CC's question

CC posted a teaser on his blog for a future post, one that has me turning over the rocks in my head to see if I find insights or creepy crawlies underneath.

Am I better because of poker?

My first gut reaction is a loud "Hell, no! "

But then the question begs me to dig deeper... a better what?

A better swearer? Fuck, yeah. Like the saying goes, you never really learn to swear until you learn to play poker. My verbal control has slipped...the wake up call came at school, when a computer dropped on my sandal-clad foot and an emphatic "you m*the*r-f*ck*r!" slipped out. Thankfully only one 18 year old was nearby and she's not the kind of person to hold it over me. Much.

A better person? A resounding maybe. I feel that playing poker over the last few years has has the same effect as sanding a piece of furniture with a coarse grain sandpaper. The veneer has been stripped off, and the rough grain is revealed to the world. The softer, gentler edges I've received as part of my mother's training to make me "lady-like" seem to have disappeared, which makes me both pleased and incredibly sad at the same time. I am definitely my father's daughter.

A better woman? Yes. Strong, confident and equal to the task; a feeling that is carrying over into other areas of my life again.

A better version of me? Definitely. I don't think you could even pretend to be a successful and growing player without making some forays into your psyche. Poker has made me take a hard look at the dark corners, places where I've been able to avoid shining too bright a light into. My self awareness has been stretched to accommodate my new understanding of discipline (fold, dammit!), patience (fold, dammit!), math (zero odds, fold, dammit!), and how to handle infuriating behaviour (why the fuck didn't you fold, dammit!).

And I am definitely better for having become a part of the blogger crew. From Iggy's ubers to Waffles' rants to Carmen's shopping expeditions, there's always something to be gleaned from each swing through my bloglines. And let's not forget the events, the two Vegas WPBT's and the Bash, which have helped me rediscover something I didn't even know I'd lost.

So I guess my first reaction is wrong. I am better because of poker. Now I just have to get better at playing poker.

This is just wrong

Can someone explain to me why it costs almost TWICE as much to go AC instead of Vegas? When it's half the distance and for half as long??

Toronto to Atlantic City, includes TWO nights in 2.5 star hotel and flight
= $1,247 CDN.

Toronto to Las Vegas, includes FOUR nights in 3 star hotel and flight
= $762 CDN.


So, as much as I would love to join y'all for the AC blogger event in March, I'm going to have to pass and save my spendolies for June and July.

Brace yourselves...

Yes my's some actual poker content.


But it's still more of the touchy-feely-all-about-me-navel-gazing shit.


As mentioned during my Thursday vent, I've just not really felt like playing. I don't think that Elvis has necessarily left the building, but there are other things getting in the way at the moment.

That's not to say I haven't been playing, I have. I just haven't really felt like it. Habit is an interesting thing, isn't it?

Friday I peeped my way into the 9k, and placed ITM at 54 out of 500-ish. Saturday I peeped some, and played the 5k while playing a $2 rebuy. I was so card dead in the 5k that I pretty much folded myself out; the poker gods preferred to favour me in the rebuy instead. Four hours I played that damn thing. Four hours. I placed 11th out of 180, and netted 18 bucks for my time.

Of course mixed in there are wasted peep attempts, goofy moves, a decent beer buzz with its accompanying donkey-ness, and a serious case of the awfukkits.

The net result is quite embarassing and more than a little foolish, but when have I ever shirked from looking like a bit of a fool? So here's the evidence that I am Super Donkey Girl:

PokerStars balance = $0.39
Full Tilt balance = $0.42

Even combined it's less than a buck. Hee. Haw.

So, it's a good time to evaluate just what the fuck I'm doing here. As they say in Newfoundland, whale oil beef hooked if I know. (say it fast)

When I am my roughest critic, I accuse myself of having a lack of discipline, an inability to grasp basic bankroll management, a disregard for the nuances of the game, an unwillingness to prepare properly, and card stupidity and just general all round stupidity.

When I look at myself in a gentler light, all I can come up with is that I'm becoming a good player who still struggles with both what to play and when to play. And sometimes, how to play.

I've sought advice, and have had a number of good players, players I admire, offer to help me and sweat me; which alas hasn't come to pass as people are busy and everyone has their own thing going on. Life happens.

I've tried reading, but good gods and little fishes, the good poker books are dryer than high school computer programming textbooks. Trust me on that one - I've had to review some high school programming textbooks. Yawn.

But I am weary of being a poker dilettante, a hobby player. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but I've decided that's not what I want to do. I've had my fair share of expensive hobbies (yay for sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll), it would be such a interesting turn of events to have one that sometimes paid me back. I don't want to be professional either - I have a profession I happen to both love and be effortlessly good at (except the paperwork part, that's an effort trust me). There's a middle road in there somewhere.

And while I'm looking for that middle ground, I'm going to hold off on re-loading my accounts for a bit. I'm going to think. I'm going to read. I'm going to see if I can spend some time with my husband. I'm going to focus on work and on getting my marking and report cards done with the minimum of fuss (damn paperwork). I'm going to rip back the 4" of the sweater from hell to the point where I made my mistake and re-knit it (yippee skippee). I'm going to earn some website design money that will become my bankroll.

And then I'm going to get the damn software, stop being so math-a-phobic and start recording the numbers and see what they tell me.

Hopefully they'll stop telling me I'm Super Donkey Girl.

Scarlett was right

Tomorrow was in fact another day, and it was better. The sun was shining, the sky was blue all day, the virii read my eviction notice and appear to be vacating, I placed ITM in the 9k.

But far better than anything else, those little whispers of self doubt have been drowned out by the voices of my friends. And bolstered by their words, I am ready to kick some ass again.

To all those who left comments, IM'd me, phoned, or humored me in the table chat -

I truly thank you.

more of the same crap aka February Blahs have hit me hard today

Warning: absolutely zero poker content here. Even less than usual. Seriously. Feel free to move on.


I'm heartsick today.

My friend has gone back to Australia, and it will likely be at least a year before I can see the girl again. I miss her already.

The weather is grey, but it snowed today, the slowly-falling-big-flake kind where everything looks like a christmas card. Which was good and made me smile. But then it melted and you could see how grey and dismal everything looks. Which isn't good.

There is a girl at school that I am desperately worried about. She is talented, creative, and incredibly interesting. But in the last year something has happened, and someone, somewhere is screwing her over. Because she is over 18, we can't do a damn thing unless she asks for help, and she won't because that's not what they do in her culture. Today something happened, and it disturbs me greatly that I am so effing powerless.

Hunny Bunny is, well Hunny Bunny. And sometimes that's good. But not always.

It's been occuring to me a lot the last few days, that the outer me is getting farther and farther from being anything like the inner me. I think about turning 45 next month, and wonder when, or even if, I'm going to grow up even a little bit.

I sometimes feel, for a brief nano-second, that my older brother's wife might be right, and I have wasted my life. The feeling does pass, and quickly; but the doubt can linger.

In the last week or so, I've had five very amazing, very cool, and very wonderful women call me amazing, cool and wonderful. So why don't I really believe them?

How's my poker game going, you ask? This is a poker blog after all. For the first time in 2 years, I don't really feel like playing this week. The vibe is off for the moment; Elvis and the poker gods have all left the building.

The latest iteration of this #@%$ing cold has me knackered. Dear Virii - Here's your eviction notice. I'd like my lungs back now.

Ah well. Like Scarlett O'Hara says, tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow will be better.

Note to self:

Dear Self:

I know you're not feeling well, but I just thought I'd drop you a quick note and pass on a small observation...

Playing fun games too seriously and/or playing serious games as if they are too much fun is a certain recipe for a disastrous poker evening.

Please don't do it again.

Hope you're feeling better soon, and don't forget to return the dvd's and library books tomorrow!


The good, the bad, the stupid

The Good:

Had a great weekend at the Martini Goddess's place with Euge, Jules and Graham. Martinis were drunk, calls were made (which resulted in either silly voicemails or Dial-A-Shots), and some poker was played.

It was a fun time, that I needed. Thank you K &E!!

The Bad:

However, the slight tickle in my throat on Saturday turned into a full blown head cold on Sunday. And as much as I really wanted to stay and hang out a bit longer, ever fiber of my being wanted my own bed. I am such a weenie when I have a cold. Truly.

Three days, a few fevers, and lots of Nyquil (I LOVE Nyquil) later, I am feeling human again. Which brings me to....

The Stupid:

So I took today off (well was told to take today off) and slept and made myself some comfort food. By about 3 I felt human enough to cruise the blogosphere and play some poker. I peeped (and won) and used it in the 9k on Full Tilt, where I stayed in the top 20 for most of the tournament. Unfortunately, I fell in love with JJ just after the break and lost half my stack when KK proved mightier, as I knew it would. At that point I just felt tired and longed to get horizontal again, so when I saw KK in the next hand, I went all in post flop. Yes I saw the A on the board. No, I didn't care.

Oh yeah, I'm ready for the WWdN tonight. Just make sure your on my table to reap the many chips I will no doubt just give away *grin.

"you suck."

"no, YOU suck."

"maybe but you suck more."

"yeah, well, you suck to infinity and back. so there. pffffft."

I'll leave it for you to decide if this is a paraphrased conversation between some of my 11 year old students this morning, or between some grown up poker bloggers last night.

VD conversation

Coworker: "So what did your guy get you for valentines day?"

Me: "Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero."

Coworker: "What?!?"

Me: "Yep."

Coworker (laughing): "Is he still breathing?"

Me (laughing back): Last I checked."

Coworker: "Well, what did you get him?"

Me: "Exactly the same thing."

Coworker: "You two are weird."

Me (shrugging): "i was given a choice when we started dating - a big deal on valentine's day, or just-because stuff throughout the year. I chose the latter."

Coworker: "Well you're both still weird."

Sigh. And therein lies my issue with valentine's day..
1) I hate feeling like I have to do something, and or that someone has to do something for me. Even more so because commercials guilt me into thinking I have to,
2) The fact that I'm thought weird just because I'm not buying into what has turned into a corporate driven consumer event (IMHO), is well, weird.
and 3) I'd rather know my beloved was thinking of me throughout the year, not on one day because every media was screaming at him, reminding him.

Of course that could be because I'm weird.

And as jaded and "weird" as I am, I was still profoundly moved by this. Nine words, said in innocence....I am disarmed.

Nostalgia rears its ugly head

Warning: this post has nothing to do with the fake holiday, Valentine's Day. It's a ridiculous thing....don't even get me started.
Nostalgia; nos·tal·gia
~ a wistful or excessively sentimental yearning for return to or of some past period or irrecoverable condition.
I do it to myself really; I go out of my way at times to trigger a nostalgic yearning. I look at old photos, listen to some Nick Cave or Siouxsie and the Banshees, hold an old perfume bottle close and inhale its last remaining whispers of scent and make a small trip to my past.

It's always such a bittersweet journey. Along with the memories is the knowledge that so many other moments have slipped past with blithe disregard. Which I guess is as it should be - how awful would it be to lose the ability to live this life "in the moment", to feel that every single experience needs to be documented, photographed, discussed, boiled down until nothing is left but a bland, flavourless mess as opposed to just simply experienced.

I woke up this morning to a snowy city, our first *real* snowfall of the season. I watched the snow fall past my window as Hunny Bunny and I drank coffee in bed, and was overcome by a great desire for a snow day. Desire like a child feels at the possibility of a literal get-out-of-jail-free day, a day to bug your mother and go out and play, then come back in with windburned cheeks, frozen toes and a huge grin at the thought of the fire in the fireplace waiting to warm you.

I listened to the CBC with great anticipation, but alas, no snow day for me. I bundled up and completed my ensemble with my scarf that my mom had given me so long ago, and that old-wool smell hit me with another blast of remember-when.

On the bus my iPod was on random shuffle and managed to spit out the songs that made me smile wistfully to myself and retreat a little further in my head, thinking of good times past.

As I listened to songs from a misspent youth and thought a bit on it, I realized that this most recent version of nostalgia actually started last night.

See, I played the WWdN and the Second chance. And like tourneys over the last few weeks, it just felt different. The chat was a bit quieter and some very funny people were missing, and may never re-appear thanks to the crap going down down south.

I asked Pauly last night how long ago was it that he ran his Saturdays with Dr. Pauly (as I am far too lazy to go trolling through the archives). It was longer ago than I'd thought. This four game series was what got me hooked on bloggers and blogger fun.

Hooked on bloggers ... what a freaking understatement. More like just this side of obsessed with / addicted to the blogosphere. I have been guilty of planning an evening's festivities around the WWdN or Mookie start times. I have sat quietly giggling (snickering actually), reading the chat, and eventually felt comfortable enough to jump in the conversations. My first AlCantHang Dial A Shot and Iggy blog-pimpage left me giddy for days.

Change happens..I know that as much as the next former punk rock grrl. Trust me, I feel a little ridiculous waxing nostalgic over something that just happened within the last year. But there it is.

There's no doubt that the times, they are a-changin'. But today, right now, I want it all back ... the fire, my mother's hot chocolate, the butterflies of my first kiss, that feeling of invincible fearlessness I got from wearing my old leather jacket, the ability to wear a size 12 leather miniskirt.

And I still want my snow day, dammit.

Eh-Vegas is the new black

OK, maybe not the new new black, but it was pretty damn cool.

According to poor Graham, it was cool literally. Poor thing, coming from a summery climate to this. They must have thought us mad, talking about how warm it was. And maybe we are.

Damn I had fun.

Friday night was uber fun... Jules and Graham had very little time to relax before I swept them away to dinner at Archeo, an Italian place in the Distillery District. Ed and Astin met us there and Kat and Gus swung by after their hideously long return bus trip from Rama. The food was good and the beer was excellent, but both paled in comparison to the company, complete with some drunk dialing to Pauly and someone else (who I can't remember, sorry if it was you *grin).

At one point I felt like sacrificing a small woodland creature (aka mangy squirrel) to the Internet Gods - without them I would not have been there. I met Jules on Dyslexicon, a local telnet chat that created the most amazing dysfunctional and incestuous pseudo family ever (Astin was a member as well as Hunny Bunny). And the rest of this incredibly funny crowd is there though the questionable graces of online poker.

Rather than go drinking it was decided that we would join a friend of Ed's ( a true Angel of Poker if there ever was one) at the club. The memory gets a bit fuzzy at this point, but I do remember taking some money off Ed with the hammer (made my gutshot on the river, total suckout), having pokcet aces that actually held up and making a goodly sum with ducks that turned to a set then to a boat. God what a weird lexicon of transmogrification we have... ducks to a boat.

There was a pretty surreal moment when, after overhearing Ed tell me to blog about something or other, the dealer, Nat, turned to me and asked "Kat? as in pokerkat dot blogspot? I read you!". Man, what can you say to that?

I definitely remember laughing a lot. A. Lot.

Saturday morning was very tolerable thanks to the fistful of advil followed by a litre of water and 3 Gaviscon. Gus and Kat went to Niagara Falls with some friends, and Jules, Graham and I headed out for brunch (and also to get the car we had left behind in the Distillery District).

Oh man, did the breakfast at the Mill Street Pub hit the spot...peameal bacon, eggs, baked beans, and home fries. And let's not forget the $3 Bloody Caesars. We introduced Graham to his first Caesar - I have a very vivid mental image of him licking the celery salt of the rims.

We then did some shopping, and ended up at Come As You Are (NSFW inside), where Jules and I perused the shelves of fun toys for grownups and Graham checked out the comic book section. I bought myself a little sumpin' sumpin' and a book. I kind of like the idea of using my ill-gotten gains from one degenerate habit to pay for my other degenerate habits.

After a much needed nap, we reconvened at Milestone's downtown for dinner (again, very yummy, Kobe meatloaf is to die for) where Gus, Kat and Iakaris joined us later. We met up with Astin at the club, and started the First Annual Eh-Vegas tourney. There were many hammers - I think we stopped taking pics after the third one. In order of appearance (pics by Gus):



And Jules'.

Me? I didn't get a hammer. I was crippled fairly early with this (I'm the 77, Astin is the TT):

I climbed up a bit (courtesy of Iak) but went out shortly afterward. Graham was the next one out, and we made an ill-timed run to the liquor store only to realize we'd left it too late and they'd all closed at 11. Damn and double damn!!

The tourney was over by the time we got back, a fact that seriously bummed me out. It appears Iak won, but I still don't really know how or with what. I do know how he took out Jules though *grin.

Jules and Graham left soon after, and frankly I should have joined them. I played well, and was up by about 250 at one point, but then stayed too long at the party and lost it on one foolish hand with a club regular. Did I leave then? Hell no. I dropped one more buyin, tilted at poor Ed, and split.

Slumber was peaceful, until EIGHT AY EM (yes, you read right. 8:00 AM. sigh.) when Hunny Bunny pried my eyes open and said if I wanted the car, I had to take him to work first.

Grumble. And of course when I got back home there was no way I could get back to sleep. More grumbling.

Managed to drag my butt to brunch with Kat and Gus, and met Astin after a cruise through Sonic Boom. It was a definite trip down memory lane...the sound of the cd cases clicking together reminded me of all the wasted weekends hanging out with my ex husband in all those places looking for something or another.

I really debated going to The Fallsview for yet more poker; I was tired and didn't really feel my best. Hanging out in my pj's and goofing around online in between naps sounded like a far more viable option, but my sillier side prevailed, and after dropping Gus and Kat off at the airport Astin and I drove to Niagara. Iak bailed, and I forgot VinNay's phone number at home - d'oh, sorry! Next time for sure!

We got some cocktails and talked so much we missed them calling our names on the list so had to wait a bit longer. We were seated at separate 1/2 NLHE tables, which may have been a good thing. It was a pretty solid table, and I think I played some pretty damn good poker. At the end I was up 275, for a total profit of 350-ish for the weekend.

So other than a few missteps in planning, I think the weekend went well. Will I do another one next year? Abso-fucking-lutely. Will I hold it in the middle of February?

Umm, no.


Not eh-vegas, but wow

Eh-Vegas went well; there were a few small hiccups like forgetting the closing time of the liquor stores. A report will come as soon as 1) wake up and 2) think coherently.

But I did want to show you this:

I'm wiling away some time this afternoon on a peep and a $5+50 MTT. I'd taken a hideous beat early on and was down to 30 chips. I'd made my way up to 770 chips, then down to 400-ish when I get a table change and find I'm sitting to the right of Chris Ferguson who apparently is working on some $0 to $10k challenge.

It was unreal. I had to turn the observer chat off, as I couldn't bear the badly typed inane questions anymore. Kudos to Mr. Ferguson for being able to be gracious in the face of such moronic behaviour.

it is time..

It's 4:20 on a Fridaya fternoon, the sun is shining and it's the kind of day that makes Torontonians say "It's so warm out!".

It's -4C, -12 with the windchill (24F and 10F for those below us on the map); compared to the -27 (-16F) it's been this week, it DOES feel warm!

I'm waiting for the Loud one and Graham to touchdown, and am suffering from a case "but what if it sucks!?!" anxiety. I've been so wrangy altely, I only realized last night that I didn't have Astin's phone number. No wonder I'm getting a what-is-going-on reference on his blog. Sigh.

Man, I hope everyone has a good time.

Poker tonight

Hope everyone had a happy Hammer Day. I wore my gold hammer pin in tribute, and only had to explain it to 3 people, all adults. Methinks the kids are used to my eccentricities by now.

I played the Riverchasers Hammer Day game, and while I wasn't the first blogger out, I was pretty damn close, exiting in 149th place out of 158. My JJ went up against Mungo's 55, who then made his straight on, you guessed it, the river.

A few rounds of cocktails during Eh-Vegas will henceforth be on the Penguin's tab *grin.

I was playing the 15k at the same time, so turned my attention to it and managed to limp into the money. Thanks to Raveen, Garth, Joanne and WWonka for sweating!

And because I had an unexpected 4 hour nap this afternoon, I'm feeling bright-eyed and bushy tailed. Am I cleaning my apartment or making preparations for my Eh-Vegas guests?


I'm donking around in peeps, drinking beer and IM-ing my IFF's.

Lfe is good.

Eh-Vegas approacheth

Yes, just mere DAYS to Eh-Vegas!!!

Confirmed is: PlatKat, Gus, Jules, Graham, Astin, Iakaris, VinNay, Me.

Weenies who did confirm but had to back out for one reason or another: Joanne, Guin

People still on the fence: Waffles, Fishy McDonk, some local friends.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Itinerary thus far:

Friday: I plan on drinking. What remains to be determined is if we'll be going out drinking, or hanging in drinking and playing a friendly home game. Or a third option to be determined later. - who knows. I love spontaneity.

Saturday: Other than dinner then the game, nothing is planned. Jules and I are going shopping , and more ppl will likely come to for a meander along Queen Street West.

The tournament is at the club at 8, and will cost $50 plus a $20 rebuy within the first hour. There will be cash games running. I'll be doing a beer run prior, and any interested parties can come along to the LCBO.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to this. I can't wait to see Jules again, and meet Graham.

And I really can't wait to play fun poker again!

Lately the blogosphere has been understandably depressing. As I typed to our fav height challenged individual, it's like being at a funeral that lasts weeks instead of a few hours. The wake is dreary; all the good booze has been drunk already and the partygoers are veering (careening) into maudlin.

Other than the Hammer Day celebration, I'm going to absent myself from online poker for a bit. Time for me to get a semblance of a real life and battle the February Blah's. Tonight I'm going to Hemingway's with Su and Andrea to celebrate Waitangi Day. Not sure of the details...I do know that alcohol is involved.

Dial A Shots are a given.

That's all I really need to know *grin.

this is the reason I love the IFC channel

Henry Rollins is my kind of guy.

Vocal, angry, political, intelligent, funny, oh and let's not forget buff and tattoo-ed.

I've like him since he was the front man for Black Flagg back in the day. I've liked his spoken word performances and have seen several. And I really like this show.

Last night he had Bill Maher on - I was so intrigued and engrossed I actually had to sit out on the MTT I was playing (I can hear the collective readership gasp at that), and gave it my full attention as they discussed the current state of the media.

And the musical guests are awesome (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club last night) - but Heidi May, the chick who introduces the bands, needs to develop a personality and stop reading the prompter.

I've been told

My friend Su gave me shit yesterday. And I deserved it.

I've been in a funk lately; L cubed (logey, lazy, lethargic). There are a bunch of reasons which some of you know, above and beyond the usual case of the blahs brought on by the short days and grey skies of January. But rather than deal with it, I've been hiding.

Hiding online, hiding in poker, hiding in a bubble bath, hiding with a trashy novel, hiding with bad tv.

I've neglected things - my place is a mess (my cleaning guy is currently out of town on a gig, *grin), my To Do list is longer than it's ever been before, and the verb "procrastinate" is no longer adequate to describe my attitudes toward both school and client work.

But the worse part is I've neglected my friends. And Su gave me my wake up call. It's time to get my shit together.

And apologize. Over and over again. From the bottom of my heart.


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