Monday, May 26, 2008

Poker--just a sick thought

I think I have it figured out. Maybe poker is a game that was created by sadists to be played by masochists. Where else can we have such fun wallowing in our misery?? Just a thought. Is it that only those who can stand the most pain can actually survive?? Not many people want to talk about that great hand or session that went their way. That could be interpreted as hubris, or bring the wrath of the poker gods, or worse (if there be such a thing). But everyone has a story or a memory that still stings with the thought or the retelling. No one else really wants to hear it, because they have their own. But, even the winners remember the pain of losing. Like my dear old dad used to say, it's kinda like gettin phucked without a kiss. Here's hopin you find a few kisses out there!!

Thanks for stoppin by, ya'll come back now, you hear.

10 games ala Bam Bam (first 4)

Ok, inspired by my bedrock brethren, I am playing ten 90 seat sng's to see if I am able to overcome some of my own donkery. I am starting at the lowest level and my goal is to see where I stand. Nothing fancy. It will take me at least 5 days, maybe even 10 to complete. I have a couple of ground rules. No playing more than one table at a time. No giving stupid odds, no stupid plays when I know they are stupid.

Game 1: (1+.25)In the first hour I worked my way to 20 out of 46 without having to put my stack at risk or finding it necessary to enter into any races. I had a run of kk, AJ, 66, and JT s, wich allowed me to doubl up. No one follwed me to the show down, and I feel like I was able to extract the most I could out of each hand. I lost a quarter of my stack shortly after the first break when my 2 pair lost to a higher rivered 2 pair. My opponent had top pair with A kicker and was short stacked I had top pair, bottom pair, and A fell on the river. Don't know that I could have avoided that one. I lost another big chunk when my trip K's were out kicked. I fianlly said good night (23rd) when my A7 on the button brought an A7x flop. BB and cut off checked - I raised pot, got called by both. Turn brough Q, BB checked followed by cut off's AI. I was left with 800 chips and was getting a little better than 7:1 odds, I called. BB turns AA (nice play) cutoff turn QQ, meaningless river brings 7. No cash, no final table. But I am not disappointed by my play.





Game 2: (3.30)--Looked at 1 flop through first 20 hands-small pp, out of position, got to see it cheap, but no help- three overs on flop---bye. Patience brings jj in the sb, modest raise 3 players, 99j flop (sweet), pot bet all fold. . .ah well, perhaps I was too agressive. I make it to the booobulous arena, only to run out of steam and be sent packing in 14th. I made my way to 14th without a single bounty.



Game 3: (3.3) AA cracked early, bye, bye.



Game 4: (3.3) Picked up two bounties early. Caught pocket J's, jqx flop, ended up AI v (what else) pocket q's. I am left with 450 chips. With a little luck I work my way back to 10,000 chips, but run out of steam again in the booobulous zone. 14th again. I hope this is not an omen.



Meanwhile, I have been steady playing 1/2 and 2/4 lhe, and doing fair. My monthly allowance is in the positive as I type. Haha, I know how to take care of that, my precious. There's a no limit cash game out there just one notch above our comfort zone. . . wait, the nasty bagginses is there, waiting for us to do something foolish so he can takes the precious and bag it up with the rest of our foolishly lost preciouses. . . . On second thought, I'll enter another 90 sng, maybe a $1.25 this time. Then I can really show off my donkish figure at the Tuckfards, I and II, hope to see you there. . . I'll be back

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Belen II

No time pressures. . . no special place to be. . this really has been a nice vacation. In my week there, I have played as much live poker as I could have hoped to play. Mostly 2/4 limit, but I played a couple of hours of 2/6 before I left. Saturday I played 2/4 limit for about 9 hours at the Isleta Casino. I felt like I was poker drunk by the end there. I actually played at least two hours every day except Friday and Tuesday. It was a winning venture for me, which was nice; but mostly I was thrilled to meet some really nice people, local and visiting. The regulars were all pretty nice. I sat next to a man on my right (Gilbert) who hit a straight flush. The casino gave him a shirt for that feat. . .he gave it to me. I am going to send it to my friend Wes as a souvenir. The lady on my left (Sarah) comes to South Carolina a couple times a year with her husband to play golf and visit with friends. One of those friends gives them all a place to stay at her condo in Myrtle Beach. There was another couple at the table (Tom and Paula) that I did not get to talk to as much, but they were regulars and added to the general conviviality at the table. It was almost as if they were all having a friendly home game and I was invited.


Sunday we spent time at my brother-in-law's house (David) where he gave his daughter (Jaime) a graduation party. All in all it was a top notch affair. When it was all over the kids went bowling, and the adults went off to the casino. This time it was the Sandia. While the Isleta has that nice "homey" atmosphere, Sandia is spacious with much more variety. The smoke is not quite as oppressive, the lights are brighter, the ceiling is higher, and and the food is a little better. It really is a nicely run poker room.


Enough about cards. I actually have two brother-in-laws who live in the Albuquerque area. David works for the railroad. He has raised three girls and seems to have a nice life with his wife (Karen) and kids (though Jaime is the youngest and the others have moved out and actually live in North Dakota) The other brother-in law has had a slew of miscellaneous jobs throughout his life. . .mostly he has battled his own booze and dope demons. The most exciting thing about this trip thus far has been seeing him (Tom). He has turned a corner, or pulled himself together, or just plain gotten it. Either way, he is working at his job, and he is a fine father to his two boys. He had a truly humble attitude that leads me to believe he is genuine.



I have seen drunks and addicts clean up long enough to keep the heat off only to turn around and dig themselves a deeper hole. It can be a painful cycle to watch. Tom's turn around was quite the pleasant surprise for us. It brought joyful tears to my wife's eyes. She does not understand a lot about addicts and alcoholics, but she is definitely not an enabler. She is quick to forgive and has no problem giving second chances when they are merited. By the same token, she has very little problem telling some one to get it together or pack their shit. She did this to Tom several years ago when he was living in Charleston. He eventually found his bottom (his own words) when the rest of the family stopped taking care of him. He spent a couple of months in jail and no came running to bail him out. I am leaving out a lot of the other painful details, but suffice it to say Tom did some pretty hard bottom dwelling in the past few years. I know there are no guarantees, but it did my heart and soul a lot of good to see him doing so well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Heroes II

You know, I did not plan to write about a hero every day, nor every week, not even every month, but just whenever the mood strikes and the "hero" has done something that I find heroic. However, my own choice of this subject matter has had an affect on me wherein I am finding heroes everywhere I look, whether I look for them or not. Personally, this has been a good thing.



That being said, today I have found two more heroes: First, there is Kat of Kattitude fame. Her glass half full posts have made a positive impression on at least one person. It is not always easy to find the positive in life, nor is it always gratifying to invite those around you to do the same. But Kat's efforts are heroic to me. The posts help me pause and reflect every time I see one and they make me think of something that I have to be grateful for, which is not a bad thing. I gotta be honest here. I have a lot of stuff in my life to be grateful for. I just forget sometimes until someone or something reminds me.... then I get to add that someone or something to the list. If I am really lucky, I get to add them to both lists, the hero list and the gratitude list.

Second, and no less important, is Donkette. Her series of posts on her recovery are well worth the read. I understand, appreciate, and relate to every word. . .Her adventures before and after have helped, and will continue to help, allot of other addicts and alcoholics to find their chance at recovery. Keep up the good work, one day at a time!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Youthful Millionaires

Every time I read about an athlete or actor or other famous who has fallen off of his or her pedestal I wonder at the public outcry. I realize that part the public ire is rooted in plain old jealousy. If I were 18 to 25 years old and someone wanted to give me an ungodly amount of money to act in a movie, sing a song, toss, kick, hit, or catch a ball, I wonder if I would have been the role model for what we strive to be, or the role model for what we strive not to be.

More than likely, I would have been the Steve Howe kind of role model. For those of you who do not remember, Mr. Howe was quite a talented reliever in the 80's, but cocaine got in the way. His exta-ordinary talent at throwing a baseball made the powers that be more than willing to take a chance on him time after time. And after each failure, we stood aghast that he could throw it all away again and again. Like Mr. Howe, I loved to drink and party throughout the 80's too. But unlike Mr. Howe, I had no particular athletic talent that made anyone think I should be paid life changing money. Nor did the general public think I should be a role model for anyone. Truth be told, I am probably luckier that I lacked such talent and/or scrutiny in my youth. I may not have lived to tell my own tale.

Very rarely are me heroes public figures, but I do not exclude them. This brings me to today's hero: Josh Hamilton. He was the number one pick of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and he was sent to Charleston when their class A franchise was here. He, very publicly, and very painfully dismantled, decomposed and destroyed his career and his life with booze and dope in a way that made me wince and cringe more than once as I followed his demise. I have equally cheered as he has battled back from a front row seat seat on skid row to a spot in the starting lineup for the Texas Rangers. The Reds gave him a shot at redemption last year and he made the most of it.

It is not because he can knock the cover off of the ball with a talent that has and will command more money that I will see in my lifetime, that he is my hero. Nope, it is because he has had the grace and humility to face his demons and that he has had the courage to overcome what was taken from him by his own doings. And he has the gratitude to try to give something back. He did not have the option melt down in the private, anonymous way that most people live their lives. He has had to do it in the public eye and for good or for ill, under a scrutiny that would crush the spirit of many a human being better than I.

He may never be HOF material talent wise, but he is exhibiting HOF character, at least for today.



Monday, May 19, 2008

Heroes

My heroes don't have super powers. They don't walk on water or leap tall buildings in a single bound. They don't make millions of dollars, or run countries, or states, or cities. They don't fight wars, or lead great battles, or huge armies. They don't win MVP awards or lead their teams to championships or colossal upsets. They don't write, they don't play cards, they don't do anything that the world judges as being financially, intellectually or athletically better than anyone else.

My heroes are real life human beings with real human faults, who somehow make the lives of the people they touch each day a little bit better. Sometimes the know it, sometimes they don't. But they are not going to toot their own horn to tell you or me what wonderful people they are or things they are doing. We have to look, listen, and notice. Really they are just plain people who go out there and do what it takes to live their lives each day without trying to draw any special attention to themselves for doing so.

Yes, I have a lot of heroes. and I am going to write about one or two of them every chance I get. Sometimes it will be an individual, sometimes it will be a trait that I find to be heroic, sometimes it will be both. Today's heroes are those men and women, step mothers and step fathers, who make a child's life a little bit better. Those who give a safe home, shelter, clothing, guidance, love to children who are not of their blood for no other reason than that the child needs it. All we ever hear in the news is the bad stuff. But there are millions of heroes out there who we never read about on the front page of the paper or on CNN.

My brother married his lovely wife and she was a single mom. He adopted Ashliegh and she is his daughter, just like Rachael and Conner, her younger siblings. There is no favoritism that I have ever observed, but I notice a lot of love in that family. My brother in law has a similar situation. His first wife had a daughter prior to their getting married. Her natural father remained somewhat in the picture, but aloof, never spent a lot of time with the child. When b-i-l and first wife split up (she actually left--abandoned her children, from what I understand), oldest child stayed with b-i-l. He had no legal obligation there, and little moral obligation, but her prospects were bleak without him. He gave her a home, kept her safe, warm, and got her through to adulthood along with her two younger sisters. She is an adult and has child of her own, he is still more of a parent/ grandparent to her than either her bio mother or father.

Look around yourself. We all know someone who fits the mold. To me these are the real heroes in that they make a difference-not necessarily a perfect difference, but a positive difference in the lives of those who need them not out of obligation, but out of love.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Belen

I sit in a Holiday Inn Express in Belen, NM. Belen is a small RR town about 25 miles south of Albuquerque. It is home to my lovely bride's brother and his family. There are countless casinos within an hours drive. I played cards in the Sandia (Wednesday) and Isleta (Thursday) and enjoyed the experience very much. Sandia is a little roomier, about twice as many tables, but Isleta was friendlier. I noticed they go out of their way to learn and use people's names. . . the dealers and the management.

These were my first excursions into real life casino poker rooms. While I limited my exposure to 2/4 limit he, I am no longer a casino virgin, and I enjoyed the experience. Yes, it was good for me. Nothing beats holding the cards in your hands. Looking at your opponents, talking, commincating, enjoying a laugh.

Friday we drove to Sante Fe . What a nice drive. The landscape is nothing like what I am used. Kind of like being at the beach withut the water. Then there are those huge mountains. We really don't have anything to compare in the low country of South Carolina. The air is so dry it is taking some adjustments for my body to work right. . .sore sinuses and nose bleeds have been the irritation thus far. I am told that my body should adjust about two hours before we leave for home.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Donkey of the week (honorable mention)

Woo Hoo, I cashed 3d place in my most favorite tourney, Kat's Donkament. Alway a nice, small crowd, so when I get the chance to play it I am thrilled. I won a couple of weeks ago and Kat was kind enough to allow me to crown myself as Donkey of the Week. . . so this time ( with permission) I will claim an honorable mention to that honorable title. HaHa. Thanks Kat.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Where can you have more fun????

Blogger tourneys really are fun. There is a wealth of talent there that I can appreciate, and the entry fees are downright reasonable. I do notice that I, like most people, tend to remember my beats more than my wins-regardless of where they occur. . . Then again, I have more of the former, and the latter seems non-existent of late. I certainly have too many holes in my own game to start moaning about any particular loss. . . .Not a problem, I am still having fun. Actually, I seem to be enjoying this more than I ever have. The act of reading and writing about it seems to add to the pleasure of playing. It gives me some place to start now that I am wanting to address some weaknesses in my game.

In my tourney play of late, I have regularly been able to make it to that area that I like to call pre-boobulous with a decent amount of chips. Pre-boobulous is the area where I am not quite on the bubble, and I have not quite made a boob out of myself--but the potential for both or either wafts through the air. Finding myself on this sea, where all players must pass through should they wish to reach the shores of nirvana (a win) or even just splash around on the beach (a cash), I have managed to puncture my life raft and lose myself in the swells of the ocean of despair. In the past this has sent me back to making stupid choices earlier in the tourney. My choices there have been somewhat questionable- though I seem to be able to rationalize them in my own sick head. I should like to learn from where I am--with some self examination and a kick in the pants, i will endeavor to explain.

Two recent examples-Monday in the MATH, there are less than 20 of my brethren remaining in this most hallowed event, and I find myself with a stack between 20 and 30 times the blinds. First, I blow off a little better than half on a AK sooooted in the cutoff, that I don't quite have the courage to call AI with after I miss the flop. I then find myself with about 5,000 chips with a bb of 500. Out of position I catch a KQ and push in 1000, I get pushed back and end up moving AI where I face and am eventually sunk by JJ. Now, I was certainly not favored, and did not overly expect to be, but I was in a position to be bullied, so I was making a stand where I could hope to get a reasonable return on my investment in this particular hand. In other words, I wanted to be in good enough shape to make a run at the final table, or I was willing to go home. I was also not in a great position with my chips, so I figured that as long as I wasn't facing AA, KK , QQ or AK, AQ I had a chance that was worth the risk. Needles to say, I did not pass go, I went straight to jail, where I was denied bail until another tourney should come along. At least my cell mate was none other than my lovely bride.



Well, Thursday nights RiverChasers, I find me in similar position at the end. I donk off chips with decent enough starting cards that either catch no help, or I fear have been outdrawn, and I eventually am faced with playing an AK aggressively into a missed flop which included a Q. I called an AL, for the same reason as above. If I hit, I am in good position, if I miss, I get to go to bed. . . . . This time I run into an AQ and I get that familiar feeling while watching my stack go away like I suck at this. I wish everyone GL, and go to bed. The call before the flop was fine, but I knew I was in trouble when I missed. I was praying for a lower pair and a miracle. Of the two--this is the one where I think I was most stooopid in looking back, but it is where I had the most "feel" that my opponent was trying to make a move with less than what I he eventually showed. I figured him for A9 or AJ.



In both cases, I know I was behind when I went AI. In both cases I was crippled pretty severely before I was pushed back into the AI choice. I chose not to fold because I did not want to face the possibility of playing the next 2 or 3 rounds before being swallowed up by the blinds, or not having enough chips for it to make a difference if I did catch a hand. Also, even though I was behind, I had respectable hands that could have sucked out if they were behind, and even had a chance of standing on their own- goddess knows, it is not the kind of place I like to play. It seems like the pre-boobulous area of a tourney lends itself to this type of situation. It just seems that in tourney play with the blinds jumping, there is a bit of skill in managing a stack that I seem to be missing.



It may be beyond this tuckfard to overcome, but I am open to insults, commiseration, or, goddess forbid, constructive criticism. . .or even a reference to an author or a blog.



Thanks for reading

New Mexico, Here I come

Next week my lovely bride, Cameron, and I are off to New Mexico. . .the Albaquerque area. My forvorite brother in law lives there and we are going to visit. Now, being from a part of the country where casinos are not part of the everyday environment, or any day environment for that matter, I am excited to have the chance to visit some of the local establishments and possibly partake in some on sight gaming. I hope to check out the poker rooms there. I have looked at several on line. And from a reliable source, I hear the Sandia is nice. My brother in law has a couple of other places scoped out for me. Anyhow, I am looking forward to the adventure.

Monday, May 5, 2008

a Tourney of my own (kind of)

I have slowed down my poker play of late. I found a couple of Monday evening Tourney's that are pretty fun. Nice folks, nice time, and cheap. lol. . . not to mention they use my middle name for the password. How can I not play where they know my name, haha. If I knew how to flag it here, I would. Eventually I will learn, I suppose, but in the mean time:

TuckfardI & II
A starting at 7:00pm and 8:00pm, Mondays
Password: Donkey

Fun people, nice set up, and it's over at a decent time. It doesnt keep me up past my bed time. What more can a donkey ask for?
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