Get It Quietly

Football, bollocks and a bit of poker if you're lucky.

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Here's What You Do

DY used to say this quite a lot in regard to "bent" Internet sites. If the flush always comes, play suited cards, if quads come much too often, always play pairs, and so on. Given that it has now been 5 or 6 years and there is still not a shred of evidence that any of the major Internet cardrooms are manipulating their deals with malicious intent, the moan du jour on the forums has changed.

Now it seems that everyone and his dog is whingeing about structures. I may come on to that in a later post, apart from to say, adapt your game to the structure at hand instead of demanding that structures be changed to suit you, and/or find out what the structure is before you play, and if you don't like it take your business elsewhere. However, the purpose of this post (we'll get there in a minute) is to talk about another very common whinge - "A sponsored player / Jac Arama / anyone with a deep pocket has an advantage in rebuy tournaments". I'm not even going to argue the point here. I'm just going to say, if that is so, then here's what you do.

If this is an "advantageous" way to play why don't you do the following, next time a decent size rebuy tournament comes around. Get together with say four like-minded "I only have one rebuy so I'm at a disadvantage it's not fair" types. God knows there are enough of you around moaning about it. Play a freezeout at home. The winner gets to take all the money the five of you would have put in to the comp, so basically 10 buyins altogether. He plays the tournament with these 10 buyins in his pocket, going all in all the time in this advantageous style. And the five of you split whatever he wins, or has left over.

If you think that's an advantageous way to play, do it. If you don't, then stop talking crap.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Angle Shooting In Football

I'm not happy about Cardiff City's "move" last week. They brought two players in on free transfers, decent players for this level (Neil Ardley and Michael Boulding). The following day they secured a loan from the PFA to pay the players' wages. That's all the players, not just the two new ones ! When this happens, the club in question is usually subject to a transfer embargo until the loan is paid back (as I understand it). But hey presto, "the following day" also happened to be transfer deadline day. After which no one can bring in any more players.

None of which is against the rules per se, but it leaves an unpleasant taste. I'm only personally aggravated because I tipped them to go down on here (but at least now I have an excuse if they stay up). Gillingham and Nottingham Forest, their main relegation rivals, are not happy at all and I don't blame them. Poker or football, I have no respect for those who shoot the angles. I'd be ashamed of myself if I made these moves in poker, and I'd be embarrassed if QPR pulled such a blatant moody in football.

31/3/05 Update Having had a skim through some message boards, there is another side to this. Cardiff are claiming that the loan is only for the previous month's wages (which don't include the two new players), and also that even with the two new players their overall wage bill has been decreased with the sale of Kavanagh. I might downgrade their actions from moody to cynical, if only in the timing. It still seems a bit sly though.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Bits and Bobs

Another day, another poker team. This is getting out of hand. In this particular case, you have 4 players who all frequent the same casino, in small competitions, on a regular basis. I would be keeping a very close eye on proceedings if two of these were on my table. I don't mean to impugn everyone involved, but the one player of those four I know is not on my list of poker players I can trust (and he shouldn't take that personally, because that's a very short list). Well it's no particular skin off my nose. I can find enough small/medium tournament action online, I much prefer it now. Twice/three times as many hands per hour, in the comfort of my own home, and the magic "Chat off" button. If you're making your way in UK B+M small tournaments, keep your eyes open and, like the boxer, protect yourself at all times.

. . .

Have you ever heard anyone answer a mobile at a poker table and say anything other than "I can't talk now, I'm playing poker" ? So why the hell don't they switch them off ? I find it hard to believe that these shiftless oiks have the slightest need to be on call 24/7. The guy next to me yesterday took annoying ring tones to a new level. Every time his phone went off, we were treated to the sound of his squalling baby. The noises a baby makes when it wants attention are evolutionarily designed to be as annoying as possible. So I think this guy has discovered the ultimate annoying mobile ring tone. Good for you. Now fuck off.

. . .

I think I was just having a bad week at work. A combination of moving back to a 5 day week, suffering the tail end of a cold, having been kicked from pillar to post in our park football on Wednesday and being beset with awkward design issues. Now the cavalry has arrived in the form of a 4 day weekend, or should that be the Calvary (I should be on Radio 4 I'm so witty), I feel a bit more human. We'll try to restore that 4-day week in the autumn, and see if we can swing that sabbatical and I'll be alright. Nonetheless I think 2 or 3 more years of this max, before the shovel burns me out as Johnny Cash would say. An ear is still cocked and I do still have some bandwidth if anyone else wants some poker writing.

. . .

Hang on, what time is it ? Did the clocks go forward ? Good job I don't have any appointments today, before the 6pm WSOP satellite on Betfair that is ! (10 minutes later) Well in fact it wouldn't have mattered, because all the tournaments are still scheduled on GMT. Which is rather annoying. Maybe they'll change them next week when the US clocks move. I hope so because it would be a pain on a school night if everything's going to happen an hour later. Yet another argument in favour of having BST the whole year round. Farmers whinging about this are talking bollocks - surely they have X hours of daylight whatever we do ? And a few schools in the Orkney Islands could just open earlier couldn't they ? In the meantime 95% of us have to leave work in pitch darkness half the year round, which is damn depressing. Mind you I don't expect much support on this issue from the poker community, for obvious reasons :-)

. . .

Long old afternoon this is. I'm playing in two WSOP satellites tonight so have to ease off the online poker to keep myself fresh. What happens if I win a seat in both of them simultaneously ? Hehe I know I'll be alright. So anyway, I was doing some research about poker teams. Alright, I was surfing the web to try to find what other no-marks have somehow schmoozed themselves a sponsorship deal. And I touch base with Noble Poker to find that Jac Arama has been airbrushed from history. Who'd have thunk it.

Obviously it takes a great character to fill such shoes, and Noble Poker have turned to Mad Marty. Now everyone tells me Marty is a really nice, generous guy who lives for the day and fair play to him for that. But he isn't the best player I've ever seen. And when I saw a link to Mad Marty's School of Excellence (click on Marty's picture, you can't miss it). I was already plumping up the cushions in anticipation. And I was not to be disappointed as I read this sound advice about hand selection.

"If you only play good starting hands then you give yourself a better chance of success in the game. No matter how hard you try, you cannot turn bad cards into good ones. The selection of starting hands is probably the single most important area of the game as it is completely within your control, unlike all the other areas."

Yes indeed it is, can't fault that. It's just that the last time I played against Mad Marty, he made a raise of about 8 big blinds first to act on a 10-handed table. I found Aces and I was just taking a second to decide whether to reraise or call when he drawled in that incredible Lloyd Grossman accent he affects "are ya sure ya wanna call". I think so, yes. I pushed the rest in, he did actually have to call the reraise he had put so much in to start with - with 43. And no, this wasn't some rinkydink rebuy tournament, it was a $1000 super-satellite for the Big One. Having arrived on my table with a mountain of chips, he blew the lot in about 45 minutes.

Which is all fine, I'm not the poker police, play how you like, it just makes me laugh seeing someone like this running a School Of Excellence. When playing poker, it's about 10 times more important to play your best game all the time than it is to improve what your best game is. Even Keanu Reeves could see that in real life this was a School of Heinous Bogosity.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Gissa job eh ?

Well it hasn't quite come to that yet, but I am finding it more and more difficult at work these days. Writing software to do something interesting, like this, is fun. Better still when you can think "a-ha, what if I made it do this", and then you make it do it, and you can see it doing it. Writing nerdly protocol software that doesn't do anything interesting, it just has to do it 4000 times a second on a 6x4 card with 6 nines reliability, which makes it really complicated and annoying, is driving me to the edge of insanity. In case you couldn't tell from the rants on this blog, the only outlet for my steaming brain.

Seriously though the time is rapidly approaching when I would rather do something less stressful and more fun, for less money. Well ideally for the same money but it seems unlikely. And one of the few career paths I can think of that would be more stressful and less fun than what I'm doing now is poker "professional", so we won't be doing that in a hurry.

So maybe it has come to the point where feelers should be sent out and ears placed to the ground. I like poker and writing and football and gambling and computer software, probably in that order. I'd like to do something involving as many of those as possible, for a reasonable return. Insert any joke suggestions below so we can all enjoy them. Any serious proposals, however tentative, email me . Any advice from anyone who has trodden the same path before would also be very welcome.


If I receive one more Email advertising an egg-celent, egg-citing, egg-stravaganza of a rinky dink online tournament then it will be the skulls of the senders that are cracked like, erm, eggs. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Boo Fucking Hoo

My heart is about to break for Manchester United and Real Madrid. Honestly, the trials and tribulations that beset these noble clubs and their loyal, committed fans, fans who give their unqualified support through thick and thin out of sheer love for their community, accepting defeat as they do with a hearty handshake and a wry smile. I always say if you're going to do sarcasm, then do it properly.

Manchester United's David Gill (who he - chief bean counter) "is concerned that the competition will lose some of its pulling power if the 'glamour' clubs go out early" according to a report on BBC Sport. He says "It's not good for the big clubs, not good for TV and sponsors if there are no Spanish clubs in the quarter finals". A touching gesture of camaraderie towards his Spanish counterparts there. Arsene Wenger is even more philanthropic. "You can't afford to have Real Madrid and Manchester United - big clubs who invest so much money - going out in the last 16 ... I don't think the formula at the moment helps the best teams". I'm not sure if my natural cynicism is creeping in here, do let me know if you think it is, but could it be that Gill and Wenger are really concerned about Manchester United and Arsenal ?

What exactly do these people want ? Should all Champions League games before the quarter finals be run like the Harlem Globetrotters vs those loser guys, the Generals or whoever they were ? Tricks and flicks, stepovers and bicycle kicks, and let's make sure the heroes win in the end ? If Manchester United want to improve their miserable record of one knockout win in the last 6 years, maybe they shouldn't disrespect their group opponents by playing their reserves against Lyon, thus ensuring that they would finish second in their group and have to face a group winner in the next round ? Well maybe that was too complicated for them to understand, so let me offer some alternative advice - why not buy a goalkeeper who can fucking catch the ball ? And as for Arsenal, maybe if they hadn't sold Matthew Upson then they wouldn't have to play someone at centre half who not only looks like Kryten from Red Dwarf, he plays like him too ?

I would love it, just love it, if all these jumped-up money-making marketing machine "Galacticos" did turn their noses up and form a European Super Duper McDonalds Happy Meal Championship of the Greatest Clubs Ever No Riff Raff Allowed, and take their half-interested glory-hunting tosser TV fans with them. The rest of us could ignore the whole thing and get on with some real football. I should probably ignore it anyway, I know. But it's just too much fun to watch a proper team like Milan hold Manchester United at bay as if placing their hand on the forehead of a six year old who is windmilling his arms at you. Because that's the thing with marketing vs content. That's the thing with style vs substance. There's only going to be one winner in the end.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

In At The Deep End

Ah, your first day in a new job. My favourite was the summer job where my first task was to build my own desk. Yes, they didn't have a desk for me so had purchased a flat pack job from MFI, and my first responsibility was to assemble it. No doubt it wobbles to this day. This was a summer job - I never went back.

When QPR's youth team goalkeeper Jake Cole was sent to Conference club Farnborough on "work experience", he must have been looking forward to a taste of real action. OK his first game was away to free-scoring league leaders and all-round geezers Barnet, but hey, you want to be busy on your first day after all. I think all the reports on this game must have come from the same source because none of them explained what really happened. It's quite complicated, so I'm just going to go through it in chronological order.

6 mins : Farnborough take a shock (and spawny) lead with a deflected free kick. The small coterie of Farnborough squad players and hangers-on near me break into that "Wa-hey-hey" kind of cheer which is about 30% cheer / 70% laughter, such is their disbelief. Clearly they had a good idea what was to follow, if not quite the scale of it.

14 mins : Cole, untroubled up to this point, rolls the ball in front of him to kick upfield without realising that arch-sniffer Giuliano Grazioli is "behind you" in pantomime terms. Do you remember that goal Dion Dublin scored against Newcastle ? I thought Kenny Dalglish was going to cry. Just like that, 1-1.

21 mins : Grazioli latches onto a through-ball and lobs the helpless Cole, 2-1

34 mins : Ben "Benny" Strevens cuts in through the inside right channel and slots home, 3-1

40 mins : Grazioli, given the freedom of the 6-yard area, bangs home gleefully for 4-1. Farnborough squad player next to me shakes his head and announces that their kit man said "he wasn't dangerous". That would explain why he's only a kit man.

45 mins : Farnborough spit into the wind by making a Jose Mourinho style triple substitution at half time.

50 mins : Barnet substitiute Grazioli in a touching humanitarian gesture

61 mins : Farnborough defender decides he has had enough for one day and gets himself sent off

67 mins : Cole, who is becoming more and more over-worked, injures himself in a challenge and is stretchered off to sympathetic applause. Farnborough have used all their subs so an outfielder has to go in goal, and they now have 9 players on the pitch.

75 mins : Journeyman reserve right back Damien "Batman" Batt comes on as a substitute and scores his first goal for the club within 60 seconds.

82 mins : Striker Lee Roache shows no pity and almost apologetically nods in number 6

88 mins : Barnet launch yet another attack, which is halted by a body-check on the edge of the area. So, 6-1 down, already down to 9 men, an outfielder in goal, does the referee show any mercy ? Nope, red card.

Injury time : Dean Sinclair makes it seven and it clearly fails to occur to any of the visitors that one more sending off or injury and the game would technically have to be abandoned. Neil Warnock would have made sure it happened.

So all in all an eventful day for the young keeper, who could at least take some consolation from conceding one less than his coach Tony Roberts did for Dagenham and Redbridge at Underhill earlier in the season. It's not the greatest standard the Conference, but Barnet have scored a ton of goals this season and they've been a pleasure to watch. It beats the hell out of watching the likes of Blackburn I can tell you that for nothing.

This Is How It Works

I hate to sound like a stuck record on here but who is man enough to resist singing, in the style of Johnny Rotten, "Don't blame me / I told you so". Not me that's for sure. From Daniel Negreanu's blog (again, I know)

"The Super Stars Invitational II also has an exciting format that I would have loved to participate in. Unfortunately I agreed to a vote along with 17 other players on whether or not we would play in the event based on the amount of money that would be added to the event.

I voted that we should play thinking that no group of 24 players was “above the game“, but when the majority of the others realized that it was silly not to play it was too late. We were replaced by other players as I would have expected."

This is how it's always going to work. If anyone, even a group of (presumably) top players, says "No, you can't use our images in perpetuity throughout the universe for two bob", it takes the TV company almost a whole hour to find someone else who will. Poker players will never benefit from TV financially to any degree. I know there are side-benefits like bringing new players into the game, but the people who say that Mercedes are going to be handed out at tournaments for royal flushes are living in a dream world (two points if you can guess who said that, it's not hard).

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Obnoxious Over-Celebration

Yes ! How you like me now ! Who's the Daddy ! Pick that one out ! How do you like them apples ! Boom Shakalak ! Had enough or do you want some more ! Show me the money ! Now we're cooking on gas ! Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ! Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa ! Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !

Won the £10K added on William Hill. 4000 of your earth pounds, 7500 of your worthless American dollars !

Report here. Those of the "Get It Quietly" school might prefer to look away :-)

Maybe Poker Is Going Mainstream After All ...

I was wearing my WSOP 2004 jacket at the football yesterday (I know, I am a terrible poser). It's not the first time I've worn it there, but it is the first time someone has tapped me on the shoulder and asked me about whether I was there, do I play, etc. etc. And it happened twice ! Two perfectly normal looking guys started telling me how they nearly qualified for this, how they used to play and now it's gone mad, etc. I have always thought that we who are immersed in the poker world over-estimate how much interest there is outside it. But maybe it is picking up after all !

While I'm here a couple of other points caught my eye over the weekend. In Luton on Friday we were on a self-deal table (hooray !). One guy threw his cards into the muck and starting raking the pot, not realising he had been called. Naturally I expected a 10 minute scream-up which would, of course, go on well after the ruling had been given. But no, he just said "Oh, my mistake", and gave the chips up. Full marks to him. I can see why people do it I suppose, but it's a pet hate of mine in poker all the people who would argue the toss for as long as they possibly could, and of course if they were the caller, argue the other side just as vociferously.

So we have good behaviour at the lowest level, what do you think of this at the highest. From Daniel Negreanu's blog :

"I headed over to the poker room to schmooze for a while and then played a friend of mine's chips in the 10-20 blind no limit hold'em game.

He had about $5000 in front of him, and since I was feeling frisky I decided to play in the dark- never looking at my hand unless I was faced with a huge bet."

Negreanu has the grace to admit that this "sounds sick". IMO it is sick. Sick in the head. With friends like that, eh ? I mean I don't know the deal, maybe $5K is chump change and the other guy would just laugh about it. I know you have to have a disregard for your own money at whatever level you play, but someone else's ... I don't know. Maybe we all aspire to play at that level but would you want to end up like that ? And don't even ask me how he can reconcile with his faith because I just don't know. Can you imagine telling a single mother on income support about how you played £3,000 of someone else's money in the dark, yuk yuk yuk, what about us gamblers eh ? Maybe we're better off out of this world, I often think.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Alas Poor Keggy

It was a shame to see Kevin Keegan resign from Man. City in the week. I quite liked him as a manager. I know he was rubbish for England but I really couldn't give a rat's ass for international football any more. Did you know there's going to be no club football in the top two divisions this Easter weekend ? All so England can play home matches against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan. Who's going to win - the tension ! I have a revolutionary plan for, erm, revolutionising World Cup qualification which I will unveil soon.

In the meantime, back to Keggy. What I liked about him was, if you beat his team, he'd give you a bit of credit. So what you might say ? Well, remembering as best I can to ages past when QPR played at the top level, I can tell you that we never received any credit for beating "bigger" clubs. Charlton fans today will know what I mean. You could play them off the park, you could be 10 points ahead of them in the league, but because they were the big nobs all you would hear is excuses as to how they could lose to such lowly opposition. I know it's not worth having a massive chip on your shoulder about these things, but it was annoying. I remember very well though, one occasion where the boys won 2-1 at St. James' Park (despite Keith Hackett's best efforts). Keegan brushed aside questions about why his team was off form etc. and said "look, give credit to QPR, they played really well". It didn't cost him anything. I mean would it kill Alex Ferguson to say "Well done to Milan, they were the better team". A bit of grace in defeat (ahem, Signor Mourinho) goes a long way. And his teams always went for it and played attacking football.

So good luck to Keggy (I say Keggy by the way because Bob Wilson once called him "Keggy Koogle" and it kind of stuck), and hopefully he'll be on our screens soon. Because he is a total genius at making nonsensical comments, well maybe I should say halfsensical comments because like all the best football quotes, you can often see what he's trying to say. I present to you my top 5 Keggy quotes, if you like you can accompany this with some pop countdown music :

At 5, "There'll be no siestas in Madrid tonight"

Coming in at 4, "I came to Nantes two years ago and it's much the same today, except that it's totally different"

Into the top 3 pop-pickers, "The tide is very much in our court now"

Just missing out at number 2, "He's [Shaun Wright-Phillips] got a heart as big as his size, which isn't big, but his heart's bigger than that"

And the number one Keggy Koogle quote of all time, this always makes me laugh because you know what he's trying to say "Despite his white boots he has genuine pace"

Special K, we salute you.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Throwing You Another Bone

Cardiff look a decent bet to be relegated from the Championship at 3.1 on Betfair. The three sides immediately below them (Coventry, Forest and Gillingham) are all improving - Forest in particular I expect to stay up. Meanwhile Cardiff can hardly pay their players' wages, Kavanagh has gone to Wigan and more could follow. They could even have to go into administration and be relegated on the spot, as they'd cop a 10 point penalty.

They are away to Coventry on Saturday in a huge game. If they lose, as I expect them to, they'll be right in it. And if it goes to the last day, the visitors to Ninian Park are QPR, who have an issue or two to resolve from the playoff final of 2003 ! Worth a punt I reckon.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Now We'll See Who's Really The Best

That' s the tagline of the European Heads Up Championship (reminder : last years final was between Angelo Blanco Puras and Mark Banin). The US version has just been completed. With surprising restraint they have contented themselves with only calling it the National Heads-Up Poker Championship. Nonetheless, sample quotes include "the winner [will be] considered poker's best one-on-one player" and "the ultimate big-stakes poker showdown".

And what do you know, Hellmuth won it. Well, if Phillips and Hellmuth can kiss and make up, maybe I can ease up on the Hellmuth bashing for a while. Until my next Gutshot piece anyway :-). What I really found amusing though was the fact that Sklansky beat Ivey. And Chan. In "the ultimate big-stakes poker showdown". I find that so amusing on so many levels I'm not going to explain it (as The Hat points out, if you have to explain it then it's not funny anyway). In the words of the man himself, I leave it as an exercise for the reader.

7/3/05 A bit later : Unintentionally amusing poker snippet #2 : Daniel Negreanu saying on his blog "I'm not one to name drop". Nor am I, as I said to the Pope the other day.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

What's Up

As you may already know, my new whoring deal is with Gutshot. It remains to be seen whether I can give the Gutshot clientele what they want, but we might as well have a go. David and Barry at Gutshot are very positive about the deal, and I am too.

I've been offline for a couple of days as I was at a stag weekend. Fortunately this did not follow the current trend of jumping on a Sleazyjet to Cheapwhormenia, as is very much the mode at work, but a relatively civilized weekend at the Belfry golf club. While it was great to see everyone I was underwhelmed by the hotel which, like most British hotels, is like a lower-range Vegas hotel except with terrible service and 4 times as expensive. And while I'm not much of a golfer, even I could tell that the course was in pretty bad shape. Which is why I only scored 12 points, obviously :-). Oh and we saw Glenn Hoddle. But before I could think of wittily asking what he had done in a previous life to deserve being manager of Wolves, the moment had passed. Another opportunity missed.

Just one other thing right now, my software has been a bit dormant lately, I mean I was still selling it but wasn't really making much of an effort. Just lately I've been tinkering with it though and I'm hoping to have a new version out fairly soon which has some improved play and it will even adapt to how often you raise, which I'm almost certain is a first for tournament software. Also there will be some easier payment options (transfer on Stars/Party/Neteller) . If you've never seen it I think it's pretty good, for one guy in his spare time (certainly compared to some corporate products), and you can download a free demo. Alright that's enough whoring for today, and I also promise to drop the whoring analogy now as I have kind of flogged it to death (as you do, alright I'll stop now).