Tuesday, May 29, 2007

There's Doings Going On

Still more than a few details to be worked out, but it's looking like I may get to cover the WSOP Main Event this year for a major online poker site as a blogger/reporter/general writer type. Which would be pretty dang exciting and cool, if it does indeed come to pass. I'd much rather be, you know, playing in the Main Event, but covering it would probably be the next best thing, so that'd be very, very cool if it happens.

Speaking of playing in the Main Event, I managed to final table the Sunday night $200+$15 Main Event qualifier on Full Tilt, going out in 9th. Top three spots won a $12,000 package, and 4-6th got paid, with 6th taking home something like $950. So chalk up yet another close but no cigar in my growing collection, but this one at least was in the no regrets category, as I did everything I could with crap cards for nearly two hours to stay afloat, and went out with AQs in the BB, pushing over the top of what was seemingly yet another steal attempt by the button when it folded to him and he bet out 3xBB. Bad time for him to wake up with KK, and even more frustrating when I flop an A but he turns another K.

The backstory, though, was at least as interesting, as I satellited in through a single table SnG, with just the winner getting the entry into the Sunday night qualifier. I think I was as low as 350 chips early, got donkfish lucky on a few occasions, and managed to get heads-up. We went back and forth for forever until I lost a big hand to slowplayed AA, and I had something like 1,000 chips versus 11,000. At that point my opponent said something about how we'd each played well, it was a tough match, and that we should agree that whoever won would give the other person 50% of anything they won in the qualifier later that night.

Given the chip deficit I was staring at I was like, umm, sure, whatever, and quickly agreed to the deal. Then managed to come storming back to win the SnG and the seat in the qualifier. Then managed to go on a nice run in the qualifier, with a real shot there at the end of making some noise.

The interesting part there is obviously what the hell you'd do, if you made such a deal and then actually won a $12,000 package. Do you honor your word and ship $6,000 to a complete Internet stranger, who has no idea who you are and no real way of contacting you, with the entire agreement based on a couple of lines of chat in the chat window?

Not to pat myself on the back, but I'm pretty sure I would have forked over half the cash if I'd won anything. Probably immediately, before I had the chance to talk myself out of doing it and pocketing the whole kit and kaboodle. Obviously a moot point, though, but still kind of an interesting situation.

Also managed to go deep in a $28,000 guaranteed money, going out in 12th when the chip leader (and only stack at the table that could bust me) thought cold-calling off half his stack with QJo after two raises went in before me and I over-shoved with AA. Of course the flop is 8 9 10 and IGHN. It's things like that that seriously make me question why I even bother with poker sometimes. I honestly believe that I might have better results if I played patiently for a few hours, built a decent stack, and then just blindly called with any two cards, anytime there was a big raise or all-in in front of me. Yeah, I know, I'm bitter and over-exaggerating, and I do indeed want him to make that call, all day, every day, but Jebus freaking christ, that crap gets old.

Still crazy busy in general, but managed to sneak away with the wife last weekend for a quick stay at a bed and breakfast in Smithville, Texas. Not a lot to see in Smithville, unless you're very, very excited to see the town that Hope Floats was filmed in. I also was somehow coerced into riding around on the tandem bike the bed and breakfast had, despite not having ridden a bike for twenty years or so. We only nearly died once, which would have been a pretty pitiful way to go, killed by a tandem bike in the town where Hope Floats was filmed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Poker Hate Me

Poker is weird. I could stop right there, really.

Managed to satellite into FTOPS #8 cheaply, and actually acquired a big honking stack early, due to assorted fun like flopping quads and getting paid off, flopping sets twice in heavy multi-way action and having them hold up, bullying a lot and stealing smallish pots, etc. Had a top 20 stack with about 450 remaining when the wheels absolutely came off, sending me to the rail in the span of fifteen or so short minutes.

I was going to recount all of the gory details, but really, there's not much point. On the interesting side, I got my money in good every single time, yet managed to lose all six hands that contributed to my doom. Kind of hard to do, that, but I managed it.

I've never seen much good in the "Waah, I'm due" mentality, as it's an obvious fallacy on many levels (and annoying to boot), but man, I'm due. But enough about that.

Nice to see Hoy, Grubby, and cmitch make good runs in the FTOPS Main Event last night. I took a mini-break from my manual labors and played a couple of the crapshootastic Super Turbo SnGs to try to qualify at the last minute, but got no love. They might as well just add blackjack, too, as I'm not sure of the skill involved in starting with 100 in chips and the normal 15/30 blinds, but hey, I was more than happy they offered such a beast, when I ahd 45 minutes or so to try to win a seat.

Online-Casinos.com - Gambling Guide

The following is a paid review for Online-Casinos.com - Gambling Guide:

Online-Casinos.com delivers exactly what you'd expect, all sorts of resources, reviews, and information regarding online casinos. Below is just a taste of what you'll find there:

  • A varety of free training game programs for popular casino favorites such as blackjack, video poker and roulette, allowing you to sharpen up your skills first without risking any real money at the tables. They also offer free no-download casino games to play, too, once you've got all the basics down pat.

  • Visual learning aids and instructions for poker and casino games such as 7 Card Stud, baccarat, craps, roulette and more. These Flash based videos are actually pretty cool and include sound, with the trainer walking you through the various rules and nuances for all the popular casino games.

  • A dedicated poker section with reviews and recommendations for online poker rooms, as well as poker tools such as a poker odds calculator and more.

  • A daily updated gambling news section that covers a variety of news from the gaming world, covering both poker and casino news.

  • Reviews of tons of real money gambling sites, covering more than 100 casino and poker sites in-depth, from the player's perspective. These are actual reviews, too, and pretty detailed, so it's not your standard "I love this casino, it's great, sign up and deposit there you'll love it" stock review that you see on many sites.
  • Paying the Bills, Bodog-Style

    I'd like to welcome Bodog to the roster of sponsors in this little corner of degenerate cyberspace. Not only does Bodog offer lots of juicy poker action, but they've got something for the sportsbook and casino degenerates as well.

    And they're still happy to accept US customers, which is sadly a rare thing in this day and age.

    Wednesday, May 16, 2007

    Billions and Billions of Bytes

    Still in keep-my-head-down-grind-out-work mode, as I manage to clear some projects and assorted work off the plate and lo and behold, more work appears.

    Austin house is all but done and ready to list next week, after I do some final touch ups and we get it cleaned and all that good stuff. Have to admit that I'm pretty proud of how all the work turned out, especially the kitchen, and it was nice to meet with our realtor and go over the place and confirm that we should hopefully get something in the ballpark price-wise of what we're shooting for, which would justify a lot of time and expense that we'd sunk into it, as far as prepping it for sale.

    I've been getting a bit more serious as far as looking for the next investment property, but haven't found much yet that's promising. I've also been getting more serious about the idea of buying lots and building homes on them, with a slight twist as far as specializing in wee little houses, likely 700-800 sq. ft. There's actual been a general upswing in interest of late in very small house designs for new construction, from both ends of the spectrum, as far as higher-end stuff in cities where existing home prices and/or large lots are astronomical, but also on the affordable housing side in areas like the Gulf Coast. It's been interesting poking around in assorted design principles, as far as making absolute maximum use out of every square foot, etc.

    On my scheming affiliate side, I've been launching some new video sites (HateNinja, Sweet Sports Videos, UFC and Pride Videos), which are basically just niche sites that I post related video clips on that are already up on YouTube, Google Video, Break.com, etc.

    They've been kind of fun to build out so far, and it's interesting to delve a bit more deeper into the video sharing side of the Internet tubes. I keep waffling back and forth, from absolute amazement at the sheer amount of data we're recording and broadcasting, as far as a chronicle of life in general in this day and age, to quasi depression and abject despair, as far as the behavior shared with the world, that would seem to doom us all, if it's a representative sample of any sort of what we're capable of. I usually think we live in pretty boring times, as far as missing out on assorted ages of exploration, scientific discoveries, etc., but it's interesting to be a part of the first generation that's truly having a great bulk of it's daily activities digitally captured, recorded, and stored, for forever and ever.

    Saturday, May 12, 2007

    Bite Me, Memes

    I'd thought I'd sunken far enough into obscurity to escape such things but nay, April took care of that...

    7 Things About Me

    1) I've had on-screen roles in two major motion pictures. One of them was Ernest Goes to Camp.

    2) Not only did I go to Space Camp when I was a kid, but I won the Right Stuff award for the best space camper. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    3) I have more tattoos than I do feet.

    4) I've lost more than $5,000 in a single session of blackjack. I've also won more than $5,000 in a single session of blackjack.

    5) My mom was good friends with Townes Van Zandt and he'd come over and hang out at our house all the time, play music, get messed up. I was 12 or 13 at the time and had absolutely no idea that this was a cool thing. None.

    6) I went an entire Little League season without swinging the bat. Not once. I was a weird kid and deathly scared of the potential embarassment of striking out. So I just never swung, no matter how much I was prodded by coaches. Which, given the state of Little League pitching, meant I had an OBP of 1.0 and scored approximiately 182,192 runs that season.

    (Lest I sound like a complete dweeb, I played center field and was actually freakishly good in the field for a Little Leaguer, routinely making all sorts of crazy catches. Force me into a situation where I have no choice to hide and/or opt out and instead must perform, and I do pretty well; offer me the chance to slink off and avoid the spotlight, well, there I go, slinking.)

    7) I've been involved in the adult entertainment business. On the content production side. Personally.

    Tag, You're It:

    Dee's Nutz

    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    Bots and Busto

    Have to admit that the ginormous thread on 2+2 about bots playing $200 NL at FullTilt is pretty interesting reading. Color me paranoid, but I've pretty much always assumed that bots play on all sites, so that aspect of it doesn't surprise me all that much. Talk all you want about security of sites and vigilant efforts to identify and block bots, blah blah blah, but the simple truth is that the security efforts of every major online poker site are pretty woeful in regards to such things, so I just assume it happens constantly, like collusion and people running multiple accounts in tournaments and SnGs.

    What's somewhat lost in the hubbub is the fact that the accounts were playing profitably, over a decent sample size of hands. Add in rakeback for the accounts and they're accumulating a nice little chunk of change for the programmer, assuming they are indeed bots, yada yada yada. That's the interesting (and I think inevitable) part of the story for me, as far as someone being smart enough to program a winning bot. Well, and the fact that someone could be intelligent enough to create the bot but such a dumbass as far as covering his or her tracks.

    Managed to go busto with my wee little Full Tilt funds, so no poker for me of late. While going busto a year or two ago might have been noteworthy, not so much these days, as I've loaded a total of $400 or so to play on these last few months, working through it in a variety of donkified ways, but mainly blowing it on Bracelet Races (and mainly on the Friday night rebuy Bracelet Races).

    I'd like to say it upsets me and bugs me but, meh, not so much. I have been enoying playing of late, so I guess it sucks in that sense, but I've also largely managed to wean myself away from the poker it seems, as far as feeling any sort of sense of urgency to play. Much of that I think is actually due to finding other pastures to make money in, as far as ditching the casino and poker affiliate game back when the UIGEA went into effect.

    While the money is potentially good (both from playing and on the affiliate side), you're always wrestling with a large element of randomness, and a lack of control (internally and externally). If I pick and sort through all the various emotions in shifting away from poker on both a personal and business sense, probably the largest single emotion to pluck out is relief. Not so much in the sense that I'm relieved to not be in the game, as I most definitely miss it, but relief in the sense that it's finally become a true hobby, and something I'll likely do every now and then, enjoy the hell out of it, but never look to as anything other than a fun diversion.

    Which is kind of sad but also kind of nice. Blasphemous for these confines, indeed, but there ya go.

    All that babbling aside, I'm definitely looking forward to playing in Vegas in June. I keep waffling but I'm pretty much completely ruling out playing in a WSOP event, regardless of how things go on the house selling front. I've been hitting the grindstone pretty damn hard of late, and likely will continue through the first half of June, and am really looking forward to taking a real vacation, with doing pretty much nothing other than drinking, eating, and gambling. While playing one of the $1,500 NL events would definitely fall into the gambling category, it'd be of the slightly more stressful variety, and I'm thinking I'm going to do all I can to reduce stress on this trip.

    Thursday, May 03, 2007

    So, Wait, I Just Start Typing and it Shows Up on the Blog?

    I don't tend to sit around and lollygag much in general, but things have been pretty insane of late, even for me.

    I have officially bitten off more than I can chew, between trying to fix and flip two houses, working a 40 hour a week day job, taking on beaucoup Web development work for a couple of different poker sites, and doing SEO contracting work for my day job employer. There you go. The person who swears they can never bite off too much work has done just that. Boo, me.

    But, on the bright side, other than the barely having time to breathe aspect, I'm really enjoying myself. Not that the last year/year-and-a-half was a bad time for me necessarily, but I think a good one-word summary would be "underfreakingutilized". I did stuff and I stayed busy but there wasn't really any point where I was pushed to any sorts of limits or put myself in a position where, unless I busted my ass, I wasn't going to get something done.

    And there's nothing wrong with that, as far as floating around in happy comfort zones, but man, how boring is that, in the end.

    That's not to say that I haven't had Days of Despair of late, where I want to just say screw it all and run away and go be a yak farmer in Mongolia. Today was close to a Day of Despair, but not quite. I took this week off of work to finish up work at the Austin house but it's been conspiring against me, and today was the full blown When Houses Attack moment. I managed to sprain the crap out of my right big toe, shock the crap out of my self while being a huge dumbass, and spent nearly an hour crammed underneath a bathroom vanity, completely soaked, prying off an impossible to turn nut that held the old faucet on, getting it to move fractions of a nanometer at a time. In short: fun stuff.

    I've played a bit of poker, mostly Bracelet Races in my Quioxete-esque adventures to stay up too late when exhasuted and ultimately come up short. 3 more final tables and one fourth place finish but no ultimate love for me.

    The fourth place finish was pretty ridiculous, as I was playing the Bracelet Race and a SNG at the same time, and it was getting late in the SNG and push/fold time, and I got dealt something like 1010 and was ready with the trigger finger, the window pops up, bam, I'm all in. Except, umm, somehow or other I shoved in the Bracelet Race, two hands into it, with 95o from MP. There was one limper in front of me but I figured no harm no foul, and everyone would fold and I'd look like a dumbass. Until the limper insta-called with AA, and I'm sitting with 45 chips when I don't suckout.

    I forget all of the details, but I managed to double up approximately 172 times to get back to average, hung around and tripled up in a big hand late, then actually had a decent stack at the final table. No love there, though, when I foolishly pushed with KK versus Q10o.

    Not really much of a break in the hectic schedule until mid June or so. Once again, ScurvyWife and I are going to miss the blogger festivities by a few weeks, as we booked a trip to Vegas from June 20-24 many moons ago, because we're dorks like that. If we can get a contract on the Austin house by then for something in the ballpark of our asking price, I may treat myself to a WSOP event, but even if not I'm definitely looking forward to some unabashed down time, as both houses should be done and on the market, and the first wave of SEO contracting done and in the books.