Pokerama-rama! Now with more beer!

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

Friday, July 29, 2005

Say hello to my new online persona.; the image I choose to hide behind. Nobody feared the picture of my sneering face, so it was time for a change. And thanks to Joe Speaker for the image, which he claims to be a real road sign near Somewheresville, CA. I have no clue. I was drunk when I agreed to the picture swap. I'm sure I'll get sick of it by, oh, I don't know, yesterday.

The whole Donk Revolution has almost been driven through to China, and I'm this close to being sick of hearing the word "donkey", but this picture was too good to pass up. Fitting, too. Though it would've been better suited for Joe's playing style(being a huge favorite, only to get unceremoniously outdrawn by someone not even in the hand), there always comes a time when we've been run over by a shitty play.

So, I hate the word "donkey" just as much as I do the word "fish", but there is nothing quite like being raildogged by a plethora of bloggers in a MTT, only to have the observer chat erupt in a chorus of "Eeeeee-awwww's" when I suck out on someone with my K9d. That, my friends, will never get old. No way, no how. Keep it comin', that's my motto.

So, what have I been doing these last few days? One word : tournaments galore. I've been cavorting with Pussy's younger sister.

Lots and lots of tournaments.

I've repeatedly stated that I hate rebuy tournaments because of the wack factor, but I'm really starting to understand how to go about playing them. The funny thing is that my two best finishes in large field MTT's have been rebuys. The first was way back when I first started playing on UB almost two years ago(it was dumb luck to finish second in that satellite), and the last was a week ago in the $5+R on Stars.

I realize now that I like the wackiness of them. That wack is not wack. My apologies, that was bad. Horrendous, even. Just downright ugly. Here, let me buy you a beer for having to groan your way through that.

We cool? Cool.

Anyways, I don't subscribe to the push-and-hope mentality that many rebuy players seem to pin hopes on. I play tight. Until the first break is hell in these tournaments for me. I sit there, hoping to catch someone pushing into me when I have a monster in order to accumulate chips. For the most part, that's all I have to do. After the first break, if I've double up my immediate rebuy(+add on), that sits my stack right around T12,000, which is a shitload of chips to dick around with when the blinds are only 75/150, and without any terrible beats, the 2nd break should be in sight.

[Hold on, I need to butt in hear and say something. This is Chad's anger, and I'm growing. Huge. I hate that Chad is unable to control bodily functions during these tournaments, and doesn't properly ration alcoholic beverages over the course of the tournament. You see, it's not a big deal that he has to get up and use the bathroom, or perhaps grab another beer. After all, that's better than soiling our only decent pair of pants. And it's definitely better than being thirsty or growing sober.

But, do you think it would be too much to ask PokerStars to just not deal us great cards that turn into monsters on the flop? Especially while we're away from my computer? That's just cruel. At the very least, it doesn't need to be recorded. Just deal us out of the hand so we don't have to come back to a hand history that says we folded quad 9's in a T15,000 pot. I mean, really.

Have I made myself clear? Good.]

Odd, I just "came to" at my keyboard and the last three paragraphs were on my screen. Oh, and I was drooling. Not that that's unusual, though.

Uh. Yeah. I'm to keep trying to low-limit rebuys to gauge how I fare. It's just too bad they're 6 hours from start-to-finish. That's a lot of time to invest in something to break even.

What else? Oh yeah, last night.

Last night I hopped in a $20 MTT on Stars with Drizz and Joe, with MaiGrey raildogging. It wasn't until late in the 2nd hour that anyone realized that EasyCure was among the chipleaders. He took 3rd, the jerk, but only because he won a monster pot with pocket 8's. That's the only reason.

As for me, I made the money, but just barely. In the first hour, I was dealt KK twice, with both hands netting me a large pot. The other pot I won was against a shorter stack while holding K9d. Only two of us to the flop containing two diamonds. I bet half the villian's stack so that, in case he pushed, I wouldn't have to call off much more for a showdown. I could've pushed right away, but that seems like a dumb move, and if I check and he moves all-in, it's a lot tougher to call that bet with only a BB invested in the pot. So, either I win outright with K high because he has nothing, or he comes over the top and I call a much smaller bet into a much larger pot.

I bet, he pushed, I called, seeing a well-timed Eeeee-Awww! from Joe in the chat box. Perfect, just perfect.

T5000 going into the second hour is a nice feeling, but it only lasts so long when the cards are made a feces. No, really. They were made of poo. I swear I heard monkeys off in the distance. After I made the money, I didn't play many hands. I was looking to double up--which I did once--but couldn't get anything after that. 56th place is 55th loser. Something like that.

I had more, but I just ran out of steam. Phooey.

I really need to learn about conclusions in this here blog. I've been terrible at it lately.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

"I thought you had AK"
Stars player in chat after his 9's knocked out an opponents JJ on the first hand of a SNG

He played one hand against this poor shmuck and somehow, with some miracle 7th sense, was able to pin AK to his forehead? Yeah, sure. You betcha. I've been known to underestimate an opponents hand before. Believe me, I'm not immune. But, I try to wait at least two hands before I peg a bets meaning. I'm good like that.

Most of the time I underestimate an opponents hand, it always seems to be when they have a monster and play it in such an odd and fucked up way. Like, when they limp along with 8 others while holding AA, only to call, not raise, someone--more than likely me--all the way down to the river to have their aces hold up. If I did that, it would end up with my hand being 5th best, right behind two pair, a straight, a flush, and two five of a kinds.

Since my return to Stars a few weeks ago, I've been dumbstruck at the level of play being displayed,(somewhere between full-fledged retard and embryonic) and it ultimately leaves me feeling like a dumbfuck. Frustration does not begin to cover it. For instance, I was playing in a $10 SNG earlier today when this abomination of a hand came up.

I was dealt JJ in MP and, OF COURSE, raised it up by 4. Only 1 caller, the BB, and not the 5 limp/raise callers that I've grown accustomed to. Fine by me, my measly pocket knaves, they don't want much company. They're a little on the shy side, not to mention horrible in dealing with crowds. Pussies. I brought them to a bar once. They sat in the corner, drinking wine spritzers while having a good cry. Like I said, pussies.


What would you do with this flop against one opponent? I have the gonads, and want to do everything in my wicked deep poker arsenal to milk this shlub dry. He checked, so I checked right behind. Nah doi. There are no feasible draws out there that would call my raise, and giving him a free card can't possibly hurt me.

Turn: 6

Ok, there's a weak straight draw on the board, but it didn't worry me. He checked again, and I wasn't about to let him have two free cards. Pot bet, pot bet pot bet. Wee, that hand was fun. Until he called. Quoi? I am confused.

A blank fell on the turn, and when he checked again, it was obvious, obvious, OBVIOUS that I had the best hand. So, I bet just enough to leave him with a few hundred left in his stack. He called and turned over, duh, 23s for the turned ass end of the straight. 2nd nuts to the poker players in the group. I was a little miffed and felt it necessary to rap on the glass with my palm.

"What are you doing?" I typed indignantly into the chat box. I'm not sure my anger was a conveyed adequately through the chat box, as it reads just like my normal question-asking chatbox typing.

"What do you mean?" replied the victor. His name wasn't really Victor, but you get the point. I suppose his name could've been Victor. I didn't ask. How cool would that have been if he had been a Victor? Not quite as cool as I just built up, that's for sure.

"You had the second nuts. Why didn't you raise me on the end? Were you really that worried about the possibility I had 78? I typed in response to the retard. Slowly. So that his brain wouldn't have a critical meltdown.

So, I didn't type this in the chat, but I sure wanted to. I hate it when players berate others following so horrible suckout, and I never do it myself. Oh, I've wanted to, but unless I'm playing on the same table with someone I know, I usually have the chat off. We all know it's just too much work for me to click the "player chat" check box hidden behind the dealer tray. Yeah, sue me, I'm lazy.

I can honestly say, though, that this was the first time that I wanted to go out of my way to berate a player for not taking enough of my chips. If I had a first born son to wager with--which will be highly unlikely even in the future(it's all the booze and syphillis that's been a great preventative measure)--I would've gladly bet him, too, positive that I had the best hand.

And now I realize that I just used my work computer to google "syphillis" for a spellcheck. What color is a pink slip?

Just to close out this stupid entry, here's a list of things that I don't need to do in order to make money. In other words, I need to stay the fuck away from these things. These are more of a self-reminder than anything else.

Don't push jacks into the button's queens. Heh, that sounds naughty.
Don't play "turbo" SNG's due to lack of time for a real SNG. Just don't play.
Don't call a LP raise from EP with A-10s and then push on a 10 high flop. He doesn't have AK.
Don't call Joe a homo. He cries like you just kicked his Bichon.
Don't overestimate your abilities after a few good tournaments. The bad will soon follow.
Don't let the new girl take what has been, over the last two years, your 'poker time'. (I'm not hip with relationships)
Don't drink coffee before bubble play starts. Nothing good can come out of it, or your body.
Don't continue with these fucking goddamn second-fucking-place finishes. They're getting old, you shitty heads-up playing wanker.

That is all.

Friday, July 22, 2005


Is there any better word in a poker player's lexicon? Other than "champion", I contest that there is not.

Of course, being chipleader means squat if you inevitably implode and nosedive to a mediocre finish. I didn't do that yesterday. In fact, I didn't do that today, either.

The end of the month is our slow time at work, and this month seems even more abnormally slow. Being that it's impossible to use "I didn't know it was a porn site! I swear" as an excuse(one get out of jail free card) again, I decided to fire up PokerStars to see if any MTT's were about to start. For some reason my company hasn't deemed it necessary to block it. Not that I mind, though.

The only tournament that fit my bankroll was the $5.50+R, and even though I despise rebuy tournaments because it's tough for me to sit around for 6+ hours, I made the decision to register for it, under the stipulation that I'd only invest $10, total. Only one rebuy or add on. Hell, I figured I'd be out by the first break, so why not join in and play like a retard for an hour or two?

Looking back over the hand histories, I didn't even play like a retard as intended. The best laid plans blahbbity blahb. In fact, I folded 40 out of the first 45 hands. That got me to right before the first break with right around T1200, so I figured I'd rebuy and see where that took me. Now, I don't play rebuys. Ever. Is it normal for one person to continuously push in right before the rebuy period ends? Because that's what happened on my table.

Push, push, push, that's all he did. Always with crap. A few hands he sucked out, and the rest left him with very little in chips and he'd rebuy again. I told myself that if I got any decent ace, I'd push and hope to double up off this wanker. Hey, look, that's AJo! And hey, look, that guy just pushed before me! Ding-ding-ding, we have a winner! Auto-call.

We both miss and I double up with ace high. Damn that's a nice feeling when a plan comes together like that.

Without taking the T2000 add-on, I was sitting at about T5500 and the blinds 75/150, which is about all I could ask for with the cards I was getting. And then the rush happened. In the course of about 15 hands, I went from T5500, to T15000 and by the time the second break came around, I was in...the chip lead?

That doesn't sound right.

But it was. I was the chipleader at T169000. Not a big chiplead, mind you, but a chiplead nonetheless. I'd forgotten how fun this game can be when you have a monster pile of chips and get to suck out on the lower stacks. On the road to the final table, I only sucked out once to stay in the tournament and only had one, maybe two, people suck out on me to stay alive.

The time I sucked out was really a re-suck suckout. When down to the final tables in these tournaments, it's either all-in or fold, unless you're a huge stack. I was dealt 9's on the button and pushed with only an M of about 8. I was called by the BB, who held AKo

And their off!

A friggin' king flopped and I thought my tournament life was over somewhere in the teens. Wait, what's that? It looks so pretty. It's almost blinding, but is that? Could it be the 9 of diamonds? It is! It is! Nines have been good to my since the WPBT, when they helped me destroy Pauly, sending him to the rail crying for a drink. So, I doubled after actually winning a race for once. See, Mr. Speaker and Drizz? It really can happen! Come to think of it, I won a race against QQ when I was holding AKo, and I can't remember the last time that's every happened for me.

The only hand that really hurt me was getting called by 22 after pushing with QQ. I was sitting here, talking with a coworker after the flop was dealt.

"The only card that can hurt me is another 2" I nonchalantly spewed after the turn was dealt, but before the river puked up a third 2.

"You deserved that." my coworker replied.

Yeah, I completely jinxed myself, so what? Oof.

I held on to finish 6th/4xx (knocked out when my 66 in the BB rain into the button's aces) for a payday of about $400. Not bad for a $10.50 investment. At first I said "I'm happy with it, because I don't think I could finished any higher". Not that I would've thrown the 6's at that point, but I didn't feel outclassed in any way leading up to the final table. Even though one player had a huge chiplead by the time we reached the final 9, I didn't feel like I'd lucked into my first Stars--but definitely not my last--final table appearance, which is a goal I'd set out for myself at the beginning of this year. I had a post about year long goals, but I can't find it now. Crap.

Today, I entered the $5.50(no rebuy) tourney on Stars and finished 11th/6xx. I was bumped out right before the final table by runner-runner club flush when I'd had him dominated with top pair. Oh well. The payday on today's tourney was craptacular, but at least I feel as if I'm learning.

I really won't be satisfied, though, until I learn how to win one of these tournaments, regardless of payout or entry fee.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Breaking news: The AP is announcing that I have gone bust at Doyle's Room. Story at..well, now.

I'm not sure why this ever became newsworthy, or why anyone would ever care to read it, but sadly, it's true. Oh woe is me, huh?

Before you start thinking that I maniacally tilted off a 4 digit bankroll on a High Life induced bender--which is funny if think about it. It's just not possible to go berzerk while drinking The Champagne--I'll ease your mind by stating right off the bat that did not happen. Not even close.

After returning from Vegas my online bankroll was sitting at a measly $250, all at Doyle's Room. I started off on a good rush and with a few tourney 2nd place finishes(always the bridesmade, that's me) and in less than a week the roll was sitting healthy at just under a thou'. I can't believe I just used "thou" in a sentence.

As is the norm with my online bankroll, it always seems to be used for things other than poker, which has never been a huge issue with me. I've always been content with pulling out a few hundred here or there when necessary. Like I've said before, I'm playing to keep out of trouble and not to become the next King of Poker, so it's never really been necessary for me to keep thousands of dollars online.

So, a few weeks ago I pulled all but $250 out of my accounts because, by my own admission, I am a money management moron. If only I were joking. And, being a moron means that I wanted some cash quickly, and without selling my dirty, dirty self on a street corner in Minneapolis, that quick cash had to come from my bankroll. It still left me with money to dink around without having to play .02/.04 tables and also without having to worry much about the possibility of going quasi-broke.

I suppose I deserved to go broke by losing two consecutive hands while holding pocket aces, as any other way would've been sadly anticlimatic. Serves me right for feeling so goddamn omnipotent.

You've probably guessed that I quickly threw another few hundred into my account in a brave attempt at reclaiming my lost money, and more importantly, my misplaced dignity, right? That's what you're thinking, no?. I know you.

Well, you're wrong.

I never had the dignity to begin with.

I'm moving away from Doyle's for the time being for a few reasons. I know, I know, it's a dumb move because that's where I make almost all of my poker money, but please, just hear me out.

For one, there's no PokerTracker support for the site. Yet. They're slowly moving towards it with the implementation of hand histories, but still woefully behind. I am not a geeky stats person, but I miss being able to dig through stupid stats that have absolutely no use outside of my contributing to my own amusement. I like being able to look at black numbers, even if I already know I'm a winning player at super low limits. The net profit box in poker tracker is my nerdy math faced friend, and here sits this $50 friend that I can't even play with in a sanitary, heterosexual man/computer program sort of way. The minute they are supported by PT, I'll deposit again. Money. Deposit money.

Secondly, I've become a one trick something or other. You know; that thing that only does one thing and is good at just that one thing. Yeah, I'm that guy. I've become proficient at low-limit, short-handed NL ring games, and nothing else. I don't what my problem is with my tournament play, and it probably has something to do that I don't play enough tournaments to even have enough information to know where I'm being a huge sieve. As much as I like no-limit HE, I'd like to become at least marginally proficient in other games, and Doyle's doesn't have those other games consistently enough for them to profitable.

Fifthly, I have the tournament bug. The fever, you could say.Yes, I know that I skipped a few reasons and that "fifthly" isn't a word, but it's my blog and I'm going to continue to make shit up if I want, so you better learn to deal with it. Doyle's tourneys, while they have improved in the last month, just aren't much of a thrill to play in. Not that winning $600 on a $35 investment is something to scoff at, it's just that I crave a bigger payday for less money risked. I'm a pansy like that.

This has all been spurned on by my own discovery of, which lists the results of almost every tournament on Pokerstars. There's also a search by name function that satiates my voyeuristic twin that I went all cannabilistic on while still in the womb. He still likes to come around occasionally. I've been "spying" on y'all that I remember screenames for, and I have to say, some of you aren't doing too shabby. Joe Speaker? Decent results, my man. PokerNerd has some results as well.

I don't know who that "Donegal" fucker is, but his results are pathetic. Absolutely pathetic. Pathetic to the tune of two cashes for a grand total of, drumroll please, $66. Woo-fucking-hoo. I spend more at the bar in a week than I've made in tournaments over the past year.

The deeper I dig through that database, the more I realize how much of a retard I am. There are many people on PokerStars that are making hundreds of thousands of dollars by playing online low-limit MTT's, and to me that just sounds absurb. Look at ZeeJustin, for fuck's sake. From his last update, he was making over $300/ hr by multi-tabling SNGs. POPPYCOCK! If that doesn't blow your mind, well, your mind just be unblowupable.

While I had slowly been adding to my bankroll over the past few months, I've not been doing a whole lot to improve my game. And without being able to study my stats(and by not keeping track), I've been hurting myself more than I realized. The money is a false indicator of sorts. Sure, I can beat low-level hacks, and while that might be good enough for some, that just means that I'm only a better-than-average low-limit hack. Not so impressive when I look at it that way.

Like a girl with spectacular tits, but with a face that lost a game of Chicken with a steamroller.

The boobs, just like the money, mean nothing without anything to back it up.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Somebody had fun at 1:21pm. Why can't I stop laughing?

Click me, I taste like chicken!

While others are just beginning their quest to become the envy (and possible simultaneous ridicule) of every poker player on planet earth as the main event begins today in Vegas, I am currently living the dream. Yup, right here in the ol' Mini-apple. As you can see by my the clicky picture above, I am the number one rated poker player in all of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Or was the number one until last night after being vanquished from my precipice(or was it parapet?) high above the commoners. Regicide in the form of being cold-carded in a freeroll, my friends. I'll get to that later, though.

The first stop of the Riverush Poker Tour landed smack dab in the middle of the Lone Tree Bar and Grill in beautiful downtown Minneapolis on a cloudless Tuesday night. Like you care about the weather, right? Fuck the weather, my friend Anthony wanted to play poker, have a pocketful of beer and, quite possibly, walk away as champeen.

My buddy Anthony and I arrived a few minutes early, talked with event coordinator, and settled in at the bar for a quick beer, right along with the other poker player determined to make history. The set-up of the series is that there are 6 weeks of freerolls, 4 freerolls a week all at different bars in and around downtown Minneapolis. That's good for me because I like bars. Each nightly winner immediately secures his seat in the finals at the end of the 6 weeks. He is also awarded 20 points in the overall standings, and each subsequent place gets 1 point less with just 1 measly point awarded for 20th place.

Make sense? Good, because I don't have the energy to explain the structure to all the Plebes in the house.

There was a ton of bad play in the early going, almost like we were playing in a freeroll. The play was so bad that I can't even justify talking about it this blog for fear that my reader's brains would explode. I'm just looking out for y'all. But, I will detail the final table action.

Seat 1:Travis (Burnsville, MN) 10K Says he spends much of his time playing online at JetSet poker. JetSet is also the name of a homosexual drinking establishment in Minneapolis. I doubt he knows that.
Seat 3:Chad (Minneapolis, MN) 10K Poker player extraordinaire. Self-made millionaire. Do you need to know more? I think not.
Seat 5:Anthony (Minneapolis, MN) 10K Turkey milker during the week, racecar driver on the weekends. Still sucks at poker.
Seat 7:Jason (Parts Unknown) 10K Riverush's Steve Lipscomb. As of press time, had yet to find a place to live.

Yes, I know our final table is lacking a certain something. That something is "5 other players". There's a legitimate reason behind it, believe me. Above, when I said "right along with the other poker player...", that wasn't a typo. I didn't miss the "s" on the end.

Only three people showed up to play poker.

The room was so devoid of people wanting to play poker that the man running the show had to join in just so we'd look a little less pathetic in the eyes of the oh-so-cute waitress! So very sad.

Nobody really cares about the action, I know this. So, I'll just quickly run through how I secured my place atop the Minneapolis poker elite.

--I sucked out on Anthony(get your minds out of the gutter!) when my Q7o hit middle pair and beat out his AKo. He sucks at poker. So hard.

--I ran over Travis heads-up. It's so much easier to do when there's no real money on the line. "IIIIII AM THE CHAMPEEN, MY FRIIIIIEEEENNNNNNS"

You would not believe the number of adoring female fans that came out of the woodwork after I defeated my foe with my wicked awesome poker skillz. That's because there were no fainting women or skillz involved. Unbelievable, huh? Pitifully enough, the poker tournament doubled the number of patrons for the Lone Tree on Tuesday night. Ugh.

So, what did the hollow victory get me? For starters, a coveted seat in the finals. Can't go wrong with that, as I probably won't make the final table again in another one of these events. I also won a $25 bar tab at the Lone Tree and a shirt stating that I do, in fact, rule.

Here's how I'd rate the night on a scale from 1-5, 1 being the best.

Tables:(1) Brand new tables. Nice.
Chips: (1) Also brand new with denominations hot-stamped on them. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but I have a tough time playing with plastic chips and having everybody ask "What are the blues again?" I am poker snob.
Structure (4) Come on, what do you expect? It's a freeroll! Everyone starts with 10K in chips with blinds starting at 200-400 and increasing every 20-25 minutes. If you make the final table of a full tourney(100 people), you can expect to be there for 4+ hours.
Funability (1) I'll just list these as what they really are; a bar promotion. They're in place to get people into the bars that are usually quiet during the week. Once they catch on, the promotion will work like a charm. Even though the prizes can't be monetarily large by Minnesota law, that doesn't mean I didn't have fun, though. I'm always in need of getting out of the house during the week, and these are perfect for me. Drinking and playing poker on a school night; how can you go wrong?

Will I go back? Of course! In fact, I went back last night--even though there was a little filly was begging me to mate with her--and I'll probably be going back tonight for the sole reason that it's being held at Rock Bottom, and I'm such a sucker for pints upon pints of their stout.

Last night's was held at a little faux irish place on campus called Blarney's. I didn't have a chance of defending my title and was bumped 12th/15th(hey, that's almost two tables!), netting me another 8 points. That should've been enough to keep me stting atop the leaderboard, but oh no. Travis, the guy I massacred heads-up on Tuesday, outlasted another buddy of mine. Instead of a gift certificate, Travis took home a decent chip set and the knowledge that he's now the best freeroll player in all of the Twin Cities.

That is, until tonight.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

You poker, you brought her.

Monday is poker overload day here at work. There is so much to new webby information to sift through, and I don't know how I'm able to get any work done at all. I do know this, though; the transition into the work week--albeit short this week--would not be as smooth without the knowledge that I can waste 4 or 5 hours in the morning by diving head first into the poker poo in it's various forms. Swishing it all around in my mouth, and spitting it out in the little plastic garbage can by my desk.

Presently, I'm at the beginning of this weeks installment of Card Club on Lord Admiral Radio. I've already done a once over of my bloglines list. I make no claims to read every word by every person on my list. I'm a skimmer. I skim. That's what I do. I do like to read enough to get the general gist of most posts, though. My attention span is that of one of those poor little frogs from 10th grade biology class that had just had a good brain scramble with a thin nail. I just do not focus well with longer entries, which begs the question "How can you read a whole fucking book, then?". I think I'd do better if every blog was in paper form. That's my only explanation.

I know I said that The Poker Show was cheesy, but damn it, I now look forward to it every week. The "Knee Trembler"(has anybody missed?) is so, so bad, but I can't help it. The interviews are good enough that I'm able to look past the Gong Show Mentality moments. Perhaps I'm the cheeseball?


Does anyone else hear a siren? What exactly are you planning to do with that sheperd's crook? Oh nevermind.

Annnnyhow, so yeah. So much to read, so little time. That's why I propose that all bloggers make each entry available in podcast form. That way, I don't have to do any of the eye work involved in reading. Come on, do it for Unckee Chad.

Yup, I'm just as creeped out as you are by that last sentence.

Just as I admit that I'm unable to read most long posts, I'm about to go ahead and write a doozy. It's rolling around in my brain, I just need to find a drill bit big enough to allow it to all ooze out fluidly, but not so big that that it falls out in one big clump. Easier said than done.

A week ago, Drizz asked "What place does this poker have in your life?"

Good question. Not that it hasn't been asked before, or that I've never thought about it. In fact, I pose it to myself all the time. More than likely the questioning happens after some freak hits his not so miracle two outer on the river while holding pocket kings, without raising pre-flop and just calling my bets down, when the river comes a king. Then and only then pushing in an entire stack that I of course immediately call with me 9's full of 2's(I was holding 92o) and, of course I lose the entire pot to his bigger boat, KKK99. I lost to a Klan rally, damn it. HOW CAN I PUT YOU ON KINGS, YOU JERK?

There are reasons I can discount as to why poker has a place in my life. For profit and to become the most handsome world champion alive. Not that the handsome barrier would be all that tough to crack, but I have no grandiose ideas of wanting to be a famous player.Those things might come around some sunny day, probably not in the near future, but they're definitely not motivating factors as to why I keep playing this infernal game.

I do have one reason that I've known ever since I started playing; it keeps my brain in working order. Somewhat.

Since college(graduated magna cum louday, bitches), my required brain usage has dropped off dramatically. My thought processes previously sat on top of a great plateau, overlooking all things in academia. Now, it's at the bottom of a murky ravine, picking the dirt from under it's toenails and wondering what the plural form of "process" is. Where once my synapsis resembled an elephant gun, now they look more akin to a party favor with a string attached to it. When I'm required to think--which is rare due to my job being more suitable for the brain dead than a college graduate--the synapse will make a soft popping sound and confetti hits the back of my eyeballs. I like a party as much as the next guy, but it's just not the same.

Poker repacks my musket with super gunpowder. I must use my brain to succeed at the this game. The would be a better question; how would I measure success in my poker life?". Another time, though.

Poker gives my brain an outlet. Without it, I'd probably spend my day drooling on the keyboard while hitting on underage cop-boys in an AOL chatroom and typing one-handed.

Because I lost my hand in The Gulf War. Why else would I be typing one handed? Jesus, people.

So, that's always been my main reason. Not for money or fame, but so my brain doesn't atrophy.

Just recently, though, I realized that there was a much greater reason behind poker's place in my life. I hadn't thought about it, or these people much up until all the Charlie stuff started happening, and the ties between the three situations.

This is not going to be pretty.

When I was about 10 years old, maybe younger, my cousin, Billy, was killed in a one car crash in far northern Minnesota at the age of 16. He was attending a fair one town over and had been drinking. Late in the night, he crawled into the back of his friend's Bronco to pass out and wait for a ride home. His friend had also been drinking and stupidly decided to drive home. Unfortunately, he passed out 200 yards from town and rammed the truck with a fiberglass topper into a road abutment, sending Billy 200' in the air. He never even had a chance to realize what was happening to him.

My family made the 6 hour drive the next day for the wake and funeral. Dad driving, mom in the passenger seat, me, my brother and a German shorthair nervously pacing between us in the back seat of an economy sized Chevy Nova. It hadn't hit me yet that Billy was dead, or even what that meant. All I could think of at the time was that my dad was driving painfully slow. I learned later in life that I could make the same distance in 4 hours when it always took him at least 6. Pops was slow.

The reality of the situation didn't slam into me until I walked into Billy's high school the day of the funeral, and was faced with having to see him in the open casket. For some reason, I can't remember the original viewing the night before, but I do remember asking my mom why I couldn't see the stitches where they'd sewn his ear back on. As I walked into the gym where the service was to be held, I immediately started crying. And I couldn't stop. My family and I took our seats in the second row, behind my uncle, aunt and cousins, and I was the only immediate group that was crying.

I looked around the packed gym--the town only had 100 residents, but there wasn't an empty seat, not even in the bleachers--to attempt to gain some composure because I felt like such a wuss for crying when not even Billy's brothers were leaking a single drop. I couldn't look forward because of the casket and the pastor giving his sermon. I couldn't look at other people, because even though my family was being strong, other people weren't. Nothing makes me cry more than witnessing other people in pain. Not fun.

Behind me in the corner of the gym was a scoreboard. Even though it was missing some light bulbs and sadly in need of repair, the unusually large size for a such small gym made it imposing; sentinel-like, overlooking the entire gym behind it's wire cage. Every time I'd look in it's direction, I'd get the mental imagery of Billy playing basketball against Chief Bug-o-nay-ge-shig school (just like I'm going to name firstborn.Veird!), and oddly enough, it calmed me down enough that I'd stop with the waterworks. For the rest of the service, any time I felt like crying, I'd turn to my right and look up at the scoreboard, and there was Billy, sinking a three-pointer or an easy lay-up. He was too short to dunk.

That scoreboard was my out, my diversion from what was going around me and to this day, I'd like to give it a big hug.

In the fall of 2003 I had a friend that was kidnapped. It was a national news story that most people know had no happy ending. To say that she was a daily friend wouldn't be right. Had I made a decision one way or another, she could've been one of my best friends, but as always, life hinges on a delicate balance of decisions. Though I wasn't as close to her as I could've been, her death depressed the hell out of me. And not many people knew it. My parents didn't know it. Only a very few of my close friends that read my blog at the time had any clue as to what was going on.

Shortly after her disappearance, I was also forced with having to deal with a different failed relationship in which only I was to blame. That happens when you're holding out for an imaginary "something better". So, without the support of a girl that I wanted and needed support from--to help me deal with the continuous fucked up nightmares of a possibly murdered friend--I turned to alcohol. A lot of alcohol. Everybody does it from time to time. Drowing my inner demons, and all that psychological mumbo-jumbo. I'm not above admitting that I cried as much as during Billy's funeral, too.

The booze worked for awhile. When I was drunk, I'd forget about everything and that was just fine by me. Until, of course, the next morning and I had to get up for work. Reality is no fun when all you want to do is have a buzz.

It was also around that time that I started playing poker. And it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. While I was sitting at my computer watching all the digital renditions of cards fling from one corner of the screen to another, I forgot all about my worries. Poker provided a brief respite from the real world death and heartbreak bullshit that booze had once clouded over.

As fucked up as it sounds, poker is a much better out than booze, but not quite as good as a small town gymnasium scoreboard.

I had more that I wanted to add to this, but I guess that portion is done. I've been out of whack this past month. Everything involving Charlie hit me harder than one would think it should, and I really haven't had the motivation to write recently. Questioning one's own mortality does that, ya know. So, back to the original point of this entry.(Hey, I know main points aren't supposed to start mid-entry. Get off my back already). If it weren't for poker, I'd drink a lot. A lot more, I mean.

Some people get sucked into the world of poker and lose everything. Right now, at this point in my life, poker is my grounding influence. It brings me out of depressive lulls and makes me feel like I'm not just wasting my life by repeatedly attempting to find new and inventive ways to get by while looking through a hops colored haze.

As much as I hate sounding like a hippy, and sappy just isn't my style, recent events show me that life is just too short. Though many are lured by the thrill of a big payday--not that I would mind. Hear that Lee Jones? I wouldn't mind one bit--I keep playing this silly game because it keeps me out of trouble. It's my diversion.

And someday I'd like to make Phil Hellmuth cry.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Riverush Poker Tournaments

For all the Minneapolitans(and outlying suburbanites) in my readership, here's a link to a new set of bar freerolls in Minneapolis proper. I'm going to check out the July 5th tourney at the Lone Tree in downtown to see how they're run. Sure, they'll be full of people that have no clue how to play poker(that's dumb), but for me, they'll be an experiment in trying out different playing styles with no harm to my present bankroll(that's not so dumb).

If they turn out to be poorly run, at least I can still hope that the waitresses are cute.