Poker Update

Yesterday’s excellent BBQ party turned into a poker game. This was not a surprise, as ten out ten attendees were players!

We were playing with 3,500 in chips. One player had boasted how he always plays and wins the first hand. On that first hand, I had a pair of 5s and another came up on the board. I sucked 2,000 even from him and another player as well as some blinds. I was already up 7,700 or so. I played fairly tight by my standards. (Sorry Pete, I know you want me to push push push!) I bullied people out of the occasional pot, played the occasional one straight up, but mostly waited for the blinds to kill everyone. There was so much talking that each round was less than one time around the table.

This succeeded. We got down to five players. I was still big stack and started playing more aggressively. Whenever I went in, I went in big. I was making everyone else pay if they wanted to face me down.

At four players with blinds at 500-1000, one player had only 400 in chips. In four out of the next five hands we went all-in against each other. Each one turned out to be a coin flip. I lost every one. Arrgh! What are you gonna do, that’s poker.

Now down at three players, I was slightly short stacked. In dealer position I had A-3. I raised to 5,000 – a bit over half my money. Small blind instantly went all-in. What do I do? I am fairly confident he does have a decent hand. On the other hand, K-J suited is considered a decent hand here, I at least have a high card. And if I fold, I’m effectively out – I would need to play every hand because of the blinds and would need to double up twice to get back in contention. What the heck, I’m in. He had a pair of 10s. Pretty much what I figured. I had a lot of outs. By the river, I had four to the nut flush, four to a straight, and an ace would win it for me. It was not to be, I took 3rd place. I’m still not sure if that was the right call. Maybe the mistake was putting the first 5,000 in, but you also want to play aggressive at 3-handed, having an ace is a good hand.

Tonight: $10
Overall: -$54

Housing Price Forecast

According to Money Magazine, the value of my home is going down 2.3% next year. That sounds right. It looks pretty good against the national average of -9.7%.

Florida looks the worst, the “top” three markets are Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale, and Miami. All are predicted to go down by over 20%.

What think you, my geographically dispersed readership? How accurate do you think their prediction are?

Poker Update

I felt good going in tonight. I played tighter than usual. It seemed to pay off, I was looking good in the early going. Converted good hands, threw away weak ones, bluffed just enough to keep ’em honest. With K-Q suited I put in 3x preflop. Flop was K-J-6. I put in a lot. The turn was a Q. I was sitting pretty with two pair, put in a lot again. Someone went all in. I was very pot commited, had to go for it. He had A-10 for the straight.

I rebought. Maybe not smart, I got 2500 in chips and blinds were at 100-200. I grew that very quickly. I was getting just enough good hands to bring in the occasional big pot.

Eh, not an exciting night. I’ll skip to the end. It was three-handed. The other two players are the best players there. We played for a long time with no one gaining a big advantage. I eventually got knocked out calling an all-in with Q-J. I was right that the other guy was bluffing, but he was bluffing with K-5, and my outs never came up.

Tonight: Even
Overall: $-64

On the good side, remember the insanely lucky guy who beat everyone so badly a couple weeks back? He was there again today, rebought 4 times and finished in 6th out of 6 people. Turns out he is a terrible player who got lucky that week.

Van Halen II: The Case for Rehab

Eddie Van Halen went from looking like the Wicked Witch of Rock:

To Ray Liotta:

Check out this cancer weirdness. Rock n’ Roll baby!

During the late 1990s Eddie Van Halen was treated twice for tongue and mouth cancer. During an interview with Howard Stern on September 8, 2006, Eddie claimed that holding a metal pick in his mouth 12-14 hours per day while immersed in the electromagnetic radiation of his music studio caused his tongue cancer. He said he continues to smoke because “cigarettes didn’t cause the cancer”,[15] despite the fact that they could in fact contribute to the cancer’s potential for resurgence.

Eddie also revealed that he stopped the cancer via an illegal method (the nature of which he declined to specify) in conjunction with a pharmaceutical lab with which he’s affiliated in New York state. He said a portion of his tongue was removed and experimented on, and then the technique was performed on him. He said he has lost one third of his tongue, though his speech is virtually unaffected. Despite his battles with oral cancer, Eddie has been photographed in public as recently as June 2006 smoking cigarettes.

And for no reason at all, here’s a couple more excellent pix:


Links o’ Interest

A rather good essay on everyday vegetarianism. Strong ending.

An interesting article on subconscious bias.

Zip Decoding, a neat visualization of the USA zipcodes. A map of the USA, roads only.

America’s Foreign Policy choices, as seen through The Godfather. Serious and insightful.

50 best ad parodies. I particularly enjoyed 41, 12, and 9.

Subversive license plate

Photo-bombers – those people in the background who ruin nice pictures. Check out Mike Matusow in the last one.

78-year old man bowls a perfect 300. Did I mention he’s blind?

Bears on the playground

Things that are younger than John McCain. Alaska for instance.

An amazing animated graffiti. I linked to an excerpt of this before.

Fail! Fail Again! Fail some more!

Van Halen (Concert Review)

They still got it! Wow, do they got it!

By they, I mean Alex & Eddie of course. They are incredible. As always, the high point of the show was when Eddie came out and noodled for ten minutes. Six minutes or so were devoted to riffing on Cathedral. Everything he does looks so effortless. I remember trying to learn part of the guitar break in Running With The Devil. It was a very simple A-chord arpeggiation. After two weeks I gave up. That riff is so far down from the kinds of stuff he does without trying hard. Not to mention his incredible right hand. Between two-hand tapping, working the volume knob and the whammy bar it’s a whole second guitarist.

Wolfgang is competent. I don’t see the point of firing your bassist of twenty five years and replacing him with your kid unless your kid is significantly better in some way.

The background vocals were excellent. Eddie & Wolfang harmonize very well together. Normally I don’t review the background vocals but here they stand in contrast.

…To Diamond Dave. I wanted to like him. I could not. His day has come and gone. Every bit of music was great except him. Maybe he was good at the beginning of the tour. Last night he was a poor karoake singer. He really seemed like some crazy uncle crashing the family jam session at the annual picnic. Grabs a mic, knows half the words, doesn’t sing on pitch, refuses to phrase anything the same way twice in a row, keeps making goofy faces at everyone through his drunken slurring, and points to himself a lot. It was painful to watch. He wouldn’t sing the lyrics. He knew everyone in the audience knew all the words so he would sing just enough of them to suggest that he could darn well sing them all if he really wanted to, he just didn’t want to. Yeah right.

Speaking of singing guitar players, I did like Dave’s guitar playing. He did a flatpicking demo which led into Ice Cream Man. I had always assumed that was Eddie on the acoustic, it was him? Maybe he’s the second guitar on Could This be Magic also.

I suppose my review is the same as every other time I see them (this was my third and a halfth time). Eddie is God. Alex is Godlike. There are allegedly some other people in the band but why would you pay attention to them?

Update: Here’s a quote from Fargo Rock City reinforcing my view of ol’ Daimond Dave.

At every wedding dance, there is always one uncle who drinks too much, dances too much, and tells the most ridiculous stoiries over and over and over again. He’s the hero or the goat of every story he tells, and you can never quite tell if he’s the most boorish jackass in your family or the most charming fellow you’ve ever met. David Lee Roth is that uncle

Poker Update

I hosted last night. It was with a different group of people. It was much looser and more social.

How’d I do? I think I played great. I outplayed everyone else. (I think. You never really know.) In the first round, I dominated. I had some good cards and some good bluffs. I confused the table by doing a lot of checking in the dark with first action – they didn’t know whether that meant weakness or strength.

But the bad beat streak continued. I think I was involved in about 10 bad beat hands. 2 of them were in my favor. 8 of them were the other guy bad beating me. Is it worth telling about any of them? No, but I will anyhow.

I went into heads up play with a 3-1 chip advantage. I ended up going all in with A-9. He had K-9. He got his K on the river. I was struggling after that. I went all in with a pair of 8s. He called me with J-8. He got his jack on the river, I got second place.

I felt like Phil Helmuth. I was going in with the right cards. I was making the right folds – I had to dump J-J one time and Q-Q another when overcards drew heavy betting. I went all-in with the best hand at least a half-dozen times. And it didn’t matter, I still got knocked out by bad beats. I also talked like Phil Helmuth, I was jawing at everyone. I like to tell everyone else what they should do. I’m always surprised how much they listen.

My favorite hand no one saw. I was short-stacked and drew Ad-4. It was enough for a semi-bluff, I went with 300 (3x) preflop. The chip leader called. The flop came 3-4-5 of diamonds. I had middle pair and a draw to both the straight and nut flush. I put in another 200. Partially because I thought my 4s were good, partially as a test to see if I could push him off the pot. He raised me up to 500. He was a conservative player who just played the value of his cards (I doubt he bluffed during the whole night). I called. The turn was something unremarkable, maybe 9c. I checked. He put in 400. I only had 1,000 left with 100-200 blinds coming next hand. Tough call. If I went all in, would he fold? I had checked already, could I represent strength? Was he sophisticated enough to be using his chip lead to bully my short stack on a bluff? It would be calling something like 1/4th of the pot, and there were 9 diamonds, 4 2s, and 2 4s for my outs. 15 outs said I should call him.

But I folded. For what it’s worth, he said he had something good, I think he had the flush already. Even though the math says I should have called him, I think it was a good fold. Sometimes the math has to give way to the read.

It was a very fun night. I’m tempted to not report financials, because it was a great night of entertainment for the price. But I suppose I have to keep it honest.

Net winnings: $-10
Overall: $-64

P.S. Mrs Muttrox played also. She played an early nut straight perfectly, getting two other players all in and getting a large chip lead. But from then on, she was very tentative. It’s only her second game, she has a hard time playing with anything less than super-premium hands. She got blinded down until she was forced to go all in and lose with a K.

Knock-knock jokes

Tonight we did knock-knock jokes. Here’s a typical knock-knock joke from a 5-year old:

Knock knock!
Who’s there?
Table who?
Table shirt! Ha ha!

We did this for twenty minutes. Then the two-year old wanted to play.

Him: Daddy, daddy! Knock-knock!
Me: Who’s there?
Him: Sugar!
Me: Sugar who?
Him: (looking confused and desperate) I don’t know!