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Snow Storms, Poker and Sexually-Ambiguous Demons

Before I write anything else, let me just say that I did indeed play poker last night. I know - "Klopzi, you never play poker? I didn't come to your poker blog to read about poker, I want to read about the rest of the useless crap your doing with your free time!" Well, there's gonna be some poker talk today whether you like it or not.

However, first let me mention the snow storm that is currently pounding the city of Ottawa into Christmas-sy submission. All day yesterday, I kept hearing about this damned snowstorm coming our way. Driving home last night, I was told repeatedly that the store's were crazy with shopper due to a huge snowstorm coming - I guess people don't like to shop when it's snowing? My wife and I went grocery shopping (actually shopping for the party we're having on Saturday) and the local Loblaws was indeed chock full of rabid shoppers.

Walking down the soup and canned vegetables aisle, my wife suddenly turned to me and urged me to go out and pick up the game I've been dying to play on PS2: Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne. I'd been holding off on getting it because I had other games to play (and I knew this game would consume me for a long time) and the price was at $65 for the game.

Don't get me wrong - I can afford to pay $65 for a game, especially given the recent OT that I've put in on various projects. The thing is, I just don't like paying full price for a game unless it's something that I really, really, really want.

Will SMT: Nocturne be as good as I'm hoping? Well, I played it for a couple hours last night and it's pretty fun so far. It reminds me very much of Final Fantasy, but replace the weird Japanese girly-pop with some generic heavy metal riffs. Cool! At around 11 PM last night, I popped the game in to give it a quick try. The one strange thing about the game is that all the characters appear to be sexually ambiguous. I named one of the more effeminate characters after MrVercetti (without first knowing that he would look like skinny crack-whore a la Lindsey Lohan), much to MrVercetti's chagrin. In MrVercetti's defense, he is not effeminate in any way, unless you find buzz cuts and a constant 5 o'clock shadow to be girly.

Anyway, the story seems to be building itself up into one of those epic Final Fantasy -type stores, so I'm really stoked to play this thing through, even if it does take me 100 hours to do it.

How big a thing is it for me to actually pay full-price for a game? There's a couple reason why my wife pushed me to make this purchase: first, she was sick of hearing me talk about some weird "Japanese-shit" all the time and she knew that I'm very cheap when it comes to buying games. In fact, to this day there are only 7 games that I've paid full price for:

  1. Final Fantasy X: Awesome!

  2. Final Fantasy X-2: Ok, lots of thongs and a f*cked up back-rub mini-game (I sometimes think that Japanese game makers and story writers have been sniffing a little too much wasabi), but a little too much dress up and giggling prevent it from being awesome.

  3. Tekken Tag Tournament: Is there anything more fun than kicking the shit out of robots and panda bears? Is there anything more embarrassing than having your ass handed to you by a Japanese school girl? Actually, there is: having said Japanese school girl kick your ass after getting tagged in by a panda bear wearing a kerchief! Have I mentioned that Japanese game designers are off their rockers?

  4. GTA III: Excellent!

  5. GTA: Vice City: Best game ever!

  6. GTA: San Andreas: Pretty good but ultimately disappointing.

  7. Shin Megami Tensei: Nocturne: Demons, sexually ambiguous characters, out-of-place dirty talk and sexually awkward dialogue, the story's protagonist wearing the world's tightest pair of bicycle shorts (he appears to be Jewish in case you're wondering...), and some weird demon thingies that are clearly displaying their junk for all to see (I am totally not joking here - it's one of the most obscene yet funny things I've ever seen in a game). All this and I've only played two hours!

But I digress...Around 8 pm last night, with my wife by my side, the Sens playing Dallas on TV, and MrVercetti sitting in my favourite leather chair (that I no longer sit in for some reason), I loaded up TigerGaming for some SNG action. It had been a while since I last played but was fairly confident given that I have been playing well as of late.

The most surprising thing about this first SNG was that, at level 4 of the blinds, all 6 players still remained in the game. In level 2, I'd doubled up when I milked trip sixes. The guy that I successfully milked, Thanos, typed "Almost had me" after I successfully milked another 300 out of him on the end with 900 in the pot. I don't know about the "almost part" - I managed to drain about 75% of his chips on that one hand - I'd say I had him.

Anyway, with the chip lead, I could sit back and choose my battles. I eventually found myself heads up with the chip leader who had successfully knocked out 3 of the 6 players himself. On the very first hand, I am in the BB with Q4s. The chip leader is on the button but not the SB due to the previous hand's knockout. Anyway, the chip leader throws in T150 and I check. Flop comes down 3 4 5. At this point, I'm thinking that the only card I need to be worried about here is a 5. However, the chip leader had put in a full blind so I was assuming that he probably did not have the 5. Maybe he had A2? Unlikely since he didn't raise PF. Well, I needed to double up so I pushed hoping to take the pot right there. The chip leader thinks for about 15 seconds and calls, showing a 5.

So, I'm out in 2nd and take home $6.30 for my troubles. I'm happy with the way I played this one. Although my assumption at the end was costly, at least I put the thought into my actions and followed a sound plan of attack. Sometimes your opponent just happens to be holding the cards that ruin you.

I immediately signed up for another $3 SNG at Tiger, ready to dominate the table. Well, this second game played out much differently. I would say that a good 4 out of the 6 players were complete donkeys. By level 3, there were only 3 of us left. However, it took another 2 or 3 levels before I was heads up with the chip leader.

Now, you might be wondering why I always end up being short-stacked heads up. Well, if I'm on my game and I'm getting dealt reasonable hands, I'll normally be big stack heads up. However, when I keep getting dealt 94o (must have been 4 or 5 times in the last 20 hands), I can do naught but sit there and hope that I don't get blinded out. I mean, the hands I was getting were not even playable for a bluff-steal - it was awful.

Anyway, I'm finally heads up against a crazy player. He frequently pushed all-in and had gotten luck on numerous occasions throughout the SNG. I finally went out when I pick up the Hilton sisters on the button. I raise it to 2xBB so as to not scare off my prey. He, in turn, min re-raises me and I do the same to him. MrVercetti thinks I should've pushed PF and he does have a point. However, given that I'd outplayed this opponent post-flop on previous hands and given that he had folded to too much pre-flop aggression, I didn't want to waste my queens. I was hoping to double up, at which point I would be in the chip lead. Flop comes down K 9 6. My opponent checks to me and I'm put to the decision. There is a quite a bit in the pot at this time. My opponent re-raised me pre-flop so his most likely holding was an Ax, probably A9 or lower. The other possibility was that he was holding Kx. After a few more seconds of thought, I reasoned that had my opponent hit top pair, he would have bet since he hadn't slow-played a top pair hand at any point leading up to this hand. So, I push all-in. Then, the fucker has the audacity to slow-roll me by typing, "Hmmm...interesting. Should I call?". After about 20 seconds, he calls showing K9o for two pair and I'm out.

Again, my reasoning at the end was sound. I had a read on the guy but did not think that he'd show me a king. Oh well, at least I wasn't prick-tastic like my opponent - who the fuck slow-rolls a big hand online? I should've gone Barry Greenstein on his ass! Another SNG, another $6.30 for second place.

At this point, the night was still young so I thought I'd give it another go by playing a $5 + $1 at InterPoker. This SNG was marked by decidedly fishy play and after picking up some absolute monster hands (AA, KK, JJx3), I found myself heads up and in the chip lead by a 3:2 margin.

In the second or third hand, I slowplayed trip 8s to take a good sized pot off my opponent. Knowing full well that I would not be beat by playing the skill game, my opponent started pushing all-in on every hand. It was awful...I soon found myself short-stacked by a little bit to this guy. Although I'd had many opportunities to call some of this guy's all-ins when the table was still 3-handed, I'd been assuming that he had the goods due to his occasional folds.

Well, I finally pick up QJs in the BB and my opponent (who just has me covered) pushes all-in for the 10th consecutive time. I insta-call and he shows me the 92o (sometimes called the Montana Banana due to the likelihood of this hand winning being as likely as bananas growing in Montana). I'm now 70% favourite to win the hand, until a 9 spikes on the flop. Mother Fucker!!! I'm now only 25% to win the hand until a Q hits the turn! At this point, I'm only one card away from taking a huge lead on the guy and most likely knocking him out. Well, the river is a 2 and I'm out with a yell of "Dirty Mother Fucker! No!".

Another 2nd place finish for me, worth $15 this time. I'll use my winnings to pick up some fresh grown Montana-brand bananas, I guess.

Once again, I was very pleased with my play last night. Although I played it overly safe at some points during the night's proceedings, I did what I needed to win some $$. Here's where I sit with my 100 SNGs in 100 days goal:
$3 SNGs

  • # Played: 6

  • Won: 0

  • Avg. Finish: 3.0

  • ITM %: 50%

  • $ Won/Lost: -$1.80

$5 SNGs

  • # Played: 4

  • Won: 0

  • Avg. Finish: 4.3

  • ITM %: 25%

  • $ Won/Lost: -$9.00

As you can see, I'm not doing that badly. It's been a slow start but I'm doing alright in regards to my average finishes and ITM%. It's nice to know that even with the cards running slightly below average, I've managed to keep my head above water (or just under judging by the $10.80 that I'm down).

By the way, just a quick note in regards to InterPoker: they're having some good promotions during the month of December. Today is Pocket Kings day: for each KK that you're dealt at the tables today, you will be credited with $10. And next Tuesday, they're doing the same thing with AA. I'm a big fan of the poker room - they're pretty darn awesome!

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm still exhausted from shoveling my car out this morning using only my windshield scraper and the slow drive in to work.

My plans for this weekend include two parties, lots of sausage rolls and spinach dip, booze, video games and maybe one or two SNGs depending on how boner-rific SMT: Nocturne turns out [ed. is boner-rific a word? too graphic or stupid? ah hell, it's Friday and this whole weekend's gonna be boner-rific].

I may write later if I feel like slacking off!

Klopzi, out...


By the way, I think anyone who feels strongly about anything, anywhere, anytime is a dick. I think protestors are crap, I think unions are garbage, and I think that the false morality displayed by many people nowadays can kiss my ass.

Case in point: here's a couple of asshole hippies who are pissed that there are people out there who can afford to buy stuff. Maybe if this couple hadn't spent so much time reading philosophy, drinking tea and smoking up, they could afford shit and shut the f*ck up. Political messages, philosophical messages, and weird coffee-house sarcastic humour sucks.

Myself, I believe that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but the holiday season is about gifts and food. Christmas and the holidays can co-exist - shit, they've co-existed in my family for years. So, anyone out there who gets offended that people are not falling to their knees and praising Jesus for the glory that is He should stop it. Jesus was the most tolerant person ever - I'm sure he would've taken it in stride and made some deep comment that would've just made everyone "get it".

And the rest of you people who complain when people wish you a "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays" should shut the f*ck up! Dear Lord, December 25th is Christmas Day. That means that it is about Jesus and no one else. It's not about the Holiday Spirit or Gaia or Buddha or anyone else. Christmas! Get used to it! It's all about the religion whether you like it or not. Even my Jewish family celebrated Christmas, just as we celebrated Hanukkah. If anyone had come to my grandparents and told them that Hanukkah was not about the festival of lights and not about teh Jewish faith, they would've flipped. So what makes other religious or non-religious groups think that they can tell Catholic people what Christmas is "actually" about or, more importantly, what it shouldn't be about?

My whole point boils down to this: mind your own business! And if someone wishes you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holidays, just say thank you and repeat it back to them. Trust me, the world would be a better place if everyone just followed that simple piece of advice.


Funny quote from Pokerama-rama
...I've been in this spot many times as I'm sure most people have in the countless hours spent trying to find "their" game at the tables:

Hello Muck, I'd like you to meet Mr. Shitty Hand. Seems you two have become quite familiar over the course of the evening.

While I'm on the subject of Pokerama-rama, reading Chad's blog has reinforced the idea that everyone seems to go through this "blah" period that I've been in lately.
This also seems to be a common thread amongst bloggers: one day, they're struggling with their play, and the next, they're pulling in over $100 a day and complaining about $400 paydays in tournaments.

I'm hoping that things run that well for me...we'll see. I've definitely got the fundamentals of poker theory (basic theory, like I know what beats a straight) down and I seem to know what I'm doing heads-up. When I've got the chip lead, I'm pretty good at adapting to my opponent's style and really putting it to them. You know you've done your job if they start playing the all-in game every hand. Anyone who's willing to put their tournament on the line on every hand has basically conceded the game - they are waiting for you to take it from them. They'll get lucky from time to time (see earlier in this post) but in the long run, you'll come away with the money.

As much as I love video games, there is something about a well-played hand of poker that really does it for me.


Judging from the following quote I found online, I'm hoping that online poker is due for another downswing in poker talent:
I have a question, I hope someone here can answer or maybe help. I just started playing poker at Doyles, first of all I have an account at Poker Stars, and have played there a very long time so I am not new to poker. My question is about the kicker card. I have noticed at Doyles sometimes they use the kicker and sometimes they don't. For instance lets say on the flop [Qc Qh Ah 7h] and 3 players have the following cards. [Ad 6h] [Ac 3d] [3c As] who wins the pot?? Is it split 3 ways??? Would you use the kicker???

Hello! My name is Klopzi and I'll be handling your money for the rest of your stay.

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