Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Despite what you all may think, The Wife and I are not millionaires. We will be (someday), but when is anyone's guess.

I was thinking about millionaires as I jogged through our neighborhood here in Palo Alto. Depending on how you look at the numbers, every single one of my neighbors is a millionaire. So how can a doctor and VP with no debt be the poorest people in the area?

The answer of course is "home value." The smallest home on my street is about 1700 square feet and right now Zillow lists it around $1.5 million. It's an older home, and I'm assuming the people that live there own it outright. It's not an unreasonable assumption. It's a beautiful area with very little moving in and out. So why are they driving a beat up 1990s Toyota and not a Ferrari? Well, some of them are, and I bet it's not because they are independently wealthy. It's because banks wouldn't hesitate to give them loans. See, on paper, they are worth a mint. The bank sees that home as collateral of a million+ and it's free and clear.

What they failed to account for was two fold:
1. No one could or would buy that house if the bank took it as collateral.
2. It's a bit overvalued*

If you want to see what's wrong with home values in America, it's right here in this photo. And on this street. Maybe we're not so poor after all.

* A "slight" exaggeration - home prices here are about $800 to $1000 a square foot. 15 years ago they were about $100 to $150 a square foot.

Monday, September 28, 2009

On Bicycles

I fancied myself a bit of a daredevil when I was a kid. We used to ride bicycles around the neighborhood looking for things to jump off of. Or over. It got worse when Billy Wenz started getting paid to ride his bicycle. He was amazing. The kids would all gather around and watch him do tricks. There was a low hill with a hedge on it and he'd ride straight up into the hedge, flip-turn his bike 180 degrees and come back down smooth as silk. Sometimes all the kids would lie down in the street and he'd jump right over us. No ramp needed. This was circa 1976, before anyone ever heard of X-games.

There was a big hill behind the cemetery which backed up to my house. We called it the sky jump because you could jump off it and land in a pile of soft dirt. The short free-fall was quite the rush. One day, I had the hare-brained idea to see if I could jump my bicycle off it. Of course, all the kids gathered round (see, even then I loved being on stage), mostly to see the carnage. It was worse than you think. The jump and free fall were great, but I gauged the landing wrong. My back tire hit too hard, forcing my front tire hard into the hill. It must have hit a rut because the handlebars spun 180 degrees and I went right over - face first into the one spot on the hill with no soft dirt. I think part of my face may still be embedded in that hill.

Fast forward to 2009. I'm no longer the daredevil I once was. I am; however, a 42 year old doctor who let himself get out of shape over the last year. Recently I took up Dacia on her offer of some company during a short 13 mile trot around Napa. That means I have to get into some semblance of shape. My runs have increased in distance and speed, and this morning I ran for 46 minutes. I still had some energy, so what did I do? Out comes the mountain bike!

I got some clip on shoes that nearly killed me before I figured out that you could loosen the clamps. It's been a while, but how hard can it be? It's like riding a bicycle, dammit.

Long story short - I fell off my bicycle while still clamped in. I was on a foot bridge over Highway 101 and landed hard into the fence rail, hurting my left thumb and bruising several ribs.

I'm a daredevil again!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Vegas (Photo) Trip Report

Just back from another amazing trip to Vegas. This one started out as a guys trip with my good friend Dr. Moist. It's not the best nickname, but he sweats a bit so I guess it makes sense. He's also one of the best trip planners EVAR and no one has ever had bad time on a trip from Moistman Tours.

(Note: Because I'm still a blogger newby, these photos are out of order. I couldn't figure out how to fix it. Tough noogies.)

If you know me, you know that no trip to Vegas would be complete without a glass of Macallan 18 which I raised in your general direction.

He we find your hero ready to brave a tiny helicopter. It was certainly the highlight of the trip, although I may have fallen asleep (ala Steel Panther) due to my 6 am previous session of poker. The flight was smooth as silk and the views were breathtaking.

We landed right in the grand canyon (about 30 minutes after takeoff) for a picnic lunch. Here I am with Dr. Moist and his non-identical (but scarily similar) brothers. Moisty is the one with hair.

This was simply amazing. This is a view of the Hoover Dam as well as the partially finished bypass bridge. If you've ever been to the dam, you get an idea of the scale of the bridge. It's awesome.

Lake Meade from the heli as we swing towards the canyon.

Earlier in the day we drove out to the dam, so we had the chance to see it from the ground (and the inside on the tour) prior to seeing it from the air. Highly recommended approach.

This is a view of the bypass bridge from the dam (which is behind me to the left).

Yes, I know this was very touristy. I refuse to feel guilty. I played plenty of poker and even germinated a new business (details in a future post). I also saw Penn & Teller, Ka and ate fancy food. All totaled, this was one of the best non-blogger Vegas trips I've ever had.

Now I'm extra ready for Steel Panther and some bloggery goodness. I may even stay awake this time.

Monday, September 21, 2009


As promised, here is the short version of my collusion post.

After waiting a good while, I finally got my dream seat. I was one to the left of a Crazian I've played with once before. He's only got one gear and I love it. In this particular hand he limped and I raised in MP with 8c-7c. The flop smacked me in the face: 8h-6c-5c. Top pair with OESFD.

He bets out. There are three players behind. What do you do? Answer before you read on.


I chose to raise, and here's why. It was a very loose table, and while I really like the drawing potential of my hand, this is a draw-heavy board and I probably have the best hand right now. No need letting a nekkid Ace of clubs hang around.

As soon as I raise, a quiet TAG Asian player (who knew there was such a thing) in the 8 seat says to the dealer, "I want to see all hands." The only reason he says this is because he suspects I'm colluding with the Crazian.

The turn improves my hand - it's another 8. Crazian now checks. I bet out. Everyone folds and I drag the pot.

Here's the question for the blogosphere: Do you show TAG (and the rest of the table) your cards in order to dispel the accusation of collusion, or do you keep them guessing?

More Ferrari

I could care less if my Ferrari fetish bores you. It never gets old for me.

The Bay Area seems to be a mecca for Ferraris. I would see one occasionally in the Seattle area, but not often. Here I see them on a daily basis. This color combination (Grigio Silverstone with Cuoio interior) is the absolute best of the 430 IMHO. In the 360, I still prefer Rosso Corsa (Red) with the tan interior.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Truckin' is Out!

Another issue of Truckin’ is out. Go read it while I'm working on my next post about collusion. I would have posted it already, but I'm tilting from losing with AA, KK, QQ and JJ in one damn session (no, I won't pay you a dollar).


September 2009, Vol. 8, Issue 9

Welcome back to the September issue of Truckin’.

Tangerine Rockets by Paul McGuire
Lennie was an international legend. His father walked away from a plane crash and passed along some of those good luck genes over to Lennie…. More

2. The Red Pill by Sigge S. Amdal
She dropped the face and began to cry, as tensions rose around me. The waiters stopped waiting tables, people stopped talking; they were just exchanging knowing glances and judgmental comments… More

3. Fine Tuning by Milton T. Burton
He looked perplexed. I slipped my hand beneath my coat, came out with the little silenced .22 Magnum auto, and shot him right in the center of the forehead. The hollow-point bullet exited the back of his skull, making a colorful little jet of blood and brains as it went…

4. On Scoring by Human Head
One look at the eyeliner, eyebrows, gold hoops and herringbone chains, and I knew this was the Angel we were supposed to see. As she drew closer to the door, the tattoo’s left little doubt. She didn’t say anything. She just looked at me… More

5. The Joys of Gambling by Johnny Hughes
Saratoga Springs, New York in August was the gambling capital of America in the 1920s, with the horses, the spa waters, large and ornate casinos, and America’s wealthiest citizens in a gilded age, when money and wine were treated like water… More

What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been…

From the Editor’s Laptop:

The September edition of Truckin’ marks the return of the Human Head after a four year hiatus. I’m enthralled to have him back in the mix. Everyone’s favorite Norwegian word wanker, Sigge, returns for a second month in a row. We also have a couple of Texan scribes in Johnny Hughes and Milton T. Burton. And of course, I have a story inspired by a recent trip to Colorado.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

California's Great Adventure

As amusement parks go, this one was pretty good. It's bigger than Wild Waves (which was 2 miles from our house in Federal Way, WA), and it's got some pretty cool rides. Their wooden roller coaster (The Grizzly, I think) was so rickety I thought I'd have blood in my urine this morning. It reminded me a lot of the Cyclone at Coney Island.

The kids had a great time. It's a good thing, too. Season passes were only 5 dollars more than the regular day pass, so we have something to do for the rest of this year and all of 2010.

Of course, no day at the park would be complete without an injury. Mine came due to a viscous blind sided attack... by one of the horsies on the carousel.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Guess What I Did Today?

Alas, I'm still dreaming at this point. This dealership is only 8 miles from my new home. Omen? I think so.

What Would You Do - The Reveal

I love strategy posts like this one because, 1. it let's me see how ya'll think right before we go to Vegas, and 2. I actually know the outcome of this hand.

For those who need a little catching up, start here. I feel like I gave you enough information to arrive at a decision.

I'm pretty proud of the fact that I didn't to anything too hasty. That's a big leak in my game. In this case, I deliberately replayed the hand in my head. Yes, he pre-flop raised. Yes, he's been very tight. No, I had not seen him get out of line in the 2+ hours we played together.

I actually asked him, "Will you show me if I fold?" I seriously have no idea what information I'm supposed to get from this question. I see pros ask occasionally (heck, Lee Jones asked the same of me after a PLO8 hand), but I'm not sure if it helps me make a decision here. Does anyone else use this tool?

In any case, he said that no, he would not show me. In the end, I heard Doyle Brunson ask me, "Is this where you want to get in all your chips?"

I mucked.

I really enjoyed the analysis from everyone who commented. I got responses of insta-muck, raise all-in and even call.

Well, guess what? He actually did show me his hand. He flopped a set of aces. Yay me!

In the end, though, it doesn't matter. That's results oriented poker. The decision was sound, and like MHG said, if he showed me AK, I'd still be happy with my decision. As for BLAARGH, it sounds like you won the hand you described (with your set of 3s), so I'm a bit confused. PoH, I can't help you. Drizz, MHG, Shawn and BadBlood, I want you on my left. Shrike and Hoy, I want you on my right. PoH and BLAARGH, I want you anywhere at my table. :-)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Would You Do?

Playing 3/5 NL last night. The table was unusually tight with a lot of limping preflop but insta-folding to any flop or turn bets, something I was using to my full advantage. The one thing that stood out to me was that there was little regard for bet sizes, especially on the turn and river (i.e. draws were constantly being priced in, raises would be more than half their remaining stack, etc).

The player to my right was even tighter then average. I'd only seen him pre-flop raise once, but didn't see the hand because there was no showdown.

I'm on the button with 6-7. Two early position limpers and cutoff guy on my right raises to $20. I call assuming that both limpers will call, and they do.

The flop is Ad-7s-6d. It checks around to me. I'm pretty happy with my bottom 2PR, but I don't like the straight and flush possibilities. I bet $75 into this $88 pot.

MPs both fold over to captain tight-pants in the cutoff, who min-raises me to $150. He has $350 behind and I have him well covered.

What do you do?