Monday, December 27, 2010

A grumpy 2010 in review

I am on the third of nine days visiting Cardgrrl in D.C. Then I'm back to Vegas for just three days, with a big project to crank out in that short time, followed by a long weekend driving to visit the family in Utah again. So although I might check in with a quickie note here and there, for all practical purposes, poker and blogging are done for the next couple of weeks.

I'll take this opportunity to present the post mandated by the Blogger Handbook: The best of the year. Last year's effort, with links to those from previous years, is here.

Speaking of Cardgrrl, the best part of the year was the fact that our relationship continued to grow. I was in Washington for visits over Christmas/New Year, in May, and in August, plus she made Vegas voyages in March and June, and we met up in New Mexico in February. That's a decent amount of visiting, though I wish it could be more. She is mostly out of the poker business now, but I still find plenty of occasions to mention her in these pages:

The poker world's knowledge and appreciation of the Mighty Deuce-Four continued to gain ground this year. All sorts of posts about my own experiences, and those of others, playing the most powerful hand in poker are gathered here:

A long, rambling, self-revelatory post about my quirky personality and worldview:

I wandered into the annual fray about women's poker tournaments, and got it all out of my system so that I never have to do so again:

Once in a while some situation arises at the tables that requires a supervisory ruling, and it's not obvious what the call should be. These aren't common, so when one occurs I try to describe it in detail, with the arguments for each way of making the decision. Here are two examples:

In non-poker-related news, I wrote here about finally achieving the goal of doing a Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle perfectly, start to finish, without having to go back and make any corrections: The update is that I have repeated that accomplishment four more times since then. I love it when I can see measureable progress in a skill. But further update: A friend gave me for Christmas a book of extremely difficult crossword puzzles, definitely a level or two of challenge above NYT Sundays. I've tried three of them so far, and they are right at the bleeding edge of what I can even finish; doing one without errors along the way seems an insurmoutable challenge.

I just pounded out this stupid little poetry parody on the spur of the moment, but some readers seemed to like it:

I think that this year I did more posts about specific poker hands than has been my practice before. It tends to take a lot of time and work to explain everything that happens leading up to a difficult decision for a lot of chips. Sometimes I have just said what I did, sometimes left it at the decision point for readers to think about, with the end of the story published later:

I crack myself up sometimes. I really, really enjoyed writing this fake press release from PokerStars, but I was disappointed that I apparently failed to fool any of my poker-playing readers into believing it was genuine:

This was an interesting situation: Even at the end of a session, and after contemplating it after the fact, I was unable to be sure whether a guy I had played with was the complete newbie he made himself out to be, or a wolf in sheep's clothing:

One of my favorite post genres is the multi-story, when several things happen in the course of a poker session that individually aren't quite worthy of being whole posts, but which, when composited, sometimes make for something greater than the sum of the parts. Here are some examples from this year:

In that last one, I realize now that I failed to mention one other significant thing that happened that night: I was given my first honest-to-goodness opportunity to "run it twice," when I was short-stacked and made an all-in squeeze play with, I think, 9-9. Original raiser had A-J and called. The rules for the Thursday night game at the Palms allow running it twice, so we really could. My opponent offered. I had long ago decided that I would decline, given the chance. I did. I won, and tripled up (because there had been several other callers who all left their dead money in the pot).

Here's what it's like playing poker with Mr. Magoo:

In one short post, I coined two new words that should be in the general poker vocabulary:

Nothing to do with poker, but this year I've made more of an effort not only to take nice pictures of the places I go, but to share them with my readers:

Thanks to Mike Caro, I knew how to deal with a poker bully:

This little essay on how one learns good and bad poker playing is one of my favorite posts of the year:

Once in a while I sort of feel like stirring up a hornet's nest, and so I write something like this:

My attempt to get a new word into poker circulation:

Sometimes the stories pretty much write themselves:

This year had more than its share of poker frustrations, and I was more candid, I think, than I usually have been in the past sharing them:

I don't always comment on political developments that affect poker, because, well, everybody else in the business does, and I try not to say anything unless I feel I have some different perspective to contribute. This year we had two biggish national legislative moments, Barney Frank's bill and Harry Reid's. Though I may be dead wrong in my opinions and predictions, I tried to add my contrarian voice over several posts, plus ask some questions that I didn't see anybody else either asking or answering:

My take on a brazen robbery at a Berlin poker tournament--again, giving a point of view unlike I had seen anywhere else:

I spent more time playing online tournaments this year than ever before. Looking back through my archives month by month, I see that I wrote a lot about them, too. But there's nothing special about those posts, for the most part--they just relate what happened in this tournament or that. You can review them all, should you find any reason to do so, here:

That about does it for 2010, as far as my poker life goes. Thanks for sticking around for another year. I expect that 2011 will have some interesting changes in store.


Freight Train said...

Grump -

Just want to say enjoy your time away from poker and keep up the fine blogging. You remain a must read of mine. Peace.

Memphis MOJO said...

Enjoy your time off. You'll return ready to tear them uP.

Wine Guy said...

Just wanted to say I continue to enjoy all of your writings. Best wishes for the New year. Enjoy this "vacation" and the time spent with the lovely Card Girl...