Poker & Lifestyle Blog
Once again i find myself inside the not so majestic confines of the Commerce Casino. After playing in Vegas all summer a few weeks ago in places like the Aria, Bellagio, and the Venetian, the Commerce seems like even more like a relic of the past. That being said, there's probably no better place for a cash game player to be. Unfortunately my trip seems to be poorly timed, as the games here have been pretty dry, probably due in large part to the tournaments going on at the Bike. On Sunday night, the 10-20 NL game broke at like 11:30pm, which is pretty hard to believe for the Commerce, and on the weekend peek times, i think there was only 3 games, i remember seeing at least four when i came out here like a month before the WSOP. The games were so much better then in quality and quantity.
Part of what makes the Commerce great and live poker in general are the characters you see and meet playing. If you play on the high limit side at all in the Commerce, you will probably have heard of the mysterious, legendary creature named Juan. He's a middle-aged skinny asian guy with little to no eyelashes, pretty much always wears a long sleeve colored dress shirt, isn't averse to complaining about his luck or making a snide comment to a player. Sorry for the perhaps overly detailed descriptions, but i'm assuming you maybe trying to play the "Do i know that Asian game" right now in your mind.
Not a lot is known about Juan, although i have heard he lives in the Commerce, and has for many years. But after numerous games of telephone over the past few years, the stories and legend of Juan grows. He's rumored to have went on a heater in the 20-40 NL (perhaps PLO too as he plays that) where he won 700k to 2.5 million depended on who tells you. I've also heard one day at the tables that he lost like six to seven figures like in one week or something absurd betting props with like three guys in the game, one of the names was Kenny which i would assume could be Kenny Tran. Again, if you ask 5 people you could hear very different figures on all these tales, but what most regs there will tell you is that's he's one of the most fearless players you will play against and that he's been one of the bigger winners in the big bet games. Another character in these is games is former 12-year NBA veteran and NBA champion Jack Haley, whose a 6-10 white guy that played for the Bulls team that won 72 games. I've never played with Jamie Gold, but playing with Jack is probably as close as i'll ever get to that experience. He's always trying to tell you not to bet, or that he has the top pair or that he's never folding. In this particular hand, he and Juan were jousting, and somehow Juan bet enough on the turn to get Jack to fold his hand. Jack does a rabbit cam on the river and sees that he would have made like a flush or trips or something but the board was paired as i remember. They push the pot to Juan, but he hasn't meshed it with his stack yet. Jack is like, "man i wish i could play that hand over again now!" Juan, who still has his cards is like "Oh we can play it still, if you call the $900 and your hand is good, you win the pot." Jack is like "You know what i think i will, and grabs nine white $100 chips, and he starts playing with them and starts to push them in Juan's direction but pauses and starts to think. Everyone at the table is paralyzed at how the "hand after the hand is over" is being played, a type of thing you could probably only see at the Commerce. Juan eventually jumps on Jack and says "Come on quit wasting these people's time if you wanna call do it, quit jacking around" Jack disgustingly folds and Juan pushes his hand toward the muck. I of course am like "show the bluff, show the bluff!" and he doesn't budge. So then i say, "I'll respect the hell out of you if you show a bluff there" That ultimately was too much for Juan to pass up and he grabbed his cards out of the bottom of the muck and revealed an inferior hand to Jack which also made sense for him to have given the action. I don't know a ton about how technically sound Juan's game is at this point, from hearing about a few hands from friends, it seems he probably has some wholesale leaks, but i think that hand probably exemplifies how Juan's been able to be successful. He probably just has a really good feel for what people are going to do and is completely fearless and treats money like absolute dirt, and to be honest that's often going to be a pretty good trait to have if applied in correct spots with accurate reads. As Jack Haley once told me when talking about Juan, "Juan thinks two things about you in a hand, you either like your hand or you love your hand, and if he knows you like your hand he'll make you hate your hand."
Here's a few key hands that stood out from my play at the Commerce.
Game: 20-40 NL.
I bought in for 100bb's and have about $4200 to start the hand. This is probably 30 hands into my session. An online reg i know through mutual friends (a kid whose done quite well in HU online games but who is also known to be a very straightforward player with elite bumhunting skills) opens utg to $140, i have AhKd in mp. I call, this huge fish, a brother named Will, in the BB calls. The flop is As9s7h. Online kid bets $300, i call, Will calls. Turn is an offsuit 3. Kid bets 1k, i call, WIll calls. River is an offsuit Ace. Now i have like $2600. The kid and the fish are like 15k deep plus. The kid throws out a 5k chip and announces he's betting 5k. At this point, in fact i was even a little on the turn, i'm becoming quite concerned about my hand. A kid i've heard is a very tight, not often out of line player, not only raised UTG, bet flop and turn into two players, including a fish, is now betting 5k on the river in what is a horrendous bluff spot as its quite likely one of us has three Aces. Although on the other hand i feel like he also knows we never have a boat and prolly have AQ at the very best likely as played. I obviously felt he was quite strong here, but at the same time my hand is very underepped, he could be value betting worse and i'm getting pretty compelling pot odds and there's really only a few hands he can have that beat me (although only really a few hands he can have that i beat as well), especially considering i don't think he cbets 33 and folds A7o and A9o probably 100 percent, and perhaps folds A9 and A7 suited UTG. The 5k bet is pretty alarming too but at the same time, only the fish, who has a pretty wide calling range, is the only player 5k effective, my $2700 stack is only like %65 of the pot. It seemed like a really borderline spot all things considered but felt like a call, although not too overwhelmingly, feel like i'd fold AQ. I tanked and called, and the fish folded and the kid had 77.
Game 5-10 NL
I raise JJ to $40 utg and get 3 callers, a young asian reg named Steve calls in the bb. I have played with Steve a handful of times, i know him to be a very good tight reg who is always in the 5-10 game there. The flop is 7c7h4c. I bet $110 everyone folds around to Steve in bb, who calls. At this point i feel pretty confident Steve has a 7, an overpair, or a club draw here. Turn is an Ah. Steve checks, I check. River is the Kc, completing the flopped flush draw. Now quite surprisingly Steve leads out with four white $100 chips, slightly overbetting the pot. Now i haven't played a ton with Steve but i don't believe i've ever seen him table a bluff although i'm sure he does on occasion, but when he does bluff i doubt its in a spot like this and he probably isn't overbetting when he decides to show some waggle i'd imagine. I really felt he put me on a pot controlled Ax here or perhaps a flush i suppose, and was trying to level me into a call with his big bet, having like 44, or potentially a big flush. Now given that Steve flatted in the BB to multiway action, i know he absolutely never has AA or KK here, and i'm fully aware that he knows i'm not only capable of having those hands but would very likely play it in the same manner, betting flop and checking turn if i had AA or KK in his eyes. I also know he never plays K7 and not A7o there. Given that, and the fact that i don't think Steve has seen me reveal a big bluff in our time together and has no reason to expect it, i thought he would absolutely hate his life if i raised him here. It's not often that i put someone on a really strong range including full houses and raise, but i really thought all the factors at play made it the right decision. So i make it $1800 total, $1400 more, we both have like 4k plus to start the hand. He is like "wow this is so sick" and disgustingly folds his hand and says "what do you do with 44 there". I should have showed the bluff but since i like and respect Steve i didn't feel like turning this into a WSOP televised table moment and showing him up with theatrics. I later told him what i had after he asked and the whole table thought i was nuts and i think Steve was a little hesitant to believe as well, i still don't know if he did, but i think he may have believed i had it actually for some reason as time passed.
So once again, this WSOP seemed to be a bit bittersweet. That's not too surprising of course as it's a rigged decked and like 95 percent of people probably walk away from the WSOP with those feelings, as its very hard to make a final table or better, especially when you only play six large field tournaments like i did. I do feel a bit remiss for not playing a few more events, there were definitely opportunities were there 1ks or 1500s that i was in town and available to play that i elected not to because i wanted to play cash or decided to go out the night before. I really do think my approach to this WSOP was the correct one for myself which was to pretty much only play NL tournaments that drew over like 2k players, and on days where there were larger buy-ins or even 6-max NL tournaments i think i was better served playing cash. Perhaps i'm being too selective tourney wise, but i just don't think those 6-max tournaments aren't near as great of a value, although perhaps still a good value i'm sure, but particularly those that are like $2500 and up i wouldn't think are too Charmin soft. There's so much value in these WSOP tournaments because they have so many "Larrys" in them, like your typical dude who has a 9-5 job but comes out to wet his whistle in a few tournaments, with his Oakley's, a fanny pack, and a picture of little Junior on hand. But those types of people i think typically avoid the 6-max tournaments, leaving the 6-max tournaments with smaller fields and a lower "Larry" to good player ratio.
Tournaments can be so frustrating. I ran quite card dead in pretty much every tournament i played, i never really had like even a 2x average stack at any point. I did have one min-cash but that was bittersweet as i got all-in pre with JJ against 44 and lost, leaving me with like 2bbs left. I went out a few hands later, the exact hand where the bubble bursted and made money fortunately. Its funny because i ran pretty hot in my cash games sessions for the summer. I flopped sets and big hands left and right but didn't flop a set and get action or win a big pot preflop in any of these tournaments.
Meanwhile i would look around and see so many like 55-year-old civilians with monster stacks, and when they came to my table they like never played a hand. How do these people get these stacks? I'm sure often its from some young buck trying to play them off their hands but of course the "Larry" refuses to fold his top sets while the young kid cherry bombs off his stack in the name of having a blocker. The cash games were pretty good i thought. As usual, the 10-20 seemed to be the clear cut-off as far as getting in pretty juicy games were concerned. I would say a quarter of my time was spent playing 10-20 this summer. It's not so bad having 10-20 being somewhat dry because i always could find a good deep 5-10 game that played fairly close in scale to 10-20 with like a way softer lineup.
I wished i could have watched the US women's world cup game against Brazil. I saw the highlights and man did i miss an epic game. I did find a few things quite funny about it though. The US women's coach afterward said, "Someone's writing this book!" I mean i think that's a bit comical to say the least. You have the No. 1 ranked team according to FIFA and all your team has done so far is lose to an inferior Sweden team, getting your one goal off a misheaded ball struck from the shoulder late when you trailed 2-0, and beating a very good Brazil team in overtime after trailing the whole game thanks to penalty kicks. Helluva comeback and a big win for US women's soccer for sure against world power Brazil, but let's hold off on contacting Mitch Albom just yet. All you have done is sneaked your way out of the quarterfinals with the Boss team. I also found it interesting that after the Sweden game the team did a little celebratory dance. It wasn't in your face, it wasn't pompous. I can't remember which announcer made the comment but she said something to the effect of, "I think that's a bit much, etc." I mean when your the dog team and you knock of the Boss team i think a fun celebration is completely in line. Meanwhile, after the US women's team wins, our own coach of all people, does her best Ted Nugent cat scratch fever impersonation, gyrating with some Guitar Hero riffs and proclaiming that a book is being written. And when that's done its completely appropriate
Hey all. I hope everyone else is enjoying this NBA playoffs as much as I have been. If you know me at all, you've probably heard this take from me before, but, man, the NBA Playoffs just completely crush March Madness. For the shade-tree basketball fan, I think March Madness probably has the edge, because there are so many games in such a short period of time -- which, of course, leads to a lot of upsets and everyone gets so vested in their brackets. I think Blue Collar Bob loves to get behind the George Masons and Northern Iowas and VCUs, and there's definitely a David-and-Goliath element at play that is absent from the NBA playoffs. Of course, that completely ignores the fact that oftentimes teams like VCU don't deserve to play for a title in the first place. In the Colonial Athletic Association, the Rams finished two games behind a Hofstra team that was playing in the NIT and didn't boast any impressive non-con victories, either. Under what criteria did they get in? They didn't do well in conference, they didn't distinguish themselves in the non-con, and they didn't even finish strong in their last handful of games, winning three of their last eight. #grounds4investigation.
I just can't take college basketball too seriously when the best team so infrequently wins the championship and teams that have no business being there -- like VCU -- completely disrupt a tournament full of deserving teams. The format makes for an entertaining experience, for sure, but to me it's kind of like watching the Fast and the Furious series: it's a helluva good time, no doubt, but in of itself nothing I'm going to nominate for critical acclaim. How can million-dollar contracts and the futures and fortunes of so many men that run these programs be decided by this ridiculous format? Actually, wait a minute ... this sounds a lot like the tournament poker circuit. Butler coach Brad Stevens was the huge beneficiary of these "basketments." (To non-avid poker players, cash game players, the most skilled segment of poker players, refer to poker tournaments as donkaments, because often donks -- or bad players -- win). During his back-to-back championship game run, his teams won so many games where it literally could have gone the other way. I'm still trying to figure out how the Bulldogs won that Pitt game, where a Pitt player missed a free throw late that essentially would have ended the game with 1.4 seconds left. Instead, ole boy misses the free throw and somehow Butler's Matt Howard gets fouled like 90 feet from the basket while attempting an impossible full-court shot. As my fellow Bostonian friend Kissler would say "Are you Seriousssssss!!!!???" Of course, kudos to Stevens for having his team in every one of those games, but he had some incredible luck to get to consecutive championship games and got a 12-year extension and millions from it. Shaka Smart made out in this, too, going from a coach that didn't even have his team together for a Selection Sunday rally -- can you blame him? -- to a guy who somehow got in the tournament and rattled off upset after upset en route to a Final Four. Knocking out Kansas was probably the biggest shock of the tournament. The result? Being courted by programs a few tiers above his, ultimately forcing VCU to throw eight years and millions Smart's way. Weird how things can play out in the fantasy world that is March Madness, where if you replayed the tournament five times, you'd have vastly different results nearly every time. They could probably play last year's tournament 100 times and you wouldn't see Butler and VCU in the Final Four. It's insane, really, and that madness is what people love. Perhaps I'm a basketball purist, but I like seeing the absolute premiere talent in the world play a best-of-seven games series and seeing who comes out on top in a back-and-forth chess match of adjustments and matchups.
It's amazing that after watching these NBA playoffs so many surprising transformations took place. Kobe and the favored Lakers aged four years in less than four weeks. Dirk went from a great player who was known for a Finals meltdown to one drawing Larry Bird comparisons. Zach Randolph and the Grizzlies became an unstoppable team you didn't want to play, knocking off the No. 1-seeded veteran-laden Spurs squad, and the Heat transformed into a cohesive, clutch team that made others cry. Remember those late fourth-quarter stats where Heat were so inept all season? It was so hard to believe.
Probably two of the hardest things for me to believe during these playoffs was the ascension of the Grizzlies and the Mavs. How does your team take off like a rocket in the playoffs with a top-two player being out due to injury? Most would say Rudy Gay was the Grizzlies best player going into this season before he got hurt, as most would agree Caron Butler was the Mavs second-best player. With these guys, these teams weren't supposed to factor into the power structure of the NBA this season and battle for a title. Months later, without them against the top teams in the playoffs, they've swept the Lakers and completely dismantled the Spurs and Thunder. As my friend Harp has been known to say, "$hit's Wild!" So what happens to these teams had their stars been healthy? Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.
I think the Heat's story this year is so fascinating. Once the trio united this off-season, they took so much flack for joining forces. Let me get this straight: If an athlete goes for the money, perhaps at the expense of a title in exchange for more stats and money, he's a joke and maligned, yet when these superstars joined forces, almost assuredly sacrificing their stats and money, it was something to flame? Interesting. Of course, how they did it was a joke, and LeBron didn't need to slow-roll Cleveland like he did, not to mention make a TV show out of his "Decision", but at the end of the day, these guys signed together because they wanted to win. I can't crucify them for that. After all, when you end your career without a ring like Marino and Barkley, it can be a lonely island with no return flight. If i'm an elite athlete who cares anything at all about my legacy, I'm going to do whatever I can to give myself as many cracks at a title as I can. It's funny how at the start of the year so many NBA experts were saying how good the Heat were going to be and how it was almost unfair. A lot of the basketball talking heads were saying, "Oh, Jordan would have never done this; he wouldn't have teamed up with Magic, etc, etc."
Basically it seemed like the ethics of free agency and the competitive balance in the NBA for the foreseeable future was in question because now all of the sudden three of the top 15, and arguably the very two best players on the planet, were now on the same team. Of course, I always found it interesting that Lebron was blasted for joining with Wade and Bosh, creating this allegedly unfair superpower. As I remember, they weren't even the favorites to win the NBA title heading into the season, the defending champion Lakers were. I suppose Kobe's titles should have asterisks by them because he was with Gasol, Odom, and Bynum? Where was all this superpower hatred when the Celtics did precisely the same thing a few years prior when KG and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce and Rondo?
Here's how the narrative changed just a few months into the NBA season. "Oh this is a terrible model to build a championship team around." "You can't win a title with two and a half players and a team full of scrubs." "Stars and scrubs won't work." "Give me a team full of working parts like Chicago." "Give me a gritty, experienced, deeper Boston team." "Give me Kobe Bryant, two dominant 7-footers, and the multi-talented near 7-foot-tall Lamar Odom." Another easy angle was, "So let me get this straight, you're going to put your faith in Eric "looks like he could be a substitute teacher" Spoelstra?" "I'll take Phil Jackson or Doc Rivers!"
It all made so much sense in the moment, as the Heat were tripping over their own feet, losing, seemingly, to every good team they played. They even lost to the newly assembled Knicks, and they couldn't stop a nose bleed. Now all of a sudden the Heat were a transparently terribly flawed team that nobody was picking to win the Finals. I think their topsy-turvy journey was perhaps the best route they could have taken, making their potential title triumph come with a lot more respect and a lot less hatred. Just think about it. Had the Heat ran through the NBA season like everyone thought they would, winning 70 games and won the Finals, all of those aforementioned pre-season sentiments would be brought to the forefront again, and everyone would be saying, "Of course they won, they have three of the top 15 players in the league!" Everyone would be clamoring to turn off the Heat. (Sorry had to insert one meatball media-esque Heat pun). That anti-Heat hate would be intensified. But after seeing them fight and struggle (and cry) like most teams do en route to a title, they are so much more humanized, and it seems like more of a triumph that should be applauded, not questioned with disdain. It was completely by accident of course, but I think this season played out for them as well as it possibly could have assuming they win it all.
All of that is nice, but I actually think the Mavericks are going to win the Title. Their offense is the most ridiculously fluid, hard-to-defend offenses I've seen in awhile. They have the most unstoppable player in the league at the moment who can get his shot off literally on anyone at anytime. How do you stop a 7-footer that shoots with a one foot fadeaway from as far out as the 3-point line who can also put the ball on the floor and score 48 points without making a single 3-pointer while missing only two shots? It seems like every possession Dirk isn't scoring, the ball is kicked out to someone behind the 3-point line. That player then pumps and the defender has to close out hard because everyone on this team can nail 3's. That guy either waits until the defender is in the air and draws a foul if possible, or waits until the defender flies by and drills the open 3. Or he just kicks it out to someone else who is wide open, or drives to the basket for a jumper or some other scoring opportunity presented from a five-on-four. Remember that closing game against the Lakers? I've never seen a team move the ball around and shoot like that. It was like they were playing with a six-on-four power play advantage the entire game. (With some of the fouls in that game, a penalty box would have been appropriate). It was ridiculous.
The Mavs also have that Ponce De Leon fountain of youth factor going on. If I'm opposing teams in the league, I'm launching an investigation into what's being dispersed in that locker room. Marion is playing like it's 2004, Kidd is playing like its '99, and J.J. Barea (the Danny Woodhead of the NBA) is playing like one of those guys who dices people up in those half-court three-on-three games at 24 Hour Fitness. And I haven't even mentioned Peja, whose career fell off a cliff before coming to the Mavs and somehow Jason Terry is playing the best basketball of his life in his 11th season. How are all of those things happening simultaneously for them in the playoffs? It's unbelievable if you think about it. You have to give a lot of credit to Dirk, who is the alpha dog and leader of this group, with a team full of aging veterans who seemed near their NBA expiration date, he's swept the defending champ and favored Lakers, and completely destroyed a young and very talented Thunder team in five games. Pretty damn impressive. What the Mavs have done this playoffs is way more impressive than the Heat, who have beaten a Celtics team whose most valuable player was playing with one arm and a Bulls team whose best player is a one-dimensional scorer yet to develop a jump shot and whose second best player is Carlos Boozer, who seems to always wear down and underwhelm in the post in the playoffs.
Hello, all. Last Friday was a day that i'll definitely remember for awhile. I was sitting at Toyota dealership with my girlfriend getting my car serviced and get a call from my friend who hosts a sports talk radio show in Kansas City. He goes on to tell me that he's at the station and he just read on the wire that online poker is getting shut down, threw around the Department of Justice, indictments, money laundering. My initial reaction, perhaps fueled out of self preservation in this instance, is to not put much stock in people not in tune with online poker talking about online poker.
I was thinking 'ok maybe he's misinterpreting something, perhaps they're aiming at shutting it down but it's not shut down, etc, etc.' It became real when i got home and couldn't even log on and had seen on twitter what everyone was saying. It felt like i had lost a love one by the number of calls and texts i got about it, i almost wanted to reset my voicemail and be like 'Yes i'm aware that online poker is getting shut down and i may or may not get my money back and i may or may not be able to continue to make a living as i have in the past...Have a Nice Day!'
Although i know everyone that called me and texted me was doing it out of concern i think i actually like ignored a few calls or texts that day which i never do, i just didn't even want to talk about it really. Part of it too was that i didn't even know how serious it was at the time or how it's going to play out, nobody does. Trying to say UIEGA (or whatever the correct ordering of those haunted letters are, for some reason i always doubt whether i just said it correct every time i say it), let alone explain it to people that know very little about online poker is a pretty futile and tiresome conversation to say the least. Frequently asked post Black Friday questions.
* So is it illegal to play online poker?
*Are you going to get your money back?
* Don't you feel like you get cheated on there, i mean can't like a bunch of guys tells their friends what hands they have?
ETC, ETC, ETC. And then probably to my favorite post Black Friday question. 'So how much money do you have on there?'
I don't know man, how much money do you have in your bank account? How much you got in your 401K cuz?
Perhaps i'm being like overly sensitive or cranky here, but like asking someone (poker players, seem to get this a lot) how much money they made last year, or how much money they have online, which essentially is like a bank account, seems like a fairly inappropriate question to me, even more so if your asking someone that you just kind of know in passing or are more or less acquaintances with, let alone in front of like 10 or 15 people. Poker players constantly get asked how much they make, how much they made last year, it's a question that everyone i think realizes is a rather tacky question to ask someone in any line of work yet for some reason that logic and social tact doesn't apply when talking to poker players. I've always found that interesting.
Playing live poker that weekend was kind of annoying, probably got asked like a dozen times how much money i have online. I mean it's a completely i guess "newsworthy" and pertinent question if you will so i guess i get it, but again, i think a question of that nature is somewhat personal in my opinion, and probably only appropriate to ask someone you know fairly well. I got pretty good answering that question, "Man wish i had less on there that's for sure" probably ended up being my default, go-to answer.
That Sunday was probably the day it really crystalized for me. Typically Sundays were the days i chased the dream of popping off in Sunday tournaments during the day and usually played cash games later on at night. Always kind of sucked because Sunday is such a great day to watch sports, hang out with friends and family, golf, go to a sporting event, etc, etc, but i pretty much always missed out on all that fun leisurely activity for poker. It was kind of nice having all that time available. I ended up going golfing, going out to eat with friends, working out, and if not for a few friends flaking out last minute, almost got a few games of bowling in. Was maybe going to go to Home Depot and Bed Bath and Beyond but 'i don't know, i don't know if i'll have enough time!'
New Favorite Song
What other songs i've been wearing out
YG - Toot it and Boot It (Rap) *starts like 45 seconds in, btw how amazing is the kids Bill Cosby sweater, who jumps out of the Escalade in the beginning
(Above, YG) couldn't find a version that sounds anywhere near as good as my Itunes version, but if you remotely like it buy it on Itunes.
Deadmau5 - Sophie Needs a Ladder (House)
On my "What i should do now that i have extra time because i can't play online poker" To Do List:
1. Get a Bill Cosby Sweater
2. Learn PLO
Upcoming Blogs, Aussie Millions Recap Trip Report (Sorry for the delay brahs) NBA Playoffs, Baseball season, Evan's Bachelor Party Recap.
Hello All. I'm not sure what the proper first blog post should be about or consist of. Perhaps getting to know me is a good start. I'm very excited to become part of the PokerNews Strategy community, where i will be posting videos and hosting a podcast in the near feature.
I'm super excited about NFL playoffs coming up. My Kansas City Chiefs (from and live in KC) are not only in the playoffs, which is a shock to all given their ineptitude past few years, but are division champs and hosting a playoff game this Sunday. Got tickets to the game this weekend. Pretty stoked about it. My college buddy Zeke from MU is coming in town for it, as well as Evan (Macdaddy) and a true brah by the name of "Tech", which should make for a very fun weekend. Chiefs are a 3.5 point dog, i'm not a big sports betting guy, at least not vs a house vig but i do often dabble with bets between friends. I have toyed with betting on the Ravens creating a win either way scenario for myself, but am tempted to just go all out and punt on the home team, would kinda suck to bet on Ravens and kind of rob the moment if the Chiefs do win but i lose monies. Kind of sucks we drew the noon start time, i have such a wack schedule, going to bed around 8am and waking up around 4pm, the night game would be ideal, get there around 4 or 5pm and tailgate. Guess i'll fire off some quick hitters below, and let you know a little what i'm about.
Most Recent Purchases: Jordan Take Flight basketball sneakers (Blue-Gray), Mountain Hardwear Jacket
Currently reading: The Book of Basketball by Bill Simmons, Fooled by Randomness, Slam Magazine
Currently watching: The Sopranos, Season 6
This leads me to my passion for TV shows, went my whole life never watching anything but Sports pretty much, with Beavis and Butthead, Fresh Prince, and Seinfeld sprinkled in.
Here's my power ranking of all the TV Shows i've watched in the past year or so
The Wire - 9.8 - The best TV show i've seen by far. Show is incredible. Definitely the best character development of any show i've ever seen, i could write a a 5 page paper on the spot on like 20 characters. Show is an absolute masterpiece that so thoroughly delves into every part of a community from the streets to the police station to the school systems to the news room. Its Realism makes it so legit too, as often shows step outside those boundaries to catch or keep your attention often mocking your intelligence. If i had to knock this show i will say that it does start out slow, if you're not a patient person you may give up after the first few episodes but much like in poker, you just have to grind through the downswing and know that it will get better, a lot better.
The Sopranos - 9.4 - Even though i'm about 7 or 8 episodes from finishing it, i have no problem rating this show this high. Show has great character development, great drama, provides some laughs and also doesn't seem far fetched at all. Paulie is probably my favorite character, dude has a sick haircut with the gray wings on the sides and his super old school nature is really funny. This is definitely a guy who probably never has read or sent an email, let alone texted or tweeted!
Entourage - 9.4 - I think this was the first series i got hooked on. Show has super funny moments and at times leaves you at the end of your seat wondering what's going to happen next. Many shows successfully do one of those two things, but not many do both so well like Entourage. Another show that develops the characters really well. Ari and Johnny Drama are definitely my favorite characters. Even the secondary characters like Josh Weinstein and Adam Davies and Lloyd are incredible. The show did hit a bit of a lull toward the past few seasons, but the most recent season was really good. Probably my favorite aspect of this show is how it shoots every scene at actual locations in Hollywood, LA, Vegas, Sundance, Cannes, or wherever they are. It uses real players in Hollywood, like when Vince is competing for jobs its against actors like Leonardo Dicaprio for example, or like actually having James Cameron in episodes when Vince lands a role in a James Cameron movie. The cameos are incredible, from Chuck Liddell, Seth Green, Dennis Hopper, King James, Snoop Dog, Hugh Hefner and yes, to drop down to a Death Valley level in Q rating by comparison, somehow Antonio Esfandari weezled his way in the mix in an incredibly brief but cheesy poker scene, where i'm pretty sure Esfandari bravely says "I'm All-in like he was in some hoosier WSOP promo. There are many more examples which add to the realism of it all that just makes the show really good in my opinion. The writing is great too, the dialogue between all the characters is really funny and is in tune with how many young people talk and act today.
Lost- 9.3 - I went into this show not really being too excited about it given its sci-fi nature, but after prodding from my friend Zeke and needing to start a new series i gave it a shot. Its a really solid show with incredible character development and drama. It does kind of manipulate you like an impressionable elementary school kid with like nearly every episode ending in some Cliffhanger like one of those Goosebumps books you read back in 3rd grade where the end of every chapter had something monsterblock thing happen, hustling you into reading another chapter. It does kind of get a little too crazy near the last few seasons but all in all its a helluva show. Ben Linas is definitely my favorite character, followed by Hurley and John Lock. I also like Desmond quite a bit since he ends every sentence with the word "brotha" when talking to a brah.
Dexter - 9.2 - Drama is definitely the strong suit of this show. Dexter is a great lead character who is developed really well, you will definitely have a really hard time not feeling like you know him really well or not caring about him through his journey. However, i do think the show kind of does a poor job of really developing many other characters that you truly care about or feel like you know really well, probably due in large part to focusing on getting you in lockstep with Dexter so much. I think James Dokes was a pretty good character who i thought was a great villain in the show, and Bautista is a solid guy who you will root for and Masuka is a really funny quirky character who you wish you got to know better.
Eastbound and Down - 9.2 - Its kind of hard ranking a show that is pretty much strictly a comedy with only like 7 short 25-minute episode seasons in comparison to shows like The Wire, Lost, and the Sopranos. Either way, this show is absolutely hilarious and unlike those other epic shows i mentioned, it is easily digestible with so few and short episodes. Your life isn't going to get postponed like it will if you start Lost. Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) is unreal funny, and his sidekick Stevie Janowski has an absolute coming out party in this show. The guy is so awkwardly funny its unbelievable. He plays a "desperate, starved for attention, nerdy who tries so hard to fit in guy" as good as one can. Will Ferrel has a prominent role in a handful of episodes, his dialogue with Kenny Powers is truly memorable.
Curb Your Enthusiasm - 9.2 - Perhaps i should have created a subcategory for comedies as i feel like perhaps i have under rated Curb and Eastbound here. Larry David plays himself as the lead character in this comedy that is probably unlike any show you've ever seen. Obviously given David's involvement in perhaps the most successful TV show ever in Seinfeld, his comedic genius is well documented and comes out once again in this series. I may even go so far as to say i like this show better than Seinfeld, although i have probably only seen like half of the all the Seinfeld episodes to be fair. Just the situations David thinks of and puts himself through in this show are just unbelievable. How he thinks of these scenarios and angles is truly incredible. David has an incredible knack for cultivating these situations to where his response seems so out of line to most people but completely in line to himself, but of course the thing is you can see where he's coming from, but of course the only difference is Larry acts on these impulses which pretty much nobody does. I mean who calls out a guy in a wheel chair for using a non-handicap toilet in the bathroom. Larry does that's who. The season where they adopt the African American family who lost their home in Hurricane Katrina is unbelievable. Vivica Fox's brother Leon is such a funny character and the budding relationship between him and David is really funny.
Mad Men - 9.1 - Perhaps the best developed lead character of all these shows is Don Draper in Mad Men, played by Jon Hamm, who actually had a decent little role in the Town, a movie i thought was good but not great. I feel like i would appreciate this show a little more if i was like a 55 year-old given that it takes place in the 60s, i probably miss out on a lot of the attention to detai stuff l in this show given that i'm not super in touch with how things were in the 60s, much like how i appreciate Entourage for being so spot on with current pop culture. Nevertheless, it's still kind of cool to Bill and Ted's your way back to a time gone by and see just how different things were back then.
Californiacation - 8.9 - Really funny show which David Duchovny is the lead character in. He's a great character who has some really funny sharp and witty dialogue in nearly every episode which carries the show. The themes and story lines in the show get kind of redundant as it goes on, nearly every episode involves Duchovny randomly bumping into some hot chick who he bangs like minutes later, and this of course creates tension between his like 14-year-old daughter who is aware of it all, and his ex-wife who is always in and out of the picture romantically.
Boardwalk Empire - 8.8 - Kind of hard to review a show with just one season out but i'll go ahead to take a shot. This show started out really slow and i always found myself watching it probably at the wrong time right before i went to bed and it wasn't really capturing my attention. It picks up quite a bit halfway through and ends pretty strong. For whatever reason i just have a hard time associating Steve Buscemi as this tough guy dictator who like smashes guys skulls on the craps table to make a point. Isn't this the same guy who like was always some squirrely eccentric character in like every Adam Sandler movie like Big Daddy where he plays a homeless bum or in Big Lebowski where's he Donny, the friend that like everyone picks on?
Big Love- 8.8 - Pretty solid show but definitely a show that i got roped into watching with my girlfriend. It is kind of interesting watching a show about a polygamist family. Bill Paxton is a pretty damm good actor and does a pretty good job as the lead in this show who pretty much spreads himself too thin with three wives, a few kids, owning a pretty successful big business, and later on getting into politics. Dude has so much on his plate and is stressed out of his skull nearly every episode dealing with everything which is pretty much summed up by Johnny Drama in an episode of Entourage where he downplays the allure of polygamy by saying "Dealing with one girl can be tough enough, managing eight is nearly impossible bro!" Spot on Drama, spot on.
True Blood - 8.8 - Another show i went into not really wanting to buy into given its sci-fi elements but i actually ended up enjoying the show quite a bit. Pretty good character development and pretty decent drama and even comedy at times. Didn't enjoy the most recent season as much as i did the first two.
Weeds - 8.6 - Pretty entertaining show with pretty good characters but in the end it just gets a little too far fetched for me with all the things Nancy gets involved with and does.
I'm definitely leaving out a few shows i've seen for sure, but those are the ones that stand out the past few years. Any suggestions on what shows i need to add to that list?