Friday, June 27, 2008

Doesn't Matter Who You Vote For

I'm growing tired of a lack of competition.

Bell Canada, our might telephonic overlord here in The Great White North (current temp: 26 degrees C), is slowly finding new ways to fuck with its customers.

Recently, they started throttling all p2p traffic on their high speed lines between 4:30pm and 2am. When forced to release their traffic data, it turns out it might not have been as necessary as they claimed. See, they even throttled the wholesalers who were buying large chunks of bandwidth to resell.

Now I get a notice on my cell bill - starting August, I will be charged $0.15 per INCOMING text message. So some douchebag could decide to spam my number and I get charged for it. Fucking brilliant. Oh, unless I sign up for their text plan.


This is no different than their "service" plan on the landline - $5/month and they'll come out and fix your phone. If you don't take the plan, it's $65 just to show up. I opted to not take the plan and my phone went down 2 weeks later. I'm still not on their asinine plan.

Yah, I have Internet access, cell, and landline through these fuckers. Why? The competition is just as bad.

Telus is reatarded for cell service. I've seen them dick around customers ad naseum.

Rogers finds ways to suck the cool out of everything and also fuck over customers with excessive fees and charges for cell service. Plus, they offer a landline that breaks down around once a week and is totally unreliable. I do have them for digital cable, although they're compressing the HD feeds now and are slow to update their On-Demand service. Their high-speed offering is a shared network, which suffers slowdowns in high-density areas and also puts hard caps on bandwidth usage.

And that's it for options.

New, cheaper cell providers are apparently coming in soon, so we'll see how that plays out. Bell is about to be privatized, which could make things interesting. I expect divisions will be spun off.

And it isn't limited to services. Our government is pissing me off these days too. The current minority administration is a bunch of buffoons who can't find Ontario on a map because we didn't vote for them. This means the economic engine of the country (no matter how much Alberta wants to think its oil is what drives the country) is constantly shafted. In fact, since their base is a bunch of farmers, they treat the entire country like stereotypical country boys. They're currently running attack ads on the opposition leader that are vapid, empty, and brain-dead. Every time they come on, I want to hurl something at the speaker. The thing is, my family comes from farmers - they're too smart to fall for that crap... but they'll probably stick with them for other reasons.

But the Liberals aren't any better. Voting Stephane Dion as their leader was idiotic on their part. He got in to try and win Quebec, because he's French. The problem is, 75% of the country isn't Quebecois. He has almost no charisma and stumbled so much out of the gate that it was embarrassing. Then again, the Liberals have been a do-nothing party since their inception. The fact they've shown less backbone than the Democratic congress in the US, and we have a MINORITY government, speaks volumes.

Which leaves the NDP - small, union-friendly, with policies that are noble but prohibitively expensive. I loved them in their last incarnation as the party with swing power. It got less-expensive, more-viable versions of their goals and ideals into play without bankrupting the country. Now, they have no power... and they should NEVER have majority powers.

The Bloc Quebecois? Only in Quebec with a goal of separating the country. I think not.

Green? Tiny. I like their ideas, but again, they're not economically viable.

Progressive Canadian Party? PCP? Really? Actually, I like them, but they're practically non-existant. The Green party is more viable.

Then the fringes - Marijuana party, Marxist-Leninists, Communists, etc.. Whatever. We've got one severe lack of worthwhile options here.

Rant over.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

For the Leafs Fans

Whirlwind time for the Leafs.

Yes, it's almost July and I'm talking hockey. Welcome to Canada.

Sundin - Rangers and Canadiens can speak to him until July 1st. For all his "I'm a Torontonian" talk and refusal to waive his no-trade clause, he's going to end up somewhere other than Toronto as a free agent. I held out some hope that he'd be here (because there's nobody else and a team needs at least one star) until Fletcher spoke yesterday about how he's willing to talk to Mats on July 1st. Read: Mats is outta here and we're trimming as much salary as we can and going to make sure this team tanks.

Wellwood - Kyle got put on waivers and picked up by Vancouver. Hey Fuel, Schaubs, and PirateLawyer - Enjoy his creativity, youth, skill, and complete lack of dedication or work ethic. Sounds like he's already a Canuck.

Tucker - Heart and soul of the team. Unfortunate that he's been bought out, but it was a purely financial decision. I hope he sees a cup before retiring... there was no chance of that here.

Raycroft - Cleared waivers because nobody wants a $2.2M backup goalie who can't stop a beach ball from going into a thimble. What a waste of Tukka Rask to get this pylon. We'll know within 24 hours if he's bought out or sticking around as a $2.2M anchor.

Clemenson - Surprised me that they didn't offer him a contract. Who the hell is our backup next year to Toskala? It CAN'T be Pogge, can it? They'll destroy that kid if they bring him up now. He hasn't proven himself in the minors, and will either barely play up here, or get shelled due to our lack of a team in front of him. If he's brought in, it's Alan Bester all over again.

McCabe's going nowhere unless a team gets desperate and offers a good trade, AND he waives his clause. Kubina will likely be traded before August 15th, but I have faith Fletcher will get SOMETHING for him (ie.- a 2nd round pick and a prospect).

Draft Pick - Amazing that they were able to move up a couple spots. Luke Schenn is being touted as a big, physical, quality shut-down defenseman, something that is severely underrated in the NHL. The Leafs need a stay-at-home guy who can occasionally contribute offensively... not another McCabe or Kubina or even a Kaberle. He could turn out to be a great pick. Then again, the Leafs haven't had a first-rounder pan out since Wendel Clark in 1985... No, Nik Antropov doesn't count yet.

Jamal Mayers - huh? Why did we get this guy?

Wilson - Good coaching pick. Another Brian Burke buddy in the fold. Is there any doubt Burke is heading east at some point?

So, what's 2008-2009 looking like? With any luck - dead last and a decent draft pick to show for it. Tavares would be nice.

Let's face it, the biggest name on the team now is Jason Blake. He'd be gone if anybody wanted him for what he costs. Hell, he costs too much to buy out even. We'll have a 1st line of Antropov, Blake, and... Stajan? Pohl? Moore? Ponikarovsky with Antropov at centre? Yah, that's right... you can't even put together a top line with this roster.

I feel for Toskala in goal... and all the kids who will get creamed.

The worst thing that could happen? Our young guys step up, Toskala proves his value, and Wilson actually coaches this team to win... another middle-of-the-pack year without anything to show for it. This is a team that needs to rebuild, which means it has to be torn down to nothing first. They're demolishing properly for this end.

For Cricket Fans

From the Times of India:


NEW DELHI: India won by six wickets against Pakistan in the Group B Asia Cup match in Karachi on Thursday. Chasing a target of 300 runs set by Pakistan, India scored 301 runs in 42.1 overs for the loss of four wickets.

Virender Sehwag's splendid innings of 119 runs and Suresh Raina's remarkable knock of 84 runs steered India to victory against the archrivals. For Pakistan, Iftikhar Anjum took two wickets.

This was India's first win against Pakistan in Asia Cup after 1988, and the quickest win for India while chasing 300 runs.


Earlier, electing to bat first, Pakistan set India 300 to chase in the Asia Cup match at the National Stadium.

Pakistan scored 299 for four with skipper Shoaib Malik (125 retired hurt) leading from the front. Malik, who opened the innings, recorded his first hundred as skipper and shared valuable stands of 90 with fellow opener, Salman Butt (35) and 133 with Younis Khan (59) to ensure Pakistan took full advantage of batting first in extremely hot and humid conditions.

After a series of handsome drives, Malik reached his sixth hundred and third against India in the 36th over from 104 balls with 13 fours and one six. He survived two chances in the 39th over when he was dropped on 116 and 121 by Piyush Chawla and Gautam Gambhir from off-spinner Yousuf Pathan.

Butt was the first to go during a mixed day in the field for India when he pulled leg-spinner, Chawla straight to Suresh Raina at mid-wicket after batting for 64 balls and hitting four boundaries.

Younis, who scored his 34th One-day half-century was the second man out, also caught by Raina who took a smart running catch at mid-wicket off Pathan.

After Malik retired hurt, Mohammad Yousuf picked up the pace by hitting five fours from 20 balls while Misbah-ul-Haq contributed an unbeaten 31 from 26 balls.

Yousuf was run out in the 46th over while big hitting Afridi fell in the penultimate over. A crowd of around 25,000 turned out to watch India play a match in Pakistan for the first time since February, 2006.


Yah, I have no idea what any of that means either.

The Beauty of A Blog...

... is that I can talk about whatever I want.

General Motors' stock is at 53-year low and dropping. 53 years. That's more than two decades older than yours truly. 53 years ago Doc Brown whacked his head on his sink and came up with the flux capacitor... bet GM didn't see that coming either.

Other things of note in 1955:

- The US decided putting nukes on missiles was a good idea.
- The panamian president was assassinated
- The USSR and Germany ended their war that started in WWII
- Blackboard Jungle opened in theatres - best known as the movie with Rock Around the Clock in it - Rock 'n Roll hit the big time.
- Churchill resigned
- The polio vaccine is introduced - "And now ladies and gentlemen..."
- Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald's (the 9th McD's in existence)
- West Germany goes sovereign
- Warsaw pact
- Lady and the Tramp premiered
- Disneyland opened
- First commercially-available atomic power
- First copy of the Guinness World Records is printed
- Lolita is published
- James Dean died
- Mickey Mouse club premiered
- Elvis got on film
- Bo Diddley debuts on TV courtesy of Ed Sullivan... but not the Ed Sullivan show
- Everybody favourite wacky factory - The Westboro Baptist Church is established
- Someone named Rosa Parks gets tired feet and decides she'd like to sit on the bus, thankyouverymuch.
- There were 2.75 billion people in the world
- Rowan Atkinson, Steve Earle, Kevin Costner, Eddie Van Halen, John Roberts, Nicolas Sarkzoy, John Grisham, Greg Norman, Arsenio Hall, Jeff Daniels, Kelsey Grammer, Steve Jobs, Penn Jillette, Don Ashby, Dee Snider, Nina Hagen, Gary Sinise, Bruce Willis, Reba McEntire, Paul Reiser, Angus Young, Micahel Rooker, Dodi Al-Fayed, Kate Mulgrew, Tom Bergeron, Mark David Chapman, Chris Berman, Olga Korbut, Jack Morris, Debra Winger, Bill Paxton, Chow Yun-Fat, Roseanne Cash, Masaharu Morimoto, John Hinckley Jr., Topper Headon, Dana Carvey, Sandra Bernhard, Tim Berners-Lee, Laurie Metcalf, Glenn Danzig, Mick Jones, Isabelle Adjani, David Alan Grier, Jimmy Smits, Howie Epstein, Billy Bob Thornton, Peter Gallagher, Mike Huckabee, Steve Jones, John Kricfalusi, Peter Scolari, Robin Yount, Stephane Dion, Yo-Yo Ma, Bill Gates, Phil Simms, Matti Vanhanen, Maria Shriver, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Nye, Howie Mandel, Billy Idol, Steven Culp, Jane Kaczmarek, and Ray Liotta were all born.
- Sir Alexander Fleming, Charlie Parker, Theda Bara, Albert Einstein, Tommy Burns, James Agee, Vito Corleone, Carmen Miranda, Thomas Mann, Cy Young, Shemp Howard, and Honus Wagner died.

So that was 53 years ago. I've got to be honest, I was surprised by how many of those people are the same age.

And now, GM stock is in the shitter. Ford's is crap too. Chrysler? Please. Once again, US automakers are under seige. Japanese, German, Korean, and other countries' automakers are taking bigger chunks of the market. Why? Because US cars suck ass.

Whoops... I meant gas. Suck gas. Yah, that's what I meant.

Gas over $4/gallon in the US, and over $1.30/litre in Canada (around $5/gal) is making consumers FINALLY pay attention to how much their car uses. Suddenly, that SUV just so mom can go grocery shopping and "feel safe" isn't such a brilliant purchase. Dad doesn't need the Escalade to go golfing. Why did we NEED that Hummer again?

A buddy of mine is a car nut and told me that you couldn't find a better HP:Gas ratio than GM has. He may be right, but people might just be waking up to the fact that horsepower and torque mean squat when you're in bumper-to-bumper traffic 85% of the time.

Toss in the reliability of Japanese and German cars, the bargain-basement prices of Korean models, the safety and fuel-efficiency of Toyota, Honda, or Hyundai, and options start looking appealing.

Not to mention that EVERY CAR LOOKS THE SAME. If it's isn't a unique brand for an automaker (Mustang, Corvette, etc.), then you can't really tell one mid-sized car apart from another. Even the big ones are shared chassis. A Sierra is a Denali with a pickup bed... it's also an Escalade. The complete lack of creativity in the market is pathetic. Why would I buy a new car when it looks the same as the one I bought 6 years ago?

With luck, we're hitting a turning point in the auto industry. A point where hybrid and electric cars need to become the norm. A point where design comes into play again over mass-production. A point where bigger isn't better and people buy the size they need, not the size their neighbour has. A point where US automakers take their heads out of their asses and realize they're dinosaurs who are trying to dodge an asteroid.

Oh, and a point where I can pick up a Jaguar XKR or Aston Martin DBS for cheap.


Went for post-work drinks last night, where I ran into this guy. Seems he's still alive and drinking.

At one point, we were talking about how poker loses its lustre at times. Currently, I'm just not feeling it online. I've been firing up the computer mostly out of boredom since I got back from Vegas. It's 9pm, I've done all I'm going to do at home, watched a DVD, snacked on something, and find myself opening up an SnG or MTT as something to do. This is usually a good sign I need a break, or to switch it up with some live play. Maybe I'll hit the club tonight or tomorrow.

But one interesting side-effect of this apathy is that instinct and experimentation are coming back into play. Instinct due to not bothering to overthink situations, and experimentation in an effort to drum up some interest on my part.

I've been reading like a champ again, unscared of co-ordinated boards heads-up, bluffing with check-reraises on non-scary turns (but scary flops), short all-ins that are JUST enough to create doubt, and showing the nuts when people start getting suspicious. I'm making out-of-character bets and calls purely to see how I can bleed opponents later on, and making sure I know who will and won't fold.

Now if only my two pairs would hold up against the donks who can't let go of their crap.

Mookie last night - another comeback from oblivion, only to go out 17th when my flopped two pair couldn't chase off Mr. Overpair who rivered his 2-outer set to send me home. Hardly the first time something like this has happened.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Value Hunt

First and foremost - if you haven't already, pay Bayne a visit. There's not much most of us can do other than send thoughts and prayers, but even that helps.

Okie-Vegas is looking less likely than originally. After Mookie's & Vegas in May & June respectively, I'm a bit travelled out with these weekend jaunts. There's still The Bash and WinterVegas ahead this year, plus I'd like to go someplace for a week at some point. So vacation time juggling and travel fatigue could conspire against me going to what sounds like an absolute blast of a time in Okie. Toss in the fact the only flight I'd be able to take goes via Denver (I hate connecting flights, especially in the States from Canada), and it doesn't look good. We'll see, my mood might be completely different next week.

But WPBT December is a go as far as I'm concerned. The difference here is that I'll be bringing some friends along, which means I'll actually pay real-people money for my ticket. So now the hunt is on for the ideal time to snag a seat sale and cheap hotel stay. At the moment, TI is once again leading the pack on the hotel front. It's a great price point for the quality, and is across the road from the Venetian, and close to Caesar's (tram to Mirage, across the road from the forum shops, and stroll on in). Planet Hollywood is pricier than last year by a good chunk, but I expect I'll be getting some mail from them (and TI, and Orleans, and probably Harrah's now too) by the fall with deals aplenty. Flights are unfortunately priced at the moment though, but that's because the real sales for December won't start for a couple more months.

On the poker front - meh and more meh. I'm playing like ass, tilting easily, and getting screwed by the deck... I put 98% of my recent meh on my play though. I'm playing on auto-pilot and it shows. I should take a break for a few days... which means I'll probably be in the Mookie tonight.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Vintage LV

With mention of the Winter Gathering coming out, it got me in a Vegas mood. I fired off the info to a few buddies who came down last year with me, and realized that in December the Palazzo was still being built, Encore was some boards along the street and a hole in the ground, and a bunch of other construction was barely begun. Vegas is a city in constant flux. I imagine that by December, the Hyatt will be taking shape (although still a year from opening), and Encore will be nearly done. Hell, even CityCenter will be taking shape.

So I felt the urge to take a ride in the wayback machine...

Scale be damned!

And also browsed these flickr collections:

Vintage Vegas' stream


The Last Vegas - Gone, but not forgotten pool

Some more recent than others, but still... imagine 100+ bloggers gathering at La Concha 12 years ago?

WPBT December

Mr. Cock o' Da Walk has let it be known that the traditional December gathering will be taking place December 12th-14th. The man with two houses is thinking of doing a $500 SnG deathmatch on the Sunday. Sunday could be tricky.

I'll be there. Likely coming in on Thursday the 11th. You know you'll be there too.

Now to decide on Okie-Vegas...

Monday, June 23, 2008

More on Cables

Man, I'm a posting machine today.

First a quick aside - AWESOME

Second - More awesome! I love when people with brains attack products aimed at the brainless. Read the reviews! Laugh.

Marketing Drones

Full Disclosure: Being trained as an Engineer, I must legally despise all marketing departments everywhere.

Aside from my training, I feel the need to rant.

Ad #1: Radio ad for some car company (Pontiac I believe, which I only remember if I think through the whole stupid ad and remember the punchline). It starts with "are you tired of being asked for the square root of an isosceles triangle?" NO!!! No I am NOT! Why? Because anyone with a grade 7 education can tell you that you can't take the square root of a SHAPE! It's like asking for the perimeter of blue or the area of 5. It makes NO SENSE.

Granted, the commercial is supposed to be narrated by a mathematical moron, since it ends with "The G6, so you only have to worry about 2 letters... and uh.. 6 is a number." Fine, I get the HILARITY of that ad. Except that starting off with a statement that makes NO SENSE AT ALL doesn't work. You need to set the tone of the ad first, by pointing out that the narrator is clueless, not having it sound like you're actually appealing to people who are sick of crunching numbers. It causes anyone with the slightest bit of mathematical interest to stop listening.

Ad #2: Viagra on CNBC constantly. Viagra's had some good ads. Tongue-in-cheek spots where women are smiling and laughing as they head home to their middle-aged-or-older husbands. Men running through the streets in a direct ripoff of Simpsons episodes. Even this "language of Viagra" ads where people spout gibberish with hand gestures and intonation that suggests they're going into graphic detail about the "angry pirate" they pulled last night were amusing. But this latest one has a bunch of older down-home country-style musicians sitting in a dimly-lit recording studio singing a cover of Viva Las Vegas as Viva Viagra. At first glimpse, this seems fine, if somewhat disturbing to any Vegas junkie. But then I made the cardinal sin of thinking about it. Who the hell would record a song lauding Viagra? You and your 4 band buddies rent some studio time and decide to jam to a cover of an Elvis song subbing in Viagra-related lyrics? The best part is the engineers (small "e") at the board nodding their heads along as everyone has that "awww yeah" look on their face.

Most ads get me picturing a pitch meeting where some dumbass hotshot suggest an ad and everyone high-fives one another with how awesomely creative they are, while some guy with a half a brain sits in the corner shaking his head and wondering how he can escape from the marketing hell he is in. I feel for that guy. I kinda wish the rest of them would high-five each other so hard they get knocked out the 30th floor window.

TV Time!


Poker sucked this weekend. Bombed out huge in everything I played.

The pizza on Friday was pretty awesome. Easy dough, tasty shrimp, tasty sauce.

Okay... now to the topic at hand. TV shows. I never really do episode-by-episode reviews, but there's a couple shows that have wrapped up or are wrapping up for the season - Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who.

BSG first, since it's last episode until 2009 aired a couple Fridays ago. There be spoilers here if you haven't been keeping up, ye been warned:

Since everyone knows this is the last season of BSG, we knew they'd have to resolve the search for Earth at some point. Let me say, I was surprised they got there when they did. The downside of making it at the mid-season finale is that you KNEW something would need to go wrong to fill out the season. The looks on everyone's faces as they stared across that ruined landscape were fantastic. Each one reflecting what that character had risked and sacrificed for nothing... so where do they go from here? Do they keep looking for another planet? Are there humans on Mars? The moon? Remnants of the population still on Earth with the fleet being THEIR salvation? What happened? Is the 13th colony really the 1st and this is all that's left? Did the Cylons attack here? Tons of questions, and at least 6 months until they get answered.

And who is the 5th? Only 4 in the fleet? Is the 5th on Earth? Were they killed earlier? Is it Starbuck's Viper? What's the deal with that anyway?

Anyway, great 1/2 season. Like any sci-fi show, it has the forced issue of "this episode has a huge space battle, so the budget means we spend the next one in a hallway." This leads to some slower points, and there were definitely times they dragged out a plot point. But on the whole, they did a good job of using the first half of the season to get all their pieces into place - Lee's ascension, Roslin's decline, Baltar's rebirth, Adama's collapse, the 4 secret Cylons dealing with their secret and now being outed to the fleet, the return of D'Anna, the Cylon civil war, Starbuck's return and acceptance, etc., etc., etc.. Now is the time for the endgame. I have faith in Ronald Moore to pull it off.


Doctor Who - 2 episodes left in the season, and they'll undoubtedly be a 2-parter. While not serialized like BSG, Russell T. Davies has always put an underlying thread through his seasons. There were some stellar episodes in this one, especially when Stephen Moffat laid the groundwork for his takeover of the show. One complaint of Davies is that he's a fanboy who got control of his show. Doing things like throwing the Daleks and Cybermen together was his wet dream, but also made the fans say "coooool". Well, except the more cynical ones. The way the latest episode ended ties his whole time as showrunner together... talk about a bang to lead to the finale.

And next week's preview - Sarah Jane, Rose, Martha, Donna, Jack, Torchwood, Daleks, and more! Yah, Davies is going out with a bang.

But here's the thing that Davies has done right - he made the show visually match its concepts. Because of him, Doctor Who has a budget, and it's not just styrofoam sets and garbage can aliens. Action, F/X, and acting, all together with some great scripts. He understands The Doctor and what he stands for. In a world of entertainment where crude humour and violence are believed to be required for success, he's crafted a show where the action is intellectual, and the humour is brilliantly wry at times. I suppose it's best described as British. This season has had some stellar stuff in it, although occasionally the messages being sent are about as subtle as a sledghammer to the groin. Hell, even Catherine Tate went from being the most annoying companion in the history of everything to a really great addition to the show. The latest episode built on this, where she did a phenomenal job of going back to that annoying numbskull character she used to be, and it really showed how much the character has changed and grown.

Now if only Heroes would get back on the air... oh, and be good again.

Gee, He Was Just Here A Minute Ago...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Flashback Friday

For the past couple seasons, the Blue Jays have been making Friday home games nights of nostalgia. Old players come back to wave to the crowd and chat on TV. This year, they team started wearing their baby blues from the 70's and the throwback hats that are so much cooler than the newer ones.

Now, they've completed it. Just announced - John Gibbons and his coaching staff have been fired and replaced with Cito Gaston, Nick Leyva, and Gene Tenace. I'm surprised the canned Ernie Whitt, since he'd fit in well with that group.

Yes, Cito "Back-to-back World Series" Gaston is back in the dugout. Guy hasn't had a sniff of a managing job since then, but he's back. This will get fans excited... but ultimately it's probably for naught. The team's in the basement and would have to make an epic turnaround to even contend this season. A shame really. With Tenace as the hitting coach, at least they have someone with experience there.

Will this help? Probably not. But if J.P. Ricciardi would fire himself and get Pat Gillick as his replacement, maybe they'd be on to something...

The Benefit of Flight Madness

Thanks to my moved/cancelled/bumped flight experiences early in the week, this ended up being a 3 1/2 day work week for me. It couldn't have happened at a better time since today marks one of the busiest days of the year here. About 6 different things hit at the same time for me, which keeps me mostly busy. But this time I'm somewhat ahead of the game.

I played in the Mookie on Wednesday, only to go out early when I ran into bdidde's turned straight vs my weak-ass hand. Ah well.

I skipped the Riverchasers last night, and instead prepped for tonight's meal.

I foolishly left half a delicious pizza at a restaurant a couple months ago that my friend intended to eat. So I promised her I'd make it up. Tonight I'm finally getting around to it:

I'll be making, from scratch, a thin-crust pizza with roasted red pepper & garlic sauce, ginger-wasabi black tiger shrimp, spinach, shiitake mushrooms, onions, and mozzarella and parmesan cheese. This will be served with a caesar salad with fresh bacon bits, homemade roasted garlic caesar dressing, and fresh parmesan reggiano.

Dessert will be freshly made strawberry ice cream, and there'll be an Italian pinot grigio to drink.

Moral of the story: It may take awhile, but when I promise to make something up to you, you come out ahead.

So last night I roasted the peppers and put together the ice cream mixture. Tonight will involve roasting garlic, putting my food processor into overdrive for both the sauce and the dressing, making the pizza dough, freezing the ice cream, seasoning and cooking the shrimp, spinach, mushrooms, and onions, grating the cheeses, and putting it all together.

Oh, I also installed Hoyle's Casino 2008... which is absolutely NO different than the 2004 version. But I wanted to play some craps without actually risking any money. Man, it's easy to turn 5k into 25k when there's a "reset" switch after you go broke.

Tomorrow will be mask shopping for a masquerade birthday party that night, and Sunday will likely (I'm hoping) involve me sleeping in good and late, or at least until my phone yells at me to go get some dim sum. I am hoping to get at least one MTT in this weekend... maybe the PLO 4K at some point. I hear that stuff's like cocaine.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Ok, I had a HUGE post that I've since deleted because it was a big tldr magnet. This one is short by comparison.

The Caeasar's Saturday Megastack lasted over 16 hours for me. There were 10 minute breaks every 100 minutes, a dinner break a little over an hour, and an extended break when they coloured up the 100's late Saturday night. So all told, it was more like 14 hours of play. I'll try to compress it.

513 entrants. 12,500 starting chips for $340 ($300+$30+$10), and a solid structure until the antes kicked in. $40k for first place wasn't looking too shabby either.

For the first two levels, you could draw a sine wave around the starting chip stack to show my progress. I was playing a tight game and was up a thousand, down a thousand, up a few, down a few, and ended slightly above the starting stack. This continued for the next 6 levels. Luckily, it also seemed to be the case for the rest of my table.

It was a good table, and when someone went out, they were often replaced by an equivalent player. Ie.- the Crasian was KO'd and the Eurodonk sat down. Also lucky for us was that no big stacks were moved to our table. Fold equity was maintained.

As is often the case in tournaments, and long cash games, we all developed a rapport. There were no assclowns there, so we were able to joke around, chat, comment on hands, and table talk happily. The dealers seemed happy to be at our table after a few minutes when they realized we weren't going to go balistic or chew them out. In fact, one new (his first week) dealer dealt his very first straight flush at our table. Followed by his second 2 orbits later. Sadly, I was the recipient of neither.

So, with a table with no monsters, a friendly vibe, and a structure that allowed patience and play, there was no pressing need to make big moves with marginal hands. I folded suited connectors OOP with ease, AJ wasn't worth it with a raise and a call ahead of me (since inevitably at least one of those hands was AK or decent pockets). In fact, it was pretty much ABC poker. If someone built a stack, they quickly gave it back when they couldn't let go of overpairs or got rivered.

In fact, I barely played any hands. AA a couple times at that table, an QTs all-in that scared off the guy from Iowa I'd befriended on my right (he had TT, lucky me), AK a couple times, some pocket pairs that got no action. Hell, I only got to play the flop about three times. One of the AA doubled me up from an anemic 9700 chips against s00ted connectors on a flushing board. Sadly, whenever I had the chips to make a move, I'd get called mutli-ways and miss the flop entirely.

When we broke, the Iowonian and myself kept our positions in new seats. We were by far the shortest stacks at the new table. Luckily, a terrible weak player who couldn't do basic math had a good stack to give away, a lagtard decided any possibly live cards were good to call my all-ins with (he was behind both times and stayed that way), and the rest either had tells you could see from space (the old Mansion Poker hat-wearer shook like a Floridian in Toronto in February whenever he had a monster), or were able to fold crap like AJo and unimproved hands to pressure. It kept me alive, but still seldom above 10 or 12 BB.

We broke again, I won a couple more races to stay afloat. AA (my 5th) doubled me up again, only the second time they got action. We broke again to 3 tables, where I stole some blinds and bets to chip up to around 130k (which was still only an M of 7 or 8 I think). I bet with AK and got blinds, then got 77 two hands later and got re-raised all-in by a German I knew nothing about. He stared off, hands to his mouth, looking every bit like an actor... until I saw every hair standing up on end on his hand from across the table. I folded, and when I talked to a couple other guys, they outed him as a very TAG player who hadn't played anything but strong hands. A couple more orbits dropped me to 89,000 chips when the day broke.

I walked in about 3-5 minutes late on Day 2, to the cries of "Hey Hellmuth". I was in the cutoff when they started, so I wasn't too concerned, but probably would have liked to see the hands. I stole, and then doubled and were eventually down to 2 tables, with my stack still no better off than the previous afternoon. By the time we broke, I had 49,000 chips, with the blinds going to 10,000-20,000 with a 3,000 ante and 15 left. Amazingly, I got blinds and antes with a push of something decent but not phenomenal. Then I doubled with K2s against 85o. He obviously hated calling, but was getting huge odds due to my small stack. 2 on the flop, 8 on the turn, K on the river and I'm doubled again. Then I got hit by the blinds, saw another orbit of crap (32o, 42o, 96o, etc...)... then UTG I saw 72o - THE HAMMER! Oh how I almost pushed.... but I refrained, with no fold equity and all that time behind me, with only 15 left, I wasn't going to use the hammer. The BB hit me, and the cutoff and chipleader raised to 60k. I looked down at JQc and pushed over the top for 45k more. He called easily and flipped over AKo. A on the flop, Q on the turn, nothing on the river and I was out in 15th for $1000 profit.

Which turns out to be good. No taxes withheld on that amount, whereas the next level (which started at 12th I think) would have taken 1/3 after the buy-in was subtracted. Also, 16th was 300 less, so I made it past that bubble. Still, a final table shortstacked would have led to a great story of me once again coming back from oblivion to take it down.

As for the fatigue of 2 days of poker - none. I started yawning around 1:30am, but that was due to the fact it was 1:30am and I'd had about 7 or 8 hours of sleep since Thursday, and it was Saturday night. There was zero poker fatigue as far as I could tell. I suppose folding 95% of your hands makes it a lot easier from a mental standpoint. Being the shortstack also helps, as I work best under pressure, and knowing you have to do something before the blinds hit you again certainly focuses the mind.

I'll be back in December. I know the Megastacks start again in November, but I'm hoping they carry over. If not, there's always the Venetian too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Finally Back

Let's work backwardsish.

My original Vegas plan was to leave on the noon flight on Sunday. This would get me home Sunday night and I'd be at work Monday.

But I made it to day 2 in the Caesar's megastack. Whoops. So I pushed the flight back to the red-eye. I almost pushed it back further to the Monday noon flight, but that was oversold, so my chances of getting out were slim. CK and I killed time at the Rio until it was time for me to head out. As I was walking to the cashier to turn the remnants of my craps chips into money, my leg vibrated. I flipped open my phone to hear my mother's voice - "Have you called the airport?" "No, why?" "Your flight is cancelled."

Shit. I got the airport # from the front desk and called. After navigating their voice system, they confirmed it. Mom calls back to let me know I was rebooked on the morning replacement flight. Guess I get another night in Vegas. Damn, I could have played the P-Ho donkament with Smokkee and Love Elf. CK and I wander down to find F-Train at the WSOP. He's using all 135 of his lbs to cover the HU final table. So we grab a seat and watch the magic happen. Live HU is about as boring as it gets. We go find LJ. A drink or two later and CK and the Train are heading home. LJ and I head back to the WSOP area to see what's going on. We marvel and Barry Greenstein playing the 10k LHE game hours after winning the Razz bracelet. Turns out he was multitabling. We find Change100 whiling away the hours as the $5k PLO rebuy bubble is ready to burst. Off the top of my head, this was who was left on the final 2 tables:

Negreanu, Ferguson, Hellmuth, Chan, Benyamine, Juanda, Kostritsyn, Elezra, and Williams... and obviously 9 others. Hell of a room, and at 2am, pretty damned empty.

We hung around for a while, chatting with Change as she needed a break from the boredom of consolidating coverage of bubble play. Anyway, I got to bed far later than was a good idea for someone who needed to be up at 7:30am to make it to the airport early enough for his flight. I was a bit late, but that was fine... since the flight had been moved to 12:15 instead of 11:15. Which was also fine, because I got "selected" for additional screening. It happens every time in Vegas with a standby ticket.

So I wait... and wait... and then get bumped from the flight with 6 other passriders because of weight restrictions. Next flight? The red-eye, 12 hours later. I call CK and we meeet up at the Rio again... LJ finds me first as I was getting rid of flight tilt by feeding benjamins into the slots. Not really a +EV move. Once CK showed, we moved to the Rio poker room (in the casino proper). My AA cracking CK's JJ, along with a couple other luckboxy hands had me up with a big stack early. It stayed pretty strong until our table broke and my AA was cracked by 85 with... a 9 on the river giving him the 9-high straight, despite me betting all the way down. Guy claimed to be on tilt and apologized. I never really recovered and ended up down $155... although if the guy with top set called my push a baby straight, I'd have been even.

Anyway, CK, LJ, F-Train and I grabbed some grub at Rub before one last spin of slots wheels. CK gave me a lift to the aiport and I was "selected" yet again. Twice in one day... awesome. I joked with the security guys about it... we all had a good laugh. I mean, I figured they might as well save the spiel about random selection since it was the 3rd time I'd heard it in Vegas. The 4th departing flight I was booked on worked out and I finally got home at 7am this morning. I just realized that dinner was the last thing I've eaten... that was 15 hours ago...

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I've Done Worse

Finished in 15th of 513. $1004 ($1344-$340 buyin) profit for around 14+ hours of work. Thanks to those who wished me well. Even better - no taxes on that amount.

Went out with M<2 in BB with a raise to 60k from the leader (10k/20k blinds, 3k ante). JQc, push for 45k more and it's an obvious call from him with AKo. A on the flop, Q on the turn, nothing on the river ends my run. Which isn't bad considering I was playing shortstack poker since 5pm yesterday.

Oh... AA 5x of course, no other pairs bigger than TT. AK maybe 3 or 4 times.

Day 2

Caesar's $330 Megastack... 3 tables left, less than 30 people. ITM for $700-something (meh). 89,000 chips, 6000/12000/1000. Wish me luck.

Should've had a last-longer with the bloggers...

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Let's recap recent drama:

- Some tool accuses Don and Tragedy of collusion in the last game of the Bodonkey. This doesn't even deserve further comment.

- Donkette does things that piss people off. Maybe the whole brood is in on it. Maybe not. I wasn't involved, so I can't offer any new insights here. But if the accusations are true, it's sad. It's also a hard lesson to those involved. Don't let it taint your view of the rest of our community though.

- Hoy plays under a different name on Bodog. Smokkee and Blinders are not happy. Waffles is defending Hoy. Bodog doesn't let Canadians play, so maybe I shouldn't comment. I mean, when me, Kat, Joanne, Fuel, Schaubs, PirateLawyer, BamBam and the Tuckfards, Bankwell, Pokertart, and others can't even SIGN UP, I feel a bit slighted. Can I start some drama about this?

- Speaking of Bodog, if Google's translator can be believed, it looks like Bodonkey winner Goldenhammer can't make the trip to the WSOP. Now THAT should stir up a bit of discussion. If a Canadian had won, they'd totally go.

Man, it's been so long since we had some good blogger drama, and now the dam bursts wide open! Weeeeeee!

What I Gave Up For Vegas

Things this week(end) that I'm not doing to go to Vegas:

- LuminaTO - Toronto's annual arts festival. Very cool public exhibitions, speakers, plays, readings, concerts, etc..
- The World Wide Short Film Festival - Pretty self-explanatory. I love this fest, but I'll be missing most of it, so I didn't do any.
- Taste of Little Italy - Our little Italy (which is big) has an annual street festival. With the EuroCup going on, it would be nuts this year
- NHL Player awards tonight - I've never been, but I just turned down tickets because I need to pack, set up stuff with friends, and otherwise prep.
- Last shots at WSOP seats online - Sunday has Tilt and Stars' big gurantee games. I won't be home in time for either
- A 30th birthday party for a friend who is dreading 30. I feel kinda bad about this one.
- It's Toronto in the heat... there's always a ton of shit going down on the weekends.

Gonna get my gamboooooooool on though, and gonna have some fun!

Sinking In

Tonight is packing night. Tomorrow morning I will spring out of bed at the crack of dawn with great exuberance. Or I'll slog my way through a morning routine and shove the remaining necessities in my suitcase before heading to the airport.

Whatever I'm feeling as I leave, I know what I'll be feeling when I touch down.

Elvis will be blaring through my mind (Vivaaaaa... vivaaaaaa....), because he always does when I get ready to go to the land of lost wages. I'll look out and see the Luxor, Mandalay Bay, and the MGM, and crack a huge smile. If I'm remotely lucky, my bag will come down that belt quickly and I'll catch the first shuttle to the car rentals. I love Las Vegas. 48 hours will be the shortest amount of time I've spent there, but I hope to make the most of it.

I can't wait to see everyone who'll be there. Now to go downstairs and ask for some US pesos.

Bright light city gonna set my soul...

Vegas MUST Be Better

So I'm cruising along the Mookie in the top 5. Get AA cracked by QQ all-in. Dropped to a few hundred chips. Climb back to top 10. Then this happens. AQ raises, I re-pop all-in, get called.

So there's only one way to go from there... up. Vegas baby!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Less than 48 Hours to Go

For all intents and purposes, I need to be ready to leave before I hit the sack Thursday night. My 8:30am flight means I need to be at the airport at 6:30am. This means I should leave my place by 5:45am, which means I need to be up no later than 5am. Assuming I want to be at least functional enough to drive and board an international flight, I'll need 4 hours of sleep at minimum, but more is always better. So 1:00am Friday is when I need to be ready to go.

So between now and then - haircut, laundry for work and trip, making sure I have the necessities for 48hrs in Vegas, take out more US cash, pack, gather necessary information, tidy up the place (because who wants to come home to a mess?),make sure my buddy is still available to feed the cats and then show him where everything is, and toss in a few responsibilites for a couple friends who are out of town. I'll probably start all this about 8pm Thursday.

Now where'd I put my Venetian card? And my MGM/Mirage card? and my Boyd card? Okay, I don't give a shit about the Boyd card.

Plans are simple enough - get in, get car, drop shit off, hit strip. My timing sucks for the Venetian deepstack, as I'm not about to drop $2,500 for Friday's game or sit through HORSE on Saturday. Any OTHER weekend and the buy-ins and games are more my level. Cash games it is! Unless there are some other decent NLHE tourneys going on this weekend. *EDIT: Looks the like Caesar's Megastack $300 + $30 + $10 for 12,500 chips is the place to be on Saturday! If it goes 2 days and I'm still miraculously alive, I'll just have to move my flight home to the redeye on Sunday.

Rumours of brunch on Saturday sound good. And I'm hoping I can roll some dice with Bayne before he departs. Although I'm sure all the time in between will be filled with laughs, the odd drink (rental car = no drunkeness), and good times all around... perhaps even a swim. I expect to have no more than 6 hours of sleep during my brief time there.. with 3 being a more likely number.

Viva Las Vegas!

For The Google Reader Users

Are you at the Google Reader homepage? Good.

On your keyboard, enter the Contra code.

You don't know the Contra code? Oi.

U=up arrow
D=down arrow
L=left arrow
R=right arrow

Now type:


Wait a second... hi ninja! Sorry about the unread count. Don't worry, it's not permanent.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Still Leaky

So obviously the mortar hasn't set yet after my ousting from the MATH last night.

JackAce is GOLD at the Hoy, isn't it? Apparently not against AK. Being priced in to see a flop by Jordan's weak re-raise should have been my first clue. AQ3 flop. Bet, smooth call. Turn is a brick, I bet and get called again... and say "he's got AK", but I have only a few hundred left so I put those in on the river that pairs the 3... K plays, g'nite!

Dumb, dumb, dumb.

Went on to take 2nd in a $22 Turbo, which may be the first time I've cashed in one of those in a month. Uber-tight until 4-handed... no stupid calls.

It's only Tuesday. On the plus side, it gives me time to prep for Vegas. On the negative side, Vegas is still 3 days away.

No Skill Game for me tonight, as I instead take the car in for brake replacement tomorrow. Oh, and also Limit Stud Hi/Lo... I'm not THAT much of a masochist.

Monday, June 09, 2008

My Tax Dollars at Work


To outsiders of my fair country, the prevalent belief is that our national anthem is O Canada! While this is, perhaps, technically and politically correct, I'd wager that perhaps the iconic theme to Hockey Night in Canada is more loved.

And now, it's no longer the theme to Hockey Night in Canada.

CBC has for years been trying to settle a lawsuit with Dolores Claman. For 40 years it has been played every Saturday night during hockey season across the country. Dolores got paid per play as the composer. She wasn't happy a few years ago when the CBC started selling it as a ringtone and using it internationally. She sued, CBC fought, and now the contract has run out. On Friday, CBC announced it was launching a nationwide search for a new theme. Canadians were outraged. Imagine if "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" suddenly wasn't allowed to be played anymore... now multiply by that by the hearts of a nation.

Today it came to light that CBC was asking for a mediator in their negotiations for the rights to the song. Maybe a weekend of reflection made them realize how monumentally idiotic they were being for not paying whatever the hell the composer was asking for. This is our national broadcaster, and they have two shows anybody knows about - The National (the news), and Hockey Night in Canada. Okay, there's The Mercer Report too, but that doesn't come close in ratings.

And just now, CTV, private broadcaster and arch-rival to CBC, has announced... THEY HAVE BOUGHT THE RIGHTS! What a smack in the face to the CBC and HNIC fans. It's brilliant in the pure capitalism of the deal. They should play it before every show, always.

C'est Fini

For the first time in 3 months, the sun crested over the horizon without the pall of the BBT3 joining it. It's done and over with.

Don't get me wrong, I love the BBT nearly as much as Hoy. I think they're a fantastic way to force people to raise their game and actually consider their play. With the TOC format as it is now, it means there's more than $11 on the line if you lose.

But man, does 55 tournaments take it out of you. I played only the MATH last week and it was a relief. Now, with the TOC and Freeroll out of the way, there will hopefully be a long break before this pressure ramps up again. Will there be another Aussie Millions run? Or will we wait until the WSOP gears start turning again? Regardless, I'm actually looking forward to the increased donkosity now that the pressure's off.

My stats were up last week, and I did pretty well once again. I was hoping for a few more deep runs for the fishcakes bet, but I'll take the profit I made on this round any day.

A big thanks to Hoy, Don, Chad, Mookie, Riggstad and of course, the man himself - Al. It's dumbfounding how much time and money were put into this endeavour of yours.

Congrats to Loretta8, Pokerfool, Katiemother, Oosssuuu754, TuscaloosaJohn, Waffles, and Lightning36 for taking down the various WSOP pacakges. Just visit Al's blog for all their links. I hope everyone makes it out to an event to represent our silly little group.


It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on ...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

- "Democracy" by Leonard Cohen, 1992

Sunday Horribilis

Overall, an excellent weekend. Poker-wise, not so much.

Friday - The plan WAS to stay in, donk around in the Donkament and Fiddy. Instead, a buddy of mine was down the road for some work reunion thing and asked if he could swing by after. Since he was some 50km from home, I wasn't going to say no.

Saturday - I drive out to work's backup site for testing. I gorged myself on the provided breakfast, and set records for how quickly I get through testing our workstations. Why? Because it's easy when you keep writing "not installed" or "no connection" or "old version" and move on. Not my job to fix that, just to report it.

I get home with plenty of time to spare before the TOC. I'm wiped though, so I take a nap and am up with an hour to go. Let me say - Bloggers are donkeys. I know! Shocking news! With the structure as it was, and the prizes what they were, there is no excuse for how quickly people were being eliminated. The game was over in just under 4 hours. Myself, I was out 15th at 7:30. I'd made one bad call, and one unfortunate move with a short stack to get crippled.

On the plus side, it meant I didn't have to skip out or be late for the Leonard Cohen concert I had tickets for. In fact, I was knocked out at the perfect time to make it just before the start. One of the most amazing concerts I've ever been to. Nobody will accuse Leonard of being high-energy, but the man has charisma to spare, even at 73. Even his backup singers weren't annoying... and in fact the Webb Sisters did a brilliant version of "If It Be Your Will". "Hallelujah" caused goosebumps. Spontaneous standing ovations from the crowd, witty rejoinders from the man, and a fantastic array of musicians backing him up. Yup, getting knocked out 15th was definitely +EV.

Followed by a late snack (spicy Kobe beef tacos) at The Beer Bistro on King St.. I've never been there before (although I've meant to), but I'll definitely be back. Some fantastic beers had too - Koningshoeven Quadrupel (Trappist 10% draft) and McAuslan's Scotch beer (7.5% Quebecois beer. Damn do they make good beer in Quebec, my two favouritre brewerys are McAuslan's and Unibroue). Honestly, how Coors Light is so popular is beyond me when it's like drinking piss from someone who drank beer an hour earlier, especially compared to the quality microbrews out there.

Sunday - Up and out to the home game. In my bid to defend my championship, I reached 6th place. Top 4 paid. Damn. I was in decent, but not phenomenal shape at the final table. I ramped the aggression with decent hands. My downfall was a re-raise all-in with AQo vs a standard raise preflop. I got called by AJh. 3rd heart fell on the turn (Q on the flop) and it crippled me. Nothing of note happened after that. I'm still the best player in that game though... yah, I know how scary that is.

But it got me home in time for the freeroll. I think I went out 19th or something. Now THAT was a series of fast-and-furious oustings. Then again, it was completely expected.

I decided to play the 750k as well with my MATH winnings from last week. J9s gets in cheap and flops the open-ended straight flush draw. Up against TP who wouldn't let go on the flop did me in before the first break.

So I walked away, watched some TV, made a tuna melt for dinner, and then wandered back. 50-50 = no good. Stars 5000 entrant 50 seat freeroll satellite = no good. SnG's = no good. But unlike a little while ago where I was getting creamed when I had the best going in, these were all TERRIBLE calls by me. Knowing I was beat, and in fact reading my opponent's hands exactly, and STILL calling like a moron. I have no idea why. Finally I shut it all down and called it a night.

Oh, and during that later run of games, I was also watching Sunshine. I can see why it got diametrically opposed reviews. It's a fantastic piece of psychological examination and tension with an intriguing enough premise... at first. It owes a great deal to 2001 for its first 3/4. Then it takes a hackneyed and unnecessary left turn and becomes a completely different movie. Eventually it becomes really hard to follow with the change in directorial style and story. It seemed almost lazy... like the script needed to be made more exciting to keep the studios happy or something. Regardless, a beautiful movie with some great ideas, derailed by a ridiculous closing act. I'll probably still buy it though.

Anyway, that's a lot of chaff around the point of this - I need to stop making terrible calls. The snap call of QQ vs PirateLawyer's flopped set was bad. I put him on possibly overs or a flush draw with that board, but his stall seemed tricky to me... still not sure I could get away there. It's strange, I had this hole mostly plugged, but the dike seemed to break on Sunday. Time to get out the mortar again, and hope it sets before I land on Friday.

Speaking of Vegas, if you're there for the Mulligan weekend, check out VinNay for some scant details. Contact him for more in-depth info. I'll be there Friday afternoon until Sunday morning, and will try to cram in as much as possible in that time.

Friday, June 06, 2008

A Day for Frying

30-something out there... supposedly feels like 40-something.

That's in the 100's for you yanks. Get a real system of measurement already, will ya?

I'm in the office, so outside makes no difference.

It appears there's some drama out there. I don't really know what it is, but it feels like it has been so long since the last drama. I was getting bored.

TOC tomorrow. Here are some predictions:

Astin wins
Everybody else: who cares?

Yah, like that's going to happen. Of course some people care.

Apparently, oil is expensive. Compared to... oil. I mean, compared to Champagne, caviar, printer ink, Coke, olive oil, and just about everything else, it's still cheap.

Too much beer last night. Need to remember more liquor, less beer.

In one week, I'll be in Vegas by now.... sweeeeeeeet!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Need to Practice

So, while the Wings were winning their Leafs-tying 11th Stanley Cup, I was splitting my attention between the game and poker.

I got to the club about 1 or 2 hands into the tournament and took my seat. The trick with these games is that you have to build a big stack early, while the blinds are low. Once the first break kicks in, you're screwed if you don't haven't doubled your starting stack.

I chased an open-ender and tried to steal the pot on the river, with a flush and ace on the board. A2o just couldn't fold to my pot-sized bet though.

Not too long after I flopped trips when the button played like this:

I raise 3x BB in the hijack with 68o. Button calls.
Flop comes 88x
I check my trips, he bets a bit less than the pot.
I raise 10x his bet, leaving very little behind. He calls.
Turn is a brick. I push my last few hundred chips. He calls.
I flip over my 8, he flips over cowboys and looks ready to cry.

So far, TP and overpairs are gold. I thought I opted to NOT play The Mookie last night...

Not too much happens until I flop a pair of kings with a Q kicker and get it all-in against the guy to my immediate left who decides K8 must be good. I take a good chunk of his chips. I lose them a couple hands later when my straight doesn't fill vs a shortie.

Getting short-stacked relative to the blinds, I find AKo. Push 2 before me, re-raise to my immediate right, and I call for all my chips. J9d vs AKo vs AKo. J on the flop wins the shortie some life and loses 1000 chips for me and the big stack.

I toss A7o in EP, only to see an A7x flop. I get rid of suited connectors after 2 all-ins and a call before me, only to river the winning pair (AQ vs KJ vs QT or something, no-face board), finally I push from the button with K8h unopened and get called by AKd in the BB. I'm done.

So I moved to cash. $1/2 was full with a list, so I opted for $2/5 NL, figuring it would be good practice for Vegas.

I played like shit. No aggression, just waiting for cards. Chasing draws, and being chased off decent, but not spectacular, hands. In the end, my last chips went in with a baby straight draw and a pot that would have doubled my starting stack. I didn't win it. I rebought, went down, came back, and cashed out down only my first buy-in.

Wow. My cash game has never been great, but it sucked HARD last night. I think any poker I play until Vegas will be non-tournament. I need to find my groove and aggression again in cash. I also need to work on patience. I'll very likely be back at the club next week if I have the chance.

At least it seems I'm still hard to read live. I love nothing more than listening to the discussion about what I had (since I rarely show), and people being so far off-base.


I'm guessing a bunch of people are heading out or already out in Vegas for the "official" weekend coming up. Here's hoping you all come back home alive and richer, with many tales of debauchery to share.

Oh, and my flights were confirmed last night. Now just comes the regular question - will there be a seat for me?


Hi, my name is Astin and I'm a Leafs fan.

I've been a Leafs fan for around 20 years. This is slightly less than half the time since their last Stanley Cup win.

During the majority of this time, the Leafs major conference rival was the Detroit Red Wings. Once Ken Dryden took over the team as president, he got the Leafs moved to the Eastern conference, where they belonged. This put them in the same conference as the Montreal Canadiens, our biggest rival by far. Sadly, it also meant that we barely saw the Wings anymore.

In the 1993 playoffs, the Leafs had an epic 7-game series with the Wings in the playoffs. Massive come-from-behind victories, overtimes, heroics from all corners. In the end, Nikolai Borschevsky scored a winner from Dave Ellett for the good guys to advance.

So it's always been hard for me to cheer for the Wings. In fact, I was pulling for Calgary when the playoffs started this year.

But as everyone knows - money can change opinions. As I was putting together my entries for my hockey pool, I looked at Detroit's stats and was floored. How could they NOT win the cup this year? Their 3-5th scorers would be superstars on another team. I liked Osgood in goal, and Hasek is Hasek. I had no choice but to pick them as the winners. In fact, once I broke down the teams and ran through possible matchups, a Pittsburgh-Detroit final was a forgone conclusion.

So last night, when the clock finally ran down, and the scoreboard read 3-2 Detroit, I couldn't have been happier. The Cup win boosted my points over the top to take down the pool. I now have a nice little bankroll for Vegas next weekend. 125 entries, $20 each, 75% of the pot for first. You do the math.

Go Wings Go!!! Unless they're playing my Leafs that is.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Guess I Need to Win More Poker

$42 for the tire repair. The lube place said they'll reimburse me since it was their screw.

"Your brakes are worn down, and one is already grinding. With the tire and labour - $728 to replace them all."

Funny, they were fine yesterday. There's only around 42 km (< 27000 miles) on the car. I'll be looking for a second and third opinion. Go in expecting a $40 oil change bill... finish the ordeal $1200 poorer. Yay.

So the plan tonight is to rush up after work, get the car, get the bill reimbursed and see if they have an explanantion on why my brakes were fine yesterday, but not today. Then get home, change, eat, and make my way to the club for some live poker. I suppose I should win the tournament to pay for car repairs... or clean up in cash.

Or the Wings could win tonight and hand me my pool win. Nice hunk of dough there too.

Somehow, the win in the $11 turbo yesterday doesn't cover it.


Poker. Like I said, I'm planning on playing live tonight. The last live game I played was at this guy's place, so it's been a bit. I've got a home game this weekend, and will be in Vegas next weekend, so I won't be lacking for opportunities in the near future. The club and home game are good places to get my feet wet before diving into Vegas again. The plays is equally horrible, but the lighting is better here.

That, and live play usually reinvigorates me. My online game has been rolling really well of late, especially considering I've played less games recently. More importantly is the cash game tonight. I haven't played cash live or online in months, which will hamper me come Vegas. Tonight will be all about finding a groove.


CNBC should invest in some consistent make-up people. Some days Erin, Maria, and Michelle look great, some days they look hungover, and some days the makeup gun is set on "whore".


Vegas - still waiting on confirmation for my tickets, but I'm committed to the 13th-15th. The flight out is pretty full (1 seat in economy, 6 in business class, 2 other passriders), but that could just mean a comfortable seat and meal on the way down... or I get out much later than expected, in which case I may extend my stay.

Okie-Vegas - I really want to go, but I'll hold off any decisions until after the TOC. A guy's got to believe.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Two tasks tonight:

1.- Get cat food. Easy

2.- Get oil changed.

#2 goes like this:

Drive in to Mr. Lube. "Same filter?" "Sure." Figure out oil needs, opt for full flush. They also inspect. Need new cabin filter, gas filter, and fuel injection cleaned... oh, and brake fluid. $500 later, I'm done and leaving. I stop and get gas. I'm on the phone most of the way home. I get off the phone and hear a strange sound when I hit the brakes. A VERY strange sound. Maybe it's all wet or something. Get home. I hear a hissing sound. I wait for it to go away. It doesn't. I look for the source. Driver's side... rear tire... blue screw stuck in the tire. Fanfuckingtastic.

Get back on the road to Canadian Tire. Auto service closed at 6... it's 8:15. Fuck. Buy tire sealant/inflator. Use sealant. Drive around to spread sealant through tire. Get home AGAIN. Hissing stopped. Brakes still making a terrible sound.

Fucking Mr. Lube. So now I'm taking the morning off to bring the car in to get the tire fixed, and find out what the hell they did to the brakes. It's not like the car is needed this weekend for a drive out of the city or up to a cottage or anything... oh wait... IT IS!

The New MATH

In the words of Mr. Horse, "No sir, I don't like it."

Hoy has mixed up the regular Monday game yet again. I am not a fan. I loved the move to 6-max, but not this buy-in to a Sunday game satellite payout structure. Obviously, with the ability to unregister and receive T$, it's not TERRIBLE, but it all seems unnecessary.

If I wanted T$ or a satellite to another tournament, I'd play a SATELLITE. On Monday, I want the MATH. This change feel like it cheapens the Monday game. I get what Hoy is trying to do, and like that he has the good intentions of "helping bloggers get into bigger buy-in games", but it just doesn't work for me.

From a practical standpoint, the payout doesn't really matter. I play SnGs and Blogger tournaments, so the T$ are just as good as cash, but I don't like the feeling of "oh, you've won the chance to play another game" that comes when you take it down. It's almost as if the T$ are taunting me once I pull them out, that my beloved MATH is now just a satellite tournament, like Full Tilt doesn't have enough of those.

It would really suck if we couldn't unregister, so there's that at least.

If this change stays permanent, I imagine I'll be seen far less on Mondays.


And that's it for blogger games for me until at least Friday's donkament. I don't even know if there's a Skill Game tonight. I'll be playing live tomorrow with Kat at the club, which likely precludes The Mookie. Thursday I'm meeting up with a friend for dinner and drinks to discuss a possible career change for him, and that supercedes the Riverchasers. But to be honest, I'd probably skip them all anyway this week after the months of BBT madness.

Plus, there's the weekend of poker approaching. TOC, freeroll, and I have a home-game championship to defend on Sunday as well. Toss in a disaster recovery test at work's offsite location, and some other plans, and it will be packed.


Already unregistered. Like I need MORE poker this weekend.

Monday, June 02, 2008

A Lengthy Weekend

I expect to be recovered by... umm... 2 weeks Wednesday.

One of my best friends got married this weekend. I was a groomsman. This entailed:

Friday - Rehearsal, rehearsal dinner (grilled salmon on lentils), back to my place for drinking and guitar hero with the groom's party (stag was a few weeks ago in Niagara).

Saturday - Meet up for breakfast (eggs benedict with side of sausage), photos, pre-wedding drinks. Get to church, seat a near-full house, go participate in the "short" Anglican ceremony (45min or so). More photos, reception, dinner (arctic char), dancing.

Sunday - Up again, brunch at the newly-married couple's home (down the hall from me). Very tired. Get home, hang with best friend, take nap, wake up, order dinner (lobster-stuffed ravioli), make a warm mushroom salad (cremini, oyster and shittake sauteed in butter and olive oil, with salt, pepper, garlic, and sundried tomatoes, tossed in olive oil and 10 year-aged balsamic). Fire up The Big Game. 4 1/2 hours later get knocked out in 3rd. Rail until the bitter end, and then do dishes, chores, and hit the hay around 3:30am.

Today - Alarms going at 7:30. Strangely awake.

Lack of sleep is now catching up though.

I'll assume MATH is once again on tonight. The first NON-BBT MATH in 3 months. I expect a turnout of 12 people. I may very well be there, and it would be my only blogger game of the week (with perhaps the exception of the Donkament on Friday), until the TOC on Saturday and Freeroll on Sunday. Both of which will be shoe-horned around other planned events.

Man, blogger events are going to seem small after all this.

BBT3 Quickie


- 10th on the leaderboard with 1169.5 points
- Around $1,900 in winnings (4th best behind Goat, Cmitch, and Fischmann)
- 1 win, 7 final tables, 12 in the points, 8 in the money, and 49 games played.
- 23.87 PPG (lower than previous rounds I believe)
- 1 2nd, 3 3rds, 1 4th, 1 5th

Big May

- 7th on the leaderboard (494.6 points)
- around $1,100 in winnings ($700 of it last night)
- 1 win, 4 final tables, 5 in the points/money, 14 games played
- 35.33 ppg

I definitely finished strong.

No Sale

AA 3x 5-handed with 11 players left, include two back-to-back (first won blinds and antes and got shown, 2nd reaped rewards). 1 more AA at the final table. KK, AK, AQ, QQ, and others in that stretch as well...

Came in 3rd in The Big Game for $700.35. Not a terrible score by any metric, but I could have been happier.

All week I had something envisioned. Heads-up with Goat in the last BBT3 game. Seriously. I had my list of people I'd like to see in the TOC who weren't there yet, but I kept coming back to Groucho and the Swedish Chef facing off, with a quick chop being determined.

Instead, Goat pushed from the button when I held AQ in the SB with a shortish stack, and I instacalled his K2o bluff. 323KQ board was good for getting my chips and a big chip lead, so I was happy for that. Unfortunately, he went absolutely card dead for the HU session and went down for 2nd place.

I know he wanted a seat badly. He ended up being the top money-earner in the BBT3, with over $2,700 in winnings. But he didn't play enough games to crack the top 20 in points. 25 games, 6 final tables, points 9 times, and a 36.87 ppg average... a damned shame he won't be fighting for the prize next Saturday. On the plus side, that's a fantastic ROI for the BBT3.

Well played sir.

Also, I wanted the cash from a chop.

Instead, maneki_neko, playing in his/her ONLY game of the BBT3 took it down. Congrats to them. From the looks of thing, it looks like they lived up to their name in regards to number of lives. What? You don't speak Japanese?

Now to decide if I want to do something that could piss off a bunch of people...