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, February 23, 2013

Time for a change

I went out early this morning, early for me anyway since I left the house at 8:15 on a Saturday, because I wanted to play in a free roll poker tourney at Derby Lane at 9.  You can qualify for the freeroll by getting a hand with Aces full or better and every morning at 9 they run it.  Only 50 people can play in it so when they have more than that they draw for seats and some people don't get it.  I tried to get in on Monday and was the last person not to get a seat. That sucked.  But today I got in, for all the good it did me.

The tourney is structured as a turbo with only 10 minute blind levels.  Start with only 2K in chips but you can add on another 2K for $5 which goes to the dealers and everyone does it.  I got off to a slow start but made sure I folded a lot of hands early instead of making a couple of dumb calls.  Figured I could use this image later.  It did work as I got 99 and raised and got a walk then a bit later got JJ under the gun, raised and got another walk even from the big stack.  I was wanting to get him in a hand so I could double up but JJ is a hand I'm generally happy with taking down preflop.

The big stack came out raising early.  He waylaid one guy when his J6 flopped trips and beat AJ then he took out an all in shorty with A8 beating A9.  A bit later I got in a hand in the big blind with 92 suited.  Flop was 10-8-8 and everyone checked.  Turn was a 7 putting the straight draw and a flush on the board.  I thought this was a good opportunity to try and steal the hand and bet 500.  Call down the table then the small blind throws in a 1000 chip but says raise after and the dealer makes him call only.  Well now I know where I stand.  River is a nothing while I was hoping for a 6 or Jack.  Even if it was what am I gonna do.  I suspect a flush in the small blind anyway.  Small blind pushes in, I hollywood for a while then fold while the guy down the table calls.  Small blind surprises me by showing 9-6 for the straight.  Guy down the table doesn't surprise me by showing the ace high flush. 

Very next hand I get QQ in the small blind.  3 callers for 200 each then the big stack raises to 800.  I push all in for a bit over 2500 and everyone folds to the big stack who goes into the think tank for a minute before finally calling.  He wondered aloud if I had a hand or was tilting and finally convinces himself I have a big ace or something.  He was not happy when he called and I showed QQ vs his 33.  But it didn't matter as a 3 hits the turn and I'm out.  Good play, bad result, typical for me lately.  When you're in a rut you can play perfectly - which I didn't I'm sure - and still lose your ass.  My play in Omaha lately has been kinda bad so I'm gonna do a bit of reading and see about improving my results.

So thats how my weekend started.  Well not really.  Last night I was over at a buddy's house playing a PS3 game called Sniper Elite.  You play a WW2 sniper in Germany and it's cool as hell.  When you shoot someone the game shows the bullet leaving your gun, tracking through the air then entering the enemy's head or chest and you see it going through the organs and everything.  Probably not a game I want my nephew playing but I truly enjoyed it.  I ended up killing 72 Germans in my last go round which was best of the night.  Had a few really nice shots so if poker doesn't work out I can always join the Marines and kill for my country.  Of course they'll need to get me to the right place to do it, no way am I hiking 30 miles in the desert just to kill people.  Well not most people, I would make an exception for a few.  Hope everyone has a great weekend.  Hitting the movies this afternoon with the PQ and some friends then heading out to a nice meal. 


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Isn't this supposed to be fun?

You know sometimes you're playing a poker tourney or a cash game and things are going good and it's a friendly table and the game is just fun.  It's just a joy to play the game in those situations.  Valentines Day was not that kind of situation. 

The PQ and I always play in the Valentines Day couples tourney at Derby Lane every year.  It's a fun tourney and we've usually done pretty well in it.  You play 6 or 8 levels and then they total the chips for everyone left.  Any couples who are both in at the end are added together but if you or your partner busts out, you can still win if you can build a big enough stack.  The first 2 or 3 years they ran it as a limit tourney which was interesting but for the past 4 or 5 years it's been a NL tourney.  They would limit to fifty couples and pay the top 5 couples.  We cashed 4 or 5 times but never placed first.

The tourney started slowly for me.  I could not draw two playable cards it seemed.  I spent the first four levels mostly folding and only a couple of good bluffs allowed me to get my chip stack almost back to even at the first break.  After four levels I had gotten exactly one pocket pair (threes) and exactly no Aces with any face card.  I had bluffed at a pot early and screwed it up and played too softly but after that I buckled down and my other bluffs went well.  But I wasn't feeling overly positive about our chances with the way my tourney was going.  The PQ hit the break at about 9K from our 6K starting stack so she at least had accomplished a little but there was a long way to go. 

Right after the break I finally get AK suited.  Raise and get two callers.  One caller is in the big blind and one is behind me, not the best position.  Flop is of course Jack high.  Big blind puts out a healthy bet and I decide to let it go as my only choices there are fold or push all in.  I was hoping my luck with hands had turned but I was wrong, I immediately went back to 3-7 and J4 type hands.  I kept getting blinded off while the play got looser, especially the guy 2 seats to my right who sucked out on the river and had gotten a big stack and now was bullying the table.

The blinds and antes just started killing me.  The table bully and the guy in seat 1 raised my blinds a lot but with my stack size I couldn't defend well and I never had the cards to push back.  I was about to push in with KJ in mid position but a raise, a shortie going all in, and a reraise was enough to convince me not to play.  I was down to 2000 chips when I finally picked up AQ.  Table bully raises to 1500 in early position and I pushed in.  Everyone folded and it was only 500 for him to call which he did with 85 offsuit.  I flop an ace and he gets nothing which more than doubles me up.  The very next hand I look down on 99.  Mr Big Stack does his part and raises preflop again, this time even more to 2500 and he looks me up again when I push all in for a bit over 5K.  He looks disgusted when I flip over the 9s and he has 4-5 of diamonds and he doubles me up again.  Sorry Charlie and I'm over 12K

The tourney continued but my run was mostly over.   Mr Big Stack got himself a bit short then lucked into a winner with A2 over AK when he four flushed the guy.  I got nothing for a long time then tangled with him again and took more chips off him when my AJ ran down his 77.  The tourney ended and I was sitting on a paltry 17K.  I looked over at the PQ at the next table over and she was sitting on a healthy stack.  I figured we'd need around 65K to make the money and we came close at about 63 but ended up being on the bubble as we finished 5th but they only paid top 4.  The PQ was pretty pissed but I took it a bit more philosophically.  It was a fun tourney but I was a bit disappointed in my play being a little lax and I also wished I had gotten more than 4 or 5 hands worth playing.  I did channel my inner Mojo to lock down and not do anything stupid as I was getting short which allowed me to stay in to the end.  Considering I only got 4 pocket pairs the whole time, QQ, 99, 33, and 22 and only AK twice and AQ once, I thought I had done ok.  But I was rusty and missed out on some chances too.

Last night the PQ and I visited the Hard Rock in Tampa.  They were giving away 5K to 20 people  that she was entered for and there were not all that many people registered so she was hoping for a 5K score but it didn't happen.  I decided to spend my time playing Omaha while she whiled her time away on video poker.  I probably should have stayed with her.  I got mostly crushed.  Not very many good hands and most of the time I had a good hand the flops just completely missed me.  It was hard to deal with, especially since the guy across from me was raising just about anything and then sucking out.  He raised preflop with A-4-9-10 once and ended up taking 3/4 of the pot when he rivered an inside straight.  He pushed it all the way, got half the low and on the river a Jack hits to give him a straight to the queen with his crappy 9-10 beating out the guy who flopped top set with QQ.  When I left he had started giving it all back but I just couldn't stay any longer than 3am. 

It was a more disappointing night than the Valentines tourney but that is how it goes sometimes.  I am thinking of going to Derby Lane tomorrow morning and taking another swing at Omaha.  I'm also going to start a pot roast in the crock pot before I leave so that when I come home the house will smell fantastic and I won't have to do much of anything to get dinner ready.  Well that's my week in a nutshell.  Hope everyone else is having fun.  And better luck than me.

Friday, February 8, 2013

They'll find a way to get you

Conventional wisdom tells us that if someone really is motivated and wants to get you, they will.  No matter how many secret service men surround the President, an assassin intent on doing him harm will be able to do so if he is willing to pay the price.   You can make it hard but you cannot make it impossible.  Such is life for many of the powerful and famous, always looking over their shoulders, fearful some looney tune is waiting to get em. 

That hardly explains why they would get me though.  While my smell is sometimes powerful and I am somewhat famous in some parts for my temper, I never thought I was much of a target for anyone.  I just stay under the radar.  Or so I thought.

People who know me, know that I do not own any Apple products.  As an investor I have admired their model and how they've made money hand over fist.  I admired their innovations, how they set the standards for others to catch up to.  But I also admired how they locked people in to their own closed system with their products forcing people to buy everything from them.  They made sure they provided excellent service but when you bought a product from them, you went to them for anything else you wanted be it music, downloads, etc.  And boy did the sheeple keep buying.  In 2003 you could buy Apple stock for $7 a share.  When the markets crashed in 2008-09, you could get shares for $85.  But in 2012 their stock price reached $700 a share and the company was valued higher than any other company in the world. 

I've watched all this and been told by friends and coworkers how much they loved their Apple Iphone or Ipad etc but I would not buy.  I would not be enthralled to the I tunes store or be standing in line outside my local Apple store for days when a new product was about to come out.  Not me.  They weren't ever gonna get me as my money was staying right in my pocket.  I'll buy an Android phone, hell I'll get a Blackberry or a Windows phone if necessary but I'll never buy an Iphone.  And what use do I have for an Ipad?  I have a desktop and a laptop.  I don't tweet, I don't facebook and I'm not linked in.  So I had no use for an Apple.  We just went on ignoring each other.  Or so I thought.

Those sneaky bastards at Apple finally got to me.  They figured out my weakness and they exploited it.  They knew how much I enjoyed trivia and such and they turned my love against me.   There is a website called The Pioneer Woman - you can view it here.  She has a cooking show on the Food network and I've made and enjoyed a few of her recipes very much.  She taught me how to make country gravy.  And she does trivia quizzes from time to time on her website.   Last Saturday I participated in an online movie trivia quiz on her site.  Movies from the 80s.  Apparently I saw a lot of movies in the 80s.  I breezed through the quiz and scored 100 on it.  And I was the first one to do that.  Well the first person to score 100 on this quiz got one of these

Have some candy little boy
Late this afternoon UPS came knocking on my door and dropped off 32GB of Apple's finest.  I admit it, I am taken by it.  The simplicity, the sensitivity of the touch screen.  Hell it even has Siri.  I held off on asking her "What does Marcellus Wallace look like?".   How hilarious would that Iphone commercial have been if Samuel L Jackson had asked Siri that?  The PQ and I have oohed and aahed over it since it arrived.  We even visited the App store and downloaded a couple of games, freebies folks.  The Borg have not sunk their tentacles that deeply into me yet.  But I fear it's only a matter of time. 
So if you're stopped at a red light some day soon in Florida or maybe Vegas and you see a poor soul holding a sign on the side of the road saying "Will work for Apps", have mercy on the poor sucker and drop him a couple of bucks or some spare change.  Its not his fault, they got to him too. 
One final word, I have come to the following conclusion.  Ipads won are much sweeter than Ipads bought and paid for.  Stay lucky folks, maybe the evil empire will get you too.