Thursday, August 23, 2007

Another Shutout at Craig's

Poker at Craig’s: Another losing night, now five or six in-a-row. I can’t even make the final table anymore. Have I become too predictable? Too tight? I was playing six-handed with Jeff, John, Leo, Craig and Than. The table was very loose aggressive, with lots of big raises early in the evening. With 5/10 blinds the standard raise was 75 (7x bb!). It was ridiculous. I did catch some hands early on. With 44 on the button and three other players I flopped a set with an Ace. Another Ace came on the turn and Craig was disciplined enough to fold trips on the river after I pushed all in. I did get him later on though with my QTs in the bb. The flop was QQ5 and I raised Craig’s post-flop bet. He called. I went all in and Craig didn’t believe me. I think my earlier play had led him to believe I was bullying him around. That was about the last hand I won. After the break, with around 2400 in chips, the blinds ate away at me and whenever I was down to around 1400-1500 I pushed all in with whatever I had. I did this three or four times without a call. When the blinds were 100/200 with 25 ante, I pushed with A2 on the button and Craig called with 99. I lost and was out 9th. Another disappointing night of cards. I don’t remember any big mistakes. I folded KQ several times to a pre-flop raise. Other than that, simply card dead.Getting ready to go on a major writing splurge. I’ve learned something about myself this past year: it’s easier for me to stay busy when I have several projects going on at the same time. I find it more difficult to stick with just one project at a time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I played my final summer racquetball match last Monday against Rod G., a third-seeded player who upset Steve. B in the semis. I felt good going into the match, not to nervous and felt focused. Unfortunately, I started off tentative and cold. My shots kept going up, and that’s been a problem with me all year. My shots keep staying up. The first half of the match Rod was simply beating me. He shots were more accurate and more precise. I was playing scared and all the morning crew watching could tell. They told me I was playing Rod’s game instead of Rod playing my game. I had dug myself into a 6-12 hole and it looked as though I was going to lose the first game. But I’d been here before with Tyrone last Winter. I just focused on one point at a time and decided to mix up my serves. I scored two points quickly, then a third before Rod called time out. I scored two more points before losing serve. I won the serve immediately and won four more points to take the first game (15-12). The second game was much easier (15-5). I won the match and took home my third championship singles trophy in-a-row. Now I’m taking some time off and resting my body.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Poker Blues

This past weekend was a difficult one for me at the online poker tables. Fate was crushing me. Simply crushing me. I had many hands dominated, but seemed to lose every contest I was in. I lost several hands on the river when all the money was in on the turn. And I lost 4 big pots with folks who had sets (AA losing to KKK, KQ losing to QQ with a KQ8 board, KK losing to 999, etc.). Holding AK was like having a big hole in my pocket. I dropped two buy-ins worth over the weekend. I am down just shy of $300 playing no limit at the .25/.50 tables. I’m wondering if it’s luck or is it me. At some point I have to think I’m missing something. I play good hands and pay attention. I get my money in good a lot of the time. Often I’m pot committed on the flop or turn and have to commit the rest of my chips when I’m raised, knowing I’m beat. That happened with KQ against another set I ran into. Just when I think the worst is over, more crazy horribleness happens. But the good news is I didn’t break any mice. In fact, I took the bad beats, bad luck and bad play like a true professional. In a way, poker, teaches you to be philosophical about the play of the cards. After the money’s all in, there’s simply nothing I can do about how the cards play out. Accepting that is a big plus in this game where luck is such a factor. Right now I’m gapped up in bad breaks. What that means is at some point the odds will even out and I’m going to be on a tear. I can’t wait for that to happen.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What's Going On

I will be receiving another $5,000 from uncle Bob, my second cash gift. I need it. I’m cash flow negative right now, primarily because I have made little to no money playing poker. I actually haven’t been playing lately. Writing, stock strategies, etc. Weathering the rocky U.S. economy and the fallout from the subprime market. I’m told things will get worse before they get better. But I’m ready to start buying at the proper time. With up and down days, things will become more volatile in the next month or so. Now is the time to continue to do my homework. CSCO is still on my radar, as well as GOOG, EMC, SNDK. Things will continue to do down, however.

Writing: My and Chris’s script “Soulmate,” is off the ground. Here is a project that can be a quintessential love story with sharp scenes and a nice twist at the end. 3 months of hard work. Don’s script has not moved from the shelf in several months. I’m ready to get back to it.

Poker: Still studying Hoping a good run is in the mix. Also, I must learn when to fold second-best hands. I haven’t been playing live tables because the rake seems so high. I may start playing 6/12 instead of 3/6 just to beat the bad rake. 10/20 on the horizon? I need more money to handle the variance in that high a game.

Poker Wisdom

Don't be the guy giving out implied odds. There's $30 in the pot and I bet $30 on the flop. I have $200 behind. My opp. calls. A third suited card comes on the turn. There's $90 in the pot. I check and my opp. goes all in. If I call I'm giving him the implied odds he was counting on to justify calling $30 on the flop. Perhaps I fold. That way, he is not getting those implied odds. Don't be the guy giving out implied odds. Good advice.

Also, make tough decisions for your opponents. Usually that means the size of a bet.

The Secret

I've been reading and watching all sorts of positive life affirming books and DVDs. The Secret is one. I was curious to see what all the pop hype was about. So I watched the DVD. The message is simple enough: the law of attraction is the one law governing people's lives. What people think is often what they will receive. Thoughts become things. In a way, I have experienced that in my own life. I have always seen my ability to publish, sell something, or make money as unattainable and beyond my life experience. After watching The Secret, I tried thinking of only positive thoughts for a day or two. It was difficult. I've been programmed to accept defeat and failure, to anticipate the worst river cards. Sometimes those river cards come up and I'm in a strange way validating my pessimism. I must train myself to think the other way, to expect the blanks to hit. I've been reminding myself what I'm grateful for. I'm grateful for so many things: a job I enjoy that allows me time to think and learn and write, a family I love, a roof over my head and sweet car to drive, some money to buy things I enjoy. It's a simple life, but I like it that way. I'm a simple person.

One concept from The Secret is this: set a goal so large that if you achieve it it'll blow you away.

Okay, here are two goals:

1. Make $20,000 playing poker.
2. Finish "Soulmate" and "Making a Prophet."

Now get to work!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Strict To Do Lists Work

I accomplished a lot this past weekend and have been making very good use of my time lately. Because I’m interested in so many things and so easily distracted, I have been sticking to a strict to do list that keeps me on track. It’s working. I’m reading, watching movies, everything but writing. I always shy away from writing. I know why. I always think it’s no good. I’ve been doing what I can to rewrite the negative thoughts in my head. I’ve had a fair degree of success. Nothing spectacular, but I am improving.

This morning I played doubles racquetball for the first time in several weeks and went undefeated with Steve. I’ve been playing well lately, certainly since my lesson with Gerry Price. I just hope my ankle holds up. It’s sore again, but I’m beginning to wonder if the brace I wear is actually hurting more than helping. I think it may be hurting. There’s a spot on the brace that pinches my nerve. I’m not wearing the brace the next few times and instead taping my ankle. That should help.

The summer is winding down. Lots to finish. Played poker over the weekend, and though I didn’t win anything exciting, I liked how I played. I thought I made smart decisions throughout. More later.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Bridge Lesson

Neil and Jenny’s: I went over to Neil and Jenny’s Sat. night for dinner and a bridge lesson. They have done an amazing job renovating their house. It’s filled with art deco touches and nicely coordinated, vibrantly colorful rooms. I really love their house. We had jumbalaya for dinner and it was absolutely delicious. I should make it and heat it up each week. It was soooo good. After dinner, I gave them their first bridge lesson. I began by dealing out five cards each and playing a very simplified version of 3-person five-card bridge. Then we played with a dummy hand (bidder uses the dummy hand). Then we played with 7 cards each. Then we played with the whole deck. By the end of the evening they were playing honeymoon bridge together. That’s their homework assignment for the next few weeks. I would like to get them to a point where they are playing well enough to play with Jenny’s mother and step-father. That would be terrific. The evening ended with a zinfandel port from Rosenblum Vinyards. Very good stuff. A thoroughly enjoyable evening Saturday night.