Monday, January 03, 2005

Here comes the sun.....

Back to the regular schedule, finally. Last night I made a beautiful slow cooked garlic and cumin pot roast, which fell apart faster than Mike Tyson in front of Lennox Lewis. Gorgeous. After we ate, I pulled apart the rest of the meat and put it in a container, but left it out because it was still warm and I didn’t want to put it in the fridge right away. Then I proceeded to go to bed a few hours later while it languished on the counter the entire night, only to greet me this morning a husk of its former self, ruined. No exciting sandwich possibilities in the offing today, that’s for sure. So, to begin this ‘it’s not starting very well’ Monday, I exhort you to (literally and figuratively) Never Leave Your Meat Lying Out In the Open. It can make for some embarrassing and/or disappointing moments any way you slice it.

Oh Christ, they’ve turned Little Women into a musical. What prompts someone to take a good book and muscify it I cannot possibly fathom. Musicals, with all of their wholesome goodness, they shrivel my soul. Also, while I’m busy failing to fathom things, the TV is awash with the usual ‘How to Deal with all of the Holiday Debt’ exposes. How about dealing with it by not getting into it in the first place? And I’m not speaking of the folks who run up a credit bill and pay it off over the next couple of months. I’m speaking of those who are still paying on debt from Holidays ’03 or further back. Yes, your kids will be disappointed not getting what they want, and your desire to make them happy is more than understandable, but you’re certainly not doing anyone any favors by extending your indentured servitude to the credit overlords. Bah, what the hell was I expecting? It’s The Today Show, after all.

Oh won’t someone please think of the children.

Last night I was in a MTT mood, so I jumped into the PokerStars $2 crapshoot containing over 2600 entrants. I went out around 800, crap. What to do now? Join the $3 crapshoot that is just beginning, of course! I made it into late registration with what I imagine were seconds to spare, only to have my third hand (AA) cracked by A5s when the flop came 3 clubs. Ugh, doesn’t look like it’s going to be my night in the tourneys, so I hop onto a .50.1 table to see how the cards were running there. Not good my friends, not good. I played about three orbits and got some good preflop hands, but every single time I did, the board was diametrically opposed to my holding and I would have to let it go. MTT Tourneys + limited Limit play on PokerStars, $-9. Recognizing it’s not your night before losing more $$—Priceless.

After dinner, finding myself still in the poker mood, I fired up Party to see what I could do with the paltry $45 or so that I had left after my previous bout of Step 1 tourney idiocy. Not being in the mood for too much excitement or tense situations I decided to hit the .50/1 tables instead of the PL which originally helped me grow my initial free $15. After 2.5 hours playing, I ended up nearly 25 BB, closing down with $74. I was about to quit around +20 BB, when I got 77 and flopped my set, which went down to a rivered straight against a confirmed maniac. Crap, that nailed me for 7BB’s. I though about leaving at this point, lest more of the same unhappy shit be heaped upon me, but I resolved to simply keep playing well and wait a bit. Sure enough, on the very next orbit the maniac paid me back and then some when he called my set of Kings down to river with middle pair, even raising the turn! A little bit of reinforcement on patience and playing well has been officially added. I’m starting to think I really just might be deeply and profoundly retarded for not playing at Party more often. Nearly 70,000 people were playing last night. Good Lord, that’s a lot of fishy goodness.

Iggy pointed out something that he found in HDouble’s archives that I wish I had read earlier in my poker journey. Another lightbulb moment, check.

“Any time you play a hand without firmly believing that you have a positive expectation, you are on [subtle] tilt.”

Take this to heart, dear reader, and be enlightened.

Lastly, to give you something a little extra on the first Monday of the New Year, I will finally give my explanation as to why I have been so opposed to Party Poker in general. After all, don’t we all want a bit more length?

Let me say right now that while my reasoning may be idiotic, it is nonetheless real. Very early into my poker journey, after building up a little bit on InterPoker, I made the sojourn over to Party with $100. The interface immediately rubbed me the wrong way. The blocky avatars reminded me of a short bus art show. My first thought, “If the avatars are this freaking bad, why do they have them? Especially since they never change and cannot be personalized in any way.” Strike one. Begin card playing. In hindsight, my play was mediocre at best, but not a single good hand could win. Maldito Rio, indeed. Much like my eyelids when I’m trying to slog through something written by the venerable Mr. Hellmuth, they wouldn’t hold up. Perceived Strike.

Then, from lobby to actual table there was the clunky interface, which still has not changed. Since everyone has played on Party, details are unnecessary. If you don’t know, go sign up, bonus code: IGGY, and see for yourself. Strike two. The servers at the time were also very slow, clunky, and went down A LOT (at least during the short week I spent there). This seems to have improved, but at the time it reinforced Strike two. Lastly, the way that the cards are dealt. I know it’s horribly nitpicky, but you never actually see the cards being dealt, they simply appear. This makes it extremely difficult to suspend disbelief and imagine that you are actually playing “cards”. Strike three.

I took nearly a week, but after getting back up to even, I resolved never to play there again. Famous Last Words, and all that. After reading more and more blogs, I decided to give Party another try, and I found that simply seeing that interface again put me on tilt for some strange reason, but what the hell, I was getting a 50% deposit bonus. Same story. I played better than I did on my first foray into that sea, but still not well. I ended up taking a large-type hit, my bonus brought me back up to even, and I left, resolving once again to not set virtual foot there again.

Then, magic happened. After getting through SSHE for the second time, two days later the sun shone through the proverbial clouds. Party emailed me with a free $15 (which I could keep after 150 raked hands, whoopee) and I read Iggy’s comment telling me how deeply and profoundly retarded I was for not playing there. Ouch, that stung. However, it is exactly what I needed. Just like the fact that it sometimes takes a rude (intentional or otherwise) comment about how fat you are to jolt you into diet and exercise, this one jolted me out of my poker sticking point. The universe coalesced, SSHE finally established a permanent, unconscious cerebral residence, and I ran that $15 up with a zen I have never previously experienced. I haven’t moved any more money over to Party yet, as I am challenging myself to make something out of this free cash, but I am beginning to see the light. I can say with confidence that at least the deeply and profoundly adjectives can be stricken from my retarded-ness. I’m still VERY aesthetically opposed to Party, but am no longer so opposed to playing there. So thanks all of you bloggers, your collective wisdom is finally starting to seep through the cracks. Regardless of how annoying it may sometimes get, a steady diet of fish is good for body, mind, and without a doubt, the bankroll.

Stay with me, as I Think Big, while my head is Much Bigger. See you all tomorrow.