Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

I took Jayden trick or treating for the first time as a parent. As a kid I LOVED trick or treating. I remember going to school once when I could barely walk and puking every hour because I knew if I didn't go that day I wouldn't be able to go that night. I used to ride my bike into other neighborhoods and would spend hours doing it. This is partly because of my sense of adventure and partly because of my addiction to candy.

The girls were bears. Sorry I don't have a good shot of them. They were tired and cranky. Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cough, cough

I'm battling my way through the 38th sinus infection of my life, which is wonderful timing, considering I'm running a 10K this weekend.
Yeah, I know what you're saying, but I really don't run that many races. Probably more than you, but not really enough that each one isn't special and doesn't deserve to be kicked around by a stupid illness.
I'll post pictures of Halloween Friday night. Sorry I haven't posted pictures of the kids in a long time. I need to be better about that. You won't believe how the girls have changed. Jayden's changed, too, though mostly that involves him sassing off to us every third sentence and not his appearance.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The five stupidest thing you can say to parents of multiples

5. "Are they twins?"
I know, this one is kinda bitchy, but this is a bitchy post. It's a way for people to open a conversation about your twins, but perhaps it's possible we may not want to talk about our twins while we're trying to have dinner. Sometimes we know how athletes must feel. Granted, we get the attention a second-string punter might get, but it's still occasionally unwanted attention.
My response sometimes to this is, "No, they're three months apart," and then revel in their confusion.
4. "Your wife must be busy."
Yes, I guess. I've been spending most of my time at the Playboy Mansion playing strip poker and $4,000-$8,000 stud with Larry Flynt at the Hustler.
Um, guess what? SO AM I. You CANNOT raise twins and not have a husband willing to do half of the work. Well, and keep a marriage going, anyway.
3. "Are they natural?"
What, do you mean if they're made of plastic? Are you asking if they're a new, realistic Barbie doll line? Are you asking if we just put them together ourselves in the basement?
No, what you're asking is if we had fertility treatments. OK, I'll answer that, as long as you're willing to talk about your sex life as well. Let's start with orgasms and your love of pink feathers and go from there, shall we?
2. "You've got your hands full."
No, shit, Sherlock.
I probably have heard this 76,869 times since the girls were born.
1. "I have two kids that are xx months apart, so I know EXACTLY what it's like to have twins."
No, you fucking don't. You have no idea. Sorry, this one's touchy. That's why it's #1.
Your 18-month old or whatever was sleeping through the night, able to walk around on his own, feed herself, take a bath without constant help, drink on his own, etc. Shall I go on? For at least six months, I walked around with a baby almost constantly. We were getting up three times a night, at least, both of us, without a break. When I visited the doctor's office, I carried two carriers inside, propping the door open with my ass while I struggled with both inside, mostly while people watched me with their mouths open. Meanwhile, your 18-month-old probably held the door open for you.
I have a 3-year-old, too. I know what it's like to raise a toddler and an infant. It's not the same thing. It's not even close.
The next time someone says this to me, I throw chipmunk piss on them and throw them to the coyotes that howl by our house late at night.

P.S. Bonus: "Are they identical?"
Parents of opposite-sex twins tell me they still get this question, which boggles my mind. Um, yes, except for his penis. And, well, I guess her...never mind. I'm done.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Am I lame? I am, Sam, I am

I remember, at 15, being indignant at Mom when she did not know who Def Leppard was.
"Hello, Mom? Foolin? Rock of Ages?"
The small part of my brain not reserved for Heather Thomas and her pink bikini cramped up when she shook her head. OMG, I thought, only I spelled it out because Internet chat was not invented yet.
I figured, of course, that Mom knew the Scorpions, at least. Surely everyone had heard of "Rock You Like A Hurricane."
Nope. Whitesnake? Culture Club? After The Fire (granted, a one-hit wonder, but Holy Cow what a song).
I was flabbergasted. I mean I could not BELIEVE that no one could be living on Planet Earth and not hear of these bands.
But for the past few months I find myself falling more and more out of touch with today's music.
And it's kinda bugging me.

The link shows my devotion to music. Remember it?

I used to stay up until 2 a.m., with only a small space heater that turned off every three minutes, to watch music videos because not only was it important to know every single song on Casey Casem's Top 40 Countdown (as well as plenty of hair metal), I had to see the latest ZZ Top video too (I mean, who could blame me, those storylines were the best).
That show was, for me, the only way to see them. If you were one of those rich, spoiled, insufferable kids who actually had cable in their houses (and I still hate you for that), then you may not because you got to watch Mtv before it concerned itself with showing hot-tub hookups instead of Eddy Grant's "Electric Avenue".
I would always prop up my droopy eyelids and snack on Doritos when they only had one flavor and still always wake up at 3:30 a.m. with drool on my chin and carpet marks indented into the left side of my face.

I think, at some point, you have to accept the fact that you aren't as hip as you were when you were younger. For me this point came when I was scrubbing Jayden's poop off my shirt for the third time that day.
I've accepted it. I buy most of my clothes at Kohl's. I rarely, if ever, visit a bar anymore and would be the guy behind the velvet rope all night at a nightclub. I don't keep up with TV shows
I do keep up with movies, but that's because Netflix makes it so easy, and my cue is still so long, that it's doubtful I'll get through them even after they appear on next year's Academy Awards show.
So this is not about being hip. This is about my love of music.
Today I probably couldn't tell you what the number-one song is any longer, and not only that, I definitely haven't heard it. I used to pride myself on knowing more about it than practically anyone. Music, and my time in the band, gave me self esteem in high school when I really had no reason to have any of it.

I don't really worry about it too much - I mean, anyone who had "Somewhere In Time" and "Powerslave" in his car's CD player the other day can't be THAT concerned about it - but I do wonder what I"m missing these days. There are some great bands out there - Kings of Leon, for instance - that I don't really know.
So here's what I have now. I have Mtv2's "Headbanger's Ball." I have a small army of friends who occasionally give me CDs full of Mp3s (thanks Bad Blood and Michelle). I have Internet radio and Pandora.
And if all that isn't enough, and Jayden, at 15, one day approaches me, all indignant because I haven't heard of the Dirty Rock Sitters, well, then I can just send him to his room.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Review of Poker Eagles

I have to admit, when I was asked to review Poker Eagles, my first thought was to do a paint-by-numbers write-up.
Hey! Have you checked out (link here)? It offers lots of (link)poker information, with hand rankings, a forum and a blog. There's even some strategy articles! Check out (link) today! You won't be disappointed!
OK, so I did check out the site, and, well, I was kinda impressed.
Yes, there actually IS a poker forum , but most sites have a forum. You'll also find the usual poker rules and, yes, a blog.
But beyond that are some interesting features. For instance, there's a poker room reviews, but it goes far beyond reviews of online sites. You'll actually find reviews of Las Vegas, Atlantic City and even east Chicago poker rooms, in addition to reviews of poker books and poker tracking software. Granted, many of these reviews aren't expansive, but many do offer enough information to make a good choice.
Some other cool features include poker movie reviews with clips ("Rounders" included of course), lots of information on how to put on a home game and even a quiz on certain hands. I disagreed with some of the answers, but that is poker. I know Waffles would disagree with most of them since some of the answers call for a fold. Unfortunately an ad covered some of the text of the quiz, but that could have been my Safari browser. Still, these little details can mar an otherwise good site.
There are even some tips on sports betting.
There is some stuff on Poker Eagles to warrant a look and probably even a browse or two. At the very least, it warrants a review beyond a paint-by-numbers template.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


The alarm chirps at 5 a.m., and my running partner chirps right along with it. I groan and put the pillow over my head.
I am not a morning person. Not only that, but I do not understand the ones who are. At all. My wife of six years happens to be one. I still do not understand them.
The night/morning looks crisp and clear. Dark, too. I manage a grin. She's still talking over in the other bed with a friend. The three of us bunked for the night. The starting line is two blocks away.
The debates start right away, both in my mind and between me and my two female roommates for the night.
(On a side note, just to show you our commitment to the sport, Kate and my running partner's husband barely batted an eye when we said we were going to stay in a hotel room that night. Yes, the third friend being there helped, but 95 percent of that was because WE HAD A RACE THE NEXT DAY. I mean, duh, we wouldn't let a stupid thing like sex keep us awake before a big half marathon. We were asleep by 10 p.m.).
Hat? No hat? Long sleeved shirt or short sleeved shirt? Oatmeal? Banana? How much water should I drink? Carry a goo or hope they have it on the course? When should we leave?
I flip on the TV and race around the channels for a weather report. We finally call the front desk for the temperature. 40 degrees. Ooooo. Perfect.
I ditch the hat at the last second, rub Body Glide over my toes and body, bring gloves and a goo, stick the iPod Shuffle on my shorts, and we head out. It's chilly and my teeth start to chatter.
The sun has just started to light the sky. We crunch in the crowd of 10,000. Runners chatter. We bump and grind our way near the front. Some giggle. Others stare straight ahead with glass eyes, preparing their minds to blot out the pain that awaits.
My teeth stop chattering as the collective body heat of 10,000 fit machines warms me.
God, I feel good.
Why do I run? The races. And the priceless moments before they begin.

P.S. Today I ran the Denver Half Marathon and beat my own personal best by three minutes, finishing in 1:47. My pace was 8:08 per mile. I was thrilled when I (finally) crossed the line. I'm no elite runner, finishing 487/3877 and 77/286 in my age group, but I was happy.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Hand follow up

All right, so when we last left, I was faced with a stiff bet holding a set of 5s, which was top set on the flop, on a 3,4,5 board. The small blind bet $5, the big blind bet $15, and I called the raise cold. The small blind called the raise as well. The big blind has a full stack of $100 NL, as I do, and the small blind has about $65.
On the turn, a 10 of clubs, the small blind checks, and the big blind bet $40, about the size of the pot.

So I pushed.
And lost.
The big blind flopped a straight with 7-6.

Hearing a little feedback on this made me feel a little better about my push. I was a little upset at myself because I kind of thought I was beat and yet pushed anyway. I could not pair the board because that would require sucking out and I lost.

This was an incredibly tight table, and the way he played the hand suggested that he did have the goods and I ignored that little voice inside. I'm not sure but I think I should have folded the turn. I was only 20 percent to win by then.

The feedback was helpful, though I disagree with one comment made by all three. They advocated raising. Folks, I am not going to raise in early position with a small pair in a cash game. I might do that in a tournament if the table was tight, but in a cash game, the only thing I can win is the tiny blind by raising.
I understand by showing strength, I could follow with a c-bet. And I also understand that raising might have driven some players out of the hand, which could have helped me avoid this mess in the first place, but I doubt a $3 raise would have gotten the big blind to fold anyway with 7-6 sooted. That's a perfect hand to defend your blind with against one raise.

The big blind's play fooled me. I thought, as some of you did, that there's no way he would play a straight that hard. A look at the preflop action might have helped me, as he did not raise, so that ruled out an overpair, in my mind, and really reduced his hands to two-pair or a set of 4s or 3s or 7-6.
Would it have fooled you?

P.S. Mucho thanks to rakebrain for last night's freeroll. I had a blast.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A hand to ponder and playing the rakebrain freeroll

I think I made a bad play on the .50/$1 NL cash tables early this morning and would like some feedback.

I have 5,5 in early position. I limp in. A player with a full stack ($100) completes and the big blind, who has $65, checks.
The flop comes 3,4,5 rainbow.
It's a fairly scary flop, but I am prepared to bet it.

The small blind bets $5, $2 over the pot. The big blind raises to $15.
I have top set. I decide to call. I would like to see what he does on the turn and I would also like to see what the small blind does. He just calls.
This table, like all the others this morning, have been really tight. It's hard these days to get paid off on the weekdays, but that's another issue.
The turn is a 10 of clubs. That puts two clubs on the board. The small blind checks. I put him on a small overpair, maybe 7-7 or 6-6 would make sense as well. I'm pretty sure I have him beat.
The big blind bets nearly the pot, $40.

What do you do here? I'll tell you what I did later, as well as my (probably flawed) thoughts on the hand.

Let's hope I don't face a situation like this one at the Rakebrain blogger challenge on Full Tilt. LeCheese has been replaced by LeTune, but I'm more worried about the slew of bloggers I'll face in this Thursday at 7 p.m. (mountain time).

Prize pool will be $1000 and the game is Pot Limit HA as usual.

I also know he was looking to fill a couple spots so if you're interested you might leave a comment in the blog session.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


It's cold. Pretty damn cold, actually. It says 23 degrees on my clock inside the house. It exaggerates sometimes. I look outside my window. There's a thick coat of frost on the ground. I don't think it's exaggerating this time.
I buckle in Andie and give her and Allie a kiss and tell Jayden good-bye. Bye, they say. A&A wave, a new trick they've just learned, and say "biiiiii."
I walk upstairs and dig out the tights. The running tights make me look great and kinda fruity at the exact same time. It's the only thing I own that does it. Usually I just look boring. I pull them on. They feel like a second skin. Cool. I pull on my long-sleeved shirt. I put on the body glide. I lace up my shoes. I turn on the GPS to measure my pace. Today I'll have to go at 90 percent for my tempo run. I put on some thin gloves and a hat. It's really winter already? I shake my head.
I yawn. The sun is not up yet.
I walk outside, instinctively shivering, and my breath hangs like a low cloud. I shrug off the bite and start to run easy. No, not too fast. You need to warm up first, especially in this. I want to go faster. I'll be warmer. I resist. I look down at the GPS. 8:30 pace. Oops. Nope. Not yet.
I start up the first small hill that leads to the long road down to the trail and the steep hill that awaits. My iPod plays the new AnteUp! poker podcast. It relaxes me. My right arm tenses up. I release it, limping the hands below my waist.
I hit the road, and a few cars pass me. Irritated drivers. Why isn't he on the sidewalk? 'Cause it's concrete, I whisper. I run on too much, and I won't run when I'm 50.
I kick it up a gear. I start to breathe. Faster. My breath still a cloud. The first test, a steep hill. I punch through it, breathing even harder. Now I'm laboring. The hill starts to slope down. Ahhh.
I look down. Pace is 7:40. Oops. Not this time. I slow down and keep it at 8:15. That's better.
Man, it's still cold.
Halfway. I charge down a steep hill and head for the trail through the trees. I look down. 7:30 pace. Oops.
A straight path. Good. My shins hurt. I'll need new shoes soon. I find the small grass trail that leads to the steep hill and the neighborhood road home. This road is steep. I'm warm now. Sort of. I breathe my way up. Stick with it. I used to have to walk this. Not anymore. I smile at that memory. Not anymore at all.
Look left, look right, dart across, on the straight road home. I get a small cramp. WTF? My right arm is tense. Dammit. I shake it out. The cramp stays near my side. A stich. Sigh. Something to add to the doubts. Did last week's flu kick my ass that much?
My body's tired. I'm nearing four miles. That's OK. I ran 12 Sunday. I will rest after Wednesday.
I head for the final downhill and back home. I cross the fire hydrant. The finish line. I'm done.
The sun is peeking through the morning clouds and just over the horizon. It's morning. My breath hangs in the air again. I take my hat off. Steam rushes out. My skin tingles with the cold.
I feel good.
The Denver Half Marathon is this Sunday. I smile. Screw the doubts. I'm ready.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Time after time

Last month I remember throwing back the covers with force as Kate woke me up for yet another late-night feeding. I stared at the clock. It was 3:45 a.m.
I thought of the Little River Band. "How Long Has This Been Going On?" I asked myself. And when will it ever end?
I was completely burnt out on getting up in the middle of the night for more than a year while other parents bragged about how their babies were sleeping through the night after the third day. It seemed to never end, and there also didn't seem to be an end in sight. I would forever be stuck yawing at 3:30 p.m., looking at my running friends with jealousy while they ran ahead during out evening workouts, their bodies fresh from rest. I seemed destined to gaze at full moons the rest of my life.
I blinked my eyes, and when I opened them, two toddlers were smiling back at me, along with their brother, who now looks like he belongs in preschool.
The girls, at 15 months, in an instant, are walking now. They have hairdos and clothes worn by little girls, not babies. And they have personalities to match their button-doll cuteness. Andie, for instance, brings over an animal puzzle as soon as I get home from work. After her bath she grabs her favorite book, "Duck on Holiday," and grunts at me until I read it. When she's outside, she stands by the swingset and hollers at us until we swing her. She demands we put on her shoes as soon as she gets up, to the point where she bonked me on the head several times with them when I lay on the carpet face down, still waking up from the 6 a.m. call.
Allie says several words, including "doggie," "nose" and "Daddy" (I think she says this last one, but this might the fact that every parent wants to think their names are their babies' first words, even when they rarely are).
Jayden not only talks in complete sentences now, like a person, he can run almost as fast as me (I am not Usain Bolt, but still), he appreciates trips to the zoo (demands them, actually) and remembers on Friday that I said, three days ago, that we might go to the bounce place during our special day together. He is working on hitting a whiffle ball and can, occasionally, crack a single. He's also temperamental, stubborn and, at times, impossible, but you have to take the good with the bad.
All of this happened in the blink of eye.
Yet every day it seems like the evening never gets here. The days are long, so long at times that my energy seems to dribble through the cracks of my desk and soak into the carpet, and yet I look at the clock at it's only 3 p.m. When I get home from work, I chase down the kids, give them their baths, dress them, give them a story and put them to bed, and it seems to take forever, like a marathon that I never stop running.
When we go to bed, things are better, but I still wake up occasionally to the cries of Andie or Allie, and the milk just seeps through the bottle, like sands through an hourglass, as I yawn my way to 3:45 a.m.
I am moving through bullet time, as fast as the projectiles and as slow as the magic that makes them crawl through the air.
When did Jayden become a little boy? When did the girls, my babies, become toddlers? When did my hair become a little grayer? In the spaces during the daily grind. It's always a good reminder to enjoy the daily grind, even if it grinds too slowly at times, because you won't slow down those spaces. In fact, as you get older, they seem to speed up.
Life has two tempos, fast and slow, and a pace all its own. All you can do is follow the drumbeat and try to keep up.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Some observations about .50/$1 NL

Now that I've played a bit (about a month) at $100 NL, I've noticed a few observations. These can't really be backed up by a fair amount of hands to make any serious judgments, but these are some trends i've noticed. I'm also grappling with a decision.

1. The players aren't much better at this level, and there are actually some worse players at PokerStars than at the $50 NL level on Bodog.
But they are better. They will bluff you more, act more aggressively and will challenge you. It's tougher to play out of position and they won't let you check your top pair on the river. This is fine, as I'm willing to make some tough calls, and way more often than not, I'm right, but I've probably folded more times than I should, too.
2. As a result, I am really hesitant to play out of position. I'm trying to take position back even when I'm out of position by checking my hand at times and betting out at other times. But it's still difficult for me. There's nothing wrong with playing a lot fewer hands out of position however.
3. The players bluff more, but many times their bluffs make no sense. They will bluff when it's obvious they are betting on the come and fire a big bet on the river when that draw doesn't fill. I've picked off many bluffs simply by calling with top pair weak kicker or even less on an obvious draw board when the board doesn't really make much sense for a big bet, unless they have a set, and I've tried to approach my game not being afraid of sets any longer. They don't have a set every time.
4. Three-betting is more common. But I like that because it defines my opponent's hand a lot more. I've noticed a lot of all-ins, too, with A-K (which is stupid in my mind, these are cash games, not tournaments) and 10s and up. I still refuse to commit all-in pre-flop with anything but A-A and maybe K-K. That's saved me a lot of money through the years.
5. I've noticed a few leaks in my game:
• I still call too much instead of raising. I do this because I want to control the pot sizes when I only have a pair, but I should raise on the flop because that might slow down my opponent, and if it does not, I can either be done with the hand if my hand does not improve or proceed with caution.
• I don't observe my opponents as much as I should. I three-table, so clear observation for every opponent is impossible, but I should pay more attention to the regulars.
• I still don't speculate enough. That's probably worse now that the limits are higher. I'm used to the higher bets now, but it still makes me a little nervous. I especially need to open my range up when I'm in position and call obvious c-bets to take away pots on the turn.
• I do not c-bet enough myself. Unless my A-high hand hits, I rarely c-bet, as they don't seem to work much anymore, especially when I'm out of position. I need to be more aggressive about that, as too many pots are taken away from me. I'll always remain cautious but I need to recognize that there are good times to c-bet.

Now my decision. I've always enjoyed opening new accounts at poker rooms and building rolls over there. Now that I'm basically done with Bodog, I am considering opening an account with Cake Poker through
The site offers great promotions, including freerolls and rakeback races where it offers cash on top of your rake.
I've never had rakeback before and it would be nice to open an account with one.

But here's the thing. I am enjoying tackling the higher limits and I'm enjoying playing on Pokerstars because I love its Mac client. And I also don't know how many players there are at Cake and whether it's easy to get a good game going. I am sorely tempted to try it but that would probably take away my time from improving at the $100 NL tables, as I can't be rolled for that limit at Cake.

What do you think?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Fantasy Football - The worst bad beat ever

It's tied with 10 seconds to go, and a tiebreaker goes to the bench, where I have my opponent crushed, 98-13. If you were a jerk, you would point out that this means he really outplayed me, as I left a ton of points on the bench whereas he got all his worth from his shitty players.
But you're not a jerk, right?
Anyway, Drew Brees throws up a hail mary, and three Vikings players stumble over the ball but manage to collect it just before it hits the ground. They review the play, and the Vikings do in fact intercept the ball.
That interception means a point is taken away from Drew Brees.
And I lose by one.

At least this was in my league, where we get money at the end of the year, and not Fantasy Sports Live, where I would have collected cash on the spot for a win. There's been no danger of that this year so far. I'd take fifth place in a contest I've been running so bad over there.

P.S. I think fantasy football bad beat stories are free, so no $1 for you. At the very least, they are half price.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Moving up to $100 NL

I have finally decided to move up to $.50/$1 NL.
This may not seem like a milestone for many of you. I realize you probably made this move back in, say, 2004.
Let's just say that stepping outside my comfort zone is difficult for me. Which may strike you as funny, given that I like to do little dances on top of summits (not unlike that guy on YouTube who dances around the world, the Where the Hell is Matt guy; I suppose I should link that but it's been a really, really rough day because now it appears the girls may have caught our flu bug (Jesus, can we catch a fuckin' break here; and remember the days when you got the flu, you puked, you lay in bed a day or so, then it was over and out of your house? Yeah, those days are gone).
Wow, that was a long sentence.
So I finally decided to challenge myself and quit feasting on the soft underbelly of the poker world, quit being a parasite and all that, and so far the change is a good one for me. I do think this level is beatable for me. If it weren't for a few really retarded beats (one outers are SO lovely), I'm up a few hundy, but as it stands, it's going well.
I'll keep reporting back to you on this occasionally, as it will finally give me some poker content for this so-called "poker blog." In theory, anyway.

P.S. There is an initiative floating around the state for the November election that will increase all maximum casino bets to $100. In other words, no more lame $5 limit poker if it passes. Pleasepleaseplease pass this voters.

P.S.S. For tips and my thoughts on moving up a level, see this Pokerworks story I wrote.

P.S.S.S. Also, the AnteUp Poker Podcast used my hotline call for this week about asking whether some poker sites are easier than others. I was asking about Bodog versus PokerStars. I am playing $100 NL on Pokerstars and was enjoying Bodog before all the rumors started about the site's collapse. What do you think about this? Are there easier sites?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


One of the joyful, great, wonderful things about children is when they get sick, and you know exactly what's coming. Jayden began puking early Monday morning and didn't stop until that night.
Sure enough, Tuesday I began feeling achy, and by that night, my stomach felt like a trash can. When the bathroom started spinning around 2 a.m., the words from Motley Crue's brilliant new album were going through my ears (I'd rather be dead, I'd rather be face down in the dirt with a bullet in my head), and shortly after, I puked.
Another time at 3:30 a.m., then a day taking it easy, until Kate came home at 2:30 p.m. with the same thing. Awesome.
Man, raising young children when you're not feeling great really sucks. At least I'm feeling better and should be OK by tomorrow. But I'm skipping the Mookie. I wish I could be there. But my stomach doesn't.