Monthly Archives: October 2005

Hallelujah, at Long Last!

This night, I played what was probably the best poker of my life. Up against 7 other players, I had never had a tournament win before in my life. Lots of home games, a couple of casino tournaments, never a top finish.

The most players I’ve ever beat out was about 25, but came in fourth for that game — in the money at least.

Beyond that, I’ve had a slew of second place finishes. So this time, I knew I had to take home the title. I played with everything I had, and fought hard to keep my mind clear after more than four hours of play (though that was far from my longest game. I had a 7 hour stint once in which I finished — what else? — Second).

BUT AT LONG LAST!!!

It came down to myself and two others, who are two of the better players I’ve ever had to go up against. All that practice working on my head’s up game has paid off.

STUART WINS! STUART WINS! STUART WINS!

And boy, I cannot even begin to tell you how badly I needed that win. Second place is cool the first time, but gets awful old after the fifth or sixth time.

So… HALLELUJAH!

Thank you, that is all.

Omaha Players Strike Again – Practice or Play?

I hit the Omaha tables again on PartyPoker. Omaha is a really great game to help you understand the game of poker better. In particular, it forces you to think and consider all possible hands that other players can make to beat you.

This is because at a full table, you have to calculate what cards you need to have “the nuts” (poker terminology for the best possible hand). If you don’t have the nuts, you can be pretty sure that someone else does.

And while Omaha is great for honing your Texas skills, it’s for this same reason that the Omaha tables are often “easy money”.

Take a look at the table below, which is a $5/$10 limit Omaha game.

If it’s hard to see what’s going on, basically players maxed out the betting and every single player (save for the one smart player, which happened to be me) called. And that’s preflop!

Now I’m no pro, but in my opinion there’s not a single hand that you could hold preflop in Omaha that warrants gambling the maximum bet. Something that amateur gamblers (and poker is gambling, don’t fool yourself into thinking it’s not) fail to realize is that gambling is all about probability.

With the entire table calling to see the flop, your odds of winning shrink to 10% at a full table, regardless of the hand you’re holding. Seriously now, what sane person is going to gamble on a 1 in 10 chance?

Now, this game wasn’t for real money. But for me, every poker game played online or at home is simply practice for the real thing… and I practice to win.

Utah Drivers

I don’t think anybody complains about Utah drivers more than Utah drivers themselves. Which leads me to wonder… what the heck is so bad about Utah drivers anyway?

Somebody (yes, it was you Neal) once told me that being a Utah driver was more a state of mind rather than the state (as in State of the Union) you drive in. That being the case, what exactly is a Utah driver?

Some might say that a Utah driver is just a bad driver. If that’s the case, how did Utah get the bad rap? Why not “New Jersey driver” or “Idaho farmer driver”?

On my way in to work today, the roads were a bit slick thanks to the rain. Coming down 1600 North, I witnessed a near rear ending. I looked over at my wife and said, “That’s why I don’t tailgate.” Well, I don’t tailgate (most of the time at any rate). If you’re doing 20 mph in a 35 zone, then yeah, I’m going to tailgate you. But if the roads are wet, then I won’t tailgate even under those harrowingly extreme circumstances.

That got me thinking. Does that make him a “California driver” because he was tailgating? If that’s the case, then there were about 10 California drivers because nearly the whole column was tailgating.

But since tailgating is a form of bad driving, does that actually make them Utah drivers because they are practicing bad technique, even though Californians are notorious for tailgating?

According to my good friend Randy, Alabama drivers are horrible drivers. Why can’t bad drivers be Alabama drivers?

Though in my experience, I’d say the number of bad drivers is a pretty small percentage. Sure there are lots of drivers with bad habits (I tend to be a stickler for rules, and so I notice these bad habits more than most people do), but honestly, how many drivers do you encounter each day that do something that makes you mumble under your breath, “Those stupid Utah drivers!”

Maybe 1 in 100? Think about how many other drivers you encounter each day. It could be several hundred. Statiscally, no matter where you are in the nation, you’re bound to encounter a bad driver in a day’s work. And if you’re on the road everyday, well you’re probably going to run into 7 bad drivers a week then aren’t you?

Maybe we Utahns consider our fellow Utahns to be bad drivers simply because whenever we encounter a bad driver, it just so happens to be in Utah. Go figure huh? I mean, being that this is where we live, work, and play, what are the odds of running into a bad driver that is also from Utah? Astronomical I’m sure.

But the next time we complain about “Utah drivers” and how horrible they are, maybe we should look in the mirror and remind ourselves that we need to make a greater effort to be a better driver ourselves. After all, we are part of what makes a “Utah driver”. And if we’re not part of the solution… well, you know.