Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waits Wednesday

OK, gonna introduce a new feature: Tom Waits Wednesdays. I'm going to make it my personal mission to get at least one of you corn dogs to gain an appreciation of that artist, recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Who is Tom Waits? Well, he's...um...he's...well, let's just say he's unlike anyone you've ever heard. Part Leonard Cohen, part Captain Beefheart, all original. His voice is a gravel pit with broken glass, a result of one cigarette too many and one shot of applejack more than he ought've. But he will absolutely captivate you, will challenge every notion of what you think is beauty, and will provide thousands of hours of enjoyment, if you let him.

His songs tell the tales of the downtrodden, the two-time losers, the bowery bums, the down-and-outers, the drunks, and the homeless, all the while imbuing his subjects with heart-wrenching humanity. He can tell a story like nobody else I've ever heard.

One song of his, which will be the subject of a future Waits Wednesday, tells a typical story of a typical Waits anti-hero that includes this line: "And it's a battered old suitcase/To a hotel someplace/And a wound that will never heal." In an amazing economy of words he paints a picture that puts you right exactly where he needs you to be. Let me tell you something: As a frustrated (and not very good) songwriter, you really do stand in slackjawed amazement at his skill.

Waits maintains he writes two different types of songs: Grim Reapers and Grand Weepers. The first few songs we'll be discussing will be the latter type.

Today's song is Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis. It's unique in that it's told from the point of view of a woman, and it is a heartbreaking ode to the power of small dreams. Musically it's pretty spare: a piano and an electric piano, one providing a melody and the other providing bluesy flavor.

The lyrics:

Charlie, I'm pregnant, livin on 9th Street
Right above a dirty bookstore off Euclid Avenue
I stopped taking dope and I quit drinking whisky
My old man plays the trombone and works out at the track

He says that he loves me even though it's not his baby
Says that he'll raise him up just like it was his own son
He gave me a ring that was worn by his mother
And he takes me out dancing every Saturday night

Charlie I think about you, every time I pass a filling station
On account of all the grease you used to wear in your hair
I still have that record - Little Anthony and the Imperials
But someone stole my record player - how do you like that?

Charlie I almost went crazy after Mario got busted
I went back to Omaha to live with my folks
But everyone I used to know was either dead or in prison
So I came back to Minneapolis - this time I think I'm gonna stay

Charlie I think I'm happy for the first time since my accident
I wish I had all the money we used to spend on dope
I'd buy me a used car lot, wouldn't sell any of 'em
Just drive a different car every day, depending on how I feel

Charlie, for Chrissake, if you want to know the truth of it
I don't have a husband - he don't play the trombone
I need to borrow money to pay this lawyer - Charlie, hey
I'll be eligible for parole come Valentine's Day...

See what I mean by the power of small dreams? Here's someone painting a picture of domestic bliss which involves living in a shitty apartment above an adult bookstore, with a guy who takes her out cutting a rug every now and again. This is her fantasy. She says her idea of the life of Reilly is driving "...a different car every day, depending on how I feel."

Small dreams.

To me the imagery is incredibly powerful, and poignant, and I promise you will feel the same.

Please listen along if you like - just click here. Then come back and tell me what you think.

Next week we'll find out what it means to put a picture in a frame.


A couple of things got me rattled in the last couple of days, and since there's no poker to discuss I thought I'd discuss them here:

1. We had Passover dinner the other night; we call it a seder. The holiday is meant to perpetuate the myth that the Jews en masse were enslaved to the Pharaoh (which one? History quite conveniently doesn't recount) until the Almighty, with outstretched arm and a recipe for bad food, delivered us from wickedness and cast us into the desert for forty goddamn years. Utter bullshit, a mile wide and ten miles long; but I digress.

Anyway the way it was is that the two patriarchs of our larger family sat at either side of the table; my Uncle Alan at one end and my father at the other. Well obviously the old man isn't around to take his seat so it's kind of up for grabs. Tootsie asked if I wanted to sit there, and pointed to the seat. I said that really, I'd rather not; it's tough enough being around my family during a holiday that my father used to attend (despite the fact that he HATED Passover) without making it even more emotionally charged by taking his seat. If it were up to me I'd leave his place empty but it's not my house. Anyway, like I said, I mentioned I'd rather not sit there.

At which point my aunt, my mother's sister, the woman who besides my mom was more responsible for my upbringing than any other, turned around (she was directly in front of me), adopted a sarcastic tone, rolled her eyes and said, "why? because your father used to sit there?"

"Yes," I replied, as levelly as I could, not wishing to start a fight.

To her credit, she turned back around without another word, perhaps realizing that she had acted like a flaming douchebag. But I was shocked, stunned, and incredibly disappointed that she should act so cavalierly about as sensitive a matter as this. She knows well that Dad passing threw me a curveball I wasn't ready for; for her to act like such a cunt really bothers me.

2. I was driving down the street and was stopped at a red light. The car in front of me took an ill-advised right on red and got smashed by a courtesy van - just munched. Both airbags deployed, a little girl in the passenger seat was crying, broken glass, twisted metal, just a pretty ugly scenario all around. A cop was coincidentally less than a block away; I saw with my own two eyes his acknowledgement of the accident and his taking his sweet fucking time getting there. I was already well past the scene and could see that he had yet to even get in his cruiser. What if someone was bleeding? What if someone was really hurt? Is it too much to ask for a little god damned hustle when responding to an accident? You can dial your shit back a little bit when you get there and assess the situation but Christ on his cross, come on boy, hustle it up.

3. Even here, everything seems to be kind of winding down. Since black Friday the usual suspects are posting less frequently than is their custom, and most posts are bemoaning the lack of pokerosity through the tubes here. I fear this is the beginning of a slow abandonment of the family, and that is not a particularly happy thought.

Until next time, please, I don't think I can stand to be any more rattled.

Friday, April 15, 2011

What I will miss, and what I won't


  • The inexorable, (relatively) inexpensive honing of my poker skills, which had finally progressed to the point where I could SEE progress and results
  • The ability, if I want, to spend 45 minutes playing 2-7 lowball triple draw at a full table
  • The ability, if I want, to do the above in my underwear, scratching places that most cardrooms would not permit to be scratched
  • The Mookiedank, the Very Josie, the Booze Cruise, and the nascent Badugimania
  • Approximately $300 that exists in my FT and PS accounts, likely to be confiscated and confusticated, macerated and masticated, axed and taxed, forfeited and bullshitted.
  • The people who make up this tiny corner of the Intertubes, people whom I've never met yet towards whom I feel genuine warmth and friendship. In this respect by the way I have had more luck than any donkey-ass fishcake motherfucker has any right to deserve. No wonder it's coming to an end


  • Josie. I'll still see her every Wednesday - especially if there's going to be no more online poker, our home game will be it except for the odd sojourn up to Seabrookistan
  • Calling a donkey's all-in with the nut straight only to have the board come four clubs giving the hand to the donk
  • Being called in a panic to diagnose what's wrong with a microphone ten minutes before a BDR appearance is scheduled to start
  • A laptop on my lap for three straight hours, heating my gonads beyond the point where they serve as anything but a convenient repository for cheese
  • Two words: BUBBLE BOY
  • Being distracted by speculating as to whether or not an opponent with a big-titted bombshell avatar isn't in reality a dude living out a fantasy or worse yet someone who thinks that a cartoon icon with big cartoon tits is a distraction
  • 20-year-old know it alls who sit at a $5 table and spew about EV and VPIP and call big bets with second pair deuce kicker and explain why MY bet was stupid
I hope this isn't the end. God help me, I really don't.

Until next time, let's hope there's a next time.


PS is blocking all real-money tournaments, so Badugimania is cancelled - perhaps forever.

Shit. Just the perfect piece of cheese for the crap sandwich I've been eating lately.

Looks Like Badugi is Still on for Tonight...

Despite the big news, it looks like we're still on for tonight if we want to be. Those already in my circle of jerks (hahahaha) should have just gotten an invitation. Those who aren't, just search "badugi" on my site for instructions how to join and off you'll go.

Hope you'll join me - who knows, this might be the last time!

Until next time, pray for online poker.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I'd go...

Hey - random concert promoter - here's an idea:

Paul McCartney on vocals bass piano and acoustic guitar
Julian Lennon on vocals and keys
Dhani Harrison on guitar and vocals
Zak Starkey on Drums

The name of this band? The Weetles.

I want 1/2 of 1% of the net. You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gonna Be a Good Week

Poker After Dark is spreading a PLO cash game this week (and maybe next; cash games are usually two weeks long). Should be fun for us insomniac left-handed glasses-wearing Jews. Rest of you assholes can fend for yourselves.

Until next time, please remember the sad tale of the dyslexic agnostic insomniac. He was up all night not knowing whether or not there really was a doG.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Return of the Jedi in fifteen seconds

Darth Vader: Obi-Wan has taught you well.
Luke: I won't fight you.
Emperor: Give in to the dark side.
Luke: OK, I'll fight you.
Emperor: Good! Good! Use your negative feelings. Channel your hate boy!
Luke: Changed my mind, not gonna fight you.
Darth: Obi-Wan has taught you well. But won't you please fight me?
Luke: OK, I'll fight you.
Emperor: Good! Good!
Darth (fighting): Obi-Wan has taught you well.
Luke: Oh yeah, I said I'd never fight you.
Emperor: Pity. Well, here's some electricity, make you think twice about not going to the dark side.
Luke: Father Please! Take this guy whom you've worshipped all your life and kill him, which will probably kill you.
Darth: Obi-Wan has taught you well.
Luke: Dad? A little help here?
Darth: OK. (kills EMPEROR)
Darth (dying): Luke, leave me here.
Luke: No, I won't leave without you.
Darth: Do as I say or you won't get the Chrysler this weekend.
Luke: OK, I'll leave you here.
Darth: Obi-Wan has taught... (DIES)

Cut to planet. Everyone dances poorly.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Looking for help with a definition

So I'm watching some manner of television poker and one of the bright lights at the table is Phil Hellmuth.  I personally believe him to be an overbloated bag of bile, but that doesn't enter in to this inquiry.

At some point during a hand - perhaps betwixt flop and turn - Hellmuth says "Hold 'Em" sort of declaratively, as if he were pointing something out or indicating some course of action.

I had never heard of the term being used to actually mean anything other than the name of the game. Does anyone know what he meant when he said it in this context?

Until next time, please remember that insofar as it is almost 3:00AM, I have nothing funny to add to the end of my post.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Badugi Fever - Catch it!

OK, friends and neighbors, we're on for some Saturday Night Badugi Fever. Let's hope everyone is...wait for it...Stayin Alive!!


Anyway, those who are already part of my home game should have just gotten an invitation, or will soon. For those who are not yet enrolled:

(If you don't have pokerstars, get it, then:)

- Open the main poker lobby, then click on the Home Games tab
- Click the 'Join a Poker Club' button
- Enter my Club ID number: 375347
- Enter my Invitation Code: southpaw

Remember, the above procedure is a one-time thing; after this you are "on the list" and will receive invitations as the games are scheduled.

So until next time, please remember that the game calls. Are you man (or chick) enough to answer?

-The Badugi BaJewgi

Back in the saddle

Today was a good day.

Readers of this little corner of the bloggapokahchucklefest may remember Very Josie and her attempt to April Fool you by saying that she was writing for a Red Sox-themed site, Red Sox 101. The April Fooliosity was that she would stop blogging at her personal blog; but the RS101 thing was real. It's actually my site, it will be up and running hopefully in a week or so, and it's going to be cool as hell.

I have some experience in the sportswriting arena; I blogged about the Boston Bruins but was an actual reporter for the Red Sox' and Bruins' minor league franchises, the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Providence Bruins respectively. Somehow I managed to obtain press credentials for both organizations, and from many perspectives it was quite a learning experience: For one thing writing game stories is tough enough; if you don't do it well they're nothing but boring recitations of statistics and who scored and when. For games that almost nobody cares about, invoking names no-one has ever heard of ("The P-Bruins scored again with 4:30 left in the second when Jay Leach fed Pascal Pelletier with a perfect tape-to-tape pass, which Pelletier rang against the post before it tumbled into the net for a 4-3 tiebreaker and the eventual win" - yawwwwn), it's torture, for writer and reader both.

I wrote for several web sites from 2005 to 2008, the most popular of which was Boston Dirt Dogs, for whom I provided their farm report. When the old man died I shied away from ballparks, the memories being a little close. But the passage of time, plus the prospect of making actual money doing this, has got me back into the swing. So I recently requested, and received, a media credential for the PawSox and today was my first day back. Lots of smiles and welcome-back-where-ya-beens, and ten minutes in it was like I never left. Hopefully it will provide a good atmosphere to write and provide me with some good stories.

For a quick example, one day some years back I was in the pressbox, covering a game, and chatting with some scout, an African-American dude who looked to be about 60. We talked for some little while, and he told a bunch of stories that were amusing and engaging.

When he left the box to do his radar gun thing behind home plate the official scorer asked me, "do you know who that is?"

"No," I answered truthfully.

"That's Tommy Harper," he said, and I almost shit myself. Tommy Harper was a member of the Sox in the middle '70s, who would steal bases by the carload. In fact he held the record for bases stolen by a member of the Sox for almost 40 years - until Jacoby Ellsbury came along.

Just some guy I was chatting with.

I was able to meet, and speak with (and be largely disliked by) Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jon Lester, and many more players like David Murphy and Manny Delcarmen who are no longer with the Sox (why disliked? Baseball players hate reporters, period). I got access to their clubhouse, a sacred place where even family is not allowed. Players, management, and media only. It was an experience that not many fans ever get to enjoy. And now I'm back, baby!

I'll let you all know when Red Sox 101 goes live. Auntie Jo is going to be a contributor as well. Her Red Sox mojo is deep, and her writing skills are - well, you know how they are. Couldn't think of anyone else I'd rather have helping me meet my 14 post per week minimum (holy sheeeeeeeet, what have I gotten myself into). I hope when it hits the tubes that you'll visit, maybe click through an ad or two - that's how we're getting paid. And no, I'm obviously not above making a shameless plug for the site.

Further details as events warrant.

Also, remember, Badugimania is tomorrow at 9:30. Josie suggested that I should be known as the Badugi BaJewgi. I laughed until I stopped.

Also also, you remember how I mentioned I didn't wear glasses? Well that's no longer true, alas. I've bought my first pair of readers:

The glasses aren't crooked - that's my face.

So until next time, remember that I don't care if you're a Red Sox fan or not. Visit my Red Sox blog. We thank you.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

On Luck

Lots of chitter chatter on the intertubes lately about luck, and a certain diminutive Sicilian woman and the notion that she has more than her fair share of it.

Here's something interesting I found on the subject of luck and poker.

My philosophy of play at NLHE is a simple one: I try to win big pots, and the small ones I pick up (win without a contest). It's a philosophy that necessitates a gambling style of play. My style. And it's this style that has fostered a lot of comment from countless players about how "lucky" I am. I've been hearing that for a lot of years. The simple fact is, it's not true. Everyone gets lucky once in a while but no one is consistently lucky. So it has to be something other than luck to account for the fact I've been a consistently big winner through the years. It is something else.

I've appeared to be a "lucky" player because every time a big pot came up, I've usually had the worst hand. There are good reasons for that: I'm a very aggressive player. I'm reaching out and picking up small pots all the time. I'm always betting at those pots - hammering at them. And I don't want anybody to stop me from doing that. I don't want anyone to defeat my style of play.

Consequently if I've got any kind of a hand, any kind of a draw, I bet. And if I get raised, I don't quit. I go ahead and get all my money in the pot knowing I've probably got the worst hand - that I'm the underdog to win the pot.

If I win ten pots where nobody has a big hand - ten pots with let's say $300 in them - then I can afford to take 2:1 to the worst of it and play a $3000 pot. I've already got that pot paid for with all the small pots I've picked up. And when I play that big pot, it's a freeroll.

The author? Some loser railbird named Doyle Brunson, in his Bible of poker, Super/System. And yes, it's dated as regards some elements of strategy (a victim of the book's popularity) but it's still a brilliant work for the deep nuts and bolts of NHLE. And nobody could rightly accuse that dude of being lucky.

I am not comparing anyone to Texas Dolly. I'm just sayin', is all.

This Week's Badugi is Saturday


Those showing up tomorrow will be shot.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's once again the most wonderful time of the year

God help me, I love it when the playoff tickets arrive. In my youth a ticket to a Bruins playoff game was just about impossible to get. If you were reasonably persistent you could get tix to the first two games of round 1 - usually, back then, it was against the Whalers - but after that there was just no way you could get through. Get through? What do you mean? That's right, tickets were available by phone...what a concept!

I promised myself that as soon as I was able to afford it I would get season tickets to the Bruins. It was a promise I forgot until 2005, when the NHL locked its players out. When the news reports started coming out that the lockout was nearing an end I placed a phone call.

Funny enough, there were plenty of good seats available.

I asked for something in the low balcony, near the center. She said, "if you want close to the center, in the price range right below the one you're looking at, I can get you 2 right on the red line in the first row of this price range."

I said, "Sold."

And that was it. Since then I haven't needed to worry about playoff seats or scalpers or anything. Well, anything except an epic collapse in round 2 of the playoffs. Yeesh.

Well, until next time, please remember that if you're looking for playoff tickets, I got 'em, and you don't.

Ah, To Be an Indians Fan

Believe it or not, the Indians were at one point recently one hell of a good ball club - a juggernaut, even. For about six years you just couldn't wrangle a Tribe ticket at Jacobs Field unless you knew someone. For good or bad, it was the precise six years that I lived in Cleveland. Sure, you got to watch some great baseball on TV - Belle, Lofton, and Ramirez in the outfield, Alomar, Vizquel, Matt Williams in the infield - but the place was banged out every night. In fact up until just recently the Indians held the record for most consecutive sell-outs; 455 straight, in fact, or about 5.5 full seasons. That's right - I leave and seats start becoming available. Awesome.

Anyways, these days thanks to a downturn in the economy and in the quality of play of the Indians, good tickets are, shall we say, available. For the recent game against the Boston Red Sox, which the Tribe won 3-1, there were just over 9,000 tickets sold. Because of the weather over half those seats went unused.

It was jarring to see that stadium so empty. What could it be? Was the team that bad? Were things that bad that you couldn't afford tickets to the game? Maybe the tickets were overpriced. Yeah, that's it. They were still priced like they were contenders. I hopped on the site and took a look around.

Quick aside: Progressive Field, as it's now called, is an absolute gem of a ballpark, very much in spirit like Camden Yards in Baltimore. Comfortable and modern, yet retro-styled, great sight lines, so very different from Municipal Stadium, the oval pile of shit that the Tribe used to play in. One great feature of the new field (I'll call it Jacobs Field because that's what it started life as) was the Terrace Club - a restaurant and bar cut into the left-field foul line, and designed in such a way so as to allow dining in an all-glass area which let you have a good meal and watch the game at the same time. You needed to be a season-ticket holder and shell out an additional thousand bucks to join, and dinner was extra. If you were lucky enough to be greased a set of tickets and passes to the Terrace Club, it was a fantastic experience, a great way to see a game, especially in the cold Cleveland Spring.

Anyway I navigate to the page where the Tribe are hawking their season tickets and discover to my surprise that whatever the problems they had selling tickets, the price wasn't one of them. To persuade fans to become season-ticket holders they are now - right now, if you want - offering several very generous enticements.

For any purchase of season tickets (down to bleacher seats, at the jaw-droppingly low price of nine bucks a seat), the Indians will give you:

1. A free yearly membership to the Terrace Club, current value $900.
2. The rental of a luxury suite for one game, including 16 tickets and parking passes, current value $2,200.
3. A pair of club seat tickets, to give you a taste of that, current value about $200.
4. Depending on what category of seats you buy, a stored-value card with between $2 and $10 per ticket per game, to be spent on concessions.

And most jaw-droppingly, seats in the Infield Lower Box, and "View Box" (The first five rows of the upper section, directly behind home plate) were -- I can't believe this is true -- BUY ONE GET ONE FREE. When I say they are giving these seats away I'm not kidding.

If you are a salesperson, a businessperson, an entrepreneur, anyone who wants to impress anyone, why on earth would you not drop two measly grand on a whole summer's worth of client entertainment? It doesn't matter if the Indians suck (they do). There are a million parking spots downtown, all of which are under $10, even the closest ones. You can get to it from three interstates, maybe five or six exits get you there easily. You can enjoy an evening of rare good weather or spend the game indoors if it's cold or wet and have a good meal. For what you get, I'm shocked more people don't jump all over this.

Now, let's spend just a moment or two talking about the Red Sox and their season ticket policy, shall we?

First, don't bother. I've been on a waiting list since 2003 and I'm still not near the top of the list. But let's just suppose they were available. This is what you get for buying season tickets:

1. tickets to 81 games.


Nothing else.

No free games, no suites, no club seats, and for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, no Buy One, Get One Free. If you want to get tickets for the first row of the upper section right behind home plate, a pair of which in Cleveland would cost $2,010, you'd need to pay about thirteen thousand dollars.

Now all Cleveland needs is, you know, a good team.

To close, my favorite Cleveland jokes:

* What's the best thing about being traded to the Indians? No road trips to Cleveland.
* I called the park and asked them what time the game started. They said, what time can you get here?
* You hear about the contest they had recently? First prize, a pair of Indians tickets. Second prize, four Indians tickets.

Hope you enjoyed them. Until next time, please remember that, yes, the Cuyahoga River did actually burn, but only for a little while.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Requiem: Donald Smith, 81

During the period from my late teens up until I got married and moved away my best friends were a set of brothers, Craig and Steve, and our little gang. The five of us (we three plus Kevin and S.H.) spent literally every day together, most of those days sitting around a coffee table in Craig and Steve's room (so close were these brothers that they requested and received permission to remove the wall between their rooms and made a huge room with a sleeping area and a lounge area - VERY cool).

Despite our taste for the various plant products that Mother Nature provides, we were all good kids, smart kids, respectful kids, and most of our respect was demanded by, and freely given to, Craig and Steve's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Smith. They more than put up with us; they encouraged our presence in their house, never anything but a completely welcoming set of adults.

Mr. Smith was like my own father in a lot of ways: he knew a lot of things about a lot of things; he was smart and cynical, and funny, and wise, and he treated us like adults while never letting us forget who the big dog was.

I liked Mr. Smith a lot.

One of our number lost his father early, under sudden and horrible circumstances. Nobody said anything - nobody had to - but on those occassions where he needed a father figure, someone to talk to, to help with some of the great imponderables, Mr. Smith stepped up, with no questions and certainly no complaint. That's the kind of man he was; something had to be done, and he did it. But it was more than a sense of obligation - it was his pleasure to give our friend that comfort.

One day I oohed and ahhed over his stamp collection, which was prodigious and well-kept; he offered to sell the whole thing to me lock stock and barrel. I thanked him but declined, citing a bad case of poverty. He waved that off with a look of contempt and said "You'll give me five bucks a week until it's paid off. I know where you live," and with that handed me his collection, and bade me catalog it and note the black book value of each stamp. He took my tally sheet - without even spot-checking it for accuracy - knocked 50% off the top, knocked $100 off THAT, and that's what I owed him. I think it came to a little over $500. And over the next maybe 18 months I'd hand him a crumpled up $5 or $10 bill whenever I'd see him and he'd notate it, and if a few weeks went by in between payments he never said a cross word about it. One time I let six weeks or so go by without giving him anything - but I made it right by crossing his palm with a 50-spot, because it was Mr. Smith, for chrissake, I had to make it right - and he never said a word about it, not then or ever after.

For years I spent Christmas Day under his roof (since I, being Kosher, had no family obligations that day). Gifts were always exchanged, toasts made, laughs and good times all around. They were every inch my second family, and even though my real family was loving and stable and happy I was none the less pleased to have my second one.

One time some years after I got married and moved to Ohio, we came back to New England to visit friends and family. Tootsie had the car so I walked around the pond to Craig's house to see what was up. He wasn't around but Mr. Smith was, painting something in the driveway.

We spent a few minutes catching up - we hadn't seen each other in a year or more - and were laughing about this or that when a neighbor friend of his came by to borrow something from him. By way of introduction, instead of presenting me as a friend of Craig's or Steve's, or even a friend of the family, he said "I'd like you to meet a friend of mine."

It was one of the proudest moments of my life. Mr. Smith was a man who chose his friends with great care, who could get a little curmudgeonly when faced with strangers or bullshit artists or the prospect of being in the presence of either. For him to call me friend was quite a thing, and I'll never forget it.

I could tell another easy dozen stories about him, just like these, but I'm afraid I've run out of time.

Day after tomorrow I'm going back up north to see Mr. Smith off, he having passed away this past April 1st. I know for a fact that I'm a better man for his influence on my life. I certainly have a better stamp collection because of him.

So long, Mr. Smith. Thanks for everything.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Crafty Southpaw Goes to Trial

At roughly 1530 hours eastern time, The Crafty Southpaw was arrested without incident at his suburban, subterranian lair and charged with violation of Poker Law 13-B, Failure to Make an Obvious Fold. In the interest of swift and speedy justice, his trial is hereby convened.

The facts, as stipulated by both sides are these:

That on or about 1527 hours on 3 April 2011, Defendant was playing a 45-person, $10+1 Sit-n-Go, when on hand 27 he was dealt Qs10d as Small Blind.

That UTG, UTG+2, and the Defendant called the unraised BB.

That the flop came 2d8sQh.

That Defendant, first to act, bet 120 into a 240 pot.

That The Villain raised the pot to 780 which was called by Defendant.

That Defendant bet 360 on the turn, which Villain raised to put Defendant All In.

That Defendant did call this raise, to find he was outkicked and lost the hand and was eliminated from the tournament.



We hope not to take up too much of your time here. This is as close to an open-and-shut case as ever there was. Every bet the defendant made was designed to probe the strength of his opponent's hand. That's why he bet so little on the turn. The Villain in his turn showed nothing but strength in his raises.

He received the information he was looking for, ladies and gentlemen of the jury - but instead of analyzing this data, he chose instead to ignore it. He called his opponent's all-in raise, losing the hand and eliminating himself from the tournament.

The Prosecution will show that the Defendant, by his actions, knew he was almost certainly beaten and called anyway, which meets the burden of proof of the crime with which he is charged, Failure to Make an Obvious Fold. Thank you.


Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, no poker hand is made in a vacuum. The successful player identifies the playing styles, strengths, weaknesses, and betting patterns in his opponents, and folds all this data in to a decision for every tournament, every hand, every turn of the card. My client saw a player who had a documented history of intemperate raises, continuation bets without any hand strength, and, most importantly, an all-in bet made with no hand and no draw, which ended up winning because one of his cards filled a four-card straight on the board. Far from being open-and-shut, ladies and gentlemen, this hand was as nuanced as any other, and we will show that the circumstances presented to my client warranted his call, and that he was quite simply beaten by a better hand. Thank you.


The Prosection asks that Exhibit A, Hand Transcript of Hand in Question, be entered into evidence, and smugly rests:

Full Tilt Poker Game #29595740025: $10 + $1 Sit & Go (230106619), Table 2 - 30/60 - No Limit Hold'em - 15:39:24 ET - 2011/04/03
Seat 1: Gustd (1,000)
Seat 2: piponN (1,435)
Seat 3: Solidsnakey90 (2,595)
Seat 4: Da-Insane-Train (3,750)
Seat 6: jano443 (2,810)
Seat 7: MonkeyShaman (1,345)
Seat 9: gpjacobs (1,625)
gpjacobs posts the small blind of 30
Gustd posts the big blind of 60
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to gpjacobs [Qs Td]
piponN calls 60
Solidsnakey90 folds
Da-Insane-Train calls 60
jano443 folds
MonkeyShaman folds
gpjacobs calls 30
Gustd checks
*** FLOP *** [2d 8s Qh]
gpjacobs has 15 seconds left to act
gpjacobs bets 120
Gustd folds
piponN folds
Da-Insane-Train raises to 780
gpjacobs has 15 seconds left to act
gpjacobs calls 660
*** TURN *** [2d 8s Qh] [6c]
gpjacobs has 15 seconds left to act
gpjacobs bets 360
Da-Insane-Train raises to 2,910, and is all in
gpjacobs has 15 seconds left to act
gpjacobs has requested TIME
gpjacobs calls 425, and is all in
Da-Insane-Train shows [Qd Kd]
gpjacobs shows [Qs Td]
Uncalled bet of 2,125 returned to Da-Insane-Train
*** RIVER *** [2d 8s Qh 6c] [6h]
Da-Insane-Train shows two pair, Queens and Sixes
gpjacobs shows two pair, Queens and Sixes
Da-Insane-Train wins the pot (3,370) with two pair, Queens and Sixes
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 3,370 | Rake 0
Board: [2d 8s Qh 6c 6h]
Seat 1: Gustd (big blind) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: piponN folded on the Flop
Seat 3: Solidsnakey90 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 4: Da-Insane-Train showed [Qd Kd] and won (3,370) with two pair, Queens and Sixes
Seat 6: jano443 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: MonkeyShaman (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: gpjacobs (small blind) showed [Qs Td] and lost with two pair, Queens and Sixes


Defense calls player dkofmd.

Defense Attorney: Now dk, you have some experience with the Villain in this case, one Da-Insane-Train, correct?
dkofmd YA I DO
DA: No need to shout, sir, we're in a courtroom.
DA: Well, ok, what was your experience with the Villain?
DA: Go on...
DA: How nothing is nothing?
Prosecuting Attorney Objection.
Judge Sustained. The witness will be reminded that we are all rubber, and he is glue. Carry on.
DA: Thank you. [To Prosecutor] Your witness.
Prosecuting Attorney Thank you. Now sir, could it may be that he had made a study of you, and was acting on HIS observations of YOU?
PA: Yes, but is it not true that the wise man has the power to reason away what he sees?
DA: Objection, your Honor - Prosecution is running a Doobie Brothers Gambit.
Judge: Sustained. Counsel will refrain from quoting the Doobie Brothers, Yes, or Emerson Lake and Palmer. They are reminded especially not to quote Chicago when asking when the next break is.
PA: Withdrawn. No further questions.
DA: Defense requests that the hand discussed here be entered into evidence as Exhibit B and rests.
Judge So ordered. Available as first comment to this post in the interest of brevity.



Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I have dinner reservations. He's guilty, ok? Please? Thank you.


My client is innocent. He was up against a player with a history of betting and raising - yes, even raising all-in - with nothing. My client saw a player with more faith in the forces of chance than talent, and thought his top pair 10 kicker was good up against a player like that. Yes, he was wrong, but was that an obvious fold?


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, it's up to you. Is the Crafty Southpaw guilty of Failure to Make an Obvious Fold, or was it just one of those things? In your deliberations consider whether or not you would have made that fold yourselves. Any ancillary comments are welcome.

The Jury will now consider their verdict and send it in as a comment.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Night Badugi

Thanks to Wolfie for reminding me that I need to schedule this Badugi tournament afresh every week. I'm sure I'm just missing some feature that lets me set up some kind of recurring thing, some option I'm just glossing right over as I set it up. Either way, there is definitely Badugi tonight, at 9:30. You need to be a part of my home game club to join:

(If you don't have pokerstars, get it, then:)

Open the main poker lobby, then click on the Home Games tab
- Click the 'Join a Poker Club' button
- Enter my Club ID number: 375347
- Enter my Invitation Code: southpaw

From there it'll be a short delay whilst your name is submitted for approval. You'll get an email back saying you're in. This is a one-time process; once through this nonsense you'll be ok for the future.

So far it's a cozy three: Wolf, Josie, and me. Oh, speaking of which, those burned by Jo's April Fool's work today (a CLASSIC, DB; well done), be comforted by the fact that I got her back, in a small way. This is a paraphrase of an email thread between us today:

Gary: You badugi-izing this evening? Puh-leeeeeze?
Jo: Well, ok. I fucking hate Badugi. You'll need to transfer me some money though.
(Editor's note: I know this is because she never uses her PS account, but I saw my chance and I was taking it)
G: Screw that shit. What, I have to pay you to play my tournament? You know what? I'll pass. I don't need your goddamn support to the extent I have to pay for it.
J: I'm doing no such thing - I said I'd ship it back if I won...
G: APRIL FOOL!! I'll ship you the money.
J: OMG you totally got me! Sheesh!

Anyway, there you go, a little funny funny today. In return, please join us if you want to sharpen up your Badugi-dar. It's $5 and a lot of fun.

So until next time, please remember that Loki, Norse god of mischief and practical jokes, was really Sicilian, and had the cutest little moustache... hahaha that's a two-fer.