Monday, May 30, 2005

Down to 30

Out of 4.7 Million U.S. servicemen who served in World War I, there are only 30 left alive, including this gentleman who is 103 years old. The Hatcher household includes everyone in the armed services, past and present, in our daily prayers and hope those currently in bad places come home safely. Our family lost my Great Uncle Earnest Walker in 1944 at Normandy. My Granny Hatcher was never able to talk about it without crying until the day she died, but she was never bitter about losing her baby brother. On this Memorial Day, I hope all those who have lost loved ones in wars present and past can find peace.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Cards are a Harsh Mistress

So with the wife and kid and the little olive all down in Miami for a week, I headed back down to my old second home town of Columbiana this weekend. I did a little partying at Heff's on Friday and Saturday nights, and spent most of the day Saturday running around my old hometown of Westover with my nephew Garrison. We visited three cemetaries and several relatives houses to see how everyone was doing. When we pulled up at the last cemetary, my 6 year old nephew said "Aw man, are we going to see more dead people?"

I found out a few weeks back that there was a cash tournament tonight in Columbiana. Heff and my brother encouraged me to enter, so I decided to enter my first cash game. It was a 40+5 freeze-out and you got $500 in chips to start. You could buy back in during the first hour for either half or the full amount of the original buy-in. There were about 45 or so people to start, so the top 6 places were going to paid.

I started out strong and won two big hands right off the bat. I was playing fairly aggressive, but only playing good starting hands. I have to admit that playing for real money makes a difference in how you play, plus I had never played with any of these people so I didn't have many reads on them.

I ended up not needing to buy back in, since I had a pretty good chip stack after the first hour. After the second break the cards turned cruel on me. I kept getting hands like AQ or AJ and just couldn't get anything to match them. This ended up dribbling me down to where I had about 350 in chips left after I lost some fairly large pots.

I got QQ and pushed all in after the flop and managed to take down the blinds. The next hand I had AKo and a kid across from me raised it to 400. This was pretty much an all-in situation, but I just called. The flop and the turn was garbage and he raised me all in. I was pot committed at this point so I threw in the last 135 in my pile and he flipped up A10o. So with one card to go he had 3 outs, or roughly a 6 percent chance to beat me. Of course the river was one of his 3-outter 10's, and I had to walk away empty handed. I guess I probably came in about 24th or so overall.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

The Thong of Uncle Bull

Uncle Bull still won't send me the thong picture, but he did send me the last picture he took before he sold his bike.


If this doesn't illustrate the heartbreak that steroids cause, I honestly don't know what will. I think that's Bryan to his right there.
Farewell Atlanta

Today was my last day at Home Depot in Atlanta. I worked there nearly 6 months as a contractor, but I recently accepted a full-time position with Central Parking back home in Nashville. I'm always a bit melancholy when I switch jobs, but not having to drive to Atlanta and back every week will not be missed anytime soon. I'm playing one last poker tournament tonight at Startime then driving back to Nashville tomorrow morning, where I'll kiss my wife and daughter goodbye as they leave for Miami for a week.
Hatch Can't Drive 65

So for the last six months, I've been driving down to Atlanta from Nashville most Mondays. It's right at 241 miles from my driveway to the parking deck at Home Depot. I usually make it in about 3.5 hours, including one stop for a biobreak and a diet coke purchase and maybe some gasoline. I pretty much know where all the places are that the cops like to hang out and slow down in the appropriate spots.

On I75 the average speed is about 75 to 80 I usually stay just under 80. Last Monday, however, my luck ran out.

Now since I turned 16, I've averaged being pulled over about every three years. So up to this point I'd been pulled over 6 times and received a ticket 4 of those times. I talked my way out of one, and for some reason the cop was incredibly kind when I got pulled over when I was 16 and he just told me to slow it down.

This day, however, I was stone cold busted. The radio station I was listening to was playing a live version of "Freebird" and it was in the fast section at the end. I was passing someone, so I was in the far left lane when I saw blue lights in the median about 1/4 of a mile in front of me. I slowed down, pulled into the center lane, and prayed it wasn't me, but when I had looked down at my gauge when I saw the lights I was going about 90, so I wasn't too hopeful.

The trooper is still in the left lane when he goes out of sight in my rearview mirror, so I'm actually hoping it wasn't me he was after. As I looked to my left out of the window though, I see that he's pulled along side of me. He points at me, then points to the left shoulder of the Interstate. I nod and pull off with him behind me.

The trooper walks up and I roll the window down. He looks a lot like Maynard from HeeHaw or a younger Jackie Gleason from Smokey and the Bandit. His accent is all Georgia backwoods.

"Sir, I clocked you with my laser back there at 88 miles per hour in a 65 zone. Do you have any reasonable justification for going that fast?"

I blinked for a moment, slightly stunned by the question. I turned on my own deep woods Alabama accent and handed him my license. I had no idea where my registration or insurance was and figured I'd have to dig it out of the pile of crap in my back seat.

"Well, no sir, I just wasn't paying any attention really and they were playing Freebird on the radio."

He chuckled and said he'd be right back.

I sat there pondering what a reasonable justification was that would allow me to go 88 m.p.h. in a 65. I came up blank. After a few minutes he came back with my citation and explained my court date and what number to call and all the usual stuff.

"Sir, I'm not trying to be a smartass when I ask this..."

"I understand," he replied quickly.

"But I just have to wonder what would be a reasonable justification for speeding?"

He chuckled again and grinned at me. "Well, I just like to ask people that to see what they're gonna say. I suppose if you had cut your leg off or something. I wouldn't let you go any further, but I'd get you some help. One ole boy told me he was having a heart attack, and I took him to the hospital, but he was lying and just ended up going to jail instead."

We both laughed.

"You work here in Atlanta," he asked?

"Yes sir."

"Well you're like the second ole boy I've pulled over in a week that lives in Nashville and works in Atlanta."

I nodded.

"You just need to slow it down just a little bit," he said with honest to God sincerity. He actually dipped his head and shoulders as he said "dowwnnnn." I promised him I would as we waved at each other and I pulled back onto the Interstate.
She's Got Pocket Queens!

That's what my Ego was screaming at me during the final poker tournament on Thursday before last at Startime. I was sick. I couldn't breath out of my nose and the pressure on my sinuses was so bad it was painful. I didn't go to work that day and should have skipped poker as well, but since I had slept most of the day I wasn't really tired and decided to see how I could do. With only 16 or so people to beat for a trip to Florida, I figured I owed it to myself to at least show up.

Things started out well. I won a few small hands by putting pressure on the blinds in late position and using the fact that everyone would play tight. About 5 hands into the tournament, I was dealt the Presto hand or pocket fives as you amateurs would call it. Heh. I limped into what was basically a family pot, and the flop was 556. To my credit, I played it very cool and only raised 500, but that scared everyone out of the hand except Larry who was sitting to my right, who called. Now I knew there was no way anyone was going to beat my four of a kind, so after the turn I bet 1000 and he called. I had no idea what he might have had. I bet 1000 again on the river, and he called after looking at me for a few seconds. He turned up Ace high. What the hell? I thought he was a decent player, but I have no idea why anyone would call 5xBB twice all the way to the river with an Ace high hand.

I lost some chips over the next few hands, and then I was dealt A9o. I limped in, but Sarah, my old nemesis, was in the big blind and raised it to 700 to go. At this point my Ego started murmuring, but between the sinus medicine and the big hand from earlier, my Id was firmly in control of the Hatch Train at this point. Nearly everyone called her raise, including me. The flop was AQ9, giving me two pair.

Sarah checked, and I decided at this point to go ahead and make a stab at the pot, so I bet 1000. This was only about 1/3 of what was in the pot, but 1000 is usually enough with this players to make your point. It folded around to Sarah, who reraised it to 2000. At this point my Ego was slamming itself against the sides of the cage, screaming "She's got pocket Queens! She's got pocket Queens! She's got pocket Queens!" My Id, however, pulled out the cattle prod and proceeded to back the Ego into the dark recesses of the cage and threatened to report it to the Super Ego if things didn't quiet down back there.

I called her reraise. The turn was crap and we both checked. The river was also crap and Sarah proceeded to push all her chips in. As God as my witness, I looked at her and said "What do you have Sarah, pocket Queens?" She shook her head no. I looked down at my chips where I had about 2500 left, and she had me covered. My Ego made one last attempt to talk me out of it, but the Id gave it a nasty smirk and I pushed the rest of my chips in.

With a last dying scream that would have worked much better than the cheesy "Nooooooooooooo!" uttered by Darth Vader in the latest movie, the Ego and the rest of us watched as Sarah turned over.....

Pocket Queens.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Revenge of the Hatch

I've been breathing like Darth Tater lately with my allergies and a head cold, but I promise I'll be back soon with tales to amaze and entertain you with my faithful legion of readers. A preview of coming headlines...

Hatch Can't Drive 65
Direct Evidence that Heff is Gay
The Thong of Uncle Bull: Truth or Fiction?
She's Got Pocket Queens Screamed Hatch's Ego

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Coffee Through the Nose

I've been reading a lot of other blogs about poker lately. One of my favorites is Mean Gene, who is now safely ensconced in my Poker Blogs links over there on the right. One of his recent posts just struck me as hilariously funny at work recently. It was one of those things where I nearly snorted my cup of coffee up through my nose and a co-worker stuck his head over the side of the cube to see what I was giggling about.
Tuesday Night Finale

The poker table was angry that day my friends...

There were 20 available slots for tonight's final game at Startime in Roswell. Three were no shows and were not chipped in. They thought one person was going to be late so they had his chips on table 3 and we put them in for the blinds when it was his turn.

I started out on tear. For about 5 hands I was unbeatable and either got great starting cards or limped in and hit some great flops. We started with 10k in chips and I very quickly moved up to about 30k, causing much bitching and moaning at the table. This was a great thing, since people ahead of me stopped to think before they even called the big blind and they were quick to check to me when I was in a hand. Our table started out with 6 and the first two people out of the tournament were bounced off that table, so we got merged into the other two tables.

I won a few small pots at the new table by continuing my strategy of aggressive play, taking advantage of everyone else playing very tight. Time after time it was folded around to where just the blinds were left, so if I was in late position I raised large a few times and pushed the blinds out. I did get busted once however.

There were 8 of us at the table and 4 people folded in front of me. I pushed in 3k in chips, which was about 5 times the big blind. The guy on the button to my left thought about it a few seconds and pushed in with about 7800 total. The blinds folded quickly. I gave him a grin and said "You busted me dude, I was just bluffing my ass off" and flipped up my lame duck Hammer. I got some pretty amazed looks from the rest of the table though. Heh.

My first disastrous hand happened a short time later. I was the chip leader at the table still, and limped in with suited connectors of hearts. By the time the turn came, I had two pair and was on a flush draw. The small blind pushed his chips in at that point. I made a mistake of not realizing that he was the small blind, so I put him having two pair. I honestly didn't stop and think about it enough and called too quickly. He flipped up an 84o and had flopped a straight. I had about 13 outs, but the river was no help, and it cost me about half my chips.

I was a little upset about it, but got my composure back quickly. I started building my chips back up by taking a few small hands, but disaster was looming on the horizon.

I limped in UTG with 910c. The flop was 99J. Rick, who is a regular player, and one of the players I really respect in these tournaments, bet a thousand. I reraised another 1000 and he called. Everyone else was out by this point. The turn was garbage and we both threw another 2k or so in. The river was some other card that I don't even remember, but there was no flush possible and no obvious straights. I thought about it and pushed all my chips in. This was the only time tonight I had risked all my chips. I had called a few all ins when I had them covered, but I was sure I had the nuts this time so I laid it all on the line.

Rick called pretty quickly. I showed my 9. He showed the other 9 with a King kicker. Out in eleventh place. Sigh.

I have another chance at a trip this Thursday night, so all is not lost. I don't think I really made too many mistakes tonight, but I need to make myself stop and think a little more about situations where there are a lot of chips at stake. I don't see myself playing that final hand any other way, but the hand where I threw half my chips away should have been laid down. I didn't consider what I knew about the player or what position he was playing from.

Monday, May 09, 2005

My Boys Can Swim!

I hinted at it last week, but here's the official announcement. Marissa called me late last Thursday night to tell me she had passed a test. Hatch has procreated. Let the world tremble. We should be due sometime in late December or early January. Marissa is convinced it's a boy, but I'll be happy with either. More updates will be available after the first doctor's visit next Monday.
Happy 32nd Bro

My little brother Brian turned 32 years old today. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Hatch Emotions

Your daddy said I took you just a little too far.
Tellin' other things, but your girlfriend lied
Can't catch me cause the rabbit done died.
Wednesday Poker Results

I played at a new place last night after getting my hair cut next door. My buddy Sonny plays there and he suggested I try it out while his girlfriend Donna was taking about two pounds of hair off my head at the salon next door.

The name of the place was Sean Patrick's and the tournament was run by Poker Players, Inc. We got there a few minutes late so I was put on a waiting list. I ended up sitting down finally with the blinds at level 2 so I payed a 400 chip penalty out of my 5k starting stack.

You'd pretty much have to call this a Turbo style Hold'em Tournament. The blinds were doubled every 15 minutes and a countdown to the next level was displayed on a large projection screen. I didn't so well to start even though practically everyone at the table were what I call "Small Calling Stations." They really liked to see flops and got really frustrated when I'd raise 2000 pre-flop on the button after everyone else had called the 400 blind. I did this with hands like A6o and A8o and took it down several times after getting some ugly looks.

The only player at the table that I respected was an older guy sitting to my left. He finally called one of my large raises when I actually had something like KQo and he hit a pair on the flop to take it down. I'd still consider him a calling station, but he did at least seem to choose decent starting hands.

I pretty much limped my way to the final two tables and eventually to the final table of 8. Just after the final table started, the chip leader, who was sitting to my right, pushed all in UTG. I hadn't even looked at my hand yet. I took a quick peek and saw AA. I started counting up my chips. She finally asked if I was calling and I said "Yes." She looked pretty happy about it.

The two short stacks at the table also both pushed in, making a tiny main pot compared to the monster stack that the chip leader and I were about to contend for. She almost gleefully flipped up pocket Kings, but soon started cussing when I showed my Aces.

No Aces or Kings all the way to the river, so I took it down and was chip leader. One of the small stacks had gone all in with something like 57o and ended up with two pair, so only one of them was knocked out.

Soon we were chipped out to only gold chips, and I had 13 chips compared to the chip leader who had 14. At this point we were down to 5 people. I lost a few chips by the time we were down to four people, decided to push them in with an A6o. My old nemesis from the first table called me and showed A8o. So I got knocked out in 4th, but felt pretty good since it was my first time to play there and I definitely wasn't used to the blinds going up so fast.

I enjoyed it for the most part, but so many people were smoking that I stepped outside a few times when I wasn't in the hand to catch a breath of fresh air. I probably won't play there much just because of that. They finish tournaments so fast there because of the blinds going up quick that they actually run a second tournment starting at 10:30. I decided not to stay since that would put me staying up too late.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tuesday Night

I wasn't going to play tonight. I already had a guaranteed spot in the finals next Tuesday, so I thought about just sleeping early tonight. In the end I decided to go to try out a few tips I picked up over the weekend from studying poker. More on those in a later post.

I started out good. The button started at the player to my left and I won two pots before I even had to post the big blind for the first time. Then I started playing loose and lost a few thousand in chips. So I tightened up and won it all back. Then I'd play loose a few hands and lose a few thousand. This went on a few times until it was down to two tables and I finally started playing tight for a while.

When there were 10 people left, a buddy of mine named Sonny told me that if I got 8th place, he and I would tie for points for the final points spot next Tuesday. If I went out in 7th, he wouldn't have a spot. I thought about losing on purpose so Sonny would have a spot, but then someone else gave him one of their extra spots.

Startime is doing a strange thing this time around in the tournament. The 10 weekly winners earn a guaranteed spot. Then 8 or 10 other spots are awarded based on points. If you come in 8th one week, you get 1 point. Seventh is 2 points and so on. It would make sense that weekly winners wouldn't get points, but they decided to still give 8 points to the weekly winners, so a lot of them actually have 2 seats. You can either give the extra seat to a buddy, or just eliminate on spot to cut down on the competition.

I came in 7th tonight. After eighth place was decided, I decided to play maniac style since it was 11:30, I was tired, and I had already earned a second spot. I went all in with A10o and got called with something stupid like K7o, which of course won on the river. It's all good though.

I'm pretty much guaranteed a spot next Thursday just on points at Startime, unless a lot of people just below me all make the final table. I'm going to play this Thursday to try to cement it, but it looks like I'll have two chances next week to win a vacation package for two to somewhere.

I did come up for a great slogan for a poker T-Shirt tonight.

"I went to the river and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt."

OK, maybe not that great but it was funny at the time when I said it at the table. Maybe the shirt would be funnier if it had cards on it showing a busted flush draw.
Rumor Control

Someone has been spreading rumors in the comments section that I'm drinking cokes (or Pop to you Yankees) while I'm on the low carb diet. It's Diet Coke. Zero Carbs. One calorie. I gave up smoking 5 years ago. I gave up loose women 3 years ago. I gave up alcohol except for the occasional cold one at the Heff house. I will not give up my Diet Coke. No way, no how. I could have a big 5 pound Diet Coke tumor growing out of the side of my butt and I still wouldn't give them up. So please no more comments from the peanut gallery about it. It ain't gonna happen. Actually if a certain someone would give up his habit of letting classic Mustangs rot in his basement I might consider it, but I know I'm safe.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Slept late today. Probably a little too late since it was almost Noon before I got out of bed. Marissa and I ran a few errands to get ready to host a birthday party for Cameron, my sister-in-laws stepson.

Victoria and I walked on the Stones River Greenway later this afternoon. I think we walked about 1.2 or so miles. We started on the new section out by the dam in Hermitage. It's pretty nice, but still needs a little bit of work to finish it off.

The D.B.A.N. this morning was 310, so I've pulled 8 pounds off this week. I'm getting oh so close to a picture worthy of forcing Uncle Bull into that thong like he promised. I'd love to hit 300 by next Sunday, but 10 pounds in a week might be too much to hope for. I'm still not having any problems avoiding the carbs. I was able to skip pizza and ice cream cake at the birthday party today.