31 May 2006


First, I'd like to thank the sites referring the most folks here. I really, really appreciate it.
I upgraded my analytics package, and I'm not sure what the top referrals exactly mean. Some are fairly straightforward, but I can't find anything about this site on the Chris Danek site nor do I know anything about it (sorry Chris, but it does look interesting). Sometimes it is a mention in a post (thanks Linda), some are links that folks use as a sort of bloglines (thanks G-Vegas gang). I don't know anything about bloglines, so let me know if I need to use this instead of just going to all my links every day or so.

Today was moving day from my office back to my home office. I'm absolutely worn out and I still have more to do tonight. Sweetie has a meeting and is gone, so I'm here with the boys. I was going to post this morning but the internet was cut off at the office late last night. We have so many boxes of stuff. The question is should I hold onto old client files or just keep electronic versions and nuke stuff. I also have tons of office supplies and shipping material from my office manager who was addicted to Staples. I was something like a Titanium Customer and got to be in their commercials because of the purchases to revenue ratio that we had (something like $400,000 in office supplies purchased with our revenues at $1mil). I ended up laying off all my employees and just selling packing material and bubblewrap for six months...

For those of you who've been following, I've been planning to leave for Shanghai next Wednesday, hoping to stop at Okie-Vegas or Vegas. I finally got an email from my client who said that it had been pushed off until the fall. This is pretty bad for me as I don't have anything billable in the pipeline having blocked out the time for them. It was a pretty rough day.

No ring games tonight as I'm in a horrible state of mind to be putting bankroll at risk. I was able to end the month down $1,999.11 after a +$73 quickie session yesterday. I desparately wanted to get the loss below $2k for some reason and was able to get there. I was afraid I was going to have a roulette experience. Not sure if you're familiar with this, but I've known folks who will put $100 down if they walk by a roulette table and see six or seven blacks or reds in a row, betting on the other color to hit. I saw a guy once bet $1,600 as he doubled each loss, trying to win back his $100 in the midst of twenty blacks in a row. Brutal.

This is a quick request, so please flood me with your thoughts on the following. I'm building out the kitty room (which is an unfinished room in our basement that the cat is supposed to pee and poop in although she just does it on the carpet now). So, the room is maybe 11' x 11' (I can't remember exactly). We're walling off an area with the sump pump, but I need recommendations on a few things. The sweet full-size poker table is going in with the nine black chairs, the rug is going under (multi-colored, sort of a Mirage palm look to it), 1' x 1' tile flooring (the self-adhesive, looks sort of speckled, distressed). Input required:
  • Walls (color of paint or something else)
  • Lighting
  • Other
Basics are paid for, so anything incremental would have to be quickly identified and purchased. Hope to have it finished by Tuesday I think the contractors told me. We had to take the legs off the table, which was a bit scary for me. It has two big metal round legs, very heavy, with eight screws for each leg. I'm deathly afraid that the cat will pee on the table, so it's covered with the rug plus a door plus a sheet. Any and all thoughts would be appreciated. I'll have photos later.

A couple of final thoughts. Jordan, can you email your address? For some reason, I can't seem to leave comments at your site. As always, great Go Fug Yourself content, even a Full Tilt photo. Who knew?

30 May 2006

Sleeping the Night Away

I've never done drugs, but I think sleep is the new crystal meth. I had some serious sleeping this weekend in the mountains. Slept like a baby Friday night (8:00-8:00), took a nap Saturday for two hours, took a nap Sunday for three hours. It was just great to be slobbering all over myself through the day and night. I also read half of a book, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Books are really crazy, with all the words and pages and pages of more words. I'm not sure how readers can remember the names of people or where they are from and stuff. Books help you fall asleep, so that was another good thing.

No poker, but the weekend was great to get me away from everything, get my mind clear. I even wrote a short story which I may send to Truckin. I need to edit it and work it a bit, but it was pretty fun to do.

Congrats to a new buddy I'd just interviewed for Linda, Wild Bill. He took down the $2k Mandalay Bay tourney this weekend. Hey, maybe I should interview you and you can take down a big MTT!

Listened to a lot of The Police on the drive to the mountains. My Five Favorites in bold from the candidates:
  • Roxanne (Outlandos d'Amour)
  • Can't Stand Losing You (Outlandos d'Amour)
  • Message in a Bottle (Regatta de Blanc)
  • The Bed's Too Big Without You (Regatta de Blanc)
  • Bring on the Night (Regatta de Blanc)
  • Don't Stand So Close to Me (Zenyatta Mondatta)
  • Driven to Tears (Zenyatta Mondatta) my #1 Police favorite
  • Spirits in the Material World (Ghost in the Machine)
  • Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (Ghost in the Machine)
  • Synchronicity II (Synchronicity)
  • Wrapped around Your Finger (Synchronicity)
  • Walking in Your Footsteps (Synchronicity)
  • Every Breath You Take (Synchronicity)
  • Tea in the Sahara (Synchronicity)
  • King of Pain (Synchronicity)
Some great playing with the boys individually this weekend. The Little Guy is something to behold right now, chirping away with words, always smiling and laughing. He jumped into the lake about 373 times into my arms, and we'd just jump and swim around. He also would catch salamanders and put them in a bucket. The skin of salamanders must be some incredible natural wonder as he never killed one although he squeezed them continuously. The Big Guy and I played monkey in the middle with some other kids and a water football plus ping pong. At my peak I was a great ping pong player and can still beat most anyone. I took the Big Guy down left handed and two handed, although he's improving. Still gives away too many cheap points. We also hit the ball 127 consecutive times. All-In is his own guy, and he was comfortable entertaining the five year olds as well as hanging with the older boys. We had some special peaceful times together. Not sure how long he and the Big Guy will keep liking me, so I cherish each time.

There was demand for poker Saturday night but no chips and no game happened. My father-in-law banned poker at the end of last summer, and there are a few poor friends of my brother-in-law who like to play for small stakes. I like as I'm able to talk to people. We'll have to have chips for next time and head to someone else's house.

I'll end with Monday's Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, here on Tuesday. We leave this blog to see where the links take us. Have a good day back.

  • Miami Don: Don seems like a really good guy. He and his lady Carmen have headed to Vegas from Miami. Don's a very genuine guy, always with a kind word to others. I'm pulling for him as he makes a go of Vegas.
  • Flights of Iakaris: His answers to the TripJax questions is enough to go here--side splitting. He's a Canadian physician poker player, which is probably an oxymoron somewhere in there. I have actually said these words before: "I was pre-med, can I help?"
  • Korean Poker: an engineer from the UK trying to build on his initial $100 bankroll investment. There are worse things to do in Seoul for sure.
  • Sooted: There are no words I hate hearing more than they were sooted, so I'm intrigued. Working to build the bankroll, dipping his toes into the tourney waters.
  • Adam LaBare: Tourney focus here, but I'm new to this gentleman. He's working on WSOP entry, so good luck Adam.
  • Missing Flops: I'm constantly amazed at how many poker blogs there are. I'm no superstar, but whenever I do this I always find many new places I didn't know about. Bankroll: $228.93. This is why I hate playing at lower limits: it's just filled with players that like their money and want yours.

26 May 2006

Memorial Day

Had a small up day today. Sweetie was really tired and hit the sack at 8:00, so I played some NLHE losing $65 or so with JJ twice (vs. KK once and something good enough to run me off of the rag flop the other time). Didn't get paid off with my quads as I was exiting the NLHE table. On the 5/10 table, I missed a couple value bets (flopped nut straight with two diamonds on the board, the third diamond got there but villain had a set of jacks instead). Had two sets that hit after I bailed on overcard, suited flops). Didn't get anything the last 72 hands of my 5/10 table, no cards and fended off getting involved. I could definitely feel my slide behavior. I kept itching to raise with A7s, KJo, etc, and that's definitely part of the slide. I look at my Excel spreadsheet, look at the $3k that is long gone. I miss it, not because I had the money spent but because it measures my performance. I don't like being rotten, so it's nice to scratch and claw.

More on eustress next week.

No poker this weekend for me, and I don't expect to post here Monday. My father-in-law banned poker at the end of last summer, which pretty much is a big disappointment for me. It was one of the social things that I could do with folks. They have their ritual of lounging around the lake, drinking in the afternoon, eating late, then doing their own socializing. Poker was a platform for me to connect with some folks and have a good time but not this summer.

Memorial Day is a day off, the beginning of summer, a day of cooking out. I don't know if you could find anyone as vehemently opposed to our invasion of Iraq as I have been. Since I've traveled a great deal around the world, I probably have a bit of a different perspective on some of these things. I remember sitting in Hartsfield Airport at the last gate in Terminal D, traveling on America West to Vegas a year or two ago. At the gate over sat about 75-100 soldiers heading to Iraq. Some were literally kids, others were my age. I've seen folks applaud when soldiers have walked through the airport. Regardless of one's opinions of politics or individual elected officials, we cannot help but admire members of our Armed Forces, Reserves, and National Guard. Yet our gratitude is given passively by most of us, or at least let me say by me. I don't sacrifice anything in my life even though we have thousands of troops in harm's way.

My grandfather, JT (this is his name, the initials didn't stand for anything) was a baseball prospect out of school. He was the first person in the small northwestern Alabama town to be drafted, and he and his fellow Marines headed off to the Pacific. He never spoke of any of it, although I'm pretty sure he was a POW held by the Japanese. His life was never an easy life after this, marrying my grandmother, having four children (my mother being the eldest), making a living as a welder all over the US. His was an existence of drinking and gambling away paychecks while his family struggled. They divorced in the early 60's, something that really wasn't done. While he bounced around in Florida working on the Apollo program, his former wife raised four kids under the same roof as my great-grandmother. Until the truck that a friend was driving was hit by a train, killing this valiant matriarch.

These were different times. My mother was of age, so she dealt with the remaining children. She signed approval for one of her brothers to enter the Army at 16, an older brother went to live with a friend, the younger sister was sent to a cousin who would later abuse her before she lived with us to finish high school. And my grandfather lived his life away from these children. He would marry four more times, including waking up in Vegas married to a woman he barely knew. Once a wife nursed him on his deathbed, her children holding his hand as he approached death. He recovered then left her. He rehabilitated his life, became part of the family again, made up for lost time not with things but of giving of himself, what little he had to give. He buried the younger son, buried him after the older son, a successful home builder, watched his brother die as an eighteeen-wheeler plowed into his truck. They both worked for the older brother who had become something, but they couldn't escape tragedy.

Memorial Day is about Papa, whose life changed forever when he shipped out in '42. It's about those who gave their lives in death and in life. It's about those changing their lives forever today. I hope I can take some of the time I will be wishing I was playing poker and remember why we won't be working Monday. I won't promise, but I hope I do.

Have a safe, special weekend. No recipe today, just toss the burgers and dogs on the grill and get to eating. Take care.

24 May 2006

Catching the Fire

I missed American Idol, choosing instead to research for several interviews I'm doing (James Woods questions in the wind, several emerging pros). Not sure how many of the performances were good last night, but Prince performed. I understand that I lean more toward the R&B edge than the rock edge (OK, it's more than lean), but Prince in my mind is in that select small group of artists that last and are just great. In my generation, who else has done that from the 80's? The small group would include U2, Sting, Prince, then who else? This is after Prince having rehabilitated his music and image in the last decade or so. The King of Pop could take some notes. I'll admit I really don't know much about this topic but would be interested in thoughts.

Just in case you needed evidence that we poker players/bloggers aren't the lamest people on Earth: talent show reenactment of Mario Brothers Level 1.

I stumbled upon a player that I'm interviewing with a really fascinating story. He's twenty-four, closed his company, and started playing SNG's mainly then MTT's. He plays what he calls sets of SNG's, normally four at a time, starting with the 33's then the 55's and 109's. He's had goals of forty a day and a thousand a month. He also goes wherever he wants, moving to Thailand, then hopping to Australia for a bit, cruising to Hawaii for a week, now he's in LA having just left the Commerce tourney. I guess this just hit me, but it's easy to forget that these are at least some of the players we're up against. When you think of someone who plays professionally, it's easy to forget that these guys and ladies do this with a relentless passion, a deep study of the game. They figure out some of the things that we know, the video game components of poker (the secrets to move from Level 5 to Level 6), then they get their best and brightest colleagues to help figure out what to do in the CO after the 29/16 player has reraised the board from the bb with AsJdJs3s and we're holding AhKs. It makes me feel like a rank hobbyist to read this stuff to be sure. It did get me fired up enough to crack open a 30+3 SNG and take it down last night. One major misplay after I tripled up beautifully with AA (I'm on the button, UTG raises 5x bb, CO triples his bet, I smooth call, UTG shoves, CO shoves, I call with another 100 chips left to see UTG have KK and CO have TT). One of the players left that I had typed TIGHT in the notes min-raises my QJo raise, and I call. Flop comes Qxx and I end up doubling KK up. We got it all in on the turn and it was stupid for me, but I was able stay in there. Now if I had played 39 more SNG's, would I have made the mistake with the QJo? Who knows as I'm pretty much dumb sometimes.

I'm reading a book about burnout, Reclaiming the Fire by Dr. Steven Berglas. The author introduces eustress, the "...good stress derived from stimulating circumstances or challenges. Eustress--in contrast to distress which has come to be known simply as stress--is necessary for both physical and mental health. The mind needs to be actively stimulated with inputs from the external world or it will create its own stimulation through dreams, fantasies, or, if need be, hallucinations. Performing a skilled activity you have mastered in an environment that is wholly familiar can block stimulation and the experiences of eustress almost as effectively as blindfolds, earplugs, and swaddling block our sensory stimulation. If you're a golfer, imagine playing the same hole for life." I wonder if this is getting closer to why I pursue poker, this hunt for eustress. There are other things in the book that are helpful and intriguing, but I definitely understand this concept of eustress. Distress or anxiety I've had only a few times, but eustress is something I thrive on and hold close to me. When that is absent, I think I struggle a great deal.

If you haven't signed up for the PokerStars blogger tourney, so do. I should be in Shanghai and can't make it, but it should be a ton of fun.

Trying to figure out how I can get to Vegas this summer, hopefully on the way to China (vs. on the way back). I sold a bunch of office furniture odds and ends to someone in the building, then Sweetie confiscated the check destined for my bankroll! What's the dilly, yo? I mean, this was my free office furniture from the other office we had (thanks Picturetel), then I get the energy to sell these filing cabinets and the horrible sofa and she absconds with the funds! I'll have to try and lobby her a bit more (hopefully). Movers are coming for the last stuff next Wednesday, then I'll be home officing again. I need to get psyched up for it. I'm trying to get my arms around the concept that my quality of life is in my control, that I can create a work environment that I can really enjoy and thrive in. Wish me luck.

Options before going to China:
  • Okie-Vegas (don't have any details, not invited, but some folks have dropped out so maybe I can crash this)
  • Vegas: play at Bellagio, either buy in or play satellites for WPT Mandalay Bay tourney
  • Vegas: play at Bellagio, either buy in or play satellite for early Caesar's tourney
  • Vegas: return from Shanghai, then head to Vegas, play at Bellagio or Rio, play satellites daily for WSOP tourneys (would only be able to be at the early tourney as I have to go to Furman Soccer Camp with the boys)
  • Tunica: return from Shanghai, play Gold Strike Classic
  • LA: return from Shanghai, play in Mini Series of Poker
  • None of the above--just get home and keep cranking; you'll be worn out and have to really focus to make this China project come off
I should go to China three times this summer, each for roughly two weeks (once in June, July, and August). Any thoughts on the above would be appreciated.

Enough for now. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.

ADDENDUM: Felicia, could you email me (csquard@yahoo.com) or add me to your friends on LJ? I'm csquard there. Thanks.

23 May 2006

"In Pace Requieset"

"Not me, I'm in my prime." Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday

Watching Tombstone with Sweetie. Things I either had forgotten or didn't know:
  • Terry O'Quinn (Locke in Lost) is the Mayor of Tombstone
  • Jason Priestly is the sexually ambiguous deputy
  • Thomas Hayden Church is one of the bad guys
  • Billy Bob Thornton is the original Faro dealer in the bar that Wyatt slaps around
  • John Corbett is in this
  • Charlton Heston is in this (rancher where they stick Doc Holliday when he's throwing up blood)
  • Dana Wheeler-Nicholson (Mattie Earp) is the hottie in Fletch
  • Michael Rooker (McMasters) was Rowdy Burns in Days of Thunder
  • Frank Stallone is in this (no idea who he is)
  • Wyatt tells his wife that he was "...thinking out loud..." I'm guessing this is the first reference to thinking out loud in film but couldn't figure out how to find previous references
  • Doc Holliday has quads or a boat before suggesting to Ike Clanton that "...maybe poker just not your game. I know, let's have a spelling contest!" I could have gone back to see in TiVo but was too lazy.
When I worked at the Gayley Mill north of G-Vegas swinging shifts, the hourly workers that I supervised would sometimes call in sick before their night shift (10:00PM-8:00AM). The excuse that would work every time with me was if someone was "...throwing up blood..." Any other reason I would try and persuade them to come in. One night, a woman called me to say that one of my workers wouldn't be in that night, that he "...was shot dead in the front yard..." He also was excused for the evening.

I used to chart the number of times per month that Sweetie and I would, uh, do it as we say. I would then look at the standard deviation to detect when there were months that fell outside of the normal variance. There have been mean shifts over the almost fifteen years that we've been married (mean meaning average, not the opposite of nice), and I quit keeping the charts probably three or four years into marriage. Sometimes, even without data capture, you know when a mean shift has occurred. We've had a mean shift to the upside the last couple months. The challenge is to stay focused and diligent so that the mean doesn't slip back to historical norms but can stay at this higher average. And I'm committed to persevere. I understand it's a bit time consuming for Sweetie, doing it more, but that's the burden we must bear. She's contributing to all this, wearing nightgowns or t-shirts or sweats while watching TV at night...

Variance means normal variation around a mean. Losing is normal if it is within the range of expectation. Lowering the standard deviation of play means having more predictability of results. Raising the standard deviation of play means that the swings get wider. The ideal is a mean that shifts higher while the variance is reduced. I'll look at this more with data to see where we are with this. During my slide, I was averaging -6.35BB/hour with std. deviation of 21.2 BB. This is in contrast to prior performance, averaging +1.49BB/hour with std. deviation of 16.3BB. More on this later.

Matt Matros has a great soccer blog on his site. He's an extremely knowledgeable fan and has very insightful stuff, including a post-mortem on the US loss last night to Morocco in a friendly.

Sales meeting last night over dinner went very well. Could lead to some nice work. I'm tentatively planning an event series for G-Vegas and maybe the ATL this summer. I would do ninety-minute sessions to half day sessions on various Growth topics.

IGGY has a great mammoth post from this week. Joe Sebok has broken out of his slump, winning two tourneys in the last two weeks. He's been having a big tough go of it, so it's nice to see him persevere. Has to be great for him heading into the WSOP. As always, go hit up Go Fug Yourself. Beautiful Britney trailer trash Mom rant, Eurovision Lordi Song of the Year post, Tara Reid, and Heather Graham.

Had a quick +$124 session yesterday afternoon at the $5/10 tables. Not really back to grinding alot but I'll take it.

Final note: thanks to all the comments yesterday regarding the interview with Steve Brown. Any chance you have of picking up his stuff is good. He's very, very refreshing in his content, and he's unknowingly helped me a great deal through his words. Thanks for being here, and have a good day.

Healthy Candor

I had a special treat yesterday when Sweetie called me after I got in from Orlando. She told me that she had arranged for a babysitter for last night, so we get dinner and a movie. I give her choices for dinner, but there really is no choice (Qdoba), then we head see The Da Vinci Code. I'm one of the few Americans who hasn't read the book (twenty-seven million books sold in the US, sixty million worldwide), so I didn't really know much about it. I had read all of the bad reviews and was prepared to deal with whatever hit me.

I thought it was just a really great movie. I can see how captivating the story is for anyone, and it was very suspenseful at times. I must confess that I screamed like a little girl, an audible shriek. That is always helpful in the self esteem department. Also saw a preview for The Omen remake, which will be an absolutely fraidy-scared flick.

I've explored before the struggle with poker as a sin. I was fortunate enough to receive a call from Steve Brown, a minister who teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary, as well as leads a ministry called Key Life Ministries, which is a syndicated radio show. He has this incredibly deep voice, looks sort of like a balding Santa, and tackles alot of white elephants in the room regarding faith and religion. He almost never kowtows to the official line; he believes in the truth is all about exploring, which I really like alot. He was good enough to join me for a quick interview. Thought you might find it interesting.

cc: What are your thoughts on the seemingly gray areas like poker when it comes to sin and our lives as Christians?
Steve: I love playingpoker and did a lot. I used to play regularly, and I was pretty good, but I haven't played poker regularly in seventeen years. I don't think there is anything wrong with poker, and I don't think it is a sin. A number of years ago, we looked at casinos here in Florida. They asked me to develop a sermon against gambling. I though it would be very easy, but I couldn't find anything, there really wasn't anything in the Bible. Most church folks don't understand poker. I don't think there isn't much different between the stock market and poker. I have a large radio ministry, so I do keep these thoughts to myself as I don't want to separate myself from the majority of people who I minister to.

cc: What's the difference, from a pastoral point of view, between gambling as a recreational activity, gambling as a source of income, and gambling as an addiction?
Steve: My closest friend is a physician in North Carolina, and he was in the Armed Forces and learned blackjack. He made piles of money, and we were both Christians. He would play all night and clean house, and he had to be careful about going back to the same casinos. This was before the shuffling machines. Some people are really good at poker, and it is the moral equivalency to picking stock. The addiction thing you are moving into a different area. My father was a drunk and gambler, and there were Christmases where we didn't have gifts nor much to eat. If you see yourself moving in this direction, then you need help.

cc: Even with the explosion of poker in America, it is difficult to have discussions about it in the church. Is there a place for poker players in churches or in a relationship with God?
Steve: That's the nature of institutions, any institution whether it be a church or Ford Motor Company, that they punish people that get out of line. That's why some churches are dying. Often, the churches make rules that really are more cultural. I think it's important to remember that people are really screwed up. All people. Once we agree on this, then we can love each other and can grow. But this is an issue for the church. Sometimes it is a smokescreen, an easy escape when we feel uncomfortable with what we hear and think. The church today is growing and changing in a way that is very approachable. The emerging church movement is very laid back yet authentic, very Gospel oriented. People should check around. We are all wired differently, and the Church is so big, bigger than it has ever been.

cc: Sometimes I think of poker as separating me from other believers. Can we ever be too bad to meet Christ? Can we ever be good enough to join Him?
Steve: Everyone is screwed up, and God is not angry at you. God doesn't sit in the sky, He isn't sitting in the sky with a lightning bolt. God isn't ticked that you're playing poker. Having said that, we have a responsibility of grace, that we should be compelled to act on our faith. God doesn't want us good; he wants us to be His.

Many people commented during my posts on the slide that I had the last couple weeks, and I wanted to digress into this a bit. We have our own perceptions of bloggers based on what we read and the context of that. Some folks like Pauly or Linda or Gracie we can recognize because we've seen their photos. For others, like kurokitty or TripJax or BloodyP, our mind takes their voice and creates an image. Some we like, others we disagree with. When folks take the time to invest in thought, are proactive in being encouraging, helpful, strategic, or even blunt.
  • "I think you need to both step down and shore up your significant leak of playing above your bankroll, " from kurokitty .
  • "When variance bites you in the ass, it gets harder and harder to play your game the way you used to. There are monsters under the bed, and you feel like everyone's making a play at you. With the added work-stress, I recommend taking some time off from the game. Just take a week," from klopzi.
  • "I feel your pain brother. I'm not sure what to say," from willwonka.
  • "Gotta be honest, Craig. Physical signs of anxiety and stress are really bad especially if you don't have them. Take a few days off, man," from sean.
Why spend that energy? Because we've invested in each other's lives, even though we are really strangers. Why should we give our thoughts to cc/Craig/Closet Poker Player/ccexplore? Heck, wouldn't we rather read about this guy tapping his home equity line of credit and chasing his losses but then losing that? We all like train wrecks, so wouldn't that be more interesting? I'm grateful to everyone for your thoughts, blunt criticism, and feedback. This is variance in a nutshell, and it's been interesting to go through again as well as to hear from more experienced players regarding variance. To kurokitty's point, it really is more about discipline than anything. Again, thanks to everyone.

I have one hand question that I wanted to post. This is from a friend of my brother, and I wanted to get the take of more experienced NLHE players. Blinds are $0.50/1.00, Villain raises to $3 UTG, folds to Hero on the button who raises to $5, with a call ($10.50 pot). Flop comes 7hTh2d, Villain bets $8, and Hero raises to $20, Villain mucks. My thoughts were that the pre-flop raise was too small, that the post-flop was was also too small, but it would be helpful to get other folks angle on this. (ADDENDUM: CORRECTED BETS TO HOPEFULLY BE LESS CONFUSING)

Have a good day, and thanks for dropping by.

20 May 2006

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

As some of you may know, I had a dream once of having Sex with Melissa Gilbert. Now, I have no big thing for her, but for some reason I had a dream about her. Then Felicia left a comment about once having a wet dream about a fling with Bill Rini. Of course, everyone is rushing into the poker movie scene what with Deal in production, but what about an erotic swinging story with poker as a backdrop? So, through the crack staff at Quest of a Closet Poker Player, we have Bill & Felicia & CC & Melissa. Linda said she saw Felicia at the Bellagio this week (and thanks for the shoutout, Linda). I'll edit this post later for Monday as I'm flying Sunday morning for work with a client Sunday night.

ADDENDUM: I'm in Orlando now (Sunday afternoon) with the National Heads-Up Championship on in the background. I've missed some of these earlier episodes, but Gabe Kaplan is just great, better than the poker I think. I haven't played any poker this weekend. My parents and brother/his family were in town. We played spades Friday and Saturday night. The twist with our spades game: both jokers in play (with one higher rank than the other), the jokers are no suit and trump everything, we play partners (9 tricks), you bid all at once by flashing fingers to bid, nil is worth 30 points, tricks 1-3 that you bid are worth 10 points, additional bid tricks are worth 25 points, the team has to make their bid. We also pass cards, alternating their destination each hand (last of the six hands you don't pass). We added a twist last night where the number of cards passed were based on rolling a die. It added some spice, especially when we passed five. I kept four spades, and my brother gave me five spades. His wife berated him for quite a while, but he made his nil.

It was great to be with them this weekend, and I really miss them. We also had our last soccer games. All-In's team lost 5-0, but I really love being with these boys. I'll miss soccer and the boys this summer.

We watched the Preakness, which was a real tragedy. I saw it and had to turn away. They've made huge advancements in saving these animals. Growing up, I remember some horse's front leg snapping and flopping around, then the vet putting the horse down there on television. Barbaro looked like he could be the one as well. I'm not into horses at all, but for the casual sports fan you really want a Triple Crown winner.

Interviewing Vince Van Patten, as well as James Woods. I sent Vince questions off and owe the James Woods questions. I also stumbled on a great find for an article. I'll keep it under wraps for now, but it's going to just great. Interview with Liz Lieu is still pending as she's gotten fairly busy, so we'll see how that goes (in Sweden from my understanding).

I need to get ready for my meeting, so I'll end it with my Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where we see where you can travel from the Closet. Have a great Sunday night and Monday.
  • Felicia Lee: Felicia doesn't need me to pimp her, but I've always been a big fan. She'll give you her well thought out ideas. You may not agree with everything, but she's always intriguing.
  • Poker Babes: Shirley is known as a very good player. She's taken a hit lately, so here's hoping she keeps climbing back. And that I do too.
  • MissT74: Shirley's site wore me out as there are no links, so I backtracked to Felicia to head to Tanya's site. I've been here several times, and she's an avid hard core player.
  • Akashara: A new poker blog for me. Richard West, slugging away as 2/4 to 5/10.
  • Tuscaloosa Johnny: Just won a tourney online, trying to make a go of playing professionally. I'm pretty sure folks know of him, but it's my first time here.
  • FellKnight: A Canadian military man, just got back from St. Maartens and also hurt his back. Hope the back heals.
Shower and I'm off. And Bill, I think Felicia still has a thing for you.

18 May 2006

Dissection of the Slide

I've been in my own little world the last several days, so I missed out on TripJax Questions and all the good stuff that has been birthed by these. Very good stuff. ESPN Classic had a highlight show of all-in's from 2003 WSOP Main Event. I had forgotten about some of these, and it was a great reminder of that point in time that completed the final explosion point of poker as we know it.

Sweetie was here in the office yesterday to further help with the move, and we had a great talk about what I've been going through the last week. I had slept on the sofa the previous two nights, so she knew something was up. I think most of these things are little more than symptoms of where I am personally right now. 41 years old, father of three young boys, minimal interaction with other human beings (working alone most of the day). In the corporate jargon, I was a high-pot, meaning a manager with high potential. I left that behind in 2000 to start this company, and we've gone from financial security to depleted funds, from socking away literally six figures each year into savings and stocks to having no real plan for savings.

Sweetie pointed out that she stays in the here and now about our situation, where I'm thinking about the future. This has served me well, but it can be daunting. I'm now in a mentality of what does the end of this year look like, what does 2010 look like if I keep at this. I have an opportunity to create something special, something that most folks would give their left arm to do. If I can create it, I could give 20% of my time back to others, to the boys' school, to developing businesses. I could give 20% of my time to thought leadership and giving moving the needle in what I do. I could spend 60% of my time with clients, doing good work. All that would be potentially incredible. Or I could jump back into corporate America, back into the grind of moving every two-four years.

And where does poker come into this? Well, it has been a reprieve for me, a solace and safe haven. I've been able to sit at the Bellagio and be dealt hands by Linda before either of us knew the other, to sit across from tourists and regulars, to become good at something, to see Jennifer Harman and Barry Greenstein and Phil Ivey behind the windows in Bobby's Room. I've been able to build relationships through this site with people I don't know, that only know me as cc or closet or csquard or ccexplore. I've had people say nice things about me. When the poker starts suffering, it affects me. The money is significant, more that it is an erasing of weeks of work vs. losing dollars. I don't do anything with the money except keep it as a sacred bankroll anyways. The losses put my ability to keep playing at risk more than anything else, as well as being evidence that I'm either unlucky, the other players are better or stupid, or that I'm not as good as I thought. It wasn't really a pity party with Sweetie, more an analytical discussion where I articulated where my head is and my concerns. It's something that I don't do enough, create an environment to talk like that with her.

So I wanted to do more work regarding what exactly happened during all of this from a poker and play perspective. Had I indeed loosened my play up? Did I have bad beats. I did what limited slicing and dicing I could in PokerTracker (I don't know how to export into anything else, so I just use what I've got). Some interesting things jumped out:
  • -$882 in Position 3 This really jumped out, that I was a loser in this specific position during play. 20.88% VP$IP during the run vs. 20.3%, 7.2% winner from here in hands played vs. 10.3% previously. 0 for 4 with KQo here, with a very big loss where I played a player stupidly.
  • UTG VP$IP of 26.74% vs. 19.9%. This is a discipline problem, and it's probably trying to make things happen too much.
  • Premium hands In my analysis of five worst hands measured by bb/hand per position (giving me 50 possible hands), I looked at how the Top 10 starting hands held up in my five best and worst outcome hands (Top 10 starting hands: AA, KK, QQ, JJ, AKs, AQs, TT, AKo, AJs, KQs). Previously, 4 out of 50 worst hands/position were premium hands (AKs twice, TT, and KQs). During the run, 13 of 50 were premium hands (AA, KK twice, JJ twice, TT, AKs twice, AQs, AKo twice, KQs twice). This means premium hands weren't hitting or were getting cracked, but also that I was losing bets either staying with them, being over aggressive, or getting sucked out on. The first two options are the concerning ones, as during a negative period you feel entitled to keep jamming your great cards because they should win, right? Autocalling is also related to this (that is when you have KK on a flop of 99J, 3 comes on the turn, you are check/raised, and you call down so that you can see K9o).
  • Facecards 15 of the remaining 37 bad hands were non-premium face cards (QJs, KQo, etc.). Most frequently were KQo, QJs, KTo, and JTo. Previously, 13 of the remaining 46 bad hands were non-premium face cards. I think this is significant, again marginal hands that starting looking oh so good when you're trying to make something happen.
  • Tables The run is over 24 tables, 7 of these being winning sessions. Previously, 118/211 were winners for me. Five of the seventeen losers were >$500, compared to nine of the ninety-three previous losing tables. This is a big finding for sure, that when I lost I lost big. 68 of the 211 were at $5/10 or greater compared to 15 of 24 during the run.
Higher stakes, bigger losses when you lose, dollars impacting bankroll more, premium hands losing more dollars, face cards looking better and better, losing bigger more when I lose. I know there's more in there, but I'm going to leave it there. One of the challenges is to transfer all of the above into next steps at the table. I'll do more work on that to make certain I come away with some new steps forward. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

The Da Vinci Code is widely being panned. I'm one of the few who have not read the book (unlike untold number who have read the over 60 million books sold worldwide). I played with Dan Brown's brother in Athens once with my brother the Econ Ph.D. candidate.

In case you missed this, Mark Cuban was fined $200k for blogging. I've never seen a $200k blog, so here you go.

Friday's Recipe is Jambalaya Pasta. I first had this at the Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach in '93 and immediately fell in love with it. I've made it my own, just modifying a jambalaya recipe from a cookbook that I got from New Orleans. Be prepared to make an absolute mess in the kitchen.

First, dice 1/4 pound of ham and brown in bacon grease or oil. You'll want to do this in a big pot. After you do this, remove all of the ham, then stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons or so of flour until brown (medium heat). Brown a whole onion, diced (you can use less if you like, and you may need to add some oil to brown this a bit). Add a sliced bell pepper, then add a can of tomato sauce, one or two cans of diced tomatoes, a cup of water, two bay leaves, some garlic, some oregano, and pepper (I never use salt in anything, but feel free to fire some in). Now, separately you need to slice a package of kielbasa, marinate in Worcestshire sauce and some Italian seasoning and pepper, then grill this and slice. Take two pounds of boneless chicken breasts, cut into bitesize pieces, cook this in olive oil with some seasoning (more garlic and oregano or some creole seasoning if you like). Dump the ham and other meats in and simmer, stirring occasionally. If you like oysters, fire some in as well. Last, cook 1 1/2 pounds of shrimp over butter and garlic (don't have the butter too hot when you put the garlic in; I do 50% of the time, burn the garlic, and have to start over). By this time you're kind of in freefall, probably like ten-tabling I expect. After you've cooked the shrimp for five-seven minutes (flip them and stir), you'll just dump this into the pot and let some or most of the butter dump in as well. Keep tasting this stuff every ten minutes or so. I'm not quite sure what you're looking for, but it makes you like like you're a pro. Boil a pot of water while adding salt and a little olive oil. Dump a package of fettucini into the boiling water, cook it, then strain and serve. I get this really big pasta bowl, put a bunch of the fettucini in then ladel the jambalaya over it, all the while mixing it up. Have Tabasco and parmesan cheese on the table. Some will want to add cayenne pepper to this, which is fine althoug most folks are fairly timid. French bread so that you can sop up all the sauce. It is my best dish, only brought out for special feasts or guests, but man it's some kind of good. And if you review, it really is fairly easy except for all the preparation required cutting and chopping so much stuff.

By the way, after coming in third in a $55 SNG and having my KK cracked by K9o at a $5/10 table, I ended a short day +$84.50.
Have a great weekend, thanks for all the encouragement.

Not Yet to the Bottom

I'm trying to document as much as possible during this slide, both to help me as well as hopefully help others now and later. I'm also trying to be as candid and honest as I can, which isn't always that easy. I'm not going to list the hands that went south, but you do need some hands to hold up when you're trying to turn these things around. That includes turned flushes that get four-flushed on the river (KQ vs. AQ), all the other nonsense, as well as you just can't have KK pick up the blinds.

I'd rather focus on my mindset. I feel like I really, really prepared well. A correction, I tried to prevent myself from playing. I played my simulator (I got knocked out in 4th at the Bay 101, pocketing $220k, which goes a long way to pay my imaginary bills). Sweetie fell asleep, then whop I jump back in and start playing. I worked very hard to stay in a good state of mind, but I don't think it worked. Not that I did horrible things but that I just again was not in good enough mental shape to be playing.

OK, let me be even more honest. I received an email from the client that I'm supposed to be going to China for a kick-off on 12 June. He said approval process hasn't started yet, which then means I don't have a signed contract and that I'm holding this schedule while this may either slip or not happen. Meanwhile, I've been waiting for my contact at another client to get some things done that I need to move forward. I'll be with his boss and his boss's boss this Sunday evening. It's closing on a month that I've been waiting for this to be done, and again nothing and no answers. I normally don't get anxiety in my life, but I do believe that my stress has increased. None of this is anxiety. It's really both symptoms and data points. Data points: that this stuff that I do is frustrating and often not very rewarding. Symptoms: all of this is evidence that my business life is lethargic, that I am using poker as a release. When it's going well, then the release fills the void, probably too much. When it's going bad, it simply adds fuel to the fire.

For some of you, this $4k that I've now lost from my bankroll is quite significant. For others, it literally is a couple of bad sessions. For me, it is complicated. I'm losing winnings, which is a heck of a lot better than redepositing money. Should it be the same? Probably, but I'm able to deal with it alot easier. Again, a little honesty. Here is what I think: I'm a very good limit holdem player. I know that because my spreadsheet shows how much I win. If my spreadsheet shows that I lose, then I'm either unlucky or I'm not as good as I thought. I rarely think about variance, that the players I respect the most either would have lost what I did with the same cards and conditions, or they would have lost less or more. In the micro-sense, here is how you can win a pot:
  • Everyone folds to you
  • You raise and everyone folds
  • You bet and everyone folds
  • You raise and everyone folds
  • You call or are called, and your hand wins
Most of the time, the vast majority of the time, something else is going to happen and you'll either not lose anything or you'll lose. String enough of these most of the time's together and you have a losing session. String a few losing sessions together and you have variance. I can increase the standard deviation by making bad decisions, as well as by others making bad or good decisions that work out for them. We want to have the bankroll to handle the stringing a few together.

What we have to fight hard to avoid is increasing the severity of the loss, the standard deviation of our session, by making poor decisions. Poor decisions are calling raises with speculative hands, chasing a gutshot for crying out loud, paying the guy off even when you know he has a baby ace and your queens are worthless. It's easy to remember the suckouts, the bluffs that didn't work, and the big hands that get flop cold-cocked. It's the invisible calls that get folded on the flop. It's the value bets that get avoided after the fifth river-raise of the session. This is what sets in that just isn't there normally.

Right now, Party is a release that isn't giving the desired results, emotionally or financially. I appreciate all of the comments. I haven't addressed any but will do so probably Friday. By the way, have I mentioned what a joy it is to see the guy make his flush on the river when you raised and he has Jc5c UTG+1? Or when you were mixing it up sitting at a 1/2 table on Stars waiting for the jackpot hand only to see some guy limp in middle position then check it down all the while taking his time while the jackpot hand was about to hit? Losing all this cash might put some folks on tilt, but honestly can you at least pretend to have a brain? Can you at least see that the hand will hit within the next two minutes, so get this hand over with? They really should prevent players younger than ten playing on these sites. By the way, when you have KcQc and you catch your flush on the turn then a fourth club hits the river, why in the world would you raise the original raiser who bets at the flop, like I did. That may be a sign that you need an intervention.

Pretty tired trying to decompress, so I might write more in the AM. Thanks for coming by, as well as the input. I'm sure this isn't fun to read, but as Klopzi said maybe it can make you feel less horrible about your own losses.

17 May 2006

What to Do

Another losing day yesterday, down $639. Getting to $639 was a wild ride:
  • NLHE $0.25/0.50: -$75.60, 31 hands (88 cracked by A4o, KK by 98o)
  • 10/20 #1: +$29.33, 123 hands (overplayed alot of bad hands, looks like probably six or seven major mistakes)
  • 10/20#2: -$627.03, 187 hands (TPTK AJ vs. 99 rivered set, turned flush, flopped top pair, and flopped 4 vs. AK had me up, A7s flopped flush draw and turned open ended but didn't get there, AK flopped K vs. AA, KQ flopped Q vs. AK; then a brutal run losing big pots with AQ vs. JJ, JJ vs. QT turned straight, A7 taking down AK with 77 on flop, QQ vs. J4s, KJ vs. A8 flopping J then turning trips, flopped two pair with A3 vs 5 clubs on board (55 won), 55 vs. KK, QQ vs. Kd5d (turned bottom straight to the 5)
  • 5/10 #1, 2, 3: I three-tabled last night trying to mix things up and see if I could shake this. The results: -$298.50 (88 hands), -$70 (111 hands), -$54 (65 hands). Highlights included flopped set under set with four way action.
  • 15/30: +$492, 87 hands: It was late, but I just felt like I had to make a stand somewhere. I'd lost almost $3k in a week, 1/3 of my bankroll. It looked like a bad decision when my QQ was taken out by Kd5d, but I picked up a pot with AQ vs. 88, lost a brutal pot with QT vs. KT on a board of 7J9TT that I bet to the river, cracked aces flopping a set of 7's, cracked a flopped A with a set of 3's, then won a monster pot with AA holding up on a small rag board
This has been another interesting time playing, and I'd like to share some of the thoughts that I've had during this bad run. First, I've had very negative thoughts during play, almost feeling destined to lose. This is self-pity combined with a feeling that is reinforced through bad outcomes. Physically, I've felt the uncomfortable anxiety-type feeling in my forehead, the skin of my abdomen, in the inside of my forearms and shoulders. Anxiety is too strong a word, it's really more of an uncomfortableness, anxiousness. As I've reviewed these negative sessions, I find I have loosened up playing way too many marginal hands to try and get something to connect. While the logic makes some sense, it is a detrimental leak in a couple of ways. First, it might get rewarded, which will then reinforce continuing to play marginal hands. Second, it may lose big pots where I have a bad kicker or get counterfeited. Lastly, it may not work and will bleed 2-4 bets here and there. The three-tabling was actually very helpful in a couple of ways: it got me out of most marginal hands (although I still through in one here and there). It also moved me fully to a bot mentality. As many of you know, I normally single table, but I also multi-task while playing. This means I'm doing work on presentations or writing while playing a table. I'm in a constant distracted state, so multi-tabling forced me to focus when I was in a hand while also playing fewer hands.

My $15/30 last table was a bit different. First, Sweetie had come back from seeing M:I:3 again (she fled around 7:00 last night). I was in the middle of playing at the last table when she came back, and I told her I had been through a bad evening of play. We chatted a little bit, then she read some while I played. From the beginning of the session, though, I decided to focus and play my best. I made a physical change to alter my play: I counted to three before acting each time. This forced me to become engaged with each hand, even when I was absolutely going to muck and would have been an instant check of the fold box. I don't want to overstate the impact on the results as I don't think one had anything to do with the other necessarily, but what it did for me mentally was that I was focused from the outset of each hand. I also backed my aggression down just a bit, saving me a couple of bets in losing hands and getting me away from a couple more hands.

I was talking to my brother in the afternoon about this stuff, and one thing that absolutely struck me is that I haven't treated the game as a privilege but as a right. Let me digress into what this means to me. I sneak play in many days at the tail end of work, yet I haven't been very productive through the day. I pop open a table at the drop of a hat like it's fine to start playing away. This lack of preparation and anticipation, again, is starkly different than playing live, where I would have to get to a casino (if I'm not staying there), find the poker room, get on a list, have my name called after reading CardPlayer, get chips, decide if I was posting or not, then play. I need to treat playing online more as something I earn the right to do. If I have a great, productive day, then maybe I get to play.

That's alot of chatter about something most of us would rather avoid reading about or thinking about: losing our hard earned chips and bankroll. Maybe it's just a maturation of play, to get through these stormy periods. What I'll try to do is keep capturing this stuff as I think it's helping me as well as it might help some of you who are either in a bad spot or might see one on the horizon.

willwonka has a couple posts up detailing a similar rough period, with more detailed examination of his play than you'll see here. He's a great player and always a great read, so please head over, take the time to review his posts the last couple days, and flood him with comments.

Felicia has a great last post to her Pscychology and Poker series. Good stuff.

I also have another interview article at PokerWorks, so check it out.

email your addresses to me if you can for those who have books. Sending a batch out today. Thanks for stopping by, and take care.

ADDENDUM: WPT tourney at the Mirage is down to the final six today. David Williams has made it, as well as the Grinder's brother. A brutal bubble hand that you'll have to check out, a horrible misplay that worked.

15 May 2006

Anatomy of a Flounder

Small down day yesterday, but here is a dissection that you are all too familiar with:
  • 5th in a $33 SNG, pushing with TPBK on an underpaired board (TPTK called me)
  • Played a little NLHE trying to win it back, but got stuck another $38.25 with AT flopping top two pair vs. AA
  • Jump to a $5/10 table and get stuck another -$289. Big hands were: JJ vs. 55 (I win with flopped set), 77 vs KK (paired flop/underpair; A on river saved another bet), bb 65s on board of 62777 (88 and JJ), KQs (caught K on turn), QJ vs. AK (flopped Q), KK vs AA, QJs vs same AA guy (J on flop; OK, actually river he checked turn then check/raised my river bet), AA vs. QQ (he flopped Q), Q9 vs. AJ (I had nothing left, board was KKJ)
  • Jump to $10/20, no open tables with list of 15, so I sit at a two-person table that are both gone, two people sit down, I play ten hands, win $289: TT vs. 99, 77 on board of 9957 (folded), QT vs. A9 (flopped T), A4 and caught A on flop, AKo on rag board (guy bailed on turn). Is it wrong to hit and run after ten hands? I think so, I really do. Did I do it? Yes.
  • Night session: $10/20 full-ring, -$700, brutal hands included TT raise with four others in, flop of T84 with two clubs (four stay with me), 5d on turn (one stays), Qs on river (I cap it to the Jd9d); win a pot raising with A9 suited flopping top pair then turning A; I raise early in session with A8s, flop top pair, QJ stays in for turned Q; I win a pot with KJs and catch K on river with TAA on board (vs. QQ); call raise with JTs and flop KQx, turn T then eventually bail; you can fill in the blanks but lost 29 consecutive pots that had my money in it (including blinds) to give me stats of 20.3/10.1. Won three pots for the session of 119 hands.
  • Wrote some of this, then returned to $10/20 around 11:45 or so. Another 119 hands, this time +$341 with one horrible laydown (QQ to a three-bet, I bet to the river when an A hit and I folded; I have to call the river with the pot odds, he gave me a lol and kq, which was either true or not). 21.84/14.29, which was close to normal. Had KQs flop a K vs. AA. Too tired to give any more details; suffice it to say that sometimes I won and sometimes not.
So down $430for the day, and I feel like I'm in a funk at the table. Don't feel very confident, feeling a constant fight to be patient vs. jumping into hands. The afternoon 5/10 table was 20.38/12.2 for me over 157 hands, so fairly typical stats. If anything, it was on the tighter side as most of the players were TAG's (one loose guy, but the winners were all squeezers). This is poker and variance. The loss and getting stuck I'm not too concerned about as I think I made the right decisions. I think the major danger sign is the lack of patience on my part evidenced by the jumping up to 10/20 short-handed to try and start a table, a dumb move on my part that had fortunate, even lucky results. I'm a horrible short-handed player, and I jumped up in stakes, so again these are symptoms in my mind. The tough night session, I don't know. I had good hands either chased down or missed flops. I didn't catch any pots when not hitting anything. I tried a few things that didn't connect.

Maybe I'm alone in the seductive attraction that comes with online play, but these are things I would never do live. When I say never I mean never, ever. If I got stuck live, I would either take a walk or try and cool off at a low-limit table. I think it has something to do with the laptop, spreadsheet, and the cashier function. I know exactly where I stand at all times with my bankroll online. Live is just different. Mentally, I question if I'm in the best of shape, if I'm prepared to play my best. It isn't full fear, it's just hesitance and longing for the lost bankroll. I haven't gotten reckless, which is a positive. I've played within my bankroll, so these struggles haven't cratered me. These are all good things.

Not that I need to pimp Amy Calistri, but her new entry into bloggerdom after her stay at PokerPages is jumping through the roof with traffic if the folks coming here from her site is any indication. Most of us are either degenerates or dorks (or both), but it is very gracious for folks like Amy, Linda, Pauly, Felicia, Joe Sebok, BadBlood, WillWonka, Dave, Luke, and many others to email, pimp, or comment to others. Do people have time to do these things? Well, look we all make the time and waste gobs of time reading and posting. I'm a fairly confident, borderline arrogant person at times, but I can honestly tell you that I get pumped up to hear from Jordan or TripJax or to get an unsolicited email from Pauly or Dave or Miami Don, none of whom have I met. We're all in our own worlds, we are each the most important person in our own lives. But when we can take the time to encourage, give advice, or just say hello to another blogger; well, you just never know what it might mean to that person. I think ultimately these poker blogs are an opportunity to meet people many of us would never meet in our lives, to put our thoughts about a hobby or passion we are pursuing down for ourselves as well as for others. All the other stuff, the great strategic minds, the laughter and funny stuff, the hand histories--all of that is gravy. Not superfluous, if that's the right word, but just a bonus.

So thanks for stopping by. Still need a few addresses, so please email me if you have a book. Hope you

14 May 2006

When Your Wife Makes You Cry

Our home game was Friday night after the Big Guy's soccer game (10-0 and he had a sweet goal). This was pure suburbia poker, $1/2 LHE so really more social than poker. We had eight with two no-show's, and we're close to finding enough folks for a serious game. The cast of characters: 0s: cc (zero seat as in I dealt the whole time since it's my cards and my chips and my table); 1s Judd (played last time, used to play in a home game up to three times/week playing wild stuff, before holdem boom), 2s Greg (first time, father of one of my soccer players, loves to play, plays mainly low limit when he goes to Vegas), 3s Sweetie (my bride, says that she doesn't have to play if I have enough; I back her and take the profit), 4s Cathy 5s Andre (husband and wife, parents of one of my soccer players, like to party a bit, Andre hadn't played holdem, Cathy is pretty fun played blackjack alot it sounds like), 8s Rich (has played every time we've played, I also played with him the last time I was in Vegas, loves playing lower limit, serious player), 9s Russ (neighbor down the street, really really good guy, first time). Average age: 43 probably (Sweetie was the baby). Blinds were $0.50/$1, most of the time 5-7 to a flop, raises were meaningless. Rich was the loser, going through the $40 buy-in plus another $20. It absolutely killed him too as he's a player. Typical stuff for Rich: AK beaten by K2 with a 2 on the board, bluffs called down, etc, etc. Other brilliant plays: T3o from Andre called Judd's pre-flop KK raise than caught a 3 on flop and one on the turn. I called in the sb with 5s3s with 6 others in, flop comes 533, 8 on turn, 5 on river, and I've got five callers at the end. But it was these two consecutive hands that almost brought me to tears. There is a raise and four callers including Sweetie, flop comes 667 there is a bet and all call, 6 on turn and the same, 3 on river Sweetie checks, there is a bet, a raise, and Sweetie three-bets, two callers watch her flip over AA. Next hand seven players are in. Flop is T9x with two spades, bet and five callers; 9 on the turn there is a bet and four callers, A on river Sweetie again checks, there is a bet, call, fold, Sweetie raises, call/call. JJ and AKs get taken down by Sweetie's 99. It was like watching your son throw a touchdown in the Super Bowl or something. She has a BS in Chemistry from Furman and a BS in Chemical Engineering from Georgia Tech, so she's got the goods. I ended up $60 and she was up $45. She doesn't have much interest in playing ever, but she is absolutely solid. I think the cash would get to her if she really played, but it would be interesting to see how good she could get.

Played a little NLHE Saturday, and had a nice triple up with 66 twice, catching my set on the flop once vs. JJ then catching a set on the river after a T224 board where the bb min check-raised my 1/2 pot turn bet. I called it, caught my 6 on the river, bb bet $20 into a $97 pot, I came over the top for another $110 and he ended up calling. In the middle of that was donking off $80 or so, so I'll take the triple-up in a ring game that I need to improve in.

Go down and grab a book if you haven't yet. Also, I need addresses from FJ Delgado, Miami Don, Jordan, seattlejohn, pokerenthusiast, bloodyP, and willwonka (I know I have yours and will dig it up, but email me again if you can). Da Vinci cards for best comments go to sean and dave. Fire your addresses as well and you'll get two decks of great plastic cards (used them at our home game, and they are great). By the way, Dave at Donkey Hunter as an absolute rock. Solid to the core. Just so you know...

David Williams, aka Long Duk Dong, is the chip leader after the first day of the Mirage Poker Showdown. And Joe Sebok AK crushed by AA. Just a brutal run. I can imagine a bad MTT run as most of the time you don't cash. I hadn't worked on my simulator in quite a while, so Sunday I did some MTT's on PokerAcademy. I got to the final table once and cashed only that time in five tourneys of 386, getting my 66 sent to the rail with 6 players left vs. 55 pre-flop. I admire those who are tackling MTT's. I'd like to do more of it if I can find the time, but man is it tough.

I gave Sweetie a Bose iPod speaker deal from Best Buy plus an iTunes $50 gift card. It is really, really sweet. All-In was sick again yesterday morning, so I stayed home from church with All-In and the Little Guy. All-In had me up at 6:00 to say Happy Mother's Day to Sweetie, so we were dragging a bit yesterday. Omelettes for Sweetie, hoagies for lunch, then the Q for free Mother's Day supper. I picked up In Search of Willie Morris by Larry L. King at Border's yesterday. The late Willie Morris was a Mississippi author, best known now probably for My Dog Skip. I met him once when I was a bartender in college at a hotel bar. He sat at the bar with me alone for probably an hour, went to his room, got a copy of his acclaimed North Toward Home, wrote a couple paragraphs to me in it, then signed it. For all you Austin bloggers, you should pick this book up as he was the editor of the Daily Texan when he attended UT.

Some good stuff to check in from the G-Vegas guys. NY Times has an article on Building a Brand with a Blog which may be of interest. From yesterday, What Happened to the Fortune Michael Jackson Made. Sweetie wants me to get a vasectomy. I've looked into do-it-yourself kits, but they seem to be -EV. Wrote a review at PokerWorks for the Ultimate Dealer Button, which looks like a good addition to the arsenal if you host tourneys. ESPN's Poker Club has an article by Bernard Lee on his experience last year at the WSOP. He's the guy who kept kissing the photo of his kids.

Finally, Monday's Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, where I see where the connections from the Closet take us.
  • sheverb: Gracie looks like a great lady to get to know from all the nice things that folks have to say to her. Hope our paths cross sometime.
  • Life as a Vegas Poker Dealer: Linda's my buddy, so I'll be interested to follow him. He's suffering physically and working hard with his wife to make a go of it after an IT career. Good luck.
  • A Pirate's Life for Me: West Columbia, SC. I'll let the G-Vegas crew comment on Columbia vs. G-Vegas. His profile said that he won money on Jeopardy, lost it, now trying to win it back. Looks like most folks know him, so I'm glad to have a chance to learn more about him.
  • Ship It Poker: This is a defunct blog, out in November 2005. Had four contributors including Matt Dean (7th in 2004 WSOP Main Event) and Taylor Caby aka Green Plastic, one of the best online players around.
  • 4 Flush: Chronicles of a poker player with a wife, two kids, and a dog. OK, I've got you outchipped buddy (another kid and a rotten cat). Grinding away, now trying to make a move to NLHE. Good luck, and I'll investigate how it's going. Need to clean up your links though (lots are defunct as I tried to search for a new 6th degree).
  • Royal Poker: Last post is interesting: nine tourneys trying to qualify for the Main Event, five final tables plus a 10th place, no seats. Go encourage him to make a run.
Have a good Monday. I'll be cranking away with a busy week, in Orlando with a client Sunday and Monday then a big, big sales meeting on Tuesday. I'm also working on a few interviews to have here as well as at Linda's: Liz Lieu, Steve Brown, and possibly Mr. Doyle Brunson, which would be incredible. But there's only one poker babe for me, and that's Sweetie. Just so I stay out of hands with her.

11 May 2006

Gracie's Boobs Got Nothing on These

"I would have had a set if a different card would have flopped." cc. Tight guy re-raised me pre-flop then board hit K42 rainbow, I checked my TT, he bet, I folded, and he showed AA.

Gracie posted a photo of her boobs and got tons of traffic, so I thought I would do the same thing. Most chicks dig fur, from what I've been able to determine when I was single. Actually, try not to look too long at the photo.

So Sweetie had an interesting observation about her Botox-Appletini-Book Club of ladies in the neighborhood. "Susan's (a neighbor) daughter will be a cheerleader next year, and everyone started talking about cheerleading. I realized I was the only one there who wasn't a cheerleader." That's what you get with all the beautiful people, we live with a crowd of cheerleaders.

Here's where we are with the book giveaway. For those who have claimed a book, please email your address to me at csquard@yahoo.com. Make sure you spell it right (no e). Still time to claim a book.
Some great comments yesterday, as well as a couple of e-mails regarding what to do after a big loss or losing run. I'd like to share Dave's thoughts as I think everyone can find value in it. "From reading at places like 2+2, it seems there are three suggested strategies that are advised when running bad:
  1. Move down in limits (with the rationale that it is statistically more likely to have a higher number of winning sessions to help psychologically)
  2. Take time off to clear your head
  3. "It's just variance, stay in the games..."
Most of the time (and particularly more so when I am running bad) I spend a substantial amount of effort looking for mistakes in my play (leaks). I resolve myself to focus on one or two mistakes at a time and not make those particular mistakes. I think I tend not to do this as much when I am running well because I will have a tendency to multi-table more in that "healthy psychological environment." I don't think there is anything wrong with that because usually when you are running good, it is easier to make good decisions."

None of you have to take the time to provide ideas and input, and I really appreciate all the thoughts and input. I think it is one of the strengths of being part of our community of bloggers, that we can help one another. If you've read Dave's blog, you know he's a solid player, and I respect him alot. Nothing groundbreaking, but I think it's a nice analytical approach. We tend to try and evaluate diligently when things go bad, but rarely do we jump in when things go well. Also, this advice has some similarities to golf, where you try and keep one or two swing thoughts in your mind and concentrate on those.

I played a couple hours at the end of the day, and it didn't look very good starting off for sure. $10/20, I post and before the bb gets to me I've lost twice with TT (once vs. 99 and flopped set) and KTs (flopping top pair to KK). ATs and QJ open ended straight draw don't get there either, 99 vs. JJ, AJs, 44, Ah2h from sb on flop of 4h5hKs that doesn't get there, and I'm stuck over $600. Do you quit or keep plugging away? Give me your thoughts.

Not meant to be a rhetorical question; as for me, I decide to keep plugging away. I'm able to make a stand and hang with it, catching QQ vs. AT with the T the high card on the board, then I raise with 77 UTG+1, the button makes it three, and it's HU. Flop comes As7cJs, I bet out/raise/I re-raise/he caps, 6s on turn I bet/he raises/I call, 2h on river, and I check/he checks to show two black kings. Another nice HU pot in sb with KJ vs. K9 bb on board of Q2K5Q. I opened a second table which is unusual for me, and it seemed to keep me fairly balanced and tightened me up. Up and down still on the first table, chasing and missing one hand then catching AA vs. KQs with Q on flop. I keep trying to make something happen with QTs and 22 to no avail, then leave that table with 88 vs. QQ catching my set on the turn. Not everything went perfect at Table 2 for sure, AA getting cracked by JTo, T6s bb on board of 456 (55), KQs vs. AA flopping my king. One particularly tough call that helped at Table 2 and I think was positive for my overall poker psyche.

This was the hand after my KQ went up against AA, and it was the player on my left's eighth hand at the table.
I raise UTG with AcJc and my neighbor cold calls, everyone leaving; flop comes Qc5h7c, I bet and am called; Jd and I bet and am raised, and I'm afraid I'm stuck but call. Qs comes on the river, I check and he bets. I went all the way to the countdown of time. I look at the pot, move my thumb, and I call. The chips move to me when he shows Js9d. He chats nc, and I say I figured you either had me beat or you didn't.

Enough other good things happened to cut 2/3 of my loss from Table 1 and being up $417 at Table 2, net of +$136. Better than slipping further, but I still need to take more time to evaluate Wednesday. Some interesting folks have stopped by, so I'd like to thank them and direct you to check them out. Aayesha has some serious recipes and great food photos. Seattle John is a nice new find, a high stakes limit player in Seattle who works there and plays recreationally at the local card rooms. Swim Suit Models, well, I think you'll like these photos a bit better than my booby shot. Or at least I hope so. Liz Lieu? Well, I'm not sure who the Five Hottest Poker Pros are, but I would think she's in the top five for sure. Sean is a student at Stanford and had some good input. Welcome to those and any others that have stopped by for the first time.

Thanks for a great week. 9 for 10 on winning sessions this month. My conclusion after fully evaluating yesterday's play: if you're going to have a losing session, it should be a small losing session rather than a big one. For Friday's Recipe, I've started out with my hard core solid meals that are fairly easy. Now we're moving up in degrees of difficulty. Homemade Southern Buttermilk Biscuits. These ain't no whopping biscuits; this is the real deal.

Homemade Southern Buttermilk Biscuits

First, place 1/4 cup of shortening in a pan or skillet in an oven pre-heated to 425. When melted, you'll add this to 1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour (must be self-rising). Pour the melted shortening into the bowl of flour, then gradually pour in the milk. If it looks runny, you should add more flour. Put some flour on your hands, take a spoonful of dough in each hand, ball and place in the hot pan. Put a piece of butter on each ball, then cook for 20 minutes.

For the Dad's out there, you'll have a big winner for your bride to whip up a big breakfast with real homemade biscuits. Happy Mother's Day weekend for anyone who is a mom. Home game is tonight with a full table, so it should be fun to mix it up with all the beautiful people. If things go well, I might do a cheer! (By the way, sorry for the crazy font issues; a Blogger special that I've given up trying to figure out, so hopefully you can read all of this).

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