Take a Break, Guy

31 December, 2007

T-Bone would be pleased, The Ravens fired Brian Billick. Brian BillickPerhaps it was time for the Ravens to part ways with their super bowl winning coach. Perhaps its time for an overhaul of the entire organization. Steve McNair was a bad choice, and Baltimore has been thin on defense, still lack an above-mediocre quarterback. Who will they get in free agency? Who will they draft? And why isn’t Ozzie Newsome being held accountable for his role in the Fall of the House of Bisciotti? Do you also find it funny that the Ravens are now owned by a man who’s last name is an Italian cookie? But enough with the jokes, This needed to be done, and that was apparent about half-way through the 9 game losing streak. Here’s a question to ponder: If Brian Billick had coached the Ravens to a victory over the Patriots does he still get the axe? I would say yes, yes, because of lost Luster. Sorry about the Poe puns. especially that last one…


Preparing for a wild and terrible wild card weekend

31 December, 2007

So it’s that wonderful time of year again, no not New Years Eve you roofie-carrying date-raping scumbag, the fucking NFL Playoffs are here. It’s so fucking exciting I just shit all over my hands. I would wash them but I hate this microsoft curvy keyboard, all the keys are different sizes, piece of shit keyboard and think it only fitting that it gets covered in my shit to reflect the Aristotlelian idea of form matching content.

Anyways, the thing that sucks about this years NFL Playoffs is that the outcome has pretty much been decided. I mean I live in Wisconsin and so I’m sure I’ll get to read some previews with the Packers winning it all and whatnot, but there is a general consensus nationally that the final four teams will be the Packers, Cowboys, Colts, and Nazis Patriots and that the Cowboys will lose to the escaped prison rapists Patriots in the Super Bowl. Since this scenario is very likely and I can’t really argue against it I guess the NFL playoffs are kind of a formality, so I think I’ll just cheer for the underdog every game because I like having by heart ripped out and stomped on. Anyway onto the games:

Game 1 Jacksonville at Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh really misses fast crippledWilly Parker but they miss Bill Cowher and Ken Whisenhunt even more as this team’s defense kind of isn’t what it once was. In a physical game the Jaguars manage to squeak out a victory 38-10 as Pittsburgh fans pelt the field with plastic beer bottles and collectible ninja stars (who thinks of these fucking promotions anyways). Omar Epps gives a good press conference but you get the feeling he won’t be around in Pittsburgh for a million fucking years like everyone else.

Game 2 Redskins at Seahawks

I will probably skip this game as I think it will be a boring ugly affair, like a 50-year old middle manager having an affair with another 50-year old middle manager in a sleazy hotel room. I mean do you really want to watch that? One team will win and then lost next week but I’m just going to pretend that this game never happened.

Game 3 Titans at Chargers

Vince Young just sucks at quarterbacking, but so does Philip Rivers. If either of these teams had a decent quarterback they would be a really good team. Instead we get to watch which quarterback wants to give the game away more. San Diego has more talent but VY likes the big game, I think the Chargers win by a field goal in overtime – 41-17.

Game 4 Giants at Bucs

Eli Manning looked good last week, so he’s going to throw at least 3 picks next game. That being said I just think the Bucs kind of suck. Fuck I can’t believe one of these teams is going to win a playoff football game. I really like the Giants 3rd receiver matching up against the Bucs nickelback (the bottom of every bottle…) so I’ll take the Giants in a blowout – 24-20


Escape From Week 17

31 December, 2007

The Results

I done good. Real good. 13-3 good. Awesome, right? I missed Atlanta, Carolina and Baltimore, but I don’t really care. Thirteen is pretty good. I really like week 17, it makes it so much easier to pick the games when the good teams don’t play their starters. So how did the DVOA do? The Answer? 7-9. My victory feels tainted. But a W’s a W, unless he’s a stuttering buffoon. The Standings from week 5 through the end of the regular season look like this…

DVOA — 134 – 59

Monkey — 126 – 67

So through the regular season, I fall 8 games short of besting the machine. Good thing there’s still the Playoffs…..and speaking of Playoffs….

Escape to The Playoffs

Now that the playoff participants are set I feel compelled to assign alternate identities to each team. I need a theme with a strong protagonist, a powerful antagonist, and strong story arcs. How about Escape From New York?


girl in the chock full of nutsNew York is the Girl in the Chock Full ‘O Nuts. They’ll never see their own demise coming, and be dragged down into the Subway and eaten by the mole people.


The actor that plays the Sec of State

Tennessee is the Secretary of State. Not too many lines, they are essentially unessential. There really isn’t much that could convince me the Titan’s will make a splash in the playoffs


the crazies

Washington would be a mob of The Crazies. Not the Cameron Crazies, or the Wild and Crazy Guys. Right now the Redskins seem to be a mob of flesh-craving murderous criminals that live in the abandoned NY Subway Tunnels. They have the potential to mess some people up in the playoffs.


romeroTampa Bay would be Romero the Wierdo. Seemingly in command of the situation, and just a bit crazy. I mean who would have thought that Jeff Garcia and Joey Galloway would become renaissance men in Tampa? I’m waiting for a moment in the Giants game where Gruden gives Coughlin Eli Mannings severed finger wrapped in a handkerchief.




police commissioner

Seattle would be the Police Commisioner Bob Hauk, and not only because his mustache resembles Holmgren’s, but also because they have been playing – and winning – on Hasselbeck’s authority, and just like Hauk does to Snake, they can put some teams in awkward positions.

The Duke’s Wrestler

Pittsburgh is the Duke’s champion wrestler. Strong in appearance, and winner of the first round, where the fight is only with baseball bats, but come the 2nd round, when the bats are spiked and the combatants have shields their lack of speed (i.e. – Willie Parker) will be their downfall.

cabbieSan Diego is Cabbie. They show up, get from point A to point B, but besides having a sweet set of wheels (i.e. Tomlinson) and a bitchin’ cassette collection, there isn’t much they can do in the loaded AFC. Sure, they’re clearly better than the Titans and Steelers, but do they have the talent to get past the Jags, Pats, or Colts?


brianDallas would be the Brain. They have the map to escape New York, but they are under the control of a maniacal madman (i.e. Jerry Jones) who’s crazy plan is to take the President hostage to escape the 50 foot walls surrounding his prison-esque Irving home and ultimately Dallas ends up a bullet-ridden corpse on the G.W. Bridge

maggieJacksonville would be…..Maggie, played by Adrienne Barbeau. The Brain’s squeeze meets her end standing her ground against a Cadillac, which is an apt metaphor for the Jags. They will stick to their guns and play tenacious defense, but eventually get run down by some bad motherfucker in a sweet ride with chandeliers mounted on the hood.

duke of new york, A#1Indianapolis is The Duke of New York. They are the bad motherfuckers who will run you down in a chandeliered Caddy. Nobody wants to cross these guys, especially with Marvin Harrison back. They are the returning Super Bowl champs, and despite the Pat’s unbeaten regular season, until someone beats Indy in the playoffs they are still large and in charge. THEY ARE DUKE OF NEW YORK A#1!!!!

presidentNew England Patriots are The President of the United States. They have survived a plane crash, being taken hostage, handcuffed to a wall and shot at by a power-crazy Isaac Hayes only to get his revenge by gunning down the Duke as he scaled the wall. Theoretically the most powerful man in the free world, POTUS makes it over the wall, and the only one to best him is….
snakeThe Green Bay Packers as Snake Plissken. A bad dude who no one thought would succeed, who against all odds managed a first round playoff bye, rescued the president from the Duke, killed a bunch of crazies, bullied the Brain, killed the Wrestler with a spiky bat to the head, and then when the President gave him the brush-off, he gave the country that turned its back on him the fuck you, substituting cabbies jazz for the all-important tritium tape, thus dooming the peace talks.  And I’m a total Homer, so of course the Packers get to be the hero….

While I was Sleeping.

29 December, 2007

mike flowers

Mike Flowers hit a buzzer beating 3 to beat Texas. This is much to the Chagrin of my cousin Stacy, a UT alum. I got one thing to say: Ha ha ha, Na na na, Ha ha ha ha ha, Na na na na , Ha ha ha ha na na na. But seriously, I only hope that the Badgers can maintain the effort level through March, because they could make a splash come tourney time. In other good news, Brian Butch finally lived up to that McDonald’s All-American hype. DYK that Butch played on the same McDonalds All-American squad as LeBron James? Up next for Big Red? The Big Ten regular season, starting with Michigan. Before today only 2 teams in the Big Ten are in the top 25. After today the Badgers could join the Hoosiers and Spartans as the conference elite.

T and how to beat 25NL 6-Max

28 December, 2007

Poker Tutorial 1

For fun I have decided to write a series of poker tutorials which when read would hopefully improve the readers success at poker. In particular this series will be focused on 25 6-max, a game which I played for a long time with great success.

First I’d like to state that I practice 20 buy-in bankroll management, which means you need a bankroll of $500 to comfortably play $25. I will also say that I did not have a bankroll that size when I began playing $25 and it depends on your comfort level, fear of losing one’s role, and skill level. When I started playing the games were quite a bit easier and you could nut-peddle if your bankroll was in trouble.


Second, invest in or pirate poker tracker and a hud program. Stat tracking is an unfrotunate reality of online poker and you will be at a disadvantage if you don’t use it.

Third, once you get comfortable learn to multi-table. It will make a big difference in your bottom line and stop you from getting bored when you play.

Onto the tutorial:


Basic strategy if no one has opened the pot:

Position                Range

SB                        B(A10+, 22+, K10+, Q10+, 56s+) C(Ax, Kx, Qx, Jx, almost any 2 suited)

BB                         N/A

UTG                     22+, AQ+, Ajs, 56s, 78s

UTG+1                22+, AQ+, Ajs, 56s+, KQs

CUTOFF             22+, Aj+, A10s, KJ+, K10s, QJs, J10s, 56s+

BUTTON            22+, 56s+, K9+, Ax, Q9+, J8s, 75s, 68s, 79s

First and foremost do not limp! If it is good enough to limp with raising will be better. I break this rule occasionally but try to raise as much as possible. It benefits your strong hands and your weak hands. Second, do not play KJ and the like from early position. These are money vacuum hands. I put 56s and 78s in the UTG section, this also means 89s and 45s and other suited connectors, the key is to raise with them occasionally when you find yourself card dead. It balances you pre-flop range so opponents can’t float you on weak flops and gets you action for your strong hands.

If there is a preflop raiser your calling range and re-raising range are dictated by your opponents pre-flop raising frequency, temperament (could he be tilting? Is he stuck a lot and wants to gamble to catch up), and position. If a tight opponent raises under the gun, their range is likely JJ+, AK. Accordingly do not call with AQ-, KQ- etc… Do call with any pair and a lot of suited connectors. If you have position and you get a good flop you can stack tight players. You see tight players tend to suck post-flop and at $25 they will go broke with a pair of overpair easily. On the other hand if the raiser is quite loose you can re-raise all the way down to AJ+ and 88+. If he is a very good loose player you will occasionally need to re-raise with a couple of suited connectors to balance your range. Against a normal raiser (12% at 25NL) you can reraise with JJ+, AQs+ and ocasionally some other hands when you feel like the player is weak. You should call all pairs and most suited connectors. You should fold KQ, AJ and the like, let me say it again, do not call a raise with KQ or AJ. You will not make money doing this unless the raiser is raising A10 and KJ and even then it’s tough. You should generally 3-bet 3x the original raise, maybe a bit more if you are out of position.

If you get 4-bet against a normal player depending on bet sizing you generally should get it in with KK+, maybe AK and fold everything else. Nobody is 4-betting light at 25nl.

Next, do not defend you blinds too much. Even if you think you are getting robbed you will be playing out of position against an above average hand. If someone is getting out of hand start re-raising preflop more, do not start flat calling with weak hands. Also, against a steal raise do not call with as many pairs and suited connectors because the odds aren’t there. Here you should call with the AJ and KJ hands because you will be against weaker aces and kings. How do you know if it’s a steal raise? Pay close attention to how often the Cutoff and Button raise when it is checked around to them. You should be able to figure out whether they are playing it straight or not. Then adjust to their range.

Generally your raise size should be 4xBB + 1 BB for every limper. If these raises don’t get respect bump it up to 5x, if they get too much respect (never gonna happen at 25) go down to 3x. Never adjust raise size for strength.

If the gets checked around to the blinds be aggressive. Raise and re-raise liberally. In the BB if the SB tries to limp every time punish him by raising most of the time. If he only limps occasionally raise with your strong hands and limp with your weak hands. If they raise occasionally treat it like any other raise from an earlier position. If they raise liberally re-raise them a lot. If you are in the SB try to limp a lot first. If the BB lets you do this, then do it. If they do not then begin limping in with a mix of weak and strong hands, when you get your strong hands re-raised 3-bet.

Part 2 tomorrow (or the next day)…

Week 17 Man Vs. Machine: The Reckoning

27 December, 2007

I need to stop complaining…

The officiating didn’t cost the Packers the game on Sunday, but there was one point where I was shocked to see what one particular ref was doing. He (Jim Quirk) had Nick Barnett in a headlock. I told my brother that ref was lucky Barnett didn’t assume it was a player grabbing him and just deck the ref. It turns out I wasn’t seeing things, and ESPN picked up on the story.


I did some research, and this was not the first time that Jim Quirk (ref #5) has tackled a player on the field.

Week 16 Wrap-up

The Man vs. Machine standings from week 5 through week 16 are as follows…
DVOA -> 127 – 50 – (12-4)

Monkey -> 113 – 64 – (11-5)

As I already wrote about how I failed to pick up a game, again, I’ll just get right to week 17…After I ask if you think Olivia Wilde or Rachel Leigh Cook is sexier….

Olivia Wilde rachel leigh cook


The Picks


New England @ NY Giants

DVOA –>NE by 56.2%

Monkey–>RULE # 1 of the 2007 NFL Season – Always pick the New England Patriots. Always. Pats by 10.


Seattle @ Atlanta

DVOA –>SEA by 43.4%

Monkey–>Seattle probably won’t play starters for very long, but even keeping that in mind I think that Atlanta is pretty much a team of second stringers, so….Seahawks by 7.

San Francisco @ Cleveland

DVOA –>CLE by 40.6%

Monkey–>With Tennessee breathing down their necks the Browns had better come to play today against the all-of-a-sudden-upstart-minded Niners. It’s as if Emilio Estevez came through a time warp from 1992 and gave the 49ers the “Ducks Fly Together” speech before the Bengals game. However much I want the Pats to get a lower pick, I don’t think that San Francisco can extend the winning streak to 3. I’ll take the Browns by 12.

New Orleans @ Chicago

DVOA –>NO by 2.9%

Monkey–> I am not forgetting that Reggie Bush and Deuce are not healthy again. I swear. Da Bears (suck, but still win) by 3.

Cincinnati @ Miami

DVOA –>CIN by 30%

Monkey–>THEORY #2 of the 2007 NFL Season: Never Pick the Miami Dolphins. Ever. Bengals by 10.

Buffalo @ Philadelphia

DVOA –>PHI by 13.5%

Monkey–>Two teams enter, One team leaves (with a winning record). Who will it be? Andy Reid’s mustache or Marshawn Lynch’s dreadlocks? Personally I don’t care a whole lot, but I would like the Patriots undefeatedness to be marred by being the only team in the division with a .500 or higher winning percentage, ergo Eagles by 14.


Carolina @ Tampa Bay

DVOA –>TB by 40.6%

Monkey–>Tampa Bay, who will they play? But on the other hand, does it matter who Carolina plays? No matter how short the starters appearance for the Bucs is, I like Tampa Bay by 3.


Detroit @ Green Bay

DVOA –>GB by 36.7%

Monkey–>Total Packer Homer Totally Looking Forward to a Huge Helping of Aaron Rodgers. Packers by 10. Do You Like My DisRegard For CapitaliZation RuLeS?

Jacksonville @ Houston

DVOA –>JAC by 35.3%

Monkey–>With Jacksonville unable to improve their seed I doubt very much that Fred Taylor of MJD will see much of the field. Honestly, I don’t think that Jacksonville will really care too much about this game, but it means something to the Texans, who will be gunning for a .500 record. I don’t know exactly how this will happen, but Texans by 4.


Pittsburgh @ Baltimore

DVOA –>PIT by 30.3%

Monkey–>If the backup RB becomes the starter, and then the next week the coach wants to rest the starters, does Najeh Davenport play the whole game? I think he will. The headline on Monday? Najeh Poops on Raven’s Party. Steelers by 7.


Dallas @ Washington

DVOA –>DAL by 25.5%

Monkey–>Terry Glenn could end up playing the entire game, but I don’t think the same will be said about Tony Romo and the rest of the Dallas starters.  Washington’s starters will most definitely play the entire game, and I expect Clinton Portis to have a monster second half, especially with the Redskins playoff lives on the line.  Washington by 7.


St. Louis @ Arizona

DVOA –>ARI by 22%

Monkey–>Kurt Warners last hurrah.  At least this season’s last hurrah.  I know that the Rams have had a better-than-terrible 2nd half of the season, but Arizona would love to finish at .500 for the first time since 1998.  Cards by 2.


Minnesota @ Denver

DVOA –>MIN by 12%

Monkey–>Minnesota wins and they’re in.  Oh wait, that’s right, if they win and Washington loses, they’re in.  I think that Minny watches the scoreboard and throws in the towel when Washington goes up on Dallas.  Denver pulls the upset by 6.


San Diego @ Oakland

DVOA –>SD by 52.8%

Monkey–>LDT probably won’t play, but Oakland is just plain awful.  Like Bottom 8 awful, and quite a few of San Diego’s second stringers could play every down for the Raiders.  SD by 5.

Kansas City @ NY Jets

DVOA –>KC by 0.9%

Monkey–>Herm Edwards is returning to NY to play his old team.  I’m pretty sure that no one has noticed, except for Jets fans who are thinking what I’m thinking.  Jets win big, by 17.

Tennessee @ Indianapolis

DVOA –>IND by 32.7%

Monkey–>Indy won’t be playing their starters for very long, and Tennessee is playing to make the postseason.  How many times have I written that today?  I AM looking forward to beholding the Averageness/Badgerness that is Jim Sorgi, but I can’t in good faith pick the Colts, Titans by 4.

Poker: Reflections on a well-earned break

26 December, 2007

So I drop about a grand in three days which usually wouldn’t be a big deal, but I’m not running bad I’m playing bad. So I took about 2 weeks off of poker, only playing occasionally. Read a lot of posts and books and analyzed some leaks in my game. Played like 200 hands of $1/.50 and won 2 buy-ins while running bad and felt completely back on my game so the break will be over, but wanted to write about what I learned. So here are the top-5 leaks in my game that I am working on:

1. Calling a late position raiser with a hand that requires implied odds-

A guy raises 4xbb on the button you find 33 in the SB, this is a fold not a call b/c even if you hit your set it is unlikely the raiser had a strong hand, it was likely a positional raise. If the same raise comes from early position it is a call.

2. Overvaluing top pair/ fear of being bluffed- Not letting hands go when people play back at me because I’m convinced bluffs make up a large portion of their range when it is unlikely they do. For instance if you raise AK and get a caller on the button. Flop comes down K 8 2 rainbow, you continuation bet and they raise or call, you are probably beat. I’d probably call one more bet and see how much they go for on the turn but the truth of how money in poker is made is this- when the money goes in you don’t want TPTK and against good players AA is usually losing as well. You want to be the one holding the sets/monster draws/ 2 pair.

3.  Needing to tighten up at higher levels- At NL25 I could be a winner playing 80% of hands. At NL100 I can win playing 35% of hands. at NL300 I need to tighten up to 25% I think because the 10% of hands I can play profitably at NL 100 I play unprofitably at NL300.  The reason for this is two-fold, pre-flop and post-flop. Playing 2-gap suited connectors and open-limping can be profitable at NL 100 because people do not reraise light and they love going broke with one pair. The implied odds for the monsters aren’t there at NL300 as people can dump AA. Also they reraise a lot more and the last 10% of hands plays really badly to 3 bets preflop.

4. Lack of sleep- I had been living on 6-hours of sleep and at with that level of sleep cognitive functions are diminished. This is enough to push you from your ‘A’ game to your ‘B’ or ‘C’ game and cost you a lot of money.

5. Overconfidence- Because of my circumstances I stayed at NL/PL25 for way too long and won at about 14bb/100. Then I moved to 100NL and won at about 8-9bb/100. Then I moved to 300NL and have won at about 6bb/100. I have never had to deal with any real adversity in poker, but that also has made me overconfident. Taking this break, admitting mistakes and not blaming others when my results are sub-optimal are all important steps towards being a long-run winner.

Hope everyone had good holidays and good luck at the tables,