Path to winning poker

I was at lunch today with a couple of coworkers and we started talking about poker. More specifically we started to talk about how we learned to play. The more i thought about my personal development in poker, the more I realized that there wasn’t a gradual learning curve. Instead I think there was more of a step by step process and that each step was dependant on the previous step. I think a lot of begining poker players probably start out on the wrong step which might ruin them or cause them great difficulty in learning the previous steps. For example; if someone first learned the art of bluffing before he learned how to spot tells and betting patterns there is a good chance he would loose all of his bankroll when he bluffs someone who has the nuts.

So I decided to list out my poker schooling and document how each step influenced my current game, and how it was an important part of future learning.

I watched the movie rounders when I was probably 18 or 19. When I first saw the movie, I loved it eventhough I didn’t understand why Mike won the final hand. At that time the only poker I knew was 5 card draw, and even with that I didn’t understand strategy or sometimes what hands beat what other hands. I love movies where the protaganists has a skill that is unique but not nessisarily obvious. It’s even better if this skill is somewhat of a non-desirable proffesion or lifestyle. When I saw the movie I realized that there was no way I would ever want to mess around with poker playing. I was convinced that if I went to a card room I would get eaten alive by people who were on a completly different level than me. I was right of course. If I had gone to a cardroom at that time I would have been eaten alive.

The movie deffinatly didn’t light a fire under my feet and make me want to learn more about poker. Instead it just gave me a great amount of respect for the game and more importantly for the other players. It made me realize that it was primarily a skill game with some luck involved.

I turn 21 and win consitantly at Atlantic City
The day I turned 21 Gamble, Jervece, George, and some random chick I didn’t know watched Rounders up until the scene where they go down to AC. At that same moment we turned off the TV jumped in my car and drove down to Atlantic City. When we passed under the bridge with the blue “Welcome to Atlantic City” sign, we all started cheering. To this day I still clap and cheer when i see that sign. As soon as i went into Cesar’s i put $0.25 into a slot machine and won $5.00 on my fist spin. I cashed that out up $4.75 for the day. I was on top of the world since an extra $5 meant a lot to a college kid with only $60 in his wallet … and only $80 to his name.

Next I hit up the black jack table and win $40 playing $5 a hand. I was nervous during every hand. A year latter I wouldn’t get nervous unless it was $15 a hand. Today I doubt i’d be nervous playing $50 a hand, although I only have done that 3 or 4 times. I leave the table up $45 for the day. This was an incredible feeling especially since i knew you should go to AC expecting to loose money.

When i got home I knew i needed to learn more about the casinos and the games sine I was sure to go back down again, and wanted to be prepaired. I boght a book called gorilla gambling. The premis of the book was that there are times when you should expect to win in the long run, but only if you play at the right time. the book taught me that stuff like craps, and slots have virtually no way of giving you long term winnings, but black jack.. and sometimes roulette would.

I focused on these two chapters and over the next year consistantly made $50 to $100 everytime I went down to AC. I probably had 3 wininig sessions for every loosing session. Still the roulette system was dependant on having a biased wheel which isn’t easy to find, and blackjack only gives you a slight advantage over the casino, at most 2 percent.

Then I got greedy. I started moving away from the smart play and started to go for the big money. That’s when I lost $1000 (a grand) at the roulette table in the matter of less than 5 minutes. I won’t go into the details now, but maybe later about how that went down. At the time I had a sales job so i could make up that money in the matter of a couple weeks so I wasn’t that worried, but it did remind me that I need to play it safe if I want to be a long term winner.

WSOP 2003 Moneymaker wins it all.
I know that a lot of people credit rounders with starting the poker boom. Well i’m sure it got a lot of brash arrogant excitable college age kids into the game, but I think Moneymaker is the one who got the joe schmos into the cardrooms, online and brick and motar. Watching the WSOP 2003 telecast I was completly rooting for moneymaker the whole way. I loved his name. It was just perfect. Plus I wanted to see someone like me win it instead of some mind reading genius poker pro. Even though it sounds like a cliche, watching Moneymaker win it all made me think that anyone could have sucess… if they got lucky… and had some amount of skill.

The WSOP 2003 broadcast is also where I learned how texas holdem was played. Up until that point i really didn’t know why each person only got two cards, and what the cards in the middle meant. It doesn’t help that rounders had 3 or 4 different types of poker games shown, that really messed me up.

Poker Books
I stoped by Borders to visit Yar-Yar and asked him where the poker books were. he directed me to two of the best available. “How to play poker like the pros” by phil hellmuth and “Super Systems” by Doyle Brunson. I bought both books since I couldn’t decide which was better. When I got home I read a little of Super Systems and was instantly confused. I then read a little of Phil’s book and felt much more comfotable. Phil’s book is a great beginers guide that takes you through the fundamentals. At this point I knew that pocket Aces were good, but i didn’t know how good 88 was or how bad A9 was. This book really put a lot of what i saw on TV in perspective. Phil’s book also talked about how to get started playing, specifically start small at an online card room.

Phil’s book discussed a lot of different type of poker, but the only thing I wanted to focus on was hold’em. I read the sections on pot limit no limit and limit. From what I read i knew that limit would be the easiest to start with because it required the least risk on any given hand. Plus there seemed to be less skill involved when it came to raising , calling and folding. I also read phil’s section on Animal types. Each type of player can be catagorized into a type of player that he associates with an animal. Although this didn’t give me a lot of information on reading people it introduced me to the concept.

With a copy of Phil’s book opened up to the top 10 hold’em hands I loged into my new real money party poker account. I sat down at a $0.25 $0.50 limit table which I felt was a little steep. I started out only playing the top 10 hands, and always raising with them. If the flop looked scary I got out. If I hit a hand hard I tried to slow play, If it was in the middle I just bet. After playing low limit on party for about 3 months I built up my initial $50 deposit into a $250 bank roll.

During this time i also experimented with tournaments. The smaller tournaments were easy all though I didn’t have a firm grasp on what I was betting and how much affect the blinds played in the tournaments. i started to get good at the Sit n GOs by following advice that i read from moneymaker. Early on only play very strong hands and play them for a big raise. once people get knocked out and the blinds go up, be more agressive and try and steal the blinds. Looking back on it, I’m sure I didn’t really understand what stealing the blinds really meant but I tried any way.

After a little over 3 months of party poker had taught me how important patience was at the table, and it taught me that you had to make as much money as possible out of every winning hand in order to make money in the long run.

Atlantic City Poker (Thanks Six)
After discussing my online sucess with Six I decided I was ready to try some real live casino poker. I don’t know if I would have ever played in a casino if I hadn’t gone with six. I was really intimidated with the aspect of playing with real people who might chop me up. I was still confident though since everything I read or heard online suggested that low limit is full of amatures. On the way down to AC six informs me that he had played 3 times previously, which I already knew, and he had never won money any of those time, which I hadn’t known. If I had known I probably would have changed my mind. On the way down I read some more of hellmuth’s book on limit and tells, plus I had picked up a book by Mike Caro called the book of tells. I was hoping that the information from this book would help me spot bluffs and strong hands at the table.

Speaking of tables, Six and I were fortunate to end up at the same table. My plan was only to play the top 10 hands for a raise and fold everything else. This plan was destroyed on the third hand when I found A 5 off different suits and I called from early postition. At that time I had no Idea that if I had to act before a majority of players, that I should need a better hand than if I am one of the last people to act. Well I lost that hand, but at least got the nerves out of the way. Overall I played the table pretty tight and was up about $25 after a couple hours. That is when I went on a rush. Looking back on it, I got lucky. That’s all there was to it. On one hand I beat two flushes (one being the nut flush) when I hit a boat on the river. I had no idea how to calculate pot odds at that time but I’m sure if I had known how to calculate them.. I would have folded after the flop.

After 3 hours I was up a little over $100 and done for the night. Six didn’t fair as well as he played on for an additional 2 hours before gathering up the rest of his chips and calling it a day. What did that first trip teach me? Well it taught me not to be intimidated by a casino enviroment. It taught me that real life limit is kind of similar to online play in respect to the number of people in each pot, and the amount of drawing going on. The biggest thing this trip did was get me hooked.

Over the next year I went to atlantic city 11 or 12 times, and won between $100 and $250 each time playing only 2/4 holdem. I was averaging around $25 and hour at the table and I was starting to build my confidence. Watching all of the limit action I really started to get comfortable with sitting at a real table. Specifically I was getting used to watching how people play. You also get a good feel for the table in general. It may shock some people to hear this, but there are low limit tables that are tight, and of course those that are loose.

Another thing that I learned from watching all of these hands in person, and still some online, is how much can happen on a given hand. I saw an ace high flush get beat by quads. I saw a royal flush where everyone chased thinking the J of spades would come up on the river, when instead it was in the nervous guys hands. I saw 5 people split a pot when the board came up 6 6 6 6 A in that order. I saw so many hands where the nuts beat the 2nd nuts, or Ace high won even with 3 people in the pot.

No Limit tournament education
At this point I felt that I had mastered low limit holdem and now I wanted to start to learn more about no limit since that’s what everyone wanted to play, and that’s where bigger pay days lay ahead. I tried again to read Doyle’s book but just was unable to get into it for some reason. I mean I now understood a lot of what he was talking about, but it seemed like it had more to do with pyschology and trickery than with having the best hand. So I decided to get a new book. Championship No Limit and Pot Limit holdem by T.J Cloutier. The book helped me a ton… even if the writting style is subpar.

Reading this book cover to cover I started to realize how important betting was to the No Limit game. You really had to have a reason behind every bet. Plus I never realized how much information you can give away by the size of your bet. One of the drawbacks to the book is that T.J assumes that you are able to read an opponenet and tell when they have a good hand or a bad hand. At the time I read this book there were still times when I would have absoltly no Idea what the other person had. Another key piece of advice that T.J gave was that you should never look at your hole cards until it’s your turn to act. I had heard and read that before but the more I started to learn about no limit the more I realized that you really are playing the other person and not his cards.

Aside from internet tournaments my first exposure to a NL Holdem tounament was a charity fund raiser near Hanover that Six and I went to. I played realy tight and was able to double up several times through the tournament, and ended up making it to the final table. The tournament had started with about 150 people and I finished in 6th I think. I took home something like $250 or a $220 or so profit. This was a huge rush for me, but I really didn’t do anything spectacular in that game. I didn’ bluff, I didn’t steal blinds, I just had the best hand and held on to my chips when ever I could.

After that event I played some tournaments online and started playing with my friends, but I didn’t have as much sucess as I did with limit. In fact during this time my limit game started to suffer. The reason for this is now clear. I was trying to play both types of games the same way, when they are two entirely different types of games. Limit is about waiting for your opportunity and making a big hand, while No Limit is about being aggresive and forcing your opponent to make tough choices. I was trying to play a cross between the two. Low pocket pairs are great in limit cause if you hit a set and there are a lot of people in the pot you get enough out of the hand to cover the odds of hitting the trips. In No limit you can’t play for trips or other draws.

Once I grasped this tighter more aggressive style of play I started to play much better in the multi-table online tournaments I was playing and when I went out to Vegas I played well in several small buy in tournaments allthough I missed the money by a couple spots everytime. I now understood what Tight aggressive really meant and I was starting to get better at reading people. Especially when I was in Vegas, I really started to think about the game in terms other than the cards on the table.

Friday Night Felt
Although my friends and I had started playing small tournaments fairly often it wasn’t really organized until I came up with the name “Friday Night Felt” and started to track the play on one of my websites This is when my friends and I really got into poker and I was able to see week in and week out different styles of poker … all of which if played correctly were winning forms of poker. Haing a sounding board for discussing how hands are played really helped me become more analytical about the game. Originally I felt that it was correct to raise with AK because Hellmuth and Cloutier said so. Now I was able to discuss it and come up with reasons of my own why I thought it was a good idea.

Allthough I didn’t really win that often, and probably ended up loosing some money during the course of the year that FNF was in it’s prime, I did learn a very important skill. And that was short handed play. In all the books I read there really wasn’t a lot of discusion on short handed play out side of some remarks that you need to open up your starting hands and maybe be more aggressive. Well until now I saw several hundred.. probably several thousand hands or poker, the majority of which were 8, 9, or 10 handed… and one time 11 handed which was stupid. I never got to really participate in a 6, 5 ,4 or 3 handed game except in sit N gos. Watching theses hands played out, brought me to the conclusion that you don’t have to have top pair or the nuts to win at the show down.

Not only did I learn to change up my style depending on how the rest of the table was playing, I also learned how to play heads up. Heads up is all about aggression and after the flop play. Because so many people have no experience heads up they treat they’re hands like they would at a full sized game. These people fold way too many hands, and don’t raise enough. When I get heads up I know that I have the advantage thanks to my FNF experience.

Harrington on Hold’em and the WSOP
Dan Harrington had just come out with a book right before I went out to Vegas for the WSOP. Harrington had made it to the final table of the last two WSOP main events, which was at that time considered to be one of the biggest poker accomplishments ever. This was one of the most complexe books I had ever read. But it wasn’t complex to the point where it didn’t make sense, it was just amazing how much detail went into this book, and how thorough the strategies were discussed.

Before this book I had read “Super Systems”, “How to play poker like the pros”, “Big Deal, a year in the life of a proffesional poker player”, “Championship No Limit and Pot Limit poker”, “Poker for dummies”, “Poker Strategy”, “The Real Deal”, and “Winning at Low Limit holdem”. The more I read the more they sounded the same. Especially when it came to Hold’em tournaments. The reason for this is that most of the books are generic since they have to cover many types of poker and in a much smaller space. The Harrington books were each 500+ pages that covered stuff like postion, chip count, player types, pot odds, implied odds, with plenty of examples to back it up. The two volumes really made me think like a tournament player. Not only that but Having played short handed and full table over the past year, I started to realize why I won when I won, and why I lost when I lost.

I had originally wanted to play in the $1000 buy in limit tournament when I got to the WSOP but I didn’t have enough money so instead I played in they’re single talbe tournaments where you could win tournament chips. In the first two I played I was able to play tight and slowly build chips until we got short handed where I got ultra aggressive until we were heads up. Both times the opponenet offered to chop the pot which was fine with me. I made a little over $1000 in 4 or so hours. I could have played in a tournament with the money that I had, but I was too intimidated, so instead I played one more single table, came in 6th, and relaxed for the rest of the week.

When I got back home I started the second season of FNF which saw declining numbers because… well some people just never won. With some time off from FNF I took a shot at some of the local tournaments and have been on a roll for the last 7 weeks. My play right now is the culmination of the past two years of study and practice. I really think that if you are going to try poker you should follow a plan similar to mine.

1. Learn the basics (top hands, what beats what, types of players, when to bet and fold)
2. Play online as cheap as you can (probably start with limit and get a feel for the pace and variety of the game)
3. Play limit in a card room (Start to work on spotting tells)
4. Read up on No Limit tournament Strategy (Posision, Raising, Blinds are the big factors to understand)
5. Play some cheap sit N Gos online (use this time to look for betting patterns and learn how to switch gears in a tournament)
6. Play larger online tournaments or free larger tournaments in your area (After the first couple re-read information on tournaments so you better understand the lessons)
7. Play large tournaments for real money (Find a winning style from what you’ve learned and use it)
8. No Limit Cash Games (This is what I’ll be focusing on next)


Funny Chepelle show clips

For those who have never seen chapelle show…. I don’t even know what to say to you. – chepelle shows what would happen if everyone got reparations – Charlie Murphy (eddies brother) talks about Rick James – Rick james part 2 – Rick James part 3 – FYI Wayne Brady before this sketch was thought to be the whitest black guy ever – the three daves – gay america (the gay landscaper was hilarious) – Dave does the R. Kelly “Pee on you” Remix – fans of grand theft auto – Fear factor

Quick overview of money finish and more nicknames

I’m not sure if people actually care about how i make it into the money and what my hand selection is and blah blah blah, so I’m just going to give a very highlevel overview this time. If anyone wants any more information I’ll post it on request.

I do nothing for the first half hour or so till I check with KQ off in the big blind. The flop comes A Q Q. I check. Two more checks and someone goes all in. He only had 500 left so I rerais all in with my 1100. everyone folds, he shows A 5. I hold on and win. the table is broken up and I end up at Ray’s table just as he moves all in for 300 chips. He shows AK after he’s called by KJ. Ray win’s and doubles up to 600.

With blinds at 20 40 I raise to 120 when one person calls from early position. I didnt noticed she called or i would have folded. Everyone folds to her and she calls. The flop is A x x and she bets. 200. I raise it up to 500 and she calls. We check down to the river. I’m affraid she has Aces up, but she shows pocket Kings. I almost felt like I put a bad beat on her till i remembered that she played the kings terribly. The call in early isn’t bad just as long as you re raise after I raise.

The next big hand had nothing to do with me. Ray raises to 300 with the blinds now at 50 and 100. There are three callers. The flop comes down A 5 7. Ray bets 300 and gets called by one woman. The turn is another 5. He bets another 300. She calls. The river is a queen. Ray goes all in for 400, and gets called. He shows pocket 5s giving him quads. Ray and I have no idea what this lady had, oh well. I was still amazed that ray was able to get all of his chips in without having to slow play. Infact I think if he had slow played he wouldn’t have been able to get anything out of it.

Ray is close to 3000 at the break and I’m at 1500. We return from break and our fortunes are reversed. Ray calls and all in with 88. A king comes on the flop pairing the AK his opponent had in his hand. This brought ray down to 1800 or so I think. The blinds really started to dig into him after that. I stole one set of blinds to stay at 1500. Then when I was at 1200 I go all in from middle postition with A 9 off. The blind already has 400 in so it costs him 800 more to call. I don’t know why he calls but he does and shows Q 4 of hearts. I catch an ace and he is drawing dead on the river. I’m up to 2600 with 25 people left, when ray busts out. He was down to only 700 chips and didn’t have a lot of options.

It’s now down to 20 people when the lady in first postiion goes all in for 1800. I have 400 in the pot already and look down to see A 4 suited. I really think about this for a while since I’m in the small blind. The big blind asks how much her bet was which lends me to believe he’ll call. I decided descretion is the better part of valor and fold. The blind calls. The woman had AJ and the guy had… something.. i don’t remember. He wins and we are down to 19 people.

I only have 2000 and the blinds are 400 800. From the button I look down and see 66. Chances are someone might get eliminated in the next couple of hands, but I’m short stacked and need to push and hope to get the blinds. I raise all in. It costs the small blind another 1600 to call. He thinks about it long and hard and decides to call. The big blind would have to call 1200 more. The big blind asks what happens if both he and I go out. And since he has more chips than me would he finish ahead of me. He then says fuck it and folds. Thank god, I don’t want to go all in against two people. The big blind shows 33. he thought i had big cards, but it turns out i have him dominated. I double up and on the next hand the two blinds end up all in when they both hit the flop. Neither hit the highest card on the flop though, so that whole hand amazes me… and ray, ask him about it. So we are down to 18.

I’m sitted next to jerome bettis for the 2nd week in a row when it comes down to two tables. The blinds are now 800 1600. From the small blind I go all in with Q 10 off for a total of 3200. the big blind calls with 7 10. I guess he thought I was stealing… which I kind of was. I had decided before the hand started that I would move all in if it was folded to me. Two hands later I knoock out a really old guy when I catch pocket jacks. I’m up to 9300 but the blinds are now up to 1000 2000. And shortly after my blinds are taken from me i’m down to 6300 when the blinds go up to 2000 4000 So I check from the big blind and then move all in after the flop for my last 2300. I had 24 in my hand which gave me a pair of 4s. Unfortunatly a guy who tried to “Call and raise” preflop had a6 suited which gave him a pair of 6s. He won and I was out in 11th.

The tournament director handed my the envolope with $85 in it and starts to tell me where to sign out. Half way through telling me where to sign out he tells me “Ahhh you know the procedure by now”. ILLLLLLLL damn right I do. I’m 4 for 4 at creekside. For some reason that got me so juiced that the TD (tournament director) remembers me… and not because I look weird or don’t wear sleaves.

Ok so here are the new nicknames.
(Also i think that ray and I also need nicknames since we are making ones up for other people.The nicknames should be superficial and fairly obvious. i’m guessing “6 months” for me would be good cause my belly makes me look like i’m 6 months pregnant. “Wish he were gay” for Ray sine he constantly tries to touch and caresse me, but I always slap him away.)

Redneck Uncle – I play cards with him at the fire hall… well not during “huntin” season. He’s also suppose to come over to my house and show me how lay cement but he’s been so busy with his part time dry wall business. Yeah he’s my pop’s brother. we joke that he was born on the southern side of the house but he’s still good people.

Chip or Dale – Dude’s face (specifically his teeth) look like a chipmonk.
Forehead – I know i’m not one to talk but this one guy has one of the larges foreheads known to mankind. And it’s shinny too. It’s kind of distracting when the light bounces off of it and the glare makes it hard to read the flop.
Stutz Sr. – This one old guy reminds me of what Stutz might look like when he gets old. Plus I like the guy as a person, he is friendly. his real name is herman.
Mini Chan – there is this asian guy who is pretty good. He seems like a cool kid, about my age, but there is nothing really spectacular about him that allows me to make a decent nickname for him. So instead I have to go with an almost racist route and related him to another very good asian poker player. On hinesight I think that I should try to find out his real name and then put “the master” at the end of it.
televangelists – There is this old white guy with white hair in that jimmy johnson formation. He looks like a televangelists.
Poker Pornstar – There is this one guy i see at peenbrook that looks like a pornstar.. I don’t know what pornstar since I don’t care about the guys in the movies. All I know are some of the women he’s hit off on camera… which is many.
GWT – There is this loud mouthed Ghetto White Trash kid that I don’t think anyone likes. He also goes by the name “snagletooth”.
Wish he were Raymer – HUGE guy with a red Poker Stars shirt that rides the shit out of his own play.
Drew Bledsoe Crack Head – Name says it all
Brown look alike – Guy looks just like my buddy brown. Just like him.
Corvette – This guy is a skinny, overactive, too many joke making, talk badly about wife, greyish haired guy, who I would bet all of my poker winnings on him owning a corvette. He drives around in it (cherry red) with the sunroof down in an attempt to pick up yonger women (the younger the better as i’m sure he says) as he cruses through town. All of this started 5 years ago when he turned 55 and now he’s trying to recapture he’s youth any way he can. This week poker, next week hang gliding or bungee jumping.
Sonic – The human rendition of sonic the hedghog
Lazy eye Conservative – Looks like a creepy fat conservative christian stereotype out of a spike lee “joint”. This guy also has a lazy eye so i’m guessing his preaching is done on AM radio instead of the christian broadcasting station.
Evil Cloutier – Looks just like T.J Cloutier except has a goatee and made fun of how fat everyone at my table was.
RW II look alike – looks like a slightly younger version of ray’s dad.

This week was unique in and off he fact that the final tables had no one that Ray or I had recogonized from the past 6 weeks. Well ok there was me, but aside from me Evil Cloutier and the converative were both newbies who made it in, and the rest all looked like they were new. Oh wait i’m wrong, as i’m writting this I just remembered that bettis was sitting next to me. So hopefully he won, cause I would ride that. Plus I know six would also.

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6 for 7

I’m too tired from playing football early today to post a full article, but I thought I would mentioned that I finished in the money at creekside again. So far I have played in 7 of these fire hall tournaments and placed in the money 6 times. That’s a 85% winning percentage. It should also be noted that Ray had quad 5s at one point and played the hand perfectly. I’ll write a long winded description tomorrow, plus there are a couple of new nicknames I need to mention.

Also I was thinking about my responce to Noze’s evolution post, and I realized it might come off as mean or bitter or other wise unfriendly towards Noze. Obviously I ride Noze and hope he plays some FNF (saturday edition) tomorrow. What’s good about Noze is that he can discuss a topic with someone when he has a differing opinion without getting emotionaly involved. A lot of people in this world have an incredibly hard time having a discussion or debate without getting emotionaly worked up. If you look at politics as a whole right now you see it all the time. The republicans act like they hate democrats, and the democrats act like the hate republicans. No one cares about the green party so they could be the exception.

Still so much of politics right now is just mean spirited and judgemental. What I wrote in my responce wasn’t really directed at noze, but more directed at all the people I’ve listened to on TV or Radio who not only think they’re positsion is so strong that they don’t even need to look at the other parties point of view, but they also think that the other side is either stupid, or immoral…. or both.

This nation as a whole has become very divided. I don’t mean that there are just two groups of people either. I mean that for almost every issue there is no common ground, or if there is no one will admit it. The best example of this is the last two presidential elections. When someone voted for Kerry or Gore they were voting for someone who is results driven and perceived as an intellectual choice. When someone voted for Bush it was for wholesome american values and personality. Granted those two statments aren’t entirely true. I’m sure some people voted for bush because they felt that he had a better platform, or some people voted for Kerry cause they identified with them. Still in the end, both sides could not understand why the other side voted the way they did. Not only did they not take the time to understand why the other person voted the way they did, they dismissed that group of people as being either stupid or immoral.

I just hope that once the fighting in Iraq and some of the other problems in this country subside the country as a whole can stop this “us against them” mentality.

On another side note, i’m starting to work on as a goof off internet site. I want to have funny stuff from the web like videos of stupid teenagers hurting themselves, articles about famous celebrities doing whatever, random humor links, and obligatory hot internet babes. I’ll also have limited poker stuff there as well. Check out to see an example of a similar site to what i’m trying to make.

Leave me some feed back as to what you’d like to see on the site.


Dag noze stop d-riding evolution

Ok noze put a post on his blog stating some facts that disprove evolution. I’ve basically become discusted with this whole debate over intellegent design but I had to respond to a couple of things that noze mentions.

Question 1: But doesn’t evolution explain our existence?
However, it is logically absurd to believe that “everything made itself.” This is contrary to all our experience and undermines the principle of cause and effect– the very basis of modern science

Here is the problem with Noze’s post. The Big bang is not based off of nothing exploding into everything. The big bang is based off of a very small number of protons electons and neurtons being hit with electricity and then expanding into the universe that we have today. This may seem absurd that something incredibly small could become so vast and large as the universe today. But don’t forget that the univers is made up almost entirely of empty space. In fact that’s why something like a quasar is so heavy. A piece of a quasar the size of a sugar cube would way several tons. a quasar has it’s atoms packed very closly together. That being said there is still an amazing amount of room between protons electrons and to the sub level quarks.

Something else that is important is that scientists have been able to recreate the big bang on a much smaller scale in labortory experements. They basically took protons zaped them with electricity and got carbon, and several other gases and blah blah blah. None of that is important though because the big bang is not relavent to evolution. Even if it’s proved that a space being farted our universe into exsitance it doesn’t mean that life on earth didn’t evolve as darwin postulated.

For more information on what the big bang is really about go here.

1. Information and Complexity: Modern knowledge of biochemistry (genes, DNA, proteins, etc.) shows that even so-called “simple” bacteria are phenomenally complex– far more complex than the most sophisticated machine mankind has ever made– and they can reproduce themselves, some in less then 20 minutes. Such bacterial “machines” contain the equivalent of about 2 large books of coded information on their DNA. Books don’t write themselves and neither could the bacteria make themselves. If a book needs an intelligent creator, the bacterium needs a creator even moreso. The source of this information is an insurmountable problem for the origin of life without a creator– and the development of more comples life forms. A human being has about 1000 books worth of information on the DNA in each cell. How do you add 998 books of information to bacterium to get the information in a human being, as evolutionists claim happened over hundreds of millions of years?

This is one of the things that annoys the piss out of me when people talk about how complex DNA is and how it would be impossible for it to be created in nature at random. Statments like the one above misleads the reader into thinking that evolution on the celular level would have to happen instantaneously. It makes it sound like a complete random sequencing of proteins came together and formed a perfectly workable DNA sequence. This is an INCREDIBLY SMALL MINDED way of thinking.

Think of it this way. If you compare an 1888 automobile and compare it to a 2005 lexus it is obvious that there is very little similarity. How do you go from no windows to power windows with out a guiding hand, so therfore there can’t be evolution in the automotive industry. Well we know that’s not true. Every new model will build from the last model and add new features or improve apon new ones. No one ever looked at an 1888 vehicle and said “let’s add a moon roof, power steering, abs, side impact door beams, front and rear crumpel zones, On Star, Oh and let’s make it so that the windshild wippers come on automattically when it rains.” Instead it was a slow progression over 117 years in which each subsequent model new complexitys were added.

Why does Noze or who ever wrote the passage above assume that we went straight from one book worth of DNA information all the way up to 1000 books worth of information. That’s almost insulting to think that I would be stupid enough to rule out evolution based off of that insanly stupid logic.

2. Limits to variation: The breeding of animals and plants shows that there are strict limits to how far selection can go– whether it be artificial of natural. Breeding of pigs will never make them fly. Nor can natural selection grow feathers on a reptile. Things are created to reproduce true-to-their kind, just as the Bible says in Genesis chapter 1. The limited amount of natural variation drives modern molecule biologists to try to take genes from one kind of organism and get them to work in another kind. It’s all about transferring information, and much intelligence is applied to do this. Natural (non-intelligent) processes cannot, and therefore have never, created anything containing meaningful information.

Once again the author insults your intellegence by saying that “Nor can natural selection grow feathers on a reptile”. Natural selection has never said that if you put an alligator in a room with a pellican you will have an allican that can fly and has very powerfully teeth filled jaws. That’s what the author implies though. “Breedin of pigs will never make them fly.” Once again the author is using rediculous arguments. Will breeding of pigs make them fly? No. Could subtle changes built apon other subtle changes over the course of several millions years lead to a brand new animal that can fly in order to avoid danger? Yes. There are flying squirls aren’t there. How much more rediculous is that than A flying pig?

3. Mutations?: Mutations– random changes in the genetic information– are supposed to generate new information so that new features such as legs, feathers, brains, eyes, and so on, could “evolve.” However, random changes in information do not create new meaningful “paragraphs,” or “chapters,” of information. They only corrupt it. Mutations destroy; they do not create. They are known by the diseases they cause in humans (e.g. cancers). Antibiotic resistance in bacteria is not due to an increase in meaningful information due to mutations. In all mutations studied, there has been a loss of function causing the resistance– for example, loss of control over the production of the enzyme that breaks down penicillin so that much more of the enzyme is produced. Sometimes information has been acquired from another type of bacterium, which then enables the recipient to resist the antibiotic. Mutations will never produce the new complex information needed for evolution to proceed.

Random changes in information rarely create new meaningful paragraphs or chapters. Above noze says this never happens. Here is the problem with that logic. If you take something small like one scentence and change one word will it destroy the scentence? Sometimes yes sometimes no. Anyone who has ever played mad libs knows that you can add seemingly random words to scentences and make a brand new meaning. Of course you can also destroy that meaning. how about this. When we are talking about paragraph and chapters the author also assumes that we are taking an entire chapter apart and tossing in random new words. But what if you take an entire paragrah and throw in just one new word. Maybe 99% of the time it doesn’t work. Well that’s cancer. What about the 1%. That 1% isn’t a new species, it’s just a variant. And what happens when that variant gets another new word added? probably 99% it fails, and 1% it works. These are subtle changes that usually are dormat over long periods of time.

Think about how many lines of DNA do not do anything? Scientists have worked for years to analyse DNA and have found that a lot of DNA sequences are dormat or have no use. Or let’s look on a larger scale. The appendix. Ok so in intellegent design something decided that humans needed an appendix eventhough doctors have never been able to determin what it does in the human body. That’s not intellegent.

There are fish that exsists in lightless caves that have bumps for eyes but no actual eyes. What does that tell you. It tells me at one point there were fish that needed eyes but over time they migrated somewhere where they were not needed and so they started to evolve without eyes. These are instances where slight variations didn’t hurt these creatures, but they didn’t really help either. The notion by the author that a mutation has to immediatly help in order to be passed on is well illogical.

Furthermore, research has revealed many examples of features in living things that are made up of highly complex parts where every part has to be present for it to function at all. They cannot be simpler and still function. It is not possible for small step-wise mutations and natural selection to create such systems because a series of functional intermediates is impossible. Examples are the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting system, the ATPase “motor,” the signalling system in cells, the DNA-coded protein synthesis system, etc.

I wonder if Noze knows that the man who came up with this logic above later recanted it. ID was started in a Washington (state) think tank where scientists tried to find out if the mathmatics behind evolution are possible. There were two leading professors in this think tank one of which was Michael J. Behe who wrote Darwin’s black Box. In that book he states that bacterial flagellum is too complexe blah blah blah.

Behe has confessed to “sloppy prose” and said he hadn’t meant to imply that irreducibly complex systems “by definition” cannot evolve gradually. “I quite agree that my argument against Darwinism does not add up to a logical proof,” “Let’s use the car example again. Car’s are now starting to add GPS systems. from

Just because something is complexe doesn’t mean that it couldn’t have evolved from something non complexe. these arguments are based off of misleading facts. Evolution never says that something complexe just mutated that way. Like the appendix right now does nothing for us. Who is to say that a million years from now it changes into something that helps filter bacteria out of the body? another million years from now other organs might change.

4. Fossils: The fossils do not show that one kind of organism has changed into another. There should be millions of intermediate types of fossils showing the transitions if evolution has occured. There are a handful of disputed ones. Claimed evidence of fossils linking different kinds of organisms does not stand up to scrutiny (Gish, D. T., 1995. Evolution: The Fossils still say No! Institute for Creation Research, San Diego, CA, USA.) AS Colin Patterson of the British Museum of National History said, “there is not one… for which you could make a water-tight argument.” Furthermore, there are many hundreds of types of creatures in the fossil record which are still present today. Jellyfish, starfish, and snails, for example, are present in rocks supposedly hundreds of millions of years old and yet they are very like the ones we have in the oceans today. Things breed “true to their kind” just as the Bible says.

I think the key here is that this researcher mentions that Jellyfish starfish and snails are in rocks that are hundreds of millions of years old and they are very like the ones we have today. Yeah that’s kind of the point. They are alike, they are not the same. They are similar but not exact replications of the DNA strings that exsisted in those days. Aligators have been around for millions of years… but how many do you see today that are 50 feet long? Just because there isn’t “water-tight” proof of a step by step mutation doesn’t mean there won’t be. That passage is from 1995 how about something from discover magazine from this year.

That’s right there really were hobbits. So if we have skeletons of these smaller humans wouldn’t that be an indication of evolution. Is it complete proof? No. No one is saying that it is the missing link… ok some people are, but it’s just more supporting evidence.

5. The age of the Earth: The story about the age of the Earth has grown in the telling. However, fossils commonly show evidence of rapid burial in water-carried mud– as in a great Flood. Consequently, the rock layers containing these fossils were not laid down slowly and gradually– so fossils do not give to the millions of years so widely taught today.

Just because there are fossils that were quickly buried by a flood doesn’t mean there aren’t other fossils that are burried under thousands of years of sediment. Think about the floods in New Orleans. If someone died in those floods and someone found the bones 100 years from now, would that mean that anything prior to that is inconsiquential? God damn that’s stupid. There are records of floods all over the world because…. shit floods. We just had a tsunami of Bilcial porportians in the indian ocean. That stuff happens. It’s part of nature. It doesn’t mean that there was a flood that consumed the entire world.

So why do so many so called intellegent people dismiss evolution?
1. People so badly want to believe in a surpreme power that they will kling to small shreds of misleading scientific evidence in order to support thier bliefes.
2. People think that science of evolution can not co exsist with religon.

Here’s my thing. If you look at christinanity how important is it that god created everything? Seriously how does that really affect the way we treat and act with each other? Wasn’t Jesus’ message based around how you treat your neighbor. God doesn’t want you living your life just to sit around praising him. If he wanted that there wouldn’t be an earth everyone would just be in heaven sitting around telling him how great he is.

The fact is that there is a lot more evidence supporting evolution than there is detracting from it. I’ve looked at both sides of this argument and there is nothing that actually rules out evolution. There may be things that need changed or updated or things we haven’t found out yet, but that’s true about atoms, molecules, cells, the human body, and everything else on earth. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t teach it. i really hope that those who deny evolution look at multiple sources for their information and not just the ones that agree with what they already believe.


Walk the Line (and comparisons to Eminem)

I saw the movie “Walk the Line” this saturday. Although I was never a big Johnny Cash fan I still really liked the movie. True stories like that always seems so much more interesting to me than something that is fictional. I think the reason for this is when you watch a fictional movie the choices that a person makes have virtually no down side. If a fictional charachter leaves his current job to tour the country performing magic on the streets… so what. If it doesn’t work out, it’s not real. With these biographical movies you have to put yourself in the charachters posisition. What if that was you and you went for your dream and you missed. The average person forgoes a chance at greatness in favor of the high percentage median life. Some day I would like to see a movie where someone takes his shot and fails and ruins his life. The consolation for the charachter is that he probably doesn’t have any regretts and is glad he doesn’t go through his life wondering what if.

Any ways here are my favorite Johnny Cash songs:

  • I’ve Been Everywhere – I’ve only ever been to Harrisburg, Chambersburg, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburg, Luxemburg, Hamberg …
  • I Walk the Line – Dope rythm that was based off of radio work that cash did in vietnam
  • Ring of Fire – Written by his future wife june Carter
  • Folsom Prison Blues – Compltly fictional song about how he killed a man in Reno and then went to jail. Later he recorded a live albumb from Folsom Prison. I also think it’s money that in 1950 something he wrote the line “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die”.
  • One Piece At A Time – I’m doing this at Bookspan but instead of car parts I take home random romance novels
  • Man In Black – Describes why he wears black all the time. I wish I was badass enough that i could always dress in black.
  • Boy Named Sue – Just a classic example of a storytelling song.
  • Cotton Fields – I actually like the version that CCR does better
  • Midnight Special – Actually johnny Cash didn’t write this.. or sing this but i had just mentioned CCR and it reminded me that I ride this song. Plus it kind of sounds like a song Cash would write or sing. And yes i can call him Cash for short, because we were tight like that.
  • Cry, Cry, Cry – his first hit… Johnny Cash’s first hit, not CCR’s first hit. I’m done talking about CCR.

Latter on I’ll try to upload some of these songs so you can download them and listen to them. A warning though, I’ve been everwhere is kind of slow at the begining. if you listen to some of his songs I really don’t think there is a lot of difference between Johnny Cash and Eminem. Seriously. Cash sang fictional songs about killing people and so does Em. Plus Cash has silly songs like Boy name sue, just like Eminem has silly songs like My name is. then they both have serious songs like cash’s Man in black or walk the line, and eminem has songs like Toy Soliders or Hailie’s Song .

one of the things that made the movie so good in my opinon was the fact that Joquine Phoenix looked, sounded and acted just like Cash. So much so that you didn’t even think it was someone portraying cash. in Ali Will Smith plays the part of Muhamid Ali, you know it’s Will Smith and you constantly think about that, but in Walk the Line, its almost like Johnny Cash plays Johnny Cash. You know, if he wasn’t dead.

Out of all the stuff I said I was going to do this long weekend I think the only thing I did was play poker friday night. *sigh* i gotta get some of that stuff done.


Ray is his father’s son

I was going to update the friday night felt message board with the results of last night’s peenbrook fire company tournament, but the site is down right now. Instead I’ll talk about it here.

There were predictions on the FNF forum as to how many FNFers would finish in the money. I guessed that two of us out of the total 4 of us would finish in the money. I was right. Ray and I both finished in the money. There also was a poll on the forum asking who would get knocked out first. I voted for tom, as did tom vote for tom. Once again I was correct. Tom finished in 46th place while six finished in 45th place. They both got knocked out at the same time but six had more chips than Tmace going into the all in.

I ended up in 17th with a payday of $55.00. Once I was out there were 16 people left and six, mace and I gave predictions on where ray would finish. Six said 8th, Tom said 7th, and I said 4th. For the third time that day I was correct. Ray finished in 4th and took down $175 in prize money. Dope job Ray.

Well I can’t speak for how ray got into the money but I can sure talk about me. In the last (and only) 6 tournaments I have finished in the money 5 times. I have a 1st, a 3rd, 2 8ths, and now a 17th. I also have a 31st but that doesn’t win you any money. So far I have won $1040 in prizes and spent $150 on entry fees. That means I am up $890 with a 83% money finish rate. Illlll I’m starting to ride me.

So the tournament starts out with me not playing a hand for close to an hour. I finally get a pocket pair, 77, and raise it to 120. The blinds were 20 and 40, and the big blind called the extra 80. The flop came down 10 10 J. I didn’t play a hand for an hour so during that time I sat back and picked up reads on all the players. This guys reactions were compltly inline with his cards. If he had a good hand he was happy, if he had a bad hand he was dissapointed. Most players try to do the opposite so that their opponenets think they are strong when they aren’ and weak when they are strong. This guy showed weakness when he was weak, and strength when he was strong. I bet 200 after he checks and he lays it down. This brings me up to 1060.

After another hour i’m down to 920 without playing a hand. The blinds are now up to 50 100 and i’ve been moved to a new table. In the corse of 5 hands I steal 3 blinds. Then from the blinds see the flop for free or by limping in and both times take down the pot with a post flop bet when I hit bottom pair. I’m up to 1920 now. I’m in the big blind where it get’s folded around to the small blind who calls the big blind. I look down and see AQ off suit. I raise to 600 (the blinds are 100 200 now). The small goes all in over top of me for another 400 chips. I have to call, and he shows KJ off. I get a queen and take down the pot.

At the break I am moved to Ray’s table and I have 3100 chips. Ray has 4300 chips. Six has 1700 I think, and Tom has 1400. Actually tom should have had 1200 but there was a mix up when they color up the chips. And by mixup Mace told him the total amount of chips he had instead of telling him the amount of chips that were being replaced by higher value chips. So mace 1200 total, but only 1000 in blue red and white chips that were being consolodated into higher value chips. Tom told the guy he had 1200 so he gave him 1200, now tom has 1400. Oh well, nothing like cheating at a charity event.

When I get back from break I’m at rays table but only get to watch 2 hands before I’m moved. The new table is fairly loose so I have to sit back and watch while all of my blinds are raised, and I have nothing to even steal with. The blinds are 400 / 200 so it costs me 600 every time around. I’m down to 1900 when from early position I find a 10 off. Not a good hand, especialy from early posistion. But the blinds are about to hit me again and soon the blinds will be raised to 400 / 800. I need to make a move now so that if I do double up I’m still not short stacked. I raise all in and get two callers. Dags. The flop comes down A J 5. One of the callers moves all in and the other caller folds. I have top pair and the other guy has kQ for a straight draw. He needs one of the remaining three 10s left in the deck to knock me out. He doesn’t get it and i’m up to 6100. And the blinds start to eat away at me again. Normally I can start to pick up chips here by stealing blinds, but I was getting terrible hands, and everyone was raising in front of me, usually with half decent hands.

I’m on the button with 5100 chips when the blinds go up to 800 / 1600. There are 19 people left in the tournament. The big blind only has 2000 total chips. It’s six handed and it is folded to me. I look down and see K 10 off. At a full table this isn’t a good hand. At a short handed table from early position this is not a good hand. Short handed with the big blind almost all in, from the button this is a raising hand. My goal is to isolate the big blind. If I knock him out I’m in the money. If I loose i’m down the 3100 which is bad but not terrible. I start to ask what the big blind has left after the blind. When I do this the small blind looks at her cards and gives a frustrated sigh. I can’t raise to 2000 at this point, I actually have to raise to 3200 since the blind can still call and 2000 total would not be a raise equal to the big blind. I ask everyone if I’m right about this, and as they are agreeing the small blind starts counting out her chips. The small blind has some type of a hand. I don’t know what, but it is either a small to middle pair, or two high cards. She has 4000 total so if I raise to 3200 she would basically be all in if she were to call. I know I should fold since she will likely call the big and hopefully win. Against better judgment I push in the 3200 and hope that the small decides it’s not worth risking her tournament on a marginal hand. She calls. Damn. The big blind surprisingly folds. I’m thinking that maybe if I had gone all in, she would have folded since she would be all in. Right now if she got a terrible flop she could still fold be on the buton and hopefully last till the 19th person is knocked out. Oh well. The flop comes down A J 10. I have bottom pair, but I already know she has an ace. I check and she goes all in for her last 800. With 8800 in the pot I can’t fold. I’m getting 11 to 1 odds. That means it would be worth drawing to a gutshot straight at this point. Which I basically was. I show K 10, and she shows AQ. If I get a K she gets a straight, so my only outs are the two remaining 10s and the 3 remaining queens. Neither come and i’m down to 1100. I’m not worried though cause the small blind is now all in in the dark. I fold and the lady who just doubled up through me takes out the small blind and gets me in the money.

I know that on paper my move was correct, but after seeing the way she reacted to my questiosn I know I should have folded and let her take care of business. Oh well that’s poker. If I had won that hand I would have been up to 9600, and probably on my way to the final table. Instead I find myself short stack but at least in the money. I end up going all in with K4 and bust out in 17th. 18th place went out on the same hand but he only had 1000 chips so he finished be hind me. That is a $10 difference in payout. Yeah me.

Ok I gotta get ready for the day. Later on I’ll post the names of all the new “Charachters” at the pennbrook tournament.