Pokerama-rama! Now with more beer!

Beer, brewing and poker, with possibly some inane drivel on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Monday, January 31, 2005

Bad beats and lucky draws

I am a calm person, really I am. I don't go all Hellmuthian if I get slapped by a particularly bad beat, and I understand the nature of the poker beast. I also understand that I use too many cliches, so isn't it about time you get off my back for that? I think so.

Last night, though, I experienced something that made me wish I'd taken up smoking, or been prescribed Ritalin as a kid--just something that would calm me down. I actually had to sit out a few hands to get my bearings straight, and I honestly can't remember the last time I've had that happen.

I was two tabling early in the night; one table at Doyle's Room, and the blogger table at Party. I was absolutely card-dead at the blogger table, and it got so bad that someone told me my V$PIP was at 7%. It wasn't until I checked PokerTracker after logging off, that I realized my real V$PIP was closer to 14%. Is that the same as 7%? No. Jerks.

On Doyle's, it was much of the same--Fold, fold, fold, raise, missed flops like Nick Kaeding misses field goals, fold, fold. I'd rather lose hands than fold all the time. Each time my first card dealt was an ace, I'd scream at the dealer as he was dealing everybody's second down card. Don't lie to me. You all do this, right? My heart always skips when I'm dealt the first ace, and then sinks when my screaming doesn't pay off.

"Come on! Cooooome oooooon. Big money, big mother-fucking whammies!"

Whammy in the form of an unsuited low-card.

"Hello Muck, I'd like you to meet Mr. Shitty Hand. Seems you two have become quite familiar over the coarse of the evening. No, really, I enjoy the sight of you canoodling. It makes me happy."

Suddenly, out of the sky came a heavenly chorus of voices, the clouds parted, and there was light.


On the very next hand, my first, red ace was paired with a second of the black variety. Different ethnicity, same glorious life purpose--to win me money. In late position I bumped it up 4 times the big blind and two people called--the button and the big blind. Up until a few months ago, I was using the standard of raising 3x the BB, but at the low-limit tables, that method just doesn't work. I'd still have 6 people call my raise, because, what the heck, it's only a buck fitty. So, 4x is now my standard raise.


The big blind checked, I made a pot-sized bet that the button called almost immediately. The BB folded. The only thing that was worried about in this spot was the button having A3. You know, the hand that dumb people like to play. Sure, he could possible have King-something, but the way he called it so quickly made me believe he wasn't afraid if the threes.


Should I be afraid of this card? I didn't think there was any reason for me to be, and made another pot-sized bet. If there's one thing that I really don't understand, it's when people underbet the pot for a reason other than trying to trap someone. Betting scared. What's the point of, say, betting $2 into a $10 pot when you're trying to win it right there? Or, for that matter, making a minimum bet into a substantial pot? If you're not slowplaying the absolute nuts, that minimum bet does nothing. To me, it says Here, take this pot from me. I don't want it, but I also don't want to look like a pussy by checking. You know what? You look even more like a pussy making that tiny bet!

Shit, I don't want to give away my secrets. Nevermind me.

The big blind, whom I'm going to affectionately name "clueless asshole" from now on, didn't cold call--he minimum raised me! Now, I knew after looking at the flop that I was probably going to be playing for my whole stack. It happens. And by looking at my PT data, I know that aces are a substantial winner for me. Somewhere around 80%, I think. The numbers have held up for me. If he had one of the last two 3's, well, kudos go to him for branding me a sucker. The only other hand I could imagine him doing that with was King-rag, or pocket 10's. I pushed in the rest of my stack, he called and turned over...are you ready for it?


Shit, his two pair two pair? Wait, no they don't! I'm going to win a monster pot here! I had thoughts of doing the running man; of diving head first into a bed filled with Lincolns; of treating all my womens to night on the town, filled with lavish meals, and copious amounts of booze for all.

Sadly, though, the river brought another king, and my mental imagery bubble popped. The running man lost out to stunned silence; the bed of money was replaced with one laced with jagged glass, and the only night my womens were about to enjoy included one bowl of ramen each, and box wine.


See, here's where you'd think this another bad beat story. It isn't. I was ahead, happy that I made the right call, and not pissed that Clueless Asshole had sucked out on me. What followed, though, was the event that triggered my need for a Lucky Strike. None of that pansy-assed, filtered, I-cherish-my-lungs shit. Oh no, this called for a man's cigarette.

I don't follow the chat at Doyle's, because if there's anybody chatting at all, it's usually nothing but garble. After this hand, I instinctively clicked the chat button to see what, if anything, was being said about the hand. One guy typed in "Ouch", and I was fine with that. Ouch is right. It hurt my bankroll.

"That usually happens when I try to get cute with aces", typed Clueless Asshole.

What? Excuse me? Cute? Were you even playing in the same hand as I was?

I didn't type that, though. It doesn't do me any good to berate this player through chat. I'm a non-confrontational person by nature and can usually let things slide off my back, like it's coated with teflon. If this had been at a B&M, though, he would've had a chip rack to the ear. I did, however, feel like driving to Providence-every Providence in these United States if it came to that- to beat this moron senseless. Yeah, I know that's a little redundant.

Ok, you caught me. I wouldn't resort to violence to get back at him. It pissed me off, though, not because he sucked out on me, but it's because he didn't even realize that he was behind the whole time even after berating me in the chat. I didn't get "cute" with my aces. I was the initial bettor, the flop bettor, and reraised him my whole stack after he pulled off that minimum raise.

I sat in my chair, quietly stewing for 5 minutes, watching as this dumbass used the chat box as his proverbial soap-box to promote his inane agenda.

"See, that's why you raise as much as you can, so you don't lose with aces. I'd rather fight another day, than lose my whole stack with aces"

This is the point where I clicked the X on the chat box, and realized that he just didn't get "it". I could do nothing, nor did I want to, to make him realize just how stupid he sounded. If he'd been my friend, I would've pulled him aside to slapped him with a wet brillo pad.

He wasn't, though, so I did the next best thing--pulled out a gazetteer to see just how many stops I was about to make.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

I've been meaning to post on the oddity that is the core of this blogging community...well, not that they're an oddity, but how they've seemed to attained almost celebrity status, all aided by the first WPBT. It's all a little fucked up, don't you think? I'm not sure that I can say much more than has already been said the past few days, though. I will, however, try to explain why I'm here.

It's weird--I shouldn't care about the community as much as I do. But I honestly do. Whether I truly do fit into a niche here or not, I guess I'm just starting to find that out. The truth is that there are people involved here that have helped me more than they probably even realize. Here, let me try to come at this from a different angle. I'm not sure it'll work, but I'm going to plug through, regardless.

When I first decided to try my keyboard at a poker blog about 8 months ago, I asked Iggy to pimp me, and I'm thankful that he obliged. He didn't know me from any other wazoo out there, but he still mentioned my stupid blog that had yet to find any semblence of direction. And that's the thing that amazes me--when I first started writing here, I had no idea what to write about. That's easy, right? I started it because I love poker, so naturally I'm going to write about poker, right?. Uh, yeah, not so fucking easy for me.

I found it impossible to write anything even close to interesting. If I can't even read it, why should anyone else? I knew going in that I wasn't writing this to have no readers-I like people reading what's on my mind, or as is more the case, lack thereof. Who doesn't? I found it tough, though, to write anything I'd be happy reading. If I see a hand history, I skip it. And for the most part, I can't read about people's home games. There are people that can write about them and they do make it an interesting read. Sadly, my home games are just not that interesting. So, I don't write about those topics. That severely limited blog content, that's for sure.

Around mid-October, I was having trouble with figuring out what I really want to become of the rest of my life. Maybe it was the rapidly approaching big three-oh, I'm not sure, but I started developing a skewed sense of self worth. It could've been bad mayonnaise or a hangover that made me all wonky, but I was growing increasingly unsatisfied with being a cube slave and needed to find a different direction. Or at the very least, a diversion to make me feel like I was doing something with my life.

I don't think I'm a moron, but I also don't I feel I have a defined set of skills that are all that marketable. Well, that are marketable and I'd be happy doing. I don't need to sleep on a pile of money with many beautiful women in order to be happy, but I'd rather not just feel like I'm wasting oxygen. The one thing I found that makes me happy, is writing. The lack of background hurts me, though, so I tried to find out what I'd really need.

Outlook Express sat open for a good three hours before I hit send, unsure if seeking Pauly's wisdom was the right thing to do. The email was not that much different than the one he posted about the kid asking for a poker mentor. I wasn't looking for a mentor, really I wasn't, just some direction in my writing, and any wisdom he could impart on me. Looking back, there was the cynic in me that thought I'd get an impersonal reply telling me to not quit my day job because I was a terrible writer. He didn't know me from any other shitstain out there, and didn't owe me a damn thing.

A week later, at a point where I'd almost forgotten about the email, he sent a reply. Five, in fact-each one detailing and bulleting responses to something I said in my original question. He didn't bullshit with me, and didn't sugar-coat over things by making the choice of writing sound all happy-pretty.

Damn, I hadn't intended this entry to be a dick-suck of Pauly, or anything like that, so I'll try to be get to the point.

I still have those 5 emails in my inbox, and look back at them from time-to-time. Even though the things he told me aren't exactly revolutionary(no offense), the advice is damn sound, and has served me well.

Those examples are the exact reason that I want to be in with the "cool group" here. Not because I want any part of the quasi-celebrity that comes along with some of the more prolific members, but because there's an underlying support group, a safety net, inherent here. Whether I'm looking for poker advice, or even relationship help, there's bound to be someone there.

I've struggled over the past months with where I fit in; what my niche is. Up until a month ago, I didn't think I belonged. I didn't add a damn thing, and anything that I did write was painfully subpar, to me at least. No, really, go back and read some of the things I wrote 6 months ago. Shitty with a capital shit. Only recently have I felt like a minute part of my squeaky writing voice is starting to emerge, and it feels good. Like I'm not just wasting oxygen. Like I've just taken the first pull from a bottle of Pacifico.

Fuck, man, it tastes great.

So. Huh. Did I just find my reasons behind for wanting to "fit in"? The only way I feel like I can accomplish that is by creating an interesting read. I'm open to suggestions.

Fuck it, I have some "real" poker content to get to.

Taking the advice of Jason, I transferred money from my Party account, and into Doyle's Room. Everything he said about it is true--if there's a draw, regardless of how high the odds against it are, there's someone that's going to play his whole stack trying to hit it. The players are horrid, and I could make a valid argument that the players are worse than at Party. Too bad there aren't more of them.

Now that I think about it, that's one of the things I do like about it. At Party, there are so many people, that it's impossible to get a read on more than a handful of people without using PokerTracker and some other program like Playerview or Gametime+. Granted, those will make you money, but making money that way, for me at least, isn't particularly all that fun. Relying on that crutch is not going to make me a better player, either. That's boring poker, if you ask me. The only reason to be using those tools is to make money, which, like I said, is fine, but what good does it do me if I'm not really learning the game?

At Doyle's, though, I don't get to use all those peripherals to help make a tough decision, and it actually forces me to think for a change. I don't get the liberty to use those tools in a home game, and at times, I tend to rely on them too much playing at Party, but when it comes time to make a tough decision, I need to learn to trust my own read sometimes, or the betting pattern that's been used. At the limits I play at Doyle's, I tend to run into the same morons repeatedly; morons that don't learn from they're mistakes; morons that don't know how to vary the way they play certain hands. I know, I know, that's the definition of a fish, but you'd be surprised how much easier it gets to put someone on a hand when you've played with them for a week straight.

You don't have that privelege at the bigger sites. Sure, you can always tag and follow a fish, but that also doesn't help me become a better player. If I can consistently beat only the worst players, where do I stand? That's equivalent to the Super Bowl champion defeating nothing but Pop Warner teams to get the Vince Lombardi trophy. Or beating the Vikings 20 weeks in a row. It doesn't give me any indication of where my skill level sits.

I'd say that, at Doyle's, I'm way above skill level of the average player, and it's not even close.

Monday, January 24, 2005

[note:absolutely no poker content, just a story]

Two years ago yesterday I was in Dublin, waiting on the girl that would, according to her, "unintenionally" break my heart. I'm still convinced she'd had it planned. I was also waiting on certain bodily functions to catch up to the rest of my body, and to this day, I'm still not sure which pain was worse--the broken heart, or the not pooping. I'm guessing it was the former, but with someone like me, it's tough to tell.

One year ago yesterday, my brother and his wife gave birth to my niece. Not that my brother did much of the work involved, but it sounds better than "He came, she grunted out a child". Sometimes I have a little tact. Just a little.

Now, a year later, I no longer call her "their daughter", she is "my niece".

What do these things have in common? Almost nothing. And no, what they do share is not what you're probably thinking. You people are disgusting; you know that, right? I may have done some things that are considered immoral by many, or just downright nasty by most, but I can say that without any reservation, that I've never crossed over that brother-brother line. A friend's ex? By all means. Ex's sister? Serve 'er up with syrup! But I've never crossed the brother threshold.

Saturday, I attended my niece's 1st birthday party. "Party" would be a bit much, I suppose. It was more of a gathering to watch her discover that cakes tastes better being passed through the mouth, rather than up the nose. But up the nose is funnier.

A party it was not. Come on, the baby didn't even realize that people were laughing at her, not with her. And she definitely didn't understand how to unwrap a present. She was more interested in little pieces of carpet fuzz than what awaited her beneath the brightly colored wrapping paper. It was blocks, in case you're wondering. I let her in on a secret that blocks taste better and make you vomit less, and she seemed pleased to learn this. Either that, or she'd chosen that moment to explode in her Huggies. The expressions are eerily similar.

Between the lulls in my nieces self-imposed humiliation-by-cake and her unintelligible baby talk, my thoughts drifted from my brother's house in the Sticks, to a small Fiat Punto on west coast of Ireland.

I scanned the living room, starting with my brother, shifting to his wife, and on to my niece. Brother, wife, my niece. Brother, wife, my niece. Three times, I did this. And then, BAM!, back to the car being parked in Donegal town. There are times in the last 2 years that I thought about that trip, probably far too much to be anything other than self-defeating. Never, though, had I looked at it the way I did this Saturday.

I've always held firm on my stance that I never want to have children, mostly for selfish reasons. But, if Emily and I had worked out--which, is of course the little bit of Optimist that hasn't been beaten out of my brain by the Pessimist--that's exacly what I'd be dealing with today;kids.

I've always said that having kids, for me, would be a scary ordeal. One that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. My friends, maybe, but that's only because they deserve it. It's not to say that I want kids right now, or that I'm ready to settle down and find an acceptable uterus that will pop a litter of 13 or 14 tiny-handed, non back-talking little slaves. No, it's just that sort of thing never scared me when Emily was around.

"If I ever wanted to have a child, what would you say if I asked you to be the father?", she asked.
"Would I have to change diapers, or deal with ball-rash?" I replied, part joking, mostly not. I didn't want to deal with either.
"Not if you didn't want to." she said with an unwavering voice.
"Great, where do I sign up?"

Not that I think we were supposed to end up together, whatever that means. Or that I'm all grown up, because the minute I think that, take me out back and put bullet in me skull. Or get me unbelievably drunk, just something to make me forget that I said it. This I beg of you. The last thing I need right now is a baby. Well, that and a drippy penis. Either would be equally horrific.

So, the last few years could've been a complete 180 from where I currently stand. I could be married with a child, and another on the way. This doesn't even make me flinch, or feel uneasy in the slightest. It would've been fine, for awhile.

We would've been great for a few years, but I always held on to my belief that, no matter what happened, we'd get divorced. Don't ask me how I came to this conclusion, I just did. Perhaps it just comes with knowing someone that well. Regardless of that, this question always surfaces:

"If I could alter time, would I go back and do things differently so that we could end up together?"

Even with the unavoidable divorce thrown out of the recipe, my answer is a most defiant "NO!". Why do I think this way now? Hindsight, my friend, hindsight.

The last two years of my life would've never happened, and that's not something I'm not readily about to release from my gnarled fingers. I never would've met some of the key people that have been, or possibly will be important in my life.

I wouldn't have spent a glorious week in Puerto Vallarta, drinking good beer and having sex in the shower. Or for that matter, I never would've spent a weekend in Key West, drinking bad beer and having sex in the shower. I may have been passed out in the Key West shower with the cold water hitting me in the face, but in my mind, I was having sex. I love my mind sometimes.

In fact, I never would've met a girl Crystal at all, and though we aren't speaking at the moment-I'm not entirely sure why- I still cherish the time we spent together. Time that would've never happened if I'd continued to be another one of Emily's lemming.

And I know I was. I was a fucking lemming. Anyone on the outside could see that, but I didn't want to. As much as I would've liked to be with her, I am happy with where I've come from and ultimately where I'm going. I may not seem that way all the time, but I am.

I still don't know what I'd do if she finally understood how unbelievably good I was to her--which, for once, I was--and decided to come back to me, or if I saw her walking down the street. I honestly don't. Part of me would like to punch her the face, an another, softer part of me would love to give her a good hate-fucking, but who says I have to choose? Both would give me that warm, fuzzy feeling that I very much crave right now.

Sitting there, on my brother's couch, I finally understood why people have children. And for once, I felt a tinge of jealousy towards him and the family he has helped create.

Just as I came to terms with all this, my brother handed me my smiling niece, and that feeling of jealousy was swept away as she swatted my head with her fat, cake-covered palms, and promptly threw up on my shoulder.

God, I fucking hate kids.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

About a year ago, Hank had an excellent post detailing different motivations people have for playing poker. I read the entry a few times, nodding along in agreement with everything he had to say, yet I still didn't understand what my real motivation for playing was. I don't think I have my exact reasons pinned down today, either, and at this rate, I probably never will.

It's absolutely not the money, because any little amount that I've made playing has stayed a part of my bankroll and doesn't really belong to me. It's not for fame, that's for sure. If there's one thing that I've learned over the past year of playing, it's that the chances of me becoming a WCP are unbelievably minute. That's fine with me, too, because I'm not one to seek out the limelight. Not that I've ever had that before, but I can imagine what it would be like if I did, and it's deer-caught-in-headlights frightening.

I could go on forever detailing what aren't reasons behind my poker fascination, but that's not why I'm writing this entry. And I'm a little worried that I'd never come up with any real, concrete reasons why I stick around a game that is an emotional rollercoaster much of the time. So, I'm just going to lie to myself and decide that there has to be a few reasons in this world for me to keep playing.
A little denial never hurt anyone, did it? That's what I thought. What those reasons are, I'll have to find some day, I suppose.

I read this via iggy's entry and it got me to thinking about the blogging phenomenon, and why I choose to blog. Specifically, my reasons to blog about poker. Yes, I know that thinking, for me, is a sure path to what's known in the medical business as "brain hurt", but that's a chance I'm willing to take.

Why do I blog about poker?

Is it because I believe that I'm a foremost authority in poker theory, and that by writing, I'm providing some great service to my readership?

Sadly, no. I wish that insight was my forte, but I'm woefully unqualified to be writing anything of that nature, and if I did, you can bet that most of the information would be erroneous and unintentionally comical. If anyone is coming to my site to "learn", the only thing that I could suggest to them is a frontal lobotomy.

Well, surely it's because my poker "career" is an exciting tale that must be told, right?

Wrong. If anything, my progression is moving along in baby-steps--two small steps forward, one tilt backward, and a whoops, just fell on my ass. I'm not crushing the fish on a nightly basis, I've never even made a final table in a MTT, and there is absolutely nothing interesting in any of my sessions. Some people that are technical, like Chris, can write in that voice and make it interesting. I cannot. Believe me, I've tried to write that way, and the entries even bore the diapers off of me. The only reason for me to ever take that angle is so everyone else can feel better about their game.

If you don't write because you're qualified, or an interesting read, you must be writing only for yourself?

If nobody, and I mean nobody, ever read anything I've ever written, I would've quit writing. That's what paper journals are for. Also, if I had to get all my poker knowledge out of a book, it would've been tough to stick with as long as I have. There's a give-and-take that comes along with this journal, and moreso with the community as a whole. As much as I think I'd be terrible in the limelight, I do like being the center of attention from time to time. I am an attention whore. There, I said it. Are you happy now? I like getting feedback, and it's the best positive reinforcement a guy like me could ever get. I write something, somebody responds. Pavlov rings a bell--the dogs salivate. Outlook Express rings like a bell--I salivate.

I love to write, but I don't consider myself a writer. I don't have the background that many of the more prolific writers in this community have, and in fact, I'd go so far as to say that I have no background at all. That doesn't stop me from striving to get better, though.

For me, there's a direct correlation between poker and writing. Many of you have been doing both for a very long time, whereas I'm a relative newborn. I don't have the depth in either to consider myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but as I add skill in one discipline, I notice skill in the other growing as well.

It's this symbiosis that keeps me going--I study poker so that I'll have something to write about, and in turn, it's the writing that keeps me interested in the game.

Friday, January 14, 2005

My night playing poker can be summed up in one word:miserable. Lots of second-bests and useless chasing tend to have that effect. That quickly changed when my incoming email message indicator ring-ronged, letting me know that I had new mail. Nothing extraordinary, really, and I expected it to be another one from Travelocity, or Orbitz telling me that there's some incredible deal to a place I'd never want to go. As I read the From: line, my heart jumped a little. As I read the meat of the message, my whole body ached, not in anticipation, but in sheer terror. My liver and kidneys abandoned ship.

Al says:"I can't believe it just occurred to me that your a Minnesota boy to.If you're ANYWHERE near Eden Prairie on Sunday, you NEED to come hang out with me and Halverson. Shoot me and email when you get a chance and I'll send you the details.


I now know exactly how the first troops that stormed Normandy felt. There's a sense of anticipation, and though everybody keeps telling me that things will be bad, there's no amount of preparing for just how bad things will get.

This could get ugly.


No, Chad, it's already far past ugly.

Tomorrow, I will be thoroughly preparing myself for HurricaneCantHang by punching my liver repeatedly in an attempt to toughen it up a little. Hopefully I don't hit my kidneys because I need these underwear for Sunday. These are my lucky underwear.

Now, I'm a drinker. I drink, but I'm already resigning myself as not being able to hang as well as Al. This is like taking a good high school basketball player and pitting him one on one against an NBA'er. Hell, I'm good on my playground, but I get the feeling that Al will swat me like he's Kurt Rambis, and I'm, well, not Kurt Rambis.

Hey, I just realized something. I have a friend that lives right around the corner from where they're watching the game. Why does this make things worse rather than better?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

I've tried to keep this in, but it's not working out for me. If I don't write something about it just to get it out of my system, I'm going to go all wonky.

This whole troll nonsense is one of the dumbest things I've ever read about. It's impossible for me to care less as to her poker skill level, because honestly, I'm not one to talk. Face it, though, the damn thing hasn't been a poker blog for a good six months. Her poker skill level isn't even an issue here.

I'll admit, when "Taylor" first started relentlessy begging the blogging elite for pimping, I was a little interested. What hormone-driven male wouldn't be? I soon realized, though, that we were never going be seeing any fun jubblies and my interest waned. When posts went from poker, to more towards her man, how perfect her life is, and how often she gets compliments on her outstanding, perky breasts from complete strangers, it got too much. Anyone that says their life is perfect does have issues, damn it.

I'd check back from time to time to see what little poker content there might be, and of course, there were always drives back from ND, how succumbing to peer pressure is dumb, and now, the dumbest thing-The Hammer is -EV. No shit? And that people that play it are stupid. Whoa, stop the bus, Gus. So, there's only one way to play the game? Great, I'm screwed. And the fact that she's still holding fast that people that use it are stupid is just baffling.

Whoop-dee-doo, she made fun of The Beloved. Who cares, right?

But wait, there's more.

She bit the hand that fed her, and it just makes no sense. And that's the part the bothers me. I distinctly remember back in mid-May when she left comments in numerous blogs asking for a link-up and to be a part of this community, and now she's effectively trying to ostracize herself? I mean, it's obvious from her journal that her life it utterly and completely devoid of excitement, but why stir up this sort of controversy? Or did I just answer my own question? I suppose it makes sense to someone just trolling for drama, but if she's real, what a silly little breach of trust.

And that's the thing--nobody even knows if she's real. Nobody's seen her at Deja Vu, which she may or may not have worked at. She's lied about everything else, why stop with that? To the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever seen her at Canterbury Park. There's something completely fishy about someone that freely gives out so much information about herself(her jobs, her travel plans, exactly how much she has in various accounts), yet wants to remain anonymous and is oddly ghost-like for someone that should stick out in the poker room like Hitler at a bris. For all we know, "Taylor" is really a guy that likes to fuck with people's heads. If that's the case, I feel a little bad for Aaron Gleeman, who's had his tit pulled through the wringer this whole time.

Is this a call-out? No, because anyone knows that will just lead to a response like this:

"I don't have to prove anything to anyone!"

With all the gamblers in this community, someone has got to create odds for whether or not she's really a boring midwestern girl with self-proclaimed magnificent breasts, or a middle-aged man living out of his parents basement in Anoka. Oh hell, I half hope it's David Sklansky pulling a big ol' funny on us again. That'd be great. If she's real, I'd be very surprised.

And I can't trust someone that uses the excuse "I'm better than peer pressure" as an excuse for not drinking. That's stupid.

Me? I just wanted to see breasts. Hers, his or otherwise. Right now, I'm not picky. Isn't that why most people originally showed up at her site? All I'm hoping is that someone will read this and give me free passes to the Vu. Yes, I realize that writing this makes me have less of a life, but I already know that I'm fucked up. No need to tiptoe around that.

I just thought of something--My screen name at Stars is "Donegal", which is a tiny town on Ireland's west coast, and a town that I spent a fair amount of time in a few years back. I'm no phonetician, but if you were to sound it out, it would look something like this: "Don-eh-gahl". When I created the account, I tried to think of a name that meant something to me, was without numbers and fairly original. Well, I was impatient and came up with the above. That's all well and good, until I looked at it today.

Done Gal.

That's the lamest thing I've ever read. Now I've been lumped in with all the "JohnnyWad69's" and "2big4U's" of the online poker world. Great. And the sad thing is, I didn't even realize it until a coworker pointed it out to me. It was always Donegal. Donegal, damn it. What was I thinking? I might as well have used SlappyMcTickleNuts. They're equally stupid.

More to post later, I'm sure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Any one else have their F5 try to tap out and concede the match today? No? Just mine? If I were to do a running tally between now and the end of my work day, I'm going to estimate that my reload button will pushed at least 350,023 times, hoping that Otis will have a new update. So far, he's been doing a bang-up job, don't you think? I sure do.

I'm not really sure where this post is going to go and it'll probably stray more towards a ramble, than a coherent, straight-forward post, but I'm in the writing mood, so you all have to deal with it. Tough luck.

First off, I want to thank everybody in our little amalgam of degenerates, bonus whores, and chip tossers that's every stopped by my blog to impart their knowledge upon me. It's very much appreciated and I'm more than happy to accept it. Without all of you, I'd have little motivation to write in here as much as I have, and I'm finally getting to a point where I feel comfortable and knowledeable enough to write at least halfways decently about poker. Believe me, it hasn't been easy.

This post is really driven by Otis' and Hdub's amazing good fortune as of late brought about by poker and writing. It seems that, on a daily basis, I'm more and more in awe of the talent in and around our little community. A community that is ubelievably supportive and fun-loving, because really, everybody around these parts is doing what they love doing--playing poker and writing.

And that's what really amazes me--the support, not often asked for, but freely offered by the bloggers as a whole. Nobody owes anything to me, and really, most don't know me from anyone else that has a random blog. When I started this, I never imagined that it would be where it is today. I thought I'd post intermittently and hope that someone, anyone stumbles upon it. If not for the support, feedback and suggestions from the entire damn poker blogging community, I'm not so sure that I would've stuck with this. It's so much easier for me to learn from someone that's already been through it, than it is for me to get from a boring, dry book. And almost all of you have been there.

The thing that keeps me around? The comraderie and sense that all of you are just like me. True, we may be nothing alike on the surface, but it doesn't take much digging to get why we all stick around. You're a bunch of degenerates, and frankly, I like it. As much as most of you would like to try and refute that, I'm just not hearing it. We all come from very different backgrounds, but most talk like they're old friends, even if they've never met in real-life. And I think that's pretty damn cool.

Hey, I warned you.

With that, I'll give some poker content today.

I've never played live, and I think it's about time I popped my B&M cherry. I get paid on Friday, and thinking about heading down to Canterbury Park on Saturday morning. I'm hoping that it's not too busy and the waits for my micro-bankroll aren't too long.

The last few years of high school, I played varsity golf, normally in the upper positions like 5 or 6 man. A few times during the course of the season, when I was hitting the ball particularly well and making a few more putts, I'd be bumped up as high as 1 or 2 man. I hated those days, because 1's and 2's always had to tee off in front of every other person in the tournament. I'd step up to the tee, hands sweating, heart pounding in my ears, hoping, praying that I didn't shank my tee shot, or worse, whiff. That's why I liked being the 6 man--there was nobody there to watch you fuck up, and you could bet that the rest of the guys in your group would be equally sucky. Once I was out on the course, the nervousness leveled off, and I could play my game.

If I do end up at Canterbury this weekend, my only problem will be getting off the 1st tee. As long and I don't get The Hammer right off the bat, I shouldn't whiff. After that, I'll be able settle in and play a game that I'm not completely terrible at.

Monday, January 10, 2005

“If your goal is to the maximum, you must build big pots with your best hands. Do not say ‘But I’m out of position’, or ‘Maybe if my ace-king were suited,’ or ‘My big pairs never hold up.’ If you get an edge, push it. Poker is a gambling game; timid play is not rewarded. When you have the best of it, be willing to put the chips in."
–pg 240 of SSH by Ed Miller, David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth

I’ve been playing poker for over a year now, and have shied away from limit poker, using the faulty logic that it was “boring poker”. Just plugging along, hoping not to get sucked out on. I’m not that bright. I’m lucky in that I don’t tilt that often, but that doesn’t mean that I particularly like getting sucked out on by a twit.

Early last week, I bought finally SSH on the recommendations of a few people out in bloggerdom. I’ve read other books that Sklansky has been involved with, and know that sometimes his reasonings for playing a certain hands can be a bit dizzying, so I was skeptical about getting started in limit with this book. Now, about a week later, I finally understand the appeal of limit poker. At least what the appeal is to me, and is summed up in the above quote.

In no-limit, I love the possibility of seeing someone’s whole stack move over to me. What can I say? I’m sadistic like that. I’ve never had a problem with the variance inherent to that game, because I’m historically pretty damned tight. A little too tight, probably. And that’s left far too much money on the table. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m a little better than break-even, and isn’t it about time that I try to recoup some of that money I stupidly didn’t pick up the first time around? I think it is. Missed bets add up, and I openly admit that I've missed alot.

In limit, though, I love trying to figure out how to make the most off your big hands. How to push any edge you have to maximize profit, and minimize the losses. Face it, you can’t win every hand, but the key is try to balance out the lost hands with bigger, winning hands. That, and exploit stupid opponents. It shouldn’t have taken this long for me to realize this. Like I said before, I’m not that bright. Not that I’ve played that many hands of limit so far, but SSH has already paid for itself 5 times over, and even if the VarianceBitch decides to rear it’s ugly head some time tonight, at least now I’m not “afraid” of limit poker.

Not that most of the concepts in SSH are completely new to me, and in fact, I’d say that not many, if any, are totally new, but they’re presented in a way that it boggles my frickin’ mind that most, meaning the fish, don’t understand them. Not that I’m complaining about it, really, because those are the dolts that I need to exploit like a barely legal runaway.

I was on my way to a poker tournament at my buddy, Anthony’s buddy’s, house on Saturday night, and Anthony and I were talking poker, like we normally do. He’s one of the few friends that I have that I can actually talk strategy with. He’s been playing poker longer than I have, more in B&M’s and has just recently jumped in the online poker battlefield. On my prodding of course. He’s got more “real-life” experience, and I’ve got 15,000 times more hands in. Funny how that works out.

I’ve played with him a number of times, and he’s not stupid by any means, but when he told me in the car that night that he’s just started throwing K-rag in a pre-flop raised pot, my windshield was this close to getting a Frappuchino shower.

After I got done sighing, and then laughing in his face, I agreed to let him borrow SSH when I finish reading it again. Not that I think I’m good just by reading a silly-assed book, but it definitely has provided me with a light-bulb, “AH-HA!” moment, which have been few and far between lately.

I was going to go into the actual home tournament that had a kid I wanted to punch in the face because of all the stupid, disrespectful things he did at the table, but I don’t have the energy to deal with that right now.

Instead, I'm going to try and figure out how many bets I just lost by misplaying quad kings. Oof!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

"What are your New Year's resolutions"? she said.

I thought about this for awhile, hoping that I could get her to believe that I'd really start drinking less, but I don't want to start drinking less, and she knew that.

"I don't believe in them."

Which is the mostly the truth, sort of like being "mostly dead". I don't like making obligatory resolutions like "losing weight" or "eating healthier", because they're always so damn short-sighted when they're really long term goals. Plus, I'm 6'1" 175lbs, fully clothed, after being dipped in yogurt and topped with granola--I don't need to lose weight. And after living with a roommate for 2 years and never once seeing him eat a meal that didn't come in a paper bag with a fast food logo on it, I realize that I eat a lot better than most people.

"What do you mean you don't believe in them?" shot my way, along with a furrowed brow and a look of contempt.

It's not that I don't believe in them, really. I think that resolutions can be good, but I shouldn't need a brand spankin' new year to realize that a change is needed. Why don't people ever make Arbor Day resolutions? Won't somebody please think of the trees? At the very least, you'd think that birthday resolutions would be more popular, but they're the uncool kids in Resolution HS.

I have many areas of my life that I know I could improve upon, like spending less money at the bar-which is relatively little compared to other bloggers, this I know-but I'd most likely be setting myself for disappointment. Drunken, empty-walleted disappointment.

I've never wanted to make resolutions for fear of failure. I think that's one of the few things I fear in life--failure, which I suppose is not all that uncommon. So, yeah, I've never made resolutions. Until a few days ago, that is.

"It''s not that I...ah hell, you wouldn't understand."

I know that she wouldn't understand, so it's best to keep her in the dark rather than let loose the light, because she'd understand even less. It's not that I haven't made a few resolutions this year, but they're all related to poker. I couldn't tell her that! That's why I'm telling everyone here-you understand where I'm coming from. You get me.

I've been playing poker for little over a year and rather than bore you with tales of a break-even player, and tournament reports from a career bubble boy that are wildly unspectacular, I'm going to attempt to create some stories this year. I've dubbed this the Year of Chad. Similar to the Year of the Goat, only less furry, and a little milkier.

Wait, before I go on, I need to give a big ol' "FUCK YOU" to the not-so-great state of Florida and Tom Greene for ruining my name forever. I hope you both get nut cancer. Sorry for the rant, but it had to be said.

I wouldn't call myself a terrible player, but I'm definitely not been making any strides towards becoming a good player. My measly, underfunded bankroll-which had been stagnant-has more than sextupled in the past few weeks, which makes me think that I'm headed in the right direction. It sounds more impressive than it really is, what with my bankroll restarting at $50 about a month ago after cashing out for apartment expenses. Any move up is a good move, right?

I might as well get to the gettin'.

Year of Chad Poker resolutions:

Learn Limit Poker--It's a little embarrassing to say this, but I don't know much about limit poker. I normally play the $25NL tables at party, or NL SNG's but I steer clear of limit tables because it's something I never really read up on. And because of this, I'm risking a lot more money than my bankroll warrants. I've been lucky so far that I haven't completely busted, and ever luckier that I don't tilt very easily. It's about time I picked up SSH and read my ass off, and even if I don't play it very often, at least I'll know what's going on if I should ever have to. Also, I'd like to know what 3/4 of the people on 2+2 are talking about in terms of how to play certain hands, because most of it doesn't make sense. Straddling? No clue. Value bet? I understand it, but have yet to put it to practice. Soon, young Padawan, soon.

Play at Canterbury--I live 30 minutes from what is apparently one of the best cardrooms in the nation, and I have yet to go there. Why? Well, because I don't know how to play limit poker, durrrr! The last thing I want to do is go down there and embarrass myself by giving money to people that I know don't deserve it. Yes, I'm stupid like that. I know that all I need to do is take first step and stop being a pansy, but the whole process is a little daunting. I'm sure after I get the nervousness out of my system, I'll be asking myself "That's what I was worried about?", just like after sex for the first time. Which was just last week.

"Trip tournament" satellites--The one major thing I love about playing online is that there are so many opportunities--opportunities to win money--opportunities to travel to exotic places. Just so many of them. While I'm not worried about making money for the sake of making money, I'd love to be able to say "Poker paid for my vacation to[insert exotic destination here]". So, I'm going to play more some of these satellites. Aruba? I wish! Australia? Why not? Why I've yet to attempt any of the low-level buy-ins is beyond me. Even if I don't make it to a far away land, I can always tell my friends that I'm playing for a week in sunny Dublin, Ireland. They don't know any better. I might as well try these while I have relatively few things to tie me down.

Utilize PokerTracker--I have PT, I just don't use it to the extent that I need to become better. This program has every stupid statistic I'd ever want to know while I'm playing online, from my aggression level and amount won, all the way down to how many bathroom breaks I take an hour and the exact PH of my urine during any giving session. If you must know, it was slightly acidic a few nights ago, but this morning PT told me I was back to normal. Hey, I'm just relaying what PT told me. Part of becoming a better player is not only learning the game and players you're facing, but also yourself and where your biggest leaks are. I'm sure if I handed my database over to a good player, they'd be able to pick out at least 5 areas that I need to work on, the least of which is river aggression. I've had all this information in front of me the whole time, but failed to utilize it. I'm such a yutz sometimes.

Vegas, Baby. Vegas!--It's a goal to get to Vegas as least once this year to play poker. I haven't been there in three years, and the closest I came to a poker table was when I was walking by a wall of the video variety. The plan is for my brother and I to surprise my mom and dad when they go to Vegas sometime in March, sneaking off to the tables after they go to bed at 11pm. Hopefully I'll be able to make it out there again if there's another WPBT event this summer. Vegas and I, we have a dangerous attraction to one another. She sends out her beautiful Siren's song to lure me in and, well, I submit. The lights, the ugly, seizure inducing carpet, the plink-plink-plink of the coin trays, the oxygen-toting octogenarians, the air--ah, the wonderful casino air. I love it all, and I miss it. And this is another reason to learn I need to learn limit hold 'em, damn it!

So there you have it: The Year of Chad. Notice that I've purposefully left off specific goals like "bankroll quests" and winning tournaments, because I realize that I need to get better before I can set the bar that high. As for right now, I'm off to buy SSH and then straight to PT to check my urine PH, ASAP. Damn, I suddenly have a craving for TCBY. I suppose I'll just have to settle for yogurt.