I'm so thankful to be finished with the psych series. It was very satisfying, but I always feel some sort of pressure to finish something when I'm in the middle of it. Also, I like to be done with a subject so that I can move on to all of the ideas I have for another project.
Over the winter, my right arm got extremely weak. It kept weakening more and more, to the point that about six months ago, I couldn't even lift a small, one pound weight with it, if my right hand was palm down.
Since I started gardening in late February, my arm has gotten stronger and stronger. Now I'm heaving around 50 lb. pots and bags of soil. Thank God!
Because of the psych series, I have gotten involved again with some bloggers. No, this doesn't mean I'm going back to that group, no way, no how. But it has brought me in contact with some poker blogs again, and left me with either a good taste for one, or a bad taste in my mouth.
I have always felt that poker journals can be divided into two major categories: Serious Poker and Recreational Poker. Those who know me already know that I prefer serious poker. Within those two major groups, there are many sub-groups. There are journals by those who CAN write, and journals by those who CANNOT write. There are hand history journals, bankroll journals, story telling journals, metaphoric journals, poker & life journals, meta-authored journals, online play only journals, live play only journals, stream of consciousness journals, bad beat journals, tourney play only journals, live play only journals and many, many more.
My typical judgment on poker blogs has been to list what I do NOT like in one. Usually the top categories are things that I don't like in my OWN journal, although you would think by the outcry of that community, I was going around with a hatchet and attacking every one of them. I figure everyone else lists and pimps journals they love, so I will do the dirty deed that no one else will tackle (can you really blame them, though? With the flaming, hate mail and veiled death threats that those who do stand out receive?).
Well, today I'm going to be different. I'm going to list some journals I love, and tell why they are at the top of my reading choices. I figure I pan the bad ones enough, now I need to mid-year post to laud the great ones (see my end-of-year picks and pans if you haven't experienced the outrageous, negative feedback I always receive when I post those).
I don't know if I'm going to list in preferred order, or just as they come to mind. I'll tell you at the end of the post which method I finally decided on.
1) Poker Babe (Shirley Rosario)
People sometimes accuse me of "hating" females, panning their sites, putting them down, etc. Obviously they see what they want to see, because Shirley has been at the top of my list for years.
Shirley started her poker journey as a cocktail waitress. Then she started playing. She became a prop for the Bike, and has also been one of the commentators for Live at the Bike. She is a professional player and has done some really great things in the past couple of years. She is a well rounded player and can hang in cash games as well as tourneys, live and online, LA and Vegas.
Shirley doesn't whine and complain. She doesn't post pics of her cute little kids or dogs. She doesn't post bad beat stories or hand histories. She can walk you through a hand and has some great analysis of hands from the first card, to the pile of chips that are shipped at the last.
2) Linda Geneen (Poker Works)
My oh my, another woman! Who woulda thunk it? Linda, also has been at the top of my best-liked journal list for years. She takes you inside of the dealing world with candor and a no-holds-barred approach. You may not like reading about YOU, but perhaps it will make you more tolerant and less abusive towards dealers. It ain't all Kumbaya, as so many lame blogs would have you believe. This is real life, and Linda will tell it how it is. She also plays lots of poker, for someone in the business, and you will get that side of the story, too, from the perspective of a dealer and a player.
3) Tanya Peck (MissT74)
Good gawd, not another woman! But, but, we thought you hated women, Felicia? Yeah, and you are a moron, too.
Tanya is someone I met before my heavy blogging days. Someone I met when I first moved to Arizona. Although we are both serious players, she doesn't come across nearly as jaded as I do. Not to say that she is docile. I have seen her make some pretty stiff demands on poker rooms and dealers. No crap is going to fly under the radar when Tanya is around.
4) Chris Fargis (21 Outs Twice)
This journal is probably my overall favorite. I only say "probably" because he doesn't post much and I always want more. Chris doesn't whine, doesn't cry, doesn't post hand histories or stupid pictures and simply tells it like it is. He plays all poker games, so it's not just ALL HOLD'EM, ALL THE TIME.
5) Matt Maroon (Poker Chronicles)
You hate him? I like him. Matt has always been on the top of my list, but lately has earned even more credibility by branching out into other games (I have been begging him for years). He is witty and honest. He bluntly writes when he made a bad move, or played like a monkey, although most of you don't even "see" it, because you are so busy seeing what you perceive as him calling you out, and are so very incensed that you simply read what YOU want to read, not what he has written.
He calls it like it is. When he screws up, he writes about it. When his opponents screw up, he writes about it. He admits when he is better than they are, which is most of the time, because WHY PLAY IN A GAME WHERE THE PLAYERS ARE BETTER THAN YOU? But yet again, most bloggers don't even get it, because they are in games where THEY are the live ones, and hate reading about their horrible play.
Matt is one of the few bloggers who is actively hated even more-so than I am. Go figure, the more he tries to help you out, the more you flame him and send hate mail. Hmm, that sounds familiar. Hey! That happens to me, too! ;)
6) Dave-Drizz (Nickle and Dimes)
I love Dave because he has some health problems and likes to laugh at them. I could make fun of his deaf/mute self all day long. He has a tongue as long as Gene Simmons, which is the only reason he stays married and gets some sex every once in a while. We seem like a pair, because we are pretty much the only two bloggers who like to be made fun of and rip on each other (although I wish he'd rip on me more). I told him I wouldn't play live with him anymore unless he brings flash cards to use at the table. When he speaks, it's like he has rocks in his mouth and it's not fair to me, the other players or the dealer ;)
Seriously, Dave has a great, unpretentious blog. He just says it, for good or bad. He isn't trying to impress anyone and posts with obvious brutal candor.
7) Pauly (Tao of Poker)
No one writes up stories like Pauly. Love him or hate him, he writes the way I like. He runs the gamut of writing styles, maybe because he's stoned all the time, go figure.
He is the closest thing we have to Andy Glaser now, and I hope he doesn't burn himself out on the tourney trail.
He also incorporates many things I like about a poker blogger:
a) If you comment, he responds
b) He tells a narrative (doesn't post a hand history)
c) He plays all games
d) He plays both live and online (and successfully writes about both)
e) He has a shtick (have you read any tourney reports recently??? God, if they don't suck so badly I don't know what does)
f) He listens to advice and constructive criticism
If I could change one thing about Pauly, it would be to make him more candid and less nicey-nice in person. I would have him let those balls hang all the way out. But then again, he's getting paid. He can't be TOO candid, or he won't have a job.
So there you have it. If you were left off, it doesn't mean that you aren't one of my favorites. I may mean that you just don't have a "poker" blog, per se (Al). Or maybe you only play online. Maybe you don't post enough (Grubby, Hank). Maybe you simply don't respond to comments. There are billion factors.
I guess it's obvious what order I decided upon. Girls first...no reason why.
At any rate, I hope you give some of these journals a try if you haven't already. And you know, this is all a very subjective thing. My picks may be your pans.