Thursday, June 22, 2006

It was freakin’ Ghana. Hell, they probably don’t even have a Starbucks.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Finished in the top 20% of the PokerStars Blogger tournament. Total winnings = diddly-squat. Played my typical weak-tight game which was pretty ideal for this type of game, but was hamstrung by the table seatings. I was always disadvantageously placed vis a vis the no-shows and was always between two live players, meaning I rarely got a chance to steal cleanly.

I did manage to drop a sooted hammer fairly early, but otherwise didn’t see any cards to speak of. Since it was Father’s Day, I lost a few spouse points by insisting on playing, but Mrs. Commish might be coming around to the Dark Side.

Mrs.: How did you do in the tournament?
Me: Top 20%, but no money.
Mrs.: You didn’t spend time with us and you still didn’t win anything?
Me: Uh, would it have made a difference?
Mrs.: Of course it would have. If you’re gonna waste time, you might as well win.

Oooh, now I have the qualified approval to play cards whenever I want, IF… I win.

Baseball season is finally over for the boy. His team lost in the District semi-finals 6-5 on a last-inning comeback. He played like shit in the game, misplaying several Texas leaguers that he should’ve caught (or completely backed off of, and let the LF handle them) and going 0-3. However, they were still leading going into the last half of the last inning. The starting pitcher was almost totally out of gas and had just been thrown out at the plate the previous inning, so the manager pulled him in favor of the #3 pitcher, Josh, who seemed to be excessively nervous. He walked the first guy on four straight pitches, and you could see him practically hyperventilating on the mound. The manager told me that if Josh walked the next guy, he would put Trevor in with virtually no warm-ups.

Here’s where I might have effed up. I said nothing. I knew Josh was collapsing on the mound, physically and emotionally. I should have said, “Go ahead, Trevor is your man.” But I was too risk-averse with my son’s psyche. It would’ve been a difficult situation, but Trevor MIGHT have come through and shut down the rally. He also MIGHT have melted down just as badly as Josh did. But I never advocated for the opportunity, instead letting someone else’s kid cough up the game. I didn’t say anything to the manager and he agonized over the decision before leaving Josh in the game. Josh ended up giving up a hit, balking once, and finally walking home the winning run. I asked Trevor afterwards if he would’ve been OK about coming into such a pressure cooker. He said “Well, I wouldn’t have done worse…”. Josh was a complete basket case after the game. And I just didn’t want to see my son with that kind of weight on him.

But he also might have been carried from the field on his team’s shoulders. Risk-averse sometimes means you miss on some big opportunities. Shit. Being a dad (and coach) is hard. The hardest part is not knowing whether you’re doing the right thing. I might have taken away my son’s greatest moment in favor of sparing him his most painful. Crud. What do you think?

Friday, June 16, 2006

We’re coming up on the first Father’s Day since my dad died. I’ve never been one for maudlin introspection, and I won’t start now. My wife and I were talking about it over lunch today. She hates the “Hallmark Holidays”: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secretaries’ Day, Boss’s Day, all that crap. Mind you, she still expects to get shit on Mother’s Day, but ever since her mom died, her enthusiasm has steadily declined.

I suppose we’re all supposed to honor our fathers on Sunday. Well, I’ll probably do it in my own way, playing in the WCOOP Blogger Tournament which was thoughtlessly put on Father’s Day, no doubt by some single guy whose dad died a long time ago. But hey, my dad is the one who taught me poker (at least the hands, if not the strategy). So, what better what to commemorate him?

My son’s baseball team is in the District TOC beginning tomorrow. The top two teams in four regions are bracketed in a single elimination tournament with games Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday (if we make it that far). I understand that there was some infighting at the board meeting about having the games on Father’s Day before they decided against it. After all, half the teams are gonna lose. No need to send half the fathers home pissed off…

My poker play continues to be laughably mediocre. I keep reading through the dozens of poker blogs, and many of them are focused on being good players, rather than being successful players. Frankly, I’m successful without being good, partially due to game selection, partially due to a low setting on my “success” meter, partially because I’m not fixated on my play – I’m focused on the winning. Oooh, I might have missed a chance to pull off a “stop and go”, but I won the pot anyway. Oooh, I might have missed a chance to show down a cool bluff, but I saved my chips. I am a successful player. I’m profitable.

Now, I’m probably successful because I’m playing within the poker equivalent of the Special Olympics, but I have no such moral compunction about taking money from the less intelligent when it’s offered so readily. Why why why do so many poker bloggers insist on trying to beat the tougher games? Is it machismo? Is it ego? Is it stupidity? I’m sure many players that are treading water at $10/20 or even $5/10 could absolutely KILL the $1/2 tables or the $25NL tables, but they keep pounding away, never quite reaching the brass ring. Y’know, at some point, you need to accept your limitations, stay where you can WIN, and not follow the PeterPokerPrinciple:

Players at an online poker site will advance to their highest level of competence and then move up in limits and remain at a level at which they are incompetent until they lose their bankroll.

Monday, June 12, 2006

So I see that al-Qaeda has designated the “replacement” for Zarqawi, some guy named Hamza al-Muhajer. Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall for that selection process?

HR rep: I see here that you’ve been a lieutenant in the fight against the non-believers. How do you feel that prepared you for this position?

Hamza: Well, I had extensive experience torturing kidnapped civilians, as well as some work organizing roadside bombings against the American occupation forces. In my last position, I also developed a system for connecting spider holes for easy access and easy escape.

HR rep: I see. I notice that there is a gap on your resume of a few months last year. Can you explain that?

Hamza: Well, I was detained by the American aggressors briefly. Once I was released, I immediately sought out new work as an explosives distributor. I felt it was important to add to my sales and finance skills to better run a large terrorist organization like al-Qaeda.

HR rep: That sounds great. Can you tell me about a time where you faced some resistance to one of your ideas, and how you handled it?

Hamza: Oh, I ran into that all the time in smaller terrorist cells. Everyone was trying to suggest good targets for suicide bombings, and even though I had more strategic locations in mind, I let them go ahead with their targets. After all, after their ideas were accepted and they got to attack their targets, they were dead anyway and couldn’t argue with me anymore. I’ve always found that leading a terrorist organization often means allowing internal opposition to blow themselves up. Eventually, you’ll be in charge. It’s all about patience, really.

HR rep: Would you mind if we contacted some of your previous organizations?

Hamza: Most are dead. I suppose you could, if you could find their spider holes. Like I said, I designed a pretty elaborate network.

HR rep: Before we finish, do you have any questions for me about the position?

Hamza: Well, I heard about what happened to Zarqawi… what changes are you expecting to make internally? I mean, I don’t want to take the job just before you decide to have layoffs, or, excuse me, “downsizing”. [chuckle]

HR rep: As you can imagine, I can’t discuss our future plans. Suffice to say, we will have a need for a manager as long as the imperialist dogs from America soil our land.

Hamza: [rising from seat] I’m glad to hear that. I’m still very interested in the position, and I’m anxious to hear back from you soon.

HR rep: Thanks for coming in on such short notice, and I’ll be back in touch with you in a couple of days. [standing and extending hand]. Oh, and death to America.

Hamza: [shaking hands with HR rep] Thank you for the opportunity. And death to America.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Bad week to be driving over a bridge or near a federal building, I would guess…

OK, apparently this al-Zarqawi is really dead this time. Now what? Do we think that the violent militants will suddenly fall apart and drop their weapons? And it was patently stupid of the military to show huge billboard-sized pictures of a peacefully DEAD al-Zarqawi. I mean, he looked totally at peace, which is exactly what we DON’T want the potential suicide bombing militants to believe. Seriously, why not partially sever his head with his eyes open or something? Then we could say, “This is what happens when you cut other people’s heads off! Not much fun, is it?”


I’m back over $500 at Full Tilt, playing primarily either $24 or $36 turbo SnGs. I’m not sure why turbo tourneys fit my style better, but I’ve always had remarkable luck (skill? serendipity?) at escalating blind games. Maybe it’s because I have the attention span of a mosquito in a Starbucks or something, maybe it’s because I have a (rumored) aptitude for playing the short stack, maybe I’m just a luckbox. In all likelihood, it’s because others don’t adapt their play to the accelerated structure and aren’t synchronized to the best times for aggressive/passive or loose/tight play. Whatever the reason, I’ve been doing well for years at Full Tilt, PokerStars, and even Party playing primarily single table turbos.

My 16th wedding anniversary is tomorrow. SIXTEEN. YEARS. I probably won’t play any poker tomorrow. Probably.

Oh, and the World Cup starts today. Zzzzzzzzzzzz… What’s the over/under on 0-0 draws in the first round?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Happy 666 everyone!

And I’m not sure why people are acting like this is the Apocalypse… Even if you go purely on the (translated) biblical verse, it just says “let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six. “ It doesn’t say “the beast’s birthday is 666” or “the beast’s address is 666” or even that “the beast’s birthmark is 666”. It’s just his freakin’ lucky number! Don’t you have a lucky number?

Speaking of lucky numbers, I won a Party SnG by getting pocket kings… FOUR TIMES. Hell, my son could win a SnG if he got pocket kings four times. Each time they won a small pot because my 3xBB raise either took it down preflop or my ½ pot continuation bet took it after the flop. If the bad beat jackpot is still running tonight, I may try those tables, though I hate limit and $2/4 is a little steep for me. It’s a freeroll at Party, and I’m over $60, so what the hell…

I’m actually on a bit of a mini-run, cashing in five straight SnGs splitting time between Full Tilt, Stars, and Party. I lost one a couple of days ago on a sparkling two-outer when we were head-to-head. J9 hit the J93 flop hard. Pocket fives pushed after I offered a tentative looking min bet. I insta-called and lost when a five hit the river. That was a $50 card since it was a $25 SnG. Lovely.

I’m still tied with Michelle Wie for US Open Sectional Qualifiers and LPGA victories. She just has a better agent and publicist. And bank account.

I wonder if Livan Hernandez will be one of the pallbearers at Eric Gregg’s funeral.

That “speed poker” crap on FSN is ridiculous, though it was fun to watch the crayon-eating Tiltboy Perry Friedman get sucked out for the $25K. Some of the people that make the TV shows are horrible, horrible players. This African-American lady was playing this weekend and was probably the worst player I’ve seen on TV… ever. She made Kathy Najimy look like Kathy Liebert. It appears that is the Special Olympics of online poker. You might win, but you’re still retarded.

Kiss a spawn of the devil today!