Saturday, June 30, 2007

Done and Dusted

This time Poker News is correct. I am B.U.S.T.E.D. I started out winning the first two hands of the day (including tilting Jesus again as my 8 beat his 8), but then went card dead for about an hour. I got jiggy with a couple of marginal hands, and the second was my undoing as the current chip leader, Jon Shoreman, saw how much I had left, and drew two on his second draw to hit the second best hand possible. Looks like I finished in 58th, 34 off the money, and I am trying not to be tortured by what may have been. But hey, I can now claim with a straight face to be the 58th best Triple Draw player in the world... and have stories and experiences that are going to last me a while.

I am disappointed, but happy. I would have loved to have made some real noise today, but that' how it goes. Hopefully they spread this event (or one similar to it) again next year, so I can have two aims: 1) stay in the country, and 2) have a bankroll healthy enough for me to be able to play it.

Thanks again for everyone's encouragement. It was awesome to feel everyone behind me, and I appreciate it all.

So what now? I have a few more days in Vegas, and it is going to be fun and recreation; I think I am done with the serious card playing. I'm also aware that coming off this I have to be careful , as everything else I play is going to feel like small beer in comparison.

I'm going to sign off now, and continue the decompression process. As Ford Prefect said "What I need now is a strong drink and a peer group."

Peace out.

I Made The Second Day

That is not a typo: I am alive and through to the second day. I currently have 14.3k in chips, and with 98ish of the 209 runners alive, I appear to be in 48th or so. For some reason PokerNews has me as busted(!), but hey, at least I am on the leaderboard! At the start of the last level I was actually 2nd or 3rd in chips, with 28k, but I had a brutal final half hour. Such is Triple Draw!

I am completely fried, and need to sleep (though we kick off again at 4pm PDT), so some quick highlights.

OMG there were Pros everywhere. At my starting tabled was Victor Ramdin (on my left), and Miami John Cernuto, plus some other guys who are Pros but whose names I didn't know (natch). At the end of the first level Shawn Sheikhan showed up as well. Sheikhy was the first to bust, which was greeted with amusement by all. Towards the end of the day Chris Ferguson also showed up. Nice!

I should mention that I am in for 5k. I double bought to start off with, and just after getting drilled in two successive hands (including a big multi-way pot Miami John was dealt a pat wheel, and I had the misfortune to make a smooth 8 on the second draw... yeah, that hurt) I dipped just below 2k, so I rebought. I then did the double-addon at the end of the rebuy period.

More highlights: tilting Sheiky by getting him to pay me off a few times; tilting Chris Ferguson by getting him to pay me off twice when I had just got him beat, with my re-raising after the second draw; chatting to Victor Ramdin all day (super nice guy) about a bunch of things, including cricket; chatting with Miami John (another really nice guy); chatting to Chris Fargis; chatting to Andy Bloch about the various and sundry ways we were getting the shaft by Harrah's, etc. etc.; watching Eli Elezra get a massage for the entire tournament until he was busted; noticing David Sklansky behind me, and then noticing Brandi Hawbecker show up... I could go on and on; having a photographer notice my Elvis glasses perched behind the chips causing him to take a bunch of photos - causing Victor to suggest I put them on, which I did, as well as displaying my "Cool Hand Luke"necklace (not sure who he was with, but I hope those pictures turn up!).

For me the best part was realising that I could actually hold my own with these people. Playing such a niche event, and doing well, has a way of at least giving me the illusion of credibility. I had do problems approaching people like Gavin Griffin (sporting a wonderfule hot pink mohawk-like job) and Bill Chen after the day's play, or approaching Andy Bloch and having a chat, for instance.

When I started to make my run I realised that my aims had gone from "try not to suck" to "I can hang with these guys... I want to go deep!". The last half hour put a bit of a damper on things, but only temporarily. As you might be able to tell I am over the moon right now.

So, back into the breach tomorrow afternoon, and we'll see how we go.

A big thanks to everyone cheering me on, and to the blogger crew reporting on the WSOP for the support. And a MASSIVE thanks to all those people who told me to damn the torpedoes and go for it; I was wavering about playing this event big time, and the final push that made me do it probably came from Spaceman as we were chatting late last night. But everyone who told me I should give it a shake helped me make the decision I think I wanted to make all along.

Alright. Time to try and sleep now. Wish me luck (again!). I want to make a lot of wheels tomorrow!


That may be the most number of exclamation points I have ever made in a post. Can't you tell I'm amped? And tired? I thought so.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Touchdown in Vegas

Just a quick post: I made it to Vegas without too much hassle. I checked in to my hotel, and then immediately zipped over to the Rio. I was able to catch up with Pauly, Change100, and Spaceman, which was very cool.

I still hadn't quite decided which event I was going to play today, and so I caught some of the final table of the $50,000 HORSE. It looked like it might take some time to finish, so I ended up playing a $225 satellite. I can actually say that I have won the first hand of poker I ever played in the WSOP poker hangar (go JJ!). Unfortunately it wasn't enough, and I eventually busted when I ran TT into AA.

I then decided it was time to register, and after much toing and froing I eventually registered for Event #48... TRIPLE DRAW! I still have no idea how many runners they are going to get, but as of early this morning there were only 33 people in the event. I'm sure that will balloon today, especially as people bust out of the 2k event.

After registering I was about to leave to go back to my hotel, but when I was walking past the satellite area they had a couple of seats left in a $125 satellite. "What the hell, may as well," I said to myself, and bellied up. I sat down, and instantly accept a $50 last longer with two of my tablemates. Long story short, I ended up chopping the satellite, pocketing a $500 lammer, plus an extra $100 for winning the last longer.



Oh, I forgot to mention. I did manage to finish some business on the plane flight to Vegas. Yes, it's true.

I crawled over the finish line, but I made it!


OK, better get myself together to attack the day. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just Call Me Uncle

Last night I was on my way home from post-footy-training beverages when I was called on my mobile phone. The number was "Unavailable" which meant it was either someone calling from Europe or Asia for work... or it was someone from home?

It turned out to be my Mum, with some big news: I am now an Uncle! Yes, Jasmine Annabel (who will now be called "Jazz" by me for the rest of time) arrived via C-section, and both the new mother and baby are doing well.

Uncle Garthmeister J. is busy drinking in celebration.


I'm still flip-flopping on whether to play the NLHE or Triple Draw event at the WSOP. During my messing around online yesterday, I came across this article. Good for a giggle, though there is no impact on which event I am planning to play...

Just over 24 hours until my flight, woo!


I am stalled on 16,656 words in Script Frenzy. Monday and Tuesday I finally decided to bring my MacBook into work and hide in an unused cubicle during my lunch hour, hammering out words. That worked a treat, though I don't have time today. Hopefully I can finish it off before Vegas!

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Countdown is On

  • Days until I go to Vegas: 6
  • Days until the Baltimore Washington Eagles play the Boston Demons: 1
  • Days until Script Frenzy is over: 8
  • Words I have remaining to get to the target of 20,000 in Script Frenzy: 9,987
  • Days until I am scheduled to become an Uncle: 7

So yeah. A few things are going on. Script Frenzy is going to be tight, but I'm determined to make it, even if I am banging out the last few words in my Vegas hotel room.

(I just realised that by being in Vegas for the end of June I gained 3 hours of writing time. Score!)

Finally: Congrats to Weak Player on becoming a Dad. Nice work!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

This Week's Repeat Vol. II

Yes, it's time for another episode of "This Week's Repeat", where I describe tracks that I've suddenly (re)discovered, and show off my complete lack of musical taste.

Wait, where are you going?

Fine. I'm going to talk about it anyway, so there.

"Mine's Not a High Horse" - The Shins

Look, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I am a stubborn and contrary man by nature, and when some band becomes the latest indie darling my urge is to run as far in the opposite direction as possible. I think the most glaring example of this was when Coldplay's debut, "Parachutes", was released and every radio station had a simultaneous orgasm. Compounded with the fact that I thought the omnipresent first single from that album, "Yellow", was a pile of bunk (which I still do, btw), meant I gave the album a wide berth. Fast forward many months, and I have no idea what to pick up for my sister for a gift. In desperation I grab her "Parachutes", and figure I may as well listen to it before I send it off. I must have listened to the album non-stop for two days. My bad.

Thus it was with me and The Shins. Yeah, I had heard they were great. Yeah, I had even heard some of their songs (as all angst-ridden twenty-somethings did, I had purchased the "Garden State" soundtrack), and had given them the Garthmeister J. "meh" rating. So it was with some surprise last week when I was listening to an internet radio stream and heard a wonderful track come on. Stopping everything immediately to go see what it was, to my surprise it was this song, "Mine's Not a High Horse", by The Shins.

Just a wonderful little tune, and I'm still listening to it, almost non-stop. Once I get sick of that I might actually have to see if there any other gems waiting for me amongst their other critic-approved tracks.

"Love Spreads" - The Stone Roses

God I love this song. The Stone Roses are always going to remind me of University, not just because this track was released just as I was starting my post-high school career, but because it was where I was first exposed to The Stone Roses at all. Their amazing debut, cunningly named "The Stone Roses", features some fantastic songs, culminating in the one-two punch of "I am the Resurrection" and "Fools Gold" which clock in at over 10 minutes apiece (do not be fooled by the single versions of "Fools Gold"). "The Stone Roses" became my background music while studying crazily for my final exams. Just amazing that this album came out in 1989 - you can win a lot of bar bets with that info.

Nonetheless, the song that I always seem to come back to is "Love Spreads", despite the fact that it was the flagship of the Roses' second album "Second Coming" which was roundly panned. What do people know anyway? I love the riff, love the chorus, love love love. When I get around to forming my band (you know, once I work out how to sing and how to play guitar) "Love Spreads" will be one of the tracks we play, along with "Cigarettes and Alcohol" by Oasis.

Consider yourselves warned.

"Ground on Down" - Ben Harper

OK kids, you should know that Ben Harper rocks. At the time I was first exposed to this I was completely into his "The Will To Live" album, with the great tracks "Faded" and "Glory and Consequence" (I also loved the single version of "Mama's Trippin'", but was not a fan of the album version).

In Australia a rite of passage for young people everywhere is "rage", a TV show that is played late at night on the ABC (Australia's version of the BBC). Late at night on Friday and Saturday the ABC plays music videos until the next morning. Friday night is usually just a mix of whatever is on high rotation on Triple J (aka The Best Radio Station in the World). But Saturday night they usually get a "Guest DJ" (i.e. the biggest act currently in Australia touring) to play their favourite clips. In 1999-2000 I was living in Canberra, and my normal Friday/Saturday night schedule went as follows. 1) take a bus into the city centre, 2) get shitfaced at a variety of bars with a bunch of young public servants, 3) take a taxi back up to Belconnen, 4) grab a burger with the lot (minus egg) and fries with gravy, 5) walk to my apartment and eat everything while watching "rage".

One Saturday night I came home inebriated, burger and fries in hand, and flicked on "Rage". I was then subjected to an amazing run of clips: gospel, hip hop, some acoustic stuff, you name it. And all of it was great. I simultaneously found myself wondering what the next clip was going to be, and who the hell was putting together such an eclectic collection of wonderful music. Finally I got my answer when the current run of clips finished. The Guest DJ? Trent Reznor, of Nine Inch Nails fame.


The very next film clip was this one, and instantly became my favourite Ben Harper song of all time. Not only that, it's a fantastic video, with Ben playing slide guitar in a skating bowl as skateboarders zip around him. If you haven't seen it, click here to watch it. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Boys of Summer

What a wild and crazy time in Chicago. After such a weekend it's tough to be able to do it all justice, so I have resurrected the vaunted "bonus or bummer" scale to try and list some of the shenanigans that ensued. Also, I'm lazy.

- Making F-Train a prop-bet loser when he foolishly bet on the Bracelet to make an appearance before I did: BONUS- Fading most of F-Train's prop-bets for the rest of the weekend, ensuring a padded bankroll: BONUS
- Deciding not to drink water for most of Friday night, despite knowing I was dehydrated: BUMMER
- Having Iggy select me as a partner for pool and watching him decimate the table but still being able to sink the 8-ball for the win: BONUS
- Eating my body weight in meat products at Tango Sur: BONUS
- Attempting to sleep in the same room while Joe Speaker "fought the warthog": BUMMER
- Catching a game in the bleachers at Wrigley Field: BONUS
- Having my Aussie ID rejected when trying to purchase beer at the field: BUMMER
- Entertaining our section of the bleachers with my aggressive sunscreen application technique: BONUS
- Witnessing a highly entertaining benches clearing brawl: BONUS
- Having Zambrano have a no-hitter going into the 8th: BONUS
- Having the no-hitter broken up by a junk hit: BUMMER
- Watching the Cubbies go down by a score of 1-0, despite only having two hits against them: BUMMER
- Having Iggy egg on the Rooster to tip beer on some of us while we were waiting outside after the game: BUMMER
- Having Iggy scared for his life due to our response: BONUS
- Not being able to witness Joe Speaker walk into a pole: BUMMER
- Hearing about Hashman (friend of Daddy) having to puke out the window of the car on their way to Chicago: BONUS
- Hearing about Hashman (sans cellphone) going missing after the game (fortunately he was later found): BONUS
- Just about anything Hashman-related: BONUS
- Stacking F-Train with my mind: BONUS
- Watching Grubby and the Rooster talk smack during hands: BONUS
- Being the big winner during the blogger cash games: BONUS
- Deep dish pizza: BONUS
- Hitting 860 on the Boxer machine at the bar Saturday night, good for 3rd best at the time: BONUS
- Watching Daddy and then the Rooster best my score of 860: BUMMER
- Watching the Rooster draw on his inner demons after he stripped down to his undershirt to properly attack the Boxer machine: BONUS
- Losing $20 on prop-bets revolving around the Boxer machine: BUMMER
- Damaging my hand on the Boxer machine during all of this: BUMMER
- Watching Donkeypuncher hit 899: BONUS
- Having Joe Speaker put in isolation Saturday night so his warthog fighting wouldn't keep the rest of us awake: BONUS
- Coming back from an early morning bathroom run and seeing the Bracelet attempt to get Daddy to stop spooning him: BONUS
- Realising that if Daddy rolled over one more time he would land on me, followed by me being spooned: BUMMER
- Avoiding having to be in Daddy's non-airconditioned car while he and Hashman drove the 6+ hours home: BONUS
- Cruising around Grubby's neighbourhood with the Rooster: BONUS
- Having my flight back to DC delayed: BUMMER
- Being able to sleep in my own bed on Sunday night: BONUS
- Surviving work on Monday: BONUS

I could go on and on here. Can you tell I had fun? Many many thanks to Donkeypuncher for organising the trip, and running the risk of having 10 or so degenerates crash at his house for the weekend. Mrs Donkeypuncher cleverly fled the premises on Friday evening, leaving us to wallow in our own filth. As the Rooster said on Sunday morning: "It smells very manly downstairs". Thank you for letting us befoul your house Mrs DP!

Now all I need to detox for the next week or so, and I'll be right as rain.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Enter the Squid

I don't want to cause alarm, but there is a Pirate Tavern in Silver Spring. Really. Check it out (WARNING: sound). But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start from the start.

Saunter is in the market for a white ink tattoo. These are a little unusual, so she has been undertaking some fact finding and investigation before she chooses an artist to do the inking. For me it has been educational; what I know about tattoos you could fit in a matchbox without taking the matches out first (slight exaggeration: you may have to stuff extra matches into the matchbox). Now I have progressed to a stage where I can even hold a discussion about blood lining. Sure, I'll probably be wrong, or at least wildly inaccurate, but I can hold a discussion.

(In case you were wondering, no I am not planning on getting any ink myself anytime soon. Not that I am necessarily ant-tattoo, I just have no idea what I would get. The only two things I have been able to come up with - barcode for a can of coke, or a poker hand of 23457 - have been widely described as "lame" and "really lame".)

But back to Saunter. As part of her recon mission she had come across a tattoo place in Silver Spring that she wanted to check out. I had never been to Silver Spring, despite having lived in the DC area for almost four years as I fear change, and new things scare me. Despite my reticence about heading into Maryland, we jumped onto the Metro and arrived at our destination without mishap.

Silver Spring appeared to actually be a pretty groovy neighbourhood, and any suburb that contains the Discovery Channel headquarters (featuring a museum with dinosaurs!) can't be bad, right? Right. As we made our way to the tattoo parlour using Saunter's mud map, I suddenly stopped in my tracks.

"Dude! Pirate Tavern!"

Saunter looked at me askance.


"There!" I said, gesturing wildly across the street. "Pirate Tavern!"

Lurking across the intersection was an establishment professing to be the home to many a buccaneer. Naturally I was intrigued and a little aroused.

"We are clearly going there once you check out the tattoo place," I stated, brooking no argument. Saunter was definitely down with the Tavern, so no argument was brooked.

The tattoo place seemed very professional, with the artists being very confident, clear and informed. I almost decided to get something on the spot, before I remembered I was an indecisive pansy. But my thoughts could not remain on tattoos for long. Saunter and I finished leafing through the many portfolios, and eventually stepped back into the street. I may have lifted Saunter bodily into the air, such was my haste to retrace our steps.

"We're really going in, aren't we?" Saunter asked.

"You betcha."

We swept into the Tavern, swaggering and leering in a manner befitting denizens of the establishment. I informed the pirate wench at the door that we were just going to sit at the bar, which she seemed to think was only natural for such rogues as ourselves. Either that or she figured us for a couple of drunkards looking for a hit of sweet sweet alcohol. We bellied up to the bar, and perused the drinks list for any signs of villainy or mischief. And that's when I saw it.

The Squid.

Absolut Vodka, Captain Morgan's Rum, some other rum, Peach Schnapps, lemon/lime, and sour mix.

I had to have one immediately.

The drink appeared in a large glass, indicating that the Squid it was representing must have been a fair size indeed. I double-checked the glass for any ink, but the glass passed the eye test. But what about the taste test?

After one sip my first thought was: oh my God, this drink could destroy me. I think I could easily down Squid after Squid in rapid succession, though after the fourth one I would probably hit the floor.

Needless to say I was hooked.

Somehow I managed to avoid staying at the Tavern until closing and attempting to lead the other bar residents in sea shanties and general carousing. Instead we headed out for some food with which to battle with the Squid for supremacy over my sobriety. We settled on an African joint, where I had goat pepper soup, followed by goat curry. Saunter dared me to get some extra goat on the side, but since I feared the wait staff might cut off my Heineken privileges I demurred. The dinner was excellent, but we did not return to the Tavern for more encounters of the Squid kind, deciding that we would return to its murky depths sometime in the near future.

My day with the Squid will come.

Pirate Dave says "The Squid gets my thumbs up!"


Script Frenzy update: I'm at 3580 words. 16,420 words to go in 19 days (including today). After pumping out over 2k last night I'm feeling confident, despite knowing that I am not going to get much (if any) done this weekend. I'm also not going to have a ton of time at the end of the month, for some strange reason (Vegas). Time to buckle down, and do what I can.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Approx. 1000 Words Describing Why Triple Draw is Awesome

Thursday, June 07, 2007

WSOP Jonesing (with special "Stupid Things I Could Do")

With all the WSOP chatter flying about the internets, I am stone cold jonesing right now. Those people fortunate enough to have schedules and circumstances accommodate them are winging their way to the Blogger Gathering, while others are already there and playing in the cash games and tournaments or just reporting on the whole damn thing.

If you recall, I have booked myself into Sin City from the night of the 28th of June until the redeye leaving just before midnight on July 3rd. The plan? To play Event #47, 2k NLHE, June 29th, 12pm.

A while ago I subscribed to the official WSOP tournament calendar on Google, so it showed what was going on whenever I looked at my own personal schedule. And every time I look at that schedule, what do I see?

Event #48, $1k 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball (Limit) W/Rebuys, June 29th, 5pm.

You know what I'm thinking, right? I bet you do.

Here are a bunch of reasons why playing in Event #48 is a good idea:
  1. It will be fun
  2. Should be a much smaller field. How small? I dunno, but probably an order of magnitude less than Event #47.
  3. A much higher concentration of pros, which would be cool
  4. Despite (3), factoring in (2) I have a better chance of getting to a final table and even winning a bracelet NB: ACTUAL CHANCE STILL RIDICULOUSLY SMALL. POSITIVELY MICROSCOPIC IN FACT
  5. If I bust on Day 1 I could still play Event #49, $1500 NLHE, which is the next day
  6. It would make for a great blog post

Here are a bunch of reasons why playing in Event #48 is a BAD idea:

  1. Sure it's a 1k limit rebuy event. For the first two hours you can rebuy - let's assume that I double buy-in to start, so I'm in for 2k. You can rebuy until the end of the second hour, at which point the limits are 100-200. If the action was capped on every street a single hand could cost T2400, IF you stayed in that long (remember: $1000 USD gets you T2000).
    Now, that's the pathological case, but since it's a rebuy event, and I expect a bunch of deep-pocketed pros I can definitely see some capping in the first couple of betting rounds, and maybe even the third, with most action being bet-fold, bet-call, or bet-raise-call on the end. Um, what do I mean: expensive.

    At the end of the third round you can get a single or double add-on, for $1k and $2k respectively. So that means if I double buy-in, and somehow don't have to rebuy, adding on means I am still going to be in the hole for $3k or $4k.

    You know, that one hour gap between the rebuy period and the add-on period looks weird. Wonder if it's a typo. The structure description is here if you want to have a look yourself.
    Naturally I could limit myself to a single buy-in, and if I manage to last to the add-on period not take it. WEAK! I could also limit myself variously, depending on how I was going - but bare minimum I'd think it would cost me $3k.

    And if I busted on Day 1 (again: highly probable), and played in Event #49 it means I would be in for at least $4500 for the WSOP.
  2. My Triple Draw skills are pretty rusty, and my tournament Triple Draw skills are non-existent.
  3. Saunter is flying in on Saturday night, so if I bust in Event #48 and play in Event #49 there is a greater chance of having less time to hang out compared to if I just played Event #47.

And here are some counterpoints to my "BAD idea" points:
  1. To my mild shock, I actually have the poker bankroll to consider this. Sure, if I was in for $4500 I would be risking half of it, but what the hell is a poker bankroll for?
  2. I have time to work on my Triple Draw skills.
  3. I would still have heaps of "hanging out with Saunter" time, even if I made it deep (or further!) into Day 2 of Event #49.

Clearly I need some direction on this, so feel free to left me know what a doofus I am in the comments. Come on, it's fun!


For all those who are wondering (both of you, and yes this joke never gets old) here is my Script Frenzy update: 1,287 words. That may not seem like a lot, since I have another 18,713 to go in the next 22+ days, but I am encouraged. I churned that out in two tiny sessions, and am getting to grips with the software I am using for it. Between footy and Chicago and the WSOP and work and real life it's gonna be tight... but that's why the call them challenges.

Now pardon me as I take another swig from my flask.