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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Week 4 Picks and Momentum

I played an $11 SNG on Stars last night, and seated to my right was a player named Momentum. First hand I see him get involved in, he has Jack-rag suited and ends up knocking out the first player when he hits his flush. Next hand, he puts a middle raiser all-in in the BB with his 99 vs. AK. The 99 holds up and another player is out. Next hand, EP raises, LP re-raises, Momentum in the SB re-raises all-in, both raisers call. EP flips up TT, LP flips QQ and Momentum turns up KK. In the the first orbit, this guy knocked out three players and crippled a fourth. It was an incredible run.

I beat him heads-up when my K9 paired a K on the board against his A8. Momentum runs out for everyone. I took a big chunk of my bankroll out of Stars to fund my sportsbook account, so I need some top finishes to rebuild it.

I was tempted to make another parlay bet with my totals this week, but instead I made three straight bets. The odds of winning parlays just aren't good. Here are the picks this week:

Selection 1: NFL Football
Denver Broncos/Jacksonville Jaguars 2-October-2005 10:00 AM PST
Total Points OVER 36.5 for Game +100

Selection 2: NFL Football
Detroit Lions/Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-October-2005 10:00 AM PST
Total Points OVER 34 for Game -103

Selection 3: NFL Football
New York Jets/Baltimore Ravens 2-October-2005 1:05 PM PST
Total Points OVER 31 for Game +101

I think the general public tends to overvalue defense in matchups where sloppy play can create a lot of points. The Ravens defense tends to score a lot of points with Ed Reed, but they've been dormant thus far. Now, they come in against a third-string quarterback, and everyone sees this as an offensive struggle on both sides. Maybe, but these defenses can make things happen with turnovers, and it shouldn't be too hard to run the total over 31, especially if Testaverde has to come in and start airing it out in the second half. And who doesn't think that Cadillac Williams will score 34 points on his own against the Lions?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Teasin'

Something possessed me to bet a teaser for NFL Week 4. We'll see.

1 NFL Football for Game
New England Patriots 2-October-2005 10:00 AM PST
Spread +1 for Game


2 NFL Football for Game
Indianapolis Colts 2-October-2005 10:00 AM PST
Spread -0.5 for Game

I had UNDER 47.5 in the KC/DEN game last night. I had initially thought I should bet the over, but some quick research showed me that the under was the correct play. Well, Denver's early mastery of KC had me doubting that pick, and I decided to offset it with a second half OVER 21.5. I'd get my money back minus the vig on one bet, unless the 2nd half total was 22 or 23, in which case I had it middled, and would win them both. Well, Denver sat on the ball, which I expected, and the Chiefs never got back up, which I hadn't expected. Final Score: Den 30, KC 10. I should have just let the bet stand.

Monday, September 26, 2005

80% Winners! Call Now!

What a nice weekend for betting the NFL. I hit the parlay, and went 1-1 on my picks against the spread. I'll be recusing myself from any more bets on the Bears against the spread, since I think my impartiality is compromised. I'm also temporarily tied for the week lead in my family fantasy league, and going 3-0 in the league at work. The NFL has been good to me so far. This is about the time where it may choose to start taking back. We'll see.

So, I went 1-1 in my straight bets, and hit a 3 total parlay. Does that make my NFL record 4-1 so far? I'm going to say it does, and if any of my zero readers have a problem with it, then they can let me know. Quoth Homer Simpson, "Lord, if I am doing the right thing, please give me absolutely no sign. I offer this milk and these cookies to you in gratitude. If you would like me to eat the milk and cookies, give me absolutely no sign. Thank you." Well, paraphraseth Homer Simpson, anyway. My memory isn't as good as it once was.

Three SNGs last night, one 2nd place finish. The tables were kinda wild with all-in pushmonkeys, which was kind of fun, at least until I bubbled out when my JJ ran into QQ.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Walkin' Back to Houston

I played a couple of SNGs at FTP last night, but only managed a 4 and 5 finish. Just didn't get the hands when I needed them. On the plus side, I cleared some bonus money, so I'm really only out the cost of one of those tourneys. Yay for bonus money.

I felt moved to play a parlay this weekend, so here's an additional pick (wagering $10 to win $60):

1 NFL Football
Cincinnati Bengals/Chicago Bears 25-September-2005 10:00 AM PST
Total Points UNDER 39 for Game -120

2 NFL Football
Atlanta Falcons/Buffalo Bills 25-September-2005 10:00 AM PST
Total Points OVER 36.5 for Game +100

3 NFL Football
Arizona Cardinals/Seattle Seahawks 25-September-2005 1:05 PM PST
Total Points OVER 41.5 for Game -110

Yeah, parlays tend to be sucker bets, but it's sure fun to watch that 3rd game, if the first two win.

I watched the WPT 2005 Mexican cruise limit tournament last night, and I sure felt bad for the amateur at the table. He won his way in via a Party Poker satellite, and managed to move through an impressive field of players to reach the final table with the chip lead. Then, he just donk'd all his chips away to the pro players. I know he had to play better than they showed on TV. I suppose the 3rd place money is decent consolation.

I read somewhere that TJ Cloutier referred to AK as "walkin' back to Houston." Back in the day, when TJ travelled around Texas to find a game, players from Houston would come to Dallas to play, and they all played like AK was the holy grail. They'd overvalue the hand and go broke, and that's why the Dallas players called it "walkin' back to Houston." In the first SNG last night, the player to my right went all-in with AK twice in a row, the first time to double me up, and the second time to get knocked out. Don't overvalue AK, no matter what Vince Van Patten says.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Hammerin' Helmuth

I played a couple of SNGs on Full Tilt last night, and took a first and a second. I also played an obnoxiously tight SNG on Stars, which found me out in 7th after a suckout on the river. Not a bad night. In the second tourney on Full Tilt, I found the hammer heads up against a weak-tight player that I had been pushing around a little bit. He had me slightly out-chipped, and I went for a decent pre-flop raise, which he called. He'd been calling my pre-flop raises and then folding to post-flop bets, so I did it again after a 7 came out to give me middle pair. I pushed with it, and he called with top pair. Oh well. Not the best play in the world, but it's always fun to play the hammer.

I decided to put a little money where my mouth is, so here are my picks for the week, which I've actually placed bets on. We'll see how it turns out.

CHI +3 -115
NE +3 +102


I'm watching Cold Pizza on ESPN2, and Helmuth is a guest. It's been 20 whole seconds and he's a freakin' nutjob. He's decked out in his Ultimate Bet windbreaker and hat, sunglasses, and he insists on sitting ramrod-straight in his chair. The host asked him about a ratio of skill:luck, and he says 80:20, and that anyone watching TV lately can see how unlucky he's been. How can anyone still like this guy?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

These are a few of my favorite things

I played in the WPBT Tournament last night at Titan Poker. I didn't get terribly good cards, but I managed to steal some blinds and get enough solid hands to stay alive for a while. I tried to make a move with a flush draw against a high pair which I didn't think would call--he called, I didn't hit my flush, and I went out 37th out of 67 (or so. I don't remember). It's fun to play in tournaments where most of the people play solid poker.

Iggy set up the tournament on Titan so that the bloggers who are employed by Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker could play. It's a shame that is necessary, because the Titan software really, really sucks. I thought it was slow, but since I run all my poker apps in Virtual PC on my mac, that may not have been the same for everyone. The chat feature was universally reviled, however. Every time there was some action, you wouldn't be able to type. Then, when you were able to type again, it started over at the beginning of the text box, so the end of your sentence was at the beginning. Then, you had to wait until action had moved on before you could delete the whole entry, and start the whole sorry process over again. Turning off the dealer messages alleviated this somewhat, but nothing could make it tolerable. Also, the action buttons are not intuitive. Want to raise? Type in the amount and click enter...but that doesn't execute the raise. It just changes the amount on the raise button, which you then click. I had moved $50 into Titan in order to cover the $20+1 tourney and a little ring game action, but after getting more and more irritated by the software in the NL games, I took my remaining $17.75 and went home. And here we reach my final complaint--I now have to wait 24 - 48 hours for the money to go back into Neteller. What a circus.

I play at Poker Stars and Full Tilt Poker. I have never had an issue with the customer service or software with Poker Stars, and although I am still relatively new to Full Tilt, I love their software (except for the avatars. I prefer Stars, where I can upload my own). I tried Party Poker, but I did not like their software at all, and the reliance on the web browsers combined with the ads soured me on it. I know that all the fish are at Party, and that's where the money is to be made, but I don't care. I play poker because it's fun, and because I want to get better at it. I find that the players I encounter in the $11 SNGs on FTP and Stars are mostly pretty good, and I have a good time playing there. It's a nice bonus that I'm able to make enough to slowly grow my online bankroll, at least enough to weather the periodic dips.

So, um...Titan and Party bad, FTP and Poker Stars good.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

You Can Take the Saints out of New Orleans

But you can't take the suck out of the Saints. All of the people that want to rally around the Saints as the new "America's Team" have clearly never watched the Saints play. Their trademark is stupid mistakes and penalties, as we saw last night. I think Joe Horn is learning that it's a tough task to transform from showboating asshole to inspirational leader, as well. Oh well, it was a more interesting game than the Cowboys v. Redskins, if only for the Stooges-like performance of the Saints.

It's been a little while since I played any poker, as football season crept up behind me and then grabbed me by the throat. I played a SNG last night on Full Tilt, though, and made it to 3rd. I didn't play all that well, since I was concentrating on football, but I guess that helped me to fold my way down to 5 players, as well. I played in one of the Katrina tournaments on Poker Stars last week, and after about 15 minutes, I got bored and wanted to watch football, so I went all-in until someone knocked me out.

My readership numbers in the single digits, and so I feel I have a whole lot of leeway on content in this blog. So, prepare for some football content to creep in, since it is my single obsession during the Fall and early Winter. I've been playing around with YPP (yards per point) numbers for help in handicapping games, and it's forcing me to face some of my football biases. For example, would you believe that I show Chicago to be 4.5 point favorites over the Bengals this weekend, or that I have the Chiefs as 9 point favorites over the Broncos? The opening lines for those games are Denver -3 and Cincinnati -3. I think the CIN line may be accurate, but the DEN line looks like an attempt by the linemaker to balance the action.

Maybe I'll start posting a pick or two on this blog, just for kicks. Let's kick off the action with these picks:

Chicago +3
Tampa Bay -2.5
San Francisco +6.5