Monday, March 31, 2008
Now I will cover the two hands that put me out of the tournament - both against the same opponent. The first hand I had A-2 against 5-7 heads up with a flop of A-5-6, put a bet out to feel where my opponent was who I had covered and he responded by pushing all in. I had him covered by 40,000 and given his past hand history and demeanor called him. I had him dead to rights. The turn didn't matter, and the river was another 5. He won with trip 5's after going all-in on a 5-7. Doesn't seem right, but that is poker. The last hand I played in the tournament I had come back from 40,000 to 160,000 chips and I looked down to find the best starting hand in poker in the big blind, which at the time was 80,000. I thought about the strategies of playing my Ace-Ace and decided to push all in and try to get my remaining opponent in the hand to fold. He considered it for a long time and then called my all in with J-8. He ended up hitting a straight on the river knocking me out of the tournament. On the bright side my opponent was more lucky than good and in the end his luck ran out and the other player who was extremely short stacked came back to beat him and win the tournament.
So I played well and didn't get the prize. Life happens. This was a great tune-up for my upcoming trip to the World Series of Poker Circuit Event in Indiana and I was happy I played well, but in the end not winning it all is a bit like kissing your sister - no I take that back. If I had tied it would be like kissing your sister. Losing like I did is more like kissing your grandmother with her teeth out (with all due respect to your grandmother and mine).
Thursday, March 27, 2008
With a barrel of oil getting close to $110 and gas projected to hit $4 a gallon by summer Petro Dolllars, Peak Oil and alternative energy.
Porn...how often do you watch it?
Something about my dogs.
The mortgage crisis and how much worse it might get.
Nuclear Energy (say it like Bush), Uranium and Kazakhstan (in honor of Borat).
Travel including trips I'd like to take and tips I have recently read.
Some stuff on technology and a disclaimer for my employer.
My experiences teaching high schoolers for 1 hour a month.
Poker...more specifically the WSOP Circuit Event in Indiana and the 2008 WSOP in Las Vegas.
Boating since summer is upon us.
....and finally, maybe even a post or two about relationships.
Have other ideas? Let me know with your comments.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This is what happens when people do not do their homework!
I personally think Eliot Spitzer did some good as the attorney general of New York. For example, he tackled cleaning up Wall Street's analyst conflicts - something that needed be addressed badly. As they say - now the other shoe has dropped.
I believe someone as driven as him will eventually hit a wall they didn't see and blow up as he did. Do you really think it was a coincidence that his banking records were ultimately what nailed him when he consistently attacked financial institutions? I do not. Based on accounts I have read online and in Fortune his behavior was generally that of a bully - adolescent, immature and childish. No surprise there, but what did surprise me was the extent of who he tried to bully including former GE chief Jack Welch, Goldman Sachs chief John Whitehead, and radio personality Sean Hannity. It is also reported that his first year as governor of New York showed how inept he was, but not living in New York I cannot confirm (and won't invest the time). What about the hooker you may ask? At least he had good taste even if is a adulterous pile of ripe smegma.
Take a look. I found it on RealClearPolitics.com.
The Social Security Trust Fund is a misnomer and although secured by Treasury Bills having IOU's from one arm of the government to another doesn't cover the bills. The only way for the Social Security Administration to get it's money from the Treasury is if the rest of the government spends less, collect more taxes, or borrow it. If you are 20 or 30 something like myself you had better start thinking about how you are going to retire and not depend on the government. Check it out for yourself in the 2007 trustees' report in figure VI-8. Note that by 2025 the systems cash flow is negative $280 billion and by 2030 it hits half a trillion! That is unsupportable unless we plan to devote the entire federal budget to the retirement of baby-boomers'. Now pile on that several of the democratic candidates want to expand the government with universal healthcare and other programs where does that leave us?
So I offer this to you in advance - the 2008 trustees' report should be out soon and when it does if you hear a Presidential candidate talking about 2030 or 2040 ignore it. If they talk about 2016 pay attention - it means they see the big picture and don't have their head up their ass.
When you select a President focusing on the issues that are important to you should dictate how you vote - not that you like somoene's haircut, what their preacher did, that they misspoke at an impromptu news conference or lied about being under fire in Bosnia. Mine are the budget / deficit, immigration, and national defense. What are your key issues, or are you one of those that is waiting to make a decision based on what the latest American Idol cast off thinks?
Monday, March 24, 2008
As Clark Howard wrote, " InsideTrip.com offers Consumer Reports-type rankings with a system of little circles and a numerical ranking. The consistent No. 1 airline seems to be Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines, while United Airlines is usually the worst. Little surprise there!"
On special occasions I like to write notes to the people I care about. I decided to publish this note that I wrote last year to my niece on her graduation from high school because I think it embodies many of the beliefs and opinions I hold to be true based on my experience. I don't think rewriting it would have done it justice so I present it unedited.
Sometimes I find expressing my feelings best left to the written word than the spoken one because growing up I was always told it was better to hide your emotions than show them. That is poor advice and I have overcome much of that in my life, but there are moments like yesterday and reflecting upon your future I do get emotional since I am so proud of you. As I sat there in the church yesterday watching you step through a door of change I had a constant tear in my eye knowing that you are moving beyond the little girl I once knew, but excited about what you will achieve throughout your life and being blessed enough to witness it.
As you begin to step out on your own know that the world is not always fair, but perseverance and good choices go a long way so use your power of choice wisely. Above all have faith, embrace change, do not be afraid to admit what you don’t know and never let anyone define you. Always have a vision and dreams of what you want to achieve and where you want to go in life and let that guide you personally and professionally. Surely you will make missteps along the path, but learning from these foibles will serve you better than any education you will ever pay to receive.
Know that your family, and more directly your uncle, is always there for you in good times and in bad. Friends will come and go, relationships will come and go, but your family loves you unconditionally and although we might not see the world the same we will stand with you and support you as you face what lies ahead. Facing an uncertain future can seem daunting, but I assure you the good will always outweigh the bad.
I am not always good at selecting presents, but in this case I know exactly what I would like to give you for graduation; however, I am not sure if you really want it anymore so I will give you a choice as you head off to college. The emotional side of me wants to give you what you have always asked me for…a Louis that you can carry with you always. The practical side of me thinks you need a computer as you move towards college. You tell me which you prefer and later this coming week we will go and get it for you.
Closing a note of this type is always the toughest for me. Tamara, I am unbelievably proud of you, I am excited for your future, and hope that every step you make in life leads you towards more than contentment – I hope it leads you to a happiness that simply radiates from the beautiful person you are for the whole world to see.
NOTE: She chose the laptop.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Many poker players have complete disdain and contempt for the so called donkey or fish that we often come across during our games. My simple philosophy is let them play! Why? Let’s reflect for a moment.
Recall with me that last time someone sucked out on you with a hand they should have never been playing in your opinion. For me, it was a guy playing junk who called my respectable raise of 400 while the blinds were at 50/100 while I was holding A-K suited in hearts early in a tournament last week. He was on the button and one player entered the pot in mid-position pre-flop and the button called. I raised to 400 and got the big blind to fold and the player in middle position called along with the button.
The flop came and it was Kd-9c-Jd. I thought the two players in the pot might have hit, or even been looking at a diamond flush and with 1300 in the pot I decided a check raise would be appropriate to send my opponents scrambling. I checked and the player behind me checked to the button who bet 600 which I viewed as a feeler bet and cheap attempt at stealing the pot – so I answered with a raise to 2600. The middle position player folded leaving me and the button heads up. He thought about it long and hard, and then called.
I couldn’t figure out what he had, but thought he might have a pocket pair and clearly stated that I thought he should fold through my bet. He was the button and could have come into the hand with any number of cards, but I did not put him on much strength since he was only following in my opinion. I thought he might have just matched the board. The turn came and it was another Jack. I thought about 3 of a kind and a boat…he had to have a hand, right? I checked and he went all in for his remaining 1600 and I thought about it, and then called based on what was showing and the pot odds (1600 to win 9500 - almost 6 to 1) and knew I had top two pair on the board with an Ace kicker. I flip over my A-K and he flops over 9-6 off suit. His explanation – he simply didn’t believe me. He is way behind and is 4.5% to win. The river comes and it is the 9h vaulting his trailing hand to the winning hand. I am left with 1800 chips.
Now, reflect how you would react to this scenario? Would you yell, would you call him a donkey, declare him lucky, fume, or go on tilt? Let me tell you what I did. I congratulated my opponent on winning the hand and moved on.
Why would you do that one might ask? It is simple. I firmly believe that if you put your chips in the pot you have every right to win. Poker is a game of situations and even though you may call a situation right and get your chips in with the best hand things do happen – that is the gambling part. One of the things I do when I take a loss on a bad beat is I tell myself I doubled up and that I played that hand well to keep me from tilting. Was it a great play by him – no - but he was willing to risk his tournament life on a semi-bluff when I had clearly stated my position of strength. Post turn he had a 4.5% chance of hitting his boat. He was taking an extreme risk that his 9’s and J’s were good and at the same time putting his tournament life at stake. In hindsight I would make the same play again but with his odds of 4.5% do you think he would? Would you? I wouldn’t call the guy that beat me on that hand a donkey or a fish, but as usual he had a mass amount of chips and because his play was consistently like the one I lost to him on he didn’t make it past the break. I see that as the main difference in API between the players I consistently see at final tables and those that I just see at API.
- Why can't you get a regular pretzel with salt at Disney's Magic Kingdom? All we could find were stuffed pretzels. On top of that I was very disappointed I couldn't find a place to get a Mickey Head Ice Cream after 10:00 p.m.
- The greatest ride you want to miss at the Magic Kingdom is the Astro Orbiter. 45 minutes in line for a 1:30 experience that is similar too taking a corner in your car at 15 mph.
- I like her...she likes me...let's see where this goes. I have high hopes because she is a wonderful lady. She smells good too.
- You are reading the blog of the new President of the American Poker Players Association - can I get a parade and a Lewinsky?
- To all my friends - I hate sushi. Stop asking me if I want to go out for it. I don't!
- I had the best sushi I every tried at Disney in the Contemporary Resorts California Grill. California Rolls of course - you should still refer to my previous rant about sushi.
- Obama's preacher has about as much relevance on his ability perform as president as does made up comments from his wife on the Internet.
- I am voting for John McCain.
- I need to go try out Props and Hops before the boating season begins.
- Does it make you cool to walk up to a bar and ask, "what type of chardonnay are you pouring?" Just order your Kendall Jackson and shut up Mr. Sommerlier.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Last Tuesday night I went to the Cirque Du Soleil show in Orlando called La Nouba. Granted it was the 5th or 6th time seeing it, I was still enthralled and amazed. The show is constantly changing with new artists and acts. The last time I saw it was in June 2007 during CirqueCon (I am a big Cirque geek obviously).
Perhaps you can become a Passionate too?
(Photos: -Top: Les Cons from La Nouba; Middle: Group photo from CirqueCon 2007, I am in the center back row below man in red's shoe; Bottom Bottom: The CirqueCon 2008 logo.)
I give them and the TSA my middle finger - literally!!
I was reading a newsgroup from a bunch of security minded moms about the Clear Traveler Program and the disinformation and opinions offered in light of facts was astonishing. Many members of the newsgroup believed that you simply got the card and went right through security without any challenge or authentication of your identity. This could not be farther from the truth. Clear has a very good "AAA" mechanism that involves extensive background checks of participants, submission of all 10 of your fingerprints and a retinal scan. When you go through a Clear line you must provide your federal ID (in my case usually my license or Passport), your Clear Card and either one of your fingerprints or a retinal scan. I use my middle finger - at least the folks at Clear have a sense of humor! After all of that I get to go through the usual TSA screening by following the same guidelines as everyone else - same X-Ray machine - same metal detector - I just got there faster.
So the question I have for my colleagues is simple - "what's your problem?" Is the background check done by Clear not far more thorough than the one done by the TSA? Is having to provide a greater level of authentication better than providing a lesser level of authentication? Is doing all of this at no additional expense to taxpayers through private enterprise better than the bureaucracy and ineptness of a government agency? Why are you so willing to give Disney your fingerprint and then stand in line, but you have a problem doing the same when it really matters? Is the fact I get through security much faster really your issue? So again I ask - "what's your problem?"
I think I know. You have bought into the the politically correct guano that we are all equal in everything we do. Well we aren't and life isn't fair so get over yourself already and when you enroll in Clear use me as your referral so I get a free month (use referral code SCA62585)....oh, and by the way - when they ask you which finger you would like to use for your scan I recommend using the middle one.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
A nice lady promptly told us that the show was sold out, but after some coaxing she relented and sold us 3 seats to see what turned out to be a great show. LESSON: No show is ever sold out - ther are always unclaimed tickets for VIP guests, no shows, or house reserved seats for family of performers - just be relentless and eventually any Box Office pimp will yeild to your will.
The show was great as I said before and the primal beating of plumbing, barrels and drums mixed with the music and general goofiness was a sight to behold. I will never look at toilet paper the same again!
So in closing the best $73.49 I spent today was seeing the Blue Man Group...next time you are in Orlando, Vegas, or have a BMG Tour cut a swath through your town run to the box office and don't take no for an answer.
By: Eric Meadows, API Player #22844
(Previously published on the API Blog Site)
1. You cannot appreciate the magnitude of the WSOP without being there.
If you have ever thought about going to the WSOP I would encourage you to do so with API. I made a last minute decision to join Team API at the WSOP. I literally booked my airfare and hotel on July 3rd and left on July 4th expecting to find just another large tournament on the other end of my journey, but what I found was far different than I could have imagined. The World Series of Poker is more than a tournament – it is an experience. When you see it on television it is hard to appreciate the number of events that make up the WSOP – 55 main events and thousands of satellite games, the size of the poker rooms, the number of players, spectators, the Gaming Expo, and the ancillary events / parties. At one point David Marlowe and I were having lunch chatting about the logistics of the money, logistics, and people and with dealers passing by us from their “ready room”. I decided to take a look in and jus the dealers waiting to deal must have numbered one thousand.
2. It doesn’t cost $10,000 to play in the WSOP
Contrary to what I thought I knew before coming to the WSOP you can get into the event in a number of ways. From online sites that allow you to win seats, to API that takes many of its winners you don’t have to spend $10,000 to play in the WSOP or the Main Event. I tried to get into the Main Event through two $175 single table satellite tournaments which are part of the WSOP. There were a number of single table satellites ranging from $125 to $1030 and then multi table events called Mega Satellites that you could win into or buy into for $500 to $1000. In the single table satellites the winner was awarded chips to play in another tournament and in the $1030 single table events the winner won a seat into the main event. In the Mega Satellites a number of seats were awarded (19 in the one Dale DaCruz played in). When you first arrive at the WSOP it can be intimidating, but jump right in and play your best and you have as good a shot as anyone.
3. We have truly talented players in API
Over the course of eight hours many of us watched Dale DaCruz, a very talented API player, widdle his way through a field of 320 only to fall 4 places short of going to the main event. During his run he came over and made a comment to me that many of the players he was up against regularly played at Foxwoods and on the WPT – they were good. I thought about it and as I scanned the floor of over 1,500 players in various multi-table super satellites, cash games, and single table satellites I saw Kevin, another API player, at the $1000 Mega Satellite. I came to the realization we are part of something big. There are a lot of very experienced, very good players out there and we saw many of them at the WSOP, but reviewing how API did at the WSOP and in cash games I must say that we are pretty good too and should be thankful for the opportunity afforded us by the league to learn the great game of Texas Hold’em. I started playing only one and a half years ago, and while I still tons of room to improve without API I wouldn’t be playing in the WSOP, I’d be a fish at the cash table. If you play in API and have become better at this game take a moment next time you see Katrina and/or George and thank them for API.
4. Pros are approachable
One of the amazing things I learned at the WSOP is that pros are approachable and many of them are very friendly and engaging. I talked to a number of well known pros during my time in Vegas. On the first day there I stood next to Doyle Brunson and had a good five minute discussion with him about the action at the table in front of us (other pros) and what it feels like to win a main event. Later I had the chance to speak with Chris “Jesus” Ferguson, and have a photo with Phil Laak – the Unabomber and Daniel Negranu. I saw Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Chloe Gowan, Howard Lederer, Annie Duke and Jennifer Tilly up close. I know that many other API players had similar experiences. The only pro I did not meet that I would have like to was Phil Gordon, but I stood only 6 feet away from him while he played a tournament and maybe someday I will have the opportunity to sit and chat with him a bit.
5. Patience is a virtue in poker
By nature I am a very competitive. I try to win at everything I do and sometimes that plays against me – especially in poker by clouding my judgment. At the WSOP I learned an early lesson – be patient. In the first single table satellite I played in, a $175 event, I went out second. Why? In my opinion a lack of patience. Not to belabor another bad beat story but I was on the button with JJ. Half of the table called and on the button I raised 5x the big blind. Everyone folded but one guy sitting mid table. The flop came J, 6, K. I got giddy. The player I was heads up with checked and I bet 1/3 the pot thinking if he was playing AK (note I forgot to consider he could have KK), or caught a J he would surely call or raise me – he called. I didn’t consider too much why he just called and put him on a lower pocket pair 10 or less. The turn was a 4 now with 2 spades on the board. I checked, thinking I was trapping him and he bet out ½ of the pot. Thinking he was on AK I called – still giddy. Now the river came – an Ace. He goes all in. I think about it for a minute, count the chips I am about to win in my head and call him – both of our tournament lives at stake. Not being patient I didn’t consider the texture of the board or his betting patterns – I just called. He could have had a straight, a set of kings, maybe pocket Aces, but in my cloud I didn’t think about it because I was impatient. I called and he turns over pocket Aces – I lose. It may not have been my worst call, but in retrospect I could have done a much better job of reviewing the moves in the hand, viewing the texture of the board better, and considering the situation in the context of the tournament. We were only 4 hands into it. I should have paid better attention to what he was betting and reviewing the scenarios in my head. If I did, I might have smelled a rat. If I had folded I would have still had 75% of my stack and a chance to get deeper in the tournament. My impatience cost me. Later in a cash game at the Hilton this lesson saved me $350 in a $1/$2 ring game where I had pocket 8’s. The flop was 8, 2, 2. I led the betting, making probe bets trying to get an idea of what he had, but couldn’t figure out where he was in the hand. The big difference between this hand and my WSOP appearance was that I was actually contemplating all the scenarios and not letting emotions cloud my judgment. He was the big blind and I was the button – he could have had anything. On the river my impatient self told me to go all in and put him to the test, but instead after considering it closely I checked and he made a bet of $35 into a $170 pot. I thought about it, figured out my odds, thought I might be up against a monster like quad 2’s or a boat and decided it was worth a call for the information at minimum. He turns over pocket 2’s. He had flopped a full house. My experience at the WSOP had saved me $350 of my hard earned money. The moral of the story – be patient. Take time to consider all the actions at the table, scenarios, your opponents motivations, and measure your aggression unless the situation dictates otherwise.
6. Tournament games and cash games are different
The second time I was in a cash game I was at a table with Katrina at the MGM. There were a number of API players at various tables and I started out the game with $200 at a $1/$2 table. I was holding my own and then made a couple of bad bets and was down to $140 or so. There was a player at the table with a decent stack pushing the table around a bit and I decided it was time to make a move on him. The problem is there rarely a reason to make a move like I am about to describe in a cash game. I got 7-3 and re-raised him putting myself all in pre-flop. He thought about it long and hard and called me with a K-5. Fortunately, I hit a seven and won the pot just over $300. Katrina told me she was going to spread the word on the stunt I just pulled so I decided to beat her to it. Even though I won the hand, it was a stupid bet. I was playing tournament style and not cash game style. This was a move I would make in a tournament, but should have never made in a cash game. For a good comparison of cash versus tournament take a look at an article written by Jason Kirk at http://www.blindbetpoker.com/tips/tournaments-cash-games.html and avoid my mistake.
7. Manage your bankroll
I came to Las Vegas with a good bit of cash and budget it for each day I was going to gamble. My new personal rule addition is that I will now leave a table when I am 50% up or down on the money I brought to the table to keep my luck from changing or cutting my losses. I came to this conclusion today when I went to a $1/$2 table at the Hilton with $200, won $500 over three hours, and then gave back my winnings by a series of bad decisions in under 1 hour. I left the table up $12.00 in the end. On the bright side I did hit my first Royal Flush during this session so I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was holding the King and Queen of Spades and flopped the rest with one other player that had low straight flush and one with pocket aces (a big reason I got up to $500 in winnings). My major lesson here is to set your own personal limits and stick to them. Las Vegas can be fun, but don’t go betting what you can’t afford.
8. Don’t be afraid of Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas is great for low stakes games, low cost gaming, and as much fun as the Strip. I stayed at the El Cortez for a couple of nights and it was inexpensive, the room was clean, and they gave me a coupon for 2 free nights in August or September. There are a number of properties downtown to fit many tastes from high end (Golden Nugget) to cinder block walls (Ogden House Motel). A good site to get great information on staying, eating, and gaming in Las Vegas is www.cheapovegas.com.
9. Going to Las Vegas with API is a blast!!!
Need I say more?
9. My mom and grandmother can know what I am up to even when I don't call.
8. I have a lot to say and no one wants to listen.
7. My dogs don't respond to me when I have conversations with them.
6. Good things do happen and I think someone should point them out - like me getting divorced.
5. At 1:34 a.m., when you are in a hotel room in Orlando (MCO) a bit bored and a bit procrastinating - is there anything better to do than waste time on the internet creating a top 10 list?
4. I can harass Richard Allan to no end about his affinity for Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR in general and also discuss things I care about.
3. I get sick of reading other peoples opinions when mine is always right.
2. I want to violate as many copyrights as possible - does David Letterman's Top Ten List count?
1. Jason Steele is tired of me sending him my comments on everything he posts (he won't post them anyway).