Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Afraid to Post?

I have been slowly sinking back into the poker "addiction"...Specifically the playing half. (I never stopped reading all the blogs!)

I have been hesitant to post because I do not have any strategy to share and no big results. I have been playing well since I started to focus on the games again. No big hits, but a lot of steady chipping up at short handed 1/2. Mostly playing on PokerStars and PokerRoom, although I cashed out $100 of profit last night and loaded it back on UB (still have some bonus to clear there). Very happy with my results and tempted to post about them recently as I keep reading the similar experiences that Gary, Jordan, ScurvyDog, and TripJax. Seems like the balance of variance has been tilting our way a little and we are all improving as players.

Enter tonight. American Idol is back on which is fantastic for me. Not a fan of Simon and the game, but it guarantees 3-4 hours of weeknight poker uninterrupted! That show is like a wife pacifier, put it on and she is transfixed. Once I am able to block out the constantly ringing phone (grandma, her mom, her dad, her brother... they all call to constantly compare notes) I can settle into some quality poker time. Tonight I decided to play a la TripJax style and brought my laptop into the living room. I was feeling that I would like to take a shot at a small MTT and knew the PokerStars had just what I wanted. I found an almost full 45 person and registered for my $11. Let the games begin.

I played well and was happy with my results (see below). I had a big suckout go both ways (no complaints) and I managed to survive the first one without it setting me on tilt. With horrible singing on t.v. (maybe it was good, I am no judge) I made my way to the first break in the middle of the pack. I was bounced to a few tables and before I knew it I was in the final 20 and still in good position. I was playing very tight and until the first suckout I was 100% for showdowns. Segue to final table. I am in the top 3 in chips and I need 2 to fall out before the money (7 spots payed). I am still running well not taking stupid risks and feeling pretty good. Mandisa steps on stage to sing and I hope she will not eat my mojo, there are 3-4 left and I am second in chips. She gets praise from the judges and I get heads up with almost a 2-1 chip advantage. Sweet... I am good at HU.

I guess I rationalize it with only a $40 difference, but I doubled up the guy within the first 5 hands(QJs v K9o) and then I jammed on a four card flush hoping to take it down right there...or make my draw. Called down with a K high (he had 3 cards to the flush) and my J8s does not catch the last club. Next time. I would probably play the same way going forward as aggression is important when HU and he woke up with some good cards, and made some very gutsy/gambling calls. Good game overall, no complaints.

So, I am pretty pumped. I have not done well in MTT before and this was a good start. I think that my game has matured to a point where these become a viable option for me. I will continue with the short handed limit, some HU, and throw in some low buy in MTT to keep working on that skill.

Since I enjoy seeing good results on other blogs, thought I would post my hard earned second place here to share!

I'll take it. Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 06, 2006

Let the Hating Begin

The talking heads on TV this morning are getting their .02 in. A few readers are commenting. I understand some of their points. I am admittedly biased as a huge fan of the Steelers. I think that they have been contenders for this since 2001 and blew a big opportunity in the AFC Championship game against the Pats. Still nursing a grudge over that one.

The point? I can understand the "bitterness". I agree that the officiating has been horrid throughout the playoffs. Simply put, the Steelers have been on both sides of the line. They have benefitted and been harmed by poor or incorrect officiating. That is not in their control. That is a problem the league needs to address to keep from disenfranchising the fans. I have posted about that before.

What did the Steelers control? Their destiny. Last night's game was not their best showing. Their wins against the Colts (1 seed) and Broncos (2 seed) were much more impressive. They executed better and were much more dominating. Does that tarnish last night? Not in my opinion. The NFL championship is one game, but it takes 2-3 games to get there. The Steelers beat the top 3 seeded teams in the AFC in each of their respective houses. Impressive. They earned the right to play in the Super Bowl and played well enough to get the victory. I wish they would have been sharper, but I am super excited that they got the ring for the Bus.

I won't be able to change any opinions about Steelers, most people have strong feelings one way or the other about them. I will be able to enjoy the extra four weeks of Black and Gold fun and excitement that they gave us. I am very happy for Jerome Bettis to be able to retire after winning the elusive big game. He is beloved in Pittsburgh and is a great ambassador of the game. Hate Joey Porter-fine. Hate the officials-sure. Respect the Bus-most definitely. He is a class act and a role model of a citizen/athlete/businessman. Much love for you Bussie.

Love it or hate it, the Steelers are Super Bowl XL champions. It was not game I had hoped it would be, but someone had to win it. I am glad it was Pittsburgh.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl XL

1743: I am starting to get a little nervous.... have been watching the "pre-game" show since noon today. Played some cards, drank some Miller Lite, and munched on munchies. Lets go Steelers.

We just reviewed the Seahawks schedule and it was pretty unimpressive. I know that they have the NFL MVP, but they are NFC and thereby soft. I really don't think they have played any type of team that will help to prepare them for the defense they will face today. The Steelers are tough, fast, athletic and on a mission. Lookout.

I predicted a 24-2o Steelers victory over the Seahawks in December and I am sticking to my prediction. I think that The Bus will get a short yardage TD, Big Ben will get another one on a bootleg goal line play action to the Bus and Heath Miller will catch one. Jeff Reed will add 3 from a FG and there you go. 24

1756: They just showed the crowd and it looks like a home game. Terrible Towels are a swinging!!!

1757: Why does John Madden dye his eyebrows? They really look funny.

1808: Franco Harris is the man. Terrible Towel was a nice touch.

1810: The Bus ran out. The Team ran out. I got chills.

1901: Not the beginning I imagined, but not as bad as it could be. Wake up call for the Steelers?

1946: Despite a family controversy (my wife was with me on the call, but the father in law and brother in law were skeptical), I think it was clearly a TD. If it were Hasselbeck, I would have called it a TD for him too. Whew, this is not a pretty game.

1955: Halftime. The game is close as expected, but the Steelers are playing messier than I expected. I am glad the Steelers have the lead and are getting the ball to start the half. They have been making excellent half time adjustments throughout the playoffs, I think that will continue.

On the commercial front, I don't think they have lived up to the expectations. Some funny ones, but nothing that I will be talking about at work tomorrow. I did like that the guy finally gave into the monkeys, but nothing else is too memorable. Time to eat more at halftime.

2044: The baby Clydesdale commercial was a hit with the girls eliciting several "ahhhhs". Fast Willie Parker's run had the same affect on the men. Damn that kid is quick. He brings a real suddeness to the game. JB is coaching him on the sideline right now. I really hope they bring it home for Jerome.

2117: 14 point swings suck. Hand me another Lite. C'mon Steelers. C'mon Ben. That pick is haunting us.

2121: I like Casey Hampton. Let's hear it for the Big Boys.

2122: I like Ike.

2123: Add on 15 suckas. Still can't believe Ike Taylor caught one. He has been dropping the cans of corn all season. What do they say? "If he could catch he would be a receiver."

2128: HOLY SHIT!!!

2128: I jumped up too fast...light headed. I like Randle El too. Damn, that guy has got a cannon on the run. That is the second time he has done that this season. Laser pass on the run. Here We Go STEELERS. 21-10.

2133: Hmmm. Hasselbeck is fumble monkey. I am not sure how this one will turn out. Could be ballgame. He was touched but not while he was down, curious what the call will be.

2136: Little luck for the Seahawks. Can't complain too much, we have had some luck today too.

2139: Tick, Tick, Tick. Sack. 6:32 left.

2146: Big First Down. The Steelers always remind me of college ball. They have some wacky plays. 3:51 left.

2200: 34 seconds left. 11 points. Still nervous.

2201: Porter was right. Stevens is soft.

2202: 3 seconds. Cowher is wet.

2207: It is setting in. Kinda sad that this was probably the last time we will see the Bus running and jumping up like a huge bobble head doll after picking up a crucial first down. Hall of Fame bound, I think this game sealed the deal for him and Coach Cowher.

Now I am getting greedy, but this makes me wonder if the Steelers can string a few together. I think Randle El should have been MVP, but Ward is deserving too. The mantra of the Steelers each season used to be "One for the Thumb". Now what are we going to say?

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Pre Game Rituals

Beyond drinking beer and getting nervous I don't know if I have too many. Usually, on a Sunday I get up and get my gear on:

Steelers socks: Check
Steelers T-shirt: Check
Terrible Towel: Check
Steelers G String: Just Kidding
Steelers Jersey: Check
Steelers Hat: Check
Hurtin' Helmet: Check

In addition to the traditional "Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet, & Watch" checklist, that is all a guy needs on Sunday morning. Then, properly attired, I get nervous.

Oddly enough, I am not nervous this weekend. I was nervous through the tough run in the playoffs, but the Super Bowl..... dare I say it...... seems anti-climatic. I am pretty sure the Steelers will handle business. I am oddly detached and calm. This is in stark contrast to the maniacs I am enjoying Super Bowl weekend with.


My brother in law has decorated his apartment, it is impressive. One entire wall of the living room has been covered by Steelers pictures and newspaper pictures clippings. It is very "Serial Killer Stalker-esque". You know the look, the detectives arrive on the scene after the regular cops and get called into the room - "Johnson, I think you better take a look at this". I hope no Steelers are murdered this weekend, Eric would be a prime suspect.

If you are looking for a song to get stuck in your head, try this.

You can download the song here: http://www.flidop.com/flidop/Music/184/MrDevious-Puhlahmahlu.mp3

It really gets stuck in your head. You can't walk around Pittsburgh with out hearing someone mutter, "Puh-lah-mah-lu".

I got some poker in last night. Played very well on a .10/.25 NL table on Poker Stars. I was feeling good about my games and my reads. No big pots either way and I was hanging around even for quite awhile. I was slowly losing chips (max buy-in is $25) but kept clawing back to around $23. Then, the maniac sat to my left. Raised before every flop and caught cards to bust most that looked him up. The table of 9 went to a table of three in about an orbit. I played one pot with him. I was on the button with K5o and raised it to .75 to get the blinds. They both called. Flop comes 57x and I bet $1.50 continuation bet. Maniac calls. Turn is a 9, I fire again $2. He makes it $4 and I have to think. I fold because I am pretty sure that I will need to get it all in to win and he probably has me beat anyway. During this hand, the last person leaves and it is me and maniac heads up. I would prefer this because I consider HU a strength of mine.

Lets see what we can do about getting some of those chips back. I fold the first hand and then pick up KQh in the SB and figure this is a good hand to test this fool. I raise it to a $1.00, he calls. Flop is two hearts, A high (not a heart though). I bet $2.00 and he calls. Hmmm, I don't think this guy would have just called with his A two times. I think I am ok here. The turn is another heart. Jackpot! How can I keep him on this hook. I have about $16 left and I want to double up through this donkey. I am a little afraid of the Ah, but I don't think he has it. I bet $5, not pot committing myself (not that I think he would notice that) and he jams all-in over top of me. Sweet, I don't know what he has, but I think he has me on the A. The river is a blank and he flips 48h for the second best flush. My K high flush is good and $40 slides towards me. He types "nh" and I just smile.... and close the table.

I was happy with my play. I had about 80 hands and was playing pretty loose (33% Saw flop according to the PS stats, but that counted the hands I saw in the BB for free.. which were quite a few before maniac). I wasn't afraid to release a hand and that is a positive change for me. What I learned from the session is that patience may be rewarded, you really need to pick your spots. I used to have trouble surviving a NL session, but I think I may focus on them more. Limit can be tough, especially at the suckout prone lower levels I play at.


Friday, February 03, 2006

If you have ever used tools, you will identify....

No Poker Content - but some chuckles if you have ever worked on an engine or in a shop...

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprint whorls and hard-earned guitar calluses in about the time it takes you to say, "Ouch...."

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads (also see Vice Grips).

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS: Used to round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand (also see Pliers).

OXYACETYLENE TORCH: Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new disk brake pads, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG DOUGLAS FIR 2X4: Used for levering an automobile upward off a hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS: A tool for removing wood splinters from the 2X4 you just used.

PHONE: Tool for calling your neighbors to see if he has another hydraulic floor jack.

SNAP-ON GASKET SCRAPER: Theoretically useful as a sandwich tool for spreading mayonnaise; used mainly for getting dog crap off your boot.

E-Z OUT BOLT AND STUD EXTRACTOR: A tool ten times harder than any known drill bit that snaps off in bolt holes you couldn't use anyway.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST: A tool for testing the tensile strength on everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN ½ x 16-INCH SCREWDRIVER: A large pry-bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.


TROUBLE LIGHT: The home mechanic's own tanning booth. Sometimes called a drop light, it is a good source of vitamin D, "the sunshine vitamin," which is not otherwise found under cars at night. Health benefits aside, it's main purpose is to consume 40-watt light bulbs at about the same rate that 105-mm howitzer shells might be used during, say, the first few hours of the Battle of the Bulge. More often dark than light, its name is somewhat misleading.

PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the lids of old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splash oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.

AIR COMPRESSOR: A machine that takes energy produced in a coal- burning power plant 200 miles away and transforms it into compressed air that travels by hose to a Chicago Pneumatic impact wrench that grips rusty bolts last over-tightened 58 years ago by someone , and neatly rounds off their heads.

PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50¢ part.

HOSE CUTTER: A tool used to cut hoses too short.

HAMMER: Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts not far from the object we are trying to hit.

MECHANIC'S KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts.

DAMMIT TOOL: Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "DAMMIT" at the top of your lungs. It is also the next tool that you will need.

EXPLETIVE: A handy balm, usually applied verbally in hindsight, which somehow eases those pains and indignities following our every deficiency in foresight