Monday, February 26, 2007

A key hand in No Limit Texas Hold’em Tournament Poker (unabridged, not for the weak)


I had a good weekend playing cards with my friends. I played solid and think I only made two major mistakes. However there was a hand that took place in the second of two tournaments that would have been chronicled in Card Player magazine if we were all professionals.

By the time of this key hand in the small six player tournament, "BH" and "PP" had already busted out. So at this point we are four-handed with blinds at 40-80. (Each player started with 1,500 chips, current chip average was 2,250.) I had 2,440 in chips.

The player under the gun, "AP" (2nd in chips at the time), had limped in and the button, "SS" (the short stack), had folded. I was dealt 10¨ in the small blind. "KC" was in the big blind as chip leader. I should also note in passing that KC was wearing sweat pants this evening.

AP is a tight player who usually calls when he has big hands post flop, but tries to see as many flops as possible to get the opportunity to slow play a monster. He's not one to chase bad hands, and I knew a raise could make him fold. And if he would call I would have to hit to continue betting.

KC is an action player who weighs heavily on math to dictate key decisions. As chip leader in the big blind, he may feel committed to call any small raise.

I needed to make a bet large enough to push out Andy if he has a marginal hand but not large enough if KC woke up with a huge hand in the Big Blind.

I decided to raise 300, to 380 total.

KC nonchalantly calls 300 more and AP folds relatively quickly.

FLOP = A© Q§ 8©(Pot = 840)

I now have a straight draw. One of the four jacks needs to come out on the two remaining cards to be overturned or me to make my hand. Using the Phil Gordon rule of two (2 x number of outs x number of streets left), I have approximately 16% of catching up if I am already behind.

Being first to act, and having bet pre-flop, if I check to KC I'm sure he will sense that I didn't hit (which is true) and he would bet. I would be unable to call even a minimum bet. I decide that I need to know where I'm at in the hand and bet 400. KC alludes to the fact that on the previous hand I took a bad beat on an opportunity to bust SS. I was upset after the hand, missing out on busting a player and getting closer to the finish. SS, being new the game, has not heard the term "tilt" and I quickly discuss basically my exact situation. That I am acting erratically because I am upset at a previous hand. I have been explaining many terms to SS throughout the night and I had to continue. Acting differently would have shown that I had changed by play. I had been playing tight most the night – not showing one bluff and only turning over large hands in showdowns. KC calls.

AT THE TURN = A© Q§ 8© 3§Pot = 1,640)

I am certain that KC has me beat. He has either an ace or a queen. None of those calls would have been made. The only exception is that he might be on a draw like me. However, if he is on a flush draw he can still beat me even if the wrong Jack comes out. My chances of winning are reduced to at best 8% or 6% because the Jack of hearts or clubs will make my straight lose to a flush.

The only way I can win this is with an all-in bet with the rest of my 1,400 chips. But I decide to check. KC declines to take control of the hand and checks back

AFTER THE RIVER = A© Q§ 8© 3§ 9§(Pot = 1,640)

I immediately say, "Now, I'm all in."
KC asks to count it out.
I have 1,400 – which now make the pot 3,040.
If KC calls the 1,400 bet, the total pot will be 4,400. KC is getting just under 4 to 1.

I was making this bet if any non ace came on the river. Looking at the all the cards while KC is contemplating, I remember that two times earlier in the evening I have overturned J-10 one time hitting the straight on a pot that busted BH, the other time making top pair with the Jack. While desperately hoping KC folds I hope he remembers this… If I have a J-10 I have made my straight on the river. Having a J-10 would have made sense to KC, as it would have been an open-ended straight draw.

KC folded and overturned his hand: Aª 2§
as I raked the 3,040.

KC folded top pair (but had the worst kicker possible). I told him that he had the best hand. KC didn't believe me and I showed my hand. KC was upset, and pointed out that he had correctly guessed that I had been on tilt. I wanted to ask if he thought I made a straight or a flush, but I did not want to antagonize him beyond showing my bluff.

That did not stop the others.

SS [to KC], "You really got your pants pulled down."
PP [to all], "And it was easy because he's wearing sweat pants"

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar Observations

Titanic was ten years ago?

Cool people in Hollywood call Martin Scorcese, "Marty"

Was the purple suited red carpet correspondent only allowed to interview other black nominees?

The Al Gore monologue joke - oh SNAP

Steve Carrel's reaction shot to Ellen's monologue joke - biggest laugh for me

Tambourine = lame

Here's an idea to save time on a long telecast: no stupid dancers doing shadow puppets

Will Smith's son proves, for anybody left that doesn't know, just how strong nepotism is in Hollywood

"West Bank Story" is film that I haven't seen yet, but want to see most... Also the best speech of the night.

Alan Arkin's speech was lame enough to make the director choose the camera angle of the Oscar standing alone on the stage

I can't believe Ellen went to talk to Mark Wahlberg seconds after he JUST LOST!

Who is this Emily Blunt! She did the bad Meryl Streep bit with Anne Hathaway - but was absolutely beautiful

Is Clint Eastwood drunk

The clip played for Best Original Score from Babel sounded VERY close to the score from both The Insider and Gladiator... then Babel WON

Is it a law that Jack Nickleson must sit in the front row every year

The best original screenplay winner for Little Miss Sunshine was Matthew Broderick's assistant.
The best original screenplay winner had to quit his job as Ferris' assistant to write the script
The best original screenplay winner did not thank Matthew Broderick in his speech

Chris Connolly - SHUT UP


Don't show some random white glove brush dusting Oscar

Overall - I want my time back

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Meeting People is Easy

Meeting people is easy
When you aren't involved
Few friendships are planned
However the majority of marriages are
Play dates don't stick well after childhood
Blind dates work only marginally worse or better
Random occurrences fill this social need
Birthdays in the same calendar year
Near identical addresses
Even the close friendships, the ones you choose
Randomness played such a huge role
A nephew of a boss near your age
A stranger on your high rise floor with a hometown near yours
Random opportunities become scarce
The more mature, the less likely to take opportunity
The exceptions are the husbands and wives who met in flight
But that's where it usually stops
Can you meet someone significant if you randomly meet now?
Fellow Juror Duty hostage?
In line at a DMV?
You stand next to the same people on the train.
You recognize the same walkers on your street.
Nobody talks
Nobody may care
Nobody wants to risk it
Nobody can go back to zero
The first class is gone
No forced situations with standard common ground
Each their own
Owning themselves

I try to be different
Talk to strangers
Say please and thank you to most
Send out a beacon of courtesy
That's really all you can do and maintain control

Rant courtesy of sleep difficulties: Helping fill the void when a muse is absent since January 2006.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Rock Bottom, you have a visitor

In the weeks leading up to my most recent trip to Las Vegas, I joked that I planned on asking Britney Spears to marry me. I thought that I could catch her at rock bottom. Another Vegas wedding for her wasn't too far fetched.

I think I was two months too early, for I believe the girl has hit rock bottom:
Britney Spears is "on the verge of a nervous breakdown" a tattooist who witnessed her shocking Friday makeover maintains. The singer and mother of two stunned fans and paparazzi photographers when she walked into a hairdressing salon in Los Angeles and asked a stylist to cut all her hair off. When the hairdresser refused, Spears grabbed some clippers, and can be seen in snaps shearing herself bald. The 25-year-old was then followed as she drove to a tattoo parlor and had two images etched; a pair of bright red lips on her wrist and a black, white and pink cross on her lower hip. Tattooist Emily Wynne-Hughes, who was in the shop, now fears the drastic new look is a stark warning of Spears' emotional instability. She says, "After (Britney) left, we said to each other, 'We just saw a huge celebrity on the verge of a nervous breakdown.' She seemed really distraught and disturbed. She was very scatterbrained. It was crazy, very surreal. She's definitely crying out." source: imdb

Earlier tonight, before I knew of the above development, my friend and I watched Christina Aguilera perform during halftime of the NBA All-Star game. During one of the many vocal acrobatics I commented, "You know, Britney's got to get herself back in the game..." It was also agreed that Spears doesn't have the talent of a Christina.

Skank can only go so far.
See Paris Hilton

As a model of living of the momentum of popularity, Famous for being Famous, has Paris become a mentor for Spears? They party together and wear the same (non-existent) underwear...

This is all speculation, but is Britney content with being famous for the sake of being famous? In the name of Anna Nicole Britney, NO. Please NO.

You were a beauty.
Before Jason Alexander (not the Costanza variety)
Before Federline
Before the kids
Before your madness

I'm rooting for the re-invention of Spears. I think its going to be more difficult that previously thought.

The drivers permit crowd that loved her back in the day are now knee deep in McDreamy as young twentysomethings. Today's preteens were too young to remember Britney in her prime. She very well could be known best as Justin's ex-girlfriend. Oops... they all don't care if she did it again.

On the other hand, I think Britney is trying her best to check out of the limelight. Maybe she hated being THE IT GIRL. Maybe she wants to be a HAS BEEN. Maybe she looks at the former members of New Kids on the Block and the Spice Girls with jealously. Nobody is trailing them in a hair salon. And nobody cares if Sporty Spice is wearing any underwear.

As for my conspiracy theory, this is all a set-up for the sequel:

Jamie Lynn Spears

J.L.S. can become bigger than three Lohans if she plays her cards right. For all the younger sisters, for all the Jan Bradys, she can be queen. More importantly, it can give America a second chance at a young Spears phenom. Hopefully for her - we won't push her to a K-Fed, impregnated, hairless and underwearless future.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A true story from memory (from six years past)

As I lie in difficulty getting to sleep, clearing my mind, a memory from the Winter of 2000 crept into my mind. It certainly would have been blogged about if I had such the medium back in the day.

History of Christian Thought was one of my more difficult classes as Marquette University. It was a third-level theology class. I needed 9 credits in Theology to attain my degree, but you could not just churn out three easy classes. This class was a requirement, and you had to pass a 2nd level course to get into one of this variety. However, it was one of my more rewarding classes. And I wouldn't mind to go back and audit the class (if I could get the same professor and the bank account to afford me the opportunity to take classes for the sole purpose of knowledge). The entire class was about the process of how the Catholic Catechism was founded. How after Jesus died all the Gnostics and Prophets and Politicians argued and debated their way though councils and movements. How Ignatius earned his street cred and why Augustine would be a first round pick in any Fantasy Theologian League. It's too bad that millions upon millions have read The DiVinci Code without having a class like History of Christian Thought to round out the edges.

However none of the class' merits remain as my most vivid memory. Sadly the magnificent conversion of Augustine of Hippo by Ambrose of Milan will take a back seat to something I casually overheard one day in early December 2000.

A girl was talking to the girl next to her a row behind me. The girls were two and three seats over from my position in the room's theoretical X-Axis. The girl farthest away from me was telling her, I'm guessing close friend, of a boy she met a couple days earlier at a party up on the East Side.

I should note that the East Side (apart from downtown, where the campus of Marquette lies) is home to the more hip and cool people. I've often told others that the East Side is where young people drink coffee because they actually like it and where couples go to watch foreign independent films of young French boys in love.

I should probably stop referring to the person telling the following story as a girl, and as the person she met as a boy because this is a tale of hardcore sex with strangers.

By the way, Happy Valentine's Day everybody.

It became painfully obvious that the people behind me were talking about sex. Also obvious was the confirmation in my mind that women hold no secrets between themselves - and transmit their secrets in code incapable of deciphering by one with a Y chromosome.

Most importantly, this was all occurring in the moments before class began - causing much background noise of entering classmates and backpack opening. Of the conversation that I was able to understand, very little was of audible-enough levels. The mere telling of this story in a classroom surrounded by strangers baffled me. Especially saying the following two comments loud enough to be blogged about a lifetime later:

"You know, (chokes back a laugh), he really wasn't that big."
"But (extended pause) the next morning I felt like I had rode a horse."

Then class began.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Snow Day: Part 2 of 2 [DTDP]

In my opinion, the best man-made earmuffs are as below pictured:

Shortly after 3 p.m. today, equipped with my headphones, shades for the blinding snow reflection and waterproof shoes I trekked over to Downtown Des Plaines. With the weather, this was easily the fastest option. It only took me three tracks of my latest purchased musical album:

I reserved a book written by a friend of a friend* on the library's website. I received e-confirmation that my book was waiting for me. Technology* at work.
*I know neither "friends." Owen King is an author on Brad Listi's Top Friends, Listi is one of my "friends" here on MySpace.

Many of my actual, tangible, friends have praised local coffee/sandwich/deli/undefined place:
Kaffeccino is as clean and "modernesque" as Corner Bakery or Panera Bread. More importantly you get excellent sandwiches that are not only larger than the variety at the two before mentioned national establishments but are also lower priced.

With the weather progressively worse outside, and a mammoth sandwich and newly acquired book on my table. I had one of the nicest, and longest, late lunches in possibly by life.

10 more blocks home (which now equal 3 Bloc Party songs) and I'm back to write my tale. Soon after posting I will return to the new book. A lazy day that didn't' involve the starting of a car, but exercise and new discoveries nonetheless.

Who said Snow Days were only good for children?

Snow Day: Part 1 of 2 [Coworker Giddy]

An e-mail from the head of HR announced the company's procedures of shutting down the office due to inclement weather. The vast majority of my surrounding coworkers met the news with a slight sense of, for lack of a better term, giddiness. I instantly interpreted it as False Hope. I do not know what a company, that is open every day after Thanksgiving, would interpret as "inclement."

However, false hope feels the same as real hope.

For the first time in in the condo, I slept with the room darkening shades half-drawn. This was to afford me the opportunity to catch a glimpse of any inclement weather at first eyeshot. It didn't look too bad, and I went to fire up the shower. And even in my deranged shattered hope I checked the company's website to confirm that I had to go back and step in the shower and get ready.

I'm not sure what prompted me to call the phone number set up by the company, to check if there was a message alerting employees of a building closure - but I did it anyway as a last ditch effort before I headed to work. After a quick check back to the website and logging onto my work e-mail it was confirmed: SNOW DAY.

After a few justified giddy cell phone calls to coworkers I headed back to sleep.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Every Kiss Begins with Corrupt

This afternoon I watched one of the latest television commercials for Kay Jewelers.
They have a jingle that pleasantly sings, "Every Kiss Begins with Kay."

In this latest ad, a son watches as his Father gives his Mother a "Kay" gift box and is instantly rewarded with a kiss. The boy then retreats to his room, and with a red crayon marks "kay" on a paper box. Later in the ad, the boy rings the doorbell of a young girl who accepts the box and quickly kisses the boy.

Bill Maher has a famous bit citing this "romantic reward" as being no different from outright prostitution. Family Guy spoofed the same concept in a more graphic motif:

However, back to this afternoon's ad for Kay:
It's not the advancement of this Capitalistic Coitus that bothers me. It's the inclusion of the Father's son. It's that this poor young boy must believe that the only way to have long lasting romantic involvement is at the price of materialistic objects with no intrinsic value beyond financial worth. Am I wrong for wanting the child to go at least until young adulthood to learn the truth?

Valentine's Day is this week. Enjoy.

Palahniuk, I'm onto you.

Dear Chuck,
Stop using the color cornflower blue in your novels.
While you are at it, stop with these Anarchist Home Guide of concoctions using every day items. Instead of using Orange Juice to blow up a building (Fight Club) or Lemon Juice to clean semen stained suits (Survivor) it doesn't add to your writing. It only makes a multi-novel reader of yours know that you have a bank of this "knowledge" that you feel inclined to insert in "random" sections.

However, I'm glad I read the novel. Finishing a book gives me a sense of self-accomplishment that doesn't come with watching Broadcast News off ON-DEMAND (which I did a few weeks ago). That time should've been spent reading - as I decided on Sunday.

The next book will be at the mercy of the Des Plaines Library's availability. I bought Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk... It may be a while before I purchase another book.


Meanwhile another late night Sunday Laundry game of chicken (staying up late enough to finally get your clothes clean for the work week) gave me the opportunity to watch a movie I've wanted to see for a couple years... I love IFC, I'll miss you when my 6-month introductory cable honeymoon ends.

Quick two word review of The Dreamers: Paris & Hair.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Opaque Obituary

I don't think it was the same in the mid-afternoon of November 22, 1963.
But today, for the 10 minute time period beginning at 3 PM the news spread like wildfire.
Ana Nicole Smith had died.

I was in the middle of re-printing a few documents, and had to make two separate trips to the main printer during this firestorm of conversation.  From all angles I heard the news, the gossip and the recounting of a public life.

Executive Vice Presidents to Temporary Hires were abuzz remarking on the notes of the fallen playmate.  Discussions of deceased offspring here and conversations regarding lost inheritance there seemingly perpetuated every inch of the large company.

I'm no better.  A few days ago, while filling up my water bottle the headline of a nearby Red Eye paper caught my eye.  Apparently Jim Carry is dating Jenny McCarthy.  "Oh, look at that" I thought to myself before I caught myself with a "Why the hell do I care?"

What is to become of someone who becomes Playboy Playmate of the year?  It's pretty much an end game sell out move for these women.  With the given exception of an expanded fame frame via Reality Television they get stripped of a future.

Best case scenario, you date either a respectable actor who vows to never marry you (McCarthy) or you date a respectable entrepreneur / legendary rocker who also vows to never marry you (Shannon Tweed).  Medium case scenario, you never find your clothes again and live for 12 months at a time on a dorm wall.  And then you have Ana Nicole Smith: the absolute worst case scenario.

Given fame
Given a massive inheritance
Given the luxury to let go physically and emotionally
Given a Reality television show
Given hope

At her highest point, which was probably a little over a year ago – fresh off her Trim Spa rejuvenation and expecting a baby – she thought she had beat the system.  Soon afterwards she experiences one of the worst pains of humanity: outliving an offspring.  And today it ended.  Her misery is complete, for her.

But nobody is talking about the arc of her life today… expect me.

Good Night Ana.  I won't necessarily miss you, and in 72 or so hours you may be forgotten from my memory forever.  But your death today set a firestorm of gossip that made me want to add my own comment.  And for that opportunity to comment, I thank you for a memorable life.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Why does my heart hurt so bad?

There are 30 National Football League franchises that did not play in the Super Bowl last night.
There are also more major metropolitan areas that do not even have a professional football team.
Unless you are a Colts fan, and by that I do not mean a fan of another team but loves Peyton Manning because of his funny TV commercials or other notable accomplishments, you've got nothing on me.

It hurts because of the tackling, or lack there of... It hurts because I don't think my team played as well as they could have. I want to believe that they did not play as well because the team that they played made it as such.

The only solace is that I believe the Indianapolis Football Colts are a better all around football team. I just wish it didn't turn out the way it did... Not just the loss, but how they lost.

I hurt because Rexy was not Sexy. And it is downright PAINFUL to hear people giving Rex the majority of the blame. I still want Rex as my QB. I will want to watch Bears football... I'll just have to wait months to see'em again.

Good Night Football.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Kind of a big deal... and Bears

For anybody who has spent a significant amount of time with me, it should not really be a surprize:
People know me.
Being the brother of a superstar social butterfly and working in a large company have factored into my claim.
Also, my odd willingness to talk to strangers and introduce myself to many.

This has never illustrated itself better to me than in the past fortnight. Since the Chicago Football Bears have earned a trip to Super Bowl XLI in Miami I have been under the constant attack of Pro-Bear Forwards. I have received the same 4 jokes from everybody. Jokes that must be around for at least 5 straight Super Bowls. (all that is changed is the replacing of Steelers or Patriots with Bears) There were a few unique to the Bears v. Colts matchup - but it's amazing how many times I had the "grizzly bear vs. my litte pony" picture in my inbox.

From people I went to college
From MySister's anthology
From coworkers
From Business associates
From lifelong friends
From other basketballers
From the cardplayer roster
From friends of my parents

The only significant circle to not include themselves in this forward-palooza is the group of women I have dated. I can only imagine what those would've been like (probably the pro-Colts variety)

However, now that the well has run dry - with Super Bowl XLI to kickoff tomorrow - I miss the forwards. The annoyance it caused me was the perfect displacement for what I currently feel

utter anxiety

Who knows how the inbox will react after the final whistle.

On a final note, my favorite string of e-mails I have received have been a continuation of mindless bear rants... It's really sataric beat poetry that both pokes fun at the national viewpoint of Chicago while still gets us in the mood for football... I will leave you with only a small sample: