|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
God bless Mommy and Daddy and Party Poker
I played this morning in my very first SNG No Limit Hold 'Em table over at PartyPoker. Through a little bit of luck and skill, I actually placed second, which won me 30% of the pot ($10 SNG, $1 fee, net profit $19).
I had a great hand that almost gave me a heart attack. I was dealt AA in late position and gleefully saw three players in front of me raise each other up $500. With my call (limping in, don't you love it?), there was a main pot of $315, and a side pot of $1390 with two of the players having gone all in.
Flop came 7/A/4, but all spades.
A meek $100 was wagered, which I raised up to $500. Got called. I'm a little freaked that I'm facing a flush, but I'm praying for the board to pair here.
Turn comes. 6 of spades. Fucking four flush on the board. I'm not backing down though, and I'm figuring three aces has to be played here. I bet $300 and am called.
River shows a blank, 2 of clubs, and I get checked and return the check.
I took the first pot over a pocket pair of queens, and thankfully took the main pot over a pocket pair of fours (giving trips to my opponent).
Thank god there was not a spade in the pocket to be seen.
Cleaned up a net $2305 on that hand. Whoo hoo!
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Merry Freaking Christmas
Itís 845AM on 12/23/03, and Iím sure today will end up as one of the longest days on record. Iím at my desk, have very little to do (thanks to a flurry of activity yesterday), and am unsure when the HR department here is going to roll up the sidewalks and call it a year.
It is ďjeans dayĒ in here today, which means I could come to work in a sweater, jeans, and my comfortable boots. Not to mention white tube socks. Thatís always a plus.
I did receive good news yesterday on the work front. I found out that most of the people my boss wanted to set me up to sit with this coming Monday and Tuesday at our corporate HQ are all going to be on vacation. Which means that my visit over there is cancelled. I now have NINE consecutive days off, one day (1/2/04) back at work, then two more days off. Itís a beautiful thing.
As for the website move, Iím no IT genius, but I managed to get this thing set up appropriately on my FTP server with a minimum of difficulty. Thatís really, really cool. Blogger makes it really simple to change your hosting, and itís nice to see an ad-free RTATS site with pictures and everything. The only thing I havenít been able to tackle properly yet is the outgoing SMTP settings for my new email account through Outlook Express. Iíve got incoming mail handled no problem, but outgoing mail isnít connecting. Iím puzzled, but have NINE DAYS now to figure it out.
On to other topicsÖ
There was a great letter-to-the-editor in the local paper last night. The guy claims to have his own research and evidence that shows that the magnetic core of our planet is failing, and because itís losing its power, weíre now at the mercy of radiation and meteorites from outer space. He closed the letter by saying that other scientists, because they get their funding from the government, arenít going to tell you this, so itís really up to him. I love a good crackpot.
Iím sick of shopping at Old Navy. First off, their khakis, jeans, and dress shirts are thin and cheap. But thatís not my major gripe right now.
If thereís one area of a manís wardrobe to which heíll always be adding, but rarely be subtracting, itís his T-Shirt collection. Old Navy used to be a terrific resource to pick up some decent shirts. Not anymore.
Not only have they converted most of their t-shirt material to that half-stretchy fabric, but when the hell did it become acceptable to manufacture what are essentially ďcap sleevedĒ t-shirts for men? They cut their tees now so short in the underarm that raising your hand exposes half your chest. This isnít restricted to just their graphic tees, as I bought a three pack of plain white, and faced the same issues. Theyíre uncomfortable, and I wonít buy them anymore.
And that saddens me. A few of my favorite t-shirts are Old Navy ones. I just wonít be adding any more to the collection.
I know I alluded to it last night in a post, but what Brett Favre did last night was heart-warming, gut-wrenching, heroic, magical, amazing, and nearly brought me to tears while watching.
Favreís dad died Sunday night. He was his father, his first coach, and the guy that taught him the game of football. He raised one hell of an athlete, and an even better human being. Favreís performance on the big stage of Monday Night Football against the Raiders was a beautiful tribute to his father, and a tremendously clutch performance to boot.
Iím the first guy to disavow the existence of angels and divine intervention, but did you see that pass he hit Wesley Walls with in the corner of the end zone? How many quarterbacks have you ever seen make a throw like that? And if you didnít see the pure joy on Favreís face after hitting that TD, then you really missed a great moment. Favre brings it all to the field and leaves it all there.
I canít think of another football player in my lifetime that means as much to the game, and has the game mean as much to him, as Brett Favre. Although heís always been a player I admired, respected, and loved watching, that performance alone rockets him up into my top five football players of all time list:
TOP FIVE FAVORITE FOOTBALL PLAYERS OF ALL TIME
1. Barry Sanders Ė As a Lions fan, I probably saw every carry he had between 1991 and his retirement in 1999. There will never be another like him.
2. Brett Favre Ė Iím not sure he would have made this list three days ago. He would have been top ten, thatís for sure. Has there ever been another QB with more obvious joy in his game? Has there ever been another QB that makes ridiculously difficult throws off his back foot fading the opposite direction? The guy is a warrior.
3. Herman Moore Ė It was nice to have one of the best WRs in the NFL to play alongside the best RB in the NFL. He was/is also a tremendous asset to the community, and seemed like a really good guy to boot.
4. Bennie Blades Ė Cool name, big hitter. Iíve always loved watching those safeties range in the defensive backfield and make the big, big hits when receivers cross over the middle.
5. Ray Lewis Ė I wish we got more Baltimore games. Thereís not another defender in the league that demands your attention watching the game like Ray Lewis. Heís going to go down as the best MLB of all time, and quite possibly the best defender ever.
Honorable mention, historical division: Jerome Brown, Kellen Winslow, Randall Cunningham, Chris Spielman, Ray Crockett, Billy Sims, Bubba Baker, Warren Moon, Kevin Mack, Ozzie Newsome, Lionel ďLittle TrainĒ James, Reggie White, Sterling Sharpe, Edgar Bennett, LeRoy Butler, Leonard Thompson, Jeff Chadwick
Honorable mention, current division: Derek Mason, Plaxico Burress, Charles Rogers, Muhsin Muhammad, Robert Porcher, Shaun Rogers, Steve McNair, Donovan McNabb, Mike Vick, Derrick Brooks, Randy Moss
Hereís a questionÖ
How much of an opinion of an opponent, whether online or playing live, is formed by what they do with their first few hands they play in direct opposition to you?
Can you put yourself in repeatedly profitable circumstances if you purposefully waste a couple of bets early in the game doing something that on the outside appears a little dumb?
It makes sense to me that a good player will find ways to make his opponents make mistakes on their incorrect assumption that the good player is making a bad play.
An example: Early in my last session online, I was big blind twice in three hands (my first hand joining the table, then shortly thereafter). I was dealt Axs, and saw a third suited card hit both times, but no pairs for me, on less than dangerous flops. Both times, on the turn, I hit the fourth card I needed. I never hit the river on the flush. Basically, in a relatively passive game with infrequent raising, I limped to the river and folded when the flushes didnít hit.
Now, letís say that I was dealt AKs shortly thereafter. If I hit my flush, played it purposefully dumb, limped all the way, played like a calling station, and showed a nut flush at showdown, would the other players take notice and peg me as a poor player?
Would that prove to be a big advantage to me at some point if I continued to play tight? Would throwing away three to four small and two or three big bets setting up a table image as a poor player be worth it? Or would the first time aggressiveness came out of you be noticeable enough to the other players that they would discount your earlier play and re-evaluate their opinions of you?
I know sandbagging while gambling can be really profitable on the golf course or shooting pool, but is it possible to sandbag playing Hold ĎEm?
Iím at a complete loss for things to do tonight and tomorrow. Why? Well, because the horse track is closed. Apparently, no one is racing today or tomorrow. That sucks. Iím going to have to wait until Friday or Saturday to get my gambling jones on.
Hereís the weekendís gambling, at least how I see it shaking out to this point:
FRIDAY Ė a few hours at minimum during the early afternoon at the track, possible Hold ĎEm game that night.
SATURDAY Ė possible casino trip, otherwise probable track visit in the early afternoon. If we donít play Hold ĎEm Friday, weíll play Saturday.
SUNDAY Ė and on the seventh day, I rest.
My brother, the incorrigible gambler, will possibly have to be talked into the casino trip. And Iím only going if I donít lose money at the track. I really do want to get back up there to play the $3/$6 Limit table again. Hopefully, many of the usual suspects will be on hand again, and I think Iím better equipped to play a more solid game.
I need to just keep repeating, ďI am a rock, I will not play low suited connectors out of position, I will not call J9 off without six calling in front of me, I will not unnecessarily raise.Ē
Monday, December 22, 2003
I hope you saw that first TD pass Brett Favre had tonight. Much has been said about his emotional distress, as his father passed yesterday, but you knew Favre wasn't likely to miss a start with his team in the playoff hunt.
He threw a beautiful, perfect floater to the back corner of the endzone that was inches beyond the defender's fingertips, right in the breadbasket of TE Wesley Walls.
Root for whatever team you want, but unless you're a diehard Bears fan, you can't not love Brett Favre.
My Mascot, Frye the Dog
Two More DaysÖ
I really walked into it at work this morning. My boss dumped so much work on my shoulders today that I felt like asking, ďWhat is it that youíre going to be doing these next two days?Ē To top it off, when I suggested that one of the tasks that he had earmarked for Wednesday (when Iíll be at home, not at work, but technically donít have as a day off) could be accomplished today, he actually said, in a serious tone, ďBut what then are you going to do on Wednesday?Ē
Iíll tell you what Iím going to do on Wednesday. Iím going to drink a bottle of wine, eat some pizza rolls, and watch far too much TV for my own good. Thatís what Iím going to do on Wednesday.
The tasks that he set up for me are really, really mundane. I help manage a web database, and each of the 225-275 items I manage must be shut down for the holidays. Itíll take close to 60 seconds per item, I assume. Itíll be a series of clicks and keyboard entries that will drone on for hours. This will probably save our client something like $.19/day/item. And my carpal tunnel claim in January will cost them twice that.
Then, I have to go through the weekly report for each item (250ish items x 6-7 weeks per) and verify the accuracy of the report. If itís inaccurate, I have to fix it. Again, click, click, click, click, permanent wrist damage.
By the way (two hours later), Iím one third of the way into doing the item closing task, and I am forced to stop, as some of the items will not now be closed during the shut down, and Iím better off waiting until (wait for itÖ) probably Wednesday to do this after all.
Just got off the phone with my dad lamenting the loss the Lions took against Carolina this week. Actually, the phone conversation started off as it has many times in the past, with my dad remarking, ďWell, at least the Lions are guaranteed a top five or six draft pick this year.Ē
The non-Lions fans in my life have always been puzzled that I can root for a team to, in my words, ďshow progress, but lose enough games to get a good draft pick.Ē This year, we didnít even get the progress part.
What doomed this franchise to mediocrity was not the hiring of Millen/Morninwheg. It was the Wayne Fontes years. Wayneís teams always started off sluggish, made enough of a run to the end to look good, but lost in the playoffs. As a result, management always thought that ďnext yearĒ would be better, and that rewarding this mediocrity (9-7 or 10-6) was the right thing to do. We saddled players like Scott Mitchell, Stephen Boyd, Ron Rice, and Herman Moore with bigger contracts than we should have, and when they hit the wall physically, we had no room to maneuver. Add to that a lack of talent coming in through the draft (which was due to the 9-7 finishes putting us in the low to mid 20s every year), and this team was destined to begin a stretch of putridity (you like that? ďPutridity.Ē It must be a word; MS Word didnít hit it on spell check.).
I was especially disappointed that the defense committed three dumb-ass penalties on the final drive for Carolina that helped them keep the ball moving and clock running. I guarantee you that they would have ran three straight times and punted it deep to Swinton, as our offense hadnít produced all day, but at least they would have given us a shot to win. Nope. It was a terrible, terrible way to end a game.
My dad wants to draft Kellen Winslow, Jr. Iím all for that. He seems like a warrior, and we could definitely use a weapon at TE. Iím thinking that one of the top WRs in the draft could be an excellent running mate to Charles Rogers on the outside. Iím OK with Pinner and Bryson competing with a low-round draft choice this season, but only if we can improve the passing game.
Looking at the draft, here are the teams that are just as bad or worse than Detroit (and Iím doing this off the top of my head):
NY Giants (?)
Assuming Atlanta and San Diego land the top two picks, and Arizona and Oakland pick third and fourth, I think Detroit would end up getting the fifth pick overall. San Diego at #1 is a mortal lock to take either Roethlisberger or Manning (a QB). I could see Atlanta at #2 trading down to let someone (Oakland? Arizona? Cleveland?) hop up to get the other QB. If Atlanta keeps the pick, they should go OL or DB, but could go after a WR as well. Arizona should grab a QB, but if there isnít one on the board, theyíre more likely to go DT/DE than anything else, so I donít think their pick worries Detroit too much. Oakland could go any number of ways. They too could use a QB, but if the top two guys are gone, theyíre not going to make that pick here. If Rice and Brown both retire, Iíd worry about them grabbing a WR in this spot, but donít be surprised if Oakland packages this pick to acquire a guy like Terrell Owens from San Francisco. If Oakland does that, Iíd worry more about another WR being off the board here.
If all goes perfectly, the Lions could have their pick of the following players at #5:
Sean Taylor (S, Miami)
Larry Fitzgerald (WR, Pitt, assuming he declares)
Roy Williams (WR, Texas)
Kellen Winslow, Jr (TE, Miami)
Kevin Jones (RB, Va Tech)
Carnell Williams (RB, Auburn)
Reggie Williams (WR, Washington)
If these guys are all sitting there at #5, Iím grabbing Fitzgerald. Heís the best college WR Iíve ever seen, and is probably a little more of a possession guy than Rogers is. Iíd be THRILLED to see these two line up opposite one another.
Then, Iím hoping one of the two RBs falls to me in round 2.
This should be an interesting off-season of house cleaning for the Lions.
As I mentioned before, I acquired the domain ďgamblingblues.com,Ē and I will be migrating this site over to that domain over the next few days/weeks.
Iíve gotta give a big plug to 1 and 1, which has got to be the best deal for hosting on the net right now. Iím getting three FREE years of space (500 MB, as if Iíll need that much), and it only set me back $5.99 to register the domain for one year. Add to that package free email accounts, and Iím a happy, happy man.
I thought long and hard about what domain name I wanted to hook my blog up with. I didnít want something as cumbersome as randomthoughtsandthoroughbredselections, although Iím confident that would have been available as a dot-com. I also didnít want to pick something specific to either poker or horse racing, as I like to gamble on either. Plus, Iím really all over the place with what I write about anyway, so whatís the point in pigeonholing myself by calling the site ďacesoverkings.comĒ or something? I missed out by two days on my first choice, which was ďblogmatic.org.Ē Iím irritated that I waited so long that I missed that one, but Iím happy with what I landed.
So ďgamblingblues.comĒ it is. Now that I can augment the site with pictures and other stuff, maybe Iíll re-learn Flash and get more creative with it.
Oh, and Iím still toying with letting my brothers hook up with subdomains, which is another neat freebie. I can hook up ďyet2be.gamblingblues.comĒ as a site if I wanted to. Thatís pretty damn cool. Of course, then I become their webmaster and tech support guy, so who knows where that will leadÖ
I have a real sense of dread regarding terrorism during this holiday season.
Itís inevitable that we suffer another attack (and another, and another), as weíll probably never be rid of this threat in any of our lifetimes. Iím guessing that the capture and public humiliation of an Arabic leader, combined with the Christian holiday period will bring something ugly into our lives here in the next week.
I wouldnít be going out to Times Square for New Yearsí this year, Iíll guarantee you that.
Hereís a curiosity question though. And follow the logic here, Iím about to get a little convoluted I think. Why donít we have fanatical Christian groups that look to ďreturn the favor,Ē in a manner of speaking, to the Muslim world?
I mean, why donít the Timothy McVeigh types of the US focus their energies on bringing terror and misery to the Middle East?
Iím not advocating this, of course. But I know thereís enough flag-waving, gun-toting, bible-thumping nuts out there in Americaís heartland that would give their lives if they thought they were helping America. Where are the ultra-fundamentalist leaders here in the US that could organize these underground militias, obtain funding, and unleash these rednecks into Afghanistan?
Their group blows up an office building in Tulsa, our group blows up a mosque at prayer time in Kabul.
Again, Iím not thinking this is a good idea, Iím just curious as to why it hasnít become a reality yet. You canít tell me that there arenít tens of thousands of backwoods militia types that would jump at the chance to go to the Middle East and blow up a bunch of Arabs in retaliation for 9/11. Iím not saying itís right, but I am saying that this sentiment exists in Middle America, and Iím surprised it hasnít been tapped yet.
Hereís to safety and peace over the next few weeks. Iíve got a sinking feeling itís not going to last.
Google Search: "peed" + "whipping"
At least Google has the good sense to wait until page 18 to list me here. Oy.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
random thoughts and thoroughbred selections
Yes, another self-referential link. I'm hooking myself up as we speak with my own domain name and web space. It'll be a little while before I can move everything over suitably, but my new domain is gamblingblues.com. Whoo hoo!
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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