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Latest Humorous T-shirt Slogan:
"You Wish!"
This one has to be taken in context to be appreciated. The girl wearing this belly shirt was maybe 5'0" tall, with a muffin top going on, despite the fact that she was clearly in her third trimester of pregnancy. In addition she was wearing a thong that came up past her low-rise jeans and pushed her muffin top down over the edge to really emphasize the roll. I'm not in perfect shape so I don't expect that others should be, but when you are wearing that shirt, along with the rest of the outfit, you open yourself to scrutiny (and perhaps random looks of horror).

It's fun to hate:
The Soccer Moms who insist that they drive gas-guzzling SUV's for the safety of their children despite the fact that they are 6 times more likely to be in a rollover accident than any other vehicle. It's like beating your child unconscious with the butt of your gun so that he will remain on the floor, thus making him less likely to be hit by a random bullet coming through the front window.

When Shadowtwin reigns supreme:
There will be mandatory, passive birth control required to participate in any form of government assistance. If you can't afford to raise your child on your own we are here to help you, but we must first make sure that your reproductive organs are adequately contained. If you don't like that policy all you have to do is support your kids your damn self!
Vote Shadowtwin!

Wildly inaccurate, yet shockingly precise, predictions based completely on happenstance and arbitrary universal fluctuations.
Your Horoscope:

Sagitarius: 11/22-12/21
A typographical error in your Church's newsletter will lead to you performing sex acts on dozens of anonymous strangers in your pursuit of "oral highground."

Capricorn: 12/22-1/19
The stars did recently tell your wife to "listen to her heart" regarding whether or not she should leave you. The stars did not intend for you to listen to her heart. But once you used that bonesaw on her sternum (not trusting the stethoscope which just responded with a cryptic thumping sound), we're pretty sure she made up her mind anyway.

Aquarius: 1/20-2/18
The stars would like to apologize for stating in their last prophecy, "Be wary of the stranger you meet at beach this weekend. The stars aren't sure why, but they don't trust him." Through a cosmic hiccup, that information was supposed to be released this month. The August prophecy should have read, "A dark and handsome stranger will approach you on the beach, profess his love for you, and sweep you away for a jetset marriage. After which you will lead a long, happy, prosperous, healthy life as the Queen of a small island nation." We apologize for any inconvenience this error may have caused.

Pisces: 2/19-3/20
Your new stopwatch will allow you to time how long you can hold your breath underwater down to the thousandth of a second. Unfortunately, poor planning will mean that you are not able to actually share the information with anyone.

Aries: 3/21-4/19
Your innovative new device for beauticians to use while giving pedicures can be wildly successful and make you quite wealthy IF you change the name. Trust us, no one is going to buy a "Ped-O-File".

Taurus: 4/20-5/20
Your Mother always told you to wear clean underwear just in case there was an accident and paramadics had to see them. But as you board that plane today, the stars want you to know that you needn't worry about it. The debris field will be more than 8 square miles, making it impossible to find most human remains. Not to mention that the ensuing fire burned so hot that it disintegrated not only all fabric, but most of the thin metals aboard as well.

Gemini: 5/21-6/21
You just had to get that genital piercing, didn't you? The stars tried to warn you not to, but you went ahead and did it anyway... Now all your worst fears will come to bear when, at a campground this weekend, you run afoul of this guy:

Cancer: 6/22-7/22
The less traveled by areas of the Grand Canyon's north rim offer some of the most breathtaking views of this natural wonder. You will soon find out they also include some of the worst footings and none of the handrails. They do, however, provide equally awe-inspiring, terminal velocity impacts.

Leo: 7/23-8/22
The stars heard your pleas, begging for someone who you could share your love with and embrace for the rest of your life. If you are still single, throw your arms around the closest person to you at 3:44pm GMT on Dcember 9th -That'll be the one. Trust us, you won't have time to be picky...

Virgo: 8/23-9/22
The stars have piled up most of your things on the front porch. You can stay at a friend's house, but you aren't coming back home until you admit what you did and apologize. The stars' Mother was right about you... (you must have really pissed them off; the stars were in tears while they told me this)

Libra: 9/23-10/22
The stars have been doing a little thinking and a lot of math. The population of planet earth is roughly 6,796,590,704. That means that roughly 566,382,558 people share each astrological sign. About 18,620,796 have the same birthday. Based on average life expectancy as many as 248,277 people were born on the same day, in the same year, for every zodiac sign. How can one statement possibly predict the future of all of them? Ehh, fuck it. "A full moon while Venus is rising is an omen of good things to come."

Scorpio: 10/23-11/21
They say you never know how you are going to react to a crisis. After a home invasion this weekend you will: You will scream, "Do whatever you want to my wife, but leave me alone!" You will then create a distraction by throwing your newborn at the assailant as you dive through the window to safety. Now you know.

Music lost to history:

Aerosmith - Dream On When I started doing these, I could never have imagined that I would be putting an Aerosmith song here. Since I was born in 1974, this song is well before my generation. It was recorded in 1972 and released in 1983 on Aerosmith's Self-Titled Album, but to read the information on it at Wikipedia most of us would become familiar with it from a re-release in 1976.

Like most of the music being released in the late 60's/early 70's that was pushing the rock-n-roll envelope, Dream On relies heavily on solid composition and and melody. Before the era of the modern effects processor, these bands had no distortion to hide behind (or very little), and synthesized instruments hadn't yet made their way into music. In that way the music always sounds more raw to us today because, quite simply, it was. While it seems laughable to think about today, music like this was so far removed from the bubble-gum pop of the 50's that it still wasn't accepted into the mainstream. As the baby-boomers became the target demographic, the rock-n-roll movement really started to pick up speed, with bands like Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith clearing the path for the much darker and heavier bands like Black Sabbath.

While I (and most of my generation) are probably far more familiar with the Aerosmith of the late 80's and early 90's, the reason this song makes it onto my MLtH page comes down to one thing: Age. Not necessarily the age of the song; In fact, as I sat down to do the research for this today, I had no idea when it was released, but would have guessed (closely) the mid 70's. Tyler was born March 26, 1948, meaning that this song was written when he was only 24 years old. I'm not sure why, but I have always thought this song was pretty amazing given his age at composition. I suppose it is human nature to wax poetic about the days of yore and the imminent passage of time, but the melody sets a mood that makes you feel it right along with him. As the song nears the end and his lyrics become more more frenzied, you can almost feel the pain (longing?) in his voice. Listen to it with headphones and no distraction sometime, you'll see what I mean.

I wrote a short bit some time ago about Kelly Sweet's cover of this song (see the video on Youtube). While I have since gotten over the initial hatred I felt towards the cover of the song, I still just can't like it. The words are there; she hits the notes; but I just can't hear it in her voice. As if there is somthing very personal about the song and Tyler's deliverance of the lyrics that just can't be duplicated. At least to me.

That said, I have heard Aerosmith doing the song with an orchestra, and it also seems to lack the passion of the original. So perhaps the thing that I like so much about it is the under-produced, raw sound of it, or it may be that I am still hearing it through the ears of that impressionable youth that heard if for the first time in a dusty old Van with my Uncle Art. Either way, it seems it is Lost to History.

Music Lost to History Archive

I Can't Believe it's Not Porn!
WhorePresents.comYep, it's not porn. It's not a site with gifts for sale either, which is probably a good thing since I can't imagine that any woman would be at all flattered to get a gift -no matter how nice- in a box that says "Whore" on it.

Daily Reading:
Magazine Man
Shane Nickerson
Wil Wheaton
Hoyazo's Poker Blog

My reading list changes from time to time, and there are many sites that I visit that are not on the list. They are listed in the order that I visit them, enjoy!

Locations of visitors to this page

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Friday, July 21, 2006

Sick Suckouts Galore!

The last three days, I have seen the final table in three blogger events. Though this is obviously a product of extreme luck, it still feels pretty good. The blogger events still always include at least a dozen people who I don't have any business being at the same table with, let alone actually competing with.

The Mookie went pretty well, and I think I actually played that one pretty solid. I didn't make a lot of stupid mistakes and I was able to win a couple of races when I needed to. I did get my chips all in on a pretty questionable call against Drewspop when he pushed from the small blind:

I haven't ever read a poker book, and I let a lot of things influence why I make a call. The cards come into it a bit for sure, but usually only after a whole bunch of other factors. On this particular hand, I put a lot of thought into his stack size before I made the call; If I fold it right here, he adds 30% to his stack uncontested. I have a pretty fair hand, but not one that even I would normally call an all in with (push with, sure, but not call with). Trying to put him on a hand here, I figure there are really only two possibilities 1) he has an A-x, and I get into the flop as an underdog. 2) this is a straight bluff, and I get into the flop way ahead. I eventually call it, fully expecting to either win or lose a coinflip, and it shakes down like this:

I wasn't expecting to see him flip over an Ace-Queen of hearts, I was thinking it was more likely to be like A-7o or something. So I was more of an underdog than I thought I would be, but the poker gods gave me one here. But like I said, I knew I was going to be looking at a race, and had I lost the race, I would have still had 2400 in chips with the blinds still at 75/150. I would have hated to lose the chips, but I knew that it was a very real possibility when I pushed them in.

Not much more that I really care to comment on happened in this one. Well there was this time at the final table where I raised 3x from MP and got the table to fold around to me. That was just wonderful, since it was the first time I have ever been able to show this at the final table:

Shortly after dropping the hammer, I found myself with a pair of 9's. I raised to 3x again, and Tripjax scoffed at this 1200 bet. He threw some godawful huge bet out there, which would have left me with only a few hundred chips if I were to call. I really thought he was trying to teach me a lesson about stealing blinds, after the hammer just a few hands before, so I decided to go all in. I figured he probably had two over cards, and that I was going to be looking at another race. But when he flipped over aces, even I don't have that kind of luck. So I managed to donk myself right the hell out of this one, again, in 7th:

This was a call that I really shouldn't have made just because I would have still been in really good position if I would have laid them down. Tripjax had been stealing pots with abandon, but I really should have waited for a better (or worse) hand to take head to head with the chipleader. He had no reason to be risking that much of his stack when he could easily just watch everyone else kill each other off. I should have given his raise in that position some respect, and in the end the reason I didn't was because it was so insanely large; I thought he really didn't want me to call it. I think I would have gone out on that hand if he would have just called it though. Unless the flop would have come up with three over cards, I would most likely have pushed on the flop anyway.

Then last night, I signed up for the WWDN: Not. I had been playing Guild Wars (geek alert! geek alert!) and barely made it in time, but make it I did. Unfortunately, my pc required a restart after an afternoon spent slaying demons, and I completely forgot to fire up my screen cap program, so the few that I am going to throw up here were ripped off directly from this photo album. I absolutely have to put them up here though, 'cause I was sucking out like nobodies business.

I started it out innocuously enough, donking off a third of my stack early. I happened to get jacks early on, raised pre-flop, then called a bet on the flop even though it had a king and an ace in it, and eventually layed them down on the turn -which is exactly one more card than I should have paid to see, but I am new to this-. The good news for me is that this was the last stupid play I would make the last time that the board wouldn't bail my ass out on a big hand. I made a couple of calls that I really shouldn't have made, but I was feeling lucky, and each of them paid off. It did lead to a lot of apologizing in the chat, but when I am hitting the cards, I am going to take more chances than when I'm not.

The first hand that I am going to post about is one where I got into a pot with Hacker. As I said before, a lot of things go into why I do or don't make a call, and the cards I am holding are only a small part of it. In this particular hand, Hacker is the short stack with 1448 in chips. Superman raised it to 600, which I called, and then Hacker pushed his 1448 in chips into the pot that was now at 1500. Hacker just doubled up if I don't make the call here. I have an A-6 s00ted, and figure Hacker could be pushing with any two cards at this point (note that he doubles up even if no one calls). I really think that my ace is probably ahead, and I call off the additional 800 chips to find out:

What I got instead was that suckout. I am posting this one only because someone asked how I made that call, and I wanted to explain it. It sure is easy to look at it after all the cards are dealt and say that it was a horrible call, but I really didn't think he was holding anything at all. If you were the short stack, and you could double up if you pushed and the other guy folded, would you make that push regardless of the cards? I would. It sucks that I was wrong and then went on to bust him out with a lucky card, but in my mind that is a call I have to make. We are all trying to win the game, and letting the short stack double up without a challenge, when I am holding an ace, is something that I just can't do. Had it not been raised on the way to Hacker, that would have been the easiest lay down of the night for me.

The next in my long line of suckouts was a push I made with a suited A-J. This one really should have sent me home. I thought I was going to be ahead when the chips went in and instead I was way, way behind:

Yeah, that one really should have sent me home. Hoy even wrote that only a fish calls an all in with A-J, so what do I do? But, on a 1-10 scale of suckouts, this one was right up there. But it was nothing compared to what was about to come. With three people left, I make an all in call on the turn with nothing but a king high and a flush draw. There are no face cards on the board, so I am figuring that we are in a battle of high cards, until he flips over pocket queens. I got about ten outs and, well, I got lucky again:

I went on to win the heads up, which is only the second heads up I have ever won. I didn't really get a lot of good pocket cards, but the poker gods were bailing me out there as well. Except for one hand where I would have ended it when I made a flush on the turn and got all in, only to see him complete a flush on the river, and his ten beat my 8(?).

Like I said at the beginning, I made some pretty big suckouts that led to a lot of apologizing in chat, but that's poker, and after having this done to me a while back, I can't feel all that bad. I hope that I can limit the foolish calls (notably those last two shown) in the future, 'cause it sucks to have to write about making a bad call and sucking out huge. Also, it sure is nice to see this once in a while:

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Well, I thought it was funny, and the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

I was text chatting with my Mother the other day (it seems the world has come full circle, we used to exchange letters, then came the telephone, followed by emails, which has now led to real time text chat, which will probably be followed by morse code, odd how that is going, eh?), and we got to talking about movies. I don't watch many movies, since I am generally disappointed with them. It just seems to me that if they are going to spend 150 million on a movie, it really should be somehow better than the 1 hour shows that are on television every week, yet they rarely ever are.

I find that the movies I enjoy seeing the most are the ones that were released at least five years ago (from today's date, you know?), and that I have never heard of. Or in some cases, like The Butterfly Effect, it can be of any age, and as long as I never paid any attention to the press about it, I can still enjoy it. By far the biggest part of enjoying the movie, for me at least, is not knowing what is going to happen. I don't mean that they give to much away in trailers, I mean that if I have seen a trailer at all, I probably already know too much to actually enjoy it (I exclude comedies from this, since my only expectation when watching a comedy is that it will make me laugh. If it accomplishes that -no matter how absurd the plot (if there is one) or the characters- I am satisfied).

A great example of this is the movie Seven. I had absolutely no idea what that movie was about when I sat down to watch it (on video). When it went into the VCR, I was kind of expecting to see a gangster movie about gambling in Vegas (no idea why), and having absolutely no knowledge of the story really made that movie. I have since watched it again and I still find it enjoyable, but there is something about seeing it with absolutely no knowledge or expectations that ups the ante as far as the suspense is concerned. Good stuff.

When I recommend movies to my Mom, I like to recommend the ones that she has probably never heard of either. We have roughly the same taste in movies (imagine that), so I am perfectly comfortable with giving her the titles of some of the dark comedies that I enjoy, yet would not really cop to watching -at least not in person-. Sometimes I manage to recommend movies that she really enjoys, sometimes though she is forced to yank that crap out of the deck ten minutes into it. Hey, nobody's perfect, right?

I recommended two movies to her while we were chatting. One is 11:14, and the other one is Lucky.

When I watched Lucky a couple of years ago, I threw up a review typed thing that made complete sense to me when I wrote it, but as I look at it now it is quite convoluted. I remember that when I wrote it, I was just pissed off that everyone that reviewed it had missed one extremely key point, and I wanted to note that. I didn't do a very good job of it, but I was probably as drunk as old Millard himself when I wrote that, so I suppose it is to be expected. I am not going to try to fix that pseudo-review, so read it at your own risk and don't expect me to answer any questions about it. Do watch the movie though, well if you happen to really like your dark comedy. Lucky was probably the best dark comedy I had seen in at least ten years, and some might not even classify it as "dark comedy" (which would just further prove my insanity, but who is really doubting that at this point anyway?).

11:14 is another movie that I had never heard of. The cast is a who's who of people you've never heard of (or forgotten all about). Patrick Swayze is in it, but he is far enough removed from his bad-ass-turned-into-wussy-spirit days that his role in this one wasn't huge, and I almost almost made it all the way through without once thinking of Whoopi Goldberg. Hillary Swank was also in it, but while I have heard the name, a quick look at her film credits (while impressive) shows that I have actually only ever seen her on screen in the movie Insomnia, and I don't know which character she was playing in either film (at least I don't recognize her face in either film. I never watch any of the shows or look at any of the magazines that paste the faces of actresses all over them. I honestly wouldn't be able to tell apart Hillary Swank and Hillary Duff. Unless one of them really is named after the skin mag, in which case I probably had a few or her pictures on my wall at one point -no tape, no glue, no thumbtacks, just stuck right on the wall-).

11:14 is another movie that I went into knowing absolutely nothing about. I had never heard of it, didn't know who was in it, and only decided to watch it since it was on a free preview channel so I knew it wouldn't have any commercials. It is another dark comedy, and another one that works pretty well. An event happens at the stated time, actually several events, and you get to see it all through the eyes of five different people. The flow of the movie is similar to that of the older comedy Noises Off, in that there are so many things happening at the same time that you find yourself rooting for a bad person who is doing a bad thing, since there is a worse person who is doing a worse thing, and you just hope that they don't run into each other. If you find yourself rooting for anyone, you are rooting for someone who, were it to happen in real life, is going to be spending a long time in prison. But you do root for people, 'cause just when you think you hate someone, another guy trumps them in the evil deeds department.

Yeah, I really liked this one. Again, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that I had never heard of it (I wish Ebert had so that I could steal a snippet of his review; mine does it no justice. Alas, Ebert has no such review, so you will just have to take my word for it). It is obviously going to help if you are able to make light of death (deaths), because if that offends you it is going to be a real deal breaker.

Yeah, anyway. So my mom put these movies on her blockbuster on-line order list, and she got one of them in the mail yesterday. She started watching Lucky, and called me a few minutes into it to ask me if she had the right movie. See, when I told her about this movie, I gave her the release date, the actor's names, and the character names to make sure that she got the right one, as there are a lot of movies that share that title. She was reading the description from the back of the box to me, and she indeed had the right movie. But when she took the dvd out of the player to see if perhaps it was the wrong disc, she found that while the movie was indeed called Lucky, that was only the US title. The one that she had was a foreign release distributed by Eros entertainment. Yup. They put a porn in the box for the movie they sent my mom.

Being the caring and compassionate son that I am, I did what any caring, compassionate son would do in that situation: I laughed so hard that it gave me cramps. And the more I think about it, the funnier it gets.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Creamy WWDN Goodness (Turkish and Domestic, baby!)

I was having a conversation the other day with slb about how we both play much better in the Tuesday night WWDN than any of the other blogger events. He is on the east coast, and he figures that the earlier start time just means that he is more patient since it isn't so late. That is some pretty sound logic. I am in Arizona, so the majority of the blogger events start at 7:00 my time, which is hardly late -in fact that is the same time I take my nearly daily crack at the ftp 20k. The only reason I can come up with as to why I might do better in the Tuesday events is that they generally have a larger field (though not lately), and I ususally don't end up at a table with 5 guys that I am terrified of. See, I don't play well terrified.

Before I get to my recap of the game, though, I want to share a couple of screenshots that I thank my stars I didn't want to take my 3-8o to war with. The first one here is a perfect example of what happens about 98% of the time if you get all in preflop with Queens:

The next one I am glad I was not in because as the play unfolded, I was fairly certain that Aquaverse was sitting on a queen based on the betting. The way Sires played the hand made it seem like he was scared, and I think everyone at the table bought that act:

Well played, Sires, well played.

Anyway. I said that I usually end up at a starting table without five people that I am completely terrified of, and that held true of last night's game. There were, in fact, only three people that I was completely terrified of. Hoy scares me on principal alone (though getting the opportunity to see some of the crap he bluffs with -as posted on his site- has taken some of the edge off), Hacker seems to be at the final table, or at least near it, at every damn blogger event, and this horse guy has smacked my ass around on a few occasions. The other people at the table, I didn't recogize, which just means that I wasn't smart enough to be terrified of them. So the starting table looked like this (though not for very long):

Last night, I decided that I wasn't going to call anything in the first three levels if I didn't have the absolute nuts. And what is funny is that I really believed that I was going to stick to it, yeah, like that ever happens. I was forced to lay down a pair of jacks early when an A-K-x hit on the flop, and was coupled with an aggressive bet. I paid too much money to see one more card, praying it would be another jack, which it wasn't (donkey call! donkey call!), but I was able to only piss away a third of my stack on that hand -it could have been much worse.

I got to limp into a hand a short while later with a pair of sixes. Glad I could limp, 'cause after losing a third of my stack on a previous horrible call, I wasn't exactly stoked about the idea of paying even the minimum to see if I could flop a set. But flop a set I did:

Boy it sucks to flop a set on a limped hand like this, eh? Either one of the blinds could easily have just flopped a straight or a flush. The straight is a lot less likely from the other guy who limped into the pot, but the flush is still a real possibility. Since I was on the button, and both of the blinds checked the flop, I decided to call the pot sized bet here, mostly to see if the blinds were going to lay it down, but also hoping that the turn would pair the board and make me feel a lot better about my position. The board had different ideas:

I really think the pot sized bet here probably means that he doesn't have a flush, probably not even a pair; my best guess is that he is in it on two high cards. Unfortunately, either of those high cards could be a heart, and I really can't justify putting nearly half my stack into a board of hearts, especially knowing that I am all but guaranteed to get called all in on the river regardless of what card happens to hit. If the board were to pair, I would surely take it down. If another heart hit, I would probably split the pot, but it could also cripple me if he had just made a backdoor flush. I layed the hand down here just hoping that I would be able to use the chips I saved on a hand in a better position later.

Instead of using the chips on a better hand, or a good hand in a better position later, I went ahead and confirmed all theories of my donkicity (is that a word?). The next big blind, I have K-garbage offsuit, and get the joy of seeing a flop (if I had a dollar for every time I am in the blind, pair on the flop, then bust out to someones two pair or trips, my bankroll would be booming). Of course the flop hits my bottom card (and they don't get much more bottom than that), and drops a pair of queens. Why I didn't immediately fold to Hoytlite's bet is a mystery even to me. In this instance, I don't think I even ran through what he could be holding before I made the call. I know that I was thinking he didn't have a Queen, beyond that, I got nothing. When it got to the river without another face card hitting, I figured I was either way ahead or way behind. He bet 210 into the pot, which looked a little fishy to me, if he would have pushed here, I probably would have folded. The small bet though, lent credibility to my theory that he could be in it with two high cards and didn't pair either of them. Since a straight call would cripple me if I lost, I decided to make my stand right here, on a frikking K-3o:

He took a long time thinking about it, but eventually called. I was almost shocked when the chips got pushed my way at the end of this one, but it is a call that I wouldn't have regretted making if it had gone the other way. From the time that I made the decision to call his bet on the flop, I think I knew that I was going to stake my tournament life on this bottom pair. A horrible, horrible call to be sure, when any pocket pair but deuces dominates me, but when no more face cards hit, I just couldn't put him on a queen with the minimal bets. I knew I dodged a bullet on this one, and I was going to do my best to keep from putting myself in that position again.

I would catch an actual hand shortly thereafter, again from a blind, and again it would be Hoytlite that was in it with me:

He raises 4x from under the gun, which I take to mean he probably has a high pocket pair. Of course the bet was enough to get us in the hand alone, so there was nothing to do but call and see the flop, which I hated: Q-J-10 with two spades. I had guessed that he was in it with a high pocket pair, which could easily be queens, jacks, or 10's, but when he led out with a bet that was a little than half the pot, it either meant that the flop missed him, or that he just made a hand and wanted to suck every last chip out of my stack. Of course there was also the possibility that he had A-10 or A-J and had just paired his bottom card, but I am more of a worst case scenario speculator. The turn was a rag, and at this point I figured I was going to live or die by this hand, unless he pushes on the turn. The board looks like this:

I missed the screenshot of the end, but, if memory serves, I think he had a pair of 9's. We ended up all in on the river and I won the hand. This is another hand that scared the holy bejeezes out of me, just because of the obvious straight, flush, and set possibilities right there one the flop. With the range of hands that I was putting him on, I am really surprised that I won this one.

The next big hand that I got into, I almost feel guilty about. I don't know why, I'm sure if the situation was reversed there wouldn't be any such feelings. I can just imagine how the guy felt, though, when he pushed his flopped set into my flopped straight:

And, unlike my luck of late, the flopped straight actually held up:

I was all set to go to war with an A-K, when Vtepes pushed from under the gun, but someone else called it, and I figured I would let them battle it out (at least I don't think I played this hand). Anyway, once Weak Player was at the table, the chat got fun. I made mention of his avatar looking a bit like my brother, which led to a brief Q&A session, ultimately capped by Astin making the observation about my brother that you can see in the chat of the screenshot below (and it almost made me shoot diet coke out of my nose):

Upon arriving at the final table, my only goal was to outlast one other guy. That is kind of a shitty goal, considering that I was actually in second when I got there. This is actually my third final table in a WWDN (remember about the doing better in the Tuesday tournaments?), and would ultimately put my average finish in the event into the high teens. Not much of note happened to me at the final table, except that I actually wasn't card dead for the first time at a final table. Unfortunately, the cards that I was getting weren't quite good enough to actually be betting big with, but they also weren't crappy enough to fold with. Let's just say that I saw a lot of suited face cards that I got to lay down to big bets on the flop -which completely missed me in every case-.

I got into a race on this hand figuring that I was going to be a slight underdog:

I wasn't sure if TransFish was sitting on a pocket pair or a high card, but I was relatively sure that the push at this point had a lot more to do with the size of the pot than the hand she was holding. With the pot at over 6,000 already, figuring that I was about 50/50 to a mid pair, and a slight underdog to an A-x (not to mention being way ahead if it was a stone bluff), I eventually made the call. Trans was holding an A-4o, making me the dog. The flop helped no one, but the turn paired her ace, then the river dropped a 4, as if the poker gods were trying to say, "well dude, you had a good run, but from this point forward bend over. Oh yeah, if you got some lube, you may want to use it".

Then I went card dead. After a couple of orbits which involved folding and more folding (someone was raising every damn hand, effectively eliminating any possibility of a steal -at least for a donk like me), I eventually ran a 4-9o into a hand that two people were already all in. Again, this call was made for no reason other than the pot size. My chip stack would have been just enough to cover the blinds another time and pay the antes along the way. My river suckout capabilities usually bail me out of those situations, but last night, it was not to be. I busted out in 7th, which is pretty respectable from a field of 52:

After I busted out, I stayed around to rail (Matt Damon!). Someone, though I forget who, asked me if I was in a cash game. I told them that after the buy in to the tournament, I had exactly 96 cents left in my PokerStars account (I am not exactly what you call a high roller), and I think that people thought I was joking. So, this one is for you guys:

With the 7th place finish, I live to fight another day.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mother flubbing circuit breakers

I hadn't been in an ftp 20k for a while, so last night I decided to go ahead and sign up for one. I didn't have a decent hand to play for the first hour of the tournament, which has become the status quo around here, but thanks to playing with Guin quite a bit over the last week or so -and having him chatting at me on the girlie chat thing- I have gotten a lot better at using my tight play to steal enough blinds to keep me around. Why this newfound stealing has yet to work its way into my blogger tournament play, I may never know. Perhaps it is because the field there is so much better, and most of them are willing to call that huge preflop raise with crap cards since they figure you have crap cards too? I dunno.

I was able to double up once before the first break, on what had to be the most insane play I have ever been involved in that I have ever won. I was on the button with a 3-9o, and when it folded around to me, I decided to go for the steal again. It seems that the big blind took offense to my having my way with his stack (which I wasn't really doing, since the big blind in this case was also the chip leader at the table). In the end, I think I just raised a little bit too much here and made it pretty obvious that it was a steal. I raised it 6x preflop, since I obviously don't want to see a flop with those cards, but that was also 1/3 of my stack, so I really needed to get my chips back (I could have gone on without them, it just would have been tough). He took a while to think before eventually calling, no raise, just a call. Of course if he raised it I would have been setting world speed records for how fast I fold.

This is exactly the kind of hand that I really need to not be in at all if I plan to advance in MTTs. There really shouldn't ever be a time when I am seeing a flop with a 3-9o, but that was the way the poker gods (read: my flawed steal attempt) willed it, so I sort of had to. The flop hits 3-9-K rainbow giving me two pair, oh how I hate this hand. He checks it to me, but remembering Hoy's observation that everyone will check if they hit a set, that could have meant anything. I checked right back. I am not sure what I should have done in that situation. In all likelihood, two pair had to be ahead right there, barring the set of course. But with the way my luck runs, it was entirely possible that he also had two pair, but that he hit with a king and a nine. When the turn came up an ace, he bet into it, but he just went straight all in. Normally, in my experience, if they want you to call it, or possibly get all your chips into the pot, the bet will be less than pot sized if they believe they have the best hand. The ace did put two clubs on the board, but at this point I don't think either of us were really afraid of a flush. I took that bet to mean that he probably just hit a pair of aces, but didn't really want to see the final card, and certainly not a showdown. After some thinking, I decided that my bottom two pair was good and pushed. He thought for a lot longer than he probably should have, but eventually called it and flipped over a pair of threes. Yep, that flopped set that I should have been worried about was about to take me out. Until a nine hits on the river, giving me a boat of 9's and 3's to his boat of 3's and 9's. Guin would be proud of my river suckout capabilities.

That left me smack at average as we went into the first break. I was also a bit gunshy after coming so close to going home on that flawed steal attempt. Thankfully, I would get a hand right after the break (possibly the third hand or so) that would get me back into the fray, so I thought... I had a pair of aces in the big blind, two guys limped in on the way around and the small blind raised it 4x. I made a minimal raise to that to get it to a nice, round 500 going into the pot, which one of the limpers as well as the small blind called. Flop comes up A-J-6 rainbow, which is just gravy for me. The pot is at 1500, I have about 2700 left in my stack and the small blind has me covered..barely.. I figure now is the perfect time to put out a bet on flopped trips (take that Hoy!), but I want at least one of the other guys to come along for the ride. A pot sized bet puts one of the guys all in, and probably makes them both fold, so I decide to go with 2/3 the pot. But two thirds would be exactly 1000, and that doesn't feel right to me, so I bet 950 instead, no idea why. The guy to my left thinks about it for a while before calling it (what is he drawing to? Does he have the other ace?), and it is on the small blind's timer when my wife goes to melt some cheese on top of her chimichanga...

See, for reasons I can't explain, the microwave runs on the same circuit as the television in my living room. Since the room where our pc's are located is on the other side of the living room wall, her pc shares a circuit with the microwave. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to me at the time, my DSL modem also shares that same circuit. So while I had decided to wait until the end of this hand before going to reset the breaker that had just tripped, I didn't realize that I had just lost my connection. By the time I did realize that, I was not able to get to the breaker box and get the DSL reset before my hand timed out. Since sitting out forces you to fold to any bet, my flopped set of aces, as well as the 1500 in chips (about half my stack) were lost right there. Which absolutely sucks! Sure, it's possible that one of them flopped trip jacks or 6's and went on to win with quads on the turn or river (also no able to see hand history once I reconnected) but I have to believe that I was going to take that pot down. That pot would have taken me to well above average stack, possibly way above, as the one guy ended up all in and was eliminated by the time I got back to the table. That one hurt.

So I was back to about 1700 in chips, which was far from ideal, but the blinds were still low enough that I could take my time. Which I didn't do, of course. About three hands later, I had a suited A-J that I called a min raise with. Flop hits an A-x-x and I decide that third kicker is good and push. Well, third kicker would have been good, had the other guy not been holding one of the x's. Fortunately for me, the x he was holding was the lowest card on the board. I say fortunately because the poker Jesus was about to bail me out again. The turn brings up the fourth ace, and the river pairs the other card on the board (a 7 I think) giving us a split pot with the boat. Saved. My. Ass.

So score that Awesome hand being folded by circuit breaker:1 Having my ass totally bailed out when I make a questionable call:2

Now you guys only think you have seen me play tight. I am here to tell you that after these two near death experiences I was ready and willing to fold anything up to (and possibly including) aces. I didn't play a hand for roughly the next century. Down to about 360 people left in it, and I had folded my blinds enough to put me squarely on the list of short stacks. I ended up in the small blind with 870 in chips -100 (possibly 150, can't remember for sure) already in the pot. I had a 6-10o, and three people had pushed in front of me. I was to the point that I needed to double up nearly three times to get back to average, and I was the short stack of the tournament. 6-10o is good, right?

I pushed in that situation knowing that I needed a miracle, but also knowing that I was going to have to push sometime during the next orbit anyway. With three guys already all in, if I were to hit it I would have life again, but I knew that there was virtually no chance that I was going to win it. Though I wouldn't get to see any of their cards until the river (one of the guys in it was the chipleader, and he and one other guy seemed perfectly content to check it down), I would have been happy had I seen what they were holding. There were two A-K's and an A-Q in it, pretty much eliminating the possibility of the other ace coming, I would have liked my odds, actually:

Of course the other Ace came on the flop to take me out of the running -which, again, I didn't know until the river, not that it really mattered. I made my decision to go in and pray, and I think I forgot to pray. At any rate, no 6 or 10 hit the board, and even if they would have, I would have lost to the eventual two pairs of Aces and Queens. So I went home somewhere around 350th (360th?).

I know that I am far better at making excuses than I am at playing poker, but I can't help but wonder how much better I would have done if I had been able to finish the hand with the aces. I sincerely doubt my result would have been all that much better, but I wouldn't have felt the need to get my chips in knowing that I was way behind at that point. I probably would have had to make a similar move, but I would have been able to make it a half an hour or so later, unless of course I happened to hit a couple of big hands along the way -something that I no longer had the luxury of waiting for once the blinds were raising as my stack was falling.

I am generally able to make it through the first half of the field in the 20k tournies by playing smart and tight early. Now that I am learning how and when to attempt steals, I should be able to put myself in a better position to actually make a run after the first break. If I could just get a couple of playable hands once the field is thinning, something that has yet to happen, I don't see why I wouldn't be able to make it to the final table in one of these bad boys. Well, except for the fact that I suck at poker, but since when have I ever let that stop me?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Evanescence has a fan, and she is pissed!

While looking through my junk mail to find the one with the little tid-bit that became my last post, I happened across this one from (there was actually a name before the 1989, but I don't think I really need to share it. Just wanted to make sure and note that it was an aol address -which my email filters all of into the junk. When you think about it, how often do you actually want to read anything that comes from an address?). It seems that my post on song remakes struck a nerve or two with her (I know it is a her based on the screen name, that or a really unfortunately named boy).

I am going to throw the email up here not just because I find it hilarious...Okay, truth be told, that is really the only reason I am posting it. I don't get much site related email -particularly now that you can comment on posts- and this one is really good, in that hate-filled, flaming way. Oh, and to note that I am going to copy and paste it, so the whole thing should be taken with a huge [sic] :

Your a fucking idiot. Emanescence is the best band there is right now eveyrone else just beats on there instruments and screams Emanescence plays perfect melodys and Amy Lee is the greatest singer of lal time. At least you can understand what she is saying when she is singing heart shpaed box. I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music just because they are the first rock band that ever had a woman for a singer. YOu must be some kind of shovanistic asshole pig. How can you make a judgemnt on a band that you dont even know do you even think before you open your mouth?

your a fucking moron!

Okay, where to start? First off, she managed to misspell the name of her favorite band not once, not twice, but three times -even neglecting to capitalize it once. Sure I was beating on them when I made the post about their cover of Heart Shaped Box, but at least I took the time to look up the proper spelling of their name. But if I want to start faulting her for her spelling, there are much bigger (smaller) fish to fry. Seriously, my grammar is horrible, but the sheer number of mistakes in that thing makes me cringe. What are they teaching kids in school these days? Obviously they aren't learning their homonyms.

She made two very valid points in the email, the first is "Your a fucking idiot", I couldn't agree more. The second is "Your a fucking moron!", again, I concur. Beyond that, she seems to be suffering from the same bit of ignorance that we all have when we are that age (assuming she was born in 1993): she seems to think that the history of music started when she was about 5. Before that the world was devoid of music of any sort, and it took her listening to the radio to start the musical ball rolling. How else could she make the claim that Evanescence was the first rock band to have a female singer? Depending on the definition of "rock band", I could probably name at least a dozen that came before her -some of which were entirely female bands. I mean, Courtney Love is still in the headlines a lot (and not for the best of reasons), and she is female (I think), and she sings in a rock band. Just looking at a couple that I can think of off-hand, Doro Pesch was the singer for the band Warlock, and running a close second (right behind Lita Ford) for the 80's rocker chick I would most like to bang.

As for the claim that Amy Lee is the greatest singer of all time, we are all entitled to our opinions. I don't think she is a bad singer, in fact, I really do like her vocals. Evanescence has some great songs, and her voice is a welcome departure from some gruff dude barking out senseless lyrics. I actually really like the song Bring Me to Life for exactly that reason. A really melodic voice with some heavy music behind it works well, and it isn't what most bands are doing (unfortunately, it is what Evanescence is doing, over and over and over...). I think it works fabulously in this particular song, it does not, however, work in Nirvana's song. To be fair to Evanescence though, I will say that I would have the same bitch no matter who it was that covered that song, if they were to try to turn it into a fucking religious hymn.

The part in the email where she says "I dont know who y ou think you are claiming to be a music expert and callign emanescence the worst band in the history of music..." kind of took me by surprise, since I have never made any such claim. I never claimed to be an expert on music, nor did I claim that Evanescence was the worst band in the history of music. I did say that their remake was the worst remake in the history of recorded music, and I stand by that. As for being a music expert, I would never claim to be one. I am just a guy with a website. I like the type of music that I like, and I realize that I am far too biased to make a fair judgement on any other type. If a barbershop quartet remakes Seasons in the Abyss, though, you can bet it is going to piss me off.

Also, it is a sad, sad world that we live in if she is really only thirteen and already knows what a chauvinistic asshole pig is (even if she hasn't quite gotten the spelling of it down). One would like to think that a girl wouldn't learn that until her late teens, alas, I suppose that the men in the U.S. seem to pound that point home at their earliest opportunity. It's good to see that she isn't willing to take that off of a man, even though I think she picked the wrong man and the wrong fight for it in this instance.

She goes on to ask the question: "do you even think before you open your mouth?" Well, the simple answer to that is: Nope. That actually gets me in trouble a lot of the time because my brain already sent my mouth a message, unfortunately that generally happens long before my logic banks kick in. It does make for some wonderful, quick-witted retorts, but it also leads to making jokes at really inoportune times. That goes double for anything I post here. If I think it, it is likely going to hit the screen in all it's unedited glory. What is the point of having a website if not to speak my mind?

I am not without emotion though, so I must say that I am sorry., I am truly, deeply sorry that Evanescence did the worst remake in the history of recorded music. But that was their choice, not mine.


Yummy, yummy SPAM

Of course everyone gets tons of garbage email, but I am the type that likes to read them. Come on, how else am I to know how much C1A L15 is going for these days (note to the guys who send those emails, if they have their blocker set up to filter out the word cialis, they probably aren't your target market).

Anyway, the more advanced automated garbage mail producers have taken to including a paragraph or two at the bottom of the unsolicited garbage mails to try to sneak them past the spam blockers. Today, this gem was at the bottom of my daily "grow your penis 3 inches" email:

He wanted to say: If you cut anything else off me, Annie, I'm going to die. candide berg He hadn't cared for her mood this morning.

For one terrible moment he thought it had gone out, and then pale-blue fire uncoiled across the title page with an audible sound — foomp! Because I can, and it's not something to apologize for, goddammit. Like the barn, with its heat-tapes. Annie had fired into the air. "Yes, Boss Ian,»Hezekiah agreed. He had gone to sleep in the monster-woman's house and had awakened in the hospital. "Ian nearly screamed, and for the first time Geoffrey had truly understood that his friend was tottering on the brink of madness. chase

I am intrigued. I wonder if I bought their shiny placebos, would they send me the rest of this story? What happened to Annie? How is poor Geoffrey holding up after all of this? I must know the answers!

With any luck, this will play out like a serial drama in my garbage mails over the next few days. Then again, it could be there for the sole purpose of getting it past my junk mail filter (it didn't).

Thursday, July 13, 2006


I sat down to a token game on FTP today, and the trash talk and name calling began right after the first hand. That is always fun. Of course both of the guys involved in the hand thought that they played a good, smart hand, yet only one of them won the hand, therefore either one of them didn't make such a great play or one of them sucked out. Now, I sure know which guy I am agreeing with here, but since both of these guys are seasoned pros -the very best to ever play the game, just ask them- I don't know for sure which one of them is the bigger donk.

I didn't do a screencap during the hand, but since the trash talk was still going on when we reached the final table (from a table of two, huge achievement), I went back in hand history to get a screenshot of the hand. Which shook down like this:

Before I get started on what actually happened, I just want to note that I in fact did not call the 4x bet with my Q-4 s00ted, see I am improving.

Okay, so first hand of a low buy-in turbo. No one knows anything about the way anyone else plays the game, unless they happen to have notes on people, but I can say that this is the first time I have seen most of these people -although I do know that I have played a couple times with one of them. The cards come out and UTG instantly bets 4x. It quickly folds around to the button, who calls, the small blind folds, the big blind calls. The flop comes out 4-8-9 with two clubs and the big blind bets out 120 into a pot of 360. UTG folds (what he says was an A-Jo, which doesn't really matter, but if you are raising 4x UTG with that on the first hand of a tournament, you probably bust out early a lot, or double up, more likely the former), and the button calls.

So at this point, we have the Big Blind betting 1/3 the pot on nothing more than an OESD, but there are 2 clubs on the board. He has to know that the flush is a possibility, right? the button is making that call knowing that he has second pair top kicker, and he has to be thinking that the only way anyone called the 4x preflop bet with a 9 would be if it was along with an ace, right? I am guessing here, but that was what I was thinking as the hand was unfolding before me. I was putting them both on an ace, figuring that one hit top pair, one hit second pair, but that one of them was suited and had the nut flush draw. Part of all that was right, and that was that one of them did hit their pair and was on a nut flush draw, the guy being in it with a 10-Jo, after a 4x preflop raise, that I could never have guessed. If that is how you are supposed to play 10-Jo, I am never going to get good at this game.

When the turn was a 10h, the big blind bet 420 at it (roughly 2/3 the pot). The button quickly called. I don't know what either player was thinking at this point, but I know what I was thinking. I was thinking that there was no way that a 10 could have improved either hand. I still think that both of the guys are holding an ace, and that both of them paired their kicker. For my theory to be true, no one can be holding a 10 or the J-Q that would have made the straight. I thought the bet was the big blind's attempt to scare the button out of the pot, so that made me think that the big blind was probably the one holding the A-8, and that his weren't suited. So at this point I think the button likely has A-9c and the big blind has A-8o (I don't know how he calls 4x with that preflop, but I can't think of any other hand he could possibly have called with and still be in this hand).

When the river brought the little club, I don't think that anyone doubted that one of the guys had just filled up his flush. Confirming my previous suspicions, the big blind checked. The button bet at it, but only 210. I think he did that because he knew that the other guy knew he was beat, but thought it likely that he would pay a final 210 (into the over 1k pot) to see the cards. Then I see that it was actually A-8c, so I was pretty close on that one, but when I looked in the history and saw the 10-Jo, that I wasn't expecting to see.

For about the next ten minutes, the trash talk stayed at roughly the level of three-year-olds: Donkey this, your momma that, fish this, tuna that. Once the dude who lost with a pair of tens and fourth kicker calmed down a little bit, he started trying to rationalize his play, while at the same time explaining why the other guy was a complete and utter dipshit. I really disagree with the guy who made the 4x call with nothing but a 10-Jo though, so I joined in on the fun. A couple of quotes from the guy who lost: "how could you possibly think that second pair was ahead on that flop?" I am looking at the hand history and thinking to myself, how could he possibly not think that second pair was ahead? The only way I could justify someone pairing a nine on that flop was if they were in it with an ace, and if someone indeed had top pair top kicker, wouldn't they bet more than just 1/3 of the pot? Especially with a flush draw on the board? Wouldn't you want to scare anyone that is drawing out of the hand?

Another quote:"How could you call a bet for 1/3 your stack with nothing but a flush draw?" Well, he didn't have just a flush draw, he had a made hand with second pair and top kicker, and he had every reason to believe that he was ahead, at least in my mind. The bet of 420 just seemed so odd to me; it was small enough that he would be able to come back if he was forced to fold, which made me think that he was weak, and it obviously made the other guy think that as well.

More quotage:"Only a donkey plays A-8s from early position" Even if we disregard the fact that the guy playing it was on the button, which isn't exactly "early position", are you telling me that good players just lay down A-x suited if there is ever a pre-flop raise? I am sure that some players do and some don't, hell, even my donkey ass will play it in some situations and lay it down others. If I have already paid to see the flop with it though, and I paired my kicker, and I have a nut flush draw, I am probably going to pay to see the turn, and likely the river, depending on what the cards on the board are, and how much I will have to pony up for the privilege.

By far his best argument, though, was:"I was 70% to win on the turn, how can you make that call?" This one is great, 'cause it kind of implies that we are playing with the cards face up. How else would anyone know that he was still in this hand with a 10-Jo? So, to join in on the fun, I went to that handy odds calculator, checked a couple of odds, and said, "He was 68% to win on the flop, how did you make that bet?" To which he replied, "I had a straight draw and two cards to come." So, I said, "he was 100% to win on the river, how did you make that call?" To which he said, "I thought I was ahead, only a donkey would be in it with nothing but a flush draw."

So I am just curious. Was the guy playing with the A-8c really playing horribly, or was the guy with 10-Jo the one that needs more schooling? I obviously side with the guy who was playing the A-8, since there is no way he can be putting the other guy on 10-Jo, but even aside from that, is playing second pair top kicker such a bad move on that flop? While I was assuming they both had an ace, it is far more likely that in that situation one of them is in it with nothing more than two overs, K-Q for instance. When the turn is a ten, could you possibly think that it somehow improves one of their hands, taking into account the betting both before and on the flop?

The guy who had been playing the 10-Jo also made the following observation, "You have no idea how to play this game". This was directed at me, after I was asking him why he was betting with nothing but a draw on the flop. While I really do think that this was his only valid point during the entire tournament, I don't think that the way I am reading the play of this particular hand has anything to do with it; my lack of understanding and ability is certainly unquestioned, but it has nothing to do with thinking he was an idiot for being in that hand at all with a 10-Jo. This all IMHO of course, YMMV.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

32 candles

Well, I turned 32 today. This is a bit disappointing, since I haven't checked any of those silly, on-line death calculators in a while, and when I checked this one today, I found that I am actually going to die in the year 2036. Well, this obviously sucks, that means that I am going to die when I am 62 (possibly 61, someone should put out a line on the before/after my birthday on that), and thus my life is already more than halfway over. The last time I checked, I was going to die when I was 64, so this would be the halfway point right here. That's what I get for not obsessing about my own death enough to check more frequently (on the upside, I could check other calculators to get more favorable numbers).

That is all moot anyway, since I am not going to live to be anything close to 62. See, I have had this recurring dream since I was in High School, in said dream, I see the date of my death, that date is December 17, 2007. Of course that seemed like it was an eternity away when I was 16, but now that I am 32 to the date seems a lot closer. The funny thing about the dream is that I actually die in it. Most people say that if you die in your dream, you die in real life. I am here to tell you that it isn't true. I die in this dream (and have died in other dreams) every time, though the way I die is never the same.

The first time I had the dream, it was pretty straight-forward. I walked out onto the sidewalk in the middle of a city -a city with huge buildings, far taller than the buildings in any of the cities I have ever visited-, stopped at a small news stand to buy a paper -which is something I have never done, and I doubt that they even have news stands any more-, then got hit by a bus in the crosswalk. Which hurt really bad. In fact, it hurt so bad that I actually had chest pains when I woke up, which, rather oddly, didn't actually happen until the next morning. I spent the remainder of that night dreaming that I was a ghost. If you get the chance, I highly recommend that you do that, it was a heck of a lot of fun to run around the streets as an apparition just fucking with people.

After that initial death dream, it has changed every single time, only the date remains the same. In every dream since then, someone around me knows that I have foreseen my own death, and knows that it happens on the 17th of December, 2007. The first such instance was when I dreamed that my Mother -ever the resourceful woman- decided that there was no way that I could get hit by a bus if I was enjoying a day at the beach. So I was spending the day at the beach ogling 15 year old asses (remember, I was dreaming this when I was in my early teens, I am not some kind of sicko. And even if I was, I probably wouldn't tell you about it.), sunning myself, and, at length, learning how to use one of them boogie board things. Which all goes fabulously. In fact it was a great time. Unfortunately, we got in a car accident on the way back home, and I died. More fun was had dreaming with my spirit self.

Anyway, I have had a bunch of different dreams that involve many different ways of trying to keep me from getting killed on December 17, 2007, none of which ever work. Possibly the funniest one was when it was decided that the best way to keep me from getting killed was to bind me to my bed. Well that idea was sailing along smoothly right up until the point that the house caught fire and I burned alive. If only they had used ropes to bind me the fire might have burned me free, but my father insisted on using handcuffs to make sure that I wouldn't escape. Then they just left me alone in the house. Surprisingly, the pain of being burned alive was a lot less intense than the pain from any of the other ways that I died. After the initial shock from the heat of the fire, your nerves kind of quit feeling the heat. The most painful way to die has been, by far, drowning. It doesn't happen quickly at all, and the water entering my lungs didn't feel cool and wet, it felt as though I was inhaling fire. And it literally took a couple of minutes after the first breath of water for my brain to decide that it was dead. All the while I was sucking in breaths of what might as well have been burning bricks for the way they felt to my body. Yeah, I don't want to die that way, and I probably won't since I am a pretty good swimmer.

I read somewhere, and a very long time ago, that men like to have a feeling of control, and that thinking that they know when they are going to die gives them the ultimate form of control. Now I am not sure if I actually believe that, but if it is true then I sure as hell would like to be able to bump the year of the death up a couple of decades. 33 years doesn't seem like nearly as many as it did back when I was teenager. Unfortunately the date in the dreams remains the same, although the dreams are far less frequent now. The last one I had was probably about a year ago, and it actually involved being mauled to death by our dog. I outweigh the guy by a good 3:1, so I would think that I would be able to hold my own against him, but man does he ever have a powerful jaw -that much I have the scars to prove already-.

As for the current day, well, happy birthday to me, I guess. The wife gifted me a car stereo to replace one that has developed an attitude -stupid inanimate objects and their stupid smack talk!-, and my mother called. You can always count on your mom to call and rub it in, can't you? But I spent the majority of the day helping my Father-in-law move furniture and rip some of the nastiest carpet I have ever seen in my life (for the smell, not the pattern or color) out of a mobile home. I managed to crack my head on a wall-mounted speaker in the process which left me with a nice lump on the noggin, as well as a slight concussion (at least I think so, it kind of feels like a disconnected feeling you get while on medication, only the only medicine I took was single dose whack the speaker with your head). Which is nice really, cause if I were to sing happy birthday to myself, I could kind of do it in rounds; My actual body singing it first, while my brain does the back-up.

Also, just to throw it out there. The fifth of this month marked the six month bi-anniversary (is that a word) of my quitting drinking. That means that I have not had a drink in six months. The last time that I made it a full six days without alcohol would have been more than a decade ago. The last time that I made it six months without alcohol would be, best guess, when I was 13 (possibly 12, that would be a close one to call).

So the good and the bad from last birthday to this one. Last year I was drinking an 18 pack of beer every day, this year I am not drinking. Last year I had a job, this year I am unemployed. Last year, I had exactly one more year left to live than I do now, this year, I have exactly one less year to live than I did last year. Last year I could salivate over 18 year old girls and only they though I was creepy, this year when I salivate over 18 year old girls everyone in the room thinks I am creepy -by next year even the creepy old guys will think I am creepy-. Last year I would have gotten spanked 31 times, this year I would get spanked 32 times -which I suppose would be a good thing if you were into that, but I'm not-. Also, I was able to cross "text chat with Wil Wheaton while playing poker" off of my "please God, before I die" list. Unfortunately, I have no such list, and I am not sure that would have been on it in the first place.

Well, I better get back to reading the internet. I really want to finish this thing before I die, and I only have a year and a few months left...

Monday, July 10, 2006

More song remakes

[I was able to link up all the videos after a visit to BlackChampagne reminded me that I was a complete idiot. Sure the artists' websites don't have the music on them, nor do the sites of the recording companies, especially so for the older songs, but YouTube has everything. Let me tell you, if I was a band that had a couple of hits in the 80's, I would want nothing more than to float that song around on the internet by any means necessary.
It sure does show the difference in logic though. Artists nowdays have the songs and videos right on their page for download, free for anyone to watch, cause, well, that is how they advertise. The older artists just expect you to rush right out and boost 15 bucks on a cd if you want to hear one of their songs. I wonder why they aren't making any money? It has to be those kids and their damn file sharing software. Either that, or the fact that there are millions and millions of songs so easily available on the internet that if you can't find the one you are looking for in about three seconds, you think of a different one and move on. I mean, I find it a bit unlikely that the Genesis version of Land of Confusion is in the top of the file transfers list (probably not even on it), and now would be a great time for them to actually be pimping it. The kids that watched that video in the 80's are starting to get nostalgic (thus three complete series on VH1 called I love the 80's), and would probably like to see that one again either because they remember it as being so much better than the new Disturbed version, or because they just enjoyed seeing Ronald Reagan portrayed as a puppeted caricature (though they could have seen that on any news broadcast during his presidency). But it really seems like these older recording artists think that this new-fangled internet thing is just a passing fad, and soon everyone will be back to buying all their favorite music on 8-track. Until they realize that the music is going to be available on the internet so they might as well endorse it, these artists are going to continue to fade more and more into obscurity. Until, as an eventuality, they will be nothing more than an answer in a trivial pursuit game.]

I never really realized that song remakes was one of my pet peeves, but digging through my archives looking for linkage (dear God I need to index that or something, it took me about an hour to find what I was looking for. Since they are titled only by date, google can't hit them when I do a search for the terms in them either.) I found a couple of examples. Thus my transformation from punk kid to old dude bitching about how much better things were when he was a kid is almost complete. Almost.

I have three song remakes in mind today, and my reaction to them is as varied as the songs themselves. Chances are that anyone over the age of 25 is familiar with one of the originals, but you probably have to be over thirty to remember the other two. I will go into them in the order that they are listed on my notes page.

First up is Lacuna Coil's cover of the Depeche Mode song Enjoy the Silence(Lacuna Coil's page allows you to play the song, I can't find anywhere on the internet that allows me to link to the Depeche Mode version)[Depeche Mode video Lacuna Coil video]. This one isn't as bad as I thought it was when I added it to my notes page. The cover version makes it absolutely clear that it is a remake of an 80's song, though I think it really loses a lot of its impact when the vocals are sang by a woman instead of being harmonized by some dude (as I was trying to find out who it was that actually did the vocals on the original track, I found myself reading the entire history of Depeche Mode, which, while interesting, is certainly not all that important for my purposes here. If you know off hand who it was, feel free to let me know, else it will forever be "some dude" getting the credit on my page). So, this one was not quite as bad as my initial impression, but if I am in a mood to listen to Enjoy the Silence, I am certainly going to grab the wife's Depeche Mode cd even though it would be much less of a hassle to play the Lacuna Coil version.

Next up is Disturbed with a cover of the Genesis song Land of Confusion (again, the Disturbed site has their video for the song on it -which I only saw just now-, I can find no such linkage for the Genesis version)[Disturbed video Genesis video]. I have to say that I really like the Disturbed version of this one. The Genesis song was cool enough that I wasn't ashamed of owning the the Invisible Touch album back in the 80's, and I really loved the puppets in the video (if you know of a link to that video, please do share). The song was timely in the 80's for it's ambiguously political lyrics, as well as the literal portrayal of the "men of power" as puppets. The song is every bit as timely today, and perhaps more so. I think Distrubed's video for the song really nails the current political climate and doesn't leave much question as to who the Nazi-esque, Money-hungry pig is. This is one of the few song remakes that I actually like more than the original, though the fact that it is getting played about thirty times a day on both the satellite radio and my local rock station may wear it out way faster than necessary. If you haven't seen the video for it though, go to Disturbed's site and check it out. Pretty good stuff.

Finally, the worst remake in the history of recorded music. I am talking about the Evanescence cover of the Nirvana (sorry, no link. I have no idea which website is the official one) song Heart Shaped Box(that is an odd link. Every time I click it, it plays the Nirvana video, but for unknown reasons it is on the page for a different band and a different song.) Now I was never a huge Nirvana fan. I did buy the naked baby album, but I never really got into them beyond that. With that being said, I think the real appeal of the group was Cobain's raw, gritty lyrics and singing. There was a sincerity to the songs that came across and those that listened to the music could really connect with it. For exactly that reason, it really isn't possible to remake any Nirvana song, since the reason the songs, hell the band really, did so well is that they were so real. Not some over-produced top 40 pop crap, you got what sounded like one take performances that you either got into or didn't, Cobain didn't seem to care one way or the other. When Evanescence did that acoustic butchering of Heart Shaped Box, the lyrics sounded like an A Capella rendition of the ingredient label on the back of a shampoo bottle [Evanescence version probably thankfully, this was the only version of it that didn't have some 9 year old doing it karaoke style (what has the world come to?), or live. The live version of it is slightly less atrocious, since the A Capella voice doesn't seem so easy to duplicate on the stage, it almost sounds like someone actually singing it! Not going to change my opinion on the cover though, worst remake in the history of music]-absolutely nothing real about, just singing whatever was thrown in front of her. Absolutely the worst cover song in the history of music. This one makes Avril Lavigne's cover of the Metallica song Fuel seem downright rocking! (and she absolutely butchered that one. I love this one quote from the comments on Avril's video "They could care less about avril in 1997. Her 15 minutes of fame came now they are over and in 5 years she will be some crack whore in Las Vegas". It's funny because it's true.)

Now I'll get back to bitching about these damn kids and their new-fangled "cell phones". We didn't have "cell phones" when I was a kid. If you wanted to talk to someone when you were out of the house, you just went to a pay phone and waited for it to ring. You could stand there for days waiting, and it was never the guy that you wanted to talk to on the other end when the phone did ring, but we did it because that was all we could do. I remember this one time I wanted to talk to my mom, it was probably back around, oh, say 93 or so. It was about three in the morning, middle of January, I walked about three miles to the nearest pay phone and I stood there for six day, completely naked, waiting for the phone to ring...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The shitty icing on the crappy cake

Sometimes I start wondering if it is possible, however impossible it seems, that my thinking influences the cards that are dealt. When I first started playing, I would make an all-in call on the flop with nothing but a nut flush draw, and I would have every confidence that I was going to hit my outs and take down the pot. What's more is that I generally always did. If I ended up in a pot with Kings where I had an ace kicker and the other guy had a queen kicker, I had every confidence that my hand would hold up until the river. It was good to be so naive.

Since the horrible beat that I put on Hoy (who had a horrible beat recently in the WSOP, making my lost buy-ins look like so much chump change) in a blogger tournament a couple of weeks ago, things haven't been going my way all that often. Sometimes I will just make a horrible call, which is bound to happen since I am so new to the game. But all too often I am making the right call, getting my chips in when I am favored, and still losing the hand. I understand that this is the way of poker. If I am a 65% favorite to win the hand, that means that the other guy is a 35% favorite to either win or tie. The thing is it would seem like that 65% should be holding up at least half of the time, and it just doesn't -at least not right now (variance sucks).

After losing so many favored hands my confidence is just shattered. I am finding myself extremely reluctant to make an all-in call pre-flop, regardless of what I am holding. Sure, I'll still take a stab at it if I am holding a pair of Kings or Aces -very rarely with Queens, I have extremely bad luck with them- and I do win some of them, but I go into the pot almost expecting the miracle cards on the flop, turn, and river to come and bail the other guy out. So now I find myself slow playing hands out of fear. I have to at least see the flop before I commit a sizable chunk of my stack to a hand, not that it seems to matter since the last two cards always find a way to fuck me over anyway.

The last hand that I played is a microcosm of the way poker is going for me right now. All I could do was get my chips in when I was ahead -way ahead- and stare on in shock and disbelief as the poker gods saw fit to bend me over and take it to me donkey show style. I think I may still be in shock.

This was in an FTP 20k event as it was nearing the bubble. I had about 8,000 in chips, the big stack at the table had about 25,000. I found myself with the black kings on the button, and the hand was folded around to me. I raised 1,500 (I don't remember exactly what the blinds were at this point, but they were still three digit), which pushed out the small blind, but the big blind insta-called it. The flop came up K-J-J with two hearts. Big blind thought about it for a minute, then pushed over 20,000 chips at the pot -which the more I think about it was probably because he thought he was behind and didn't think I would call if he pushed his whole stack-. This should have been an instant call for me, but I thought about it for a long time. What could he possibly have? There was almost no way that he was ahead. The best hand that he could have was K-J for a lower boat, unless he happened to have a pair of Jacks, in which case I would really be fucked. No way he has Jacks, so I eventually call it. Since I didn't take a screenshot, I will show you one that I recreated with a nifty odds calculator:

Huh. He only had queens. I guess he must have been putting me on a mid pair or something. Anyway, when he saw my cards, the guy said, "um. What were you thinking about?" Since it was on FTP, I became an observer faster than I was able to type in a response.

Now, I have been in almost this exact situation before. The last time I was in it with Aces, flop was A-J-J, we got all in, he showed kings, then hit the 10 and miracle queen to win with a royal flush. This time, he was out of suit for that to happen, so I was golden. I mean look at those odds for the kings to hold up. 99.8%, that is about as close as you can get to a sure thing. Well, by now you probably know that I didn't win the hand, so I will get right to the next odds generator produced image:

Well, I am still almost 98% to win it, and he only has the one out... Which he hit, of course, to send me home. The flopped boat loses to the rivered quads. *sigh*

Just the luck of the draw, right? I will try to find solace in the fact that since I lost it this time, the next 99.8 times I get that hand it should hold up. Comforting...

Well, with that I am gonna take a step back from poker for a couple of days. Not that I am going to quit playing based on one horrific beat, more that I am going to watch from the sidelines for a couple of days after losing a lot of races where I was ahead on the final straightaway. This one was just the shitty icing on the crappy cake.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

In which I pimp the Magazine Man...

I often pimp Magazine Man because he is the best storyteller that I have found on the internet. But he is also a genuinely good guy. While he was doing a crap giveaway last year (which netted me a nifty Mystery Machine that was a wonderful Christmas gift for my Nephew), he made a very brief reference to a local charity where he was donating metric tons of crap superfluous clutter, which would be distributed to those less fortunate at Christmas time. Those are the types of stories that he doesn't tell, the things that he seems to do not for reward, or for attention, but because he is kind and compassionate. While I don't personally know the man, I am willing to speculate that this has nothing to do with his relative comfort level either; if he were homeless and had two cans of soup, I would be willing to bet that he would give the second one to someone in need (and likely the first as well, if someone needed it more than him). That is my read of MM anyway, and that comes not from what he or anyone else says about him, but from such trivial mentions of philanthropic endeavors. And if he were to read what I had just written about him, he would surely claim that he was not deserving of such praise, because he is just that humble (so don't even try it, MM, I'm on to you!).

MM's audience has recently had the opportunity to see yet another rare trait though, and that is just how far this man is willing to go to protect his family. If you don't consider a dog to be a part of the family, please quit reading now. If you do consider a dog to be a part of the family, but are unsure as to just what lengths you would be willing to go to defend him/her, well you and me would be in the same boat. Would you put your own life on the line to save your Sparky? I can say that I have gotten in the middle of some pretty serious dog fights to that end (and have quite a scar collection to prove it), but I don't know if I would have the courage to face down an armed man to defend ole' Sparky (Warlock or Zelda in my case). I guess I would need to be put in that situation to see if the adrenaline would manifest itself in fear or rage -that is something that you just can't practice. I don't know what I would do in that situation, but I know what MM did, and it goes beyond what I think the vast majority of people would do.

The story is currently 4 parts, with at least three one more to come, as he has not yet gone into great detail of what exactly happened during the last several days. Though we do get to see the end result. Here are his posts:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
And if you want to see just what lengths a man is willing to go to in defense of Blaze, you absolutely must read Part 4.

Blaze is in quite capable hands, it seems.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Guarantee my ass..

I started playing a token game on FTP yesterday at about 4:30. I had already won a token for the 20k that night, and I generally only play one token game a day, get the token and that's it. Yesterday, I just jumped in another one 'cause I was bored, and I can now say that I totally agree that the game is rigged -in my favor this time-.

I didn't get any screenshots, but I did save the history of this one. First hand I got Queens, which ended up busting someone. Second had was 9's that I layed down to an ugly flop. Third hand was garbage. Fourth hand was 8s. Fifth hand was 10s that turned into a boat to send someone else home. And it just kept going. By the time about 30 hands had been played, I only had about half a dozen hands that weren't playable, and had had Aces twice, Kings once, Jacks twice, Queens once, A-Ks twice -on back to back hands, in the same suit- , tens twice, 8's once, 9's once -it was just insane. I was actually laying down hands that were probably ahead just because I didn't need to play them, only to find the next hand even better than the last. Hell, the two Aces were only a few hands apart (I don't like posting hand histories since it just looks like a bunch of technical gibberish to those who don't play, but I will certainly email it to you if you want to see just how rigged the game was this time). During this amazing string of luck, I decided to sign up for a 10k tourney that started at 5, just to see if the luck would carry over. And, not so much.

The 10k tournament was the polar opposite of the other game. I was not getting anything remotely playable, and was banking on the other guys not wanting to bust out early with my stealing. My first ten hands were all absolute garbage, but I managed to come out of it a bit above starting position, so that was good. The luck was still in my favor on a couple of hands though, as I sucked out huge exactly twice in this tournament. The first one wasn't for all the marbles, but it was a suckout nonetheless. I had A-Jo on the button, and it was folded around to me, big blind was on the short stack, and I thought about calling him in, but decided to just raise 3x to see if he would take it, which he did. Flop is A-K-7, putting me in pretty good position with the top pair. He bets the pot and I call it. Turn is a 3 and he pushes. It's only 200 more to call, and the pot is about 1000. I am in pretty good shape with top pair and a decent kicker, so I call. He flips over A-3o for top and bottom pair. Damn. I am praying for a jack, but the river wants to be a little more brutal to the guy and pairs the king instead. Sending him home, quite understandably, pissed off. Like I say, that one wasn't really huge, since it would only have been about a third of my stack, of course I bet the other guy thought it was pretty huge.

A short while later, my tournament life would be on the line. The guy two seats to my right is the big stack, and being a bully like the big stacks often do. I have about 2k in chips to his 9k. As the blinds near his side of the table, he starts getting push happy. He pushes when he is UTG but gets no callers. Pushes from the BB but gets no callers. Pushes from the SB but gets no callers. Then, when he is on the button and I am in the big blind, he pushes again. I have Q-Js, which I normally woudln't think about calling with, but man, this dude has pushed four hands in a row. I call. Aces. I say in chat "I have to call on the one hand that you aren't bluffing". He says, "heh. Probably." (who knows, maybe he was on a string of luck like I was having in the token game). Flop hits with a 9-10-x, two in my suit. He says "Nice flop". I start to type "Wait till you see the river", but can't get it in before the cards come down. Turn is garbage. River is an 8 to give me the straight. I decided against hitting enter to show the line in chat. To his credit, he took it in stride; all he said was "nice catch". Then the FTP gods decided to give me a break and moved me away from that table, 'cause you know that guy has a bulls-eye painted on me at that point.

I got a crucial double-up shortly before the second break, when I got in on the turn with a paired King -Ace kicker-, and it miraculously held up against his open-ended straight draw (I shouldn't say miraculous, since I was like an 85% favorite when the chips went in, but man I lose a lot of similar hands). It was during the break that I realized that all of the screenshots I had been taking weren't being saved. See, after I restart the PC I have to load the program, and I had completely forgotten that I had to restart it due to graphics issues just before I started playing cards. Which sucks, 'cause I thought I had caps of both of my huge suckouts. I always post the ones where people suck out on me, I thought it would be nice to do so the other way around. Unfortunately, you have to settle for text, since the monkey at the keyboard forgot to run the damn program first.

The 20k was starting at about this time, so I had that running as well. I went and found Guin at his table, and was chatting with him for the duration of my 10k tourney. He came over and railed for me for a bit, which was nice, no one has ever railed for me before. Also, it gave me a bit of confidence to know at least one other person out there thought I was doing just fine. I was very near the bubble, when I found a pair of 10's in the BB. At Guin's table, I typed, "uh-oh. I could bust on this hand". MP raised it 4x, which was about a third of my stack, and I called it (but should I have?). The flop gave me a set, and he pushed into me. The call was a no-brainer. I doubled up to 12th place out of about 60 left. Barring some horrible fuck up, I was going to make the money at least.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't have a hand worth even calling with for the next eternity. I did push at one point when it folded around to me (I think I actually had K-J at that time) but didn't have to play it. The play was ultra tight, and whoever pushed their chips in first took down nearly every pot. I was blinding and ante-ing my way out of it, without ever seeing any paint. I was in 38th when it went to hand for hand, and managed to not fuck up all the way to the money. Much like my last experience in the money, everyone got all push happy once the bubble broke. There was no sense in trying to limp into any hand unless you were willing to call an all-in with those cards, 'cause someone was going to push. For the remainder of my time in the tourney, I don't think there was a flop that didn't involve two guys being all in before it.

The guy to my right was a calling station, and Guin noted that in the other chat. He told me to push every time the guy before me didn't. I couldn't bring myself to do that with the 3-7 and 2-8 offsuit crap I was getting though. At one point, Guin said, "You have to do it. Push this hand" That was when it was folded to me on the button. I thought about it for a bit before folding. What then happened was the small blind pushed and got called by the big blind. One of them flipped over jacks, the other queens. I noted to Guin "Good advice", to which he said "Maybe not that hand".

They were dropping like flies, and again I found myself in the position of being a "they". We made it down to 27 players and I was the short stack with about 6,500 in chips and the blinds at like a million or something. I got a Q-Jo in late position (maybe a blind, not sure) and someone had made a 2.5x raise before it got to me. I pushed, hoping that my cards were live, yes, I was actually hoping to see him flip an A-Ko or A-10s when I made that push (preferably the latter). I knew I was going to be an underdog, but if he had either of those hands he would only be a 60 something percent favorite, and that is barely better than a coinflip. Unfortunately, he had a Queen, thus eliminating a lot of outs for me, and making him a 75% (or so) favorite. His hand held up, and I go home in 27th:

The good news is that I am getting a lot more comfortable playing as the stacks get deeper and deeper. I think my biggest problem (well, aside from the lack of any skill whatsoever -and don't get me wrong, I know that is a problem too-) is my inability to take advantage of how tight I play to win some pots late in the game. By the time it gets to the money, everyone is doing pretty much exactly the same thing. Everyone knows that when someone pushes it is probably based a lot more on their table position than the cards that they are holding, but no one wants to risk their tournament life on it. Last night, I wasn't really able to do that because of the stack monster on my right (at least that is my current excuse), but I need to be able to. If I would have pushed with any of the other hands I had, I would probably have had a better chance of winning with them, simply because if someone calls my push, the 3-7 I have is almost guaranteed to be live. While my percentage to win certainly doesn't go up in that situation, I would have had a lot more outs. A huge gamble to be sure, but when you are on the short stack with blinds that high you either need a lucky flop or a monster hand, and with an M of 3, you can't really be waiting for the monster.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Maybe not the stupidest question ever asked, but a strong contender

In a .01/.02 cash game on pokerstars. Someone said, "Are any of you playing in the World Series of Poker?" Because it seems pretty likely that if someone was, they would be honing their skills in a .01/.02 cash game, right? I mean really, same level of play and everything, right? Whoever said "There are no stupid questions" obviously never interacted with humans.


The music that defines me

I was having trouble getting to sleep last night and found myself thinking about adding a new song to my little sidebar. Then I started thinking that the whole title of the entry over there isn't accurate and hardly reflects what it was that I initially intended it to be. When I first started posting those songs over there, the songs that I was referring to were all either fairly obscure, or the b-sides of the radio singles at the very least. The last couple of them that I have posted were just random songs that really don't have any meaning to me, other than I can remember a particular experience that I associate with them. Not that it was ever my intention to prove that I was a hard core fan of any band in the early days just by claiming that I used to have some of their bootlegged stuff (like Metallica for instance -I really should have let that thought go, I think I just disproved my point), but I didn't want it to be just a space filler with a popular song from a couple of decades ago (in fact, I wanted it to be a space filler with an obscure song from a couple of decades ago. The idea was to turn people on to some stuff that they had probably never listened to, not to remind them of what was popular when they were young). With that in mind, I am setting out to come up with something to put over there that more accurately reflects the intentions that I based the idea on in the first place. Consider that fair warning.

Now I am left with all the other songs, the main stream stuff, and nothing to do with it. So I have decided that, just for fun, I am going to compile a list of the ten songs that had the biggest influence on me. These are going to be songs that obviously had a huge influence on the kind of music that I listen to today, but also songs that I actually think had an impact on the course that my life took. When you think back on it, I am sure that you will remember some songs that really defined areas of your life, your attitude at the time, the decisions you made. For better or worse, I think we can all probably narrow our vast audio libraries down to about ten songs that really shaped and molded our character and actions over the years. Whether you started to rebel against the authority figures in your school because that was what The Sex Pistols told you was cool, or you formed a band because Night Ranger was seriously scoring chicks with their ballads, you have to admit that the songs had a lot more influence over you than just what you were listening to while you were smoking weed in your parents' basement.

We will consider this an experiment. I am going to try to make it ten songs, but I am sure that the number will likely go up when I find that another song was just too huge for one reason or another. In situations where there were several songs that were all popular or influencing me at the same time, I am going to pick one to go with, although I will probably note the other ones as well, but it will only count as one entry. I am also not going to presume to put these in an order of how much influence they actually had in relation to one another, only that I know they had an influence. For that reason I will try to put them in chronological order, starting with the days when I was but a wee lad -Back when I would sing B-I-N-G-O and think I was rocking out. Well, enough preamble.

1) Queen: Another One Bites the Dust. Growing up in Oregon, we had no rock radio stations or even top 40 for that matter. The only music that I had heard up to that point had been country and the stuff that my parents had on vinyl -this included a lot of the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the Beatles- none of which I really ever got into. I did listen to the Beach Boys quite a bit, but when your options are the Beach Boys or listening to some woman practicing for the spelling bee over and over again (the song was called "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"), you take what you can get. My oldest brother got a tape deck (long before the era of the boom box) and brought home a tape that had Another One Bites the Dust on it. Another song that was on the tape (which was just a copy, and a horrible one at that) was Don't Try Suicide. Needless to say, these songs were quite the departure from the Man in Black and Tanya Tucker. I was far too young at that point to realize that Queen was a reference to Freddie Mercury's sexuality, and didn't care why everyone seemed to hate these guys, all I knew was that the instruments in that music straight rocked, and I wanted to hear more of it. There was also a controversy about the song Another One Bites the Dust because if you play it backwards it sounds like it is saying "it's fun to smoke marijuana". I tried that later in life (both the drug and playing the song backwards) and can confirm both -though you really have to be listening to actually make the slurred audio sound like those words. Of course if that is what you are trying to hear it wouldn't be so difficult. Queen forever! (hmm. I would have put money on me never typing that phrase.)

2)Nazareth: Hair of the Dog. I remember this song being popular at about the same time as Joan Jett and the Blackhearts: I Love Rock and Roll. Whether that is the product of a muddled mind or they actually were released at the same time I may never know. Both were huge on the playground in the third grade though, and we would huddle around Nathan's tiny little tape recorder to listen to them every day at recess. In the end, Nazareth gets the nod over Joan Jett only because it introduced "Son of a Bitch" to my lexicon. Certainly not the only time I would let music make my little mouth say things that made my mother blush, but the first to be sure. I bet if you were to look on some historical numbers, there were probably a lot more third-graders getting reprimanded in 1981 for saying son of a bitch than any other year in history. Nazareth was leading our charge! While none of us really understood what their songs were really about, particularly songs like Cocaine, and even Love Hurts was something that would be another five or six years before we would be seeing the business end of, a third-grader really thinks that anyone who actually says "son of a bitch" in a song is the coolest person on the planet, and will try to emulate them in every way. Long live Nazareth, you sons of bitches! (yes, the plural version loses a bit of the oomph, but what are you gonna do?)

3)Quiet Riot: Cum On Feel the Noize. Now I could have picked any song off of this album, as it was the first hard rock album that I owned (yes, on vinyl) and I wore it straight the fuck out. It was also the first time I had ever actually heard a guitar solo (Battle Axe). Simply put, this album blew my mind. Between Cum on Feel the Noize and Metal Health, I was bound to never be that innocent, doe-eyed child again. I was starting to experience the world around me, and ready to feel the noize already. I should probably have known better than to idolize some idiots that couldn't spell come or noise properly, but I was young. I would later learn that the misspelling of cum was probably intentional, though I never did find any reason for the misspelling of noize. But these guys are rockers, so I assume that they probably didn't really excel in grammar school. Again, these guys were cool, I wanted to be like them. I was ready to "feel the noize" while I was "banging my head". My parents were less than enthused. Quiet Riot Rulez!

4)AC/DC: Back in Black. Chronologically, this one is in the wrong place. I think it would be number two on the list if I was going by release dates alone, but I didn't actually hear this until 1984. Kind of an interesting story to it: There were kids in two age groups where I lived, those in my age range, and those that were about eight years older. There weren't really any kids in between. The ones who lived just behind us were of the eight year older variety, and had a huge party one weekend, I assume while their parents were out of town. Sometime during the party, someone yanked Back in Black off of the record player and winged it. It ended up in my back yard, where I found it a couple of days later while mowing the lawn. It was either that or it was a gift from God, dropped there to turn me on to the Devil's Music, which would make for a much better story, but it probably isn't true. Back in Black also holds the distinction of being the only album that I have ever owned on Lp, 8-track, cassette, CD, and now mp3. Anyone who listens to rock will have to have this one somewhere on their list of greatest albums of all time. You could search forever and probably never find a more gritty, no-frills, in-your-face rock album. These guys weren't about showboating, although they are all excellent with their instruments, they wanted to kick you in the gut with a tight, powerful song that made you throw your fist in the air. Let's just say that I bought into that mentality completely. The road that I started to meander down when I first heard Queen a few years prior was now being paved in solid Black. It probably helps that some show (the 700 club or something) was saying that the name stood for anti Christ/devil's children. Oooh, telling a youngster that listening to this music would make your parents afraid of you might not have been the best move you religious nutjobs... AC/DC Forever! \m/

5)The Hair Bands: I Remember You while Every Rose Has it's Thorn in Heaven. But, you are my Love of a Lifetime and I Think I Love You, possibly More Than Words can say. But,Is This Love?, 'cause if it isn't, I Won't Forget You 'cause I am nothing Without You. Well, Love Bites, but Girl, Don't Go Away Mad or I'll Close My Eyes Forever and let Don't Know What You've Got('til it's gone) put me to sleep. Alas, here I am Alone Again, Without You Yeah, there were a bunch of them. I was walking a slippery slope there for a while, watching all the girls getting all squishy listening to that dribble. But, being that I had a penis and no functioning brain at that point, I was all about the hair bands (if you try to deny that you listened to it, you are probably a liar). I don't really remember any of the songs per se, but I sure do remember who I was getting to second base with while listening to them. I was coppin' me some feels. I probably wouldn't have known what to do if I had managed to get their pants off anyway, but boy them was some times. That is also why I would never want to have a daughter; If any fourteen year old boy ever did the things that this fourteen year old boy was doing to thirteen year old girls, and he was doing it to my daughter, well, I just wouldn't want to be the boy in that situation. Good thing I knew that when I was playing with the panty hamsters. I did have to leave rather unexpectedly, and with blistering speed on more than one occasion. Because of this music, well my desire to play with the panty hamsters really, I was dressing exactly like all of the hair bands -some would call it cross dressing. Praise be to the baby Jesus that I was pretty camera shy at the time, and as such there is very little visual evidence of the lengths I was willing to go to play me some tonsil hockey while trying to hide various appendages in various orifices (ahh, isn't that romantic?). Ummm, long live the hair bands, or whatever, I can't really throw the horns on this one. (no one ever said I was going to be proud of the music)

6)Metallica: Master of Puppets Holy mother-fucking fuck! I mean, fuck. I mean, well, just, well, fuck! A kid in my school by the name of Jason Thrush wanted to borrow five bucks from me one day, but I didn't trust him to pay me back. He gave me this tape as collateral. I had never heard of Metallica before (was I ever so pure?) and found the gravestones intriguing. What was this, some satanic music? What would it hurt to listen to just a little bit? It was in the middle of the first song when I put it in, but I used my snazzy new tape deck to auto-fast-forward to the start of the next song (that was some cool technology, huh?) and started the song. And. Well. Fuck. That shit just kicks you in the teeth and dares you to come back for more. Man, I knew I was never going to be the same again. Jason never got his tape back, and "Fuck it all with Fucking no regrets" would become my motto for the next decade or so (probably not a good call), and I desperately wanted to be Metallica. At the time, the Metallica fan club was actually based in Roseburg, Oregon (where I lived) and there were all sorts of rumors going around that they actually originated there (which was completely bogus, it was actually just a guy that lived there that wanted to be Metallica a little bit worse than me dedicating himself to spreading the word). It was about this time that I took to wearing a string of bullets from a machine gun around my wrist when I went to school (don't remember what type of gun it was, my buddy Steve stole them from the National Guard while he was there one weekend a month, two weeks a year), oh yeah, they were actually blanks too. I started to grow my hair out, not shower nearly enough, wear nothing but black t-shirts and jeans, and I bought a guitar. The guitar was a "Memphis" brand, just some cheap ass, blue electric guitar. I couldn't play a single note, honestly couldn't even tune the thing (never would have been able to since the tremolo was broken and the neck looked like a topographic map of a mountain chain), but I slapped Metallica stickers all over that son of a bitch (hooray Nazareth) and carried it everywhere I went. I seem to recall that I actually used some nail polish (it was what I had, remember the hair bands?) to write "EET FUK" on it, as a tribute to James Hetfield. Some might say my fascination might have been borderline unhealthy, they would be wrong. My obsession with them was so complete as to be damn near self-destructive. Metallica! Fuck it all with Fucking no regrets! (interesting aside about regret. It is soooooo much better to regret something that you didn't do (I should have bought that IBM stock back in 78) than to regret something that you did do (ahh shit, now where am I gonna put the body). Just thought I would throw that out there.)

7)Metallica: Enter Sandman. I would have liked to not have to put two Metallica songs right next to each other, but I simply have to. Enter Sandman was what forced me to actually buy a playable guitar and start to learn some notes. I have never been so obsessed with anything in my life -not before or since- than I was with the guitar at that point. I would play that thing like 10 hours a day, possibly more. It was in my hands while I watched t.v., I took it with me when I was in the car with Dave, I actually skipped a lot of days of school to stay home and practice. I wanted desperately to be able to play, and slowly, over about a year, I started to get good. I was never all that great at lead, I mean, I could belt out a few solos, but I didn't really know a lot of modes and scales so they all pretty much sounded the same. What I could do was play every song on Metallica's Black album note for note, front to back. My buddy Steve also played the guitar, and Dean's grandparents bought him a nice Tama drum kit, then we all obsessed about being Metallica together. Every weekend was spent at Dean's house (none of us had a car to haul the drums) jamming Metallica way to fucking loud. As the time went by, we started to do all of Metallica's stuff, including the ones that most garage bands stay away from just due to the sheer speed of them -Blackened (the forearm cries), Battery (I miss one note in that one every fucking time), Creeping Death (down-picking madness), Disposable Heroes (all hail the quintuplet), The Four Horsemen (what is that, like 7/5 time or something?) Master of Puppets (again, all down-picking), you name any song you can think of, as long as it is Metallica, and we could play that shit start to finish, note for note (with the exception of that one note in Battery that I always missed). Yes, we were Metallica. Well, we lacked the originality, the money, the fans, the talent, the equipment, and a few other things, but other than that... Metal Militia!

8)Megadeth: Holy Wars...The Punishment Due. I was sitting at Dean's house (his mom had an awesome stereo system that she really only ever used to listen to Alice Cooper's song The Man Behind the Mask), when Sean came over and popped a CD in the tray, turned the radio up to like 28 (it was digital, went to 30) and started cranking out this one. That intro just kicked my ass, remember, I was all about guitars now. IMHO, that song has not one, not two, but three of the coolest guitar riffs ever written in it. I was sooooo hooked. Within a week, I had every Megadeth album CD in my collection and was listening to/learning to play the ones that I thought were the coolest. I would never have the success playing Megadeth like I did with Metallica; Metallica has straight forward riffs, repeat it four times and you got your song; Megadeth has weird riffs that have different fills damn near every bar, the two guitars are rarely ever doing the same thing, and trying to learn it made my head hurt as much as my fingers. I was able to play everything from the Countdown to Extinction album, and few choice songs from other albums: In My Darkest Hour, Lucretia, Rust in Peace, and even some that weren't on either of those two albums! So, while Megadeth had a great influence on my playing, and while I consider them my favorite band of all time (I almost pissed myself when I found out that my wife got me tickets to go see them live less than a year ago -even though Mustaine is the only original member still in the band. The crowd at that show was an odd mix, lots of guys my age and a lot of teens, but man Megadeth -what is left of them- rocked that fucking place.), I never had the drive to want to be Megadeth. You can only try to be one band, right? And Vic is about the second coolest mascot ever, with the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil irons all bolted to the skull. Yeah, you can't go wrong with Megadeth, but they are hardly a band anymore, so, Mustaine forever!

9)Slayer: Skeletons of Society. I was going down the road to metal stardom, but I still wasn't comfortable with all the satanic overtones that Slayer put into their music. I was raised as a church-going little tyke, and while I was still undecided on the whole existence of God issue, I didn't want to be actively pissing him off if he was really out there. Skeletons of Society was the first Slayer song that I heard -someone was playing it on their car stereo while we were kicking around a hackeysack under the bridge-, and I found that the lyrics weren't evil at all(a lot of pop-ups through that link, sorry about that). I wouldn't go so far as to call Slayer political activists or anything, but the lyrics, at least to this one, put me more in mind of a cautionary tale of the future of mankind than, say, selling your soul. The guitar work in Slayer is pretty extraordinary, both Hanneman and King could easily be the only guitarist in the band, but having both of them allows for some beautiful harmonic melodies (no, really), and blistering dueling solos. I found that I kind of liked the way that people left me alone when I was sporting the "Spill the Blood" t-shirt, so I went with it. My dad thought I was completely nuts, hell he might have been right. The good thing is that while I was listening to the music, hanging around with the wrong crowd, and getting into all sorts of illegal mischief, I managed to keep away from the drugs (I did smoke a little weed), which is more than I can say for a lot of the guys that I used to hang out with. So, Slayer kind of helped me realize that I am a pretty introspective, and that I don't really need want to be the guy that is the center of attention. I do just find in social situations, and don't actively avoid them, I just find that I much prefer being alone (with my wife now) than being out following a crowd. 666, Baby! Those religious nuts stay away!

10)Slipknot: Duality. I have to end this with something fairly recent, and I think Slipknot's Duality is a good one. While many from my generation have since had children of their own, and now find themselves frightened of the way that their children are dressing, the masks that the guys in this band wear, and all of the very things that my dad was concerned about when I was their age, I find myself still relating to these kids. Sure, I do find a bit of humor in the fact that they are all dressing up exactly like their idols in some vain attempt to find their individuality, but that is exactly what I did when I was their age -I bet their parents did too, though they may have tried to look like the preppy guy from Revenge of the Nerds instead of Jason from Friday the Thirteenth-. Ten years from now that music won't be shocking or cutting-edge, it will be in rotation on some classic rock station somewhere. The new generation of kids will move on to the newer, heavier music, and I will be right there with them; The creepy old guy at the concert in a Metallica t-shirt, throwing a goat way past its prime, trying not to break my hip in the mosh pit. Because when you strip away the kabuki masks, the multi-colored contacts, the black eye make-up, and the horrible hair-dos, what you have left is the music, and if it doesn't kick you in the teeth, it isn't worth listening to.

We will call those my tentative ten. I may change them at some later date if the fancy strikes me, but for now it will have to do.

As I expected, I am completely disappointed with one of the entries, but that is what happens when I try to keep it down to 10. Number 7 on the little list there is the one that actually forced me to buy a guitar, so it has to be there, but in order for it to be there, I had to kind of overlook the fact that it was the beginning of the decline of possibly the greatest metal band ever. At roughly the same time as Metallica started pussing out, there was another band that had just got a major record deal and was most certainly not concerned with shortening and sweetening their songs in the interest of better radio airplay. I give you my first glaring omission:

Pantera: Mouth for War. This was Pantera's second (studio) album, and while I did own Cowboys From Hell, it had to fight for precious play time with such albums as Megadeth's Rust in Peace and Metallica's ...And Justice for All, tough gig. At the same time as Vulgar Display of Power was released, however, Megadeth and Metallica had just released what were by far their most radio-friendly and technically accurate albums in Countdown to Extinction and Metallica's Black Album. While I loved those albums for their ease, and thus my introduction to the guitar, it was ultimately that ease that pushed me away from them as well. Pantera was like the lover I ran to when my first two lovers were asleep, and I just needed that dirty, dirty sex... They provided.(I really need to come up with some better analogies) Again, I could easily have chosen any song from this album, and in the end it really comes down to a particular guitar riff that made me go with this one. Hair bands were still in the spotlight, but starting their decline, Nirvana had just exploded onto the scene (they almost made it onto the list as well), and the monsters of rock were pandering to the audience of the New Kids on the Block, when Pantera dropped this one. The whole album comes across as pretty real; when you listen to Walk, you go away from it thinking to yourself that you probably don't want to cross Phil Anselmo, lest he get Fucking Hostile.

I am sure there were a lot of other bands out there that were still playing gritty, heavy shit without apologies, just like Pantera, and the best part is that they genuinely didn't seem to give a fuck if you listened to it or not. Hell, Pantera realized early on that they were being a bunch of posers with the spandex and hairspray and gave up that image to let the music speak for them. I am probably not a very good Pantera fan, since I only own three of their albums, and the mood really has to hit me before one of them hits my stereo (i.e. I need to be pretty angry). But I was angry back in 1991 when Megadeth, Metallica, hell, even Ozzy all released albums that were and are some of the best albums ever, but which also gave them the mainstream exposure that would ultimately lead to their transformation from underground phenomenon to over-produced pin-up boys. Pantera was there to kick you in the teeth, when the other bands were off getting manicures.

Man it sucked when Darrell got killed on stage a few years ago. Pantera was broken up at that point (why does that always have to happen when a band gets so damn good), but DamagePlan straight rocked. I heard rumors at the time that they guy who killed him thought that it was his (Darrell's) fault that Pantera broke up. While I have no way to know if that is true, it sure seems like the wrong way to go about getting the band back together. It just seems so sick and wrong and that some psychopath is able to get on stage and gun down one of the best guitarists to ever pick up the instrument, yet no one has yet managed to do the same to any of the myriad 16 year-old, MTV created, pin-up icons whose only talent is their ability to dress like sluts and lip-synch the words that some unknown vocalist layed to track months before the concert. I guess I should say it would be a crying shame if that happened, but I am not going to. Not that I am bitter or anything...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

A picture is worth 747 words (it should be a thousand, but I had to put in my two cents)

I told myself I was going to just post the screenshot, not write anything at all, but I just can't do it.

Whenever you get dealt Kings, it has to be in the back of your mind that someone else at the table could have aces. All you can do is put in a fairly large bet to try to chase out anyone playing with the two gappers that will bite you in the ass on the river. If no one reraises you preflop, and there aren't any face cards on the flop, you just have to assume that you are way ahead. When he flips over the aces to send you home, all you can do is curse the poker gods and wish that you had heeded the warning signs. The warning signs in this case: I had Kings, of course someone else has aces. It doesn't even qualify as a bad beat since I was never actually ahead, I just thought I was. In fact, it wouldn't even be mentioned here if not for the way that it shook down:

The guy with aces really can't call it a bad beat either, 'cause the chips went in on the flop. The guy with aces bet 5x preflop, and I doubled it. The big blind had to call 500 (1/3 of his stack) to see the flop. How in the hell did he make that call?

Ah well, you just have to laugh. 'Cause the only other option involves an assault rifle, a bell tower, a laser sight, and lots of innocent people.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Two Questions:

Question 1: Why is it that a google search for "craved food every second of the day and night,i'm so fat now my clothes are splitting at the seams" points to my site?

Question 2: Did that person actually click through to my site or does it just show up as a referrer since the bot found some of those words on my page?

Question 2a: If that person really did click through to my site, did said person also click through all 60 sites that come up before mine? What about the 13,639 that came after it?


No guarantee in the FTP guaranteed tournaments

After my recent (relative) success in the FTP 17k, I figured I would try to get into it again on Friday. The tokens are easy to come by, so it is really no big investment, and it is pretty good MTT practice. This time, I decided to do a bit of preparation before the event. I used another of the tokens to buy into a 6,000 guaranteed double stack tournament. I figured it would get into bigger stacks a lot faster that way so I could try to get used to having to actively make/call bets in excess of 1000 chips when my cards were far from premium. Of course the stack size relative to the blinds in the double stack is way different, but the betting doesn't quite go like it would in a normal MTT either. I came out of it just out of the money, but I was hanging around with a 20,000 stack for a while, and was getting used to making calls of 2,500 when I had no better than second pair and a decent kicker, but often the hands would improve, which is why I need to be able to make such calls.

I started out the 20K in the big blind, which I absolutely love. My cards were absolute crap (2-3o) so I got out of it, and folded the small blind as well. For some reason if I start out on the button, by the time the blinds get around to me, I am feeling a sense of urgency that I really shouldn't be so early in the tournament. Why the same doesn't happen to me when I start out in the blinds, I gots no idea, I guess I am just weird like that.

I got aces about 15 hands into the event, but only raised 2x since there was only 1 guy and the blinds ahead of me and Aces don't do you much good if no one calls them. The flop was a Jack high rainbow that I got someone to call a bet of 250 with, but when the turn gave me the set, I couldn't get him to call even a measly 120 chips. I then went on to fold every single hand for the next half hour at least. I was just that card dead. I had only been in one hand in the whole tournament, so I didn't think I had much of an image to try to be bluffing with, I just needed to wait for my spots.

I managed to pick up a couple of sets of blinds before the break, but not much more. I guess if you are going to be card dead in one of these things it is better for it to happen in the beginning, as long as you are able to fight through it. Again, I had to feel pretty good about my position, considering what I had been working with so far. I was going to have to start making some moves to give myself a chance to get to the money, but there is a fine line between "making moves" and outright donkish play -alas, I don't know where that line is drawn- . I charged out after the break and stole a couple more pots, managed to make a good lay down (which feels a lot better to me than winning with the nuts - at least the lay down was something I had personal control over, so when I make the right decision, it does feel good), which hurt me for chips, but kept me alive.

Here I was able to teach an elephant why you should never bet pre-flop and check on the turn. I like to see free cards when I have an underpair, had he bet on the flop it would have been a tough decision for me to call this one, since he had raised preflop, I was putting him on high cards: A-K or A-Q. I took the check on the flop to mean that either he made his set or it missed him completely. Not to mention that I was a bit worried about the possible flush. All of which was moot when he gifted me the boat by not putting in a continuation bet:

Here I am trying to sucker strongbadd. He has raised on almost every hand for the last couple of orbits and no one has called him. I got some decent cards here, limped in, and was hoping he would try that crap again:

Alas, it was not to be. He folded preflop this time, so the blinds got to see the flop for cheap. I hate it when such carefully orchestrated baiting doesn't work out. Oh well. The big blind checked on the flop, next guy bet 200, and I raised 500. It's a pretty big pot when the turn gives me top and third pair, the straight is a possibility, but I don't think this guy calls off that much of his small stack on a straight draw. I am pretty sure he has a King, but figure if he had an ace kicker he would have pushed on the flop. Time to put my read to the test:

Just as an aside, the reason I only bet 1,000 instead of pulling him all in is because of my perception when I am on the reverse side of this hand. If I am in his shoes and see the other guy put in a big bet that is just less than either my stack or his own, I think it looks like a bluff bet to scare me out of it. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't, but either way, I like to feel like the decision to put my tournament life on the line was mine, not the big bully's. So with the bet of 1,000, he can tell his friends that he called me all in, and it would be technically accurate, since he did push his last 24 chips and I had to call them. Just one of my things. It eventually looked like this:

I am not quite sure how he could have made that call when I pushed big when the Ace hit the board. Did he really think I was going to fold when he raised his last 24 chips? Did he really think that he was ahead since I only limped into the pot preflop? I don't know, but I was sure happy to see that my read was right. I didn't really expect to see the jack, and on Pokerstars he would have surely sucked it out, but at least I was right about his high card and weak kicker.

A while later, I found myself in a fight that I really didn't want to be in with an A-Qo. The preflop betting got out of hand, and the pot was huge. The button pushes, I have TPTK, but I am really afraid that I am behind to either a flopped set or two pair. 4,500 in the pot, I have 6,000 in chips, and it will cost me 1,100 to see if TPTK is good, and it is:

And I actually got my chips in ahead and managed to hold on to the lead to pull down quite the stack:

Not in bad position going into the second break, but certainly a long way to go. I had been chatting with Guin for about the last half hour, and had been pretty much keeping pace with him in chips, until he added to his stack, while I subtracted from mine just before the break. I opined to him that I was in a pretty good position to go out of this one on the bubble, since the top 117 places would pay. God I hoped I didn't, I would rather lose early than bubble. Anyway, I went to see who was still in it, and found that Surflexus was still in it, and in really good position. WillyWonka was still in it too, although I never found the time to visit his table before he busted. Not that I was destined to last much longer either.

I called a fairly large bet from one of the shorter stacks preflop, and just couldn't lay it down when he pushed his last 1,500 or whatever to the center on the flop. You would think that since I was on a two outer I would be golden, but no such luck:

Sadly, I could feel what little air was left in my bubble starting to seep...It wanted out. I still had 7k in chips, and should have been able to do something with them, but the cards just weren't falling in my favor. I got pocket 8s a short while after and did a standard 3x raise, got two callers. When the flop came up A-K-Q, I knew that one or the other of the guys that just called 1,500 to see the flop absolutely had to have one of them. I folded that, and got to watch as the guy that had the ace lost to the guy who had the king when he got the set on the river. Ouch.

I told myself that I wasn't going to bitch about the hand that took me out, but some circumstances came up that made it absolutely necessary. I told Guin after I busted that it was on a two-outer, but when I think back on it, it was actually a five-outer, so I guess I shouldn't really be bitching. Anyway, there were 124 left in the tourney, top 117 pay. I had contented myself to fold my way into the money and then go out on a hammer or something. Unfortunately, I found myself in the big blind and no one raised it. I checked it with a 3-6o, fully expecting to immediately fold. But the flop came 3-Q-6. So I had to ask myself, what would Mungo do? Come on, I flopped two pair, this one was mine, right? All-in. He flips up Q-x (don't remember the other card, but it certainly wasn't a 3 or a 6), so I just need to miss five cards to take this thing down. Rivered a fucking Queen and IGH.

Now, the same guy gets moved over to Guin's table, and after some time (since Guin was doing way better than me) he ended up in a situation with him. Guin pushes with 5's into a flop of 4-4-x, dude calls it with A-K. And the river is? I forget if it was the ace or the king, but it was one of them. This guy was just having some sick luck tonight. Hell, if I could hit those 5 or 6 outers on the river every damn time, I might make it a lot further in these things myself.

I stayed on to watch and root for Surflexus, as he fought his way through the obligatory card death to bust out in 11th. I even played another token game with Guin, but for the way I played, I would have been better off to just transfer a few bucks to that lucky son of a bitch who busted out Guin and Myself.

It seems hard to rationalize this, but I played way better in this tournament than I did in the last one. While I finished 54th, and well into the money, in the last one, I played my hands way better in this one, and wasn't afraid to make the calls that I needed to (well most of them). I hate to use the bad luck excuse, but when there is one guy that busts me out when I am way ahead (a 75% favorite on the flop) then goes on to bust out Guin when he is way ahead (also over 70% favorite on the flop), I do start to believe a bit in that particular superstition. I hope I don't have to get tired of saying that I am going to make that call as a 75% favorite every damn time (I honestly thought I was a bigger favorite, I thought the other guy likely just had two high cards). One of these damn times, I am going to hold up the 75% part of it when it actually matters -provided the 25% doesn't suck me out of my bankroll first.


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