yet another surprisingly sane post about poker (mostly)

April 10, 2009 | 3:20 am | JCarver

Starting off this post with a non-poker yet somehow serious topic, it seems to me that the under reported story of the week is the publication of the International Committee of the Red Cross’ report on torture/abuse during the Bush administration.  Apparently, the ICRC wrote a report, meant to be privately sent to the CIA, describing and documenting repeated detainee abuses over the past six years.  Unsurprisingly, it strongly recommends major changes/shutdowns.  I’m not sure how it was made public, but it is, and it’s pretty disgusting.  Yes, these detainees are very likely to be terrorists, but it still doesn’t excuse torturing them (isn’t this obvious?? maybe not).  If you haven’t read it, I strongly recommend you do so.  It’s as close to a primary source as most of us are ever going to get on news like this.

Continuing my blue blooded flag burning socialist ways, I watched Milk yesterday.  I thought it was pretty damn good and I’m semi-surprised it didn’t beat Slumdog for best picture.  I mean, if I hadn’t heard any of the hype of either movie, I’d think that any superbly made Milk-type of movie would typically crush something more…feel-good/popcorny, as Slumdog sort of is.  Both are obviously very good, though.  Out of the other nominated films, I still haven’t seen Frost/Nixon, The Reader, and Benjamin Button, but I’m not particularly enthused to see any of those.  Not sure what I’m going to watch next for movies but I picked a random HBO drama I hadn’t seen before to watch.  I ended up selecting True Blood.  True Blood is a drama that takes place in a current-day alternate-universe with vampires openly co-existing amongst humans in Louisiana.  Sounds pretty awful.  Initially I was sure that it was pretty terrible, then as I watched it I became more unsure of its terribleness, even leaving the possibility for it to be good, and now… well, I think it’s actually fairly good.  I keep waiting for it to come off the rails and head to horribleland but it’s developed surprisingly nicely into something compelling.

I’ve felt pretty terrible myself the past week, and not just because I watched Heroes on Monday (harharhar).  I felt fairly badly physically sick – some sort of stomach pain/fever – as well as just mentally feeling…not myself, and wanting to be alone.  I haven’t played much poker – pretty much just SCOOP events – and don’t really plan on putting in a big session until Sunday.  I was pretty unmotivated to really do much of anything the past week and I’m not sure that’ll change for awhile.  I’ve thankfully finally started to feel better the past 24 hours, so who knows.

I’ve sort of been writing a decent amount lately.  For the first time in awhile, I really don’t feel like I have anyone that I can say I am closely connected with – there are few people, if anyone at all, that I feel able to communicate with on a meaningful level.  In (healthy, but hopefully temporary) replacement of this, I’ve sort of found myself turning inward.  This has resulted in a committing a bunch of time to writing, more so than I have in a long time.   I’m spending a bunch of my writing time working on a theory post that I am further and further convinced that I’ll never post.  I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with it if I don’t end up posting it, but regardless I keep finding myself drawn back to it.  I guess we’ll see how that develops before worrying about its destination, if any.  Bluff also put up my debut article this week which I’m sort of proud of.  I don’t know if I’ll ever do that again (especially when I heard what I got paid to do it), but it made my parents happy and the article is pretty solid, so there’s that at least.

WPT Foxwoods went stupidly as usual.  I feel like Santa Claus, just an increasingly unhealthy jolly white boy traveling all over the world sprinkling money to all the wonderful idiots from town to town, bless their hearts.  I feel like I’m playing well blah blah blah but it’s still very frustrating.  I’ve never – ever! – cashed a live 5k+ buyin, and I’ve played at least 20-25 lifetime.  It’s not outside of reality to just run bad for 20 tournaments obviously, but it’s annoying (and costly).  I did experiment with some new stuff at FW that I really liked and worked well and I’ll have to try it again in whatever dumb live tournament I end up playing next.

I did, however, get something marginally cool out of my Foxwoods experience.  During a few of the breaks I got to spend some time with Mike Matusow (!!) for the first time which was pretty interesting.  He doesn’t remember, but the first time I ever played HSNL was HU vs him at $50-$100, haha.  I was probably 18-19, hanging out by myself in a shitty Turning Stone room when I saw him sitting by himself at table Bluff (yes, I’m 99% sure of the name of the table, haha).  This was back when $200-$400 was the biggest they had and I was mostly a $5-$10 grinder at highest.  I had a fun time playing him and definitely felt post-match that I had an edge – a big boost to my confidence at the time.  I ended up a winner that night and didn’t really think much of his game at the time, but over the next year we played together a bunch in 6m games and I quickly grew to respect his game.  He’s a totally different player (and person) now and seems like a quality guy in real life and a good potential friend to have.

SCOOP has been one big WHIFF thus far for me.  The HU, $2k 1r1a, and $10K main are all this weekend, making a potentially $50K swing if I play the $25K HU.  I wasn’t going to do it, initially, because I didn’t really want to play a super-deep HUament vs the best HU players in the world and have my entire hopes for glory pinned on playing the weaker sponsored players, but now having seen the structure, I might do it.  I mean, it’s a TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLAR tournament and you start with 100bb.  What???  I’m all for focusing on superior structures over starting stacks but I think starting with 100bb for this buyin is a joke.  The structure gives you 5,000 starting chips with 15 levels of 25-50, 30-60, 40-80/a, 50-100/a, etc.  Every good player’s skill edge is clearly minimized with stacks being so shallow so I just might give it a shot if I feel like it since I’ll never be THAT crushed skillwise or have too many tough decisions.  Pretty sure if you can seriously say that about a $25K HU tournament something isn’t right.

I thought Nachos’ last post was pretty interesting.  I don’t agree that tournament players have greater mental focus than cash game players – certainly the level of focus that it takes to mutltable for 12 hours on sundays, making mostly shallow-stack decisions versus mostly idiots, is definitely less than what it takes to play 8 tables of HSNL for the same amount of time.  I think the MTTers might be more able to put a LONG session in and maaaaybe suck up the variance more (because hey, another 6 MTTs start on the hour!) but I wouldn’t give them any sort of general mental/focus edge over cash game players.  I think Nachos overrates what the average MTTer considers “focus” to be.  Robotically clicking and not thinking doesn’t count as focus to me but that’s what most MTT regs do during their session.  I would, however, agree that the BEST mtt regs are typically highly focused throughout the session duration and evaluate every decision efficiently and thoroughly, perhaps more so than the average mid/high stakes player could be over the same time.

Tomorrow I’m going to be doing the $200 1r1a and $2k 1r1a  and maaaaybe the $500 O8 scoop.  If it has overlay, I’ll certainly do it, and if not – we’ll see.  I’m almost certainly not going to do the $5K o8 either way, and don’t plan on doing the $5k plo or $5k LHE.  I really want to win the $10K on sunday – probably near $1M for first, and my birthday is like two days later… give me a birthday present please lee jones??

2 Responses to “yet another surprisingly sane post about poker (mostly)”

  • April 10, 2009 at 6:52 am

    PokerCelebrities.org said:


    Great one man. I definitly will be following your blog in the future, or at least I keep it in my RSS :)

  • June 26, 2009 at 5:06 am

    matt said:


    nice blog man, i watched your 50dollar tourney vid on poker vt, and your analysis is spot on its an amazing extension to daniels smallball, and the whole
    ‘behind the scenes with jcarver’ cracked me up so much funny guy lol

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