Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Always Make New Mistakes

My "boss" showed me this today at "work." It resonated.

I make a lot of mistakes. Always have. A few recent ones:
  • Bleaching the carpet in our Vegas rental house after Bailey barfed on it (cost me $700)
  • Leaving my hiking boots in Ouray
  • Misclicking in a recent fantasy auction draft, failing to grab Peyton Manning (wound up with Michael Vick instead)
  • Ordering that last beer Saturday night in Milwaukee
  • Letting the kids erupt the volcano in the sandbox five minutes after I knew they needed to start cleaning up

Always make new mistakes. Wise words. Not as easy as they sound.

Not too long ago a friend several years younger told me in an email he wasn't "making the same stupid mistakes with girls anymore", to which I laughed - because I still make the same stupid mistakes with girls I have since I was fifteen. I still ground comebackers to the pitcher every fifth at-bat in softball. I still leave my things at friends houses half the time and have to go back to retrieve them. I still don't account for rush hour traffic to Denver, I often throw the disc into the tree on hole 5 at South Boulder. and I still think I can make money betting on the NFL.

Always make new mistakes. Won't be easy. But that sounds like a great idea.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

2012 Fantasy Football Preview

This is the logical merge of the two leading topics of this blog over the last six years, which makes sense because this will be one of this blog’s final posts. It’s also the merge of the American summer’s two greatest pastimes: the World Series of Poker and fantasy football drafts. I thought it might be helpful to take a look at some of the key players in 2012 fantasy as a variety of situations, as a poker player might. These categories assume relativity - Jamaal Charles and Andrew Luck are listed together, for example, though you're obviously drafting Charles way ahead of Luck. The presence of players like Luck and Isaiah Pead is only applicable to keeper and/or dynasty leagues.

5-Bet All-Ins:
Obvious high-five-the-dealer scenarios you can never fold.

Aaron Rodgers
Tom Brady
Ray Rice
LeSean McCoy

Raise UTG:
These are hands you’re opening from any position. You’re always going to play these hands. Just not for stacks.

Greg Jennings
Matt Forte
Andre Johnson
Darren McFadden
Trent Richardson

The Uninvested 4-Bet:
Two guys are battling over a pot and then suddenly, out of nowhere, you come flying in with a strong and unexpected wager and blow them both out of the water – with or without a hand.

AJ Green
DeSean Jackson
Robert Griffin III
Eric Decker
Denarius Moore
Tony Romo

The Squeeze Play:
Everyone sees it coming. It’s transparent, but it doesn’t matter: you’re forcing someone to wake up with a hand. If someone does want to shove in, then fine – let it go. You forced their hand. And if everyone folds, even better.

Michael Vick
Peyton Manning
Adrian Peterson
Brandon Marshall
Jermichael Finley

You’re taking a look at a flop which bears no resemblance to the cards you’re holding. You’re up against an aggressive player who wants the pot more than you do. Minimize the damage and fold your hand.

Frank Gore
Laurent Robinson
Matt Stafford
Brandon Jacobs
Mark Ingram
Beanie Wells
Chris Johnson

The Light 3-bet:
Some guy has picked up on how tight the blinds are playing, and goes for a middle position steal. One problem: You know what he’s thinking. Re-raise.

Antonio Gates
Hakeem Nicks
Jeremy Maclin
Miles Austin
Fred Davis
Darrius Heyward-Bey
Sidney Rice

The Sighing Laydown:
It makes you sick to fold these hands, but you just don’t have the chips to speculate at this point. The price is a little too high. You could double up on any one of these hands, but most of the time, you’re just going to miss the flop and siphon off chips.

Reggie Bush
Marshawn Lynch
Justin Blackmon
Pierre Garcon
Demaryius Thomas
Victor Cruz
Randy Moss

The Resteal:
A thirtyish guy who’s neither tight nor loose raises in late position. He has to have something to make this raise…but most of the time, he’s not calling a shove. Move your short stack in and pick up a much-needed pot.
Philip Rivers
Daniel Thomas
Andrew Luck
Jamaal Charles
Matt Ryan
Jacob Tamme

Button Raise:
These are hands you’re generally going to play for one purpose: to steal the blinds. If you look down at one of them in a spot you’re raising any two, you’re pleasantly surprised. If you do get called, you have a hand that can make a flush or a straight. If you get reraised – if someone wants to put up a fight for any of these guys – you should doublecheck your cards and casually toss them into the muck.

Jonathan Baldwin
Shonn Greene
Carson Palmer
Isaiah Pead
Danny Amendola
Steve Smith (Rams)
Peyton Hillis
James Starks
Santana Moss
Greg Little
Lance Moore
Brandon Weeden

Late Position Limp:
You’re filling out your roster. You have starters allotted at every position, whether they’re drafted or planned. You just need a few dudes who you could use in an emergency. Dudes whom you could imagine a slightly overexcited Bob Papa play-by-playing to a 20-yard touchdown scamper on a Thursday-nighter in December. Dudes who would be immediately searched for in your fantasy league by six desperate managers upon their superior’s ACL tear – but unsuccessfully searched for because said dudes have been quietly lingering at the end of your bench since the August draft.

Jerome Simpson
Austin Collie
Kendall Hunter
Mike Williams (TB)
Ronnie Hillman
Eddie Royal
Andre Caldwell
Chad Henne
LaMichael James
Evan Royster
Brandon LaFell

Bet In The Dark:
You don’t know what’s coming. But it really doesn’t matter. Your hand is good enough to bet no matter what comes. Don’t be afraid of scare cards.

Maurice Jones-Drew

The Tilted Big Blind Defend:
You lost the last hand you played in exasperating fashion. You’re steaming. You’re trying to reclaim the chips you just lost, and everyone knows it. You defend your big blind with something you wouldn’t normally play in hopes of flopping a monster, knowing you’re opponent will pay you off if you hit – cause he knows you’re tilting too.

Blaine Gabbert

The Float:
You don’t have much, but then, your opponent probably doesn’t either. There is some distant chance of making a flush or straight, but more importantly, you might be able to pick up the pot on a later street without any resistance. Take a gander at a turn card and see what develops.

Tim Tebow

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Last Week

On Wednesday I went backpacking with an ex-girlfriend above her hometown of Ouray, Colorado. It was a magnificent three days. I felt like God gave me a glimpse of the life that was possible if I tried a little harder.

On Sunday I ran a half-marathon on trails above Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The course began with a quad-busting 1600-foot climb. Finishing was as miserably difficult and gloriously rewarding as I had feared and envisioned.

Today I got a job as an after-school teacher at the elementary school I attended in Boulder, Colorado. I am starting to feel like a functional member of society.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Echoes of Africa

The inevitable degeneracy affixed to the post-WSOP hangover has me longing to return to Africa. If it weren't for a very special 3 year-old named Bailey, I might already be there. I seem to annually devolve into an Oceanic-Six era Jack Shephard this time of year.

It boggles my mind how constricted and helpless I can feel at home. Africa sometimes feels like the only answer. When you feel like a tourist in the city you were born, maybe it's time to go.

Friday, August 03, 2012

2012 NFL Over/Unders

Anyone with an interest in betting on the NFL should
  1. Realize how foolish that pursuit is
  2. Withdraw all available funds they have in any sportsbooks
  3. Read the Football Outsiders Almanac
  4. Submit to a CT scan of the head

On that note, here are my favorite over/unders entering the 2012 season:

San Francisco UNDER 10 wins (-120)
A snap-call: the most overachieving team of 2011 has to win eleven games for you to lose. Outsiders has the Niners projected for a paltry 7.2 wins, an indictment which moved the juice down to the -120 I got it at, and subsequently, -135. This one was so tasty I added a "Field wins NFC West" bet at +220 to the mix.  

Houston UNDER 10 wins (+105)
The Texans are replacing 40% of their sterling offensive line with backups this season.

Baltimore UNDER 10 wins (-125)
I had a lot on Baltimore's under last season and paid the price. Taking another shot here with Terrell Suggs out for most or all of the season. 

Indianapolis OVER 5.5 wins (+160)
I believe in Andrew Luck. I believe in positive juice.

Jacksonville OVER 5.5 wins (+115)
Little-known fact: Jacksonville had the fifth best defense in football last season. Whether it's a more-experienced Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne throwing (to Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson), their pass offense simply has to be better. The energy infusion of a new ownership and coach should account for a win or two as well.

Minnesota OVER 6 wins (+120)
This was a close-your-eyes-and-swallow-quickly bet, based on a favorable Outsiders projection, inevitable improvement from Christian Ponder, and the NFL's 30th place schedule.

I also took three teams to win the Super Bowl:
  • Green Bay at +570
  • New England at +640
  • Philadelphia at +1400

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

July Top 15

15. Laurie Anderson - Strange Angels
14. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine
13. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Dream On
12. Silversun Pickups - Skin Graph 
11. Superdrag - Keep It Close To Me

10. Fountains of Wayne - The Summer Place
9. Pink Floyd - Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts 5-7)
8. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - The Good Rebel 
7. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - (Stranded On) The Wrong Beach
6. Silversun Pickups - Out Of Breath

5. The Lumineers - Ho Hey
4. Superdrag - In The Valley Of Dying Stars
3. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Everybody's On The Run 
2. Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - AKA... Broken Arrow

Song of the Month: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - AKA... What A Life!