Friday, February 25, 2011

Of Poker, and Other Pursuits

I have recently been on a good run, having pulled out 9 and 12 racks from the 8/16 game at Bay 101. Well today, I beat them all. I increased my stake 21 times!

But first, a bad beat story. It's short. Your dollar is in the mail.*

Got aces. Flopped top set. Lost to runner-runner-flush to a guy with 10-7 off-suit who called three bets preflop AND called the flop with no draw.

See, that wasn't so bad. That bad beat story is short enough to tweet (which should be the criteria for all bad beat stories IMHO).

The end result was that my initial buy-in got down to 5 chips. Rather than reach for a re-buy, I dumped them into the big blind in much the same way people buy lottery tickets. Long story short, 5 limpers and I look down at AQ. I toss the extra chip into the pot. It checks around on the flop and turn. One bettor on the river gets called with pocket 6s, but I flopped an Ace and it was good for the main pot! WTF?!

From 5 chips to 30 chips. Sweet. Let it ride! I am in the small blind and call 1/2 a bet with rags, but I flop trips. I manage to get all my chips into the pot with a few callers along the way, and voilĂ , 21x. Of course, this basically gets me back my buy-in. I promptly racked up and called it a win. It almost felt better than dragging out 12 racks. Almost.


In other news, most of you know my passion for Ferrari. Before I owned the car, I did not own a single piece of Ferrari-related paraphernalia. Since that time, I bought a hat, a fleece jacket from my car club,** and a Ferrari key-chain.*** That's it. But, I've only really coveted one non-drivable Ferrari item, and never actually thought it would be mine. Until today.

* No, it isn't.

**We call ourselves FOG, for Ferrari Owners Group. It's apropos because we drive around San Francisco. Cute, eh?

***Since bequeathed to Drizz as my bust-out prize during the last WPBT. Still waiting on your visit so we can go busting through the Palo Alto hills, buddy.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Dream Rangers

Sometimes I wonder about the #wpbt. Will we still be together in 30 years? 40?

Give this video a minute. Epic.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

MY Million Dollar Prop Bet

Editors Note: I may or may not believe any of this.

I'm fairly certain that 99% of my readers are already aware of the recent prop bet among a couple young poker phenoms, but for those that aren't, catch up here:

Part I

Part II

Today, I went for a nice 6 mile run (okay, it was 5.7 miles, but I'm allowed to round up). I often do creative thinking while running. I've made life decisions, wrote songs, and even invented a perpetual motion machine,* all while running. Today I wrote a blog post.

I love running. I hate when I've been away for a while and try to start up again, because I know that the first month or two will be painful. When you've run a couple marathons, struggling with 2 miles is embarrassing. But, after you get over the initial difficulties, it's fun seeing and tracking your progress. (As an aside, let me apologize once again for inundating you with all of the CardioTracker posts. I'm addicted to the stats, and I'm posting those on FB and Twitter mostly for myself).

As a poker player and amateur gambler, I love a good prop bet. Well, let me correct that. I love reading about a good prop bet. I was excited following Ted Forrest as he tried to lose a ridiculous amount of weight in order to win $2 million from Mike Matusow. He's had other legendary bets including running a marathon in the desert heat. Phil Laak stayed awake for a week playing poker. EDog walked 4 rounds of golf in Vegas. They all did it to win money and we loved watching it. You know what? Each of them could have died for their efforts. Some more than others, but there was an implied health risk in each situation in order to win money.

So, why was this running bet different?

It doesn't take a physician to realize that running 70 miles in 24 hours would put a terrible strain on your body. Believe me, I know what it can do. I will give you that this bet was probably more risky than the others. If you don't believe me, Google "rhabdomyolysis." But so what? Yes, he could have died. Yes, there was some terrific soul-searching on both bettors. Yes, if it was my son, I'd be terrified. Hell, if it was my son and he died, I would be devastated for the rest of my life. But you know what? I'd also be proud as hell. He died trying to prove himself. Isn't that what we all try to do in this life? How will we know what we're capable of if we don't push ourselves to the limit? I don't mean to overplay this, but isn't that the kind of stuff that we Americans envy? Isn't that what makes our country great? Could you imagine a young Iranian kid gambling for $1 million by running 70 miles? Only in America. Or maybe Canada (nah, they're probably too smart).

So, for those of you who argue that this was terrible, I want to know why. There is a very well reasoned blog post by my buddy Grange** who takes the side that this may have been a manifestation of mental illness, and worse, it was taking advantage of someone who is impaired. I'm not arguing that point. I used to play poker with Barry, a wonderful man about my age with cerebral palsy who seemed to have an endless supply of money and kept giving it away at the Muckleshoot Casino. I sat at his table many times, as did the whole poker community. It doesn't detract from the fact that I really liked the guy and would often chat with him away from the table. It's poker, and if you have it, I want it.

So, the argument is that this kid must have been mentally ill to attempt such a feat. What you're saying is that attempting something that has, not just a theoretical chance, but a very REAL chance of getting you killed, means you are mentally ill. Especially if it's for money. Well, you know what? I did the same thing. For $1 million. And guess what?

I won.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, most of my readers know me. For those that don't, or may have forgotten, let me refresh. It was 1988. Two years prior, I had dropped out of college and joined the Army. I chose the Army because it was the only branch of service that let me sign up for two years. I sure as hell wasn't staying in longer than that. But then, in 1988, I was given a choice. If you sign here on the dotted line, you'll commit yourself until 2008 (for those mathematically challenged, that's 20 years). And, BTW, if we go to war, you go too. You might get killed, but it's a risk we're willing to let you take. On the positive side, we'll give you $1 million dollars. It will be spread out over 20 years, but it's yours. Sign?

Of course, I signed. And, I did go to war. And I didn't get killed. And I got the dough. So, my question is, who is crazier, a kid who tries to prove himself by pushing the absolute limits of human endurance one time in a 24 hour stretch, or a kid who signs up 20 years of his life and agrees to fight in wars that he may or may not believe in?

I know I'm a little crazy, too. I guarantee you this: he and I both acknowledged the risk, but it really didn't factor into the decision (Me: I can do this! My Brain: Really, how do you know? Me: Only one way to find out.)

I also know that if I'm going to war (or doing anything that takes risk and determination), I want that kid on my side. Every time.

* I am almost embarrassed to tell you how much time I have devoted to inventing a perpetual motion machine. Think hundreds of hours. Thousands, probably.

** who, BTW, is going to lose a bunch of dough to me on a distance-running prop bet. There's irony!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ferrari Run!

I've been hesitant to post anything Ferrari-related after the last dust-up, but you know what? It's what I love. It's my passion, and it's my blog, dammit. Don't like it? Don't read it.

Today was an amazing run. The weather here is spectacular* and the old crowd, as well as a bunch of newbies, came out of the woodwork. We had 30 cars in all. 27 were Ferraris, but there were two Jags and a Lambo rounding out the bunch. There is no pretentiousness in this group. We call ourselves FOG (Ferrari Owners Group), but we love it when other interesting or classic cars show up. Today we had a few special treats, including one car** worth more than all the others. Combined. Several times over, in fact. These folks just love cars. No way they're going to let these beauties sit in a garage, ala Cameron's dad.

We drove over Mt. Tam in Marin county and waved at our friend Dacia, who it apparently hiking up there today (Hi, Dacia!) and then stopped for brunch at Murray Circle, in Sausalito. What an amazing place! Great food with great people. I'm still smiling.

Enjoy the pics.

*I figured if people are pissed I'm writing about my Ferrari, they might as well be REALLY pissed so I'll brag about the weather amidst one of the worst snow storms in memory.

** Yes, I know my big fat finger is in the way, but I'm too lazy to crop the pic and it doesn't detract from the beauty of the machine.

One more pic I stole from a friend:

Edit: If you want to see more from today (and far better pics from a real photographer), check out this site.