Friday, February 26, 2010

A Toast to Skill

What is skill? And more to the point, where can one find it?

I did not find it in a mouse...the mouse that's made it's way into my car's battery compartment shitting all over the microfilter, leaving it's wake of stinkass ammonia behind...

I did not find it in a least not in the Blair House this week, where all I heard was the same old bluster and hustle of the venal and vain who collect their own free taxpayer-funded socialized Viagra (Boehner wasn't outside smoking, he was in the stalls, shtupping!)

I did not find it in my drain...nothing but a few old soggy lettuce leaves, from the detritus of long gone dinner.

I did not find it in the rain...all I caught that day was a cold, that a full week later leaves me hacking all night and waking the neighbors.

I thought I found it in the bass...but no, the Rolling Stones declined to keep me on speed dial when Bill Wyman checked out to marry yet another 16 year old.

I thought I'd check again, just in case.

Ah, there you are.

Skill...oh mystifying skill, the ability to read not only your hand, but the play of your opponents. Knowing when the 4-bet shove with cards lacking paint, because you've studied and learned, and applied those lessons well. That one weaktight jackhole who won't go to war with anything short of Kings, and will lay down to a turn of the screws. Ah, there you are.

Is poker a sport? I dunno, maybe once lime tossing and beer pong have been awarded full Olympic status, and not only for hashing out negotiations between bent figure skating judges, but I digress.

What poker is, is a game of great skill, taking months to gain one's feet, often years to play truly well, and a lifetime to master. The game is always changing, nearly as often as a deck is shuffled or a chipstack riffled. New games, new playing styles, ever morphing and evolving. Rewarding, yes, but always a challenge, always, which is why playing poker is clearly a game of skill'

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Typical, Yet...

...the truth is, I do consider Stud and Stud 8 to be my worst games, so I'm not going to complain. Well, at least not much. They way I went out was pretty sick. AA underneath, and a nice low draw by 4th. Filled up to two pair and a qualifying low that would have scooped until 7th street not only gave villian a straight, but also busted my low.

Losing day overall (PokerStars was absofuckinglutely brutal to me today), but a final table is a final table.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Nice Lil' Rush Session

Ahh, left Rush Hour with my first pretty decent winning session. Decided to mix it up a bit, with one table NLHE, and one table PLO. Over 400 hands (with about 230 of them NLHE), I managed to cash out up an average of 1.5 buyins in each. Three buyins over 400 hands in about an hour? I'll take it.

I think the real trick is not so much being a rathole, which is pretty disgusting, but knowing when to say when. I never got as far as up two buyins on either table, so after about 50 hands or so of treading water, I figured the rush, so to speak, was over.

I'll take it. These days, a small session like that was good enough to add over 10% to my relative pittance of a Full Tilt roll, and 10% at a time, for someone who is primarily not a cash game player, is a nice add to the roll.

Good luck on the felt ya'll.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Winter Of Our Long Discontent... over. Spring Training camps open today. Woot. Hell yeah, hope springs eternal. Yes, even for you Mets and Cubs fans.

Frankly, for the first time ever, the Colorado Rockies come into camp as legitimate contenders, or even favorites, to win their first ever NL West crown, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Questions abound, to be sure. Will Jeff Francis return to his pre-2008, pre-surgery form? Will Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzales continue to develop? Will the increased attendance after reaching the playoffs in two out of the last three seasons make the line at the garlic fries line intolerably long? Did Jason Giambi agree to share his golden thong to the team if it dips into a batting slump?

We shall see. But for now, PITCHERS AND CATCHERS REPORT. Hell yeah.

The Rockies are coming off a franchise-best 92 win season, with a roster not very much changed, and still quite young (if you don't count bench players Giambi and Melvin Mora).

Got my opening day club level tix for April 9th, just hope I can use them.

Finally got back to some tourney poker the other night, with only two mincashes to show for it. One of them hurt. After breaking the bubble in a $5 PLO8 with 500 or so runners, I was sitting okay in about 60th spot when my combo draws hit the flop for a nut flush, and then lost to runner runner QQ on the turn and river for a sick sick boat. Oh well. It was fun to actually donk around a bit, but overall, I didn't really have a lot of momentum on the night.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Lazy Sunday Means Go Fast

What a great Valentine's Day, and one that even involved no poker whatsoever. Yesterday was the first day in about 19 or so that I did not have to go in to the office, or even spend more than ten minutes reading office e-mail. So the Good Doctor Mondo and I got to run a couple of errands before settling into my favorite Daytona 500 ever. Why was this my favorite? Because after all these years, my favorite, semi-long suffering driver pulled it out. Yeah, this guy:

Why am I a Jamie Mac fan? It's hard to put a finger on it, but I was watching that Charlotte race back in 2002, when Jamie stepped up from the Busch series to fill in for an injured Sterling Marlin, and won in his 2nd ever race. He comes across as bright, not the least bit cocky, and as I'm an anti-hypester...well, I never could stand the Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. and later, Jimmy Johnson crowd. Jamie's had a career unnecessarily obscure. In the first two years of the Chase, where only ten drivers get to fight it out for the final title, Jamie was 11th and 12th in the standings at the cutoff. After that, they expanded the Chase to 12 drivers. But by then, Jamie had moved to Roush Racing, where he was always the sort of bastard unwanted stepchild of glamor boys Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle, and Roush favorite Matt Kenseth.

And coming in to this year, after Roush was forced to cut back to four teams, Jamie didn't even have a job until the offseason (this after winning at Talledega last year). Anyway, it's fantastic to see him get off to such a great start. No matter what happens going forward, he will always be Daytona 500 winner, Jamie McMurray, may it not be the last time you see the Winner's Circle this year.

Oh yeah, it was only at this point when I realized the Stars $40 entry $1 million guarantee was THIS weekend, and not NEXT Sunday, when I caught up on CK's twitter feed. Normally, that would be an extreme FML moment, but not today. No, not today. One of the things the Good Doctor Mondo and I have learned over the past several months, is that life really is all about love. Having it in your life, sharing it, and who it is your sharing it with. Neither one of us have been much for Valentine's Day in the past. In fact, I really do not like holidays solely manufactured by greeting card companies, ya know?

But this year was different.

The Good Doctor Mondo and I traded presents, as well as with her mom, who has been with us since November, and then we went out to the best restaurant in Longmonth, Sugarbeet. Sugarbeet is a rare find, indeed...sitting nestled into a light industrial area, but serving truly gourmet, interesting, sometimes organic or locally grown, dishes. I could probably bore you all with a recap of what we ate, in my typical way that doesn't really give a sense of how wonderful it actually was. But what made it truly special is simply this. Last night was the first time the Good Doctor Mondo and I have gone out on a date...just the two of us, since before she got sick last June. Eight months. Last night felt like victory. Last night felt...normal.

So okay, I gave up a Sunday of poker, and may not get to play for a couple more weeks, given the mad schedule at work. But you know what? It feels good.

Good luck on the felt ya'll.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Livin' For a Workin' Workin' For A Livin'

I've never been much of a grinder at the tables. The thought of 12-tabling 180 man SNGs for eight hours, just to eke out a 20% ROI rather makes my skin crawl. Poker as work does not always equate to poker as fun. At least not to me. It's one thing to have lightning strike, take down a major uber score or three, and then jet around the world playing WPT, EPT, NAPT events. It's another thing entirely to have to grind out 10-20 tables online like it's your job. Because that's what it is.

Well, the last several weeks of work have left me feeling as if I've been grinding in a similar fashion, but with almost no poker content whatsoever, and yet the next several months look to be even crazier, even more intense, and leaving me with even less time (and sometimes the inclination) to fling my chips around the felt at all, much less firing up a goodly number of tables. After a third or fourth straight twelve hour day, it's all I can do to be bothered to even check gmail or Facebook, much less spend any more time in front of a computer screen.

I am incredibly thankful that the Good Doctor Mondo's mother continues here with us in Colorado during her ongoing recovery. Though I know the time is ticking forward to when she has to go back to her own life in North Carolina. I just hope that when that time comes, and I'm still awash and over my head in crazy-making work hours, we can continue to manage and plod through.

At least the band's taking a bit of a short break later this month. I don't know how much more I can have days like last Friday where, having flown to Detroit the night before for a last minute business trip, my colleagues and I spent all day in meetings, then boarded a flight that left an hour late, scrambled back to Denver, and I still had a gig to play that night...rolling into the venue 20 minutes before go time didn't exactly lend itself to a quality show on the bass player's part.

Still, this 1st half of 2010 represents a great challenge and opportunity, for both myself, and for the firm employing me. I truly hope and expect we're both up to the challenge. Thundercats are go, or something...

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Not Bad, Yet...

....pretty fucking disappointing, considering I came into the final table 2nd in chips. Ran kings up into a 7th street full boat on the 5th level of Stud, which crippled me. Went out on the 6th round of LHE.

Still, I've been running so horribly in MTTs lately that I should be happier than I am.