Sunday, November 30, 2008

One of Those Days ...
What a shitty day! I made a bonehead move in the CardsChat game at PokerStars today, then got cold decked twice in the first 40 minutes of the CardsChat Championship of Hold Em Main Event.

Only one thing to do to lick my wounds-- spend some quality time at the best site on the internet. Please join me!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The lightning36 Family Pets Flora
Flora is the newest addition to the lightning family. My youngest daughter, Erin, never had her own pet and wanted one. Of course, she would have us spend lots of money to get a macaw or a toucan. We thought that a lovebird would be a nice start.
Gravy is another relatively new resident to the lightning household. My oldest daughter, Heather, was looking for a cuddly pet. We used to have hamsters, gerbils, and rats -- yes, rats. We switched to rats since they tended to withstand rough handling by children. The last of the rats died a few years ago, so it was time for another small furry pet. Heather wanted a chinchilla and found one that was raised by someone just outside of town. Gravy is very soft and seems to take to Heather well. I look at him and see great potential -- ear muffs maybe?
Ivy joined the household in a sneaky way. Mrs. lightning arranged to have an out-of-town friend "surprise" her with a very late birthday gift. We couldn't return a birthday present, could we? Ivy, who got her name due to her constant climbing, has already destroyed countless window screens. If there is no way for her to get inside or outside, she creates a way. We finally got a cat door to help minimize the damage. She is a typical cat -- way too independent for my liking, and sucks up when she wants to be fed or go out. Of course, that just means that she is female ...

Ginger has been with us for several years. We had to give up our previous dog, Granville (named after Granville Waiters, former Chicago Bulls player) when Granville decided that he didn't like the new additions to the lightning pack when our kids were very young. We went without a dog for several years, then decided to go to the local humane society to get a puppy. Mrs. lightning picked out Ginger, and what a great choice it was. Ginger is good-natured, fun-loving, and as loyal as they come. Unfortunately, after having surgery she discovered how nice it was to get her belly scratched. Now -- that is all she ever wants!
Additionally, we have an indoor aquarium that Mrs. lightning made into a coffee table. Ivy loves to watch the fish swim by, which we call "Cat TV" (see picture of Ivy above). We also have a small pond in the backyard that is stocked with shubunkin, which are koi-like goldfish.

Rumor has it that the lightning household also has a donkey, but that is a topic for another day ...
Why I Hate Freerolls Part 23
Three examples from play today:

1) At a Cake Poker new depositors freeroll I have top pair good kicker after the flop. I am somewhat short stacked and in the hand with one other person (her stack was bigger), so I push all in. She calls off most of her chips with A-Jos. No pairs, just two unmatched overcards after the flop. Of course, a Jack appears on the turn, sending me to the rail.

2) CardsChat freeroll. Several people limp in and the button (big stack) goes all in. He is called by ... Q-10os! The button pushed with Big Slick. Of course, I don't have to tell you who won the hand.

3) CardsChat freeroll. I have Q-Q and make a big raise. An opponent goes all in with ... 6-6! Of course, a 6 comes on the flop -- bye bye. At least this player had the decency to say "sorry."

I play freerolls to support the online poker groups to which I belong and play in other special events like the new depositor freeroll. Tough to justify the time you invest, however.
Another Deep Run at Full Tilt But Came Up Short Again
Dang, this one hurts. I was on the brink of elimination outside the bubble and came all the way back to take the chip lead. I then immediately hit a dry patch and moved back in the pack. I'm going to have to review the hand history toward the end.

Thanks to the Shark Poker Tour regulars who sweated me at the end. Much appreciated!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

I've Got Plenty To Be To Be Thankful For

I am certainly not like Bing Crosby's Jim Hardy in Holiday Inn, who was feeling sorry for himself at Thanksgiving. Rather, I am very thankful for a number of things in my life and for things that have happened this past year. My list includes:
1) My mom's health. Although still recovering from her many medical problems in 2008, she is actually doing quite well.
2) Selling my house. It sold after being on the market for about a year. Thank goodness it sold before the bottom fell out of the economy. I drove past it today. I had a big smile on my face.
3) A wonderful, loving wife who somehow puts up with me and all my crap.
"An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels." Proverbs 31:10
4) Healthy children who are navigating the difficult job of growing up.
5) A secure professional job during these times of economic uncertainty. My wife is fortunate to have a good job also.
6) Good health -- pending a medical procedure next month.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

28th out of 2328 in Midnight Madness. Always fun to go deep in this donkathon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Blogger Skillz Game Victory -- and Where the hell have I been?

Tonight's Blogger Skillz Game (Omaha) victory actually made me get off my duff and post. The nice thing about the victory was that the other bloggers in at the end -- bayne_s, PirateLawyer, and NumbBono -- are all tough hombres. It looked like I was about to bubble when my patience paid off. A little luck never hurts either.

I can't say the same for tonight's Bodonkey. I was sailing along as one of the chip leaders when I got sucked out on big time. In the big hand, I had a set of 7's after the flop -- middle set. There were two others in the hand. I went all in (I had both players covered) and much to my surprise, both players called! The first had bottom set and the other had pocket Aces which he couldn't lay down. So ... even with two guys all in ahead of him and only having an overpair after the flop, the guy with Aces hits a two-outer on the river and sends me back in the pack instead of being the chip leader. I eventually bubbled the tournament in 6th place -- a bitter pill to swallow, for sure.

The night before, I finished 88th out of 1,400 in the Full Tilt $28,000 Guarantee. K-7 sucking out against my A-K kept me from making a deeper run.

And ... last week I finished 5th out of over 800 at a private freeroll, scoring a nice $330+ score.

November is one of the busiest months in my job and I have been very busy. I'll update my blog within a few days to talk about things going on in my life.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A third place finish in the Bodonkey? How did that happen?

To start with, $mokkee pwned my A-A with J-J. I limped in and waited for a raise -- a risky move, of course. $mokkee went all in and I called within about 1/10 second. J-J > A-A, naturally. After being crippled, I pooshed when needed, got some chips, and then selectively pooshed with good cards or when forced to due to stack size.

Although I regularly complain about the bad beats I take and consider myself unlucky, I hit a looooooong lucky streak, hitting flops, turns, and rivers, and sucking out more times in one tournament than I usually do in several months. Some other players went out on nasty beats, and eventually I was in the top three. My luck finally ran out, however. Third place -- I'll take it !

Sunday, November 02, 2008

My First World Series of Poker Event
The stars were aligned properly today, enabling me to play in my first WSOP event -- Event # 13 at the WSOP Circuit Event at the Horseshoe Hammond (IN). Would a circuit event be like the summer events in Las Vegas?
The day started off well. I got an extra hour of sleep due to the change of time, and the Mapquest directions were flawless. I got to the casino very early and got registered immediately. I then caught an early lunch and still had time for a little slot action to relax.
The tournament started on time with $6,000 starting chips and 25/50 blinds. Each level was supposed to be 40 minutes, but they announced that the levels would only be 30 minutes in order to complete the tournament during the allotted time. Huh?
The crowd was what you'd expect -- a lot of guys in their 20's, some "mature" gentlemen like myself, and only a smattering of women.
When the tourney started, my table was solid testosterone with an empty seat. Having watched the Tiffany Michelle show the past few weeks on ESPN's WSOP coverage, I almost joked, "Hey --where are the good looking babes?" Of course, you know what happened next. The empty seat was taken by a beautiful blonde -- thin tapered body, cute, huge chest, wearing a low-cut V-neck sweater. I was in seat six, and she was directly across from me in seat nine. I thought about offering to change seats with seat one - for a $1000 chip!
Early on I was dealt A-K and raised. One caller. The flop was A-A-rag. I raised and was called. Hmmm. The turn was a rag, and I raised again. Again a smooth call. The river was another rag, and I was concerned that my opponent might have called with a weak ace and hit a boat. I raised after the river and he called -- with 8-8! He stayed in all the way with my raising and two aces on the board? Nice pot for me.
Another good hand was when I was dealt K-9spades in late position. Everyone was calling for a big family pot, so I called. The flop: 9-9-K! There was a raise and a call, so I just called to set the trap. The turn was a blank with two checks and I didn't want to chase anyone out, so I checked. The river was a blank. There were two checks in front of me, so I placed a value bet. One guy folded (unsuccessful flush draw) and the other guy called with a King. If only the guy in early position had hit his flush, I would have cleaned up. Another nice pot for me anyway.
What followed was a card dead streak which lasted for about 90 minutes. I won one hand with pocket Tens, raising when an Ace came on the flop and scaring out my opponent, but that was about it. I speculated on a few hands, but nothing good hit. Guys started making huge raises, so I was forced to fold marginal hands. Antes kicked in and my stack was dwindling.
We were about to take the first break (after the fourth level), but our dealer dealt one more hand. I got a red King, then prayed that I would get ... yessssss, a second red King! The aggro guy in seat five raised to $1100 (blinds were $100/200), and I went all in for about $2750, figuring I'd get the blinds, antes, and his raise right before the break. Surprisingly, the guy in seat one called. We were heads up, K-K vs 8-8. I was surprised that he called off around 40% of his stack since all he was in for was the ante. I guess that he thought we were racing? Or did he see that after the break he would be down to 15-17 big blinds and he wanted to gamble?
You can guess what happened next. The flop contained a 4 and a 6, and I felt the screw job coming. The turn was a 7, and I swear that I knew the river would be a 5. Sure enough it was, and just like that, my tournament was over. I sat back in my chair, grabbed my head and yelled. I guess my drama queen daughter didn't get it all from her mom.
How depressing. I wasn't playing too badly, made it past a few donks at my table who exited very early, then lost when I should probably never have been called when I was an 80% favorite.
But ... what the heck. I did finally get some in-person poker, which I had been craving, and did play in a WSOP event, but still ... bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
btw -- the Horseshoe Hammond poker room looked really nice. The tournament, however, was not played there due to the number of entrants. Everything the WSOP folks ran seemed to be professionally done. So yes ... I shall return!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Bongo -- faithful automobile companion of first lightning Sr. and now lightning36

Remembering the departed on All Soul's Day
All Soul's Day is on November 2, just after the All Saint's Day and is an official holiday of the Catholic Calendar. It is a Roman Catholic day of remembrance for friends and loved ones who have left for their heavenly abode.

Have you read the recent posts by jjok? He wrote a very touching story about his grandmother who recently passed away. I lost my last grandparent over twenty years ago. However, when I began dating my wife, I was lucky enough to pick up a complete new set. However, they have all passed away over the past twenty-some years. The last, Grandma Rudolph, was a cagey card player who loved to bust my butt playing Rummy Royal. I've got a feeling that she would be happy to see me busting some donks at the cash tables.

For jjok's grandma and all the other grandparents who were special to us, may you already be enjoying your reward for the ways you touched our lives. May their loved ones be comforted with happy memories.

My high school recently celebrated fifty years with an all-class reunion. I learned that an old next-door neighbor died this summer. However, I didn't find out that he was murdered until tonight.

Ed Forst was a pitcher in high school and threw the best sinker I had ever seen. His younger brother was one of my friends. Their family moved away before I started high school, and we never really knew what happened to them.

For Ed and all other people who have died through senseless violence, may you be in paradise with the Lord. May your families continue to be comforted by their faith, their family, and their friends.

Campaign: Obama didn't know aunt's immigration status

(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama didn't know his aunt might be living illegally in the United States, as media outlets are reporting, his campaign said Saturday.

"Sen. Obama has no knowledge of her status but obviously believes that any and all appropriate laws [should] be followed," campaign spokesman Bill Burton said.

According to The Associated Press, a court refused four years ago to accept the asylum application of Zeituni Onyango, 56, the half-sister of Obama's Kenyan father. However, she has continued to live in a public housing complex in South Boston, AP reported.

Onyango's refusal to leave the country would be an administrative violation, not a criminal matter.

CNN has not been able to independently verify her immigration status.

Obama called the woman "Aunt Zeituni" in his memoirs, where he described her as the first Kenyan relative he encountered on his visit to his father's home country.

She told the Times that she travels back and forth between the United States and Kenya.

"I have been coming to America ever since 1975. I always come and go," the Times quoted her as saying.

Onyango has donated at least five times to Obama's campaign in July and September, listing her occupation as a "volunteer resident health advocate." Federal campaign finance records indicate several contributions in amounts of $5 and $25.

The gifts would appear to violate federal campaign finance law, which prohibits political donations by non-U.S. citizens.

"The responsibility is the campaign's to ensure the funds they receive are from permissible sources in appropriate amounts," Bob Biersack, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, told The Times of London.

Liar liar, pants on fire ... : o )

Get used to it, my friends ...

Obama's see no evil, hear no evil (Tony Rezko, Rev Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, et al) defense is getting old already.