Thursday, September 29, 2005

Better Late Than Never

Ok, ok... I know I'm the last one to post my writeup of the weekend. I'm a lousy blogger. Beat me with a wet noodle and I'll repent.

Again, I want to tell everyone how happy I was to see them this weekend and how much I enjoyed your company. I only get to see some of you once or twice a year, but I enjoy it every single time. I don't feel like I have to hold anything back, and it makes for some awesome partying!

My weekend actually started on Thursday. I took Friday off to get people from the airport and finish preparations, so my friend Danielle convinced me that I could go out drinking and sleep it off the next day. My expectations for the weekend had put me in a great mood, and it showed on Thursday. It actually got to the point where I called Al and told him I'd be crashing at Danielle's place, but after a little breakfast, I was sober enough to drive home. I crashed at 3:30 AM.

I forgot that I had to be up at 9 AM to head to the airport. Damn. I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed a quick shower and headed down. I had to make an extra loop around the airport because security wouldn't let me sit for a minute or two, but I found Steve and we headed out for lunch. When I know that I have to stay in the area (like we did to pick up Bobby Bracelet at 2), I usually take my first pickup to grab cheesesteaks - so I did. It was Steve's first Philly cheesesteak, and it wasn't even in Philly - it was in Delaware! The place is awesome, and we were in a food coma by the time we left. We wandered a little bit and stopped at the smoke shop in Delaware for cheap cartons. Since we still had 45 minutes to kill, I offered to take Steve down for a beer at one of the little bars near the airport. On our way, Al called and said Bobby was early. We grabbed him instead and headed back to the home area.

We picked up Al at home (where Steve and Bobby were greeted by the sight of my little sister in her robe on the front step). She grabbed the smokes we picked up for her and we were off. To the bar!

It was 3:45 PM and the upstairs bar was busy. Everybody heads there early on nice days, and they down open the downstairs bar until 4. We got our first beer and headed down when we could. The guys originally wanted to sit on the deck, but it was getting really warm out there. We all piled inside and grabbed my favorite spot on the inside bar. There's a narrow walkway between the bar and the seating area/window behind it. When you have a group of people back there, nobody else can walk through and it's like having your own VIP area. We effectively sealed our area up for the night when Pauly and Derek showed up. Drinks were ordered for them.

Now, this is where it gets a little fuzzy. Many beers, many shots. Friday just happened to be our wedding anniversary, so many people wanted to (and did) buy us shots. I vaguely remember some of the conversations... and showing Derek my tattoo. Oops. I also remember watching Bobby getting the third confirmation on the huge junk. I mean, who could forget such a momentous event?

Knowing I needed to sober up a little, I convinced Bobby to come play pool with me. We were actually doing really well considering the amount of alcohol we'd consumed. We'd kept the table pretty much the whole time.... then these two chicks come over to play, obviously lured by the huge junk at the table. I watched the man do his work, but we were called away by the group for a diner run before the girl could fully comprehend the honor being bestowed upon her. She promised to show up the next night.

We piled in vehicles and headed up to our local 24 hour diner, the Val Rio. It's been here for as long as I've lived in the area (11 years) and likely many, many before that. I've spend more alcohol-fueled nights in there than I care to admit. After Derek made some room in his stomach for some grub, we headed in. We got my favorite waitress, and she took good care of us. Pauly lost his cracker bet (you have to check out his writeup), and nobody else cared to give it a try. Food was good, and we decide it's a good idea to save ourselves for tomorrow. Home is 3 minutes away, and I crash hard.

I'll write up the bash tomorrow. It's after 5 PM and time to head to the bar now. Until tomorrow....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Truly Amazing!

For the first time in my life....

I'm winning at something that requires knowledge of sports stats and players. Woo-hoo!

Even a blind squirrel gets a nut every once in a while.


Ok, I know I'm remiss in the weekend BH posts. I'm still sick over the post I lost yesterday, and today isn't allowing for much time to read other people's posts, much less write one of my own.

I promise to get something posted tomorrow. Tonight is the BH freeroll, and I'm actually contemplating skipping it just to get some stuff done. Contemplating... then again, we know my lack of sense of responsibility will override my logical brain and I'll be there. Someone has to give all their chips to Al and Mike so they can win.

Monday, September 26, 2005


Blogger ate 3/4 of my post about this weekend. DAMN!

So, for now, I just want to say thank you to everyone who came this weekend and spent time with us! I love you all! :-)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Freerolls and such

We went to the BH to play in the freeroll last night, as we usually do every Tuesday night. Nothing new to report - same play, same suckouts. Long story short - wasn't getting cards. Got pocket Js, raised preflop from BB, bet on 10-high flop, got reraised by the guy who never reraises unless he's got the nuts. Folded, and he showed me his pocket As. Played one other hand - pocket Ks. Blinds are getting up there. Raised big preflop, one caller. Another 10-high flop and I go all-in - get called by QTo. Rivered a Q, and I'm out.

Oh well. The BH has opened up their wireless router, so I sat and played some poker on Full Tilt while I was waiting. Not a good idea - all I had for dinner was a bowl of soup and I was feeling those 3 beers I had. I really don't think I was playing that badly, but I was down about $5 when the battery died. Oops. It was fine though... I got tired of waiting for Al to quit goofing off and let BigMike take him home. They were supposed to be bringing home some Wendy's food (jr. bacon cheeseburger!), so I played a little while waiting. I doubled up on two tables and finished up about $25. I was beat, called the guys to cancel my food order, and went to bed.

I know I'm a little superstitious, but it was when my bankroll was at this point last time that I had the nasty run of cards that wiped me out. I'm just being cautious, and I know I've learned more since that happened. I'm better at picking out tables where I can win and getting off the tables when things start to slide. I know I'm reading people better (anything was better than how I was doing) and I've starting calling (correctly!) in situations where I'd fold to scare bets.

It's all a good experiment in my progress. I've only got money on the one site, but I might try signing up for another one. Maybe Party (Bonus Code:Iggy)? I don't know if it's worth it to have two accounts when I don't spend that much time playing. Usually I only have time for an hour-long session here and there. Is it better to build bankrolls on two sites or keep focusing on the one?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Happiness, as promised

I want to thank everyone who gave me a little support when I needed it. I'm much better now... still busy, but I promised I wouldn't whine anymore. :-)

Here's some poker happiness for ya. I logged on to Full Tilt last night, and sit down at one of the .10/.25 NL tables. (I'm definitely a low limit player right now.) I usually only buy in for $10 even though the max is $25. So, I sit down with $10 on this table, and I'm in the SB position. I wait for the button to pass, and post my blind one before the button. I get dealt A6c, and call a 1xBB raise to $.50. Flop comes 66K. Trips - nice! I'd prefer a full house, but... Someone in early position bets $2 and I call. Turn comes - A. Jackpot! The only thing that could beat me now is pocket As, but I was guessing that they didn't have it when they overbet the pot. I pause for dramatic effect and call. River is a rag, and I'm happy. Opponent puts me all in (looks like they bought in for $25) and I call. They flop over A7o for just a pair. I couldn't believe it! Nothing better that letting them do all of the work of getting their money in there for you.

I played two tables for about an hour and ended up about $20. Not bad for low-limits.

I know many of you are thinking that I could have made much more if I'd only bought in for $25 instead of $10. I used to buy in for the full amount. Here's the rub though - especially when sitting down at a new table, I won't buy in for the full amount until I get a good sense of the table. I'd hate to misread someone early and lose a max buy-in instead of a smaller one. Also, suckouts tend to happen more often at these low limits. Once I get a little more comfortable with the table, I'll buy in for more. If it's a good table for me to be playing on, I usually don't have to buy in for any more though. They give their money to me and I'm up past the max buy-in anyways.

Another thing - can someone tell me if I'm as stupid as I think I am for playing A-whatever suited? I won't play it if there's a decent size raise (more that 2xBB) or I'm out of position unless I can limp. Any card 5 and under will give straight possibilities along with the flush possibilities. If I don't get at least 2 cards of that suit or two pair (and sometimes a straight draw if I'm in late position), I fold to anything. I don't feel any attachment after the flop, but it's hard to not give the hand a shot when I could make the nut flush (provided the cards cooperate). With flushes, there's always some idiot who thinks his 10-high flush is going to make it, and they just love to give you their money. I don't have stats to back it up, but it seems like I make a whole lot more money with that hand when I hit than I lose limping in and folding with it when I don't hit my flop.

I'm reverting back to my lousy poker-playing days when I'd do things just 'cause they felt right. Oh wait, I don't think I ever got out of those. At least the strategy I've adopted seems to be winning me some money. I play much different live, but I have to support my habit somehow.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Getting back to "Normal"

Unfortunately, my little blog has been neglected as of late. Things are changing quickly these days. It's left my head spinning, and I'm just waiting for it to slow down long enough to start trying to control where its going again. I'm hoping soon.

I've already whined about getting my sister moved into the house. We're about a month and a half away from settling on our first home, and I'm a wreck about that. Trying to deal with a mortgage, insurance, appraisals, paperwork, money, and a hole in one of the walls that you can see the siding through. I can't imagine how some people can plan weddings and buy a house at the same time.

Things had been going pretty well at work, just busy. I figured that I'd be able to use a little time here and there to finish up on the stuff for the house when I got my project done. I was in the last testing phase, and I was settling in for a nice month-long lull to update documentation while I was waiting for the project to be put into production. Sounds good, right? Wrong.

I walked into work on Tuesday, and I knew it was going to be a bad day when I saw several people walking out with boxes. There had been rumours of layoffs, and they usually occurred every September at the end of our fiscal year. Layoff day always leaves me with the strangest feelings inside. There's the sympathy that you feel for those friends and co-workers who are leaving, but I hate the relief of knowing that you still have a job and the shame at knowing you feel relieved. It always makes me feel like the lowest person.

I get to my door, and as I'm putting the key into the lock, my manager walks out of his office and looks at me. After seeing the boxes of others and the look on his face, I just put my head down and walked through my door. I'm the newest member of the group, and I figured if someone was getting laid off, it was me. I was going to make him come into my office to do it though. I sat down and started up my laptop, then waited. He didn't come in, didn't call me to let me know he wanted to talk to me. After half an hour, I realized it wasn't me he was waiting for.

I head my officemate Dean come in. He was talking to someone in the hall and I heard his voice. Then, the hall got quiet. Dean hadn't come into the office yet. I was afraid my gut feeling was correct. He came in about 10 minutes later and started packing his stuff up. I'd been friends with Dean for the last 6 years, and he was a huge proponent in getting me hired into this group. I was in shock. Dean is one of the best Unix systems people I'd ever met. He could figure anything out, regardless of what flavor of Unix or Linux you threw at him. They let him go and kept me, who's only been doing the heavy-duty systems work for a year. I'm the only person in the group who has any amount of HP experience.

I had to rearrange a whole lot that day. Out went the plan of updating docs and planning out new projects. Dean was working on several ssh projects, and I'd only had minimal contact. I have to learn ssh inside and out in the next two weeks so I can make sure Development can go forward with a new version of software. Not just on Unix - mainframe too. I've made sure that the proxy server project he was working on went to someone else. There's other stuff to be doled out yet.

The worst part about the whole process was the feeling of relief, and I think it made me feel worse than if I had gotten laid off. We're closing on the house next month, and how do you get a mortgage company to give you a very large loan if half your income is going away? I don't have a college degree, so who's going to want to hire me, even if I do have 9 years experience in computers? I wasn't building Unix systems for the last 9 years... I supported VMS, Unix (several versions), and Windows, upgraded OS/390 and mainframe along with the other O/S versions I supported, worked with applications and different third party products. What does that amount to? A whole lot of knowledge that won't get me anywhere. And I'm scared.

I've built my career in this company. I'm respected and well-liked by the people I work with. I've had offers from past managers to come back and work for them if I decide I want to change groups. If I'm laid off, where do I go? I'd have to start all over. And I know I'd get through it. I always do... always have over the years. I know I'm too lazy to go back to college. I hated the work the first time I tried it, right after high school. I don't think it's going to be any better now that I'm 10 years out of doing that stuff. I just hold on for now and do my best to pretend that it will never happen to me. Call me the ostrich.

If you're still with me (but I doubt anyone is), thanks for letting me get that off my chest. It's one of those weights that you can never seem to fully get rid of. It wasn't how I was planning this post when I started, but my fingers seemed to take on a life of their own. I guess this is the whole point of a blog for most people... get those things out there that are difficult to otherwise.

I promise the next post will be full of happiness and light. Or at least stories of taking people's money in poker. That always makes me happy. :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Happy B-day to me....

Yeah, I was told I'd better post something since Al announced that I had to up the little number next to Age: on any form. I'm definitely not scared of birthdays. I still get ID'd for cigarettes, so why would I care?

This is going to be a VERY short post since I'm swamped. But that's another post for another day....

Here's to being one year better!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Poker Etiquette

Just playing a little online poker tonight on Full Tilt. In the big blind, got 9Ts. No raise preflop. Flop comes, 2 As and 2 spades. I bet $.50, guy across the table raises to $1, everyone else folds. I put the guy on an ace, but the A of spades was on the board. I call, catch my flush on the turn. Didn't think he had the flush, bet out and called his raise. No more spades come up, and I have the winning flush. No big deal right?

Wrong. It seems that I mortally offended the guy. I got "f" you several times, and called a whore for no reason, among other things. Talk about PMS... so, if you happen to see Luvtodive, make sure you stop by, say hi, and take all of his money. Tell him the whore MrsCantHang says hi, too. :-)

Happy Monday!

Things still show no signs of slowing around here. (When I wrote that, all I could think of was Willy Wonka in the boat in the psychadelic tunnel... odd thought, but no rowers.) As it was, I had a ton of stuff to do this morning before I could even think of reading a blog or writing a post. I need to make this quick since I still have plenty left to do today...

I finally got Al to go down to my favorite Thursday night bar... on Friday. It was a little quieter than usual, but he got to meet some of the characters that Danielle and I hang out with there. I played a game of golf while Al proceeded to get REALLY drunk. Some of you may have noticed since there were some dial-a-shots that went out. I should never leave my phone on the bar unattended. It was a fun night, but I was a little slow on Saturday. Good day to rest up before football on Sunday.

Before I met Al, I never would have thought about joining a fantasy football league. Even in the first couple years of marriage, I still wanted nothing to do with it. Last year, he encouraged me to give it a try. BG was kind enough to give me a cheat sheet for the first draft, and I'm proud to say that I didn't come in last place. I didn't know what I was doing, but I did it anyways. This year, I printed out my own lists and made my own picks. I thought I had a pretty good team. Culpepper and some of the others proved to me that no matter how well they SHOULD do, they don't. If you don't particularly like a team, have me pick a couple of players from that team. You can watch that team go straight into the toilet! :-)

As long as I don't end up in last place, I'm happy. And it's always good to be happy... :-)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Where did the week go?

Lately I haven't had that much to post about or as much inclination to post as I usually do. I was reading Iggy's blog, and I think I know the reason. Make sure to check out this pamphlet to see if you're also suffering from the same disorder.

I think I actually know the cure for this condition, and it's coming up shortly! It's called Bash at the Boathouse 6, and it will be occurring September 24th at the Boathouse in Malvern, PA. It's a charity event to benefit Michael's Miracle, a charity devoted to helping families cope with Cystic Fibrosis and supporting research to find a cure. Don't think that it won't be any fun though... there will be tons of drinking, partying, and debauchery that you won't find anywhere else. It just gives your conscience less to feel guilty about if it benefits charity. Just think, all the partying you've come to expect with 50% less guilt... and you'll have plenty to blog about when you're done (as long as your significant other doesn't read your blog), right Al?

Post a comment or email me if you want more info...


This past weekend seemed to simultaneously last years and minutes at the same time. My sister Deanna is living with Al and I while she looks for a job, and she moved in this past weekend. Dee and I used to share a room when we were growing up, and I was always the pack rat of the room. She used to be the one to throw things away while I always saved things until I had to throw them away. When I made the offer to have her share our townhouse while she looks for a job, I thought that it would be an easy move - throw the furniture that isn't being used in the basement, a few boxes here and there, and we'd be done. I'd forgotten that it had been about 14 years since we'd shared a room, and that she'd had her own apartments for the last 10 years. Damn, things have changed...

My house looks like a garage sale waiting to happen. We were able to put quite a few things in the basement, but it's packed! There were a few pieces (including her entertainment center) that were too heavy to put into the basement for the short time which they'll be there, so they're sitting in my dining room. She also lived with her boyfriend, so there's his stuff too. Everywhere I go in my house, there's boxes, bags or other containers of "stuff".

Since my sister and her boyfriend are here, I invited them down to the Boathouse freeroll last night. I called at 4:45 to see if they wanted to come down and have dinner before the tourney started. (I also asked if they wanted to play, but they don't think they know the game well enough. From my past posts, you all know that you don't have to know the game to play at the Boathouse...) They said that they'd get ready and come down soon. When I called at 6:30 to see where they were, they said that they were leaving the house shortly. How long does it take for two people to get ready? I asked if I'd interruped "anything", but it seems that her boyfriend just takes forever to get ready. They also tried to use the excuse that they were unpacking and rearranging things, but I couldn't verify it when I got home.

Before the tourney started, both Danielle and I decided to sit at the same table as Al, Lewey, BigMike, JDub and the rest of our friends. We'd feel guilty for leaving Dee and Deron alone while we was playing, so we decided to play fast and lose in the tourney - either get lots of chips or lose quickly. If we lost our chips, they'd go to friends who would hopefully take them all the way to the final table. It wasn't chip dumping, but we'd know who would get them.

Dee and Deron get to the Boathouse just as the tournament starts. I get them each a drink and tell the bartender Bobby to put their stuff on our tab. They sit out on the back deck with their drinks, and I go back in to play. In the second hand, I get pocket 10s. I raise to 3x BB, and get 4 callers. I hit gold when a 10 comes out on the flop, but there was a queen and two clubs on the board. In an attempt to take the pot, I go all-in. To my surprise, Danielle (who's sitting to my left) calls me! Everyone else immediately folds. I flip up my 10s, and Danielle turns over pocket As. She doesn't get any help and I double up. Danielle goes out and sits with Dee and Deron.

A few hands later, I get AKo, raise it, and have to fold after an all spades flop causes a raising war (and here I am, without a spade). I don't play again until I'm in the big blind with K5d. Al raises to 4x BB and I call - fast and loose! Two diamonds come out, and Al goes all-in. It folds around to me, and I'm the only one left. If I was playing my normal conservative game, I would've folded. I have him by over 70 chips, so even if I lose I'm still in. The fast and lose takes over, and I call. No help, and Al doubles up to a commanding chip lead.

At this point, I'm still not the short stack. After the blinds go to 2/4, I find myself with AJ in the big blind. A few people limped, and I raise all-in. Everyone folds except the small blind, Lewey's friend Rob. He has AQ, so I figure I'm done. Flop comes out KJT and Rob has the straight. A rivered Q gives me a split pot, and I'm happy.

I don't remember the hand I eventually went out on, but it was Al and I again. I think I had top pair and he had a flush draw - and he caught his. I'm out, but at least I know where all my chips went. I tell him to use them wisely and head out to the back deck.

After dinner and some chatting with Dee, Deron and Danielle, my sister and her boyfriend head home. Danielle and I go inside to see how the guys are doing. They're down to 7 on the final table, and Al's the chip lead. They battle it out, and it goes heads up between Al and JDub. One hand, and Al takes him out. Al wins his first Boathouse freeroll! Now I'm jealous.... both Al and BigMike have won, and Landow has come in second twice. I have some catching up to do.

I learned quite a bit from my play last night. I'm usually very conservative and tight when I play in tourneys. I don't take too many chances since I hate busting out early. This always leaves me as one of the shorter stacks, and unless I hit a run of great cards, I very rarely make it to a final table. Thinking back to the past tourneys that I've done well in (both single and multi-table), I realized that I was playing more agressively. I think that the recent bad luck that I've had both live and online has conditioned me to shy away from raising pre-flop with good hands. I was losing quite a bit of money with my pre-flop raises, so I'd started just calling before flop so I could see where I stood before I committed any more money. This has allowed more people to stay in and take hands that I might have been able to take otherwise. It's something I'll be working on over the next few weeks.

I consider any session that you learn something from to be a good session. For me, last night was a great session and I hope this means that I'm starting on an upward section of the poker learning curve again.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Boathouse Freeroll

Now that I've proven that I should never, EVER talk about anything remotely dealing with politics or government policy, I'm going to find a much less controversial subject. Free poker. Ok, yeah, there's debate over that, but not in this blog. I like free poker. Every bar has free poker tourneys around here. That's the way it should be!

As usual, we headed over to the Boathouse on Tuesday for the weekly free tourney. In general, the people who play are lots of fun and don't start flipping out when they lose since they know that it is a free tourney. (I've heard from other players that it's not usually the case in many of the bars. They all like the BH tourneys best.) We all sit down and start shuffling up to play. The seat to my right was empty, but at the last minute a woman comes over and takes the chair. She admits to the table immediately that she's never played anything like this before.

I feel sorry for her and take her under my wing. We introduced ourselves, and she told me her name was Sheryl. I did a quick explanation of how things would go and confirmed she knew what the order of winning hands were. I also ended up having to explain about blinds and how to deal properly. Without telling her how to play any hands, I gave her an idea of the strategy as we went through several more rounds. Sheryl is a very social person like me, and we had a great amount of fun while we played. She played like you'd expect any new person to play - playing a few more hands than she should and slowly losing her money.

I got moved to another table, and I was able to pick up a decent amount of chips. I'm feeling really good about my play and I'm actually catching a few cards! Some of the other tables got broken up, and Sheryl gets put to my right. She's drinking wine and has had a couple by this time. She's still in a good mood, since she wasn't even expecting to play. This is where things get interesting...

Sheryl is low in chips - about 35 out of the starting 100 with blinds at 4/8. She goes on one of those amazing streaks of luck a player always dreams about but dreads when they see someone else on. She begins amassing chips at an alarming rate. Some of the hands she played well, but there were some card catching plays you wouldn't believe.

Sheryl is in late position - one before the button. She calls the blinds, and the semi short-stacked button goes all in. The big blind calls, and so does Sheryl. The flop comes out - J T 2, rainbow. At this point, BB goes all in. BB has more chips than Sheryl, but she calls anyways. Everyone flips up their cards. The button has J 9 for top pair decent kicker. BB has J T for top two pair. Sheryl flips up A 2 for bottom pair. Everyone figured she was gone... until a 2 hit the river for trips. The BB was shaking his head in disbelief.

Everyone on the table's in shock. She'd had a few lucky catches, but that was by far the most amazing one that night. The guys don't want to be in a hand with her. Two hands later, Sheryl actually raises - she's just called all night. She min-raises, and everyone folds including Louie. Her cards get turned over, and she's got pocket As. We rabbit-hunted, and the flop would have been A Q x - a pair of queens for Louie but trips for Sheryl. He was very happy he'd folded his KQ.

We're almost down to the final table (out of 50). I'm getting short-stacked by this time, since Sheryl seems to be taking all my luck. Blinds are 20/40 and I'm down to 140 on the big blind. I get KJo, and I figure this is it. Sheryl had called the big blind, but the small blind goes all in ahead of me. I've played with the SB before, and I put him on a small to medium pocket pair. I figure it's a race at best and I don't have much of a choice. SB has me covered for chips, but I still go all in. We were both in shock when Sheryl calls both of us. She really liked her cards. SB flips up pocket 8s, and Sheryl turns over 45o. SB and I both dismiss Sheryl's hand, thinking it would just be the race. Wrong. Flop comes 6 7 8 with 2 spades - SB is cheering because he has trips, but he doesn't realize Sheryl already has the straight. I didn't have much of a chance since I didn't even have a spade. SB doesn't improve and she takes both of us out.

It was something to watch. I told her I was taking her to AC that night. When everyone moved to the final table, she went out on the second or third hand. She told me later that she was enjoying playing with everyone at our table before, but the new group didn't look like they were any fun and she was tired. I saw the hand that she went out on, and I could believe that. She called a big all in with A4o when there were two 8s on the board, and she told the guy that he had a third 8 (which he did). We sat and had a few more beers outside while we waited for them to finish.

I would love to have luck like that playing in a major tourney. I think with a little bit of study, we'll have Sheryl ready for next year's WSOP - as long as the luck holds out. She'll be back next week since she had so much fun. I'll see how lucky she really is then.