One bad hand. That’s all it takes, just one hand played badly…
I started strong. It was one of my best outings ever. Within an hour I had doubled. By 90 minutes I was at 3x the starting stack. Everything was working. I connected on flops. I bluffed when I didn’t. I folded to hands that turned out to be stronger. I made out that I was even luckier than I really was. No one wanted to mess with me. I was finally playing the big stack, pushing people around and picking up cheap pots here and there. And I was doing it all without being dumb. I was following my own advice.
When we cut down to one table, I was still well above average. I continued playing well but the cards were starting to turn on me a little. And the blinds started going up.
I found myself with ~9K, average stack was 5K. The blinds were at 300-600. I was dealt 9-10 diamonds. According to Phil Laak on Poker After Dark, suited connectors will hit the straight or flush 40% of the time. This was my 3rd hand playing suited connectors that night. I limped in. It was raised to 1500. There was one caller before me. Betting 900 to get 3,600 seemed like good odds, I called. The flop was 8d, a Jack and a blank. I checked. There was a bet of 1,000 by the chip leader. The other player folded.
Here is where I got dumb. I had 3 cards to a straight and 3 cards to a flush. There were no scare cards on the board. I thought “If I get lucky I can double up easily. I’m going to take the chance.” So I chased. By the time the river came I still had nothing and had to fold with 10 high. I was down to 5K. In one stupid hand chasing I had knocked myself down to small stack.
Five people left. Top three finish in the money. Blinds have moved up to 400-800, so I have about 7 big blinds. I have just enough money left to push someone out of a pot or two. The blinds are coming around, I need to make a move. I get Q-10, that’s good enough for me! I go all-in. I’m called against A-10 and knocked out. Afterwards I find out that the top four (not three) finished in the money, which might have altered my play.
Very frustrating. I think I played extremely well except for one hand, and ended up as bubble boy.
I learned a beautiful new song on guitar this week. Lovely picking, interesting mournful melodies, clever ways of picking up the sus4 and major7. I played it for Mrs Muttrox. She agreed it was a very pretty song.
Only it isn’t. Because it’s a Roger Waters song. The song is Goodbye Blue Sky from The Wall. It is about how the nice blue sky becomes a source of pain and death, and what should be a nice part of any childhood is just one more way to get hurt.
I think this is why Pink Floyd split up. I think the rest of the band just got sick of every song being about paranoia and death and horror and pain and misery and forgodsake Roger can’t you write anything remotely pleasant? Take some Prozac or something.
Did you see LeBron sink that shot? Did you see that!?
If you are even a casual basketball fan, you should be watching the playoffs. For the last two weeks nearly every single day has featured a memorable game. Both games of both conference finals have been terrific. Do yourself a favor and tune in.
I’m having a bad run. It’s been a long time since I finished in the money, much less won.
Some of it is bad cards. Last week my best hand in two hours of play was A-J. Last night I did get some good starters. K-A twice. Pocket 3s twice and pocket 6s once. That’s reasonably good. None of these hands connected on the flop. Not once. In the last two weeks I haven’t finished with a hand higher than two pair. And that has happened once. Generally, I have nothing or a pair. That makes it hard to win. It means a lot of bluffing. It makes a huge difference to get a set once a night or so. I don’t know the odds on that, but I don’t think that’s two much to ask.
It’s time to reset myself. Here are my resolutions for the next few weeks.
Play less hands: I need to be more patient. I can’t get sucked into playing hands like A-5 just because I’m in position and it seems like a good time to push. I love stealing blinds but I have to try it less.
Don’t raise as much pre-flop:I’ve been raising a lot with hands like A-9, K-10, Q-J. If no one calls I win, and if they call I have a decent shot at winning anyhow. I need to reduce that. Those are pre-flop calling hands.
Trap:I haven’t had many cards I can trap with, but if I ever get them… Since my reputation is increasingly loose (plays marginal hands, goes all-in without power cards), I can use that to my advantage.
Body language: Pay more attention to tells that other players might be giving off. Work harder to reduce any that I have. When I’m not in a hand, make a guess what the players have and see how well I do.
In other words, play more conservatively. In the last year I’ve learned to bluff and play loose. I’ve swung too far in that direction, it’s time to come back.
Pierce did not play well. Celtics shots did not go in. Magic shots did. End of story.
I’m glad it was a blowout. If we had only lost by one or two shots I would be reliving all the could-have-beens, Howard not getting called on at least two goaltending, bunny shots that didn’t go in, etc. It’s better this way.
The human-designed world is often not well designed. One of the canonical examples of using design well is the newspaper stand at an airport or train station. In many of them it is surprisingly difficult to actually process your transaction. If you have a briefcase or suitcase with you, the things you want to buy in another, a newspaper or umbrella being held under an arm, how can you actually pay? Put your things away, hand the cashier the goods, wait for them to ring it up, give them money, wait for change, try and put the change away while holding all the other things, take your items and put them somewhere, and finally move off. A smart person put a large counter at one of these stands with plenty of room to put all your items, room underneath to hold suitcase or briefcase, and long enough that you could move out of the away while gathering your belongings, thus freeing up the space and time for the next customer. This simple change sent sales through the roof.
Why do I bring this up? Years ago at work I suggested to management that we put shelves up in the bathrooms. (To the co-workers who read this, yep, that was me. If only we’d had the Innovation Garage then I’d be the 2003 grand prize winner.) If you came in with any papers or electronics there was nowhere to put them. You hoped that the area around the sink was dry or you had to hold your business stuff while doing your business. They put up shelves in all the bathrooms. I was a very pleased customer. Now you throw your items on the shelf, do the deed, and pick up your things on the way out.
The other day I came into the bathroom and found this:
Flowers are nice. The bathroom is understandably drab and putting in a bit of foliage made it that much nicer. But, it interfered with the whole point of the shelf! Now if my things are too big there isn’t enough room. Even if they are small enough I have to spend precious time maneuvering them around to make sure they are balanced and don’t knock over the flower. I know it doesn’t matter that much in the long run and that’s it’s only a few seconds but I still incredibly annoyed. A beautiful solution to a problem and then someone just goes and throws up another impediment. C’mon people!
Postscript: The people did indeed come on. I moved the flower to the sink area. A week or two later it was gone.
Postscript: I drafted this post a long time ago. There’s another one there this week.
I was having a bad day last week. It was turned around at Quizno’s. Not because of their subs, though they are good, but because I was handed as part of my change the state quarter for Hawaii.
That was the last one. Mrs. Muttrox and I have been collecting the state quarters since 2000. The map that they go in is her favorite present I’ve ever gotten her (bling earrings expected of course). Ah, life was good.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I got a state quarter for Washington DC. What? And Duke Ellington? I like Duke Ellington, but surely they could have come up with something better than that. It looks like The Duke is saying Justice for All. As accomplished as he was I don’t think he should get to use Superman’s tagline. Maybe it’s a shoutout to how his music led to Metallica.
Second, Washington DC is not a state. Third, the map people who gave us the map screwed up. This is just annoying. The point of the map is to have a complete set. I have the map, but it doesn’t hold the complete set. It turns out that after completing the states they decided to keep going with “territories”. I look forward to Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands. No, I do not.
Those aren’t states. Should have put them on dimes or something.
Where’s my props for calling this one? (Although I admit with 11 seconds left I said, “I can’t believe we’re going to lose this game.”)
I hate watching games decided by referees. There were only a couple terrible calls, but there were lots of calls on things they normally let go. The game wouldn’t have even been close if it had been called like a normal game.
I’m going out on a limb. I predict the Celtics take Game 4, tying the series and regaining home court advantage.
It’s sad how these injuries have made a mockery of this team. I like Brian Scalabrine but let’s be serious. He’s a fine 11th man. He’s not a fine 7th man.
The key to this series is Paul Pierce. He had two great games in the Chicago series and has done nothing else. He hasn’t even been particularly great at the defensive end. Will he explode for a couple big games? I’m predicting he will.
Today I had lunch at Burger King (it was a reward for the three-year old’s progress in nighttime potty training). They had signs up all over declaring they had over 100 kinds of drinks. No way I thought. I don’t think I could name more than 30 sodas and what else was there… it just didn’t seem right.
Oh, but it was! The dispenser has 18 different drinks. When you select your drink you go to another screen where you can add five or six different flavors. I had orange-flavored Coke. It was fantastic! After that heady experience I felt I had to calm down a little and soothed myself with a plain old Vanilla Coke. Burger King just won.