Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Monday, December 31, 2007

Buying a New Car Made Simple

So a few months ago one of my dear friends went through one of those great traumatic experiences in life - buying a new car. Being a higher species, I was able to read all about Maudie's experiences, the research she did, and all that jazz, and learn from it.

So over the past few months I've been waffling about buying Suzy a new car. Her truck is starting to need some serious repairs. The third door doesn't open, the seat adjustment handle is broken, the rearview mirror is hanging off, the center console/armrest thingy is busted, the heat/air is broken, and after 166,000 miles, it's not on its last legs, but is moving quickly to the point where we either needed to pour some serious money into it, or take it out back and shoot it.

So I thought about it, did a little research on repairs, and figured I could put it back into top-notch condition for probably four grand. That's a lot of money to pour into a 10-year old vehicle, so I started looking at options. My buddy Jim recently got a Honda Fit, which he loves. After driving a Jeep Cherokee for years, one of the things he loves most about the Honda is the gas mileage. Given that Suzy's driven a truck for the past 5 years, I wouldn't mind having something a little more fuel-efficient for her.

So we started looking at hatchbacks. Given that my wife is 5'2" and frequently is the only passenger, a hatchback is pretty much perfect for her. And since she hauls around a lot of costumes and props for shows, the storage in a hatchback was ideal. So we looked primarily at three models - the Honda Fit, Toyota Matrix, and the Nissan Versa.

My friend Dave at work has a subscription to Consumer Reports online service, so I got the reviews of all three vehicles, then ordered their buyer's guides for each vehicle. These list the actual dealer invoice pricing, MSRP, and any holdbacks or incentives that are in effect for the car at the time you're shopping. It also gives you a target dollar figure that is pretty much your "rock-bottom" price. No surprise that the Consumer Reports best price is significantly lower than the sticker price.

Now Maudie's experiences had given me another bit of ammunition that I'd never thought about before - getting financing ahead of time. So I logged on to Capital One's website, and applied for a car loan. I applied for $20,000, which was about $2,000 more than I wanted to spend on the car. But in case a super deal presented itself, I didn't want to be locked in too tightly to the range I started with.

So I filled out the online form, and it took about a minute and a half to type in all the info. By the time I got the page to load that said "Thanks for applying, we'll let you know," I had an email telling me I was approved and that my check would be cut and sent out that day for overnight delivery. I paid $15 extra for overnight shipment because I wanted to go ahead and knock this out this weekend. I figured the check would show up Monday, and Suzy and I could shop over the weekend and have the paperwork dealt with this week.

So imagine my surprise when Mr. FedEx rang my doorbell at 10AM on a Saturday, dropping off a check from Capital One! I had a blank check that I could fill out for up to $22,500, and my interest rate was dependent on the year of car that I bought. I had been approved for a range from 6.35% up to 8%, with the lowest rates for the newest cars. Since I intended to buy a new car anyway, we were golden. I was pretty happy with that rate, since my credit isn't perfect, and it seemed to fall in line with what some other folks I talked to had gotten for their car financing.

Jim had been over Friday night to play cards, and we took a spin in his car that night, so that was one dealership we didn't need to visit. The Fit has more configurations in the cargo area than the other two models we looked at, and the Sport model is definitely designed for a sporty style of driving. It's a fun car to drive, but the front foot area felt a little cramped to me as a passenger, and Suzy had a few issues with the closeness of the pedals. So we liked it, but didn't fall in love. It was the frontrunner going into the process since it had slightly better reviews.

The first place we stopped was the Nissan dealership, and we had mixed feelings there. We both loved the car, but I didn't like the dealership. The facility itself was dark, and I wasn't at all crazy about the sales guy we got. I knew going into the process that having the check in hand put us in the driver's seat, so I was willing to negotiate a little harder than normal, and was more than willing to walk out if the dealership couldn't get to our number. So we talked to the guys, and told them that we wanted them to get as close to $15K as possible.

They came back with a pile of numbers plus tax, tag, and doc fees, all totaling up to about $18K. I told them to work on it again, keeping in mind that I was looking for their cash price, and they came back to me with a figure of $17,600. So we left. We had the money, we didn't need to buy the vehicle that day, so we didn't. We had pretty much decided on the Nissan after the test drive, because it was so much more comfortable a ride than the Honda, and had plenty of rear storage and enough leg room for me to feel comfortable riding in the back seat, which never happens (I'm 6' 1", so a back seat is rarely a comfy spot for me).

But I wanted to look at the Toyota, even though the Matrix starts off about $2k more than the Honda Fit or the Nissan Versa. If it was the perfect vehicle in every way, I was willing to spend more. I figure we're keeping this vehicle for around ten years, so I want to make sure we look at our options before making any decisions. It wasn't the perfect vehicle by a long stretch. The tricked-out SL Versa was cheaper than the base-model Matrix, and had all the amenities like power mirrors, iPod jack, and all that jazz. And Suzy hated driving the Matrix. It's another compact with the sporty, tight suspension and handling, so you feel every bump and curve harder. The Versa was a much smoother ride, and although there were things about the way the Matrix handled cargo that we liked better, it wasn't worth the lack of a comfortable ride.

So we were decided on the car, now we needed to find a dealership that would make the money right. So we went to the other Nissan dealership in town, and I immediately was happier. The showroom was brighter, more well-lit, the salesman was more confident and eager, and I generally had a better experience. They also had a Versa on the lot in the color and model we wanted, so I knew they would be more interested in selling it, since it was sitting there. We went back and forth for a little while on the options, pricing, and finally I put the check on the table, we agreed on an out the door price of $17K, and we got the keys to our new car.

I put it on the highway yesterday, and was pleasantly surprised at the pickup in the little 1.8L engine. I had no trouble merging into traffic and accelerating up hills. It's not a Hemi by any stretch, but it's a really zippy little car. It's dead-easy to park, and looks like it should get about 300 miles on a tank of gas, which is better than 30 miles to the gallon. That's not quite double the mileage Suzy's been getting in the truck, so I'm thrilled with that.

Having the financing done ahead of time and getting the research from Consumer Reports let me feel like I was in charge of the car-buying process, and that's a nice change. I'm in sales, so I understand that people need to make profit, but I've always felt like car salesmen are trying to throw in all kinds of programs and hidden fees and shit like that to take advantage of me. I would be perfectly content for someone to say "the car costs me this much money, I need to make this much profit to be a profitable company, this is the price." But it's all haggle and holdbacks and incentives to trick people into buying, so actually standing up and walking out of the first dealership when they wouldn't meet my price was one of the best feelings I've ever had.

And looking at my wife's face when she got in her new car was even better. Ever since we've been together, she's driven the hand-me-down car. I drive a lot for work, something like 25K miles every year. And she drives less than half that. So I get the more reliable car, and she gets the basic transportation. Well now she's got a brand new car that's even more tricked out than my Element, and it was great to be able to get that for her.

And I get to drive it on weekend, which doesn't suck at all.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


And not for the new TV I plan to buy this year (although I think I've decided on a 42" 720p HD flat screen. Still debating Plasma v. LCD, so I welcome input re:video games on different platforms, things like that). There are things I need to focus on this year to make myself happier and healthier, and hopefully putting them out there for the world to see will help me stick to them.

1) Get my weight down to my goal weight of 190 lbs. I put on some weight after Vegas, so I tipped the scales today at 220lbs. Still a helluva year health-wise, and I did manage to get my ass off the couch and do a quick 5-mile ride around the neighborhood, but I've gotta get back into the habit of paying attention to what I eat and exercising religiously.

2) Ride a metric century. A 100kM ride isn't out of the question for me, and hopefully I can manage on before mid-year.

3) Ride a total of 1,000 miles on the road. Miles on the exercise bike don't count, so I'm going to have to hammer a little bit to make this one, but it's worth it. Riding again today reminded me how free I feel when I'm on the bike, and how truly zen riding can be. God, what a hippie.

4) Be a profitable poker player. 2007 will go down as my first losing year, and it was ugly. A horrible run this summer decimated my bankroll, and it was only by the graces of PokerWorks and PokerNews that I was able to play at all the latter half of the year, much less go to Vegas. I finished out the year with a small win at last night's home game, and I'll be returning to the scene of my first going broke of 2007 early next week, so hopefully I can leave BadBlood's house with money this time, instead of giving it all to Otis and The Mark. Note to self - if you are out of position against both of them, having position on G-Rob doesn't help.

5) Take more trips with my wife. We had a bet on who would lose the most weight in 2007, and whoever won got to pick all our 2008 vacations. I won by a 3:1 margin, and decided that instead of a big vacation we'll be taking lots of short trips. Our trip to Kentucky for her high school reunion was really neat, and I love taking her new places. So keep an eye peeled for the Falstaff family in a location near you! Our only currently booked travels together are Vegas in December and Boston the weekend of May 18th, for my niece's graduate school commencement. Then there's Merlefest in April, which certain among you must sack up and join us for! It's the best boogie east of the Rockies, and if you can't get to Telluride, you have to come to Merlefest.

6) Write more real stories. Folks like Pauly, Otis and Mrs. Otis are constant inspirations in their writing. They put fingers to keyboards in ways that continue to amaze me. I have put out some decent prose from time to time, but I want to focus on writing more real stories, rather than just my normal banality. Rooster left me a really great compliment on a recent post about my family, and I want to share more of their stories. It's going to require focus, which is something I'm trying to acquire.

7) Beat Guitar Hero on Hard. I'm almost through the game on Medium, and it's tough, so I kinda dread stepping up to the next level, but it's fun to have a challenging game again.

Seven's a good number. If I come up with more things I want to accomplish this year, I'll put them down. Hope all of you find as much success in 2008 as you can ever dream of!

Thanks for stopping by. I don't say that often enough, but it means a lot to me that people actually swing through my little corner of the world and read my drivel. So thanks.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just a hypothetical

If any of you have any background in construction (or any other time-sensitive industry) -

If you had a walkthrough for a CO (certificate of occupancy) on New Year's Eve coming up -

and there was a piece of equipment that wasn't working the way you needed it to work -

and the distributor for that equipment sent you the fix and the correct equipment along with installation instructions on 12/20 -

and you thought there might be a chance that something could go wrong since the project overall had been deemed the Indian Burial Ground Project of the Year 2007 -

Would you wait until Friday 12/28 to try to install this replacement equipment, even though it was delivered to you on Friday 12/21?

My idiot client did. Now they're on the phone with the factory to see if anyone can fix their problems by Monday, as my field service tech is on vacation until Wednesday.

Happy Holidays, doucheballs.

Family Circus

After a certain age, holidays for me became less about the shit I got, and more about hanging out with people I like.

This happened at about the same time I became able to buy myself pretty much whatever I wanted, with a few exceptions mostly because I haven't managed to justify an iPod touch to myself (really, why would one household with two people require 4 iPods? 3 seems perfectly reasonable, as there is the iPod that lives in the alarm clock (an old 3rd gen that has a pretty much cooked battery), my shuffle which I wear when I play poker for extended periods of time, and my 30G video iPod that I take on the road. No Suzy does not really have an iPod of her very own, but if the shopping that I anticipate happening this weekend goes the way I expect it to go, I will likely give her my 30G video and use that as an excuse to buy myself a new iPod Touch. But anyway).

I did in fact notice that the parenthetical portion of the previous paragraph was longer than any paragraph yet in this entry. And that, ladies, is how I roll.

So I got some stuff for Christmas. Suzy got me bedroom slipped with pouches in the soles that you can heat up this packet of herbs and stuff and put them in the soles of the slippers. And a scarf and gloves (although the scarf did not include a matching knit cap, so I'm not as gay as some of my friends) She got me a nice Celtic knotwork belt buckle, and big map puzzle of the world that we can work on assembling together and then we can turn it into a wall map. I got her some stuff, including some dvds, and a necklace with matching earrings. She's a real girly girl, so the jewelry was a good move on my part.

But really, in the last month we've gone to Vegas, bought a new bed, and bought a Wii.

Oh, and yes, Waffles, we broke in the bed. The night it was delivered, I went home immediately after work, laid down in the center of the bed before ever putting sheets on it, lifted one leg, and cut a 25-second, three-octave window rattling fart. So the bed was christened appropriately. And yes, I farted on her side of the bed.

So it wasn't as much about the stuff I got as the stuff I was able to give. And I'm not talking about last weekend's home game, where I was able to give away 250 units by a combination of being outkicked on every hand I played for an hour and three more hours of just loose/weak play. Thank god for one big hand late where I flopped the nut straight on an Omaha 8 hand when my A-Q-x-x flopped Broadway and the board never paired or flushed out. I made back a chunk of my losses on that hand to keep me from being totally Tilty McTilterson for the night.

But anyway, giving things intentionally was the point of this post. As I was wandering through Best Buy a couple months ago, I was struck by inspiration. Since this usually only happens on the toilet, I was a little surprised, but decided to roll with it. I saw a pile of digital picture frames, and decided that they would be the perfect gift for our parental units for Christmas. So we got a couple of frames, a couple of 1G SD cards, and a new printer/scanner (our old printer was ready for the scrap heap anyway), and I went to town scanning in old photos for my folks and Suzy's dad.

There were funny pictures, embarrassing pictures, and a few sad pictures. The pics of Suzy's mom and dad together were a little tough for her, since her mom died right before Christmas some years ago (13-14, I don't really remember). For me, the pics of my brother Wayne and Uncle Ed were a little choky (technically brother-in-law, but when someone marries your sister before your first birthday, the "in-law" thing is kinda irrelevant). But what made the hours of sitting in front of the scanner reading mediocre novels worth is was the look on my mom's face when the first picture on their frame popped up, and it was my grandmother, who died a couple years ago. She choked up a little when she said "Mama!" and it was as big a surprise to me as it was to her, since the frames randomize the photos.

My mom's been losing her shit for several years now, and we're not really sure if it's Alzheimer's or dementia or if she's just losing her shit because she's old, but crowd scenes are tough, and she didn't remember much of what was going on around her Christmas day. But as the pictures from decades ago scrolled by on the frame, she could tell you every story behind even the oldest of the pictures. Because more and more, she lives in those old images now.

That bit was tough, and so was my Dad's gift to all of us. He's broke. No, really broke. He declared bankruptcy this year at age 78, so there was no money for gifts from him. But he went through the house and gave each of his children and grandchildren things from the house that would have meaning to them. Antiques, mostly, and he told us all the stories behind the things he was giving us. So he gave us our family history for Christmas, and that was worth way more than any new sweater.

Friday, December 21, 2007


My favorite quote about me (and really, all my favorite quotes are about me) from the WPBT weekend.

Iggy - I keep having to update my mental picture of you. You used to be the jolly fat guy, but now you're like Johnny's rock n' roll younger brother.

Then two nights ago at dinner I told our waitress "If my wife wasn't sitting right there I'd kiss you full on the mouth for that."

The reason? She carded me.

And was serious. This is the second time in two months that has happened.

It's also the second time this millenium.

Once again - paying for Radio

So since I got the Toaster I've Been a big fan of XM radio. I admit to being one of those people that used to say "why the hell would I pay to be able to listen to the radio?"

But that's before I listened to XM-12, Cross Country, which is a radio for the more discerning listeners among us.

So the other night when Suzy and I were floating around Best Buy finishing up some Christmas shopping, I saw a neat thing - an XM radio bundle that included a receiver, car kit, home kit to use with a stereo, and a boom box that you can plug your XM receiver into.

Now since I'd been wanting to get Suzy XM for her car so she could listen to random dance/disco/bubblegum pop that doesn't involve instruments to her heart's content, I wandered over to look at the price.

Hmmm...that doesn't seem right.

Hey guy in blue shirt, is this thing really $29.99?

Nah, that can't be right. (he scans box) Wow, it's really $29.99.

I'll take two!

So I did. I picked up both of the remaining units for $30 each, and spent a not inconsiderable time that night trying to find a place in my house where it gets reception. But I finally did, and got both units activated and configured, and we're good to go. I brought one into work today to put on the shelf behind my desk, and it gets great reception there, so I can listen to Road Calls at lunch, my favorite XM12 request show (my favorite because invariably Reckless Kelly and Cross Canadian Ragweed are heavily requested).

Yesterday as I wandered through a different Best Buy looking for the last of Suzy's Christmas presents, I saw the same kit.


Now that, my friends, is very +EV.

My poker play, not so much. I've returned to the thing that helped me build my tiny little bankroll, the 6-max low-limit SNGs, and am cashing more consistently in them again. I tried the full-table Turbos and just couldn't make any headway. I tried a $10 90-person Deep-Stack Knockout SNG last night (are there any options they left out of those things?), and was playing well until my AK ran into AQ and got crippled by the 3-outer. But I busted two people, so I saved myself $4 for my bad beat. Gonna try to stick to the 6-max for a while until I either get a bankroll again (now back down to under $100) or I get bored and move back to Guitar Hero. I've moved up to Medium, and it's a lot harder than easy, but I'm managing to make it through most tunes. Once I play it all the way through to the end, I'll go back through and try to improve all my scores.

How do you geeks play Guitar Hero? Do you hammer at a song again and again until you get it perfect? Or do you go through the game at one difficulty level, then go back and work on songs until that difficulty level doesn't feel difficult anymore and then try moving up? Right now I still play Cliffs of Dover or Pride and Joy on easy to wind down after bad beats. It makes me smile.

I'm not holding my breath on being back on the machine between now and Wednesday, so if I'm not, Merry Christmas to all of you! I realize that there is the odd person here and there who might be of the Jewish persuasion who reads here from time to time (and yes, BWOP, I mean you're a person, Jewish and odd) and mean Merry Christmas in a purely secular, have a good holiday kinda way.

I'm not particularly religious myself, so a Merry Christmas from me really has no religious connotation behind it, more a wish for good cheer and an expression of thanks for being my friend. So to all of you - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and thanks for being my friend.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

This is what happens when comments go long...

This was originally a comment on Blinders' excellent post analyzing the juice at the Venetian WPBT tourney. If you haven't read that post, go do that, then come back here. I'll wait.

No argument here. And if the guy who set it up isn't going to argue, Blinders must be right on, right? And I'm being sincere, the juice on all the live tournaments in Vegas is ridiculous, and our private event was no different.

A couple of points as to why I went with a high-juice event which are outside of the simple percentages.

1) Nobody wanted to host us. The MGM does not have a large enough facility to host our event. The Imperial Palace, Harrah's, Bally's and Paris wanted to turn us over to their banquet division and treat us like a corporate meeting, with rental on all the tables, chairs, rooms, etc. We could have likely had a juice-free tournament under those circumstances, but there would have been a separate facilities charge that we all had to pony up for. The Orleans was not an option, and Caesar's wasn't interested.

The Venetian at that point became the only game in town, and I felt fortunate that they waived their typical $40 per person juice (plus the $10 toke) for a private tournament in favor of a $25 per person juice (plus the $10 toke).

2) I set the buy-in and suggested the juice. When we were first at Caesar's a couple of years ago, I remember looking down at my ticket and realizing that I was paying 27% juice on my initial $80 buy-in. I figured if I could keep the house portion (not counting toke) down around 20%, I'd be doing pretty good. 20% of $125 is $25. Mission accomplished. So actually, given that logic, we had a low-juice tourney compared to a lot of the daily tourneys in Vegas.

3) They allowed us to modify their standard structure. The changes weren't huge, but we did pay for the privilege of having a 75/150 level and another level in the middle rounds that I don't remember (maybe 300/600). Allowing us to skew the structure for more play early counted for a lot.

Good read on the 9-hour time frame. I think very few of us (you and I are two) expected it to be midnight when we finished when we walked into the Venetian on Saturday. I don't take any of your analysis of the juice as a slam on me or my efforts to set things up, I agree with all your statements and the comments and just added these few things to make sure everyone knew what went into my decision to have the tourney there. Let's face it, it was all about the comfy chairs and hot waitresses. The ones Don tried to bean with beer bottles :)!

I know everyone had a good time, and I certainly wouldn't play in a tourney with that kind of juice very often, so it is a good thing we only get together a couple times a year.

I can't decide if I said anything in here to piss anybody off, so somebody insert a comment under this one in my name to fire somebody up :).

I'm a bad MySpace friend...

I was reminded last night that I had failed to properly link up the estimable Pokerati on my blogroll, and above all, as the illustrious Dan pointed out "we are MySpace friends and all..."

So I made an effort today to add, post-haste, the home of not only the WSOP Player of the Year, but also the home of the fine host of the Beyond the Table podcast, and the source of all the greatest news on all things Texas poker-centric. It doesn't hurt that Michele Lewis writes over there when she spares the time from her own blog, and face it, she's a hottie.

Of course, she doesn't have the sartorial genius of Dan, who can at times be seen wearing a very notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat pink shirt at the poker table, and has also been sighted wearing things that he's dragged out of a garbage can. Regardless of his spectacular fashion sense, Dan can't hold a candle to Michele.

Admittedly, I haven't seen Dan in a French maid costume. And let's keep it that way, shall we? But anyway, I think I've now linked up to Pokerati sufficiently to fulfill my responsibility as a MySpace friend.

BTW - if this post, written with tongue firmly in cheek, has managed to set off any kind of drama-bomb anywhere, then I will take my sense of humor out back and shoot it. I did, in fact, leave Pokerati off my blogroll for a ridiculously long time. There was no malice intended, as I love Dan and all the Pokerati folks, and I thought that a humorous way to link up to them would be to make a silly post where I link to Pokerati more times in one post than anyone would ever reasonably do. I do in fact respect and admire Dan and all the folks at Pokerati and would never before this week think that I needed to clarify my good-natured ribbing of anyone in the poker blogging world.

Poker content - sort of

Because any of my play can only ever be described as "sort of" poker. I'm gonna take a break from subscribing to comments on pissed off or apologetic blog posts to recount my tournament play last night.

I went down to a small town south of here to play in a semi-underground tourney. I say semi-underground because the guy does take a small ($5 per person) rake, but it's much more like a big home game than an underground game. I've played it once before, when Special K and I went down in flames, finishing first and second. First and second to leave, that it.

So my whole goal was to make it past 2nd-bustout. Which I barely managed to do when I avoided going broke on a board of K-4-7-x-x and I held K-4 from the big blind. I got raised on the turn, which likely saved me chips, but I was still dumb enough to call his river bet and announce to the table that he had a set of 4s but I was paying him off anyway. I hate when I allow my ego to convince me that's a brilliant move. I don't mind paying off a bet on the river in a cash game when I'm 95% sure I'm behind, if it gets me information I can use later, but in a tournament bleeding away chips like that means that it's far less likely I'll have the opportunity to use that information later.

So I was short-stacked with 405 chips (blinds started at 10/20) with 25/50 blinds when I stole the blinds once, then tripled up with QTo when I was called by AK and 66 and hit a Queen on the flop and a Queen on the river to give me a little breathing room. Not long afterwards, I picked up Jacks in a blind and came over the top of a middle position raiser, who called me with 99. I didn't quite double up there, but I was comfortable in chips again.

I managed to make it to breaking down to 2 tables from a start of 3 at that point, then right after I'd been talking to a guy on break about how much I liked playing suited one-gappers, I pick up 10-8 spades in late position. I see the flop with 3 others, and it comes down Q-J-6 with two spades. I've picked up a flush draw and a gutty draw, and call the flop bet from a guy who's pretty obviously packing top pair, decent kicker. He checks the turn and I take the free card, which is the 9c, giving me my gutshot. I check to him, expecting the value bet on the river, but he checks behind me. Nice value check, me. I rake a big pot and can dodge and weave my way to the final table. We actually lost two players on the same hand before the final table, so it was 8-handed instead of 9-handed. I make a couple of preflop raises with KQ, KJ in late position, but have to dump when the Ace flops.

I find myself pretty short, with an M of around 7-8 when we're 6-handed, and a big stack raises in front of me. I look down at Ac-Ks, and reraise all in. He thinks for a moment before calling.

"Are we racing?" I ask.

"Probably." he replies.



"Oh, then you're dominated."

Sure enough, he tables AQo. I turn to the guy next to me and say "I'm doomed."

Flop is 6-As-Qs and I reach for my jacket. 10s on the turn gives me 15 outs, but the 4c on the river wasn't on the list, so I bust out two off the money, and go home.

I played fairly well with the notable exception of paying off the big river bet early when I knew I was beat, and the only suckout I unleashed was when my Q-10 made trips. So I made one suckout, I lost to one suckout, but overall I felt like I played pretty well.

We now return you to other sites which may be able to better fuel your need for drama-bombs. All my drama has been in the real world lately, I don't have time for invisible internet drama. In another milestone moment for me and Suzy, we bought a nice bed and had it delivered today.

We've been together 13 1/2 years, and this is the first decent bed we've bought new. We bought a new bed from a cheap-ass furniture store a couple years after we got married, and it sucked. Then I bought a bed from a friend who was moving into a smaller place and needed to get rid of her queen-sized bed. It was a good bed, but it already had some years on it when I bought it, so it's sucked for the past couple of years.

Now we got a BED. We went to the Original Mattress Company, which is a locally-owner mattress factory, and bought their top-of-the-line pillowtop king-size mattress. Then went to Chez Tarzhay (you know, that place where I've funded Drizz's 401(k) all fall) and spent a buttload of money on new bedding. So if I'm late for work tomorrow, it's because I don't wanna get out of my new bed.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Note to self - subscribe to the RSS feed for Hoy's comments.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Are there friends in business?

So I've got a big mouth, and am frequently opinionated.

I know, these statements shock you.

But anyway, I gave a seminar in March about lighting. I do this with some frequency, and they are almost always unscripted, off-the-cuff riffs on the given topics. They're frequently enjoyed by my audience, and I occasionally manage to impart a few pearls of wisdom from my dozen or so years in the entertainment lighting industry. At the end, I typically take questions, and I try to answer them honestly.

Sometimes this is not in my best interests.

Apparently, in one of my sessions at a conference this March, I made a statement that I would not recommend a particular product from a particular manufacturer for a particular application. I don't remember it, but this product is not my favorite product the company has ever come out with, and since not every lighting console is right for every application, it's more than likely that I did, in fact say exactly that.

Well, the regional sales manager for that manufacturer is someone I've known for better than ten years now. I'm directly responsible for over $1 million in sales of his product each year. Probably 1/3 of that comes from discretionary business where I am the sole decision maker as to what product is put onto a job. This manager and I have had many dinners together, gotten frat-boy level drunk together on more than one occasion, and in a few rare instances, partaken of some Pauly-esque substances. I certainly was under the impression that we were friends outside of the business world.

Which is why it hurt me that he was apparently so pissed off at me because of statements that I reportedly made in one of my workshops (which he didn't attend and I don't recall) that he didn't come to our office for nine months, and has yet to speak to me about the incident.

An incident that was brought to my attention today. OVER. NINE. MONTHS. LATER. Now in that nine months I've submitted orders for hundreds of thousands of dollars of his equipment, had dinner with him at a conference, had drinks with him, and had an hour-long conversation with him in my office. At no time did he man up enough to say "you pissed me off." Or even "fuck you, you fucking fuck."

Now I understand that I'm fairly straightforward, and that not everyone is as plain-spoken as I am, but fuck a duck! After a decade of doing business together, hanging out at conferences, getting shitty drunk together and sharing thoughts on life, the universe and everything, what kind of friend doesn't have the testicular fortitude to come and get the straight poop from me, and tell me that I put my foot in my mouth? It's not like it would be the first time, and with as much experience as I have in extracting my digit from my dentals, I've learned long ago how to say "I'm sorry."

I feel really betrayed by this, and like I need to re-examine a lot of my professional relationships. One thing I've always liked about the industry I work in is that I feel like I can be friends with my co-workers, manufacturers and customers, and this calls that into doubt for me. I guess I'll have to treat it like a fucking job now. Am I wrong to expect people to have the stones, or at least the respect for their largest customer, to call me out on something if I piss them off? For background, my company is the largest customer in the US for this manufacturer, which controls 80% of the market share in our industry, so it's not like anything either of us says will actually change the fiscal relationship.

Of course, I'm still working on a quarter-million dollars worth of sales for his product, which I'm likely to close this week, netting him a nice commission check despite of my current annoyance.

TILT - a way of life

I have no reason to be on tilt. My job is going well, I just got back from a semi-annual trip to Vegas with 120 of my closest friends, my wife and I are happy together, and we're both relatively healthy.

I have no good reason to be on perma-tilt, but I have been grumpy since I got back from Vegas, and for no good reason. Some of it spills out at the poker tables, where I've gotten to the point where if I get all my chips in late in a SNG while ahead of my opponent, I go ahead and minimize the window, because I know I'm behind. My Guitar Hero play is going fairly well, but the exercise thing has taken a back seat since I got back from Vegas, and that, coupled with the holiday meals this weekend, has taken a toll. I've put on 4 pounds since returning from Vegas, and I'm having a hard time kick-starting my diet and exercise regimen again.

I did drag my ass outta bed this morning to do 20 minutes of interval training on the stationary bike. Intervals are of the devil, but they can get an intense workout in when you have a very limited time. What I do for a 20-minute interval session is this -

3-minute warm-up
1-minute interval - pedal as hard as I can for 60 seconds
2-minute recovery period, at an easy pace (13 mph on middle resistance for me)
2-minute interval - (same resistance, 21-22 mph)
4-minute recovery period
1-minute interval
2-minute recovery
2-minute interval
4-minute recovery/cool down

Then there's a few minutes of staggering around and nausea, as the intervals are brutal, but it gets a huge boost to my heart rate early in the day, and allows me to get the equivalent of a 45-minute workout done in 20 minutes. I'll likely do a normal 30-minute ride tomorrow morning, and try to do intervals twice a week for a little while, to knock some of the rust off. I also want to get back to my free weight workouts twice a week to go back to building some muscle mass.

Holidays are always tough on losing or just maintaining weight, and I'm trying to pay attention to that now since I have made so much progress toward a healthy weight. The comments I got from everyone in Vegas were amazing, and so were the comments I got yesterday at Suzy's family Christmas get-together. I think my favorite came from Iggy, when he said "I have to keep changing my mental picture of you. You used to be the jolly fat guy, and now it's like you're John's rock n' roll younger brother!" Now I gotta make sure I can keep the weight off, not to mention losing that last 20 lbs.

Probably no online poker for me the next few days, as I've suffered a remarkable combination of suckouts and bad play in the $6 Turbo SNGs lately. It's amazing. I understand that my aggressive style of play leads me to be the guy that gets called down with a bunch of mediocre hands by my opponents, and I'm usually okay with that. But it does get frustrating when those mediocre hands hit in 5-6 running SNGs to bust me short of the money.

BG had a tournament at his place Friday night, and that was fun. I did get a little frustrated with my buddy Jim the Knife, who has started a new blog since Vegas, decided he was a short stack when he was actually holding about an average stack and came over the top of my preflop raise with QJo to my 99. I called the push, since Jim had limped into the hand to begin with and his number of limp-reraise hands was pretty small and I was ahead of most of them, and he ht on the flop. Not a terrible move on his part, but I was frustrated that he made the move because he thought he was the short stack when in fact he was an average stack. I went out a few hands later with KXc against QXc when a Queen hit.

Cash game was better, and I profited about $100 after deducting the tourney buy-in, so it was a good night overall. I played much better when I was sitting in the corner finishing up a writing assignment for PokerNews than when I was actually at the table. Basically I limped into every pot, had someone read the board off to me, and called any bet that I had 5:1 pot odds to make. Once the turn hit and people actually started making real bets, I asked someone to flash me my cards, and then I made a decision. I hit a couple of lucky rivers and added about 50% to my stack while I was away from the table. BG and I had a running flop bet color prop going, and I think I finished maybe $5 ahead on that. I think I'm too aggressive for my home game, and need to dial it back a touch. Might be interesting to see if I can take the next month or so and create a fold equity for myself that's >0.

I think the game the week after Christmas is going to be kitchen-table poker with a $1-$5 spread limit format. Bring back some old chestnuts like Follow the Bitch, Low card in the Hole is Wild, shit like that. The only rule will be - No Hold 'Em. Unless it's Double-Flop.

Anyway, I know some of you have family in my part of the world. If you're gonna be down over the holidays let me know.

Friday, December 14, 2007


You know when your dreams feature Florence Henderson, Malcolm Jamal Warner, the dad from that show with Erkel, show tunes and snowmobiles (which for the record I've never seen one of in real life), that your subconscious is trying to tell you something.

But I'm fucked if I have any idea what.

I played the Riverchasers last night. For one hand. As stupid as it might have been to bet on every street with the Hammer, it was equally stupid to call me down on every street with top pair, Jack kicker on a flushy board. The possibility does exist that I may have had a good hand. Obviously I didn't, but the possibility was there.

Was also playing the $24+2 Razz tourney at the same time and lost patience with it after almost two hours. Shouldn't have signed up, my razz tolerance is only really good for an hour at best. Meh. Online bankroll back down to floating around $100. Need to focus on the SNGs for a while.

I suck at the turbos that everyone seems to like so much, so somebody shoot me the high points on how optimal turbo play is different from optimal standard SNG play. Of course, my SNG play may be far from optimal, but I think it works out well, so there's that.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Tea House

A couple of my favorite WPBT memories have happened at the Tea House in the IP. There was the summer in 2006 when I had lunch with DoubleAs and got to talk a little poker theory with one of the finest poker minds among us. There were a whole bunch of breakfasts with my wife on various trips when we were able to just chill over some scrambled eggs.

And then there was lunch with Johnny Hughes. Johnny Hughes was instantly recognizable by his hat, with Texas Poker Wisdom embroidered on it in gold letters, a smart piece of marketing from the self-published novelist. Getting to play poker with him was great, especially since I had position on him. One of my greatest poker moments came from making a move on him on an Ace-high flop with 4-2 off suit. I had called his preflop raise, knowing that if the flop checked around to him, he'd likely fire another bullet to take it down. It checked around, Johnny fired, and I raised him pretty stiff. He folded muttering "A-Q," giving me far too much credit. I don't bluff much in Vegas, there's no margin in it because you can't usually bet anybody out of a pot, but when I had the chance to raise a smart player in position I knew I could take it down.

Strategy moment - That's an important point of my game - I bluff very little. My friends think I play shit all the time, and I do have a huge range of hands that I'm willing to put money in with, but I'm very seldom on a naked bluff (unless I have the hammer, which will only happen a little less than 1% of hands). I bet my draws, and when they hit I bet harder. I bet my middle pairs, and if I get raised, I can dump the hand. If I get called, I have another chance to win the pot on a later street. But I'm practically never (again, about 1% of the time) betting with absolute air. There are come people who consider betting out with their draws and their middle pair bluffing, but to me that's just betting for information and to build a pot.

But anyway, regardless of the one move I put on Johnny at the table, when Suzy came down for lunch with her dad, I invited Johnny and PokerPeaker up for lunch with us, and they both came along. Hanging with the old road gambler was one of the highlights of my trip. Not so much because of any poker wisdom I picked up from the conversation, but more from the life wisdom he floated casually through the conversation. Who'da thunk that a Texas road gambler would have turned into a yoga practitioner? Or a college professor? Johnny is a helluva guy, and I'm about 2/3 of the way through his book now and think it's one of the best reads I've picked up in years. So if you're looking for a Christmas present, click over on my Amazon bar and order Texas Poker Wisdom by Johnny Hughes. Lunch with Johnny and Peaker was definitely one of the high points of the trip for me.

Recapus Interruptus

My recaps from the weekend of debauchery are interrupted by the fucking real world.

I knew the whole trip that my first day back to work would be extremely tough. I knew that I was going to have to fire one of my employees. This is the first time I've had to do that, and it sucked about as bad as I thought it would. The poor guy really didn't have much idea what was coming, and I felt terrible. But as my boss put it, it was one of those Kirk v. Spock things, where the good of the many outweighed the good of the few, or the one. I had to let go one of my team for the overall good of the team. And I hate it. I hate that it had to happen right before the holidays, I hate that it happened right after he proposed to his girlfriend, I hate that he didn't see it coming, I hate that I made the mistake in hiring him, I hate that I wasn't enough of a manager to bring out in him the traits I needed to see to keep him on.

But I took the promotion, and I made the call, so I get to feel like an asshole. Feeling like an asshole is not by any stretch a new experience. I am a bit of an asshole, so I'm used to it. But I try very hard to go through life with no regrets, and I'll regret for quite a while that I made the mistake in hiring that led to this unfortunate turn of events. My only saving grace was that I wasn't asshole enough to fire him before I went to Vegas, which would have meant that I fired him on his birthday, the day before he left to go on a cruise where he planned to propose to his girlfriend. I had to live with another week and a half of dreading what was coming, but as another guy in the office put it "I'd feel pretty worried if you were able to do that to him."

I wish him all the luck in the world, and wish that it could have worked out differently. But it didn't, and that's on me. After all, I took the promotion.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Trip Report Part 1

This isn't going to involve a whole lot in the way of chronological order, more like snapshots and highlight reel stuff.

For those of you who didn't meet him, Suzy and I brought along Suzy's father on this trip - his first to Vegas. The plan is that we bring somebody along for Suzy to trek through casinos with while I play poker all day, thus increasing the level of matrimonial harmony. It mostly worked.

I'm gonna start by talking about the tournament. After the summer debacle at the Orleans, where the Summer Classic was turned into a Turbo tournament by the dickcheese tournament director at the Orleans poker room (where I will never play again, so help me Jebus) I was a little concerned abut herding 100+ kittens into the Venetian poker room for what looked to be the largest WPBT tourney ever.

I needn't have worried. The staff at the Venetian were excellent, the tournament directors had it all under control and processed everyone quickly, and when the 75/150 blind level hit, the last tiny details that I had been concerned with was covered - they took our structure and made it happen. Miami Don got up and came over to my table at that point to shake my hand for putting in the 75/150 level to give more play early, which was my whole point. Admittedly, we gave up the 100/200 level without antes, but to me going 75/150 then 100/200/25 was a lesser jump than 50/100 then 100/200 then 100/200/25.

Basically when I was given the opportunity to tweak the structure, I made every effort to include as much early play as possible. I knew the event was going to run 8+ hours, and figured that if I ran true to form, I'd only manage about 5 of those hours, so I wanted to make sure I got as much out of the tourney as possible. And that would by extension benefit everyone else, but I did it for me. I've never cashed in a blogger tournament before, live or online, so I figured buying tickets to Blue Man Group for 10PM Saturday was safer than betting the Pats to cover on Sunday.

You didn't take the Steelers, did you?

Well, at 9:35 we broke down to 2 tables after restructuring the prize pool to pay top 20 instead of top 9, and I sold my BMG ticket to Warbucks, since I was in decent chip position and wanted to win the fucker at that point. And yes, I had officially lost the albatross of never cashing in a blogger tournament by making the money. Going into the event my goal had been to make it through the first break, and not be the first of my home game crew to go busto. By the time we got to the money I had long outlasted any of my Charlotte posse, and I said to someone at the table, "Fuck the money, I want the flag."

DrChako had sent, via TheWife (who totally needs to rename herself TheHotWife), a flag that had flown over Camp Connor in Iraq, with a note that said "You are what I'm fighting for." When the final table was in range and I had chips, I wanted the flag.

Of course, by now you all know that it was not to be, as The Rooster, cagey mofo that he is, took it down. I went out somewhere around 13th or 14th, collected my winnings (which amounted to my buy-in back, which I was happy with more for what it symbolized than for the $135) and went on my merry way. Actually, I went to the Noodle Bar with Joe Speaker and we had what must have been the greatest meal of all time. Quite possibly because we hadn't eaten for over 8 hours and both of us were feeling the Vegas crud coming on, the noodles and green tea were frickin' fantastic. And having the chance to eat a quiet meal with one of my favorite writers didn't suck either.

So, there was poker played. I even played some of it. I played squeaky-tight in the early rounds, following a strategy in the first few levels of "win a pot, take a walk." I tend to get too loose early in tournaments, and there was no need in this one, with 6,000 starting chips and 25/50 blinds. So I'd look at my cards, fold, walk around. Or I'd look at my cards, play the hand, scoop a few chips, and take a walk. It worked out okay, and I was just barely over the starting stack at the first break.

So I had 6,050 chips when the level changed to 100/200/25, giving me an M of healthy. I picked up a few pots here and there, but nothing real big until I got moved to my third table of the day. I'm sitting there with Astin, CK, Miami Don and a bunch of others when I pick up the Asian Jew. By this time my stack is starting to look puny, but I have position on CK and Change100, both of whom have bigger stacks. It folds around to Astin, who raises. I shove, he thinks about it for a minute, and just as I think he's folding, he says "since you organized all this, I'll donate." and calls with AT.

Fuck. "I'm doomed. This is exactly how I went out in the summer. The 10's coming."

But history does not repeat itself, and I double through Astin. Then I have chips, and can make a few moves. But I try to stay tight and only apply pressure when it's folded to me in late position or when I have big hands. It doesn't take long before I'm moved again, this time to a table with Jordan, one of Jordan's friends, Schecky, KuroKitty and Blinders. Blinders has a mountain of chips, and my only good feeling is that he's on my right elbow, so I can stay out of his way unless I decide to tangle with him.

I've only been at the table a couple of hands when Jordan's friend raised preflop, it folded around to me and I find AK in late position. I push over the top, not really wanting a call, and certainly not wanting it to be with pocket 10s. But he does, and I sweat the board til the river brings my King. I think at that point I say something about being glad it's a 7-card game. I run into TT-AK again later, this time with me holding the tens, and I fade the AK for another big pot. Then I get moved again, this time to the position that would be my demise.

Let's go ahead and lay it out there that I love the G-Vegas boys. They've got game (except maybe for TheMark, who is this year's edition of Gigli), and I get a kick out of playing with all of them. I also know that they are all, without exception, better poker players than me. So it was with great glee when I got moved to the seat on Otis' left elbow. Because if I have to play someone who's better than me, I need position. So of course, when I make it to my 5th table of the day, I get moved right back next to Otis. On his right elbow. Just where I did not want to be.

But I still had chips, and I still made moves, hit flops and was able to get away from hands. At one point after going all in over the top of my preflop raise again, Otis muttered to me "stop making good laydowns when you're getting 2-1." I took it as the compliment it was meant to be, and tried not to stop making good laydowns. Finally we made a deal to restructure the payouts to pay top 20, because we'd been stalled at 23 for a while and everyone was playing super-tight trying to find the right spots to make a move to get to the final table. Once we set the payout at 20, it only took moments for the bubble to burst, with Columbo on a micro-stack sweating missing his flight the whole way.

As soon as the bubble burst, Columbo got on the phone to the airline and rebooked himself on a later flight, as Mrs. Columbo headed to the airport without him. Now Columbo had a mission - to finish high enough in the money to cover the cost of rebooking his ticket. His stack went all in more times than a jelly dong at a porn convention, but he did a good job of making his way to the final table.

Me? Oh, yeah. When we got reshuffled to two tables, I thought I'd be able to make some moves, except for one dude. Otis. On my left elbow. Again. So when the stacks got small relative to the blinds, I shoved with Presto. Otis called with Queens. The appropriate things happened, Queens held up, and I had cashed in my first ever blogger event. Interestingly enough, I felt like I played far better poker last winter, but suffered a brutal beat to cripple me. I played well in this event, and I was thrilled to make the money. I had a blast, and thought the folks at the Venetian did a fantastic job herding all the cats, even if there was one bitchy cocktail waitress that put Don on tilt.

Oh, and I busted at 9:50 PM, so I coulda made the show. But I needed food desperately, and Jim had never seen Blue Man before, so it was great that he took the ticket.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Things I will try to elaborate on more fully in the coming days -

"Fuck the money, I want the flag"

"You're such a donkey, Pablo"

"Dude, I want a pair of those sunglasses."

"Where's my duck?"

"If there is a doctor on board the airplane, please ring your call light. Please just proceed to the back of the airplane."

"How can you go 27-0 in the first half and NOT FUCKING MAKE A 39 POINT OVER????"

"You're my last horse, Schecky."

"I'm playing craps at 2AM in a kilt. And nobody really notices the kilt."

"I'm gonna go take a quick nap and I'll see you in an hour."

"Yeah, I kinda slept for 9 hours."

"Where's my duck?"

"Right read, wrong results."

"Can I just get ONE hand this weekend?"

More will come. It was great to see you all, great to meet some of you, and as always, I wish I had enough time to actually hang out with you more. I'll be back in Vegas the weekend after the Super Bowl for some solo raging, so if you're around and wanna hang, lemme know.

And if anybody's got any comped rooms that are good for that weekend, I'll happily take them off your hands.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A legend fades away...

Too young.

Thursday night, we'll raise a glass to a man who played the game with class and a level of skill most of us can only dream of.

R.I.P. David "Chip" Reese.

WSOP 7-Card Stud Hi/Lo Champion 1978

WSOP 7-Card Stud Hi Champion 1982

WSOP HORSE Champion 2006

When Doyle Brunson calls you the "best Seven Card Stud player I've ever played with," then you've got something really on the ball.

Conversation from the office

"Oh yeah, you're going to that wedding."

"Well, now it looks like we might not be going."

"Oh. Okay. What's another decade without speaking to your relatives?"

"Worked out well this last decade."

"There's that."

"So I spoke to my other brother, the one that lives in Marietta."

"Do you speak to him more often than once a decade?"

"Yes. I spoke to him last year. We're close."

"I have to go blog that. I'll be back in a minute."


I walked into work roughly on time and said to my boss "Victor, I need to take a long lunch today, I'm going downtown to get married."

Victor, being the gentle, caring soul that he is, replied "Really? Hell, take the whole afternoon off!"

"Nah, Suzy's gotta be at work at 3, so I'll come back. And we're not really getting married, we're just going to get the license."

"Oh, okay then."

So I meet Suzy at the courthouse a little after noon, and we walk in to get our marriage license. We pay our $75 fee ($45 of which goes to domestic violence prevention programs, a figure I found a little disturbing), and the nice lady behind the counter says "Y'all gone do it today?"

"We called yesterday and they said we could only get married by the judge on Tuesdays, so we figured we'd wait 'til next week."

"Oh no, honey. That's just when he does it in the courtroom. Y'all can go across the street to the magistrate's office anytime and get married."

I looked at Suzy, she looked at me, I said "You want to?"

"Why not?" She said.

So we went across the street and asked the receptionist where we went to get married.

Then we had a thought - no witnesses. Shit. So we asked the receptionist if she could come back and be a witness if we needed one. She cooed a little bit and thought that was just the sweetest thing, and then said that we should be ok, there were a couple of people in the office.

So we went back to a little gray room where two people were filling out paperwork, a twenty-something woman with crutches and a severely swollen eye, and a friend who was reading the paperwork to her and filling in her answers on the papers.

"Y'all go ahead."

So we went up to the glass and asked the magistrate if he would marry us. He asked if we had witnesses, and we asked the two people filling out paperwork if they'd witness our wedding.

"You ain't serious!"

"I am serious."

"Alright. I'm Darryl, this is Dawn."

"What are you guys doing here."

"We're filling out a complaint against Dawn's boyfriend. He done beat her in the head with a telephone last night."


Without much else to say, we all four walked (or crutched, in Dawn's case) our way up to the front desk, where the magistrate read us our wedding vows through bulletproof glass. He slid the paperwork under the glass, we all signed it, and went on our merry way.

As we stood outside the courthouse in our newly wedded bliss (which also somewhat resembled the look of people who have just survived a tornado, as it happened much faster than we expected) we decided that since Suzy didn't have to be at work for another couple of hours, we'd go have lunch. So we scraped together a few bucks and trundled over to a nearby McDonald's. Suzy went to the pay phone in the parking lot to call her dad and leave the good news on his answering machine, and we got in line to sit down and have a nice romantic Happy Meal.

As we stood in line discussing the mild level of ridiculous involved in the whole thing, the cashier overheard us talking about the fact that we had just gotten married and were having our wedding lunch at McDonald's, and told us our lunch was on the house. A nice gesture, but if she'd said that before we ordered, I probably would have added an apple pie. So we had our first wedded meal at a McDonald's in the middle of the work day, then we went on our separate ways back to our jobs.

It might not have been the big elaborate wedding every little girl dreams of, but for the past twelve years, it's lasted. Today I woke up, rolled over and kissed her on the forehead and said one of my favorite phrases, that I only get to say one day a year.

Happy Anniversary.

A look inside the Falstaff home game...

This is a quote from Sunday's game, and it pretty much sums up the way my home game plays.

Nathan the younger is all in with pocket Nines on a raggedy board.

Nathan the elder called all in with a pair lower than nines, and a King kicker in his hand.

"He's only got five outs, you're doomed." I say to Nathan the younger as Nathan the elder tables his hand.

King on the river. And Nathan the elder stacks another one.

And that's the game we play.

Does anybody remember...

How many people we had at Caesar's last December?

Because it looks like we've got about 120 people signed up for our tourney on Saturday.

I'm waiting for Blinders to set the lines on who's gonna win this thing.

That's a big pile of people. See you this weekend!

Monday, December 03, 2007

BoDonkey tomorrow night

So I know a bunch of you are already on the bandwagon, but it's possible that someone might not already be playing the BoDonkey every Tuesday night.

Get with it!

Bodog has invited us to play and they're adding a bunch of cool stuff to the event. Here's the details -

Bodog invites Poker Bloggers to play in it’s Online Poker Blogger Tournament with a total of $600 in bonus money.

If you are 1 of the 5 money bubblers, you’ll have your $11 buy-in refunded and if you finish in the top 5 you will win an entry for Bodog’s Sunday $100K Guaranteed tournament.

This tournament runs weekly on Tuesday evenings and requires a password for entry.

Tournament Details

  • Day of week: Tuesday Nights
  • Start time: 8:35pm ET
  • Tournament Name: “Online Poker Blogger Tournament” at Bodog
  • Entry Password: bodogblogger
  • Buy-in + fee: $10 + $1
  • Starting Chips: 3000 (Double Stack)
  • Payout: Standard Bodog payout structure
  • Bonuses:
    • T$109 bonus paid to the top 5 finishers.
    • T$11 bonus paid to the 5 players that are eliminated prior to payouts.
      • These bonuses will be awarded within 24hrs of the tournament completion.
      • T$ = Tournament Credits. These can be used as a buy in to almost all scheduled tournaments at Bodog and have a ratio to cash of 1:1.
      • T$ can also be combined with cash to buy in to tournaments.

So if you haven't checked out Bodog Poker, this is a great time! Bodog - it's not just for 11-team parlay bets anymore!

Weekend Update

No, there's nothing to currently update about the little get-together in Vegas coming up later this week. More an update on the state of the world after the weekend.

Friday night was home game night at Casa de Falstaff, and after dumping my first buy-in quickly I managed to squeak back to a nearly respectable $40 profit after being the victim of the suck-resuck on the following hand.

I'm in the cutoff with 10-6 sooted. Yep, pure trash, but it was getting late and there were a bunch of limpers in the pot, so I jumped in the pool with everybody else. Uncle Phil was on the button and raised, and a couple of us made the call. The flop came down 10-8-7 rainbow, and following my normal strategy of late when I hit a flop with my trashy hands, I went through a checklist in my head.

1) Did it hit me? Yep.

2) Is it likely to have hit my opponents? Not really. Phil raised preflop, so I put him on a range of hands that included big pocket pairs and hands containing two big cards. There are more hands that contain two big cards than there are premium pocket pairs, so I figured it was about 25% that the flop hit him. So three out of four times, I'm ahead here.

3) Will he fold if I bet? Not friggin' likely, since I'm the table maniac, and I get more action than I want. Note to the players in my home game that read here - I raise strongly preflop with about 20 hands. One of them is the Hammer. That means that 5% of the time that I stick a big raise in there preflop, I have the Hammer. 95% of the time I make a big raise (8-10x the big blind) I have a big hand.

4) Will he fold to a check-raise? Maybe. I figure he's either got two overcards to that flop, or an overpair. There are more combos of overcards than there are overpairs, so I think he only has an overpair about 25% of the time. That means that 75% of the time, I'm ahead at this point.

So I check, and Phil leads out for $8 into about a $15 pot. That's a good bet, but it's not big enough or small enough to tell me anything. If anyone calls, I call. If everyone between us folds, I go for the check-raise, represent a set and try to take down the pot right there.

So it folds around to me, and I pop it to $20. Phil looks over at me, and says "I'm all in."

Well, shit.

OK, do the math. I have top pair, crap kicker, and an inside straight draw. I'm about 95% sure I'm behind after his raise, so how much more money is it, how much is in the pot, and do I have enough outs to call.

Okay, the raise is $22 more to me. There's about$70 currently in the pot, so it's about 3.5:1 to make the call.

Now I've narrowed his range to Aces, Kings, Queens or Jacks. A set didn't enter the equation because I have one of the tens, and I don't think he raises preflop with eights or sevens.

So there are 2 tens, 3 sixes and 4 nines left that make me a winner. Nine outs twice made me about a 36% chance to win the pot, which is pretty much exactly what I needed to make it the right call.

So I did. And the 9 peels off on the turn, and I turn over to Phil and say "I just cracked you, I have a six." Neither of us have revealed our hands yet. Phil says "Unless I put a Jack down there, showing Queens."

And he does. And he re-sucks, hitting his four-outer to scoop a monster pot and take most of my night's profit. It also puts Phil back to nearly even for the night.

So yes, the best hand won. And yes, it was a suckout. I did have to hit one of my nine outs to take the lead in the hand, and he came back with one of his four outs to win. That, my friends, is poker. I have to think that we both played that hand post-flop as well as either of us could have played it. We're going to ignore, for the moment, the fact that I called a raise preflop out of position from a tight player with 10-6. Once I had made that error, the rest of the hand played out well by both of us.

Last night Skoon hosted a home game, and I busted out of the tourney early when I got called down on a scary board by bottom pair and crippled, then started up the cash game by gifting my stack to Nate.

As did Nathan the Younger.

As did Brian.

Nate got on a roll early and stacked everyone, before cooling off and giving it all back with interest later. I managed to eke out a win in that game as well by hitting a streak of hot cards, raising 10xBB 4-5 hands in a row, and finding Brian willing to play with me on what turned out to be his last hand.

In his defense, there's not really a defense against a loose-aggressive player who is catching a string of good starting hands. Their preflop range is so wide to begin with, it really does become hard to tell what they're opening for a raise with, especially when the raise is the same amount for 4 hands running.

That's why I did it that way.

I picked up JJ in early position, and made it $5 to go. Brian called, and everyone else folded. Now I'm giving up position to a good player with one of my least favorite hands in poker. If there's no Jack on the flop I make one C-bet and I'm done with the hand. His range of calling me preflop is almost as wide as my range of raising hands (actually probably a little wider, since he was on my left).

Jack in the door. Queen-high flop. Two spades.

I bet another $5.


Not a spade on the turn, I bet another $5.


Queen on the river. Can I get him to raise me if I make a weakish river bet? I've put him on either a Queen or a spade draw, and if he's got a Queen, no way he puts me on Jacks and I might be able to stack him. If he's on spades, I'm not getting any more money out of him anyway, but if I bet and he folds I gain information and don't have to show my hand, thus winning the information battle as well as the pot.

I bet $10.

Brian goes all-in. I insta-call. He tables Q-10 for trips and is done for the night. There really wasn't much escaping the hand for him, because sets are gold, but I also think I played it about as well as I could have, which felt good for a change.

I think my game is in decent shape, and I'm looking forward to playing against unfamiliar styles this weekend. Not to mention the partying!