Sweet Sweet Side Action

Best turnout we've had for a long time. 12 Showed up so we started with 2 six-handed tables. It's a loud, rowdy group that doesn't believe in table etiquette... "who has the bigger spade?", "Oh a full house out there now...". But, it's not my game so I just abide.
About the second hand of the night and I've got ATo on the button. UTG player (Let's call him "Don") is a reliable maniac and opens for 4x. Folds to me. I call. 
Flop : Ad Jd Tc
Don is pretty easy to read usually and he leads out for a decent sized bet. This usally means he has nothing because he almost always tries to check raise if the flop hits him hard. I call to let him bluff the turn.
Turn : 4c
He checks... I bet. He snap calls.
River :  2c
He puts out a big bet. I figure he has AK AQ JT or nothing here a lot so I think about it briefly and call. He shows me AJ and I've lost half my stack. This is where his maniac image definitely pays off because he’s just as likely to have 67 there.
Two hands later and I've got 22 in the BB. Don min-raises from the cutoff. Button calls. SB calls. I call.
Flop : Kh 8d 2h
Yahtzee. SB checks. I don't want to risk a check around so I lead for about 1/3 pot. Don min-raises. Button folds. SB folds. I 3-bet. He insta-shoves. I call and show my 22. He shows KK... and the guy in the SB reaches into the muck and shows me the last 2. Re-buy Table 2.
With the new stack I took down a couple pots with selective aggression and had chipped up a decent amount. A little later and "Marco" is basically all-in from the BB. I'm on the button with KdTc and $20 bounty on the line. Don opens UTG for a min-raise and I call. Marco is all-in for less.
Flop : Kc Jd 8d
Don checks. I bet into the (basically) dry side pot. Don calls.
Turn : Qd
Don makes a fairly big bet and I call.
River : 6d
Don moves all-in and has me covered. He can definitely have the Ad here and fumbled his way into the nut flush. But, I don't see how I can fold given the size of the pot and his potential for big bluffs so I call. If he’s got it I just take my medicine and head home. No 3 re-buys for this kid.
He shows KsJs and I drag a huge pot (and Marco's bounty). The irony is that I probably let it go check-check on the river because that's more likely how he'd play the Ad. So he could have saved his stack. But he still had about 20% of a starting stack and played it back up before we ran into each other again.
I've got Jc7c in the BB. "Carla" (UTG) makes it 2x and (of course) Don calls. SB calls. I call and we take a flop.
7d 8c 2d
SB checks, I check. Carla min bets (she has a habit of min-betting all 3 streets with anything less than the nuts). Don calls. SB folds. I call.
Turn : 9h
I check. Carla min bets. Don min-raises. I call. Carla calls.
River : 10c .... wheeeeee
I lead for half the pot. Carla insta-mucks. Don insta-shoves. I snap-call and he shows me 8s9s. No good and re-buy is over. New guy to the game (Alan) says, “Did you not see the straight out there” and gets a glare from Don. Seat open Table 2.
I had a good stack when we combined tables and didn't play a lot of interesting hands. I did knock out a short stack for another bounty but I was pretty card dead for a long stretch. We were paying 4 spots and I'd managed a good stack (probably 2nd or 3rd) into 5-handed. But as they do, blinds were getting big in the home tourney and it was forcing the action.
With blinds at $1000/$2000 I've got QQ. UTG folds. I make it $4000 (leaving about $19000 behind). Button folds. SB folds. BB (Mack) shoves his $15000. I don't hesitate to call. He's got Ad7s and here we go.
Flop : 6 8 T
Well, that could have been worse.
Turn : 4
OK. OK. Enough.
River : 9
I'm crippled and manage to get it in with K5 against KQ and, miraculously, not get there. Good night, nurse. Second bubble in a row.
One interesting thing did happen. "Gary" (regular $2/$5 player) opens UTG for 3x. Folds to "Brad" (the host) on the button… Brad agonizes and folds but keeps his cards close because he wants to show the hero fold. SB folds. I fold and Gary starts dragging the blinds. Brad is patting himself on the back for his tough laydown saying he’s got respect for Gary and knows he had it. Brad shows the 88 he mucked from the button; which I almost certainly would have 3-bet and then folded if I’d been 4-bet. Gary turns over one card, the Ten of Clubs.
Brad : “Pocket Tens. Good fold. Good fold.”
Gary : “Maybe”
Brad : “I know it was tens. I would have been dead. Good fold.”
Me : “meh. probably Ace-Ten”
Brad : “No way”
Me : “Ok”
Brad “Wanna bet $20 on the side?”
I said that’s up to Gary if he wants to show the other card. He says if we bet it he’ll turn it up. I clarify… 
“so you’ve got 3 tens and I’ve got the rest of the deck?”
Brad : “Yeah”
Me : { puts $20 on the table }
Gary turns over the Ace of Clubs.
Sweet sweet side action.

Run Good Tsunami

A slightly edited version of the email I sent my buddy Greg after a crazy day at poker room last week.

A crazy night indeed. I went to play the $70 donkament only to discover that they weren’t running it (and hadn’t updated their calendar) but were instead running a $1000/hr high-hand bonus because it was MLK day. I’m pretty sure that was his dream.

I got into a $1/$2 No-Limit Hold'Em game with the max buy-in ($200). I posted in from middle position. It was playing pretty limpy as you might expect with everyone fishing for a high-hand. Within a few hands I looked at

from under the gun. I made it $8 to go and got 3 callers including the big blind.


Wowza! I’m thinking I probably continuation bet in that spot with one A about 60% of the time and with KK-99 about 80% of the time. So while I'm doing all this thinking and figure I’m going to c-bet so as not to look too suspicious... the big blind leads out for $12. I flat call and everyone else folds. He checks the turn

and I check behind to give him a chance to bluff the river. But, he checks instead

Here I didn’t know the policy for this card room on high hand as to whether or not it had to be played to showdown to win (it doesn’t I later learned) so I checked behind (he wasn’t calling anything anyway). I posted the high hand (AAAA8) with about 35min left in the hour. Somehow I faded a straight flush for that whole time and collected a cool $1000. By that time my the dealers had pushed so I went and found the guy who dealt it and gave him a tip.

There were a couple other interesting hands. There was a guy who joined and sat in the 1 seat who clearly had done something cosmically wrong… we’ll just call him “Hipster”. Hipster opens $15 from UTG+1. Two players call before the action gets to me in middle position. I’ve got  and decided to come along. One more call in late position so we’re 5 to the flop and already have a nice pot. 


Gin! Hipster leads for $23. One guy folds and another just “okie-dokie” calls. I make it $55. Late position guy folds. Hipster seems genuinely pained and finds a call. Okie-Dokie calls leaving himself only about $20 behind. 


The action checks to me. I make it $93 (what the hipster has left in his stack). He looks like I kicked his dog but finally makes a crying call. Okie-Dokie guy can’t get his last $20 in fast enough. For the side pot ($146) I show my flopped boat and the original raiser showed  and buys another $100. The dealer pushes me the side pot and I’m ready to collect the main when Mr. Okie Dokie rolls over  for flopped quads! At least the side pot keeps me afloat so I basically broke even… and broke the spirit of Seat 1.

By this point the high hand bonus was over and we’re back to $50/hr so it doesn’t really alter play at all. I end up calling pre-flop from middle position with  in a 5-way hand and flopping

Holy cow! Checks to me. I figure I stand to make more playing the hand than shipping it here to show high-hand and protect my weak kicker (that is actually allowed in this room) so I check. Button leads for $10. Folds to me. I call. 


I check him some rope but he doesn’t take the bait. 


and even my high-hand is safe! I bet $25 and he insta-mucks. But, I show the high hand of 77776 and fade a better hand for a full 45min to collect another $50 bonus.

While I’m waiting out my Quad-7s high hand, Seat 1 (the same hipster whose KK I busted) opens for $12. Again a couple calls including me with . Sometimes I might raise with 99 to see if I can take it down, but I didn’t figure it would work against him here so I didn't want to make the pot any bigger and have to make a tough decision on the flop.


Hipster leads for $25. I call figuring I’ve got the overpair and he might shut it down after getting called. Button calls. 

Turn !!

It’s a run good tsunami! Hipster bets $40. I make it $100 (again just enough to cover him). Button calls (for less). Hipster calls. No more action. Button shows ? Seriously?


I show the 99 and Seat 1 rolls over  and excuses himself from the table… probably looking for a bridge.

I should have bought a lottery ticket. Cashed out up ~$1350 for the night.

Space Quest Floppy Disk Shadow Box

Recently I posted about the Kickstarter campaign from Mark Crowe & Scott Murphy, the creators of the Space Quest series. As of this writing, I'm not sure that they're going to make their project goal, but I'm still hopeful. Space Quest was a milestone game for me and shaped my early days of computer gaming.

To further the nostalgia I grabbed a copy of the EGA original and fired it up using Boxer. Boxer is a DOS emulator for the Mac that lets you play all your favorite old games. Leaving the Arcana

"Butston Freem" - Still funny.

I knew I had my original Space Quest floppy disks hanging out in a case in the closet. These disks have traveled with me for the past 26 years through 4 states, countless apartments and a couple of homes. I figured it was time to give them a proper display. So, I did the obvious and headed to Google to see how other folks display old floppies. Ummm, that was a bust. Apparently what I thought was a great idea isn't all that popular of a thing to do. In fact, I could find only a couple of examples, including a sweet photo on Flickr of some vintage Mac goodness.

It seemed I was in nearly uncharted territory, but I was not to be deterred. I gathered up the items to be included in my display. These consisted of the two original 5.25" floppies with sleeves and the user manual. I don't believe I have the original box anymore (though it could be in one of a couple storage locations so I decided that I'd reprint that on some high quality photo paper. I know that I do have the 2 original "valuable coupons" that came with the game, but I couldn't find them in my hasty search. I decided to reprint those, too (Thankfully, Google could help with that). I'm sure the original coupons will turn up someday and when they do I'll swap them out with the blatant forgeries.

Laying out the piecesI laid out the pieces to get a feel for just how large of a display I would need. From a cost standpoint, I didn't want to do any custom framing. And, after playing with the arrangement it seemed like I was probably heading into the 24" x 30" range. I felt that was too big and had too much dead space so I decided on 16" x 20".

Adjustable Depth Shadow BoxOff to Michael's to get some supplies. I debated between a standard frame and a shadow box for a while. Because the disks and manual are fairly thin, I didn't want to have a shadow box that felt super flat. However, I wasn't sure that the disks would fit nicely in a standard frame with matting and backing behind them without looking sandwiched. I was happy to find a perfect 16" x 20" shadow box that is adjustable for 4 depth settings.

I'm not really the "crafty" type so I didn't have any of the other supplies I would need. This meant I also needed to buy matting, an X-Acto knife, and various adhesives to stick everything together. The most expensive component was the shadow box itself at only $17.99.

Marked and ready to cutI started by cutting the matting down to 16" x 20" to fit the shadow box. Once I had this backing I played around with several more layouts to get a feel for what I wanted. After consulting the wife (always a good idea) I settled on the final design and went to work.


Another layout candidate Still toying with layouts










I drew horizontal and vertical dividing lines on the back of the matting to separate it into four quadrants. In the upper right (left looking from the back) corner, I cut a window for the cover art to show through. I measured the cover art, allowed for about 1/8" of overlap and then measured in from the edges to create my cut lines.  Using the X-Acto knife, I tried my best to cut smooth and steady along the guides. It worked OK and I had just a little bit of cleanup once I had the window cutout. I used the edge of the knife to smooth away the rough bits.

Marking the "window"I centered the cover art on the window on the back of the matting and mounted it with archival tape.

Next I used photo adhesive squares to mount the coupons and disk sleeves to the matting.  I used glue dots to secure the floppy disks to the backing. Finally, I used photo corners to hold the original user manual in place. I didn't really measure everything (or anything for that matter) exactly, I just kind of eyeballed it stuck things down. Perfect symmetry was not my ultimate goal.

I set the shadow box to its shallowest setting, dropped in the matting with my mounted items, and then reinstalled the backing.

Photo Corners

And there you have it. A Space Quest I - The Sarien Encounter shadow box.

Photo corners on the manual

Stuck down with photo adhesive


The Finished product

Two Guys from Andromeda

I can't count the hours I put into playing the Space Quest series.  I picked up part one (on 5.25" disks, obv) at Radio Shack back when that was the place to buy software.  I hadn't heard anything about it, but the box looked neat so I gave it a chance.  It was great... and I was hooked.  Back in the days when you could easily trade games on floppy disks with your friends, I purchased the boxed versions of each new installment, sometimes playing through in one sitting (with my buddy, Arthur) over the course of a single long night filled with Ale-8 and Cheetos.

When I heard Scott Murphy and Mark Crowe had a project on Kickstarter for a new "SpaceVenture", I couldn't wait to throw my buckazoids at it!  I'm excited about the prospect of a cleverly written (hopefully) saga that values substance over pushing the envelope of graphics capabilities and seeing just how much gore and violence can be squeezed into a game.  Don't get me wrong, I love flashy graphics and I have no problem with violent games, but sometimes I want a game that makes me think and get lost in a story.  Mark and Scott always had the ability before and I'm putting up my own money ($150) to bet that they still do.