Saturday, July 23, 2005

· Buy stock in Paula Creamer. While not in Annika Sorenstam’s league
golf-wise (no one really is), she has more than enough camera appeal and
personality to be a powerful force in the endorsement world, much more so
than the gawky, dog-faced Michele Wie. The fact that she’s from my current
hometown and was born in the same hospital as my kids has nothing to do with
- Me, 6/20/05

Now, Creamer just won the Evian Masters in France, beating Lorena Ochoa and Michele Wie by 8 shots. And watch, the headlines will all be "Wie almost wins tournament". I'm still baffled by the media fascination with Wie, a golfer with the body and face of a praying mantis... and NO wins.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

A fun quiz for all of you…

Match the union chief with the appropriate players union:

1. Gene Upshaw -------a. Major League Baseball
2. Bob Goodenow ------b. National Basketball Association
3. Billy Hunter ---------c. National Football League
4. Donald Fehr ---------d. National Hockey League

Answers: 1c, 2d, 3b, 4a. If you knew more than two, it proves how professional sports in this country have been completely fucked up by organized labor over the last thirty years.

OK, quiz part deux…

Match the union chief with his shining moment:

1. Gene Upshaw ----------a. Labor dispute in 1987 that accomplished nothing
2. Bob Goodenow ---------b. Labor dispute in 2004 that accomplished nothing
3. Billy Hunter ------------c. Labor dispute in 1998 that accomplished nothing
4. Donald Fehr ------------d. Labor dispute in 1994 that accomplished nothing

I admit, this was kind of a trick question, with the labor dispute directly across from the bozo who was the union stooge du jour. Also note that many disputes end up as lockouts (rather than strikes), where management preemptively shuts the doors on the players.

Now just one more… humor me, this will be the last one….

Match the union chief with his qualifications to speak for a union of millionaire athletes:

1. Gene Upshaw -------a. Hall-of-Fame offensive lineman
2. Bob Goodenow ------b. Lawyer, played with the Howe brothers
3. Billy Hunter ---------c. Lawyer, pardoned Patty Hearst
4. Donald Fehr ---------d. Lawyer, got Marvin Miller’s coffee

Gotcha, another trick question. None of them are qualified.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Right now, all poker sites seem to be gearing up for the WSOP dorkfest that is sure to bump up deposits by millions of dollars. It’ll be interesting to see whether they choose to wait for organic growth from the WSOP coverage or spend on bonus programs to try and lure newbies. My guess is that the picking will be pretty ripe next week when the televised coverage starts, and that you should be able to build your online funds simply by picking off that low-hanging fruit.

- Me, 7/6/05

Nice to know that I can be right about some things.

In the few days since the WSOP ended, play in the Party Poker $10 SnGs has been absolutely abhorrent, enabling me to cash in five of six and win two of those. I expect the trend to continue, if not accelerate, with the beginning of the televised, Chad-ified WSOP.

Remember, most WSOP newbie viewers will likely be trying these $10 SnGs to start, since they want the rush of pushing all-in at the “final table”, don’t want to commit a ton of money (I would guess the typical first deposit is $100), and aren’t stupid enough to pay the 20% vig of the $5+1 SnGs. They won’t be playing limit games (“Where’s the fun in that? I wanna push all-in!”), they certainly won’t be playing Omaha (“Now, let me get this straight… how many cards do I use from my hand?”), and they won’t be playing anything higher than $20 to start.

But I called DIBS, so if I’m already at a table, go find somewhere else to feed. Eh, most experienced poker players/bloggers have already progressed well beyond the wading pools of low-limit anyway…

Besides, I’m a firm believer in the Theory of Relativity as it applies to poker. Even if I’m an idiot (and I probably am), if I find a table with bigger idiots, I should be able to profit long-term. Hell, even if one or two are just as smart or smarter, and I get lucky once or twice, I can still win.

Oh, and a side note. RIP Montgomery Scott, Chief Engineering Officer, USS Enterprise.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Thoughts for the Monday following the WSOP:

- Anyone else think Matusow tanked so he wouldn’t have to answer questions about the WSOP Champ having a rap sheet? I mean, he was out before I could even hit “refresh” once on Pauly’s blog. Sheesh, even Party Poker donkeys last longer at SnGs.

- Granted, it might not be as romantic, but parlaying $10K into $7.5M would only take parlaying ten straight passes at craps (much less if you take odds). Seems to me that your odds are significantly better trying craps. Granted, places 2-600 still have payouts at the WSOP, but the ultimate payout is still –EV compared to craps.

- If you prefer roulette, you could just pick one number to put your $10K on, and if you win, let it ride. Even with the horrific 5% house advantage, your true odds and EV are better with this strategy.

- Hell, you could play a Keno ticket for $10K and have better EV.

So why do people who are “dead money” continue to pony up the $10K entry fee for the WSOP when they could legitimately find better odds and EV simply by walking into the next room and playing “Let it Ride” or Caribbean Stud?

Mathematically, the WSOP is a bad bet… for EVERYONE who enters. Think about that.

Friday, July 15, 2005

So we’re down to the final table… Mike the Mouth is the only BIG name there, maybe Andy Black to the more knowledgeable, but basically a group of pretty unrecognizable faces. No doubt ESPN is cranking up the UpCloseAndPersonal crapfest to “introduce” us to each one of the final nine. It’ll be interesting to see how deep they delve into the Mouth’s recent drug bust, especially if he wins the whole thing.

“Gee, look kids, you can sell be a drug courier AND win the main event at the WSOP. Now he has $7.5M to finance bigger and bigger drug deals! God Bless America!”

Coke dealers all over the country are catching flights to Vegas, lining up to start financing Matusow in future poker tournaments to launder their money. “Hey Mikey, howz about I front you the $10K entry fee, and you kick me $12K plus 20% if you cash. Oh, and if they ask, I sell aluminum siding.”

Raymer’s run was impressive, considering that every two-bit WSOP junkie was probably gunning for him this year. They could consider a “shooting star” promotion for the WSOP, and give a free entry next year to whoever busts out someone from the previous year’s final table.

So now they start out with blinds greater than my annual salary, and antes big enough to send my kids through college. $56M in chips around the table. It’s like a poker game at the Microsoft Board of Directors or the New York Yankee locker room. It’s ridiculous that the final pot will be in the neighborhood of the GNP of the Falkland Islands (It’s true. I looked it up here)

My bet to win it? Aaron Kanter. Why? I dunno, he’s from around here. Or at least a couple of hours away... Second choice is Tex. Never bet against someone named for the game you’re playing.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

I touched upon this subject last week, but in light of recent events, it merits repeating. I’ve won just as many PGA tournaments as Michelle Wie. I’ve made just as many cuts in PGA tournaments as Michelle Wie. Hell, I’ve won just as many LPGA tournaments as Michelle Wie. Just like I’ve won as many WSOP bracelets as Tobey McGuire, James Woods, and Phil Gordon too…

Granted, she’s the greatest golfer in the world, male or female, under the age of 16. Fine. WE GET IT.

But she hasn’t WON a fucking thing. Can we calm the hype machine down a bit until she at least has won a real trophy? Once again, she entered a PGA event. Once again, she didn’t make the cut. Once again, she choked down the stretch. She doesn’t know HOW to win. She’s a great player, but not a winner.

And why is she entering men’s tournaments? Even she admits that her goal isn’t to win these tournaments, it’s just to make the cut. What the hell kind of attitude is that? She wants to prove she can come in 70th in a PGA event?! Whoop-de-freakin’-do.

Her other stated goal is to make the Masters field. Why? So she can hit 80+ at Augusta? She’s been getting advice from some pretty effed up people. She should be learning to WIN at the junior level with less pressure and less hype so that when she comes down the stretch in a real tournament, she can handle her nerves and not collapse like a cheap tent.

For the next few years, look for Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer to win many more times than the more physically talented Wie. They’ve been groomed on the junior circuits, and have the mental toughness to sustain their golf swings during a final round. Oh, and they’ve won tournaments before….

Monday, July 11, 2005

Checking out Pauly’s chip counts at the end of the “second” round, a few things leap out at me….

• “Fossilman” in the top ten. How phenomenal would it be if he makes it to the final table this year? They were (rightfully) touting Harrington’s back-to-back final tables the previous two years as one of the great accomplishments in WSOP history. With the exponential growth of the fields, Raymer’s accomplishment to be in the top 10% this year already is pretty comparable

• Check out numbers 40, 52, and 65 on the list. Wouldn’t it be cool to have a Wang, a Butt, and a Bush at the final table? “Wang raised Bush with a big pair in his pocket. Butt had Big Slick in the hole. Oh, the possibilities are endless….

• #208- Dutch Boyd

• Here’s my prediction for the final table… some Asian guy will be there.

• #331 – some guy named… Hammers. Pauly needs to interview him.

Friday, July 08, 2005

How fun. I bubbled out of two SnGs last night, dropping $33. One was a horrific 2-outer that I played perfectly, but lost despite a heavily weighted coin in my favor. The other was more a case of misjudging the finish line and overbetting a flopped two pair. Both times, I probably would’ve sealed the deal if I had won the last pot.

In a $10+1 on Party with four players left and everyone pretty even, I pick up Hellmuths UTG and raise 3xBB. Pretty standard blind stealing raises had been the norm and both blinds decided to call. Flop was Qxx and both blinds checked to me. I dribbled out a 2xBB bet feigning weakness. The SB raised it up, BB folded, and I immediately pushed, putting the SB on a big Q. I was right and he called with his KQ. Naturally, the turn was a queen and IGHN. Moral victories are an oxymoron in poker. Victories are measured in dollars won, not in slick moves executed.

In a $20+2 on FTP with four players left and everyone pretty even, I have K3 in BB. Two limpers and I tap the virtual table to see a K73 flop, all clubs. I fire out a pot-sized bet, pricing out any flush draws. I get one caller, presumably on a straight and/or flush draw and not understanding pot odds OR with Kx. Turn is a red rag (ewww… that sounds gross). I figure if I check, I’m giving him a chance to draw on me free, so I push, trying to put him to the gutcheck if he’s really on a draw. Turns out he had JTc all along and my four-outer doesn’t come on the river and I’m bubbled again. Sigh.

I’m getting kinda reckless with my online money. It’s like it I’m playing with Monopoly money and I’m not financially or emotionally invested in the outcome anymore. Part of me already sees the money as a sunk cost, and whatever becomes of the $200 or so I have squirreled away in these poker sites is just gravy. Now, I know that attitude is necessary at some point (or you’ll play excessively tight), but even I’m surprised at my complacence. Losing to the two-outer in the SnG just merited a wry smile and a shake of the head. Last year, I would’ve gone apeshit and ranted and raved about the bad beat. Regardless of income level, dropping $20-50 (the payout structure for the $10 SnG) should be disturbing. It’s a dinner for four at Chili’s or a couple pairs of jeans or a credit card payment. I probably should be more upset. Maybe I’m getting jaded. Maybe I’m subconsciously satisfied with cashing out way ahead. Dropping $33 in a night should bother me more… but it doesn’t. Crap.

*** 913pm pacific time - Another bubble on FTP. I have KTo, he has Q9o, I push on a flop of K97. According to the calculator, it's 4-1 in my favor. Turn is a 9, river is a Q for a boat... for him. Fucking figures.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Warning: Semi-political crime rant content ahead!

• Child molesters should get automatic life sentences or death… period. Only judges with children should be allowed to preside over molestation cases, and bail should only be offered if the offender volunteers for surgical castration (which should be done anyway). Any parole will be spent at the judge’s home with his children/grandchildren. Maybe then they’ll care about the rest of the world.

• The judge in Minnesota, the prosecutor, and the public defender should all be disbarred for allowing Joseph Duncan to be freed on bail. If ANY of them had been doing their jobs, four innocent people would still be alive and a little girl wouldn’t be traumatized for life. For those of you who are arguing for the public defender, I’d like to point out that DEFENDING THE PUBLIC should be his primary consideration.

• Why is Joseph Duncan still alive anyway? Can’t we just hand him a small-caliber gun and have the entire police force go Butch Cassidy on him?

• Sending your pretty teenaged daughter to Aruba for a high-school graduation bash with a bunch of drunken, party-crazy, bar-hopping teenagers is just one step below sending your prepubescent son to Neverland Ranch.

• Anyone still want to argue that we should negotiate a solution with Islamic extremists? You must not commute on public transit… or watch the news. Last I checked, there weren’t any military personnel on the London subways that were targeted, so the chickenshit terrorists decided to blow up innocent people just trying to get to their jobs. Real brave… Y’know, if they really believed in their cause and martyrdom, they’d launch a full frontal attack on the occupation forces, rather than these covert hit-and-run tactics on innocent civilians.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Ahhh, the perils of parenthood in the 21st century. My twelve-year old son is spending his summer afternoons IMing a couple of girls he met at camp. They’ve already met up a few times to see a movie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), go to Starbucks (!), and hang out at Jamba Juice. He swears that they’re “just friends”, but I can tell he’s smitten and probably on his way to a precipitous heartbreak. When I was twelve, I was playing sports, mixing in some poker, and catching frogs at the creek. It wasn’t so very different from the Stand By Me or Sandlot life, minus the clubhouses.

Nowadays, at the same age, kids are starting relationships at Summer Camp (Christian, even) and continuing them on the Internet, hooking up for lattes and frappucinos. Whatever happened to the telephone? Sigh, I guess I’m just an old fart.

Took my daughter to the orthodontist this morning and found out where my next $1000 will be going. In reality, my daughter could probably live a happy, healthy life with the crooked teeth that God gave her. She’s a beautiful girl with bright almond eyes, guys are already lining up to talk to her. Are straight teeth THAT important?

Oh, I cashed in a 60+ seat 7-stud tourney last night on FTP… and lost money. What kind of fucked-up payout structure is that? Of course, I only paid $5.50 to enter, but only getting $5.10 for 14th is kinda lame. Why not just pay ten and make the payout profitable? Anyway, I learned that bluffing is pointless because if someone has paired their doorcard or has a pair in the hole, they’re in for the duration.

I did manage to hit my first stud straight flush for a nice pot though. First three cards were 9J/T, all hearts, so I completed from MP. When 4th street was the Qh, I raised a guy with Ax on board and brought along three callers. The next card was a brick, but someone paired their board and led out. I soft-called my monster draw, trying to bring everyone else along but managed to lose one player. Sixth street was the lovely 8h. I was thrilled to have the pair lead out and be raised. I three-bet the nuts and the pair capped. Same thing on the river and my straight flush sank a full boat and an ace-high flush. This gave me a healthy enough stack that I basically coasted into the money despite getting NO cards. Still, I need to learn how to close out these tournaments. I’m pretty sure I can cash in the majority of stud tournaments just by playing smart ABC poker, but I want to break my cherry and win one of these.

Last week, I busted out of Empire with my final $20+ at the $25NL Hold’em table with top set to a rivered straight. I had raised preflop and pushed on the flop to price out the straight draws, but a typical Party/Empire gambooler ignored the 6-5 pot odds on his 2-1 draw to suck out on me. Oh well. I’ll explain to the repo man that I had a clear mathematical advantage.

Basically, at this point, I’m consolidating to Party and FullTilt. I have zero balances at Pacific, PokerStars (well, ten cents), Ultimate, and Empire. If I build up the balances, I’ll start pulling some back to Neteller for whoring, but I won’t focus on chasing the boni until I’ve built back up to $1K or so. Right now, all poker sites seem to be gearing up for the WSOP dorkfest that is sure to bump up deposits by millions of dollars. It’ll be interesting to see whether they choose to wait for organic growth from the WSOP coverage or spend on bonus programs to try and lure newbies. My guess is that the picking will be pretty ripe next week when the televised coverage starts, and that you should be able to build your online funds simply by picking off that low-hanging fruit.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Back from DFW, I wrote this on a plane on Friday....

Since I haven’t unloaded a profanity laced tirade in, oh, a couple of weeks, I thought I would release some of this pent-up anger.

• America West fucking sucks. No two ways about it. I’ve had to gate check a tiny suitcase simply because the gate agents and the flight attendants are too fucking afraid to enforce the carry-on restrictions. You know the one I’m talking about… the “two items, one of which must fit in the overhead compartment and one under the seat in front of you.” Apparently, that restriction doesn’t apply to the first fifty assholes who bring two suitcases each that could house Macaulay Culkin AND Jacko, and slide these Samsonite monoliths sideways into the overhead bin, immediately filling all the available space. Listen, either have a restriction or don’t, I don’t fucking care. But if you’re gonna claim you have one, make people follow it.

• And these seats are ridiculously narrow with virtually no leg room. I have an aisle seat, so my legs are stretched diagonally into the aisle, but the shithead behind me has decided to stretch his legs all the way under my seat until they’re in front of ME. Did you ever see the TV show where the guy rips out the front seat in a VW bug and sits in the backseat to drive? He’s behind me. Dick.

• Some fat broad is wearing way too much perfume too. Listen, if you’re so foul smelling that pelicans and stray cats are following you around, it’s probably time to just take a fucking bath, and not time to simply try to mask the odor of that decaying beached whale between your legs by emptying the duty-free shop of Obsession samples.

• Ahhh, I just enjoyed my in-flight meal of Lilliputian pretzels and Bloody Mary mix. Whenever I know that I’m not getting a substantive meal, I always attempt to get some sustenance by having this sodium-laden quasi-food. I figure it’s the culinary and dietary equivalent of eating some ketchup packets and a salt shaker, but at least I’m not chewing on the tattered, sweaty pillow left behind by a previous passenger.

• Oh, and what’s with these fucktards that get up from their seats as soon as the wheels leave the ground? The scolding voice of the stewardess is gonna have absolutely no effect on anyone dumb enough to think that it’s safe to walk around in a plane that is climbing on a thirty degree incline. Shoot the bastards.

• I had dinner in an amazing place last night. No menus. You had two choices, fried chicken or chicken-fried steak. Side dishes? Again, no choice. You got mashed potatoes, sausage gravy, creamed corn, buttermilk biscuits, and jalapenos, but all-you-could-eat on the sides. And every. Single. Thing. Was. Delicious. I could barely walk out the place, but that could be due to all the Shiners I drank. Nine people and the food bill was under $100. If you ever visit the Dallas area, check out Babe’s.

• One thing I learned about Texas was that restaurants that don’t have a liquor license allow you to BYOB. In California, they’d probably throw a conniption fit if you brought your own cooler of beer into a restaurant. Either that, or charge you a corkage fee for your Bud. Well, actually, almost every sit-down restaurant already has a beer/wine license. The better to charge you $5 a beer. But it’s pretty cool to sit down, order some food, and have a full cooler of Shiner Bock next to your table, especially if someone else paid.