Saturday, February 19, 2005

That Crushing Feeling

Yesterday, after finishing some schoolwork that took me less time than I thought it would, I jumped into a $5 SnG on Stars and had a feeling that I now realize I had only thought I had experienced.

The feeling of completely CRUSHING a game. No doubts, no other considerations. The other players simply had no chance.

Now, I know you’re thinking “Whooptee-fucking-doo, crushing a $5 SnG is no big feat for most people possessing opposable thumbs and the basic ability to walk upright” and of course you’re right.

While it has never been a big problem to beat and/or place well in the $5 and $10 SnG’s, I mention it not in some lame attempt at bragging, but due to the sheer joy of finally truly experiencing that ‘Crushing’ feeling. I have read about it, and I have heard others tell tale, but to finally experience it makes me very excited and somewhat relieved. Finally, after 18 months of playing, I’ve taken a mental step I’ve known to be necessary, but couldn’t seem to hold onto. One of sitting down, immediately identifying weaknesses and styles, and then unmercifully pounding on the others like my own personal redheaded stepchild.

The humble $$ level is of no import, it was a beautiful thing.

I’ll be trying to get in some play today, but I have to bathe the dogs and help clean the house since we have some folks coming over tonight. The couple coming over are in the throes of pre-engagement love, so it should be amusing to see from the outside the way that the wife and I once were. You know what I’m talking about….a time when you and your other half looked like two people suffering from congenital heart failure permanently trying to resuscitate each other. I plan on having some relaxing fun, as I have been alone with my own mind way too much over the last couple of months, and even though I know I’ll regret it tomorrow, I think I may just go for what I imagine (having never actually witnessed one) to be an AlCantHang drunk.

Updates tomorrow, provided I still have a motor skill or two left to my name.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Tilt and Tourneys, Pt. II

"To live for results would be to sentence myself to continuous frustration. My only sure reward is in my actions and not from them."

--Hugh Prather

I wanted to post this first thing this morning, but alas, work got in the way…..

There seems to have been quite a tilt resurgence in the last week or so, experienced by not only myself, but by quite a few others in the blogger community. What an insidious little parasite tilt is, recently prompting me to think of it in the same vein as herpes.

“There is currently no cure for tilt, and even with treatment, it may be possible to spread tilt. Consult a more experienced mentor if you plan on becoming gambually active.”

But under certain conditions, spreading the tilt can be great for my bankroll! Yes, this is true, and I can definitely think of specific examples of players to whom I would like to give the gift of the proverbial herpes (TILT, for those of you not quite following). However, giving tilt is a subject in and of itself, and best left for another day, and for that matter someone else, as I am certainly no master when it comes to tilting others.

In dealing with our own tilt, I thought that it might be appropriate to relate my BALLS Theory. But before I do, let me tell a quick story…..

…about a guy named Donnie Todd, or as he is better known, DT, and his brother Shawn.. Stories abound about DT, and all are hilarious, but they are also best saved for another time and place. Shawn was kind of retarded. Not full-on, but let's just say he was late when intelligence got passed out and ended up with the consolation prize. One Christmas, Shawn decided to make DT a card, trying to say, “You are the best brother in the world.” The actual card read: “You are the borther of all.” From then on, if anyone does something great or something is the biggest or best, we simply say “You are the borther” or “It’s the borther.”

The BALLS Theory stands for Borther of All Loosely Linked Superstitions. (Make sense now?)

Remember reading Super System, when Doyle speaks of the fact that he doesn’t care whether rushes are real (in the scientific, measurable sense) or not, they are real in his mind? This theory of mine kind of runs along those same lines. During a long tournament, I like to pay attention to how the cards are running. Do PP’s seem to be hitting more than usual? Are the AK, AQ hands missing flops and losing races pretty regularly? Are a lot of flushes coming for people? I know, some people will laugh at, deride, and debunk this silliness till the day they die. Slansky and Malmuth would probably seize up and die at the sheer idiocy of it. After all, the cards have no memory, there aren’t really any poker gods. I’m still convinced however, that the cards have trends and cycles, even if I don’t have any kind of hard proof to back any of this drivel up. It is the BALLS theory that helps me to make a decision on whether or not to put my 88 in a race with the guy who I know holds AK and just went all-in for a good portion or all of my stack. If I’ve seen a lot of these hand types losing to small or medium PP’s throughout the night, I will most likely choose to play it safe and battle again at a different time when I perceive conditions as being more in my favor.

(NOTE: For me personally, I don’t think that this would work very well live, as I don’t see enough hands fast enough to “divine” anything.)

Poker is all about attacking and retreating at the right time. And while I can hear the peals of laughter ringing out from the blogsphere, I care not. I’m going to stick with this theory even if it is factual rubbish. It has served me well more often than not.

To wit: Last night I got the opportunity to play in a PL $10+1 MTT, my favorite game, and the only one where I’ve made a lot of final tables. PokerStars doesn’t have them nearly as often as I’d like, and they always seem to take place at inopportune times. Just under 500 people entered, so I immediately began applying my BALLS to the game, and it was working well this night

Late in the tourney (about 20 of us left), abracadabra, I get AK suited, and boy is she a beaut. I don’t have trouble playing AK unsuited, but it’s so pretty when suited, and looks so powerful, I turn into a retarded kid that just got set loose in a room full of stickers and prize jars. I make a big mess, and something (normally my stack) gets destroyed.

I’m beginning to get a little low in chips at this point, and a player who is shorter than me by about a third (who, consequently, is very aggressive and loves to push marginal holdings and/or pure shite) pushes his whole stack in after I limp. I know he has a small PP.

At this point, inside my head I could see that damn marketing bastard from MacDee’s walking towards me with that stupid grin on his face. Will he delude and persuade me as he did last eve? Not tonight, my friends. I proceeded to kick him swiftly in the nuts before his silver tongue could chide me into doing something stupid. I opt instead, to take a good hard look at my BALLS.

My BALLS told me that AK and its cousins had been missing quite a bit. If I lost this race, I would be crippled, with no chance to win. I opt to fold. Lo and behold there is another caller with AQ and Shazam! the guy hits his set. My BALLS have saved me from tournament disaster.

Rather than drone on for pages about the particulars of the tourney, I’ll let you know that my BALLS helped lead me to yet another PL final table and a very respectable third place finish for a tidy payday of nearly $500. Why did I relate this in such a long-winded fashion? Yes, not tilting is much easier said than done. No, I’m not trying to make everyone a believer in my BALLS Theory (although feel free, if you like). I guess the point is, really try and find something that is uniquely yours that helps you to avoid tilt, even if it is in NO WAY FACTUAL. Keep striving to focus on your play and not the results of it (once again, easier said than done). If I hop into a cash game, and my BALLS tell me that the cards are not running favorably with the hands I am dealt, I quit for a while (or even the night), thus avoiding a tilt. And hey, even if you do actually begin tilting, making yourself laugh always helps more than you might realize. Just remind yourself that your BALLS can’t work every night without rest, it’s just not natural. Plus, saying BALLS is just plain fun.

Have a great time at the tables everyone, and remember……even though factually my theories may be wildly incorrect, I’m making every effort to Think Big, whilst my head remains Much Bigger.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Tilt and Tourney's, Pt. I

When anger rises, think of the consequences.
--Confucius (551 BC - 479 BC)

As I read through a load of posts this morning, most of which express and/or tell a tale of tilt and frustration, I can’t help but ask myself the question(s): Since this poker blogging community is indeed a ‘community’, are we subject to some form of mild mass hysteria? If I didn’t read various blogs every single day, would I be tilting as badly as I have been over the last few days? If a poker player tilts at their PC, and no one is around hear him/her, do they still sound like a tilting idiot? (OK, fine, that last question wasn’t a real question—be nice, I’m trying to be pseudo-deep)

Due to a dog and pony show at work yesterday requiring my presence, when Regional VP and State VP (who I have dubbed Zeus and mini-Zeus) came down for a visit, I arrived home earlier than normal and just in time to jump into the PokerStars $5 rebuy tourney. After a day of watching the other corporate peasants scurry around trying to gain favor with the overlords who deigned to come down from their mountain, some poker would be a welcome respite.

Following my rebuy doctrine to the letter, I exited the tourney in a swift 23 minutes after the typical card-catching nimrod called an all-in bet and sucked out on my vastly superior hand. Bing! Tilt’s done, and piping fresh from the oven, eat up!

Next step, join the $3 crapshoot MTT that’s about to start.

I settled in and actually managed to play well, in spite of the steaming. Before I knew it, out of the nearly 1800 entrants, we were down to around 150 and I was sitting approximately 50th in chips. True to form, PokerStars drops the chip leader onto my table (it never fails), and all I can think about is BadBlood’s ‘Whither Aggression’ post (01/21). From the post in question:

It's such a fine line between stupid and clever. - Nigel Tufnel”

I saw this proverbial line last night as the tournament field narrowed, and up to that point I managed to dance on the correct side of it. Then, that little man that lives in my head, the one who persuades me to do all things idiotic, encouraged and convinced me to stick my head in a bucket and go sprinting over said line. (Given the fact that I share Bob’s love of the McDonalds ads, I can only imagine that the person in my head who makes me do these things looks and talks an awful lot like the person who came up with that gawdawful idea for MacDees.)

The stack of the chip leader at this point had been whittled down by a couple of nasty beats to about half of what he came to the table with. This puts him and I about even, and we’re the two biggest stacks at the table. With blinds at 600/1200 (I forget the ante) I am dealt AKh in late position. Two limpers and he min-raises. This guy doesn’t play like a schmuck, and I know this…I smell a trap. I consider just cold calling and bailing the hand if/when I miss. Naaaaah.

Uh-oh. Here comes the MacDees marketing manager, and it looks like he wants to talk.

“Dude!” he says, “you always do this in the later stages of the tournament, you play like a pussy. You’ve got to start pushing people around! Just look at us. Where would MacDees be if I hadn’t pushed the fact that ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ upon the world?”

“But that campaign sucks” I reply, “I don’t want to be like you.”

“That doesn’t matter. If you push it, it will magically work out, stupid or no. Besides, you need to play to win on this one.”

Fuck me, I have succumbed to the ultimate in self delusion. The one where I think I have to suddenly kick into high gear and accumulate a mass of chips, because I’m ‘playing to win.’

I ignored my instincts and good sense, opting instead to listen to that persuasive marketing whore in my head. Instead of giving myself a real chance to win, I exited the tourney with a real impressive $4.57.

I have a lot more thoughts to relate on the current wave of frustration, and as well wanting to relate my ‘How the cards are running on any given day’ theory (all VERY scientific, mind you). Rather than cause your eyes an unnecessary ache, I will save it for tomorrow, so see you there….

…and I’ll be Thinking Big, while my head is Much Bigger.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Tilting like a mofo right now, and of all things, due to a couple of puny-ass $5 SnG’s—Good Lord I’m lame.

I feel pretty good that I at least have the sense to shut things the hell down, but at the same time I feel no better. There’s not a damn thing you can do when shitbox players keep catching cards.

After a year and a half of playing, I’m still getting entirely too angry with low limit players who don’t know any better. I know all of the correct outlooks to have, but I can’t seem to internalize it to the point where I actually don’t care. I still expect to win every time I play, I have GOT to learn to quit that shit and let it go. Do any of the folks who have actually developed the “numbness” have any sage advice for me to work on?

Funny, I also just realized that I am getting upset losing a pissant amount of money, and yet I think nothing of giving away the same money to Starbucks for a couple of cups of fancifully flavored brown water—geez, get a grip, dude. Maybe one of these sites should develop a delicious caffeine-induced buzz for people that lose.

Wow, I’m feeling much better now. If this blog serves no other purpose, I have at least learned one thing: Writing really helps me come down from a tilting attack, even if it’s bad writing.

Fear not though, I am still making some good poker decisions. Namely, I gave my wife fifty of the tournament dollars I won from the other night. I started her out about a month ago with $50 cash money, and she’s been pretty much treading water, just playing SnG’s, so I figured the fifty tourney bucks would help her get a boost….and boosting is just what it seems to be doing. She’s pretty much kicking ass and taking names.

On the other more interesting blogs front, Iggy made mention of something related to him by Otis about bloggers either being diarists or reporters. Being one of the diarist/opiner camp I am WAY thankful for the reporter style, as I am entirely too lazy or busy (I like to think busy) to ever cull all of that information myself. I wasted about 10 minutes going back and forth with myself as to which style was “better”. The answer, quite obviously, is neither, and I cursed myself for overcomplicating such a question for so long in my own mind. Regardless of which style you lean toward, build it and they will come. “They” may be few, but come they will.

ScurvyDog is running his own little blogging contest, so get over there and read his blogging goodness. It’s chock full of great info for whoring of most types (sorry folks, for that type of whoring instruction, I have no links), and entertaining to boot, which is more than I can say of myself in the last week, but I hope to rectify that shortly. I’m trying to improve my writing chops, but as I flail around for a “voice” some crap will inevetably come along with the good stuff. I hope to be able to tilt the proverbial scales in the ‘good outweighs the bad’ direction soon.

Again, thanks everyone for hanging with me as I flail.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Warning: Sappy

Valentines Day=Time to get a little sappy.

WARNING: I decided to use today’s post for my wife in lieu of buying a card. Cards are lame and very run-of-the-mill more often than not, and while this post may be lame and run-of-the-mill, I’m not spending money to have some corporate ‘nameless one’ do the job for me. So, one last time, I’ll warn you that this post will more than likely be a waste of your valuable time. Unless you are at work, of course, where wasting time is perfectly acceptable.

Dearest Mrs. Head,

The reasons I love you are really too numerous to count, or even remember, so I thought I would compose a short (but by no means, complete) list for you this day:

  • You can rap “Yo! Bum Rush the Show” and other old Public Enemy gems completely from memory. I’d lay money that most tiny, fair-haired white girls can’t even name one of their songs, let alone sing them (or, in this case, rap them).
  • You pet my asteroid size head when I’m feeling sad.
  • You let me fart pretty much whenever I want and don’t yell at me. You also are never disgusted if I let you know that I had to suddenly “handle my binness” because the urge struck while you were at work.
  • You take care of the hardwood floors in the house, because you know I hate doing it, without sending me down a black hole of guilt.
  • You think I’m funny when most think I’m simply from another planet.
  • You’re the most beautiful girl in the world, and for some reason you enjoy being with me. You’re still there when I wake up every day, which finds me a little amazed, and a lot thankful.

I will never really be able to say just how much I Love You. I hope my short list at least gives you a glimpse. Happy Valentines Day!

Final Note: For those that actually made it through all of that, all I can say is “I tried to warn you”. I’ll have some poker tomorrow, and Happy Valentines Day to everyone else as well. May you be as lucky in love and at cards as I have thus far in life’s journey.