Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Turkey season opens next Tuesday, April 6th, here in Oklahoma. Unfortunately, due to work obligations, I won't be able to hunt on opening day, but I am taking off Thursday and Friday next week to make an extended weekend hunt in Caddo County.
I have my good friend Ken coming in from Florida and he is bringing his good buddy Tom with him from Georgia. These gentlemen are hard-core turkey hunters and two years ago, Ken harvested his first Rio Grande turkey right on my buddy, TurdChaser's place, just north of our places at the lake.
Ken is the guy that called in this big sonofagun for me two years ago. He's also good friends with Surflexus for you poker bloggers in the know. By the way, I got a call today from Surf and all is good.
For those interested, who know nothing about turkeys, there are 4 sub-species of turkeys that are prevelant in the United States. (There is actually a 5th sub-species, called Gould's, but they are mainly in Mexico or just across the southern borders of Arizona and New Mexico) For the purposes of our discussion, there are 4 main sub-species in the US and harvesting one from each sub-species is called the Grand Slam. Here are the different sub-species of wild turkey in the United States and a little about them.
The Florida (aka Osceola) Wild Turkey, meleagris gallopavo osceola, was named after a famous Seminole Indian Chief of the early 1800's by W.E.D. Scott in his 1890 description of the bird. They are a unique and highly sought after subspecies of the wild turkey since they are found only on the Florida peninsula. There are approximately 80,000 Osceola turkeys roaming the southern portions of Florida today.
The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) only recognizes birds as Osceolas if they are taken south of a line drawn between Taylor and Dixie counties on the Gulf to a line running between Nassau and Duval counties on the Atlantic coast.
The eastern wild turkey is the most populous of the five distinct subspecies found in the United States and can be found throughout the eastern United States and has been transplanted to some western states as well. L.J.P. Vieillot first described and named the eastern subspecies in 1817 using the word silvestris, meaning "forest" turkey.
The Eastern Wild Turkey inhabits the eastern half of the U.S., and can be found in hardwood and mixed forests from New England and southern Canada to northern Florida. The western boundary of their range extends from east Texas up through eastern Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska and then on into Minnesota. It has also been transplanted to California, Oregon, Washington, and Ontario, Canada and other areas west of the Rocky Mountains.
The Eastern, which has adapted to many habitats, utilizes both hardwood and softwood forests, open pastures, and agricultural fields.
The Rio Grande wild turkey is native to the semi-arid areas of the southern Great Plains states: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Northeastern Mexico. It received its common name from the Rio Grande River, which is the water supply bordering the brushy scrub, arid country of some of its prime range in western Texas and northeastern Mexico. This subspecies was first described by George B. Sennett in 1879 who said it was intermediate in appearance between the eastern and western subspecies, hence its scientific name, Meleagris Gallapavo Intermedia.
Originally existing in the millions, this turkey had depleted to extremely low numbers by 1920. Formal programs involving trapping and transplanting were initiated in the 1930's and today it exists over much of its ancestral range. Texas has the most Rio Grandes with a population estimated at over 600,000 birds.
The Rio Grande turkey was originally found in the southern Great Plains, western Texas and northeast Mexico. They have expanded their range and been introduced into Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, and California. This race of turkeys generally occurs in areas having 16 to 32 inches of rainfall.
The Rio inhabits brushy areas near streams and rivers or mesquite, pine and scrub oak forests. It may be found up to 6,000 feet elevation and generally favors country that is more open than the wooded habitat favored by its eastern cousins. The Rio Grande is considered gregarious and, nomadic in some areas, having distinct summer and winter ranges. They may form large flocks of several hundred birds during the winter period. It has been known to travel distances of 10 or more miles from traditional winter roost sites to its nesting areas. Since the areas they are found usually do not have many roosting trees, they will often use the same tree which makes finding them a lot easier. Their range in a lot of cases is determined by the location of their preferred roosting tree, the cottonwood.
The Merriam's wild turkey is found primarily in the ponderosa pine, western mountain regions of the United States. Within its suspected historic range in Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado, the Merriam's was relatively isolated from the other subspecies of wild turkey. Current evidence supports the hypothesis that it was a relative newcomer to western American wildlife when the Europeans discovered it. It was named by Dr. E.W. Nelson in 1900 in honor of C. Hart Merriam, the first chief of the U.S. Biological Survey.
Merriam's turkeys were historically found in the ponderosa pine forests of Colorado, New Mexico, and northern Arizona. They have been transplanted into the pine forests of Utah, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska and South Dakota. Merriam's turkeys can be found not only in ponderosa pine forest but also other vegetation types in elevations ranging from 3,500 to 10,000 feet. Their normal range receives annual rainfall amounts averaging between 15 and 23 inches.
As you can see by the above descriptions and ranges, (borrowed from www.wildturkeyzone.com) there are alot of similarities between these 4 sub-species and alot of major differences between the 4 sub-species. The most notable difference between the birds is where they inhabit. You can hunt Osceola's only in Florida. Easterns can be hunted all across the eastern United States, all the way to Eastern Oklahoma. Rio Grandes are Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas birds, for the most part and Merriam's, you have to go west and/or north usually to hunt them.
Oklahoma is a rare state, in that a proactive hunter could hunt three of the four sub-species of wild turkey right here in our state. We have Easterns on the far eastern edge of the state, Rio Grande's all over the central and southwestern parts of the state and a few Merriam's, way up in the northwestern part of the state. (the Panhandle)
Ken is one of those avid hunters who has harvested the Grand Slam, as we call it. His only Rio Grande came two years ago, like I said, on my buddy TurdChaser's farm, in Caddo County. He's returning this year to try and run into the "one that got away" two years ago. His buddy Tom hasn't hunted Rio Grande turkeys at this point either, so he's in for a darn good time, I can assure you. Having hunted both Eastern's and Rio Grande turkeys, the Rio's appear to be the dumber of the two turkeys.
Hunting turkeys is a challenging, sometimes demanding, sometimes confounding sport. Turkeys are smart, just like deer. They have excellent vision and hearing, allowing for little to no movement in the woods, or your position will be given away. I've heard it said that if turkeys could smell, like deer, turkey hunting would be next to impossible.
There are two basic ways to hunt turkeys. The first is from a stand or ground blind. You try to put yourself between where the birds are and where they want to go and coax them into range by calling to them with hen calls. You can use decoys, which look astonishingly like the real thing, to help draw the wary birds into range, as well.
The other strategy and one that is the most work and by far the most fun, is running and gunning. This involves taking off through the woods, calling now and again, trying to get a Tom to answer you with a gobble. When you hear the gobble and pinpoint the Tom's position, the fun starts. You have to determine where he's headed and get yourself between him and there without being seen or heard. On big land, like the public hunting we'll do on the Wildlife Management Area around the lake, you can cover miles easily chasing turkeys.
I'm not sure if we'll have any success this next weekend, but I'll be reporting it here, good or bad, success or failure, to let you know how we did.
I know that some of you who read this blog are not hunters and don't really understand the passion that I've developed for the sport, but here are a few things for you to consider.
If you've never heard a big Tom blow up the woods with a shock gobble, in the pitch blackness of morning, from less than 200 yards away, you don't know what you're missing. It will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
If you've never seen, heard or felt a big Tom "drumming" within, say, 40 yards of your position, it's almost unexplainable. Not only does the hair stand up on the back of your neck, goose bumps are performing heat lap trials, racing up and down your arms and it feels as if your heart is gonig to jump completely out of your chest.
If you haven't sat out in the quiet woods with a buddy or two, drinking coffee and talking about past and future hunts, well, you probably never will and anything I could say to convince you, probably wouldn't work. Suffice it to say, I say you have no idea what you're missing.
This 4-day weekend will be a fantastic time with old and new friends. Whether or not I am succesful in harvesting a bird, whether or not I am able to call in that big Tom and whether or not I make the shot or miss the shot, it will be a great time among friends. The things highlighted above will make it all worth my while, even if I never see a turkey.
Until next time, Camo Up!
posted by GaryC @ 4:19 PM, ,
Saturday, March 27, 2010
After I put up that post Thursday night, I sat back and reflected on the month that was, the first winning month of poker for me in at least a year, if not longer. Why did I have a winning month, as opposed to the constant bad beats, tiltage and general poor play that has plagued me for the last couple of years?
Why is indeed a good question and I'm not sure I have any concrete answers for you, but I thought I might discuss a few things I've been considering.
First off, and I've mentioned this here before, but I think Rush Poker allows me to be even more patient (nitty) than my normal game because of a couple of different reasons:
1 - I can fold for a considerable amount of hands in a row without it feeling like I'm waiting too long to drive the action. (i.e. waiting for the monster hands)
-I think, as much as anything, that sheer boredom sometimes encourages (my) bad play and it's pretty easy (for me) to become bored and think that j-9 s00ted looks good for a raise, when you've folded the previous 47 hands.
2 - I can continue my nittish ways without fear of being labelled a "tight, nit" by everybody at the table, due to constantly switching tables.
-I realize that there are people out there taking notes, I do it myself, when they run into certain players over and over again. I mean, some of these guys are playing 4 or 5 tables at a time, so you are bound to run into them more often, it only makes sense to take notes if you discover something about one of them. But, for the most part, alot of these players are not taking notes, that's been proven time and time again over the last 4 or 5 years, and to them, you're a blank avatar and they are playing their two cards and their two cards only. I think this certainly helps me (and my image) at the Rush tables.
So, did I somehow become a better player last month than I've been for the last two years? I don't think so. I will say that I think on a couple of different (big) hands that I played them better than I would have in the past, thus earning more money from them, but no, I haven't changed very much from where I was two years ago.
I emplyed the two things that used to allow me to make a little scratch at the virtual poker tables. Patience and a lack of distractions.
I quit surfing the web while playing. Basically, Rush Poker made me quit surfing while playing, due to the sheer speed of the game, but I eliminated some of the distractions that were causing me to miss the value in some hands and to misread the actions of the other players in other hands. I still have the TV on in the background, but I finally decided that if something was drawing my interest to the TV instead of the computer screen, I sat out and watched TV, rather than trying to do both.
Patience has long been a standard in my game and I think anybody who has played against me can vouch for that, but, I took it to a different level over the last month. When I bought in and started playing, I paid strict attention to starting hand selection, as well as position. Position is the one thing that allowed me to float around at the starting stack without getting blinded down a little at a time. I almost always opened for a raise in LP in an unopened pot. Even if it was just a min-raise, I raised when it folded around to me. You'd be surprised how many people already have folded in that instance. I raised with a lot less than premium hands in this position, but they are easy enough to fold if you get called and miss the flop or if you get re-raised from a later position. By far, I got alot more walks than having to face a re-raise.
Tilt is something that every player battles in their own distinct way. For me, it starts with a bad beat, regardless of how poorly I might have played the hand. When I get sucked out on, I generally sit out for a minute and try to collect my thoughts before resuming play. It happens, that's poker and it's part of the game are phrases that don't really help me deal with it, personally. Almost without fail, the best thing for me to do at that point is to log off and call it a night, because I'm probably not going to play very well from that point on.
And that's exactly what I've done for the last month or so. When I take that beat that we all take on occasion, I tried my best to remain calm and collected, but, if I felt like I was steaming and not playing my best, I logged off and quit playing for the night, even if that meant not collecting on as much of the bonus as I could have otherwise. I can assure you, that alone saved me money during the last month.
So, where do I go from here?
It's funny, after playing nightly for the past few weeks, trying my hardest to earn that bonus and putting in way more hours than I had previously, I sat down last night with no bonus to clear and played, maybe, 100 hands at $25 NL. I finished the session down $1.34 when I had to take a phone call from a friend. When I got off the phone, I fired it back up and turned around to see the K-State game coming on and promptly turned off the computer and watched a good basketball game. While I may have played my ass off for the last 30 days trying to collect that bonus, I am certainly nowhere close to the poker player I was 3-4 years ago, when I'd rush home from work, fire up the computer and play into the wee hours of the morning. Age has something to do with that, I'm sure. I would say maturity too, but too many of you know me too well to let that slide, so I won't even pretend.
For now, I'll still be playing on occasion, perhaps even nightly, but my sessions and swings will certainly be much shorter and much smaller, as long as I can maintain this focus and this patience.
Until next time, I fold.
posted by GaryC @ 5:28 PM, ,
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Feb. 24, 2010 - Full Tilt Account Balance $22.45
That's the day I accepted the Full Tilt bonus offer that I had 30 days to finish and earn my $100.00.
I started out grinding .02/.05 NL tables on Rush Poker and eventually worked my way up to the .25/.50 NL tables and I cleared 90% of the bonus, which is a personal record, at least for the last few years.
Between the $90 I earned from the bonus and the $50 stipend on the 15th of the month, I was up to $162.45. Last night, when I logged off, that balance was $303.59. I haven't exactly been running like Zeus, but anything better than "Doom Switch Permanently Activated" is a plus as far as I'm concerned.
I will probably continue to play some Rush Poker on occasion and may even dabble with some SNG's too, we'll see.
Until next time, I fold.
posted by GaryC @ 3:40 PM, ,
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Don't tell anyone.
It appears, and I know I'm jinxing myself by saying this but, the 2-year period of "run-bad" might have slowed a bit.
I hesitate to say, or even think, that I'm running good, because that definitely is not the case, but, for the last 10 days or so, I'm in the black by a significant amount, compared to where I was, wallowing in self-pity, just a couple of weeks ago. How's that for a run-on sentence?
I'm still playing Rush Poker, for the same reasons, the bonus and I'm like a meth addict, needing my fix. The one thing that I've done to switch things up is I've switched to the full ring, 9-handed tables. This allows even more time for patience, waiting for just the right spot, without getting over-anxious due to the blinds eating away at my stack. I'm not sure if that is the end-all and be-all answer that I've been looking for, but it sure seems to have worked alot better for me in the last couple of weeks. I'm only playing $10 NL so there are never going to be any major swings upward or downward in my roll. Well, you have to have a roll first, which I don't, so a downward swing wouldn't last long.
You ever hear the term "roaching"? I'm not sure where I heard it first, maybe Bayne's blog, but it basically means sitting back and folding at the money bubble to sneak into the money or to sneak up a spot on the payout structure. I'm good at it. Unfortunately, for the last month or so, I've been roaching my "bankroll" winning $2 one night, giving away $5 the next, trying to stay afloat with some money in my account. I attribute this to my extremely tight nature and the fact that I've basically quit playing tournaments. I know I said I was going to go back to the SNG's that I used to be succesful at a few years ago, but I can't seem to drag myself away from the cash tables or Rush Poker.
The 6-max tables have never been good for me, I've known that for a while, but I got hooked on them a while back and have basically played nothing but 6-max for the last year or so. Maybe I am on to something, at least the 9-handed tables seem to suit my nittish strategy alot better than the 6-handed tables. That makes sense, not sure why I've been so thick-headed about it up to now.
I'm still playing basically the exact same fold-a-lot, nitty game that I've always played, but with Rush, there are still people willing to gamble it up. I've caught my share of hands over the past 10 days, not really outplayed anybody, other than squeezing in a few value bets that paid me off here and there. Other than that, it's been the standard K-K vs A-A a few times, (on the bad side once) and flopping a set vs. an overpair several times. It sure is nice when it's the other guy that can't lay down Q-Q on an all-under flop, instead of vice-versa. Anybody else ever fold K-K pre-flop in a cash game? I can't seem to make myself do it and I'd guess I'm 50-50 on being right and getting stacked.
I did flop my first Royal Flush in so long I can't remember. I limped along with 137 other people at the table, with A-J spades, and caught my miracle flop.
K-Q-10 - all spades. I know, what the hell? How do you get paid?
I checked it through on the flop, bet the pot after 4th and got a call and then bet approximately 86.33 percent of the pot on the river and got a call. Wow, I made 7 bucks with a Royal Flush. The caller flopped a flush too, with 9-2, in EP. Nice call there. I just wish he'd not been an American, maybe he would have re-raised me at some point and really paid me off.
Here's another question for you. Why is it that, when I flop a set with, say, 7-7, it's ALWAYS a highly coordinated flop with straight and flush draws everywhere? I can promise you, every time it happens, the flush or straight card hits the turn, without fail. I've finally stopped trying to be tricky on the flop just because of this. Every time it happened before, I would check my set, the scare card hits the turn and I'm looking at a pot bet from the other player. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. I know that he doesn't have it, most of the time, but it makes for unduly hard decisions in a $10 NL game. I'm a big fan of making as few tough decisions as possible in a cash game, even if that means scooping up the blinds and moving on to the next 9-3 off-suit.
Another thing that appears to be out of whack and it's probably written in the fine print somewhere, I'm just too lazy to look, but what's the rake like on Rush compared to a regular ring game? I know of a couple of times I've gotten my stack in against another player with a full stack and not quite doubled up, like 5% less than a true double up. Is the rake more on Rush? Like I said, I'm sure that it's written down somewhere on the site, but I'm just too lazy to look it up.
So, the great experiment continues. I'm really only playing an hour or two a night, trying to clear as much of that bonus as I can and also being entirely too nitty when it comes to protecting what puny bankroll I have left at FT. Like I've told some of my friends via IM, I'll probably continue to play after the bonus expires, but it won't be as much, maybe an hour a night, when I get home from work. If I'm ever able to work up to some type of playable roll, maybe things will change and I'll get more serious about it, but for now, I'm happy where I'm at. (and overjoyed that the doom switch has been temporarily switched at least to intermittent) It's just a matter of knowing when it's turned on and when it's turned off. ;)
I know I'm not ever going to be anything more than a casual poker player with a bad habit. I came to grips with that a long, long time ago, but I do think I can consistently win at this game, at the limits that I choose to play. That's the main reason I continue to play, that and the whole competitive nature thing.
Until next time, I fold.
posted by GaryC @ 4:15 PM, ,
The End Of An Era
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Okay, maybe not an era, but we had a nice, little 4-year run there.
After much deliberation, I've decided not to host Okie-Vegas 5 this summer. I've talked it over with my family and as busy as things are in our lives and as tight as money is right now, I just don't see any way I can make it happen. I probably should have decided this a year ago, but I felt like I owed it to a few people to do it one more time. The big plans of moving the dates, so that more people could attend, were just more trouble than it would have been worth, in my opinion.
I'd like to personally thank each and every person that made this trip over the last four years, because you've all brought something special and unique to the party. I've learned alot from, and about, each and every one of you and I've had a blast trying to be the ringleader. I consider myself a very lucky man to have been able to make as many good friends through this humble little blog as I have over the last four or five years. When I started this blog, all I wanted was to be a part of this little community of poker bloggers. Mission accomplished.
To my co-hosts over the years, MrsGCox25, my daughter Casey, the fabulous Miss Maudie, the Orange One - Oossuuu, DuggleBogey, Turd-Chaser and many others, thanks for all your help and support. I could not have done it without each and every one of you and I really appreciate all that you've done over the years. If one of you would like to take up the reins, I can assure you I will do my very best to clear the calendar and be a part of it. If not, I completely understand.
If any of you were dead-set on coming to Oklahoma this summer, shoot me an email or IM (I know, I'll leave it turned on for the next few nights) me and we can discuss some alternative plans. We still have a lake place that we will be spending every available minute at this summer, so coming to Oklahoma for a visit is not out of the question. We'll just need to coordinate dates and times, etc. That coordination (read:work) was just more than I was willing to do this year with the types of numbers we've had in the past.
Again, if you've made the trip in the past, I send you my sincere thanks, because, like I've said in the past, this doesn't happen if you don't book the flight, drive in from neighboring states or make that committment to come to the Flyover/Koozie state in the heat of the summer. Each and every one of you have become a great friend of mine and my family and friends here in Oklahoma and I wouldn't trade the memories of each one of these events for anything.
posted by GaryC @ 3:12 PM, ,