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Archive for July 2006

Poker 101: The Art of Fake-Checking and Keeping Your Mouth Shut

Posted on July 27, 2006 by under Games, Poker.    

I should really keep my mouth shut when I’m playing poker. When I get too comfortable around people, I start being chatty Cathy and then I end up giving my hands away. You won’t even need to stare me down to get a feel for what I’m holding. Just listen to the chatter and you’ll know whether to stay in or fold.

Case in point is Friday night poker. I end up at a table with Sandy, Mary, Brian (not my Brian but a different Brian) and a bunch of other super friendly folks. Of course, there is never such a thing as a friendly game of poker. Everyone is in it to win it even though we’re all playing for free. People take their bragging rights and points very, very seriously.

Anyway, it looks friendly on the surface but you know people are still really competitive. Of course, we always have a lot of fun. I do, anyway. Win or lose, playing poker is always a good time. I really like the exciting rollercoaster hands the best. Those hands where someone is 5% to win pre flop and then the flop comes out in their favor so now they’re in the lead, and then the turn comes in the other player’s favor so now the other guy is back to being the underdog and then the river comes and the underdog wins. Those hands rock.

A few people have commented about how excited I get when I get knocked out in such a manner, they would hate to see me win because I might just die of a heart attack. Just like any other poker addict, I love to share my bad beat stories. Sometimes over and over and over again, ad nauseum. Of course, since most of you aren’t the least bit interested in poker I’ve learned to keep it off the blog for the most part. I mean, poker stories are pretty boring for most regular people.

But I digress.. Where was I? Okay, Friday night poker. We are at this table being friendly and cordial and cracking jokes. I was playing really loose that night so I was in a lot of hands — most of which I had no business being in. One hand I was in last position.

It started out being a family pot. If not, only one person wasn’t in the hand. I think the dealer wasn’t in the hand because I don’t remember dealing but I was last to act each time. There was no pre flop raise so who knows what kind of cards were being played. After the flop, everyone checked. I bet the minimum amount. Everyone called.

“What is this? You were all fake-checking!” I protested. “If you were really checking you all would’ve folded after the bet.”

So we start joking around about fake-checks. Everytime someone would check and the possibility of a killer hand existed, we would all tease each other about fake-checking.

Several hands later while still at $20-$40 blinds I find myself in one of the blind positions. I have ace-three off-suit but I’m in big blind so I play it. I think the small blind folded pre flop because I was first to act each time.

The flop comes ace, king, jack. I hit top pair and I want to know what’s up so I instinctively bet $200. This is a decent bet because it’s five times the big blind but, considering that just about everyone called pre flop, I realize now it might not have been big enough.

Sandy goes, “What happened to fake-checking?”

“Well.. I happen to have something,” I replied.

“You gotta fake-check if you have something good,” she continued.

“No, you only fake-ceck if you have something REALLY good.”

Crap! Open mouth, insert foot. You can pretty much guess what happened. It was call, call, call, call, call. All the way around the table. Definitely not what you want to see when you have top pair with a weak kicker.

The turn card comes and it is a blank. I fire another $200. It was probably a futile attempt at this point because the pot had grown in size and anyone with anything would be ill-advised not to call such a miniscule bet compared to the pot size. It did manage to scare all but one. I guess after second bet they finally believed me. Except for Mary. She was the non-believer. The river card is a queen. I visualize myself hitting my head against the table a dozen times. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I checked it to her. She bet $200. What’s $200 at this point?

“I know you have the ten but I call,” I said defeated. And she did. She had the ten. To her credit, however, she had a king-ten so she hand the second best pair post flop. I cannot blame her for calling. First of all, I didn’t bet big enough. And worst of all, I gave my hand away. She knew exactly what I had. She called because she had the second best hand and a better draw. She gambled and it paid off.

So there are really two lessons to be learned here. First, fake-check if you have a good hand. This will allow you to smooth-call and trap someone, or re-raise and send an amateur toward tilt-dom. Second, keep your mouth shut while you’re doing it (unless you are a pro and have mastered the art of table talk — which as we’ve proven here does not describe me).

As Mike Sexton always says on the World Poker Tour, “May your cards be live and your pots be monsters!” Good luck, everyone! Happy poker-playing!

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Alonsofamily.net is No More

Posted on July 23, 2006 by under Web.    

If you encounter a bunch of pictures that don’t show up in this blog, that is the reason. Alonsofamily.net is gone. Dad has moved his web site to Kanluran.com. And so, all the picture links are now broken.

I’m not really feeling inclined to fix all the broken picture links right now. I’m thinking I’ll just fix them as I come across them. Email me the ones you run into and I’ll fix those first.

In the meantime, you’re probably going to see a lot of old photos loaded into my Flickr photostream. That’s where I’m sending all the ones that I was able to salvage from the old Alonsofamily.net web site. The only problem is, there may be some duplication.

I haven’t been really good at tagging and labeling my photos so now that I’ve got over 4,000 on Flickr it’s too time consuming to browse them all to make sure nothing gets duplicated. If I don’t find the photos in the first try, I’m going to upload them. I just want you all to know in case some of you are wondering what is going on.

What’s going on is I have broken picture links. Broken picture links drive me mad. Now I’m scrambling. Unlike Flickr, I didn’t really have a DR plan.

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He’s So Adorable

Posted on July 22, 2006 by under Life.    

Brian has this habit of sending me plagiarized love poems to brighten my work day. I pick on him about it, but I think it’s cute. Anyway, here’s one that he sent me last week.

TO: Me
FROM: Brian

A poem to make you smile and to let you know I’m thinking of you. I love
you baby.

I love you for these reasons
Never changing, never stopping
Growing stronger through the seasons

Your touch is like that of no other
Warm, Caring, and full of love
Hoping our life is one touch after another

Love at first sight, we felt it both
The feelings are strong like none felt before
So, with this poem, I take this oath

To be your friend, lover, and soulmate
Cherishing the life, future, we will create

To love you like no other
To need, and want you forever

Be by your side always
Walk with you on this path called life
Be your shoulder when you need to cry
And be faithful, and honest,
in our days ahead
As long as our love stays

~I love you always and forever~

This was a somewhat lengthy poem so I figured that he probably didn’t write it. I busted him on a couple of other plagiarized poems in the past. We both agreed that it’s the thought that counts and that’s true. I like to give him a hard time, though, so I said:

TO: Brian
FROM: Me

That’s really sweet, baby. Now, tell me honestly. Did you write it or is this another plagiarized poem?

We laughed about it when I got home. He explained that it was, indeed, plagiarized but he did modify it a little to make it his own. He said he had to remove all the references made to physical features because it originally said something about blonde hair and blue eyes. I told him I was glad he made the changes for it would’ve been a dead give away. He cracks me up sometimes.

Anyway, Brian may not be the most romantic man on the planet but he is certainly the most adorable. 🙂

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You’re All Invited

Posted on July 22, 2006 by under Flickr, Food and Drink, Games, Poker.    

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Brian and I have decided to have an all-you-can-eat taco challenge at the Harry and Webb Taco Shop on Monday (Brian wanted me to clarify that participants will need to buy their own meals; just in case anyone gets the wrong idea). Brian and I are both pretty sure that I will win because no one can eat like me. I can out-eat just about anyone. Except maybe for Dill. If he shows up, I’ll lose for sure.

So if you want to witness an exciting taco-eating contest, feel free to join us. I think all-you-can-eat tacos are served between 4-8 pm. Brian and I aren’t sure about the times, though. We just know it’s in the evening.

Of course, that’s the same night that APL is holding the televised championship poker tournament. So if nobody makes it we will understand completely. We figured that we will probably stop in to cheer Michelle and Adelfa on. They both qualified to play in the tourney.

The tournament is open to spectators so you all should stop by. You can also watch it at home. It’s supposed to be broadcast life on local channel 5. It will also be webcast but I’m not sure what the web address is. Check the APL web site for more information.

Taco Shop on Urbanspoon

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Tucker Max

Posted on July 22, 2006 by under Flickr, Web.    

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Brian is hooked on Tucker Max. He hasn’t been able to put the book down. I’ve never seen Brian be interested in anything without pictures so this book has got to be amazing.

From excerpts that Brian’s read to me, the guy sounds like a jerk. He’s a pretty hilarious jerk, though.

Anyway, he has to return the book to his coworker on Monday so I’m getting him his own copy. You can get a copy from Amazon for under $10. Hopefully, Brian will post a review soon.

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