Get It Quietly

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

Location: Enfield, London, United Kingdom

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Blind Leading The Blind

If you fancy a laugh, go to the Betfair Poker forum and check out a thread entitled "Exchange Poker - Posts of the Year Award 2005". Props to the guy who put this together, very funny indeed.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Further Simplification

No mortgage, no TV ... no car. It's the glue factory for my no-longer trusty steed. A blown main gasket on the M25 is more than I can fix with WD40 (or even Cillit Bang) and the cost of repair is almost certain to exceed its value once repaired. Seeing as I only ever use it for driving to Luton (which I can't be arsed to do any more) and to see my parents in Essex (as I was trying to do today and can almost as easily do by train), that will be that.

So pretty soon I will be able to become an anti-car nut as well as an anti-TV, anti-newspaper, anti-religion and anti-career nut. It's always nice to broaden your interests. And if that was you God, we'll call it quits. Although haven't you got anything better to do ?

It's funny though how I now think of all financial transactions in terms of EV. £100 to join the AA on the spot and be towed home wasn't too bad, and I might be able to get some of that back (seeing as I don't really need another 12 months' membership). If I had stayed in the company scheme that would have been £40 a year on the chance that I would need assistance. I lost the pot, but the value was there.

Friday, October 28, 2005

See You In Hell

These arrived today. The chips, not the praise ponies. They are awesome. Nice and heavy too, good quality :-). The question is should I feel guilty about buying products that are sincerely made, and using them to take the piss ? On both a theological and a pragmatic level am I, in essence, a cunt ?

I did feel a pang of remorse when the suppliers sent me an immediate, polite Email informing me that they might have to charge me $2 extra shipping and would that be alright ? Here's the way I see it. If you hear that song "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goal Posts Of Life" on the radio, and you laugh, is that bad ? I don't think so. But if you're the DJ who digs it out, plays it and then takes the piss, how about that ? A bit worse I suppose.

I have no problem with sincere people who try to be nice and think "What Would Jesus Do" because, however much I mock, Jesus was alright. He was cool. I do have a problem with people who pick and choose, use religion when it suits them and drop it when it doesn't, and most of all the people who use it to back up their own prejudices. Which kind of Christian am I more likely to meet in a casino ? Hmm, I'm going to go with the latter.

The main reason I have bought these is not to get into arguments with Daniel Negreanu and his cohorts, it's because I think they're funny. If I have one of those on my cards it's going to remind me that it's only a game and what difference. As for my standing with God, I think he is one of the following :

a) A pathetic human construct who doesn't exist
b) Powerful but insecure (like Barbra Streisand) and liable to torture me for all eternity for mocking him with my insincere card protectors or
c) Omnipotent, all-wise and generally big enough to take a joke.

If it is b) then we'd better enjoy ourselves while we can, because we're all fucked in the end. And it doesn't seem like I'm being punished in this life at the moment. Not if Betfair is anything to go by. Unless it's a kind of "make him win lots of money and it will corrupt his soul" punishment. I can live with that.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's New On The Interweb

Before we start, let us give thanks to Al Gore for inventing the Internet, and bringing this feast of information to our desktops every day. How did we manage without it.

Who Ate All The Pies

What a load of toss. How can you lump "obesity discrimination" in with sexism and racism. David Baddiel once said that he hated it when fat people blamed it on "water retention". "Not cake retention then" was his response. Testify. And lose some weight. You know who you are :-).

Kill Him Now

Before this becomes reality. What's the betting it peaks at number two but he says it's number one because they counted it wrong. Maybe he could record a follow-up. When A Cunt Is Born.

Stop Grieving, It's Only A Chicken

A chicken that's now with Jesus. This was Liverpool though. The least I would have expected would be a minute's silence before the Chelsea game. Much as I hate to agree with Boris Johnson. This is my favourite today, but it would have been better if a police van had patrolled the area with an officer and a megaphone. "Return To Your Homes. Stop Grieving. It's Only A Chicken".

Update : Full marks to the Daily Telegraph for the headline "You'll Never Squawk Alone"

Finally In Crazy Foreignland

Today's travel tip : remove the letters Q and W from your Travel Scrabble before visiting Turkey. With 30,000 dead already, God only knows what they'll do if you play one on a Triple Letter Square.

Monday, October 24, 2005

People Forget It's About Entertainment

So said Thierry Henry after Arsenal's comedy bungling penalty routine on Saturday. There is a fine line between entertaining and showing disrespect for your opponents in this case, but I'll take his point, and it's nice to see someone saying that.

It's something that I forget too at times. Not just the satellite thing, but I flicked through Pokerstars today and they're putting on some tournaments with 5000 starting chips and half-hour levels. Most of them are $20/$30 and a couple even $10 ! So I start thinking what's the point of that, who wants to play 5 hours for $10 EV. But of course, the point is that some people would enjoy it. Who am I to knock it just because I wouldn't.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

At Least I Get An Early Night

Gave the bloggers championship a spin but no good. Once the empty seats had had the bones picked clean, it was time to get funky so I raised a geezer on the flop with a flush draw, he called me, I put the rest in on the turn only to find that he had just hit one of his two overcards he had called the pot size raise with and that was that.

Still, if you read his blog tomorrow, wherever it is, maybe it'll say "Ha ha I knocked out this complete egg I knew I was winning". I was going to say it would be interesting to read the blogged accounts of these two hands as well but in fact it wouldn't be at all. All the same :

1) No flush, no straight, no pair on board, check check on the river after not much action - both players had two pair.

2) Empty seat's last chips go in. Two live players, flop comes 885, they check all the way. One of them has 87. Well, you should always check down the all in. I mean, he might make a hand that beats your trips but does not beat your opponent's hand which he would fold to your bet. And then he might win 500 allins in a row and win the tournament. Then you'd look pretty stupid wouldn't you ?

Friday, October 21, 2005

That Satellite Debate In Full

Don't bother going to the gutshot forum to wade through it all again. Here is an executive summary :

Egg : "My dream is to play in the WSOP. I want that so much"

Me & DY : "Enough to work hard at earning the buy-in over several months ?"

Egg : "Er, no, not that much".

The end.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

50 Out, 1 In

Having just unloaded most of my poker library, what do I do but buy another poker book. In this case Greenstein's Ace On The River. To be honest it wasn't as good as some of the gushing reviews have made out. It's different though, and he does know the score. I particularly enjoyed his top 3 tips for winning tournaments, in reverse order, 3) Start at a good table, 2) Have a good run of cards and 1) Enter a lot of tournaments. Got that right :-)

While I'm here it's probably worth noting those few books I decided to keep back. You couldn't really have a better recommendation. They are :

Theory Of Poker - Sklansky
Harrington On Hold'em 1 & 2 - Harrington
Play Poker Quit Work and Sleep Till Noon - Fox
Small Stakes Limit Hold-Em - Sklansky, Malmuth & Miller
The Science Of Poker - Mahmood

and I thought I had kept The Zen Of Poker (Phillips) but I can't see it anywhere so maybe I didn't.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Dangerous Mood Swings

For some reason I sunk further and further into a mighty torpor over the weekend. I blame Coral/Eurobet. All day yesterday I wanted to play poker but I thought "No, I'll save myself for the $20K guaranteed". By that time I could hardly be arsed, and had already started watching Fight Club (disturbing but very good). Perhaps the film induced some kind of testosterone surge because I bluffed off all my chips, something I very rarely do online, for the simple reason that it's usually a fucking stupid thing to do. This being no exception.

But for some other unknown reason I felt great this morning, breezed through the day and fired up a couple of $20 comps just to get my mojo back. Which it seems to be, as I worked up to 25K on Crypto before, erm, doing the lot losing 4/5 allins. Fine by me, you can have your 3 9th places, I'll take my 25th, 18th and 2nd and we'll see who's alright in the end.

I've been thinking about some aspects of Buddhism lately, particularly some of the Zen stuff I've read. I read somewhere about different aspects of your life, or a task, being like spokes of a wheel. If one spoke is much longer than the others, making it longer still doesn't help. In poker tournaments, I can view my short stack game as being the longest spoke. I know how to play a short stack inside out back to front upside down with my eyes shut. Sorry, but I do. Honing that still further is a bit of a waste of time unless I can bring my bigger stack/smaller blinds game up to scratch. Which is what I was trying to do this evening in the cheap tournaments. And it felt good, so we'll spin it up some more.

In life, there's a song by Crowded House which I must have heard 100 times without actually listening to the words. "All I ask / Is to live each moment / Free from the last". Do you see what they mean ? I have a terrible habit of dwelling on the past, mentally. Thinking about mistakes and what might have been. What I'm trying to do now is, when I find myself wandering off and thinking that way, just pushing the thought to one side and thinking instead about what I'm doing now. Or supposed to be doing instead of daydreaming. Or if daydreaming is OK, thinking about what I could do in the future. Try it, as the Buddhists say. It might work. What difference if it doesn't. I feel better for it anyway.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Bloggers' Handicap

This Pokerstars Blogging tournament is looking less and less value every day. Currently over 1000 runners, and still two weeks to go. Now, what's interesting about this (to me) is that the winner does receive an entry into a WPT tournament, and so one would assume that Pokerstars would invite the winner to blog his experience there. The trouble is though, you don't want some nob-end whingeing about bad beats or saying "and then Phil Hellmuth sat down and I had to run to the toilet I was so scared".

What should be done ? Well I think the answer is very simple. Pokerstars should use a (fairly) simple metric for evaluating the coolness or sucktitude of each blogger who applies, and amending their starting stack in the tournament accordingly. Out of sheer public spiritedness, I am taking the liberty to put together my own metric, as follows. Please feel free to add your own suggestions. I definitely need some more + and - keywords.

1) Basic writing technique

Who wants to wade through endless unparagraphed ill-punctuated "i couldnt believe it he shoudl never of called". All blogs should be marked by a panel of English teachers. -10 chips per spelling mistake, grammatical or punctuation error. -20 chips per misuse of apostrophe or for lack of paragraphs. -30 chips for using "of" instead of "have" where appropriate.

2) Keywords. Simple, you could put together an automatic script to run through each blog, scoring the following words, phrases or acronyms :

+20 chips : GIQ, YBA, jopke, coup, nip (-ping, -per, -ped etc), all swearing (double chips for cunt), slept all afternoon, Action Dave, hagiography, cross-booking, whore (bonus or otherwise), sicko, sucktitude.

-20 chips : crapshoot, donkey, swear words partially starred out (-double chips for c**t), baby, Rounders, derivatives, the Cadillac of Poker, relationship.

3) Ipod selection. For each of the following artists the bloggers listens to while playing poker :

+20 chips : Tori Amos, Megadeth, Bjork, Tone Loc, Future Sound Of London, Johnny Cash, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, The Carpenters

-20 chips : Hootie and the Blowfish, Kansas, Simply Red, Phil Collins, The Judds, Winger

4) Sports Betting. For each sports betting tip on the blog that was verifiably posted before the event in question, 10 chips are effectively wagered on the event. So if a 2-1 shot came in, +20 chips, if it lost -10 chips. -100 chips if blog contains no sports betting tips (wuss)

5) Crimes of poker stupidity. -100 chips for any post along the following lines :

- I do better against good players
- Survival is all-important in tournaments
- Any suggestion that value in tournaments equates solely to the number of runners
- Implying that someone with one tournament result to their name is a great player
- I won the seat in a satellite so it didn't cost me anything
- Folding Aces pre-flop
- Apparently sincere belief that blogger is destined to win the WSOP
- Bad beat stories (naturally)
- Double penalty for bad beat story that criticises opponent's play. Further penalty of -100 chips for each use of "donkey", "how could he call with" or "these idiots are impossible to beat"
- Boastful account of one's own angle-shooting or gloating over defeated opponent
- Internet poker is rigged. In fact, forfeit all chips for this. It's no loss, because they know you're on to them so they're never going to let you win anyway.

6) Heroes and villains. +50 chips for ripping the piss out of any of the following. -50 chips for sincere praise or adulation. -100 points for "he's a nice guy really" style excuses.

- Phil Hellmuth (counts double as the jopker)
- Annie Duke
- Antonio Esfandiari (chips multiplied by 1.4)
- Craig Grant (you never thought you'd see Craig in such company)
- The Unabomber
- Dave Welch
- Harrah's (the cunts)
- Party Poker (likewise)

7) There's more to life than poker. Chips added or removed for posts on the following topics :

- getting out of it on the dice +100 chips
- crashing women-only tournaments in drag +300 chips
- wacky sidebets with travelling companions +50 chips
- insane neo-con rants -100 chips. Link to other insane neo-con rants -200 chips. By Mark Steyn -300 chips (sorry David, you were doing so well !)
- lapdancing/strip club stories +50 chips
- poker story from the old days +50 chips. Featuring violence +100 chips.
- The Premiership is bollocks +100 chips
- Reality TV -100 chips (except when betting on)
- flaming organised religion +100 chips
- interspersing pro-religious views with tales of sick gambling -200 chips (I'm looking at you Daniel Negreanu)

8) And of course ....

- photographic evidence of blogger scoring goal at Loftus Road + 100000000 chips. What was first prize again ?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Oh If I Could Only Get Some Sleep (2)

As I said in a comment below, we haven't really got the hang of multi-day tournaments over here yet. Let's have a look at the two tournaments this weekend.

Gutshot/Sporting Odds kicked off their beanfest an hour late, I'm sure they were doing their best to start on time but it didn't happen. Adding two tables next door took some extra time to set up and also extended the time it would take to reach the last 18. At least they didn't make it 11-handed. Anyway, the lucky 18 bagged their chips at 7-30am. They must have been lined up under starters orders. "You have six and a half hours to get home, get some sleep and get back here again. Starting from ... Now !". Of course, some may have been in hotels, which wouldn't be so bad but bear in mind that's another £60 on your expenses, win or lose.

At the Vic, they made everyone assemble at 2-30 on Friday, only to tell half of them to come back again on Saturday. Doesn't anyone realise what a pain in the arse it is to fight your way through London on a weekday afternoon ? Maybe they were concerned that anyone drawn on the second day in advance would try to duck out. And quite rightly, seeing as they would be at a gross disadvantage in my opinion.

This works in America for two reasons. 1) They start at noon. 2) Almost all the players have rooms in the same building or somewhere close by. It clearly does not work in Central London. I can't play poker at 3am. I can barely see the cards. That's not an excuse for being eliminated last night, but it's a fact. I don't know what the solution is for cardrooms, but I have a fair idea what the solution is for me.

Personally, I didn't play well yesterday. I didn't have much to do until the key hand came up. At that point I didn't give enough thought to what my opponent held (to check-raise the pre-flop raiser). I'd still have done the same thing if I had, but that's not the point. The process is what counts. I struggled with 30 hands/hour when I'm used to 120. I was irritated by the number of people who knocked my shoulder or even my ear going back and forwards behind me. These are little things that shouldn't bother you when you're in the right frame of mind. I'm annoyed today to have done £550 all told, and taken 8 hours of my time to do it playing 90 minutes of poker. Against Willy Tann and Burnley John, when there are hundreds of people online who barely know that a flush beats a straight.

So you're welcome to it for a while. I'll have to get some practice in live before going to St. Kitts but that's all it will be. Live and learn ! Good luck to Richard G at the Vic today but he'll have a job finishing ahead of Tony Bloom who would have to be my favourite.

Finally many congratulations to Keith and Katherine on the birth of baby Jake. You can see a picture here. A poker wedding and a poker birth in two weekends ! What's the world coming to :-)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It'll Never Catch On

Back from the £500 at Gutshot. No good then :-). About an hour and a half in I had slightly more than my starting stack when I decided it was time to get funky and raise with Ks6s. Both blinds called. Flop KcQs2s. Check check, I bet. SB check-raised. I launched it all in. He actually thought about it before calling with a set of Queens, which filled up on the turn. I had 500 left but was out on the next hand. First out on our table. Standard of play wasn't bad in fact, there was one fish (besides me), also the Guvnor Willy Tann, Burnley John who was solid and Sue Jones who played quite well and was a bit unlucky. Most of the rest were pretty tight.

I don't know though. I left the house at 6.15 in plenty of time I thought, but arrived at 8-30 (it was a lot like Planes Trains and Automobiles), it kicked off late at 9, I played for 1 1/2 hours and I have just arrived home. Plus 2 hours on Wednesday to pick up the ticket. £15 travel expenses which would have been £30 more if I'd lasted past 12-30 tonight. Playing till 4 am (at least I would assume) and back the next day at 2 pm. Call me old-fashioned but I don't think it will ever replace good old online poker !

None of the above was Gutshot's or Sporting Odds' fault I should stress. Full marks to them for kicking in £10K although to put that into perspective I played 14 tournaments on line in September, and the total monies added came to more than $100K. Word to the wise for Sporting Odds while I'm here : having players and dealers wearing identical "Sporting Odds Poker Team" shirts looks a bit funny. Just a word to the wise is all :-)