Mean Gene
Mean Gene
Pittsburgh's most decorated poker blogger, which I admit is like being the best shortstop in Greenland

Subscribe with Bloglines

My Articles

Presto, the Arlo, & the Hammer
An Online Code of Conduct
The Ethics of Ratholing
"The Professor, the Banker..."
"Ace on the River"

My Columns

Lose the Shades
If You Can't Say Something Nice
Whither the Kicker
The Lady is a Champ?
Covering the WSOP (or not)
Statistics, Luck, and Poker
Poker and New Orleans
Managing a Bankroll
How To Tell A Bad Beat Story
Telling Lies
The Power of Poker Tracker
Advanced Card-Handling

My Greatest Hits

5 Things To Do Before I Die
Cafeteria Nostalgia
Mean Gene's Dubious Dating Tips
Poker and Business?
There's No Such Thing As Luck?
Isabelle, Je t'adore
No Shirt No Shoes No Service
Well, The Food Was Good
Good Morning, Mr. Matusow!
The Weekend of our Discontent, I
The Weekend of our Discontent, II
Books That Left Their Mark
Ode to a Fish Sandwich
Bill Simmons Ain't the Poker Guy
The Sports Guy Still Ain't the Poker Guy
Again, The Media Tackles Poker
Five Years After 9/11
Hitting Pretty Girls in the Face
Sixth-Graders Suck

Fellow Poker Bloggers

Guinness and Poker
Cards Speak
Tao of Poker
Up for Poker
Boy Genius
Chris Halverson
Poker Grub
The Fat Guy
Todd Commish
Poker Works
Bill Rini
Bad Blood
Love and Casino War
Double As
Lion Tales
Paul Phillips
Daniel Negreanu
Poker Nerd
Poker Nation
Poker in Arrears
Human Head
Sound of a Suckout
Chicks With Chips
TP's Table Talk
Royal Poker
This is Not A Poker Blog
Chick and a Chair
Go Be Rude
Poker Cheapskate
Poker & Other Stuff
Seven Two
Musical Poker
WPBT Online
Isabelle Mercier
Cardschat Blog
Amy Calistri
BJ Nemeth
Annie's Blog

Poker Sites

Cardschat Poker Forum
Barstool Sports
Card Player
Internet Texas Hold-Em
Poker Pages


  • 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
  • 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
  • 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
  • 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
  • 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
  • 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
  • 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
  • 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
  • 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
  • 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
  • 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
  • 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
  • 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
  • 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
  • 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
  • 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
  • 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
  • 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
  • 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
  • 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
  • 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
  • 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
  • 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
  • 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
  • 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
  • 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
  • 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
  • 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
  • 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
  • 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
  • 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
  • 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
  • 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
  • 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
  • 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
  • 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
  • 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
  • 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
  • 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
  • 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
  • 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
  • 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
  • 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
  • 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007

  • Powered by Blogger

    Wednesday, January 31, 2007

    Today I Love Poker Very Much Plus Good

    This hand burned me a bit. Actually, a lot. Early in an SNG I have AJ in the small blind. We're only 15 hands in so I decide not to raise, let's see the flop first. And it comes K-Q-10.

    OK, I flop Broadway. The big blind bets T200. The first limper, crippled early on, pushes his last T450. I decide to call, in case the small blind feels pushy. He doesn't.

    The turn is the 5 of clubs. The big blind and I have just about the same number of chips. I check, fully expecting him to push. He does and I call with the nuts. I figured they might be drawing dead or to a tie. Uh, no. The original limper has KK. The big blind has KQ. And of course the river is a queen and they divvy up the pot. I go out in 9th place.

    Now, that isn't what burned me. What burned me was that after I was eliminated and before I closed the table the guy with KQ said in chat, "That's what you get for not raising with a big ace."

    "True true," said the guy who didn't raise with his kings.

    I think it's this blinkered stupidity that I'll miss most if the fish pond dries up over the next few months. Every day, in almost every way, I despair for the future of my country.

    And I'd feel exactly the same way if I'd won that damned hand.

    Number One in the Hood, G

    An example of guerrilla marketing at it's finest.

    Yes, I'm a huge fan of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

    And I don't even smoke pot.

    Monday, January 29, 2007

    Nice Abomination Guys

    Paul Lukas writes the "Uni Watch" column for ESPN's Page 2, and you might not know that he has a Uni Watch blog as well. Great stuff for the sports fanatic who also enjoys the world of fashion. Sports fashion, anyway.

    I heard the Pirates had introduced some new uniforms at PirateFest this week but I missed seeing them. Oh, how I wish I'd missed them:

    I mean, are you kidding me? I couldn't put it any better than Lukas did: this alternate jersey is a total fucking joke. It's beyond awful. The Pirates' insistence on involving red in their Black-and-Gold color scheme is bewildering. And in this case the execution lends credence to the idea that Pirate ownership is outta their frickin' minds.

    Actually, the fourth jersey (the alternate-alternate) looks awful too. The black on on the end, I mean:

    Lukas has a new Uni Watch standard for new uniforms: Is it good or is it stupid? How could the Pirates come up with TWO stupid designs? I mean, if you want a nice alternate jersey, how about all-black with the big "P" logo from the cap on the side, maybe with some gold trim? Or, if you want to bring back the "We Are Fam-A-Lee" days how about a gold jersey with black trim and the big "P" logo? Simple, clean lines, distinctive. Instead of the eyesores we'll be watching this season.

    Poor Adam LaRoche. He gets traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Pirates, the PIRATES, and the first the team does to welcome him here and make him model this ketchup-flavored jersey. I see a 59-103 season ahead.

    Third Ain't Bad, No It Isn't

    Took 3rd in the first WPBT event of the year. Lost to eventual winner rspr41 when I flopped the nut flush draw, hit a pair on the turn, but couldn't beat the king he flopped.

    Of course, I had no business getting that deep. I was next-to-last in chips when I went on a tear after the first break and even had the lead for a smidge. I can't recall all the big hands, but I remember the biggest--with a good sized stack at the final table, I went all-in with KK after a raise and re-raise ahead of me. Smokkee called...and of course he had aces. And he had me covered. Seventh place loomed like a big looming thing, when a king spiked on the flop. "Shades of Farha" I wrote, recalling the hand Sammy won against Barry Greenstein on High Stakes Poker. Sick hand.

    When it got to three-handed I went card-dead. I mean, the deck was dipped in liquid nitrogen. Our inhospitable chip leader beat our brains in and GCox refused to go belly up. I tread water but I couldn't get that one big hand. Until the final one. I had lots of outs, but this time I didn't get lucky. Sure got lucky along the way.

    This after I played a satellite this afternoon and donk-a-donked my way out in about 17 seconds. That memory will keep me humble when I see my name on the WPBT Leaderboard.

    I really need to start playing more tournaments. Not that tonight's finish has me thinking about hitting the tournament trail, but I do have fun with them. Of course, most opponents aren't as erudite and witty as tonight's group.

    Sunday, January 28, 2007

    Angle-Shot at Roshambo

    After a long day's work a big gang headed to a local pub for beers. We were also there to celebrate a friend's birthday, and to see the latest affirmation of Sidney Crosby's genius. I was beat. Just wanted to hang, have a few, relax.

    In the middle of my third Yuengling a trio of pretty girls started circulating through the crowd. "Is anyone interested in playing in a Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament?" My antennae twitched. Roshambo? As a poker player and blogger I like to think of myself as having an edge on the unwashed at Roshambo. There's no reason for this, of course--I tried playing Perry Friedman's RPS simulator a few times and it kicked my ass. But, as I said, I was in the middle of my third Yuengling. I threw my name in the hat, as did several of my friends.

    First of all, a few of the contestants were WAAAAAAY too into it. There was a guy with a hairdo out of Eraserhead who was doing squat-jumps and exchanging psyche-up high-fives with his buddies. Right up to the point where my friend Matt wiped him out in two throws.

    Rick and Amy also won their heats, and finally my number was called. My opponent was one of the overenthusiasts. He was your typical wild man--an enormous head of insane curly hair, full beard, crazed look in his eye. He unbuttoned all but the top button of his shirt and draped it over his shoulders like a cape. This was my opponent..

    My tactics were straight out of the Rafe Furst playbook. "I'm throwing rock," I announced to my friends in the crowd. I made a fist and shook it at them. "Rock, here it comes." We faced off and the girl running the show told us that she'd count to three and that's when we'd shoot. Standard operating procedure.

    Thing is, long before she started counting he started shaking his fist up and down. As if he had a palsy, or was warming up for a marathon masturbation session. We took our spots and she counted, "One, two, three, shoot."

    But when she said "three" his fist was in downstroke and he presented his scissors . I stuck out my fist a beat later, when she actually said "shoot." "Awww!" he said, "Come on, he waited until I threw." Before I could say anything she said, "OK, we'll do that one over."

    "Wait a second!" I said, but she was already counting again. Total bullshit! It's not my fault he can't count to three...and one after. Total. Bullshit.

    My plan had been to announce rock, and throw rock, and then announce paper and throw...rock. Now my plans were for shit, because we were already in mid-throw. I threw rock again and he threw paper. One-nil. She counted again and we both threw rock.

    Here I outsmarted myself, or, to be more accurate, I overestimated my opponent. I'd thrown rock the first three throws, and I hadn't won once. It was obvious I wouldn't throw rock again. Therefore, in response to my paper/scissors he would have to throw scissors/rock. Instead of being 1/3 to lose, it was 50/50 I'd win or tie.

    I threw rock...and he inexplicably threw paper. What a frickin' donkey. If I'd followed expectations his paper couldn't have won. The best he could hope for was a tie. And he threw paper. Pathetic.

    If you think that maybe this guy was in fact a Roshambo savant, uh, no. He got wiped the next round. A bit later he came out wearing a pair of tighty-whiteys on the outside of his jeans. And it's not that kind of a bar. Not at all.

    My gang did very well, and we might've dominated the event had they not forced my friends to square off against each other. Matt knocked out Rick, Amy knocked out Matt, and Amy got knocked out by the eventual champion. Here's the bizarre thing--the matches were staged around a pool table, and there was a crowd three-deep watching. And they were INTO it. Yelling, screaming, bitching about how they got gypped (that was mostly me). As our waitress said at one point, "People are taking this a BIT too seriously".

    Matt and Amy got T-shirts. Everyone got Mardi-Gras beads. I declined the offer. Like the 1972 Olympic men's basketball team who refused their silver medals after getting cheated by the refs, I wanted no cheap token as consolation for the shafting I received. I'm too mature and well-adjusted to sink to that level.

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007

    What's a Mook?

    Haven't watched Mean Streets in awhile. That's one of my favorite lines from it. "I'm a mook...what's a mook?"

    Finished 19th in the Mookie tonight as DuggleBogey knocked me out. That's twice in two weeks. I chipped up early thanks to hitting a pair and the nut flush draw and after pushing I rivered poor Katitude. Then I had the very real pleasure of having Otis sit down on my right with a big stack. As I said at the time, awesome.

    I tread water until I was moved to a new table (my system glitched and I didn't get to the table until my timer beeped) and I had pocket 8s. I raised, Duggle re-raised, and I pushed. He had AQ and flopped. I didn't even get to say hello before I had to say goodbye.

    Because I'm vain and insecure in equal measures I checked my SiteMeter stats today and got rather a shock. Lots and lots of hits, about 5x normal. I looked to see where all these folks were coming from and got another shock. Seems that Justin Fox, who writes the Curious Capitalist blog for Time Magazine, linked to something I wrote. Not something poker-related--it was my little snit-fit about the Post-Gazette using "Mr." and "Mrs." when referring to someone and wasting all that space. So that was pretty cool. Though I wonder how the hell he found his way here...

    Listen to the Man

    I've nearly given up reading Bill Rini's blog because everything he writes these days is SO depressing. Online poker's in deep trouble, people don't know how bad things are, blah blah blah. What a drag.

    Unfortunately, everything he's said on the subject so far seems to be spot-on correct. Terrifyingly so. I don't have Bill's expertise in building ACH networks, but I did work for a bank for a few years and know a bit about how those transactions are, uh, transacted, and it would be as nothing for banks to turn off the spigot. Indeed, Bill has a post today titled Why ACH Went Away that explains the situation quite nicely.

    Bill also has a post today that is a must-read for anyone and everyone who plays online poker. Read it in it's entirety, but let me quote part of it here. Bill was engaged in conversation with Haley, who said, "So Messrs. Shulman and Ivey, Seif and Hellmuth, Brunson and Negreanu, and all you others: It’s time to make a stand."

    To which Bill replied,
    No Haley, it’s not time for Shulman, Ivey or Brunson to fight your fight. It’s time for you to fight this fight. It’s time for you, and me, and everybody who gives a rat’s ass. As much as I like old Pappa Doyle it’s easy to ignore one man. It’s hard to ignore millions of people. It’s even harder to ignore millions of pissed off people.
    While I agree with Haley that it would be NICE if the big names would come forward and lend their weight, the question every single poker players should be asking is that, "What can I do to help?" We keep hearing that there are 50 million poker players in the United States. Where are they?

    Why, as Bill asks, wasn't there an mob outside the courthouse where the two Neteller founders were arraigned? Why has the response to Neteller's withdrawal from the U.S. market been a collective shrug and an application to Click2Pay? Party Poker, the biggest online poker room in the world, shuttered its doors to American players and no one really seemed to mind. "I'll just play at Poker Stars, Full Tilt, Ultimate Bet".

    That is NOT a happy state of affairs, people. Searching out kinda-acceptable alternatives to successful and reliable companies forced out by the government is NOT a long-term solution. What happens when these stop-gap measures are also choked off, as they almost certainly will be?

    The answer to this problem is not pre-paid phone cards or opening an Antiguan bank account. The answer is to get online poker legalized. That's not the best-case scenario--almost certainly, it's the ONLY case.

    So, again, the question every poker player should be asking is "What can I do? What can I do to get online poker legalized?" Waiting for Doyle Brunson and Phil Hellmuth and Howard Lederer to save the day is NOT acceptable behavior. Aggression is rewarded at the poker table, but if poker players continue to be so passive about fighting this there won't be a game left to play. The government is trying to kill online poker, and they'll succeed if players don't try to stop them.

    Don't just sit there. Join the Poker Players Alliance. Throw a few bucks their way--think of it as a long-term positive EV investment. Write to your senators and representatives, and tell them (politely) why poker should be legalized. The next time your friends get together to play a little penny-ante try to get them involved too.

    Let's not forget, the targeting of online poker is just one minor offshoot of a broad assault on our civil liberties. Over the last few years the Bush Administration decided (and wasn't checked by the supine Republican Congress) that it has the right to arrest and imprison you without charge. You can be held indefinitely without access to counsel. Your phone calls can be intercepted without a warrant, your financial records accessed without your permission. Laws that the President doesn't want to follow can be ignored thanks to "signing statements". The Attorney General said that there's no right to habeas corpus in the Constitution. Very scary stuff.

    The trend in this country has been toward giving up our rights in the name of "security". Why so many of my fellow Americans have felt that the best way to feel secure is to abandon their responsibilities as citizens is beyond me, but that's a post for another day. Or, no, it isn't--read Fhwrdh's post about the boiling frog treatment we've gotten in the U.S. the last few years.

    Get mad, dammit, and then do something about it. Don't wait for someone else to save online poker. Join the fight. There's strength in numbers. Especially where politicians facing re-election are concerned.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    Late Payment is Not an Option

    Kinda forgot about this, hard as that might be to believe. About a week ago I had to fax something out and walked to my apartment complex's rental office. Beautiful day, not too cold, blue skies.

    The rental office has several conference rooms, a small gym, a big living room with fireplace and kitchen, and an office right off the foyer with two desks and file cabinets. High ceilings, lots of windows, lots of light. The pool is right next door. Cozy little place.

    So I walked in to find a young woman I've never seen before behind the desk. I say that I'm there to use the fax, she says that's fine, I do my business and head back out the front door.

    And then I see something sitting in the middle of the living room. Something I didn't expect to see. A couple of weeks ago there was a big Christmas tree. Today...

    Today there's a Gatling gun.

    A Gatling gun. Don't know what a Gatling gun is? Go visit Wikipedia and educate yourself. Not that there's a pressing need to know what it is, as it's been obsolete since the late nineteenth century. Unless you count the rotary cannons used in modern attack aircraft. Which I'm not.

    Because this friggin' thing won't fit in an A-10 Thunderbolt. It's as big as an artillery piece. Which it is, kinda:

    "Um," I said to the young woman. "That's a Gatling gun."

    She smiled. "Yes."

    She didn't clarify further so I said, "Why is there a Gatling gun sitting there in the living room?"

    "I don't know," she said.

    A perfectly acceptable answer so far I was concerned, because what good reason COULD there be for having a Gatling gun sitting there in the lobby? I can't come up with anything. Better off not knowing the reasons that put it there in the first place. Ignorance = bliss.

    It's a pretty scary looking piece of machinery. Bet it would make a big bang. Anyone know where I can score some ammo?

    Think I'll be paying the rent early this month. To be on the safe side.

    Sunday, January 21, 2007

    We Are! Penn State!!

    How the hell did I miss that Ryan Daut, who won the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure down at Atlantis, is a Nittany Lion? I read Otis's every word, but I don't recall that "Penn State" or "Nittany Lion" or "Happy Valley" were among them! For shame!

    $1.5 million will buy many cases of Rolling Rock ponies down at the Skeller. If the Skeller still sold ponies in cases. And if Rolling Rock hadn't been bought out by Budweiser. The world marches on, alas.

    Welcome, Mike Tomlin

    May I be among the first to welcome Mike Tomlin, the Steelers new head coach, to Pittsburgh. I didn't believe it when CNN reported his hiring, as I wouldn't trust CNN's sports staff to sit the right way on a toilet seat. But when Chris Mortensen reported it, I believed.

    I wanted Ken Whisenhunt and/or Russ Grimm to get the job. Both, I thought, would be outstanding head coaches. The fact that neither got the job leads me to believe that Tomlin is something special.

    And as the Steelers last two head coaches were Hall of Famers, I'll put my faith in the Rooney's judgement.

    I'm excited about the hire. From reports he might've been the hot property on the market next year. Why not get him now.

    Feel bad for Grimm. Dunno if he would stay on and work under Tomlin until another gig comes open. Changes are coming. Will the Steelers switch to the 4-3? I don't think they have the personnel for that.

    Regardless. Welcome to Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin. The city opens its arms to you!

    Just win.

    Right away.


    No pressure.

    Saturday, January 20, 2007

    An Afternoon of WTF?

    I'm watching the end of the Texas Tech-Kansas game. There's been a big ice storm down Lubbock way. Good game, KU making a big comeback. Tech gets an offensive rebound and scores with a blocking foul to boot. And then Fran Fraschilla, commenting on Kansas's lack of movement after the rebound, says, "Kansas was like Buddy Holly..." long pause, "in that ice storm."

    Didn't Buddy Holly (and Richie Valens and the Big Bopper) die in a plane crash in an ice storm?

    WTF made Fraschilla say that? I mean, WTF? Ron Franklin didn't say anything for a long second probably thinking the same thing. WTF? Be interested to see if there's any fallout from that.

    And CNN/SI is reporting that the Steelers will name Mike Tomlin head coach instead of Russ Grimm. Tomlin denies it, so do the Rooneys, and ESPN is saying that the decision has not been made. CNN's sports coverage isn't good enough to even be a joke, and I wouldn't trust them to be right about a subject like this. So, WTF? Is Tomlin the new coach or not?

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    My Hands Are Tied--And Not In The Kinky, Fun Way

    Twice I've started long, impassioned posts about the chaos surrounding online poker after the Neteller arrests, and I've had to check myself because I'm not completely free anymore to spout off. I write about poker for UB now and I have to take that into account. Not that anyone has in any way censored me, but I don't want them tarred with my hysterical ramblings.

    That said, I went over to ESPN's Poker Club page today and they still, STILL, have nothing about the arrests and what that might mean. NOTHING. Not even a link to a wire story in their News sidebar.

    Nor did Jeffrey Pollack, the WSOP commissioner, say anything about online poker being under siege in his chat over at USA Today. A chat populated by some of the Stupidest Goddam People On The Face Of The Goddam Earth.

    Their silence is rather deafening. Don't they hear the cries of a beautiful golden goose being strangled? A goose that has laid quite a few golden eggs for them the last 4 years? Or perhaps they've just decided that silence is golden enough for them these days.

    Think I'll go stick a fork in my eye and get back to work.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    Dumb Question Time

    As the title of this post announces, I have a dumb question--Could an online poker site run a commercial arguing why online poker should be legalized? Like, could PokerStars, Full Tilt, UltimateBet, etc get together and, say, buy a 60-second commercial during the Super Bowl? Would that be legal? Would the network run it?

    Could this be an effective way to get the legalize-poker message out there to the 50 million Americans who allegedly play the game? The Super Bowl is the biggest wagering day of the year and it's typically the most-watched event of the year. And some people pay more attention to the commercials than the game itself. How about a 60-second spot where, oh, Howard Lederer and Greg Raymer and Annie Duke (each representing a different site) pitch this idea to the American public. They could:
    • explain the underhanded way the UIGEA was passed
    • point out the hypocrisy of those who say that online poker is detrimental to society, as lotteries and horse racing were exempted
    • point out that people with gambling problems are those most likely to try to circumvent the laws (and therefore are most likely to be exploited by unscrupulous operators)
    • say that most people play poker for fun, be it online or with friends or family
    • that poker players aren't criminals, and that they shouldn't be treated as such
    • that the ban on poker is merely another attempt by the government to dictate how you should live your life
    • explain that if poker was legalized, regulated, and taxed it would allow the government to protect players from shady sites, provide aid to those with gambling problems, and raise billions in tax revenue
    I'm sure I'm missing some important points here, but would this be legal? Perhaps "legal" is the wrong word here, thanks to the twilight zone we find ourselves in. Would a network show something like this? They broadcast poker 24/7, but I don't know if they (or, more importantly, the FCC) would let it see the light of day.

    Like I said, it may be a dumb question. But desperate times call for desperate measures.

    UPDATE: I should say that I posted this in lieu of a much-longer piece about the whole Neteller arrest awfulness and how we're all about to jump in the handbag for our trip to Hell. Instead of just wondering how bad things are going to get I'm trying to think of ways to make things better. Extravagant, fanciful things.

    UPDATE UPDATE: Neteller will no longer service US customers, so far as gambling transactions go. So, that blows. That's about all I can say about that. No, it also sucks. It sucks and it blows.

    Anticipating today's bad news, my UltimateBet overlords have announced a 100% bonus up to $650 for players who make a deposit using methods other than Neteller. Fight the good fight.

    UPDATE AGAIN: DoubleAs makes a couple of points that I cravenly didn't bring up earlier in this post. Namely, shouldn't the WTO get involved here? The two men arrested didn't do anything illegal in their own country, nor did they have any relationship with Neteller besides being shareholders. Neteller is, after all, a publicly-traded company. As Amy Calistri mentioned in one of her PokerNews pieces, if MGM did something naughty, could majority shareholder Kirk Kerkorian find himself surrounded by FBI agents? This assumes a universe where billionaires go to prison. And a government that cares about the rule of law.

    Also, isn't the field wide-open for someone to step in and take over for Neteller? As Scott says, you just need to live in a country that won't extradite you and choose not to visit our fair country. One would think some manner of drug lord or cartel or plutocrat would look upon this as an ideal way of diversifying their portfolio. Much preferable to a publicly traded company like Neteller. Prohibition at work.

    Tuesday, January 16, 2007

    Suckout City

    To say that I finished 5th in Wil's tournament thanks to some disgusting suckouts does not do justice to the word "disgusting". A word I'm all-too-familiar with.

    After losing a race I was down to T235 before beginning my comeback. I don't recall all the ludicrous hands that got me off life support, but I think at least twice I went runner-runner to make a straight when I was dominated preflop. Kept wriggling off hooks. Then I caught a few hands to get some breathing space before going card dead. My lone chance to win the thing passed when I laid down 44 when DuggleBogey (who had about 3/4 of the chips in play) and another player (I forget whom) raised and re-raised. I let my fours go, only to see one pop on the flop. I was just trying to scuttle up the money ladder, and I can't be disappointed with 5th when I should've finished 25th. Nor am I disappointed.

    Finished 5th here, won a SNG earlier. And I shouldn't have even been home--I was going to a local blogger/podcaster/media meeting a bar near where I used to live when my car wouldn't start in the subzero temperatures. Been having car trouble lately and I didn't get it looked at today. My bad.

    Monday, January 15, 2007


    With all due respect to John Clayton of ESPN, his analysis of the Patriots-Chargers game is...loony-toony. Why did the Patriots win, according to Clayton? "It's all about adjustments". He gave credit to Belichick and Brady for adjusting during the game while the Chargers didn't.

    Uh, no. It wasn't adjustments that allowed the Patriots to win. It was the Chargers playing maybe the stupidest game I've ever seen in my life. They made so many mistakes, so many colossal, inexcusable mistakes that I almost felt sick watching the game--and I could care less if the Chargers win.
    • The dropped interception deep in Patriot territory in the first quarter.
    • About 5 dropped passes in the first half.
    • Not trying the 47-yard FG on the first drive, instead going for it on 4th and 11. And getting sacked
    • Giving up a touchdown at the very end of the first half.
    • Dropping a punt and then inexplicably failing to just fall on it.
    • Sacking Brady to force a punt and then committing the stupidest personal foul I've ever seen.
    • Committing another stupid personal foul on the extra point to give the Pats good field position.
    • Philip Rivers having an open field in front of him for an easy 5-yard gain, and instead trying to lob a ludicrous pass to Tomlinson that was picked off.
    • Making an interception on 4th down when you should've just knocked the ball down--and then fumbling the ball away and giving the ball back to the Patriots.
    • Challenging the call on that fumbled interception, even though it was plain as the nose on your face that it was indeed a fumble. Cost the Chargers a timeout.
    • Playing press coverage against Reche Caldwell on 3rd and long, and letting him get off the line of scrimmage without a jam.
    • Calling a timeout after the clock was stopped for a Patriot injury.
    • Calling a timeout before the two-minute warning instead of saving it for after so you could save a full 40 seconds. Could've used those two extra timeouts and those extra 20 seconds.
    I mean, the Steelers have lost some ghastly games the last few years, but this was like something out of a horror movie. If I'm a Chargers fan I call off work today and stay tucked in the fetal position until noon. And when I finally get up and moving I start a petition to get rid of Marty Schottenheimer. Not to jump on the bash-Marty bandwagon, but I can't see how he survives this loss. The mistakes that were made were mental errors and breakdowns in discipline. That falls on the coach.

    So does the clock-management, which was perhaps the worst I've ever seen in my life. After the Patriots kicked the FG the Chargers should've had around 2 minutes to tie or win the game, if they hadn't squandered their timeouts on that idiot challenge and by not having the right personnel on the field after an official timeout for a Patriot injury. There's no excuse for that, none.

    And to hear Schottenheimer say after the game that they were "disappointed" with the loss, but that his guys "laid it all on the line" and you can't ask more of them than that...well, if I'm a Charger fan, I go apeshit crazy when I hear that. I can ask that they WIN THE GAME. I can ask that they not make errors you don't see in Pee-Wee football. That wasn't a "disappointing" loss yesterday. That was a killer. That was the worst loss in Charger history.

    Odd, isn't it, that everyone talked about how great the AFC is, and how awful the NFC is--and yet the two NFC games were entertaining affairs, while the AFC games were slop-buckets of mistakes and goofs and close-your-eyes awfulness.

    Saturday, January 13, 2007

    How's That Hypocrisy Working For You?

    Nice little piece on ESPN about how the Indianapolis Colts are playing their first playoff game in Baltimore since 1977...when they were the Baltimore Colts. The piece was about how Robert Irsay moved the Colts in the dead of night to Indy, one of the most shameful episodes in sports history. The Colts had a proud history in Baltimore, and as one Baltimore football fan said, "Our heritage was ripped from us".

    Very nice little feature. Very well-done. Quite moving.

    One little problem.


    Remember that, you teary-eyed Baltimorians? The sauce that goes so well with the goose, goes also with the gander! A greedy owner abandons Baltimore for greener pastures, so what does Baltimore do? They go out and find a different greedy owner and steal an even MORE storied and beloved team away from another city!

    And not only does ESPN not comment on the irony and base hypocrisy of this, they actually show a highlight where a Raven linebacker sacks Browns quarterback Derek Anderson while this Baltimore fan weeps, "Our heritage was ripped from us".

    Was there no editor at ESPN who said, "Whoa, OK, if we're not even going to mention the fact that Baltimore stole the Browns away, how about we not actually show the friggin' Browns on the screen as a reminder? Some self-awareness, people."

    To my mind it doesn't matter that the Browns were reconstituted a few years ago and got to keep their name and colors. There was no guarantee the Browns would ever rise from the ashes, and when you look at their record since they re-entered the league, they haven't risen very far.

    What happened to Baltimore's Colts was appalling. But if you're a Raven fan, you've surrendered your right to cry about it. Your city did the exact same thing. Whimper about your long-lost Colts, nevermore.


    Played a tournament tonight. Tiny buy-in, just played for fun. 2295 starters.

    With 200 left I was tenth in chips. I played most of the night at a passive table with the tourney chip leader two to my left, making my blind stealing troublesome. But after I won a couple of huge hands (QQ vs. three players who all had medium aces, then I turned trips against a guy who slowplayed his top pair) I was moved to a new table with a much better setup. Small stacks to my left who didn't want to tangle with me. Why don't we steal away?

    Then I'm dealt Ah-8h in middle position. I raise and the one caller is the only guy even close to me in chips. The flop comes A-9-8. I bet, he raises me, I re-raise all-in. He calls. The only hand I was afraid of was pocket nines. He has pocket nines. I don't catch and I'm down to 9K.

    The very next hand I'm dealt pocket tens. With two limpers I raise all-in and get a caller with KQ. The flop comes 9-6-10. I hit my set. Ace on the turn, Jack on the river. And I'm out in 151st place. I'm in the top ten, and I'm out in 2 hands.

    Feel pretty bloody awful. Played well (relatively speaking) the whole way, with maybe that A-8 hand the only one I'd like to have back. But there was no money except for the final table, and that's what I was fighting for. He could've had AK.

    How the hell do you guys who play the big MTTs and live tournaments deal with the crushing of the soul? You're sick.

    Gonna start playing more tournaments, tho. Fun. Apart from all that soul-crushing.

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    Great Moments In Poker

    So I'm playing a HORSE tournament the other day and I've got some chips through the second go-round. We switch to Razz and I'm dealt a deuce and a trey down and an ace up. Very nice. We get to betting and my next card is a six. I bet and get two callers. The guy to my left is showing a nine and a seven. The guy to my right is showing a seven and a king.

    My next card is a brick, but the other two guys get even worse cards. I bet, the guy on my left calls, and the guy on my right calls showing 7-K-J. OK. The next card he gets another King. He's showing 7-K-J-K and checks. I get a five, so I have a tasty six-high. I bet, the guy to my left folds...and the guy to my right check-raises me.

    Check raises me, even though his board reads 7-K-J-K. And I'm showing A-6-Q-5. Now, I know what's going on here. The guy somehow forgot we're playing Razz. He thinks we're playing Stud or something. OK, brain cramps happen. The next card is dealt and he folds to my bet. I type in chat, "Forgot we were playing Razz?"

    He answers, "I had A-5 in the hole."


    We move to my play tonight. I get aces cracked on the turn with the money in preflop, but luckily the other guy didn't have much money in front of him so it didn't hurt much. I hit a few hands and get myself comfortably in the black. And then comes this hand. I'm dealt pocket fives in the big blind. There's a fairly large raise in early position, one caller before me.

    The flop comes A-5-5. The original better makes a pot-sized bet.

    Now, this is a dream situation. We both have big stacks. He probably has AK, AQ, maybe even aces. This is a chance to stack him and have myself a really nice night. How to play this? Raise, and maybe get him to re-raise and get it all in right now? Maybe, but I might scare him off. Just call, make him think I have a medium ace (or maybe a medium pair?) and induce another bet after the turn? What to do, what to do...

    Sadly, this discussion is moot.

    See, I folded preflop.

    I have no excuse, even though I'll offer this one up--I was playing three tables and was watching a player have a meltdown at another table (I ended up stacking him a bit later, which brought on another tirade, semi-deserved). I was in the big blind and getting around 3.5 to 1 to call, but of course the implied odds if I hit my set make that a must-call even if I think the other guy has aces.

    But I didn't call. After I confessed my donkitude to the table the guy said he had AQ. Might've stacked him. Never gave myself the chance. A lesson learned.

    But the Poker Gods smile at the donkey who is humble and accepts his load with a merry whinny. At the table that distracted me I was dealt 55 the very next hand and flopped a set. I didn't win a big pot because the flop came with two hearts and another two popped on the turn and river, cramping my style, but the other guy only had 2nd pair and came along for the ride. So, I still love poker.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Two Hundred And Fifty WHAT?

    I see today that David Beckham is leaving Real Madrid for the L.A. Galaxy. This is a deal that was rumoured (dig that veddy British "u", eh, eh?) for quite a long time and comes as no big surprise. Beckham can't get on the field in Spain, his galactico days are over (some would say they were over before he decamped from Manchester) and he has a soccer academy in L.A. This is a chance for him to conquer some new territory and establish himself in America. Expect to see Victoria and her canteloupian breasts in a number of forgettable flicks very soon.

    Here's the part I don't get. At all. I mean, this is incomprehensible. According to the piece, Beckham is "set to earn more than $250 million over the duration of his contract."

    TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS??!! Are you freakin' kidding me? Would you pay $250 million for the entire MLS? Exactly how is Beckham going to generate $50 million in revenue/profit/whatever? Did he agree to allow MLS to harvest his stem cells or something?

    I mean, I don't care if the Galaxy go and win five consecutive MLS Cups. Who friggin' cares? Is an MLS title worth fifty million bucks? I think not. There's got to be more to this story than Beckham playing a little footie on this side of the pond and collecting a quarter of a billion dollars.

    In the announcement Beckham said this:
    "I would like to thank supporters and the people of Madrid who have made my family and I so welcome in my time here making this an extremely difficult decision to make."
    Yeah, I'm sure it was SUCH a difficult decision. Hmm...let's see...we can stay in Madrid, where I can ride the bench and get ridiculed in the European press and see my career and legacy waste away...or I can go to America, be treated like royalty, putz around in a 2nd-tier (at best) league and make TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS. And, let's not forget, moving to L.A. will get my ambitious and show-bizzy wife off of my god-damned back.

    Mr. Beckham, I think you made the right choice.

    UPDATE: The news that David Beckham is Coming to America is now the goddam lead story on CNN. Ahead of such trifles as our President throwing another 20,000 troops at Iraq in the hopes the situation won't totally disintigrate before he leaves office and dumps his catastrophe on the fool who wins in 2008. Or the fact that Bush now seems especially anxious now to start wars with Iran and/or Syria, news that should make anyone who's been paying attention the last 6 years shit the proverbial milkshake.

    Seriously, concerning this escalation in Iraq, I read this over at Matthew Yglesias's blog and it cuts to the chase rather nicely:
    So to sum up, neither the American military nor the American congress nor the American people nor the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi public wants an American military escalation. Naturally, we're getting one.

    But Becks is coming to play soccer here!! Stop the presses!!

    Sunday, January 07, 2007

    Chris Berman-- Asshole

    On NFL Countdown this morning, Chris Berman said, "With Pittsburgh out of the picture, New England is kind of the defending champions!". What an asshole.

    And who the hell cares (besides Berman and the bootlicks at ESPN) if Bill Belichek and Eric Mangini are "feuding"? How about this--how about Belichick and Mangini have a pre-game hug? How about they stare into each other's eyes whispering sweet nothings before they tenderly kiss, maybe with Belichick wiping away a stray tear from Mangini's cheek. Jesus Christ, who cares if these two guys don't like each other? Unless they get into a helmet-swinging brawl on the field, WHO THE HELL CARES??

    It's like ESPN's obsession with all things Terrell Owens--WHO THE HELL CARES?? I know, ESPN has 24 hours to fill each day (more if you count ESPN2 and ESPN Radio and the Magazine etc etc) and you can only run SportsCenter, let's see...16 times each day. But they make it sound like breaking news that Terrell Owens is a selfish asshole. First of all, that's news? Second, WHO CARES?

    ESPN has an ombudsman named George Solomon, but he's a joke. He makes an appearance every month or so to slap someone on the wrist and waggle his finger, which I'm sure makes everyone in Bristol snap to attention. He never addressed the added chips in the World Series of Poker Main Event, even as Lon MacEachran disgracefully covered it up.

    From my own experience three years ago trying to attend the NFL Draft, I know to what magnitude ESPN can suck. At least they don't employ Deion Sanders. That's the best I can say about them right now.

    Saturday, January 06, 2007

    Thirteen Dollars of Pure Profit

    So I'm on a bad streak. Running bad in the cash games, snakebit in the tourneys. Last night I lost with AK to 2-3. Today I had a guy call with AJ against my KK after the flop, and he aced on the river. Then in the other tourney I had chips and my expletive-deleted connection went and stayed went for 2 hours.

    I invite the guys over for the playoff games, and Rick likes to play some low-limit tourneys while we watch football. He goes out early a few times before building up a big stack in another 45-person SNG thanks to a miracle 4 on the river that saves his bacon. We make the final table in 2nd chip-position. "Geno, take over," Rick says. "Take it the rest of the way."

    Heh heh.

    Me and another big stack split a testy pot when we both turn over K-3 on a king-high board. And then, disaster! I have pocket fives and the flop comes A-5-9. There are two hearts on the board and I no longer finesse my sets. I bet out, the chip leader is the only caller. The turn is a blank, I bet the pot, he calls. The flop is a nine, giving me a boat. He checks and I push in my few remaining chips. He has A-9. I finish one off the money.

    The pain...the pain...

    But we're in another tourney, and Rick goes krayzee. He's stacking people left and right. He's cracking aces, he's trapping with aces. He wins a huge pot when his top two holds up against straight and flush draws. We hit the final table with twice as many chips as everyone else. "Geno, take over!" Rick says.

    Can I close the deal?

    Oh, how I bulled that final table, how I stole it's lunch money and gave it wedgies! When it got to heads up we were even in chips, but I flopped trip kings and he had a flush draw. I bet, he raised, I pushed, he called...and I turned the case king. Victory, she is mine!

    Thirteen dollars of pure profit. Well, twelve dollars and eighty cents. Don't bring me down, man!

    Mister Mister

    A couple of months ago I was quoted in a Post-Gazette story about the UIGEA. Good for the ego, except that in the piece I was referred to as "Mr. Bromberg". And that was a bit weird. Made me feel old. And I'm not old. The neverending pain in my shoulders notwithstanding.

    I'm not the only one to get the Mister treatment. A few months ago the Post-Gazette changed the way they refer to...human beings. Instead of simply identifying me as "Bromberg", the PG now anoints its subjects with the honorific "Mr" or "Mrs" or "Ms". I think this was to make the PG sound more like the New York Times, the Paper of Record, who also does this.

    And who shouldn't. Because it's silly. It's silly, say, to refer to Saddam Hussein as "Mr. Hussein". It's silly to refer to Bill Cowher as "Mr. Cowher", as Bob Smizik had to do 16 times in a column about the Steeler coach stepping down. As I read Smizik's column all those "Mr. Cowher's" became a distraction. I almost thought he was doing it on purpose to piss off his editor. Or his readers.

    And it's silly to refer to me as "Mr. Bromberg". The false dignity that using "Mr." bestows is overshadowed by how irritating it is to read over and over again. And let's not forget that newsprint is expensive--there are only so many column inches available. Instead of typing "Mr." 16 times Smizik could've written another whole paragraph of useful words. Think about how much nuance, insight and analysis is being lost over the course of a year because writers have to chop out real words to make space for all those honorifics. No wonder newspapers are struggling so these days. Don't the folks running them think?

    Friday, January 05, 2007

    Not to Bitch, But...

    One problem that I've identified with my game is this--while I know some folks are terrible players, I give them credit for being good players. When I flop top pair with AK and get re-raised, I can't help but feel that the other guy hit a set. When in fact he has A-4 and seeing that ace gave him a woodie.

    I just got knocked out in a SNG by a guy who would min raise every hand and then toss in $30 on every street. Twice I had straight draws that didn't get there, and then I flopped bottom pair, made two pair on the river, and that last card filled in his inside straight. On the hand I got knocked out on I had AK and raised. Another guy re-raised, and Mr. Genius re-re-raised. I was shortstacked so I pushed, the other guy folded and Mr. Genius called off another $600 with...



    He turned a three and knocked me out. The next hand he called a big all-in with 44 against jacks and made a straight on the turn. Every dog has his day. Every horrible player can get lucky and hit a few hands.

    I just need to remember that there are some horrible players out there, and don't be afraid of them. Embrace their horribleness, for therein lies the profit.

    Still pissed, tho.

    Pittsburgh In Microcosm

    Bill Cowher resigned as Steeler head coach today. He didn't retire. When asked if he was tired of coaching he said, "Do I look burned out?" This time next year he'll be at a press conference announcing his hiring in Carolina, or New York, or Cleveland.

    Bill Cowher is doing what hundreds of thousands of Pittsburghers have done the last 25 years or so. He's moving to greener pastures. He's moving to North Carolina where the winters are mild. He couldn't make as much as he wanted here so he'll go somewhere else where he can get the money he wants. That's happened all too often here.

    Chuck Noll was hired the year I was born. Bill Cowher was hired the year I graduated from college. Sad to see him go, but we all had a hell of a run the last 15 years.

    Au revoir, but not adieu. Gonna be weird rooting against Cowher in 2008.

    Tuesday, January 02, 2007

    The Only Game Greater Than Boise State-Oklahoma

    Was played twenty years ago today. Penn State defeated Miami 14-10 to win the 1986 National Championship. If you don't think it was the greatest college football game in history (or the most important, for unfortunate reasons that have nothing to do with the Nittany Lions) then ESPN would like to disagree with you. It's a good piece.

    When Giftopoulous picked off that final Testaverde pass I jumped up in the air and cracked my upraised arms against the ceiling. I'd already been accepted at Penn State and beating Miami was so sweet, so very, very sweet.

    I have to admit, I'm disturbed that I routinely say that important events in my life "happened twenty years ago". The time, it flies.

    Now That Was a Ball Game

    I'm trying to think if I've seen a more exciting football game than the Boise State-Oklahoma game I just watched. I'm trying to think if I've seen three greater playcalls than Boise State made to tie, tie, and win the game. The 2-point conversion play was sheer genius.

    To win after blowing an 18-point lead and throwing a Roethlisberger-caliber season-killing pick...and facing 4th and 18...and coming up with a perfect Whatta game.

    And then Ian Johnson, who ran for over 100 yards and scored the winning 2-point conversion, proposes to his cheerleader girlfriend while being interviewed by Chris Myers. Who kinda spoiled things by saying, "So now you want to propose to your girlfriend..." Unless Ian asked Myers to set it up like that. And he goes down on one knee and proposes. And she says yes. It was very sweet, and quite spontaneous. get this widget Please visit Pokernews site for more poker news, poker strategy articles or poker rules.

    Play Poker Online
    Play Poker Online at Full Tilt Poker
    Learn, Chat, and Play with the Pros at the fastest growing Online Poker Room.


    Play Poker Online at Blind Bet Poker. Bonuses and promotions by online poker rooms like Doyles Room, Titan Poker, Full Tilt Poker and Noble Poker. Poker strategy for beginners, advanced, and professional poker players. A poker terminology section, news & online poker tournaments.

    Poker Forums
    Definitive online poker portal, featuring a poker odds calculator, poker forums, an excellent poker bonus code section with deposit bonuses.

    Full Tilt Poker Freerolls
    Party Poker Strategy Guide

    The 2006 WSOP
    Total Coverage
    From the Urinals to the Hooker Bar



    Poker Savvy