February 12

Financial stress.

Taking a look at my banking has revealed a bit more debt than I thought I had. Before things get out of hand I may have to take drastic action including a break from flying. It’s a depressing thought but if I go too far I could end up in serious financial trouble. Better to pause, get the situation under control and pick it up from there. The flying club has offered to finance my remaining lessons but I don’t want to take anymore credit. At least I can continue ground school.. Like my gym time, it’s already paid for. Focus on what you can do right?

Category: Flight
February 8

Week Three

There's the smile!

There’s the smile!

The trip took a couple weeks, and my trainer was injured for a week after, so I simply did my best to keep what I’d gained.  I got ill for a bit and slipped a little but I’m back in the saddle and my trainer is too.  So here’s week three, albeit several weeks later.  You can see my mood is good and I’ve made some gains, I’m up in weight quite a bit and according to my body analysis at the gym I’ve burned fat and added a good chunk of muscle mass.  Didn’t realize I had any fat to burn!  I’m particularly happy with the sharp lines on my shoulders down to my arms.  And I can flex my pecs!  Sweet.

Category: Training
February 8

It’s a new dawn..

It’s been a long time since I’ve written.  Life has sucked.  And I don’t write depressing shit because honestly, who wants to read that?  But it’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me… and I’m feeling good.  I’ve deleted the negative entries from this blog, but I’ve left the cool poker stuff and flight training entries.  Yes, I’m still learning to fly!  I even took my solo in the fall, a lifetime moment I’ll never forget.  I haven’t played cards in ages, and when I resumed last week it was actually an epic disaster.  It’s cool.  Just warming up.  But most importantly I’ve been inspired by the amazing Michelle Allen to start weight training, eating better, and giving a nice big middle finger to my Crohn’s Disease.  I don’t know how often I’ll post to this blog but at the very least I’ll be posting pictures of my progress.  (You may notice some pictures pre-date this entry – I’m posting them today but dating them for accuracy.)  The past has hurt.  The present is challenging. But the future is going to kick ass.

Category: Just Talkin'
January 20

Week Two

Is that a six pack coming in?

Is that a six pack coming in?

Now we’re getting somewhere!  That goatee looks great!  Oh right, the bodybuilding.  Yeh looking much more cut now.  Jon’s happy.  With a shirt on it’s hard to see still but I feel stronger, tighter and more positive.  I have a trip next week so I have to do my best to work out when I’m able, I don’t want to lose any of my progress!  My trainer Patrick and Michelle gave me some good training tips for the journey.

Category: Training
January 12

Week One

Good start Ashby, but smile dude!

Good start Ashby, but smile dude!

After a week my energy levels have already increased quite a bit and sleep is improved.  And I grew some facial hair.  It looked pretty good after a few weeks but I shaved it.. I just like a smooth shave.  You can already see more definition in my muscle.

And man am I eating more.  Damn.  Had to start shopping at Costco to afford it.

Category: Training
January 5

Week Zero

Your mission, should you choose to accept it..

Your mission, should you choose to accept it..

Here’s me on the first day of my weight training.  Good ol’ Skinny Jon.  Bye bye Skinny Jon.  Also, shave dude.

 

Category: Training
June 30

Cashing in on new players..

courchevel

In Courchevel players are dealt five cards, and a single card is dealt face up before any betting.  After the pre-flop betting two more cards are dealt, and play continues like normal Omaha.  Each player must use two of his/her hole cards to make their best five-card poker hand.  This screenshot (click it to enlarge) demonstrates the importance of having the nut (best) draw, as my Ace-Queen of clubs was in great shape to win when the money went in on the turn.  (My main opponent was actually drawing completely dead, but the player on his left was also in the hand.)

Although my hand looks unbeatable, I was tense for a bit as a straight flush was possible – and these two were betting like they had it.  Upon review I noticed the other player held the 9 of clubs in addition to his weak straight – it’s possible he misunderstood the rules and believed he had a straight flush draw.  He would go on to lose the next pot worth over $152 against the player on his left.  (Below.)

courchevelinsanepot

Category: Poker
June 26

How to use maniacs.

In the online poker world you see them everywhere. Maniacs. Raising, re-raising, bluffing at every pot.

We all know the preschool method of dealing with them, wait for a hand and punish them, and the real-world strategy, loosen your starting hand requirements and be ready to play back at them or at least call them down light.

But maniacs can be a real friend to your bankroll if the rest of the table isn’t adjusting to their lunacy.  After a lot of raises from our table villain there is a tendency for the other players to get passive preflop.  If you are across the table you will have a lot of dead money being donated by the less aggressive players as they flat call over and over. More often than not, they aren’t trapping, they’re begging to see a flop and hit the bully. This means two things. One, they don’t have spectacular hands, and two, a good I-mean-business raise is going to look hella strong!

Such a raise will isolate you against the bully (even if he three-bets), and if anyone else calls you’ll have a good idea where they’re at. Since you’ll be coming in with a reasonable holding you’ll almost always be ahead of your maniac’s range. Even if you miss you’ll be in a much better position to represent something big. Your maniac may still go off deep end if he spikes middle pair, but in this situation your chances are much improved and your reward will be an inflated pot at no extra cost to you. Who knows, you may even become the one player the maniac grows respect for.

But we won’t hold our breath on that one.

Just remember, maniac play can be contagious.. Don’t turn into one yourself.

Category: Poker
June 26

Just around the bend..

Just around the bend.  Just over this next hill.  I remember saying that over and over on family road trips.  Wherever we were headed, after a few hours I would be convinced that our destination was just around the bend.  It was a kid’s way of expressing anticipation, even if it was just to get out and stretch my legs.  Getting to my solo flight has felt much like this.

I’ve been flying circuits for over a month or two now, a very normal span of time for the instructor to get comfortable that you know what you’re doing.  Since you go solo only when they feel you’re ready, it’s felt as though the flight after next was going to be the one – for sure this time, I would tell myself.  Today however is the first time my instructor actually said that I would only need one more flight and then I’d be good to go.  It kinda threw me for a loop.  I’d been getting accustomed to the idea of my solo flight always being just a little further away that I wouldn’t have to feel nervous at all.  But now it really is just two flights away.  Yikes.  That’s pretty much next week, my birthday at the latest.

I’m pretty confident right now, and I know that if I’m feeling jittery when the day comes I can request an additional dual-flight.  But I know me, and I trust my instructor’s judgement, so I probably won’t ask.  The training wheels have to come off eventually.  I think everything I’m feeling to this point is normal, and a required part of becoming a pilot.  One thing I do know for certain, when I land that plane it’s going to feel amazing.

Category: Flight
June 24

Omaha 3.0 – Courchevel at Pokerstars

Omaha is a cruel mistress some days.  I’ve had some free time lately so I’ve been boning up on my game, but the draws run so big that protecting your hand can be difficult.  Even so I’ve managed to get my opponents to put their money with the worst of it; and they’ve been drawing out regardless.  Such is the way of poker, especially Omaha.  But I’m not here to tell you about my bad beats, we all know the feeling well enough to not want to be reminded of it.  I’m here to tell you about a new offering at Pokerstars called Courchevel.

Courchevel is a variation of 5-card Omaha in which you are dealt five cards, and like usual the dealer will put out five community cards.  You have to use two of your hole cards to make your hand, no more no less.  But here’s the key difference – the first flop card is dealt face up before the pre-flop betting.  This is so amazingly huge!  The amount of information this imparts about the potential for your hand is awesome.  You can foresee a set before ever having to put a nickel in the pot!  Conversely it becomes simple to lay down Kings when you know the door card will be an Ace and two people have bet already.  Popular rundown Omaha hands lose their appeal when the community card doesn’t connect at all.  You know you need two perfect flop cards to even make a draw, so you can muck your hand with ease.  With this new information the tables have swung in favor of the disciplined player versus the gambler.  Because it’s a new offering a lot of players haven’t adjusted and there’s super-soft money to be made folks.  The hands run super-big and the action is loose.

A few tips for those new to the game if you lack Omaha experience.  Non-nut draws are even worse than in Omaha – don’t be a sucker.  With five cards to each player the worst case scenario is you’ll make your hand and lose a fortune.  Draw to the nuts and the nuts alone unless you’re heads up.  Bluffing will usually only succeed on the river.  (You can triple-barrel it if you put them on the draw, but you’re not betting to make them fold now, you’re betting they’ll miss and fold later.  It’s generally not profitable.)  The game is just too loose at low stakes.  Grind my friends, grind.  Get your money in with the nut draw when they are drawing dead to a loser, and take down monster pots.

To find the game go to Omaha ring games from the lobby, select 5-Card Omaha, and you’ll find Courchevel as one of the options.  If you’re like me and love split-pot games, Courchevel H/L is also offered but the tables are quiet.  PLC stakes start at .25 big blinds.  See you there!

Category: Poker