Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Season of my discontent

I've been playing fantasy football for quite a long time now, since around 1995 in one form or another. You'd think I knew a little bit about it by now.  You'd be wrong but you might think so.   In all that time, this has to be one of the most frustrating seasons I've ever had.  I'm in 3 leagues this year, my wife's work league where I took 3rd last year, my work league that I won last year, and a new league.  2 are free leagues for bragging rights only, but my wife's league is a money league.

After the draft this year I really felt like I had a good team in my wife's league.   With Aaron Rodgers, MJD, McFadden, Jamaal Charles and Ahmad Bradshaw I was sure I would be fine with running backs.  My receivers were a little weak but with Antonio Brown, Eric Decker and Danny Amendola I thought I was pretty good and I figured on trading an RB for a top notch receiver at some point. 

Well the best laid schemes and all.  First MJD gets hurt for almost the entire season, McFadden forgets how to run, and Jamaal Charles is coached by Romeo Crennell.  One week he gets 30 carries, the next he gets 7.  Hey Romeo, you have maybe the best running back and the worst QB in the AFC so why not spend entire games ignoring your RB?   Bradshaw was about the most dependable and most weeks that meant he was top 10 or 12.  My receivers were ok but Antonio Brown was a major disappointment.  And Aaron Rodgers was good but nearly as good as the previous 2 years.  So I start out losing 3 games, then winning 3 to get back to even, then lose 7 of 8 to finish the year.  How disappointing.   The other free league was even worse.  I didn't draft well in that one and ended up winning 2 games all year.  Even my work league where I made some nice draft picks turned out disappointing.  I went 10-2 for the year but finished 2nd in my division.  Then I proceeded to lose both rounds of the playoffs to finish 4th.  Overall a very disappointing year.

The only bright spot in my year was the pick em league I'm in.  I started out the year in 5th, moved up to 2nd in a couple of weeks, took over 1st a couple of weeks later and have never looked back.  I slowly extended my lead until for week 17, I am leading by 7 games.  There are 5 people within a game of each other fighting for 2nd and 3rd but unless I completely blow it, I should be good to win.  That's nice because that pays more than any of my other leagues. 

My stock picks this year have been about as good as my fantasy football picks.  I really went after mining stocks this year.  I diversified across a number of junior gold and silver miners and even a couple of platinum/paladium miners as well.   I really believe at some point in the near to not so near future, gold and silver are going to skyrocket up along with interest rates in the US.  For now the Fed can keep rates low because Europe and Japan are worse off than we are.   At some point that will change and the market will determine our interest rates.  So I picked up some good junior miners at cheap prices but they haven't improved for the most part this past year.  My longtime pick Yamana Gold has done well up about 14% this year and it was up a lot more until recently.  Drilling company SeaDrill has been solid and pays a great dividend as does NY Community Bank who I've held for the past 4 years and those reinvested dividends are really adding up now.  Otherwise my stock picks have been forgettable this year.  I just believe at some point in the near future the only stocks you will want to be in are precious metals, energy, and strong dividend payers.  I  am looking forward to a much better year next year for some of them.  We'll see.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Playin Hooky

But I'm not getting to really enjoy it.  I'm taking a couple of enforced days from work starting today.  Seems like all year long I've been battling chest colds and I have another doozy now.  There is no way I could work today coughing like this and infecting the rest of the department would not have done me any good either.  And that's the least of my problems

Somehow I have also picked up an infection in my leg.  It is swollen, hot, and painful.  The doc basically said I needed to spend the next few days with my leg elevated while the antibiotics go to work on it.  I noticed some pain and swelling last week and hoped it would improve but when it didn't I figured I better get it looked at.  Glad I did.  So here I sit with my legs raised in my recliner, hacking up a lung and trying to stay warm.  That cold front that dropped snow and ice across most of the US brought some chilly weather here as well.  Not a white Christmas like they had in Dallas but still a bit cooler than I'm used to now..  I'll enjoy it while I can as in a few months it will be 90 again for 6 months straight. 

Well that was my entire post from Thursday.  Kinda tells how lousy I'm feeling when I spend the whole day at home and get two paragraphs done.  But enough of my woes.

So much has gone on this year that I haven't talked about.  I've been so tired from work that I've had no energy to post much here.  For that I am sorry as I really would like to be one of these people who posts multiple times a week instead of a few times a month if I am really being talkative.  That's probably why some of my missives seem to go on forever and ever and ever, etc. 

Haven't been playing too much poker lately.  I did play a tourney last weekend but my luck was very poor.  Early on I got a good read on 2 players to my left.  The guy across from me would never dump top pair  no matter what was bet it seemed.  I made sure it cost him when I raised in mid position with KK.  Flop was queen high and not too threatening so I bet about half the pot.  He called while one other guy folded.  I put him on a queen and hoped he hadn't flopped 2 pair.  Next card was a 4 that paired the board.  I put out almost a pot sized bet of 2500 and he called again.  Final card was nothing.  He checked again and I bet 3K into him.  I didn't think he'd call much more than that but I wonder if I had pushed all in if he would.  Probably.  That will come back to haunt me. 

He calls and flips over KQ and is not happy to see my KK.  Thanks for the chips sir.  A bit later on I get 99 under the gun.  I don't like to push too hard with mid pairs early in a tourney so i just called.  Another guy called and the guy I had whacked before pushes in for almost 4K.  Everyone folds to me and I have to make a decision.  I thought it a fair chance he had 10s or Jacks but also very possible he had a smaller pair or Ace anything.  I weighed my options and called him.  I flipped over my 9s and he stands up and gets ready to leave as he flips over 7s.  But a 7 on the flop saved his ass and I didn't suck out a river straight or 9 of course.  Sometimes I hate this game.

After that things went badly.  Every raise was met by 3 or 4 callers.  It was hard to make moves when I didn't improve after the flop and I got some play back from others as well.  I did manage to sneak a straight on the turn from the big blind to make back some chips.  At the break I'm sitting on near 10K from my original 12K stack.  And I'm not thrilled.  Early on after we return I pick up AA in mid position.  I raise the 200/400 blinds to 1500.  Guy next to me is loose aggressive and calls and a guy across the table  in the big blind does as well.  Flop is queen high with 2 clubs.  I look at the pot of about 5K and my stack of just over 8K and decide my only options are to check or push in.  So I pushed in.  Guy next to me folds but the guy across the table hems and haws and gets a count then finally calls for about half his stack.  He has A9 of clubs.  Of course you know the rest.  The river is a club and its goodbye me.  I really cannot see putting in half my chips on just a flush draw there.  I wasn't giving him the odds to do it but then again, he wasn't overly bright anyway. 

I wasn't overly unhappy with my play, I could have done a couple of things better but I got pretty unlucky twice as a fair favorite to lose.  And thats the difference between winning and losing tourneys.  You can make all the right plays but sometimes the luck factor just kicks your ass. 

Outside of that the PQ and I have been over at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa more than at Derby Lane.  She has been crushing the video poker games there walking out with 800 a couple of times.  I have done mostly ok but usually I play video poker for a while, lose some cash, go to the poker room and play Omaha 8 and make back more cash, then score a bit on the video poker before I leave.  Except for once where I got my butt handed to me in both Omaha and Video Poker.  The PQ is getting some decent comps for playing so much.  I'm getting free drinks in the poker room and thats about it.  But I haven't had her luck with games so I don't play nearly as much. 

Well lets wrap it up.  I'm starting to feel like Kevin Costner in Tin Cup right about now after he lost his swing and tried all those contraptions.  I ve got Vicks on my nose, a humdifier going right next to me, I just took some cough syrup and ibuprofen, and I got some more antibiotic to take after dinner. 
I'm feeling kinda like him but I'm starting to look more like this guy.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Running bad and running good

Still working like the dog that I am but things at work are improving.  Of course with the end of the year fast approaching and another tax season around the corner, I expect our volume of calls to become much higher and in fact it already is getting busier on the phones.  Still all of my long hours are not going unrewarded on a financial basis and I am making huge strides in clearing up my work so things are looking up indeed. 

The last couple of weeks have also been somewhat rewarding on the felt fields of battle as well.   I think I'm seeing the hands more clearly, I'm definitely being more aggressive, and I'm making better reads as well.  Of course I haven't had too much bad luck either which is often the difference between a good result and no result at all.  The weekend before this past one we played a tourney and while the PQ was out fairly early, I had a good deep run going out just before the final table.  Bad cards most of the time but I was able to make good reads and get more aggressive.  Caught a couple of bad breaks trying to take out the guy on my right.  He managed to beat my AJ with A6 for all his chips then beat me again when he rivered a flush vs my top pair all in after the flop.  I make one of those and I'm into the final table but I've heard some people say that's poker. 

Monday the PQ was off from work so I took a vacation day as well.  We grabbed a great breakfast then headed over to the Hard Rock casino.  We figured to play a little video poker and she had a gift from the casino for all of her video poker play.  Not sure why they reward her for taking money off them but then again she has given a good bit back to them too.  We play for 10 minutes or so and she hits quad aces for 500 bucks.  I couldn't hit crap and decided shortly afterward to see if I could play some Omaha 8 in the poker room instead.  Got in there and got seated in 5 minutes.

Had a bit of a slow time, mostly losing in dribs and drabs and never making much of a hand.  After a couple of hours I was down about half my buyin.  Finally my luck turned.  Won a very nice pot to go from down to up in one hand when I flopped the nut low then turned a straight to claim the high end as well.  A couple of hands later I made a decent pot on a high only hand.  Won a couple of other small pots to about double my buy in but went card dead again and after a couple of more hours I decided to call it quits.  I was still up over 50% so it was a profitable run for us both as the PQ was still doing pretty well. 

After 4 more wonderful days of work we made it to another weekend.  The PQ had planned on playing in this womans tourney on Saturday afternoon but some family things got in the way of that so we both decided to play the 6pm tourney instead.  The turn out was a bit low and I had a hard time making anything happen early.  I did manage to score some chips from the big blind when I had K4 and flopped 2 pair.  Turn was another 4 and I got paid off on the river for a fairly good score.  The blinds went up every 15 minutes so keeping up with that was not very easy.  At the first break I was sitting on 10500 chips from my 6000 starting stack.  I was a little above average but the blinds were already up to 200-400.  The PQ was out already as she pushed all in against 66.  Unfortunately she only had AA and when a 6 hit the flop she was out.  And quite unhappy.  I assisted her to enter the 8pm tourney as well and her luck did not change.  She was the epitome of running bad that night. 

After the break I started making some moves.  While I didn't get great cards I got stuff I could work with and I was willing to make moves in position.  Once we were down to 2 tables this younger gal maybe late 20s or early 30s got moved to my right.  She was pretty aggressive and I figured I better be careful with her.  Too bad I didn't listen too well.  A bit later I decided I needed some more chips and made a move after she called the big blind.  I only had 86 but I knew I couldn't wait on cards.  Unfortunately she called my raise as well.  Flop was not too good with A95.  Especially when she pushed all in.  I didn't think she had much or maybe nothing but I knew I had nothing and her nothing was probably better than mine.  Or she had an ace and I was really cooked.  I made a good show of  debating my next move before I folded. 

As the blinds went up so did the aggression.  I found it harder to pick my spots and basically got down to push all in or fold time.  Which I did successfully a couple of times.  The big stack in seat 10 really gave me a look and I figured he would look me up with any decent hand next time I pushed.  Not long after I picked up 88 and pushed in under the gun.  I was right as he called me with KJ.  Luckily he didn't improve and I got a much needed double up.  People were dropping pretty fast by now having to make the same decision as I did.  Before long we were down to 11 but then it slowed down a bit.  I was able to chip up a little more by stealing a couple of times but finally one more guy busts and we are down to the final table. 

I was seated at number 4 at the final table.  The big stack who was now a bit smaller was in seat 5 on my left and the aggressive gal was in seat 1.  On my right was a good sized stack as well.  He was the guy who knocked out the PQ with 66 against her AA though I didn't know that at the time.  The first few hands were pretty tight but then the chips started to fly.  I kept out of the fray at first as I had nothing to play with but I knew I couldn't wait long.  In short order we were down to 7 as 3 shorties busted out pretty quickly.  My neighbors and the gal in seat 1 were the beneficiaries.  There was an older lady in seat 10 and she had a good sized stack but she got pretty tight here.  Not a wise move the way the blinds were going up.  When we got to the final table the blinds were 800/1600 which meant her 40K stack was only 25 big blinds.  Of course that was much better than my 17K. 

With 7 left I was 7th in chips and new it was time to move.  I got my chance in mid position when I picked up AQ of hearts.  The gal in seat 1 UTG raised to 4500.  I figured her for a decent hand but I hoped it wasn't AK, AA or KK.  I pushed all in on her and everyone else folded.  She asked for a count so I knew she didn't have a monster and eventually called my 16K which was half her stack.  I flipped over my cards and she shocked me and showed J8 of diamonds.   Really?  Does that seem like a good move to you,  I don't think I call there in her position.  Maybe she just read me for any 2 cards and a resteal, I don't know.   She flopped 2 diamonds but thankfully didn't improve and I got some space with a big double up.  She went out not much later.  I got my next double up opportunity courtesy of PQ's nemesis.  I had lost some chips back to just over 30K and was in the small blind with Q10 suited.  The kid to my right calls from the button and so I just called while the big blind looked at his cards and decided to check.  With a big stack on both sides of me I thought I better be careful there. 

Flop was Q92.  I liked it enough to bet 4K.  Big blind folds.  He played pretty careful with me after the hand we played earlier and the other hands he saw me show.  The kid on the button didn't fold but raised to 8K.  Now I had to think.  Did he have a bigger Q?  I doubted that.  Did he play Q9 or 92?  I thought it possible for the first but not the second.  The one thing I feared was he played 22 and flopped a set.  Not much else made sense.  QJ or better and he raises I think since it was folded to him.  99 or QQ as well though I could see not raising QQ and taking a chance on busting someone - pretty risky though.  So after going through the scenarios I pushed all in.  I really hoped to take it down there.  I thought he might have nothing but put me on a steal and try to take it back from me.  He went into the think tank then so I knew he had something.  I just looked at the board while he pondered his move.  Eventually he called.  He was very disappointed in my Q10 as he had 98 for middle pair.  He did not improve and I doubled again.  This made me almost chip leader.  Then when I have plenty of chips I get dealt AA twice in a row.  After winning a couple of hands, no one wants to really tangle with me I fear.  The first time I called in 2nd position and hoped for a raise or all in push but it was not to be.  Only the older woman in the big blind and I saw the flop.  She had been bemoaning how she couldn't play a hand and her stack had dwindled to just over 20K.  Unfortunately a flop of 942 saw her check and then fold to my bet.  

Next hand I get AA again and figure I'm not playing around twice with it.  So I make a moderate raise and take down the blinds and antes.  From there we got down to 4 fairly quickly.  The kid next to me made a great comeback to third in chips and with only 3 getting paid he was in good shape.  Eventually the older woman pushed all in and he called immediately.  I was happy because I got to fold a crap hand there and when he took her A6 out with AJ we were in the money.  We chopped it up evenly from there since our stacks were pretty close, guy on my left had a little more than me and the kid did.  I was more than happy to walk away $400+ ahead of where I expected to be.

Well that wass my Saturday and in an effort to make myself a little less like Rob I am quitting here.  I can talk about Sunday in my next post.  No poker in that one.  I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving.  We are having a late dinner and the house smells fantastic right now.  Spend some quality family time today and I hope you all get lucky on Black Friday.  I will be working unfortunately but I will be doing the online thing too.  Buy me something nice everyone.  And stay lucky, I know I am.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I bungled in the jungle

Happy Sunday everybody.  I know many of you are looking forward to some truly awful weather today and in the next few days.  Here it's a bit chilly even.  High today is only supposed to be 72 and its pretty windy out.  Took the dog out a little while ago and I actually felt a little chilled.  Been quite a while since I could say that while standing outside. 

Last week at this time I was sitting at the Buccaneers game sweating my ass off.  It was only in the low to mid 80s but sitting there surrounded by people it was pretty warm.  It was a fun offensive game against New Orleans but the good guys lost.  The refs didn't help hosing them on 2 different occasions but the Bucs defense was completely helpless most of the game and generated no pass rush.  Give Drew Brees time and expect to lose.  Still the Bucs drove down in the final seconds and appeared to tie the game only to have a shitty ref call go against them.  I understand you cannot go out of bounds and come back in and catch a pass but where is the illegal contact call for the guy who pushed Mike Williams out the back of the end zone?  Last time I checked, the end zone is still 10 yards wide which means that contact came way more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.  But the Bucs got what they deserved for missing a FG and not scoring from the one yard line.  At least now the coaches have finally realized that LeGarret Blount is not a short yardage back and Doug Martin really toasted a good Viking defense this past Thursday night to prove it.

The reason I was at the game was that my cousin and some of his friends were in town on a mini vacation and wanted some good seats to a game.  Since I work for the company that has naming rights to the stadium, I was able to get a deal on good tickets down off the side of the end zone and about 20 rows from the field.  Closest I ever sat as well.  Chris my cousin has season tix to the Patsies up in the nose bleeds so he really enjoyed the view from down low.  Not to mention not freezing his ass off.  Apparently San Fran is playing the Pats up there on December 13 in the Sunday night game. And Miami is up there for an afternoon game on December 30.  He is not looking forward to attending either of those games I can tell you.  Nor would I be. 

Anyway we had a really good time, hit a few new places and just enjoyed ourselves.  I grew up only a half mile or so away from Chris and our families spent a lot of time together in the summers and holidays so we've always been pretty close.  His parents now have a place in central Florida so he is down here from time to time to see them and in fact will be down here at the end of November.  So while I didn't get to gamble any, I did have a fun weekend and was pretty tired at work Monday. 

Holy crap, I just saw the unis the Steelers are wearing today.  What the hell do they call that color, jailbird baby puke?  Wow, yellow and black or purple stripes circling around them?  I'd be embarrassed to be seen in that.  Of course I'm not paid millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to work in funny looking outfits.  I might change my tune in that instance. 

I love watching football on Sundays from the comfort of my own recliner.  Good thing I'm not an Eagle fan as they look pretty bad today, especially on defense.  Oh look, Andy Reid lost another challenge.  Here's my shocked face. 

Now Jaquizz Rodgers just ran through most of the Eagle D for 40 yards.  Ouch they cannot stop Atlanta.  Julio Jones has made them his bitch too.  What a TD he had beating Asomugha like a drum.  Unfortunately my wife started Matt Ryan against me in Fantasay Football and he is killing it.against a supposedly good pass defense.  I started Aaron Rodgers against the crappy Jags D and he has all of 1 TD in a 14-12 game that no one expected to be close.  Hey Rodgers!!  Wake up and throw some TDs so you can do your discount double check dance.  Because if I lose to her today I will be very disappointed.  Her team is 6-1 so far while mine is a stellar 3-4.  I loved this team when I drafted it but it just hasn't turned out the way I thought it would. 

Last night we hit Derby Lane for the 8pm tourney which we hadn't played in for quite a while.  About 50 players in the tourney.  10,000 chips and 20 minute blinds.  I kept it very tight early establishing my image.  Took down a couple of small pots, lost it back and had my starting stack after 3 blind levels.  Then took it up a notch and started being a little more aggressive.  The cards were nothing much to speak of but I'm not letting that stop me.  I managed to raise up 4-5 and river a straight against a gal for a decent score.  I later took her out when she pushed with 9+7 into my AK and I actually hit a K.  I felt pretty good with 16K in chips but lost 6K back to a shorty who pushed in with 33 over my preflop raise with KQ.  Nothing for me and I hit the first break at just over 10K in chips and feeling a little frustrated at not being able to build a stack. 

The PQ was doing a little better at the break but neither of us was lighting the world on fire.  After the break though I got going.  Got some hands finally and even made KK stand up twice, once taking out a guy who thought he would steal with KJ and another taking it down post flop.  My stack started building up and I was starting to feel better.  Then I decided to play like a lion

No not this lion taking down his prey
Yes  this is much more like me.
I was in the small blind with a middle sized stack of about 16K and look down at JJ.  Blinds are 300/600 and I figure I'm going to play this hard.  I really want to get more chips now.  Folded around to the cut off who is a kid that likes to make moves in position.  I'm hoping for a raise from him as I'm going to push in over the top of him.  He might have something, he might not but a healthy raise from him was right up my alley.  He pops it to 2500.  Then the lady on the button called him.  Which really surprised me as I thought she was fairly tight and liked to play big cards usually.  This changed my thought process.  I didn't want to get in a race with 2 big cards at this point for most or all of my chips.  I had her covered but not by much, the kid had me covered by a fair amount.  I thought a while and half of me wanted to push in but I figured the one person I was worried about was the woman and I was pretty sure she would call.  Not ideal with JJ in your hand.  So I played the cowardly lion and dumped it.  I breathed a sigh of relief when the flop came down AK7 then another K and finally a 4.  They both checked it down which surprised me as I was sure one of them, probably the lady had an Ace or King.  But the kid shows 33 and the lady MUCKS.  What??  You didn't have an ace or king or a pair and call a good sized raise for 20% of your chips and then don't even bet when he checks to you.  He rakes in the pot and I do a slow burn. So what do you think, was I too cautious there or is it right to toss JJ in that situation? 
 I kept my cool after that and started abusing the lady every chance I got.  She would call preflop raises with a wider range than I first thought but she would only call postflop if she hit something.  I was able to push her a few times with crap to build my stack and got away from one problem hand when she bet at me.  That helped me out a good bit.  Then I had cowardly lion hand number 2.  I'm on the button with 30K.  Big stack in seat 4 makes a raise to 4K on 500/1000 blinds.  Guy to his left raises to 8K.  Its folded to me and I look down at AK of spades.  Nice.  I start thinking through the betting.  I put seat 4 on a solid hand, big cards or a big pair, probably a big pair.  He got caught a few hands earlier raising light and I was betting he raised in fairly early position with a hand.  Guy to his left is a bit of a wild card and I didn't think he was too strong.  I thought he probably had a solid ace up to a mid pair.  My fear here is he has AK also and I push into the big stack with AK and am drawing short because 2 of my outs are in someone else's hand.  So I agonize for a minute between calling which I didn't like to do because thats over 1/4 of my chips and I may still have to call another raise then, folding which I don't want to do with these cards, and pushing all in over the top.  I finally decide to dump the hand.  Big stack calls the raise.  Flop is a jack high rainbow and the big stack pushes all in.  Guy on his left thinks really hard then calls for all his chips.  He shows AJ but the big stack has QQ.  He has one foot out the door until an ace splashes the river and burns the big stack.  What do you guys do there?  Are you really aggressive with AK suited or does that spell trouble to a raise and reraise in front of you?  I would have lost to the one guy who hit 2 pair on the river but beaten the big stack.  I'm sure the big stack calls my all in reraise and I'm not sure the AJ would though he indicated he was taking that hand all the way. 
We got down to 11 then the PQ got knocked out and we made the final table.  I was in ok shape with a just over 34K in chips, a bit below the average stack.  I stayed patient for a while but the blinds and antes were eating into my stack.  There was a good amount of action early on and a couple of people got knocked out including the lady on my right.   At that point I have the second shortest stack.  Then I started finding positions to move in and made up some chips pretty fast.  I got myself up to 70K while another guy got knocked out.  It sounds like a lot but the average by then was 80K so I was still below average.  I could tell a couple of guys were irritated as we were down to 6 and I should have been gone to get it down to the money but I did a pretty good job of picking my spots.  I did goof big though and wish I could play one hand over.  
I had moved up to 50K with blinds at 2K and 4K.  I had been pretty active so I figured someone would call a move from me thinking I was stealing.  Sitting in the big blind I look down at AA for the first time that day.  Just what the doctor ordered.   UTG calls with a big stack  then the guy in the cutoff min raises to 8K.  He is sitting on around 90K.   It folds to me and I have to make a decision.  Like I said, I thought a big push from me might get called because I had gotten so aggressive and I really didn't want to play AA against 2 opponents this close to the money.  Plus I thought the min raise might actually have a big hand and be looking for action.  And I really wanted to get a decent sized stack.  So I pushed all in.  UTG folds and the min raiser thinks for a second then folds as well.  Not what the doctor ordered.  I guess I should call there or maybe try a raise to 20K or so.  I won a decent pot there with blinds and antes it put me up to 70K but I could have done so much more.  With 6 people left and 5 getting paid, I really didn't want to risk a multiway pot but damn I think now that's the way I should have played it.   After that I managed to lose a chunk when I was on the button with 22.  I raised to 25K with blinds at 3K and 6K.  Unfortunately the big blind called me.  I thought with as much a stack as I had then and the fact I didn't push all in, it would make him think.  It didn't.  Probably I should have just pushed in and taken my chances.  Flop was queen high and missed me and he pushed in.  Had to fold there which put me down under 50K again.  Luckily the former big stack who lost with QQ had built himself back up to about 65K and tried to steal a hand after a king high flop.  He pushes in and the guy to his right calls him with K3 and that was all she wrote.  So I hit the money.  I held on for a good while afterwards too but could never get myself back into contention where I was a danger to the bigger stacks.  Blinds got so big that I ended up pushing in on the big blind with 52 after the guy to my right raised.  I put him on a pure steal and figured I had 2 live cards so I went for it.  He actually had 44 and I did not improve.  So out in 5th I go with a little over $300 to show for my efforts.  It certainly beat not hitting the money and for the most part I felt good about my play and my aggression but I really think I misplayed some of these hands and could have done so much better.  Then again, if you lose the tourney, don't you always feel that way?  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Barkeep, I'll have the usual

I mentioned in my last post I'd had some success in a poker tourney last weekend and since that is such a rare thing I thought I would gloat  talk about it some today.  I doubt I will get to play this weekend so I guess I'll just live vicariously through myself today.

The tourney was only around 30 players, which is a lot less than I would have liked but this time of year is generally slow in poker rooms around here.  The tourney is a little quick with 15 minute blind levels but with 6K in chips you get some play.  Not much time to fool around for sure.  The last time I played the tourney I didn't catch crap for cards and pushed as much as I dared but didn't dare enough.  Blinds got up and I didn't do enough to keep from getting blinded off.  I went out right before the final table.  This time I wanted to be more aggressive. 

I was determined not to come into hands without raising except for the blinds (makes it easier later to steal from the blinds if you don't raise from them earlier I think) so I avoided playing hands for the first couple of rounds.  Some of my neighbors were not so circumspect and a few of them were just going to war with anything.  After a few rounds I picked up AQ on the button.  A few limpers to me and I popped it to 4x the big blind.  3 people called including two loose ones.  Flop is ok with A K 5 with two spades.  Unfortunately I don't have spades.  Guy in seat 5 bets out 200 and guy in 7 calls him.  I pop him to 700 and while the big blind folds, both others call.  Turn is a 6 of spades.  Both check to me and I don't want this one to go further and lose to a lousy river card so I put about 3/4 of the pot out there.  Both of them called me.  I put one guy on a bad ace and I didn't know what the other guy had to be calling these bets.  I also figured at least one had a good spade as well which is why I put out as much as I did.  Didn't faze either of them as they both called.  River is of course the 9 of spades.  Seat 5 bets, seat 7 pushes all in, I dump, and 5 calls and shows the spade Ace.  He called me all the way down with A3 off and four flushes.  Other genius called me down with KJ off and had stayed in cuz he flopped second pair and made the J high flush on the river.  He went buh bye but unfortunately did not donate his chips to me. 

I'm down to almost half my starting stack but I'm not wasting any time here.  A bit later on I get A4 suited one off the button.  A couple of limpers to me and I popped it to 600 which was 6x the big blind.  2 callers and we see a flop of J 4 2.  I didn't expect that helped anyone and when it was checked to me I pushed all in.  Unfortunately one guy called.  And flips over KJ of course.  I flip over my A4 expecting to leave soon when an A hits the turn and I'm golden.  That put me over my starting stack and I was determined to not waste time with it. 

My hands were none too good but I made sure I kept raising hands and taking down pots.  I got up to 18K then tangled with seat 5 again.  He had given away a bunch of chips and was down to about 6K when he decided to push all in with top two pair post flop.  But I was sitting on a set of 4s at the same time.  Unfortunately a Q on the river makes his boat.  Twice had him drawing thin and he beat me both times.  Luckily there were 2 people at the table I knew I could steal from and I did.  Made a couple of ok hands like 8-8 stand up post flop.  My stack slowly built up but I still wasn't a big stack when we got down to one table, probably about 8th in chips.  The PQ made the final table too and in better shape than I was.  But that was about to change. 

Seat 5 is now sitting next to me and not a big stack anymore as he had made a couple of other miracle rivers after beating me twice.  Another guy is in seat 5 and he is pretty stacked and pretty aggressive.  This time it cost him dearly.  I called a small raise by him with my 76 of diamonds in the big blind.  Flop is nice with K 8 9.  I check and he bets half the pot.  I decide to tag along after another guy calls and a perfect 5 hits the turn.  Seat 5 puts in a good bet and the guy in seat 8 pushes all in for less than the raise.  I push all in for slightly more than the bet which seat 5 calls.  Seat 5 turns over AK, seat 8 has KQ and both pay me nicely when my straight holds up.   A few hands later I tangle with seat 5 again.  I call an unraised pot one off the button with K7 suited.  Flop is A 7 6 and two of my flush cards.  I call a smallish raise by seat 5.  We both check a 8 on the turn and when a ten comes to fill my flush on the river I'm a happy camper.  Especially when seat 5 pushes all in.  He was really happy to fill a straight on the river until seeing my flush knock him out.  Then he was  not so happy.  I raked in the rest of his chips and look around to see I am sitting with more than a 1/3 of all the chips with 8 people left. 

I have seen people in this situation just piss their chips away so I was determined not to do that.  But I was also determined that no one sees a free flop if I'm playing.  So I kept it fairly tight but still aggressive.  I raised up 55 but dumped it to a reraise, a call, and an all in.  Turns out I was way behind as I was up against 66  99 and AJ.  The 66 flops a six and takes down 2 people.  And if I had stupidly played my 55 I would have taken all 3 out as I would have rivered the straight.  Damn.  Instead a bit later I raise 77 and the loose guy in 3 pushes in.  I felt I was probably ahead about 2-1 so I called him.  It was better than that as he had 55.  And flopped a 5.  There go some chips.  Later on I have AQ and get reraised all in by a relatively short stack.  I call and he has KJ.  I'm ahead until a J flops and I get nothing again.  Twice I call all ins well ahead and lose chips which was exactly what I didn't want to do. 

But I buckled down and kept it together.  Made a couple of good laydowns and a big bluff steal on the turn to stay in the tourney.  Blinds got big and we ended up chopping it up when we got down to 3.  Beat losing but I was doing so well and couldn't bring it all home.  What was both good and bad is I got sucked out on a lot when I was a pretty good favorite.  But I managed to stay in and keep accumulating chips so it worked out well in the end. 

No poker tonight I don't think.  My cousin is in town and we'll be drinking a bit today and attending the Bucs and Saints game tomorrow.  He just turned 50 recently and needs to blow off some steam where it's warm.  He texted me a little while ago that he is happily sitting by the hotel pool drinking Dirty Mexicans waiting for me to join him.  How can I pass that up?  See ya later folks, I got some booze in my future.  Stay lucky you nuts.  And stay warm, which is not a problem down here right now. 

BTW I wanted to send my condolences to Lucki Duck after the recent loss of Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas.  Big Tex is this metal statue wearing Dickies clothes at the Fairgrounds in Dallas.  Apparently the electronics that drive his mouth when he speaks caught fire and the clothes he was wearing went up in smoke with him.  A true tragedy. 

Hey Pardner, got a firehose handy?
And this is what he looks like now
Word is a bigger and better Big Tex will be at the fair next year.  But it just won't be the same. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Ask Mr Owl for he is the wisest of us all

I could be working this weekend, probably should be at work when you come right down to it, but I decided I needed a weekend to myself.  Was up early Saturday so I picked up the iced coffee and donuts instead of the PQ.  Then after she went over to her sisters I spent the morning catching up on some DVR shows from the past couple of weeks

One of the things I love about DVR is I can fast forward through all the commercials.  Especially now when every other commercial is one candidate bashing another.  Personally, I'm ready to vote for anyone who runs commercials and doesn't bash his opponent.

 I started to rant about Obama commercials and just gave up, I don't want this getting into politics, I'll never get off.  Nope I was talking commercials.  Anyway, I love skipping all those ads whenever I DVR a program but every once in a while an ad comes out that I enjoy.  Because instead of flashing a bunch of half naked women or a speeding car (always through water at some point) someone uses their mind or has a bit of inspiration and actually puts out a commercial that's fun or thought provoking or something other than the norm. 

I think back to when I was a kid sometimes and the some of the commercials from then.  Most of them were probably crap too.  I always like the old Alka Seltzer commercial  "I can't believe I ate the whole thing"  and also the one about shooting a commercial over and over where the guy has to say "Mamma Mia that's a spicy meat-a-ball"  I'm sure some of us have relatives from the old country that sound like that.  I never liked Alka Seltzer but it was a good commercial.  I don't remember too many others from my childhood but I occasionally still see one from that time on tv.  That old Tootsie Pop commercial, how many licks to get to the center where the kid asks the owl.  That one is probably more than 40 years old.  I'm sure I was no more than 9 or 10 when that first came out.  The original commercial was a lot longer as the kid asked some animal who told him to ask the turtle since he lived so long then the turtle tells him to ask the owl.   They dropped most of the early stuff out of the commercial after that.  But anyway enough dating myself.  So tell me what commercials if any that you enjoy.  Any you absolutely hate? 

There are a few commercials today I like.  I will even stop the fast forward for a couple of them.  I suppose my fave is one of the Allstate Mayhem commercials.  Lady's driving her SUV and he's in her blind spot.  So she wants to change lanes and he says "You're good" and she hits the guI y in her blind spot.  The car is spinning, she's screaming, mayhem is laughing hysterically.  I get a kick out of it.  You can view it here.  Some of the others are pretty funny too.

A commercial I thought was inventive was the VW commercial where the kids are driving in a Jetta and out of nowhere a car runs a redlight and slams into them.  Not brilliant perhaps but definitely gets your attention.  Don't know if it helped their sales but it made you remember the car and that's probably what they were aiming at.  Another one I enjoy is the Samsung Galaxy S3 commercial that really tweaks the Apple Iphone.  Pokes fun at it and makes it almost old fashioned with the kid holding a place in line for his parents.  It really gets the point out that the Iphone no longer rules the roost for having the best newest features and is actually behind in some areas.  I dislike Apple for its cultlike status with some people the way it locks people in to their market etc so it can keep milking them for more money but hey if thats what the sheeple want, so be it.  I may not like them but I have to admire them and there's a reason their stock price reached 700 a share.  Amazing when you consider you could have bought Apple for $7 a share in 2003.  Sure wish I had.  But I'll talk about them some other time.  They could have had a great commercial too.  Every time I see the Samuel L Jackson commercial talking to Siri I keep hoping he'll say, "Siri, what does Marcellus Wallace look like? "  That would have gotten a thumbs up from me.

Now to one I hate, no that's not a strong enough word, I absolutely despise this commercial.  It's the Citibank one where the chick says "Jack you're a little boring,  boring,   boring."   Then it shows Jack getting unboring by using his Citi card to cook with Giada DeLaurentis and go to some art exhibit (yes Jack you really are boring now) and to go backstage to see Alicia Keys.  Yeah you're not boring now Jack but you're in debt up to your eyes and we're gonna charge you 21% for the opportunity heh heh heh.  Yup Citi is creepily rubbing their hands like The Judge in "The Natural" while Jack goes on a spending binge to prove how unboring he is.  Hey Jack, here's a thought, just tell Lauren what a bitch she is and live your life.  And save some cash for your retirement.  Trust me you need it almost as much as Citigroup does.  And boy do they need it. I did find a pretty funny parody of the commercial on youtube here.  Take a look. 

Boy so much more I wanted to talk about yet I go off on a rant about commercials.  I must be boring   boring   boring!   Somehow I did managed to score some cash in a poker tourney last night.  I felt very satisfied with my play, had to suck out once but if I hadn't gotten sucked out on mulitple times, I would have won that tourney.  I felt really good about the lay downs I made and the bets I made.  Also never got great cards but did make some marginal ones into winners and that's what you need.  I made sure I played much more aggressively too and that was a huge difference.  It was great to pick on certain people and steal from them.  Never got a big pocket pair, I think 88 was my best.  Got AK once, AQ and A10 a couple of times yet managed to split the 2nd & 3rd place money.  Money won is definitely sweeter than money earned. 

Well long enough with this post.  I'm not Rob after all and I definitely don't have the writing skills to entertain on a long post anyway.  If I haven't bored you to sleep yet, stay lucky you nuts. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It goes in the blink of an eye

Over 2 months since my last post.  What a slacker I have been.  I just haven't had the urge to write much of anything and I guess I just haven't felt I had much of anything new to say.  But I am back even if I'm not better than ever.

Since my last post I did take a little vacation to Pensacola and New Orleans.  Really enjoyed NOLA, it is definitely a great city to eat, drink and party in.  Almost a southern version of Vegas without as many lights and casinos.  Like Vegas, you get to see weird and wild sights and almost anything goes.

We first headed to Pensacola to help get our niece settled in at college.  When I travel I try to make it a point not to visit any chain restaurants as I want to support the local economies and try the local flavors as much as possible.  But in Pensacola we do make one exception and hit up the Whataburger near the campus of Univ of West Florida.  Been too long since I had me a Double Whataburger with a chocolate malt.  All of the Whataburgers in the Tampa Bay area closed a few years ago much to my dismay.  So it was really good to taste that again. 

Its only 3 hours from Pensacola to New Orleans.  4 different states in 3 hours, almost like being back in New England again.  Due to our spending last year in Vegas, Harrah's was willing to comp us rooms for 2 nights.  But since they have very few rooms in the NO casino, they have worked out deals with some of the other local casinos so we were comped for 2 nights at the Hilton Riverwalk.  What a nice hotel it was.  Way above the quality your humble scribe is used to enjoying.

We shopped a bit, ate a lot, gambled some (had very little luck there) and really enjoyed ourselves.  Since our daughter had always wanted to go to New Orleans, we took her along on this little jaunt.  That wasn't the original plan but it might be the last time she comes on vacation with us so why not.  Besides it gave us a designated driver if we needed one. We did some of the touristy stuff like beignets at Cafe Du Monde and shopped the French Quarter. 

It was a nice little vacation but like anything good in life, it goes too fast.  My gaming did not go particularly well but the food and drink were definitely worth a visit.  Hit a place called Muriel's Cafe for lunch in the French Quarter.  It was superb.  The next night we were planning on hitting a little place near the hotel that was well rated but ran into a problem.  Let me set the stage. 

The first day in NO we were going to hit a restaurant inside the Harrah's casino for  dinner but we couldn't.  To even enter the casino you have to be 21 and our daughter is still 20.  Seemed very odd to not even let her walk in there.  Then after going in I found out why, or at least why I think the casino enforces it so steadfastly (every entrance has security guards checking ID on the way in). 

I sat down at a video poker machine and started playing aka losing.  Found a good one with the right payout structure for a 100% return however you gotta hit some quads and stuff like that and I couldn't hit anything.  But I noticed there is an interactive section on the machine front.  After playing around with it a little I found that you can order your drink right there while sitting at the machine.  You order the drink and the machine tells you when the drink has been made, when its being delivered etc.  Now that is cool.  Before you know it I've had 3 Mai Tais and am feeling no pain.  And I figure that's why they won't let anyone under 21 in the building.  Just too easy to sit at a machine and get hammered. 

So a couple of nights later we decide to hit this little place for dinner.  The wife and daughter had looked it up and it had a lot of nice reviews.  I'm all for it. and its just down the street from our hotel.  Cool.  We walk into the place and its a little hole in the wall bar and grill looking place.  There's a couple of slot machines in there too which surprised me as I thought they could only be in the casino.  We walk in and before we get seated our server asks us if we're all 21.  Have to be 21 in there too because of the machines.  I was in a word, amazed.  So no dinner there.  We walk down the road a piece and there's a sports bar named Mannings.

Fortunately this Manning was not Eli or Peyton so I was not immediately engulfed in flames.  Instead the place was owned by their dad Archie.  I wasn't expecting much as it was just an upscale sports bar but I was pleasantly surprised.  The interior was nice with a few twists like stadium seating in front of the huge big screen on one wall.  But what set it apart was the food.  I had some of the best chili I ever ate and the PQ had a soup that was fantastic.  The main courses didn't suck either.  I also had a local beer called Abita amber ale.  Really good beer.  Abita also makes root beer with real cane sugar.  Best root beer I ever had.  . 

Well that's enough for now.  Definitely a fun trip and there is so much I haven't seen there that I will go back in the not too distant future.   I have a number of posts in mind, lets see if I can translate that to my fingers.   

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Please pardon the interruption

Sorry folks, I've been on vacation and have also kinda lost my muse.  I've had time but just can't put into words some things I want to say.  I'll be back soon when I finally feel capable of putting two coherent words together. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Changing things up

This weekend the PQ and I decided to change things up a little.  Instead of playing poker on Saturday we decided to play a tourney on Sunday afternoon instead.  Maybe we were hoping to improve our results or maybe it was just a factor of her being sleepy on Saturday afternoon and me working some OT hours.  I did drop by the Poker room on Saturday after getting out of work (my work is only a mile or 2 from Derby Lane) and played a little Omaha 8OB.  Had a little fun though I didn't get to play long before the table broke.  I made a few dollars and didn't feel like playing any holdem so I headed home a little bit ahead.  Nice for a change.

Sunday we headed over there for the 4pm tourney.  6000 chips and 20 minute blinds so you get a bit of play but you can't waste too much time.  I took down a couple of hands without showing and also got into one with 85 of clubs.  Flop was 10-5-5.  Oh yes.  The big blind leads out and a guy 2 places to his left and I both call.   Turn is a 3.  Nothing scary, the big blind checks and I'm wondering how I want to play this when the guy left of the big blind bets out for 500.  Now I'm a little concerned because the only thing I can put him on right now is another 5 or a big pair and since he didn't raise preflop I really couldn't see that.  So I just call.   River is a harmless queen and he bets out another 500.  I really thought about raising to 1500 or 2000 but decided just to call.  If he does have a 5 with a better kicker he is definitely calling there.   The big blind flipped over a 10 and the other guy flipped over a 5 with another 8 so we split up the pot while I breathed a sigh of relief. 

I had chipped up to a bit over 9K when the 3rd level started (75-150) and the poker gods decided to really uck with me.  I had been watching the woman in seat 7 and she was not a tourney player at all.  She was used to cash games and would stay in on almost any pair against raises.  She had sucked out on one guy by calling a good sized raise with 3rd pair and catching trips but she had also managed to give it all back plus some and was down to a bit over 5K then.  I look down at AK off in middle position and raise to 525.  I get 4 callers including the woman in the small blind.   Flop is nice K-7-6 rainbow.  It's checked to me and I bet 1500 which is about 3/4 of the pot.  Everyone folds but the woman in the small blind.  I can see she has 3300 left and I figure on the next card I will put her all in as I'm sure she has a pair and I'm also sure she is behind.  Next card is a 3.   She looks at it and then says "I'm all in".  That made me pause for a second.  Did she play 4-5 and hit a straight or maybe K3.  I would put either past her after watching her play but I decided to call her anyway.  I flip over my AK and she shows K...................2!!   Really?  You think I'm betting this much without at least top pair and a lot better kicker than 2??  My joy is short lived as the dealer burns a card and puts a 2 up on the river.  Fuck me. 

Very next hand I look down at JJ.  Seat 9 is under the gun and pushes all in for 1800.  It gets folded to me and I push all in for 3600.  Everyone folds to the big blind who thinks for a couple of beats before folding AJ.  My opponent flips over A8 and I'm feeling pretty good about my chances, especially with one of his outs gone.  Of course one of my jacks are gone too but I don't need to improve.  The dealer burns a card and then flips over KKK.  Oh boy, I can see it now, the fourth K on the turn or river and I lose to this clown and his ace.  The turn is a J.  Unexpected but no help with the 3 kings on the board.  Still I only have to dodge the last K or the last A and I add back some of the chips I lost the previous hand.  Of course the river is the last Ace.  3 outed and 2 outed on the river in successive hands.  WTF, did the poker gods think my name was Lightning??

After that it was a struggle to survive.  I won a small pot to move up to 2200 then got KK under the gun.  I pushed all in and got 3 callers.  The flop was AQ8 and I figure my day is done now but no one bets.  Turn is a low card and the river is a blank as well.  One guy to my left bets and is called and I'm packing up my stuff but no, the guy to my left has QJ and wins the side pot and my KK takes down the main pot for a quadruple up.   So I'm up to 9K at the break which leaves me better than I was but not as good as I should be and a little below the average stack.  After the break nothing went well but I hung in there.  Got a break when I made trip sixes to beat a pair of 8s but my downfall came when my KJ was beaten by Q3 and I went out 13.  Just once I'd like to be the big stack going into the last table or 2 instead of being short and struggling to get to average.  But that was not how the gods saw it today.  Maybe another day will be better. 

I got one week more of work before I take a vacation.  I am taking not just one but 2 weeks straight away from work.  I need it.  The first week the PQ, the daughter and I are driving up to Pensacola to help my niece move in to her college along with her sister and mother.  From there, we are going to New Orleans for a few days of fun and games, just the PQ and the daughter and myself.  We were looking to spend some time in Biloxi at one of the Harrahs properties but could not get a great deal on a room there (one day free but $150 after that) and so we checked New Orleans which is only an hour further down the road.  We've never spent time in NOLa and Harrah's only has a limited number of rooms at the hotel but they have deals with other hotels around the casino so we will be staying for free at the Hilton right across the street.  If we had gone to Biloxi we weren't planning on taking our daughter as there isn't really anything for her to do there and she is still too young to gamble but NO is another story.  The PQ and I will do some gambling but we'll be doing other things too and we'll be able to do it all together.  The daughter has always wanted to go there so this will be fun for her hopefully. 

Well that's enough for me.  Time for bed as I have a lot more overtime to work this week to get ready for this vacation.  Stay lucky all you gamblers.  And pray to the poker gods for forgiveness, perhaps sacrifice a goat or a lamb or even your first born.  I may do all 3 except I'll probably have to substitute my 3rd born as the first born can probably take me.  The way my luck is going, I must have really offended them.  Those sacrifices may not be enough.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fooling myself

I decided yesterday was a good day to head to the Hard Rock in Tampa and take a shot at the nitty old men at the Omaha 8OB table.  There wasn't a table going when I got there at 11 but I was number 10 on the list and they opened a table almost immediately after that.  I got a seat and sat down for a hopefully profitable session on the poker tables. 

I should have listened to Styx on the way over there because Fooling Yourself fit perfectly.  I sat there and dumped worthless hand after worthless hand for hours.  I have had some bad sessions like that before but eventually the cards always turn and when they do they can turn big.  Not yesterday.  I dumped almost every hand that wasn't in the blinds preflop in the first hour.  Every decent hand had lousy flops and there weren't many of those.  I did showdown one hand with the nut flush but that was beaten by a boat.  I expected it but the guy played so loose he could have had a set or a lower flush as well.  A lot of loose calls especially preflop.  A number of hands went 9 handed to flop, everyone but me.  Of course most of them were getting better cards than I was too so that helped them but I was surprised by some of the winning hands. 

In an hour I'm down about fifty bucks and UTG in a kill pot where blinds at 6-12.  I don't like being in a hand in this position without a really good hand but I look down at KQJ10 with the Q10 suited.  Not great but an ok hand.  I was just sick of folding and decided to play it.  Flop is near perfect.  AQ10 with the AQ of clubs. OK not perfect but I did flop Broadway.  I bet out and got 4 callers.  One guy was already all in preflop.  I figure I'll lose to a flush but I'm gonna push what I got.  I do have the club king but no other club in my hand.  Turn is a nice safe 8 of diamonds.  I keep betting and they keep calling.  Hoping for a red 9 on the river but it's a jack instead.  I figure I'm splitting this pot but bet anyway.  Everyone folds so I take a nice sidepot but I split the main with the all in who also flopped Broadway.  Beats a stick in the eye and gets me just back over my starting stack to boot.   

The next 3 hours were more of the same without the nice hand to get me back to even.  My stack dwindled and though I rebought a partial buy in as it got lower I just didn't want to throw in too much money, especially since I was gonna leave around 3 to head home and cook.   I can't tell you how many times I saw hands with 5,7,9.  Or I'd see 3 good cards like QJ10 and then get a 3.  I fold fold fold waiting for something to turn but its in vain.  Twice I did get AA in my hand and flop a set of aces and lost both times to a flush and a straight.  The second was the worst as the guy kept pushing his flush draw, doing my betting for me while I reraised him.  Then the river gives him a straight instead.  So I decided 4 hours of this was enough and took my losses and myself from the poker room.  I did manage to make it up playing a little 3 card poker so I left the building even.  Beats leaving having lost everything.  What was irritating was having an easy table to beat down and never catching the cards to do it.  It's like playing holdem against a bunch of aggro donks who will call down anything with 3rd pair and raise on crap but keep getting 73 off and never hitting anything.  Every once in a while you get AK and see 872 flops while you're idiotic opponents are calling you with 72. 

I might go play some today but after yesterday's lack of luck I'm a little leery of hitting the tables.  I know the PQ wants to play in a tourney tonight so maybe I'll get her to drop me at Derby Lane this afternoon while she naps then join her in the tourney.  Anyway stay lucky people. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Well I'm taking my time

I'm just movin on.
You'll forget about me after I've been gone.

Old fogies like me might remember those lyrics come from the song Long Time by Boston.  I've always liked the song quite a bit, especially when they play it with the instrumental lead in (title on that is Foreplay) together.  And as the song said, I'm taking a little time today and tomorrow for myself.  Call it my birthday present to myself. 

Yes Tuesday I passed another milestone and celebrated the 52nd anniversary of my birth.  Every birthday seems to make me more reflective.  Hell I have a lot more years behind me now than I have in front of me probably.  And I'd be lying if I didn't say I had regrets.  I gots plenty of those.  When I was 25, I figured I'd know the answers by this time.  Instead, I have more questions now than I had then.  Whatever answers I've come up with don't really seem to matter.  I hope I can be around for awhile and impart a little wisdom to my children as they get older.  I really missed having that with my parents, that's probably one of my biggest regrets.   But hell, I could spend my days off moping about what I didn't do or trying to do better in the future.  After all time marches on.  And it keeps on marching whether we want it to or not.  That 9 year old in the picture is now 27, the 8 year old is 25 and the 3 year old is almost 19.  I wonder if they'll look at me for answers to things they don't know.  I wonder if they sometimes think I'm as full of shit as I sometimes know I am. 

I had a good birthday though.  My oldest son and his girlfriend gave me a gift card to Barnes and Noble.  I turned that into a copy of this

I spent a couple of hours today reading it and remembering back to 2005-06 when I was reading the Tao of Poker religiously and for updates at the WSOP. 

My other son and his girlfriend gave me an Amazon gift card.  I haven't decided what to get with that but I'm leaning in this direction

because what's the sense in being a watch whore if you're not gonna do your best to live up to the name.  But maybe I'll go for something else.  Unfortunately my reader doesn't have a kindle app, though I'm checking on whether I can get one. 

I got one other gift.  A $950 bill from my mechanic.  My old Ford Contour decided to blow out a power steering hose.  Power steering fluid leaked all over the ground and it felt like driving a truck.  Unfortunately the geniuses at Ford located the power steering hoses at the bottom of the engine and you have to take apart half the engine to get to them.  6 and a half hour job in a garage.  Between that and the vacuum leaks I had, I put $1000 down and got 50 back in change. 

So I haven't done much today.  I was thinking about hitting the gun range and getting in a little recoil therapy today but decided I wanted to nap and wash some clothes instead.  Going out to dinner tonight with the PQ and the daughter.  Tomorrow I am thinking of visiting the Hard Rock in the morning and getting in some Omaha 8OB fun.  If it goes well I'll probably be there for a good while.  If it doesn't I'll probably come back home and then hit the range to take it out on some targets.  Either way it beats the hell out of working all day on a Friday. 

Last weekend I got out ot Derby Lane for the 6pm tourney.  I played very tight but really aggressively when I did get in a hand.  It helped that I caught some cards when I did get into a hand.  I folded for the first 2 circuits or so before raising in mid position with a suited 4-2.  Guy on my right is the only caller.  Flop is KQJ and I make an almost pot sized bet.  Turn is a 5 putting a 2 spades plus that straight draw on the board.  Guy checks to me again and I bet 1500 which is about pot sized.  He looks at me, thinks a while, starts talking to himself about moving all in then finally folds.  I don't bluff a lot and I was really happy to get away with that one.

I limped in the big blind with A4 suited a bit later.  Flopped the flush draw and then the turn gave me a gutshot straight as well.  I also figured an Ace might win for me too so I called the flop and turn bets, almost reraised the turn but didn't.  River bricked so I ended up dumping it and losing some chips back.  The next hand I entered I raised with 99 on the button.  Got one caller in the big blind.  Flop was 225 and I really hoped he hadn't called with 7-2.  I bet out 2/3 of the pot and he called.  Turn was a 9.  Can you say bingo?  He checked and I checked behind.  I really thought that would make him push in on the river but the river was a brick and he checked again.  I bet a bit more than half his stack again figuring he might go all in on me.  He at least made me happy by calling but I was really angling for to get his stack, maybe I should have bet more on the river.  I flipped over my boat a bit angrily as I didn't play that as well as I should have.  He had 88 and was surprised to see my nines. 

I got to the break in great shape at about 13K in chips (started with 6K) but after that things went downhill and quickly.  I got 99 again in late position and raised it.  The button is on the shortstack and pushes all in.  It  was only 1500 more than my raise and I hoped at worst it was 50/50 but he turned up the dreaded KK.  I was unable to Rob him and gave up some chips.  Gave up more when my AK lost to A9 and before I knew it I was down to 6K again.  There had already been some weird things at the table including the guy I bluffed getting it all in with KK and losing to 73 when the guy rivered a straight.  I was in late position and had been biding my time for a bit when I got 10-5 suited and raised almost 4x the big blind.  Everyone folded except for the big blind.  We saw a flop of QQ5.  I just looked at him and figured if he has a queen or a big pair I'm packing it up anyway so I pushed all in with my 5s.  He called pretty quickly and I just murmured "uh oh" to the red sox fan on my left.  I figured him for a pocket pair then when I was hoping he had something like AJ.  He did flip over a pocket pair but he shocked me by flipping over 22.  He had a little less in chips than I did so he put his whole tourney in on those deuces.  He bricked the turn and river and it was good bye.  I was shocked I was still in after that hand.  When he called I was sure I was going home.  22?  Really?  I guess he read me with AK or something and figured he was ahead.  He trusted his read.  Much to his detriment.  I'm sure he was shocked to see my 10-5.  

I don't remember too much after that but for some reason my raises got a fair amount of respect even after showing down 10-5 and I was able to avoid trouble like when the guy next to me turned a straight with 3-4 when I had paired my ace.  I kept building my stack a little at a time and made it to over 25K when we got down to 1 table.  25K at my table was a pretty good sized stack but at the other table that combined with mine 4 of 5 people had more.  Since we were only paying 5 places I knew I had my work cut out for me.

I knocked one shorty out when my AK held over his AQ.  2 others went pretty quickly as well.  Blinds and antes were going up pretty quickly and we just started trading chips back and forth.  I was in 4th place but I could easily slip to 6th in a hand or 2.  I dragged a few pots with well timed aggression but I wasn't getting anything much to work with.  Finally the shortest stack gets knocked out and we're in the money.  There's 3 really big stacks, another guy with a stack like mine and there's me.  But I'm feeling pretty good and I know with a break or 2 I can double up and get into this.   I'm in the big blind and get 99.  Ok time to go to war.  Big stack 2 to my left limps and the big stack in the small blind just calls.  So I push all in.  Guy on my left goes all in as well.  Guy on my right starts thinking and finally folds AJ face up.  He really wanted to call me but the other guy pushed him off.  Guy on my left flips over A8 and I put down my 9s.  I like my chances, one of the aces is gone, he is basically drawing to 2 outs and I've got 2 outs as well.  Flop is JJ8 and the guy to my right is losing it.  I breath a sigh of relief until another 8 falls on the turn.  My 2 outer does not hit the river and I'm out in 5th.  So I hit the money at least.  It felt like like kissing a relative.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lets get the scientists involved, thats the ticket

I often wonder how much we should listen to scientists and other so called experts about whatever it is they are researching.  While never a big believe in man made global warming, I do believe the earth has gotten warmer over the past 50 years.  I also think we'll get over it.   At some point we will cool off again too.  No one ever talks about things like the mini ice age that occurred before the industrial revolution.  We obviously didn't cause the earth the get cooler then but now with all our machinery and cars etc we are making it warmer.  I will hold out that this is possibly true.  I will also hold out that NOTHING I have seen proves to me that we are the cause of it and when I read about how leading scientific establishments have fudged the data to make it fit their theories like here and here, I listen a lot less. 

What brought this on you may ask.  Well I just watched a program about cane toads and now I am watching one about the whale that blew up.  I was hoping this was about the whale that was dynamited (yes blowed up see this story) in Oregon in the early 70s.  It's a pretty funny story about combining TNT with a dead whale.  But I was wrong.  It was a bout a dead sperm whale, a 50 or 60 foot one, that washed up in Taiwan and after the geniuses decided to remove it to the local university across town for more study, they managed to take so long and foul up so much that the carcass literally exploded while on the flatbed trailer in the middle of town.  Whale guts in the street, blood all over the cars across the road, in short some really funny shit since I don't live there.

This leads me into thinking of other scientific disasters.  Like importing silver carp to control algae.  I believe Ken and Lightning are familiar with these stories.  People have to avoid jumping carp while motorboating in numerous lakes and rivers in Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, etc.  You're just minding your own business cruising down the river when a 30lb fish slaps you in the face.  No picnic, for you or the fish.  Here in sunny Florida we have the same issue with sturgeon jumping in a few rivers when they come in from the Gulf to breed but at least they are native species here.  They also can grow to 8 feet long and 200 lbs.  Oh boy doesn't that sound like fun?  Definitely not what you want to run into on a jetski. 

Probably the most famous importation that went bad was the Africanized honey bees that were imported into Brazil by scientist trying to make them less aggressive because they were such great honey producers and much stronger than European bees in the climate there.  A group with a queen escaped into the wild and they've been proliferating ever since.  Back in the 70s articles started coming out that they were moving north and would eventually get to the US and it would be Bugmageddon then.  Well they're pretty established in the Southwest now and have been found from Lousiana to California with some pockets in Florida probably stowaways on ships.  While not as terribly dangerous as earlier articles suggested, around 20 people have been killed by killer bees here in the US.  Fortunately after the initial invasions, the bees tend to interbreed and bee keepers manage to dampen the more aggressive strains so that they are not as threatening.  Also they tend to not do well in cold weather so they are not expected to establish much further north than Maryland or so.  Then again the experts have been wrong before. 

Then there is the cane toad I was watching a little while ago.  They are from Central and South America and because they eat the bugs that infest cane fields, they got the name cane toads.  Back in the 30s a bunch of them were imported to Australia to control the cane beetles there.  But it was hard to catch the cane beetles and there were numerous other bugs there so they started eating everything else around, small rodents, bugs, snakes, etc.  What makes them so bad is they have no natural predators in Australia and they have poison glands in the skin.  Almost anything that eats them, dies.  Even crocs are sickened by eating them (apparently caimans in South America are immune to their poison however) so the natural predators that bite or eat them end up dying.  They are also prolific breeders and both their eggs and tadpoles are poisonous as well.  So fish and birds can't control them either.  Now they've spread through more than half of Australia in 70 years.  They were imported to the sugar fields here in the 30s as well.  One night about 5 years ago I ran into one.  I thought it was a can of beer sitting on the ground at first but when I got closer I saw it was a giant toad.  Didn't touch it at least. 

So when I hear about scientific experiments on this or that and genetic manipulation I start to cringe.  Yes a lot of great things have come from these experiments but damn, a lot of bad thinsgs have as well.  While their experiments are usually done with the best of intentions, I think Dante was right when he wrote "the road to Hell is paved with good intentions".  So I try to take all these great plans with a grain of salt and look for the bad things that could happen as well. 

Sorry for the lack of poker content.  I did go play last Saturday night.  Went out 8th in the tourney.  Made the right decision and pushed in on the river.  Guy had an overcard and a gutshot draw on the river.  Filled the gutshot.  Same guy should have been on life support but a few hands earlier he'd beaten KK and A10 with JJ when he four flushed them on the river.  Another Robbery, especially after an ace hit the flop.  It just pays to be a lucktard sometimes.  I'm gonna give Omaha a try again today.  Broke even last week in that.  So I'm off.  Hope y'all have a great weekend and get lucky.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Making good choices

One of the things my wife would say to our sons before they went out with their friends at night - back when they still lived with us - was "make good choices".  Just about everytime they went out she would tell them this.  Seems to have worked as they are doing pretty well for themselves and I'm still not a grandparent.  Which brings us back to poker because really isn't that what it's all about?  Taking the available info and making the best choice? 

Last Saturday the PQ and I headed over to Derby Lane for the 6pm tourney.  It's a relatively quick tourney with a $50 buy in and $5 add on for 2000 more chips.  It's fun and we like it plus if you bust out fairly early you can play the 8pm tourney. 

Early on it looked like one or both of us might be hitting the 8pm tourney.  The PQ was down early while I started off well but then got whacked when a shorty pushed with 6-6 against my AK suited that I raised preflop.  I didn't put him on a big hand and called.  A 6 on the flop ended my chances on that hand and cost me 1/3rd of my chips.  After that it became a struggle to make anything happen.  One hand I was in late position.  One guy limps in early position with a medium stack.  I decide to steal with 22.  The big blind makes a healthy reraise and the original limper pushes all in over the top.  Ok, I give up.  I put the all in guy on aces or kings but the big blind did not and called for almost all his chips with AK.  Limper flips over AA.  Neither improves but a 2 on the flop meant I could have played like an idiot and won a monster pot.  Figures.

It took forever but I finally won a few pots to get myself up to an average stack.  The tourney only started with 42 players or so and only payed 4 spots.  I really wanted to chip up so I could get to the final table with a big stack but it wasn't happening.  One gal at the PQ's table was hitting hands right and left.  She had over 40K in chips (started with 6K) at the first break.  She managed to give a bunch back though.  We got down to 2 tables and the blinds and antes started really going up.  I wasn't gonna wait to get blinded out but kept running into big hands when I'd raise.  Or completely whiff with AQ.  Got all in with a shorty who had J10 and of course he hits 10-10 on the flop.  That hurt.  I really got a bit irritated when the button who was sitting on a decent stack made a big raise preflop.  I had AQ and pushed all in which he called with A10.  Flop was nice A44.  But of course the turn was a K and we split the pot.  At least it wasn't a 10 to take me out but still, I should have had a nice double up. 

I kept tangling with this same guy.  Next orbit I get AQ again.  The guy pushes all in before it gets to me and I call.  He turns over JJ but this time I actually win the race when I flop two pair and he doesn't get his 2 outer or fill the straight.  That was a good time to double.  Very next hand I get 44 and he pushes all in again.  He has me covered still but I figure maybe I'm running good here so I call him again.  I turn a 4 and double up again.  Now I'm feeling ok.  Not a big stack but not small either.  Soon after this we get down to 10 and combine to the final table. 

I was placed 2 seats left of the PQ which was a good place to be.  She was a shorter stack though the guy I tangled with was the shortest and first one out.  The big stack lady from before had given up half her chips or more, most of them it seemed were in the stack of the guy on my immediate left.  Lets say I gave him some leeway but he played pretty tight and we never really tangled.  Any time he raised I got out of it.  He wasn't giving chips away needlessly like the lady did but he wasn't pushing his stack around enough either.  The PQ told me the lady kept calling shorties who went all in and losing with marginal hands.  I saw her play a couple of hands that made me raise my eyebrows but never  had any cards to tangle with her.  People start dropping and the lady went out 7th when she ran 77 into AA all in preflop.  Buh bye. 

With 6 left and 4 being paid I was about 4th in chips but well behind 1-3.  I really looked for a spot to double up.  I let the PQ push me out of one hand when I flopped mid pair.  Good thing as she flopped top pair.  She was in 6th when we gto down to 6.  The other shorty who had about my size stack lost some so I probably could have played really tight for a min cash but I wanted to win this thing.  A little later I'm in the big blind with J2 suited.  Pretty crappy but that's the way I'm running here.  One of the big stacks calls preflop which to me meant a mid Ace or something like it.  The flop is J-10-9.  Not great but still I have top pair.  I check and he bets 3500.  I put him on a draw or maybe a 9 or 10 at that point.  So I pushed over the top for another 13K.  When he starts thinking I feel pretty good.  There's 24K in the pot and he has to put in 13 for a bit less than 2-1 odds for him.  I didn't think I was giving him odds there but I don't mind a call because I really want to double up and have a chance to win this.  If he folds I still pick up a quick 8K which is a nice pot there and easily puts me in 4th.  Then I can afford to make a few plays.

He does call and doesn't like my J as he has K-10 for middle pair and an inside straight draw.  The next card is a damned K and I'm drawing to the last 2 jacks.  Which I don't get and go out 6th.  I thought about the hand and I could have played it different by pushing all in after the flop.  Maybe he dumps his hand then but I only pick up a little and I'm really looking to double up.  With blinds at 800-1600 and holding only 10 big blinds, I cannot afford to wait around long. 

I was really afraid that the PQ would go out next and we would be 5-6 and both miss cashing but she managed to punish those guys for taking me out.  The other shorty got knocked out 5th and then she went on a tear and ended up knocking out the big stack to my left in 4th.  She went from 5th to first or 2nd in chips and ended up doing a 3 way chop at the end for a nice cash.  So she made even better choices than I did and since I paid her way in, I got a bit back as well. 

Since it's Saturday again, she wants to go back and play the same tourney.  I figure on leaving here in a few minutes to see if I can't get into an Omaha game before the tourney while she and her sister and our daughter are at the mall.  Oh good, if anyone comes back with anything, you can guarantee the daughter will have it. 

I've got the tv on in the background and the current program is called Wild Wives of Africa.  There's Lauren, Victoria, Cathy, Mariella and of course Josie.  Here is a pic of Josie.
who are you calling slutty?

Yes I am watching Nat Geo, not the Playboy channel.  Lauren is a lioness, Victoria is a cheetah, Cathy is a hippo, Mariella a giraffe and Josie is a baboon.  She's kinda slutty too as she likes to mate A LOT.  Lauren is pretty picky about mating but then she goes at it every half hour for an entire day and night.  Damn.  Victoria is almost a nun and only does it at night.  Probably Catholic.   And here you thought this was about swingers in Cairo or Johannesburg.  Well I'm off to chase some cards.  Hope everyone had a good 4th of July and stay cool folks.  Whoda thought that Tampa Bay would be one of the cooler areas in the country with our highs of 91-92 everyday.  And here in Pinellas County there is almost always a decent sea breeze.  Of course we get about 6 months straight of this weather.  But it could be worse.  Stay lucky you nuts, luckier than me.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Raking it in

I guess I've been running good lately at least in some areas.  Last night I got to use the Rays tix I won last week to see a very enjoyable game.  The PQ, my middle child and his girlfriend joined me at the game.  I expected the game to be low scoring as David Price and Justin Verlander were pitching.  Not to mention the Rays are not scoring in bunches right now.

Verlander was not sharp.  He threw a lot of balls, could not get his breaking stuff over consistently and did a good job just giving up 4 runs.  He was very leery of pitching to Carlo Pena - not sure why as Pena isn't hitting his weight - and Ben Zobrist who has finally gotten his batting eye back.  Verlander threw 30 pitches in the first inning while giving up a run and 25 more in the 2nd though no runs came in.  Price was sharp getting a lot of pitches over with good movement.  Almost no one hit a ball hard against him.  He threw 78 pitches in 7 innings but his back tightened up and he left at the start of the 8th.  Hopefully not serious.  But if this game is anyone's story, it belongs to Desmond Jennings

Everyone expected Jennings to come out and be a star this year.  But an early season injury knocked him out of the lineup for about 20 games and he hasn't gotten his swing back yet.  His defense on the other hand has been excellent which is more than I can say for most of the team.  In the top of the 3rd he chased down a flyball into foul ground and went over the wall to make a terrific catch.  Made it onto ESPN's top plays.  He came up to bat to lead off the bottom of the third and took the 2nd pitch over the left field wall.   In the 5th inning he made a nice running catch at the foul line of a Prince Fielder fly ball then came up in the bottom of the inning and crushed a fastball for his 2nd homer.  Hopefully he has his hitting eye back and not a moment too soon.  With their top two hitters on the DL (and no one knows when or if Longoria will come back now) they need to be able to score more than 2 runs in a game.  Luckily Zobrist seems to be heating up finally.  He was hitting around 200 most of the year but in the past few weeks has raised his average to 250.  Monumental by Rays standards.  He crushed a homer last night plus a single and a walk.  When you see guys like Cabrera and Fielder batting you think how great it would be to have a guy like that on your team.  We do but he hasn't played since May 1.  If Longoria doesn't come back by the All Star break or a little later I don't think the Rays make the playoffs.  They just don't have consistent hitting and their fielding, because of all the people they have to move around, has been horrible.  No errors last night which is a first for them and 3 nice double plays.  Even with Longo, the AL East is so tough that they might not make it.  Doesn't help when 2 of your starting pitchers are also out.  At least they are not short of pitchers unlike say the Yankmees.  With ole man Pettite out for 8 weeks and Sabathia now on the DL they had better out hit some teams cuz they won't out pitch them too often.  Looked like Phil Hughes was getting it together for a while but he got lit up his last outing as well.

So the Rays took down a 4-2 win that resembled many of their wins from previous years, good defense, enough hitting and some excellent pitching.  Price served up one gopher ball to ex Ray Delmon Young but he completely shut down Cabrera and Fielder.  The other run was just bad luck as he had 2 strikes on Santiago and threw a nice tailing fastball away that Santiago threw his bat at and managed to push it right down the rightfield line for a double.  Cabrera and Fielder both hit hard grounders to advance him home.  Outside of that I don't think any baserunners got to second.  And the home team fans went home happy.  The guy a few rows in front of me was not so happy as he said, "everytime I come to see Verlander pitch, he loses".  I thought Verlander battled hard but just didn't have his best stuff.  He threw 120 pitches in 6 innings then took a seat.  Against a lot of teams he probably wins a 6-5 kind of game as one of his monsters mashes a 3 run homer but Price really didn't give them a chance. 

I said I had been running good this week.  Besides the Rays tix I also managed to score a $50 gift card to Amazon.  There is a cooking show my wife and child sometimes make me watch called "The Pioneer Woman".  She cooks a lot of homestyle and ranch type cooking (she and her hubby own a ranch in Oklahoma) and puts a healthy spin on most of them since she is cooking for her kids and family.  I like to cook but I really don't care much for cooking shows by and large.  Hers is tolerable.  She also has a blog and the daughter clued me in that a trivia quiz was being run Wed night and this one was all about Spielberg movies.  The first to get 100 on the quiz won a $250 Amazon gift card, 2nd got $150, and 3 other names were drawn of people who got 100 for a $50 card.  Mine was drawn
and hello gift card.  Now what do I buy?  Some more poker book downloads is possible.  Also a watch I was looking at, watch whore that I am.  Though I'd still have to pay a portion out of my own pocket as well.  The daughter said when she found out "Now you can buy me that shirt".  Uh no I don't think so, I spent enough on her the past 2 weeks I think. 

Well that wraps up the week.  We do go and play some poker Saturday.  Maybe I'll post about that.