Friday, April 08, 2005

Canadian Math Skills

You’re probably wondering what’s the deal with today’s post title. Last night when I arrived home, Mrs. Head was on the tail end of entering some kind of spa sweepstakes from Sephora, and was browsing the rules. Incidentally she came across the following:

The winners will be notified by phone, e-mail or U.S.

mail by June 8, 2005. If the selected entrant is a Canadian resident, before being declared a winner, selected entrant must correctly answer, unaided, a time-limited, mathematical skill-testing question to be administered by e-mail or by telephone at a pre-arranged, mutually convenient time.

If selected entrant is found to be ineligible or otherwise not in compliance with these official rules, or, where the selected entrant is a Canadian resident, if selected entrant fails to correctly answer the skill-testing question, prize will be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner in Sponsors' sole discretion in accordance with these official rules.”

This made me wonder…Are Canadians just that good at math or does Sephora have something against Canadians and are trying to find a sneaky way to exclude them? Maybe they’re afraid of getting sued by some random American if a Canadian should win (perhaps a Canadian should sue for sweepstakes discrimination). Unfortunately, I don’t think very many reasons, no matter how fantastic or ludicrous, would surprise me.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Idiocy Tidbit

I had school all last night, so unfortunately my brain hasn't had much of a chance to put together anything cohesive. So without further ado, here is another example of the rampant idiocy that our society seems to be beset with:

Man arrested for paying with $2 Bills.

I especially loved the Baltimore Police spokespersons comment:

"It's a sign we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."

Profound. If we use two dollar bills, the terrorists win!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Knowing and Undergoing

“…a man who knows is quite different than a man who undergoes.”
--from Foucalt’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

It’s been said in a million and one different ways. I know that everyone already knows this, but being reminded is always a good thing. Knowing something is not the same as actually doing it. Once I finally decided to make IT my ‘career’, I started actually putting some study in, and started getting some certifications. My first cert (-ification, not the breath mint) came in ’01, my CCNA, and boy was I pumped! Judging by the adverts, riches with little effort would be mine for the asking. I hate the idea of attending a money gouging college, who needs it? (I still don’t think that people necessarily “need” college. OK, some definitely do, but that’s for another time and place) Another basic cert or two and I’ll swim in ginormous salary pools. Oops.

It didn’t take long for me to come across the term “lab rat”. This is someone with the requisite certifications who has no practical experience. Well, shit, time to have a conversation with myself.

“Self, I guess I can’t fool anyone into blindly handing over a high-paying job, what options do I have now? “

“Get your dumb ass into the trenches and start working”, Self replied.

Good advice. Now, after a few years of actual work, I’m nearly finished with my undergraduate degree (hey, shut up, at least I’ll get it done before 30) and have been paying dues for the last few years. I’m still not exactly where I would like to be, but I’m a hell of a lot closer that I was, and I’ve learned a lot more along the way.

A coulple of nights ago, after reading the beginning quote, I finally realized that Self was basically giving me the same advice that it had in ’01, but this time it applied to poker. Get in the trenches. Play through that shit. Gut it out.

I’ve spent much of my time as a poker “lab rat”. Lot’s of study, reading, and writing, but not so much actual ‘undergoing’. I’ve read all over 2+2 about downswings much larger than mine, and here I was with the audacity to bitch and moan about a minimal 30 BB swing. Iggy had a tough month last month (or was it the month before?) and made mention of it. He gutted through it and has emerged golden, likely on top of his game more than ever. Pauly has made mention of the same in his documentations. There are countless others out there who have, and are, playing through it.

It was tough to admit this to myself, but it had to be done, and now that it’s on the page, it’s strangely liberating. I offer many apologies for boring (and likely annoying) those who stop by here, and of course, many thanks for actually coming back.

.There has been enough knowing. It’s time to start undergoing.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

No sleep for you!

Here I sit, all brokenhearted.
Tried to play last night, but again played retarded.
Went to work today and took a chance,
Tried to write a decent post, had nothing but inane rants.

If you came here today looking for any quality, I don’t think it’s gonna happen since I’m cruising on about two hours of sleep. To say it was ‘fitful’ would be putting an overly positive spin on it. I did have my first poker nightmare, though. In my dream I tilted off my entire online bankroll, so vivid I actually had to check when I woke up. Fun stuff, maybe I should lay off the spicy food or something.

For something worthwhile, gentle reader, you might enjoy this thread I came across on 2+2 in the wee hours. It hits a bit on what I was rambling about yesterday, and made me feel a bit better.

I’ll try not to be a basket case about dumb shit tomorrow, see you then.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Expecting a Loss

Yesterday I took a proverbial punch in the stomach and found myself down $62. More specifically, -10BB at 2/4 and -11BB at $1/2. These things are going to happen, and I know that such a loss is barely worth mentioning. It’s not like I left the tables bruised and bloody, just a gut shot that stung a bit, but with every loss comes some serious thinking.

I played well at the $2/4 tables, but I simply got sucked out on during a couple of key hands. Couple that with the fact that I won 2 pots out of approximately 250 hands, and it was pretty obvious that the cards were not going to fall for me. Then I proceeded to make the extremely grievous error of dropping down to $1/2 and morphing into super weak tight boy, folding hands that would have been winners (that I wouldn’t normally have folded) and pushing hands that were obviously beat. Needless to say, after a few of these I decided to close up shop in a very grumpy mood.

So, why was I on tilt so bad for the next few hours? What I think may be the answer came to me this morning while making myself some bacon. (For those who may be unaware, bacon has the magical ability to make everything better) I came into the session yesterday truly expecting to win, and I think that for me this is a bad thing. This may seem counterintuitive, since expecting to lose can easily turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I’ll explain why it seems to work better for me, and perhaps for you, too.

I don’t go into a game truly expecting to lose money. When I say that I ‘expect to lose’ it’s my way of steeling myself against what are usually the inevitable suckouts and bad play at these low limits. In the back of my head, I still believe that I can beat these folks. It’s sort of a modified “Expect the worst, hope for the Best” train of thought. If I go into a session expecting to get beat up, I don’t worry about it nearly as much and will continue to play my best game. If I end up actually getting beat up, no biggie, and if I take away a win, so much the better. Yesterday I came into the session expecting, nay, demanding a win. I won my first two pots pretty early, and expected things to continue on the same course. After all, I think it, therefore it IS, right? Wrong.

An unyielding expectation of a winning session left me $62 lighter, with a river of raging blood coursing through my veins and the inexplicable urge to scream like a monkey and throw feces at my PC's (wheee, rhyming is fun). This expectation to win, in my case, makes me feel like I’ve lost to an inferior and sets the tilt-meter into the red. If I expect to get beat up and win, I feel like the triumphing underdog. Maybe I’ve watched WAY too many Rocky movies, but it’s what works for me, and hopefully I won’t make the same mistake again, at least for a while.

By using it to avoid tilt and other bad play nastiness, expecting to lose just may be the key to your next big win. (For extra insurance, it may also be +EV to eat some bacon while you play.)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

My Freeroll Story

I was hoping to post today with some great news about the WSOP freeroll that I played on Full Tilt (bonus code HHead) yesterday, but alas, all I can bring to the table is a bit of disappointment.

1400 and some-odd people were signed up, but I think that only 500-600 were actually playing. At my first table there were only 3 humans, and it took me two full levels to convince the other two players that we could make money just taking turns stealing the blinds from the people that weren’t there. Finally they understood, sort of. One guy was with it from the start, the other guy just couldn’t seem to grasp the concept that a raise would take the blinds from these folks. There were three or four times where he would call and check it down with the absent player, and three times the absent player won. Ugh. He was wasting time, and his demonstrated lack of mental acuity was getting really annoying, because I knew when we finally got some players he would not be lasting long.

Finally, the humans started trickling in. Guy on my right and I were getting along well (the dumbass from the first hour had helped build our solidarity), and just stayed out of each others way while we chopped down the giant stack who came to the table. I love giant stacks in the middle stages who assume they are invulnerable simply by virtue of said big stack.

Fast forward. There is 40-45 people left when I finally get a table change, and hip hop hooray, it’s Shelly! With blinds at 1K/2K ante 250, she was getting pretty short w/ around 14K. Hell, I wasn’t exactly rich, as I only had about 25K or so. I decided to get aggressive with an AJ, getting called by an AK, and fortunately that whore sucked a J out of the deck for me to double me up to about 50K. Sweet, I had some time now. Shelly went out on a 77 when she had to push and got nailed with a 10 10, and I was all alone again. It was sad seeing her bust, as I had visions of a blogger comeback and stampede to the finish.

After taking a couple of pots, I was still sitting with about the same 50K when we are down to 27. After being moved to my new table, I find myself UTG with JJ, and everyone at my table has at least 3x my stack, so I raise to 6x BB in the hopes of getting called by a coinflip or inferior hand, and I get raised from 12K to 24K. the back of my head is yelling “Higher PP! Abort, you giant headed monkey! I decide to go ahead and push and take my chances, on the logic that I was still a really low stack and would need to double up to have any chance at winning. Dammit, the guy had AA and I couldn’t manage a second suckout. It did make me feel a little better that the flop came all undercards, which I would have pushed on, in any case.

Not a bad performance, but I can’t help but be disappointed. I just wasted 3.5 hours and had nothing to show, not even a token payout. Then Mrs. Head pipes up: What else would you have done with that 3.5 hours?”

OK, fine. Most likely nothing, point taken. (I may have saved the world though or something, you never know…….)