Sunday, October 23

LIVE: Inaugural PokerStars Online Poker Blogger Championship

May The Most Deserving Nerdy Loser Win!

The field is set: 1,472 bloggers are playing for over $25,000 in the first (of hopefully many) Online Poker Blogger Championship. Jaxia from Steal The Blinds is in the field, but sadly, Beck, the third of the STB triumvirate is not. He told me he would be out of the country; I think he just doesn't want anyone to know he played quarterback for BYU, the team that Notre Dame smoked yesterday.

All set now. Let's do this.

3:02 PM — This is my first time at PokerStars, and I have to say I like the interface a lot less than Full Tilt. The one bonus: personalized avatars. See if you can find me! (Jax is at table 151.)

3:06 — First playable hand: A¨/2¨. Missed my flush and I'm down to 1,560. Everyone starts with 2,000 and the blinds are 10/20 to start, going up every 15 minutes. That's slower than FTP, but they go up in a hurry.

3:13 — Took down my first pot with A©/8© when I bet a ragged flop in position and nobody called. I don't know where I am on the leaderboard, because Stars is only tracking the top 136 players (don't know why exactly 136 — where the pay line is, maybe? — but that's how many they're tracking). Jax, who's sitting out (where are you?) has more chips than me, though.

P.S. updates will probably be sparse because my connection is tenuous; my computer's been acting very strangely lately. It always picks the worst times to get buggy.

3:21 — stole a pot with 7©/3© out of the big blind through aggression. Hope the player I bluffed isn't reading. (Sorry!)

3:49 — stole a couple blinds and am at 1,340. Still pretty sorry, but I'm not the low man at the table at least.

3:51 — big blind with red jacks. The button, an aggressive player, open-raises to 450 (blinds 50/100) and I immediately move all-in. He thinks, and ditches. At 1,940, I'm almost back to break-even. (I even have more than Jax now!)

3:58 — one of the fun things about playing with bloggers is they often deploy THE HAMMER. THE HAMMER is 7/2, but they play them like they're aces. The guy I beat 450 out of above dropped THE HAMMER and ran right into pocket kings. There's a new table boss.

4:00 — And the new table boss just slapped me down by putting me all-in on my continuation bet. I have nothing. I'm gone. Down to 1,515.

4:02 — Break time. 1,059 left out of 1,472. I'm in 606th. But I'm kicking Wesley Crusher's ass. He has 990. Big Slick Nuts! is on the leaderboard with 5400 chips, in 122nd place. Al Can't Hang has a lowly 765.

4:16 — Moved to a new table. There's only three live players out of nine. The other two both have me whaled. I don't like this.

4:18 — I like it more now. Essentially under the gun with K§/10©, I raise and get called by the big blind. Flop is 5ª/10ª/10¨ and he puts me all-in. Thanks!

4:22 — Now we have some real players. Can't go psycho anymore.

4:24 — Middle position with 7§/7©. I raise to 800 (blinds 100/200) and get called by the same player who doubled me up. Flop comes 2¨/8¨/9ª and he puts me all-in again. Thinking he had as much this time as he did last, I call. He has Q§/J§.

The turn is the safe A¨, but the river 10ª fills his inside straight and I'm toast. IGHN, in 836th place. Slick's still doing well. Wil Wheaton's doubled up, and he's at 1,755. Al got wiped out in 1030th. Jax is still alive, but still not playing.

I can't believe she beat me without playing a hand. I'm going to go sulk now. Friggin' all-in with an inside straight draw . . .


Sunday, October 16


You're Fired, You're Rehired, You're Refired, You're Rerehired

(This entry crossposted to Steal The Blinds.)

INCITE's Beck has posted to Steal The Blinds some reviews of casinos in his stomping grounds, Atlantic City (Caeasars, Showboat, Borgata), so I thought I could do the same for casinos in my backyard.

One problem: while the Trump casino's poker room is the nicest I've ever been to, I've only been to . . . three. So it doesn't really mean much. But here goes, anyway:

When you're in Trump's poker room, you almost forget that you're actually on a boat. The room is airy with high ceilings. It has plasma TVs so players can follow sports action, an adjacent deli and coffee bar and — I've rarely seen these in any casinos, much less poker rooms — windows. The view is not that spectacular when the boat is docked, but when the boat was offshore it was probably nice. Unfortunately for the aesthetics, but fortunately for gameplay, a change in Indiana state law made it so the boats don't have to hoist anchor to make gaming legal.

Trump spreads limit hold'em at levels as low as $3/$6. They also boast no-limit hold'em plus pot-limit Omaha and Omaha Hi-Lo games. Sit-N-Gos also occur regularly, but the buy-in is a pretty steep $50 + $15. Trump also hosts multi-table tournaments on Monday and Wednesday for $100.

The gameplay at $3/$6 is loose and quite fishy, so decent players should be able to clean up — if variance doesn't bite you. That happened to me — twice — but I bit back.

I arrived at Trump at about 4 pm and sat down at the table with $250 in chips after a brief wait. I then proceeded to play Texas Fold'em for about four hours, and lost almost $200 just bleeding the blinds away. I didn't want to leave broke, but I didn't want to leave without at least picking up one decent hand. I did — aces — and won a big pot with aces full. I won another with K§/Kª when the flop came with the K¨, another diamond and a blank card. I'd raised preflop and on the flop with my set of kings, and was called by just one other person. The turn was another blank, but the river was 6¨ and he suddenly raised my river value bet. I agonized, but threw in $6 to call, expecting a really trashy flush. Thankfully, he had K©/6©, thinking his two pair had suddenly overtaken top pair with a better kicker.

At 9:30 I was ahead, and wondered how much I was going to make now that I'd figured out just exactly how fishy the table was. (I usually find tables online that are weak-tight, where players fold hands instead of chasing longshots.) So, of course, it all fell apart. I had a set get wrecked by 7/4, which made a straight. I flopped the nut straight with J/10 and capped all postflop rounds with two other players, thinking they had worse straights and I'd have them crushed. No: one other player had J/10 and one called down to river a flush.

So again I was under $50, but vowed to get it all back again or blow it all trying. My luck changed after a couple of tables condensed after midnight. I was in the cutoff position and the hand was a "kill pot." Don't be embarrassed if you don't know what that is; I didn't either, when I sat down. Kill pots occur when any one player wins two consecutive hands (outright; no chopping). For as long as that player continues to win, the limit is doubled. The blinds stay the same (in this case, $1 and $3) but the player on the kill pot posts the higher small bet ($6) blind no matter what position he or she is in.

So I was in the cutoff, and the button posted $6 blind. Just about the whole table limped in, and I decided to make a somewhat loose limp myself with 10¨/7¨. Many times in kill pots, the player will raise to $12 to pressure the table and force everyone to fold, keeping his streak going. But with about 73 limpers in already, I didn't have to worry so much about that.

The flop came with the 6¨, another 6, and another small diamond (I think it was the 5), giving me a lousy flush draw. But the flop was checked around and the turn brought 10©, giving me a pretty good hand. Fourth street doubled the already-doubled blinds. It was checked to the player two seats to my right, who bet $12. After the next player called, I immediately and enthusiastically jacked it up to $24, prompting the rest of the table to murmur that I slowplayed trip sixes. My raise forced out the rest of the table, including the last person to check, who showed 10§ before folding.

The river was another complete blank, and the two other players checked it to me. I could have — and probably should have — bet, but still feared a checkraise from trips (people played good hands very strangely sometimes) and checked to show down my two pair with a rotten kicker. The player who folded the other ten cursed his misread, the rest of the table gasped at my bold play, and I scooped a nearly $100 pot that put me up for good.

More than fifteen hours after walking in with $250, I walked out at 7:30 AM with exactly $273.

Next time I go, I think I'll bring a bigger bankroll — and some diaper wipes to clean off the filthy chips. I know I'm fighting a losing battle, but seriously, those things were nasty. I might just stay at online play just so I don't have to go through announcing a $3 call, try to throw three white chips in, and watch as a bundle of five chips practically superglued to each other go bouncing across the table.

Speaking of which, I know it's not my normal site, but . . .

Poker Championship

I have registered to play in the
Online Poker Blogger Championship!

This event is powered by PokerStars.

Registration code: 5851806

(Edited 10/17 1:37 PM to add the STB link.)



USC 34, Notre Dame 31

This is why I can't be a sports journalist: I'd never be able to file an actual story on this game. It hurts too much.

When you lose a game like this by, say, 31 points, as Notre Dame has to USC each of the last three years, it hurts, but not that much. If they're that much better than you, you just tip your hat and move on to the next team. There was nothing you could do.

I'd rather lose 50-0 than lose like this, where you spend unbearable hours or days second-guessing and playing what-if. I'm sure a couple people will spend the rest of their lives thinking about this game.

In every aspect but the final score, Notre Dame beat USC yesterday. The team that some had claimed faded into obscurity still couldn't get respect with a new coach and a new attitude. The Irish would go 1-5 in their first six games, they crowed, maybe even 0-6. Not even three wins over ranked teams garnered much admiration, since those teams have since wallowed in mediocrity. Their #9 ranking was a fluke, they said, and the unstoppable juggernaut from Troy would surely expose them for the pretenders they were. This Leviathan of a team coasted into South Bend on a 27-game win streak and three straight blowouts of ND, only to find the green-clad Irish waiting to smack them in the mouth.

From top to bottom, the Irish were just better than USC, with one exception: the extraordinary performance of Trojan playmaker Reggie Bush, who finished the day with 265 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. They humbled defending Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, forcing him into two interceptions and preventing him from throwing a touchdown pass entirely. They bottled up LenDale White, the front half of the vaunted "Thunder & Lightning" combo with Bush, allowing him just 26 yards on ten carries.

And the only way the undisputed "best team in the nation" escaped with a win was by an entire series of flukes. Leinart converted a 4th-and-9 by floating a pass to Dwayne Jarrett on the left sideline. Bush rushed for a first down inside the Notre Dame 5, stopping the clock. On the next play, Leinart couldn't find an open throw and scrambled desperately off the left end. He couldn't score, and the clock ticked to zero, convincing fans that Notre Dame had scored the stunning upset. But when Leinart was hit, he fumbled the ball, and it fluttered harmlessly out of bounds, again stopping the clock. After the ball was placed at the ND 1 and seven seconds restored to the clock, Leinart scored on a QB sneak when Reggie Bush helped push him in the end zone.

Matt Leinart scores the winning touchdown after being pushed into the end zone by Reggie Bush. (AP/Joe Raymond)

The wild finish was a cruel trick to Irish fans. After we had thought the game was over — won — our hearts were ripped out. The greatness of the game and the heroism in defeat are cold comfort, and overwhelmed by the numb torture of what-if.

What if ND tight end Anthony Fasano had protected the ball while running unimpeded deep in USC territory, with the score tied 21-21 late in the third quarter? He was carrying the ball so loosely that Trojan defensive back Darnell Bing literally popped it several yards out of his hand. USC's Keith Rivers recovered the fumble at the Trojan 6.

What if, on their next drive, ND had only gone for the first down instead of the touchdown from 3rd and 3 at the USC 14 at the start of the fourth quarter? Convert that and the possibility remains open for the TD instead of settling for a field goal.

What if ND kicker D.J. Fitzpatrick (a fellow alum of Marian High School) made his second attempt, from 34 yards away with 7½ minutes to go? If ND takes the lead by 6, when they scored their next touchdown following USC's score, they could have gone for 2 and made it a seven-point lead.

What if ND had dropped into coverage instead of blitzing on the 4th and 9 play? Blitzing opens up the possibility for a big play, which the Irish could not afford. Even if USC converts, they still have to go about 65 yards for a touchdown (or 40 for a decent field goal attempt to tie) with less than 90 seconds and no timeouts.

What if the referees don't look the other way on the Bush push? That's a five-yard penalty.

What ifs, maybes, second guesses . . . all for naught.

The only possible consolation was that all the recruits head coach Charlie Weis brought to the game saw the glory of South Bend Saturdays in full display and the magic of Notre Dame football in near-full display. And the Irish announced loud and clear to all but the most vicious ND-haters (like ESPN's Mark May, who insisted on "College GameDay Final" that ND had accomplished nothing, even with former Irish coach Lou Holtz sitting within slapping distance on his right) that we are back.

But it's no silver lining. As Weis said, "If you're waiting for me to say it's a good loss, you won't hear that here."

This one hurts. And it will hurt for a long time.


Wednesday, October 12

Management Material

I'm Not A Complete Slacker . . .

. . . I mean, it hasn't even been a month yet since I last updated! Give a guy a break!

There's lots of reasons why I've been delinquent in posting. Well, check that, there's lots of reasons, but only one good one: I've been promoted! I can now officially call myself "Assistant Manager."

Don't pop the cork on the champagne, though: it's only one day a week, sometimes two. And it's not like I'm getting a massive raise, either; in fact, on a busy day I easily make more doing my regular, more commission-based job. But until I can demonstrate the responsibility, I don't get to run the joint on the busy days, so it's a net win for me paycheck-wise. Plus I can put "Assistant Manager" on my résumé instead of the menial monkey job I do the other four or five days of the week.

It's nice to know a fellow can work for a company for two years and get the recognition he deserves by moving one-third of a rung up the corporate ladder.

What else? Well, I had to get my car fixed. One blown tire snowballed into this fix, and that fix, until I wound up with what feels like a completely different car and a much lighter wallet. I would check with the Better Business Bureau to see if I got ripped off, but when it comes to cars, I barely know my radiator from my radio. And I only know that the hard way after pouring antifreeze into the tape deck of my first car. (Just kidding. My first car didn't have a radio.)

I also took a day and went to Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana to play some real-live poker. I'll detail that in a future post (give me three weeks or so to get around to that), but suffice it to say that the only real winner was The Don and his screw-you hair.

Time for my semi-regular blogburst to catch up on what I missed, starting with:

Eh. I'm not thrilled with the pick, but I don't hate it, either. As I've explained before, I think the risks of playing nuclear chess with the Democrats were — and still are — potentially very grave. President Bush has decided for someone who can be confirmed more easily than someone who might perhaps be a better candidate.

Look at it this way: either the Democrats will decide to go to war or they won't. If they won't, she's confirmed, and despite some conservatives' fears, it's doubtful Miers will put on the robe and suddenly have a political paradigm shift. If they do, it will be far, far easier for the GOP to play back when their nominee looks more like a librarian rather than a fire-breathing right-wing movement conservative. Having Harry Reid endorse the nominee will prove fatal for any attempt at a Democratic filibuster, and that's something that no other nominee palatable to Bush had.

It's interesting, though, that Bush decided to select the person he entrusted with vetting his nominees, just as he did with Vice President Cheney. That being the case, I'd like for the President to choose me to select who should win tomorrow's $240 million Powerball jackpot.

My best friend, who's a Democrat through-and-through, hates Tom DeLay with a bitter passion, and was elated at the indictments because he was sure they'd be his political undoing.

Er, not so fast. I understand legalese about as much as I understand Japanese, but the way I'm reading it, Ronnie Earle needed to convene more than half a dozen grand juries to indict DeLay on two counts. The first is so vague that one could indict the Pope tomorrow. The second is for an offense that evidently took place a full year before the law was written making it illegal, and there's quite a bit of doubt as to whether or not what he did even falls under said statute.

So say sayonara to swinging The Hammer out of the House.

Perhaps I should remove "lynching" before I get it, too. Explaining that the term "lynch" is denotatively race-neutral probably wouldn't help my cause.

The smear campaign against Bennett sickens me, but I really don't know why I expect more from the professional muckrakers and race-baiters. Note to conservatives: if you're going to talk about race, just watch what you say. I hate to admit defeat on this point, but it's become abundantly clear that those people who beg and plead for "an honest discussion about race" want anything but. Speaking of which . . .

I didn't intend on saying anything else about Hurricane Katrina. I simply wanted my effort in the Blog For Relief Weekend to stand by itself. But I can't let this event pass into the history books without chucking in these two cents to go with the money I've already donated:

STFU, Kanye West.

Seriously. You and all the other ridiculous morons who think like you, including the woman who wrote in to the Voice Of The People section of my local paper, The South Bend Tribune, who made a point that was simply soooo stupid that I was compelled to rebut it. She asserted that President Bush should be blamed because so many Katrina victims had to be assisted outside of the rest of Louisiana, evidently ignorant of the facts that 1. Hurricane Katrina devastated the rest of the state and 2. so did Hurricane Rita, so keeping thousands upon thousands of evacuees there was Not A Good Idea. Unfortunately, I doubt very much that my rebuttal will ever run, as the SBTrib has elected to print a parade of angry letters in response to their front-page picture of a dog being euthanized.

But back to Kanye, who can take his inappropriate remarks and cram them up his Kanyon. I think I'm going to take the cynical route and propose that his, er, outburst was designed to fuel the success of his new single, called "Gold Digger." Hmmmmmm. While it is a really catchy tune, I don't think I'll be buying the album, Late Registration, any time soon. Sorry, Kanye, it's not that I don't care about black people; I just don't care about you. I don't give a shizzle whether or not you get pizzaid for your albumizzle, you rich punk-ass bitch. There, I rhymed; give me a beat for it and I'll be a zillionaire like you.

You might have heard of Alan Matheney. In 1989 he beat his ex-wife to death with the stock end of a shotgun on the street in front of her home. The truly sickening thing is that he was on an eight-hour furlough from state prison, put there for spousal and child abuse. The shocking murder drew national attention and forced Indiana to review its furlough program, though why they didn't revisit the idea after Willie Horton became a household name during the '88 presidential election is beyond me (but that was just a subtle anti-black platform! Isn't that right, race-baiters?).

I've changed my mind on a lot of political issues growing up, but one thing I've never wavered on, despite my being Catholic, is that murderers who commit grisly killings should die for their crimes. In fact, I consider it monumentally unjust that a psychopathic scumbag like Matheney was allowed to draw sixteen more years' worth of breaths before his due punishment was meted to him.

The Hoosier State was also laughed at a little bit recently when a bill was proposed in the state Senate which would have, according to some misleading headlines, "require[d] marriage as a legal condition of motherhood." (Atkins-friendly knowledge courtesy of protein wisdom.)

Uh, not quite. The provisions were only for couples who wished to artificially create life through in-vitro fertilization or similar means; it wouldn't have turned all the state's baby-mammas into criminals. Even then, it was still attacked as a backdoor prohibition against homosexual couples using such means to have children; that's probably closer to the truth. While it might be valuable to have such a law on the books before a case gets bogged down and dragged out in court, the brouhaha forced the bill's sponsor, Indianapolis Republican Patricia Miller, to withdraw the proposal.

This doesn't let us off the hook for trying to pass a law in 1897 which would have changed the value of p. It passed the House unanimously but stalled in the Senate, thank God.

The Irish have continued to impress this season, climbing to (as of this writing) #9 in the AP poll. Their lone hiccup was Michigan State, against whom they made a 21-point second-half comeback before falling in overtime, 44-41.

This week twice-defending-champion USC comes to town. They've looked mortal at times against ranked opponents like Oregon and Arizona State, but managed to pull it together in the second half and emerge victorious.

Not this week, baby.

The high-powered NFL offense, led by Brady Quinn, puts points on the board early, and Charlie Weis' tenacious, "nasty" attitude keeps the cleats on the Trojans' necks.

38-14, Irish. You heard it here first.

For more:
South Bend Tribune
Blue & Gold Illustrated
Irish Sports Report
The Observer
Blue-Gray Sky
Kelly Green


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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marchand chronicles has such massive readership and influence that it makes me weep.
—Glenn Reynolds


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."

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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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