Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Show me the Money!

Last night I watched Jerry Maguire for I don't know how many times. This is one of my favorite movies of all-time. Many probably don't include it on their top 10 list but I think it's a classic.

It is hard to classify this movie. It certainly has funny moments. It has once of the best romantic relationships ever to be shown on film, built by some of the best memorable movie lines ever. And there is a lot of drama. It's also a sport's movie. So it's a sport's dramatic romantic comedy?

Of course, you have the big-name movie star. In this case, Maguire is probably Tom Cruise's best performance. Not many actors can pull off a role requiring both comedy and vulnerability. I think this was the role of a lifetime for him and he far exceeded my expecations. He won a Golden Globe for best actor and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Then look at the supporting cast. This was Renee Zellweger's breakout role. Cuba Gooding jr won a best supporting actor award for his hilarious portrayal of the superstar football player with an attitude problem. The movie also featured one of the more memorable "cute" little kids who had some great scenes. After these supporting actors, there was even a really good supporting-supporting cast with Bonnie Hunt, Regina King, and Kelly Preston. Everyone simply nailed their roles which showed what a great job was done with the screenply and casting.

Think of one of your favorite movies and try to remember your favorite lines from that movie. Now think of Jerry Maguire. Several of the lines became embedded in our culture:
Show me the Money!
You complete me.
You had me at hello.
You are my ambassador of quan.

In a previous post, I said one of the things which really makes a movie great is one that inspires or teaches you a lesson about life. This movie is that kind of movie. It ends with the quote, 'I don't know everything and I've had my share of failures, but I love my wife and I love my life, and I wish that kind of success for you."

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Costly Bad Beat

Last night I finished 12th in the $100 rebuy event at Poker Stars. $40K was paid out to first place and I was paid out $1900. I lost an unfortunate hand right towards the very end. Blinds were 3-6 with 300 antes. I raised to 18K from the cutoff. The SB RR to 65K. I Reraised another 65K or so and my opponent pushed allin for another 50K. I called and my opponent showed A-J. If my hand holds up, I am second in chips with 11 players remaining. My opponent spiked a J.

The following isn't to bitch about my opponent's play. I am very happy that he trapped himself and I got my chips in as a big favorite, so this isn't bemoaning a bad beat but I think it gives a good example for players to learn from.

My opponent made a big mistake in this hand. He thought that he was ahead of my range of hands with A-J. This was correct. Since I was in the cutoff, I would raise a wide variety of hands in that position and would fold to many reraises. The problem is that he picks up $35K or so when I fold, but is mostly a big dog when I put him allin. Because of the awkward chip stack sizes, he was close to being pot-committed with his hand after he makes that reraise. I need to go doublecheck this later, but I think we was basically committing an addition 115K to win 360K. He pretty much needs to call after building such a big pot. So he can't escape his reraise which means he is basically risking 180K when a big dog to win 35K. This isn't the best risk-reward ratio!

The lesson of this hand is that you shouldn't always play a hand simply because you think it is likely the best hand. You must look at the risk-reward ratio for the times you are ahead and the times you are behind - something my opponent failed to do.

So another deep run on Sunday that falls just short. MTT's is a tough business! I needed to make the final table to break-even for the day as I played nine big tourneys yesterday.

I really need to get my workspace upgraded so that I can play multiple tables without my laptop. I had problems with my wireless yesterday, and to make a long story short, timed out with a set on the river with a big pot in the 750K guarantee at FTP. It was a big pot and really pissed me off for about 30 minutes afterwards. Time to get an upgraded monitor!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Testimony in Congress about Online Gambling

Many people have some misconceptions about the law "against" online gambling. The main misconception is that online gambling is illegal. This just isn't the case. The law passed last year in Congress prohibits financial institutions from permitting transactions to online gambling sites. The law doesn't make it illegal for a player to gamble online. Having said this, the law has made it more difficult to fund an online poker account and has communicated a perception that online gambling is illegal, so fewer players are signing up today than before. This hurts the industry and every player even if we continue to play online today.

Some recent events have been quite favorable for the movement to make online gambling legal. There currently are three bills in Congress that aim to make online poker legal and are in various stages of development. The World Trade Organization has ruled against the United States for hindering global trade. This could potential cost the US government billions in fines if we continue to go against the decisions of the WTO.

Congress recently held a public hearing to discuss online gambling. Annie Duke, a popular poker player, testified and gave some very good arguments. I encourage everyone interested in this topic to read hear testimony here:

Whether or not you like gambling or not, this is an issue about personal freedoms. An adult ought to be able to do whatever it wants in its own house as long as they don't inflict harm on others. As Annie Duke mentioned, it is fine if you think gambling is immoral, but it isn't fine for people to dictate their morals on others. Millions of players enjoy poker, it is part of our American pasttime dating back years and years where Presidents have played the game. It is silly to prevent people to play the game over the new medium -the Internet - which is so much part of our lives in today's new technological world. But read Annie's testimony as I think it gives a very good overview of the issues.

I also encourage everyone to join the PPA - the Poker Player's Association - which is doing a good job of bringing this issue into the mainstream media.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Funny "I told you so" from Joshua

Joshua will be 4 years old next week. Laura is Joshua's cousin from Colombia who is visiting us for the holidays.

Here is a conversation we had today...

Me: "Are you looking forward to Laura visiting?"

Josh: "Yes, I want her to come today."

Me: "Well, she's coming on Sunday."

Josh: "Why - today is Sunday."

Me: "No, today is Tuesday."

Josh: "Dad, look - do you see the Sun?

Me: "yes."

Josh: " isn't Tuesday - it's Sunday. I told you so."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Won a Seat to Paradise!

I had a good Sunday yesterday - finally. I've been making the money with a good frequency recently on Sundays but keeping finishing a hand or two away from the really big money. Yesterday I turned that around by winning a $12K package to Paradise Island this Sunday. I've been wanting to play that tournament the last few years and could never work it into my schedule so I am excited to be going. I've done several cruises and Aruba a couple of times but never PokerStars biggest event in the Bahamas. Should be a lot of fun and hopefully I'll turn my entry into some real big bucks.

The satellite was a $650 entry fee with about 350 entrants. They gave away 17 seats. Strategy in a satellite becomes very different when you start getting close to the seats. If you have a good stack, you might sometimes fold AA before the flop as there is no reason to keep playing. This makes the whole dynamics of the hands quite interesting as the short stacks who need chips often do not meet a lot of resistance since the bigger stacks don't want to risk chips trying to break them. From a strategical perspective, you are always asking, when do I need to take some chances and when shouldn't I? I hovered around 10th to 14th place for most of the time while we went from 35 to 17 players, so I basically didn't play many hands, but did have to play some here and there to make sure the blinds and antes didn't dwindle my chips down. I folded AQ once from early position which was really not a difficult decision. I got dealt AA in the big blind and normally you would love that, but it actually wasn't ideal because even AA can lose if I get involved in a big pot. For example, someone raises, I push allin, and he calls with KK - if he hits a K I am not one of the shorter stacks or possibly even out. You actually don't want to take chances in a satellite when you don't need to. It turns out that the small blind made a mini-raise and I knew he was weak so I just pushed all-in. I had another tricky situation with AKs in the small blind. I needed the blinds and antes to feel more comfortable with my stack, but at the same time wasn't crazy about risking a lot of chips since I was about 13th in chips at the time. I made a raise and fortunately wasn't faced with a tough decision as my opponent folded.

I played nine tournaments yesterday which seems to be my normal Sunday total. I cashed in one other event, although I must say I wasn't very focused on it as the satellite winded down to the final seats. A little disappointing that I didn't give that tournament the attention it deserved but at least I cashed.

So two cashes, but one nice one to make up for some of my recent Sunday losses. See you in Paradise!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Why I love movies

I love movies. I think one of the main reasons why I love movies so much is that they give me a couple of hours to completely relax and escape everyday life. If I’m showering, going to sleep, driving a car – I’m always thinking about something…I need to fix this, or make an appointment, or figure out the title of my next book. Some of my best business ideas come at the weirdest times in my daily routine. But in a movie, I think about absolutely nothing. I am totally focused on the story and nothing else ever creeps into my mind. And it’s funny, as long as a movie isn’t just terrible, I will enjoy myself. I enjoy the two hours whether or not the movie has Oscar potential.

And of course, movies can be very entertaining. They can make you laugh or make you cry. They can give you an adrenaline boost. They can make you think while educating you. Sometimes they make you appreciate how lucky we really are. And the best ones inspire us. People sometimes laugh, but Rocky is one of my alltime favorite movies. It is one of the great underdog stories ever, but it inspires us whether we are a teacher, doctor, student, or poker player. Whenever I feel like I need to motivate myself for something, I start thinking of the Rocky theme in my head. Movies that encourage us, inspire us, and recognize the simple things in life makes our lives outside of the movies that much better and that it what the magic of movies is all about. Can’t wait to go see my next one!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bad weekend of Poker

I went to the IP Poker Classic this weekend. Friday was a $500 buyin and I finished about 20th out of 100 players. I played very well. I doubled up early but then had some unfortunate luck on 3 hands within a 15 minutes span. Was extremely short-stacked but then quadrupled up and then really abused the table with my short-stack. The play was pretty bad and I had a very loose image. Unfortunately I could never really get a big hand and eventually busted out raising J-9 allin on the button against AA in SB. I imagine the play would have really tightened up around the bubble so disappointing to not a chance to exploit it.

The main event was Saturday with a $2K buyin. 100 entrants. 5K in chips and a very good structure. Unfortunately I didn't win a single hand for 2 1/2 hours. The play was horrendous, but so bad that I had to hit a hand to get chips. For example, 50-100 blinds and 3-4 limpers and then someone raises to 700 or 800, he might get 2 callers! There was really no way to creatively pick up chips and very difficult to push a player off of a pair post-flop. So wait and hit a hand...but I just couldn't. I finally got my chips in with QQ but found myself against 3 opponents. Fortunately, 2 of them had A-K and my hand held up so I won my first pot. Lost 2-3 pots rather quickly after that and then picked up one small one. Then I went out- can't even remember the hand. So I basically drove 6 hours to win two hands- ugggh!

But I did go back to my room to watch UGA have a convincing win over Auburn. We're looking quite good and scoring lots of points so very encouraging.

I got back on Sunday in time for a birthday party my boys went to with all of our neighbors. It was a bowling event and quite fun.

We got home and Joshua was sleeping. It was 4:00 so I decided to play the Sunday tournaments. The worst decision of the day was deciding to play. First, I was a little tired and not really into it and it showed. I made a few silly mistakes and definitely did not play my best poker. Was a little too anxious to make things happen and was actually hoping to lose so I could just get it over with. I played 6 tournaments and busted in all of them.

Although I want to play more on Sundays, you should never play if you aren't really into it. But I felt like I couldn't miss it. So I made an excuse that I would play and just take Monday off to see my family after missing them for a few days. But I am playing thinking about my wife and boys upstairs so it just wasn't a very good decision.

But I have the day off! Diana and I plan on going to the movies and then I'll enjoy some time with the boys when they get home from school.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

IP Poker Classic

I am going to the IP Poker Classic this weekend and will try and post daily updates. The IP Poker Classic is in Biloxi which is the most convenient poker room for Atlanta. It is about a 6-hour drive so whenever I bust, I just go straight to the parking lot and I'm home six hours later.

Last December we went to Colombia for a month. In January, we left Colombia for Australia for the Aussie Millions. We then spent February and March in New Zealand where Diana and I lived between 2001 and 2003. We came home, enjoyed our house for a couple of months and went to Vegas for the WSOP for six weeks. We came home again for a couple of months and went to Colombia for three more weeks. To say the least, I am not anxious to jump on planes and leave home for poker tournaments right now. But Biloxi and Tunica are comparatively convenient for me as opposed to most other poker tournaments. So I go there whenever I can. Driving to tournaments is always better for me as I like the flexibility of being able to leave the casino whenever you want.

So I head to Biloxi this weekend. I may be going to New Orleans in early December (another drive). I suspect I'll be in Tunica in January for the WPT and WSOP events.

This weekend in Biloxi there is a $500 warmup on Friday and $2K main event on Saturday.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Another Deep Run Falls Short

I wasn't planning on playing Sunday as my father was suppose to come into town, but he missed his flight so I decided to play. I started at 4:30 and played 7 tournaments. Each Sunday I've been playing about 7-9 tourneys.

The two big ones each Sunday are the FTP and PS $1 million guarantees. I haven't been playing both for very long, but I think I have cashed in one or the other just about every Sunday I have played. Yesterday I kept that going with a small cash in the FTP million.

I busted in the UB 200K guarantee before the money but I really like that tournament. The blinds are quite small to your stack and they go up quite slowly so there is lots of time to look for good opportunities and play patient poker.

I went deep in the PS 2nd chance giving me my 2nd cash of the day which I guess isn't too bad out of 7 tourneys. I had twice the average stack for quite some time but went pretty card dead once we made the money. But I was still alive and kicking as we started getting closer and closer to the final table. Unfortunately, I missed out on 2 coin flips in fairly large pots and crashed out in 21st place. AlwaysLook was at my table. He never said for sure, but I am pretty confident that this is Luke Chesnick(? - sorry if I butchered your last name Luke) who I beat headsup in 2002 for the NZ poker championships. I still remember when my AQ beat his 33 when 2 pair hit the board. Anyhow, a good deep run but another frustrating finish. It seems like just a matter of time before I'll get my 2nd major online tourney win.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Halloween Fun

This halloween was a lot of fun as it was kind of the first where my oldest son understood what was going on. My two boys turn 4 and 2 this month. Joshua was Superman and Zachary was a Knight. With our neighbors, there were 3 supermans, a supergirl, and a superdog - how original lol. But Joshua started talking about being Superman at least a month ago. He was really into the whole thing.

One of our neighbors came up with a great idea. Call me lazy - but answering the door every 5-10 minutes to give out candy is a real drag. So our neighbor suggested that we setup a table out on the street and we basically just had a big block party on the street. All the kids just came up to the table and took candy from our bowls. We had about 15 of our kids running around playing while we drank and ate. My mother and stepfather also came over so it was a lot of fun.

Once the kids were ready to trick or treat we just walked around with them and then went back to the block party. It was a great idea and something I hope we do every year.

Joshua is usually a little timid at first with new people or new things, but this year he went right up to the door ready to ring the door bell. He told one neighbor "gracias" and it was just a blast watching him in action. Zachary says very few words right now but we got out thank you at every house which made us proud.

Work-wise, this hasn't been the most productive of weeks. I have been a little under-the-weather so not quite up to writing or editing. I have started getting feedback on my two new chapters that I will be adding to Internet Texas Hold'em that focuses on short-handed play. All the feedback has been quite positive and I'm excited with some of the suggestions which I think will make the chapters an even better read.

I guess this is as good a time as any to announce that the "2nd edition" of ITH will likely be retitled "Winning Strategies for Limit Hold'em". The new book will focus more on the strategies and concepts to make it applicable for both live and online play - so some, but not all, of the Internet stuff has been taken out. There is also a new chapter on Multi-way pots. Overall, it will read much better, has 3 new chapters, and will have about 50 new hand examples. I am aiming for a Spring release.