Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Table Profiles 002: Obscene Mother****er

General Profile: Here is what you need to know about Obscene Mother****er:

1) He ****ing hates you.

2) He really ****ing hates you, you ****ing ***** **** piece of ****.

3) He ****ing wishes you'd ****ing die, you ****.

4) You mustn't take it personally. He ****ing hates everybody, and ****ing every****ing-thing. He ****ing hates you for playing that hand that just beat him. He ****ing has nothing but ****ing scorn for you for playing that ****ing drawing hand and losing. Of ****ing course you'd get Aces right there. Of ****ing course you'd call with JT suited. He wishes you'd just ****ing die, you ghey ****. LOL. How can you call yourself a ****ing human being, you ****?

Natural Habitat: Since being introduced into the online biosphere, herds of Obscene Mother****ers roam all virtual cardrooms in great numbers. All attempts to thin their numbers have been for naught. The ASPCA estimates that by the end of 2008, the Obscene Mother****er may account for over 25% of all online players.

Strengths: Aggression, may actually know how to play, can intimidate the mild. Unparalleled ability to creatively beat the obscenity filters, master of the aggressively sarcastic 'LOL'.

Weaknesses: Comes pre-tilted, mouse may be broken from repeated slamming, fractured hands, holes in walls.

Favorite Hand: The one he uses to [incredibly obscene action redacted] your mother.

In the iPod: Death Metal. Doom Metal. Grindcore Rap. Kenny Loggins.

Motto: I'll eat ur children u *********.

Hobbies: Punching kittens. Hollering contests. Poking people with their forefinger. Watching the vein in his forehead throb.

Care & Feeding: Many people think that the way to deal with Obscene Mother****er is to contact the support staff to have their chat privileges revoked. Not a bit! You do NOT want him to be Obscene and not heard! If OM wishes you had AIDS, make LemonAIDS! (1)

The two primary methods of countering OM are The Redirection and The Confounding Curse.

The Redirection: This is also known as 'killing with kindness', or else 'willing obliviousness.'


OM: **** u, why don't u just die ***hole?
Hero: I like you.
OM: u suk
Hero: Be my friend. Please?
OM: u are so gay
Hero: Yes, I am feeling particularly happy. The weather is beautiful here where I am. How about you?
OM: bite me
Hero: Look, we've been in love a real long time, let's not break up over something little like this.
OM: omg I new u were gay.

However, the effect of the Redirection pales in comparison to the properly deployed Confounding Curse.

The Confounding Curse: This is where you use the asterisk key to great effect, to create the appearance of an obscenity that doesn't actually exist. Obscene Mother****er, as a connoisseur of the curse, will be immediately entranced and distracted.


OM: U are a ****
Hero: And you are a ******ongle.
OM: What?
Hero: You heard me.
OM: What the **** is an *****ongle?????
Hero: It's an ******ongle.
OM: But what IS that, idiot?
Hero: An *****ongle, don't pretend you don't know.
OM: What is the part that is getting blokked out?
Hero: *****
OM: Rite it different so I can see ***hole.
Hero: If I wrote it different, you wouldn't see what it is, you ****illios.
Hero: what an *****ongle you are.

If you are skilled, you can keep this going for an hour AFTER you've taken Obscene Mother****er's money.

OM (Observer): Seriously, WHAT is a ****ing *****ongle?
Hero: Look it up in the dictionary.

I hope we've all learned an important lesson here.

(1) I stole that joke.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Table Profiles 001: Professor Stupid

General Profile: Aggressive, assertive, illiterate and gregarious, Professor Stupid has read way WAY up on poker. He's taken pages of careful notes in red crayon. His shelves are chock-a-block with Sklansky, Harrington, Brunson, Hellmuth, Gordon and Greenstein. He's read every page five times. He really, really, really wants you to know this. He also wants to let you know that he has PokerTracker. He wants you to know what your stats are. He wants to tell you his own stats. These are never made up.

Found at: $25 max buy-in NLHE ring games. $3 Rebuys.

Strength: Strong starting hands, calculates pot odds before every decision.

Weakness: Mis-calculates pot odds before every descision, girls scare him.

Favorite Hand: Slow-played Aces. Unbeatable, beautiful slow-played Aces.

In The iPod: A Bluff Magazine podcast interview with Phil Hellmuth, in which the phrase "ten time world champion" is used repeatedly.

Motto: OMG I can't believe u called there.

Hobbies: Regulations, rules, berating, using poker jargon, not noticing board texture.

Will Be Stacking U: "Before two long."

Care and Feeding: For best effect, starve your Professor Stupid of praise. You must also take great pains to properly tilt your Professor Stupid before busting him. Do this with his favorite tool; the chat box. Here's how: (1) when he writes something, reply, 'no'. (2) Repeat.


Prof_Stupid: lol u r not going to last anothre our with that play
Prof_Stupid: U get lucky caught your 3 outer
Hero: No.
Prof_Stupid: Yes, you needed a K to win 4% to win preflop
Hero: Not at all.
Prof_Stupid: U don't even know u donk
Hero: No no no no, oh my goodness no.
Prof_Stupid: U had middle pair.
Hero: No I didn't.
Prof_Stupid: Yes u did!

Hero: Check the hand history.
Prof_Stupid: I'm LOOKING at it u donk.
Hero: Me too. See how you're incorrect?
Prof_Stupid: no, it shows the K on the river!
Hero: No it doesn't.
Prof_Stupid: Yes it DOES Hand #333748490 look at it
Hero: Not a bit of it
Prof_Stupid: ur Sharkscope sux
Hero: No.

And so forth. This is especially effective if Professor Stupid happens to be correct. This does not give you a particular edge over Professor Stupid (face it, you don't need one), but it is a lot of fun.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Breaking News

"Hey, maybe you should be the next blogger to make a big score at one of these MTT."

-Hoy, last week.

Here's a picture of me and Astin playing the $26K Guarantee over at Tilt.

Currently I'm 10th out of a remaining 63 runners, and Astin's 2nd.


1:46: Astin's been having a bad stroke of luck. Got horrendously sucked out upon QQ vs. AJo (there you go, Hoy). I'm at 2nd out of 45. Astin's a shorty but hanging in there.

1:51: Astin's out in 41st, pushing AK and running into AA. Nothing he could do there. I guess I'm solo from here on out.

2:21: I'm 20 out of 22 runners at the break. Blinds are silly high and every time I try to steal, somebody wakes up with a premium hand and I have to fold. When I had more chips I folded 44 to preflop pressure and the flop came low with a four in it. I'd have cracked KK and JJ. Good fold there, but it stings. Proud of myself for staying afloat all the same. With an M of 4 after the break it will be double or bust time.

2:29: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand . . . it's Double: This happened whent the money got in preflop:

That's right, you heard right. The chipleader decided that his treys were good preflop for 1/3 of his chips.

Then he nearly got me.

But I got him.

2nd in chips.

2:38: 4th in chips as we go to 2 tables.

3:08: Final Table, baby. I'm 5 out of 9 in chips after winning a race.

3:19: 6-handed now. I've got 180K or so in chips with an M of around 4. That's my lucky M!

3:27 At the break we are 5-handed. I'm 4th in chips but my table image results in folds. Respeck.

3:36: Out in fifth. Pushed with A6s and my lucky M and Blaze the chipleader found sevens. Big MTT cash, I think the biggest one I've had. Feels great. I'm tired. Good bye now.

I'm sure there will be more at some later date.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

LOST And Poker 007: Boom Goes The Dynamite

"We have to go back!"



OK, anybody who doesn't think that Lindelof and company aren't throwing their absolute fastball, please step in front of Hurley's bus right now. Just as the our favorite portly numerologist was redeeming himself (even if only he thought he needed redeeming) and his previously-stupid-but-now-in-retrospect-magnificent episode by awesomely driving his retooled bus smack into the Other's chief commando, so the Lost creators were redeeming themselves (even if only impatient viewers thought they needed redeeming) by driving the grill of the plot right into our faces.

And that sentence is just as laborious and tortured as we are all going to be for the next 10 months or so. While we wait. And wait. And wait.

Want to know how awesome my wife is? She nailed it. Two minutes in, she says, "I think this is a flash forward." That, my friends, is how awesome my wife is. I like to think I'd have spotted it, but I'll never know, because once she saw it, I couldn't ever entirely un-see it. The more I watched, the more it fit. The cell phone that came out in 2007. The way Jack looked just a little bit older. The way they were keeping it just vague enough, not showing us much, not answering things like who was in the coffin. They're putting the mystery in the flashback and the answers on the island. Why would they do that? Why would they do that?

Because Jack succeeded. He got them all rescued. And, because Jack is always wrongest when he's obsessive-est, Jack was wrong wrong wrong to do so. Something isn't right. And now he can't get back to the island. 70 flashback episodes in a row . . . and a flash forward. Like the rock who suddenly pushes with position and total air, and watches all the maniacs around him fold to his 'aces'. Well played on all streets, Lost. Well played.

Third season of Lost is perhaps the most solid run of dramatic/sci-fi we've ever had.

I'll say it again: Dude.

Strap in. This could be a long one.

What We Know

Just the new facts, ma'am. Just the new facts.

* Locke's alive and Charlie's dead.

* Dead in post-island world? Somebody. Somebody neither family nor friend, but who drives Jack to a near suicide attempt.

* Not dead in post-island world? Jack's dad. Unless Jack has gone totally bonkers, which is a possibility, Jack's dad is still working at the hospital. Isn't that . . . interesting?

* Kate in post-island world? Not very fugitivey. I don't think you get your murder rap erased just because you were in a plane crash. So something is up. Also, she has to answer to somebody who will be "wondering where I am." Also, too much make-up.

* Also, Jack is (according to new chief of surgery Dr. Hammil) a hero two times over. What's the second time? Getting everybody rescued? Saving his ex-wife way back when? What?

* Jack's ex-wife is pregnant. Warrants mentioning. Will she have . . . complications?

* Either the island chose to appear as Walt, or Walt is back.

* Locke can't kill his dad, can't kill his friend, but he is a lady-killer.

* Charlie would do well to keep his mouth shut when captured. Of course, that's a moot point at this stage of the game. I guess you could say he'd also do well to keep his mouth shut and try to swim through the grenaded porthole.

* Mikhail can be killed . . . but only for a little while. This is similar to the "Richard doesn't age" weirdness in that it can no longer be considered a plot fart. If you kill Patchy Harpoonheart, be sure to cut him into little bits, burn the bits, and scatter the ashes.

* Both Locke and Ben seem to have good reason to believe that the rescuers were not what they seem. Ben seems to think this means death. Locke seems to think that it is a betrayal of destiny, of what is 'supposed' to happen.

* Penny is able to transmit to the Looking Glass station, and has apparently been trying to do so continuously, given that she was right there as soon as Charlie turned off the jammer.

* The newly dead: Charlie, Tom, Naomi, two Looking-Glass Others, seven Raid The Camp Others. That's a lot of dead Others. Who's friggin' left for Ben to manipulate?

* The maybe-dead: Ben (killed by Jack as planned?), everybody else.

* Rousseau is socially awkward.

* I have absolutely no idea anymore. None. I like it that way.

* OK, I have some ideas. Keep reading.

Implications and New Questions

* Who's in the coffin? Not family of Jack. Not friend of Jack. Somebody whose death makes Jack very sad, even though he doesn't particularly like this person. Kate seemed to take the suggestion that she would be at the funeral as an insult (to be fair, this is how Kate takes the suggestion that . . . well, anything, really). The only people it 100% for sure is not? Kate and Jack's ex-wife. It needs to be somebody who was on the island, I think. Needs to be somebody who was brought back.

Candidates: Since I think that whoever they called to rescue them probably forced EVERYBODY off the island, I'm thinking Locke is the most likely culprit. Then, Ben. Then . . . Sawyer? Juliet?

* Just how much of the show is going to change because of this episode? I truly hope we're going to see more or all flash forwards. Who doesn't want a Ben-forward now, or a Locke-forward, or even Kate? How much of this post-island world are they going to show us?

I'm referring to 'post-island world' throughout this post. The reason for this is that I do not think that they have returned home. I think they are in a world where everything is almost like it was, but not quite.

I think they are in a world/dimension where Oceanic 815 went down and they all died. I think when they were 'rescued', they took the place of their dead selves. What else is different in this place? What else is wrong?

"You go upstairs and get my father," screams DruggyJack (and great job by Matthew Fox, another actor from the show who reached his peak this season, in seeming like he'd taken a Jim-Morrison-level dose of pills). 'Get my father?' Your father who is dead? Whose coffin you were transporting when Oceanic 815 went down? Go get him? Reeeeeeally . . . .

"He'll be wondering where I am," said Kate. Who is that? We are supposed to think Sawyer, which means that it probably ain't Sawyer. Is it her step-dad? The one she killed? Is that why she's not on the run anymore?

Something is wrong in Post-Island world. Believe that.

* Walt. He was 'more trouble than he was worth' said Ben, way back at the end of Season 2. "Is he ever someplace he shouldn't be?" Michael was asked. What's with Walt? What's his significance? We all thought that the island would save him, or Jacob would. Or are they all connected in some way? Walt is Jacob is the island? The connections and implications here are likely the subject of one or more of our future seasons.

* Here are the factions involved: The Losties, The Others/Hostiles/Mitelos, The Dharma Initiative, and this other group, the ones who have "been trying to find the island for a very long time." Apparently, this group has now found the island, thanks to Jack. This can't be good.

* What's with Penny? How does she have contact to the Looking Glass, and from her living room by all appearances? Did she seem at all sinister to you this time around?

* "Not Naomi's Ship." Odd final message. Shouldn't that be "Not Penny's Ship?" I mean, it's still Naomi's ship, even if Penny wasn't the one who sent her, right?

Random Thoughts (No Thoroughbred Selections)

* What a beautiful moment they gave Charlie there. The peace of it, the stillness of it. Enjoy the movie career, Monaghan; we'll miss you.

* It really bugs me that Charlie didn't just put on the damn scuba gear before pushing the buttons. That's all it would have taken. Seriously, man.

* Ben. Some advice. If you want a spinal surgeon to perform live-saving surgery on your spine, don't terrorize his group and kidnap people from it. Just ask. If you don't want your daughter's boyfriend to get her pregnant, don't kidnap him and brainwash him Clockwork Orange-style. Talk to her about sex and get some of those Dharma-brand condoms and birth control pills. If you don't want Jack to use the phone, don't make him think you'll kill his friends. JUST. TELL. HIM. SPECIFICALLY. WHY. YOU. DON'T. WANT. HIM. TO. USE. THE. PHONE.

For a smart guy, Ben's dumb.

* "Do you want to help me tie him up?" Best line of the night. Mother/daughter bonding at it's finest.

* Fairly obvious they didn't kill Jin/Sayid/Bernard there. You need to give those guys a death scene, not an off-camera execution. Well, not Bernard. Him I thought they'd killed a year ago and we just hadn't noticed.

* Fantastic that even when he's trying to kill himself, Jack still has to pull people from wreckage.

* I'm going to go nuts waiting for the next season to start. I'm on Lost-tilt.



More cool Loststuff here:

Lostepedia: Talk about destroying workplace productivity. Some people must make this the full-time job. This is the Lost-hub on the net. Review of the show that is spot, on, despite questionable and egregious use of the word 'gobsmackingly',

TVwoP Boards: Some of this stuff is dumb, some very insightful.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doing the MATH 004: NL Loosey-Deucey

"I intend to live forever, or die trying. "

I didn't think I was going to play on Monday, and then I was. My wife, she is awesome.

After my fourth place showing in the Big Game, I was fired up to sign in for the MATH last night. I really do feel I was one bad beat away from taking that sucker down, and I wanted to make a statement. Confidence, high. I fully intended to go deep deep deep.

What's that? Why was I confident?

Do you realize that I am fifth in total money earned for the BBT?

Do you realize that I have made the final table and the money all three times (out of eight attempts) that I made the points?

Do you realize that I am 5th in money made per attempt? That three of the players ahead of me in that catagory are folks who won the only tournament they entered?

Do you realize that I am one of 8 BBT players to average over $100 made per attempt, and that the other 7 of those have played a total of 12 tournaments combined, compared to my 8 tournaments played?

Do you realize that I am a little too impressed with myself, and am now just randomly playing with statistics to enhance my bragging?

Ahem. I got a little carried away there. It's just that I'm running well in the relatively few events I've played (about quadrupling my BBT investment) and am feeling good about that, even though I'm buried down in 33rd for points.

The point is, my confidence, she was high going into the MATH last night.

Unfortunately, there was a format change and we wound up playing NL Loosey-Deucey, a game I was unfamiliar with. I'd thought that the game was going to be NL Hold 'Em, a game that I've studied and feel I understand quite well.

I've never played NLLD before, and it's a game whose rules I still don't quite get.

Don't get me wrong. There are a lot of similarities between this game and Hold em. There are still hole cards, and a round of pre-flop betting. There's still a community board, three on the flop, one on the turn, one on the river followed by a showdown.

Here's how it is played, as near as I can tell.

1) You are dealt two hole cards. One is always a deuce, the other is a random card, three through King.

2) You fold.

3) Sometimes you get a three with a random card. You fold.

4) You are sitting with Joe Speaker, which reminds you that Joe Speaker is a hell of a writer. You get bored and start reading his blog to pass the time between folding.

5) Sometimes you get a four with a face card. These are the nuts. Raise all-in to steal the blinds.

6) You take a stand sometime after the break with KJo when your M is getting around 5-6. You pull aghead in a race against A6, but lose on the river and bust out before the points.

So that was my introduction to NL Loosey-Deucey, AKA the Kia Sportage of poker. This is a fascinating game, and I'll have to read Phil Hellmuth's excellent chapter on it so I can improve. (Doyle Brusen's over-rated Super/System doesn't even touch on it. What a waste.)

Anyway, it was a new game, and I was really out of my element with it, especially when other players would show a hand like JJ or AK, which didn't include a 2, 3, or 4. I'm not sure how that happened, but I am confident that I'll figure it out before too long.

I'd really like to get feedback from you bloggers who play NLLD, especially tournament specialists. How do you tend to play a hand like J2 post-flop in a multi-way pot? Is K4 suited an over-rated hand? Give me your thoughts.

Thanks to Hoy for hosting as always. Party on, Hoy.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Big Game 002: Hanging With Big Dogs

Not too bad. Final table, fourth place in the Big Game, outlasted my whole (insanely stacked with talented players) starting table, got into the cash and all that. I even busted after getting all-in as a considerable favorite vs. fluxer, who actually said “How can I fold 64 offsuit?” before calling for all but a couple thousand of his entire 1st place stack with top pair/straight draw against my flopped top set of sixes.

Called off his whole stack with 8 outs. Gah. Suddenly and once again, rants make more sense to me.

Only problem is, I got to the money on the back of a couple disgusting suckouts at the expense of skiddoo and Ddyionysus. They’re probably feeling a little chapped right now.

So I can only rant half-heartedly.

As I write this, it’s three-handed and twoblackaces is battling fluxer and oossuuu754. You might remember oossuuu754 from my previous entry* as the person who actually got me ranty about 6 weeks ago by calling his whole stack off and busting me with a 2-outer when I had . . . a made set of sixes.

* probably not.

Holy freaking crap, Hoyazo finished 101st in the Main Event. Of course he got called by unsuited overs and lost the race. Batten down the hatches, we may have a rant, my friends. Though that was an amazing run. Perhaps the good will outweigh the sordid ending for our lad Hoy. I don’t have enough ‘congratulations’ in my keyboard for such an accomplishment. Go over to Hoy’s blog and holla.

OSU played very well in my opinion. He came from being in last place for a long time to deep into the final table. I’m actually rooting for him – whoops, he’s out in third.

I’ll charge $10 an hour to not rail you.

OK, so here we go. Let’s break this down Goat-style. As always, starting table bios are entirely slanderous and uncalled-for.

Meet My Starting Table*

Much like Shawn Kemp, Ddionysus has many sons. Many sons has Ddionysus. I am one of them, and so are you. So let’s all sing along, with a right (with a right)! And a left (and a left)!

His motto is: If at first you don’t succeed, try something else. That first thing you tried sucked.

hoyazo was a hard drinking codger in the deepest part of Appalachia until, one fine spring day, thirsty for more than his own home-brewed bathtub gin, he crawled from the foothills of the Smokeys and into Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. He now works in the Hillbilly Disneyland as a talent scout for circus freaks. He is paid in candy corn. His clipboard frightens the bearded lady, but that’s really more her'n problem than it is his'n.

His motto is: Jug-bands is over-rated, son. Try this here mouth harp instead.

summer_babe is unmistakable in his appearance and preceded by his reputation. Many things have been written about summer_babe, but I know his true identity, which I will now divulge to you.

Summer_babe is actually Medowlark Lemon, formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters. When he’s not playing online poker, he’s entertaining children with those trick rubber-band basketballs and shooting dice for their lunch money.

His motto is: Come on, Curley! We gotta help Scooby and the kids solve this mystery . . . with basketball!

a104l9 drinks. He drinks a lot. He stabs happy people for good luck. He gives away the ending of the movie. He loves to peel bananas. He collects his whiskers in a sack, and he gives the sack to the Salvation Army when it is full. He crashes the stage. He knows where the kittens are buried. He shoots skeet with a Howitzer.

But mainly, he drinks.

his motto is: Guns . . . now, more than ever.

NightRanger has a hankering for sardines that nothing can satiate, not even sardines. The guy has a greedy look in his eyes at all times that makes nuns avoid him and telemarketers wince.

His motto is: Hey man . . . can you spare a sardine?

DrPauly angered the gods when he brought mankind the secret recipe for Mad Dog 20/20. He is doomed to have his hammers cracked by overpairs.

His motto is: Anger! And MORE of it!

s_bayne used to run with a rough crowd. Now he speed-walks with a rough crowd. They enjoy a nice vente latte from time to time. OK, the crowd isn’t really that rough. OK, it’s not technically a ‘crowd.’ OK, it’s just him.

His motto is: If not now, when? If not me, who? If not why, where? If not what . . . huh?

* Seriously, folks. Iggy and Hoy and Pauly AND s_bayne AND DDiyonisius AND the Pirate AND STB??? Leaderboard mainstays. Blogging legends. And . . . me.

I know that this is the Big Game, serious inquiries only, and there are a lot of solid players in there that weren’t sitting at my table to start out but . . .that’s a rough starting table. Don't argue with me about this.

Here are eleven hands that shaped my night, and an imaginary one thrown in to make an even dozen.

The Magnificent Eleven

Hand #1: Pauly gets off the hook
Stack: 3,365
Blinds: 50/100

The starting table was way tight, and I played accordingly. The first large pot of the night didn't happen until right before the break. I found Td Ts in the small blind and popped it x4 to limpers Iggy and cemedfred.

Pauly insta-called from the big blind. Hum, hummm.

Then this lovely board came:

Now, that's what I'm talkin' bout. I try to decide what Pauly's got with that insta-call, and I come up with:

A) overpair.

B) figured me for a steal here (not unlikely as I'd been bobbing and weaving at the blinds and Pauly probably doesn't put up with that mess forever)

C) Mis-click.

Hoping for Option A, I fired out 700. Pauly thought a nice long time, and finally folded. Dang it.

Hand #2: Flopped straights are garbage, episode 23,456
Stack: 3,865
Blinds: 80/160

Derek has recently come to the table and has been hyper-aggressive pushing all-in about 1 or 2 times a rotation. I figure we have a "screw it, double-up or go home" kind of game going on.

It folds to Derek who limps. I am once again in the small blind and find Ah 5d. I limp and Pauly checks.

Flop: [3c 2c 4h] Magnifico. I bet 300 and call when Derek pushes all in.

He shows Ac 8c. He's dead to a five.

Turn is a five. Golly. Gee whiz. Fiddle dee-dee. Chipchop.

River is a six, just to really show me what a flopped straight is worth.

Hand #3: The Dwarf Embiggins
Stack: 10,745
Blinds: 250/500, Ante 50

We've moved tables. Here's who we've got sitting down:

I've been chipping up in smallish increments and the play has shifted into a rather pushy mode. RecessRampage raises a little more than 3x (1,600) before it gets to me and my Jc Jh in middle position. I don't want to commit all my chips with JJ in case ol' Recess woke up with a hand or feels like racing with overs, so I min. raise to see what he does. But . . .

Iggy goes all in for 4,715, and I pretty resign myself to the fact that I have to call him for just 1,700 more . . . when Recess goes all in, too, for 9,985.

And that's it for me. I fold here pretty much every single time. And a good thing, too.

Iggy has Aces.

Recess has Kings.

And Iggy has a bunch more chips. I'd have gone home right there. Remember, kids, Jacks can't sustain that much pressure. Find the old fold button.

Hand #4: The Goat Escape
Stack 4,145
Blinds: 400/800, Ante 100

We're five-handed right before the final table. Ms are microscopic. Crippled by some badly timed pushes, I have to go big or go home. Iggy's got a big stack UTG and min-raises, which he's been doing for about 1/2 hour in spite of the fact that (because?) it drives oossuuu754 nuts when he does it.

The min-raise means Iggy's got something worth playing five-handed, but the range is huge. I push with QdTh.

Iggy thinks for what seems like forever (probably about 10 seconds) and calls.

He shows 6c Ad, and we have a respectable race.

Flop 8h 4h 6h. Nice. The six does nothing much for him, and I have a flush draw.

Turn: Td. Even nicer. Now I don't need a heart, just no Ace no six, no Ace no six, no Ace no six . . .

River: Ace


The pot ships to me. Huh? Let's look again.

River: Ah


Hand #5: Call Me Butter, I'm On A Roll
Stack: 11,015
Blinds 500/1,000, Ante 125

Still five-handed, Iggy min-raises and it folds to my blind. I decide Iggy's range is large enough to call with T7.

Flop: [3h Ts 3c]

I check, Iggy C-bets 2,100, and I raise him all-in and hope he doesn't have an overpair. Iggy thinks as long as he can, folds.

Hand #6 : First Suckout

FullTilt doesn't have this hand as far as I can see. I lay a savage suckout on iam23skiddoo when I call his AK all-in with a smaller Ace and suckout (I'm pretty sure that's what happened). Anyway, there'd been so much pushing and shoving that I don't hate my call with a naked Ace there, but I was way behind and skiddoo was way way ahead when the money went in. No other way to say it than I lucked out.

And we're to the Final Table

Hand #7

FullTilt does have this hand, but it's the same story. I lay a savage suckout on Ddionysius when I call his AK all-in with a smaller Ace and suckout. Anyway, there'd been so much pushing and shoving that I don't hate my call with a naked Ace there, but I was way behind and skiddoo was way way ahead when the money went in. No other way to say it than I lucked out.

Sorry, skiddoo, sorry Dionysius. But not really.

Hands #8, 9, 10: The Queens of Heart
Stack: 12,123, 15,373, 23,373
Blinds: 1,000/2,000, 250 Antes

We're in the money, and I've donked off about a third of my chips with a really dumb play vs. Iggy with threes. Just when my card-deadness is at it's card-deadest, and I think I'm going to have to push all in with Zeppo-cards or worse, I get this over a five hand span:

As Qh

Ah Qh

Ah Qh

The first two times I pushed and won the (non inconsiderable) blinds. The third time Iggy went all-in from UTG and fluxer smooth called.

I started to think as it folded around to me, and what I decided was this:

1) Iggy's range is fairly large because his M is getting dire. So it is with us all, but I figure I have a pretty good chance of racing Iggy or dominating him. I know I will push in that situation with about any Ace, any pair, and probably most King-high and Queen-high. Gotta stay ahead of those gobbly blinds.

2) I'd rather not fold and have to face a must-steal situation with worse cards in 3-4 hands.

3) fluxer -- easily the biggest stack with over 50,000 either has (a) a monster that he is confident enough with to simply call with everybody else yet to act or (b) a decent-ish hand that he'd like to play heads-up, but he's forgotten to raise to isolate.

I think it's the last one.

(4) It's go time.

I push all-in. Fluxer folds. Iggy shows me ducks. The Ace I catch on the flop keeps me ahead and I've busted Iggy.

I've busted Iggy. Wow.

Meanwhile, fluxer is calling me a donkey for my play. He says he folded nines. In response, I now have this to say to fluxor: (1) I would have tripled up had you called; (2) Raise to isolate next time; (3) Kindly review the next hand on this post.

Hand #11 : How Can I Fold My Drawing Hand?
Stack: 48,503
Blinds: 1,000/2,000, 250 Antes

Four-handed now.

Fluxer has a stack of 51,251 and raises it to 8,000 on the button.

I have 6c 6h in the big blind and I call. This is my mistake in the hand, I should have raised.

Flop: 3c 5c 6s

Blammo! I check to draw the raise which is obviously coming from old Fluxer, and he obliges with 9,000 more. I count to three and go all in.

He thinks his time bar down to a nubbin and types: this is so sickening how can i fold 64o here

Then he calls.

So to sum up, he bet about one sixth of his stack with 64 offsuit. He's stealing, I get it. He'd have folded a raise. HOWever . . . 64 offsuit is 64 offsuit.

Then he calls off the rest of his chips on a OESD.

No further questions, your honor.

Hand #12: Paradise Lost
This hand is dedicated to the final hand that I would have played if that 2 hadn't smacked the turn, a final hand which would may well have ended with me taking down the Big Game. So long, hand 12, we never knew ye.

Enough of my puling and wailing like a sick mule. I had a great time, as always. BBT points and money are good things. Thanks to Miami Don for hosting . . . and see you at the next big game.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Flopped Straight Flushes Are Gold 001

"Either he's dead or my watch has stopped. "

Here is the ill-est board ever.

Note how disgustingly wondrous the flop is. Then see how gorgeously gross the turn is, given my victim's hole cards. You'd best believe that's a double-through.

Flopped straight flush versus turned boat, y'all. See? Poker is easy.

That's not just sick; that's consumptive like Doc Holiday.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LOST and Poker 006: Jack Is The Decider

"Kill them."

Well, so much for my "The Others are actually good, but mis-understood" theory from the beginning of the Season.

Thanks for taking care of that one, Ben.

Before we get settled in to the latest, here are a few thoughts that have been burbling up ever since Locke got shot real good:

1) Jacob was the father of Benjamin in the Bible. Just sayin'. Make of that what you will, connection-between-Ben-and-Jacob-wise.

2) Now the whole 'QUARANTINE' on the blast doors makes sense. Dharma figured there was a plague of some sort, so they quarantined the hatch. Kelvin Beard-haver (Desmond's hatch buddy from Season Two) makes a whole lot more sense. A known military black ops soldier (he trained Sayid in the ways of torture), he was sent by Dharma AFTER the gassing to scope out the island, see what caused all the dying, but he had to babysit the button also. Thus, he would foray as long as he could, come back, and make his little hatchy-doodle.

3) Remember back to Episode 2 or 3 of the first season? The backgammon game, one light and the other dark?

Jacob and Locke, flip sides of the same coin. S'true.

4) At the beginning of the last episode, Richard asked Ben about that doll he was given by his girlie-friend. Ben said it was a birthday present, and that " . . . today is my birthday. Do you even remember what a birthday is?"

Which at the time I thought was just a pissy if nonsensical comment.

But now I think it means that the folks behind LOST had a perfectly good reason for showing Richard as not aging since Ben was a kid. There's something fishy about our boy Richard other than his penchant for eyeliner tatoos.

And now . . .


After the last few episodes (and especially last week's) this episode didn't do a whole lot of re-writing of previously held notions. I'm fine with this, we still got a nice, solid, and emotionally effective hour of Lost.

Charlie's never been a favorite character. Too much whining, too much sententiousness. But Dominic Monaghan is a fine actor, and he was on for this whole episode. The flashbacks, often completely superfluous, were well done grace notes. Monaghan really had to carry the episode here, and he nailed it. Then he nailed Desmond with an oar. "Uncool, man," as Hurley would say. Unnecessary contact with oar. Charlie's been suspended by David Stern for an episode.

As an added bonus to a character-driven ep rather than a mythology-bending one, I didn't feel like I'd just had my brain squashed into a blender and pureed until suitable for use as daiquiri mix. "Hey was that Jacob if Ben was Dharma than doesn't that mean thatifBenifJacobifLockeisshotandhesaidhelpmeand ...


Good to be spared that for at least one week.

So, what did we get?

*Hey look! It's the amazing Jack is an ass show! The Jack show! The Jack show! It's the a-MAY-zing Jackshow!!!

If I was Hurley, Sawyer, and Kate, this is the number of times I would follow Jack into the wild so that he could show me his 'brilliant plan': Zero. "Yes, Jack, I remember your last 'brilliant plan'. Follow the guy you already know is compromised until he leads us into the ambush, then pass out from the tranquilizers, get bagged, tagged, caged, and nearly killed. Oh, yes, that was smashing, simply stunning leadership."

*With that being said, Jack's plan this time pretty good. Boom boom. Though perhaps Rousseau has not considered the ramifications of blowing up the Others' Away Team. The Away Team that often includes her daughter. Might want to chew on that one, Crazy Jungle Lady.

Unless she is counting on it. In which case: You are a strict mama, Crazy Jungle Lady. Punishment should match the crime.

*But with that being said . . . you can't just say what your plan is, buddy? Maybe you'd have been ready for the Others if you hadn't taken them on a who-knows-how-many-hours-but-at-least-since-last-night's-pow-wow-until-daylight hike, Jack? What was that? Six hour round trip? Just for a dramatic explosion that, ah, could have tipped off your enemies? Do you think that "I have dynamite, let's rig the tents when they come for us," would have been a little quicker? Like, with words and whatnot?

Jack: "There, I just made a decision."

Translation: "I can only think of one thing at a time. My brain hurts."

Sayid: "You said you were our leader, Jack. It's time to act like one."

Translation: "I do not understand why, but for some reason the script prevents me from using one of the approximately seventy-three ways that I could employ to easily kill you in the next four seconds. Someday I will be unfettered and will feast on your entrails, you insufferable pig."

You won't believe this, but in the "Next Time On LOST", they made it seem like Jack plan fails.

*Look y'all, it's Rose and Bernard. I guess when the Losties went looking through plane wreckage, they must have removed whatever heavy thing those two were stuck under. See you in a year, Rose and Bernard.

*Hey, new hatch! Populated by I'm guessing the very least popular Others. You think your job is bad? Want to draw duty on the Looking Glass? Talk about a bad beat. While I'm at it . . . if Ben doesn't want his daughter to see Hot Karl her boyfriend, why not send him to mind the fishes for a decade or so?

*Didn't Looking Glass seem a tad overpopulated to you? That's some heavy security on a hatch that is already underwater, a mile offshore of a secluded island. I think there's a bit more there than just a frequency jammer. I'm guessing that the Looking Glass will be the source of the Big Secret, the "re-coding of the entire series" moment. What does the Looking Glass hide? Ben's already intimated that the arrival/departure sub goes there. For arrivals? For departures? Where/when/how are they?

*Speaking of the hatch on the water end of the cable . . . Sayid once tried to follow the cable into the jungle to see where it led and Rousseau scrappled him in one of her man-traps. Has anybody else considered trying this, at all? It has to be connected to something. Or . . . if you want the hatch to lose power . . . consider, oh I don't knooooooooooooow . . . cutting the cable? I swear. I wouldn't hire 90% of these castaways as carnies.

*By the way, Sayid first found the cable into the sea back in Episode 9 of Season 1. Way to rock the continuity, writers.

*On the other hand . . . wasn't that cable a good half-day's hike away? How did Desmond and Charlie get the pontoon boat there? And then Hurley just came jogging on up, got turned away (fantastic moment), and just went huff-huff-chuffing back. Duuuuude. I guess either the Losties moved camp to the cable since 2 days ago, when Desmond & Co. found Falls-From-Sky in her parachute harness, or else the cable itself migrated. Way to blow the continuity, writers.

*Random thought: If I were Desmond, I'd be utterly unable to stop myself from just staring at Charlie at random intervals just as a practical joke.

"What??? What is it NOW???"
"Oh . . . nothing. Nothing. Dum dee dee doo."

I still think there is room for a Charlie/Desmond spin-off.

*Not much to say about my expectations for next week. I want to keep it fresh. I think it'll be fine. I don't think this is a spoiler, since I avoid those things like the plague and I know this one. Lost writers have already said some people are going to die. My predictions?

Juliet, heroically
Karl, needlessly
Charlie, also heroically
Charlie, hobbit-ly
Charlie, grotesquely
Charlie, fatalistically
Bernard, eaten by pterodactyl
Falls-From-Sky, unnoticed-ly
aaaand Charlie, not real-ly

I think all of these folks have a pretty solid chance of eating the death hoagie before the finale is through. Except Charlie. The Lost writers don't have the grapes to kill a major character (and no, Boone and Shannon were not major characters. Don't even start. They were barely characters.)

Do they?

Do they?

I hope they do.

Tune in next time when Jack says: "I love you." They make it seem like he's saying it to Kate. But really, he is looking in a mirror. A full-length mirror.

ETA: Of course the Looking Glass is more than a jammer. It's the Looking Glass. As in Through the Looking Glass. As in how Alice in Wonderland went from one world to another. If there is a pan-dimensional/time nexus, that's where it is.


Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I just realized Schaubs tagged me like ten days ago. Sorry buddy, I thought I was subscribed to you; turns out you were only on my blogroll.

That's fixed now.

So, I was late to the poker blog party. Now I can be late to the 7 Random Things party.

1) I grew up a missionary child in Zaire, currently the war-ravaged nation (or perhaps "nation") called The Democratic Republic of the Congo. On and off, from the age of three to the age of twelve, I lived on a mission station three degrees north of the Equator. Thus, I speak Lingala, though not nearly as well as I did when I was twelve. Many (most?) of my childhood friends are still there. I have no way of knowing at any given time where they are, or how they are doing. A letter every few years or so is the best I can do.

Three fantastic books about Zaire:

Fiction: Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, one of the great books of the 20th centry, not to mention the inspiration of Apocalypse Now.

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver.

Non-Fiction: King Leopold's Ghost, by Adam Hoschchild.

2) My wife is my very best friend. She amazes me every day. She is one of the most organized people in the world who do not have OCD. She's the most beautiful woman in the world. She doesn't like to shop and she doesn't want to dance. I can't imagine my life without her.

3) I have twin daughters. They're turning three years old this month. They're awesome, and difficult, and hilarious, and infuriating, and gorgeous, and blazingly smart. I cannot imagine my life without them.

4) I have a third child on the way this September. I am very blessed. I'm also about to stop sleeping. Ai yi yi. I can't imagine what my life will become.

5) I have 600 pages of unfinished novel that I haven't touched in over a year. The knowledge of it is pressing on me at all times. I think it has the potential to be really, actually good. It also has the potential to be a steaming pile of horse puckey. I have ideas for about three or four others. I really need to do something about this, soon.

6) I have memorized the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of John. I'm halfway through the Gospel of Mark.

7) I can bend spoons, but not with my mind.

No more tags. Everybody's been tagged, haven't they? If you read this and you haven't been tagged and you want to share, I tag you.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Under The Microscope 003: FTOPS Event 1, Conclusion

"He has nothing, in its most violent form."

Thanks to those of you who commented.

I must confess that this was a bit of a misdirection. I'm not surprised that everybody I talked to about this hand, as well as all the commenter, told me to fold there.

I mean, that's a pretty clear fold, right? A raiser, a caller, I show aggression with a re-raise (I agree, probably not enough, though I don't really like the idea of a push when I still have plenty of chips behind), the original raiser re-RE-raises All In, and with the initial re-raiser (me) left to act, the smooth caller, who started with an M of 16 and at this point only has 8% of his chips committed to the pot, once again smooth calls for 66% of his chips?

That's somebody who has a hand that can stand a lot of aggression. Not only that, but it's a hand that doesn't mind starting a dry-side pot with me post-flop, or just calling my all-in pre-flop.

The only hand that can do all that is Aces. Even Kings doesn't really want to risk an Ace on the flop and will raise to isolate.

So, unless this guy game is just underwater, I must put him on Aces here or maybe MAYBE a really gambly pair of cowboys. Somebody has QQ beat there. Almost certainly the caller. This is true in this situation that you have to fold. You must.

Except . . .

Villain 1 had Jacks. This is about what I put him on, and when he flipped them, I thought, 'you poor sap, you're dead.'

And then Villain 2 flipped pocket sevens.

Pocket sevens.

He flipped pocket sevens.

He flipped pocket sevens.

I'm going to repeat that for those of you who might be reading quickly:

He flipped pocket sevens.

And they weren't even suited.

Talk about eating a brain tumor for breakfast.

These were the cards that justified the initial smooth-call (fair play for a set-minor) and THEN justified a CALL for two-thirds of his remaining chips with the initial re-raiser left to act.

Let me tell you how often sevens are good there: Never.

Let me tell you what I think of Villain 2's game: Not much.

Board didn't improve either of them, and I would have been in the top ten in chips if I'd poooooshed with my lowly (so I had thought of them) Queens.

There isn't really enough OMG in the world.



So, here's the point of this post: I don't regret the decision to fold there. The results are immaterial. Totally immaterial. That's a fold, right there. I did the right thing. Maybe I should have pushed where I raised pre-flop.

But this is the FTOPS. It's a big tourny. Big buyin. We're three hours in. We're talking money here. We'd expect play evolved somewhere beyond the Paleolithic, wouldn't we?

The Jack-pusher, that's pretty questionable. But he may just have a bunch of gamble in him and think he's racing against overs. Calling with sevens? The guy needs a steel plate in his head. If THAT is how people play in that situation, should we just be adjusting our expectations? I'm not talking about "Why, why, why . . . I'll show those donkeys by PLAYING like one!" at all. That way lies tilt. That way lies chip hemmorage.

But there is a slide rule in my head for players that gives them credit for a certain base-line of skill and knowledge. And that's the base-line that I had to assign to dum-dum there, because I had no read on him.

The question is: Given the absolute wicker-brains that seem to be out there, everywhere, at all levels, do I need to shift that base-line down a bit? Do I need to assume a lower level of play for the average player? Are Queens going to usually be good in a multi-way pot of that kind, or (more specifically), are they going to be good often enough?

Because calling with sevens, people. Calling. Pocket sevens. FTOPS.

Maybe the lowest common denominator is lower than we think.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Under The Microscope 002: FTOPS Event 1, Thbthh

"I didn't like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions-the curtain was up."

On the spur of the moment on Friday night, I decided to buy directly in to Event 1 of the FTOPS. Despite the fact that the buy-in was higher than my normal range, my reasons for this were simple:

1) I kind of wanted to.

2) I was going to be spending all night at the desk anyway, doing computery chores.

3) My confidence in my MTT game is fairly high right now.

4) My confidence in the ability of my $50 6-max NL tables to keep on donating donating donating, thus paying me my buy-in back, should I lose it? High.

5) I love playing in 'Event' tournaments, and I wanted to wash the taste of the last one (Stars' Main Event 2006), where I played like an idiot, out of my mouth.

6) I kind of wanted to.

So, I bought in, as did almost 2500 others. First prize: $92 grand and change. That's a spicy meat-a-ball, my friends.


I busted out around 800th, probably about an hour and a half before the money bubble, fairly happy with my play. I'd say I brought my A- game to bear that night.

Here's how my FTOPS went down, dredged pretty much from memory, and one hand that I'm putting under the microscope for all y'all.

1) Played tight and kept it right around the buy-in level until right before the break, when I doubled through a LAG who couldn't let go against my set when he paired his Ace on the flop.

2) Right after the break, I bet big with Jacks against a diamond flush drawer on a paired board . . . and the turn brought me the Jack . . . of diamonds, to fill me up while completing his flush. Wooooooooooot! Needless to say, I doubled again and was around 45th of 2000 runners.

3) A bad thing happened. We'll get to that in more detail soon. I made what I'm sure was the correct play given the situation, but it remains The Horribly Bad Thing That Happened (THBTTH). It actually was more memorable than horribly bad, but 'Thbtth' is fun to say and sums up my feelings on the hand rather concisely.

4) For about 40 minutes post THBTTH, I couldn't steal without being re-raised and couldn't hit the board. I slowly bled chips until I got into pushmonkey range with an M of about 4. I pushed, I got dominated, I went home. So it goes.

5) I played 40 min. of cash games and won half my buyin back already. Beeeautiful.

And Now For Something Completely Thbthh

Blinds: 120/240 Ante 25
My Chips: 10,692
Villain 1 Chips: 6,260
Villain 2 Chips: 9,424

So you already know that this isn't going to be nice for me. I think I played it correctly, but I am interested in what you all think. So sound off and tell me I am a donkey.

I find QQ in the cutoff. It folds to Villain 1, a looseish player who was getting a little low on chips, who raises it up to 840. Villain 2, relatively new to the table, simply calls.

I decide that A) I'm probably ahead, and B) I don't want to see a flop.

I re-raise to 2,400.

What do you think of this move? Correct? Not enough of a bet? Eh? Eh?

Villain 1 thinks, then re-raises all in.

This is not unexpected from this guy. My read is I'm probably ahead.

Villain 2 thinks, then calls.


The Raiser: A bit loose. I am reasonably sure I have him beat. I have a good feeling he's got an underpair.

The Caller: Haven't seen more than a couple hands from this dude. No idea.

What do you do? (Try to forget that you know I'm getting wounded here.)

1) All in? If so, why?

2) Fold? If so, why?

3) Just call? How stupid are you, and why?

A post tomorrow ought to finish this up.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

LOST and Poker 005: Henry Done A Bad, Bad Thing

"Well, all right."
-George Clinton

Jumping right in . . .


Ben-back! Earlier than expected! It's like filling your draw on the turn instead of the river! Boooooooooooooooooooom, baby! Boooooooooooooooooom!

The new facts, short and simple.

* Dharma and the Others, not one and the same. Or at least not on the surface.

* Jacob? Real but freaky-deaky. The meaning of "help me" will mean much, I think, in time. Is that 'help me' in an "I've fallen and I can't get up" sort of way, or in an "Help me open the seal on the scroll of Apocalypse" sort of way?

* Ben? Awesome. Also a murderous little toad. 60 to 100% out of his fricking gourd. I love his humble beginnings. That flashback is what flashbacks on this show should be. Dude, he gassed his little girlfriend, or at least we have no evidence to the contrary yet.

* The 'Others' apparently don't age. Either that or the 'Casting Director' has been drinking.

* Ben apparently joined them as an adult.

* Ben is still apparently able to lie to them about being born on the island. About that, and a great deal more.

* Ben is having some serious trouble maintaining respect for his authori-taw. Clearly, the 'others' are waiting for someone special, some Messianic figure. My guess is that Ben's interaction with Jacob (pre or post purge) convinced the 'others' that he was that special someone. Locke's challenging that. Ben's willing to kill to keep it. Locke was about one step away from leading the Others, I think. Lesson? Don't TELL the crazy person you're about to expose his lies, or 'lies'. Just do it. Table talk will kill you, showing your hand even more so.

* Ben's obsession with women dying in childbirth makes a lot more sense now. Yes?

* The 'hostiles' are still pretty well funded. They have dossiers, satellite communication, (fake?) submarine, etc., etc., etc. I'm guessing that the castaway gear they were wearing was just as phony as before.

* Remember, Dharma's still around. Food-drops, anyone?

* Locke is not bullet-proof.

* Ben can probably see Jacob, but he can't hear Jacob. Or at the least, he can't hear what Jacob said to Locke.

* Jack is still a dink. "I didn't tell you what Juliette told me about us being attacked because I hadn't decided what to do with the information yet, and I clearly thought that consulting any of you would be a total waste of time, Sayid. Now, why don't you trust me? I'm Jack!" What a maroon.

* If Locke is dead, then this is the most risk-taking show, narratively speaking, that prime time TV has seen since Twin Peaks.

Questions? Have a million, they're small.

* Are we supposed to honestly believe that by giving Richard long hair, we'll believe that he was younger? Ben is at least mid-forties now, but when he was a kid, Richard was the same age that he is now? This must be explained. And I assume it will be.

* How can Ben lie to 'his people' if he was Dharma. Weren't all of 'his people' here first? They know about Jacob. Can they see Jacob?

* Did Ben gas EVERYBODY at the same time as his dad? How was that accomplished? I guess he must have punched the over-ride the fence -- and how did he get that code? I'd have like a little more explanation there.

* When did Jacob get his hooks into Ben?

* Who is Jacob?

* WHAT is Jacob?

* Did you know that the biblical Jacob walked with a limp?

* How is Dharma still funding the island? Did they fail to notice when everybody called in dead? Did Work Man Ben manage to convince them to let him run the show? Were the 'hostiles' actually part of a Dharma-funded double-blind experiment in human behavior? Actually, I think that last one is very plausible. It's probably not right, but plausible it is.

* How can Michael Emerson possibly not win a multitude of acting awards this year?

By the way, I'm calling it right now. Oceanic flight 815 crashed on the long-missing Garden of Eden. The actual physical location. A place where unexplained healing happens. Where the curse of childbirth is strongest. Where an angel patrols and guards (think smoke monster). Where an ancient and evil liar lurks. Dharma tried to study it for the betterment of mankind, and they were purged. Now the castaways are there, for reasons that remain murky . . . I'll try to unpack this theory in another post. This one's long enough as is.

Other Random and Assorted Thoughts? Sure, Why Not?

Hey Locke, how's that Dharma-issued sucking chest wound working out for you? It could be worse, buddy. He could have shot your kidney.

Why am I so flip about my favorite character eating lead? Because John Locke isn't going to die from that little chesty trinket he was sporting at the end. There's been too much chuffing lately about how quickly wounds heal on this island (sorry 'boutchya, Boonester) and how Locke's connection to the island is 'special' (too bad for you, Eko). Nope, Locke walks away from this one, albeit with consequences.

But my wife thinks the Lost producers will keep us totally hanging on the Locke front until next season. They do know how to hang a cliff, after all. So mark it: if that happens, it will be two seasons running that we aren't sure if Mr. Man Of Faith is alive or dead by the finale.

Speaking of faith, Locke . . . you've had bigger stretches to overcome than Jacob. I was with Locke on the skepticism tip at first, given that Ben is at least one limited edition toy short of the full Happy Meal. But when the creepy shack turns into a freakin' Tool video, you have to think something is up.

Also speaking of faith: I've been saying that this is probably the best season of the show yet. This episode nailed it shut. It's clear at this point that the show-makers are working with a definite story (admittedly within a byzantine mythology) with a definite resolution, and that they will unravel it for us over the next 48 episodes. And I couldn't be more pleased that the producers have announced a definite end, and definite number of remaining episodes. This kind of story-discipline is unheard of in a hit TV show, where they typically crank out season after season after frustrating season until finally the whole enterprise collapses in a bloviating, self-referential but unsatisfying, futile but merciful creative infarction. By the end, nothing but the questions. No answers that make sense.

I'm pointing at you, X-Files. I am pointing directly at you. You broke my heart, Fredo. You broke my heart.

Not so with LOST. Episodes are a set number. I'm looking forward to a lean, mean, storytelling machine from here. And has anything about the last . . . oh, I don't know, seven or eight episodes in a row given you any reason to doubt that?

This episode even did the unthinkable: It actually redeemed the "Hurley fixes a VW Bus" episode in some small way, and that was the most time-wasting, silly, unnecessary hour of TV that this show has ever brought us. At least since "Hurley and Sawyer Hunt A Tree Frog, Wackiness Ensues."

Roger Work Man. Roger. Work Man. Oh mama. Chills.

Which reminds me. Hey! Look who's joining the "I Had A Bad Daddy Party!" It's Ben! Apparently having a bad dad can land you in a wheelchair, turn you into an alcoholic brain surgeon, or even maybe turn you into the creepiest mass killer of hippies since Jonestown. Ben, you may be a genius and a maestro at lying and manipulation, but you are an absolute nutter, and that elevator into your psyche is a mine shaft.

So. Bad dad for Ben, check. Bad Daddy is not just an 80s metal band anymore, it's a theme, a motif, I'd even say a totem. I think Jin is the only character whose father (the fisherman) isn't a tool or worse. Jack? Bad daddy. Hurley? Bad daddy. Sun? Bad murderous daddy. Sawyer? Bad murderous suicidal daddy. Charlie? Bad daddy, dream sequence version. Kate? Killed her daddy (he was bad). Penelope? Bad daddy. Claire? Jack's daddy. Sayid? Unknown daddy, forecast calls for bad daddy with an 80% chance of murderous.

Which makes me think of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where no character had a positive father character. Which makes me think that TV geniuses all have daddy issues. So if you want your child to have a chance as a TV genius, be a rotten dad.

Even in real life, people have daddies that are 'bad' or baddish or at least fairly regular dill-holes. I'll cite any number of my good friends and Luke Skywalker as ready examples of this.

My point? I think that it is safe to say that John "Eight Stories" Locke has an edge in the Lost Baddaddy sweepstakes at this time.

"My dad left when I was eight and didn't come back until I was rich."

"My dad is a controlling crime boss."

"My dad was a neglectful alcoholic."

"Hey, MY dad was a neglectful alcoholic, TOO!"

"Hey! My dad was HIS dad!"

"My dad abandoned me to foster care, stole my kidney, abused my trust, exposed me to mob loan sharks, chased away my fiance, and pushed me out of an eight-story window, leaving me paralyzed."


"OK, you win."

I hope the writers provide Ben with a little more motivation for his descent into skulduggery.

All I am saying is, old Ben cannot blame his daddy (meanie that he is) for the little pit of death he's got out back. That's on you, Ben. That one is on you.


(Brief and meaningless connection to poker: When you're playing with a maniac, go carefully and pick your spot well.)

Monday, May 7, 2007

Are Bloggers Donkeys?

"Go, and never darken my towels again."

I’m going to give everybody out there in Bloggyland a tip.

Don’t put a bounty on your own head. Dropping the hammer is nigh on to impossible when you do.

I played a pretty bad MATH, I have to say, and in true Gump-ian fashion, that’s all I got to say about that. Congrats to mtnrider81, who collected the bounty when I donkey-pushed my shortstack of virtual pancakes into his pocket eights with oh-it-doesn't-matter-and-you-don't-care.

And now, the nub of my gist. The crux of my rubric. The friggin’ point of this post. The question before us is:

Are bloggers donkeys? Wait! Don't hollar 'YES' so quickly! The question, by the way, is not: “Am I, Julius_Goat a donkey?” That’s been made pretty clear. Like, with abundance and stuff.

See, there seems to be a general consensus right now, floating among the tubes or the nets or whatever they make this I-N-ternet out of, that bloggers are the donkingest donks to ever give the hee a haw. Diggity donkiddy doo, yeah? Dang.

I don’t know. That’s not my impression. Here’s what I mean.


don·key [dong-kee, dawng-, duhng-] 1. the domestic ass, Equus asinus. 2. a woodworking apparatus consisting of a clamping frame and saw, used for cutting marquetry veneers. 3. an individual who can’t fold Aces in a multi-way pot on a four to the straight flush board, doesn’t know how many outs he has at any time, eats boogers with glee, and wouldn’t recognize the concept of ‘M’ if it were pointed out to them on an Etch-a-Sketch.


The donkey is the glue of the poker world. By which I mean, they suck, they are destroyed, and then they are made into glue. Then we buy the glue with the money we won from them.

This metaphor has broken down. I will try again.

Here’s my premise. Bloggers are not top players. But they aren’t donkeys.

Now . . .I think there is no question that there are some players that are highly skilled, much more so than the rest of the pack. And no doubt there are some real honkey blonkey donk donk donkeys among our ranks. However, I really think that by and large bloggers tend to be more thoughtful players, and a step above your average online nutbag.

Again, there are a few of us who are on a different level than the rest of us. They’re really really really good. Now, we might all disagree about who those individuals are. But there it is, and it's true largely because I said it. Some of the bloggers are top-level players. They are in the top 10% of any given MTT. No names (and certainly not me), but that’s the premise.

Some are top flight players, or at least upper percentile. Most aren’t. Some might get there. Many never will. Or never can.

But . . .donkeys? Really? The animal not even fit to be made into hamburger? Say it ain’t so.

Bloggers, on the whole, tend to be a generally intelligent, literary, and introspective group. They tend to be readers of books. They tend to be a little (a little?) obsessive. Hence, blogs.

These traits tend to allow for more intelligent and thought-out play, and for the kinds of disciplined thought patterns that lead to improvement. I'd say your average blogger is in the top 50% of most MTT fields, though perhaps that shifts a bit down the scale as the buy-in increases. But top 50% sounds about right, especially when you consider the total buffoons you tend to run across on any given table. Let’s put the average blogger skill range in the 45th to 65th percentile of a typical MTT or ring game.*

Some may dip further. But precious few drop into the sub-30th percentile, I think. And that, my friends, is where the donkeys dwell. Hee-Haw is not just a mercifully cancelled TV variety hour in that land. It is a dark and horrible place, full of rebuys and blind stabs at huge pots with min raises and broken draws. It’s where chips go to die.

Here’s how I see it: I played the Daily Double last Friday while playing the Donkament. The play was less Donkey-ish at the Donkament. The freakin' Donkament! $1 rebuy with bloggers playing bad on PURPOSE had better play than the Friday daily double.

I mean . . . have you been playing the cash tables lately? Good grief. Going up a few buy-ins at my level (0.25/0.50 NL six max) isn't hard. It's not even easy. It's whatever is easier than easy. Most bloggers I at least give credit for some thought process and basic Hold 'Em theory. A pulse. The ability to add. Thumbs. Stuff like that.

Not that I mind those mullet-heads at my table.

You know why?

Because I can dodge mullets, baby.

* A fellow blogger who can remain nameless until they decide to claim credit talked me out of making these numbers far higher. This is probably closer to the truth. I just made up those numbers, it's true. Pulled them right out of the air. But 87% of all people make up 72% of the time. Ninety percent of all Americans know that.

Win Julius_Goat's Money

"I could dance with you until the cows come home. On second thought, I'd rather dance with the cows until you come home."

I don't know if this is too late to say it, or if it will help increase the field size, but . . . here we go.

I'm juiced to actually be a reigning champ at the MATH, and I'd love to see it break the record of 53 runners. And what's poker without a nice challenge?

So . . . if we break 53, I'm putting a $24 bounty on my own head. Yes, that's right, you heard right. Anybody who busts me plays free, courtesy of . . . me.

So sign up, for crying out loud and let's make this the horking forking fonkingest MATH yet.Bowling! Getcher bowling here! Come bowl! Bowling here!< /Homersimpson>

Thursday, May 3, 2007

LOST and Poker* 004: Like Fred Flintstone Driving Around With Bald Feet


This is the story,
Of a crazy lady
Who was stomping through the jungle every daaaaay.
She had a little girl,
Her name was Alex.
Her hair was going graaaaay.

This is the story,
Of a man named Johnny.
Who had some daddy-issues, so intense.
He couldn't kill his pop,
So he got Sawyer.
Sometimes he's just so dense.

Until one day when this lady met this fella,
And they knew that it was much more than a hunch,
That the two would just ignore each other
And that's the way they both became the island bunch
The Island Buuuunch (It's sweeps-time crunch!)
The Island Buuuunch (Hey, what's for lunch?)
That's the waaaay
They aaaalllll becaaaaaame
The Island Buuuuuuunch!!!

with Rousseau as Alice . . .

. . . and John Locke as Sam the Butcher.

*Oh yeah . . . poker. Um . . . the Others have files on the Castaways. Know your opponents.

Good? Fine. Moving on . . .


Dude. Locke's dad. If you think you're in hell (and who could blame you?), and you're facing some guy in a murderous rage with a knife . . . perhaps you might just tone it down a little?

"Ha ha ha ha, your dad killed your mom, ha ha ha hahahaha it was my fault ho ho ha hee ripping up your letter ha ha ha OH MY POOR CRUSHED LARYNX!"

What did you expect, man?

Seriously, the moment when Locke is talking with Ben, perfectly normally, about this, that, and the Others things, and Ben gets around to, revealing "To join us, John, you need to show a demonstration of free will, John . . .that's why, John, you, John, have to kill your father, John. John." . . . and then they cut away to LockeDaddy strapped to an altar in the middle of camp . . .

Who doesn't find that unintentionally hilarious? What's Locke's thought process there? "Ooooooh, I was wondering why you had my dad tied up Temple of Doom style! The pieces are coming together now."

The theme of Abraham sacrificing Isaac that came to the fore during the Desmond-centric episodes a couple of weeks back was reversed. Now, to prove his faith, Lost's resident Man of Faith must give his dad a thorough stabbing. The son must sacrifice the father.

And speaking of that . . .John Locke is fooling himself if he doesn't think he's a killer. Which is awesome, because if we've learned one think about Locke, he's always willing to fool himself when his daddy gets involved. You can't kill your dad, because you aren't a killer. But you CAN tie your dad in a room and then lock (Locke?) him up with the man who's dedicated his life to killing him . . . and wait.

Right. No blood on your fingers. Now haul your father's corpse through the wilderness. How Sam Peckinpah of you.

Props to LOST for not making this a moment where Sawyer proves he's a better man now, he doesn't kill, etc. etc. etc. Not exacting revenge would be a better thing for a person's overall well-being, yeah . . . but it would be the most played-out TV trope ever, or at least in the top five. Nope, Sawyer was conflicted (and big ups to the actor, Josh Hollandaise I think -- or was it Worchestshire? for doing a superb job this episode), and Sawyer was regretful, but Sawyer killed his father's killer like his name was Inigo Montoya. I was really expecting him to walk away, in violation of everything we know about the guy.

But, much as Vincent Vega once said of Amsterdam, the true fun of this episode was to be found in the little things. The grace notes, the details, the hints and the set ups.

Oh, the set ups. Things are coming the next couple episodes that are going to crack this show open like an egg. I'm like an old dude sitting on a porch, muttering, 'trouble a-brewin' . . . won't you be the coot sitting next to me, murmurring, 'ayep' ?

Let's watch for . .

* Let us start with my favorite moment of the episode. Rousseau and her big big Box o' Dynamite. Great interplay between Locke and Rousseau. I really want more stuff like this in the show, just little moments that hint at other stories going on. I think it is safe to say that things are going to blow up real nice for the finale.

* The ambulance medic smiled at Locke-daddy right before he went under. So I think it is safe to say that Ben's group abducted him and this 'You, John, brought him here, John' stuff Ben is spouting is just so much asparagus.

* The Idiot Castaway Award of the week surprisingly goes to . . . Sayid! Yes, Sayid, when you absolutely, positively want to keep your new cell phone secret . . . fix it on the beach under cover of sunlight! Here comes Kate! Oh, you wacky Castaways, acting like morons to serve the whims and needs of the writers!

* I'm calling it. Season 3 closes with a Ben flashback. Anything else and I'm unleashing the Smokemonster.

* So our mystery parachutist Naomi speaks fluent English. That makes her babelfish 'I'm dying' routine last episode kind of annoying. Why wouldn't you just use the language you hear the people around you using, if you actually know it?

Verdict? She's a robot. She learned English by listening to Hurley and Charlie.

Actually? No, I don't really think that.

* I enjoyed that Sayid was immediately suspicious of Naomi, and then he was wrong. Maybe Sayid isn't really smart, maybe he's just in the perfect place for a total paranoiac to look smart. When he gets back to the real world, he'll be in TGIF's squinting at his plate and saying, "Tell me . . . Clay . . . if that IS your name . . . what makes you think that I would believe . . . that these . . . are really Natchos???"

* Jack is in on something with Juliette, obviously (No, not that. Well, maybe that, too. But I meant a plot.). I doubt upon reflection that it's the same something that Ben was planning with Juliette. I think Juliette has flipped on Ben, and only Jack knows it. Looking forward to next week, which almost has to be Jack's flashback to that missing week with the Others.

* Whatever is in Ben's 'Very Large Box' tells us where this island or "island" is. I hope they don't punk us, Season 1 style, and end with a shot of Locke looking into the box, without showing us what is in there. My guess? Another hatch. But there's an even bigger Scotsman in there, named 'Resmond', pushing a bigger button, and he calls everybody 'sister' and . . . OK, it's probably not that.

My second guess. Bananas. Just lots and lots of bananas. Thousands of them. And then Ben shrugs, and is all like, "What can I say? I just really like bananas."