Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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Headed to Hawaii

August 29, 2017

No updates while I’m on vacation.  I will have my September preview posted when I get back next week.

I will just say I can’t wait for IT!!

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Anxiety: A New Mental Game Challenge

July 27, 2017

As a professional poker player, one of the biggest areas to gain an edge these days is in the mental game. This means that when you lose a big pot or get sucked out on by a hand that shouldn’t have even dreamed of seeing the river, you don’t let it bother you. You just shake it off and move on to the next hand like nothing ever happened. More importantly, it means that when you’re getting absolutely demolished – for hours, or an entire session, or even weeks and months at a time – you just keep plugging along playing your A-game. Easier said than done. Most people simply can’t do it. That’s why it’s a real edge for me and it makes me think of myself as having incredible mental game strength.

But a new mental game challenge has arisen and it has nothing to do with poker: I have become dangerously and irrationally scared of traffic. Yes, you read that right: TRAFFIC.

Here’s how it happened.

I’m a Type 1 Diabetic so I wear a device that tells me what my blood sugar level is every five minutes and whether it’s stable or trending upwards or downwards. When we moved from University Place to Lakewood, I was gathering some things from the apartment in UP to take to our new house and as I was leaving I noticed that my blood sugar was kind of low, so I stopped at Taco Time and got a crispy burrito and figured that would be sufficient enough to raise my blood sugar to absurd levels.

I was wrong.

And I wasn’t prepared at all. I remember I had something like peanuts or one of those Clif peanut butter bars in the car, but nothing to drink and it felt like I was going to choke on whatever it was I was trying to eat since I couldn’t wash it down. And I needed to eat fast. My blood sugar was plummeting. I’m talking danger zone and going down. This was all scary enough on its own, but I had just reached the terminus of Highway 16 and I was stuck on the I5 South ramp. My blood sugar was in a dangerous place, I had nothing to fix it, and I was stuck in traffic – there was nothing I could do. My survival instincts were telling me to get out of the car and start running, but there was nowhere to run to. Okay, so traffic was moving a little. Maybe I’m not here to write this if it was really gridlocked. But considering the severity of my situation it felt like we might as well have been at a standstill. Aside from having crazy thoughts like evacuating the car, I was also starting to see darkness or what I have come to recognize as “tunnel vision.”

I made it to a gas station. Barely. I mean I really was on the verge of losing consciousness on top of having a full blown panic attack. And that’s where the irrational thoughts of fleeing my car and the tunnel vision came from. A panic attack. It gives me a little anxiety just talking about it. Ugh.

I had a soda at the gas station and got my blood sugar back to a happy level and I tried to drive home, but I couldn’t do it. I was too rattled. I had to have my wife come get and I left the car behind.

Obviously you live and you learn, so since this incident I have tried to be well prepared for these things. However, last week I was running some simple errands and I didn’t bring anything with me to combat a low blood sugar incident and, of course, that’s what happened, albeit way less extreme than my previous story. But it was enough to remind me that traffic plus low blood sugar plus lack of supplies is a very scary place for me.

And then I went to a Mariners game last Friday. I left my house with my blood sugar pretty high, but trending down and with a decent amount of insulin coursing through my body, so I made the wise move to stop at a gas station before I got on the freeway and picked up a Gatorade and a package of those orange cup cakes that Hostess makes. I ate the cup cakes and stashed the Gatorade and got on I5 heading north towards Seattle. As I was passing the Tacoma Mall, traffic started to build up and things began moving very slowly.

I looked at my device and saw my blood sugar was trending straight down and the panic started to creep in. It made no sense. I ate the damn cup cakes and I had a Gatorade in the car. Not only was my blood sugar going to stabilize, it was going to skyrocket if I wanted it to. Nevertheless, as long as I saw that down arrow on my monitor I had an almost overwhelming urge to take every exit I saw. A police officer drove past me in the right lane and part of me wanted to pull over to the side of the highway and flag him down. I AM NOT EXAGGERATING. I wasn’t even thinking about the situation I was in – which was completely nonthreatening – I was thinking about what would happen if I didn’t eat those cup cakes or have anything in the car to save me. And the more I thought about this hypothetical situation, the more I panicked and I started to get that dreaded tunnel vision.

I was meeting a friend on the Light Rail and I really didn’t know if I was going to make it. I almost text him to tell him I was going to be really late or maybe not even go. Every time I passed an exit, I had to talk myself out of taking it. This was all in my head at this point. I knew my blood sugar was going to be fine, so there was absolutely no rational reason for me to be worried about anything. And yet, I was.

I made it to the game though. I managed to keep myself sane enough to keep moving forward, resisting the urge to exit the highway and eventually my blood sugar stabilized and the traffic cleared. And then I just moved on with my life like nothing happened. Not everyone seems to be able to do that. At least there’s no lingering affects for me.

Or are there?

Yesterday, with my blood sugar fine and plenty of escape valves in case of emergency, I was about to get on I5 to head five miles north and I saw brake lights and cars starting to jam up… and I almost didn’t get on. And then I almost did the same thing again today. It happened to be congestion because of a busy merging spot and then cleared up right away, but if this would have been full on traffic for five miles, I’m not sure I would have gutted it out. I had to call my wife the other day to distract me when I went to Costco because there was a little congestion before my exit. I’m getting hints of anxiety at red lights that take just a little bit too long to turn green! This is no joke.

At this point my fear is completely irrational. What I’m really scared of is having low blood sugar and not being able to do anything about it. When my blood sugar is fine and I have something like Gatorade in the car, just in case, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of. And yet, my fear of traffic has reached legitimate phobia territory. This is actually a real thing. It’s called vehophobia. Right now, I’m a vehophobic.

But it’s not real. This is all mental (although I’ve experienced some pretty physical sensations). I have no good reason to be scared of being in traffic. So that’s the challenge. How do I overcome this thing and leave it completely in the past? I know I have nothing to be scared of, so why am I scared? I guess these are the questions I have to ask myself when I’m in the moment. I really have no interest in dealing with this for any extended length of time. Right now I can’t even fathom the idea of driving myself to Fortune in Renton to play 20/40 because it gives me anxiety to think of how I might react if the 512 or 167 is jammed up and that’s simply something I cannot accept. So let’s see how strong my mental game really is. Strong enough to talk myself out of a serious phobia?

This is somewhat embarrassing, but I’m not really one to be super private about things – it’s the writer’s nature. It’s no secret I’m a recovering alcoholic and I’m happy to talk about it to anyone that wants to listen. I’ve written horrible rap lyrics and recorded them in songs that people have actually listened to. And now I’m dealing with anxiety. It is what it is. And if anyone that reads this has any advice or has experienced something similar, feel free to comment.

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Back From Vegas

June 22, 2017

Just landed in Seattle last night and I will get back to blogging as soon as I can. Likely, that won’t be until next week when my wife goes back to work. Here’s what I will be working on in the next couple weeks:

-2017 WSOP Trip Report
-2017 first half poker results
-New Poker Goals
-Wonder Woman review
-47 Meters Down review
-Baywatch review
-Brother Ali profile (start listening)
-my 2017 MLB All-Star picks (possibly)

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2017 WSOP Schedule

February 7, 2017

Somehow it slipped my notice that the 2017 WSOP schedule has been out for nearly two weeks now, but I got a good look at it last night and have a solid idea of what I will be aiming for.

For those of you that haven’t seen it yet, you can check out the schedule here.

June 1st: $1500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better (3 day event): This will 100% be my first event. I’m very happy about the timing of it. It allows me to be in Vegas for the start of the series and most of the events I want to play follow shortly afterwards. I had by far my worst performance in this event last year.

June 2nd: THE COLOSSUS III – $565 No Limit Hold Em (6 day event): Best case scenario, I final table the O8 tournament and have to play that event on the 2nd and 3rd, but if I bust out, I have a good 5-6 days before the next event I really want to play and the Colossus is a pretty good way to occupy that time.

June 5th: $1000 Tag Team No Limit Hold Em (3 day event): Very unlikely I will play this event, but could be a fun $500 sweat for my friend Vince and I if we fill up to it.

June 7th: $1500 H.O.R.S.E. (3 day event): This one is an absolute must for me.

June 9th: $565 Pot Limit Omaha (3 day event): Like the Colossus, I’m not really aiming to play this event. My PLO experience is basically zero, so I’d probably just be lighting $565 on fire and even if I did manage to do well, I’d much rather play this next event.

June 10th: $1500 8-Game Mix 6-Handed (3 day event): Another must play event for me.

June 11th: $1500 No Limit Hold Em MILLIONAIRE MAKER (5 day event): The chance for a huge score is appealing, but I’m not making NLHE events a priority over mixed limit events, so most likely I’ll be sitting this one out and focusing on the next one.

June 12th: $1500 Limit Hold Em (3 day event): Can’t miss the $1500 LHE, as limit hold em is easily my best game.

June 23rd: THE GIANT – $365 No Limit Hold Em (3 day event): I think I’m sold on this tournament. The scope of it kind of boggles my mind. There are going to be five day ones, all of which are a week apart, and each player is going to start with 20,000 in chips – more than the Monster Stack – but with 20 minute levels. A $365 turbo full of terrible players that will probably have well over a million allotted for 1st place? Yes please. I can’t imagine fitting The Giant into my first trip, but I can certainly pair it with the Monster Stack during my second visit.

June 25th: $1500 No Limit Hold Em MONSTER STACK (4 day event): Another must play event for me. Been looking forward to playing this one for a while and I don’t see any reason why I won’t finally get to in 2017.

In all likelihood, I will be playing at least five $1500 events and probably the Colossus and Giant as well. I will be selling up to 50-60% for my $1500 events, but will certainly be keeping all my own action for the smaller events. Hit me up with any interest!

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Creed (2015), Trumbo (2015), Popstar (2016), Star Trek Beyond (2016)

November 22, 2016

Was sick last week and watched more movies than usual, but I don’t feel like going through my whole individual review process… so here’s my quick thoughts on these films:

Creed (2015) – I love Michael B. Jordan and he’s great in this continuation/reboot of Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise as Apollo Creed’s son Adonis, an unknown up-and-coming boxer that wants to make it to the big time on his own merit, yet hunts down the legendary Rocky Balboa to be his trainer. Sylvester Stallone is good in this movie, but Oscar worthy? Wow. It’s crazy that this franchise is still relevant and not terrible in 2016 – 2006’s Rocky Balboa was enjoyable too – and yet this was another solid sequel.

6/10 (Recommended)

Trumbo (2015) – This movie inspired me to write this post on the basis of another great performance from star Bryan Cranston. Here, he plays Dalton Trumbo, one of Hollywood’s premier screenwriters in the 1940s before getting blacklisted for being a communist. I’m honestly not sure what it means to be a “commie,” but this movie makes it not seem like such a bad thing and you get the feeling that The List was highly unfair. Cranston is great in Trumbo but the movie itself wasn’t all that entertaining.

5.5/10 (Watchable/Recommended)

Popstar (2016) – Andy Samberg is hilarious as Conner, the world’s biggest pop star that has to deal with flopping as a solo artist after a mega successful career in a boy band. This movie is funny, absurd, and very enjoyable.

6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

Star Trek Beyond (2016) – It seemed like a lot happened in this movie and there was a lot of action, but man, it was super boring. I really loved the first movie in this rebooted franchise, but the films following have gotten progressively less interesting despite casting huge stars in the villain roles. Idris Elba isn’t given much to work with here as Krall, spending 90% of the film unrecognizable in full makeup. Dude has way too much talent to waste his time on roles like this. I still like the cast that makes up the crew of the Enterprise, but Star Trek was in much better hands with J.J. Abrams.

4/10 (Forgettable)

I also updated my Heavy Rotation page and, as always, my 2016 albums page is being updated almost every day.

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Current Rotation – iTunes Playlist (January 2016)

January 28, 2016

Apple Music has gotten me back into listening to new music and playing 30+ hours a week of poker helps me actually listen to a ton of it (when the other players will actually let me, which is actually kind of difficult because they usually want to have some sort of dialogue after every hand), so I thought it would be cool to share what’s in my current playlist every few weeks so I can give readers an idea of what I’m checking out and what is staying in steady rotation.

January 27th, 2016 Playlist:

Adele – 25 (2015)
Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color (2015)
Anderson.Paak – Malibu (2016)
Big K.R.I.T. – All My Life (2015)
Boosie Badazz – In My Feelings. (Goin’ Thru It) (2016)
Cozz – Cozz & Effect (2014)
David Bowie – The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars (1973)
David Bowie – Blackstar (2016)
Dej Loaf – #AndSeeThatsTheThing – EP (2015)
Drake & Future – What A Time To Be Alive (2015)
Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment – Surf (2015)
Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside (2015)
Lemonheads – It’s A Shame About Ray (1992)
Little Simz – A Curious Tale Of Trials + Persons (2015)
Logic – The Incredible True Story (2015)
Mick Jenkins – Wave(s) (2015)
Mike Stud – These Days (2016)
Pusha T – King Push – Darkest Before Dawn: The Prelude (2015)
Revenge Of The Dreamers II (2015)
Rubble Kings Soundtrack (2016)
Tut – Preacher’s Son (2015)
Vince Staples – Summertime ’06 (2015)
Yes – 90125 (1983)

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An Overdue Update

November 2, 2015

Just when I was starting to show some consistency with my posts and get some steady traffic to my blog, things have gotten so hectic that blogging has fallen way down on my priority list. In July, my wife and I moved to Tacoma and my part-time job (playing poker) started to take up a lot more of my time with an $8-$16 game always in action a mere 15 minutes away. In late August, I was hired by the Palace Casino in Lakewood and what used to be an easy, part-time job in a one table poker room where I spent most of my time on the clock playing poker has turned into a mentally and physically exhausting, frequently intense, and often difficult 30 hours a week of running the floor of a poker room with never-ending traffic and few moments to catch your breath after noon. Needless to say, when I finish my work day now, I just want to go home and try to relax a little before I fall asleep far earlier than I ever have in my life. So, aside from my time at work, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays result in basically no productivity from me. I literally come home and do NOTHING. On the bright side, I’m guaranteed to work all my hours and to have multiple games going every day, so while my hourly wage remains similar, my net income has increased dramatically. I also have Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays off, which is optimal if your primary goal is to play poker.

Speaking of poker, August was the best month of poker I’ve had in years and September was also considerably profitable. I spent the vast majority of my time in $8-$16 and saw my win rate for the year climb to over two big bets per hour, thanks to nine straight winning sessions that resulted in pretty large upswing. While I feel like my results are a testament to the hard work I’ve put in towards mastering the game of limit hold em, I don’t think anyone is beating low stakes limit for 2 big bets an hour long term, so even though my sample size is pretty substantial, it’s important to recognize that luck has played a large role in my success. While I personally don’t feel like I’ve been overwhelmingly lucky (others would disagree), one thing is for certain: I have definitely not had many extended periods of bad luck this year. I did, however, end my winning streak with an incredible -$1800 session, the worst I’ve ever had in any limit game – in terms of big bets lost – by a mile. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to leave a game because I was no longer emotionally equipped to sit in it. I mean, I’ve had bouts of anger, frustration, even tilt – that’s normal – but after I was already stuck $1600 and flopped top set in a capped 7-way pot and lost to 65 on the 942J3 run out and a few hands later I was shown the 53 on the AK2A4 board, I no longer felt like I was fit for being in public. My internal dialogue was screaming so loud I felt like everyone at the table could hear it. So I made a swift exit. That happened in early October, which has turned out to be a difficult month of poker for me, as I’m in danger of having my first losing month of 2015 if things don’t turn around over the next few weeks. Still, I can hardly complain, as poker has gone amazingly well since I relocated to Tacoma.

(Note: since I started writing this, October has passed, and while I did mount a serious comeback, I still fell short of the black, resulting in my first losing month of 2015.)

I played three events in the Muckleshoot Classic Series in September. I felt like I was playing really good poker, but I lost every flip I was involved in during the first two tournaments and hit the rail earlier than I wanted to. In the third event, I got my 99 in against an overpair and turned the miracle set and then finally started winning some flip situations, which I was able to parlay into a 13th place finish. I felt like I was freerolling after spiking that set, so it was nice to make a deep run, but it was still ultimately a frustrating finish, as I lost two critical pots with two tables left where I was a heavy favorite and I’m still yet to final table a major tournament at Muckleshoot. Next week I’ll be heading to Wildhorse Casino in Pendleton, Oregon to play five events in the Fall Round Up, another poker room where I’ve struggled to break through. Despite multiple cashes and deep runs, I haven’t final tabled at the Round Up either and variance has never been on my side in the cash games when I’ve been there. In fact, if I had access to all the data I’ve ever compiled, I probably would discover that Wildhorse Casino is my worst location lifetime. So needless to say, I’m looking forward to finally doing some real damage on Oregon soil. You can only hold me down for so long.

I was really enjoying the consistent movie reviews I was posting and I plan to get back in the zone of posting them again, but aside from being too busy to post, I’ve also been too busy to watch any movies. Since I started my new job, I haven’t seen a movie in theaters or at home. It’s been nearly two full months since I last watched an entire film. All of our TV time at home has been dedicated to watching the entire series of “Parks And Recreation,” which is a great show, but I prefer a bit more variety in my entertainment programs. I suppose this is a minor downside of the streaming services as you can “literally” watch 100 episodes in a row without having to wait for a new disc or the next one to air on TV. Meanwhile I’ve had Interstellar at home since June and The Drop and Ex Machina since late August. It’s getting to the point where I probably would have been better off buying these movies rather than paying my Netflix subscription the last few months. We are on season six of Parks & Rec though and I’ve never been so excited for a show I actually enjoy to end. Sorry babe!