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

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Freedom's just another word for....

Goofing off. I've got the house to myself this weekend as the PQ is in Orlando with her sister and her hubby and kids. She picked up the PD (Poker Daughter) last night as well. Today the girls and my bro in law are at the MegaCon convention for anime, sci fi,fantasy,etc while my wife, her sis and my nephew visit Universal Studios. And who knows what I'll do.

Yesterday was a long day at work but I was planning on working late since no one was home. Hell even the dog is over with my other sis in law here though I'll pick her up shortly. I got into work at 7:30 yesterday morning and didn't leave until almost 9:30 last night. Thats a long day. I got a lot done but wish I could have done more. This time of year we are soooo busy with people trying to correct info for their taxes and others trying to add cost basis for stuff they sold. Add in the law changes this year which are making people take notice of cost of their stocks and bonds much more than they used to. We are normally really busy at this time of year but this year we are at least 40 or 50% busier. Which puts a big strain on everyone and does not fill a person with joy everyday.

Unfortunately as hard as I worked yesterday, I still could not fall right asleep. I woke up way too early to boot and I can't blame wife,kids, or dog for that, I just am used to being up at 6:30 everyday and my body decided I needed to get up then. Hopefully I can take a nap this afternoon. I usually hate napping on the weekends, feels like I'm wasting my free time but I'm gonna make an exception today. I do have something to do tonight though. A local radio station is sponsoring a freeroll tourney and I have entry into it so I will be playing tonight. One of the DJs there sponsors the tourney every Saturday night that PQ and I often play in. It will be nice to play a freebie this time though you never know what kind of player you're gonna be up against in free tourneys I have noticed. Maybe after the tourney I'll either go right to bed and then get up early and head to the Hard Rock, or I'll go right from the tourney there. We'll see.

Not much else going on now. Doing laundry and took clothes to the dry cleaners first thing so I've been somewhat productive. Now it's time to veg out for a bit. Hopefully I'll have good results tonight. Till then its bye bye from sunny Florida. Stay lucky you nuts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good ain't quite great but it's good enough for me

Yep I am running good right now. Not so good that I'm winning everything in sight but I do have 3 different second place finishes this week. One in the Sunday night Donkey Island, one on Monday night and then in the Dank last night. Unlike the past 3 weeks or so, some of my draws are actually hitting, some big hands are holding up or coming back to win, and I'm getting people to make the wrong plays at the right time. Here are some examples.

Got into a hand with HeffMike last night. Flop was AQ5 with one spade. I was sitting on a 3-4 of spades. I decided to bet out like I had an ace or 2 pair but not bet too big as it was pretty early and I didn't want to put too much on the line this early. HeffMike calls me. Next card is a 6 giving me an up and down straight draw. I decide to bet a bit more to try to keep control of the hand and the pot size and still represent an Ace. HeffMike calls again. River was a sweet little deuce. I bet about half the pot and Mike makes a big reraise. I looked again to make sure no other hands could beat me then push all in. Now Mike only has 850 or so left with about 4500 in the pot but he does manage to lay it down. He didn't believe me when I told him I had 3-4 but Mike, it's true. Mike did a masterful job staying in the game and ended up final tabling and going out about 7th. Terrific comeback. He also knocked out the one and only VeryJosie when he rivered a flush to beat her 2 pair.

Another hand I get AA. Make a raise to 4x and get one caller. Flop is 983 rainbow and I make a continuation bet. I keep it just over half the pot and low enough so that my opponent has enough chips to try and push me out of the pot. Which he does. Guy reraises me all in as I hoped and I call. He had 10-9 and didn't improve. Good night to him. We were close to the final table and same thing happens when I get KK. Last night I did a pretty good job of bet sizing in most situations and managed to convince people they could play back at me when they couldn't. I made a few good laydowns (I think) but made a couple of really bad plays that cost me. Both against Hoy who played very well and won it all. First time I could have take Hoy out. We both called a player's (Turtle maybe?) all in push for a little over 2x the big blind. I was sitting on AJ. Flop was 99J. I led out for about 1200 (blinds are 200-400 so there is about 2800 in the pot) and Hoy pushed all in for about 6K. I thought long and hard and then tossed it. Hoy flips over J-10. He doesn't improve but wins the pot and takes the guy out but if I call his push I take them both out. Then I don't lose to Hoy at the end. Probably to someone else. Later on I am leading when we're down to 3 peeps. I raise with A5 and Hoy pushes with A10. He's pushed a couple of other times so I think there's a good chance he has something like KQ or KJ. I got about twice his stack so I think I can gamble there. I was wrong as he had A10 and he takes a big chunk out of me.

Later on he luckboxes me to win. He has about a 4-1 lead after taking out XKM. I raise preflop with A6 and he calls. FLop is 8-6-5. I jam and he calls and flips over A5. So I have him to 2 outs but he turns another 5 and its second place again for me. Damn I wanted to win that hand. If I win that hand we're both about even and lets see what happens. But I had enough luck (Sorry Juliusgoat, that 4 flush had to hurt) myself so no kicks there. Hoy played very well to win and probably deserved it. Besides, his info on his blog about key hands and pocket pairs really has helped my game a lot. For that I tip my cap to him and say Well Done sir.

Thanks for the support Josie and not trashing me when I lost by the way. It's early to bed for me tonight as I was dragging ass all day at work and I'm planning on working late tomorrow night. Yes I know it's a Friday night but I got nothing going on, the PQ is going to Orlando tomorrow with her sister and our nephew to hit up Universal Studios this weekend. So I'm by myself this weekend. I may go play in this poker tourney Saturday night, I will probably go go shoot some paper silhouettes at some point as well. I'm also thinking about going to bed early on either Friday night right after work or Saturday night and then getting up very early the next morning and take cash off the drunks at the poker tables at the Hard Rock casino in Tampa. Haven't done that in a while and I would love to tilt a few drunks who've been out partying all night. Anyway, until I see you guys again, stay lucky you nuts.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'll say this for you Sully

When your luck turns, it really turns. Got to see one of my all time fave movies this past weekend, Nobody's Fool and that is a line from the movie. And yes my luck has changed a bit. PQ and I went out to Derby Lane Saturday night to get in a little fun and games on the green felt. She was planning on playing the 8pm tourney and I wanted to play a little Omaha 8. The last few times I went there on a Saturday night they didn't have an Omaha table going but when we got there this time they had a full table and a waiting list. So I signed up for that while the wife signed up for the tourney and then we went to get a bite to eat before we played.

After we ate the wife went to play her tourney and I was still 3rd on the list so I decided to play a little 1-1 no limit holdem while I waited. I didn't get anything going and lost a few bucks but soon I got called to the Omaha table. I sit down and the guy next to me is sitting on about 700 bucks. Now this is only a 4-8 limit table so I asked him what happened and he said the table had been totally wild earlier and he hit some hands. He usually does ok for himself but he said he was all in for his last bucks out of $250 he brought with him and hit one hand and from there it just snowballed. I hit a couple of hands early and got myself up about 50 bucks and figured maybe my bad luck had finally turned. Played for about 3 hours and was up and down a bit but I managed to hit a pretty big hand and ended up ahead for almost 50 bucks so I was relatively happy. PQ stayed in the tourney for a good while but ended up just missing the final table when she ran Jacks into Aces and it was good night Irene.

The next night I decided to play the Survivor Donkey Island tourney. I didn't realize it was a super turbo at first until I notice after an orbit or 2 the blinds had gone up 4 times. I made a couple of hands and bluffed a couple but had to give up some chips when I raised twice and got reraised all in. I just didn't have enough to call though I thought about it once with KJ. Guy who reraised me had played pretty tight so I had to give him some credit. Later on as the blinds got bigger I got dealt the awesome 2-4 of diamonds. I pushed all in and got called by Buddy Dank with JJ. Unfortunately Buddy couldn't overcome the glory of the deuce four and my rivered straight put him on life support. A little later I tangled with Lightning on a hand with 4-7 of spades. I flopped the flush draw while he flopped 2 pair. He didn't bet the flop (I think he had a problem with his computer) and I was content to take a free card. Turn was my spade and when Lightning pushed in I was more than happy to call for all my chips. He lost most of his stack there and went out in 4th. Sorry Light. Ended up getting heads up for the title with Twoblackaces who had been catching against everyone it seemed. He had me by a grand or so at the start but I went on a minirun and got up by about 2-1 then gave it all away when I felt he was pushing me with shit. He was, just a crap hand like KK. That put me down a good bit and when I pushed with AK he called with Q5 and hit both the Queen and 5 so I went out in 2nd. Still a damned site better than what I had been doing and it was nice to bank 60 bucks. And though 50 and 60 bucks are no great scores, compared to what I had been going through, it feels like a huge win.

After seeing Lightning and Josie writing about their blogoversaries I decided to look back at my blog posts to see when I started this mess. I actually just passed my 3 year anniversary this week. That's kind of misleading though as I started this in 2008 then didn't blog at all in 2009. I picked it back up in February 2010 so I am either 3 years old or 1 year old as a blogger. Or maybe 2 years old.

I want to go start by mentioning what started me blogging. There once was an Army Major named Andrew Olmsted. Guy like most of us, had his faults, lived his life, blogged a bit, etc. He volunteered to go back to active duty knowing it would almost definitely mean going to Iraq and he was killed there in an ambush in early 2008. I had not started reading bloggers online with the lone exceptions of the Sportsguy, Bill Simmons, on ESPN.com and the always entertaining Dr Pauly. But after seeing his final blog post - published posthumously - I started paying more attention to other things than poker and sports online and started reading other bloggers. I started reading a number of people regularly like the entertaining and informative Rachel Lucas and the very entertaining Hurricane Mikey. And I cannot forget the irrepressible Jay G who is Marooned in Massachusetts (with a wife, 2 children, and a number of lethal weapons) and the kindly Breda of The Breda Fallacy. I didn't often comment on these blogs but I did find some thought provoking topics and a lot of entertaining back and forth.

After reading Maj Olmsted's final post, I read all of his old posts. I really wish I had started reading this blog prior to his death. He talked about topical issues but also about serious things. He was always willing to discuss differing viewpoints without rancor or name calling and unlike some blowhards on both sides of the politcal spectrum, he admitted he didn't know everything and was willing to compromise. Reading him made me want to be better myself and also to want to put my own views, such as they are, on paper. Virtual or otherwise.

I know I am no great shakes as a poker player, husband, father, or writer. But I do believe there are many things around me that are just plain wrong. And the collective wisdom of society that supports so many of these things is not only wrong but even dangerous.

Many bloggers would point out the foibles of our government, our laws, our leaders, and even our neighbors. Like gun free zones. It sounds like a good idea doesn't it? An area where guns cannot be brought making us all safer from a maniac with a gun. My work is one example of this, not only can I not bring a gun to work, I cannot even have one in my car and park it there.

I think this zone creates a number of issues. Mostly it takes a weapon away from the law abiding but unless you have metal detectors and armed guards to enforce it, it allows the lawless to go on a spree without fear of someone stopping them. How can we? We're all disarmed. But I digress, I do that a lot.

Lately I've been reading a number of poker bloggers, not pro players, just average joes, johns, petes, etc. Basically guys and gals like me. I enjoy it greatly and they're a lot of fun. Even met a few in Vegas. We have families, problems, occasional great successes, and reading them sometimes inspires me to do better, be better, live better. I want to thank you all for keeping me entertained and brightening some days that needed it. I wish I was better at this writing, it just doesn't flow easily from me most days. Unless I am getting on a rant, then it flows but it's nearly unreadable.

Anyway let me wrap up this long and nearly unreadable post. I'm gonna hit some virtual tables to see if the luck is holding up still, might as well take advantage of it while I still got it. Hope to see you all out there. By the way, if you get a chance read Andrew Olmsted's last post. You can find it at http://andrewolmsted.com/. This linking thing is a bit beyond me still so just copy the address and paste it in. It made a difference to me, I hope it does for you too. And like me, I hope you stay lucky you nuts.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It was the best of times

It was the worst of times. Saturday was both. I was supposed to meet my buddy Chad for some recreational blowing off of steam achieved by the firing of large and small pieces of lead at paper silhouettes. I got over there at 10am when the range opened. Chad called me while I was driving over to let me know he was running late and would be there about 10:15. When I walked into the range building there were people in all the lanes and the lady behind the counter let me know it would be at least 2 hours before we could get a firing lane as they had a class going and the students would be on the range for a good while. So that killed that idea. Chad told me he and his wife would go to the range Sunday instead but I had to go to my nephew's birthday and then take the daughter back to Orlando so that was out for me. We agreed to go sometime this week instead.

So I went home, lost a couple of SNGs and then went to Chick Fil A with the wife and daughter. After we got back, the gals decided they wanted a nap. So I decided to go back by the range myself and see if I could shoot some holes in paper man. I didn't have to wait long before they put me out on a firing lane. Unfortunately I was on the rifle side of the range. This was unfortunate from my point of view because I don't shoot very often and some of those rifles are LOUD. Even with ear protection, the guy firing the big gun next to me made me jump a little every time he started firing. At first my aim was not so good, I was hitting the torso on the silhouette but not that close to where I aimed it. Then I remembered a couple of tips Chad gave me about aiming the .38 and started putting the shots within a small area.

It's amazing how quickly you can go through a box of shells even with a gun that fired only 5 shots before reloading. Before I knew it, I was completely empty but I did have a big smile on my face. Which is how I wanted to feel. I kept the smile most of the rest of the day until I played poker at Derby Lane for the 8pm tourney that night.

Seems my bad luck from Vegas is still hanging over my head like a black cloud. I thought it may have changed when early on I found KK in the small blind. 3 people had called the 50 chip big blind when it came to me and I raised to 250. Amazingly the big blind and the other 3 all called. So with 1250 in the pot the flop comes out K74 with 2 spades. I lead out for about half the pot with 650 expecting at least one caller and maybe all of them to call but surprisingly all of them folded. A little later on I get JJ and get called just by the gal directly to my left. Flop is a nice KJ8. I bet out 2/3 of the pot and she calls me making me wonder if she has a king. Turn is perfect, another 8. I check and she checks behind which makes me wonder what the hell she has now. River is UGLY, another K. Now if she does have a king, I'm screwed. I bet about 1/3 of the pot and she calls and flips over AQ for 2 pair with the Ace kicker. I breathe a sigh of relief with my boat and collect my winnings which is the last winnings I get for the rest of the tourney.

The lady to my left proceeds to go on a major rush where every hand hits her. She is playing 2/3 of the pots, calling raises with any ace, etc. No matter what she has, she wins the hand just about every time. I just keep folding shit hands like 8-4 and waiting. Finally I get QQ in early position. I raise 4x and get 2 callers including the lady to my left. Flop of course has an ace. I raise and she calls so I know she has one. The other guy folds. Turn is a low card and I bet again and she calls again. River pairs the board. I just couldn't bet again knowing she had an ace. So I check and she checks back and I show my QQ while she shows A10. She said she thought I had AK. Didn't stop her from calling though. I wonder if I put in a good bet on the river if she calls. I think so as she called everything else but maybe I take it down if I do. After that the rest of my night went crappy. Eventually I get moved to another table. Bluff preflop only to get called by 2 guys with JJ and QQ. They get into a raising war and I drop out but more chips are gone. Blinds keep going up and eventually I am all in with A9 in late position. Get reraised by the button with QQ. I don't get an ace and it's the walk of shame for me.

I play some 1-1 no limit for a while. Why I don't know since I figure my luck will probably carry over. It does. My draws don't hit, my opponents do. I lose with AJ to 62. I'm getting a bit short and call with A10. Flop is 10-9-2 rainbow. Aggro to my right in a $5 bet in a $6 pot. He pushes a lot so I don't put him on anything more than a 9 or 10 with not much behind it. So I push in for my last 22 bucks. Old dude to my left agonizes for awhile and finally pushes all in for $23 and the Aggro guy calls us both. Turn is a 3 river is a 7 and I lose to the old guy who had J8 for an open ended straight draw that of course hit the river. Screwed again. Calls an all in with just that. Shocking he hit. NOT

I rebuy some and keep losing. Finally i'm short again and call with 45 of hearts. Flop is Q-10-4 with one heart. One guy bets, the other calls and I call with my low pair. Turn is the 8 of hearts and I am in business for a possible suckout. Guy one jams, guy two thinks for a while and calls and there is just too much money in the pot for me not to call for the last of my chips. River is a black K which makes guy 2 happy with his open ended straight draw. Jammer had AQ for TPTK and my flush draw falls by the wayside. The only time my draws hit it seems is when they're second best. I called it quits then and hoped the next day would bring a better turn to my luck.

Sunday I went to my nephews birthday brunch in the morning and had a good time talking eating and conversing with my wifes relatives. We had to leave too soon as we had to take the college girl back to school. I remember when I went to school, 1800 miles from home, and I went home at the end of each semester only. She is home every other week it seems. I know my wife misses her and my girl misses all the relatives and the goings on here at home but my word, I thought you went to college to get away from the home and live a bit on your own. I gotta talk to the wife about this as I don't think she gets it. Then again, maybe I'm not the one who gets it.

Drive to Orlando and back was tiring as I haven't been sleeping well lately. The time change didn't help, I would have loved to sleep in but the familial obligation meant I was up before I wanted to be. After we got back we settled in and I decided to play the Donkament that night. That turned out to be a mistake. It was a multientry tourney which I don't care for but I signed up for two entries. Entry number one went down in flames early as Miami Luckbox err Don tried to steal a pot. I raised in mid position with 66 and he called from the big blind. Flop was Q-3-2 with 2 diamonds. I bet 3/4 of the pot and he put in a substantial raise. I thought for a while and put him on a draw so I pushed all in over the top. He called with AK of diamonds which rivered a king to beat me down. So my first entry went down 71 out of 72.

My other entry did better until I called a raise with 77 in late position. We saw a flop of 10-7-6 with 2 spades. I bet and was raised. I didn't put him on 8-9 and figured he probably had a big pair or maybe AK or AQ of spades. So I pushed in only to find my worst fear, 10-10 and I lose in a set over set confrontation. That hurt but was unavoidable. The other one hurt a lot more. Either way, my vegas luck continued. I don't think I should play poker for a while and maybe my luck will sort it self out. I know this stuff runs in cycles but damn, this cycle is getting old. Especially watching all of the flush and straight draws hit against me. And the only time my pairs make sets is when they are either beat or about to be beaten. And yet I can't complain, I got my family, I got most of my health, and I'm not completely insane (yet), what more can I want? So if you see me around on tables, take pity on me, fold a draw or 2. Or take advantage and know you'll hit your draw. Till then stay lucky you nuts.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Was it something I said?

We got back from Vegas late Friday night. It was a long flight but not a bad one and I do like those Airbus planes for long flights much better than the 737s that Southwest flies. We were pretty tired, not the least because we walked everywhere on Thursday. We went from Ballys down to the MGM, walked over to NYNY then hopped the monorail up to the Las Vegas Hilton. Neither of us had ever been there and I wanted to check out their Sportsbook as I hear its the best one around. And it is one impressive sportsbook for sure.

After spending some time and some cash there we trooped over to Treasure Island for dinner. I had picked up tix for the Bill Engvall concert that night. We ate a pretty good meal in their coffee shop, goofed around on some games for awhile and then went to the concert. I actually made a couple of hands playing Video Poker at both TI and LVH though nothing too huge. Still it was a nice change considering how the rest of the week hand gone.

Bill Engvall was a riot. He is a little bit older than I am but we're pretty close in age. He talked a lot about getting older, losing patience with things, etc and the whole time while I'm laughing my ass off, my wife is pointing at me and saying "that's YOU!" And she was right. One of the things that was so funny is I can imagine myself doing and saying some of the same things he talked about.

It was a nice night so we walked back from TI to Ballys. A very pleasant night out though I almost put down one of those porn slappers near the Mirage after he entered my personal space. One warning was apparently enough. By then I was tired and a little cranky from a very full day. We got back to Ballys and gambled a bit more but had no luck to speak of. We didn't get a lot of sleep that night as we had to get started early to get ready to fly out. We used our players club points to pay for breakfast and most of the souvenirs we picked up including the snow globe that almost got me arrested at the airport. Whoda thunk a simple snow globe would be found on the banned substances list. Next time I'll bring some loose bullets or something to really make it worth getting arrested.

Saturday the Poker Queen wanted to play in the Saturday night tourney at Derby Lane. My bad luck continued there and I ran a J10 into KJ on a JJ5 flop for the rest of my chips. I played some no limit holdem but again I kept running into bad stuff. It seems like I can't shake the Vegas luck from my head yet. PQ lasted a good bit longer than I did but eventually succumbed when they got down under 2 tables left. We left right after that as we were both tired and I had a gun show to attend on Sunday Morning.

The gun show was good. Bigger than I expected and very busy. There were a couple of good deals I saw - almost picked up a Ruger 9mm or a Smith & Wesson .40 cal while I was there but wanted to look around a bit more. There's another gun show next month so I may buy then instead. Guy I was with picked up a nice little .380 automatic to use as a concealed weapon as he is taking the concealed weapons class next month. I may take that class, I haven't decided yet. Now I know a lot of people, including the PQ, are against guns in the house. I don't necessarily disagree. If you have children and cannot safely store your weapons so that they cannot access them while you are not home, you shouldn't have a gun. You are endangering your family and friends a lot more than you are protecting them from someone else. Just telling kids not to touch a gun is exactly what you shouldn't do. However if you do handle the weapons safely and teach your kids how to handle weapons and the rules for doing so, there is no reason why you can't have weapons in the home. I never felt confident enough to keep a gun in the home when the kids were young and I knew how much the PQ hated them. So I never got one.

Now with the kids gone, I feel it would be safer to get a gun. I know many people are anti gun and that's ok as we all have a right to our opinion. But I feel it is worse to need a weapon and not have one than to have a weapon and not need one. And when you need a gun, you really need a gun. So I am sure at some point in the not to distant future I will be buying a pistol and maybe even taking a concealed permit class. I don't want to be one of those guys who buys a gun and sticks it in a closet and forgets about it. I want to become practiced with it and feel comfortable enough so that I can not embarass myself with it and if I have to use it, to hit what I aim at.

Since Sunday I've played a little online poker, still mostly getting hosed there. Just missed the money in one tourney when my KK lost to 88 right before the bubble. What killed me was I raised preflop and got called by the 8s. Then I pushed all in after the flop of 10-4-2 rainbow and he called me for most of his chips. 8 on the turn sunk me. Vegas is still following me. Otherwise its a lot of work and I'm still kinda tired. Then again I could be sick like the PQ is now. She had a pretty bad cold before Vegas but she was fine there. Then she comes back and gets another cold. Anyway it's bed time for bonzo. Stay lucky you nuts.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Vegas Postscript

Wednesday was my last day for the rental car, it was also Lightning's last day in Vegas. He texted me that he was meeting for a bit of poker with Lucki Duck at the Lightning36 memorial poker room otherwise known as the poker room at Ballys. The PQ and I got back from breakfast and dropping the car off at McCarran about 1pm and while I headed over to the poker room, the PQ decided to take a nap as she didn't sleep too well the night before.

The poker room was jumping for early afternoon. They had four $1-2 no limit tables going with a waiting list along with 1 or 2 limit tables as well. I signed up and then saw Lightning sitting at a table. He introduced me to the lean cardsharp next to him who turned out to be the one and only Lucki Duck. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately for my wallet I was not able to join their table and was moved to one of the other tables to play for a while. My lack of luck mostly continued there as I lost a big chunk to a flush draw (again) but I did manage to get half of it back when I got all in with KK and it actually held up. Not too much later Lightning came by the table and said he was going to grab some lunch with Lucki Duck and Ms Lucki Duck. Though I was not particularly hungry I pulled myself away from the tables to join them. I was introduced to Ms Lucki Duck and now I know why he is named Lucki Duck. We went to the cafe there at Ballys for lunch and were immediately seated. They asked me where the poker queen was and I gave her a call. Which woke her up. But I told her there were some people who wanted to meet the legendary poker queen so she asked for a few minutes to put herself together and she'd be right down.

We had a nice lunch, the queen and I split a salad which was really good and would have filled the both of us up if we had been starving, and shared some good conversation. We are all about the same ages, all with kids (and their attendant problems) and we all had our share of stories about that. It was nice. If I had to give my impressions of my fellow bloggers I would say Lightning is like your next door neighbor, the guy you have weekend cookouts with while you drink beers and play cards. Or in his case, Jagerbombs. The best words I can put to Lucki Duck and Ms Lucki Duck are down to earth and gracious. I went to college in Texas and lived there for 9 years. I met a lot of truly fine people there. The Ducks are Texans with all of the good connotations that implies and none of the JR Ewing "Dallas" view that many people associate with Texas.

After lunch Lightning was off to sunny and not so warm Chicago while Lucki Duck went in search of a poker tourney to beat up on. The PQ and I went up to the Casino Royale to gamble a bit and see what we had in comps that we could use. We played some Video Poker, not very successfully on my part and while the Poker Queen was ringing up more comps if not more massive victories. I wandered off to play some craps as I do enjoy rolling the dice though I did not enjoy great success with that either. Yes I know you're shocked too. After leaving the dice pit I decided to play a bit of 3 card poker for a while. I was doing well, hitting a flush and a straight pretty early. I was up about 50 bucks when the APQ comes by and decides to sit in. Of course the very first hand she is dealt, which would have been my hand if she hadn't sat down or had sat down on my other side, gave her a straight flush. WTF, I have never gotten anything higher than a straight and her first hand is another straight flush?? That just typified my week, watching everyone else hit their hands while my draws all missed. At least it was my wife and she shared with me. Of course she should have after stealing my hand. After that my hands went into the crapper but she did pretty well and left the table up about $250. Of course she did.

We checked our comps out and decided to hit the Outback upstairs from the Casino Royale for dinner. It was a good dinner, and it only cost us $14 after deducting for PQs comps. After dinner we didn't do much, played a little more and headed back to Ballys as we were both tired. Went to bed relatively early and got a good nights sleep at least. It was a full day.

Time to wrap it up

Well my Vegas Vacation is at an end. The APQ and I are sitting in the airport lounge minus one snowglobe. Yes you heard me right. I packed a snowglobe in my carry on luggage and apparently snow globes are on the list of banned substances right between hand grenades and assault weapons. The TSA was about to lead me off in chains when the APQ stepped in and in a regal tone commanded "Only We (note the royal we) get to lay hands on that man" Two highly chastised bodybuilders let me go as if they were burned and we were able to proceed into the airport lounge. Minus one snowglobe.

So now I have a bit of time where I am not falling asleep at the keyboard to try to catch up on the merriment of Vegas. On Tuesday morning the APQ and I went out to Hoover Dam. Lightning told us his idea of early morning in Vegas started about noon so we told him we would let him know when we were heading back that day so that we could maybe go over to Green Valley Ranch. Anyway we decided that we would grab breakfast at a local place rather than somewhere on the strip. You may remember on Sunday we walked up to Hash House A Go Go for bfast and I didn't mention but on Monday we made our triumphant return to the Peppermill. Anyone who stays on the strip must breakfast at both of those places for both the food and in the case of the Peppermill, the ambience. Since we were still kind of on Eastern time we hit the Peppermill about 6:30 monday morning.

Since we stayed up kinda late on Monday we were much more acclimated to the western time zone and managed to get up at a reasonable hour of 7:30 am instead of 5. I started driving west on Flamingo toward I215 hoping to find a decent place to eat when we happened upon Blueberry Hill. It's a chain of restaurants but kind of a local chain. So we stopped in for a leisurely breakfast which was pretty good and very filling then headed out to the Dam. It really was a nice drive through Hendertucky and out to the edge of Lake Mead. The Dam was a sight to see. The APQ had already toured the dam previously and I just wanted to walk around it and not go inside it so we spent about an hour and a half or so out there wandering the place and reading the memorials and stuff. After leaving the dam we went back to the main road and drove across the new bridge to the Arizona side and then came back. You can't see much from the new bridge as there are high concrete side walls, probably to prevent Winnebagos from being blown off the bridge and plunging 900 feet down into the canyon below.

On the way back I made the APQ stop at this little dive of a casino named the Hacienda between the dam and Henderson. It was like a step back in time to the Vegas casinos of old. We played a bit of low limit black jack and 3 card poker for about an hour. Then headed back to Vegas. Lightning texted me on the way back that he was in his accustomed position in Vegas, the Ballys poker room with someone elses chips in front of him, so I told him we should be there in about an hour and that we were definitely heading to GVR that night as the APQ and I wanted to play in their tourney at 6.

The 3 of us headed out around 5pm for GVR. On the way we decided to stop at an In N Out burger restaurant to try them out as that was to be another first for all of us to do this trip. We all enjoyed the burgers very much but are not sure what the big fuss is about them. I mean they are good and all and kick the living crap out of McD, BK, and Wendy's for fast food burgers but next to say 5 Guys, they are just a decent burger. Still a good burger was had by all and that's never a bad thing. We got to GVR a little after 6 and got a primo parking place right next to the elevator to the casino. We found the Players Club so Lightning could get a stations casino card. The APQ and I didn't need one as Monday after leaving the Peppermill we decided to explore a bit and ended up going to the Red Rock Station casino. That is a nice casino, as nice as most of the Strip properties. GVR is a bit nicer though.

We headed to the Poker room only to find that the tourney had been cancelled for lack of interest. I was surprised as I thought GVR had a pretty decent amount of people who played there but apparently, not that night. Lightning and I decided to play some 1-2 no limit while the APQ decided to try her hand at the Video Poker machines. She texted me not long after that she had hit quad Aces for a $500 score.

Play was pretty choppy for us in the no limit game. Lightning managed to hold on to his starting stack while I was up and down like a yo yo. I lost a chunk with AK on a king high board when I couldn't get the maniac from down the table to lay down his draw and I think he hit it on the turn. He made a big bet on the river and I was debating a call when I notice his legs moving a mile a minute. I read in Joe Navarro's book that the feet are a major tell if you can see what they're doing and that made up my mind for me. I dumped it and considered myself lucky to be down 50 bucks.

A bit later on I raised in early position with AA. I got 2 callers, the guy 2 seats to my left and the guy next to him. Flop was J10x with 2 spades. I bet 2/3 of the pot and got called by the guy 2 seats to my left. The other guy thought seriously of calling but folded. The turn was the 10 of spades which did not make me very happy. I bet about half the pot and was called again. The river was the 8 of spades making my Ace of spades top flush but putting a lot of good draws out there. I checked hoping he would check behind but he pushed all in for almost all of my stack. Then it was think tank time. If he had been Josie I would have had to lay this down as he would have been sitting with the J10 boat in his hand. I considered that and also if he would have called with 10-8 perhaps but thinking he didn't I decided I had to call with the top flush so I did and he table KK including the K of spades. He was quite unhappy with my A of spades. That was about the best result I had all week playing poker.

Things went downhill for us all from there. I went completely card dead and every decent hand was met by a lousy board. Lightning kept it together but lost a chunk on one hand and the APQ gave back all she won on the machines. It wasn't too long before we all decided to head back to Ballys where we seem to be doing so much better. Ballys did not treat me any better but Lightning was doing pretty damned well. I did take some chips from him when I chased a flush and made it but he took more from me when I finally got AA and raised him. We saw the flop 3 handed of KJ10. Now that's a bad flop for AA. Lightning immediately leads out which made me suspect 2 things, either he had a hand like KQ which I can see him playing that way, or he had AQ and had flopped the straight. I called his bet and then saw even worse news when the A of spades hit the board. Now I've got top set but if he has Q anything he has me. I decided to call his next bet hoping the board would pair and I could take it down but the 9 of spades hit instead. Now any 2 spades or a queen beats me. He made what to me was a smallish please call me bet and I obliged by tossing my hand. He later told me he had it which I pretty much surmised. I was really thinking he had AQ during the hand but afterward decided he had KQ. Hopefully it wasn't 7-2 off.

Time to board. be back later.

Well we made it home. Flights were a bit bumpy but nothing to write home about and no problems outside of the TSA. It's good to be home but I'll miss Vegas and all the action all the time. And yet I came to realize a couple of times that maybe there is a soul numbing quality to spending too much time in a place that is as unreal as Vegas can be. I think any place that is so detached from reality, that sells the dream that everyone can strike it rich, that we all can be somebody important based on the turn of a card or the pull of a lever, is selling a falseness that can lead a person to despair. I don't wonder now why some people commit suicide. I wonder sometimes why more people don't do it.

Anyway after losing that hand, the first hand the entire trip where I started with a pocket pair and made trips, things continued on a downhill bent. I lost in poker, video poker and 3 card poker completing the losing trifecta. Even the APQ had a losing day, fortunately her only one of the trip.

Well I guess the rest of the wrap up will have to wait, I am beat. Time for bed, my own bed for the first time in a week. Talk to you tomorrow. Stay lucky you nuts.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I guess I'm just not very good

Or very lucky this trip. On the gambling front that is. On the blogger front I have been very lucky as I have met and spent time with Lightning36 and Lucki Duck (not to mention Ms Lucki Duck) who have all been terrific. But more on that later.

It's been a frustrating last few days at the poker tables for me, not to mention at every other table when you come right down to it. I was hoping to keep blogging everyday so that I can keep up to date on things but everytime I hit the room for any downtime I'm so tired I start to fall asleep in front of the keyboard. We are staying very busy and really the room in a hotel for me is where I lay my head and keep my water cold. Anyway when I left off I said that it got better for APQ and boy howdy did it ever.

The next day Lightning and I both played poker again. I had some bad luck as people kept making hands against me, especially flushes, but I also have to take the blame on one beat as I didn't bet high enough on the turn to push the guy out. Of course the way he was chasing, he probably calls my all in bet that I should have made anyway and then I am even broker. I had not gotten great cards in my first day at the tables which may have kept me out of some bad situations but I was able to bluff a bit more than I usually do. I have gotten more aggressive as of late when I enter pots to make sure I am telling a consistent story and be able to take down hands I don't hit. It is mostly working with a couple of bad exceptions (I truly screwed up one hand 2 nights ago when I was tired and it was late) and again I bet sized poorly but think I still take the hand down if I remain consistent.

Anway the cards rewarded me this day preflop. Early on I get KK in mid position. I raise 5x the big blind and of course 4 people call. I noticed at Ballys poker room that people routinely call good raises with just about any suited connector type hand. Flop is nothing, no help to me but with 2 hearts. I bet 25 which knocks out maybe one player. Turn is a black card, queen maybe. Now there is about $130 in the pot. I have about $160 in front of me. I should have pushed in and made this guy put all his chips in the pot but instead I only bet $65 which gave him just the right odds to call as everyone else folded. Heart on the river sinks me. He checks but I don't bet so I don't give him any more money as he shows AJ of hearts. Now he had most of his stack in the pot so he called my second raise for most of his chips on a draw but its still my fault for not pushing harder on the turn.

I get JJ and get whacked by another flush, this time I pushed hard on the flop by going all in. The same flushing donk called with a K-10 after he made a pair of tens with a flush draw and of course hit. This time I didn't give him odds but that was the way it went that day. Later I hit a broadway straight with Q-10 but of course three clubs were on the board and not one but 2 people had club flushes. I gave up poker for the day when my next all in preflop with KK gets sunk by some guy hitting two pair with 63.

I went to the 3 card poker table where the All Poker Queen was busy adding to her kingdom (queendom?). She had already hit 3 of a kind and a straight flush by then but had given some back in her attempt to annex Ballyville. Maybe it would be my time. Nope. But I did get to see the Queen in all her glory. The dealers changed right when I got there and Dewayne started dealing. The queen said to me, "Dewayne already dealt me a straight flush today". About 4 hands later he did it again. I was surprised Ballys security wasn't called to the table to escort her from the room after that one. She had this stack of black and green chips for over $1000 in front of her by then. She fed me some chips to keep me playing while she tried to add more to her queendom. We went on for a while, her keeping about even but feeding me some more chips. We decided to cash out when I finally hit something which was the 6 card bonus. I was playing a hand with 77J hoping to at least win the hand. I knew i would get a few bucks from the Pairs Plus bonus. The dealer flips over his hand and unfortunately beats me with JJ. But amazingly we made a full boat with our hands together and that was a nice $125 payout for the neophyte, my first decent one of the trip. We cashed out not long after that with APQ grabbing a little over a grand from the cage and me taking about $150.

More later, till then stay lucky you nuts.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

She is the queen of all poker

And I am just her slave destined to do her bidding.

I left off at the end of our first long day getting to Vegas and the bit of gambling we did do. Sine we both crashed kind of early we of course woke up kinda early, at least for Vegas. I believe it was about 6am or so. We got ready and hit the ground running. One of the reasons I wanted to rent a car in Vegas was to go to this restaurant for breakfast that is a ways off the strip called Hash House A Go Go. They advertise themselves as having Twisted Farm Food. That is definitely true. If you have ever watched a show called "Man Vs Food" on the Travel Channel and you saw his Vegas show (the one where he tries to eat a 6lb burrito at the Nascar Cafe in the Sahara) you may remember him going to this place. Ever since we saw it we have wanted to go.

Well much to my surprise I found out just before we left for Vegas that they had opened in another location and this one was located in the Imperial Palace Casino just up the street. Off we marched up the Strip at about 7:30 am to the IP. Met some interesting people, one couple who had obviously not been to bed (or at least to sleep) wandering up the strip. Another guy still drunk who was hiding from Harrah's security. You get to meet all kinds early on a Sunday morning in Vegas believe me. We got to the IP and headed upstairs to the restaurant

There was no line at all (of course not, most of Vegas was still asleep on a Sunday morning) so we were seated right away. The waiter comes by and gives us a bit of a description of the menu items and you can see right away something is a little different. You've got your normal breakfast fare - eggs, meat, potatoes, fruit, pancakes, french toast, etc - but they're all put together in meals a bit differently. I got their original Hash House benedict which was the following. Two basted eggs on top of tomatoes, fresh spinach, smoked bacon, a large biscuit, and griddled mashed potatoes all covered by a red pepper cream sauce. Not your typical eggs benedict by a long shot. The potatoes are actual mashed potatoes that they then put on the grill and cook up kinda like hash browns. A little different take on breakfast taters but very good. Anyway they bring this out to me and meal is on this huge plate and has to stand 6 inches high at least. Just a massive pile of food. Now that's what I call breakfast. No wonder it's my favorite meal. VPQ had the tractor driver which was eggs, bacon, potatoes, fried banana and she got the pecan french toast instead of the big as a plate pancake they usually put with this meal. Two huge Texas toast slices of french toast. Needless to say neither of us finished breakfast but I gave it a pretty good run. We didn't leave hungry that's for sure.

After breakfast we had some time to kill so we headed over to Casino Royale just up the Strip a little more. We needed to walk off our breakfast a bit and we enjoyed gambling there so much and did so well that we wanted to try our hands there again. Unfortunately VPQ did not score big on their machines this time and I didn't either but we had fun and racked up some impressive players club points in the process. About noon we caught a cab to the car rental site and picked up our car. We were heading back and were gonna stop at Wal Mart to pick up some essentials - a small cooler, some water we can keep cold in our room, and some other things. On the way to Wal Mart I get a text from Lightning that he has arrived and is sitting in Ballys poker room as we speak so I replied I would be there within the hour and we finished up our shopping. We get to check out and I remember I had a couple of Wal Mart gift cards in my wallet so we got out of there for 5 bucks and headed to Ballys.

We settled everything back in our room and I went downstairs to the poker room. I signed up for 1-2 no limit while VPQ heads over to her fave machines. I see Lightning already sitting there playing and introduce myself. He looks just like his blog pic, but of course he doesn't recognize me till I walk up and introduce myself as there are very few pics of me floating around. I like to stay incognito so I'm not mobbed by the paparazzi. I am soon sitting at his table playing poker as well. Nothing memorable to speak of as I didn't hit much but didn't lose much either. Lightning wasn't getting much either so we weren't playing many hands but he had already whacked the same guy twice for all his chips so he was doing just fine. After a few hours VPQ walks up with some cash out tickets from the machines and she tells me she's hungry. We hadn't eaten anything since breakfast at 7:30 am so by 5 or so the hunger pangs start gnawing. And it's Vegas, there's lots of places to eat. Then VPQ shows me the tickets, one for over $200 from hitting quad Aces and one for over $1000 for hitting a royal flush!! Dinner is on her. Lightning still wants to stack up some more tourista cash so he declines dinner but we head over to Le Burger Brasserie in the corridor to Paris.

A bit of a pricey French take on a sports bar/tavern but we both get terrific sandwiches with VPQ getting a French dip cheesesteak and I got a bacon cheeseburger with brie cheese. Very very tasty but as I said a bit pricey. $11 for a burger may be a Vegas strip staple now but it still rankles me a bit. Still it was a good burger and almost worth that price. We also had a few celebratory drinks as well. When we were done we walked around a bit and I headed over to the poker room but Lightning had headed out for some food and I was pokered out for a bit. The wife wanted to play some more 3 card poker to see if she could become the mistress of all forms of poker around. Needless to say she did it.

We start playing and I'm not doing too well but not long after we started VPQ draws 8-8-8. She is playing both the pairs bonus for $10 and the 6 card bonus (where your cards are matched with the dealer cards and if you can form a winning hand of trips or better you get paid off) for $5. So she is already getting $300 for her set on the pairs bonus and another $25 minimum for the 6 card bonus. If the dealer has a pair in his hand she has a full house for 25-1 on the 6 card bonus. No pair for the dealer though. Instead he turns over the other 8 and she gets 50-1 for the four of a kind. $600 on that hand alone. It wasn't her only one. A bit later she gets trips again!!! I don't play as much 3 card poker as she does as for me it is generally a losing proposition but I have also never gotten 3 of a kind or a straight flush any time I have played. She is getting them left and right. This time unfortunately the dealer did not have the other card for the quads but he did have a pair and she got the full house bonus as well. Even paying for my losses she still walked away from the table with almost $1000.

We're getting kinda tired so we go play some video poker to kill a little time before going to bed to hopefully sleep the night and get on western time. We lose a bit but head upstairs still quite profitable day. VPQ is now APQ as she is obvious Queen of All Poker. Its surprising Ballys hasn't banned her from the 3 card poker game - especially after what she does the next day. But that is for another post as again this is carrying on a bit long. Till then stay lucky you nuts.