Sunday, November 30, 2008


I don't believe in superstition. It's a crutch for the weak to say that they forgot their lucky bloody rabbit stump and that's why their hand lost to a three-outer on the river.
But I do believe in variance. I am, in fact, a follower of it, and that leads me to practice some superstition.
The problem with being on a hot streak, as I've enjoyed lately (well, I WAS enjoying it, but I'll get to that in a bit) is I know eventually it has to end. That's an incredibly cynical way to look at it, but I've always believed that cynicism really is just a comfortable relationship with the truth.
I've played enough poker to know that the good times eventually end. That's especially because I'm a solid, tight player who relies on cards more than I should to determine whether I have a good session or not.
Sure, I play my cards and play them well, but I still have to have the weapons to kidnap chips, and my weapons come more from good hands rather than super-powerful-retarded-aggressive play.
So because of this, rather than most players who can't wait to hit the felt when they're hot, I hesitate to play. I fear that bad session that I know is right around the corner and may spoil the golden, happy aura that surrounds me when I run hot.
It's probably cost me some money. Poker can be pretty self-fulfilling, and if you think you're going to lose, the chances are you will lose. But also when you're hot, you're playing with confidence, and by not playing, I'm not taking advantage of that confidence, which, unfortunately, deteriorates along with my luck.
All of this is a good way of saying I found myself somewhat relieved last night when I took the worst beating of my life. I lost six buy-ins before making a really good comeback and finishing only a couple down.
When I was in the throes of it, I did not win a pot, not even the blinds, for almost five hours.
So why was I relieved? Well, just as I believe good fortunes end, I also believe you put in your time for a bad session, and once you've paid that tax, your fortunes will reverse again.
That's variance, the God I follow.
And what better way to burn off a bad session than to your friends, during a Saturday night poker game, with Arena Rock on the tube, queso in your bowl and, best of all, $5 worth of chips in front of you?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Turkey Haze up in my brain

I finally did well in the Turkey Trot today, known as the Thanksgiving 5K with a ton of hills. I ran 22:27, my third-best time ever in a 5K, at 7:13 per-mile.
And then we decorated the house, put up the tree and watched football.
And we chased around the kids at my brother-in-law's house and ate and ate and ate and, ugh, what do they call that stuff in the turkey? Trip-two-what? Tripgohfan? Trip.....

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Four observations from $5 limit poker

I went up to Black Hawk with two of my best friends and home game players Saturday for some $5 limit poker. It might be the last time I play it.
Colorado voters approved a law that changes the betting limits from $5 per bet to $100 per bet. That will completely change the game, as you might expect, and I doubt I'll ever play it when there's other options.

• As you might expect, $5 poker can be extremely frustrating, as it's almost unusual when your hand actually holds up. You feel like a child tip-toeing through Serbia when you play A-A, as that hand rarely holds. A $5 limit just isn't enough of a threat to drive players out, and many are there to have fun, not play real poker, so they'll play anything, and you'll see crazy, crazy things. I can't tell you how many times I saw small pocket pairs carried to the river through a board of overcards and raises, only for the donkey to hit his miracle set/full house on the river.
Still, the game can be profitable. If your hands DO hold, you can drag huge pots. Last night I dragged huge pots with pocket pairs such as K-K twice. My queens were the only hand to get cracked, by a set of 9s, and that was only once.

• Poker is filled with douchebags, and as much as I love live poker, I hate spending more time with these people than I do with my kids, even if it's for only one day. Just one example was a guy, wearing white cowboy boots and a Miami Vice beard, who would flash his neighbor his cards before folding, and the tablemates, after a while, told him to show everyone else his hand. He refused. The floor was called for the fifth time in an hour to that table - apparently he'd already gotten into it a few times - and the floor told him to show. The floor, rightly, said show one, show all was a universal rule in poker. The guy argued with him for at least 10 minutes about it. If I was the floor, I would have kicked him out. Another guy wore an eye patch and bitched ruthlessly when people drew out on him. I called him Blackbeard.
But it's also filled with interesting people. I met a black guy at the table who was calling everything, I mean everything, and getting miracle card after miracle card. He took a lot of shit at the table, but the thing was, whenever someone took a huge pot off him, he was a gentleman about it and always said nice hand.
He later told me he was in Colorado to bury his mother and for therapy - his daughter in college was killed in, I think, an auto crash recently. l later shared my pizza with him. He won maybe 40 pots that night but left $200 down.

• I was down probably $50 and almost ready to leave when I was dealt Q-Q. I raised, and four called. This was not unusual despite my tight image. The board came all low cards, rainbow, so I bet when my opponents checked, and two called until the young kid who was loose but a decent player raised me. He had pulled this all night,so I gave him a look and re-popped him. I didn't see him having K-K or A-A because he didn't re-raise me, and I didn't think he had a set, but I had to find out. He sighed and called. He check called me to the river and mucked, and that pot put me up $30 for the night after 11 hours of donkey poker. I'll take it.

• Poker is a lot more fun with friends, even if you have to take each other's money occasionally. I didn't even mind when they did. I'd rather lose to them than the douchebags.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A productive day at work

OK, let's see...sit down at desk, check my email, check personal e-mail, check yahoo/blog email, tell April I'll trade with her.
Look at list of things to do today.
Pull up Facebook page. Wow. Lots to do. Harvest crops in farm, plant new crops, plow, plant trees given by generous friends, make snarky comments on friends' walls, escape from kidnapping, check notifications, check notification that just appeared, send apple trees to friends who farm, send derby gifts, accept drinks.
Call agent of country music star to find how why he hasn't called. Agent says she doesn't know. Finish checking e-mail.
Dig out Halloween candy and eat a piece. Candy is SUCH a bad habit of mine. Think about this, then dig out another piece. Chew piece of gum to prevent third piece of being eaten.
Start to read blogs. Breeze through a few, read a great post by Drizz, enjoy afterglow for a second.
Check personal e-mail again. Say hi to a friend over e-mail.
Finish Facebook farming. Farming is hard work! Ponder picking a team for Fantasy Sports Live. Reject idea. That can wait until Friday.
Call Fort Lupton planner for story. He's out of the office. Shit. Country music star calls from Colorado pass. His phone breaks up every third minute. He calls back two more times.
Check Facebook again. More farm gifts, more snarky comments from friends, more drinks.
Check it one more time. Yes, I'm obsessive.
Talk with co-workers. Check email again. Pee. Get water.
Throw a snowball back over facebook.
Actually work. Get story written.
Check Facebook again. Sweet, my wheat. Harvest.
Call Dad. Say hi. Tell him we got Jayden a big bed. Yes, he's excited. Who wouldn't be excited about a Cars comforter and a Wall-E sheet set?
Lunch. Read Metallica article in magazine.
Check Facebook when I get back. Check e-mail. Call a source. Turn in photo request.
Dream about live poker Saturday (Colorado casinos, my birthday present). Dream about Vegas poker for just a second. Snap back to reality.
Call subjects for my long year-long project.
April and Betty Underground have accepted my friend request on Facebook. Celebrate. Write thanks to BG and April.
Edit board meeting. Discuss. Pontificate. Try to act smart. Succeed. Sorta.
Read message from April. Dream about Vegas again. Think about what I'm going to do tonight. Get call from wife. Tell her I"m working out. Yes, I'll be home at 5 p.m. I have no idea what I want for dinner.
Check e-mail again.
Sigh over Dow Jones report. Read Google news about it. Stop reading. It's too depressing.
Work. Get photo request turned in. Call source for fun story about how soon is too soon for all the Christmas stuff.
Check Facebook again before you to that. OK, you've done that. Now work. OK.
OK, I'm done with that. Read blogs, done with blogs.
Facebook? Dammit, why did my co-workers introduce me to that?
Get interview with town planner finally. Man, I only have 45 minutes to write that story before I have to leave? Where does the time go?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When imitation is not really the highest form of flattery

Andie was watching me soap up a washcloth and squeezing it all over her and Allie during their bath. She grabbed a washcloth, and before I realized what she was doing, squeezed the washcloth full of water all over me.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Small privileges, unfulfilled

Saturday's holiday photo shoot at Sears was pretty much a disaster. We'd coax, say, Andie on to the sled, and then Allie would run away. Rinse and repeat. We got, maybe, three shots of the girls together, and they have their pacifiers/heroin needles in their mouths because they would not let us take them out.
Understandably, they were a little nervous, and understandably, I know it's hard to hold still when you're 18 months, and understandably, the Sears photographer pretty much just sat there and expected all of our three kids under 4 to pose and smile and be darling little babies, but man I was frustrated. Kate picked out great outfits for the girls, and I got Jayden looking snappy, and I had to settle for a pretty lame shot. We were, quite frankly, lucky to get one.
You get what you pay for. Sears is $10, and you get 36 prints. we had a limited amount of time, in an unfamiliar studio, and that's probably not going to yield a classic shot for three active little demon children who think sitting still is a crime. We can't afford a $175 studio fee, or the prints that would come later. I was kind of wishing for her, since she takes such great shots of her kids. I do fairly well, but a posed, nice shot of the three of them together takes a real, expensive professional, probably in our home, where they are comfortable.
The bigger issue is I have long surrendered to the fact that since we have twins (and a toddler), many of the little pleasures of being a parent aren't available, like, I dunno, getting a nice photo in a simple, inexpensive studio. All the parents and their adorable little singletons were mobbing the studio, and every time, they were getting great shots of their little reindeers. I mean, the thing is, you're going to have moments when your singleton runs around, but you'll also have moments when they are quiet and smiling. We certainly had those moments with one or even two, but three was next to impossible.
Sunday morning Andie came up to me and handed me a book. The girls are just now really getting into reading. I picked her up and read her a story. She loved it, loved the individual attention and the book and time on my lap, and she grabbed another and held it up.
I would have loved to spend a half-hour or more with her doing that, but I heard noises in the other room. Allie, of course, was in the bathroom, pulling toilet paper off the roll.
When I got that solved, Andie was headed upstairs, and the chaos continued. I've learned to surrender to the chaos. Sometimes, though, the grind hits bone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Review of Lock Pocker

A stroll through Lock Poker sure brought back the good old days.
You remember them too. We used to play on all kinds of poker Web sites, and we didn't care if they were good or bad, just if they had some fish and there was a bonus to chase.
Well, Lock Poker, God bless 'em, is a new site giving online poker a go, and it's accepting U.S. players, and just for those two facts alone, it's worth a look in this age. And it's handing out deposit bonuses. It makes me weepy with nostalgia just thinking about it. I even had some jackass challenge me to a heads-up match at "high stakes" at the .10/.20 tables. All, the good old days.
Speaking of, I was playing at those levels because that's all the money I could afford there, but also because plenty of good action, the only good action I could really see on the site.
To be honest, reminiscing and a good bonus are really the only reasons to play on Lock Poker if you're a higher limit player. The software isn't bad, but it's not that great, either, and you can find better software on the more popular sites. The players are decent enough where you can expect a lot of grinding sessions. And there aren't a lot of live games at the higher limits.
However, if you're still a low limit player - welcome to the club, by the way, here's some wine from a box in a paper cup - you might want to give Lock Poker a try. There were a lot of .10/.20 No-Limit games going on a Friday night, as Lock poker operates on the Cake Poker network. That included a TON of 6-max games, which are fun and quite frankly I need to play more because it tends to get the sand out of my vagina. I was four-tabling the games at one point and could have managed more. It was a blast and another return to the good old days, when I would be all proud of winning $5 on the night.
As with many other poker sites trying to get its name out there, Lock Poker does offer a couple interesting carrots.
First of all, you can collect gold chips to redeem for tournaments, and the more gold chips you have, the easier it is to get FPP points to get them. Grinders like me appreciate that.
Second, you can chase after gold cards.
The site's Random Number Generator (RNG) will release one Gold Card from the vault each time it reaches a certain amount of rake. If the Gold Card released matches one of your hole cards, you're golden even if you have folded out of the hand.
The first player to collect a full 52 Gold Card Series Deck will win the grand prize $52,000 cash Jackpot! If no player reaches that milestone, the site will award the $52,000 cash prize to the player that comes closest. Understand? I'm not sure I do, either, but it seems kinda neat.
Ultimately, I hope Lock Poker can make it. I'd love to see more poker sites dipping a toe into what is sure to be a shitty market, if for no other reason than to keep it viable. Lock Poker doesn't have much to separate itself from the big boys, but then again, give it a look for another stroll down memory lane, maybe for the last time ever.

P.S. Bloggers, if you're considering a review, Lock Poker has a $500 minimum for cashing out with checks, so I'm not sure how to get my money out now, given that I don't have an E-wallet XPress account. Has anyone done one of those? I am tempted to grind it up to $500 to cash out. That could be fun. Waffles thinks I should just try a $100 SnG. That's tempting too. What would you do?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm a peepin' tom techie with X-ray eyes

I was in my blue surgical cap, on the table, surrounded by instruments that could probably turn me into a superhero if something went wrong, when the nurse handed me a stuffed red alligator.
Wow. Really? I was already a little nervous. I didn't know this was going to be so bad that I was going to need a stuffed animal to calm me down.
But I was getting Lasik done. They mess with your eyes. Most people, including me, don't like that. If you tend to get freaked out at things like the scene in "A Clockwork Orange," then you might not want to keep reading. I wasn't even going to write about this, but LJ requested it, in exchange for a poker lesson (she doesn't know that yet, and I would imagine her lesson will be something like "get your panties out of a wad and shove shove shove shove shove, but whatever).
The nurse dropped a waterfall of numbing medicine in my eyes. Keep 'em coming, I thought, and she did, one after the other. Then she told me to lean back.
"Make sure you hold on to Jorge the alligator," she said as the doctor put a patch over my left eye. "You're going to need to keep your hands down."
OH, not worries. I was stroking his plush head. I wasn't really scared - I had wanted Lasik for years and finally found some extra cash through writing for Pokerworks and starting a Health Savings Account at work - but I needed the comfort anyway. I turned down Valium - I'm not a big fan of meds, and I worried that the red light you're supposed to stare at would get me into a Pink Floyd-like state that I would find hard to leave.
Doc slipped on some tiny steel bear traps over my eyelids to keep leftie open. Then he put a suction cup over my eye and said, after a few seconds, "pressure on." Everything went brown. Then I heard a buzzing and he said, "blade on." He was cutting a flap in my eye so the laser could do its work.
This was, by far, the most uncomfortable part of the procedure, and it's not pleasant. It hurts a little, and it's kind of spooky, as my 3-year-old likes to say in the dark. The good news is it takes less than a minute. I'll trade a minute for the chance to pitch my contacts, which have caused me far more pain than high school girlfriends.
The laser came next, and that's not so bad. You get to stare at a little red light, and that's pretty trippy. I highly recommend it. You'll smell a burning - that's your eye getting cooked. But I didn't feel any pain. I thought it was kinda cool, and again, it's less than a minute.
Still, Jorge got some good lovin' when I smelled my eye.
Now that I knew what was coming, I think I calmed down a bit more when it was time for leftie. Eyedrops, pressure, brownout, blade, a bit of pain, freaky red light, laser, then he sponges your eye for a while, then you're done. It took 10 minutes.
I had to wait in the lobby for a half-hour for my ride to get there because they fit me in early. That was the hardest part. My eyes hurt, even with the ibuprofen I took, and the glare from the sun, even with the shades drawn, felt like white daggers. When I finally got home from Wal-Mart after filling a prescription, I was relieved to hit the hay and sleep it off. When I woke up three hours later, the pain had subsided considerably.
Today it's like looking through a slight fog, but I can see, even now. And I have my doctors, Icon and a trippy laser to thank.
Oh, and Jorge.

ome details:
• My procedure cost $1700. I have a pretty easy fix - my eyesight was about 20/100 - but I did have a little astigmatism.
• I chose a Lasik clinic because that's all those places do, and I figured it would be cheaper. I was right. I went with Icon Lasik, but I'm not sure if it operates anywhere but in Colorado. I thought they were careful and did a good job so far.
• I am already watching TV without my glasses or contacts for the first time since I was in the seventh grade. Amazing.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

I'm outta here (for now)

I'm tuning out for a couple of days, for two reasons.
Firstly (I've always wanted to say that, it makes me sound smart even if it's a totally bad usage of English), this may be my only chance to see a WSOP Main Event final table and not know who wins.
I hope the 90-day thing continues next year to be honest. I enjoyed getting to know the players (I even got to interview a couple) and have developed a rooting interest. Plus this will be fun, like watching a real sport when I don't know what happens.
I also don't think the fact that we didn't hear as much about the final table players has as much to do with the 90-day idea as just the fact that there was, um, a whole lot of shit going on. Let's see, a historic election (in so many ways than just electing our first black president) and, oh yeah, the economy is kinda bad, isn't it. The mainstream media writing a ton about poker before the final table would just seem a little, ya know, frivolous (and if you're one of the great writers who covers the poker scene, relax, I'm not calling your job frivolous, in some ways I envy you, but that's probably how newspapers would view it).
So I'm tuning out until Tuesday, when I'll get to see for myself who win. At least, I hope I can see it, because...
Secondly, I am getting Lasik done Tuesday morning. I'm excited and a bit nervous at the same time. I'm ready to get rid of these glasses and pitch my contacts out the window. But it IS my eyes.
Wish me luck. And please don't blow it in the comments and tell me who wins. I know you're not that much of a douchebag, right?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm there. For now, I'm there

I am incredibly cynical about politics. I really don't believe politicians are in office for anyone but themselves.
I guess being a reporter will do that to you, but it's also stomaching the constant corruption, the trading of votes for personal favors, the pork, all to get themselves re-elected.
This country was turning to shit.
But that's not why I'm writing this blog tonight.
Tonight I am giving our country a fresh look.
Tonight Obama was elected president.
I was hesitant to fall under his spell, the way so many others have fallen, and his magic incense. My cynicism wouldn't let me. I supported him for more than a year, but that's mainly because of two things, the fact that I'm a bleeding heart, and the fact that I really, really, absolutely, hate Bush.
Bush is a big reason why politics soured my throat and sandpapered my tongue. He was so horrible as a president, and he was a guy who never should have been president. He lost the popular vote and would have lost the election to Al Gore had Florida not fucked the pooch. And he performed like a guy who didn't deserve the job. I honestly wonder if we can ever overcome the damage he's done.
Yet I am optimistic, and that, dear readers, blows me away. My optimism comes basically from one man. Again, I was not willing to fall for Obama's act, even after his brilliant speech at the DNC. I was willing to support him and vote for him, but part of me worried about so many people just loving the guy a little too much.
The cynical side of me thought it all seemed a little too much like a high school campaign for student council president. You remember those, right? Those elections were nothing more than popularity contests, electing glad handers and quarterbacks and guys who had Tom Cruise haircuts and drew doe-eyed gazes from freshmen who let themselves be felt up behind the bleachers just to say he did it.
I hated those guys. So maybe the geek in me, as well as the cynic, just didn't want to drink the Kool-Aid.
But then I was assigned to cover Obama when he gave a last-minute speech in Fort Collins, a town about 20 miles north of Greeley. Only that's not entirely accurate. I was excited to cover his speech. I called Mom and told her about it all the way up. I called my brother too.
I grappled with his staff for a while, then assigned myself to the media row, got raped by his Secret Service agents, and listened to Kayne West with the other tens of thousands while waiting for him to speak.
He came out right on time, about a kickoff return from where I stood, and I was smitten five seconds into his talk. He joked with the crowd. He seemed relaxed and confident and like he actually enjoyed talking to us.
And I remember thinking, for the first time, that this country was sure turning to shit, but maybe everything would be OK again with him as our leader. Maybe my kids would grow up in a good place.
This is big for me.
Tonight is election night, and my stories are done, and I can be a Democrat, rather than a reporter, and I have more hope than I've had for a long time.
A long, long time.
Hell, Colorado even approved a measure that raises the betting limits to $100 per wager. Hello, quasi-no-limit live poker, and goodbye $5 donkey poker.
Now I have a feeling that things are so bad right now, that Obama isn't going to fix everything. Hell, he may not fix anything. He's going to have to fight hard to keep his job, quite frankly, and all these rosy feelings won't last forever. They won't last long, in fact, when more people lose their jobs and the economy keeps tanking.
But for now, for the next few weeks, OK, you got me, Obama. You have me believing that we can pull out of the mess in Iraq and lower food prices and keep gas prices low and maybe even solve global warming and develop new energy sources and turn this country around and make it better than ever.
For now, I"ll say it with you.
Yes we can.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hey! Look at me!

A couple quick points to kinda brag about, other than the kids below this post.

Today I ran a 10K. I was feeling crappy all this week, and the source of the crappiness, a bad cold, eventually turned into a sinus infection, as they are wont to do. I had no expectations. Yet I set a PR by 1 minute, 40 seconds, with a time of 46:57. A PR in a 10K by even a half-minute is huge, so I was thrilled. My pace was 7:34 per mile, and I didn't really feel like I was banging it all that hard. I think maybe the illness helped me because it forced me to take time off. I was hoping to break 47 minutes sometime next year. I guess antibiotics are the new steroids.

I also wrote two pieces for Pokerworks on two final table participants, "Chino" Rheem and Dennis Phillips. I really enjoyed interviewing them both, but I really really had fun talking to Phillips, who would become probably the most "regular" guy Main Event champion in history. I'm rooting for him. He is a great guy.

Here are the stories.

Dennis Phillips

David "Chino" Rheem