Friday, March 31, 2006

Mos Eisley Spaceport

No April Fool’s tomfoolery for me this time. No fake fights with co-bloggers. No recaps of bankroll shattering bad beats. Nope. None of that.

The Blogger Baseball League (BBL) drafted last night. I missed the first four rounds coaching my son’s baseball team, but I had adjusted my auto-draft rankings to ensure I wouldn’t have a carbon copy of my last team. And, by gum, they worked!

CJ was a last minute addition to the league, bumping us to ten players. Quite a roster of miscreants, deviants, Playboy-bunny molesters, and various other unsavory characters.

Iggy -
CJ –
Donkeypuncher -
Scurvy -
Daddy -
Garthmeister J -
Nick Christy -
ZeRat11 -
Johnny Flopboot – Frequent commenter on all of the above
Oh, and yours truly

Obi-Wan said it best, “You won’t ever find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

When I arrived, the drafting war room seemed eerily silent. Apparently, DP managed to schedule the draft for a time when almost nobody could make it. Dumbass. I threw out some feelers (if you consider uncensored f-bombs “feelers”) during the draft to gauge the group. Garth immediately perked up, as did CJ. Scurvy was present but seemed distracted, no doubt 6-tabling in other windows. I got sucked out several times (a fabricated poker/fantasy league euphemism for someone taking a targeted player a round before you could), and let my displeasure be known by swearing in the refreshingly uncensored chat window. My team ended up solid, but unspectacular. As you can imagine, the teams with absentee drafters didn’t fare as well, kinda like when you leave a table and let them take your blinds.

More details on this league as the season progresses. I would expect to be contending throughout the year (my pitching is actually very good), with marginal BA and speed. If anything, I have too many players in the same mold, 20/90/90 type players that I might need to move in exchange for a .300/20 SB type player.

In poker news, I won a $20+2 Horse SnG at FTP (which makes sense, since they’re the only ones I know of that spread the game.) I’m starting to develop a strategery for the July WSOP Horse Satellite. Hell, I won the seat, I might as well use it. Specifically, I’m gonna play more Horse than NLHE for a few months and work on my limit games. One of my (ahem) strengths in Horse is my ability to switch gears from game to game. Most other players seem to lock in a pattern of passiveness during the less familiar stud games, and I can frequently build my stack significantly through aggression during the RSE games, enabling me to value bet draws in LHE and nut peddle in O-8.

I’m not kidding myself though. I’m gonna need to get exceptionally lucky to make any kind of noise in the satellite. And this satellite is going to attract a ton of pros, all seeking to get into the biggest WSOP game for the price of a $500 satellite. I’m still open to selling the satellite seat, but I’m not actively soliciting now. In fact, if I do sell it, it’ll be for cash up front + a piece of the action should the person cash in the big event.

And honestly? I think I can keep up with most of the bloggers (read: non-professional players) around here in Horse. Which is why I’m probably gonna keep the seat and take my chances.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A quick ZeeJustin rant...

Every blogger and his brother has opined on the ZeeJustin/JJProdigy cheating scandal, especially since the culprit has re-emerged to tell his side… again.

Here’s my two cents. Cheating is cheating. He knew it. His feeble mea culpa(s) show him to be a complete tool. I’d have more respect if he just said, “Hey, I cheated. I got caught. I paid the price. I knew it was wrong, but I did it because I’m an ethical midget and Party sucks at sniffing out improprieties. It’s not their fault for building the system, it’s my fault for being too weak-willed to resist the urge to cheat the loophole-riddled system.”

Listen, ALL of us could have cheated the way he did. We CHOSE not to. He CHOSE to do it. Nobody had his nuts in a vice, nobody forced him to “create” multiple names and enter the same tournaments three or four times. He did it of his own volition.

Now, realistically, his most recent 2+2 blamefest seems like a legal maneuver. I would guess that his re-emergence has been engineered by lawyers (either his or Party’s) trying to protect him (and Party) from a civil lawsuit. After all, wouldn’t you think that everyone who entered these tournaments that Zee/JJ cashed in have legal grounds for a class action suit? The damages are clear, everyone paid the same amount to enter, and everyone did not get a fair test of their poker skills. Seems like Party would be on the hook for not providing a level playing ground and/or not taking adequate measures to prevent such an easy method of cheating.

Of course, Party would immediately turn around and go after Zee/JJ for the damages, just like the casinos would if someone was caught with magnets around the slot machines or loaded dice. So we get an insincere mea culpa, written by insincere lawyers, delivered by a proven cheat. Just like Rafael Palmeiro, Richard Nixon, Sammy Sosa, and Bill Clinton. And people don’t think that poker imitates life…

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Fantasy Baseball for Mentals

Get off your asses and join Donkeypuncher’s Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League! It’s a who’s-who of poker bloggers (Iggy, Daddy, Scurvy, me, Nick Christy, Garth, etc.) which means we know dick about the other national pasttime. Garth will probably pick up some Aussie cricketers, DP is too busy looking for a job to do any research, Iggy will draft nothing but players under 5’6”, and Daddy is scouring the junior high schools for young (female) prospects.

It’s a league of DEAD money. First place will earn bragging rights in the poker blogosphere, as well as a few hard earned shekels. There is sure to be crass, obscene, and tasteless forum posting, as well as some sidebets along the way. Join NOW!


One inescapable fact about my poker playing that I’ve learned to live with is that I am a total sucker for a slowplay of the nuts. Almost every time I bust early in a SnG, I push myself into a confrontation against a slowplayed hand. It used to bug the hell out of me, now I just tap the virtual table, take a quick note on the player, and leave. No tantrum, no tilting, no nothing.

Last night, I ran an overpair to the flop into a flopped straight. Considering I had raised to 3xBB from MP and he had called from the BB with A4o, rather an unpleasant surprise, though he could’ve easily had 22, 33, or 55 to call the preflop raise. Not a huge deal. After all, it was a $10+1 and I had already won $65 in a two-tabler earlier in the evening. But a couple of years ago, I would’ve been pissed off and bitching about his loose call.

I’ve gotten rather blasé about these SnGs, perhaps too much so. I’m not sure whether it’s because of financial/job stability or the knowledge that I’m significantly ahead (hey, $2k up is significant to me) in my online poker career, but I’m blowing off SnG losses like Bill Gates blows off $1M donations. Maybe too easily. I might need to tighten myself back up to avoid the possible hemorrhaging of my poker bankroll. To quote a basketball player "We be lax-idasical out dere."

I suppose I’ve earned some of it. I’m financing baseball for my son, softball and dance for my daughter, maybe I’ve learned the right to play with money a little bit. I treat poker as an avocation, a lark, a fun way to kill an hour of time. I always have fantasy baseball teams, fantasy football teams, and WhatIfSports teams running also. It’s all wtf money.

I suppose if I (or my wife) ever sat down and did a full accounting of all my various online sporting/gambling spending, I’d probably be alarmed by the amount of money that exchanges hands. But I’m also pretty sure I’m net-positive for the last few years as well. If not, I certainly am close enough to even that the entertainment value has far exceeded any expense. And like Scurvy said, it’s about the entertainment value.

Now, if I win the HORSE satellite, then it'll become WORK.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Weekend Wrap

- Amazingly, I’m still in the running to cash in the Pauly’s Pub NCAA bracket. If UCLA beats LSU, I’ll pull down third place and get $100. The Coach has already locked up first place. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen an NCAA bracket pool locked up BEFORE the Final Four. That speaks volumes about three things: the massive upsets, the Coach’s picks, and the idiocy of the other 40 people playing.

- Daddy and I will be sharing a rooting interest in UCLA this week. He’ll get 2nd place money if the Bruins take the Tigers.

- Donkeypuncher is accepting spare change and recyclable drink containers. Out of work with a baby on the way. Been there, done that.

- WillWonka whacked me in the quarterfinals of the HUC3. Game one was a complete debacle. I played like a feces-chucking orangutan, he played well and caught cards. A pretty deadly combination. It lasted less than fifteen hands. I played much better in Game two, taking a 2.5-1 lead by slowplaying pocket Aces (!) before succumbing to back-to-back bad beats. A good match, if you ignore the first game. Good luck to the purple-coated one in the semis.

- Trevor smacked out two more hits and scored four runs yesterday. He’s now hitting .571 with six runs scored in two games. His goal for the year is to “not strike out a single time”. Possible, but not likely.

- Had my first Fantasy Baseball draft with DP and other Chicago-ites. I’m satisfied with my draft with solid producers at every position and significant upside for each one of them.

Catcher – Javy Lopez (10) – He’ll play some 1B this year, which should make things easier on his legs. I’m hoping for 20 hrs, 70 rbis here.

1B – Todd Helton (4) – His diminished production last year was partially due to an undisclosed back injury which has supposedly healed. Good power upside here if he gets back to 2003-04 levels.

2B – Marcus Giles (5) – Probably a couple of rounds early for him, but I wanted a 2B that would have decent pop (15 hrs) and score 100 runs.

3B – Aramis Ramirez (3) – Yeah, I know, but I see him as a lock for 30/100/100 if he stays healthy. Juan Pierre and Jacque Jones at the top is better than Corey Patterson and Nomah.

SS – Michael Young (1) – Yeah, I’m the goof that fills up his infield first. I’ve always believed that you can draft OF much later and get similar production. Kinda like WR in fantasy football. Tejada might be in decline and the Texas offense means this guy will put up some gaudy numbers.

OF – Bobby Abreu (2) – Five tools. 20+ hrs, 20+ SBs, 100 rbis, 100 runs, .300. The dude is a machine that’s gonna be better with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard beginning to make noise. If Burrell keeps it up, Abreu could get to 120/120.

OF – BARRY BONDS! (6) – Upside galore here. I think it was a good time to grab him. There won’t be any disciplinary action, if he plays 100 games, he’ll have 35-40 HRs and hit .320. Pretty good production from a 6th rounder.

OF – Brian Giles (9) – Despite Petco, he should produce decent numbers. If he doesn’t, I’ll rely on…

OF – Geoff Jenkins (13) – When healthy, a 25 hr, 90 rbi producer. His production may depend on the production of…

Bench – Prince Fielder (16) – A wtf pick. It was either Prince or Delmon Young here. Gotta pick ONE promising rookie every year, just in case he busts out.

Bench – Johnny Gomes (17) – He was ranked high on Rotowire, and I don’t know a damn thing about him. Checking his stats, he showed good pop in limited play last year (21 hrs in 350 abs) with an OPS of .900+. Might be another sleeper. I need OF abs in case Barry is suspended or hurt.

SP – I’ve got a good young rotation that play in pitcher’s parks headed by Rich Harden, Matt Cain, Joe Blanton, and Javier Vazquez. Plenty of closers (Street, Turnbow, Guardado) and a couple potential save vultures (Farnsworth, Papelbon).

Final thoughts – I’ve got a pretty well rounded team. A little short in steals, but certainly not near the bottom. Should be near the top in runs and BA, Barry will have to bump my HR totals higher. My relief pitching is solid and my starters are good. I typically stream starters, but may dangle one of my younger studs if they both start out hot (Gomes, Fielder) for a frontline starter.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Movin' on up...

Today was rather hectic. I delivered two LiveMeeting trainings in the morning, one to Europe, one to North America, followed by a fundraiser for Junior Achievement, followed by my son’s baseball practice, followed by HUC3.

I busted my ass home to make it to the Heads-up Challenge in time for my 7pm start time, only to find a buttload of emails about how FTP set-up the wrong kinds of tables and cancelled the 4-person heads-up I had originally signed up for. So when I finally work my way to my table, someone was sitting in my seat!

After some pouting and foot-stomping, Veneno hooked me up with another bracket that had someone bail on them. That was the good news. The bad news was that it was with DoubleAs, Biggestron, and Donkeypuncher. We had to synchronize our way into a public 4-way Heads-up table, which worked amazingly well. I drew Biggestron in the first half. We traded blinds for a remarkably long time, shuffling chips back and forth while DoubleAs was running over DP like a tank over a schoolgirl. In fact, the highlight of the first half hour was where we traded Hammers in back-to-back hands, both raising 3xBB and dropping the Hammer when the other folded.

I took the lead for good on a hand where Bigge raised 3xBB and I picked up AQ of hearts. I softcalled, knowing that I would push if I connected in any way on the flop. The flop was KJx with one of my suit, and Bigge made what looked like a continuation bet. I put him on a Jack at best, figuring he might try to trap with a strong King. I’m not really big on mathematical outs, relying on feel, and I figured that I had outs with an Ace, Queen, Ten, or a backdoor nut flush draw. So I pushed, giving myself the fold equity if he really did have the Jack and put me on Kx. Turns out I was wrong and he had QQ.

The turn was another heart, giving me more outs (3 aces, 4 tens, 9 hearts). Of course I hit the ten on the river, leading DP (who was sweating) and Bigge to complain about me “sucking out”. It’s not like it was a two-outer or anything… 16 outs. Out of 44 cards. That's, um, a lot of outs. Anyway, I took advantage of my chip advantage after that hand and used my newfound stack to push Bigge out pretty quickly after that. IIRC, the final hand he had K-nothing and I had J8s. I got my 8 on the turn and that was all she wrote.

Amazingly, DoubleAs went much faster, perhaps because he was much more aggressive and I was getting good hands. When I had bad hands, I was getting good flops. The final hand was rather entertaining. I had about a 3-1 chip lead and I made our standard 3xBB raise with KK. DoubleAs promptly pushed. I speed-called his push, and he flipped over… THE HAMMER! Incredibly loyal of him to have pushed in the second round of the HUC with the Hammer! Of course, that would be like the high school letting the autistic kid play the whole game during the second round of the state championship. Of course, he flopped a gutshot straight flush draw (965 sooted) which I had to sweat out before prevailing.

Many thanks to Veneno for all her help and assistance during a trying day for her. Even though my bracket was re-set by FTP, she worked with me and the others to find me a bracket that had an opening. Just my luck that I won it....

I guess my next match is against WillWonka, who I know basically nothing about. If you’re reading this, Will, I’m an AWESOME heads-up player with multiple trophies and tournament wins under my belt. I only raise with Aces or Kings or Big Slick. I’ll fold Queens to a re-raise, and consider small pocket pairs to be the handmaiden of the Devil. My favorite suit is diamonds and I’ll always play connected diamonds. Good luck.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rule of Thumb

Never eat three bowls of chili the night before an all-day meeting.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006


God, I'm pathetic. I got bounced quickly from a Party SnG last night (sign #1) and noticed that my remaining money wasn't readily divisible by $11 or $6 or a reasonable combination of the two, so I sat down for some blackjack (sign #2) with the $4 I needed to run up to $11 or lose completely to get my OCD-directed Party bankroll to a multiple of $11 (sign #3).

And I won. So despite the three signs of pathetic behavior (losing at Party, playing -EV games, letting minor OCD determine money management), I came out ahead. Is that a good thing?

Anyway, I'm intrigued by the lack of interest at FTP for the $500+35 satellite to the $50K Horse WSOP seat. Last night, I checked to see if people were lining up for the $24+2 Monday night qualifier and with ten minutes to go, they had 1/3 the entries they needed to give away the satellite seat. I'm not sure whether it's a general lack of interest in HORSE or whether people are intimidated by the prospects of fighting with pros (like me, koff koff) for the $50K seat.

The more I think about it, the more determined I am to win that seat. I would guess that there will be some fringe pros who will put up the $535 to play against qualifiers for a shot at the seat. I know I can compete favorably against other qualifiers, I'd like to see how I'd fare against some professionals, even if they're just "rounders". Since it only cost me $26 to find out, it would be worth every penny.

Monday, March 20, 2006

No poker content, just family stuff

I had one of the more enjoyable weekends I’ve had in a long, long time. Very full and very fulfilling. For those of you with kids, you’ll know what I mean. For those of you who are about to have kids, you’ll soon learn.

On Friday, wifey and I were dreading the crowded weekend with baseball, softball, hair appointments, professional lacrosse tickets, sleepovers, and whatnot. Last night, we were relaxing comfortably, secure with the knowledge that the weekend was accomplished with minimal difficulty and optimal enjoyment.

Friday afternoon, we got word that my daughter’s Saturday softball game was cancelled due to wet field conditions. One problem solved, especially considering that it would’ve necessitated us splitting up the kids since my son’s game was scheduled for 10am and my daughter’s was at 1130am in different cities. We still weren’t sure about my son’s game because it was being played in another city, and their parks and rec department didn’t check the fields until Saturday morning. So I’m up at 730am on Saturday checking the website for Danville’s Little League and, lo and behold, the game is ON!

It’s been frustrating this year because of the incessant rain. We’d already had postponed two games, and everyone was itching to get on the field. Some quick background: my son is playing Junior 80’s this year, a transitional league for 13-14 year olds between the claustrophobic fields of Little League (60-ft basepaths) and the spacious grounds of a full-size adult field (90-ft basepaths).

Minor issue, my son is only 12 and is the youngest kid in the league. Because of a rule change regarding birthdays, he could’ve stayed back in Majors for his third season, but he insisted on moving up. He tried out for the 13-year old Gold team, but was rebuffed, partly due to cronyism, partly due to a miserable tryout. The coach of the Gold team is pretty much a loudmouthed lout who knows little about baseball and he filled the team with players that he had coached in the past, most of whom had worse years than Trevor last year. My wife and I weren’t entirely dismayed because the Gold team plays twice as many games and travels up to 100 miles for road games.

Some of the parents on the team even lobbied to have Trevor included, but I honestly didn’t even want him on that team. Part of me wanted him to stay in Majors and totally freakin’ dominate the league, but he insisted that Junior 80’s was where he wanted to play. It turns out that the boy was right; this league is more fun for him while still being challenging. He’s batting leadoff and starting at 2B or SS, depending on who’s pitching. His team is an interesting mix of other 7th graders and a few high school freshmen, some of whom top six feet.

As leadoff hitter, Trevor went 2-2 with a walk, an RBI, three steals, and two runs scored as his team won 13-7. He was positively glowing after the game, excited by his debut with older, bigger kids. I could literally see his confidence grow as the game progressed. It was one of those times that makes parenting worth the arguments and aggravations and busy weekends.

We went to Chili’s for lunch, and aside from Trevor dumping an entire mug of Sprite, we had a great time recapping the game. One of the coaches from the other team saw us and congratulated Trevor on a good game, heightening his glow. We hustled home to shower and clean up so we could go to our haircut appointment. We’ve had a regular hair stylist for 17 years now and she’s a dear friend (so cut the crap about being Metro). Plus, she’s very attractive and it’s always nice to have your hair washed by a pretty woman.

Trevor and I split off to go to see the San Jose Stealth professional lacrosse team. We’ve had season tickets for all three years of the team’s existence and we always have a good time watching the Stealth play. It’s like watching slower hockey, but allowing the players to slash with impunity. This game went to overtime after they blew a big lead, but they won on a sudden-death goal, capping what Trevor called his “best day ever”. Wifey was lounging on the couch when we got home around 10pm (Brianne was spending the night at a friend’s house), and after sending the boy to bed, we watched a DVD curled up together. A very, very good day.

Yesterday? Hell, we just relaxed. Played a little poker (broke even). Cleaned up the house a bit. Played some video games. Watched the Harry Potter DVD. Played some basketball together at our new hoop. A nice way to unwind after a fun, but hectic Saturday.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Stupid waste of money

March madness indeed. My bracket has more red ink than a Paris Hilton calculus test. Let’s see… Syracuse and Seton Hall in the Sweet 16, NOT. The only upset that I correctly pegged was Alabama over Marquette. Certainly not like Al, who pitched a perfecto yesterday in leading the entire freakin’ world by hitting 16 of 16 games.

He finally missed one today, but with the zillions and zillions of entries, he’s still in the 100th percentile in the ESPN game. First prize is $10K, just enough to buy-in at the WSOP Main Event. I’m at the bottom of this group, cushioned only by Scurvy. [see table]

Thursday, March 16, 2006

For all of the media bluster surrounding Barry Bonds this year (a reality show?), Ken Rosenthal of Sporting News seems to be the only one who has a level head about it. [full article is HERE]

“Selig can't suspend Bonds, who never has tested positive for performance
enhancers and never has admitted using them. Nor can he legislate the past and
sprinkle the record books with asterisks without knowing exactly who did what.
Some may want Selig to invoke his best-interests-of-the-game powers and make
Bonds disappear, but those powers do not give the commissioner the right to
trample due process. Credible as the book's indictment of Bonds may be, it does
not constitute proof.”
Proof. Now there’s a novel concept. You mean that the words of convicted felons and scorned mistresses doesn’t constitute proof? Many of the gravediggers are throwing words onto the pyre like “court documents” and “testimony” as if Victor Conte and Greg Anderson are scumbags and cheats, but when they talk about Bonds, they’re suddenly truth-telling saints. Please. Just because it’s said in court doesn’t mean it’s true.

Now I ain’t completely naïve. Bonds clearly used something. As did Jason Giambi, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Brady Anderson, Juan Gonzalez, Charlie Brown, and Linus. Unfortunately, because of MLB’s wink-wink policy (the sports equivalent of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”), it wasn’t against the rules… at the time.

And forget all that crap about “illegal” substances. I don’t see a lot of effort to denigrate MLB players who drank during Prohibition. Or eliminate the records of guys who took “greenies” in the 50’s and 60’s. Or checking into Roger Clemens' strikeout numbers after his transformation from skinny-legged Red Sox to barrel-legged Astro. Or blocking Gaylord Perry or Don Sutton from the Hall of Fame for throwing spitters for that matter…

Was it morally wrong? Hell yes. Was it against the rules? Hell no. The biggest problem Barry has in the entire matter is his contempt for the media. There is no way in hell Barry will get one inch of leeway from the sportswriters because Barry has treated them like shit for his entire career, a holdover attitude from his dad. This issue will continue to be visited and re-visited while writers take their potshots, relatively immune from any retribution. MLB wants the issue to go away. The Giants want the issue to go away. Bonds wants the issue to go away. The media won’t let it. Remember, the issue with Andro basically died, the issue with Sammy’s cork basically died. This is the only way Brady Anderson even gets mentioned anymore.

We’ve had three or four athletes in the Bay Area that were pretty much above reproach, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Willie McCovey, and Jerry Rice. Jerry had a brief little “problem” with a local massage parlor, but that was hushed pretty quickly. If Barry had the same type of “problem”, it would’ve been front page news for months. How many of you across the country knew that Jerry Rice had been busted at a known prostitution ring supposedly getting a “deep tissue rub”? Uh-huh, thought so.

So, let all the sportswriters write their hatchet jobs. They’ve earned the right to dance on Barry’s biceps for awhile. But don’t expect MLB to play along. If anything, they’re trying to stop the music.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Your opinion requested...

Here’s my dilemma. I have a $500+35 seat with my name on it. That seat is in a Full Tilt satellite tournament for the biggest buy-in tournament in WSOP history. That tournament is expected to have the greatest names in poker history playing for arguably the title of “Best all-around poker player in the world”. For all intents and purposes, I’m dead money in a live casino, let alone when across from the Iveys and Negreanus of the world.

ToddCommish should keep/sell the seat. Discuss.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

NFL season?

Some quick NFL thoughts after an eventful day:

· Everyone change your draft boards. With New Orleans picking up Drew Brees, it’s open season on the #2 pick. Unless they’re picking D’Brickashaw Ferguson with the second pick, they’re looking to deal. This seems like a good situation for the Saints to trade with the Jets who would move up to get Leinart in front of the Titans, who will get stuck with Vince Young and his shortbus score in the Wunderlich.

· Daunte in Miami. Makes Chris Chambers a 2nd rounder next year. Quite a shrewd deal by the Vikes to trade away a dollar for two quarters. Next up will be trading the Mall of America for an AM/PM MiniMart.

· And WTF was Al Davis doing? A 2nd round pick for Culpepper and he couldn’t pull the trigger? Methinks Al needs to be shipped to the Pat Summerall home for Football Senility.

· Gee, what a surprise. TO was cut. Any bets as to who takes this cancer? Has there ever been a more talented football player who completely ruined his career by being an asshat in his prime? The closest thing to this would be… hell, there is no closest thing. If David Caruso had talent, maybe him.

· Love the quote from Mike Nolan this week, "It's a strange thing to be (ranked) 32nd on both sides of the ball and still have guys after your players," Andre Carter… gone. Brandon Lloyd… gone. The two playmakers from last year… gone. So who do they sign? Antonio freakin’ Bryant. Who the hell is next, Webster Slaughter? Bring back Jerry Rice.

· In much smaller news, Me-Shawn was cut by Dallas. Amazing that he still considers himself to be a premiere receiver in the NFL. For god’s sake, Bill Parcells cut him, and Key’s been blowing the Tuna for decades now. His skills were never much above average, he was essentially JJ Stokes with a better work ethic. Without the self promotional book, he would’ve been JT Smith (of the Cards, for those who don’t remember).

· In other news, I’m the top search in Google for “panther cheerleader trial”. Here’s another link to cement that spot right HERE . One of the cheerleaders must perform 50 hours of community service. Wouldn’t you like to be that community?

You can lead a Donkey to HORSE... or something like that

What’s the going rate on satellite seats?

Because I know where you can get one to the WSOP $50K HORSE satellite…

[Opening overcoat] Pssst, hey buddy. You need a seat? [Reaches into overcoat and pulls out a crumpled up magazine ad]

I know the guy who got the SECOND seat. Honest injun.

He says he might be willing to sell it. Y'know, these things cost over 500 bucks if you buy them straight up...


A new HORSE tournament has been added to the stable of games played at this year's World Series of Poker and, with its $50,000 buy-in, it's bound to have a Kentucky Derby-sized prize pool. Full Tilt Poker wants you in the starting gate for this incredible event, which is why we're offering a WSOP $50K HORSE qualifier at 4:30PM ET on Saturday, July 8th.

Qualify for the WSOP HORSE championship in this fast-paced tournament and you will receive a $50K seat at the WSOP, plus an extra $2,000 in spending money. Satellites for this special $500 + $35 event will start Monday, March 13th, and you can pony up for as little as $4 + $.40.

HORSE is an exciting ride where players compete in five games: Hold 'em, Omaha 8/Better, Razz, Seven Card Stud High, and Eight/Better (Seven Card Stud High-Low). With HORSE, players are challenged at every turn, and that's why they love it. They know it takes a well-rounded player to win in the home stretch. Also, Full Tilt Poker is the only online poker site to offer a weekly Sunday Night HORSE $20K Guarantee, which is why we think that, when the starting bell rings for the WSOP $50K HORSE tournament, our players will own the post position.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Just when you'd thought you'd seen everything...

You see this...

Which leads to this...

Y'know, I kinda like this HORSE thang...

Weekend Update

· PartyPoker = Good ROI, but bad poker. Seriously, it really delineates the trade-off of “getting better” and “winning”. All you guys who insist you’re trying to get better at poker and elevate your game… if you’re playing at Party, you’ll lying to yourself. The only reason to play Party is to take money from retards, plain and simple. It doesn’t make you smarter, but it makes you richer.

· OK, think back to every single Batman episode you’ve ever seen. At the end of episode A (of the two-parter), the Villain du jour has Batman at his mercy, but doesn’t just bust a cap between his pointed bat-ears or simply cut his bat-head off. Instead, the VDJ concocts some elaborate Rube Goldberg contraption that will kill Batman after some labyrinthine sequence. Sometimes I think PartyPoker is like Batman, and we’re the villains. Instead of wiping everyone out easily, we end up trying to come up with elaborate ways of doing it (FPS), and in doing so, we often allow the bat-fishes off the hook.

· Speaking of Batman, whatever happened to Yvonne Craig? For my money, probably the hottest body in sixties TV (her or Barbara Eden). Either that, or I like tight body suits and harem-girl scarves.


Or this...

· Umm, I’m positioning myself for a late run at WPBT POY. My thirty-mumble-mumble finish will lull the rest of you into a false sense of security. I hate PLO. I kept getting wonderful O-8 hands and had to dump them. I had AA dbl sooted thrice and never won with them. Stupid game. If there’s a Turbo NLHE WPBT event, I’m all over that one.

· Edgerrin James – thanks for proving that winning doesn’t really matter to you after all.

· Oh, and what’s up with the NCAA brackets?! San Jose State (6-23) got robbed again.

· And Tennessee is a #2? I think they think the women’s team is playing…

· Is there a blogger bracket game? I would’ve thought so, with so many inveterate gamblers. Count me in for up to $20 a bracket. It’s basically like winning a MTT with a bunch of coinflips that need to go your way.

· It snowed here yesterday. That might not be news to you East Coasters or Chicagoans, but snow at sea level is a once in a generation kind of thing around here.

· Of course, this was the weekend my wife decided that we would buy one of those outdoor basketball hoop setups. And guess who had to put it together while it was 40 degrees and raining? My fingers are still a little numb.

· The 49ers traded Brandon Lloyd. So what? Well, now it means that Alex Smith’s primary target is.. well, it’s…. Damn, I guess it’s no one.

· Poker Superstars III was on yesterday with The Magician, Cyndy Violette (looking MILF-ish while heavily made-up), Mimi Tran, Joe Hachem, and starring Jennifer Tilly’s breasts! I wanted Esfandiari to throw a chip down her cleavage just to see if she could find it.

· Got brutally sucked out to get 2nd in another 18-seater. Heads-up with the lead, I make a min-raise (baiting the hook) with ATo, opponent pushes, I call. He flips 52s (gee, a steal attempt?). Flop is Txx, turn is blank, river is blank. I’m (virtually) celebrating when I realize that he hit a runner-runner ten-high flush. Next hand I push with AK, he calls with Q9 and hits his Q. Sigh. Not a huge loss, especially since these SnGs are 40-30-20-10, but still an ugly way to lose.

· Booked a quickie family vacation for a couple of days of Spring Break; kayaking, horseback riding, swimming, etc. in Arizona. No B&M play for me. I’ve sworn off the stuff.

· Wasted way too much time this weekend watching "I love Toys" on VH1. If you haven't caught it, they're showing it, oh, every frickin' hour for the next month or so. Wil Wheaton is prominently featured as one of the commenters as VH1 attempts to rank the top 100 toys of all time. All of the rest of the VH1 usual suspects (Michael Ian Black, Gilbert Gottfried, and assorted comedians that you only know from VH1) are also tapped to riff on the crap that I grew up with. Ruining the suspense, #1 is the Hula Hoop with Barbie at #2, but a nice touch of nostalgia for me and a whole lot of "See, you ungrateful kids, this is the crap that I had to play with! No frickin' Nintendo, no frickin' Xbox, it was a fucking plastic HOOP!"

· On a side note, am I the only one who finds Rachael Harris extremely cute? I have NFI who she is, other than the fact that VH1 asks her to comment on the 80's and the 70's and toys and whatnot. I adore perky, witty e-List blondes, I guess.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Now I'm 3 for 4 at PartyPoker. I'm playing $6 speed NLHE SnGs. Apparently pretty well too.

So, they hand me $25 just for living. I tell myself that I'll just play 4 quick $6 SnGs. So I do.

Now I have $76. $25 of which they'll take back in a couple of weeks.

Now I have a dilemma. Should I keep rolling over the $6 tables (and my tidy 212% ROI), or should I run my itty-bitty bankroll up to the $11 games?

Friday, March 10, 2006

OK, got another wank from the ex.

Figuratively speaking.

2 for 2 at Party. 2 tries, 2 wins.

Sigh. No matter what they say, no matter what they promise, I WILL NOT deposit.

Unless they really put out.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Have you ever run into an old girlfriend? Someone that may have dumped you and been consigned to "that bitch" status. You remember her as being kinda cute, but not earth-shatteringly gorgeous, primarily as a defense mechanism. I had a moment like that tonight.

Party GAVE me $25. Just handed it over. Like an old girlfriend who you run into. Either she got better looking than you remember, or she always looked this good, but your bitterness made her less attractive in your memory.

I've been playing exclusively Full Tilt (Horse and NLHE) and PokerStars (Turbo). Party had been relegated to the dusty recesses of my bankroll. The last time they handed me money, I cashed out net positive by playing nothing but SnGs and not even pretending to try to play the required raked hands. I let them take their $25 back after cashing out over $100 up.

And now they're back. With more money. So... I figured I'd try four $6 SnGs, just to see what would come of it. And I won the first one pretty easily.

So it was like running into that old girlfriend and getting a quick handjob for old times. Not quite as good as a hummer or a roll in the hay, but it'll scratch the itch for a little while. Of course, I'll look them up again, just to see if I can work my way up to that roll in the hay. And I'm free rolling for it, which is the best way.

Mildly entertaining session last night. Cashed in a $10+1 HORSE (still ITM roughly 75% of the time in these) while kibbutzing the DP in the $17K on FTP. * I just wanted to see how many acronyms I could squeeze into that sentence. *

Followed that up with a win in an 18-seater at PokerStars for $100+. I played shortstacked for most of that one, but managed to get my money in with the best of it every time by simply playing basic solid tight poker. I think that’s where most people fall apart in tournaments. When shortstacked, there’s a tendency to push on any face card or any baby pair without considering the table dynamic or the blind situation. However, if you map out the blinds/antes, and you have more than ONE circuit left, there’s no reason to push simply because you see King-rag UTG. Sure, you’ll have to put in ¼ of your stack when you’re the BB, but you can see 5 or 6 more hands before you’re in a blind push mode. The great thing is that when you do push, you’ll probably get more than one caller meaning a lucky flop lets you triple up or quad up.

Pros keep talking about anything less than 10x the BB should be pushing on any playable hand. Well, if you’re playing against other pros who know how to abuse and push around a shortstack, that might be right. Not many pros are playing the $10-20 SnGs, so that philosophy isn’t optimal for most of us. Rather than get looser, it’s better to play tighter when your stack shrinks. Loose-aggressive play tends to win a lot of small pots, which you don’t have time or capital for. Weak-tight play is intended to double you up.

It’s not so much that I’m a great shortstack player, I just think that others are crappy big stack players. Either that, or their play is assuming that I’m a terrible shortstack player. OK, look at it this way, if there are six players left with four cashing, and 27,000 chips in play. Usually there are two players with 7-9K and four players with 2-4K each. Blinds are usually up in the 200/400/25 or 300/600/25 range, so the shortstacks are playing with 4-5 BB at the most. I’m in the BB and I put up my 625, leaving me 2000. One of the big stacks wakes up with a decent hand and bets enough to put me all-in. That’s a good move against many, a bad move against me. I don’t believe in the “any two cards” mantra at these levels. The big stack probably has one face card, maybe Ace-rag and is trying to push his advantage.

  • If I have crap (say, queen-rag), I’ll lay it down. The big stack wins a little bit, and pushes me closer to the edge. Whoop-de-doo.
  • If I have a fair hand (Ax, Kx sooted, QT) and think I have a coinflip against a bully, I might take the offer getting about 3-2 on my coinflip.
  • If I have a very good hand (Ace-face, two faces, pockets), I’m calling in a shot and getting paid 3-2 when I might have a better hand. So I’m allowing myself to get pushed when I have a reasonable chance of winning.

If I fold, I put 325 chips into the next pot in SB with 1600+ behind it, and I get two fresh cards, probably better than my last two. If not, I fold them and can see two MORE fresh cards for only 25 chips! Even if the blinds go up during the circuit, I’m guaranteed another full round of deals, plenty of time to pick up a good hand. Granted, if I pick up six consecutive 8-3s, I’m gonna lose, but the odds are that at least one of those hands will be playable. Much better than rushing to get my chips in the middle as a distinct underdog. This way, the other shortstacks might impatiently push and I might move up the food chain by default.

I’ve seen bloggers get shortstacked in tournaments claiming “pot odds” and pushing (or getting pushed) when they had a 25% shot of winning a pot and getting 3-1 odds. Well, yeah, you’re getting fair odds, but they’re not GOOD odds, especially when it means that you’re busted 75% of the time. That’s like saying “Well, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays are getting 500-1 odds on winning the World Series, those are fair odds”. But they’re not GOOD odds and your chances of winning are very very slim. It may not be your life on the line, but it’s your tournament life. When you’re a shortstack more than ever, you need to get your money in the middle with GOOD odds, not fair ones.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Mrs. Donkeypuncher has a little foal in the chute. Those of us who have been through the whole kid process know that everything in life changes, not just at birth, but pretty much the day the stick turned blue.

1. Joke about it all you want, but no more jaunts off to Vegas or Trump-Indy on a whim. I’d say he has until July to use those frequent flyer miles on Vegas trips. If he doesn’t, he’ll be stuck giving them away to in-laws so they can fly in to see the baby.

2. One word… HORMONES. She’ll cry when DP gets rivered on a two-outer. She’ll cry during the FFL draft because someone else got Rex Grossman. She’ll cry when Ace gets voted off of Idol. And try as he might, he won’t be able to stem the flow.

3. Sell your stock in the strip clubs in the Chicago area. Mrs. DP will probably not feel like sanctioning strip club excursions while she feels like Mandisa is sitting on her bladder. And the inevitable “I wish men knew what it was like” and “This is your fault” lectures will be right behind. Besides, if it’s boobs he likes, the Boobie fairy should be showing up in a month or two.

4. All that poker money? Gone. It’s now “baby” money. He’ll be buying furniture with balloons and Disney posters. He’ll be buying strollers and car seats. He’ll be buying pastel colored one-sies and diapers.

5. Sleep deprivation. Two possibilities here. The kid sleeps through the night fairly regularly, which means the waking hours can be spent doing fairly routine tasks. Or the kid is colicky and doesn’t sleep. Paradoxically, this might mean more online poker for DP. “I’ll check on the baby, honey” followed by a quick SnG with baby bouncing on Daddy’s knee. Of course, he’ll be useless the other 23 hours of the day, but he’ll get his poker jones.

6. Maybe we should have a poker tournament (like Waffles) for the DP with the winner getting to name the baby! If I win, I'll pick "Barack" for a boy and "Oprah" for a girl.

7. Suppose the baby looks like Pauly? Would there be a Maury-hosted paternity test?

8. Lamaze is a waste of time. He should just practice yelling “BREATHE”.

9. Imagine passing a cantaloupe through an opening that felt tight around a banana. That would be like pissing out a golfball.

Treat her well, my friend. It’s the greatest adventure you will ever know!

Monday, March 06, 2006

I could really get to like HORSE...

Post-Oscar musings from a mediocre poker player…

· Great job of hosting by Jon Stewart. Skewered both sides of the political spectrum and that’s how it should be. Skewered Hollywood activism and self-importance and that’s how it should be. No really overt political rantings by winners or presenters, but no really overt entertainment value outside of Jon Stewart either.

· And what’s with a rap getting “Best Original Song”? And it wasn’t even a good one. Times like this make me wish for Disney films.

· I didn’t know Lauren Bacall was still alive.

· And what’s with cutting off the “Crash” producers?! They let Reese Witherspoon and the foreign film guy ramble incessantly and they cut off the Best Freakin’ Picture winners?! Hey, we know it’s the last award of the night… If we don’t want to hear them, we’ll change the channel. Let them talk, it’s their night.

· More movies that I’ll never see win all the awards. I haven’t even seen “March of the Penguins”. IDEA FOR HOLLYWOOD – Why not have special acting awards for the top ten box office movies of the year? Y’know, like “Best Actor in a movie that made $300M at the box office”. The movie going public would actually KNOW some of these movies rather than the artsy-fartsy, Sundance-loving, overly pretentious films they’re trying to pass off as “Art”. Wouldn’t that be great? “The nominees for Best Actor are… Daniel Radcliffe for Harry Potter, Ewan McGregor for Revenge of the Sith, Hayden Christensen for Revenge of the Sith, Tom Cruise for War of the Worlds, and Owen Wilson for Wedding Crashers!” Now THAT would be exciting!

· My ten-year old daughter heard my wife and I talking about “Brokeback Mountain” and said “Didn’t they have a gay cowboy film on South Park?” I thought back to the Mr. Hanky episode with Chef’s Salty Chocolate Balls… and YES, they did have a gay cowboy movie! Maybe Trey Parker and Matt Stone should sue.

· Dumped a bunch of NL SnGs over the weekend. Horrible, horrible play. And I mean me. One thing that I’ve proven over the years is that I can’t lay a strong hand down, even if I’m pretty sure the other guy has a monster. Bubbled out of two 18-seaters by running my JJ into AA… both times. Er, even monkeys learn.

· I managed to bubble out of a Horse SnG too. This time I actually played it right, but the other guy hit his 6-outer on the river. Of course, he had pot odds by that time, even though he didn’t when he called the first couple of streets.

· Oh, I tried my first 180-seater, came in 12th for a whopping $20 profit for my 3-4 hour investment. Might as well work at Baskin-Robbins for those hourly wages. Speaking of that… B-R was my first job ever, I made $3.25/hour in 1978. I told my son to consider it for his first job. After all, working at an ice-cream counter has a lot of advantages.

· 1. You build up your forearms, well, at least your right forearm. Try scooping some vanilla ice cream right after you pull it from the back freezer and you’ll know what I mean.

· 2. It’s kept pretty cold in there, which means that when girls come in during the summer in their halters and bikini tops, the headlights come on.

· 3. It’s a great way to get in good with certain people. Football star comes in, give him extra ice cream. Head cheerleader comes in, give her a sundae for the single-scoop price. Oh sure, it smacks of bootlicking, but you might as well get used to sucking up to the powerful. Oh, and if you hate someone, there are some pretty foul ways to get even too.

· 4. Free ice cream. Yeah, I know, you’d think you’d get sick of it, but you really never get sick of ice cream. Thirty years ago. B-R had a policy that you got two free scoops for each day of work. Of course, if you’re scooping yourself, those scoops could be pretty substantial. I used to make the greatest milkshakes out of French Vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, butterscotch syrup, and milk. If you had friends at local fast food joints, you could parlay your free scoops into a free lunch.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Horse is a wonderful thing.

I’m won 4/6 of the $10+1 Horse tournaments I’ve entered now, with the two non-cashes being bubbles. I’m finding that I like the languid pace of the stud games as a nice sorbet to cleanse the palate of the all-in NLHE pushfests.

I suppose I have some strategies in each segment, but it really comes down to ABC poker. The reason I’m winning is that most people barely have the A part down for the Razz and Stud portions of the game. Since those are 60% of the games and it seems like the endgames fall into these sections, basic knowledge of stud fundamentals is enough to close the deal.

I’ve posted my nominal Razz concepts before, and it seems like nobody seems to realize that NOBODY CAN SEE THEIR HOLE CARDS! I’ve had to bring-in with a door Jack and had everyone fold their antes to me. Ummm, I have the worst card on board and you’re folding?! All of you?! Now I know I’m not a poker expert by any means, but isn’t there a concept called “bluffing”? At the tables I’ve played, the bring-in folds to the completer 75% of the time, and surrenders without a fight. I tag these players immediately and as the table dwindles down, I steal their bring-in’s mercilessly.

People seem to have trouble with the Stud hi/lo portion as well. Most of us have played regular 7-stud as part of our home games, many have played hi/lo, but not many have played with an 8-low qualifier. When me and my buddies played in high school and college, we had no such qualifier. We had to DECLARE our hands at the end; low, high, or scoop try. You could have three pairs and could take the low half of the pot if you were the only one to declare low. We got pretty good at betting and 2nd level thinking while we “represented” our hands by betting out with 235 on board with QJ in the hole. Everyone would bail out to our assumed low hand, we’d raise every possible round to build our share and take the low half uncontested. If anything, Stud-8 requires even less thought.

My biggest problem(s) come in the limit Hold’em portion. I’m playing way too few hands, partially because I’m conditioned in NLHE to be patient, but partially because I’m pretty sure I can outplay the rest of them in the stud games. Of course, this tactic can fail when I get all face cards in Razz or mediocre drawing hands in Stud, but I need to build my stake in each round. For now, I’m treading water in Hold’em, nut peddling in Omaha (which depends on the cards), building my chipstack in Razz, treading water in Stud, and nut peddling in Stud-8. If the cards are unkind in O-8 and Stud-8, I lose. If the cards are good, I’m rolling the table.

For example, yesterday in Stud-8 I had two pair (A8 up and down) after four cards and he’s showing 62. We cap it and both get face cards. We cap it again (remember, now it’s double bets) and he’s all-in. He has 43 down (pretty much what I expected) so he’s drawing for the low-half and possible gutshot. He pairs his deuce on 6th street and pairs his 6 on the river enabling me to bust him. He promptly berates my play saying that he had “tons” of draws to hit his low. Umm, no, he didn’t. He had two aces, four sevens, and two eights to hit his low, and four fives to scoop. So, with only two of us playing, he had four outs (the fives) to make a profit, and eight outs to BREAK EVEN. And that’s assuming I don’t get my boat. Not that he made a horrific play, just that he didn’t accept the reality that I had four of his outs already (and I knew it).

For now, I’ll probably play one HORSE SnG per night until the level of play catches up to me, like it did in NLHE and O-8. This should take a month or two… Then I’ll find some other game to pick off some low-hanging fruit.