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, March 31, 2012

Is it something in the water there?

What is it with the Orlando area lately that seems to lend itself to national attention killings.  First we have Lightning's girl of his dreams, Casey Anthony, getting off on a murder charge.  Almost everyone thought she was guilty but she got off.  Lack of evidence killed that case.   But Lightning spoiled his chances with Casey when he brought his wife down with him in February.  Now there is George Zimmerman, who many people also believe is guilty of murder.  The problem is, I don't know what actually happened and neither does anyone else alive except for Mr Zimmerman. Did he do some things wrong? Obviously he did. The 911 dispatcher told him not to follow the kid yet he did. Still it was his "volunteer job" to be on the Crime Watch so as long as all he did was watch I don't see the issue. But somehow his following a kid he thought "suspicious" turned into the two of them fighting and one of them dead. I believe he has at least some culpability in this. He could have remained in his vehicle the entire time and waited for the cops. If the kid confronted him while he's in his car, he's still armed and he's delaying the kid while the cops are on the way. His leaving the car at some point is where everything gets confused. That opened the door for everything that followed. Did the kid attack him? Did the kid mouth off at him and pissed him off enough that he shot him? We don't know. And that is the gist of it. WE DON'T KNOW.

I don't know, the media doesn't know, the PQ doesn know, Lightning doesn't know, Al Sharpton doesn't know, and Jessie Jackson doesn't know. Does Zimmerman's story make some sense? Obviously it does or the cops would have arrested him that night. Though the pics in the media don't show the injuries, he apparently had been hit and had injuries consistent with it. Again, wiithout proof of something else, we have to take Zimmerman's word for it. For now. The cops are still sorting out the forensic and crime scene evidence to make that determination. The only thing we know for sure is the kid was not running away from Zimmerman like he was urged to do on the phone as he was shot in the chest, not the back. So Zimmerman's story makes sense from that angle. The cops may not necessarily believe his entire story but if they arrest him that night, then the clock starts ticking and there was not enough evidence, according the the state's attorney, to convict him. If he is arrested and his attorney refuses to waive the speedy trial rule (and why should he?), then the states attorney has limited time to put this case together with very little evidence. Not arresting him keeps the clock from ticking. They can arrest him next month, next year or 20 years from now, there is no statute of limitations on homicide. So this rush to arrest him is at best premature. And could damage the chance of actually convicting him.

I wonder if Misters Sharpton and Jackson remember the Duke University Lacrosse case. In that case, the prosecutor did rush to judgement and it turned out he was completely wrong. He is out of a job, the lacrosse season was lost, the kids were branded even though they were innocent, the girl is branded as a liar and the incident is a classic case of rush to judgement. In that case everybody lost. Except Al and Jessie, they just kept on doing what they do. When I see either of them step forward when a black person kills another black, or a hispanic or even a white guy, then I may listen to a word they say. Till then, I don't want to hear from either of them. I'm just glad this happened in near Orlando (again), and not here. If they were spouting off like this in my area and I had to deal with all that crap from them, all the protests and screams of "Arrest Zimmerman" I might have to stand my ground too.

So now here we all stand.  George Zimmerman and his family are being castigated.  If he is never charged they all have suffered damage to their names and reputations.   You have famous people all commenting on this like they KNOW what happened.  They don't know crap.  Even our President had to put in his two cents.  Really??  There's not enough going on out there that he has to chime on about a guy killing a kid and claiming self defense?  Why, because it was a black kid and a white/hispanic man?  What would he have said if it was a white man and a white kid?   This crap needs to stop.  Let the authorities do their jobs and stop grandstanding Al, Jessie, Obama, Congresscritters, Media, etc.   As I said earlier, arresting George Zimmerman when you basically have no case is absolutely foolish.  The speedy trial clock starts ticking and there is no way with the evidence they have that his attorney would waive his right to speedy trial.  Not only that, suppose they charge him with murder and it gets to trial and the states attorney realizes they have no chance of a murder conviction, that it looks like he could get him on involuntary manslaughter, he is stuck because once the speedy trial period has run, the prosecution cannot amend the charges.  And so Zimmerman walks because the jury won't convict him of murder and the prosecution can't charge him with a lesser crime.  Or the opposite.  They charge him with manslaughter now and someone comes forward 6 months later during the trial and gives them info that proves it was murder.  They cannot amend the charges to murder at that point.  Zimmerman spends 10 years in jail when he should be doing life. 

My final word is on the "stand your ground" law.  A lot of people have asserted how bad this law is when Zimmerman's attorney asserted his client was using it as his justification.  I think he's gonna have a hard time making that stick when his client ignored the 911 dispatcher's instructions to not follow young Mr Martin.  And he left his car.  Then again if he was jumped from behind as he asserts, he was on his back with a broken nose as he asserts, and fired in fear of his life as he assets, he may just get off.  But let's keep in mind that just because this is Florida, it doesn't mean the jurors will be stupid.  Yes Casey Anthony got off but based on all I saw, she should have.  Do I think she was involved in her baby's death?  YES.  Do I think the state was able to prove she was involved?  No they didn't and the proof was in the verdict.  If Mr Zimmerman is charged, the jurors will have an opportunity to weigh that evidence as well.  One final thing to consider is that recently a tow truck owner in Tampa was convicted of 3rd degree murder for firing into a car he had towed when a guy tried to drive it off.  He did it to protect himself and an employee he claimed but the evidence and the jury pointed to the fact that he was not in danger when he shot and now he is in prison.   Most jurors, outside of the OJ Simpson case, are not stupid.  They can tell the difference between a story and the turth.  Hopefully this time the truth comes out. 

PS  One thing that lends a least a little credence to Zimmerman's story in my opinion was that the cops were already on the way and arrived on the scene within 4-5 minutes at most from the time of the shooting.  Not much time to stage a scene, especially with other people calling the cops and such when they heard the screaming and the shot.  It is not known who was screaming.  But 4 or 5 minutes is an eternity if you're laying there with a bullet wound.  It's also an eternity if you're getting your head bashed into the ground.  By many accounts, Mr Zimmerman appears to be a cop wannabe but it is also true that his work helped solve and prevent a number of crimes in his neighborhood.  While many people have made up their minds about what happened, I think I'll wait until some actual evidence is presented before I make up my mind.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

And it was a Happy St Patrick's Day after all.

Though I am part Irish, St Patrick's Day is not normally a big day for me.  I don't find it to be much of a fun day to go out as you're fighting massive crowds in any bar you go to and many of the people there are drunk, obnoxious, etc.  My few memories of going out on that day involve waiting a long time for a table at an Irish pub in one instance.  In another, some drunken senior citizen wanted to fight me and my buddies because his equally drunk paramour decided to kiss my buddy's cheek which ended with us non drunken twenty something year olds taking the smart way out and leaving before a brawl ensued.  I have no doubt we'd have won the brawl but spending St Paddys night in the Dallas County jail for coldcocking some toothless drunk would not have been the most pleasant experience either. 

So based on this history, my expectations for the holiday are pretty low.  It didn't improve when I was woken up in the morning by the dog whining to go outside.   I could hear the shower running which let the PQ off the hook so I dragged my ass off of my nice comfy bed and took her outside.  At least she waited till 8 but I didn't sleep all that well last night so I was still kinda tired.  And I had a massive headache to boot.  Not the way I want to wake up in the morning.  At least I slept until 8. 

After the dog did her business I cracked open a couple of Aleve and waited for the brain pain to stop.  A bit of iced coffee and a donut helped ease the pain some as well.  I was hoping to go into work but felt too lousy to bestir my bones so I relaxed, caught up on some online reading and watched the NCAA tourney.  The PQ took her sis and 2 nieces to the mall for some shopping therapy economy stimulating and a nice lunch.  I made do by taking the remains of some rotisserie chicken and chopping it up into chicken salad which I had on some croissants.  I made a damned good salad I thought but the lack of both onions or celery in the house meant I had nothing crunchy in it and chicken salad lacks a little something if there's nothing crunchy in it.   Hmm  thinking about it now I wonder if I had some water chestnuts I could have diced and added to it.  Didn't think of that at the time.

So I basically lollygagged the day away waiting on my headache to depart.  I did catch a little nap so that was a plus and the PQ and I went to her sisters house for dinner.   No corned beef and cabbage as I'm probably the only one who eats that but we did have shephards pie.  Seemed Irish enough for me.  After that the PQ and I had a poker tourney to play.

Let me preface this by saying I don't think I played all that well in the tourney even though I had a decent result.  We got there just as the tourney was starting.  We got seated at different tables - we always start at different tables and the poker room prefers we do in a tourney though we sometimes end up at the same table.  Usually the result after that is the PQ busts me and goes on to the final table while I slink off to the bar and drink away the humiliation while I bet on dogs. 

The tourney started well for me.  Early on I was dealt AK in mid position and raised to 200 (blinds of 25-50).  The gal on my right had played almost every hand at that point and had limped in with another guy by then.  Everyone else folded but she called.  Flop was K 8 5 with 2 clubs.  No clubs in my hand.  She checked, I bet 400 and she called.   Turn as a non club 10.  She checked and I made it 1200.  Both bets are nearly pot sized but she calls them both.  Of course starting with 10K in chips gives you a little room.  Last card is a club 2.  She checks a third time and I decide to check fearing she was on the draw but she flipped over KJ and I took down a decent pot at the start.  Not long after I played my first hand wrong I fear.  Tell me what you think.

Still early in tourney, blinds are 50-100.  2 people limp and I look down at 7-7 in mid position.  I hadn't played much since the AK hand and decided to limp and see what happened.  Gal on the button who was playing fairly tight raised to 300.  One of the blinds called as did a limper and myself.  I'm sitting on 12K now and the raiser has around 9.  Flop is perfect.  A73 rainbow.  It gets checked to the raiser who puts out 500.  Everyone else folds and I smooth call.   Turn is a 10 putting 2 diamonds on the board though I'm not fearing the draw.  I check again and she puts out 1500.   This time I look at it and delay a bit then decide to raise her up.  I make it 3500.  I'm hoping she will call and pot commit herself or push over me thinking I'm bluffing.  I put her on AK or AQ.  She thinks for a minute and then mucks her hand.  I don't show and rake in a decent pot putting me up to 15K.  I'm still debating if I misplayed that in my mind.  I didn't want to smooth call again because I'm acting first on the river and betting on the river is gonna be suspicious.  Also I figure if she has TPTK and another diamond hits the river she'll back down but if she puts me on a weaker A and thinks I'm stealing since I didn't raise, she may play back at me or at least call my reraise on the turn.  Maybe I got all I was gonna get that time. 

I started playing a bit more aggressively as the blinds increased to 75-150.  I lost a few chips when my A-10 suited did not improve and gladly tossed them when 2 others decided to go after each other post flop.  I got them back when I raised up AJ of spades and flopped top 2 against A7 who floped top and bottom.  I was unlucky not to bust that guy as a 3rd heart on the turn slowed him down and he dumped to my turn bet.  He flashed A7 of diamonds.  I noticed a lot of guys played A low like they were big hands and I think I have to adjust to that more.  The next hand I pick up 10-10 in mid position.  I decided just to check since I had been playing kind of aggro at that point.  Gal in the small blind who had been very active and aggressive was down to about 6K and raised it up.  I called as did the guy on my left.   Flop is 10-8-3 with 2 diamonds.  Can you say bingo?  Small blind bets 1200 which I smooth call and the guy on my left folds.  Turn is the deuce of diamonds.  Small blind goes all in for a little over 4K.  I really don't put her on diamonds unless she started with AK or AQ of diamonds.  After all why not check in that case and see if I'll bet?  I really think she hit a set of 8s and doesn't want me hitting a flush so I call.  I'm surprised she shows 66 but I happily take her chips.  Now I'm up to 21K and we still haven't reached the break. 

I take it slow for an orbit and a half then in the cutoff decide to steal a pot.  I raise to 600 over one limper with 74 of spades.  Guy on the button calls which I didn't care for.  He is sitting on 15K or so and had fluctuated up and down.  He had played a number of hands and been aggressive at times.   And not always with big hands.  He was willing to show down a naked ace or 3rd pair and had won a nice pot that way already.  Flop was A92with A2of spades.  Not too bad.  I bet 800 and he calls.  I had to put him on an ace at least.  Turn is the king of spades.  I check and he puts out 1500.  I wondering if he was playing 2 pair at that point or had an ace with a big spade.  I decide to end it there and reraise him to 4K.  He surprised me by calling.  River is UGLY.  3 of spades.  Oh shit what now?  I'm not sure if he was playing 2 spades, one big spade, no spades or what.  I thought he had to put me on some spades at that point.  So I said screw it and bet another 4K which was a bit less than half of what he had left.  I pretty much committed myself to the pot if he pushes in for his last 9K at that point which may not have been a good idea.  Did I misplay that hand as well?  YES.  I should have raised to 6K or just pushed in after hitting my flush on the turn.  He actually might have called that.  He did not put me on a flush it turned out and I don't think he put me on an ace either.  But betting 4K into 4300 when he only needs to put in 2500 is almost giving him the right odds to call if he has a big spade in his hand at that point.  6K or all in doesn't give him those odds.  Sometimes I don't keep track of the pot amount well enough though I have done a better job of it.  Anyway it worked out for the best.  He just called and had A of clubs 6 of spades so my 7 4 of spades took it down.  But I hated that hand and hated how I played it. 

I gave back a little bit but when we reached the first break I'm sitting on over 28K which is a big stack.  Guy next to me is about the same.  He got knocked out early, rebought (you can rebuy in up to the end of the 3rd blind level) and in his first hand back he gets QQ and pushes all in getting called by A6 and 99.  He beats them both and triples up to 30K right there.  He was a gambler pushing A middle into raises etc but it worked out for him for the most part.  He did give back some chips when he slow played AA in position.  The gal to my right had called with K5 sooted and flopped 2 pair.  He pushes after the flop and gives up 8K just like that.   Why didn't you push preflop when you have a couple of limpers plus you know the blinds will come along?  The guy did end up making the final table and went out 8th when he pushed A8 into AQ.  Buh bye. 

After the break my luck turned bad and fast.  I pick up AA in late position.  Blinds are 100-200 with an ante of 25.  3 people had limped to me and I wasn't gonna fool around with this hand.  I popped it to 1300.  I was thinking of only 1k but with a lot of these people, if one guy calls they all call and then I have 4 others seeing the flop with me.  Didn't want that.  If I take it down there, that's fine, I still get about 1200 from the blinds and antes.  I can live with that.  The UTG guy calls for another 1100 and everyone else folds.  He is new to the table and is sitting on around 10K.  Flop is pretty good, 10-7-4 rainbow.  He checks and I bet 2200.  He then pushes all in almost 6k more and I start thinking.  First off I don't put him on 2 pair.  You don't play 10-7, 74 etc into that big a raise.  I also don't put him on 10-10 as UTG that is a definite raise.  At this point I figure 7-7 is a probably a raise as well though maybe not.  I have him on 3 different scenarios, well really 4.  4-4 for a set.  8-9 or 10-9 suited for a draw or pair and draw.  Or 6-6 or 5-5 and putting me on AK.  Or complete air and bluffing me.  Though I think a bluff is better done as a straight bet out rather than a reraise so I'm leaning more to 10-9 or possibly 4-4.  Adding it all up I think it's a better than 50-50 shot I'm ahead so I call.  Big mistake.  I'm shocked when he shows 10-7 suited.  10-9 or 10-J I can see all day.  A set of 4s or even 7s I am not surprised.  But you call that big a raise on suited 10-7?  Unless you hit perfectly like he did or 10-9 flops with 1 or 2 hearts you've just waisted over 10% of your stack.  But mine not to reason why.  I didn't improve of course and he actually rivers a boat.  Tell me what you think there.  I didn't have much to go on as the guy was new to the table.  Do you put him on a draw, steal, set?  Would you dump it for that reraise?  I didn't and there goes 10 grand like that.  I'm pissed but at least I have almost 20K so it's ok. 

A bit later I get 10-10 in mid position.  I make a healthy raise and get 2 callers.  Flop is a crappy AQ9.  Horrible for 10s but maybe they give me credit for Ak or AQ.  Checked to me and I bet out 1200.  Both call.  Ok in my mind you both have Aces, I'm pretty much done with this hand.  Turn is a J.  Its checked to me but I'm not putting in any more chips.  River is another J.  Early position bets, other guy calls, I'm done.  They show down A-10  and AQ.  No raise from either of them with those hands?  Weird.  Nothing is working for me.  I tighten down and am getting crap hands anyway but I'm still bleeding chips from blinds and antes.  Luckily the table breaks and I get a chance to get away from my bad luck (I hope).

I get seated in the 10 spot at my new table.  I like the 10 seat, it hides me from some guys and also puts me closer to the flops.  Yes I cannot see the one or 2 seat well but I can live with that.  They cannot see me either.  And I can see the board and my opponent's bets better.  As I age I notice I cannot see the flops as well from the outside seats like 3 or 8 and I hate being right in the middle where I really have to work to protect my hand.  Nope, give me the 1 and 10 seats all day.  It didn't help me much, not at first anyway, as my chip bleed continues.  I get to the table with a less than average stack of 14K.  I take it slow for an orbit or 2 then make a raise with KJ clubs in early position.  Gotta give me credit for something don't they.  Not the old dude on the button (who I see later will play any ace) who calls me.  Flop is all low, 2 hearts.  That's ok, again you have to put me on a decent ace don't you?   He calls my bets on flop and turn and shows A6 of clubs to win.  Really?  He had a big stack which apparently he got from making crap hands.  The PQ got knocked out not long after the first break as she couldn't get anything going.  She had seen this guy and didn't think much of his play.  But he got me that time. 

My chips go down then I start forcing action.  I take down a pot in early position when I push KK all in for 8k and get no takers.  Maybe I should try to slow play that one a little but I figured it was the kind of hand where a raise looks suspicious as I only have 8K with 600-1200 blinds and if I just call I probably see 4 or 5 other callers, if I raise to 3K or 3500 I'm pot committed even if an ace hits and it looks suspicious to my thinking when a shortie leads out with a less than all in raise.  At least I pick up blinds and antes which are worth 3k.  Later on I get JJ in the small blind.  There is one limper and I push all in for 10.5K.  Big blind calls with AK and I fade the outs to double up.  I'm still well south of aveage at a little over 20K but I'm getting there.  We are down to less than 2 full tables so the average stack is about 35K.  Not too much later I get JJ again in the small blind.  Blinds are 800-1600 with 200 antes.  3 people limp in so I see almost 7k in the pot already.  Ok, I'm all in.  Take that down and I'm around 28K.  Slowly grinding my way up.  Then I lost about 8 thousand when my QJ loses to KQ on a queen high flop.  Could have been worse.  I'm sitting on just over 17K and know I have to make moves again.  I just can't get over the top and build a stack which is really frustrating after starting so well.  I had more in my stack before the first break than I did when we're down to 2 tables. 

But did things turn in a hurry after that.  I am in mid position with A-10 of hearts.  Shorty is UTG and just calls.  I'm not sure of that bet but I don't think he has a monster.  Then again, even if he has AA, I cannot afford to wait.  But he had been playing kinda weakly (I picked on him a couple of times already and he hadn't done much) and I really think a big hand for him was a raise or an all in.  Next two guys fold and I push all in.  All fold to the old guy in the big blind and he calls.  I am not that concerned as I can see him with another A6 or A8 and calling.  And I want my chips back from him.  Shorty thinks for a minute which means I know he doesn't have a big hand.  He puts in all his chips and flips over K9 of clubs.  I show A10 hearts and the old guy shocks me with 99.  I'd seen him play a number of hands and Ace mid was the best he showed.  At least one of his other 9's is gone and I have 2 overs to him.  Flop is nice, A83 but there are 2 clubs.  Still I dodge clubs on the turn and river as well as the last 9 and I have a huge triple up.  Now I'm over 50K and sitting on a slightly above average stack.  It gives me such a warm cozy feeling.  It also plays into my next big hand. 

I lost a few thousand on an Ace 4 of diamonds when I didn't catch my flush on the turn or river but am still sitting on a healthy 46K.  And the key good hand for me occurs.  I'm in the big blind and look down at 2 big black kings.  All I need is for someone to raise.  I get my wish when the quite large stack on the button raises to 8K.  Now I know I'm gonna reraise but how much is the issue.  I start to count out 22K and realize that's just about half my stack.  So I say screw it and push all in.  I don't mind taking it down there, blinds and antes and the raise is worth 12K or more.  And unless he is sitting on AA I'm ahead if he calls.  After I push in the big stack starts thinking.  He wasn't at this table when I doubled up with JJ but he did see my A10 hand.  Grrouchie did a post recently and he talked about observing your opponents when you're not in a hand to help you see what they're doing.  So he keeps thinking and going back to my A-10 hand.  And he talks himself into calling thinking he's at least a little ahead and may be way ahead.  Bad call.  He flips over 88 and I flop my pair of kings.  Which become a set.  That cost him 38k more and doubled me up huge.  Now I've got a stack to play with.  I'm over 90k and that makes me chip leader at my table.   Afterwards he kept commenting "You played KK the same way you played A-10" which made me smile inside.  After all TJ Cloutier said you shouldn't vary your bet size so that they can't figure out what you have by your bet size.

The same guy loses another hand for a bunch of chips then gets it all in against another big stack when he has 55.  The other guy has JJ.  55 has a flush draw after the turn and the guy with JJ says no diamond.  Well it wasn't a diamond, it was a 5 and the guy on my right is back from the dead with a big double up.  We get down to the final table a little after that.  I am second in chips with just over 100k.  Most of the play at the table is pretty tight and I take advantage of it to chip up to about 120K and the lead.  There is 8 left and I played badly again.  I should have just taken it easy then and waited for the small stacks to implode but I pushed actions.  In mid position I get 99.  Blinds are 1200 - 2400 with a 300 ante.  I raise to 11K and get called by the gal in the small blind.  She had been tight but aggressive.  I liked my chances on a flop of 223 with 2 diamonds.  I put out 21K as I want this pot now but she calls me.  Now I gotta think.  She started with 60K and she now has put half of it in the pot.  She has committed herself and I gotta decide where she is.  She didn't reraise me so I don't think she has JJ, or better.  She might have AA and be slow playing but I think the best bet is AK of diamonds or a mid pair like 8s or 7s and she thinks I'm stealing with AK.  Turn is a 6 and I stay with my read and put her in.  She calls and I flip over 99.  I'm right she has a mid pair, she has 10-10.  OUCH.  I give away half my stack with that one.  What do you think, did I make an idiot move?  I think so in hindsight but I also felt I had to trust my read.  Then again, she played that pretty passively, maybe I should have expected aces.  What I don't understand is that she never made a move to find out where she stood.  I could have QQ or KK and play that the same way.  And she could be calling all in blind with almost no chance.  Still the error was mine and it cost me dearly.

After that I couldn't make much happen.  At 7 people we made a deal and the 2 big stacks got 1100, the rest of us took a little over 500.  So I scored ok but am pissed that I played so badly on that hand.  Why not just give up after she calls my flop bet and save myself 30k.  I still have over 80k and am a big stack.   Nope, gotta push push push.  But for the first time in a while I cashed a tourney and that felt pretty freaking good. 

So you see I had a pretty good St Paddys Day even if I screwed up the final table.  Well that's enough for now, I thought this would take me an hour and it's taken me 3 to write.  Gotta go pick up a couple of pies to have at dinner.  Stay lucky you nuts and don't give up your big stacks.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Taking responsibility

I'm sure some of you have noticed that I am a bit of a champion of gun rights.  While not a gun toting member of the NRA or anything, I do believe that it behooves us all to take responsibility for defending our own lives.  That self reliance is a good thing and that depending on the government to take care of you is not.  I know this is a minority opinion in many parts of the country but prior to the 1960s this was actually the way a lot of people thought.  So Sunday I did something besides just talk about it.

There was a gun show in Tampa that me and my buddy Chad decided to attend.  I wasn't going to necessarily buy a gun there because I had been pricing a few different guns online and in fact had almost bought one but held off when Chad told me about the show.  The last one I attended didn't seem to have prices that were all that great so I made a list of weapons I was looking at online to see what prices I could find for them at the show.  I wasn't expecting better deals but I was hopeful.

Losing an hours sleep on Sunday morning did not help but at least we weren't out playing cards till 5am on Saturday night.  And the new mattress was pretty restful to sleep on.  The mattress is a good bit higher than my last one, high enough that the dog can't jump on it.  She still managed to wake me up a bit after 8am by trying to jump up on the bed anyway.  Once I got her out I made some breakfast for everyone and a little while later swung over the Chad's place to pick him up.

Good crowd at the show on a nice Sunday morning.  It was being held at one of the exhibition halls at the state fairgrounds.  We paid our entry fees and entered weaponry fantasyland.  Guns, knives, swords, ammunition, reloading supplies, even crossbows and military relics.  We just started wandering up and down the aisles.  The layout was pretty good, a lot more space in each row between the tables.  Some of the other shows I've been to have been pretty tight in the rows.  It was nice not to be completely packed in most of the time even though there was a good amount of  gun toting lunatics weapons afficianados there.  Early on I saw one of the guns I was looking for was on sale.  I checked it out but kept on looking at a number of other weapons as well.  I found a couple of others I was looking for at decent prices but not spectacular.  I also looked at some ammo that was for sale.  One table was selling .50 caliber shells that you use in the big sniper rifles.  Those shells are HUGE.  A big pistol round like for a .45 caliber is maybe an inch and a half long.  A .44 magnum round is maybe 2 inches long.  This .50 caliber round had to be 6 or 7 inches long.  Just immense.  No wonder those Marine snipers can take guys out at a half mile or more. 
This guy could go right through you - and 3 people behind you
I walked around for a good while checking out different guns, knives, swords (including one massive two handed sword) pikes, bows and ammo.  Eventually I came back to the gun I was first looking at, the Smith and Wesson Sigma.  I had a choice of 9 millimeter and .40 caliber.  Its true that 9 millimeter ammo is a good bit cheaper to buy but the .40 caliber has more stopping power.  While target shooting is fun and all, it can be a bit pricey if you fire a lot of rounds.  But if I have to shoot for my own defense, I want to feel comfortable that a couple of hits will be enough to keep someone down.  Hopefully I never have to find out. 

I never grew up around guns and in fact they always kinda scared me.  Anything that can punch holes completely through people is something to be treated with at least a modicum of respect.  The PQ has never been a gun fan either.  But even though I do not live in a high crime area, you never know when you may need to defend yourself.  I'm not one to go out looking for trouble but sometimes trouble comes calling no matter who or where you are.  If that happens, I hope I am a bit better prepared for it.  Of course owning a gun is no cure all for other issues, not paying attention to your surroundings, putting yourself in areas you shouldn't be, or even looking for trouble.  It is so much more important to keep awareness of who and what is around you and being prepared for the unexpected.  You don't open your door to a knock in the middle of the night without having some idea of who is behind it. 

On Thursday I went and picked up my weapon at the Shoot Straight in Tampa.  Friday night was try it out day.  After work I went home and picked up the gun and met up with Chad and his wife at the range.  I'm not allowed to bring it with me to work, not even to leave it in my car, so it was waiting for me at home.  We had to wait a while to get a lane, surprising on the first Friday night of the NCAA tourney as I figured the gun range might be pretty slow, but eventually we got on the range.  I shot off all of my 100 rounds over the course of the next hour.  The targets we were using made it hard to see the hits until you brought them back closer to you so it was hard for me to shoot and adjust to my shots but under 20 feet I had no problem putting shots where I aimed.  Over 20 and while I was still hitting in the black rings, I was off from my aim points.  Unfortunately as I said, the black rings were hard to see when you hit them so I was all over the place it seemed when I got the target out to 25 feet.  But I hit almost every shot so I was relatively satisfied.  Next time I use different targets.
My target wasn't quite this good, but had more holes

My one issue with the gun so far is loading it.  Those clips are tight and the springs they use are strong.  It was some work getting all of the bullets to feed into the clips, especially as they got fuller.  I never put all 14 rounds in a clip, I kept loading 12 in one and 13 in the other so that I was shooting 25 shots each time I shot at the target.  This way I always had an even amount of rounds left to load and always knew how much I had loaded.  But boy it was hard on the thumbs each time I loaded those clips.  I got better at it as it went along and it seemed like the springs in the clips were a little easier to deal with, or maybe I improved at loading the gun.  All I know is if I don't have a loaded clip in the house and someone breaks in, they will be able to kill me at their leisure before I'm ready to defend myself.  Think I'll keep it loaded when I go to bed each night.

So now its Saturday afternoon.  I was planning on working some today but woke up with a screaming headache.  I took 2 naproxen (Aleve) and it has helped a lot but still theres a bit of throbbing in my skull.  So perhaps I will pass on the work today, go in tomorrow, and try to nap a bit here.  The PQ is determined to play some poker tonight so I definitely need a nap at some point, especially if this is gonna be another 5 am trip.  So on that note I say good bye for now.  Have a great weekend all and I hope if you're cheering on a college in the NCAA tourney, that they do well.  Unless they are playing UF or USF.  It's been a hell of a tourney so far hasn't it?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I know I haven't been heard from lately

But maybe filing a missing persons report on me was a bit premature.  I have been a very busy beaver that's for sure and most nights when I get settled in for the night I am just too tired to post.  I know its an old story but the truth is the truth.  

So what have I been up to in my normally hum drum life?  Not too much.  Still a lot of work, a bit of poker (badly) from time to time, and some entertaining and gathering from time to time.  First between a visit by Lightning and his wife the weekend before and through Valentines Day.  It was truly good to see Lightning again after the pounding he helped give me last year at the Vegas poker tables.  It was too bad we didn't get a chance to play here but maybe it was a good thing too as my run bad has continue.  Mrs Lightning is a lovely woman and an understated counterpoint to her sometimes outrageous husband.  Like many couples she fills in the parts in her spouse.  We had a great time going out to dinner and talking for a long time about our history, growing up,  families etc.  Unfortunately the weather was not as nice as they had hoped as they visited on the coldest weekend of the year.  Luckily it did warm up again before they left but a week earlier or later and the weather would have been perfect for laying out and soaking up some sun.  Unfortunately I couldn't get time off from work to really goof off with the Lightnings. 

About 10 days later I'm busily pushing my nose to the grindstone when I get a text from my "favorite" cousin Chris that he was coming into town and wanted to meet up.  He was taking a quickie 3 day weekend and flying in from RI on Friday morning.  About 2:30 Friday afternoon I get a half drunken call from him.  He's laying at the beach with his pal Terri and they're trying to drink all the tequila in the hotel.  Though they didn't manage to accomplish that feat they did kill one of the bottles at the bar before they basically passed out and slept the rest of the afternoon away.  We made plans to meet up for dinner that night after I got done with work.  I hadn't seen my cousin in a little over 2 years.  He's the closest cousin to me in age and we grew up only a half mile apart or so.  Most summers our families spent a lot of time together.  He's also a very funny guy with a great dry sense of humor.

After getting out of work and having to double back to the bank to deposit some money in dear daughter's account, I called him up and woke him up from his no longer semi drunken stupor.   I went home and fetched the PQ and we headed down to his hotel on St Pete Beach.   The PQ and I did a bit of drinking while he dried out with club soda.  Apparently too much tequila can be bad for you.  Who knew?  Causes headaches and other bad things.  I knew there was a reason I never touched the stuff anymore.  Once Terri got down to the bar we decided to wander over to one of the restaurants and have dinner.  We had a nice meal and talked and laughed for a couple of hours then wandered down by the beach and such while we yammered about jobs and such.  Chris is a big wig for a small company he's been working at for quite a while and he puts in a lot of hours.  He needed some time off.  Of course the past few months have been a bear for me and the PQ is in the process of moving from her current department where she is boss of about 12 people to her new department where she will have 48 people to deal with. 

That night I slept like a log but woke up really early.  I wonder if the booze had anything to do with it?  I managed to be a zombie much of the day then made plans with Chris to meet up for dinner.   He and Terri had been out on the beach a good part of the day again.  Something about leaving in a snowstorm and landing in 75 degrees made him want to worship the sun it seems.  So I joined up with the two of them for dinner again and we had a great dinner (paella for he and Terri while I had a massive dish I couldn't finish) and talked almost until closing time.  I was taking him to the airport before sunrise the next morning so we cut out fairly early for a Saturday night and I headed home. 

5 am came way too early but I was there to pick him up at 6.  He surprised me by being all ready to go with a cup of coffee in hand as well.  I got him to his flight with a minimum of fuss and headed home where wife and dog were still sleeping.  I wasn't worth much on Sunday either but that's not so surprising for me.  Another weekend for me.  Shockingly I hit the sack early that night missing out on all of the Oscars hullabaloo.  Lucky me.   I hate those type awards shows anyway so I wasn't missing much.   The PQ on the other hand loves the shows, the preshows, the post show and everything.  Like Mrs Lightning, she fills a lot of my holes in my life as well.

This past week I managed to come down with my 3rd cold of the winter.  And it really hasn't been much of a winter here.  I don't understand it as I get maybe one cold a year most times but this year I'm really hurtin.  Thursday night when I left work I was really cold and on Friday the coughing and sneezing started, though not too much.  This past weekend I had made plans to go shooting on Saturday with my pal Chad and his wife but had to scrub that.  Can't cough and shoot at the same time too well and Saturday I really started coughing a lot.  I relaxed all day and popped enough medicine to reduce the coughing to a manageable level.   The PQ really wanted to play the 8pm poker tourney so I went along though I didn't want to play the tourney.  I was afraid I'd start coughing and didn't want to be tied up in a tourney.


I started this a week ago and you can see how well I did to finish it after I stopped last Sunday.  This cold has really kicked my ass and between work and drugs I have not been worth much of anything at night.  I slept hard a couple of nights courtesy of the drugs but I wasn't sleeping that well.  Today is the first day I have felt almost normal again.  This had better be the last cold I get for a while. 

Anyway back to the poker from last Sunday.  I sat down to play some Omaha while the PQ went to the tourney.  I played about an hour and had nothing much to speak of when the table broke up.  I lost some money but not too much.  I went to play some 1-1 no limit after that.  And got killed.  No matter what, I got sucked out on.  I wasn't playing that great, I was a bit tired and the drugs probably didn't help.  At least I wasn't coughing up a lung.  But when I did make some good plays, I got punished still.  Got it all in when I flopped 2 pair (J8) on a QJ8 flop.  The gal next to me calls with a Q3.  Catches the 3.   Raise up my only really good starting hand QQ and get called by KJ.   Flops a K.  I managed not to lose my ass in that hand but overall the hits just keep coming and as crappy as I felt I ended up leaving the table down a couple of buy ins.  Yuck.  I decided to rail the PQ and lick my wounds.

She had just reached the final table.  6 get paid.  She had a slightly above average stack of about 70K at the start of the final table but took a hit early and lost about 25K.  The guy in seat 10 is the chip leader by a good bit and the guy next to him is 2nd.  Seat 3 has a good sized stack.  The PQ is in seat 4.  She buckles down a good bit and gets back some chips.  The pace is pretty slow as no one wants to go out but eventually a couple of shorties go out.  Guy in seat 1 is pretty short but makes a couple of nice plays and builds up to above average while the 2 guys get knocked out.  The guy in seat 3 also builds his stack and becomes chip leader as the leader is bleeding some chips.  Then seat 3 has a brain fart and raises up on the button with A6 only getting called by Seat 10 who is second in chips.  Flop is Q44.  Seat 10 bets and he raises him all in.  Seat 10 happily calls and tables AA to take a huuuuuuge chunk out of him while becoming the massive chip leader. 

The PQ goes on a bit of a run and takes seat 3 out of his misery.  He was pissed, not at getting knocked out so much but at misreading the other hand and going from chip leader to out of the money so quickly.  Then seat 1 knocks out the 7th place finisher and they're in the money.  It's about 2 am and some guys want to split the pot but the chip leader has such a lead he doesn't want to and the 2nd place guy doesn't either.  So they keep playing.  And time drags on.  It takes forever to knock out anyone else.  PQ runs into QQ from the guy in 2nd and costs herself some chips but then makes a huge bluff on another hand and chips up again.  She then waylays the guy in seat 1 and is up to a healthy 100K plus.  It takes 3 hours to get from 6 to 3 people.  When they finally get down to 3 she raises up the guy in 2nd place preflop.  He calls and they see a QJx flop.  She pushes all in and he goes in the think tank.  He has around 200K in chips and it will cost him 130K to call.  If he loses he is by far the small stack.  Eventually he gives it up.  He had flopped top pair with a weak kicker.  The PQ had a Jack and got him to lay it down.  Wish I could get people to lay down Q with weak kicker.  Its now 5 am and with the 3 of them fairly close in chips they decide to chop up the top 3 places.  Everyone gets over $1100 and the PQ leaves the room happy but exhausted.  She really played well choosing her spots and making a couple of good laydowns.  I was just exhausted myself but very happy for her. 

The next day we went and looked at new mattresses.  I was really feeling lousy from my cold by then but we were determined to replace the one we had as it was well past its prime.  We found a really nice one which was delivered yesterday.  The rest of the week was pretty much a blur.  I was going to maybe go shooting on Friday but that went by the wayside, and a good thing it was.  Yesterday the PQ and I returned to the scene of the crime and the 8pm tourney.  PQ started pretty well, I did not.  By the time the first break rolled around, I was down to about 5000 from my original 10.  PQ was a bit over 10K after losing some early.  A little while later I was transferred to her table down to 3500 by then.  I went out not much later with 42 when my flush and straight draws didn't get there.  Not surprising, nothing had gotten there the whole time.  I went 1.5 hours before I got a pocket pair (99) and had to lay it down to a raise and reraise which was good as the reraise was with 10-10.  Sucked for me.  Never got AK, AQ, AJ or A10 the whole time.  Almost never got 2 face cards.  Every time I made a play I was raised.  It was just an ugly time.   I was so fed up with my play and everything I went to play straight $2 limit poker.  Figured I could lose a lot more slowly that way and maybe make a big hand and get a bonus in the process.  The poker room was paying $100 to anyone who hit the highest hand at that moment and the high hand of the hour got $500.  So you had a chance at $600 every hour.  Well for me it was Fat Chance. 

Still it was not a bad time at the table.  While not making any high hands I actually had a few draws pay off and after being down a little early I got up by about 20  or 30 bucks and never got down again.  Made the right laydowns for a change and stayed in mostly at the right time.  I lost a bit on a couple of good draws that didn't pay off but then hit top two pair with AJ while another guy hit 2 pair with A7.  Took a bit more and was up to $85 from my $50 start.  Then the PQ comes up to me and she is a bit miffed.  Got knocked out 16th ( and the last woman standing again) when her AK got beaten by 44.  She goes off to hit the ladies room and I get my biggest hand of the night. 

I'm in late position with 88 when the gal under the gun raises to 4.  Guy next to her makes it 6 and lady next to me calls as do I.  UTG caps it.  Now she is new to poker and her raise could mean AA or it could mean 72.  There is no telling with her and she will call with the weakest pair as well.  She had already contributed some chips to my stack when she stayed in with top pair vs my turned straight.  Flop is perfect, K98.  Lady bets, guy next to her raises again.  Lady next to me calls and I reraise.  This time UTG just calls but the guy caps it and we all call.  This is building a big pot.  Turn is a club 6.  I'm not too worried about that.  UTG bets again!  Guy calls, lady next to me calls, I raise again.  UTG calls, the guy finally comes to his senses and dumps what I'm guessing was AQ or QQ.  Lady next to me doesn't and calls again.  She chased all night and hit some big hands but gave back a lot more than she made.  River is perfect as well with another 6 hitting the board.  UTG bets AGAIN.  The lady next to me finally dumps it and I take pity on the lady and just call her since we are the last 2 left anyway.  The dealer turns to me and says "Full house?" and I flip over my 88.  The lady turns over KJ for two pair and was shocked she didn't win the hand. 

The PQ was ready to leave then and making $90 in $2 poker was enough for me so we hit the road then.  Hey it wasn't even 1:30 am and we're heading home.  Nice for a change, especially since I had to get up this morning and attend the gun show.  But that's another story.  And I got to sleep on my new mattress as well.  Not long enough but it was a good sleep none the less.   I could have used the hour of sleep we lost. Sorry again for the long lay off, I should be better from now on.  But I make no promises.