Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Get my mind right!

I sit here wading through thought, restlessness and activity that must be achieved.  Very vague but true.  I am in a great position here and truly appreciate what I have been blessed with and every day I must challenge myself to be better.  I don't have a boss who has an office two doors down from me, he is in another city which is in another state!  I am the one who runs this and I must step up on a daily basis and make sure all of the ground work I started in September continues to this day.  There are days where team members make a mistake, now I have to look at that mistake and deem it a quick floor conversation or a "let's move to the office and talk" conversation.  I've had a few of the later but my goal is to set it up that I should rarely set foot on that floor, I want and need to work to the next level while I am currently running operations here for example our Operations Excellence director is working all the CI projects, I am a CI guy and could help with quality input, travel to get productive data, take some of the workload off and make it my own, to solidify my position and set myself up to move to the next level when promotions are considered.
I have several books on styles of management, I am currently reading a book that talks about how I got to where I am will not get me to the next level.  Very interesting stuff, of course there are a few other books I am reading at the same time along with my comic books and graphic novels.  Yes, I enjoy reading and wish it would better me around my writing skills.  A quote comes to mind, "You get out of it what you put into it,"...right?
So I sit here and thoughts of MW3 are streaming through my thoughts.  Fifth prestige, 1.03 k/d, just doing work!  Those thoughts are quickly followed by sitting at a poker table and felting a lunchbox who called my three beat with A 10 off and runs into my pocket aces.  All of these things take effort, I am an okay texas hold'em player and have been a gamer since rocking and rolling on my commodore 64 in the 80's!

The last couple of years have been unsuccessful in poker in the cash games,  it was so bad last year that I told my wife I'd have to take the rest of 2011 off and not play in a casino environment.  Why?  I had not put into it what I expected!  I have a library of poker books, a lot of friends who play much better than myself and blogs to read and I have not leveraged any of those resources.  I just went off of what I knew and told myself it was like riding a bicycle and  I sat down and played.  Of course I SKIMMED through a couple of my books looking at a few of the highlighted areas and told myself, "LET's DO IT!"
 It was not that easy, I remember sitting at the table, holding K Q suited in the cut off seat and this lady in the hi jack, right next to me raises after two had limped into the pot and I just called but something in the way back of my head told me I should raise here, but I was not sure.  I ended up winning the hand but after that indecision I continued to make bad decisions and eventually lost a buy in.  I have over 10 books about poker and am reading through one that has opened my eyes and has me salivating to get to the tables.  I plan on making a showing in late February and hope to play on Friday evenings going forward and look forward to documenting my WINS and how it was done.  I am putting a lot of research into getting back on the tables and will be talking to a few of my buddy's about random thought processes throughout a session.  I believe that putting the research time, the study in will pay off and it was something I did not do well before.  Yes, I talked about it and said I was going to do it but I actually am and it has been insightful.

Barry Sanders...THE MAN!

I love my family, I love my home, I love my life and I look at others who have children and wonder if my desire to play and take some time from my kids is bad?  What I mean is if I go play poker, I am not around my kids, sharing in those special moments.  For example, my three year old, Sienna, ran into the living room, jumped up next to me on the couch looked at me, smiled and said I love you daddy.  I said I loved her back.  She continued to sit there for a few more seconds and said "You love me enough to get me some milk?"  That was awesome!  She usually taps my hand and says Daddy get me some milk.  Then I have to say, What was that honey?  Then she says, Can you fix me some milk?  But this time it was special as she is learning to manipulate me!  LOL!  It'll only be an evening out of the week but maybe it's the way I am putting down that it seems and feels despicable.  Yet, I want and feel that I need to play and it worries me and I hope it does not worry me so much that I will play bad.  So as I stated in another post, I have to give up my x-box time and hang out with the kids during that time and the weekends are wide open for my little ones.  I have a 17 year old who wants to play football for the first time IN COLLEGE and has asked me to show him some stuff!  Color me excited!  The only things I force on my kids are learning how to respect others, discipline and making sure they are getting an education.  I envy my wife as she lives here life for my kids, not that I don't but it is much different in comparing how she is versus how I am with our kids.  What the heck just happened, now should I delete all this mopey stuff about my kids or should I leave it, hell, going to leave it!  We only live once folks, but we need to do what we want responsibly and hold ourselves accountable!  I know my kids love me to death and I them, so it won't hurt if I am a bit successful at the tables and it pays off when Santa comes...just saying!  Enough!  I have ranted enough, you all stay frosty!

Stay nice as rice and mello as jello!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DEAD MONEY Last Chance table


I donned my Gulf coast poker.net hoodie, after parking in Harrah's garage, 8th floor.  Grabbed my satchel, put on my size 8 throwback fitted hat and proceeded to the Queen and Crescent hotel, home of the Dead Money tournament.  I arrived in a state of panic as I forgot that there are two entrances to the hotel and was hanging out in the wrong one, I had to cross the street to the main entrance and proceed to the Napoleon room.  I flopped down into a black painted, hard wood chair, quickly took off the hoodie and the throwback Dallas Cowboy hat in order to cool down as I began to slowly perspire, a very uncomfortable feeling.  Met Wild Bill, exchanged pleasantries, grabbed a card player and bluff magazine, have not seen any of these for about a year, good stuff to find out where the poker world is now.  Of course getting on-line, and hitting those sites would be comparable, however; I enjoy holding a magazine and leafing through the pages.  I started a conversation with Austin, another blogger on the site, who had a pretty good cash in the Choctaw Casinos Indian tournament series, (hope that's correct).  He was pictured along side the other final table members in the current Card Player Magazine, cashed for 17K, but we were talking about the rise and fall of  his poker website and then Gene D rumbled in and we started talking with him and he and Austin talked about his free roll in the million dollar event due to his tourney MVP at the recent IP circuit event.
There were some interesting characters, the three friends from Cleveland, Ryan is the one I remember and I believe he won himself into the Main Event this past Saturday.  Also, met Brian from Nantucket, Ma, he's a captain of a fishing boat and had some pretty cool stories.  He's also a pretty damn good poker player.
We had 18 players to try to win two seats to the main table the next day.  I looked forward to this as it would be the first time I have played in 11 months.  I did, lie, and say I have played in some home games but I didn't want to be perceived as weak due to my lack of current experience, one of the only things I regret about the night.  The turn out has to be the 2nd largest if not the largest since Wild Bill started this back in 2004.  That said a lot to me about where poker is today, not dead and growing, much slower but growing.

At my table I had, Brian from Nantucket on my left, followed by an older gentleman who, I believe, plays regularly at Harrahs, not sure.  Followed by a young Russian(I think so because I heard him talking to the other Russian on the other table earlier and I think they were speaking in Russian, so I should be right)  who plays at Harrahs, freaking highly aggressive as I saw him , later that night, put the older gentleman all in with an Ace on the board and the the old guy made a crying call with pocket queens, the young Russian said, "You called, you win," and insta mucked his hand.  WOW!  The old guy still turned his hand up.  Then we had Ryan from Cleveland, Wild Bill, Dave Anderson, and Gene D on my right.  I held my own, after starting in the big blind with 6 8 off and hitting my gutshot straight on the turn, while it completed a flush, I bet it and was called by only Wild Bill.  I bet the blank on the river and was raised by WB, of course I should fold, but I called and he showed K3 suited for the flush.

I opened from position with good hands, had pocket pairs pretty often, lowest being treys.  I had pocket Kings twice, pocket Aces twice, showed the pocket kings once and had a solid image at this table.  Got involved in a hand with Gene D, I was in the hi-jack, he limped in after another before had limped as well, I look down at wired 8's and raise it, I get them both to call.  Flop is A 7 6, they both check to me.  I bet c-bet, looking for a check raise, the other guy folds and Gene D goes into this monologue, "Yeah, guess that hits your range, hmm, yep, that had to hit your range, good hand sir," and mucks.  I was laughing inside, I guess he limped with K 9 or 10, or J.  Maybe QJ or the very least Q 10.  Another hand which had me feeling good about my self was towards the end of that first table, image has been established, so the old guy opens, Ryan from Cleveland flats, I'm in the cut-off and I see that Brian from Nantucket likes what he sees and I quickly think he wants to play so that helped my decision with pocket 4's, I re popped it.  Brian, gives me a slight, "ugh," and the Old guy takes a long time before he folds, it comes back to Ryan, he looks at me and eventually calls.  The flop is A 9 J, Ryan checks I c-bet half the pot and Ryan mucks, the old guy said he had pocket Jacks.

When we lost eight players we got together on one table, I did well at my table but when we combined I had to lay down once when I had AK,  I raised pre-flop and got called by two players.  The flop was babies, 7 5 2, Austin bet into us, fold and I folded.  During this time I was getting blinded out and anted out, did not get a good hand and just did not play my position correctly nor understood the table dynamics enough to make the appropriate moves to win some money, what I am saying is I got very passive and finished by pushing all in with A 4 off into a pre flop raiser and caller.  I hit a four on the flop but pre flop raiser hit a set with his pocket 10's and I was out in sixth place.  Parfait and the other Russian advanced to the next day's final table, Gene D hit the bubble.

Wild Bill ran a good tournament, the only issue was the air, got pretty stuffy in there.  A funny story that happened during the tournament was Ryan went out and picked up some Chinese food and about 20 minutes later we had Chinese delivered, no one ordered it but the fellas bought it anyway, I can remember Captain Ron wanting an egg roll.  Looking forward to next years meeting and hopefully be in a position of playing a New Orleans table in November, last chance if I have to and have the ability to buy into the final table if I have to.  Research and experience, and more conversation with better players are my key ingredients!

You all stay nice as rice and mello as jello!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Alabama, Mardi Gras and Bad Beat jackpots


Alabama showed everyone why they should have been in this game.  I am a University of Pittsburgh graduate so this is an impartial viewpoint (opinion).  First, it was not a fluke that Alabama did what they did to LSU there were several contributing reasons.  Defense-Alabama shut down LSU's option play, which allows LSU to open things up and do a lot out of this package, since it did not work for them Alabama was able to press their coverage and not worry to much about the deep ball.  We did get a glimpse of Alabama's secondary and it is not as strong as their front line.  That front line pressured, harassed and sacked LSU so much that the secondary did not have to worry too much about getting beat deep.  Running back-Alabama had the edge, due to Trent Richardson, but look out for Lacy next year going forward, he had a strong game.  Receivers and tight ends-Alabama's best receiver went down after a fantastic punt return and the receivers and tight ends stepped up.  There were deflected passes that were caught at crucial times, deep passes caught at crucial times.  Quarterback-not many, but the true Alabama fans, knew that McCarrion was as athletic as he showed us and he kept it under control while Jefferson looked confused and not in control.  Mental Game-Alabama wanted this more than LSU.  It felt like LSU thought that Alabama should roll over and hand them the win. Coaching-Alabama out coached LSU.  Les even admits this in post game interviews, he said he as surprised and did not know how to help his team.."WHAT! REALLY?!?" Score- Alabama SHUT OUT LSU, case closed they showed that they are the best in the nation and showed it in dramatic form. They proved that they, not Oklahoma State or anyone else should have been in this game. Just to put an exclamation point on this, LSU had one penetration of the 50 yard line into Alabama territory and less than 100 total offensive yards!
This was my brief take on the BCS game, I didn't think it was boring, I really enjoyed the watching how well coached BOTH defenses played, but LSU's defense was on the field for a long time and those boys got tired. 

Bird watchers have a blast waiting to see a particular bird and take great joy in watching all that they see and how those birds interact with their environment.  As a former player, I really enjoy the trench play, how well the defense would stay squared, watching offensive line and tight ends drive block on running plays.  How did the coaches teach them, what methods did they use?  Watching the best, really is interesting, if you watched me during my tenure, you would laugh at how undisciplined and foolish I looked on the field.

This February the 21st is FAT TUESDAY but I believe I'll be visiting friends in Missouri so I will not be around to take dat money at Harrahs. 
I believe that my first visit back to Harrahs will be on the 24th and I am eager!  I am going through my library and reading through some scenarios, refreshing myself around certain plays and situations, re-reading my book on tells but I think I'll be working on not giving away too much.  I have started my mantra, wait to play, wait to play, wait to play...because every time I take time off and get back to the tables, I usually play as soon as possible, out of position when someone has raised and the raiser gets called I look down at A9 suited and say, "yeah go for it you'll surprise 'em, they'll never see it coming," of course that has not worked ONCE!  There is a teaching format that I think I'll share if I can find it.  Helped me get my basics down.  

I was thinking about bad beat jackpots the other day and how hitting one of those could elevate someone's bankroll, quickly!  Well I have been involved in four at Harrahs and one in Biloxi, three at Harrahs were table stakes and the one in Biloxi was a table stake even though it was hit at another table!  Very cool.  The other that I was involved in was pretty special as I was the one who beat the guy for the bad beat, it was the beginning of my poker stint back in 2002, Harrahs poker room was in the back where the steak restaurant is, it had two levels and it was a great room!  We were isolated, not too noisy from the slots but visible enough for people to find.  This was before Moneymaker had hit it big and No Limit Texas Hold'em became "the" game.  Here in New Orleans before Moneymaker, omaha was the big game, especially 1-4-8-8 limit omaha/hold'em.   Well I was at the front table by the walk way towards the buffet.  There was this old guy who had pissed me off on the prior hand by chasing and catching on the river, we were working through the omaha round, every time the button got to the dealer the game would switch from hold'em to omaha back and forth.  I was in the 10 seat he was in the four seat, in the bad beat hand I had QJ suited 8 2, can't remember if it was hearts or diamonds.  I still remember the guy, about 6'4', always wore a baseball hat, white hair, mustache and trimmed beard and  had a look of "whatever" on his face at all times.  (SIDE NOTE-Little history, I used to play 7 card stud, at the treasure chest.  This is where I met Christy for the first time, she is an excellent dealer at Harrahs and usually deals the final table on the main events with Darrell.  I used to look at the half/half game back then and was very intimidated at the speed and the bets.  I finally start playing half/half and started to beat it eventually I would play during the week and the games would finish early so they told me about the room at Harrahs.  I make my way there and really enjoyed it.)  So we get a family pot, now I am steaming, this was during a time when my poker etiquette...SUCKED!  I was steaming and you could see it.  I think I was under the gun, yep, and the flop comes K, 10, 9 of hearts/diamonds.  I bet out, it was four bucks, two callers to the lunchbox and he raises and my buddy, Chris, calls, I call and another one of the earlier callers call as well.  The turn brings another heart/diamond like a 3 or 4, I check, check, lunchbox bets, Chris calls, I raise...yep...fold, lunchbox re-raises and Chris calls.  I look at Chris and he says to me, "Hope you got what I think you have!"  yes with three of us playing.  I simply call because I am confused.  I know that the lunchbox has the ace high flush so I am trying to get a lot of money from him, I just didn't know why Chris was still in it because a set should have let it go after the re-raise.  Well the river is a king, I don't care, I bet, lunchbox gets frustrated and folds, Chris says you do don't you!  He raises, I re-raise and he screams yes!  He calls and yells "JACKPOT!"  Now look, I haven't shown my cards yet, I could have been an idbot and raised with a full house or the ace high flush.  He turns his cards over with two black kings that match the two red ones on the board.  I scream and turn over my straight flush and the table erupts, even my nemesis.  It was a sizable jackpot as I took home $8k, he got over $20k and the table got a nice chunk.   I can't tell you what I did with that money but I promise you, bankroll management was not part of my vocabulary.  I hope that one day I can get snapped off for a jackpot but until then...
(similar but represented what happened)

You all stay nice as rice and mello as jello!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: Resolutions, College Football Helmets.

What up? So what are your New Year's resolutions? I have a few, of course, one being to lose weight. That one is key because my kids are getting a little more active and I need to show them how it is done! My 10 year old thinks he can dribble a basketball. He can't, however, he can bounce the ball with his hand, but he cannot dribble...not yet, but it'll come. One of the many things I want to be able to do, losing weight will help with that. Another resolution is to get more poker time, that will mean a huge reduction in XBOX time unless I am playing with the kids, because I will have to move that time to hanging with the kids so that I don't miss a beat in that department. I do enjoy playing MW3!
Projects for this year work and home: Patio around our Oak tree to include a fire pit. Enclosing part of the living room to create a gameroom/guest bedroom. Finishing our Five S project in the warehouse. Getting the offices cleaned up. Moving my office to the bigger office. Cleaning my closet. Setting up an ebay sales account, gots things I want to sell. So I will have a lot to do and will not be very idle after this weekend. Looking forward to Pitt playing SMU this Saturday. I don't know much about SMU, lately, but the program looks to be rising again. SMU Mustangs had been more like burros or mules but they have started playing football and have taken a long time to recover from the death penalty they were dealt so long ago. Pitt needs to be focused and finsh the season with a winning record. We picked up a new head coach , Paul Chryst, former Wisconsin Offensive coordinator. New coach and new conference, I am uber excited for the 2012 season! I don't know who is coaching the team in the bowl game but I suggest they start the true freshman from Texas, if he isn't hurt. Their senior...I hate to say this...hate to do this but it seems like he chokes. If they can get the run game going, and just control the ball and grind it out, we should win. Flashy isn't bad either but if it doesn't work it'll make us look bad. Go get that "W" Pitt! So, HAIL TO PITT!

In talking about college football, I secretly love the Oregon Ducks uniforms, all of them especially what they wore in the Rose Bowl. Those mirrored helmets were "BUTTERY!" I heard that the commentators were upset because they were so reflective (not against the rules) and it was hard to see the players numbers. As a fan who was watching I loved the look and enjoyed watching the game. I think those helmets will look better with the white uniforms with the gray wings. Maybe we will see them? I am not going to pressure my kids to go to that school but that is the only way I can wear another schools, of like caliber, colors. That is a rule! I am a PITT grad and I only rock that schools name. I also understand that the NFL is opening up the uniform policy and it looks like they are going to allow NIKE to get in there, starting in April 2012, moving away from Reebok. I have to show you all some of the cool helmets that were out there in college football. Shoot when I played we had one helmet, two different jerseys, freaking Oregon (In a class by themselves) have about six different uniforms and helmets! GEEZ! That, folks, is how much money college football is making, those uniforms are not just for the teams they are for spectators, we who like coolness and difference and will tune in and catch whatever ads that may play during that game, that is another reason, in my opinion, on why these schools get these different uniforms and helmets. With that said there will be a few who will not get multiple uniforms, for example, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama and Penn State. Here are a few of the helmets that I liked: Baylor's flat green helmet (NICE!) Arizona States Firey Pitch Fork (Awesome!) and Southern Mississippi's Flat black helmets(OUTSTANDING!)

Of course I think the flat paint jobs are due to an inspiration from the hit MTV show Rob and Big when they "murdered" out the Tahoe in all flat black.
Of course The New Years was great, we had Mitai's and frozen Margaritas. We fired off $40 worth of fireworks which seemed like a lot but was nothing compared to my neighbor who went through $2000 worth and what a show that was. Getting ready to start grinding it out in February. My first stop should be in Biloxi and then I'll make stops in Harrahs on Friday nights, so look for me in Harrah's grinding it out, I'm looking to try to make 40 big blinds an hour in the 1-2 NL game. I'll need prayer.

Okay, you all stay nice as rice and mello as jello!