Tuesday, March 31, 2009

March Top 15


15. Chris Isaak - We Let Her Down
14. Rufus Wainwright - Instant Pleasure
13. O.A.R. - This Town
12. Alice in Chains - Whale & Wasp
11. Queens of the Stone Age - River In The Road

10. Bree Sharp - Show Me
9. Amy Macdonald - This Is The Life
8. Kris Kristofferson - To Beat The Devil
7. Xavier Rudd - Messages
6. Queens of the Stone Age - Turnin' On The Screw

5. Queens of the Stone Age - 3's & 7's
4. Queens of the Stone Age - Suture Up Your Future
3. Queens of the Stone Age - Make It Wit Chu
2. Augustana - I Still Ain't Over You

Song of the Month: Queens of the Stone Age - Long Slow Goodbye

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Night

It is amazing how much I can lose and still keep coming back to compete. People always talk about the qualities that make one successful at poker, mentioning traits like instincts, a willingness to learn, and disregard for money, but I haven’t heard many talk about resiliency. You have to be able to lose over and over and over and still want to come back and lose some more while believing that some day you will find a way to win. You have to want it so bad that you don’t have a choice. I can go to bed so discouraged and angry but it seems no matter how deep the hole I have limitless optimism when I wake up the next day, whether the goal be poker, running, girls, or Puerto Rico.

A while back I posted a short entry called “Pregaming” sort of wondering what’s the best way to get ready to play poker tournaments. I haven’t reached any conclusions on the matter but I do know I need to get my head out of my ass and get more aggressive, and in order to do that I enlisted the help of three different things tonight:

First I poured myself a nice glass of Buffalo Trace - thanks Bag and I will try to remember to bring your birthday present to softball this week.

Second I re-read the comments from last week’s Monday Night – nice work guys.

Third I watched this clip.



10-20

First hand I raise T6s on the button. BB calls. Flop Kd9d5h BB checks I bet 80 BB calls. Turn 8h check check. River K BB bets the minimum 20 I fold.

Raise the next hand QTo win the blinds.

Next hand UTG raises mossified calls I call with 55. BB makes a 5x reraise original raiser folds mossified calls and I call. Flop KKQ checked around. Turn 9 checked around. River 6 the reraiser bets 2/3 pot we both fold quickly.

Raise 88 UTG win the blinds. This was all the first orbit.

An apparent fish (from the first hand) min raises and gets two calls, I throw in another 20 from the BB with 96o. Flop J87 mossified checks I check the raiser bets only 40 into 160 both fold to me I call. Turn 7 check check. River Q I bet 140 into 240 he folds.

Jon Turner takes a seat two to my left. He is one of the ones I like to study.

Guy limps I make a 4x raise on the button with 63 of diamonds. SB calls and limper calls. Flop Ks7d6c checked to me I bet biggish (171, 75% pot) and SB calls. Turn 6 SB leads for 393 I make it 912 he calls. River J he checks I bet 1554 he tanks and calls with KQ.

Very next hand I raise AK cutoff same guy calls on button. Flop J92 two hearts I bet and get raised big I fold. Next hand someone limps I limp 33 button limps blinds come along. Flop K93 two clubs checked to me I bet 2/3 pot fishy button calls. Turn 6d I bet biggish and button folds.

15-30

Fold JTo UTG.

That fishy player min raises and I defend the BB with J5o. Flop K62 I check fold to a big bet.

Hijack raises I think a while and fold K9s in SB.

Fold 96o button.

Mossified raises hijack I call on button with 33. Button calls and so does that fishy player from the BB. Flop KKT two clubs checked to button who makes a big bet and gets called by the BB. Mossified folds and so do I.

Raise KQ diamonds the fishy player calls out of the small blind. Flop KK5 two spades fish checks I bet 2/3 pot and get called. Turn 6s he checks I’m not sure what to do here and end up checking in a spot where I commonly bluff playing cash. River Qs fish bets out 390 I make it 1290 fish folds.

Raise J9 clubs Turner calls BB calls. Flop QJT one club BB checks I think a while and check Turner checks. Turn interesting Kc BB checks I check Turner checks. River Q BB checks I check Turner checks his 87s BB has K4s so I win the small pot.

On a related note I was watching WSOP reruns today with Jeremiah wielding the big stack which featured Turner's brutal bustout with AA against a pair+flush draw on an A high board. Thought some more about how nitty players like Turner and myself usually get it in good, but often bust out with the best hand because they are covered.

Fold 98o EP.

I get 33 yet again and limp. Comes big and multiway flop AQ6 no interest.

Turner raises EP 3x the fish calls I fold Q8s in BB.

20-40

A guy limps I have 95s on button and limp instead of raise like I did last time cause that hand got turned over in the same situation and I had 63. Blinds complete. Flop A83 checked to me I check. Turn 7 SB leads out Turner calls limper folds I fold.

Mossified raises hijack I call with Qd9d from the cutoff. Flop Jd4d2c he bets 200 I call. Turn Ah the plan now is to raise if he bets and check if he checks. But then he bets 600 into 700 (on somewhat of a short stack) which really sticks in my craw and changes everything. After his bet of 600 he has 3430 behind. I use my entire time bank thinking about what to do, even counting out a raise to 1500 about to hit the button but finally, you guessed it, fold.

Jorgeezy raises UTG I call with JsTs MP. Guy behind me calls. Flop Qc9s6c jorgeezy bets 255 I call other guy folds. Turn Tc check-check. River Jh check check he wins with 99 (with 9c).

UTG limps I make it 4x in 3rd position with AQo two guys call behind me and then the limper puts in a gigantic reraise. I fold quickly.

Fold T6s 2nd pos to mossified’s UTG raise.

25-50

NestOfSalt who has hardly played a hand raises MP I call with A5 hearts in BB. Flop 987 all clubs check check. Turn 4h I bet he folds.

Fold T7o cutoff.

Jorgeezy raises latish I call in BB with 8d7d. Flop J44 two spades one diamond I am gonna check-fold this but he checks. Turn 6d I am gonna check-raise this but he checks. River 7s I bet 200 he calls with AK.

30-60

Jorgeezy raises the next hand to 180 mossified calls on the button I make it about 700 in the SB with A3s they both fold.

UTG fish moves in for 199 I fold K2o button.

I loved that first table and was cruisin but unfortunately it breaks and I get moved to a new table where I recognize an accomplished player named AlexandraPaul (with a newly acquired stack) who I have played with a bit in cash games and someone I think I have heard of called lilfishy897 and another name I recognize dsindy.

Right off the bat I get kings after an early position raise from a 1700 stack. Dsindy calls right behind and I make a very unorthodox flatcall hoping to induce a squeeze. Nobody else plays, the flop comes QJ2 with two spades, they check to me I bet and they fold.

Fold 86s 2nd position might play it but not at new table.

Raise 55 UTG and AlexandraPaul reraises but less than 3x. I call. Flop A42 gonna checkraise he checks back obviously has a pair, probably KK-TT. Turn 6 feel like leading will get me nowhere but a checkraise could work he checks again. River 7 no hope here I don’t think I check he checks QQ and wins.

EP raises I call with AQs in BB. Flop Q65r I check he bets something normal I call. Turn 7 check-check river 3 I bet half the pot he folds.

Cutoff dsindy raises I think about reraising button Kh7h but call instead BB calls. Flop Kd6d4h checked to me I bet 300 (a little more than half pot) BB calls. Turn 9h BB checks I decide to bet 300 again BB calls again. River 8h now BB leads out for 1140. He has about 4500 behind. I am thinking about what to do and hit the time button then realize I spoiled my time bank earlier and have just a couple seconds left I wildly make a big raise without choosing an exact amount it ends up being 4620. BB folds. Now here is what I would have thought about if I had enough time…the BB likely has one of four hands:

1) a busted diamond draw
2) a king
3) a rivered two pair
4) a rivered flush with a hand that includes the 6h.

Now if he has 1) he will fold to any raise, 2) he will likely fold to a raise, 3) he will call a small raise maybe a 3x raise but probably fold to a huge raise 4) he will likely call any raise including an all-in. So maybe my best move is just to shove in? Or maybe 2.5x.

Whew! That first hour was so much fun I went downstairs and poured another glass of Buffalo Trace.

40-80

Dsindy raises early I flat with AA next guy flats everyone else folds. Flop KJ3 all diamonds (I have Ad) I call next guy folds. Turn 7s sindy bets 1120 I call. River 5c sindy thinks a long time and checks I instantly put him in for his last 2565 he tanks and calls with AJ goodnight moon.

Next hand I raise 76 diamonds UTG and the next two guys call. Flop JJ4 two clubs I check, next guy checks and third guy manwhore throws out a small bet of 240. I think and make it 840, manwhore instantly calls. Turn Ah what a beautiful card I bet half pot which is a third of his stack he thinks and folds.

Hijack raises I make a 3x reraise in the SB with T8s he calls. Flop AQ9 I bet 60% pot he calls. Turn 5 I am gonna let him have it he checks. River an amazing jack I bet a little more than 2/3 pot which is a big bet at this point he reluctantly folds.

Minraise button with T9s BB manwhore calls. I’ll talk about the minraise later if I have time. Flop T43 with one of my suit he checks I make some normal bet of 238 and then he goes all-in for 3547! I think it over a bit and call, he has the ol’ Q9o, it is amazing what people will do when you play wild! My friend Ethan aka Remmy3 who is one of the most unique players out there recently told me he will make what appears to be a mistake from time to time if it will get his opponents to make more mistakes against him…which kind of sums up a lot of high level poker theory…anyways when you play like a nit people don’t make as many mistakes against you. Sadly this mistake is rewarded as a jack and a king come off to give him a straight.

Rdcrsn raises hijack to 200 I make it 560 cutoff manwhore flatcalls in SB then Rdcrsn shoves for over 4k I instafold as does manwhore.

Minraise 87dd (getting a ton of suited connectors which us cashgamers loves so much) manwhore calls on button lilfishy calls in BB. Flop K84 one diamond two spades BB checks I bet 60% pot manwhore calls BB calls. Turn 8 BB checks I think forever and check manwhore checks. River As BB checks I think forever and check manwhore checks his JTo? BB has KJs I win. Interesting decisions on turn and river there.

Minraise AQs UTG BB rdcrsn calls. Flop K76 two clubs rd checks I bet something standard he calls. Turn 3 he checks and so do I…just kind of felt like he had a king here…river 2 he checks and so do I. He wins with J7s.

2nd pos raises I call with 88 on button. Flop Q82 two hearts he bets big I quickly raise a little less than 3x and he instamucks.

50-100

Minraise 98o cutoff both blinds call. 987r checked to me I bet 500 into 600 they both fold…VERY interesting if I get checkraised there.

Greg_Chimp a veteran raises early I call with 97s AlexandraPaul calls on button. Flop JT2 two clubs (I have spades) Chimp checks I am hoping both he and Paul missed so I bet a little more than half pot (572). Paul folds but Chimp calls. Turn 8c (my god I am hitting some hands today!) Chimp checks I bet 1342 Chimp calls. River 6h Chimp checks I bet 3333 Chimp calls with AJ and with that pot, ladies and gentlemen, GnightMoon is your chipleader!

Fold A3s second pos.

Fold QJo UTG.

Chimp raises button I call in BB with QJo. Flop Q42 two clubs I check Chimp bets I make a small raise gonna go with it (he isn’t that deep) he folds.

UTG raises I fold A3s in SB.

We went back to back Vines to start…feeling the need to keep things Australian and high energy I put on Runnin’ Wild from the young Australian band Airbourne…think early AC/DC.

60-120

Minraise button 66 they fold.

Minraise hijack T7s they fold.

Minraise next hand QQ guy to my left makes it 640 I jam he calls 4k more with AA and wins. Just think, normally that pot would have crippled me!

Raise 87s UTG all fold.

AlexPaul limps UTG Chimp makes a raise to 440 I have 97s on button…but Chimp is down to around 5k…I decide to fold which is good cause the BB jams.

Fold Q7o cutoff.

80-160

Minraise A2s win uncontested.

Fold 53s EP next hand.

Minraise next hand 2nd pos KJo guy to my left (who I doubled with QQ vs AA) reraises 3x Chimp calls allin I think about getting better than 3:1 and fold. Reraiser has KK and loses to Chimp’s AJs.

Alexandra raises rdcrsn calls in SB I get 33 again and call in BB. Flop A92 rd checks I check AP bets (I know AP will always bet here with no pair) rd calls I fold.

Minraise A9o button they fold.

Rd raises cutoff I call on button with 64s. Flop KK6 he checks I decide to check. Turn 3 he checks I bet less than half pot he folds. And I thought I was weak...he has good results though.

Fold K9o MP.

Next hand raise K9s guy to my left reraises again (he has shown AA and KK when doing this) I fold.

AP raises rd calls I fold Q9o BB flop Q94.

100-200

So this guy psutennis (who I reraised with T8s before making a straight) has been fairly tight and opens to 525 with 4k behind from the hijack. I have ATo in the SB. What’s the play? Y’all already know I folded, but what’s the play?

Same guy raises next hand I fold A2s on button.

Fold 32s cutoff.

Minraise 44 next hand win.

Minraise JJ next hand lilfishy calls in BB. Flop 543 two clubs he checks I bet 616 into 900 he calls. Turn 9s he checks I bet 1400 he calls. River Qh he checks I bet 3019 he folds.

Fold A5o 3rd pos next hand.

Napoleon drops in and boots up my second laptop to play a sesh beside me. This is good news as the Buffalo alone prolly wouldn’t be enough to get me through this tournament.

Fold 87o second pos.

Tennis raises and again I fold a medium ace in the SB.

Fold 85o cutoff.

120-240-25

Raise first hand after the break K4s EP AlexP reraises I muck.

Raise next hand KQo a guy named rewired calls. Flop J92 two spades I bet 60% pot he calls. Turn 7h I bet a little less than 2/3 pot he folds.

Lilfishy raises MP I have JTo this is the weekly “I think about reraising but fold” hand.

Next hand raise (by the way every open is a minraise for me right now) button K8o win.

Raise next hand 64o button calls AP makes a huge shove I fold of course.

Raise next hand 75s win.

Rd raises next hand I fold A6s rd takes out a guy with aces against queens.

Fold J7s second pos.

Lilfishy raises on an 8k stack I fold 65o button.

Raise KJo cutoff button calls AP calls in BB. Flop QQ9 checked around. Turn 8 AP bets pretty big I fold.

140-280-25

Raise J8s 3rd pos win uncontested.

Fold 64s next hand.

Fishy makes it about 700 LP psutennis makes it about 2k from the button I jam from the BB with AK. PSU tanks a long time and then calls 9300 more with jacks and I lose the flip.

BB has 4k behind folds to me in SB where I have K3o I jam he calls with AJs I river a 3 and win…I am supposed to jam there right?

Small blind is missing folds to me on button I minraise J2o and AP reraises…kind of regret that I opened that one.

Raise 99 and the button flatcalls on a shortstack…right away I tell Nappy this smells like aces…the flop comes 773 I bet a small 800 and he moves in for 2100 more…this is the most obvious aces ever…yet I still find a call and he has aces…thoughts?

Stack at 10k which is about avg…

Fold KTs UTG missing SB.

PSU raises a little less than 3x on the button I defend BB with K5s. Flop J73 two spades I have clubs I check and fold.

Rocking the newest Queens of the Stone Age Era Vulgaris now. About as hard as I can handle but very very good.

Guy I doubled against the obvious AA raises I fold JTo in SB.

Raise button with tens TIMEX calls in BB. Board of A42J7 is checked all the way down and he wins with two pair A4.

170-340-25

8465 chips

Lilfishy raises to 805 and I fold Q9s on the button.

CzarBushov (new to table) raises to 804 and I have AQo two behind him…I was discussing this player (Chris Bush) with a friend recently who told me he was rather sung…I reraise to 2k thinking I will probably fold and keep my last 6k if he or someone behind me jams. Everyone folds.

Czar raises an orbit later and I fold QJo on button.

Raise K7s hijack BB calls. Flop A86 one of my suit he checks I bet a little more than half pot he tanks into the bank and then surprisingly folds. Usually bad news when you are bluffing and they go into the bank.

Raise KTo MP AP calls and then PSU puts in a big reraise from the BB. I fold.

200-400-50

PSU (who has 25k) makes it about 1k in 2nd pos and I have 22 and 8400 in MP…this one is close right? I end up folding – he doesn’t open a ton of hands and has already shown he won’t fold in a marginal spot preflop.

Fold 85s UTG.

Bush (who has been very active this round but I think with hands) raises hijack and I fold A2s on button with 7700.

This is a bad time to be GnightMoon as I can’t pick up a hand and rdcrsn who is very short is shoving if folded to.

Rd goes broke.

250-500-50

Fold A6o 3rd pos.

Fold A7o next hand.

Fold A8s UTG next hand.

Bmf823 aka Ben Fineman who has one of the best blogs in poker (which I especially enjoy now cause I love reading about the downswings of others) sits down to my right on a similar stack.

Interesting hand comes up as Czar open-limps from the cutoff on an 18k stack with three short stacks behind him. I have T6o in the SB and end up calling 250 more getting over 5-1. BB checks. Flop comes A54 two spades we check to Czar and he bets half the pot...very likely with nothing…obvious float here but I only have 6300 to work with…I fold.

Folds to me on button I fold Q2o.

Fold A6o MP on 6k…hand a little bit too weak and stack a little bit too big to shove.

Fold A5o 2nd pos a couple hands later.

Fold JTo UTG next hand. Blinds about to go up.

Folds to Fineman in SB who jams me in of course with 5300 behind. I fold J6o laughing about an old “all I need is a medium jack” joke spawned at the Borgata involving Matt Viox.

103 left I am in 101st 36 get paid…now this is territory I am used to!

300-600-75

5k in chips.

Put on the short stack anthem “It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over” by Lenny Kravitz, which gamblegambel and BlueFlare used to laugh about. We are playing songs now no longer albums as the ETB (expected time of bustout) is rather expeditious now.

Fineman open-shoves for 8800 I call all-in with AKs and river an ace to beat his 77. His bad luck continues. But he does double up flopping a flush the next hand on a desperation shove…but then busts the next hand. Hang in there man.

TIMEX raises 2.5x EP. No small blind. I call in BB with KQ spades looking to flop pair or draw and check-jam allin. Flop 776 two hearts I check he bets I fold.

Folds to me on button I have 8800 and JTo. TIMEX has 11k in BB and SB has 8k. I think about minraising or even limping but decide to put these guys tournaments at stake and jam. TIMEX tanks into the bank but folds.

“Love is Blue” by Paul Mauriat. Some of the best music you can listen to while playing poker.



Minraise KJo and TIMEX (on a short stack) flatcalls from the cutoff. Rather strange. Flop 952 I check he checks. Not sure what is going on here yet. Turn 6 I am really confused and check, he checks again. Still trying to figure out what he has. River 8 I think the best way for me to win this pot is the old value-bet bluff of 1/3 of the pot, but now I am pretty sure he has A high and he is a math guy if I remember right from the pokerroad interview. I feel like I might get looked up here by A high and check, he checks and wins with an unexpected AQ that weirdly flatted preflop.

400-800-100

8500 chips.

S Gromenkova who literally has not played a hand since sitting down half an hour ago shoves for 8200 in second position. I have KQs in SB and fold instead of calling all-in so I am down to about 7k after paying the blinds.

This is ugly shove poker now as most of the table is short stacks with one big stack (PSU).

PSU raises UTG and I fold A3o with 7k.

An orbit passes no chance whatsoever down to 5300.

PSU raises to 2k and I fold QTs on the button with 5300.

Buy a round with T5o from the hijack when it is finally folded to me. Next hand it is folded to me again and I fold 85o on 7200.

Next hand DJ_Ponytale raises early on a short stack, I jam with jacks, he calls with tens and I win. 16k with blinds approaching.

Folds to me I fold 42o in SB with a decent-sized stack in the BB.

Minraise T9o from the cutoff sadly S Gromenkova jams from the BB and I fold.

Next hand felt I would look strong with a raise so I jack it up with J4o but Timex shoves and I fold again.

500-1000-125

Minraise 2nd pos AJo on 10k stack they all fold.

Next hand minraise ATo UTG they all fold again.

66 left I have 14k 36 get paid avg is 29k.

Fold 75o cutoff.

I boot up the table of imabigkidnow as he is is one of the leaders (albeit with less than 50 BB). He is one of the most intimidating and entertaining big-stack players.

Administer another walk with 85o and 11.5k stack.

Next hand a new big stack Jagz7 raises 2.5x fairly early I jam with AJ he folds.

American Idiot from Green Day probably the best popular rock album of this decade.

Raise ATo cutoff everyone folds.

Raise next hand KQo button calls as does Jagz from the BB. Flop A97 BB checks I check button bets it Jagz folds I fold.

TIMEX jams UTG for 15k he has me barely covered I am in the small blind with AQo. Felt like this one was very, very close and eventually called it off. Lost to his jacks.

So overall thought my play was much better this week and I started to turn a corner but you be the judge.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #54

Sheryl Crow - All I Wanna Do

Still dunno how I feel about Sheryl Crow as a musician. She can crank out stunners like this, "If It Makes You Happy", and "The Difficult Kind" or debacles such as "Soak Up the Sun" and "Good is Good." Would a respectable artist ever create a song like "Soak Up the Sun"?

Lessons Learned From Coach Irv

Friday, March 27, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #55

Gillian Welch - Elvis Presley Blues

This must be the most inexplicable song on this list. Usually I like em obvious and poppy, and this is neither. There are many great Gillian Welch songs that are much more obvious, classics such as "Lowlands" or "Wrecking Ball" but somehow this one is my favorite.

Lessons Learned From Greg Paulus

Greg Paulus was the Gatorade National High School Football Player of the Year his senior season, but chose to play basketball at Duke instead of quarterback at Miami or Notre Dame. He started at point guard for Duke as a freshman and led the ACC in assists that season. But, due to limited athleticism, Paulus was riding the pine before the end of his senior season for a Duke team that never reached the Final Four during his tenure. His final game was a 10 minute, 3 point, 1 assist, 0 rebound, 0 steal, 2 turnover, 4 foul performance in a blowout Sweet Sixteen loss to Villanova. Now his athletic career is over just in time to enter an ugly job market. Let's hope he maximized that Duke education.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lessons Learned From Michael Phelps


You can smoke marijuana and still be the best athlete in the world.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

To Dream Or Not To Dream

I am constantly trying to decide if I should keep hope of my dreams alive, or if I should learn to live with the knowledge that they will never come true.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday Night

There was a time when I was good at games. I would win more than my fair share. I would outsmart my opponents and I would surprise people with my skills. Nowadays I am losing at most of the games I play. I play a lot of this chess/Catan combo game called Puerto Rico with friends who are better than me and walk away a loser every time. I have been losing in Catan as well. I play poker tournaments and I’m not very good at them either. Two nights ago I had an incredibly poor beer pong session. I used to be an excellent Beirut player; now I am horrendous. And yesterday I lost at frisbee golf, a sport I was once so good at that I was considering playing in tournaments.

It is not acceptable for me to lose at games. I will have to get better. I do not play Puerto Rico with the intention of losing forever. Someday I will dominate. The same is true of poker tournaments. I would not bother playing them if I did not believe I could one day become a huge winner. I am not the most talented out there, but I believe if I work hard, think hard, and get help I can learn to beat this game just like I can beat all games.

I have not been competing enough. I am unfulfilled without competition. I need to get back in action. I have been looking forward to the WSOP for a while now despite the miseries inherent in a six week summer undertaking to Vegas, because I am fiending to compete every day for big money. I need to practice now, so that I will be ready for the WSOP.

10-20

Tougher table tonight…pimpin_pens to my left, mig_com (James Mackey) to his left, badbeatninja (Bryan Devonshire) to his left, Stamdogg across the table, and da_professional two to my right.

SB limps I check 43o in BB and fold to a pot bet when I flop nothing.

Fold Q6s 3rd position haven’t played a hand yet.

Fold T7s next hand.

Fold QTs UTG would definitely play that at an easier table. Something to be said for just rocking it up at this point establishing tight image.

Fold 98o in BB to UTG raise.

Fold 32o in SB when folded to me then fold J4o button.

Fold JTo second position.

15-30

Fold 86o in BB to a raise and a call.

Fold 74s in SB to badbeatninja’s EP raise

Raise 75s button blinds fold.

Fold K5s to the guy to my right’s raise, he has been tight.

UTG limps I limp 98s behind him. Badbeatninja makes a 5x raise and Stamdogg flatcalls from the button. UTG folds. I call. Flop AQ3 I check badbeatninja bets 3/5 pot Stamdogg tanks and folds I fold.

20–40

Raise QQ mig calls and the button calls. Flop QhTh7c I think and check, mig bets 2/3 pot button folds and I raise a little more than 3x. Mig calls. Turn T I check mig checks. River 7 I think a long time and check he checks quickly with KJ. I made a good read here that he was drawing but he made a good read that I was trapping.

Two hands later I limp AA UTG. A guy makes it 180 from the hijack folds to me I make it 631 he folds.

That same guy raises 3x I call with JTo on button. Flop Q63 all hearts he bets 2/3 pot I fold.

Next hand da_professional raises I fold Q7s cutoff.

Raise 85s third position badbeatninja calls BB calls. Flop 532 rainbow BB checks I bet 182 ninja makes it 569 BB folds and I am in a quandary. I think a long time and then raise to 1444. Ninja quickly calls. Turn 6 I check and fold to a 1400 bet.

25-50

Fold 74s next hand

Mig raises in 2nd position on a short stack I just fold AJo in BB. Not much to gain here, no good reason to get involved.

Guy raises I call with AKs in SB. Flop 743 rainbow check check. Turn 8s second spade I bet 200 he calls. River 8 I check he thinks and checks his T9. He is probably kicking himself but I was going to call a bet.

Raise 97s in second position the SB reraises a little less than 3x. I am putting him on a huge hand here and call. Flop A75 he bets 450 I make it 1123 he folds.

Limp 88 UTG LP limps BB checks. Board of JT4QT is checked all the way down I win against 77 and A6.

30-60

Stamdogg raises I call with J9 clubs in the SB. Flop K32 I check he bets I fold.

Next hand raise button with 76o they fold.

Next hand Stamdogg raises to 180 I call with TT. Flop Kc9c9d Stamdogg bets 200 I call. Turn Jd he bets 600 I think about everything and finally fold.

Raise AA 2nd position no callers.

Fold A3o button to da_professional’s hijack raise.

Raise Q3 hearts from the cutoff badbeatninja calls in BB. Flop AhAcQd check check. Turn Kh he bets 195 I call. River 6d he bets 420 I fold.

40-80

4602 in chips.

Fold AJo UTG.

Raise AJo cutoff win blinds.

Raise A9o next hand win again.

Stamdogg raises hijack cutoff calls I fold 54o in BB.

50-100

Fold J2s hijack.

Fold 75s second position.

Perusing Michael Lombardi’s NFL analysis. Trying to substitute college basketball for the NFL has taught me there is no substitute, there is no sport even close to as fun or interesting as the NFL. I can’t wait for the draft, I can’t wait for the preseason, I can’t wait for September Sundays.

Cutoff raises SB calls I fold 84o in BB good squeeze spot.

Folds to me in the SB. Pimpin_pens in BB has been extremely tight thus far but I know he knows what he’s doing and is aware of his image so I fold K2o.

Listen to a few Rufus Wainwright songs.

Fold A6o MP.

60-120

Field a call from Adam Friedman while folding a round of spectacularly bad hands.

Raise K8s EP after a long quiet period Stamdogg calls in SB. Flop AA8 check check. Turn 4 check check river 9 he bets 600 I was planning the whole time to call a river bet but this big bet makes me queasy. I think as long as I can and then fold, then regret it slightly.

80-160

Fold 98o MP.

SB limps I 3x it from BB with AQ he folds.

Table is playing tight Adam wants me to raise complete poop hands I don’t.

Big prizepool tonight – over $100k for first.

100-200

Big stack limps I limp 6d3d on button. Blinds call. Flop 764 two spades. BB checks limper bets 600 into 700. I have about 3500 in stack and fold. This is not what Adam recommends. This hand really gets me thinking about needing to develop and play MY game. I can talk to my talented friends about the game and situations and what to do but I need to figure out what works for ME, not them. I spew too much trying to play the right way or the way that works for so and so. In cash I have a unique style that no one can imitate. It has always been effective and I have always been comfortable with it. In tournaments I am usually in no man’s land experimenting with different styles and strategies without ever really figuring out how I want to play. There have been times when I was playing well when I had an effective style down, but I eventually lost my footing and wound up back in no man’s land.

Fold QJo to an EP raise.

SB completes I check Q2 clubs in BB. Flop 9s8s4c he checks I bet a little more than half pot he folds.

Next hand I limp J9o from SB pimpin checks. Flop 933 rainbow I check he bets 200 I call. Turn 6 I check he bets 450 I call. River 6 I check he bets 1050 and I fold.

Frustrated with my play. Thinking of ways to improve and drawing blanks. Need to go in one direction or the other I think, either tighter more aggressive or looser more tricky.

120-240-25

2876 chips.

Shove the first hand with KJo MP everyone folds. Adam would hate this move, the forum fiends would probably say it is the only way to play it, and I don’t know.

SB 3xes it on a similar stack I fold 54o in BB.

Administer a walk with 72o. I hate giving walks with the large blinds and antes and would shove most hands there but 72o bleh.

Strange pot here
da_professional posts the small blind of 120
cool0813 posts the big blind of 240
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to GnightMoon [Jc 4s]
GnightMoon folds
cool0813 has returned
pimpin_pens folds
Smaugs folds
badbeatninja folds
exxplicit folds
Stamdogg folds
brsavage folds
da_professional raises to 580
cool0813 raises to 3,517, and is all in
da_professional calls 2,937
cool0813 shows [Ad 5s]
da_professional shows [Qc 6h]
*** FLOP *** [5c 9h Qd]
*** TURN *** [5c 9h Qd] [4d]
*** RIVER *** [5c 9h Qd 4d] [Jh]
cool0813 shows a pair of Fives
da_professional shows a pair of Queens
da_professional wins the pot (7,259) with a pair of Queens

That didn’t seem very professional.

IWEARGOGGLES, a very accomplished player, sits down to my right. Normally this would be bad news but I remember when I won this event my rush started when I won a coinflip against him, and then caught a similar rush in the WSOP $1500 6-handed after winning a coinflip against him.

Folds to me in the cutoff where I have 2756 and A3s. I am “supposed” to jam here but instead I make it 600; badbeatninja instantly shoves from the BB. I can fold and have about 2100 with the blinds going to 140-280, or I can call and try to double up. I end up folding.

Badbeatninja raises EP, a short stack instashoves, brsavage (who just got rivered in a crucial pot) instacalls all-in, and I call all-in from the big blind with kings while thinking about Phil Hellmuth triumphantly yelling “that’s why you lay it down!” after raise/folding a third of his stack and then getting aces the next hand. Ninja somehow has aces in this mess, the short stack has queens, savage has 87s, the board comes AT77x and Devo collects three bounties.

I think I am gonna play some cash games after I post this.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #56

Bob Dylan - Isis

Bob spins a yarn about canyons, pyramids, blizzards, tombs, and buried treasure, but it's mostly about a girl.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Score For Moore

Congrats are in order for Toph Moore on his third place finish at the Bay 101 Shooting Star. Toph plays a shifty, opaque brand of no limit hold em that no one seems to understand but him, and it has always been deadly.

Lessons Learned From Jon Snow

"...Tell me that none of this troubles you, Jon...and I'll name you a liar, and know I have the truth of it."
Jon drew himself up, taut as a bowstring. "And if it
did trouble me, what might I do, bastard as I am?"
"What
will you do?" Mormont asked. "Bastard as you are?"
"Be troubled," said Jon, "and keep my vows."

Friday, March 20, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #57

James Taylor - Mexico

Not long ago I saw the movie version of Revolutionary Road, which focused on the same depressing concept of dreaming of a mystical land whilst knowing deep down that it was just a dream.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pool Brackets

Gaamblor
MasterJ

MoonSamENole
Toph
Zaxelrod

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Madness Q&A With Dr. Moon

Q: Why should I read this? Do you even know what you’re talking about? I thought you were into NFL, not college basketball. How much college basketball do you even watch?

A: Over the last couple months I’ve watched
  • Enough college basketball to know what I’m talking about
  • Enough college basketball that I am considering putting some of the sportsbetting bankroll into play this month
  • Enough college basketball that I am embarrassed to say how much.
Q: Who are your favorite players this season?

A: Sadly four of my favorite players (Stephen Curry and Bryant Barr from Davidson, Patty Mills from St. Mary’s, and Booker Woodfox from Creighton) did not make the tournament. Still though, we have

The All-Moon Team:
G Eric Maynor, VCU
F Alfred Aboya, UCLA
F Matt Howard, Butler
F Gary Wilkinson, Utah State
F DeJuan Blair, Pittsburgh

Q: How about Villains?

A: Anyone from Duke is always a safe choice here…but they’re not as odious as usual. Jon Scheyer might be the most annoying now that Greg Paulus is riding the pine.

The Bad Moon Team
G John Scheyer, Duke
G Wayne Ellington, North Carolina
G Eric Devendorf, Syracuse
F Earl Clark, Louisville
C Dexter Pittman, Texas

Q: Moon! You’re a big Pittsburgh fan – you must be picking them to win it all, right?

A: Sadly I have watched enough Pitt games to know they have several disturbing weaknesses –
  1. When DeJuan Blair (who I think may actually be the best player in college) gets in foul trouble they struggle
  2. Levance Fields is a wonderful passer but can’t put the ball in the basket
  3. They don’t play the kind of defense we're accustomed to from a Pittsburgh team
  4. They go through lulls of bad ball movement where they don’t get a quality shot for extended periods of time
  5. They don’t get up emotionally to play mediocre teams
I won’t be picking Pitt to win it all but I do like their draw and am salivating over a potential regional final vs Duke.

Q: Is this the year a 16 seed finally beats a 1?

A: It’s ridiculous to predict it but it’s not inconceivable this season. The 1s are not nearly as good as they were last year, the 16s are not half-bad…UConn (who should have been a 2 seed) is matched up against a fired-up Chattanooga squad which starts five seniors…Pitt lulls for extended periods of time…again it’s ridiculous to predict it but there is the possibility of a 1 going down this season – and when it does happen, it will be unforgettable.

Q: What do we really know about Memphis? They haven’t lost a game in 2009 but they haven’t played anyone either – why should we believe Memphis will be able to win against this caliber of competition?

A: Because when you watch Memphis, they are as good or better than anyone. Trust me, this team is sick. Nobody else is playing defense like this. Also, Memphis is coached by a man who a) recruits and b) is not an idiot - a rare convergence in college basketball. Memphis is not as good as last year, but then nobody is close to as good as the four #1 seeds that made the Final Four last year.

Q: Moon – I lost my bankroll betting favorites in the conference tournaments. Now I’m down to one last bet. I’m looking for a darkhorse national champion pick to salvage my ‘roll – who’s my best bet?

A: Wake Forest at 44:1. They are as talented as anyone.

Q: Hey Moon – I have only five dollars left in my Bodog account after getting pwned by BlueFlare and crusher3000…I’m just gonna bet it all on some random long-odds team to win it all…who should I go with?

A: Marquette at 130:1.

Q: Arizona made the tournament!? What a load of bull! How could Arizona make the field with two road wins??

A: First off, Arizona actually looks pretty competent when you watch them. They have NBA talent. Second, if you watched them down the stretch, they compiled “quality losses” – narrow road losses to good teams like Washington and Arizona State. Arizona may not have won many games on the road, but they proved they could play with tourney-caliber teams away from home.

Q: So who is the worst at-large team in the tournament?

A: My vote would be for Maryland. The Terps lost the following games:
  • Gonzaga by 22 (neutral)
  • Georgetown by 27 (neutral)
  • Morgan State (home)
  • Duke by 41 (road)
  • Clemson by 29 (road)
  • Virginia (road)
Maryland is in the tournament because of their quality wins. A closer look at those wins –
  • Michigan State by 18 (neutral) in a game the Spartans were missing two starters
  • North Carolina 18 days after losing to the Heels in Chapel Hill. I’ve studied these situations where a team gets a second shot at a team they recently lost to, and they usually win the second game or at least fare much better. Squeaking out a must-win over an unmotivated UNC team at home is not super impressive to me.
  • Wake Forest (neutral) in the ACC Tournament. I watched this game – Gary Williams severely outcoached Dino Gaudio…Wake had no idea how to deal with Maryland’s zone…Maryland had lost to Wake at home ten days earlier…honestly this game was less about Maryland than it was about Wake being incompetent in slow situations.
Then when you look at all the middling games Maryland lost –
@Miami, @FSU, BC, Wake – you realize their “big wins” were more a result of having so many opportunities than their actual ability.

Wisconsin is another questionable selection…I don’t like how a team like the Badgers that has been proven to be mediocre can get in ahead of an unknown with a high ceiling (St. Mary’s).

Q: What team do you know absolutely nothing about?

A: BYU. All I know is they’re not allowed to play on Sundays.

Q: What other random teams do you like?

A: Cornell, because my brother goes there. And Robert Morris, cause they’re campus is in Moon Township, PA. As ridiculous as this sounds, most pools are won picking teams using this sort of strategy.

Q: How are you going to deal with no more Erin Andrews in your life?

A: By reminding myself Mike Patrick and Dick Vitale are not part of my life anymore either.

Q: Remember that dude on Wisconsin who looked exactly like Chris Rock? Any celebrity look-alikes in this year’s tournament?

A: The best match I can come up with is Ohio State’s Jon Diebler and The Wire’s Leo Fitzpatrick.

Q: Who has the best name in the tournament?

A: That’s easy – Chief Kickingstallionsims of Alabama State.

Q: Who are the maniacs? Who are you afraid to bet on or against?

A: Teams that are dangerous to your bracket whether you write them down or not:
7. Texas
6. Tennessee
5. Arizona
4. Clemson
3. Boston College
2. USC
1. Wake Forest

Q: Who blew their wad in the conference tournament?

A: Obviously Syracuse…picking Missouri gives me pause…Ohio State and Tennessee are either “peaking” or “spent” depending on your point of view…and USC, while talented, might not be there emotionally.

Q: Who’s flying under the radar, ready to make a splash?

A: The Mountain West teams (Utah and BYU) have fared rather poorly in the tournament in recent years – they are not getting any respect but I couldn’t tell you if this is deserved or not. UCLA has been playing good offensive ball but got a bad draw…nobody knows much about Dayton…and Washington could make a charge out West.

Q: Will you be organizing a pool this year?

A: Yes. Trying to decide between $500 and $1000 entry. Let me know.

Q: I loved watching George Mason and Davidson! Who’s the George Mason of 2009?

A: Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of good choices here…possibly VCU (who beat Mason to win the Colonial conference tournament)…Butler is good but will have to beat North Carolina in Greensboro to get to the Sweet 16 …North Dakota State might be capable of winning a game or two…Cleveland State and Portland State have draws that give them a chance…Stephen F. Austin gets an overrated and overconfident Syracuse team in round one…really any of these teams can win. The difference between a (14) and a (3) is just not that big this year.

Q: So you’re saying expect upsets?

A: Yes. Expect upsets at every level. It should be a wild ride.

Q: Do you have some youtube clips to get us fired up for March Madness?

A: Of course!























Saturday, March 14, 2009

My 100 Favorite Songs: #58

The Black Crowes - Gone

Flawless execution from a talented band of musicians, including outstanding vocals from Chris Robinson.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Settlers of Catan Life Analogy of the Week


Sometimes when you need to build to an unsettled location on the board but have no brick and no means of getting any, your best bet is to grab development cards and pray for a road building or monopoly.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wedding Season Approaches


It is my dream to procure a powder blue suit that I can wear to weddings and other happy formal occasions. I have made inquiries at places like Banana Republic and Jos. A. Bank which proved fruitless. At this point I am not sure how to continue this quest and would appreciate any ideas people might have to keep this dream alive.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Monday Night

I’ve been oddly content recently. I say oddly because things haven’t been going particularly well financially or romantically and traditionally those two areas have determined my well-being. I spent a lot of the day thinking about why I’m presently feeling okay about things and came up with some different ideas:

Mostly I just feel like I am learning to control my brain. I have power and confidence that I can do things simply if I want to, that I can get through difficult situations merely by trying, that the only person I want to be is me, that even if life is a bitch I can deal with that bitch and put her in her place. Some of this attitude has come from running, which I will surely blog about some time in the future, some of it has come from getting older, and some of it has come from the Queens of the Stone Age.

In March I have been listening to the Queens almost exclusively. Right now it’s “Songs For The Deaf” which was their commercial breakthrough but arguably their worst album. The Queens are immensely powerful and talented musicians but not household names because they haven’t spawned many radio-friendly singles. Their music is uncompromising, often rather heavy but almost always fun. Queens of the Stone Age really capture the cocksure attitude of a band that knows how good it is without everyone in the world knowing it, and perhaps it is in part the lack of superstardom that allows them to make great, stubborn, unique, dynamic music. Really it shouldn’t be acknowledgment, women, trophies that determine happiness, it should be living how you want to live, doing what you want to do, and following the Golden Rule.

I’ve also been listening to Kris Kristofferson’s “To Beat The Devil” a lot recently after a Shaniac recommendation which deals with this sort of stuff I’ve been mentally chewing on.

The center of this life thesis is that life is not perfect or even all that good necessarily...I should not expect happiness. When something bad happens it is no big deal and I can get over it pretty quickly. When something good happens it is just icing on the cake. This surely sounds melancholy and pessimistic but the key is that (at least right now) my average day is not unpleasant. It is not filled with joy and probably never will be but I try to fill the day with activities that I enjoy and make me feel good while avoiding “the people who don’t listen to the things you are saying” and not wasting time on “the things that they complain about [that] are things they could be changing.”

10-20

Limp 65s second position. Only the BB comes along. Flop J86 BB checks I bet the minimum 20 he folds.

Fold A5s UTG next hand.

Fold A6o in BB to a 3x raise and a call.

Fold JTo on the button to a middle position raise.

15-30

A tight player raises the button and I fold K8s in the BB.

Same player raises the next hand, I call with red sevens in the SB. Flop comes AJ3 all hearts I check-fold to a biggish bet.

TheFatFISH raises to 90 from the cutoff and I decide to make it 270 on the button with Ts6s. As this happens I am remembering that FISH is also known as AndyMcLeod on Stars, a very good and aggressive young kid from Australia. I have watched McLeod on Stars and always marveled at his uncanny ability to have the best hand over and over in marginal situations while playing very loose and aggressive. He calls and the flop comes As5h3d. He checks I throw out 330 and he calls. I have a feeling I am being floated here. The turn is the 4c. I was likely going to double-barrel here but this card would make it hard for me to bet if I actually had AK and I picked up a draw so I check. River is an interesting ten of hearts and he fires 750. I can only beat a float or something like 77 that is trying to get me off a higher pair. I finally decide to call which is really questionable and he wins with ace-jack…I think reraising the T6s was a mistake against a McLeod-type player. I would have been much better off making this play against a less decorated more standard player.

20-40

So this hand comes up…I see this sort of hand a lot from tournament players who are almost certainly better at their craft than I am and can never believe it. I have a cash-game background and believe that playing hands like this is akin to lighting money on fire…yet again, I stress that I see players who are better than me at tournaments do this kind of stuff all the time:

Dealt to GnightMoon [5h 6c]
mman_status folds
yahoo33 folds
kidwhowon has 15 seconds left to act
kidwhowon folds
Rick W_88 folds
Aaron_Hacker folds
Bbuddy4brkfst folds
POCKET FIVE has 15 seconds left to act
POCKET FIVE raises to 120
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH raises to 429
GnightMoon folds
POCKET FIVE has 15 seconds left to act
POCKET FIVE calls 309
*** FLOP *** [8s 7d 6h]
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH bets 600
POCKET FIVE raises to 1,590
TheFatFISH has 15 seconds left to act
TheFatFISH has requested TIME
TheFatFISH raises to 6,441, and is all in
POCKET FIVE calls 2,476, and is all in
TheFatFISH shows [8c Ac]
POCKET FIVE shows [Qd Qc]
Uncalled bet of 2,375 returned to TheFatFISH
*** TURN *** [8s 7d 6h] [Kc]
*** RIVER *** [8s 7d 6h Kc] [7c]
TheFatFISH shows two pair, Eights and Sevens
POCKET FIVE shows two pair, Queens and Sevens
POCKET FIVE wins the pot (9,030) with two pair, Queens and Sevens

UTG limps FISH limps button I complete the SB with A5o. Flop Ac9sTd checked to FISH who bets 110. I call, others fold. Turn 5d I check FISH bets 240 I make it 760 which looks either strong or bluffy and leaves him room to push if he wants. He folds.

Next hand UTG limps I get QQ on button and make a 4x raise. SB flats it and so does UTG. Flop Th4d7d checked to me I bet moderate and both fold…I have no idea what I do if it gets raised, probably flat it and see what happens on the turn.

Next hand POCKET FIVE raises 3x, FISH calls and I call with 75 clubs. The small blind calls and then the BB raises huge…everyone folds. I am always afraid of calling raises with these hands because of the frequency of someone squeezing it behind. I watch players like Daniel Negreanu and Adam Friedman flat everything in sight and it seems they hardly ever get squeezed out of pots yet seemingly every time I try to get in there it gets pumped huge.

Fold Q9s UTG.

25-50

POCKET FIVE raises the button and I defend with JTo. Flop K55 check check, turn 8 I check-fold.

Raise TT on the button blinds fold.

Next hand POCKET FIVE raises again, FISH calls again and I call again with 88…now the SB squeezes it huge and then the BB shoves in having everyone covered and everyone folds.

Next hand UTG raises and I fold AJo in LP.

Raise KTs EP everyone folds.

30-60

Everyone folds to me in the SB where I have Qs6s. I open for 3x and the BB who has been super tight calls. Flop 9s7s3h already I have some options I elect to make a standard bet and the BB calls. The turn is the Td giving me a dumb-end gutshot along with the flush draw. I really have no idea what to do here with 800 in the pot and 3400 left in my stack. Someone please teach me how to play, I am like a 4 year-old trying to learn to swim. I just feel so helpless, that ten on the turn is like an arrow pointed right down the middle of his range, yet I think and bet 540 which gets jammed of course and now I have to fold my draw. I guess a check-call or fearless check-raise would have been better, seems that way now anyways.

Fold JTo on the button behind a raise and a call.

POCKET FIVE raises and I call from the cutoff with KsJs. Flop KhJc5c he bets big I think and just call. Turn 8h he checks I bet half the pot leaving fold equity but he instafolds…I just don’t know what is going on the last month, it seems like every time I want someone to jam they instantly fold, and most of the time I want them to fold they don’t…on paper it would appear I am getting owned. But I am varying my play, sometimes playing big hands fast and bad hands fast, big hands slow and bad hands tricky…I want to believe this is the kind of “variance” most people don’t really talk about or understand, the variance of running into hands when you make moves and running into garbage when you flop monsters.

Raise 87 of spades MP the button calls. Flop Jc7d4c I check he bets about half the pot I call. Turn 5c check-check river Ks check-check and I win over A8s. I feel like a tougher player would have won this pot off me. I can be a real spew artist with my checking and calling.

40-80

The hijack (raising an average amount) raises and gets called by the button (playing an average amount of hands). I have ATo in the BB and an awkward stack…again I have that feeling of breathing underwater…I end up calling which is my usual non-aggressive spewy conservative in-between play that appears to be the wrong way to play tournaments. Flop 9d8s6d everyone checks. Turn 7s I check, the preflop raiser Aaron_Hacker bets half the pot, button folds and I call. River 6h I check and he bets 3000 into the 1340 pot. Honestly I think this is just about always a fold, and a pretty easy fold at that. I don’t think this is just conservative cash-game Moon talking, this is common sense in poker, you should never be calling in a spot like this. I did call a wild shove last night with TT on a board of 76589 after potting the river and the guy was playing the board…but that was against a fish and I may have folded against a regular.

Folds to me in the SB I 3x it with A8s and this time the BB folds.

Congrats to Amber for getting into the PA program she has been fiending for! I've been fired up about this for days. I have this great faith that good things will happen to good people eventually if they stick with it long enough.

On a related note, congrats to Adam Friedman for winning the Midwest Regional Poker Championships today AGAIN for about $100k. It's funny, Adam has uncanny talent in tournaments but prefers cash games...I have no talent for tournaments but keep getting seduced by their siren song...Adam loves bitching about bad beats and I hate it...yet somehow we share similar interests and life philosophies.

Raise KK from the cutoff and the button (the guy that beat me in the Q6 pot) calls. Blinds fold. Flop 5c5h2c I bet 320 he makes it 1040 I shove for 3300 he calls with 77 I double up.

50-100

POCKETFIVE raises I call with 87s. Flop K33 he checks and so do I. Turn 2 he fires big I fold.

Fold 98s UTG…I have gotten away from UTG steals a bit recently, they don’t get much respect anymore and you are just asking to play pots out of position…I am not a good enough player to play many pots out of position.

Cutoff raises with a decent-sized stack as usual I take the conservative route and just call in the BB with 88. Flop Js9s2 I check-fold as usual.

Guy limps I have JTo in the cutoff and actually just muck it…worried about the short-stacked blinds shoving if I limp or raise…a little worried about the limp itself.

60-120

FISH raises the button on a short stack I fold K4s in SB. The BB jams with TT, FISH calls with 99 and the BB wins; FISH is eliminated the next hand but sadly SCTrojans takes his place with a big stack.

POCKETFIVE raises, I call with 44 and the guy behind me jams for a huge amount more. We both fold. I swear I almost always flat the big pair here but it seems like whenever I do that no one squeezes it behind – they only do it when I am weak lately it seems like…is this getting owned or the kind of variance I was talking about earlier?

Raise ATo the BB calls. Board of JcTs7sKc5c is checked all the way down I win vs pocket fours.

80-160

Big stack raises early I call with 88. Flop QdTh2d he bets small only about a third of the pot which is confusing cause he has just been betting big every time. I have no idea what he has or what to do so I take the Moon default route FOLD.

Fold K8s from the cutoff, had some guys to my left I felt were itching to jam.

Fold 75s EP.

Fold K6o button.

Trojans who is already taking control of the table raises early and I fold A6s, then open-fold 63s and A6o the next two hands in early position.

100-200

UTG who has been jamming a lot jams for 1800. Folds to me in the BB where I have A6s and temptation but I do fold.

Really getting a lot of junk and successfully folding myself into the “big blinds and antes worth gambling for” stage of the tournament.

Raise AJo EP everyone folds.

The cutoff limps, the button limps, Trojans limps and I raise A3s to 1000 in the BB. All fold.

Trojans raises the button, I make a smallish reraise from the SB with jacks and he instafolds – classic spot where I “could” be making a move and a lot of players will make wild 4-bets against…but Trojans has seen me fold every time he has opened so he throws his hand away quickly.

1Mastermind who seems to get deep in a lot of big tournaments including this one sits down to my left with an average stack.

120-240-25

I have 6700, average is 7700. Put on Ill Communication from the Beastie Boys, one of only about 15-20 hip hop albums I own.

Raise the first hand after the break MP with J9s, everyone folds.

Raise QQ UTG, POCKETFIVE calls in the SB. Flop QJ9 two clubs he bets out half the pot, I think about just shoving it in but instead make it 2444 with 4100 behind, he shoves I call, he has me covered, he has 99 and turns a 9, no kidding. I did do a premature fist pump when I saw his hand which as we all know is something a pro should never do with cards to come. Anyways I hardly reacted when it happened, I really feel like I am learning to handle shit like this as a pro, as a man. It will be interesting to see how I react when something really bad happens – honestly nothing truly terrible has ever happened to me. And truly terrible things do happen every day to good people. Bitching or even thinking about bad beats is narcissistic, repellent and counterintuitive.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Settlers of Catan Life Analogy of the Week


Daylight saving time is like the Cities & Knights expansion set. Just as the game was starting to get redundant, along comes new opportunity, motivation, and enjoyment.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Lessons Learned From Michael Johnson and Usain Bolt

Michael Johnson, world record holder in the 400 meters and former world record holder in the 200m, was constantly chastised for what was perceived as poor sprinting form before he set those records. Johnson ran very upright and stiff with a short stride when it was believed optimal form required long strides and a high knee lift.

Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the history of the world, was discouraged from running the 100m because of his height (6' 5"). Tall men are generally not the quickest. But when given the chance, it was not long before he broke the world record.

The best in the world are often those who use a contrasting style, those who have unique abilities which take them above and beyond the accepted, standard "right" way to do things.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Lessons Learned From Dominic James

Marquette's Dominic James was named Big East Freshman of the Year after the '05-'06 season, but back then he was one of my least favorite college basketball players. He was lazy on defense, took a lot of bad shots, and frequently turned the ball over. Marquette was young and inexperienced that year; James was their best player so he shouldered the bulk of the offensive load.

Since that Freshman season, James has scored fewer points in each subsequent season. His backcourt teammates Jerel McNeal and Wesley Matthews, who arrived at Marquette the same time as James, have somewhat surprisingly emerged as more potent scorers than James. McNeal has become the school's all-time leading scorer and averages 19.9 ppg this season. Matthews is up to 18.7 a game this year, while James is down to 11.4 (down from a career-high 15.3 his freshman year).

But James is a better player now than he was then. His turnovers are down and his assist/turnover ratio is way up. His steals are up as well (James ranks third amongst "BCS" players in steals), his fouls are down, and he may be the best defensive guard in college basketball. Most importantly, Marquette is winning more than they have since NBA players Dwyane Wade, Travis Diener, and Steve Novak were in town.

Rather, was winning. Early in a February 25 showdown game against UConn, James broke his foot, ending his senior season. Marquette went on to lose that game against the Huskies, and have since lost their next two games (albeit difficult road games against Louisville and Pittsburgh they would have a hard time winning with James in the lineup). Before James was injured, Marquette was ranked 8th and had developed into a legitimate Final Four contender. Now they have lost three in a row and will likely be seeded in the 4-7 range for the NCAA Tournament.

James came to Marquette in 2005 along with Matthews and McNeal. The "Three Amigos" have played together for four years, something you almost never see a star trio accomplish in college basketball. The team has steadily improved over those four years and was poised to reach new heights. Then, just as it all came together, James was lost for the season. It didn't happen for any good reason, it wasn't part of the Plan, it was just horrible and unlucky. Sometimes bad things just happen.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Monday Night

It’s finally March, which puts a little spring in my step. It was 70 degrees today. I celebrated the occasion with a run up Big Bluestem and a Samuel Adams Blackberry Witbier which I am presently finishing off. Bustout plan is a game of Puerto Rico, but I have little faith in its fruition because of communication issues with my friends. The poor communicative skills of my friends has really been putting me on tilt lately. It’s 2009, people. There is no excuse for not having a fresh, charged, working phone on you at all times. My attitude now to those who engage in this sort of wretched communication is just to cut them off completely and never respond to them until they bring it to my attention, at which point I will say “so now you know what it’s like.”

Table is:

1 Me
2 Unknown jersey-wearing gipsy1974
3 OUEmoKid who I believe is Jason Potter. I recently watched him final table this event before (IMO) blowing up with K3 offsuit
4 Claw1980 who I have heard of and has an ironman logo
5 Unknown named hceb
6 Ansky451 who I have played some cash with and who busted me out of EPT Barcelona in 2007
7 Another unknown jersey-wearer named daCav04
8 Unknown Masterhp
9 A gnome named goodvibe I have heard of but know nothing about.

10-20

Raise button to 60 with Ks7s and gipsy reraises to 200 from the small blind. I call mostly because I don’t want people thinking I will fold to a reraise, which in fact I will very generously. Flop comes Ts6h2s he bets ¾ pot and I call. Turn 7 check check river 2 check check I beat his AK and he goes off in the chatbox about idiots and $3 satellite winners.

Dacav raises 2nd position goodvibe calls to my right and I call with KQo. OUEmoKid joins the party from the button and we take it four ways. The Qd9s3d flop is checked to me and I win it with a fairly beefy bet.

Gipsy limps UTG, another guy limps and ansky makes it 100 to play. Dacav calls on the button and I fold KQo in the BB, definitely a reasonable spot for a squeeze play.

15-30

Cav raises to 90 EP I call with 74 of hearts and so does OUEmoKid. Flop comes a heavenly 6d5h3d and cav times-out (which is a check). I check knowing OU will usually bet this flop when checked to and he doesn’t disappoint, betting 210. Now this hand I really want input on cause as we know flopping the stone cold nuts is not a common occurrence and you have to get max value when it actually happens. I decide to flatcall mainly because it seems like everyone and their mom has been pushing my flatcalls around over the last month or so, running through every green light. The turn comes 8h and I check again. OU throws out a hefty bet of 510 so I’m pretty sure he’s got something. I decide to make it 1500 – again, wondering what is the best play. He tanks it and then jams in with 66, I call of course and make a flush on the river. But the 3h also pairs the board and my stack is decimated down to 790.

Now I am gonna play very few hands make sure that when I put chips into the pot I have a hand to go all the way.

Fold 66 UTG.

20-40

The shit-talking jersey to my left goes broke on this pathetic hand:
Dealt to GnightMoon [4c 3d]
GnightMoon folds
gipsy1974 raises to 120
OUEmoKid folds
Claw1980 folds
hceb folds
Ansky451 folds
daCav04 folds
Masterhp folds
goodvibe has 15 seconds left to act
goodvibe raises to 385
gipsy1974 has 15 seconds left to act
gipsy1974 calls 265

*** FLOP *** [Jd Tc Td]
goodvibe has 15 seconds left to act
goodvibe bets 550
gipsy1974 calls 550

*** TURN *** [Jd Tc Td] [Qd]
goodvibe has 15 seconds left to act
goodvibe checks
gipsy1974 has 15 seconds left to act
gipsy1974 bets 920
goodvibe has 15 seconds left to act
goodvibe has requested TIME
goodvibe raises to 5,445, and is all in
gipsy1974 calls 1,120, and is all in
goodvibe shows [Ks Kd]
gipsy1974 shows [Qc Ah]
Uncalled bet of 3,405 returned to goodvibe

*** RIVER *** [Jd Tc Td Qd] [Th]

goodvibe shows a full house, Tens full of Kings
gipsy1974 shows a full house, Tens full of Queens
goodvibe wins the pot (5,970) with a full house, Tens full of Kings
gipsy1974 stands up

25-50

Ansky makes it 150 from the hijack, dacav calls and I elect to fold A8o on a 680 stack. Flop AA6.

On a 610 stack fold K8o button followed by 95s cutoff followed by 54s hijack.

Funky hand comes up here – I had it totally crossed up:

Dealt to GnightMoon [6c 4d]
Masterhp folds
goodvibe folds
GnightMoon folds
Ryan Daut folds
OUEmoKid has 15 seconds left to act
OUEmoKid raises to 150
Claw1980 folds
hceb folds
Ansky451 calls 125
daCav04 raises to 450
OUEmoKid has 15 seconds left to act
OUEmoKid calls 300
Ansky451 calls 300

*** FLOP *** [7s 9d Th]
Ansky451 checks
daCav04 has 15 seconds left to act
daCav04 bets 666
OUEmoKid has 15 seconds left to act
OUEmoKid calls 666
Ansky451 has 15 seconds left to act
Ansky451 folds

*** TURN *** [7s 9d Th] [Js]
daCav04 checks
OUEmoKid checks

*** RIVER *** [7s 9d Th Js] [3c]
daCav04 checks
OUEmoKid has 15 seconds left to act
OUEmoKid bets 1,100
daCav04 calls 1,100

*** SHOW DOWN ***
OUEmoKid shows [As Ac] a pair of Aces
daCav04 shows [7h 9h] two pair, Nines and Sevens

daCav04 wins the pot (4,882) with two pair, Nines and Sevens

Fold JTs EP god I hate folding JTs.

Claw raises early, folds to me in BB where I dump A9s.

30-60

Couple notes while I fold my 37th straight hand:

Notre Dame lost tonight to Villanova, which basically ends any lingering hope they had of making the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame has lots of offensive talent, but they are not tough and they do not play defense. I learned a lot from watching the Notre Dame ship sink this season. You look at their roster and there is no way they should miss the tournament – or so we think. It is so easy to see offensive talent but defensively it is opaque. The thing about Notre Dame, I think, is their players are not as good as they seem. Luke Harangody is the only D-1 player who ranks in the top ten in points and rebounds, but his defense is weak. Also, he gets a lot of those rebounds because his teammates are small. He would not be grabbing that many rebounds if he played on a team with bigger, more athletic players. Kyle McAlarney is a real sniper from long distance, but that is all he brings to the table. Villanova handled the Irish easily. Although star Scotty Reynolds had a great game, I thought the difference between the two teams was Villanova’s defense. Unknowns who play good defense are just as valuable as the McAlarneys of the world.

Moby’s “Play” is really a classic album. It holds up. It’s follow-up “18” is also really good – it once put six songs on the top 15.

So after folding 41 straight hands I finally jam A6o on the button for 450 and Ryan Daut gets tens in the small blind and busts me.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

February Top 15


15. Franz Ferdinand - Ulysses
14. My Morning Jacket - Remnants
13. Fleet Foxes - Your Protector
12. Grateful Dead - Touch of Grey
11. U2 - Tomorrow

10. Queens of the Stone Age - Long Slow Goodbye
9. Lyle Lovett - Simple Song
8. Bodeans - Fadeaway
7. Brendan Benson - Feel Like Myself
6. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Born Into A Light

5. Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Possess Your Heart
4. Brendan Benson - What I'm Looking For
3. Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Cobwebs
2. Bob Dylan - Shelter From The Storm

Song of the Month: Chris Isaak - Forever Blue