Thursday, May 31, 2007

Hello World

Hello blog world!  Sorry I've been away, but I've been busy.  Combination of holiday weekend, with friends in from out of town, and FINALLY BUYING A NEW COMPUTER, I've been a bit busy.   Also, things have been hectic at work, so what can you do?  Obviously based on the time stamp I'm posting from work, so I'll keep this short and sweet.


Poker.  Been getting my ass handed to me.  I hadn't been on PokerStars in a while, so I fired up a few SNGs to see how things were shaking out.   And RiverStars is still rigged!  It didn't matter what cards I held, someone always would river something better.   The best one was when I flopped a boat with a BB junk special on a flop of 8c2c2s.  I check and villain bets out.  I checkraise, and he calls.   Turn is a red 3.  I bet and am called.  River is the other red 3.  I bet, he reraises me all in.  I call, and he flips over A3c.  He flopped a flush draw, and runner runnered threes full to crack my deuces full.   And that is just an example of my failed attempts at RiverStars.  Tilt has been a little better to me, but not that much.   The river seems just as evil.  From last night, I limp with A6h in the SB, along with 4 others.  Flop is A69, one heart.   I lead out, everyone folds but the button who jams, putting me all in.  I call, and he flips over AQoff (he limped preflop).  Turn is Th, giving me a nut flush draw in addition to my 2 pair.   River brings the Qs, and IGH.  I'm just getting no love from the decks.  At least I can watch my river beats on a 19 inch LCD again, instead of a dinky 14 inch laptop.   Which brings me to…


My new computer!  HP, AMD Athelon 64x2 Dual Core 4800, 2 gb ram, 320 gb hard drive, Vista, yadda yadda yadda.   The only downside I've discovered is that both my new wifi usb receiver and my wireless keyboard/mouse both are 2.4 ghz.  I don't know if it's a signal conflict or if the keyboard/mouse signal is just weak, but every now and then the keyboard won't respond or the mouse clicks won't register.   Hasn't been a problem (yet), just mildly annoying.  By and large, though, it's good to have my own machine back.   I finished copying my 15 gigs of mp3s over, so I can get back to listening to music again, reload the mp3 player for the gym, etc.  I can also freely install stuff like Open Office, games, Stumble, etc., without worrying about the IT Nazis at work.   Which brings me to…


Work.  Last week I was busy working on an Environmental Impact Report for the City of El Centro, and focusing on responding to Air Quality concerns (side note, this shows the power of the agricultural industry in this region.   As a very windy desert area, air quality is consistently not in compliance with the standards established by the State of California.  Yet they readily allow the use of crop dusters for pesticide application, as well as allowing the farmers to burn their fields every so often to recharge the soil.   Crazy.).  So I was finishing that up and my boss dropped a Request for Proposals on me, on Wednesday afternoon.   And it was due by the end of the day on Tuesday, after the holiday!  It took some work over the weekend, but I got it done.  Some days it is dull as hell, some days I forget to look out the window to see if it's dark out there yet.   Still, it beats the hell out of being unemployed.


So that's where I am right now.  How about you?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Actual poker content! Plus some sorta poker content! Woo hoo!

And the hot streak seems to be over. And truly I have to say that it's because online poker is rigged (insert LOL here). Actually I really have gone card zombie, which I think is worse than card dead. Card dead, I wouldn't enter any pots, and I might actually fold into the money occasionally. Card zombie, I'm getting solid preflop hands, ones that justify either opening with a solid raise (AQ s000ted) or calling a preflop raise (QQ, JJ, TT). So instead of limping where I've only invested 1 or 2 BBs, I'll invest 3 to 6 BBs preflop, only to completely whiff the flop (AQc, flop comes down K99, all red; UTG opens for 3x preflop, and I call with TT, and the flop comes down AJ8). You all know what I'm talking about. I can point to two particular SNGs where I really shouldn't have been playing (J9h with close pot odds) or where I misread my opponent (my A4 flops 2 pair, I bet, villain shoves, I read him for a shove monkey steal, but he really has a set of aces). So for the most part I'm still comfortable with how I'm playing. I just need to drop down a few levels and see if I can ride out this down streak.

On a completely different (yet sorta related) topic, DAPGF is becoming much more comfortable with the idea of me playing poker. What turned the trick was when she played at my company's casino night back in February and tore the table up. She's given me kitchen passes twice to go play live at local Indian casinos, and actually wants to play heads up some evenings for simple stakes (backrub for her, online time for me). As part of this, she thought that she'd give me something of a poker-related break from the usual chick flick that I'm forced to see (since this, I have seen Georgia Rule and Waitress, so it must have been a one-time thing), DAPGF took me to see Lucky You on its opening night. I must say, it was better than I expected. Yes, there were a ton of clich├ęs and the player stereotypes (the internet guy who was supposed to be Moneymaker), but some of the prop bets were classic (the guy who got breast implants on a bet, bet $50k that he could live for one month in the Bellagio bathroom, etc.), and there were actually a few moments where the poker content was almost useful. There's one period where Drew Barrymore is sitting with Eric Bana at a cash table at Binion's (I believe), and Eric actually takes some time to explain how he's putting other players on certain hands (script, duh), and why he then bets the way he does. It actually sounded like a reasonable analysis. That and there's one or two times when Robert Duvall goes over some hand analysis with Bana and Barrymore. And I must say I was pleased with the ending. It wasn't a stereotypical predictable finish, so that helped. It wasn't Rounders (hell, it wasn't even this) but it was better than expected.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Random Bits

Welcome to another random installment of The Randomness of Hoff. I'm your host, Hoff, and I'm leading this tour.

First stop, you may have noticed the new widget feeds in the sidebar. As you few readers who still remain most likely know, I'm a car nut of the highest order. I read about 'em, I test drive 'em, I look at 'em, I piss off car salesmen because I know more about 'em, that's just how I roll. Countless family and friends seek me out for advice on buying a car, selling a car, fixing a car (my one weakness, I'm not super mechanically inclined, but I'm not completely incompetent, either), whatever. In fact, over the weekend when I stopped to pick up Gato and Troll for our poker tournament (see somewhere below), Mrs. Gato wanted to know what kind of family sedan she should buy. For the record, mid-size in the $20-$30k range, you can't go wrong with a Camry or Accord. The Accord will be all-new in 2008, so if you want a deal, wait until late summer and pick up a remaining 2007. If you want American, the Ford Fusion is your best shot. My top two choices, though, are the Mazda6 (especially the 5 door version…way useful) and the Hyundai Sonata. There yoostabe a time when I wouldn't have recommended a Korean car to my worst enemy…they were ugly, cheap, and horribly unreliable. That has all been changing…they look great, the quality is passing some of the Americans and heading directly towards Toyota and Honda, and while they're not selling for $4995 anymore, the pricing tends to undercut the competition (particularly the Japanese). But back to the widgets. One of my favorite websites is Autoblog, and they have a sister site devoted to green automotive topics, AutoblogGreen. Recently they created a scroll feed widget, and I decided that I'd share the info with all (1 or 2) of you fine readers. Hell, you may even learn something useful.
***Update. These widgets are brand new, and the widget site went down right after I added the feeds. Hopefully they should be back up soon.***

Best five song cluster on Sirius Hair Nation: Motley Crue - Wild Side, KISS - Lick It Up, Dokken - In My Dreams, Ratt - Back For More, Whitesnake - Slide It In. Heard one evening while driving to the house where DAPGF and I were dog sitting. Volume up, windows and sunroof open, ears bleeding, life is fucking good!

Poker Tournament. As I noted last week, Troll, Gato and myself were going to play in a "welcome" tournament at The Santa Ysabel Indian Resort and Casino, a new Indian casino east of San Diego. $15 buy-in, 1 $15 rebuy, and 1 $10 add on at the 1st break. All with a $1000 guarantee and a cap of 50 players. Because it was their first ever tournament, there were a few wrinkles. Chip racing got a little complicated, and there were a few minor logistical quibbles. But otherwise it was a fine time. I was actually the first of the three of us to bust out, actually in around 27th or so. I have no problem with the way I played, actually I'm pretty pleased with my play. I ran into two fugly hands. Fairly early, I got dealt KK at ep, and raised up one limper to about 4x to go (100/200 if I remember correctly), and the button (who had been very aggressive but solid) smooth-called me. The flop was something like 862 rainbow, so I bet out and villain smooth-called. The turn was a 10, so I bet and was called again. The river came out with a Q, and that was the first card that scared me. I made a small c-bet and got min-reraised. I hesitated and finally called. Villain had been slowplaying aces behind me! I learned that when he would reraise preflop or reraise on the later streets, he had a weaker hand. At least I learned his tell, and 5 hands later I got aces and got about half of my chips back against his A9s. But the damage was done, and I never managed to get my stack back to workable levels. The fatal hand came shortly after the first break. I got dealt AQs in the c/o. 3 limpers plus me saw a Qxx rainbow flop. UTG bet out half the pot, fold, I call, fold, fold. Turn is a bullet. I am now officially stoked. UTG bets out about half the pot, and I shove. He calls and flips over his beeyotches, and sends me to the rail. Still, it was a great time (kinda long drive, tho), and the casino and poker room were very nice. It had a mountain lodge feel, nice big bar in the middle, and for a smaller casino the poker room was very nice (if a little plain). 10 or 12 tables, TVs at either end, and food/cocktail service. The things that could stand some improvement (and will likely be improved in short order): a digital display instead of a white dry erase board for the games being spread and the wait list, additional restrooms (they had one unisex restroom in the poker room, but the main restrooms were just a quick walk outside into the main casino, and the tables had this crappy polyester/nylon surface instead of felt. The cards slid great on the surface, but you couldn't flip cards over worth a damn. Minor quibbles that really didn't diminish the good time that we had. And the biggest plus is the casino's proximity to Julian , home of some of the best apple pies in the world, and Dudley's Bakery, that makes some of the best breads in the world. So if you find yourself in the northeast part of San Diego County and want to get your poker on, check them out.

Online Poker. Now that DAPGF is only teaching one class per week, I don't have as much time to get my poker on. I've only played in a couple of games recently, and bubbled or bubble+1 in both. Generally, I'm still feeling good about my play and my recent rereading of The Little Blue Book and Harrington. The one I played in last night was my first hand where I knew I made a colossal mistake, and it bounced me out of the SNG. I had managed to get back to the chip lead, and then dropped down to 3 rd when I had to fold my AKc to a bet and reraise on 4th street with diamond and straight draws that didn't come close to my hand. So I get dealt QTs UTG. I decide to lead out with a 3x bet, in the hopes that I can take it down. It gets around to the BB, who had been pretty loose-aggressive, who shoves. I figure him for a steal, so I call. Oops. He actually has AA, and IGH. Beyond that hand, I've been pretty pleased with my online play as of late. Maybe I can actually build some mo and build the roll. Stay tuned for updates.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

A semblance of normalcy

Thank you again for all of your caring thoughts during the past few weeks.  It's been tough, but the Hoff family is hanging in there.   But as much as possible, I'm trying to return to a sense of normalcy.




I can't really say that it's been all that normal, though, because I've been on kind of a hot streak.  I started playing a few $6.50 9 player SNGs on Tilt just before my mother's surgery, and I won four in a row.  With the bankroll boost, I decided to bump up a level and played an $11+1 SNG while waiting at the hospital (before things went to hell), and won it.   I played another the following Saturday afternoon, to try and take my mind off of things, and I won that, too!  Where in the hell did all of this come from?   Actually I know.  I'd recently reread both Phil Gordon's Little Blue Book and Harrington Vol. 1, and they kind of refocused me.   I tightened up my game, but got more aggressive when I would enter a pot.  Sonofabitch if it didn't work!  I got a little full of myself later in the week and tried a $33+3, but went out in 5 th.  I also tried a couple of peep sex token SNGs but couldn't get anywhere with them.  So I went back to what was working, and hit 2 more $11s and won them.


That brings us to tonight.  I actually got home in time to play while DAPGF was teaching.   It's been so long since I played the Mookie, I flat forgot about it!   Next week, I should be able to do it.  Anyway, I was feeling good so I jumped into another $33 SNG.  Bounced out in 6th, so I decided to step down just one level.   $22 (these are all 9 player turbos, btw) and I took 2nd.  Not bad, so I decided to hit another one.   Warning, there's a bad beat ahead, but that's not what pissed me off.  First hand, I get AA at UTG+1.  UTG folds and I raise it up to 180 to go (15/30), for a 6x raise.   I get called by 2 people, making the pot 735.  Flop comes down 7 8 2 rainbow.  I lead out with a pot bet.   MP folds and the button shoves.  I stupidly figured that nobody would've called me preflop with a low pair, so I put the button on TT or better.   Fonkey flips over a pair of ducks for a set, and sends my aces to the rail on the first hand.  As much as that torqued me, what really pissed me off is that he just flamed the hell out of me in the girlie chat, wondering why I called him with "nothing".   Hmm.  Let's see.  A low, raggy flop, no real draws, at least none that should have been viable given the preflop action, so I'm not seeing how my aces were "nothing".   And then he couldn't understand why I could be shocked that he'd call a solid preflop raise with ducks.  Oh well.   You live, you learn, you sign up for the next $22 SNG that's spinning up.  And then you fucking win the damn thing.  I did bounce out of one more SNG in 5 th, but my bankroll is sitting pretty comfortable for the first time in a while.  Who knew? 


DAPGF is only teaching one class this quarter, so there's only one night that I will get to consistently play poker (I might play occasionally on nights I'm feeling stupid enough to stay up until 2 a.m.).  I did manage to get a kitchen pass for Saturday, though.  A new, small Indian casino opened up east of San Diego, and one of my home game buddies is a new dealer there.  And, they're having a tournament on Saturday with a $1000 guarantee.  It's a pretty small casino, so that might mean a decent overlay.  But whatever.   Me, Troll, and Gato get to get our live poker on!  Definitely looking forward to it.  Look for a poker room review here sometime next week.   Otherwise, I'll see ya out there on the digital felt.