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Good Cop, Bad Cop...

Well, Half-Life 2 and The Orange Box have got me completely hooked right now. As tempting as it is to come back and grind out the bucks playing poker, I've just learned how to hit Combine soldiers in the head with a crowbar. Blood and exploding skulls aside, it's great family fun!

Speaking of family and kids, I have another video for you. And as much as Waffles wishes to see something about "2 Girls, 1 Cup", the thought of anyone watching or showing others anything that offensive most likely makes Baby Jebus cry.

So let's keep things clean and get back to a little Will Ferrell vs. Pearl in this video called "Good Cop, Baby Cop":



"Hi Hell. I've got someone coming to you..."

Classic!

Have a great weekend! Enjoy your families, booze, and gambling...and stay away from the pudding...trust me...

Keep reading "Good Cop, Bad Cop..."

Portal is Awesome!

If you've ever considered picking up your very own Xbox 360, now's the time to do it! See - they have this game called Portal that comes bundled with Half-Life 2: The Orange Box. And you know what? It's awesome!

The following is an excerpt from The Greedy Gamer:


I don't have much to say today except: I'm lovin' the Portal!
  • 5:45 PM: Half-Life 2: The Orange Box is sitting in my mailbox when I arrive home.

  • 6:15 PM: We have dinner plans with family. I'm forced to leave my house, my Xbox 360, and Portal...

  • 9:00 PM: Back from dinner! Wait, I'm off to the store to pick up baby-related stuff...

  • 9:30 PM: My wife and I need to take care of some domestic chores, such as cleaning and making a fresh batch of baby bottles.

  • 10:00 PM: My youngest is due to eat shortly: there's very little point in loading up The Orange Box right now. I have a bowl of ice cream with my wife and we watch 'Til Death.

  • 10:30 PM: My son is screaming and all outward appearances tell me that a hitherto unknown self-destruct button has been inadvertently pushed and my son is preparing to level a city block in great fiery explosion.

  • 10:35 PM: I was a little hasty in my "self-destruct-sequence" theory. It appears that my son was only mildly hungry and slightly wet - quite surprising given the ferocity of his earlier screams. I will have my son's doctor attempt to adjust either the sensitivity or volume of my son's screaming module. I'd do it myself but have no idea to its whereabouts.

  • 11:15 PM: Miracle of miracles: my son finished eating and is now fast asleep in his crib! Do I dare play a little Portal?

  • 11:20 PM: After double-dog-daring myself to play Portal, I set about jumping and teleporting about the Aperture Science Lab! My Xbox 360 is humming along happily. I'm quite sure that I'm doing a little dance as I play the game perched precariously on the edge of my seat!
  • 11:35 PM: A friend, Senators Rule, sends me a message when he sees that I'm playing Portal. I send a friendly yet dismissive reply and get back to my portal-ing frenzy.
  • 12:00 AM: I've just finished off level 12 and toy with the idea of staying up to finish off the last seven levels of Portal.
  • 12:01 AM: I decide against pressing my luck: my son will no doubt be up soon and I'm exhausted.
  • 12:55 AM: Still lying awake in bed listening to the sporadic sounds coming from my youngest son's room, all the while thinking of Portal. Unbeknownst to me at the the time, I would continue to think and dream about Portal until I got up early this morning. What a great game!

So...any guesses as to what I'll be doing tonight?

Keep reading "Portal is Awesome!"

A Sleepless Integration

Guess what time I got up this morning? 3:15 AM. Surprisingly enough, the sun wasn't up yet. Luckily, my youngest son was up so he kept me company for the next little while. I talked, he screamed...good times!

As I was going through my daily blog read, I happened upon Matt Maroon's latest article "Why I Quit Playing Poker For A Living, Pt. 1".

Matt really touches on many of the feelings that I'm experiencing right now in regards to poker. It's a very hard game to play unless you're 100% committed to playing your very best - or 100% committed to losing your entire bankroll.

Over the past couple years, I've had to learn to integrate the new aspects of my life into the poker-fold. A wife, kids, a new house, and a new job all require that learned poker playing and study habits be re-learned prior to hitting the tables again.

I'm currently having a difficult time finding my equilibrium again. I'm so tired all the time that I don't have much of a desire to play poker. Throw in the fact that I'm afraid of losing my bankroll at the tables and we have ourselves a pretty deadly combination.

I know I'm simply recapping what I've said here many times in the past couple months, but I feel that I should try to discuss poker from time to time on this blog. I've actually considered changing my blog title to "Klopzi's Mediocre Life", though I feel that this is an inadvertent smack in the face to my wife and kids. They make my life anything but mediocre!

Anyway, go check out Matt's article today.

And in case you were wondering, I finished The Darkness (click here if you'd like to buy my copy via eBay) for the Xbox 360 and am now looking forward to Half-Life 2: The Orange Box. It should be arriving in the mail any day now...hopefully tonight! If that happens to be the case, I may get drunk tonight while playing Portal like a crazy bastard!

Of course, I may also spend the night taking care of my kids instead. I leave it in their hands...

Keep reading "A Sleepless Integration"

The Landlord


I'm a big Will Ferrell fan and I ran across a video featuring Ferrell and his landlord (landlady?) Pearl. You may or may not find this funny. I'd guess it depends on your views surrounding child exploitation, landlords, Will Ferrell, and getting your drink on...

And so, I present to you The Landlord...



Hey - I thought that was funny! Check out these outtakes if you feel like laughing a little more:


Hope everyone had a great long weekend! Now get back to work!

Keep reading "The Landlord"

Braving the Storm

Last night was a real exercise in frustration as I threw myself an impromptu Black Thursday evening of shopping. I'd somehow managed to work myself up into a buying frenzy yesterday (read it firsthand in this post over at The Greedy Gamer). It was an itch that needed scratching...

My goals for the evening were pretty simple:


  1. Drive to my local Blockbuster despite the snow storm pounding Ottawa.

  2. Buy a brand-spanking new copy of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box using Blockbuster store credit.

  3. Stop at Tim Horton's on the way home to buy a donut.

  4. Get home and eat my delicious donut while trying out Portal (game-play video at the end of this post, if you're interested).

Easy right? Easy. Right?!

At 9:00 PM, I jump into my little Hyundai Accent (car shopping on a budget leaves very few options) and skid my way out of the driveway. As I start to make my way to Blockbuster, my car starts to twist and turn and I find myself skidding like a bastard all over the road. I check my speed - 30 km/h - and can only wonder why Koreans would want to build a car that weighs just shy of 100 lbs. and then market this car to Canadians. Although I could have easily given up and returned to the warmth and safety of my house, I decided to press on through the blizzard.

I skidded into Blockbuster's parking lot twenty minutes later. For a man pushing a deuce and a half, I jumped out of the car like a fat ninja and slunk into the store. I quickly and quietly made my way to the back of the store, so as to avoid the pointless and awkward chit-chat with bored store employees, and started browsing the shelf of new Xbox 360 games. A couple minutes later, I realized that not a single copy of The Orange Box was on display.

Off to the used games shelf. Orange Box? Nothing. They had fifteen copies of some Sonic the Hedgehog game (awful!) and countless copies of The Outfit (crap!), yet the game I wanted was nowhere to be found.

With no other alternatives, I was forced to ask the only Blockbuster employee in sight about my game.

"Do you have any copies of Half-Life 2: The Orange Box?"

"No.", he replied.

"Could you call another store and ask them if they have any copies?"

I could tell by the look on his face that I was pushing my luck. How dare I force him to work on such a snowy evening!

One phone call and five minutes later, the clerk hung up the phone and gave me the bad news. "Sorry dude - they're sold out too."

Now I was desperate. If I couldn't have The Orange Box, perhaps I could walk away with Mass Effect? "I notice that you're selling Mass Effect for $69.99. Every other store in Ottawa sells the game for $59.99. Any chance of getting a price match?"

He quickly typed some information into his computer terminal, nodded his head ever so slightly and then answered - "No. The computer says it's $69.99. Do you want to buy a copy of The Outfit instead? They're on sale for, like, ten bucks."

I stumbled out of the store, hopes crushed, dreams gone. There would be no Half-Life 2 for me this evening. The only comfort I would have on this cold evening would be the love of my wife, the screams of my youngest son, and the delicious custard filling of a Boston Cream donut.

After fifteen more minutes of driving perpendicular to the flow of traffic, I slid into the drive-thru of the local Tim Horton's. I opened my window and leaned towards the speaker just as a voice came over the speaker.

"Good evening, welcome to Tim Horton's. How may I help you?"

"Hi. I'll take a Boston Cream donut please."

"Will that be all?", the speaker asked.

"Yep.", I answered.

"Your total comes to 73 cents - please drive through."

I pulled up to the window where a Japanese woman in her mid-forties waited for me. "We're all out of Boston Cream tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"Sure, I'll take a cheese tea biscuit."

The drive-thru lady rushed off to grab my biscuit but returned scant seconds later. "We're all ouf of tea biscuits tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"Hmmm. I guess I'll take a cheese croissant."

First no Half-Life 2. And now, no Boston Cream donut or tea biscuit! What a great night I was having! Imagine my lack of surprise when the Tim Horton's cashier returned empty-handed yet again: "We're all out of cheese croissants tonight. Can I get you something else?"

"What do you have?". I was getting a little frustrated but I've got a pretty long fuse when it comes to getting annoyed by incompetents.

"Have you tried our new Lemon Crinkle Raspberry-Filled donut?", she asked.

"No, I haven't.", I replied. "I'll take one."

Cashier leaves and returns. "I'm sorry sir. We just sold the last one. Can I get you something else?"

Fucking hilarious...

"An sesame seed bagel with light cream cheese?".

"I'm sorry sir, we're out of sesame seed bagels."

I drove off, my spirit crushed from disapointment after disapointment, skidding my crappy little car all the way home.

When I finally walked through the front door, game-less and donut-less, I made my way up to the bedroom where my wife was sitting on the bed with my son in her lap. He'd just been fed and was fast asleep. I took my place beside them on the bed and my wife and I watched TV for next couple hours in absolute peace and quiet as the snow continued to fall outside.

I guess it wasn't such a bad night after all...

--

Here's the Portal trailer and game-play footage I mentioned earlier.



Buy Half-Life 2: The Orange Box, which includes the ground-breaking and highly-acclaimed game Portal, right here.

Keep reading "Braving the Storm"

Happy Thanksgiving!

So, Thanksgiving Day, eh? You Americans really know how to do things: you celebrate Thanksgiving on a Thursday and take the day off on Friday to go shopping. Well, while you were all snug in your beds this morning and dreaming of turkey and stuffing, I was wide awake and feeding formula to a screaming baby! And tomorrow morning, while you're all snug in your beds dreaming of some Black Friday shopping, I'll be up early feeding formula to a screaming baby!

You'll have to excuse my mood today: I'm exhausted. Also, today was the second straight day of taking a crowded bus to work as it snowed like a mother fucker outside. And both days, the bus driver told everyone to keep moving to the back of the bus and I always seemed to end up crammed in between three guys, forcing me to spend the next 40 minutes getting horribly "balled". It was like a club sandwich thing and I was the meat.

When I saw the old sandwich routine getting set up again this morning, I frantically barrelled my way to the back of the bus in a desperate attempt to execute a commuters' cock-block. I'm happy to say that my mad bus dash worked and I was happily wedged between a post and some old guy's briefcase for the rest of this morning's commute. I do feel a little bad for the two guys, three girls, that one old woman, and the laptop that I knocked aside on my way to the back of the bus. I guess the threat of the old 360 degrees of cock 'n balls is enough to turn anyone from a mild-mannered consultant into a wrecking ball of fury.

Anywya, sleep well my American readers! Enjoy your time off! Enjoy the turkey! Enjoy the poker if you're still into that! Enjoy your video games if that's how you roll! Most of all, enjoy a great holiday weekend with family, football, and cocktails.

And if you happen to come across a cheap copy of Mass Effect and are feeling generous, feel free to ship it my way!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Keep reading "Happy Thanksgiving!"

Testing...

I'm going to steal another page out of Fuel55's and Waffles' book yet again...





Growing up, my family had an Easy Rider wall-sized poster in the basement. It was there when we moved in...it was still there when we moved out 17 years later...

Keep reading "Testing..."

A Better Life

As my wife and I sat in the kitchen, drinking coffee while speaking to my dad and step-mother on Saturday, my mind started wandering to poker. You see, we were discussing some of the work that has to be done around the house in the next couple years. My dad explained that it would be a lot of work but easily do-able, my wife claimed that I wouldn't do the labour myself (and she's right), and I just tried to put a dollar figure to the fixes, touch-ups, and major landscaping that needs to be finished.

It's at times like these that I start to think about poker. How can I afford to pay $5000 for new roof, $5000 for landscaping in the backyard, and $2000 to have all our window frames sanded and repainted? Poker, of course.

Later that night, as I sat in the washroom looking for something to read, I picked up my well-worn copy of Professional No-Limit Hold'em. Perhaps I'd been away from the tables long enough: maybe my time for rebirth at the tables was at hand?

I read a couple pages, hoping that a little light reading might start to awaken the poker beast. Nothing...

I started to wonder why I didn't want to continue reading the book. I like poker: I've proven it time and time again in the past. I remember wanting to play so badly that I could taste it. I remember the exultation of seeing the perfect flop connect with my cards and all but guarantee me a solid payday. So why can't I get back into poker now when me and my family could most use the extra cash?

It all comes down to the money. If I feel that I have to play poker in order to earn some money, I start down a bad path. I look at the amount of money I could expect to earn hourly while playing $50 NL or $100 NL. I then look at the number of hours that I have at my disposal. And that's when my grandiose plans for gambling for a better life fall apart.

The reality is that making $10K at $4/hr (or $8/hr if multi-tabling) is not feasible given my time constraints. Putting in 2500 table hours, or even 1250 table hours of $100 NL, over the next year is not feasible. With two kids, I see my free time per week averaging perhaps 6 hours a week over the next 12 months.

Of course, the fact that the US dollar is crap right now really doesn't help matters. For every US dollar that I make, my take home is probably about 80 cents on the dollar when you thrown in the various fees that banks charge when converting currency.

Until I start seeing the "fun" in poker again, I'm not sure when I'll next play. I guess the first step is getting more than 30 minutes of peace from screaming babies. From there, it's a matter of reviewing what's really important to me. It's funny how I'm managing to play video games right now, but can't seem to log a single minute of poker.

Then again, all my current feelings toward poker might change if I could just win a single sit-n-go. Losing has a way of making my poker game feel absolutely worthless and pointless...

Keep reading "A Better Life"

Another Waffles Time Waster...

Thanks to Waffles, I have something to write about yet again without having to resort to playing poker or gambling in my "free time".



And hey, while I'm at it, why not pimp my other blog? Here are the readability "stats" for The Greedy Gamer:


Now I wonder: do these results mean that I write well? Or is it just a ploy for Cash Advance Loans to get free advertising?

Whatever...have a great weekend!

Keep reading "Another Waffles Time Waster..."

I've been Tagged!

Iamhoff tagged me and I guess I should follow the rules.

  1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog...
  2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself...
  3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs...
  4. Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog...

And so, without further ado...

Seven random things about me:

  1. When I sit down to eat dinner, I'll always eat all the vegetables first. I'll then eat all the meat next and I'll finish up by eating all the potatoes, rice, or any other "filler" type substance. I never ever deviate from this course of action unless I'm at a restaurant.
  2. I get very upset if food is juicy, messy, or touches my chin.
  3. I'm afraid of the dark, especially basements...
  4. I hate going to bed and would rather keep playing until I collapse on the spot from exhaustion.
  5. I only brushed my teeth once a day for the first 28 years of my life. It wasn't until I started living with my wife that I started brushing in the morning AND at night. I also started flossing.
  6. I think sandwiches are for suckers. That's why I'm not a big fan of Subway. Don't try and sell me a $10 sub and tell me that I should be full after eating it! A foot-long sub is just a glorified sandwich and I need more than god damned sandwich at dinner time. And who the hell pays $10 for a sandwich anyway! What a rip-off...
  7. I think cell phones are useless and gay. I also think that people who shun new technology are useless and gay.

There are not many unknowns when it comes to me. Honestly, everything that I've written on this blog for the past couple years is all there is. I'm married to my beautiful wife, have two awesome and screamy kids, and we live in an expensive house in the suburbs. I play poker. I play video games. I like the occasional drink. I'm pretty boring, I guess.

Ok, so now I'm supposed to tag 7 people. Whatever...let's go with:

Amatay
Michael
L'Artiste
Venom_G
Ed
Doubleuwhy
sag

This is gonna be the first and last time I tag anyone else. I not a big fan of chain letters and that type of stuff but I'll go along with it this time. If I inadvertently pissed anyone off by tagging them, I apologize...

Keep reading "I've been Tagged!"

Most impressive...

Watching Daniel Negreanu or Gus Hansen run over a final table is pretty damn impressive.

And there was that one time that I ran $550 up to $950 in the space of 30 minutes at the blackjack tables at AceClub Casino.

But nothing beats what you're about to witness after the jump...

Sure, video games are for kids. I make a hell of a lot more money playing poker than I do video games and I'm sure that this applies to 99.9% of all gamers out there. But there's got be some way to make money when you've got the video game chops on display in the video below.

If you've ever played Guitar Hero (1, 2 , or 3), you'll appreciate the sheer difficulty of what you are about to watch.




Damn...that was impressive! Almost as impressive as the Guitar Hero session in this next video:


Keep reading "Most impressive..."

Great Gambling Gangsters!

Even with the all the changes made to the landscape of casinos, gambling and poker over the last 30 years, it's nice to see that things haven't changed as much as we thought.

It seems that an illegal sports gambling ring has been discovered operating out of the Borgata poker room in Atlantic City. The cool part (cool since I live far away in Canada and never plan on visiting the Borgata or New Jersey) is that four of the persons involved in the gambling ring have mafia ties.

It was only a matter of time before organized crime started to show up in the casino and gambling market again. I'd say that this news surprises me but I always thought that the mafia ran Vegas and Atlantic City anyway. Then again, I've seen the movie Casino quite a few times so I probably have a skewed view of reality.

Thanks to Wicked Chops Poker and The Associated Press for the breaking news.

Keep reading "Great Gambling Gangsters!"

The Poker State of Mind


It was a long weekend for some of us up here in Canada. I had a nice relaxing three days off, even with two kids at home and some Christmas lights that needed putting up! However, the weekend didn't come without its frustrations...

When I was playing poker a lot and making half-decent money, I didn't really mind blowing money from time to time. To play poker well, you need to disassociate your bankroll and your chips from real-world money. After dropping almost $500 recently while running cold at the tables, not once did I stop to think of all the things that I could have bought with that money.

Having not played very much poker since the birth of my second son, I'm sorry to report that the value of money is once again known to me. Take, for example, a problem I encountered over the weekend involving my Xbox 360 and Saints Row, a game that I've been playing since mid-October. Read about the problem here then come back and I'll finish up my story.

When I was playing poker, I would have resolved this problem in straight-forward fashion.

Game's not working? Buy a new game.

Game's still not working? Buy a new Xbox 360.

Game's still not working? Call up Microsoft, give them the old "f u" speech, then buy a Playstation 3!

See how poker simplifies things? If you have the bankroll to burn and you're only interested in getting the most out of your free time, life is pretty simple.

However, since I'm without a large bankroll at the moment, I have no options right now other than to try and fix problems myself and finding compromise between my expectations and the harsh realities of the life as husband, father, and mortgage.

I really need to get my bankroll back again...

Keep reading "The Poker State of Mind"

Nerds!

Which is worse? A video game nerd or a poker nerd? I'm guessing the video game nerd since you can't make any money playing video games unless you're Korean or an awkward teenage boy with acne. I can't help but wonder what my wife is thinking as she watches me struggle to play a game that was originally designed for the strangely deft fingers and lightning reflexes of a twelve year old boy (or girl).

When I first met my wife, I knew nothing about poker. My hobby of choice at the time was video games and I'll admit that I failed to disclose to my wife-to-be how much I enjoyed video games. I still remember the shock on her face when she asked me if I actually felt the need to play video games every day: I said "Yes!" and she said "Fuck...".

But I look at poker, video games, and other nerdy past times as being positives for a marriage.

While some men spend tons of money on their hobbies, poker players make money with their hobby.

While some men prowl the bars looking to get lucky while their wives are out of town, I look to get lucky by luring the fabled Chewnicorn to my garden in Viva Pinata. And then, if I'm feeling particularly bold, I'll have some friends over so that we can drink beer and play some drunken lemur poker.

While some men sit on the couch drinking beer and watching football, I sit on the couch drinking pop and eating Doritos while logging an hour or two at the $50 NL tables or devouring hearts in The Darkness. Actually, I'll drink beer sometimes too...but at least I don't tie up the TV.

While some men prowl strip clubs or the red light districts looking for cheap thrills and exotic venereal diseases, I spend my time cleaning up the streets in Saints Row - my favourite murder simulator du jour.

So wives - be happy that your husbands are nerdy, awkward losers.

And guys - play on...

Keep reading "Nerds!"

Where is the love?

We still have one very mild-mannered, quiet son and one screaming, arms and legs akimbo son. And while the family's doing well right now, we're definitely getting more run-down as each day passes. And while I still haven't played poker, my bankroll was boosted yesterday through no effort on my part.

The fine folks at Ultimate Bet gave me $10 worth of free cash to blow at their tables. Sweet! That's almost two SNGs that I can play! Now if only I could pull together an hour or so of free time. Actually, I've had a little free time lately: little being the key word. But I've been so tired that I've muzzled any thoughts of playing poker. My bad luck already puts me at a disadvantage at the table - playing half-asleep would just make matters worse.

Until I get more sleep and more rested, all I can do is sit back, play some video games, and wait for the poker bug to bite me again. I love that feeling of "loving" poker almost as much as I enjoy winning at poker. The feeling that no matter what happens at the table, it's all good. I love being able to have my opponent hit a two-outer and just shrugging it off. Right now, I think I'd throw an Angry German Kid fit each time I lost a hand.

And so, until next time, I'll just leave you with the Angry German Kid. And for the record, the video below is exactly why I don't play online multi-player games other than poker - those guys are freaks!



Keep reading "Where is the love?"

A Night in the Life

So - what did I do last night? Let's see...

Well, there was this...



A bit of this...


Oh, and plenty more of this...


If you'd really like to experience a night in the life of Klopzi, be sure to listen to the first and third videos on full volume for the next six or seven hours.

Remember - no breaks! That would be cheating...

Keep reading "A Night in the Life"

SAGE: Q&A

Last Thursday, Tripjax posted a link to a post I made a little while back entitled SAGE: The Sit and Go Endgame System. It's good to know a few people have finally read a post that I feel can be very advantageous to any tournament or sit-and-go player.

Joxum had a couple questions regarding the SAGE system:


  1. How do you identify a SAGE player?
  2. How do you take his money?

Identifying a SAGE player can be a little difficult. Most players tend to fall into one of two categories when the blinds get high in a heads-up situation: Ultra-LAG or Loose-Passive.

Ultra-LAG players will raise almost every hand and try to take control of the game. They want to control the pace and dictate how and when all the chips are going into the middle of the table.

The Loose-Passive players will attempt to see many flops cheaply and hope to hit top-pair (or a middle pair with an Ace or King kicker). These players don't like to play to large pre-flop raises and would rather see the flop before making any decisions.

Of these two player types, SAGE players are very similar to Ultra-LAGs. This becomes even more true as the blinds climb quite high and the blind-to-stack ratios get smaller and smaller. How do you tell if the crazy player before you is the wise SAGE player or the maniac?

My advice is to look at their play leading up to the heads-up portion of the SNG or MTT.

  • If your opponent seemed reserved and calculating before getting heads-up, I'd definitely lean towards a SAGE player.
  • If your opponent's only move is to push all-in pre-flop or fold (or check in the BB, I guess), I'd also think that he/she is using SAGE.
  • If you opponent shows down hands that fall within the SAGE range for pushing and calling all-in, then you've got your answer.

This brings us to the next question: how do you take SAGE players' money? As I mentioned in my SAGE post, the SAGE system is unexploitable. I could tell my opponent that I'll be using the SAGE system and there's not a single thing that my opponent could do to improve his chances of winning. In order to beat a SAGE player, you'll need to do a few things:

  1. If you find yourself heads-up against SAGE, take advantage of the time when the blinds are low. SAGE works well when the blind-to-stack ratio is 7 or less. If both you and the SAGE player have stacks of t7500 with the blinds at 100/200, do your best to get your opponent to overcommit to a pot when the blinds are small. If he starts pushing all-in too early, punish him by waiting for a premium hand. And if your opponent SAGE seems unable to handle the intricacies of big-stack heads-up play, do your best to whittle him down with some small-ball poker.

  2. If you're able to successfully complete the step above, your stack should be larger than the SAGE player's stack once the blind-to-stack ratio hits 7. At this point, your opponent may need to double up two or three times to even things up. Use this fact to your advantage by playing aggressively and gambling with your chips. The best way to take advantage of this situation is to use SAGE yourself.

  3. If you find yourself trailing heads-up and your stack has only 7 or fewer big blinds left, then you must resort to using SAGE. Although you don't gain any advantage by using SAGE against another SAGE player, you also won't suffer from any disadvantages. The time to gamble is now: embrace the variance, cross your fingers, and push those chips in every chance you get!

I'd like to make one final note before closing things up. The SAGE system is a way for weaker players to cancel the edge that better heads-up players might have over them. SAGE works best against tight or passive players who are unwilling to risk their tournament or SNG lives on the results of one hand. It's very hard to call of your tournament life with a T3s when your opponent has just jammed pre-flop. SAGE places your opponents in these types of situations constantly, forcing them to fold hand after hand until it's too late and you've won.

However - if you are the better player and you find yourself heads-up, you may do better by playing your normal "A" game rather than resorting to SAGE. Skilled heads-up players are few and far between so you should push your edge any chance you get. SAGE will effectively take all skill out of the game meaning that you should be selective as to the situations and opponents against whom you use it. But please remember that SAGE damned near-perfect and you'd better be pretty damned good at heads-up poker if you decide to play to the beat of your own drum.

Joxum - I hope this post helps answer your questions.

And if any of you would like to try your hand against SAGE (Jordan, for example), e-mail me and we can arrange some low-stakes ($5 or less) heads-up games on PokerStars or Full Tilt. Judging from my newest son's screaming this past weekend, I expect that I'll be unable to play poker for at least another month or so. But we'll see what we can work out...

Keep reading "SAGE: Q&A"

Corruption

There's been a lot of talk about how poker and gambling corrupt society. Well, the same is also being said for video games. It seems that no matter how you choose to spend my free time, church, state, and that old lady who sits beside you on the bus can only shake their heads and tell you that you're wrong!

But does violence in video games affect me? No, not really. However, it does give me something to write about!

Take, for example, this text excerpted from my other site: The Greedy Gamer. Here, I describe my first foray into the Hitman activity Saints Row for the Xbox 360. Being a hitman in Saints Row involves finding a client, getting a list of targets, and then hitting the streets to find your unfortunate victims.

I've got two days to find the time to beat up, stab, shoot and blow up twenty-one poor souls currently wandering the virtual streets of Stilwater.

Three of my targets have already met a sorry demise:

  1. Poor Jackie was only responding to a 911 call in the Saints Row district. How could she have known that this would be her last call? The door to the ambulance was still closed when the bullet shattered the driver's side window before burrowing itself deep within Jackie's brain. She seemed like a nice enough gal: it's a shame she went and pissed off the wrong people...

  2. Alan was really excited about seeing the big game at the Arena. It was 6 pm as he approached the doors to the Arena. Suddenly, some crazy guy in a Santa suit came running up and flashed a knife. Alan had been waiting for tonight's game for quite a while and he wasn't about to give up his tickets to the game without a fight. He tried to yell for help but nobody seemed to notice...except for "Santa". Alan tried his best to run; alas, the years of watching sports instead of playing sports had taken their toll.

    Alan managed to take three steps before the crazed department-store-Santa stabbed him in the back. For the first time in five years, Row J Seat 12 was empty as the national anthem played over the Ultra Dome's sound system.

  3. Juan really liked to jog. Jogging kept him healthy and had really helped firm up the love handles that had started to take shape around Juan's 30th birthday. In fact, Juan was in such great shape that he felt obligated to show off his body any chance he got! And so, on a brisk Saturday morning, he made his way down to the Ultra Dome wearing only a pair of sneakers and his tight red Speedos. When Juan reached the arena at around noon, he grabbed a hot dog from the pushcart vendor and took a seat on a nearby bench. Juan finished his hot dog while daydreaming about the run home and then wondered whether his mother would like a night on the town (she'd moved in six months ago when Juan's father died of a heart attack).

    As he went to stand, Juan couldn't help but notice a strange young man with white hair and icy blue eyes looking him up and down. The young man pulled what appeared to be a photo out of his jacket pocket and studied it before settling his gaze, once again, on Juan. With a slight nod of his head, the young man quickly produced a Tombstone shotgun from thin air and took a shot. Juan felt something hit him in the chest and he toppled to the ground.

    Struggling for breath, Juan suddenly wished he'd taken up his mother's offer for a nice lunch and a matinee at the local theatre...

As for the other twenty-one unfortunates, their stories are yet to be written. And though I'd like nothing better than to let them live, Stilwater can be an expensive town and my clients pay well...


Have a good weekend everyone! I'll most likely get no poker played this weekend...again. If I feel like losing money, I'll take a few hundred out of my wallet and burn it instead. However, I'll be back on Monday to describe a friend's initial attempts at playing "blind" poker. It's pretty sick variant to online poker but it could also vastly improve your own game.

Keep reading "Corruption"

A Word of Advice

I had a dream last night that I was watching some guy play poker on his laptop. He was playing four sit-and-gos at a time while discussing the importance of understanding the effects of variance and luck on my state of mind.

The point he was trying to drive home was that everyone has bad beats, tough breaks, and long streaks where nothing seems to go well. It is during these times that you must stay diligent, re-examine your game for leaks, and doing your utmost to continue playing your A-game in the face of adversity.

Then he looked at me and said, "No matter how well you play poker, you're going to lose long and hard from time to time. For example, I've now lost 16 sit-and-gos in a row without winning a single one."

So I responded, "But I've lost well over 40 sit-and-gos since my last win."

Without pause, he said, "Jesus, you suck...”

With that, he asked me to leave before turning his attention back to the games unfolding on his laptop.

I guess poker has started to creep into my dreams again, albeit with a decidedly darker tone to which I'm accustomed.

Keep reading "A Word of Advice"