Being Real and Bustin NooooobsLife, Poker, Life. Ha! Poker content! Christmas was one of the best ones that I can remember. Traditionally my family does things at my house with Mom's side of the fam on Christmas eve, and then we go to Orange County on Christmas afternoon to spend time with my Dad's side. Over the years Christmas eve has dwindled to just my nuclear fam and my Mom's grandparents, and they always bickered like grumpy old people. Never too enjoyable really. However, in the past year they have both had significant medical issues, and I think it kinda woke em up. They were happier than I have ever seen them. My grandfather, who didn't even remember where I lived or what I did, was singing Irish jigs and reciting two hundred year old verses of poetry. He told us stories about WWII and Alaska. It was awesome.
Christmas morning was great. My mother responded to my protests last year when for the first year of my entire life I didn't get a toy. She hooked it up with a remote controlled helicopter. It's sick and is airborne in the house quite often. Furthermore, she didn't guess what I got her. I'm like 2/20 lifetime now or something silly sneaking something past the "gift identification radar." She's good.
Anyways, headed down to OC to be with that side of the fam (cousin's wedding side) and had another excellent day. The "kids" table is still the kids table, but instead of sippy cups we were doing tequila shooters last year. Cousin Dave busted out some funky Tennessee whiskey this year and it tasted like gasoline and kicked like a mule.
We have a $10 white elephant-ish gift exchange that is always a good time, but this year was the best by far. I've never heard our entire family having so much fun together before. It was wonderful. Thanks y'all (That means you Jeff, Chris, Caryn, and any other secret readers :-)!
Christmas eve I wrote that rant blog and it felt good to get all those things out. Thanks to whoever left that youtube comment - that really meant a lot to me. The following morning Kristin and I grabbed some coffee and headed to Puddingstone lake where I spent much of my youth. We sat on a picnic bench and talked, and invariably we got on the subject of the church.
She helped me to look back at the things that have frustrated me so much about the church and why they have driven me away. I realized something that I hadn't before and kinda the moment that I gave up. In the spring of 06, Shay (ex-wife) applied for a job as an assistant at a church in Colorado. She flew out there, things were great, and then when they asked what I did things weren't great. Now remember, I used to work at a church, I strongly support the ministry, they had good references for me in Colorado and California, yet it wasn't good enough. They interviewed me over the phone, and since I wouldn't quit playing poker when I moved to Colorado, they denied Shay the position. It pissed me off like nobody's business, but I guess I didn't realize until this week the signifigance of that moment.
The thing is that the church is an instutition founded by God but run by people and therefore it is going to be inherently flawed. I cannot justapose the actions of the church onto the character of God. True, I have been hurt, and I have every right to be angry, but I am wrong in the grudges that I have held. I need to let them go and re-learn what it is like to forgive - not only the church, but those that have hurt me along the way.
The thing is that much of my strife with the church was due to my going against the grain. Anybody who's read like one of my blogs that isn't about poker knows this. I have always been a maverick, and while working in the church I was no different. I saw things that were not right and I wanted to change them. I was very "successful" if you can define success within the context of ministry, yet that was often overshadowed by the conflicts that I created. For example, at the last church I worked at, I was brought on in a part time role to basically start a student ministry. They gave me a roster of about 20 kids, 5 of em showed up every once in a while, and the programming was minimal. Within 9 months there was a program in place with 20 regular attenders and over 60 kids on the roster, and this is excellent for a tiny church with an average Sunday attendance of about a hundred. The problem? Now that I had kids coming for youth program, the elders wanted kids to come for the morning church service. But, there was a reason that kids didn't come to the church service in the first place. It was boring. The only reason I went was because I had to, and I wasn't about to force teenagers to come to a church service with an average age of 60 and about as traditional as it gets. I offered ideas to change the service to make it more accomadating to teenagers, but instead they got upset at me for saying it like it was.
In the entire history of the Christian church anybody who has said anything prophetic has been met with resistance. Kristin mentioned the old testament prophet Jeremiah. He led people out of Israel and into Egypt with much strife. When they got to Egypt, even though everybody knew he was right, they still chastized him at every opportunity, yet he still wrote "'I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'Plans to help you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
That's where I fell short years ago. Instead of embracing the visions that I had and letting the crap run off my back like water off a duck, I let it discourage me and drive me away. In that battle I lost. I let my pride get the best of me and it has caused me a lot of heartache in the past few years.
Now what? Beats me. But knowing is half the battle, right?
OK fine...................... poker.
So after going busto I have been torturing the cash games. I got staked to play online cash games and in the past week I'm up almost 5k. Thats good for me as I will be shipping half that to my bank account on the first.
I have been playing primarily the 2-4 NL games. I feel like I have finally gotten a grasp of the style that just crushes the game. I had played so weak-tight for so long. When I first started playing NL cash, I played much like tourneys and got screwed with many top-pair top-kicker type hands and it gave me a very scared perspective of the game. Now I'm playing a very F YOU style and it's working great. I've learned a ton about pushing people to their breaking point, and then when they finally decide to stop folding I show up with the goods. Plus, it's given me a ton of control over the pots as opponents have responded to my play. Here's a couple of examples, both 2-4 NL 6 max.
First hand a couple of days ago, I open raise in MP with 7 8 . I get called by both blinds. flop 356 with one . SB bets $4 into the $40 pot, BB calls, I jack it to $44, SB calls, BB folds. Turn 3 , BB checks, I check. River 9, he ships it all-in for like $200, I snap, and he has QQ.
If I was playing my old style, I probably would've never seen the flop. The SB woulda re-raised enough where I wouldn't have been able to see the flop. Instead, the SB thought, "Let's trap this LAGtard," and he ended up trapping himself. Here's another example.
I open 55 in MP to $14, get called by the BB. Flop Kxx rainbow. He checks, I fire pot for $30, he calls. Turn 5. I fire pot for $90, he calls. River a blank, I ship it for $275, he calls with AK. GG. Again, same thing. Since I had tortured both opponents on previous hands, they decide to let me do the betting and end up losing a huge pot instead of winning a small one. Obvious it was convienent for me to hit on both hands, but I don't put another dollar into either pot unless I hit.
I've also imported many of my accumulating chips tricks from tournament poker to cash games. It has allowed me to pick up a ton of small pots that I wouldn't have otherwise and it gives me an image that helps hands like the above happen. It's really a fun adventure and I'm finally appreciating NL more than LHE.
I've also been playing a bunch of the PLO games online. They're so juicy but the variance is so high. It's pretty incredible how bad people get it in, but with 4 cards instead of two, it's always tough to have a huge lock on a hand like you can in hold'em. I like it though. Much gamboooool.
As far as donkaments go, I've continued to get reallllllly close and get screwed often. Last week I took 4th in the stars 109 25k, losing QQ to Ax early on the final table that crippled me. I had a ton of chips right by the money in the million and ub $500 this sunday, played huge pots as 3-1 favorites and lost em both. Tonight I bubbled the final table of the FTP $129 bounty, getting screwed earlier near the bubble and running QQ into KK in that one. I'm stuck something like $16k in makeup this month, which I guess isn't too bad considering that I've played like $40k worth of tourneys this month, but with how many times I've gotten so close, it's frustrating. Now a win of any of the standard tourneys doesn't even get me unstuck!
I'm looking for the next new site that is going to be filled with noooooobs like the one that I'm playing on right now. If any of y'all have any insights I'll let ya know where I've found :-).
I'm pretty excited actually to be a little grinder in January to get my bankroll back under me. It's nice having hands hold up every once in a while now, and it sure is satisfying stacking peeps. Today when I woke up I was actually excited to play some cards. I haven't experienced that in a while.
Several of y'all commented about how my writing changes with how I'm running. Thanks for pointing that out, I really didn't realize it. I think it's a good thing though. When we're running good, life is good and we're full of confidence. When we're running bad though our confidence is shaken and often our game is shaken. I'm a big believer in the human element of poker and when I'm running bad i naturally look at myself first. I believe that our personal lives are connected to our poker lives and often the outcomes on the table. I've written a couple of articles about it and recommend that everybody takes a look at themselves when running bad, because there isn't a damn thing we can do about the cards, but we can improve ourselves and the way we play.
Also, I've been chewing on this personal stuff a lot since July. Back then I realized I had some serious issues that I had to work on, and this blog has often been the words that have been floating around my head. Back when I first started blogging in 04 I wanted to make my blog different, and I decided to do that by writing what I was thinking, not some candy coated version of what I was thinking or what I thought I should write about. I wanted my blog to be two things. I wanted it to be for me first and foremost. Writing is one of the greatest tools that I personally have to work through things in my own life. I believe that through writing I can learn about myself, improve myself, and create a history of who I have been allowing me to learn from my successes and mistakes alike. Secondly, I wanted to create someting real . Not scripted, not "reality tv" real, but just pure, raw, me. One of the biggest things I spoke out against in the church was how people put on their happy face every sunday morning. I often felt like the people I talked to in church sanctuaries on Sunday mornings weren't really the pepole I was talking to. I hated how the church encouraged this. I felt like the church had become a place like a hospital that didn't allow bleeding people in. It wasn't ok to be vulnerable, open, honest, wounded, real. I responded to that by writing the most real aspects of myself in the public light of a blog. I would not allow myself to become a thespian of life, hiding behind whatever happy or sad mask I dug out of my closet that morning. As a result I feel like many of y'all that read this blog, yet have never met me, feel like you know me. I think that's a good thing. Perhaps I say things that I shouldn't say. Perhaps I shouldn't be so open about certain aspects of my life. But, I think it's a good blend, and something you cannot ever accuse me of being is fake. I would much rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not.
Tomorrow I'm going to the UFC fight. I'm psyched. Jared got tipped two $750 face value (going for like 2k each now) tickets by a woman that works for UFC and we're going. They're sick seats, and we're headed down early to catch every bout. Sunday tourneys, Monday is NYE and we're going to be on the strip again this year, Tuesday the Trojans are going to kick the crap outta the Illini, and Wednesday Tiffany leaves for more snowboarding adventues.
Peace and good luck,