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Old 02-07-2020, 09:01 PM   #1676
suitedjustice
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Read any books by Ben Elton? He's a good author
I have not, Colin. It looks like he wrote for The Young Ones, which is a big plus, and Blackadder, which I've never seen but I've heard is excellent.

Right now I'm still stuck on House of Leaves. The book hits on a lot of my favorite tropes, and I'm finishing up a monster review for it, and that's taken up as much time and care and effort as any of the Nit-tastic tales.

I've been reading and writing and not playing for a week or so, but I've been happy, and I've been doing something that I love. I can chalk that up as wasted time away from the table, or I can recognize that this practice with writing might one day land me a gig that could make me as much money as poker ever would.

In any case, I'll probably be back at the tables tomorrow.

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Old 02-08-2020, 04:57 PM   #1677
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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I've been reading and writing and not playing for a week or so, but I've been happy, and I've been doing something that I love. I can chalk that up as wasted time away from the table, or I can recognize that this practice with writing might one day land me a gig that could make me as much money as poker ever would.
Plus, it makes it less likely for this blog to be moved to PG&C.

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In any case, I'll probably be back at the tables tomorrow.
Still, this is good news. Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:49 PM   #1678
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Plus, it makes it less likely for this blog to be moved to PG&C.



Still, this is good news. Good luck!
Got to keep the ratio good

No poker yet, but soon.
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:54 PM   #1679
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

The novel House of Leaves is an intricate series of nested narrative voices funneling all the way down to the book's deepest foundation, anchored in its setting, a setting which itself may be sentient.

The setting lies--at least initially--miles beneath the eponymous House of Leaves, after the house spontaneously generates an extra-dimensional addition featuring a tangle of improbably long and shifting hallways winding through a maze of empty rooms and side hallways and leading into a massive antechamber looming hundreds of feet high and stretching more than a mile from wall to wall. At the center of this great room lies a downward spiraling staircase opening more than 200 feet across, heading down an estimated 13 miles before it finally bottoms out.

The ceiling, the walls, the floors and the stairs in this space are all made from the same dark unknown material, and they are all completely unadorned. The space is pitch black, there is no furniture and there are no decorations here, nor are there any fixtures beyond the necessary doorknobs, hinges and doorjambs for the doors; there's none of the other infrastructure that you'd find inside of a normal house, just the plainest walls, ceiling, floor, doors and stairs, all of which periodically shift around in size and orientation, making the space difficult to navigate without specialized equipment. Compasses are useless inside of the space. One group of explorers brings in miles of fishing line and hundreds of neon arrow stickers for tracking where they've been, but these tools start to decay within days and are nearly gone within a week.

The temperature throughout the space sits right around 32°F (0°C), plus or minus a few degrees. No breezes or drafts play within the space. It appears that no one lives here, although occasionally a horrible low growl tears its way through the rooms and hallways.

The next level of narrative in the story concerns the visitors to the space. Normally the characters and the setting work on the same narrative level, because the characters in stories are generally forced to interact with the setting as it is. Not so in this case, because the space beneath the house changes according to who is visiting it and what their mindset may be. As an example, after the first explorers establish that the staircase has a bottom--however improbably far below--the crew sent to rescue them after they disappear reaches the bottom of the staircase after only 100 feet, rather than the original 13 miles, apparently having vastly foreshortened the spiral staircase by virtue of being informed by the prior (and now lost) crew that it is not infinite.

The next level of narrative is known as The Navidson Record, being the name of the documentary film detailing what happens to the visitors to the space. This film exists on a narrative level above the character's experiences because--thanks to production values and selective editing--a documentary of a thing is not the thing itself.

Will Navidson, the producer, director and editor of The Navidson Record, is an award-winning combat photographer and a journalist who owns the house wherein the space manifests itself. His accomplished filmmaking skills, along with his temperament, his shaky and complex relationships with his high-maintenance fashion model wife, his kind-hearted ne'er-do-well twin brother, his young kids and the other explorers of the space are all brought under the baleful gaze of scores of experts and pundits, who report their observations within the copious footnotes that half-fill the book, playing out reams of commentary hailing from every field imaginable.

It's those experts and reviewers who form the next layer of narrative, and it makes sense that a documentary about a purportedly real house that is medium-sized on the outside but encloses many, many square miles on the inside would attract a ton of critical and scholarly attention.

The next level up from the experts and pundits is a solitary old blind man named Zampanò. With the help of a rotating troop of sighted female volunteers from various local community centers, Zampanò has collected all of the footnotes dealing with The Navidson Record documentary, and he has woven a review around them, one that takes up a major share of the book, as he also seems bound to tell the full story of the house and the space underneath, along with the fate of the characters and the film that Navidson has made about them. Zampanò is basically the compiler of all the narrative levels below him.

At present I'm less than halfway through this book, so I can't say for sure if Zampanò will give us a complete summary of everything he knows about the story from beginning to end, but it sure looks like he will. At one point during his near-obsessive compiling, one of his volunteer helpers chides him for giving the full plot summary of the movie, telling him that he's supposed to be writing a review, not a freshman book report.

That jab hit a little close to home, after I found myself guilty of doing the same thing in my Dostoevsky reviews, so after I ran across it, I decided to post my House of Leaves review while I still have only half the book finished.

Spoiler:


Now we make a leap up to the next level of narrative and into the world of Johnny Truant. Johnny's long self-introduction gives us the skinny on the old blind man Zampanò, in that he has recently died--ostensibly from natural causes, though there are some disturbingly deep and unexplained scratches in the hardwood floor next to Zampanò's corpse--and Zampanò has left all of his writings and footnotes scattered across the bottom of a trunk in his bedroom, comprising a huge trove of content, both typed and scrawled in longhand, on paper, across napkins, on envelopes and even across postage stamps, arranged in no particular order, all of which Johnny decides to take up and attempt to organize and compile.

Johnny's no scholar. He's young and kind of a dudebro, albeit a very troubled dudebro. As Johnny sets Zampanò's work down on fresh paper, and the story of the Navidson Record progresses on the levels below him, his mental health starts to deteriorate in a jarring melange of drug and alcohol abuse, a long string of one-night stands, and increasing panic attacks leading into agoraphobia and violent hallucinations.

Johnny writes his additional footnotes below Zampanò's own, adding his own extensive and unraveling personal story, all done out in Courier New font, whereas anything from Zampanò shows up in Times New Roman.

I have a history with Courier New. Everything I wrote in my 20's and 30's was in that font. That font was my jam. One night, 6 or 7 years ago, while in a blackout, I destroyed everything I'd written in Courier New by running my laptop under the kitchen sink. I still have some longhand material left; that survived the blackout purge, but all the longhand stuff is crap. The stuff that drowned under the sink was written later and was much better. To this day, reading anything in Courier tends to dredge up regrets.

The drowner of my laptop is the same Suited Blackout who locked the bathroom door on me a little while back, and who last year tossed my thick coke bottle glasses way down underneath my bed, which had me stumbling around my apartment for an hour, near-blind and cursing, wondering if I'd have to go out and search the yard on my hands and knees, wondering if he'd hucked them completely out of the back yard in a wide glittering arc, clearing even the adjacent property and flying into the next one, finally coming to earth with a juddering halt on the tan weed and gravelstrewn ground exactly halfway between a semi-cemented pile of pit bull scat and a scorpion-infested palm tree. I eventually did find my glasses under my bed, peacefully hanging out with the dust bunnies.

But enough about me, except that my digression kind of illustrates Johnny's writing style, which often starts with a short comment or a footnote about Zampanò and then leads into a long and very personal anecdote about Johnny.

As his world crumbles around him, his formatting of the book becomes more chaotic, or it may be that Johnny is just faithfully duplicating the decline of Zampanò's scattered narrative. It's probably a little of both.

Another detail about Johnny: he cannot find any real world evidence of The Navidson Record. It doesn't exist in his world. Some of the pundits and critics in Zampanò's footnotes are real people from our world, so Johnny tracks them down, and everyone who responds to him tells him that they've never heard of the Navidson Record or of the space below the house. Some of their footnotes are real in a sense, but all of the real notes refer to things other than the Navidson Record, but Zampanò has hijacked them for his book.

Johnny even tracks down--and has sex with--a few of Zampanò's sighted volunteer assistants, but they can't give him any answers, or it seems that he doesn't have the right questions, or mostly he's ensorcelled by their feminine charms and forgets to ask the things that he wanted to.

So yes, right at the beginning of the book Johnny tells us that Zampanò has constructed a fictional story about a space below a house, and the old man has decorated it with an obsessively elaborate nonfictional facade. I didn't tell you this until just now because you and I are moving through the story from the bottom up, and we couldn't know about Zampanò's fictions until we met up Johnny. Sorry about that.

Except it's not entirely clear cut when it comes to Johnny, who gives the impression that he's afraid Zampanò's story might bleeding into his world and assisting with his own breakdown, though he never comes right out and says that--at least in the first half of the book. If this is the case then Johnny ought to be afraid, because some terrible things are happening on the staircase down below the house, and the situation down there is rapidly falling apart, much like Johnny himself and the formatting of his book.

Which brings us to The Editors, who sit at the next level of narrative up from Johnny, and who--as far as we can tell--make only some scattered and rather feeble corrections and translations, all in Bookman font; otherwise they let Johnny run pretty rampant with the text.

The Editors are not same as the author, because the former live in a world where Johnny and Zampanò are real, whereas the author lives here in our world with us, where all of the characters in the book can only exist in our heads--although some of the pundits and experts from the footnotes are real people, only they are in fact fictionalized versions of themselves.

The Editors may have some further role in the second half of the book, but from my limited viewpoint they exist only as a thin and penultimate layer of narrative between the author and Johnny Truant, although something nefarious could be inferred about them from the lack of explanation as to who they are and what their stake in the book might be.

At the last and highest level we have the author, Mark Z. Danielewski, the Final Boss and master architect behind this elaborate multistory narrative. In the spirit of the freshman book report I skimmed the following factoids about him from Wikipedia:

Danielewski worked on the book for 10 years, finishing it in 2000, then he submitted it to 32 publishers before it was finally picked up.

Before it was published, the author would leave handmade copies of the manuscript lying around in Las Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles strip clubs and recording studios, perhaps hoping that the right kind of people would read it and get the buzz going. He also serialized it online, but to protect it from piracy he set it up so that people could only download one page at a time, and back then, on turn of the century Internet, that had to be a real pain in the ass.

And these would be all of the narrative levels in House of Leaves, except for one narrator whom I didn't cover because she's exclusively from the second half of the book. I'm not sure, but I think that she might live on a narrative level somewhere between The Editors and Johnny Truant. In any case, she doesn't show up until the second half, so you're going to have to look elsewhere if you want to learn her story.

Here are the narrative levels laid out from top to bottom.

Spoiler:


Why so many levels? The short answer I think might be...because it's fun? The Multiple Narrative Worlds construct is not an original one, and a number of film examples come to mind. There was the underrated Last Action Hero, where a movie star hero and his villain counterpart break out of their film and into the real world of a young fan. Before that, there was The Purple Rose of Cairo, where the movie escapee is a romantic lead instead of an action hero. Then, in one of the Nightmare on Elm Street sequels Freddy breaks through the fourth wall and terrorizes the cast and crew of...a Nightmare on Elm Street sequel. Then there's Inception, which replaces narrative levels with dream levels. And of course there's the Matrix, along with its disappointing sequels.

I don't know for sure if Mark Z. Danielewski was trying to break his story out into the real world, but his viral campaign of leaving manuscripts in weird underground gathering spots and in odd corners on the turn-of-the-century Internet seems to suggest it.

Around that same time, as you may recall, the filmmakers of The Blair Witch Project pulled off a viral marketing coup by naming the characters in the movie after their actors, then by hiding said actors away and implying that they'd disappeared, and that the actor's "found footage" was real.

I understand that Danielewski's aim with the book was likely more than just about having fun and doing some viral marketing. The author is a student and a fan of Jacques Derrida, a famous Deconstructionist philosopher. As for myself, I have a hard time understanding Deconstructionism beyond guessing they claim that the meaning of words and concepts is highly subjective and depends heavily upon context and culture--and that may explain something of the malleability of the space below the house vis-à-vis the large variance between Danielewski's narrators--but I don't care about any of that, so I'm sticking with the fun explanation, along with the idea that he wants to somehow break his story out into our world.

EPILOGUE:

The author's sister, Annie Danielewski, aka Poe, happens to be my favorite female musician. Poe cut her only two albums, Hello (1995) and Haunted (2000), at the same time that Mark was writing House of Leaves, and the two siblings were inspired by and made references to each other's work in their own work.

My girlfriend back around then was Anna, the red-haired Mormon from my Nit-tastic tales. We always had Poe's two albums in constant rotation, and Anna would sing along with Poe, and my girl would sound like one of God's own hand-picked choir maidens.

Minutes after I wrote the paragraph above, an email from Anna popped into my inbox.

Before this, I hadn't heard from her in months, not since just after Suited Blackout recreated her one night as Fallout 4 character named Subby.

Before those two times, Anna and I had been out of touch for many years.


Spoiler:

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Old 02-10-2020, 08:51 PM   #1680
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

cool writeup. If you're interested in combining your two latest interests--Dostoevsky and nested narratives--then check out The Brothers Karamazov. Characters routinely tell stories in which other, secondary narrator tell their stories, and so on. For example, in the famous Grand Inquisitor section, the narrator (writing stuff down over a decade later) tells of Ivan’s unwritten "legend" about the Grand Inquisitor's encounter with Christ.

Another absurdly innovative book, narratively speaking, is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.
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Old 02-11-2020, 02:25 PM   #1681
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Great post on House of Leaves. So interesting, in fact, that it may force me to break down and read it, something I've been avoiding for quite a few years. I can see how getting involved in a book like that could chew up and enormous block of time.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:39 PM   #1682
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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cool writeup. If you're interested in combining your two latest interests--Dostoevsky and nested narratives--then check out The Brothers Karamazov. Characters routinely tell stories in which other, secondary narrator tell their stories, and so on. For example, in the famous Grand Inquisitor section, the narrator (writing stuff down over a decade later) tells of Ivan’s unwritten "legend" about the Grand Inquisitor's encounter with Christ.

Another absurdly innovative book, narratively speaking, is David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas.
Thanks bob_124! You and I are on the same wavelength. I love David Mitchell. I was checking his bibliography to make sure that I've read everything by him and I found one book I haven't read, because it's not due to be published until 2114! Also, I haven't read Black Swan Green. I'll have to grab that. Mitchell's new book is due out in June.

My favorite by him is The Bone Clocks, followed closely by Cloud Atlas. I just reread Cloud Atlas a few months ago, but I read the stories in their complete order this time, sewing the first and second half of each story back together, then moving on to the next one. It didn't seem like reading it this way was any better or worse than reading it in his intended order.

I liked the movie as well, but I remember thinking that anyone who watched it without reading the book first would be pretty lost, kind of like Lynch's Dune movie, but better. I have a lot of respect for the Wachowskis, though, for not making it linear, and it was neat that they reused a lot of the actors, as it is kind of the same story and theme again and again throughout time, in that fighting back against the depredations of sociopathic predators is always worth it, whether you win or lose.

Lastly, the Grand Inquisitor chapter was the first thing I ever read by Dostoevsky, back in my early 20's. It was sold separately from the main book as a little paperback, either a $1 Dover Thrift edition or a $.99 Penguin Classic Anniversary edition, I can't remember which, but it blew my mind. I had no idea until then that some old-timey Russian guy could tear people's worldview apart so utterly. I've since read all of his major books--The Brothers Karamazov included, a few times.

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Great post on House of Leaves. So interesting, in fact, that it may force me to break down and read it, something I've been avoiding for quite a few years. I can see how getting involved in a book like that could chew up and enormous block of time.
Thanks Phat Mack! I also avoided reading House of Leaves for years and years, for reasons that I originally went into great detail about in the review, but then I cut it out for being too self-indulgent for a book review.

Basically I was afraid that either I wouldn't like the book, and that would somehow sully my memories of Poe's albums due to their association with each other, or that I would like it too much and would then want to try to repeat some of my early experiments in format from my old speed addict days, and that the temptation to relapse might rear its head after 13 years off the drug. Neither of these things happened.

Now I'm back to reading the second half, and it's really good. I was worried that it would keep falling apart into total incomprehensibility, but it seems to be tightening up instead, and I'm enjoying it a lot.

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Old 02-12-2020, 03:22 AM   #1683
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Go and play some god dam poker!
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:10 PM   #1684
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Go and play some god dam poker!
-1
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:00 PM   #1685
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Go and play some god dam poker!
Spoiler:


I'll be at Golden Nugget tonight, but after this I'll be going back to the freerolls for a while, because I have shown myself sustained and convincing evidence that I can't be trusted to make my own schedule without an outside incentive. Anyone should feel free to share their opinions on this, but you should know that my mind is made up.
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Old 02-13-2020, 09:12 PM   #1686
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Surprising how appropriate are the lyrics of this hair metal song. Where's my Tawny Kitaen?

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Old 02-14-2020, 01:26 AM   #1687
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Stacked twice by a huge ATM, who bet a hundo on every street with TPMK or better, regardless of the pot size, and who checked everything worse.

I ran 44 into his QT on a Q48TT board, then 33 into 56 on a 2347T board. He was down around $750 even with my $500 donation, as everyone else's two pair and overpair hands were good vs his hundo barrels.

Golden Nugget: 3.5 hours
(-$479)
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Old 02-15-2020, 06:28 AM   #1688
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Finishing up House of Leaves in a marathon reading jag fueled by bourbon and insomnia. In my half-read review, I was wrong about a few things--and that's to be expected. My estimation of Johnny as a sort of callow dudebro sunk in way over his head with transcribing Zampanò's work failed to account for Johnny's depth, his resilience and his keen intellect. Also, the unreviewed narrator exists on the same level as Johnny; not above him as I'd guessed, but off to his side in one of the appendices, and she doesn't have the ability to see the levels below her like the others, but she does get her own font, and that has to count for something.

Finally, yet another narrator appears in the second half of the story and (rightfully) insinuates herself between the Navidson Record documentary and the Experts and Pundits who report on it. So the final tally looks something like this.

Spoiler:


Overall though, I like the half-read review format. Sometimes it's okay to be wrong on the Internet, and to admit it, so I'm going to keep going with it on the next book, N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season.

Last edited by suitedjustice; 02-15-2020 at 06:42 AM.
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Old 02-16-2020, 02:10 AM   #1689
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Overall though, I like the half-read review format. Sometimes it's okay to be wrong on the Internet, and to admit it, so I'm going to keep going with it on the next book, N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season.
This is a fine idea, but why not stretch yourself and do it after the first quarter of the book, or even the first two chapters? It would be interesting to see what you'd come up with.
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:50 AM   #1690
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This is a fine idea, but why not stretch yourself and do it after the first quarter of the book, or even the first two chapters? It would be interesting to see what you'd come up with.
Lol. I think that may be beyond my scope. Art reviews are basically robberies to begin with. The reviewer takes the artist's hard-earned work and slaps on a quick coating of narrative and says, "Look at me, I made this thing." Reviewing a book that's only half-read is a good way to point this out, given that it's patently unfair. Even less reading would be overkill, though funny for sure.
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Old 02-16-2020, 03:54 AM   #1691
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

Pretty good run in the $10k gtd Hyper Turbo Mega Stack. It's my favorite online tourney at just $21 to enter and lasting just 3 hours.

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Old 02-16-2020, 05:13 AM   #1692
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Stacked twice by a huge ATM, who bet a hundo on every street with TPMK or better, regardless of the pot size, and who checked everything worse.

I ran 44 into his QT on a Q48TT board, then 33 into 56 on a 2347T board. He was down around $750 even with my $500 donation, as everyone else's two pair and overpair hands were good vs his hundo barrels.

Golden Nugget: 3.5 hours
(-$479)
Sorry. My bad on the advice.
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:26 AM   #1693
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

The advice was good; the short term results were not. That's poker in a nutshell.
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Old 02-17-2020, 12:39 PM   #1694
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Stacked twice by a huge ATM, who bet a hundo on every street with TPMK or better, regardless of the pot size, and who checked everything worse.

I ran 44 into his QT on a Q48TT board, then 33 into 56 on a 2347T board. He was down around $750 even with my $500 donation, as everyone else's two pair and overpair hands were good vs his hundo barrels.

Golden Nugget: 3.5 hours
(-$479)
SJ, I thought I was the only one who ran like this. You're not allowed to run as bad as me. I will try to suck up your run-bad. Namaste.
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:18 PM   #1695
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SJ, I thought I was the only one who ran like this. You're not allowed to run as bad as me. I will try to suck up your run-bad. Namaste.


You mean like the guy in Green Mile?
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Old 02-17-2020, 02:46 PM   #1696
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Originally Posted by Da_Nit View Post
You mean like the guy in Green Mile?


More like Mia Kalifha on porn hub Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis
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Old 02-17-2020, 04:49 PM   #1697
AlwaysFolding
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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More like Mia Kalifha on porn hub Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis
I actually laughed at this
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Old 02-18-2020, 02:39 PM   #1698
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

not sure if I should google...
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:00 PM   #1699
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

When in doubt...
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:15 PM   #1700
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Re: Suitedjustice's Ongoing Mid-life Crisis

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Originally Posted by fidstar-poker View Post
not sure if I should google...


Chick is a true pro, Sasha Grey level pro.
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