Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Let There Be Day 1

Finally, some down time to post about my recent sojourn to Vegas...

I traveled alone. For the months leading up to this trip, I simply assumed Otis would be a last-second decision to crash in my room at the MGM. It had been a long time since I actually paid for a room in Vegas. I always scheduled my trips around Otis' work duties, crashing on his floor or couch whenever possible. I thought that this time would be a justified reversal of fortune. Unfortunately, that reversal never came.

G-Rob wasn't going either. CJ was staying home too. Even TheMark who had been there the past few Decembers during the blogger gathering made other plans. I invited GucciRick. I invited Chip. I even invited the Mrs. "Can't make it." "Can't get time off." "Can't get a sitter."

Can't. Can't. Can't.

I'll admit, my enthusiasm dropped slightly. But then, all I had to do was think about the Bash and remember who among that group would be there and I managed to recover from my malaise.


I absolutely love playing live poker. Locally, I'm down to playing once a week. In Vegas, I can't control myself. If there's an opportunity to play, I'll probably take it. Who am I kidding? There's no "probably" about it. But even with all that said, there are memorable times when I don't play that I end up enjoying myself more than I thought I would.

Right after I checked in, I was getting texted by PokerPeaker and StB to come down to the MGM poker room and play. I was busting at the seams to do just that. But before I could, I got a text from the Dr. that he and a few other folks were having a drink at the Zuri bar. One beer turned into a few and it took me a lot longer to finally get to the tables than I anticipated. Pauly, Change, Gracie, Pablo, Maudie, Spaceman, Professional Keno Player Neil Fontenot (Keno4Lyfe) and eventually Dr. Jeff were all responsible for my delay. Of course, it was totally worth it.


Dr. Jeff, to whom I promised to not refer as a poor Otis substitute, and I excused ourselves and made our way to an open MGM 2/5NL table. During my cab ride to the MGM, my driver mentioned that Vegas was as dead as he's seen it since the immediate aftermath of 9/11 when few people wanted to travel. Based solely on the activity in the MGM poker room, I would have been forced to agree. There we sat playing the biggest game at MGM on a Thursday night at the only 2/5 table going. It was really quite dead.

And thankfully, the players were still quite horrible.

My first big pot of the trip saw me call a players open-shove on the turn with AsKs on an Ace-hi, two-spade board. When I insta-called, the villain looked deflated. "You have the Ace?" he asked. "And the flush draw too," I replied. "I need some help then," he said as he looked down at his marginal holding.

The river was the 5 of diamonds.

"I'm sorry," he said as he flipped up his A5o. I took it in stride, as I am accustomed. "You seem to be taking this rather well," another player said as the $400-ish pot went the wrong direction. "Happens," was all I could muster.

I lost the rest of my 1st buy-in on a coin flip all-in preflop holding pocket Jacks against Ace-King. Thankfully, before the flop, Dr. Jeff remarked about folding an Ace. As soon as he said that, I stood up with a fresh $500 buy-in. For some reason, whenever someone tries to console me about a hand before it's over in an attempt to help, it backfires. So thanks again Dr. Jeff, your words magically caused the shuffled deck to re-arrange itself so that I'd get beat. No way it happens if you keep your mouth shut.

Poor Otis substitute.



Dr. Jeff and I had both lost our first buy-ins and re-bought knowing full well this table was going to give it back to us. In the meantime, we took a break and ate at the MGM buffet right before it closed. I bought dinner with some comps MGM sent me in the mail and Jeff and I evened out our blood sugar for the long haul.

We felt neither one of us were playing badly, just getting a bit unlucky. That luck would change for Dr. Jeff when his top two-pair felted another guy who turned a worse two-pair. Then came the hand of the weekend for me.

I had chipped up a bit on my second buy-in to about $720 and was dealt pocket tens in middle position. With one limper under the gun, I made it $20 to go. One caller in late position coupled with a caller in the blinds and the original limper made me realize that I was probably going to have to flop my set. There was no "probably" about it.

KT8, rainbow.

Checked to me and I fired $55 into the $80 pot. Only the original limper came along for the turn. An off-suit 9 hit the turn and the villain checked to me. I was a bit wary of QJ getting there, but wanted to leave some room to find out. The pot was $190 and I fired just about a half pot sized bet of $100.


I was just check-raised all-in. It was about $350 more for me to call. I had the guy covered, but damn, all-in?

"For real?" I asked. "Seriously?" I did some math. $350 into a $750-ish pot, I was getting just over 2:1. But why all-in? Does the nuts go all-in there? Maybe. If he did have the straight, I only had 10 outs. That's 3.4:1. I wasn't getting enough odds to call.

Finally, I decided that I'm just not folding a set at this table. I prayed for the board to pair. At least I thought so.


The river was another King. I looked over to my opponent and said "Full house." He replied, "Me too."



Well, I thought to myself, at least I got my money in good, the guy didn't have QJ. I looked over to see the damage. My adrenaline spiked and I really couldn't believe what I saw. He had pocket 8's, I was good the entire time. Thankfully, the board paired the right card. I most likely would have crawled into a little ball under the table and cried had the river come an 8. There's only so much abuse a person can handle when they first arrive to Vegas.

That hand pretty much did me in for the night. I finished up for the evening and retired somewhat early because I knew the next day would be epic in a Steel Panther sort of way.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Two Time, Two Time Champion

I'll do some Vegas posts soon, but in the meantime, I won for my second time the most important tournament on this side of the asteroid belt:

Thanks again for hosting Pauly.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I rarely stick to them, but each Vegas trip I make a set of plans for myself that I'd like to at least try to do. Here are some of them and their odds of success:

1. Thursday upon my arrival, play some 1/2 NL at MGM. (85%)
2. Later on Thursday, play PLO on the Electronic Poker tables at Excalibur. (75%)
3. Friday night dinner with some good company. (100%)
4.* Friday at midnight hike to Green Valley Ranch for some Steel Panther (100%)
5. Saturday at noon-ish Procedure PhaseOne launch at some video poker bar (100%)
6. Blogger tourney at 3pm at Venetian aka Procedure PhaseThree (100%)
7. Saturday night re-visit to the Palm's Casino for button pressing and dealer abuse (70%)

Somewhere in there is a wedding, but I haven't seen the official details yet. Also, I owe some people a skillet at Denny's, not sure when that'll be, perhaps during an unlisted activity from above that would be item 5.5.

Sushi would be nice to include sometime, but that shouldn't be too hard.

I am traveling solo it appears, the lone G-Vegas representative. That is diminishing my excitement levels just a tad, but sadly, there are things outside of my control.

See y'all soon.

* Who besides me, TheTrooper97, StB, and PokerPeaker are in for this? Leave a comment if you want in on the roll call.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I was eleven years old. It wasn't long after Christmas and I had asked my dad to play a game of baseball on my brand new Atari 5200. He agreed. We fired up the game and I soundly trounced his ass 12-0. He quit in the third inning when he couldn't figure out how to prevent me from stealing bases at will. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why he couldn't stop me nor why he got so frustrated. My dad left my room in a huff while I finished the game up against the computer opponent who replaced him.


I have a PS3. I mainly use it for the Blu-Ray player, but have a couple of sports games too. Saturday I played my eight year old son in a game of Madden. I took the Pats, he took the Colts. Tom Brady threw 4 interceptions and miniBlood won the game 17-14.

He talked trash.

He did dances.

And I felt just like my dad did nearly 30 years earlier.


I hate to admit it, let alone say it. My mental reflexes have diminished. I no longer possess the ability to rapidly process streams of visual data and make the proper decisions based on them.

Can you guess where such a skill might be valuable?

How about multi-tabling online poker.

I've made the decision that I'm just not as skillful any longer (if I ever were) at multi-tabling.


I felt the need to multi-table just so I could get in enough hands. Based on research, and a careful perusal through the 2+2 forums, it seemed that tens of thousands of hands were required to be played each month just to determine what your win-rate might be. Oh yeah, don't forget about IronMan or SuperNova quests either.

Four-tabling turbo sit 'n go's has been profitable for me. But goddamn if it didn't seem like an incredible grind. There was simply no fun in that. If poking my eyes with a hot iron was profitable, I'd still opt out.

Multi-tabling cash games, while more fun, was an exercise in frustration. After careful consideration, I've determined that it's beyond my mental abilities at my advanced age. It's no coincidence that the professional multi-tablers are in their late-teens to mid-twenties.


So I'm back to one table. Early prognosis is that I'm performing better. But again, small sample, low confidence.

We can debate for hours if online poker is the same game as its B&M counterpart. I maintain that it can be if you want it to be. But it can also be something else. It can be a video game, a challenge of reflex and response. For some people, the latter is most profitable. But for me, those years are long gone.

Sigh. Age. Pass the laxitives.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Keep On Rockin'

My 160 gig iPod is still crunching out wallpaper-pealing metal. I hope to improve on last year's 24th place finish. And by hope, I mean pray. See most of you there.

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

The WBCOOP is an online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers.

Registration code: 033323

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Where Did I Go Wrong?

My son asked me to download some songs for his iPod. These are his choices:

So What - Pink
Hot and Cold - Katy Perry
I kissed A Girl - Katy Perry
Womanizer - Brittney Spears
Dangerous - Akon
What You Got - Akon
Walk This Way - Aerosmith
If I Were A Boy - Beyonce
Fergalicious - Fergie
Barracuda - Fergie
Ayer - Flo Rida
Low - Flo Rida
Gotta Be Somebody - Nickleback
Ruby - The Kaiser Chiefs

Straight diet of thrash for the boy coming right up.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday. Without question. The reason is because I get to relax. I've decided that I love being relaxed and I spend far too little time in that state of mind. On Thanksgiving, my biggest duty is to drive my wife's grandmother from her assisted living home to my in-law's house. That's it.

I don't have to cook.
I don't have to clean.
I just have to eat.
And drink.
Then sleep.

I'd take a hefty pay cut if I could relax on a full-time basis. So, in the spirit of relaxation, here's a salute to my few-and-far-between opportunities to unwind from the stresses of my own making:

1. That first sip of Sapporo at the local Sushi joint on a Monday before poker.
2. That first sip of a dirty Grey Goose martini at PF Chang's on a Monday before poker. (See a pattern?)
3. An empty house, a drink, and an online table in front of me.
4. Massage therapy, even without a happy ending, after 3 months of good workouts.
5. Both kids out of the house, accounted for and a rare dinner with the Mrs. in an uncrowded restaurant.
6. Fully rested, David Gilmour's On An Island playing in my car on an empty stretch of highway, traveling to It Don't Matter City.
7. Sharing some one-on-one time with either kid doing just about anything with the caveat that they're well-behaved.
8. Beach. Tide. Sun. Margarita with salt.
9. Saturday afternoon nap.
10. Sip of Scotch on my front porch sitting in a rocking chair during sunset.

I'm really looking forward to the next two days. Relaxing on one, and most definitely NOT relaxing on the other. Have a safe day if you're traveling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Foldin' Ain't Easy

The first hand at last night's Monday night game was crazy. I hate going broke the first hand, it sets a bad tone for the evening. Regardless, when it's folded to me and I have pocket tens, I'm going to raise. DeanDeanTheDrawingMachine, who seems to be folding more often rather than drawing these days, re-raised my $10 bet to $35. I got the sense that I was immediately behind.

However, both GucciRick and Otis called, so I had an easier call with hopes to flop a set. I had Dean on a big pocket pair and Rick and Otis on big Aces. The flop was KdTdTh. I tried not to pee my pants. Otis checked, I checked (slow playin' my Quads 'cause I'm so good) and Dean fired out $75. Rick called and I thought there was no real need to raise at that point, so smooth call was my response.

The turn brought another K. I checked and Dean couldn't shove his chips into the pot fast enough. At first I thought to myself this is a sick beat if I just lost to a one-outer. But then Rick said, "I have to call." Sweet, I thought to myself, they both have a King. I ha' Quads, I can' lose!!!!

"I have to call too," I said, and triumphantly flipped over my pocket Tens only to see Dean flip up pocket Kings. As soon as Dean flipped his cards, I knew it was a setup. No way Rick calls all-in with that board when he has neither a Ten nor a King. Of course, he had QdJd and the Ad hit the river.

How sad is it that I felt more relief upon realizing that it was a setup and I didn't just lose my buy-in on the first hand than the excitement I felt for flopping quads and thinking I would double up?


Anway, with my adrenaline shot for the evening, I played decently, if only for a while.

I called a raise with Js9s and saw a flop 4-ways. I flopped nothing, but the action checked around. The turn brought a flush draw to me and I check-called a small bet that had a caller in one spot. Pot odds ya' know. The river gave me a J-hi flush. But because of the action on the turn, I felt no guarantee that it was good. The person that called the turn bet could have easily been on a spade draw as well. I checked, the person who lead the turn checked, and the person who called the turn bet led out for a 1/2 pot-sized bet. I just called.

But then the turn bettor check-raised for another $75. And then got called. I had a flush and knew immediately it was no good. I folded and watched a Q-hi flush take the pot down against a set. As you'll hear on the Cash Plays podcast all the time, given the action, there's no way my hand is anything but a bluff catcher. Good fold number one.

Later on, I'd raise with AQ from the button. Three to an AKx flop with two clubs. Dean, from early position led out small and FranktheTank smooth called. I raised there because at this point in time, I felt Dean's lead out was a blocking bet with a draw type hand. You know, TheDrawingMachine. My assessment was affirmed when Dean simply called my raise and Frank decided to fold.

The turn brought the Jc and again Dean led out, this time with a bigger bet. Sadly, I could beat nothing at this point and again folded. Dean showed AJ and I tallied up good fold number two.

Folding isn't fun. You're saving money, playing well, but it's not fun. And I got tired of it.

Finally, when I raised again with AQ and got re-popped once again by Dean, I made a bad play and called out of position. Dean had recently rebought so was somewhat short on chips. I check-raised the Q-hi flop and Dean shoved. It was only $53 more for me to call into a $300+ pot and I knew I was no good. But again, folding isn't fun, so I called to see Dean have me crushed with pocket Aces.

Two outta three ain't bad. It ain't good either because the one time I decide not to fold, I lose my profits for the evening.


I'd end up a winner for the evening, but only because someone else made a bad fold. My chip stack was dwindling and I was getting a bit annoyed at how my initial solid play had deteriorated into a pattern of sucking. I was dealt AA and raised. I got one caller out of position and a flop I absolutely hated: KdQh8d. My Aces were black, I had no draw, just a pair.

My opponent checked and I c-betted hoping that I was up against some random King. My opponent called. The turn brought the 9d completing every draw known to man. Now my opponent led out. Super-awesome. But damnit, I have Aces. I also knew it didn't matter and I also knew I was about to make a bad call. I did.

The river was garbage and my opponent put me all-in for my last $106. Frustrated as hell, I decided to do what all poker players do when they're frustrated. Put my opponent on a hand I can beat. Random King, that's what he has. Right? Of course. I called.

My opponent mucked. Wow, my hand was good, I showed AA to take down the pot.

TheMark, ever so kind to have shut the hell up during the hand, retrieved my opponents cards from the muck and said to him, you had the straight. Jack-Ten. I got shipped the pot, we all knew the rules about mucking your hand. I didn't know how to feel. I read my opponent for a bluff, was correct, but thanks to him mis-reading his hand (He was a bit distracted playing with his BlackBerry. Here's to you Research In Motion!), I was effectively wrong. I'd turn that oddly-won pot into a nice profit for the session, so I won't complain.

Foldin' ain't easy.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unleash Carnage

I have a home game scheduled for the Friday after Thanksgiving. Anyone see any issues with this lineup?

1. BadBlood - The host, will have booze
2. G-Rob - The aggro-donk, will drink booze
3. Falstaff - The out-o-towner, will drive many miles
4. Heather - In town, heard there's a game, mainly coming to see the gun show
5. F-Train - 33rd best Razz player on the planet, coming to G-Vegas for the first time
6. CK - Black Widow of Poker, rumored to enjoy skillets at Denny's
7. Special K - Also known as Iraqii toilet seat tester
8. Craig Cunningham - Received approval to donate
9. Big Pirate - Last, but not least, of a table full of bloggers

I have several buy-ins, someone's getting an early Xmas present.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Run Goot

Funniest hand of the weekend for me:

It's a turbo, but it's still early. I raise w/QQ.

Before it gets back to me, 3 other players are all in. I call.

I'm up against 77, QTd, and AK. I came in last.

77 flopped a set.
QTd turned a flush.
AK rivered an Ace.

I have successfully torpedoed 50% of my yearly profit since July 1. Gugh?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Metal Monday Volume 2

Part of the reason I like the extreme side of metal is the vocals. I'd be hard pressed to call it singing, but the vocalists in my favorite genre are talented nonetheless. Nothing turns me off to music more than a whiny little lead singer, crying about something and ruining some otherwise fine metal song. Hear that Avenged Sevenfold?

Among the giants of this style is one Tomas Lindberg who rose to fame with the band At The Gates, pioneers of the Swedish Melodic Death Metal style. He's migrated from band to band ever since At The Gates disbanded, but you can find him on several classics.

I'd recommend the following:

At The Gates - Slaughter of the Soul (check YouTube for the Blinded By Fear video)
Nightrage - Sweet Vengeance
The Crown - Crowned In Terror


Some pokery fun.

8-game mix and we're playing PLO. Again, what follows is the classic berating from a guy who doesn't know much about the subtleties of PLO.

Berator raises pot pre-flop to $7 and I call from the button with 8TJQ, two hearts. Both blinds follow suit.

The flop is 579, two hearts. Hello flush draw, wrap draw. Both blinds check, Berator bets pot and I raise, effectively putting Berator all-in. Blinds fold, he calls and the board comes brick, and then T, giving me the nuts.

He shows KKTT, no hearts and says the following: "BS. Heeee-hawwww. Nice pre-flop call. Idiot." Then he leaves the table.

These are my favorite players. Those who have no idea they're favored to lose the hand and then complain when the odds work out against them. They are few and far between now adays, so enjoy them when you find them. I do.

Friday, November 07, 2008

A Home Game?

I haven't hosted in ages it seems. But tonight, I managed to scrape together a few folks to join me in a session of pokery goodness. G-Rob's coming. Falstaff's coming. We'll have 7 total and right now my biggest worry is finding enough beer and vodka to last the night.

Work blows and the thought of a home game is all that's keeping me from flipping my badge in the trash on the way out.

Maybe they'll even be blog-worthy stuff going on tonight. Feel free to dial-a-shot the table.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Nevada Jacks

As long-time readers of the blog know, I'm kind of a poker chip fanatic. Not only do I have my own custom set, but I have a collection of casino chips in a frame in my poker "office." So when I received an opportunity to review some Nevada Jacks poker chips and their website, I accepted the offer.

The value in any poker chip company to me lies in their selection. Not everyone has $1000 to spend on a set of custom poker chips. There should be some low and mid-tier offerings as well. At Nevada Jacks, they do indeed have something to offer everyone.

At the lower end of the cost spectrum lie the composite chips. They come in two different types of materials, those with metal slugs in them and those without. My personal favorite is the Nevada Jack Skull design. In fact, during one of my Superstars Invitational tournaments, I used those exact chips at one of the tables. (See pic below, chips courtesy of Falstaff.)

Up one level in quality from the composite chips are the actual clay chips that you'd commonly find in a casino. These chips are of higher quality and based on the material used and manufacturing process are more expensive to make. My current custom set is a ceramic chip, but after playing with some casino-style clay chips I've thought about purchasing a 2nd set. There are definitely some clay chip fanatics out there and Nevada Jacks can definitely meet the needs of that crowd.

Lastly, are the custom chips themselves. Nevada Jacks has some stock ring designs within which you can place some custom artwork. This option definitely adds both a classy touch to the chips as well as some security to your game. With custom chips you won't have to worry about anyone sneaking in their own counterfeits.

If you're in the market for some new chips, Nevada Jacks should be on your list of websites to check out.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Fallout From The War - Track 9

Jordan called me out. "Come on. I mean...come on. Really?"

Lusky did the same on Monday. "Dude, motivation? That was weak."

The best part of blogging sometimes is that you can go back and read what you wrote and then think to yourself, "WTF was I thinking?"


So. If you are a Shadows Fall fan and can figure out what song I'm referring to in the post title, you'll realize that I've just scheduled a trip. December!


Some details: Flying in on Thursday the 11th, leaving Monday the 15th, staying at the MGM. If things go right, Steel Panther will be playing on Friday the 12th at Green Valley Ranch. I'm taking roll call right now.

StB - better show.
PokerPeaker - I'll drag you if I have to.
TheTrooper97 - I know you can see them all the time, but not always with BadBlood. (I thought I might just link to myself right there but that's rather silly.)

Who else is in?


I'll also be looking to add a sushi component to the Procedure. Otis got me into sushi locally here in G-Vegas and I'll admit, I'm hooked. Grumblings are beginning to surface about a potential tournament at the Venetian. If that happens, super, if not, I'm sure we can all crash some Caesar's daily.


The split-second after I clicked purchase, I felt much better. I normally go through buyer's remorse whenever I spend some cash. Not this time. Work is a complete CF right now and the simple thought of 4 days in the desert was all it took to knock me off my doldrums.

Commencing countdown, engines on. 41 days.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Generally Correct, Specifically Wrong

As you've probably heard a million times before, poker is a game of the long term. In theory, you are to make decisions where on average those decisions will yield a profit. Positive expected value. Key word, expected.

Last night at the GucciRick game, I made a fold that I thought was entirely proper. Here's how it went down.

I was in the big blind and I held pocket Jacks. UTG+1, known in these circles as Dean, Dean the Drawing Machine, made a standard opening raise. We can give him credit for a variety of hands, a big Ace, pocket pairs 7 and above. I'm sure you know the drill.

A couple of folds later, CurrentFrank, formerly known as NewFrank, and not to be confused with FranktheTank, made a re-raise. It was a significant re-raise, almost 5x the raise amount put in by Dean. When it folded to me, I simply folded my hand. I showed my fold to one of the many dentists in the game seated to my right and his eyes grew a bit wide at my action. I whispered to him that I knew I was beat, CurrentFrank had me destroyed.

The flop came down T-high rainbow. Dean checked, and as I suspected, CurrentFrank pushed all in. I stood up, I was so confident in my fold that I pretty much made a fool of myself and declared myself King of Big Laydowns. Or some other such idiocy.

Meanwhile, Dean pondered a call.

"You have Queens? Kings?" A-ha, I thought to myself, I wasn't the only one who made such a read. "I call," Dean finally said and tabled his ATo. I was ready for CurrentFrank to flip up his monster.

Instead, he did the unthinkable. He mucked his hand. The turn brought a Queen, the river a blank and Dean raked in a huge pot.

My Jacks would have been good.

Later, I'd say I was fine with the laydown. In fact, I still am. I was up against potentially two opponents, out of position, and post-flop I could only beat AT and a bluff. It just so happened that Dean and Frank actually had those exact two hands making me perfectly incorrect for that one hand.

But correct in the long run? I still think so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Metal Monday

There's some poker in here somewhere....honest.


If all goes well, I'll throw out a metal recommendation each Monday for the 3 people who read this blog and care about that genre.

I was listening to the latest Arch Enemy on iTunes yesterday and for some reason decided to pay attention to the Genius sidebar. Now, I was relatively confident that I have their entire catalogue, so when I saw a song title called "Walk In The Shadows" I grew curious. That name didn't ring a bell. At least not initially.

I listened to the snippet.

And then I clicked "purchase."

Some of you will recognize that title, as the song I bought is a cover of the classic Queensryche song from when Queensryche was actually very good. It's from their Rage For Order disc which is an underated classic in and of itself.

So that's my recommendation for the week. Take it for what it's worth. Ninety-nine cents on iTunes.


This past weekend I had some success playing the 8-game mix over on PokerStars. What's interesting to me is comparing how each game is played "in the mix" against how it's played at a table where that's your only option. For those unaware, 8-game mix is Limit 2-7 Triple Draw, H.O.R.S.E, NLHE, and PLO.

It was during a round of PLO that this hand came up. I was in the big blind holding KKxx facing a raise and two calls. My Kings were not suited and my backup cards were rainbow rags. It's not a very good hand in PLO especially in early position. But with the 2 callers behind the original raiser, and with me closing off the action, I decided to call. I was playing for set value only.

The flop came down Q-high with two spades. I whiffed. I checked, planning to fold to a continuation bet, especially since one of my two King outs would complete a flush draw. Interestingly, it was checked around.

Of course, the turn was the King of spades, giving me top set on a board with 3 spades. Again, in PLO against 3 opponents, this is nearly a loser 100% of the time. I checked again.

When it got back to the pre-flop raiser, he placed a small bet, perhaps 1/2 the pot. Here is the difference between playing PLO at an 8-game mix table vs. a strict PLO table. A player with significant experience would never make that bet because if he has a flush, then anyone with a set (like myself in this case) has sufficient pot odds to boat up. I had 10 outs with 44 unknown cards, a 3.4:1 chance of making a fullhouse.

So I called, figuring to fold to a check-raise by the two remaining players in the pot. However, they both folded and now I was heads up with the pre-flop raiser. The river brought a Jack, which didn't pair the board.

Again I checked. I'm advertising to the other player that my hand is no good. At no point in this hand did I show any aggression. At a normal 1/2 PLO table, the pre-flop raiser fires a bet on the river regardless of what hand he has. The situation is so entirely bluffable that he should know I cannot call a pot-sized bet here.

Fortunately for me, the player checked behind and I won with my set. He simply had AAxx and got outdrawn. He played the hand very passively which is entirely expected at a table where PLO is just not your main game.


I've basically come to the realization that I'm not going to ever be the "best" at any one game, online or live. My profits normally come from other people's mistakes and me making fewer of them myself. The times I'm going to "outplay" someone are few and far between, especially with the skill level evening out over time.

They used to say Chip Reese's greatest asset was that his D-game was so close to his A-game. While he may not have had the best A-game, he made all his money when his opponents' games slid below their best. My hope is that I'll make some money online when my competancies in the 8-game mix is on average higher than some of the specialists out there.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


I have a minor request. Motivate me. I have not yet booked a trip to Vegas in December. I'm a bit run-down, tired, over-worked, and of course losing lately at poker.

The important things in life are good. Wife's good, kids are good, my cast is off and I'm gainfully employed. But I can't even click "purchase" on airline tickets.

Hell, prices are pretty low, there are deals on hotel rooms for the dates in question. But I can't seem to do it. I had a great time at the Bash and would definitely like to see everyone again. I'd like to go catch Steel Panther again. I'd like to get it in good again against some random douchenozzle. I'd even like to press the button again.

But right now, I'm mentally and physically exhausted.

So gimme a reason.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Rollin' Free

Most of us who got tossed off the Google highway as a result of the poker ads we're hosting have most likely felt a drop in whatever revenue we were receiving. It's a fine balance between all that motivates me to throw up a post: blogging for a creative outlet, chronicling my mis-adventures at the felt, telling stories, or even generating income. For yours truly, the income was always just a bonus. But I'll be truthful, selling an ad every now and then was somewhat fulfilling in a way.

In the new environment, I'm always appreciative and thankful for whatever advertisers want to toss my way. In this case, it's an ad and inclusion into a freeroll.


Thursday, for a second time, they've invited me into a freeroll, the first of which I managed to chop four ways with fellow bloggers SeattleJohn and Mookie99. For more information on who's participating, you can check out this page:

Le Tune Challenge - The Battle is On

So, to everyone at Rakebrain, thanks for the opportunity. To the rest of you participating, let's have some fun.

Friday, October 03, 2008


I recently took a look back over my posting history and came to the obvious conclusion that I don't post as much as I used to.  There are a lot of reasons for it, most of them can simply be called excuses:  busy at work, busy at home, not much new to say.

I'll always remember when DoubleAs decided to stop giving away strategy tips (for free no less) on his blog because it was simply a -EV decision.  Why tell your opponents how you play and why you do what you do?  Not that I'll ever be as good a player as he, but right about now I can totally understand how he felt.

I've been playing PLO online pretty much exclusively for the past month.  Nothing outlandish, but for me, a 10,000 hand month is pretty significant.  I'm learning the game, figuring out some obvious strategy and trying to find the subtle tactics that aren't obvious to most players.  And, I'm seeing a lot of mistakes.  Live, Monday night's at Gucci Rick's eventually migrate to PLO8 and I see some of the same trends.

Playing so much of this new game has spawned several ideas that under previous circumstances would be fit for a post.  But the combination of me being too lazy and me not wanting to teach my opponents to become better players has often times left me with a blank blogger text box.

So you get posts and pictures about me breaking my wrist.  Oh, and whining about it too, don't forget that.  Perhaps I only do that on Twitter, but still, I enjoy a good session of complaining.


Random bits and pieces:

I still consider myself the defending champion of Saturday's With Dr. Pauly even though I didn't win last week.  I didn't play, so I haven't lost.  This weekend will be tough since my hometown is having an Oktoberfest.

Speaking of my wrist, my cast came off yesterday.  I almost didn't come back to work.  Due to the advice of my Dr. and Dr. Chako, I still can't put compression stress through the joint, but I'll find ways to work out anyway.  "Oh right hand, how I've missed you...."

And last, but most certainly not least, a pic of a present I received at The Bash.  Fellow BB, thanks again.  This should soon be appearing on a televised final table sometime within the next 20 years.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Post Bash

Before Otis and I went up to Phoenixville, we both decided and declared that we'd follow a one-word credo.  Otis': steady.  Mine: chillin'.  Mission accomplished.

Random one line bits 'n pieces:

1. Met Buddy Dank for the first time.  Cool cat.
2. Drizz was Drizz and for that, he'll always be an A-lister.
3. Got to spend some good time with Doc Chako and The Wife.  That was very cool.
4. Spacepeople continue to rule in their own quiet, unassuming, yet awesome way.
5. Tuckfards.  Heh. Or should I say eh.  Carson and Donkaaaa are pretty damn cool guys.
6. BamBam and Pebs.  Just classic good people all the way around.  Glad I got to spend time with you guys and thanks once again for the card cap.
7.  CK.  Damn, that girl just goes with the flow and knows how to party.
8.  Katitude, to whom I owe some more time as I feel there's a treasure of depth in her personality that I've simply left unexplored.
9.  Astin and Vinnay - also cool people that I'm glad to have met.
10. The Bracelet.  Get your ass to Charlotte dude.
11.  Bacon Mary and Dawn Summers.  Thanks so much for the ride home Friday night.  Now you two know my least favorite form of currency.
12.  Jordan and his lack of wing-eating prowess.  Guy knows how to shave his head though.  Which is a plus.
13.  Rooster, master of the cockblock.
14.  Al.  Got to semi-mosh with him Saturday night when CrystalRoxx went heavy.  Can't believe he crushes so regularly like he does.  Man or machine?

I'm just going on memory here, but I'd like to thank those of you who managed to get to Denny's for some skillets with me on Saturday.  Pretty sure it was a good meal.

Monday, September 22, 2008

See Ya Friday

(pic courtesy of Maudie)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Host

This is pretty big news. I have won THE most prestigious tournament on the planet. Sure you got your WSOP Main Event, WPT Championships, WSOP Europe, EPT, WCOOP, FTOPS, blah, blah, freakin' blah!

I'm talkin' 'bout this one:

Much thanks goes to the birthday boy host himself, Dr. Pauly, who finished 2nd to me and my luckboxish type ways. Seriously, thanks again for hosting Dr., it was a metric ton of fun.

Monday, September 08, 2008


Today will mark 3 weeks since I got stupid and fell.  Today is also my 19th day in the cast.  Sofa king tired of the left hand wipe.  That's all I'll say about that.  I've managed to keep the cast smelling just shy of 4-year old hockey equipment by flooding it with soap in the shower.  My right forearm has probably shrunk enough so that water can flow through it.  Add a little Axe Effect spray and I'm good to go.

Here's a small recap of the weight guesses for the Bash:
BamBam - 175.5
Drizz - 172.3
Peter Birks - 165.5 (and to answer your question Peter, the December trip is the 2nd weekend, however, no official tourney is as yet set up.)
StB - 175

I've been managing to still do legs twice a week (Tom Platz I'm not) and cardio 5 times a week, but not doing anything with my upper body is killing me.  I may need to get on the program once I recover.  Never have before, but what's a little back acne?


Poker?  Yes, I've been playing.  A lot actually.  Grinded out GoldStar status last month and will probably do so again.  I've found that .5/1 PLO has kept my attention for about 3500 hands last week and I feel happy to claim a small profit in that endeavor, something around 5 PTBB/100.

Still can't avoid the 1-outers there though, but fun is fun.


As a Pats fan, I'm a bit bummed at yesterday's events.  I just knew something was wrong when I was at the gym watching the Jets/Dolphins game and the Pats/KC game updates seemed to be frozen while all the other games were showing progress.  I figured injury and was right.  Quite the nightmare if Tom's out for the year.  I say grab Culpepper, he threw to Moss for years in Minnesota.  How much faith do you put in Cassel?


And Chuck Liddell?  WTF?  Crazy times in the UFC hierarchy.  Do I heed the sage words of my man Iggy and bet the farm on Lesnar?  Maybe.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mis-Click, Here I Come

6 weeks. Minimum. Surgery was offered to me for screws, but I turned it down. It would only have made me wear a smaller cast and would not have accelerated the healing process. Come Bash time, I will probably drink myself into a non-recoverable state.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shift The Focus

Rather than dwell on the stupid things that happen to stupid people, let's focus on good things happening to good people.


Spanning The Globe

Perhaps you recall the immortal words of Jim McKay's "Wide World of Sports" opening sequence. "The thrill of victory..." Cue Winter Olympic ski jumper falling off the side of the launch hill. "...and the agony of defeat."

Inspired by the Summer Olympics, there was a challenge issued at Monday night's poker game. Our dealer Broc would race against anyone at the table. My ego spoke up, even willing to wager a c-note on the event. The deal was struck and the race was on. The venue: GucciRick's ever so slightly declining, very well paved front driveway. Broc is 6'5" (a fact I didn't consider) and about 250 lbs (a fact I did consider). How could I lose? PS: I ha' full house!

On came the floodlights. Someone got in their car to shine headlights on the course. Seventy-five yards were marked off as two combatants stretched by the starting line. After one false start by Broc, we had a clean start.

I fell behind early. But not so much that I didn't feel I could make it up at the later stages. If only I got there.

As I tried to boost my speed, I felt my upper body get ahead of me. If you've ever seen any video of idiots (like myself) running downhill, you know that once a certain state of imbalance is achieved, there's simply no recovery.

I did not recover.

And down I went, kind of hard. I broke my fall with my hands and rolled over once into the grass on the side of the driveway. My pride hurt more than anything. I'd soon find a nice patch of road rash on my right elbow, but other than that I thought I came away unscathed.

We went back to the poker table, I paid my debt and we continued to play. Thankfully I won a decent amount to both help recoup from last week's horrible showing and compensate for my idiot athletic lack of prowess.

Gradually, however, my hands and wrists began to swell and hurt. As the night wore on, the swelling and pain kept increasing. It got to the point where it was difficult to drive home. I popped some Aleve and went to bed, hoping to wake up the next day to some minor soreness.

That did not happen.

I knew based on how difficult it was to simply put on a pair of pants that morning that I'd need to get X-rays. Long story short: One sprain (right wrist), one fracture (left wrist). I knew I was old, but had no idea how fragile I'd become. This injury does not make for a happy BadBlood. Lifting weights is simply out of the question right now. I'm not sure how long I'll be sidelined from that activity. I suppose I can still do cardio, legs and abs; but that's about it.

My right wrist feels worse even though it's only sprained. This poses several problems. Here are some things made more difficult with a painful wrist sprain.

Opening doors
Turning keys, door or car
Twisting bottle caps off sodas
Cutting food with a knife
Wiping my ass
Waving bye to the kids after I drop them off at school
Moving a mouse, although I can still click pretty well
Using a steering wheel
Lifting a drink and tilting it towards my mouth (What drinking problem?)
An obvious one I don't need to detail right here but one which everyone is probably thinking

I told my wife that if she wants any kind of action, she's going to have to do ALL the work. But she's used to it.

I have to go to a hand specialist tomorrow to see if the fracture requires a cast or anything. I'm hoping it doesn't. Perhaps I'll be back at the weights in no time. If no time means six weeks, I may end up killing someone. With my feet.

So let's turn this negative into a positive somehow. The prop bet is open for you dear readers who will be attending the bash. This morning, I weighed in at 170.5 lbs on my bathroom digital scale. Your task is to guess what my weight will be the Friday morning I leave for Philly. I'm not sure how much working out I can do between now and then, but it's safe to say I'm not going to be lifting weights for a minimum of two weeks. Will I lose weight? Will I gain weight? Your call. Closest guess gets their bar tab taken care of Friday night in Philly. And a lap dance if you Procedure it up with me.

It took four hours to type this.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2007 All Over Again

It doesn't take much. You can string together a series of sizable wins for yourself, but if you haven't fixed all of your leaks, eventually something will happen to trigger a relapse into bad habits. Last night, something happened.

It's the GucciRick game and I started off poorly, torpedoing my first buy-in on a semi-bluff that didn't get there. As my second buy-in whittled down, I grew leery of my play; check-calling medium strength hands into other medium strength hands a small notch above mine. My reads were right, but I didn't act on them strongly enough. It happens sometimes and is a prime symptom of Hero-Call Syndrome.

Regardless, I finally woke up with a hand, AA UTG+1. It was a straddled pot, so I limped for $5. Hutch sitting directly to my left raised to $18 and then after that, WitchProject re-raised to $42. Just what I needed. When it got to me, it was an easy shove. WitchProject didn't take too long to call with his pocket Kings.

Then I heard it.

Damn GucciRick.

"I folded a King," he said. He may have well said, "You ha' two Aces, you can' lose!!!!"

Bang. King on the flop.

That's what happened to me three times in 2007. AA vs. KK all-in pre-flop and I lost. Those are killers to me for some reason. I know it happens, but hate it all the same. It's my Achilles heel, the part of me that wasn't dipped in the River Styx. And every time the long bow's arrow known as a 9:1 pre-flop favorite finds that sweet spot, I'm done.

After that, I played horribly and continued to lose. Another fine lesson in re-discovering your weaknesses at the cost of three buy-ins.

Yay poker.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Absolutely Relative or Relatively Absolute

Made a trip up to the Great White North, well Charlotte actually, this past Saturday for adventures in home gaming, Falstaff edition.

There was an interesting mis-play on my part that furthered some discussion on the matter of stakes and quality of play. For the record, here's the mis-play. I was in position and called a raise from Special-K with 45o. The flop was J-high, rainbow, with a 5. Special-K fired out nearly a pot size bet of $8 as a continuation bet. I called, turned another 5, and doubled through against his pocket Aces. I got lucky, no question. But here's the real point of this post.

Why did I call his continuation bet with only bottom pair?

In NL hold 'em, there are a few things to consider. Pot size, bet size and stack size. With those three values, you can construct a decent mathematical model on what the proper play is based on the action. That's really why I'm calling my play a mis-play, because with roughly $10 in the pot and an $8 continuation bet, my $50 stack size at the time really warrants a fold.

Let's for a minute pretend we're in a $2/$5 game and make the relative actions exactly the same. There's a raise to $25 from the blinds and 4 callers. The continuation bet is now $100 and I'm sitting there with between $500 and $600 in my stack. The reality is that my hand is now an obvious fold. But why?

Here's my opinion. Every poker player has a "main game" wherein the stakes are just about perfect for them to play optimally. If you're playing over your head in stakes that really pose a threat to your bankroll, then the absolute values of bet size begin to take on meaning. Even though they shouldn't.

If you're playing below the stake level of your main game, then so too do the bets take on absolute values rather than relative values.

In the hand above from Saturday night, my brain said, "Hey, it's only an $8 bet." And that's wrong, it's not good poker. Granted, you can make a meta-game argument that by calling that bet, I've set forth an image to the other players that I can take advantage of later, but that's really a secondary effect.

Now having taken full responsibility as a donkey in the above hand, I will add the following. It's also your job as a player to recognize your opponents comfort level. If you know your opponent is playing at levels uncomfortable to them, then you need to put pressure on them such that they fold when they shouldn't. But if your opponent is playing stakes lower than they're accustomed to, then you need to beware when they take chances they shouldn't in an attempt to get lucky.

And that's what happened to me. I got lucky.

Lee Jones once wrote an interesting article for CardPlayer wherein he recommended playing in a home game where you didn't know what the buy-in was. The chips in play had relative value to the blinds, and a buy-in got you $500 in chips, but you didn't know how much that buy-in cost. It could have been $20, $200, or $2000. Now how do you play each hand, when the absolute value of the chips is effectively unknown? For me, the unfortunate answer is most probably "differently."

Thursday, August 07, 2008


You know, deep down, I'm a pretty simple guy. Just get me to and from work each day, let me hit the gym and get home to a household filled with healthy, happy kids and a wife who tolerates me. I don't mind the Sisyphean nature of my job, if enduring means I get one simple thing in life.

Something to look forward to.

Granted, I've a lot left in life to look forward to - mainly it's all related to life milestones my kids will go through. But for me in particular, just something small will do. A poker game a few days away (thanks for the invite Falstaff), or a night out drinking with the G-Vegas conglomerate are just some of the things to appease my idle thoughts.

Sometimes though, bigger things happen. A trip to Vegas perhaps. Or something entirely different.

I booked a trip yesterday. Direct flight to Philly. Yep. The Bash. Hope to see some of you there.

Monday, August 04, 2008

One Night In Vegas

"Get a load of that guy," G-Rob whispered to me. "What a douchebag."

He sat in the 4-seat. He was probably in his mid-to-late 30's and wore his wispy blonde hair with a part on the left. He was wearing sunglasses that most likely went out of style in 1979. G-Rob and I were planning on stacking him. It was the donkey show at the MGM poker room and we thought we'd take over the table. At first, we did.

G-Rob flopped a full house with pocket Queens and stacked two people simultaneously. The show was on. My luck, on the other hand, wasn't at peak capacity. I turned the nut flush and got it all-in with a woman in seat 3 and G-Rob. G-Rob's flush was lower than mine so I won a decent side pot. But the woman's flopped quad 2's took the main pot. She racked up not soon after, the first in a series of minor disappointments that would begin my Thursday gambling session in Vegas.

I got frisky not soon after. I raised with 6c7c because at that moment in time, I felt like controlling the action. I'm pretty sure my raise to $12 was called in 6 places. It wasn't a surprise, because we still were at the MGM poker room at a 1/2 table. When the flop came down Q76 with 2 spades, I felt some guarded pleasure. I knew I couldn't get spades to fold, nor could I get a Queen to fold. So I bet nearly the pot. Fifteen redbirds, stacked in piles of 5 went into the pot after it was checked to me. The guy to my immediate left called and so did the douchebag in seat 4. Awesome, I thought to myself, he can't lay down the Queen. The turn was the 2 of hearts, putting 2 hearts and 2 spades on the board. The pot was about $300 and I had one move left. "Todos los chipos en el pot-o. That's all-in for our bi-lingual friends." Nobody laughed, even though that's pretty high-level comedy. The guy to my left folded what he said later was As7s for a flopped pair and flush draw. Douchebag went into the tank. "I think I gotta call," he said. Of course you do, I thought. How else can I stack you.

The river was the 9h. Backdoor flush got there, and so did his straight. He flipped over the 5h8h and took down my $700 pot. Inside, where I keep a small, tiny little black shard of something locked in a small box, my restraints began to give way.

Society's failed to tolerate me. And I have failed to tolerate society.


I cashed out down $500. I'd won the day before and was still up for the trip, but that session was disappointing. Winning that last pot would have gone a long way in paving my mood for the evening. But it was not to be. G-Rob and I got a call from Otis who got off work early. CJ was due in town soon and we all agreed to spend some time at some -EV games. And when you're with Otis, you know what game that is.

It's supposed to be hard to lose a lot at Pai Gow. But sometimes, if you're very, very lucky, you can lose umpteen straight hands and find yourself down $900 at the game. I was that lucky. And I was also approaching mega-tilt. The grey goose martini's at The Palms didn't help. And neither did the endless onslaught of female talent walking by, all of whom were off limits to this happily married, but increasingly horndogish tilt machine.

I got up from the table, leaving G-Rob, Otis and CJ to do whatever it is that you can do to try to win at Pai Gow. I went to a nearby Roulette table and bet on my kids' birthdays. That would ground me. If I could win some back with the power of the mini's magical numbers, I'd be fine. Or so I thought.

It didn't happen. I lost my roulette buy-in quickly and wandered back over to the the Pai Gow table. All of a sudden, and without really trying too hard, I found myself down $1500 for the day. I'm pretty sure I was going to be in for some trouble. The black inside grew and nearly broke free. It was hungry for more of what I'd been feeding it.

Come forth, for we are blood
And to blood we shall return


The G-Vegas collective decided that Texas Hold 'em Bonus was next. I couldn't see straight, but figured what the hell, how bad could that be? The rules are simple. Place a bet (the ante) and get dealt 2 cards. You can fold at any time pre-flop or you can pay double the ante to see the flop. You can then bet up to the ante on the turn and river if you like your hand. If you beat the dealer, you win your flop/turn/river bets and keep your ante. If you lose, you lose everything you put up for grabs.

And that's what I did. Lose everything I put up for grabs. There's a bonus bet as well, that pays dependent on your 2 starting cards. I lost those wagers as well. The first $300 went quickly as did the next $200.

Impressive I thought. Minus $2000. The BadBlood that my friends knew vanished, but they didn't see him go. His replacement took out another $200 and placed it in front of Mihaila, our friendly Eastern Bloc dealer. I put my head down and stared at the felt in front of me. Part of me honestly thought that if I stared long enough and hard enough, I could set it on fire.

Hello darkness my old friend.


I didn't say much for a while. G-Rob, Otis, and CJ were having fun. I think. I really couldn't be sure because I wasn't paying attention. I was winning. With stupid, stupid hands. I'd ante $50, look at random cards and convince myself I should play any Jack or better. $100 pre-flop. $50 on the flop, $50 on the turn, $250 at risk to win $200. It got to the point where I played the hammer. Naturally, I flopped two-pair and took it down.

Then it happened.

Mihaila spoke to me. "You should double your bets."

I stood up from the table, nearly in shock. "Your rooting against me, aren't you?" Why else would she recommend a customer to double his bets. I had made a comeback and she knew my luck was going to change. It had to, because nobody wins 10 hands in a row at this game. Fail at probability? That's unpossible! She could only have wanted me to lose more when my luck turned around, back to what it was earlier in the day.

It was at this point I explained to the dealer my affinity for the rest of mankind.

"Let me draw you a picture," I said. I traced a circle in the felt before me and said, "This represents me." I traced another circle next to it and said, "This represents every other human on the planet." I then drew a third circle.

"This is a button that if pressed would eliminate every other living human from this planet. Right now, in the mood I'm in, I would happily press that button.

"Double my bets?" I chided. "No way. Same bet size. I press the button."

And so it went. Every hand, I'd get dealt two cards, stand up from the table and yell across the casino for all to hear, "I press the button."

Purgatory unleashed. Now burn the face of the Earth.


Otis and G-Rob would later say that my comeback was the greatest -EV gaming comeback they'd ever witnessed. My last $200 buy-in grew to nearly $4000. I hated everyone and everything and couldn't lose. I've never had so much fun in my life. Pit bosses came to watch me play. Mihaila the dealer watched me play for an hour after her shift had ended. Apparently I was mildly entertaining.

Finally, a dealer came in, and I knew my run was over. They sent in the cooler. But they weren't going to fool me. The black inside me recognized her for what she was and before it crawled back into its tiny box, it clued me into the nature of the replacement dealer.

"Cash me in," I said, "I'm onto your little game."

I literally stumbled to the cashier's office with $3500+ in blacks and wandered back to the table. In the aftermath, Otis, CJ and G-Rob began to play their hands blind. And win. And then I didn't hate anybody anymore and smiled at the good fortune of my friends. I was on the other side of tilt and on the other side of massive losses. It was 4am and the four of us were dead tired.

There really wasn't any other choice to make when confronted with what to do next. That's right. Poker. 2/5 NL with $1000 cap.


On hand #2 in the big blind, I found myself with 24o.

The flop came A35 rainbow. There was a small part of me inside a tiny, little box that started laughing.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Just got a voice mail from the wife this morning, claiming I forgot to kiss her goodbye before I went to work. Problem is, I did give her a kiss, so I called her right back and gave her the details of where and when.

"Oh yeah," she said, "You did give me a kiss."

"It was spectacular for me too, honey."


Songs that the live version is better than the studio version: (feel free to add more)

Cheap Trick - I Want You To Want Me
Arch Enemy - Bridge of Destiny
Kreator - Violent Revolution

That last one is seriously goosebump-inducing, just not for anyone I happen to hang out with.


Working on a post. In it, I press a button.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Three Weeks of the Suck

I've been kind of MIA, in the online sense. I'm pretty sure this has been the longest I've gone between blog posts and generally speaking, it's been for a reason. Life at work took a turn. Busy? Yes. Sucky? Yes. In fact, the last you heard from me was via Blackberry updates from Vegas, a trip I've not yet even chronicled. When I returned home from that trip, things just got so incredibly messy. I've worked for my company for 18 years and I've never been so busy wading through a clusterfuck so large in my entire life.

Will things die down? I sure as shit hope so.

July's poker has been just as bad. Is it related to everything else going on? It would be hard to say no.

I thought yesterday was going to be the last straw. I had a meeting with my direct superior to talk about how poorly one of my managed projects was received by the user base. My wife called me mid-morning in tears because she lost, YES LOST, her last month's paycheck somehow. I went home and promptly lost online playing 2-7 triple draw, which is at least a fun game for me to play and learn right now.

Mentally, I'm exhausted. That exhaustion translated directly to me physically, and after a while I felt just absolutely wiped out. I was approaching my limitations in enduring what was going on around me. So much so that I checked Expedia for one-way tickets to Brazil. Well, not really, I could never leave the wife and kids. But still, a far simpler life awaits me somewhere. Most likely, somewhen. When I retire and the kids are out of the house, I plan on relaxing like no man has ever relaxed before.

Until then, I'll update when I can and dodge bullets when I can't.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Crackberry summary - Best and Worst

Best part of poker: won every 2/5 nl session I played for $2200.
Worst part of poker: lost every 1/2 nl session I played for -$1270.
Best poker correlation: sober at 2/5 > drunk at 1/2.
Best part of Green Valley Ranch: Steel Panther.
Worst part of GVR: tilting toward oblivion after the show.
Best unexpected perks: Free Steel Panther t-shirt (ty Otis) and having poker pro Brandon Schafer ask us to help him drink his VIP booth quota of alcohol.
Best hotel: The Palms has so much amazing eye candy walking around that it's borderline ridiculous.
Best part of returning home: sleeping in a bed.
Worst part of returning home: work and meetings and interviews on Monday.
Best saying I just now made up: Home is where you don't have to wipe the toilet seat before you sit down.

(It's also where the heart is.)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Crackberry summary day 2

G-Rob arrived and we went to play at the MGM.
Lost $500 at the 1/2 nl game after getting rivered for a $700 pot. It was pretty ugly and put me in a semi-sour mood.
Otis got off work early so we went back to the Palms for some -ev gaming.
Lost $900 at pai gow and $100 on roulette. Got a bit titly.
Lost $400 more at Texas hold 'em bonus table game. Got very tilty.
Then something happened.
I went on a run.
I took my next $300 buy-in and ran it to $3350. It was kind of sick.
Then, in an even sillier move, played 2/5 nl.
I won over $900 there.
Otis won $2500.
CJ won $1300.
G-rob wasn't able to join the fun unfortunately.
I finished the day up over $2k.
Steel Panther is tonight.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Crackberry Summary Day 1

Met Otis.
Met Pauly.
Hit quad Jacks at video poker.
Would later show pic to Mean Gene.
Heard my name called out in hallway of Rio. It was Spaceman sporting the Mountain Man look.
Decided to play 2/5 NL at the Rio.
Doubled up. TheMark sat down. We didn't play any pots together.
Made a hero call with 86o. Picked off a bluff and got berated. Felt good.
Played with some aggro Canadian kids who were originally from Russia.
Good kids though.
Cashed out +863.
Drank at hooker bar with the working bloggers.
An impromptu dance show started at 4am. Most surreal moment in Vegas I've ever had.
Slept on Otis' couch.
No way G-Rob fits on that thing.
Slept way too little.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Pics From the Drizz Visit

Things started out the right way when we were delivered our food/bar tab at the local Mexican food place (hammer is good):

Then Drizz showed up to the house bearing gifts:

Lastly, my daughter donated her dry-erase board for the evening's Digital Cable Classic Rock channel prop bets. Otis cleaned house in that regard.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I suppose part of getting lucky in poker is playing horribly and not losing. At least not too much.

Tonight, I sucked out on Wes all in pre-flop with AK vs KK. Not one of my prouder moments.

Then, I mis-read the board thinking I had a double belly-buster straight draw against G-Rob. In reality, I had a gut shot. Sadly, I hit. Then I rubbed it in. Mainly because G-Rob would have done so against me. But still, that's no excuse.

What's even worse is then finishing down for the evening $113. Really, it's a small loss. But given how absolutely horribly I played, it's a blessing.

So let me say this. Publicly.

Glad I could host.

Glad Drizz had a good time.

Sorry for sucking out Wes and G-Rob. I played bad, knew it, and still continued.

It's a good wake up call for me. Don't drink and play. At least too much.

Embarrassed am I.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Victims of Fun

Excitement mounts as I start this lovely Friday, the 2nd of such in this month of June that should prove to ROCK! \m/

Last Friday started out glum with nobody except a few diehards willing to play live poker at my house. Alas, the game crumbled and my house was empty. G-Rob called (one of the diehards) and mentioned the 7:15pm tourney on Stars, a $10+1 with 1 rebuy and 1 add-on. I signed up so I could play virtual cards with my home town fellow blogger.

He busted in 20 minutes.

I did not.

Like I mentioned last post, the key hand was avoiding getting coolered. I'm pretty sure we were not in the money, however we may have been close. I had about 70k in chips and I think the blinds were 600/1200 with an ante. I had pocket Jacks in middle position and re-raised an UTG raiser 4x his bet. One guy on the button then pushed all-in over the top for 50k and it was folded back to me. It was a dilemma. I really thought about folding.

Especially when the phone rang.

It was my cooler of a wife, who while I love dearly, simply cannot help herself from unwittingly destroying any chance of me winning at poker while she's around. She was an 8-hour drive away up in Virginia beach and yet she found the perfect time to call me, right in the middle of a decision for 2/3rd's of my chips in this tournament wherein I've lasted longer than I imagined.

"Hello?" I said.

"Hey. How's it goin'?"

"Honey, I'm RIGHT in the middle of a huge hand right now, I have Jacks and just got re-raised. Can I call you back?"

"Alright." But you see, it wasn't "alright." It was that exact tone that 12 years of marriage allowed me to translate thusly: "It's not alright. I miss you, I want to talk to you, the kids are in bed, I have time to chat. CHAT WITH ME!"

She hung up.

I had clicked my time bank and it was ticking down. Then I had this thought: "Hey, she hung up. She's in another state, another area code, another ZIP CODE even. I have to call."

I clicked call. Push-monkey had 66 and didn't suck out. Tough call, but in the end it still was a $10 MTT.

I called my wife back, a 3rd place chip stack fueling my ability to "chat." She was mollified.


FYI to Jordan: Once it got heads up, we were both pretty even in chips and my opponent typed "DEAL" into the chat box. We both agreed to sit out (got to fold KK once, yay!) and I fired off an email to Pokerstars support. Within perhaps 2 minutes, an online host was at the table and stopped the tournament to discuss a deal. I offered an even chop $2600 each, with the remainder to go to the winner. The host confirmed the deal and we both had to type "I agree" into the chat box to formalize it. Then the host re-started the tournament and off we went.


I leave work tonight as soon as humanly possible to go hit up Total Wine for some alcomahol. Grey Goose, and for a very special guest, Captain Morgan rum are on my list. We'll be raising a toast and/or dial-a-shotting some other local bloggers who couldn't make it.

SpecialK is kicking special ass over in Iraq, uncorrupting databases that were either attacked by nasty terrorists or Microsoft Vista. Not sure which.

And TripJax couldn't make it due to in-law health concerns, so hopefully all turns out well for he and his family. We have your number and hopefully can remember how to dial a phone.

Hell, even Shep's playing tonight. Fun indeed.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Biggest Tourney Cash. EVAR!

I actually chopped with 2nd for this, but won the extra $100 on the table. $2708 for me.

Mainly, because I'm lucky. I have a funny story about my wife (cooler) that I'll share later. It was a turning pt. in the tournament for sure. Until then though, let me be Barry Horowitz and pat myself on the back.

Ouch. I need to stretch more.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Three Friday's In June

I enjoy Friday just like any other person. However, this month, I plan on enjoying them even more.

Friday the 13th - Normally an unlucky day, I hope to host a poker game at my house. The beautiful part about this is that I'm still home alone with no distractions, so there is a chance, albeit a slight one, that I can win at my own home game. The only negative is that of this writing I only have 4 people committed to playing. I won't let that get me down though. Of all the Friday's, this week's is perhaps the least exciting.

Friday the 20th - Minnesota meets G-Vegas. A certain blogger vacationing in the Charleston, SC area is willing to make the drive to the upstate area for some patented and perfected good times. He's picking up Columbia's last remaining Pirate and should be able to join myself, the Upforpoker crew, and Charlotte's most famous poker playing thespian. Mmmmmm.....thespians....

Friday the 27th - I'll be in Vegas. Yeah big deal, I've been there before, so what. So what? Maybe you don't know, but Steel Panther, formerly known as Metal Skool, will be playing the Green Valley Ranch Ovation theater that night. And yes, I'll be there. I recommend you right now go listen to the song "Asian Hooker" on their myspace page.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Myth of the Unknown Cheater

I don't want to re-hash what's already been said, but in case you weren't aware (like any of my readers don't read Pauly or UpForPoker) there were two cases of online cheating going on at two poker sites. Both Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet (intentionally not linked) were discovered to have users capable of viewing other player's hole cards. It's pretty much impossible not to win when you have that advantage. These "super user" accounts were discovered eventually by some smart folks over at the 2+2 forums. The bottom line was that effectively millions of dollars were stolen by these accounts in high stakes games and tournaments and it went undiscovered for months.

After news of this cheating was released and confirmed, some smart folks wondered about the hypothetical "smart" cheater. Apparently, in both of the above instances, the cheating was so ridiculous that it was really only a matter of time before they got caught. But what about the cheater who only does it every so often, guaranteeing him/her a steady income of ill-gotten gains?

My theory is that person doesn't exist.

My opinion is that if you're the type of person to actually consider cheating in the first place, then you'll never be satisfied with getting away with it at a reasonable rate to deflect suspicion. Think about it this way. If you could guarantee yourself a $10k winning month each and every month, would you do it? Perhaps, but by month number three, you'd realize that covering your tracks is simply not worth the effort. If you can make $10k in 30 days, why not $20k? So you change your play. You cheat more often.

And yet you still don't get caught.

Human nature dictates that the cheater will always crave more, not less. And perhaps I'm projecting my non-cheating mind to that of a cheater; but I can't conceive of someone stealthily cheating online poker for years, and never getting any more greedy. The feeling of satisfaction will always elude the cheater until finally, they cross the line from the undetectable to the obvious.

Granted, we'll probably never know if these so called "smart" cheaters exist or not. But I just have a feeling that they don't. Eventually they'll desensitize themselves to what they're doing and increase the stakes over and over again until they get caught. Just like Absolute and Ultimate Bet.

Do You Take This Game?

It's an exchanging of vows so to speak. Just like when you agree to get married, you're accepting all that your soon-to-be-spouse has to offer. You're accepting all her great qualities, all the things that made you fall in love with her in the first place. But also know this. You're also accepting all her flaws. And you're not going to change them. So don't try.

If you decide to play poker, you're also accepting all that the game has to offer. The thrill of making a final table, the thrill of picking off a huge bluff, the thrill of out-smarting your opponent.

But you're also accepting all of its flaws.

Getting out drawn, getting dealt crap cards for two hours, dealing with people you wouldn't normally associate. And you cant' change poker. So don't try.

Some people still do try though. You can try to play a different style of poker, one that you think will minimize your exposure to its flaws. But it won't work, at least not forever. Because you can't change poker and eventually you'll experience all its wonders and all its flaws.

So if the flaws outweigh the benefits, you just don't get married. You find another girl who's a better match, one with fewer flaws. Nobody's perfect though, so don't bother looking for that person. But if you do get lucky, and find someone whose imperfections don't matter when compared to her beauty, only then can you dedicate yourself to making that relationship work.

So if you're not ready to embrace poker, take it for all the good and all the bad, then you should probably find another game.

Monday, June 09, 2008


Didn't do much blogging after Otis and G-Rob came over on Saturday. But just to recap, here's what went down.

First, we played Pai Gow to determine who would pay for the cab ride downtown. Even though we were at my house, with three automobiles at our disposal, our plans dictated that we cab it FROM my house due to, well, due to not really being able to drive.

Otis had a bad run at Pai Gow. He'd be stuck early.

Then we played Chinese poker for $1 a point and quickly got bored, requiring us to up the stakes to $5 per point. G-Rob crushed that game. We also gambled on the Belmont. Otis coerced G-Rob into a $10 bet at 1:6 on Big Brown. G-Rob didn't read CJ's post about the race after his original pick, Casino Drive, was scratched. Ship $60 to Otis.

The only thing I won money at was the music prop bets. Here's how it works. We flipped on Arena Rock on the digital cable. We each pick one band and one song from that band. If your band gets played first, it's a $5 payoff from the other two. If you get the song right, it doubles to $10.

I nailed it for Winger and then Zeppelin when we switched to classic rock. But I finished down for the day because I mis-dealt Chinese which was a 2 pt. penalty. Who knew counting to 13 would be so difficult.

Otis brought 4 lbs of porterhouse which we dusted off pretty quickly. I helped Otis and T finish their steaks, which may have meant I downed 32 oz. of steak by myself. I think I could have gone more. For some reason, steak-ingestion doesn't register with my "I think I'm full" feedback loop. Give me about 3 or 4 hours and I may have been able to eat all four pounds.

Beef. It's what's for dinner.

Then T drove us downtown because he was sober. At least I thought so until he pulled out of my subdivision and then nearly ran head on into an oncoming car. I was in the back seat with Otis and I think G-Rob's girth would have probably saved me from major damage as he occupied the passenger seat in front of me.

We made it safely, and drank anew at Meat Heads, wherein G-Rob and I defended our "2nd best beer pong team in G-Vegas" title against his morning co-host and her date. I nailed 4 cups including the last 2 to seal the deal.

We migrated to Connolly's and drank some more before losing steam. We finally took a cab home and that was all she wrote.

Sunday, I did nothing besides eat, watch TV, and lose all four 4:1 favorite pre-flop situations playing online poker.

I didn't think I'd miss the wife and kids until Wednesday. I was wrong.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Plans for the Day

7:00 AM - Wake up.
7:30 AM - Wish the wife and kids a great week away. Have house to myself.
8:00 AM - Make eggs, toast and coffee. Eat breakfast and watch DVR'd episode of Inside MMA. Dream about being Bas Rutten and executing a nice liver punch.
9:00 AM - Shower
9:30 AM - Log in for some poker. House is empty. I should do well.
10:45 AM - 20th of 78 remaining in a HORSE tourney. Top 16 pay.
11:30 AM - out in 40-something. RAZZ is officially on my hate list. Good gravy.
12:30 - Off to the gym because poker annoys me. Should do well? Ha.
3:00 - PM Workout complete. Arms huge. Protein shake ingested.
3:26 - PM G-Rob, en route, Otis soon to follow. With meat.
...updates to come...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Well, I'm going back. Last time I went, there was very little poker to play. My traveling companion was my better half. I had a really, really good time too. Seeing shows, eating well, staying in a fancy schmancy hotel room. Even ordering room service was something I'd not done before on previous trips.

Now, I'm putting the old hat back on, hoping it fits. I'm booking a poker trip. Back to Vegas with the UpForPoker crew. Sleeping far to little on floors far too uncomfortable, staying far too long in the same seat at MGM poker room, drinking far too much at a PaiGow table (FYI - I hate that game), and spending far too little time with other folks who may be out there at the same time. That's how the plans are shaping up.

G-Rob's bogus vacation schedule prevents us from leaving at the same time, so I'll be out there one day ahead of him on Wednesday the 25th. He's asked me not to go broke before he gets there. If I can stay away from the Rhino, I have a good chance of avoiding that. I'm bringing a good amount of cash, which doesn't mean I'll put it all in play. But I'll be prepared for any runner-runner mishaps that may occur.

The real enabler of this trip is Otis. And again, I really have to thank him profusely for letting this moocher leech yet again some free floor space off of him. This is probably the 4th time.


So I pose a practical question at this point (Dr. Pauly and Grubby if you'll be out there): Are we gonna do the procedure?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

989:1 Favorite

Thought I could slow play. Silly me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

"You're Right, I Don't Have Spades"

Instead of the opening scene of Rounders, it's the last hand of the night on a Thursday night. We're four-handed, playing 1/1 $100 max. It's a straddled pot (why wouldn't it be?), and all four players see the flop. I'm holding A6o.


I've flopped two-pair. It's a pretty strong hand four-handed, but with the flush draw out there, I have to bet.

"Ten," I say as I toss two red chips into the middle.

"I call." My only opponent, Dr. Alan could very well be on a flush draw.

The turn hits, it's my money card, 6d. It gives me a fullhouse. But the flush draw hasn't hit yet, so I check my monster.

"Ten more," says Dr. Alan.

Hmmm, maybe not a draw, maybe a weak Ace.

"I raise. Fifteen more."

"Check-raise, huh? OK, I call."


River is the 9s. He made his flush, I've got him right where I want him.

"Are you gonna check-raise me again?"

I reply, "I'm not sure I can afford to let you check the river behind me if I don't bet."

I stack out ten red chips, cut them in half, and like a poker pro, spill the right half in an elegant display of my poker wizardry.

"How much is that?" he asked.

"Fifty even."

"I raise. Make it a hundred."

Let's see, uh...I got the 15, plus, uh, another 33 to um raise you um uh...Yeah, I'm gonna go all in, cuz I don't think you have the spades

"All in!" I figure to double up here, in fact I wouldn't be surprised to get a fold out of my raise. It's nearly a $200 raise.

Then I'm frozen. Dr. Alan insta-calls.

"Full house!" he says.

You're right Mike, I don't have spades.


Last year, Dr. Alan would have flopped a set of 8's against me and I'd have lost the $600 pot.


It's 2008.

He had 86o for 6's full of 8's.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Running good. It's a great feeling. And I know the trigger. The peculiar piece of happenstance that launches me into a streak of good fortune.

It's the "You ha' full house! You can' lose!" theory.

Recall that bad beat I had in New Orleans when I flopped middle set against top pair. I'll never forget that Asian gentlemen who sat next to me assuring me a nice sized pot would be coming my way.

Well, it happened again. But this time it was online and there was no talking during the hand. Just me launching a few expletives after the hand. But I couldn't get too mad, the hand occurred in a silly little sit 'n go.

I took a break. Had dinner. Put the kids to bed. And re-launched into some cash games.

Stats for the curious:

Hands: 310
Showdowns won: 23/26
PTBB won: 158

How? I got my hands in good. And as you can see, for the most part, they held up. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that this was at CAP NL. Capped. For the truly inept deepstack online players which I have sadly morphed into. But when you can eliminate some massive river mistakes from your game, which CAP NL does for you, then you can post some winnings. And post some winnings I have.

So. I ha' full house.

I can' lose.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Can't Touch That Day

I was scheduled for jury duty this past Monday. Not really knowing what to expect, I informed my boss that I'd be out for the entire day. Sometimes when you plan for the worst, it's easy to exceed your expectations. Pessimism. You should try it.

I had to state my name, my occupation, my marital status, and spouse's occupation.

"BadBlood, hot air balloon pilot, married to a professional poker player groupie."

"No, your honor, I don't play. It's illegal."

Those were the thoughts rumbling through my brain as I sat in front of the district judge. A small up tick in my maturity level prevented me from actually saying that, so I told the whole truth, nothing but the truth. So help me flying spaghetti monster. Or microscopic teapot if you're G-Rob.


I was elected to participate in three trials. My occupation as engineer was enough to sway two defense attorneys to excuse me from their juries, but I got nabbed for three anyway. There was time for me to go to lunch with the wife in between my first dismissal and my first trial. So I took her to a local sandwich shop and then to the mall. It's her birthday and I figured I'd get her some perfume for the kids to give to her. She likes the new Victoria's Secret stuff and who am I to refuse a trip inside a store where this woman is plastered all over its walls?


My phone rang. It was G-Rob calling from home.

"I have some exciting news for you," he said.

"Cool, spill it."

"I'm taking a nap."

For literally only a millisecond, I wondered why that was exciting news. But only a millisecond.

"Surely someone of your intelligence can figure out why that's exciting," he continued.

"Ah ha! You're going to play poker at Rick's tonight then go straight to work afterward."



I was about to pay for the perfume when the Mrs. pointed at the sales clerk about to come over.

"Check out this woman's boobs," she said, "they're gigantic."

"If you say so."

Oddly, I'd seen them before.

I know what you're thinking. Otis thought the same exact thing when I told him about the encounter. The sales clerk took my credit card and said, "You look familiar. Where I have I seen you before?"

Expect the worst. Hope for the best. The whole truth, nothing but the truth.

"The gym," I responded. You may not believe me, but that was really the case.


The jury trial scheduled for that afternoon turned out to be a traffic violation. Illegal lane change. Why on earth was this infraction escalated all the way to trial? I could think of only two reasons: One, the defendant was so sure he was in the right, he was willing to go to whatever lengths to ensure his side of the story was recognized as truth. Two, he had too many points on his license and this ticket would be just enough to get it suspended.

After hearing both side's testimony, we adjourned to the jury room.



Poker was odd last night. I was all-in twice with pocket Jacks, each time with roughly 50% equity. The first was on the flop against Otis. The board was 972, two hearts. He held the 68 of hearts for the 15-outs twice scenario. We ran it twice as is often done on huge pots. I won the first and lost the second on the river. It was somewhat exciting, but we split the pot in the end.

The second time, I was all-in pre-flop as a somewhat short stack. I was up against KQ suited, a early position, re-raise, "move" from Gucci Rick. We ran that twice too. Again I won the first and lost the second on the turn.

I expected the worst. So I wasn't too displeased with the results.

Then I folded away for about 2 hours. Discipline.


Things go in streaks at the poker table. Right now, I'm in a streak with G-Rob wherein he doubles me up at some point. I doubled him up at my birthday party cash game. He's returned the favor twice in return. Last night's double up put me in the profitable zone for the first time all evening at about 11:30. It can pay to wait sometimes, hard though it may be.

It was after all exciting news. Playing poker with your friends just can't be beat. Especially on a Monday.

Monday, May 12, 2008


As Ric Flair once may have said, this past weekend I was stylin', profilin', and stimulizin'. My economic stimulation package came via electronic one's and zero's into my checking account Friday. What better way to spend it, than invest it for the future. LOL, did I just say that?

What I meant was, "Welcome home, my new Samsung 52" LCD. Welcome home."

Granted, I have no 1080p source to feed its pixels, but eventually I will.

So here's a question for you gamer-types, a group in which I used to firmly reside in my LAN party days:

Why on earth would you buy a Blue-Ray DVD player when they cost $399? Because you can buy a Playstation 3 for the same price. And it has a built-in Blue-Ray DVD player. Seems kind of odd to do otherwise.

Now if a PS3 makes the right sense to you, what games should come with it?

And, one final question: Assuming I make such a purchase, how do you tell your video game prodigy son that he can't play it when Daddy's not home?

Monday, May 05, 2008

ELP - Track #6

Saturday I awoke with one of those purely content feelings. Sadly, I sometimes have to reconcile my mood with my poker results. I'm not 100% sure what that says about me now, but with positive poker results under the belt, it's much easier for my mind to be vacant from negativity. Quite a contrast from last year when each losing session made it easier for me to focus on the general day-to-day shortcomings that simply occur naturally for everyone.

By this time last year, I had already lost two four-figure pots with AA vs KK all-in pre-flop. It's just the way things went. It's not like I was playing badly those hands, nor really was my opponent. It's just simply a poker given. The hand played out in very standard fashion.

Friday night at my homegame, the same hand occurred. This time, my AA held up against G-Rob's hand. Again, standard poker. As such, my results this year are astronomically better than last year. So much so, that someone finally accused me of running like God. It would be hard to disagree.

Am I really that much of a different player this year than last? I don't think so. Do results seem to snowball whether they're good or bad? Yes. Absolutely they do. When you're running well, you don't think about losing. You don't focus on how you could have played a hand differently, because you won it. When the opposite is true, too much of your focus is lost on previous hands, previous results and how you simply have to change things drastically to improve. Well, I'm here to say that sometimes you don't have to change, at least not as much as you think you do.

Maybe it takes a while. Maybe it takes a four to five month losing streak to let you understand how even good players can run bad. Losing makes you question yourself for so long and for so hard. It takes a special kind of confidence to overcome, a confidence in yourself that flies in the face of far too much data accumulated over the course of dozens of losing sessions.

The contentment I awoke with on Saturday spilled over into other facets of my life. I truly felt lucky to be where I am in this world. My family is happy and healthy. I'm gainfully employed. I have to admit, on the inside, I tend to be a pretty selfish person. It's a me-against-the-world philosophy that I've inherited from my parents. For me to succeed, you have to lose. But that's not really the case. There are times when everyone can win.

My wife teaches 3-year olds at a church. There are a lot of families that attend that have difficulty making ends meet. There are several programs there that accept anonymous donations so that help is given where it is needed. I've decided that some of my good fortune this year should be spread out, even if only a small bit. So that's where some of my poker winnings will go later this week.

I am a lucky man.