Saturday, August 30, 2008


I've been outta school for awhile, but every year around this time, I'm studying like I've got a final the next morning in a class I just bought the book for. Unfortunately, this has much more dire consequences: I'm getting ready for my annual fantasy football draft.

It's non-stop fun scurrying around the internet trying read every little news update on players who I had no idea existed. By the time I make it to the draft and pound the traditional beer and partake of other, uh, party favors, all of the knowledge I've accumulated by then is gone.

I consider my draft a success if I:

1. Have all of my starting positions filled. Nothing says "bad draft" like getting to the last round and realizing you're missing a starting WR.

2. None of my fellow owners have heckled any of my picks too badly. Bonus points if I get to heckle others.

3. I am completely faded and ready for the traditional after-draft poker game.

Number 3 is a given, so wish me luck in getting points 1 and 2 taken care of.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

RIP, Gene Upshaw

In recent years, Gene Upshaw has been known as the head of the NFL players union. For me and the rest of the Raider Nation, he'll always be remembered as one of the leaders of those legendary Raider teams of the 70s.

He's not seen in the video below, but his spirit is well represented. The work he did after his playing career for all players, Raider and non-Raider, is proof of his ongoing Committment to Excellence.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Poker 101

In no-limit hold 'em, you must be able to put your opponent on a hand. It's not enough to just play your hand: figuring out what hands he/she plays and how they play them is one way to win consistently.

When your opponent enters a pot, are they raising with a big pair (AA, KK)? Are they limping in (i.e., calling) with suited connectors (e.g., 9 of hearts and 8 of hearts)? Are they smooth-calling (i.e., calling another player's raise) with garbage (e.g., 8 of spades and 4 of diamonds) in hopes of outplaying you after the flop?

Using your opponents' "tells" (body language, betting patterns, conversation, etc), you should be able to put him/her on a range of hands. If you go to the flop, then you'll be able to narrow that range down a bit. Poker is a game of incomplete information and in hold 'em, each card that's shown will help you make decisions as the hand progesses.

Scroll down below for a screen capture from one of the dozens of poker shows saturating TV these days. Professional Mike Matusow thinks he has the best hand, but it's pretty obvious that his opponent has a Big Pair. The correct play is to fold.

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Ba-dum-dum. Thank you, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitress.