Sunday, February 25, 2007

Sweet and savory

Apropos of not much, it's interesting to note that making a preparing a proper pad thai requires a bottled ingredient called fish sauce, a concoction so foul smelling that you'd imagine it being distilled from a mash of gangrenous limbs. But mix it with tamarind paste and a little sugar in a wok and you create a wonderful coating for your noodles.

Cooking is a minor passion for me and Sunday night supper is my turn to shine at Chez Poker Jones. Requests are taken, recipes consulted, provisions acquired and preparations made. It's not always fancy -- there's nothing like the aroma of a pot roast and vegetables wafting through the house on a wintry day. But the meals can get elaborate and I'm not afraid to experiment on my family (sounds evil, doesn't it?).

Pad thai is not gourmet cooking (it's a popular street dish in Thailand), but it was new to Chez Jones, was met with great approval and resulted in demands that it be added to the Sunday repertoire. I'd call it a culinary success.

The importance of Sunday supper in our home goes well beyond the culinary, however. It has long been a pleasant and important ritual for us, serving as a bridge between the week that was and the week that will be. The only real constant in our lives is change, but there's real comfort to be found in sharing a home-cooked meal with your family.

As for poker ... I donked out of a $50 Group deep-stack tournament Saturday trying to push someone off a pot with a semi-bluff (open-ender) after the flop. We were not quite 90 minutes into the thing and the blinds were still relatively small. Yet I became impatient and gave my stack away. Stupid and disappointing. I'm not happy with my NL tournament play these days.

Online, I've been working on mixed games and played a couple of micro-limit HORSE tournaments on Stars over the weekend, making the "money" in one and bubbling +1 in another. Those two efforts reminded me of how bad I am at Stud hi-lo and prompted me to enter a $1 tournament in that game last night. I think I did okay and finished 25th out of 350-plus runners, turning a tidy profit of $1.29 for almost 3 1/2 hours of work.

There's obviously no money to be made in micro-limit tournaments, but they are useful learning tools. The patterns of Stud hi-lo are far more recognizable today than they were before the tournament. And it was nice to discover that aggression is in fact rewarded in Stud hi-lo.

Perhaps the "secret" is know when to press the pedal to the floor and when to let up. But that applies to all forms of poker, doesn't it.


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