Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday Freerolls & A Short Vacation

Played in two private freerolls today and spent waaaay too much time out of my day on them. The first was a CardsChat freeroll -- the usual Saturday nooner at Full Tilt -- and I snagged second place. I joked with my wife, who worked a few hours this afternoon, that I actually made more money than she did. And I did!

I then also played at the Global Gaming Events GGE vs UB Pros II at Ultimate Bet. I finished 22nd out of 1,397 runners when my A-Q lost to K-7 all in pre-flop. A King and a 7 on the flop and that was all she wrote.

I leave for Las Vegas in less than twelve hours. This should be a fun trip as I hope to meet some older and some newer friends. I plan to meet old buddies HyppieChyck and Jiggy from the Shark Poker Tour. I also plan to meet bloggers Lucki Duck and The Neophyte. I just may even get in some poker.

Catch ya on the flip side!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011: A Quick Review Two Months In - Time For Some Changes

With almost two months of 2011 in the books, I figured it was time to look back and assess my poker year so far. The results have not been pretty.

Although there have been a few wins in tournaments and some decent days at the cash tables, overall things have not been going the way that I would like. I have always thought that my poker luck was a little below average, but I seemed to have gotten slammed with more bad beats and river beats recently than I can remember.

So ... it is time to change things up. Among other things, I have expanded the number of online poker rooms that I am playing. This, is course, is one of the easier changes to make. Different RNGs, different graphics, different players. Sometimes just seeing different icons on your computer screen seems to put you in a different frame of mind.

I have also expanded the poker games that I am playing. For example, I have begun playing some Omaha cash games and have played in a couple of 5 Card Draw tournaments. Of course, this takes a little getting used to since the concepts, strategy, and pacing are completely different from No Limit Hold Em. I have not given up on NLHE completely, however, for I do not think that I could play games like 7 Card Stud all the time. And hey -- if I feel the need to do something completely different I can torture myself with Razz, right?

I leave for a short trip to Las Vegas in just over two days. I am hoping that a little live casino action puts me back on track to chart a different online poker course when I return. It is just a feeling, but something tells me that the poker gods will be good to me in Las Vegas. But heck -- it seems like they owe me at least a little ...

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Curious Case of Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown

For someone living many miles away from Massachusetts, I was totally amazed that republican Scott Brown was able to be voted in as senator in a state which appears to be among the most liberal in the country. I mean, when John Kerry was running for president, the republicans were having a field day saying that Ted Kennedy was the conservative senator from Massachusetts!

Brown's new book, Against All Odds, details an allegation that he was sexually abused as a child by a camp counselor. Of course, now it is time for all the internet trolls, that species of sub-humanoids who are brave in an anonymous atmosphere, to gang up on him. Of course, the democrats having been plotting his demise from the moment he won the special election to fill the seat vacated by the late Ted Kennedy.

However, the disappointed Tea Party and ultra-conservative factions of the republican party, who have already been dismayed because Brown has not been sticking to a far right agenda since taking office, continue to pile on with additional charges that he is that most depicable of creatures -- a RINO (Republican In Name Only).

The whole RINO gig is pretty funny. It is used by the far right to slander anyone in their own party that dares to gravitate toward the middle or vary from the "approved" agenda. Those who have read this blog probably know that I consider myself a moderate republican. Yet, that just is not good enough for those in the party who seem to view any discord with disdain. I was invited to attend a Tea Party rally last summer by a good friend. When I declined, the first words out of his mouth included "RINO." My brother, a life-long republican who is an elected official, has been called a RINO for not pandering to the extreme right. Amazing.

Because of my educational background and my profession, I have dealt with many survivors of sexual abuse over the years. I admire Scott Brown for dealing with the past abuse in his book.

I have already read several comments from people who believe that Brown's disclosure is a calculated move to continue his political career. I hope that is not the case. I sincerely hope that Scott Brown, like many victims of sexual abuse, is taking the opportunity to get past something that had to have been devastating. I also hope that his revelation, along with the revelations of many other prominent politicians and celebrities, helps to heal the wounds of sexual abuse that so many people seemed to experience in their childhood.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, February 20, 2011

One Week From Today ...

This is where I will be

This is what I will be doing

If you are looking for me, try here first

If you find me, I hope to have a mountain of these in front of me

You can be sure that I will be drinking a few of these

Although late at night I will switch to these

Before bed I might stop in the Victorian Cafe here for a late night meal

Other food, drink, and activity TBA.

So that is the plan. Although I usually spend my time playing cash games, I will make an effort to play one or two tournaments this trip.

Now if I can just make it through the next week of work ...

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, February 18, 2011

It sucks to live in Illinois

Fellow employee Carrie came into work upset after receiving her monthly paycheck. "Did you look at your check?" she said. "Mine is $100 less. I will be paying an extra $1200 in state taxes this year."

Welcome to Illinois.

Our governors get convicted of felonies. Our legislature can not control its spending nor balance a budget properly. We are up to our necks in debt. No one is held accountable.

Democrat Governor Pat Quinn, winning election by the narrowist of margins and capturing only four counties in the statewide vote, declared his 2010 victory a "mandate" for raising taxes. So ... our Democratic state representatives and senators, who seem to have one collective testicle among them, went along with the governor and the evil leader of Illinois politics, Michael Madigan. BOOM! Illinois raised its personal state income tax rate 66%. BOOM! Illinois raised its corporate tax rate from 4.8% to 7%. Way to encourage businesses to stay in or relocate to Illinois, geniuses. Significantly, the tax increases had zero republican votes. Do we see a problem here?

A quick primer on Illinois pensions for state employees: Make a respectable pension program, write it into the state constitution, have employees pay into it for mega-years, have the state not pay its share of the obligation year after year, then attempt to screw the employees who have faithfully paid in. Madigan now appears ready to have the weak-kneed state legislators pass a bill that appears to be contrary to the constitution, therefore putting the challenge to the Illinois Supreme Court.

In this state of massive corruption I can not help but believe that people with state pensions will end up taking it squarely up the butt without lubrication, courtesy of our elected officials. Wonderful.

I am quite surprised that the state's massive mountain of debt did not result in the expansion of gambling, a huge cash cow that sits on the horizon. However, those of us with long memories clearly remember what happened in the past. A state lottery was approved with the proviso that the money generated would go toward education in the state. Silly us. We did not understand that gambling revenue would go toward education, but that an equal amount would be taken from education and be put into whatever pork projects were appropriate at the time.

What does this all mean? It seems that, from a realistic perspective, my choices are limited. With the investment in the pension system that I have made, I am stuck. However, don't be surprised if my midwest neighbor KenP somedays sees a destitute Illinois carpet bagger at his doorstep, begging for a place to stay and trying to finagle a Mookie Dank buy-in out of a poker brotha who lives in a state that is not completely filled with idiocy and corruption at the state level.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

As My Good Friend Sharp Would Say ...

"She's got a case of the lips." Ain't it the truth, brother? Happy Friday!

I feel in need of a break. Debating on a Las Vegas trip in eight days.

"The snow is melted now. Our tracks are no more real than we were."

Joseph Pintauro

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Goodbye, Uncle Leo

A fond goodbye to Les Lesser, Seinfeld's Uncle Leo. He was always good for the best "Hello!" of any television star. My condolences to Jerry's cousin Jeffrey of the Parks Department.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition -- A Look Back

I returned home from work late afternoon yesterday to find that the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition had been delivered. Yes, I am one of those guys who continues to receive the paper issue of SI each month. Curling up with SI on an evening or a Saturday has always been one of life's simple pleasures for me.

But what about the swimsuit issue? Is it relevant? Is it what it once was?

Years ago in a much more innocent (and less accessible) time, the SI swimsuit issue was a big deal. Of course, very few people gave a damn about the swimsuits. It was all about seeing some beauties wearing little in the way of clothes, with sometimes just a strategically placed arm or leg stopping you from experiencing ultimate nirvana. It got even better when models like Cheryl Tiegs appeared in her famous fishnet outfit. Yowsa!

As the years went on, the issue became sort of a coming out party for the latest "it girls" around the world. Shooting pictures in exotic locals, and then showing models who had painted on swimsuits provided quite an ... umm ... experience for men.

But now? Hell, any adolescent worth his online salt can dredge up nasty porn pictures within minutes or even seconds. Strategically placed arms and legs indeed.

The publishing of the swimsuit issues used to bring several letters to the editor to SI -- some giving notice that the author had canceled his subscription to the magazine. Ahhh ... the good ol' days.

Now, as I glanced through the 2011 issue, I was struck by how tame it seems. It reminds me more of the way that Playboy Magazine used to be many, many moons ago. It seems like a relic from a different era.

So yes, I did briefly look through the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. But you know -- it's just not the same anymore ...

Labels: , , , ,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Waffles Day?

I woke up this morning late and with a headache. My youngest daughter wanted to take a sick day today (diagnosis: Wigwam Fever or Oogum Boogum Fever -- FAIL!). I dropped her off at school and decided to grab a biscuit at Mickey D's. The drive-through lines were so long that I parked and went inside. I slipped on the ice getting out of my car and nearly had a face plant. Got to work and slipped on the ice in the parking lot. Coffee on sunglasses = FAIL. Got into my office in one piece.

Now if I can survive the next 8 1/2 hours ...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sometimes It Is About The Winning, You See ...

Even though the the cashish won't get me far, you just can't beat the feeling of victory.

btw -- Check out the young stud in the profile picture!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Heading Up to the Great White North

An early weekend has already started for me as of 5:00 pm today. I was, however, able to straighten out a rather tricky situation at work today while at the same time dumping off a job I had been suckered into about four years ago. In my mind that makes it one heck of a day.

I am heading out in the morning to OhCaptain country. I hope to have lunch with him on Friday or maybe catch a drink with him Thursday evening. These 900+ miles round trips are not nearly as much fun when the temperature hovers near single digits, however. I should be back home by Friday evening.

Looking forward to playing some live poker this month. I might host a home game next Wednesday night. Also, in two weeks I might give a second try to this funky freeroll sponsored by an area radio station. I went with two other guys to play in it a month ago. Top ten finishers got a seat in the final later this spring. We had quite a showing, although I was the tail gunner of the group. Yep -- I bubbled in 11th place out of 92 runners. My friend Bob got 7th, and friend Mike took it down. Yowsa!

Also, I plan on playing in at least one of the tournaments in the Chicago Poker Classic, being held at the Horseshoe Hammond Casino February 25 to March 7. I've played a few tournaments here before, so at least I am familiar with the The Venue.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Congratulations Packers Fans

Although it was heartbreaking to see my Chicago Bears lose to the arch rival Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, I am able to at least stomach it by remembering that faithful fans of Green Bay have been rewarded.

There was a really bad dry spell in major Chicago sports championships while I was growing up -- a HUGE dry spell from December 29, 1963 to January 26, 1986. The Bears won both those championships, but there were none in between -- no White Sox, no Cubs, no Blackhawks (in fairness, the Hawks won in 1961), no Bears, and no Bulls. The Chicago Sting won North American Soccer League (NASL) titles in 1981 and 1984, but soccer has never been considered one of the major professional sports in the United States.

Remembering how difficult it was to root for teams year after year and never see success, I would certainly like to see some long-suffering fans rewarded in the next few years. I feel sorry for fans in Cleveleand who have been without a title in so many years. If the Blackhawks can not win in 2011, I would actually like to see the Vancouver Canucks fans be rewarded.

All dedicated sports fans deserve a winner sometime. Tonight the Packers fans have their day. Congratulations!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, February 05, 2011

My Super Bowl XLV Picks

At the risk of someday having the chant "fade lightning" replace the usual call to "fade Waffles,"
I present my picks for Super Bowl XLV tomorrow. But .. how do you prononunce this anyway -- Su pur bol ex el vee?
My bets:
Steelers +3 over the Packers
Steelers over the Packers
Longest field goal over 43 1/2 yards
How Many Times will FOX mention “Brett Favre” on TV during the Game? over 2 1/2

Postscript : This morning we had about three more inches of snow. I was getting ready to go outside and shovel the driveway when my wife called up the stairs, "Hey -- do you have any money? Some kids came to the door and asked if we wanted to have our driveway and sidewalks shoveled."

Shazam! Talk about timing! Do not fade my picks!

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Looking Through My High School Yearbooks

A night or two ago my son was moving some things around the house and came upon my high school yearbooks. After looking at what his dad looked like as a junior, he came to a conclusion: "Dad -- you were a nerd!"

Well, I guess he didn't think that he had to adjust for the difference in eras. Yeah -- clothing was different, hair styles were different, the world was different. And looks -- yes, I was much younger and had this thin, tapered athletic body. I wish I could get that back!

I decided to get my senior yearbook and read some of the "inspirational" messages left for me by some of my best friends. They included:

I don't know how I managed to hang around you for such a long time without putting a fist in your face. I can't help it that all the sophomores love you. Friend (I thought Josie would enjoy this one)

If you call me "Snatch" once more you're a dead man. Your friend, Brian (Brian's last name rhymed with "snatch.")

It was tough competing with you for "The Woman," but you're a good sport and you let me have her. Big deal! Ya got to get "The Body" sometime. We'll get drunk over the summer. Sparky (The Woman and The Body were a couple of underclass girls)

Yeah -- those were the days. lol

Labels: ,

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

I Long For The Days When Poker Icons Filled My Screen: A Wistful Look Back

The world of online poker was fantastic five years ago. New sites were popping up on a regular basis, new promotions were always around, and the players were about as terrible as could be. Even a clown like me was able to do very well at the right sites in the right situations.

Playing poker online was like being a little kid entering a candy store and being told “You’ve got five minutes.” You want an online poker bonus? Choose one! They were everywhere!

However, the first blow to the head was administered by U.S. politicians when they passed the UIGEA – the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. The big blow came three months later in January 2007 when payment processor Neteller was forced to freeze its U.S. accounts, leaving U.S. online poker players in limbo – no way to access their online account, no way to process their usual methods of deposit and withdrawal.

And with that the icons on my desktop began to disappear. And online poker suddenly was not nearly as easy and not nearly as fun for recreational players in the U.S.

Recent actions by Senator Harry Reid and a lame duck congress gave us hope that a new era of online poker was on the horizon, but efforts fell short. Of course, by the time the corporations with deep pockets and plenty of influence are able to tweak new laws to their benefit, who knows what online poker will look like? Will government oversight, sanctioning, and control (cha-ching!) make turning a profit much more difficult? Will more unskilled players and fish (uh – guys like me?) decide it is no longer worth it since the “government vig” will lessen the ability to turn a profit?

In the meantime, what is one to do? I have found that my greatest joys have been the private tournaments I have entered -- playing against friends, trash talking in the chat boxes, just generally making the online experience as close to a home game as it can be. I have also been satisfied with playing some cash games on a few selected sites. Go into a cash game on the right site at the right time and it can be like having a private ATM. However, go to the wrong site at the wrong time and you will quickly find the sharks getting ready to tear you apart.

So for now … I will continue to play online poker, characterizing myself as a purely recreational player. I may not be a player that many others will fear, but I do have my good days, can win more than I lose, and have the ability to make some deep runs in tournaments.

But ahh … those days before UIGEA …

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Play The Very Josie ... If You Dare ...

Unless the winter storm I referenced in my last post knocks down power lines, I expect to be slinging chips around at The Very Josie on Wednesday night at Full Tilt Poker at 8:00 pm Central time. Tourney # 214827634. Password is pokerbaby.
Now, some of you may not know, but I was the winner of the very first VJ. Actually, it was a long day for me and I agreed to a three-way (don't get your hopes up, Waffles) chop with me in the lead and getting just short of first place money.
However, in the months since, I missed a few of the tournaments and in others lost my focus. That will change Wednesday night, however, as I am guaranteeing a lightning36 victory. Of course, I can not account for every variable and cannot make every 4:1 favorite go my way. But, with the Super Bowl right around the corner, I am reminded that Joe Namath called his shot and was correct. Expect the same tomorrow night at the Very Josie.
And oh year -- I plan to felt the host and win her bounty to go along with the VJ shirt for finishing first.
You have been warned.

Labels: , , , , ,