Tuesday, July 19, 2005

50 Things

1. I cringe when people introduce me as Josh from Ohio. I am not sure why, but I have a mental image of Ohioans in my head and I am not that. I am East Coast, not Midwest.

2. I spent 3 years in Southern California. It was fun, but I would not want to settle down there.

3. I spent a year in Texas. It was fun, I might be able to settle down there.

4. I went to an all boys Catholic High School, Calvert Hall College High School in Towson, Maryland.

5. Unlike DNasty, I love computers and enjoy my job.

6. I have two younger brothers that still live in Maryland and I wish I lived closer to them.

7. My wife is a huge Steelers (Stillers) fan also. That is not the only reason I married her.

8. I have a Beagle named Copper and a Himilayan Persian cat named Zebus. They get along great.

9. I bought a convertible in 2001 because I thought it might answer the longing I had to ride a motorcycle. Let me save you $28k, it did not work.

10. Sometimes, I miss my time and the camaraderie of the Army. I think that our military branches are great institutions and the soldiers get more than their fair share of criticism. The military structure is like a pyramid, the few at the top that make the decisions and policy deserve the criticism, not PFC Velasquez who is actually out there doing it.

11. I loved working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. Despite the traffic and parking problems in DC, it was amazing to come around the bend on 295 each evening and see the Capitol unfold to your left. The Washington Monument, White House, Marine One choppering overhead. I really felt like I was where it was at.

12. My mother refused to let me play high school football. I am not sure if I ever forgave her.

13. My first car was a 1985 Plymouth Reliant that was given to me when my grandfather passed away. It had a vinyl bench front seat that made driving long distances in California fun. Can you say salt rings on your shorts and back of your T-shirt?

14. I met my wife in Ocean City, MD. We were both on vacation and she pinched my butt in a bar. "Seacrets"

15. I knew right away that there was something about this butt pincher and I broke things off with the "dancer" I was sort of seeing at the time. Best decision of my life.

16. It took me 10 years to finish my Bachelor's degree, but the Army paid for all of it. I graduated from the University of Akron. I am a Zip.

17. The best job I had growing up was landscaping. If there was enough money in it, I would do it today. You get to be outside, keeps you in shape, and Bobcats are fun as hell!

18. I was raised Catholic, but have deep issues with the institution of the Church as it exists today.

19. I ate lunch on top of the Zugspitze, the highest mountain of the Alps in Germany.

20. I don't feel like I am going to be 30 this year. I have no plans to get a tattoo like DNasty did.

21. If I did get a tattoo, it would be a Steelers emblem. I used to think it would be sweet to get the Dave Matthews Band Fire Dancer logo... I am not so sure now. See? That is why tattoos are risky.

22. My mother and father both rode motorcycles before they had me. Empirical evidence kids ruin perfectly good lives?

23. Despite #22, I love kids and am looking forward to 2 or 3 of my own.

24. I know that they are all going to be girls and will cause me to go prematurely gray. I have all brothers and the thought of daughters terrifies me. Feelings? Periods? Puppy Love? Oh man...

25. If I have daughters, they will understand football, cheer for the Steelers and make a man very happy some day.

26. My youngest brother already kicked the daughter thing off with my niece, Madison. I am looking forward to the week I will get to spend with her at the end of July. She is 14 months old.

27. The beach is my favorite place to vacation.

28. I promised DNasty that I would take a vacation and ride my motorcycle to Florida if he gets a bike when he moves down there.

29. I cannot verbalize the pleasure and excitement I get from riding my motorcycle.

30. You meet the nicest people on a Honda.

31. You meet nice people through poker blogs too.

32. DoubleAs was the first poker blog that I read. It was inspirational to improve my play and start blogging.

33. I enjoy poker for the different levels of stimuli it provides. I enjoy the strategy and competition. I enjoy the thrill of winning. I like winning money. I enjoy learning.

34. I currently do not enjoy Sit N Gos on Ultimate Bet. I have never had much success with them, but find the Party Poker SNGs very beatable, even though you start with almost half the chips you get on UB.

35. DNasty's wife blames me for him playing online poker and wanting a motorcycle. It is well placed blame. I blame DNasty for me playing SOCOM online on the PS2 and blogging.

36. My wife dreads fall when the new release of Madden Football comes out for PS2.

37. She looks forward to the football season because we tailgate for at least 4 Steelers home games each year, even if we do not have tickets. If we don't have tickets or get them from scalpers "dahntahn" we drive 15 minutes to her parents house and watch the game there.

38. I have seen the Steelers play at Ford Field, Heinz Field, Ravens Stadium, Browns Stadium, and will see them play at the Bengals stadium this year.

39. I only wear defensive players jersies. I love linebackers and that is the position that I would have wanted to play.

40. No football, but I was encouraged to play an instrument in grade and high school. I can play the saxophone and the flute.

41. I played the flute in grade school so I could sit next to Kate Nicodemus. In my 5th grade world, she was HOT!

42. Sitting next to her was as far as it went. I still have a flute. No band camp comments please.

43. I was moderately successful in soccer where I played defensive positions, fullback and eventually goalie.

44. I would not call myself athletic or fast, but I did run 2 miles in under 11 minutes for a PT test in the Army. 2 miles in 10:54 is my personal best.

45. Shooting the 120mm main gun of an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank is like nothing else in the world. The first time I sent a round down range, I popped wood. It is that intense.

46. If I am not playing poker online, SOCOM online, riding my motorcycle, or spending just enough time with my wife to keep her from leaving me, I love to read. Specifically Tom Clancy, crime thrillers, court room thrillers, Dale Brown, and international thrillers. I read pretty fast and can finish a good book in a day or two but I can never re-read one.

47. Growing up, I wanted to be a garbage man. They got to do all the stuff that my mom would not let me do: Ride hanging on the back of a truck, throw garbage around, etc. I would get up early on garbage days to watch them and my day was made if they pulled the lever that brought down the garbage compacter thing while in my view. Good times.

48. After I got over the garbageman fixation, I wanted to be a lawyer (my father passed the bar but is not in active practice) and then a firefighter. I wonder how many other people were inspired by the movie Backdraft?

49. If I get the chance to move back east, I would jump at it. Pittsburgh, Baltimore, DC, Philly all sound good to me.

50. I have been in the studio audience of the Price is Right twice, but have never made it to stage. Someday....

Hahaha - Even the spell checker agrees with me on #1. It suggested "heinous" for Ohioans.

Monday, July 18, 2005

"Don't be skurred yet"

Drunken on my sudden affluence and success at $1 SNGs, I made a bold move to get back in this challenge and was bitch slapped right back into my cellar.

My $5 SNG ended with no cash and I am back in the single digits. After reaching a high of $10.30 today, I shut down UB (to upgrade my PT database to SQL) with a smoking 3.70 burning a hole in my virtual pocket. After my last bust out, I sat down at a $25 buy in NL table and doubled my stack in a few hands (slow played the nut flush that I flopped) and it kind of made the grinding at the $1 SNG seem silly, but I enjoy a challenge.

So, as my Missy Elliot inspired post title suggests, don't be scared yet...get your hair and nails did.


I read BG's drunken ranting post....

BUT.... I had to share how my day was going today. I believe this is defined as a rush, I placed in 3/4 SnGs today. The last one I just won started with this on the first hand...

Hand #7166690-1 at TurboSnG-0004b (No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 18/Jul/05 17:23:44

tru_juggalo is at seat 0 with 1500.
steelerjosh is at seat 1 with 1500.
kdt is at seat 2 with 1500.
pbart3 is at seat 3 with 1500.
scottieboy is at seat 4 with 1500.
strait jack is at seat 5 with 1500.
The button is at seat 5.

tru_juggalo posts the small blind of 10.
steelerjosh posts the big blind of 20.

tru_juggalo: -- --
steelerjosh: Jd 7c
kdt: -- --
pbart3: -- --
scottieboy: -- --
strait jack: -- --

It is checked to me in the BB

Flop (board: 9c Th 8c):
Cool, a flopped straight, but not the nut straight. Let's see what happens

tru_juggalo checks. steelerjosh bets 50. kdt folds.
scottieboy calls. strait jack raises to 100.
tru_juggalo calls. steelerjosh calls. scottieboy

Turn (board: 9c Th 8c 9s):

tru_juggalo checks. steelerjosh checks. scottieboy
checks. strait jack bets 95. tru_juggalo goes
all-in for 1380. steelerjosh goes all-in for 1380.
scottieboy folds. strait jack goes all-in for 1380.

Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:

tru_juggalo shows 9h Kc. Trip 9s, what I figured he had based on all in bet after turn
steelerjosh shows Jd 7c. hope it holds up..
strait jack shows 7s 6s. was really curious what he had... Yes!!

River (board: 9c Th 8c 9s 3h):


tru_juggalo has 9h Kc 9c Th 9s: three nines.
steelerjosh has Jd 7c 9c Th 8c: straight, jack high.
strait jack has 7s 6s 9c Th 8c: straight, ten high.

steelerjosh wins 4640 with straight, jack high.

I played aggressively and went on to win my second $1.10 SnG of the day.

Friday, July 15, 2005

It's Over Johnny

As much as it irritates me to allow DNasty's prediction to come true, for all intents and purposes I am done. Get me out of this oven.

I have $4.50 left and I have been remanded to the 6th level of hell known as $1 SNGs. Because I am a fierce competitor, I am not going to quit and I am going to see if I can turn the $4.50 back into something playable, but the realist in me knows it is a long shot.

Let me acknowledge that this has not been fun. I am reading other posts and watching other players in the challenge hit flops, draws, and put on (and receive) a few bad beats. I have not had one of those go in my favor this week. I have been playing from a strategically inferior position (on button when chip leader is in the BB) for most of the SNGs and I did not have the chip lead once in any of them. I am at work right now, so I don't have the spreadsheet in front of me for the tally, but it was probably under 10. I played mostly $5 SNGs with 2-3 $10. I made the money once. One time. Uno. That is ridiculous.

Sneaky DNasty has been running poker tracker on me whenever he sees me on, and according to his comment the other day, my VP$IP is only 2% more than his and we are both under 20%. Playing too loose? Nope. My showdown % is bad because of the three times I went to showdown that he was tracking, two were All-Ins that put me out. One was a desperation all in, the other was a bad beat. I don't think that the issue is there either.

I feel strongly that I have been on the negative side of variance this week, and it has not been pleasant. I am not hitting flops and have to work very hard to progress into the money on these SNGs. Getting close to the bubble is not too hard, my tight play usually ensures me a shot and that I will outlast the 2-3 maniacs that are invariably at the table. I have not reviewed my poker tracker stats yet to see if I can find some holes to plug (will do that soon) so this is gut feeling.

The one thing I think that I need to consider is my willingness to abandon a hand. This was highlighted last night in the middle round of my last SNG. I had 66 on the button and raised around 3XBB (it was folded around to me, 6 person SNG) The BB calls and the flop comes KKx. BB checks, I make a pot sized bet (around 500) and he goes over the top of me all in. I think for a second, If I had a K, would I play it that way? Maybe. Can I rule a K out of his hand? No. Can my hand improve enough to beat what he may have? Maybe, but not worth all my chips, I still have enough to stay competitive. I fold, doubting a 6 would have come on turn or river and he shows A8. "Nice bet" I type as I mucked the had that was ahead. Should I have played this differently? The obvious answer now is yes, (although I am not too enthused about getting all my chips in the middle) but I don't know if I would play it differently when the same or similar position occurs again.

Could the answer be don't play 66? I suppose. Perhaps the only way to play that is hard, all in pre flop when you are on the button or not at all. I thought in the situation I was in, I made the right choice. Play it like a premium hand and most often, the BB is defending or has a halfway decent hand (he did not re raise, just completed) and will fold to the obvious strength I was showing. Perhaps this guy was a real gambler, or sensed a move being made. From my perspective, I was not making a move, perhaps a semi move, but that is a ballsy bet with A8o given the board and my previous bets. I doubt he had a read on me yet, it was perhaps 20 hands into a 6 person turbo SNG. I had not been involved in that many pots.

The other "weakness"? I potentially see in my game right now is almost a complete lack of pure bluffing. I think that this is stemming from the previous two months of limit hold 'em where you will almost always see a showdown. Perhaps I did not make the gear switch that was necessary for NL.

This is all a learning experience, I am going to keep slogging forward, but I am pretty frustrated right now. After I complete the run I am going to attempt with my $4.50, or perhaps during, but with separate accounting, I am going to play the larger buy in SNGs like I would have been were I still in the challenge. My hypothesis is that I will improve, the streak of no monies and bubble outs will end and I would have been competitive. I need to prove this to myself.

So, I will still see all of you and play with you in the next month, but I am probably not a threat to any of you other than playing spoiler when I knock you out of the SNGs that I will still be playing!

GL all, sorry I have not been more competitive.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Challenge Day 2

At least I am getting my money's worth in entertainment....

Quotes of the night -

HighonPoker - "Its easy with Aces",

HighonPoker - "But in my defense, you suck" - after catching a 4th Jack to beat a Full House.

TripJax - "Smells like hammer in here"

TripJax - "Oh Hammer, you forsake me" - After bubbling out with the hammer (I presume, I only saw that the winner won with pair of Aces)

I played like poo, lost a $5 SNG and bubbled out on a $10 SNG that I could not get my cards to match any flops. Played good, just not good enough.

Playing one more, if I do not money, in danger and will have to resort to low limits, or go out with a bang! I do not know if I could face the hell that I imagine $1 SNGs to be.

Finito - results day 2 are pretty ugly.

0/3. Bankroll is 26.50. Need to assess strategy. GL all.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Challenge Day 1

Watched DNasty win a 6 person and I got railbirded by Gary, Jordan, Kipper and DNasty. Thanks for stopping by.

Played on 5+.50 6 person SNG, SNG-0007o

Busted out 4th in 80 + hands with the hammer. I knew I was a goner, but it was worth it to go down in style.

Going to try to play one more, my head was not really in this one as I was working on a partner's home computer from my Columbus office. His HD was wacked out and had over 2,000 infected files on it. I am about to see if it will boot now.

Update - played one more SNG tonight:

SnG-0010s (No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 11/Jul/05 22:57:19

5 + .50 10 person SNG -

Watched GCOX and HighOnPoker play a SNG together and noticed that there was a familiar name at their table, they had ended up at a table with one the fish I have tagged on the UB buddylist. He was catching some cards, but I watched Jordan take a nice one from him with a better kicker. He was chip leader for awhile, but eventually went out 4th.

Rght after TripJax stoppedby, this happened. Booooo. I knew I had this punk.

Hand #7031524-90 at SnG-0010s (No Limit Hold'em Sit and Go)
Powered by UltimateBet
Started at 11/Jul/05 23:48:09

grind69 is at seat 1 with 4250.
steelerjosh is at seat 2 with 4525.
buggey is at seat 5 with 6225.
The button is at seat 1.

steelerjosh posts the small blind of 75.
buggey posts the big blind of 150.

steelerjosh: Qd Qc


grind69 raises to 300. steelerjosh re-raises to 1050.
buggey folds. grind69 calls.

Flop (board: 2h 6h 4s):

steelerjosh bets 2250. grind69 goes all-in for 3200.
steelerjosh calls.

Tournament all-in showdown -- players show:

grind69 shows As 4d. stupid ass, nice call of pre flop big raise and then a all in bluff attempt?
steelerjosh shows Qd Qc.

Turn (board: 2h 6h 4s Ad): DOH!! Lucky stupid ass. Need a Q here...

River (board: 2h 6h 4s Ad 3s):


grind69 has As 4d 6h 4s Ad: two pair, aces and fours.
steelerjosh has Qd Qc 6h 4s Ad: a pair of queens.

Hand #7031524-90 Summary:

No rake is taken for this hand.
grind69 wins 8650 with two pair, aces and fours.

Piece of Monkey Piss!!! A4o?? Calls a Pot sized raise, and then goes all in on pair of fours? I guess I should be happy that guys like this are playing me in the money, but not much fun when they draw out on you. Consolation is I would play this hand the same the next time... and probably win.

Getting to bed, Jordan and Gary are both in the money on their table. This challenge should be fun!!

Net result after night one:

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bubble Boy

I hope this is not a leading indicator of my performance in the SNG Challenge.

I played two SNGs tonight to test the waters on UB. I have had great success on PP with SNGs, but success on UB has remained elusive.

It continues. I bubbled out of a $50+5 6 person Turbo with two bad beats in a series of 5 hands... the final nail in the coffin was my AK all in losing to J9 soooted. He made a flush and a straight on the river, costing me a shot at $210, or a for sure $90. Damn.

Rocky like, I picked myself of off the canvas with a standing 8 count and entered a 10+1 MTT SNG. I steadily chipped up, hovering in the top 2 or three the whole tourney. Final table, I am playing tight, not getting too many cards. My seat was the button when the chip leader was in the BB. I did not like that, it tempered my attempts to steal, he had at least a 2-1 chip advantage and I did not want to go out on a silly steal attempt. I folded a big hand with 4 left (3 pay) against what I am pretty sure was pocket AA or KK. The BB reraised my pre-flop 1.5X BB raise with a min raise. I had KJ hearts and called. The flop came xxJ with one heart and I bet pot. He came over the top all in and I folded. This left me with ~2600 chips with the leader stacking over 12000. Tough row to hoe.... He took me out on a semi-steal attempt with K8s. I pushed all in preflop and he called with KQo and caught a K and a Q on the flop. I was basically drawing dead with the rainbow flop. Yup, IGHN. Once again on the outside looking in.

What can I take from this? Investment $66.00. Loss $66.00. Bubble boy on both SNGs. Besides an opportunity to whine, I suppose I can be proud that I was only All-in the two hands that I lost (one tenet of doing well in things seems to be avoiding the coin flips) and I was in striking distance of making good money in both tournies. Can I chalk this up to bad luck? Tourney 1 yes. Tourney 2, not really. I knew that K8s is not a good hand to push with, I was really hoping it would be folded to me. In retrospect, a short stack all in bet into the chip leader in the BB is probably going to be called. It was bad luck to be betting into his massive pile the whole final table, but I should be good enough to handle that.

Overall, I feel like I played solid, but, losing poker tonight. Perhaps this means that if I keep it up, good things will happen in this challenge. Probably not, but here is to hope!

On a blog excuse tip, I have been out of town for work and vacation for the past two weeks and blogging has not been a priority nor has poker. I am headed out for another week's vacation at the end of this month to the Outer Banks, NC..... but I think the house upgraded to high speed wireless since we were there last year. The wife is going to be pissed!!!!!!

GL all in the challenge, I hope I can make it competitive.


Friday, July 01, 2005

'Nuff Said

Some nights this game makes me want to puke

**** Hand History for Game 2294067103 *****
$50 NL Hold'em - Friday, July 01, 19:10:59 EDT 2005
Table Table 55524 (6 max) (No DP) (Real Money)
Seat 3 is the button
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: Backscatter ( $24.55 )
Seat 2: spdad ( $47.5 )
Seat 4: Cap_Betting ( $34.8 )
Seat 5: CoronaGold ( $95.4 )
Seat 6: JoggaJo ( $34.65 )
Seat 3: STeelerJosh ( $34.25 )
CoronaGold posts small blind [$0.25].
JoggaJo posts big blind [$0.5].
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to STeelerJosh [ 8s Ks ]
Backscatter folds.
spdad folds.
STeelerJosh raises [$2].
CoronaGold folds.
JoggaJo calls [$1.5].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Ac, Js, 9s ]
JoggaJo checks.
STeelerJosh bets [$2].
JoggaJo calls [$2].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 7s ]
JoggaJo checks.
STeelerJosh bets [$4].
JoggaJo raises [$10].
STeelerJosh raises [$16].
JoggaJo is all-In [$20.65]
STeelerJosh is all-In [$10.25]
** Dealing River ** [ Jd ]
STeelerJosh shows [ 8s, Ks ] a flush, king high.
JoggaJo shows [ 9d, 9c ] a full house, Nines full of jacks.
JoggaJo wins $0.4 from side pot #1 with a full house, Nines full of jacks.
JoggaJo wins $66.75 from the main pot with a full house, Nines full of jacks.

STeelerJosh - "F-ing River"