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playing poker and teaching science: May 2008

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?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Back at the pub

I was dealt my first Royal Flush at the pub tonight, made it to the final table, finally finishing 5th out of 36. Not bad. Maybe the good luck will hold until Vegas!

Only 5 days until I leave for the WSOP :-)

UB thread

Dr. Pauly, one of the blogmasters, holder of a black belt in phrasiology and voted most likely to write on the topic of urinating next to top poker pros, stressing the inportance of passing along the following on a UB scandle:

Here's a sample:

I believe that it is important for online poker players to know about the unethical business practices of UltimateBet and Absolute Poker. It is also imperative to understand that these unscrupulous activities are not an indictment on the entire online poker industry. As you read this thread please keep in mind that UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are owned by the same company. They are also regulated by the same puppet regulatory commission. Most poker sites are run with the utmost integrity and security. UltimateBet and Absolute Poker are the exception and not the rule.

I urge the concerned reader to pass word of this summary on to other interested parties. The spread of this information will ultimately protect poker players from unknowingly exposing themselves to the corruption detailed below...

The players on UltimateBet were victims of a serious crime: grand larceny facilitated by a company that operates virtually outside the law. I hope that the efforts spent investigating and publicizing this story will help the victims of these crimes find restitution. I hope that this story will also highlight the need for independent regulation in the online poker industry.

Please use this thread to discuss the the best way to convince UltimateBet to come clean about their involvement in this theft and to provide restitution for these crimes. Please also use this thread to discuss the best ways to ensure that a scandal such as this one does not taint the game of poker occur ever again....

For the complete thread, click the link:


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pub Poker

A local drinking establishment has a free Hold Em tournament each Tuesday and I’ve sat in three or four times, making the final table once. For the most part it’s a huge donk fest and I’ve pondered how to play against people who call a 4x big bet raise with K4 offsuit, any ace, any two soooooted cards, and any two connecting cards whether they are suited or not. There are usually five to every flop.

I decided I just have to play MY game and MY cards and let the chips, literally, fall where they will.

Last night playing my cards was easy. In the first two hours I played about five hands and went past the flop only twice, winning two hands. Both hands were my big blind.

I refused to let emotions get the best of me and I simply folded the bad hands and drank a beer or two, watching as some donk stacks got larger and larger and as others dropped out and traded chips among themselves.

I hung on the 30 plus players played themselves out and I found myself at the final table as one of the shorter stacks.

Then three consecutive raises with pocket pairs and Big Slick resulted in an all-fold to my super tight table image. Then a fairly solid player thought he could stop my raises with an AJ re-raise, and called down my AA to give me a very nice stack of chips with four players left.

When we came to the final table the commanding chip leader was definitely the table captain, raising and re-raising with impunity, and eliminating the ever shortening short stacks. He made a fatal flaw however and with four players left tightened up as the final payout loomed closer and closer.

I figured that out when I ask, “Hey, what are we playing for?”

The tournament organizer said, “$100 for the winner and $50 for second.”

“Food certificates?”

“No. Cash. $100 for first and $50 for second.”

What the hell??? I thought we were playing for some kind of little gift certificates. Since it was a free tournament and I was playing largely for entertainment more than anything, I hadn’t thought to look into the payout.

That fact made it obvious why the former chip leader was being so tight. He wanted the cash! He even laid down JJ (face up) to a 3x the big blind raise. Granted, nobody likes JJ, but with four players to go it looks pretty good pre-flop.

That face up fold told me that he was going to bend to big pressure and that fact allowed him to be folded and blinded down until he was all-in with two face cards, and they were the wrong face cards.

After 3 ½ hours I was heads up with a very solid player, but I still had my tight player image. I tested the waters and pushed all-in with a suited 72 on a flop of 10,9,2, and then showed the bluff.

He did exactly what I though he would do. He called me down the next time I slowed played top pair and I walked away a winner.

I was a winner playing MY game and MY cards which, incidently, included absolutely no big hands in the entire game. I did not make a flush. I did not have the chance to draw to a straight. I don't think I even had two pair. Not a bad night.

Only 19 days until my first WSOP experience :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Call me killer

I have been absolutely KILLING the 6 player SNG's lately. Out of the last 20 games I've won a solid 50 percent and placed in the top two 75 percent of the time.

My run certainly won't last, but it makes me feel like I know what I'm doing.

Only 23 days until I leave for Las Vegas :-)

Monday, May 05, 2008

A Funny Game

In what other game can you do well and lose, and then do poorly and win?

Three SNG's in a row I make it to the top three with second getting paid and first claiming a larger game token, and I bust out in third holding the best hands. Then, I accidentally call a raise instead of folding because I'm sending a text to my son and hit the wrong button. I catch a two outer (a deuce to make it worse) and scoop a pot that I had no right to be in.

Funny game.

Let's hope I'm still laughing when I hit the WSOP!

My plans for the summer are laid and the tickets are paid.... for. It shapes up like this:

1. Out of school for the summer May 23.
2. Head to Las Vegas to play in the Omaha 8/b game that starts on June 3rd.
3. Off to Belize to volunteer again for about three weeks beginning June 9th.
4. Summer training for the textbook company I work for part time for a few days in Atlanta at the end of July.
5. Tickets in hand to see Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and Jimmy Buffett at the Verizon Wireless Music Center, one of the country's premier outdoor music venues.
6. The motorcycle is tuned and ready to ride.

I strive for balance in my life and my goals reflect that. We'll have to see if it pays off as I get my feet wet at the WSOP this year.