Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Some Vegas memories:

- Busted out near the bubble in a $90 tournament at Harrah’s. $50+40 add-on and five full tables. I probably played overtight preflop when flops were still cheap, but warmed up in the middle rounds. 1500+1500 chips, with blinds starting at 25/50 and 20 minute levels. Basically blinded down for the first three levels, and took the add-on just before the deadline at the first break.

Saw some spectacularly bad play from several people: Some pretty strong play from others. One 40-ish lady liked to raise with Ace-rag in any position. Once we all figured that out, she got run over pretty quickly. I just didn’t have any playable hands until midway through the second session after a table change. By then the blinds were 150/300 and I was down to about 3x the BB. I was in cutoff with QTs and had two limpers in front of me (including the ace-rag lady who had re-bought after adding on and busting out). I quickly computed the odds on my toes, and decided to push right there, figuring to get my best odds. Sure enough, the BB agonized and folded, Ace-rag lady called, and MP folded. I flipped my QTs and she flipped 76o. The entire table groaned at her. The flop was AQx with two spades. When I flushed the turn, I was suddenly a middle stack. She busted (for the third time) on the next hand with Ace-rag against AQ. We were sad to see her go.

After another table change and down to three tables, I sat down to a table with almost no familiar faces. I folded pretty much an entire circuit disgustedly, then raised 3x preflop in EP with T9s. Everyone immediately bailed, and I knew I had a tight rep. The blinds were climbing into the ridiculous stage after the second break. I missed a chance to chip up when I had KK in BB. With two limpers, I raised only 2x to bring them along. The flop hit me hard with KQT. I considering checking, but guys were playing a lot of Ace-rags and JT/J9 type hands and I didn’t want to give up the free card, so I bet the min hoping for someone to read it as a continuation bet. Both guys folded, one guy had a small pair, the SB had crap.

Then it got silly. We went from 200/400/25 to 500/1000/50. Most of the table had 4K-6K chips so preflop raises were pretty much all-ins. I stole some blinds from late position once or twice with middle suited connectors and was roughly in the bottom third when we got down to two tables. 7-handed, I had Q9s in SB. Everyone folded to me, and I pushed. I half-wanted the BB behind me to call because I needed to double up to have a chance to win, but he passively folded. A couple of hands later, the blinds went to 1000/2000/100. I was in cutoff and with one UTG limper (a blue-haired LOL), I looked down at TT. And pushed. SB and BB disgustedly folded, and the LOL paused before calling. I hoped she had Ax or Kx, and I flipped my cards. The guys next to me said “Nice hand”, until she flipped QQ cautiously, like she wasn’t sure. She hadn’t raised all day, so I’m pretty sure she didn’t slowplay me. Well, the flop was 985, making me feel a little better since I would’ve pushed against that flop anyway. I said “Gimme a 7, dealer”. She obligingly flipped a 7. But before I could say “Jack, six, ten”, she flipped up a deuce, and I was done.

My wife asked me if I had fun. I suppose I did, but it’s frustrating to play solid poker for three hours and not cash. I didn’t lose a single pot at showdown, aside from one or two from BB that were checked down. I made accurate reads almost every step of the way, and ended up 13th or 14th among 50 players (with ten getting paid). When I poked my head in later, I noticed that the LOL made the final table. One of the onlookers told me that she limped a couple of hands later with JJ. Didn’t raise a single time with all undercards on the board, and busted someone else. Sigh.

Mrs. Commish and I walked down the strip to Bellagio because I wanted to see the poker room. I watched a few hands at a $5/10 NLHE table. One fairly attractive girl was bleeding Benjamins like crazy. Right when we got there, she went all-in after an Axx flop with about $1000 cash. She was called by the guy to her left who flipped AJ. She flipped QQ (?!) and when the table whiffed her, casually took out another stack of $100 bills and dropped them on the table. The guy was stacking off piles of chips and counting his Benjamins. Mrs. and I both counted with him to fifteen. I was sorely tempted to join, but I noticed that most of the table had wads of $100 bills in front of them, probably most of them hers.

Side note: Had breakfast next to a Mike Matusow clone in the Venetian. Might have been him, still not sure. Voice was very similar, face and body type were the same. He was sitting with a lady and a little boy around 7-9 years old. When the server tried to give me someone else’s Eggs Benedict that had been sitting under the heating unit for ten minutes, I sent it back asking him for a fresh one, noting that I had seen him bring that one back earlier. Maybe-Mike said “That was cool. I’m glad that happened after I ate.” I suppose I should’ve asked if it was him, but I know I hate it when people bug me when I’m out with my family, so I didn’t want to piss him off.

More coming later in the week. I have effing jury duty this week.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Some quick hits as we move towards the weekend:

- Circuit Shitty has announced that they will be closing 69 stores and laying off buttloads of greasy, obnoxious salespeople. I’ve always hated that company. I used to be a field trainer for Compaq Computers and found the Circuit City vultures to be the lowest form of scummy, pushy spiff chasers I’ve ever seen. My wife once won a gift certificate through a company sponsored contest. We used it to get a video camera which was basically DOA. When we took it back to be worked on, they told us that it was outside of the 30-day return policy, so they wouldn’t give me a replacement. Not only that, but when I told them to fix it, they returned it two months later still inoperative. When I pointed out that the fucking thing still didn’t work, they said that I was now outside of the 90-day warranty and they weren’t gonna fix it. Ever since then, I haven’t set foot in one of their stores, and I’ve told countless people what a bunch of crooks they are. I hope my efforts have at least partially led to their financial problems. And I hope their corporate office burns down, and they all go to hell.

- Whew, I feel better already.

- Enough hullabaloo about the Super Bowl Commercials. We all agree that they suck compared to some of the great commercials of yesteryear, but for that very reason, we shouldn’t be talking about them anymore. All of this bitching about the Snickers macho-gay smooch and the suicidal robotic arm needs to stop. They’re fucking commercials and not very good ones. Talking about them only perpetuates their memory. If everyone had ignored the ads and the products they push, it would have all gone away.

- Lost was just OK. I still get the feeling that they’re just making up shit as they go along, kind of like an improvisational drama. Characters pop in and out of that thing like SNL comedians. My favorite scene was when that guy gets hit by a bus. Seriously, every show should have someone wiped out by a bus. That would be high comedy.

- I haven’t even watched the last three American Idol audition shows. Enough with the freak parade! They’re pandering to the America’s Funniest Home Video crowd, the toothless Springer-esque crowd chanting for bigger and badder screeching. Most of these people auditioning shouldn’t be in public without assistance, and I totally blame their caretakers. After all, we can see that these people can’t legitimately function in the real world; they must have someone that is helping them perform the basic tasks of everyday life like getting dressed and driving a car to work. Why isn’t that person telling them “Y’know, Poindexter, you can’t sing worth a shit and you look like a demented lemur, maybe you should stay home and pop your pimples instead of humiliating yourself on national TV.”?

- I found out that I was about one day too slow in pulling my money from Neteller. I currently have $350+ dollars “pending” withdrawal. I initiated the withdrawal on 1/18, just one day prior to the announced investigation and freezing of funds. Crap.

- Remember my wife won a trip to Vegas and I was going? Well, now she’s interviewing at a couple of other companies and I might lose out on the trip if she takes one of the other jobs before 2/26. Not sure whether it’ll be worth the bridge burning to go to Vegas on someone else’s dime, and put in two weeks notice when the plane lands back home. Stay tuned.

- Side note on the kids. My son somehow managed to make Honor Roll (fourth straight semester) despite being a total screw-up and blowing off multiple assignments. My daughter pulled off straight A’s in her first semester in middle school. I’m very proud of both of them. My wife thinks I’m too hard on them. Tough shit. It seems to be working.

- One more week until pitchers and catchers report.

Monday, February 05, 2007

OK, the Super Bowl is over and we’re guaranteed seeing even more Peyton Manning commercials, whoring out to whichever advertisers have a checkbook. Eventually, we’ll have a Peyton Manning network showing nothing but Colts highlights and Peyton commercials. Oh, we already have that, it’s called ESPN.

Anyway, it played out pretty much as expected, with Grossman self-destructing, and the Colts eventually picking apart the Bear defense. The Colts did a great job of adjusting their offense after the 1st quarter. The Bears seemed intent on stopping the slants and seam patterns that Manning loves to throw, dropping Urlacher into the passing lanes. And the Colts actually adjusted on the fly and began running the 49er West Coast Offense with swing passes and dump-offs to the running backs. The linebackers would be backpedaling into the seams, the cornerbacks would be dogging the slant routes, and the running back (Roger Craig in the 80’s, Ricky Watters in the 90’s, Joseph Addai yesterday) swings into the flat unimpeded for an almost gimme eight to ten yards a pop.

My buddy and I noticed how familiar the offense looked almost immediately, including the almost eerie ability to gain six yards on 3rd and 4, ten yards on 3rd and 8, always keeping the chains moving, dominating the time of possession. We had seen it before, 20+ years ago. The swing pass (aka “the long handoff”) was put into the West Coast offense to counter the Bears 46 defense in the mid-80’s. In the early 80’s, the 49ers would run sight-adjustment routes against zones with Dwight Clark and Freddie Solomon sitting down in dead spots for 10-12 completions. When teams went to man-to-man, Clark would run slants all the way across the field (remember Harrison yesterday?), while Solomon would go deep to pull the safety. Defenses eventually learned that blitzing would disrupt the timing of the slant plays, so the 49ers adjusted by swinging a running back out of the backfield, essentially running around the blitzers into the open field.

And the Colts ran that exact offense last night. The stretch plays weren’t working against the hard charging defensive line (Addai fumble), so they went to straight plunge plays with straight up man blocking and letting the runners pick their holes. And Ron Rivera didn’t adjust his defensive scheme, falling into the “it worked all year” trap. Well, yeah, it worked against Detroit and Minnesota, but they didn’t have the weapons that Indy had. I wonder if Jerry Jones was paying attention. Hopefully, he wasn’t, because I want Dallas to take Ron Rivera, if only because it will keep Norv Turner in SF, working with Alex Smith and Frank Gore for another season.

So, who do you like in the Pro Bowl?