Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Status Update Wombat

No big topics here, but I thought I'd give my legion of half-crazed fans a soupcon of glorious ANCIANT.

Glorious glorious.

-What the hell is up with Glee? I got suckered into watching it by all the hype; so far I have to say it pretty much sucks. When the episodes are good, it's almost always because the songs are good. Having ten people do a rock/a capella version of "Don't Stop Believing" is, of course, totally excellent--but only because Journey itself is totally excellent. Take away the Journey, and what do you have? A show with fantastically cartoon-like characters, ridiculous storylines, and jokes any fifteen year old could outdo. I'm giving it one more episode.

-I've been watching SportsNight on DVD. I was a huge fan of the show during its original run and I had high hopes for the DVDs. I have to say: so far, they don't live up to my memories. What was irritating about Sorkin's writing style has gotten way more irritating, and what was moving now seems a little overwrought. I'm hoping the second season gets better. That's the one I remember as being best.

-My god have I lost a lot of money playing online poker in the last month.

-Due date for screenplay rough draft: Sunday. Looks like it's going to happen. And the angels will dance.

-I'm on a white bean kick. The way I learn to cook new dishes is by taking an ingredient and working on it every night for, say, a year. Right now it's cannellini beans. My poor wife. She's tired of them already, and it's only week one. But I'm going to learn to cook some damn good white beans, by mid-2010. That's the plan.

-Also, seared tuna. Although that's not much of a challenge.

-Tuna: 22.00$/pound. What the hell!?

-Two book recommendations: The Stars, My Destination by A. Bester and The Warrior's Apprentice by L. McMaster Bujold. The best kind of page-turners; enthralling but not insulting. Nutritive and tasty! (Unlike my cannellini beans).

-What does the photo up there have to do with these entires? That's my riddle to you. The first person to tell me will receive a (now out-of-date) copy of College Board's The Official SAT Study Guide. As well as a pound of white beans with rosemary and bacon. And maybe some other stuff.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Fresh from a week of traveling through the East Coast, I spent Sunday and Monday playing marathon sessions of Pot Limit Omaha. Why? I don't know. I'm not a great Omaha player (yet). If I wanted only to make money I should play Hold'Em. But Omaha still holds many mysteries; that's part of its appeal. It keeps me interested.

I played mostly B- poker, won a very small amount, and mostly ran ok. I probably still bluff too much; especially at low stakes, this is a mistake. But, against thinking opponents, Omaha offers lots of opportunities for creative bluffs.

A hand that came up yesterday illustrates this. I'm on the button with (As Ac 8h 7d). Two players ahead of me limp, and I bet the pot. I get one caller, a tight, thinking player UTG. So far this player, who I'll call "Marine" (his icon on the poker site I play at was a US Marine in dress uniform) lead out on a flop of (10h 2h 2c), betting exactly half the pot.

You can make an argument to call, raise, or fold here. I had noticed, however, that this player tended to bet smaller when he had drawing hands than he did with made hands. (A pretty common phenomenon. People who have good hands bet more than people who don't. Seems obvious, but it's true.) It's unlikely that he would have a two in his hand and if he had tens full he would either bet pot or, more likely, check in an attempt to go for a check raise.

I decided that he probably had a flush draw--although a two was not impossible. I called, figuring that if the heart flush did not hit, he might give up.

Instead, the turn was a King of hearts. Again, Marine bet out half the pot (about 20$). Again, I called. Why? I have no idea, except that his half-pot bets made me feel like he was weak. So far during that session I had played very tight; he hadn't seen me bluff once. He was also way up in the game, and I thought it was likely that he would be wanting to protect his winnings, and not want to put in a lot of money with a medium strength hand. If he had a flush now, he still had to be worried that I had filled up--a distinct possibility given that Kings or Aces are the most likely hands for me to raise preflop.

I thought that calling the turn might seem like a smooth call--like I was trying to lure him in to betting into my Kings full. Or at least, I thought that it COULD look that way. It was possible that HE had Kings full, in which case I was in big big trouble.

The river was a brick and again he lead out, but this time for only 30$, into a pot of about 90$.
I then reraised, all-in (for about another 120$). He thought for a long, long time. Clearly he had some kind of flush and didn't want to let it go. But at last, he folded. He'd decided to give me credit for Kings full. Which I might have had. But I didn't.

Then a few hours later I donked away that same hundred making a hugely inopportune bluff into someone who'd flopped quad eights. In poker, if you want to bluff, you should not bluff someone who has four of a kind. That's an old saying. And it's true.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Good Mojo From Amazon

Does anyone else think this is hilarious? It's smack at the top of the amazon.com home page. Is this a book they have for sale or a cache of highly enriched plutonium? (If you find it hard to read, click on the image. It will enlarge).