Monday, February 06, 2006

Super Monday

Today I am tired and sore and very much wishing I was back home in bed. In preparation for the big game yesterday the guys I play Aussie Rules football with met up on one of the fields we use, and proceeded to bust out some tackle football, American-style. This seems only fair; we spend most of the year playing a game that the Aussie guys grew up with and that the Americans are learning, turnabout is fair play.

The game was pretty fun, and the team I captained triumphed 4 touchdowns to 2. There were repercussions however, as this is the first violent exercise I have really done since the season finished (though I could point out that I am not sure where I could go about tackling 240 pound guys running at full-speed, and I would also point out that I don't really enjoy that at the best of times). I was pretty stiff and sore immediately after the game, and I'm creaking around like an old man this morning. Always happens after the first real game of the season anyway, I just got a jump on it this year.

After a quick pseudo-nap I got ready to meet my friends and head on down to the SuperBowl party I was attending. My best mate's girlfriend is from Pittsburgh, and a big Steeler fan; her Christmas gift to me included a Pittsburgh Steeler's t-shirt, and last week she presented me with a Terrible Towel. I have tried to explain to her that I am a 49ers fan, but she counters with the argument that the 49ers can't be considered an NFL team at this point. I find it hard to disagree, but at least we're not the Houston Texans. I'm digressing - the point here is that going in I knew that I would be required to wear Steelers gear and that I would be attending a Superbowl Party featuring rabid Steelers fans. And I needed to gamble.

Before the Divisional round of the playoffs I opened a Bodog account, and threw $100 in there (I know, I know, I'm a high roller) to donk off at the remaining playoffs. Prior to this Sunday I had gone 3 for 4, and had run my $100 to $160. My philosophy for picking was as follows: read as much as you can, let the information percolate, and wait until a pick coalesces in my mind. And then bet like a crazy person.

I had already decided that if I bet on the Seahawks there was no way I was making it public knowledge, for two reasons: 1) Claire (Alistair's girlfriend) would take this as an invitation for fully fledged trash talking, and 2) if Pittsburgh won by more than 5, I may never hear the end of it. In 8 years time we would be having dinner, and Claire would randomly turn to me and say "So, lost any money recently by betting against the Steelers?" I don't really need that.

Having said all that, late Friday I decided that the Steelers were going to be my pick. The Steelers at that stage were giving 4 and a half points, a half point more than they were giving earlier in the week, but I wasn't ready to lay money down then. I didn't quite follow my "bet like a crazy person" philosophy either, laying down $40 and change, even though that was my biggest bet on football during the playoffs.

We all rocked up to the Superbowl Party, and I began to get amped for the game. I thought it was really cool that they had the previous SuperBowl MVPs introduced before the game, as it gave me a chance to scream "I love you Steve!" when they introduced Steve Young. Yes, I am secure in my masculinity. I also screamed "I love you too Jerry!" when Jerry Rice was introduced. I was waiting for Joe Montana to be introduced so I could go completely mental... except there was no Joe. Huh? I know he's alive because he features in those FedEx commercials. This morning I saw this on The Sports Frog, and I just got annoyed with Joe. That's not cool.

I also have to mention that Joe Namath looked fantastically seedy. I was almost expecting him to come out puffing on a cigarette. I also noticed Suzy Kolber failed to talk to Joe, which would have given Namath another opportunity to request a bit of Kolber action (by the way, if you don't know what I'm talking about, click on that link for a clip of what I was referring to - high comedy).

As for the game itself? Number one, I don't think Seattle can say they got jobbed by the refs. There are four calls that they are complaining about: 1) The Darrell Jackson offensive pass interference, 2) The Roethlisberger touchdown, 3) The Hasselbeck illegal block, and 4) the holding call when Seattle completed a pass to the three yard line. I'll address those in turn.

1) To me, this is a call. He clearly pushed with an extended arm into the chest of the defensive back. You just can't do that. Even though it might be possible to get away with this from time to time, Refs tend to be all over this when it happens in the Endzone.

2) I think it was a touchdown, and whatever was called on the field couldn't be overturned from the video. The thing that stinks about this call is that the official waited so long to make the call, when Big Ben was busy failing Acting 101.

3) This was a bogus call. No question.

4) Let me preface my comments here by saying that I find it extremely difficult to notice holding (unless it is incredibly blatant - like just tackling a guy). Sure, if it's a running play and a flag is thrown I assume it's holding, but that's just common sense. On this play, however, I noticed the holding while the play was happening, and was yelling "HOLDING HOLDING HOLDING" while the ball was in the air. Some people are arguing about whether or not the call is correct, but my argument is simple: if I notice holding while the play is happening, it's probably holding.

So in my mind there were three close calls, but I think they went the right way. That's how it goes. Seattle did a much better of underperforming when it counted, and Pittsburgh did a great job of making big plays when they had to. Plain and simple. Big Ben did let Seattle back in the game with that great choke throw when the Steelers were up 14-3 and in field goal range, but that was about it for Seattle.

And as a final note: that gadget play, Randle El to Hines Ward, was just AWESOME. I will enjoy seeing that over and over again in the future. And I also managed to pick the MVP, though there was no monetary reward.

Now excuse me, I'm off to high-five my wallet.


On the Poker front, I have been doing a lot of swinging and missing. I have played a couple of 180 SnGs, with no joy. Thursday night, after playing a 180 SnG, I ended up on a 1/2 NLHE table with Fluxer, Fishiswa/SoxLover and WeakPlayer. I bought in for $200 (more than I had to I guess), and immediately dropped $50 on the first hand I played. Awesome. After that I felt I played pretty well I think, hitting a high of $300. Of course I didn't stay there, and at about 2am noticed I was down to $118. I then decided (work be damned) that I was going to get back to even. At 3am, after much wine drinking, I made it. I cheered, logged off, and almost fell over I was so drunk.

On Saturday night I played a bunch of tournaments with Fishiswa/SoxLover, Fluxer and WeakPlayer (and one tournament with Fishiswa's wife, VTepes). None of us hit, and in fact all of us, in one tournament or another, had a commanding stack only to see it evaporate.

My big moment occurred in the $50 + 5 double stack tournament on FullTilt. I had been getting ridiculous cards, just insane. High pocket pairs through the wahzoo, A-K, A-Q... I was playing like every 3rd hand. And when I had a pair that wasn't big, it managed to turn into quads and I got another stack to double me up.

I was in 6th or something, and I think 18 or thereabouts got paid. A similarly sized stack had just sat down to my left. I look down and, of course, A-K s00ted. I'm in MP, and I pop it for just over three times the big blind (I want to say the blinds were 600/300 with antes). So that may have been a little low. The stack to my left just calls, and we go to the flop. The flop comes A-Q-5, with the A-Q in diamonds. I bet the pot, which means I have now committed about a 2/5 of my stack. I say out loud "If he comes over the top, I'm in trouble."

The other big stack does indeed come over the top. And now I have a decision. And not much time to make it. My first instinct is to fold. This seems like a weak move, but I really didn't like to call all-in. What hands could he have? I don't think he has Aces or Queens, as I think I would have been re-raised pre-flop. He definitely could have A-Q, and definitely could have 5-5. He could also have another biggish Ace, like A-J or A-10. And he could have gotten extra frisky with K-J of diamonds or something.

I ended up calling, and he flipped over A-Q. No help for me, and pow, I'm out. I'm interested in what other people think about me calling all in in that spot (and the amount I bet pre-flop for that matter). I had 11k left, which would have been pretty close to average, with the money about to start. I called all-in without the nuts, but with a pretty large pot (about 10k at that point). Of course if it turned out that he had A-J I would have been dancing. But it wasn't to be.

Guess I'll get 'em next time.


  • I don't blame you for calling, but it sounded like a part of you knew that you were behind. In tournaments, you have to be very sensitive to that hunch, because it may save you from such mistakes. When in doubt, fold in this situation. His re-raise meant that he had something, and the only hands that I could see making the re-raise that you could beat are AJ and AT (and realistically, he would flat call with those hands, fearing AK, AQ, etc.). He was far more likely to have 55, QQ, AQ, or A5. If he were on a nut flush draw, you still don't want to go against him because you are putting your entire stack on the line and he has about a 36% chance to hit it (or maybe more, math isn't my strong pt).

    By Blogger HighOnPoker, at 6:48 PM  

  • Yeah, those hunches can be useful. Of course there are those handful of times when I've internally screamed when someone has bet at me on the river, but I've called stubbornly and decided I'm ahead... but I don't think that's the case here.

    A point I didn't mention is that I really could have done with more time to think things through. That's where I like the "TIME" button on Stars - I could have hit it, thought things through, looked at where I was in the tournament... all those kind of things.

    Live and learn, eh?

    By Blogger Garthmeister J., at 7:34 PM  

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