Thursday, September 20, 2007


I'm sure at least one poker blogger has posted about this already but I'm way behind on my reading. Plus, it gives me something to blog about and it involves poker.

Professional poker player Jean-Robert Ballande is a contestant on this season of Survivor. I had no idea until I tuned in earlier this evening and heard Jeff Probst introduce a professional poker player. I looked up at the screen and there he was. At that moment I knew who I was going to be rooting for this season, though it would be easier for me if he would keep his shirt on. He does not have a body like James.

Jean-Robert's poker skills should put him at an advantage. Survivor and poker really aren't that different. They both take skill, with a little bit of luck thrown in, for a person to be successful. He needs to observe his opponents, find their weaknesses, and strike at the appropriate time. If he can do this, he might stand a chance.

Saturday, September 15, 2007


Warning: This is one of those really serious, personal posts.

I'm reading a book called The Dogs of Babel and, last night, a couple of paragraphs really resonated with me. The book opens with a man finding out that his wife has died. The police believe it was an accident but it may very well have been suicide. As the husband explores his past with his wife he relives conversations where she reveals her inner demons, her past suicide attempt. She refers to suicide as a moment. There is this brief window of opportunity when it seems like the right time, a moment when nothing else matters but, if that opportunity isn't taken advantage of immediately, thoughts start creeping in. How hurt will family and friends be? Could I end up in a vegetative state instead? What if I jump and land on someone or land in front of a child who ends up traumatized for life? Once those thoughts start, the moment is gone.

This is the first time I've ever read anything that put my experience into words that made perfect sense. Throughout high school, as my depression was setting in, my life was made up of these moments. I never knew when one was going to strike but it was always fleeting, only seconds really, then I'd think about how hurt my grandmother would be or how I'd probably screw up and end up on a respirator for the rest of my life. The depression would still be there but the moment would be gone. As I got older, the moments stopped coming as often and, now, the medication, and my own self-awareness, keeps them at bay. The last moment was a split second in length and I can't even remember when it was. That is a big step.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Something Right

You know you are doing something right when the chip leader in a $10 SNG calls you an idiot. Actually the direct quote was "ur an idiot". Later she got upset when I called her re-raise with my bottom pair. We were heads-up and I knew there was a good chance that bottom pair was good. Turns out she also had bottom pair with a much worse kicker. Let's see, I'm guaranteed at least second place money and I hit bottom pair, heads-up.....I think gambling was the right choice in that situation, plus, it put my opponent on tilt. Anyone want to chime in with their thoughts?

Here's a bit more information: I had the chip lead. I had a fairly good read on her. When it got down to 3 players she was playing almost every hand and when it was the 2 of us, she didn't fold anything pre-flop. When she re-raised, it felt like a bluff and if I was wrong, I still would have had a playable stack but not the chip lead.

BTW, I won the tournament!