Sunday, October 31, 2004

PGP

The geek bloggers out there may think the title of this post refers to something else.

However, it does not refer to a commonly used encryption scheme. It stands for Play Good Poker.

While this may seem all too obvious to many of you, I have to confess to losing sight of what the goal of my poker sessions should be. You see, I've been carrying this albatross of online poker losses around my neck since March of this year. Eliminating that big minus sign in front of my current career online earnings has held too much of my focus.

I've been guilty of recalculating that number mid-session, almost on a hand by hand basis. It's the curse of a mind that is good with numbers. (Aside: As a Little Leaguer from the ages of 10-12, I used to calcuate in my head my batting average after every at bat. It got so bad that one time (no, not at band camp) after a hit, a fellow teammate would say, "What's your average now?")

To combat this obsession, I've refocused myself. PGP is my new mantra. Each hand is its own opportunity for me to PGP. My current bankroll and my current monetary standing at the table are no longer factors in how I play a hand. They never should have been, but I confess to being guilty of that sin.

Where I work, we used to embrace a variation reduction methodology known as Six Sigma. One of it's trueisms is that you get what you measure, meaning by whatever measurement you use to gage success, the focus will evolve into improving that measurement.

Perhaps monetary status is the wrong measurement. If I "drilled down" (shoot me now for using that terminology) to find out what measurement best describes PGP, it would not be monetary status, i.e. wins and losses. The correct measurement in this case should be the decisions you make because that is truly what you control.

I've only seen one other blogger do it before, but I firmly believe that going back over hand histories and determining how well you made your all-in decisions, either calling or betting, is a great idea.

My next project is to do just that and "report out" (shoot me again if you missed before) my findings. I may just update my blog template to reflect the measurement of my all-in decisions rather than the results of those decisions. We shall see.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

10% of Nothing is Nothing

Like I figured, Otis outlasted me in the tournament. I believe I went out either 36th or 37th. The structure of the tournament was, at best, poor.

Starting chips were $85 and the blinds were $1/$2. No problem there really. But the levels were only 20 minutes. At a table of 10, that's 1 orbit per level, a la Party Poker. The blinds progressed to $2/$4, $3/$6 then $5/10.

At the first break after level 3, I'm exactly even at T85. I pay the blinds one time through and then I'm dealt the best hand I saw all night, A,T hearts. I limp for T10 with about 5 others. The flop is Q-high, 2 hearts. Pretty easy move right here, all-in. I get called by someone holding A,Qo and don't see the heart I need. Buh-bye.

Meanwhile, Otis is surviving the blind increases, but only barely. He gets to play much longer than me and as I suspected there's a flurry of people busting out in the $10/$20 level. I believe Otis finished in 13th, which is pretty remarkable.

Cash games ensued and I made back my buy-in relatively quickly at a $1/$2 NL table. J,J and A,K suited won me big pots. But alas, I gave most of it back when my A,8 suited that turned top two pair lost to a rivered 4-outer gutshot straight draw. That was a big $100+ pot. Then I went card dead and basically broke about even for the cash games.

People started leaving and I was one of the final 6 to keep playing. But unfortunately, it wasn't poker. It was a game resembling poker, but all you basically did was get dealt 2 cards and someone goes all-in. After about 2 hands of this garbage, I packed up and left pondering if I'd be playing in these types of tournaments again.

I'm not a big fan of crap shoot tournaments where you don't really need a bunch of skill to stay alive.

And yeah, I had Otis' back the whole night.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Me 'n Otis

Tonight is a big night. 50-player $75 buy-in NLHE tournament. I forwarded information about the tourney to Otis so that he could get a chance to play more live poker, as he mentioned he'd like to do.

Since we're very close to being world class players in our own right (*cough* who said that? *cough*), we thought it would be neat to exchange stakes in each other, just like the pros. It's only 10% though, basically enough for a small profit on our buy-in's if one of us cashes.

I've got a good feeling about Otis' chances in this thing, don't ask why, I just do. I'm in one of those "everything I predict has come true" modes and this is just another one of those hunches. He's been a bit off in his predictions about me for the Blogger tourneys, but I'm blogging this entry right now to prove my prognostication ablities are right up there with that Nostro-whatever guy.

Wish me luck, Otis won't need it, I will.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

There's No Crying in Baseball

For those of you who are tired of non-poker, Red Sox-based content, please come back tomorrow.

My phone rang at about 12:18 AM this morning. I knew who it was. My dad wanted to congratulate me for being alive to see the Sox win the World Series. You see, there are millions of people who've cheered for the Sox their entire lives praying that one day it might happen. And there are millions of people who didn't get to see it.

My grandmother, my only surviving grandparent and a huge Sox fan, was six when they last won. She was born the same year Fenway Park opened and used to always describe for me how my late grandfather listened to the Sox games his final years before MS took his life. She would remind me of the time one of my uncles threw the radio through the window after Game 7 in 1946. The window wasn't open at the time.

Perhaps I'm placing too much importance on such a relatively minor event. I'm open to that possibility. But for me, someone who's invested over 30 years of emotional energy on a team that had been cursed (yes, cursed) for decades, it was an amazing experience.

That they won is huge in and of itself. How they won is amazing. The Sox-Yankees rivalry is the most heated in all of professional sports. To have come back from a 3-0 deficit was borderline miraculous.

It need not be said that I'm a huge baseball fan. My kids names are Morgan (daughter) and Jackson (son) - it's only a partial coincidence that those are the names of MVP award-winners from the 1970's.

I have the entire game on TiVo and plan on getting it to DVD eventually. I can't wait to watch it with my kids and pass down to them the feelings of watching the Sox win a World Championship.

For any sports fans reading this, I honestly hope you get to experience this once in your lives, I'll never forget it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Bring It

An email graced my inbox this afternoon:

According to SLAYER fan site SlayerSaves.com, SLAYER have announced the cities on the group's upcoming J├Ągermeister Music Tour that will include an effect dubbed the "Wall of Blood."

At select shows (determined by each venue's technical specs) during SLAYER's classic song "Raining Blood", the band, their instruments, and the stage will be drenched by a downpour of "blood." The "Wall of Blood" will rain more than 150 litres of theatrical blood over an area measuring from 32-feet to 40-feet wide (determined by the size of the venue's stage), 25-feet high, and six-feet deep. The device is a dedicated truss and sprinkler system that utilizes a unique pump technology, and was designed exclusively for SLAYER by U.K.-based Hangman Productions.

SLAYER first used the "raining blood" effect last July in Augusta, ME while filming their brand-new DVD, "Still Reigning". The Dean Karr-directed DVD, due on November 2, opens with the the band's 1986, 28-minute benchmark album "Reign In Blood" performed live in its entirety by SLAYER's original line-up — Tom Araya (vocals, bass), guitarists Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman, and drummer Dave Lombardo, who permanently rejoined the band in 2003.

SLAYER's J├Ągermeister Music Tour itinerary (* denotes "Wall of Blood" dates):

Nov. 25 - Tabernacle - Atlanta, GA *

Monday, October 25, 2004

Brothers in Arms

Got to get in a couple of hours at Party w/Pauly's bro' Derek last night and much fun was had by all.

Derek saw me lose my first buy-in thusly: Holding A,A I raise pre-flop to $3 and get 2 callers. The flop is K-high and had 2 of the same suit, so I go all-in. One folds and the other thinks. I know he has a K and am half-hoping he'll call. Be careful what you wish for. He had K,Q for top pair. Runner-runner K's. Ugh.

So I click to re-load. I double up with a K-high heart flush after I semi-bluffed when an A hit the turn. Someone called my all-in w/A's up, more than likely thinking since I bet the A that I had just top pair. I'm pretty sure that's when Studio_Glyphic hit the rail.

Not too long after, I'm dealt A,A again. Raise to $3 again and again get 2 callers. This time the flop is K,K,Q. It's checked to me and I check too, third player follows suit. The turn is a J and the EP caller bets $4 into me. I call and other guy folds. River is a 9 and the guy bets $14. I couldn't call. Any K and any T beat me. I had to lay down the rockets.

But that's OK, because Nicky and Paris showed up twice in 3 hands helping me get back to over $60 and kept me "up" for the evening.

We spent much of the night harrassing a religious freak, vin_vegas79. I took most of his money on a suckout in the following manner. I raise in EP w/A,Ko and vin_vegas claims "I need the lord's help if I'm going to call you with this hand." The flop is Axx - all hearts. I have top pair and nut flush draw and respond back "Did you get your help?" I bet $4 and he raises me to $8. I go all-in and he calls. Poor bastard did get help, he had 3,4 hearts and flopped a flush. Too bad for him the turn was another A and the river was a K, giving me a boat. Derek told him he should be praising BadBlood now. I was forced to agree.


Going to Battle With G-Rob

For those who haven't read about him before, G-Rob is a local player who works with Otis. I've played a few times with him before in a couple of tournaments and home games and have noticed that he generally has a monster stack in front of him. To classify his style as aggressive would be an understatement.

He made it to my home game (see below) and was able to use his aggressiveness to build his stack quite effectively. Let me analyze a couple of hands I was in with him to demonstrate his effect on my play.

I limp to a modest G-Rob pre-flop raise with A,9o. Missouri Josh follows along with a call and the flop is 3-handed. With about $10 in the pot, we all see 3 spades, J-high I believe. As I'm holding the A of spades, I like my hand so far. G-Rob bets out $5 and with Josh yet to act behind me, I feel a call is appropriate. Even though pot odds don't dictate it, implied odds with Josh acting behind me and the potential for the nut hand justifies it in my mind. Josh follows through and calls. The turn is a non-spade rag, and with the pot at about $25, G-Rob bets out $20. Great bet here. Not only is it sufficient to make my draw to the nut flush a bad call, but with Josh yet to act behind me, I had to fold. So I did. Josh called the bet and got to see the river spike a 4th spade to the board. No board pairs, no straight flush opportunity - I folded what would have been the winning hand. But as I suspected, G-Rob held Q,T spades for a flopped flush. Missouri Josh held the K of spades and took down a pretty monster pot. But at the time of my decision, I suspected that I had 6 or 7 outs which made a $20 call into a $25 pot an easy fold.

In another hand, I'm UTG holding A,Ko and raise the .50 BB to $3. G-Rob calls and everyone else folds. The flop is a great one for me: A,K,2. I gladly bet out $5 and am immediately raised to $10 by G-Rob. I am puzzled and taken aback, but call. Thoughts of him having a set go through my mind, but with him, it's impossible to tell for sure. The turn is a rag and I take a pause. If I check here, he's sure to go all-in. At this point in the evening, I had built my stack to back over $100 and G-Rob outchipped me. I was honestly not sure if I could call an all-in bet from him. So, to avoid a check-all-in, I bet out $15. G-Rob raises to $30. I'm intrigued now, more than anything since he'd most likely go all-in at this point with a set of 2's. But I just call. The river is another blank and I'm feeling better about my hand. Enough to bet $20. This time, G-Rob just calls and shows me his K,2. We both flopped 2-pair and he put me on just the A.

Luckily I won that hand, but not without fear of losing. I couldn't tell if G-Rob had the goods (a set of 2's perhaps) or not and literally would have had a tough time calling an all-in bet from him.

I look forward to playing more hands with G-Rob and can now TOTALLY understand Otis' reluctance to sit to his left.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Hosting the Home Game

Normally, my home game occurs every other Thursday night, during which time it's dealer's choice poker. The limits vary, but the games are generally Hold 'em, Omaha, and various Stud poker games. I wanted to change up the pace a bit and try a night where the only game we'd play would be no limit Hold 'em - basically clone the $25 NL tables at Party for a night.

I participated in such an evening over at Otis' house a couple of weeks ago. It was a grand ole time, but unfortunately for the bankroll, I dropped 3 buy-ins for a -$90 evening. The fun factor was huge so I couldn't complain too much. Two weeks ago, I ended up building my own poker table and was Jonesing to use it. What better way than to host my own version of the no limit Hold 'em game.

I sent out the invites to about 12-15 people, hoping to get somewhere around 8 participants. I ended up getting 7 players, 4 of whom are from my normal home game, 1 who's played a couple of times with us, and 2 from the Otis-realm of Greenville.

Here's a quick pic of the action:



From the left, it's Matty C., Otis, Rocket, BadBlood, and the Rankster. Saterman and G-Rob are out of view.

I believe this pic is an actual live capture of an Otis re-buy, however, I can't confirm....

The play during the night was incredibly fun again. I managed to lose two $30 buy-ins myself before I rebought for only $20. One of my all-ins, A,Qs vs. A,Js of course lost. A,Q became the hand of the night to lose with. Yours truly managed to crack Q,Q twice with a runner-runner flush and a straight on the other hand. Both parties on the losing end failed to bet their hands properly to get me out of the hand. I limped along for a couple of dollars here and there, then dropped the big bets on them in the end. I managed to turn my $20 buy-in back to $214 for a very nice $134 profit for the evening.

All in all, things went extremely well. Nobody even spilled beer on my table, amazing! I hope to host these type of home games on a somewhat regular basis - perhaps every other week or so. It's just too much damned fun.

Even if you lose.

Friday, October 22, 2004

WBT V Report

An amazing 133 players turned out for the Guinness and Poker Tournament held at PokerStars last night. The tournament was an event to celebrate poker bloggers and their readers; and the community came out in force.

I got home from mini-Blood's soccer game ready to rock and roll. Another goal from the 4 year old Pele-to-be would hopefully set the tone for a winning experience. I joined the blogger chat room about 30 minutes before hand to shoot the shit with everyone. The pre-tourney chat is almost worth the $20 entrance fee by itself.

This would be my 3rd blogger tournament, the first two were held at Pacific Poker. My finishes were both out of the money: 4th out of 30 and 13th out of 71. I was looking to improve.

Level 1 - T1500 - Avg. T1500 - 133/133 left
In the 2nd hand of the night, I'm dealt A,J hearts and flop trip J's. I do the classic slow play and win about T500 right off the back. The only other marginal hand I see a flop with that level is A,8 from the big blind. Even though there is an 8 on the flop, I fold to a bet at the river.

Level 2 - T1940 - Avg. T1558 - 128/133 left
I'm dealt pocket 8's or the snowmen in middle position. A raise gets me no action. I limp in early position with A,J off to a flop of K,T,4. No betting until a 9 hits the turn requiring me to fold. At my table are Landow from AlCantHang fame and HDouble from TheCardsSpeak. I get A,T in late position and raise to T100. The lone limper calls and the flop totally misses me. Undeterred, I bet out T150 and am quickly raised to T300. I have to fold as the initial raise was really a poor excuse for a blind steal attempt.

Level 3 - T1615 - Avg. T1596 - 125/133 left
I limp in with 5,6 suited from the small blind with 4 callers. The flop is J,5,2 which produces checks all around. Hank bets T100 on the turn when a 7 falls and I drop. I then fold K,J suited in late position to a T200 bet. I fold K,J off later on in the level and I'm hoping at some point to get some playable cards.

Level 4 - T1350 - Avg. T1797 - 111/133 left
I raise with the Hammer in the small blind with Hank to my left. He calls, but the flop has no nails. I check, he bets, I fold. Hank shows his 4,5 off. I congratulate him on taking down the Hammer. In the big blind, I'm dealt Q,9 off and see a K,Q,7 flop. It's just me and Blu and he's very shortstacked. We both check it to the river which brings an A. He goes all in and I call. I guess correctly and eliminate Blu. I'm hoping his bounty is a significant portion of the $12,000 he won last week in a Party tournament. I think it's at least 4 figures, right Blu? I manage to steal a decent pot with J,T when the board flops 3 hearts which gets me back near the average stack.

Level 5 - T2185 - Avg. T2241 - 89/133 left
At this point it looks like MaudieB is the top blogger, she's in 5th place w/T4290. I was thinking she'd make consecutive final tables, effectively becoming the Dan Harrington of the blogger community. The first hand of this level, I'm dealt K,Q and decide to fold. The flop was 7,8,9 proving me to be a true genius. Hank doesn't let me limp in the big blind with 2,2 and we never see the flop. Bastage! I'm then dealt A,7 suited and bet T400 into a T775 pot with Landow. Mercyfully, he folds.

Then it comes, the hand that cripples me like a Chris Benoit crossface hold.

A,7 of diamonds and I limp in. The flop is T,6,5 with 2 diamonds. I'm 3rd and last to act, so I'm in decent position. A reader named a104l9 bets out T450 and it's called. I decide that I'm at least as good as Greg Raymer and going all in with a nut diamond flush draw worked for him so why not me. I push. a104l9 calls with K,T off and I need that last diamond. Well, here's the difference between me and Greg Raymer: He gets his flush draws and I don't. It's as simple as that. I'm left with a meager T95 and put on my Chris Ferguson hat.

I wait for my hand and go all in with 4,4. I triple up, but lose nearly half of it when the T150 big blind hits. All in again with A,Q. My opponent holds A,J and I double up again. All in again with 9,9 and get no action. But I'm up to T705 and can breath just a bit.

Level 6 - T705 - Avg. T2695 - 74/133 left
In the small blind, I go all-in with 6,5 off in a pure, unadulterated big blind steal attempt. It doesn't work and I'm called. The big blind is holding Q,7, but a 5 on the flop keeps me alive. A,J suited comes again and I push. I'm called by a bigger stack holding A,T and I double up again to T2320. My Ferguson hat appears to have some magic in it. I fold Q,T suited to an all-in from a short stack, no need to get crazy just yet.

I get moved to another table with the infamous AustinKearns and Studio Glyphic. In the big blind, I get A,Q. With Kearns on the button, my Spidey Sense picks up something; I'm betting he's going to try to steal my blind. Not on my watch. I push and he folds. That felt good.

Level 7 - T2295 - Avg. T3764 - 53/133 left
It's a miracle I'm still here. I get moved to another table with SirFWALGMan, asphnxma, and The Venetian. The blinds and now the antes are killing me. I drop T450 before I even play a hand.

Level 8 - T1295 - Avg. T5115 - 39/133 left
I get 3,3 and that's as good a hand as any, so I go all-in. No action. All-in again with A,7. I'm called by two people, one with A,T and the other w/K,Q. The board shows 2,3,4,5,T and I split the pot, something I'm more than willing to do at this point. K,7 of diamonds lets me push all-in again and I get no action. Fine by me.

I have basically 2xBB in chips and am pushing anything that looks marginal. Q,5 spades looks good so I push. I'm called by a104l9, the reader/player who crippled me earlier. I forget exactly what he had, but it was more than enough to bounce me. I exit the tournament just seconds after Studio Glyphic in 31st place.

I think that this was the first multi-table tournament where I've had such dead cards. No pocket pairs higher than 9,9, no big-slick, it was horrible. I never got above T2400, so lasting so long was just by pure determination and luck. But what fun it was. I will be there for the next one without question.

As it turns out, my internet connection then went down for about an hour so I didn't get to see the final table action nor the winner. Lucky for me I busted out when I did. Or lucky for Charter. I would have hated to make a midnight visit to their local offices toting a shotgun had my connection gone down with me at the final table. Let's just not think about that.

So, if you're reading, a104l9 wins the BadBlood elimination bounty. Leave a comment, shoot me an email, whatever. I'll get to you your well deserved prize. Also, feel free to guess where my PokerStars avatar came from and you'll win the same prize.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

WBT V

Just some random thoughts about tonight's tourney.

I will offer up bounties on my head this time as well. First bounty goes to whomever can correctly name the artist and album name from which my avatar comes. There's even a small hint in that last sentence. The prize is the same the one for the bounty below.

The knock-me-out-of-the-tournament-bounty will be similar to the last one, but not the same. The last custom CD focused on Blood. This one will focus on Pain and Killing.

1. The Haunted - One Kill Wonder (Get this CD now)
2. Arch Enemy - Let The Killing Begin (Johan Liva era)
3. Judas Priest - Painkiller (Last CD w/Halford until the next one)
4. Helloween - I Live For Your Pain (Euro-power-rockers)
5. Kreator - Some Pain Will Last (Under-estimated classic stuff)
6. Pro-pain - The Truth Hurts (Don't hold being from NY against these guys)
7. Slayer - Here Comes The Pain (Where is Brock Lesnar?)
8. Sum41 - Pain For Pleasure (kidding)
9. Megadeth - Kill The King (Decent stuff from mega-Dave)
10. Children of Bodom - Angels Don't Kill (New and good)
11. Himsa - Kiss or Kill (Excellent choice)
12. Motley Crue - Looks That Kill (Old school classic)
13. Agony Scene - Paint It Black (Stones song done right)
14. Pro-Pain - Don't Kill Yourself To Live (Words to live by)

Good luck to everyone. I'm going to be clicking fold unless I have the goods or the HAMMER!

Shock and Awe

Ok, I'll get back to poker soon, I promise.

I am in shock at the RedSox winning. True shock. Thank you Pedro for making it more interesting than it had to be.

Also, Joe Torre - absolute class act. If Steinbrenner blames him in any way, that would be tragic. As much as I hate to say it, Derek Jeter - also a class act. He is an amazing athlete.

I will not gloat, I will not denegrate the Yanks, they are baseball's giants. Beating them is just simply amazing and I'm sure they will be back to their winning ways soon. Also, the Sox have more work to do, it doesn't end here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

My Friend in Misery

I can't help myself. I wasn't going to post anything on what's turned out to be another epic battle between the Sox and the Yanks. I realize that by me posting this, I risk further jinxing the franchise already cursed by decades of disappointment.

Anyway, here's a small glipse into the minds of 2 Sox fans pondering the events of the past 3 days and the upcoming finale in Game 7 tonight:

FellowSoxFan Believe?

BadBlood oy, they're killing me

FellowSoxFan the 8th and 9th were gut-wrenching

BadBlood gay-rod and his gay-swipe. sit your ass down!!!!

FellowSoxFan ha ha

FellowSoxFan some of the boston press is calling him A-Fraud

BadBlood yeah, he knew he was out of line, and now he's saying he should have just run him over.

FellowSoxFan what was that, any way?

FellowSoxFan so bush league

BadBlood no kidding

FellowSoxFan from the $250M man?

BadBlood really. i'm glad we didn't get him. he's kind of a pussy.

FellowSoxFan yeah

BadBlood i still can't believe they're still playing.

FellowSoxFan so it all comes down to derek blowe?

BadBlood lord help us all

FellowSoxFan maybe he can give you 3-4 innings

BadBlood that would be a gift

FellowSoxFan a couple from wakefield?

FellowSoxFan then the usual suspects...

BadBlood weren't we saying lowe could come up big in this series?

FellowSoxFan it can still happen

BadBlood It could be clemens vs. pedro game 1 on saturday even

FellowSoxFan the yanks can still use brown, vazquez, el duque and loiaza tonight

FellowSoxFan so i have to give them the edge

BadBlood you know, those reversed calls reminded me a bit of the tuck rule 2 years ago

BadBlood we never get those calls

FellowSoxFan making the sox a team of destiny like the pats?

BadBlood i hate to say so right now, but kinda

FellowSoxFan i just hope it's not lucy pulling the football away from charlie brown yet again

BadBlood i know, but at least this series evolved into another memorable one and we didn't just get swept

FellowSoxFan if we lose, make it 10-2

FellowSoxFan then i can look back and say how much heart this team showed....

FellowSoxFan just to get this far

BadBlood right, but tonight would be a good night for a laugher

FellowSoxFan i feel so drained from these games

FellowSoxFan i can't get anything else done

BadBlood me too, and there's no break, it's all one night right after the other

FellowSoxFan yes

BadBlood would we have it any other way?

FellowSoxFan nope

BadBlood agreed

BadBlood so how are the bruins doing???? :)

FellowSoxFan very far from good

BadBlood lol

BadBlood alrighty, looks like we'll regroup for tomorrow morning

FellowSoxFan keep on hoping

BadBlood can't do much else

FellowSoxFan talk to you tomorrow

BadBlood k, l8r

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Vegas Visions

My desire to go to Las Vegas with the other bloggers is tremendous. My family situation has forced me to potentially be traveling the 15th of December to Florida to spend an early Christmas with my parents. The scheduled trip to Vegas is the 10th to the 14th. I don't have much margin for error nor much cash for the trip. Excuses, excuses. I'm still going to at least try.

In the meantime, the following is what my vision of how a perfect trip would be.

Leaving the 10th at GSP with fellow blogger and South Carolinian Otis, we hit the bar early in the morning to waste some pre-flight time. For me, flying on a plane isn't the most pleasant of experiences unless I'm inebriated. I used to work for an aircraft engine company. I know how engines work and how they break all too well. Ignorance is bliss, but not in this case.

During the flight, the abnormally hot stewardesses have graciously allowed us to sit in first class. More drinking ensues.

We arrive in Vegas and meet up w/BG, Pauly, Al and the rest of the blogger crew. (Who else is going by the way?) Did I just type crew? Bleh. Need another word for us...perhaps posse? No, that's kinda goofy. I don't know, but it's a gaggle of blogging, poker playing degenerates ready to leave their mark (stain?) on Vegas.

Staying at the Bellagio, we all win entries into the 5-diamond classic by virtue of a satellite, except me. I win my entry in a fluke meeting with Gus Hanson in the Bellagio fitness center. He's working out and I challenge him to a bench-press contest. To even things out, it's a contest to determine who can do the most reps benching our body weight. It's not even close, so he forks over the 10 grand. (Personal note: my weight is 182 and I can do 23 reps at 225)

Defying the odds, the final table at the 5-diamond classic consists only of bloggers. We agree to split the winnings against the WPT's wishes, and show the world how bloggers play poker. Aces get cracked by the hammer and shouts of "Oh the Humanity" fill the airwaves.

We individually wager who can cop the best feel on Shanna Hiatt during our exit interviews. Pauly wins in a landslide.

I then ask for my tournament winnings to be paid in $1 bills. We then spend the rest of the weekend at Club Paradise getting AlCantHang-drunk, drowning in cheap booze and strippers.

If you listen closely enough you can hear Janie Lane singing "Heaven isn't too far away....."

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Grim

Saturday started off so well. I took mini-Blood to his first college football game, Furman vs. The Citadel. Even though it was only Division 1AA, it was still quite a treat. I didn't expect him to last the whole game, so leaving after the first half was quite OK. The game was already decided by that point anyway with Furman up big 27-0.

I got home all geared up for Game 3 of the ALCS. Food, beer, widescreen TV: Check, check, and check.

I think the first pitch of the game to Derek Jeter was the high light of the night. As is common knowledge, the Sox got utterly destroyed by the Yankees. Game 4 tonight will be but a formality.

How best to drown your sorrows? Well duh, off to Party Poker. I figured that late on a Saturday night the games would be loose so I logged onto a $1/$2 no limit game hoping to catch some cards.

I did.

But the river caught the maniacs.

Man, I'm telling ya, the $25 buy-in tables on Party Poker are so much more like real poker sometimes. The $100 buy-ins are a push fest. I made decent decisions, but came out on the losing end each time. Kinda sucked.

So back down in limits for me...again.

For the record, I've registered for WPT V. Look for the real scary player avatar. That will be me.

Also, the BadBlood-T0-Vegas-O-Meter currently reads at 35% chance. I'll be updating that through the next few weeks as I make my bid to get there for the first time ever. Home Equity line of credit sounds good, right?

Friday, October 15, 2004

Home Game Carnage

I had my regular bi-weekly home game last night and managed to finish pretty well. This was my 7th +$200 night this year playing with these group of people. Prior to this year, in 141 sessions of poker, I've had 3 +$200 nights. This year alone, in 33 sessions, I've had 7.

I attribute my success to being able to read most of my opponents pretty well. I would rate my success at putting the other people on hands at roughly 65-70%. I don't always act on it though, which may be a mistake.

I managed to crack A,A with Q,9 suited when nobody raised pre-flop and the flop came 2 diamonds. I went up against A,A again with T,T and managed to river a diamond flush only to see the other guy show Ad. Still, I'll take 1 out of 2.

I plan on having a no-limit only home game next Saturday. It's mainly an excuse to use the new poker table I built, but it should be fun nonetheless.

Oh how I'd love to be hitting Vegas with the other bloggers, as I've never been there. Even my parents went to Vegas last month. I will be there next Thursday however at Pokerstars. I will spend the next few days thinking of a decent bounty. I don't want to dilute the value of my previous bounty by offering it again. The CD I sent Maudie would be devalued and we can't have that.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Back in Black, I Hit the Sack

After a couple of weeks back at the limit tables and having worked off a couple of Party reload bonuses (or is that bonii?) I ventured my way back to the realm of No Limit ring games.

Things went pretty well.

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, I played with the bloggers and had perhaps the most fun EVER at Party Poker. You can read about the hijinx here. The bottom line was that I managed to turn my 3rd $25 buy-in into $154 for a decent $79 profit for the session.

Then on Sunday night, after a day filled with finalizing the build of my own poker table, I logged onto Party for some more $25 buy-in action.

Early on I'm dealt 2,2 and see a $2 pre-flop raise. I only called the raise because there were 3 callers prior to my action and I figured I could make a killing if I hit my set. The glorious K,Q,2 flop allowed me to triple up when those with A,Q and K,Q went all in. It was an easy call.

I got knocked down a bit when my K-high flush lost to a straight flush. Ugh. I then got dealt AA in early position. I made it $3 to go pre-flop and had 2 callers. The flop was either a great one or disastrous, I couldn't quite tell yet: 2,7,2. If someone was playing the hammer, I was doomed. I bet $4, got 1 caller, and then was raised to $8. I figured perhaps someone was playing A,2 suited, but called anyway. The turn was a harmless 9 and I checked. Much to my surprise, everyone else checked too. Perhaps the raise was a bluff or he held a 7? Not quite sure. The river was another 2 and now I was pretty confident my A's were good. I went all-in. Both the other players called and I won a $121 pot. The raiser did indeed have a 7 and the other guy had a 9.

Slowly, I got joined by some other bloggers: Pauly, Otis and Studio_Glyphic. They watched me build my stack to a very nicely sized $260. At around 11pm, I announced to the table that the next hand would be my last. I asked everyone who would like to double up because I was thinking of just going all-in pre-flop. I decided not to, but called the .50 BB with K,J hearts. There were about 4 or 5 callers to witness a K-high flop. I bet $3 and got called by a player who defined the words "calling-station" and "moron." This guy managed to river people 3-straight times and build his stack to over $90. He was down to about $34 before this hand started having played his stack about as poorly as possible. So after he called my $3 flop bet, he exclaimed in the chat box "I want to double up."

So I obliged. I went all-in and he called. The turn brought me a J, the river was a rag, and my two-pair took all this guy's cash. Luckily for the rest of the table, he bought in for some more, but I had to take my $294 off the table and go to bed. I was exhausted having stayed up until 3AM the previous evening.

Quite a night. I know Pauly tagged this guy for future reamings. I'd bet that this guy will pay for Pauly's next entry into an Aussie qualifier.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Friday, October 08, 2004

Gooooooooaaaaaaaaaalllllllllll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have to do some major pimping for my son today. Son of Blood is 4 years old and is playing in his second season of soccer. Well last night, he scored his first goal EVER.

I'm pretty sure I made a fool of myself jumping up and down and screaming on the sidelines. I even ran onto the field to give him a high five.

After he scored his first goal, I told the other parents that when I used to play hockey as a kid, the game I scored my first goal in I actually added another for good measure later on.

Like father like son. Son of Blood scored his second goal of the game later on in the 2nd half. My celebration was a little more subdued, but not by much.

I'm just busting with pride today :)

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Hope and Despair

Boy, had an evening last night that would have induced a monster tilt if I was the same player I was three months ago.

I knew things would be bad when my very first hand of A,J flopped top two-pair. I lost to a guy holding A,T when the old runner-runner K,Q filled his broadway straight. Later on, I'm holding T,T and see a flop of J,J,T.

I'm drawing dead. Other guy has J,T.

Then my Q,Q gets rivered by a flush and my last few dollars are lost when my K,K loses to A,8 when the flop gave my opponent an A.

Luckily I was on two tables and won a bit on the other one so my net loss was only $23. I just packed it in and called it a night even though I'd only been playing for about 40 minutes. The onslaught of those beats told me it wasn't my night and I happily complied with the poker god's wishes.

WARNING: Non-poker content to follow.

So it begins again. October. RedSox. Eternal hope. Crushing letdowns.

I'm not sure how it will end this year, but regardless of how it does end, I'm sure I'll be on the emotional roller-coaster that is being a Boston RedSox fan for the next few weeks.

You see, for as long as I've had memories, I've been a huge fan. I've seen some of the most improbable collapses and chokes in modern day sports.

My earliest Sox memory is watching the 1975 World Series, Game 7. I was watching with my parents and some other grown ups and just remember a bunch of cursing and disappointment.

By 1978, I was 10 years old, and was watching every game. Jim Rice was my favorite player and I saw him tear up American League pitching that year. By the All-Star break, the Sox had a commanding lead and several of their position players made the All-Star team. A 14-game lead against the World Champion Yankees seemed safe at the time. Little did I know.

I remember getting my mom to write a note to my 4th grade teacher, excusing me early from school that day so I could come home and watch the one game playoff. I got home and the Sox were up 2-0 thanks to an RBI single from Rice and a Pesky Pole shot from Yastrzemski. (Only true Sox fans can spell that name right without looking it up.) Ron Guidry was pitching that game and he was the dominant pitcher in the AL that year. I even remember his amazing stats without looking them up: 25-3 1.74 ERA. The fact that we were beating him was amazing to me.

That is, until the 7th inning. Bucky Freaking Dent.

The following years were pretty lean for the Sox, never really threatening for the AL East crown. The Orioles were good, the Brewers even got to the Series once, but the Sox were flailing.

Until 1986.

I must have watched nearly every game that year too. It was the summer before I was to leave for college. I played softball that summer and after most every game, we'd go to the pub sponsoring us and watched the Sox. It was a fun year. Roger Clemens was nearly as dominant as Guidry was in '78.

I subscribed to the New England Sports Network for the first time that year since they were going to broadcast most of the Sox' games. The first cable Sox show I ever saw was Clemens' first 20 strikeout game. Amazing stuff.

I went from heartache to exhilaration in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Angles, with the Dave Henderson homerun. That was probably the most amazing sport event I experienced at that point in my life, only to be eclipsed 15 years later by the Vinatieri field goal against the Rams. After the Sox won game 5, I just knew that games 6 and 7 were foregone conclusions and that the Sox would finally make it to the World Series and play the hated New York Mets.

I was going to school in upstate NY in 1986, surrounded by fair weather Mets fans. God I hated their arrogance. Gooden, Hernandez, Dykstra - all of them.

During my first year at college, I was in the Navy ROTC program. It didn't work out for me, as I really wasn't cut out to be in the military. I willingly would miss required meetings and obligations in order to catch Sox games on TV during the World Series. I had my priorities.

So when the Sox took an early 2 games to none lead, I was stoked. The Sox were definitely the underdogs and winning this series would be amazing. Unfortunately, when the Series got back to Fenway, the Mets took the next two to even it up. Bruce Hurst pitched a masterful Game 5 to set the stage for a return trip to Shea for game 6.

Ugh. Game 6. Those two words alone bring back memories that to this day can still get me agitated and emotional.

I won't recap their collapse that year, it is well documented elsewhere. I can only say that I was hugging other male Sox fans after Dave Henderson's 10th inning homerun.

I went from elation to despair so quickly in the 10th inning that my sports brain couldn't handle the swing. I shutdown. After seeing how the Sox came from a strike away in Game 5 of the ALCS and went on to win, I already knew how Game 7 would turn out.

It was only minor consolation that next year during a spring training game between the Sox and the Mets that Al Nipper threw at and hit Darryl Strawberry. An ounce of redemption for the ton of pain.

1988 and 1990 were somewhat enjoyable seasons, but I knew each year that the Oakland A's were the superior team and the Sox had no chance.

1995? Leave it to ex-RedSox Tony Pena to hit a game-winning homerun in Game 1 of the first round for the Cleveland Indians to kill any chances the Sox had in winning that series.

1998? I actually was at Fenway for the deciding playoff game. The Sox were trailing 2 games to 1 and needed to get to Game 5 and start their newly acquired Pedro Martinez. Pete Schourek(sp?) started that game and managed to keep the Indians in check for 5 innings. Leave it to Flash Gordon who hadn't blown a save all year to blow one this game. A 2-run Dave Justice triple ended the Sox season that year.

1999? The Yanks were unstoppable that year. At least there was some excitement as the Sox rallied to beat the Indians in the Wild Card round after trailing 2 games to zero. Also, Game 3 in the ALCS where Pedro dominated in a matchup with Roger Clemens was fun to watch. But the Yanks were the team that year.

Then came 2003. Another miracle come-from-behind effort against the Oakland A's in the Wild Card round set the stage for a Sox Yankees showdown. I thought we had a shot that year and when we made it to game 7, there was a glimmer of hope.

But as all Sox fans can tell you, it's not over until it's over. Leave it to the Sox to create new ways to lose. Up 5-2 in the 8th, Pedro is obviously tiring. Grady Little leaves him in. Aaron Freaking Boone's homerun ends it and that's all for the Sox....again.

With two Patriot SuperBowl victories, I had vowed to myself that I wouldn't get all caught up in a RedSox season again. Like an addict who can't control his irrational desires, I'm back again, fully enthralled with each post-season pitch.

How will it end this year? Despair? Victory? Who knows. But I'll be along for the ride again, destination unknown.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Wouldn't You Like To Be An Iggy Too?

Runner-runner results:

Unfortunately, nobody correctly picked both runner-runner hands to win my mp3 contest. Many people correctly guessed the second hand as 2,5 for the wheel. But only one person guessed the first 10,10 correctly. I will have to get another contest going, but this time just do 1 hand so that the chances will be better that someone will win.

Ok, in honor of the one year anniversary of the blogfather's site, I am going to relate a story about how yours truly used to actually have the nickname Iggy.

It was the summer of 1989 and I had just secured a summer job as an Engineering co-op for General Electric Aircraft Engines in Massachusetts. There was no official dresscode, but the majority of the salaried personnel wore nice shirts and ties to work. As a college student, I had nothing resembling such attire to wear.

Luckily for me, one of my uncles had a bunch of custom tailored shirts that no longer fit him, but did indeed fit me. However, the shirts were monogramed in the upper left with his initials: J.I. Unfortunately, those aren't my initials, but for a summer job, I really didn't care. I was just glad I didn't have to spend a bunch of money on clothes for a job for which I'd be making $8/hour.

The first couple of weeks, I snuck under the radar, and nobody figured out that the initials on my shirt weren't really my initials. That didn't last. Eventually one of the more perceptive and funny co-workers looked at my shirt and said, "Hey, wait a minute! J.I.??? Those aren't your initials. What the hell does J.I. stand for?" Well, before I could explain the story, a light bulb went on in his mind.

"I know, you're James Ignatowski!" "Who?" "James Ignatowski, from Taxi. That's you!"

So for the next few days I was indeed James Ignatowski. One of the unwritten rules about nicknames is that they have to be easier to say than your real name. The 5 syllable nickname wasn't going to cut it. So after a while, James Ignatowski got shorted to simply Iggy. Even the name Iggy became too much work for some people and it was shortened even more to simply Ig.

To this day, there are still a handful of people who will greet me with either Iggy or Ig. Not many, but some. For the record, there is only 1 poker blogging Iggy, and that ain't me. Congrats again to the real Iggy on the one year anniversary of Guinness and Poker.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Still Here

....but not much to say.

I was thinking there could be a Jeff Foxworthy-like skit somewhere along the likes of:

...If you call a pre-flop raise w/K,6 offsuit....you may be a fish.
...If you call bets down to the river with a T-high board...you may be a fish.
...If you spike a K on the river to beat 2 other people holding J,J...you may be a fish.

Was playing w/ SirFWALGMan and Carter last night which is always fun. Carter got to see me mis-play K,K in a $25 NL ring game. I was on the button and it was folded around to me. I figured a raise at this point would only get me the blinds and I was greedy, so I only called the BB. Of course, the A-high flop sealed Carter's win. I tried a meek $2 bet post turn bet, but he simply called having 2-pair, A's up. I'm publicly thanking him for letting me off easy :) We both finished well up at that table, I only wish I could have stayed longer but alas, there were things I had to attend to.

Playing limit w/SirFWALGMan is also fun. I missed his private table on Thursday due to my home game. Got crap cards all night and finished down $92.

Looking forward to the next blogger tourney on October 21st at PokerStars. I should be there, lest I be square.

And without stealing anyone's thunder, I have a post due about how I used to be called Iggy a long, long time ago.