Friday, January 30, 2009

10 Reasons To Play The Donkament Tonight

1. It is a one dollar rebuy.

2. It is a one dollar rebuy!

3. It IS a one dollar rebuy.

4. It is a ONE dollar rebuy?

5. Splunge.

6. I'll be there. Dead money, baby.

7. You will win!

8. Or at least you'll cash!

9. I am bad at math.

Full Tilt
9:00 PM EST
Password: Donkarama

Thursday, January 29, 2009

LOST 025: Widmore Than Meets The Eye


I keep becoming more and more impressed by what is happening here. Unless I'm way off, we're looking at the high water mark in episodic TV by a long shot. The things the show creators and writers are doing with narrative is astounding. As somebody who writes fiction and tries to take it seriously, I'm pretty much in awe.

Let's look at the macro story for a second and see if I can unpack what is being done.

We have our entry point into the story at what we now know to be a midpoint of sorts in the life of the island, albeit a highly dramatic one: the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. Our perspective is that of the survivors, who we get to know in the context of their interactions with one another and the actions they take in response to the situation in which they find themselves. Marooned. Stranded. Awaiting rescue. The implied dramatic question is: which of them will be rescued, and how?

But as we get to know these people, we're constantly met with surprises as we visit past episodes in their lives. These glimpses give us new perspective on who these people are, and what motivates them. Each hour gives us new information which dramatically changes our preconceptions. So, on a smaller level, a character level, the question becomes: Is past prologue? Does the past define us, or can our future selves be something more? This, laid across the larger question: which of these people will be rescued, and how?

And over all of this, the idea of the paradigm shift. How perspective changes expectation. And this is done on a character level. We rotate Locke like a gem, and see another facet. Another. Another. We do the same with Jack. With Ben. With Sawyer. And so on.

Meanwhile, both the character-driven flashbacks and the "present time" events on the island begin suggesting paradigm shifts of their own. Whispers in the woods. An unseen monster. A hatch. Other people, already living on the island. The remains of a statue. Coincidences between the survivors of Flight 815 that grow to be too much to ignore. There is more going on here than we thought, and the deeper we get, the more hints we have as to what kind of "more" that is. Hints only. But this is more than just an island, and the more the mystery deepens, the less the question becomes: "which of these people will be rescued, and how?" -- and the more it becomes, "what is happening on this island, and what are the stakes?"

And this is done slowly, subtly, so that you barely realize it is happening, until it is driven home with the biggest paradigm shift of all.

Seventy flashbacks. And then, one flash forward. "

We have to go back!" Jack says.

And, at that moment, the very story structure that has been used to create these micro-level paradigm shifts is employed on the macro level. The main question is and can no longer be: "which of these people will be rescued, and how?", because the whole fourth season was given to answering exactly those questions, and shifting our paradigm once more to the fact, grown slowly and subtly, that there is a much larger story happening.

Here is who is rescued.

Here is how.

And here is why those were the wrong questions all along.

And here is how our friends and heroes come to grips with that fact.

The paradigm has shifted again, but now it has shifted up a level.

And now, we learn that this fractured timeline was not just a way of giving us these paradigm shifts of character. We learn that it was the story's way of telling us, once again slowly and oh-so-subtly, the very nature of the story we were being told. It is a time travel story.

This season, we're going to have a lot of questions answered. We're going to understand what the stakes are at the end. We're going to learn in what ways our heroes have been a part of the island's history all along its timeline, influencing it, changing things.

Is it any wonder that John Locke has a connection with the island? Is it any wonder that the Oceanic Six need to be there? They aren't just observing the history of the island. They are the history of the island.

Every episode, now, is a flashback. Not a flashback of the character, but of the island. Of the story itself. If you doubt that isn't the writer's intention, consider that our characters literally "flash" back. In the same way that we used to look back at a seemingly angry, homicidal Jin, and find the fisherman's son with the romantic heart, we will now be shown the story from different perspectives.

It's the same theme as it was from the first episode.

Perspective is everything. Everything is relative. Paradigms shift.

And the method of the storytelling informs the plot, as the plot informs the method. Now we turn the whole story of the island around and inspect the facets of that gem.

Let's turn the story now and look at it this way.

Let's look at it from this perspective.

How does it look to you now that you know that he had already met him?

And the question remains: Is past prologue? Does the past define us, or can our future selves be something more?

That is brilliant.

On To The Episode

* Island Time. Our friends have been spending their time since the last flash in the early 50s, and it is at a rather tense time for the Others. The U.S. army has been there and gotten killed real good, but not before they left behind their tents (in which Richard was still living in "present" day) . . . oh, and the episode's eponymous entity, a friggin' leaking H-bomb named JUGHEAD, hanging from a thread from a scaffolding. That thing'll peel your paint for you, Sparky. The army's also rigged the whole place with explosives. I guess that explains the threats of hand-cuttery and the flaming arrows.

So. Why do the Oceanic Six have to return? I think we can say with certainty that it is because they are a part of the island's history just as Sawyer and Locke and company are. That means if they aren't there to do what the did do, then they won't do what they did, and we'll have a serious time/space snarl on our hands.

Further, I'm guessing that this is the reason for all the "coincidences" that led them to get on that particular plane. I think it was orchestrated by the Guardians. These people were funneled onto that plane by human agents of fate because they HAD to be on that plane. Because they were. Another way of saying it would be that the world's fate depended on them being on that plane in the same way that it now depends on the six (seven? eight?) of them returning.

It's genius that nothing our heroes do in the past can change what will happen. It means that we can have our guys running around the timeline without worrying about the butterfly effect. They don't change things that happened. They are the reason that the things that did happen, happened. Only if they are NOT running around the timeline do we worry about a butterfly effect.

* Charles Widmore. Yep, he was an Other back in the 50s, reporting to Richard. That's the more obvious of the two big reveals this year, and the implications really are beyond my reckoning. Suffice it to say that at some point there was a rather sizable break between young Widmore and Richard. Perhaps there was a coup, perhaps he got banished. Perhaps he actually did become leader of the Others at some point but was supplanted. It's tough to say. But by the time Ben arrived, Dharma was obviously a reality, so either Widmore joined up with them while on-island, or Widmore had been booted off / left the island by that time, made a fortune, and founded Dharma. If it is the latter, that means that it is three times Widmore's found the island. First as an Other, next when Dharma came, and finally the freighter of doom.

I also find it interesting that Desmond's trip to Widmore's office, which I thought would spell certain doom for our often bare-chested Scot, actually resulted only in acquiescence from Widmore, primarily stemming from concern for his daughter. I think in keeping with the paradigm-shift theme, we've just seen a different side of the man. He certainly seems more sympathetic and complex, and frankly more Ben-like, than ever before.

* Desmond & Penny. Well, they have a kid named Charlie. Not Charles, but Charlie, so I think he was named after Desmond's You All Everybody hobbit buddy and not Penny's father. At any rate, the kid definitely raises the stakes in this for Des and Penny, and leads to some very interesting conjectures . . . but more on that later.

How is that yacht going to go from Oxford to LA in 70 hours, exactly? Don't get me wrong, it's a nice yacht. But it's not a damn Concorde jet.

* Faraday. He's already lost one girlfriend to time sickness back in Britain, and now it looks like he's about to lose another. Why Charlotte and not our other time-shifters? Not sure. But here is what I want to say about Faraday. First, it seems almost 100% certain that his mother is Ms. Hawking, who we last saw locating the island in time (70 hrs. hence) and space (not sure where), and confirming for Ben that if the Oceanic Six et al., don't get BACK TO THE ISLAND in the next window, than the fate of the world is in doubt.

High stakes.

Also, that pixie-Other with the gun back in the 50s? The one Faraday thinks he sort of recognizes? Yeah, that's his mom. I mean, they didn't come out and say it, but that's what's going on. Book it.

Which means that both factions now battling for the island can be traced back to Widmore and Pixie Other. But the fact that Widmore was backing Faraday's work financially, and the fact that Widmore knows the current whereabouts of Ms. Hawking, apparently right down to the address and digits, suggests that these two factions are more closely entwined even in "present" day than we thought.

* Richard Alpert. I'm really digging this guy now, and it's not just because he's not afraid to rock the eye makeup like latter-day Bowie. He got some of the best lines of the episode in his interaction with Locke, which also conveyed the following information:

1) He really is ageless. Not sure what that's about, but isn't it interesting that it didn't surprise Juliet a bit?

2) He's been living in those U.S. soldiers tents for a while.

3) He was indeed the leader of the Others before Ben. Somehow the exchange of power was bloodless, or at least didn't involve Alpert leaving. It must have been Jacob-brokered.

4) He went to visit young Locke because old Locke invited him. So that explains why they kept trying to bring Locke in on leadership training. You remember who besides Alpert contacted Locke in that episode? That's right, Abbadan, who put the idea of walkabout in Locke's head. So if Alpert and Ben and Hawking are Guardians aligned against Fallen Guardian Widmore, I guess you'd have to put Abbadan on the Alpert/Hawking axis. The Guardians, as I call them. Which means of course that our scientists from the freighter are Hawking moles, even if they don't know it themselves.

And people say we aren't getting answers.

* Jughead. This is the second major revelation, and it's not as obvious as the Charles Widmore one, but it's just as important. Let's consider the fact that there is an H-bomb, leaking radiation. Let's consider the fact that it is next to a source of power that is so powerful that Marvin Candle pitched a hissy fit last week when somebody suggested using mere dynamite next to it. Let's assume that the Others buried it, as Faraday suggested.


Where did they bury it? Maybe under a hatch? Perhaps with a warning to wear radiation suits whenever you leave? Perhaps with some kind of process for releasing the radiation in manageable chunks, so as to not throw the island's electro-magnetic time-shift powers into hyperdrive? Perhaps a release, oh, I don't know, hmmm, every 108 minutes? Maybe deep under the hatch, it was still accessible? Maybe there was a key that would set it off?

Maybe Dharma was initially just a project that Richard had the Others start in order to manage the Jughead. Maybe he gave that project to Widmore to manage. Maybe, just maybe.

What was that purple sky event, anyway? What happened when Desmond turned the key? Did he set that bomb off? If so, when did he set it off? By which I mean, in what part of the timeline?

I'm guessing it goes off at the end of the world.

Enough speculation on that matter though. I think we can say with high certainty that it was the Jughead buried under the Swan hatch.

Wild Ass Guesses and Crazy Predictions

OK, these aren't things that we learned for sure, but they are pretty good guesses, I think:

* We're going to see a "flash" back to a point in time when that four toed statue was still standing. And that is going to be a very revealing moment.

* We're going to see Libby again. The writers keep saying that they feel they'd reached the end of that story, but come on. These guys clearly aren't dumb, and saying that is dumb. Her story wasn't even close to resolved. Her story was nothing BUT unresolved stuff. She'll be back. I think she was one of those everyday folks like the butcher last week, who work for the Hawking/Alpert axis. She gave Desmond the boat that led him to the island, for crying out loud. And we know that group wanted to get Desmond to the island.

* Other people working for Hawking/Alpert? How about Claire's psychic? That guy alone was responsible for getting Claire, Aaron and Eko to the island.

* Locke is probably Jacob. I think when he dies we'll get an idea of what happens to people who die on this island. Pretty obviously they stick around in some fashion more tangible than we are used to.

* The Adam and Eve skeletons that Jack and Kate found way back in episode four are, (a) characters we know, and (b) probably the ancestral couple from whom the Others came. I firmly believe that two of our characters will wind up waaaay back at the beginning of the island's history, and their offspring will populate the island. It's not just randomness that caused the writers to dub them "Adam and Eve", for crying out loud. Best guesses are Jack and Kate or Desmond and Penny. The latter are more likely, frankly. They are the true romantic soul of the story in a way that (frankly) unlikable characters like Kate and Jack can't be, and they have a kid named Charlie. And we know that there is a Charles on the island in the 50s with a British accent. Charles Widmore, remember. Who eventually has a daughter named Penny. Who gives birth to a child named Charlie. Who just may travel back in time and grow up to become an Other named Charles. Who tries to take over the island and is banished. Who eventually becomes a Dharma founding tycoon with a daughter named Penny. Who gives birth to a little boy named Charlie . . . head hurt yet?

Actually I don't think that scenario is likely for any number of reasons, including the fact that old Charles Widmore would recognize Desmond as his dad, and be unlikely to try to keep his folks apart. I just thought it would be fun to really mess with things.

Anyway, I think one of the final images of the whole story will tell us how Desmond and Penny wind up in that cave. Let's just mark that one down as an official prediction right now.

* Oh, and incidentally? I have been saying for a good long time that I think that the island is in fact the Biblical Garden of Eden, hence the healing powers, the "angel" smokemonster that is there to guard it, the fact that it is so difficult for people to find, the fact that everybody who has been there has a yearning to return. Not only that, but I think we have foreshadowing of this, given the sheer amount of Biblical references to which we've been privy.
I've been saying this for about two years now. Nothing I've seen has done anything but strengthen that idea. So, I'll say it again. Oceanic 815 crash landed on the Garden of Eden.

Join us next week, when Rose and Bernard wonder:

"Did we get hit by flaming arrows, or are we just . . ."


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

I know what my readers want. So often they write me, saying:

"Goat, I enjoy your fake strategy for dumb poker play and your somehow even dumber real strategy posts, and the TV stuff is all right, I guess, but what I'd like is an Italian trailer for a real movie set in Venice Beach featuring a team of street basketball-playing litle people and a clearly bankrupt-in-every-way Dennis Rodman."

I have heard you, my people. I have heard you.

The wait is over.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stupid/System 010: Hand Ranges

Note: This post originally appeared in Full Tilt Poker's Poker From The Rail blog. It's reprinted in full on The_Goat_Speaks for the first time, in order to A) allow readers whose work blocks Tilt to read this very important groundbreaking work, and B) make it look like I'm posting without actually doing any work.

Anyway, go to Poker From The Rail, even though you will run into a lot of my poker writing there It's good, it's fresh, it's organic, and it is reasonably priced.

Also, check out Al and Riggs and Co. over at the Borgata Winter Poker Open. They're live blogging events like it ain't no thang. But it IS a thang. And not just any old thang, but a good thang. For real, one of the best thangs in the history of thangosity right over there.

I'll shut up now.

Imagine you find yourself in this common situation in a large-field multi-table tournament:

You are three hours into a big online tournament and just about to move into the money bubble – in fact, you are now in hand-to-hand play. The big blind has been wild in the past, but has tightened up considerably as you approach the money. The button has been bullying, contesting most unopened pots. Blinds are 500/1,000 with a 100 ante, so the pot starts at 2,400. You are in early position with a little over 17,000 in chips (you’ve been playing totally awesome, basically perfect poker) and you find KdTc.

How much do you raise?

Obviously you are playing this premium hand from any position, and the only question is how much to put in the pot. There are many valid schools of thought, each from one of the different “styles” of poker – such as Tight-Aggressive, Loose-Aggressive, Ultra-Aggressive, Passive-Aggressive, Trappy-Passive, Trappy-Aggressive, Trapper Keeper, Calling Station, Badonkadonk, Playing Dead (or “Opossum Style”), Drunken Master, Player Hater, and, of course, Straight-Up Gangsta. All these points have their merits, so let’s look at a few:

Minimum Raise. Someone playing a trappy style would tend to put in a deceptively weak bet, to make the opponent think that your holding was not strong. This style would have you put in just the standard min-raise of 1,200. The problem here is one of pot odds. Remember that there are two pot odds, and the first one is called “pot commitment.” With your crafty min-raise, you are not giving yourself nearly the odds you need to commit yourself to the hand If somebody jams all-in on you, you might be tempted to fold. Remember Slim Pickins riding the nuke all the way to the ground at the end of Dr. Strangelove. That was a guy who understood the necessity of fully committing yourself to your actions.

All-In. Good thinking! I like this move for pure aggression, and also because you get to shove all those chips in there (very cool), but you may scare everybody out of the hand, and then all you’ve won are the blinds and antes.

Half Stack. Half of your chips is a good solid value bet, and you are pretty much committed to shoving in on any flop. You will probably get a few calls, and if you think about it, just two calls will double you up here, based on The Julius Postulate of Stacks (half your stack + half your stack = your whole damn stack). I think this is your best possible move here.

In fact you raise 3,000. The button, a big stack with 39,000 in chips, makes it 9,000. The button, who has about 8,500 calls immediately.

What do you do?

Great, you’re might just make that half-stack double-up anyway! Now, this sort of action can be a little unnerving for the inexperienced player, but this is actually very normal play. Notice now that you have a difficult decision ahead of you, whereas you’d have no decision at all if you had bet half-stack. Now, the second pot odd is the chances you have of winning the pot. At this point you have three people in the hand, so your chance is basically 33%. (This is before you’ve employed Positive Expectation to your thinking).

It’s tempting to just shove all-in here, but wait!

What you now need to do is employ one of the least practiced, but most important, tools in the Poker Pro arsenal; you need to use the information at hand to narrow down your opponent’s possible range of hands. In other words, what hands can you assume would explain the actions you’ve seen, based on who has made those actions, and which hands can be eliminated?

Elimination is the key here. Now, I’m pretty sure that there are 54 cards (Bonus Exercise: Count them up and then let me know). You have two of them, so that’s 52 remaining. Those 52 cards can be matched up 208 different ways (52 cards x 2 cards per hand x 2 remaining players = 208). That’s a hell of a lot of different ways, and it can hurt your head to think of them all at once, especially when you can’t even remember your high school locker combination. So we really have to narrow this sucker down a bit, or we are going to seriously need a martini pretty soon.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

What cards do you have? Check what again if you need to, but you have a King and a Ten. So you can eliminate hands with Kings and Tens, the odds are really pretty bad there. Goodbye, Ace-Ten through Ten-Deuce. Goodbye, Ace-King thorough King-Deuce. Notice we’ve removed two possible pairs from contention: Kings and Tens. Sweet.

What is your table image? Obviously, since you’ve read this far, you are using the most lucky table image (Space), but also remember that you have been playing awesome poker, so it’s likely these guys are intimidated by you. That would mean stronger hands rather than weaker ones, more likely. Maybe even something with an Ace.

Are the other players donkeys? Yes. YES. Totally.

Do you expect to win? Yes, of course. This is known as positive Expectation Value (or +EV), and it eliminates AA, which really would have you beat, and Ace-high, which would of course be technically ahead despite your numerous outs. The other pairs are not much of a concern, because your King puts you ahead of them on almost any K-high board. That’s Poker.

Do you still need a martini? Yes. Flag a waitress.

How have your opponents being playing near the bubble? Oh man, whatever. Just go all in. Basically you’ve eliminated everything except JT, so they both have JT. The big blind is probably suited, since he’s risking his tournament life.

You go all-in, and the button calls with QQ. YES! But the big blind has Aces. That’s so weak. You catch a King on the turn (there’s that +EV) to win the side pot, though, so you’re still OK.

It would probably be a good idea to turn off chat at this point. Man, courtesy is really a dying art these days.

Also, this is an online tournament, so that waitress you just flagged down is your wife. You might want to flip ahead to my Chapter on Apologizing to Your Spouse.

[© 2008 Julius Goat. Cover Image by Mookie “Big O” Pokeroom]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

LOST 024: The Curious Case of Billy Pilgrim


I meant to write up a few predictions for this Season before last night's episode, and I wish I had, because I'd sure look smart now. Regardless, here's some initial thoughts about Season 5 in general, most of which I would have written before watching last night.

Basically, I suspect we're going to see far fewer character-specific episodes, and probably a lot less flashback/flashforward for those purposes. We're into linear story, so to speak. Everything up to the point that the Oceanic Six get off the island and the island moved is, in a way, setup. Now that we're past that, it's all forward momentum from here. So to me, the episode felt a lot more like a finale without a big cliffhanger, in that it followed all the characters pretty equally and was more given to extroverted, rather than introverted, character moments.

This aspect made it feel like a really tight episode of Heroes. Much more forward action. Less contemplation. (What doesn't make it like Heroes is that it doesn't blow enormous rhino dingleberries, by which I mean, it remains true to it's own internal logic, and it lets its characters remain themselves. Sorry, I just have to bash Heroes again. I can't help it. The disparity between the two is just so vast and obvious now.) It's not a bad thing, this tonal shift, at least not if done well. It's just what the story demands. If you look at the whole six season arc in total as a single big season, we've entered the part of the season where everything starts getting very hectic and suspenseful. I expect Season 5 to reveal a lot of things about the mysteries of the island, for the simple reason that Season 6 is, of course, going to be the climactic conclusion to the whole story. If that's going to work, we'll need a Season 5 that lets us understand exactly what the stakes are. To have a proper climax, we need to tee that climax up. We need to know exactly what the island is, and who these Others are, what the Dharma initiative was really doing, the nature of Jacob and the smokebeast and the whispers, what the numbers are, and why the existence of reality itself seems to rest on getting around eight or nine people back to that island.

On to the episode.

What's funny is that this new, more muscular, more linear, less flash-backy story of LOST takes place all over the place, timewise. The fact that our island buddies are jumping all over the island's timeline is yet another masterstroke of storytelling. Honestly, it's amazing. I can't say enough about how great what the writers and show creators are doing here is.

a) Form is now function. When this show started, we'd get flashbacks pretty much every episode. By the end of the third season, that had fractured into flashes forward, backward, and (occasionally) all over the place. Now, that is the actual state of affairs for many of our heroes. The time fracture of early episodes was not just a narrative device; it was foreshadowing. And that is SO COOL.

b) Flashbacks 2.0. Fact of the matter is, with this development, we don't need flashbacks to tie up loose ends. We certainly don't have any more backstory to explore with our main characters, but we do need backstory like crazy on the island itself. And now we have a story-integrated way of getting it. We can see Sawyer/Juliet/Locke, et al, observing and perhaps even taking part of some of the origins of the island's mysteries. How the Black Rock came to the island, when Dharma arrived, Rousseau in the early years, the arrival of Henry Gale . . . it's all on the table. Even without flashbacks, we'll be getting flashbacks.

c) Click. That's the sound of a lot of things that were once baffling starting to make a bit more sense. The whispers, the ghostly apparitions,the timelines that couldn't quite add up (how DID a one-prop plane from Nigeria land in the Pacific? Why don't the Others ever age?). The mysteries don't quite make sense yet, but you start to see how they could make sense. Take a mystery, any mystery, and you'll discover that it becomes intriguingly plausible when you have a bunch of characters time-hopping around a potentially mobile island. The Adam and Eve skeletons? Could very easily be Desmond and Penny or Jack and Kate or Kate and Sawyer or Mohinder and Parkman, pretty much anybody. Bigger Walt appearing to Locke in the Dharma-corpse pit? Could happen for sure. It seems much less far-fetched to entertain the theory that Locke and Jacob are one and the same.

d) Nobody Dies Forever. Rousseau? Alex? Ana Lucia? Libby? Mr. Eko? Charlie? Boone? Shannon? Michael? Jin? Goodwin? Ethan? Big Tom? Little Tom? Slappy Sue? Hank Bankerton? Uncle Boo? Getachew Ticklu? Any of these deceased characters and more are back in play. Personally, I am looking forward to figuring out what is going on with Libby. It seems more likely these days.

And MAN there are a lot of corpses.

I am also struck by just how few revelations there were in the last episode, even as things were being revealed. What I mean by that is, the things that were revealed were the sorts of things that you could predict based on what had come before. The story has been giving us all these answers all along, if we have been paying close attention. And we probably will still need to pay close attention, and think back with clear memories, to begin to guess what this episode "told" us. For example: Isn't it likely now that Richard Alpert visited young John Locke hoping that Locke would choose the compass? The fact that moving the island means that those on it keep moving uncontrollably around time is a surprise, but the time travel aspect is no shocker.

Another example: Ben is working with Miss Hawking, the lady who convinced Desmond to stick to the "break up with Penny" script, and who was featured in a photo on the desk of Desmond's monestary leader. Crazy, right? But not really a surprise to me. Yeah, sure, I'm not the only one who has speculated about that, but it's nice to see the lines of division taking shape. The Time Keepers (my name for them) has Ben, The Others, and Mittelos. Widmore has Dharma, Marvin Candle, and their fine collection of brutal mercenaries and their pit full of dead guys.

Random Thoughts

* Am I the only person who thought Ben was lying when he said "I guess we'll never know" to Jack? No? Good deal. That's right, I am predicting that Ben is lying. I M so Smrt. In any even, Ben's non-answer when he was asked if Locke was really dead was a classic. I like the dynamic those two have. Jack does the right thing for all the wrong reasons, and Ben does the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

* So who sicced the firm of Threatening, Threatening, Intrusive & Smug on Kate and Aaron? Has to be somebody with funds and knowledge that Kate ain't that baby mama, and somebody who wanted Kate to be disturbed and paranoid. Ben might have done it, as it would certainly give Kate one of the few motivations imagineable for wanting to leave her crib and go back to the island. Jack might have done it, because let's face it, Jack's a jerk. But I think it was Sun, setting Kate up to slay Ben. She was too quick to encourage Kate to kill, and to drop the heavy "remember when you killed my husband that time?" guilt trip. And it was just too convenient that she showed up just as Kate went on the lam.

* The "Angry Whopper" is the dumbest thing I have ever seen, and I watch Heroes.

* Who knew that Frogurt could burn?

* English soldiers threatening to chop Juliet's hand? I'm guessing more Widmore mercs, probably the next batch that's coming. Flaming arrows? I'm guessing the extras from the cast of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

* OK, I didn't notice this, I read it on a board, but it is a really good point. Remember when Locke loses use of his legs near the one prop way back in Season 1? It's why Boone has to climb up there. Well . . . he loses use of his legs right at the spot where Ethan shoots him in this episode. It's almost like his legs remember. Perhaps Locke is a bit more attuned to the waves of time than most.

* The Others don't seem to time travel with the rest of the island inhabitants. Don't know what to do with that info, except to say that Locke sure was a bust as a leader, wasn't he?

* Charlotte's getting time sick. Do the Oceanic Six and friends have to go back to be The Constants for those still on the island?

* "The rules don't apply to you," Faraday told Desmond. Are those rules the same rules as The Rules, the ones Ben claims Widmore broke/changed when he allowed Alex to be shot? And who else might the rules not apply to? Walt, for instance?

* Faraday is working on Candle's orchid dig. Is that "unstuck in time" Faraday or is that "he's secretly been on the island before" Faraday? Or perhaps TGIFaraday? I Can't Believe It's Not Faraday? Time will tell.

* "Maybe if you ate more comfort food, you wouldn't have to go around shooting dudes." Gold.

* "Throwing a hot pocket at Ben Linus" should either be a song title or a euphemism for a deviant sex act. I'm voting for the latter, and am willing to take suggestions.

* Faraday's mother, the one in Oxford . . . Mrs. Hawking?

* There was far too much: "And what if we do/don't?" / "Then GOD HELP US ALL." in this set of episodes. Seriously, that's like the laziest line you can write to signal impending doom. Do better, LOST writers. And get Marvin Candle to stop over-emoting.

* Who is Marvin Candle's baby? Come on, that's coming back. That's not just random baby. That's BABY WITH A PURPOSE.

* Is Claire dead? Can we get a final ruling on that one?

* Ben, if an innocent man would rather be falsely accused of triple homicide than take you up on your offer to help said man's friends, and that decision could be seen as a RATIONAL one? . . . you may have some interpersonal issues that require professional counseling, my brother.

* Am I the only person who noticed that when Richard found Locke, fixed his leg and brought him the compass, he was acting like Ben, and that the voice was Michael Emerson's voice dubbed over? Probably not, but I'd swear that was the case. What does THAT mean?

Seventy hours, the clock is ticking, ticktock ticktock.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

LOST 023: A Refresher (Updated)

[OK, this is my little song mashup (sorry Astin) from last year, ETA Season 4 of LOST. Just a little way to catch up on the action before Wednesday BONE SHATTERING premier.]

* * * *

With apologies to Billy Joel and anybody who gets "We Didn't Start the Fire" stuck in their heads today, but I thought I'd take a moment to catch up with the action so far . . .


Oceanic had a crash,
Boone and Locke found Desmond’s hatch.
There’s a monster, hear it roar.
(We never see it anymore.)

Now let’s all check out Kate’s butt,
Hurley’s rich and fat and nuts.
Jack’s obsessed,
Jin’s a dick,
Charlie is an addict.

A couple Others infiltrated,
Sawyer’s filled with self-hatred.
Tortures guys
Rose is old and black and wise.

Sun speaks English secretly,
Charlie gets hung from a tree.
Hey! There’s
A polar bear.
Coming out of nowhere.

Sayid takes a walk
Jin starts to learn to talk
Lived in France
Rousseau is crazy-pants.

Locke only wants to stay
Michael wants to get away
Walt has powers
(Don’t ask how)
Boone is a goner now.

The Others also have a boat
Turns out that Michael can float
Walt gets
Pulled aboard
And disappears till Season Four

Now Jin has our sympathy,
Others' smoke makes Losties flee,
Blows the lid
No one cares what Kate did.

Jack makes a stupid plan!
Everyone does what they can!
Shannon tries to get a tan!

We can’t get off this island,
Even though we’re trying, lots of us are dying.
We can’t get off this island,
Flashbacks keep us busy, Sayid's hair is frizzy.


Finally we’re inside the hatch
Button mashing gets old fast.
All the Tailies
Had it hard
They’re all dead now but Bernard.

Man of science, man of faith
Push the numbers just in case.
Eats some lead.
Sayid’s pissed that she is dead.

Locke’s teaching Michael guns.
Holy crap, but that was dumb.
Hurley’s numbers
Are confusing
Crap, and Charlie’s back to using.

Rousseau captures Henry Gale
Everything that Jack tries fails.
Build an army?
Never mind.
Let’s just leave that plot behind.

More hatches than I can remember.
Reruns now until November.
Locke faith
Is getting dull.
Eko’s stick will crack his skull.

Hurley’s hording all the snacks
Hey look! Now Michael’s back.
Libby’s getting
Real intriguing.
Too bad that she’s shot and bleeding.

Michael is the Other’s tool
Good thing Sayid isn’t fooled.
Sadly Jack's
Still real ghey.
They get captured anyway.

There’s so much that we don’t know!
Why’d the key make the hatch blow?
Are the Others really foes?
Why’s that statue got four toes?

We can’t get off this island,
Now the hatch exploded (or was that imploded?)
We can’t get off this island.
Guess we’re all connected, sometimes resurrected.


Desmond’s got the future sight
And that Richard Alpert guy
Doesn’t age,
Jack’s enraged
Sawyer’s in the bear cage.

Juliet is so conflicted
Ben’s movement is restricted
By his tumor
There’s a rumor
That Alex is engaged.

Kate and Sayer do the deed
Jack ensures that they are freed
In return,
He stays.
Touch football is what he plays.

Sun is pregnant, but she’s sad
Jin might not be the babydad.
Claire is a
Protective mother.
Jack is still her secret brother.

This chick in a parachute
Brings us some disturbing news
Turns out
They’re all dead.
This is all in Hurley’s head.

Locke blows up the sub real good
And Ben really thinks he should
Off his dad.
He gets mad
When Sawyer does it instead.

Jack picks up some dynamite
Wants to use it in a fight.
The Russian
Can’t be killed.
Paolo’s in a landfill.

Poor Ben has lost all control.
Leaves Locke dying in a hole.
Jacob gives
the island juice.
Now we’re getting real confused.

Jack’s plan actually succeeds!
Kate gets trembly in the knees!
But now!
Future shock!
Jack! Kate! Sawyer! Locke!

Hurley fixes up the van!
Uses it to kill a man!
Claire frowns!
Charlie drowns!

Did we get off that island?
Who is in the coffin? We’ll be asking often.
Did we get off the island?
Wonder how we made it, do we love or hate it?


Things are getting awful weird
Jack has got that crazy beard
We find out
that there were six
All the rest still in the mix.

Claire is sad while Ben just schemes.
The Losties divvy up in teams.
Jack and Locke
are the captains,
Gee, I wonder what will happen?

Hurley's crazy-pants again,
Sun and baby miss their Jin,
Jack's sad,
sees his dad
But not the sis he knows he had.

Choppers with four freighties land
Miles is a psychic, man.
We're intrigued by
Then writer's strike got in the way.

Sayid's back to killing blokes
The sunken plane is all a hoax.
Michael is
Juliet was Goodwin's lover.

Desmond gets unstuck in time
Kate is cleared of all her crimes
(Wait does
that make sense?)
Fame must make a great defense.

Sayid makes it on the freighter
Keamey is a total hater
That why
He goes ashore
And begins an all-out war.

Rousseau gets shot until she's dead
Alex takes one in the head
That fills
Ben with grief
He lets smokey off its leash.

Kate takes Aaron as her son
Claims she was a pregnant one,
Reporters don't you
Question that?
Can't you do some simple math?

The freighter blows up Mike and Jin,
Hey, where have all the Others been?
Oh yeah,
There they are!
Locke is now their superstar.

Oh crap! The island's moved!
All our friends look pretty screwed.
But Penny
Saves the day,
For a Widmore, she's OK.

Sun is deadly icey calm!
Locke is totally embalmed!
Jack is filled with guilt the most!
Claire is probably a ghost!
All the rest will soon be toast!
Sawyer's abandoned on the coast!
We can't tell what is in store!

We got off that island,
Now we have get back, before Widmore attacks.
We got off that island.
But we just aren’t done now, think we’ve just begun begun begun begun . . .

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

On The Passing Of A Kidney Stone

You're finally outside, allowing me at last

To see you clearly.

So small, so conventional, so seemingly insignificant.

So unconcerned, so unaware of what you have done to us.

We didn't expect you.

You passed through us far slower than we thought possible.

You hurt us far more than we ever dreamed you could.

And now after the


Of you, we are spent, drained, nearly to the end of our power

We will grow strong in time but now

Our head pressed against the wall for support

We at last look at the specimen clearly.

So small

So conventional

So seemingly insignificant.

Still unconcerned, still unaware of what you have done to us.

You came from within us, perhaps culled from our worse habits.

And even in our relief at your absense we are left with the


May there be another

Just like you, so small and conventional?

So overwhelmingly insignificant?

But we can hope this: never to see you again.

Awareness' lack will not rescue you.

When we remember you, we will remember only the pain.

Only one thing left to do.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Stupid/System 011: Atypical Poker Tournaments

Hey kids, look, it's a brand new chapter . . .

Not all tournaments are created equal. This may come as a surprise to some of you that haven’t been playing Texas No Limit Hold Them for as long as I have (since 2005), but it is true. I mean, sure, yes, you may well be familiar with the typical, meat-and-potatoes garden-variety online poker tournament, where the leisurely fifteen-minute blinds and the 1500 starting chips allow for lots of advanced play (like the min. raise, the triple check-call, and the early position limp). It’s quite possible, I admit. Oh yes. I admit it.

But did you know that there were a whole other variety of tournaments out there for you to sink your fangs into, if you are a wolfman, or possibly Dracula? Even if you don’t have fangs, you can still easily play any number of tournaments whose differences from the norm result in novel changes to structure and optimal strategy in this game we love. [1]

What are these types? You know, I was hoping you’d ask me that. Let me go read some poker books, and then I’ll tell you.

OK, I’m back. Here is a complete listing of the atypical tournament types, along with a few notes for optimal play.

The Turbo. This is a hold ‘em tournament in which the blind levels go up much faster. In fact, every five seconds, somewhere in this country, a blind level is going up — a sobering statistic unless you are drunk on tequila, in which case God bless you. Have you ever been at a tournament, bored and wishing that you could be in that magic part of the tourney in which you might plausibly call off all your chips with Ace-rag without being called a bad name? Good news! This tournament starts there. A lot of people disparage turbos, saying that they are nothing but coin flips, but the truth is that if you are a top player, you can use your edge to lose a lot of money really quickly.

[Go to Poker From the Rail to read the rest of this article.]

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today's Poker Thought

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day.

Teach him to be a fish, and you'll eat forever.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Shoving and Calling Ranges In Late-Stage MTT

You know how it goes. You're getting pretty far into a poker tournament (for example at the extremely fish-filled Bet Fred site), and the blinds are high. High? No. Uncomfortable. Pressure-inducing. There aren't enough chips to accommodate the number of players left. You need a double-up or four. Failing that, you need to steal and steal and steal. Those blinds and antes are now a full fifth of your once-mighty stack.

What do you shove with? And what do you call with?

Conventional wisdom says that you need a better hand to call with than to open with. That's known as the GAP theory, named (I believe) after the retail chain store in which it was devised by David Sklansky and Mason Malmuth as they stacked clothes together.

That's right.

Conventional wisdom also says that once your M (which is a poker term that means "the size of one's M") gets really low, you need to be good to go with just about any reasonable hand.

That's also right.

Conventional wisdom aslo says that "any reasonable hand" includes pretty much any Ace.

To that I say "PAH!" to conventional wisdom. The reason for this is because of the Abercrombie and Fitch rule, above. People call stronger than they will open with. Thus, you are likely to be called with pairs, Broadway hands and Ax. Yes. Ax is probably the most likely hand you are to be called with, based on my opinion that I just made up now. But for real. Everybody except the most timid and clueless know that your range is very wide, so you're going to get called by pretty much any Ace.

That means that your lower Aces have an extremely good chance of:

a) taking the blinds and antes uncontested, which is something any 2 cards can do.


b) showing up totally dominated, which is much less likely for even a hand as weak as 79o.

What's my point? My point is it may be better to shove with rags than fall in love with that low-kicker Ace. Value the A9 or even maybe the A8. But beware that sad old A2. All you want with A2 is to steal the blinds. Crap like 45 can do that just as well. Important to remember that, once your raise has made everybody fold, your cards were meaningless.

Julius_Goat is a poker strategy writer who has never ever ever won an MTT. He totally would have though, if it weren't for that one bad beat, for serious. He lives in a state of denial.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Stupid System 009: Advanced Concepts

Note: This post originally appeared in Full Tilt Poker's Poker From The Rail blog. It's reprinted in full on The_Goat_Speaks for the first time, in order to A) allow readers whose work blocks Tilt to read this very important groundbreaking work, and B) make it look like I'm posting without actually doing any work. Anyway, go to Poker From The Rail, even though you will run into a lot of my poker writing there It's good, it's fresh, it's organic, and it is reasonably priced.

OK, no time for dilly nor dally; let’s get down to the brass tacks. The nitty gritty. The hardwood floor. The pork tenders. We’ve covered a lot of ground over the past eight chapters, but up until now, we’ve been sticking with the fundamentals of MTT poker play. By now, you should feel pretty good about your ability to count your outs, create the proper odds to call, and think with positive expectation. You should understand (in a general way) the advantages of Aggression Through Calling (ATC), flop avoidance, and the proper table image.

Now we’re going to explore some of the more advanced poker concepts, the ones that will take you from being a losing player with thinning hair who is begging for five bucks at 2:00 AM, into a bronzed-skinned Adonis who regularly rakes in “Big Dollars” (commonly referred to these days as “Canadian Dollars” or “Medium Euros”) while cruising in your private jet on the way to meet Jessica Alba for a few relaxing weeks in Aspen. So really, you’d better pay attention, you bologna, you.

That’s right, you heard right. As of right now, we’ll start delving into the sorts of insights and secrets that Doyle Brunson keeps locked deep in his freezer behind the gold bullion and the venison jerky. These are lessons that can only be learned one of two ways; either (1) over millions of real life hands and situations, coupled by rigorous note-taking, review, and mathematical analysis, or (2) buying this book for about as much as you’d spend on a pizza at Papa John’s.

We’ll be covering these and more concepts in great detail in upcoming chapters, but first it is probably a fine idea to define some specific terms and concepts.

Bubble, The - This is the point in every tournament when the remaining players are near the money. (This is often called “The Cheddar” – try using this lingo at the table to really impress everybody with your patter. “We’re near the cheddar now!” If they don’t compliment you right away, just say it again, but louder. If this doesn’t result in instant admiration, you probably have halitosis and should pop a mint or some gum right away.) The main thing about the bubble is that everybody plays very tight so as to make it into the cash. “Tight play” is when you fold even though it’s SO boring to fold. You should be aware of this, and play even tighter than everybody else. This will give you a great chance to “shift gears” and get aggressive for some steals immediately after the bubble bursts.

Dry Side Pot - I have no idea what this is, but people are always yelling at me about it in chat. I think they just don’t appreciate my game, you know? Whatever. Donks.

Folding - This is what happens when you throw your hand away instead of calling or raising. This is an advanced play and only used in certain situations that come up at specific points in a multi-table tournament. Warning: Always remember that if you fold, you will not win the hand. Use this play with discretion.

Hand Ranges - This refers to the hands that your opponent might have in a given situation, based on information you have picked up along the way in the hand and in previous hands. This is actually really freaking hard to do, because most players keep their cards face down and covered with something, and there’s like 170 different hand combinations, I think. I’ll count them again if I ever get sober.

Inflection Points - These are pressure points at nerve clusters around the major joints of the arms and of the neck, which, when applied, can cause extreme pain in your opponents. This is good to get a call or a fold when you want one, though you should be aware that it will result in a substantial penalty.* Inflection points are pretty useless in online play.

Praying - This has been shown to have a salutary effect on the cards that come out on the flop. It is well known that all the best pros have mastered praying, though obviously Jesus Ferguson has an advantage. We’ll cover praying methods in detail, as well as whom to pray to if you want a good flop versus good starting cards or a good turn (Note: As Satan is known to control the river, praying is usually ineffective on this street).

Semi-Bluff - This is when you bluff by betting or raising the minimum to scare people out, usually when you’re holding nothing. It’s a good way to feel out your opponent, and try to “see where you are.” For example, say you are in a five-way pot and the flop comes AJQ, all spades. You are holding 74 of diamonds. You should consider betting the minimum of 200 into the 1,000 pot, to see if you can win it right there without risking too many chips.

Squeeze Play - This is what happens if you find yourself sitting in between a couple fat guys, which might cause you to squeeze forward, spilling your chips onto the table and past the betting line. If this happens to you, I recommend that you counter by being very skinny, a style that Daniel Negreanu and Allan Cunningham have all but mastered. If you haven’t mastered being skinny, try eating a lot of Subway sandwiches like that Jared guy. If that doesn’t work, kick that Jared guy in the shins for me. I’ll pay you five bucks (Note: No I won’t).

Nose plugs are also recommended when countering the squeeze, because those guys smell like your hockey bag. For reals, y’all.

Suckouts - This is what happens when you somehow lose when you have a great to slight statistical advantage. For example, you raise all in with JJ and get called by AK and lose. As my consigliore and noted poker authority Rakewell points out, “this is utter and complete garbage. I swear, it seems like I’m losing nearly half of those hands.”

Races - This is how you win chips. You get all in. You should try to “get the best of it” which means that you have the coolest sunglasses, and also the statistical advantage in the hand. (See also Suckouts). However, you shouldn’t worry about it too much, because even if you are “getting the worst of it” (which means you are behind statistically and also do not have a branded hoodie), you can still pull out a win (See also Variance).

Either way, you need to practice winning races. Winning races is what you do if you want to win those precious Loonies.

Variance - This is what happens when you win a pot when you have a great to slight statistical disadvantage. As my consigliore and noted poker authority Rakewell points out, “that’s poker.”

* Penalty not applicable for “Not Really A” General Phil Hellmuth Jr., though he will be warned very very very very very sternly, you can be quite sure of that.

[© 2008 Julius Goat. Cover Image by Mookie “Big O” Pokeroom]

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

What In The World Every Became Of Sweet Jane?

Hey, look at this, I'm in Truckin'. If you are astute you will find me among the tales below.

My story is about fate and time and other things. Click the links below to enjoy the fine writers in whose company I find myself and give it a shot. Hope you like it.

1. The Mollification the Foul Temptresses by Paul McGuire
The hookers at the Rio were a combination of famished vultures and parched vampires ready to pick apart any carcass. Any john. Any drunk. Anybody in their path. They were evil personified.... More

2. The Orchard by Joe Speaker
I reach for her hand, probing, touching it delicately. We don't form a fist when we come together, nothing like the taut intertwine of fingers you see lovers form, those Gordian knots, unwieldy like a stone fortress. Our fingers hang off each other's loosely, three of mine, two of hers, vice-versa, and they dangle. Spider webs in the wind. Tenuous connection... More

3. Hector by David Peterson
I remember clearly when the cops came and took Hector's mom away. He seemed rather nonplussed by the whole thing as we stood on the curb watching a bedraggled and wild-eyed woman being escorted from her home in cut-off jeans, a loose-fitting white tank top and handcuffs... More

4. Flight #22 to Denial by Sean A. Donahue
Her eyes were black as the night. Her black hair cascaded near her high cheekbones and tanned complexion. Her body wasn't made for sin but for pleasure, and the glasses she wore on her head framed her face perfectly. The only thing that didn't make sense was that it was raining over her head... More

5. Running it Twice by Andrew Moxon
There are, however, certain points of opportunity. Soft places in time, when the cockpit door comes open and we second-timers can take over. That's when things can change. Sometimes, every so often, we walk through that door and start flipping the switches... More

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Liveblogging the BBmT 001: With Liveblog You Get Liveblog

11:44 In record time, we're in the money!

We're down to the January three.

Mike Maloney

The busts went like this:

9. bdidde
8. dueyv9
7. smizmiatch (Gnome)
6. sellthekids
5. Pirate Lawyer
4. Julius_Goat

That's right, I bubbled my own tourney. KK fell to 78 and 66. I haven't seen the hh yet but I believe I came in 3rd. Crippled, I raced AQ vs. J8 and lost to the river Jack. What a gross way to go out. Be awhile washing the taste from my mouth. What's that? I had to beat Gnome in grody fashion to even get there? Um, shut yup. Yeah.

Regardless, this was a blast. Thanks one and all for playing!

Honestly, 23 runners was beyond my wildest expectations for this thing. Come back the first Sunday in April and we'll make some more bad decisions.

Oh I am just about to post and TBA is the winner! His A7 got all in pre vs. Numb's A2 and the better hand held.

Congratulations to TBA, the best of the bad bankroll managers and goat sucker.

Congratulations to NumbBono, who made some dough.

Congrats to Mike Maloney, who held on for some sweet scratch.

Congrats to everybody, even jec's dad for railing. Bad Bankroll, Every One!

11:31 We have a final table!

Gnome 19,00
NumbBono 37,100
Julius_Goat 8,800
twoblackaces 6,600
PirateLawyer 7,770
bdidde 7,200
sellthekids 13,400
Mike_Maloney 8,700
dueyv9 13,400

These chips counts were jumping as I called them. Who knows?

And bdidde out in 9th. We put his head on a pointed stick. WE'VE BECOME THE SAVAGES WE FEAR!!! THE MONSTER IS IN US!!!!

11:07 A moment of silence please, for the man, the myth, the points whore, Bayne_S.

Bayne S died of KQ one hand before the break. He is survived by AJ, AT, A9, and A8.

And at the break we are down to 11 runners.

1. Gnome 18,700
2. NumbBono 14,140
3. Julius_Goat 13,520
4. twoblackaces 12,000
5. katitude 11,800
6. PirateLawyer 10,770
7. bdidde 9,500
8. sellthekids 8,056
9. Mike_Maloney 8,020
10. duevv9 5,600
11. HighOnPoker 2,600

Good luck to all. I'm gonna PLAY now.

Which means I'm doomed.

10:56 You remember that episode of the Superfriends where they all died? That totally traumatized me.

In other news, Maigrey made a blind steal with a short stack T4 and had two live vs. Gnome's A8o. However, they didn't come to the party and now our Maigrey is as dead as Batman was in that episode.


GG Maigrey.

Gnome is chiplead and we are down to 12 as we approach the 2nd break.

10:52 Great luscious mashed potatoes, I am running out of food based colloquialisms! Ozzie boy jeciimd just busted with JQ vs. Gnomes' AJ.

Let's keep our shirts on here, people. I just put in my Red Bull IV and need this thing to last another hour at least.

10:50 Sweet fried biscuits, is this a turbo?? TripJax is out. QJ sooted didn't catch vs. 44, especially when NumbBono's pair made a set on the flop.

Thanks for playing, pally. I'll dump some Zima on the curb for ya.

10:46 Where have all the $mokkees gooooone? Well, I know where the one we know and love has gone. The rail. Poor dood just lost big when his straight got sucked out on as 2 pair became a boat. A few hands later he Keyser Sozed.

10:43 Yep. JoshM67 is out. JTo can't catch A8o. TBA takes the shorty's chips.

10:40 jeciimd just informed me that his dad is railing. Hi JEC's dad!

Also, I keep timing out while I am doing this. I'm taking a break until the next bust.

That ought to cause a bust.

10:36 nzgreen went out while I was on the phone. He pushed an OESD and a pp of nines. Kat tanked and finally called with the overpair of QQ. She clearly didn't like it with the flush draw filled, but that was a nonfactor and her hand . . . I am sensing a theme . . . held up.

nzgreen was crippled and went out the next hand. GG bub and thanks for playing.


10:25 LJ is gone, I didn't see how. My floor reporters tell me AJ vs. 88 and 88 held. A likely story. This is like Saving Private Ryan. We're all just meat.

And what's with the pocket pairs holding up tonight? Just another thing to look into, if you are less lazy than me.

10:18 They are dropping now. Blood on the floor. Hoy just raced AQ against Gnome's snowmen and the snowmen, they did not melt. Hoy is not Heat Miser.

Also, somebody gave Maigrey chips. She claims it was Daddy, who just railed. I don't approve of this. Can we get Callistri or Shamus on this?

10:13 Kat continues to clean up. She busts VinNay's A6 sooted with pocket nines and holds up.

FEAR THE KAT. AND THE IT. But especially, especially . .. FEAR THE UDE!

Oh also I bluffed Hoy.

10:11 Astin is dead. QQ into new chipleader dueyv9's aces. We cooked Astin in an orange port sauce and served him on a bed of wild rice with a spiced mango chutney. I have a picture of it here somewhere. Delicious.

GG Astin.

10:00Maigrey is leading out fierce to chip back up as we head to the break. She's played a nice shortstack and has pulled a few hundred more her way, inducing folds with big bets.

9:55 The Russian is cut! The Russian is cut! Katitude wins a pot over 8 grand when Maigrey runs 77 with a gutty into Kat's 88 and doesn't hit.

Maigrey is now bleeding though still holding enough chips to crawl back. Kat's in the proverbial Kat Bird Seat.

9:45 Spoke too soon. Julkeus is out. Ran his pocket sevens into maigrey's rockets and he is High Profile Movie That Did Comically Badly At the Box Office.

Good night, sweet Julkeus. May angels haste you to your rest.

9:43 Status quo poker around here. I'll be back after the break unless there is a big hand.

9:31 Julekus breaks his bad streak by extending Maigrey's. He has KK vs. her AK. Somehow the A never falls and he doubles.

9:26 PM EST.Maloney takes 2700 pot off Maigrey as they flop a pair of Aces each, but Maoney outkicks. Maigrey reps the obvious made straight with a big bet on the river, but Maloney calls.

"Figured you had quads," he says of the unpaired board, "but I was priced in."

Poker Princess holds her peace.

9:22 PM EST.I continue to run goot as Julekus bluffs into my Aces. Near a double up now. I likey.

I realize I'm only blogging me. I'm trying not to suck at this. I have new respect for livebloggers, this is like juggling live ferrets. I will focus on y'all now.

Julkeus is sitting on the dunk tank.

9:13 PM EST.WOOT, early chiplead. I have flush draw and open-ended vs. his top pair and I get there on the river. Donkeys always draw.

I'm going to brain my damage doing this liveblog.

9:09 PM EST.Some stuff has happened. Lots of action. Maigrey took a half decent pot off of hoyazo. At my starting table we have smizmiatch, Julkeus, Mike_Maloney, hoyazo, VinNay, katitude, maigrey and . . . oh yes, me.

9:00 PM EST.Cards in the air. We have 23 runners. Oh my sweet pickles.

8:58 PM EST.OK, we just got bidde and bayne_s and dueyv9 and Julkeus and nzgreen and sellthekids and VinNay on board. I'll link you in a sec but my God if you think I am doing a silly story for you last minute folk, than you think I am almost as stupid as I really am. Try to follow that sentence if you dare.

8:52 PM EST.Let's welcome JoshM67 and NumbBono to the tourney. These two guys are partners on the California Highway Patrol, but totally not in a gay way. At all. Seriously. Their favorite Zappa tune is Valley Girl. Josh, let me know your blog and I will link you.

8:48 PM EST. Let's all welcome maigrey to the tables. We're officially getting all old school up in this mug. Speaking of mugs, Maigrey is known to have a collection of over 5,700 mugs, all of them showing a different paragraph of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Her favorite Frank Zappa tune is Peaches en Regalia.

8:43 PM EST. Harassing Riggstad . . .

8:24 PM EST, Harassing Bayne . . .

8:18 PM EST. Forty-five minutes until the cards fly. Mike Maloney has just made a really bad bankroll decision, bringing the number of runners to 13. Will we crack 20? No. But maybe. Maloney is from Chicago, where he ran a political machine. It made politicians and political accessories. All day long he pushed a button, and out came politicians. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is What's The Ugliest Part of Your Body?.

5:03 PM EST You've waited. You've planned. You've anticipated. Now the day is finally here. Let's get this party started. And what's a party without my party people?

Where my party people at? Here my party people at:

Astin first came to prominence as a top apartchik to then-Kurgestanian Premier Yvgeni Bryvchevskevski. Responsible for keeping the top Slav's stoles from being stolen, Astin ran afoul of the Russian mob and had to pawn all the minks for safe transit to Reno, where he spends his retirement sculpting his boogers and playing triple draw for cigarettes. He's a jumpy chap, always worried that his filched furs will lead to revenge, Eastern-style. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama.

HighOnPoker is well known gorilla-wrestler, which means that he has incredibly strong hands. You can't pry chips out of them, even when you've won, sometimes. That's why it's best to hide bunches of bananas on your person to distract him at key decision points in a tournament. This guy is going to be the first gorilla-wrestler to cross over to straight up cage fighting, they say. So watch out! His favorite Frank Zappa tune is Nasal Retentive Calliope Music.

hoyazo at nineteen years old is the youngest of all BBmT participants, but his career has been studded with big wins, big losses, a trampling, five stabbings, and an overturned peanut cart. He's small but fast, and he's got lots of tricks. For example, his eyes can naturally shift into ultraviolet to see if you've marked the cards with invisible ink. He's a dandy fop who is given to wearing one-piece silk body stockings with top hats, but don't let that getup fool you. Under all that preening is a genuinely awful poker player. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is White Port Lemon Juice.

jeciimd seldom speaks, is seldom seen, seldom smelled, and is seldom found losing at anything. He's the poker equivalent of one of those weasels who won't let go of your foot until you've killed it and surgically removed the lower jaw. Those weasels don't exist, but never mind: jeciimd does. He eats a dozen eggs every morning in omelet form. He learned how to juggle using Ritz crackers. That's about all I know about him. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is The Chrome Plated Megaphone of Destiny.

Julius_Goat looks exactly like Hermey the Elf from the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer cartoon. He doesn't want to be a dentist, though. He wants to be a sandwich. A pastrami, preferably, though he'd also accept Philly cheesesteak. He's very capable of bluffing. In fact, he's ONLY capable of bluffing. There is a rumor going around that he has no brain, just a brain-stem. This rumor has not been discredited by His favorite Frank Zappa tune is Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?

has attended nearly 70% of the universities in the North American continent, and she is working on the rest. Maintaining her credits and transcripts keeps thirteen people and one Swede employed, leading her to receive a medal from the Obama administration in 2005. I tell you, those guys got started early. She is the winner of the Tennessee Valley Beehive Championship every single year since 2003, and she's driving all the ladies from St. Louis to Wilmington insane trying to figure out how she does it without any pins at all. In strictest confidence she told me the secret. It's three parts peanut butter and one part axle grease. Don't trust me with your secrets, is what I'm saying. Her favorite Frank Zappa tune is Weasels Ripped My Flesh.

Pirate Lawyer is my grandpa. He's over 83 years old, but he's never played a hand of poker in his life. You'll probably be able to tell, because he plans on mentioning this fact every time he raises. "Classic misdirection!" he cackled at me from the Macon, GA nursing home I drove him to last summer. He was gumming some creamed corn at the time, and the only tooth in his head was the Bluetooth he used to call me. He asked me for some advice, and I told him that you need to raise either 2x the big blind or 90x the big blind. Nothing in between. Little known fact: Pirate Lawyer played the Krakken in the 1981 classic "The Clash of the Titans." His favorite Frank Zappa song is Who Needs The Peace Corps?

pvanharibo invented the little card that explains what beats what in poker. What you don't know is that she included some subtle errors in there, like saying a straight beats a flush and that top pair beats everything. She's since used the misinformation to make a pretty penny, and let's face it, this explains what you see online more than anything else I can come up with. In her spare time, pvanhairbo sneaks into people's homes and magnetizes their silverware. Her favorite Frank Zappa song is Rudy Wants To Buy Yez A Drink.

smizmiatch is an amnesiac who fell in with a bad crowd. He now steals identities, and has in fact stolen his own identity a couple of times. It's either sad or hilarious or bittersweet, depending on who winds up directing and starring in the movie. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is Didja Get Any Onya?

smokkee is THE king of the electric slide. He didn't invent it, but he perfected it. We're still dealing with what he was able to accomplish at the Spencer wedding on June 11, 1997. That would be enough for most, but not enough for smokkee, who has taken his focus and drive and put it all into hubcap competition. Now, there isn't any kind of competition on any level or of any sort involving hubcaps, but don't tell smokkee that! It will just make him MORE determined. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is Hot Poop.

Tripjax steals things. He turns them into art. He's a little girl. He never learned to read. He tried to molest Evel Knieval when they were both teens. He can fit salad tongs up his nose. He works harder than anybody you'll ever meet, and dumber too. It can take him seven hours to empty the dishwasher, and he's dripping with sweat when he's done. He can whistle orchestrally. He wears suspenders on his jockey shorts. His favorite Frank Zappa Tune is Nanook Rubs It.

is worth more than seven million dollars, but it's all tied up in farm equipment, which makes buying into the big games in Vegas tricky. You have to find a fence who deals in fencing, and that's the worst pun you're getting out of me tonight. That notwithstanding, twoblackaces was the little-known fifth member of Boyz II Men, the one who would always say "Girl" real breathlessly in the filler of every song. His real name is Fraidy Moskovitz. His favorite Frank Zappa tune is Watermelon in Easter Hay.

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Saturday, January 3, 2009

One Last Time For The Queen!

OK, normally I wouldn't do this, but I have to point something out to you:

You see that circled part? Do you? That's the maximum allowable entrants into the Bad Bankroll Management Tournament tomorrow at nine (password: busto). As you can see, there are only 892 spots left. Honestly, how can you take the chance that you will be left out of the party? Imagine it, all of us inside, swilling my cheap hooch and laughing as we sling chips hither and yon (mostly yon). You, outside, your filthy urchin nose pressed against the windowpane, the woolen hat the orphanage gave you the day they "retired" you onto the streets getting sodden in the rain, the hunger gnawing as your wide little Tiny Tim eyes well with tears.


So, don't miss out. The choice is clearly up to you.

It should also be mentioned that, every time you promote this tournament using the banner above or the one developed by the illustrious Jordan of High On Poker, a donkey fails to hit their 2 outer. It's provable.

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Jan. 4, 2009
$50 + $5
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto