Monday, November 13, 2006

NOT EXACTLY POKER, BUT...

It is hard to believe that I have taken this long to update this blog. Things here have been super busy and I just have not been playing that much. Sounds strange I know but I think I have a pretty good reason. Let me explain.

I have had a few health concerns since the spring and have spent my share of time in the doctor’s office. I have had three toe surgeries since May and hopefully I will not have to have anymore. It was all minor stuff but it did slow me down a bunch.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. After a couple of sleep studies my doctor prescribed a CPAP for me to use at night. One concern was my weight. I had ballooned to almost 260 pounds. I knew I was out of shape but I had no idea of the significance my weight had on my overall health. The doctor gave me a pretty good incentive to loose weight. Basically she said, “Stay the weight you are and sleep with a hose attached to your face for the rest of your life (how ever long that might be). Or, you could loose about 30 pounds and probably be able to do without the CPAP forever.” Now, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but it did not take me long to decide which option I liked better. Besides, those hoses are not as romantic as the name implies. Besides, I need to get in shape for next years’ thong season. (pigs being slaughtered, gotta get away!!!)

So I decided I needed to do something. My wife and I chose to begin a “diet and exercise” program. We started on October 16th. We determined that the Fat Smash Diet would be the best for our busy lifestyles and overall physical makeup. You may have heard of FSD. It is the same program used on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club”. FAT SMASH is specifically designed to be a 90-day program with four phases that will ultimately re-wire your body and its relationship to food and physical activity for the rest of your life. At the end of the 90 days, you will have made small, but important adjustments not only in your food consumption, but your understanding and attitude towards food and the way you view the importance of physical activity in maintaining a healthy life. Each phase builds upon the previous phase like the levels of a pyramid that support the ones above it. The foundation and its integrity are what allow the peak to stand, so you must be careful in constructing the building blocks so that they might be as strong as possible to allow you to reach the top of your goals.

I have seen some pretty good results so far. At my last weigh-in I was down a total of 12.2 pounds in only 23 days. Since August I have lost an amazing 21 pounds and have been able to keep it off. In the past, I have never been able to do this.

Thanks for listening and understanding.

Monday, September 11, 2006

911 FROM MY EYES

I was not in New York City, Washington D.C. or Pennsylvania 5 years ago this morning. I was, however, a police officer 5 years ago today and watched in horror as these events played out on my TV. I watched as the planes hit, the smoke rose and the towers fell. I saw many people screaming, most were crying and some were too paralyzed with fear to do anything. I spent my entire 8 hour shift that night guarding an entrance to our local military installation (recently closed by BRAC) waiting for National Guard troops to be mobilized to take over.

I look back on 9-11-01 and cannot help but reflect on how things have changed in our country. I have flown on several commercial flights since that day and, must admit, I look at everyone in a different light. I notice the person or vehicle next to me a little closer now. All of my daily actions and routines have changed. Some folks would say that this is a change for the bad. But some things have changed for the good. I hug my wife a little bit more than I used to. I turn off the TV and play with my two sons when they ask me to play instead of telling them “in a minute”. When I see them, I thank that soldier in uniform for his or her sacrifice and service that allows me to live in a free country. I thank God several times daily that the country that I live in is still free. Have faith in the power of freedom!

People who live in freedom always prevail over people who live in oppression. The people who inflicted this scar on the face of our land have not conquered us but have awakened a spirit of patriotism that had been dormant for much too long.


God bless each one we have lost, here and abroad, and their families. God bless all those defending our freedom and God Bless America.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

LOVE THOSE SNGs (PART 2)

Picking up where we were, I folded a bunch of junk for a while and was able to get back to my tight aggressive play. The tables had been reset and I had the second largest chip stack at my table.

Then I was dealt Ad-Jd and I was under the gun. I thought, “Here we go again, hang on!” I called and we went to the flop 5 handed. I feel now that I should have made a pretty decent raise to get rid of some of those jokers. Why I did not, I don’t know but it’s too late now. Lesson learned. The flop showed 8c 7s 3h, no help to anyone and we all check. The turn came out 9s. I threw a feeler bet out. Two called my bet and two folded taking me to the river 3 handed. The river was 8s giving me a pair of 8’s with Ace kicker. Everyone checked and I lost to a pair of 9’s. It took a while to recover from this one.

We went to break with my stack somewhere in the top 15. My first hand after the break was, you guessed it, A-A. The blinds were at 150/300 so I fired out 600 to see if I could get some action and win some chips back. As luck would have it, everyone folded and I took the blinds. I really wanted to play this hand. Oh well.

I was able to double up later with A-7o. I also was dealt A-A (again) and doubled up on an all in pre-flop bet. I also collected some chips on Q-Q late in the match. This win kept me alive for a little while longer. I later went out with pocket nines against Queens and my run came to an end.

At the end of the game I had reached my two goals. I made the final table (although I was the short stack most of the time until another run kept me off the bottom for a while). And, I finished in 6th place; putting me in the money in my first multi table SNG.

Man, I love those SNGs.

LOVE THOSE SNGs (PART 1)


I just love the SNG format. I can play one at any time I want, for any amount of money I want, and I have become pretty consistent in my finishes here of late. Now, I normally play the 9 handed, single table turbos on Full Tilt. Today, I decided to play something a little different. I played in my first 45 player, multi table SNG.

Still being pretty new to poker, I had never played in a game with that many players. It does not seem like many to a bunch of you but for me it was a new challenge. I went into the game with two main goals. First, I just wanted to make the final table. I figured if I could outlast 36 other players and make the final table that would be great. My second goal, if I made it to the final table, was to cash. This particular SNG paid the top 6 places so if I could stay alive longer than the 3 loosest players; I would at least win my entry fee back. My strategy was to play tight aggressive until the final table and then change gears when the others tightened up. Well, you know how strategies go – sometimes you follow them, sometimes you don’t.

My first 6 hands were unfoldable (even for tight aggressive). I started in the big blind with K-9s. A few limpers later I checked (why not see the pot for free?). The flop came [Js Kd 6s]. Now I’m sitting with Kings – 4 handed. The small blind checks and so do I. One player bets and everyone folds around to me. I doubled the small bet and was called. Everyone else folded. The turn came up 5d. No help but I feel I still have the best hand. I check and my opponent throws 270 in the pot. Now I begin to wonder if my kings are up against a couple of Aces or maybe A-K? I still felt good about it so I called. The river came up 6d. With top and middle pair, I throw 240 in to see if it would get any action. It got called and I took down 1440 chips on the very first hand. Not a bad start.

What happened on the hand blew me away. On the very next hand I get the bullets and I’m in early position. I doubled the raise in front of me and we went to the flop 3 handed. The flop came up Jd Ks 7c. I lead out with 240 and it gets doubled to 480. I, along with the other player call the raise and the turn came up Ts. I bet 810 and both players called me (going all in). The river came up Qc – I won 4560 with an Ace high straight.

I go into the third hand of the game with 5340 chips, a sizeable lead over second place. I then go on to get dealt A-7s, A-8s, A-4s and A-8o consecutively. So much for my tight aggressive theory (at least for now). I had never seen that many bullets in one place since I quit the police force. I was sitting pretty for a while.
Later I’ll tell you about the one hand that almost took me out way too early. Also, I’ll let you know how I finished. I smell supper and a fat boy has got to eat.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

UPDATES FROM THE VIRTUAL FELT


I realize that in today’s world, there are no true poker secrets. Everyone has a book about this or that, online forums and blogs tell all. Even watching poker on TV is a great source of information for the casual or beginning player. With that in mind, I asked myself, “If everyone is reading what I am reading, watching what I am watching and hearing what I am hearing, how can I use this information to my advantage? Won’t everyone be on the same page? There has got to be something else that will work that these guys do not know about.” All of these are great questions. I am sure I have not found all the answers, but I am still searching.

I do not live near a casino. I do not know anyone locally that has a “home game” so I do not have the resources of playing a lot of live games. So I am left with spending a lot of time playing online. Most of the time I spend playing online poker is spent playing Sit-n-Go’s.

Recently, I have been reading a book by Scott Fischman entitled “Online Ace”. Scott devoted an entire chapter to SNG’s. He covers everything from choosing which type of SNG to play to identifying the factors (or seasons) of a SNG. He spends the rest of the chapter discussing the seasons in great detail. He takes the reader through “THE BEGINNING, THE MIDDLE AND THE ENDGAME” seasons of the game. This one “nugget” of information has helped me more than anything else. Using Scott's SNG strategies, I have consistantly improved my play in SNG's. He also covers all aspects of online poker from ring games to tournaments.

So, the next time you cruise to FTP, look me up. I’ll probably be playing at the SNG tables.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

MY POKER MUST READS

I am relatively new to the world of poker and have been searching for a book that would teach me some of the fundamentals of the game without going over my head. Some of the books out there read like a college algebra textbook. Been there, done that, didn’t like it.

The first book I want to talk about is “Phil Gordon’s Little Green Book: Lessons and Teachings in No Limit Hold’em”. Phil Gordon has written a great book for the beginner and seasoned player to enjoy. This book is broken down into chapters that cover the entire hand from preflop to the river (and covers what you should do or look for at each spot). Phil also teaches a lot on how to play from each position. I especially enjoyed the chapter on preflop strategy. Other chapters thoroughly cover Poker Tells, Tournament Strategies, Percentages and Math, and Psychology. And, if Phil left anything out, he put it in a chapter, simply titled as, Miscellaneous. Add in some charts covering all aspects of poker and some player profiles at the end of the book and feel I have found myself a keeper.

According to Phil, the greatest poker players in the world share five qualities:
1. They are invariably aggressive.
2. They are patient.
3. They are courageous.
4. They are observant.
5. They are always working on their game and want to be even better players.

If there is a downside to this book for me it was the chapter on Online Poker (where I play most of the time). It ended up being an advertisement for Full Tilt Poker more than a strategy guide. But since I also purchased a book that covers online play, I guess I can live with that. The wealth of information in this book far outweighs my disenchantment with this one chapter.

When reading any instructional book I normally underline just the important parts so I can come back later and just hit the highlights. Not so with this book. I would have to underline the entire volume from cover to cover. Should No Limit Texas Hold `em ever be taught in school, this would definitely be the textbook to use. I can tell I will be reading this one for years to come.

I am off for some much-needed R&R. If you need me in the next few days, I’ll be at the beach – reading my LGB!

Monday, July 24, 2006

WHAT'S UP YALL?

Well, we survived Tunica. We stayed at Sam’s Town but we managed to make a visit to most of the nine casinos before we left. We were most impressed with Horseshoe Casino. Horseshoe was the happening place – obviously the busiest casino in town. The live music was awesome. It is nestled between the Gold Strike and the Sheraton Casinos. We will definitely stay there next time.

My wife played the mess out of some slots. I think she actually broke even by the end of the trip. I hung around the poker rooms. I saw some very good players and some not so good players. I was somewhere in the middle.

Since getting back home I have been playing a lot of SNG on FullTiltPoker.com. I have been incorporating some new opening hand playing strategies. I have also implemented some bankroll management tips from Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer. So far so good on all fronts.

I did have a couple of bright spot the other day. One playing A-Q and the other playing J-J. Click on the links, check out the play send me your input. Would you have played these hands any different? If so, how and why?

Talk to you again soon.

Monday, July 03, 2006

HAPPY 4TH AND A QUICK UPDATE

In my last post I told you I was back. Well, yes and no. I did get another computer but travel and work have prevented me from posting as much as I would like. I can no longer access any blog or RSS news service from my work computer. (STUPID FIREWALL!) My part-time music commitments (playing bass and singing in a local group) have had me on the road every weekend for over a month and there will be no break until October. Did I mention it was part-time? Anyway, I have not been playing too much online. I did get to play a few hands in a home game back in June while I was in Ohio but that was about it.

Full Tilt Update - Back on May 6th, I posted about someone anonymously depositing $40 in my FullTilt.com account. Well, it was a deposit made in error and I did get it corrected. FT even credited me $11 for being honest. Well, it has happened again, twice. I reported the second one and the $$$ never appeared in my account. Now I get another email and two days later, BOOM! I got someone else’s $40. FT sure is making it hard on this ole boy to be honest.

Tunica, here we come – Next Monday-Wednesday, the wife and I will be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. She said she wanted to go somewhere we have never been before. So what did I do? I booked us a room @ Sam’s Town in Tunica. Got a little pocket change saved up and we are ready to go. Anyone out there have any tips about Tunica? If so, send them my way.

Have a safe and happy 4th. Talk to you soon.