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06/28/2005: "luck be a lady, tonight"

well, poker "season" is almost over. "there's a poker season?", you ask. well, i think many people would tell you that the culmination of a year's play resides at the World Series of Poker, specifically the $10,000 buy-in main event. sure, sure there will be WPT events, Fox's Full Tilt event, more heads-up challenges, etc, but if you were training and trying to peak for one particular time, July 7-15, 2005 might be your aim. it's the Tour de France of poker, for crisssakes.

in that frame, i have tried my hand at winning an entry in the various ways: i played several brick & mortar tournaments, never fairing well enough to play for the $10K prize; i've played a handful of online tournaments, not doing too well either. this past Sunday, i made what might be my last attempt for 2005 and ended up 113th out of 210. three seats were being awarded. nothing more disheartening than getting your money in with the worst of it: AA versus my suited AK. while i did get four-to-the-flush on the flop, harrumph, i did not suckout. why put all my money in on what i had to guess was a race? b/c i had previously seen this player risk her tournament with A Q - i figured that if she had caught JJ or QQ then she'd be trying to double up again. i know, i know, it would still be a race where i was a slight dog, but look, you have to win some races to do well in tournaments. you can't simply sit and wait for cards. while i could have played for another hour, patiently hoping to catch a few hands and rake in some pots, past experience has shown me that all that does is waste an hour of my time, Mr. Hand. how? well, after patiently waiting for so long, i would have been blinded down fairly low, making doubling and tripling up necessary, and even then, i would have needed to win some races. A K looked like a huge hand - and it almost was. (re-reading this it sounds like i am trying to convince myself i did the right thing...hindsight and all is a bitch.)

more after the jump!


so is this the end for our hero? um, no, but it is time to reassess my play, my understanding of poker theory and make some changes, hopefully learning and growing. reality time: my first online deposit and thus my first attempt at playing no limit hold'em was September 10, 2004. yes, i truly am a newbie. while i think i have made some good strides in this first year of poker, being honest with myself means recognizing that i probably have only attained the level of Amateur - this is versus say, Neophyte; a small, but honest distinction. i am more in tune with pot odds, flop texture, bet sizing, etc. i still make rookie mistakes, but hopefully they are less often and drastic in consequences.

i still suffer from two issues that i think are holding back my poker growth: location and time. location meaning i live in Texas, bastion of the religious right and morally superior. gambling, including poker, is verboten, so to get a live game i have to travel to Lake Charles, my closest sin zone. local friendly games, while fun, often turn into matches of extreme luck, with game variants like Baseball, Spit, or The Guillotine being preferred. i am just not interested in games that don't have a solid root in skill, which i guess goes back to why i am not a huge gambler, and probably why i am having to learn to play poker well (as opposed to being a natural.) secondly, besides residing in the Seventh Level of Heaven, i am pretty time-constrained...i am also pretty lazy. these two factors are the kryptonite of my poker education: one, i work 60-70 hours a week, meaning my free time is limited; two, with my limited free time i am more apt to want to play poker than to study it. just a natural tendency, but one that is not helping my learning curve.

so enough about me, how about the current WSOP? already shaping up for some great episodes on ESPN. (NOTE: highlighting the paragraph below will reveal the results from various 2005 WSOP events.)

the three standout finishes so far have been (a) Johnny Chan's victory in the $2500 PLHE event which crushed Phil Hellmuth's dream of being the first to win ten bracelets, (b) Mark Seif winning not one but two bracelets ($1500 NLHE and $1500 LHE events), and (c) Jennifer Tilly winning the Ladies-only NLHE event. for those not in the know, J-Till as i like to call her, is currently shacked-up with Phil "Unabomber" Laak, who was the unfortunate/fortunate second place finisher to Chan in the above referenced $2500 PLHE event. so in the Laak-Till household, they are $315K richer this WSOP.

looking for WSOP info? here are the sites that have been feeding my addiction:


ESPN's Steve Rosenbloom's blog

Jim McManus' NY Times blog

Brad 'Otis' Willis' PokerStars blog

Official WSOP site

and now for something completely different:
my wife and i own a dog boarding, grooming, and day care facility. it eats up a lot of time and is a lot of work, at times it makes me a raving lunatic misanthrope. but, i do get to spend my days with more dogs than humans, and in my eyes, this is a pretty good trade off. i get a lot of questions from friends, family, clients, and prospective clients about what dog breeds are best, what dogs should they consider getting, etc. i think i have a fair amount of experience to give advice in this area: besides owning five dogs myself, we have run about 4-5000 dogs through our shop in a little over two years. so yeah, i have seen a lot. i've been toying with the idea of writing a little book and self-publishing it, something along the lines of Dog Breeds from the Trenches or thereabouts. well, as previously mentioned above, i am a bit time-constrained. and oh yeah, i am lazy. so without further ado, i thought i would excerpt an entry from a small group of dogs that have made The List. what list? The List of Dogs I Would Never Own. here is one entry:

Golden Retrievers - a breed that has been terribly over bred, due to their popularity with families and unscrupulous breeders out for a fast buck. over breeding has lead to dogs that are often hyperactive, destructive, and suffer from anxiety. the number one complaint i hear from owners is their dog's inability to not jump on people, even when properly trained. ever been knocked down by a 70lbs dog? you likely will if you own a Golden. while we're asking questions, how do you feel about your yard? forget flower beds, children's toys, lawn furniture, and swimming pools if you own a Golden. look, this is the breed i grew up with. i've seen it all. if you asked me as a young adult if i would have owned a Golden, i would have emphatically replied yes. yet, now they have made my list. what changed? well, for one, i am older: i can see my dad's perspective on how bad the breed is, for instance, like the time when Dusty chewed all the framing off the entire set of windows on the back of our house. now that i own a home, let's just say i doubt i would have been as understanding as my dad. two, i see hundreds of Goldens a year; it is the #1 breed among suburban families. seeing all those Goldens i am amazed by how many are just bad representations of the breed. they dig, they chew, they jump, they whine, they panic during thunderstorms or fireworks. overall, just not a large breed i am willing to own.

of course, should i put out a book there'd be some great photos, good stories, and a little more detail. but hey, we all know i am not putting out a book, so....

well, it's almost 3PM and i have been working on this post since around 8AM. time to can it and move on.

tomorrow is my day off, and yes, i am toying with hitting Lake Charles and one of the final WSOP buy-in tourneys. ever the optimist, aren't i?

oh yeah, when i do get some time, here is my next project: selltheastros.com. i am currently looking for new blogware (so shoot me an email if you have an opinion, please!) my goal is to put a blog on this site, devoted solely to getting Drayton McLane to sell the Houston Astros to an owner who is committed to winning.

yeah, this is my sad life.

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