Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays

Just wanted to wish all the readers of Now on the Tee a happy holiday season and best wishes for a safe and prosperous new year!

It's another crazy, warm Christmas Day here in St. Catharines, Canada, with temps over 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that has me thinking about golf.

I'm planning a post that essentially will be a master list of all the golf courses I've played since I took up the game again in 2001. The popularity of top-ten lists and the like has me thinking that I should devise some sort of ranking system of my own for the golf courses I've played to give you an idea of what may be decent and what, for lack of a better term, stinks.

I also want to put together a 'wish list' of courses I'd like to play in the next ten years or so, which should prove to be challenging but fun.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Killed by the Donk at Poker Night

I got absolutely destroyed on Wednesday night at the home game to the tune of $80.00. I should be careful of what I say though. Harry is likely going to run and tell his old man at the Hanukkah dinner table this week and I'll have yet another intervention from my crazy parents after Gary starts spinning lies.

It was easily my worst result in a poker home game. However, my cards were excellent throughout the night and I just kept getting beaten by fantastic hands. Trip Queens lost twice for me. AK preflop hit big on an AK3 flop but my opponent Jeff had pocket kings.

Another all-in lost there.

Then, the hand of the night saw me beaten by the king of donks himself, Mr. Toast. You can check out his recap of the hand
here at his blog. The thing he DOESN'T SAY (because it proves he's a donk) is that he called an $18.00 all-in bet when he had $2.00 invested into the pot with nothing but king high and an OESD.

Oh well. If he wants to keep putting his money into the middle as an underdog, so be it. He won so he must be a smarter player than I. At the end of the day, you can't get too upset - it's called gambling for a reason!

Insult was added to injury on the last hand of the night when my full house of sixes over threes was defeated by his set of kings over sixes.

Not my night. Brett and I were the only guys who lost money on the night while Harry, Jay, Toast, Jeff and Mike were all on the plus side.

Hopefully we can get one more game in before the new year sometime this coming week.

The next night, a bunch of our golf buddies ventured over the border to Mr. B's in Niagara Falls, NY for some pizza and wings at our annual Christmas get-together. Unfortunately, only eight of the guys showed up (Harry backed out because he was sick...more like he wanted to watch football alone on the couch) to make it a pretty lame night overall. The food was awesome, though, and ridiculously inexpensive as well. Eight guys, four full pizzas, 80 wings, numerous pitchers of draft: $91.00 Canadian. Not too shabby!

Monday, December 11, 2006

2006 Golf Season - Year in Review

The 2006 golf season officially ended for yours truly on November 8th with a birdie on the 18th hole at the Poipu Bay Resort in Kauai, Hawaii, the home of the PGA Tour's Grand Slam of Golf. A fantastic way to end a pretty pedestrian season.

Surprisingly enough, I actually played one MORE round of golf in 2006 than I did last year, even though I spent a lot of time planning my wedding.

Let's look at the numbers for 2006. In brackets, I've included my numbers for 2005 as a point of comparison:

TOTAL ROUNDS PLAYED: 63 (Last year - 62)
TOTAL TOURNAMENT ROUNDS: 14 (Last year - 20)
TOTAL NINE-HOLE ROUNDS: 4 (Last year - 7)

TOTAL ROUNDS (80 OR UNDER): 44 (Last year - 45)
TOTAL ROUNDS (75 OR UNDER): 4 (Last year - 11)
TOTAL ROUNDS UNDER PAR: 0 (Last year - 3)

- PGA Village (North, South and Dye Courses), Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA
- East Aurora CC, East Aurora, NY, USA
- Cutten Club, Guelph, Ontario, CAN
- Muskoka Bay Golf Club, Gravenhurst, Ontario, CAN
- Thundering Waters Golf Club, Niagara Falls, Ontario, CAN
- Princeville Resort (Prince Course), Princeville, Hawaii, USA
- Poipu Bay, Koloa, Hawaii, USA

OVERALL SCORING AVERAGE: 78.93 (Last year - 78.50)
SCORING AVERAGE (ST. CATHARINES G&CC): 77.91 (Last year - 77.55)
SCORING AVERAGE (OTHER COURSES): 80.38 (Last year - 80.50)
TOURNAMENT SCORING AVERAGE: 79.36 (Last year - 78.00)

A poor year all-around when comparing to my breakout 2005 year. I was down in every category except scoring average away from St. Catharines, which is a bit of a surprise.

I finished 24th on the Niagara Men's Tour this year after finishing 11th the year previous. One top ten finish this year, an 8th in the final event at Thundering Waters. Last year, I had two top six finishes, including a second place result at Beechwood.

I lost my only club match this year and didn't even try to defend the Newlands Cup crown, which I had won two years in a row.

I did, however, do quite well in the Niagara Cup matches, finishing with a perfect 4-0-0 record and winning 10.5 out of a possible 12 points in the process. Really, that's the only positive from the year.

Here are some more stats:

LOW SCORE: 74 (Last year - 68)
LOW TOURNAMENT SCORE: 76 (Last year - 71)
LOW NINE-HOLE SCORE: 34 (Last year - 33)

DRIVING DISTANCE: 264.49 yards (Long Drive - 331 yards)
DRIVING ACCURACY: 44.94% (Single Round Best - 92.86%)
GREENS IN REGULATION: 44.54% (Single Round Best - 77.78%)
PUTTS PER ROUND: 30.78 (Single Round Best - 26)
SAND SAVES: 33.33%
SKINS: +$209.50
TOTAL BIRDIES: 85 (Single Round Best - 5)

What do all these numbers mean? Well, I've got a lot of weaknesses, that's for sure. Hopefully I can put my money where my mouth is and actually PRACTICE my game in 2007. I don't have enough talent to get by on skill alone - I need to work on things a lot more.

I expect to play in a lot of tournaments again in 2007. I'm exempt on the Niagara Men's Tour and we'll play six events again, with one of them being a TWO-ROUND event! Pretty cool! I'll also attempt to get past the first round of the Langley Cup for the first time in three years and will work on making the Niagara Cup team again.

I may also work on attempting to qualify for the Ontario Mid-Am Championship. I pretty much said it was a lock that I'd try to qualify in '06 but I decided against it. We'll have to see.

Either way, I look forward to the 2007 season with great anticipation.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Guaranteed Win Night

I went into our poker game last night determined to play winning poker. I had played extremely loose the two previous nights and was especially reckless post-flop, which was the reason I ended up down $14.00 over those games.

No more crazy bluff raises with nothing. No smooth calling four outers. And most importantly, not tilting if Toast DOES BLUFF RAISE ME with nothing!

Nothing, and I mean nothing, gets him more excited then outwitting me at a poker table. And I’ll give Toast some credit. The bugger tried like hell to get me off my game last night but it wasn’t going to work on Guaranteed Win Night.

We had seven guys out last night: Toast (SLA), Harry (VLA-P), Gary (LP), Jeff (TA-P), Ryan (LA), Vito (LA) and myself (SLA). To sum it up, Toast and I are semi-loose aggressive (he’s tighter than I and more aggro but he plays too many marginal hands preflop to be considered tight), Harry plays a lot of hands and is hard to read because of his strange betting habits (sometimes overbets a pot, sometimes checks with the nuts), Gary is the calling station, Jeff is the rock, Ryan is hyper-aggressive but is certainly picking his spots better these days and Vito plays a lot of pots but raises often and effectively.

The game last night was 'cue announcers voice' No Limit Texas Hold’em with blinds set at $0.25/$0.50 and a $20.00 per person cap per hand. The cap has worked out well as a compromise to the one guy who hates playing no-limit in our game. And what type of player hates no-limit you ask? Well, the calling station, of course.

Let’s get this out of the way first. I absolutely love Gary. Just a great guy. But he’s not cut out for poker in the least. He HATES playing shorthanded (he won’t get out of bed unless there’s at least six guys playing) and despises heads-up play, which in reality is the essence of poker.

I hate to make fun, but here is Gary’s ideal hand (as told in online poker summary style):

Seven Players –
Hero (Gary) on the button with AhAd. UTG limps; MP limps, MP limps, CO limps, Button (Hero) happily limps, SB calls, BB checks.
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks.
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks
Everyone checks to Button; Button checks

Button shows a pair of aces. Button wins the pot ($3.50)
Button: “Whoooooooo”

Ok, maybe even Gary would bet with quads but the gist of the matter is that Gary would rather just play limit poker, have everyone play every hand with no strategy, deception or subtle action involved, turn the cards over and see who has the best hand.

That’s not poker, my friends.

I say all of this only because Gary set a home poker game record by busting out of a capped N/L game less than 15 minutes in. He went through 3 buy-ins in about 8 hands and just walked out.

The last hand says everything you need to know. Gary got involved in a raised pot preflop and called with Ax, both hearts. With three clubs showing on the board, Gary called a $13.00 all-in bet from Toast. Gary had the ass end of a wheel.

Gary: “I got the flush”

Ugh. No you don’t Gare…but Toast has one…and the nuts at that.

On goes Gary’s jacket.

While I make fun, the whole turn of events really sucks, because I love having Gary at the game and I fear that he won’t be playing much anymore. As the guy who organizes the game most of the time, I like to keep everyone as happy and comfortable with the games and stakes as possible. Problem is that Gary is the only one who dislikes N/L and the only one who complains about table stakes. So I don’t know how often we will revert back to Limit when it’s not the consensus game of choice.

Hopefully he comes back to the game because he’s a fun guy to hang around with and I want everyone to have fun when playing, not just the good players like Toasty.

The rest of the night saw some solid gambling and three winners. Toast ended up coming back from far in the hole to profit $15.00. My strategy to play ‘winning poker’ proved successful, as I ended up $30.50 on the night. I made a loose call late in the game on a Toast all-in that went his way but other than that, I played real solid.

The big winner, again, was Vito, who profited almost $90.00 on the night! He doubled up the first time he played as well so I’m sure he’s anxious to play again with us donks sometime soon!

What I REALLY want to do is set up some type of ‘Standings’ chart and have a bit of money kept aside (perhaps a buy-in of $5 per night per player). After each night is over, each player is given points for how profitable they were on the evening and after 10 nights, we disperse the money to the top three players in overall points.

I think this type of ‘Poker Tour’-type of game would make things REALLY interesting late in games, as guys protect their lead or go for broke at the end to try to make up for losses.

I’ll have to consult with pokermaster Toast to see the viability of such a venture.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Poker Night is Back!

Toast is pretty pumped about the fact that the weekly poker game is on once again after a summer-long absence.

We started it up again on November 14th and had seven guys playing $1/$2 over at my place. I lost an unsightly $2.00 that night playing EXTREMELY loose. Unacceptable!

One week later, on the 21st, we had seven guys again, with Gary doing the hosting duties. We moved the stakes down to $0.50/$1 but the chips still flew wildly. I lost $10.00 that night and got no cards to speak of the whole time.

We took last week off because the addict (Toast) was off hob-nobbing in Florida with other computer geeks like himself. Guess I can't make fun when I'm in the toilet paper business but I digress...

So I'm down $12.00 overall in the game and we're back in action tomorrow night over at Harris' place. He's happy because he can 'burn at will without having to go out into the freezing cold' but I figure he wanted to host so he can watch Thursday night football while playing cards. I'll have to record the Sabres game on my PVR but that's cool...I love getting together to play cards with the boys so it should be a fun night.