Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, January 27, 2006

A little Pimpin'

Just a few new & newish poker blogs that I'm checking out pretty regularly. Stop over and give those folks a holla.

Klopzi's Mediocre Poker - This guy plays low limits and is fighting his was up the learning curve on internet poker and blogging. Sound familiar? I really likes his "Stages of a Poker Blogger" series. Some folks might not like the massive number of affiliate deals he pimps, but his site is clean and as a wise woman once told me "it's your blog. Do whatever the fuck you want." I think I want to see if he keeps up his series of poker blogger stages as he advances in both arenas, I've found it pretty interesting so far, and would love to see early posts from some of the grand old men and women of the blogging community. But not enough to actually read through archives for it. That's too much like work. But go check out Klopzi, he's cool.

The Randomness of Hoff - He bounces all over the map in his posts, and ranges from eclectic to breathless to downright funny, but any guy who posts Great Big Sea lyrics (really, my favorite band!) on his blog is kick-ass in my book.

Silent 4 - Austin bloggers are becoming more and more numerous, and none of them suck, which is impressive. This guy thinks a lot, which beats the living shite out of anything I wrote in my first couple months blogging. I think in time he'll be a good addition to the list of strategy blogs we all hold near & dear, like Hank & DoubleAs. So far, no additions to the drunken debauchery blogger stories from Alan, but we do have Al and the CantHangMafia for plenty of those. And really, Beck dancing on a speaker? That's priceless.

All In - Absolutely the most confident/arrogant URL for any blog I've ever seen, but more power to him for laying his goal out there for the world to see. Nick's been at this since last August, but I just found his blog last week. I'm a geek and a schmoe, so I gotta slam him a little for some spelling and grammatical errors, but it's fun reading his posts as he refines his game and learns more. Kinda like all the other blogs I read, I like watching people learn. Some folks I can say "Yeah, I figured that out last year." With Nick's last post, my response was more like "I figured that out last month." With some other folks, I'm reading their stuff and hoping I get the chance to play at that level and learn what they're really talking about. That's one of my favorite things about this blogging community.

There's a bunch more folks that I just started reading recently that may or may not be all that new to poker or blogging, but I like their stuff so I'll just give 'em a shout out. Not that anybody here hasn't seen these already. Just realized that since most of my readers are other bloggers, I'm totally preaching to the choir. Yeah, well, if you haven't seen these folks, go check them out!


Thursday, January 26, 2006


For anyone who follows the links to the right, I've updated my memory-blog, Arranger of Disorder. Check it out for non-poker content and the occassional poem/story.

So, let me lay this one out there for ya - the wife? Not so much the poker player. I mean, we'll sit down and play a few hands every once in a while, kind of a hanging out thing. But we're not a heavy-duty poker couple, unlike some folks I could name. But Suzy will occassionally sit in on our home games for an hour or so, and she really has no interest in thinking too much about the game, or odds, or any poker-related stuff, really.

I keep a copy of "the list" - the 20 or so decent starting hands in Hold 'Em around for Suzy, as well as a hand ranking chart. And she helps me work on different games, like Razz or Omaha, that the regular crew might not be willing to play. So we hang out and play cards.

Then there was last weekend. Since I'd been reading blogs allllllll week, I introduced the live straddle into our regular home game, with all the insanity that ensues after a couple of orbits of auto-straddle.

Then my wife, my dear, patient, loving wife, in front of four of our best friends, live straddled me right there in my own living room. And not even in a good way. Four orbits in a row, the Dear and Patient threw out a live straddle on each and every one of my Big Blinds.

AK sooooted
AK o/s
AJ soooooted

After the 4th big hand I picked up on her straddle, she never did it again. But check-raising the wife with the nut flush was the hand I really misplayed of the evening.

Lumpy fucking sofa.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

This is a useless post - go elsewhere for real content

I'm still around. Not really a whole lot worth posting about the past few days. You know, the whole, get up-go to work-go home-grind a little-go to sleep routine.

Thanks to Facty's great post about her F Factor for bankroll building, I now have money again on Stars. Not enough to really do anything with, but I've doubled my roll on Stars to about $35 in the past ten days. If you missed Facty's post (and why would you miss it? She's yet another blogger tourney star!), her theory on bankroll building is like this - win $10, play a token SNG on Full Tilt. Win a token, play a big tourney.

Win the $16K guaranteed, don't worry about it so much anymore :).

So I gave it a shot the other night - my first great Marhsmallow Peep Sex Experiment (let's see what that brings to the site:) ). I missed the token. Premature E-peep-ulation. I finished 5th, getting a 4$ refund on my buyin. I think I did find the tightest MPS token Sit N Go in the free world, though, since the table got tighter than last year's jeans when we got down to 8 folks. These things play a little odd, but I'll give one another shot in a day or so.

Interesting patterns so far for 2006 - my cash games are funding my tourney play, rather than the other way 'round. I know, that's a healthier way of playing, and I like it, but I don't really know what to attribute it to other than losing all my money on Stars in MTT and SNG entry fees and dropping down to the micro-limit tables to rebuild and win my tourney entry fees.

Cash bankroll is at an all-time high, thanks to the BBSOP and the fact that I've never taken my bankroll management at all seriously before. I just deposited money or withdrew from an ATM when I wanted to go play, and saved up for trips. Not so much an option with the Dear and Patient focusing on being a homemaker/starting her costume rental business. But now I'm actually paying attention to where the poker money goes (and comes from), and I haven't had to redeposit yet this month. Thanks to my sponsors and the donkeys that play there :).

So nothing impressive to report - I won a $1 SNG last night, which these things are actually a serious ROI if you can navigate the first three tables of heehaw. $14 return on $1.10 invested is pretty good for 90 minutes. Got 2nd in an $5 SNG, which covered what I lost at the ring games there. Their SNGs are total MPS at the low levels, usually 2-3 people out by hand #4.

That's what I got today,


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Lessons from a HORSE

So I played the HORSE tourney last night with the bloggers on Full Tilt. Thanks a bunch to April for setting it up, it was a blast! I don't play any poker terribly well, but limit games, and limit mixed games are so far from my strong suit, that I went in looking to play for a while, have a good time, and learn a few things about my game. I finished 17th out of 60ish, a really good finish for me in a blogger tourney. Meanwhile, we won't be toooooo jealous of Ryan and his great win in event #1 of the LA Poker Classic! Go congratulate him! And Change100 is the smartest blonde in California for swapping 5% of him before she got busted out two days ago.

So, lessons. First, these really aren't my games, especially limit 08. I'm not sure I played more than 0ne hand of Omahaha the whole tourney, and I won it with the Omahammer. So that was fun, but otherwise, I hamstrung myself trying to overthink it, when I usually can go with what my gut tells me in PL or NL games. When you have a gut the size of Gary Coleman, you learn to listen to it, otherwise it gets all "Whatchoo talking 'bout, Falstaff?" on you.

Secondly, I am such a LAG at limit games. I don't play enough limit to know that defending my button with A10 o/s to 3 bets isn't a smart play. I sucked out on Biggestron's JJ with that, but my thinking is "I'm gonna call a 3-4xBB raise with that on the button in No Limit, so I'll look it up in limit." Plus I was discounting Pauly's opening raise altogether, because Pauly is a strong, aggressive player and if his cards are worth playing at all, they're worth a raise to thin the field. So acting behind Pauly and Bdidde, I assumed I was gonna play every hand for at least two bets if I was gonna play it at all. But limit typically plays much tighter than NL, and I didn't make that adjustment well.

Thirdly, luck counts for a lot. I exploited this in the hands that I won, starting off with rolled up 6s in stud v. Pauly's pair of Kings, and making a boat on 6th street to win back all the chips I had donated to his flopped full house in round 1.

Fourthly, don't count on luck. The hand I felt like I totally misplayed was the one that crippled me against Maigrey near the end of my tourney. The reason I felt like I totally misplayed it was that I did totally misplay it. She started with a pair of Qs, caught the third Q on 4th street, and my two pair on 4th was behind all the way. And I knew I was behind, but fell prey to that ridiculously fishy sentiment of "pot committed." I was never pot committed in that hand until I pushed all my chips in knowing I was drawing to a total of 4 outs for my full house. Stupid donkey.

Oh, and I learned that there are lots and lots of bricks in Razz and Stud, and I got them all last night. I'm not sure I won a single hand of Razz, and if I did, it was through no fault of my own.

But it was a great time playing with and chatting with everyone, and hopefully I can apply these lessons learned the next time I smoke crack, I mean play a limit tourney. Off to a weekend full of meetings, y'all have fun! Go check out Pauly's Borgata Open coverage, and congratulate Ryan.

Thanks April!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Online collusion at the $.05/$.10 NLHE Table

Yeah, right. So I sit down at the computer last night, and remember that it's WWdN tourney night. Then I check my Stars balance.

$14.73. Less than impressive. That hundred bucks I put in the end of December has been bled off by donkey draws and bad beats in SNGs, not to mention my normal losing ways. So I says to myself "Self, if you're going to play the WWdN tourney tonight, you're gonna have to win your way in. Sit your ass down and make $11 in the next 90 minutes, and you get to play."

So I did. The nickle/dime NLHE tables at Stars are ridiculous. Which suits my current run of online play, so I'll hang out until I can get my head straight again. So, up $14, I decide to donate to my favorite poker bloggers, and enter the tourney. I do. I donate pretty effectively, and am gone quite before the first break. No bad beats, no suckouts, I just played like a jackass and that's what I deserve. BadBlood didn't play like a jackass and got what he deserved, too. Congrats!

So back to the micro-limits for me, cause I still felt like playing, but didn't want to think too much, so Razz was out. No comments from anyone who's played Razz with me about whether or not I think at that game, either. So I find a table that looks good, about 60% of people seeing the flop, and only one guy above the max buy-in, so I grab a seat. This guy is fairly solid, given the weak/tight play of the table, and he and I stay out of each other's way pretty much. Along about the time I've nearly tripled my buy-in (sounds more impressive that way than saying I'm up $17), Alan and Drizzt sit down, and all hell breaks loose. Drizzt proclaims loudly that he sucks at NLHE and proceeds to rip into the other guy with chips at the table, reducing his stack by 50% in about 15 minutes. He also pushes me off a decent pot with an underpair to my pocket 6s and a lot of naked aggression. I thought he was channeling G-Rob for a minute.

Is there one "l" or two in channeling? My spellcheck isn't sure, either.

Anyway, while Alan is building his table image (rock), and Drizz is rolling over the table, our friend in the 6s announces to the table that the three of us are "playing together" and leaves. That's it, folks, rampany blogger collusion at the $.05/$10 NL tables! Beware, there are cheaters out there, and they are hell-bent on ripping off your hard-earned $10 max buy-in! Protect your chips from this scourge of the intarweb! Yeah, whatever. I think all together, there may have been $60 on the table. Well worth the time and energy to cheat. Drizzt rightly responded "together? He just took $5 off me!" Poor pookie, couldn't handle the big man coming in with both scimitars swinging, that's all.

Then the windstorm blew a power line down and I was done for the night. I'll be lurking the micros again tonight, probably. See you there.

Oh yeah, and factgirl is pretty. :).

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


No, I still don't deserve any. Or care. But here's an interesting phenomenon that I've observed from my past couple of weeks of blazing ineptitude on Pokerstars and minor success on Full Tilt. On FTP, I've played mostly two things - Razz about my bankroll limits, or tables with bloggers (some Razz & some HE). And I'm doing much better on FTP than on Stars, despite playing mostly NLHE and SNGs on Stars, which are typically stronger games for me than Razz. So why is that?

I think it actually does boil down to respect. When I'm playing outside my bankroll, and playing with bloggers, I respect the ability of the people at the table to at least play as well as I do, and usually better. So I step up a little. And some of it comes from not wanting anybody I know to see me make a fiendishly donkish play, so I tighten up a little and play better starting hands and concentrate more. When I play at the levels my online bankroll will actually support, I assume that most of the players are uber-donks. For the record, they usually bear out that assessment over the course of time, but that's beside the point. The point is that when I respect my competition, I play more solid poker. Or at least as solid as I ever manage.

So that's all I really have for today. Just an idea that if I can get it into my head that the dork that limps with AA in the cutoff with 5 limpers ahead might not be the abject mobron that he appears to be. Okay, he is, but that doesn't mean that I don't need to assume that my opponents are smarter than me. Because that doesn't really take a lot, so they can manage.

Go read BG's latest. Bad. Ass.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Defense wins Championships?

Or does Steve Smith? Nobody in their right mind would have thought that Carolina could almost single-handedly cover the line for last night's game, but I'm not the only one that thought my boys could go into Soldier Field and make them all look like buck privates. With the notable exception of a leaping, one-handed Urlacher interception, the vaunted Bears defense looked decidedly mediocre. A lot like the invincible Giants running game. Anyway. So my boys are going to Seattle for the NFC title game, and they're going without our #1 running back, Deshaun Foster, who got his ankle broken on a clean but unfortunate tackle late in the game. Nick Goings gets another chance to prove himself as a superior backup (like he did last year for almost 900 yards), and the o-line gets another chance to give Jake time to put it in the hands of the most explosive player left in the playoffs, #89.

Let's face it, Steve Smith starts every day with a chip on his shoulder. He's a little guy, and they're always feisty. At 5'9, Smith is barely taller than certain diminutive degenerates, but that guy moves faster than Pauly headed for the strip club (Welcome back, Doc). He's got Barry Sanders moves, that boy can absolutely juke you out of your shoes, and is just stubborn as hell when it comes to going up and getting the damn ball. Witness his jump ball strip of 6'3" Charles Tillman last night. Tillman had the ball, Smith wanted it. A lot. Panthers ball. End of story.

And can we Carolina fans send a game ball to the Soldier Field grounds crew for the worst maintenance of a field in the world? My sandlot baseball games didn't see that much bare earth when I was a kid, and the shitty field conditions contributed to at least 21 points, with coverage guys falling down on 3 TD receptions (2 for Panthers, 1 for Bears). Even John Kasay slipped, and I've watched 11 seasons of Panthers football to tell you that just doesn't happen.

Grossman played a helluva game, and a far better showing than most of his 1st-year playoff counterparts. When Lovie Smith needed to put the game in the hands of his quarterback he did, and it paid off, with Grossman marching downfield to end the 1st half and start the 2nd. Solid play by the kid with something like 25 minutes of actual NFL play under his belt.

And can we just for kicks come up with some kind of freak of nature athletic challenge to see who's better between Peppers and Urlacher? Those guys have extra genes that I've never even heard of.

Oh yeah, I played a little poker this weekend,too. We had folks over for movie afternoon on Saturday with poker to follow, and I introduced Omaha Hi to our mix, so after a few hours of Hold 'Em, we went into a mix game of HOP, Hold 'Em, Omahi Hi and Crazy Pineapple. All no limit. No action junkies here. I finished up about $60, which isn't bad for a $20 buy-in, but the real news of the night was when I taught the folks the advanced tilt move of the live straddle. This managed to tilt BlackMike super-quick, because he was the only one getting straddled for a while, until they managed to talk the Dear and Patient into live straddling my blind 3 hands in a row!

JJ, AK, AK. Not hands you want the BB to wake up with when you live straddle. After that 3 orbits I didn't get straddled again all night. In either idiom. Don't beat your wife in poker and then expect any other type of action later. But Suzy ended up even for the night, so that was nice, too.

I did channel the Luckbox (congrats, buddy!) repeatedly during the night, rivering the inside straight draw at least 5 times, and calling my overpair suckouts at least twice. I love J8 off suit. This philosophy of getting your money in when behind isn't as bad as one might think. And it guarantees action on every hand after that, too.

In other news, has agreed to become a sponsor of this humble scribbling, so here's their ad. I tried it, it's a Boss Media site, lots of European players and most of them suck, so take advantage. Also, Jordan has a cool deal worked out for their WPT qualifiers, so go see what he's got cooking.

Ahhh shit, work calls.

Later. Go Panthers!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Y'all need a Road Trip!

So come to the great state of North Carolina for the Falstaff Open on February 25th! Consider it a warmup to the SXSW Massacre that April is hosting in March. Buy in is $50, got room for 32 in the Casa de Falstaff. I'll have some grub and booze, but if you want anything weird, better bring it. So let me know if you're in. Comment or email johnhartness at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


She was a hugely overweight calico. Like 22 lbs. worth of calico. Which is a whole lot of kitty, anyway you look at it. Now I had been pretty good about saying NO to the stream of strays that came through the door since Dear and Patient had taken the job as a Client Services Associate at the local 24 hr. Animal Hospital, but this big ball of fuzz stole my heart. She was a retiring blood donor cat that had spent the last two years roaming the hospital filching food from the cages of recovering kitties and generally living pretty high on the hog. Her name was Cissy.

Ok, I hated the name. But loved the cat on sight. She wasn't normal. None of that aloof "perhaps, if I deem you worthy, I'll allow you to service me by maybe, if I feel like it, allowing you to pet me" attitude that cats have had ever since someone let slip that Egyptians thought they were holy. You know, cows are still holy in some parts of the world, and you never see Bessie copping attitude, do you? But anyway. Since we were, at the time, reluctant (ok, I was reluctant) owners of a long-haired chihuahua named Missy (yes, everything you can imagine in a chihuahua with long hair is correct, except this one never barked. Ever. In the 7 years we had her. Only thing that kept her alive for 7 years.) there was no friggin' way I was gonna let her keep the name Cissy.

I suppose that was the point at which I lost any fight as to whether or not we were bringing her home, when I objected to the name, not the existence. So, since she was pretty damn fat, and a long-haired calico, her coat looking kinda raggy, we named he Grizzabella. Yes, I know, frickin' theatre people. But anyway. We brought Grizzy home and she got along famously with our other cat, Bela, who bears a striking resemblance to a short, furry black and white cow. Coloring is right, diameter is right, he's gotta be part cow. News flash, svelte is not a word typically used to describe the residents of Casa de Falstaff. Not even irony stretches that far.

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved cats. Pretty much all of them, but I am a total sucker for cats that purr loudly. Grizzabella was a frickin' motorboat. I could hear her purring in other rooms of the house. When I would fall asleep on the sofa watching Sportcenter, Bela would curl up between my knees and Grizzy would flop down on the floor under my outstretched hand and purr me to sleep. This was a cat that truly loved people. All people. In any numbers. None of this "I'm going to pretend to be shy until I decide you're worthy" crap. No, this was a gregarious kitty, and she loved to be loved. Pick her up, pppppuuuuuurrrrrr. Pat her head, ppppppuuuuuuurrrrrrr, rub her belly, pppppppuuuuuuurrrrrrrrr. Swing her over your head by her tail, you ain't got that kinda arm strength, this was a 22 lb. cat, remember?

So she joined our family. She slept with us, usually curled up behind my knees or at the foot of the bed. Purring. A lot. The good news was that her purring would occasionally drown out my snoring, so this was good for the marriage.

That was three years ago. Tonight we put her to sleep. On Saturday she started what we came to find out was congestive heart failure, of both atria of the heart. This, coupled with her diabetes and dehydration, caused her liver to begin to fail and make treatment an unrealistic option, as the treatment of the hear failure would likely either exacerbate the liver damage or cause he kidneys to fail. Or just not work. Or work, but we have to do the whole thing again and again until it finally didn't work. So Suzy and I decided that wasn't fair to her, or honestly to us either, and we had her put to sleep. And I cried like a baby. I love that fucking cat and I am incredibly sad to let her go. And angry that I have to. And angry for being so upset, when there are people experiencing loss of human life and loved ones every day and why should I care so much about an overweight furball who didn't hold a job of contribute to the GNP or do anything except lie at my feet at night and purr loud enough to send me off to pleasant dreams and lie like a big calico rug in front of the door always lifting her head to be the last one to be petted before I left for work in the morning as if to say "Hey, go off and earn me some kibble, dads, I'll be right here when you get back tonight."

But as I once, in a wiser time in my life (you remember high school, when you knew everything?) said to a friend of mine, pain is subjective. Just because someone else has a different and perhaps more justified reason to feel pain, that doesn't invalidate mine. So it's not like I lost my grandmother (since I ran out of grannies this fall, I got no more of those to lose) or a parent (but sometime I'll rant about Alzheimer's and how I'll trade anyone a sudden death of a loved one to this fresh hell that is becoming my mother's aging process), but I just got back from putting my cat to sleep and my heart is a little bit broken tonight.

On the other hand, I discovered that if you play one hand of single-table SNG, chip up to 1.75 x starting stack, then go to the vet for two hours, you'll possibly finish 4th, one place out of the money. Because I just did. I missed the last hour and came in 4th. There were 8 of 9 when I left. They must have really donked around.

I'm gonna go hug my other kitty now.

Still no content here

8. Are you a poker journal or not?
Well, maybe. I have so little to contribute in the actual poker world right now, especially with my scintillating run of mediocrity in every facet of my game this week. For poker content, there are so many better blogs. Most of them are on the right. Personally, I use Up for Poker almost as my Bloglines, since they show us when other folks update. Pretty damn cool, I say. Esp. for those of us too lazy to update our bloglines. This is a poker player's journal. I'm sure most of you don't come here to read about my theories of poker. That's what I read you guys for. You read this because we're friends. Imaginary internet friends ( c. Sheverb), but friends nonetheless. Soooo, screw staying on topic. I'll get back to poker when I'm running better or have at least had a new idea about why I'm running lukewarm.

If I can win my buy-in I'll play the DADI tourney tonight. Logged a whopping $4 profit in SNG last night, so another $7 and I'll play. Otherwise I'll drop in and sweat you guys. I'm so dead money at PLO8 I'm not willing to risk my money on the tourney, so I'll only play with OPM (other people's money).

So I found this blog by exploring the Blonde's links, and apparently he's a local boy. Or at least goes to boogie in Charlotte (Yonder Mountain String Band 2/17 at Visulite may be an unofficial blogger boogie binge, I need to see Tripjax, Otis and Uncle Ted motor their happy asses over here to the show, it's your kinda jam). He raises the question, which celebrities deaths will affect/have affected you the most? This is inspired by all those end of the year "these folks that you thought were dead for a long time actually died this year" news spots.

Here are mine, and why

1) Ric Flair. I did mention at some point or another on this blog that I'm a redneck, right? You can't live in the Charlotte area as long as I have without loving the Nature Boy, the Dirtiest Player in the Game, Space Mountain, Whooooo! Nuff friggin' said.

2) Johnny Cash. Rick Rubin is a fucking saint for resurrecting the career of the Man in Black. Cash's last 10 years were some of the most musically inspired and inspiring of any career, and his autobiographies really touched me as a man who went through all kinds of self-inflicted hell and came out the other side wiser and better for it.

3) Christopher Reeve. He's fucking Superman, what more do you want? He became a real inspiration to me with his fight against his handicap and his lobby for stem cell research, even though he knew any advances made from his efforts would likely come too late to help him personally. He knew he couldn't save his own life, or really improve the quality of his life, but he kept fighting for other people. That's what makes a hero in my book.

4) Doc Watson. Just listen to him play and you'll understand.

5) Jimmy Carter. Will probably be regarded as a mediocre (on a good day) President, but an absolutely incredible ex-President. I'm not one for a whole lot of religion, but Carter doesn't ever force his religious views on anyone, he just goes through the world trying to help people and lead a Christian life by example. If more religious folks behaved like that, I'd give religion another shot. Just not with the whole getting up on Sunday morning thing.

So those are celebrities that I have felt, or think I will likely feel, diminished by their passing. How very John Donne of me. What famous people make you feel less like an island?

Monday, January 09, 2006

My nothing to report report

Just a bunch of miscellany from the world of Falstaff & co.

Played the local tourney last night, couldn't get anything going all night long. Bubbled out in 5th. Going out on the bubble is like kissing your sister, what's the friggin' point? I got frustrated because the play in general was too passive to get a read on where my hands were, so that cost me some chips, not to mention being card dead for the last two hours of the tourney. Or at least my last two hours. Woulda been nice to follow up my win at Blood's house with another one, but there's always next month. I think I played fairly well overall, it took me a little longer than it should have to adjust to the ridiculous amount of cold-calling with junk and overall passive play, but I played my short stack well, hanging on for a looooong time with an M of around 4-8. Oh well, that's poker.

The razz games on Full Tilt are absolutely softer than Marshmallow Peep Sex. I sat at the $2/4 for a little while the other night and was amazed at the level of play. And you know it sucks if I of all people can tell that the play is soft, cause I suck at poker. I left up about $20 after 30 minutes. I know, the game was good I shoulda stayed, but that's above my limits for online play, and the $20 was a nice quick little bump to the FTP roll, so I called it off before I could give it back.

Then I went to my latest weekly obsession - Neverwinter Nights. Now I've been a Dungeons & Dragons geek since Jr. High (yes, I was one of those weird kids sitting in the corner of the lunchroom with the other Bill Gates Jrs. of the world rolling dice and talking in odd codes about THACOs and hit dice while you were wondering if the neon green Swatches clashed with you jelly shoes), and I've played all the computer iterations of the game, going back to the classic gold box games on my Apple IIc c. 1985 personal computer. Fascinating that my state-of-the-art computer 20 years ago had NO hard drive and worked with 128 KB of RAm, and my current 2nd-to-top-of-the-line iPod has a 30GB hard drive that I carry in my pocket. Every once in a while we need to remember this shite. Why I don't know. But the nostalgia geek in my would really love to have an Apple IIc again, so if anyone has one languishing in a closet somewhere, lemme know.

ANYWAY - back to the semblance of point, a few years ago, a new game came out for D&D gomers called Baldur's Gate, then the sequels, then Neverwinter Nights. And it was, as they (not sure who this "they" is) say, on like neckbone. You really have to say that out loud for the rhyme to work. It just looks really stupid written down. And it also only works if you're Southern. Spelled phonetically, it should read "awn lahk neckbown." Translation provided for those of you in parts of the country where people just don't talk right, like Minnesota or New York. Neverwinter Nights is D&D geek paradise, because after you beat the game, and the two expansions, then you can go online and download new modules for the game written by people who are even bigger dorks than yourself. So it not only gives you something to do with your all-important gaming time (i.e. all the time in the evenings when you don't have dates, which is ALL the time in the evenings), it also serves to reinforce your image of personal self-worth and prove that indeed, you are not the biggest dork in the universe, because somebody actually created these modules for you to play, for free, so they must be bigger dorks than you.

We're not going to go into comparative dork theory, because there are so many folks better qualified to speak on that than I. Some of them are in the blogroll, you know who you are. But lately (i.e. since I got my new video card and can actually play the friggin' game) whenever I'm sick of Hold 'Em and can't find a fun blogger game, I'll just fire up NWN and slay dragons. All damn night long. Good thing I bought the Dear and Patient the entire series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer for Christmas, so she hasn't even noticed I was gone.

So that's my geek life lately. That and switching out iPods. I broke down and bought the 30GB black video when my Best Buy rebate coupons came in from buying the laptop, so I'm giving the old 3G 15GB iPod to the Dear and Patient to be her Disco JukeBox. I'm also fairly sure she wants a pink case with daisies on it for her iPod. This chills me deep in my soul, because I know at some point we're going to go on a road trip, she'll bring her iPod to run through the FM transmitter, and she'll leave it in the car when we're home, guaranteeing that it will be discovered by some male relative who is in my car for some funeral, wedding or other forced familial gathering time and only reinforcing the doubts my entire family has about my heterosexuality due to that whole "theatre thing" that I occassionally do. Like any self-respecting homo would dress this poorly.

Hey. This got long. Anyway, have a good week. I'll talk to you later. Peace.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

2005 Year in Review/2006 Looking ahead

Since everybody else is posting theirs and I'm such a frickin' bandwagon-jumper, thought I'd lemming right along.

2005 - I finished out the year by getting broke in Vegas at the WPBT. Yup, folks, there you have it, I was stuck the entire trip. Had a ball, lost my shirt. The only reason I can call it a winning year was a $1400 win in a Stars $5 freezeout in March kept my numbers +$600 for the year. I learned a lot about my play and the game in general, mostly that I still don't know how to play. My live game isn't terrible (so I thought 'til I dumped six bills at donkey poker in LV), but my internet play is for real shite. So after careful analysis, this is the conclusion I've come to.

I suck at poker.

News flash, right? More specifically, I suck at online ring games and am way too aggressive in online tourneys. I actually have something like a 35% ROI for the year on the $5 SNGs, so I suck less there.

So in 2005 I won a 1100-person tourney without having a friggin' clue what I was doing, bought a new monitor and pissed the rest of the money away, then went to Vegas, had the time of my life, and got broke. Let's do things a little differently in 2006.

For starters, I'm actually going to try to manage a bankroll. The Dear and Patient isn't working right now, so the $200 I deposited on FT and Stars is going to have to be the bankroll. I put $100 on each site and $100 in my cash roll to start the year, so now we'll have to play like the money actually means something, without playing like the money means anything. That means play to my strengths - the baby SNGs. So that's where I'll be for a while online (along with limit Razz, which I'm finding addictive) until I get the bankroll built up. So my goal there is to not have to deposit again. Period.

Cash-wise the G-Vegas tourney helped a lot, turning my $100 cash roll into $500 pretty quickly. So my cash goal is to build that roll up to about $4K by summer, then play the $1,000 WSOP event. I know, not the smartest BR management strategy, but that's the plan. I make enough at my job to support myself and the Dear and Patient, and a decent side income on Ebay selling various and sundries to support my travel habits, so poker only needs to support my buy-ins, not necessarily the associated travel costs.

So my goals for 2006 -

1) Play the $1,000 NLHE WSOP event in July.

2) Make the trek to several blogger tourneys that I know are already being planned, including Austin in March, Philly in September, and any of the G-Vegas tourneys that I can get to.

3) At least 2 trips to Vegas.

4) Support the poker travel through Ebay, and the poker play through poker winnings.

5) Suck less.

6) Move up from the baby SNGs to the $30 buy-in range with enough cash behind to feel comfortable playing there.

7) Actually read the poker books/watch the DVDs that I've bought/acquired in the past year.

8) Learn to read first.

9) Host one decent-sized tourney at the Casa de Falstaff this year. Maybe February?

10) Continue to have fun. 'Cause let's face it, I ain't getting no sponsor's exemptions into the TOC anytime soon, so I'd better enjoy this shite while I'm doing it.

Oh yeah, and as The Rooster read to me from his pocket list of tips "work on selective aggression." Patricularly the "selective" part.



Sunday, January 01, 2006

Weekend Recap

Really quickly because I'm pretty beat.

1) Thursday night - 8 9 off-suit nets me a $96 pot in NLHE with blinds of $.25/$.50. Good night. Interestingly enough, + $96 for the night.

2) Friday night - K 2 rivers a 5-high straight when 4 comes. Loses $50 to 7-high straight. Heeeee Hawwwww. Net +4 for the night. Woulda been +54. Oops.

3) Sunday/Sunday night - After 7 hours of hard-fought poker, a great blind structure by BadBlood, inflicting a MASSIVE suckout on Gamecock, and finally getting down to 2 players, I manage to beat The Luckbox heads-up for the Bad Blood New Year's Day Classic 2006, winning $445 (chop the top two). CJ and I also agreed to chop the $60 last-longer bet. I receive a great engraved money clip labelled "BBSOP 2006" (BadBlood Series of Poker) from the Bloods, and the undying love of all those at the final table that CJ sucked out on.

It was a great tournament, coming down to me, CJ and Big Pirate as the final three. Pretty good, since we were 3 of the 4 chip leaders at the first break. Gamecock was the other one, but as I mentioned, I sucked out on him with KJ o/s, catching my 2 pair on the turn to bust his Big Slick and cripple him. Blood set up a great structure, with 40 minute blinds & no antes, so we had time to play real poker, and Mrs. Blood made meatballs, which if they aren't famous, damn well should be.

Dr. Jeff continued an unfortunate streak of bubbling in blogger tourneys when, surprise, surprise, CJ sucked out on him on the river. At one point, we looked around, there were four of us left, and CJ had eliminated 4 of the 5 people who were gone from the final table. And practically never did he get his money in with the best hand. It was really terrifying. I attribute my win to having a decent stack when we consolidated (thanks to a bad read by Matt, which almost doubled me up) and to having CJ sitting on my right elbow for the final table, so I had position on him forever. That was the best lesson in position play I could have asked for, because being able to dodge his big bets saved my ass several times.

Final hand, appropriately enough, CJ went out with the JackHammer on a flop of J K 7 rainbow. My K 10 held up to win it, and we realized when we counted down that I had him covered slightly, so it was over. A fantastic afternoon and evening of poker. Thanks, Blood.

Of course, then I proceeded to donate a buy-in in less than an hour to the cash game which featured G-Rob sucking out a straight on TeamScottSmith, then TeamScott re-sucking out a higher straight on the river.

It was a good weekend of poker. Happy New Year!