Poker Observations

Earlier this evening, while I was out at the Gateway Community College Hall of Fame Dinner, a woman stopped me to say she had been reading my website. “You write about poker a lot,” she said.

That reminded me. I really haven’t written much about poker at all recently. Let me change that.

Our poker playing had become hot as could be over the summer. The original $250 stake had rolled itself to well over $1,000. I was feeling good and maybe a little too confident.

My play started to suffer. I took foolish chances. In poker parlance, I was on tilt. Before long – actually last week – we were back to that starting $250 and still sinking.

I knew my play was poor, yet was unable to play correctly.

It’s the strangest thing. I knew my moves were foolish as I was making them. Everything I knew about the math behind risk/reward in cards was out the window. Maybe it was a desire to rapidly leverage my winnings or the thought that I was such a good player I could do no wrong?

As I realized I’d soon be out of money (and it seems foolish to want to send more to Costa Rica under these circumstances), I took a long hard look in the poker mirror. Changes were necessary.

First, I made a vow to play conservatively. There would be no chasing or bluffing. My biggest, hardest losses had come when I was too aggressive.

Second, I stopped playing in turbo games. In these games the blinds (forced bets) go up in value very quickly. If I was going to be conservative, I’d have to have enough time to wait for the right cards to come. Slow play, not turbo was what I needed.

Even where I had good cards, I wouldn’t try to take it all at once. That’s a sure strategy for failure in a game where you can win a zillion small and moderate hands and bust out with one single loser.

So far I have been playing this way for over a week. I am a much more consistent winner than I had ever been before. I’ve made up the deficit and am well over my original stake.

Helaine, whose play remains steady and dependable, is also moving the needle upward.

Now, the question is, can I avoid this temptation again? If I got up a moderate amount, will the small incremental wins I’m getting be enough to make me happy? It was my undoing before. Maybe I’ve wised up?

Good Deeds

Today I was busy being a good citizen. That’s really not a bad thing, if you can swing it.

At 5:00, the station sent me to Lighthouse Park (or Lighthouse Point Park – I’m never sure) in New Haven. Tonight’s the night they light The Fantasy of Lights. It’s a drive through display of holiday lighting at the beach… sort of unused this time of year.

Last year 18,000 cars drove through and it benefits Easter Seals.

Then I was off to the New Haven Lawn Club for the annual Gateway Community College Hall of Fame Awards Dinner. This is another one of those things I’ve been doing for a long time – 7 years I think.

Gateway is a good thing. It’s not what you think of when you think of a traditional college. There are lots of poor people. Lots of people with less advantages. Lots of non-traditional students (though that’s becoming a smaller percentage of the student body as people realize what a financial bargain this school is).

The featured speaker was supposed to be Senator Joseph Lieberman. I was prepared. I had my Senator Lieberman material at the ready, but then he canceled at the last minute. I’m sure it was something important though it never feels good when you’re left at the altar.

Larry DeNardis, former president of University of New Haven and a former congressman stepped in. I like Larry but I wanted Joe. I was prepared for Joe.

Anyway, this evening left me feeling good, like I had done something worthwhile. Even though I know what I did, to emcee both events, is easy for me, there is benefit for others. It’s not how hard I work but that I can help produce a positive outcome for others that matters.

Juvenile Diabetes Walk to Cure

This is my ‘busy’ charity season. In fairly rapid succession I have the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, Blue Jeans for Babies and the Gateway Community College Awards Dinner.

I am very lucky. How many people have a TV station to ‘give away.’ Starting this afternoon I’ll be plugging the JDRF walk this weekend. Can I get more people to show up – get them more money for research? I don’t know, but I’d like to try.

Same thing with the March of Dimes and Gateway. Can I raise awareness? Does that translate into money?

Who knows how long the television business, or any business, will remain community spirited? I have seen, with other charities I help, that as local companies are bought by out-of-towners&#185 the commitment to local charity often dwindles.

Meanwhile, the JDRF walk is this Sunday. I have asked to borrow our copter and think I’ll get it, so we can get video and be at both Anthem Blue Cross in North Haven and Rocky Neck State Park. At this point, the weather looks good.

&#185 – In recent entries I had talked about SNET being bought by SBC. As far as I know their charity commitment remains high. This is a different local utility which is no longer locally owned.

Emceeing For Gateway

I emceed the 6th annual Gateway Community College Hall of Fame Dinner tonight at Brushy Hills Country Club. Gateway is New Haven’s community college. This is an event I’ve been doing for at least 5 years.

It was a good crowd with interesting honorees, including my bosses boss, plus the publisher of the local newspaper and some other people who have performed great service to the community.

Other than being taller, thinner, better looking, more athletic and younger than me, there’s nothing to dislike about my bosses boss.

I like doing this event for two reasons. First, I love working live. It is as close as I get to stand-up comedy. I’ve often considered freelancing at trade shows, demonstrating high tech products or software. I think I’d get the same buzz from that. Though, I know nothing about it and no one who is involved in it.

There are certain tried and true things I say live which I know will get a laugh every time… I am not shy about saying them. It’s fun to make people laugh.

This is a good organization. It’s easy to be an elitist and say, it’s a community college – high school plus – who cares? But, Gateway, like so many other community colleges really, does scratch an itch. There is no typical Gateway student because they come from such diverse situations. They are normally people who have realized this is the right way to better their lives – so they’re motivated students. I like that.

It would have been much more fun if my stomach were feeling better – but it doesn’t and the Pepto is still at the ready.