Tuesday, March 31, 2009

MTT Strategy: Check-Calling Light For Value During Silly Time

I have had some good runs lately at my small stakes. Took down a 180 SNG on Stars and final tabled a $2 1R + 1A this week. So, once again, I am going to impart my ass-vice on how to play as good as me. Here we go.

1) Suck out a lot. For example, if you have JT on a Jxx rainbow board and you shove into Aces, be sure to let running tens hit the board. Also, if you call a min re-raise to your 3x raise steal attempt and you are holding 43 hearts, make sure that the board comes J33 to crack Aces. Honestly, this is easy sauce. Not sure why everybody on real money poker sites don't do this.

2) Here's a trick I've found that seems to help maximize value in a very specific period of the tournament know as crazy time (also shove time). This is when the blinds have raised and outstripped the stack sizes. In other words, there are too many people in the tourney now to support how high the blinds and antes are, and the average stack size is therefore very small relative to the starting pot.

At this point, I make a few observations.

1) People will be raising light to steal;

2) People will be calling light to try to hit; and

3) (This is the big one) People will shove to win with any cards on any flop if you give them the chance.

This means that in this specific set of circumstances, you'd do well to call if you close out the action (as against a single raiser in the big blind); and are ideally up against just one person. In this case you can play it pretty much like heads up against an aggro donk.

So, if in position, you should probably be willing to go check check with top pair flopped to try to induce the turn push, and call open shoves on the flop if you have even middle pair.

Out of position (which I am if I am calling min bets or 2.5x from the big blind), I like to check if I have hit the board at all. 90% of the time I am getting the shove from a hand that has missed.

Now, of course, sometimes I'm up against the high pair or the guy who hit the board better than me, and I look dumb. In that case I pay them off, or maybe I suck out (see #1 above). But often, even if I lose the pot I am still alive. I think that one reason is that I am using crazy time to maximize my winnings on top pair crap kicker or worse.

What are your thoughts on the check-call for value?


Julius_Goat is a MTT player who has never won an MTT. He writes strategy posts.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

I had it all planned out. One of the craziest clips ever. Then it got taken down, though the site says it will roll out on YouTube in a couple months. That's great, but it left me without my pre-planned crazy.

Luckily for me, there is William Shatner:




But does Loblow's have a law blog?

And, since I am in the neighborhood, let's all watch Star Trek: Cribs, again, shall we? This is funny wrapped in a hilarious tortilla and garnished with Roffle.



Scott-AY! Bringin' tha POWER!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Donkeys, Donkeys, Everywhere, And Not A Drop To Drink

More Donkavatar action:

___________________

Name: Breeze81

Blog: http://www.midwestdonkeys.com/

Classification: Less-popular green donkey, but at least he never did that Parallax nonsense. Seriously, what was that all about?

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\34

Image Title: 2.png
___________________

Name: Snuffy

Blog: http://corporationpoker.blogspot.com/

Classification: Donkeyuppagus that only Big Bird could see until the early 90s.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\11

Image Title: 3.png

___________________

Name: BLAARGH!

Blog: http://pokerblaargh.blogspot.com

Classification: Digests all donkeys with his 17 stomachs. PLEAD FOR MERCY!

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\15

Image Title: 1.png

___________________

Name: ScottMC

Blog: http://scottmcpoker.blogspot.com/

Classification: Death-dealing hate-loving donkey.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\71

Image Title: 2.png

___________________

Name: Pebbles

Classification: Donkeystone in Bedrock.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\55

Image Title: 3.png

___________________

Don't delay, get yours today.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

LOST 032: Que Jarrah, Jarrah, Whatever Will Be, Will Be


Ouch. When faced with that classic question of Philosophy 101 classes everywhere, "if you could travel back in time, would you kill Hitler as a still-innocent baby?", Sayid's answer is, "Uh, hell to the YES with hot sauce on top, but I'd rather shoot Hitler in the chest when he's an abused twelve-year-old, please." (Now my follow-up question is, "would you still kill Baby Hitler if the only way to kill him was to club him to death using Baby Gandhi?" remains unanswered, by Sayid at least.)

No theories. No analytic exercises. Merely a moment of silence. Sayid just broke the space/time continuum.

Now that we're past that, here's some theories and analytic exercises . . .


L O S T


Big Question 1

Holy crap on a bun! Ben just got shot right in his chesticle! So he can't do those Ben things that he's done so well for three and a half seasons! Doesn't that change everything?

Answer 1: Li'l Ben isn't dead, and he won't die from this. He is only mostly dead, which is still partly alive. This is far and away the most likely scenario -- remember, Faraday has already set up the idea that you can't change anything, so if you do something, it aleady happened anyway. Also, we have seen people recover from worse. Examples include Jin, who is immune to explosions and the actor playing him getting a DUI, both of which have (up to this point) been lethal, and John Locke, who is one exit wound away from the complete set.

Answer 2: Yep. Everything's changed. Time has been altered. Nothing means anything. I have no idea what happens next. Ice cream will taste like fish. Nickelback will be good. Human sacrifice, dogs and cats, living together . . . mass hysteria.


Big Question 2

So now what? What are these 2007 islanders doing back on the island? What was the big honking deal anyway? They didn't stop the time shifts. They certainly haven't saved anybody. There don't seem to be any friends in dire need of saving. The arrow attack took out the last of the redshirts. So what happens now?

Answer 1: I have no idea.

Answer 2: I have no idea.

Answer 3: Well, here's one idea. The sixers have to come back because they have to come back. They were on the island in 1977. They always were. In the timeline in which they and everybody has always lived, the one that we've been watching, which started for us with the Oceanic crash, that timeline has included these people. They belong there right now. Sayid needed to be there so he could shoot Ben, which has always happened just as we saw it. The Ben we know and love, the one we first saw dangling in a net, who in his very first episode was captured by Rousseau and tortured by Sayid . . . that guy remembered being twelve, and he remembered Sayid, and he remembered bringing him sandwiches, and he remembered being shot. That is the level of information that Ben has been working with from the beginning. He knows these people well, and he knows what they have done, for good and for ill, to himself and to others. This might explain why and how Ben can be so cold. It might explain some of his treatment of these characters.

So it's not a case of the sixers going back to save anybody, or to change something that happened. They are going back to preserve what already happened.

As to what happens next? For the first time in a long time, I don't have a clue where this story might be going, and I love it. There are so many directions that this can spin out now. I think the final stretch starts to take shape as of right now. Until now, we've been watching the pieces fall into place to get to this moment, and we've been experiencing bits of the story all across a very fractured timeline. In a very real way, we have been like Ben and Richard and other characters who knew the 2007 people back in the 70s and earlier, waiting for the future to arrive. However, what it has meant practically for us as viewers is that there have been a great number of things that we know will happen in the future (because we've seen those future scenes in earlier episodes), and we've been enjoying watching the show catch up to those future actions and show us how we got there, and now, after years of waiting for things we know are coming, we've come to a wide open place where we don't know what is coming, at all. If you think about it, every episode we've seen from the beginning has served to set up this scenario, and now we get to watch the payoff.

Awesome.


It's completely silly to make predictions, so here are a few:

1) A major character will die this season. This is necessary simply to up the stakes. I'm on the record as guessing that it is Sawyer, though my pre-season premonition was Sayid. The latter is looking far more likely these days, but you just know how Lost likes to pull out the rug.

2) We'll understand a whole lot more about the nature of the Others and Richard and the relationship between them and the Dharma Initiative before the season is over. This is pretty much a necessary aspect to any completion of the larger Lost story. It just makes sense to me that this would be laid out before the climactic final season of the show.

3) We'll see Claire again. Yeah, I went back and checked out that shot of . . . someone . . . over Sun's shoulder. I presume that it was either Claire or a technical glitch. If the former, then we are in for . . .

4) A long overdue explanation (or, more likely, a series of provocative hints) regarding the spirit activity on the island. Another major element that we'll need to understand for any satisfactory conclusion to the story. At the back of this question, I think, lies the question of Jacob. What he is, who he is (psst! Locke!).

5) We'll see Walt again: Some sunny day.

6) Juliet is right. Her Dharma life with Sawyer is D-U-N done. It is simply unsustainable to have so many people on-island who have little to no interest in full-time Dharma life, especially with Sayid totally off the reservation. The choice is coming soon for Miles and Juliet and Sawyer -- do they betray their old friends to preserve their new life, or do they go on the run through the jungle in search of smoke monsters and time machines and ageless ghost people? If you are wondering which way it will go, just ask yourself which would make the better story.

By the way, here's something that has bothered me since the "LaFleur" episode: Why would Sawyer and Juliet not join the so-called "Hostiles"? Sawyer clearly intrigued him. Juliet knows Richard; from what we have seen, she is in his group. He recruited her, for crying out loud! Honestly. Is there any compelling reason that she and Sawyer wouldn't be able to talk their way into the "hostile" camp, in which at least one of them would know at least a few of the people, instead of the one where they have to live a lie every single hour of the day, to say nothing of the one that they know is due for a gassy purge and a big ol' death pit? At first I figured that our guys were in cahoots with Richard and just undercover in Dharma, but the dialogue has made it clear that that isn't the case.

This may become clear when we understand more about Richard and his group. But for now it is simply baffling.

Anyway, my guess is that Rose and Bernard and probably Daniel are now with Richard's group. Sayid may be heading that way now.


Random Thoughts and Quibbles on the Episode

* In the big "How Do You Solve A Problem Like A Hostile?" vote, where was Pierre Chang? Isn't he a big shooter in Dharma? I mean, the "shoot Sayid" star council doesn't include him? He's not brought in on all this? We may get an explanation some day, but right now I say a rare case of sloppy storytelling.

* Did somebody say Ann Arbor? Is this whole thing being run out of Ann Arbor??? Ridiculous. If they controlled time, they'd have stopped Webber from calling time-out. I need closure on this.

* Damn, LaFleur. I've heard of giving in to peer pressure, but that was ridiculous. Is this how it is in the U.S. Senate also? At least you partially redeemed your spineless vote by trying to let Sayid escape.

* Was Sayid planning to kill Ben all along? If so, why not snap his neck immediately? We know the guy is capable. See: the chicken. See also: that Other that he killed with his crazy-legs.

* I was getting serious Eko vibes from the opening scene, where Sayid kills to spare his brother. Let's say the Sayid death pool just gained value.

* What on earth did Ben do that convinced Sayid that he was being used and abused? I hope it wasn't that (I think) Ukrainian scene where Ben gives him the "good soldier, mission accomplished" dustoff. I don't have a problem with Sayid thinking that Ben is bad sauce, that's a fairly valid statement (though genocide seems a bridge too far -- I'd pick "mass murder" for the win, Pat), I just want to see the moment when he realizes, and understand why he realizes it so strongly. A visit from Charles Widmore, perhaps? One which convinced Sayid that Widmore was not behind any of the badness, or at least not much of it? If this is the end of it . . . well, then, I must say, "weak, Lost writers. Weak." Hopefully there is something more.

* Still, I find it interesting that Sayid still did go and kill the guy who was staking out Hurley, just like Ben wanted. Better safe than sorry? Easily impressionable? I don't know, but my wife did enjoy seeing Sayid in a toolbelt.

* Oldham is creepy. Still, he's not torturer, as far as I can see. That said, the scene where Sayid starts spewing the unbelievable truth was seventeen shades of awesome. Props again to Naveen Andrews, who along with Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn have provided the most consistent acting excellence (though Matthew Fox and Josh Holloway certainly have stepped up their game in recent years).

* Three years we had no burning buses. You all are here for one day . . . "

L O S T

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 008

Goodness gracious.

Do you realize? Are you even aware? THERE ARE ONLY TEN MORE DAYS UNTIL THE BBmT, YOU SLOTHFUL FOOOOOOOLS!!!

I know for a fact that it takes some of you that long just to type your name, much less open the Full Tilt server and type in the password (busto).

And, in keeping with a promotion of a totally silly tournament, I present you with yet another totally silly reason to toss fifty smackers into the shredder.

This week's reason to play? Once again, your own custom BBmT champion Donkavatar. This can be all yours is you win:

A poorly-imaged ripoff of the FTOPS jersey, visible to you and the literally fives of people who download and view avatars through the BayneGoat production Donkavatar? I'll add it to a new Donkavatar or to your existing one. Either way. I don't care. Do you think I do? Well. I don't.

That's right, Peggy Sue. Imagine (if you dare) the bragging rights this baby will fetch you in blogger tournies. Two Black Aces won the inaugural event, and just ask him what that virtual jersey did for his self-esteem and table image.

Get going already!

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, Apr. 5, 2009

21:00 EST
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Yet More Donkavatar: Lady Is A Donk

The queue is nearly empty. Sign up! Sign up!



**************

Name: Katitude

Blog: http://katitude.ca/

Classification: Donkey with attitude.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\31

Image Title: 3.png

**************

Name: Joanada

Blog: http://joanne1111.blogspot.com/

Classification: Blonde-haired Candadian white devil. Donkey.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\28

Image Title: 1.png

The Goatttt Challenge: Terms Are Set

Well, Mr. Craig, you did it. You incapacitated me with your cowardice. Also, you blinded me (yes, that's me pictured at right) with science, but that’s not important right now. I came to you in good faith, offering you 3:1 money at micro stakes, and what do you do? What, I ask? What?

No seriously, what? It’s been nearly three weeks since I fell to the floor in shocked disbelief at your craven and scurrulous response. Let’s see, let’s see . . .

Oh. Right. That.

So, you don’t fancy actually playing for money, and think you can hide by claiming you don’t need my filthy lucre, eh, Mr. Craig? You’d rather have a YouTube vid or photograph of me eating something awful? And not only that, but you have to invent a female “assistant” to answer me. I call shenanigans on your so-called Gal Friday, sir. That’s right, I said it. Shenanigans!

Let’s face it, Mr. Craig, if you can’t afford my offer, you certainly can’t afford to pay the kind of money it would take to get one of the fairer sex to interact with you on a semi-regular basis, even over the Internet.

Furthermore, you couch your response in legal blather. Really sir? Legal talk? I thought we were poker players, not degenerates.

But very well, I am as flexible as I am magnanimous as I am good at poker stuff as I am at writerly sentences that are concise and easy to read without run-ons or dangling participles which I hate and besides I am also taller than you.

I will accept your terms, with the following provisos.

[The rest of this article can be read at Poker From the Rail. Go give it love! Feed it links and clicks!]

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Donkavatar: Take Two, They're Small

A new batch of donkey images just went up!

____________________________________

Name: SmBoatDrinks

Blog: http://smboatdrinks.blogspot.com/

Classification: Randomly abbrev. donkey.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\24

Image Title: 3.png

____________________________________

Name: Buddy Dank

Blog: http://www.buddydank.com/

Classification: Radio Free Donkey.

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\22

Image Title: 2.png
____________________________________

Name: NY Rambler

Blog: http://nyramblerpoker.blogspot.com/

Classification: Honkey creamer donkey (also gopher).

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\37

Image Title: 2.png
____________________________________

Name: NumbBono

Blog: http://www.donkeysdraw.com/

Classification: U2-worshipping donkey (redundant).

Instructions: Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\29

Image Title: 3.png
____________________________________

Name: jamyhawk

Blog: http://jamyhawk.blogspot.com/

Classification:
Uppercutting sports-mascot, cowboy-folding donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\41

Image Title: 2.png
____________________________________

Friday, March 20, 2009

The New Donkey Quiz

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.


* * * * *

So, I was scouring through the poker-net, and I came across a new version of that Donkey Quiz that was popular a few years back. Remember that thing? It’s a pretty good little quiz, and creates what I consider to be a fairly strong profile of your poker game. I, for example, scored in the 98th percentile for excellence the seventh time I took it.

Well, somebody has created a new one, and I have been allowed to reproduce a section of it here for your edification. Enjoy!

Situation 1:

You are at a $5 / $10 NL full ring game in 5th position with $200 in front of you. You hold AsKs. You raise it to $30 and the button calls with $80 left behind.
The flop comes JdQdTh, and you push all-in. The button calls and shows 6d2d. The flush fills on the turn and the button scoops the pot, saying, “I had to call, I had 15 outs twice.”

You say:

A. “You couldn’t possibly have considered the sixes and twos were outs, you utter nimrod! And nice call before the flop with total rags! Do you realize how bad you just played? I’m seriously considering having you euthanized. I’m pretty sure that’s legal in Vegas. And for crying out LOUD, you are NOT priced in there for a flush draw!”

B. “Calling pre with 62 is losing poker every time, chucklehead. You’re going to go broke in the long run, I promise.”

C. Nothing.

D. “Yeah.”

E. “You have scorned me. Never be alone, for once you are, I will exact a terrible revenge.”


Situation 2:

You are in a large-field MTT with a slightly above-average chip stack of 23,870. Blinds are 750/1500 and the antes are 100. On the button, you are dealt Js5d. Action folds to the cutoff, who pushes all-in for a little over 4200.
You call and he shows AcQc. You catch a Jack and he is eliminated from the tournament. On the way out he mutters, “I can’t believe I wait three hours for a decent hand and lose to this jackass who can’t fold Jack high.”

You say:

A. “Don’t you understand anything about tournament poker or pot odds? You weren’t even twice the starting pot. I’d have had to call you with deuce three, bro. Anybody who can fold any hand there shouldn’t be playing poker. Go learn about what M is and then we’ll see who the jackass is, OK?”

B. “Right. I’m like 3:1 at best against any random hand but I should have found a fold getting even odds. I totally should have put you on Aces.”

C. Nothing.

D. “Yeah, sorry. That was a terrible beat. I don’t know what I was thinking.”

E. “My pet vipers will feast on your dead eyes.”


Situation 3:

In the first five minutes of a large online guaranteed poker tournament on Full Tilt, the player to your right has gone all-in six times.

In the big blind, you find 88. When he pushes all-in, you call and he shows K3. He doesn’t improve and you double up.

He types:

“Donky. LOL call allin with eights.”

You write back.

A. “I would have called you looser than that with all that shoving. Do you realize what table image is? I’m surprised you were holding as good as a naked King. If you push in again and again and again, somebody is going to look you up you duck ^@#!#@.”

B. “Your an idiot if you think anybody here gave you credit for a hand. Think about it.”

C. Nothing.

D. “Wanted to gamboool, srry.”

E. “I am as pitiless as I am powerful. You will beg for years for a mercy that will never come.”


Situation 4:

A full ring online $1/$2 PLO cash game. You are dealt JdTd8c9c and make a pot-sized raise. Two players call and see a flop of:

8d7dAc

You check and the first caller makes a pot-sized bet. The second caller folds, and you re-raise. Your opponent reraises all-in and you call. The turn is the 2s and the river is the 3s. You opponent shows QhQs4d3h and takes the pot.

You type:

A. “OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. OMG. You thought QUEENS were worth all the chips there? Do you realize how many outs you had to dodge? Did you CONSIDER for even a MOMENT I might have the Ace? ARE YOU AWARE OF WHAT A DOG YOU WERE IN THAT HAND??? OMG. How did you win? An overpair is NOTHING in PLO, NOTHING. I had seven hundred thousand outs and you just STUMBLE into the pot like you’re FORREST $*&^@Q^@( GUMP????? Stop playing PLO. Stop right now! Just stop! Just stop! AAAAAAAEEEEEEIEEEEEEIIIII!!!!!”

B. “You’re going to be a big loser at PLO if you keep overplaying those pocket pair as if this were hold ‘em, buddy.”

C. Nothing.

D. “Wait, why did I get four cards?”

E. “Soon I will rule the universe, and you and your entire family will be my cattle, you swine.”


* * * * * * * * * * * *

END OF DONKEY QUIZ

SCROLL DOWN FOR SCORING INSTRUCTIONS


* * * * * * * * * * * *

SCORING

OK, give yourself 4 points for every “A” answer, 3 points for every “B” answer, 2 points for every “C” answer, 1 point for every “D” answer, and 0 points for every “E” answer.

Then, add them up. Use a calculator if necessary.

* * * * * * * *

RESULTS

20 - 16. You have displayed your mastery of poker concepts, both basic and advanced, to the entire table, correctly informing all of your opponents of the proper move to make in all circumstances that have arisen. Most players at your table are likely improved as a result of your tutelage. You are a total donkey.

15-11. You occasionaly misplay in tough spots, but are sound in the basics of the game and have made sure that anybody worse than you know it. Also, you’ve revealed more subtle and exploitable deficiencies in your play to the stronger players at the table. You are a total donkey.

10-6. You are a tough one to read. You are either a cagey player who is happy to sow the seeds of misinformation in order to give yourself an edge, ore else you are a total donkey. Oh what the hell, You are a total donkey.

5-0. You are Skelator. Or possibly Lex Luthor.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

LOST 031: Time Keeps On Slipping Slipping Slipping

You see it, right? The reason that Sun didn't flash back with the rest of the Ajira crew to the seventies? I think it's pretty clear why Ben didn't; he is already on-island in the seventies as a boy. So what does that say about Sun? Do you remember the baby we saw at the beginning of this season, being fed early in the morning by Dharma training-video curmudgeon Marvin Candle? I think Sun was on-island as a baby.

And hey! So was Ethan! Ethan and Sun, playing together in the sandbox with Charlotte. Maybe Ben babysat the little ones when all the parents went out for a nice relaxing night of "coverall swap", submarine rides, and folk music, and and then sat in a chair, watching them with creepy, creepy eyes, and petting a red eyed rabbit.

Or perhaps not. Either way, I think Sun was that baby, and that's why she's in 2007 braining Ben with a shovel instead of chilling in the seventies with a phat box of Dharma wine. So, what does that say about Locke? I guess we've seen enough of his childhood and younger life to know that he wasn't on the island in the seventies, as much as Alpert was trying to get him there. What is his nature? How does he relate to the island's unique time/space positioning. I'm guessing that he is like the other guy who came back to life on the island after arriving in a coffin, creepy-ass, drunken-sot, door-blowing-open-to-maximize-tension, Christian Shepherd. We'll see.

Note how subtly this episode laid the table for the upcoming major conflict, which seems more and more likely to happen in the past as the future. Questions that previously seemed only to be side-issues to fill in the island back story are now front-and-center. Questions like . . . What is the nature of the conflict between the Others/"hostiles"/Alpertians/Jacobians and the Dharma Initiative? This really seems to be the "hub" question now, even more so than the motivations of Ben Linus and Charles Widmore. It seems to be the central conflict. Science vs. Faith, yet again.

Who is behind the Dharma initiative? We have compelling evidence that it is Widmore, particularly:

1) The Dharma logos on the freighter instruction books. This is really the most compelling direct evidence.

2) The fact that Widmore claims that it was Ben that "tricked" him off the island. This indicates that Widmore was on-island until at least the eighties, and even then Ben would have been a kid when he tricked Widmore off the island. In any event, during Ben's stay on the island, the "hostiles" are pretty obviously led by Richard. Most likely scenario: either Widmore's lying about all of it or he's behind Dharma, which he sees as part of the "Others" in some way, and is only committing lies of omission or limited perspective.

However, we haven't seen Widmore evident on-island during the Dharma years. So. What the hell IS the Dharma initiative? What do we know about them? Here are a few pertinent details.

1) They run (and presumably built) the hatches. Arrow. Looking Glass. Tempest. Pearl. Staff. Flame. Orchid. Swan. There are other ones too, but my head hurts so let's move on.

2) They have an off island hatch, the Looking Glass, which scries the location of the island. It is run by Eloise, who is using as her operative . . . Ben. Meanwhile, Charles has Eloise's address. So . . Eloise is Dharma also? Then is Ben Dharma? It seems clear that this is a more convoluted org. chart than previously guessed.

3) Back to the hatches. Orchid is interesting, since it seems to be a big dig around the already-existing donkey wheel. The Dharma initiative is attempting time travel . . . why?

Swan is VERY interesting now, because, though built in the late 70s at the earliest, it pretty clearly houses the Jughead bomb. The Jughead bomb which was buried. The Jughead bomb which was buried in the 50s. . . by the Others, aka "hostiles." This is to my way of thinking the most direct evidence we have that the "hostiles" and the Dharma initiative are, in fact, split factions of the same group. Why else would they be managing this bomb? Did the Dharma initiative initially start as a project of Alpert and the Others to manage this bomb, with Charles in Charge? Did Charles eventually get too big for his britches and fight a war against heaven? Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

But it was a single detail in this episode that brought the Swan in particular front and center again. Actually, a single name.

4) Radzinsky. The guy with the Paul Giamatti head and the bad attitude who was building a model of . . . the Swan. And he doesn't want any hostiles seeing it, either.

Let's all pause a moment and pour some Old English 800 on the curb for Radzinsky, perhaps the last surviving member of the Dharma Initiative. This is the guy who was in the Swan hatch who trained Kelvin in the button-pushery, hatchy ways. Kelvin is the guy who trained Desmond in the same, and told us what we knew about Radzinsky. Specifically, that Radzinsky drew that glow-in-the-dark map of the island that Locke found in Season 2, and that Radzinsky finally left his brains on the ceiling of the Swan one fine summer day.

Also, this means that either Dharma was permitted to continue operating the Swan post-purge for some reason, or else that the hostiles continued to operate the Swan post-purge, but to continue the ruse that it was a part of the Dharma initiative. This second seems half-likely, since the hostiles would want to "replace" Radzinsky but might need to get his trust. We'll stay tuned . . .

Interesting as a grace note that Radzinsky, the probable actual last survivor of Dharma, was apparently the keeper of the Flame station in Dharma days, and that when we first saw the Flame, it was being minded by Mikhail, who claimed to be the last survivor of Dharma.

I just love how they slip so many backstories in through the side door.

Other Notes

* "I've got to figure out a way to bring them in before they screw up everything we got here." That's Sawyer, making it clear that his heart and his lfe are now ultimately with the island and with Dharma. We don't know where his loyalties will go if the chips are all the way down, but we can't count on it being with his old Oceanic buddies at all.

* That random door blowing open in the deserted Dharma town was one of my favorite Lost moments ever. It may have greater meaning, it may have just been a little suspense-building flourish. Either way, creeeeepy.

* I think the actors playing Jack, Kate, Hurley and Said did a very nice job of subtly showing how deeply weird it is for Sawyer to be in authority . . . in the Dharma Initiative . . . in 1977, and ALSO how relatively immune they have gotten to even the weirdest of occurrences that they are basically able to just roll with it.

* I actually think Jack is relieved to not be calling the shots. After Sawyer's soul-crushing (and honest) assessment of Jack's leadership skills, I didn't notice much of the old Jarcasm and defensiveness. It flared up for a second ("I got them off the island!") but then he just backed right down. And why not, because . . . what ARE they supposed to do? Jack thought he was charging back to SAVE the left-behinders. They don't really need saving, so . . . what are they back for, anyway? Why, to participate in the big war that happens in the past, of course.

* Faraday is off the reservation. Wonder what poor ol' Faraday did down in the Orchid dig, anyway? I bet our boy joined the "hostiles." And I reckon that Sayid is likely to do the same, since there's no way he can pass for somebody just off the boat.

* Thank GOD Hurley brought up the fact that the entire Dharma initiative gets killed and dumped in a pit. I'm OK with Sawyer not really knowing what the hell to do with that information -- after all, he is a roll-with-the-punches kind of guy -- but they had to at least acknowledge it. It seems this show is getting a lot better at bringing these sorts of things up without letting exposition and rehash get in the way of the action. And with all the hippy-dippyness, along with the fact that they have a picnic and punch (!), and they are on an island, and they all end up poisoned and laying around in piles of corpses . . . the Jonestown parallels just couldn't be more obvious, no?

* Have Frank and Ben ever met? I don't remember that. I guess Franks knows of Ben, though. OK, I'll move on.

* "I'm sorry for the mix up. I'm Juliet. Keep your filthy dad-killing Aaron-stealing freckleface paws off my man, or I'll 'lose' your paperwork again.."

* Sun has figured out how to handle Ben. Do what he does. Act like you trust him, wait for him to give you some of his plan, as much information as you can get, then when his guard is down, hit him in the brain with an oar. So awesome. So, so, so, so awesome. I like Sun 250% more now.

ETA: Tip of the hat to Hoy for helping realize that Sun is probably the baby at the beginning of the season, and why.

Also: A quick prediction I meant to shove in here. A major character will die. And it will be Sawyer. I don't read spoilers at all, so don't take this as anything but my guess. However, we haven't had a major character death since Charlie in Season 3 (Jin is explosion proof), and the show is going to need to up the stakes. Meanwhile, Sawyer's fought and won against his personal demons, he's achieved a large amount of inner strength and peace, and he's grown into the person he always had the potential to be. He's toast. He's toast the most.


Now . . . when are the rest of the Arija crew?

L O S T

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Flogging My Silly Bloggament 007: An Actual Reason

Just a reminder to each and every one of you out there that the time is rapidly approaching. What time, you ask? Why, the time to make a truly awful bankroll decision, of course! Just think, if you play in this, you may not be able to afford a Big Game further down the road. And THAT one actually has a TOC seat riding on the line. This one? Meh, not so much. Just pure donkery.

Anyway, I won't belabor the total lack of BBT4 points available, the high buyin, the fast structure that makes a mockery of the superstacks, the BBmT champion Donkavatar jersey, the fact that you'll be "treated" to another one of my rambling liveblogs, or any of the rest of it.

Today my reason to sign up for the BBmT is a real one: Signing up early is the only way to ensure that I write up a totally slanderous bio of you in the liveblog. That's right, liveblogging while playing is a contact sport, and once the tourny got going in earnest, I was hard-pressed to come up with gems such as this one:

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.


and instead was relegated to sad little nonsense like this:

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.


Terrible. So don't let that happen to you. Sign up early, sign up often (you know, if you multi-account).

Also, look! Maigrey came and played last time! Come on, how cool was that? Get in there!
_______________________

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, April 5, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Monday, March 16, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

From The Extremely Dangerous Book For Boys.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Supposedly Fun Thing That I'll Absolutely Do Again

The table was as congenitally loose as Rodney Dangerfield's necktie, so I tell ya, nobody's raise got no respect. A few minutes earlier, the guy in his fifties with a thick Slavic accent and a face as gray and flat as the Berlin Wall had dropped his last buyin calling off 20 big blinds, all-in, with Ace three unimproved and no draws . . . on the turn. "I had to do that," he said. "I had to do that. I had to do that, I had to do that." It wasn't clear to me if he meant that he felt that it was a mandatory play strategically, or if he meant that the talking ghost ferrets that live in his shoes had told him to call, and he simply had no choice. In any event, he was looking for an absolution that he wouldn't receive. "I had to do that," he said, and then the crowd swallowed him up and he was gone.

Here's something you might not know about me: I've never played live poker before, ever, aside from occasional home games. But against random strangers in a B&M environment? Never. Nothing. Nada. Really. And I know, I know, with the powerful passive-aggressive game I bring, it's surprising. But I've never done this poker thing in real life.

Until last Monday, that is.

I've been many places. To the rain forests of the Congo and the chicken and waffle houses of the Indiana planes, the top of the Eiffel Tower and the bowels of the Louvre, the birthplace of O Henry and the deck of the Queen Mary . . . but I'd never been to the Commerce in LA.

Until (once again) last Monday, that is.

Shoving gets respect if you always fold. "Nice Ace-King there," the nine seat says, mucking. I just smile and stack my chips.

"That's what you had, right?"

I'd had Ace-nine off, but I don't say that. Instead I say: "Yes, but what suit?"

"Clubs."

"Wrong, spades. Your reads are awful, man. Just awful."

I was on business in LA, and it suddenly occurred to me that I was in range of many poker rooms. I texted Riggs on a whim: "What is the best poker room in LA?"

In case you've never met him, Riggs is famous (and by "famous", I mean I've noticed it once or twice) for texting back very quickly, mainly because he is stingy with the words. This one was no exception:

"Commerce."

So, Commerce it was. I went with two of my colleagues, one of whom was my ride, and neither of whom was a poker player. Now, what I didn't ask Riggs was this: "What is the nicest poker room in LA?" We thought we'd get a meal there, and technically we did. The place smelled of something impossible to identify but not particularly savory, and this fusty fug followed us like a sad little puppy into the restaurant. The swordfish sandwich was suspect, but I ate it. I was going to war, after all.

"Oh man," says the kid in the eight. He has a more than passing resemblance to November Nine alumnus Scott "Flea Market" Montgomery, and he's in agony. "How do I pass up a chance at the nuts?" The board is Ace high, all hearts, and he flips up the King of hearts.

He's already called a big flop bet from the three seat before the nine shoved for fifty bucks more. The three called quickly, and to anybody who's been watching, it's obvious that at least one of these dudes has the flush. Maybe both, but at least one of them has it.

The nine has the poker armor on. The iPod of concentration. The hoodie of concealment. The suglasses of obfuscation. "Come on, man," he says. "I just want the pot. I've got it already." He shows the ten of hearts. "You only have like twelve bucks in this. Walk away."

The three seat, a scruffy kid who looks like he has sent away for the Prahlad Freedman starter kit, is already all-in. He's still in the hand but is watching the Laker game. Rudy Fernandez has been fouled flagrantly and is motionless on the ground. The general consensus is that he is a faker. "He's a Euro!" Prahlad Fauxman shouts.

The Slav demurs. "What does that have to do with it?"

Fauxman just shakes his head. The Slav won't let this one go. He seems genuinely offended.

"Maybe he's really hurt," he demands. "Has that occurred to you?"

Fauxman looks right at him. "I can say that Euros are floppers. I'm European, too," he says in an accentless voice as flat as the Kansas prairie.

This was not the Internet. This was not the land of the FPP and the Matrix Tournament and the Party Poker Bonus. A few of the major differences:

1) Nobody chose the penguin avatar, the gnome, the fish, the donkey, or even the Dracula. The most popular avatar here was, strangely, "Asian guy who hasn't showered this week" followed closely by "Young Caucasian male in full poker armor."

2) The software sucks. It is very hard to find the toggle which displays the pot size, stack size, and bet amount. There are pauses between hands as the pot is raked and counted out. Multi-tabling is not allowed.

3) You can put people on a hand a lot more easily. Wow, people just kind of show you where they are at without thinking about it, don't they? Reaching for chips before they act, sighs of disgust, hand on the cards waiting for their turn to muck. It's all right there. Not all of them. Just . . . oh, what's the word? Most. Yes, that's it. Most. Most of them. By the way, don't turn this into me talking about my wicked reading skills. I'm comically non-observant. It was just that obvious.

4) It's slower. You need to sit longer to find big spots I played two hours and took down a few limped pots preflop using big raises and a tight image. I made a too big bet with middle pair on the one flop I did see and had to throw it away when I was put all-in. That was the extent of it. But I was there primarily to observe. To experience. The hands themselves were a secondary consideration.

5) It's more fun.

The table is getting restless. We've been waiting for three minutes for a decision. But Flea Market has ants in his pants. "The problem," he explains to us, "Is that he's already in." He indicates Fauxman. "If I fold, I'll see if a heart hits the board. If I didn't know that I'd know, it would be an easy fold."

Part of me wants to tell him that that is a completely irrelevant piece of data. The mouth part of me does nothing.

"I've got it, just fold." This is the nine seat again.

Finally Flea Market folds it and screams at the turn and river to come black. They come red, but diamonds, and so he is satisfied. The nine seat looks ill as Fauxman tables a five-high heart flush, and finally mucks his ten-high flush draw. Flea Market just looks at him, speechless.

"I can't believe this guy." says the guy to my right. "What a weasel."

Fauxman is stacking his chips, still watching the Laker game. "They're bringing out a stretcher?" he snorts. "Oh, that is just adorable."

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Of Course You RealizeThat THIS Means Wah!

A couple weeks ago, I called out Michael Craig, challenging him to a low-stakes version of the Durrrr Challenge. I also hinted that he was a shaved ape.

And Michael Craig has responded.

Money quote:
Michael has no need for your money. In the alternative, he needs a lot more than $15. If you want $5 in the unlikely event that you are ahead, Michael agrees, provided he has six months to pay, or can pay on an installment plan. But if you lose - and Michael assures me you will lose -you have to sacrifice something more precious than money. Goats are supposed to eat anything, right? If you lose, Michael gets to pick one alleged food item for sale at the World Series of Poker and you have to eat it. There are two provisos to this rule: (a) you have to pay for the item, provided the cost is under $15 dollars, and (b) if you do not attend the World Series in person, Michael is allowed to shove the food item in an envelope and ship it to wherever you are, and you will take photographic evidence of said consumption.
The Goatttt Challenge is on, son.

More to come soon at Poker From The Rail. Stay tuned.

Random Things

* I'm on my way home, finally, which means all of you who are waiting on Donkavatars don't have long to wait.

* BDR is awesome. First, they let me come on last night and blather my blather, but secondly, they hooked up a sweet zip file of Donkavatar files that lets you download everything all at once. That, my friends, is nifty. Yes, I said nifty.

* I played my first live poker ever on this trip, at the Commerce in LA. It was the opposite of epic (for various reasons I only played a couple hours), but it was still a fun experience. Post coming soon.

* Los Angeles just keeps happening and happening and happening and happening and . . .

* Sign up for the BBmT already! There is no good reason to do so!

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, April 5, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Monday, March 9, 2009

Your Weekly Dose Of Crazy

More like your weekly dose of cool, but still . . . sort of crazy, right? Right? Give me a break, I'm living out of a hotel.


L'homme 100 tĂȘtes by JUL&MAT from Julien Lassort on Vimeo.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

LOST 030: Statue Of Intimations

First of all, let's give it up for Josh Holloway for turning one of the least sympathetic characters in the series into one of the most sympathetic. When this guy is given an episode, he knocks it out of the park. Sadly, his hair looks comical when combed. But really, consider Sawyer. The man everybody loved to hate, the man who hated to be loved, the guy who paid Charlie to drag Sun by the hair so he could steal all the guns . . . that guy has become a credible leader, a man comfortable in his own skin, and a leading character who truly has earned the title "hero." When Sawyer saves the day, he does it because it needs saving, not because he needs to prove something to his dead dad or because he needs something from the island or from some shadowy guy in a shack. The amoral former con man is on of the few who seems to act completely without ulterior motives. Frankly, it might be the most impressive character arc in the show. I hated Sawyer at first, and more, I was bored with him. He seemed so one-note, so trite. The cad with the wounded heart. Now, he's fascinating. The scene in which he comes up to Richard and just blows his mind with the truth was pitch perfect. What a great scene.

Second of all, let's give it up for Elizabeth Mitchell, an actress that I've run hot and cold on, but who shined in this most recent episode. The way she conveyed Juliet's relief and joy at delivering her first-ever live birth on the island was masterful.

Third, let's give it up for a relatively quiet, character driven episode, and a romantic relationship involving Sawyer that I can care about, because it doesn't involve Kate.

Fourth, let's give it up for me. That's right, me. I done told you we'd see a statue in those time jumps. And what a statue it was. Looked Egyptian, didn't it? We haven't seen its face yet, but we will, my friends. We will. And it will be Vincent the dog.

As I've said before, what's fun about the show now is that it is giving us answers. Lots of answers. But (lecture from Eloise Hawking aside) they don't just come out and tell us. They show us something else, which leads us to extrapolate the answers to long-standing questions. Here, I'll show you.

What We Now Know

Our left-behinders have zapped back to Dharma days, and spend 1974 - 1977 waiting for Locke and their friends to arrive. This is good for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that now we don't have to worry about age discrepancy between the O6 characters and the Left Behind crew. This also means that Daniel Dae Kim can use his fluent English on this show, which has to be nice for him. This also means that we can get plenty of flashback for the LB as well as the O6. We're all the way back to Season 1 structure the rest of the way, I imagine, or at least for the rest of the season.

But here are some other things it certainly means. First, Richard knows Sawyer and Jin and Jack and Hurley and Kate and Locke and Daniel and Juliet and Miles, and probably Sayid and Sun and Frank as well. I would say it is likely that Ben (who is on-island in 1974-1977) knows them too. If Widmore wasn't lying to Locke about being the "leader" during Dharma days . . . well then, Widmore knows them too.

Now think about that. Back in Seasons 2-3, we see Ben meet our Oceanic survivors, and Richard too. When they meet them, our heroes have no history with Ben and Richard and the Others. BUT . . . the Others already have a history with our heroes. They know them well. Not OF them. They've spent time with them, either as friends or as adversaries. They lure Michael into a trap, capture him, and ask them to bring back Hurley, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer. Why those four specifically? Well, one reason is that they ALREADY KNOW THEM. They may already be friends with them. Or enemies. We're going to find out.

Is it starting to make sense how Richard and Ben have such fat dossiers on all of the Oceanic survivors?

Is it starting to make sense why they may have kidnapped Locke's father, to have him on-island for the proper time?

Is it starting to make sense why the major players may have manipulated these specific people to be on Ocean 815? It's for what they will do later in their lives, yes. But what they will do later in their lives, they will do at an earlier point in history. So, in a way, they are being brought to the island to fulfill what they have already done. They need to be on Oceanic 815, not so that they will come to the island, but so they will come BACK to the island. You see? To them, they are on the island for the first time. But for Ben and Richard, and who knows how many of the other Others? They are returning. They were already there in 1974. They need to be on the island because they were on the island.

As Faraday says, whatever happened happened. It's destiny.

Makes you wonder about this coming war that Widmore and Ben refer to. The one that they seem so sure that Locke and the Oceanic Six need to attend. Why are they so sure of the results? Why are they so sure that Jack and Locke and Co. need to be there? Doesn't it seem likely that this grand battle, upon which everything hinges, takes place in the past? That the reason our chess players know so much about what is about to come because they've seen it already?

So that is what we know. Those are the answers we've been given. And honestly, isn't this a much more fulfilling way to discover it, than to have Ben blab it all back in Season 3?

Grace Notes and Questions

* Jin's another character that started out highly unsympathetic and is now beloved. Nice turn of the screw, Lost.

* Consider that Sawyer spent about 180 days with his good friends the Oceanic survivors. He then spent about six times that amount as a member of Dharma. In fact, it seems likely that these three years were the longest that James Ford has ever spent in a single place, and certainly the most responsibility he's ever had or deserved. (Holloway really sold this change in Sawyer, by the way.) This is going to do very interesting things to Sawyer's loyalties. It's like he's been living in college and now, during his senior year, all his goony high school buddies and the girl who took him to prom and then ditched him during a Forever Young slow dance to make out with the star quarterback just turned up for a party at his house. He missed them all so much freshman year, but he hasn't thought of them in like forever. Now he's not sure he wants them to turn up. Kind of awkward.

* Juliet and Sawyer know about the coming purge, yet they choose to stay at Dharma? Guh? How does this play out? Is this the final confrontation for the future of the island? What part do our friends play in this? Do they assist it? Did I see a LaFleur jumper down in that pit of dead Dharmites with Locke back in Season 3? I sure hope not, but I've seen it somewhere, I do know that much.

* When are we going to see li'l Ben again, that little snakey weasel?

* So the left behinders spent three years lying, too. Sweet.

* What exactly was that truce-breaking confrontation between Dharmites and Hostiles all about, anyway? And, truce? What the . . . ? What eventually DID break the truce? Because, you know . . . pit of dead bodies.

* The sonic fence can't keep the Others out. Interesting. Is that because after it kills them, they come back to life, a la Mikail? The island won't let them die? Looking forward to having the immortality thing explained.

* Jerry and Phil like to party and they like their hash brownies. Tell us something we don't know. What a long strange trip it's been.

* The statue really does look Egyptian. So does the temple, where smokkee lives. So does Richard Alpert. Just saying.

* So Horace Goodspeed had a boy with new lady whose name I'll remember if she becomes important. Wonder who that baby is. Hmmmm. I'll say . . . Mr. Eko.

Join us in two weeks, when Sun says:

"Oh HAIL no my husband isn't in 1977!"


ETA: Look at that photo of the statue again. The boards say it looks like it is holding ankhs, but . . . are those crutches??? Or am I just too eager to have my theory that the statue has Locke's face proved right?


More Lost Posts

More Heroes Posts

It's Going To Be OK

Music without borders. YouTube is now an instrument.

More here.



Cross-posted at Coventry.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Superbad

You ever ask yourself, "Self, why am I playing all these fun, moderately-priced BBT tournaments for a chance at thousands of dollars of free stuff? Why can't I play a tournament with a buy-in that's just too high, with absolutely no other incentives attached?"

My people, I have heard your cry.

And I have answered.

_______________________

Bad Bankroll Management Tournament
Sunday, April 5, 2009
$50 + $5
Superstacks
Full Tilt Poker
password: busto

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Stupid/System 011: Atypical Poker Tournaments

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.

* * * * *

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. Optimal play: A lot of people will recommend that you do something called “opening up your range” [2]. That’s fine, but my recommendation to you is probably a little different than that. I think that, given how quickly you see people bust out of these things, you’d do a lot better to just fold every single hand and try to see if you can squeeze into the money by doing nothing. As I write this, I’m furiously buying in to hundreds, if not thousands, of turbo tournaments, and then just closing the window. I’ll just let those tables do my earning FOR me. It’s flawless. Get in on this!

The Rebuy. In most hold ‘em tournaments, if you lose your chips, you’re done. In a rebuy, it’s quite the opposite. You can just buy right back in! This is an awesome thing. What this basically means is that a rebuy becomes an endurance competition much like that found in Stephen Kings novella The Long Walk, since the only reason to stop playing is if you get too tired to go on or run out of money. When these things get heads-up, they can go on FOREVER since there is a lot of money on the line. [3] Many times these matches are only resolved when one of the players dies from hunger. Optimal play: Obviously, I would bring some Red Bull, a sandwich, and something to relieve myself in. Also, clear your calendar for a few months.

Short-Handed. This is a hold ‘em tournament for dwarves. Those stubby little fingers need specially-sized chips. Optimal play: First, be a dwarf. Then, master hold ‘em. After that, this should be pretty easy.

The Satellite. This is a tournament where the prizes are not cash, but rather entry into a larger tournament. It’s a cheaper way to try to get into one of the large buy-in tournaments. Optimal play: All in every hand. Scare people. Yell while you do it, this might help.

The Matrix. In this kind of hold ‘em poker tournament, you have to learn to become absolute master of your surroundings before grim men in matching suits and sunglasses come and shoot you into raspberry jelly. Then you learn to fly and the next two movies just absolutely suck. [4] Optimal play: The first thing to realize is that the world around you is an illusion. Then, become aware that there is no spoon. Then I’d probably use a lot of aggression near the bubble.

The H.O.R.S.E. This is a hold ‘em tournament that isn’t even hold ‘em. I don’t really know what’s going on, but I’d use the horse to ride right out of Dodge. Sometimes the best hand doesn’t even win, and this isn’t even Ultimate Bet. Optimal play: Are you kidding me? This isn’t even Hold ‘Em! WHY WOULD YOU PLAY THIS? ARE YOU MENTALLY ILL?

The Knockout. This is a hold ‘em tournament where you get a little bit of money every time you knock somebody out of the event. I’ve tried petitioning to collect the bounty on myself many times, to no avail. That’s just a travesty. I mean, if I call all in on the river with nine-high and nothing else, who should get the credit? Me or the other guy? It’s discrimination against call-tards, I tells you. Optimal play: Take any chance, no matter how statistically improbable, to bust somebody. The bounty pretty much means you’re priced in. Remember, tournament chips just represent fake money, but a bounty is REAL money.

The Mookie. This is just like a hold ‘em tournament, but Ace Jack never loses. Optimal play: Don’t know about you, but I’d really play Ace Jack like a LOT.

The Shootout. This is a poker tournament that is played heads-up all the way through. I don’t need to tell you that this is fantastic, since your goal in an MTT is to get heads-up, and you’re already there. Frankly, I don’t know why anybody plays anything else. You’re guaranteed second place money, and that’s the worst-case scenario.

The Fiesta Bowl. This is a hold ‘em tournament where everybody plays until somebody has all the chips, and then two first place prizes are assigned. One is determined by a computer algorithm that takes into account such details as your performance in other unrelated tournaments, your shoe size, lifetime bass fishing results, and ability to swim. The other is just a vote by the rail and other poker writers. After that, corporate sponsors get all the money. Optimal play: I’d try for the votes. Just really be a popular guy. Nobody knows what on earth that computer program is doing.

The “Live” Tournament. Poker isn’t just a game that’s played on the internet anymore! Its popularity can really be tracked by the number of “live” tournaments that have sprung up in recent years, which allow the players to actually face each other in real life and use real chips just like the ones you see represented by pixels online! There are a number of complexities to this, but most people agree that it is really nice not to have a chat box at the final table. Will “live” poker last, or just be another passing poker fad, like hologram sunglasses or Jamie Gold? Only time will tell. Optimal play: Don’t look for the slidebar when you are making a bet. This is known as a “tell”. Also, in live poker, it is considered a bad idea to offer to fight somebody who has just won a pot off of you, unless you are bigger than them.

The Short-Handed Knockout Turbo Rebuy. This is illegal according to the Geneva convention, because the only reason for it to exist is to screen a nation’s citizens. Anybody who signs up for this is fit only to be sent across live minefields to “clear” them for the army. That’s why “sappers” uses the root word “sap”, by the way. It’s knowing little facts like this that ensure that I continue to make the big [5] bucks. Optimal play: I would dodge and weave a lot while crossing the mine field, and keep your distance from everybody else.

Now that you know all of the varieties that are available to you, what are you waiting for? Try them all! Get the commemorative plates!

* * * * * * *

ENDNOTES

[1] Poker.
[2] This is an old Texas term, meaning “get more head of cattle.”
[3] Poker trivia: The first WSOP Main Event was a rebuy that started in 1970, and is still going on between the estates of the players involved.
[4] Seriously, what the hell was that? Those were the satires of the original, right? They wasn’t the true sequels, right?
[5] Medium.

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

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Meet More Donks

To kick off BBT4 the right way, here's 6 new Donkavatars.

And good luck to all in the Big Game who aren't in a hand with me.

_____________________________


Name: BamBam

Blog: http://bam-baminbedrock.blogspot.com/

Classification:
Steroided infant donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\65

Image Title: 3.png

_____________________________

Name: jamyhawk

Blog: http://jamyhawk.blogspot.com/

Classification:
Uppercutting sports-mascot, cowboy-folding donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\41

Image Title: 2.png
_____________________________

Name: Heffmike

Blog: http://heffmike.blogspot.com/

Classification: One-celled Mookie-pwning donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\10

Image Title: 3.png
_____________________________

Name: PinkyStinky

Blog: http://stinkycards.blogspot.com/

Classification:
Mini-donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\42

Image Title: 2.png

_____________________________

Name: dueyv9

Classification: Donk of faith (island won't let him die).

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\69

Image Title: 3.png

_____________________________

Name: PokerFool

Blog: http://pokerfool.blogspot.com/

Classification: Catatonic breakdown actor donk.

Instructions:
Right click and choose "Save Picture As"

Save to: C:\Program Files\Full Tilt Poker\Graphics\Table\Avatars\Public\6

Image Title: 3.png

_____________________________