Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Just Because

I am 36,000 feet in the air. That is all. Wait! Ty to Otis for the free drink ticket

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


The loneliest number
The song Metallica played at the Grammy's the year Jethro Tull won Best Heavy Metal Artist
- (e^(i*pi))

Days until I'm in Vegas

See y'all soon, recaps when I get back.

Friday, December 04, 2009


Are there any readers out there who have signed up for the Full Tilt security token? If so, care to share your experiences? I have one for my work VPN, so I'm aware of how they work and what they do. I'm just looking for anyone's experience with ordering and activating it.

There are two options - physical token, and software-based token that will run on your phone.

Thanks in advance.

Monday, November 30, 2009


Wikipedia states, "9 (nine) is the natural number following 8 and preceding 10. The ordinal adjective is ninth." Oddly, no mention on that site about the number of days before I'm in Vegas. What a garbage site, no utility whatsoever.

I'm wearing a hefty pair of lollerskates thinking about how much work I'll get done between now and then. Here are some things I am thinking about:

Number of work days until Vegas: 7
Number of workouts until Vegas: 5
Number of live poker sessions until Vegas: 2
And in the totally random department, number of free mp3 downloads I received from Amazon for ordering my kids Christmas presents there last week: 5
(For those who care and for those who don't)
i. You Shook Me - Loudness
ii. No One Gets Left Behind - Five Finger Death Punch
iii. The Air That I Breathe - The Hollies
iv. Cracklin' Rosie - Neil Diamond
v. I Only Wanna Be With You - Volbeat

Live poker at the Gooch tonight. See you folks in 9 or 10.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stack and a Story - Vol III

This stack is from this past Friday night. You should see 2 purples ($100), 5 stacks (40 in height) of $5, 1 stack of $25's (20) and some more $5's and $1's. Here's the hand of the night that helped me get into this position:

The blinds at this game are $1/3 and I open raised to $10 with KdKh with an effective stack of $600. TheMark, sitting directly to my left, re-popped it to $30 and the BB (a player I've not played with) flat called. At this point, I'm putting both on either big Aces or mid-to-high pocket pairs. You'll see why this preflop analysis on my part turned out to be problematic.

Not one to smooth call when I think I'm ahead, I re-raised to $130. I should find out if TheMark has Aces here, however he's been known to flat a four bet with them, so I was wary. I figured the BB would fold, but he again smooth called $100 more. I thought that was odd.

The flop came T99 rainbow. BB checked and I put out a bet of only $150. Why? Well to be honest I hated that flop. Pocket Tens is right in that pre-flop smooth calling range of the BB. I don't like his passive play, but he was deep and I suppose that could have been his style. I also wanted to find out if anyone was willing to raise that bet since it was so small compared to the pot size. At this point, the pot was pretty big and I don't think any one was going to bluff at it since nobody had much fold equity given the remaining stack sizes.

TheMark ended up folding, claiming AK suited later on. Then the BB surprised me and check-raised me to $350. Ugh. Exactly what I didn't want to hear.

So I went into the tank. I looked for tells. I asked him, "Did you really flop a full house?" Luckily for me, I had been paying attention to his play in previous hands and based on that, his response to my questioning (a certain live tell that's been reliable to me), and the pre-flop action, I finally said, "Well if you did, good for you. I'm all in."

He deflated immediately. All he could say was, "I guess I have to call now." The board came 5 and then a Q. His pocket 3's were no good. I almost folded to his flop check-raise, I almost did. But you can't build a stack and a story by folding.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stack and a Story

This is my favorite stack of all time. I'll try to explain.

The chip denominations are $25, $10, $5, and $1 from left to right. I also had some bills as you can see. This poker night was a night like no other and will most likely never be reproduced for as long as I play.

Early on, I lost my first buy-in of $300 with KK to AA on a 9-high flop. Semi-cooler, but it happens. The guy playing AA never re-raised me until it was too late for me to fold. I re-bought for $600 and from then on never lost a showdown.

We've had big stacks at Gucci Rick's before. But the pic you see before you represents the biggest stack and biggest profit of all time. Yeah, I'm going all Barry Horowitz and patting myself on the back. But I really didn't play all that great, I just hit a run of cards that was truly amazing.

At one point in the night, I had $4000 in front of me. For a $1/$2 game, that's pretty redonkulous. There is really no better feeling in the poker world - a huge stack, an unbreakable confidence, and the knowledge that everyone at the table is envious of your chips.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Stack and a Story

Here's another attempt at doing something that probably won't last as long as intended. Feel free to copy the idea, in fact, I encourage it. Here's the concept: Post a picture of a chip stack you've taken while at the tables and see if there's a story behind it. Even if it's just a small anecdote. Here's attempt #1:

The date was June of 2008. I was bumming yet another free room off of Otis who was doing his duty to God and Pokerstars by covering the WSOP $50k HORSE event. If I recall correctly, it was a Wednesday and G-Rob wasn't slated to be there until the next afternoon.

I remember my first thoughts were to go find a $1/$2 NL game at the Rio. As many of you most likely know, the Rio will spread $1/$2 NL in its regular poker room during the WSOP, but all cash games in the Amazon Ballroom were $2/$5 and up. I recall beginning my walk away from all the action and then doing a double take.

What a pansy. I'm at the Rio, during the WSOP, and I'm walking AWAY from the Amazon room to go play poker. That didn't make any sense. I turned my self right around and immediately bought into a $2/$5 game for $500 and ordered a Grey Goose on ice, straight up.

I played well, even surviving a guest appearance from TheMark at my table, and then took this picture at the height of my profit. $1420 and as TheTrooper97 would say, a G-bar in chips. I would later cash out for a little under $1400 and set the stage for a profitable visit.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Gambling Tales Podcast

I'm famous! Well...not really. But check out the Special-K/Falstaff podcast.

“Press release” from bloggers Falstaff and Special K

Gambling Tales Podcast is now available. Join Falstaff (John Hartness) and Special K (Curtis Krumel) as we take you through the best in lies and legends about gambling today and through the ages. . Show #001 with Badblood and the origins of gambling is available immediately. New shows are scheduled to appear every two weeks. Guests scheduled to appear in future shows include Dr. Pauly, Lee Jones, Dr. David Schwartz (UNLV – Roll the Bones)

The podcast is available at

Available on iTunes at

It will be searchable on iTunes by the weekend.

Email address for Questions, Comments, and Suggestions:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gadget Junkie

I love electronic toys. Without question. If it's cool and I can afford it, I want it. I can't explain it so I won't try. As of this writing, I'm in sort of a conundrum. I'm hoping my tech-savvy readers can guide me.

Statements of fact:
I oh so dearly want an iPhone. I covet my neighbor's phone.
I am currently on the Verizon network.
My entire family is on the Verizon network.
I get a 22% discount.....on the Verizon network.
My current phone is a Blackberry Curve.
My contract ends in June of 2010.

Options available to me:
1. Wait until June of 2010. Switch over to AT&T, leaving my family with Verizon. Get the latest, coolest available iPhone. Wipe drool off the box before I open it and make sexy time with it.

2. Go to the local Verizon store. TODAY. Purchase a Motorola Droid phone. Play with it. Understand it's still a cool toy. Stay on Verizon. Manage my conflicting emotions of the pleasure of buying a new toy and the lustful yearning of two more years without an iPhone.


Oh wait. There's option 3. Perform option 1 TODAY and pay early termination fee at Verizon. Because I am a lustful, non-logical individual addicted to tech toys. Now. Must have. Now.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Root, Root, Root for the Home Team

I'm a pretty big sports fan. Not all sports mind you, but enough of them such that most of my live TV viewing is dominated by athletic competition. Since I was born and bred in the North Shore area of Massachusetts, you can imagine where my allegiances lie. Moreso than anything, I've been a diehard Red Sox fan since 1976 when my parents took me to my first game at Fenway. I remember asking why everyone cheered so hard for that Yaz guy.

Beginning in 2001, I became a very spoiled sports fan. The Patriots won 3 Superbowls, the Sox won 2 World Series and even the Celtics grabbed another NBA championship. (I actually used to be a huge hockey fan and would live and die with each Bruins season. Go Terry O'Reilly!) One thing that all those championships taught me was how to appreciate being a fan. Not just a fan of the teams, but a fan of the game, of the competition.

A bunch of my blogging friends are huge fans of particular teams, and I'll be honest, I start rooting for them to experience the same feelings I had when my favorite teams won.

AlCantHang's a huge Phillies and Eagles fan, so when they're successful, I'm happy for him.
Drizz is a huge Vikings fan. It's hard not to hope the Vikings eventually nab a Superbowl victory.
My friend Randy at work is a huge Peyton Manning fan. As a Pats fan, you think I could root for the Colts? I do actually, only if the Pats have been eliminated though. It's hard not to respect Peyton Manning and his accomplishments.
MeanGene - huge Steelers fan, along with my buddy TheAxeman. Am I glad they got to see a couple of Superbowl victories in their lifetimes? Absolutely.
G-Rob and Kentucky basketball. As long as they're not playing Cornell, I can root for them. So that would mean always.
Joe Speaker and the A's? I know he can't stand the Sox, but even I can respect the A's for competing the way they have for years in the Moneyball era.
StB and the Cowboys...I could go on and on.

Anyway, without being too holier than thou, one of the things I hope for is that people can root for their teams without hating on other teams and their fans. Hatred is obviously too strong a word, but is it a requirement that to be a fan of one team, you must hate all others? I understand rivalries have their places in sports, how could I not being from Boston? Again, perhaps I'm spoiled from the success my teams have had, but even I can recognize and respect when the teams and players I'm supposed to hate succeed.

Just curious what everyone else thinks? Maybe that's part of the enjoyment of sports that flies over my head. Only one team can hoist the trophy each year and I do know that misery loves company.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quick Note of Thanks

A lot of generous readers contributed to Mrs_Blood's Avon Walk-a-thon for Breast Cancer research. Last weekend, she walked 26.2 miles on Saturday and then 13.1 more miles on Sunday. I just wanted to thank everyone again for being so giving. Here's a shot of her (2nd from right) and her walking buddies crossing the finish line.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Metal Wednesday?

Wrong day. No Steel Foot. Whatever.

Ozzy has a new guitarist if you hadn't heard. You may not even care. Normally, I wouldn't either. However, occasionally, sometimes an odd mix of talent will infuse some life into an otherwise stagnant artist. To wit - Marty Friedman joining Megadeth. Rust in Peace was that which resulted and to this day stands out as Megadeth's best album to date. In my opinion of course.

So I'm hoping that replacing Zakk Wylde with Gus G. will do the same thing for Ozzy. Who is Gus G? He's a shredder for sure, but he's one of my favorites. Formerly of Nightrage, who are NOT disbanded, he's now lead guitarist for Firewind. Here's a vid showcasing some of his chops. I like it, you may or may not. \m/

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stupid Blog Post




Because it's about the game known as PLO.

Here's what I've learned in about 50,000 hands.


That's about it.

Thought I knew what I was doing, I really did. Started off slow, losing about 3 buy-ins. Went on a 25 buy-in uptick, give or take, in about 10,000 hands. Next 10,000 hands or so, lost 20 buy-ins.

I'm still up.

But I'm pretty sure that when you get it in with the nuts and lose so often, well, I all can say is, "Head, meet wall."


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Interlude - A Poker Hand

Warning: What you about to real is real and unedited. When you are finished reading the following poker hand recap, you will feel dumber for having done so. The names are changed to protect the innocent, the donkeys and the raging tilters.

The game is 1/2 NL with a $300 max buy-in. The game has been going several hours and there are multiple buy-ins on the table. A "rock" is in play, a forced $5 straddle under the gun. The table is 9 handed.

The pre-flop action. Player 1 limps for $5. Player 2 raises to $25. Player 3 calls. Player 4 calls. Player 5, on the button, raises to $105. Player 6, the $5 straddle calls. Player 1, the limper, calls. Player 2, 3, and 4, the initial raiser and two callers also call.

$630 in the pot. Preflop. Two complete buy-ins. Nobody in the hand has a pot-sized bet left.

The flop comes 458, rainbow. Five checks and we're back to the button. He bets $300.

Straddler, Player 6 folds A5 suited. Limper, Player 1, folds unknown cards. Initial raiser, Player 2, folds pocket tens. Player 3 check-raises all in for $450 claiming, "I'll gamble." Player 4 reluctantly folds top pair, unknown kicker. Player 5, facing a $150 raise into a $1350 pot calls with an unimproved AJo.

I'll let you pause, and perhaps re-read the action, because I haven't even got to the good part yet.


OK. Player 3, says, I just have top pair and flips up Jack of spades.........



...... and the 3 of spades?????

"Oh no....I mis-read my hand," he said.

Player 5 has him crushed. The board is 458 rainbow and Player 3 is drawing to 3 outs. He can't even draw to runner-runner flush. A 6,7 can get a chop, but that's about it. It's an epic mis-read.

Player 5, perhaps being gracious, perhaps being risk-averse, offers Player 3 a chance to run it twice. Player 3, now realizing what bad shape he's in, immediately agrees.

First run: Turn 3, river brick.
Second run: Turn 3, river brick.

Player 3 scoops a $1500 pot.

This hand officially breaks the record for dumbest $1500 poker hand of all time.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Steel Foot Memories - # 97

From my favorite adventures in Intelligent Travel Booking Procedures:

After looking at my Yahoo flight schedule printout, she said “That’s odd, I don’t think we even have a 12:35 flight today.” Meanwhile, because my luck has been running so well, I simply figured they either changed the flight time or possibly the flight number and within a few short minutes, I’d be happily on my way.

She continued inspecting my printout then said, “Umm, do you realize that your return flight is not scheduled for August 6th?”

“Huh? Come again?”

“It says right here, return trip – Wednesday September 6th.”

Major malfunction.

Realizing that I had mis-clicked the month on the Yahoo travel reservation page, I was still holding onto the hope that this agent could still get me back home the same day. However, after about ten minutes of furiously typing on her keypad, she said “The earliest I can confirm a seat for you back to Greenville is Tuesday August 8th.”

My personal How-Fucked-Am-I-Meter rose to “Mildly.”

Friday, September 04, 2009

Steel Foot Memories - # 98

Apparently, I can't count. It's 14 weeks, not 13 weeks until Vegas. If I only had more fingers.

Here's a quick one about my tendency to abuse female dealers in Vegas....

"I’m not 100% sure, but I believe I had just sucked out on Michael Craig at the $2/$6 Vegas Hold ‘em table at the Excalibur. I raised my fists in jubilation, not knowing that the next dealer for the table was standing right behind me. Bam! I connected with her right orbital socket. I immediately apologized, but the dealer seemed, shall we say, not too pleased. She sat down and I gave her $2, because you know, I’m a big spender. Anyway, I kept tipping her all I could until she at least smiled once. It wasn’t until later that I found out she was pregnant."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Steel Foot Memories - # 90

From August of 2006....

"The noise preceded their entrance by about 30 seconds. Very drunk and very loud, five new players joined the game. Huge wads of cash and yellow $1000 chips fell from their pockets onto the table. All five players bought in for the max - $500. They were all from Norway, fresh from a monster run at the craps table and ready to play some cards. Or so I thought.

They occupied seats 1 through 5, and on the first hand when the 10 seat made a standard pre-flop raise, seat 2 came over the top.

For $500.

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself, “this is going to get crazy.”

The tourist who tilted the Australian douche bag went into the tank. “What the hell is he thinking about?” I thought. Did he have TT, JJ, or AK. Nah, nothing like that. Tourist called the pre-flop all-in from the drunk Norwegian in the 2 seat with KTo. What did Norway have? AJo. The Ace held up, the tourist was busted, and we were on our way."

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Steel Foot Memories - # 91

Here's an endeavor that will likely go nowhere; like Lamb of God's latest, this is Set to Fail. However, you can't fault a man for trying.


Something To Look Forward To. STLFT. Steel Foot. There are exactly 13 weeks between now and the WPBT Vegas trip. It's the 5th anniversary of the first time we got together back in December of '04. In an attempt to bring some level of anticipation to this forthcoming trip, I will post a quick memory of Vegas trips past on a daily basis. That's the setup. The payoff will be commensurate with your investment....


"Not long after I see Otis and what I originally thought was one of his Missouri posse hanging out on the rail. Oddly, this other guy seemed to be staring at me in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable. He was staring with this wry smile and at first I thought he was sizing me up so he could kick my ass later. Being on the friendly side, after I folded a hand, I went to introduce myself. I asked Otis if this was a friend of his. Otis replied, “I just met him.” Odd. Nonetheless, I introduced myself and he mentioned something about being a fan of my blog. Even more odd. My blog’s not really anything to write home about, unless you like heavy metal and strippers.

So I went back to my seat and again watched as this person stared at me. Finally, after a couple more minutes, this guy mouths the words, “I’m Iggy.” Ok, now my pants weren’t dry, for I shat them. The man, the myth, the non-dwarf??? I cashed out and immediately went with Iggy and Otis to the Sherwood Forest for drinking and drinking and more drinking."

Friday, August 28, 2009

It's The Final Friday

It's not always you can book your next trip to Vegas before you finish a trip report from your last visit, but when your blogging rate drops to the G-Rob levels, that's what happens. I've also become a bit lazy too. Combine that with my work-based free time approaching nil (that's British for nothing; remember, I'm bi-lingual), and these posts become about as infrequent as AlCantHang's sobriety.

Rather than bore you with my take on day 2 in Vegas, let me simply re-direct you to this.

I'll jump right into day 3 if you'll allow me to. Hopefully I can remember it all. I do know that it was a Friday.


The plan was to perform the impossible. Take a regular run of the mill Procedure and improve it. I felt that the only way to improve something so well-refined would be to make it something that could only happen in Vegas. After all, you really can perform a Procedure anywhere. Even in your own house. If you know the right people.

But what to add? I'd debated for months on how it could be done, but somehow, someway, the Procedure needed to include Sushi and a Steel Panther show. So with that in mind, Friday in Vegas became Final Friday and those of us who were there were on a mission the likes of which General Patton couldn't have completed.


From my perspective, the cornerstone of Final Friday was the drinking phase. There is a fine line between not drinking enough and drinking far too much such that often times, you fail to optimize your enjoyment. Watching a pro like AlCantHang for the past five years, I figured that his method was finely tuned. Sipping hard liquor with a water back seemed like my best bet. And thanks to being in the Venetian poker room (seriously, why play anywhere else) I decided upon the following: The Glenlivet and 4/8 Omaha 8 or better with a half-kill.

I know what you're thinking. Limit poker? Yes, limit poker. I had already won a buy-in at 1/3 NL before the Final Friday gang showed up and I figured I'd book that win. Because the plans for this day had been detailed so painstakingly, I felt it was the best choice. I really didn't want to sour my mood in any fashion by making a donk, lose-my-stack play at the no-limit tables. Cautious, yes, but boring, no. Not with the company who was trickling into the room.

For a while, the game was going strong with 2-tables filled with bloggers. Me, Otis, Al, CK, F-Train, Amy Callistri, PokerShrink and even Change100 made their way into the game. Pauly was busy elsewhere in the room, stacking foreigners ruthlessly. We even got the Venetian to deal a mixed game of Stud8, O8, Razz, Badugi, and 2-7 Triple Draw. When it was time to pack up and go get some sushi, I was riding the crest of the perfectly buzzed wave and cashing out a Drizz-like 7 racks of whites. I ran sick good. Phase One and Two complete.


CK and F-Train being locals, and more importantly having a car, graciously helped us with our sushi dining experience. They made reservations for us at Naked Fish and off we went. In the twenty minutes it takes to get from the Venetian casino to Durango Drive we probably passed 50 Asian massage parlors. And I'm not exaggerating. Some day we'll include a Rub 'n Tug to the Procedure, but not this time.

Dinner was quite frankly one of the most amazing dinners I've ever had. I'm no Boy Genius foodie type, but I'd say that it will be tough to top that sushi anywhere else. If you've not ever gone, give it a try if you're into the raw fish.

Phase Three complete.


We were a bit pressed for time. Phase Four would have to be quick. We had to get to Green Valley Ranch by midnight for Steel Panther and didn't want to get shut out of the show. I won't go into details here because not everyone completed Phase Four. Based on my expenditures on Day 2, even I didn't purchase any "experiences" at Phase Four. Pretty amazing. It almost brings up a philosophical question: If you go to a strip club and don't get a lap dance, did you really go to a strip club? Questions like this have confounded philosophers and degenerates for ages. We'll table the debate for another time.

So, while all of us where there, not all of us were there.


Finally, we arrived at Phase Five. We were almost complete with the nearly impossible Final Friday. We were still a bit later than we wanted to be and the line out of Ovations where Steel Panther play was growing long. We made a command decision and I greased the floor to let us in and secure us a table. We were required to drink at least $150 worth of alcohol. I think Al said, "That's it?"

Earlier in the day (warning, this might be a little gay), I sent a Tweet to Steel Panther's guitarist to play Asian Hooker during the show. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. Instead, intermingled with all the cover songs they were playing, we heard Death To All But Metal and Community Property instead. Fair exchange. I did actually get a reply the next day from Satchel saying to text him earlier the next time. I nearly dropped my BlackBerry when I saw the reply. Ah. Being a fanboy. It's the little things that matter.

When the show was over, Otis caught up with some Stars folks who also had attended the show. If I recall correctly, Evelyn Ng, Maridu, and Adam Levy were there. Evelyn is tall. Very tall. That's all I really remember since I hadn't stopped drinking at any point during Final Friday. Being caught between super-buzzed and the beginnings of obliteration, I felt the only logical thing to do would be to attack the Green Valley poker room.

You could call it Phase Five A.

Since it was late, the poker room was nearly empty. We were all seated at the same 4/8 limit hold 'em table. Yeah, I said limit hold 'em. More limit poker? Why the hell not. Collectively, we tilted the hell out of the locals. They were horrible anyway, but by the time the session was over, only me, Al and F-Train had chips.

Somehow, I had won over $700 for the day at 4/8 limit poker. That just sounds dumb. But it's true. It made for the perfect conclusion of a perfect day and night in Vegas.

Final Friday. I'm not sure it will ever be topped.

But of course, that won't stop me from trying.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 1 Nears End

Rub. I'll admit that upon first glance, I wasn't thrilled to be eating BBQ. Obviously had there been an "N Tug" appended to the name, I'd have sprinted to get there. I wasn't too far removed from my lunch, so I intended to eat light. Ha. Eat light. At Rub. The portions are pretty damned big. I ordered the smoked turkey, coleslaw and shredded onion rings because that's what people trying to get shredded do. If I were a connoisseur (did I just use that word?) of BBQ food, my opinion on the meal may have carried more weight. However, even still, based on what everyone else ordered, and the quality of the meat, I'll give it a thumbs up. Price tag was about $30 per person, give or take.

Interesting side note. AlCantHang turned down prop-bet money to eat the remaining 9 pieces of bacon he ordered. Yeah, I just outed you.

After dinner, the gang from media row went back to work, thinking there'd be another six or seven hours of play until the Noviembre Nueve were established. Sick bilingualism right there. Especially with the French word used 2 paragraphs ago. I'll pause here so you can digest it sufficiently. There.

I went back to the Rio poker room and sat my outclassed self at the 1-3 game. Even though I was outmatched at the 2-5 game that was still running, I nonetheless found that the 1-3 game continued to be easy and boring. I cashed out because when I looked at the LCD showing the available games, I saw something pretty inspiring. PLO. I bolted for the open seat.

I didn't win or lose much, but I had a ton of fun. It was the first B&M PLO experience for me, having only played it live at local home games. There was, and I kid you not, a blonde guy named Lars from Sweden raising every pot. Just like online. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't very good. At showdown, when his opponent tabled top two pair, he showed his 4 hole cards thinking he'd win the pot. AAJJ, with neither of those ranks on board. "I have a higher two-pair," he said. When he finally went bust (he had about $900 in front when I sat down), and I didn't get any of it, the game lost some of its flair.

Then, to pretty much every one's surprise, the Main Event was over before 11pm local time. That only meant one thing, off to the Hooker Bar and -EV games at the Gold Coast.

Monday, July 27, 2009

More Day 1

If you've ever listened to Bart Hanson's "Cash Plays" poker podcast, you'd be aware of one of his common themes while talking about playing no-limit hold 'em. Value. Every action you take, every bet, should be designed to earn you some value. I happen to agree with this concept and think that nowhere in the course of a hand is value more important than on the river.

The pots are bigger on the river. The decisions are therefore more important, especially when you are playing deep stacked. When I sat down at the 2/5 table at the Rio and bought in for $500, I committed mistake number one. While I certainly covered most players, there were two others with nearly $2000 in chips and $100 bills positioned in front of them. Both players were extremely aggressive, but the play of one of them stood out to me for the reason mentioned above. He was the best player I'd ever played with when extracting value on the river against his opponents.

He raised very frequently, opening for $20 if folded to him. Continuation bets were the norm and even when his opponents played back at him post flop or on the turn, he seemed to know exactly where he was in relation to their holdings. He must have made over $1000 on river bets alone in the time I sat there. Nearly each time he'd fire out a river bet, I was praying for his opponent to call because I was sure he was effectively bluffing. But each time he'd get called, flip up middle pair, 9-kicker, his opponent would simply muck. It was amazing, and I'll admit, a bit inspiring.

Meanwhile, I was sitting there making more mistakes.

I lost half my stack with AQ suited all-in preflop against a short stack who I felt was shoving out of frustration. Turns out he had Queens and I failed to suck out. The rest of my stack went away when I flopped top two pair against middle set. No 2-outer for me and I reloaded. I then just watched and learned since I was card dead and couldn't do much against the two aggressive players without putting my entire newly reloaded stack at risk.


Thankfully, I got the text from Otis that they were going on dinner break and eating at a place called Rub. Rather than dwell further on my miscues, I took the opportunity to join them. Missing out on eating with friends is one mistake I didn't want to make.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Preamble - Day 1

Day 1 as it were. The travel began early, I was up at 4:30 am to catch a 6:00 am flight out of friendly GSP. Thankfully, by the time I'd reach Las Vegas, absolutely nothing of note happened. I like that. No complications. I was travelling alone with a backpack and a carry-on and figured my free room hookup, otherwise known as Otis, would not yet be awake. After all, it was about 11:00am and when I boarded the plane back in Greenville, I was reading tweets from Pokerati and Pauly about some late night/early morning bowling. Surprisingly, Otis was awake and managed to beat me to the check-in line at Harrah's. With the room all taken care of, we ventured back to the Rio wherein the final day of the Main Event was progressing from 27 to 9 players.

Media row was pretty far removed from the action, but due to flat panel displays and relays from those close to the action, they could still keep tabs on the action. They were all there. Pauly, Al, Otis and his co-workers Stephen and Howard, Mean Gene, F-Train, Change100 and Jen. I hung out for a bit with no real rush to do anything. With the past year that I've gone through at work, just sitting around and relaxing was something I wasn't used to doing. What a welcome change that was.

Sensing that most everyone needed to get back to work at some point, I slithered away with plans to meet up later. I made a quick phone call to my grandmother who turned 97 that day. It's the small things that people appreciate and she certainly did enjoy talking to me from back in Florida. She wished me luck, I accepted it, and then I went to grab some grub at the All American Bar and Grille. First gambling of the trip was the video poker machine at the bar. Down a quick $20 with a steady drain of nothing cards. I sighed inside, but not too loudly. I did earn two free Heinekens. Like I said. The small things.

I found my way to the Rio poker room, a room I'd actually never played in. My only Rio poker play prior to this trip had been in the Amazon room. However, with just the Main Event going on, all poker action was relegated back to the normal, year-round location. I put my name on the 1/2 and 2/5 lists and waited.

I truly hate waiting. I am the worst at being patient when I have a pocket full of bills and a head full of monster pot daydreams. I couldn't sit down fast enough. And then when I did finally grab a seat at the 1/2 table, my anxiousness didn't go away. You see, the players at the 1/2 table I sat at were horrible. I can't describe to you how bad, but if you'll trust me enough, just understand that there was really no poker being played at the table. Mistake after mistake after mistake. I just sat there, not doing much of anything, except watching all the players make bet size and positional mistakes that would make you cringe.

Within the first orbit I was already up over $100. "That was easy," I thought, envisioning me pressing G-Rob's tilt-inducing Staples button. In fact, it might have been too easy. It bored me. I gazed over to the corner where the 2/5 game was playing and saw a seat open. My name got called, and I decided to rack up from the "boring" and "easy" game and sit at the 2/5 game.

Did I mention word mistake yet? Oh yes, just a few sentences ago. Luckily, I'm a pretty self-observant type of guy. I see myself making mistakes all the time. Even when I don't make mistakes, I over compensate and attribute them to myself anyway. Switching tables was a mistake. A big one. Word to the wise: Never play in the biggest game a poker room has to offer during mid-afternoon on a Wednesday. I failed miserably at table selection.

More to come...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I have a trip report to write. Suffice to say, it was an "ultimate" good time.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Spock's Brain

It's a conundrum of sorts. If you're out to make the best decisions, you need access to the correct data and a process to filter it, manipulate it, and correctly choose from a well-defined set of options. You don't want to guess. Guessing involves hope. Guessing is a conscious effort to ignore some of the data. Why would you ignore valid data? Because it leads you to a conclusion you simply don't want to be true.

Spock would be a great limit poker player. Decision after decision based purely on his logic-driven conclusions. No-limit? He might be pretty good at that as well. He wouldn't tilt, that's certain. His success would be based on his ability to read other players and their emotions while hiding his own. We know he can do the latter, but only the true Trekkie would know about the former. After all, he's no Troi.

I battle with myself each poker session. I make an attempt to train myself to ignore emotionally-driven feelings at the poker table. The lament of a crushing bad beat. The disappointment of a 5th straight losing session. The martyrdom of inevitably getting it in bad and not sucking out like your luckbox opponents seem to always do. All of those things, if they occupy any of your mental energy, detract from your ability to make the best decision.

Lately, I sure as hell know what the worst decision is.


It's horrible. In theory, I want a smooth call by yours truly to frighten my opponents. But lately I've been calling too much and you can't scare everyone with a call when your frequency is so high.

Back to the conundrum. When can you take emotion completely out of your game? For one, by lowering the stakes. If you play at stakes far below your norm, your interest in the results go down. You've eliminated the negative emotions associated with losing when the magnitude is irrelevent.

But unfortunately, you've also eliminated the positive emotions of winning. And there's the catch. Why do you play? Do you play to win, or simply be right? Because you can be right and lose. A lot. So if you get no satisfaction from being right, then you're going to run into situations where the reason you're playing gets lost and the negativity of the results has no positive counterbalance.

Each action at the poker table is like a question on a test. What's the right answer? Can you figure it out? Why are you taking the test? To get a good score, or because it's an opportunity to learn?

Poker for me is a dichotomy of searching for that satisfaction of being right which requires me playing at stakes that mean something and the quelling of emotions that cloud my ability to make the best decision.

I need risk to feel the reward, but I don't want the feel of the risk to effect my ability to earn that reward.

Crazy game.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Late To The Party

There are those that set trends. There are those who follow them. Then there are those who wait until the trends become tired and then act on them with a vigor proportional to their level of cluelessness.

To wit: I now possess two Affliction T-shirts.

If that didn't convince you, how about this?

Otis is heading to Vegas next Wednesday. So is TheMark, GucciRick, and a whole host of other G-Vegas denizens. Me? I just got back from vacation and can't go because of work obligations. I'd love to go. It's WSOP time. Hell, I'd even play in an event for the first time ever.

But sadly, that won't be the case.

Instead, and here's the subtle genius of being me, I've booked a trip to Vegas arriving the DAY THE WSOP IS OVER. Hopefully, some of the gang covering the event will be able to hang around until the weekend is over.

If not, well, 4 days of raging solo, here I come!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Wish I knew who the real father was....

This Post Requires No Words

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Masters of the Craft

I read the 3rd paragraph of this post and felt like I have more work to do here.

Thrash. It started in the Bay Area with the likes of Metallica, Exodus, Overkill, Slayer. Since then, metal's evolved into other various, yet seemingly similar forms. Today's new wave, which includes the Lamb of God's, the Shadows Fall's, even the Killswitch Engage's, owe their roots to the original masters. Even the Extreme and Death metal varieties can't say they weren't influenced by Thrash's early years.

(I'm convinced that Cliff Burton's spirit helped form the Gothenburg Sound when he tragically passed in Sweden.)

Today, some bands keep Thrash alive. Here's one. Lazarus A.D. The ingredients may be the same, but they're mixed rather perfectly.

Not Good

I would surmise that this news is not what I would call "good."

Web's Poker Winners Face Delays in Collecting

U.S. Deals Blow to Online-Poker Players

Group: Feds have frozen $30M of online poker winnings

All reputable sources.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Late Sunday is Still Early Monday

First off, much thanks again to the folks over at Pokerlistings for allowing me to play in the Run Good Challenge. This week, there were 25 entrants vying for 2, count 'em, 2 seats to a $1500 WSOP event. Congrats to the TripleJax and Matt Showell for their wins.

Played some live poker on Thursday at what I affectionately call The Donkey Game. Man, all I can say is that this week, it was LOUD. So much so that I had trouble concentrating and when I dropped my first buy-in, I called it quits. Friday night at Falstaff's, however, made up for it. I always enjoy riding up there to play. Win or lose, the gang up there is simply so likable that the poker is at times inconsequential.

Saturday night was low key. The wife was out for a belated birthday dinner and I was stuck with the kids. And by stuck, I mean taking them to dinner at Texas Roadhouse and then buying the Metallica Guitar Hero and World Tour drum kit. Having my kids wake up on Sunday to say that "Sad But True" is their favorite song is a nice feeling. It was only eclipsed by Sunday's dinner when miniBlood said, "Dad, I think I like Seek and Destroy better." As Al would say, Old Shit > New Shit.

So, in the spirit of Metal Mondays, I leave you with these two links. Listening to XM's Liquid Metal is great, especially when I hear about new bands I'd not heard of before. I believe the following band is from Denmark. Somewhere I saw a link calling them Elvis Metal. Works for me. Get yer groove on with Volbeat:

Then, throw the horns, Hallelujah Goat!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Alrighty then. It's Saturday, I had yesterday off and had an enjoyable evening at the virtual felt while the wife was out gallivanting the streets of G-Vegas. I had no problem drinking alone, waiting for her to get home, hopefully slightly inebriated herself.

Today, there's the Run Good Challenge that the guys over at Pokerlistings are running. Sadly, I probably won't be able to play because I'm meeting a few degenerates from Charlotte (re: Falstaff, Jim the Knife, and Brian the Red) for a pre-homegame sushi mean downtown.

This will be a home game that is quite rare. Otis is in town but can't make it. I suppose he has a valid excuse.

So to everyone Running Good, good luck and may that $1500 WSOP seat be yours.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Had a couple of sessions of successful live poker last week. Booked a nice G-bar+ profit at the GucciRick game on Monday, then traveled North to Asheville to play in a Lee Jones home game this past Saturday.

There's a quiet conglomeration of home games going on. There is a smaller stakes G-Vegas game every now and then hosted by yours truly, a Charlotte game at casa de Falstaff, and the aforementioned game in Asheville. All three groups are in moderate driving distance of each other and each group has a few members willing to make the drive.

It's turned into a perfect blend of socializing and poker. I'm not sure there's anything else I enjoy more. Mix in some winning play and I'll suffer life's burdens a bit easier during the week at work.

The Mrs. continues her walking ways. She gets in about 7 or 8 miles in a day, which although sounds like it's a lot, still isn't even 1/3rd the total she'll walk on her marathon. Again, much thanks and appreciation go out to all who've donated to her charity.

The kids are growing up faster and faster. My 11-year old daughter wants to "go out" with this cute boy in school. Uh. No. My 9-year old son, when asked about a girl whose birthday party he was attending, responded, "Dad, I don't like-like her." When did he start to know the difference?

This coming weekend, I will be displaying my running aptitude at a G-Rob work-based event called the "M & M Bowl" Good thing the field is not on an incline nor paved. Still, I wouldn't guarantee that I won't get hurt.

This evening before poker, I hope to meet Otis at the sushi joint where the red-headed waitress shows off her personally trained self in tight black clothing. Not that either of us has noticed.

And finally, in the interest of Metal Monday, here's a band called Luna Mortis. Combine some Euro-speed, clean/guttural vocal alternation, female-fronted thrash and you have the song "Ash." Enjoy.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Turning Things Around

More poker/life ramblings....

The beauty of poker lies in its instant feedback. You play a hand well, don't get sucked out on, and rake in a big pot. The time between the good play and the stacking of chips was literally only seconds apart. Your brain is stimulated with a dopamine release and you want more of it.

On the negative side, when you're tilty, you shove all-in on a bad bluff or weak draw and lose. Still, the feedback is near instantaneous. Your chips are gone and so is your motivation to play well.

In the latter circumstance, sometimes all it takes is a good night's sleep to turn it around. You can recover. Your bankroll has withstood such hits before and with a new day and a new poker session come new opportunities to play well once again.

Life, though, is a bit different.

You screw up, whether you truly believe you did or not, the results are the same. Some form of negative feedback. Unfortunately, you can't just wake up the next day and fix it with a winning session. Life moves much slower than a poker game. Impressions on people last longer than a hand of poker.

It takes more discipline to turn things around in real life. Each day you have to make sure your mindset and your actions are tuned in to your intent. Making a change. Can you teach an old dog new tricks? Sure. But it takes a while. Over enough time, I'd say that even a leopard can change his spots. If he really wanted to.

Over time, you can build on a foundation of change. It takes work. It takes constant reminders. It takes the acknowledgment that you're not perfect, but you're working to bet better. And if you are consistent, over time, even people will notice. People who've once noticed you were one way will notice now that you're acting in a different way.

The change I've tried to put myself through is working. Slowly. But surely. The right people are noticing and that's a good thing. I have momentary slips. But luckily I catch myself. I will continue along this path I've set for myself, mainly because I have to. For the good of my family, I have to.

Life's long session keeps dealing me hands and I'm playing on a short stack with a limited roll. There is no place for tilt. If the river's kind to me, I'll be able to keep playing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Who Are Also Disbanded

In light of Al's video post of classic thrash, here's some updated material from bands, who, as they say, "are also disbanded...."

Two From Coroner:

Two From Carcass:

And a Lick Loll:

Every Day Sends Future To Past

Every breath leaves one less to my last.

I'd attribute that quote, but those who've heard it know where it's from and those who haven't could not care less. Still, it's appropriate for me on this anniversary of my birth.

First off, I want to thank all the folks who've sent me birthday wishes via text message, email, Facebook messages and even kickass blog posts.

Secondly, I think I'm going to have to acknowledge a change in these here parts of the web. I hardly post anymore because, quite frankly, it's difficult to both come up with a poker-themed post and find the time to write something witty and insightful. So without sounding too much like a cop out, I'll be posting more about my mundane life and hopefully get some poker content in here and there. Hell, if UpForPoker can re-work their motif, well then I can certainly be a weak copy cat.

Also, occasionally I'll send out a Twitter, mainly when I've been drinking and feeling like I'm mildly entertaining. Be forewarned, my comedy is meta-comedy, only funny weeks, even months later. (Cue "guy bets half a sandwich" joke)

Back to me turning 41....

There are a couple of reasons I know I'm aging. Take last night for example. I was out doing what I do on Mondays, eating, drinking, whatever, then playing some cards. A friend was in town from up North, my old haunting grounds. This buddy of mine was the original participant with me in the very first Procedure(tm). I joke, but I seriously need to trademark that, just in case the term makes it into Pauly's book.

Anyway, I'm sitting at GucciRick's 10-handed poker table and need to relieve myself. For some reason I felt like drinking the Bud Lights (a.k.a. "The Bane of My Bowels") left in the refrigerator. Apparently, while I was away, I was dealt a hand but didn't get back in time to play it. I knew it was a good hand since both Rick and TheMark gave me shit about taking too long in the restroom.

I guess I folded pocket Jacks.

And yes, the flop was J-hi, rainbow.

And yes, Frank the Tank, flopped a set of 2's and doubled up against pocket 9's (don't ask).

And yes, had my bladder been able to control itself for just a wee bit (See? Meta-humor) longer, I'd have flopped set over set and won a $750 pot.

Here's why I'm old.

I didn't even get mad, or even mildly upset. Sure I rooted for Frank to turn or river quads, but still, it didn't tilt me in the least. I played marginally well after that until I got tired and gambled my profits away. I broke just about even, went home and slept.

When I woke up, I was another year older.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

(More meta-humor there, you know 'cause, like, I don't have hair. And that's a phrase used on shampoo bottles. Which I wouldn't need. Well, not that much. I like to avoid scalp problems by shampooing anyway. So maybe it's not meta-humor. But it could be. It depends on the delivery. Pretend right now that I nailed the delivery and this will be funny.)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Believe The Hype

I personally can't wait for this.

Lost Vegas
Dr. Pauly.

'nuff said.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Proposition Wager

If you've attended one of my home games, you are aware of one of its growing traditions: The Classic Rock Chanel Prop Bet

The rules are quite simple and the game is so unobtrusive that running this game during a poker night can only add to the fun.

In a nutshell, while we listen to the digital cable classic rock channel, each player that wants to play picks a classic rock song and artist. Whoever's artist plays first wins the prop bet from the other players. If you get the song correct too (a rarity, but it does happen), you get paid the bonus bet. In many cases, we'll either play $2/$5 or $1/$3 for the artist/song.

The rules also stipulate that you can only change your pick once someone wins. We generally keep a white board tally of people's choices. Last weekend in Asheville, at Lee Jones' homegame, I got crushed. I was playing my choices and as Otis' surrogate and neither of us hit all night. So for each prop bet, I was paying double. The only thing I managed to win was a side bet with Lee that either The James Gang or Joe Walsh would play before The Eagles. I should've got some odds, but I was so confident I'd win, I took a 1:1 payoff.

Last night, nearing the end of a Gucci Rick homegame, Otis opened the door for some prop betting, something we don't normally do there. Pretty much the same game, but instead of an artist/song structure, it was artist only. But the stakes were $20. Otis, Broc, and TheMark each opted in with Meatloaf, Credence, and Led Zeppelin respectively. At nearly the last minute, I picked Steve Miller Band since that's almost a gimme.

Very next song: The Joker. Ship it. $60 win.

TheMark, disillusioned with the game, opted to discontinue playing. I told him that he should take a risk and pick Edgar Winter. Next song, Free Ride. TheMark just hung his head and played with his iPhone. Well, the obvious choice for me there, after Broc and Otis held strong with their original picks, was to leverage the Led Zeppelin pick from TheMark.

A few songs later - Dazed and Confused. Ship it. $40 more.

Broc then bailed and now it was only me and Otis. Well, you know what happened. Otis switched to Boston, and that opened the door for me to make the tilt pick of Meatloaf myself.

Unfortunately, the game broke at about 2:15 and we went home. I left before Otis, but apparently not before Meatloaf hit the TV. A few more hands and I'd have pulled off the trifecta.

Word on the street is that Falstaff is running hot at this game too. There's a showdown coming, I can feel it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hello, It's Me

Well then.

I've not posted in quite some time. Being too lazy to look at my archives, this may be the longest post drought of my blogging "career." Things have changed for me in the past few weeks. We'll get into that in a moment.

First off, Mastadon weekend was everything it should have been. You may have seen me parading around in videos or pics; it was obvious I had a good time. To everyone that managed to be a part of it, no matter how small, thanks for making it as fun as it was. I'd do it again in a split second.

Not soon after that weekend, in fact the very next week, I received some less than flattering feedback concerning my performance at my job. It was rather harsh. The worst in about 15 years since I was but a young buck out of school. Was it fair? Well, that's not for me to say. Other co-workers who know the reality of it say it wasn't, but that is immaterial after the fact. Life isn't fair, I think we all know that.

If anything good was going to come of it, then it would have to be me to make it that way. I really took an honest look at myself and realized a very important fact about myself. I get frustrated at the drop of a hat and wear my frustration on my sleeve. It's as if I expect those around me to register my frustration and change their ways. That's downright stupid. In fact, it's a bit arrogant. And that's not the adjective I want associated with me, for when I see it in others, it's disgraceful.

There's no doubt I was frustrated at work. Several decisions made by others around me seemed obviously incorrect to me and my reaction was far from ideal. It's just not a good idea to show your "support" by reacting in a negative way. All that was brought home to me during my review, the severity of which really took me by surprise. It made me think real hard about myself and I came to a few conclusions that even have effected my home life.

Let me give you a little example.

MrsBlood and I were leaving for my son's gymnastics meet, an overnight stay down in Columbia. As it so happens quite frequently, just as we're pulling out of the driveway, MrsBlood asks me to stop the car because she's forgotten the directions. I obliged and she quickly returned to the car, saying "Thanks for not getting mad at me." I told her that my getting mad at her the previous ten times didn't prevent her from forgetting this time.

And that's really what it comes down to. Getting mad, getting frustrated - it doesn't help matters at all. It's counterproductive. But unfortunately for me, it's been my gut, initial reaction to so many things at work and at home that it's made me a worse person.

So for the past three weeks, I've tried to improve. It's amazing how many times per day I catch myself about to think or say something negative about something. I have no reason on this Earth to be negative. None whatsoever. Otis blogs about being a lucky guy to have the life he has and it's the same way for me. I love my wife (and she's getting hotter by the day), I love my kids (they're perfect to me), but it's been apparent that for a while I didn't feel the same about myself.

I can tie all this into poker somehow, because the above was basically a long description of me being on an ever-increasing amount of life-tilt for no real reason. It's taking effort to look at things constructively rather than destructively, but I believe I'm getting better at it. There's no doubt my poker results are correlating well with the change I've made. My only hopes is that I can continue to improve and make it a more permanent part of my behavior.

I may be beating myself up over something small and insignificant, but I really don't think I have anything to lose by trying to be a better person as a result, even if the impetus was unjust.

And with that, I'll be back to blogging.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Buying Vowels

I've said it many times. In fact, there's a chance I heard it from Otis first. Regardless, when you've reached the stage in life I have, you tend to focus more of your mental energy on the happiness of others. For me, as long as my wife and kids are happy and healthy, I can handle anything. All I ask, however, is just one small favor.

Give me Something To Look Forward To(tm)

As such, the above saying has morphed into an acronym - STLFT. Being the wordsmith that he is, Otis coined the aforementioned grouping of letters "SteelFoot."

This weekend is a SteelFoot. G-Rob is calling it Mastodon weekend. Whatever it is, it could get messy.

Stuff that may happen, people who might be here:

- Charlotte gang is coming. Falstaff, Special-K, Brian the Red
- Columbia folk is coming. Big Pirate
- Seattle folk is coming. Dr. Chako
- Dwarves are coming. Iggy
- Drunktards are coming. TripJax ;)
- Poor Otis Substitutes are coming. Dr. Jeff
- Poker Book Authors are coming. Lee Jones
- Thursday night poker crew may show up. Rocket, Backmeister
- Insane Canadians are coming. BamBam, Pebbles
- Fine dining will occur.
- Poker will be played.
- Drinks will be drunk.

- Oh yeah. The reason this is happening. AlCantHang and BoyGenius will be in town.

Just to play it safe, I'm evacuating my house. I'm taking Friday off from work and will be sipping my first dirty martini at PFChang's at 2pm. Where things go from there is anyone's guess. But you guys are smart. You can make "educated" guesses.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Metal Monday Volume 3

Not much pokery stuff to write about, so I'll fall back on my other habit that will never die.

I have a couple of recommendations that may be relatively obscure to most mainstream metal listeners. Each of them are heavily influenced by other bands that are far more established.

First up is a band I like to call mini-Slayer. They've been dubbed heirs to the Thrash Throne by Slayer themselves, here's Demiricous with To Serve Is To Destroy (the intro riff is my default ring tone):

Then comes a Killswitch Engage-esque band out of Australia, produced by Killswitch's own Adam Dutkiewicz. You'll hear some familiarity in the guitar tone and there's a pretty decent killer riff mid-way through the song. Boneywards by Parkway Drive:

Finally, as many of you have pointed out, the music is OK, but you can't stand the vocals. I can understand that, it's an acquired taste. As such, here's an In Flames cover guitarist doing Pinball Map with electronic drums and bass. The video is great because he harmonizes with himself in minor-thirds in many spots. If you don't groove to this, you are probably busy with your acoustic. :)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Rare Air

I used to play heavily in G-Vegas' underground scene. Based on the well-documented happenings of late 2007, my rate of live play is somewhat decreased.

But not this week.

Played Monday night at the Gooch's.
Playing tonight at my old Thursday night home game haunting grounds.
Playing Friday at my house
Playing Saturday night at Falstaff's.

At what cost? Oh. Only paying for the Mrs' 20th high school reunion trip later this year. I guess that's fair...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Invisible Hand

We don’t live in an ideal world. In the world of physics, most concepts are taught from within the artificial confines of a frictionless environment. It’s a smart way to eliminate minor effects from the overall behavior of a system. Only when the time comes to model real-world events does friction enter the equation.

Poker is similar. Ideally, poker is a zero-sum game. I win a pot, you lose a pot. Your chips go from your stack to mine in an equal but opposite reaction. Well, almost. Poker has friction. The little bit of energy generated by the transaction. You know it as rake.

If the pot is big enough, you barely notice it. What’s a few dollars to the house when you double up through some moron? If the dealers are savvy enough, you barely notice them reach into the pot, remove part of it, and place it into the drop. Online poker does it too. It’s usually the last thing you’ll notice on a hand history.

The poker population is skewed. Several sources claim that the winners are outnumbered by the losers by a factor of 9 to 1. Part of that reason is the rake. Many break-even players and small losers would find themselves winners in an ideal, frictionless environment.

Here are some statistics just for a frame of reference.

I’ve been playing some PLO8 on FullTilt, small stakes, only a $25 buy-in game. In the last month or so, I’ve logged 13,099 hands.

Amount won: $293.40 for a 4.48 PTBB/100 win rate.
During that same time, thanks to having 27% rakeback, I’ve received $144.57 for my efforts. My winnings, which are modest, are only 2x the amount I received via rakeback. Now, in reality, my contribution to the rake is nearly 4x that amount (1/.27 = 3.7) If there were no rake, I’d be up a much larger amount. That’s a serious amount of friction for any player to overcome. Few people recognize it and few do anything about it.

Now, just to be clear, I understand rake has its place. It’s not easy to set up a poker game, online or live. I host enough home games to know that providing the environment for a fun, successful game is work. It’s a service, and people are willing to pay for it. But if you ever think seriously enough about the setting you’re playing in, you’ll realize that the invisible opponent at the table is perhaps the one most difficult to beat.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Pink Link

Greetings friends, readers and fellow bloggers. As many of you know, I am married. My wife, known here as Mrs_Blood, has undertaken a challenge of sorts. I promised her I'd put something on my blog for her. She knows I have one, but never reads it. I believe that's what they'd call "A Good Thing."

What she's doing is also "A Good Thing." She's a far better person than I.

So if you have a chance to visit the following link or click the pink new banner ad in the upper right, it would be most appreciated.

MrsBlood and Avon Walk for Breast Cancer

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Former Life

Most likely a bunch of you have heard about the plane crash in the Hudson river caused by the engines ingesting a bird and becoming disabled.

One of the things I used to work on back in my days in good ole' Massachusetts was aircraft engines. I primarily worked on military applications. I helped with exhaust design on the F404 - the engine used in the Stealth Fighter. I also covered engine tests on the F414 engine used in the F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Sometimes, the job was pretty cool.

Occasionally, the folks on our team got to witness "Bird Ingestion" testing. Just so you know, these types of events are accounted for in engine design. It's not like nobody ever thought that a bird would get sucked into the engine inlet. The intent is for the engine to avoid failure or fail in a non-catastrophic manner.

One of my co-workers covered a test where, let's just say, things did not go as planned.

During these tests, bird carcasses are fired from an air-cannon into a stationary rig where the engine is running. This is done to simulate an engine mounted in its airframe in flight. On this particular test, the first bird was fired into the engine inlet and it completely destroyed the engine. It was like a bomb hit it.

Military aircraft engines are quite expensive. LDO.

Apparently, the test operator forgot to thaw out the frozen bird carcass. Not good.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Rock Says Know Your Role

My role in life is to host poker games for special out of town guests. I'm OK with that. I enjoy it. Hopefully those who come from such long distances enjoy themselves. Drizz, CK, F-Train, Heather, you name 'em.

This Friday we have another guest. You may know him as Absinthe. You may know him as Ryan from the Murderers Row game. Or you may know him as the man who busted Jesus:

We will have 9 players on Friday:

TheTyle (In yet another astounding spurt of creativity, I've given that nickname to someone whose last name is Tyler. Yo estoy EN FUEGO!)
Lee Jones
Frank the Tank
Brian the Red

By my decree, this shall heretofore be known as "something to look forward to."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Things Not To Do

Back in June of '08, after the Steel Panther show, it was decided that it would be a fantastic idea to play poker in the Green Valley Ranch poker room. CJ and I sat at a 4/8 limit table and Otis and G-Rob got seats at the 1/2NL game. It was 1:30am and only a few tables were running. Three out of the four of us were pretty obliterated. Zero dollars to whomever can guess who wasn't.

Many of the players at the 4/8 table were the just the type of limit, grinder, nit, rock, old, grumpy, sour, angle-shooting, can't-beat-the-rake players you'd expect to see at a low stakes table in Vegas. I'm sure I pissed them off.

I was dealt pocket Aces three times in less than two orbits and announced to the table I had them each time. Nobody believed me. Even when I told them once that I flopped quad Jacks, I got paid off. My idiocy was running as high as my blood alcohol content.

Things only got worse, though.

I left the table after I mis-read my hand thinking I flopped a set of 6's when in reality I had 68o. I then took my drunken self to the 1/2 NL game, made really bad homo-erotic jokes and dropped two buy-ins. Then I played craps by myself, tried to catch a cab back to the strip by myself, but failed because I couldn't find my way out of the casino. Finally, I nearly passed out sweating G-Rob's cards at the 1/2 game begging everyone to leave before I died.

You'd think I would have learned my lesson.


December '08, I was at it again. This time, the cast of characters was different. StB and California April showed the highest level of intellect and grabbed a cab back to the strip. That left me, Dr.Jeff, Dr. Chako, TheTrooper, TheWife and PokerPeaker to head over to the poker room and spew some chips.

TheTrooper and PokerPeaker grabbed a 1/2NL seat while The Wife sat at 2/4 limit. Dr.Jeff, Dr. Chako and I wisely sat down at the 2/5NL game with only two other people. Awesome idea. Play short-handed 2/5NL with two friends and two locals. What could go wrong?

One of the locals was a older man in his 60's wearing a gray Members Only jacket. As drunk as I was, it was pretty easy to determine that he was the target at the table. I'd watch him fire 3-barrels each time he was open-raising regardless of his holdings. I just needed a hand to catch him. Obviously, Chako saw the same thing as he simply called every bet he made and took down a huge pot early when old-guy showed down Ace high.

Little did I know that the two Doc's were not just targetting the obvious.


Since it was short-handed, I opened up my starting card selection and raised from the button with QJo. Chako made a small-ish re-raise from the blinds and I elected to call. The flop came down KJx giving me middle pair, but certainly the flop hit his re-raising range a bit harder. He led the flop and I folded.

He showed the hammer. Nice. Ouch. But nice.

Later, Dr. Jeff made an opening raise and I looked down to find pocket Jacks. I re-raised and it was folded back to him.

"I have a strong hand," he assured me. "So do I," I replied.

Dr. Jeff offered to perhaps check it down. Being friends and not wanting to play a huge pot against him, I considered it. But as soon as I said, "Yeah, that's fine," Dr. Jeff went all-in.


I folded my hand face up and my starting stack of $500 was cut in half.

I guess we were going to play real poker against each other. I felt myself sobering up more quickly than I anticipated.


TheTrooper came by and began to sweat my cards. He had just performed a hit and run on the 1/2 table due to some asshat that pissed him off. I loved his response to the guy who had just doubled him up. "I'm hitting and running on you mainly because you're a douchebag."

Quick. Simple. To the point.

Once he sat down behind me, I was able to focus more and managed to win my way back up to about $650. It was at that point that Dr. Jeff's capability to play 2/5NL vanished. A few too many RedBullVodkas at the Steel Panther show finally caught up to him. The final straw was when he was bluffing the turn with a $100 bet and I insta-pushed. His stack of reds never made it to the pot, he just casually placed them in my stack and then folded his hand.

We all decided to go donk at 2/4 for a while before finally making our way back to the strip at 5am.


Obviously, as a person who shows little evidence of learning from his mistakes, the next time I'm at Steel Panther, you'll see me once again at the Green Valley Ranch poker room making stupid poker plays with other stupid poker people.

It doesn't get any more fun than that.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Friday in Vegas

Sometimes you never forget where you were when you heard a certain song for the first time. The Axeman picked me up for a night of drinking a few years ago and put in a CD he'd recently burned.

"Ever hear of Metal Shop?" he asked. "Uh, no. Why?" was my reply.

"Just listen."

The first song started out like most any classic Hair Metal band song would. Standard intro riff, a bit of lead work. Then the lyrics hit.

I see your boobies and I wanna screw.
Lookin' at you makes my balls turn blue
I wanna see you in a little bikini.
Wrappin' your boobs around my fat WEENIE!

I would later internally re-name that song Instant Smile. It's not often you hear genius. But with Metal Shop's "Hole Patrol" CD, I could hear genius every day.


In June of 2007, StB and I found ourselves stumbling into the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino after some drunken play at the MGM and Hooter's poker rooms. Metal Shop had renamed themselves Metal Skool and were playing at the "Body Shot" bar. I fully expected to pay upwards of $30 for the show. No chance I was missing them live. I had given StB the .mp3's for Hole Patrol and he agreed - no price was too steep.

Imagine our excitement when we were handed 2 free passes to the show. Life was good. StB and I drank some more, worked our way to the front row and rocked out to some classic 80's metal renditions. Who knew that Metal Skool was also funny as shit?

"Who wants to see more Metal Skool?" lead singer Michael Starr shouted at the end of their set (that's two R's, for double rockin' dude!). A huge uproar from the crowd was met with an acerbic "Cool, come back next Thursday!"


June of 2008 - I coerced Otis, G-Rob, and CJ to go with me to Green Valley Ranch to see the latest incarnation of Metal Skool, formerly known as Metal Shop, now known as Steel Panther. You can ask them how it went. Pretty sure they had a good time, especially when G-Rob was made part of the show.

"Look at that guy! That's what it looks like when a Sears explodes." And when the spotlight shone on Otis, "Oh wait, there's his gay lover."

From there, I believe they launched into their MySpace classic: Asian Hooker

More genius:

"I'm a man, with a plan. I'm fuckin' going to Japan. Gonna spend a couple a grand, just fuckin' hookers in the can."


This past December I tried to convince as many people as I could to go to Green Valley Ranch and catch the Steel Panther show. For me personally, I'll never have a Vegas trip without seeing them. I know it's difficult to drag anybody away from a poker table, especially when you're winning, and then take a 15 minute cab ride off strip for what could easily be perceived as a stupid concert.

But it's worth it.

StB, California April, DrJeff, TheTrooper, Dr. Chako, The Wife, and Poker Peaker were willing souls and I'm pretty sure everyone had a great time. Check out The Wife's trip report, the pics don't do justice to the event.


So what do you do after a Steel Panther show? Destroy the GVR poker room of course....

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

People Wanna Know

Rarely do I get asked, "Hey, where's the blog post about such and such?" But sometimes things happen that are so astronomically improbable that multiple people do exactly that.

G-Rob won my 5th Annual New Year's Day Tournament.

Yes, that's right. It's not a typo. I know what you're thinking. "How could this happen?" "G-Rob?" "Does he even still play poker?" "My, he looks a bit slimmer."


We had 22 runners this year, which was right about where I expect things to settle out each year. The host, me, defending champion, managed to draw a seat to the immediate right of Mrs_Blood at the table in the kitchen. That was the day's first bad beat. You see, while she's most certainly the best thing to ever happen to me in real life, in poker life, she's the exact opposite. Those of you with poker-playing spouses understand. You just can't get away with raising your wife's blinds every orbit and not hear about it later. Few people pitied me, which is standard operating procedure at my house.

So too is standard operating procedure for me to be one of the biggest pay off wizards on the planet. That's how I'd have my Aces cracked by K2o early in level one. I also mis-read GucciRick on a medium sized pot later in the same orbit to take my 5000 starting chip stack down to around 1700. It wasn't the way I wanted to start defending my short-lived crown. In level 4, with the blinds 100/200, I made a stand.

After chipping back up to right around 3800, I limped from the button in a 4-way pot with Ts8s. Stan "The Man" McKinney, who continued his tradition of bringing a half-eaten salami to the party, min-raised from the big blind. Nobody folded. With the pot at 1600, the flop came Ks8d2s. Stan led out for 1000 and it was folded to me. With my pair and a flush draw, I had a decision to make. Fold and leave myself about 3400 in chips or gamble and try to double up against Stan. I opted to go for broke and try to build a stack. I pushed, Stan called with his pocket Aces, and Mrs_Blood, the dealer at the time, issued two bricks to the board to send me packing. There would be no repeat champion.


I was not the first to hit the couch and begin the wait for the cash game. My son's gymnastics coach (who I was saddened to find out was not this person) finished an unfortunate last, followed closely by special guest Lee Jones. Lee now lives in close-by Asheville and made the trek down to G-Vegas to visit our core group of local degenerates. As more and more people busted out, I kept overhearing from the other room phrases like "suckout," "unbelievable," "bad beat," and "G-Rob."

Random101's self-fulfilling prophecy of bubbling in 5th came true when he got it in with pocket Jacks against G-Rob's KJo. No chance. Newcomer Ryan would finish 4th, Shep Tiltstein a very respectable 3rd, and GucciRick would finish as the runner-up. G-Rob had outlasted a decent field and for the first time in ages lay claim to some kind of championship of his own.

Otis was very happy that G-Rob would now be able to pay him back the cash he borrowed after getting wiped out at the last (4) cash game(s) he'd played in.

Slight dig. Said with a smile.

But TRUE! :)


I do enjoy hosting a live tournament and cash game. I really do. But it's expensive. Especially when you pay for your wife's tourney buy-in. And her cash game buy-in. Thankfully, due to some nice luck in PLO, I was able to recoup all expenses and start the year off in the black. Hopefully everyone who played had an enjoyable time. If all goes well, I should hopefully host my annual birthday tournament again in April. Now if I can avoid being that pay off wizard I spoke about, I can keep letting the wife freeroll. If not, I'll just buy my son into the game instead of me.