Monday, November 28, 2005

Happy belated Turkey Day!

Hope you and yours had a Tryptophantastic weekend of family, friends, food, fun, and football!

Family first.  Buddhists have a 49-day memorial service, I think because 7x7 means something in the belief structure.  I’ve never really been sure about the reasoning.  Anyway, we had the service on Saturday for my father.  It was predictably depressing, made more depressing by the fact we had it two days after Thanksgiving.  The void left by my dad’s absence was palpable.  It’ll be a long time before I get past this, if ever.

Friends came to the rescue.  After the service and the obligatory family lunch (another post-death tradition I don’t quite understand), I took the family to see some of my longtime friends.  When you’re in your forties and you are still great friends with people you met in the second grade, you’ve picked good friends.  We had a great time just hanging out, talking about life, playing basketball (cut short by sustained panting and cramping), and watching our kids play.  Made for an exhausting Saturday, but put the weekend on an uptick.

Food, food everywhere.  Some people are amazed that a fairly traditional Japanese family has a fairly traditional American Thanksgiving with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce.  The only bow to Internationalism was the Chinese chicken salad and the white rice.  Polished off the meal on Thursday with a 6-seat $10 NLHE family tournament.  Took second after misplaying Ace-freakin’-rag against my brother-in-law.  I had a small chip lead when we got head-to-head.  He pushed on the very first hand, and I put him on a desperation steal.  Turns out he had Big Slick and I was crippled early.  I managed to double up a few times to make it somewhat interesting but busted out with 98s against his 73s that flopped a flush.  Literally, IGHN.

Football?  The 49ers suck.  

  • How about that tank job by the Texans?  Gee, that wasn’t suspicious or anything…  And what is it with the Texans and guys named Bush?

  • Every frickin’ week I play against Scurvy, LT goes off for 700 yds and 14 TDs.  Well, at least both times this year.

  • If the 49ers don’t win the Reggie Bush Sweepstakes, they should trade their draft pick to a team that needs Matt Leinart (Raiders, Cowboys, Jets, Miami, etc.) for two OL, then they should break Kwame Harris’ legs, and buy out his contract with an injury settlement.

  • The Bears are winning with smoke and mirrors.  They’ll be dangerous on a sloppy field in the playoffs, so look out if they get home field advantage.  But seriously, they’re not very good.  

  • And it might be time to count out the Pats.  They’ll still win the horrible AFC East, and Bellichick will have them ready for a run, but playoff road games will probably kill them.  As the likely #4 seed, they’ll face the top second place team which will be Pittsburgh, San Diego, or Kansas City.  If they win that game, they’ll be against the #1 seed which will be… Indy in Indy.

And RIP, Mr. Miyagi.

Monday, November 21, 2005


I was going to recap my nice little SnG streak over the weekend, but CJ makes my nice little run look like a big steaming turd next to his MTT streak.  If you want to hear about a blogger making thousands of dollars during a rush, go to UpForPoker.  If you want to hear about a small-timer making a quick $300+ run in SnGs, then you’re in the right spot.

Three straight firsts bookended by two seconds constitutes a streak by my meager standards.  Of course, when you’re playing the $25+2 Turbo’s at PokerStars, the profit ($337.50) is equal to CJ’s tip money for the weekend.  I’m not really sure what precipitated this turn of events…. Maybe it’s Karma.

Why Karma?  Well, I found out today that my company has decided to eliminate my position effective the end of the year.  So I’m expected to be a good soldier for the next six weeks and not password-protect crucial internal files or install some really cool time-bomb macros into pricing spreadsheets in exchange for a positive reference and a severance package that will pay me through February.  I haven’t decided where my tipping point for EV is for this, so stay tuned.  “Happy fucking Thanksgiving, here’s your notice.”

I know many bloggers have had, um, job interruptus at various times over the last few years.  I’m curious, how many continued to play online poker during the “down” time?  How many played more?  Less?  Of course, this is mostly relevant only for other bloggers with families and mortgages.  I know all you single guys out there just used the free time to play, and all you married guys with no kids just used the free time to play and lied to your wives about it.  I’m likely gonna have a buttload of free time at the beginning of the year to figure this out for myself, and I expect to be spending most of it hitting the pavement looking for gainful employment.

But do I quit poker and cash out my $1K+ in online accounts?  Do I wait until the cash starts running out for household stuff?  Do I continue to play poker, knowing that my cash flow will be cut off in three months?  Should I try the MTTs and hope to hit one (or many, like CJ)?  Heady stuff.  

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Adjustments.  Poker is all about adjustments.  

So far, I suck at adjustments.

Donked off two SnGs at FullTilt yesterday for a tidy little $55.  The level of play seems to be significantly higher at FTP when compared to the play at PokerStars, Party, or Pacific.  More stop-and-go’s, more check-raises, more value betting.  Less limping, less random pushing, less early bustouts.  Players were better, and I didn’t adjust.

So I lost.

Dugglebogey is right.  There are a lot more table captains at FTP, though they tend to be the weaker players, which is interesting.  It’s like they read one or two poker books, watched “Play like the Pros” once or twice, got emails from John D’Agostino and Annie Duke, and suddenly they’re freakin’ Vince Van Patten.  

So, to recap the basic strategies of the online players:

Party : Any two cards should see the flop, any ace or bottom pair should go to the river, middle pair is worth a raise, top pair is worth an all-in, betting 400 into a pot with 75 chips = Power Poker, pocket aces should never lose.

PokerStars : Any sooted cards, small pockets, or face cards should see the flop, all backdoor flush draws should be played aggressively, the cognoscenti know that it’s called RiverStars because it’s fixed so that draws always hit, calling with no pair is a good idea because you need to see what the other guy had, pocket aces should never lose.

FullTilt : Always raise on the button because you have position, top pair should always raise, trips should always check-raise, draws should push all-in to try and win right there, any small pocket pair should push preflop to get the ragged faces out, show every bluff because Jesus said so, pocket aces should never lose.

It’s tough to shift gears up the food chain.  I’ve been fattening up at PokerStars and I have no doubt that I can (essentially) drop down to Party with little or no effort (and even less thought).  Moving to the tighter pools of FTP requires more concentration and focus.  The main problem there is that with only 10,000 players at any one time (usually less), finding lousy players at FTP is more difficult that at the crowded cesspools of PokerStars (40K) and Party (60K).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Hey, here’s a little hint for those husbands/dads who have been getting grief for playing “too much online poker” and heard the “you’re not spending enough time with your family” rant.  

Nuke some popcorn, gather the family in front of the TV, and let your wife and kids see the last episode of the WSOP.  Especially the money presentation.  Heck, even the final table bustouts are a goldmine of peace-and-quiet equity.  After all, how many times are we going to see the words “Ninth Place = $1,000,000”?  If you’re ignoring the family while sitting at your computer, tell wifey that you’re in a qualifier that could get you to the WSOP.  After she sees the frickin’ mountain of cash piled on the table, and she hears about how amateur Steve Danneman is now a multi-millionaire, you should get a lot of leeway when it comes to playing online.

NFL hits :

  • Cards at Rams – This one could get ugly.  The Rams will be in a surly mood after basically conceding the division to the Seadogs last week.  Bulger and Holt will be back on the same page.  And the Cards just plain suck.  34-10

  • Lions at Cowboys – Yow, I wouldn’t touch this one with a ten-foot pole.  Both teams are wildly inconsistent with schizophrenic quarterbacking.  Cowboys might have a letdown game, and I believe in going with the team with more to lose.  If Harrington starts, Lions 24-21.  If Garcia starts, Lions 27-20.

  • Jags at Titans – Why are the Titans even playing anymore?  At least the 49ers can claim that they’re trying to develop young talent.  The Titans keep trotting Steve McNair out there.  Well, it ain’t working.  Jags 23-10

  • Saints at Patriots – The Pats seem determined to play every game close, even when the opposing team has no business being out there.  Like this week.  The Saints might as well wear FedEx stickers because they’ve been mailing it in all year.  Pats 30-24.

  • Iggles at Giants – Let’s see, the Iggles have Bryant Westbrook and… um, well…. Nobody.  And Tiki Barber is > Bryant Westbrook.  Coughlin will have the Giants pissed off and ready to roll.  34-13.

  • Panthers at Bearss – Chicago, meet a real NFL team.  The Syracuse-esque schedule against Division III Girls schools is over.  The only thing keeping the score down in this one is the fact that the Bearss won’t try to throw.  Panthers 27-14.

  • Dolphins at Browns – Ummm, is there a good reason to actually play this one and not just let computers Sim the game?  Score will be 20-17.  Nobody cares who wins this except for Matt Leinart who’ll go to the loser.

  • Raiders at Skins – Touchdowns back and forth.  Moss vs Moss.  If the over is less than 50, take it.  I predict 65 points, 34-31 with the last score on a long figgie as time expires.

  • Bucs at Falcons – A key battle for the wildcard.  I’m betting that the Chris Simms explosion last week was an anomaly, and he’ll go back to being a blonde Marinovich.  And the Falcons will prove that they don’t need TO.  31-17.

  • Steelers at Ravens – We all know that if Bill Cowher took the Ravens seriously, he’d have Big Ben in the game.  Since he doesn’t, we’ll assume that he knows that the Ravens have QUIT on the year.  Steelers 27-13.

  • Seahawks at 49ers – Classic trap game for the Seahawks.  Their overconfidence will cost them dearly as they only beat the hapless 49ers 31-13.

  • Colts at Bengals – The dream ends here.  Carson steps up and fires three TDs.  Marvin knows how to shut down Peyton, well, at least slow him down.  You heard it here first.  Bengals 28-20.

  • Jets at Broncos – What’s the over/under on Tatum Bell?  I say 125 yards.  The only reason it’s that low is that he’ll only play three quarters before they pull him.  Broncos will wipe them out 27-7.

  • Bills at Chargers – See previous comment, but sub LT for Tatum Bell.  Chargers 31-10.

  • Chiefs at Texans – Ooooh, ESPN must love this one.  The WSOP reruns will have better ratings.  Chiefs 23-17.

  • Vikings at Packers – Another Favre lovefest.  Yuck.  I hope SpikeTV is showing America’s Dumbest Criminals or Great Police Chases.  Anything but Madden gargling with Brett Favre’s DNA.  Vikings will win though 20-14.

Oh, and RIP, Eddie Guerrero.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Obligatory poker content per Sarbanes-Oxley regulation that anyone that participates in any WPBT or is blogrolled by Iggy have a minimum of 10% real poker content. Poker content can be a hand recap (bad beat stories optional), a tournament recap (blogger events count double), or a drinking story where poker is mentioned or bemoaned.

Bombed out of Wil’s West Coast event last Thursday. Misread Wil on a hand and administered a kinda-bad beat to our host with ATs against his JJ (I figured him for a small pair when he pushed preflop by overbetting the pot by 10x. Got criticized by Maigrey for pushing with [EDIT per Maigrey comment] a gutshot and second nut flush draw which hit the gutshot (and I had the right odds to push, btw). Heard the phrase “TV Table” more times than I though possible by playing with Wil, Daddy, Maudie, Geek, Maigrey, Skitch, and Joanne. Ended up losing with KK (or was it AA?) vs 33 to Maudie. Fun times though. $11 well spent.

Still hoping the SnGs at FTP get more volume. Most of the time, the total site seat count is under 10K and the SnGs look as empty as the stands at a WNBA game. If I see a SnG at $10/20/30 with more than 5 people, I’ll usually jump in, but otherwise I don’t want to wait till it fills. These things are more profitable than the ring games, if you’re a decent player, and the rake ends up significantly less for your time. Sign up and play, preferably by using the link in the upper right.

Q: What’s worse than watching your team give up an undeserved halftime lead on the longest play in NFL history?

A: Instant messaging with the Donkeypuncher during the same play

Ah yes, those wacky 49ers against the almost-as-wacky Chicago Bearss. By now, most of you have probably seen the effects of the wind in Chicago, blowing a field goal attempt approximately 2048 yards offline, knocking down five-yard passes, and making this probably the ugliest game since… well, since ever.

I almost pegged the final score exactly, telling DP on Thursday that 17-6 sounded about right. Of course, even I didn’t predict the total ineptitude of the 49er offense, led by the incompetent Cody Pickett. One for thirteen passing. ONE!?! I don’t care how windy it was, throw a fucking screen pass, throw a fucking hitch pass, throw a halfback option pass, throw a Hail Mary. Complete something! The Bearss were selling out on the run, putting eight or nine in the box and crowding the line. Run a halfback on a sweep and have him pull up and throw as far as he can. Odds are that you’ll have single coverage since the safeties were crowding the line. Worst case, it’s a jump ball, but your odds are still better than trying to run against nine in the box.

Does Bobby Wade still have a job?

Other non-49er thoughts:

- So much for Kansas City’s momentum

- Props to Jon Gruden for channeling Dick Vermeil and taking the road less traveled and going for the win.

- Double props to Chucky for putting the game into the hands of his offensive line and running the ball. But I suppose if you were depending on Chris Simms, you’d eschew the Turner Gill ending too.

- This was the breakout week for Joey Harrington. Three TDs and no picks mean that he’s turned the corner and become a legit NFL starting QB. Oh, it was against Arizona? Never mind.

- Minnesota is a truly awful team and the Giants were wearing their Santa suits when they gift-wrapped this one. Eli looked like…, well, Eli from last year.

- Looks like the third pick in this years’ FFL drafts is the winning slot. Shaun Alexander is looking positively Emmitt-ish this year. If you picked the right guy in the second round (say, Marvin Harrison) and the third round (Stephen Davis) and the fourth round (Steve Smith), you’d have your playoff spot locked up by now.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Play like the pros?

Methinks that poker sites need to promote their Sit-and-Go tournaments more vigorously.  SnG traffic at FTP seems down, and I’m not sure why.  SnGs provide a much more intense rush than the grinding of the limit tables, yet only have a fraction of the players.  In less than an hour, you can make 4-5x your buy-in at a single table!  You can push ALL-IN just like the pros do!  One out of every three players profits!

I honestly think that many of the players currently laboring in the trenches of $1/$2 or $2/$4 would be better served trying their luck and testing their skill at the $10-$20 SnGs.  You are automatically limiting your losses for a given time period.  You can make 300-400% ROI for an hour’s work.  You’re not slave to the rake.  Theoretically, if you play at a limit table, EVERYONE CAN LOSE!  If everyone wins the same pots and the same number of hands, everyone loses to the rake.  That’s insane.

Poker sites that advertise during the WSOP or WPT need to figure this out.  Many of the newbies who grew up playing nickel/dime/quarter are just itching to try tournament poker and push big stacks of virtual chips all-in.  Why not publicize their SnGs?!  “We have single and double table Sit-and-Go tournaments where you can end up with everyone’s chips at the end!” or “You can play at the FINAL table every time at our Sit-and-Go tournaments!”.  They can have ladder play in head-to-head SnGs.  There are about a zillion ways for them to increase SnG traffic.

Geez, someone needs to hire me to design these campaigns.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Return to Full Tilt

I made my return to FTP a successful one last night, picking off an $20+2 18-seater for a quick $122 profit (not counting the $.85 towards my bonus account).  Play was unremarkable, in fact, my daughter played some of it while I was indisposed.  OK, I had to take a crap, and my son wasn’t home at the time.  Oh, and she’s ten years old.

What a great Dad I am!

Anyway, I had three major reasons for re-upping with FTP.  One, that banner ad right over there (====>) adds a guilt factor, which I suppose is at least part of the reason they asked me (and will pay me) to put it up.  Two, they have a relatively easy 50% bonus to clear.  Like I mentioned, the bonus fund gets kicked by $.85 for each $20 SnG, which effectively brings the vig down to less than six percent.  Three, the Party breakup has people (donkeys, fish, all manners of wildlife) searching for new sites with traffic and FTP is probably going to be the biggest recipient of the increased traffic, partially because of the WSOP success of Matusow and Ivey and partially because of the Learn from the Pros show.  I always like to be there when a site starts to get their legs due to the increased volume of marginal players.  

Since I play primarily NLHE SnGs (I hesitate to say “specialize” because that implies a higher level of skill), I probably won’t be trying any of the lesser traveled SnG paths (Razz, 7-stud) until they fill up more quickly.  I like to SIT and GO within an hour or so, which is why I like Turbo SnGs .  The 18-seater last night took 1.5 hours since FTP doesn’t offer faster blind structures.  On the plus side, the longer blinds mean that an adorable fifth-grade girl can maintain a stack without bleeding chips away while her father unloads a day’s worth of fast food.

Full Tilt releases their boni every $10, so it looks like playing twelve $20+2 SnGs will net me $10 in virtual kickbacks.  One thing though…  I’d really like to have the option of installing my South Park doppelganger as my FTP “image”.  I think I put up an elephant (being a good Republican and all).  It would seem easy to permit more personal images assuming they limit the memory space needed and censor any, um, questionable images…  but hell, what do I know?

p.s. Penthouse was 1st to offer the Panther cheerleaders a photo spread.  Stay tuned for details on this important story!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Commishs 2005 Midseason NFL Update

The Commish’s 2005 Midseason NFL Update:

No doubt you’ve been waiting for this with the same anticipation that you have for the Carolina Panther cheerleader trial on CourtTV.  Let me say this now and for the record regarding the Carolina Panther cheerleader scandal…  Woo hoo!

Quick sidebet – Who will win the bidding war for this one, Playboy or Penthouse?

Moving on to less titillating news…

Hey Philadelphia….  I.  TOLD.  YOU.  SO.

The rest of the NFC East is markedly better than I anticipated.  Looks like the next three weeks will decide this division.  Now that Philly has plucked out thine eye, they will be hard pressed to climb over the Giants and Skins.  I look for the Cowboys to disappear from the playoff chase first.

I pretty much pegged the NFC South, with Carolina stepping up with five wins in a row and looking like the most balanced team in the NFC and Atlanta looking like they’re also playoff bound.  Tampa started strong, but Chris Simms has been a train wreck at QB, and the entire New Orleans season has been a wreck.  

The NFC West is a little more intriguing.  Seattle has impressed, and the Rams are starting to enjoy life after Martz.  I look for the Rams to make a late season rush when Bulger and the receivers get healthy.  As I thought, the Cards and the Niners suck ass.  

My NFC Norris picks were 50-50.  I figured this as a down year for Green Bay, and didn’t think Minnesota was as good as many others did, but I had no idea that da Bearss would become the Ravens of ’05.  A team built around a stout defense and methodical boring offense apparently is good enough to prevail in this mediocre group.  And if Jeff Garcia had played the whole year, Detroit would have two more wins and would be challenging the Bearss.  As it is, at least Detroit will host the Super Bowl, if not have any players in it.

Standing by my prediction here  

  • IF TO is playing for Philly come playoff time, they win the NFC easily. The only team that can beat TO-less Philly in Philly is… Carolina.

Now that TO has gotten himself suspended for the season, Carolina will win the NFC.

In the AFC…  I.  TOLD.  YOU.  SO.

This is the Colts year.  Plain and simple.  OK, I didn’t think they’d be undefeated, but I knew that they seemed to get better and the Pats didn’t.  Last week, I said the Colts would roll over the Pats by 17, they won by 19.

Even with the dismantling yesterday, the Pats will win the woeful East.  I thought the Jets would make a run, but the injury to Chad ended that hope.  Buffalo and Miami are awful.

Indy rules the South.  Jacksonville is second.  Tennessee and Houston bring up the rear.  Any questions?

Cincy was my pick to leap up to title status in the North.  Bingo!  Pittsburgh is clearly playoff bound as well, though the Maddox/Batch combo might dictate otherwise.  And I never thought I’d say this, but Baltimore really missed Kyle Boller.  Scoop up Todd Heap if he’s available.  Cleveland must be wondering why they wanted the Brown back around now.

I predicted the entire AFC West would be around .500 and aside from Jake Plummer NOT playing like Jake Plummer, that would be about right.  Dick Vermeil made a great call against the Raiders to pretty much squash the Raiders playoff hopes, and vault the Chiefs into the playoff hunt.  The Chargers also suffered through a horrific schedule and look bound for the 8-9 wins I predicted.  

Here was my AFC prediction

- Division champs will be New England (may have more trouble than you think), Cincy (!), Indy (slam dunk), and uh… uh… I’ll get back to you on that.

Sticking with that 100%.

All in all, I’ve done pretty well with my projections (including the TO-Philly divorce).  I’d say my Indy, Cincy, and Carolina predictions are the best and my Bearss, Lions, and Jets predictions bringing up the rear.

Book your tickets now to Super Bowl XL.  Final Score: Indianapolis Colts 27, Carolina Panthers 17.  Your Super Bowl MVP is Edgerrin James with 118 yards and two touchdowns.

Our records show that your Party Points account has been inactive for more than 30 days. The 1227 Party Points in your account expired at 23:59 hrs on 06-NOV-2005. The balance of your current Party Points account is: 0 Points. In future, should you wish to save your points, all you have to do is log in and play at a Real Money table within 30 days of your last Real Money game. NB: You must play at a Real Money table to accrue and save Party Points. Logging in alone will not prevent your Party Points from expiring. Your Party Points will expire only if you accumulate zero Party Points for a period of 30 days. See Terms and Conditions:

terms_conditions.html So, don't lose out - keep your account active*. You'll keep the Party Points you play so hard to earn - and you'll have fun re-discovering the excitement on! See you at the tables. Sincerely, The Team * - active is defined as earning at least one Regular Player's Club Party Point every 30 days. Standard emailer Ts&Cs

Well, if partnerships, affiliates, and skins are the first things you get rid of when you become too big for your britches, I guess Customer Service is the second thing. Effing Party is gonna piss off the transient online poker players. You know, the bonus whores and the promotion chasers that seek out the best balance between types of games offered, quality of play, and free money.

Like me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Weekend (poker) Update

I’ll be popping some of my Neteller funds towards [THIS]. Full Tilt seems to be staking out some pretty serious ground in the post-Party breakup. Their “Learn from the Pros” show is the best (only?) strategy based poker show I can find, and has the added benefit of NOT having Norman Chad. It’s interesting to hear how the wheels turn for the pros while they’re playing, what they’re thinking their opponent is thinking, what they’re trying to make the opponent think they’re thinking, etc. The only thing that was comparable was the ESPN special that had Raymer providing voiceover for the final table at the WSOP, but that was only one man’s view.

Did I ever mention that limit home games are –EV financially? Well, for me, they are. Dropped $50 at a home game on Friday night. And the depressing part was that these guys made Party Poker fishes look like the Full Tilt Team. You really can’t imagine the joy of seeing pocket queens cracked by 92s on a rivered second pair after a raise preflop. Or AQ falling to 65s on a rivered flush. When six of eight players see every flop, whether raised or not, you’re almost completely dependent on hitting the flop. And I wasn’t hitting. I tried relaxing my opening hands, but still couldn’t hit to save my ass. I got J5o over a dozen times. It even got to the point where I would muck them preflop just to prove to the table how card dead I was. Sigh.

After I dropped my $50, I sweated a couple of guys and watched them limp with total garbage and hit jackpot flops. Like 84o hitting an A84 flop and taking down AK for a big pot. It killed me. Especially when they switched gears and decided to play no-limit for the last hour or so. Of course, it was made easier by the fact that everyone around the table had extra chips donated by yours truly. I saw all-ins on second pair. I saw all-ins on bottom pair. I saw all-ins on top pair, no kicker. It was brutal to watch. The best thing I heard is that they want to play mini-tournaments next time. Hmmm, I wonder who’s played more SnGs…

So on Saturday, I’m still titling from the losses and I drop two $25+2 SnGs. -$100 in less than 16 hours might not sound like a lot to most of you, but it’s 10% of my poker bankroll. Well, I made it all back yesterday by coming in first and third in two other SnGs, basically wiping out my losses from Friday and Saturday. Nothing special, just solid non-tilting play that seemed to follow mathematical norms. In other words, if I got my money in as the favorite, the hands held up. If I folded, I was usually behind and wouldn’t have hit anyway.

One of the key points I’ve learned that I am a slave to the mathematical variance. We all are, of course, but I make my decisions mostly based on probabilities and read. I tend to get my money in at the right times, which in the long run means financial success. Of course, it also leads to spectacular suckouts when VIAB. So I try to avoid early coin flips for all my chips. I even mucked AKs preflop yesterday to an early all-in. I had raised 3x from MP and got one caller before the button pushed all-in. Remember, this is early in a SnG and I had no notes on the player, so I had to make a quick decision on whether he had Aces or Kings (where I’d be a huge underdog), other pocket pair (weighted coin flip), or Ax (KQs was also possible, I suppose). I decided that it was too early to risk all my chips on a drawing hand like AKs against a likely pocket pair and mucked Slick. Oh, I won that SnG too.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Two in a row

Two in a row.  +$85 for an hour.  Two straight nights.

Focus.  Concentrate.  Win.

Piece o’ cake.

Tonight, I’ve been invited to a home game, so no PokerStars.  –EV moneywise, but should be a +EV for fun.  I’ve been to this guy’s house a couple of times for poker, and he’s inviting some guys from his work this time.  Typically, it’s football and soccer and baseball dads and pot splashing and beer swilling and bets out of turn and table talk.  I’m wondering if his co-workers might be more poker savvy and serious.  Who knows, if the table feel is right, maybe I’ll suggest a no-limit tournament…

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Some quick thoughts for a low-motivational day at work:

· Thank you to everyone for your kind words about the passing of my father. Every day I think about him. And every day I’m sad that I’ll never talk to him again.

· By the way, did I ever mention that he was the only person I ever knew who had a hole-in-one AND bowled a perfect game?

Even less relevant thoughts as I continue to try and look busy at work:

· My son brought this one to my attention. Every single active pro team in the Bay Area won. The 49ers, Raiders, Warriors, and Sharks all won. Sharks and Warriors both play tomorrow to try and make it an undefeated week. God only knows if this ever happened before (or will ever happen again).

· Jesse Palmer? What, was Andrew Firestone’s phone busy? With the next 49er game against the New York Giants, anyone who thinks this is anything but a Jerry-Rogers-stealing-Greg’s-playbook move is kidding themselves. And if you don’t know who Jerry Rogers is, he’s the guy who pretended to like Marcia just so he could steal Greg’s playbook before the big game. Greg figured it out and tricked him into stealing a bogus playbook, and … oh, never mind.

And speaking of football… [segue into my misguided NFL preview]:

· Falcons at Dolphins – The Fins continue to astound me with their dazzling, almost manic inconsistency. This will be a down cycle week as the Falcons should roll them by at least a touchdown, 27-17.

· Lions at Vikes – Fran Tarkenton leads the Vikings against Greg Landry in this NFC Central battle. Oh, it’s the NFC North? What happened to the Central? Err, Detroit’s defense is the best squad in this game. In fact, it’s Detroit’s defense and a three-way tie for last. Lions eat the Vikes 19-10.

· Raiders at Chiefs – A lot of Bay Area scribes are trying to hype this game as the NFL’s greatest rivalry. Wrong! It’s the AFL’s greatest rivalry, and since the AFL has been gone for, oh, 35 years, it’s about time to realize that this isn’t Curley Culp against Jim Otto or Otis Taylor against Willie Brown. Chiefs should prevail at home, but a late touchdown by the Raiders makes it seem close, 30-24.

· Titans at Browns – Can you imagine what it feels like to be the broadcast crew assigned to this stinker? I would guess that you should be polishing up your resume on if this is what the network thinks of your abilities. This wins the award for “Football Game with the smallest regional broadcast area”, just beating out a Vermont/Delaware Division III tilt. Who cares? 16-13. Toss a coin.

· Panthers at Bucs – Who thinks the Panther defense was salivating at the sight of Chris Simms coughing up fumbles left and right against the 49ers? Mark my words. Rattay will be in the game to start the second half. It won’t help. Panthers will control the clock and the ball game. 24-13.

· Bengals at Ravens – Letdown game for the Ravens after a hard fought game on Monday. I think the Ravens see the Steelers more as a rivalry than the Bengals because of the similarity in smash-mouth styles. The Bengals seem to be letting off the gas a bit to try and make it seem like they’re a balanced offense. They’re not. But they’re good enough to beat the Ravens 27-16.

· Texans at Jags – Houston is on a roll… not. Jags gagged one up against the Rams and will be ready to turn Fred Taylor loose for one of his 140 yards and 2 td games. Game will be low-scoring because the focus will be on running for both teams. Jags 17-6.

· Chargers at Jets – LT has more touchdown passes than Daunte Culpepper. If he doesn’t, it sure seems like it. San Diego seems to hitting their stride. Another road win. 24-14.

· Bears at Saints – Y’know, I’m still not buying the Bears as a good team. Good defense OK. Boring offense OK. Good team? No. Saints have basically mailed in this season. You know those guys who have an excuse for everything that goes wrong when you’re golfing? “My ball ended up in a divot”, “I had to putt through a ball mark”, “I had a bad lie”, “There was mud on my ball”, or as the Saints seem to be saying every week “Our city was flooded and we don’t feel like trying”. Bears should win. Saints should lay down (again). Seems like a trap game. I’ll go against the tide, Saints 17-13.

· Seahawks at Cards – Speaking of trap games… Historically, Mike Holmgren underprepares his teams for games against crappy opponents and overprepares for good teams. He should have three plays outlined, Shaun Alexander right, Shaun Alexander left, Shaun Alexander up the middle. That’ll be enough against an execrable Cards team. 24-6.

· Giants at 49ers – Let’s see, the Giants beat the Skins 36-0, and the Skins beat the 49ers 55-17, so the Giants should beat the 49ers 45-8. Hmmm, it isn’t that easy, is it? Shouldn’t be, but the score might be closer to 31-13.

· Steelers at Packers – Charlie Batch alert. Load up on Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis. With no Ben, the Steelers might run 50 times. Packers? Well, who cares what they do? Brett Favre gets more attention for ONE Super Bowl than Troy Aikman got for THREE. Remember, Trent Dilfer, Kurt Warner, and Mark Rypien have won just as many Super Bowls as Favre. And none of them were alcoholics addicted to painkillers. It’s amazing how the NFL and ESPN always skate past that when they’re sucking Favre’s tool. Eff Favre 23-10.

· Iggles at Skins – Sheesh, how the mighty have fallen. The Iggles are in desperation mode, with their next three games coming at the worst possible time, with their top skill players nursing injuries. Their defense made Jake Plummer and Tatum Bell look like Otto Graham and Jim Brown. Can the Skins rebound from the skunking against the Giants? I say yes, Skins 24-17.

· Colts at Pats – Since ESPN and ABC will pump this game like a teenager with a Penthouse, I won’t bore you with any AFC Championship preview palaver. I said at the beginning of the year that this would be the year of Peyton, and I haven’t backed off of that. Colts will ROLL 34-17.

Basketball Draft date CHANGED!

OK, very short notice here, but Donkeypuncher and I are hosting a quick Yahoo Fantasy Basketball League. Live draft tomorrow at 8:30 PST.The ESPN Fantasy Basketball correspondent for the Philadelphia 76ers will be in the league, so you’ll have a chance to test your fantasy basketball skills against someone who supposedly knows what he’s talking about. Here’s his ESPN column [ HERE ]

League ID# : 183772
League Name : RailbirdsPassword : hammer
Draft : Friday, 11/4 on Yahoo at 830pm PST
Eight-category rotisserie (Pts, Reb, Asst, Steals, Blocks, 3 PT, FGP, FTP)

We’ll probably have a nominal prize fund. How does $25 sound?


One SnG per night.  Focus.  Concentrate.


+$85 for one hour.  Is good, no?

I’m a season ticket holder for the San Jose Stealth, the local indoor lacrosse league entry, and they sponsored a “schmooze night” to try and encourage us to schedule group functions.  It came with FREE food (hot dogs and potato salad, bonus points for providing sauerkraut), drawings for prizes (t-shirts and hats mostly), and FREE tickets to that night’s Sharks’ game.  It’s a lot like those timeshare offers you get in the mail, where they offer you cheap (or free) accommodations at some luxury timeshare resort.  The small print says that you must attend a “brief 90-minute presentation” about why investing in timeshares is like buying into Yahoo’s IPO.

I took the Boy with me, and he got his lacrosse stick signed by multiple players and we won a bobblehead (Jim Moss, if the name means anything to you).  We enjoyed the Sharks’ game immensely (won in OT on a rare three-on-four shorthanded goal), and trudged home at around 10:30pm.  Mrs. Commish was already half-asleep in bed watching TV, so I left her there and fired up a quick $25+2 on PokerStars.  The house was quiet, no interruptions, the only sound was SportsCenter.  Just the way I like it.

Focus.   Concentrate.


First hand was KK on the button.  Two limpers and I bumped it to 4xBB.  One of the blinds and one of the limpers came along for the flop which predictably had an Ace.  Two checks to me and I fire a standard looking I-have-an-Ace half-pot bet.  The limper calls and I know I’m behind.  Now, this being PokerStars, I realize that there’s no way he’s folding any Ace, so I’m disinclined to push and represent either AK or two pair.  So I allow him to check it down and he shows A2o.  He called a raise out of position with A2o.  Fine.  I mark down a quick note on his file and move on.  

Turns out that was my only high pocket pair of the night.  In fact, I didn’t even realize it at the time, but I didn’t even win a hand until we had already lost three players.  By then, Mr. A2 was one of the chip leaders along with a calling station who seemed to soft-call every raise.  He was showing down crap like Q3s and K5o from MP, but seemed to be catching cards.  I knew I could bide my time and nail both of them.  Turns out that both of them were picked off by others, but I managed to chip up by doing nothing but value-betting my draws and pairs.  No bluffs (they never work against calling stations), no pushing stacks, no premium hands.  Just betting the cards solidly.  Played more connectors and sooted high cards, knowing the calling stations would give me odds.

By the time it got down to four players, I knew I would come in first or second.  And the funny thing is that I knew who the other guy would be too.  He and I started picking off the blinds like we were school bullies taking lunch money from the Math Club.  We picked them off so quickly that we were head-to-head while blinds were still at 100-200 (with 13500 in play), giving us plenty of play.  I shifted gears earlier than he did, and flip-flopped his 3-2 chip lead with aggressive raises and re-raises with borderline hands.  Either he was horribly cold-decked or didn’t have the stones for post-flop play.  I was raising with any Ace or King or connectors or sooted cards.  And he let me.  Eventually he tried to push back with A7 when I had A8 and the eight on the flop killed him.  

Lack of focus.  Lack of concentration.  Lose

Focus.  Concentrate.



Tuesday, November 01, 2005


OK, very short notice here, but Donkeypuncher and I are hosting a quick Yahoo Fantasy Basketball League. Live draft tomorrow at 8:30 PST.

The ESPN Fantasy Basketball correspondent for the Philadelphia 76ers will be in the league, so you’ll have a chance to test your fantasy basketball skills against someone who supposedly knows what he’s talking about. Here’s his ESPN column [ HERE ]

League ID# : 183772
League Name : Railbirds
Password : hammer
Draft : Wednesday, November 2 on Yahoo at 830pm PST
Eight-category rotisserie (Pts, Reb, Asst, Steals, Blocks, 3 PT, FGP, FTP)

We’ll probably have a nominal prize fund. How does $20 sound?

End of football linemaking

End of football betting experiment.  1-4 on football line bets.  An imaginary $225 gone.  Along with that imaginary Xbox that I would’ve bought with the winnings.

Ah, those tricky 49ers.  This week, they will wheel out their fourth different starting quarterback in their fourth consecutive game.  Rattay, Smith, Dorsey, Pickett.  Supposedly, they’re bringing in some veterans to “take a look”.  Hopefully, none of them are named Jeff George.  

Beating the Bucs was a case of Chris Simms being worse than Ken Dorsey/Cody Pickett.  The only reason Simms’ stats look reasonable was that he threw a ten-yard hitch to Joey Galloway that became a 78-yard touchdown.  Basically, Simms looked like a left-handed Marc Wilson, right down to the fumbles on first contact.  Interesting to see how long it takes Chuckie to name Rattay as the starter.

NFL Week in Review

Bullseyes: Texans getting their first win (prediction 17-13, actual 19-16), Panthers whipping the Vikings (prediction 30-13, actual 38-13), Chargers scoring TDs while KC got FGs (prediction 31-23, actual 28-20), Carson Palmer throwing 3 TDs against the Packers

Hits : Cowboys big over Cards, Chicago/Detroit being a close ho-hum game (prediction 16-13, actual 13-13 at the end of regulation),

Whiffs : Giants/Skins and Iggles/Broncos being close game (oops), Bills/Pats and Steelers/Ravens being blowouts (double oops),

Nobody predicted a 49er win, so I’ll take a pass on that one.  And nobody cares about the Fins/Saints or Raiders/Titans.

Slight Poker Content

Was ITM half the time last night for a net -$9.  Not good, but was pretty much card dead and did a lousy job of reacting to the bad cards by NOT changing gears.  On the very first hand in one of the SnGs, two guys both went all-in.  I expected AA vs. KK, but saw… AA vs. AA.  No four-flush came so the pot was anti-climatic, and they both won a whopping T15 each.

I have a really tough time changing mindsets when I’m cold-decked.  I just can’t bring myself to raise pots with Q9 or T8s.  Mathematically and probabilistically, I’m expecting that I’ll get SOME decent hands, and I’ve made most of my money pouncing on those opportunities.  When I go almost an entire hour without seeing any good hands, I’m doomed to push-and-pray when the blinds escalate.  Not a prescription for profitability.

Anyway, I’ll probably stick to my regular MO for the most part.  But, if I’m not catching any cards, be more aware of the blinds in the middle part of the SnG, and try to take some chances when I’m in a good position and marginal hands to avoid the late game push-and-pray.  It might be better to chip up early with mediocre hands and not put myself in that position.