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playing poker and teaching science: December 2005

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, December 12, 2005

Proud dad.

There was a nice article about my son in Saturday's paper...

Hamilton Heights wrestler T.J. Reed had a successful 2004-05 season, placing third in the sectional at 130 pounds and advancing to the Pendleton Heights Regional.

Then came football.

Reed, a senior, joined the Huskies' football team this season, playing wide receiver and handling some kicking duties. He credits his work preparing for football with helping him to a 10-1 start at 140 pounds.

"After I decided to play football, I did a lot of weightlifting," Reed said. "I guess that really prepared me physically for wrestling. I think I've gotten a lot quicker, and that definitely helps, I think.

"I was hoping I could get off to the start I have. I thought I had worked hard enough in the offseason. I didn't have any time to do freestyle wrestling because of football, but I thought football would help."

Wrestling coach Tim Webber said Reed often surprises his opponents.

"You look at a guy like T.J. Reed, and if you're his opponent, you're sort of licking your chops," he said. "He's not stocky, and he doesn't have a mean look on his face. He really has a timid look to him, and he's tall and somewhat lanky.

"But once he gets wrestling, his awareness on the mat really throws everything into perspective. His stance is so confident, and this year he's become more offensive. He's getting more takedowns instead of countering takedowns."

Reed knows his route through the postseason is difficult. The regional includes strong programs such as Cathedral, Lawrence Central, Lawrence North and North Central.

"In my opinion we're in the toughest regional in the state," Reed said. "Definitely winning the sectional and getting a good regional draw is important. Getting to the semistate is definitely a goal of mine, and I'd like to get to (the state meet)."

Webber believes it's possible.

"In our regional, we've got six or seven (Class) 5A schools in there, and we normally don't see schools of that size during the season," Webber said.

"I've got a few wrestlers who I think can make it to the semistate, and T.J. is one of them."

Monday, December 05, 2005

Winning the Super Six

My wrestling team looked great Saturday taking first place in the Western High School Super-6 tournament going 5-0 on the day. The victory was sweetened by the fact that we triumphed over a very strong team that demolished us last year.

My son lost his first match of the season but made up for the loss with four pins to finish the day 4-1, making his record 9-1 now. Not bad. He was a little disappointed but didn't let the loss effect his perfoemance the rest of the day.

On Sunday I fired up my Party Poker account and played a little $2/$4 limit hold em. I folded one hand and won the next four pots I entered and left with a nice $50 profit. This makes ten winning sessions in a row. Mt record is 12 winning days in a row so I hope to surpass that, but still have few times to play since wrestling season is in full swing.

I refuse to play when rushed for time!

One memorable hand demonstrates why good players make money on line. I'm in the big blind and enter an unraised pot with K7 offsuit. The flop is K39. I bet out to see where I am and get one caller.

What range of hands do I put him on at this point? I'm thinking basically any pair or maybe KQ to K9. I'm either ahead already or WAY behind. The turn is a blank and I bet again and again get a smooth call. This doesn't look good. The river is another blank and I check. He has to have a hand, right? He bets and I make the crying call because mathmatically I have to.

He turns up A3 for bottom pair, calling bets and betting out. Doesn't he know he has to be behind and that I must have AT LEAST a nine??

Fishing was good Sunday :-)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Get me a face mask!

How often do you play in a one-table tournament and see some clown get hit in the face with the cards? He catches a two-outer, fills his draws, and generally receives the best cards by the river no matter how far behind he was before the flop.

Last night I was the clown.

We started with 1500 TC and blinds at 10/15, going up every 15 minutes. I started out playing tight. This was VERY easy to do because the cards I was receiving were better for doubling down in Blackjack than playing in poker: 83, 92, 74. You get the idea. All these hands were single suited….. as if that mattered anyway. As a matter of fact, in the first three levels I played exactly ONE hand. I called a 2X the big blind raise with 10 4s out of the big blind.

The flop was AK3….. bet, fold.

Then it happened. The blinds are at 50/100, I’m starting to get short stacked, and I’m on the button with 77 and only one limper in front of me. All-in. The big blind calls and I’m fine with that because I need to double up. Then the limper calls. That’s not good.

The big blind turns up AJs and the limper turns up 88 and I’m looking for a 2-outer. Time to go home, until the flop comes AA7 and I have a full boat and the board graciously decides NOT to pair and I triple up as the big blind makes a buck or two and the limper limps home.
No big deal. That’s going to happen one time in 16.

The big deal is that all of a sudden I go on a massive heater and I’m getting slammed with cards, right in my ruggedly handsome kisser. Big Slick flops AK. AQ flops a straight. A9s fills a flush. All these hands are being called down, even when I check raise.

People are dropping like the interest in having Dutch Boyd cat sit.

We’re down to four players and I have a 7 to 1 chip lead over the next closest competitor when I find out that no matter what I do, I’m going to win.

*At this point I should mention that I was still playing my best game at this point and even though I had a runaway chip lead I was still thinking about one thing: don’t blow it. There have been a few times in the past where I was in the top four or five with plenty of chips and then blew the game by making marginal calls while the short stack managed to stay alive and I went home without cashing. I was determined NOT to let that happen.*

Enter The Hammer.

Okay, I wasn’t going to blow the lead by pushing with The Hammer from the small blind against the big blind. I would push all-in, he would fold, I’d show my bluff, we’d have a good laugh, and then I would go back to protecting my chips.

I pushed all-in.

He had AK suited.


The Flop is AK4. Turn 5. River 3.

I have a wheel.


Cursing ensues.

I’m in the money.

After that I had such a large chip lead that it was only a matter of playing smart and not pushing too hard and unceremoniously I take down first place.

It’s good to be the clown!