Friday, October 29, 2004

If you're undecided about your Halloween costume, you gotta check out these FREE masks from!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The Jr. Commish at Fenway breaking the curse. Posted by Hello

I ended the curse! It's over!

Theo, give me a call to help plan the parade in my honor. Drop me an email at I just want to point out, I predicted the Sox-Cards series. I predicted that the Sox would win. I predicted that the winning run would be scored by Johnny Damon. All true. As Casey Stengel said, "You could look it up."

Here's a pic of the Jr. Commish at Fenway. Now we're a part of history...

Not sure if I’m just in a pissy mood, but these are things that are bugging me:

- Bumper stickers – OK, I understand that you think your candidate is better, whether Bush or Kerry… But why have a bumper sticker? Do you think that it’ll inspire others to let you merge into their lane? (“Oh, that guy is for Kerry… I’ll let him cut in front”) Or do you think that it’ll impress other voters enough to sway them? (“Gee, that guy in the SUV is voting for Bush… I guess I will too”) Or do you think that it’ll be a convenient conversation starter to pick up chicks? (“I see that you’re voting for Nader. Let’s discuss his economic policies over a drink.”). More likely, it’ll have the exact opposite effect… ie., “Look at that asshole, figures he’d be a Kerry/Bush/Nader supporter”. Nonetheless, once the election is over, you’re stuck with either a bumper sticker that is outdated and antagonistic to half the population or you have a gluey, dirt-attracting residue in the shape of a bumper sticker permanently affixed to your chrome.

- Office restrooms – I work in a medium sized office building, basically a cube farm, and this has been bugging me for just about my entire working career. Why don’t people flush the fucking toilet when they’re done? I mean, we’re all professionals in this building, not suit and tie, but not exactly manual laborers either. When I take a dump, I flush once, twice, as many times as necessary to completely empty the tank of any visible fecal shrapnel. Others aren’t quite as courteous, leaving streaked toilet paper, floating remnants of their last few meals, and various other souvenirs of their midday visit. Why?!?!? The planet is over 2/3 water! Flush, flush again, and then flush some more. And flush one more time just to be sure. Then spray. For fuck’s sake, spray.

- And flush the damn urinals too. The handle is right there. Reach up, pull down, zip up, wash your hands, and leave. It’s pretty basic. Your piss stinks too. Get it out of there.

- Fast food drive-thru – If you don’t know what you want, you probably shouldn’t be in the drive-thru. It’s not like McDonalds, Carls Jr, Jack in the Box, or Burger King has entrees, side dishes, or appetizers that need explanation. Order a goddamn burger and get the hell out of my way. If you need time to think, get your pansy ass out of the line. When in doubt, just ask for Combo Meal #1. It all tastes the same anyway, and every joint makes their most popular meal the #1. Sheesh. Same goes for Starbucks. Just get your coffee and move along.

- Cell phones while driving – Put both hands on the wheel, use a headset, pay attention to the fucking road, you stupid dipwad. Has anyone else noticed that it’s the WORST drivers that seem to have disdained the hands-free cell phones? The same simplemindedness that keeps them from spending $20 on a device that makes them safer (headset) seems to make them incapable of realizing that they’re weaving all over the goddman road! Or that they’re drifting into your lane! Do me a favor, when your time comes, make sure that you solo your car into that freeway overpass, and don’t harm any innocent people who are actually paying attention to the road.

Whew, I feel better now.

Hump day thoughts

Curse, thy name is Nomar. Of course, waking up next to the smooth, taut skin of Mia Hamm may seem very un-curse-like, but what other explanation fits? The Red Sox dump their malcontent All-Star batting champion midseason, and are now one victory from ending an 86-year drought. Chemistry DOES count.

There’s no doubt in my mind that my second place finish in WPBT V (or IV, there seems to be some disagreement) was a fluke, an aberration, a one-hit wonder. My online play since the tournament has been mediocre at best, horrifying at worst. I haven’t WON any SnGs, and placed in less than a quarter. Do the math, I’m losing money. Perhaps my game is better suited to the blogger environment, where raises are respected and the HAMMER is considered worth three-betting.

Come to think of it, I finished in the top-20 in both blogger tourneys I’ve played in (18th and 2nd). Hmmm, I don’t have the full standings from the Monty Memorial. Can anyone else match that?

My computer/cable modem went down right after I registered for a $16 20-seater. Sigh. The funny thing is that I beat eight people by not being there. Imagine that! I was two seats from making the final table by posting blinds and folding. Ridiculous. No telling if my current level of play would have improved on that…. Probably not.

FFL Note: Ahhh, I finally won a game, despite the Todd injury curse. Of course, since Kevan Barlow had a bye, I picked up a running back for one week… Mike Alstott, who found that knees can bend in more than one direction. Predictable. Negative points for the fumble too. So, to recap, I pick up Rich Gannon for a week… broken neck. I pick up Mike Alstott for a week… twisted knee. I draft Deuce with my first pick, he misses multiple weeks with a sprained ankle. Sheesh.

Speaking of Boston… you shouldn’t be allowed to riot if you were born after 1978. At best, you were seven or eight when the ball rolled through Buckner, you likely never saw Bucky Freakin’ Dent, you didn’t see Fisk’s ball hit the foul pole. Attention, Boston area college students: You don’t know dick about the curse! You weren’t even freakin’ born for most of the Red Sox collapses! Don’t do stupid shit like overturn cars or start bonfires, you haven’t EARNED it! Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.

BTW, it’s like Jose Oquendo and Dale Sveum have a side bet to see who can get more runners thrown out at the plate. Bah, I’ve hated Oquendo since 1987. If you don’t know, it has to do with the NLCS, John Tudor, Candy Maldonado, and Atlee Hammaker.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

20 seasons ago… On a cold, winter day in San Francisco, the two dominant teams in the NFC met for the right to go to Super Bowl XIX. The San Francisco 49ers, led by future Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana, faced the Chicago Bears, led by future Hall-of-Famer Walter Payton. Both teams featured star-studded defenses with All-Pro’s like Ronnie Lott, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, and Fred Dean.

My, how times have changed.

This weekend, the same two franchises will face off with the #1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft at stake. Montana, Payton, Lott, and Singletary have been replaced by Rattay, um, and, um… I don’t know any of the other players in this game. –Edit- I just remembered Brian Urlacher, but that’s it. -

It’s gonna be a suckfest and it’ll be the ESPN Sunday Night Football game, sure to bring the lowest ratings in ESPN history. They’d get better ratings by showing the final table of the 2004 WSOP for the 367th time.

Best bet: Take the under on the Nielsen’s.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Y'know, some people just can't stand success. A little 2nd place in the Blogger tourney and I get all FUBAR and can't play correct poker to save my ass. Tonight, I played SnGs all over the place. Cashed +$30 at Pacific (4/20), bubbled thrice at Empire (-$44), and clunked two more at PokerStars (-$18). Sheesh. Just plain bad.

Hi boys and girls... our word for today is "fluke". Can you say "fluke"?

I took Saturday off from the tables to focus on setting up my home game. Bought beer (Pyramid Hefeweizen) and some of those yummy fruity Smirnoff thingies (raspberry). Bought some smoked almonds and some guacamole flavored chips and Mrs. Commish whipped up a spinach-veggie dip in a loaf of sourdough. Moved the dining room table into the living room and covered it with a blanket [wtf do you think this is, Vegas?]. Counted out nice little piles of chips for the $20 buy-in and settled down to watch the World Series. Mrs. and the two little Commishes went to see "Shark Tale" - verdict from Mrs. was so-so, kids liked it.

First guest arrived 15 minutes early, four others showed up right on time. After the requisite introductions and collection of $20, we settled down for some discussion of the rules. The one other guy with any extensive online poker experience was already pretty lit, so he launched into a rambling tutorial of limit Texas Hold'em with blinds. A couple of the guys had some trouble catching onto the concept of blinds (predictably, they ended up losing the most), and we started with .25/.50 blinds and .50/1 limits. They were playing pretty much any two cards, and each flop had at least five callers with very few preflop raises. Of course, with schooling like this, there were HUGE suckouts and I didn't adjust very well initially, dropping half my stack in the first half hour, but I built it back slowly. One guy, Paul, asked if we could go to Dealer's Choice. Everyone agreed, so he immediately launched into 7/27. I held my nose, and planned to fold out of this game as soon as possible... until I drew 7 on my first two cards. Then I just built and built and built the pot with chasers galore. By the time I finished, my half of the pot was about $15 which helped replenish my stack and my will. Each circuit of Hold'Em was punctuated by one of Paul's crazy games. 7/27, Chicago-low, Indian poker, you name it, he played it.

As host, my job was to make sure that everyone had alcohol or food in front of them all night. As the empties piled up, a few guys had to re-buy but didn't seem to sweat it much. Basically, it was just a good time. At midnight, a couple of the guys bailed (strangely, the two guys that were basically even), so we were down to five-handed. That led to our one foray into Acey-Deucey. We anted with $2 each, so the pot started at $10. I took a small piece of it by betting $3 and winning with a 10/2 (7). Next circuit, the pot was $16. I got an ace, called it low, and got a queen. I bet the pot with 44/50 outs and took it down with a jack. We played one more circuit of Hold'Em before one guy got down to the felt and decided to call it at -$40. After all cashed out, I figure that I won about $40, which about covered the beer and snacks budget. Of course, I still have some beers plus lots of leftovers from the guys who brought, but didn't finish their six-packs, so I'm probably net-positive on alcohol. Everyone was pumped up before the game and everyone said they had a good time (a couple of wives talked to my wife today). They all seemed to want a repeat at Paul's new house (just bought), so we'll probably see some more wild games there. I need to brush up on my Low-hole wild game.

Sigh, these home games are KILLING my online game!

Friday, October 22, 2004

Wow! Sitting at my desk right now, pretending to write that User Training Guide for the sales team [which is in another window, so I can click over quickly if I need to]. I had a restless sleep, with hands running through my head all night… What could I have done differently? What should I have done? What would Johnny Damon have done?

Ten hours later, I can honestly say that I played about as well as I could. Sure, I misplayed a couple of hands, but there’s no way I could expect to play PERFECT, so I’ll allow myself a few hiccups. Seriously, MtDew and I played over FIFTY hands of head-to-head. Major sphincter tightening there… I also played a couple of hands very, very well, and pretty much kept to my own style (tight-weak, with sporadic aggression). Some quick impressions before I get to specific hands:

- 133 people is HUGE! I think all of the bloggers (except maybe Iggy) will see a big spike in their readerships today. I went from a paltry 25-30 daily visits to over 50, and that was for yesterday. I can only assume that once we made it to the final table, all of the railbirds mimicked Paul Newman… “Who are those guys?”
- Wifey was pissed that I ate dinner (sushi) at the computer and basically ignored the family for four hours… until I told her that I won $500. Boy, the shit would’ve hit the fan if I busted out 19th.
- I forgot to turn the “Images” on, so I missed Scott’s infamous image. Bummer.
- Yes, that’s me in the picture. Like I said earlier, I didn’t want anyone to confuse me with a different Todd and stalk me, like Otis and CJ did.
- It’s frightening to have a dozen KNOWN bloggers as railbirds, knowing that my every move would be telestrated and analyzed. “Oooh, bad move there. He should have check-raised.” Or “Weak play there, he laid down the winning hand.”
- I was sucked out exactly ZERO times. Oh, and I define “sucking out” as hitting something longer than 4-1 odds. Of course, it’s hard to suck out when you only get to showdown 18 times in 330 hands (and that includes six showdowns during the marathon H2H). I won 45 hands without ever showing my cards.
- Just reading back over the rail chat made me laugh. I missed a lot of the incessant jabbering… From SirFWALGman’s spell-out (“Gimme a T”) to DrDrew’s Kresse-like chant of “Finish him!” to the RedSox references, I’m glad you all had a good time watching me sweat and struggle through the final table.
- I got a lot of compliments on my shortstack play. But, put it this way, the fact that I’m shortstacked means that I’m not a real strong player. I’d rather have the bully pulpit, thank you.

Now to the hands…

#327 - The one that would’ve caused a LOT of controversy had I won the tournament. During the H2H with blinds at 2K/4K and down 150K/50K, I picked up Q8o and made the standard preflop raise to 10K, and got a call (!). This started the chattering on the rail since we had very few hands make it past the initial raise. The flop was 765 rainbow, giving me an open-ended draw and overcards. Over MtDew’s check, I pushed out 16K, trying to win it right there. He immediately kicked me back all-in. Uh-oh. I called a time-out to gather myself. I figured him for overcards at a minimum and possibly a pocket pair. The railbirds were chattering loudly (think about seagulls around a fishing ship) since this was looking like the final hand, flapping around and squawking “All-in, All-in, Call him! Call him!”. I even told the railbirds that I put MtDew on overcards, and that I had a draw. Didn’t matter to them. “All-in! All-in! Call!”. Based on my read on MtDew, I figured my outs quickly as 14 (queen, nine, eight, four), putting my chances at better than 1/3 given that I had two cards to hit them. I had already committed half my stack, so I took the plunge and called. I flipped my Q8, he flipped J8. No Jack came up, and I doubled up to take a very brief lead. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have played to the crowd that much. Some might have thought that I actually took their advice, even though I hadn’t taken it all night. And I’m sorry for that impression.

#328 – The very next hand. I now had a narrow lead and picked up A3o. Woo hoo! Time to finish him off! He raised the blind to 3x. This was SOP for us, limping was strictly taboo for this H2H. I briefly considered a soft call, but was still feeling the rush from the previous hand and wanted to drive that final nail. I kicked him 20K, hoping for a call. After all, anything less than an Ace or a pocket pair would have me at 3-2 to win. He paused, and raised me back all-in. I called (too quickly) and hoped to see KQ or KJ or even better, 72o. Instead, I was horrified to see AKs! No miracle treys came and I was hopelessly crippled. He finished me off two hands later.

Flashback time…. Wayne’s World style. Wiggle your hands downward.

#98 – A New Hope – It is a period of poker war. Rebel bloggers, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil DanKHanK. Oh, the hell with it…

DanK had been completely running over this table from the very first hand, busting out player after player (including Iggy) with a mix of brutal aggression (raising just about every hand preflop qualifies as brutal) and friendly boards. I had gotten as low as 590, and had slowly built back up to 1100+ by avoiding confrontations with the big stack, but was tiring of playing a totally passive game. DanK raised to 3xBB two seats in front of me. I had A9s and said “Eff it, let’s see what he has.” And pushed all-in. This had worked once or twice before, but not this time. He called with pocket sixes, putting it to a race (54/46 his favor). The flop was QT8, keeping it at a race. The turn was a beautiful J, giving me the straight. To prove it was no fluke, another J came on the river, and I doubled up through the chip leader. This put me up to 2500 chips, over my 1500 buy-in for the first time, and gave me a workable stack.

#150 – Ahhh, my first big suckout. We’re now at level eight, and now we’re ante-ing as well as 200/400 blinds. I had been hovering right around 1500 for a few dozen hands, when I picked up pocket sevens. I doubled the BB and brought two callers (the two table leaders… sigh). The flop was 832, which I figured couldn’t help either one of them, so I pushed all-in. TuckerKatt followed by pushing in his whole stack, roughly 10x my puny bet. VAroadster folded and I flipped my pair getting the bad news. Tucker had tripped his pocket treys and I was in deep deep doo-doo. The turn was an Ace and my tournament hinged on a 2/44 shot (4.5%)… which hit. The miracle 7 on the river tripled me up to over 5K, and put me onto the leaderboard. Woo hoo!

#167 – Had to write about this one. Three all-ins (none of them me) preflop! DanK had raised the pot like the bully he was, but quickly folded to the action behind him.
Tucker was big stack and had pocket sevens and raised to 3K. Then it got interesting.
Ankhorahil was small stack with pocket fours, probably figured WTF, and called all-in.
RicoM had pocket Aces, and was probably laughing to himself. He of course called all-in. Preflop, the percentages were 66/19/14 in favor of RicoM.

The flop was 854, tripping Ankhorahil. The turn and river were both nines, giving Ankhor his boat (Get it? Ankhor? Boat?) But an entertaining hand nonetheless, especially for someone who folded and got to watch the fireworks.

#182 – One my favorites. I had been whittled back down below 4K, pretty much in a six-way tie for last at the table. Blinds were 300/600, so I’m not to desperation stage yet, though I could hear the orchestra warming up. One of the table captains, Penner (sbMets) raises the blind in front of me. I pick up Route 66 and figure it’s time to try and double up through a chip leader. Ankhor calls all-in from SB (uh-oh) and Penner quickly calls with about 20% of his stack. They both flip AKo! Ahh, blessed duplication. The board misses their matching Slicks and I triple up! Four hands later, VAroadster bubbles out and I’m in the money!

#187 – Final two tables now. I busted in 18th last time, so I have strong motivation for making the last table. So, I immediately play MY BEST PLAYED HAND OF THE TOURNAMENT. I’m in BB with pocket sevens. a10419 (a reader?) raises to 3x and I call. I flop trips with J97 on the board. I smooth-check, hoping for a push, but he checks too. The turn is a very welcome Ace. I bet enough to push him all-in, hoping he hit his Ace. Sure enough, he has AKo and calls all-in while drawing DEAD. I’m feeling pretty solid about my play and my stack now, and in good position to make the last table.

#210 – Feel bad about this one. This may have sealed my H2H fate as I busted out malice51 with KQ vs. the HAMMER. I raised the BB and he kicked me back all-in with about half my stack. I called and after the QJT53 board, malice51 exited to massive applause from the railbirds, and boos for me. Of course, it put me in a virtual 3-way tie for second place, but it was still heart-wrenching to bury a HAMMER, especially that late in a tournament. This led us to the final table:

*********** # 211 **************
PokerStars Game #789696625: Tournament #2868250, Hold'em No Limit -
Level XI (600/1200) - 2004/10/21 - 23:43:04 (ET)
Table '2868250 16' Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: TuckerKatt (43053 in chips)
Seat 2: MtDewVirus (26791 in chips)
Seat 3: Johni D. (21625 in chips)
Seat 4: The_Venetian (20957 in chips)
Seat 5: jerge88 (19639 in chips)
Seat 6: ricoM (748 in chips)
Seat 7: humbird (27506 in chips)
Seat 8: ToddCommish (27263 in chips)
Seat 9: AustinKearns (11918 in chips)

With only one table left, the railbirds congregated like pigeons at lunch hour in Central Park. When the Venetian (PokerNerd) busted on hand #212, the bloggers threw their collective weight behind me, increasing the pressure on me exponentially. RicoM was blinded out on #213, and Eddie (AustinKearns) followed quickly at #214 (JJ vs. KK and the king boated). Shit, I just made it over the $100 level by folding four times!

Tried to slowplay a flopped nut flush on #217, but didn’t get any action.

#223 – I didn’t play this one, but it was amazing. Two players flopped trips and a third player was drawing to the nut flush. The flush didn’t come, so jerge was down to the felt (he busted three hands later), and Humbird busted out with flopped set of fives that lost to MtDew’s flopped set of sevens. Brutal, but entertaining hand.

Right around here, the infamous “assraping” discussion erupted. Not that it has anything to do with poker, but I wanted to mention it.

#236 – Ahhh, major suckout number Two. Tucker (75K), MtDew (63K), and John (44K) had been stealing my lunch money and pulling my underwear up my crack (22K) for a couple of circuits and I was getting weary of the bullying. I pick up pocket deuces in BB and see it promptly raised by John. Asshole. I call, I’m not really sure why. Flop is the unremarkable Q75, which I figure can’t help him. John bets 6K anyway, about half my stack. EFF THIS, says the scrawny kid in the Charles Atlas ads, and I push all-in, hoping to see Ax or Kx. Unfortunately, he turns 44, and the nine on the turn doesn’t help either of us. I start repeatedly typing “deuce” in the chat box and the river is …. DEUCE! Holy crap, I’m back in it!

Ooops, no I’m not… John made a nice comeback by assraping (!) Tucker and MtDew and went into the third break with the lead. I offered the other guys a four-way 25% chop during the break, but don’t get any takers. Hah! I’ll show them!

Level XIII (1500/3000) - 2004/10/22 - 00:17:04 (ET)
Table '2868250 16' Seat #8 is the button, Hand #258
Seat 1: TuckerKatt (37697 in chips)
Seat 2: MtDewVirus (63789 in chips)
Seat 3: Johni D. (80438 in chips)
Seat 8: ToddCommish (17576 in chips)

#263 – Suckout number three. K9o, I raise UTG, hoping to take it right there. MtDew in SB kicks it enough to put me all-in. Sometimes you just gotta say “WTF”. I call. Bad move. He flips AJo and I’m floundering… again. 842 flop doesn’t help. 8 on the turn is even worse. Six outs to stay alive… 6/44… 13.6%. River is a… KING!!!! Waaa hoooo! Back into a virtual three-way tie for 2nd. Of course, all of us are swimming in John’s wake with around 20% of the chips each to his 40%.

The first big move (#267) was made by MtDew when his all-in AJ sucked out John’s AQ with a Jack on the turn, propelling him to a commanding lead.
#271 – Now it’s my turn. I pick up KK for the first time. I raise UTG to 3x (after all, I want callers with this). After a rag flop (832), I pushed out what I hoped would look like a tentative 3x bet. John pounced and immediately raised. I raised back all-in and got a call. He flipped Q9 and I got a minor scare when a Ten turns, but his gutshot didn’t hit, and I’m in 2nd place and John is crippled.

John ended up getting rivered in hand 276 by Tucker’s pocket deuces by another miracle river duck, and got fourth. Chip leader to busted in fourth in ten hands. Oy.

MtDew then busted Tucker on the VERY NEXT HAND, flopping a straight to Tucker’s overpair, and reeling him in with a minimum raise after the flop. So with my skillful folding, I was now H2H with the Dew. And by now, you know how that turned out.

Thanks again, Iggy. And to all you railbirds, keep on chirping!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

PokerStars Tournament #2868250, No Limit Hold'em
Buy-In: $20.00/$2.00
133 players
Total Prize Pool: $2660.00
Tournament started - 2004/10/21 - 21:00:00 (ET)

Dear ToddCommish,

You finished the tournament in 2nd place. A $532.00 award has been
credited to your Real Money account.

Thank you for participating.

NO... Thank YOU!

I gotta post some love to all of the bloggers and poker groupies who cheered me on from the rail during my rollercoaster ride on the final table. I won a few suckouts, didn't lose any, and basically hung on and clawed my way to second place. During the final H2H against MtDewVirus, I made a brief run to the chip lead (interestingly, the only time the entire night I had the lead) before upchucking A2 vs. AK and losing basically the match right there.

Huge props to Iggy for the unbelievable 133 participants! Granted, many were there to watch Wil Wheaton, but still a huge accomplishment to pull such a huge crowd! Saw almost all the bloggers either at the rail or in the Yahoo chatroom, too many to name. I got down to the felt almost immediately, but managed to slowly build my stack while many more famous bloggers bit the dust. I'll post longer on some specific hands once I get the history and check it over. I'm thinking about having the South Korean Olympic team sue PokerStars to award me first place...

Whew! I love you all, man!

Since my baseball predictions have been frickin’ amazing (Boston winning the ALCS with David Ortiz as the MVP, Houston playing St Louis in the NLCS), I am posting my predictions for tonight’s Monty (WPBT IV aka The Iggy Kickoff Tournament). Remember, this IS a competition, this is NOT an exhibition. Please…. Lots of wagering.

FastEddie won’t be able to tilt anyone. Now that we know it’s part of his arsenal, it loses it’s effectiveness. Think about Hellmuth or Arieh throwing a tantrum and the other players just laughing at them.

We’ll top 100 entries once word about Wil leaks out.

A Blogger will win… again.

Wil’s table will have the most chatting, since all the railbirds and players will be angling for a mention in a blog with thousands of readers.

MeanGene will make the final table at the WPBT (this is kinda like saying Dan Harrington will make the final table at the WSOP).

SirFWALGman and BadBlood will bust out early due to their post-ALCS hangovers. Their giddiness will have them going all-in everytime they see red cards.

The Hilton sisters will figure prominently in the hand that busts out Pauly.

The top five :

5. MeanGene – Will lose with a flopped set when a reader rivers a straight.
4. Iggy – Just because it’s bad form to win your own tournament twice in a row.
3. A reader – One that joined because he heard some Star Trek guy was playing
2. Pauly – Just like the Yankees, will start H2H with a big chip lead and watch it crumble away, probably due to the Hilton sisters.
1. Otis – Last tourney was an aberration. Back on the Otis bandwagon.

And me? Let's see, 18th last time would've made the final two tables if not for Pacific's eight-to-a-table structure. I'll be lucky to make top 20 again, especially if my son has to play for more than a few hands. My goal is CASH. Period. See ya there!

Gotta post something about the game last night.

- Apologies to Johnny Damon for all my talk about him tanking the series
- Kevin Brown, Javier Vasquez, and Esteban Loiaza? Not quite Clemens, Mussina, and Pettite… And where the hell was Mussina for this one?
- It’s probably a bad day to be George Steinbrenner’s intern
- Any bets as to whether Kerry manages to work the RedSox into a campaign speech or tries to throw out the first pitch at a WS game?
- Has anyone called Nomar to find out his feelings? Is it possible that the curse is now on Nomar and he brought it to Chicago (double whammy)?
- Did Cub fans have Will Clark flashbacks when Damon hit the grand slam on a “fastball in”?
- Who’s head is longer, Kevin Brown or John Kerry?
- The best team in football is the third most loved team in their city… sad.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Three things I learned last night:

1. Curt Schilling is THE MAN.
2. A-Rod is a whiny little cheater. His hands-raised “Who me?” brought back memories of Magic Johnson at his I-never-commit-a-foul peak. I’d rather have him laugh, pat the umpires on the back, and say “Of course I slapped the ball. Wouldn’t you? You caught me this time”.
3. I can’t watch playoff baseball and play online poker very well. I busted out of three SnGs last night trying to play poker between pitches, dropping a quick $50+.

Other quick thoughts:

Jerry Rice got traded for a bag of practice balls and a mug of beer yesterday, and if he contributes to the Seahawks this year, that mug of beer will upgrade to a pitcher. Seriously, he can be single-covered by ANY corner in the league now. The greatest receiver ever. And now he can be covered by a rookie nickelback. One on one. If he catches a touchdown this year, he should retire on the spot.

My poker play is cyclical depending on site. I’m now winning at PokerStars (2x original buy-in), and whittling away my profits at Pacific and Empire. Not entirely sure why, but it seems like I get my money in at the right times (ie. with at least a 3-2 advantage), but I’m losing on the draws. Since more people fish at Pacific and especially Empire, the draws there are killing me. Another hole in my play is I don’t BET draws. Sure, I might bet, but I don’t BET. I’ve noticed that when I BET, I either have a strong hand or complete shit, never a draw. Not sure if this is a hole (though maybe the predictability is a hole) or what to do about it…

Like last night, I hit a baby flush on the turn (I think I had T9s) and raised more than the pot, hoping to fold out the high flush draws. I got one caller, who I put on the Ace of my suit and definitely on a draw. Turns out I was right about one thing, he was on a draw, but for a boat with his flopped (and over-slowplayed) set. Naturally, his boat came on the river to knock me to the felt. I got my money into the pot as a 3-1 favorite and lost. Sigh. Sometimes it just seems that the pendulum is stuck on the other side of the table and will never swing back your way.

Quick question: Is anyone in Boston (New England) or New York working today? I sure as hell wouldn’t be… I’d be in a bar at 3 and prepping for the bedlam at 8. Good luck to both teams and I think I speak for everyone when I say “I hope it doesn’t come down to an umpire’s call.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Jon Stewart is a comedian. Keep that in mind. He has a college degree. His political views should be no more germane than the political views of a garbageman or a professional poker player. He favors Kerry in the upcoming election, which is entirely his right.

ToddCommish is a training manager. Keep that in mind. He has a college degree. His political views should be no more germane than the political views of a garbageman or a professional poker player. He favors Bush in the upcoming election, which is entirely his right.

Why is one opinion given more gravitas in the media?

I gotta stop screwing around with my online poker funds like it’s all Monopoly money. Last night, I busted out of a $10 SnG by raising and re-raising with the HAMMER while I was just basically just trying to fuck with the table. I started the evening with a tidy little $90+ win in one of those Turbo SnGs at PokerStars ($16 to win $108), so I was really just itching to piss away an entry fee. Stupid. It’s still real money.

Plus, I was watching the improbable Sox tighten the noose on their fans by giving them that sliver of hope that will lead to that inevitable 9th inning, Game Seven fold. Why not just give Game Six to the Sox now, and fast forward the entire world to the eighth inning of Game Seven? Sox will take the lead in the eighth, Foulke will be brought in, the Wankees will threaten in the eighth, but get shut down. The Sox will threaten in the ninth, but fail to produce an insurance run. Foulke will get two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth, but will begin to tire and walk the potential tying run. Francona will go to the mound, and leave him out there, even with Pedro warming up in the bullpen. Matsui will smack the game winner 310 ft into the short porch in right field to win the pennant.

I’ll probably be registering for the blogger tourney, but my work schedule might get in the way, so I may make a Hellmuthian late entrance. Since it took a poker professional to bust me out of the last WPBT (Iggy), I consider myself to be one of the pre-tourney favorites among the lowly bloggers (yeah, right). One other possibility, if I’m stuck on the freeway at 6pm PST, I may instruct my 11-year old son to fire up the software and play in my stead. If he does well, he may play the whole time. If you see ToddCommish make a minimum raise, it’s probably my son playing… and he’s probably got AA. He’s fully capable of weak-calling all the way with the nuts and not raising until the river. So beware!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Waaaaaaaahhhh! The Grossest. Post. Ever.

Going to lunch now... Mmmm.... cysts.

Obligatory poker content: Played three SnGs yesterday, cashed in one, was card-dead in one, was brain-dead in another. On the flip side, I’m over $100 and profitable at three different sites, playing at least three different types of games. The $1K check from Pacific/Empire (via Neteller) also assuaged wifey’s fears that I’m gonna lose the farm playing online poker, so it bought me some Peace and Quiet equity.

Had a great time for my birthday this past weekend. No parties or gifts or any of that goofy shit for me… We went up to Lake Tahoe on Friday right after work. Granted, a wildfire on the main road to South Lake Tahoe screwed things up a little bit since we had to drive to Northshore, then circle back down. The roads were hazy and smoky, and there was the persistent smell of burning pine. Imagine what your house would be like if fired up a couple of Duraflames and forgot to open the flue, and you’ll get the general idea. We went horseback riding on Saturday, then went to do touristy stuff around the Southshore casinos, including the kiddie arcades and souvenir shops. We finished the weekend with a paddleboat brunch cruise yesterday in the rain. The food was good, the company was great, and the rain actually helped by dispelling much of the smoke.

Wifey was actually encouraging me to find the poker room, but I really wanted to spend the weekend as “family time”. That and my B&M confidence was badly shaken at the Lucky Chances fiasco a couple of months ago. Harvey’s had about five $3/6 tables of Hold’Em running, but no other games or tournaments, so I passed on those. One big difference between Tahoe and the Bay Area (besides the no-smoking cardrooms) is the ethnic mix at the poker tables… The tables I saw in Harvey’s were populated primarily by Caucasians… and oddly, very few Asians. Not sure of the reason… I looked in some gamblers’ guides for local tournaments, but there wasn’t a single one in Tahoe over the weekend! I guess the tournament poker craze hasn’t reached the slot-happy folks who vacation in Tahoe. Figures…

My home game gets off the ground on Saturday. Thanks to all who submitted ideas and suggestions for making the home game a success. Since I’ve been pretty restrictive about the guest list, it should be a good time for all. Hopefully, this will start a neighborhood groundswell of testosterone bonding through poker to counter the estrogen-laden Bunco groups pervading the area.

Friday, October 15, 2004

OK, here’s the argument starter. These are the pin-up girls that I never liked, girls that for some reason never caught my fancy, but seemed to be on the minds of a lot of guys my age in the 70’s and 80’s.

1. Bo Derek – I don’t know if it was the cornrows or the high cheekbones or the double-digit IQ, but I never liked her. One of my buddies, Mike, was enthralled by “10” and considered her a goddess. I thought she was just plain and just plain dumb.

2. Lynda Carter – Most guys seemed to like her primarily for the Wonder Woman costume and magic lasso. Granted, it adds an interesting dynamic, but she actually looks better in middle age than she did back then. Or maybe I’m just getting older too…

3. Marcia Brady – Yeah, I know it’s an actress, but if you saw her in the street, you wouldn’t say “Hey, isn’t that Maureen McCormick?”, you’d say “Hey, there’s Marcia!”. Like I said, there are some family reasons why Marcia also irritated me, with her haughtiness and hair tossing. Put black hair and almond eyes on her, and you’d have my older sister. Anyway, this is an issue for my shrink and not this blog.

4. Stevie Nicks – Y’know, from across a room, you might think she was attractive. Then you’d walk over, she’d have a cigarette in one hand, a bottle of Jack in the other, her eyes would be bleary and sunken from repeated heroin use, her dress would be stained with her own vomit and Lindsay Buckingham’s DNA, and the voice of Harry Kalas would rumble from her parched lips as she says “Buy you a drink?”. Thanks, but I’ll pass.

5. Deborah Harry – Her main appeal was that she looked like she’d do anyone, anytime, anywhere… with farm animals, farm implements, farm teams… in doorways, restaurants, churches… as Howard Stern would say “All three inputs”. Sheesh, I guess I was pretty sheltered, but I just never really understood the appeal of women who look that sleazy.

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We interrupt this mid-life crisis to bring you some poker news.

Three $10 SnGs on Empire last night.
- Won an Omaha-8
- Placed 2nd in a NLHE (with SirFWALGman in the peanut gallery)
- Won a NLHE

+$97 for roughly three hours.

We will return to "My So-Called Life" after these messages.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Well, my birthday is this weekend (41st, if you’re counting), which explains this recent blast of nostalgia, which will now reflect on the stages of this Man, as reflected by my various TV/Movie crushes

1. Mary Ann – I never liked Ginger, possibly a precursor to my anti-Hollywood political views. Mary Ann was low maintenance, banana cream pies, and had one helluva body. Note: this is from reruns, I ain’t old enough to remember the original run of the series. Also, a lot of guys my age liked Marcia, whom I could never stand. I preferred Jan, despite her multiple neuroses and her unfortunate foray into orthodonture. Perhaps it was because my sister was the Japanese equivalent of Marcia, down to her hairstyle, attitude, and personality… Anyway, moving on.

2. Olivia Newton-John – This was in her early country music phase. She had an amazingly fresh clean look to her. Even in the execrable Xanadu, she looked gorgeous. Frankly, I think she looked crappy at the end of Grease when she was wearing all that spandex and leather; it just didn’t fit her “look”. She also could easily make the list twice for her rebirth as an aerobics icon in the “Physical” video

3. Cheryl Ladd – Keep your Farrahs and Jaclyns, this was the best looking Angel EVER! Next time you catch the opening credits on TVLand, check out the montage of shots of Cheryl Ladd, from the one in the wet bikini smoothing her wet hair to the one in the hot tub with her hair pinned up. Yow!

In all fairness, I did have the infamous Farrah red swimsuit (with headlights) poster in my room. I also had the Farrah white tank top poster. And Jaclyn Smith in her 40’s and 50’s was/is the most attractive middle-aged woman ever.

4. Valerie Bertinelli – For some reason, I always liked her. Cute round face, nice flip hairdo to frame it… Of course, that was before her career-ending marriage to Eddie Van Halen. I think Dorothy Hamill was around the same time. Aside from the Van Halen connection, basically followed the same career arc, just on ice.

5. Heather Locklear – I had some buddies that liked the “other” Heather (Thomas), mainly because the “other” Heather had a poster out wearing a pink swimsuit and bigger cans. I think time has proven which Heather was superior. Again, the fresh clean look wins out over the “been around the block” look. The opening credits to TJ Hooker were outstanding. Heather tossing her hair, Heather throwing a baton (which made a bad guy flip over… amazing!), Heather in a skimpy, quasi-exotic dance outfit. Again, multiple incarnations from Stacy (TJ Hooker) to Sammi Jo (Dynasty) to Amanda (Melrose Place) warrants multiple entries.

5.5. Pamela Sue Martin – Some of you younger types may not even know who she is. She started in the Poseidon Adventure (she’s the cute teenager in the red shorts), went on for a brief time as Nancy Drew, jumped over to Dynasty (Fallon, I think), and effectively ended her career with a soft-core spread for Penthouse or Playboy, I don’t remember which.

Wow, this has gotten longer than I thought. I’ll post some of the others later…..

Some of the other 40-ish types around my office were lamenting the death of albums and turntables (or at least our personal collections), and reminiscing about some of the must-have albums of our generation. We came up with a few and I decided I would waste about half an hour and try and come up with a list of the must-own LPs of the 70’s and 80’s.

1. Saturday Night Fever soundtrack – Admit it, you had it. Everyone bought it. Does this make you more or less cool than someone who bought Grease?
2. Led Zeppelin 4 (or Zoso) – This is how everyone learned the words to “Stairway to Heaven” and was the start of the “Turn that damn crap down!” part of our lives.
3. Rumours, Fleetwood Mac – Stevie Nicks at her throaty, two-packs-a-day peak.
4. Thriller, Michael Jackson – Probably the last mega-album before CD’s took over. And before Michael Jackson went completely off the deep end.
5. Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd – The single most recognizable album cover that didn’t feature the artist or words. May also have had The Wall.
6. Back in Black, AC/DC and/or Pyromania, Def Leppard – If you had one, you probably had both. Possibly Highway to Hell also.
7. Greatest Hits and/or Hotel California, Eagles – see previous note
8. Frampton Comes Alive, Peter Frampton – the definitive chick album. Every girl you ever dated had this one. I’m In you is the alternative.

I’d venture to say everyone between the ages of, say, 35-50 that had a turntable had at least three of these albums, and possibly even lost their virginity with this music in the background. Please also note the omission of corporate rock (Foreigner 4, Journey - Escape, Styx, etc.), even though most people had some. Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Ahhh, the joys of suck, re-suck, and back-suck… I plopped into a 20-seat $16 SnG on Pacific last night to continue my “quadruple-or-nothing” spree in the online poker world. [Side note: I think I saw Otis in an Empire $30+3 O8 tourney that filled just before I could grab the last seat or else I would’ve had some real stories.]. Anyway, after watching the Red Sox be, well, the Red Sox, I wanted to cleanse myself of that icky feeling I get whenever the Yankees win, so I took a seat in my favorite SnG structure.

Fast forward to the final table, seven left, so I’m almost to the money, but I’ve been blinded down and am desperately shortstacked due to absolutely shitty cards. I lost a big chunk early when I overplayed the Hammer and lost to a pair of 6’s. I pick up AJ in MP, and raise to 3xBB, but not risking the other half of my stack. This is a conscious tactic I use when I’m trying to double up. I’m trying to look like I’m on a steal, but want to encourage someone to try and push me off it by kicking me back. If I’m raised back all-in, I’m willing to take the likely coin-flip to double up. My goal is to double up, and not merely tread water by taking the blinds. If I go all-in immediately, I basically telegraph my hand as a desperation Ace and might only pick up the blinds by folding the small pairs or sooted connectors. I’d end up with one extra round of blinds and no guarantees that I’ll ever see an Ace again. A medium raise represents my best value bet because I might get two callers rather than just one, and possibly triple up on a decent flop.

Anyway, my AJ is raised back just enough to put me all-in [this is a sign that the guy knows what he’s doing since he knows how to manipulate the raise bar], everyone else folds, and I accept my fate by calling. He flips JJ and I know I need an Ace to survive. Sure enough, the flop is AT9, and I’m sitting purdy though still worried about the backdoor straight. The turn is the CASE frickin’ J [ahhh, a one-outer] and I’m hosed after the river is a rag. Un-fucking-believable. Sigh. Got some sympathetic comments in the chat box, but a loss is a loss. No such thing as a moral victory at the poker table.

So, I’ve basically made up my mind about online poker. I really think that I’ve burned out on the whole deal. Plus, it seems that the fish are catching up to me either because they’re improving or I’m regressing. I’ve still got about $110 still at Pacific, $80 at PokerStars, and $60 at Empire. I’ll run with that amount until I either build an online bankroll back over $1000 or bust out at -0-. Since I’ve already cashed out [as in, got the check already] roughly $1K ahead, all of that online money is EXTRA profit, and for the sake of this discussion, “play money”. I’m still gonna play the same games I was playing before, but probably with a looser (or loser)attitude. So keep an eye out for me at the $16 20-seaters at Pacific, the $6.50 or $15 Turbo SnGs at PokerStars, or the O8 SnGs at Empire. I should be easy pickings… but ya never know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

This is the most maddening game ever! Yesterday, I had basically decided to cash out my “protected” poker bankroll at Neteller ($1K), and planned to pull the bulk of my online bankroll ($300) from the multiple sites. I had around $50 at Empire and decided to screw around with it in $25/PLO8, knowing that I was willing to take more risks with it and could live with tilting it away in two turns.

The best laid plans… I won, more than doubling my buy-in. Somehow, I was freer with the bets, neglecting pot odds, playing more loosey-goosey, laughing at my suckouts. I wasn’t grinding, but “playing” with the table. I made the majority of my winnings on one sweet suckout where I read the opponent right, knew I was beaten going into the river, called a pot-sized bet, and sucked out on him. This was classic “implied tilt odds” because this guy was the table leader with $50+, and tilted away half his money on one hand and the other half in the next two hands, and promptly disappeared into cyberspace.

I was in BB with AK86 with no real low chances, but was allowed to check and see the flop for free with two others. KKT flopped and I bet $2 to test the waters, looking for the case K. I found it when the guy across from me popped the pot after one caller. I paused for a second and called and our sandwich player quickly folded. A Queen turned, and I threw another $2, just to confirm my feelings and basically telegraphing that I had a K. He immediately popped back, meaning he boated with either TT/QQ (and was trying to kill my K-high boat draw) or KT/KQ (and had already boated K-high). Remember, I had already MENTALLY cashed out, so I called, even though I knew he already had his boat and I was pulling for a 4-outer at best (three aces or the case king if he had QQ/TT). Last card was an Ace and I laughed out loud, knowing I had just made a horrific suckout. I bet the pot, he kicked me all-in, and I showed my Kings over Aces boat and he showed his Kings over Queens. I resisted the temptation to mock openly, because I knew I would be steaming if I was in his shoes, but boy, was that funny!

It shows how all the analysis about table odds and percentage plays and all that other crap means very little IF THE MONEY DOESN’T MATTER TO SOMEONE. What makes online poker difficult and challenging is that you have NFI what someone’s motivation is, what their cash situation is, or what their mindset is. You can only assume a rational model that fits a few basic characteristics (loose, tight, aggressive, weak) and fit your decision-making around those models. That’s why tournament play is more predictable. Everyone has the same goal and all but the winner will eventually bust out, meaning you are all operating under the similar definitions of success and failure. That’s why I hate re-buys, it skews the play.

Baseball Predictions :

Red Sox in six. MVP of ALCS = David Ortiz. The Wankees don’t have left-handed pitching to counter him and short RF porches in both stadia means big numbers for him.

Cards in five. MVP of NLCS = Jim Edmonds. Even if Clemens were to pitch game two on short rest, he hasn’t been dominant in the postseason. At last check, the Astros were trying to rent Randy Johnson for the series…

Monday, October 11, 2004

Decision time. I played three SnGs at three different sites last night, and crapped out on all three. I may pull the bulk of my money out of the online poker sites and contemplate whether to keep hemorrhaging cash, or be happy with my brief little run of luck, and cash out with a tidy profit.

Not that my horrendous play was the sole contributing factor to my shutout; I was sucked out on multiple hands, but I also made some terrible reads and some shaky calls to complete the How-to-go-bankrupt Trifecta. The worst suckout was when I flopped a boat late in an O8 SnG. I had crap in the BB, Q743, but it was checked around, so I saw the flop for free. Q77 flopped and I had the boat plus some low possibilities. I bet (this was limit) and was raised by one guy with two other callers. I just called, trying to keep everyone along for the ride. T on the turn locked out the low draws and I checked, trying to extract some information. The raiser from the previous round bet followed quickly by two folds (fishing for low, no doubt). Now that it was head-to-head, I kicked him back, wary of the TT that might have had me beat, but didn’t see him raising me without at least a Q or a 7. A King came on the river, putting a possible straight on the board. I bet, he raised, I re-raised, he capped, and showed…. KKxx for the rivered boat, a two-outer. Nice to get all my chips in as a prohibitive favorite and lose to 5% shot. Went from possible chip leader to 30 chips in one card.

The other SnG losses were almost entirely due to my own incompetence, overvaluing TPTK to a board of rags (big hole for me) and ignoring the possibility of pocket pairs. I’ve been willing to cripple my stack by pushing hard with shit like K9s on a board of 963. Of course, someone has the TT or JJ to knock me down to the felt. Sigh. And I don’t learn! I just keep doing it… That’s why I may need to step away entirely and keep my ill-gotten gains.

Sports-wise, my predictions on the MLB playoffs were pretty accurate. I pegged two series exactly (Boston in 3, St Louis in 4), and would’ve had the other two right if Ron Gardenhire and Phil Garner hadn’t royally effed up their games. Gardenhire left Joe Nathan in too long in Game Two and let him fall apart. Poor Nathan had the same defeated look he had in 2002 when he was with the Giants. Garner pulled a Dusty Baker and overmanaged yesterday’s game against Atlanta, pulling Clemens when there was really no reason to (see Ortiz, Russ), and letting his bullpen cough up the potential series clincher.

The Niners won, beating the pathetic Cards in a battle of the two of the three worst teams in the NFC (I put the Bears in the mix too). Tim Rattay looks exactly like Steve Bono and Elvis Grbac, mediocre quarterbacks who can put up big numbers in a pass-centric 49er offense, but really can’t effectively carry a team through an entire season. 4-12 is a distinct possibility this year. Funny thing is that I would almost prefer 2-14 since we could fire Erickson and draft Mike Williams #1 next year. Jeff Tedford in 49er scarlet? Hmmm….

Friday, October 08, 2004

Q: What’s the difference between Ricky Williams and John Kerry?

A: One got a free ride to college, got drafted, changed teams, quit on his comrades, and changed his mind constantly about what he wanted… and the other plays football.

Thank you. I'll be here all week. Please tip your waitresses. Try the veal. Drive safely.

Shit, I’m getting fancy-play-itis again. I’m frighteningly predictable here. I start winning a few SnGs, build up the bankroll a bit, then I get lackadaisical and start making unnecessary fancy plays to try and maintain my interest. Bankroll slides a bit, until I get re-focused on steady, geologically sound play, enabling me to win a few SnGs, and away we go again….

Last night, I was chip leader in a SnG (don’t even remember which site I was on, a sure sign of over-playing) with only 4-5 players left. I could’ve safely coasted into the money, but started throwing my chips around like Gus Hansen on ecstasy, making unnecessarily large bluff bets into desperate shortstacks and getting burned until I ended up bubbling out. I did this TWICE at two different sites in one night. Sheesh. I really need to step away from the tables for awhile until I get the focus and concentration I need to be successful.

I do the same thing with golf. If I step onto a course now, with little or no practice for months, I’d probably play ABC golf, aim for the middle of greens, and play bogey (or slightly worse) golf. If I play a couple of times a week for a month or so, eventually I start thinking I’m freaking Tiger Woods and start doing goofy shit like “I think I can fade it around that tree trunk in front of me” or “I’ll play a low hook around the pond in front of the green” and start writing 8’s and 9’s on the scorecard. I’m almost better as a purely instinctive player, letting natural ability take over, rather than consciously attempting elaborate plays. So, I’ll probably take the weekend off from poker to try and get my mental game back to the fully-upright and locked position. Hopefully, I’ll come back strong on Monday.

Debate 2 Prediction (domestic issues):

Kerry : Tax breaks for the rich, blah blah blah. Jobs going overseas, blah blah blah.

Bush : Family values, blah blah blah. Homeland security, blah blah blah.

Audience : Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

TV Audience :

Talking heads : Kerry won. Bush won. Kerry won. Bush won. Blah blah blah.

Here’s a quick quiz for all of you: What did Bill Clinton promise in his debates with Bob Dole? What did GW promise in his debates with Al Gore? What about Kennedy and Nixon?

Answer: NOBODY REMEMBERS. These “debates” are waste of time. A more effective election tool would be a simple questionnaire that asks about “what they would do” rather than “what do they think about what happened”. For example, let each candidate write 100 words on “What I will do about the eventual collapse of Social Security” and “What I will do in Iraq” and “What I will do about protecting our country” and a multitude of other topics. Black out the names of the candidates, have people choose their preferred answer for each question, assign a weight to each question based on relative importance to that voter, and have a computer recommend the candidate that most closely meets their most important views on the issues. I think it would be a revelation to both sides how much the views criss-cross the aisle, and how the media and personal views skew the message one way or the other.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

One for the thumb! Now I’ve won a SnG at FIVE different online poker sites! Of course, this speaks volumes about how pathetic my life is, and how I seek outside validation for my own self-image, and how I’m basically a complete online poker whore… Finally lost my cherry at PokerStars, winning a robust $27 in a $6 “Limit Hold’Em Turbo SnG” yesterday. Blinds increase every 5 minutes in this structure and it’s basically the poker equivalent of a Chinese fire drill with chips running in mad circles around the table.

Strangely, in limit play, “Turbo” tourneys seem to favor the grinders in the early stages since there are usually several chasers to each pot, and if you can be patient and wait for a premium hand, you can drag pretty substantial pots. Then, as the blinds increase faster than the fish can adjust their play, you can steal pots by playing off your “tight” table image (and the increasing pucker factor of the escalating blinds) by cranking up the aggression factor. One thing is for sure, it favors a flexible table approach more than it favors the pure aggression of the maniac or the robo-play of the tight-weak player. “Turbo” gets a thumbs-up from me.

Caution: Political content below!

Frankly, the Democrats must think that the average voter is a complete buffoon. Their anti-Bush rhetoric is filled with illogic and contradictions, but they keep trumpeting the same notes.

1. “Bush lied about Iraq and WMD” – Pure rhetoric. This assumes two “facts”, neither of which have been substantiated. One, this assumes Bush KNEW that Iraq didn’t have WMD, and Two, he deliberately lied about it to the American people as a rationale to invade.

A more likely scenario is that the CIA gave him effed-up intelligence, which was supported by the equally incompetent Russian and British intelligencia, and that Bush used this information to support his decision, which may or may not have been personal. Regardless, he accomplished Goal 1A, which was to eliminate an anti-American dictator from a strategically important region.

2. “Iraq never had WMD” – Ummm, just because the “weapons inspectors” didn’t find any, doesn’t mean they were never there. Put it this way, do you think NFL players use steroids? Because very few have been caught… Do you think that NFL, MLB, and NBA players do drugs? Because very few have been caught…

Why haven’t they been caught (meaning Iraq, NFL, MLB, NBA)? Well, if you KNEW when you were going to be tested or inspected, you would hide the evidence, wouldn’t you? UN inspectors gave Iraq MONTHS to hide the shit while they hid their eyes and counted to, oh, about 40,000 before calling out “Ready or not, here we come!” Hell, it’s not like the stuff was in a building marked “WMD Industries – No inspectors allowed” or “Anthrax-R-Us”. Ask yourself this: Had the US not threatened to invade, would Iraq have pursued anthrax or ricin production for terrorist reasons or genocidal warfare? Yes, and that justifies the invasion.

3. “Bush had no strategy in Iraq” – OK, this one is true. He had a white knight mentality (which incidentally isn’t unique to him). Once Saddam was gone, he thought that the people of Iraq would come streaming out of their homes, parading yellow ribbons, and clamoring for free elections. Well, that wasn’t even close to being right. It was a colossal misjudgment based upon the American cultural ideal of FREEDOM being a good thing, ignoring the effect of a repressive anti-Western religion, years of dictatorial oppression, and a fear of the military.

4. “Bush is dumb” – He may not be an articulate public speaker, but he ain’t dumb. How many of you have gone to Yale? Graduated law school? Owned a major league baseball team? Run a company? If you want articulateness, vote for Edwin Newman.

5. “Bush gave tax breaks to the rich” – He gave tax breaks to EVERYONE. Didn’t any of you take Economics in college? The rich pay waaaaay more than the poor, so in real dollars the rich saved more, but they SHOULD. Think of it like this, Joe Millionaire makes $1M a year and is in the 35% tax bracket, so his tax burden is $350K. Joe Sixpack makes $40K a year and is in the 25% tax bracket, so his tax burden is $10K. If taxes are cut by 10% across the board, the rich guy saves $35K, the not-so-rich guy saves $1K. Is that bad? Let’s say both guys spend their entire tax break, which amount helps the economy more, $35K or $1K? Sheeesh. If you raise taxes on the rich, they’ll just take their money and investments elsewhere (like Monaco), and hurt the US economy that way. God, liberals are fiscal retards.

6. “Bush will outlaw gay marriage and abortion” – Ummm, no he won’t. It’s virtually impossible for a President to do, no matter what his personal views are. Ronald Reagan didn’t pass any anti-abortion legislation, and he was the most powerful anti-abortion president (in terms of Congressional clout) that we’ve had in the post-Roe v. Wade years. Gay marriage should be an issue for the states, and frankly, the federal government has no business legislating ANYTHING about marriage or personal relationships, nor would any of it pass any court judgment. Of course, this means that we shouldn’t ADD any language guaranteeing special treatment either…

Like I’ve said, I don’t think Bush is a particularly strong President, possibly not even a good one, but Kerry hasn’t done ANYTHING from a legislative perspective, a leadership perspective, or even a campaigning perspective (other than saying “I’m not him”) to indicate that he would be preferable. In fact, if anything, it shows how weak the Democrats are that he would be their standard bearer. Quick questions for you Kerry supporters: What’s his view on tax increases? Cutting government programs? HOW to get France/Germany to support Middle East peace?

Kerry is the political equivalent of a Monday morning quarterback. He complains a lot, because it’s easy when you haven’t really done it, but he doesn’t seem to have any concrete solutions. It would be the equivalent of putting me in charge of the SF 49ers. Hmmmmm....

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

I just had to post this story...

BUCHAREST (Reuters) - A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency said Monday.

It said 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.
"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying. "I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."
Doctors said the man, who was brought in by an ambulance bleeding heavily, was now out of danger.

Hmmmm, do you think alcohol might have had something to do with this?

A few quick thoughts today:

· Wifey’s cool with the poker. I used the “it’s a hobby” argument, which (in her oddly twisted female logic) was superior to the “I’m making money off dumb people” argument. Whatever. Anyway, I celebrated by winning $64 in another 20-seater.

· Cheney should win the debate, though former-trial-lawyer Edwards will be in all his James-Spader-ruining-the-last-season-of-The-Practice mode. Cheney will win by following some of my basic rules for debate:

- When debating someone younger and better looking, always belittle their age and good looks by calling them demeaning nicknames like “Slick” or “Sparky” while bringing up their inexperience. For example, “When I was protecting this country as Secretary of Defense, Sparky over there was just learning to drive.” Or “You might be younger and have more hair, Pretty Boy, but while you were getting your hair fluffed and planning your next lawsuit, I was studying a DOD briefing on North Korea.”

- When debating a lawyer, keep reminding the public that, well, he’s a lawyer. “Slick, you lawyers always try to twist the facts until you free criminals like OJ and Scott Peterson. Well, not on my watch!”

- If attacked on your business dealings, always display pride in your business world roots while attacking your opponent’s lack of business experience. After all, there are more people who are working in companies than lawyers (though the gap is narrowing). “You’re right, Junior, I worked at Haliburton for years. But I’m proud that I helped it grow until we increased our workforce by 438% (make up a number, no one really cares) and all of those people had families. Your frivolous lawsuits as a trial lawyer actually cost people their jobs and increased insurance costs for ALL Americans, and I won’t allow trial lawyers like you to continue to ruin this economy!”

· Some quick baseball hits:

St Louis over LA in four.
Houston over Atlanta in four.
Minnesota over NY in five.
Boston over Anaheim in three.

St Louis over Houston in five.
Boston over Minnesota in five.

WS will be seven games. Boston will win with Johnny Damon scoring the winning run. So let it be written. So let it be done.

Monday, October 04, 2004

An absolutely abysmal sports week. Saturday, the Giants coughed up the division title to the hated Doggers. Sunday, the 49ers laid a big frickin’ egg in a primetime stinker against the hated Lambs. Bright side to all this, I can now completely ignore the MLB playoffs since I don’t give a crap about any of the remaining eight teams. The only way I’ll watch any of the playoffs is if the Red Sox make it to a potentially WS clinching game. That way, if they win (haha, fat chance), I can take full credit for lifting the overhyped curse. After all, this was the first year I attended a game at Fenway, and they could win it all… coincidence? I think not.

In fact, if the Sox win the WS this year, I should get a frickin’ parade through the streets for being the good luck charm that freed the entire nation from listening to the same old crap about “No no Nanette” and Babe Ruth and Buckner and Dent. Not only should Boston give me season tickets, but Chicago should be offering me money to attend a game at Chewing Gum Field to lift the curse of the billy goat, Bartman, and Bull Durham. Yeah, that’s it….

I did a stupid thing yesterday. I told my wife about how much money I won playing online poker. Stupid me, I expected praise. Instead, she went BALLISTIC, ranting and raving about how she knows husbands who are compulsive gamblers (true) and how I’m playing with her mom’s money (false) and how I’m gambling the family nest egg (false) and how online gambling is dangerous (kinda true) and how she can’t trust me with money now (false) and yadda yadda yadda… Sigh.

I offered to show her the entire deposit history for all the poker sites, which would show how I’ve never deposited more than $150 at ANY site, and how I’ve withdrawn over $1000 from the various online poker venues, but she refused. I’m not entirely clear on that logic…. Yell at your husband about how much he’s gambling, but refusing to view the proof that he isn’t gambling very much. She calmed down as the night wore on, but I think I’ve opened a can of worms that ain’t gonna be capped very easily. The main problem is that we know some LOSERS who fucked up their family finances with sports gambling, and my wife has been programmed to think that husbands and online gambling are a bad mix.

I tried explaining to her the concept of sports gambling (vigorish = -EV) vs. casino gambling (chance and house advantage = -EV) vs. poker (zero-sum game where skill dictates profit/loss). I tried explaining the difference between games of chance and games of skill. Paradoxically, she thinks that casino games are “safer” than online poker because casinos are brick and mortar even though the brick and mortar was paid for by gamblers who lost. I tried explaining to her about online poker site security, but didn’t have any articles immediately handy. Can any of you help a brother out here and forward links to articles about how secure the major online sites are? (National sources rather than poker sources would be ideal). Thanks in advance for any help here.

Friday, October 01, 2004

A quick thanks go out to SirFWALGman for the open invite to play some $.50/1 last night. Of course, I got milked for $15, but it was entertaining if only to see how many times people raised with the Hammer. I got it once, raised and won when the board flopped A72. I folded a soooted Hammer pre-flop (horrors!) and promptly saw the flopped would-be flush. I also reaffirmed my hesitance to play more than one table at a time. I proved completely incapable of bi-tabling this game (and the conversation) and playing an O8 SnG, and when I bailed on the ring game, this is what I had in the SnG:

200/400 TourneyOmahaHiLoGameTable (Limit) (Tournament 6197768) - Thu Sep 30 22:07:29 EDT 2004
Table Table 11108 (Real Money) -- Seat 1 is the button
Total number of players : 7
Seat 1: ToddCommishE (404)
Seat 2: Garry1944 (477)
Seat 4: jrfosse (2564)
Seat 5: scans (922)
Seat 7: Kate22 (1369)
Seat 8: bigt4444 (1321)
Seat 10: KINGTHREEE (943)

By the end, a whopping twenty minutes later, it was:

500/1000 TourneyOmahaHiLoGameTable (Limit) (Tournament 6197768) - Thu Sep 30 22:27:40 EDT 2004
Table Table 11108 (Real Money) -- Seat 4 is the button
Total number of players : 2
Seat 1: ToddCommishE (4636)
Seat 4: jrfosse (3364)

And I snapped him off the very next hand. Amazing what one can do with a little focus.

I caved in and slid my first stake over to PokerStars, a piddly $100, but with a bonus of $25 through that I need to work off. I know a lot of the online gurus swear by this site, and while the glitz and eye-candy makes it an attractive “experience”, the online cardroom is a bit of a letdown. The card animation is really slow, as is the play and click response. I immediately turned off the “Images” because I don’t really give a rat’s ass what anyone looks like at the table, especially when it probably isn’t them anyway. I uploaded a picture of myself for my Image though, just in case some cyberstalker wants to know if I’m really the Todd he knew in high school, and so CJ and Otis won't mistake me for some other ToddCommish.

PokerStars has the nicest PRE-game lobby/entry of any site I’ve seen; I guess the online equivalent of the lobby at Caesars or Bellagio, with lots of glitz and glamour and gold. The tourney/game listing is a little cluttered though with messy, confusing formatting for the tables. It’s almost like they run TOO many SnG tables and consequently have an incredibly long list with nobody waiting and only one or two tables actually close to filling. I registered for a two-table O8 SnG as the sixth person and sat for twenty minutes before I noticed a single-table O8 $5+.5 that needed just two more to start, joined in, and still waited five minutes for the tournament to start. And while it was nice to start with 1500 chips, one of the appeals of SnG is the quick resolution (less than an hour) and the 1500 chip bankroll means a longer game, even with only nine players rather than the ten at most sites.

Level of play started very weak-tight with limpers galore (probably due to the low blind to bankroll ratio) with the more aggressive players asserting themselves as the blinds escalated. Nice note-taking interface (almost like a Palm) might come in handy down the road, it wasn’t really necessary for a single table. Cards seemed to be dealt verrrrrry slowly and jerkily. The betting interface was standard, but when it was your turn, the buttons got VERY big. This will help me when I’m, oh, eighty years old or so, but for now, was just annoying. Funny but if I sit and fold and observe for a cycle or two, I can pretty much figure out who’s gonna be around fighting for the money. Three guys got notes that said "Idiot. Will chase to the river. Raises with A2 preflop". Eighty minutes later, I ended up third for a whopping $3.5 profit, but was mainly just trying to acclimate to the interface and pace of play.

I still say that UltimateBet has the best playing interface. The empty chairs, the black background, and the green felt just seems right to me. Of course, I also lost my entire buy-in there, so you can see that I didn't let the nice interface affect my crappy play. PokerStars is almost TOO busy for me. I think the heavy page graphics slow down the chip movement and the card dealing which seemed klugey and choppy. The lobby is almost blindingly graphics intensive, but fun in a kitschy way. Oh, and gosh, didja know Raymer and Moneymaker played there…? WE GET IT. All in all, just another option on the online poker menu. I’m there to win money, not to admire the graphics. Time will tell if I can accomplish that.