Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Free Time

Quitting my job was one of the best things I've ever done. I am having so much fun being a bum. It's depressing to know that some day I'll have to get a job and start doing the 9-5 thing again.

I am using all my free time exactly how I wanted to. I'm hanging out with my friends, playing poker, and working on my book. Yes, I'm writing a novel. It's certainly not good yet-- it's not even half finished-- but it's coming along. I've written 20 pages in the past two or three days and I've done a good amount of revisions on the written stuff too. Being able to write for writing's sake has made me feel really good about myself. Sometimes it can be REALLY slow going, but even just adding one or two pages to the total page count lets me know that I'm making headway. And I'm doing it for me, not for a job that I don't care too much about.

Obviously the ultimate dream would be for it to be finished, be fabulous, and have it published. Maybe even do well in sales. But even if it doesn't get that far, knowing that I wrote a novel will be a huge accomplishment. It's always been a dream of mine. I hope it gets realized!!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Quitting Time

After working at Greenwood for almost 2 years I finally made the decision to move on. My last day is December 7th at which point I plan to celebrate my freedom for over a month. I'm going home to NC for Christmas and the New Year and then many of us are taking a big trip to the Bahamas!!! I'm so excited for this, and I plan on thoroughly enjoying it. We're going to Paradise Island, where part of the latest James Bond film took place.

In the meantime I'm finishing up with work. I'm not too excited about that because everyone is sad I'm leaving and I'll have to deal with talking to all the volunteers before I go. I like them all a lot, but it's hard to say I goodbye. I am really looking forward to Friday December 8th.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Car Woes and Tourney Cash

My car died a couple of weeks ago. After pouring money into it to fix everything that kept going wrong I finally gave up when the head gasket in the engine blew. The estimated cost to fix that would be somewhere between $1100 and $1700 depending on who I talked to, and so I sold it to a junk yard instead for $400.

My parents have offered to lend me the money I need to get a new car which is awesome, but the feeling of having a large debt was weighing heavy on me. I'd been playing really poorly on PP lately so it was mostly feeling like I was hemorrhaging money even though I have a regular job as well. I decided to take a few days off from poker to try and get some perspective about why I now sucked. I talked with the Wolf and he deduced that I was feeling too much pressure to make money and was worrying more about my stack than playing well. That was clearly true, so when I made my return two days ago, I vowed to play well and not for the money and whether I won or lost, playing well was all that mattered.

It turned out to be an awesome day. Wolf and I both played in the $40k guaranteed, a $22 buy-in with a first place prize usually of $10k. There were about 2700 people who entered the tourney and with about 100 left, both of us were doing really well. I was probably in the top 5 big stacks and Wolf was comfortably about the average stack. I had a good feeling that we'd be seeing each other at the final table and I was having visions of us finishing 1st and 2nd. Me first of course. Unfortunately he ran into some bad luck and pick up JJ in the BB against the QQ of the small blind in a battle of the blinds. It was all in pre-flop, but even if it hadn't been, the flop was low and it was inevitable that he lose all of his chips without a suck out. No such suck out occurred and Wolf was done, making a small profit for such a long tourney.

I kept going, bludgeoning as much as possible, and taking down a lot of pots with reraises. I think I scared the Wolf several times when he'd see me go all in, ask what I had, and I'd say Q7 or T3. My philosophy is that at the small tourney level other players are stupid and think that elementary plays will work. Raising in the cut off or on the button is unacceptable if I'm in the BB and it took some players a long time to learn that.

I only had one suck out the whole tourney, and it came at a very good time. The button raised my BB during the first round of the final table, and I went all in with K9. He thought for a LONG time and eventually called with KQ putting my tournament life at stake. I hit a 9 on the flop though and cheered my ass off.

With 6 people left, everyone agreed to discuss a deal. I was second in chips and had a lot of respect for the chip leader, so when the $ distribution ended up with me making essentially the 2nd place prize, I agreed to take the deal. I ended up making almost $5,500 for that finish-- the biggest take I've ever made. And it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm feeling really good about my low buy-in tournament play, and hopefully someday soon I can adapt that into higher buy-in success.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

TV's Top Picks

Shows are premiering again and considering how much I love TV I think it's time for my top 10 picks:

10. Jericho-- I don't know a whole lot about this new series except that it's set in a post-apocalyptic America. It has a semi-big name or two (Skeet Ulrich) and who doesn't like disaster shows? It's premiering tonight (9/20) so I'll have to get back to you on how it really turns out.

9. Grey's Anatomy-- although the season ender pretty much sucked, I'm still looking forward to the new season. I think the characters are really compelling and none of them are 100% loveable. There are skeletons in the closet, there are slutty people with hearts, and while the plots may be melodramatic, at least the people seem real.

8. NFL-- I'm turning into a guy, it's sad. But sitting around watching football all day has turned into a Sunday tradition. It's nice because you watch, but can do other stuff at the same time. It's low concentration tv.

7. Battlestar Gallactica-- we're still catching up on seasons 2 and 3 but they were awesome, and I hope we finish them in time to be able to watch season 4 on tv. This is definitely a suck-you-in show and I hope that it keeps up.

6. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip-- I actually missed the first episode but this is the new series that I'm the most excited about. I love the stars Matthew Perry and Bradley Whitford, and Aaron Sorkin wrote the West Wing and the American President which are just fantastic. I have really high expectations and think it would actually be higher in my list if I actually knew anything beyond what I just wrote.

5. Amazing Race-- never seen it before this season, but I already like it. I especially like my ponies Duke and Lauren, the lesbian and disapproving father. My money's on them to at least finish in the top 3 if not win the whole thing.

4. Real World Road Rules Challenge: The Duel-- or as my mother likes to call it, "worse than trash." I read a little trivia on it and I'm pretty excited. It's set in Brazil, it's got some of the Fresh Meat kids back like Kenny, Eric (the fat guy), and Casey as well as Tyler and John from Key West, and the usuals like Tina, Wes, CT, and Beth. I think it will live up to RW/RR name by being trashy, bitchy, and violent. And if you're watching it for anything else you'll be very disappointed.

3. The Office-- I can't help it. I want to know if Jim and Pam will get together! But seriously, what a good show.

2. Survivor 13: Cook Islands-- one episode so far and I already think it's better than many of the most recent seasons. I think dividing the tribes up by race is not only a great publicity stunt but also a great way to disprove so many stereotypes that are out there today. I don't think CBS would dare spin the show towards the stereotypes without fear of being sued, so I think they will show a deeper side to it instead.

1. Friends-- so what if the series is over? It's still going to be the show that I watch the most. I might do a full cycle again before the end of 2006.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Weird Hand

Since Bag mentioned it I might as well give the details. I was in the $33 250 max tourney with 3 people left and there was this really terrible player at the table. Most of the hands we'd seen him play he won from sucking out, and basically got pretty lucky to even make the final table. The stacks were pretty even and I'd position raised a couple of times and he'd min-reraised and since I didn't know what that meant I folded. This happened a few times until I had QJo on the button. I raise, he typically min-reraises and I call. The flop is 9 high and he bets the minimum into me. My thought are immediately "no pair, no ace" and I shove. He thinks for about 5 seconds and calls. He has KJ. High card K and he called for almost all of his chips. I get no help and he knocks me out. Neither the Wolf, Bag, nor I have any real idea of what was going on in his head when this happened, but it was pretty sad because coming in 3rd made me $550, but coming in 1st would've been $1700.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Bag already talked about this in his blog, but I'm going to too. We had a big tournament "party" last night where the Wolf, the Bag and I all played about 25 tournaments total. We agreed to split profits on any tournament that all three of us were in. At first things didn't look so good. Wolf and I quickly dropped out of several tournies, and out of the 4 I played, I only made it past the first hour in one of them. I was getting terrible cards, and worse, would play mediocre hands like AJo huge because they were the best I was seeing. Bag was doing well which was great to see, and I figured that we'd be entirely reliant on him to make any money.

The only one I was still in was a $33 with 150 players. With about 50 people left, I had 3k chips while the average stack was about 11k. I was sure I was out but I stole a couple of blinds and then took out a guy who had 1k with KJ against J9. That brought me up to 6k, and I actually felt like there was hope! After that I was able to bluff and bludgeon my way up to an average stack, and was starting to feel more confident. Bag was still a very short stack but was clinging in there, and with 30 left-- 10 til the money-- both of us were still in. At about this time I was placed at a table with a player named BlutzforMe who was a ridiculously loose aggressive player. He raised about 50% of the pots, and worked a slightly above average stack into a dominant force. I was so relieved to still be alive that I let him do it most of the time. He was to my right though, so I had fun every once and a while going all in behind him and forcing him to fold. I did it with pretty much anything, from 46o to AQs and I could tell it drove him crazy. No one else would mess with him, though, so while both of our stacks were growing, theirs were constantly getting smaller.

This is the way the tourney went for pretty much the rest of the time. Bag crawled into the money, and then started getting some chips back. The first hand he raised he doubled his stack just by stealing the blinds. We were at separate tables, and still able to cheer for each other which was nice. As he continued to steal, I began the bludgeon, and started reraising, stealing and being thoroughly annoying to everyone in general. I knocked a few players out, although Bluntz did a lot of the work as well, and then we made it to the final table. Bag came into the final table as ashort stack with 30k and I was the second big stack with 63k, and Blutz had 112k. I lost some of my stack when I folded raises to reraises. I lost more when I doubled Bag up with KT against 44. That brought me down to 30k, and I was a little worried about my chances. When I got 99 UTG I made a desperate move and went all in. I was sure it was over when I was called by two players one of which was also all in and they flipped to show AQ and QQ. The flop was JT3 all hearts, but the miracle came when a 9 came on the turn. The river was a blank and I tripled up.

Play continued, and when it was down to 4 I was doing very well-- Bluntz and I were even in chips and Bag was low but hanging in there. The other guy was a rock appropriately named Rokkafella, but I took him out 88 against AT all in pre. Sadly Bag was my next victim when I eliminated him with A9 against his J8. Going into the final 2 I had a 3 to 1 chip lead and it was only a matter of time before I crushed him with my stack and bludgeoning. The final hand had me again with A9 and he had K6. No help on the board and Pickett is the victor!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Challenge Extended:

Ever since Bag pussed out of our regular volleyball games I've been itching to play more. Sadly, there aren't enough of us anymore, but it got me to thinking about a 2 on 2 match. And in my opinion, I think that the Wolf and I could take the Moon and Fish. I think in the long run they'd win, but right now I think the Wolf and I have more experience as a team, have played a lot more lately, and would beat them. Plus, it'd be fun to bludgeon the Moon in a different game too.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Poker Season begins!

I'd taken a long break from poker, but with my frustration at work I've recently returned to it. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started playing again! My comeback combined with the WSOP main event showing on ESPN makes it feel like we've started a "poker season" much like hunting season or a sports season. Suddenly it's on TV, everyone is playing (although most of my friends play all the time, but still...). Next year I'm expecting jerseys and pre-season matches.

I'm playing small stakes, and obviously the level of play is not the best, but I was simultaneously stunned, enraged, and completely bewildered after playing this hand:

$25 NL Texas Hold'em - Wednesday, August 23, 02:23:03 ET 2006
Total number of players : 6
Seat 1: Nirrem198 ( $19.93 )
Seat 3: PunkyPickett ( $55.57 )
** Dealing down cards **
Dealt to PunkyPickett [ Qc Qh ]
Nirrem198 calls [$0.25].
PunkyPickett raises [$1.25].
Nirrem198 calls [$1].
** Dealing Flop ** [ Qs, 8s, 9s ]
Nirrem198 bets [$3].
PunkyPickett raises [$11].
(very long pause, Nirrem uses up almost all of his time.)
Nirrem198 calls [$8].
** Dealing Turn ** [ 5c ]
Nirrem198 is all-In [$7.68]
PunkyPickett calls [$7.68].
** Dealing River ** [ Jh ]
Nirrem198 shows [ Kc, Td ] a straight, nine to king.
PunkyPickett shows [ Qc, Qh ] three of a kind, queens.
Nirrem198 wins $38.21 from the main pot with a straight, nine to king.

I don't understand what was going on in Nirrem's head, but I've come to the conclusion that he was probably drunk, high, or both. Or recently was lobotomized. He called a monster raise with a gutty and no spade. Perhaps he thought king high was good. Mostly though, I'm really pleased with the way I played it. I don't think I could've played it better, but with an opponent like that it's hard to say. I'm definitely rusty coming back into the game, but I'm happy with my "learning curve." I'm starting to get my moves back-- and it's not all bludgeoning, Moon (although a lot of it is... it just works)!!

I'm having a lot of success at the tourneys-- monied in 3 out of 5 today-- and have spread my horizons to the cash games as well. I definitely need more practice, but it's coming along. I got into a big hole last night but managed to grind myself out of it, and today was up a lot considering the stakes! I'm very hopeful, and it's a great way to wind down after a frustrating day at work. As the Wolf says "get home from work, play poker for an hour, make 50 bucks." That's the plan, hopefully it'll continue to work!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Ghostly Orbs

My family came to visit this past week and we went up to Estes Park, CO and took a tour of the Stanley Hotel. From what I’d heard, the hotel was famous because it was the backdrop for the movie The Shining with Jack Nicholson and was really excited to see it. Sadly, one of the first things we learned on the tour was that this wasn’t true at all, so I was began preparing myself for disappointment. (It was, however, the hotel that Lloyd and Harry visit in Dumb and Dumber, which helped a little.)

As the tour continued, we realized that it was more an opportunity for our tour guide to talk about how haunted the hotel is. Even more frightening than a haunted hotel was that everyone else on the tour believed it! We would enter a room, and our guide would say some slight variation of the following: “This is the billiard room. This is the room that F.O. Stanley likes the most. He still comes by to visit occasionally. If you take a picture of that bench, sometimes you’ll see a ghostly orb in the picture” (cameras flash like crazy at an empty bench) “and that’s him.” People looked eagerly at their digital picture, but sadly didn’t see anything strange at all. One woman was so determined to find something mystical that she exclaimed that she found a ghostly orb in a picture and showed it to the guide. But even he clearly didn’t see it because he just said “oh, look at that” in a bored voice before moving on with his tour. A lot of the tour was about the TV time the hotel has gotten on those haunted house and psychic TV shows. The majority of the people with us knew exactly what he was talking about because they apparently watch the shows religiously.

Which made me wonder: my whole family, including my parents who are ministers, all thought that these stories were ridiculous and largely made up. The tour gave us a lot of jokes to use later, but we didn’t believe anything that was said. But isn’t believing in ghosts a lot like believing in God? Both ideas are based on faith, and both are ways to explain the unexplainable. So how can my parents whose careers are based on people believing what can’t be proven make fun of these people? What makes one idea more valid than the other? I’m sure that more people believe in God than ghosts, but the majority isn’t necessarily right. Religion reflects on the bigger picture more than ghosts—after all, God created the earth; the most a ghost can do is rearrange furniture and turn into an incandescent floating ball.

I’ve had instances in my life where I truly believe that I’ve seen God at work, but I’m sure the people on the tour would say the same about a ghostly encounter. And I’m sure both experiences could be explained away through real, hard evidence. But does that make the experience less real? Can religious people really make fun of those who believe in ghosts without seeming hypocritical? Shouldn’t both groups be equally applauded (or deplored, depending on your views) just for having the faith to believe? Is it enough to believe in something, even if it’s not the same thing?

Friday, August 11, 2006

Pickett's back... back again...

I'm a huge slacker in the blog department, and out of a serious and legitimate fear that the Bag will throw me off his site, I've decided to start this up again. We'll see how long it lasts until I turn slacker again, but I'll try!!

Things have just been crazy in my life right now. I work at a job where I get paid very little although I believe in the mission and cause of the organization, and then watch my friend make millions in a poker tournament. More impressive to me (although it's hard to beat being a millionaire!) is that he got a sponsorship and can now play in any tournament anywhere pretty much for free. That sounds like a dream to me-- seeing the world, playing poker, eating good food, having the time of your life, and all on someone else's dime. Could it get any better than that?

I've also found that the job I have now isn't really challenging me that much anymore. I'm considering a career change, although i want to at least work through this winter to finish off some projects I've started. It feels like everyone I know right now is playing poker for a living, and I actually considered doing that for a very short moment, but I don't know if I have what it takes to do it professionally. What else interests me career-wise? I don't know, but if anyone has any good ideas, let me know.

Maybe I should be a pro softball player!! Just kidding, but I'm on a slow pitch team, and we've made the play-offs. We had a double-header yesterday and I hit my first-ever homerun! Hopefully, with many more to come. Our team is awesome, and we made the semi-finals. Hopefully the streak will continue and we'll be be crowned champions. Which is nothing to scoff at when our league has almost 25 teams!

I'm at work right now, so I'm going to close this out before anyone catches me. The slacker in me will never die (clearly) but hopefully I'll move my slack into the workplace and out of the blogosphere.