Sunday, November 28, 2010

Been Playin' a Bit... For a Change

True 'nuff, I've been playing quite a bit of cards the last two or three weeks, mostly poker but with a little bit of cribbage mixed in.

Poker's been resurgent mostly because of a hot day last Saturday in which I made six final tables and took down three of the six, along with a nice handful of SNG showings throughout the day; I fire those up continuously to keep the screens full. None of the scores were individually noteworthy but they did puff the old BR up to a more playable level.

Of course, the Curse of the Flambeau lives on: Whenever I try to play poker live at the Lake of the Torches Casino in northern Wisconsin, karma craps on me. The latest ridiculous beat was building a $150 buy-in up to about $220, then getting it all in with A-A against A-K on a K-Q-x, two-spade flop. He had the king of spades, and duly hit his 1-in-26 runner-runner, though since two other kings were out I was only something like a 91:9 fave when the money went in. At least getting aces cracked there is worth $25, consolation pittance that it is.

Doom. Doom. Doom-de-doom-doom. Thanks for da bad beat. Goodbye, $430 pot.

But, it could be worse. I returned home Saturday after a Turkey Day half-weekend in the northwoods and basically won it all back, so we'll chalk it up to variance. Two more final tables in better tourneys, though just a tenth and a third to show for the runs. (I'll take 'em.)

And an interesting start to today. I fired up the computer and played a handful of small tourneys and SNGs, and ran into a couple of French players blatantly colluding in a 6-player SNG. Never playing big pots against each other while taking turns jamming against me and other players with crap, that sort of thing. I'm slow at times, but I figured it out after about the twelfth straight move when we got down to three-handed, me against the two cheaters. We'll see if the site does anything about it, since the overall pattern could not have been more blatant. I still lasted long enough to beat one of the two before losing a race against the other.

As for the cribbage stuff, I've settled down into a pattern of taking one weekend a month and floating off to some locale within a four- or five-hour drive and playing a full ACC-sanctioned event, which generally means playing 50 or so games between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. Between that and my local grass roots league I've been on a solid run for about six months. That can be variance, too, but cribbage is about as complex a two-person card game as there is, and I've studied hard the last year or so to try and improve my game. Millions of people know how to play cribbage, but there are only a few hundred really great cribbage players, and I'm trying to join them, a process that probably takes several years. (Besides, it serves as a break from poker on the rare occasions that that world gets to be too much.) One problem is that unlike in poker, there are no great cribbage books from which to study. There is one pretty good one (Colvert), a few so-so ones, and some that are just junk.

Therefore, onward. Folks notice I continue to write this and that and the next, and I'm also looking for a few better sites to do some link exchanges with regarding the two new sites I'm writing for, both of which I believe offer distinctive content. Send an e-mail if you have interest in this.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Review Site Now Up

Hey, all, we're live at last! As I've previously mentioned, I've been working on a series of poker reviews for a revamped site specializing in just that -- serving up reviews of the best poker books around. My work is now appearing at, where a dozen or so of my reviews can already be found.

The site's focus will be poker strategy books, though we'll sneak in the occasional non-strat book as well. We will continue to add new reviews to the site at the rate of two or three per month, along with other special features and items of interest.

We've started things off with a list of "Poker Essentials" -- a sampling of poker books that any self-respecting poker library ought to contain. In the future we'll be adding more and newer books, though we'll continue to go back and sample the worthy classics, of which at least a few dozen are worth revisiting. And we won't be afraid to warn you off of bad books, either, with one of the new reviews already on the site dealing with a recent offering that should never have been written.

Questions? Comments? Link inquiries? Books for reviews? Feel free to contact either the site or me directly.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Where I'm Hanging Out These Days

While I continue slowly pulling together pieces for the next several installments of my "Just Conjecturin'" series, the blog itself must go on. But of course I've been busy, playing not too much poker and that little bit not too well, and such stories aren't very interesting, hence the lack of wordage. I've been working on this and that and the next as well, also occupying my time, and some of that is now starting to appear publicly.

One new spot where you can find my irreverent postings these days is on the revamped Kick Ass Poker blog. Jason and Brad and the gang have been good e-friends over the years, and I'm happy to have a chance to once again contribute some content to what's always been an entertaining site. Visit the home page, surf around, and of course bookmark the blog. You'll find me sounding off on something there roughly four times each week, as I have been for the past six weeks.

The book-review project continues as well, and as soon as that site goes live, I'll drop a link here. We'll be starting that one off with reviews of ten of the best books poker has served up over the years, then moving on from there.