Full Tilt Poker 17k and the Mookie

I played in three tournaments yesterday. First, there was an FTP 18 player sit and go for a $26 token, I managed to score a token in that one only because Smokkee was in the same game -completely unbeknownst to me until it was down to 9 and I saw him directly to my left. Myself and two other guys had been fighting for the bubble for a good ten minutes when Smokkee apparently got tired of the pusstastic play and made a move. He ended up getting the $14 prize, which was damn decent of him, since I probably had no shot of getting through the other two short stacks without that (actually, the blinds would have forced both of them all in on the next orbit, but they would have forced me all in too. The blinds would have gotten to me last, but if either of the other guys won his hand, or if I lost…). Meh. In the end, it was a cheap sit and go for a token, and I ended up with a token about 5 minutes before the ftp 17k started.

I then signed up for both the FTP 17k and The Mookie. The Mookie was not being kind to me early on, well it was my fault really but if I can’t play the blame game, I would have to admit that I was making mistakes, that is just not me. I layed down a couple of hands that I really could have been winning, one of them was on flopped trips when I had pocket sixes, problem was I either couldn’t or didn’t bet the other guy out of it, and there ended up being 4 hearts on the board. I couldn’t get myself to call his push on the river, knowing that even a fucking 2 of hearts there sends me home. Another call that I just couldn’t make was when I flopped second pair with a queen, paired my kicker on the turn, but still couldn’t call for my stack when I had second and last pair. I was playing scared, but then I really only have two play modes: scared and suicidal.

While I was absolutely sucking it up in the Mookie, I was slowly making some moves in the FTP 17k. This was my third such event, and this one started out with me getting pocket Aces. While I was not able to bust anyone out on the first hand, I was able to keep three other guys in the hand after I flopped trips, and had tripled my stack by the time the first orbit was complete. Far and away my best start in the 17k. Smart, tight play had left me in pretty good position as we were down to less than half the field and went on the first break.

I am the type of person that lives in the now, and while I did begin to entertain thoughts that I could possibly make it to the money in the 17k, I didn’t really start thinking about the possibility of making the final table or any such nonsense. I continued to play some smart, tight poker, and chipped myself up when the opportunities presented themselves. It became pretty clear that I needed to get myself out of the Mookie though, I am not sure how familiar you all are with the different interfaces of Pokerstars and FTP, but the pokerstars one requires that you click the window once to bring it to the front and once to use any of the buttons on it, I found out, rather the hard way, that FTP takes your mouse click extremely seriously. It simultaneously became my turn on the Mookie and the 17k and the pokerstars window was in front, I folded my hand there, then tried to click the window of the 17k tournament (which was partially behind the pokerstars one) and managed to hit the raise button instead of just bringing it to the front. Someone reraised, and with a 3-5 offsuit I wasn’t really in position to call it. Thankfully, I only threw away a couple hundred chips; it could have been much worse.

I really don’t know anyone that plays in any of the tournaments very well, so I didn’t really tell anyone why I was going to donk right the fuck out of the Mookie. I called on the next hand and lost with something god awful. Then went in on the next hand with whatever I was dealt to finish myself off. A couple of the people said “good game”, and I replied “not really, but thanks anyway”, which I now realize could have come across as horribly rude, but at the time my mind was far away from there. I was trying to concentrate on the 17k now.

I made absolutely my best read of the night just before the second break. I was in third in chips with fourth sitting two seats to my left. I had K-Q spades and raised 3x. He doubled the bet, and I called. Flop came up Ace high with two spades and also paired my queen, I bet the pot and he pushed. I had actually been at the table with this guy for over an hour, almost for the entire tournament, he bet the same way every damn hand: double the bet preflop, 2x the pot on the flop, 3k on the turn, all in on the river. Every. Damn. Time. Something about him pushing there told me that he was weak on this one and just thought I didn’t have the grapes to call a 15k bet, and he was damn near right. But I couldn’t lay this one down. The only way he could be ahead of me is if he has an ace, and even then he isn’t all that far ahead. Plus, needing only one card for the nut flush, with two left to come, well, I had way too many outs. Still, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared as hell when I called it. What did he flip over? Jacks. I did have him beat. Not that it really mattered, since the turn was the 4 spades to give me the nut flush.

So, going into the second break, I have to feel pretty good about my position. Not only am I in first, but second place is almost 10,000 behind me at this point. Barring some ridiculous mental meltdown, I was going to be finishing this one in the money. Now I just needed to come up with a plan for how to play my way as far into the money as I could. The best I could figure, it was going to take about 150,000 in chips to make the final table, so I couldn’t just sit back and wait, but at the same time I didn’t want to bust on a coinflip.

I managed to hang on pretty well until we reached the money. I was still in first when the bubble broke, but sure had a long way to go. I had been card dead since the last break, and was hoping for anything to play. The blinds were going up, and between them and the antes, I was in and out of the lead a bunch of times. Just after the bubble broke, I had a short stack to my right who was in the big blind. I got an A-2 suited and raised whatever his chip count was to try to get just him in it, of course I hoped I would bust him, but if I didn’t it wasn’t much of a loss anyway. Unfortunately, all but one of the people at the table called the bet. I ended up folding on the flop when it came up Q-J-10 hearts, and two other guys pushed for over 10,000 chips. The short stack wound up winning the main pot with a flush, while one of the other guys won the side pot with a broken straight (K-8). Why were they pushing with that crap? What the fuck was going on?

The next few hands were more of the same. Everyone was just insanely push happy, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the first round of a freeroll on Pokerstars. 5-7 offsuit? Push! 2-3 suited? Definitely push. A face card? You better believe it, baby! I didn’t have a hand to play, which is probably good, because it would really have sucked to get my Aces cracked to a 3-6o on a runner-runner-runner straight. For unknown reasons, my heart started pounding like it hasn’t done since the time I got caught shoplifting when I was a kid. I needed advice. I tried to ask a couple of people who were online, that I know have been in this situation if they could give me some advice, but I got no takers. I would have to learn myself.

The next time I looked at my position, I was in 31st of 70 remaining. It wasn’t because I had lost a single chip, it was because of the pushfest that started once we reached the money. It’s like two separate tournaments: One tournament is to get to the money, after that the tournament rerolls and everyone is willing to risk everything to double up. That is so not one of my strengths. The next time I looked at my position, I was in 40somethingth of a 60 remaining. They were dropping like flies, and I was fast becoming a they.

We were nearing the third break, when I got A-K suited UTG. Push time! Two callers, but they both had me outchipped so I didn’t get to see their cards yet. Flop came up garbage, there was a 5 in it, I only remember that because the other two guys pushed the rest of their stacks in, and one of them had pocket fives. I paired my King on the turn, but would need another one on the river to take the hand. This wasn’t my day, the river? Case 5, sending me home, far more defeated than the numbers would show, in 54th:

I went into it hoping only that I could make it to the money. That was the only goal I made for myself, and I accomplished that. So, I am happy. The additional goals that I began to set for myself, particularly being in first when we reached the money, were a bunch of unrealistic dreams. It has taken me as long as I have been playing so far to learn how to play with stacks in the 15,000 range, my first foray into stacks much larger than that could only have ended in disaster. I can’t (hell anyone can’t) play my best game when my heart is beating a million miles a minute. But why was I so scared? I was already in the money, anything else was just gravy, instead of fear I should have been feeling elation. With a bit of luck, the next time (assuming there is one) that I am in that situation I will be a lot more calm and rational. Although I am not sure if I will ever be in first when the bubble breaks again. I think I managed to scare myself out of a golden opportunity, but I honestly could not play it any better -anyone else could have been in my seat at that point and played it a hell of a lot better, I, however, just couldn’t do it.

Well, I am off to win a Free streaming porn download (blatant Hoy ripoff) token to see if I can take another crack at the 17k tonight. If I manage to make it to the money again, I hope I will be able to play a bit less scared.

A thought on poker odds

There are all sorts of “odds calculators” and the such available on the internet. Hand odds, pot odds, odds of spilling your beer on your keyboard when you get a royal flush (I think I made the last one up, but who knows), etc. I am here to tell you that they are all a bunch of bullshit. I will give you an example: What are the odds that the guy at the table had a pair of kings when I had a pair of jacks? 100% I know because I played the hand, any “odds calculators” are talking out their ass. Is there a flaw in my thought process here?

Cindy Crawford + Alec, Daniel, Stephen, William Baldwin = something…

There really isn’t ever much on television at two in the morning. Last night I wasn’t tired enough to sleep and found myself flipping through channels. Alas, I had already seen all of the infomercials a couple of times (let me tell you, that Oxi Clean: Orange Action stuff isn’t worth nearly the 19.95 I paid for it, but they were giving away so much free stuff with it I would have been a fool not to order it) so I found myself at the high end of my Satellite’s channel list, looking at a free preview for the E! Action channel (at least I assume that is what it was, the channel tag said “eactn”). I had just finished watching The Butterfly Effect on that channel, and it was pretty good, so I figured I would give the next film a go as well. Of course since it was a free preview there was no program information available, so all I knew about it was that it was called Fair Game.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you take a second rate model and a third rate actor, gave them a fourth rate script and 50 million dollars to make an action movie? Me either, but evidently someone wondered that very thing in 1995. And I, being a glutton for punishment, sat through every frame of the movie last night (which is not entirely true; I actually got up at one point to look it up on IMDB to see what year it was released, because I was laughing so hard at what was going on).

I would give you a spoiler warning but, let’s face it, I am the only one that has seen this movie in the last decade, and there is no way in hell you are ever going to watch it –barring some evil mastermind forcing you to. So, let the fun begin.

To believe the plot of the film, you would have to either be mentally challenged, extremely young, or more likely both. There is a rogue group of former KGB elite operatives (sort of like James Bond, only the bad guys) who are out of work with the fall of the Soviet Union. Their retirement package sucked, so they need to make a lot of scratch really fast. Being the experts they are in absolutely everything except marksmanship, they ultimately decide to electronically steal a whole bunch of money from someone’s (and it really doesn’t matter whose) bank account in the Cayman Islands. But the year is only 1995, and evidently technology has only advanced about as far as land based phone lines at this point, so the only way they can complete their mission is to splice into a phone line that is buried under the ocean -note that this is the most believable part of the plot.

Cindy Crawford plays some chick whose greatest contribution to the film was the flashing of her left breast. Thankfully though, she seemed to have had that trademark wart removed, or well hidden at least. She is the requisite damsel in distress in the film, but if you find yourself rooting for her in any way, you obviously had a way bigger crush on her wart than I did back in high school. The script calls for her to play a vapid pretty woman, which she pulls off remarkably well -with a real actress, you might not believe that she could really absolutely forget about her Cuban client (The one that she was discussing not ten minutes earlier), with Crawford, that seems absolutely possible. Which is really a good thing, since about ten minutes into the film you quit taking it seriously and start looking for comedy. Cindy provides. I love this quote from one of the reviews at rotten tomatoes (where the film managed to score an astounding 2/22 fresh rating -with one of the fresh ratings being from a guy who was obviously beating off when he saw naked Cindy skin):

“Cindy Crawford, meet Action Movie. Action Movie, meet Box Office Death.”

— Scott Weinberg, EFILMCRITIC.COM

Well said.

But it was not my intention to rip on Cindy Crawford… Well, I guess it was actually, but that was not my only intention so I have to keep going. I am going to give up entirely on bitching about the acting though, because honestly, if William Baldwin is getting first billing, the film is obviously not going to be winning any “best actor” awards.

The film starts out with Crawford being shot at by some guy for no damn reason. She ends up in a police station where is left in an interrogation room that is fully equipped with telephones, fax machines, computers -hell, if she was the bad guy she could have hacked into the pentagon with all the equipment there. This entire scene was actually all just a setup for the only joke in the movie though -and possibly the worst joke I have ever seen in an action film- so I will give them a bit of leeway on this one. Of course the inept detective forgets to get his victim to sign a statement because the plot requires it.

In the hour or so that Cindy (no, I can’t call her by her character’s name. I honestly don’t know what it was) spent in the police station, the bad guys had been setting up her house with a bomb. Of course they used a bomb because that is the only way that they could absolutely guarantee that they would actually fail in their attempt on her life. This ingenious device was wired to her television, and blew up with such ferocity that it absolutely destroyed a 3-4,000 square foot, two story house. Of course Cindy was not harmed in any way, not a scratch, not a bit of dirt or smoke from the Hiroshima-sized blast, not even scared (though that might have been her lack of ability as an actress more than an unintentional result). Of course Willy is there to save her anyway! He stands flat-footed in the middle of an open driveway shooting his revolver at the van filled with machine-gun-toting baddies, manages to dodge around 3,000 flying bullets with nothing more than his looks, and dives into a swimming pool just in time to make enough noise to wake me back up. Asshole.

It is now clear to our heroes that there might be someone trying to kill Cindy. No one ever takes the first attempt on their life seriously, right? But when someone takes the time to turn your house into a mushroom cloud, you have to start thinking that maybe your dog messed on the neighbor’s lawn or something. So they needed to get away from Cindy’s H.O.A. as soon as possible since she can’t remember if she left her trash can out past dark the day before.

They end up in some hotel somewhere. She is under heavy police surveillance (especially while she is in the shower) at all times. But the cops get hungry, so they order some pizzas for delivery from the local pizza joint. Of course no one has any cash, so they use Cindy’s credit card (it was at this point that I went to IMDB to see what year the film was released, ’cause, I mean, come on. How stupid are we supposed to believe the police really are?). Somehow the bad guys manage to find them! Shocking!

The bad guys are using some pretty advanced thermal imaging technology. They are able to see people through the walls of the hotel in absolute perfect red silhouette. The thermal imaging technology is far from perfect though: It can only sense things that are exactly 98.6 degrees. While one of the heroes is in the shower, he completely disappears to the thermal imaging. So, is he showering in ice or what? Doesn’t the average person shower in water that is between 115 and 130 degrees? Why can’t the thermal imager pick up the hot water? Best not to ask. Slick Willy kills three of the ex-KGB agents with the scent from his Zest-fully clean underarms, and loses a few of his best friends as well, but manages to drag Cindy out just before she gets killed -which is long after I had quit caring, but the next good infomercial was still an hour away.

The heroes stop at a payphone somewhere to call the police station, the phone line of which is already being monitored by the ex-KGB guys even though they don’t know at this point that Willy is a cop, and even if they did know, they don’t know who he is and would have no way of knowing which district he worked for. Willy thinks some of the cops are dirty because the were discovered so quickly at the hotel, it never crosses his mind that using the victim’s credit card might have tipped them off. He wants to get the FBI involved. He has figured out that the phone lines are being monitored and won’t actually say the location where he wants to meet them (the only intelligent thing any of the heroes does throughout the course of the entire film), and refers to it only as “that place that you used to go on Friday’s”. Of course the guys monitoring the call show up at the station posing as FBI agents, even though no one ever actually called the FBI, and all of the cops believe them. So, off to the meeting place.

Slick Willy has hidden Cindy somewhere before the meeting (which I will not credit to him as an intelligent decision because of what he is about to do) and adamantly refuses to turn her over to the protection of the FBI without first seeing their credentials. One of the guys whips out an I.D. -it has a picture and everything- that says “Akshule FBI Agint Identefikashun Not Fak At All” (I am paraphrasing). That’s all Slick Willy needs to see, he frees Cindy from the back seat of his car! Clever hiding place, that. And no one questions it when the Akshule FBI Agints want to split everyone up to get Slick Willy and Cindy alone in a car with one of their operatives. All of a sudden, the Akshule FBI Agints turn! They aren’t really the FBI! They are the bad guys! (written as a five year old, since it was obviously written for a five year old) Slick Willy picks up on the clever ruse after the Akshule FBI Agints manage to take out another half dozen or so of his closest friends. Using nothing more than his flowing hair, Slick Willy kills another three or four of the elite ex-KGB guys to save the girl and make his escape. Which he cleverly makes in his own car. His own car that happens to have Lojack! (no kidding) -I dare you to try to make up a worse way for him to make his escape. Come on, just try. There has to be a worse way.

Anyway, the bad guys manage to stay hot on their trail. Even without the Lojack, it wouldn’t have been too difficult to follow them because, yes, they were still using Cindy’s credit card (I wonder if that was a prop credit card or if it was actually Cindy Crawford’s personal VISA). To the surprise of only anyone who has never seen any movies, read any books, and has not been paying much attention to the first hour of the film, Slick Willy’s car breaks down in the middle of nowhere to allow the bad guys to catch up. He doesn’t think to even pop the hood to look at it, just calls a tow truck (with the cell phone that he now has even though he has been using only pay phones for the first half of the movie. Of course the bad guys don’t trace his cell phone for some unknown reason, which makes very little sense since they can trace any call he makes from any random pay phone on the planet, but try not to think about it.). When the tow truck arrives, Slick Willy notices the Lojack under his hood (which is just absolutely unbelievable in every way. The whole success of Lojack is that it is hidden well enough that experienced car thieves can not find and disable it. They don’t just strap that shit to the hood) and simply unplugs it (which is probably why they didn’t use Lojack’s actual name in the movie: Lojack would not want to be associated with that crap. In fact I wouldn’t doubt it one bit if Lojack sends me an email telling me to remove their name from this post or they will sue me for libel).

Where were we? Oh yeah, the bad guys show up with machine guns blazing. Slick Willy jumps into the tow truck, which is now pulling his Suburban, and takes off down the road, but Cindy is at the wheel. The ensuing chase reaches speeds in excess of like 20 miles per hour. The bad guys fire around 1,000 rounds that actually hit the tow truck (more like 6,000 total), not one of which manages to hit any of the tires, although it does somehow catch the suburban on fire. Slick Willy is hanging on the swinging passenger door, shooting single shots with sniper-like accuracy, and managing to kill all but two of his pursuers, all the while dodging hundreds of machine gun rounds using nothing more than his shiny t-shirt. Somehow the bad guys get ahead of them and stop in the middle of the road. They get out of the car and stand there. Because it doesn’t appear to have crossed their minds that firing thousands of rounds into the cab of the tow truck might have given Cindy and Willy the idea that they were trying to kill them. It never crossed their minds that maybe Cindy and Willy wouldn’t stop and would just run over them. Well, their gamble paid off. Cindy and Willy didn’t just hit them and end the film right there, instead they turned at the last minute to avoid killing the guys that they had just spent the last ten minutes trying to kill in a high speed car chase. Why? The boat hadn’t been blown up yet.

By the time they are on the boat, the movie itself even stopped taking itself seriously. They weren’t even trying to make the shoot-outs look real anymore. The actors were pretty much just blatantly aiming at all of the fuel barrels that were being stored in ship’s communications center (for no reason other than to make a bigger explosion. I bet if you were to ask the director of the movie he couldn’t give you a plausible explanation for why they would be there). The bad guys just have to hit one final key on the computer’s keyboard to complete the 700 million dollar transfer when the ship eventually blows up, three times. Not the same explosion from three camera angles, three completely separate explosions -one of which I am fairly certain wasn’t even the same boat. All of the bad guys are dead. In fact, every character in the film except for Willy and Cindy are dead -that is not an exaggeration-. It ends with Willy and Cindy kissing on the beach as they watch the ship burn. A good, solid happy ending. It sure is a good thing they don’t think about the dozens of friends that they lost in the last 24 hours or they might get depressed…

It never really explains why they want to kill the woman so bad other than to say that she knows the guy that owns the boat. That’s great and all, but just knowing who owns the boat doesn’t necessarily mean that she is going to know the ex-KGB guys that are somehow involved with that guy, also in a way that is never explained. Nor does it actually explain why anyone needs to die in the first place. In fact, had the bad guys not set out to kill anyone, they would have completed their diabolical plan at the same time and with a hell of a lot less trouble. I know action movies are just explosions and gunfights strung together with weak plots, but can’t they at least make the premise of the plot somewhat realistic? A four year old could have come up with something more believable.

They say that in order to enjoy a movie you have to be able to suspend your disbelief. There is no chain or cable in existence strong enough to suspend it for the duration of this film. If you have a stout chain, you will need to bind your disbelief, silence it with a ball gag, take it to a darkened basement, and put a couple of rounds through its temple. Then you might might be able to enjoy this one, but I really doubt it. I am actually a bit surprised that it only lost 40 million dollars.

All that being said, I think this is probably William Baldwin‘s best work.

This does make me curious about something though. If this is the kind of crap they show you for free when they are trying to get you to sign up for the E! Action channel, what is the average crap that they show on a daily basis? Could it possibly be worse than this? I am sure not going to sign up and risk finding out.

My first real MTT final table

I have been following what I assume to be the natural progression of the on-line poker player for the last couple of months. I have gotten to the point where I can finish in the money in a single table sit and go just by outlasting a few donks and outplaying a couple veterans. Of course the money in a single table sit and go isn’t that great unless you are able to finish in first with regularity, which I can’t. I can finish in the money probably half the time, and average second place. That means that I am actually making money, just not very much; I am making about a buy-in per ten games played. Certainly not a money making strategy, but it is good practice. I have been using that small profit to enter some of the larger tournaments with the hopes of improving on them as well.

Yesterday, I played in a 20 table sit and go for the third time. This was of the $4 buy-in variety, which is about as much as I am willing to risk in such a large field, at least until my ability improves in that format. I was able to chip up fairly early on when my Jacks turned into trips on the flop and quads on the river. Doubling up on the first level in such a large tournament is huge. This time, instead of passively waiting for premium hands to take down huge pots, I took advantage of the large stack by bullying the table. I still only saw about half of the flops, but I was playing extremely aggressively. I was doing things that I have really never done, like raising pre-flop with a J-9 and putting in a continuation bet on the flop when it came up A-J-x. The aggressiveness was paying off though, and through my first 15 showdowns, I had won 12 of them.

I actually took the lead in the tournament about 45 minutes in and held onto it for at least a half an hour. There were a couple of times where I let the aggressive image override common sense, something that can certainly kill your game; Sure, if you call the short stack’s all-in on the river it shows that you mean business, it does not, however, change the fact that you just called an all-in on the river with a queen high. Thankfully, I was able to keep such idiotic calls to a minimum and was in pretty good shape as we were down to less than thirty players:

Since 18 places paid, the play tightened up considerably at this point. No one wanted to go home so close to the money, and I took advantage of that fact by bullying the table. There was one point where I raised every bet for at least two orbits and was only called once or twice (which I eventually folded since my cards were utter crap). The bubble at 19 players lasted a long ass time since the short stack was at over 4,000 chips and no one wanted to play anything that wasn’t Aces. Once it was down to 18 players, three more busted out within minutes (I am guessing they just wanted to play something after the fold-fest that had been the last twenty minutes). I was still in good position, but almost went out around 12th when I had to make the hardest decision of my on-line poker career.

I was roughly tied with the guy on my left for the big stack at the table with 22,900 chips apiece. We were in the blinds. It got folded around to me, with As 7d. I put in a 3x the BB raise figuring that I probably had the better hand. He called it, but that didn’t mean much since we were both the large stacks. The flop was 4s Ah 2s. I bet 4,000 at it, roughly the pot size, hoping to just end it right there, but he thought about it for a while and then called it -which I am thinking means flush draw-. The turn brought up the 3s, which gives him the flush if he is on the draw I think he is, but it also leaves me with a straight flush draw. I bet another 4,000 at it, and he thought for a bit and eventually called -which I took to mean that he still needed a card for the flush, or thought that he did make a flush, but he was on low cards and worried that I would win with the higher flush. The river was my dream and my nightmare all in one: 5s. I can’t dismiss the possibility that this guy is in the hand with an A-6, that would explain why it took him so long to call; the 6 is hardly a kicker. This is where I will admit that I got scared. I only bet 2,000 at it this time, and he was all-in before my mouse button let up. I got up and went to get a soda, this would be a good time to use my previously untouched time bank.

The soda was a Diet Coke. I put some ice cubes in an old thirstbuster cup and filled it up. Of course it fizzed like nobody’s business, so I had to wait for five seconds or so to let the fizz die down so that I could finish filling it up. I came back to the computer to see that the time bank had only just activated (my refrigerator is only fifteen feet or so from my computer due to an odd house layout). I went out to check on my fish, who are in the aquarium just outside the office door, then came back and sat down. I stared as the timer ticked down, not willing to call his all-in, yet not capable of pushing the fold button when I was looking at a straight flush. I timed out and folded, and with that I lost more than half of my sizable stack without a showdown.

Mercifully, the guy flipped over his cards: 6s 10s. He did have the higher straight flush. I typed in chat “I had the Ace”. He typed back “OMG how could you lay that down?” I typed back “I couldn’t hit the button”. He typed “LOL”. I really wanted to injure him. But do you think I could have got him out of that hand earlier? Within reason of course, I mean I am sure if I pushed pre-flop he would have laid it down, but for all I knew pre-flop, he could have been holding a pair of kings. I am just wondering if I had bet bigger when I hit top pair on the flop if I could have got him to lay down his flush draw. I hadn’t been at the table with this guy for more than a couple of minutes so I don’t really know anything about his play style, but I am guessing I would have had to put in a pretty huge bet on the flop to get him to fold there -and god knows there is no way he is folding on the turn with a made flush and gutshot straight flush draw.


I managed to get to the final table in 7th position, but ended up busting in 9th. About three hands in, again from the small blind, I hit top and bottom pair on the flop, so I pushed only to see the other guy flip over top and middle pair. So, I go home:

It was a hard fought three hours, and I was able to do a lot of things that I have never been able to before -most notably, fold a straight flush. I hope the experience will translate into more final tables in large MTTs, but only time will tell.

Random observations

I went to a job interview of sorts on Thursday. It lasted from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.. It was a position where I could have made a great deal of money (easily double my previous income to start) but which required about 20 hours of overtime a week. If I were about ten years younger, I might actually think about something like that, but at this point I am pretty sure that I don’t have it in me to work that many hours -and especially not with a two hour commute each way. But damn I need a job.

I have realized, albeit about ten years too late, why I was never able to really excel at playing the guitar: I had been trying entirely too hard. I walked into the living room yesterday, picked up the guitar, and belted out part of Yngwie Malmsteen’s song Eclipse. Instead of concentrating on the notes and mashing the string to the fret, I just let my mind tell my fingers where to go (which doesn’t really do much to explain the actual difference). The difference was night and day. I have had the notes memorized for years, my fingers have always known exactly where they had to be on the fingerboard to play them, I just lacked the ability to make my mind connect with my fingers. The problem was that I was trying to use my eyes as a tool to make the two meet, but the eyes are not as fast as the mind, and the fingers are frequently behind the eyes (which I know doesn’t make any sense, but bear with me), which was leading to a lot of notes getting played at the wrong time, or not at all. Once I removed my eyes from the equation and trusted my mind to get my fingers where I knew they needed to be, it just came out. The epiphany that I really needed a decade ago, when I really cared about music, finally comes when I am only playing for amusement. Perfect.

If you are a guitarist and have been playing long enough that you can get your fingers to any given fret by feel, yet seem to have problems with particular riffs, just make sure you aren’t looking. Your mind can move your fingers a hell of a lot quicker than your eyes can, but you have to trust that your mind knows what it is doing -a real stretch for me- to be successful. I mean, don’t be envisioning the neck of the guitar in your head while you are playing, in fact, think of something else if necessary to make sure that your mind is making your fingers move without any visual cues. Trust me, and trust yourself, once you are able to do that you will become infinitely better. It is sort of like typing; I haven’t had to actually think about where the keys were for years, my thoughts just appear on the screen with an absolute minimum of intervention from the eyes (I do occasionally have to look down to see where some of the keys are, & and $ for example.). The guitar needs to be the same way, and if there is an occasional “typo”, so be it. The typos will dwindle with time and you will find that you are far better than you had ever thought possible.

Another final table at the WWDN invitational

As the name would imply, I made the final table at the WWDN last night. It was an uphill battle for sure, since my starting table had Smokkee, Hoyazo, Iakaris, and a couple of other people (whose names I can’t look up because I just now realized that I was playing with the beta version of pokerstars and it is set by default to not log history. A value that I had neglected to change). At any rate, Smokkee is the one I was really scared of. For some reason Hoyazo doesn’t scare me as much as he should -it probably has something to do with that cute little smiling avatar, so harmless…

I almost went out of the tournament extremely early. If you read my site, you may remember that S.t.B. once said that they way I played a good hand almost got me in trouble. Such was the case last night, only I didn’t really have a good hand. I was in one of the blinds with a Q-6, and had to call some kind of a raise to see the flop. The flop was Q-6-4 (I think, might have been Q-6-7) Giving me two pair, which really should put me ahead at this point, barring someone else having a pair of Queens. I checked it, then called whatever the bet was to see the turn -what I should have done was pushed right there. I don’t remember exactly what the turn card was, I think it might have paired the low card, at any rate, I was still ahead and should have pushed, instead I called the bet to let everyone see the river relatively cheap. The river left two one-card straight possibilities on the board, which, of course, someone had. The someone who made the straight would have likely folded if I would have pushed earlier, and the other guy would probably have called with his pair of kings and I would have won with two pair. Ahh, hindsight. Instead, I was left with a pretty short stack.

I was able to keep from doing anything horribly stupid for a good while after that (at least I think it was, it is probably open to debate though). Sometime later in the tournament, as we were nearing the bubble, I was to the point where I was just hoping that if I was going to bust it was at least going to be on a good hand. I was tied with Kat for the short stack at the table when I found myself with A-J in early position. I raised it 5x the BB (thus proving that I am trying to teach myself to bet pre-flop so that I can try to limit my horrible beatdowns later in the hand), which was folded around to Shane in the Big Blind. He didn’t even seem to think about, just pushed. While I have played with most of the other people in the tournament before, I really haven’t ever played with Shane. I don’t think that he actually knows how tight I play, and as such I thought that he saw my huge raise as a steal attempt. I thought about this one for a long time before I eventually called it. A-J is really not an ideal hand to be putting your tournament life on the line with. This late in the game it is fair to assume that if the reraise was not just to stop me from stealing the pot, it must be either a pocket pair or two faces. In this case, it happened to be a pair of 8’s. The flop missed us both, but the turn paired my Jack. Then the river gave me a set. I will take luck any day.

I managed to bust out Smokkee when we were down to 6 players when my A-10 outran his K-J. (I bring that up only because I am sure it will never happen again). But either my luck, my logic, or more likely both failed me a short time later. With a suited A-3, I decided I wanted to see a flop bad enough to call a 2,500 bet (I had about 16,000 at that point). The flop was a rainbow, but I did hit bottom pair. My boy Mungo (I should say Guin, but Mungo makes me think of a St. Bernard for some reason, and so does his avatar, which is actually a penguin. Did I ever mention I smoked a lot of weed in the 80’s…and 90’s) Hoyed me. The board was showing 3-10-J at that point, and I really didn’t think any of those had hit him. His big bet pre-flop made me think he had A-K or A-Q, I don’t think he bets that much with anything lower than that, and I think he bets more if he has a pair. Since he is pushing now, I am putting him on K-Q, giving him the OESD. I tell myself that fifth place is still pretty good, and call, pretty sure that I was actually ahead at this point. When the turn brought up a Queen, I knew I was beat. Mungo told me I should fold, but it isn’t as if I am really going to be able to battle my way back from one chip, so I had to call. He did have the K-Q, so the only thing that can help me on the river is an Ace or 3, neither of which hits. See, in order for me to win, I have to get all of my chips in when I am behind. This time I was ahead when the chips went in, so really I never stood a chance.

So, IGH in 5th. Which was at least a $52 payday. And which brings my average finish in this tournament to the high teens. And heck, I was able to repay Mungo for doubling me up so many times the last time I was able to make it to the final table. Of course now I think I owe Shane and Smokkee some chips. Damn, I may never win this thing.

When will I ever learn?

I really need to remind myself that when I am losing at poker I need to just quit playing for a while instead of playing my way back to a win. In my experience, if I am on a losing streak, I will continue to lose. Not only because the cards aren’t falling my way, but also because I make bad decisions in what seem (at the time) like decent positions to try to steal my way back into it. That never works.

Yesterday I played in three tournaments (well four. I also played in the blogger championship and finished 1,024th out of 2,400 entrants, though I was not actually even here to see it. Had I been here, I am sure I would have donked out long before that.), and I performed terribly in the first, which carried over into the second and third. I was playing in all three simultaneously, which I have found to actually improve my play since I am making my decisions based more on my hands and actual odds than trying to pull sneaky moves and the such. Unfortunately, when my full house went down to a higher full house on the first table, I tilted. But since I was playing in three different tournaments, I tilted in all of them. I actually lost the very next hand in one of them (which was not the one I had been administered the bad beat in) when I decided to go all in with a 47 offsuit (I think emotion might have played a small role in that one…). After that, I refused to be patient and wait for a hand to play, and started trying to play hands that were far from premium; sure I would always like to see the flop with a 10-J offsuit, but actually betting 3x the big blind, then calling an all in raise with it isn’t something I would normally do with that hand -especially not when it is the chip leader that pushed. That is the kind of boneheaded crap I do when I am losing; I make myself lose even more, then try to blame it on the cards. Of course when I look back on it it is pretty clear that the cards were just victims in my rage induced play.

Thankfully I realized that I should stop playing then. I could see myself pissing away a lot of money being foolishly aggressive in that situation. That hasn’t happened yet, but I can certainly see myself doing it. Tomorrow is another day. Which is actually today. Because that all happened yesterday.

Today I played in five tournaments. Two 45 person, one 27 person, and two 18 person. I played the 45 and 18 person ones at the same time (during two sittings) and the 27 person one sometime in between. Today I did pretty well. I finished in the money in four out of five of them, and even won one of the 45 person ones. I have been playing pretty much only multi table games for the last week or so, just so that I can continue to buy in with a small amount for a chance to win a large amount. I am getting a lot better at this type of play now that I have gotten used to waiting for good hands, and recognizing when I am in a really good position to bluff or steal.

The thing about these tournaments is that the buy in is low enough that it seems a lot of people really don’t care about the money. In the 45 player ones, there are usually at least two or three people that go out on the first hand. And I am not talking about only the dollar buy in tournaments. It happens on every one of them up to ten dollar buy ins, which is the highest I have yet to play. Some of the people will just risk it all to double up on the first hand and if they don’t get it they just try it again. That seems foolish to me, but then playing for such small stakes probably seems foolish to a lot of people too, and I play exclusively in the small stakes games.

Anyway, my finishes for the day look like this: 4/45, 9/27, 4/18, 1/45, 1/18. I am pretty happy just to have made the final table in each of them, but it takes very little…I have also found that I play like absolute shit when I am trying to take screenshots. I think it has more to do with trying to figure out what I am going to say about why I made a move than with the move itself. But I am quite superstitious, and my wins seem to all come when I am not taking screenshots, so if you want screenshots you will have to go read someone else’s blog. Try Hoyazo’s site. Not only does he take screenshots of damn near every card dealt, he has also won a seat in a World Series of Poker event…Which makes me think that maybe, just maybe, someday I will be able to actually do that myself watch him on television. It would be funny as hell to watch him pull his patented Reverse Hoy on someone on national television.

There were actually two hands that I wanted to talk about when I started writing this, so here goes:

The first hand was in the second tournament that I played in today, which was actually a lot further along than the first tournament since it was a turbo, not that it matters a great deal for the purposes of my discussion. There are 27/45 people left in the game right now, I am second in chips at my table.
Anyway, this was a hand where I had the absolute nuts on the flop, but was able to induce two other players to actually push ahead of me (at least that is the story I am going to go with. The reality is that they may have done so anyway, but that hardly makes me feel any better about myself, so I am going with the “it was all me” theory). I have a pair of tens in the big blind. I really want to make sure and get a raise in to eliminate as many people as possible, ideally to get rid of people who might be limping with Q-8 or the such. 10’s are a dangerous hand since there are four over cards and it is all but guaranteed that if someone has one of the over cards they are going to be playing it. The button actually pushed to 4x the big blind which I called, and it was folded around to someone in middle position who also called. The pot was enormous at this point. The flop came up 10-7-10, I flopped quads for what I am sure will be the only time in my life. Of course every instinct in my body said to push ’em in right there, but I wanted to try to milk some more chips out of them. So I bet 2x the minimum, which I was hoping showed some weakness, both of the others called it. The turn was an ace, which I absolutely loved since I was figuring at least one of these guys had an ace and would be willing to stay in it to at least see the river. I bet the minimum this time, hoping someone would push. It got raised, which I called, but no one pushed. The river was another 7. I bet about half my remaining stack (which put one guy almost all in) and not one but both of the other guys went all in, which I quickly called. I took down a HUGE pot. But what were their hands? One had pokcet 7’s, the other pocket Aces. I almost felt bad about beating the Aces over Tens full house and the quad 7’s, almost. Like I say though, it is entirely possible that they would have both called if I would have pushed all in on the flop. I am pretty sure that the guy with the 7’s would have called it, not so sure about the guy with the aces, but they are awfully tough to lay down, especially so when the board has only an underpair.

The other hand was absolute luck. In an 18 player field I was on the bubble with 1745 in chips in the big blind (blinds 800/400 and going up in two minutes). The blind put me to 945 in chips which probably didn’t actually pot commit me, but it was damn close. It was either this hand or the next one, and this hand I happened to have a J-5 spades. The button doubled the bet, so I pushed my last 145 chips out knowing full well that this was not an ideal hand to live or die by, but at least I had a face card, might not even have that next hand. He had Kc Jd, so I was in fact way behind. Pokerstars gave me a gift on this one, the flop:8s 4s 3s. I wish I could repeat that kind of luck.

I didn’t repeat that kind of luck, but I did continue to have some pretty amazing hands. The next hand was absolute crap, but the hand after it I took down almost 6,000 in chips with pocket Kings and the very next hand I got pocket Jacks for another 4,500. Four hands from the bubble to lead. Once we were heads up, I had 6,000 in chips to his 21,000 just as the blinds went to 3000/1500. I called a hand when I had J-4 offsuit and said “may as well end this”. For unknown reasons, he then called, raised three thousand on the flop, and Folded (why?) when I pushed my remaining 1,400 in chips. That brought us to almost exactly even, when he really should have just called to put me out of it. Even if he lost the hand it was only an additional 1,400, I just don’t understand why he didn’t do it. He was betting into the next hand, which I called and eventually won with a Q-2 offsuit (no pairs, just Queen high). The next hand put him all in and I took it down.

I know I slow play a lot, but do I do it so much that people really get nervous if I just continue to call? It seems like when I actually bet at it now everyone will call it, but when I am just checking for the first couple of cards, they will quit betting and fold if I do actually bet. Not that it is such a bad thing, hell any time I win a hand I am a happy man, if my not betting actually scares them out of the hand that is just a bonus.

Okay, I lied

When I said that I put the guitar back in the spare bedroom never to speak of it again, I was lying. Sue me.

I restrung one of them yesterday, ’cause you would be amazed what three or four years of disuse can do to the pretty nickel plated strings, unless you own a guitar, in which case you already know. Then it was time to Shred! Well, “shred” might not be the appropriate word here, I might be looking for something more along the lines of “Then it was time to hope I didn’t outright suck!”

As I sat there plugging away at it, I started to remember bits and pieces of all of the songs that I used to play. I would remember one riff, play it, then try to remember the next part. Of course I could never remember the next part, so I would move on to another song, only to then remember the part from the last song. So basically I was sounding like every twelve year old that ever picked up the guitar. Sort of like a really bad guitar player to begin with, add in a little A.D.D., and you pretty much have my sound -at least I have the good since to do it with the amp barely audible, to spare the ears of any humans, pets, or NSA agents (yes, I intentionally made sure that I excluded the NSA agents from the “humans” category. Just one of my things) who happen to be listening in.

I decided that focusing my butchery on just a couple of songs would probably benefit a lot of people. Most notably, every band whose name is not Metallica, since old Metallica is the most new guitarist friendly music ever written (in general. It is often fast, but from a purely technical standpoint, easy). The two songs I chose were Master of Puppets and Welcome Home (Sanitarium). The former because it is one of the more difficult songs to play just for the sheer speed you have to maintain for 8 minutes or whatever (here is where every kid that ever touched a guitar chimes in with “I can play that”. To which I say, “No, no you can’t.” Playing the intro doesn’t qualify as playing it. When I say that I can play a song, I am saying that I can play every note in the song from beginning to end ((although some of the solos have always been beyond my ability)), albeit with an occasional mistake). The latter was chosen because my fingers need to re-learn how to get the hell out of the way to let the clean tone ring through without muffling it.

Every kid with a guitar really thinks that he can play Sanitarium though, and they think they are good enough to video tape in the process, and they think the resulting video is worthy of posting for all the world to see. Seriously, Check out some of these videos (the second page is where the real hackery starts, although the intros played on the first page of results could probably create a whole new level of “suck” all on their own). I can proudly say that having not touched the instrument in year, I picked up the guitar and still play it better than any of those guys. Of course that isn’t good enough for me, I need to be able to play it so precisely that you can’t tell the difference between my play and the album, which will probably only take a couple of weeks more practice, and the practice is only on the solos since the rhythm parts are so damn easy.

But I didn’t write this post to brag of my guitar prowess, it just kind of turned out that way when I went to see if anyone had made a video of them playing Sanitarium. Anyway, it was while I was searching through the horrible mockeries of the song that I came across one of the many that is just so horrible you almost can’t believe it is for real. This video is either the funniest parody ever conceived, or the most sad thing I have ever seen. The description of the video says:

Much metallica is gooder whith electric axe. Hear new digital delay, DOD rawks metal hard kore.

That is parody, right? RIGHT? God I hope so.

Hell, judging by these videos, I don’t really even need to practice. I just need to start booking gigs and banging groupies, all for the love of music, or something.

attitional note: There must be a tabliture floating around for this song on the internet, because almost every one of the videos has The same mistake in it at exactly the same place. I know that internet is never wrong and all, but you really ought to at least compare your tabliture to the song before you commit to it.

Dead Cichlids

A little over a month ago, one of my wife’s friends from work gave her an enormous fish tank. I think it is 70 gallons, but I am not quite sure. It is 4 feet long, 15 inches deep, and 20 inches tall if that gives you any idea of the scale. To me, it is just fucking huge.

The fish tank came fully equipped, even including fish. The fish are African Cichlids (if you want to know what they look like google it. To me they look like Koi fish, but the also look like Goldfish, so I am not much of a judge). There were 13 of the guys that came along with the tank. Well, obviously not all guys, since many of them were the children of some of the other ones, and I don’t think they reproduce asexually (of course I don’t know, I didn’t actually pay any attention in biology class in high school.).

A couple of days ago, I was going to clean the tank for the first time. I wasn’t really sure what the proper procedure for cleaning was, so I just did like I do with our smaller tank, and started using a little gravity sucker thingy jobber to vacuum the crud off of the bottom. I began to remove all of the ornaments in the tank for cleaning purposes, and started to scrub the side with an aquarium brush (yes, I have three arms, which really made this a lot easier). While pulling the weeds faux foliage from the tank, I noticed a little baby fish, then another, then another… 14 in total. I decided that I had better put everything back the way it was, since I was not at all sure if Cichlids are the type that eat their own offspring, but I know that many species do.

So, how do I clean the tank without risking either the big fish eating the little fish, or sucking the little fish up in the gravity sucker thingy jobber? Two solutions. Solution in the first: Magnetic Aquarium Cleaners. This is a device I had never heard of, and it only cost about six bucks, but my god is it ever easy. Just two magnets with a scrubber on one, throw it in the tank, hold the other one outside of the glass and move it around just as if your hand was in the tank. I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Solution in the second: A Plecostomus. I had wanted to get one when we initially got the tank, but couldn’t locate one large enough that there wouldn’t be a fear of the Cichlids eating it. I found one at PetSmart that was just about the same size as the Cichlids, so I was in business.

Time to leave the tank alone while the babies grow up.

The fish have been spending a lot of time near the top of the tank over the last few days. I had been attributing this to the temperature of the water, as the warmer the water, the less oxygen it will have in it. The tank still looked fairly clean from the gravity vacuum sucker thingy jobber I had used on it a few days ago. Although there was a bit of a fishy odor in the tank, but it is a fish tank, what do I expect? A friend called me on the phone at about six, and as I walked by the tank the fish were fine. I hung up the phone a little bit after seven, and as I walked past the tank again, about half of the fish were dead, and the ones that weren’t dead weren’t looking too chipper.

I didn’t know what the fuck could have happened to them so quickly. I could see if there wasn’t enough air in the tank maybe one of them would die, while the others started looking worse, but I was looking at about half the fish dead -in under an hour. The only thing I could think was that maybe the plecostomus had somehow gotten into, and clogged up, the filtration system. I yelled for the wife, and together we netted out the remaining fish. We put them into two buckets of clean water, one for the fish that still seemed pretty okay, one for the two of them that were barely clinging to life. Then we set about fishing out as many of the babies as we could -I think we got a total of 11 of the babies out of it, which is a pretty good total really, since I had only seen 8 since replacing all of the ornaments that day.

I started draining all of the water out of the tank with the gravity vacuum sucker thingy jobber as my wife put the baby fish into our smaller tank with the neon tetras (these babies are about the same size as the tetras). By now, the fish that had been on the verge of death only minutes before appeared to be back to normal. WHAT THE FUCK?

I continued to drain the water out of the tank with the gravity vacuum sucker thingy jobber, and was getting as much of the remaining crud out of the gravel as I went. When the tank was about 90% drained, I saw that Mr. Plecostomus was still in the tank, so there went my clogging up the filtration system theory -all of the large fish were now accounted for, and the baby fish were nowhere near large enough to cause a problem with it. That was when I saw what I am pretty sure was the problem: A tiny piece of broken glass. It looked like the bottom of a test tube.

As I continued to clean the bottom of the tank, I found the rest of the little glass thingy. It was a thermometer. Now my first thought was “mercury”, my second thought was “they haven’t used mercury in thermometers in decades”, my third thought was “Perhaps the internet knows the answer.”

The internet tells me that glass thermometers used in fish tanks are filled with alcohol (which makes sense since alcohol doesn’t condensate, otherwise there would be cloudy bubbles all over it all the time), which is toxic to fish. In addition to a liquid toxin in the liquid tank there are also little gray pebbles to weight the thermometer down. Some websites I found say that they are toxic while others say they are harmless. In my case the little gray pebbles weren’t spilled, so it wasn’t really an issue anyway. I didn’t even know we had a thermometer in the fish tank, I hadn’t seen it in the month+ that we have had it, but what are you gonna do.

Unfortunately, there are as many opinions on the best course of action now as there are forums. Some say that you should scrub everything with bleach and replace it, which I am most certainly not going to do, since the bleach residue is at least as harmful as the alcohol. Some say that you should only change half of the water, wait a few days, then do it again. Some sites that you should remove only a small portion of the water, and put a carbon filter cartridge in the tank to absorb the remaining toxins. There is certainly no lack of answers. Alas, I have no way of knowing whether Fishmanfl32 or bettababe have a better working knowledge of marine biology, so I am gonna just have to wing it.

I settled on replacing all of the water, and cleaning the gravel only using the gravity vacuum sucker thingy jobber. One of the forum posts that I read said that you don’t want to sterilize all of the ornaments and gravel because they contain bacteria necessary to break down the fecal matter that the fish produce. I am all about something other than me breaking down fecal matter, so I am going to give that approach a try. The fish seemed to spring right back to life once they were out of the contaminated water (well that was a poor choice of words, the ones that were already dead are still very much dead, but the ones that were nearly dead are now bright and chipper). So I hope that changing the water and cleaning the gravel as best I could with the gravity vacuum sucker thing jobber does the trick.

I will probably post with the results in a few days, since I wasn’t able to find any listings of people who had experienced this problem. Well, that is, I wasn’t able to find anyone posting results after attempting the suggestions. If this one works, I will let you know. That way the next time someone googles for dead fish aquarium broken thermometer they will at least know the results of trying it my way.

If you ever happen to google for gravity vacuum sucker thingy jobber, you will probably end up here as well, but that is totally unrelated.


Two days have now passed since the onset of the problem, and I can say with certainty that changing the water and vacuuming the gravel was sufficient to get rid of the toxins. I went to a pet store yesterday to see exactly what was in one of those thermometers, and found that the little pebbles in it are in fact lead. Why on earth do they manufacture something for an aquarium that has alcohol and lead, both toxic to fish, in it? And why on earth would anyone actually put one into their aquarium? To those questions, I have no answers.

A note on changing the water: Our aquarium is set up so that the entire length of the back of it is actually a water filter. The pump pulls water from the top on the left and cycles it through a series of spiky balls and filters before eventually being pumped back into the tank on the right. To remove as much of the contaminated water (and miscellaneous junk) as possible, when I began to fill the tank, I did so with the filter turned off and started filling in the filter system itself. The way our tank is set up, this forced the water to run backwards through the filter system to eventually overflow into the main tank, where I vacuumed all the crud out of it. I left the water running at just about the same speed as the vacuum was able to pull it out, and continued that process for over an hour. By the time it was done, the water that was flowing out of the filter system was all completely clear. I am not sure if that was entirely necessary just to remedy the contaminated water problem, but it did leave the water a lot purer than it otherwise would have been. As anyone who owns an aquarium knows, clear water is sure a lot prettier/healthier than scuzzy water.

The fish that survived the initial shock are now back to moving and playing like they have not done since we first got the tank. This leads me to believe that there may have been other mitigating factors which caused the sudden deaths. While I am sure the alcohol was the actual killer, I am thinking there was probably a problem with the pH or something else that was pre-existing. That is something that I have never worried about with a smaller tank, since the fish only cost a buck and when they die, they die -not that I would intentionally let them die. I suppose I probably should buy a test kit to monitor the pH and nitrates and the such so that I can avoid a repeat of this.

In other fish news, the baby fish are doing quite well in the 20 gallon tank with the little tetras. As I said previously, they are roughly the same size as the tetras, but they are quite obviously babies. You can still see through parts of them, and I don’t think they have even grown full sets of scales yet, but they are buzzing along just like the rest of the fish in the smaller tank. And boy is it ever cute to watch them eat -which is something I had not thought of until we had the problem with the large tank. The little guys are perfectly capable of eating the tropical flakes that go into the small tank, but I am not quite so sure if they would have been able to eat the large pebbles that we feed the adult Cichlids.

So, while we did lose half of the adult Cichlids in the thermometer break incident, we actually came out with more fish because of it. I have no doubt that many of the baby fish would have died in the large tank, either from lack of food (mouths too small to eat the pebbles) or the larger fish eating them. Now that they are in the smaller tank, we plan to leave them there until they are large enough to fend for themselves in the big tank. Since 11 of them made it through the toxic water (one even survived fifteen seconds or so on the kitchen stove -that was how we found out that the net has a hole in it), I don’t see why all 11 of them can’t grow to full size. So, strictly by the numbers, we started with 13 of them, we should end up with 17 of them.

Decisions, decisions

Let’s say that you are playing a game of poker, say, Hold ’em for instance. Is it ever right to make a call when you know with absolute certainty that you are behind in the hand?

Say, purely hypothetically, that you have an A-Q suited. Say, equally hypothetically, that it is raised to 3x the BB (which is 100 at this point), and there are a total of 5 callers (myself our hypothetical mark included). It is in a 180 player tournament, there are about 80 people left. Hypothetically, there are about 40 of the people with right around 2,000 in chips and you are one of them.

The flop comes up, say 3-A-7 rainbow. First guy checks, you bet 600 (which is a pretty weak bet since the pot is at 1,500, but that is about 1/3 of your stack), next guy calls, then it folds back around to the first guy, who goes all-in. He has an A-3, I know that with absolute certainty. I have been at the table with the guy for almost an hour, and have seen the A-x hands he plays. He will play an Ace with anything from j-k or anything from 2-5, I have not seen him play an ace with anything 6-10, and that is out of probably a dozen times I have seen him call with an ace. The other guy is new to the table, I have no idea what he might be holding, but I figure he must have the other ace or he wouldn’t have called 600. Do you make the call knowing that you are a huge underdog, but also knowing that if you do hit you more than triple your stack?

I called.

My read was spot on for the guy who pushed, A-3 suited. The other guy called it also, but with a pair of Jacks. What in the fuck was he thinking? I mean sure, I knowingly called when I was behind, but I had more than two outs for christ’s sake, not many more though. Only a Queen or a Seven wins it for me. Well, there was also the possibility of a runner runner flush, but I didn’t let that factor into my decision to call it. So, regardless of outcome, how bad was that call?