Thursday, March 28, 2013

What's My Motivation?

After a fairly busy month or two at the office, including a handful of weekends, I've officially lost my motivation.  Compounding matters, anyone with authority to fire me is off for the week on "Spring Break" (whatever that means).  I'm basically this guy:
Well, probably more like this guy:
But I digress . . .
As a result, I haven't gotten in to the office before 9:30 all week . . . I haven't shaved in 5 days . . .  and I'm currently wearing sneakers.  I've been getting looks from the "suits" around the building.  What?  You think you better than me cause you got a fucken tie and carry a briefcase?!?!?  I also took a handful of breaks over the past few days to play some freerolls on Seals with Clubs.  Or Clubs with Seals.  Whichever it is.  If people can take cigarette breaks, I should be able to play a freeroll at my desk every now and then.  I had the pleasure of playing a few hands with my pal Tony Bigcharles the other day.  While his Seals' screen name lacked any hints at his identity, his on-line chatter quickly gave him away.  I managed to final table 6 of 8 tournaments played, but only cashed once (top 3 always paid).  I now have 17 Seals chips which, if my calculations are correct, constitutes about 7 cents USD.  So, I have that going for me . . .
In fact, most of my effort this week went into Wednesday night's 2013 fantasy draft.  12 team, H2H, and very competitive (we even have a MLB scout in the league, whose soul I take great pleasure in crushing every year).  I had a decent pre-draft strategy, which included punting on catcher and shortstop (with the hopes of drafting guys like Lucroy and Simmons in garbage rounds), and filling my relief spots which qualifying starters.  Overall, I think I carried the plan out fairly well, and my team ended up relatively balanced:
Catcher: J. Montero; First: Rizzo; Second: Cano; Short: Simmons; Third; Prado; Outfield: Bautista; Outfield: Heyward; Outfield: Jennings; Utility: Hosmer; Utility: Brantley
SP: Darvish; Sale; Cobb; Holland; Estrada
RP:  Medlen; Ogando
Bench: Profar; Eaton; Teheran; S. Miller
At the moment, my team is tastefully named: "Natural Born Killers," with the following Avatar:
[Notice the poker-themed glassware, which brings it all home for this blog . . .]
By Monday, after I've thoroughly offended the rest of the league, I'll switch the name to "H to the Rizzo" - a play on my first baseman and shout out to Jigga.   Thank god baseball is back....
Anyway, as you may have noticed, this blog has lacked poker content recently.  That will change this weekend.  I'm heading up to AC tomorrow afternoon, and will definitely be playing a few tournaments and, possibly, some cash (while I've still only played 8 hours of cash this year, that will all change this summer when Maryland Live! opens up its poker room).  I'm eyeing the 8:00pm $10,000 guarantee at Revel tomorrow night; but after the long drive up to Jersey, I may end up just grinding VP and waiting for the Saturday afternoon tournaments.  
That's all for now.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Salad Bomb: My Most Exciting Post Ever !

Years ago, I was hanging out by the beach in Santa Monica.  I decided to walk over to the Third Street Promenade to grab dinner.  Where does a classy guy like me dine whilst in L.A.?  California Pizza Kitchen, of course.  I sat down, grabbed a beer, and looked at the menu.  Back then, California was ahead of the times -- the menu contained nutritional content.  I remember looking at the salads.  Damn!!!  The salads were worse than the pizzas.  How the fuck!?!?
Flash forward some years to last night.  I had to stop by the mall to pick up a tie to match a suit I hadn't worn in years.  I decided to stop by CPK to grab dinner.  Now, given certain fairly recent events, I'm more conscious of diet than ever.  I typically limit my carbohydrate intake to 100 grams or less a day, and many of those 100 grams come from things like peanut butter, protein shakes and Greek yogurt.  Pizza is just out of the question.  So I figured I'd get a salad.  I knew it wasn't healthy for me; but I'm not that concerned these days with things like fat.  So, I ordered a BBQ Chicken Salad, drove home and began to eat.  Half way through, I whipped out the IPAD to take a look at the nutritional content:
Full BBQ Chicken Salad (sans Avocado):
Calories:               1,160
Fat:                        65
Saturated fat:         18
Carbohydrates:      98
Sugars:                  21
Now, I fully expected the calories and the fat totals.  But the carbs?!?!?  100 grams of carbs?!?!?  In a salad?!?!?  How the hell can you fit 100 grams of carbs in a fucken salad!?!?
By way of reference, the Margherita Pizza has the following:
Calories:              1,040
Fat:                       52                  
Saturated fat:        22
Carbohydrates:     98
Sugars:                  7
I mean, seriously - how does a salad contain the same number of carbs as a pizza?  It can't all be the dressing, right?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Back from the Desert

Back in the office and slammed.  Paying the price for daring to take two days off from work . . . 
It was a brief, but good, trip.  I met up with a bunch of friends who are now located all over the country, which made for an arduous response to every bartender who greeted us with the customary: "soooo, where are you guys from?"  Next time, I think we'll all just lie.  Macon, Georgia sounds like a solid response . . .
I arrived midnight, Wednesday, after an uneventful flight, quickly checked in to Aria, and met up with a friend from Chicago who was second to hit town.  By 1:30 a.m., after some hands of video poker and an unsuccessful attempt to strike it rich on the Ms. Kitty and Sex in the City slots (um, I wish I was kidding . . .), I was already down $300 and decided it only seemed rational to try and win it all back at the black jack tables.  So, Chicago and I sat down to make our run.
I started out patient and disciplined, betting the $25 minimum and raising hands progressively on winning streaks.  I was up and down repeatedly for two hours.  Finally, at 4:00 am, I was down to $150 and went all TBC -- a $50 bet after a series of losing hands, which lost, followed by a $100 bet (you have to win one eventually, right?), which lost.  Busto and down $600 for the night/morning/whatever-it-was.  Time for some sleep.
The next morning, I hit the pool for some sun.

By noon, the rest of the "gentlemen" had all arrived, and we grabbed some lunch at Todd English P.U.B. -- one of my favorite afternoon spots in Vegas.   The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent betting sports.  I ended the trip 10-1-1 at the book (following my 7-1 run last month), but unfortunately, was betting the games like an ugly school girl -- $50 a game.  I know absolutely nothing about NCAA basketball or the NBA.  My wagers have nothing to do with sports knowledge.  Instead, I've been basing my plays on a "system" that uses information available on covers.com.    In short, I compare the public consensus for a game against the consensus of the Cover's "team experts," and look for notable divergences.  For instance, assume Team A plays Team B.  I know shit about shit about either.  But I see that the overall consensus is 78% on team A, while the "team experts" are 69% on Team B.  Team B is my play.  Most games, of course, don't fall into this system.  Either the consensus are not marked enough, or both the overall and the experts are on the same side.  Thus, it's difficult to find many games to bet, and it requires some discipline to abstain from wagering until something comes up.  Because of this, there were several afternoons I had zero NCAA bets.  And, most of my plays ended up being on the NBA, which is absolutely fucken unwatchable.  It also takes a good hour or so each morning to consider the information, which sort of sucks.  And, of course my sample size is still crazy small - could all just be variance.  Who knows.
Thursday evening, we hit the black jack tables again.  This time, P3 got the best of Jim Murren:
Friday morning began with a four-mile run down the Strip, from Aria South past Mandalay Bay.  Seriously.  I'm not lieing.  I have photographic proof:

Fake Elvis was stationed at the Welcome sign playing a guitar.  I offered to take his picture next to the sign for $10.  He was not amused.  I ran away.
Friday afternoon was spent at El Diablos, where we crashed the Arizona Alumni Association pregame festivities and had beverage.  That was followed by a trip to the Pub at Monte Carlo (I miss Purple Reign . . .).  Then it was off to NY, NY and Nine Fine Irishmen to pay respects to the crazy dancing old Japanese midget lady.   At 2:30 am, I was done for the night.
Saturday morning came, and it was time to get down on some MLB-futures action.   Not sure if I made smart bets or not; but I really just wanted to have something to root for this year besides the Mets' young dynamic duo of Harvey and Wheeler.
If I split, I'll be happy.

Saturday was more of the same -- a trip to the book at Bellagio for the Cards-Cuse game, some black jack, drinks across the street at Heart Bar, followed by more black jack.
I woke up Sunday morning and tallied the damage.  Not counting the MLB bets, I was the opposite of up . . . but nothing intolerable.  Overall, a successful trip.  Now, a four month wait until a return to the desert during WSOP.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

MLB Season Totals Time

I'm ready to lock in some MLB Futures at Aria this weekend. 
So far I'm liking the following:
Arizona OVER 82.5
Seattle OVER 77.5
Miami OVER 63
Of course, I'll have to see what the juice is on these plays, as I refuse to pay more than -120 (tops).
If anyone has picks, lay them on me (please note - I only want winners).

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grinding Away

Waiting for the 8:35 pm flight Wednesday night to the desert.  Got the email notification for a first-class upgrade this morning from USAIR - solid start to the trip!  After a few months of D.C. winter, I'm actually looking forward to hanging out at the Aria pools as much as I am the standard Vegas degeneracy... 
Since I'm taking off Thursday and Friday, I spent nearly all weekend reviewing documents (easy lifting for a weekend) trying to make up the lost billable hours.  A grind of a different kind.  I did, however, manage to get out for a 5-mile run Saturday afternoon.  Hit up the dirt towpath at the C&O Canal by Great Falls, Maryland - one of my favorite places for a weekend run.

Burned through 5 miles at 8:45 pace.  Not exactly fast, but I'll take it.  My goal is to get it down to 8:30/mile or so by the summer.   For what purpose?  Fucked if I know... 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Face Up - Scam?

So . . . I signed up for Face Up Gaming probably six months or so ago.  I bought the "gold package," which costs $24 a month, and is automatically rebilled every cycle.  I used it zero times.  I recall trying it out initially, and then getting fed up with the format and lack of action.  In fact, I had completely forgotten I joined until I checked my credit card statement this morning. 
Long story short, I logged on to cancel my account, and could not find any means of doing so.  I mean, apparently, it's easier to cancel a shady porn site than it is to cancel Face Up.  So, I emailed customer service, and got this fucked up response:
Ask live chat support, or via e-mail support@faceupgaming.com. Also, please be aware, that you need to ask about it not less than 3 days before the payment day, so we downgrade you immediately, otherwise, system could not update your status and you still will be charged.

Please, let me clarify this. If I downgrade your account then you won't have Gold membership privileges immediately any more longer. Also, you need to do this not less than 3 days before next payment, otherwise you still could be charged. We don't take any requests beforehand. Only on-the-spot decision. If you agree to downgrade right now, please, confirm.

Could you please provide us with feedback about your experience at our site and/or the reasons of cancellation.

For real?

Of course, the suggestion to email "support" was sort of useless, given that it was my email to support which triggered their response in the first place.  I wrote back and said:  "unsubscribe IMMEDIATELY."  So far, no response.
Has anyone else tried to cancel an account with Face Up, or am I the only idiot who actually paid for a monthly subscription?

Monday, March 4, 2013

This One Regards the Law

Well, as the title promises:  "tales of poker, law and degeneracy" . . .  This morning's post is about the boring part.  I'll make it brief.
We recently got hired for a new coverage action pending in Federal District Court in Maryland.  Currently, I'm the only lawyer at the firm admitted to the Maryland Bar, so it falls on me to handle the appearances in this matter.  But, first, I had to be admitted before the Federal District Court.  I filled out the application, found a "sponsor" to vouch for me and move my admission, and paid the fee.  This morning was the "swearing in" ceremony. 
It had been about 5 years since I last attended one of these (most recently, for the Federal District Court in D.C.).   Generally, the admissions class is comprised mainly of newish lawyers.  They all seem proud to be there, smiling, energetic, and dressed in new suits.  You can almost sense the eagerness to begin their careers . . . to practice the profession they've worked hard to gain acceptance to.  Further fueling the anticipation is the presiding judge, who always talks about what a big moment it is, and speaks about civility in the profession . . . about how we can all act kind towards one another, even while advocating for our clients.  There is usually a guest speaker who says some kind and inspiring words (today, it was some representative of the Federal Bar Association . . . I think . . . I was zoning out), followed by a small reception where you can meet your fellow candidates.
I hate these ceremonies.   After working for over a decade, the inspiring words and the aura of anticipation and of nobility ring hollow.  These moments are just plain depressing.  I'm surrounded by a room full of young "gunners" - folks who have yet to be beaten down by the reality of the profession.  The practice of law is not like that show "Suits."  Most cases are not 1/100th as exciting or interesting as those on TV.  You don't suddenly discover that the defendant has been surreptitiously polluting the well water for decades and bring them to justice.  Rather, you spend two years arguing over interpretation of  a single sentence of a contractual provision.  Is the coma intended to render the first and second clauses in the disjunctive?  Does the sentence's express reference to three things mean that all others are not included (or, as some jackass on the other side will write: "expressio unius exclusion alterius")?  You never see Harvey Spector arguing these points.  
A case usually does not turn on some smoking gun.  And, in the odd matter where it does, the smoking gun is not uncovered during some brilliant cross examination.  No. You have to spend 300 hours alone in a room looking through a shit-load of documents to find it.  Moreover, cases don't resolve themselves in three days of brilliant strategy, negotiation and brinkmanship.  No.  A case that doesn't settle may take two, three or four years to reach trial, and another two years to exhaust the appeals process.  By the time you're done, you don't even remember what the case was about . . . assuming you are still even working for the same firm. 
Perhaps worst of all, unlike TV, there are no hot paralegals roaming the halls. There is no Rachel Zane working here.  In fact, I haven't seen an attractive woman in the office in seven years (we had one fairly good looking young associate at the old firm I worked for; but she was dumb as shit, quickly started banging a partner, soon thereafter threatened a lawsuit, took a quiet settlement, and was gone). 
Finally (and sorry if I'm repeating myself, but . . .), most lawyers are dicks.  It's bad enough arguing over the scope of your discovery requests; it's worse when opposing counsel is an untrustworthy jackass, and every phone conference involves shouting and has to be followed up with an equally abrasive letter memorializing the dispute and preserving your client's position for the inevitable motions to follow.  In short, nothing is pleasant.  Or easy.     
These ceremonies always remind me of how I felt ten or twelve years ago.  Optimistic . . . happy to be a lawyer . . . hopeful that my bar card might help me pick up girls . . .  Now, none of these things apply.  True enough, every now and then I get a case I don't mind working on.  But even then -- even when you pick up something interesting - the $575 hourly rate forces you to work efficiently and to blow through the work while finding as little enjoyment or reward as possible.  Spend too long working on something interesting, and you get to deal with a scathing call from the general counsel at the end of the month.   
The presiding judges during these ceremonies should just be honest.  Their speech should go like this:
"Some of you may choose to practice in an area of the law you truly enjoy, and for clients truly deserving of your services.  These clients will not be able to pay much for your work and, as a result, you will be happy in the office, but poor as fuck in life.  In fact, you will likely only be able to maintain your job for a year or two at most, until the weight of your law school loans and the cost of living force you to sell your souls . . . assuming, of course, that your brief time doing meaningful legal work has not blacklisted you from ever working for the private sector.
Others of you will accept high-paying jobs at big law firms.  You will hate your life; you will be surrounded daily by asshats; your work will be mind numbing.  You will wonder why you ever had to go to law school to do your job.  But, you will tolerate the job for as long as you can, because it will allow you to take nice vacations, drive a fast car, buy a house with more rooms than you need, and drink Macallan 15 before crying yourself to sleep every night.
Good luck in your careers"

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Collection Weekend

It's Sunday afternoon.  Yesterday, I spent the day driving around Delaware cashing in some winning NFL parlay cards.  I'm heading back out to Vegas in two weeks, and want to use the cash on some MLB futures... 
First, I drove to Dover Downs, cashed in, and then headed immediately to Delaware Park, and cashed a fat parlay on the AFC Championship /NFC Championship / AFC Superbowl . . .  My plan was to just play the 7:00 pm tournament, and not risk dumping half the winnings on cash.  Yet, I arrived at Del Park at 1:30, and could not resist at least a few hours of $1/2.
I sat with $300, and intended to leave for dinner at exactly 4:00.  Between 1:30 and 3:45, I got virtually no playable hands, and made very few moves.  My stack was down to $225 when I flopped the nutz.  I follow two limpers and check my option from the big blind with K9 off.  Flop comes down 9(d) 9(c) K(d).  Um. Cool.  The limper who was under the gun was steaming after taking a few bad beats (two flopped str8ts - one to a rivered flush and one to a rivered boat).  I obviously want to to get my stack in the middle here (yes, what a novel approach).  I decide to check the flop with two people behind me.  UTG bets out $15, and woman calls.  I call.  The turn is the 8(d), completing the flush draw.  I check again, UTG bets $20, and woman calls. I have $205 behind, and want to set up about a half-pot river shove.  I decide a raise to $80.  If someone has a flush, a 9 or maybe even a big K, I hopefully will not loose them.  So I make it $80, and UTG snap calls (woman folds).  Pot is $225, and I have $130 behind.  Pretty good spot.  River is the worst card in the deck - the K (board reads 99K8K.  I shove.  UTG asks, "you have the king?"  I stare intently at the Del Park logo in the center of the table.  He eventually says he "has to call to keep me honest," and tables A9 . . . I cashed out shortly thereafter.
The 7:00 pm tournament began with an interesting hand.  About halfway through Level 1, with stacks of $12,500 and blinds at $25 / $50, I look down at JJ in early position.  I raise to $225 and get three callers.  Pot is $925.  Flop is 3(d) 5(c) T(h).   I lead out for $750 and get called in two spots.
On the turn, the pot is getting bloated ($3,175).  Turn card is an 8(c).  I bet $2,000.  First dude folds.  Second guy tanks, and then shoves all in.  He has me covered.  I've discussed this hand by email with a few folks last night, and got some mixed opinions.  For me, though, this was a fairly easy fold based on the following:
  • It's the first level of a decent event.  While a double up early is always nice, those $12,000 chips will mean shit in six hours if I play well enough to stick around;
  • I have no read on villain.  He could be a good player; or he could be a total ass.  I have no clue.
  • If I fold, I have $9,500 chips left.  Plenty of chips left to make a run.
  • I fairly confidently rule out an over-pair (although, who knows . . . maybe he is a donkey and decided to take KK or AA three ways rather than repop preflop).
  • But I cannot rule out the possibility that he called preflop with 33, 55, TT or even possible 35, all of which have me beat.  While his shove seems aggressive -- like he's trying to push me off my hand, the only thing I'm really beating here is a bluff.  Am I really going to risk my tournament life ten minutes in on the possibility that he's making a move?   Is HE stupid enough to try and make a move for stacks this soon?
I always find it strange when someone shoves in a spot like this, so early on.  It's happened to me several times, and I've folded the best hand each time.  Well, nothing was different last night.  I folded, and dude showed K high - pure bluff.  Well played, I guess.
After the hand, I commented to the woman next to me that the dude would be gone by the first break.  I mean, I don't think I played the hand very tricky.  Not too difficult to put me on an overpair.  The dude was definitely taking a chance that I was "good enough" to lay my hand down.  Either that, or he just made a real bad read and put me on a big Ace or some shit.
If that hand comes up an hour later, I prolly call (unless I have a real good read by then).  But, I'm not stacking off in the first level with a mere pair.  Maybe I'm too weak, but I'm OK with my play.  Of course, as per my prediction, this guy was gone middle of level three after he called an all in with KJ, and then called another all in with his sort stack with 56 suited (wish I had seen these hands before he shoved on my JJ!!!!).  I on the other hand made it from the initial 181 runners down to 26 . . . (unfortunately, only 18 got paid. . . .).
Anyway, curious whether anyone makes a call in that spot, given the action, given the timing, and given the lack of any read..