a permanent smoke break.
John, a young man, had picked up a covey of raibirds in the last day. He didn't know them. He wasn't even sure he wanted to know them. But there they were, watching his every move, studying his play, and then waiting to analyze it during the breaks.
The breaks. God, what John would've done for a break. He wasn't sure how he felt about the railbirds, but he knew he would kill for a shot of some mainline caffeine. Finally, when the break still seemed an eon away, John broke down and asked one of his new railbirds if he would mind running to the bar for him.
"Could you get me a Red Bull?" he asked.
Some railbirds are more like gnats. They are always there, you can't shoo them away, and all they really want is one sip of your sweat. This railbird was a gnat.
"Red Bull? Sure. I'll go get it...for a tenth of a percent of you."
Jesus. Fucking gnats.
Fatigue can play M.C. Escher tricks on your mind. Suddenly, the gnats can seem like ants. And ants are workers, right? And, damn, if John were to cash, a tenth of one percent didn't seem like that bad a deal. A tenth of a percent of ten grand would only be ten bucks, about the price of the Red Bull with tip anyway.
And so John sent his little worker ant to the bar for a Red Bull. Thirty minutes later, the fatigue had disappeared and John was back into the game.
Two days of decisions and concentration followed and brought John to the question of whether to put his entire tournament on the line with his pair of queens.
He stood from his chair and put his back to the table for one whole second. Then he turned around and announced, "I call."
The well-known pro's face fell. He turned over pocket tens, knowing he was well behind. He would stay that way. The queens held up.
Less than 24 hours later, John was at the final table. Less than five hours later, he stood up from his seat for the final time. He was the last person to stand up, because he had won the whole damned thing...for a million bucks.
And somewhere on the rail, the gnat was working his mental calculator. One tenth of one percent of a million bucks was...$1,000.
John not only had the distinction of being the champion. He was also the man that had downed the most expensive Red Bull of all time.
Note: I'm in the middle of an experiment that has taken me out of my normal poker playing routine. In the interim, I'm pretending to be The Poker Nerd and Drizz. More than anything, though, this means I'm learning new stuff about life and poker and how they fit together. In short, I'm trying to get my head on straight. So, the point is, for the next little while you might see a few of these stories that have nothing to do with how I play AK under the gun. Which is probably a good thing.<-- Hide More
I appreciate the efforts of my co-bloggers her to try and save me from my secret shame.
It's time I come clean.
I AM POKER CHAMP.
I am Poker Champ.
And I can prove it. LOL.
(Otis edit: Buncha people taking credit for my work pisses me off. How the hell else was I going to play on Stars without becoming the Champ?)
I do my best to not overly pimp my employer here, but I fear a lot of talented poker bloggers are missing out on a cool opportunity. So, as you all sign up for Iggy's WPBT WSOP satellite tonight, I invite you to come play in a cool +EV event on PokerStars (if I failed to mention...it's free).More in this Poker Blog! -->
The World Cup of Poker works like this. You pay 50 Frequent Player Points. You play in a heads up tournament with other people from your home state. If you win, you are on your state team. Then, your state team plays in a round robin tournament with the other states. The top four states play against two Team USA teams (you'll have the chance to qualify for those, as well). The winning team then goes to Barcelona for a live poker event with a $200,000 prize pool.
Yeah. It's free. You don't have to put anything on your friggin' blog. Yeah, it' a longshot, but it's free.
Each state has two qualifiers. The first one ran this weekend. The second runs either tonight or tomorrow night. Here is the Team USA schedule. Find yours and sign up. To register, go to your Stars software, click Events--> World Cup--> USA States.
I mean, after all, you're going to be on Stars tonight for this anyway:
What: WPBT WSOP Satellite #2
When: Monday, April 3rd @ 9PM EST
Where: Poker Stars
Tournament #: 21868191 (see private tourney tab)
Buy-in: $30 +3
Format: NL freezeout
Restrictions: Bloggers only
Have fun, folks. I'll be sweating you from my gainfully employed and hence excluded rail.<-- Hide More
We're sending bloggers back to the World Series of Poker. It was, perhaps, the biggest thing we accomplished last year. I think we sent 3 or 4 people last year, and I'm hoping we do even more this year. It's only $30, and even if you lose, you'll have the satisfaction of seeing one of our community taking their shot at a bracelet!
What: WPBT WSOP Satellite #2
When: Monday, April 3rd @ 9PM EST
Where: Poker Stars
Tournament #: 21868191 (see private tourney tab)
Buy-in: $30 +3
Format: NL freezeout
Restrictions: Bloggers only
Get in the game!
So this evening I've settled in to watch one of two SEC teams play in the final four. It's my lunch break after the 6. The wife says, "Your mom called, she's really worried about the rift among poker bloggers. She says you seemed like you were in a bad mood last time she called and she wonders if that's the reason. Is everything OK?"
Now, I hate drama. I liked "Million Dollar Baby" because it had girls punching one another which is GREAT TV, but I could do without all the weepy crap. That said, I'm amazed by this April Fools.
You see, Blood and I had a beer at Beef O'Bradys. That's the name of a bar. It's not a gay bar as far as we know, but the name makes you wonder. Anyway, we hatched that silly scam to fool our internet brothers. I was worried when I set the story at Mark's game because I know many of those players read our blogs and I figgered they'd ruin the joke.
To my surprise, none of the internet brothers (and sisters) were fooled. THE PEOPLE AT THE GAME, HOWEVER, BOUGHT THE WHOLE THING. This makes me wonder if I've wasted a lot of time trying to disguise my tells against them, when they were all able to easily believe that they misssed a fist fight between me and Otis.
But, I digress, I can't believe concern over "a rift among poker bloggers" has cropped up in my MOTHER'S calls.
Jesus.More in this Poker Blog! -->
A POKER MOMENT WITH G-ROB
Last night the wife was very tired and went to bed early. I had thus lost the biggest game of the weekend and tried my luck online. I won a few buyins at the $50NL ring. It was OK but I was just as focused on getting something up on the other site.
Speaking of the other site, my mother, (I think it's both sick AND twisted that I've now mentioned her 3 times in a poker post) asked for it's URL the other day. I lied. If she's worried about the rift here, I shudder at what she'll find there. Here's a quick reason why:
MOM: "Hey, we're driving home from Lexington, how are (Wife) and the girls?
ME: Good. The girls are good and as far as I can tell (wife) is fine.
MOM: "She's sick all the time???! WHY?!"
MOM: "Oh! I see. She's pregnant isn't she?"
ME: What the hell are you talking about?
She's reading this now, by the way, but I felt I owed a warning to our readers. Somewhere out there is a woman just like me except... half as tall, twice as old, and 50 times stranger.
AGAIN, I DIGRESS
See, I've been busy with crap like that lately. Despite the lunacy of my mom's inquisition, I've been very concerned about my wife's health. It's a long story, but I hope to know more in a few days. Plus, the oldest daughter, the one who broke her wrist in gymnastics class a few months ago... destroyed her chin for seven stitches last week. Very bloody and gross... and much worse for the message the school nurse left on my voice mail at work.
"G! This is XXXX the nurse at XXXX's School. There's blood everywhere and XXXX is really hurt. You need to get her to the hospital!!"
I, of course, totally freaked out. I mean, hasn't a nurse seen blood before... EEEESH!
THIS POST IS BECOMING A GIANT FREAKING DIGRESSION... SORRY
So... about poker. See for me poker play is a function of what I bring to the table. The mental preparation is a huge aspect of my game. I've had both good and bad nights at the medium game lately and I've noticed the way I feel when I sit down translates perfetly in my play itself.
I can't be absorbed with illness, injury and mom if I want to play good poker. For that reason, I haven't played much lately. I mean, I never miss the medium game itself. But I never play online.
Last night, as I played on Stars, I realized I hadn't played online in close to 2 weeks. I'd probably only played 3 or 4 times in the 2 weeks before that.
I need to get my shiznit tight before I gamble the roll. I think I've learned that by now.
As for the live game, I realized that my level pf patience IN the game is related to my excitement ABOUT the game, Oddly enough, the more I look foreward to a game, the worse I play.
That's where my fight with Otis comes in. We made up the thing before, but if I can dread the possiblity of having to punch him each week, perhaps it will keep my game moving in the right direction.
In fact, I intended to write this whole post about the MOTIVATION behind my play itself. But I see that rat bastard just did the same thing and now I have to wait a week or two before touching the topic. I'm not the third blogger here... I'm the third freaking RAIL.
Happy April Fools.<-- Hide More
Naughty girls have more fun!
It's on my T-shirt and as good of a credo to live by as any. Of course, when you're going to class all week and spending the rest of your time in front of a computer pokering, you don't get too much time to be naughty. But I try!
I just got another "A", this time in my Advanced Concepts of Adult Health course. Now as long as I can score that A in my Molecular Biology of the Cell, I'll have a 4.0 for the semester.
Dammit! I knew he hit that flush on the river. But I can't really lay down top set. Grinding out my bonus on Absolute Poker is tough.
Maybe I shouldn't be playing poker, blogging and completing an online test all at the same time. I think SK worries I spend too much time in front of a computer, but when we get to celebrate all of my outstanding grades, she doesn't mind so much.
Ooooh, I just flopped the nut straight. Now if these boys just stick around long enough, I should get back up for the day. I suppose focusing on this test would be a better idea, but this one is pretty easy. I made a 100 on the last test in this course, so I'm not worried so much. Besides how hard is it to bet the nuts? (I just wish I had the nuts more often.)
Uh oh, SK is here. I guess I should finish this test and get moving. We're celebrating my A in Anatomy and Physiology. I'm wearing the nurse outfit I just bought, I think SK likes it.
Sorry boys, told you naughty girls have more fun!