Monday, February 28, 2011

Congratulations To...

  • Jason DeWitt (Final 18 of $10k LAPC Main Event
  • Seth Fischer (4th in LAPC $5k)
  • Ethan Foulkes (1st in Venetian $2500)
  • Adam Friedman (2nd in FTOPS 10-game)
  • Joel Patchell (back in black for 2011)
  • Shannon Shorr (Final 18 of LAPC Main Event, 3rd in LAPC $5k)
Good luck to Jason & Shannon down the stretch at the LAPC.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Night

Two weeks ago I decided to make a big poker push over those two weeks, coinciding with the FTOPS. I didn't know where I stood with poker and decided to really give it a go and see how I felt after the fortnight. I played a ton of poker - FTOPS, tournaments, mixed games, 2-7 single draw, heads up, sit n goes, etc. All tournaments. I lost a decent chunk of money. I believe that I’ve been running pretty bad, but, as I’ll discuss later, sometimes this is just an excuse weak players lean on.

At first I was really enjoying myself. It was the lifestyle more than anything else. Getting up, starting the session at noon, playing either all day or for some of the afternoon, spending most of my time at home on the computer, watching The Wire on cold dark nights after busting everything.

Then I went through a couple days where I was losing confidence and getting frustrated.

And then, last night, at the very end of the fortnight, I found myself railing the FTOPS Main well after I busted, discussing hands with friends, intently watching Blair Hinkle and some other stars, really enjoying the poker analysis like I haven't in quite some time. For the first time in a long time, I dreamed about poker hands. I woke up thinking about poker hands. It took two weeks, but I decided I'm not done with this bitch just yet. It would be too disappointing, too sad to wrap it up on this note. I can't walk away on a losing streak. I'll quit when I hit the jackpot, when I feel like my work is done. But not yet.

Although I am rapidly improving in NLHE tournaments as well as mixed games thanks to practice and the help of better players, I don’t know if I’m plus-EV in many of the tournaments I’ve been playing. These things sure are a lot tougher than they used to be.

The one ace I have in the hole is heads-up. I am really good at heads up tournaments. I’ve played maybe thirty players over the last two weeks and there have been just two that I felt might be better than me: Yevgeny “bballer88” Timoshenko and some guy I found in a $100 heads up sit n go whose name I can’t recall. I even dispatched Scott Clements (I felt it was an even match and I won the key coinflip) in a satellite for the $10k FTOPS Heads Up…which Clements wound up winning.

My friend and nemesis Shannon “BLUFFforRENT” Shorr is across the table. There was a time when I thought Shannon was a lucky player but now I simply think of him as a really tough, aggressive player. I still wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about this hand in last June’s WSOP $2500 6-max where I folded AQ to him on a board of AKxx and later found out he was bluffing. He’s 4-tabling.



Raise A6s hijack win the blinds.

Also at the table: Red pro “crisbus” (I really have no idea who this is and will investigate shortly), regs D1rtyR1v3r and S_Dot111 to my right, and a German jersey named AD_84 two to my left.

Raise AJo MP win the blinds. 3xing it to start as is just about everyone else.

Raise TT UTG win the blinds.

JCarver aka Jason Somerville sits down two to my right. I am a huge fan of his play having played a 2009 second round WSOP shootout table with him (he won it). I’m not sure if he still plays the style he did then, which was never 3-betting preflop. Back then I was all about that, but times have changed. He’s also 4-tabling.



Fold T3s SB.

Fold QJo MP.

Fold JTo EP.

Adzizzy124 AKA “ADZ” AKA Matt Marafioti replaces a busted player three to my right. This is getting pretty rough. I actually played three different live tournaments with him last year and feel like I might have some understanding of his tournament game.

A guy limps in 2nd position and S_Dot raises to 90 on the button. I make it 330 in the SB with 76s and all fold.

The girlfriend is downstairs cooking up some stir-fry. She's a vegan for two weeks. Tofu. It actually smells great.

Carver raises and I fold 53s in LP. I might get involved (either with a reraise or a call) against many players here this deep but not him.

S_Dot raises MP and I call with 88. I fold to his c-bet on KT6.

Raise 76s crisbus calls in BB. Flop KT5 he checks I bet half pot he folds.

Fold 22 2nd pos.



Carver raises and I fold K9s on the button. Same story as earlier.

Fold KJo 3rd pos. The days of raising these hands in early position (at least before the antes) are long gone – though I look forward to resuming them at the WSOP. Tight but aggressive. Premium hands. You only start with jacks or better split, nines or better wired, three high cards to a flush. If a bet's good enough to call, you're in there raising. Tight but aggressive. That's your style, Moon. Always calculate, think of it as war.

Dot raises the button I fold A7o in SB.

Fold A3o button to an ADZ raise.

Raise 97s hijack. Button calls. Flop QJ4 two of wrong suit I check and fold it.

Crisbus gets moved. I’ll look him up next time.

These multi-entry tournaments should be stopped. Most players I’ve talked to tend to agree. They’re basically terrible unless you’re a very good player with very good multi-tabling skills. I’m always surprised by how many unknown players I see with four entries in these things. It can’t be profitable to 4-table this thing unless you really, really know what you’re doing. Not with Shannon and gboro and the rest of them 4-tabling as well.

Fold A6o in BB to an EP min raise.

UTG mins and Shannon 3-bets in next position. I have JTs on the button which is tempting to make a move but I don’t think Shannon is screwing around while 4-tabling this early in the tournament. The guy 4-bets, Shannon 5-bets, the guy calls, then check-folds to a small bet on an A high flop.



I can smell that stir-fry wafting up from the kitchen below. I'm getting fired up.

Carver raises early and I call with JsTs two behind him. Thought about 3-betting here. Board of AhQh2h3cTc is checked all the way down and strangely he has 86 of spades. I say strangely cause he never took one shot at the pot.

New music is “The Mollusk” from Ween. This is an excellent album with a bunch of entertaining songs but it falls short of “Chocolate and Cheese” – one of the greatest albums I’ve ever heard.

Fold T9o on the button to Carver’s raise.

Here’s an extremely obvious draw and an extremely obvious big hand from Carver:

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to GnightMoon [2s Ad]

BLUFFforRENT folds

43forty folds

Adzizzy124 folds

JCarver raises to 150

S_Dot111 folds

GnightMoon folds

Houtenaar has 15 seconds left to act

Houtenaar calls 150

AD_84 calls 125

nimajneb13 has 15 seconds left to act

nimajneb13 calls 100

*** FLOP *** [4h Qh 6c]

AD_84 has 15 seconds left to act

AD_84 has requested TIME

AD_84 bets 350

nimajneb13 folds

JCarver has 15 seconds left to act

JCarver raises to 850

Houtenaar folds

AD_84 raises to 3,080, and is all in

JCarver calls 2,230

AD_84 shows [8h 7h]

JCarver shows [Ks Kc]

*** TURN *** [4h Qh 6c] [4s]

*** RIVER *** [4h Qh 6c 4s] [2d]

AD_84 shows a pair of Fours

JCarver shows two pair, Kings and Fours

JCarver wins the pot (6,760) with two pair, Kings and Fours

There’s no shame in going broke with 87 of hearts in this spot, of course. But I prefer a checkraise and calloff rather than this tired bet-out so you can jam with “fold equity” routine. Everyone has seen this move a thousand times and knows what you have. Checkraising – or, better yet, check-calling and check-jamming the turn – at least feigns a set and might have a slim chance of getting a queen to fold. This move never works in higher stakes MTTs cause its so transparent. Nobody is going to bluff-raise that initial bet-out and then fold to the push.



Raise Q5s 3x in SB – BB folds.

Raise T7s hijack. Button and BB call. Flop is Q42r which presents my first interesting decision of the day. I decide to just check and then fold when the button bets. There are a lot of options here including sophisticated multi-street bluffs but I take the easy way out.

During the break Taylor gives me a hard time about the food in the kitchen and my diet. What can I say – I really like potato chips.

I feel pretty good about that first hour considering I maintained my stack and never really had a hand.

Justin Young aka robert07 sits two to my left. This is getting a little silly. He plays very well though I did see him make one of the dumbest plays I’ve ever seen a pro make in a WSOP prelim. Like Chris Mortensen with that Dallas/Cincy Super Bowl pick, I don’t forget.

This is why you don’t raise the KJo in EP at a tough table like this:

*** HOLE CARDS ***

Dealt to GnightMoon [2s Ad]

GnightMoon folds

Houtenaar raises to 155

robert07 calls 155

nimajneb13 folds

BLUFFforRENT folds

nanQ folds

Adzizzy124 folds

JCarver folds

S_Dot111 folds

*** FLOP *** [5c 4h 9h]

Houtenaar has 15 seconds left to act

Houtenaar bets 240

robert07 has 15 seconds left to act

robert07 calls 240

*** TURN *** [5c 4h 9h] [Ah]

Houtenaar has 15 seconds left to act

Houtenaar bets 600

robert07 has 15 seconds left to act

robert07 has requested TIME

robert07 calls 600

*** RIVER *** [5c 4h 9h Ah] [Ts]

Houtenaar checks

robert07 checks

*** SHOW DOWN ***
Houtenaar shows [Kd Jc] Ace King high

robert07 shows [Ks As] a pair of Aces

robert07 wins the pot (2,080) with a pair of Aces

Fold 32s button to MP raise.

Taylor brings up a bowl of stir-fry. It’s delicious.

Fold J9o hijack.



I limp KQo in EP and the guy to my left shoves for 20 BB. ADZ flats in the BB, I get out of the way, shover has JJ, ADZ AQo. Board runs out 87546.

Raise KK UTG Justin calls and Carver calls in SB. Flop AAQ is checked to Justin and he bets small. Carver folds and I call. Turn T is checked by both. River 8 I bet third pot and he slowly folds.

Folds to me in the SB I complete 53hh. BB checks. Flop is 7s7h5s. I bet min he makes it 240 I make it 577 actually intending to call off (he started the hand with 1600 and is from the Netherlands) and he quickly folds.

Carver raises I fold T9o on the button sort of a recurring theme.



Fold J9s UTG.

SamENole AIMs me reporting that Carmelo to the Knicks is official. I go to immediately but it hasn’t broken there. I check twitter and it is, in fact, official.

Gallinari, Felton, Chandler, Mozgov, a 1st rounder, two 2nd rounders, and $3 million for Melo and Chauncey. I really have no clue about most of those guys so I can’t evaluate this trade. It does sound like a poo-poo platter. But it’s better than nothing. The important thing here is that Nuggets fans can get back to rooting for their team. The fans have been in hostage this season, not really being allowed to root fully for their team. I’m sure the Nuggets won’t be as good now but at least we can get back to rooting for our basketball team.

Raise A6s on the button they fold.

Raise two black aces in 3rd position then happily call a shove for 1600 and easily hold vs AJo.

Immediately moved to new table which seems like good news but this one has traheho, Young Supremacy, Jims619, chicagocards1, ryanbluf, and NextCase222 who won the FTOPS 2-day event yesterday for over $400k.

Traheho immediately busts on a huge flip to Jims who now has a real nice stack.



Fold 54s 2nd pos.

NextCase mins on the button. I fold Q4s in the BB.

Next album: Travis: Ode to J. Smith. This one’s really growing on me.

MP mins and I call 6s5s behind him. On the button Jims squeezes it to 820 and the guy calls. Although I really want to avoid spewing chips with these hands I feel like this could be a good spot to check-commit after the flop on a draw since Jims might be full of crap and the other guy will be put in a tough spot if he check-calls Jims’s postflop bet. The flop comes 733 with two clubs. We check to Jims who bets 1/3 pot. The other guy snap-calls and I go into the tank. This is certainly not a bluffable board at this point but I’m tempted to fake a flush draw. It’s such a nice price if I can get them to fold if the club hits. I’m a little too worried about Jims barreling us on the turn though and fold. Jims remarkably ends up calling a river bet with AQ after a ten and eight roll off and loses to jacks which is just what I thought the other guy had.



I feel like I’m playing pretty well here but it’s interesting. I know a lot of players think they’re playing great and running unlucky when they’re actually getting outplayed. I played the Weekly 2-7 on Stars yesterday and thought I’d run, in my own words “worse than I’ve ever run in 2-7, and maybe worse than I’ve ever run in any tournament, ever.” But then I talked to PiMaster, a very good 2-7 player, and realized I’d made at least a dozen mistakes. I’ve been humbled during the last year. There are no illusions of greatness here. I know I have not been playing MTTs at a high level over the last year. I am soliciting advice from anyone who cares to give it.

The cutoff raises and I 3-bet two red aces in the BB. He folds, as expected. This is only the second hand I’ve played here. But we were too deep to flat.

Next hand I walk YoungSupremacy with 86o.

Next hand cutoff raises and I fold T8o on the button.

Fold QJo EP.

Ryanbluf and Chicagocards are playing balls-tight.

$256k for first tonight. As much as I hate the multi-entry concept, the prizepools do get my blood tingling. It was very exciting last night as I got deeper and deeper in the FTOPS Main, looking at those jawdropping payouts and visualizing that final table.

Jims raises UTG I fold 54s in SB.



Fold A4o hijack.

Fold JTo MP.

Limp Q8o in the SB YoungSupremacy checks in BB. Flop T86 two clubs I check he bets 240 I call. Turn 7c check check. River 6 check check he wins with T4.

Guy to my right mins and I call on the button with QJo. Flop Q97r he bets 600 into 1100. I have 5400. I call. Turn K he checks. I think and check. I think a bet might be better here. River J. He bets 1200 into 2300. I puke and call. He has the nuts, AT. I’m left with a short stack and a sick feeling in how I played that one.



Raise T9s MP button shoves I fold.

The button shoves. I have him barely covered in the BB and win with QQ vs his ace-ten. It’s disappointing that I’ve had AA twice, KK, and QQ, won all four times with decent action, and don’t have that many chips to show for it.

New table is reg city. I won’t even bother mentioning the names; I recognize every one.



Fold A2o in BB to a MP min.

Fold A4o MP.

Reluctantly fold K9s in BB to the hijack’s raise.

Turin Brakes – JackInABox.

Fold K9o hijack.



Paulgees raises the button and I very reluctantly fold J9o in the BB.

Next hand the button raises and I ship T9 of clubs in the SB for 4200. He snaps AdKs. Board runs out Qs8s5s5hJc for a dramatic double.

Two hands later paulgees raises and I 3-bet AK from the cutoff. He folds reluctantly.

I’m able to make some moves in these situations in tournaments like the FTOPS main yesterday but with this crew and these stacks there isn’t a whole lot to be done, I don’t think.

Raise AJo UTG and get shipped on for an uncallable amount.

I read a little Dominion strategy online while some guy disconnects. My Dominion game is getting pretty strong. I thrashed a couple friends the other night with some really strong slow-developing synergistic play. If you like games, check out Dominion. It’s fantastic.



Taylor is watching Thank You For Smoking downstairs. I think it’s a little overrated.

Fold 33 in 2nd pos.

I really don’t think many players in this tournament have better than 6% edge, especially if they’re multitabling. And Full Tilt Poker is just counting the money - $70k in rake from this tournament, a staggering $579k from yesterday’s FTOPS Main.

Folds to me in the SB where I’ve got J8o. TheUTE is in the BB with seventeen BBs. I’ve got him covered slightly. I end up limping. He checks. Flop is 9s8s6s. I’ve got the Js. I don’t know what to do. I end up checking. He bets a meager 500. I was thinking of check-jamming if he bet bigger. Instead I call. Turn is a 3d. I still don’t know what to do. I check. He checks. River 6. Not my favorite card. I check. He checks his Q7s so I win.

Next hand dsindy opens min to 800 and I 3-bet 99 to 1933 on the button. He shoves, I snap, he has A9s but the board runs out KQTJ7 so Goodnight Moon.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2010 NFL Recap

I hate it how analysts make predictions without accountability. So I'm calling you out right now, Chris Mortensen, for picking the Cincinnati Bengals to play the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XLV. I haven't forgotten. You can't sweep that under the rug. That happened. Terrible pick.

Moving along to some other preseason prognostications:

Peter King picked the Steelers and Packers to play in the Super Bowl, though he got the winner wrong. Well done sir. King's only glaring mistake was picking the Panthers as a surprise playoff team. Most Sports Illustrated writers actually picked the Packers to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLV, so good job SI.

Football Outsiders
did an incredible job this year. Check out some of these estimated win totals:

Chicago Bears 9.0
Cincinnati Bengals 5.5
Dallas Cowboys 7.5
Houston Texans 5.6
Kansas City Chiefs 8.9
Philadelphia Eagles 9.3
Pittsburgh Steelers 9.9
San Diego Chargers 8.6
San Francisco 49ers 6.1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.0

Each of these teams had a far different public perception starting the season. FO deserves serious kudos for these picks. The only teams FO badly misfired on:

Arizona Cardinals 9.4
Denver Broncos 8.0
Detroit Lions 3.1
Oakland Raiders 4.5

Finally, let's take a look at my own preseason power rankings. The biggest error I made was picking Tampa Bay at #31 when in reality they were an average to slightly above average squad throughout the season. I ranked the Bears #23, about where most analysts had them. I had the Cardinals and Panthers, who wound up being the league's two worst teams, at 19 and 18, so that was a bit off. Like many others, I didn't think their QB situations would wind up being quite so ruinous. Particularly astute predictions of mine included the Niners at #20, Chargers at #17, Vikings at #16, and Bengals at #14 when most analysts had these squads making the playoffs. I also correctly predicted the Patriots (#3) and Falcons (#2) to exceed expectations. Overall, pretty strong predictions, strong enough that I will surely bet on some win totals when the NFL returns to action.

It was a career year for me picking the games during the season. It may be many years before I hit on 55.2% of all the season's games again, and nailing 61.2% of games I had a stronger opinion on is downright spectacular. I only wish I had been betting the whole season, but of course, that was out of the question after a dismal 2009. I'm sure I was very lucky this season, even in games where I thought I made the right play. Just as I'm sure I was very unlucky in 2009.

Some notable stats regarding individual teams:

I went

4-10 picking Bills games
12-4 picking Browns games
10-5 picking Chargers games
11-5 picking Chiefs games, 6-3 with priority
4-11 picking Cowboys games
11-6 picking Falcons games, 4-1 with priority
11-5 picking Jaguars games
11-5 picking Panthers games
12-3 picking Rams games, 4-1 with priority
12-5 picking Ravens games, 4-0 with priority
12-5 picking Saints games, 4-0 with priority
13-6 picking Steelers games
1-4 picking Texans games with priority

Most of the teams I predicted well have pretty obvious strengths and weaknesses. I attribute the accurate picks to understanding how and when these strengths and weaknesses would be manifested due to the team's current matchup.

I picked against the Cardinals fifteen times out of sixteeen (with priority six times).

The story of 2010 was obviously Michael Vick. There's nothing I can write about him that others haven't already, but he does segue nicely into the awards section of this recap:


4) Michael Vick, Philadelphia

No defense can stop Vick; he can only stop himself.

3) Philip Rivers, San Diego

Just gets better every year as his team gets worse.

2) Peyton Manning, Indianapolis

Hard to imagine the Colts winning more than three or four games without him.

1) Tom Brady, New England

Like Manning this season, without the INTs.

Defensive MVP

3) Lamarr Woodley, Pittsburgh

2) James Harrison, Pittsburgh

The scariest players in the league.

1) Clay Matthews, Green Bay

No one was more disruptive this season.

Sneaky MVPs

Offense: Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay

Freeman doesn’t have the accuracy or experience of the quarterbacks above – but he was the most inspiring leader in the NFL, and saved his best for the biggest moments.


2) Charles Woodson, Green Bay

1) AJ Hawk, Green Bay

Woodson won Defensive MVP last season, when it clearly should have gone to Darrelle Revis; this year, he might have been even better – though teammate Trammond Williams was actually more effective in pure pass defense. Hawk quietly had a career year, anchoring a searing defense.


Win/loss evidence points to 4) Randy Moss, New England/Minnesota/Tennessee while 3) Roy Williams, Dallas and 2) Mike Tirico, ESPN, are quality choices in this category year in and year out, but we’re gonna go with Matt Millen, ESPN/NFL Network. It wasn’t enough for Millen (along with the equally atrocious Joe Theismann) to submarine Thursday Night Football. He had to bring his “talents” to ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown as well – and then he’d pop up doing random college games just when you thought you were safe. When you consider the Lions are still rebuilding from Millen’s apocalyptic reign as Detroit GM, no one did more damage to the NFL viewing experience than Millen in 2010.

Coach of the Year

4) Mike McCarthy, Green Bay never gets enough credit for his fantastic offensive design

3) Andy Reid, Philadelphia did a great job juggling a lot of different issues and sort of started to figure out the clock this season

2) Steve Spagnuolo, St. Louis appears to have his team set to crush the NFC West for years to come

1) Bill Belichick, New England is head and shoulders above everyone else. This is not close.

Worst Coach of the Year

Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona

It’s pretty obvious the Cardinals would have won the NFC West with some remote semblance of a quarterback. Failing to a) convince Kurt Warner to come back b) work things out with and/or adequately develop Matt Leinart and c) provide a backup plan that didn’t consist of Derek Anderson, Max Hall, and John Skelton makes Whisenhunt the automatic choice here. It's pathetic that coaches like Whisenhunt and Jeff Fisher let personal matters overcome what’s best for the team.

Offensive Coordinator of the Year

2) Marty Mornhinweg, Philadelphia has made everyone forget about his disastrous tenure as Lions head coach.

1) Pat Shurmur, St. Louis was able to accomplish amazing things with a rookie quarterback, shaky offensive line, no tight end, and bargain-basement wide receivers. The Cleveland Browns seemed to think so: he is now their coach.

Defensive Coordinator of the Year

2) Dick LeBeau, Pittsburgh might be the best assistant coach ever.

1) Dom Capers, Green Bay did another excellent job fighting through the injuries, making everyone on his defense look like a star.

Game of the Year

5) Philadelphia 38, New York Giants 31 (Week Fifteen)

Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and The Eagles dig out of a 31-10 deficit with eight minutes remaining.

4) Atlanta 28, Tampa Bay 24 (Week Thirteen)

A personal favorite thanks to the scintillating Falcons -3 comeback cover.

3) Green Bay 28, Minnesota 24 (Week Seven)

A nailbiter between two desperate teams in Brett Favre's last game at Lambeau Field.

2) Pittsburgh 13, Baltimore 10 (Week Thirteen)

Yet another taut, pitched battle in what has become the NFL's best rivalry. Troy Polamalu’s 4th quarter sack/fumble turned the tide.

1) Kansas City 21, San Diego 14 (Week One)

The second of two exciting Monday Nighters in week one. The rain-drenched crowd was absolutely delirious, the game came down to a last-minute goal-line stand, and everyone walked away happy (except for the villains). This result set the tone for both teams for the rest of the season and ultimately decided the division.

Biggest Upset

2. Minnesota 24, Philadelphia 14 (Week Sixteen)

The Tuesday Night Football/Joe Webb game.

1. Cleveland 30, New Orleans 17 (Week Seven)

No one, no one saw this one coming.

Worst Line

2. Vikings -1 over BEARS (Week Ten) was silly. I’m embarrassed to say I had Minny in that one.

1. Niners -1 at CHIEFS (Week Three) is pretty hysterical in retrospect.

Best Fantasy Performance

Michael Vick, Philadelphia vs Washington (Week 10): 333 passing yards, 4 TD, 0 INT, 80 rush yards, 2 rush TD. #3 all-time in fantasy points in standard leagues.

Worst Fantasy Performance

I can’t imagine many managers were forced to start him but Todd Collins’s 6/16, 32 yards, 0 TD, 4 INT game in Carolina Week Five has to be the worst statistical performance ever for a QB in an easy win.

Fantasy MVP

Antonio Gates was actually the obvious choice here before he got injured; after that 6) Peyton Hillis, Cleveland, 5) Michael Vick, Philadelphia 4) Arian Foster, Houston did more to get fantasy owners to the playoffs than anyone else, but also destroyed a lot of seasons in those playoffs.

3) Peyton Manning and 2) Tom Brady both had excellent seasons but weren't at their best late

1) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay was consistent throughout the fantasy season and playoffs though he did miss a game and a half late. Rodgers wins MVP based on a monstrous 404 yard, 4 TD performance in week 16 (when most fantasy championships are held). So Rodgers was this season's Super Bowl MVP, playoff MVP, and fantasy MVP, and wasn't elected to the Pro Bowl. In the annals of "stupidest Pro Bowl selections ever", Matt Ryan in 2010 will end up ranking near the top of the list.

Pony of the Year

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City

The Chiefs were the gift that kept on giving this season, with an endless string of laughable lines. Nobody seemed to buy into the Chiefs except us, and Charles was their best player.

Cooler of the Year

Andre Johnson, Houston

The man who correctly picks Texans games is a smarter man than me.

Implosion of the Year

2) Derek Anderson “Not Funny”

1) Minneapolis Metrodome “Roof Collapse”

Play of the Year

10) Lance Moore “Tiptoe”

9) DeSean Jackson “Falling Backwards”

8) Reggie Hodges “Knife Through Butter”

7) Mike Thomas “Hail Mary”

6) Dan Connolly “Dan Connolly”

5) Donald Driver “Seven Nation Army”

4) Eric Weems “Still Going”

3) DeSean Jackson “Miracle at the Meadowlands II”

2) Troy Polamalu “The Leap”

1) Marshawn Lynch “Beast Mode”

And just in case you haven't seen this college play yet...Broderick Brown's “Greatest”

Friday, February 11, 2011

My 100 Favorite Songs: #4

Jimmy Buffett - Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

I can't believe the defining song of my 20s was penned by Jimmy Buffett.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Monday Night

The NFL is done, perhaps until 2012. The season ended on a nice, balanced note as the Green Bay Packers, longtime favorites of both casual fans and “wiseguys” realized the potential they had been hinting at for 2½ seasons. My partner & I made an 11.5-1 bet on the Pack to win the Super Bowl a couple months ago, then hedged half of it before the big game so we could watch it stress-free. The Super Bowl was one of those “great games” which wasn’t really a great game, in large part because it was the Super Bowl. This is a subject for another time – I believe it’s impossible for the Super Bowl to ever match the excitement of a spirited playoff, or even regular season game.

The possibility is very real that we will not be able to watch (or bet on) an NFL game until 2012. It seems around 50/50 that we will not. This is another subject for another time. The sticking point is this 18-game schedule, which is pretty obviously a horrible idea for everyone involved – players, fans, and even the owners themselves (who would indirectly suffer from the degradation of the great league). That's for another time though. Tonight we are playing poker.

I have reached a crossroads in my poker career. This is about the 900th time I’ve said something to that effect, but I really do believe that in two weeks I will have decided where I am going with poker long-term. It has gotten difficult enough that I can’t half-ass it anymore. It is time to shit or get off the pot. Go all-in or fold. Do or die. Move it or lose it. Grip it or flip it. Hit the hole or cut it back. Puff or pass. Boot or rally.



Tonight is 6-max FTOPS, I have no mouse, and I am playing at the house of my friends Ben & Michal yet I am still going to attempt to diarize this version of the 1k Monday.

Our cast includes Amit “amak316” Makhija to our left, pmahoney22 to his left, S_Dot111 to his left, longtime tourney grinder kwob20 to his left, and some guy named curiousg87 to my right. Only one I haven't heard of is curiousg, who's quickly revealed as a fish.

Amak raises UTG SB calls I fold JTo in BB.

Raise T9s on button they fold.

UTG raises 3x I 3x reraise with JdJs he calls. Flop A75 two diamonds ck ck. Turn 2d ck ck. River As he bets half pot I call he has A4s. This is pretty bad poker on his part IMO.

Ben AKA the Wolf serves up a bowl of squash soup. Delicious!

Kwob raises CO calls I fold K5s on button.

As this is 6-max I am going to refer to the positions as follows:

1st - UTG

2nd - Hijack

3rd - Cutoff

Button - Button

Small blind - SB

Big blind - BB

Amak raises UTG again I fold JTo in BB.

CO raises I call with KQo on button. Amak calls in SB. Flop KKJr checked to me I bet 121 into 200 both call. Turn A curious bets 300 into 563 I call Amak makes it 925 curious calls I fold right away. River 5 amak bets 2000 curious shoves for 2100 more amak ends up calling with QT which I think is a pretty obvious fold but hey this Amak guy knows what he’s doing. Curious has AA, amak crippled.



Next hand curious raises 3x I reraise 3x with QJo he calls. Flop T9x two of my suit he checks I bet half pot he folds.

Fold A6s UTG.

Curious raises 3x in SB I defend BB with 96s. Flop J97 he check-folds to my bet.

Curious raises button I fold KTo in SB.



Mahoney raises 3x I fold A3s in BB.

Wolfy serves up a Moose Drool. Delicious! I got him going on this beer a few weeks ago and now he’s addicted. Natural nourishment for a wolf.

Amak busts and is replaced by another reg, NovaSky.

Mahoney raises SDot calls curious calls I call in BB with AsTs. Flop a scary T86 all clubs checked around. Turn offsuit 5 curious bets out 280 into 480 I min-raise which is something I like to do in these sort of scary situations others fold curious calls. River 8 he checks I decide to check he has JcT so I win on the kicker.

Kwob raises 3x on the button I fold A3o in BB.

Wolfy serves up a salad with tomatoes, avocado, & kalamata olives. Delicious!

Curious has already siphoned off half the double stack he had after stacking Amak.



Raise ATo from the cutoff they fold. Now raising 2.5x instead of 3x.

Mahoney limps (he limp-raised T7s not long ago) I check T6dd in BB. Flop 8c7d6c I check he bets half pot I call. Turn 9 I deliberate and check he checks. River 6 I bet 2/3 pot he folds.

Nova raises UTG fish (curious, he will be known as “fish” from now on) calls in SB I call with 44 in BB. Flop T72 fish checks I check Nova bets 2/3 pot fish folds I fold.

Lot of jack-four offsuits here. No worries.

So I played the FTOPS $322 Rush this afternoon. I wound up entering three times and cashed two of them. On the bubble I played a huge pot against FTP pro Michael Tureniec where I had AQ on a board of AT7Q with two flush draws against his TT. The river was a queen, I busted him, vaulted into a top 5 stack, claimed his $200 bounty, and marched into the money. Three hours later I am playing a different tournament and he has a massive chip lead under a different entry with 27 players left in that Rush tourney.



Fold K5s cutoff.

Nova raises UTG I fold A9o in BB.

The Pitt Panthers played on Big Monday tonight. I DVRed it and will attempt to watch tomorrow or later tonight (though I have really been fiending to watch more Wire Season II). Another unexpectedly good season for them but I’m not really feeling it from this team for some reason.

Curious raises 3x in SB I call with 32s in BB. Flop K93 he bets pretty hard I call. Turn 9 he checks I bet quite weakly he then makes a 3x raise. I thought quite a while and ended up folding.

NovaSky gets moved and replaced by a jersey called mrvogt.

Raise 98o button they fold.



Fold A8o HJ.

Curious raises I 3-bet tens he calls unsurprisingly. Flop is 853 two spades I’m happy to get it in here against him he checks and folds.

Fold T2s button have yet to do anything out of line.

Raise KQo HJ vogt calls SB Private ATM calls. Flop A63 SB checks I check vogt checks. Turn 3 everyone checks. River 7 I bet 999 into 680 they both fold.

A player named Private ATM who I have seen in the high stakes MTTs min-raises UTG. I am going to reraise this on the button but the short-stacked fish calls and I decide to just fold my 86s.

Moved to a new table. Reg named berkey11 who made a deep run in last year’s WSOP main event is on my right. High-volume reg NEONPILS99 is on my left.



There are a lot of things I can do in the fall if there is no NFL season. The obvious move is to get really into college football (since I’m likely going to need a source of income anyways and college is much easier to beat than the pros). But then I was thinking about all other stuff I could do with an entire weekend sans football - I could volunteer, take road trips, learn to knit, learn to cook, go for ultra-runs, read books for eight hours straight...

UTG raises berkey calls I call with KQo next to act PILS calls on button. Flop Ad7h6d checked around. Turn Qd checked to PILS he bets 40% pot others fold I call. River x check check I outkick his Q5s.



Michal serves up a spicy chicken enchilada. Delicious!

Raise 44 they fold.

Jeopardy is on in the background. Who doesn’t like Jeopardy? Works well with DVR too cause they pack the commercials in at the end.

UTG min-raises I call with 55 on button. PILS calls in SB. Flop Q97 with a flush draw checked to me I check. Turn Qc PILS fires we fold.

Raise AJ on the button they fold.



UTG (who has been raising frequently) min-raises on a short stack I fold KTo HJ.

Raise AK they fold.

In case I forget to mention it later, I recently started watching The Wire Season II, two years after I finished the first season. I’m pretty sure The Wire is not just the greatest television show, but the finest form of entertainment ever created. I waited two years because The Wire is so good I want to savor it as long as possible. The day I finish Season V will be a very sad day, so I want to put it off as long as possible.

I am three episodes into Season II and amazingly, this season has matched the intensity of the first. I say amazingly because a) the show is disjointed because it continues to focus on Avon's crew even though they have little to do with the new case and characters down on the docks (though I suspect they will tie together eventually) and b) Lt. Daniels has only seen a few minutes of screen time thus far (again, I expect this to change).

Fold K9o button that may be too tight but the guys to my left have been pretty frisky and K9o is not the sort of ammunition I want to go to war with.

Berkey raises HJ I fold A5o cutoff.

Fold K4s HJ.

Fold 74s UTG.

HJ raises SB calls I fold A2s in BB.

I watched Mad Men Season One before getting to The Wire. Mad Men was excellent though I must admit it probably would have been better if I was a little more culturally literate to 1960.



You would think a professional poker player who hardly ever plays poker would have a lot of free time on his hands, yet I feel like I always have a dozen things to do these days. Between writing the book (more on this in a second), playing and designing board games (this is my newest fantasy career…I am really starting to look into the possibility of designing board games for a living), girlfriend (probably going to have to put out a fire mentioning girlfriend after board games), snowboarding, beer, battling the beerbelly, scraping snow off the car, the Pitt Panthers, The Wire, softball (just three weeks away!), coed softball, Bailey the dog, shoveling snow, SURVIVOR: Redemption Island, March Madness, Atlas Shrugged, the Dominion costume party, and a potential road trip through the southwest, it's going to be a busy couple months.

Berkey min-raises UTG I flat next to act with aces the small blind makes a pot-committing squeeze berkey folds I ship he has A9s and actually flops a flush draw but misses.

PeachyMer takes that cadaver’s space.

Raise 44 PILS calls on button. Flop 862 two spades I check he bets 465 into 1280 I fold. Any thoughts on this hand?

Michal serves up Rocky Road milkshakes. Extremely delicious!

Raise AKs on the button BB defends. Flop J84 two of wrong suit he fires into me I fold.

Raise 22 UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop K32 rainbow he checks. I think about checking this one back cause he’s so likely to have nothing here but end up betting as its hard to disguise your monster later on boards like this. He folds.



Fold A2o on the button.

Sportscenter showing NBA highlights. Sigh. February.

UTG raises I just call with AK since I’ve been so nitty – it makes more sense to try to get this in on a backraise than to just 3-bet and call off. With the way I’ve been playing I felt like 3-betting would just isolate to solid pairs and he would dump most everything else or flat a few of them. Of course everyone knows I flatted the aces earlier so they might be afraid to squeeze in this spot. Flop comes 764 he checks. He probably has nothing and I can take it with a bet but I decide checking is better cause an ace or king could come off and then I could win a nice kicker battle. Turn is the worst card in the deck, the queen, he checks and I check. He bets pretty big on a 6 river and I fold.



Raise AA UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop K52 he check-folds.

Raise 76o in SB PILS folds BB.

Raise 77 to 683 the SB reraises to 1680 I think for quite a while and then shove for 8k he folds.

Next hand raise QTo PILS calls flop is T84 rainbow I check he bets a little more than 1/3 pot I raise a little less than 3x that and then he clicks it back to ~3300 with 6200 behind. My first instinct is to shove; I think and then end up calling thinking that will slow him down if he’s on a move but when I check the 8 turn he instantly jams. I use all my time bank and fold.

Two hands later PILS mins UTG I shove for 5600 in the BB with AQs he folds.

Two hands later the big stack opens I make a small reraise with A7o on the button he folds.



Raise TT they fold.

Raise 85s on button Peachy shoves me in I fold obv.

Next hand raise A7o they fold.

Berkey limps I check 54 in BB. Flop K54 he bets I min raise he folds.



What do you do with A5s folded to you in the SB here? I feel like a lot of players just shove the whole thing…I really don’t know what’s best…depends on image but the BB russbuster was actually brand new to the table…he had a big stack…I wound up opening for a little less than 2.5x. He folded.

So I’ve written one chapter of my book. Probably translates to about 20 pages in a typical paperback. I’m confident I will be able to finish the book by the end of the year.

Raise K8s in SB this time he ships me in.

Just saw a commercial for that new Adam Sandler movie “Just Go With It.” Wikipedia describes its plot as the following:

Danny (Adam Sandler) is a successful plastic surgeon who pretends to be unhappily married to get women. When he finally meets a girl (Brooklyn Decker) he believes to be the woman of his dreams, he doesn't use his method on her, but she soon finds the wedding band he uses. Afraid of telling her the truth, he tells her he's getting a divorce, to which she requests to meet his soon-to-be ex. He asks his office manager Katherine (Jennifer Aniston) to pose as his wife in order to prove his story, but one lie turns into another that brings Katherine's children into his scheme, resulting in a trip to Hawaii that will change all their lives.

Though it’s not written, I think we can assume that Sandler ends up falling for Aniston and her kids. Then they hook up. Then there’s some sort of misunderstanding where Aniston thinks Sandler still wants to get with Decker. Finally Sandler makes an impassioned speech where he convinces Aniston that he is a changed man, no longer a douche, and that he is genuinely in love with her.

Now, apart from the obvious ridiculousness of this situation - the less glamourous love interest is JENNIFER ANISTON - the amazing thing here is that Adam Sandler actually made a movie where he played a comedian disenchanted from making terrible schlop movies like “Just Go With It” - and he still makes those sort of movies himself!

Berkey raises to 800 UTG I shove for 7800 next to act he ends up calling with KQo and losing to my AQo.

Next hand I raise 65cc UTG berkey calls in BB. Flop is As7c2c he checks I bet small he folds.

Next hand Peachy raises the button berkey makes a small reraise out of the SB I am in the BB with A4s and go into the time bank thinking about what to do end up folding Peachy shoves and berkey folds.



Raise Q4s in SB russbuster shoves once again.

Raise KJ they fold.

Raise KQo UTG russbuster makes like the smallest reraise ever next to act on a short stack I end up folding.

Peachy mins on the button I defend BB with 87o flop K93 I check and fold.

Raise 96o in SB this time russbuster lets me have it.

Raise T8s next hand on button this time russbuster 3-bets tiny on his short stack and I fold.

Raise Q4s next hand they fold.

Fold 87o on the button.

Raise 44. BB defends. Flop Q98 check check. Turn J he breathes on the pot I fold.

Next hand raise AK UTG berkey defends. Flop QQT with two of a bad suit he checks I check it back. Turn 3rd of that suit and low he fires big I fold.

UTG mins to 1k berkey calls I shove QQ in the SB for 11k UTG has AA and I cry “come on, after all that?” but the virtual door card is a queen and I double up.

Raise Q9s Peachy makes a large shove from the BB I fold.



Berkey raises. He’s got a stack but everyone else behind me doesn’t so I fold 22.

Raise J9s they fold.

CO opens to 1200, Berkey makes it 3125 and I joyfully ship AQo in SB for 22k. They fold.

Same situation comes up where Berkey raises and this time I have threes and fold.

Button mins I defend with A8s. Flop J83 two clubs (I have hearts) check-check. Turn 7 I bet half pot he calls. River Q check check I can’t call a bet here but I beat his 53s when he checks.

Berkey mins UTG I call in 2nd with tens which is sort of a trap as the stacks behind me have been shoving like crazy. The short stacks fold and the BB calls.

Flop 975r berkey bets 1700 into 4300 I call and BB calls also. I am confident I have the best hand and then a queen hits. Now berkey fires 5k into 9500 and I slowly call. BB folds. River an amazing ten. Berkey checks and I shove for slightly more than pot. He tanks FOREVER and finally folds. Could have used that 20k.

Next hand raise AT UTG and SB calls. Board of 874J3 is checked to the river where he bets and I fold.

Peachy busts and is replaced by Jon “PearlJammer” Turner.



Berkey mins UTG I fold A3s.

Berkey limps the button I bludgeon a little less than 4x from the SB with QTs he calls. Flop is 876 which hits his range harder than Clay Matthews hits quarterbacks, so I check/fold.

Raise A8o button. I am minraising now as are many of the others. They fold.



170 left 144 get paid.

Quick scan of the leaderboard reveals jersey-laden Klausen atop – he’s also down to four in that Rush FTOPS along with Tureniec. I’ve studied Klausen a bit and think he plays wonderfully.

Berkey limps button I limp K4s in SB russbuster checks his option. Flop A87 checked to berkey he wins it with a bet.

30 bigs and the bubble approaching. This is crunch time. Probably going to play real tight here opening few pots to preserve this stack so I’m not touch and go on the bubble.

Raise A9o on the button BB quickly and hugely shoves I fold.

Very next hand raise A9o again and russbuster 3-bets. 160 left, 144 get paid. Tank & fold.

Very next hand raise JJ all fold.

PearlJammer raises and I call with A9s in BB. He has been quiet. Board of K98QT is checked to the river where he bets half pot and I fold. So here I go talking about playing tight and I have lost a quarter of my chips playing ace-nine.

Berkey limps the button (he is open-limping if he chooses to play now) I fold K6o in SB.



150 left

In succession:

Berkey limps I fold JTo on button.

Fold A7o CO.

Fold 22 HJ.

Fold K9s UTG.

Hand-for-hand. Waiting for my friend w00t4d0nks who has less chips than me!

Doesn’t last long and we are in the money! GnightMoon with 3 cashes out of 4 tourneys played today, not bad! But that’s not how you make money playing poker tournaments.

Jon raises I fold 86s in BB.

Next hand fold 85o in SB.

Next hand a short stack who has been almost as quiet as me opens and berkey weirdly calls. I fold 33 with 15k.



Shove ATo in SB russbuster calls with K6o in BB and wins. GoodnightMoon. Might be a bit late for The Wire but worst case I’ll put on a little Panther basketball and wake up tomorrow in a winter wonderland.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Super Bowl Pick

If forced to choose:

Packers -3 over Steelers

Best Prop Bet:

Player to score LAST TD: Mewelde Moore (+4000)

Lock season record: 1-0
Really like season record: 2-1
Also like season record: 38-25-1
If forced to choose season record: 100-89-2
All games season record: 141-115-3

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

January Top 15

15. The Rolling Stones - Loving Cup
14. Malachai - How Long
13. The Rolling Stones - Some Girls
12. The Tallest Man On Earth - King of Spain
11. Rihanna - Disturbia

10. Teddybears - Cobrastyle
9. The Refreshments - Nada
8. The Tallest Man On Earth - Kids On The Run
7. The Refreshments - Heaven Or The Highway Out Of Town
6. Scissor Sisters - Invisible Light

5. Malachai - Moonsurfin'
4. The Rolling Stones - Imagination
3. The Verve - Weeping Willow
2. The Verve - Velvet Morning

Song of the Month: Malachai - Snowflake