Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snoqualmie Poker

While out in the Seattle area for a professional conference, Mr. Brown and I went to a new local casino to check out the west coast poker action. We were told that the casino was well marked, so we found the place after only a couple of wrong turns. Once we arrived, we found the parking lot and deck to be very well marked.

The facility is new having opened in October. It is bigger than most casinos here in the PacNW though it would make a pretty small location in NV. Still, it was very nice and they seemed to have their place running very smoothly for such a new operation.

The poker room had 10 tables or so. We arrived around 6:30. The only games being spread at that time were $4-8 LHE and $2-5 NLHE. Those limits are a little high for my current roll and I wasn't looking to be a rock tonight (to conserve $$), but we were there to play so we choose the NLHE table. I didn't ask about other games but I suspect that these were the lowest limits available.

One rules situation occurred that I would like to get some comment on: Dealer deals the cards and 3 players limp in when the button tells the dealer that he only got one card. The nice thing to do for a player that is under no suspicion would be to deal him a card, but I'm wondering about dealing out more cards once action has occurred. Wouldn't it be easy for the player to drop a deuce or trey on the floor and ask for a card? I'm thinking a strict interpretation would call the buttons hand dead. Just wondering. In this case, the player got a card and play continued.

My night started with a few small wins as I played fast while the rest of the table settled in. As these things usually work, my luck changed quickly and for the worst. I got KK on the button and raised 3x to push out all but the small blind and the big blind. My flop bet of $30 pushed out the big blind, but the small was still around. I still had an overpair on the turn and bet $50. The small blind came over the top for $40 more. I knew I was probably beat, but my odds of beating 2 pair on the river were good enough, so I called. His flopped set of Js held up and my stack is now half of it's original size.

Not long after that I ordered dinner. Another hand about 10 minutes after that, I look down and see 88 in my hand on the button and raise 3x. I get a couple of callers which include Mr. Brown two seats to my right. The flop is something like 783. Cool. the betting is checked to me and I bet $25 which is called by Mr. Brown. The turn is a blank for straights and flushes. Mr. Brown bets $25 and I raise to $75. He calls. The river is another blank and MB says something like "I don't want to take all of your money" and checks. I think I'm good and read weakness in his statement and bet $100 (leaving me $30 behind). He calls and turns over 87o for two pair. I flip over my cards and lose. WHAT?!?! It turns out I misread the 83o that was in my hand so I only had two pair. Dammmmmmit! About this time my sandwich arrives so I decide it's a good time to take a break.

I rebuy after dinner and my luck continues unchanged. (OK, the misread wasn't luck induced) Shortly, I'm dealt JJ in early position. I raise 3x and get 2 callers, the cute asian chick (CAC) and the loose drunk (LD) 3 seats to my left. The flop is 8910 rainbow. Cool. I've got an over pair and a redraw to a big straight. I bet $25 or so and CAC goes all in for $15 more. LD and I both call and check the hand down. I miss on improving my hand and CAC turns over AA to scoop the pot.

Player's checks!

That was the final insult before things improved. I still had to limp and fold my way down to just over $100 when I got 44 in the big blind. The action folds around to Mr. Brown who raises to $25 or so. The player inbetween us folds and I go over the top for $95 more and all in. MB calls and turns over A10 of diamonds (Note: he still swears it was AQd, but he should get a better memory or his own blog). My 4s hold up through a 2-diamond flop and I double up to a little over $200.

It is now about 9:30 and Mr. Brown is wanting to call it a night. He is up about $1000 (that happens on a loose table and you are dealt 7 or more full houses in 3 hours) and wants to preserve his winnings. I'm wanting to double up again to get back to within $200 of my starting point. I put him off for a while when the following miracle flopped my way. I get JJ on the button. There are a few limpers and then LD raises to $20 or so. I call as does the rock on my left. The flop comes JJA with 2 hearts. I couldn't have reached into the deck and pulled out a better flop. I faux-check my cards to look like I'm drawing to a flush (and to make sure I have quads). LD bets $25 and I smooth call. I'm trying my best to keep the rock around, but he folds. I'm getting my whole stack in but no need to be in a hurry. The turn is a non-heart and LD pushed out $100. I explain that I'll only have another $70 behind so I'll just go all in and LD calls and flips over KK. Double up and time to go. We actually play around to Mr. Brown's blind and go.

All-in-all, it was a good night and I don't think I played too badly except for the misread. I get about 1 a year, so I can live with that. Friday night, Mr. Brown and I travel from SEA to LAS (Vegas), so there is more poker action to come.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Angry Young Man

(navel gazing post)
In the past few months, I've been a little surprised at myself. Some things that would have greatly upset me in my younger days now they seem to roll off my back. I'm mostly talking about little stuff like losing poker sessions or personality clashes, bad breaks at work or lost political races. Used to be those types of incidents would dig down deep under my skin and bring up reactions that were not so appropriate. Now it happens much less often.

I like to think Dr. K has something to do with that. Having a happy home life to fall back on will sooth many an emotional cut or scrape. I'd like to think growing up might also have some part in the change. I was reminded of that by a song I heard on the radio recently. It was a song that my high school and pole vault buddy FrankieX used to play on the tape deck in his car (radio? tape deck? Yea, I'm dating myself. I know). He was a big Billy Joel fan, even back before The Stranger came out, so many of the early Billy Joel songs are the songs from my childhood.

This particular song was, as the title of this post suggests, Angry Young Man. In those days, I saw myself somewhat proudly as that AYM and couldn't really understand folks who didn't get "really involved". Because I can still remember my old reaction to that song, the difference in who I am now really comes into focus. The bridge of the song really hit me. Here are those words (40 somethings feel free to sing along):

I believe I've passed the age
of conscientiousness and righteous rage
I've found that just surviving is a noble fight
I once believed in causes too
Had my pointless point of view
and life when on no matter who was wrong or right

What used to sound like surrender now sounds more like a badge of honor. I'm not totally past poor reactions and probably never will be. Although, sometimes it is helpful to be able to tap into the old me when a strong reaction seems necessary so long as I know the difference.

I haven't heard from Frankie in a few years and often miss the old days of pole vaulting and cassette tapes, but today's adventure is a better one in every way.

On with the adventure.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Post Election Notes

  • So far, it looks like most Obama supporters are good winners.
  • The celebration of the Obama victory last night reminded me of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  That can't be a bad thing.
  • Just wondering, who voted for McCain (49%+ in NC), but not for McCrory (47%)?  There must be some Charlotte haters elsewhere in the state.
  • I heard one analyst  who said the youth vote for Obama was, in part, a "poke in the eye" to their elders who still see race as a factor.  I approve that message.
  • Both candidates for President said the right things last night.  We can all be proud Americans.
  • The Republicans would be smart to pick a few fights and not try to obstruct everything.  Not holding my breath for that.
  • Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reed scare me more than ever and may have more power domestically than Obama as they control the agenda.
  • Along the same line, too much power on one side can be a bad thing.  I'm willing to wait and see about that. (Like I have a choice)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

So is there voter intimidation?


I'm not surprised.

Looking back - Looking forward

I am looking so forward to Wednesday. I'm always tired of politics and political campaigns about a week after registration begins, so there's nothing new there.  But this political season and this presidential election  seems to be particularly vicious.

I know that many of the democrat supporters are truly inspired by the guy with the pretty words.  The republicans felt the same way back in 1980.  Nothing new there.  I also know that many of his supporters are voting for him out of hate for the other side, namely George W. Bush.  Of course most would never admit it.  They've found plenty of info to show how their guy can solve all of our problems and save us money at the same time.  Fine.  If he gets the chance, I hope he does.  The republicans have done much the same with some respect for the war hero and lots of hate for the liberials.  Nothing really new there except the amount of hate seems to be higher this time around.

But I can not escape the feeling that a lot of hate on both sides has spilled over from the campaign into daily lives.  Normally friendly, rational people have taken to relentlessly badgering their friends about getting out to vote, make calls, go to this rally, etc, as if everyone else doesn't have a brain in their head.   If you think newly born-again Christian or recent non-smokers are irritating, they have nothing on these political supporters.  The mis-information that is flying around in blogs, emails, and other channels on both sides is just mind-bloggling (new term).  I quick check of most of it show the lies for what they are, but like all good urban myths, those who forward this stuff would rather believe than check.  It is easy to do when you get excited.

They've also taken to calling each other names that we would never use in person.  In the name of (pick a candidate), it is OK to call others idiots, biggots, sexist, nazi, morons and much more.  The insults are rarely so obvious.  The usually come out as "You''d have to be numb in the head to ..." or "The only reason I could imagine that you wouldn't vote for candidate X would be that you are a (insert derogatory term from above)".  If you've taken a public side in this fight, go back and read some of what you've written.  You may owe some apologies.

After tomorrow, we will have a president-elect who will champion bipartisanship and will eventually make some token appointments to show his commitment.  Expect the word "heal" and "healing" to be tossed around like a football at a Manning family reunion, but nothing will change here.  George W. Bush came in with these promises, and the new president will, too.  They will end up the same and it will be the other sides fault.  Each side will still blame the other for all of our problems and will give their side a pass.  The party that is in power will do what they can to keep the party out of power out of power.  Those of us who feel deeply will eventually be hurt and those of us who think will shake our heads in amazement and/or disgust.  In other words, not much is going to change.  But we don't have to disrespect each other so much in the process, do we?

So to those who save the world tomorrow from those evil other-siders, congratulations.  Enjoy the victory.  But once the party is done and the world sweeps up the confetti, remember what it felt like the last time your side lost and do something personal to heal the wounds that this battle has caused. To not do so would be, well, like those other guys and you are better than that.

Where I have been guilty of the above, I apologize.  My hope is that the world will seem like a better place on Wednesday.  It has got to be a little quieter.