Monday, August 30, 2010

Ending August On A High

Played my last session of the month this past weekend, and it was a pretty good one. Somehow, through hook or by crook, I managed to cash in seven of fifteen events. Most of them barely more than mincashes, except for one notable deep run, and one that was aided by my catching a most fortunate four outer on the river.

This was a $4.40 buy in NLHE tourney, limited to 1000 players. I've been playing quite a few of these $4.40/1000 max events on PokerStars lately. I like the somewhat-limited field size, insofar as NLHE is concerned, because on the rare chance I can survive the donktastic play long enough to make a final table, the entire event can still be done early enough for me to get a decent night's sleep. And yes, by "donktastic play", I can sometimes be referring to myself, as happened here.

This was a 4-max event. With only four players per table, it usually stands to reason that marginal hands can gain increased value, as you're unlikely to be running into monster starting hands as often. So I actually like AJo in this situation. With around 8-10 tables left, and me holding around 10BBs, I decided to shove my AJo. Oops, ran right into AKo. Doh. The K on the flop made things a LOT worse, but the ten on the flop also gave me a tad bit of hope. Wha? Queen on the river? BINK!

So yeah, I will fully admit that every payout jump from there to the end had more to do with a lucky ducky river four outer than anything else. Cool.

Well, eventually, I did manage to parlay some good cards and well timed bets to make it to the final table, but in a pretty woeful chip position, holding around 5% or so of chips at the table:

At this point, I really expected to make it no further, and I was okay with that. However, I was not to be entirely denied. After a few orbits at the final table, I got it in BvB, and found myself in a classic race:

And once again, it took another bink on the river to stay alive and double up:

To be fair, I had a lot more outs this time, as any ace, queen, jack, or nine would have given me the hand. But once again, I'm reminded that no matter how few seats there may be at the table, just having a couple of high paint is no guarantee of leading preflop...

After a very well played game, chco9 lost his way soon after. Unfortunately, the near 600k in chips I had after that hand pretty much equated to my high water mark (though I would get back there when AK > the chip leader's A9o a couple orbits later.

In the end, with blinds and antes at 12500/25000/3125, I shoved my last 9 BBs on the with QJo on the button, and went down to K8s. The other two players each had six times my meager stack, so I was looking for a spot to get it in, and I was quite happy to just have two live cards at the time. But such is life.

Nevertheless, I once again set a personal best for most levels deep in a tourney (35), and really, how can anyone be upset about turning $4.40 into $280, especially given the four outer that should have ended my night at around twenty bucks?

So yeah, I'm pretty sure my August is done. I haven't done a great job of tracking month to month results. However, seeing as I've been pretty much a break-even MTT player at PokerStars, and yet this August saw me reach a 108% ROI and 30% ITM, I'm pretty sure this has to be one of my top three or four months ever, even if all of the actual profit came from two third place finishes.

Anyway, good luck on the felt, ya'll....and here's to August.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Just Because You Drive A Firebird...

...doesn't mean you can drive one like Burt Reynolds' stunt driver

Brendan S. Eden is the luckiest man on the planet right now.

The 19-year-old Mason, Ohio, man reportedly was speeding at more than 100 mph when he hit a guardrail, went airborne and slammed into an overpass. The car broke into three pieces and threw him from the wreckage. The dashboard-mounted camera in a police cruiser caught the spectacular crash that left Eden in critical condition and shut down an Ohio freeway for more than six hours this morning.

Read More


Hope he lives through it, but I honestly wouldn't mind if he's never in a position to get behind a steering wheel again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feels Like Forever

So goes the summer, I do suppose.

I haven't played much in the way of poker lately, and except for one horrendous marathon session (which ended badly), it's been pretty much a break-even proposition. Still having somewhat more consistent results in the various Omaha variants than elsewhere, but just not a whole lot going on.

For at least 7-10 days, I've been dwelling on the idea of writing an uber-post of sorts, detailing my thoughts on the proposed Islamic cultural center at Park51, Cordoba, whatever you want to call the location. Certainly, a couple bloggers I consider friends have written well thought out and articulate pieces on the matter. Both of which I disagree with (for differing reasons), naturally, but both are writers I respect and enjoy.

But then, for a while it seemed that anything I could possibly contribute to the discussion has already been better articulated by others. That, and I'm still lazy. And that I spent four days in hotter-than-ass Austin, and wasn't going to spend that time blogging...and I'd already spent enough time and words and energy debating this issue with friends in their Facebook comments, and in other forums.

At least I felt that way until the recent LOL-worthy highlarity over on Fixed News, where, in some rather ignorant, mean-spirited, misguided, and completely stepping-in-your-own-shit manner, the morning douches over there attempted to create some mythical guilt-by-assocation conclusions that Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf somehow both supports terrorism, and is directly connected to some shadowy Saudi benefactor, and therefore, cannot be trusted or believed:

Yes, it's true, the "shadowy figure" funding the imam is none other than Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal....the SECOND LARGEST SHAREHOLDER of News Corp, the parent company to Fox News. C'mon boys, follow the money!! Really, if you actually think the proposed cultural center at Park 51 is to be a bastion for future terrorist training, because of the source of its funding, then you clearly have no other choice than to shut down Fox News, as it's clearly funding by terrorist sympathizers, and profits from terror, no?

The most awesome part of this is after Fixed News complained for months about how no one else would cover the supposed ACORN scandal (which was actually manufactured by intentionally misrepresented video editing), and how only Fox News Channel will actually go after the hard news, they're far too chickenshit to even name the person they're accusing as being a shadowy terrorist financier of Iman Rauf, even those that very same person is their own boss.

C'mon, Fox, keep following the money, that's right. I guess perhaps one could say that Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal does support terrorism...after all, he financially supports Doocy, Kilmeade, O'Reilly, and Beck. Maybe Fox News should relocate out of Manhattan, after all, dem dere's some turrists.

Really, if that's the level of intellectual honesty that comes from the portion of the media driving the anti-Park 51 bus, that's all that needs to be said, for now.

Good luck on the felt, y'all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Goody Gumdrops

You got eight minutes or so? Snatch a dose of awesomeness. Pretty NSFW unless you got earplugs and can resist busting a gut.

And get us a cuppa tea, would you, Errol?

Friday, August 06, 2010

Let He Who Is Without Hypocrisy Cast the First Stone

(WARNING - The post below does contain NSFW language, and opinions that are likely to offend the sensibilities of at least a couple of my friends. This is a rant against certain political hypocrisies, fear-mongering, and hatred, and is not intended as a personal insult to anyone not specifically mentioned by name, read at your own risk. Carry on.)

There's nothing quite like the hubris and hypocrisy of a twice-divorced man who cheated on his second wife, and divorced his first wife while she was in the hospital fighting cancer, now carrying the mantle in sacred defense of marriage.

Hey Newt, "Which one of your multiple marriages was the most sacred to you?"

(found and shared on Facebook)

You know, I can respect that opinions on this matter run wide and deep in this country. I really can. There are a lot of passionate arguments to be made in this matter, though I note that passionate argument does not equate to argument based on law and facts, one does not necessarily equal the other.

However, there are two fundamental arguments against marriage equality, that come from two different sources of people, which underscore the fact that for these two groups, their positions are truly rooted more in fear, bigotry, and ignorance than anything else.

The first is this -- all those who base their arguments on the principle of "marriage is under attack", or some other description rooted in a position that the sanctity of marriage is somehow vulnerable here. Well, if you've ever divorced your spouse, than fuck you, you don't get to make that argument, because you didn't give a flying fuck about the sanctity of your own marriage, so you forfeit the right to preach to others that marriage is sacred. Because it sure wasn't for you. And if you divorced because you were unfaithful to your spouse, like Newt Gingrich was (the 2nd wife, you know, the one he left his cancer-ridden wife for, in the first place), then that goes doubly so.

And second, there's the argument that Judge Walker somehow violated the constitution and is a "judicial activist". Never mind the fact that Judge Walker is a Republican named to the bench by the right-wing's hero Ronald Reagan, and has shown himself over the body of his work to be anything but a judicial activist. It should be noted that nowhere in the United States Constitution does the word "marriage" even appear. The Constitution is utterly silent on the subject. So no, gay marriage is not unconstitutional.

What is unconstitutional, however, is a state initiate designed solely to deprive basic citizen rights to those who already have those rights. In California, gay people had already obtained the right to marry, and Proposition 8 was intended solely to take away a right that already existed in state law, and that is clearly unconstitutional. Think about it. If California voters passed an initiative that took away a woman's right to vote, would that be any different? Of course not. The will of a state population to violate the United States Constitution does not make that violation constitutional.

Which brings me to my point. Many of the same far right dittoheads who claim that either gay marriage or Judge Walker's ruling, is unconstitutional, also claim to be "strict constructionists" when it comes to the Constitution. In other words, their normal argument is that the Constitution is to be read on its face, and not to be interpreted in any fashion. Except now, those same people want to claim that the Constitution somehow doesn't apply here, or says something it does not say. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Sharron Angle and Sarah Palin (among others), who after decades of claiming yourselves as strict constructionists, now to apply a completely different standard to Judge Walker's ruling. You don't get no longer get to make that argument. You forfeit the right to argue against your decades-long positions of strict constructionism just because you don't like a ruling that actually strictly follows the Constitution.

If your argument against marriage equality is based on either of the above two positions, and you've ever been divorced, or cheated on your spouse, or even if single participated in a relationship with a partner outside *their* marriage, or even one time carried the mantle of fighting "judicial activism", or even once used the the argument of strict construction to support, say, the NRA...then fuck you, you don't get to make that argument now, because it makes you as intellectually dishonest as a newt. Or a Newt.

Of course, now there's the mud rising to the surface of those claiming that Judge Walker should have recused himself because he is gay (allegedly), and thus impartial in any situation involving gay rights. Really? Is that what you really think? Do you honestly think that a woman cannot judge a case involving, say, workplace harrassment, or a black man is de facto barred from judging a case involving alleged racial discrimination or profiling? Bullshit. You didn't stand up when Justice Clarence Thomas voted in the recent Massachusetts firefighter promotion lawsuit. You know why? Because you don't actually believe that, except when it comes to the gays.

Judge Walker shouldn't have recused himself anymore than a straight judge should have recused himself for the very same reason. One's sexual orientation isn't a basis for recusal anymore than the color of a judge's skin, or the form of their genitalia.

Obviously, the legal battle is far from over, for both sides of the argument. This was only a United States District Court ruling, there are certainly appeals to follow. And really, no one knows how this is ultimately going to turn out. I'm no lawyer, and I certainly don't know how this will end up, though I am extremely curious to see how the issue is ultimately decided, and the impact on the American legal landscape.

I do think it speaks volumes that one of the two lead counsel for plaintiffs in the case is none other than Ted Olsen, he of impeccable conservative credentials, even serving as President George W. Bush's Solicitor General.

But one thing is for certain. The usual windbags on the right are going to have to come up with a new toy to talk about this time, because on this, they're going to have to actually live by the same words they've preached to us forever. In fact, they may want to wear longer pants, be careful, their bias is showing.

Monday, August 02, 2010

If It Weren't For All You Pesky AA's

I'd probably win more often.

Weird day. Truly.

Had AA eight times. Once got a walk with them in the BB. And once won a decent pot.

But also saw AA go down to JJ, 77, 33, 44, and in the ugliest example:

PokerStars Game #47587147383: Tournament #294420658, $4.00+$0.40 USD Hold'em No Limit - Level XXXV (15000/30000) - 2010/08/01 18:41:57 MT [2010/08/01 20:41:57 ET]
Table '294420658 17' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: thepescis (141558 in chips)
Seat 2: Mondogarage (824833 in chips)
Seat 4: BadB19 (375429 in chips)
Seat 7: fudgeisback (359738 in chips)
Seat 8: Alphadoggg (1040442 in chips)
thepescis: posts the ante 3750
Mondogarage: posts the ante 3750
BadB19: posts the ante 3750
fudgeisback: posts the ante 3750
Alphadoggg: posts the ante 3750
thepescis: posts small blind 15000
Mondogarage: posts big blind 30000
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Mondogarage [As Ad]
BadB19: folds
fudgeisback: folds
Alphadoggg: folds
thepescis: raises 107808 to 137808 and is all-in
Mondogarage: calls 107808
*** FLOP *** [4h 6d 7d]
*** TURN *** [4h 6d 7d] [Tc]
*** RIVER *** [4h 6d 7d Tc] [8h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
thepescis: shows [4d 5c] (a straight, Four to Eight)
Mondogarage: shows [As Ad] (a pair of Aces)
thepescis collected 294366 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 294366 | Rake 0
Board [4h 6d 7d Tc 8h]
Seat 1: thepescis (small blind) showed [4d 5c] and won (294366) with a straight, Four to Eight
Seat 2: Mondogarage (big blind) showed [As Ad] and lost with a pair of Aces

Notice the tourney's level number and blinds. Yes, this was the final table of a near 500-runner MTT. Wow.

Unlike the above hand, most of the instances where my AA lost involved me raising up anywhere from 2.5 to 3.5 the BB, getting 3-bet, and then either having my 4-bet shoves called with far inferior hands, or me calling 3-bet shoves with AA, and seeing 4:1 dogs catch miracles.

So yeah, today was pretty gross, and I spent a lot of it on tilt, yet at the same time, pretty awesome in its own way, because after all the horrific beats, I was neverthess at the aforementioned final table, which by itself was a bit of a miracle.

From the final 24 players or so to the final table bubble, I was never more than 2-3 players from the bottom of the chip standings, but somehow managed to steal or catch just enough to not be the next man out. And then, with 10 players left, I was the low stack:

At was at this point (an orbit past the photo) where things really began to turn my way. First, I doubled up on arpoker35 when AKs beat either QQ or JJ (forget which), and the very next hand, I picked up KK UTG and, knowing arpoker35 might be on tilt and hyper aggro, I elected to flat call UTG. As I was sure he would, arpoker35 shoved, and my KK actually held, which brought us to the final table, and me in a much more comfortable position:

Eventually, we got to five handed, with all of us between 578k and 517k in chips, with blinds at 8.5k/17k/2.5k. The chip leader proposed a five way even chop, which I was okay with, but no one else responded, so we played on. And on. And on.

Still five handed, and I woke up once again:

Yes, that's the hand historied above. So gross. Instead of getting to 4-handed and being 2 BB shy of the chipleader, we had far more to go. At least that was the last time I had AA get cracked on this day. Of course, it was the last time I saw AA on this day...which was probably the only thing that allowed me to make it to a 3rd place finish.

I didn't stand much of a chance from that point:

So yeah, the day was both extremely frustrating and, by my standards, extremely profitable, probably my best day in nearly a year. And yet, my success was in one of my lowest buyin events. I had a very nice stack in the huge Sunday $3r get crippled (got kneecapped by my own AA yet again), and similarly in a couple other events.

But I still managed to nearly double my Stars roll (2nd place would have more than doubled it). And I do believe this is the first time I've made it as far as level 36 of an online donkament. Even the big FTP donkament I took 2nd in (for my all time high cash of about $1900) was over at level 26. So overall, I feel good...except for the level of tilt which caused the Good Doctor Mondo to have to leave the room. Yeah, it was bad at times...

So today was sunny, but with a few melancholy clouds on the horizon. Today, I'll take this. Next time, I'd like to order up the same, but without the side dish of tilt, please. And perhaps I can do without ever having AA....