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Thursday, January 31, 2008

I Think It's Official...

I am gun shy.

Riverchasers. I get dross.

I finally shove with 2700 chips (200/400/25) with AKo in MP.

Button calls and shows AQs.

I am out of my chair and walking away before the flop is even dealt.

Oh, and yes, I lose.

I hate this game.

I'm not paying you a damned dollar.

Good night.

[O/T] Stay Classy, Even When Frozen Solid

From one of today's local newspapers, a columnist's thoughts on two neighboring cities. Names redacted. I wonder if you can guess where I live. There's more than a little truth to this, btw...

A while ago I wrote that [Town A] was a girls town and [Town B] was a guys town and that it wasn't possible for a guy to have fun in [Town A]. A good time, maybe, but not "fun."

The bars, the restaurants, the shopping, they're all driven by women who think you can have fun on a cruise ship. The guys who go to [Town A] bars are usually in their late 30s, early 40s, they've had their wild times, and now they just want to sit in a quiet bar and wonder at what point their life took such a horrid turn.

Conversely, [Town B] is a guys town. The bars are mostly guy bars and the women who go to them are [Town B] women. Tattoos, ill-fitting belly shirts, last year's shoes, and massive amounts of cleavage are the fashion du jour and these women are LOUD. Seeing an otherwise good looking woman whistle through her fingers to get someone's attention is not an uncommon occurrence in a [Town B] bar.

Note: I'm not saying one town is better than the other, I'm just making observations.

The differences became apparent to me again this week when I looked at the scheduled events for the [Town A] Winter fest and the [Town B] Snow fest.

On the surface the events appear quite similar but it's the inherently female undertones of the [Town A] events that really stand out. It seems everything in [Town A] has to have a little soccer mom twist to it that lets everyone know who's in charge. The events have to be clever in a way that will let women who use the word "scrapbook" as a verb think they're living on the edge.

Take, for instance, The Hamster Race. Kooky little soccer moms wearing North Face vests, tied back hair, tights, fur lined boots and a Ralph Lauren baseball hat, watch as their children race hamsters. Hellz-a-poppin! Not one of the women actually likes watching hamsters race but it makes for such a good story when having coffee at Panera Bread. I can't imagine anyone in [Town B] even suggesting a hamster race.

Sticking with the animal theme, there is, of course, the Family Dog Pull. This time the women in the tights and fur boots bounce up and down while drinking hot chocolate as the family dog (a thoroughbred) drags little Taylor through the snow. I actually had to attend this event once for a column I was writing and here's what happens: they stick a little kid on a sled, the dog takes off, the kid hangs on for a while before falling into the snow and everyone laughs. Wheee.

The beer tent is where the difference is the most notable. [Town B's]Snow fest beer tent consists of beer and a tent. [Town A] can't have that. They have to have a Luau Tent. Everyone is supposed to dress up like they're in Hawaii. They pass out leis at the door, and people are wearing flip-flops as they tromp through the slush created when you put a tent on top of snow and then heat the area to 6,000 degrees.

The big advantage [Town A] has, though, is the proximity of the tent to all the downtown bars. The disadvantage is at various points in the night people from the beer tent walk through those bars pounding on five gallon buckets trying to lure bar patrons over to the beer tent. It's what I call "Aspen fun," the imagination meter is set firmly on "sorority."



What do you suppose the author has against soccer moms, anyway?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Table Change Plzkthx

Starting lineup at my table in the Bodonkey:

To my left - Smokkee, then Miami Don, then Waffles.
On my right - Bayne and Scott McM.

Yikes.

I don't imagine there will be too many uncontested pots.

(I'm not slighting Irongirl, Drizz or CEMfromMD, it's just that they might as well be playing a whole different tournament being on the other end of the table and all).

Edit: Set-over-setted. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!

In Which I Work Hard For (The) No Money

Hit up home game #2 last night. This is a totally different group than home game #1. Different income brackets, different points of view, you name it. Both groups are fun, they're just, well, different. (Ed. note - In the future think I'll refer to game #2 as the Country Club Game). The general idea is the same, though - NLHE at happy meal-level stakes.

The entire evening was a struggle, cards-wise. I steadily bled chips for the first few hours, getting an endless succession of useless starting hands and then missing the flop completely when I played anything speculative. I had to top up at one point with a half-rebuy (it was all the money I'd brought, the "roll" is a rather short at the moment) - one of the regulars commented that it was the first time he'd ever seen me rebuy. Which is completely untrue, of course, but still ...

Actually, that comment fit nicely with another one - I'd been playing a hand bored-aggressive and threw out a sizable river bet while holding absolute air. My opponent agonized and eventually folded. He may have been encouraged to do so by the table talk about how he should know better than to call my bets, I'm the tightest player there, etc etc.

All of which is grossly untrue, of course. I limp a lot when I think I can get away with it - there are a couple players in this game that will stack off with next to nothing. Still I was happy to get the fold, considering that I held something like an unimproved J9s.

I finally saw my first pocket pair -- woo KK -- about four hours into the game. I doubled my greatly diminished stack (I think I was down to about six bucks and getting ansty). A while later I got a second pocket pair -- wooo garbage, 33 -- and dragged another decent pot. I also enjoyed the benefit of a gruesome suckout when I shoved trips with a jack kicker right into the same trips with a king kicker. The river put a second pair on the board for a split pot. Phew.

Down to four players, I managed to slowly but steadily chip up with some really random garbage hands and a lovely pair of queens. The clock hit 1:15 am and I knew I needed to go. I folded my last hand - Q2s - which would have won a massive pot. If I were a gambling fool, I could have easily doubled and maybe tripled up.

Instead, I ended up down exactly $1. Considering how much grinding was involved just to get back to that point, I'm thrilled.

Bodonkey and Skills Game tonight. I may play one, both or neither. See you there - maybe.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Empire Building

I really enjoy - too much? - checking out website stats. I especially like to see what kind of freaky Google searches redirect people to this corner of the interwebosphere. I don't get the real winners, but every once in a while I get one worthy of mention.

Today's query of choice: From the UK - "explain bonus code iggy".

Just in case of a repeat search, here's all you need to know. Enjoy playing on Party Poker you lucky dog.

Oh, and to whomever it was from Minneapolis who wondered about "belinda jensen lesbian", I neither know nor care. Good luck finding your answer.

***

Slow weekend on the poker front. I'm way behind on keeping up with the latest news and haven't played for a couple days. Home game tonight.

Don't forget the usual raft of blogger tourneys - Monday MATH, Tuesday Bodonkey & Skillz Series, Wednesday Mookie, Thursday Riverchasers, Friday Kat's Dollar Donkament and the new new new Saturdays with Dr. Pauly PLO suckoutapalooza at Stars.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

There's No Place Like A Home Game

Congratulations first off to CJ, who should be a married luckboxman any moment now. I haven't met Mrs. Luckbox, but anyone who can keep his attention over blogging and poker and trifectas and stuff (I kid) has to be pretty special. Best wishes.

On to the "content": How do you handle an intoxicated player who's catching cards?

Why, you stay out of the way of course. If you know what's good for you anyway.

Small crowd for last night's home game. Seven players, although we were only at full strength for a short while.

J, who is usually the loosest player in the bunch anyway, started the evening off having already had several beers. Given his results, I would expect more drunk poker in his future.

Three hands into the game, I raise AKo. J puts in a small raise which is called in two places and then shoves on the all small flop. It's an easy fold. He shows AA.

A short time later I get into a hand with our host. I raise a couple limpers (0.10/0.20 blinds) to 1.50. He reraises to 5.00. I shove the rest of my 20.00 with KK, figuring if I run into AA for the second time in half an hour, so be it. And I don't want to give him the chance to make a fourth raise, because the fourth raise always means aces, right? He thinks and calls with 88. I win.

J continues to be a one man wrecking crew. He takes out a very solid player by making a bigger two pair with Q3o. He takes chips from everyone else. I finally get some back with a baby flush that also knocks out the late-arriving A.

When three players bust and decline to rebuy, we decided to play a quick tournament. Four handed, static blinds. J busts the other two players in short order, so he's got a 3-1 chip lead on me. Heads up I flop TPGK with QTo and look to double. Nope, he's got KK. Freaking card rack.

Overall, it was a good night. J was the big winner, I picked up about a buyin, everybody else lost a few bucks. It was also a short night - about three hours of play. Unheard of.

If I could figure out a way to do it, I'd like to write about a post-game discussion. About roshambo (rock-paper-scissors). There was a complaint about how does paper really beat rock (correct answer: "Shut it") and some pretty funny suggestions about how the game could be improved. Dynamite. Eagle. Matches.

I guess you had to be there.

Anyway, another home game coming up on Monday. Different group. Similar spare change stakes. Should be a good time.

***

I would need to check with an authority on such things, but I think I might be on to something here: The absolute gheyest thing you could do on a Friday night is to be standing around, watching someone else play Guitar Hero.

Really.

***

Warning Off Topic Moment:
I accomplished something that I don't think I've done previously this morning - I managed to lose a game of Scrabble despite bingoing three times. I needed to coax two more points out of my last tile and I just couldn't do it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

In Need Of A Pressure Release Valve

I sure don't have the tilt under control.

It's funny, though, that the things that tilt me tend to be not poker-related. I can take a horrendous beat with relative equanimity, but life's stupid little setbacks get me all angry.

Last night I decided to play the Riverchasers event, despite the fact that it was Razz. I loathe Razz. As a splurge, I also signed up for the daily double.

Right about that time my internet connection decided to crap out, disconnecting me about every fifteen seconds, then reconnecting. I think I set a record for the number of times one player has seen the "now connecting" dialog box in one hour. It didn't help any that my computer was choking on FT's software. I should have just shut it down or at least tried rebooting, but I didn't.

I made it to the break in all three tournaments. In good shape in two of them. By that point, though, I was so consumed with rage that I just wanted out. And so I went out. Fast. Semi-intentionally. I mean I wasn't in there raising KQ/2, but if I had any three cards under 9, I was all the way in. Shoving with T6s in NLHE. That sort of thing. Non-winning, tilty poker.

It took less than ten minutes to bust. (Edit: I think I busted in 27th place - making back to back events where I went out 27th. Rigged.) Thank goodness. I managed to shut down without breaking anything, which I'll consider a win. I'm mildly annoyed by the loss of the buyins. I'm seriously annoyed by the continual flakiness of my internet service. It's now more or less stable but extremely slow this morning - we're talking flashbacks to my 110 baud acoustic modem from the 80s slow. It will be interesting to see if I can get this post submitted successfully.

***

I noticed some really obnoxious chat in the Riverchasers. I was getting annoyed by it and the douchebaggery wasn't even directed at me. I'm not going to call the perpetrator out - that person has been called out before - but come on. Why do you need to do that? Are you really so self-unaware that you don't see why it's annoying? This is a low buy in social game. It's supposed to be FUN. Even if it is Razz. Belittling people is never necessary.

***

Speaking of things which tilt me, here's one which is WAY off topic.

Over the last week or so, the radio station I usually listen to has been flooded with an ad promoting garbage truck safety awareness. The ad features some sixish year old girl saying, more or less, 'my daddy was a garbage collector, he was killed by a guy trying to get around his truck, please be more careful'. A solemn-voiced announcer describes the "growing problem" of garbage collectors being injured or killed by people trying to get around the trucks. The ad is sponsored by whatever the national Solid Waste Collectors Association is actually called and by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

I've probably heard this retarded ad thirty or forty times this week. Heck, these people event sponsored the broadcast of a local college basketball game last night.

Now let me ask you this:

1) Is this REALLY a "growing problem"? Really? I did a quick Google news search and found a pretty long list of people killed or injured by garbage trucks - at least six worldwide so far in 2008 alone - but no recent reports of sanitation engineers being killed or injured by other drivers. It does happen - sanitation workers have an unacceptably high mortality rate, mostly due to other causes - but do you need to insult the listener's intelligence by calling it a growing problem?

2) If we assume that it is in fact a statistically significant - even a 'growing' - problem, is a stupid radio ad REALLY likely to change anyone's behavior? Are people who are road rage susceptible or in a big hurry really going to check themselves when they think about passing a garbage truck? Will there be a moment of clarity - hey, I better just accept being late for my appointment because I might cause another six year old girl just like that one on the radio to lose her daddy if I pass? Not likely.

3) Okay, so in theory the commercials "work" and we save a life or prevent an injury or two. Terrific. I'm in favor of that. But at what cost? I mean, this ad has been played dozens of times in this one little radio market. It appears to be a national campaign, which means big bucks. Did anyone consider if that money could be better spent on other ways to save sanitation worker lives and reduce injuries - ways which might make a more statistically significant difference, like say better worker training? Better lighting for the trucks? Better maintenance?

Yeah. I'm sure they did.

The best part of this stupid campaign is that you know who is paying for it. We are. Whether it's part of your trash bill or your tax bill, the money for this idiocy comes right out of our pockets. That bugs me.

By the way, if I get wacked sometime in the next week ... it was probably the mob.

***

Back to poker.

Happiness is: Having an opponent call your all-in preflop and show QQ to your KK.

Happiness is not: Your opponent has the Qc and the flop is Jc Tc 9c.

Happiness is: Dodging all 90,210 opponent outs.

It's rigged, but sometimes it's a good rigged.

***

As of right now, the sun is shining, which hopefully means tonight's home game is still on. This is the tougher of the two games that I play in, so I'll need to be in the proper mindset. Thanks to the power of the 'tubes, any lingering rage has dissipated and as long as work doesn't tick me off too much today I'll be ready.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thursday Thoughts

Mookie'd. Finished a nondescript 27th when KJ couldn't outrun T8s. I should have been out a lot earlier - I applied the most painful of bad beats by sucking out on the river to crack AA with 99. My sincere apologies to whoever the poor victim was.

Now where do I apply to get those 2+ hours of my life back?

***

Caution, may contain poker-like content: The worst poker player posted the hand and there have been some comments, but I want to add my own spin on a hand from the Bodonkey on Tuesday. Maybe some of y'all will have thoughts to add. No criticism is intended, since I have no standing to criticize anyone else when it comes to donkey play.

All numbers are approximate, since I do not have the hand history.

Eight players left. It's folded to me in the cutoff. I have about T3500 and AQs. With blinds of 300/600 or so, I can't get my chips in fast enough.

Instant Tragedy, on the button with T17,000 or so, calls.

Waffles, in the SB with about T10,000, calls.

NumbBono, in the BB with a big stack - well over T20,000, I think - jams.

Tragedy folds.

Waffles calls.

Flop is Q8x and Waffles wins the pot.

Now, ignoring the results for a moment, who made good plays here and who didn't? I don't expect anyone to suggest that I do anything other than what I did -- it's the other players I'm interested in.

1) Tragedy calls. I'm okay with this decision. Some would see it as weak, but with two players behind him, why commit any more chips than necessary? I think folding also would have been an acceptable play. We don't know what he was holding, but you can make a case for calling with a pretty large range here, trying to knock out a player plus pick up the blinds.

2) Waffles calls. I don't like this decision. With two players already in the pot and just a medium pocket pair, the 3 to 1 or so pot odds (I don't remember if there were antes, I would assume so) don't favor set mining. If overcards come on the flop and Tragedy makes any kind of move on the pot, you have to expect to fold. Also, this decision commits about 25% of his stack.

3) NumbBobo jams. Waffles didn't like this decision, but I think it's justifiable. Both Tragedy and Waffles have plenty of chips left if they fold - folding would hurt, but not cripple either. If I have AKo, I'd prefer to play heads up instead of in a 4 way pot. With that stack, even a weak/tight player like myself would find it very hard to justify folding.

4) Tragedy folds. I agree with this play. I think Sean can lay down anything short of AA, KK or maybe QQ here. Sure, it would be possible to triple up, but there aren't that many hands with enough equity to make the call profitable.

5) Waffles calls. He obviously liked the results, but I wonder if anyone else thinks it was the right move. I will assume that he got a read of AK or AQ or something from NumbBono's shove - and not AA-99. He's getting about 3-1 on his remaining stack, which I guess would make calling profitable in a coin flip situation - although the possibility that I could have AA-99 would cut into his equity. Then again, if NB did have a higher pocket pair, Waffles is drawing very thin.

Of all of the plays made here, I think I like Waffles' first call the least. I'm not enthused about his final decision, but I think it's somewhat justifiable, particularly if he was playing for the win. Like people say, sometimes you have to get lucky.

***

OI is too a word: Post of the day, non-poker category, is definitely Dawn Summers laying a Scrabble smackdown on some unsuspecting Aussies. Good stuff.

***

Got a call for a possible home game on Friday. I'm sure it will be weather permitting. Time to round up some spare change.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sucktitude

Bounced from the Bodonkey by the worst poker player ever. He even called his shot. Oh, the humiliation.








Okay, not really.

Plus, I think I got my buyin back. Thanks Bodog!

Somewhat Less Than Auspicious

Well that was fun. It would appear that the Full Tilt random number generator still hates me.

Returned to the tables last evening. Decided to mix it up. Played a token satellite, thinking I might stay up and play the MATH. Ended up with GCox on my right. We both doubled up early. A fat lot of good that did. I managed to run into AA with KK and into QQ twice - once with TT (got away from that one) and once when short and desperate with 88. 9th. No token for you.

At the same time, I was playing the Token Race MTT. 217 runners, 50 tokens. Pretty easy, right? Um, no. I went out 54th - after going 30+ minutes without seeing an ace or a face card - to a standard runner-runner frush. I don't know why I get all excited when I see that first face in forever - in this case KJs - because it never results in a win. Still, when your M is like 0.4 what else are you going to do?

Sigh.

So much for playing the MATH.

I lost half a stack at PLO on a bad preflop decision compounded by a bad read. I had a garbage hand - AJ33 ss - on the button and should have just thrown it away. Instead I limp (with position woo) into the unraised pot. Flop of A83 with two of my suit, drawing to the nut flush. The turn paired the 8 - this is where I really should have gotten away from the hand - with the river throwing a third of my suit out there. My opponent's betting pattern threw me off - he bet small on the turn and still pretty small on the river, which smelled to me like a naked ace, a naked 8 or a flush draw. Since I held the case ace and there was no preflop raise, I didn't expect to see AAxx, but that's what he had.

Stupid poker.

So it was a less than triumphant return. Part of the time I was multi-gaming, as I fit in a few games of Scrabble. Not my best night there either as I blew a couple of end games on ugly tight boards. I do not recommend multi-gaming.

Tonight is the Bodonkey over on Bodog at 9:05 and the Blogger Skill Series - Limit Omaha/8 - on Full Tilt at 9:30 (all times Eastern Supercrappy Time). I'll be a game time decision as always. If I play I need to make a conscious effort to not be doing so many other things at the same time so that I can chat.

I want to end this otherwise extremely self-absorbed post by sending positive thoughts and best wishes to Instant Tragedy and his family, and by extending congratulations to LJ for a very nice tourney score in Atlantic City over the weekend.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Flaky

It's snowing. Giant, fluffy flakes are gently wafting downward. The trees and bushes are all covered. What else can I say -- it's beautiful. The world is one big Norman Rockwell print and I can't help but love it, even if I am one of the few people stuck at work right now.

***

The snow is also awful. I received the phone call I half-expected just a few minutes ago. Multiple cancellations. No home game tonight. Crap.

What's a sad addict to do? The live charity games don't run on Mondays. There's no way on earth - not that I would anyway - that I'm driving to a casino in this mess.

I actually have a yen to play, so it's looking like it'll be an evening of putting mouth breathing idiots to decisions for all of their play chips online. Either that or the MATH, which, um, well, no comment.

***

It was a terrific weekend - that is, it was a terrific weekend to stay home and do nothing, which is exactly what I did. I continued my string of days without playing - which is up to what, about two weeks now - and any internet time was frittered away on Scrabble.

Today being MLK Day kinda of sucks. All the federal and state stuff is closed. The schools are closed. The adjacent counties are closed. But ours has to be open. I have no idea why - I don't think it's redneckery or racism at work, but it could be. Let's get with the program here people. Not only should we celebrate this holiday, we should have a day for each of the other cultures that make up this country - one in each of the otherwise under-holidayed months like March and June. Diversity yes, holidays yes.

Time to go back to watching the clock.

***

Edited to add: I think some of my recent poker malaise has been an inability to decide what to play. I think that if I went back and looked at all of my hand histories - I've been pretty lax about using Pokertracker since the UIGEA - over time I'd find that I am about a break even player in limit cash games. I'm a definite loser in no limit cash games. I'm slightly (and I mean VERY slightly) positive in PLO cash games. I've never had any notable success playing Donk 'n Gos. Any appreciable additions to my roll have come via bonuses or tournament scores, and I've never really kept track of my tournament "net", so I don't know if MTTs are +EV. There's also the problem of the time commitment involved. So what should I play?

I guess I have something to think about this afternoon.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Salute To Under-Appreciated Poker Equipment

You're going to play live. You've got your stuff. Card capper? Check. iPod? Natch. Breath spray? Hahaha, but seriously ...why are you forgetting this?


That's right: A protractor. If you've got a better way to properly measure the degree of angle shooting going on, I'd sure like to hear about it.

Home game coming up on Monday. I'm looking forward to some solid "WTF?" moments.

***

On a completely unrelated note, I've wasted some time today reading about the new MacBook Air. Looks amazing. I think I'll add that to my list of "things which would be pretty cool to have but which I could never possibly justify buying". Other items on that list at the moment: An actual iPod and a big screen plasma/LCD TV.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Shooting For D-List Status

[Edit: I'm going all ambitious ... D List or bust!]

You know what gets a workday morning off to a good start? How about The Rooster calling people out:
Look B-Listers...I don't mind that you want me to blogroll you on my site. I understand. But the truth of the matter is that it takes time to get on the list.

Look at people like RES IPSA POKER that has never asked me for a link and he's not. But look...I've been reading his stuff for a while and the truth of the matter is that when I play with him in tournaments he never gets any traction to get going. He's a hell of a player but what is up with his live tournament showings? We need to talk about this before he's listed. Sure he will kill me in no-limit and online...but live is where the money is at and legends are made...Holla!
Speaking of calling, I'm calling my shot: At the 2008 Winter Classic, I will finish within 40 spots of the money. Okay, maybe 50. Sixty, tops. Once an F-minus lister, always an F-minus lister.

BTW, if you stop over there, be sure to scroll down a bit and check out the Rooster T-shirt. Brilliant.

***

Also helping to get the day off to a good start was this email. This outfit is based in India, so I've added some things that must have been lost in translation:
Hi,

Congratulations on completing 100 games at Scrabulous (LOL loser)!
We are glad to know that you are using our services and are
playing regularly (all your immortal soul are belong to us).

Do you have any suggestions on how we can improve the site (i.e.
can we convince you to play 24 hours per day)
? If you would like
any particular feature added or a particular topic covered on the
website, please feel free to send us your suggestions (yes, we hope
to not get our pants sued off by Hasbro).

Best Regards,
The Scrabulous Team
That email was helpful in realizing how bad the problem is - all games have been played since January 1, average game length of 20-25 minutes or so ... yikes. Then again, I already kinda knew, since I kept wandering in and out of a dream this morning (between whacks of the snooze button) revolving around my inability to find an eight letter bingo off an open R. Oy.

Hey, it's not my fault that no attractive female celebrities have been imprisoned this week, is it?

***

The next installment of the Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) starts on February 6. The schedule is up and there are 20 different events to choose from. I'd kind of like to try and satellite into one - I just am not willing to commit a major chunk of my puny bankroll to buy in direct - but I'm having a hard time deciding which. The events that would seem to be the best fit for my "game" don't really work - the $240+16 PLO knockout event starts at 2 pm on a weekday. The first weekend PLO event is 6 max with a big buyin. The HA tournament - which I'd love to play - starts at 2 pm on a weekday which I already know is going to be brutal. The weeknight tournaments start at 9 pm. Ugh. Ugh Ugh Ugh.

I think my best options are:

1. $500+35 PLO 6 max - this will be the toughest to get into, since it has the largest buyin.
2. $120+9 NLHE 6 max knockout - I'm not a fan of 6 max, but it's the lowest buyin game and it's on a weekend during the day, so it's doable.
3. $200+16 Limit O/8. I must be on crack, thinking about playing a limit hi/lo tournament that starts at 9 pm. This event could take 20 hours.
4. $500+35 HORSE. And even worse, a HORSE tournament that starts at 9pm. With a big buyin.

I might have to try super satelliting into satellites for the $500 events to keep the cost down. Ah, the life of the empty-pocketed degenerate. Time to sharpen up the tournament game.

***

Speaking of tournaments ... hey, who won the Mookie last night? I better go check.

Riverchasers tonight, 9 pm ET. I have no idea what the game is this week, or whether I'll be around. See you on the tables one of these days.

Content Jacking

Hey, what do you know, I'm being content jacked. Maybe that fact all by itself will get me that coveted promotion to D lister... usually people don't bother swiping my feed or posts.

Anyway, the site in question is liveactionpoker.com and I've noted that they're glomming on to Poker Fool, bayne, Waffles and Amy Calistri as well.

Googling random stuff sure is entertaining. Here's another content jacker - pokerwonks.com. I'm definitely not up to D lister on that site - my feed is not included.

I should probably care more than I do about content jacking. I'm sure it drives real bloggers nuts. But since it's often a stretch to call what I spew "content", whatever.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aussie Millions

Follow all the news from the Aussie Millions by checking out the coverage on Pokernews. Dr. Pauly, Michaela Johanssen and others are hard at work. Eric "jeciimd" Chadwick is representing the blogger contingent well, with over 60,000 chips at last report. Go jeciimd!

Edit: Rigged.

Minor Musings On Gambling, Government And Greed

[Ed. note: This is way off topic, dry and not all that interesting. Reader discretion advised.]

I was at the gas station the other day and the clerk, who knows my buying habits quite well, asked if I wanted a Mega Millions lottery ticket for that evening's drawing. She looked surprised when I told her no, so I figured I owed her an explanation. It's sort of a New Year's resolution, I said. No more lottery tickets.

I've never been much of a lottery player. About all I do is plunk down a dollar pretty regularly on the super-hyper-gigantic multistate lotto. I might make it $2 if the advertised "jackpot" - which I always divide by at least 4 to get the real prize after taxes - climbs well into nine figures. We're talking Happy Meal level (legal) gambling here.

I was cleaning up my home office and I came across a stack of tickets from last year. I'm terrible about checking numbers - I usually don't bother unless I note that someone won. Instead, I stack up the tickets and check them in a batch whenever I think of it which ends up being about twice a year. This time, I had probably forty or fifty tickets to check. You can win matching as little as one number if it's the Mega ball or with at least three regular numbers. On those forty or fifty tickets, I "won" a total of ... zero dollars.

So rigged.

I think everyone who plays the lottery knows that it has an incredibly poor payout. "A tax on stupid people"* is how money management gurus refer to it. I've never had any trouble justifying the odd dollar - it's entertainment. It's cheaper than going to the movies.

Still, the lack of even a single one dollar winner in that stack made me curious. Just how bad a deal is the lottery?

As it turns out, pretty darned bad.

I visited the website of the Michigan Lottery. As always, I tend to use Michigan as my example because (a) it's where I grew up and (b) it's not hard to find the information. The state lottery has a comprehensive financial report right there on their website.

In fiscal 2007, lottery sales hit $2.36 billion. Of that amount, $1.33 billion was paid out in prizes, for a payout percentage of 56.4%. Over 43% is retained - think about that the next time you're unhappy with the juice at a poker tournament. Unclaimed prizes were a relatively small $26.2 million, which may be partially explained by the fact that unclaimed prizes are forfeited to the government if unclaimed after a year.

Also in 2007, the lottery had $281 million in operating expenses. Throw in some insignificant investment gains and losses and a total of $759.7 million in profit went into government coffers - a net profit margin of 32.1%.

Is it any wonder that government wants to keep much of gambling to itself?

For those areas not run directly by our friends in power, there is always taxation. Michigan is home to three casinos located in Detroit. If the arrangement is still the same as it was in mid-2007, the state and the city of Detroit roughly split 24% of the gross win (gaming revenues minus payouts). In June 2007 - which appears to be an average month - the city and state each received more than $13 million in tax revenue from the casino tax. If that amount can be extrapolated over a year - in fairness, I do not know, although it appears to be so for the first six months of 2007 - that's over $150 million each, nearly $320 million in total.

Between the state lottery and the Detroit casino tax, that's $1 billion plus per year in revenue for politicians to disburse. It's no wonder why they're so afraid of online gaming.

* I don't have a cite for this, but I've seen it multiple times. It could be Suze Orman. Could be Dave Ramsey. Could be the guy that wrote Freakonomics. I forget. I should also mention that there appears to be no shortage of stupid people - according to this interesting study, 59% of eligible Minnesotans purchased a lottery ticket in 2003.

***

The repressed economist in me wonders what would happen if the government offered "fair" (or at least fairer) lottery games.

I noted the following statement in the Michigan Lottery's annual financial report:
"The Michigan Lottery's first goal is to maximize net revenues to supplement education programs."
(emphasis added)

In theory, the Lottery could offer a rate of return to players of anywhere from 0% to more than 100%. If you plotted revenue - and I'm simplifying here - on a vertical axis against rate of return on the horizontal axis, you would get a curve of some sort. At close to a 0% rate of return, you'd have close to zero revenue because nobody with any sense would play**. At close to a 100% rate of return, there would be zero revenue as the lottery would have no incentive to continue. At every point in between, there is a positive net revenue for the state which, all things being equal, should rise until it reaches a point where improved payouts no longer prompt players to spend more money on lottery tickets.

The question is where is the optimum point on this curve?

You would think that this idea would be studied to death, and I'm sure it has been. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything relevant by doing a cursory internet search and I don't have access to any serious gambling-related academic resources.

Just a subject that I find interesting and that one day maybe I'll look into further.

** Of course there are always idiots and those who see the lottery as altruistic.

***

If you've read this far, my apologies. I'm just in full work avoidance mode at the moment (which is stupid) and don't have anything poker-related going on. I missed last night's tournaments and probably won't be awake for the Mookie tonight (10 pm ET, Full Tilt).

I did note that Blinders is thinking about setting up a West Coast-friendly blogger event (9:30 pm PT), which made me feel really old. I hate 9:30 starts and envy left coasters who get to play events that start at 6:00 or 7:00 pm (9:00 or 10:00 pm ET). But then again I don't have kids or all that many other evening obligations. Everybody is different, which may help explain why there are now 9,000 different blonkaments every week, NTTAWWT.

The solution, as always, remains the same: Free us from the tyranny of Mountain Time! Three times zones is enough. Eastern, Central, Western. Think of how much your life would improve if this happened.

Seriously.

Okay, I'm going to go now. Sorry again.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Administrative Note

I'm not there yet, but I'll get to the 21st century eventually.

As part of that ongoing effort, I have acquired a custom domain name. Once all the domain name servers get updated, you can point to http://www.resipsapoker.com if you wish. Blogger assures me that you can also just continue to use the existing address, http://thehumanity.blogspot.com, and it will redirect things to the resipsapoker.com domain name.

Thanks to this change, I will no longer wonder if people think I was trying to rip off the Blogfather when I named this vanity project back in '04. (For the record, no, the blog came before I started reading Iggy and the name selection came from a non-poker message board).

Really, It's Not A Problem







Bingo Fever

I took the last week off from poker. Entirely. I didn't play, I didn't open a site to rail, nothing.

Work absolutely kicked my butt. I'm pretty sure I've never had three trials in the same week before. Thankfully I was able to get a fourth case settled, otherwise it would have been worse.

I don't think I'm up to it at the moment, but at some point I'd like to do a complete post on just how adaptable people can be. I'll use myself as a case in point - sample size be damned.

When I went through law school, I purposefully avoided courses relating to courtroom work. I never expected to end up doing any amount of litigation. I deemed it a terrible fit for my personal skill set - I loathe public speaking, have never been interested in "performing" and I'm at my best when I have time to consider things carefully before saying what I think. I managed to make it through nearly ten years of practice without having a single trial.

And then "what I do" changed. Drastically.

When I started doing some different types of work a few years ago - including court appearances - I was frequently petrified. I worried constantly about my shaky knowledge of procedure and lack of experience. Even the simplest hearings were scary. I was bothered by the idea that my clients might not be receiving the best possible representation, even though the results were generally very good.

Now, oddly, I'm as comfortable in a courtroom as I am in the office. No, I'm not going to ever be Daniel Webster, Perry Mason, Johnnie Cochran or whomever you might consider to be a great trial lawyer. I won't dazzle anyone with a brilliant argument or with my incredible knowledge of the rules of evidence. I'm just not afraid anymore.

And there are no telephones in court. Which may be why I've grown to appreciate it.

Anyway, without going into detail, most of my cases recently deal with a very specific provision of the law. It's a particularly harsh provision, put in place by legislators who may or may not have given much consideration to the impact that particular section has - I haven't looked at the history, simply because the result, the law itself, is black and white and legislative intent is not relevant.

Most of the people I represent in this area are set up for failure. Sometimes it is due to their own actions, other times it's because of the wording of the law. The results, however, are consistent - my clients, and by extension myself, lose most of the time.

That's something that has been difficult to accept. I don't lose sleep over cases where we lose because my client can't get it together, but I still have a hard time accepting defeat where he or she has tried to do the right thing. It could be that that is why this past week was so tough - in the last case I really believed that we had a chance to overcome the stacked deck and win.

We didn't. And an exhausting week dragged to a close with another sleepless night spent wondering what, if anything, I could have done differently to change the result.

***

Another contributing factor to the lack of poker this past week has been a resurfacing of my addiction to Scrabble. Much like poker, online Scrabble is a terrific time waster, and since there is nothing at stake it's the ideal game for fried-brain evenings.

No worries, this isn't going to turn into a Scrabble blog. (Unlike Dawn Summers, I don't play live). Although I'm pretty proud of winning three games this week by bingoing out, you won't care. I can accept that.

I will offer one observation, though - people cheat. You could never play online Scrabble for money. Most players are honest, but when you're playing against someone with a crappy rating and they insta-bingo twice in a row with PRIEDIEU and nuts, I can't remember the other one, but it involved some crazy combination of letters like MOXILY?, you have to believe that they're using a program or website to find words.

***

A return to poker is likely this week. Remember that there is, as always, a full slate of blogger games to play. Monday, MATH. Tuesday, Bodonkey and Blogger Skillz Game. Wednesday, Mookie. Thursday, Riverchasers. Friday, Dollar Donkament. I'm sure there are others - the Monkey tourney, maybe some Sunday night events, I don't know.

As for the moment, I need a nap.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Avoiding The '-itis

I've been thinking lately about the weaknesses in the my game and what I should do about them. One that I keep coming back to is an unfortunate tendency to succumb to "awwfukkit-itis".

I think you know the situation I am referring to. You reach a point in a cash game or a tournament where your stack is getting low. It may be late. You may be tired. It could just be frustration. And then you're faced with a marginal decision - like whether to shove ATs UTG or to call what looks suspiciously like a river value bet even when you're pretty confident that you're beat - and you just act on reflex. The '-itis usually costs you whatever you have left on the table.

This condition is not limited to any particular kind of game. During the December trip to Las Vegas, I experienced the '-itis' at a $2/$4 limit table, getting my last chips in with no hand. There was no reason to walk away more than half a rack down - instead I dropped two.

I don't think "awwfukkit-itis" is entirely curable, but something I hope to achieve this year is to move the point where it feels like redemption is no longer possible. If it's a $100 cash game, work to make sure that the '-itis doesn't set in when I still have $47 in my stack. Or $37, $27 or $17 for that matter. Either stand up or rebuy - throwing the rest away should not be an option. The longer I can hold off the problem, the more partial buyins I save. Simple.

An old subject, I know, but one for which I need a periodic reminder.

***

And of course I forgot a few things. Tonight. The Bodonkey on Bodog at 9:05 ET. Blogger Skill Series - Pot Limit Omaha at 9:30 ET on Full Tilt. Tomorrow. Mookie. 10:00 ET on Full Tilt. I'm tempted, very very tempted, by tonight's events. It remains to be seen, however, if I'll be there - it will come down to just how willing I am to pay the price tomorrow.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fantasy Sports Live - I'm On Board

A brief timeout for this special commercial moment ...

If you're not a 100% poker-holic, you might be a fan of fantasy sports. I am. During the football season I've been playing over at Fantasy Sports Live. It's a blast picking a new team each day, and I have to say I had a pretty good run.

There are other sports as well -- currently I'm trying to learn the NBA. I'm not there yet, so it's a good thing that contests start at $1. Hockey is offline for the moment, but it's likely to return at some point. Starting in February: Fantasy NASCAR. Coming back in the spring is fantasy baseball. Get the picture?

You know, if they find a way to offer fantasy golf, I might just quit poker all together and spend all my free time studying stats.

Anyway, since I've enjoyed playing over at FSL so much, I figured I might as well join up and help promote the site.



If you haven't checked out Fantasy Sports Live, use bonus code BONDS and receive an enhanced (ed. note: Hey! a steroid joke!) signup bonus: a $10 instant bonus on a deposit of $50, a $20 instant bonus on $100, or a $30 instant bonus on a $200 initial deposit.

Why should you use bonus code BONDS, you ask? Good question! It's simple, really - you get a better deal. Free money. The "standard" signup bonus without bonus code bonds is $10 on a $100 deposit. Use the code and get a bigger bonus. If you can find a better offer I'd sure like to hear about it.

Basically, the bonus money lets you freeroll your way through a few contests while you decide if you like the site. If it's not for you, cash out. Easy.

Speaking of cashing out (and cashing in) - one of the best things about Fantasy Sports Live is the easy transactions. You can use your Visa, Mastercard, American Express card or - get this - Pay Pal account to deposit. When you're ready cash out, the money is back to you in a flash. I cashed out some money this morning and it was in my PayPal account in about a half hour.

One more thing. I'm not giving out legal advice, but check it out: The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act specifically says that fantasy sports are okay - they are not gambling. This fits with court decisions saying that fantasy sports are a game of skill. Be sure to check your local laws and the Fantasy Sports Live terms and conditions before signing up - there are a few states that won't allow you to play, which FSL has tried to identify. Players from Canada are welcome, too, eh, unless you're from Quebec.

Fantasy Sports Live. Fun. User Friendly. Free Deposit Bonus. Do I need to say more?

/end commercial break

Fancy Plans

Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.

-- Ernest Hemingway
It's Monday morning, which means that I am most assuredly not drunk. That's a shame. If I were drunk, that would mean that I was on vacation. Instead I am at work, cringing at the thought of what is coming up over the next few days.

The post-holiday blahs have set in big time. I accomplished nothing this weekend. It was a "fail" on all fronts. I started and abandoned a substantive post for this blog. I watched a lot of football. I slept in. I played a few games of online Scrabble. Life failure.

I also found myself reading through a copy of The Nick Adams Stories that I picked up (for myself) while Christmas shopping. I already have a copy of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, but I was compelled by the idea of having all of the Nick Adams stories in one volume. I'm not displeased by the purchase, but it left me unfulfilled for some reason - like there were a number of stories missing, gaps in the narrative that I don't remember being there.

And poker. There was no poker. Really, after the extreme beatdown of the first two days of the month, I haven't had much desire to play. I began the year with some fancy plans to go back to my roots, rediscover an old game and spruce it up. I figured that I'd rack up some "comps" while playing a modestly winning style. Plans are a wonderful thing but they often clash with reality. Reality wins every time. In reality, I found myself confronted with tight, hyper-aggressive opponents who were rewarded for most every move they made, which is not a scenario that allows me to win without great variance.

And so it's on to the second plan of the new year. Figure out where there are still fish, improve enough at that game to gain an edge, and find the sweet spot where there is both a reward for playing and a lack of burnout from playing too much.

***

January is a great time to be a poker junkie, by the way. If you're not there yourself, you can follow all of the action at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure by reading the Pokerstars blog, and coming up you can check out people playing for big money down under by reading the Aussie Millions coverage over at Poker News. There are a lot of really good writers grinding away, cranking out coverage for your pleasure, so go check 'em out.

***

This just in: In case you've been living under a rock or you checked yourself into lockdown rehab for your Christmas cookie addiction, GCox has announced dates for Okie-Vegas III. July 9-13. From past reports, it sounds like a ridiculous amount of fun. I want to make and will be trying to make it work, but chances are probably 50/50 at best.

***

Speaking of bloggers -- I hate to say it, but I've got a belated new year resolution that I'm pretty sure nobody else is making: I resolve to play fewer blogger donkaments.

It's not that I don't love y'all (in the non-gheyest way possible) or enjoy the donkaments. I just need more sleep.

Until next time, I yawn. Still setless in '08.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year Same As The Old Year

It took two days and a lot of hands, but I finally won a decent sized pot. King Seven soooted, what a [censored] monster.

That was the good news. The bad news is that I still haven't flopped a set in 2008. Over six hundred hands of stupid poker and I am setless.

Currently taking out my rage on the gumball level limit games. Raising is fun.