Red Letter Day
When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don't be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
Is a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of a lark
Walk on through the wind
Walk on through the rain
Tho' your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on
With hope in your heart
And you'll never walk alone
You'll never walk alone
Liverpool is tearing Beyer Leverkusen a new one. Up 2-0 in the tie today; 5-1 on aggregate. By all accounts (okay, it's one account and it's not even mine), the Reds have dominated in BayArena from the opening whistle. Can't beat effing Birmingham in the Premiership, but going to the last 8 of the Champions League. Bizarre. Updates as they are warranted.
Onto the poker.
Put on my fins and wet suit and dove into Party Poker last night. As previously mentioned by myself and others, the new blind structure on the NL games is manna from heaven. Only got about an hour of play in, owing to a dining room re-decoration fiasco of startling proportions, but it was enough.
I spent a few minutes on table selection, about the most I can stomach. Didn't see anything too fishy, so I just got into the highest average pot tables I could. While total boob spottings were minimal (there was one sub-human who blew his entire buy-in in two hands, his first two at the table), the play was predictable. Always helpful in no-limit.
I had two tables up and scooped a pot on my very first hand. KdTd in the BB and flopped two diamonds. I bet out, because I like to. Am I wrong? I dunno, it's been a profitable play for me, as long as I pick my spots. Sort of a spin on the raise for a free card play. It's deceptive. Anyway, I get one caller. Turn is a rag and I go ahead and make a half-pot bet again. I'm thinking I'll at least generate some later action if I show down a busted draw. Called again. River bricks and I fire out a small bet. Happily, I induce a fold.
Okay. This might work out.
Later, against that same guy, I play a flush draw the same way. Only I have position. He check-calls me to the river, where I don't catch. I check behind and he shows top pair. Saved a bet, at least.
Then I nearly double up with a couple hands on the other table. It would have been much more, but both my victims were short on funds. First, I limp in LP with 44. Mr. October. Family pot and the flop comes down KQ4 rainbow. Daddy's gonna get paid. A $2 bet in front and I smooth call. Sadly, I am the only one. Duece on the turn and I smooth call the $4 bet. River blank and I call his $5.30 all-in. He's got aces. Thank you Mr. Dumbass. Dear everybody at my table. Please slow-play aces. Thank you.
Next, I see pocket 7s and again get to see a flop for four bits. Seriously, it's the greatest thing ever. The 11% of the time you flop that set, you are going to have people throwing money at you. I flopped another set, along with a 5 and a 9, two spades. A $1 from UTG and I bump it to $3 with those draws available. Only UTG calls. So, I'm figuring he's made already. He bets $5 on the brick turn and I raise to $10. He pushes his remaining stack of $20 or so. I actually stopped to take my time and think this one through. Could he have flopped the straight? Played 86s from UTG? Not impossible. But unlikely. I think A9 is more like it. So I call. River's a red jack and he shows two pair, 9s and 5s. Well, I guess he COULDA played 86 from there. Either way, gimme my money. The Librarian puts another player on the shelf.
Um, yeah, that's funny to me.
Meanwhile, over behind Door #2, I'm abusing this one poor fella. He's not terrible. But I know what he's thinking before he thinks it. Just have a laser-lock read on him. First hand I got into with him, I was again betting out on my flush draw (the nut draw this time) and hit it on the turn. I check-raised him and he paid for the river. He didn't call my value bet, however. Scant moments later, I get Big Slick and flop an ace with two diamonds (of which I have none). He calls my bet and the turn brings a King of diamonds. Top two, but that flush chance. Yet, I feel like I can check it and know for certain what's going on. No way he bets without the flush, based on my previous check-raise. No way he has the patience to NOT bet if he does have it. He checks. River blanks. I value bet and this time he pays me off. I love it when a plan comes together.
I only dropped one pot of any significance, about $10 of TPTK to a set of 9s. I folded my flop-starved overcards like a good little boy. A nice, easy-goin' night of profit at Party.
3-0 to the Reds, 6-1 on aggregate. Baros in the 66th. Tough one for U.S. International Landon Donovan. His first start for Bayer and they've been hopelessly outclassed. BayArena is now seeing more subs than San Diego during Fleet Week.
Did anyone see where the U.S. lost to Croatia in the Davis Cup? With Agassi and Roddick playing? Craptacular.
The Davis Cup is one of those events to which I used to pay a lot of attention. Tennis in general, really. Johnny Mac remains one of my sporting heroes. He ALWAYS played in the Davis Cup. Unlike some of these prima donnas today. Anybody remember the 6+ hour battle he had against Mats Wilander in the Cup? One of the sets was 18-16 (no tiebreakers back then). I watched every shot. Rivited.
But tennis is pretty much ruined now. There's nobody with McEnroe's artistry (though Roger Federer has every shot), Borg's quiet cool or Conners' tireless and manic intensity. The advent of "power" tennis, with the huge serves and short rallies, aided by equipment and conditioning advances, has taken the subtlety out of the game, by and large. I'll still tune into Wimbledon. Or The Open. But I won't be rivited. As for the Davis Cup, I forgot it was even on this weekend. So you know where that stands.
It's a final. Liverpool "comfortably" into the quarters. Whudda thunk?
Go you Reds.