Current music: BT - Laptop Symphony from Two Tribes in Melbourne Park (07-Mar-2004)
Current poker: Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo ($.10 / $.25 blinds)
With assistance from Drizz and Ryan, I've been dabbling with baby stakes PLO8 this week ($25 max).
The one thing I've learned so far -- people at this level are terrible. The juiciest play I've repeatedly seen involves calling pot-sized bets in a heads up pot, chasing the low half of the pot with absolutely no high draw. I love those people. Obviously, like in limit O8, two-way hands are the name of the game here (nothing like sitting on the nut-nut), but at worst chase the high half of the pot and hope the low doesn't hit.
It's an interesting game, as the pot-sized betting changes things quite drastically from the limit variant, but it plays. so. slooooooooooowly. Even with a mashup of "Godspeed" and "King of Pain" playing in the background, I find my attention wanders. The bright side is that the slow pace makes it near impossible to tilt (or at least, stay on tilt). Are you listening, Dawn Summers?
Friday, April 27, 2007
Current music: BT - Laptop Symphony from Two Tribes in Melbourne Park (07-Mar-2004)
Monday, April 23, 2007
You have selected "regicide". If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one!Here’s my impression of yesterday’s limit holdem tournament: dominated, miss a huge draw, miss a huge draw, get out-flopped, dominated. This type of play gets you a 19th place finish - out of 21 runners. But who cares about that. I want to take a moment to turn this page into a bit of navel-gazing, a TGOD if you will (that’s Totally Gay Online Diary, for those who don’t know).
--Springfield Police Dept. Automated Crime Report Hotline
My non-poker weekend plans ended with a phone call to my grandmother, the grand matriarch of our clan. I call her every week or two, but this weekend was special -- it was her birthday. Now, maybe this makes me a horrible grandson, but I can never remember precisely how old she is. I have to ask her every time.
"I’m 84. I’m the oldest surviving member of my family now," she said proudly. "My grandmother died at 83."
Once upon a time, my grandmother wanted to live until she was 100 years old. She thought it would be the most amazing thing to have spent an entire century plodding around the planet. Think of the things you witness in that length of time, she’d say.
After the death of my grandfather 12 years ago from lung cancer (pipe smoking will do that), and as age began to deal my grandmother infirmities like glaucoma, hearing loss, and a weak heart, the talk of living to 100 became infrequent, until it finally stopped altogether. Life's no fun when you have trouble seeing and hearing it, when your partner of 50 years is gone, and when you're alone for that long. Instead, my grandmother set a new target for her lifespan. "You know what I’m waiting for now," she reminded me yesterday.
My grandmother is waiting for me to get married before she dies.
As the youngest of five grandchildren, I managed to neatly sidestep all of the parental and grandparental demands for offspring. Any desire for progeny has long since been satisfied by my brothers and sister, each of whom has produced multiple issue. I have five nieces and nephews, ranging in age from 8 years to 5 months. I adore each and every one of them, and spend as much time as possible with them when I visit. I even put together a photo set a few months ago for my oldest niece, after she sent me a letter - a genuine, pencil-and-paper letter - enclosing a school project.
My qualities as an uncle are of no consequence to my grandmother. Her singular goal is to make sure I get married. The thing of it is, I totally believe that were I to get married, she would die soon thereafter. Life has become a bit of a bother for her, and based on little comments she makes now and again, I think she’s ready to go. The only problem is this troublesome, sarcastic grandson who can’t seem to "settle down". It is, as grubette said to me, "sweet in a creepy way."
I appreciate that my grandmother wants what she thinks is best for me. That IS sweet of her. Putting aside whether or not I have any actual desire to even get married, the real issue is not any pressure, real or imagined, exerted on me by the responsibility of holding in my hands the remaining sands from the hourglass of my grandmother’s life. The real issue is that I’m gay.
(...Ok, ok, that’s a total lie. Had you for a second there though, didn’t I? Trust me, I know how believable it is. In addition to being called "130 Pounds of Fury", I have been given the nickname of "GHB" - the Gay Heartbreaker. The fact that GHB is also a date rape drug is a delicious irony.)
The real issue is that, despite wanting someone to be genuinely excited about and by, I just can’t seem to meet the right woman. Sometimes I wonder if I expect too much out of people, if the standards that I’ve set for what is acceptable, in combination with the personality and physical traits that I find desirable, are just too high. Since I broke up with my girlfriend and moved back east from Los Angeles three years ago, plenty of people have caught my eye, but none of them stirred my soul to the point that I stuck around longer than three months. That seems, in a word, preposterous. Yet the flip side of the coin is even more distasteful to me - the danger of "settling" for someone that’s less than I want or deserve. I know all of life is a compromise, and that nobody’s perfect, but where on that scale does "compromise" turn into "settling"?
I, and by proxy my grandmother, turn that dichotomy over in my head on a regular basis. In the end, I still believe we’re both waiting for this person, whoever she may be. Every once in a while, I think her name might be Godot. For my grandmother’s sake, I hope not.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
I won a $26 token in a little blog contest that Byron recently ran. I am using it for:
WPBT 07 event #4
Buyin: $24+2 or token
Game: LIMIT Hold ‘em
Place: Full Tilt
Date: Sunday 4/22
Time: 9 pm EST
Come join the "LOL Donkament" as we play a game that has consumed all of my poker time recently: LIMIT holdem.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Mary, who seems to spend all day waiting for people to drop over dead, alerted me to the demise of Kitty Carlisle, age 96. That death vaults Team DuggleReaper into the 2007 RTFT Dead Pool lead, as the first team to ferry two team members to the hopeless gates of Hades.
Keep those cards and letters coming!
Friday, April 13, 2007
My 10/20 table last Saturday afternoon was unusually tight and devoid of action. It was so bad that even the dealer was getting in on our flop side bets. Perseverance was eventually rewarded when some new blood sat down at the table, of the type that I expect to see sitting 10/20 - donkeylicious cold callers.
The table started humming along, and I made some headway on increasing my stack size. I was up around $400 when all hell broke loose.
There were two limpers, both better than the average 10/20 donator, before Donator #1 raised to $20. Donator #2 called on the button, as did the small blind. I was in the big blind.
"Ooo, I hope I have a hand I can play in a big pot," I said to the guy on my left (who had already folded). I squeezed my cards: a ten of hearts, and a nine of hearts. Perfect! I threw another $10 out to match the $10 big blind I'd already invested. Both early limpers called and we were 6(!) to the flop. Total pot: $120
The flop came out king of diamonds, jack of hearts, seven of diamonds. I'd flopped a double gutshot. However, with six people in the pot, there was no reason for me to bet it. When the small blind checked, I did as well. The action checked to Donator #1, the pre-flop raiser, who bet $10. Donator #2 called on the button, as did the small blind. At this point, I saw no reason not to build a pot and turned into a "check raisin' mothafucka!"
My plan went horribly awry just one player later when the first of the two early limpers check-raised behind me, making it three bets. Whoops. That's not good.
The other early limper called three cold(!) before Donator #1 capped the action. Donator #2 called three more cold. The small blind called three more cold. Really? What the *hell* do you people have?
At this point, my reads were set of kings for Donator #1, a hand like a set of sevens or top two for the check-3bettor, and at least one flush draw out. That gave me 6 clean outs. I called, the two early guys called, and we were 6-ways to the turn after a CAPPED flop. Total pot: $360. This was already the biggest pot we'd had at the table the whole day, and we hadn't even seen the fourth board card.
The turn was what looked like the most beautiful card in the whole damn deck: the queen of hearts. It filled my straight, giving me the second nuts, and also gave me an open-ended straight flush redraw. Naturally, I bet.
My 3-betting friend from the previous round raised. I expected this - the queen looks like a nothing card. He was called by the other early position player before Donator #1 3-bet. Donator #2 called on the button, the small blind folded, and I capped. Everyone called. 5 hands to the river, total pot of $760.
As the dealer was burning and turning, I begged him "Please don't pair the board." The 3-bettor said "Please pair the board!" The dealer peeled off the six of diamonds. So content was I that the board hadn't paired, that I completely forgot about the diamond flush draw. I bet, the 3-bettor folded, and then the other early position player finally came alive with a raise. I looked back at the board and groaned. Donator #1 called, the button called, and I made a crying call even though I was 100% sure I could not possibly have the best hand. Final pot: $920.
The guy who raised on the river had Ad Qd. He flopped the nut flush draw, along with a gutshot draw to broadway.
Donator #2, on the button, had a small flush with 5d 4d.
The check-3bettor said he folded top two, Ks Jc.
What, pray tell, did the pre-flop raiser have? Remember, this is the player who led out on the flop and then capped the action when it got back to him. He showed:
I went from thinking I had the best hand on the turn, to coming in fourth on the river. Now, admittedly, I was behind the whole way -- although all of my hearts were clean on the river, including the king which would have filled up the 3-bettor but given me a straight flush. I just can't fathom what kind of donkey brilliance it takes to bet into five other people on a king-jack-seven board with ACE HIGH and then to cap the action after not one, but TWO people have check-raised your bet. It's not that he didn't have the odds to call -- at that point, anybody had the odds to call with anything -- just that he has absolutely no hope of buying a free card on the turn with that much action. Why throw more money into the pot than you have to when you're chasing a longshot draw?
Suffice it to say, while that hand set me back $180, I very quickly earned it all back with interest.
I've been spending a fair amount of time with adoptees lately. Talking with a few of them has given me some new insight into one of my brothers, who is six months older than me and was adopted from Korea when I was 4. Might be a topic worth revisiting at some point soon (consider this post my mental placeholder).
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Just yesterday I was thinking to myself "Man, we haven't had a 2007 RTFT Dead Pool tally in a while." Then today, I was rewarded with the news that Kurt Vonnegut died. Does the fact that I consider that a reward make me a bad person? Yes. Yes it does. But that shouldn't stop me from congratulating Team Snailtrax for cracking the leader board. Updated standings via the link at right, as always.
I've often said that gambling is the bacon of everyday life (it makes anything better). But really, my bacon worship is nothing next to that of Daddy or Al. It is especially for them that I am linking an article from today's New York Times: The Perfect Bacon Sandwich Decoded: Crisp and Crunchy.
The research combined four types of cooking, using grills, pans and ovens, three kinds of oil and four types of bacon — smoked, unsmoked, streaky and thick cut — to establish the preferences of 50 tasters in such matters as the butty’s tactile and aural crunchiness.I love that researchers spent 1,000 hours getting to the bottom of this.
Monday, April 09, 2007
I'm riding the bus today because Mother hid my car keys to punish me for talking to a woman on the phone. She was right to do it.You do not want to find yourself in the Taj bus lobby at 2:45am on a Sunday morning. Every cliche you have ever heard about bus stations is especially true of the Taj bus lobby -- long-bearded homeless men sprawled across purple and blue benches, blissfully snoring; broke degenerates with blasted expressions on their faces wandering around aimlessly, wondering how they blew through a month's salary playing the Mr. Cashman slots; and my personal favorite, the fat guy with drool glistening on his lips whose hacking cough was so loud and frequent that I expected either his lungs to pour out of his mouth, or for him to fall over dead, while I stood there watching him. The whole scene was so disturbing that Mary preferred to step outside into the 28-degree temperatures of the garage "for some fresh air" rather than wait in the lobby. I'll bet diesel fumes never smelled so good.
Ah, yes. Atlantic City - "Always Turned On!"
Between Alceste, Dawn Summers and SoxLover, I've become spoiled by the luxury of traveling in a car every time I make a pilgrimmage to the city by the sea. On these trips, the only undesirable consequence is being forced to listen to Dawn's ipod. Bad? Sure, pretty bad. But nothing compared to the horrors of the bus.
Yet for this particular trip, no car was available. If I wanted to fish the chum-filled waters of the Borgata 10/20 and 20/40 games, the bus was the only option. Everyone knows what kind of degenerate I am, so with fellow junkie Mary as my wing, we dutifully boarded the Academy Bus Casino Express at 10am Saturday morning. I can't remember the last time I took the bus to AC, and I hope that once I hit the publish button on this post, I'll never again have to go through such an ordeal. I should carry a copy of this post in my wallet as a reminder.
It wasn't all bad, of course. Some ancillary benefits of the trip (besides the hundreds of dollars lining my pocket from donators in the 10/20 game - a few more weeks of this and it will be "all 20/40, all the time") included:
1) Witnessing a $920 pot. In a 10/20 game. It probably deserves its own post.
2) 4-way side bets on the flop, with dealer participation. Just like betting on wheel spins at the Excalibur. Except for the part where I got killed and lost every single bet.
3) Playing with the same two friendly, chatty guys seated next to me for almost the full 11-12 hours I was at the table.
4) Running into CK, seated in a 2/5NL game with a healthy stack in front of her. She complained to me that she had to make the drive to AC by herself. I complained to her that I had to take the bus because nobody I knew with a car could make the trip. A new unholy alliance was formed.
Rybka called me last night from the Port Authority to say he was on his way down to AC. With today and tomorrow as work holidays, the thought of joining him for a return bus trip to AC crossed my mind - but I don't think I'm quite ready to put myself through that kind of unpleasantness just yet.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
It seems I have a $24+2 WPBT tournament entry coming my way courtesy of Byron, for being the closest to guess when he would receive his 100,000th spam comment. In turn, I give him the gift of traffic.
Ah, who do I kid. My paltry readership is already well aware of who Byron is.
Anyway, I guess I need to pick a night to play one of these WPBT tournaments. Not like they don't go off EVERY night of the week... hmm.
AC is definitely a "GO" for this weekend. Catch you at the Borgata?
Monday, April 02, 2007
So... how was 60 Minutes last night?
You people should know me better than this by now. (I do find it flattering that people could believe that 60 Minutes would do something as dumb as put me in front of a camera.)
Sunday, April 01, 2007
For the last week, Dawn Summers has been on a quest to convince me to make the pilgrimmage to Las Vegas next weekend, joining her, Grubby, Grubette, Doug and one or two others. As much as I loooooove the $10 pai gow, I decided not to go for a couple of different reasons. As a result, I find myself with no plans for the 4-day weekend (praise the Jews, I have the last two days of Passover as work holidays).
Mary, like the crackhead she is, suggested a trip to Cracklantic City might be in order so that we can gamble on Easter. It's what all good Catholics do, right? Contact me through the usual channels if you're going to be there - I'll probably go anyway, but it never hurts to have extra incentive.
In other news, I'm going to be on the tee-vee tonight.
The genesis of my appearance is two years ago, when I was interviewed by a graduate student from Columbia's journalism school about the underground poker scene in New York. We met for dinner near his apartment in the East Village, and I told him all about the games. He wasn't a poker player (or even American), and as a result he peppered me with questions while we ate and talked, taking copious notes on everything I said. When dinner was done, he thanked me for my time and told me he would follow up in a few days.
A few days after the interview, the New York Post beat him to the punch and published a piece detailing the inner workings of the underground poker scene in New York. His angle blown, the student emailed me and said he'd be in touch if he could figure out a new twist on the story. In the meantime, I figured that was that.
About two months ago, I received an email from the same guy, now graduated and working for CBS News. He wanted to interview me again for a piece that was being produced for CBS News about the impact of the UIGEA on the online poker scene. After my previous experience, I knew that there was not a 100% guarantee that the piece would "make the cut", but even if it didn't, I figured "no harm, no foul". One morning before work, I went in to the CBS studios, conveniently located not far from my office, and recorded another interview.
That piece is airing tonight on 60 Minutes. Set your DVRs - 145 Pounds of Fury is going to be beamed into households across the nation! (The camera adds 15 pounds, right?)
I got to talk about poker blogs for a small piece of the interview. Hopefully that makes the cut -- and hopefully I won't come off as too much of a prick.