|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Friday, July 09, 2004
There are NO pictures of Maria Sharapova or her breasts anywhere on this site. I promise. Now go away.
Despite the worst intentions of the paparazzi, there’s so little chance that Googling a seventeen year old Russian tennis prodigy (or prodigette) will yield nipple shots, that I would just advise everyone to give it up.
And I still stand by my statement that she isn’t all that hot anyway. I really would rather see Serena Williams naked anyway. I’ve said it before, I think if she had existed back in the Renaissance, Michelangelo would have sculpted her and not David.
I’ll get to poker in a few minutes, but there are some things I want to address first.
>> I’m a little over ten days into my 45 day free trial of full TiVo service. Although it’s expensive, I think I just have to suck it up and pay for it. I didn’t think having “wishlists” and access to fourteen days of programming would be a big deal. I think I was wrong.
>> One thing that irritates me about Internet porn, besides the usual gripes about pop-up windows and spyware and such, is that some of these photographers are such rank amateurs that the effect of seeing a wonderfully naked girl is blunted by the giddy flight-attendant-esque smile plastered on her face. Now, having a smile that says, “I’m licking my chops ready to take you on” is one thing, but a smile that says, “If you look over here on your right, you’ll see the soundstage where ‘Friends’ was filmed for eleven of its thirteen seasons,” is one I can do without in porn. If it were just an initial shot with that smile, and then a more realistic facial expression afterwards in the remainder of the photo set, I wouldn’t complain. But if you’re a photographer, and you’ve got a half-coked naked girl who you duped into signing the waiver in front of you, the next words out of your mouth should never be, “Say Cheese!”
By the way, I continue to be surprised that I haven’t stumbled across naked pictures on the Internet of one or two girls I knew in my past. Is it bad when instead of being surprised when you accidentally see the pictures, you’re more surprised that you haven’t seen any yet? Bob, I’m talking about at least JP from the restaurant, and my ex-girlfriend the Jewish Stripper.
The Jewish Stripper banged Andre’ from the first MTV “Real World,” which means I am something like four degrees of separation from Amaya from Hawaii with her “twins.” Actually, I’m closer in degrees of separation to GW Bush (I know a top staffer to a top US Representative) than I am to Amaya. It’s a strange, strange world.
>> We’re on day four of my office’s inexplicable trash embargo. We’ve got these wastepaper baskets that have a hotel-ice-bucket-sized side can that is intended for food waste perched on the inside. I’ve got Tuesday’s (Wendy’s), Wednesday’s (a frozen pizza and two frozen eggrolls), and Thursday’s (Arby’s) trash staring me in the face. This is a stark contrast from the guy across the cube’s can, which has (as far as the stuff on top) a foam coffee cup and three health food juice containers. Guess which one of us works out over lunch hour, go ahead…
>> I’m golfing tomorrow morning, which is nice. I’ve only played once this year, and that was in Louisville on a pretty spectacular country club course. We’re hitting a little public track in an ill-named town called “Borculo.” Sounds like an Eastern European town, maybe the place in Transylvania where Count Dracula grew up. Or Count Chocula. Either way, it just sounds right with that rolling, lilting accent. Say it one time with me: “Borculo.” Borculo has a Dandelion Festival every year, which must just draw tens of people from all over.
>> I had another dream (another awesome dream) last night that I remembered. I went to see a concert by some artist calling herself AN24. Along for the ride were my friend Mike from college and Lord Geznikor. When we were getting to our seats, Mike stopped to sell some drugs to some college kids, and I had to distract the usher, played by Montel Williams, from seeing anything. We then got to our seats, and who would we be sitting next to but Eric Clapton! The concert started with AN24 roaming through the crowd playing each song from a different location. She was a Tori Amos type with a guitar, but was taking familiar songs and changing the lyrics to all be about the time she was, uh, taken advantage of back in college. Clapton remarked that he’d “be enjoying the show a helluva lot more if all her songs weren’t about (that time back in college)…” (I’m being careful not to use the “R” word here, as I’m at work, and god knows if the content of MSWord docs is scanned on their way through emails.
Anyway, AN24 started her next song from a spot real close to where we were, and it was “Crossroads.” Clapton got excited and started singing along, and AN24 noticed him and came up to play her next song with him. She started in on “Further On Up The Road,” and Clapton was singing along. But he started forgetting words, and I had to sing what verses I knew into his ear. But that didn’t last long because I don’t know all the words either, and AN24 got pissed off that he wasn’t singing along and making her look bad. So Clapton remarked, “Well, if I wasn’t half asleep by this point of the show, we wouldn’t be having this problem.” AN24 stormed off and then my alarm went off.
By the way, LG was all hopped up on goofballs to the point where he was lying prone on the floor, more interested in whatever he was hallucinating than the show itself. Possibly an average weekend in the Geznikor household (kidding, kidding).
I’m not sure what this all meant, but I liked the Montel Williams cameo an awful lot.
>> I read this news article that really irritated me. The head of California’s Board of Education (or something like that) told a little girl that her name, when translated, meant “stupid, dirty girl.” Now, that’s pretty dumb all on its own.
The part that really, really bugged me is that state Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally was organizing a protest after he read in the San Jose Mercury News that the child was African American. He cancelled the demonstration after he found out the girl was white. Asshole.
>> Between me, my brother, and JH (all three of us part of the core of regulars of our home game), we now have 1850 clay poker chips. I think that’s the number. JH just got another set of 500 off of ebay for $52, or something ridiculously cheap like that.
We play with a stack of 1125, which mirrors the value the sleeve of plastic Hoyle chips has. 50 red, 25 white, 25 blue – which were $5/$10/$25 respectively – makes $1125. That’s the way we’ve kept it, even with the purchase of all these chips, although we went red/blue/black for $5/$10/$25, which confuses new players and players used to casino colors. Screw you, it’s our game.
My brother got the first set, and basically got 500 chips broken down into the equivalent of five Hoyle sleeves. Next, JH got 300, for three Hoyle sleeves.
If you’re doing the math, that’s 400 red chips, 200 blue, 200 black.
When it came time to order my 500, I wanted more flexibility with coloring up and even starting with smaller stacks to begin with. I sold out 50 reds for 50 greens ($100), which have been nice for coloring-up purposes. Then, I went ahead and ordered 25 white chips ($500), and my brother piggybacked 25 greens for his set with that order.
Now, we’ve got a game that has only once had more than 14 players, and that was a serious aberration. Regardless, that’s $23,250 in chips, or 20 players worth of starting stacks. Before the newest 500.
JH, as I mentioned, is adding another 500 to his collection. While that makes sense for the traveling game (I don’t have to leave my chips for later at JH’s house if he hosts and I bounce first), I’m puzzled by his color selection. At already cramped tables most of the time, JH wanted more reds ($5) to be able to have bigger chip stacks. So, instead of maybe picking a sixth color to represent $1K or something, he’s getting a whole bunch of reds.
Well, more power to him I suppose. If I’ve got a big stack dollar-wise, I’d rather have as few chips in front of me as possible, but that’s just me. Regardless, we now have enough chips to probably seat 25-30 players with our $1125 stack. That’s just insane.
As Long As I’m Talking About Poker
Normally, I hate JJ.
It’s real easy to fold deuces, threes, fours, and anything up through eights or so when you don’t catch on the flop. But Jacks look like paint. They’re really difficult to not see “just one more card” with.
Sometimes though, Johnnies can be your best friend.
Like Sean yesterday, I had one of those life-affirming poker sessions at the $2/$4 tables that just left me smiling. It didn’t start out that way, as I landed four sets of ugly little pocket pairs early, and will usually see one raise pre-flop to see a flop.
In one case, my treys caught the set on the flop, but there were three clubs. When the flop was raised once, I gritted my teeth and called. The turn was a high card, but not a club, and I managed to check/call to the river. The fourth club. EP bet out, and I bravely ran away. Mr. Two Pair to my left was dumb enough to raise, and EP was dumb enough to ride QcTh, which had made no discernable hand other than the flush draw, to victory by calling.
So, I was down about $30 after three orbits of seeing a few flops and catching only a little piece here and there. I would have been up about $40 had I not thrown away an EP K9o pre-flop, which flopped one King, paired that King on the turn, and rivered a 9. That was a monster pot ($75 or so) won by a guy with QQ down.
Anyway, after riding a set of sevens to a minor victory, I was reasonably close to even and found JJ in the hole. I saw one raise pre-flop with about six (!) others, and waited to see the flop.
Oh man, was that beautiful. Yes, I was a little worried about QT, but really not overly so when no one raised the bet I led out with from MP. Everyone stayed in to see the turn.
Still no flush draw, but I was dead to a single Queen with nothing. EP led out with $4, and two called, one folded before it got to me.
I figured I had a few outs. Three Queens (although I was certain someone had one down) to put the straight on the board, the one remaining Jack to give me my quads, and three each Aces, Kings, Tens to give me the boat.
By my count, that was 13 outs, or 26% I’d be hitting my hand. Even if I take one each of the AKQT off the list, which is sensible, I’m still 6-1 or so to make the hand.
And I’m calling $4 to win something like $60 in the pot? Yeah, I think I’ve got the odds.
The beautiful, beautiful T comes on the river. I’ve got my boat, and the only hands that can beat me are AA/KK/TT.
Of course, throwing caution to the wind, I cap the betting with two others, pushing the pot to something like $99.
One guy had AK for top two pair.
Another had QT for the straight.
And I rake the pot.
Looking at my stats on Poker Tracker, I’m now 3-3 over 375 hands (or so) with JJ, for a profit of about $75 (some of that $99 pot was mine to begin with). Never thought I’d see that.
I finished a session just shy of 90 minutes long with a couple of hands I missed flops on, and instead of +$68 (the high point), I finished “only” +$45.
I’m very satisfied with how tight I am pre-flop (VPIP just shy of 25%), and have been getting my Limit sea legs back underneath me.
More than anything, I needed a monster pot like that to reaffirm Limit for me. I’m hoping I can put in some good time this weekend (tonight or Sunday) pushing my VPIP number further down, and that green number in the $2/$4 profit history box way up.
There are a lot of things I love about blogging, but there are some things that really bug me about it too.
For example, the RSS feeds that are pirated for “Presto!” blog content on a blatant advertising site. Some of my friends online here have been victims of this, and it seems wildly unfair that this practice is happening.
Amazon.com just did something too that really pisses me off. They’ve changed my Amazon.com entry page to be a PLOG, defined by Amazon as “The Plog Service is a personalized blog. A blog is a straightforward and now widely adopted method of posting a reverse chronological diary on the Internet.”
Basically, it’s capitalizing on the popularity of blogs by putting “reverse chronologically” released products with a paragraph review on the initial Amazon page, and making it look like a blog.
It’s not a “diary,” it’s advertising.
I’ve got strong opinions on what a blog should be. But the strongest opinion I have is exactly what a blog shouldn’t be, and that’s corporate.
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, has a blog and certainly pimps his NBA team along the way. But it’s personal. It’s not mindless shilling with glowing reviews of Dirk Nowitzki’s three point prowess.
Frankly, there’s some shilling that’s even OK. I’ve got no problem with some of the poker bloggers out there being recruited to pimp for some of the poker sites. I’m very much alright with that.
But to sully the good form of blogging in an attempt to get me to read a product review written not to review the product honestly, but to get me to fork over cash to buy it?
Screw you Amazon.
Call it anything else you want to, like “Directed Marketing Capsule Product Reviews,” or whatever is appropriate, but I know blogs, and this isn’t one. Don’t sully the good name of something that means so much to so many people.
Yeah, yeah... nothing new from yesterday. Well, when I'm pumping 2500 words on most days, some days I just want to agonize about fantasy football on the instant messenger with America's Wingman all day long.
Here's an apology and an invitation.
I'm going to update my link list this weekend. Sean? You're in. Monte Christo? Yep. Middle Aged Poker? OK. Cuban Links? Love the name (Rae's album is a desert island disc for me), and you're on.
In other words, if you're a regular reader, and have yourself a blog, send me your link. I'm too lazy to dig through my stat counter and get them all.
So, sorry for not linking to this point, and I'll look either to my email (use the little "BG" at the end of this post) or comments widget here to collect them.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
I’m Not Sure What To Do With This Info, But…
… Jennifer Lopez’s first husband is reporting that when she thought about having sex, it made her nauseous.
I’m just putting it out there.
While some people are unabashedly open in their celebrity crushes, I don’t get into that topic very often. Simply put, there are so many women I love for so many different reasons. So, categorically, let me state for the record:
The Physical Prototype: This would be the woman that if a Star Trek-style Holodeck was being built in my closet, and I could only pick one female form to inhabit it – personality aside – I’d pick this one. And the closest thing to ideal in my opinion is the early 1990’s Anna Nicole Smith, particularly from her first Playboy spread. I’m a big fan of juicy women, and it doesn’t get much curvier and juicy than Anna Nicole while she still had her fastball.
Girl I’d most like to bring home to meet mom: Katie Holmes, hands down. Something tells me that I’d get along with her quite well, as she has that Midwestern background (Toledo, OH), and seems like a nice, sweet person. At least on TV.
The One Night Stand: If you throw the “telling your friends” factor out the window (and I’ll get to that later), and a genie came out of a bottle and said you could have one night with any celebrity you wanted, who would you pick? Not an easy decision. There are so many good reasons to go in different directions here. Again, throwing the “telling your friends” factor out of consideration, there’s really one woman who is so jaw -droppingly sensual in her movement that I can vividly imagine what she’d do to me if I gave her the chance (that’s right, it’s all on me to give her the opportunity), and that’s Shakira.
The Dinner Date: Or, with whom would I most want to have a long conversation about the economy, the NFL, global warming, or the rise and fall of Anson Williams as a pop culture icon? All, of course, while having a chance to score at the end? Well, if I can include fictional characters, this is a real easy one – Mary Louise Parker’s character on “West Wing” is exactly my type of woman. Smarter than me and beautiful with a wry sense of humor. But, if we’re calling fictional characters “off limits,” then the decision becomes tough. I still haven’t given up the “smarter than me and beautiful with a wry sense of humor” ideal, and had you asked me five years ago, I would have said Ashley Judd. However, she’s not aging well. You know who intrigues me? Julia Stiles. I know she’s a Columbia girl, so she’s smart. And she seems both approachable and (oddly) attainable for a regular Joe. That’s my pick.
Bragging Rights: Who’s the one girl that you’d be able to “hang your hat on” for the next fifty years? The one that if your picture ended up on the front page of the Enquirer with the caption “I SLEPT WITH XXX,” would help you never to have to buy a drink for yourself in a bar ever again? Up until about a year ago, the easy answer was “Britney Spears,” but I’m not sure that is applicable anymore. I asked Al, and he correctly pointed out that if you could double team the Olsen twins and take their virginities in the same night, you’d be a legend. However right he is, there’s no way those two girls haven’t had it yet. And you can’t just pick one Olsen twin, as you’d have to explain which one you banged to people every time. Lindsey Lohan is the flavour d’jour, but I’m pretty sure she isn’t the right pick here either. I’m thinking it has to be either First Daughter Jenna Bush or Jessica Simpson. I’m going to go with Jenna Bush, because “I banged the President’s daughter” sounds better over a beer than “I banged Nick Lachey’s wife.”
Anything and Everything: Whatever Angelina Jolie wants to do to me, I’d let her. Seriously. Just ask.
I’d Do Something Dirty, She’d Love It, and The Enquirer Would Pay Big Bucks To Hear About It: How much would I love to be able to sell a videotape of me crapping on Martha Stewart’s face while she writhes in scatological pressure to the Enquirer? Not that I’d get off on it, but I’d take part in the further public ruination of her image, given the chance. I’d change Martha Stewart to Star Jones if people didn’t already have the impression that was what got Star going.
If a Genie Gave Me One To Marry: This one is really easy. Gotta go with the non-anorexic Olsen Twin. Reason being, she’s a beautiful girl and stupid filthy rich. Not to mention, of course, young enough to be a trophy for the next 24 years. And did I mention stupid filthy rich? Paris Hilton would fall in this category, but she’s been so used that I just wouldn’t want to go there. More than a few times, at least.
The One to Make All the Rest Jealous: Or, “who do you bring to your ten year high school reunion to make your ex-girlfriends jealous?” How about the most beautiful girl that you can’t possibly find an excuse to dislike, Mandy Moore? Not only is she amazingly good looking, but is another that seems like just an all-around good human being. There’s not a single thing an ex-girlfriend could nitpick off of this girl. Well, OK, her music sucks. But she even seems like the type of girl that would admit to that in a humble and disarming way. You couldn’t lose on this one.
The “How’d That Happen?” Wildcard Pick: This one is the woman who, on my arm, would elicit the biggest shock value reaction in public. Now, this woman couldn’t be just beautiful, because even ugly rich guys can land models (see: Trump, Donald). She would have to be beautiful and funky. Extra-funky. Al threw out Rosario Dawson, and that’s a good one. Definitely on the right track. I also thought about Lauryn Hill. She’s been out of the spotlight awhile though, and I have no idea if having a kid (or kids) has been kind to her. And although Gabrielle Union and Halle Berry are beautiful, I don’t see them as funky. That leaves only a few off the top of my head, including Angelina Jolie, Eve, and Alicia Keys. And since I’ve always thought it’d be great to have a woman sing you to sleep, it’s gotta be Alicia Keys.
The Victim of my Evil Machinations: Or, with whom would I secretly record a bedroom tape, “accidentally” leaking it to the Internet. At this point, I’m thinking Lindsey Lohan is the hot property. It would be a happy accident, that’s for sure.
Just to Say I Did: I’d go for Monica Lewinsky, just to say I banged the same girl as the President. Honestly, if you put her on the StairMaster for the next, oh, 90 days straight, she would probably be quite the looker.
Just because it falls out of a chicken’s butt doesn’t mean I want to eat it
Widely discussed in random spots back in my archives, it’s fair to say that I have a few food aversions.
Here’s a perfect example of why I wouldn’t ever make a good Fear Factor competitor. People love truffles. They’re rare and expensive, and sounded like something I wanted to maybe try someday.
Until, of course, I read the following information (paraphrased):
White truffles are a rare delicacy, and are also said to be an aphrodisiac. They share some of the same pheromones and chemicals that are found in human male armpit sweat and female urine, which both lend to the truffle’s earthy flavor.For a kid who is perpetually tweaked that he might accidentally ingest mayonnaise someday, this is the last thing I want to hear.
Mmm… boy, doesn’t that taste like female urine?
There are plenty of good reasons out there to not like certain foods. The smells of buttermilk, sour cream, and mushrooms are enough to keep me away for good. I had a bad hot dog when I was about 12, so I haven’t had one since. Good reasons.
But when something is both a “delicacy” and “contains chemicals found in female urine,” I’m thinking I don’t have to give it a fair shake. Thanks anyway.
Something’s Bugging Me
I have a 16 year old step-sister who’s attracted to losers.
Not just losers in the “don’t get good grades in high school” sort of way, but losers of the “never getting out of this trailer park” type.
Her last boyfriend, while certainly a nice enough kid, lived in a trailer with his mom, was 18, and just never bothered to get his driver’s license. Five seconds in a car with this kid, and you’ll end up reeking of stale Camel Lights. He didn’t have many friends outside of my step-sister, and didn’t want to spend any time at all apart from her.
Oh, and by the way, they were sexually active when she was 15.
She now has a summer job at McDonald’s, and has a new boyfriend. A co-worker. A 22 year-old co-worker named Bert.
Words cannot describe how irritated this makes me.
Part of it is her fault. She’s seen her mom make some bad choices (my dad notwithstanding) over the years, and has moved around enough that she is an extremely uncertain personality. She doesn’t have any idea who she wants to be and takes the path of least resistance, letting those around her help to define it.
So, you take a girl who is uncertain of herself, add in an already unhealthy view of male/female relationships, sprinkle in one loser boyfriend over the past year, and you have a girl that is fairly easy pickings if you know what to tell her.
I haven’t met this dude Bert, but I can guess at most of it. First off, I’d bet that the vast majority of his friends are in high school, not 21-24 years old. Second, I’ll bet that he really doesn’t have a big social life at all, or else he’d want a girl that could go to the bar with him instead of a 16 year old. Third, I’m thinking this guy has major self-esteem issues, which will manifest themselves in this relationship in the forms of either possessiveness, emotional abuse, or both. And fourth, I’m going to guess this guy is going to get so possessive that if she continues to see him, she’ll be spending all her time with him and only him.
And god forbid she tries to break it off with him at some point.
My brother, who is closer to her than I am, is sitting her down for a little talk, not that I expect that to do a whole lot of good. My dad and her mom know as well, and have yet to say anything, as they’re apparently working up towards it. I’m not getting involved at this point, but I’m certainly not above shattering some dude’s kneecaps with an aluminum bat if it comes to that. I am, after all, Italian.
I had a dream / I had an awesome dream
Well, it wasn’t really “awesome” per se, but just had a little general weirdness that I’m sharing this morning.
I rarely dream about my ex-wife. Very rarely. I was shopping at the grocery store yesterday on my way home from work yesterday (this is reality, not the dream, keep up would you?), and I had one of those “for a minute there, I thought you might have been…” moments where I thought I saw my ex-wife’s acne-ridden swamp sow of a best friend. She lives somewhere in West Michigan apparently, so that wouldn’t have been completely out of the ordinary I suppose.
But that started up the “what would I do” thoughts based on if I ran into Kelsie, the swamp sow, or worse, ran into her and my ex if she was in town on a visit. So, the wheels were turning anyway.
Here’s what was weird about the dream. For some reason, I had bought a bunch of gifts for my ex, and was watching her via webcam open them up. The piece de resistance (if I spelled that properly) was shiny, jewel encrusted, and she loved it.
It was one of those things that one would wear as part of a jester costume. The part, particularly, that goes over the head, worn around the neck and drapes over the shoulders and halfway down the chest. It had gold balls hanging from it, and had jewels all over the thing. But it was undoubtedly part of a jester’s costume.
Anyone want to give me their nickel’s worth of psychoanalysis on this one?
I actually very rarely even remember what I’ve dreamt. In my last notable dream in the last few weeks, I got arrested after having sex with a beautiful girl right out in front of a bowling alley. When the cops took me away, they asked me why I’d risk arrest by being naked out in public like that. My answer was, “Look at her. If you’re me, do you turn down anything that girl asks?”
See, now here’s my inimitable lack of self-image rearing its ugly head again. I’m not a wart ridden troll living under a bridge somewhere. All in all, I’m definitely not ugly or anything. I am slightly overweight (5’10”, 210 lbs), and have a bad haircut (too many cowlicks, nothing I can do about it), but I’m not an ugly dude. I just have zero game.
All the more reason I should join America’s Wingman at the end of September for a weekend of poker and parties. I’m sure by then I can talk myself into thinking I’d have a shot with the lovely Tanya. Or that Budweiser girl with the short hair. Man, I need to go hang with Al…
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Thanks to Mimi Smartypants (link at right) for finding this story. Here's my challenge to you, o' readership of mine... Find me a more craptacular partnership/collaboration than this one, and what is it they'd produce?
It's a challenge for sure. Leave a comment.
Never in my life have I been so happy with such a middling total.
+3.25BB in two hours.
Here’s the type of night it was for me. Let’s say I get 99 in the hole. I raise and four call. There’s a 9 on the flop, which is three suited with a spade. I bet, three call. Turn is an apparent blank, also a spade. I bet, get raised, I re-raise, and am called by one. River is another blank, but a spade.
Let’s say the board is Queen high.
What do you think the guy who raised me on the turn had? A4 spades, which didn’t pair a thing or give him any apparent draws on the flop, and he stays in to catch runner-runner for the nut flush over my set.
Here’s another example. KK in the hole. I raise, another re-raises, I cap, and two (!) others come along for the ride. Yes, that’s right. Four of us see a capped flop.
Flop comes AAQ. Yep, I’m folding my cowboys. By the way, A6o won that pot, if I’m not mistaken.
AKo? Three of us see a raised/re-raised pre-flop pot. How about an 889 flop that gets capped (after I get out)? Yes, someone flopped their boat.
In something like 90 hands, I saw 12 pocket pairs. If you throw out the Deuces, I had 11 sets of pocket pairs from 99 to AA. Nines and Queens three times each. Cowboys twice. Jacks, Tens, and Aces once each.
And even with all that, I ended up only +3.25BB. Except for the Jacks and one set of Queens, I couldn’t make these cards pay off big. Even the Aces saw the board pair Queens on the turn, which made me check-call my way to the river (+3.5BB pot, which I won). I had to conservatively play AKs when it flopped the flush, as 789J of that suit ended up on the board.
And of course, it would be just like a PartyPoker player to have Td6c in their hand, and land themselves a straight flush. Didn’t happen, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t scared of the possibility.
I have never had such a run of playable cards, which, despite everything, still didn’t push my percentage of hands played above 30%. I tried to play tight and bet when I had something, but the board was mostly missing me wide to the left. And really, only that first hand (set losing to runner-runner flush) I mentioned resulted in a showdown loss for me. Everything else was folded on the flop or turn after I aggressively bet out to begin with. And frankly, even with three to the flush on the board, I wasn’t willing to believe someone would stay in that far with nothing to try and catch.
At least I ended up for the night. That was seriously in question early. Within the first two orbits I went down $21, and was down as much as $53 at any given point. To make it back to +$14 and change was a gut-wrenching accomplishment.
Although my sample size is small right now (+/- 400 hands), I’m in the green at $2/$4. I believe I can be a break-even to winning player at that level. If money were no object, I’d be playing at least $5/$10, but am not willing to deposit that much money into PartyPoker. I think $2/$4 is a good compromise. The lower levels feature far too much questionable play, and the variance is nutty. I don’t need everyone at the table to be playing Sklansky-perfect poker, but I loathe how a pre-flop raise (and even a re-raise and cap) won’t weed out garbage at $.5/$1. How anyone can have fun playing at that level is beyond me. Despite it all, there is still some garbage play at $2/$4, but it’s a lot more tempered than it is at $.5/$1.
The Amazing Fantastical Story of One Man’s Paranoia
And, by “one man,” I mean me.
In Thursday’s online edition of the Detroit Free Press, tech columnist Mike Wendland posted a sidebar in one of his articles asking to find the best of the best Michigan-based blogs.
I dashed him off an email that morning pimping this here website.
Saturday night rolled around, and all of a sudden I’m feeling paranoid and regretful that I asked Mike for consideration in his article. Mainly, it’s because of the email I wrote, which went a little something like this:
”Hiya Mike,Sigh… Yes, I am a huge retard.
What made me paranoid was the potential of seeing something to the following effect in his article:
West Michigan blogger “BG” has a site at GamblingBlues.com, which he says has been “very therapeutic getting over his divorce. Here’s a link to a post where he says he cried for an entire night when his ex-wife was cheating on him.”And with that, I’d be getting support group visitors and people with pre-existing expectations.
And, of course, a quote like that would make me look like a needy weenie, and while I just might be a needy weenie, I certainly don’t need that printed in Michigan’s most widely circulated daily newspaper.
I think I’m equally concerned about two factors here. Number one, how would I come off in the article? Based on the email I sent, the simulated quote above wouldn’t be far-fetched. And number two, expectations would be set. Yes, I talk about my divorce. But I also talk about poker, horse racing, gambling, TiVo, and god knows what else far more.
If there’s anything I don’t like, it’s expectations. I don’t want to define what this blog “is” or “isn’t.” I’m pleased to be considered part of the poker blogging community, but if you’re looking for daily poker content here, you’re not going to get it. As a matter of fact, if you’re looking for anything in particular here on the daily, you’re not going to get it. I don’t want to draw a circle around a set of topics, I don’t want to commit to X number of words per day, and I don’t want to pigeonhole myself with this blog.
It is what it is. And what it is, is “whatever.” Everything this blog has become and every benefit I’ve reaped (friendships, improvement in my poker game, an increased level of sanity) has come about naturally. I haven’t advertised, I didn’t beg Iggy for a link, and I don’t generally pimp my blog under any circumstances. The more I thought about having people come and read me because I wanted to see my website in print, the more uncomfortable I became.
So I emailed Mike on Sunday morning, asking to not be considered for his article if it wasn’t too late. Keep your fingers crossed.
Am I overreacting here?
Damn Poker Commercials
What is it with ESPN absolutely pounding a song into the ground via commercial? First, it was that somewhat catchy Black Eyed Peas song for the NBA Playoffs, now it’s that country song THAT I CAN’T GET OUT OF MY FREAKING HEAD for the new season of the WSOP.
Damn you ESPN. By the way, unless you are on horseback on the prairie for a living, or represent the Dallas NFL franchise, can we agree that you can’t call yourself a cowboy? Stupid country music makes all those yahoos think they’re cowboys. Other music doesn’t do that. Kids don’t listen to rappers and then go out and join gangs and buy assault rifles or…
Oh, wait a minute. My bad.
All music, I guess, is dangerous. Especially that sellout crap by Jimmy Buffet and the Steve Miller Band. Especially Steve Miller. Back in 1967 he was a blues musician trying to cut it against groups like the Electric Flag and Butterfield’s band. Then, apparently, he switched from the hard stuff to pot and started writing that “Joker” garbage. Freaking sellout. And yes Jimmy Buffet, you can take off the Hawaiian shirt and put the business suit back on, no one is looking. Must be nice to write one lousy song about getting drunk and create a whole image and fan base around it.
Jimmy Buffet is reggae for retards and drunks. White people just screw everything up.
Dave Brubeck – lionized as a musical genius, but a black musician doing the same sorts of things with musical structure (see: Andrew Hill or Eric Dolphy) doesn’t sell as many records.
Chet Baker – Billy Eckstine was a better singer, and damn near anyone who was recording at the time was a better trumpet player. Of course, when you’re good looking, white, and troubled, that’s all you need.
Elvis Presley – how many more generations of impersonators and rabid fans need to die off before people understand that the blues musicians Elvis ripped off were far more talented than this clown? My fear with the whole Elvis phenomenon is that it’s going to take another twenty years before he becomes “kitsch,” and then twenty more before that fan base is gone. Forty more years of Franklin Mint collector’s plates, here we come.
I don’t know anyone who buys those collector’s plates, but I wish I knew what went into the decision to do so. There would probably be a variety of reactions to seeing an ad in Sunday’s Parade Magazine to these plates. Maybe....
>>”I loved ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ and what better way to celebrate my elf fetish than this image of Hugo Weaving with pointy ears delicately embossed on cheap china?”
>>”I’ve got a painting of a Shih-Tzu, I’ve got a couch pillow with a needlepoint picture of a Shih-Tzu, a porcelain Shih-Tzu family atop my mantle, and I have forty-two other Shih-Tzu related collectibles as well. But what I’m really missing is a non-functional display plate with a picture of a Shih-Tzu.”
>>”I can’t afford a real Thomas Kinkade painting, but he’s my favorite artist, and this plate really does capture the genius of the ‘painter of light.’”
Whatever. These are inevitably the same people who are inspired by insipidity with framed “Footprints” poems and glowing Jesus heads around their house. Maybe they’re all just so lonely that they figure by ordering the Sans-a-Belt slacks or the Mutant Tomato Plant out of the paper, they’ll find common ground with the postman when he drops it off for them in 6-8 weeks. “Hey, I wear Sans-a-Belt too! And those Velcro walking shoes! We can be pals!”
Speaking of mail order, my cigarettes (well, all cigarettes in the State as of July 1st) went up another $.75 per pack. That brings the total price per pack to $8.11. Yes, I smoke $8 cigarettes. I’m thinking that I should just break down and buy a carton online, avoiding Michigan’s onerous cigarette taxes. But isn’t that admitting defeat and declaring to the world that yes, I am a smoker? I’m pretty troubled by that.
I was also troubled at the track on Sunday when the bartender/waitress saw my pack of cigarettes and said she smoked the same ones. That wasn’t the troubling part. That came when I tried in vain to explain the difference between “organic” (which is what I smoke) and “natural” (which is what she smokes).
When she asked, “what’s the difference,” I should have just said, “about $2.49 per pack.” As it was, there was no recognition on her face that “chemicals on the plants while growing” was different than “chemicals in your cigarette they add at the end.”
Where was I? Oh yeah. Country music pisses me off, and having it stuck in my head makes me even angrier. Thank you ESPN.
Al is Leaving Me Hanging
Al, I’m giving you a new nickname. From now on, you’ll be known as ”America’s Wingman,” as you are obviously going well out of your way to introduce those of us nameless, faceless bloggers from around this great land of ours to the hot drunk girls that inhabit your world.
The promised presence of Tanya, Al’s friendly neighborhood DJ friend, is currently being dangled over my head as incentive to join Al and the East Coast’s best and brightest (or drunk and drunkest) bloggers and blogreaders at a tournament and party weekend near the end of September. I’ve got no problem with a weekend of beer and poker, and even less of a problem with the inevitable “Tanya, this is BG” introduction, which will result in my uncontrollable nervous chuckling and aimless feet shuffling that I have perfected over too many years of trying to make conversation with those women who are out of my league. I’m sure the only words I’ll be able to get out will be, “Can I show your picture from Al’s website to my friends, and tell them all that I hit on you and you turned me down? I promise I’ll quit leering uncomfortably at you if you just say yes.”
Give me an ugly girl and a topic, and we’ll talk for hours. Give me a hot girl and a script, and I’m haplessly tongue-tied.
Anyway, I was talking to Al about this weekend of fun he’s planning, and his IM just crapped out on him. And he’s an IT guy.
Way to be Al. Just leave me hanging…
Vegas – Really.
Anyone besides me up for a Vegas trip at the end of the year? I’m thinking it might be cheap to do it over Thanksgiving – maybe. Fly in on Thanksgiving Day, fly back on Monday or Tuesday. Either that or December.
Who’s with me?
Monday, July 05, 2004
In game statistics...
I'm just shy of one hour into a $2/$4 session on PartyPoker, and am down $30.50.
I couldn't be a lot more frustrated.
(AA just paid off for me, so now I'm only down $16.50)
Anyway, here's the damage ($10 or more losses):
AKo with a board of 3668 rainbow, ditched on the turn, lost $10
99 from the BB, raised it up, saw JT9 flop, 3 turn, K on river, QQ won with a straight, lost $16
64o limp from the BB, 6 high flop, bet into it, was raised and called like a moron. Two overcards on fourth and fifth, lost $10.
A7s, dude hit his flush on the turn after I hit Aces on the flop. Lost $12.
All hands I played aggressively, but just lost.
I don't feel like a losing player, but my bankroll tells me another story.
Here's an embarrassing admission... 1341 entrants into the $5 NL Multi, I finish 1310th.
Here's how the last hand went:
I'm holding 955, and get dealt AJh in middle position. I raise it up to 3XBB, and get five callers.
Flop comes KK3, with two hearts. EP bets 30, I raise to 120. Next guy makes it 210, and myself and another call.
With 865 in the pot, the turn is the Ten of Hearts. I check, fully intending to check-raise whoever comes in with their set. Sadly, no one bets.
This is what kills me.
River is the Five of Clubs. It looks like a card that can't help anyone. I lead out for 400, MP calls, LP raises all-in, both myself and MP call.
MP had AK, made his set with top kicker.
I had my flush to the Ace.
LP had K5s down, and rivered the boat. Rivered the boat! That was insanely frustrating.
Something tells me though, had I gone all-in on the turn instead of on the river, I still would have gotten both these two to call. I was screwed either way.
I'm not a big drinker, honest.
As a matter of fact, since moving into this apartment in early February, I'm only responsible for killing 11 bottles of wine. That's not a lot, that's pretty reasonable.
But the grocery store was having their 15% 6-pack sale, and they marked down a few of my favorites. So, I bought six more bottles. That gives me fourteen unopened bottles. Here's the inventory:
3 bottles of Vina Alarba, a Spanish Priorat ($6.99, was $3 off regular price, and it's a favorite cheap wine of mine)
2 bottles of Nardi Rosso di Montalcino
Crane Lake Merlot (aka "Two Buck Chuck")
Echelon Syrah (marked down from $14.99 to $10.99)
Rosenblum California Zinfandel
Chateau Couronneau Bordeaux ($11.99, sounded good)
Bogle Old Vine Zinfandel (birthday present from my dad)
Tabor Hill Red Arrow Red (a Michigan wine, birthday present from my dad)
Argiano Brunello di Montalcino '95 (my last "monster" bottle)
Martin Ray Mariage ($30 bottle marked down to $14.99)
It'll be awhile before I'm buying again methinks.
On The Topic of Fantasy Football...
Fantasy Football is one of my passions. I play in a keeper league with friends from across the country, and most of the group takes the game seriously enough that major prep work must go into any successful draft.
Without getting into the quirks and technicalities of how our keeper system works, the general rule is that superstars are nearly impossible to keep, and lower round picks are much more likely to be any team's keeper selections.
I cashed in early last season, and instead of making a playoff run, made a run at a few players who could help me this year. I am keeping:
Michael Vick (in exchange for my 3rd round draft pick)
A. Boldin (15th round)
C. Johnson (14th round)
C. Palmer (17th round)
A. Pinner (16th round)
Pretty solid group, although I wish I had been smart enough to jump on Domanick Davis or Brian Westbrook in free agency, as those teams can keep those guys for 18th round picks.
Regardless, I wanted to do a little early draft prep, and came across a system called "Average Value Theory," or AVT, that seemed to make a lot of sense.
In a nutshell, you take a three year historical average (based on your league's scoring system) of how QB1 (could have been Gannon in 2001, Culpepper in 2002, Manning in 2003, it's all "QB1," or the highest scoring QB of the season) through QB24 (12 teams * 1 starter+1 backup) scored, and when you've got the three year averages, you rank the players as to how you think they'll finish this coming season.
In other words, maybe Culpepper is QB1 this season, you assign him the AVT value of the three year QB1 average. That's what you're guessing QB1 will score this year. Rank all 24 QBs.
Then I found the AVT values for 63 RBs (no explanation for the odd number) and 75 WRs, and did my own player rankings in those slots.
For point of reference, our league uses "combo" scoring, or yardage+scoring-turnovers. I didn't rank kickers, TEs, or defenses, because I really don't give a shit.
After I slotted all those players by position, I wanted to combine the data, and come up with a master list. It was an extremely interesting exercise.
In our league's draft last season, the very first under keeper rules, RBs flew off the board so fast, players like James Stewart and Emmitt Smith were drafted in round two. It was insanity. Was the value there?
Well, it shouldn't be this year.
Without player names attached, here is what AVT tells us about the top twelve (our first round). The first number is the total AVT value, the second number is the value against all other starters at that position (top 36 RB/WR, top 24 QB):
RB1 - 399.03/195.47
WR1 - 370.57/144.08
QB1 - 354.87/91
RB2 - 348.83/145.27
QB2 - 346/82.13
WR2 - 341.87/115.38
RB3 - 335.3/131.74
QB3 - 321.47/57.6
QB4 - 319.87/56
QB5 - 311.07/47.2
WR3 - 309.23/82.74
QB6 - 308.73/44.86
Should I go RB crazy in my draft? Not with the #10 overall RB on the board ranking as player #39 overall!
Based on my player rankings and this AVT chart, let's look and see what happens in two different draft scenarios for me. I can start a combination of five RB/WR, with a 2/3 or 3/2 mix:
Scenario One, RB heavy:
Ahman Green (302.63/99.07)
Travis Henry (238.13/34.57)
Duce Staley (181.13/-22.43)
Chad Johnson (295.17/68.68)
Anquan Boldin (267.83/41.34)
Scenario Two, AVT focused:
Randy Moss (370.57/144.08)
Chad Johnson (295.17/68.68)
Anquan Boldin (267.83/41.34)
Tiki Barber (223.67/20.11)
Michael Bennett (193.97/-9.59)
See what I mean? With an AVT approach, some of the old theorems about drafting can be thrown right out the window.
Do you take Randy Moss (WR1) then, over LaDanian Tomlinson (RB2), if Priest Holmes is off the board? No, and here's why. From Randy Moss you get 22 extra fantasy points, but that's spread out over too many games to be a statistical help. The difference is in analyzing the numbers in relation to an "average" player at that position. Moss is 144.08 points better than average, while Tomlinson is 145.27 points better than the RB average. Plus, RB is an important position to try to get at least two guys who will be getting the bulk of carries for their team. No guarantee there'll be anyone left that fits that bill to your satisfaction in round two with the #23 overall pick.
Where I really feel that this approach is beneficial is when you're stocking your bench with reserves, particularly as you see the rosters around you taking shape. If you can show that the dropoff between QB20 and QB22 is staggering statistically, it may make sense to ignore a decent WR in order to grab QB20, preventing an opponent in need from grabbing a difference maker.
If anyone not in my current league is interested in seeing the numbers (with my own player rankings, subject to change) generated, fly me an email. It was an eye opening exercise, to say the least.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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