Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Beat Goes On/Switchin' To Glide

Since I got home two weeks ago, I have played some poker, watched quite a bit of college basketball, ridden the rollercoaster that is Boulder weather, and maintained an active social life. Sometime next week I will head to St. Louis for the WSOP Circuit, but that may be the last live tournament I play until the WSOP at the end of May. Spring is the best time to be in Boulder, it's always important to come into the WSOP fresh and healthy, there are still many things I want to accomplish before heading to Vegas, and the FTOPS and SCOOP will provide enough action to keep me sharp.

I had planned to travel to Europe for the EPT Championship, but I think that is on the shelf for the time being. There is still another European trip on the horizon, likely this fall.

Congratulations to the kwickchick, Leah Wasicka, on her second place finish at the Ladies event at Harrah’s Rincon. The thought of two Wasickas on the circuit is rather frightening, for multiple reasons.

About a month ago I did an interview for Cash Plays on Rush Poker.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

March's Final Table

With the Sweet Sixteen now finished, the luster has worn off the 2010 NCAA tournament. There is no more Cinderella, no drool-inducing regional final matchup, no possibility of an epic final. I liken this Madness to a poker tournament, the way these teams have congregated to the final eight without rhyme or reason. Most of the pre-tournament favorites have perished, as have all of the precocious longshots. Eight solid survivors remain, no commonality to their success other than the general weakness of their draw.

Kentucky is Phil Ivey. The best, as long as they try.

Duke is Phil Hellmuth. Nobody wants to see them win.

West Virginia is David Bach. Respected, but nobody picked them to win it all.

Kansas State is internet player X. Unknown coming in, but they have plenty of game.

Baylor is internet player Y. Unknown coming in, but they have plenty of confidence.

Michigan State is Nam Le. Solid, underrated, more deep runs than anyone.

Butler is Jason Somerville. Lurking, dangerous, ready to break through.

Tennessee is Phil Collins. Surprisingly, they've never played for stakes of this size.

Picking against anyone other than Kentucky would be foolish at this point. None of the other seven have the feel of a champ.

Friday, March 26, 2010

My 100 Favorite Songs: #20

Tom Petty - Learning To Fly

The Almost Famous of pop songs - good under any circumstances, fit for any mood.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Black and White, Blue and Red

The most compelling matchup of the college basketball season, the most intriguing game since Davidson played Kansas in a 2008 regional final - will be Thursday night in Syracuse, NY when 12th seeded Cornell plays #1 seed Kentucky in the third round of the NCAA tournament. There may have never been a college basketball game of such consequence and contrast.

Cornell is the first Ivy League team to win an NCAA tournament game in twelve years, the first one to win two in 31 years.

Big Blue Kentucky is the winningest program in college basketball in both total wins and win percentage.

Cornell has won seven games in the NCAA tournament. Kentucky has won seven NCAA tournaments.

Cornell does not give athletic scholarships.

Kentucky coach John Calipari has overseen not one, but two programs that were forced to vacate wins after evidence surfaced that their players had accepted additional money on top of their athletic scholarships.

Cornell’s basketball budget is around $900,000.

Kentucky’s is around $9,000,000.

The top nine in Cornell’s rotation consists of seven seniors, one junior, and one sophomore.

The top nine in Kentucky’s rotation consists of four freshmen, three sophomores, one junior, and one senior.

All nine of these players are black. Just one of Cornell’s, senior guard Louis Dale, is black.

Kentucky has at least five players who will play in the NBA. Cornell has zero.

Interestingly enough, Cornell forward Mark Coury – who has started one game this season for the Big Red – started 29 games as a sophomore at Kentucky before transferring up north.

A 12 seed has never beaten a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but this Cornell squad is no ordinary 12 seed. They lost just four games all season, spent time ranked in the AP top 25, and threw a scare into #1 Kansas on the road. Cornell led the nation in three point shooting, with six players above 43% on the season. The Big Red crushed their first two opponents in the NCAAs, 5th seeded Temple and 4th seeded Wisconsin, by double digits.

All things considered, Big Red over Big Blue Thursday night would be the signature college basketball upset of the last twenty five years.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

February Top 15

15. Emmylou Harris - Root Like A Rose
14. Everclear - Under the Western Stars
13. Them Crooked Vultures - Dead End Friends
12. Traveling Wilburys - Not Alone Anymore
11. Everclear - Now

10. The Radio Dept. - Heaven's On Fire
9. Warren Zevon - Life'll Kill Ya
8. Queens of the Stone Age - If Only
7. Owl City - Dental Care
6. Scissor Sisters - Everybody Wants The Same Thing

5. Brendan Benson - You Make A Fool Out Of Me
4. Scissor Sisters - Might Tell You Tonight
3. Queens of the Stone Age - Regular John
2. Owl City - The Saltwater Room

Song of the Month: Journey - Wheel In The Sky

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Bracket

You know that Aunt you have that fills out her NCAA bracket based on family and friends that attended the schools, the looks of the coaches, and the mascots, then inexplicably wins the pool? That's me this year. I watched less college basketball this season than any since I was about six years old. I'm going with mostly personal biases here, though I didn't pick Cornell (my brother is a grad student there) to win any games and only have Pitt winning two.

I signed up for two pools on twoplustwo, which required me to register for the site and make my first ever post. One is an upset pool which rewards a point per seed difference for every upset you make. I have a ton of huge upsets early in that one. Here is my "regular" one, which still has plenty of wild picks:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Land of Enchantment

I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico staying with my friend Spencer. Tomorrow I am driving home, hopefully in time to catch the NCAA Selection Show. That will be the last leg of a voyage that took me from Boulder to Las Vegas to Los Angeles to Chicago to San Jose back to LA on to Tempe through Albuquerque and home to Boulder. I drove well over two thousand miles on the trip and took three flights. I played four poker tournaments, ten days of play. I final-tabled one, I bubbled another, I finished in the pack in one, and I busted one early. I held chip leads and I rocked short stacks. I slept in ten different beds. I listened to dozens of different radio stations. I finished one book and started another. I ate a lot of tacos. I drank a lot of different beers. I watched less than thirty minutes of college basketball.

Most nights I found myself in a social scenario that in the past may have made me uncomfortable. I never shied away from these situations. Instead I embraced them. Sometimes they turned out amazing, sometimes just okay, but I was never miserable. Usually I had a blast. I am no social butterfly, but I feel a lot more comfortable throwing myself into potentially awkward situations now than I did at the start of the year.

This was the greatest trip I have ever been on. It was filled with joy and excitement, and I return home wiser and happier than I left.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bay 101 Day Two

I lost some small pots today before I was eliminated on one of those frustrating hands that can drive you nuts if things are not going well.

But things are going well. I am rather happy right now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Bay 101 Day One

It was a near-perfect day.

I got quality food and exercise before the event. The sky was bright and clear, the air crisp. Jim Wasicka was observing and talking with me all day, which was wonderful.

I doubled up early in the day with 44 against AcKc on As7c4c.

Scotty Nguyen was the bounty. I played almost no hands against him.

Faraz Jaka, one of the most feared and aggressive players on the circuit, also doubled up early and went to work pounding the table. It's hard to say Scotty isn't the best player at the table considering his resume, but it's hard to say Jaka isn't either. Regardless, I was able to take a lot of chips from him. There was a maniac to his left, an older fellow I pegged as a local businessman, who raised almost every time Jaka folded. I took plenty of chips off him as well.

With 45 minutes left in the night I had one of the biggest stacks in the room. Shooting Stars offers a $10k prize to the player who ends the night with the biggest stack, and I had my eyes on the prize.

Then I took a beat against the maniac I had been trapping all day, then lost several more pots (mostly to the maniac) the last level and finished the day with an average stack.

After that I got involved in some amusing shenanigans and blew off all the steam I had worked up the last hour. I am again ready to play.

My day two draw appears favorable, though I've certainly thought that before and quickly felt differently.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

My 100 Favorite Songs: #21

Al Stewart - Time Passages

Year of the Cat is classic too.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Chicago Poker Classic Day One

I got involved in a messy pot with two other players a few hours into the day. None of us knew where we were at and ultimately with the clock winding down I called all-in on the turn and was shown the hand I didn't want to see. It was probably "correct" for me to call considering the action and the pot odds but I also think it may have been better for me to fold and save my chips for later because of the good structure and weak field.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

On The Road Again

I am headed to Chicago tomorrow for a $3k at Horseshoe Hammond, followed immediately by the Bay 101 Shooting Star WPT in San Jose, CA.

I have to give another shout out to Chris Moore. After winning the $10k Heads Up at the LAPC, he went deep into the money in the main event, leading the pack for much of the way. He would likely have made the final table if he had managed to win either of two key coinflips down the stretch.
This guy is an uncanny gambler. He crushes everything he touches - sportsbetting, online cash games, online tournaments, live tournaments, heads up, everything. I don't know of anyone, not ANYONE, that makes deep runs in big buy-in events as consistently as Toph.

I am lucky to have friends like Toph who I can talk to about poker. Talking with him and MasterJ and some other guys I have become acutely aware of my weaknesses as a tournament player. I am excited to have the opportunity to attack these weaknesses without too much pressure - excited to have the opportunity to play for fun and perfection rather than money. I am perpetually excited about the next tournament, the next stop on the circuit.

Monday, March 01, 2010

LAPC Day Three

I went out on the stone bubble of the LAPC, 73rd paying 72. I don't regret any decisions I made today including the final one.

I have really been through the full spectrum the last eight days, and it will be nice to have a day off tomorrow. I'm not sure what's next but I will certainly be playing a ton this spring.