Friday, February 25, 2005

Poker Blues

So last week, a couple of us hit the local gambling establishments. I sat down full of hopes and excited about a couple of hours of play.

Two hours I stood up, disgusted and ready to leave.

As the Tool of the Man points out, we were playing gamblers - guys who would play anything and, of course, catch what they were fishing for. So when I raised with pocket jacks in late position, I wasn't surprised when they were cracked - by the guy playing Q8c - because they were suited.

But that was okay, the two times I caught pocket queens, they were cracked wide open.

I was sitting in seventh position. In first position was a guy who would play a face card - rag combo, so long as it was suited. In the second seat, a gentleman who sat down with $200 and gleefully bet it all away as he called every pot down. Third seat was the same guy, only with a smaller stack.

The gentleman in eighth position - next to me - was crazy. His bushy salt-and-peppered eyebrows and wrinkled, leathery skin hid his eyes pretty well, but he was nuts. And he would play anything - ANYTHING - suited.

The guys in nine and ten were actually solid players and good guys - I didn't mind as much when my queens were cracked by him.

But Lord, it's frustrating when the only good pot I took down that afternoon was when I played 59o in the big blind - and paired my nines. It was just that kind of day.

My brother and I have decided we need to move up to a higher-limit game - not because we're so much better than everyone - we just don't want to be tangled up in all the fishing lines littering the table with every hand. It gets rather frustrating after awhile.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

The Best Part . . .

Of the interview wasn't the "revelations." We knew they were all juiced up. Good lord, I could sell tracts of land on Barry Bonds' giant mellon.

It wasn't the mental images, no matter how distubing: two burly men, pimples on their backs glistening in the bathroom light, squeezing into a stall the size of a broom closet, one of them bends over, and the other says, "Hold on, Jose, you're going to feel a little prick."

Sorry. I just couldn't resist.

Nope. To me, the best part of the whole Canseco interview was the way he kept tittering like a little kid every time he mentioned injecting steroids into someone's butt. Classic.

Standing Around With Nothing to Do

Freedom was a frustrating 15 feet away, but it might have well been a mile. We all stared at each other in frustration. The couple next to me started bickering again. The kid in front of them shuffled on his feet, bored out of his mind.

And yet we waited.

I went to a local grocery store tonight; I was doing a little cooking and ran out of a key ingredient, so I ran up to a store that promises more saving for more shopping, or something like that. However, they don't promise quick lines, which is good, because I don't like calling anyone a liar.

After running in and getting my things, I caught a small surprise: the lines at the checkout stretched halfway back into the store. Not good. Fortunately, I had an out - a secret weapon: The underused, misunderstood self-checkout. And a scant ten seconds later, there I stood in the short line. And stood.

And stood.

And stood.

At most stores, the self-checkout is reserved for customers with only 20 or so items. It keeps things moving, especially since you have to bag it yourself and you can't continue without bagging an item. There's also not much in the way of space at the stands. Unfotunately, tonight one of the registers was down, leaving only two.

In self-checkout line one: a tall, dirty man with leathery skin, barely able to stand, trying to buy beer and cigarettes. Behind him, his twin, only with beef jerky and vodka. After him, a woman with a cart so loaded, it looked like it might collapse upon itself, creating a black hole and killing us all - not to mention destroying the earth. Fortunately, the fabric of space/time held. Barely.

In line two, a younger, short woman, buying food for her family. One. Item. At. A. Time. She methodically scanned something, gently bagged it. Searched her cart. Scanned it. Bagged something else. Time stopped behind her. When it looked like she might be finished, she whipped out the coupons. Sweet Jesus.

I finally found my way into a regular line - they opened one. The drunks had moved on - probably for the best, I didn't want to share the road with them anyway - drunks are pretty bad road hogs, you know. And the two women were still checking out. One. Item. At. A. Time.

Makes me want to take up shoplifting.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


I wrote a long post, and Blogger just deleted it. Back to the drawing board . . .

Monday, February 14, 2005

Checking In . . . More Wednesday

Life's turned kind of hectic lately, so I haven't posted much. Sorry. Every time I sit to post, I don't know where to begin or what to say. Things are going well - very well, and that's the main reason for my absence.

I do promise that I'll be better about posting here - starting this week. I have several stories - general life, poker, crazed political rants. You know - the ususal.

Recently, I met someone. Instead of the same old thing, day in and day out, I see possibilites, and instead of scowling and shaking my fist at happy couples, I smile and let them walk past without any snide comments.

You've probably gathered from reading this blog that my love life generally hovers somewhere between the pathetic and tragic, with frequent trips to the comedic. To me, Valentine's Day was largely an excuse to pick fights with flower delivery guys and growl at happy people. But this year is different.

I don't know where things are going with her, but I do know that no matter what happens, I'll treasure the time I've spent with her these last few months. So I'm off to have a happy Valentine's Day (or night, since the sun has gone down). Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Taking a Step Back

Okay -- here's a poker post, so if these things bore you, don't tell me you wenen't warned.

Anwyay, I'm playing the $2-$4 bad beat tables at Party Poker; the night before I'd gone on an insane run, and ended up quadrupling my buy-in. That's a good evening. However, variance came along and pimp slapped me right down.

Take this hand, for example: I'm dealt pocket aces in middle position. I raise . . . and nearly everyone calls. I don't know if I should jump for joy or start crying, but there but for the grace of God, I continue playing. The flop? A3x rainbow. I start betting, and a few people fold, but there's still two players left. The turn is a 5, and I still have one caller, who just won't quit. The only think I can pin her on is pocket kings, but still - she knew I raised pre-flop, so I must have an ace . . . what the hell is she doing? She calls me down to the river, where she reveals her 24o, giving her a low straight, beating my set of aces.

Then she brags on the chat: "2-4! 2-4!" I took the high road and wrote: "I say nothing".

Here's another hand: I'm looking at QJ in early position, so I limp in, and the flop is AKx rainbow - that's a straight draw there, kids. Player to my right bets, I call, and there's one other caller. The turn is a sweet, sweet 10. I have my nut straight. Player to the right bets, I raise, she reraises, I reraise her reraise. The pot's getting awfully sweet. Then the river comes and drops an A on the table. An ace. A fucking ace. I now know I'm beat. She had a set, and now she just caught her full house. I call her bet, just cause I'm a sucker for punishment, and discover I was wrong: she'd been slow playing aces - she had four of a kind.

Needless to say, my winnings weren't holding out too well. And that's been a problem for me: consistently winning. I have good nights, and I have bad nights. But they're too even.

I know I'm not the greatest player in the world. I call too much instead of raising or folding. I have great instincts as far as when I should fold, but I don't listen to them enough.

So I need a little break. I need to study up on some of my reading material. I need to play a little more carefully, and I need to pull my head out of my ass at the table.

It's not going to be a long break -- I'm planning on hitting the casinos in two weeks, but I need a little time away to plug some leaks in my game.

Basically, that's why I haven't mentioned poker much lately - it's been more a source of frustration than a pleasure, so I had to step away for a little while. But I'll be back in the game soon enough. Besides, my addictions can only be held at bay for so long . . .