Digital Cowboy

Digital Cowboy
Poker is life. Life is poker.

Archive for July, 2005

The toughest, longest lasting trucks

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

I just saw back to back Chevy commercials while watching the Texas Rangers game. It seems that I’m now a GM employee and, as a result, I can get a wannabe SUV, the 2WD Tahoe for “just” $28,274. That’s a little rich for my blood, but the next commercial told me that after “my employee discount,” I can get a 2WD pickup for “just” $23,358.

Thank God for the UAW. If it wasn’t for them I couldn’t afford anything that they make. Oh. Wait. I’m not a member of the UAW and because of them I can’t afford anything they make.

Yet, unlike them, I still have to show up for work every day sober and actually have a skill to make the kind of money that would allow me to be able to afford what they make.

If I pissed you off, good. Don’t even try to defend unions to me. I’ve actually met Jimmy Hoffa. I’m not kiddin’ teasin’, either. I met him at a Teamsters picnic. I had a hard time keeping my mouth shut. I was only able to because: 1) I was the date of the daughter of the president of the local. (She was also quite hot and a stripper.) 2) Jimmy Hoffa was passin’ out the bootleg moonshine himself.

When Jimmy Hoffa hands you a glass of shine that he poured out of a jug in the trunk of a car and you have a pretty girl on your arm, you lose all principles. Well, I did, anyway. At least for that moment. I was young and stupid.

Even if you don’t lose your principles the easy way, it’s not a good idea to tell Jimmy Hoffa, “no, thanks” after he invited you to the “moonshine car.” Lots of people at that picnic were connivin’ to get there and didn’t get the invite. Besides that, he was drunk. You tell Jimmy Hoffa, “no” and then get back to me.

Anyway. I’ve been sidetracked. We were talking about the UAW, not the Teamsters. I like my 1992 Silverado. It’s got it’s problems, but it’s now almost 16 years old and I’ve owned it for 12 of those years. It has over 130,000 miles on it and it still gets me where I wanna go. It needs front brake pads, but that’s $10 and an hour (without power tools).

Maybe they were too good back then and got too greedy. I see no need to replace it. When it finally dies, I’ll probably replace it with an older truck, not a newer one. Gimme a ’72 Chevy pickup in good condition and I might never buy another vehicle as long as I live.

Spammers never cease to amuse me

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

I just got a spam email. Actually, I get a few dozen a day but I don’t see very many unless I choose to. Sometimes I read them just for fun.

(Though I have five active email accounts and sometimes get upwards of 100 emails a day, I don’t see very many spam emails because:
A) three of my active accounts are coming from a mail server that I run. (I highly recommend Spam Assassin. It catches almost everything and I’ve never had it give me a false positive for spam.)
B) my mail client also has very good spam filtering that is “trainable” and I have it well trained.)

Anyway, I just read one that I found fascinating. Here is the body of the message:

Hello my hope!
I am not sure you get this message but if you got I want you to know that I want to travel to your country to work in two weeks and I just want to meet right man.I live in Russia and my goal is to leave this country because it is impossible to live here for young pretty woman. if you have not wife or girlfriend ,maybe we could try to meet? I am Tayana ,I am 25 years old ,please write to me directly to my mail – lapa201@pochta.ru See you soon!!!!

That’s preposterous on its face but that’s not the really fun part. The email headers (even the part that wasn’t spoofed) shows the email as being from “Vera Goodson” who presumably sent the email from “YNUBEZUL@oorong.co.jp.”

Now, then. I’m a lonely, desperate guy. Should I just hit reply and send an email to Japan telling Vera Goodson that I would love to meet “young pretty woman” who’s also desperate to escape tyranny. Should I “write [her] directly to [her] mail” which is in Russia? Should I ask her why she says she is Tayana from Russia but is sending email from Vera Goodson’s Japanese email account?

It’s all so perplexing. In addition, she said right in the first sentence that she just wants to meet “right man.” I could be “right man.” But how would I know? Is she talking about right for her? Right on the political spectrum? (That opens a new can of worms – the American political spectrum or someone else’s?) Am I a man that’s just plain right? I “have not wife or girlfriend.” Does that make me right? (In 21st century America, it makes me smart, but I’m trying to figure out what she’s getting at.)

At the end she says, “See you soon!!!!”

She seems confident, this Vera/Tayana person.

I’m pretty sure if she sees me soon, she’ll be looking down the barrel of a gun.

Define gambling

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

Many people seem to think that poker is gambling. It is most definitely not. It is a game of skill comprised of math and psychology. Roulette is gambling, craps is gambling, even blackjack is to a degree.

“But, part of it is just luck!” say the detractors. That I won’t deny. Just like professional golf is partly luck. Auto racing is partly luck. Baseball and football and basketball and every other competition sport on earth are partly luck. Poker’s no different, the cards just make the luck factor more apparent.

Would you call me a “gambler” if my handicap was 2 and I paid $100 to enter a golf tournament?

Gambling and poker certainly overlap. Many top poker players are also gamblers. I’m not a gambler. I don’t even understand the mentality that drives gamblers.

Ted Forrest once bet $30,000 that he could drink 10 Heinekens in 30 minutes. He won and said that the next morning he felt so bad that he was sure it wasn’t worth it. He also said he that he’s won a million dollars in a day playing poker and lost a million dollars in a day playing craps. Doyle Brunson said that he’s won millions playing poker and lost millions betting on sports including a $180,000 bet he made on one hole of golf.

Those are poker players that happen to also be gamblers. They can afford to gamble because they pay for their losses with poker winnings.

I’m not a gambler. I love poker. It’s just math and psychology. Those are two things at which I happen to excel.

Poker school is in

Wednesday, July 20th, 2005

One of the most misunderstood and misplayed hands in poker is A-K. Almost all of the poker books tell you that A-K is the third best starting hand in Hold’em. If you bought that, you’re a sucker. Please post the address and time of your home game in the comments below.

What’s really sad is that I see people all through the WSOP and even, occasionally on the WPT, completely overplay or misplay the hand and then are completely shocked if (often when) they lose. What’s worse, some of them are so-called “pros” that I otherwise respect.

Let me say this loud so you’ll be sure to get it:

A-K is a drawing hand. It is not a made hand. It is usually a dog against any flop that doesn’t pair it. It is not even a statistical favorite against pocket deuces. Stop playing it like AA or KK and then whining when you miss!

The reason that true experts, like Doyle, will tell you that A-K is so strong is because they expect you to read the rest of their book and learn the rest of what they’re trying to teach you. Ace-King is strong, especially suited. But it’s still not a made hand. It’s strong because if you hold A-K and stay through all seven cards, another A or K will come 49% of the time. That doesn’t by any means indicate that you will win 49% of the time. It’s better than 2-1 against you getting an A or K on the flop. Then there are flushes and straights and sets and two-pair hands to consider.

Most of the time, moving in with A-K before the flop is not a good idea. It’s almost never a good idea to re-raise all-in with A-K, especially if you’re the shorter stack. Unless you are really good at reading your opponents and saw some weakness, you’re probably a dog. Let’s look at the odds:

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Thumb on the pulse

Monday, July 18th, 2005

You have my word that I had never seen this column on ESPN.com until about 10 minutes ago.

The fact that many of the top pros they interviewed not only agree with me, but even used some of the same language and phrases to describe the change in the WSOP main event, simply shows where my destiny lies.

“You enter it, but it’s a bit of a lottery,” English pro David “Devil Fish” Ulliott said. “You don’t even expect to win. You’ve got to get so much luck to win it now. I think if I get knocked out now I won’t be that disappointed.”

I recall talking with Annie Duke and Dan Harrington at the Bellagio last October. Duke flat-out said a pro will never win the event again with these fields. Her thinking is there are so many land mines in the wild styles of the amateurs, the pros don’t stand much of a chance — plain and simple.

One more:

Lederer believes it was good for poker that the land mine known as Raymer followed the land mine known as Moneymaker followed the land mine known as Robert Varkonyi in a hat trick of amateurs copping poker’s biggest booty. It created pokerpalooza in this country with the cry “Anybody can win,” because for the last three years, “anybody” has.

I’m just saying…