Sunday, September 27, 2009

Poker Marathon

I have a detailed poker story to share so if you’re not interested in the story in its entirety I have included a summary at the bottom. Also, throughout the story there will be links you can click on to view the transcript of certain relevant hands. Feel free to click on those links as you go. Click here to review some poker jargon before continuing.

The Story:
We began with 403 players. After playing for a couple hours I was in about 40th place of the remaining 56. It paid 54 places so I decided not to do anything too aggressive until I made into the money. At this point I wanted to get at least a little something for my time. This is how much of the tournament went for me. I was toward the bottom of the pack struggling to stay alive.
Each time I got short I would pick spots to shove in my whole stack. I usually managed to pick up the blinds. Because this tournament was a higher entry fee than I often play I think the field of players was better overall. This does create for higher competition, but it adds more predictable play from your opponents. Also, this tournament had just 6 players per table, which made for more faster action, and more frequent involvement.

I kept fighting and hanging around. Once I had aces a guy tried to make a play on me with 78s. He flopped four clubs, and I had to sweat it out. The aces held and I stayed alive. Shortly after I pushed in with 88, and was called by A9 (he had less chips, but enough to cripple me). He flopped an ace, and I hit a miracle 8 on the river.

I found myself in 30th place out of 32, but as long as I stayed alive I could keep moving up on the payout scale. If I could make the top 24 I would make an additional $50. I continued to live. With the blinds at 2500/5000, and holding only 30,000 checks I looked down and found KQo. Almosted eliminated, with very little options, I quickly pushed all-in. I was hoping to steal the blinds, but the SB called. Then the BB called too. Uh-oh. This is surely the end. The flop came K84. They both checked. Maybe I'm good now. Maybe I’ll triple up. It turned out they were holding nines and sixes, and I was holding 90,000 chips.

By this time I had Jeff on the phone acting as my poker coach. He had been helping me make decisions. Earlier, with K8o I wanted to push all-in from the button to steal. Jeff said the BB had too many chips and I should wait for a better spot. He added, “With his stack he would call you with A2 right now.” Right after I folded the SB went all-in and the big stack called with that exact A2. The SB had QK, and the big stack took him out. If it wasn’t for Jeff there I would have been eliminated. We kept fighting.

It got down to 7 people, and I was still alive. With good play and good fortune I made the final table. With 5 people left I had an average chip stack. My mindset had transitioned from surviving to winning. With a K7o and 150,000 chips, against the advice of my poker coach, I raised to 22,000 to try to steal the blinds. I was called by the BB. The flop came KJ6. He checked and I bet 29,000. He check-raised all-in, and I called. He was bluffing with Q5. Down to four.

With 4th place finisher was eliminated the chip stacks were:
Seat 1: Katchman1 (419,164) Seat 3: gutshot7 (328,913) Seat 4: BtCh I MiTe Be (460,923)

With the blinds still at 4k/8k we had plenty of poker to play. Btch took the lead as the battle continued until I had this key hand with J9s. After taking down that victory I was left heads up, with about even chips.

Occasionally, Btch was slow to act so I looked him up on the site. It turned out he was playing 4 other tournaments at the same time. Likely a pro. But I still felt I had a big edge in heads up play. I amassed a chip lead, and then we got all the money in preflop in a race situation. His small pair held.

Now I was forced to battle from behind. Down 3 to 1 in chips I began my comeback. When I had regained the lead he even typed in how tough I was play to against. At that point I think both of us sensed it was a matter of time until I beat him. I remained focused. His time came on the final hand against my J7. I flopped top pair, and he check raised. I came back over the top and he called with just a flush draw. (At this point probably a reasonable call on his part.) No spade hit.
I even had the railbirds cheering for me, singing my praises, and asking me for cash. The only decision I was left with was how much to tip my poker coach. We did it. This was my first big win since 2003.

The Summary:
Yesterday, I entered a poker tournament that had 403 entrants. I took first. Woohoo.

Thought of the Week

“Doors don’t slam open.” --John M. Shanahan

Now Let's Take the Silly Picture

Dancing to Beyonce


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Placement Fail

Sunday, September 20, 2009

E-mail from my Dad

I arrived in Chile late Saturday night. I had internet at the house so I managed to post a couple blogs during my first few days there. The first was about changing my pants in line and climbing over the guy on the plane, and the second was about watching Walker Texas Ranger in Spanish.

On Wed I got this e-mail from my dad:

Hi Kevin,

Your blogs are interesting, but a TV show you didn't like and changing your pants in public didn't tell us much about your trip so far. How is the family you are staying with? Are you having fun? Is your Spanish coming back?

If you have already posted this info someplace then let us know. Hope you are enjoying yourself!

Dad and Mom


Then my friend Mark said to me in a voice of disgust, "Sleeping Dogs and Laundry? I wanted to see you on the mountain tops, and I get sleeping dogs and laundry."

Sorry. I didn't think people wanted to read about the mundane details of my trip. However, I've had several people ask to see pictures, and a few others ask for trip details.

So for my dad, Mark, and the rest of you I wrote some more about my Chile, and I also posted photos on my other blog. Click here to view them. This is in addition to what I already wrote on this blog about my Chile experience.

Thought of the Week

With both my hands full in the sink what part of my brain thought my left foot could catch the plate I knocked off the counter?

Best 4th Grade Science Project Ever

Also nominated for:
Most Descriptive Title
and Best Hypothesis

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Road Also Traveled

A few years ago I moved back to Sacramento and posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a roommate. I received a total of two responses. One was from a couple and at the end of the e-mail he mentioned, “And she’s cute too.” I’m not sure of the implications. The other was from a guy I will call Aaron.*

Prior to moving in together he invited me over for a barbecue at his place. After the food was cooked he scrounged up some plastic Tupperware for dinner. I inquired about the lack of dishes.

“I threw them away.”

It turned out the previous few months his brother and father were both living at the place, but neither was contributing. He thought because neither of them was working nor paying rent that they could at least do the dishes. When this didn’t happen he threw them away. I find this reasonable. I think.

It was a good start to our relationship. Aaron had a couch, television, and kitchen table, and I had dishes.

Aaron provided me an example of a lifestyle different from my own. For example the Christmas present he bought for his best friend Susie. That Christmas without discussing it first they each bought each other glass marijuana paraphernalia. This was definitely an improvement over the makeshift water bottle bong he had been using. What are best friends for?

He taught me things like how to effectively use all of your paycheck every two weeks. One day I came home during lunch and he had an extra large deluxe pizza from Round Table with a side of cheese bread. I asked him the occasion for lunch and it was because he had just received “a grip” of overtime pay. He was a big guy.

My education continued. One day after school one of my students asked me, “Mr. Burrill, do you know what it means to go dumb?” I had a few guesses. (They were wrong). I replied, “Um… I guess not. What does it mean?” The students explained, “It’s like get hyphy.” Oh. Thanks for clearing that up.

When I got home Aaron and Susie were both in the living room. So I asked them about what it means to go dumb. He immediately responded, “It’s like get hyphy.” The two proceeded to explain to me the phrases, go dumb, get stupid, get hyphy, ghost ride the whip, and most importantly breezy. I later learned you could say “beezy” for short if you thought breezy was a little too long.

During the year I also learned a lot about ankle bracelets, house arrests, breathalyzers, eligibility for a free public defendant, and reasons why DUI’s are strongly frowned upon in the state of California. I also heard firsthand someone make a phone call and say, “Got any thizzle my whizzle?” To think I may have gone my whole life and never heard that.

One of the principles I try to teach my kids is the importance of being a lifelong learner. Part of that is learning about cultures and people different from your own. I try to be someone open to new experiences and learning about others.

Good guy. Good roommate. Good year.

*Aaron is actually his given name, but due to the content of this story I thought I should represent an appearance of anonymity.

Thought of the Week

Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.
--George Edward Woodberry

These Were the Easy Ones

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Star Trek

When the movie ended I turned to Trevor and said, “I can’t believe Spock was hooking up with the hot chick.”

He responded, “That was the part of the movie you had the hardest time believing?”

Thought of the Week

I would use one of my three wishes to bring Mark Twain back to life and give him a Twitter account. --Louise Cosand

Influencing our youth

This picture has it as fun for the whole family. Is this now
behavior we are trying to teach early in life?

School Starts Tuesday


Click here to view.