Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Tale Of Two Teams

Warning: (mostly) Fantasy Football Content ahead. Some poker content follows.

Losing makes me do crazy things. Even though my blogger FF league is only $20, and I'm 9th out of 12, I've been more focused on that league because I'm losing. My team has been ransacked this year. My top three picks have all lost time due to injury. I've given up on players too early (Berrian) and not soon enough (Holmes). I made one trade that hasn't helped me (E. James for Matt Jones), and was forced to start a lineup of WRs with players like Steve Breaston, Josh Reed, and Chris Henry.

I also made a desperation trade, giving up on my top WR Greg Jennings. I knew this was a week I needed to win, and I needed help at RB. I traded him to Skidoo along with NE's Defense and Donnie Avery for Thomas Jones, TB's D and Brandon Lloyd. I made this trade for the following reasons:

1. Jones played against KC. KC has been allowing RBs HUGE numbers this year. TJ has been on a tear lately. All signs pointed to huge game.
2. Avery had been playing well but I was willing to give him up knowing that I was getting a soon to return Lloyd back.
3. TB's D was a huge upgrade over any D I've started this year.

I took a shot and it backfired huge. NYJ's RBs had a good game but Leon Washington was the biggest benefactor, Avery exploded against NE, and TB didn't take advantage of a struggling Dallas team like I expected. Had I not made the trade, I would have won. I would have been forced to start Avery and Mewelde Moore, who I thought would struggle against the NYG's D. Now, I'm staring at an outside shot of the money.

But all is not lost. In my $100 league I exploded after suffering a two game losing streak. Westbrook went off. Roddy White went off. Schaub went off. And NYG had a huge day defensively (although it was bittersweet since they took down my Steelers). The win A) moves me into a 4 way tie for second place, B) gives me a victory and a tiebreaker against one of the other 2nd place teams, and C) almost broke the record this season for most points in a week, I record I set in week two.

I haven't been as sharp in FF this year as I normally am, and it's shown in my blogger league, but I'm looking good in the league that counts more. As much as I'd like to have bragging rights in Skidoo's league, I'll settle for even 3rd place in my regular league. It's all about the money, and 3rd place pays more than 1st place in the blogger league.


I missed out on the impromptu homegame at the Chako's this weekend. A deadly combination of being flat broke and having prior engagements with my girlfriend to go see a play prevented me from joining in the festivities. It sounds like it was a lot of fun; hopefully I can make the next one.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Poker Doldrums

This time, I'm really done with online poker.

I say that because I've used up nearly every last point on both FTP and Stars the past week or so. I won 11 $T on Stars but failed to cash in both SNGs I played. I used the majority of my points trying to take down a SNG on FTP for a Midnight Madness buyin; finished second for no dinero. I've placed a personal ban on redepositing until I get a job again, but man, wouldn't I kill to just have another $5 on FTP, just to cure that fix.

Like I said on my last post, the itch is getting harder to scratch.

Anyways, I started this post after reflecting on my live MTT play recently, which upon further reflection, is an extension of the last month of two of my online poker play. To summarize: I've been playing like shit for a while now.

I wish I could pinpoint just what exactly has been my problem. I know part of it is mental; whatever confidence I gained from my MTT cashes in May has subsided. It might sound ghey, but I still don't know if I've recovered from the downswing I experienced this summer. I'm not used to those swings, and loyal readers of my blog might recall that it really threw me for a loop.

I know that I'm not a great poker player, and arguably, I might not be a good one either. I may be able to understand certain principles of poker, but my application of those principles is often inconsistent. When I find myself overplaying hands, failing to put pressure on my opponents at the right time, and calling off chips when I can only beat a limited range of hands, I'm not playing good poker.

My last post was a tongue-in-cheek, backhanded way of complimenting Cayne on his recent victory at the casino I've been frequenting lately, but truthfully, the fact that he's 1-0 and I'm 0-5 is bothersome to me. Not in a jealous sense, but in the sense that I should be able to do the same thing. When my game is on, I might not be some mega-skilled poker player, but I do know that I would be the best player in that casino. I just need to get to a point where I'm believing that again. I know there's other things I need to be doing to, like studying and reading more about poker, but I need to work on finding that way to stay confident when things go south for a while.

Anyways, that's my attempt at keeping this poker blog active during these times. Hopefully I'll find a job soon, and I'll get back to posting more poker content. Until then, unless you feel like shooting $5 to this poor bastard...you'll just have to live with my Fantasy Football posts in the meantime.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ode to Cayne

The itch is getting harder to scratch.

I played back to back nights at the local card room this week, both times not getting anywhere close to the final table. In the first game I lost a couple small pots then shoved KJo from the BB after a bunch of limpers only to get called by UTG's AJ.

The next night was the double stack game, and after 4 previous unsuccessful attempts, I was able to get Cayne and Joshua to join me. I was assigned a different table so we weren't able to donk it up together.

I lasted about 6 levels before finally having to shove 2nd pair in the BB only to lose to runner-runner. At least I wasn't the first one out. Cayne was still alive, so I played some Pai Gow until he busted.

Fortunately for him, whatever mojo or voodoo he conjured up to win the Mookie the night before was still in full effect, and wouldn't you know it, the bastard took the whole thing down for just over $600. And, in a gracious gesture, he refunded Joshua and I our buyins back to us. I guess those cigarettes he was puffing on during the breaks were of the wacky tobaccy kind.

In all seriousness, it was great to see a fellow blogger and an overall good guy take down the tournament on his first fucking try. In fact, it was a bit inspirational. My tournament game has been shit the past couple of months. I'm playing aggressive in all the wrong spots, and not paying enough attention to reads. I know I can play better. I know this because if Cayne can win it all in his first try, then I can surely win it too.

Anyways, congrats to Cayne on his first live MTT win (as live as a 3-table MTT in the world's smallest casino can be). And a thank you as well, for being an inspiration to me. If he can do it, then anybody can!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Do You Like Pro Basketball?

Odds are, probably not. Most people these days can't stand the NBA. Not that I necessarily blame them either.

Me, I can't help it. I'm a hoops junkie. I can talk pro hoops all day, any day.

Furthermore, I'm a fantasy basketball junkie. Last year alone I played in 7 leagues, albeit for free.

I wonder if there are any bloggers out there sick enough to devote time each day to fantasy basketball; changing lineups, managing max games per week, scouring the waiver wire.

I'm thinking about starting a Fantasy Hoops league. Comment if you're interested. Details to follow, depending on interest.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I Hate Fantasy Football

I just want to erase this week from my memory.

First, in Skidoo's league, I knew I had a tough time going in, with my top RB facing the Ravens, and his top RB, AP, facing the Lions. I thought I had a chance when AP didn't explode like everyone predicted, but it didn't matter since my RB, Addai, went down in the 1st quarter and finished with 3 fucking yards. Needless to say I'm now 2-4 in that league.

Oh yeah, Romo is out for a month now too. My QB is out, my RBs are beat up, and aside from Greg Jennings, my WRs are shit. I'm pretty much done in this league.

In my $100 league, I made a very costly lineup decision. I decided to start 3 WRs again and went with Wayne, Cotchery, and Breaston, leaving Roddy White on my bench. That didn't really impact me that much because it was between Breaston or White. Regardless, I went with one RB. Normally, it would have been Westbrook, but with him sidelined AGAIN, I had to choose between Julius Jones, Buckhalter, or Thomas Jones. Philly was banged up, and I thought Buckhalter was the least sure thing of the three. In the end I went with Julius Jones, thinking back to his efforts at home against SF and the Rams. I also thought NYJ would air it out more, and since I was already starting Cotchery and Keller at TE, I didn't want so many eggs in one basket.

So much for that idea. I overlooked the fact that Seattle was without their QB, making their offense less effective, and I ended up leaving almost 20 points on my bench because of that decision.

Oh yeah, I'm down by 30 points with NYG's defense going into Monday night. Pretty much impossible for me to win, but would've been close if I didn't start JJ.

And to make things worse, Romo is my QB in that league as well. GG me.

I love FF when I'm winning, but when I'm not, it's so fucking frustrating.

(Edit: Never would I have thought that having my Defense score negative points would feel so good, but thanks to NYG, there's no way mathematically I could have won the $100 game this week. Sucks, but in a way, it makes me feel better.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Thoughts About Fantasy Football

Normally, I would be playing poker at this time of day. The weather outside is typical Seattle, and it's still an hour or two before Happy Hour. I guess I'll blog some more.

I made my first trade of the year, in Skidoo's league. Normally, when I make trades, I try to do the following:

1. Trade from depth. I'll give up more value in trade if it means I'm giving up a backup & a starter for a better starter. This usually works better in conjunction with...
2. Focus on bad teams. Most teams don't want to give up their best player, but bad teams have to consider giving up a top notch starter if it means getting two starters in return. Example: If a team is weak at WR, and they are offered Matt Forte & Santonio Holmes for Westbrook, it's at least tempting.
3. Stay away from top teams. Unless I think I can fleece someone with a good team, I don't look at them as trade partners. I don't want to do anything that's going to help their team.
4. Make quality offers. The quickest way to kill any trade chances in Fantasy Football is to make a shitty offer. I may lowball someone to start with but I'm not going to offer them Ike Hilliard, my kicker & Seattle's D for Anquan Boldin, even if the net points is in their favor. I honestly try to make mutually beneficial offers that just happen to be more beneficial for me.

Unfortunately, in Skidoo's league, I had to throw out most of those rules. In a 12 team league, depth is hard to come by. Plus, as I mentioned last week, it's a strict 3 WR, 2 RB league. Without that flex option, WRs are a commodity, and I wasn't confident with a rotation of Ike Hilliard, Steve Breaston or whoever else I find on waivers as my 3rd WR. So I traded Edgerrin James to MattyEbs (who I don't believe has a blog but I wanna say I recognize the name from Jordan's posts for some reason) for Matt Jones. It wasn't the trade I wanted to make but it came down to this:

1. MattyEbs has depth at WR (Roy Williams, Burress, Cotchery as well)
2. I shot for Cotchery first but was declined
3. I was willing to give up on James because I don't think his value will be any higher
4. I have Addai & Parker as starters, and was able to pick up Warrick Dunn & Justin Fargas off waivers to give me a bit more depth.
5. Jones isn't a stud, but he's the Jags top WR this year and has a great schedule ahead (DEN, CLE, CIN, DET).

So although I overpaid points-wise for a No. 3 WR, and I traded my No 3. RB at a time when my No 2. back is injured, I felt this was a necessary trade. I wasn't going to start James this week against Buffalo, and I'm more confident with a future lineup of Romo, Addai, Parker, Jennings, Holmes & Jones than rotating that 3rd WR and keeping James on my bench permanently. I'm 2-2 in the league, just one game out of 1st, but I'm also 4\12 in total points. I've got a good squad but I needed that last starter to round out my lineup. I wouldn't mind tweaking my roster a bit more if the opportunity presents itself but I feel much better about my team now.

In my $100 league, I'm tied for first at 3-1 but could've been 4-0. My only loss was a 54-53 game, the same week that Westbrook went down with his annual injury. It sucks to lose such a winnable game but I'll survive. This league has been much more competitive than in years past, with most of the teams at least making active waiver wire claims. My trade attempts have not worked as well; I tried offering Chris Perry for Marques Colston to a last place team with only 3 RB (Grant, James, F. Jones...ugh) but he didn't bite. This week will be interesting as I go up against another 1st place team & the top scorer thus far. The good news is that it sounds like Westbrook will play against a banged up Redskins defense. Suffice to say this is a pretty big game despite the fact it's only Week 5.

That's all for now. I don't want to turn off all my readers with an overflow of FF content. I'll try to return to more inane poker ramblings ASAP.


This time, I mean it....until the next time I start playing poker again. If I had a dollar for every time I quit online poker, well, I don't know how much I'd have, but it'd probably be enough to play on FTP again.

The last time I posted about poker on this blog (a post that was made just days after I quit last time) mentioned that I was back up in the $400 range. Thankfully, I didn't blow all of that. Instead, I pulled out the majority of it to help support myself during this extended unemployment. Once the job situation is resolved, I'll probably redeposit and get back into the swing of things.

Anyways, I left myself about $50 and a couple of tokens but blew through that in a couple of attempts to strike it rich. The closest I came was the $3k O8 game two nights ago, finishing 10 spots out of the money despite being a top 10 stack right before my demise when my low got counterfeited and my overpair was no good for top two pair.

So yeah, that's it for a while. Please continue to stop by for fantasy football posts and the occasional live poker recap, as well as my inevitable return to online poker yet again. I'll try to stay an active blogger despite my online absence. I have the intent to pick up some of my poker books again, so there may be some posts from that; it all depends on how much my laziness gets in the way. But then again, it's not like you come to this blog for strategy anyways, so we'll see.

Finally, despite my wishes, it looks like I won't be able to make an appearance at the blogger gathering in Vegas this year. One, due to the aforementioned employment problems, but even if that gets resolved ASAP, I don't think it's going to create a situation where I can afford a trip like that. But then again, the allure of Vegas is strong, so I won't shut the door on the possibility. Just consider it no more than slightly cracked.