Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Blackhawks on the Brink
I think that Game 4 of the Blackhawks-Red Wings series was best summed up by a Chicago sports radio talk show host: "What you saw was a young, inexperienced, up-and-coming team play the defending Stanley Cup champions."

It is pretty obvious that Chicago is just not at the level of Detroit ... yet. The Hawks missed on most of their chances, and Detroit once again seemed to score every time there was a Hawks defensive breakdown. Quite impressive. The mark of a championship team.

No, Joel Quenneville, the penalty to Matt Walker was not the "worst call in the history of sports." And it was not the reason the Hawks lost. They went up against a better, more experienced team, they were outplayed, and they lost their cool. The Hawks "rough guy" antics toward the end of the game were embarrassing.

Can the Hawks come back and win three in a row against the Red Wings? Highly improbable. But this year the Hawks achieved much -- probably much more than most expected. The trick, however, will be how they build upon this for next year.

Unfortunately, the Hawks news is the GOOD news in Chicago sports. The White Sox and Cubs? Bah!

When you run bad, you run bad. Last night at Riverchasers, I did win a race with 9-9 vs A-K. Unfortunately, it was followed up by losing preflop Q-Q against K-10suited (hit his flush) and preflop Q-Q against A-10 (10 on the flop and a third 10 on the river). No complaints against the players who played these hands, for the circumstances dictated their moves. But it just goes to show that so many things go into winning a tournament. If I was not flushed out with K-10, I would have had a decent stack and everything would have changed. If the 10 doesn't come on the river, I would have doubled up and have been right back in it.

Only four BBT4 tournaments are left. No wins yet. As for the total point standings, I am now just out of the money. Unless I come up big in the next week, this will have been a disappointing end to something that had started so promising.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Some Tough Situations in Bloggerdom
Sometimes bad things just seem to happen all at once. AlCantHang had a young friend pass away unexpectedly. katitude's mother-in-law suffered a major stroke. Pirate Lawyer had a long-time family pet put to sleep. And those were just the things I read about late last night.

My condolences, prayers, and best wishes go out to these members of the blogger community. Life is hard enough without facing personal losses. But losses happen ... and they are difficult. We may not always be able to do much to help, but sometimes just saying a kind word or two helps. Let's show a little love to these hurting bloggers.
Jake Peavy to the White Sox?
Such are the hot trade rumors this morning. Unconfirmed reports are that the Sox would send Clayton Richard, another player, and two players to be named later for Peavy. Has the deal been made and now it is up to Peavy to approve it? Should be an interesting day.

Of course, the Cubs were rumored to be getting Peavy many moons ago. We waited for news of the trade ... and waited ... and waited ...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Of Hawks, Cubs, and Sox
Despite a great effort, the Chicago Blackhawks lost game two to Detroit 3-2 in OT, thus falling behind 2-0 in the series. Could the Blackhawks win four out of the next five against the defending champs? Highly improbable.

Afetr missing the playoffs for so many years, the Hawks are actually about two years ahead of schedule in their rebuilding plan. They have played well in the playoffs, but they just don't have the talent that Detroit has -- yet. Still, they are on a great run and have finally returned to being a relevant team -- something that has not been the case for over ten years. All Hail Rocky Wirtz!

The Cubs are just three games behind the Brewers -- not bad, considering that they started off so slow. I still expect them to win the division. But the playoffs? Arrggg. Getting ready for the ol' grabbing of the ankles ritual.

The White Sox are in trouble. They are six games below .500 and have lots of questions in their lineup and rotation. A few more weeks of sub-standard play might start a rebuilding movement that has been waiting in the wings for a few years. It's still early, though. I'm not giving up on them yet.

On the Real and Virtual Felt ...
I played some live poker this past weekend in town at an Illinois Charitable Games event. I played the 20 Dolla' Holla', a real donkfest with blinds that went up every eight minutes. I got only one hand and had to push with A-7, which I ran into A-K. 'nough said. In the cash games, I lost a chunk of money early while playing three-handed, which I normally would not even play. I made what I thought was a big laydown, only to learn the guy was a total idiot. If only I had known ... Anyway, I fought back to only take a small loss -- not good, but better than losing a buy-in, I guess.

In the BBT4, I have been terrible. I just have not been able to get things going, and I have not caught a break when I needed to. Only a few TOC seats are left. Time to cowboy up.

At this summer's World Series of Poker, I play on playing the Seniors No-Limit Hold’em World Championship -- Event 43 on June 22. I expect around 2,500 entrants. There should be some benefits you get when AARP starts sending you invitations, right? I decided to enter a tournament where I would be one of the youngsters instead of being one of the "more senior" players. It should be very interesting.

I plan to be in Las Vegas June 18-24. I hope to meet a few fellow bloggers there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sometimes You Just Want To Cry
Mookie Final Table
Full Tilt Poker Game #12208119893: The Mookie (90360042), Table 2 - 400/800 Ante 100 - No Limit Hold'em - 0:34:04 ET - 2009/05/14
Seat 1: irongirl01 (22,414)
Seat 2: sellthekids (11,592)
Seat 3: APOSEC72 (10,183)
Seat 4: lightning36 (17,349)
Seat 5: ShipFaced12 (63,594)
Seat 6: BamBamCan (5,930)
Seat 8: cmitch (43,321)
Seat 9: Joanne1111 (35,617)
irongirl01 antes 100
sellthekids antes 100
APOSEC72 antes 100
lightning36 antes 100
ShipFaced12 antes 100
BamBamCan antes 100
cmitch antes 100
Joanne1111 antes 100
irongirl01 posts the small blind of 400
sellthekids posts the big blind of 800
The button is in seat #9
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to lightning36 [Ad Qc]
APOSEC72 folds
lightning36 raises to 2,400
ShipFaced12 folds
BamBamCan has 15 seconds left to act
BamBamCan folds
cmitch folds
Joanne1111 folds
irongirl01 folds
sellthekids calls 1,600
*** FLOP *** [Qh 8d 7d]
sellthekids checks
lightning36 bets 14,849, and is all in
sellthekids calls 9,092, and is all in
lightning36 shows [Ad Qc]
sellthekids shows [5d 5c] Three overs, two diamonds on the board - excellent call
Uncalled bet of 5,757 returned to lightning36
*** TURN *** [Qh 8d 7d] [5h] Was there any doubt this was coming?
*** RIVER *** [Qh 8d 7d 5h] [Qd]
lightning36 shows three of a kind, Queens
sellthekids shows a full house, Fives full of Queens
sellthekids wins the pot (24,184) with a full house, Fives full of Queens
cmitch: yikes
*** SUMMARY ***Total pot 24,184
Rake 0
Board: [Qh 8d 7d 5h Qd]
Seat 1: irongirl01 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 2: sellthekids (big blind) showed [5d 5c] and won (24,184) with a full house, Fives full of Queens
Seat 3: APOSEC72 folded before the Flop
Seat 4: lightning36 showed [Ad Qc] and lost with three of a kind, Queens
Seat 5: ShipFaced12 folded before the Flop
Seat 6: BamBamCan folded before the Flop
Seat 8: cmitch folded before the Flop
Seat 9: Joanne1111 (button) folded before the Flop

88% favorite when all the chips went in.
I don't believe that I will ever win the Mookie again.
Lost opportunity for one of the few BBT4 TOC seats remaining.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Hawks eliminate Canucks with 7-5 win in Game 6

Patrick Kane had a hat trick and Jonathan Toews scored twice as the Hawks advanced to the Western Conferenc finals with a 7-5 win over the Canucks in Game 6 at the United Center.
The Hawks win the semifinal series 3-2 and advance to the conference finals for the first time since 1995. Courtesy of espn.com

What a game! Back and forth, back and forth ... but fortunately the Hawks came out on top. Kudos to the Vancouver Canucks for playing an excellent, tough series. Unfortunately for the Canucks, the Hawks were just a little bit better in the series.
Growing up in suburban Chicago, I lived and died for the Hawks when I was young. It was so painful to watch Hawks ownership destroy the team in the late 1990's. Thank goodness Rocky Wirtz got to take over as chairman and bring the team back.
I will fade off to sleep with a smile on my face tonight.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

May 10, 2009 Official Blogger Report of lightning36
Crazy Day at the Brit Blogger Tourney
How to crack Aces, lightning36-style. Actually, I was in the big blind with a short stack with no raise in front of me. Hey smokkee -- planning the ol' limp-reraise play? Dang -- he has gotten hold of my mtt playbook!

But okay -- plays like the following are the kind that make you want to give up online poker.

Full Tilt Poker Game #12142009202: Brit Blogger Game (89934808), Table 2 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 16:40:29 ET - 2009/05/10
Seat 2: Topper Church (1,578)
Seat 3: BrainMc (1,444)
Seat 4: NewinNov (2,125)
Seat 5: lightning36 (2,262)
Seat 6: Joanne1111 (5,729)
Seat 8: rubbishat (2,783)
Seat 9: Chippy McStacks (1,700)
rubbishat posts the small blind of 30
Chippy McStacks posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #6
*** HOLE CARDS ***Dealt to lightning36 [Ks As]
Topper Church calls 60
BrainMc folds
NewinNov folds
lightning36 raises to 240 Standard raises have been 3x the BB. I'll raise it 4x.
Joanne1111 folds
rubbishat calls 210 Okay
Chippy McStacks folds
Topper Church calls 180 Okay
*** FLOP *** [Qh Kc 7h] Bingo!
rubbishat checks
Topper Church has 15 seconds left to act
Topper Church bets 180
lightning36 raises to 1,320 Heart flush draw on board. Pay to chase, gentlemen,
rubbishat folds
Topper Church has 15 seconds left to act
Topper Church calls 1,140 ???
*** TURN *** [Qh Kc 7h] [Ad]
Topper Church bets 18, and is all in
lightning36 calls 18
Topper Church shows [Jc Qs] What? He called off his stack and doesn't even have top pair or a flush draw?
lightning36 shows [Ks As]
*** RIVER *** [Qh Kc 7h Ad] [Td] The terrible call gets rewarded and I get screwed.
Topper Church shows a straight, Ace high
lightning36 shows two pair, Aces and Kings
Topper Church wins the pot (3,456) with a straight, Ace high
The blinds are now 40/80
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,456
Rake 0
Board: [Qh Kc 7h Ad Td]
Seat 2: Topper Church showed [Jc Qs] and won (3,456) with a straight, Ace high
Seat 3: BrainMc didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: NewinNov didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: lightning36 showed [Ks As] and lost with two pair, Aces and Kings
Seat 6: Joanne1111 (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: rubbishat (small blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 9: Chippy McStacks (big blind) folded before the Flop

There is a reason some players only cash in four of their last 54 tournaments.

Blackhawks One Win Away from Advancing to Next Round

Bolland breaks tie as Blackhawks take 3-2 series lead over Canucks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With Chicago on a power play and the puck on Patrick Kane's stick, David Bolland found a soft spot behind the Canucks defense and trusted the puck was coming. The hardest part was waiting for it.
When the puck finally arrived, Bolland patiently gathered it and then snapped a shot past the stick of a diving Roberto Luongo and into an empty net. The goal with 5:05 left gave the Chicago Blackhawks the lead they turned into a 4-2 victory over Vancouver on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinal series. Courtesy of espn.com

Another exciting, great game between the Blackhawks and the Canucks. The Hawks let Vancouver have too many good chances in deep, but they came away win a much-needed win. The series returns to Chicago for game six on Monday night.

Yeah -- the referees made some shitty calls aganinst the Canucks (and the Hawks, I might add), but that is still no excuse for the Canuck fans to litter the ice when they are unhappy -- which they did twice. What would they think if one of the Sedin brothers skated into a piece of garbage and tore up his knee?

I called this series for the Hawks in six. I hope I am right. The Hawks certainly do not want to go back to Vancouver for a game seven.

Yo -- It's Mothers Day
Happy Mothers Day to all the moms! I am fortunate to still have my mom alive.

"A boy's best friend is his mother. " Norman Bates

Hmmm ... I don't think I have had the same relationship with my mother that Norman had ...

... but I have always known that no matter what happened, my mother would be there for me. She is 84 and going strong. Some gifts from God are wonderful!

17 Years Ago ...
My first child was born. How fast the time goes. I remember when she was just a beautiful baby. And now ...

... she has become a beautiful young lady. And yes ... that is the prom dress that she picked out with her mother.

First blogger to remark how she must get her good looks from her mother will be buying the first round at the WSOP or the next blogger gathering. And yeah -- I know at least a dozen bloggers that are thinking it. So there.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?
Item: Davis Ogden Stiers reveals that he is gay. Kelly McGillis says "I'm done with the man thing." Pink is bisexual; Pink is not bisexual.
Conclusion: Do we really care?

Item: Headlines -- "Canucks Take 2-1 Lead Over Blackhawks" "Luongo holds off Blackhawks to power Canucks, 3-1"
Conclusion: You can't give up the first two or three goals each game and expect to win. The Blackhawks had a chance to put a major hurt on the Canucks but instead got behind early, giving the Canucks the opporunity to slow things down, muck up the ice, and neutralize the Hawks' speed. Game four is a biggie. I expect the Homies to tie the series before heading back to Vancouver.

Item: The Oprah Winfrey Show/Kentucky Grilled Chicken Two-Piece Meal Coupon
Conclusion: If ever there was something created that could bring down the enrtire internet, this is it.

Item: Butt-Head: "Dude -- you stink."
Conclusion: Butt-Head has been watching my play in May in the BBT4

Monday, May 04, 2009

Monday Musings
Prison Break

Am I the only poker blogger who loves Prison Break? This deliciously wonderful series is coming to an end in the next two weeks. Yes -- how can you make breaking out of a prison into four seasons? Well ... you get prisoners ready to break out, then you show them on the loose, then some get captured and put in a different prison, then they escape ... and on and on ...

Word is out that T-Bag will have a great ending. What kind of ending would be great for a murdering sex fiend who now shows some depth?

This show has so many wacky twists and turns that nothing is easy to predict. However, I will venture a guess at the endings for some characters:

T-Bag -- dead
Self -- dead
The General -- dead
Christina -- dead
Michael and Sara -- live happily ever after
Lincoln -- reunited with LJ, maybe getting married to Sophia
Mahone -- reunites with ex-wife

There is supposed to be someone from the past coming back at the end. My wife wonders if perhaps Sucre comes back. I think Gretchen -- and she winds up dead.

I haven't looked forward to a television show this much for several years. The last two episodes should be great. Also, there is supposed to be a two-hour episode that is a subplot that was never shown. When will Fox show us this?

Dropping the Hammer
I was able to provide clarification for some private forum members who could not believe the play of a poker blogger in a $100 deep-stack buy-in tournament. One forum member said, "I must say, I was shocked at some of the play in this high of a buyin event. There were a lot of ats (any two sooted) players that you would expect in a much lower buyin or even a freeroll..." A person who was playing in the tournament remarked, "Yes, with 232 big blinds this guy re-raised twice and called all-in with 7 2 off."

Yes -- a blogger dropped the hammer in a $100 buy-in deep-stack tournament with blinds at 10/20 -- calling an all-in bet for 232 big blind total pre-flop-- and lost to pocket Kings. I explained to the forum members about poker bloggers and the hammer. Gold, Jerry, gold.

Of Bulls and Hawks

The Bulls lost game seven to Boston, which I certainly expected. They played their hearts out but blew their chances to win earlier in the series. What do the Bulls do now? Do they pay a king's ransom to keep Ben Gordon, using resources they could use to sign a primo free agent in the future? Does John Paxson keep his job? What should this team look like next year?

The Blackhawks evened their series against the Canucks at 1-1. I am still sticking with my original prediction of the Hawks in six games. The next games in the United Center should be fantastic -- great NHL playoff hockey. Expect that there will be plenty of hard hitting and physical action -- and hopefully two Hawk victories.

It's a Beautiful Day for a Ball Game ...

The weather in central Ilinois is beautiful today. After three consecutive rainouts, my softball team will play its first game of the season tonight. My goal: No broken bones, no muscle pulls, no limping at work tomorrow. Yes -- your goal in sports change when you get older.

Oh yeah -- poker. It sucked this weekend. It started off on Friday in tournament play when I raised in middle position with A-A. One limper in early position called. Flop was K-rag-rag. Opponent went all-in. Does she have a set? I didn't believe so -- I put her on A-K. I called. She turns over K-9. Yessss. But ... The turn: 9. The river: 9. And THAT is how I roll sometimes.

Unfortunately, the rest of the weekend didn't get much better. Praise be Monday!!

Please let me know where to deposit my $1 fine for the bad beat story...

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Sharp ignites furious Hawks charge as Chicago evens Canucks series at one

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- Patrick Sharp scored twice to tie it and David Bolland put Chicago ahead with a short-handed breakaway to help the Blackhawks tie their second-round playoff series at a game apiece with a 6-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night. courtesy of ESPN.com.

Note to Blackhawks: The games might be much easier if you do not spot the Canucks two or more goals. Way to catch up, though, guys.

Now we move to game three in the United Center. The Hawks have stolen the home ice advantage and will have one large, rowdy crowd. If only the Hawks were still playing in the old barn.

I have a couple of side bets on this series -- one with Pirate Lawyer and one with Schaubs. However, I will not be satisfied just to win the bets. The icing on the cake would be the following press release this coming July:

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks made a bold move in reestablishing themselves at the top of the NHL by signing free agents Daniel and Henrik Sedin...