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Saturday, April 30, 2005

Another Question With No Answer

Can someone tell me why it is that playing donkey poker is almost more fun than playing correctly and trying to win $$$?

Scratch that, it IS more fun.

I had a few minutes to kill at lunch one day this week. I spent it playing raise-or-fold among the always challenging $0.05/$0.10 limit tables on Prima. Despite capping any 2 cards preflop, I still ended up 15BB in 15 minutes.

Wasting more time today, I entered a FPP freeroll on Party. I got bored just before the first break, and started going all in on any unraised hand. I got a disturbingly large amount of pleasure from doubling up with 4-2 off. Of course I eventually busted, when my 10-9 sooted lost to A-J sooted, but it was still the most enjoyable part of the thing.

Last but not least, I'm donking it up at $0.50/$1.00 on Party as I type this. VPIP of about 55%, preflop raise is at about 40%. I apparently need to focus, as both numbers are WAY too low.

Donking is fun.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Sometimes The Hammer Works In Limit Too

I'm sorry, I like hand histories. I have no content to add anyway.

Party Poker 0.5/1 Hold'em (10 handed) converter

Preflop: Hero is CO with 2d, 7c. MP2 posts a blind of $0.5.

1 fold, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, 1 fold, MP2 (poster) checks, 1 fold, Hero raises, 3 folds, UTG+1 calls, UTG+2 calls, MP2 calls.

Flop: (9.50 SB) Ad, Qh, Ah (4 players)

UTG+1 checks, UTG+2 checks, MP2 checks, Hero bets, UTG+1 folds, UTG+2 folds, MP2 folds.

Final Pot: 5.25 BB
Hero shows [ 2d, 7c ] a pair of aces.
Hero wins $5.25 from the main pot with a pair of aces.

Scraps Only

Virtually no content to post, since I've played very little since clearing that Party bonus.

I played that $20+2 MTT earlier in the week, and played like a complete [expletive deleted] donkey. My propensity to lose battles of the blinds continued, as I raised KK in the SB into the BB, who called. Flop came A-A-rag, I get frisky and bust when it turns out the BB had AQs. Also replayed a Prima Level 3 WSOP SnG, and lost on a stupid play. One limper, I complete from the SB, BB checks. I make 2nd pair with my 9-7o and push based on a read of opponent weakness. Right read, as BB folds and the bigger stack calls with A-high (AQo), but wrong move, as I lose the coin flip when a Q comes on the turn. Guess I should have played that one weak tight.

I did spend a few minutes updating the look of this here blog. I messed around with the template to reduce the amount of dead space on the left margin, and am planning on redoing the blogroll on the right. I also need to restore the link to RIGGED! in order to ensure that anyone who believes that internet poker is on the up-and-up hears the truth.

Beyond that my mind is a blank slate. I have a couple photos to take for an upcoming "gallery of the absurd", but we'll see when I get around to doing any of this stuff. Good thing the weekend approaches.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This Is Not Good News For Katie Holmes Fans...

or is it?

Tom Cruise & Katie Holmes Dating

"The Insider" has confirmed that megastar TOM CRUISE and "Dawson's Creek" cutie KATIE HOLMES are dating. The couple were spotted holding hands and dining out today in Rome, where Tom is accepting a David di Donatello Award for lifetime achievement, the Italian equivalent of an Oscar.

"They have been dating for a couple of weeks," a source close to the couple tells "The Insider."

Cruise, 42, broke up with actress PEN√ČLOPE CRUZ in January 2004 and was recently seen leaving a party for 'Collateral' pal JAMIE FOXX with Latin bombshell SOFIA VERGARA.

Holmes, 26, separated from 'American Pie' actor CHRIS KLEIN in February after their engagement was called off. In recent weeks, she was spotted getting cozy with actor JOSH HARTNETT. Neither of those pairings had been legitimized by the new couple's reps.

This surprising new coupling was verified by the superstar's publicist. Both actors have blockbuster movies coming out this summer. Katie stars in 'Batman Begins,' opposite CHRISTIAN BALE, while Tom headlines director STEVEN SPIELBERG's 'War of the Worlds' update.

Link here

Basic Strategy

Some deep poker thought:

Let's say you're playing a $20+2 MTT crapshoot. It's early. You get dealt KK in the cutoff, raise it up, get a caller. An ace comes on the flop, your opponent calls your decent sized feeler bet and plays at you on the turn. You abandon ship and fold in disgust.

Here's the textbook example of how you should play the very next hand you are dealt:

***** Hand History for Game 1963105799 *****
NL Hold'em Trny:11697480 Level:3 Blinds (15/30) - Wednesday, April 27, 20:28:19 EDT 2005
Table Multi-Table(319462) Table #69 (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 9
Seat 1: cmeth ( $2160 )
Seat 3: on_thg ( $655 )
Seat 5: thedude81 ( $2405 )
Seat 6: moesizlack ( $1550 )
Seat 7: zurk11 ( $1605 )
Seat 8: BigDogALS ( $210 )
Seat 9: Coolhand2286 ( $470 )
Seat 10: Vecchioni ( $1490 )
Seat 4: jpelco10 ( $2670 )
Trny:11697480 Level:3
Blinds (15/30)
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to on_thg [ 2s 7c ]
moesizlack folds.
zurk11 folds.
BigDogALS folds.
Coolhand2286 folds.
Vecchioni folds.
cmeth folds.
on_thg raises [100].
jpelco10 folds.
thedude81 folds.
on_thg shows [ 2s, 7c ] high card seven.
on_thg wins 145 chips from the main pot with high card seven.

Any questions?

Monday, April 25, 2005

This Is A Good Different

Okay, so I finished clearing the Party bonus. I ended up +$127 including the $90 bonus. It would have been better but for my ingenious idea to drop down to $0.50/$1.00 for the last couple hundred hands. I dropped like $40 in just over a hundred hands and immediately went back to the friendly confines of $2/$4. Yeesh.

Anyway, as I write this, I'm sitting at a Full Tilt table playing a 7-stud hi/low tournament with Richard "Quiet Lion" Brodie at the table. Why am I playing this? Probably because I'm an idiot. It was something to do, and I hadn't seen any tournaments that I really wanted to play. It's a shot at a smaller WSOP entry for $26 which, coincidentally was about what I had in my account. It's different, but so far a good different.

So, anyway, the Quiet Lion has been good about chatting with the table, and in turn the table has been pretty cool about his presence. Oh, I'm sure he gets tired of answering the same old questions, but I guess it comes with the territory.

Now, if I could just stop playing like a total moron, maybe I'll survive the first hour.

Edit: I did survive, but busted out 21st of 132. Ran pretty well for a while, and then went completely card dead. I don't really know what a good starting hand is, but I do know that K-9-4 rainbow over and over isn't. Yeesh.

In That Third Paragraph, We're Going To Delete The Word "Reasonable"

Yup, I'm bored. Let's blog.

I won’t be the first with a Vegas list, and I surely won’t be the last. But because it’s more entertaining than doing nothing while this conference call drones on, I give you:

Seven Things I’m Looking Forward To Doing In Vegas As Of Right Now:

1. Staying awake for as many hours as is humanly possible. Sleep is for the weak, right? Taking maximum advantage of “free” casino drinks is also part of the deal.

2. Playing as many different –EV games of chance as possible for low stakes. I can’t say that I’ve ever played Craps, Roulette, Baccarat, Casino War, Let It Ride, Spanish 21, 3 Card Poker, Crazy 4 Poker, Carribean Stud, Pai Gow, Keno, Casino Bingo, Sic Bo, the Big 6 Wheel, the game where you bet on the mechanical horses, or made an actual bet at a sports book. It is time.

3. Determining who has the larger noggin, Human Head or yours truly.

4. Walking up to every little person I see for purposes of asking “are you the famous Iggy”?

5. Watching Bob and hopefully a couple more bloggers play in the WSOP. This includes getting a chant of “Huge junk! Huge junk!” going any time the hammer is dropped.

6. Checkraising someone on the river while playing the board. In an ideal situation, this will happen in such a way as to make me the first player eliminated in the WPBT tournament.

7. Just hanging out and soaking it in.

The one month mark is rapidly approaching.

Otherwise, I’ve still got about 300 hands to play to clear the latest Party bonus, so I’ll probably be doing that the next couple nights. I’d also like to try and satellite my way cheaply into one or more of the Super Weekday MTTs. The MTT itch is resurfacing, and even though it’s been a while since I’ve cashed in a multitable – they’ve been seriously –EV the last couple months – I’ll probably give it a scratch. It would be quite a bonus to have some extra gambling money come my way between now and June.

He Plays Goot

I got home in time to watch the last 11 players battle it out for the WSOP seat.

Way to go Bob. That is all.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Commence Rant Mode

The post is rated at least PG-13, and probably R, for repeated dropping of F-bombs and such. If you are offended by such things, please click on over to Yahoo! or something similarly inoffensive. It also has no poker content.

I'm a mainly mild-mannered person. I have low blood pressure. I haven't beaten the crap out of anybody in approximately forever. I'd rather avoid an argument if at all possible. Most of life's little annoyances -- old people with 37 items in the express lane at the grocery store, jackasses in giant SUVs that tailgate you at 15 over the speed limit, Carrot Top -- don't really concern me all that much. I rarely get too excited and pretty much NEVER confront anybody over their moronic behavior, no matter how egregious.

I came very, very close last night.

The cause? I FUCKING hate people that need to run their FUCKING mouths during concerts.

Let's break this down. I paid $25.00 for my ticket, plus enough Ticketmaster surcharges to keep the lights on at Evil Empire World HQ for at least 12 minutes. I'm here for a reason, to hear the show. I'm presuming you paid the same amount, and that you at least don't hate the performer. I get exactly zero enjoyment from hearing what you have to say. Shut up already.

And WHY THE FUCK can't you turn off your FUCKING cell phone during the show? I will concede that at least you turned off the ringer, but that's little consolation when you decide to answer a call in the middle of an acoustic number and yap with someone about your plans for later. Send it to FUCKING VOICE MAIL. It's not like the bars in Chicago close until 4 AM, so you'll have plenty of time to make a connection, get loaded and fuck the Billie Joe lookalike of your choice until the sun comes up. Make the call LATER, bitch.

And you all, over there. If your goal for the evening was to drink and talk, LOUDLY, to your friends, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU EFFECTIVELY PAY A $25.00 COVER? There are sixty-four bars within ten blocks. Probably half of them have bands playing, so why not save yourself a bunch of money, since you can ignore the band just as effectively, while still accomplishing your apparent goal of being a complete tool, getting kicked in the junk by security and hopefully thrown out on your ass. Oh, I'm sorry, that would imply that you have a brain, which your behavior clearly indicates that you do not. ASSHOLES. All of you.

Last night was the second time I've been to a show at the Vic Theatre. It was the same thing both times. I've been to dozens of shows in dozens of venues in a variety of cities and have NEVER had anything close to this level of annoyance.

There are plenty of concert jackasses that don't bother me. I don't mind the people who are waaaay too into the music. I can tolerate a certain level of audience participation in the form of singing along. I get at most mildly annoyed by people who are overly enthusiastic about stuff (Artist: "my musical influences include Gram Parsons" Nutjob in Audience: "Gram! WOO!" Artist: "... Lucinda Williams" Nutjob: "LUCINDA! WOO! WOO! YEAAAAH!") and the members of the "PLAY FREEBIRD!" set who shout out requests constantly. Lord knows there wasn't a shortage of any of these people last night. Hey, dumbasses, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. You suck, but I can deal.

And yet, there I was, close to going over the edge and sucker-punching the nearest perp. Nobody, but nobody, pushes my buttons like people who won't SHUT UP during the damned performance. IDIOTS.

Okay, rant over.

Deep breath.

As you've probably inferred, I drove down to Chicago last night to see my favorite wayward angel, Kasey Chambers,

who graciously included Chicago as one of two U.S. stops on her way to Europe for a brief tour. Aside from the chattering fucktards, it was a very good show, which included several songs which haven't found their way onto the playlist at previous shows. The list:

1. Like a River
2. Not Pretty Enough
3. Last Hard Bible
4. Nullarbor Song
5. Cry like a Baby
6. A Little Bit Lonesome
7. These Pines
8. Pony
9. Stronger
10. A Million Tears (w/ Matthew Ryan)
11. Lost & Found
12. The Captain (Solo acoustic)
13. Do Re Mi (w/ Bill Chambers) (Woody Guthrie song)
14. Cow Cow Boogie (Song from the 1930s)
15. Crossfire
16. Barricades & Brickwalls
17. Water in the Fuel (w/ Bill & Nash Chambers) (Fred Eaglesmith song)
18. We're All Gonna Die Someday
encore 2
19. Changed the Locks (Lucinda Williams song)

Good times.

It was all over far too soon and I got to drive home through a blizzard. It looks like the August tour is going to be of mainly outdoor shows, so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for better weather and for "nearby" venues other than the FUCKING Vic Theatre.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Is My Co-Pilot

I am such a retard sometimes.

Whenever I’ve had a spare minute this week, I’ve been dinking around, trying to figure out exactly how and when I’m going to get to Vegas. The focus has been on flights.

Option #1: Fly out of an airport close to home. Best ticket price, $350

Option #2: Drive an hour and a half to Lansing. Best ticket price, $263

Option #3: Drive three hours to Chicago. Best ticket price, $138 + taxes/fees.

Option #4: Drive three hours to Detroit. Best ticket price, $250 (Spirit), $350 (Otherwise).

(Random aside: Airfares are so rigged.)

If drive time and ticket price were the only variables, I could probably come up with an answer. But that would not be me. No, sir.

When you’re me, you have to consider things like the probability of the airline going bankrupt and ceasing operations sometime between now and early June, the price of gas, what time in the wee hours I would get home driving back from the airport, how many stops are involved – I prefer the shortest direct flight possible, as I have legs that are longer than whatever the sadistic monsters who determine airline leg room think possible. It’s not all that pleasant having your knees jammed an inch or more into the back of the seat in front of you, especially when it’s for hours at a time. Long layovers suck, too. I’d like to add to my collection of Northworst frequent flier miles, but to get a direct flight I’d have to drive to Detroit.. Hmm. Too many variables.

Sometimes I just can’t make a decision.

The ultimate call has been largely made for me. The Chicago price must have been a yesterday-only deal – thanks anyway, Ted -- and it’s back over $218. I’ll go with the shorter drive, direct flight and unfamiliar airline which may or may not go bust. I’m Lansing-bound. Prayers for the fiscal health and general safety of Allegiant Air will be uttered on a regular basis between now and then.

Why am I blogging about this you ask? Go back and reread the first line of this post.

As further evidence, I just remembered Hooters Air. Phew, not cheaper.

I’m off to find an extremely cheap downtown hotel room. As a heads-up for anyone who hasn’t booked yet, the Barrick website has been showing the Plaza and Las Vegas Club as sold out for Saturday night (the Club for Friday too), so don’t delay.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

A Hollander Joke Would Not Be Out Of Place Here

Sometimes playing tight is easy.

Opened up a $2/$4 table to waste a few minutes this evening. Played exactly 1 of the first 44 hands. I threw a buck at A9o in the SB. By far the best down cards I saw. I don't know what VP$IP% that is, but it's less than 3%.


2+2 Post of the Day:

"one of my favorite vegas games is crap slots. everyone decides on a good place for dinner. everyone gets $10 in nickels. last man with money pays for dinner. you have to cash all the coins out each time - no playing credits. this is wildly funny after several drinks. nickels fly everywhere, and people stare at you with great confusion when someone lets off a huge stream of profanity during a big payoff."


I think I might like to know what the problem has been with Bloglines and Blogspot feeds today, but I'm afraid the technical explanation might cause my head to explode.

This Post Is Just 1,424 Words Long

Because I like both the idea and the submissions so far, here's another response to Bad Blood’s "WSOP Fantasy" challenge. Don’t read it if you don’t have time to waste.


Sunday afternoon is morning number three in Vegas. I stumble out of bed. I'm in a bad way. Winning hurts.

But it's a good hurt.


Flashing back to the events which caused the big hurt, it's Friday morning at the Rio and I am nervous as hell. WSOP Event #2. Me. Never played a live tournament in a casino before. This is just not right.

But I'm still damned glad to be here.

I check in, draw my seat assignment and start at Table 22. Good start. Lots of nobodies, most of whom obviously qualified online.

And how about this -- Phil Hellmuth actually showed up on time. I know, because he sat down on my right. Dammit.

At least he wasn’t on my left. Still, not good times.

Let’s get set up. I don’t bring much gear with me. I have my paperweight card protector. My MP3 player is stowed, only to be called upon in times of need. I have a bottle of water. I’m wearing a ridiculous Hawaiian shirt and shorts, so I look exactly like what I am -- dead money. I have my second most egregious pair of Blu Blockers I couldn’t find the oversized pair that makes me look unfortunately somewhat like Louie Anderson doing an Elton John impersonation. Nobody will be looking deep into my soul today. I am ready.

Okay, first hand. J2o. I know how to play that! The blogging contingent on the rail cheers the fearless fold. I think I even got a "You Da Man!".

Game on.

Hellmuth departed long before he usually arrives. God bless Party Poker. The second hand of the tournament, some middle-aged fat guy in a Party hat goes all-in under the gun. Another middle-aged fat guy next to him in a Poker Stars visor cackles with glee and also pushes. It’s folded around to Phil on the button. He does what only Phil can do, engages in some extreme mental and verbal gymnastics, and finally calls, muttering something about “great laydowns”. UTG flips up pocket 2s. UTG+1 shows AJo. Hellmuth just about breaks the table when he slams down pocket Kings -- what else?. A two comes on the flop, nobody else improves, and Phil goes home in 2199th position. He goes home, that is, after he takes a couple swings at the internet guys and is escorted out by security. Good times.

“I had to do it,” says Guy #1, “it’s good luck to play ducks when you’re seated at Table 22”.

Live poker is so rigged.

I’m sad that I missed my chance to ask Phil why he doesn’t play the REAL top 10 hands in poker, but vow to soldier on.


I make it through to the dinner break with a slightly increased stack. I’m playing extremely tight, and only picked up two decent pots, both from the big blind. One of them was a set of 5s, which got me half of a Full Tilt guy’s stack.

The break is spent eating cheap and tasteless Harrah’s cafeteria food with bloggers. Ideas are bandied about as to how to improve my chances of winning. A plan comes together. There are multiple volunteers for the job of standing in Isabelle Mercier’s line of sight and just staring longingly. Grubby will get a triple order of Wendy’s and enjoy a leisurely dinner as close to Thunder Keller as possible. Bob will change into his legendary sleeveless Hammer shirt and find a spot in Jennifer Harman’s general vicinity. Dr. Pauly will find a way to engage Chris Ferguson in some sort of existential debate before play resumes. I ask Bad Blood to take out Mike Matusow, "Tilt" style. We’ll see about that one. The Blogfather will wander around, asking those still in if they play on Party. Hopefully that will get minds off this tournament and onto thoughts of easy internet money. The list goes on as everyone puts their special talents to use. It’ll be a miracle if any of the remaining pros can concentrate at all.

There’s only one requirement of me. Drop the Hammer.

As play resumes, I'm handed a secret weapon. It's a plain black baseball cap, with the three most powerful words in the English language written in white.

You got it.


The pros should be afraid. Very afraid.


The later sessions are relatively unremarkable. I double up twice and can mostly sit back. I'm pushing hard with AA, KK and the Hammer. I steal the blinds of anyone who gives any hint of weakness, and only get caught with my hand in the cookie jar once. Stupid AQo.

Before you know it, we're down to the final table.


It's interview time.

ESPN has sent the lovely and versatile Dana Jacobson to be the sideline reporter for the early events. She asks me the usual questions about where I'm from, what I do for a living, and how I qualified. We get in a couple sound bites about the Hammer and about the blogoverse, to a roar of approval from the audience.

Jacobson looks over at the rowdy group hooting and hollering along the rail and asks “And is this your crew?”. I grin and shake my head as Human Head shouts over the immortal words:

We’re not a “Crew”, we’re a “Contingent”, dammit!

With a contingent like this, who needs a crew?


Back to the action. I can't remember the last time I was on TV.

The final table, of course, is mostly pros. They have larger stacks than I do. I sit next to John Juanda and just marvel at what a genius he is. I continue the previous strategy and luck my way into a run of really good cards as one-by-one, the big guns go down.

Until it's just me and Juanda. How did *that* happen?


Heads up. Despite my run of cards, I am a 3-1 chip underdog.

The first hand, I get QQ in the BB. My opponent minraises. I tell him, “Min raises make the baby Jesus cry” and fold face up. He shakes his head.

Second hand, I get QQ in the SB. I fold face up. He breaks into uncontrolled laughter.

Third hand, I get the HAMMER. I push, get called and double up when the flop comes 22x.

Several hands later, I’ve worked my way to just over half the chips in play. We're even. Let's gambool.

What do you know, it’s Hammer time again. Push, call by pocket 9s. I hate the pocket nines.

Juanda LOVES the pocket 9s.

Okay, dealer, let’s line up those cards in order. Please. Flop A34, Turn 5, River a meaningless 6. Thank you.

What a game. One of the shortest final tables in history, all because of the awesome power of seven-deuce offsuit.

Did I mention that live poker is rigged?


I’d go on and on about the after party, but the truth is, I don’t remember much of it. Somewhere in there was a hundred person conga line snaking through the Plaza to the strains of “Back in Black” by AC/DC, and double shots done by the whole group in every joint, one by one, all the way down Fremont Street We even made it to the Gold Spike and the Western. The surly patrons of those fine gaming establishments didn’t care much for our actions, if I recall correctly, but what were they going to do about it.

The two dollar craps tables at the fabulous El Cortez were entirely taken over by the Contingent, and large sums of WSOP cash in the form of tips kept the floor staff at bay despite assorted drunken antics.

There were strippers, more booze, and I think even some bingo. Don’t ask me where that came from.

Or how I got home. I just don't remember.

Winning is good. The after-winning is bettter.


I awake to the persistent "beep, beep, beep" of my alarm clock. Yes, it was all just a dream.

No, I won't be playing in WSOP #2, unless I get absurdly lucky in some future qualifying event. I hope to make it home and be around later Sunday night to root on whomever will be representing this confederacy of degenerates at the Rio.

Good luck to all that are playing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Didn't Win The Bad Beat Jackpot Yet...

But at least this hand this may get me a drink in Vegas. (Warning, Bad Beat Story. Names and other information redacted for privacy purposes).

***** Hand History for Game 192133xxxx *****
$2/$4 Hold'em - Tuesday, April 19, 23:22:49 EDT 2005
Table Bad Beat Jackpot #1013xxx (Real Money)
Seat 10 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 1: Drizz ( $91.5 )
Seat 2: Donkey Puncher ( $151 )
Seat 7: Some Guy ( $44 )
Seat 9: Some Other Guy ( $89.5 )
Seat 8: on_thg ( $67 )
Seat 10: Dr. Pauly ( $82 )
Seat 5: Stalling Jerkoff ( $59.5 )
Seat 4: Not Richard Greico ( $68.54 )
Seat 6: Eventually Lost All His Money ( $137 )
Seat 3: Got Checkraised By This Guy ( $123.5 )
Drizz posts small blind [$1].
Donkey Puncher posts big blind [$2].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to on_thg [ Ts Th ]
on_thg: awesome
2 folds
Drizz: totally
2 folds
on_thg raises [$4].
1 fold
Dr. Pauly raises [$6].
Drizz folds.
Donkey Puncher folds.
on_thg calls [$2].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Jc, Tc, As ]
on_thg bets [$2].
Dr. Pauly calls [$2].
** Dealing Turn ** [ Js ]
on_thg bets [$4].
Dr. Pauly calls [$4].
** Dealing River ** [ Kd ]
on_thg bets [$4].
Dr. Pauly raises [$8].
on_thg raises [$8].
Dr. Pauly raises [$8].
>You have options at Bad Beat Jackpot #101xxxx Table!.
on_thg calls [$4].
Dr. Pauly shows [ Kh, Ks ] a full house, Kings full of jacks.
>You have options at Bad Beat Jackpot #101xxxx Table!.
on_thg doesn't show [ Ts, Th ] a full house, Tens full of jacks.
>You have options at Bad Beat Jackpot #101xxxx Table!.
Dr. Pauly wins $56 from the main pot with a full house, Kings full of jacks.

Yeah, I could have saved myself a bet or two on the river, especially if I had remembered the preflop 3 bet, but for whatever reason, I had AK or AQ, probably of clubs, stuck in my head. Live and learn.

In conclusion, $2/$4 is the new $0.50/$1.00. Thank goodness for multitabling. With a late comeback and some up tables, it was only a nominally losing session.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Our Man Dave Responds To Reader Mail

An update on the ongoing investigation into the rigging of internet poker, courtesy of our man Dave:

>Subject: Online Poker Post I Just Read
>Date: Sun, 17 Apr 2005 08:26:41 -0500
>My name is Chris J and I am a smal time semi pro. I have logged a 500,000 hands
online in the past 12 months and have concluded that something is not right with
the deal. I was just curious if you unearthed anymore information about rigging
since this post was made. I appreciate your time and response!

In response:

>From: "Dave Beatty"
>Subject: RE: Online Poker Post I Just Read
>Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2005 15:36:12 -0400
>Hi, CJ:
>In response to your email, we're working diligently on uncovering any new secrets the big boys have. Our volunteers are each playing several hands every day to build our results database, while also actively looking for the unexpected, unusual and out of place. In addition we're moving beyond statistical evidence and are branching out into examination of the graphical interface.
>Our technical staff is also busy reverse-engineering Party Poker's source code. What we've found so far is very disturbing. I shouldn't release this before our work is complete, but the following code snippet looks very suspect:
>* Adjust Result for Recent Cashout Prior to Dealing Flop, 2 Players Heads Up
>void CashoutCheck()
> if(PlayerHnd[0] > PlayerHnd[1] and PlayerCashedOutRecently[0] > 1)
> {
> RigFlop()
> }
> else
> NormalFlop()
>As you may expect, proving that internet poker is rigged is a big job. We're doing our best to make internet poker a fun and safe way to play.
>Thanks again for writing.
>Dave F. Beatty
>Executive Director, Center for Anti-Rigging Programs
>davefbeatty at hotmail dawt com

Wasting Your Time and Mine

This is the most frightening picture I've seen in weeks. Consider yourself warned.

If I can't get the pic to show, it's this one

On the right is Rod Stewart's daughter Kimberly. Yow. If you're described as someone "who could pass for Paris' slightly older, bonier and more shopworn twin", that's really saying something.

On a completely different note, Joss Stone is now apparently 18, so it's now slightly less pervy to admit that she's ridiculously attractive.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Psyched, A Bit

Despite forty-eleven years of post-high school education, I have never taken a course in psychology.

Maybe that's why I just don't understand people. Including myself.

The last two nights I've been hitting the Party bad beat jackpot tables hard. As I write this, the jackpot is pushing $300K. If this post proves to be incomprehensible, it's probably because I'm 4-tabling for the first time in a long time. Doing that and blogging simultaneously is proving to be interesting. And hard.

So, anyway, I'm getting cranked up last night, playing a couple tables, and it's going badly. I'm down 20 BBs or so. The big cards are not holding up. Somewhere along the way, I start to play better. Much more aggressively. And what do you know, I start winning. I'd say I "hit the zone". I knew when to bet and raise with nothing, and when to fold because I was beat. It turned out to be a good night.

The aggressiveness has even carried over into tonight. This is odd. My biggest flaw as a poker player is almost certainly being too passive (although I'm surely a bit too loose as well). It's not the product of tilt, I just feel like being more aggressive, and for whatever reason, it's working more often than not. I'm not crushing the game (especially since I've just lost several large pots in a row), but it's going reasonably well.

Or maybe I'm just happy because my Pokertracker icon (using the 2+2 Bison rules) changed from the dreaded phone (calling station, loose passive passive) to the lovely green frown (semiloose aggressive passive). I'd be even happier if I was clearing a bonus while playing all these hands, but I guess you can't have everything.

Hitting that jackpot would render me very psyched.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Just Another Pleasant Valley Sunday Saturday

I got to meet some of the people the Boy Genius really loves today.

After running the usual Saturday errands, I stop by a local burger joint for some lunch. This place is old school - no drivethru, you get your overweight butt out of the car and walk inside to order your cheap, tasty and greasy food. The place is usually packed, and the tiny waiting area is almost always chaotic. There's no line, you just step forward when it's your turn and one of the high school girls behind the counter asks to help whomever is next.

It wasn't that busy today, but there were a few people standing around waiting their turn. As it rolls around to me being next, a trio of elderly women walk in the door and join the herd. A moment or two later, there's a call of "Who's next?".

Sure enough, one of the elderly women elbows her way to the counter and places an order. Never mind the fact that there are at least four people standing around, pretty obviously not yet served. Her companions follow her lead. Each orders and pays separately, dragging out the time the rest of us have to wait.

Nobody says a word. You just can't win an argument with the elderly, and the ringleader's sour "I drink a quart of spoiled milk in the morning just for fun" countenance completed the job of ensuring that she and her friends got their way sans debate.

These are some of the same people that will soon be telling you the height of your lawn exceeds the city maximum, and here's a $50 ticket to help you see the error of your ways. Have a nice day. And, by the way, you're jaywalking, you young whippersnapper. Oy.

I can't wait to see what'll happen tomorrow when I go to the grocery store.

The local paper also published the list of the first five senior "volunteers". I recognized one name, a long time junior high school teacher. About the nicest person you'd ever want to meet. So at least I can offer one positive thought about the program. It might not be so bad.

The article noted that the volunteers will be driving around in the city's Honda Prius Hybrid (no, that's not my error, that's what the story says). If you REALLY wanted to stir the pot around here, a letter to the editor asking why the city's buying foreign cars would probably do the trick. It could rival the sheer ugliness of the last go-round of the "God hates homosexuals" vs. "God is love" debate. We've got quite a roster of people ready to offer an opinion on most any issue, and they'd probably have a field day with this one.

Yes, this is a very, very small town.

So anyway, while I'm sitting there eating my future-heart-attack-in-waxed-paper, I'm watching the activity taking place in the parking lot of the local Catholic church next door. A group of teenagers are horsing around and actually flying a kite. Yup, flying a kite. This would be all well and good, but for the fact that this parking lot is located immediately adjacent to the main drag, which happens to be a very busy highway. Great idea. I can just see the accident report now -- "I was minding my own business, driving along at the limit, when all of a sudden this thing came crashing down from the sky and prevented me from seeing ....".

If this is the future of our country, when do we commence to panic?

It was a good day.

No poker content at the moment. I'm busy trying to suck out on some schlubs as I write this. It's going better than yesterday. So far. Oh, and the Party bad beat jackpot is nearing $200,000.00, meaning that it's almost +EV. Almost. Much like winning the lottery, the chances of hitting it are miniscule, but the lure of the big score keeps the fish (like me) interested.

Ahh, The Weekend

Is there anything better?

Okay, so that's a rhetorical question. Of course there are things better than a weekend. A trip to Vegas being one of them. After a week that stretched on forever, though, a weekend is a blessed relief.

What to do with a Friday night when you're too tired to go out but too wired to just crash? Why, hit the virtual felt, of course!

There have been better ideas. The fish won last night. I didn't drop all that much, not much more than fifty bucks, but it was once again a frustrating experience. I had three premium hands. AKs won a small pot, AA lost to T9s, QQ lost to, of all things, 98o. Nice. Most profitable hand of the evening of K2s. Garbage hand. But when the river gives you Kings up without filling your flush, you might as well checkraise the guy betting into you, right?

Pokertracker says QQ is once again a losing hand for me. I'm never staying in a damned Hilton again.

Speaking of frustration, I decided to play a MTT for the first time in a while. Finished middle of the pack. Won exactly one hand. Played exactly two hands other than free big blind plays. Won the first with a stone turn bluff with AQo, lost the second, which I'll get to in a moment. No other premium hands - highest pocket pair was 4s, and the pot was raised 4xBB before it got to me. Had AJ once and AT once, but resisted the temptation to get cute with those trash hands.

The second premium hand I had was AcKc in the big blind. There are five, count them, five limpers when it gets to me. Blinds are 75/150, and I have about T1100 left (T1500 starting stack) after posting my blind - about 7x the BB. I see this as an easy push -- if I'm lucky I scoop the limps and almost double up. AKs plays pretty well in a multi-way pot, so I won't be too upset if I get multiple callers -- I really doubt based on the action that anyone has AA or KK. I get two callers, with QQ and 77 (!). Nobody improves, and I'm bounced in 50th.

The Prima cashout curse lingers on.

I'm getting tired of this. I decide to check out other sites where I still have a few bucks. I get more of the same playing NL at Full Tilt, so I give that up. What now?

It's time for something different. Hey, Paradise has blackjack now in addition to their poker room. I've got $30.00 there that I left behind after clearing and cashing out a bonus. Long story short, I run it up to $100.00, quick cash it out and make up for the bulk of the poker losses. Gotta practice for Vegas, right?

That would be enough of the boring "here's what I'm playing" crap. Go read something of quality. I stumbled across and read through Amanda's Kat Plays Poker and Main Blog. The poker blog part hasn't been update too recently, but the read is worth the time in my book.

Just another site that needs to be added to the blogroll. Sigh. There are some glaring omissions from that list to the right. I really need to get around to adding to it, especially if Bloglines is going to keep up this morning's issues and continue to deny my existence.

At last check, anyway, I do exist.

I had given some thought recently to the idea that I may be a Hammer magnet. It seems, at least, like I get dealt 7-2 off extremely often. What do you do to test the theory? Why, check Pokertracker, of course. It turns out that I'm right in line fequencywise, at least at Party 2/4 -- 69 times dealt out of nearly 7,500 hands. Almost exactly what you'd expect, if my estimated odds of being dealt the hand of about 1/110 or just under 1% are correct. So maybe it's just in live games, or it's unique to Little River or something.

Well, this has certainly gone on long enough. I should probably apologize if you wasted the time to read all the way through the above. Happy weekend to all y'all.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

You Know Wm Shakespeare Was Right

I'm out there on the interweb looking for something new to listen to, inspired by the What's On Your Ipod discussion. I click over to a live show bittorrent tracker, and instead of the usual list of Grateful Dead shows, I find this message:

"Hello gals and guys,

We're very sorry having to tell you that we had to shut down EZT just a couple of minutes ago.

We got a call from our provider, they had received a few letters from a couple of lawyers. They requested EZT to be shut down immediately, otherwise we and the hosting service would be sued.

As you may imagine, we do not have the funds to fight a battle we most probably can't win anyway.

We would like to thank everyone here for their contributions to EZT, one way or the other, for sharing the music, sharing an ideal, for all your mails, rants, praises...

To say it with Joan Armatrading:

We had fun, fun, fun, fun
fun, fun, fun, fun
we had fun -- while it lasted...
--"Tall in the Saddle"--

You all take good care!

The EZT team"

I am not a copyright lawyer, but I have to think that whomever was threatening this service was on very shaky legal ground. The bulk of the shows available on the site were from bands that specifically allow their fans to tape and trade. No illegality there. Some were taped from broadcast, which probably falls under the fair use exception. Only a small portion were true bootlegs, and even in those cases, I have serious doubts as to whether there is an enforceable copyright interest. This type of service is obviously (in my mind) distinguishable from the old Napster or other sites that offer trading of material that is unquestionably protected by copyright. To object to the type of activity offered on this site was at least a semi-bluff.

I'm not sure who sucks more, lawyers or large media corporations. I'll go with the latter, but they're both evil.

What a dispute like this boils down to is, as always, money. Those making the threats have plenty, those being threatened have little. You can push people around virtually at will when they have no money. This is one of the most significant weaknessess in our legal system, and it's not just limited to any one area -- it's all across the board, from criminal defendants with underpaid public defenders going up against well-funded prosecutors to credit card debtors being sued by giant banking corporations. I could go on, but I have to get back to working for the man.

Tying in the obligatory poker content, this is also why you should never buy into a no limit ring game short.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

What's In Your (CD) Wallet?

If I could hold a coherent thought in my head, I just might get all philosophical.

Fat chance of that. Since I suspect that cracking my cranium would just release a useless grey Jell-Oish substance, it's not happening. Brace yourself for the usual drivel. As I'm typing this, I'm experiencing what I expect is a regular occurrence in the third circle of hell -- Suzanne Geha reading story after story about various crimes and punishments. I really need to learn to just shut off the damned TV at 11:00. Ah, at least she has finally shifted gears and is butchering a story about the return of the silicone breast implant. Much better.

So, anyway, Otis My Man (a Kip Walton film) over at Up For Poker posed an interesting question today: "If bloggers had iPods at the table, to what would they be listening? Furthermore, does it say anything about their style of play?". As much as I would enjoy blasting the Starland Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight" at max volume in a Vegas poker room, I have to admit it wasn't the most serious of answers. Since this was probably an honest question, it deserves a real answer. Or two or three. So let's hit it.

Answering the second question first, if there were a connection between style of play and musical taste, I'm afraid I'd be loaded up on Barry fricking Manilow. Pat Boone, pre-metal. Andy Williams. Anyone of similar ilk that you can think of. Caspar Milquetoast personified. Except dumber and with less personality. That's my game. Weak. White bread. (Here's hoping I get a chance to prove it in Vegas in June).

Good lord I hope that there really is no connection.

So let's get to the real issue: What would be on my Ipod. If I had one. And as if anyone was actually wondering. I answer because I can, which you can pretty much read into every post on this thing.

If I have to be in a group, I guess I probably would be lumped in with the "Americana Boys". Much of what I listen to falls into that broad genre. You'll find old skool country (George Jones, Cash, the list goes on), new skool not-often-played-on-country-radio country (Allison Krauss, Fred Eaglesmith, Neko Case, Allison Moorer, Shelby Lynne, blah blah blah), a little bluegrass, some blues, maybe even some folk of non-recent vintage -- it's dead, man. Brian Wilson. Anything you might find on the Time-Life "AM Gold" collection. You know, Americana.

The thing is, it's not ALL that.

I stumbled in tonight, plopped down on the couch, flipped on the TV and praise Jebus, VH-1 is showing "The Commitments". And it just started.

Good movie. Great music. If I had a TiVo, I'd probably skip directly to the performance scenes. If you don't like "Mustang Sally", "Chain of Fools", and the sort, you just don't like music. Well, maybe you do, but what I'm fumbling around trying to say is that I'd definitely have some 60s soul in the mix. A little Wilson Pickett. Some Joe Tex. Sam & Dave. Jackie Wilson. And a long loop of James Brown, preferably live. I'd have even more of this stuff in there if my collection weren't mostly confined to vinyl and cassette. Damned advances in technology.
What I do have on MP3 is boatloads of the alternative rock. Mostly older, 80s and early to mid-90s. I might be on an alt kick at any given time. So figure on some of that.

This being a Vegas trip, what's a soundtrack without the Rat Pack? Plan on a little Frank, a spot of Dean and I'll be a dirty bird if I don't have a decided lack of Sammy.

Bits and pieces of classic rock, maybe some Allman Brothers or Clapton or what have you.

Okay, bottom line. I'd probably have a little of all of that. And who am I kidding -- being me, I'd probably have an enormous chunk of the space tied up with my collection of live and recorded Kasey Chambers. Ah, if only I could figure out how to get a decent bootleg between now and a week from Saturday.

I would have little to no rap or metal. Nothing against either genre, but my knowledge of either is most limited, at least if you're talking anything more recent than 1994. No bubblegum, no top 40 to speak of, no gospel, no mainstream country, no spoken word, no instrumental jazz, no classical, no show tunes. Probably no opera, although I would be tempted to give that a try sometime. Next best thing to metal, I would wager. No books on tape. No "build a million dollar vocabulary" or "best of Tony Robbins". A decided shortage of jam bands, not there's anything wrong with them.

That's pretty much it. Maybe there is a connection between musical taste and poker style. Put me down as shallow, scattered, all over the place with a few glaring gaps.

Oh, and yes, I admit it. Somewhere I do indeed have an MP3 recording of Britney Spears' "Oops, I Did It Again" -- I wonder if her man was humming that when she broke the news that she's knocked up? I would have been.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

This Is Not a Trip Report. It's Too Boring.

Okay, so getting 10,000 Full Tilt Points is not going to happen. Screwed around for a couple hours last night and accumulated a whole 15 more points. Only 9,900 short.

For a changeup, I played a SnG for the first time in ages. $10+1, single table. We lost four players pretty quickly, then everybody who was left was very tight. Fold, fold, fold. Nobody would play. I managed to steal enough blinds and orphaned pots to gradually chip up to 2nd place, finally took out a couple of the remaining players, and built up something like a 3-1 chip advantage.

And I blew it.

The heads-up play took the better part of an hour. I went cold (6 high, 5 high, 8 high) and didn't force the opponent to play for most or all of his chips nearly often enough. The chip count gradually reversed, to the point of my being a 3-1 dog. I go into all-in or fold mode and build back up to even. Another cold run and I'm down 3-1 again. Back to even once more, and at some point once I'm back down 3-1 I finally lose, pushing with 2 pair into a wheel.

Honestly, I went into all-in or fold mode mostly because I was getting bored with the endless heads-up play, but it proved to be surprisingly effective against a tight opponent. I did suck out big time once to survive (my Qh8h vs his Ah9h, all in preflop) -- I flopped 2 pair and rivered the boat -- but otherwise I induced a lot of folds with garbage like K4s and JTo. And, yes, I pushed once with the Hammer, got the fold and showed it. Feel the power of 7-2 off.

Winning would have been nice. But, considering that I haven't played many SnGs, I'm pretty happy with the 2nd place finish and the $16 profit for the hour and twenty five minutes of work. I might have to try a few more, considering the general unprofitability of late of ring games.

Speaking of ring games, at least there was one highlight. To start off the evening, I sat at a $0.50/$1.00 limit table. I post behind the button and promptly get the Hammer. The very first hand. Too bad this is limit poker. Nobody raises, and the flop comes K-8-6 rainbow. Checked around. Turn is a 9. Open ender. I bet it out. River is a beautiful T, and my one card Hammer Straight is good. Despite my misplaying it by failing to raise preflop, the sheer power of the Hammer prevails.

Monday, April 11, 2005

A Question For The Math Wonks

So I get this mass email from Full Tilt this weekend, which I assume everyone who's ever registered also received. It says that they're giving away a bunch of seats to the WSOP main event via a tournament for all players that accumulate 10,000 Full Tilt Points prior to some ending date in June. I know I'm being sketchy with the details, but they aren't that important.

What I want to know is ... is it even mathematically possible to get 10,000 Full Tilt Points in a period of 2 months? I haven't played there that much, and have been playing about the smallest of the micro limits, but in a couple hours of 2-tabling baby NL games (with a nothing O8 tournament thrown in for kicks), I earned like 35 points. Or less. I've earned an entire $5 of bonus money to boot. So I'm about 9,950 points shy.

I assume that playing higher limits would accrue points more rapidly, but still. That's a lot of work for what, admittedly, is a pretty nice carrot. Could this be done, given the modest number of players and games on the site and the fact that I don't have the bankroll to play 5/10 and above? Someone must know the answer.

Edited to add:

Okay, so I looked up how points are calculated...

"Full Tilt Poker offers the best points reward system in the industry. We offer you one point for every dollar in rake that is dropped, including fractional points. Most sites limit you to a maximum of one point for every hand; we let you earn up to 3 points per hand.

You can also earn points playing in tournaments and Sit & Go's. Earn 7 points for every $1 in entry fees, with no limit to the number of points you can earn per tournament."

In order to accumulate 10,000 Full Tilt Points, you'd have to be involved in hands that pay $10,000.00 in rake, or pay $1,428.57 in tournament/SnG entry fees. If it's just the juice that counts, that's what, about 100 or so $100+15 MTTs/SnGs? Yikes. (It would be infinitely less difficult if total entry fees counted).

I'd estimate that it would take about 5,000 hands at 2-4 full or above to accumulate the necessary points -- something which is entirely possible, if dangerous to an underfunded bankroll.

If I had a larger bonus to work off at Full Tilt, this could be pretty appealing. Still, I think I'd probably prefer a Party bonus, if only because of the quantity of players and well known fishiness factor.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

It's Good To Be Back

Vacations are nice, but getting home has its upside.

No poker has been played in well over a week, and it's probably been for the best. Between being on a run of poor results and the lack of concentration brought on by ongoing efforts to spit up a lung or two, pre-vacation play was not going so well.

A week on the road to warmer places was just what the doctor ordered. Almost. I'm still coughing up crap. Sigh.

I could run on and on about various things trip-related, but I'll save that for some other time. Instead, just a couple quick hits:

{insert tongue firmly in cheek}

* What do Southerners have against cruise control? Is there something special about going 40, then 70, then 40 again on a flat open road that I'm missing?

* It seems to me that any successful chain restaurant in the South has either "Waffle" or "Biscuit" in its name. If I ever get into the restaurant business, I'm not taking any chances -- I'm putting *both* in there. Come enjoy a chicken-fried breakfast at your local "House of Waffle & Biscuit".

* Speaking of which, just when you think it's time to mourn the demise of a great American institution - in this case, the "Waffle Steak" version of Waffle House-type restaurants, you see a sign for one outside of Indianapolis. God bless the USA.


Now if Party will just throw out a reload bonus, things will be back to normal.