Saturday, December 27, 2008

Reflections: 2008

Time to sit back and reflect on what the year has been like, so here goes.

First, I should say it was a pretty decent Christmas overall. Didn't really get a lot of stuff, but what I did get was pretty cool nonetheless. Got the Aliens Quadrology set, and wouldn't you know it...they were showing all the Alien movies on the Movie Network yesterday. Had to laugh at that. The highlight of the day was seeing my daughters face when she discovered she did indeed get a cell phone. You see, every year, Santa leaves an unwrapped gift under the tree for everyone, and its usually something that has been requested. My daughter had cell phone on the top of her list, so she was really hoping for it to be there Christmas morning from Santa. When she went downstairs and saw only a set of new earphones, I could almost hear her heart crack. We only open up the rest of the presents when everyone arrives, and this year, everyone was a bit later getting in, so it was like 2pm before we were opening up the rest of the gifts. I immediately went up stairs and dialed her cell phone number and waited to hear her reaction. Apparently, she hesitated, and her brother finally said, 'look, your dad is upstairs for no reason, and now the tree is ringing...WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS?' She got under the tree, started to throw other non ringing gifts aside, and finally found the source of the ringing. I went back downstairs, and saw the smile on her face. Yep, that's what Christmas is all about. Glad I could do that for her.

Okay, 2008...what's it been like?

For the most part, it was pretty decent. One wedding (my stepson and his bride had a wonderful wedding back in September), no funerals, no serious injuries, and only one trip to the emergency room (that was me, kidney stone...let me tell you something, if you never had a kidney stone, don't! No greater pain in the world can a man experience). So all in all, a pretty good year.

Poker wise, it could have been better. Only really played my own league tournaments mostly, but the one underground game I did do I profited over a grand. Gotta love the players who think that because they watch the games on tv, they know it all. Had two such donks at my table, and I was hitting good cards, and felted them both, only to have the rebuy again and felt them AGAIN a hour later. SWEET! Haven't been back there since though, and I really should make it out more often. No casino trips this year either, just haven't had the time or the bankroll to do it, but it is on my 2009 list to do. And online, well, that's a different story. Other than some low level donkaments, the only real victory online is a couple of MTT cashes on Supreme. Mind you the bankroll there has tripled this year, but honestly, I don't get the buzz I used to playing online anymore. Some guys in my league are talking about heading to Vegas in April to play in a couple of bigger events, and the prices right now for the trip are very good. Would love to be able to do, never been to Vegas, and I would like the chance to go, but with other factors in play, I doubt I can make it happen.

Hence, my work life. Its been hell this year. I honestly don't see a future with my current employer. The environment used to be fun and challenging, but lately there have been just too many damn financial restrictions in place that are preventing me from doing my job to the best of my abilitities. I'm not having fun, I'm not feeling like an essential part of the whole anymore, and my concerns and issues are being ignored or downplayed. I'm being overlooked, and there is just no future for me here any longer. I've been looking, and hopefully, something else will come my way in the new year. Not going to be easy though, not at the pay scale I'm looking at anyway. I'm not going to go cheap yet, don't have to risk that YET, but my salary is very good right now, and frankly, in this economic crisis, most employers are looking for someone just like me, only not so damn expensive.

I guess my golf game was pretty good this year overall, considering I'm still a newbie to the game. Broke 100 in July, and that was positive. I enjoy getting out to play a round now and then, and I AM getting better. I guess my 2009 goal would be the 90 mark. My brother Dave has invited me to visit his place sometime next year, and to bring my clubs, fishing rod, and poker money. He MIGHT be able to kick my ass in golf, but if he thinks for a second he can out do me in fishing or poker...well, little brother, time for your re education! ;)

I actually signed up recently for a fly swap, something I haven't done in like 5 years. Used to tie flies regularly, but got out of it and never really even set the vice up. But I was hoping to get back into fly fishing next year, and I think this would be a decent start to rekindle the fishing flame I used to have. I've already got a couple of guys on the Hipwader forum offering to take me out to some of their favorite spots next season. Be nice to get out more than the once I did this past year.

So the Christmas Chaos is over for another year, and its time to look forward again. I'll post next week about what I hope the 2009 seasons will offer me, and what I'll be prepared to do to get there.

Still...that April Vegas trip DOES sound VERY inviting...hmmmmmmmmmm

Friday, December 19, 2008


To say I was preoccupied with last night's Season Ending Tournament for the league would be an understatement. The whole week, all that was on my mind was how I was going to turn the season into something that I could at the very least say I broke even on. Well, the win last night did it for me! Turned a disappointing season performance into something I can say I really did my best at and it rewarded me. Not as much as my previous SET victory, but it will certainly make Christmas a bit more enjoyable.

I knew I had to do well, that was the guiding philosophy for me. I told myself over and over all day and week to play solid poker in this the players, not the cards. Play aggressively when called for, but take the low road out if you knew you were beat.

First hand of interest, I'm in the BB with AKdiamonds. Eleanor opens for a raise (think the blinds were 30/60, so still early), and Chris cold calls it. Folds to me, and I pump it up to 400. Figured with the raise and call, it was a good raise, enough to show them I was serious about playing this hand, and force anything smaller than 9's and 10's or AQ to fold. Sure enough, Eleanor folds. Chris looks me up...and pushes!! MASSIVE OVERBET! Took me a couple of seconds to replay the action, but it didn't make any sense to me why he would flat call a raise under the gun, then push into a 3x+ re raise by the big blind. Only thing I could really put him on at that moment was AK as well, or a medium pocket pair, but he IS able to make move with 34s just as much, hoping for the fold. He had me outstacked, but that 400 re raise of mine put my stack to under the 10x bb border. See, was hoping for a fold too, didn't expect a push at all. I thought for a few seconds and eventually called...yep he had AKo. Board didn't help either of us, and we chop it up. Eleanor says the turn would have given her trips. So my re raise did what I hoped it would do with one player. Chris is really good at figuring out what a player wants to happen, then disappointing you by doing the exact opposite. Told me after the hand he just wanted me to fold, knowing it would mean my tournament life. Guess I disappointed him as well.

Next hand of interest happened at the 100/200 level. Again, villain is Chris. Think he was UTG+1 and he raises to 600, standard 3x raise. I have about 1800 or so and desperate to double up to give me some room for later in the tournament. I peek at AA and hollywood it for a few seconds. Look at him...look at the time clock showing 6mins left at the level...might even had grimaced once JUST for effect...and then pushed my stack in the middle. Now I know Chris has excellent reading skills, so I WANTED the call this time. It folds back to him, and I stare at him...I stare HARD at him. Figured he must have noticed my intensity at me wanting him to believe I had a monster, yet knowing that a show of strength means weakness. My life is on the line with him again, if he calls and wins, I'm out, but I'm doing my best to get him to call me. I've been sucked out with aces before, who hasn't, but I was willing to risk it knowing I was ahead. Anyway, Chris mumbles something I can't hear (think it was something like 'here we go again') and starts to count his stack. Calling would put just over half his stack at risk, but he was getting 3:1 to call. Good odds in my book anytime, so I totally expected the call based solely on the math he was calculating. He sees me watching him, and he must have felt I wasn't bsing him this time, and eventually folded. He disappointed me yet again, but praise his read all the same. I showed him my aces and rake in a decent little pot. My stack is now sitting at almost 12bb's...not great, but decent all the same. Still, the blinds keep going up, and I would have LOVED to have doubled up there.

Didn't really play a lot of hands again until we got five handed. I did bust out Garry with my 8's in the small blind and he was almost forced to call his stack with A3o. He was getting slap hard by the deck all night, and A3 was the only thing he saw decent enough to risk it, but it didn't improve, especially once I hit trips on the turn. I do like my call on Darryl's push though with A8 against his K9 I think. He's been winning a lot of 60/40 races from behind, but not this time.

By the time we got to three handed play, all of us were pretty even in chips. Chris has been doing some stealing successfully, and I had folded A8o to him just one orbit earlier, when he pushes in again from UTG. Steve in SB folds, and I think my A5s has a real shot. He shows me AJ0 and I feel like I got stabbed in the heart. Five on the flop though saves my ass big time, and I have him covered this time, and now have a monster stack against Steve. Headsup lasts three or four hands, and I get AJo in the sb, and decide I'm going to limp, hoping Steve pushes to steal. I really don't care what he has, I have the stack now to afford to let him make the mistakes and push into me. He checks and we see a flop of JJ8. I'm first to act and check, Steve checks behind me. A six on the turn, and I check it again. Steve pairs the six, and figures he's good, and I finally get the push I wanted from him for the win! Money is split up and we all shake hands and wish each other a Merry Christmas.

Money is still in my wallet too. Feels damn good! The storm today is stopping me from doing some much needed Christmas shopping, but we're heading out tomorrow. Supposed to be another storm hit on Sunday, and I don't really like to be caught out in it if I can help it. This bit of extra cash I know I should save in my poker bankroll (which has been taking a beating lately), but its' going to come in awful handing in making my Christmas A LOT more enjoyable this year. Been a hard year financially, especially the past three months, so it was going to be a light looking tree.

Hey, its Christmas, right? Miracles can happen...right??

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ching Hill, Christmas Dinner, and .05/.10 Limit

The league is just wrapping up its tenth season, and the final game is being played next week. Must say, I"m not happy with my performance this season at all. Chumped out four times, only monied twice, and my frustration at being sucked out on the river is just making it tough lately. Seem to be having a tough time making it through the games lately. Think it has to do with stress from work and everything from the last three months, making it tough to concentrate and make good decisions on the felt. That, and the level of play at the games is noticeably higher too. Steve, Darryl, Garry, and Chris are all excellent players and tough to beat at the best of times, and Kris's game has come along way too lately. Through Eleanor, Derek and Justin in there and the field is a challenge to be sure. Still, I usually do okay at the SET game, so I'll be playing my A game to be sure.

Just getting ready to head up to Mount Forest for the in-law Christmas dinner this afternoon. A bit early, but suits me just fine. There are a lot of other commitments to deal with during the holidays and its nice to get this one out of the way early. They're deep frying the turkey this year, and I've never had that, so it'll be a new experience. Small gift exchange to happen too, and of course, they'll want to play some kind of card game afterwards. Most like euchre of cribbage. Should I take up my chip set or not?? Hate taking their money, but I'm not totally above doing it either ;)

Been taking alot of beatings playing my normal NL levels lately, mostly due to really bad play on my part, so I thought I would donk around the low limit games on PokerStars for a bit. Man, now that's fun. I've been multi tabling four tables and playing everything suited, everything connected, gapped connected, any ace...and just throwing money into the middle. Must say, its a great way to blow off some steam from all the really lousy playing I've been doing. I don't have much bankroll on this site, but the few times I've played so far this week, I've increased my bankroll by 20% already!! WOOHOO!!!

Time to get ready to head to MF now. Turkey turkey turkey...yum!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Getting Chilly

In a lot of different ways, things are getting more and more chilly lately. Weather aside, which definitely has the bite of winter.

A headhunter actually called my boss this week to ask for a reference. Not a great way for him to find out I was looking for a job, I must say. At least the headhunter called me afterwards to explain and advise, I guess my boss took it hard and flipped out on him. Went upstairs to talk to him, and eventually calmed him down a bit, but he's still not happy to hear I'm looking. Honestly, why was he so surprised anyway? Things aren't getting better on the floor, and the outlook is grim still. He tried to tell me there was $22m on the books for next year, but I told him it meant zero if we couldn't afford to pay suppliers and get material in the door now to fill those orders. Every one of our suppliers has us on credit hold and/or COD Only, and its making it extremely difficult to get production started ontime. Frustration rules my day to day work life, and I know in three to six months, they'll all be looking at me for answers on why jobs aren't finished on time. Well, duh.

So things at work have been stressful to say the least. I"m short with almost everyone, only because they are asking for impossible tasks to be completed while spending nothing. I've had a couple of hits on my resume, and have a phone interview this afternoon with that company from last week that only met me for a few minutes. Apparently, they are still interested, but the HR Manager has been out of the country, and this is the only time he has available. Still, if it leads to another interview next week, I'll go for it. Its a bit of a drive to and from, but I'll entertain their offer and make a call. The benefit package is VERY good anyway.

Still getting hits from out west too. Nothing solid yet, but at least my resume is getting looked at out there. Who knows, maybe I'll be moving out west. Who would have thought that?

My poker game is still suffering, but I've come to the conclusion that it isn't because of me making bad calls or reads. My weekly game, I had a great oppurtunity to bust out the season champ when he check/raised me all in with KJ on a J82 board. I insta called him with AJ in my hand, only to have him hit his three outer on the river when another King came out. Good read on my part, bad luck on the river. Other than this game, I haven't been playing much, either live or online. I've qualified to play Bill's big game at the end of the year, so I'll be playing in that game, good payout too if I can hang on to the money. I would love to get out to his game more often, but right now things are just too tight.

Started Christmas shopping last week. Didn't get a lot yet, but at least I've started. Next weekend will be the serious outing. But I'm afraid that its still going to be a dry holiday. I just hope I don't disappoint Ada and Brenda too much if they don't find what they're looking for. Ada has made it easy to know what she wants, but a cell phone and laptop just might not be in the works this season. Brenda, well, me and the boys have a plan, just hope it can happen. Other than that, I have no clue what to get her...never do really. Not even sure what the family plans are for the holidays. I'm hoping the boys and Sarah make it down on Christmas Day. I think my family Christmas is at my brother's in Cambridge on Boxing Day but I have to confirm that still.

Time to prepare for my phone interview this afternoon.