Friday, March 11, 2005

News Can Be Entertaining

For those completely tired of hearing about Michael Jackson, I’ll go ahead and offer an advance apology right now before speaking. Hearing about the goings on of the sordid business is actually a welcome relief in my part of the country, as I have suffered through the last year having to hear some bit of inane shit about the serial killer, BTK, EVERY FUCKING DAY, and I don’t even watch the local news. Despite this they manage to sneak that crap in on the wondrous vehicle that is the local news commercial. You know it, the one that says, “You’re likely to be shot within the next fifteen minutes, details at the top of the hour.”

Personally, I find all of the trial stunts amusing. I won’t hypothesize about who I think is guilty or who is not, because truthfully I have no idea. One the one hand, Jacko is richer than God and crazier than a shithouse rat, but on the other, one has to wonder if this is not another of the myriad attempts to get a piece of him. Enough about that, though. Here are some of the things I found amusing as I watched the daily train wreck:

---The Pajama-clad Jacko. I can only imagine the dialogue of the MJ’s security or medical personnel….

“Mike, are you all right? You look a bit pale. Oh wait a minute….oops….(d’oh!)”

---In doing a summary of his troubles up to this point, the news made mention of a court appearance where he showed up on crutches. Why? A spider bit him on the foot. Good Lord, that must have been one hell of a spider. I can’t help but wonder why, with all of the money that Jacko spends on everything else, more money wasn’t invested in extermination services.

---One of the myriad of lawyerly experts on the show accidentally said ‘McJackson’. This made me wonder, “If McDonalds came out with a Michael Jackson sandwich, what would it be like?” Most likely thinner than the average sandwich, with random chunks hacked out of various locations, and of course white meat. The sandwich would taste good early in it’s career, but would look and taste worse as the years went by.


Last night I received an email from a guy, Ian, asking for a mention since I previously talked about how much I like The Contender. He’s trying to use the show’s popularity to do something worthwhile in South Africa, so if you get a chance go take a look here or here if you have the time.


For many of the folks out there, poker after a hard day at work helps them relax. Not this guy **points at self**, and I should have known that. I came home tilted after a particularly annoying day. Held up by trains on my way to work, held up by others who seemed intent on fully expressing an appalling lack of basic technical proficiency, held up by wrecks on the way home. If you cross the threshold of your domicile cursing the world, think doubly hard before sitting at the tables.

The who, what, why is unnecessary, suffice to say I dropped close to $35 last night steaming. Certainly not a huge loss or anything, I only feel the need to mention it because I’m disappointed in myself for sitting when I knew I wasn’t in correct mindset for optimal play. Don’t be like me.

Some of the money I lost was on the $1/2 Limit game. Playing $1/2 drives me nuts (whether I'm steaming or not), and I can’t really figure out why. These days. I easily have the bankroll for this game, but still find myself at the .50/1 tables for the most part. I play $2/4 every so often and do just fine, and even when I lose a bit there I don’t feel too bad about it. The $1/2 game sets me on tilt REALLY quick for some reason, sometimes even when I have a winning session. I don’t get it, but it really does seem to be my personal Limit torture chamber for those times when I’m feeling masochistic. Has anyone just skipped the $1/2 game altogether on their way up? I think that Poker Chiq did, but I’m curious to hear anybody’s thoughts on this level.

I still have a ton of stuff to ramble about, but this is getting pretty lengthy so I’ll shut the hell up and will continue tomorrow in my efforts to Think Big, while my head, as always, remains Much Bigger.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

KOTSI--Another Theory

While watching the WPT Legends of Poker at The Bike last night, for some odd reason I thought of a guy I used to be in the Air Force with. His name was Lee, and to say that he was a ‘strange guy’ would be a gross understatement.

Lee had a strange cycle. For a month or two, you could observe him day to day smoking cigarettes. Following this, the smokes would disappear and for the next couple of months you would see him with a spit cup. It seemed odd, but hell, there are plenty of people out there who do both. Then suddenly, the chewing tobacco would disappear as well, and for the next couple of months it seemed that Lee was partaking in a bit of clean living by doing neither. Sure enough, after a couple of months, smoke could be seen billowing out of his head, starting the cycle once again. So finally, I asked the question…

“What the hell, Lee? What’s with the effed up tobacco regimen?”

“I have to fool the cancer,” came the reply.

Yes friends, he was deadly serious. After getting some clarification, Lee’s Theory was clear. Not very sound, but clear nonetheless. He was convinced that by following this cycle he could literally ‘fool the cancer’. He was of the mind that if he smoked for 60 days or less, then any cancer cells wouldn’t have the chance to gain a foothold in his lungs. Same for cancer cells in his cheek. The 60 days of abstinence from either product was an extra precautionary measure he thought up in order to fully detoxify and get rid of any determined bits of cancer that may be trying to hang around.

We promptly named him the biggest idiot in the section because of this perceived ability to outrun the cancer. However, for some reason once every few years or so, I find myself wondering “What if Lee was right and knew something we didn’t?”

Last nights recollections aided in the birth of a similar theory, brought to you by the King of the Superstitious Idiots (KOTSI).

While partaking in the pleasure that is poker, one might see variance as it’s cancerous byproduct. You may have a few good sessions, but eventually it will catch up with you. What can a person do? We have to ‘fool the variance’. After a few good sessions, head over to a different game, or a different site altogether, and play there for a while. Due to your good fortune, variance will be sniffing around your usual haunts, eventually it will give up after not being able to find you. Variance hitting you pretty hard at Party? Move over to Stars or Full Tilt for a bit until variance loses the scent. Stick and move, stick and move. Variance may nip at you here and there, but you’ll keep it from sinking it’s teeth into you fully.

DISCLAIMER: Hopefully you didn’t take this seriously, it was not intended to be taken that way. It’s interesting to think about though, no?

If you missed the WPT episode last night, it’s definitely worth trying to catch on the likely rerun this weekend. Doyle, being outchipped almost 4 to 1, played some beautiful and near-perfect NL to capture the win. Awesome stuff.

That’s it for today from King of the Superstitious Idiots. The Head should be back tomorrow with your regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I tried not to...

....but I couldn't help myself.

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Thanks April for the fun link!
Geez, I've jumped on way too many bandwagons this week :)

Joining the shill ranks

I have joined the ranks of the affiliate whores, I couldn’t help myself. I have been thinking about doing this for months, but finally decided to take the plunge and start with Full Tilt. I actually emailed them the day before yesterday, but completely forgot to check my mail until I saw that Al had also joined in on the affiliate fun.

So last night I finally jumped in the pool, and I’m happy to report that the water is fine. The avatars are pretty cool, but given the fact you can’t build your own unique one, I went ahead and turned them off since they are mostly a distraction. I started things off with a $5 SnG, and I can’t really say too many good things about those. The blind levels increase too damn fast. I’m sure there is money to be made at them, but the speed of the levels will definitely require some adjustment. I believe that I’ll keep playing Stars for my SnG’s.

The ring games, however, treated me very well. Despite the fact there were only 4500-ish people playing, the games that I did find were pretty soft. I made about $55 playing one table of $25NL and one table of $.50/1 Limit. Oddly enough, most of those profits came from the Limit table, but I rarely play NL and am admittedly pretty weak-tight when it comes to the cash game.

Other than a few nitpicky cosmetic criticisms, the only thing I don’t like is the bonus situation, it really is like pulling teeth. After playing a little over two hours, I have worked off $2 worth of bonus money…oof. I am of the mind that if Full Tilt would loosen up their bonus requirements, even just a bit (i.e. instead of .06 bonus money for each point, make it .10), would help get a lot more people to the site. Could you hook that up Hank? You’re not busy or anything are you? :)

OK, so for the last time this year month week—Full Tilt—Just click on the link, download, and sign up! Starting on March 15, Bonus Code HHEAD will be working, so you won’t even have to use the banner. Help me out folks, all that cocoa butter that I have to use on my head doesn’t pay for itself, ya know.

Don’t forget, the next WPBT Event on Sunday the 13th. As far as my entry goes, all that can really be said is “Holy dead money, Batman!”

This last Saturday I was able to take a trip to the bookstore. Yes, this seemingly humdrum event IS worth mentioning, because I don’t go very often. Why? Simply put, I can’t control myself inside of a bookstore, I want to buy everything, regardless of it’s necessity—I’m half convinced they pipe in some as-yet-unheard-of gas that makes me crazy for their wonderful books.

So after buying a sex diaries book for my friend Laura’s B-Day, I spy a table with the dastardly sign, “Buy 2 Get the 3rd Free.” Oh Boy. The title escapes me at the moment, but Mrs, Head got some Oprah book, and I also acquired Atlas Shrugged and Positively Fifth Street.

PFS started out what I thought was a bit slow, but quickly picked up speed. Next thing I knew, it was Monday and the book was finished. Reading it was a great pleasure, but I wish I could exercise a bit more restraint. When it comes to books, I’m like a fat kid with a box of Twinkies; I devour the book as quickly as I can, afterwards wishing I hadn’t eaten so fast. Damn those bookstores though, since upon the return home (and of my senses) I found that I could have saved quite a bit of money if I had simply picked up used copies off of Amazon. D’oh.

So, in my roundabout and long-winded way, I’m saying to read Positively Fifth Street if you haven’t yet. I promise it won’t disappoint.

OK, one last thing and I’ll shut up. If you don’t already, head over and read The Obituarium, pretty good stuff there, especially the drunk tourney documentation.

Remember, I’m Thinking Big, but my head is Much Bigger.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

TV is Back!

Anyone who read here knows how much I like to piss and moan about NBC and television in general. After last night though, I think television just may be on a comeback.

The Contender is effing great. Mrs. Head was teary-eyed, and future episodes may have the capacity to throw some dust in my eye as well. It’s got Sugar Ray and Rocky, good production, product placement that for once isn’t cheesy. After being bored to death with The Apprentice, and downright angry at the complete shill the was The Restaurant (can someone call OPEN from American Express and see if they'll extend our credit line?), I find myself finally acquiescing to Mark Burnett’s reality-show overlordliness. Yeah I know, it’s show business and not real, but damn if it’s not some good TV, and hopefully it will help boxing regain some of it’s former wonder.

WPT season 3 is on, The Shield will be starting soon. My goodness it’s a heady time for a couch potato.

I had a nice session at Party last night, up 36 BB’s in a little over an hour. I missed out on about 6 BB’s due to the fact that I’m giving these people WAY too much credit, but I’m not complaining as there are definitely worse problems to have. Iggy reminds us every post he makes, but good bejeebus, the people that play there are SOOOOOO freaking bad. They make the low limits tables at Stars seem like they are full of tricky sharks. Yeah, that bad.

This post isn’t very thoughtful, or thought-provoking for that matter, but what the hell, I’m short on time today. I’ll try to Think Big tomorrow.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Sticking Points

I always find it kind of surreal when I have those moments that show me how much I’ve learned and make me realize, once again, just how far I still have to go.

As I edge ever closer to 30 years on this planet, I find myself thinking a lot lately about how much I thought I knew 15 years ago. 5 years ago. Hell, even 5 months ago. Even looking back at a couple of days ago, I find myself able to marvel at the fact that I thought I knew so very much about a certain thing, only to find out that I had again only scratched it’s surface.

It’s an unconscious thing really, and I will most likely walk through this day comfortable in my knowledge and experience, only to realize tomorrow that I shouldn’t have been.

I’m nearing the point where I’ve been playing poker for 18 months. Last night Mrs. Head and I entered the $3 Sunday Stars Crapshoot, and out of almost 2200 entrants she managed to last till 1100 and I exited around 650-ish. I continued by farting around on a .50/1 table while she fired up a $5 SnG and proceeded to bubble when her A8s dropped to JJ, which consequently added insult to injury by rivering the case Jack after flopping a set. I fired up a $10+1 SnG on Party to remind myself why I don’t play them. 800 chips, yeah right. I’m going to have to get my free money roll pumped up some more before I hit those bitches again, and maybe not even then. Their crapshoot format has a grand ability to set me on giant subtle tilt, the worst kind.

Why the preceding paragraph? Well, obviously to set myself up for this one. The both of us sitting there, scowling at our laptops, made me smile. I fought off my tilt by just shutting it all down instead of steaming at a 2/4 table and instantly felt better. However, it dawned on me that Mrs. Head is at the exact place I was about 6 or 7 months into playing the game.

“Poker is making me sad and grumpy”

After her initial tear on the SnG’s, things have of course slowed down, and it sucks that all I can do is just try and explain why and help encourage her through the rough patch. She is where I imagine most of us have been after beginning to play poker regularly, the place where you’ve done some winning by patiently waiting for good cards and winning big with them and suddenly this method isn’t working as well as it once did. Sonuvabitch!! WTF?! and other colorful epithets have free reign during this period.

I point out to her the things that are obvious to me now. The need to pay close attention to betting patterns and spotting weakness in a passive game and taking advantage of it, even if you don’t have the greatest cards in your hand. Working on bubble aggression, picking the right spots and not fucking up. Realizing that a min-bet after the flop, even it is 20% of your existing stack doesn’t necessarily mean that the bettor has anything, it’s a min-bet, after all. Truly realizing that sitting and waiting for the cards is not always the best answer. Hell, this is still a problem for me many times, but I can see it much clearer these days and a majority of my play has improved greatly. I just feel bad for her that it’s a sticking point that no one can push you through, you have to get through it yourself. I don’t have any kids, but I imagine the feeling is similar, watching them struggle with something you know you can’t really help them with. All you can do is offer encouragement, you can’t do it for them.

Today Pauly said it, and others in the past have said it many times. You just have to suck it up, play through, and use every loss as an opportunity to find a lesson or a leak. Granted, sometimes you just get bad beat to no end and there is only the soul-crush, but 99% of the time there is a lesson somewhere in there.

I can’t wait until tomorrow. It means I get a chance to find out many things I thought I knew today. Thinking Big today, hopefully Much Bigger tomorrow.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Greg Raymer's Great Contribution

While playing in a $5 SnG on Stars today, along came the following situation: With an extremely passive and limp notorious table, I find KQs in late position, two limpers, so I pop it to T200 with blinds at 25/50. I get two callers which is surprising, so I make a note to play carefully if the flop doesn’t hit me. Flop comes xh xh Kd, first to act checks, second to act bets T100 into the T600 pot, so I up it to T400 to test this guy out. First to act folds, second calls. Turn comes blank club. Guy checks, and having him on a flush draw, I put him all in with one card to come. After thinking for about half his time bank, he calls with K5 of hearts, looking for the flush that never came. Not the worst play ever (though, not good), and certainly a pretty big gamble, especially when your tourney life is at stake. The thing that struck me was the comment that came shortly thereafter from the observer chat:

Random Guy: Oh well it worked for Raymer.

It is times like this that I am ever so thankful for ESPN airing that hand between Raymer and Matusow, remember it? Raymer with AJh putting Matusow’s mediocre holding to the test for all his chips. If I ever have the good fortune to meet Greg Raymer in the future, I will certainly shake his hand for making that play, since upon reflection today, I am realizing just how much cash the misinterpretation of that hand has put into my pocket.

In relation to the Golden Riviera mini-whore post from a few days ago, I have decided that even with an $80/month bonus opportunity, I will no longer play there. I thought that my recent cashout would automatically be returned to my FirePay account, the same way it came in. It seems however, that this method would be way too easy. Instead I receive the email that lets me know that I will be receiving a check in the next 20 or so days. What a GIANT pain in my ass. I have resolved from here on out to only chase bonuses that are convenient.

While I’m on the subject, I have to wonder at the fact that I rarely chase bonuses of any kind. Of the few times that I have chased them, some have turned out very well, but a large prtion have ended up in either a monumental disaster or a low-profit waste of my time. I think it’s a combination of the potential bonus money having an adverse psychological effect on me, plus a little bit of ego. Psychological in the fact that I make a few loose calls here and there that I wouldn’t normally make because I have bonus money waiting in the wings, and ego in the fact that I take a greater measure of pride and satisfaction knowing that 95% of my bankroll was built by solid and consistent play and not bonus dollars. While I believe this admission qualifies me a being a certifiable moron, the only thing I can say in my defense is that I am aware of it and given the mostly adverse effects that bonuses seem to have on me by and large, I’ll be sticking to what has worked for the time being. (NOTE: To anyone who may have taken the preceding the wrong way, I don't in any way look down at those who build their bankroll with the bonus bucks, I just wanted to relate the way it is in my own case.)

Being King of the Superstitious Idiots is hard work, believe me.

I leave you with this little light bulb moment, which came at a friends B-day party last night after my third Guinness. We were discussing a mutual acquaintance who is basically a mess where the love life is concerned. You know the type, wanting to be married so bad it consumes their every waking moment, so much so, that they lose their identity completely running around in all of the smoke and mirrors?

Here is my sage piece of Guinness-induced advice for those with love troubles: Love is a lot like constipation. If you spend all of your time running to and fro to the porcelain throne every five minutes trying to instigate a fecal event, you will only end up worn out, frustrated, and more importantly still constipated. Stop worrying about it so much, you’ll poop when you’re ready. So it is with love.

As always, Thinking Big, while my head is Much Bigger.