Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Boston Legal rocks!

Boston Legal is far and away my favorite television program. I'm a netflix guy so we mostly watch movies, but I go out of my way to watch Boston Legal each week. I like the show so much that I rented seasons 1 & 2 to view all of the episodes. Season 3 has just been released and Season 4 premiered last night.

Boston Legal is obviously a legal drama, but it is the characters and comedy which make this show different. The court room scenes are always insightful and on topic with current news and the writing is brilliant. But it is the in-office shenanigans that make the show great. Last night I was practically in tears when Denny Crane was complaining about the velocity of his peeing comparing it to a dripping faucet.

Boston Legal has two of the best characters on TV and probably two of the best characters ever in a legal drama. Alan Shore, played by James Spade, is a savvy lawyer who constantly fights the establishment and is willing to cut corners on behalf of his clients. The writers of the show do an amazing job as his closing arguments are always brilliant and insightful. He is a lonely man, without morals, who is constantly focused on sex, but at the same time he will give his life for his clients. I've never been a James Spader fan before this show, but his portrayal of Alan Shore is brilliant. He recently won Best Actor at the Emmy's.

William Shatner plays Denny Crane, an old sleezebag, kinky, has-been senior partner who likes to make people believe that he is losing his mind. There isn't much to admire in his character, but he is extremely loyal to his friend, Alan Shore, and as soon as you think he has lost it, he will surprise you with something brilliant or insightful. I can't tell you how many one-liners he has that are just hysterical. They're even making t-shirts now of some of his best quotes. Just like James Spader, I was never a William Shatner fan, but he is also brilliant with this character and won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy a couple of years ago.

These two characters are best friends on the show which ends with them on the balcony smoking cigars and discussing the day's events. On many levels they are sad characters, but you love them for the bond they share and for their clear thoughts on what's right and wrong.

The supporting cast is full of interesting characters and great actors. Be sure to check it out!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

AA vs. KK

There aren't many cases where you should fold KK before the flop. The one time you should consider it is when you have very deep stacks and there are lots of reraises going on. I had one of those scenarios today in the $1000 PS WCOOP event and made the wrong play. I raised to $125, a middle player reraised to about $450, another player called. I was out of position so I decide to pot it again and raised to $2K. We all have about $15K each. He raises another $4K! Enough is enough! I should fold. But I pysch myself out sometimes thinking about how some of the internet players play. There were at least 900 "qualifiers" for this event who won satellites and I assume they are weak. My problem is that my best scenario is either QQ or AK. Against AK, I am a favorite, but not a huge one. Against AA, the most likely hand, I'm a big dawg. I should have folded but I pushed and lost against AA.

One thing that frustrates me about online tournaments is that I am at home and have lots of things I would like to be doing. This caused me to gamble a lot early in a tournament hoping to either doubleup or bust. If I make it deep I then start to buckle down and try to play my best poker. The problem is that I often have the worst of it when I gamble early on. Maybe that's OK for a $200 tourney, but I should be playing my A game with a $1000 buyin.

A little frustrating and hopefully I will learn from this mistake.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Multible tables and a river bluff

Last night I tried playing 4 tables of 30-60. I am still just amazed at these stories of people playing 8-12 tables at a time. Granted, I was playing 6-handed so the action was swift, but I still don't see how someone could play 8 tables. I guess NL full tables is a lot slower/different than 6-max. In any case, I won't be playing 4 6-max tables any more. I eeked out a small profit, but I seriously question whether I could do it long-term profitably. I found myself on too many occasions just hitting the bet button, not really knowing if I was first to act or whether I had raised before the flop. A very humbling experience to know that I just can't keep up with the young guns.

I played one fun hand. I raised in the cutoff with 33 and the BB calls. The flop was AT8, all clubs. I had the 3 of clubs. Check-bet-call. The turn was a T. Check-check. The river was an ace and my opponent bet. About the only hand a reasonable player could bet here is an ace, or possibly a T. He could easily be on a flush draw and be bluffing in this situation. This was a rather straightforward situation for a river bluff and my opponent folded. There is no better satisfaction in limit holdem when you can bluff your opponent off of the winning hand on the river.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Jena 6

I hesitate to write about things without knowing all of the facts, but I am having a hard time understanding the Jena 6 controversy.

This is what I understand about the story. There is a school in Jena, Louisiana where the whites would hang out under a large tree. Last August, several blacks decided to go and hang out under the tree. The next day, some whites had put nooses in the tree. These whites were suspended (I believe there was an initial decision to expel them which was overturned).

In the following months, tensions were very high until December, when a white was beaten unconscious by six blacks. Although beaten severely, he was able to attend a school function that night. The six blacks were originally charged with 2nd degree attempted murder, but those charges have been reduced (I am not sure of the current charges). Whites were never prosecuted in the case.

This week, there was a major protest involving thousands of blacks to support the six blacks charge. The main message seems to be "equal justice".

I understand that our legal system has many flaws. I understand that it is racially biased. But I don't understand how you support six people who beat another person unconscious. What are they protesting? Do they want the accused blacks to be set free, even though no one disputes the beating? Do they want the whites to be charged? OK, I can understand this but I don't understand how you can "support" six people who beat another person unconscious.

Some black leaders are calling this the beginning of a movement to protect criminal rights. Maybe that movement is needed but I don't think these six black kids are the poster children for that movement. They beat a man unconscious which is against the law and they should pay for their punishment. If some white students beat another person, they should be punished also but I'm not sure I understand the cries for "equal justice" in this particular case.

Yes, the whites shouldn't be provoking others, but that doesn't give you the right to beat them unconscious.

Maybe I am missing some facts or just missing the point, but I think it will be hard for the blacks to gain support and sympathy for their cause when no one argues the guilt of the six defendants. With all of the problems in the legal system, it just seems like you could find much more compelling cases with defendants whose rights have clearly been violated. I just don't see it in this particular case.

For those looking for some poker, I played the $320 Poker Stars tourney Wednesday night. I think this is probably my favorite tournament of the week and I am going to make an effort to play it more frequently. There were over 700 entrants making for a nice payday. I flopped top two pair in the 2nd hour and my opponent turned two better pair and my evening was cut short.

For those who missed it, I was on ESPN last week for the WSOP main event. I was playing with Gus Hansen so we were on the feature table. Unfortunately, I just did not have very many interesting hands that day so my appearance on TV is mostly just watching the action. I flopped a boat against Gus on one hand and bluffed him on another hand, but unfortunately he folded both times on the flop costing me my chance at TV glory!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A straight flush!

Today I decided to play the $200 WCOOP Limit Event at Stars. I love tournament poker, but limit tournaments are like pulling teeth. If sites are going to offer limit tournaments, I wish they would be short-handed. The same goes for the World Series of Poker. There are several short-handed NL events at the WSOP but no short-handed limit events. I would venture to say that short-handed limit is more popular nowadays online than full-ring games.

In any case, I decided to play since big limit events aren't very common. Early in the tournament I raise with 98s from middle position and get reraised. I flop a flush draw and turn the straight flush. To my delight, my opponent had AKs for the nut flush! The turn and river were capped and I was off and running. I won something like the first 8 of 28 hands and found myself in 3rd position of 2000 entrants. As hot as I was, it was surprising to see that two players were even hotter!

Of course the inevitable happened and I cooled down and got eliminated with about half of the field remaining.

On a somewhat related note, the Poker Stars Sunday tournament lasted for about 20 hours! I love a good structure as much as the next guy but playing from 4:30 PM to noon the next day is a little much. I would personally like to see faster structures in the beginning and then longer structures once the money is made. If you're going to have a crapshoot, have it early and then give the players who make the money a little room to play.

I hope to possibly play the $1K this Sunday if family committments allow.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Poker Wonks and the ITH convention

Welcome to my blog. I've been wanting to do a blog for quite some time but was waiting for the official launch of our new poker blog site, It took much longer than expected to launch delaying my own poker blog but we are now ready to launch.

Poker Wonks is a place for poker bloggers to find a wider audience. Anyone who writes a poker blog is invited to join and we hope to have the best, most comprehensive listing of poker blogs on the net. And to join the fun, this is the first post of my own blog.

I just got back from our annual ITH convention. This is the third year of our convention and it was blast as always. This year we went to Atlantic City for a change of pace and had Members come from as far away as California, Norway, and Sweden. For those who don't know, ITH is the more common name for my poker strategy site, ITH features a great forum to discuss poker with other players and the convention each year is a great way for us to associate faces with Member names.

In any case, the convention this year got off to a great start. We had a cocktail party on Thursday at 7:00. Unfortunately I arrived a little late as I had quite a hectic day of travel missing my original flight, having my car break down on the way to my second flight, sitting through a weather delay on the runway for over an hour, and then finally getting pulled over for speeding on the way from Philadelphia to AC. I've been pulled over about 10 times in my lifetime and this was the first where the cop symphasized with me and only gave me a warning!

The drinks were already flowing by the time I arrived. Some of the Members I met for the first time included Janeg, Wynton, Rocketplayer, Mxrider, Sami, and Wade. And of course we had a lot of the regulars from previous conventions.

Several of us decided to play the midnight madness tournament. $50 entry fee starts at 12:12, 12K stack, and 12 minutes blind levels. I played until 5:00 in the morning finishing 13th for a $92 payday! For $8 an hour I ruined all the rest that I was hoping to have to start off the convention! Nsidestrate also cashed so we both got off to good starts.

Friday morning we had our "seminar". This year featured a Q&A session with Ed Miller, author of 4 poker books. The session went really great. Ed is very personable and quite articulate and I think everyone joined the session. Ed did most of the talking but it really became more like a roundtable session as everyone joined in with their own ideas.

Bullajami won the first event Friday afternoon which was the limit event. That night Wade took down the NL event. Only having a few hours sleep, I decided to hit the sack so I would be rested for Saturday festivities; unfortunately, I missed the annual ITH drunk-fest game. Three stories quickly spread about the game the next day.

1/ Suitedpair led the drunkedness part of the game and the cocktail waitresses couldn't keep the drinks coming fast enough.
2/ Ed Miller lost his first rack of chips and then disappeared for a few minutes, only to return with 4 racks of white chips announcing, "Now I am properly bankrolled for this game!" [they were only playing $2-$4 which is indicative of the action in the game]
3/ Ed calls for the Qc on the turn, only to see it hit to the amazement of everyone - and then Ed folds the river!

I was thinking this game would go on Saturday night but evidently everyone was too exhausted for it a second night in a row.

On Saturday, Bugsbunny won the limit event. Ed cashed and donated his winnings to Colombianitos (, a charity that my wife and I support and serve on their board of directors. Thanks Ed!

Wynton won the main event with Janeg finishing runner-up. Congrats to both!

Saturday night I decided to play midnight madness again with a few others since the ITH drunk-fest game wasn't running. Unfortunately I busted out early losing KK to AA. Ammbo went on the win the thing in a 4-way deal where he netted $3400! Congrats!

Overall a great weekend and I think everyone had a great time. It amazes me how people from all walks of life can come together once a year and act as if we had known each other for years. I am really proud of the community we have built at ITH and the convention each year just shows what a great bunch of people we have who frequent the boards.

Thanks everyone for a great time and a big thanks for Tanya Peck for coordinating another great convention!