Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Double Down!

What Vegas. I Ain't Goin' to No Vegas

A happy little e-mail showed up on my cyber doorstep today:

We're entered in the Las Vegas Friendship (soccer) tournament, Jan 15-17.

Sweet merciful crap! How the heck am I gonna fit a minimum of three soccer games into a Vegas weekend? Early over/under on players at the field for Sunday morning kick-off: 4. I can't even fully articulate how I feel about all of this. I've played on this team for nearly 10 years. In that time, various smaller groups of us have made the journey and it's always been a blast. Now the whole team is going? I hear even ex-teammates who've scattered across the country are inquiring about possible roster slots. We could show up with 30 guys.

This definitely brightened my day, as I've not been able to play much poker with the in-laws in town. My wife assured me it wouldn't be rude if I played a little, but I think it would be. Not to mention the potential for them to throw around the term "degenerate husband" when they return home (Really, they're very nice and have gone to bed early a few nights so I can fit in a few dozen orbits). So, spent last night assembling, oh, 130 puzzles with The Boy. Also took a bad beat at Candyland.

One more thing. I want to once again thank Iggy, Al and CJ for welcoming me. Y'all are part of a daunting group of talented writers/players and I very much appreciate it. I don't even remotely feel as though I am part of the community, but I'll do what I can to earn my stripes. I guess I gotta start by taking down some monster pots with The Hammer.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Monday Morning Quarterback


One holiday weekend and I'm already way behind.

Quick Turkey Fest points:

  • Liverpool 2, Arsenal 1. That's right. LIVERPOOL 2, ARSENAL 1. Neil Mellor at the death. I will never type that last sentence again. You're welcome, Al.
  • Made some hay at the tables though I haven't added up the totals yet. Three in-the-money finishes on the $20 SnGs (one of each) out of four. Some nickels and dimes on the nickel and dime ring games and a big hit on the $25 NL games which I'm frankly (flopped boat) not ready to (lost to 104o) discuss at present.
  • Hilarious scene on a .50/$1 table yesterday afternoon. New player calls Big Slick all the way down with A7o. Another player comments and we get the following conversation:

Other Player: What the (bleep) are you playing those (bleep) cards for?

New player: I'm on tilt.

OP: lol. Okay then.

NP: Wait 'till you see what I'm playing this hand.


Indeed, the new player was playing 65 of spades, with no pair or spades on the flop, only to catch runner-runner 5s to crack top two pair. Naturally, that set off another round of hilarity, which I can't recall with any clarity from laughing/crying too hard.

  • That Charger-Chief game yesterday renewed my faith in all things NFL. As a Niner fan, compelling football has been hard to come by (though five 4th quarter fumbles is compelling in its own way). What a game. Is Phillip Rivers available?
  • Playing online poker while home alone with a 3-year-old is -EV.
  • Speaking of The Boy, he's really coming into his own in the tantrum department. And he's not shy about breaking it out in public. Not good times. And to you, disgusted-look-lady-in-the-supermarket, "screw you." And mix in a salad.
  • Spent a fabulous Thanksgiving with the family, reminding me once again how lucky I am to like nearly every single one of my relatives. A special shout out to my teenage niece and nephew for their patient stewardship of their constant shadow, my son.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saturday Stats

Three $10 single-table SnGs: One 3rd place finish. -$24
$25 NL Table: +$17.75
.50/$1 Tables: +$2

Total: -$4.25

Friday, November 26, 2004

Square One

"That's the thing about high school girls. I keep gettin' older. They stay the same age. Yes, they do."
--Wooderson, "Dazed and Confused"

It is no stretch to say poker--and poker blogs--inspired me to start here. While far from my only interest, the game, and my improvement as a player, are integral to daily life. A quick history:

I've long played home games with The Boys. These were always equal parts social and gambling, featuring plenty of alcohol, trash-talking and games like Night Baseball. For most of my life, it never occurred to me to play poker in a casino. And if it did occur to me, I immediately dismissed it. Having lived n LA since the age of 21, I've made incalcuable trips through the desert to Vegas, one of my favorite places. I've played blackjack for 20 hours straight. I've rolled 11 points in a row on the craps table. But poker? In a casino? I'd get killed. Sharks, colluders, pros...they'd all smoke me.

Then, one Saturday night a couple years back in Sin City, with all my single--and more energetic--compatriots dancing the night away at whatever dark and loud club it was they were at, and me, reeling from a cold and the umpteen grayhounds (Vitamin C, baby!) with no desire to hit the tables hard, I wandered into Excalibur. I stood at the rail of their modest poker room, watching the games. When a friendly dealer practically goaded me into the room. A few drinks short of my gregarious phase, I declined, and moved on. But I was back a half hour later.

I sat a 7-stud game, $1-5 spread. The atmosphere was congenial, the dealer and players talkative. My fears--and the fact I only bought in for $80--melted any anxiety I may have had. About three hands in, I caught my third straight club on 5th street, bet $5 on a total bluff and took down the pot. Oh, the rush! The woman to my left asked if I had it. I wasn't experienced enough to say "I don't rememeber." I mustered a simple yes.

I spent several hours there, walking away a slight winner (thanks mostly to spinning the bad beat wheel after my Queens full lost to a better boat), but that started it. I soon ran across the WPT on the Travel Channel. I just as soon got my inspired butt to the bookstore for some poker primers.

So here we are. I spent a good deal of time at my local indian casinos practicing my game (somewhat costly). I ran across Iggy and jumped into Party Poker, a recommendaton for which I--and my bank account, and my wife--are imminently grateful. I spend most of my time playing there now, well, because I don't have to put on pants.

My game? Uh, a work in progress. I'm interested in the analysis of my play almost as much as the play itself. I'm competitive. I've learned a great deal by screwing up. I wouldn't know where to rate myself. I tend to think I win at party poker not because I'm good but because so many players there are bad. Then again, there have been times where it seems like I am in complete control, almost as if I can see their cards.

One thing I do know is that I'm learning to be a better player. My bankroll and the stats show it. I keep gettin' older.

Not to say I don't have issues.

I'm tiltable. Massively tiltable. Somebody ate Rosie O'Donnell's last donut tiltable. I was a soccer coach for many years and I'd never stop a drill until it was done correctly: "Let's end on a good one." Well, after a couple horrendously bad beats, ones that put my head in my hands, I've waded right back in, trying to "end on a good one." The two most egregious examples of this have resulted in a not insubstantial hit to my bankroll. These two nights of chasing fish, only to take a further beating, really caused me to step back. I'm no less tiltable, but now I tilt away from the tables.

As part of this experiment in the blogging world, I have shaved my party poker account to a nice round number and will keep track of stats from here on out, with the first results tomorrow. This could get ugly.

Off to the tables.

Into the Breach

To go beyond is as wrong as to fall short.

And here I go planning to do both.

I'd welcome you to my humble blog if I had any notion you were actually here to read it. I don't expect that to happen, but that doesn't mean I am not writing for YOU! my dear, imagined readers.

I spend enough time anonymously writing in enough anonymous places so another one won't hurt. At least here, all my thoughts will be contained in a singular spot, even as those thoughts range far and wide. So that's the goal. My primary interests, in no particular order, include current events (politics and finance, specifically), baseball, literature, poker, the English Premier League, bands nobody's heard of, topics relating to my home state of California, my family and, uh, poker.

Let's start off with a quick stab at all of them as a way of you imagined readers getting to know me better:

Politics: I'm okay with Bush on a very short leash. He'd better head left (or, to be more precise, away from the fringe right). If Dr. James Dobson has control over policy, well, I hear Sweden is nice some parts of the year.
Economics: Fix the falling dollar? Sure. Just trim the deficit and rein in spending. What? We're not doing either of those? I guess the Swedish krona would be pretty valuable right now.
Baseball: I'm an Oakland A's fan. Jeremy Giambi cursed the franchise by not sliding. In 86 years, his name will be mentioned in the same breath as the Bambino.
Literature: Currently reading "1984." Again. I bought it for someone who hasn't read it. She still hasn't. With a gun to my head, I'd choose "The Great Gatsby" as my favorite all-time book, edging "Catch-.22" and "To Kill a Mockingbird."
Poker: Nobody likes bad beat stories. That's right, plural. I have a lot of them from the last 72 hours.
EPL: Liverpool supporter. Things get any worse for the Reds on the injury front and I might be able to start up front.
Bands: Trumans Water. Ever heard of 'em?
Kah-lee-fone-ya: I now live east of Los Angeles in what the demographers are now calling the "exurbs." I grew up in the eastern Bay Area (back when they just called them the "suburbs") and went to college in San Diego. So I am uniquely qualified to comment on all things Golden State, with the possible exception of Fresno.
My family: Married, father of one. My 3-year-old son is, as my mother constantly reminds me, "much smarter" than I am.
Poker: Ah screw it. I get AA UTG with 6 remaining in a $20 single-table SnG on party poker. I minimum raise to 100. UTG+1 calls and button raises to 200. Blinds fold, I push. UTG +1 calls (one of two players who cover me) and Button folds. UTG +1 turns over KJ0. He pairs both on the flop and I'm out in 6th.

I hope enough inspiring events/people/hands assault my daily life so that I may give this keyboard a regular thrashing. If not, I'll just have to make stuff up (kinda like believing there's someone reading this). Which can be fun. And dizzying.

Post #1. In the bag.

It's a start.