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I May Have a Mental Disorder of Some Kind (scroll down for NBA draft thoughts)

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Okay, so here was my entire Friday. I woke up like at 11:45. This is a usually a sure fire indicator that you're either filthy rich or unemployed. Obviously you know which camp I'm in.

While I was grocery shopping for meat and tomatoes when Manolis called me and asked if I wanted to play poker for a couple of hours. I had planned on going later in the evening, but the afternoon would be the only time Manolis had off (he has a night job) so I said sure, why not, figuring I could just have a really late lunch.

I know I've hinted at it before, but I'm sort of obsessed with poker now. I think about it every day and play it almost every day. My obsession with the game though should in no way whatsoever give you, the reader, the impression that I have any skill or ability at poker. In fact each day I continue to amaze myself at how terrible I really am at it. I make literally hundreds of little mistakes over the course of a single session, betting when I shouldn't, checking when I shouldn't, chasing cards when I shouldn't, reading people wrong, trying to bluff too often, etc. One would think that eventually I would improve, if only by accident or osmosis.

Anyway, here's the thing. I am truly awful at the game, but at least I know enough to not play terrible starting hands. This alone puts me at like the 75 per cent tile of players at my local casino. I play with absolute maniacs who will basically play with any two cards pre-flop.

By hook or by crook, I have a streak going at poker. I have been in the black, meaning I've made a profit, the last eight times I've played. Half of those eight times, the profit has been in three digits. I'm only playing 3/6 hold 'em, so that's decent, right?

So we started playing around 2 pm. Right away it started to go poorly for your humble narrator. This is not unusual. I usually take a few hits and then go on a big rush. By the time Manolis had to go to work at 3:30 I was already down $88. Minutes later I went bust and lost my initial $100 investment.

Big deal. That only meant I was half defeated. I have a rule. I will quit if I lose $200 and not a penny more. Also, I decided I wasn't leaving until I either continued my streak or went bust.

So I played. And I played. And I played. I lost another $40 of my second $100 investment, but by 5:30 PM, my stack was around $125, so it felt like I was coming back.

Then I hit a lull and dropped down to 80. And it was between $75 and $110 for like the next hour and a half. I think at 7 pm I got on a mini-rush and made it all the way to $185. Only 15 to go. And then I lost a hand on the river that would have taken me over the break-even mark easily. Crap.

And then a huge slump. Pretty soon I was at 60 again. I told myself screw this, I'm never going to get back to even with 3/6. I decided if I got back to 100, I'd try 6/12. Whatever would happen would happen quickly.

Finally by 9 pm, I had $99 and my name was called to the 6/12 table. I told myself it'd be the same as 3/6, but the second I started playing, I realized I was in denial. I was so intimidated playing these people! They all looked so calm and in control. I felt like a total mark, easily the worst player at the table.

Somehow I won a pot with pocket jacks, even with a board that showed 2-4-5-x-A, and got up to around $150. I lost a couple pots due to amateurish, stupid play and got back down to 70. I felt like it was going to end badly for sure.

Luckily, I managed to win a hand with A-10 when an ace on the flop held up and it got me around 150, I think. I had life again and my confidence went up a bit. I figured out that despite my first impression of the table that nobody played too wildly after the flop and nobody was much of a bluffer. Maybe the game really wasn't that different after all.

Only a couple of hands after that win, I was dealt pocket queens in second position. Surprisingly the guy in first position raised. I made it three bets to go, had a couple of callers behind me, and the first position guy said, "Let's get a little crazy here" and made it four bets. I called, as did the others. Four people had already put $24 a piece into the pot before even seeing the flop. $96! My God, I know queens are good, but what on Earth could these people have had in their hands? This would be an awful time to run into cowboys or pocket rockets (as opposed to a good time to run into them, right?).

I don't remember the board at all to tell you the truth. I just know I was terrified the whole time. There was a straight draw out there and a flush one as well, I think. All I know for sure is somebody bet and the other three of us called, so that was another $24 into the pot. I was so scared that I didn't even bet the turn or river. Amazingly, neither did anyone else.

To my enermous relief the pocket queens held up and I had $240 in my stack after I tipped the dealer. The clock had just struck 10, and after playing for eight straight hours, I left the casino with a $40 profit. My streak now stands at nine. I don't know how much longer I can keep it going, but it really felt like a "job" today, just grinding away for so long. I don't know what that means, but it's probably not a good thing. At least nobody can call me a quitter.

I will admit that I'm not really feeling the pressure to find a job so much because of the money I'm making at cards, but I know it's not a long term solution. Truthfully, I'm probably spending all this time over there to take my mind off the fact that nobody is replying/responding to the resumes and portfolios that I'm sending into cyberspace. I do not handle rejection well, so I'm trying to ignore it, as long as I can. I'm not panicking yet, but in a month or so I might be. Still, in the meantime, as long as I'm winning, I'd be stupid not to keep going, right? Until I have a reason to not go, I'm gonna go.

It's not like I have anything better to do.

In other news, apparently there was an NBA draft yesterday. My personal theory is that the Spurs stopped trying in these after 2003 when they realized how enormously fortunate they were with their blind stabs in the dark at Manu & Tony. Plus there was that whole Tim Duncan lottery miracle of 1997. It's like they feel it'd be spoiled or unsportsmanlike to unearth anymore youngsters until #21 is hanging in the rafters.

Ever since the Bean Burrito went bust for us, it's like Pop decided nobody under 25 will play any meaningful minutes for us ever again. I can't believe the team didn't draft a backup PG at least. Would it have been that hard? Supposedly they liked that Zabian Dowell from Virginia Tech or wherever. Wouldn't we be better off picking him at #58 then sending some Greek loser to Toronto for a future 2nd rounder?

The Tiago Splitter selection, I guess I can't knock that, especially since that Dudley guy from Boston College didn't fall to us. Supposedly Splitter has a lot of potential and an NBA-ready body and he would've been a lottery pick if not for his contract situation overseas. I have my doubts about Mahinmi ever being worth a crap, so maybe this isn't a bad plan B. And I guess this solidifies the perception that the FO has no confidence at all in Butler ever working out here.

The real head scratcher is Marcus Williams. I know nothing about him, but what I read yesterday wasn't very encouraging. Supposedly he has an attitude problem and isn't a team player. Plus, Jay Bilas said his weaknesses were "defense and 3 point shooting." Fabulous. So how come we drafted him instead of the Denver Nuggets? Consider me confused.

The bottom line for the '07 draft is that none of these picks will contribute a damn thing next season and whatever offseason improvements we make will have to come from trades or free agents. Personally I'm holding out hope for Chapu and Pepe Sanchez. The more Argies the merrier. There is a Nocioni for Scola rumor floating around on Spurstalk, for what that's worth.

As for other draft thoughts, I like what Seattle did, getting rid of all their payroll and rebuilding their team from scratch basically. They're gonna have a ton of money available to spend, especially if they don't re-sign Lewis. I don't know about the Jeff Green pick (wouldn't Yi have made more sense, especially with Seattle's huge Asian population?) but Presti will make those guys a contender in a few years, especially if he hires a decent coach.

Portland had an awesome night, obviously, not only getting Oden but also Rudy Fernandez. Most importantly they dealt Randolph away, opening the starting PF spot for Aldridge and officially ditching the "Jailblazer" image for good. They're gonna have a lot of money to spend next season once Francis' deal comes off the books too. Will they even let invite him to camp or tell him to stay home and collect paychecks?

I don't quite understand what the Bulls did, taking Noah. They already got Tyrus Thomas. Aren't they the same guy? That Wallace signing just looks dumber and dumber doesn't it? They're paying max money to a non-scorer who's a shell of himself and who'll probably be the 3rd best interior defender and rebounder on the club in two years. Brilliant!

Another team I can't figure (big shock) is the Atlanta Hawks. Yeah Horford and Law were decent picks, but how can you turn down Amare Stoudemire? How retarded are they? If the Suns go into the season with both Amare and Marion on the roster, consider them a non-threat. Those guys hate each other and now both will be bitter at D'Antoni/Kerr/Sarver for trying to ship them out. So thanks, Hawks!

The hometown Warriors always make things interesting. Manolis was all excited with the Marco Bellinelli pick at 18, right until we heard Bilas describe him as a "cross between Vinny Del Negro and Brent Barry." Priceless. I'm not nearly as high on the Wright/J-Rich trade because I've read that Wright is the biggest dog/underachiever of the draft, and putting him in an environment where defense and smart shot selection aren't exactly stressed sounds like a bad idea to me. Finding out today that the Warriors got an extra $10 mil exemption out of the deal makes it look a little better, I guess. Still, I am hopeful that the trade was only the first step of a grander plan to land KG or at least Yi, since that dude really doesn't want to be in "The Good Land."

Speaking of the Warriors, that fucktard Mark Cuban is in the news again. Apparently he is suing Don Nelson for beating the Mavs in the playoffs because he had "insider information."

I'm just gonna let that sink in for a minute.

::waits::

::waits::

::gets some water::

::almost there::

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH MARK CUBAN?

He's clearly gone insane. The man has gone insane. I can't believe his lawyer cares more about his hourly fee than his personal dignity or the fact that he's going to get laughed out of the courtroom. Couldn't any rational person talk Cubes out of this?

Basically, by 2004 the environment between Nellie and Cuban had gotten so poisonous that Mark is accusing Nelson of tanking it on purpose to get himself fired, with 6.5M still looming on his deal. Cuban, upset with Nelson's work ethic, has refused to pay him the money owed so Nelson sued.

Now Cuban is countersuing, stating that Nelson never had the right to take another job in the first place because his Mavericks contract forbid it. Nelson is alleging that that contract became null and void once he stopped getting paid. In a roundabout way, Cuban is admitting he'll pay Nelson the 6.5M if Nelson stops coaching immediately.

The guy is a total assclown, but you have to hand it to him, he always gives you a new reason to dislike him.

Here are the relevant links:
http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/152950.html

http://www.star-telegram.com/287/story/152947.html

Normally, I have trouble working up a head of steam for the NBA season, especially when the Spurs are coming off a title, but this year is gonna be different. I want to beat Dallas in the playoffs so bad...