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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

When is my vacation again?

Happy Sunday folks.  Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I've been doing that work thing a bit too much.  The OT pay is nice but the time spent at work on nights and weekends has really curtailed the leisure time activities I like to indulge in.  Haven't played any golf since before the hurricane nor any cards.  Until today anyway.

The PQ and our daughter left this morning for Orlando.  They are spending a couple of days at the "happiest place on earth" attending the EPCOT food and wine fest and seeing Sugar Ray in concert.  Good for them.  I stayed home to ensure Disney World remained the happiest place on earth.  With me there, it's probably no better than number 3 or 4.  I'd love to go to the Food and Wine fest except with my current dietary restrictions, there would be no wine and probably very little I could eat.  And that's fine with me.  The happiest places on earth to me are found in places like Biloxi and Las Vegas.  Sad I know but hey, free drinks, gambling, entertainment, plenty to eat.  What more can a degenerate gambler person ask for?

So while the girls were away I had a decision to make.  Put some time in at work?  Play golf?  How about some poker?  I decided to play the 1pm tourney at Derby Lane.  2K guarantee, 15K in chips and 25 minute blinds.  All for 60 bucks.  56 people signed up.

I got off to a good start playing 7-5 of spades on the button in an unraised pot.  Flop was Q -9-5 with 2 spades.  Everyone checks to me and I bet 200, about a pot sized bet.  2 people call.  Turn was the 4 of spades.  Yahtzee.  Checked to me again and I bet out 550.  This time only the big blind calls me.  River was a 10 of diamonds.  I bet out 1100 and big blind, calls again.  She was very surprised when I flipped over the flush.  Next hand I gave it all away.  Aggressive older guy raises to 400 preflop which is a bit high on a 25/50 blind level.  I look down at 2 tens.  I probably should reraise, especially in position but decided to call.  Tens are not an easy hand to play postflop, better to try and take it down early.  Flop was very good though with 776 rainbow.  Raiser leads out for 600 and I pop it to 1600.  Not enough of a raise there?  Not sure.  He calls which I hated.  Turn is a 3.  He checks to me and I bet 2800.  He then goes all in.  I have him covered but not by much.  He is also doing some talking during the hand and while I'm thinking I'm listening to him.  I interpreted his talking as he felt strong in the hand.  Now maybe he feels that way with 9-9 on that board but maybe it's something like JJ or QQ.  Eventually I dump the hand but I thought long and hard about calling.  Let me know if you think I screwed up that hand.  Later on I thought I might have but at the time I did think his talking was a sign of strength.  Other hands I watched him play, he did not talk much when he wasn't strong.

So I ended up giving back more than I made in the previous hand.  After missing a draw on a later hand I'm down to about 10K and pretty card dead.  Blinds are up to 75/150 so I'm not hurting but I need to make some chips up.  I check my big blind with K7 of spades.  Flop is 3-4-Q all spades.  I check and a few others do to.  Older guy puts out a bet of 3K.  Which was a big overbet in a pot with like 750 in it.  I noticed this guy bet pretty strong when he caught any piece of the pot and stayed in till the river a few times.  So I pushed all in over the top of him.  Everyone else folds back to him and he calls me and turns over 5-6 of spades for the flush and the draw to the straight flush.  Unfortunately for him, I'm holding one of his outs so he's drawing to the 2 of spades to win the hand.  Which doesn't come and I double up to a bit over 20K.

Blinds were up to 200-400 when I was dealt AK of spades in late position.  After a couple of people call, I raise to 1500.  The lady to my left on the button thinks for a bit then calls along with a guy a couple of places to my right.  Flop is AK of diamonds and 8 of hearts.  Checked to me and I bet 3K.  Gal to my left thinks for a long time and I'm wondering if she's gonna reraise me.  I really felt she had a strong hand and was afraid of aces or kings though I also thought she would reraise with either of those hands.  She was well known by the dealer so she was definitely a regular player and I thought could be tricky enough to not raise preflop.  She finally calls and the guy on my right folds.  Turn is a Q of hearts.  I started thinking about the hand some more and the betting and was more and more convinced she called me with AQ.  Possibly with KK but more likely a big ace and since she didn't reraise the flop bet, I doubted she had AK.  So I pushed all in.  She didn't think long before she called and flipped over AQ.  And did not improve.  I had her well covered and my stack increased to over 35K.

That was the high water mark of the tourney for me.  I lost a chunk of my chips when my AQ suited flopped a queen and turned a flush draw but lost to Q 10 when the flush didn't hit.  I did get away on the river without wasting a 3rd bet but it hurt.  Then I screwed myself.  Late position with 99 and I just called instead of raising.  I'm still rusty and that position was tailor made to raise it up and take it down preflop.  Instead I let the small stack in the big blind flop a boat with Q2 then make quads when a queen hit the turn.  After that my fate was sealed.  Never got too much to play with the whole tourney, but I had fun.  I went out 21st which wasn't too bad and I did get in some needed practice before going to Vegas but I really was my own worst enemy some of the time.

After busting I watched some football including seeing the Lions get hosed at the end of the game against the Falcons and the Patriots pull one out against Houston.  Then I went to play a little 1-2 no limit holdem.  I had played for about 45 minutes before the tourney and made about $5.  I wanted to make back my tourney buyin and surprisingly I did.  No major hands but I got a guy to pay me off when my J-10 flopped a broadway straight and another guy to keep pushing his AJ at my AQ on an ace high board.  The only note worthy hand was me losing with AA again.  That's 3 times in a row I've lost with it, once to 10  3 suited when the moron called my raise and flopped his flush.  Another to Q-10 suited who also made his flush.  This time I'm not sure what the old bat nice old lady had but it probably included a 3.  Button straddled to 4 dollars.  A couple of people call then I raised to 11.  Maybe not enough of a raise but I don't want to drive everyone out there.  Turns out the button and the old lady call.  Flop is an ugly 2-4-6 with 2 hearts.  Checked to me and I bet 17.  They both call.  Turn is a 5 of spades.  Old lady immediately leads out for 25.  Ok, so you played what 33?  43 or 5or 78?I was pretty sure I was beat especially with another guy in the hand so I dumped it.  Don't know what she had but I'm not throwing more money into the pot on that kind of board.

I left a little bit later and lo and behold, I'd made back all but $2 of my tourney entry fee.  So while the results weren't great, they weren't too bad either.  A whole afternoon's entertainment for only $2.

So that's my in a nutshell.  House is quiet, got the Raider game on and it's time for bed.  Probably a long day at work tomorrow.  13 days till I leave for Vegas.  Hope you all are running luckier than I am.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Well Irma has come and gone and we can all breath a sigh of relief today.  As bad as it was, it could have been so much worse.  Lucky for us, Irma came ashore a little earlier than expected down near Naples.  Not so good for the folks living there but it kept the hurricane for staying over the Gulf waters and strengthening a lot more.  Irma was only up to a category 3 when it came ashore after losing some power in Cuba.  If it had stayed in the Gulf longer and come ashore further north it would have been a Category 4 and we'd have had it much worse here.

Looking at a lot of downed branches in our neighborhood. Downed trees all over town too.  A lot of the county is without power but we never lost it here.  It flickered on and off a number of times probably due to transformers blowing but never went completely out.  Lucky for us.

The hurricane came ashore around 2 pm and while we got wind and rain from the outer bands, we didn't get the really strong winds until last night.  About 9 or so we could hear the wind howling and see the trees blowing back and forth.  Winds were probably around 50-60 then.  It really got going around 11.  Lost a lot of branches on the trees by the house and we really cringed every time we heard one land on the roof.  I didn't sleep well last night, woke up a few times due to noises.  When I woke up today there were a couple of big branches laying across the front walk but amazingly no trees laying down on the road (or the car or the roof) so that's a victory.

We were fortunate that the hurricane weakened over land and was only about a Cat 2 when it got up here.  It also went further inland than predicted in its course up the state.  The eye went over western Polk county which is about 40-50 miles inland from here.  We only dealt with winds around 90 mph.  Easy peasy.  Still a lot of friends and relatives are currently without power now.  Some have been told it could be a week before they have it back.  Florida in the late summer without A/C is no picnic.  Of course Houston is even hotter than here so we cannot complain too much.

Anyway, while we planned for the worst, we came out pretty good and I cannot complain about that.  Maybe this weekend I can get out to the poker tables or the golf course again and talk about that instead of all this Weather Channel nonsense.  By the way I want to thank the local tv stations for showing hurricane coverage 24-7 here.  No football for me yesterday.  Lovely.  Turns out they were showing it on an alternative channel but since they never posted anything about it on the actual channel or on their website, how was I supposed to find it?  No, much better to go on and on about Hurricanemageddon.  It was like watching the Weather Channel where every major storm is turned into some kind of apocalypse.  Then again when you devote 24/7 to one topic, you end up having to manufacture viewer interest somehow.   People stop tuning in if you tell them, "well, it's not gonna be that bad.  We think it will be windy and rainy but nothing as bad as we feared."  Instead it's all day screaming about "Evacuate or die!!!  Doom is coming to the Florida Gulf Coast."  As a very wise man said, "if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."   Well enough ranting.  Off to bed for hopefully a full night's sleep for a change.    

Saturday, September 9, 2017

And It Just Keeps Getting Worse

You've all been there.  You look at your hole cards and see two lovely black aces.  Your brain immediately starts plotting how to win a nice pot.  You're in the hijack seat and it's folded around to you.  You make a standard raise as you don't want to chase everybody out.  And see the cutoff, the button and both blinds call you.  Ok this is gonna take some work.

Then the flop comes out.  A J 9 with the ace and 9 of hearts.  Lovely.  You're certainly ahead, you flopped top set, but there's a lot of bad things that could happen from here.  If someone played Q10 - and someone is always playing Q 10 it seems - how do you get rid of him?  Not to mention J9, 10-8 suited or even two crap hearts.  It's checked to you and you decide you're not gonna let someone draw to the heart flush for cheap.  You put out a healthy bet.  Only to see the button plus both blinds still call you.  And it keeps getting worse.  Turn is a Q of clubs.  Small blind puts out a pot sized bet, big blind raises him and you're sitting there wondering how it could have all gone so wrong.  It's like that scene in the Tom Cruise/Paul Newman movie, "The Color of Money".  Cruise is purposefully - against his will - dumping a game to Grady Seasons and the whole time Seasons is keeping up a running commentary making it hurt that much more.

That is basically how I'm feeling right now.  Thursday I'm looking at the weather charts and the projected hurricane path.  While the Tampa/St Pete area is within the cone of possibilities, all of the models are projecting Irma to pass either just east of the state of Florida or right along the east coast.  Over here on the west coast, we'll see some wind and rain but nothing too bad.  

Thursday night and Friday morning, the path keeps adjusting west.  From off the east coast to up the east coast to hitting the south end of the state and traveling up the middle of the state.  Now we're talking about true hurricane winds and rain here in the Tampa Bay area.  Still as long as it stays east of us, it won't be too bad.  Plus going over 200 miles all overland would take a lot of force from a Category 4 hurricane. It probably wouldn't be more than a Category 2 by the time it reaches here.

So imagine my dismay when I looked at the latest computer models tonight.  And see most of the models tracking right up the west coast and right through Tampa Bay.  It just keeps getting worse and worse.  I almost fear what I'll see tomorrow morning when I look at the weather.  Oh great, my phone just went off.  A Hurricane Warning has been issued for my area.  Lovely.

My biggest fear is the hurricane stays west of the state before turning into Tampa Bay.  If it does that and stays over water in the warm Gulf of Mexico, it could easily become a category 5 storm again.  And I don't want to contemplate what a Cat 5 hurricane would do to this area.  The last time a major hurricane hit the Tampa Bay area was 1921 and that was only a Category 3.  Do you know how much this area, especially along the beaches, has been built up over the past 100 years?  A category 5 direct hit here would be absolutely devastating.

Hopefully I'll wake up in the morning and find the storm is already turning and all my worrying is for nothing.  Or it starts to break up.  We'll see what happens.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.  It'll probably fall somewhere in between.  After all this depressing talk, I will at least leave you all with something nice to look at.  Too bad she isn't doing the weather here.

You're going to have a hurricane and a tornado soon but you won't care

Well off to bed folks.  Stay lucky out there.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Company's Coming

Happy hump day boys and girls.  Just sitting here getting ready for a visit from some chick named Irma.  Like who names their kids Irma these days?  NOBODY.  Except of course the National Weather Service.  Apparently they try to pick the weirdest names for hurricanes today.  Back when I was a kid (and before that if you can imagine it) they used regular names like Donna, and Carol, and Betsy.  Now they try to think up the craziest names for hurricanes.  Hugo and Katrina and Wilma were all terrible.  And currently we have Irma and Katia hanging around.  No wonder these storms get so nasty.  If you were named Irma, you'd have a bad attitude too.

Irma looks to be a beast.  Category 5 right now, winds of 185 mph with gusts to 225.  That's tornado like.  According to the current predictions, Irma is expected to make landfall in southeastern Florida which is a fair piece away from me.  As a category 4.  Which means wind speeds from 130-155 mph.  I don't want to be flying a kite in that wind.  Luckily for me, I'm up on the west side of the state.  Based on current predictions, the worst of the storm should be to my east.  Good for Tampa/St Pete.  Not so good for Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Pierce, and Daytona Beach.  Of course even with as good as the weather service is now, they still aren't sure where landfall will occur.  Things can change.  So we're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  Just got some gas for the cars, we've got a lot of food and paper products.  I gotta get the spare tank filled for the gas grill in case we lose power and we have water being delivered Friday.  Storm should be here sometime on Sunday.  Even if it goes up the east side of Florida as predicted, we'll see a lot of rain and hurricane force winds over here.  Just not the flooding and storm surge.  I'm good with that.  If things change on the weather front I may be out of touch for a bit.  Like that's unusual.

So time to sign off.  Hope everyone stays lucky and pray for the people impacted by this storm.