Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Headed back to the mountains

My trip dates are indeterminate as yet, but this is a big deal to me.


Because it means that there will soon be a legal poker room a mere 4 hours from my house, which is certainly worth the drive. With a G-Vegas underground game getting jacked last weekend, and a Charlotte game getting raided by the po-po, I'm less interested than ever in going to these games, and the idea of a trek through the mountains to fleece hillbillies once every month or two is a lot more palatable when it's a trek that I can make on an easy Saturday drive.

So I think once they get this puppy rolling, a road trip will definitely be in order. There are still hopes for table games at Harrah's Cherokee, but nothing positive on the horizon, so looks like I'm gonna be West Virginia bound at some point next year to check things out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Poker at my house this weekend

In case anyone's in the Charlotte area for the holiday, or wants to be, I'm throwing a tourney at my house on Sunday. We'll start at 2PM, $50 buy-in, cash game to follow.

Lemme know if you're in the area and interested, I still have seats available.

Other stuff going on includes me riding my bike a bunch this weekend, and starting rehearsals for a new play this week. Friggin' exhausted.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Did I spell that right? Somebody lemme know.

Anyway, last night was spent in full-on geek mode, trying to resurrect my deceased desktop. I don't know what happened to it, but shortly after I began thinking "wow, three working computers is a few too many for a household of two," my desktop took a shit.

A big one.

I'm not really sure how to describe it, but it doesn't boot. It shows the little light-up ring around the power button that indicates it's powered on lights up, but never gets anything onto the screen. I'm sure that for a couple hundred bucks somebody could fix it for me, or tell me how to fix it myself, but let's face it - I was trying to figure out a way to consolidate computers anyway, and this is as good an opportunity as any.

So off I boogie to CompUSA to pick up an external enclosure for an internal hard drive, so that I can reclaim some of the 150+ GB of writing, music, tv shows and porn (DON"T FORGET THE PORN) I had stored on that hard drive.

So I hook all that up, after getting a haircut (BTW, did you ever notice that after a radical haircut change, like, say, back to short & spiky from the long & floppy, that it takes a second whenever you look in the mirror to remember why you look different?), and lo and behold, Norton 360 rocks!

Not only had I set it up to protect me from viruses (virii?) and other shit, but I had set up the backup to copy my My Documents folder from my C drive onto my D drive, which was now my 250GB portable hard drive. Bonus! Now I don't have to take my portable drive apart, yank out the D drive, put in the C drive, copy all the relevant shite from My Documents onto the laptop, then reverse the portable drive assembly process and put all that shite back together again, then copy all the relevant shite that used to be on my C drive but is now on my laptop's hard drive onto my portable drive.

But it backed up My Documents onto that drive already, so I don't have to do that. Yay, me.

Hey G-Vegas goobers - go to the Handlebar tonight and see Seven Nations, they kick ass, I promise.

I played a SNG last night. A HORSE SNG. I was fucking around in iTunes moving files and redirecting iTunes to look for music on my new F drive (portable formerly known as internal D drive), and reducing redundancy in my music storage, and I missed the change from R to S.

So 3-betting with A24 was not my best move ever. Especially since the blinds were high and I had the 2 showing. Of course I make this mistake on something like level 8, so I was fucked and out in 8th.

I play poker g00t.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

WPBT Winter Gathering

So here's the latest info.

1) There won't be a room block, per se, but I will be staying at the Imperial Palace because it's centrally located and cheap. They were willing to give me a discounted block of rooms, but they wanted me to guarantee 30 rooms booked, and I can't do that kinda fiscal liability. We should all be able to get rooms there cheaply, and then folks that want to stay elsewhere can do so.

2) Still working on the tournament location, but it looks like we might be headed back to Caesar's. The new poker room management at the IP doesn't feel like they have the facilities to host a group as large as ours. I will contact other venues as well, and I'll keep you posted.

3) Here's the tentative schedule -

Thursday Night - Drinking at the Geisha Bar at the IP, followed by Craps and Pai Gow lessons, followed by an en masse storming of the Imperial Palace karaoke bar, led by the WPBT official karaoke uber-redneck, GCox.

Friday Night - Drinking in the Sports Bar at the MGM Grand, along with the assorted Mixed game donkage

Saturday - Tournament during the day, drinking heavily in the evening

Sunday - Football - Mandalay Bay Sportsbook - a winter blogger tradition.

For those less interested in football, I will be renting a mini-van and driving out into the desert to look at the pretty rocks. My mini-van is full, but we'd be more than happy to do a caravan of photo-geeks if more folks want to join in.

That's kinda the plan is it sits right now. The wife, the father-in-law and I will be going to see Love at the Mirage Saturday night, lemme know if you want to get together for some dinner beforehand and join us for the show.

Oh, and read the comments to my last couple posts. The conspiracy theory comment spammer hath returned!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I don't have too much to say on the Michael Vick matter, except that I think what he did was reprehensible, and that I think he's getting fairly just punishment. No, we don't know exactly what punishment he's gonna get hit with, but I think that for a 27-year-old megastar to lose 1-2 years of his life to prison, as well as losing about a gajillion dollars in edorsement deals and in contract money, is pretty much fair. It's a given that he'll never wear a Falcons uniform again, and since I live in the town that now has the second-best quarterback in the division instead of third-best, I'm pretty pleased about that aspect of this whole mess.

No, I don't think he deserves a lifetime ban. If you can kill someone in a drunk driving accident and get back on the field, then killing a bunch of dogs does not earn you a lifetime ban.

No, that statement should not be construed as supporting dogfighting in any way. But one human life is still worth more to me than 100 dogs, and if the league didn't ban Leonard Little for life, than the league shouldn't ban Vick for life, either.

I do think he should get cut by the Falcons for the black mark he put on their organization and the slap in the face he dealt to owner Arthur Bank.

I also think he should have to beg and grovel his way onto someone's practice squad once he gets out of prison and finishes serving the year or more's suspension that he'll certainly have tacked onto the end of the prison sentence.

I also think that me being down to 230 lbs for the first time in 7-8 years is much better news than anything associated with Michael Vick. I'm wearing pants today with a 40" waist, which makes me down a total of 35 lbs and 2 pants sizes since I've started this weight loss endeavor. The last 5 pounds have been tough, but I've added weight training to the cycling, so hopefully that will kick-start the metabolism a little.

But damn, I want a milkshake some days...

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Nothing goin on but the rent

Hanging out a little writing, and thinking that maybe deciding to do 6.5 miles through my hilly neighborhood this morning might have been a little silly, since it's 95 and climbing! But anyway, I'm getting closer to changing the second digit in my weight again, as it oughta only be a few more days before I'm down into the 220s for the first time in this millenium. That's pretty cool.

So when I bought the bike, I went a little all-out. My obsessive personality traits should come as no surprise to anyone who reads here, so it probably goes without saying that I couldn't just buy a bike. I had to buy gloves, a set of lights, an odometer/bike computer, pedals and the little clippy shoes as well. I already had a helmet from the 24 Hours of Booty ride, and I had bike shorts from that as well, but the shoes are taking a little getting used to.

If you've never seen them, bike shoes have cleats on the bottom. Not like baseball or football cleats, more like a metal clip that locks your feet into the pedals to that as you're pedaling you're pulling up as well as pushing down, to maximize the energy that's going into moving the bike, and so that the energy on the upstroke of pedaling isn't lost. They're great for making it easier to ride, and for making it easier to get up hills.

They're not so great for stopping. Let's revisit - when you're pedaling, you're clipped in by metal clips, and you have to twist your foot outwards to release the clip and free your foot. So when you're coming up to a stop sign, it's important to unclip and put a foot down to avoid rolling out into traffic.

It's also important to unclip the foot that's on the downhill side of the body. Otherwise, you've got one foot free, but the other foot is locked in, and you have an odd moment of stasis before you find yourself falling over. If you're lucky (as lucky as you can consider yourself if you're going to be a grown man who just fell over on his bicycle), you can manage to twist yourself around and fall mostly on your ass and back. And well, that's another reason we wear helmets. So I was lucky enough last week to only fall on the padded bits, but it's still pretty damn embarrassing to go ass over teakettle in front of a car pulling up to a stop sing in your own neighborhood.

Go ahead, visualize. Don't leave out the spandex, it makes it a better mental image.

So that's it, really. I'm riding most every day, either on the exercise bike, the real bike, or both if I feel particularly ambitious when I get home from work. I ordered some new jeans off Ebay, figuring if I'm still working on losing weight, there's no point in paying retail for pants I hopefully won't be able to wear by November.

I've also picked up a little more work for PokerNews, doing recaps of the UK Poker Open and some of the upcoming EPT and WSOP-Europe events. If this stays as steady as it has been, I can cut out some of the lighting design work I've been picking up to pay for vacations and fund them via writing instead. There are no ladders or 9-hour technical rehearsals in writing tournament recaps, so it's certainly a better gig.

In a Pauly-esque moment, my writing music today is Cross Canadian Ragweed - Back to Tulsa: Live at Billy Bob's. Worth checking out.

Friday, August 17, 2007

I get it, drugs are bad...

But this is fucking ridiculous.

Here's the gist of it - a 74-year-old woman is convicted of conspiracy to traffic crack cocaine, and sentence to 24 years in prison.

OK, it might be stretching it a little to think that Granny was a player in a crack ring, but I could certainly believe that she knew what her kids were doing and didn't do anything to stop it. I could also believe that if somebody came by for a pickup and the kids weren't home, Granny maybe took the money and passed out a rock or two.

But in her words, "My real crime ... was refusing to testify against my sons, children of my womb, that were conceived, birthed and raised with love," Groves wrote in a 2001 letter to November Coalition, a non-profit organization rallying support to free her and others sentenced to prison for long stretches on drug offenses.

So since she wouldn't testify against her own children, she got locked up for the rest of her life. Alright, fine. Drugs are bad, mkay? I get it. And we've absolutely got to win the war on drugs, since it's far more important than keeping people from killing each other, and maybe this granny did spawn a couple of real badasses who were shooting up the trailer park to protect their territory, but here's the bit that gets me.

They coulda let her die at home, and didn't. This old woman knew that she was dying, it was evident to the prison officials that she was dying, and they refused her request to let her leave prison and die at home. I'm pretty sure that an 86-year-old woman on her deathbed wasn't going to go out and sling a few more rocks of cocaine before she went to meet her maker, and it's not like she was ever convicted (or charged with) a violent crime at any rate. So what would have been the harm in allowing an old woman a little bit of dignity in her last days?

None, except maybe some dickhead prosecutor can point to someone else and say that she "rotted in prison." Well, now she's dead, and it's too bad it's a women's prison, because she didn't even open up a bed for Michael Vick.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I think I'm starting to get...

Why the good Dr. likes Phish and Trey Anastasio so much. I'm jamming to one of Trey's albums on Napster while I sit in the den doing my evening writing assignments and blogging, with my headphones on so that Suzy can watch AMC and we can at least be in the same part of the house together. That Trey guy can really jam.

Nothing really exciting going on, played a little Razz last night, won a couple bucks, no biggie. Did get bounced from a NLHE SNG early when a guy played his hand way stronger preflop and on the flop than I expected from 44 in middle position, so I slowplayed my flopped top two right to the rail when he caught a set on the turn and I re-raised him all-in. Oops, bad read. IGPRN (I go play razz now).

Broke out the bike the last two nights, and tonight I figured out how to get my little bike computer to get off metric, so I can understand how far I'm riding. I felt really good about the 10 miles I rode last night, until I realized that my odometer was reading metric and I'd really done 10K, more like 6 miles. Still pretty good for a guy that 3 months ago wouldn't go half a mile without a car, much less choose to ride a bike for any reason.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Another year older and...

Well, not really deeper in debt, as Tennessee Ernie Ford would say. More like kinda hanging around slowly making financial headway.

Let's see...not really a whole lot to report here, spent a little time last night on Full Tilt (this post is brought to you by Bonus Code Falstaff), and remembered that in low limit poker, it's very rare that you can actually make a move, so most of the time you have to catch some cards to meet with success.

So I caught cards early, didn't catch cards late, and parlayed my bad run of cards into a successful Razz outing. I picked up a quick $50 profit, gave it away plus another $70 in a nasty -20BB run at 3/6, then picked up about $30 of it back playing 1/2 Razz. I like the fact that I at least have enough familiarity with other games to have a modicum of success while I decompress from a bad run at Hold Em.

So here's a set of hands that I'm having trouble with - A9 - AJ. They look so good to start out, especially in mid/late position. A9 not so much unsoooted, but the siren call of A9s and ATs is so hard to resist. It's not helped by the fact that some of my biggest pots come from limping in late position with AT and picking up Broadway or a flush on the turn. So here are my issues with these hands, and I'd love to hear what you think. Please confine your evaluations to these hands in a limit format, because in a No-Limit game, I'll play any two cards for different reasons at different times, with varying levels of success. But the mathematical basis of limit lends itself a little more to a "correct" playing style.

A9s - really, it's not very good. It's another one of those hands that if I hit an Ace on the flop, I'm still not comfortable, since enough people limp with AT or AJ for me to still be way, way behind. About my only options for winning with A9s are catching my flush, hitting two pair, or a couple of 9s on the flop. Otherwise, it's kinda trash. So I'm thinking I should play it from an unraised blind or right around the button only, and toss it from MP.

ATs - honestly, see A9s.

AJ - HELP. I don't know how to play this hand, sooooted or unsooooted. I tend to play it too fast in EP, and too slow in LP. I seem to run into a lot of people who aren't raising me with hands that have me dominated, and the passivity of my opponents is kicking my ass. I find myself running into people who just call me down with AK, and then I call off a bet when they pop me on the river.

So what do you do with AJ?

Oh, and if you want to get me a present to celebrate the 34th anniversary of my birth, join me on Fantasy Sports Live and use bonus code Falstaff!

Or just send money to Jhartness on Full Tilt, I promise you'll have plenty of chances to get it back :).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Fuckin' Monday

"At this point, the worst part is that she's about to go through this thing, this ordeal, and at the end of it, she'll probably be dead before me."

That's what a friend of mine told me on the phone a couple minutes ago when I called to see if there's anything I could do for him as he heads off to California to be with his daughter as she starts treatment for colon cancer that has already metastasized. He knows she's fucked. She knows she's fucked. And it's not fair.

She's my age. And quite possibly won't see another birthday. I'm a little shaken, to say the least.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

roller coaster

Of poker, of time management, of exercise, of weight, all that shit...

Weekly (almost) home game on Friday night - up, down, around, tilty, untilty, rocking, rolling, and ridiculousness. Got cruising early when I rivered the nuts on Brian to stack him early, then bled it all away chasing bullshit. Got back to a big stack late when I stacked Nate for a $170 pot with trips, King kicker, then bled it away again missing legitimate draws that time.

The game was odd this week, several of our regulars were out, replaced with folks that don't play that often, and the dynamic was a little different. Add to that the fact that it was 100+ degrees outside in the afternoon and it took my poor window unit air conditioner quite a while to catch up, throw in a pinch of Johnny getting money in good on the flop to get sucked out on the turn several times, toss in a dash of sticking myself in the seat with no air circulating, and you get a tilty Falstaff. I spent about an hour on sweaty card dead tilt (which is more uncomfortable than normal CDT by the virtue of the fact that I was sweaty), and then sucked it up, threw a little of my concern for poker to the winds, and had fun with my friends. I finished the night up $15 overall, after we all cashed out and realized that I'd never bothered to collect the initial buyins from two players, leaving us $90 short when we first started the cashout process!

I was indeed captain of my high school math team, but the fact that it was in South Carolina should lower your expectations of my mathematical prowess to a level that would allow me to do stupid shit like that. I think I'm gonna need a banker for my home game!

We did make a change to the rolling jackpot, that both cards in your hand must play in order to win the rolling jackpot. That should let it build to a nice little sum, and get some tightboxes to loosen up their starting hand requirements.

Like that's a problem in this game. Really, anytime you can get over $800 on the table in a $.25/.50 home game with 9 people, it's a loose enough game. I think only 4 people around the table Friday night didn't rebuy at some point, so there was plenty of loose juiciness going around. We also debuted the new pieces of my cash game chip set, a rack of Crystal Park casino $5 chips I got off a guy from

If you're interested in poker chips at all, that site's the place to be. There are chip geeks on there that can ID every chip in a stack of ten just looking at the side of the stack. I've gotten some nice chips now, and I'm working on a cash game set of Samurai Palace chips from, which are some of the nicest chips I've ever seen for the home game market. I'd like to end up with two cash game sets, one of old casino chips like the Crystal Parks, and one of the Samurai Palace chips.

Yesterday I played a little more online, and I was reminded of something that I've known for quite a while - the play at 3/6 an 5/10 online is no better than the play at 1/2 and 2/4, and often worse at 5/10 than at 2/4 or 3/6, since those are levels where people are working thei way up levels and paying attention. I saw some amazing play at 5/10 on FTP yesterday, but had to hit and run in one orbit, because I don't have anywhere near the bankroll online to play that level, so when I picked up a 5BB profit in 3 hands, I bolted. Anybody wanna toss me a grand on FTP and let me take a shot? I'll happily give off 60% of anything I win, but I make no promises to repay, it's a stake, and a gamble.

I don't expect anyone to go there. I wouldn't. But if you're feeling like a whole pile of gamboool, I'm up for it if you are.

Down to 233 today, making a total of 32 pounds down. Just got back a little while ago from my ride on my new Schwinn (yep, I broke down and bought a real bike), and FUCK, riding on the real road is much harder than riding on the exercise bike. I'm gonna go whimper for a little while now. And eat something, because I think I left a kidney somewhere on that last hill.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Well, that's almost a waste of a good milestone...

And it's not even really much of a milestone. This marks post #555 for this little corner of the interweb, spanning some three years now. Jebus, that seems like a lot of words for not a lot of pokery improvement.

Yeah, really. I'm not sure I'm much better a player overall than I was when I started this blog. Yeah, I've read a bunch more shit, and I know more about how to play properly, but my overall play doesn't really show it. I kinda let my spreadsheet lapse after the debacle that was my summer Vegas trip, but I know it'll take a lot more than a good run in home games (which I've had ever since July, and I know I just cursed myself for tonight) to dig me out of the red ink. I've said it more than once, but thank God there are people out there who'll pay me to write about poker, because I sure as fuck can't support my desire to play on my winnings.

I've stuck my toes back into the online world a little, thanks largely to a few kind souls using bonus code FALSTAFF when they signed up for Full Tilt (and the more of you who do that, the more money I can give away at the virtual tables). Feel free to join them, or click one of the nice poke site banners and sign up for PokerStars. I've been broke on Stars for months now, so if someone needs an account there, please click a banner and hook me up. Okay, done groveling.

So last night I got a little tired of getting my Aces and Kings cracked at the baby No-Limit tables, and decided that the way I can stay focused enough to play tight is to open more tables at higher stakes.

Yeah, I know.

But it worked for a change. I popped onto two tables of 2/4 LHE, and two tables of 3/6 LHE, and managed to eke out a $35 or so profit for the hour or so I played. It helped that I was completely card dead on two tables, so folding every hand was easy. I found that with more tables open, and interesting amounts of money in every pot, I was able to not fuck around as much.

Interesting Limit/No Limit disparity - suited connectors and gappers are very seldom worth calling any raise with at a limit table, but I'll often call a small raise at a no-limit table with those hands. Because in Limit, I'm playing to win pots, and in No Limit, I'm playing to win stacks. I don't remember who I stole that phrase from. If you do, tell me in comments.

So I hit a few hands, missed a few flops, and found myself a few bucks to the good when all was said and done. Obviously my plan of playing a fuckton of SNGs and running up a bankroll to the Shootout at the WSOP next year has fallen by the wayside, but I still think that's the best tourney for an amateur and if I can establish enough liquidity will enter that event next summer.

Oh, and it's hot. Hotter than fuckall to be exact. Yesterday broke heat records in Charlotte, and let's face it, anytime it's triple-digit heat, it's fucking brutal. And the air is fucked in my office, so it's a nice steamy 85 degrees in here.

And I just got this in an email from the Imperial Palace, so that presents a challenge for the upcoming Winter debauchery.

In the past the Imperial Palace has hosted a poker event for your party. We now have new Management and are taking the poker room in a new direction. We will no longer be able to offer you a poker tourney under the same agreement. That said if your still interested in holding a poker tourney here I will need to know how many people your expecting so I can give you a price quote on tables and cocktails.
Thank you,

Imperial Palace

So we'll see how that turns out. I might be looking for another place to hold our tourney. I'm thinking about not booking a block of rooms anywhere, just telling people where I'll be and letting folks book their own stuff, because the IP wants me to be on the hook for the rooms in our block if they don't all book, which blows. Let me know if a room block is crucial to you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Thanks, Mike

photo from the Charlotte Observer

I've been a Panthers fan since we got the franchise, and while I'm far from the most rabid fan, I support my team. But I've only in my life ever bought one NFL jersey. It's not really my thing, throwing a ton of money into the pockets of millionaires and a billionaire league. But I found a player once that I could stand behind on and off the field, a too-short, too-slow safety who wasn't supposed to play good, sometimes great football for 10 years for one team.

He was supposed to be an okay player, a 2nd-round draft pick who might live up to his potential, but probably not. A journeyman type who might get picked up for a couple years here, a couple years there. He wasn't supposed to retire as the team's all-time leader in tackles and interceptions returned for touchdowns. He wasn't supposed to become one of the most-beloved figures in Charlotte sports.

But he did. And yesterday, because after 10 years of running faster on the field than he ever could on the track his knees couldn't go any further, he retired. He left before he could be benched, before he could make a mockery out of a career that will never go down in any record books, but is an inspiration nonetheless.

Mike Minter has been the captain of the Carolina Panthers defense for five years, and a pillar of Charlotte society for longer. He's a lay minister, a solid businessman locally, and the kind of upstanding citizen that Roger Goodell wishes there were a couple hundred more of in the NFL. Now he'll stay in Charlotte and concentrate on his family, his ministry and his businesses. And hopefully, in a year or so, he'll stand outside of the stadium in bronze, alongside Sam Mills, another guy who was never supposed to be as good as he was.

And I'll wear my #30 white Panthers jersey with as much pride now as I ever have.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Forgive me Grubby, for I have sinned

That was all I could think of as I left the buffet Friday night - how disappointed Grubby would be in me. After all these years of going to Vegas, reading blogs, and I make such an amateur mistake as to leave my coupon book in my hotel room and miss out on 2-for-1 buffets with my player's card. I hung my head a little in shame.

Admittedly, I did try to atone for my sins by making Suzy sign up for an otherwise-useless Belterra casino player's card so that we could use our buffet coupons on Saturday and Sunday, netting us a total of 6 buffets for the price of 4, but I missed on the big one. Friday night's dinner buffet was easily twice as expensive as either the lunch or breakfast buffet that I did use the coupons for, but I forgot all about the coupon until we were leaving the restaurant Friday night. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

But I think we did okay taking advantage of other freebies at the Belterra. We each got a keychain bottle opener for signing up for a player's card, and we played the silly match 3 numbers on the computer kiosk and win money game, because it was free. I hit 4 matching numbers and won $25, so that covered my buffet mistakes. Overall my impression of the Belterra casino was very favorable. The rooms and public spaces were all beautiful. Maybe not Wynn beautiful, but MGM Grand beautiful. The food was great, some of the best fried chicken I've had in years, and I'm something of a fried chicken snob.

I upgraded to a jacuzzi room, thinking rightly that after a 9+ hour trip to get there I'd want a soak in the tub, and I was right. It was definitely worth the extra $20 per night for the monster bathroom and jacuzzi tub, I just wish we had been able to get a non-smoking room, since everything we had reeked by the time we got home.

The best part about the Belterra was the staff. Top to bottom we had great experiences with the people that worked there. Everyone was very pleasant, going out of their way to make our trip enjoyable. Even though it's obviously a locals' casino, there was never a vibe of dislike towards the touristas, or anything like that. The pit dealers were great fun, and the guy that taught us Let It Ride was a hoot, so we played that Sunday morning before we left for home.

It was a good trip overall, and I'll have some photos later, plus some more in-depth trip report type shit, but for now, it was good, and I left a casino in the black for poker for a change.

We may never discuss my dark 30 minutes of Pai Gow, but I was up from playing poker.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Play the player

And I got played. Perfectly.

I'm sitting at a 1/2 NL table last night, with about $250 in front of me (I bought in for $230 and had been riding a roller coaster for an hour or so). I'd been playing a fairly standard TAG game, because the table was looser than a West Viriginia girl on prom night. I'd had my QQ snapped off a few hands earlier by a guy cold-calling a $38 preflop raise with Kd4d, and had see the Crazy Asian Guy (CAG) in the 3 seat calle $25 preflop with a 64o a few hands before.

CAG raised to $12 preflop, which meant that he was breathing. He never limped, unless the pot was straddled, and $12 was his standard raise. He was the person on the table that I had the most trouble putting on a hand, as his range pretty much encompassed any two cards. I looked down at A10o and called.

Flop comes A-8-6 rainbow, and I called CAG's $15 bet. Turn is a King, and I check behind CAG. River is a Queen, and CAG bets out $100. I think for a long time before I make the bad call, remembering the massive number of hands I'd seen CAG show down, including the 6-4o hand, so I thought that a K or Q was quite possible.

I didn't expect the Aces. He's flopped top set, read me for a decent Ace when I called the flop bet, and put me on two pair when running paint cards fell. He played me perfectly, and I can't fault him a bit for that hand.

Now the next one seems a bit stupid, on the part of so many people, myself included. It's one or two hands later, and I'm now sitting with about $60 in front of me, wanting to hang out for a few minutes before I rebought or stood up. CAG raises to $12, guy between us reraised to $22, and I thought this might be a good place to try and steal.

BAD DECISION. Why I would even think about stealing from the two loosest, deepest-stacked players at the table is beyond me, but it is the worst decision I made at the poker table all night. My backup thought was that even if they called, my cards were likely to be live, and it was close to time for bed, anyway. Not sure that I've ever had a more sub-optimal series of thoughts at a poker table before shore $58 into the pot with QTo in early position. But think it I did, and shove I did.

Short stack in late position calls all-in, creating side pot #1. CAG calls, and then donkey in the 4s, original re-raiser (ORR), re-re-raises another $50, and CAG calls.

BAD DECISION (not mine) - $50 was way too small a raise to isolate the CAG. CAG still had to call $50, but there was $250 in the pot, and 5:1 plus implied odds of the $300+ was well within CAG's calling odds.

Flop comes 2-3-4 rainbow, and CAG says "All-in." ORR looks at him like a poleaxed steer, tried in vain to put CAG on a hand (I was also incorrect, but I put him on 44), and makes the call. CAG spikes his cads like it's a football and starts doing his flopped the nut straight end zone dance.

Yup, CAG called over $100 preflop with 6-5o and flopped the world. ORR turned over his Jacks, and I threw away my QT, got my shit, and went to the one Pai Gow table for some consolation. A sick catch, but actually much better than calling a $38 raise with K4s and catching the King. I didn't really expect to win, but ORR looked like he'd just been kicked in the balls by a mule, so I at least got a little schadenfrude outta the deal.

And that's how you go from +$250 on the weekend to -$135 on the weekend in a few short steps.

Step 1 - put your dick in a box (Or play the nightly tournament and run 88 into JJ)

Step 2 - Play 2-4 Limit

Step 3 - Get played like a fiddle by the CAG with Aces

Step 4 - Make a donkey-shove with QT

Step 5 - Lose $20 playing Pai Gow

Pretty casino though, especially for buttfuck nowhere.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Virginia is for lovers, Kentucky is for lesbians

Sooooo driving through a new state is always interesting, looking at the different road signs for various towns, trying to figure out the origins, etc. For example, North Carolina has tons of Indian names, and it's pretty easy to figure out where towns like Cherokee got their name.

So Kentucky was obviously founded by horny pioneers with an oral fetish. I've never in my life seen so many signs for towns with "Lick" in the name. We drove through Paint Lick on our Deliverance-inspired trek to the Belterra casino and Resort, and saw signs for several others, including the best of them all - Big Bone Lick. How do you, as a teenager, tell friends in your freshman college orientation that you hail from Big Bone Lick, Kentucky? It's even worse when you realize that Kentucky abbreviates to KY.

So it took a little longer than the advertised 8 hours, 14 minutes, thanks to a wife with a bladder the size of a shot glass and a meal at Sagebrush in Newport, TN that was slower than molasses trying to run uphill in January. We also got the stereotypical late start, in part due to a quote I had to get done for a project at work, in part due to the fact that I stayed up past 2AM the night before playing World of Dorkcraft, and in part due to the fact that I'm married. To a woman.

I might be sorry for stereotyping women as taking forever to get ready to go anywhere, but if things weren't based in truth, they'd never become stereotypes. Note - when it was time to leave, I carried out my overnight back and backpack. It is, after all, a three-day trip, so the backpack was warranted if for nothing other than to keep my reader updated on the journey. Suzy comes down with her rolling suitcase, a purse, a pillow, her makeup bag, her bag of nail supplies, and her bag of hair stuff (all of which I consolidated into one duffel bag).

So we got on the road at 3:30 instead of my hoped-for noon departure, then we stopped once before dinner, then stopped twice after dinner. Two tanks of gas later, we got off I-75 just outside of Cincinnati, heading off into the hinterlands of East Bumblefuck, Kentucky, where I swear I saw burning crosses and could hear Ned Beatty squealing in the distance. After a slightly harrowing 30-minute ride, we pulled up into the Belterra driveway to be met by Dave, the valet.

The only valet.

Now this place is nice, don't get me wrong. And I understand that it was 1AM on a Thursday night/Friday morning, but the lone valet and the lack of bellhopage led me to wonder about the "tourist" designation that this joint bestowed on itself. Not to worry, once we got into the place and got room squared away, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the lodgings. The room is freakin' sweet, as my homey Peter Griffin would say,and the bathroom positively ginormous (officially now a word, regardless of what spellcheck claims, as it made it into the latest edition of Webster's). I sprung for the upgrade to the jacuzzi room, rightly assuming that after 8+ (more like 9.5) hours in a car, even a luxury ride like my Honda Element, I'd want a soak in something with jets slamming into my spine. I was right. I did. It was worth the $20.

But here's a touch of the conundrum. Wireless internet in casinos almost always costs me $10/day. But it's free in a fleabag! Drives me batshit. What if I don't want to watch overpriced hotel softcore? $10/day. What if I'm here for a conference (not that I believe there's actual industry in this part of Cunnilingus County, but regardless)? $10/day. What if I stay at a POS Baymont Inn? Free. And of course I'm paying it.

So Suzy's in the shower, girding herself for her first trip to the old home town in nearly 20 years. She wants to show me where she grew up, but doesn't want to see her ex-stepfather, who fucked around on her mom for two years with her mom's best friend. Can't really blame her for that one. Then tomorrow night is her 20th high school reunion, which is kind of a big deal for her. Mine's coming up in a few years, and it will probably be a big deal to me, too, because my 10th was a pretty big deal. My reunions don't have the redeeming quality of being held in casinos, though, since this is the nearest legal poker to my home. 500 miles away.

On another note, if anybody reads this far down, here's a couple of questions.

1) Good God, don't you have anything better to do?

2) Anybody wanna get together for a cookout and tournament the Sunday of Labor Day weekend? I'm thinking start cooking around noon, tourney registration at 1, start slinging cards around 2 and rock n' roll. Probably a $50 - $75 buy in, with cash games after. Lemme know if you're interested. I could probably handle 30 - 36 in my place with no problems.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Some random pokery-ness

Yeah, I know, there's been precious little of that on this little blog, but I have actually been playing some poker. Here's a few quick hits and observations that I've come to lately.

1) If you master Stud 8, you can crush HORSE tourneys and ring games. Obviously Stud 8 is the most complicated of the 5 games in the rotation, with the exposed and folded board cards to remember, not to mention the cards that you are looking for versus the odds to get them, not to mention figuring out if your opponent is going low with their exposed rags, or has a straight and is gonna scoop your ass. Hold Em is certainly the simplest of the five games, and Omaha, while far more complicated than Hold Em, only constitutes 20% of the rotation, while 60% of the game is stud-based. So if you focus on and hone your Stud 8 skills, that will transfer over into Stud Hi and Razz, and you (I) should be able to crush the HORSE games online.

Nothing new to that statement, just a distillation of something that's been rolling around in my head for a little while.

2) I played some horrible poker on Sunday night and still managed to come out ahead at the end of the night, mostly due to some abominable suckouts I delivered. In one, I limped in the cutoff with 2s6s (yes, I know, but I told you I was playing atrociously). Big Nick raised, and several people called. Flop brought a 4-5-x, with one spade, so I had no real draw, just a gutshot and a backdoor flush draw. I decided to make a move on Nick, so when he reached for chips, I looked over and said "don't get frisky." He counted out a bet of $17.50, everybody folded, and I min-raised to $35. He looked over, I said "I told you not to get frisky," and he called. He checked the turn, which was a second spade, and I checked behind. The river of course brought my 3, and when he checked I tossed $15 in the pot. He called, I showed the gutshot, and stepped on his soul a little bit. He said after the hand "I let you get there," and I responded with "If you bet the turn, I go all-in." He looked a little confused. It was nothing more than me taking advantage of the fact that he was running bad and doesn't understand yet how to play cash games, but it was a fun kind of evil nonetheless.

3) The high hand jackpot in my home game got hit twice in one night, and now I think I'm changing how to qualify for the rolling jackpot. Here's what we do now - every pot that sees a flop, I take $.50. We award a nightly high hand jackpot for the best hand by midnight (or 11PM if we start early), and that gets half of whatever is collected on the night. The other half goes into the rolling jackpot, which is awarded to quads or better. Right now there's nothing that says that both cards have to play to win the bigger jackpot, which led to me and Nick the Smaller both catching jackpot hands in the same night. He made quads with one 3 in hid hand, and I made a steel wheel with the Ace in my hand. The nightly high hand jackpot usually gets up to $25-30, with that much added weekly to the big jackpot. I think it might be neat if the big pot built up to a couple hundred over time, but would like to know your thoughts on that idea.

4) I play limit online, but I'm still not sure why. I don't have the temperament for it, and can't bring myself to take it seriously enough to be profitable. Not to mention I chase wayyy too much. Anybody else have this problem?

5) Went with Special K down to this hillbilly tournament last night. Told Suzy when I got home that we were #1 & #2. Unfortunately then I had to explain that I meant in order of elimination, not in order of finish. Good structure, horrible play on my part and horrible luck on K's. I at least have the consolation of having played like shit for my early exit. He got bad luck.

We drive to Belterra Indiana tomorrow for Suzy's 20th high school reunion. I've never met anyone from her high school days, so I don't know if I should be concerned or just assume that I'm gonna end up kicking the ass of some Kentucky hillbilly. Either way, it should be entertaining. If you're anywhere near there, you know how to find me.