Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I’ll tell you

I have always been intrigued by Nature. Not from a scientific perspective. I could wax nostalgic and romantic at length, yet for immediate purposes, I want to mention that as a child, I often wondered what I would be able to see from an ant’s perspective, a part of the natural world that my large, and perhaps cruder eye could not see me crushing as I walked along. Perhaps it is this desire, this curious nature, that keeps a peel on those things at my height.

Someone has thrown a Busch Beer can out of their car and it has landed in front of our trees roadside. It sets the stage, the context.

I am at the local convenience store. The two Punjabi women are at the counter and there is quite a line as the younger one has been learning the ropes, and from what I have been able to glean, not quickly. I am standing behind a short young woman with deep purple toenails. There are several people behind me. It is that time of day, quittin’ time, when every other customer has a case of beer in hand. A young man walks in. Jaunty, NY ball cap set so, heading for the cooler when a young woman enters, equally, no more so with the jaunt “Yo, Sammy, what up dog?” She sucker punches him in the stomach.

“Fuck, bitch!” They both laugh. The older counter woman shoots a look without surprise.

In short order, a third masculine type. They all know each other. Hugs and a punch from the slugger as all three head to the cooler.

A male voice, “Sammy, you know I didn’t steal your iPod. I just got out of the penitentiary, man.” A conversation ensues punctuated with impropriety.

“We’ll talk. Let’s go outside.”

No, man, I don’t wanna fight.”

“We ain’t gonna fight. Just come outside.”

More “fuck this and that” as negotiations continue through a subtext known only to the conversants as I get my mints and a drink. I think that I might hang back just in case as I like the counter women. It has taken me three years to get the old one to smile. I’m invested. One of the guys leave and I take this as a defusing.

Pet store to by duck feed. The price always takes my breath. I again curse the corn cartel for the extra water in my gas tank.

Hardware store. Third time with a key that seems to defy duplication. It is an unusually long wait for someone to try his hand.

“Has the staff been cut?” There used to be six people working the floor. I knew the answer. New owners. More discreet direction of the conversation reveals that the old proprietors are greatly missed. The conversation starts to swerve to the economy and politics just about the same time the key is cut. We agree to part ways.

On to the likker store. The Dear Wife wants to try a couple specialty drinks and gift a bottle to a friend for his 50th. No men work at the store, save the owner. The women are all very short and very thin, all friendly. The youngest help me find the rarities. She is fresh off of a very short maternity leave. As she rings up another breath-stopper, she slight-of-hands an itch there.

I miss live poker.


slyerthanu2 said, "worthles f88k"
mondo nutz said, "well that was lucky"
mondo nutz said, "i swear i lose more against bad players"
Miti 0804 said, "u lose bec.. u r a bad player"
bastinptc said, "guess he told you, lol"
mondo nutz said, "lol"
mondo nutz said, "i should say i don't win as much"
bastinptc said, "that's the spirit"
mondo nutz said, "on the .25 table"
mondo nutz said, "s i've almost doubled in 2 of them"
mondo nutz said, "made 5 in the other"
bastinptc said, "but it's past bedtime"
mondo nutz said, "should i have bet that miti....would that make me a better player...loll"
bastinptc said, "thought about bluffing the flush :)"
mondo nutz said, "a lot of people to bluff against"
bastinptc said, "a lot of people who insta call too"
mondo nutz said, "i suk...i know"
mondo nutz said, "just lucky"
mondo nutz said, "should i have played it slower...lol"
bastinptc said, "not much I could do about that one, NH Timbaz"
Timbaz said, "th, na you had to call"
Timbaz said, "ty"
mondo nutz said, "had to call on the turn?"
mondo nutz said, "i should replay"
mondo nutz said, "lmao....your a bad player bastic...u waited to bet until u where behind"
mondo nutz said, "then u went for it against 2"
mondo nutz said, "pretty atrocious...lol"
Timbaz said, "i think bast played it fine, but im no good at plo :)"
bastinptc said, "I'll run it by the 2+2 forum"
bastinptc said, "and don't speak so harshly again other Oregonians, Mondo :)"
bastinptc said, "that better?"
bastinptc said, "see, that's why I don't"
mondo nutz said, "lol...so u wait till the turn to lose it all?"
mondo nutz said, "i had an insanely good hand...but couldn't play it cause 2 many in"
bastinptc said, "well, it’ll be like pissin in the wind now, and I'm exhausted, gn"


In the process of sending letters and CVs to various local colleges and universities. It’s a tedious process, especially given the assessment that I write cover letters like English is my second language. Not too far from the truth as I was weaned on German translations and voices in my head. DW suggested a break, maybe a little poker. I removed my belt, wrapped it around my left bicep and searched for a vein.

I wasn’t in the mood for comraderie, let alone people of any ilk, so I thought I’d try out the bots at Poker Academy. I hadn’t played them but once since getting the software three and a half years ago. So, I pulled up a full ring NLHE table and set out on my 150 hands per hour romp. I played off and on through the afternoon, evening and midnight hour.

If one busts out of said game, one can opt to reload, and while I never was felted, I did reload three times early on when my stack approached 50BBs. The bots have no such option, and when stacked, they sit and watch the remainder. I set myself a goal. I would be the last one standing.

Heads up took 500 hands, or thereabouts, even with my 2:1 chip advantage. I was in the zone, yet towards the end, I was zoned. Cause for celebration. Woo hoo. So empty.

Geez, 12:30. What to do now? Go to PA and chat with friends while playing a little $50NL. I mention my game with the bots. Equally non-plussed. The bots are easy prey. Yes, I realized early that I would come out victorious. Where’s the fun in that?

I was not so certain of success at this table. Patience was gone, head was fuzzed up, so I pleaded a coma and left. And went to Stars. First hand I tripled up when my flopped str8 actually survived a set and flush draw.

I could have left right then and there.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


In that it is the Sabbath for some and a relatively mild yet sunny day, my DW and I thought it a good time to get down on our hands and knees and finish weeding the garden. The thistles, purslane, smartweed and amaranth put up a good fight, and I am certain will return, yet for now, the vegetables will not have to compete for nutrients. We shared a light snack of the first few raw green beans, and tonight we are eating greens and broccoli fresh as they can be.

I’m a praying man; or rather, I am an abject sinner, both humbled and rebellious in my spirit and somewhere on the continuum of that conflict , the need to pull back and plea or move forward with a nod of thanks plays through my thoughts. And in the garden, I have a lot of time to think. That’s it. Nothing profound today. Just thought I’d mention it.

Actually, I thought about poker. Like I said, nothing profound.

Actually… no, on second thought…

Yesterday, while I was filling the ducks’ water buckets in the paddock, I noticed the birds were a little jumpy. The were turning their heads on an angle that allowed them to look up in the sky. As most know, aside from owls, birds lack stereopsis. They do not have depth perception because they do not focus both eyes front-and-center. Instead, their brains accept signals in a way that brings “focus” to one eye. Now, I don’t know all of the physiology behind this, and it is a digression anyway.

Something had their attention. At first I thought it might be the vulture that cast a shadow over us, yet they continued to look up, and then moved into their lean-to. A bald eagle and another large raptor were riding thermals at about 500 and 600 feet respectively. I lost them in the sun, and eventually the duck re-emerged to continue foraging.

Buckets full, I wished them well. Their St. Francis statue was back in the coop.

The garden. For a growth comparison, look here.

L to R: garlic, cherry maters, various cucumbers and squash, nothing and more squash.

L to R: Red spuds, russets, 2 rows of all blue, kale and cabbage kin, mustards and peppers, and basils and peppers.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Looking for outs

Quit playing crap hands…crap hands…crap hands…

I just caint hep m’self!

The table is ultra tight. My buddy Forrest Gump is sitting two to my right. Oh great. I’m under scrutiny. I’m thinking about the last few poker-related posts, and FG’s question from yesterday, which, in its essence is, how does one get an extra edge in the micros. Sure, play tight and win on a consistent basis, if at a snail’s pace. But there has to be room for the occasional speculative play, no? Call a raise, see what comes and then decide. As Hwang says, Omaha players come to call. It’s a double-edged sword, to be sure, and the variance can be troubling, yet when one is playing 20% for a long period of time, well, it just gets tedious after a while. The other players notice (the good ones, anyway), and get a read, meaning that you’re not going to make money except from the worst players, and, boys and girls, their numbers are diminishing daily in PLO.

At least that’s what I’m subscribing to, as recently I have had a difficult time making any headway. I can tolerate the six-outers if there is some balance. I have to be able to felt a player once in a while too. It’s just fair.

I’m kinda having some fun here. I know that my thinking is a bit off, yet I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that I am just your average recreational player, at least that’s one tact I’m taking to keep the stress at a minimum, so I figure I’m allowed.

With that being said, I know I can get better at the games I play. As my Dear Mother told me so often as a child, I am educable. In the meantime, I will utilize what skills I have, such as reading a board and noting betting patterns of opponents, create an alternate strategy and use those things to find an edge.

My usual hand converter doesn't seem to want to work for me today, so I'm going to try a different one. Not so sure I like the format, yet what I do like is the fact that other players' nicks are shown, so maybe I'll start getting some more hits on my blog. It could happen... Actually, it may encourage me to discuss the hands in more depth as I can directly refer to the players without happen to cross reference other files. Here goes:
Hand converter-Pokerhand.org

PokerStars, $0.05/0.10 Pot limit Omaha Cash Games, 9 Players

qwertyy66 (UTG): $15.30
bastinptc (CO): $10.15
tereg (Button): $10.30
jonndough (SB): $9.70
tccjcc (BB): $10
titiaustra (UTG+1): $6.15
nofriendo (MP1): $9.50
sekmi (MP2): $12.05
Forrest Gump (MP4): $9.70
Dealt to: bastinptc
titiaustra calls $.10, (1 folds), sekmi calls $.10, (2 folds), bastinptc calls $.10, tereg raises to $.40, (1 folds), tccjcc calls $.30, titiaustra calls $.30, (1 folds), bastinptc calls $.30,

I have relatively good position here in the CO to call. Tereg is a pretty tight player and haven't seen him do anything that indicates that he doesn't know how to play this game. If others folded, then perhaps I would as well, yet I'm getting pretty good odds to stay.
Flop:($1.75) (4 Players)
tccjcc checks, titiaustra bets $.20, bastinptc calls $.20, tereg calls $.20, tccjcc raises to $2, titiaustra calls $1.80, bastinptc calls $1.80, (1 folds),
Turn: ($7.95) (3 Players)
tccjcc bets $7.60 and is all-in, titiaustra calls $3.75 and is all-in, bastinptc calls $7.60,
River: ($26.90) (3 Players)
tccjcc Showed
bastinptc Showed

bastinptc wins $7.30
titiaustra Showed

bastinptc wins $18.30

I went into the tank a bit on this one. I knew I was up against a set, maybe two. The little bit of extra money that titi put into the pot made me lean toward calling. I was getting a little better than 2:1 on my money, so I gambled a bit.

Forrest Gump said, "nh"
tccjcc said, "nice catch is more like it"
bastinptc said, “It was a toss-up.”
tccjcc said, "how is it????"
FG said, "dont tap on the pond Tcc"
bastinptc said, "I flipped a coin"
tccjcc said, "all in for a draw\"
Fg said, "he ken shove his draws if he like"
tccjcc said, "you're the boss"
FG said, "master class my friend"
tereg said, "it was a 17 card wrap, was it not?"
bastinptc said, “shhh”

FG will often start a chat like this to stir things up. He uses his chat well, and while I am usually mute, I thought I'd give it a try. I was hoping that we might get a bigger rise out of the guy.

Meanwhile, I am looking at the lobby for another table to load up and I see something one rarely sees at these small tables. There is a room where they are consistently playing at 70% and the pots are always at $9 or $10. And no surprise that FG is in that room as well. I get on the waiting list, hoping that whatever is going on continues long enough for me to get a piece.

The villain is potting almost every hand preflop, regardless of position, and he’s hitting. FG takes it on the chin a couple times and leaves. I figure the guy has a wide range, so I use the same strategy as the in the other game, calling the occasional raise. He usually pots the flop regardless as well, so it is easy to get out when it is clear I don’t have a set or decent draw. In that the pots are often jamfests, I figure I’m risking 60 cents or so up front to win a lot more. The other regulars, quertyy and tereg are doing the same.
Hand converter-Pokerhand.org

PokerStars, $0.05/0.10 Pot limit Omaha Cash Games, 9 Players

kobra1337 (UTG): $10
giddup (UTG+1): $8.60
qwertyy66 (MP1): $34.90
tereg (MP2): $18.45
bastinptc (MP4): $9.65
skipper57 (CO): $5
HOOSIERNUTS (Button): $9.40
cieri48 (SB): $.95
chainsaw24 (BB): $54.60
Dealt to: bastinptc
(1 folds), giddup calls $.10, (2 folds), bastinptc calls $.10, skipper57 calls $.10, HOOSIERNUTS calls $.10, cieri48 calls $.05, chainsaw24 raises to $.70, (1 folds), bastinptc calls $.60, skipper57 calls $.60, HOOSIERNUTS calls $.60, cieri48 calls $.60,

I called here, not because I had position, albeit I did have position on chainsaw, and I was double-suited with the wheel draw, but because I knew that the other three players would also call. They had been going toe-to-toe with chainsaw more than any of the other players, and having played Hoosier and skipper many times, I knew they played a wide range of hands. On the flop, my hand played itself.
Flop:($3.70) (5 Players)
cieri48 checks, chainsaw24 bets $3.45, bastinptc raises to $8.95 and is all-in, (2 folds), cieri48 calls $.25 and is all-in, chainsaw24 calls $5.50,
Turn: ($21.85) (3 Players)
River: ($21.85) (3 Players)
chainsaw24 Showed
bastinptc Showed

bastinptc wins $16.55
cieri48 Showed

cieri48 wins $4.15

A short while later I flopped two pair, Aces and Tens, against his set of tens. I smooth called his pot-sized bet and the turn brought another Ace. Lucky me. I reraised this time and he doubled me up again with his underfull.

Ultimately, I must conclude that I make my play fit the table. I pay very close attention to what other players show down, how often they are in a pot, and how often I see them at the tables, and use that information to my advantage. Isn't that what good poker is all about?