Friday, January 14, 2005

This couldn't wait..

SirFWALGMan is where I originally found the link for this blog, but I felt compelled to post a link myself, because the blog is Sooper Dooper! I'm finding myself with the urge to mystery shop.

One last thing. I got to thinking about it, and before I mortally offend the actual "writers" out there who really do write for themselves, let me clarify that my '95% of the people blogging' statement was not intended to inflame. If it did inflame anyone who's blog I look up to, my sincere apologies. It is simply my guesstimation and opinion.

And as we all know opinions, like assholes, can turn out very stinky sometimes.

For Shame, Stripper. For Shame.

Oh boy, so much to say. How fortuitous that doesn’t limit post length.

First, the recent community drama. I commented on it a bit yesterday, but was pretty unfazed by the whole thing, and determined to go ahead and keep her link up on this blog, at least for a bit longer (though, if I kept reading constant two sentence posts about Pat or trips to ND or wherever, it was coming down anyway). Yesterday though, was the post that broke the blogger’s back. She decided to put down Alton Brown. Oh, the horror. Now, I will say that Alton can be corny and sometimes annoying, but by and large his show is very informative and at least in my humble case, interesting. While I am not a diehard Alton fanboy or anything, I decided “That’s it”, because next thing I know she’ll be taking shots at Anthony Bourdain, which is something that I will not stand for. I’m going to guess she is probably a fan of that ewok, Emeril. (Yes, I know. He’s a great chef, but have you heard the way he speaks on his show? “Like such”, indeed. )

Taking shots at ‘The Hammer’---Bad

Taking shots at Felicia---Even Worse

Actually saying, “I have no interest in being in the limelight”—Fucking Priceless.

No interest in the limelight? What was all that Hammer and Felicia criticism? Deep thoughts from a JuCo savant? Give this community some freakin’ credit. I don’t think it’s out of line in any way to say that at least 95% of us do this in an effort to be “in the limelight” in some shape or form. I’ve always found reading and writing to be deeply satisfying pursuits (which are extended by blogging), but if there wasn’t that “off chance” that blogging could bring some small modicum of notoriety and/or financial gain in the future, I most likely wouldn’t be doing it. If you really “have no interest in being in the limelight”, shut down your blog and grab a pen and paper for your thought documentation

I, for one, am not ashamed to say that I love watching my hit counter. It satisfies my inner narcissist. I know myself well enough to admit it.

Oh yeah, and regardless of what happens in the future, I can guarantee that every time “The Hammer” takes down a pot, as a community we will continue to collectively cream in our jeans.

OK, enough of that business. I know I should probably just be ignoring it, as trolls tend to wither and die when ignored, but I couldn’t help myself this time. On a more pleasant note, Catching the Antichrist linked to a great article by Howard Lederer called Poker and Zen. I actually bookmarked it and printed it off in an effort to constantly remind myself where I’m rally at in this ever so frustrating journey. I am admittedly still way too results oriented. It is easily my biggest hole, and an issue that very quickly and easily slips my mind, so thanks to Anisotropy for bringing the issue up again in his post a couple of days ago. One of these days I’ll have a good portion of these damn holes plugged and will be able to blog about playing higher than $.50/1 games and cheap tourneys. One day I’ll be up there with some of the bigger boys. Am I jealous much? You bet I am, it keeps me motivated.

Last but not least, for those who might give a shit, here is the tinfoil portion: Pair arrested after telling lawyer jokes. Land of the Free, indeed.

It might just be me, but 2005 seems to be starting out as one crazy-ass, fucked up year. Not all bad, though, it never is. I’ll remain here, however, trying to Think Big, while my head will forever be Much Bigger.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

All whipped up...

In light of yet again no poker being played last night, I simply feel like rambling a bit about whatever the hell comes to mind. During a bit of downtime yesterday at work while waiting for some updates to install, I found a fun blog called PreShrunk, which basically highlights T-shirts. Fun Stuff. That’s about the only good one that I found in my trolling of non-poker blogs. Granted, the search wasn’t exactly rife with effort, as all I did was randomly go through a bunch of the recently updated blogs on Doing this however, made me even more appreciative (could I gush more?) of this poker blogging community. In the words of Timmy the Tiger (who I consequently decided must be Tony the Tiger’s older and more cynical brother, who also happened to be taking some time looking for non-poker blogs worth reading), “They’rrrre CRRRRRRRRAP!

There seems to be some sort of flap going on having to do with Stripper by Night getting in digs on ‘The Hammer’ and Felicia. I’m waiting to get added to Felicia’s friend list so I can get caught up on her LiveJournal entries and hopefully not be so much in the dark anymore. I feel like Towlie from South Park, “I’m soo high, I have no idea what’s going on.” Except I’m not high, so where does that leave me? You guessed it. I’m left being just an idiot. That being said, I still cannot fathom why anyone would say anything that was less than complimentary about Felicia. After all, if it weren’t for her, who knows how long it would have taken me/many others to wake up about the current state of tourney “juice”?

As far as the digs on ‘The Hammer’ go, the entire post that bashed it seemed pretty trite, its only purpose being to get everyone whipped up into a frenzy. That, or she got nailed by ‘Pokers new Greatest Hand’ and just couldn’t let it go. Either way, it was (insert valley girl inflection) waaaaay lame, omigod. Even though I have not yet discovered the stones to play The Hammer with any regularity, much less with any skill, I see its point as well as the fun that lies within it’s utilization. To vilify a hand like The Hammer, which every day seems to become more beloved, is much like taking pot shots at Ghandi. Ghandi was not glamorous and did not smell nice (Note: I’m not positive, he may have smelled great, but I think my read is good on this one). The Hammer is also not glamorous and pretty much stinks as far as hand rankings go. However, they both continue to accomplish great things, and I for one, would be loathe to deride either one. So there.

So that the folks who come here looking for poker content don’t leave me forever, I offer the following, which I read a couple of days ago on 2+2. You can click the link and see the actual article on the site, but I will also repost it here, as it is a great commentary to fire back at those puritanical dimwits who would say that ‘poker is evil’.


Is Poker Socially Useful?: Part I
By Alan N. Schoonmaker, Ph.D.

Many people would say, "No," but they would be wrong. It does not create a useful product, but neither does any other form of entertainment. Only the most puritanical people criticize the social value of baseball, ballet, and the theater, but countless people criticize poker as being useless and immoral.

In addition to being enjoyable, poker helps people -- especially young people -- to understand and cope with the real world. The world is and always will be extremely competitive, and people have to learn how to cope with this reality. Because the anti-competitive extremists have taken over much of the educational system, many young people are utterly unprepared to deal with our competitive world.

The Education Establishment's Anti-Competitive Bias

The Readers' Digest's November, 2004 issue contained an article, "That's outrageous: 'A' is for average." It noted that many school administrators try to build self-esteem by protecting students from competition. The administrators detest it because some students win, others lose, and the losers may feel bad. To prevent those feelings, some schools have eliminated honor rolls, and others have as many as 100 valedictorians. They have also taken many other silly actions.

Some schools have prohibited breaking students into ability-based groups so that students can progress at different rates and get the kind of help they need. A few schools have even eliminated grades or ranking of students.

This opposition to competition does not apply only to academic subjects. A high school principal was told he could not release the names of high scorers at basketball games. One idiotic principal even said, "I discourage competitive games at school. They just don't fit my world view of what a school should be."

Anti-Competition Attitudes are Ubiquitous and Destructive.

Long before that article appeared I had written, "Competition is life's first law, but many people deny that reality." This denial is everywhere, and it has enormous social and economic consequences. Americans perform much worse than the students from other industrialized countries on virtually all tests of language and math skills.

They perform abysmally precisely because our schools don't demand enough of them. The educational system is so intent on protecting their self-esteem that they don't learn the skills and attitudes they need to cope with our competitive world.

American colleges must teach subjects that foreign students learn in high school, and even our post-graduate schools have to teach reading, writing, and simple math. The anti-competition bias is also the primary cause for grade inflation, and it is everywhere. In some colleges the median grade is an "A," and more than 75 percent of the students graduate "with honors."

This anti-competition bias has reshaped the labor market. The Equal Employment Opportunities, Americans with Disabilities Act, and various other laws were intended to correct injustices, but the courts have expanded them so widely that their intent has been subverted. Today almost anyone can claim to be a victim of some form of prejudice; their poor performance is not their fault, and they should get the same pay, promotions, and other rewards as everyone else.

All these forces have created an "entitlement mentality." Judith Bardwick is a widely quoted authority on this mentality, and she defined it in a series of short statements.

  1. I am owed, and I am not responsible for what I do.
  2. If I get what I get irrespective of what I do, then I must get it because it's owed to me.
  3. If I fail to do what is expected of me, that's OK -- there will be no significant consequences.

She contrasts this "entitlement mentality" with a "psychology of earning." She also pointed out that many people want a "no-consequence" culture, one in which nothing bad happens to you if you perform poorly, and nothing particularly good happens if you perform well.1

Because of anti-competitive attitudes, our economy and living standards are at risk. In a few decades America has gone from being the world's largest creditor to the world's largest debtor, and every month we buy much more from foreigners than we sell to them. Our foreign debts are inconceivably large, trillions of dollars.

In mid-November Alan Greenspan, the Federal Reserve Chairman, stated that our trade deficit threatens the economy, and the stock market dropped precipitously. It may have been news to the public, but it should have been obvious that we could not continue indefinitely to spend more than we earn. If we don't become more competitive, our entire economy and standard of living must go down.

Poker is the Ideal Teacher for Competitors.

Peter Lynch, the former manager of the extraordinarily successful Magellan Fund and vice-chairman of Fidelity, emphatically agrees with this premise. He was once asked, "How can a person become a better investor?" He replied, "Learn how to play poker."2

Later essays will describe many other factors that make poker such a great teacher, but now I will mention only one: Poker is a "ruthless meritocracy." Barry Tanenbaum, a Card Player columnist, coined and explained that term.

You can make a living, perhaps even a good one, as a mediocre shoe salesman, teacher, lawyer, carpenter, or doctor. By definition, most people are mediocre, but nearly everyone makes a living. In poker you cannot survive unless you are among the best. Only about 10 percent of all players are long-term winners, and less than 2 percent win enough to support themselves.

This meritocracy is extraordinarily ruthless. In many competitions you can coast on your past accomplishments. Major league baseball teams pay millions to players with long term contracts who can no longer produce, and some corporations have given huge "Golden Parachutes" to people they fired for failing. But poker professionals must continue to excel: Many formerly great poker players now struggle to survive in small games. Nobody cares that they were once great. The only thing that matters is how well they play now.

This ruthlessly competitive attitude is precisely what America needs today. We must stop resting on our laurels, recognize that we are losing the world's most important competition, and do whatever it takes to start winning again. Poker can teach people how to be tougher competitors, and its lessons are extremely useful.

1Judith Bardwick at The Master's Forum, cited by Michael Finley
2"Ten lessons poker teaches great investors," by Christopher Graja, Bloomberg's Personal Finance, June, 2001, p. 56

©2005 by Alan N. Schoonmaker, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved.


Here ends my two cents for the day. Keep Thinking Big everyone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


First things first. I updated my blog links, as there were several blogs that I read regularly that I keep forgetting to put up. So, if you want to have a link on the list, just let me know so I can get it up. After all, I’m an idiot and need to be prodded sometimes.

I am still VERY new to this ever growing poker blogging community, seeing as how I just started doing this less than two months ago. However, thanks to every single one of the more experienced poker blogging trailblazers out there for making me feel welcome and encouraged. It has definitely put some excitement and motivation back into the game for me. It’s completely amazing to me as I pay more attention (or at least try to) to the goings-on of the poker blogging community just how much it grows every day. 2005, while not starting out all that well for me personally because of the horrific local weather, looks to be a great year for those who are serious about their blog. I want to be one of those. Wait, I WILL be. How’s that for a positive note?

If you haven’t yet, you REALLY need to get over to HDouble and congratulate him on his new job with Full Tilt Poker. Not only were the write-up’s leading to the announcement great, but the entire blog is nothing short of amazing. Otis has wrapped up his blog for PokerStars. If you haven’t read the entire thing, do yourself a favor and take the time out to do so. Last, but CERTAINLY not least, Iggy just announced a tentative date for the next blogger tourney, February 2, 9PM EST on PokerStars. $20 buy-in, and worth every penny to play with the bloggers I admire, especially since I’m never up late enough to find or play at the blogger table on Party. (Insert Homer Simpson) **Stupid inner senior citizen**

No poker for the last couple of days, which saddens me. Dealing with weather/insurance along with work leaves me with little energy or time at the end of the day. Playing for only 30 minutes or so just seems like more of an exercise in futility than anything, as I feel most comfortable taking at least an hour to lose my chips. But I do have one poker related question that I have not been able to figure out in my 16 months of play. Why do people (at all sites) sit at a table and then immediately sit out, take up space for an inordinate amount of time, and then leave? It’s seems to be pretty bad at nearly all of the tables on Party, and is a serious problem on the 7 Card Stud tables on PokerStars. I used to play stud pretty regularly, but now it’s bad enough I don’t even bother anymore, as there were precious few playing that game to begin with. I would REALLY love to know the reason people do this sort of thing so much. It’s probably not worth the bother trying to figure out though, as the reasons are most likely too numerous and too idiotic to count.

I know what you’re all wondering. “Head, all of the news/questions/updates are great, but what’s been annoying you lately? We need to hear some negative yin to the preceding positive yang”

A few quick ones:

  • That goddamn Trimspa commercial that keeps running. Want some Money? Wanna new car? No Anna Nicole, I want you to go away. Permanently.
  • The rash of “We Card” television propaganda. The fact that you have added to the morbidly obese monster that is the current crushing bureaucracy is in no way commendable. Thanks for wasting more money on useless shit. You haven’t prevented kids from getting anything, you’ve only made it slightly more difficult, and therefore more desirable. Idiots.
  • *Insert random thing here*--The Anti-Drug. I can’t/shouldn’t need to say too much about this one. I’m preparing an Insidious Propaganda rant coming soon to a post near you. Won’t someone please Think of the Children.

That’s all for today folks, as I’m off to go make a living while I wait for the riches from blogging to roll onto my lap :) I also have to do a new Linux install on my tinfoil hat so I can continue to Think Big, while ‘The Man’ and my head continue to be Much Bigger.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Small update and question

I always try to follow the 30BB rule. If I lose more than 30BB in a session, quit. I should have quit last night at 20, but like a moron decided to take my final 10BB’s to the PL tables. Idiot. Over the course of about 4.5 hours paying $.50/1 on Party, I should have known that it just wasn’t my night and fought another day. Every good hand got sucked out on. Every crap hand that I folded flopped huge. Ugh. No bad beat stories or anything, as I am realizing from the Party vets that this is par for the course when deep sea fishing. I hate waking up in the morning knowing that I threw away 10BB’s that I shouldn’t have, though.

My extended session yesterday did bring a question for all of the Party vets out there. Is the need to constantly table hop a pretty normal thing in the pursuit of the fishies, or not? A good 7 out of the 20BB’s I lost playing Limit last night was due to (this is my perception, at least) paying blinds more often because of the following: Find a table with large average pot size (at least $10) and sit. Post blinds and scope out fish on the first orbit. Wait for playable hands. It is here that one of two things happened. I got a playable hand beaten by said fish more often than not, or, I had no cards and everyone else takes the fishes money. Table breaks or goes shorthanded very quickly with no one else sitting. Now I have to go find another table. I can’t even count the number of tables I had to hop in 4 hours. Is this normal? I HATE table hopping, but when you get pots drop to an average of $3-4 from an average of $10-12, there is little choice. Another thing I’ll have to adjust to, I guess. Party money currently sitting at $51, and boy am I feeling REALLY lame right about now.

On the good side of things, I played four $5/.50 SnG’s yesterday and took 3-3-1-1, four out of four in the money. Stepped up to a $10+1, and went out on the first hand when my KK got beaten by 1010 when he flopped his 10. Oh well, I’ll take that bet every time.

If you haven’t done so yet, get your butt over to read Otis in the Caribbean. The man is definitely earning his money over there, and I imagine he's pretty miserable doing it :)

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Park it here......

We’re now nine days into the New Year, so I figure I had better get some poker resolutions documented because if I don’t, I’ll wake up in April still wandering aimlessly. I am not normally the type of person who does the resolution thing, as most of the time it seems like an exercise in futility. If I really want to do something I will do it. To declare a resolution does not make it any more likely to happen, at least in my case.

Poker is a different animal, though. After some live play, I find myself re-energized for the online game, but the fact that I have no specific goal means that the excitement quickly tapers off. I need to find a way to bring back the motivation that filled me when I first began playing this insidious, frustrating, but altogether wonderful game. Wandering aimlessly slows improvement in the most brutal fashion, and since (at least in my mind) poker is like life in so many ways, I equate the lack of continuous effort and improvement with failure as a person. Anyone reading this should know that I’m speaking only of myself here. If you’re wandering or simply coasting along in your game, that is more than fine. I don’t view those that don’t share my philosophy as failures, because every person has their own reasoning and goals for poker.

Just like technology, if you stand still and don’t constantly endeavor to learn and improve, you will die (figuratively speaking, of course). It won’t happen right away, of course, and many times you won’t even notice, but eventually you will wither away into nothingness. It pains me to actually admit it, but I’m withering a bit in poker. I continue to read and try to learn, but it doesn’t accomplish very much if I’m not actually playing. Knowledge without experience tends to mean a lot less than actually getting down to business and doing the thing. Sticking feathers up my butt does not make me a chicken.

So, I’m setting some short term goals:

  • Do a Limit Challenge with my free money on Party (currently $81). It’s aggressive, but when I hit $200 at this level, I plan on giving Party $1/2 a shot, dropping back down to $.50/1 should I get nailed back to $140. Is this counterproductive? Should I wait until I hit $300 before taking a shot? This is the first actual challenge I have given myself, so any input is appreciated.
  • Start hitting the Stars tourneys harder. I want to try doing my own step challenge as outlined by DoubleAs in his Dec. 21 posting. Start out at the $5 and start parlaying wins to take shots at bigger levels. I’m not going to make the bankroll headway or get the experience I want screwing around with one or two $5 SnG’s per week.

I don’t think these goals are too lofty. Hell, some might say I’m being an underachiever. However, I feel that these are realistic goals given my current schedule, which is still pretty unstable. Once again, any input on tweaking these goals to better effect is always appreciated.

And now, in a continuing effort to have something for everyone, a rant:

I’m concerned/annoyed lately with the proliferation of various forms of reserved parking, particularly spaces reserved for Expectant Mothers. What I wonder is this: Is this a local phenomenon, or is it taking place everywhere? Handicapped (HandiCapable for you P.C. types) spaces have always annoyed me, and while I see their purpose, I am still annoyed by them, simply because of their sheer numbers. I can remember when, at most, a parking lot only had two or three handicapped spots. Fine. Nowadays, it seems the entire first level of parking near any store is solely handicapped parking. Two or three has now blossomed into eight or ten. Why does being morbidly obese count as handicapped? I’m really starting to think maybe Homer had the right idea.

(If you haven’t seen it, go find and watch the Simpsons where Homer becomes morbidly obese in order to get disability. ‘The fingers you are using to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad….’)

Even though I try to avoid the place at all costs, there are times when I necessarily find myself at Wal-Mart. Most of the folks aren’t really handicapped, just unbelievably huge and slothy. It’s like it has become parking for the Sea World performers. Now they have added Expectant Mother spaces into the mix at a lot of stores. My issues with continuous breeding aside, since when did pregnant women lose the ability to walk? I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, as I have taken to parking in these spaces, thereby increasing my own covenience. The Horror! I am not pregnant and neither is my wife. However, there is no actual law that says I cannot park in these spaces, so I don’t have to worry about any tickets or fines. Occasionally I get the dirty questioning look from a pious onlooker, but a quick ‘You wanna say something?’ look takes care of that situation. Pregnant women have been functioning like normal folks (because they ARE normal folks, believe it or not) for thousands of years. If they really couldn’t afford to walk anything more than the shortest of distances, we’d be extinct.

Oh, won’t someone please Think of the Children….

What is next? Who knows. If this trend continues, we’re going to have minority parking, foreign visitors parking, ‘I’m not felling like myself today’ parking, the idiotic list goes on and on. Keep the handicapped spaces, lose the rest of this crap. Stop handing out handicapped placards to those who aren’t really disabled. Once again, as with all of my rants, I realize there are exceptions. There are truly some who were disabled first and are very overweight due to their inability to be physically active on a regular basis. But come on, there aren’t that many. I realize that one day, I’ll be old and most likely disabled in some way. Let me tell ya, if there is some pseudo-handicapped person in my space when that time comes, there’s gonna be some furniture movin’.

The above rant may generate some hate mail. So be it. Keep in mind it is simply my opinion, which is what a blog is for. If your one of those folks who become mortally offended at something non-P.C., then perhaps you shouldn’t be reading here anyway.

This is me, Thinking Big. My head is Much Bigger (which in the future, may necessitate a reserved parking space).