Thursday, January 31, 2008

Poker as Just Something to Do

Played a fair bit of poker yesterday. Didn't win much. A couple SnG's that I only peripherally cared about and bubbled in, the $2 rebuy sat to the 50-50 (got the entry, cost me $26 I think), the 50-50 (out 699th on some dumb move no doubt), and The Mookie (out middlish, when I raised with KQs, was re-raised, and decided to push despite my stack not being dangerously low.. ran into QQ. I almost had the flush). Earlier in the Mook I donated a bit back to LJ after a good comeback when I hit "call" with T8s to her all-in (she had presto). I was on the phone at the time (and playing gin, and I think had 3 chat windows open) and as soon as I hit the button I said, "Why the HELL did I do that?" I was actually happy to see it was more of a race than I thought. At some point my brain just said "why not just play randomly?" I frequently caught myself making horrible decisions, stupid calls, and idiotic raises. I treated the 50-50 like a turbo SnG, and the Mookie kept fluctuating from wanting to play and wanting to do something else. Then again, all of it was for distraction.

How come I take a day off and everyone's posting a ton? It's like I missed a week. Iggy's got a ton of mini-posts up, Hoy's got his usual daily wordfests up, Al pops up with 1000 and 1001, etc, etc... I'm SUPPOSED to be doing work here people. Actually, I wish yesterday had lasted a week instead of the too-short hours that it did.

Anyway, I expect I'll be donking it up in the Riverchasers tonight, and likely Kat's donkament tomorrow as well. Look for me throwing away money at a cash table and some SnG's too. Okay, I won't be THROWING away money, but I'll probably find myself fighting the urge to stop caring and lose focus. If that happens, maybe I'll force myself to walk away for a few minutes. Or maybe I'll find a charity to donate the equivalent of my losses to... that'd be good for karma. Just donated to one now... if I stay away from cash, it should cover me for the night.

Or I'll just catch up on my collection of DVDs that I've never watched. I think I really need to sit my ass down for a whole weekend week month to watch movies and read books that have been gathering dust for years. Maybe play some of those games I've got lying around too.

Methinks I'll have to cook something up tonight. The PB & J I had for dinner last night didn't exactly quell my culinary urges -- and those are far better for my mood than poker. The creme brulee ice cream (too lazy to properly accent) the day before and the pancakes yesterday morning helped though. Chicken or steak? Steak and freezer fries. Veggies... hmm... would going slightly asian be weird? Snow peas, water chestnuts, carrots, and garlic all stir fried in sesame oil with a bit of teriyaki or soy? Yah, that's exactly what I want. Lots of smokey flavour for the steak. Smoked paprika, smokey mustard, smoked salt, chipotle tabasco, coarse black pepper and garlic. Aw yeah.

Eh-Vegas is just over 3 weeks away. Have you made your plans yet?

Let's toss in my Superbowl pick here as well, since this post has already taken 4 1/2 hours to get out.

Patriots vs Giants in Arizona

This is a tough matchup. I mean, Giants are tough to beat, due to being so freakin' huge. But Patriots have guns. If properly co-ordinated, a group of patriots should be able to beat a group of giants. If, however, their best shot is in some way hurt, it could affect their ability to get the job done. The game's in Arizona, so weather shouldn't be a factor, although patriots might feel a bit out-of-place in the southern states. I'd have to say that in the end, barring some sort of extenuating circumstances (ie.- a bum foot, or a bum shoulder being disguised as a bum foot), the Pats win. It'll start off pretty even, but after a few giants are taken down by gunpowder-propelled steel balls, the momentum will swing strongly in New England's favour.

Ok, let's get this sucker posted already.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Inaccurate Time Estimation

So I played in the Tuckfard game last night and took 2nd. I suppose I didn't have to push my AK with the A on the turn that filled in the flush draw for my opponent, but at that point I really wanted to get onto other things before the MATH.

I then went and started making something. I figured the 45 min I had would be plenty. Turns out I misjudged by about 40 minutes. This resulted in me being late for the regular Monday fun. I found AK right after I sat down, raised, and then had Ms Aggro push for her 7k stack. I almost called off right there, but decided it would suck to only play one hand. This was a bad choice by me I think, as LJ showed that she was pushing with ATC all night long later on when she tried to steal my BB with a push for the umpteenth time with J7o and I had pocket eights. I'll keep it in mind for later.

Anyway, if I HAD been around for those 40 minutes, I would have been dominating the game. I checked my hand history, and (remember, first 40min) had AA, KK, AKs, AKo, QQ, a flopped set on a great setup board, at least 6 other pocket pairs, a couple flopped nut flush & straight draws, and about a 5 other very playable preflop cards. Ah well. The trials of a luckbox who isn't around to play his cards.

Skill Series continues tonight. I shall maintain my streak of not being there to play. Expect me to be playing with a vengeance starting with the Mookie tomorrow though.


The Freedom of Information act is fun. These guys have assembled a bunch of complaints to the FCC about various shows. The Daily Show, The Simpsons, South Park, etc. are among them. There's some great reading in there. ALL CAPS COMPLAINTS, lines like "I'm obviously not a homophobe" just before launching into an attack against the "gay agenda", complaints about false advertising, a 50 year-old who is offended by some TV shows and wants them taken off so he doesn't have to see them, etc.. Brilliant. I could spend all day reading these. I should probably get back to work though.

Monday, January 28, 2008


A quick recap on my coffee post to help you make better coffee without ALL the effort I go to:

- Use fresh roasted beans, no more than 3-5 days from roasting
- Grind just before use. Grounds have about a 3 hour shelf life before they go stale
- Use a decent grinder that creates a consistent ground size. Burr grinders are best, but some blade ones do a pretty good job. I use a blade myself.
- Boiling water is too hot. You want just before the boil.
- A french press or similar (ie.- Aeropress) is the best common means of making coffee as you have control over water, water temp, concentration, and brew time.
- If you're using a drip coffee machine, use a reuseable gold filter, and make sure the water is coming to the right temperature (93C or 199.4F)

Really, they're pretty simple things. I realize that fresh roasted beans can be a pain if you don't have easy access to them. That's why I invested in my own roaster and green beans. Worst case, find a coffee you like. It's a personal choice after all. That said, once I went the route I did, I can really tell the difference.

And remember: Sanka prevents unnecessary spankings:

Man, instant decaf coffee... what's the point? It would be like non-alcoholic Coors Light.


Then there's this little nugget of stupid. Man claims he had a camera shoved down his throat at a Blue Man Group show. I know exactly the part of the show he's talking about. Now, I haven't been to Chicago (although I used to work in a big department store there...), but at the Vegas show, it was a rather LARGE camera that's used. Ie.- one that wouldn't fit past the lips, let alone down someone's throat. It's a really basic and obvious video-editing trick where they zoom in on an audience member's mouth, zoom to the back of his mouth, and then switch to a video of an esophageal cam tour of the digestive system. There's no way the camera fits down someone's throat. I can see somenoe getting nervous that three freaky-looking blue dudes are approaching him with a camera and sticking it literally in his face, but it sounds like he overreacted and panicked. Bleeding from his nose? Losing fillings? A bad taste in his mouth? WTF? Unless they use a much smaller camera, this sounds trumped-up and that he ended up hurting himself. I could be wrong... maybe they use a mini camera and have no respect for the audience members and like getting sued. Who knows?

I Should Start Caring

One big hole in the "poker is a hobby" aspect of things is that I occasionally play without giving a damn. Usually it's out of boredom, or to distract myself from something I don't want to deal with, or in avoidance of chores. On a good day, I'm smart enough to drop my buy-in from its normal lofty heights so that my inevitable losses are minimized.

Last night wasn't one of those days. I had a couple hours to kill between helping someone move and heading over to my folks' for dinner (mom & dad's ribs = just about my favourite meal on the planet). So I fired up a $22 turbo to keep myself awake (about 4 hours of not-exactly-restful sleep the night before). I also opened up a browser, turned on the TV, and thought about other things while doing this. Needless to say, I didn't do well. Falling asleep partway through was likely unhelpful as well. So what do you do? Open up another! That was a disaster as well, with me sleeping through half the hands. Oddly, I think I went out in 4th in both.

So I get to my folks, enjoy dinner, and open up my old Stars client on their machine as I set some stuff up. $50NL cash game (which is a cut in buy-in at least)... up, down, up, waaay down. Maybe having Solitaire and a Pop Cap game going hurt me there.

On the one side, it's a good thing I play only low limits, so losses usually work out to less than what I spent on booze the night before. On the other, I don't like throwing away any money, and that's essentially what I did... and will continue to do from time-to-time.

Anyway. How was your weekend? Mine was fun. It was one of those weekends where Saturday started off with the joy of knowing it was still only Saturday. This is opposed to the ones where you're halfway through Sunday and realize you have to go to work the next day and wonder what happened to your weekend. It was packed.

Tonight... well tonight is the MATH of course. Oh, and laundry. Exciting, non? I think I'll try and focus and care about the game tonight. I'd like my moneyboard position to improve. If I'm feeling particularly saucy, maybe I'll revisit my old friend the 50-50 as well. Although I could probably use sleep.

**ADDENDUM: Saturdays with Dr. Pauly are BACK! PLO on Saturday the 2nd @ 4:20pm on Stars. $10!

I won't be there this week. Dang.

Friday, January 25, 2008

On Coffee

Did I do this one already? 450+ posts and you start to lose track...

I'm sitting here enjoying a Caramel Corretto from Second Cup. Granted, it's not a REAL corretto, because they use caramel as a substitute for booze. It's also not a real coffee. Sure, there's a shot of esperesso in there, but it's mostly steamed milk and flavour. It is, however, tasty.

Before I go any further. It is ESPRESSO. If you've been calling it EXPRESSO to this point, I give you but ONE chance to change your ways now and stop sounding like a sheltered, ignorant, xenophobic moron. Do it. There is NO FREAKING "X". If you refuse, then please, by all means, drop a cyanide tablet or 3 in your next doppio.

Here's my coffee history. I first had coffee with my grandparents when I was but knee-high to a grasshopper. Actually, let's call it a Latte Americano. A VERY small amount of Burger King coffee poured into a mostly full creamer. As a kid, this was awesome. Coffee was a grown-up drink, like beer (which I also enjoyed by this point), or wine. Therefore, it was a treat.

I got older. I remember the odd coffee at home, or occasionally having one at a restaurant or on a plane (even then I knew that was crap). My folks used a percolator when I was young, and when it broke they switcehd to instant for a while. This meant there wasn't a lot of coffee in my house. In my later high school years I would make the odd cup of instant to keep me up whilst studying. Actually, I was a pretty regular coffee drinker by the time I graduated high school. I remember knowing the difference between Starbucks and good coffee by then. Needless to say, the instant was gathering dust by this point.

Then I discovered cappuccino. Some italian restaurant or cafe somewhere. I was in love. Then I went to Italy. The stuff you can buy at a roadside diner there is better than what you can find in the fanciest places here. I was spoiled. It just didn't measure up here anymore. I slowly switched to regular coffee to avoid the disappointment found in weak cappuccinos and flavourless lattes on this side of the Atlantic.

Then came University. This meant late nights, early mornings, and lots of work. Even a lazy-ass procrastinator like me was kept busy. It got to the point where I didn't go to class until I swung by the cafeteria with my giant plastic mug and filled it with whatever mix of coffees they had. Exams involved brewing 2, sometimes 3 pots of Tim Horton's coffee, black as midnight, sweet as sin, and downing them all while studying until the sun came up.

The worst was 3 pots right up until I went to bed at 6am for a 9:30am exam. I was completely wired but managed to "sleep" for 2 hours. Up at 8, still jittery and raring to go, I got to the exam and shook my way through the whole thing. During it all, my stomach was not happy. In fact, my whole digestive system was rebelling against me for the influx of caffeine. I recovered, and thankfully, it was my last exam of the year.

Then the bottom fell out. One day at my summer job, I went downstairs as I always did to get some joe. I came back to my desk, enjoyed my coffee, and a little while later lurched in my chair. My stomach cramped up and started roiling. I hurried off to the washroom. I felt not well. It was odd. The next day, same thing. I switched to tea and it was fine. Obviously, the coffee downstairs didn't agree with me anymore.

When I got back to school, my trusty "Gourmet Bean", or "burn" as we called it, had the same effect. This was not good. I swore off coffee for the sake of my health.

Years passed, and outside of the occasional restaurant coffee, or those days where it was absolutely necessary to function at 2pm, I was a tea drinker... or energy drinks once those became available. I just couldn't shake the reaction to coffee. It was at the point (and often still is, but to a lesser degree) that I only drank bought coffee if I knew I didn't have anything to do later. Dates meant coffee was off the menu for me. Strangely enough, I started back into the cappuccinos, as the copious amount of milk seemed to lessen the blow.

Then one day I started pondering how shitty Starbucks really is. That Second Cup and Timothy's were better, but a bit watery at times. Tim Horton's is crack for some people, but it's not good coffee. I wondered what it would take to make my own, from scratch.

I discovered The Merchants of Green Coffee here in Toronto while riding my bike down the Don Valley Parkway during the Ride for Heart. I had been wondering where to get green beans in the city, and there was my answer. I wandered in and had a cup of fresh-roasted, fresh-ground, hand-brewed coffee, without anything added to it. It was strong, delicious, and completely different than any other coffee I'd had. Plus, I was fine all day afterwards. One could call it a revelation.

Not too long after, a friend of mine FINALLY discovered the black brew. It took a few incarnations before it clicked, but she became a coffee drinker. To the point where a friend of hers bought her a grinder. I provided green beans, and started roasting them in a popcorn popper. There was no turning back.

Memberships at Merchants, pounds of fair trade green coffee beans, dedicated roasters, hemp filters, proper water temperatures... these are all things I now know. I roast, grind, and brew my own coffee. If it can be helped, roasted beans don't go beyond 3-5 days and are ground just before being used. I am a WEE bit of a coffee snob. But see above, I still enjoy my caramel correttos.

That's a lot to get to this point: Coffee today sucks.

Let's start with the biggest offender: Starbucks. Pure and absolute SHIT in a cup. Overroasted to the point of being burnt. Vile blends. Stale. Overpriced. It's marketing that has worked to turn millions of people onto some of the absolute shitiest coffee imaginable. Don't try and defend it. If it's coffee and from Starbucks, don't offer it to me. I've thrown out free full cups before. Their tea is fine, as are their cold drinks, but the coffee? The French call it "Eau de Chausettes" - sock water.

Go to your local small cafe and give them your money. Try an Italian or French place (run by Italian or French owners). If you need to do a chain, look for fresh beans that are roasted daily, and fresh grinding. If a pot's been sitting out for an hour, it's terrible. Flavours are used to hide bad coffee. Try and be good to your soul and buy fair trade as well. Those smiling workers in the Maxwell House commercials are actors. Most coffee growers and workers are paid a pittance for back-breaking labour in third world countries, yet you're willing to pay $5 for a cup.

Next comes what prompted this post - those damned pod brewers. You know them. They cost a fortune and only take the particular brand of coffee "pod" that is made for them. Anyone who buys this earns my pity. From a consumer standpoint, it's moronic. You're paying for a machine that instantly becomes useless if the company ever ceases to exist or changes their refill format. Plus you're paying a premium for a product you have no control over. The claim is that the pods are quality controlled and the coffee maintains it freshness because it's vacuum sealed and only exposed when you use it. Ground coffee has a shelf life of 3 hours. Refrigerated, frozen, vacuum sealed, it doesn't matter. It's not like it becomes deadly after this time, but it's past its prime. After a week, I find it bitter and requiring much "aid" in the form of sugar or cream to be drinkable. I can probably guarantee any pre-ground coffee is already weeks old by the time you get it, in any form. The coffee from pod brewers I've tried? Swill.

Your usual home brewers: All over the place.

I think just about any coffee fan will tell you that percolation is a terrible crime against coffee. These things keep running the coffee over the grounds again and again while keeping the water boiling (which is too hot). This makes for flat, "dead" coffee with a bitter flavour. It overextracts the beans and kills off any flavour that does come through the initial brew.

Your standard Mr. Coffee-style autodrip? It's fine. Seriously. It's not ideal, but it lets the water filter through the grounds at a slow pace and produces a decent brew. The problem lies with improper temperatures, lack of control over contact between water and grounds, and that paper filters filter TOO much in terms of oils and flavours, as well as transferring their own "paper" flavour to the drink. Some research could point you to which machines have the right temperature, and a reusable gold filter is flavour-neutral and lets more of the good stuff through.

French press? Better. Grounds and water are in direct contact before the grounds are separated from the drink. You control the extraction time and the water temperature. If the coffee is too weak or too strong, it's because of something you did. Bear in mind that a coarser grind is required, and therefore a longer brew time.

But anything, anywhere, is only as good as its ingredients. I cannot stress enough how different truly fresh coffee is from the stuff Nestle and company try to pass off as "fresh". Fresh roasted, fresh ground beans give you a whole new experience. The coffee has a slight foam on it, and is completely smooth. There is no bitterness. Drinking it black and unsweetened is easy. Nobody believes this until they try it. I have around 5 bags of green beans sitting around the moment (shelf life = 2-5 years), from different parts of the world. I blend them myself, or stick with each one solo if I want. All fair trade, which generally means a higher quality of bean on top of that warm fuzzy feeling you get from doing something right.

So how do *I* make coffee?

I pick out which green beans I want to use. I put them in my roaster and let it go for 6-8 minutes, as the deep aroma of fresh-roasted coffee fills my home. When they're ready, the shiny dark beans come out cool for a few minutes. I measure them into my grinder and let it go to work for the few seconds it takes to pulverize them. The grounds are put in a pitcher and topped with not-quite-boiling water. This is stirred as the bubbles and foam rise to the top. I let the oils and flavour and colour be extracted from the grounds for around 6 minutes, and then run it all through a hemp filter into a glass carafe. If it's too strong, it can be weakened with more hot water. I pour my mug o' joe and enjoy it, black, unsweetened, and delicious. 20 minutes from green bean to caffeinated bliss. 10 if I already have roasted beans around.

If I'm at work, I make fresh grounds before I leave the house and use my Aeropress. Total brew time for this baby? 1 minute. It's great.

The other plus? 1 cup is enough to keep me wired for hours. The "caffeine crash" is lessened tremendously, and my stomach doesn't complain a whit.

Coffee is meant to be enjoyed. A truly great cup of coffee is layered with the natural flavours of the beans. Earthy, fruity, or spicy, there's a whole gamut to be run. I inhale the scent of a good cup before relishing its depths. Finally, coffee joints are once again realizing this. The Clover is starting to appear in cafés across the US (even lowly Starbucks has bought two). But to be honest, it sounds like I can get the same result from my Aeropress, and that doesn't cost me $11k. I'm personally intrigued by Blue Bottle Café's $20k purchase from Japan. It sounds fascinating to me.

Obviously, there will be coffee on the menu for Eh-Vegas. The only question is - Sulawesi, Kenyan, Guatamalan, Tanzanian, or Harar?

More Eh-Vegas Stuff

Because you can never post too early, here are some tips for those coming on up in February, mostly for our US friends.

- If you're flying in from the States, you need a passport. This is your fault, not ours. We were quite happy with our friendly and open borders. Your special needs government pushed this requirement.

- If you're driving in from the States, you don't need a passport. You do need some ID (it used to be a driver's license and birth certificate... might still be.)

- Bring CANADIAN MONEY. Right now the exchange rate is pretty much back to par value, but that doesn't mean it's interchangeable. Lots of places here will take US cash, but you'll get raped on their exchange rates. Find a bank or money-changer and exchange it. Yes, our $1 and $2 only come in coin form. Yes, we have $2 coins. $1 is called a Loonie, $2 are a Toonie.

- Chances are pretty good it will be a tiny bit chilly here. Remember, we do things in CELSIUS up here. Conversion is (C x 9/5) + 32 to get to F. The quick & dirty method is (C x 2) + 30, but you'll lose some degrees here and there. So -5C = 23F. The mean temp in February in Toronto is -5C, so it's not that cold. It's NOT Siberia (or Winnipeg). That said, we have that lovely "wind chill" that makes it feel like -40C sometimes, but that's unlikely in late February. In short - bring layers, a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat, otherwise a 2 minute walk will feel like 30. It's a wet cold. Of course, we're on the positive side of the thermometer next week, so who knows where it'll be then.

- It also snows from time to time. Sidewalk cleaning is the responsibility of the building owners, so sidewalks are spotty at the best of times in terms of ice. Wear boots or shoes with a good tread, or you'll be on your ass. We also use a lot of salt around here, so if you're doing leather, protect it.

- Booze is sold from specified retailers in Ontario. Liquor, wine and some beer from the LCBO stores, Beer from... The Beer Store. There are also a few winery-specific wine stores. It's not available in grocery stores, convenience stores, or anywhere else. The latest any of these places is open is 10pm, with most closing earlier on weekends (8 or 9pm). So if you want some for your own consumption while here, go early. The club is BYOB, and there's an LCBO nearby, which is open until 9 nightly.

- Bars are abundant, and last call is 2am. You're out the door by 3am.

- Sulfur dioxide is only breatheable if you've been here for at least 3 months. Otherwise, pull the mask towards you and breathe normally. Affix your own mask before helping others.

- Public transit is easy. The TTC runs 3 subway lines, you'll only be concerned with 2 at most. There are numerous streetcar routes in the core as well, and some buses as well. Generally, the subway is done by 1:30am, with most of the streetcars running all night. When the subway is done, the blue line buses start up, nicknamed the "vomit comet". Cash fare is a flat $2.75, but it's cheaper if you buy tokens.

- Taxis are also abundant, and easier to catch than in NYC. Avoid looking like a moron and realize that if the light is off, they've already got a fare. Wave down the ones with the light on.

- Generally speaking, the CN Tower is south of you. Unless you can see the water behind you, in which case it's north. It's visible from just about everywhere.

- Yes, there's water. Toronto is on the shores of Lake Ontario - one of the Great Lakes. We Torontonians take this for granted, but you'd be surprised at how many people think we're completely land-locked.

- We lose gravity at 1:45am every night for about 15 minutes. Grab on to one of the readily-available handholds to avoid floating away. The bigger problem is if you're 5000ft up when gravity returns.

- Despite the proliferation of bottled water and Britas (I have one myself), Toronto has some of the cleanest drinking water in the world. The tap is perfectly safe.

- If you're mobile on Saturday and looking for something touristy to do before the evening: The CN Tower, Greek Town, Chinatown, Skating at City Hall or Harbourfront, The Eaton Centre, The Distillery District, Yorkville (high-end shopping), St. Lawrence Market, Queen St., Kensington Market, AGO, ROM, etc.. I personally find Toronto incredibly walkable, but it depends on your cold tolerance in the winter.

- Toronto's generally safe. I don't recommend strolling down dark alleys or large parks at 2am by yourself though.

- Asking "So what you got underneath that parka?" is a perfectly acceptable pickup line. If it actually works, I want full credit.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Under One Month

I've been sporadic in my appearances at blogger games of late. I have good reason for this. I expect that after next week however, I'll likely be back to my regular schedule of play. In fact, I might ramp up the play a bit for a while as a means of distraction. But I choose not to dwell on that part of the future right now as there will be plenty of time for that when it's time.

I think two people that read this will know what I'm talking about. The rest can guess.

Anyway, let's talk of more interesting things... like Eh-Vegas!!!

Less than a month to go before some brave souls make their way north (or south if you're a Tuckfard, and east if you're Joanne) to the Big Smoke, Hogtown, the T-Dot, T.O., Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I have no idea what the count is like. Last I checked it was something like 16 or so people, with a bunch of fence-sitters on top. CK just announced she's a lock, coming up with Al and Riggstad. Awesome. I haven't heard if our old compatriot Guin is making an appearance or not. He's practically non-existant these days with a new(ish) house, new company, and those other life-related things. Anyway, I'm not going to mention everyone, because I'll miss them. Except maybe that Iakaris is coming back to his hometown for the event too.

It'll be a blast. Gambling, drinking, degeneracy... and we have an all-night diner or two kicking around (although no Denny's. I think you have to drive a good 20-30 minutes before you hit one... no worries, Fran's is better). There's even more all-night Chinese restaurants though.

Quick details as I know them:

Friday Feb 22nd - Sunday Feb 24th

- Friday is dinner, drinks, and debauchery in various forms.
- Saturday is open during the day (good time to recover and sleep), with dinner and drinks at my place (let's say 5ish) and a tourney at our local club around 7 (800m walk from my place, or 1/2 mile for the yanks). I have no idea what I'm going to do for plates, bowls and cutlery...  a cheap dish run may be in order.
- Sunday, for those still around and willing will likely involve brunch and a trip to Niagara for some casino action.

Kat's got hotel suggestions and whatnot as well.  Do you really want to miss out? I didn't think so.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

About Time

So the Leafs finally shitcanned John Ferguson yesterday. Done, finished, don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Cliff Fletcher is back in charge for the rest of the season. The coach gets to stay too.

The change is good. Ferguson had to go, and Fletcher works in an interim basis. It's kind of funny how he's being seen as some saviour for the franchise in this, his second go-around with the club. When Fletch was here in the 90's, he started off with a bang. Somehow he took an absolutely HORRIBLE team and turned it into a contender with a great coach, solid defense, a scrappy, talented front line, and both a hall-of-fame goalie and a rookie star in net. He wasn't afraid to make the big trade. Wendel Clark for Mats Sundin paid dividends. Gilmour for 3 talented young guys who were misused by Pat Quinn in later years. "Trader Cliff" is an apt nickname.

But he ranks pretty low in terms of win % for a GM in Leafs history. In fact, in terms of overall team performance, he ranks low in just about every category. By the time '97 rolled around, the city was ready to see him go. So the next few months as GM, and another year as consultant is just fine. He's here to run a fire sale and to try and convince Sundin that he can be traded and re-signed after the season is over. Whether or not he can pulls this off is anyone's guess. The rest of the GMs know his mandate, and will try and take advantage of it.

So welcome back Cliff, I'm looking forward to seeing what you do. Here's hoping they can find the right guy in the off-season to help bring this team back around.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Have I Mentioned Focus?

Played in the MATH last night, full buy-in plus a couple token attempts. Blinders' comments about the uselessness of satellites were ringing in my ears.

MATH started as I was playing some Gin and talking on the phone. These both continued for the first hour. Some may have noticed I was playing tighter than usual, and paying zero attention to the chat window. This actually served me really well. However, when my KK ran into someone else's AA (my raise, his re-raise, my all-in, call, preflop) I got crippled. I pushed all-in with A6c a few hands later (M=5ish) and was called by QTs (really?), Q on the flop, nothing for me, goodnight gracie. A shame that I lost after all the distractions were done with. Ah well. It gave me time to get a couple things done around the house before hitting the sack. Means less for me to do when I get home today.

Donked out of a few 1-table turbos as well. Overall, not a great night for poker. Somehow, I'll live.

The Skill Series continues tonight, but I won't be there. One day I'll make one of these. Limit Omaha 8 this week if I recall. I'd love to be there, just to watch the split pots and quartering. I think CK might be taking this one seriously. I predict that some total donk who keeps forgetting about the low or that it's Omaha EIGHT will take it down. That would totally be me if I was playing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Back to Even

Hmm.. I believe BamBam owes me my $10 back. Told you that Giants wouldn't be beat by the weather. They're just too big. 2-for-2, as predicted. Seeing Waffles go with the opposite of my picks practically guaranteed it.

Some kind of Bowl game coming up I hear. Pats vs Giants in Arizona? I think I'll need to ponder on this before putting up my pick.

I completely missed The Big Game yesterday, despite buying-in (well, tokening in). I have no regrets about it. I hope my donation was appreciated. Obviously, I missed the Skill Game as well.

MATH tonight. I may be there, I may not. Who knows? The Shadow perhaps.

Well, that was thoroughly uninteresting.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Poor Chadworth

Alas, the former SNG and MTT machine, who believes blogs r ghey, is losing his "most hated blogger poll". I'm here to help him along.

Reasons we should all hate Chad (feel free to add your own in the comments):

1.- He can't manage to keep a blog up for any length of time. This deprives us of some of the more useful strategy posts put up by our donkish group. If he loses, chances are good he'll delete his current one.

2.- He's the KOD. How come HE gets to stay King? I didn't vote for him. I mean, we all know that strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

3.- He set up the skill series so he could laugh. I have little doubt that if he had founded the Special Olympics, it would have been for his own amusement. Then he'd complain about the number of disabled people that come out for it.

4.- From all accounts his wife is hot and nice. This automatically makes him hateable.

5.- He's better at poker than you. Maybe better than me too.

6.- You know one of your comments mysteriously disappeared from his blog that one time.

7.- He's honest. You can't trust an honest person.

8.- If his wife called him into the bathroom because the toilet was backed up and full of shit, he'd undoubtedly look for something to stir it with.

As I said, feel free to add your own reasons. It's the game everyone can play! Now go show your hate and vote for him. Or don't, his loss might actually be a better demonstration of hatred.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Big Game

I guess I'll do my small part to pimp THE BIG GAME this Sunday. 9:30pm, superstacks, $75. Rock.

I guess I won the last one, which saved me from reloading, and secured me a TOC seat*. I don't remember there being one in December, what with the holidays and all. So I guess that means I'll be playing in this one so someone has the chance to not only crack my aces, but take my temporary crown.

I love The Big Game, and it's even better with the superstacks. Lots of play, money that actually matters to the people playing, and the usual blogament good times.

I failed in my frenzy bid last night, but I'll try a couple more times for a token before I just buy in and overpay yet again. There's an outside chance it will be a donation from me as I'm keeping my day-to-day schedule pretty open these days. Maybe I'll be busy Sunday night... I probably won't be. Either way, my money will be in the pot.

So get out there, drop your $14 in the Frenzy at 9:45 EST and win some damned tokens already! Let's beef this baby up on Sunday! Ain't nobody wants to play for a $200 pool.

*Sorry to hear about the good Dr J's ousting from the Millions. AA cracked by donkish play of 35s? No shame.

Beware the Home Game

Ok, so I found this disheartening tale via Boing Boing.

The skinny - standard home game setup. A few friends grows into around 100 friends who show up at different times, usually in the range of 6-25 people. Low stakes, range of skills, the usual. Basically a bunch of people looking to have fun and improve. It's 2:30 in the afternoon at the end-of-season freeroll, with around 20 players, and about a dozen armed and and armoured police raid the house. Nobody's sure why... the best guess seems to be the $5 charged for pizza and drinks, although there were apparently some questionable allegations made against the organizer by the cops.

It seems that at least 2 of the cops also played in the game in the preceeding months as they set up this sting. Really? A couple dozen guys getting together to play poker and it warrants an undercover sting operation? Obviously the crime rate in San Mateo is non-existant.

Sigh. 'Tis sad. Although I do have to say - what the hell is wrong with the organizer? From the sounds of it, they just let people randomly show up and say, "I heard about this game, and I'm new in town..." That's a recipe for disaster. Even my club doesn't let a newbie in unless a current member brings you along first (thanks Kat). Even moreso if it's literally a home game. I have one that happens every couple months and sees 20-30 people show up, but the organizer knows them all, or at least knows who brought them. If a stranger showed up, they wouldn't be let in.

But then again, the "danger" of poker is part of its allure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Leafs Redux

At the end of last night's 5-4 win over the Hurricanes, some fans started cheering "Hire Fletcher!"

See, The Leafs suck. The barely beat another struggling team last night, and it was their first regulation win since December 14th. They need to win twice as many games as lose the rest of the seaon to JUST MISS the playoffs. Let's say they have to win 26 or so of the next 36 games to maybe make them. And it's not hard to make the playoffs in the NHL.

So finally it seems that MAYBE the anger that kept getting subdued every time the Leafs won a few games has built into a tidal wave that can't be ignored. The fans, the media, and even the rest of the league is calling for an overhaul of the team. Drop Ferguson as GM, dump Peddie out of his executive seat, and maybe even keelhaul Maurice (although personally, I'd give him the rest of the season and see how they do with new management). The leading candidate at the moment seems to be Cliff Fletcher. He lead the renaissance of the Leafs in the early 90's with some bold trades. He also started their downfall by the late 90's. That said, he's good for the interim. Can we just end this now? Make the damn move and end the pain.

I hate leadership by committee.

Alternately, since a blind, brain-damaged monkey would be a better trader, deal-maker, negotiator, and evaluator of talent than Ferguson, I suggest the local medical labs be checked for a replacement as well.


Title has little to do with the post, and more with life. 'Nuff said.

Was in no mood for Blogger shenanigans last night, so I didn't play in the Skill Game or the Monkey Tourney (if it was even on). As for Bodog? Join me at camera two.

It's pretty clear, right in the Bodog terms of service, that us Canadians aren't welcome there (as in, "You must be a non-Canadian"). Bodog doesn't offer money transfers either, so even if we COULD sign up, we couldn't play. So Bodog? Please fuck off. I don't give a rat's ass about your blogger series, blogger league, or any other damned thing on your site... because YOU WON'T LET ME ON. No offense to Smokkee, who's worked hard to promote it. Have fun everyone who CAN play there. Me? I feel slighted. Last I checked, online poker was legal here, and heavily frowned upon at best in the US... good job.

As for the Skill series. I dislike Razz (the bane of the hold'em luckbox). I dislike limit games even more. Especially on a weeknight when I don't feel like caring if a 3rd raise by a blogger actually means the nuts or not. Deepstack limit razz? You have go to be kidding me. Even then, I almost signed up, but decided against it. Maybe if it was on a Sunday afternoon or Friday or Saturday night when I had nothign going on, I'd be more interested. What did it run? 4 hours? Yah, I was asleep around then. I think that's a win.

Tonight, as always, is The Mookie. I'll probably make an appearance. Which version of me will be there I don't know. I have the feeling I'll be the resident LAG for the evening.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sleep Beats MATH

First - BamBam - let's do round 2. The only reason I keep donating to you is so I can take it back in February. Not that I'm that worried about Green Bay. I mean, that QB with the unpronounceable 5-letter last name will likely dislocate his hip or something as he's carrying his grandkids around on his walker before the game. Or he'll have to change his depends before the half. Incontinence is a bitch. No worries. Giants SMASH!

I love throwing bad money after bad.

So I played in the MATH last night. Yet another $8 token. Probably the easiest I've ever won. I forgot how bad those things were. I went out 12th on probably the dumbest hand I've played in years. Here it is (as best as I can recall).

I have 74c in the BB, just after the break, so blinds are 80/160 I think. I have around 3800 in chips, so I'm not in panic mode by a long shot, sitting in 11/13 and it's 5-handed. UTG raises to 480, 2 callers, and I'm getting 4:1 to call. So I call.

flop comes AKA, two clubs. Shit. Checks all around. Turn comes 8o, and Swimmom (SB) puts out a measley little bet of 480 into the 1920 pot. I call. Twoblackaces calls, and the 4th player folds. River comes 6c and Swimmom goes all-in. I don't put her on AK, so I call. As soon as I do, I freeze... twoblackaces thinks for a while and pushes all-in over top (he has me well covered), but I feel pretty committed at this point with only 940 chips left behind and around 10k in the pot, so I make the crying call hoping I'm against two A-notking hands.

Nope, Swimmom has pocket eights for the baby boat, and TBA has the AK for the nuts.

I'd like to say I just dumped my chips because I was falling asleep in my chair and wanted to go to bed, but it was really just some horrible play by yours truly. I WAS falling asleep in my chair and did go to bed right after, but that's beside the point. I failed to listen to every instinct along the way. I figured two shitty s00000ted cards would be good if they caught, even though the voice was telling me I should probably fold. I feared AK, but instead of trusting that someone (and I pegged TBA as being most likely) had it, I kept going. Then I focused on Swimmom and ignored the player to my left once she started betting. Hell, even in the end, I knew I had to be beat and threw in my last few chips instead of holding on and seeing if something better came along. Terrible, and I ended up on the rail where I belonged.

One question though... was Twoblackaces slowrolling here or playing it up because he figured I might fold with 940 chips left and a 10k pot?

At least I slept well. Looks like Twoblackaces won the thing too. Congrats! Always nice to see my chips used better than I used them.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Way to post JEC II MD! No, wait... hrmm...

Anyway, congrats on getting through day 1 with 49,900. Nicely done. Middle of the pack, not too shabby.

Figures he doubles up with pocket aces on the 2nd last hand of the day vs cowboys. Tight luckbox. :) TAKE IT DOWN!

Wait.. is it Eric Chadwick? Joseph Chadwickii? How confusing. Yes, I figured it out.


Okay, so I went 2/4 (and would have gone 4/4 if I'd realized it was snowing, and thought for a second about the fact that horses are afraid of lightning), and now there's only 2 games, so I'll probably be perfect this week.

San Diego @ New England

Have to go with the Pats again here. Why? Well as we all know, Benjamin Franklin harnessed electricity in a lightning storm with a kite and a key. I think it would be safe to say that Benny was a Patriot. He was probably also from New England, but I'm too lazy to look that up. Benjamin Franklin > Anything that ever came from San Diego. Patriots win, because even if they get struck by the Chargers, they'll just harness that into more power.

New York vs Green Bay

So I misread the augury and neglected to take into account the fact no bird from Seattle would have a clue what to do in a Green Bay snowstorm. My bad. I apologize to anyone who lost their car/house/children going with that pick. But this one is a no-brainer. A team of Giants can beat a team of Packers easily. I don't care how much you buff up packing things all day, or how much cold your field gets, or how much cheese you can eat - freakin' Giants, OKAY? Okay, maybe if it's REALLY cold and the giants don't have warm clothes. Or if the Packers use their sausage casings to create rudimentary slings and fire frozen steaks at the Giants' heads. But that's it! Giants win.

Looks like Brady vs Manning will come a round later than expected. Right, wrong Manning, whatever. Like I care.


How was your weekend? Mine was busy with many friends, and ended on a mildly disappointing note. Not horrible, not devestating... just mildly disappointing. If anyone has Timing's address, can you pass it along so I can drive over and throw a brick in his window? Me and Timing aren't on speaking terms these days. Although it's not entirely his fault, I'll still blame it on that anthropomorphised concept. The rest of the day was awesome though.

I also blame science and Switzerland. Just for completion's sake.

Saturday was great - hung out with my best friend all day (although it started with an unnecessary drive to look for furniture that ended up being far too costly), who cooked me an awesome dinner of unique tastes that all worked quite well together.

Steak with a bourbon-bacon sauce, pearl onions gratin, and a mashed potato-turnip-pear melange that was sweet, light, and tasty. A great niçoise-esque salad on the side, and a very nice 8 year-old Barolo capped it off. Dessert was a raspberry and sour cream pie from a local shoppe that was tasty, if a bit tart. Oh sweet baby jeebus is that a terrible pun. I totally didn't mean to use it. But I'm keeping it, so there.

Which reminds me that I was invited to another friend's place tonight for some slow-cooked roast. I love my friends, especially those that feed me :).


Poker? Didn't play a lick all weekend. I logged on to Full Tilt once to transfer BamBam his $10, that's it. I don't think I played on Thursday either. No wait, that's a lie. I played 5 minutes of $1/2 NLHE while waiting for a buddy to show up. Won me $7, which almost paid for my pizza. So that should mean I'll be ready to get crazy-go-nuts on the MATH tonight. I mean, if I can't take the early lead in the yearly leaderboard, who can? Be there, or suffer the scorn and ridcule of your peers for at least a week.


So, my picks, brilliant as they were, went 2-for-4. What? You doubted that Giants could beat Cowboys?

As for the Packers demolishing the Seahawks... well, nobody told me would be snowing! I mean, OBVIOUSLY a bunch of seabirds from SEATTLE wouldn't know what to do in snow. They'd just curl up on a rock and wait it out. Next time I should check the weather if it could be relevant. Anyway, BamBam has $10 coming his way. This is why I don't bet on sports.

Perhaps I'll make more picks later this week. Let me tell you though, I don't see how Giants could lose to Packers, even if it snows.

Friday, January 11, 2008

On Procrastination...

First, Kat's got the latest Eh-Vegas deets up. Go check 'em out, I'll wait.

So you're coming, right? The igloos are all cleaned, the polar bears have been shooed away, and the seal hunt should be very productive. Remember, the pups are the most tender. You should see the strippers too. After the 17th layer of furs is off... HAWT!

Man, you are so gullible. It's not like that at all here. They only wear 10 layers. It's not Winnipeg. The Canadians are laughing now. The Yanks are scratching their heads and/or bellies in confusion. Replace "Winnipeg" with "Fargo" and you'll get it.

Basically, it's 1:39pm, and I can't believe it's not 3 yet. I'm avoiding work. Funny that. I've already ranted about the Leafs and given out Ballet info. So what to write about? Poker maybe? Can't say I really have much new to say on the subject. I'll randomly take some words and see if I can come up with something poker-related.

Wow.. that was interesting. "poker monkey esso spectrum analgesic" is not a very useful Google search.

But it did have the word "ante" in the top result. Let's go with that. I promise nothing revolutionary, but you never know what might strike a chord.

Back in "the day", when all I knew about was draw poker (let's say I was 12 or 13), the ante was king. I'd never heard of a "blind". You tossed in your chip to play the hand. It was the way of things. Phrases like "penny-ante" or "ante up!" made sense.

Then I discovered Hold 'em (let's say I was 25 or thereabouts... yah, bit of a run of ignorance in there), and was introduced to the blinds. I was very confused. Small blind? Big blind? How could you tell the difference? It's totally unfair that I have to pay but nobody else does. This makes no sense! That lasted about 2 orbits. But where had the antes gone?

Then I found out they come much later, and then only if you play tournaments. Again, I was confused. Why do we need antes now? Blinds were working just fine. Now you want MORE of my money when I might not even want to play my cards? WTF? And why is this only sometimes? How come some places don't have an ante? Again, after sitting and thinking for a moment, it all kind of made sense.

Nothing should open your eyes to tournament structure more than the introduction of antes. They change the game profoundly. The number of orbits you can survive drops drastically as you're now adding at least 225 chips per orbit you have to pay out on top of the blinds. Say it's 100/200/25. 3000 chips, instead of being an M of 10 at 100/200, is now an M of 5.7. You'd better hurry up and play Mr. tighty-pants.

But as with most things in poker, you're paying this extra price for something in return. In this case, it's everyone else's antes. Watch the table tighten up as people realize they stack is less healthy than a level before. If you're live, the confusion of having to put in that extra chip plays a deep psychological role as well. People tighten up. Position's value just increased tremendously. Steal those antes and blinds. So much dead money in the pot without anyone playing a damned thing. If you're playing online, the confusion is replaced by ignorance and apathy. People don't even realize an ante is being taken from them then, and don't adjust their play accordingly. Again, an opportunity for some steals and draws to pay off huge.

Pay attention to your bet-sizing when the antes kick in too. 3x the BB without antes means someone outside the blinds is looking at calling 3:2 odds of the pot. Once antes kick in, that same 3x bet means that same person is calling just over 2:1 for the pot. That's no small difference in pot odds. Ignorance of this fact can lead to missed opportunities for the caller and seemingly bad beats against the raiser.

What antes SHOULD do is open up the aggression. If it's a blogger game, this means you have to weather push-n-pray bingo until stacks get consolidated into larger amounts. If it's a bigger tournament, it means fighting against selective aggression from the 1 or 2 players who are paying attention. In reality, antes tend to open up the weak/aggressive divide even more. The tight players will make moves at pots with hands they're willing to see cards with, and will ramp up the aggression with solid hands only. The loose ones will go with ATC based purely on position or the play at the table. Weak players will fold themselves into oblivion and lie down to reraises with anything other than premium cards. Aggressive players will be the ones taking advantage of this. Again, the amount of dead money in the middle of the table makes risk-taking far more worthwhile for some. Stealing a couple pots pre-flop will do wonders for your chipstack. Enough that if you get caught once in awhile, you can afford to recoil back, hissing and clawing.

If you're a shortstack when the antes kick in, this is your time to fly up that ladder. The chips you're losing every time you don't play are far more valuable than they are to the big stacks. Remember, the increased pot sizes means your fold equity has just dropped dramatically, so take advantage of what little you have. Hmm.. fold equity. That's another post.

So antes. Love 'em or hate 'em? Personally, I like them fine in a slow structure, but they absolutely suck in a rapidly-escalating blind structure, where you're already looking at a low average M with no end in sight. 10-15min online, or 30 min live and antes are okay by me. Less than that and you're just flipping a coin by the end.

Wow, that's far more than I expected to write about a random poker topic.

Right! Procrastination... I'll get to that later.

Making A Run For 1st

A plea to the Toronto Maple Leafs fans of Toronto - please, PLEASE stop going to the games.

Okay, so that took care of 3 people.

For the other 19,000 corporate seat holders - please, PLEASE stop going to the games.

Much better.

You see, the Leafs suck. They've sucked for around 5 years now. I love my Leafs. I have since the 80's. But a relationship can't survive or thrive without honesty. So I'm being honest with myself and my team. The Leafs suck.

40 points. That puts them 3rd last in THE LEAGUE, yet sadly only 5 points out of playoff spot. Last night they lost to the Los Angeles Kings, who, with 34 points, are the WORST team in the league. They lost 5-2. Leafs suck.

But you see, with only 5 points and separating them from a playoff spot (and 6 from dead last), they'll keep spouting the line of "it just takes a streak" and of course the classic "if we make the playoffs, we could really make something happen." Fuck off. Leafs suck.

Thing is, there's 6 teams between them and that spot. That's how many teams were originally in the NHL. There's 2 between them and last. Leafs suck.

People blame Paul Maurice. People blame John Ferguson Jr.. The real responisibilty lies with Richard Peddie and Larry Tanenbaum... aka ownership. Leafs are owned by the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan.. and Larry Tanenbaum. It's an ugly situation. Peddie brought in Ferguson as the GM. An untested, rookie GM with assistant management experience. He has sucked harder than an angry hooker since he got here. Stubborness followed by panic made him overpay for the pylon that is Bryan McCabe. Then we went out and overpaid for Pavel Kubina. We have the most expensive and yet one of the least effective defensive corp in the league - 143 goals against - 5th worst. This is made worse by goaltending that could be called "uncertain" at the best of times. The moron who makes the trades decided that we had two top-tier goaltending prospects, so we should trade one for a netminder that had a great rookie year and then sucked hard after. Good call. Of course, this blew, so he then traded a 1st round draft pick for another team's backup the following year. We also go their resident problem child in the deal. Yay! Now, Vesa Toskala isn't a terrible goalie. He's actually stellar on some nights. But when your defense SUCKS, your goalie can only do so much. He ain't Hasek, Brodeur, Joseph, or Belfour. Two of those guys aren't playing this year and would probably be better than what we've got. Leafs suck.

Then in the off-season, with names like Drury, Briere, and Kariya out there... we get.. Jason Blake. He's scored 40 goals ONCE in his career - last year. He's on pace for 20 this year, which is pretty much his average. Of course, we're paying him like a 40-goal scorer. He's also old. Oh, and he has leukemia. Seriously. Overpaid, over-the-hill free agents... awesome. Leafs suck.

Mats Sundin. Best player on the team. He's got some grit, heart, and all kinds of skill. They'd be in even worse shape without him. Trade his ass. His contract is up at the end of the season. Sign him back. He's more valuable as an asset than a player right now. He's our captain, but he's no Gilmour or Clark... or Vaive, Sittler or Keon for that matter. I have no idea why, but he just seems incapable of elevating the entire squad and carrying the team on his back like those guys could. Leafs suck.

So what to do? Keep playing the way you're playing guys. Last place will be all locked up for you. Then you have a real shot at the 1st pick in this year's draft! Get a Stamkos or Doughty or Bogosian. I suggest one of the last two, since we need D. Don't play them next year... tank a second time and go for Tavares. Oh, and once you finish last, fire Ferguson. Shitcan Peddie while you're at it. Tanenebaum isn't going anywhere since he's an owner. Peddie's just the Teachers' frontman. Maurice can stay for a bit, but only if he proves himself. Bring in someone who knows what the fuck they're doing. Scotty Bowman comes to mind... give him TOTAL control of the team and all decisions and I bet he'd come. Don't tell him he has to give your worthless GM a contract extension. What blackmail does Ferguson have on you guys? The team needs to rebuild from the top down. Leafs suck.

But none of it will happen. Maybe Ferguson will be fired at the end of the season. Peddie won't keep his worthless mitts off the team though. Look how bad the Raptors were until Stern told them to back the fuck off and hire someone who had a clue. Why won't this happen? Because the Leafs happen to be the richest, most profitable team in the league. For the last 41 years, they've sold out almost every game without winning a damned thing. Ticket prices are ridiculous, and even worse when you have to go to a scalper. The whole organization is built to take the fans money and give very little in return. From a business perspective, you have to respect that. So until people stop showing up, and revenues start to drop, nobody upstairs will care. Leafs suck.

Go Leafs Go!

The Ballet

Alan asked a question re: Toronto's... entertainment during Eh-Vegas. Anyone offended by the idea of a strip club should just skip the rest.

Things to note before I write any more:

- The smallest bill we have here is $5. Dancers don't take kindly to coins being held out for them.
- A private dance generally runs $20 per song. If you make the effort, you can probably swing a bulk deal.
- Toronto = fully nude + booze.
- Buy in bottles only. I think this holds true for clubs the world over.
- This ain't Vegas. Last call is 2am.

Okay. So are there numerous strip clubs in and around the city. Or as they're more affectionately called... the ballet.

From best to worst that are actually IN Toronto:

The Upper Brass (upstairs Brass Rail - $20 cover)
The Brass Rail
For Your Eyes Only (upstairs = $20)

They really drop off after For Your Eyes Only, with the bottom two being best avoided, for both neighbourhood and quality. There could be a few more in there that I've overlooked.

About 15-20 min west of downtown, you'll find The House of Lancaster, which is dated, but decent.

Once you get to Mississauga you've got The Landing Strip (by the airport naturally), and others.

Then comes the best in the area, which is in Concorde, about 30min by car out of downtown - Whisky A Go-Go's. Busy, fun, more.. discerning hiring practices, features, etc.. The first rule of Whisky is if a woman comes on stage she has to show the goods. So there's even a bit of amateur action happening. The downside being that it IS a drive away... and there's a $5 cover.

A lest we forget Niagara Falls and the Sundowner (and others, but really, the Sundowner has the rep).

There lies about all the info I can provide.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Livin' Live

Don't forget the dinner post below. I'm seriously wondering how many I'll have to cook for.

Anyway, hit the club with Kat last night. Her first time at the new digs. $40 tournament, with a new $5 knockout option. How do you not take the bounty chip?

Night was cruising nicely along as I won a decent uncontested pot with a little flush before the first orbit was up, and later split a couple more that had plenty of limpers and flop callers. A good one was the 5AA flop, my position bet (A9o) gets called twice with a comment from one of the callers of "only two of us have an ace." Turn 5, bet, fold, all-in, call... I'm against A3, no 9, split.

Table broke and I was two to the right of Kat. I bet at a J-high flop with a J8 or something and go re-raised. I folded with not so many chips left. As the break approached, I pushed with KJo right into the Aces to my left. I say, "they're no good", Kat says "what are you gonna crack 'em with?" and the board goes a little like this: J8x8J. Nice double-up on the break, but not in great shape.

Later on I'm at yet another table and have 53d in the BB. Folds to the SB who completes and I check my option. Two diamonds on the flop and we both check. Turn is a diamond, SB checks his cards and bets. I raise, he re-raises all-in for very little more, and I call. He flips over.. ATd. DAMN. So I'm down to one BB, sitting in the SB. 4 limpers and I have to complete with... THE HAMMER. 7 on the flop was all I needed as 3 people had A-rag and the 4th had presto (what? I beat presto? how?!). I now have 5 BB.

I later find QJ in MP with an M < 3 and push, running into.... cowboys. I reserve saying anything, but think "here we go again." TKxx9 board and I give an uncharacteristic "YES!" and am now not in terrible relative shape, but my M is still only 5. I take a couple blinds, and maybe one flop to chip up a bit more. Just as the table is breaking, in the BB, I get into it with the new SB (filled an empty chair). He raises me, I push overtop with AKc and he just barely has to fold, giving me a nice little stack.

New table and I push around a bit and have over 20k in chips, which is good for an M around 11. Here's where I made my first real mistake of the night I think. I have K7d in LP and limp. Button raises to 5000 (blinds are 800/1600). BB pushes for 5500 total. So the pot is currently 12,900 and a call would cost me 3400. I know the button will at least call the extra 500, so the pot is effectively 13,400. I'm getting 4:1. I know the button has something, and I have to put the BB on an Ace. I figure I'm against a decent pocket pair and AQ or AJ. I reluctantly fold, despite the voice in my head screaming at me to call. Button naturally calls and flips over 88, BB flips over A2o (WTF?). K on the flop would have won it for me. I was about 25% pre-flop, which I think warrants the call here. Even on my reads I was the same. What I really screwed up here though was paying attention to my stack size. I had underestimated my holdings by around 5k, which made a huge difference. If I'd realized where I stood relative to the blinds and the table (something I'm usually acutely aware of), I make this call easily.

I stole I think one set of blinds and then made my next mistake, which I deem as even bigger. From the SB with one EP limper I complete with 67o. Flop comes something like 359 rainbow, giving me a very strange double gutshot. I minbet, the BB folds, and the limper raises to 4000 chips (still 800/1600, pot = 6400). It feels like a position move on his part, and I'm getting a bit better than 4:1. I call. Turn is a brick, I check, and he checks. River is a Q, but brings a runner-runner flush to the board. I check, I think he checks, and the confusingly tries to put me all-in... but nobody can figure out what he's doing so he ends up checking and showing a Q. I was kicking myself over this one on the walk home. I SHOULD have pushed on the flop. It felt like a position bet, it WAS a position bet, and I guarantee he folds there. Even then, my call should have been enough that a push on the turn would get a fold.

Another hand that happened of note was when I held K8d, faced two all-ins, and tossed it with odds around 2:1. I would have rivered a runner-runner straight, but I had no regrets about that fold (the reads and odds were different than the K7d).

So two mistakes have cost me essentially 27,000 in chips, and if I'd gamboooled, I'd be up another 10k on top of that. If I'd been up those other chips, I probably would have taken the chance with the K8d.

In the end, with 13-15 left of the original 66, I pushed my shortish stack with JJ and ran into cowboys. No love from the dealer (the slow-reveal of the Q on the flop was painful), and IGH. 2 minutes before the Mookie started, so I couldn't get into that either, which was probably for the best.

So, as you'll find in ANY MTT with rapidly-escalating (15 min I think) blinds, two mistakes were the difference. I got the two suckouts required to win, and then wasted that with some poker that was either inattentive or weak.

Still, it was great to get some live action in. If I have time, I may return next week.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Decisions Being Made For Me

Maybe I should talk to Kat about this first. After all, she is the organizer of Eh-Vegas.

Okay, talked to Kat.

Let's see. BamBam expresses an interest in perhaps a meal by yours truly. With BamBam comes Pebbles, and I'd imagine the rest of the TuckFards. Al is pretty certain he'll be making it up, but "lock it in" if I'm doing a prime rib. Where goes Al, so goes Riggstad, or something. I know LJ and CK have both drunkenly said they're coming (but I won't hold them to it), and I imagine the promise of food would add further enticement. Irongirl and Kat have both threatened to randomly show up one day and demand food. And if Joanne is really coming, how could I possibly not have her over for dinner?

So I guess I'm cooking. IF it fits in the schedule. If we're going to the club, then it's ideal. If we're doing a home game... well it depends where that will happen. I lack the necessary table and chair numbers to host anything larger than a single table game. I suppose if people wanted to bring extra seating equipment, then I could accommodate. Haven't picked which night yet.

Anyway, here's my tentative menu, just to add further incentive. I can't really think of a different option with the potential numbers:

Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Bisque
Garlic Bread

Roast Elk (if not available, or prohibitively expensive, the alternate is prime rib)
Roast Vegetables
Mashed Potatoes

Creme Brulee Ice Cream

Everything homemade of course. Except maybe the bread... we'll see.

As for drinks... the list of what's in my fridge is always to the left. Toss in a hard liquor collection that puts most bars to shame and worries my friends (I tell them that as long as the bottles are full, I'm not an alcoholic), an ever-growing and improving wine selection, and of course a bunch of non-alcoholic options, and I think that's covered. I suppose this bottle could be opened:

So who's interested?

You Keep Pulling Me Back

I think I'm a little burnt out on the poker front, at least online. Last night was the typical situation of late. I fired up a couple SnG's, and then did something else while playing them. I loaded up the Skill Game despite having more important things (read: chores) to do, and then kept wavering between trying to go out and trying to stay alive. The former finally won out. BTW - AAxx 3 or 4 times in the first hour, but that's not so impressive from an Omaha standpoint, is it?

Anyway, The Mookie is tonight, and I have very little desire to play it. I'm tired, have a copy of Eastern Promises I want to watch, might go play live at the club with Kat, and all of that could be trumped by a last-minute cancellation anyway.

What I DO want though, is to fire up TrageDon radio (or whatever they want to call it). That means I have to be home and by the computer during The Mook. Which means I might as well play in The Mook. Damn you!!

Assuming I have the night free, I think I'll go play live. If I'm done pre-Mook, I'll be playing. If not, I'll be railing. The movie will have to wait until tomorrow.


Oh, BamBam? It's on. The Hawks will shit all over your fudgepackers. Wisconsin, is that even a real state?


Large pinch of saffron
2 dried red chili peppers
Szechuan Pepper
Grains of Paradise
Alderwood Smoked Salt
Ground Lemongrass

(I told you I got some interesting spices at Christmas)

Put 'em all in a mortar and pestle and crush. Toss a boneless, skinless chicken breast in olive oil and then toss with the ground mixture. Heat oil and butter in a cast iron skillet on medium and fry up the chicken until a brown crust forms.

Serve with fried and drained potatoes (smoked paprika, garlic, sliced onion, chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt and fresh ground pepper), and steamed beans. Yum.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Catching Up

Let's put some football picks up, because it seems like the cool thing to do. Note: I have no idea what the spreads are like, nor do I give a rat's ass about the NFL. I'll probably watch the Superbowl though. Maybe.

Jacksonville vs New England
Gotta go with the Pats. Why? Because patriots have guns and can shoot jaguars before the get close enough to maul them. As long as their aim is good. Those muskets are hard to reload. Also, my ex is a big pats fan and would hunt me down and kill me if I didn't pick them. Also also, I think they won like most of their games or something.

San Diego vs Indianapolis
Let's take Indy... it comes first alphabetically. But then again, Colts comes after Chargers... could go either way. Maybe Indy. Yah, horses are cool, even if I am allergic to them. They also used to have a Canadian on their team, which is good.

Seattle vs Green Bay
I'm not sure here. I've never really found out what a seahawk is, but a packer just sounds kind of ghey. I think I'll go with Seattle, because assuming a seahawk is a bird, it can fly, which is way more awesome than packing meat, or cheese, or whatever they do in Green Bay. Seriously, Green Bay? And there's only one NHL team in Southern Ontario? WTF?

New York vs Dallas
So, obviously a team of giants would beat a bunch of Brokeback cowboys. Then again, if TO is healthy, he's hard to stop, especially if your name is Corey Webster. Dallas' special teams are way more consistent than NY's, even if they've improved of late. Wade Phillips is a better coach, and Dallas has already beaten the Giants twice this season. Can they do it a third time? I mean, all NY has going for it is a good defense, a solid road game, and Eli finally picking it up and finally winning a playoff game. He's the wrong Manning though, and always will be. But like I said, a team of giants has to be able to beat a bunch of cowboys, right? Giants FTW! Unless Jessica Simpson flashes the in-house camera, then all bets are off.


Okay, now that you're ready to win big money on those games of what I like to call "rugby for poofters", I'll state some poker goals for 2008.

I plan to lose my entire online roll at least twice, and reload, only to have a medium-sized win late in the year to make me feel good about myself. I expect the first bankroll loss will be in attempts to get into the WSOP via online satellites. After achieving this goal on my last dollar, I'll then go on to win the WSOP ME, only to be rolled by a hooker on the way to the taxi stand. Why? Because I'll demand they give me all the money in bills, and put into cartoon-style bags with big dollar-signs on them. In the end, it would have only cost me whatever I spent on that last satellite, right?

The second will be in the BBT: Three's Company. I'll actually come out with a positive ROI in those games, but I'll spend all the money on blogger 0.05/0.10 cash games, thinking that I HAVE to catch on turn with T8o. I'm a freakin' luckbox after all.

Then I'll quietly build back up in time for BBT: Four Those About to Donk, which I will totally rock with my mad poker skillz.

Or I could try and be profitable, expand my horizons, and actually dedicate some time to studying and improving my game. Why do that when I have aces though?


Random Stuff

All courtesy of Boing Boing.

Ok, so the technology is actually fairly basic persistence-of-vision stuff with LEDs and some software, but the video is PURE GOLD.


I put up a link to a Rolling Stone article about the death of good music last week. Here is Clive Thompson's response. Personally I love his attack on Audiophiles.

Really, who the hell needs to drop 325k on speakers? Especially ugly ones. I spent less than that on my condo. I guess the same people that drop $7000 on cables.


Hello Darwin candidates.


Here, do some thinking: The Physical World as a Virtual Reality. It starts with preschool explanations of Relativity and Quantum Physics and goes from there. Think The Matrix on a larger scale. Not really a new idea, just altered for a more modern (yet still dated) context. I expect that potheads the world over have already thought of this. It makes for an interesting read from a basic, accessible physics level... not necessarily from an English one.

Midnight Boredom

4 left... 4-way chop for $150 each. Goodnight Gracie.

See what happens when people get bored and just pass blinds and antes around? I bet Hoy wasn't expecting THAT for the first MATH of the year! Not bad for an $8.70 investment.

246 hands.
13 pocket pairs.
KK once
QQ once (which I was sitting out for)
JJ twice
TT twice
99 3 times

AK 4 times.

So 5% pocket pairs. 7% PP or AK.

AQ - twice
Jackace - 3x
KQ once
KJ once
QJ 4x

11% PP, Ace-face, or paint. Pretty much statistically in-line, no? Actually, a little low... and I folded a lot of those preflop.

Two hands of note - a 99 preflop and top 2 pair on the turn of a straight board that I folded. Two all-ins before make neither of those appealing. However I was way ahead both times and would have had a DOMINATING chip lead. Man, decision-based poker sucks.

G'nite all.

Monday, January 07, 2008

2008: The Year Everyone Changed

I have yet to run into a single person who has called 2007 a great year. The general feeling is that it was, at best, "okay."

2008 is starting off with more introspection and reflection than I think I've seen in my short time on this planet. CK has rediscovered herself, Pauly is questioning if this whole poker thing has run its course for him, Kat's got the "whatevers", Tragedy is on hiatus for a couple more days after hitting a rough spot whilst turning the calendar page it seems. I'm sure there are others out there too, but the blogroll's been slow to post during the holidays.

Even the poker's changing. The MATH has a new format, the Skill Series is starting strong, and Riverchasers is mixing it up every 2nd week. Change is good. 2007 was a year of stagnation, here's hoping 2008 is a year of rebirth.

I can't say I'm immune to this either. 2007 was "meh" at best. I think my mantra for the whole year was "I need vacation." The feeling's still there. I find myself looking at Kat, Don, Pauly, Iggy, and others who at one point or another left their daily grind because it didn't suit them and moved onto something they enjoyed. I look at Tragedy who has given up a lot to pursue a vocation he loves, even if it keeps screwing him over in those annoying ways that work does. I have friends moving to Germany, Switzerland, and LA to pursue jobs that interest them. I envy them all.

So, what does 2008 hold? No idea. I'm not planning on up and leaving my job, because it pays far too well and allows me to enjoy the rest of my life. I do have to focus on it and find how to make it work for me though. Plus, I lack any sort of wanderlust. As conceited as it sounds, I've been called the brightest guy in the room more than once there, but I completely fail to live up to my potential. That NEEDS to change, or the decision will be made for me.

I've spoken with my best friend about this in the past, and the decision that was reached was that I should pursue some things I do love in my spare time. I need to sign up for some cooking classes, maybe some photography ones too. I once toyed with the idea of getting an English degree just for the hell of it... but that's a few years off at least. It's been said, that if you find a job doing what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. I plan to keep working, but using the gains from that to do what I love.

But before any of that, I need to work on my biggest hurdle - my laziness. I am, bar none, one of the laziest, least ambitious people you could meet. At least when it comes to me. I'll help a friend prepare for a party I'm not even going to. I'll move people 5 times without asking for anything in return. I'll go to the ends of the Earth to help out someone else. I'll drop what I'm doing to run an errand for a sick friend. For myself? If it's not easy to do, it'll take me forever to get around to it. So I need to get the ball rolling and make the necessary strides to meet my goals. Wish me luck.

Happy New Week!

1:00am - time to go to bed.
3:00am - turn over, discover cats on either side of me. cute.
3:05am - cats are up. shit
3:10am - look at clock - it's only 3:10am? It feels like 6. I've only had 2 hours of sleep so far?
3:30am - get out of bed to threaten yet another of the cats' lives. Isolate them, go back to sleep
7:00am - wake up. Feel pretty good.
8:30am - why am I still in bed? SHIT!
9:15am - c'mon subway... hurryhurryhurry! Why is the last train still in the tunnel? Crap.
9:29:00am - Why isn't my card working? Okay, door's broken, I'm not fired (yet)
9:29:40am - storm to me desk and sit down to the jeers of those around me. 20 seconds to open.

Not how I wanted the week to start

Shame, because it was a good weekend. Friday saw me donking it up in the donkament, and having a good time (and going out 6th after holding the lead for a good long time.. le sigh). Then I actually finished cleaning up the post-party mess. Saturday I hung out with a couple friends all day and played through Rayman Raving Rabbids, which is far too cute and strange to be anything but fun. Small world, as I sat down for brunch and the girl I had a crush on through all of high school was sitting at the table next to me. Still looks good. Also got an anticipated phone call later that afternoon. Sunday was brunch again (different place, different friend, no high school crushes to be seen) followed by the Raptors-Cavs game... which was great for 3 quarters until LeBron (anybody else think his folks named him after the LeBaron he was conceived in and just missed a letter?) woke up and doubled his points for the game in the 4th. Then some Guitar Heroing, a nap, and a relaxing end (3 SnGs) to the weekend. Sometimes you just need to chill.

MATH tonight... perhaps I'll swing by. Unless Hoy does something like make it HORSE again. Welcome to 2008 - the year bloggers were forced to broaden their poker horizons. Or maybe I'll have other plans... naw, I'll likely be firmly placed in front of the computer at 10pm.

Friday, January 04, 2008


Well, I got more sleep than usual last night. Still not enough though.

Oddly, I also played an SnG or two... wonder if they're related. I love me the 1-table turbos.

How'd the Riverchasers go?

Waffles has been on a TEAR of late... angry post-wise. Well done sir.

Does anybody else write these things exculsively in the HTML editor tab?

These Charles Schwab commercials annoy me. Why the hell are they rotoscoped? What possible purpose does that serve in providing a marketing advantage? It reeks of someone at their advertising firm really wanting to do a rotoscoped commerical and shoehorning it in with them. Are all marketing drones brain-dead morons? Wait... that's a rhetorical question isn't it?

So, my Yankee readers, who do you want to see in the next election? Me? I'd love to see McCain vs Obama. Although that might make the red states implode. Although I do love that Huckabee had Chuck Norris commercials. Please, please, PLEASE don't let it be Clinton vs Giuliani. She's terrible, and reminds me of when we got Kim Campbell as our Prime Minister for 6 months. What a disaster that was, solely because the push was on to have the first female leader. Ugh. And Rudy's an impish tool.

Although my personal favourite would have been if Gore ran and won, and then made Bill Clinton his VP.

Get the feeling I'm rambling? Hence the tag.

Rapid poker strategy time! 100-chip superturbo satellite! Yah, I'm sure Hoy's still got one brewing. Any ace is gold against 1 or 2 all-ins. Everybody's range is ultra-wide, and if you can double or triple up early, your range becomes wider. These things are over in 5-15 minutes, so you don't have time to wait for premium hands. That said, if someone's been folding and suddenly pushes, maybe your T6o isn't good. Then again, you've got 400 chips and they have 100, so you can lose and be fine. If you're playing the 1-spot version, then I'd say pull out SAGE for heads-up play, because actual HU strategy could be ugly here, and SAGE takes away the thinking. 2-spotting means you have a legitimate bubble you can exploit. I'd offer that a little ICM could go a long way in this instance. The prize-to-chips ratio is huge, and the small chipstacks and nature of the game would seem to eliminate any real skill advantage. Plus, the calculations for a "top 2 get the same prize, 3rd gets nothing" ICM are relatively easy compared to a tiered 3-spot payout bubble in a standard SnG.

Shhh. Don't tell anyone I actually know anything. It'll ruin the luckbox image. Look! Horseshoe!

Donkament is tonight. Not sure if I'll be there or not. I'm distracted these days.

Busy weekend. Hangin' with a friend tomorrow, and the Raptors game on Sunday that will likely be preceeded by brunch and followed by squash or Guitar Hero. Tonight? Finish cleanup and maybe a wee bit of laundry. I need a break. That may explain a couple things.

Anyone else sick? Two friends at the party were, another friend is now, a co-worker is fighting to not be sick. Something's going around it seems. I REALLY don't want to be sick this month. It can wait until February.

Maybe I'll go sit in the sauna... I have never used it in the 3 years it has been available to me.

Ok, finished now.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


Tired. Bushed. Wiped. Exhausted.

Holidays are over.. when do I get a break? Dad's birthday tonight = commuting out to the folks' for dinner. Here's hoping I can get back early enough to get a few things finished before passing out.

Maybe next week I'll start playing poker again.

Big Ears and Strange Days

So 2007 is in the books. Good. It wasn't the greatest of all years. It had its hilights, lowlights, and was generally a "meh" year.

Now it's 2008. Sweeeeet.

The New Year's party went great. Solid turnout, apparently much fun had by all. It must have been good, because I don't actually recall the details of any one conversation, yet I'm relatively sure I mingled with everyone. Old friends, new friends, and friends unseen in a while, all partaking in the sweet, sweet, libations offered. Even the egg nog got rave reviews. It's always good when someone wants the recipe. If only it was mine, and not Alton Brown's. Can't beat fresh nutmeg and good bourbon though.

You know it's been a good party when people are staying past the time the last subway leaves. Which on New Year's Eve was 4am.

Another solid sign is when you still have a guest midway through January 2nd. Enough about that. Hey, Jules got married on New Year's Eve! Congrats!

In other news - science still sucks, but is now off the "dead to me list" and just the "on notice" one. It could find its way back there by February though.

Now I just have to actually clean my place. Strangely enough, those dishes refuse to clean themselves, the cooler isn't putting the beer back where it belongs, and the cats aren't tidying up the detritus still kicking around. At least it's tidy.

Hey, how about a quick 2007 in review?

I went to Israel in February, and had much fun. Eh-Vegas also went and happened during the month - it was cold, the turnout was small, but it was nothing but fun. This year's looks bigger, better, and colder already. March started a subplot that would haunt me up until the 1st day of 2008. Went to BC in April for the funeral of the last of my grandparents. I also met Fuel and Schaubs while there and sucked large at the River Rock. In between I puttered around the Queen Charlotte Islands, which have a natural beauty and the ghosts of civilizations not too long gone. June was my first Vegas blogger gathering, which I attended solo and left with new friends. In August came a trip to Iceland, which I believe has a patent on beautiful scenery. I turned 30 in September and celebrated on a boat with a copious amount of alcohol and a copious amount of friends. October and November flew by in anticipation of my second Vegas gathering in December. This time I brought friends, and decided that for blogger gatherings, I'd rather go solo - one needs to focus on the goal, not split their attention 2 or 3 ways. Next time I'm either alone, or bringing only poker players. Christmas was peaceful and New Year's was awesome.

Through it all I played more poker than I ever have before, despite inexplicably losing Neteller as a deposit option (it's not inexplicable - they're scared pansy-asses). I put Hoy on tilt during the first BBT with my luckboxing, and between Bayne and myself a new term was created. I think I had the 2nd best PPG average behind the confused frog in there. Having us next to one another at the Blogger Tourney in December was enough to scare Don so much that he threw bottles at waitresses. That didn't stop him from outlasting us both by a long shot. The cards kept coming all year long, but beneath it I know I improved my game tremendously from the previous year. There's still a lot of growth to be made, but I'll get there in my own time. BBT II: Australian Boogaloo was a blast, even with its associated drama, and taking down the last Big Game could be the hilight of my year poker-wise. Yes, I'm aware how sad that sounds, but getting the final TOC seat was sweet. Also, turning a profit in both the BBTs is nice. I expect the cards to abandon me for a while now, but they'll be back soon.

There was some cooking done over 2007 as well. I imagine there could be more to come.

Resolutions for 2008? Eh. Work harder, sleep more, eat better, get back in shape, stop life from getting me down, finish renovating my damned condo, get to Vegas at least twice more, go someplace hot with a beach, and keep hitting the felt with regularity... which reminds me... eat more fibre. What? I can't finish with a poop joke?