Thursday, December 23, 2004


Party mailed me tonight with a free $15 to play with.

3.5 hours later...Raked hands cleared....$15 up to $60

All I can say is, Wow. The aquarium was FULL.

Wishing all a profitable holiday

Just wanted to wish everyone out there busy grinding and writing a Happy Holiday. We're off to Boise for a few days, and hopefully I will be able to get some poker in during that time, but it doesn't look too promising, I'll tell ya that. The family from both sides seem to be going pre-holiday batshit, so if it gets too bad, the wife and I may sneak down to Jackpot, NV for a night. It's lame, but oatmeal is better than no meal, I guess.

Don't forget about me, as I most likely won't be posting again until the 30th, but if anything interesting happens I'll try and sneak in a post. Thank God for Wi-Fi at Starbucks. And remember, if your family is comprised of people who make the holidays more job than fun, you're not alone.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some chesnuts to berate for their laziness....Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Save the Children!

I didn’t plan on posting anything this morning, but thanks to The Today Show, I am morally obligated to freak out, literarily (is that even a word? If not I hope that it at least makes sense…hard to tell at 8 AM). Why the hell do you watch that show, you say? Given the sparse (like food in an Ethiopian drought) fare that makes up morning television, this at least gives me ranting ammunition as I peruse the web for some actual news.

Upon hearing the word ‘poker’, my eyes shoot up from the laptop as my fingers work to turn up the volume. Woohoo! This sounds Howitzer class stuff as far as ranting ammunition goes, and Today didn’t disappoint. All I can say is, Thank God for the “Teens Playing Poker” segment, as I was truly unaware of it’s dangers until they brought it to my attention.

Here are some actual quotes from the ‘experts’ (I don’t have names, as I was trying to make sure I got their words correct):

“Letting teens play poker is tantamount to letting them play with a gun..”

(My favorite)—“Teens who play poker are 50% more likely to binge drink, 75% more likely to smoke marijuana, 15% more likely to use tobacco, and 4-6% more likely to develop a serious gambling problem.”

Oh dear, where to begin? A gun? I have yet to hear of anyone needing to be rushed to the hospital because the poker game accidentally discharged. Anyone with an IQ above 10 hopefully recognizes this statement as probably the most ignorant thing that will escape from anyone’s mouth on December 22, 2004.

Let’s deconstruct the second statement. “50% more likely to binge drink”. As any good past/present binge drinking degenerate will tell you, it wasn’t ‘the poker’ that made them do it. As I see it, you haven’t really lived until you’ve been binge drinking at least one time in your life. I’m certainly not advocating making it a regular habit (especially for teens), as you are pretty worthless for a while during the aftermath, but I digress…I would submit that if one takes poker seriously, it actually increases personal sobriety as concentration and discipline are paramount, especially for the beginner.

75% more likely to smoke marijuana and 15% more likely to use tobacco”—Once again, I’m pretty sure that the decision to do either of these things is quite separate from the decision to gamble. The reasons behind this assertion was that poker encourages ‘risky’ behaviors. What is life in general, if not a risk taking gamble every time you step out of the house? I’d think that poker would be a one of the more 'safe' arenas in which to learn how to deal with and manage risk, but then again, I’m not an ‘expert’. With the ever increasing adoption of non-smoking poker rooms, could it not be argued that poker actually promotes healthier living? By logical extension, if I hold the above statement to be true, and considering the fact that marijuana is widely held to be a ‘gateway drug’…..should I expect to be shooting heroin within a relatively short time frame after learning to play Hold’em?

Teens that play poker are 4-6% more likely to develop a gambling problem.”—All that can really be said here is, “Flapdoodle”. If someone is heading towards any kind of addiction, gambling or otherwise, they are going to get there regardless of what anyone does or says. Making narcotics illegal certainly helped decrease the number of addicts out there, didn’t it? War on Drugs, indeed. War on Terror, indeed. I think I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I foresee a War on Gambling in our near future.

These ‘experts’ also derided those who promote poker as extremely irresponsible, unlike those companies who produce alcohol. As though spending money on PSA’s starring actors fresh out of rehab, and putting Gamblers Anonymous telephone numbers on anything poker related somehow makes them more responsible. Is their definition of responsibility airing commercials (similar to every beer commercial you’ve ever seen) to try and convince you that the amount of poker you play is directly proportional to the amount of beautiful big-breasted models inclined to fuck your brains out?

I just realized, after much hand-wringing and cries of “Won’t someone PLEASE think of the children?” launched heavenward, I need to stop writing and shoot up because just thinking about poker is making me feel like the risk-taking, boozing, narcotics slugging degenerate I quite obviously am. I’ll probably end up discharging my firearm a few times as well in the process. All because of poker. If only I had seen The Today Show earlier….

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Sniff a Clam...(if you dare)

I want that bitch's job.....
-My Wife (referring to Vanna White)

Don’t ask me why we had Wheel of Fortune on. It was a long day and I think she was just zoned out and too lazy to change the channel while I ran around in preparation for an evening of laziness and writing.

This morning, as I went through the new blog postings all over the ether, Bob’s post stopped me cold. It was pretty eerie, seeing on the page that which I had planned on ranting about, nearly verbatim. So thanks, Bob. You stole my proverbial thunder, and now I have to do some rewriting. Seriously though, it was kind of cool seeing someone who’s views were so similar to my own (or is it the other way around since he posted it first?). What the hell, I’m gonna rant anyway, since my wife insists on watching a group of overweight folks cry a lot and try to get healthy on NBC. Nothing gets me in a ranting mood quite like that channel, so off we go…..

The more advertising I see, the less I want to buy…
-Switters from Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates

I long for TV without crap advertising. I long to suckle pure programming milk from the glass teat. However, the milk is only becoming more tainted, along with any other form of media that requires eyeballs. I know, I could get a TIVO, and I still may, but with the continuous concerted effort to actually make it ILLEGAL to skip commercials, I foresee that a TIVO will be for naught within the next five years. Man, this is one of the times I REALLY hope that I’m wrong. If you haven’t heard about any of the things of this nature (is that an Arnold-ism?) that big business and Congress is trying to push through under our collective noses, start looking around. It’s out of mainstream sight, but really not too hard to find, and believe me, once you do find it you’re going to be PISSED (or should be, in my mind).

Anyway, back to the rant. Let’s hit Reality TV first, as that’s what is currently cascading over me. Reality TV, with all of the creative editing, and NOT CREATIVE product placement. I have nothing against product placement, per se, but goddamn it, the least they could do is TRY and blend it in. Then again, perhaps it really isn’t worth their time, considering the average IQ runs in the mid-90’s coupled with copious amounts of apathy. The Today Show isn’t news, it’s an advertising/marketing/mind control device. It’s consumer masturbation. Now this junk is even running over into video games, with EA (Electronic Arts) being the NBC of that particular industry. NBC=Useless vacuous crap + boatloads of ever increasing, awful advertising.

Here’s the thing…I don’t have anything against advertising or product placement as concepts, especially when done well. How else is a business supposed to grow and succeed, right? However, thanks to the decency police (see: FCC + parents of suburbia), and some creative ‘looking the other way’ in regards to decency (see my Herpes and Boners post) all we are left with is 99% crap. I swear, even if it was a mediocre product, I would support one that actually made some kind of outrageous or entertaining statement. Imagine if a seafood restaurant actually came out with a commercial in which they stated, “Come Sniff our Clams.” I would rush out and eat there. If Hummer actually said something to the effect of, “You’ll have the biggest penis EVER if you buy one of these”, I would laugh my ass off and most likely want to run out and buy one of those, too. Spare me the succulent-ness of your crablegs, and spare me your pre-pubescent off-roading wet dreams. They’ve all been done already and I’m bored out of my skull. Don’t even get me started on AOL and their ilk, as my head might explode. Considering it’s size, that would be quite a mess.

I’ll wrap things up by talking about how my life IS The Truman Show. I swear to you, dear reader, I am not making this up. I wish I was, because just when I don’t think I can grow any more annoyed by it, I do. Case in Point: On (I believe) our second date, I told my wife about my Truman Show life. She just laughed, thinking that I was waxing witty or something. Fast-forward six months, and we’re newly married. We leave at about 4:30 AM to go from Boise to Vegas for our honeymoon, and I had been bitching for the last few days as they had been more Truman-ish than normal. Our townhouse was in an EXTREMELY quite and low activity neighborhood. Yet, at 4:30 AM, I was nearly in a wreck as I pulled out onto the street and a monster truck came roaring by doing about 60. She was now a believer, as we did not see one other single sign of life the entire way out of our neighborhood. I am happy as a clam (a sniffable one, at that) now having someone to testify that I am not simply full of shit. I’m happier still that I can now add Bob to the list of someone who suffers from this awful affliction. I wish I knew how I got it, because I would sure like to get rid of it. Maybe I should start a foundation and begin lobbying for some new dumbass law to cater to my new made-up discriminated minority. The time is certainly politically ripe for such a move. I’m not sure why I decided to ramble about this, but it sure felt good.

I didn’t get any poker in at all last night or tonight. My head has been too post-work jumbled to play well. Why is it that I expect things to get progressively easier at work as the holidays draw near, when the reality is always the exact opposite? I strongly suspect it’s because I’m an idiot….

Remember kids, always Think Big, whether or not your head is Much Bigger.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Just when I thought....

...I had conquered this nefarious insomnia, I end up awake until 3 AM. Although, perhaps it's not fair to call it insomnia in this instance, as I did consume almost an entire pot of coffee at around 7 PM. What an idiot, you'd think I would learn.

...A good day of poker was in the offing, I tilt and end up even for the day. Last night my wife got an uncharacteristic urge to play some poker and did very well, scoring a first and a second place out of three SnG's. Earlier in the afternoon, I played some $.50/1 to begin to work off my PokerStars Bonus, got some great cards and played very well in general, ending up 8 BB after 1 1/2 hours. After my wife finished I decided to play in an SnG myself and ended up completely card dead. The few times that I had good hands, they were edged out by slightly better holdings, i.e. AJ running into AQ 5-handed. I should have taken this as an omen, but decided to hit the Limit game again only to be edged out on every hand much in the same manner. Instead of exercising patience, I start reaching and calling hands I KNOW that I shouldn't, and end up down 13 BB, losing my previous 8 BB gain and the bit of profit from the SnG's. What an idiot, you'd think I would learn.

...I knew how to keep my mouth shut, I find myself trapped by it, yet again. Ever had one of those days where everything is just peachy, the world is as it should be, and you find yourself being extra-generous? I had such a day about midway through this last October, so without properly restraining my oral orifice, I proceed to tell my parents that I'm going to build them a new PC. Here we are, four days until Christmas, and I am cursing myself for it. I have all the parts ready to go, but they just sit there and mock me. They are also crying out, as they are going to be under-utilized and grossly under-appreciated. Why, oh why, could I not have kept my mouth shut, bought a giftcard and been done with it? I'm an idiot, that's why. You'd think I would learn.

My apologies to all for the lack of real substance in this post, as I am still trying to unscramble my late night brain. I can assure you that I have concrete plans to get totally super annoyed and go on a pre-holiday ranting spree either tomorrow or Wednesday, as I cannot bring myself to Think Big right now, and my head feels Much Bigger than usual.

P.S.--If you're reading this Laura, thanks for helping me diddle my template code so I could get some links put up. You are the heezee (I think that means most awesome or something, but I'm unsure, as my hip-hop is really rusty).

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Good 'ol Boys, Part Deux

A temporary bout of idiocy cost our hero his tournament life. He is now in an extremely mediocre buffet contemplating his next step…..

My brother already had his mind made up about his next step. He was determined to get rid of the rest of his money at the BJ tables as quickly as possible. My brother has a problem, you see. Not a Gamblers Anonymous sort of problem (at least IMO), it’s just that he has it in his head that he must win big or lose it all in a relatively short period of time. Regardless, his bets increase exponentially as time goes on. I keep giving him hell about it and try to show him new games and convince him that it’s OK to gamble at a slower rate, but so far he will have none of it. Oh well, it’s his money, what are ya gonna do? It’s not like he can’t afford it.

After eating, I made the decision that my –EV games quota was full for the day and that I needed to do what I came to do, and that was play poker even if it was $4-8. I got myself on the list they were building to start up a new table and went to check and see if my brother had any money left. Nope. To his credit, he is not one of those people who lose their money and then whine about how they want to leave, cutting off those who are more frugal from having any more fun. He just said he would take a seat behind and watch me at the limit table since he had never seen it before. Sweet, that should give me about 2 hours to try and get something good to happen. With these thoughts, I hear my name over the PA and it’s time to go to work…

So, I run to the cashiers cage and try to by some chips. Oops, no go. It seems that here you buy chips right in the poker room. I rush over, buy in for $200, and sit down quickly in order to take in the riff-raff that will be sitting at the table. What a truly odd assortment of folks. My spidey-sense tingles a bit at this point, because it is here that it becomes pretty apparent that the folks who run this room are pretty haphazard and disorganized, and it takes FOREVER to get the game going (actual time, about 10 mins.). I also don’t like the fact that they are talking of having 11 players instead of 10. I haven’t ever heard of this before. Perhaps the more experienced among you out there can tell me whether this is a good or bad thing? I’m thinking bad, and am pretty unhappy about this development, but get lucky because they have one guy move back to the other table since it was only 9-handed. If I would have known who I was sitting with I would have volunteered to make the move….more on this in a second.

Here is the breakdown:

Seat 1: The Kid (age 23 or so, 1 rack)
Seat 2: Our Hero ($200)
Seat 3: Old guy (1 rack)
Seat 4: Middle Age Lady (10 reds and about ½ rack of white) I already notice she talks a LOT, whether or not anyone is listening. Yammer yammer yammer…
Seat 5: Bearded Safari Dude. (1 Rack) I wonder if he’s ever seen Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Most likely.
Seat 6: Random Lesbian ($60)
Seat 7: Random Lesbian II ($60)
Seat 8: Talkative Old Guy (3/4 rack + a few reds)
Seat 9: Rest Home Escapee (1 rack) Seriously, I’m not sure this guy knows where he’s at. Everyone calls him Poppi.
Seat 10: Smug Suburbia Joe ($200)

NOTE: Before anyone gets their panties in a twist, my notation of Random Lesbians in seats 6 & 7 is in no way homophobic, merely a statement of fact. For the record, in all three B&M sessions in which I have played, I have had the most enjoyable time with the random lesbians, as they seem to easily be the most affable folks at the table. I have also noticed that they always buy in short, I wonder why that is? But I digress….

I post my blind and it begins. 7 callers and The Kid in Seat 1 raises. I’m looking at a not-so-sweet 92o and opt to fold. All call. Flop x-K-x. Betting and raising all around, this kid is rammin’ and jammin’ right out of the gate. Five people go to the river. Kid turns over a KK for the set and a HUGE pot. Damn, why can’t my day start like that?

In the SB, second hand, I find a red and black AA. Oh Christ, I hope they hold up. But I’ve read my SSHE a couple of times now, and am determined to hammer away until I meet any serious resistance. Oh Jesus, 8 freaking callers. This is going to be the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced or an absolute train wreck. I heard angels begin to sing when I initially looked at that AA, but even they are silent now as the tension inside me mounts. I raise and all call. Flop is 10-Q-3, 2 hearts. Random Lesbian #1 bets out, all call, and I raise, EVERYONE calls. Turn is a 5 of spades, check to me, I bet out and all call (note here that Random Lesbian #2 is now all-in with her last $4, which begins a side pot). River does not bring the flush, I bet, and only two people drop. Holy Christ, nearly all 8 people took it to the river, I have never seen a pot so absolutely mountainous. I table my AA, everyone mucks and I get the side pot, which alone puts me up about $25. I eagerly await the rest of the chips, when Random Lesbian II turns over 55. Doh! She caught her set, dammit! I’m not too upset though, and breathe a silent thanks to the poker gods for the Lesbians who buy in short. It could have been VERY ugly if she had more chips, but I came out a bit ahead and know better than to complain. I also got a couple of pieces of good info, including some on Middle Age Talkative Lady. I saw her cards just before she mucked them, and she had called all the way to the river with a K8o, are you kidding me? Are people really this bad? Yep, they are, and beyond….

I begin to strike up a conversation with The Kid, who is pretty nice. Admittedly nervous and inexperienced, but has a good idea of what makes up proper play. By the end of the first orbit, Random Lesbian I & II are out of chips, Wild Kingdom guy buys another rack, Middle Age Lady is getting really short but continues to gamboool and picks up a couple of pots with trash, Senior to my right buys another rack. For some reason it’s here that the table begins to respect raises and bets, and Talkative Old Guy in Seat 8 buys a couple of pots, talking loudly about how if he winks, we’d better get out of the pot, as J10o is his favorite hand and he NEVER loses with it. I take no real notice, as I am still chatting with The Kid. There is a sudden flurry of movement at the table as Old Guy to my left moves (mumbling) to the seat recently vacated by Random Lesbian #1, another Old Guy moves into Random Lesbian #2’s vacated seat, and a brand new Random Lesbian sits on my left (1 rack). Also during this time, Poppi has purchases a second rack.

After the movement flurry we begin playing again, and The Kid wakes up with his second KK. They hold up unassisted with 4 callers to the river. He chats a bit more with me, but decides to bail, as he has more than doubled up. I can’t say that I blame him. Very next hand, I’m on the button and find myself with QQ, nice. The ENTIRE table calls and I raise. A few folks actually fold to my raise this time, and it gets to Talkative Old Guy in Seat 8. He looks up (as the raise has interrupted him holding court), and asks who raised. I indicate that I have. His response: “Well, I would have folded, but since it’s you, I call.” HUH? Since it’s me? Poppi calls, and so does Smug Guy in seat 10.

---About now I begin wondering anew just what the hell is going on. Do I have some kind of shitty smirk on my face that I’m not aware of? I turn to ask my brother who is observing. Nope, nary a nasty twitch present. Perhaps I crapped my pants, unintentionally offending someone with an odor most foul? This has never happened before, even at my most ugly drunk, but you never know….Nope, I have not crapped my pants. Perhaps they just don’t like my large bald head. Most children are either enamored with it or frightened of it, so perhaps the same holds true with seniors?---

Flop is x-J-x, and the guy starts in with the table direction, “Let him bet it for us”, he obviously thinks this is intimidating as I bet, all call. Turn come K, same thing “Let him bet it for us..”, I bet, all call. River comes A, and this ass-of-a-human being checks and says, “Let’s see you bet that!”. All check and I go ahead and check, as chances are the turn or river hit one of the 3 of them. Does this guy think I’m feeble-minded or something? Smug Guy takes the pot w/ AK (2 pair), I muck, and he looks at me and says “That’s what I thought” as he mucks his bottom-pair holding. I asked him what exactly he thought and he gives no answer, and it is here that the blinders are removed and I see things clearly….I have met the douchebag my brother busted out of the tourney (see Good ‘ol Boys, Pt. 1). Christ, I wanted to jump across the table and stab that guy in the throat. (No, I have never stabbed anyone before, and I also didn’t continue the back and forth as I remember the sage advice not to tap the tank)

Now that the blinders are off, I see a lot of things I should have noticed much earlier. The dealers are WAY too friendly with the regulars, often holding up hands to finish an ongoing conversation. Never too awful long, but definitely long enough to be annoying. A couple of tiny pots I took down came when the dealer suggested to a couple of the loose callers that they fold so I didn’t get any more chips. Not directly, mind you, but the point was there. This was about 15 minutes before my self imposed 2 hour time limit was up, and I had been COMPLETELY card dead for the last 45 minutes. So I calmly gathered my chips and left the room down 7BB’s (1.5 hours), as I could feel a gigantic tilt coming. Poor Poppi, I watched that guy burn through four racks in under two hours. I seriously don’t think he knew where he was, perhaps he thought we were betting ‘Nilla Wafers.

Will I head back to this cardroom? Unlikely, unless I earmark some cash to be used for the sole purpose of wasteful and confrontational play, and even then probably no, as I don’t really care for prick waving contests that much. I can handle some assholes, but when along with this you get mediocre dealers and a room with poor organization, playing definitely becomes –EV. I guess from now on you’ll just find me at the Ameristar in K.C. at the 3/6 full kill. Their room is small, but the dealers are much more professional and the room is generally better run. Christ, I wish I lived closer to a proper casino.

All in all, not a horrible day, but certainly not great either. Perhaps a nice rant is in order tomorrow..

Remember everyone, you can Think Big, but prickish old men will still hate you when your head is Much Bigger.