Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

7 Days and counting!

So in just 7 days I'll be landing in Vegas and looking forward to 5 days with the wildest bunch of folks I know, and haven't come to know yet.

Things I'm looking forward to:

1) Live shots with Al. Dial-a-shots are one thing, but nothing compares with Car Bombs with the master.

2) Low-limit drunken donkey poker with whoever wants to be there!

3) Winning the Gigli prize in the Blogger tourney! I've never seen it, so it's not a total waste on me.

4) Storming the buffets. But don't eat all Daddy's bacon.

5) Shooting the shit with random folks and meeting new people. Everybody's default setting is "cool," so I'm looking forward to it all!

I still suck at poker, so I'm trying to Ebay some lighting gak to afford the trip.


Monday, November 28, 2005

November Landslide

Sweet Baby Jebus can this month get over with so I can go back to being profitable?

Pot Limit O8 - kicked in junk
Pot Limit Omaha Hi - kicked in junk
NL Hold Em on Party - kicked in swollen junk
NL Hold Em on Titan - sucked out on, then kicked in junk
NL Hold Em on Stars - take a guess
MTTs everywhere - CJ has all my luck, junk throbbing

The only thing working for me is single-table SNGs, mainly on Absolute Poker, because the players suck so much more than Stars and you start with enough chips and low enough blinds to win two hands, dodge assholes until there are only 4 left, then hang on to cash.

I'll be playing nothing but SNGs and maybe a micro-buy-in MTT or two until Vegas. I need to get the bankroll back up to October's levels. Which was still miniscule, but double what it is now.
Rant over, I feel better now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

OK, so much for a break.

So I fired up Party and Absolute Poker last night and got the monkey off my back with a couple of back-to-back SNG cashes, including dropping the Hammer on Absolute and getting the absolute best chat window rants I've ever gotten from playing the Hammer. The way these guys were going, you'd think I ass-raped the Pope instead of raising with the Hammer from the cutoff, catching 2 pair on the flop and winning a medium-sized pot. My favorite moment came later when some schmo gets sucked out on to bust out and hangs around for a good five minutes abusing the guy who caught one of his 6 outs to bust him. After several minutes of this, I finally chime in and request that if he's going to whine, at least to work on his spelling and grammar, and perhaps his originality.

"This from Mr. 7-2."

"I made the money, I still get to talk."


I won the tourney, too, which was much harder than the battle of wits with the unarmed and unarmored.

For off-topic and slightly sad Thanksgiving post, check out my other blog.

I'll be cruising to South Carolina for Turkey tomorrow, so everybody have fun, be safe, and eat yourselves into an absolute fucking coma. And congrats to Al for hitting the final table of his Boathouse freeroll with an M of 1 last night and coming back to win the thing! As he said later, "Now we're just sitting here getting retarded!"

Exactly 14 days until I land in Vegas with the NC Poker Posse. The micro-limits may never be the same. I can't wait.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Add this to your list, Otis

If you don't read these guys, what the hell do you think you're reading this for? Otis posted his list of types of tilt a week or so ago, and I've been working to define the tilt I've been on this month as I look to post my first losing month in half a year.

Entitlement Tilt - when you think you deserve to win, so get further and further tilted by the "donkey" plays of others, when in fact you are the donkey and cannot see it because your ego has swelled up and you can't see over it.

That's been my past week. I can't BELIEVE he called a 5xBB raise with 64 soooted! Of course he can, he's got 17K in chips, the big blind is 100, he has the chance to knock another player out completely, and more than that, it's a $1 MTT for fucksake. Now self, you're not pissed because he called with 64 sooted, that's what you WANT him to do. You're pissed because you went over the top of him all in when he raised your flop bet because you have AA, and aces NEVER get cracked. SOooooo, it's not that he's a donkey to call with 64 sooted, you're pissed because you're the donkey that didn't consider for a second that there was a hand with a 6 in it that he could have called your preflop re-raise with.

Entitlement tilt - because you've read the books, and you're a poker blogger, fahgodsake, these guys shouldn't be able to catch on you for two weeks straight with barely a SNG cash in sight.

News Flash - as my daddy always says (real one, not the blogger) "The sun shines on every dog's ass once in a while. Translation - even lemurs get dealt aces.

So I'm gonna take this week off from online poker, take a breather, eat an obscene amount of turkey at my folks' house Thursday, and have a little home game on Friday. Then I'll log back in for the Titan depositor's freeroll on Saturday. We'll see how that goes. Then Sunday I've got a gig doing the Christmas show for the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra, so I'll be in the theatre from 8AM - 1AM. Hours suck, but the checks clear.


Friday, November 18, 2005

Desert Island Cash

The local paper ran a big story on the new Johnny Cash flick, which I'm way looking forward to. I think Joaquin Phoenix should be able to carry off most of it, even if he hasn't quite lived as hard as Johnny did. But to finish off their artice, the local movie critic listed his top ten Johnny Cash songs, all from the pre-Rick Rubin era, just as an introduction to the material. Of course, being an opinionated buttmonkey, I came up with my own, including the American Recordings stuff. So here's a musical interlude from Falstaff - my ten Desert Island Johnny Cash Songs.

1) Delia's Gone - American I
2) Folsom Prison Blues
3) Boy named Sue - from Live at Folsom Prison
4) Rusty Cage - American II
5) Redemption Song - with Joe Strummer - Unearthed
6) Wichita Lineman - Unearthed
7) Hurt - American IV
8) Ring of Fire
9) Singer of Songs - Unearthed
10) Jackson - with June Carter

And along the same vein - here are my top 10 Desert Island Discs

1-4) Johnny Cash Unearthed
5) Indigo Girls - eponymous debut CD
6) Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
7) Sam Bush - Live recording from Van Hoys Campground 2001
8) John Hartford - Aero-Plane
9) Hayseed Dixie - Live recording from 2003
10) Great Big Sea - Rant & Roar

So what 10 albums would you load on your iPod for a trip to a deserted island? List in comments or your own blog. Oh, and let me know if you want copies of the Sammy or Hayseed shows, they kick mucho ass.



Thursday, November 17, 2005

SNG Strategy - Endgame

So I posted my strategy for SNGs a while back, and while some folks had valid critiques of my method, it continues to work well for me, making me more money than other methods I've tried. But I never finished. So here's the endgame strategy I employ, which is a little silly unless you think along my same lines - that my job is essentially done the second I've cleared a profit. Third is great! First is better, but third is greater than fourth by a larger margin that first is greater than third. Read that five times drunk.

WARNING - This won't work if the people you're playing are any good. But if you're trolling around the low-level SNGs ($5 - $10), this is actually ridiculously effective.

1) If you're 3rd, you've done your job. You have now made the money, the hard part is over. Your job is not to bludgeon everyone with your incredible skill, your job is to turn a profit. Mission accomplished.

2) Everything else is gravy. And fatboy luuuuvs gravy. So now milk these fools for everything they've got.

3) Ever read Super/System? The old one? Hit it. Power poker has limited place in today's more sophisticated game, because most of us have read the book, but this is 100% the place for it.

In other words, start throwing raises and re-raises like Pauly throws dollars at strippers. Fling chips around like it's Bobby's junk. Even if you're the short stack, jam as many pots as possible. Your opponents, unless one of them has a monster stack, have likely been super-tight waiting for the bubble boy to fall on his sword, and it's going to take them a few minutes to adjust. Don't wait - JAM. Worst case is, you finish third, fire up another one. But at these levels, your opponents cannot handle a super-aggressive player flinging chips like candy, so be that guy. But don't be afraid to drop anything in the face of somebody playing back at you. As I was reminded time and again last night, even lemurs get dealt Aces.

So once you've made the money, shift into hyper-aggro mode to throw folks off balance and steal, steal, steal. I've found it to be more effective than I expected, and remember, my job is done when I've made a profit, now it's time to take the gravy.

To multi, or not to multi

That is the question.
Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
at only one table,
or to take up mouse against a sea of fishy Party Poker tables,
and by opposing,
end up richer.

Apologies to people who actually may revere Shakespeare like all my boring-arsed English Lit professors did. Jebus, people, he wrote dick and fart jokes! Well-crafted dick and fart jokes, but the original Slick Willy's shite was at least as raunchy as Daddy most days.

Anyway, back on topic.

It's always a question for me how many tables to play, and why. When I first started playing online, one table was more than enough, even at the lowest of limits. I could barely keep up with reading the board and my hand, then thinking about outs and draws, much less trying to put an opponent on a hand, so playing more than one table was out of the question. Not to mention the 15" CRT I was playing on wouldn't support more than one screen with any reliability. Now I played mostly limit, and as low as I could find, so it was all pretty straightforward.

As I have begun to get the hang of playing (I can almost always tell what my hand is now, and occasionally can hazard a guess what some other idiot is packing), one table becomes far less interesting. There is still data mining to do, watching for betting patterns, etc., but this is less useful in large-field MTTs, as your tables shift so quickly and you may never find these same lemurs again, so paying close attention to these folks is not as valuable as it is in some other cases. So I began to venture into playing more tables at once. It's taken some experimentation to figure out the best method for me, and I'm sure as I log more thousands of hands my number of comfortable tables will increase, but here's where we are today.

I'll play two tables of no-limit or pot-limit comfortably, and up to 4 tables of limit. But I don't play much limit, so it's kinda moot. I try to stick to the same game on most tables, but I may throw in a low-limit stud Hi/Lo on top of two tables of NLHE just for the sake of mixing things up. I typically get home, eat, log in and see what's up for MTTs on Stars that I like. If there's something appealing, I register for that and fire up a $5 or $10 SNG to go along with. Usually I can get through 3-4 SNGs during a good MTT. Obviously this depends on where I decide to suck for the night, in MTTs or in SNGs. The other night I managed to take 7th out of 300+ in a PL Omaha-hi tourney on Stars, and I think I ran through 5 SNGs during that time. I did okay, cashed in 3 of them and the MTT, so it was a good night.

If I'm playing ring games, pretty strictly 2 tables unless I'm working off a bonus. I'm just not that good yet, so two is about all I can pay enough attention to to be effective. I've seen a severe drop in EV if I add a 3rd table, or if I mix games in my ring games. It's pretty easy to keep the games straight in tourneys or SNGs, but I do not ever recommend playing Omaha and O8 at the same time, for obvious reasons.

I know a lot of folks look at 2 tables as a tiny number, but I often also wonder if those folks who play 4-8 tables at a time would be able to harvest more from the fishies if they played fewer tables and focused more?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Eddie Guerrero - 1967-2005

Growing up in the Charlotte, NC area, I've been a wrestling fan all my life. I grew up on the weekly NWA exploits of Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen, Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA, Nikita Koloff and all those guys. As I got older, I watched wrestling less and less, but have always enjoyed the entertainment value, and the sheer athleticism that some of those guys have.

I remember watching a new show called ECW some years ago, and it was a one-hour program featuring a bunch of guys who had been fired from the major promotions or were up and coming wrestlers. One of the first ECW shows I ever saw was a match between Eddie Guerrero and Dean Malenko, neither of whom I had ever seen before. This was a best of three falls match, and it took the entire broadcast. These two guys performed the most amazing aerial moves, combined with incredible mat wrestling, holds and counter-holds that I had ever seen. For a solid 45 minutes these two guys fought like cats & dogs, bouncing around the ring with incredible energy, landing moves with incredible precision, and generally entertaining the living hell out of the audience, both live and broadcast.

I was hooked. I was immediately a fan, and when Eddie moved to WCW and then to WWE, I always enjoyed watching his matches, and his mic skills were unsurpassed. He had the ability to manipulate a crowd into living him one minute and hating him the next. It was a joy to watch him work a crowd.

I've watched wrestling all my life, and I'm not at all ashamed to say that. There have been three nights that I have watched wrestling that have brought tears to my eyes. The first was the night after Owen Hart fell to his death in a stupid stunt entering the ring. The second was a live broadcast where Ric Flair returned to wrestling after a REAL forced retirement after some disagreements with management. The third was tonight. WWE Raw tonight was a tribute show to Eddie Guerrero, who was found dead in his hotel room yesterday morning. As yet no other information is available about his death, but it isn't outside the realm of speculation to think that the drug and alcohol problems he faced thoughout his life caught up to him and may have caused an early heart attack. That's just my guess, based on what I know about the effects of drug abuse on the body, and the fact that Eddie had been clean and sober for the past several years.

Raw was a tribute, and I only caught the last hour, but it was amazing. I watched Sean Michaels put over Rey Mysterio Jr. in a singles match. I watched Ric Flair get a clean pinfall on Steven Regal, but the thing that got me the most were the testimonials. When you look at some of these guys like Batista, who's something like 7' and 300+ pounds and they are just sobbing because they have lost one of their best friends, it can't help but touch you. And deeply. These guys, who we usually only see through their personas and muscles and machismo, went on camera tonight in what they call in the business a shoot, or a real-life interview. And they said goodbye to their friend. And they weren't ashamed of the tears they shed for the man that they loved and respected. And I'm not ashamed of the tears I shed tonight for the man who entertained me so much with the obvious love he brought to his craft.

Adios, Eddie. Viva la Raza, mi amigo.

Heeeee's Baaaaack!

Sorry to have kept both of my loyal readers missing my oh-so-insightful prose for the last week or so, lots of business travel in my recent past. Here's a quick recap -

North Carolina Theatre Conference gets Will Farrell to come to the conference and present our High School Play Festival Winners with their prizes, thus insuring that in the eyes of 400 teenagers, theatre is now cool, and we'll never be able to top this year's conference.

Played a little poker online while I was at NCTC, made a few bucks. Not able to concentrate on it much due to work.

Got back for all of 3 days and flew to Orlando for the Lighting Dimensions International trade show, the highlight of which was carrying my heavy-ass suitcase ('cause poka chips be heaby) into the room to find that the TSA does think that Nexgen chips look like dynamite on X-ray, but they at least put everything back when they were done.

Got together a little game with some other drunks in my room, made a whopping $3. Was stuck $40 at one point, but let a buddy from Atlanta call dealer's choice and cleaned up with wild-card 7-Stud variants. I'm not proud, I'll play your Follow the Bitch.

Sat on the patio of the Embassy Suites Orlando getting happy-hour plastered with folks from work when Al calls for a Dial-a-Shot. Chugged the cheap beer the hotel was giving away for free with Al, to the bemusement of my co-workers, who had apparently never heard of Dial-a-Shots before. But I have all their cell numbers in speed-dial, so now they're doomed!

Flew home today, flighy sucked, airport food sucked, seeing my wife for the first time in almost two full weeks - fucking priceless.

And won a little pissant $5 SNG on Stars - working to double my meager bankroll before the WPBT trip. Gonna take more than $5 SNGs to do it, but it can be done.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Look ma - I'm a writer!

Yeah, right. But I did realize while stuck in what passes for traffic in Charlotte (and no, there were not cattle or tractors involved. Damn, you'd think I was in G-Vegas) that blogging does allow all of us who are motivationally-challenged and talent-deprived the ability to get our writing rocks off without actually having to learn shit about how to string a sentence together with any semblance of proper punctuation.

I've written, off and on, since I was a kid, and now some of those writings are coming to fruition, but not in anything like what I had imagined. Yes, I write a blog. Or maybe a blog and a half. And that counts, as there are a couple of you out there reading this, so it counts as writing. And I did have a poem and performance published by Turner South in their compilation My South (available on Amazon, but I don't get a dime of it). But the most startling bit of this is that I have now been asked to write articles for Protocol, the theatrical technology industry's trade magazine. Now I know a bit about gear, you can't live in this world for a decade without it, but they want me to write things about sales and management strategies. So now I feel a little like those poker authors must feel when they are beginning to put down on paper how to do the things that they do instinctively. It's a little odd to have people I respect come out of the blue and say "Hey, I liked your article." That's just a little odd to me. But cool.

Oh, and I'll put up a copy of the book and DVD that I'm published in as my bounty at the WPBT Winter Gathering - so don't call my all-in, or you might get stuck with me on your bookshelf!

In poker news, not much. I've dicked around a little with micro-limit Omaha Hi, and I'm seeing success at that level, but I don't think my strategy of "bet the pot any time I think I'm ahead at that point" is going to hold up at any higher levels. Played a little with the Princess today, I fear her raises. She wisely does not fear mine. Flopped quad 4s and forgot to lay in "them's quads, beetches!"

Sucked in the WWDN tourney, and can't play this week due to work. Made 2nd in a SNG while that was going on, so I stayed +$ for the night. Life calms down when I get back from Orlando next week, so I can concentrate on building my Vegas bankroll for the last few weeks before the trip. December can't come soon enough - one week my anniversary vacation and the next week degenerate Vegas vacation - woo-hoo!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You should read this stuff -

Because I have absolutely NOTHING to contribute today.

Go check out Pauly's main blog - I gotta dig into Pauly's music hard drive when I'm in Vegas next month. But this shit here is pure goddam poetry - Yeah, as my friend Molly reminded me why I went to see Dave Matthews... to hit on sorority chicks. They might dress crunchy and smoke enough dope to get an entire reggae band high, but they also shave their arm pits and wear Victoria's secret g-strings.

Check out Maudie's history as a beatnik coffee bar folk goddess - think we can get a 50th anniversary fucked up poker blogger performance art rendition of Ginsberg's Howl going on?

There's more great shite out there, but I haven't made it through my first Mountain Dew yet, so maybe I'll be back later. Or maybe I'll actually come up with some original content.