Tuesday, April 29, 2008

All Hail Lee Elia
Twenty-five years ago today, Lee Elia, manager of the Chicago Cubs, gave the greatest rant in the history of professional sports. My work puter is having some audio issues, but I think that this link will give you the uncensored version:


F*ck those f*ckin' fans who come out here and say they're Cub fans that are supposed to be behind you, rippin' every f*ckin' thing you do. I'll tell you one f*ckin' thing, I hope we get f*ckin' hotter than sh*t, just to stuff it up them 3,000 f*ckin' people that show up every f*ckin' day, because if they're the real Chicago f*ckin' fans, they can kiss my f*ckin' ass right downtown and PRINT IT.

They're really, really behind you around here...my f*ckin' ass. What the f*ck am I supposed to do, go out there and let my f*ckin' players get destroyed every day and be quiet about it? For the f*ckin' nickel-dime people that show up? The motherf*ckers don't even work. That's why they're out at the f*ckin' game. They oughta go out and get a f*ckin' job and find out what it's like to go out and earn a f*ckin' living. Eighty-five percent of the f*ckin' world's working. The other fifteen come out here. A f*ckin' playground for the cocks*ckers. Rip them motherf*ckers. Rip them f*ckin' cocks*ckers like the f*ckin' players. We got guys bustin' their f*ckin' ass, and them f*ckin' people boo. And that's the Cubs? My f*ckin' ass. They talk about the great f*ckin' support that the players get around here. I haven't see it this f*ckin' year. Everybody associated with this organization have been winners their whole f*ckin' life. Everybody. And the credit is not given in that respect.....

Alright, they don't show because we're 5 and 14...and unfortunately, that's the criteria of them dumb fifteen motherf*ckin' percent that come out to day baseball. The other eighty-five percent are earning a living. It'll take more than a 5 and 13 or 5 and 14 to destroy the makeup of this club. I guarantee you that. There's some f*ckin' pros out there that wanna f*uckin play this game. But you're stuck in a f*ckin' stigma of the f*ckin' Dodgers and the Phillies and the Cardinals an all that cheap sh*t...... it's sickening, it's unbelievable. It really is. It's a disheartening f*ckin' situation we're in right now. 5 and 14 doesn't negate all that work. We got 143 f*ckin' games left.

What I'm tryin' to say is don't rip them f*ckin' guys out there. Rip me. If you wanna rip somebody, rip my f*ckin' ass. But don't rip them f*ckin' guys 'cause they're givin' everything they can give....

Meanwhile at the MATH ...

I decided to play an aggro game and sucked out a few times. I finished in the money, but just missd the final table, finishing 7th. I did not catch many cards in the first couple of hours, but I did hit a torrid streak as we got close to the money. The big hand that essentially kept me from the final table was when my K-J lost (TPGK) to K-Q.

I hope to have a good showing tonight at the Bodonkey. I used to rule this tournament (four wins), but I have been struggling since the stakes went up.

Bodonkey Update

I finished a couple of spots out of the money at the Bodonkey -- 7th, if I recall correctly. It became pushmonkey time once we neared the final table, and a complete lack of cards caused my stack to decrease too much, only to get dominated when I finally came up with something -- Ace-rag.

Actually, I got virtually no cards the entire tournament. I did get Big Slick once or twice, but I do not recall getting a pocket pair higher than 8-8. I hope that means that tonight's Mookie will see me flush with AA, KK, QQ, ...


Monday, April 28, 2008

Busy Week at Work; Boring Week at the Tables
My quest for a seat at the 2008 WSOP continues to go nowhere. Last week brought nothing but frustration. Work is very busy for me this time of year and I have had to decrease my poker time accordingly. Also, I find that as tension and stress increase in my life, my poker prowess dips accordingly.

There was a bit of redemption last night, however, as I got two third place finishes -- one at a Shark re-buy at Poker.com (my favorite site from before the Neteller fiasco) and one at a massive CardsChat freeroll at Full Tilt. While neither put much money in my pocket, they at least made me remember that yes -- I can go deep against either tough (Shark) or big numbers (CardsChat) competition if I play my game. In fact, I decided to pass on The Big Game since I was having so much fun in the others.

Tonight: MATH. I made last week's final table, and I hope to do so again tonight.

House Woes Continue
I had some hopes for selling my house last week. Someone with real interest (but with some warning signs) was supposed to make a decision by Friday. Of course, this family didn't even have the courtesy to notify my agent that they decided against placing an offer. Sigh.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More Unrest in the Poker Blogger World

Well, it seems that life is never boring in the world of poker blogging -- at least in the area where I hang my hat. As always, I don't mind throwing my two cents in, for whatever that is really worth.

People blog for different reasons. Many of the poker bloggers are really into it for the creative, aesthetic aspect. They remind me of my fellow literary magazine junkies from my college days. They were really into writing and were determined to put out the best, creative magazine imaginable. It is interesting being in a group where writing prowess equals coolness.

Other bloggers are into it for the poker strategy aspect. They usually author the analytical posts, disecting a poker hand like medical examiners at an autopsy. They appear to have little use of the more social blogs.

Some of the bloggers are more like me -- accidental bloggers, if you will. I first started my blog to get into Poker.com's blogger tournaments, with entry to the WSOP Main Event as the top prize. I met up with the current group of bloggers I play against when I found out about this tournament called "The Mookie."

As best I can understand -- and this is just my interpretation, to be clear -- the old-time bloggers (A-listers) see themselves as the pioneers who paved the way for the riches we fight for today. Their games were friendly, and the experience and the relationships were integral parts of the experience. This led to the annual blogger gatherings, where online relationships became real.

A new generation of bloggers appeared, and then another ... and like anything in life, change occurs. I've seen some of the olde tyme bloggers say things in tournament chat like "Things aren't the way they used to be" and "none of my old friends are here anymore." Well ... life moves on.

Several bloggers have written that some A-listers might be no-shows at the summer gathering due to some of the changes. Well, if so, I wish them well, because life goes on. They might be nostalgic for the past and what it meant, but it is 2008 ... and things change.

Another blogger issue deals with civility (or lack thereof) at the tables. Frankly, I must be sitting at the polite tables, because I haven't seen or heard anything that I thought was beyond usual blogger asshat behavior. Yes, people sometimes get pissed when they lose to a moronic play or feel the Full Tilt Poker revenge on the river, but I haven't seen anything terrible. But first, let's remember that bloggers are a reflection of society, and yes, some of the bloggers appear to be real buttmunches. No story there.

The latest issue, regarding the Tournament of Champions, is a bit more intriguing. Coming from a sports background and being a competitive person, I am bothered by the laying down of some players to give a person the TOC entry. To me, much more than a chop is going on here. Chops let everyone share in a good profit or allow a never-ending tournament to come to an end.

But voluntarily giving up first place to someone because you are not interested in the TOC final? Why even play in one of the tournaments then? I am one of the unfortunates who finished in second place in a tournament this season. When I was heads up against lucko, he did not offer a chop and I did not even consider asking for one since he already had secured his TOC seat. He beat me, and I accept that.

Suppose that lucko offered me a chop so that I could get the TOC seat, and I accepted. Would I really be a champion, or would I be someone who negotiated an excellent deal?

This is a Tournament of Champions - not one for "good finishers." To claim that going heads up at the final table is roughly equivalent to winning the tournament, as some bloggers have suggested, is ridiculous. Just ask Tuan Lam about that.

So the whole idea of having some real money involved with these blogger tournaments has maybe changed the essence of what the blogger tournaments had been? I don't know. But ... they are what they are.

Thoughts on Brandi Hawbaker

I am saddened to hear of Brandi Hawbaker's suicide. Having never met her, I can't say what she was really like. Was she just a pretty grifter, or was there more to her than that? It is not surprising that reports indicate that she suffered from a "very serious untreatable mental illness" (although being a mental health professional, I don't know what I would consider untreatable). She was appeared to be the poker equivalent of Marilyn Monroe -- beautiful, used by many men, and gone too soon in what appeared to be a fatalistic life.

Home Game Cash

My home game does live! We actually played the second home game this year last Friday evening. Thirteen runners came for what was a rare two-table tournament. Lady luck was not with me after the first half hour, but I somehow toughed it out and actually got second place again. I was almost sure that I would be the bubble boy, but patience and a wise decision on to not shove with a small pocket pair kept me in the game while other self-destructed against the chip leader, Josh, who had massive stacks of chips. I don't usually like to settle for second, but dang -- I felt like I robbed a bank, taking a nice second place place prize on an off night.

Deep Run in the MATH, but Not Good Enough

We were having internet problems at home, so after working all day and then playing softball, I headed back into the office to play the MATH tournament on my work computer. Actually, I have done quite well when I play at work late in the evenings. No distractions -- just me and the puter.

Went out in 8th place when I hit a gutshot straight draw on the river. Unfortunately, it also completed cmitch's boat ...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Going Through Some Tough Poker Times

Did you ever go through one of those times when nothing seems to go right? Poker-wise, that's where I am right now.

On Saturday, I played at my local spot, Illinois Charitable Games. I sat down at the $1/2 NL table, and what did I get the first hand? A-A! Being unfamiliar with what raises had been standard at that table, I raised $15 from the big blind. I got one caller. The flop brought three blanks. I raised $25 and the other guy went all in for $27. I, of course, called, only to see that he hit a set of 3's. So ... a guy with 3-3 calls a $15 bet with only $27 behind???

Other hands of note: I got A-A and had two people go all in in front of me. I called, only to face off against K-Qos and ... A-A! Dang -- split pot.

I called a bet with A-10 and saw a flop of A-A-10. I thought I was going to double up ... and so did the other guy, who also had A-10. Split pot. And that was how I rolled that day ...

My online tournaments have not been memorable. I made an moronic call in the MATH tournament and got felted -- clearly my bad. I couldn't get anywhere in the Bodonkey, and got virtually no cards in last night's Mookie. The best cards I got were A-J (folded to a big raise after I missed the flop), and 8-8 (folded to an all-in by someone who had me covered). Out before the first break.

Will tonight's Riverchasers get me back on track, or will I continue my sub-par performances?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What is Bill Self to Do?
Wow - what do you do if someone offers you $46 million just to do your job? Even if the decision is difficult, this is one hell of a time to be Bill Self, head coach of the national champion Kansas Jayhawks.

I find this story particularly interesting because I knew the Self family in a very casual way. Bill and Cindy's son, Tyler, was in the same grade school class as my son, Rick. They were also in the same Boy Scout troop. My wife had gotten frustrated at the way the troop was run, so ol' lighning36 got the pleasure of going to the meetings. We met every two weeks and parents did not have to stay, but staying and participating seemed really important to the kids, so stay I did most of the time.

Cindy Self was usually the Self parent at the meetings. She was involved not only in Boy Scouts, but also in many of the school functions. Bill was busy with University of Illinois basketball business, but he occasionally came to the scout meetings and the school plays and performances. I had a few of those unmemorable little chats with him that fathers have while waiting for events and meetings to end. He is, as you might suspect from his press conferences, a nice guy with a nice family.

Bill is still a pariah in the Urbana-Champaign area, which is quite unfortunate. After the university ran off long-time coach Lou Henson, it hired Lon Krueger, and the basketball program seemed to have a new enthusiasm. Krueger left after a few years to accept a great offer from the Atlanta Hawks, but seemed to get a pass for leaving since he kept stressing that he was leaving to ensure the security of his family.

When Illinois went looking for a new coach, it got the hottest young coach in the country -- Bill Self, who had done great things for the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricanes. Bill was immediately popular with the basketball faithful with his good-old-boy Oklahoma charm and most importantly, his ability to recruit. Suddenly, Illinois basketball again was the biggest thing in town, and people were beginning to think "national championship."

Unfortunately, Kansas came calling, and the coach who brought so much hope (and certanly gave the impression that he was not leaving anytime soon) left in an awkward fashion. He was heavily criticized for not meeting face-to-face with his team, but most importantly, he destroyed the dream that Illinois basketball, with the best young coach in the country, would become one of the college baskerball elite.

I am not a graduate of Illinois so I don't bleed orange and blue the way many in central Illinois do, but I do understand why so many people wanted to tar and feather Bill Self. The basketball faithful overestimate where they stand in the national pecking order. The fact that Bill left for Kansas told people what they didn't want to hear: Your basketball program is not at that level.

Illinois hired long-time Purdue assistant coach and then Southern Illinois University basketball coach Bill Weber to take over the program. To Weber's credit, he did take Illinois to the Final Four, had a two-loss season, and coached a team that made a great comeback in the championship game, only to lose to North Carolina. But everyone knew that the foundation of that team was Bill Self's recruits.

So ... if T. Boone Pickens's offer is a legitimate story, and with all of Bill Self's ties to Oklahoma State, can Kansas possibly rally enough alumni support (and major bucks) to make an offer that will keep Bill Self in Kansas?

Maybe I should have gone into coaching ...

Oh Yeah - Poker
My poker game has really sucked lately, just when I thought that I was turning things around. I keep running into A-A and K-K, and then last night at Absolute Poker, in a $10 NL tournament, I lost to a guy who didn't understand that his pocket Queens were no good when the flop came 5-5-A. Gee - I re-raised him -- what the hell did he think I had? He put me all in, which I insta-called with A-K. He then runner-runner four-flushed me to send me to the rail. Man, did that suck. But ... that's how I roll lately.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Going to my First Baseball Game of the Season!
Cubs set to line up once more vs. Astros
Chicago (1-3) vs. Houston (2-3), Saturday, 12:05 p.m. CT
CHC: RHP Jason Marquis (12-9, 4.60 ERA in 2007)
Marquis battled all spring for this spot, competing with Ryan Dempster and Jon Lieber. Marquis worked with someone this offseason on the mental part of the game in hopes of having a good full season, not a half season. The right-hander was 12-0 in 17 starts in which he went at least six innings. He's got to go deep. Marquis is 8-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 23 games against Houston and was 1-1 with a 6.10 ERA in four starts last season.

HOU: RHP Roy Oswalt (0-1, 5.06 ERA)
Oswalt lost his Opening Day start to reigning Cy Young winner Jake Peavy, who shut out the Astros through seven innings. Oswalt said he had no feel for his breaking pitches, which forced him to use his fastball 85 percent of the time. As a result, hitters were fouling off multiple pitches, causing Oswalt's pitch count to skyrocket. It was his sixth Opening Day start. He has a career 5-4 record and 5.28 ERA at Wrigley Field.
A Cubs Fan???
My uber-Cubs fan brother (the Las Vegas King of Komps) will not call me a Cubs fan. Why? I root for both Chicago teams, although the White Sox have always been my main boys. Growing up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, both teams were always on television., thus "dual citizenship" in my mind.
If you have never been to Wrigley Field (or whatever it might be called in the future), you are missing a big treat. The Friendly Confines isn't at its majestic best in April when the ivy is all brown, but the atmosphere is still fantastic. Let's hope for a big Cubs win!
A Little Nasty Talk at the Blogger Tournaments
Seems like BBT3 has brought out a case of the nasties in some players. It might be that some of the non-bloggers playing are creating problems, or it might be that the stakes are getting high, and the frustration from some bloggers is bleeding through. Do we just need to toughen the ol' hide a might? Maybe. A little civility also goes a long way.
I was surprised to see that one of the poker bloggers, bigpirate, mentioned me in a response to a post about behavior at the blogger tournament tables:
"All that being said, I was very happy Tuesday night to find myself seated between two of the most gentlemanly players out there, lighting36 and On_THG. I like playing against those guys and if they want to call me a donkey, I know where it is coming from."
Wow - that was a very nice, sincere compliment. I guess that I just don't see the point in saying nasty things at the table unless someone really deserves it. I hope that bigpirate -- a classy guy, I might add -- isn't around if I choose to release. My wife will tell you -- it's not pretty!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

An Omaha H/L Royal

This was about the only thing I have to write about since my poker has sucked this week. Hopefully the Mookie will see me break out of my slump.

Nothing Like Someone Stealing Your Credit Card Info

No, it is not an April Fools Day joke, but some buttmunch somehow got my credit card number and made a ton of charges today -- including one of over $900 at Wal-Mart and one of over $1000 at Office Max.

Fortunately, the fraud folks at MasterCard are pretty sharp at picking up on unusual charges and called me today. I only hope the idiot gets caught trying to use the now-frozen card.

And that is the way that I roll, baby -- at least lately.