Friday, July 29, 2011

short update

I have many different posts in the works, but they require more attention, research, and time which is why I haven't posted anything lately. A few very quick updates.

1) My online poker challenge has been a bit static this month, but is now moving once again in the right direction. Up. My BR on cake poker is not at $27 and hopefully in by the beginning of September, I will be able to focus on NLHE rather than LHE.

2) I had another disastrous live session of NLHE. Down $300 again, which I will go in to, just not right now as the wounds are still a bit fresh.

3) I am guessing that Amy Winehouse, died as a result of her addiction, meaning that she ODed. If she truly needed to be weened off of alcohol, then she would have been in an in patient type of care, or at least have a nurse coming in on a regular basis to make sure she was OK. I don't believe most all of what I am reading.

4) Debt ceiling is a bunch of horse shit to shit blame for the 2011 campaign cycle, but more importantly for the 2012 campaign cycle. The rich will not be effected while the middle class will be dismantled even more so.

Talk to you, who ever you may be soon. Have fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Hand of Death part 1

The touch of death can be a desirable power for many. It provides the user with the ultimate tool of revenge, justice, discrimination, pity, care, and closure. In Roman times, crowds would attempt to persuade their leader to allow a wounded gladiator to live or die. It was that leader who passed final judgment, but with a thumb pointed to the Earth or the sky. Throngs of screaming mobs would rage as an executioner would pull the lever on the guillotine which was the final separation of one’s soul from their body. Bill & Ted outwitted Death with a wedgie and a series of board games to get back from the other side.

We all see the face of death, but only in the peripheral view of our consciousness. It’s not that common to stare death in the face, but rarer still are the ones who search for it. I have had the privilege of being witness to two organizations, hell bent on finding death, or so to speak. The first is an all too common story of ego and spiteful ignorance driving a speeding locomotive towards a cliff with no bridge. The story is common due to its unimaginative, predictable, and boring nature. He second is only a little more interesting than the first in large part because of how solid its institution was. Solid in framework, solid in content, and solid in its simple stratification of responsibility.  Yet, last Sunday, it found what it was unintentionally looking for all these many years. Ironically enough, this organization found death, as many do, while looking for a second chance in life.  I think I can offer some insight as to why this happened.

In the late autumn of 2005, I was a newlywed, having been married in June. I had also been promoted to the position of District Manager in the juggernaut movie rental chain that rhymes with Cock Mustard. They had just hit an iceberg in the Atlantic ocean of business acumen and had not completely realized the extent of the damage. The upper level executives in the organization thought that it would be a good idea to ignore technological innovation as it pertains to customer loyalty which then put their employees in the position of playing catch up to the cutting edge competition called, Netflix. The District Managers and Store Managers were under immense pressure to make forecasted sales numbers, which to no one’s surprise were just about impossible. The company didn’t have a great amount of capital to purchase new product for sale. Instead it was pushing the hell out of used DVDs which had a larger gross margin although the top line sales would be lower which would be one of the many reasons why were weren’t making our sales numbers. To make a long story short, the executives at the top level were setting unreasonable expectations in every facet or running a retail business. In hindsight, it looks to me as if they were paving the way for decreasing their managerial employee base without having to worry about severance or wrongful termination lawsuits. I was 7 months into my new position in a District that thrived on new product sales because it was a high income area. The company’s new sales initiatives basically handicapped me before I could even get to the starting line. One of the main reasons for this was what we in the retail world call a labor matrix. A labor matrix tells you how many labor hours you are allotted based on your average sales. When sales go up, your labor hours follow. When sales go down, well, you get the picture. To make matters worse, the company had reduced the amount of labor hours per sales $ which made life very unhappy at the store level. All of this was compounded again and again with high expectations in the image of the store, the day to operation, and the administrative organization. This is one example of how a company may have purposefully or ignorantly steered their business into the face of death. Like the Roman Empire, they spread themselves too thin, and introduced too many initiatives which ended up cannibalizing their own profits. This affected me in that my stores were continuing to underperform. It was a perfect storm of failure and I was the one to blame. 3 of my stores were scheduled to be closed by the spring of 2006 and another 3 were on the docket for later that year. Would it be wise for me to stick it out and see if the new promotion would pan out? Me neither.

 I had just vacationed in Las Vegas for the first time with my wife and some friends and started looking for a new job with my polished multi-unit management resume. I had liked the idea of working in a laid back multi faceted retail environment where I could oversee multiple departments that sold products I was interested in. I found out that Border Books and Music was looking for a General Manager in Chicago. They had been opening more stores and appeared to be expanding their profits. A few years earlier I had a roommate who worked as a Supervisor at Borders in the music section and he was, in my opinion, a total nimrod. Borders was a bit liberal on the side of cooks in the kitchen if you get my drift, but they had started to trim the amount of managers and supervisors in each store so that they had less overhead, which I thought to be a good realization on their part. When I went in for an interview for the position, I knew that some of the questions that would come up would revolve around the reason for my wanting to leave my current position when I had spent so many years to be promoted. In most cases this may be the death nail, but in my case, it was the company that was nailing its own coffin shut.

Random talking points

Not much going on in the way of poker lately. I am a bit stalled in my online challenge. I said that I would not play NLHE until I had a healthy enough bankroll, but I lied. It's hard to learn something if you don't practice it on a consistent basis. I haven't been able to go to the casino as often as I would like, but when you are a stay at home dad with 3 boys ages 4, 2, and 2, it's hard to get to spend quality time with my wife let alone have time to myself. With that being said, I have had to play more online than what I had planned. I started to play some NLHE again so that I could try and practice some of the theory that I am learning in the forums as well as my reading. What I have learned is that the landscape changes where ever you go. How live players act at $1-$2 NLHE is quite different than how online players act at .02-.04. It's frustrating, but good to keep me alert and thinking. I've played more hands online than I have in quite some time, but it's all uber nano-stakes and I am running basically breakeven due to some early losses sustained at NLHE which I am now bring back to zero hopefully this week. I plan on taking a trip out to the casino in the next 10 days and hopefully erase the memory of my last session which was a -$300 day.
 Some new news is that I have booked my trip to Las Vegas in the fall. I was hoping to get a chance to stay at a new hotel on the strip, but will end up at the Mirage which is nice. They have one of my favorite sandwich places, The Carnegie Deli. It's a great location and I can relax with a Pina Colda at the pool. This may be the first trip that I play some live NLHE in Vegas. I have always stuck to LHE and my past few outings have been quite disastrous which was a far cry different from when my first 2 trips. I am traveling with at least 5 other guys to Vegas which I am sure will promise to be a rowdy time. I hope to steer clear of that as I am looking for some relaxation with some tasty drinks in hand.

Before I continue, I wanted to give a shout out to the person in Germany who may be my only repeat viewer so far. Tell your friends! I have a blog on Deuces Cracked which is basically the same blog with a few variations. The difference in viewers is night and day. Deuces cracked has a built in audience of sorts when it comes to blogs and you can easily see a new post at any given moment. I'm not so lucky here as of yet, but it's still early.
I also wanted to mention one of the blogs that I am following which is a very interesting read so far is you are a fan of Poker. It's called Supernova Elite Chase and follows the quest for Supernova elite status on Pokerstars by a successful player named Tony.
Well, that's all of the excitement for now. I am still working on a couple of longer blog posts that have to do with some recent news stories that have nothing to do with the Caylee Anthony trial. Have fun and I hope to hear from you soon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

It’s been a long time, been a long…

So, it’s been a while since last I blogged. That’s mostly because not much is going on in the way of poker and the rest of my life hasn’t been all that exciting as far as writing goes. I haven’t gone to the casino since my $300 losing session at $1-2 NLHE, but I have been playing quite a bit of the uber-nano stakes online at Cake. It’s been a rocky road type of month as far as results go. I had a great June and then when I moved up to some .10-.20 short handed LHE, I was cold decked hand after hand. Losing sets to flushes on the river, over pairs to runner trips, that ol chestnut. With rake back I am close to $20 in my BR, which as a reminder, began at .39 cents. I am dabbling a bit in some NLHE at the lowest stakes just so that I can keep my mind on that strategy in between outings to the Brick & Mortar.

There’s a new casino opening up about 15 minutes from my house, but I just learned that they don’t have any poker tables, which is quite disappointing. The good news is that I have gotten the green light from my wife to go to Las Vegas in a couple of months with some friends. I don’t plan on this being a big poker vacation as I would prefer to relax as much as possible which would be sitting by the pool with a nice libation in hand, preferably a Pina Colada. It looks like I will be going with 5 or 6 other guys that I am friends with which should be a lot of fun, unless they decide to act like they did when they were 24. There’s been a lot of talk of strip clubs and happily ever endings, if you get my meaning. I am a normal heterosexual guy, so of course I enjoy looking at beautiful naked women, but I just don’t feel right about it and I think that it would be personally disrespectful to my wife even if she didn’t know, so I plan on playing poker at those times.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking of different poker and non-poker related subjects that I would like to talk about, but they’re quite in depth, which requires some research, which requires research time, which requires free time, which I don’t have being a stay at home dad of 3 boys under the age of 5. I’ve been disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm in the uLHE forums on 2+2, especially by the old veterans when it comes to strat threads. It basically resembles an abandoned tourist town with the exception of one bar where everyone hangs out. I can see why this is happening, obviously due to Black Friday, but I still want to be on my game when it comes to playing live and the little bit online, so I try to respond to threads that I find interesting and have started a few of my own in the past few weeks. MODs aren’t responding to obvious situations that they would normally take care of in a matter of hours. Old regs are only posting in the NC thread and new players are putting up a few hand posts each week, but they don’t get many responses as the situations have been discussed over and over again during the past 4 years. One thing that really sticks in my craw is a MOD who was all about the uLHE forum when they first started and became a self appointed dictator of sorts upon being MODed green a few years back. About 10-12 months ago he got sick of LHE and took up another variety of poker and basically packed up shop and moved on to what he considered greener pastures, I can only assume looking for a new wife. Most of his posts in the uLHE are either administrative or condescending in tone (IMHO). I think he’s a nice poster and did a lot of good work “Back in the day”, but I feel like he divorced us when he found a new younger model and just packed up one day, leaving with thought that it was our fault. Perhaps I am being petty.

It doesn’t look like I will be getting to the casino in the next few weeks, but whenever I go, hopefully it‘s in the black this time. If anyone has suggestions on great package deals to Vegas, please let me know. Good luck!