Tuesday, November 30, 2004

No wait. That can't be isn't right.

Ok, in the previous post, that can't be isn't what happened, because then I would have had the straight. (qj1098) Right? But I really think that was the hand, because otherwise, why would we have been talking about -- on the turn -- how a king wouldn't help him b/c it would give me a straight? If anything, I'm not sure the third card on the flop was a 6.

Seriously, help me out here. I addled and this is bugging me.

Ok I think I figured it out. My non-smoke addled brain I think mixed up the six and turned it into the nine. I have no idea what the 5th card was.

I'm a little dumb today.

Why Does A-10 Hate Me?

So I just got back from a tournament, $60 freeze-out. Got knocked out 13th out of 45. Queens were so good to me, the ladies loving me, but the A10? Has it in for me.

I lost half my stack with A10 of diamonds to a straight, fair enough. I only had tens with an ace kicker. But then the very next hand, what should I see in the hole but A10 diamonds again. With the blinds at 200/400 and $75 antes for each hand, I've got only $1800 left and I figure, ok, this time it'll work out. I put out $800. Of course, the next player goes all-in. What am I to do? Go all in too. What should he turn over but K8 diamonds. Yay! I figure I have it made.

The flop, QJ6, rainbow. The turn? a beautiful 9. Yay again! His only out now is one of those 8s, since a king would give me a straight. Well, we all know what comes next. The 8. Boo!!!

It was my first non-smoking night of poker and I have to say, I really feel good about my play. I probably shouldn't have called with that first A10, but the second one? Anyway, I also made a tough but good call with KKJxx on the board. I had AJ, but even though the guy was betting like he had the king, I felt he didn't. And he didn't. Just an ace. I'm usually bullied out of hands like that so I feel overall, positive about tonight. And hey, better 13th than 6th, one off the money, right. Right???

I will say that it took all my willpower not to bum a smoke after getting knocked out. But I didn't. But I still want one. And my jaw hurts from nicorette chewing.

Neat tool

Matt just passed on a link for a cool free app that lets me track just how much I haven't smoked and have saved minute by minute!

Stats as of now:
Smober Time (I put in the time I woke up yesterday as my start time): 1D 2h 30m
Amount Saved: $7.74
Cigarettes not Smoked: 22

It also tells you "life saved" but that seems silly. Thanks also to all who've commented and shouted out their support.

Second Day -- No Smokey the Bandit!

Groggily waking into the day 2 of no cigarettes. I miss my morning cig with coffee already. Off to the gym goes I. But before I go, I'm re-reading a poem I wrote about my first failed quitting attempt. Originally a 5 part poem, the Beloit Poetry Journal only wanted to publish the first part and when they said that, I pretty much saw they were right that it said it all.

Smoking Card
Included in each box of nicorette gum is a wallet-card on which you are supposed to write “my main reasons for quitting smoking are:”

The first time I quit I got my wisdom teeth pulled.
You can’t smoke for 48 hours after having teeth removed.
Something about how wounds heal.
And pain medications can be lovely.
It was a warmer cold turkey, and you were arriving in two weeks.
I put up signs with the date.
When I thought of smoking, I thought,
The perfect girl does not smoke.
I know, I know.

Now I'm out of the house and off to work, where the scene looks something like this:

Monday, November 29, 2004

Quitting Smoking: Day 1

crush out cigarettes!

So, last night I officially turned 30 and today marks the first day of stopping smoking. I'm chewing the crap out of my Nicorette gum which has 20% less ass-flavor than three and a half years ago when I quit the last time. Follow that? This is actually my third (and lets say final) time quitting.

I'm also going to be blogging about the fun that is quitting so when the only thing I want more than a smoke is a giant mallet to whack the shit out of anyone nearby, I have a healthier outlet. Why am I doing this, you ask? Well, thanks for asking!

Toby's Top Reasons to Quit Smoking

1) I promised my parents and myself I would only be a smoker again for one year. That year is pretty much up. I like to be a woman of my word.

2) I'm 30. The health risks of smoking once you turn 30 go up. Especially if you're taking certain medications.

3) My skin is definitely worse than it was before I started smoking again. I want my clear skin back.

4) I don't want yellow teeth. More than that, I don't want the disapproving look from my 70-year old dental hygenist when she tut-tuts me about smoking AND drinking coffee.

5) It's hella expensive here in New York City. I figure I can save about $40 a week. Which I'm going to deposit into a poker bankroll.

6) Someday, I want kids. I don't want any smoking babies.

7) You can't smoke at most poker rooms in the country anymore. If I want to really start playing tournaments, I can't be spending more time watching the clock so I can get to the next smoke break than I am watching how my opponents play.

8) There's a lot of cancer in my family.

9) I'm looking forward to this moment, as related by Norm MacDonald: "I can taste my food. That's one thing. All my food now has this incredible taste. Oh man, everything I eat, I go hey, what kind of food is that there you're giving me? That's a tangy, zingy food there, isn't it? What kind of a tangy zingy...? It's a boiled potato, huh? Remind me to get the recipe."

10. I'm happy. It's cold out. Timing is everything in this life and the time I think is right now.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm about to head off to my folk's house, the land of no internet, but I hope everyone out there has a good Thanksgiving. One couple who definitely will: Sandy Murphy and Rick Tabish, who have been aquitted of the murder of Benny Binion. I don't know about y'all, but after reading Positively Fifth Street, I'm pretty surprised at the verdict. Thanks to C for passing on the story.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Great Weekend

Usually, I hate my birthday and the whole month of November because of it, which made it all the sweeter that my 30th birthday party last night was such an incredible blast. Thanks everyone who came and ate drank and was merry.

And while I was there, I was informed by my ever-vigilant mother, that The Bad Ass Girl's Guide To Poker is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Happy birthday to me! Did you know that it's going to be 240 pages? I sure didn't! Anyway, it's weird to see yourself on Amazon, but also pretty sweet.

I'm just sort of having a wriggle-around with joy kind of day. I'm going to spend some time now with another 30-year old who acts her age as much as me: hello kitty.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Does this guy know me?

There's this guy, "hugh "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" macleod" who has just posted on whether to sell out to Hollywood or not. Not only do I find this particularly apropriate to things going on in my life, but the business card drawing of the day is of a "badass chick blogger" who lives in NYNY.

Coincidence? Almost definitely. Yet I sure wish he did that drawing for me. I am definitely going to look into getting that for the back of my business cards.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Poker is like...

A former champion tennis player, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, just announced he has given up tennis to become a professional poker player.

In the interview, the Olympic gold medalist said, "You need guts in poker, as in tennis. And if you don't believe in your ability, you don't win."

So true. An Australian poker champ I hadn't heard of before, Leo "The Mechanic" Boxell, agrees but thinks the game most like poker is cricket. Cricket? In what way other than a game can go on for days?

I was recently reminded of that silly tool, Googlism, and I thought this was a good opportunity to see what else poker is like on the Internet. These are my favorites. I made a rule that they had to be presented in the order that they appeared on the site. It's sort of like a found poem. Enjoy.

Poker is our horse

poker is the cutting
poker is lotteries
poker is like church
poker is win big money
poker is an all
poker is fun when you're in pain
poker is a game of people
poker is not war
poker is a pimp
poker is available in neighboring mississippi
poker is one of the most popular casino games for one solid reason
poker is a simple game infinite in its complexities

poker is merciless
poker is life
poker is the name of the game
poker is the devil
poker is forever
poker is easy

poker is a hand with something like 9 of hearts
poker is the internet full of it
poker is designed and played
poker is the payout table
poker is a registered legal business located in san josé the capital city of costa rica
poker is a microcosm of all we admire and disdain about capitalism and democracy
poker is a language all its own

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Poker Quote for Today

The word "heart" carries a particular meaning in the poker player’s vocabulary. Fiendishly hard to define, but a lot more than mere grace under pressure, it has to do with courage and ingenuity, nerve and self-possession. "Heart" is what you need to take your life in your hands, to back you own instincts against the whims of fate, in the toughest, coldest, most fearless company.
-Anthony Holden

I write this because I wish I had grace under pressure. Self possession! Ha! I've got courage and ingenuity though. Nerve -- well, I'm bull-headed and willing to loudly voice my opinions -- does that count?

I just wonder how one learns to break out of emotional patterns and responses that are hard-baked in you since childhood. I've always, as long as I can remember, found that when I get angry, really angry, I cry. When I get excited with joy or rage, I shake. I am able to keep it together in most situations and "act" normal for maybe ten minutes, but I can't keep it up. And how often does a poker game last ten minutes? I have to be able to learn to not flush with happiness over a full house or get depressed and fatalistic after a few bad beats in a row.

I've been thinking for a number of reasons of starting up practicing Martial Arts again because while I was doing that I felt more emotionally balanced, and more able to work out my frustrations and excess energy through kicking and punching things.

I wonder if there are other martial artist/poker players? I bet my assistant, Mr. Google can tell me.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Poker Google News Alerts

So, I've had google news alerts set up for "poker," "Texas Hold'em," and some particular women players, but lately the headlines are getting better and better. In the beginning, 4 out of 6 would include some joke on how poker is red hot! but now they're getting more entertaining.

My favorites from the week (besides the toy one in the last post)include "Next up: Extreme Old Maid!" and "Bikers hold toy/poker 'run'", but my favorite story that of the week that google dropped in my inbox:

WWII veteran finds himself in painting

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Jean Muth was skimming the Sunday newspaper when she spotted a listing for a World War II museum exhibit and stopped to scrutinize a painting of sailors playing poker aboard the "Lucky Lizzy."

To her surprise, a closer examination revealed her husband, Frank, sitting slightly above the other sailors.

How fun is that? More fun than poker boot camp, even.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Soy Sauce Fuelled Car, Poker Sets among Years Top Toys!

This has got to be my favorite headline of the week.

I like that there's no explanation of this magical soy sauce car. Show me! Show you!

Partying with Poker People

I was mildy disappointed to not play with Annie Duke, but having just visited the work-in-progress that is Cyndy Violette's Web site, I am very, very sad that I did not go to her party this year, as the past years look like quite a lot of fun. I had some kind of previously promised plan the night of her annual bash this year, but I can't even remember what it was now. Certainly wherever I was there was no pool and no limbo-ing.

She's invited me to her house to have a nice vegetarian lunch the next time I go to Atlantic City, and I think I'm going to have to make that excursion sooner rather than later. Besides the fact that she is one of the sweetest people I've met recently and I'd love to get to know her better, I have a hankerin' to return to the Taj's mammoth room and play me some poker.

I only hope my only 30th birthday bash is half as fun.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Not Posting and Folding with the Post

On Sunday, a friend who works for the NY Post played with Annie Duke at their offices here in New York.

I tried to weasel my way in, but failed to get a spot at the table. I thought it would be great fun to play with her, especially with funny money, after talking to her for the book, but it was not to be. It would have been hard to pull off anyway since I was at the combination Congrats on running the marathon/your new engagement party for another friend who works at the Post. And in the end, they'll be other opportunities for me to sit down with Ms. Duke, while long-time friends only get engaged once. Usually.

Actually, I had dinner on Monday with another friend who also got engaged last weekend and it was her second engagement. What was particularly funny was that except for her fiance, everyone at the table was part of "the broken engagement club." It's a bigger club than you might imagine.

I just hope the next time I get engaged, I make it to the altar and into the pages of the NY Times announcements so I can get mocked by this very funny blog. Since my grandfather once worked for the NY Times, I believe that my odds are actually pretty good -- on both counts!

Monday, November 08, 2004

Cards and Children

I just read an article by a writer who condemns the idea of giving your tiny tot a table top poker set for Christmas, claiming it's going to end in a gambling problem. I'm not even going to into the poker isn't gambling arguments which I could but have been well made by others, but I mean, ignoring that, come on. It's not a tiny slot machine or roulette wheel -- which I might add, I had, complete with tiny ball and little mat for placing your bets. Yet, though I had all this (and more!) and learned to play cards at 4 and poker at 7, I do not have a gambling problem.

Instead, I learned at an early age about sequencing, matching, and basic odds, as well as skills in predicting, counting, symbolic thinking... and I don't know, how to have fun in a group. I'm not kidding, really. I did learn how to interact with adults as (more of) an equal because I was playing with them as an equal. Playing cards -- gin and bridge and Euchre -- always gave me something to do and talk about with grandma and at family gatherings from here to Michigan.

And as for whether it really built math skills, and I know it's not the only reason, but I turned out to be very good at math. Like, crazy good. Until calculus my junior year of high school... Then, I kind of sucked the proverbial ass.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Morning has broken

Ah... losing streak over. Thank Jebus.

It was interesting to see how much better I was playing and how much more I enjoyed the game when I was solidly ahead all night. We played 7- or 8-handed all night which is where I'm best. That said, I was hitting some really lucky flops with questionable hands -- like when I stayed in with Q6 on the button and the flop came Q-6-6. I hit a full house or paired up on the river slightly more than I should have, statistically. And I got dealt bullets twice during the night, and they held up once, during pot limit which made it all the sweeter.

It was also the final game for the only other woman who plays in the game, who broke the boy's night seal years ago. She's a really good, aggressive player, so I'll probably do better without her in the game, but I'll miss having another chick with chips at the table. I just need to find a new lady who's willing to press her luck once a week with me.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Running Bad

So it's definite: I'm on a losing streak.

I lost again on Thursday, because I suck the big ass at pot limit poker -- I've been playing a sort of crappy weak-tight game on Thursdays for the last few games anyway, and it sure doesn't work for pot limit. I wasn't far down until the pot limit began, and then promptly lost 50 bucks or so on one hand. Then I got to the dangerous -- well, it's easier just to lose this last stack in one hand rather than bother to cash out -- mindset. Buh-bye money. Nice knowin' ya.

On Sunday, I played much better in the 11-handed Halloween Hold'em party I threw. The whole Trouple was there, as was Jennie and her hubbie, and various other wonderful friends. Still, I was the big loser, but more because of baddish beats and cold cards than my own play, which wasn't at its best since it was my party and I felt I had to host and help new players, but I wasn't playing terribly even after I announced "this is where Toby goes on tilt." I lost a few big hands -- flopped the nut straight and got beat by a flush on the river, that sort of thing. Since it was only 1/2 Hold'em, it was hard to get people out of hands, but still, when you realize your game log is reading in the negative numbers for the first time in six months, you have to admit the problem is probably you.

I read a few articles (1, 2) on losing streaks, but right now I'm just so concerned with the fear that Bush will win / Kerry will lose that I'm having trouble concentrating. Would be a bad night for poker -- though two of the guys I play with do have a dime (by which I mean $1000) riding on the results of the election.

(c) Toby Leah Bochan