Sens vs. Ducks

To say the third period of the just-completed Ducks/Wings game 6 was wacky is an understatement. The Ducks entered the third period up 3-0 and had to scramble to hold on for the win after the Wings made a game of it at 4-3. I wanted the Ducks to win, but I'd have preferred they do so in 7 games so there's not so much of a rest for them before the finals.

Nevertheless, the teams are set. GO SENS GO!


Monday, May 28

Today the NHL released the schedule for the Stanley Cup finals, and they begin in 6 days on Monday, May 28. The first game in Ottawa is the following Saturday, June 2, and it's actually in prime time rather than early afternoon to accommodate NBC and their crappy coverage.




The Sens and the Finals

Ottawa lost its grip ever so slightly against the Sabres before Captain Alfie popped in the winner during the first overtime period to send the Sens to the cup finals for the first time in the team's modern era.

I for one can't wait for the finals to begin. I'm not even really bothered who wins between Detroit and Anaheim, though I have a feeling the Ducks would be the easier opponent for Ottawa. However, having the Sens play the Wings means a nice, consistent time for games starting, which might make things easier on the Sens so they're not shifting time zones and having to readjust. Given the way the NHL schedule is now drawn up, teams in the East so rarely have to deal with alternate time zones that it might just be enough of a shock to have to play games 3 times zones away from what they're used to. On the flip side, despite being in the eastern time zone, Detroit as a western team is used to shifting around so maybe they could get slightly thrown off by this consistency... hmm...

Nevertheless, there's at least a week gap between Sens games, which is going to be tough to take, but it means they'll be well-rested for game one of the Cup finals... I just hope they're not TOO rested, if you know what I mean.




Another trip to the casino, another loss. This time it wasn't so bad as I only dropped $15 after about 3 hours of play... and I only stopped because my table was getting broken and there were no seats at the other table. I was up a fair chunk after my first hand came through and I rivered a flush and I immediately turned to Rob and said we should stop because I was up. Shaun was there as well and he was up over $400 after his first hand when his pocket queens held up and he too came over and said it was time to stop. Of course, none of us did... in the end, Rob was down almost $40, I was down $15, and Shaun played for a while longer and finished $1100 to the good after sucking out big time in one hand where he made about $400 or $500. Rob took off, Shaun and I went for breakfast, and now there's talk of going back later today for a Noon tournament.

Running total: $151 to the bad. And I forgot, AGAIN, to grab a copy of the May poker room schedule.



3-0 Sens, woot!

Tonight the Sens showed they could control a hockey game with the best of them, limiting Buffalo (who led the league in goals during the regular season, with Ottawa being a close second, and had not been shut out in about a year) to 15 shots and no goals in a convincing (though tense!) victory en route to taking a stranglehold on the Eastern Conference final, all but assuring their presence in the Stanley Cup finals beginning next week. This is the deepest Ottawa has reached since scrambling to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the Eastern Conference final in 2003 to force a game 7, only to lose to the eventual Cup winners, New Jersey. This is the first time Ottawa has led a series 2-0, let alone 3-0 and nothing comes close for the team to this accomplishment in the modern era of the NHL, though the city of Ottawa has enjoyed 10 Stanley Cups in a quarter-century span in the early years of professional hockey. Game 4, possibly the deciding game, goes Wednesday night and I know my eyes will be glued to the TV.

On another note, I swung by Absolute Power last night to hang out with Shaun for a bit and play some Company of Heroes (which is an alright game, though much like any other RTS out there) before going to the casino. I played for about 4 1/2 hours, and cashed out when Shaun decided he was too tired to go on. I wound up down a fair amount, dropping $154 on the night. That puts me back in the red for poker winnings at $136 to the bad. Time will tell if I head back to the casino (if I say that enough times maybe it'll happen) but I'm definitely disinclined to do so any time soon. I've certainly done worse in the past, but I've also done much better.

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A long night

So I went to that home game tonight, and while there were 17 or so people last time (which I guess was September, at least according to one of the organizers, as I couldn't recall exactly) only 9 happened to show up tonight. As a result, the payouts were smaller, so to slightly compensate, the buy-ins were raised a bit (from $20 to $22). It took a blind level or two to get going but I got the chip lead reasonably early thanks to one hand where I turned the nut straight and had someone who turned two pair raise me all-in. I won some more decent pots here and there and had a rather nice lead until I was dealt Ace-King (my black cat hand to be sure) and someone with pocket 5s raised all-in. As much as I despise AK I called and I didn't hit a thing. I doubled him up and he began to rush... and rush for a while. Before long I'd lost my chip lead to him and I was skidding downhill uncontrollably, bleeding chips all over the place. A bit of back and forth and I managed to pull out 3rd place and get paid. I made all of $3 for my efforts, but at least it wasn't a loss. That person who beat me in the AK coin flip did eventually win it all, and Rob came in 2nd.

The last time we played there, I finished 2nd, Rob finished 3rd and James (the winner tonight) placed 4th. The winner from last time wasn't present this evening, so I'm really not surprised the same three people finished at the top. I would say the three of us are the strongest players there and it showed, twice. We did have one complete newbie at the table, someone who'd never played before at all, and he caught on fairly well with the play and betting structures and he finished 5th overall. Congrats to him on performing well his first time out.

After all was said and done, I called Shaun to see if he wanted to grab a bite to eat since Rob and I were in his neck of the woods (which doesn't happen often) but nothing panned out there so Rob and I bombed around town and visited the two casinos I'd never been to. The first was Century, on Fort Road, and although it's a nice looking place it was very dead (and small!). I expect it being 1am on a Sunday night/Monday morning was a factor... but the poker room was very quiet. They only had 6 tables set up, of which two were in use (one for 3/6, the other for 1/2 NL). Oddly enough the poker room doesn't operate 24/7, so that place is definitely out for those late-night outings.

After Century we visited Yellowhead casino. Yellowhead has the biggest poker room in town, and has been featured in CPT tournaments and TV broadcasts. They had 15 tables set up, although only 5 were in use. Shortly after we arrived they broke the sole 3/6 table but there were still three 1/2 NL tables and a 5/10 PL table. I wouldn't have minded sitting down at 3/6 with a rack, but there was of course no game to join. We didn't stay for long and soon left.

Rob called home and found out his girlfriend wanted something from McDonald's, so that begain about an hour's quest of finding a place that was open and had what was needed. After driving by several obviously-closed places we found an open McDonald's only to be told they didn't have any ice cream (a chocolate milkshake was the desired object). Eventually we found an open A&W and fulfilled all goals. Now I'm quite wiped.

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Back in Black

A trip to the poker room tonight proved to be far more fruitful than I expected after about the first 2 hours of play. I lost a few bucks on my first hand, chasing as usual, and from there I really didn't recover for a long, long time. My stack dwindled more and more until finally I was down to about $15 or so. I looked down at pocket jacks and raised, knowing I'd make my stand there. I was patient enough to wait for the high pocket pair so I was going to go hard. An ace hit the flop, which didn't impress me, but thankfully a Jack fell on the turn. Another Ace on the river assured my full house (gotta love runner runner tight!) and I ran over a straight which had out-turned me. I recovered a little bit there, and recovered a lot more -- going back to a smidge more than even -- when my pocket 9s flopped a set and I rivered a full house to ensure that pot. I was set to stop there but I wanted to play for the kill. It didn't come, but the hand after, my last hand before my next big blind, I was dealt King-Queen offsuit and the flop showed two Queens. Someone else had Queen-Eight and my kicker played to take the pot and I cashed out up $64.

Grand total for poker earnings: I'm out of the red, back into the black, sitting up $15. Now that I've crawled out of the hole I'm wondering if I should actually implement my plan of not going back to the casino. I've got a home game coming up this weekend, which is a $20 buy-in, so unless I cash in the tourney I'll be back in the red by $5. I finished 2nd of 17 or 18 last time at that venue, so hopefully I can fare as well again, if not better.

Also, I finally popped my cherry at the craps table. I've played loads and loads at Dave's for play money but never for real dough at a casino. I was waiting for my seat in the poker room, and Shaun was playing, so I figured I'd drop a Borden and see how I fare. It didn't take a great amount of time before I was down to a couple placed bets and a line bet and nothing else, as is the norm for me at Dave's, but after a few of my placed bets came in I started to rebuild a bankroll. A few more and I was even. A few more still and I was up. I bought in for that $100 and cashed out at $150 when I rolled a 7 with the point on to lose my dough on the table (though I did pull one placed bet the roll before). It was fun, but I'm not sure how much I'll do it in the future given the luck factor involved.

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Lucky You

I just got back from a screening of Lucky You, the new flick from Curtis Hanson, who has done some wonderful films in the past (such as The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, L. A. Confidential and Wonder Boys) and while the story element was clich├ęd and predictable, I was mostly there to see the poker element. It's rare that poker movies, or more commonly movies with poker, get things "right"... Rounders is still the benchmark, and while Lucky You got things *mostly* right (but generally obvious; Doyle Brunson was credited as the poker consultant, so at least they got one of the best in that role), Rounders has nothing to worry about.

It was nice to see a bunch of celebrity pro poker players in the movie, but more impressively their roles were understated and it just worked. I did find it strange that a couple of them (Jennifer Harman and John Hennigan, especially) played people other than themselves, but really the acting role was hardly a stretch for any of them.

My biggest problem was with the revisionist history... the movie is based around the 2003 World Series of Poker main event, so one would expect some element of reality to be in place. Well, one would be wrong. Sam Farha, who came runner-up to Chris Moneymaker, was shown as being eliminated early on in the movie... that didn't sit well. I did appreciate they had a Moneymakeresque character in there so at least all was not subjected to artistic license. It was nice to see the WSOP brand featured in the movie, and no doubt Harrah's was paid some good coin for the use of the brand, but if they're going to change history then I would have much rather the movie had a fictitious name for the tournament at the end so people who know the history don't sit there and groan at how it's changed.

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