Monday, February 27, 2006

Interview at Writer's Chatroom

So, I'll be interviewed live at this Wednesday at 10pm. It's two hours, and I hope I can stay awake long enough! It'll be a good chance to pimp Chimeraworld #3 and The Liquid Laughter Project.

Speaking of publicity, my name is up on Amazon! Sure, it's only the Table of Contents for Chim #3, but it looks cool anyway. Never really thought that would happen.

What I've decided to do is punch up some of my stories and submit them. I'm not up for any new projects right now. The main thing holding me back is the thought of putting another two months of sweat into writing a story to face six, eight, ten months of waiting for a rejection letter. I know it's just the way it works, but I don't have the patience for it right now. It will come back, I'm sure. Whether it's this year or five years from now is the question.


I'm kicking around the idea of starting up a home game with a neighbor. Right now I've got three probables and two maybes.

Wifey no likey. I think, though, if it isn't too often, not for a lot of dough, and I don't host it each time, she might be more amenable.

While my tourney play just sucks, I did manage to money in Pokerstar's 10 cent tourney last night. Won a whopping .28 (net.) I'm either only playing those tournaments or freerolls from now on. I'm simply not good enough at them to warrant spending any more money.

Two nights ago I had a session where variance balanced the books. I had Big Slick five times and either folded or lost each time. My flushes never filled in (hard to achieve on 'Stars) and neither did my straights. Ended up down about $1.25 (31 big bets.)

I felt like I played pretty well too. I'm getting pretty good at counting outs, except for the more subtler ones, and I don't really think I called too much down when I knew I had the worst hands. When I did, it was because the pot was simply too big to fold. I'm not stupid enough to think that I didn't make mistakes, but it just seemed to me that the cards weren't there for me.

Last night I played worse, but ended up ahead. I'm trying to incorporate what Sklansky, Malmuth, and Miller say about defending draws in small stakes games and it tripped me up here and there. At first, I couldn't decide if they meant I should defend strong draws even without good pot odds. Mid session I decided to scrap that and simply fold when I don't have the right odds.

Here's my thinking: Strong draws: nut-flush draws and flush draws using both pocket cards; open ended straight draws; and flush and straight draws with good redraw possibilities will have enough outs and claim enough pot equity to warrant defending with bets and raises. Those that don't aren't strong enough to play.

Weaker draws become defensible when the pot is large and multiway.

I'm sorry if this is obvious information to some of you. Hey, I'm new to this! What do you expect?

Can anyone help me with this?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Odds and Ends

I've got this overwhelming urge to take a day off and head to AC to play some poker. I checked Mapquest and it's only about a three hour drive. Could head out early play for a few hours and come back...and none would be the wiser.

But, I know the smart half of my marriage wouldn't allow me to go. I can't bring myself to just go without telling her. God forbid there would be an emergency and she couldn't reach me. Also, this make her think (probably rightfully so) that I may have a problem setting limits and being truthful. To be truly honest, she doesn't exactly know I'm playing with real dough on-line, although I've made it clear that I would be playing at some point.

Oh yeah, I also don't have the money for a junket to AC. Small detail.


Surprise, surprise, I actually did some writing yesterday and enjoyed it. Just some editing of an existing story, but it was productive.

One of the reasons, besides poker, for why I stopped writing was that the idea tank was dry. Just in the last week or so I've felt the old creative excitement come back a bit. We'll see. I don't have the time for all this! I'd like to write and play poker, but I can't devote the time to writing that I should and keep improving in poker. Plus, work has been too neglected and I need to catch up with that. Then there's the family... Oh well. Clearly, the family has to go.

Seriously, I've never understood people who list their passions as 'writing, hand-gliding, sculpture, and fencing' for example. I think part of it, for me, stems from the fact that I have to be at least somewhat successful for me to enjoy any hobby. I can't duff it up at the golf course a few times each summer and enjoy it, because I don't get any pleasure spending fifty bucks to completely suck. How does anyone have the time to devote to four, five, or even two hobbies so that they are good at what they do? I guess some people can mess around with something and have fun and not worry about trying to be as good as possible. Lucky bastards.

Writing is an especially time-consuming hobby because there really isn't any sense in writing unless you're trying to get published. It's the age-old justification of writing. Anyone who says "I just write for my own enjoyment, I don't care if I have an audience" is simply a bad writer who can't sell.

For me to get a story publishable takes at about two to three months of writing, getting critiques, and editing. And that's pretty much doing something with the story every day of those three months.

So I guess we'll see what happens.


In some other writing related news, I'm going to be interviewed in a writer's forum on March 1st. I forgot the name of the site...I'll put it up later. It should be interesting as I explain my hiatus. "So...I'm not actually doing any writing now..."


Can I just rant a bit about politics? Of course I can, it's my site and I'm the only one who's going to read it anyway!

Did anyone think, back in 2000, that America would have changed so much by now? I never thought that I would feel that my political views are a potential threat to my freedoms and, ultimately, my safety or that the Federal Government would show such disregard for the views of anyone who isn't already rich or connected. Also, I never thought that the Federal Government would join forces with fringe social groups to threaten the way the vast majority of Americans live. Finally, I never thought I'd see the day when the President would so openly declare himself to be above laws that he deemed contrary to his agenda.

My predictions are as follows:

1. We will soon see the Administrative Branch openly disobey rulings from the Judicial Branch.
2. We will soon see the open accusation of treason thrown at critics of the President. Political opponents will be charged with treason and major political organizations will be faced with espionage and may be declared as illegal.
3. Should the President's popularity extend to a change in power in Congress AND be deemed to significantly hurt the chances of the next GOP presidential candidate, there is a serious chance there will be no further presidential elections.

Call me crazy, but I'll check back in a few years (if I'm able to) and see where we stand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Adrenaline in Poker= -EV

Played like a complete fool last night and was done in a new record time of twenty minutes. I knew after the first hand that I wasn't in the right frame of mind.

Some people consider poker to be a 'sport.' Personally, I'm not one of them, but it's a subject on which reasonable people can disagree. One way in which poker is definitely not like a sport is the optimal emotional state required to be successful.

When I played football in high school, you needed to be in a mood of controlled agitation, if that makes any sense. "Fired up," in other words.

For me at least, that is the worst state of mind when playing poker. Last night, I was ready to win the tournament in one hand. I felt ultra-confident, full of nervous energy. This made me think I could run over everyone with simply I forgot Golden Rule One for this level of tournament: No one folds post-flop. Ever.

Not being calm also makes me think that everyone is bluffing. This is in stark contrast to Rinky-Dink Tournament Golden Rule 2: People bluff even less than they fold.

Surprisingly, I play best when I'm a little tired and I think I'm not going to do well. Go figure.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Poker with A-holes

Final tabled in the Hardware Bar Tournament! Finished ninth as I, yet again, didn't have a hefty schtack and had to go all-in with a less than desirable hand.

While that was rewarding, the night was tense and not as much fun as usual. The Hardware Bar is in downtown York, Pennsylvania, which has all the drawbacks of a city and few of the perks. The bar itself is a meat market with a poker room in the back. The tournament attracts white trash, gangstas, cocky college kids, and any other angry poker player in the area. There is very little joking or conversation, and many people are drunk.

At the first table, I sat with a toothless asshole who thought he was playing in the WSOP main event and was the inventor of the game. He screamed at a young lady when she didn't realize he'd hit his straight and grabbed for the chips. Then, when three other players filled in out table, he insisted we not deal for the ace to decide who should deal. He thought they shouldn't play until the button passes them. We handled it the best way: we ignored him and dealt for the ace anyway. He landed in the small blind again.

"If this was AC, I'd shut this game down!" Shut up, asshole. This is a tournament, not a cash game. You can't have three players sitting out a bunch of hands, dick.

Jump ahead to the final table. A guy without much experience was to my right. I'd played with him at the first table and he was very respectful. Now, he was drunk and Lucky McLuckbox. He had a huge stack and played every shit hand and hit most of them. To make matters worse, he was so sloppy drunk and inexperienced that we had to shepherd him through each hand.

"You have to bet at least 1000." "Oh, sorry."
"Wait your turn, it's not your turn yet." "My bad."

So, he goes all in and another, smaller stack asks him "What have you got?"

Drunky flips his cards. Q5 offsuit.

"No! He was asking how many chips you have!" "Oh, I didn't know, he asked me what I had."

Having seen his cards, the smaller stack calls with KJ. Drunky hits his 4-8 straight.

Even though it really isn't Drunky's fault, the busted stack goes ballistic and actually threw a chair. The tournament director, a woman who weighed about 110 was the only authority in the room. A bouncer came by after the guy left and gave us the hairy eyeball. I almost laughed at him and was not surprised to watch him leave almost immediately.

A few hands later, me and drunky check through a hand. I have ace high, he hit a pair of queens on the river. Damn.

A few hands after that, I'm checking out the board and the other players' stacks and the action comes to me. I reach down to pick up my cards and I pick up Drunky's hand, which he somehow put down right in front of me. I tell him what happen and fold in disgust. Fucking asshole.

Now, the drunkmeister is head to head with another large stack for a large pot. The showdown comes and the other guy shows a straight. Drunky goes, "you take it" and flips over a full house. It's pointed out that he won and the other guy makes a comment that he was lucky he'd flipped his cards over or he wouldn't have taken that pot. He tells the Drunkster to pay attention.

"Or what, you gonna kick my ass?"

Oh boy. I wanted to kick his ass, but I was sober and was smarter than him anyway. It was almost a relief when I busted out.

One of the drawbacks of playing late into this tournament (besides it's winner-take-all format) is having to make your way through the packed bar to get to the exit. It's full of college kids and local meatheads. Now, I went to college, but I'm the first to say that college guys are just dicks, plain and simple, too busy trying to get laid and being the toughest guy in the room.

So, I'm blocked by a heavily muscled dude with his trendy button down shirt, his blow-dried hair, and his gorilla friends. He's got his latest date rape victim cornered and a snoot-full of Jaegermeister.

"Excuse me," I say, with the "I'm not gay I'm trying to get by," hand on his shoulder.

"Excuse you!"

Come on jackass. I'm not trying to horn in on your slut. I doubt beating up a short, pudgy middle-aged man would impress her much anyway.

Now, fifteen years ago, with my boys watching my back, it would have been "Fuck you!" in return emphasized with a shove. Now, humbled by common sense and age, I simply stare at him until he decides to move.

Goddamn Hardware Bar.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Let's Get Caught Up, Shall We?

Whewww, that was a long two weeks! Where have I been you ask, my intrepid and (probably imaginary) reader?


I had surgery to remove that damned kidney stone and it worked. Not only did I avoid a return visit to the ICU, but I'm free of that fucking piece of titanium that was clogging up the old pee works.

I was in pain and sick from the percocet I was taking most of last week and really didn't feel like posting. I didn't play as much poker as usual either. It was my interest more than my ability that declined. This could be the start of the end for this hobby. Hopefully not. If anything, I'm finding online play boring, even when I'm winning. Live play is much more fun and I still want to play in a casino some time.

Ironically enough, my play has been pretty good. I took second in an 18 person SNG on Poker Stars worth ten bucks, and I'm on the winning side of variance in my limit play. Still seems like quite a daunting task to add thirty dollars (300xBB at .05-.10) to my 'roll so I can move up to the next level. I've got about twenty-three bucks to go before I make it. I've cut that down to about nineteen dollars at one point, but I see reaching this goal as a long, loooong haul.

I want to do it right, though. I don't want to move up too soon and get pounded. For one, I really want to make it up to at least $2-$4 and be successful to earn some extra income and jumping levels too soon won't help me do that. Second, if I move up and get killed, I'll probably give up. Wuss? Yes, but a realistic one at least.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

REALLY Ready for the WSOP

Took fourth in my World Tavern Poker Tour tourney last night! Dragging ass this morning (home by 1am, up for work at 5:15am) but it's worth it.

I was the luckiest luckbox last night. First hand, drew to the nut straight. Later, went all-in with top pair 10's, heads-up against two pair (10's and 7's) and hit an eight on the river to make a better two pair.

There I was, with sixteen players left and blinds at 5/10k. I was in the big blind with T1000 left (the smallest chip denomination, so I was literally down to my last chance.) I plunked it down and caught pocket Q's. Tripled up.

In the SB with three thousand, caught pocket 7's, made two pair. Tripled up again to 12K. The next hand I fold, three people bust out and I'm on to the final table, where I catch the ace and end up dealer, giving me the most number of hands possible before being blinded off.

Somehow, there were only eight people at the final table and four of them busted out before the BB came to me. Blinds were 10/20k at this point and I'm forced all-in. So, what do I do? I'm dealt A9o and catch a nine on the flog. Double me up again!

And that's pretty much where it fizzles out. I go all in in the small blind with QJ and lose to a pair of aces. I think I'll earn about 6500 points, which I'm estimating will put me in the top twenty in that venue's rankings. Once I play again I'll have enough tournies in to earn a regional ranking.

Luck aside, I'm pretty happy with my play. Tight was right, but didn't get me a big schtack. I think, though, I pretty much maximized my winnings. There's no buying pots in these tournies, someone will always call. I remember only one hand that I'm sure I would've won if I hadn't folded, but I wouldn't have stuck with it, considering the betting, long enough to make the hand.

So, this is the second final table in four tries, and three in-the-points finishes out of four. I'm pretty happy about that. Now, I need to find a way to build schtack so I can be competitive at the end, instead of depending on fickle luck!