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To Bluff or Not to Bluff, 30 November 2005
Late in a tournament, I am in 30th place out of 85 with 50% more than average chips. Sitting in the button, the cutoff miserably limps. I don't care what I have for cards, I'm raising. The Big Blind decides to defend with a rediculous A9x after my raise. He goes all in for 3x my raise, which is now about 15% of my stack. The cutoff flat calls. What does the cutoff have?

He has to have a monster and is trying to limp/call to nail us. I can't believe he would play any hand the way he just played this. I don't know the blind has A9x yet, so I am thinking some pair or strong ace. Me, well I made my move without regard to my own cards. I was playing position. That said, my cards were T8s. I kind of liked the cards in a 3 way pot where I put the other two on big hands. I call. The flop comes 8 J 3, one to my suit. The cutoff does one of those "we're in the money" checks. I am still thinking he is strong, so I decide to see another card and maybe lead him to think I will check it down so if I hit I can smash him. The turn brings a T for my two pair. He taps again. I check, feeling if he has any gonads and a hand he might toss his chips in on the river. The river is a rag, he puts in a pot value bet. I can't put him on a set. No way he was gonna play it limp, call, check, check. So I go all in. He calls faster than I thought he would with AA or KK. The blind proudly flips over his A9x (bleh!) and the cutoff shows AA -- of course. Where do these people learn how to play? Why didn't he go all in pre-flop? No wonder good players pull their hair out sometimes.

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When I first heard Liz Phair back in the early 90's, I was listening to Exile in Guyville and was blown away by her raw sound, live lyrics and young freshness that hadn't been heard since the days of punk rock in the 70's. She was talking about hardcore topics and backing it with gritty riffs from her guitar. Then she made an almost fatal mistake by puting out some songs with more of a "pop" sound to them. She seems to have realized it was time to come back to her roots a bit. Although not as gritty as her original works, Somebody's Miracle is a step closer to what made her.

This weekend she was interviewed on NPR. They play a bit in the studio. Shed light on the pop mistake. Times have changed from her early 20's rebellion, but at 36 she knows where she belongs, albiet a bit cleaner than it should be.

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Planning for ESCARGOT, 29 November 2005
I started looking into plans for ESCARGOT 2006. The hard part is not knowing what might be going on at that time--even though it is only 6 weeks away. I've got the frequent flier miles and a free place to stay, so not much commitment would be lost if I have to cancel. Although I hope I cancel because I have a new job or consulting project, if I do go, I'm sure it will be a wonderful time. I'll get to visit The Bike, and I'll get to see my bestest friends...Dave and Melissa!

Great NPR story with Arlo Guthrie describing how the song Alice's Restaurant came to be when 40 years ago he got caught dumping trash by the police. The error kept him from the draft. Some lyrics:

After the ordeal, we went back to the jail. Obie said he was going to put
us in the cell. Said, "Kid, I'm going to put you in the cell, I want your
wallet and your belt." And I said, "Obie, I can understand you wanting my
wallet so I don't have any money to spend in the cell, but what do you
want my belt for?" And he said, "Kid, we don't want any hangings."

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I Cry at the Movies, 26 November 2005
Saw the movie Walk the Line tonight. Another musician's life story similar to the great film Ray, this story of Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash was a bit better (IMHO). It covers the early days, the career growth, the drugs, the tragedy, the falling in love. The love between the two was so intense. I remember hearing him in an NPR interview talking about his love for June and it brought tears to my eyes then. You can hear it on NPR.

The performance scenes reminded me of actual video I have seen of the man in black. It was an incredible film, seemed accurate, tugged the right tears, and the likeness of Joaquin Phoenix (left) to Cash was uncanny.

Good run in 5-10 Omaha 8 today. Amazing what people will call down. Holding the nut low on the flop and nut flush draw, I was raised by someone holding AA67 with no draws no ace and no pairs all the way to the river. As Jerrod says, "play like the pros."

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Day After Turkey Day, 25 November 2005
Spent yesterday at my Uncle Tommy's. Provided the candied carrots and pork stuffing the way my grandmother, Mere, used to make. It was a nice time, albiet the first holiday I spent without my kids :( They are arriving here in an hour or so and staying the night...well 2 of em will probably stay over. Big family gathering on my Mother's side to eat all the leftover deserts from yesterday. It usually climaxes with the women of the family stuffing grapes in their mouths in a god-awful look of apes. I'll have to find a picture of it, my description doesn't do it justice.

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Fruit Cake...NO!, 23 November 2005
Made 18 loaves of Fruit Cake today. No, not the green, yellow and bright red, stinky fruit bread your grandmother would break out months after the holidays as a supposed treat. This is the real McCoy! I'll share 6 or so loaves for Thanksgiving, the rest I'll be spritzing with brandy for holiday gifts. A tasty treat created by Alton Brown...my favorite Food Network star.

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My Daily Reads, 22 November 2005
A family member asked me last week, "Who do you write the blog for?" My answer was, "for anyone who wants to read it." That got me thinking. I wonder if the people I read know who reads their blogs? Not that they will see this post and see that I read their stuff, but maybe I can turn a couple of my readers onto some good stuff elsewhere. Yes, I read alot of poker stuff, but I also read some other interesting blogs on a regular basis. Here it is, along with some other stuff:

Top 3:
Matt Matros's, which I find to be as informative as his articles on Cardplayer.
Paul Philip's is nice because it occaisionally dabbles into Scrabble, which is my other challenge besides poker.
Jerrod Ankenman's because he always has an opinion and can put game theory into words better than most.
Poker: Pokerwire and Pokerpages for live updates of ongoing tournaments.
Scrabble: Internet Scrabble Club. Best place to play online. Real players.
Poetry: Mike Snider's Formal Blog and Sonnetarium is a great place to start because he links to so many other poetry sites.
Marketing: John Jantsch's Duct Tape Marketing. Just plain good stuff. Especially Don the Idea Guy.
Non-Blog: Arts & Letters Daily. Just plain intelligent reading.
News: Google News. Without a doubt. Customize the page. Easy to read. News Alerts.
Podcasts: NPR Podcasts. No better way to drive.

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NYC Fat, 21 November 2005
I think I put back the two holes in my belt that I stopped using because I was sick a couple weeks ago. New York City sported the most expensive food I've eaten in ages, but it was unbelievably good. Luckily I was being backed in a private tourney and camped out in someone else's hotel room, so I basically had an all-expenses-paid weekend in the big apple. To top it off, I cashed in the tourney, so after paying the backers and buying some nice T-Shirts for the girls, I made a small profit.

I'm not one for walking, but with all the eating this weekend, the walk to Stage Deli and then to Central Park and back from my hotel was great. It was a bright brisk fall day. Sat and ate those Nuts 4 Nuts candy coated nuts and watched the ice skaters on the trump skating rink (pic to right). Has a study ever been done to show that city dwellers are in better shape for all the walking they do?

Food...here was the menu, along with links...

Steak: Uncle Jack's Steakhouse. Incredible Service. Chop House atmosphere, but you can leave the tie at home as long as you have a collar. Try the $85 porterhousse. It is intended for two.

Deli: Stage Deli. The line to wait is outside. Parties of 1 or 2 on the right, 3 or more on the left. It moves fast, and is worth the wait. I had an open faced corned beef Reuben that not only fed me, but provided a meal for some homeless guy. The pastrami is lean and the tastiest I've had. I couldn't eat the cheesecake, but it is actually 4-5 inches deep and the slice is at least 7 inches long. It looked like it could feed two.

Flavor: Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. I should say Flay-vor. You have to start with the Shrimp and Corn Tamale. I had the Whole Striped Bass, but after tasting other items, I recommend the 16 Spice Rubbed Chicken. Great place. Economical for an up-scale celebrity restaurant.

Drink: The Blue Fin. Located on the corner of Broadway and 47th, their signature drink, the Blue Fin, is a cool blue sweet martini served with a swedish fish as a garnish. Sit by the windows and watch Times Square.

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Lobotomy and a Bonehead, 17 November 2005
What a story yesterday on NPR. Howard Dully shares the story of his life after having a lobotomy at the age of 12. It was tragic, interesting, and disturbing at the same time. Courage awards to Howard for telling his story, confronting his father, and living a strong life. Thankfully, today we have medications.

I broke my self-imposed poker vacation last night around midnight. It felt good, but because I did so well, I ended up not finishing until 4:30 and missed my alarm. I was supposed to help paint a wall, but this bonehead overslept. Anyway, I played a $20 multi with 930 entrants. Having not played in a week, it took a sit-n-go on the side to keep me from playing more hands than I should have. I outlasted 869 players, and went out against the guy with the 3rd largest stack. There were two limpers from mid position, I jam with AKs, one limper calls with AJs. I get my money in with the best of it, and he hits his J and I don't improve. So be it. I was playing solid for the whole tourney. If I can keep that up this weekend I should cash.

Good news today...I reconnected with 3 old contacts through my weekend efforts to network.

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$100 Laptop for Children Everywhere, 16 November 2005
Nicholas Negroponte of MIT's Media Lab introduced in Tunis today a working prototype of a $100 Laptop.The device is stripped-down, with an power-generating crank and seven-inch screen, for basic word-processing, Internet and communications. It has flash memory instead of a hard drive, and an AMD processor running at 500 Mhz. Networking will be via Wi-Fi so they can share a network connection. The units are targeted to developing countries, and orders are being taken for lots of 1 Million or more. Brazil is already committed.

Access to a DIGITAL PDP-11 when I was in 8th grade is what started my interest in technology (I'm sure the cost was tens-of-thousands). I later went on to get my degree in computer science. I may never have gotten out of high school if it hadn't been for this exposure.

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I was there the night Vinny Lambiase took his winning Act 1 ticket to win an Act 2. He was at my 10-20 table and had gotten up to go play it leaving $1k on the table. They eventually picked up his chips and bagged em. Then just a few weeks ago I was at the same (or nearby) 10-20 table when Vinny walked up beaming...he had just won his Act 3 to get his $10k seat into the World Poker Finals main event. All for a total investment of $60. He played, and he played well. In fact, he went out 39th against Minh Nguyen and got his chips in with a better hand. Vinny playes smart. He plays hard. Way to go Vinny, $60 turned into $17,200 !!

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Wave Farms - Renewable Energy, 15 November 2005
For years I had been a big believer in using the rising and falling tides to generate energy. This new technology, wave farms, are going to installed off the shore of Portugal - the first commercial wave farm will use the movement of the sea to generate 2.25 megawatts of electricity—enough to meet the energy needs of more than 1,500 homes—from three 459-foot-long Pelamis Wave Energy Converters.

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Just watched the Palm Pictures documentary Ferlinghetti a bipoic of beat poet and artist Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Along with Peter Martin, Ferlinghetti started City Lights magazine and later, City Lights Books, famous for publishing Allen Ginsberg's Howl. His interesting take over the decades of political, social and cultural issues are intricately documented in this film, made up mostly from videos of Ferlinghetti himself. His treatise of the day...something needs to be done about population control. Controversial as it is.

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Jarhead, 14 November 2005
I saw the movie Jarhead tonight. I had known it wasn't an action filled war movie going in, it was about characters. Dissapointingly though, I found it shallow. I'm sure the book was better. Quote that summarizes it all: "Four days, four hours, one minute. That was my war," the Marine sniper Tony Swofford tells us. "I never shot my rifle." There were some good scenes, but all-in-all, I wasn't impressed. Cost of dissapointment: $9.75 for the ticket. $4.75 for popcorn. $3.75 for spring water. $18.25 total. I should have just purchased the Jarhead paperback...cheaper.

My self-imposed week off from poker is over. I missed it. I actually love the game. I played lots of scrabble. Spent time with the kids. Read alot (about poker). Planned for my weekend in New York. Networked and looked for what the rest of the world calls "legitimate work". Blah!

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I Love Fall Days, 13 November 2005
Have the girls over today. Reorganized the appartment. Listening to them tell me how they "don't have any homework!" Why is it that I know they are full of it? What a day though. 60F Sunny. Last of the leaves coming down (they bright yellow ones).

Pats beat Miami and satisfied the -3 spread. I'm only in a cheap weekly/season pool. Sports betting is not my thing, although I have been in 1'st place until last week. Maybe this week I'll take 1'st back.

1950DA. We have lots of time til this asteroid gets close enough to pose a danger in 2880, but until then there are pleanty of good minds working on solutions to protect us from these asteroids with predictible paths. Two NASA astronauts, Ed Lu and Stan Love, this week published in the Nov 10 issue of Nature* a solution based on using a gravity tractor. That is, use the gravity of a nearby spaceship to slowly deflect the path of travel of the asteroid. A novel idea. Sounds better than launching nuclear warheads into space.

* Nature, progressive enough to offer podcasts, is still blog-unfriendly. They charge for their articles. Rrrr. The good news is that the basics are usually picked up by other outlets. The summary of the gravity tractor article is available in the Nov 10 podcast.

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Cooking, Poker and a Ibiza, 12 November 2005
Today was a winner! I spent the afternoon working on Pies. I made 2 Steak Pies, stick to your ribs-comfort food. I made 2 quiches. Then I played a little poker (kind of pokered out this week with WPF winding down and all). I've imposed a poker-break on myself.

DJ Frankie Wilde at PachaCapped off the night watching an eclectic movie... It's All Gone Pete Tong. It took me a while to like it, then I loved it. Like other viewers I had to focus on the story and the characters. Maybe it was the brittish accent, but eventually, it was all working for me. The tragic story of a 90's Ibiza DJ Frankie Wilde, living the party life and then going deaf and then...well, watch the movie. Great character! I love tragedy stories, maybe because I've seen tragedy myself, and have always overcome it.

It was also great to see such incredible scenes from Ibiza. I had spent a long weekend there in the early 90's. The weekend is one hypnotic bass track booming from the clubs. I think I lost 15 lbs while I was there just from dancing. Unfortunately, I did not get to learn much about the real Ibiza - I'll just have to visit again now that I'm older and wiser.

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NYC Next Weekend, 11 November 2005
Next weekend I'll be staying at the W in Times Square. It's nice to be sponsored, I'm being treated to the whole gig (spoiled) to play in a big game. I've got saturday afternoon free, so I'm trying to find a museum to visit. I stumbled on the museum mile. Looks like that would be a worthy expedition. Lord knows I am not a shopper.

My buddy is opening a new poker club. Might stop by to see how it's coming. He thinks it will be ready in early December. His original was closed back in the original crack down that occurred due to A-Rod getting his photo put in the news with Phil Helmuth playing at a private club. Hopefully the new one can stay under the radar.

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30 Years...Solid Lyrics, 10 November 2005
The wind in the wires made a tattle-tale sound
And a wave broke over the railing
And every man knew, as the captain did too,
T'was the witch of November come stealin'.

From the lyrics of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, by Gordon Lilghtfoot

It's been 30 years since the wreck, and the lyrics reach the deepest feelings of humanity. They tell a story while invoke feeling and pain. It was already on my iPod playlist.

Want to rip your vinyl records into your iPod? Check out this solution.

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Preparing for another Holiday with Melissa, 09 November 2005
Melissa is always looking for something to hang on my fridge to keep me in the mood. Gobble Gobble.

Playing cash satellites is getting old. The only good structure is for the $500 buy in or higher, but then you get some decent players so the edge is removed from the initial equity. I got to buy Sam Grizzle a $6 soup and then see him drop $2k in the 75/150 stud game while he ate it and tried to establish his "table image". Sam, we all watch ESPN. You're better off paying attention to your cards. LOL. It reminded me of the time he and I played heads up for $1k a shot. NLHE. We played 5 matches. I took the first 4, he finally won one and wouldn't play again. I think I had his image figured out that night.

Dee out of the 2k NLHE 15th for $4394. Chris Jenkins out a little before him. The final table looks to be half locals. My money is on Kenny (Khenh Chanthamala), or John Fanning (Napster's uncle).

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Damn Cold, 07 November 2005
I gave up and decided to go home and get healthy. A misserable cold during a major tourney is not +EV. Slept for a few days. Might be better tomorrow.

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Bigfoot Rises from the Ashes, 03 November 2005
Where has he been? Everywhere there is a poker room. AC, Vegas, CA, Europe. Probably left a trail of intrigued people in his wake. He is a character...a lovable character. Type of guy that loves action. Grew up in the pool halls of New Bedford/Fall River. Always making a deal. He is the one guy I know that can get knocked out of a tourney on the first hand and make more money than the guy that came in 15th. He always has a piece of everyone. Lord knows he might be swapping more than 100% of himself. LOL

I'm feeling a bit of a cold coming on, maybe some Nyquil instead of Adderall tonight.

Ok, hand of the day. $2k cash satellite. Down to 5 players. This rock, I mean woman, who played and doubled up on one hand the whole 55 minutes we've been playing, raises to about 1/4 of her stack from middle position. I have AJx (black) on the button and a bit more chips. I flat call. Flop is QTK with two hearts. I flop the nuts with no flush possible. I put her on a set at this point, or AK/AQ. She bets about 1/3 of what she has left. She leaves herself an out. Do I call? Raise?

I figured if she had a set she wouldn't fool around. She would take the pot right there. So that leaves her with a draw, most likely an Ace and a pair, or maybe JJ? Unless it is a flush draw, I'm in good shape. So, do I call? Raise? I'm still thinking about it. I consider that if she is on the flush draw, she would have the nut flush draw and a pair, possibly broadway already or outs to it, why bet? She probably expects me to bet. Why not coast until she hits broadway or a flush or better? If I go all in now, she has a decision to make, but still enough outs to call and still enough chips to fold. Not sure how she would play it. My final read is she has NO flush draw, a pair with top kicker, a set or JJ. I decide to see the turn card. Turn is the case J. She takes too long to check. I know my play. We both have broadway at this point. She most likely has AK for a chop, I still believe she has no flush possibility based upon her flop bet. I check.

Why check, you say? River card is a heart. Now she thinks a bit too long again. Her check looks confused, one of those, "oh well, check." I move all in. She takes about 15 seconds to think about that big buy in she spent on this satellite, and she folds.

"Big laydown," she says and flashes the Ace. I had a chop pot, looked at a scare card, made a good read, and took all the chips. "Yes it was," I reply as I scoop. I make it to the final 3 with the woman and guy from AC. I have them both outchipped and make a profitable deal.

Wandered around the poker room for a bit, sniffling. Need to sleep.

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Long hours these Tourneys, 02 November 2005
Yesterday turned into another experience of Bubble time. It was the $500 Limit HE, at one point I was down to T400 with blinds of T200-400, and I came back to last until 47th. Seven out of the money. I'm not sure I can put that many hours into poker without a return. Two days, almost 20 hours, two bubbles. No time to earn the buy-ins back. Damn! Playing well too.

After struggling back to a chip position, I got a table change and took a positional seat. First hand at the Table, I have JTx in the cutoff. I raise, big blind decides to defend. I call, flop comes an A, he bets, I muck. Very next hand. I have 77 and decent position again. Pre-bubble time, play is slowing down. I raise, button reraises. Local guy, he knows me, I know him, I sense he is playing with me. I hope for anything on the flop but paint, and call him. Flop comes TQ4 rainbow. I wonder if I should check-call, abandon the hand, or turn it on. I bet, he raises. Two hands at my new table, and my stack is dented. Fellow Fargoer Bennet Greenstein suggests I take a breather. I feel ok, settle in, and go an orbit or two with no real action.

I've got enough to cap a player heads up to the river. Table change, and this time I get crappy position, but I was watching the table over my shoulder from my last spot. The blinds are approaching and I am wondering if I will get a shot or not. The action at the table is mostly people shooting at the blinds and winning. Little resistence, and the same takers it seems. I post the big blind, and peak down at AA. Here goes. Cutoff aggressor, with chips, who seems to be raising every 2nd or 3rd hand, raises into me. I reraise. He flat calls. Flop is all garbage, but all spades. I bet. He raises. I have to either slow him down, or hope my spades are still good. I three bet. He calls. Turn is bet by me, called by him. River is bet by me, raised, I toss in my last bet on a crying-raise. He flopped the flush with Q4s. Did I mis-play it? Probably. I could have slowed down and saved a few bets on the turn and the river. That said, I had less than one hand left if I take the slow road. Hard to say. At first, I put him on a steal and a flush draw. Hard to get away from AA when short stacked in that position. In No Limit I would have been all in. Dee made the final table AGAIN. The man is blessed this week.

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