Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Flush. Straight Flush.

M: Who the hell do they think they are? I report to the Prime Minister and even he's smart enough not to ask me what we do. Have you ever seen such a bunch of self-righteous, ass-covering prigs? They don't care what we do; they care what we get photographed doing. And how the hell could Bond be so stupid? I give him double-O status and he celebrates by shooting up an embassy. Is the man deranged? And where the hell is he? In the old days if an agent did something that embarrassing he'd have a good sense to defect. Christ, I miss the Cold War.
"Casino Royale"

So we saw the new Bond film last night, and I must confess this is the first Bond movie I have seen from start to finish. I've just never really been into it to be honest, but there you go. And I had no idea that the focus of this Bond movie was poker. In fact, that was what I liked least about the movie, that it focused so much on the poker game when it seemed unnecessary.

Without trying to be too much of a poker critic on these scenes (though I did correctly call every hand shown in the movie, much to the dismay of The Distraction), I just felt like this was the major scenes in the film, and it wasn't even remotely dramatic enough. In the end, he wins with better cards in a hand where most people would have went broke on – though I think I flattered myself thinking I could fold the Ace-6. I wouldn't. I would have thought it better if Bond had nothing, but took an extra 12 million off of Le Chieff and then finished him off by calling an all-in with nothing but a pair of twos. That would have shown him being a brilliant player. In this case, he was just in the right place at the right time. But that is being a little too much of a poker critic and not really important in the scheme of things.

The parkour scene near the beginning of the film was the best in the movie by far. I think the stripped back version of the chase was brilliant, and you can get sick of expensive cars doing triple flips through fire balls after a while.

I did pick out the cameo by Sir Richard Branson too, much to the delight of no one but myself.

All up, the movie was worth the $10 to go see at the cinema. Daniel Craig does a great job as Bond, though I still would have preferred Poker On Film favourite Clive Owen.

On to playing some actual poker, I made a late appearance at the home game last Friday and walked out down $20. this is likely to be my final game for 2006, which was a great year results wise, thanks to keeping of records for the first time this year. After Xmas, I will post more about the results and a firm analysis will be included. But for the game on Friday, it was mostly about mistakes by me and one hand where I just couldn't get paid off.

I made some crying calls and a bad read too many times. By definition, a crying call is made when you know you have lost, which amounts to stupidity in my book. Then why keep making them? At best, my reasoning can be so that people are loathe to bluff at me later on, knowing I will call but that is really clutching at straws. I have a great understanding of the betting patterns of the other players, but I put them aside too often. I think I will need to re-read this post before I go to the next game.

On another hand, I made a straight-flush on the turn, and duly checked to give every draw a chance of hitting. The final card was perfect I thought. It was the fourth spade, which also put a pair on the board. Against two others and with position, I was ready for a big score here. First position makes a minimum bet of $1, more as a joke than a real bet here. Second position just calls it. Yep, looks like I'm not getting paid here. Neither had a spade, and second position had just hit three of a kind but wasn't going to call without a spade in the hand to my raise. But anyway, that's the way things go.

The trend of the night was I went down early, then made a rebuy before I hit the felt and was dealt AA the very next hand. Instead of being all-in with $10 I managed to get $25 out of the player to my right. Good move, the early rebuy there. Then I had a good streak where I went up a good amount, before the cards went cold and I gave it all back. But it was enjoyable all the same, even if the night did end a little earlier than usual.

This is likely to be my last post for a few days, as we are travelling to the in-laws for Xmas this year and I won't be playing poker lest updating about it. My next post will more than likely be the 2006 summary, which I'm sure will amuse myself if no one else.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New Puppy Naming Fun

Blackadder: Right Baldrick, let's try again shall we? This is called adding. If I have two beans, and then I add two more beans, what do I have?
Baldrick: Some beans.
Blackadder: Yes... and no. Let's try again shall we? I have two beans, then I add two more beans. What does that make?
Baldrick: A very small casserole.
Blackadder: Baldrick, the ape creatures of the Indus have mastered this. Now try again. One, two, three, four. So how many are there?
Baldrick: Three.
Blackadder: What?
Baldrick: ...and that one.
Blackadder: Three and that one. So if I add that one to the three what will I have?
Baldrick: Oh. Some beans.
"Blackadder II"

You know, I've watched that series of Blackadder many times over, but only this past weekend did I see for the first time the actual ending of the series where Blackadder dies. Unusual that.

This past weekend my brother's, our respective wives and girlfriends gave my mother her 50th birthday present – a puppy!

Funny story – I had arranged the puppy through a breeder of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels months before hand, to make sure we could get what we wanted young enough at the time of her birthday. All was good, except when the puppy was to be registered just after birth, about 2 months before Mum's birthday, you have to give it a name.

Naming a new pet should be a very personal thing, something special when receiving the new little furry creature. But I guess I had to make the decision 2 months before Mum would even see the four legged friend.

So I chose the name "Archie", after a little deliberation and consideration for Mum's preferences. Her favourite football player's surname is Archer (and football is big in our family), and she was asked the living members of the band "The Sweet" why they didn't sing "Sugar Sugar" at their concert a couple of years ago. The member simply replied – "Because The Archies sing that song" – and it's become a bit of a running joke in our family. So, the puppy was named Archie. Well, it's pedigree name is actually Trissis Sir Archibald, but Archie for short.

Come the morning of Mum's birthday, we gave mum a stuffed toy of the same breed, saying we had to go pick up her actual gift later that day (which we did), and she was led to believe it was something we bought off ebay. When she was placing the new toy on the cupboard, The Distraction asked what she was going to name it. "Um…Archer. No, Archie. I'll name it Archie."

The Distraction started laughing, and thought that Mum must have already known.

So we went out to pick up the puppy and get the details on what needs to be done with regards to vet visits, rego and so on. And of course, we got to meet Archie for the first time. Might sound like something stupid, but I committed to nearly $750 of dog over the phone without once inspecting the puppy. Sure, I had pictures emailed to me and I had only paid a $100 deposit, but the risk of it didn't register with me. We paid the balance when we picked him up, and you wouldn't believe how well behaved he was for a dog so young. It was well worth the extra money going through a proper breeder when you get such a great result.

Anyway, we brought him home and Mum was of course instantly in love with him. When I showed his rego papers and his pedigree name as Trissis Sir Archibald, she thought it was an amazing co-incidence that we decided to name him Archie. Then I explained that the reason the pedigree name was such was because we named him Archie, not the other way around.

I guess I can put myself in other people's mind set sometimes. I'll claim that a victory for poker right there.

With my grandfather in attendance, it would mean a lot of card playing was going on. We must have played hours of 500 over the course of the weekend, but no poker to speak of. I have been playing 500 for years, but only just this past weekend realised the importance of position in the game much like poker – same goes for 6-handed Euchre (another family favourite).

I was quietly proud how the poker skills garnered in the past few years can translate into other areas of life.

That and I am 4 from 4 ITM since the weekend for SNG's. Go me.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Biggest Night Ever

Kimmie: I should let you know that Mr Heiss will only be available to meet for about five minutes, so we should hurry up and cut to the point. Um, and speak in short sentences because he has the attention span of a ferret on crystal meth.

While it may seem a little silly for me to make comment on a movie 12 months after it was released, I only just got around to seeing domino on the weekend. I didn't read any reviews before but the general idea and feel of the movie seemed to suggest spending the $6 on a rental was worth it. Sadly, that was wrong. This was just a terribly made movie for so many reasons. The most annoying was the constant voice over from the titular character, which was overused, grating and also redundant and misleading in many occasions. Lets have a few examples of why the voice over, and the entire script in general, just didn't have a chance.

Domino Harvey: That's my best friend. His name is Choco. He's always fancied me, but is too shy to ever do anything about it.

These voice overs are apparently told in retrospect from Domino as she is being questioned by the FBI. This first quote says that Choco never tried to do anything about his "fancy", but 90 minutes later they are engaged in a drug-fuelled romp in the desert.

Domino Harvey: That's our driver Alf. He's from Afghanistan. He once ate a cat. We can't understand how to pronounce his fucking name so we just call him the cat eating alien.

First off, the driver Alf comes out of nowhere. He wasn't a part of their rag-tag group, then all of a sudden he was. Secondly, they never call him the cat eating alien in the entire movie save for this voice over. They call him Alf. It's pretty easy to pronounce.

Domino Harvey: If you're wondering what's true and what isn't, fuck off, because it's none of your goddamn business!

It is my business. I paid $6 for it. And I have a fair idea what is true and what isn't. But this comes across more as an excuse for why so much of the story line seems messed up and doesn't make sense. Excuses are not really a reason for forgiveness in this case.

Anyway, having a quick look today around the place, it looks like it did not fare well with the critics or the audience, so I guess that seems about right. It just really got to me because I was hoping for a good movie and after 15 minutes I knew I was in for a bad one. At least it was only a rental.

Going through my recent poker results, I found out I had a clean month for Novmeber – no down sessions at all, which was fantastic also considering I played every weekend in November. To back up with this, the first weekend in December has already eclipsed that mark and then some with a massive result on this past Saturday night. Before I hit a cold run of cards for the final 3 hours of the night, I was up over 11 buy-ins. I finished the night up nearly 8.

When I go through the hands in my head I can't recall any monster hands, or any more than one full house on the night (and that was on a double paired board, split pot). I just had good hands that people were drawing against and they were not hitting. I had one bad beat for the night, but I was up by then so it did not concern me at all.

At the suggestion of the host, we also had a jackpot hand every hour. For this, everyone would throw in $5 and then the hand would be dealt open, the winner pocketed the pot. I thought this might get a bit silly, but in the end it worked out really well and got kind of exiting when it all came down to the last card with 8 runners still having a chance. It was something that you could look forward to even when you were getting bad cards and not playing many hands. I think it will now become a regular occurrence at our home games.