Saturday, February 05, 2005

A New Prohibition

“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
—George Santayana

I thought that it would be a good thing to link to an article I ran across today on CNet for those who don’t really frequent any tech websites. The ‘War on Gambling’ gets ever closer, so take every chance you get to speak out on it. Write a letter to your representatives and send it multiple times, talk about it with others, anything we can do is better than nothing.

Prohibition in the 20’s didn’t work, and it won’t work now, but I don’t really feel like having to actually go through it before the powers that be finally acquiesce.

CardPlayer’s Roy Cooke wrote a good article this month about the efforts currently underway to get an actual professional organization going for poker. At this point I’m not going to be too critical or picky. Given the choice, I will normally rail against big corporate interests, but at the present find myself cheering the larger players like the WPT and (God help me) Harrah’s.

How can I possibly cheer on Harrah’s knowing (thanks to Felicia) the way they stick it to players with massive juice?

Simple, WPT and Harrah’s both have a lot of money and influence in the sphere. At this point I’ll take anything I can get in order to counter the likes of the Christian Coalition and others of their ilk. After we arrive at the point where we can worry less about the prohibition of our sport, game, pastime, whatever you want to call it, then we can focus all of our efforts onto the likes of Harrah’s for screwing over the player. I’m not saying we should ignore those issues, but I fear that if we get too focused on ‘smaller’ issues like that, we may just miss the forest for the trees.

Since bloggers seem to be organizing into something a bit more official as of late (see: WPBT), perhaps we can help push back the new (well, not exactly new) prohibition tide. Technically, playing online is illegal for many of us in the states that we live in, but right now there isn’t that great of a push to get your door busted down. If things keep going along as they are with the current (and what seems like ever present) ‘morality push’, we could end up being the new poster children of degradation and recipients of a showboating administrative crackdown.

We should try to get in and help out on this issue. We may just end up helping out the poker community more than we ever anticipated.

Friday, February 04, 2005

It's Fridaaaaaay

I’ve been buried neck deep in Javascript and other ‘maintenance’ activities, and I almost forgot…Today is Unnecessary Shit day.

Since there is no visual for today (due to the fact that it didn’t even cross my mind until just now), here is some completely Unnecessary Shit I heard on the news last night. Neither example is funny, unfortunately, and both are actually pretty sad.

#1—It turns out that the Kansas Legislature has voted to officially ban gay marriage (yeah, I know, BIG surprise). Everyone knows that if two people of the same sex are married, it automatically gives them license to come fuck your kids and take all of the health and retirement benefits from the upstanding hetero folks. (I sincerely hope everyone recognizes the utter sarcasm in that statement)

They had blurbs from two ministers in town, one supporting and one opposing. The one supporting said something fairly innocuous and vanilla, but the other said this:

This issue is MUCH more important than any other tax, school funding, or deficit issue we face

Jeeeeeeee.Zus. My state sucks.

#2—Free Texas Hold’em at various sports bars and the like all over the city have been deemed illegal in an opinion issued by the office of the Kansas Attorney General.

This is nothing new to anyone, as I’m sure that any of the cities that you all currently reside in have something at least similar, if not identical, to this. The cops have been told they are basically free to bust any of these games should the mood strike them, because even if the bar charges a cover every single night of the week, it is still illegal to play poker because money is changing hands, even if it isn’t at the tables.

Man, I sure am glad we have such a fantastic state government. One that cares enough to protect me from degenerates pushing their habit onto me. (dammit, there’s the sarcasm, again)

Ack, this state bloooooows. I gotta move.

So there is your Unnecessary Shit. Hopefully next week it will be amusing instead of sad.

One Last Thing….

In my reading of The Poker Chronicles and the recent back and forth with another player from the WPBT on Wednesday, I started thinking. (I know, hard to believe considering the above drivel, but I swear I was. ) It would be cool to hear about how some of the bloggers who play for higher stakes got there. What levels did they start out with, what kind of roll, etc…hell, whatever stories they want to tell would be more than fine. I know vaguely how SirFWALGMan got up to where he was (and have also been glued to my screen due to his recent tumble and object lesson on tilting). I also very much enjoyed BadBlood’s backstory (Dec 26) when he officially became profitable.

I guess what I’m saying is that if any of the higher level players would like to disseminate some stories of small time days gone by, it would be quite well received by this $.50/1 micro-plebe. Or, you can just tell me to spend more time digging in archives because they’ve all been told already (if you do tell me this, give me a link, as it will be much easier on this lazy blogger).

OK, I’m stopping now. Stop by SirFWALGman to send him some positivity and wish him well, the dude is going through some rough shit.

Until next time, I’m striving to Think Big, and my head is Much Bigger.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

My shame, laid bare...

Welcome to one of about 100 or so other reports where the blogger in question details their shame.

I think my dog Stella’s face most accurately reflects my post-tourney look and feel—

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But I did learn a few things last night, including but not limited to…..

  • Just because beer has wheat and/or barley in it, this does not make it a substitute for a meal if you arrive home from work hungry and about to play cards.
  • Unless you have Iggy or CantHang somewhere in your name, alcohol may not be the best idea when playing against other folks who can obviously play well. It turns what is under the best of circumstances –EV into just a plain bad idea.
  • That I can’t wait until the next one, and will strive to make a stronger (and more sober) showing.

I exited in a shameful 122nd place when mirvin(Austin) took my ass, kicked it around, and then handed it back as he/she said goodbye. A quick recap of my last hand…

--AJs in middle position, I limp (first mistake), mirvin limps, someone else completes or checks, not sure which. Sorry I can’t remember who else was in the hand, I was going to take notes, but the beer told me not to.

--Flop comes J A Q rainbow. First to act bets T150 and I raise to T450, mirvin call so quick I almost didn’t see it. The part of me that has the ability to Think Big started screaming “ABORT!”, but the beer told me that two pair here was the mortal nuts and I should push. Guess which one I listened to?

--mirvin takes all of my chips with the flopped nut straight.

Here is the last thing I learned (I hope for the last time):

  • AJ really is a shopaholic whore. I think I’m gonna have to choke a bitch.

In my 41 minutes of tourney life I got to play with Bob and ChrisH, which was great fun. I am disappointed not for the money, but for the fact I didn’t get a chance to chat with any of the others. I hung around and watched some of the other tables a bit and even tried to say “HI” while watching Otis, April, and Hank play around the first break. I don’t really remember what I typed (the fuzziness was well set in by this time), but given the lack of response I’m guessing it was pretty f’n idiotic.

Congrats to everyone who got did well, as it was no small feat. I’m going to go jump into some sackcloth and ashes, chastise myself for the rest of the day, and will talk to you tomorrow where I will try to resume Thinking Big, while my head will stay Much Bigger.

Update: I forgot to mention I played with and learned of FHB and his blog, which is a great read., as well as BrentStacks of Lord Admiral Radio. Looks like I’ve got some more linking work to do.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Getting close

Are you getting totally pumped?

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Unlike most boring Wednesdays, this one comes with a WPBT event. Head to PokerStars and signup under the Private Tourney tab. Password: the hammer.

"But I'm only a reader, I'm not a blogger," you say? It matters not, the tourney is open to all.

Grab a drink and get your gameface on. Heck, you might even win some money.

--Don't forget, if I manage to claw my way to one of the top four places, I'll be transferring the entry fee back to the bubble boy/girl--

See you all there!

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Deebo said it best...

Last night I finally finished the first volume (QuckSilver) in Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle Trilogy. Usually, I’ll tear through whatever book I’m reading in a week or less, but this one has taken me a bit over a month, oof. This first book is a thousand page blend of fiction and non-fiction (there’s probably a name for that, but damned if I know what it is), with characters who tie loosely into one of his other works, Cryptonomicon. It’s a tough read, but a good one, and deserves some admiration (if for no other reason) simply because of its sheer size and scope.

Of course, upon finishing I couldn’t sleep so I got up to surf a bit until Mr. Sandman decided to make an appearance. While I browsed around, I brought up PokerStars and watched the latter stages of a couple of tournaments. The couple of events that I watched got me to thinking about what is, in my opinion, is the most brutal part of a tournament.

Is it busting out early? Nope. Busting out sucks, but it’s certainly not the worst.

Is it just missing the final table? Nope. That sucks, too, but at least you get some money for your trouble, even if it is a small amount.


Regardless of the circumstances surrounding a bubble bust-out, I don’t think there is any other spot in a tourney where I actually want to barf, no matter the buy-in. It’s the spot where the phrase, “So close, and yet so far….”, hits closest to home. Witnessing, yet again, the brutality of the bubble gave me an idea….

--If I can make it into the top 4 in tomorrows WPBT event, I will transfer the tourney entry fee back to the person who bubbled out—

Yea, I know, not the most magnanimous of offers, but the idea came on pretty short notice. And hey, I gots to take some moneys for me, right? Perhaps for the next event I will have a better idea, but for now I’m going to stick with this one.

If nothing else, it should serve to motivate me a bit more to reach the top of the tourney rankings.

Perhaps there will be a late rush of entries, and I certainly hope there are, but the lineup seems a bit short. Yea, yea, it’s a whole 22 bucks. Just skip a meal at one of those awful chain restaurants in which we all find ourselves at one time or another. Think of it as food for your soul, which by the way contains 0 grams of fat or carbs. And to top it off, you don’t have to sit among the sweaty, stinking, bitching masses to take part.

If that doesn’t motivate you, perhaps the words of Deebo from the movie Friday, will.

“Quit bein’ a bitch!”

Get signed up people, only one day left.

Monday, January 31, 2005

...and a little bit of that

A little FireFox hacking…

While I know that a lot of the other poker bloggers out there are MUCH more tech savvy than I am on things web-related, but I found something really cool for the FireFox users among you. Some of you readers may even be asking, “What is Firefox?” Long story short, it’s an open source browser that kicks (and is currently kicking) the crap out of the Microsoft’s offering of Internet Explorer 6. If you don’t have it, just click on the little button at the very bottom of my sidebar and get it. **begin Arnold** You’ve got to get youahself a moah secuah browsah. Do it nowww **end Arnold**

And as for the cynics and skeptics who may be reading, NO, I do not get paid if you download and install Firefox.

Anyway, with that in mind here is the hack for all broadband users:

1) Type "about:config" into the address bar and hit return.
Scroll down and look for the following entries:
network.http.pipelining network.http.proxy.pipelining

Normally the browser will make one request to a web page at a time. When you enable pipelining it will make several at once, which really speeds up page loading.

2) Alter the entries as follows:
Set "network.http.pipelining" to "true"
Set "network.http.proxy.pipelining" to "true"
Set "network.http.pipelining.maxrequests" to some number like 30. This means it will make 30 requests at once.

3) Lastly right-click anywhere and select New-> Integer. Name it "nglayout.initialpaint.delay" and set its value to "0". This value is the amount of time the browser waits before it acts on information it receives.

WARNING: This hack may cause whiplash. Yea, it’s that fast.

A little television observation…

Normally my posts are finished in the morning, but due to brain-scattered-ness (reasons unknown) I couldn’t seem to pull one together so I did some schoolwork and read for a bit while drivel from the telescreen washed over me. Then, a voice; raspy and strange, but somehow familiar, was tunneling its way into my cortex, so I look up…..

It’s Kirstie Ally. Egad.

It appears that she is no longer shilling for Pier 1 and is now doing some sales work for Jenny Craig. Now, some may know this, and some may not, but Kirstie is from my hometown of **cringe** Wichita, KS. I was 17 when I saw her for the first time, wait forrr iiiiiiiiiittt…

Without makeup. E-frikkin-GAD.

Throughout the years since then, I have always wondered why Kirstie was ever any semblance of a “star”. Everything about her annoyed, from her look to her voice. Today, as I watched her shamelessly promote Jenny Craig, I understand, if only a bit.

With her self-effacing, “You may have noticed, I’M FAT”, to the way she balls up and shakes both of her tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex fists while scream-grunting “FETUCCINE!!!”, I just couldn’t help but laugh and like her at that moment. It takes a pretty big (no pun intended) person to do the necessary things to keep themselves and by extension, their career (and the attendant paychecks) going.

Who knew a diet commercial would give me a better view of Kirstie? Just goes to show you that miracles can, in fact, happen on occasion.

Or maybe the brain scattered ness of this morning hasn’t ebbed yet….

A little political ranting…

Most days I try to put it out of my head, and my anger recedes back to a simmer. Then, I see Dubya or one of his demonic entourage and the anger comes boiling back, which sends me seeking out some kind of engrossing activity to bring it back down to a simmer, and the cycle continues….

Then today, I happened upon this. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, needs to read it. People out there who voted for George’s second term, you especially need to take time out of your breeding, cheap beer-swilling, minivan-placarding schedules and READ IT. Take it to heart, be ashamed, and then do your soul a favor and find some way to painfully punish yourself for the grievous and ignorant error that was your vote.

I never thought I would actually utter the words, but for now, and for at least the next four years, I am ashamed and embarrassed to be an American.

“How dare you not love your country! Love it or Leave it!”, I can hear many of you saying. Anyone saying or thinking this only further demonstrates their ignorance. It is precisely the fact that I love my country that makes me so ashamed and embarrassed.

I’m a big fan of the psychology forum on 2+2. There seems to be a lot of talk lately about compulsive gamblers—should I be feeling bad for them, should I intervene, yada yada yada. This parallels quite strongly with an argument I hear quite often. The one that goes something like this: “If we hadn’t stepped in those people would be destroying themselves.” Maybe, but instead of trying simply to help or take a diplomatic route, our not-so-esteemed leaders thought the best way to handle it would be to conquer and force our will, all on information that has been proven to be COMPLETELY FALSE. Add to that the fact we now have debt that most likely our children’s children will be dealing with, a world position that is seriously undermined, and what happens? The Stuttering Ignoramus is voted into a second term. YOU HAVE SERIOUSLY GOT TO BE KIDDING ME. Yea, I know, people suffer all over the globe every single day, regardless of what we do, but that’s no excuse to make it worse…and YES, we have made it worse. Bottom line: You can’t force a country to be like you, even if they spurn your niceties, any more than you can force a compulsive gambler that does the same, from losing their money.

Am I a bleeding heart liberal? Hell, no.

Do I support anything Republican? Not a whole hell of a lot.

What do I do then? I don’t align myself with any party’s dogma, and actually think for myself. I sure wish more of the general public would do the same.

And now, the poker…

Last night, after getting the hell beat out of me at Party (up 11 BB’s, only to crash at -10 BB’s 2.5 hours later), I was in no mood for more ring games, but still wanted to play me soma dem cards. So I hopped into a $5 +.50 SnG at Stars, turned out a second place (but for complete heads-up boneheaded-ness, it would/should have been a 1st), and was feeling much happier. Still wanting to play, I declined another SnG and decided instead on the $2 Sunday Night NL Crapshoot.

2613 players, 1st place pays a grand. NICE. It’s been quite a while since I played in any kind of MTT, so I figured this would at least get me warm for the WPBT event on Wednesday, and boy, did it get me warm.

As anyone who has played for any notable length of time will tell you, it definitely takes skill, but it also takes a little luck to do well in a really large tournament. You need to play well and dodge a few bullets along the way. Oh, and you really should do your damnedest to get a decent stack while the monkeys are throwing around their chips like so much poop.

True to form at this low buy-in, the monkeys were flinging the proverbial poop everywhere. You couldn’t put hardly anyone on a hand. After about four orbits, I get PP 10’s. One of the super flinging monkeys with a little less than half of his original 1500 chips goes all-in, and this is where I decide that I need to get lucky, so I go all-in to try and isolate, and get a third caller. WTF? 3-way all-in, and my PP10’s are up against PP Q’s and Rockets, can you say ‘poor timing’? Oh well at least I’ll have 150 chips left to try and mount a comeback while the blinds are still small.

The poker gods ring up a karma debit, I sign the receipt, and triple up with a straight after both hands flop their sets. Boy, it’s nice to be on the other end of the suckout, for once.

Rather than bore you all with a three page narrative of a low stakes MTT, I’ll briefly sum up: I played better than I have in quite some time, and dodged a few bullets along the way. I picked my aggressive spots well, made more steals than would previously have been comfortable for me, and generally solidified a lot of lessons I have been trying to teach myself. Out of 2613 entrants, I finally exited in 33rd place, when my AQ failed to draw out against JJ.

At first I was pretty upset. I made it all that way, only to end up with a payoff of $15 for 5 hours of work. I REALLY wanted to make the final table and perhaps win, as I have yet to make the final table in a NL MTT. I have made many finals in PL MTT’s, but for some reason just can’t seem to make it over that invisible hump, and end up busting out somewhere between 10th and 40th nearly every time.

Then I gave myself (truthfully, it was my wife, God bless that woman) a figurative “kick in the ass” for being so results oriented and felt much better. The lessons learned are always worth the effort, even if the monetary reward is smaller than you would like. What is it they say…..A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step?

After last night, I can say that I’ve taken a few more.

Watch out for me on Wednesday, because I now actually believe that I’m Thinking Big, but I never doubt the fact that my head is Much Bigger.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday Brain Dump

I wish I had something more exciting to report on the poker front, but alas, I do not. I thought I was going to get in a healthy session or two between Friday and Saturday, but it was not to be. I only played about 4 hours total between Stars and Party, making an entire $1 at Stars after about 1.5 hours, and bringing my free money Party roll up to $90 ( a gain of 17BB’s) in approximately 2.5 hours.

For the first time ever on Party, I got myself positioned to the left of a maniac and my cards were actually hitting. After weathering some initial bad juju, where none of my big pocket pairs held up (to the tune of about 13 BB’s), I moved tables and that’s when it happened. My first hand of 77 hit the set, check raise on every street with two other people involved. This was my intro to the printing press. Usually I have a hard time making any significant profits against these types due to lack of cards or suckouts. This guy wasn’t your ordinary maniac, he was mui grande uber. The maniac pairs anything on the board? Bet and raise no matter what. Holding an Ace? Bet and raise no matter what. In the space of about 45 minutes I personally took over 30 BB’s from this guy, and the great thing was the others at the table tilting and chasing him with crap, which allowed him to suck out just enough to keep him afloat, allowing me to get more chips from him with my good hands. My cards started running bad, so I decided to leave with a decent win, but kept the table open for another 45 minutes while I did some schoolwork and watched him lose another 50 BB’s or so. Amazing. I keep thinking that he HAD to be some higher limit player just blowing off steam because no one in their right mind would play THAT BAD…..right? I was so elated just to have a decent win at Party, I completely forgot to add him to my buddy list. Yea, I know, silly mistake…but it definitely won’t happen again.

Here is a 2+2 thread I think some of you may find interesting, if you didn’t see it already. A $20 home game being busted, good lord. I’m sure this sort of thing happens everywhere, but it lead me to some reading on search and seizure abuses, in particular one county Arkansas, where they can (and do) seize property and cash claiming outlandish things relating to drugs. (Someone posted a link on the 2+2 thread but it was edited out, so feel free to send me a link if you know the county name) Innocent until proven guilty? Not on your life. It’s on you to provide proof that the money is yours and is lawful. You have the proof, so do you think your getting your money back? Not a chance. If you do, it certainly won’t be the original amount, you’ll be lucky to get a fraction of it after legal fees and other beauraucratic hassles. Over 2/3 of the police budget in this particular county is financed with seized monies, to the tune of close to 4 million per year.

While this is an extreme example, the fact is that this can be done in nearly any state, by the Feds or Local government. Pretty tricksy of them too, as a favorite technique is to seize any and all cash and valuables because they ‘suspect something’, but fail to file any criminal charges, thereby making it a civil matter. Why is this smart on their part? If it was a criminal matter you would get your day in court much sooner. Being a civil one, you MIGHT get an initial hearing in a year or so.

I’m not in with this group of folks yet, but I hope to one day be one of the folks who can gamble at a level where I deal with larger than normal amounts of cash. Who doesn’t, right? I realize that there are ways to get around having to deal with large wads, especially if the amounts are VERY large. I’m speaking of the folks I think of as ‘little high-rollers’ who might carry anywhere from $4K-$10K. It is you folks who are the targets, as it provides nice padding to law enforcement budgets in many places all over the country. And why wouldn’t we as gamblers be targets? After all, none of the sheep that make up the general public are going to blink at the fact that a degenerate gambler (who by extension MUST also partake in drugs on some level) had their funds seized. After all, if they were really above board they wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with, right?

Why did I go on so long about this subject that doesn’t even really apply to me at the moment? I talk about it on the off chance that some of the ‘little high rollers’ out there may not have considered the subject too seriously. If you are among these, I encourage you to do so, as it is guaranteed that the situation will not get any better, more likely it will become worse. Don’t give anyone an opportunity to shake you down. TSA and Department of Homeland security are the new Gestapo. For those who find the subject interesting, here is a good article titled The Myth of National Defense.

OK, I’ll stop the diatribe for now. Go ahead and take a bathroom break while I go get some fresh tinfoil and give the NSA a chance to flag me since I used TSA and Gestapo in the same sentence.

Iggy has crafted many a blurb on the insanity of Russ Georgiev, and while he is on Guinness and Vicoden hiatus I thought that I would post this not-so-little nugget from Russ. It seems as though one of the running themes this month is that many of the players on the 15/30 level seem to be losing big in January. (See, I told you January was the worst) Anyone who has read 2+2 for any length of time knows who David Ross is. If you don’t, just do a search on the site and you can find a TON of reading where he has documented his life as an online pro. It is common knowledge that this guy is a pretty darn solid player and he has recently taken a 510 BB downswing (holy freaking ouch, Batman). Enter the Russ posting on RGP. I would do what Iggy normally does and lay the whole thing out here on the page, but it is LONG.

It’s funny how a self-proclaimed cheater and scammer can blast someone else for the crime of crookedness. Nonetheless, whether you think online poker is rigged or not, the read is an entertaining glimpse into Russ’s personal insanity.

To wind up, I should take a second to thank Chris Halverson , and for that matter any and all who have linked to me and/or read this little blog. Chris was one of the first folks to link to me, and after doing some looking it seems that a full 25% or so of my hits have his blog as a referring URL, so Thank You. I only average 40-50 hits per day, which I know pales in comparison to many of the other great poker bloggers out there, but for someone who has only been at this for 2 or 3 months, it feels great. Also, many thanks to Iggy, Pauly, Bob, and April for the encouragement. I may have missed a couple, but if you read this with any regularity you already know I’m an idiot, so I expect your forgiveness :)

The current tsunami of awards shows has obviously turned me into a gushing ninny, so that’s it for today. Don’t forget to get your collective butts over to PokerStars for the next WPBT event coming up on Wednesday, Feb. 2. See you all there, where I will be attempting to demonstrate by my play that I am…

Thinking Big, while my head is Much Bigger.