Friday, April 29, 2005

I just noticed...

that I referred to myself in the third person yesterday. Y'all smack me when I do something retarded like that again, ok?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Oh my....

I tried my hand at a FPP satellite on PS just now.

Went out on the first hand. Holding a full house.

At least I was aggressive.

[BSN scratches his head and wonders how the hell he managed THAT!]

For you bonus whores out there... ;-)

Lewis would like to have a word with you (PS: If anyone has a link to Paul Phillips archive of his back and forth with the Nigerians, please post it in comments - it was one of the funniest things I've read!). It's a good thing he mentioned there being an attorney involved, and how he wants to invest in real estate in my country, because I wasn't too sure about this until he added those two sweeteners.

Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2005 12:51:05 -0400
From: 'Lewis Musasike (lmusasike9)'
Subject: please assist
To: lmusasike@dearriba.com

Mr Lewis Musasike
Development Bank of South Africa.
1258 Lever Road
Headway Hill,
MIDRAND
Republic Of South Africa.
Email:lmusasike9@dearriba.com

Hello,

I am Mr Lewis Musasike, General Manager(Treasury) of Development Bank of South Africa. This is an urgent and very confidential business proposition.

On May 27, 2000,a Foreign Oil consultant/contractor with the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Mr. Kelvin Smith made a numbered time(Fixed) Deposit for twelve
calendar months, valued at US$10,500,000.00, (Ten Million, five hundred thousand Dollars).

Upon maturity,I sent a routine notification to his forwarding address but got no reply. After a
month,we sent a reminder and finally we discovered from his contract employers, the National
Petroleum Corporation that Mr. Kelvin Smith died from an automobile accident. On further
investigation, I found out that he died without making a WILL,and all attempts to trace his next of kin was fruitless.

I therefore made further investigation and discovered that Mr. Kelvin Smith did not declare any kin or relations in all his official documents, including his Bank Deposit paperwork in my Bank. This sum of US$10,500,000.00 has carefully been fixed in my bank for safekeeping.

No one will ever come forward to claim it. According to South African Law, at the expiration of 5 (five) years, the money will revert to the ownership of the Government if nobody applies to claim the fund.

Consequently, my proposal is that I will like you as a Foreigner to stand in as the owner of the
money which was fixed deposited in my bank. I am writing you because I as a public servant, i cannot operate a foreign account.

I want to present you as the owner of the funds so you can be able to claim them with the help of my attorney. This is simple. I will like you to provide immediately your full names and address so that the Attorney will prepare the necessary documents which will put you in place as the beneficiary of the funds.

The money will be moved out for us to share in the ratio of 60% for me and 40% for you. The
paperwork for this transaction will be done by the Attorney. If you are interested, please reply
immediately via my email address and Upon your response, I shall then provide you with more details and relevant documents that will help you understand the transaction. Please observe utmost confidentiality, and be rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in real estate within your
country.

Due to the confidentiality nature of this Transaction our communication can only be via email and fax mostly.

Awaiting your urgent reply via my email Above.

Thanks and my regards.
Lewis Musasike.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Psychology of Poker

Per Felicia's advice, I hit Inter-Library Loan and ordered up Psychology of Poker. While mining the catalog, I came across this one:
Aggressive behavior in a small social group; bluffing, risking, and the
desire to beat being studied by the use of a poker game as an experimental
technique,
- Ethel Marie Riddle
If I read the record correctly, it was written in 1925. A poker psychology book written by a woman 80 years ago? I am just too curious for words!

Thanks for the advice, Felicia, and thanks for stopping by.

******************
I also see that Iggy responded quickly to twist my arm, so I went over to Pokerstars to check regiatrations. It's only at 9 right now, so I can see why everyone that can play ought to play. I'll play it by ear. I'm a micro-limit player and I can't afford too many of these, so I want to be sure I am fresh and ready to play when/if I show up. Although, if registrations are getting close, I imagine I'll sign up just to get us over the 50 needed. I love the idea of a blogger contingent winning their way in like this, and want to be supportive. I hope all of the winners do something to show solidarity at the tourney, like maybe wear one of Maudie's shirts?

Like I said after the last tourney, I know I played the best poker of my life on Sunday, and could still only get to 10th place. I don't expect to have learned anything in 7 days that will improve this.

Ick.

With the exception of the hammer hand below, I've been playing horribly tight-weak for the last 2 days. I don't know why. I can see myself doing it, and can't stop. Wierd.

Anyway, I'll take the next couple days off and get my head together. Always works for me. I may not come back for Sunday's WSOP tourney. No sense blowing $33 if I'm going to play like a pussy. I'd much rather go out fighting to the last than being everyone's calling-station-bitch.

How is this for soul-crushing hand?

What is the world coming to when you hit a hammer flop like this on the second hand of the SNG and get sucked out on??
;-)

PokerStars Game #1594405937: Tournament #7387534, Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2005/04/27 - 09:24:43 (ET)

Table '7387534 1' Seat #2 is the button
Seat 1: corko (1500 in chips)
Seat 2: robo666 (1490 in chips)
Seat 3: Evaml (1480 in chips)
Seat 4: BigSlickNut (1500 in chips)
Seat 5: dwalkster (1300 in chips)
Seat 6: geoffrie (1500 in chips)
Seat 8: 1mellofello (3230 in chips)
Seat 9: ShanFan30 (1500 in chips)
Evaml: posts small blind 10
BigSlickNut: posts big blind 20

*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BigSlickNut [2c 7d]
dwalkster: calls 20
geoffrie: folds
1mellofello said, "thnx, tuff one 4 u"
1mellofello: folds
ShanFan30: calls 20
corko: calls 20
robo666: folds
Evaml: calls 10
BigSlickNut: raises 40 to 60
dwalkster: calls 40
ShanFan30: calls 40
corko: calls 40
Evaml: folds

*** FLOP *** [2h 5d 2s]
BigSlickNut: bets 100
dwalkster: raises 1140 to 1240 and is all-in
ShanFan30: folds
corko: folds
BigSlickNut: calls 1140
dwalkster said, "nh"

*** TURN *** [2h 5d 2s] [6s]

*** RIVER *** [2h 5d 2s 6s] [Ks]
BigSlickNut said, "not so fast"

*** SHOW DOWN ***
BigSlickNut: shows [2c 7d] (three of a kind, Deuces)
dwalkster: shows [6h 6c] (a full house, Sixes full of Deuces)
BigSlickNut said, "gg"
dwalkster collected 2740 from pot
dwalkster said, "wow"

*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 2740 Rake 0
Board [2h 5d 2s 6s Ks]
Seat 1: corko folded on the Flop
Seat 2: robo666 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Evaml (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: BigSlickNut (big blind) showed [2c 7d] and lost with three of a kind, Deuces
Seat 5: dwalkster showed [6h 6c] and won (2740) with a full house, Sixes full of Deuces
Seat 6: geoffrie folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: 1mellofello folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: ShanFan30 folded on the Flop

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

A discussion...

skitch said...
I'm pretty sure I'm the one who broke your heart... I'd love to see the hand-history to make sure my story is straight, but if I recall, the all-in raise was pretty small. I had a pretty large stack at that point and only made a minimal raise. It wasn't meant as an isolation move... for all intents and purposes, you basically limped in, so I was looking to build a sidepot (hence the smallish raise) and try to outplay you for it post-flop. I stole and bluffed with a lot worse hands through-out the tourney, and if you had come on strong I would have let you have it. As it was, I ended up only against what I figured was a desperation all-in, and you're never that much of an underdog heads-up. I brought my best game and played my way to the top as well... just had an unlucky hand to bust out in 19th.No hard feelings? I'll be sending you a dozen roses and a box of chocolates to help ease the pain. ;)

Mr. K3


LOL, Yes, it was you. I'm over it, no hard feelings on my part, but I'm on a diet so please keep the chocolates but send the roses to Mrs. Big ;-)

I admit it, I over-reacted. It wasn't that many chips, and I've never tilted that bad before.

I'll also admit that when I first saw your response I wrote a lecture that would have made Sklansky proud. But then I thought better of it. ;-)

Glad you're reading, and hope to see you again at the tables.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Learning I don't have to win every hand...

...even when I know I'm ahead.

Played a $5 SNG today, feeling good after last night's tourney. Played just as tight-aggressive as last night, except, I was literally not seeing anything playable through the first 4 levels. Ugh. So no early splashing for BSN.

I tried to enter some pots, but the flops were unfavorable. I knew I was being bluffed at, but I let it go. Not enough chips to make a significant difference at that point, so why call? I could have re-raised, but I wanted to go with the flow and allow my image to be weak - If they think I can be pushed off easily, they'll do it more often.

Of course, this allowed me to execute a couple traps. The final 5 was brutally tight and I had nothing. I stole enough to maintain 3rd place, but the others wanted the money just as bad. The chip leader was playing to win and putting alot of pressure on. I just wanted to keep my head down until I got cards or some one else made a mistake. It took a loooooong time, but I did it, managing to hit the money with almost exactly the chipstack I had when we were at 5. Good enough.

Kept playing tight-aggressive, always raising when I came in regardless of my cards. I didn't want to show any weakness at this point or I'd be dead meat. Managed to suck out on a suck-out artist and cripple him. He was out in 2 hands, and I was heads-up at a 4-1 chip deficit. I did alot of stealing, but it helped that the chip leader went into weak mode, waiting for big cards to pound me. I just folded if he played back and moved on to the next hand. I had one double-up early, then it was chip-away time until he had 6 BBs left.

I came in with 6-7o, and was immediately raised T800. It felt like a play, but I thought if the flop was low cards I might be able to trap. 4-4-5 wasn't ideal, but ok, but then he went all-in. I knew he had at least one big card to make that raise. But, I was defintely worried about 55 or that his kicker hit.

I went into the tank. It would cost me 1/3 of my remaining chips to possibly win by hitting one of 8 outs. I might already be crushed, though. If I lost, we'd be about even, but if I won, I won. I annoounced my hand, then made the call. He had K-6h, so he was ahead but my cards were still live with two to come. He must've felt it because he typed in "gg" before the cards flipped.

Caught my 3 on the turn for the win. Good karma from last night still flowing, thankfully.

Amazing what a little participation in the community will do...

...despite my 10th place finish, my blog traffic was up over 2 1/2 times average, matching a day back in January when someone *ahem* criticized the Hammer.

I find it comforting that a celebration of all things good about blogging, including the hammer (see mine below), generates as much traffic as controversy.

Well done everyone.

(PS: I'm almost over it. Not quite, but almost. Need to let it go, but.....)

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A report from the fat bastard that busted out 1 short of the final table...

My, my...

Ok, I have to thank Iggy and Otis for getting all this organized - outstanding event!

I'm also pretty proud of my play, especially against this field. Seventy-six outstanding players! My 10th place is my best in a MTT. I've come close to it against larger fields, but never fields with this kind of quality. So, good BSN, real good.

Got to drop the hammer once, which I detailed below. I got a fair amount of decent hands, which I also detailed below. However, JJ was the best hand I saw all night. No QQ, KK, or AA. So, I feel better about my performance for not having gotten the very top hands. I was very aggressive most of the time when I had the cards, and managed to execute some steals. Got lucky once or twice also.

************************
[Temper Tantrum Begins]
Now, I have never, ever, criticized another blogger by name before... and I won't start now (which is why I won't post the hand history). But dude, if you're reading this, you DO NOT re-raise someone that has already called an all-in with K-3o. Re-raising means you think your hand is good enough to isolate - and it WASN'T. Not on any day of the week. Not at that table in this tournament. Not, Not, Not... {BSN stamps his feet and punches the air}

Yes, my AJ would have won the hand and busted someone out. But it isn't nearly strong enough to call an isolation move like that. Instead, Mr. K-3o doubled the other player up.

I probably could have re-raised the all-in to isolate also, but in a winner-take-all event like that I didn't think it was prudent. I wanted the all-in player OUT, but I wasn't strong enough and WANTED to see others call so we could check it down and remove another obstacle to the prize.

I don't know if you're a reader of this blog or not, but you broke my heart. {sniff} Please, please, please tell me what you were thinking??? I mean, if you were first to act, ok, but re-raising???
[TEMPER TANTRUM ENDS]

**********************************
Ok, enough whining. I admit it, I made a mistake in not calling when I would have been getting about 3.5:1 calling the re-raise. But, honest to God, I read KK or AA. Those were the ONLY hands it made sense to make that move with. So, my read that I was, what, a 4:1 dog at best?

Guess, I still had some whining to do. I can't help it, I was in the top 5 at that point, and as you can easily tell, I've been steaming ever since. Just couldn't let it go. I managed to get back where I was in chips, but my heart was pretty much gone.

At least I lasted longer than Mr. K-3o.

***********************************

Guess I should just watch the end of the tourney. Nobody likes a whiner. AT least I did what I set out to do - I played the best poker of my life. I wasn't good enough today.

But I will be someday.

45 minutes in...

...and I've seen AK 5 times, and JJ twice...

Pokerstars is rigged...

This was fun...

PokerStars Game #1579597355: Tournament #7037849, Hold'em No Limit - Level I (10/20) - 2005/04/24 - 19:09:19 (ET)
Table '7037849 10' Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: Donegal (1498 in chips)
Seat 2: heL1xx (1450 in chips)
Seat 3: BigSlickNut (1530 in chips)
Seat 4: TNSpaceman (1480 in chips)
Seat 5: lucas67 (1350 in chips)
Seat 6: Drizztdj (1754 in chips)
Seat 7: xupugh (1340 in chips)
Seat 8: lifesagrind (1858 in chips)
Seat 9: ephro (2050 in chips)
Donegal: posts small blind 10
heL1xx: posts big blind 20
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to BigSlickNut [2h 7s]
BigSlickNut: raises 40 to 60
TNSpaceman: folds
lucas67: folds
Drizztdj: folds
xupugh: calls 60
lifesagrind: folds
ephro: raises 120 to 180
Donegal: folds
heL1xx: folds
BigSlickNut: raises 120 to 300
xupugh: folds
ephro: calls 120
*** FLOP *** [5h 5c 6d]
BigSlickNut: bets 320
ephro: folds
BigSlickNut collected 690 from pot
BigSlickNut: shows [2h 7s] (a pair of Fives)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 690 | Rake 0
Board [5h 5c 6d]
Seat 1: Donegal (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: heL1xx (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: BigSlickNut collected (690)
Seat 4: TNSpaceman folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: lucas67 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Drizztdj folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: xupugh folded before Flop
Seat 8: lifesagrind folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: ephro (button) folded on the Flop

Distractions...

"Now all you have to do is play the best poker of your life."
- G-Rob

Yeah, I know. And that just got more difficult by several magnitudes.

I have the smallest of the biggettes at home with me, alone. Three years old. Running back and forth between Scooby Doo on the TV and My Little Pony on the PC. I think, in a fair fight, Sparkleworks could take Scooby.

Hoe did this happen on the night when I have to, as G-Rob stated, play the best poker of my life?

Well, two nights ago, one of my dogs (We have two) got into a trash bag we'd forgotten to take out before we left for dinner. In the bag was a soiled diaper, and the contents of said diaper were spread throughout our domicile like the aftermath of scat party. During the night, Buddy (yeah, I'm real creative with dog names - the other one is Big Dog, because he's... big) started vomiting. Then, it was over. During the day, however, he grew more and more lethargic, not even barking when anyone came to the door. Very unusual, I've never seen him like this in 7 yrs. Today, he's shaking as though in a fever. So, Mrs. Big has hauled him to the emergency vet.

Sure hope I play the best poker of my life and get busted out in second place so I can pay that bill!

So, if I take too long to bet or call, or make plays that have the rest of you going, "WTF?" it's this reason. And yes, I am making my excuses in advance.

Da' Home Game

Got there late due to my banking of marital chips (I took Mrs. Big to dinner and a movie, then got the kids in bed). When I arrived, BuccaneerMike and Joeboddy were heads-up in the end-game of the first freezeout with $100 on the line. Apparently, they had been heads-up for quite-a-while, an ironic point I was sure to mention repeatedly due to their past insistence that final two players "just push their chips and get it over with so we can get on to the next game." BuccaneerMike looked almost crippled when I got there, but he turned on the aggression and took back the chip lead and won.

Short-handed play was the theme for the evening, with some surprisingly good poker being played - a good warm-up for tonight's WSOP blogger satellite. Very few family pots, lots of isolation plays. Decent pre-flop play, but unusually in our game, outstanding post-flop play. I managed to bust out BuccaneerMike on the first hand of the first freeze-out I played, doubling up with a brutal river suck-out. I had KhQh, flopped top pair, and we went to raising. With top pair and a flush draw on the turn, we had so much money in the pot that I went all-in to try to push him off what I was sure was top two pair. Turned out he had bottom two pair, and I caught my Q on the river.

I sat tight for a long while and really built up that tighty-whitey image, then tried to bluff at the wrong time. There had been lots of bluffing going on to obvious weakness, but when I tried it I got trapped twice. Wound up with a smaller than average chipstack. Everyone there was serious about their game and it showed. I busted out third, but I can't even remember the hand it was so unremarkable.

In the second freeze-out, I flopped a straight and an open-ended straight-flush draw and went all-in to force anyone with the Ace or King to fold. An FNG made a tough call for all his chips, very borderline, but he hit his flush and my straight flush didn't complete. He wound up riding my chips to the win.

We were playing for double our usual buy-ins, which probably helped weed out the calling stations suck-out artists and kept the rest of us on our games.

UPDATE: Oh shit, I forgot to mention that I got to drop the Hammer big time in this game! It's probably what led to that borderline call by the FNG, though. I played that fucker like it was Aces and picked over T800 on a big-card flop. But, the only way I picked it up is because I got distracted, saw a King and an Ace flop and threw T500 into the pot. Only problem was, I was on the button!

Ooops!

Two players showed me the Kings they were folding. I don't know if I would have had the balls to keep pushing in the face of obvious strength on that flop. Anyway, after they showed me their Kings (Like, "Look at what you're screwing around has cost you, I would have bet at it, dumbass!), I showed them the Hammer and gave the Tiger Woods fist pump and screamed "It's da' Hammer, baby!" Yeah, that got a laugh. It also got me that call that busted me out.

I've never claimed to be a Hammer phenom like the rest of you. I'm strictly triple-A.

****************************
I've given Mrs. Big the heads-up about tonight's tournament, and let her know that, if I am lucky enough to win, I am honor-bound to use the money to play in the tournament, even if I have to cash in a frequent-flier ticket to do it. It would also mean missing her mother's 65th birthday.

Her response: "Go win us a million dollars, honey."

Times like that I remember why I love her. ;-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

BadBlood's Assigment

My WSOP Fantasy

I got here by winning the blogger’s online satellite, cracking Pauly’s Hilton Sisters with the Hammer when I caught runner-runner 7s after I pushed on a raggedy flop. Mrs. Big was none too keen about me using my frequent flier miles for a trip to Vegas; she wanted to go to NYC in the fall. And when I told her I had to pay for my own hotel room, she about lost it and demanded I sell my entry.

WTF?

I’d sooner donate sperm on the 50-yard line at halftime of the Bucs season opener (Oh wait, wrong fantasy…)

So I arrived in Vegas and came out of baggage claim to find a driver with my name on a placard. Wow, I had planned to just grab a cab, but good for me! I asked the driver who sent him and he told me the Up For Poker boys had ponied up the dough out of respect for how I had slowplayed my Aces on a QJT spade flop and rivered that royal flush to bust Otis out on the first hand of the satellite. Thanks guys!

Waiting inside the limo are Al’s Gals and a bottle of Soco. Gentlemanly discretion and community property laws prevent me from describing what happened on the drive to the Aladdin, so just suffice it to say the ladies wanted to just how big and slick (ok, I really need to stick to the fantasy at hand!...)

It was happy hour when I arrived at the Aladdin, so in blogger-time that means…. 7:00 a.m. (Note: Logical timelines get suspended in BSN fantasy-land. Deal with it.). I joined the bloggers at the bar and tried to order something mild for breakfast, like a Bloody Mary, but Al called me a pussy and handed me a shot, and Iggy slid a Guinness chaser down the bar to me. I grabbed some Krispy Kreme’s out of the box on the bar to help soak up the alcohol – don’t want to be too drunk when I sit down at the tournament.

About an hour before the cards were set to fly, Otis looked in my eyes and announced to the crowd, “He’s ill-equipped!” A cheer went up from the multitudes. At this moment, Hank decided this would be a good time to tell me his strategy for calculating the implied odds of betting into a rainbow flop of face cards with 2-3 offsuit. Thusly confused, I turned for help from Otis.

“Tell me that damn MTT strategy you’ve been working on since January!”

“No, I’m still working on it,” he replied.

“But, Otis, you’ve won $685,000 dollars in the last 6 months, don’t you think you’ve nailed it?”

“”No, I made that bad play 3 months ago and finished 3rd for $10,000 when I could have made a different play and finished 2nd for $12,000, so it isn’t ready for the public yet.”

So, there I was. Walking into the $1500 NLHE event at the WSOP, bloated from eating a dozen Krispy Kreme’s; confused about implied odds and whether to play loose-aggressive, loose-weak, tight-weak, tight-aggressive, tight-loose, loose-tight, weak-aggressive, aggressive weak; drunk from repeated shots of Soco; and drained from thirty minutes of heaven with Al’s Gals.

To summarize, I was fat, dumb, and happy.

So we move the party over to the Rio and I find the tournament room. I had expected the bloggers to railbird me, but there were seats at the bar and they could always follow the action on a laptop by reading Otis or Pauly’s reports.

I take my seat at table 72, acknowledging my numerical good fortune with a silent thank you to the poker gods. Seated across from me is the Matador himself, Michael Madsen. We get to mix it up on the first hand. I’m dealt AQs and announce a raise to T150. Madsen calls without looking at his cards. I roll my eyes. The rest of the table folds around and the flop is dealt: AAQ.

Naturally, I check and Madsen pushes all-in without looking at his cards. I am dumbstruck. Befuddled. Bewildered. Puzzled. I have the best hand, I’m sure, but I have to ask anyway.

“You push all-in for a $375 dollar pot without looking at your cards?”

“I didn’t have to look at my cards – I looked at you and saw you don’t have anything,” he replied.

Oh brother, quoting his own lines. How pathetic.

“I call,” I announce, much more wearily than I should on the first hand.

Of course, he’s got nothing and I double up. On the first hand. Fifteen minutes later, I hear a cheer go up from somewhere outside of the room, where the bloggers have just read Otis’ report while slamming shots of Soco. A minute later, a shot arrived. WTF?? I’m in a tournament here??!?!!

Oh, screw it, I’m already ill-equipped, what’s one more gonna hurt?

I wake up two hours later with the imprint of my Mickey pin/card protector pressed firmly in my cheek and my stack a bit lower than when I passed out due to being blinded off. Not to worry, I did double up and it’s only the second level; hell, Hellmuth just walked in the room. I can’t be in THAT bad of shape, can I?

Oh crap. Hellmuth just sat down at my table and with his trademark sneer, mutters “how’s it going today, boys?”

I repress the urge to vomit Soco and Krispy Kreme’s and wait for the cards to fly. Hellmuth checks his cards and lays out a standard raise. I figure he’s just putting the table on notice and plan to just drop my cards, but I check them and see a suited 6-9. Gotta play 6-9, and I’ve gotta raise it up. It’s my thing.

The flop comes 7-8-A, rainbow. Phil throws out a big bet of about two times the pot. I don’t really have the odds to call a bet this big, but I’ve got a feeling, ya know? And, of course, the turn brings a 5, giving me the nut straight. Phil pushes all-in and I’m sure he’s sitting on pocket aces, giving him top set. Of course, I call and flip over Big Lick.

While cleaning the bits of brain matter that splattered all over the table when Phil’s head exploded, I heard another cheer go up from the bar. It was too soon for Otis’ report of this hand to hit the blog, so I shouted across to Pauly to ask what’s up. He shouted back that April had walked into the bar with a satisfied grin, spinning Wil Wheaton’s underpants around her index finger.

Another shot arrived, and this was the first time that I realized that the waitress had kept bringing me shots every 10 minutes while I was passed out, in accordance with the blogger’s directions. Apparently, I had some catching up to do.

Our table broke, and I found myself sitting in between Scotty Nguyen and Men the Master. I shuttled the shots over and split them up with the boys and they agreed not to check-raise me in return. Thank god for Soco!

With my investment of alcohol in Scotty and Men, I was able to grind along happily for a few more levels. Eventually, they both passed out and their chips were blinded away. I was in good shape and went on autopilot for a few hours, content to just play my big cards and the obvious stealing situations. I was ill-equipped for much else.

Fast-forward to the final table: I am the short-stack going in. I get sat between Negreanu and Annie Duke. Looking around the table, I realize it’s the same line-up as the Tournament of Champions, with the exception of Hellmuth whose head exploded earlier in the tournament. As Negreanu sits down he mutters, “Hag” while nodding at Annie, to which she responds, “Fag.”

WTF? Is he gay? Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but… is he? I scoot closer to Annie, hoping the lingering scent of my time with Al’s Gals mingled with Soco, Krispy Kreme, and Hellmuth’s dried brain matter would turn her on. Not that I’m attracted to her or anything. It’s just that with a woman like Annie, guys want to have sex with her so they can call her names in bed.

The grand old man, Doyle, raised the first hand UTG. When the action gets around to Chip Reese, he mucks his cards but they inadvertently slide into a stray chip and flip over, showing pocket Kings.

“Holy Shit”, I think to myself, “Russ G. was telling the truth!”

I manage to survive the next few hours with brilliant short-stack play, if you call pushing all-in with any ace-big card or pair brilliant. I manage to ladder up to heads-up with Negreanu. Fucking Great! Heads-up with the Player of the Year. Crap.

While waiting for the money presentation, Negreanu offers me some veggie soup his mother made. I offer him a Krispy Kreme. He got offended and huffed away.

What did I do?

We sparred for a while, trading small portions of our stacks back and forth until he comes out of the blocks with a bet for about a third of his stack. I looked down and found the Hammer, and had a flash back to my win in the satellite.

“I’m all-in,” I announce. Knowing Danny (he told me I could call him Danny right before I offered him the donut) is capable of playing anything and making great laydowns, I honestly thought the poker gods would spare me and he would fold. Instead, he calls and flips over Queens. How apropos.

Instead of catching runner-runner, I pick up the all-time favorite blogger-flop: 772. Danny looked over at Mike Matusow in the peanut gallery, and Mike started to cry. I made a mental note to read about how Danny didn’t-really-feel-like-playing-but-went-anyway-out-of-obligation-to-his-sponsors-and-if-he’d-really-wanted-to-be-there-he-would-have-beaten-me.

I checked the bar for the bloggers, intent on throwing a party for those that helped me get there in the first place. The place was empty, and the bartender told me they had headed over to Sin during the money presentation.

WTF is THAT all about? Desert me in my moment of need/triumph? Harumph!

Jim McManus walks in and spots me, and asks if he can interview me for a piece he’s doing for Esquire. The working title was, “Disrespecting the Game”. I agreed on the condition he drive me over to Sin to meet up with the bloggers. He agreed, a little too quickly for a happily married man, if you ask me.

I saw the bloggers crowded around the stage, but they were all as quiet as church mice. Turned out they thought it would be fun to pretend they were online, instant messaging each other, so they would write things like, “Check out the rack on this one” on an index card and pass it around. Funny.

A cheer went up when I arrived, and I felt like the subject of a Big & Rich song as I walked in the room. After settling up Al’s tab for 136 shots of Soco and a bowl of beer nuts, I took the time to sit down and catch my breath and bask in my glory. I was soon approached by a goddess offering lap dances. Sounds good to me!

As she was grinding away, she got a big grin on her face, then turned to Grubby and said, “Gimme your hand – you’ve got to feel this thing, it’s so big!”

"… and that, your honor, is how I came to be arrested for brawling in a strip club!"

Monday, April 18, 2005

I love Stars $5 SNGs

With apologies to Al Bundy:

At Poker Stars
Where you can fold all day long
And still get a call
At Poker Stars

At Poker Stars
Where they show you their cards
And their bluffs never work
At Poker Stars

At Poker Stars
Where they overbet the flop
And underbet the turn
At Poker Stars

At Poker Stars
Where the Hammer always wins
And Aces always lose
At Poker Stars


**********************************
Oh.

My.

God!

Go read about mini-Blood's escapades.

As the father of computer-literate 3 and 6 year olds, all I can say is...

There but for the grace of God go I.
*********************************

When I grow up, I want to be Al

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Pokah!

So, I got off the variance bitch and started winning these SNGs again. Except one I just finished. Very quick bust-out. First, I had my AA beaten by 88 who rivered an inside straight. Then, AK and KQ got beaten by inferior hole cards. I split with AJs, then busted out with TT when I flopped a set but lost to J9o (who called a 4X BB raise pre-flop! Grrr......) who flopped a straight.

Oh well, one to remember... or forget, which would be for the best.

I rolled my pennies and came up with my buy-in for the blogger's WSOP satellite. Come on, check those couch cushions and fork it over folks! Soon as I get the PW from Iggy I'll be in.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Actual poker content...

$2 WSOP super-satellite at AP. Only 55 players were entered, meaning there was only one seat to the $100 satellite up for grabs. I was playing very tight. Picked up the right cards at the right time and my stack kept growing, keeping me in the top 5 for most of the tournament. My table image also allowed me to execute a couple steals, so it was basically a text-book game I was playing.

Down to the final 13 players, and I'm still in the top 5 but the top 2 had double my stack. I limped UTG with 77, and a loose, aggressive player made it 4x the big blind to go. The button called. I pushed, trying to grab the T2000+ in the pot. The loose guy folded pretty quick, obviously on a steal. The button thought a long time, so I knew he had something and was trying to figure out if *this* was the time to take a chance. He took it, and turned over 55.

A 5 on the flop buried me, and another on the river added insult to injury.

Ah, well, I was pleased with my play, and at least I know I got my money in with the best hand. Perhaps I should have only bet half my chips to conserve in case of a draw-out, but I wanted to be doing the betting with those 7s, not the calling. In terms of who made the "right" play, I like my play better than his call.

It's academic now, though. I wanted to position myself for the win, since it was winner-take-all, and I'll sleep easy tonight.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

My third-worst night's sleep...

Worst-night's sleep ever: As a high school senior, I had told my parents I would be spending the night sleeping over at the house of a cross-country teammate with the entire team. Too bad his guardians didn't know about it. So the decision was to go home at curfew, or stay out partying and sleep in the backseat of a '72 Plymouth in the parking lot of the Country Kitchen (open all night!). Because of the Old Milwaukee (high school = no money = cheapest beer), I spent the night running from the Plymouth to the bathroom of the restaurant with .... intestinal difficulties...

Second-worst night's sleep ever: 3 1/2 yrs ago, at my in-laws, after my wife's baby shower. My mother-in-law had prepared some egg-type casserole dish for this brunch celebration. I ate the leftovers. After they had set out several hours. I discovered why this is not smart when I had fluid pouring from 3 orifices simultaneously and I was forced to make a decision... Afterwards, in a demonstration of physical and mental toughness not seen before or since, I managed to clean the entire mess by myself because Mrs. Big got physically ill at the thought of having to do it for me.

Third-worst night's sleep ever: Joeboddy has a hunting camp several hours north of here, in the Big Bend area of Florida. If you don't know where that is, look at a map of Florida - it's the part where the state bends to the left. Duh. Anyway, in that part of the state, development has not yet reached out with its greedy claws. Oh the developers own a lot of the land, but the public hasn't gone there yet. Anyway, this camp is in the middle of nowhere. I can't remember seeing a store within an hour of the place. The directions we were given were to go north from Suwannee and turn at the boarded up convenience store. That was waaaaaay north.

I was riding with BuccaneerMike and his brothers-in-law, Johnny Pothead and Petey. It was August, and Florida in August is very near the fires of hell. The camp was set back from the main road a mile or so, in the middle of a swamp. Literally. We followed washed-out jeep trails so far back I was sure I could hear the banjo-boy from deliverance. We got out of the van, and Joeboddy ran up to us with an industrial-sized can of insect spray.

"Put out your arms, quick!", he shouted.

I laughed. What the hell was this, some initiation rite for the new guy? BuccaneerMike stopped, put his arms out, and Joeboddy sprayed him liberally.

That's when I saw them. The skeeters. Believe me, you ain't seen nothing like these monstrously-large flies that literally swarmed every piece of exposed flesh. I could smell the West Nile Virus in the air. This may sound funny, like I'm saying it for effect, but I'm not: The flies were so aggressive that later in the day, after much beer, I stepped behind a tree to let nature take its course and had to stop in mid-stream (you boys know how much THAT hurts!) because the skeeters were devouring my exposed penis.

Anyway, after the spraying, we had a few short moments to relax while the skeeters retreated to await the time when our perspiration would wash away the poison and they could attack once more. I used that time to survey the camp: There were 3 small, neat cabins, built on top of cinder blocks. The cinder blocks were used to keep the structure off the ground. Apparently, they only paid taxes on the land as long as no 'permanent' structure was erected. Because of being set on concrete blocks, the argument went, the cabins were considered temporary because they could be hauled away. There was also a rotted-out camper someone had erected a lean-to over to keep the roof from leaking. I didn't need to ask. I just knew this was Joeboddy's camper. That was my luck.

There was a large pond on the property that Joeboddy and his partners had dug out to help with drainage. It was full of stagnant, fetid water, the color of diarrhea. BuccaneerMike challenged Joeboddy to a $5 bet that he would not swim naked across the pond. He demanded $5 from each of us, and several minutes later he successfully won the first bet of the day, climbing through leg-sucking mud out of the pond.

Then we saw the alligator.

Oh, relax, it was just a baby, maybe two feet long, tip to tail. Yes, I started looking for Momma, but at that moment 3 trucks pulled up and several older, rough looking guys stepped out.

All were armed. Heavily. Handguns, rifles, and shotguns. Yeah, it was a hunting camp, but I was there to play poker. It wasn't even hunting season, for chrissakes. A man I now call Hemingway (Dude, he looks like Papa reincarnated!) and have grown to like since then, pulled his handgun and shot the baby gator. I didn't like him much then, but I sure didn't want to be stuck out in that swamp with a gator of any size running around. I retreated for the skeeter-free zone, a screened pavilion that could easily hold 15 poker tables if that were it's purpose. For our purposes, a banquet table and a grill would suffice.

Hemingway and his buddies were from a neighboring camp. Apparently it is a tradition for each camp to give themselves some self-deprecating name, and their name was "THE SAWBOYS", short for Sorry-Ass White Boys. Joeboddy belongs to the CHS Boys - Can't-Hit-Shit Boys. Johnny Pothead and Petey were real nervous, being that they are Puerto Rican.

We started playing around 2 p.m., and the games were typical of our games at the time: Baseball, Follow-the-Bitch, basically, the more wild cards, the better. The grill was fired up and kept going in part to keep the skeeters at bay. I took a break around six to scarf down some tasty steak. I didn't ask what type of steak it was.

The games were basically $.25/.50 limit, max 3 raises. Joeboddy's hyper-aggressive strategy eventually built enough huge pots for him that I was out around midnight, having made my $40 last for 10 hrs. My seat was quickly taken and the game went on. I took refuge in Joeboddy's camper, finding a couch that would not fold out for mechanical reasons, reducing me to sleeping on a surface 18 inches wide.

The camper was sweltering, still steamy from the day's heat. I found a small window-unit air conditioner and turned it on high. Some of you probably know that window unit's have a tendency to freeze up under these conditions, and this cheap-ass thing did so too. I would spend the night waking up to the sound of an AC motor straining, no longer able to push air. My routine became: turn AC on, lay down and just barely achieve REM sleep, wake up to frozen AC motor, turn AC off, lay down and just barely achieve REM sleep, wake up covered in sweat, unable to breath. Repeat.

Of course, the evening's libations were also having their usual effect on my digestive system. Because there was no way to empty the camper's holding tank, I was not able to use the toilet. That meant braving the skeeters and dead-baby-gator's momma to piss behind a tree. Somewhere during one of these sessions I became all-too-aware that peristalsis had kicked in, pushing the evenings liquefied combination of steak-like meat and Coors Light to the logical exit point of my body. Obviously, this could not be allowed to happen.

So, by 6 a.m., I found myself back in the pavilion watching the final hands being played out in the 16 hour wild-game marathon, standing as still as possible to keep the ever-present bodily fluids from making an unfortunate exit, occasionally nodding off from sleep-deprivation. BuccaneerMike and Johnny Pothead appeared to have most of the money (we didn't use chips back then because chips were for pussies). Joeboddy had busted out sometime during the night and retreated to the bedroom in his camper at a point where the AC status had not awakened me yet. I did not realize this because the selfish bastard had never awakened to handle the AC.

Petey was stretched out asleep on a picnic table, and after my night a hard surface of uneven two-by-fours looked like a California-King-size bed. I laid down on a nearby picnic table for a moment and woke two hours later to the return of the sun and humidity, and the buzz of the skeeters. BuccaneerMike had left the pavilion and Johnny Pothead was sitting quietly in the same chair that he had sat down in 18 hrs earlier, a beer in one hand and a doobie in the other.

"Have you slept yet?", I asked.

"'Fraid to, brutha" he answered in the most serious voice I had ever heard from him before or since.

Ooooookkkkaaaaaaayyyyyyy, I thought. Must find BuccaneerMike. BuccaneerMike has keys to van. Van take me away from evil swamp. Van take me to toilet, where I can poop in peace.

I found BuccaneerMike reclining in the passenger-side seat of his van. I knocked on the window and did not get a response. I repeated, still to no avail.

Shit. Passed out cold.

TWO MORE HOURS passed before I could wake BuccaneerMike from his slumber. He was drenched in sweat, having kept his window rolled up to keep the skeeters out. By 10 am in August in a Florida swamp, I'd estimate the temperature in his van to be around 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Seriously. We gathered out greasy, sweaty, smelly, insect-spray-covered selves into the van and left, leaving Joeboddy behind still asleep in his camper. We found a Huddle House in one of the towns along the way and sat in a booth to order some food. The booths on either side quickly emptied, the diners shooting us well-deserved dirty looks for our appearance and odor.

We ordered our food and I remembered from a long-ago bachelor party that Petey has a weak stomach and if anyone touches his food or makes comments to the effect of it's preparation perhaps being less-than-sanitary, he is unable to eat. I had gone in search of a restroom to take care of my still-pressing need, only to find it so disgusting that I could not bear to sit down and take care of business. And I used to work on construction sites in my youth, regularly crapping in port-o-lets. So, you know it was bad. But, opportunity comes in all shapes and sizes, and I used this one.

"Petey, have you seen that bathroom?"

Score two more fried eggs for me. It was my only win for the weekend.

Epilogue: I had the nicest, longest, most-satisfying shit of my entire life when we arrived at BuccaneerMike's house. I have refused all invitations to return to the camp. BuccaneerMike took his boys up for New Year's Eve this past January. His eleven year-old told me he had to crap the whole time and couldn't find anyplace to go.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

T-Ball! ... and a poker etiquette question

I had no idea what to expect. I am head coach of my daughter's T-ball team, having been roped in when too many kids signed up and the league had to create another team.

I've never coached before. Ever.

We were rained out of 3 practices during the pre-season. I had parents questioning my methods, and I was questioning them myself. I had parents that wanted the kids doing infield practice on day one, and an assistant coach that first tried to get the kids to turn double-plays (don't they need to be able to catch and throw first?), and then he would leave the field every time I said 'no' to his suggestions. He magically has 'an important call' to make each time this happens.

My guess is he's calling his anger management counselor.

Anyway, I've been working on building the skills each practice, to the point where we had our best practice on our last practice before the season started. Today was the first game.

The league is non-competitive, meaning we don't count runs and the kids can make plays for outs, but the runner still stays on the field. It's strictly instructional. The kids have fun in a non-threatening environment, and a lot of people like it that way.

I don't. I'm a bad man.

It turns out my two best players are girls. One is a girl I cherry-picked who is a friend of one of the Bigettes, and the other had the top score in the tryouts. Pitcher and First Base are the keys to defense in t-ball, and that's where they went.

Since outs aren't counted, a team bats it's entire line-up in their half-inning. We made 5 outs, including 3 in the first 4 batters. Too bad they don't count, because that's very unusual for t-ball. The other team made one out in each of their defensive halves.

I admit, I got ticked off at one point. We were stopping our runners at the obvious end of the play without waiting for the ball to return to the pitcher. By rule, the play is still live until the pitcher has the ball, but I didn't want to be a jerk about it. The other coached played differently, though, pushing his kids ahead a base while the ball was being thrown in to the pitcher.

[Obligatory Poker Reference] So I check-raised him.

I went to my pitcher and explained the concept of a force-out at home. Yeah, that stopped the pushing of runners.

[Second Obligatory Poker Reference] Kinda like beating back a blind-steal.

Who knew poker could help me coach t-ball?

-----------------------------------------

So, my game has been very mixed. I'm still catching the ass-end of the variance in SNGs. Still running about 48% ITM, but it's either a win or an early bust-out. Cards are part of the bust-outs, but I also think I play too many hands for big pots early in my early busts.

Tight is right, at least for most SNGs.

Normally, I hate pot-limit ring games. Too many people that don't know how to play will drop in and just goof off, blowing chips and making it impossible to do anything but wait for kings or aces. But, I've run into a string of just really bad PL players. I've just been sitting tight, waiting for positive situations to emerge, then controlling the betting. I had a 5X buy-in session a few nights ago, and followed it up with a 3X session. Not sure if I want to put any more effort into it, since obviously my SNG play is where my focus should be. But I'll probably try a few more low-limit PL games to see if the players are really bad or if I've just got the nice end of the variance.

MTTs. Tried a couple freerolls yesterday, and played very well. I built chips steadily, keeping average stacks in both tourneys by playing tight and avoiding the big stacks unless I had the mortal nuts. Playing simultaneously and heading into the second break, Mrs. Big and the Bigettes decided it was time to head to dinner. I knew it would be at least another hour before we were ITM in each tourney, so I had to leave. I told everyone I was going all-in until I busted. One guy got real pissed and wanted me to just sit-out and be blinded off. Of course, he was the big stack and didn't want anyone else to get my chips all at once.

I could use some feedback on this point of etiquette/fairness: My position is that it is theoretically possible for me to win enough all-ins in a row that it would make sense to stick around. Also, I can go all-in at any time for any reason as often as I want. Going all-in rewards someone willing to gamble, and I don't have a problem with rewarding someone for taking a chance.

Also, I get pissed when someone sits out to wait for the money. By going all-in, my chips stay in play.

Anyway, what's your opinion? I know by rule I can go all-in as little or as often as I want, but in terms of etiquette, what's your opinion?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Aw geez...

BuccaneerMike shared something with me today that I wished he hadn't. 15 yrs ago he worked for a major bank, in Collections. He was the guy you'd never want on your case. He'd have you repo-ed on Sunday night just so you'd start your Monday off in shitty style.

Anyway, turns out he once repo-ed one of our semi-regulars at the game, and the guy doesn't seem to remember it. He walked up to their house, said "gimme the keys", then sold their truck to.... joeboddy, another member of our game.

Shit. Small world. And nobody's made the connection yet except BuccaneerMike. And he's nervous about it, because as big as he is, the other dude is a bald-headed biker with tattoos (have I mentioned that this is a diverse game? old, young, black, white, biker, executive... all we care about is that you have cash in your pocket).

I told him he shouldn't have told me. Next time he check-raises me, I'll start talking about my beloved truck that once got repo-ed, just to jog the guy's memory. Of course, BuccaneerMike did threaten to shoot me in the thigh if I said anything (did I mention that some of these guys bring weapons to da' game? Seems silly to me when there's only a couple hundred bucks in the room, total).
------------------------------------------------
So, last night, Mrs. Big and I were headed to Tampa to celebrate 7 looooonnngggggg.... uh, I mean 7 great years of marital bliss. The bigettes were at Grandma's house, and we arrived a little early for dinner and decided to take a drive around the neighborhood to see how things had changed since we'd moved away.

Some kid in a Mustang was on my butt all the way down the frontage road, and when I tried to turn right he tried to go around me in a passing lane. Except he cut it a little too tight and scraped the side of my car. I was willing to just exchange insurance info and be on our way, but he called his mother who called the police. Long story short, our night was shot and he got cited for the accident. Not even the appearance of his mother on crutches and his sister in a wheelchair got him enough sympathy points to get out of it.

Idjits.

So, the mother calls me today wanting to just pay for the damages. WTF? Why didn't you just do that last night? Coulda avoided a ticket for your kid... My insurance company was notified this morning, but I had told them I wanted to wait a day for someone to call, just so I could avoid the whole deductible-reimbursement hassle. Worth waiting to avoid putting $500 out of pocket for a couple months until the insurance companies grind away and get things settled. So, she called, I'll go to my usual guy that's fair and if she doesn't like the estimate I'll just go to the dealer my insurance company wanted me to go to and we'll let them handle it, and bump her premiums up a bit more for the hassle.
------------------------------------------
Poker content?

Aw geez. Cathing the ass-end of variance right now. ITM only 4 out my last 12 SNGs, with only 1 win. At least I've been good about keeping the buy-ins low, so it hasn't killed me like the past.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Da' Home Game - Good News

After an 8 month dry spell, I won.

More than that, though, I busted BuccaneerMike twice, collecting two bounties, one of them when we were heads-up for the win in the first game.

We play NLHE $10 freeze-out, with another $5 bounty each, winner-take-all on the main buy-in. I just played solid poker all night. I lost the second and third freeze-outs, but I was happy with my play. On the first hand of the third game, I busted BuccanerMike when I read his bluff on the flop. That felt good.

For those that don't know or haven't figured it out yet. BuccaneerMike is my younger brother. Born only 16 months apart, the sibling rivalry was fierce growing up and comes out at the table. Not a good thing for me, as I can rarely lay down a hand to a re-raise by him. I take it personally. Another reason this game is -EV for me. It's rare that one or the other of us doesn't win (He's been incredibly hot during my dry spell) because we're usually the recipient of each other's chips. I'm surprised we haven't been accused of chip-dumping, so frequently does it occur.

Anyway, I had a secret weapon tonight; two secret weapons, actually. Yep, that's right, I wore my lucky t-shirt.

And brought this to use as my chip protector...

King of Diamonds Mickey Pin


Never doubt the power of the Mick.

Friday, April 01, 2005

About Pauly's News

Wow, with all the success the old-school bloggers are having leveraging their efforts into actual livelihoods, I find myself inspired. It's wonderful to see deserving people get a chance to live out their dreams.

Like most people, I sometimes ask myself what my dream job would be. Unfortunately, my time has passed due to the immaturity of my youth. My dream job would be:

SEAL

Yeah, I know, you have to literally nearly kill yourself to become one, you regularly risk your life to stay one, the pay sucks, and nobody can know when you do something successfully but everyone knows when you fuck up.

Sounds great to me. Can't explain why. Maybe the desire to be a part of something greater then myself.

In my youth I had a shot. I was an early high school graduate due to my parents starting me in school a year early (which SUCKED for me when to came to athletics!). I was a very good cross-country runner, and easily met the physical requirements. I received an ROTC scholarship (Navy - Marine Corps option) to Vanderbilt. My parents had to sign for me because I was still 17. Went off to school, blew the doors off the entire battalion in the running portion of the PFT. I had honed my sorry ass into the best shape of my life. My Marine cadet advisor offered to send me to the Marine Corps Marathon at the unit's expense.

I turned him down.

School wasn't going well for me. I had never been challenged academically in high school, coasting to the honor roll each semester. When I got to Vandy, I had no clue about the skills required to succeed as a student, an athlete, and a cadet. I over-extended myself badly. Six classes (with two labs to boot), two ROTC club activities, walk-on to Vandy's cross-country team, and I was 696 miles from friends and family.

By midterms, I was in danger of failing 4 classes. I had to quit cross-country. I was definitely looking at long-term academic probation with the school and the Navy. And I was as homesick as I could be.

The marathon was scheduled to be run the same weekend as I had planned to go home for the first time. I turned down the offer because I was depressed and homesick. But, before anyone says they understand why I did it, you should know that I had another trip home planned for just 2 weeks later, for thanksgiving. Dumb.

So, I went home. The most exciting thing that happened was a buddy getting laid in the back of his van while the rest of us sat up front while driving around aimlessly, making fun of him and the girl while they were in mid-coitus.

Yeah, that was a better use of my time.

Two weeks later, I had recovered academically only slightly, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately, while out running on thanksgiving, I was chased off the road by a couple of kids doing fly-byes on their bikes and broke my ankle.

I was running two days later. The ankle hasn't been the same since. I've broken it twice more over the years.

Returning to school after thanksgiving, I made up my mind to quit school. I let everyone know, and for two weeks I was called in to my Marine advisor's office every day, stood to attention, and 'advised' to stay. Those of you that have been in the military know how that conversation went, and know how pleasant it can be to deal with an angry and frustrated Marine Corps Major.

My father dropped in during a business trip, armed with written notes in bullet-point form, to give me the reasons for staying. Back then, Dad's career had begun taking off and it sometimes felt like the family was just another department he had to manage. When he showed up prepared to deal with my problem the way he would an employee resigning from a job, I shut down. If there wasn't going to be any empathy for me, there was no communicating with me. We have a wonderful relationship now, but everyone makes mistakes from time to time. I don't know if he could have changed my mind had he handled it differently. The closest he came to understanding my needs was to offer to give me their old Buick, and offer to fly me home one weekend each month (seems there was a college fund going unused due to my scholarship). I don't know what else could have changed my mind, but that didn't.

Anyway, I didn't care about logic. I was going home.

Of course, I got home and had a good semester at the local community college. But, I was drinking heavily, running intermittently, and dealing with a huge amount of guilt and embarrassment over my life decisions. One day, I received a certificate in the mail informing of my honorable discharge from the inactive reserves of the Navy. I had no idea that there was any sort of discharge involved for ROTC, but it crushed me. I decided to head down to the recruiters office. I was going to join the Corps. Then, I went home and let my parents know my decision. Before I signed the paper.

Oddly, I can't remember how they talked me out of it. To this day, I am completely blank on it. Probably something psychological due to ongoing feelings of guilt every time I see young men and women head off to war. Like I should be there with them. I can remember crying over the phone to my mother during the first gulf war, so strong was that guilt.

Anyway, the next day the recruiter showed up at the flower shop where my mother worked to talk with her. She chased him out the front door with a pocket knife. Yeah, she's tough. A week earlier, BuccaneerMike (17 years old, 6-1, 240 lb offensive tackle) got slapped for swearing in front of her. He slapped her back. I was still watching in shock while my mother literally beat him over the head and shoulders with her bare hands until he was curled in the fetal position in a corner of the kitchen.

So, where was I?

Dreams. Yeah, obviously the point of this excessive drivel is that you don't want to wake up 20 yrs later asking yourself "what if?". This was the part everyone warned me would happen. I know there's some younger people reading these blogs, and that would be my message to you. To you older people, too.

I honestly don't know what my "dream job" would be. I have a good job, and that may be part of the reason I don't have a "dream job". For many years I've been a market analyst in the Defense Electronics market, and got a great deal of satisfaction from it. The psychologists out there will have a field day with that. Recently, I've been handed responsibility for many other electronics market segments. I'm not happy about it, but the challenge was definitely needed to keep me fresh. So, it's a good job that pays decent. But I can't say it's self-fulfilling. In fact, if one were to judge by Maslow's hierarchy of needs, I've actually regressed from somewhere around Esteem back down below Social Needs due to my hermit-like existence as a telecommuter. Probably why I blog.

Over the years I had thoughts about starting various businesses, but I quickly lost interest in them so it's a good thing I didn't pursue them or I'd probably be worse off today. I know I would not want to be a poker player. I'm not good enough and can't handle the swings emotionally. I don't think I'd want to be a poker correspondent. I can't hold a candle to folks like Pauly and Otis when it comes to writing and reporting.

It's kinda sad to realize that most of my dreams begins with the phrase, "When I win the lottery...". My father once told me that sometimes it takes a significant emotional event to get people to re-examine what they're doing and make changes. I hope I'm not that hopeless. The one thing that remains constant in my dreams is my desire to be part of something bigger than myself. But Maslow's hierarchy resonates with me, and I just can't chuck the bottom of the pyramid to try for esteem and self-actualization. I have responsibilities to my family, and can't give up what I have until I find something that can replace it in every way, plus give me the opportunity to reach the top of the pyramid.

I don't know what that will be, but reading about the wonderful events in everyone's lives is certainly inspiring me to start looking again. Thanks for reading this far.