Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Putting my money on black...NOT!

Gambling is for suckers but the truly noble die with their boots on. Hey, look! I can write gibberish too!

I'd like to point you to my last post, "Attitude". I've tried every day to keep the story of Michael in mind when I'm about to put one more bet into a pot I know I've lost.

I'm going to draw your attention to something else on that page, it's a comment from Lightning36, my friend from Illinios. In his comment, he suggests that I take his advice and when it comes time to pick the winner of tonights divisional champ playoff game, I should put my money on black...black...black.

I grew up here in Minnesota. My first memories of professional baseball were of watching the master of hitting himself, Rod Carew, baffle pitchers with his mastery of making contact and getting on base. I cried as a small boy when my idol was traded to the Angels. I cheered as Calvin Griffith sold his team to the billionaire Minnesotan Carl Pohlad. My team would be here until he grew tired or died. Well, I don't know if that has happened, but they are still here.

There have been great drought in the win column for the Twins over the years. We sucked for most of the 80's...except in '87 (St. Louis lost...deal with it), my freshman year of college (dude...what a way to start college!), we really sucked in 1990, only to turn it around in 1991 and participate in the greatest World Series in history. (Only #3 here, but if you watched...come on...).

After 92' we sucked, but it didn't matter, in June of 1995, I asked OhCountess to marry me. Huh? You ask...yes, I asked her with a message on the Jumbotron in front of all my friends at the Metrodome. As I told her for months prior, I was going to ask her my way...and that was at the Twins game.

Somewhere in here, the braintrust that is MLB and Carl decided to fold the organization. OK, that crap wasn't funny. That move was decried by more then just Twins fans. This was a team worth saving!

Starting in 2000, the Twins were starting to see the payoff of a radical change that they had implemented as an orginaztion. From the top, Jerry Bell's office, to the rookie stepping on to the field at Elizabethton for his first day of rookie league, on driving force would be use to power this TEAM. TEAMWORK. No one person in the organization is more important then the team.

Even the manager for division rivals Ozzie Guillen admires the Twins system for it's ability to produce year in and year out the players with the heart it takes to win. As taken from the Star Tribune on March 31, 2007, 
"I keep blowing smoke when we face [the Twins]. But I know a little bit about baseball, and that's a baseball team out there. A good one. Know what I mean?"

"People say look in the mirror, play like those guys play. They compete as a team. They get you as a team, and that's why they win, and that's why they have five or six division titles. No one gives it to them. I'm the only one in baseball who ever gives those guys credit. Because they deserve credit. They come here, they show up and kick our butt."
As spoken by the White Sox manager (you think we'd EVER forget this?)

This past weekend, I spent a glorious day with my 9 year old daughter, we witnessed the Twins ensuring that the Sox weren't getting off easy. They would need to prove, on the field, that they deserved to be in the post season.

Tonight, we will be glued to our TV's or in the stands or with our ears to the radio, but tonight, the state of Minnesota stands behind our team, for better or worse, with unwavering passion, behind OUR TEAM.

This is my state, this is my team, and I'll be damned if I EVER put my money on BLACK.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


How very interesting. I was just sitting here, reading my favorite blogs in Google Reader when I came across JamyHawk sharing a video about taking chances. This video was really cool. It shows a series of people that had been put down, told to give up or had failed on their own but picked themselves up and took another chance.

On my other blogs today, I've been posting a story shared my team lead here at work yesterday in our weekly team meeting. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it on this blog. Poker blog readers, I thought, might not be interested, but what the hell, here it goes. The source of this is unknown. My team lead is also the coach of a local girls swim team. He reads this to them every year.

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!"

He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.  Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood." Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or...I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested.

"Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood.  You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life."

I reflected on what Michael said. Soon hereafter, I left the Tower Industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. 

Several years later, I heard that Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling some 60 feet from a communications tower.  After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?"

I declined to see his wounds, but I did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well-being of my soon-to-be born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live or...I could choose to die. I chose to live."

"Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the ER and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read 'he's a dead man'. I knew I needed to take action."

"What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me," said Michael. "She asked if I was allergic to anything.’Yes, I replied.' The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled, 'Gravity'."

Over their laughter, I told them, "I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude... I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34.

After all today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday.
What do you to choose to do with your life today? Do you choose success? Last night I chose to accept the fact that a donkey hit lightning in a bottle for a huge pot. I shrugged it off. An hour later, I desimated his stack by simply convincing him that his play was right and should call. Presto is gold. 

Sometimes donkeys are the chipleaders. Sometimes I remember they are just keeping my chips warm for me.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hmm...an overlay in the Mookie?

I'm quite sure most you read Waffles blog, if you don't, check it out. Funny stuff. On the off chance that someone is somehow reading my blog and not his or in case you get to mine in Bloglines first (again...the shock would be inspiring) - Waffles is putting up $109 to the winner of the Mookie if there are enough people in the Mookie to allow him, if he wins it, to win the side bets surrounding the Mookie. Intesting angle. Nothing like higher chip equity...is there.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The New Neighborhood

Other then my extreme frustration with Poker Tracker 3, I spent the past week pretty much focused on Limit Hold 'em on Poker Stars. I know I'm not the rock star many of the other bloggers are in that I didn't play even close to "thousands" of hands this week, buy I did log 700 hands in 11 sessions. According to PT3, that's 12.05 hours...jeebus.

Here are some of my observations thus far. It's impossible to make money at .10/.20, or I was unable to ever do it. Out of the 3 session I played, 1 was profitable. At this level, you are seeing the river usually with 3 to 4 of your closest friends.

Up one level however, at .25/.50 - I found pay dirt. Granted, this morning, I had one absolutely ridiculous session. At this level, I made $20 in about 30 minutes. I get the feeling that the people I was playing with were just trying to get rid of their money. In one hand, we capped it pre with me holding QQ. I hit top set on an uncoordinated board and continued to cap it on the flop. My opponent slowed down on the turn and river. His ten high no good. If every session was like this morning, I'd quit my day job. Of course, the girls in my life decided to start the day and I had to leave this table. I was actually quite sad about this because some of the truly bad players still had some money.

For the most part, my strategy has been to stay tight and aggressive paying very close attention to position. I'm beginning to think that a problem I was having in No Limit was my lack of skill after the flop and keeping track of where I was in the hand. So much of No Limit is preflop, you get quite used to winning hands without ever seeing any cards. That luxury is completely gone in Limit. Winning a hand preflop is almost impossible at these stakes.

Another leak I'm quite sure I have in my No Limit game is not giving up a hand in time to save some money. This skill has been very lucrative for me in Limit. In Limit at these stakes, the float is almost never an option, since you really need to pay attention to the check/callers.  Check/calling is a humongous sign that someone is drawing. Read the board and try and figure out what hands could be drawing. Think under pairs, straight and flushes. People with made hands will be betting.

In limit, pay attention to where you are at in the hand and make sure you have somewhere to go. a lot of people will be in the hand and a lot of boards can be coordinated for someone. Pocket Queens are cool, but in the end, an over pair maybe no good. Don't go broke with just a pair.

Trapping in Limit is much different then No Limit. In No Limit, you are trying to induce action from your opponent by trapping. In limit, people are much happier to see free cards and hope to hit something better. Keeping that in mind...bet the crap out of your cards. The only way to get value out of your hand is to put money in the pot.

Limit also really reinforces the concept of pot control. Check/calling is a tool that you can use too. You can control the price you are paying in heads up pots by using this. In multi-way pots, you can sometimes keep the pot smaller by doing this if you have no aggressive people between you and an aggressive player. Raising the pot opens the door to be raised again. Sometimes, we want to limit our losses while seeing more cards.  Think about it.

I did get to play a session of live poker at a neighbors house. He's actually a profitable online player and when the season turns to autumn, he starts calling emergency games when the wife is away. This 7 handed session was quite fun. I enjoyed the thrill of calling a preflop raise heads up with 94d and hitting top two pair and hearing the magic words, "I'm all in" come out of my hosts mouth. Later he did get me back when I called his preflop shove with AJ and he turn over AT. 5 cards later...the ten high straight is gold. Good thing the conversations are top notch and the beer is ice cold.

Now that summer is over, I got a feeling the live poker is gonna pick up...hear that Gentleman Jim, PokerFool, Bodie25 and Drizz...live poker is gonna pick up...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Poker Tracker 3 - Buyer Beware: the update

As I talked about back on August 12, "Poker Tracker 3 - Buyer Beware", the latest version of this software is no where near ready for prime time. 

Caveat Emptor.

I'm really beginning to think the architects for this software have no idea what they are doing.

The latest problem in this saga has to do with last official version of the software. Just to let you know, unless you are using the latest beta, it won't import Poker Stars Limit Hold 'em cash games. Nope. Just records an error in reading the hand histories. But don't worry, it will move the files to your already imported folder for you so you won't have to worry about it importing in the future either.

If you install the latest version in beta, it corrects most of this, but not quite. It won't import fast cash games. Oh well, you shouldn't expect everything, right?

As someone that writes software for a living, I just can't believe that they didn't build into the code a way to update the importation in a quick and easy manner. Encapsulate the importation code in a single binary file and just build an update mechanism in the app, much like how virus scanners and ALMOST every other tool is written.

Ugg. Seriously. Save your money. This thing ain't ready. Oh, and my other problem...the one with importing tournament results from Poker Tracker 2? It's not on their radar. They have no idea when that will ship, if ever.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Change of Scenary

I'm a faithful guy. I stick by people and will be their friend for life. Full Tilt poker has been my poker room of choice for 3 years. Sure, I'm only human and have taken trips to seedy sides of the Internet and gambooled in the other systems, but never for more then a one night stand, a drunken booty call.

If any of my massive audience of readers has been looking for me over at Full Tilt, you'll notice that I haven't really been there much lately. We have split up permanently, but I am looking at new apartments. I don't if I'm just running bad, or if I really suck or what the problem is, but the only thing I've really been able to get going over there are blogger tournaments. My SNG game there has just been running flat.

This past week, I took advantage of an old arrangement. A mistress that had offered me a drawer in her dresser a couple of months ago. A couple of months ago, I made a deposit to Poker Stars. Nothing huge, not really a commitment, but $100 none the less. I had played a few of the freerolls just to check out the UI and had made, get this, $6. When I checked back, she still had that empty draw and was willing to give a friends with benefits relationship a try.

I had one condition though, I don't really want to only do things like the old way. She needs to give me something new and different, a little spice in our relationship. While searching my past for things that I'd enjoyed that were different, I remembered how much fun I had at Treasure Island casino playing cash limit hold 'em.

Initial reports - what do you know - I'm profitable at Limit Hold 'em on Poker Stars. You read that correctly, I'm profitable at a cash table. Granted, I'm moving up the stakes. I started at the smallest stakes PS has. Yep, still chicken, but heck, even limit at the really low stakes has skills you need to remember as you move up. And move up I have been doing. I've been winning at one level, take the winnings up a level and make some more money.

Not sure why Limit seems so much more relaxing to me right now. It might be that I can just grind out some winning poker, but when playing limit cash games, I'm remembering to play better and gamble less. These suckers at the cash games at PS are all trying to score big, to hit home runs OR they are playing No Limit in a limit game.  Watching someone go off in the chat window because a blind will call with suited cards is hilarious. 

One my favorite hands from the weekend had a guy to my immediate right playing No Limit Hold 'em. It was really obvious by the chat  that he thinking tight aggressive NL. While I was in his blinds, if it walked to him he'd only raise from the button with a solid hand. The guy on my left had never raised from the BB. I felt pretty comfortable just seeing flops and either out playing them or hitting my junk or just folding. One and a half bets is nothing to call when you hear this. In the times I hit with my junk, the BB player would cap it with me every street because he had AK. Didn't matter that my 84o had flopped the nuts straight, he would just keep betting because he always put me on a weak ace. When I showed the 84o to win with a straight, BOOM! He'd just freak out and I'd sit back and count my chips.

Remember, calling too much from the blinds can be unprofitable as well. Even in limit. You just need to be ready when the weak/passive is on your left and the tight aggressive NL player is on your right. Hit the flop - beat them into submission. Miss the flop, fold.

I'm still going back to Full Tilt to play MTTs. I like those there and I have some things to prove there, but I'm going to grind out some cash limit for a while on Poker Stars. I'm still open for either site advertising here (wink, wink), but since I feel like the only poker blogger funding poker solely through poker and no ads, this the way it will have to be.

TTYL! Enjoy the grind!

Friday, September 12, 2008

We's gots a plan. All I need is some duct tape and speaker wire

Here's the deal. I have some cash. I also have a 5 year old with an ear infection. Tonight is the monthly Bourbonators gathering. My really quality sleep came between 4 AM when the tylenol + ibuprofin kicked in and the alarm clock's really f'n annoying chimes at 7 AM.

As mentioned in my last post, being sleepy and poker don't mix. So I figure if I'm sleepy and drinking really good scotch...

Come get it boys. Tonight, someone is getting my $10 and I really can't imagine it will be all that challenging. Sleep deprivation + booze + $$$ Poker = OhCaptain -EV.

If this doesn't pack them in tonight...nothin will. Good bye $10. Hello scotch!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Yawning @ the Poker Table

Lately, my poker game sucks. I was no brilliant player to begin with, but for the most part I was profitable. My live game felt and played well too, but lately...

Tonight, at poker league, I actually dozed off at the table. This just can't be good. When I busted out, I shoved 14 BBs into a set with top pair and a 7 kicker. What was I thinking? I have no idea. But I can tell you this. I'm ready for bed.

Online poker has been the same. Last night I fell asleep playing a SNG.

Personally, I think I have a really big leak here. I play almost everyday and tend to be really tilty when I'm tired. I need to learn to steer clear of the felt when I'm tired. 

The hardest thing about trying to play poker when tired is tilt control. I have almost zero when I'm tired. Many of my live sessions lately have been played exhausted. Work - life balance has been totally skewed lately and sleep is taking the backseat. 

Poker moderation is probably the best cure until I catch back up. How do you play when you are tired? How tired can you be and still play well?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What Waffles said...Check out EVY!

Yes, I haven't posted in a 8 days. Yes I'm very busy sending my baby to kindergarten and the older OhPrincess to forth grade. More later...but HOLY CRAP!!!!!! Check this out...Evy's KICK ASS at the Borgata! She's busy playing poker...but here's better updates then me...