Friday, September 30, 2005


As I am sitting here vegetating in my cubicle habitat, cake has been made available. It would seem one of my fellow cubicle-dwellers is going somewhere else, to live in a different cubicle. This, apparently, is cause for distribution of cake.

I chose not to participate. My neighbor (who is better compensated than me and is supposed to tell me what to do) asked if I wanted cake. "Go get cake," she said. "No thanks," I replied.

Her: "Are you sure? It's cake. Go get cake."
Me: "No thanks, I don't care for any."
Her: "C'mon, have some cake, I'll go get you some."
Me: "No, it's okay"
Her: "What's the matter, don't you like cake?"
Me: "Yeah, I like cake, I just don't want any right now."
Her: "C'mon, just a little won't hurt."
Me: "Thanks, but I really don't want any."
Me: "mmmffffrgrglgrgl"

And that's how I got cake-raped today. By my own boss. By someone I thought I knew and trusted.

I find it odd how one's refusal to eat cake is cause for an uproar. A simple "Cake?" "No thanks." should be sufficient. I now have to find a hiding place for when there is cake.

Excuse me while I take a shower.

Variance is a hideous bitch-goddess.

My hourly rate was just under $10 on Friday night, then I had a pretty good few days and actually got it up to $14. Then Wednesday night variance stepped in and bitch-slapped it back down to $10, and I was left wondering how the hell I ever won at this shit in the first place. Fuck you, variance.

Then variance came back yesterday, handed me $279 in an hour and 45 minutes, and now I'm almost back to $14. Yay, variance.

It wasn't like last night's session went perfect, either. I had top two pair lose to a set, top pair lose to a rivered two pair, 777 lose to 888 (both with pocket pairs), QQ lose to 5-4, and QQ lose to A-J. Take a few of those out and I'm well over $400. So the deck was basically rolling over me. I didn't even get huge hands, either. I just kept getting good top pair hands like A-K and K-Q, and I kept pairing up and winning with top pair. It being PartyPoker, the other players felt the need to draw out on me, but somehow repeatedly failed in this endeavor, so I was paid off nicely. I also hit several sets, all but one held up. Wednesday night I couldn't catch anything and couldn't pair anything. That's just how poker goes, though.

I also won a $22 sit 'n go for a $78 net profit. When it was five-handed, blinds were 50-100 and I was the short stack with T275. I am awesome. "Fuck you," said Scott.

Eighteen more hours until I move up to 3-6...

Sorry for the mini-post. I promise I will write a humorous anecdote about toothbrushes or can-openers sometime soon.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Phil Gordon is retarded.

For those of you who might be offended by the title of this post, by retarded I mean "stupid."

Phil Gordon is the host of Bravo Celebrity Poker Challenge Wars. He has written more than one book about poker (or has his name listed as the author on more than one book about poker, which does not necessarily mean he wrote them). He came in fourth in the 2001 WSOP. He won the 2004 Bay 101 Shooting Star in San Jose. Overall he has about $1.5 million in tournament winnings (I don't know what his tournament expenses were). So it might be safe to say he knows something about poker.

Then I came across this article on, where he contrasts no-limit vs. limit hold 'em. First of all, you can't even begin to list the differences in one stupid article, but he tries. What I couldn't believe was his "limit hold'em mind-set." He says his primary goal while playing limit hold 'em is to "put as few chips into the pot as possible when I have a losing hand." That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Actually, it's not, but it's pretty dumb. Sure, it's a good idea to put as few chips as possible into the pot with a losing hand, and usually that means folding at some point, but it shouldn't be your primary goal.

He goes on to say that "very rarely can you make any sizable mistake before the river card is dealt in limit poker." Um, okay, sure, but little errors add up to a lot over time, and that's what limit hold 'em is all about - the long, long, long, long term. You won't lose much by cold-calling a preflop raise with A-5 off in a limit game in any given hand, but do that all the time and you'll go broke. The summation of all these "little" errors adds up to a ton of money in the long run, but according to Phil, you shouldn't be worried about this. Okay Phil, so why don't you eat an entire pizza for breakfast tomorrow. You won't gain any weight, and it sure tasted good, didn't it? So therefore you should make a daily habit of this, because it's only a "little" error and therefore there is no way you can get morbidly obese from this.

Finally, he claims that the biggest mistake you can make in limit hold 'em is calling with the worst hand on the river. "Saving that last big bet when you have the worst hand is crucial for the win rate," he says. Um, Phil, from what you suggest, I should fold every time on the river when I might have the worst hand. Seeing as I don't have x-ray vision and can't see through my opponents cards, there is no way I can know with 100% certainty that I have the best hand unless I have the nuts. Judging whether or not I have the best hand I have to take into account many factors. Therefore, I believe I should call any time I think I have a chance to win. Calling on the river and being wrong costs me one bet. Folding on the river and being wrong costs me the entire pot.

The single biggest mistake you can make in limit hold 'em is throwing away a winning hand on the river. But, according to Phil Gordon, it's calling a bet on the river with a losing hand. If you're winning a high percentage of your showdowns, you're throwing away a lot of winners.

Phil Gordon needs to stick to no-limit, and shut the hell up about limit. I can't believe ESPN pays him for that shit.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The end of the universe.

More than 100 years ago a man by the name of King Camp Gillette sought to make the everyday task of shaving simpler for males throughout the world. His goal was to create a razor with a safe, inexpensive, disposable blade. It took many years. "Steel is too expensive to make it disposable," they told him. "Steel is too hard to make it that thin," they scoffed. But, by 1903, along with the help of an MIT graduate by the name of William Nickerson, the Gillette® safety razor was born and production began as the Gillette Safety Razor Company® began operations in South Boston. Sales grew steadily, as men soon began to see the benefit of such a product. If they only knew.

In 1928, the Schick® Corporation would begin operations, but would never pose a threat to Gillette®'s marketplace domination.

No one could predict the dark future.

More than 60 years would pass before signs of trouble began. Sadly, as we would learn, it would be too late to do anything before anyone realized the monster we had created.
It began innocently enough when in 1971 Gillette® introduced the Trac II®, the world's first 2-blade razor. "Hey, I can shave with less strokes and this, in turn, causes less irritation!" men exclaimed. It should have stopped there, but shortly thereafter the Trac II Plus® was released, which, in addition to two blades, included a moisturizing Lubrastrip® to reduce the need for aftershave lotion. It was a grim foretelling of things to come.

Gillette® would continue to innovate in the disposable shaver industry. In 1977, they introduced the Atra®, the first razor with a pivoting head, which enabled the blades to "stay on your beard longer for extra closeness".

In 1990, they released the Sensor®, which featured spring-loaded blades. This reduced the possibility of cutting the skin, while enabling Gillette to move the blades closer to the edge of the cartridge, providing a closer shave than ever before. This was closely followed by the SensorExcel®, which featured rubber MicroFins® in front of the blades, which cause the whiskers to stand up to enable an even closer shave. Thankfully, the American male did not respond as enthusiastically to the Sensor® as he did to previous advancements, and the threat of Razor Armageddon was thought to be eliminated.

However, after lying dormant for eight years, the threat was reborn. Gillette® unleashed the Mach3® on the unsuspecting masses, the world's first three blade razor. "With its three blade configuration, new blade edge technology, forward pivoting action and innovative cartridge architecture," Gillette® Mach3® was unlike anything the world had ever seen. We were powerless to stop the razor from mutating into forms previously thought impossible. Soon came the Mach3Turbo® with MicroFins® and a Lubrastrip®, followed by the M3Power®, which featured even more MicroFins® and a battery in the handle, which caused it to vibrate. The system was now online.

Then, in 2003, the Schick® corporation, tired of being an also-ran in the disposable razor industry, unveiled the Quattro®, the first four-blade razor. Gillette® was furious, and Razor Armageddon had begun. But it was too late. The American face was now so soft and smooth it was powerless to fight back.

Small pockets of unshaven resistance forces began to form, and they started to make progress, until late 2005 when this horrifying announcement was made...

"NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Gillette® has escalated the razor wars yet again, unveiling a new line of razors on Wednesday with five blades and a lubricating strip on both the front and back. The razor, known as the Fusion®, has blades spaced 30 percent closer than Gillette®'s current MACH3Turbo® system. It also has a single blade on the back of the cartridge for shaving sideburns or trimming under the nose..."

Heaven help us all.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dancing with Mexicans.

If you are a white male, and one of your best friends is Mexican, never go out with him and your girlfriends/wives to a place where Latin American dancing takes place, because he is good at dancing at you are not. And, for that night, your significant other will like you just a little bit less because of this.

I don't get what it is, but if you are a good dancer, random women will line up to fuck you. Your other qualities as a person will not come in to question. These dancing skills will not translate to long-term relationship success, however, but within the walls of that dance club, you are a god among men...or a god among gods and a random non-dancing white guy, as it were. And if you don't know how to dance, stay the hell away, because your girlfriend will start dancing with your Mexican friend, stick her tongue out at you, and then have sex with him. That's true except for the sex with him part.

I personally don't think the ability to dance has any bearing on a man's worth, but if you are hanging around guys that know how to dance and are currently dancing, every women present form opinions based only on this. And you know what? I understand. If I was a female and I met a guy in a situation where dancing was involved, and he was really good at it, I would most likely be willing to engage in intercourse with him.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Poker night.

Friday night Ms. Brick was hanging out with her girlfriends and I didn't want to participate so I went and actually played poker with actual real people. It took place at a bar with the regulars plus another guy who is becoming a regular. Also he sucks at poker which is good. He manages to lose $40 while one of wins a little, one breaks even, one loses a little, and one wins $40.

This bar has a good table in the back for poker. Unfortunately, one of the three people in the bar had it occupied and refused to relinquish it, so we had to make do. Also, I won $6. Sweet. I remember when poker night consisted only of micro-stakes no-limit hold 'em played with incorrect betting rules. "I bet 32 cents." "Oh yeah? Raise 7 cents." Now poker night consists of some hold 'em, followed by "Let's throw all our money in the middle of the table and see who has the best cards at the end" games. Follow the bitch, Kings and Jacks King with an Axe, Night Baseball. If anyone ever calls any one of these games at the next home poker game you play at, post your ante and fold. It's not worth it. There is no skill involved when 37 cards are wild. Night Baseball is very unnecessary. "I got a seven card straight flush!" "Nice try, donkey, I have 9 kings." I doubled up in Night Baseball using a wild-card laced straight flush. I guess it's funner to gamble than to play skill games. It's not worth trying to win anyway when you're playing for ten bucks. It's too damn boring. So bring on the Night Baseball.

The coolest part of the evening was when a guy holding a cooler filled with tamales stopped by our table attempting to sell tamales while using a cooler for the exact opposite of its intended purpose. Everyone’s default reaction was: “No thanks, man,” followed by: “wait, what, tamales? Hell yes, I will purchase some tamales. Except for Scott. He doesn’t want any. He doesn’t purchase homemade food products from random people in bars. But I will take two. Thank you.”

They were good.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Poker content

"I like your non-poker content better," said Scott.

However, the point of this blog was for me to write about poker and learn from it so that I might improve, so today I am going to write some boring poker content that you don't have to read.

My last few sessions have gone pretty well. Despite a few sick beats (you know, when you're a 97% favorite on the flop you kind of expect to win, but then again, 97% < 100%, so you're not going to always win. It wasn't the first time I've lost with a 97% favorite and it wasn't the last time) I came away with a 26 big bet win in just over two hours last night. I felt that I played aggressively and trusted my instincts more. I'm curious to see what Pokertracker says about my "aggression factor" after these first 100 hours are up. I looked at my stats last night and was pleased to learn that I'm making more than 2 big bets per 100 hands, which is considered to be a decent win rate. Of course 55 hours is not nearly enough to draw any concrete conclusions, but I think I'm off to a good start. I'm also pleased that I've stuck with it this long and not done anything stupid like play 10-20.

I'm looking forward to moving up to 3-6. I'm going to keep my goal at $18 per hour for that level. I feel that if I make at least some improvement in the aggression department I should be able to do it (if the cards run normal). Also, playing 2-4, I'm only making about $2.75 an hour in rakeback, which is brutal. It should be over $4 at 3-6.

In non-poker news, I've learned I'm especially good at opening 20 oz. Pepsi bottles. 1 out of 6 bottles wins a "Buy one, get one" coupon for another bottle, and I've gotten it on 5 of my last 7 bottles. I'm just a natural, I guess.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ducks eat free at Subway.

I am going to add more information to the links to the right. In case you didn't notice, those are four of my favorite comedians (that aren't famous enough) and Kurt Rambis. Those four guys are funnier than any of the famous comedians that have their own sitcoms and make $3.6 million per episode. Maybe getting your own sitcom makes you less humorous. Brian Regan is kind of a funny version of Jerry Seinfeld. You should buy his dvd. While you're there, buy his CD, too. But I'll talk about him later.

Mitch Hedberg was one of my favorite comedians and I was fortunate to see him four times and introduce his comedy to a few people. I remember the first time I saw him on TV it was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. Sadly, he died two weeks after the last time I saw him. I got to sit in the front row and I yelled out "Do the Fritos joke", and he did the Fritos joke. He seemed more out of it than usual. I never knew how shy, disturbed, and addicted to heroin he was. He even had a joke about it: "I'm addicted to heroine. I like to have sex with women who have saved someone's life." I guess only the second sentence was part of the joke.

Anyway, I've added some links under his name if you want to learn more about him or read some of his jokes. He died too soon and wasn't known to enough people.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I am passive.

Poker, on the surface, is going well. My hourly rate seems to be climbing at a steady pace. I am 49 hours in and my rate is almost $12/hr. That's probably just due to good luck lately, though. That and the fact that I am playing against morons. Over the past 19 hours I have made $482, which is pretty much an impossible rate to maintain at this level unless you are an incredible player, and that I am not. I have no idea what I need to do to turn myself into an aggressive player. I'm so used to getting bad beat that I've been conditioned to assume that it will just happen, so I "play it safe" and just hope my hand holds up, and I lose lots of bets I could be making in the process.

For example, I had a hand yesterday...

I had Q-9 off in the small blind, and after several limpers, paid the $1 to see the flop.

10-J-K with two spades.

Bingo, right? Not for me. My immediate reaction was: "Someone will draw out on me, or probably has AQ."

I bet out from first position, got raised by the next guy, and he was called by everyone else. Instead of reraising like I should have, I just called. The turn was a blank. I checked, the raiser bet, and everyone called. When it got back to me, I should have raised (I think), but thought "Someone has got to be chasing a flush, and if I raise I am giving incredible odds for them to call." So I just called. The river was another blank. This time I thought "Everyone probably was chasing draws and missed, so it might get checked around." So I led out and got three callers. It seems my play was guided by fear in that hand, and there is no place for that in poker. I cost myself 3 or 4 big bets (if not more) by playing passively. In the long run, that's huge. I should have reraised the flop and led out on the turn.

At least I'm recognizing what I'm doing wrong. But recognizing problems and doing something about them are two different things. My hourly rate would probably be somewhere around $20 if I exercised a little bit more discipline and SOME aggression.

Let's hope in time I can patch these leaks...

Wow, I just realized the title of this post says just as much about my personality as it does about my poker playing.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sports Guy and ESPN Insider

If you're not reading Bill Simmons (aka Sports Guy) on, you need to be reading Bill Simmons on Check out these two responses from his latest mailbag:

Q: I'm watching "Top Gun" and everything is completely plausible. That is, until they start playing volleyball. Honestly, who believes that someone 4-foot-5 would play volleyball. Even more incredible, he has Goose setting him up to spike the ball. Am I the only one who finds this ridiculous? Have I watched "Top Gun" way too many times to be analyzing the volleyball scene?
-- Matt, Boston

SG: Wait, you found this more ridiculous than Cruise playing a 5-foot-5 cornerback with Division I aspirations in "All the Right Moves?" More important, how could you say that everything up to the volleyball scene was completely plausible? This was the same movie that had Kelly McGillis playing a classified expert on Russian M.I.G.s. Hey, speaking of Cruise ...

Q: At the end of "Jerry Maguire," how is it possible that Jerry manages to attend the Monday Night Football game in Tempe, Ariz. -- which would have gone at least 15 minutes longer than the average MNF game due to Rod Tidwell's would-be neck injury -- stay until long after it's over and practically everyone has left the stadium, stick around outside while Rod talks to people and signs autographs, drive to the airport, get on a plane to Seattle, drive home, and still apparently make it by about 8:30 p.m. during the middle of Renee Zellweger's women's group? Did they edit out the scene where he hops into Doc Brown's DeLorean and flux capacitates his way to the Pacific Northwest? Why am I the only person bothered by this?
-- Doug Cantor, New York

SG: You got me thinking about this one. No Monday Night Football game ends before 9:30 p.m. on the West Coast. By the time the stadium cleared out, even with the Tidwell injury, it would have been around 11. Would have taken him about 15-20 minutes to get to the airport, and since this was pre-9/11, he probably could have made it on a midnight flight, which would get him into LAX at around 1:15-1:30. And even if he parked in the garage instead of using All-Star parking like everyone else here, he's not in his car until about 1:40 at the earliest, and there's no way he lived anywhere that was within 20 minutes of LAX. So in an absolute BEST CASE scenario in which everything went seamlessly, he's walking through the door of his house at 2 a.m. In other words ... thanks for ruining the movie for us, Doug Cantor.

Isn't that just pure hilarity? I mean, what columnist would get e-mails like that and respond to them like that? Bill Simmons, that's who. Also, please read his review of the Karate Kid trilogy. Extreme hilarity. In an interesting bit of irony, 50% of the people who read this blog is an avid Bill Simmons reader, and actually sent me the Karate Kid article. And the other 50% doesn't care (that's you, Ms. Brick). So unless I add a third reader the point here is moot. By the time someone else reads this the links provided will have been assigned "ESPN Insider" status, so only people with an "Insider" password will be able to read them. Which reminds me...

You have no idea how much I despise ESPN Insider. You see, a bunch of the articles on are tagged with a little "in" icon, and you can't read them unless you subscribe to the print magazine. I don't want the print magazine. Just let me read the damn article. In fact, most of the Bill Simmons archive is only accessible to "insiders." They say there is a free trial. There is no free trial. In order to get the free trial you need to subscribe to the print magazine. My desire to not get ESPN: The Magazine outweighs my desire to read "insider" articles. You know, if there was, in fact, a free trial, and I found that I enjoyed complete access to all of the articles, I might be willing to pay something like $3 a month for the privilege. However, keep me the hell away from the print magazine. sucks. Except for Bill Simmons. I mean, what is the deal with that Scoop Jackson guy?

As far as poker is concerned, I played like total shit last night and actually stopped playing. The funny thing is, it was a winning session. That's right, $26 in two hours. Yippee. But I played like a total passive loser. I probably left about $50 on the table due to passive play. Twice I read a situation perfectly (I had two pair up against a worse two pair both times), and twice I lost a bet from failing to raise (when have we heard this before?) on the river. That is inexcusable. There is no way I can expect to be a winning player if I continue to play that way. I think a big part of it was that I was playing against more aggressive players than I am used to, and it threw me off a little bit. However, I need to be able to adjust.

I was more happy with a session this morning where I lost $38 in 35 minutes. I played my good hands aggressively and only came out a loser because of two key bad beats (KK v. 10-10 and QQ v. KQ). I couldn't be upset about that because both times the other player was drawing incredibly thin and got lucky on the river. Oh well, it happens. I did, however, lose $15 by playing small pocket pairs from early position. That is another leak I need to work on. I should be folding 77 and below from early position and I'm not doing it. Something to think about.

Until next time, more cowbell.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Poker & legos

After that last post, I just spent the first half-hour of work looking at "vintage legos" on ebay. Most of what I found were lego sets from about 20 years ago. I couldn't find any like Grandma had, which were probably at least 20 years old 20 years ago. Her's were just these white blocks, and they didn't fit together tightly like the ones we all know. You could only kind of rest them on top of each other. But they were definitely legos. The first lego thing I got was in 1982 or 1983, called the Starfleet Voyager. I never actually put the thing together, I would just make up stuff with the pieces. Other prized lego possessions of my youth were the Knight's Castle and Cosmic Fleet Voyager. Click here to read about the history of legos. Remember Playmobil? Those were like Legos for rich kids. Man, fuck Playmobil.

Oh yeah, I was supposed to write about poker, huh? Things are going okay. I'm about 44 hours in to phase 1 and just above $9/hr. I'm still losing more than I need to in my losing sessions. I can think of two instances during the past 44 hours where I had taken a few beats, noticed I was playing bad and told myself to get up, but didn't. If I had followed my advice in just those two situations I would be over $15/hr. In fact the only reason I am at $9 is because I had a dream session yesterday where the deck was punching me in the face. I made $250 in one hour. At one table I was up $321 and at the other I lost $65. $321 in one hour at one 2-4 table is just insane (considering I'm averaging less than $5/hr per table). Three times I had a pocket pair up against a higher pocket pair and three times I hit a set and got paid off. Once I had 99 and flopped quads against KK. These sessions happen, just like the awful sessions where nothing holds up happen (like when idiots holding underpairs keep flopping sets against your overpairs). The fact remains is I'm still losing more than I need to. I'm still letting myself lose focus and donk off money when things aren't going my way. I hope I can learn from this and correct it, but so far I haven't been able to. Next time I recognize when I'm in that situation I hope I can just get up, take the loss, and come back when after I've cleared my head.

As far as the plan goes, I've decided to play out the 100 hours of two-tabling 2-4, and then move up to 3-6 (phase 4) if my bankroll is above $2400, or 400 big bets. It should be there in a few weeks, if not sooner. Otherwise, if my bankroll is not above $2,400, I will add a third table of 2-4. I think I will use this 400 big bet guideline for moving up limits in the future. I will then drop down limits if I hit 400 big bets of the next lower limit, so if my bankroll hits $1,600 after moving up to 3-6, I will move back down to 2-4. I will have a cushion of over 100 big bets, so I shouldn't have to move back down unless I hit a really awful streak.

Finally, you should read the book Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich. It's a really good story about the MIT blackjack team (actually, I think it was just a fictionalized account of what could have been one of the MIT blackjack teams), although I think it could have been longer. It seemed to end abruptly. Also the author has a boner for excessive descriptive language. For example, when the group was flying into Vegas, he described the lights on the ground as "tiny little pinpricks against a liquid sheet of black." Gimme a fuckin break, dude. Also he described an airplane window as a "glass egg." Dude, next time, call it a "window." Anyway, I still recommend the book. It was a really good story and I couldn't put it down.

That's all. Have a nice day, please.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wedding of cousin.

My apologies go to my two readers for my three day hiatus. In fact, I probably lost my two readers due to my three day hiatus. I was attending the wedding of cousin Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of my dad's youngest sister. The longest conversation I have had with Elizabeth occurred when I was 6 and she was 2. We were at Grandma's house and she was playing with Grandma's vintage legos. She looked at me and said: "These are mine!" and put her hands over the legos. Some of the highlights of the weekend were:

-I met my parents and noticed my dad was about six weeks overdue for a haircut. The following exchange ensued:

Me: "I bet Mom doesn't get mad at Dad for not obtaining haircuts on a timely basis."
Ms. Brick: "I'm not your Mom."
Dad: "Yeah, I should have gotten a haircut."

-My cousin Sarah (Sarah, the youngest daughter of my Dad's oldest sister, not Sarah the oldest daughter of my Dad's youngest sister), lived about a half mile away from me for over a year. She moved away a few months ago and I learned of this two days ago. We are are a very close knit family. In an amusing side note, Sarah dates a guy who looks like a tall version of Micheal J. Fox when he was on Family Ties, right down to the 1984 hair-over-the-ears haircut. Did you know that Michael J. Fox's real name is Michael A. Fox? I learned that just now while looking for a picture of him with the hair-over-the-ears haircut. Speaking of Family Ties, remember when Tom Hanks played their fugitive uncle for two shows during the first season? Neither do I.

- The wedding was the perfect length. It went something like this:

Minister/priest: "Do you love her?"
Him: "Yes."
Minister/priest: "Do you love him?"
Her: "Yes."
Minister/priest: "You're married. Let's eat."

Then they had free food and alcohol, which is nice. Of course I am forever plagued by the fact that I don't like beer or wine, which seem to be the beverages of choice for the rest of the population. Luckily they had crappy rum available, which can be placed in Coke prior to consumption. I do not mean that in a negative way. The availability of crappy rum was definitely a good thing, because at most weddings you have to pay for the crappy rum. Also the food was good, especially the mashed potatoes. While eating I talked to my cousin Jenny (Dad's oldest sister's second daughter) her boyfriend Doug, and my cousin Jeff (Dad's oldest sister's second son). Then Ms. Brick and I danced a little bit, but she didn't really like the music that was provided. It was fun.

-I learned my cousin Jenny played violin on the Destiny's Child hit "Say My Name," back when they were still a group and back when they had four people. They paid her in cash and dubbed the violin part over the song a bunch of times. Neato.

-My cousin Sarah (My dad's youngest sister's first daughter, not my dad's oldest sister's youngest daughter) is together with a professional glass blower. He works for another glass blower. He also has an interesting facial hair configuration. I have no clue how one goes about becoming a glass blower. Maybe he took Glass Blowing in high school and found his true calling.

That's all. Poker is going okay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Reason #42 to quit smoking

from the Sep. 13 edition of the Arizona Republic:

Man smoking at filling station catches fire

A 26-year-old man suffered burns on 75 percent of his body when he attempted to gas up his pickup truck while smoking a cigarette Monday evening, authorities said. Thomas Warren was smoking when he tried to pump gas into his 1976 Ford truck at a station in the 21600 block of North 30th Avenue, near Deer Valley Road, and became engulfed in flames, according to Phoenix police. He was taken to a Valley hospital; his condition was not immediately known.

Now people, if you need to smoke, for the love of God, don't do it around large quantities of flammable (inflammable?) liquids. Now there is nothing funny about a human being becoming engulfed in flames, but I couldn't help but laugh when I read the words "became engulfed in flames." I mean did this guy just not stop to think: "Hey, I'm pumping many gallons of gasoline into my car and I am surrounded by very ignitable gasoline fumes. Maybe I shouldn't be holding this paper cylinder of smoldering leaves"? It's sad that two seconds of poor judgement is going to negatively affect this guy for the rest of his life, but there's nothing he can do about that now. Hopefully the next time I put gas in my car I will be smart enough to not smoke.

Speaking of flammable liquids, why does it now cost $40.62 to fill the tank of a 1995 Ford Taurus with 87 unleaded? Something seems not quite right about that. You know it's a sad situation when you see a sign at a gas station that says "2.47 9/10" and you think "Sweet! I better fill up!"

In non-gasoline-related news, I actually had a winning session last night ($124 over 4 hours), despite the continued horrendous succession of bad beats. It got to the point that when I was dealt KK I just expected to lose. And it did. All three times. It got to me such that I just expected someone to draw out on me so when I had a decent hand I would just check down the river. I lost several bets that way. There were two situations where I read the hand perfectly, but froze up and failed to cap the river. I had A-10 against A-6 on a A-2-3-10 board. He rivered a 6 and raised me, I decided that based on how the hand was played A-6 was his only logical holding. But I only called, costing me one, possibly two, bets. In another situation I had 99 against 44 on a 4-9-A-Q-10 board. There was no preflop raise, so he couldn't really have AA, QQ, or 10-10, and he would have to be stupid to stay in with K-J (but this is PartyPoker, remember), but I didn't cap the river, I only called his reraise, costing me one bet. I have to trust my instincts, even when I have been repeatedly punched in the stomach by people rivering gutshots. This is getting dangerously close to "bad beat story" territory, so I will shut up now. I can't complain about $124, but it should have been a lot more. I need to play my best and raise with the best hand regardless of how the session is going, or else I need to just get up and quit if bad beats get me playing bad. That's all.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Moving along...

My plan is progressing slowly. I have played about 30 hours and made a whopping $93. The swings haven't been too big, however. My high is $178 and my low is about -$50. So it hasn't been bad, just slow. Every time I book a small win (I have yet to book a big win), it seems the next time I sit down I get beat over the head by a series of 3-outers. In fact the only reason I am ahead is because I actually hit a few flush draws yesterday. So far I am making 21% of what I think I should be making. Looking back, I think I was being overly ambitious when I put that plan together. I don't know how I expected to go from being a break-even/slight loser to a consistent winner. I think $8/hr would have been more realistic to start, rather than $14.

I am also considering adding a third table ahead of schedule. Two tables is getting pretty boring and I see myself starting to compromise starting hand selection the longer I play. I think adding a third table will make me focus more. I might also move up to 3-6 ahead of schedule as well. The main reason for this is, since I starting playing 2-4 exclusively, my rakeback payments have been about half of what I'm used to. I think I might add a third table of 2-4 at 50 hours, and then switch to 3-6 when my bankroll gets above $2,000. With the way things are going that will be sometime in 2007. The players at 3-6 are pretty much the same as the ones at 2-4, so as long as I have the necessary bankroll, I should be fine. There I go, deviating from the plan.

In other news, I whole-heartedly recommend the movie The 40 Year Old Virgin, unless you are easily offended by drunk women, mint-in-box vintage action figure collections, broken flourescent light bulbs, striped dildos, transvestite hookers, big-screen televisions, big boxes of porn, slutty bookstore employees, 40 year old virgins, or the guy who played MC Hammer in VH1's original movie Too Legit: The MC Hammer Story. Or if you happen to be my parents.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Bad beats

I promise I will do my best to never tell a bad beat story. Notice in the last post the two hand examples were both hands that I won (I was the checkraiser and won in the first example). One was an incredibly good beat, and the other was a case of an idiot staying in a hand with nothing and hitting nothing. We tend to only remember the times when AA gets beat, not the unremarkable hands where people call our preflop raise with Q-10 off, flop a gutshot straight draw, miss, and fold on the river. We don't remember when they miss, just when they hit. Just taking a look at Pokertracker statistics I know that AA, KK, QQ, are, in fact, the most powerful hands and I win the most money with them, so I shouldn't bitch when they get beat because it's inevitable and I want people calling me with inferior starting hands.

If I ever feel the need to recount a bad beat story, I will tell it in graphical form with no narration just to get it off my chest. Just yesterday twice I had a full house outdrawn by a bigger full house on the river. Do you care? Didn't think so. Everyone has flopped a flush and lost to a runner-runner full house. Please spare me the details. You are not special. 3-outers happen and will continue to happen.

Once in a while I might feel the need to share a hand if it was particularly amazing, like if it involves something that never happens. With that in mind, below is the greatest beat story of my life...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

17:10 update

I have played 17 hours and 10 minutes. I have made 9.00 for an hourly rate of .52. Hooray. I'm glad that 17 hours is really nothing. I should probably be up about $150, though. I had a few sessions where I played too long and lost more than I needed to. That's seems to be an ongoing issue with me. Oh well, 50 cents an hour is better than losing. At this point all it will take is one good or bad session to drastically change things.

In other news, take a look at the above hand. Some guy limped from middle position with K3h, then called a late position raise. On the flop the late position raiser bet again, but was checkraised by someone in early position. So king-three hearts...calls? That's right, two bets cold with that hand and that board. This is the level of intelligence we are dealing with here, people. If for some sick reason you find yourself in middle position holding K3 of hearts after the flop, and the flop is 2-7-8 of mixed suits, then yes, please cold-call a bet and a raise. That would make me very happy. Interestingly enough, the guy turned a 3 and stayed with the hand through the river and still lost, even though he was a huge underdog with no hand and no draw. Amazing.

I was also involved in another crazy hand yesterday. I had AA up against AK suited (clubs), and A-10 offsuit, and I won the hand despite being a huge favorite. In an interesting twist, however, the flop came 10-7-2, all clubs, and I had a 0.7% chance. However, the turn and river came 2, 2. I win. I will never say anything bad about AA again. Actually I probably will. I think that's just an example of how powerful AA is. You usually still have some chance to win, even if someone takes the lead on the flop. 0.7 > 0.0

Saturday, September 10, 2005

The corpse show.

I apologize in advance for my repeated use of the words "skinless corpse" in this post.

Last week a group of friends and I went to see Bodyworlds, "The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies." For those who aren't familiar, some German guy developed a body preservation technique called "plastination" in which the fluids are replaced by plastic. People donate their bodies to this guy and his group plastinates them and puts them in an educational art display about the human anatomy. I forgot to mention that the bodies had their skin removed and were placed in various poses. One guy actually had his skin removed in one piece and was displayed holding it up. One skinless guy was playing basketball. A skinless woman was displayed shooting a bow and arrow with her brain removed and resting on top of her skull. So then I raised on the button with AKo, and skinless basketball guy reraises from the small blind, now I'm thinking he's weak because he has been doing this a lot, so I cap...wait, nevermind.

Okay, so I only found it completely disturbing. Very interesting and educational, yes, but disturbing. I almost passed out in the first five minutes. And I almost passed out again later. I just have a problem being surrounded by skinless corpses playing sports. One guy was riding a horse. A skinless horse. Cool.

I haven't really even touched on how many different exhibits the show had and how amazing and educational it was. Many different parts of the anatomy were shown and highlighted in the various displays. Diseased organs were shown next to healthy ones; there was a full arterial system on display (in fact, a whole family of arterial systems), preserved as if it was still in the body (I have no clue how they did that).

I just couldn't get over the fact that I was surrounded by people. Sure, they all volunteered so I don't have a problem with the ethics of it. I just don't know if we were meant to see the inside of a dead person's face. That's all. I wonder if the people get to choose how they are going to be posed. Like if on the Bodyworlds body donation application there is an area for that. "Please tell us how you would like your body to be displayed: I would like my skin removed, the front half of my head chopped off, and I want to be hanging upside down by my small intestine with it wrapped around my ankles. Also I would like the front half of my head placed in a separate 'Inside of a Dead Person's Face' display."

In an interesting related story, This exhibit has been successful enough that there have been a few copycat exhibits. One was in San Francisco, called the Universe Within, which is (was) mired in controversy. It was put on by an Austrian TV producer who wanted to capitalize on the popularity of skinless corpse exhibits. Except he couldn't prove that he owned the bodies legally and that the previous owners wanted them on display. Also the bodies started leaking silicone and fat because they weren't preserved properly. Cool. Click here to read about it (I hope the link is still active). Bye now.

So I guess this blog isn't only going to be about poker.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Welcome to internet poker blog #2,914,812,003.

Call me....Brick.

Let's clear something up right now.

I suck at poker.

I have no delusions about my skill level. The only difference between me and 99% of the players on PartyPoker is I know that I suck. Sure, I play well in spurts, but any winnings quickly dissolve when I play too long, lose focus, and start cold-calling raises with 10-9 offsuit. Let's just say I know how to play much better then I do. I read the books. In fact I own seven strategy books and just ordered one more this morning. The problem is, owning books won't make you good. Reading them won't make you good. You have to consistently apply what you learn. You have to do what you know, not just know what to do. Knowing you should fold and actually folding are two completely different things. Anyone who knows anything about poker (especially 10-handed limit hold 'em) is you should spend the great majority of your time folding.

Everyone knows that to lose weight you just have to eat less and exercise. Except that it is much easier to eat more and not exercise, and you won't see the difference in the moment. "Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now."

I started this blog because I want to become a winner at this game. I waste most of my free time sitting at my computer clicking "Fold", "Call", or "Raise." I should at least be winning or my continued involvement makes no sense.

It all began two years ago when my roommates and I started playing during the 2003 WSOP. I started reading about poker strategy for the sole purpose of beating them. Then we moved apart and poker night didn't come around often enough. Enter: PartyPoker, April 2004. And, well, it has since taken over my life. For a long time I thought I was good. I would win $100, cash out (thinking I was awesome and winning $100 every time), then I would lose what I had left, buy back in, lose that, buy back in, win $100, cash out, wash, rinse, repeat. I estimate that I have lost a few thousand dollars. Every time I started keeping records I quit when I started losing. Nice system, huh? So two months ago I bought a program call StatKing and started entering in each session. After 165 hours, I'm down $930 (for the benefit of those readers happening to be my girlfriend, through the magic of rakeback and bonuswhoring, I'm up $900 in real dollars during that time, but from the actual playing of poker, I'm down $930).

I decided I'm going to study more and apply what I learn. I have put to together a plan with goals for the next 1,000+ hours of play. I will post my progress and results here. I am starting with a bankroll of $1500, and will begin by playing 2 tables of 2-4 limit hold 'em and keep moving up until I am beating 4 tables of 5-10, or until I go broke. What will most likely happen is I will quickly abandon my plan, play limits too high for my bankroll, lose the $1500, quit posting on this blog, and continue wasting my time and money. Yes I am a pessimist, but I am also a realist. Whenever I hear someone who is overweight or an alcoholic say something like: "Yeah, this time I'm REALLY gonna change...", I don't believe it for two seconds.

Anyway, we will see what happens. I hope this isn't my only post.