Poker Update

Things started off great. 20 minutes in I got K-K. I upped the blinds from 50 to 150, got two callers. The flop was K-x-x. I put in another 150. I was raised to 500. Gave the acting job of my life to reluctantly call. The turn was nothing. I checked, he checked. The river was nothing. I checked again, he put in 500. I went all-in, he called, I busted him out. He had K-Q and never saw it coming.

And then it all fell apart. Two factors.

  1. The law of small numbers. In one hand I had A-10, the flop was K-x-x. I had bet heavy preflop and semi-bluffed postflop getting lots of action. There was an all-in. I figured him for K and nothing else. I had 2 cards to get an ace and I was getting 4 to 1 on my money. Had to do it. I did it and lost. On two other hands I had pushed big on bluffs, gotten a huge raise back and found myself with the pot odds right to call even though I figured I was well behind. I was both times and lost both times. The lesson is: Pot odds only work when the pots are fairly small in relation to your stack. If they are big then you can get busted out with only one or two hands going the wrong way. Playing a 20% hand with 7-1 on your money is a winning bet over the long run, but if you only have enough money to do it twice, the odds are you’re going home.
  2. I was out of it. I woke up at 5:00 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I had a ongoing firefight at work in the morning. I broke my glasses. Then we had layoffs announced. In the midst of all this, Mrs. Muttrox called to let me know that the 3-year old had fallen off his bike and was at the hospital getting stitches. By the time I got to the game I was mentally done already.

So I got knocked out. I was packing up to go home when we decided to change house rules and allow later buy-ins, because we had started with only six. Muttrox, you in? Um. Yeah, sure, why not. It’s only money. I lost that stack pretty quickly too. Went all in with 9-9 on a short stack, J-J called me and won. Oh well.

Tonight: -$40
Running Total: $555

Did we Win in Iraq?

From Yglesias:

…it’s worth observing that absolutely integral to starting to achieve success in Iraq was the rolling strategic decision to abandon our main war aims. In particular, we’re now neither trying to create a strong Iraqi state, nor trying to create an Iraqi state that isn’t dominated by pro-Iranian forces, nor trying to create an Iraqi state that’s a base for American military power, nor especially trying to create a stable Iraqi democracy. I think all of those decisions were the right decisions, based in smart pragmatic thinking about Iraqi realities and American interests. But if we didn’t want to do that stuff, that we could have just not invaded in the first place. Which is exactly what we should have done!

But this is an important point. It seems that Bill Kristol is running around saying “we won the war” in Iraq. In the real world, back in 2004 when liberals were proposing that the United States radically curtail its objectives in Iraq and agree to a firm date for leaving, conservatives called that proposal “losing.” I’m glad they’re now willing to lower their horizons and accept less. But the implausible partisan spin doesn’t change the fact that the war’s been a strategic disaster. Nor does it change the fact that Iraq looks to me more like a lesson in the limits of counterinsurgency than its promise. But it doesn’t seem to me that it’s being read that way. America is a country of optimists and a country that loves the uniformed military and the idea of success, so I think folks are going to look at the very equivocal “success” of 2007-2008 in Iraq and possibly reach some very unsound conclusions about the prospects for succeeding at other ventures.


Georgia Senate Election: And if I’m Wasting My Time

I voted yesterday in Georgia’s runoff election for Senator. I did it, but it felt like a duty I needed to fulfill rather than the palatable excitement on Nov 3rd. Mrs. Muttrox felt the same way. We already knew Martin was going to lose. And if he did, so what? Sure Chambliss is a complete scumbag but the Dems control all three branches either way.

I didn’t look at the result until early this morning. Sure enough, Martin got creamed. It wasn’t even close, 57% to 43%. It’s clear that the only reason he was close in the first round was the spillover from Obama voters. Participation went from 3.7 million to 2 million.

That leaves the Democrats with 58 Senate seats, 59 if Franken comes through. That’s more than enough. For all the partisanship talk, you will not see 41 Republicans fillibustering on a regular basis. Even in these last years there were usually a few congressman from either party crossing lines for any particular vote.

Lastly, I’ll add that political advertising is just awful. This is the first time Georgia has been in play and the airwaves have been deluged with both parties ads. All of them are terrible. I wish I could say they’re dishonest, but that’s besides the point. They are so devoid of any content that they can’t be judged on truth. Any nugget of factual information has been distorted beyond the point of recognition. Even the ads on “my side” were no fun to watch. As a fairly educated citizen interested in politics, the level of discourse made me a little ill.

(Title reference here)