Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Walls are Magnetically Shielded

I feel like it's crunch time. I've got a wedding to attend on Saturday, and I need to get everything together for that. What's everything? Card, gift, haircut, etc.... I hope I have a clean suit. Sunday I'm supposed to be doing the Ride for Heart, but that will depend heavily on how the wedding goes, and if I can rouse myself at 7am for the 8:15 start time. In order to do that though, I need to get my bike fixed. I have nobody to blame but myself for this, since I bent the rear rim a year ago, and never got around to getting it repaired. So tonight I'll be rushing home after work to get the bike to the shop, and hope they can have it fixed by Saturday morning so I can pick it up before the wedding and be ready to go Sunday.

Monday and Wednesday are Luminato events, and I can't help but think I'm forgetting something on Tuesday. Then Thursday I head off to the airport and board a flight to LAS VEGAS! Sweet Jeebus I'll need that vacation. Drinking and gambling.... mmmm.

In the online front, I didn't play The Mookie last night. I had better things to do, and it was relieving to go a day without poker after the run of mediocrity I've seen lately. However, I'll make a point of playing the Riverchasers tonight, and I hope to make the HORSE event on Sunday as well. Even though I suck at HORSE, I need to make up for the fact I'll be missing both the MATH and Mook next week. My focus will be on getting some big points, as I've dropped out of the top 10 in the BBT. And now that I've set a goal, I'll be sure to fall well short of it. I'm predicting Gigli for me.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How NOT to Untilt

So I figured I'd try and win my buy-in to the Wheatie, or not play at all. Got creamed in a $12 Turbo SnG, and couldn't get more than a few bucks up in a $0.10/0.25 cash game. So no dice there.

Then I jumped into the $19K guarantee at Tilt. 1077 runners... out 252 or something like that. Hovering around the starting stack the entire time.

Walk away, do some chores, call some people (nobody around... le sigh), and then sat back down. Cash time. $1/2 NL on Tilt. $200 in.

Many hours later... down $200.

Built up nearly $100 quickly due to mr. check-call-with-any-pair or min-bet-every-board on my right, and me catching some really good hands. A bit of aggression also helped steal blinds.

Then... angerrrrrrr. A multitabler calls my pre-flop raise... I'm holding the aces though. Sweet. Absolute GARBAGE flop (T73 or something) and I bet 1/2 the pot... he calls. 9 on the turn, I bet 1/2 the pot again, he min-raises. Ok, thinks I, maybe he has pocket 9s, but that's out of character for a multi-tabler. Kings or AK is more likely with their type. Turn is a Q, he bets, I raise, he re-raises all-in and I call (have him covered by enough to lose)... he flips over... POCKET NINES! Damn me for not listening to my instincts. Suddenly I'm down a chunk.

Build it back up to $180 thanks to a set of 8's on the turn after a loose call on the flop against kings. Figure I'll build back to my initial and leave flat. Nope. Cowboys get folded when another calling station bets big on a river ace after I bet him fairly hard all the way down.

Build back up again... still not to the initial. Again throw away a solid hand on the river when the call-with-second-pair guy raises huge on the river when 2nd pair becomes 2nd set. Grrrr...

And from there I threw the rest away. All-in with $12 left doubled me up when my A caught. All-in with the new $24 loses when someone else's A catches. I finally call it a night far too late and far too pissed off.

At least I can re-load on Tilt, and I'm not broke there yet. But man was that annoying. I really need to force myself to walk away.

Change or Die

Sam The Record Man's flagship Yonge store is closing... again.

For anyone who has lived in Toronto, this is a landmark. The "spinning" neon records over the entrance, the sheer size of it, the history. 70 years ago it opened, and was THE record store in the city. None bigger, none better.

The Barenaked Ladies snuck their first indie tape into the racks because they figured it was the easiest way to get discovered by the masses. They were right. The fact that none of the employees knew what to charge for the album didn't matter. Sam let it stay.

CityTV started it's newscast and Late Great Movies with a shot of the store, so you knew they were in Toronto.

Sam himself became an icon in the city, and could often be found sitting behind the counter chatting with his employees and always willing to help out a customer.

Sam's sons reopened the place 5 years ago when it last closed its doors. Over 100 stores across the country existed, now there are 2. Competition from HMV hurt in the 90's and early 21st century, especially when they opened a bigger, newer store just across the road from Sam's.

The sons claim that technology, namely online shopping, is what has hurt them most. This is certainly possible, although I think they're putting too much blame there. I mean, HMV, Sunrise, and Music World all still operate brick and mortar stores and haven't shuttered-up yet.

Of course, those stores look newer and have incentives for customers to come in. 3 for $30 deals on DVDs, 3 for $20, club cards, sales, huge indie, Criterion, or World Music sections, etc, etc, etc. Plus they are universally cheaper than Sam's.

Sam's was cool when it was the only big player on the block. Now it just looks old and outdated. Drab colours, decor that hasn't changed in 70 years, overpriced merchaindise, hard-to-find staff, confusing layout. It tried so hard to look like a corner record shop, but you knew it wasn't, so you couldn't forgive the frugality.

5 million people during a work day in the city. The largest per-capita movie-viewing public in North America, and a lot of music and culture lovers with a wide range of tastes. There's no reason they should have failed outside of their own reluctance or inability to change with the times.

Sure, they opened their big DVD section a few years back... it looked like a newer version of the rest of the store. And it doesn't take much to walk across the street to Sunrise or HMV and find the same stock for cheaper. Boxing Day for me was making a pass through all 3, and then buying each item where it was cheapest. That would often mean 1, maybe 2 things from Sam's, if the line wasn't too long (and last year it definitely wasn't), and 10-20 each from the other two.

Why not make the effort? When you shuttered and re-opened before, it was a prime opportunity to re-do the store. I'm not even talking a multi-million dollar reno, but re-arranging the racks, painting, laying down some laminate flooring... something. If you felt technology was killing you, then you should have embraced it. Where is your website? It didn't need to be an online store, but some place to advertise, check stock and prices, and put items on hold. Why not have a points or membership card? Sell MP3 players. Hell, have an MP3 kiosk in the store to let people buy and download songs directly on their players. Push your indie and unknown selections, start a buy/sell/trade program, lower your prices... there are a ton of possible options that you missed the boat on.

Sorry boys, but don't blame the Internet, blame yourselves. When a store doesn't make strides to keep up or pass their customers and competition, it will die. Nostalgia and history only go so far, especially when your base gets older and you aren't replenishing it.

I'll miss seeing Sam's, it's just another piece of my city that will fade away. At the same time, I'm curious as to what will replace it. That's a prime piece of real estate.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Productivity be Damned!

So, I really need Vegas, and it will be a great kickoff to a solid month of weekend parties to attend.

Our humble organizer, Falstaff, has his rough plans up. They sound pretty good.

I'm in Thursday night, 11:30ish arrival. Apparently anyone around should be good and tanked and bowling by that time. I'll swing by and see what's what.... if nobody's around, then expect 1am phone calls.

Friday HORSE at Binions just doesn't appeal... mostly because I suck at HORSE, I'll probably be hitting the 11am NLHE tourney at TI instead, and perhaps spend the day gambling.

Friday night - sure, mixed games sound as good as anything else... sure beats spending the whole day gambling solo.

Saturday - WPBT tourney for sure! Good dinner? Of course! Drunk at the Rio? Why not!

Sunday - I'm hoping to get out on the 1:30 flight, which means a noon brunch at the Wynn just ain't going to work. Damn. The next flight that's appealing to me is the red-eye, and that just ain't that appealing after all.

My only regret? No Ellis Island? Where's the cheap drinks?!

Turnout looks alright, definitely enough to cause a ruckus or 7. Guess my only issue is that of all the people on the list - Fuel's the only one I've actually met. Not a knock on Fuel, just that I hate wandering aimlessly looking for people I don't know :).


Well, seems Wippy has issued a challenge to bloggers to post a "poker mantra." Normally I don't give away too much here, because I much prefer seeing what other people think my methods are. (I've heard everything from nearly ATC to "steals from UTG and UTG+1" to "always has aces"... but I digress). Based on my disappointing results and assinine play last night, it's as good a time as any to reiterate. Still, don't expect to learn that much... that would be counter to what it says up above there. I'm thinking this is less mantra, and more manifesto really.

One beer is fine, many beers are fine if you intend to lose.

Nothing more substantial than a snack and a glass should be consumed while playing. Poker and a 3-course meal don't work simultaneously.

Porn only when you don't care about the game anymore.

Don't multi-table. If you do, make sure at least one of the games doesn't matter.


Keep the distractions to a minimum. If silence is distracting, turn on background noise (TV you can ignore, or music).

Figure out the range you're happy with, and make sure it changes based on the table conditions. Be sure to mix it up a little to keep people guessing.

Know your opponents, and know where the button is.


Don't let your bets be a tell.

If you have a set of kings, don't assume the all-in is a set of aces. Don't discount it either.

Fight fire with fire.

Short stacked is more free than big stacked.

Just because you have chips doesn't mean you have to give them away. I failed sharing in kindergarten.

Trust your reads. If your reads are wrong, figure out why.

If someone seems to have figured you out, fuck with them.

If you've lost the respect of the table, earn it back.

Bad beats happen, and will piss you off, but they shouldn't tilt you.

If you make stupid mistakes, learn from them, and don't repeat them.

If you make a mistake but don't know why, figure it out.


It's not over until you're out of chips.

Treat the rest of the players with respect. If someone comes after you, be witty and well-spoken when you smack them back down. Nothing pisses off a donkey more than pointing out exactly why your call was right and they're an idiot. It also scares the shit out of the rest of the table. NB: This doesn't apply to bloggers.

Don't be afraid to see a flop. Don't be afraid of a flop. Don't overpay to chase your draws no matter how sure you are they're coming.

You're going to lose more than you're going to win. Just make sure the wins are bigger than the losses.

Two pair will win 72% of the time. That means 28% of the time they're going to break your heart.

A 15-outer twice for you means a 32-outer twice for your opponent. So don't be surprised when your straight flush draw doesn't hit. This doesn't mean you shouldn't play it.

Sometimes it's more about not losing than it is about winning. Second chances are better than last shots.

It's better to burn out than fade away.

Laugh when you both have K5o and go to the river on an A-high board.

If you fold to a bluff, then the appropriate response isn't "DAMN!" it's, "Nice bluff."

Greed, sloth, wrath, envy, pride, gluttony and lust will kill you at the table.

Chastity, abstinence, liberality, kindness, and humility won't help too much either. But diligence and patience will.

Never stop improving.

And that is waaaaay too long. Definitely more manifesto than mantra. My mantra? Pay attention.

I've Had More Fun

Imagine me with a giant LED sign on my head, flashing TILT for a couple hours last night.

The night started off well enough. I fired up a level 1 peep to try and get into the MATH cheap, and was feeling far too goofy. Hammer as my first hand I got totally sucked out on by KQ. So then I calmed down, but couldn't make anything happen since I now had ZERO respect from the table. I fired up another one and played for real. At the final table I found myself with the chip lead next to Drizz and was able to more-or-less sit out to the token.

Meanwhile, I had signed up for the Memorial Day 50K and started playing that like it was the peep. My play was far too loose to start, but the double-stacks gave me some leeway. I was able to get to a respectable level and maintain for a while. It was very cool to find myself at a table with Lightning36 and Joespeaker though. 2400 runners, 3 bloggers at the first table. And we stayed there as long as I was in.

Then the MATH started, and I was in the right headspace for it. But I was at Joespeaker's table again, which made for an opportunity to chat about the 50k whilst it was going on. Also got to thank pushmonkey72 for the 26k notice since he was there too. As was Drizz again. The Full Tilt blogger world is getting very small apparently.

Then my computer froze in the second hour of the MATH when I had just raised with pocket Jacks and someone put out a significant re-raise. By the time I was back in, a couple hands had passed and I was down about 1000 chips with the blinds climbing.

Then I got mildly distracted and played like a donkey in the 50k. AKo raised pre-flop and called. Crappy board and I bet at it, and get check-called. I fire a second bullet at the Q on the turn (this is where the distraction came into play) and get check-called again. I figure I'm beat by someone with AQ. Then the K comes down, and the caller bets out for nearly all my stack. I, like an idiot, call, and he flips over cowboys. What can I say? He played it right, and I played it like a complete donkey. This pissed me off to no end since I could only blame myself.

So with only enough to cover the blinds and a little, I was all-in with A3c, which met AQo and KK and I was done, about 1017 or so out of 2300+. Considering I had just been up around 170th, I was not pleased.

MATH was still going though, and my stack was craptacular there as well. I managed to stay afloat but was now in a shitty mood and eventually went down with a not-so-terrible hand in 23rd I think.

I got up and walked away. No Wii too cool off with, as my controllers are at a friends, so I stalked around my place until my head was a bit clearer. Then I logged into my favourite de-tilting room - Full Contact Poker.

FCP was one of my favourite sites when it opened. It was on the Pokerroom network, and had a bunch of pretty solid players. The amount of donkey play seemed smaller than other sites, which means that people actually respected aggression and you seldom ran into someone who called down pot-sized bets with A-junk suited. Then everyone's favourite anti-gambling law came into affect and their network flew the coop. FCP switch to the Digital Gaming Network, and the number of players dropped to about nil. When I logged on last night, 700 people were connected. That said, the quality of players has degraded to the point where the fishing is easy, if you can find a school.

Throw in a small bankroll on the site (I have no intention of refilling it these days), and it makes for low-limit cash games with minimal amount of caring on my part. The only table with open seats was 0.25/0.50 6-handed NL, so I sat down and took everyone's money. People dropped out when I had increased by over 1/2 my initial buy-in and I left glad that I had managed to win SOMETHING to end the night.

Wheatie is tonight, but I don't think I'll be there. I'm still not in a great poker mood, and my Stars roll is getting dangerously low to be tossing $11 at a donkfest.

Will probably skip the Mookie tomorrow too, but Riverchasers is a possibility.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Tell Me Why...

Sorry, Boomtown Rats were going through my head for a moment. They were quickly replaced by Elvis... Vivaaaaa, vivaaaaaa Las Vegaaaaaaaaas.

Congrats to Le Goat for his 5th place finish in the 26k last night! That's over a cool grand in winnings for Groucho. I'm very jealous, but at least I know some of my chips helped him get there.

Yes, Vegas. Still haven't officially booked anything, but I'll be there. Just a phone call to get me listed on the flights, and a few minutes of effort to book a room and I'll be set. From what I've heard though, it will be a smaller than usual turnout. Shame. I'll try an make up for it with drunkery, volume, and excessive gambling.

MATH tonight, Memorial Day edition. Or as we call it here in Canada - Monday.

26K of Fun

This isn't bad:

But it could have been SO much better.

I actually had more than that, and held on to first for a while. Bounced among the top 3, and then got KILLED when an AJo turned into a straight draw on the turn, and filled it on the river when my 3rd queen showed up. 2nd to bottom 5 in one hand. No Q saved me when I went all-in with AKo and met rockets next to me. JJT flop, but alas, no lady to be found.

Saw quad tens too.

But that was earlier on. A reverse Hoy overbet for value on the river ALMOST worked, but the man with AJ just couldn't call my huge bet. Ah well.

Found myself with Julius_Goat (who had previously railed me with Hoy) at my last table for a decent amount of time. He went from being a little stack between the monsters (me and 2nd place) to outlasting us both. Good job. Once he got some chips, he ramped up his game and became a danger on my right. Here's hoping he takes it down. He's 13th of 27 as I write this. Good luck!

And thanks to pushmonkey72 for reminding me about the 26k. If I'd made the final table, I was paying for your buy-in :). Ran into him in the $75 token frenzy (got that one)... 88 runners and I get dropped down on his left immediately. Quite the night for bloggers.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

My Power is Laziness

Well, my solution to playing in the MATH when I knew I'd be late was easy enough. Take down a level 1 token an only pay $8.

Problem was that I got to the game later than expected, in fact, I didn't open Full Tilt until the first hour was nearly up. Seems I was doing alright though in my absence. All told, I essentially hung on until the points bubble burst and went out 23rd. A few bets, a made hand or two, and a double-up on the bubble was enough to keep me alive. I'm not exactly proud of how I pulled that off.

Just as NBC shouldn't be proud about that abortion that was the Heroes season finale. There be spoiler here. You've been warned. Highlight after the dots.


What a waste of an hour. 55 minutes of dithering and NOTHING happening followed by 3 minutes of "we don't have the budget to do something cool", 1 minute of denoument from a climax a 12 year-old would be ashamed of, and 1 minute of "please watch next season."

I gave them the benefit of the doubt for the first 20 minutes. There was some tension built, it was all coming together. Then it took them another 35 minutes to... what? Get down to the square? The Hiro/Ando storyline was the only one that anything happened in, and it was pretty pathetic. It's great that Hiro suddenly has a 99% accuracy rate with the teleporting after learning how to use a sword.

And Parkman... my god, what a horribly done character. It's like the writers decide "he's stupid for the next 20 minutes." every episode he's in. He shows flashes of being competent, and then he suddenly thinks HE can take on Sylar? With what? A gun and the ability to read his mind? Are you going to make fun of his secret shames?

There were cool scenes, the actor who plays Noah (yet ANOTHER Biblical name - Peter, Nathan (son of David and Bathsheba), Matthew, Noah (something about an Ark), Micah, Gabriel (God's Messenger/Angel of Death), Isaac (prophet), etc.) Bennet is great. He says so much without actually saying it. Facial expressions, and the depth in his eyes. Claire jumping out the window was solid, even if the line before was weak.

But it was outweighed by the stupid. Why doesn't Peter read EVERYONE'S mind when he needs to know what's going on? Can't Peter fly himself? Why does Nathan have to be involved? One line - "It's taking all I have to hold on." would have explained it. Nobody dies??? Maybe Nathan... but Peter will have to live, especially with Sylar crawling (or was he dragged?) to the manhole. Parkman lives? 5 bullets in the chest?? DL can walk after Mohinder looks at him? He's a geneticist, not an MD. Weren't most of the heroes supposed to die and we started anew next season? How pathetic.

Oh, and Candice claimed in the last episode that she was a huge woman in reality, not a Missy Peregrym lookalike... yet when she's knocked unconscious, she reverts to the image we always see?

At the end of the day, it felt very much like NBC execs stepped in and said, "This is our ONLY real hit this season, and we're a bunch of terrified cheapskate pansies. Don't kill anyone, and we can't afford to give you a cool final scene, so make up a cheaper one." At least I hope that's what happened and not that after an incredibly cool first season, the writers couldn't come with an ending. Next time, just have a giant foot crush everyone.

As an aside - Peter should now (depending on proximity) have just about everyone's powers. Since he's invincible and we assume he can survive his explosion and fall (unless he splatters maybe) we'd now have someone who can fly, has super strength and agility (Niki/Jessica), can phase through walls (DL), control electronics/computers, find anybody in the world, turn invisible, is invincible, has telekinesis, freezing ability, can travel through time, teleport, see into the future, have prophetic dreams, go radioactive/electromagnetic, read minds, has super hearing, can melt objects, see how anything works, and probably a few others I've missed... if he lives, then he's damned near unstoppable.


Anyway. I'll be watching next season despite my disappointment at the final episode. It was obviously stretched. I actually tried to stay positive about the finale for awhile, but writing this just made me realize how lacklustre it was. At least it will give me something to watch while waiting for Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica to start up again in 2008.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Something... in the wine

Well, I confirmed my status as a degenerate with a terrible addiction tonight by borrowing a friend's laptop and bringing it to a Victoria Day/friend's birthday BBQ to play in The Big Game. I got there around 8pm, and sat and mingled whilst I played once 9:30 rolled around. I managed to build up a decent chip lead by 10pm, when the fireworks started. I sat out and went outside to watch the show. When I returned 20 minutes later, I had dropped a spot but was obviously still strong. I checked the hand history and had just missed cowboys, folded AQo, and a flopped set on decent pocket cards. Ah well.

Nothing too special as I sat among friends and played poker, engrossing a couple of them. Everyone else started up a board game and were shocked when I said I was in for that as well. So I was eating cake, playing poker, and yelling out answers to Taboo with a drink in front of me. All told, bubbling in 7th place isn't the worst possible outcome. I won more than my fair share of races to get there, but the one that counted, when I went all-in with AQo vs pocket Tens, didn't go my way. Card death with a short stack on the bubble is not an ideal situation.

Had fun, got points, I'll live. Not sure if I'll make The Hoy on Monday or not. I'll be busy until after it starts, and I'm not so willing to drop a buy-in just to start at a disadvantage. Let's see if I can figure something out...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Behind the Scenes

Eric Idle and John Du Prez have once again collaborated on transforming a Monty Python film into a stage performance. This time, it's The Life of Brian as an oratorio called Not The Messiah. Its world premiere will be at the Luminato Festival in Toronto in June.

A friend of mine is singing in the production and was able to bring a couple friends into last night's rehearsal as part of a test audience. While I didn't get her e-mail in time to respond, another friend of mine did, and in an act of total awesomeness offered me her spot. So I went. Around an hour of rehearsing different parts and making changes (as they're still finishing it off) was done, and then a complete run through for the audience.

It was great. Eric Idle and Christopher Sieber (the original Dennis Galahad from Spamalot) were both soloists (with Sieber playing Brian), along with 3 other excellent singers, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Mendelssohn Choir. The guinea-pig audience was laughing along with the performers, singing and whistling to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, and generally having a great time. It's only around for 3 performances in June and then who knows where it will end up, as it was commissioned by Idle's cousin, who happens to be a conductor here.

If you're a fan of Monty Python, then you really need to see it.

The whole Luminato festival looks fantastic actually, with some amazing speakers (Gore Vidal, Leonard Cohen and Phillip Glass), world premiere works, hard-to-find films (I'll finally be able to see Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain!), and all kinds of artistic events that I think really raise the bar for festivals here. There's an old saying - there are only two seasons in Toronto - Winter and Construction. I'm not disputing this, but if you can get around the construction, summer in Toronto is a series of non-stop festivals and events that are definitely worthwhile.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Worthwhile Tradeoff?

Missed Das Mooken last night due to going deep in my club's tournament. 59 runners, top 7 paid. I finished 6th for a whopping $80 payday on my $40 buy-in after 4 hours of play. YES! $10/hr! At that rate I could retire to a really nice flop house. That said, 1st place was $800, and I wanted it.

Kat kept following me, we started at different tables, then she got moved to mine, then I got moved, and 20 minutes later she got moved. We both made the final table, which was great for this field, and I THINK she had fun as well :).

The club's a bit tricky. Like the blogger games, it's got a big mix of players. Donkeys, fish, newbies, pros, and a large chunk of us amateurs sitting in the middle. Also like the blogaments, the range of interest ranges from apathy to obsession. After all, the real money's in the cash games.

I've traditionally done poorly in these tournaments. I think it's because I never adjusted for the blind levels. There will inevitably be aggressive players at your table. Some actually have skill to back it up, others are what are quickly becoming my favourite player to play against -- those with the aggression > skill mindset. I've tightened up against these guys in the past, thinking that the 4000 starting stack was large enough to wait to make my moves. It never is, since the blinds start at 25/50 and increase every 15 minutes. So this time I came determined. I sat down in seat 10 and watched. One thing people at the club seem incapable of doing is determining the type of player they're up against. Sure, they can make calls on occasion, but to actually figure out their opponent's style seems beyond them. Right away the table's fish swam up for food. A young guy, but not a poseur, he was calling or raising every hand, and winning. A few showdowns revealed the cards he was playing with and what he was catching... I knew it was just a matter of time. I found my old friend KJs and raised with no action but his call before me. He naturally called and the J on the flop was gold for me. I bet, he called. I bet more, he called. My flush filled on the river and I bet big... he called. QJo was apparently no good. I took more money from him two hands later when my ace caught and his 7's were no good but he wouldn't let go. The table was dumbfounded by both my plays based on his betting pattern. Why? Because they couldn't see past their own cards. I knew I was ahead every single time.

Unfortunately, I was moved to another table, taking what was the big stack at my table and sitting to the left of just about ALL the chips at the new one. Excellent, a new target. I chatted and joked with the table and the monster to my right and found out he'd been a card rack. Sweet. Little pairs holding up, draws catching, etc.. On top of that, he had no idea how to play his massive stack. This guy had to have had 70-80% of the table's chips before I sat down, and was playing a weak calling game with it. So I took some of it from him. Then I took some more. Then someone else took most of the rest with a dirty board, then he got knocked out. That was fun.

One suckout of note at this table, when I called a not-small all-in with AQo and AKo was flipped over. Another Q was in the muck, but I caught my 2-outer to win it.

Moved yet again, with the blinds up and my stack getting relatively smaller, this time to a table with some people who had both a clue and chips. Two tables left. Card death hits, and zero opportunity to make any sort of moves, as all the shorter stacks were making them first. Twice I saw boards that would have made me a mint, but somehow 23o vs an all-in and a call by the big stack didn't seem worthwhile pre-flop. So as my table got down to 6, and then 5, I was hoping for SOMETHING to go with while still shorthanded... but it didn't come. Final table merge and we're at 11 players, with 1, maybe 2 people shorter than me. Blinds have whittled me down to nearly inconsequential, so I have to move soon or pray.

I wait. Relatively quickly we're on the bubble. An all-in UTG from me with ducks scares everyone away. Which is sad seeing as I only had 3x the BB left. It taught me a bit about one player who admitted to having presto when I showed the twos. Then came a couple huge hands. My all-in presto vs A7o... A on the flop... 5 on river, and for the first time EVER in live poker, I actually cheered. The other was AJ vs 77 that rivered a 5-high straight after a 7 on the flop for another double up. Snowmen tossed aside to two all-ins, pocket sevens that scared off an AK, I was alive and well with 6 left.

Then I made a tactical error. I decided to steal the blinds with KTo. Table was still ultra-tight and I was UTG with two tight shorties next to follow me, and a button that wasn't paying attention to the fact he'd bled away his chiplead. I had 43,000 in chips with blinds at 3000/6000, and was 2nd or 3rd in chips. I raised to 18,000 and it folded as expecte to the SB, who started thinking... and re-raised all-in for 32,000 more. I thought and tossed the cards, and he flipped over tens. Shit. This bugged me on my walk home. I kept my head up for a couple more orbits before finally have to toss in my last 2,000 with an A7 that met AJ and someone else's crap and lost.

Now, in hindsight, I should have tossed it right away, but I felt I could take the blinds down with that bet. I'm not sure if the push would have made a difference in his call, and might have induced it even more. Knowing that he had tens makes me think that the fold was the right move in that situation, but when his cards were hidden, I can't help but think I should have called. 25k left was nothing at that point, and the results were the same. Maybe the K, maybe the straight... maybe nothing but bricks, but my odds were better than what I ended up going out on.


I was going to play in the Riverchasers tonight when I started this post, but plans have since come along that trump it. I get to see Eric Idle tonight, and I find that a hard opportunity to pass up for a shot at BBT points. No Mookie, no Chasers, and probably no Big Game = dropping in the standings for sure. Alas. Still lots of poker to make it up.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

On Boredom

If there's one thing I've espoused here, it's focus. The biggest enemy of focus is boredom.

I fired up the WWdN tournament for the first time in weeks. JL514 came online and talked me into getting into level 1 token at the same time (it didn't take much). I don't multi-table well. I especially don't multi-table tournaments well. I also had random TV going in the background and three chat windows opens. Needless to say, I wasn't giving anything my full attention.

The peep was going along just fine but I eventually lost when AJo rivered a straight against my set of queens. However, The Wheatie was suffering. I turned off the TV, closed a chat window, and refocused on the WWdN and chipped up. Then I decided to enter the $1 MTT with $1000 added. 2541 runners. $650 first prize, top 360 paid. I love deep fields full of donkeys. No good could come of this.

Sure enough, I found myself dropping in the Wheaton again, and can't even remember what I went out with, but I was out 20th of around 37. I don't think it was a terrible ouster, but it could have been avoided.

So now I'm fully focused on this $1 donkfest. It was painful to watch what people were going all-in with, but I was consistently in the top 100, peaking as high as 8th once we were in the money and dominating my table. Two sick beats against shorties knocked me down a bit, but I had plenty of chips remaining. Then, with 108 left of the initial 2541, I decided I was done.

I was tired and I suddenly stopped caring. So with A4d I raised pre-flop and got called twice. 5AT rainbow on the flop and I bet at it and get called by the chipleader. 6d on the turn and I push. He debates for a loooong time and finally calls with A5o for the two pair. No diamond for my flush and IGH in 108th with a whopping $4 profit for 2 hours of play.

People were dropping like flies, we here going hand-for-hand every 5 minutes as we moved up in prize levels, and I was comfortably in the middle of the pack. I could have stuck around for at least 2 or 3 more levels before needing to push, or I could have won any other hand... but I gave up and figured, "Well, I have TP shitty kicker, a flush draw, and 13 outs to NOT lose, what the hell." It's been bugging me all night, which is sad for a $1 MTT. I think it's because I KNEW I could final table, if not win this thing, and just decided I was done. Of course, I then stayed up for another 1 1/2 hours instead of going to sleep, thereby negating any sensible reason I could offer.


Probably play live with Kat tonight. I realized this morning that my condo's annual general meeting is tonight as well, but I really don't feel like sitting around for two hours listening to people bitch about the most inane shit with ignorant arguments. "Why do we put up holiday decorations? That costs money!" No... it cost money 10 years ago when they were bought. "Why did you replace the handles and knobs on the entrances? That costs money!" Because they were 20 years old and there's a certain upkeep of property to be maintained... and if you spread the cost over the 350 units in the three buildings, it works out to about a nickel a month. "You're turning off one of the fans in the garage! We'll all die of CO poisoning!" There are 4 more, which is more than sufficient, and I don't know about you, but I'm neither idling my car in the garage nor standing around breathing the air. "The front garden is ugly! We should fix it!", umm... you mean with the gardeners that have been there the past two days now that the weather is nice? And of course, the annual classic "Why are our monthly fees so high?! I can buy a new place and pay half the fees!" FOR FUCK'S SAKE PEOPLE! Find me another complex in the city that has a pool, saunas, a gym, a billiards room, a table tennis room, a squash court, 3 rooftop terraces, a ground-floor patio, a party room, 24 hour 2-person conceirge/security, front, side, and rear gardens, with electrical, water, heat, and DIGITAL CABLE covered in the monthly fees!! Now find it RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF DOWNTOWN! What? You can't? Oh, that may be BECAUSE OTHER THAN HERE THEY DON'T EXIST! I did enjoy the property management company rep last year telling the guy that all the new places will double their fees in the 2nd year of ownership, since they're low to entice the easily-fooled. I know I almost blurted out, "Then MOVE! I'll buy your place and rent it out if you don't want it."

Fuck, it's these idiots that cost us REAL money because they fight, bitch and block any major repairs or improvements because they don't want their fees to go up. This results in lawyer's fees and legal bills when the management finally tells them to shove it. If it was up to these morons, the place would be falling apart and worthless, as opposed to a building that has changed everyone's mind about condos when I invite them over. Friends who were just like me, "I don't want a condo, I want a house. I don't want to pay fees." now live down the hall from me or are always asking if anything's available. Hell, if residents would pony up and buy appliances that are less than 25 years old, then the costs would easily stabilize since most of them are attributed to paying for the water and electricity-guzzling relics they own.

I think that rant settles it, I'm playing tonight... that stress doesn't come back when I think back to it. I'm in no mood to suffer idiots. Wait... why am I playing poker then?

See you at The Mookie.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Today's episode is brought to you by the number 2. As in the number of times I've won The Hoy. It's also the number of blogger tournaments that I've won this year. With a MATH and Mookie down, it's like hitting a double and home run on the way to the cycle. I still need a Big Game win (triple) and a Wheaton (single, but with a knuckleballing fonkey on the mound).

Today's episode is also brought to you by the letter S, as in suckouts. I had my share of them last night. I turned a straight against TPTK early after calling a short all-in flop raise, and that seemed to set the tone. With around 14k in chips, I had at least a BB in with KJo (can't remember if I was the BB, limped, or bet) and IslandBum1 raised all-in with his short stack (< 1000 chips) with AKo. J on the flop, K on the river. I took some flack for this one, mostly from Don, but I'd make that call any day -- it cost me almost nothing relative to my stack, rank, or image with cards that were live against anything but a big pair, AK, or AJ, and I had no doubt that Island was pushing with any ace or paint with the blinds about to swallow him. I was partially right.

But my biggest suckout of the night came with 4 left. I raised pre-flop with some crap like K8d, and BuddyDank went all-in. I had him covered by only a few hundred chips but was tired, getting short and felt that he was maybe trying to re-steal, so I called just for the hell of it. AdQc (or similar) gets flipped over and the flop brings KKx and I'm suddenly much more alive, and Buddy goes home. Bad, terrible, horrible poker I know, but sometimes you get lucky. My apologies.

I lost some races (Presto beat by The Hoy, Ax losing to KJo for some poetic justice, etc.), but they were all minor in comparison to my wins.

That said, I think I played a solid game overall. 2 of those 3 hands were mistakes, one of which willingly put my tournament life on the line, and I got a little weak in the middle-game, but otherwise I stuck to my game and played well. Getting cards at the right time didn't hurt either.

My toughest hand was against BuddyDank earlier, with maybe 6 or 7 left. I was getting short with A6o in the SB. I raised and Buddy (with the chiplead in the BB) called. Flop comes junk and I bet out at it for most of my chips (about 1/2 the pot). The inevitable reverse Hoy raise comes and I need to make a call... I had to put him on a face with a kicker and went all-in. He flipped over far worse than I had and mine held up, giving me some much-needed breathing room. Poor stack management from me here, as I didn't realize I was committing myself until I put out the bet.

Fun times though. Early on I found my first Hammer of the game and raised it, only to get re-raised with a push. I folded and found the hammer AGAIN the next hand. Since I'd just griped about folding the previous one, it made playing this new one very easy.

As everyone knows, AJo is GOLD in the MATH. I had at least 7 of of them, and 2 suited (which are useless). My two favourites were both at the final table. One took some good cash with an A on the flop, and was followed up with THE HAMMER immediately after. Lightning and Thunder, Shake 'n Bake, Scylla and Charybdis, the unstoppable force and immoveable object, the overdramatizing and redundancy. My other favourite was of course the one in the screenshots that won the whole thing. It seems only fitting that The Hoy took down The Hoy.

For those who don't like KJ, I saw it 5 times, and it won 3 of those times, and was folded the remaining two. I also saw it win at least twice more from others. Poker is just like blackjack, right?

And for those keeping track at home - no bullets at all. Not once did I see pocket aces.

I don't remember much once we were down to 3. I know I gave a bunch of chips to Wippy1313 when I chased a draw to the turn and he made a great bet to get me off of it. I know Bayne_s had a solid chiplead at one point and I took a good chunk of it from him in a hand he was chasing and then knocked him out with some low pocket pair that held up. Heads-up was fun with the chiplead, I knew it was just a matter of time.

Thanks to InstantTragedy for the support from the rail last night. Too bad he's not a hot woman - a cheerleader's outfit would have suited him otherwise. It's always great to have some support to keep you focused and awake.

Great game to Wippy1313 too. I'll be honest, when I was next to him early in the tournament I didn't think he stood a chance to go deep with the way he was playing. Congrats on the cash.

All-in-all, worth the exhaustion this morning. The money's nice (although I wish it was on Stars, since I can't deposit there), but the pride and leaderboard rankings are better :).

I think I may actually make The Wheatie tonight for the first time in a month. Mookie, Riverchasers and a Big Game this week as well. I'll likely miss at least one of those, although I'm debating on bringing a laptop to the Victoria Day BBQ I'm going to on Sunday. Beer, BBQ, fireworks and poker... think I stand a chance?


As usual, commentary will have to wait until I'm awake and bored at work.

We'll start here... it took a bit of doing.

Hammer rank again!

Down to 3

As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to be the one to end it.

I had to rub my eyes.

Yup, not dreaming.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Oh Desi...

Asif Mandvi rocks. That's all I'm saying.

"But Asif, DC didn't have up to 50 bodies a day littering the streets!"

"Of course not Jon, this isn't Baltimore."

For the Ladies

Ain't these sweet? Check out the collection link before judging.

Hide 'n Seek Anyone?

Ok, I've been thrice-tagged - by Fuel, Kat, and Instant Tragedy. Here are 7 random things you don't know about me... that I'm actually willing to put out there. I fucking hate tag.

1.- I own a '99 Pontiac Grand Prix that I actually really like, but I leave it a 45 min commute away at my folks. My best friend's newer, more expensive car is parked in my spot downtown, because I'm nice that way. Also, I get to drive it. One day I'll break down and buy something new, but it will be small and make sense for downtown life, despite at least one friend trying to convince me to get a Porsche. Maybe a Smart Roadster if they ever make it to these shores.

2.- I took Judo for a couple years when I was 12, but like all things, I got bored and stopped.

3.- I was once a certified lifeguard and swim instructor, but like #2, I never did anything with it.

4.- I have, at one time or another, played piano, guitar, saxophone, and sang. I have owned a guitar (given to my brother who gets much more use from it), own a grand piano that is ALSO at my folks place (my condo lacks the space necessary), and will one day buy a sax I will likely never play.

5.- My mother had the opportunity to trade my youngest brother for two Chinese girls outside the gates of the Forbidden City in Beijing around 12 years ago. She turned the nice lady's offer down, but offered me instead. We remind my brother to this day that he could have been traded in.

6.- I used to be able to solve a Rubik's Cube in under 2 minutes... now I'm at about 3 min. As an aside, I own multiple cubes, a revenge, a professor's cube, a darth maul cube, a cube keychain, a mini-cube, missing ling, 5-link missing link rip-off, square 1, rubik's magic, and a variety of other rubik's-like puzzles. They're kind of dusty.

7.- Tragedy is right about me needing to get out more. I'm about this close > < to going crazy.

Who to tag next? Maybe I'll take the Time Magazine cop-out route and tag YOU!. Or I'll just follow Kat's lead and tag Guin and Joanne.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Story...

It was February 09, F9 for short, 11:02 am. I was sitting in seat 9D of the route 74 bus on the way to E3, hoping to see the new HD-DVD players. I had the 5B's (Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Bizet and Berlioz) on my Sony D8 DAT player. 41 minutes into the 56 minute trip I realized I'd left my standby ticket for my flight at home. I was a bit worried, because I'm a C5 priority and even though there were 63 open seats, if I needed my ticket I was screwed. I'd timed it all too well. 56 minutes on the bus would get me there with 88 minutes to spare, but I had no time to go back. I guess it could be worse, I could be flying Centralwings (IATA code - C0, for those who are curious)... a low-cost subsidiary of LOT? Colour me scared.


56/75 in The Mookie. I am less than pleased with myself. All my fault, played like a weak-tight fish.

This was followed by me totally donking it up in a $16 Turbo DS on Stars after taking a good lead at my table.

Then I became a card rack in 1/2 shorthanded LHE at Full Contact, to the point where everyone else just left the table. Winning 7+ consecutive hands at showdown is fun.

Then I lost most of those winnings at 0.25/0.50 NL. I hate anything less than 100NL, it's too easy to just say "meh". I'm sure the same can be said about the limits I play at by anybody who regularly plays 5/10 or 25/50.

Maybe no poker tonight. Ha! Who am I kidding?

My best friend is in Vegas for the next few days. I gave her some slots money to waste for me. Maybe that will turn out better than my own gambling efforts of late.

Speaking of Vegas, I still haven't booked anything for June. Maybe I should do that, what with being 1/3 of the way through May. Although a buddy of mine called up the other day to see if I wanted to go for a week with him some time. I highly doubt I could take a week of Vegas though. I love that town, but only in short bursts, even if he does want to do the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon - two things I haven't bothered to see yet. The rumour is that there's actually stuff outside the city, but how can you see it without neon?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


It appears I missed not three, but FOUR BBT tournaments last week. I knew about the 3 during the week, but didn't find out about the HORSE tourney on Sunday until Monday. Alas.

Regardless, this week I did make The MATH, and the points. I had a good-size chip lead after knocking out Alceste when my Aces met K-something. I knocked around my new table for a bit (including back-to-back hammers taking the hammerless flop) until InstantTragedy's cold meds got him cranky and Don decided I was just stealing after the break. Problem was I had 5 straight hands with either double-paint or A-decent kicker and no action before me (except once when I had AQo). Am I supposed to NOT play in that situation? Then I went card dead until I found The Hiltons in the BB. Don goes all-in, IT calls and I re-raise IT all-in (I had him covered about 3.5 : 1), he calls. Don with A5d, IT with AKo. So I'm just over 50% to win. K on the flop, flush for Don on the river and I get nada while IT gets the side and Don the main.

That hurt a bit, but was still less than half my stack. I didn't see much in the way of cards for an orbit or two, and suddenly the blinds and antes have me with an M less than 2. Shit. That was until I woke up to pocket rockets for the second time that night. Jecii goes all-in before me, I re-raise all-in and IT calls that. Jecii shows sixes, and IT has cowboys. K on the turn ends my night quite handily in 20th out of 54.

So it's obvious I have nobody to blame but Tragedy for my loss. Crazy doped-up patient-zero deejay :). I kid, I should have remembered that The Hoy is the home of the suckouts. Points are still nice to come back to.

No Wheatie for the 4th consecutive week for me as I was at the opening show of Evil Dead: The Musical (3rd round in it's home city of Toronto, first since its New York run, and my 5th time seeing it). I saw a preview show on Saturday and was given free tickets to last night's, and passes to the after party. Sweet. Severe lack of blood splatter on me though, so that was incredibly disappointing. I got good soaked on Saturday. If anybody out there likes cult horror films that have been turned into comedic musical theatre, or just likes to laugh, I strongly suggest swinging by the Diesel Playhouse during the show's run in Toronto.

La Mookie est ce soir. I have an early ouster to revenge.

Monday, May 07, 2007


It was past the witching hour when I walked in. Fallsview and Rama have nothing on River Rock when it comes to poker room size. There were plenty of seats open, and I grabbed one just before they broke one of the other tables. This was my first mistake.

Sitting UTG with a hand in play, I sized-up my opponents. The SB, in his early twenties, had arranged his chips in an interleaved pattern, each pseudo-circular tier containing 5 chips, with a pillar of 15-20 chips on top. This told me he was weak-tight, but willing to see a flop with a pretty wide range of starting cards. Obviously, he had caught a hand or two this night. I think he believed his last name was Negreanu, but instead of being able to read opponents, he simply folded to scare cards.

BB was easy to read after just one hand. He was throwing chips at the pot in an effort to scare away the table with inferior hands. Somehow he believed that the pathetic way he was putting chips on the felt would scare off the more seasoned players around him. TP was gold against this donk.

Next was me. I know how I play.

To my left sat a good stack of chips with no player. Their owner would soon return and reveal himself to be a loose-aggressive player who liked to talk. The LAG aspect was obvious as soon he opened his mouth and straddled my BB.

Next was an empty seat, soon filled by a mid-twenties Esfandiari look-alike. One hand was enough to put "ABC" across his chest. Raise pre-flop and bet at the small board? Jacks.

Next to the less-than-magical Antonio was the biggest stack at the table. Originally orphaned, the man behind 4x the max buy-ins returned with the player to my left. They could have been carbon-copies of each other when it came to play. He'd just had a slightly better night than his friend.

Next came the rock, the dealer, and the hard place. The two players on either side of the man with the cards were quiet, folding regularly, and screamed "dangerous". If they spoke and had cards in front of them, I knew I'd be folding.

Then came my favourite, who I shall dub Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel. Not that he looked like a Cletus, but his lower jaw must have weighed a good 30lbs, since he seemed incapable of pulling it up. A baseball cap and gaze that said "Where did I put those brain cells?" painted him as the grouper at this table. He was the typical case of someone who believed aggression made up for a lack of skill. Much like the BB though, he carried none of the conviction required to make believers out of anyone. The fact that his eyes weren't bloodshot and there were no Cheetos to be found actually surprised me.

Finally, on the button was a mirror. Here sat a guy who I pegged immediately as mimicking my style. As the game progressed, I realized he had a wider starting range than I, but otherwise was a known entity. In fact, as I watched the play, my starting range came more in-line with his.

This gave me a lay of the land. 2 LAGs, 2 rocks, 1 ABC player, 2 donkeys, 1 weak-tight superstar, me, and my mirror. Great. 5 players I could take down, 2 I wanted to avoid, and 2 who had the chips and aggression to push me out of the way. I'd have to catch cards and pick my spots, which wouldn't be easy with the LAGs to my left.

The two donkeys busted before I could take their money, but were fortunately replaced by their doppelgangers. One brought his mildly attractive girlfriend, who was more of a distraction to him than the rest of us. The other brought a friend who seemed to be little more than a paperweight.

I was dealt my first hand. It set the trend for the next two hours -- garbage. Now this is a table one can excel at if they catch some cards. In fact, with a table like this, I'd love mediocre and drawing starting hands that can catch on the flop or turn. With at least 2-3 callers pre-flop virtually guaranteed, premium hands aren't worth nearly as much as at a tighter table. By the end of the first hour, I wouldn't have cried about seeing aces or kings in front of me.

My best starting hand was... pocket threes. This was my final hand as well, as I was short-stacked and ran into fishhooks in the hands of one of the LAGs. The only other hand I held that netted me anything? An ATo (the 3rd of the night, and my SECOND best hand after the 3s) that split with an AJ on a board of A73Q3. In fact, only a Q8o that I threw away pre-flop caught anything of significance when the flop came TJ9. Even then, if I was still in the hand I would have tripled up to only 75% of my starting stack.

So, no solid starting hands, no catches on the drawing hands, and aggressiveness constantly in position on me led to my walking away 2 hours later a couple hundred lighter. I don't think my play was terrible, although I was undoubtedly coming off as weak-tight. What upsets me is that I was at a table I should have made a mint off of and couldn't get anything going. There was no respect for table image, no fold equity, and limited skill sitting there and I couldn't catch to save my life. It was a table made not for aggression and bluffs, but for playing your big hands like big hands and getting paid off. It was made for trapping the guys who thought they knew how to play and teaching them a lesson. Unfortunately, this required a bit of luck that had long since abandoned me.

Yes, I said luck. The Q8o was the ONLY hand I regretted folding all night. Someone would catch middle pair and fire repeatedly at the board, which is fine, except that the caller would inevitably have the nuts, or the 2nd or 3rd. The chipstacks would call down and catch the one card they needed. Since I wasn't hitting anything anyway, this would have been disasterous. Maybe 1 in 5 hands didn't see a showdown, and those were between the LAGs and the Rocks, usually because the LAG would throw a (significant) pot-sized bet at the turn or river. I'd spent the first hour building a tight image, and my raises would get no respect, my re-raises got only marginally more. It wasn't worth the bluff.

But I've determined The River Rock hates me. I was there twice this trip, once meeting up with Fuel and Schaubs and the next day when I missed a flight and stayed overnight. The slots were against me (speaking of which, the slots selection there is pathetic), the craps tables were ice cold, and the poker dealers obviously felt the need to beat me into the ground. I don't know what I did to them... was it because I said he salmon was overdone and dry? Because it was, which is a crime against humanity in BC.

It really gets me looking towards Vegas even more strongly. They've got it figured out there. Let us schlubs feel like we're winning, even as we're giving it all back to your restaurants and bars. At the very least, we feel like there is value in the entertainment our denarii bought.