Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, August 31, 2006


Pauly has come out of the desert with another edition of Truckin'. Go check out my latest entry, as well as some of my other favorites writers!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Thanks for the kind words, folks. Mom's okay (as okay as you can be at 73 with a broken wrist). She broke it in 3 places, and was thoroughly unimpressed with the level of care shown by the doctors.

She's very proud of her blue cast, which continues a streak of multi-colored appendages in the family, since Suzy just had her hot pink cast cut off of her foot a couple weeks ago. She had a serious case of plantar fasciaitis that has required seven weeks of casts and boots. I was very glad when she graduated to the velcro boot, since it's removable for sleeping, which cuts down on the bruising along my shins. Not kicking from anything fun, she just kicks the shit out of me when I snore.

Talked with my hot bald chick friend last night, her long-term prognosis is good, she's doing chemo every three weeks, but it's not kicking her ass too badly. I was really relieved that she's got such a good outlook on things and that it looks so good longterm. Interesting note for women (not that I think that I have that many female readers) - small-breasted women or women that are more muscular can develop tumors that are almost invisible to a mammogram. Even after my friend's tumor was located and biopsied, it still didn't show up on the mammogram. Since tumors and muscle have similar density, it doesn't show up as well. So self-exams are even more important. Hell, call a friend, have a boobie party! But please make sure you get that shit checked out regularly.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Karmic Junk-Kick

That karma is a true motherfucker. So the other day the nominations are announced for Charlotte’s annual Theatre Awards, and God’s Country, the show I directed and designed back in October, got several nominations. My leading guys both got nominated for best Actor, Uncle Phil got nominated for best supporting actor, Jeff got nominated for best technical effect for his projections, Tony got nominated for best cameo for his work as the creepy little Aryan Child of the Corn, and I got nominated for directing and design. I don’t expect to win any of my awards, but it was nice that a group of my peers thought that my work was worthy of some notice. I hope that some of my guys can pick up awards, though, because they busted their ever-loving balls on that show. I also got a couple of nominations for my design work on Crazyface, a comedy that I designed right after God’s Country. It would be nice to pick up another little Lucite statue for my office, and I think the work I did on Crazyface was actually better than my design for God’s Country, so we’ll see.

So in the midst of being pleased at that, and feeling like I was actually being productive at work for a change (although the flipside of productivity is when you finish half of your week’s To-Do list on Tuesday and need to figure out how you’re going to justify your existence for the rest of the week), my sister calls.

You guys kinda know where this is going, right? Phone calls from my family almost never go well. So five minutes later I’m on the interstate headed down to SC (and NOT for reasons as cool as my reasons for going to SC this weekend) to meet my mom at the Emergency Room. She had been trying to kill a snake with a hoe in the backyard (these are things that you don’t even really question in Bullock Creek, it’s kinda just a fact of life), tripped on the sidewalk and broke her wrist. So we’re waiting, because that’s what you do at emergency rooms, you wait. And I again notice the height of health-care irony, iron-clad proof that the folks that run the hospital in Rock Hill are, in the words of the great philosopher One Hung Lo, unadulterated douchebags. On the wall of the exam rooms is a sign that tells you that you’ll get a customer satisfaction survey in a few days in the mail. Now they go on to tell you that they only count surveys where all the answers are that they met or exceeded your standards of satisfaction in every way, so if they aren’t please tell them right away.

Lemme get this straight, I’m going to get a survey to tell you if you rock or you suck. If I say you rock, my survey gets counted and my opinion matters, but if I say you suck, then my survey gets round-filed and you DO ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING TO IMPROVE THE (ON THE VERY BEST OF FUCKING DAYS) MEDIOCRE LEVEL OF SERVICE YOU PROVIDE?!?!?!?!?

Seems a little skull-fucked to me. So does the fact that the douchebag PA that sees my mom won’t call in the on-call orthopedist to look at the X-rays, but rather only splints her arm and sends her home so that she can follow up with her orthopedist on her own. I appreciate the fact that ER docs are busy, and work hard, and have to deal with a lot of shit. But this is Rock Motherfucking Hill, SC, not Chicago, Manhattan, or the car-theft capital of the world, St. Louis (sorry, Chilly, that sucks). It’s not like there’s a bunch of triage going on. And exactly what is the fucking point of being “on call” if nobody calls your ass? It was too late for golf and too early for dinner, so it’s not like the fucker had a whole lot critical going on. He wasn’t in surgery, because we were AT THE ONLY HOSPITAL IN THE COUNTY.

I was less than thrilled and may or may not have performed an act that we in the rural South refer to as “showing my ass.” I’m pretty sure that Dr. Douchebag knew that I was not exactly amazed with the quality of service going on. And by the way, when a woman cares enough to bring her own fucking bucket to the emergency room, you know she’s got issues. Get her out of sight as fast as you can, don’t just leave her in the waiting room while my whole family troops in and out. She was kinda creepy and I wanted to make sure there was no splatter going on.

And then I find out when I get home that another good friend of mine has breast cancer. That’s kind of a big “goddammit” around the Hartness household, since Suzy’s aunt and mom both died from the disease. Hopefully our friend can beat this goddamn thing. We can stick a bomb down a chimney…but that thinking verges on the pointless. Just do what you can do for the folks you can do for. There’s a bunch of folks that have fundraisers going on, go find them and give them cash.

Interesting thought from the road home – car haulers: a whole lotta handles, not much margin for error. Discuss.

Anybody for a road trip?

So there's no legal gambling in North Carolina. Which sucks. But I have recently realized that I'm pretty much equi-distant from Atlantic City, Tunica and New Orleans. That's cool. All of these places are almost exactly a 10-hour drive away. Which sucks, but I'm up for it.

So me and my trusty sidekick Emily are going on a roadtrip in October, weekend of the 14th. Who's with us?

And do you have any real preferences as to where we go? I'll take suggestions for which place sucks less gladly.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A Long Walk

Dawn and I walked from the MGM to the Imperial Palace at the WPBT get-together. Here's how I remember the long-ass walk back.

There’s something simultaneously magical and sad about walking down the strip in the wee hours of the morning. The neon that looks so festive and happy at midnight looks forced and frenetic at 4AM.

The party girl in her tank top and flip flops that looked so cute and bouncy on their way out to Rain or Ice at 10PM is bouncing from parking meter to casino front, struggling to make it to the next trashcan so Mitzi can hold her hair back for the 3:30 AM puke and rally.

The porn slappers are the only constant, they look the same no matter the hour, peeling off their cardboard invitations to debauchery and handing them out with an almost forced inability to meet anyone’s eyes. No words, no eye contact, just the unceasing rhythm of the cardboard photos of plastic boobs slap, slap slapping against their hands.

The homeless guy doesn’t really even push it at this point, just muttering “Dollar? Dollar?” as folks walk or stumble by from point A to point Z, and wherever in between they may end up.

Every once in a while in this bizarre ménage of humanity you’ll see folks wandering and watching. That was me. Just taking a walk back from one fish farm to another, leaving the bass-thumping glitz and chrome of the MGM for the unadorned chintz of the Imperial Palace, and walking down the Strip mainly because I didn’t see a convenient cab. The walk was long, but entertaining, with an astonishing number of staggering jigglies and stumbling fratboys mixed in with the dejected losers who put their cab fare on red for that one last wheel spin.

Traffic on the Strip even at this hour is ridiculous, one last opportunity to be seen, or heard, or both. The Escalade with the booming bass draws a chuckle when we notice the 19-year old cracker behind the wheel, bouncing like the baby kangaroo from those Winnie the Pooh cartoons, jouncing around in the car his grammy left him the money for, thumping out Busta Rhymes when the closest thing he’s even seen to the street was one NYPD blue rerun and a whole lotta Yo! MTV Raps when he’d finish up his grade school milk and cookies.

There was the mid-life crisis in the red Viper, complete with sunglasses at oh-fuck-thirty in the AM, a trophy slut in the passenger seat and a combover to match his burgeoning ear hair and untamed chest jungle. No manscaping for you, you’re a real man. And in that car, I’m guessing 3” fully engorged. And that’s with Pfizer’s little helper giving you that feeling like you’re 22 again.

So we walk, checking out the detritus of humanity as we meander, limping a touch now and starting to realize that even though it’s cooler now, it’s still floating somewhere close to 90. And as we take yet another escalator and pass yet another faux recreation of a world that really never existed, I realize that I love Vegas for one simple reason. No matter how fucked up you are, you’re not as weird as that guy.

Friday, August 25, 2006

On Balls

This was a conversation between myself and my triathlete project manager this afternoon.

Fatass: You gotta race this weekend?

Swim/Bike/Run Freak of Nature: Yeah, tomorrow

FA: Where?

SBRFON: Lake Norman

FA: You gonna swim in Lake Norman?


FA: You know there's a nuclear plant attached to that lake, right?

SBRFON: Yeah, I do.

FA: You didn't want any more kids, anyway, did you?


FA: Then that's alright then, swim in the radioactive water and let your nuts fall off. No worries.

SBRFON: Nuts are a bad design, anyway.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Work stuff

No real poker content here, and if you'd watched me play the past few days, you'd know why. I'm currently in the black purely on the backs of my sponsors here at the bloggity-blog, because without them, I'd be seriously stuck for the month. Ok, no seriously stuck, but down a little. As it is, I need to finish the month out with some solid, non-retardo play for a week or so to feel good at all about my play this month.

Yesterday was a final walk- through with the theatrical consultant on the largest project I've ever worked on, and I was sweating it a little. For the uninitiated, I design lighting and rigging systems and install them in theatres, tv studios and churches for a living. So any of the rock n' roll type churches that you see on TV, that's kinda what I do. This project is the Westover Church is Greensboro, and it's a monster. Only about 2800 seats (only!), it is the most technologically advanced performance venue in the two Carolinas. By a long friggin' shot. These guys have dropped almost a million bucks into the lighting system for this facility, and I've been concentrating on this project for a couple of years now. So yesterday the consultant was coming in to tell us everything that we had fucked up and now had to fix. The list of these fuck-ups is called the punch list, and it usually holds up the final 10% of your money for months on end.

My punch list had one item on it. And we already knew that we were having issues with that piece of equipment and had a tech on site working on it. This is almost unheard of, especially with this consultant, so I was thrilled, our client was thrilled, and the consultant was thrilled. That was a huge monkey off my back, and now I can concentrate on selling more shit and finish out my billing for this puppy.

I'm looking forward to cruising down to BadBlood's Labor Day weekend for two days of debauching and pokery goodness. Okay, probably not so much with the debauchery, since we're all married and all that shit, but plenty of pokery goodness. C'mon, make the trip, it'll give you a good warm-up for the Bash!

My Bash plans have gotten kinda funky thanks to some work stuff. I've been volunteered for some management training in NYC on Monday and Tuesday of that week, and since I had always planned to fly to Philly on Thursday anyway for the degenerate's AC roadtrip, I figured, WTF, why not just be gone the whole week and get the company to cover my airfare?

So I fly into Philly Sunday around 11, hop an Amtrak to Penn Station. Hang out with old college friends Sunday night, do the work thing Monday and Tuesday. Hang around the city Tuesday night, then Amtrak back to Philly Wednesday. Spend Wednesday fucking around Philly, since I've never been there, you know, see the Liberty Bell, shit like that. Then commence Bash activities whenever the rest of the drunks land. So now I've gotta cram a shitload more clothes in the bag for the trip, since the office-type people expect me to wear shit like collared shirts and long pants, which are both pretty much verboted for good drunken party-wear. AND the fine fucks at UselessAirways killed my big bag on the flight back from Vegas, so off to Chez Target (pronounce Tahr-Zhay) for more luggage. Somehow I think I'll live. But the upshot is, I'll have a night to kill in NYC in a couple of weeks, you fuckers better call a brother.

Monday, August 21, 2006

More Travel

So I’m in a hotel room again, this time on the beach in Wilmington, NC. Not a bad gig. I can in fact see water from my room, but it’s a canal, not the ocean. I’m on the wrong side of the hotel for that view. I’ll live. I’m here for the NC Theatre Conference Professional Theatre Gathering, which is interesting since I no longer run a professional theatre.

Yeah, our hiatus is now pretty permanent. I still want to produce the occasional thing, direct and design the occasional show, but I no longer have the energy to beat myself bloody trying to produce a full season, keep a venue running and all the assorted stuff. We’ve got a few checks left to write, one grant check to receive, and then it will be pretty much retired. We’ll end up the run owing money to no one except me, and only a few bucks there, so that’s a pretty good five year run. We did some good work, had a positive impact on some people, and had some fun. So I’ll look back on it with more fondness than bitterness, and I guess that’s all I can take from it right now.

But I step in as president of the North Carolina Theatre Conference in a month, so it’s not like I’m done with theatre by any stretch. As such, I’m also on a 3-year term as the NC representative to the Southeastern Theatre Conference, so I have responsibilities on a little larger scope, just not directly producing shows. Should be an interesting little ride.

Oh yeah, I played a little poker and won back a little of what I lost on Wednesday. Now the roofers are putting a $400 dent in my bankroll to fix a leak in the roof. Oh well, I’m still in the game. Mostly. Long as nothing else in the house blows up. At least I have a bankroll to take care of these little emergencies, otherwise it would be a real pain on our household finances.

Friday, August 18, 2006

I love the HORSE

It doesn’t love me so much, though. Playing the $1/2 ring games I dropped about 25BB last night. Yeah, I know I said I wasn’t going to play. Piss off. I still love the HORSE.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Next time can I get a reach-around?

What do you say when you drop 20% of your bankroll in one spiraling downward session?

Fuck fuck fuckety fuck. Fucking shit fuck motherfucking fuck.

That’s what I said. Fortunately I am still in the black for the month, I’ve had a good enough run the past two weeks to absorb this hit, but holy fucking ratfuck that sucked monstrous camel ass. Just to be perfectly clear, I’m less than thrilled with my play tonight.

I won’t even try to foist my losses off on bad beats. Sure I ran Queens into Kings, and Jacks into Aces, but I did almost every single thing wrong in the poker world. I played while I was distracted. I played while I was surfing the interweb. I played above my bankroll. I jumped up in levels chasing losses. I played games that I’m not good at when I’m already tilted. You name a poker sin, I committed it tonight. The only thing I think I didn’t do was wipe my ass with a picture of Doyle Brunson and masturbate onto a glossy headshot of Clonie Gowen.

Hmmm. I’ll be right back.

The only thing I didn’t do was wipe my ass with a picture of Doyle Brunson.

So what does losing $600 in one night of stupidity mean in the real world? Nothing. It means that I’m a little nauseous right now, but it doesn’t mean that the power bill won’t get paid or that the mortgage isn’t going to get paid. It doesn’t mean we won’t eat this week. It means that my idea of taking out profits from my poker play for fun toys like a new digital camera will have to wait, but that’s about it. I don’t even really have to take a step down in limits. I’m sitting around $2500, which is pretty sufficient to play 2/4 and 3/6, as long as I don’t go nutso and try to do a whole bunch of 3/6 tables. I was thinking that being sufficiently bankrolled for 5/10 was within my grasp a whole lot sooner than the end of the year, which had been my goal. But now it’s a little further away. No great loss there, either.

I’m still fairly confident in my abilities as a poker player, but sometimes I do stupid shit. Tonight was a very painful sometimes. But I’m not broke, my real life money is not affected, and I can still get in the game tomorrow if I choose. I think not so much, but who knows? I’ll probably step away from the keyboard for a day or so, play live on Friday and Saturday, then start anew next week. And I’d like to thanks the kindness of my blog sponsors for giving me money to throw away to other people so that I can still think of it as “found money” and not strangle my cat when I have nights like this. My cat thanks you as well.

Leaky game

Leaks. Not leeks, you cook with those. But leaks. Those nasty things that let your money drip away to other people. I’ve been looking at my leaks over the past few days and wanted to throw them out there in hopes that by writing them down I’ll know better how to avoid them in the future.

Playing the same style no matter the game. There are a lot of differences between limit and no limit hold ‘em, and I ignore that fact to my peril. When I start playing $3/6 like it’s a NL100 table, I’m giving away money. Fast. There’s no reason to play marginal hands in low-stakes limit poker. None. You’re going to get paid off on your big hands, so why play anything else. Sure, if you wanna limp with suited connectors or one-gappers, go ahead, but your risk/reward is so very different in limit than in no limit. Let’s look, shall we?

Say I’m in late position with T9d, and it’s limped to me. So I toss in my $3, and the blinds complete and check, there are now four people in the pot. Flop comes down QJ3 rainbow and I’ve got a decent draw. It’s checked around to me and I bet. I get three callers for the next $3, because you’re pretty much going to get the odds every time in limit. Now we get the Tale of Two Turn Cards. The Ks is the best of cards and the worst of cards, not only making my straight, but also making AT (a hand people fall in love with at lower limits) the current nuts, and putting a flush draw on the board. It’s checked to me and I have no idea where I am in the hand, so I bet. But since I can only bet $6, not only are spade draws priced in, but the naked Ace or Ten is also getting correct odds to call, so I don’t get anyone to go away for my turn bet. In no limit, I can bet the ever-loving hell out of this pot to protect my hand, or at least figure out if I’m ahead. But in limit, the odds are always there to draw.

On the river my hand either holds up or it doesn’t, but that’s not the point. The point is that my style of no limit play is predicated on playing a lot of marginal hands and when I hit a flop hard or get a monster draw, I get paid off huge. It’s easy to have a loose table image when you are a loose-aggressive player. So I’m trying to remember to wait for big hands, and take down lots of small pots. If I can’t get the ever-loving nuts when my draw works out, I’d rather take down a few smaller pots with top pair. So I play a lot less hands at limit than at no limit, and at the stakes I play (2/4,3/6) I play a very straightforward style. If I have big cards, I raise. If I hit, I bet. If I miss, I check. So occasionally I get bluffed or outplayed, so be it. I’m not in a hurry, I just want to make the most money possible, and for me, that means playing super-tight and waiting for monsters.

I also have to play stakes that I care about. I read on Klopzi’s blog that he was killing the $25 short-handed NL tables on Interpoker, so I tried them. Four buy-ins later I realized that I’ll play anything for a quarter, and that’s a huge leak. Worse, I was trying too hard to bully around, and ended up raising every single hand for three orbits to $1 preflop. That didn’t go well. So I hopped up to the NL100, where dropping a full buy-in stings a little more, and played much better. It’s as dangerous for me to play below my bankroll as it is to play above it (and there’s an ugly incident at a $5/10 table that taught me a valuable lesson there. Oops.) I have to hit the right middle ground, where I can look at the chips as just chips, but the money still matters in the back of my head.

I’m also walking a fine line between not value-betting enough and betting too often on the river when I’ve got a medium-strength hand. If I’ve got the nuts, my chips can’t get to the middle fast enough, but when I’m running middle pair and my gut tells me my opponent missed her draw, I’m often loathe to pull the trigger on the last bet, which leaves money on the table.

So there are some leaks that I’m working on, maybe they’ll point out issues that you have in your play and save you some money on the road to discovery. I still haven’t gotten over the biggest leak, which is that I’m not all that good at poker, but I don’t have to be the best player at the table, I just have to be better than 3-4 of the other donkeys, and smart enough to avoid the folks that are better than me.

Oh yeah, and why is the play so much worse at $3/6 than it is at $2/4? I’ve had trouble cracking a single winning session at $2/4 on Stars, but have turned a profit at almost all the $3/6 sessions. Small samples, but the difference in play is remarkable. Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that $3/6 defaults to the top of the “Low” table for Hold Em on Stars? Or are there just levels where the play is softer than others? And if so, where are the talent voids, enquiring fatasses want to know.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Jay Greenspan goes fishing

My review of Jay's new book Hunting Fish: a Cross-Country Search for America's Worst Poker Player is up on Pokerworks. Go give it a look-see.

33 and still kickin'

This is the time of year when I look back and try to figure out if I’ve learned anything after another year on the planet. The answer is usually no. Note: this post is all rambling and navel-gazing. There will be poker content tomorrow. Probably. I think it will actually be a strategy post, so if you’re into that, come back later.

Yesterday was my birthday. I was brought into this world kicking and screaming on August 14, 1973, so this marks the 33rd anniversary of that particular debacle. In celebration of said event, I didn’t do fuck-all that I didn’t feel like doing from Friday night until this morning, with the notable exception of one business meeting yesterday at 1, which did violate my cardinal rule of not working on my birthday, but also closed a deal worth almost $200K to my company, which is a sizable project in our business.

Friday night we played cards, a $20 rebuy with $5 bounties on the heads of each player. I was the Danny N. of the night, leading with a mere two rebuys, but I finished third with a couple of people’s bounties to make a $4 profit on the tourney. I cleaned up on the cash game afterwards, raking about a $100 profit, which got me back to even for the month after a couple of redonkulous sessions of $3/6 Limit. It was cool to be surrounded by friends and my wife, and everybody had a pretty good time. Our home game is getting a little large for my den, so I’ve started thinking about either doing two tables, which is a little cramped, or just capping attendance at ten. We’ll see.

Saturday was badass. My buddy Chris got me three comps to see Doc Watson at Winthrop, where he works, so me, Suzy and my sister Bonnie met up for dinner in Rock Hill and then cruised to sit in the third row and see Doc Watson. As many times as Bonnie and I have been to Merlefest, neither of us have ever seen a full set by Doc. I designed a show of his about three years ago, but when I’m running lights for live music I don’t really get to concentrate on enjoying the show, it’s more about making the lights support the music and enhance everyone else’s experience. So this was gonna be cool.

And it was. From the moment he walked out, looking frail and every bit of his 83 years, holding onto grandson Richard’s elbow to lead him to his chair, I wondered if he still had it. I shouldn’t have doubted. His voice is still strong and clear, and if he’s starting to look his age, he certainly doesn’t perform his age. He picks more cleanly and quickly than performers fifty years his junior. He told old stories, jokes, and drew songs from an encyclopedic trove of American traditional music like old Jimmie Rodgers, old spirituals, Flatt & Scruggs, Arthur Godfrey and so many other artists, as well as his own tunes. Jack Lawrence came out to play half of each set with Doc, and that’s when business really picked up. Jack’s one of the best guitarists nobody knows, and when he amped up the tunes, Doc was right there with him blazing along. It was a fantastic show, just a couple guys sitting in chairs picking along.

Sunday not much going on, but Suzy went with me in the evening to a programming gig. A restaurant had bought a used moving light, and the controller had lost its memory, so I dragged out a light board and programmed everything for them to have some flash and trash. A couple hours, a couple hundred bucks, and we’re all good. Sometimes it comes in very handy to have a few skills that not many people in a given city have, and thus you can charge a premium for using them.

Yesterday we went out to dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with a couple or friends, and that was pretty cool. I’d never been there before and was suitable impressed with the selection. My mahi mahi was a little dry, but Suzy’s meal was nice, it was nice to hang out with friends and not worry about anything else.

We did go see our friend Stan’s play Sunday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. My buddy Warbucks was in it, and did a fine job. It’s an original production, and I always like watching Stan’s stuff. It’s a good show, has a little tweaking to do if he wants it to have legs, and the set needed a little more time and money thrown at it, but that’s pretty much my assessment of every set in Charlotte. It’s the story of Milton Humason, a self-taught astronomer who does a lot of the work at the Hale observatory that Edwin Hubble got the credit for. It also talks about his relationship to his wife and the balancing act that it takes to juggle a career that can be consuming and a life with a family.

It was a very good show, and excellent workshop production, and with some fine-tuning can have plenty of future productions, so I hope that Stan keeps tweaking it.

Wow, that was devoid of content almost altogether. I guess I’ll save any reflection and navel-gazing for later. Maybe after beers.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

WSOP Final Table begins today

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might not know that the WSOP final table kicks off today. If you’re an idiot living under a rock, you might not know that the best coverage of the WSOP hasn’t been by ESPN, Cardplayer or any other fucktard that has kicked a pile of money into Harrah’s corporate coffers, it’s been by the poker bloggers. If you want to know what’s going on, check out some of these fine folks.

Pauly revolutionized poker tournament reporting with his coverage last year. This year, he’s put his media badge on the line nearly every day to bring us the finest gonzo coverage of the WSOP. He’s also sporting fanstastic WSOP photos from FlipChip, who’s as good as it gets. He’s been out there for two months now writing his balls off and inspiring ridiculous behavior in certain other poker writers (yes, you, Otis!). Today marks the last poker tourney Pauly will cover this year, as he takes the rest of 2006 off from tournament coverage. So get your ass over to Tao of Poker and see how the best in the biz does it.

Craig (Cunningham) and (Michael) Craig over at Pokerworks are turning out some great stuff, too. Don’t ever discount CC for heartwarming profiles of players, and that other Craig guy wrote a badass book and spins an entertaining yarn every day.

Otis, Wil, Luckbox and a metric fuckton of other folks are working their balls off over at the Pokerstars blog. Wil is turning out some of the best writing of his career over there, so check that out.

The army includes Change’s fashion dos and don’ts, Dan’s Texas-centric reporting, and a host of other fine folks including WSOP ME money-winner Tuscaloosa Johnny and the loverly April.

Tags: ,

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I know, hand history posts suck. But it's not a bad beat, so no $1 for you!

***** Hand History for Game 4914871133 *****
$3/$6 Texas Hold'em - Wednesday, August 09, 22:24:08 ET 2006
Table Fort James (Real Money)
Seat 10 is the button
Total number of players : 10
Seat 2: mm1977 ( $196.25 )
Seat 4: MEIXMEI ( $75 )
Seat 5: azcat93 ( $238 )
Seat 6: MerrMerr ( $115 )
Seat 7: Tyger389 ( $77.50 )
Seat 8: zhenechka ( $184 )
Seat 9: franky6mo ( $118.02 )
Seat 3: falstaff777 ( $168.50 )
Seat 1: Misiu2004 ( $121 )
Seat 10: Zeeboo7 ( $120.50 )
Misiu2004 posts small blind [$1].
mm1977 posts big blind [$3].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to falstaff777 [  Jh Qs ]
falstaff777 calls [$3].
MEIXMEI folds.
azcat93 calls [$3].
MerrMerr raises [$6].
Tyger389 folds.
zhenechka folds.
franky6mo folds.
Zeeboo7 folds.
Misiu2004 folds.
mm1977 raises [$6].
falstaff777 calls [$6].
azcat93 calls [$6].
MerrMerr raises [$6].
mm1977 calls [$3].
falstaff777 calls [$3].
azcat93 calls [$3].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ad, Ts, Jd ]
mm1977 bets [$3].
falstaff777 calls [$3].
azcat93 folds.
MerrMerr calls [$3].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 3c ]
mm1977 bets [$6].
falstaff777 calls [$6].
MerrMerr raises [$12].
mm1977 raises [$12].
falstaff777 calls [$12].
MerrMerr calls [$6].
** Dealing River ** [ Tc ]
mm1977 checks.
falstaff777 checks.
MerrMerr checks.
mm1977 shows [ 2d, 2h ] two pairs, tens and twos.
falstaff777 shows [ Jh, Qs ] two pairs, jacks and tens.
MerrMerr doesn't show [ Qh, 6d ] a pair of tens.
falstaff777 wins $109 from  the main pot  with two
pairs, jacks and tens.

Now before you tell me, there’s no question I didn’t play this hand very well, but there was soooo much money out there that I figured if I hit my straight I’d be paid off handsomely. I couldn’t imagine that my second pair was actually good.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Stacked Review at Pokerworks

My review of the STACKED game for Xbox is live at Check it out.

Real WSOP Coverage (just not here)

A lot of my friends are out in Vegas right now, eating crayons, snapping pictures, harassing waitresses at the Tilted Kilt, and trying to keep Pauly from getting medieval on the ESPN dickweeds. They’re also turning out some absolutely amazing writing. Here’s a sample from the Bukowski of poker blogging, the good Dr. himself.

We do our best under the circumstances. Check out PokerStars Blog. Otis put together a superteam of writers, journalists, and reporters for their blog. And we're kicking ass without the same access as exclusive media outlets. And we're 1/10 of the size of them.Corporate America corrupted poker. The WSOP has been tainted like the slutty girl on your freshman hall dorm with a severe case of the clap. But we're horny losers with self-esteem issues and fuck her anyway. The thrill, the rush, and the high far outweighs the long term consequences.Someday all of this insanity is going to end. But for now, I'm caught up in the maelstrom of the WSOP for a few more days.

So go check out the incredible work that Pauly, CJ, April, Wil, Michalski, Johnny, Otis, CC and so many more are doing out there.

Pokerstars Blog



These folks are out there breathing recycled air and eating stale sandwiches that they had to beat up a vidiot to get so you don’t have to. And if you’ve missed Change100’s running commentary on the fashions of the WSOP, then you’re just an idiot.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just another Madras Monday

I’m not dead, although it sometimes feels like it. Had a decent week last week playing the pokah, but work has been kicking my ass lately. Drove to DC for work, that sucked. Played in a home game at DoubleAs’ house with Garth and a bunch of Scott’s friends. That was cool.

Won the first tourney, that was even cooler. Didn’t win the second, but showed a profit. That was fine. Watched DoubleAs demonstrate the advanced play required to compete at the highest level on UB when he forced a opponent to fold on the river when the A-high straight was showing with no flush possible. He did mention that table looked juicy, but I didn’t think anything could be that juicy.

Had 12 people for the weekly home game, and I made a little money, including an amazing play-to-fifth-street-from-across-the-room Iggy-style hand where I called a $23 bet on the river on a gutshot fully expecting to go busto, but catching my 4-outer to suck out, party-poker-like, on my buddy Charles. I actually did feel a little bad about that one. But a $75 pot in $.25/.50 poker never feels bad for long. Switched to Omaha-ha later in the evening and dragged another monster when I flopped the nut boat. Got nervous when the guy to my right fired a $20 bet on the river when the board paired again, laying out possible quad 3s. I’m a big pussy sometimes, but at least I called. I do think I left money on the table, because I was good, but at least I didn’t fold to the monsters under the bed.

Up and down online, I swear I’m gonna go broke again on Stars trying to clear that frickin’ bonus. And I actually reported someone for inappropriate chat. I felt silly for a minute, but frankly, after the third time I was told how much I “suk” and how “u r a queer” I got a little tired of it. Since I figured by that point I would have called the floor on him in a regular casino, I did the next best thing. According to the email I got from Stars this morning, his chat has been revoked. Tell me how much I suck all you want, you’ll probably be right, but don’t call me names unless you know me. And after all, how was this guy to know I was an art-faggy kilt-wearing uberghey blogger?

Question of the day – Is there a better place to print money than $3/6 limit full ring on Party?

My add-on to my cash game set of Nevada Jacks Skulls just arrived, so now I think I have enough $1 and $5 chips to keep up with my home game, and the kind folks at Poker Source Online are now paying me in PSO points, so I’ll be changing over my NJ Skulls to the Nevada Jacks Clays over time. I got a sample of the clay chips – me likey. First purchase – 50 Clays in $25 denominations to round out my set of 1,000 cash game chips, then save up for a set of 500 clays. Mmmmmm, clays….

I think I may have a problem brewing here.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

DC bound

Oh yeah, and I’ll be in DC Wednesday and Thursday night of this week if anybody has any games they want to hook me into, I’m very much up for playing cards after working for a ridiculously large defense contractor all day. Lemme know if there’s anything going on.

A couple of things

A strange sense of malaise has fallen over me, blog-wise for the past few days. It feels like I’ve said it all before, but the blog is something that once it builds momentum requires constant maintenance or it runs out of steam. So here’s a maintenance post of sorts.

There’s been some pokery goodness in the past week, starting with my return to the underground game a little bit west of here and continuing into the home game on Friday night. I was running around like the proverbial headless chicken trying to get shite all set up for the boys and girls to come over and sling cards, so it was a good thing for me that it took us a while to get rolling. We had some great hands, some terrible hands, and a lot of limping.

One hand in particular I think is worth some evaluation, because it illustrates a point about running an absolute bluff. At least to me. I’ve spent some time thinking about this hand because I was in it, and have tried to work out the hand from the perspective of the guy across the table.

We’re 8-handed with a ton of limpers. BTW, the home game is $.25/$.50 blinds, $50 max buy, NLHE. There’s probably no more than $300 around the table at this point, as it’s early and the rebuy monster hasn’t taken too many bites out of players yet. I’m UTG with ATs, and I raise to $2.50. I get two callers, and we see a flop of Q T 6 rainbow. I check, MP checks and Twitch bets out $4. I call the ½ pot bet, looking for one of the 5 cards that improve my hand, working on the assumption that 2nd pair no good. MP folds.

Turn is a brick and I check. Twitch checks behind and I’m baffled a little. River is an 8, completing the monster J9 straight draw, but I check my 2nd pair. Twitch thinks for a second and then moves in for about $17. I’m baffled by this, as the bet makes no sense to me. Why push after I check? I think for a long time (probably inordinately long given the $11 I had remaining, but I wanted to think through a hand for a change) and finally convince myself that he also has a pair of Tens, with a worse kicker. I call, and he flips up 34o, for no pair, no draw, and absolute naked bluff.

In my opinion, he gave me that hand on the turn. With a $3-6 bet on the turn, and almost any bet on the river, I’m done. But when he checked the turn it confused me. I didn’t know if that was weakness or a trap for a river bet, but the push on the river was too much for a made hand, it was obviously a bet that didn’t want a call. So I thought about what my opponent wanted out of the hand, and I gave him the opposite. My 2nd pair was good, and I was on my way to finishing the night up about $90. Anything I missed there? I know the results were good, but it’s not all about results. I felt like I played well most of the night, AND the results were good, so I called it a good night.

Would have been better but I talked myself into a very bad call in Omaha High for a $25 river bet with the same logic. I was right, he also didn’t really want a call. Where I blew that one was in forgetting that in Omaha, third nuts is not worth any real action, because the second nuts is a viable holding. Sure enough, his straight was one number higher than mine and I felt like a dumbass.

Last night I took a shot at a Party Sit N’ Go, the first time I’ve tried one since they upped the starting chip counts. But the blinds start higher, too, so it’s no difference in play. And I was right, there is no difference in the play from when I was playing SNGs a lot. I found myself the chipleader early, the prohibitive chipleader when we got 3-handed, then on fumes heads-up when the other guy played his AA perfectly, letting my catch up a little with KQ and ship him most of my stack. But then he fell apart, being so afraid of doubling me up that he surrendered way too many blinds to my push. He let me back in the game and I eventually put him away. I credit Harrington 2 with being able to play better heads-up than him, and that was a nice $100 bump to cover some of my other dismal online play from the past week.

This week’s project: not playing while bored and/or distracted. In other words, playing to win money for a change.