Random thoughts about my interests which include (in no particular order) poker, finance & investing, politics, football and whatever else I happen to see that piques my interest

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and of course The Ugly

It was a good weekend all in all but there were moments of badness and one of just pure ugliness that I hope not to see repeated anytime soon. As my last post mentioned, I woke up Friday coughing up a lung. Took the medications the doc gave me, the Zpack and the cough syrup and rested. That cough syrup with the hydrocodone didn't make me sleepy as much as dizzy so no operating heavy machinery last weekend.

We drove out to Steinhatchee on Friday afternoon/evening. It was a nice ride as we stayed off the Interstate. We did take the Suncoast Parkway which let us avoid a ton of traffic and red lights like US 19 has. Once we got up by the Crystal River nuke plant, we cut over to US 19 and kept heading north. Went through such metropolises (metropolii?) as Chiefland, Fanning Springs, and Hardeetown (no Hardees in Hardeetown but 2 are pretty close). Neat little towns. Finally we took the turn off to Steinhatchee. Saw a lot of land, not much in the way of civilization, unlike Pinellas County where we live. Just before night fell we arrived in the city of Steinhatchee. It certainly did not rival Rome or Paris for things to see, I will admit that. However I will also admit that the seafood was pretty kickass there. We dined at a place called Fiddlers that night. Had broiled flounder and broiled shrimp. O that was gooooood. We sat out on the deck, listening to the music, eating our dinner along with a fried mushroom appetizer, and watching the boats on the Steinhatchee River.

We drove around town a bit, unfortunately there is no way to go all the way to the Gulf as the town is a little inland up the river. Then we headed to our hotel in Gainesville which was fairly central to where we wanted to go. Nice hotel, especially for $49 a night. We were pretty beat so after looking up things we wanted to do the next day, we passed out kinda early.

The next morning we grabbed our free breakfast in the lobby and then decided to hit the road early. I wanted to go by Micanopy and the wife wanted to check out the Ocala Poker Room for their early afternoon tournament. Micanopy was cool. Really small town, the buildings all looked like the came out of the late 1800s and early 1900s. A number of antique shops, a few cafes, bookstores and a really neat stained glass place. I could have looked around in there for a long time. From there we continued south toward the poker room. Unfortunately, the address I had for the place and the info I pulled online made me turn right on 318 when I shoulda turned left. We got to see a lot of boonies lol. Eventually we worked it out and went to play some cards.

Nice little room they have there in Ocala. It's a jai alai fronton that only seems to have jai alai going 2 months of the year but at least they have poker for the entire year. Too bad they didn't have jai alai going then, I do enjoy watching it and placing the occasional short term investment on it. I have not seen it played live since the Tampa fronton closed about 15 years ago. Anyway we both sign up for the 1pm tourney. For $100 you get 10K in chips and for only $10 more they give you another 5K. That's a lot of chips and the blind structure is good with 30 minute levels and 2 levels of 100-200 blinds, one without an ante and one with a 25 ante. So you can afford to wait for some hands and whack the aggros with a little luck. Unfortunately luck was in short supply for me. If I could have gotten anything worth playing, I would have been fine. I saw so many hands of 9-4, 10-3 and 5-2 that it was sickening. At the end of the first hour I had played 2 hands that weren't my blinds and both were folded after the flop . After 2 hours I still hadn't won a hand. I also had only seen one pocket pair and they were 3s. Still hadn't seen A with anything better than a 7. Never even got KQ. Watched these other clowns getting AA, KK, etc but I could not get squat. Lost 2 hands to this yahoo off to my left. I watched him win 2 hands with Q6 suited and J7 off but the two hands I get involved with and tried to steal postflop he shows up with AK and AA. Both hands he didn't raise preflop from early position. He deserved to get whacked, especially with the Aces since he had 5 callers and yet no one catches anything on a 455 flop. I had 33 and tried to pick it up from the button but he calls postflop and then post turn with a 6. Now I feel pretty good about my hand but have to give him credit for something since he had AK last time we tangled and didn't raise. I'm looking for a 2 or 7 on the river but of course it's an Ace. He checks again but I just check and he turns over AA for the boat. No justice at all. He played like crap but gets rescued on the river. I wonder if no ace hits if he lays it down to my river bet but I doubt it. Of course I get no help on the river anyway.

And that's the way the whole tourney went. After 3 hours I have won a grand total of one hand with A-8 when I raised preflop then raised the one caller off the hand after the flop. I'm down to about 8K. Blinds are 300-600 so it's getting critical. My wife is two places to my right. She started out pretty well but is not getting anything much either now. She gets it all in a little later with K-10 but gets called by the guy next to me with KQ and another guy with AJ. Ace flops and she's gone. The next hand I finally get AK. I push all in for my last 3K and the guy next to me calls and shows KQ again. This time I get 2 pair and win my second hand of the day. Only took almost 4 hours. Next hand I dump and the guy next to me wins with AQ. So in 3 hands this guy has KQ, KQ, AQ which is better than my entire day. Very next hand I am UTG with 10-10. I'm leery of pushing too hard in that seat and losing to someone with KK or something in a later position, so I just call. Guy next to me calls as do the 2 blinds. Flop is nice, 8 5 2 rainbow. Checked to me and I bet half the pot. Guy next to me calls and the blinds fold. Next is a 3. I was gonna bet but I don't have enough behind to push someone out if I do so I just push in for my last 4K. Guy calls and turns over QQ. I don't suck out on the river (of course) and it's bye bye.

I wasn't upset, it was the way the day had gone. Amazing another clown doesn't raise his big pair and still wins against 3 other people. When you ain't got it, you ain't got it. What was most disappointing was in 4 hours you figure the luck will even out some and you'll catch something but it wasn't meant to be. It was bad but at least not ugly. That came a bit later.

Wife was playing 1-1 no limit holdem. I like this level as max buy in is 60 so you don't have to have a massive amount of cash to play some no limit holdem unlike the higher limits like 1-2, 2-5 and 5-10. I got put at the wife's table about a half hour after I busted. She was doing decently, up about 25 bucks. I got 2 good hands off the go, AK where I flop a K and end up splitting the pot with another guy who had AK, then AJ where I flopped nothing and folded. After that I got pretty much crapped on. Got a good read on the two guys to my right. Both were pretty fishy. My wife beat up on the guy just to my right like he was her personal ATM for a while and I couldn't wait to tangle with him when I had a hand. The guy to his right was way too aggressive and I figured I could take him for some big chips. He did win a really nice pot when he called a guys 5X raise from the big blind with 43 and flopped two 4s to bust the guys AA. That had to hurt.

Unfortunately my tourney luck found me at this table too. I got no end of crap hands again. 9-4 and 10-3 kept showing up. I just kept waiting for some carsd to play. Wife on the other hand won a nice pot when her pocket 8s got quadded up on the flop. Room was paying a high hand bonus of 300 bucks every hour and she was sitting with it after the first 10 minutes that hour. Had a good chance of holding up too but 50 minutes is a long time to wait. Unfortunately about 8 mins before the hour was up some clown in the next table plays AK and gets KKK on the board to take the high hand. The dealers moved and the one who dealt the high hand comes to our table. She dealt me absolute crap in the tourney so I expected nothing, especially the way my luck was running. So the yahoo who got high hand gets paid off and comes over to our table to tip his dealer and thanks her then says to my wife "I'm sorry you didn't get it, well no I'm not". What a classless thing to say. I realize you're happy and all but that was just bullshit in my book. My wife gives him a look then says, "Good for you buddy, but karma's a bitch" Loved that.

Couple of hands later, The Ugly came to town. I am none too happy at this point, especially after my wife lost the jackpot. I get dealt A4 of spades. The ATM 2 seats to my right raises to $4 and with a bunch of people who called preflop I figured why not call this raise from the small blind. So do 3 others. Flop is A 4 2 with 2 clubs and one spade. Unless someone has 3-5 this is a really good flop for me. I check my stack and since I only have $14 left I decide to push all in. I don't have enough to bet anything now and be able to push anyone off the hand after the turn so I figure my best move is to bet $14 into a $17 pot and try to take it down now. Everyone else folds except the original raiser. He looks at his cards, looks back, sighs and finally calls. I figure he either has a big ace or 2 clubs. I flip up my cards hoping he doesn't have 2 clubs as I know I'll lose to a flush draw. I am shocked when he flips over a red QJ. I mean he has no pairs, no draws, and even if he just puts me on an ace, he knows he needs runner runner to beat me. With 2 pair, he is almost drawing dead. Needs a runner runner set or straight. I figured his odds at that point and I put him at 2%. Of course it goes K-10 and he wins. I am livid but I just say "I cannot believe this" and walk out.

How do you call that hand with that holding. I mean you have absolutely nothing and you're gonna call that bet? That was all the proof I needed that poker was not my game that day. I sat down and worked on a crossword and just let my steam drain from my head. My wife cashed out plus a bit a little later and we went to get some dinner. Found a really good mexican place and had a great inexpensive dinner. No booze for me as I was gonna be taking the cough medicine in a little while but still a terrific dinner.

Satisfied in our stomachs, if not our wallets, we headed back to the hotel and crashed. I woke up way too early Sunday morning. The wife was a little later. We wanted to head out to Cedar Key which is on the coast southwest of Gainesville. We had found a Grandy's riding around on Saturday and were thinking of going to breakfast there but since it was the opposite direction from where we wanted to head I thought we'd hit a local place in one of the little towns on the way to Cedar Key. We hadn't been to a Grandys in many years as all the ones around here closed down years ago. Got the names of a few restaurants online and figured we'd hit one of them on the way to Cedar Key. Went through such famous towns as Archer and Bronson where we tried to find the Lady Luck Cafe. Apparently it had not been too lucky as it was no where to be found. So we pushed on to Cedar Key. Drove down what had to be the flattest straightest road in America. If it hadn't been for all the tall trees around you would swear you were driving through Kansas or something. Very few cars on the road, almost no homes or towns for the last 20 miles or so to Cedar Key. Just a whole lot of nothing.

We finally make it to Cedar Key. Not that it was a great long drive or anything cuz it wasn't. It was actually kinda nice drive, just not much going on. At least the traffic was next to nil. We stopped at this little cafe called Cooks Cafe. I got me some biscuits and gravy. I may have been raised up north but I learned when I lived in Texas that cream gravy makes almost everything better. Cooks sausage cream gravy was very good, a little thinner than I usually see but nice and peppery just the way I love it. Their home fries were excellent as well. My wife had a waffle and bacon, liked the bacon but the waffle was so/so. We then walked and drove around Cedar Key a bit. Nice little slice of old Florida on the Gulf. Main St was a quaint look at another time. It was quiet there and not a lot of people were around but I bet in the winter the place is packed.

Once we had our fill of Cedar Key we started heading back home. It was a nice day to travel, no rain and not much traffic. We also dropped by Yankeetown on the way back, I rather insisted on that. There is not much of anything there to speak of. On the way out of Yankeetown we came to a sign that we were now entering historic Crackertown. Needless to say we got a good laugh out of that, Yankeetown and Crackertown next to each other.

Made it back home a few hours later and vegged out for the rest of Sunday. My cold or respiratory infection or whatever was much better. At least I am not coughing uncontrollably but I am still coughing some, especially at night. So to wrap up, the good would have to include these small towns, especially Micanopy and Cedar Key. Just neat little places like a slice of old Florida. Also the poker room at Ocala, especially the staff was very good. The weather was nice, the food was very good for the most part. We made a special effort not to eat at chain restaurants while we traveled to support the local businesses as much as possible. Outside of a quicky lunch at Burger King we pretty much did that. The motel was definitely a good as well especially for 49 a nite.

The bad includes getting sick right before I left. Also my poor luck at the poker room didn't help. Two other things I noticed were a lot of these small towns had a lot of closed up businesses. It looks like the bad economy has really impacted some of these small towns a lot. Also these are not well to do areas anyway. Most of the money made in these areas are related to fishing, clams, scallops, etc as well as lumber. Not high profit industries for the workers. Saw a ton of manufactured homes out in the boonies and not that many regular ones. Steinhatchee looked to be 60 - 70 % manufactured homes.

The only thing I would classify as ugly was my last hand of poker. That beat down was just ugly. Well this post has taken long enough. Time to post. Stay lucky my friends, luckier than me at least.

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