Saturday, November 26, 2005

Of struggles, Bama football and Xbox 360 mania

I've achieved one of those long spells of laziness again, where the last thing I want to do is put fingers to keyboard. It's just my excuse for the drought between posts. I threw a few pictures your way the other day, dear blog reader. Perhaps that will provide some forgivenss for me.

It's also more enjoyable to share stories of big wins and exciting events, and unfortunately I've had neither in the past month. It's really making me realize what a grind this poker life can be. Sure, there was the $1,200 haul one night in our local game, but that win was an anamoly. My online money printing factory has ceased production as it seems the cards have gone on strike.

That 10-20 shorthanded game in which I was raking in the dough has turned against me. You may recall I was keeping $3,000 in there and cashing out either A) when I got up to $5,000, B) whatever surplus I had at the end of the month or C) whenever I felt like it to boost my confidence but always keeping at least $3K in reserve. Earlier this month, the account was at $3,500 after having cashed out $1,000 and I sat down to play heads up with a guy who had $400 in front of him. You haven't seen ugly until you saw that game. He hit every draw he had, he hit every kicker lower than mine to double pair. I missed EVERY draw, I NEVER paired my kicker. I finally quit when my account got down to $1,900. He was a friendly guy, even apologizing for the win. Surprisingly, I didn't blow up. I think I was too numb.

But it got worse. I started playing 5-10 because of the drop in my online bankroll and still I could not win. Two weeks later, I've got $400+ in that account. So I stopped playing that site for awhile and I've played more live games in Tuscaloosa, often staying at the 5-10 at the car lot from its starting time of 5 p.m. until it ends in the wee hours of the morning. I will write more about that game soon as it's something I should have done a long time. We've even got a mascot, a stray cat named "Slick."

I spent all Saturday over the past month working the Bama games for CBS. I don't know if I wrote about this before, but what I do is stand up in the press box, behind the stats monitors, and relay information to the guys in the truck who build the graphics with the stats on them. So if you saw that Brodie Croyle was 10 for 20 with 150 yards and an interception on your screen, I contributed to that. Pay is decent at $150 a game. The main reason I do it is it gets me a great view of the game for free. I worked home games against Florida, Tennessee and LSU and road games at Starkville (where every time a cowbell rings a redneck gets his wings) and Auburn (where every time a cow moos a redneck gets his milk.) That Auburn game was tough, with that terrible start for Bama, them falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter. The Auburn stats folks were gloating in the press box. I wanted to slug them.

So Bama's dreams of a national title and SEC title game were dashed, but they were never really that good. They mostly got by on will. I don't know how you can barely beat Ole Miss and Arkansas and expect to compete with USC, or even LSU. Nonetheless, the Cotton Bowl party's at my house folks.

Lastly, you may have seen the Xbox 360 craze that descended upon stores in this country on Tuesday. The same was certainly true in Tuscaloosa. If you weren't lined up at either of the local Wal-Marts by 5:30 p.m. Monday, you were out of luck. I called the stores and formed a plan with my brother to try to get as many as possible for an eBay offensive. I'm nothing if not creative at making money, and this seemed like an easy opportunity. I just stayed out all night playing poker and then hit the stores when the car lot game broke up. The problem was, as I went to each one there were already more people lined up than Xbox 360s available at each store. A woman at Toys R Us, lined up for one of only four available there, told me to try Sam's Club. I did and I got one, 18th in line for 20 systems. Knowing that the peak interest would be Tuesday and figuring I could get two the next day, I listed two of the systems on eBay on Monday. Unfortunately, I only had one to sell, but the $400 system brought $1,325 on eBay. What can you say, people are nuts.

Monday, November 21, 2005

It's me, working hard(ly) Posted by Picasa

View from the press box Posted by Picasa

Roll Tide Roll Posted by Picasa

Love for our former coach... Posted by Picasa

The only time Lee Corso looks good on camera is when he is far, far in the distance. Posted by Picasa

Your typical Tiger fan Posted by Picasa

Scenes from Gameday at the Bama/LSU game... Posted by Picasa
Scenes from Gameday at the Bama/LSU game... Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 04, 2005


Short post here for now. I drove to Cooperstown, N.Y. yesterday to visit the holy grail for baseball fans, the National Baseball Hall of Fame. It was about what I expected, though the town wasn't. It's a small, little burg on the edge of an enormous lake -- absolutely breathtakingly beautiful this time of year. But don't take my word for it, visit yourself. After all, who would trust the opinion of a fool who would muck pocket kings?

I fly home this evening and then go to Starkville to work the Bama-MSU game for CBS so there won't be much time for posting until Sunday. But you have the gist of it -- country boy visits NY, meets pretty girl but takes no action and loses money at poker. See, a summary in less than 20 words.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

What a town

 Posted by Picasa

Your better than average Manhattan apartment, oh my

 Posted by Picasa

It's finger looking good

 Posted by Picasa

As there are no deer in the streets of NYC, New Yawkers resort to video game hunting

 Posted by Picasa

Gilbert's form is fine, but his shot sucks

 Posted by Picasa

View from the underground

 Posted by Picasa

The years have been unkind to Darth Vader

 Posted by Picasa

Early ice skaters

 Posted by Picasa

View from Central Park

 Posted by Picasa

Limit and NL hold'em tournies

I came back to Tony's and crashed Monday. The kids woke me up and I played games out in the yard with them. I even tricked Mickey into doing yard work by telling him the sticks we were piling up were guns we were collecting for our "battle." After Sunday's 15 hour session, it was time for a break.

I rose early Tuesday to head over to Foxwoods. I'm not a fan of the 10 a.m. start time for the World Poker Finals events. Please let us sleep in. I wasn't going to sleep in anyway, not with a 4 and 7 year old in this house. So Julia woke me at about 7:30 to go play cards with her. Tony has been teaching her a little Texas hold'em and she managed to beat both of us the other day when we all played. She came within one card of beating me a second time, but I sucked out on her. I am such a fish like that. Perhaps it didn't bode well for my tournament future that I could barely beat a 7 year old.

I got to Foxwoods with 15 minutes to spare and grabbed my seat surrounded by three guys with sunglasses for this LIMIT tournament. Sunglasses in limit, I just don't get it. There weren't many interesting hands for me other than the one I mucked. I picked up pocket kings in the small blind and four bet preflop. An ace flopped and I was called in two places. I checked the turn and folded the river to a bet. Yes, rather than call a guy for 200 with a nearly 2,000 pot at stake I folded and didn't look him up. I agonized over that one for awhile, wondering what he had.

The most amusing aspect of the day was being moved to a new table with the guy who busted me out on the bubble last year, Dave from Virginia. He rivered trips to put me out 42 when they paid the top 40 (see last year for more details on that.) I also spotted Spiro, a restauranteur from Massachusetts that I played most of last year's LHE with and talked with him. Great guy. Dave did not recognize me initially, but finally recalled our entanglement from the year before. He nearly busted me out again, leaving me short stacked and letting the other wolves finish me off. The guy who bet when I had the kings put me out and shared his secret. He merely had JJ on the hand I folded. Great, what a fish I am. If I make that call I probably sit at 2,500 at that point in the tournament, but instead I'm walking up to the poker room to find a cash game.

I spot Ann as I walk to the queing area. She smiles and says hello, but it doesn't seem like the smile of one who is enamored with another. I'm just one of the crowd it seems. I sit in a 20-40 game because the line is much shorter. Twenty minutes later I wonder if I really did just lose $500. It was like a repeat of last year, except the money disappeared more quickly this time. If you lose to pair over pair and kicker over kicker, it doesn't take long for major stack erosion in 20-40. I cower to a 10-20 seat that has finally opened up and see some familiar faces from the days before. The conversation inevitably turns to the "blonde with the green hat" who every guy in the poker room seems to be talking about.

"She's cute, sweet and a poker degenerate," one man says. "What's not to like?"

After I'm moved to another table, another guy, Dick, walks over to talk to Ann after hearing all the talk about her.

"I've got to see what she looks like," he says.

He comes back with a report, "I told her these guys were saying nice things about her and she asked if it was Donnie." Oh great, that's me, Donnie...

Dick, quite the fun goofball, goes over to talk with her several times, trying to invite her over. Ann finally comes to chat with us and says she's going to join our game, but never does. Meanwhile, there was actually poker played at our table and I actually managed to win, $570 in all.

I wanted to use those funds to buy into the $565 NLHE on Wednesday, but I faced a problem -- it's now 1:30 a.m., the tournament registation was closed and there should be mammoth lines in the morning after registration reopens at 7 a.m. And, oh yeah, my gas tank is sitting on empty and I don't know where the nearest 24 hour gas station is. So I get my car from the valet, pull it into a self parking lot and lean the seat back. I've never slept in a car before and I intend not to again if I can help it. I tried the driver's seat, the shotgun seat, the back seat. None of it was working too well in the cramped Dodge Neon. I finally managed to doze off for 20-minute segments, waking up stiff and sore. This continued for about four hours before the dawn broke.

I drove the car off to gas it up and came back to get in line to sign up. There were already a few dozen in line at 6:40 a.m. Back in the poker room, Ann was still going at it in the 10-20 game. I joked with her that she must never sleep.

There were a couple of interesting hands in the tournament. I've posted some info on RGP and will add to this post later. The end result was that I busted out in the third level. It was not my day, or my week for that matter. The winner will get $160,000 and change. Not bad for a $565 investment. All it takes is that one time and I'll be set, but considering how I played this week (especially in the LHE event) I don't deserve to win.

I saw Ann playing 10-20 still before I left the poker room, her back turned to me. I thought I might walk over and say goodbye, but I pictured two dozen other guys doing the same thing. So I didn't for fear of seeming like the blubbering idiot. I quietly walked out of the room for the final time during this trip. I had earlier given her a business card with this blog on it so if you're reading this Ann, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email at Either way, it was nice to meet you. It was the most fun I've ever had playing poker. I may be a blubbering idiot, but at least I'm a sincere blubbering idiot.