Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poker Bloggers RISE-ing

This not a post, but is since well I'm typing here but not the one that I wanted to refute the notion of a book my wife is reading that claims money does not give individuals a life advantage over those who do not have such sums for better housing/education/brand-name soap.  I suppose life is what you make it, but money allows opens doors to the clearer path versus having to step on nails while finding a way to scrap by.

Wanted to throw a little link love for three friends that I hope to see this summer sometime and hope their newest ventures:

- Dr. Pauly is back with a novel that I've heard about ever since I met this soul several years ago at the Plaza as he continues to be one of the very reasons I don't shut-down this slice of the internet entirely while trying to fit 25 hours of work into 24 hours of the day. If Jack Bauer can do it, so can I.  And so can Pauly who after his success with Lost Vegas presents Jack Tripper Stole My Dog (book purchase linkage here) and I'm also pleased to see he is returning to Vegas for the WSOP this summer....  

- ...  and three of my friends will be working together for RISE Poker which comes at a time after Black Friday showing some hope to the post-US online poker wasteland that players have options (even if it isn't 12-tabling 6-max PLO until the handle of Captain says "please stop pouring me" at 2am).  F-Train and Change100 will be in Vegas for the WSOP along side Chops of Wicked Chops Poker fame rounding out their all-star WSOP coverage crew (if I'm missing anyone it's because its early in the morning and I haven't had my caffeine yet).

Ok, back to the grind and not mentioning my decent degen gambling weekend as I won a Vegas plane ticket worth of ducats playing slots and pull tabs...   a sign to go?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

It's what I do

"It's what you do"

I'm not Kobe, LeBron, Wade, A-Rod, never the superstar, never a person who seeks the spotlight.  My father instilled that quality in me, for the past nearly 40 years he has been fixing elevators, getting called at ungodly hours to drive/fly somewhere in the Midwest region because some mechanic kid doesn't know the difference between the blue wire and the red wire and the building's contractor is bitching out the home office something fierce because they cannot complete their $50 million cubical maze without an OSHA sign off on the lifts. He puts head down, gets it done without flair, without demands, without extra needs.  He could expense bigger hotels, better meals, but chooses to pack a lunch/dinner with chocolate chip bars from my mom while staying in a place that's no more than a bed to lay down on after making things right at the job site for 12-14 hours then comes back home to be an on-call help desk.

He missed his kids growing up and just now at the age of 60 as started to get to know them.  I love my father dearly, always have, always will and I see little bit of myself in him.  Just the honor of someone appreciating my hard work is worth doing the job.  Some may call that being naive and those people would be absolutely correct.  But as long as I receive the satisfaction of doing something right, my reward may not be tangible but its worth more than anything currently parked in Paris Hilton's gargage. 

All my life, I just yearn for a chance.  My current employ, where I will probably retire from in the year 2035, has shot me down for several promotions due to a lack of a piece of paper that I currently am in the pursuit of achieving for both personal and professional reasons.  But when one has a disability there is always a nagging itch with each denial.  "Is it because I cannot hear?".  It's an irritation that grows with every rejection, and wondering "am I in the right business?", "should I be taking my talents somewhere else?".  Instead I put my head down and keep churning out productivity. 

I am not a genius, nor do I feel particularly talented at anything but I work harder than most as people who know my schedule get winded just reading it.  While sitting up in the metal bleachers at Field #1 behind my parent's home and Cedar Island elementary school directly to my right where I attended and teachers still asked about me 25 years later, I still wonder what I did to make such a lasting impression besides my unkept hair, ability to say "what?!?" every other word, and do my multiplication tables faster than anyone in the room.  Then I looked up at my boy finally showing some effort on the field, sliding side-to-side for grounders and showing a bit of the smooth batting stroke that got his father a place on a few baseball/softball teams.  Of course in my lap was a copy of Fundamentals of Corporate Finance and a rather dry chapter about WACC, betas, CAPM, and the cost of equity since my time was in short supply this week.  But, cool, nearly windless night made it perfect to sit outside and watch my son finally show some effort that I hope I can instill in him as my father did in me.

Hard work does pay off, it may take longer for someone who doesn't chirp about not getting "his due", but the person who doesn't ask for those extras shouldn't expect them, instead receiving the little satifsfaction like a son's smile after finally catching a fly ball, getting an insignificant grade on a college paper, or working long hours on a blog post that felt good to finish and not caring how many people read it because you were proud of the words put to print.

A good friend told me "it's what you do" and he couldn't be more right. 

And I'll continue to be a parent, a writer, a number jockey, a friend, a husband, a provider, a student until I'm ask not to.  When all those jobs are done and there's nothing left, I'll take myself somewhere to rest with a handle of rum in my hand of course.  But until then its time to get back to work.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Monday Ribeyes

Came home yesterday to smell of steaks on the grill as the wife explained she was feeling nice and decided instead of Easy Mac N' Cheese a full steak dinner with roasted potatoes, ribeyes soaked in wine (I added a little Famous Dave's Devil Spit which completely kicks ass), and grilled corn-on-the-cob.  Due to the nature of our schedule, Monday - Thursday is usually a throw something in the microwave and rush back out the door dinner.  The surprise is how my wife expresses that I done something right recently but since I have the game of Revenge of the Nerds stand-in, I'll just keep scanning the credit cards to see if I've purchased a Mexican cruise for two in September before passing out after reporting last weekend.

The first weekend of the post-Black Friday SCOOP tournament series and while the numbers are down, they are cracking the guarantees with good amount of players for every buy-in level.  The production got a step-up this year as they've added a daily recap show called Inside SCOOP with Joe Stapleton and Nick Weathall commanding the microphone with interviews from the winners via Skype as well as Team PokerStars pros and Team Online.  Even got to see a few hands I reported on as Alexander "josio" Kostritsyn went on a tear last weekend collecting a 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, and 3rd in the high buy-in tourneys.  But, after two days off I'll be back in the fray tonight through Sunday reporting for PokerStarsBlog and getting to know my couch for the next five days.

I get four weeks vacation each year and for the past three years I have used two of those weeks to work for WCOOP and SCOOP.  To tell you the truth, it feels more relaxing and fulfilling to indulge in job that I love to do but don't have the necessary equipment (bad hearing makes live reporting juuuuuuuuuust tad tough) outside of being behind a laptop to complete.  I'm not a journalist, nor a writer, just a card player with a love knack for throwing a few readable puns together.  When I write for these series know that I enjoy the action, and give a little OW! when a nasty river card hits at 4:30am despite having zero personal financial consequence.  Unlike accounting where you're supposed to leave your emotions at the door, I'm a little colorful when it comes to poker or poker reporting, call it releasing the inner-degen, something I cannot or should not do while sitting in cubicalandia behind Dilbert cartoons and an outdated computer.

I know the loss of online poker for Americans sucks and people within our little niche circle are good work for little consequence like Karak who penned a great post about seeing the issue of legalized internet poker from the eyes of the morally right.  Adding the disclaimer that he is Christian and is completely honest about the beliefs from powerful political groups like Focus on the Family.  CK and Grange of course continue to do the leg work of hammering out rough, massive mounds of rocky lawyer babble into malleable, clean, easy-to-read sheets of information for the masses.  2+2 continues to have too have too many forum tards that want to spend more time flinging poo at company reps (but some it admittedly is justified as a simple one sentence explanation for the delay would sedate many people) versus having solution discussions, but luckily you can tap Karak or KevMath to sift through the muck to find the good stuff (yes, it does exist). 

Online poker and poker in general will continue to be part of my life until pen is forced to be dropped, and even then I'd find a way to put together a few sentences about this card game whether it be in a professional capacity or screeching my bow across the strings here.  WPBT get togethers will still happen, likely a smaller crowd but if you enjoy those weekends of stepping outside your skin, fellow degens will available long after Harrah's.com becomes the official online card room of the 2015 WSOP.  Why?  Because everyone needs to step out of their monkey suit, briefcase, stethoscope, laptop, fortran code, parenting skin for just a few days to realize how good they have it to be in that skin eating a juicy steak during a busy Monday, starting another busy week.  I'll be there in December, tournament or not to see these people, even if MGM insists on charge $11 for Cap'n Coke because the cowboys don't know better, because you never know when you'll be wisked away in a limo with five other guys with grins that reached LA to G-Vegas after a concert that touched your soul. 

Something you won't find banging at a keyboard at home, here's to hoping I see ya'll soon (a WSOP trip 06/26-06/29 is starting to get my interest).

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Where we talk about poker before writing about poker

Twitter went abuzz yesterday as US players who did not ask for the bank wire option payout from PokerStars got their checks.  Sure enough when I got home there was one sitting on the kitchen table underneath an ad from Aria and Harrah's.  WSOP time?  No, the check wasn't for that much but enough for a "free" ticket to Vegas and a decent hotel and since I still have a workable bankroll, the WSOP is a possiblity, more so if backers sprout up.

Should I stay or should I go? (if I go there will be trouble...  that much is certain)

Another shot at a WSOP tourney is food for thought, especially after the confidence boost from roaching my way to chopping up that O8 tourney at Binion's two years ago.  But, really I'd rather see my degenerate friends for a little school/work/kids/life stress relief and sling some chips.  Add on a nice extra paycheck from assisting with the SCOOP series that got off to a bang on Sunday with all three tourneys beating their guarantees.  Be sure to check out the recaps from your hard drinking working bloggers at PokerStarsBlog.  I'll be joining the team on this Thursday, working through the weekend, then starting up again on Tuesday afternoon through Sunday where some juggling in schedule between a fun run at Como Zoo that I forgot about will happen Saturday morning (those playing the high stakes PLO tourney that morning, please stretch your Euros a bit while I get some sunshine with the kids).  But, with the size of the fields thus far and the length of the tourneys there should be no problem trying to keep up with my daughter for a half mile and heading back to the reporting cave for some GAMBOOOOOOOOOOOOL! (6-max PLO is my favorite tourney to watch/report on).

Full Tilt unfortunately continues to have issues stemming from separating player/company funds as my meager bankroll there is still locked up and they can no longer sponsor that graphic you see on the right hand side of the blog.  But, it will remain there regardless.  They have supported us poker bloggers for too long to cut and run until the company itself asks for the ad to be taken down.  I sincerely hope things improve soon for my friends and a site that supported us throughout the years with freerolls and especially the Battle of the Blogger tournament series where my luck always seemed to be at its worst. 

UB/AP continues its fall into the abyss as they axed their US-based pros yesterday along with bankruptcy scares, raids in Costa Rica that spilled over to the wrong poker site, and unfortunately leaving a good friend who is one of the best in the business, out of a job.  He'll land on his Pittsburgh sports homer feet soon enough, but UB/AP deserves to die a quick death along with the millions they have stolen from poker players around the world.  Restructuring to capture non-US market players?  Minimal caps on cashouts (and not to mention a "check processing" fee)?  Why would any player with Party, Tilt, Stars available want to play on a site that has cheated its players (read all about the scandal with an upcoming book announced by uber-sleuth Haley Hintze yesterday), couldn't even figure out a decent RNG for a simple game like Keno, and saw its two biggest "stars" walk away at just the right time (strangely not a lot of talk about their seemingly innocent departure)...

Hmmm... indeed

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rambling man found dead in Abbottabad

So...  anything interesting going on in the last few weeks?

I'll remember my porch and Twitter locking my feeble laptop while trying to upload the May Day version of the Sunday Warm-up as Osama Bin Laden finally drew his last vile breath on Earth.  Looking up and seeing it was 9:30pm with only four players remaining and thinking about finally getting a decent night sleep to help battle this chest cold that has lingered for two weeks, but suddenly Twitter exploded with 100+ twits, twats, tits in a matter of a few minutes.  After armageddon was disproved and I put away the snide remarks to my wife about going out with a bang (h/t Chevy Chase and Aykroyd), I flipped over from the poker wrap to see that the world's number one terrorist would not be plotting any more.

This does not stop the religious abuse, the shoe bombs, the potential future 9/11-like attacks, in fact it may just piss off the lingering terrorist cells into doing something rash.  But, the head is severed from the body.  The thinking leader behind the reason you take off your shoes and get a free hand job before joining friends at McCarran airport for a weekend of Pai Gow, foie gras with unpronounceable flavorings, and ripping up $100 wagers on the 3am Tanzania/Turkey cricket tilt.

No more.

Oh, don't worry you'll still get your complimentary sexual healing from the TSA, but Bin Laden won't be laying out the blueprints any longer.  For the current time, intelligence agencies will seeing a fight or flight by the terrorist cells linked to Bin Laden.  Will they use this to paint an (un)holy martyr and rally around their fallen leader to enact something even more terrifying than the 9/11 attacks?  Or disperse into smaller acts of a car bomb here, suicide bombers there, slowly trying to gather enough steam for another massive attack?  Citizens like myself will have to rely on those whose names will never appear on a newspaper, faces that are unknown to any database, and hope those who crawl through the slime trails left by these holy pretenders find them before they find us hiding behind our Dodge Caravans.

There are no words that describe their sacrifice and I certainly couldn't write enough to properly thank them. No amount of money or materialistic items will ever be enough, but if you ever lucky enough to meet someone who has served this country without selfish thought, buy them a beer and thank them for allowing the biggest problem in your day is getting your daughter to eat her green beans or the ability to play online poker.

And to those who thought Obama was taking some kind of victory lap with that beautiful speech Sunday night?  Kindly place a large rusted spiked unlubricated object up your self righteous ass.  Obama did good, he did something right, save the bashing for when gas prices hit $5.00/gallon and ExxonMobile or BP comes out with another record breaking quarterly profit announcement...