Thursday, March 16, 2006
American Idol Thoughts
Good morning everyone!
Remember about two months ago, on a Thursday, I wrote about how I was going to be in this Poker League, Texas Hold 'Em. I was going to write every Thursday about how I played, maybe showcase a hand or two if I happened to play a decent one. Well, I wrote some that week. After that, it became a case where I just didn't jot down any notes while playing and would forget what I had, if anything was even worth writing about. Coming into last night, I had played in six of the first seven tournaments. The one week I missed was two weeks ago when we got a foot or so of snow and I don't know if I would have been able to get there, much less back a couple of hours later. I was the only player in the league who had played in as many as six weeks without placing in the points. Points are given dependent upon how many people are playing. One week, there were 42 players, so points went to the top 14. Most weeks, they have been getting between 32 and 38 people with points going to the top 10 to 12 finishers.
So, as it has been each week, my goal was only to get into the points, just once. I didn't even care if I got to the final table, just into the points. (OK, the first week, my main goal was to not be the first player out... or to look too dumb trying to shuffle!) So last night, there were just 30 players, so points only went to the top 9. At the start, I don't think I played a hand in which was not either the big or small blind for two or three turns around the table. Terrible cards. But, because I had such bad cards, I was not even tempted to play them, which likely kept me in the game for awhile. At one point, I think I had 2-7 offsuit three hands in a row! But slowly, a few players from other tables were being eliminated. Our table seemed to be ultra-conservative, and all seven on our table remained for quite some time. When we went from four tables to three, our table still had all seven players. On two occasions, I had to go all in with low chip counts when the blinds were still just 75/150. However, in each case, I was able to remain in the game. Quickly, players more players were being eliminated from the other two tables. I was keeping tabs frequently on how many were still in. 18... 17... 16... 15. I realized that I was still low chips, but I had a chance. When the blinds jumped to 100/200, we got rid of our 25 chips, and I was down to just 700 chips. On the first hand, I had some halfway decent cards and went all in. I believe I had Queen-Nine, so not good, but only one other person went in and she was all in with pocket sixes. On the river, I got a nine and got to stay in the game a little longer.
The game moved to just two tables, and I was able to fold a number of bad hands without losing any money. A couple minutes later, I looked and there were just 11 left. I could have called a big pot, but I decided I was going to keep my promise to myself to stay conservative and try to get into the top 9. Suddenly, I looked over, and another was eliminated. Just one more. I just had to stick around long enough for one more person to drop out. I got an Ace-5 on the big blind, so I checked it (I believe blinds were now 300/600). On the flop, two fives dropped. I decided right there to go all-in with just 1,000. I felt pretty confident, but I really, really did not want to finish 10th and get the same 10 points for the week that the 30th place finisher had. Fortunately, the three fives did win the hand. A few minutes later, another player was eliminated and there I was, in the Top 9, and more importantly, in the points! I had reached my goal!
It may have taken me eight weeks to get there, but it was just such a relief to finally be in the points. Of course, the final nine players went onto one table, and I believe I was the low-chips. There were two players that were completely dominating the chip count. At that point, I figured I would just try to stay in as long as possible. There were a couple other players with chip counts almost as low as mine, and I wanted to just see if I could outlast anyone. I didn't want to be greedy, ya know?!
One player dropped out. And then another. Then I was in the big blind, which was now 800, so I had to play a 4-7. But hey, might as well see the flop if you're paying for it anyway. On the flop dropped two fours. I slow played, hoping a few more would go in, and some did. I won that hand, and suddenly there were just six players left. A few hands later, I called on the bet when I drew Ace-Ace. I had never had that before, so I figured that I would call. On the flop, another Ace fell. I was pretty excited, and fortunately two other players had pretty decent hands as well. As it turned out, one had K-Q and the other had pocket jacks. One decided to go all in, and the Aces won. I was in the final five.
I was almost laughing at this point. I am an amateur among really good players at this point, and really just getting lucky. But at this time, I went a little more aggressive. I was thrilled to be in the Top 5 so why not. On the next hand, I had Ace-King off-suit. On the flop, there was a Q-5-3. Another player decided to go all in. I had nothing yet and barely the hope for a straight, but decided to call it. I now had plenty of chips to make the guy earn the chips. On the turn was a 7. I figured I was in trouble since the guy I was going against had King-Queen, already owning a pair. However, on the river, an Ace fell, and I was now in the Top 4.
On literally the next hand, the next guy in line had just 1500 chips left. The big blind was now 1000, so he threw in the other 500 since it was only good enough for the next small blind. I had Jack-Six suited, and a big stack at this point, so I called him on it. If you can believe it, I won that hand with a pair of sixes! See, it wasn't about good playing or anything other than complete luck at this point!
So now, I'm in the final three. As has been the case since about the final 15, everyone else was good, and I was just playing along and hoping to survive. A couple of hands later, I was the big blind and again had Jack-Six. The guy after me had 8000 chips left (I had somewhere around 20,000). He called (2000 by this point). On the flop was Jack-Six-Two. I had high pair and felt pretty good about it. I checked. He bet 3,000 chips, so I immediately called it. On the turn, you guessed it, another Jack. So, I'm sitting pretty. However, I figured that I had checked after the flop and bet, so I checked again. He bet his final 3,000 chips, and again I called. The final card was unimportant, and I turned over the three Jacks, and now I'm in the final two. I have probably 35,000 chips, and the other guy has about 4,000 chips. About four hands later, I got a four of clubs on the river to give me a flush, and it was over.
So, as you can imagine, I was pretty excited about that. Again, my goal all along has just be to not embarrass myself and try to get into the points. Although I did not have great hands throughout most of the night, I was somehow able to just stick around long enough. And once I got to that final table, I just got completely lucky and got the cards that I needed. That's really all there is too it. Sure, there was some strategy, but there is a lot of luck involved too. Fortunately, the luck turned to my side last night.
So, I hate to gloat, but it was a fun night, and I had to write about it as an explanation for why there is nothing really exciting baseball-wise on the site today. We started at 7:00 and the final hand was completed just before 10:00. Now, I am writing up this brief summary, and then I'm going to get some sleep. I hope to have something that you will enjoy reading more tomorrow! If you have any questions or comments or anything, please feel free to e-mail me, or leave some Comments below.
Matt Garza was the story yesterday. Called up to start on the mound for the Twins against the Pirates, the Twins 2005 first round pick threw two shutout innings. He had to work out of trouble by inducing a groundball double play in the first, but overall, he was impressive. Good for him! Good for Mike Radcliff and the rest of the scouting department. There was a comment somewhere that said that Garza is certainly on the fast track. I think that is great when they have the confidence in a top pick to push him a little bit, especially when said pitcher proves that he is capable of handling it. However, look at it like this:
The 2006 Twins starting rotation currently sits with Johan Santana, Brad Radke, Carlos Silva, Kyle Lohse and probably Scott Baker. Francisco Liriano is the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. So, if the Twins do choose to move Lohse in a trade at some point, he would enter the rotation. If Brad Radke choose to retire after the 2006 season, as he has hinted, then the Twins need to have another replacement ready to pitch at the big league level in 2007. Well, we know that 2004 first round pick Glen Perkins is also being fast tracked despite stalling a bit at New Britain. He regained top prospect status with his pitching in the Arizona Fall League. He could be ready. Although Garza is likely to start in the rotation at Ft. Myers, he could get to Rochester already this year if he follows the Baker fast track, or at the least will get up to New Britain. I think it is safe to say that is also a possibility for Kevin Slowey, a third college pitcher drafted in the past two drafts who could be on the fast track. And then two of the high school pitchers drafted in 2004 could potentially be ready to compete for a spot sometime in 2007. Those would be Jay Rainville and Anthony Swarzak. Both will likely also start the season in Ft. Myers and work up to New Britain. Kyle Waldrop and Eduardo Morlan are a couple more high ceiling pitchers taken out of high school in the 2004 draft. Add in the Boof Bonser is probably close. Errol Simonitsch, Adam Harben and Justin Jones should all start in the New Britain rotation and if they succeed this year could also be in the mix for a 2007 spot. Don't forget about Jose Mijares, Kyle Aselton, Ryan Mullins, Brian Duensing, Adam Hawes and even JD Durbin, if he can find his control.
In other words, the Twins have put themselves in a solid position to compete in the AL Central for years to come with such great pitching depth. Of course I realize that not every one of these pitchers will pan out and become big league starters. That is unrealistic. But the way to combat that is through the accumulation of depth to increase the odds that a couple, or even a few, will pan out. Will some of it be traded to pick up needed bats should they become available? I guess we'll see. But as we have seen, pitching is what wins. It keeps you in the games. If you can then just get to the playoffs, it is what wins in short series. So again, don't tell me that this team, no matter how weak their hitting, is not a contender!
Any thoughts/opinions? E-mail me.
AMERICAN IDOL THOUGHTS
I was not able to watch the show 100% last night, but it was on a TV in the background while playing cards. I saw that Stevie Wonder was on stage and sang a song. Then they got right into the elimination portion of the show. They pulled the bottom three onto the stage, first Ace Young, then Melissa McGhee and finally Lisa Tucker. Lisa being in the Bottom three is an absolute joke to me. She is one of the most talented and she was excellent on Tuesday! But anyway. Next, the told Ace that he was safe. So, it was now between Lisa and Melissa for who would be eliminated. Yesterday, I predicted that it would be Melissa sent home, and I was right. Melissa had forgotten the words and was good, but just not great with her song.
I am just amazed that Bucky Covington and Kevin Covais continue to move forward, or at last are not in the Bottom Three. I know some thought that Kellie Pickler should have ranked lower, but at least she has done something to show she deserved to be there in the past. The same can not be said about Bucky or Kevin. If you go to the site that became infamous a year ago VoteForTheWorst.com, they definitely were encouraging people to vote to keep Kevin in the competition, admitting that he is the worst. I really hope that people don't base their votes on that website.
Any thoughts on last night's American Idol show? It was just 1/2 hour and they actually cut off Melissa singing her final song at the end (which was fine, she was bad!). Hopefully American will realize how close they were to voting my girl, Lisa Tucker out of the competition, and vote for her next week! Any other thoughts? Send me an e-mail.
For the record, as I'm sure you're all on pins and needles wondering my predictions of the final 12 American Idol Contestants for my AI contest, they are as follows:
And with that, thank you again very much for stopping by my site. I hope you enjoy what you read, but if you have any questions or comments on anything, please feel free to e-mail me.
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