Sunday, July 31

Cowboy Up

Are There Cowboys In New Jersey?

(This entry crossposted at Steal The Blinds.)

Because I'm a masochist, I'm again trying to get into the WPT Borgata Poker Open. I skipped one of my usual steps, though, and actually ponied up the $26 for the minisatellite instead of winning a $4.40 miniminisatellite to get there.

I had outrageously good cards and was the tournament chip leader for a while. In the 2½ hours I was playing, I caught A/A twice and K/K several times. This post concerns my adventures with them cowboys in the stretch of 30 minutes.

K/K is a powerful hand, the second strongest hand in Hold'em. Unfortunately, it is often a vulnerable hand.

With the blinds at 60/120, I found Kª/K¨ under the gun. At the time I'd just been knocked off the chip lead because I couldn't make my flush in a previous hand. But I still had over 3500 chips. I raised with my cowboys, to an even 300. Everyone folded to the big blind (who I'll call "Roy Rogers"), who called.

The flop came 9¨/Q¨/Q©. A good flop for my hand: I'm behind only a queen or A/A, and even if Roy had me beat I can still catch a king or two running cards to fill a straight or flush. He checked and I made a pot-size bet of 660. Although I figured I was ahead in the hand, if Roy had a one-card draw, I didn't want him to see it for cheap.

He raised all-in, for 2329 more. I called instantly, because anyone with a Q would slowplay it, definitely, for sure, absolutely . . . right?

He had Q§/8©. Ouch. Guess not. The turn and river were 2© and 5© respectively and suddenly I was short-stacked. If I had raised more before the flop, I might have pushed him off his marginal hand, but I couldn't worry about that now.

Six hands later, I had 8§/8¨ in middle position. In between, I got lucky enough to save my ass by splitting a pot I was dominated in (K/J vs. K/Q, the board showed two pair), then suck out and double up. In this hand, the player two seats to my right raised to 420, then Roy Rogers, who was on my immediate right, reraised to 720, and I pushed all of my 1500+ chips in. I was hoping they both had big cards so I would have a solid chance of tripling up (near 50% if one had A/K and the other A/Q), or that one of them would have pocket 9s or 10s and would give it up.

Not so lucky. The first raiser folded, but Roy called and turned over K§/Kª. Uh-oh.

The flop came Qª/2ª/8ª. I caught the card I needed, but I was still in danger, because he now had a flush draw; I was slightly less than a 2-1 favorite. The turn was 4§. The river was 5¨ and I doubled up.

The rollercoaster continued three hands later, when I found 9¨/9ª under the gun. I decided to just call the big blind in the hopes of flopping a set. The table short-stack, in middle position (whom I'll call . . . uh . . . I'm not big on famous cowboys, I can't think of another one . . . I got it: "Troy Aikman"), raised all-in for 1200. I called. He had K¨/K§. I couldn't beat the odds again and I was back down to the low-2000s.

Following that hand, this is what I typed in the chat window:

marchron: well, let's see, i've lost with kings
marchron: i've beaten someone holding kings
marchron: then i lost to someone holding kings
marchron: all i have to do is win with kings now and the cycle is complete

It was prescient. Ten hands later, after the blinds went up to 80/160, I found K©/K¨ in the big blind. Troy Aikman limped in. Roy Rogers limped in from the small blind. I raised to 700. They both folded.

It wasn't a big pot, but I did win. The cycle was complete.

As for the rest of the tourney, I got shafted by the table balance process, being placed at a table with the four biggest stacks while the table with six of the seven smallest stacks got some respite with each other and no whales around. The tournament leader made a very dumb call when I had a pair, and sucked out for a bigger pair to bust me. The top 9 made the main satellite, the next three cashed for a slight profit, and I finished in 14th, winning nothing but a good pokerblog post. Bastard.

I'll write a new essay tomorrow. I swear. Okay, I know I've let you down before, but I'm serious this time. With the help of a pamphlet I read about blog depression, I'm ready to conquer my malaise.

After all, admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery.

(Edit 8/1 11:16 PM to add the Steal The Blinds link.)


Tuesday, July 26

I'm Baaaaacckkk!

What Did I Miss?

For the last, oh, couple of months, I've been too damn lazy to blog about events. Here's my half-assed attempt to catch up with them, just so in twenty years nobody will say to me, "How could you not blog about ________?"

This was the first event that I deliberately skipped writing about, just because I wasn't sure how the fallout would shake down and didn't want to rush to one extreme and then have to take it all back.

Part of this was because I was very hedgy about the idea of whether or not to employ the "nuclear option" in the first place. At first, I didn't think it was a good idea, then clarified my position to "give the Democrats enough rope first," and that seemed to be happening. Senate Democrats were starting to lose their minds because the secret loophole that allowed them to take their obstruction to eleven was about to be countered by a rule which allowed the GOP to take obstruction-blocking to twelve.

The best example of this dramatic loss of all rationality and dignity was Robert Byrd (D-WV). On May 12, Byrd brought his King James Bible to the Senate floor and proceeded to tell the story of Haman, who was hanged in the gallows he built for someone else (Esther 7:10). I don't often go for the tired old cheap-shot insult, but the irony of a former KKK Kleagle threatening his opponents with being hanged, even if only metaphorically, was delicious.

But then seven Republicans conspired with seven Democrats to undercut the GOP's momentum on the issue. At first, I was upset: the Democrats simply had no right to pervert the filibuster and use it against judicial nominees. But the deal handed them that ability, checking it only by allowing it under "extraordinary circumstances," a vague and malleable phrase that could potentially be extended even to the size of John Bolton's mustache. However, I soon realized the many upsides: 1. Judges like Janice Rogers Brown were confirmed; 2. if the Democrats dare attempt a filibuster and justify it by "extraordinary circumstances" which defy common sense, the GOP will eat their lunch; 3. one less issue for the hard left to run against in 2006 and '08; 4. no blowback from Joe and Jane Q. Apolitical.

So count me in with Decision '08 and the rest of the Coalition Of The Chillin'. At worst, the deal kicked the can down the road until a Supreme Court nominee fight. Which brings me to . . .

Eh. I neither hold her in revered esteem nor despise her to the core; I pray for the health of her husband, commend her for being much, much more than a novelty selection to the Supreme Court, and thank her for her service to this nation.

Plus, she did get the decision right in . . .

I mean, come on. Even people who think the Constitution is a living, breathing document can't possibly claim that contained therein is a right for Starbucks to knock down a nursing home.

The one upside to the ruling is that eventually it will be extended to cyberspace, and I'll be able to yoink Oliver Willis' bandwidth and use it for a casino website.

I'm not packed to the gills with information on John Roberts and what kind of justice he'll make. I'm too lazy, and plus, reading legalese makes me want to guzzle a bottle of Drano. Hugh Hewitt likes him, and I'll take his word for it.

All I really care about is that he's a Constitutional originalist. The morning after Roberts' nomination, newspapers blared headlines like "Bush nominates conservative to Court". I couldn't care less.

Supreme Court nominations have always been quasi-political events, more so when FDR tried to pack the Court in the '30s. But since Robert Bork, they've been very very political. I hate it. All I want is a judge who won't take the Constitution, rip it up into individual words, and throw it against the wall to see what they can find. It's not the Bible Code, though the practice has all the legitimacy of it, which is to say none.

Other things I like about him:

1. He's an unabashedly white male. I'm glad the President didn't bend to the idea that a minority needed to replace a minority just because s/he's a minority.

2. Damn, his kid can dance.

3. He's a local boy. He spent his formative years in tiny Long Beach, Indiana, and went to high school at LaLumiere, a prep school in LaPorte. That's happy news for a region that deserves it, considering they're still worried about . . .

Still no news on his condition, though rumors were spreading that he had been released. Those have proven thus far to be unfounded. LaPorte's concern for Jeff Ake was visible in their Fourth of July parade.

I refuse to call it "Plamegate" and I agree with Hog On Ice that anybody who uses the phrase "The Plame Game" should have a grenade dropped in their pants.

As soon as this news broke, I decided I was going to refuse to blog substantively about it until it actually rose to the level of a scandal.


For some reason, people couldn't believe he walked. I could; his accusers were lawsuit grifters. The issue wasn't whether or not Jacko is a depraved creep, because he is, but whether he committed this assault beyond a reasonable doubt. The jury rightly came to the conclusion that he did not.

I actually don't think Jacko is guilty. For whatever weird reason, his brain ceased to mature after about age 12. Hence his almost prepubescent preoccupation with living in an amusement park and hosting no-girls-allowed sleepovers. Whatever happened there is, sad to say, not the work of a sexual deviant but, in Jacko's twisted mind, harmless experimentation. I mean, come on, he's a freak, not a sexual predator.

Why his lawyer didn't claim an insanity defense is beyond me.


Hat tip: Power Line.

And if you'll excuse me, I think I'll watch it now. It's good stuff. I wish I'd been able to see it when it aired.


Sunday, July 24

Broken Promises

But At Least I'm Making Cake

A few posts ago, I said, and I quote, "I promise I'll get off this poker kick soon."

I, uh, lied.

But the good news is that I am making a ton of money. After I busted out of the WSOP satellite, I had $15 left in my account at Full Tilt. I've since added $200. That may not seem like a lot of money, but it's a healthy clip for three weeks at 25¢/50¢ and 50¢/$1 tables.

In addition, I also qualified for a satellite to the World Poker Tour's Borgata Poker Open, to be held in September. The Borgata is the stomping grounds of INCITE's Beck, and he's told me a lot about the casino. (Well, actually, the only thing I really remember is that, in his expert opinion, they have the best-looking cocktail waitresses in Atlantic City, which is more than good enough for me.) True to form, I earned my $216 satellite seat on the cheap, winning a $4.40 miniminisatellite and finishing fifth in the $26 minisatellite to qualify.

I met Mr. Minbet at the $26 minisatellite. He's a very sneaky player. I call him "Mr. Minbet" because he almost always bet or raised the minimum amount. At a no-limit table, the minimum bet is equal to the big blind. The minimum you can raise to is double the big blind. So, if the blinds were 50/100, he'd almost always raise to 200 before the flop and only fire out bets of 100. This is not always tactically smart but is very deceptive. If someone is betting the minimum at you, they may have a mediocre hand; they could, however, be holding a monster and are just begging you to raise them.

He did that to me in the $26 mini. He was on my left, and I found K/9 in the small blind. I figured it was a good enough hand to steal his big blind, so I raised. He called. The flop came king-high, and top pair is usually an excellent hand if only the blinds are playing. I checked. He min-bet. I put him all-in. He called. He had aces. That blow crippled me, but I was able to scratch and claw (and luck) my way back into qualifying for the satellite.

Fate brought Mr. Minbet and I together there, but this time, I was on his left, two seats to be precise. Early in the tourney, I found A¨/Qª in the big blind (the blinds were 20/40). A middle position player limped in, Mr. Minbet limped from the button, the small blind completed, and I decided to check, hoping to clobber someone with an ace and a smaller kicker.

The flop came Aª/8¨/J¨. Good flop, but the flush draw was worrisome. So I decided to ditch the fancy stuff and take the pot down immediately. After the small blind checked, I bet 160, equal to the size of the pot. The first limper folded, Mr. Minbet called, the small blind folded and I scratched my head. What's he holding? A draw? He wouldn't have the odds to call unless he had a straight-and-a-flush draw, or maybe a pair plus a draw. Or . . . he has A/J and is waiting for me to press. That seems likely.

The turn was Q©. Bingo! Prepare to be owned, Mr. Minbet. I checked, and he bet 120. Not the minimum (40), but still a dinky bet into a pot that was already 480. I raised all of my 2000-some chips, and he called with the 1110 he had left.

He had Q¨/4¨. A flush draw that paired up on the turn, but I had two pair. Wonderful! All I need is to dodge a diamond and I can rid myself of this festering little pain in my as—

5¨. He made his flush. My first thought was That little sonofa . . . but then I remembered that I invited this disaster by not raising before the flop to get him to fold his junk hand. The flop call was loose, but from the big blind I could have had anything, so his flush draw was probably good and his Q might even have been a live out.

I spent the next hour trying not to get eaten alive with my depleted stack. The blinds escalated to 60/120, and I found 10§/9§ in the big blind. Suited connectors aren't my favorite hands, but if I can see a cheap flop I'll play with them. As it turned out, the cutoff position limped in, Mr. Minbet limped again from the button, the small blind completed, and I got to see the flop for free.

It came 8§/K§/6¨. I had a short stack (10% of it was already in the pot as the blind) and a one-card draw. I was going to go to war on this hand, but I made a pot-size bet of 480 in the hope that everyone folded, and everyone did — except Mr. Minbet, who put me all-in.

I called immediately. He had 8©/6©. Two pair. I had to call no matter what because, like I said, it was double-up-or-bust for me at that point. But, analyzing it after the fact, it was a perfectly good call. I had a flush draw and an inside straight draw, giving me 13 outs. A player with thirteen outs has a 48.1% chance of hitting his hand. Practically even money (I still had to worry about him filling up a full house), and certainly just about as good as I could hope for.

The turn was 7©. There's my straight. Cross your fingers, here comes the river . . .

5¨ again. Whew. Doubled up.

That was the last time I tangled with Mr. Minbet. I won a couple more hands and got into the low teens on the leaderboard (top 4 went to Atlantic City, next 5 cashed), but foolishly gave away a large chunk of my chips when I didn't follow my read on a hyperagressive player (even more aggressive than me, which is rare) and folded a pot that, since he showed his cards, I would have split with him: we both had A/J. In fact, I had the better hand since I still had a backdoor flush possibility (the flop was all undercards with two diamonds, and my ace was a diamond). But I gave it up because I was afraid of A/K or A/Q.

After that, I was in trouble, and busted out when I went all-in with K/Q and ran into A/Q. IGHN, in 86th place out of 282. No hot cocktail waitresses for me. *sniff*

There are two more satellites, though. :D

I swear on the only Instalanche I've ever received that I will start writing more about things unrelated to cards. Just not today. It's 100º outside (okay, 94º, but with the heat index it's 112º) and my air conditioner is only good for my bedroom. So I'm not sitting out here in the office to bake while I rack my brain to think of something clever to say about Karl Rove. I'll rack my brain in my 68º bedroom, thank you.

Also, brandonw1 from FTP: shoot me an e-mail at marchandchronicles -at- so I can arrange to send you something for signing up with me.


Wednesday, July 13

NASA's Present To Me Postponed

Blah Blah, "Safety Reasons," Whatever

At 2:51 PM Marchron World HQ Time, the Space Shuttle Discovery was set to blast off, the first shuttle mission since the breakup of Columbia in February 2003.

It was postponed, at least until Monday, because of a faulty fuel sensor.


Safety is and has always been the utmost concern, but damn, that would have been a cool birthday present.

I'll consider it a belated birthday present now.

SciGuy was liveblogging the launch sequence today, and I imagine he will do so whenever Discovery actually lifts off. Here's the lowdown on why today's launch was postponed.

And BlondeChampagne has a deep love for all things NASA.


Happy Birthday To Me

What Did YOU Get Me?

At 3:15 PM, I will have existed on this planet, successfully exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, for a quarter-century.

Donations are welcome.

But no cake, please: I'm on Atkins.


Friday, July 8


"We Shall Prevail . . . And They Shall Not." — Tony Blair

(Profanity warning.)

I think I might just be angrier today than I was on September 11. Or perhaps I'm simply missing the sadness and shock I felt on 9/11.

I've always been the kind of person who cared more for my friends than myself. You wanna spit in my face, call me every vulgar name in the book and curse the day I was born? Fine. But you come after my friends, and my first thought is I will fuckin' kick your ass.

Fortunately (well, unfortunately, for these murdering bastards), if there's one nation willing to stand up and crack skulls in its own defense, it's Great Britain. They have gone through far worse, and now al-Qaeda has once again written a check its ass can't cash. They already had their hands full with the CIA and the Navy SEALs, now the SAS and MI5 will be all over them.

When London's mayor, the way-lefty "Red" Ken Livingstone, says something like Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail. . . . it's obvious that the Brits will fight back, and fight back hard.

An even more succinct response came from Britblogger Tim Worstall:
But you threaten us, try to kill us? Kill and injure some of us?

Fuck you, sunshine.

We'll not be having that.

No grand demonstrations, few warlike chants, a desire for revenge, of course, but the reaction of the average man and woman in the street? Yes, you've tried it now bugger off. We're not scared, no, you won't change us. Even if we are scared, you can still bugger off.

But the ultimate quote came from Donald Rumsfeld:
But if these terrorists thought they could intimidate the people of a great nation, they picked the wrong people and the wrong nation. For generations, tyrants, fascists, and terrorists have sought to carry out their violent designs upon the British people only to founder upon its unrelenting shores. Before long, I suspect that those responsible for these acts will encounter British steel. Their kind of steel has an uncommon strength. It does not bend or break.
And they will regret it.

Publius has the story of the first-ever raising of a foreign flag at the U.S. State Department:

Many bloggers are echoing this respect by displaying the Union Jack on their blogs. I've harnessed my limited Photoshop skills to fashion a ribbon similar to the Stars-and-Stripes ribbons that were displayed after 9/11. Feel free to download and use them:

Also, Tigerhawk has a transcribed interview with Rudy Giuliani, who was in London yesterday.

And, just to illustrate the kind of response that will be demanded but unheeded, Ace crafted a Bizarro-World James Bond script.

It's now been a little more than 24 hours since the attack. God Save The Queen, and everyone else in Britain.


Monday, July 4

No WSOP For Me

At Least Not THIS Year

It was time for the last roundup. The train to Vegas' departure was imminent, and 265 brave souls ponied up $200 to try to get a ticket. The top four finishers would be in the WSOP Main Event, and the next three would get a fat stack of cash for their efforts ($2500, $1500, and $1000 respectively).

I was as high as sixth at one point, but I lost a significant amount of chips on one hand. Holding 10/7 with a board of 10/9/8/4, I had top pair and a open-end straight draw. I made a healthy bet on the turn, and watched my opponents — both of whom had more chips than me — BOTH go all-in. I figured top pair was no good and mucked. I was wrong: they held A/Q and A/K. However, the river was a king, so I did save myself from getting busted.

When I made my fateful move I had 5035 chips, which put me in the middle of the pack on the tournament leaderboard, but that didn't mean much. With the blinds at 200/400 plus a 50-chip ante, and the big stacks racing over 30,000 chips, I needed to double up and do it fast.

So when I found A©/K§ at the cutoff position, I knew I had to draw the line. I don't subscribe to the superstitious belief in "unlucky hands," but if I did, that A/K would have made me cringe. Not only did I lose with Big Slick in the $75 minisatellite I detailed in my last poker post, I also bought it holding A/K in a $26 mini on Saturday night (lost to A/Q of all hands), then got whacked on three consecutive hands by A/K in yet another mini to qualify for this "Last Roundup" tourney (twice I had pocket pairs and was a favorite). To top it all off, that A/K holding stole a bunch of my chips earlier, but I was lucky enough to avoid the mojo that time.

But I couldn't let superstition spook me out of this pot. I raised to 1800, hoping for action, since I was no longer content with stealing the antes and blinds to tread water. The player on my left was, at the time, ranked #3 on the tourney chip count, and reraised enough to put me all-in.

Groovy. I called.

He had Q¨/Qª.

Not good. I was a 57-43 underdog. I was really hoping he also had two big cards and was reading me for a small pair.

The flop was unhelpful: 5ª/7©/5§. My odds shrunk to 1-in-4.

The turn was J¨. Only 13% odds to survive.

Just to twist the dagger, the river was Q©. IGHN, in 58th place.

Not that this tourney wasn't completely devoid of moments that boosted my poker ego. Here's a screenshot of me having more than twice the chips of poker pro Paul Wolfe:

(click for full-size)

Of course, as you can see, plenty of players had more than twice the chips of poker pro Paul Wolfe. It's tough being a pro at FTP, since all pros have bounties on their heads. Bust one and you make your buy-in back. I never got the chance, though he did steal my big blind once. None of the three pros finished higher than 151st.

So no vacation in Vegas for me. At least not this year; but next Sunday FTP is giving away a seat to the 2006 Main Event!

P.S. I promise I'll get off this poker kick soon. I might even write and post a special 4th-of-July essay; that is, if I can get to sleep. Living two blocks from a 24-hour fireworks shop means Roman Candles 'round-the-clock.


Location: Mishawaka, Indiana, United States

I graduated with an English degree from the University Of Notre Dame in 2001, and in 2008 I have a day job that has nothing to do with my degree but gets the bills paid in a semi-regular fashion. (I have running water five days a week!) The idea is that once I get turned around on my bills, I go to grad school. I also have an idea for cold fusion. Anyone's guess which will be feasible first. In non-work mode, I'm usually reading columns by famous and well-read thinkers, blogs by critically praised writers, or sometimes blogs by overzealous cranks who make me laugh. I yearn to be all three at once; until then I'll settle for being the third. I also have an undying love for the Chicago Cubs and Notre Dame football. Praise them and I'll buy you a beer; curse them and I'll dump it over your head. If that's not enough, I'm becoming quite the fan of no-limit Texas Hold'em. My games have one of two results: I either win all the money or whine because I didn't win all the money.

marchandchronicles -at-

Fair warning: I reserve the right to post any and all criticisms and flames, in their entirety. Seriously. Just ask this guy.

July 2006
May 2006
April 2006
January 2006

January | February | March | April
May | June | July | August
September | October | November | December

Essays on whatever I feel like writing about.

August 8, 2005: High Gas Prices
August 1, 2005: Judge Roberts' Hearings
June 20, 2005: Senator Durbin's Comments
May 23, 2005: Newsweek & Pepsi
May 2, 2005: Al Gore's MoveOn Speech
April 25, 2005: Lebanon
April 18, 2005: The Nuclear Option
April 11, 2005: Pope John Paul II
March 5, 2005: The Domino Effect
January 31, 2005: Iraqi Elections
January 24, 2005: Bush's Inaugural
January 17, 2005: Roemer, Dean & The DNC

WARNING: links, comments & trackbacks may contain profanities or other items of unscruples. marchand chronicles does not endorse any comment/opinion expressed in any such addendum.

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Contributor to Steal The Blinds


marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
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Damn right.


What's Your Line?


I absolutely love the name of your site.

Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson, Power Line
Just the name? Not the content? . . . I'll take it.

You have something in common with Dave Barry, Hemingway, and Mark Steyn: I'm not linking to them, either.


That's good stuff there Mark.

Dean Barnett, Soxblog
Psst, it's "Mike."

(click to buy)

St. Elsewhere
The Pulse: SIRIUS 9

All text and original images © MMVI by Mike Marchand/Marchand Chronicles.

Okay, so I don't really have a copyright. But I still don't want you ripping me off. Reprint it all over the Internet if you like, but give me proper credit and link back to me. Besides, if you're going to plagiarize, steal from someone with some talent.

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