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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Hard Times at the Hard Rock

For quite a few people but not necessarily for me.

I am on vacation this week.  We had originally planned to go to New Orleans as part of the 21st birthday celebration for our dear daughter, the youngest of our fold, which was on Monday.  But when she got a job this summer she was not able to get enough time off for us to drive out there and back.  She did take a mini vacation and was home until yesterday when she headed back to Orlando so I still took this week off and we spent a bit of time.  On her birthday we took her and 2 of her cousins to lunch at the Hard Rock and she gambled a little bit as we did too.  Everyone else bombed out but I managed to break even for the day which I called a victory.  But we had a good time and an excellent meal so that was a plus.  Happy Birthday little girl. 

Yesterday we went out to breakfast before she headed back.  After leaving the restaurant, I followed her toward Orlando with the idea of stopping at the Hard Rock for a bit of Omaha Hi/Lo fun.  I was not surprised that I was unable to keep up with my lead footed offspring on the highway but was even more surprised when I got closer to the casino and ran across a Florida Highway Patrol speed trap.  They had 4 or 5 cars working together where one guy ran radar and the others acted as chase cars.  I saw 3 guys pulled over, another cop waiting to chase and a guy on the radar gun.  Fortunately I noticed them before they noticed me and traffic was pretty thick so I was slowed down by the time I came to the radar man's attention. 

I was surprised when I arrived at the poker room and found no game of Omaha going yet.  I was 4th on the interest list and figured I had a bit of a wait before we would start but not 10 minutes later we had a full table ready to go and off we went.  I won a couple of small pots early to chip up a little bit then went dead for a while and my stack got whittled down a bit.  I went from about $20 up to $20 down in the space of an hour while not winning any hands and playing hardly any.  I mostly avoided getting involved and the few hands I did play did not match up with the flops at all.

After going through 3 dealer changes with no luck I was getting a little frustrated but having a lot of fun talking with the guys around me.  Finally I got into a hand with KQ 23 from the big blind.  Not a fantastic holding but the KQ were suited and it was worth hanging around.  Flop was nearly perfect as A 10  5 hit the board with the A5 of my suit.  While not having a made hand of any kind, I am drawing to the nut straight, the nut low, and the nut flush all at once.  I was a bit disheartened when I had to call a bet and raise after the flop.  The turn was sweet when an 8 hit giving me at least the low half of the hand.  Again a bet and then a raise by a guy to my left who liked to raise his made lows.  That's a good way to lose some money.  It gets reraised again and then capped before it gets to me and I have to call it down looking like I'm going to get a quarter of the pot for my low unless something good happens.  But I still have a lot of outs to win and on the river my savior, the Jack of clubs hits the board.  Again a bet and raise before it gets to me but when I reraised that lifted some eyebrows.  Again the betting is capped and I take down a big pot when my Broadway straight beat a set of 10s and a set of 5s.  Amazingly Mr Low Draw was playing 2-4 and was beaten by my 2-3.  After all that betting I had about $20 left in front of me and after getting that pot I had $300.  Not too shabby a pot for a $3-6 game.

The day went like that where I would have longish periods of nothing and then catch a few hands in a very short time and chip back up.  I took a big hit on a hand when I got two outed on a flopped full house.  I was in the big blind in a kill pot so had to call half a bet to stay in.  With 5 callers already and a so so hand of K Q 10 3 I felt it was a decent call.  Flop was beautiful Q Q 3.  I bet out and got 2 callers.  Turn was an Ace which I didn't care for, especially when the guy to my left bet out immediately.  I decided to be careful and just called his bet.  River is a 2 putting a low on the board.  Guy bets out again and this time I raise him as he usually played low hands.  Another guy calls and he re raises.  Damn that's not good.  I just call and my fears are realized when he flips over AA for the bigger full house.  The other guy has 45 for the nut low and I'm sucking it after flopping the nuts.  That was expensive.

But I didn't tilt and later on got involved in an even bigger hand.  It was another kill pot and I called a raise preflop with KKJ10 double suited.  The flop was good when Q 10 4 came down.  I had draws to the nut straight and 2nd nut flush and immediately bet out only to be raised and reraised.  What did I get myself into now?  But I called and hoped for a good turn.  Personally I wanted to see the Ace of spades to make the nut flush so I wouldn't have to worry about too many other possibilities but instead saw the 5 of hearts.  Now I have to call a bet and raise for double the original amounts and I still don't have a made hand.  I thought about folding but the pot was so big already and 4 others were still in the pot so I called but then had to call another 2 reraises that capped the betting for that round again.  I was feeling a little unhappy about all I put into this pot until the wonderful 9 of clubs hit the river.  It was bet once to me and now I got to reraise.  I thought I would be splitting the high hand with the bettor but he called along with one other guy and they looked pretty sick when I flipped over the straight to the king.  One guy had a set of queens and I don't know what the other had but it wasn't enough.  I dragged a huge pot again.  This put my stack up over $450. 

I played a while longer and actually got my stack up to $500.  Was planning on quitting but a couple of folks left the table and for some reason no one was called to replace them even though 5 people were on the list.  So I hung out until the table filled out again.  Big mistake.  Dealer kept dealing me great hands, giving me great flops then killing me on the turn and river.  I ended up losing about 60 bucks back to $440 but still left with a terrific score after starting with $100.  Lets just say I left the casino happy. 

Well enough posting for today.  I've got breakfast on my mind then a trip to the store to pick up some clothes I ordered from the catalog and finally either 18 holes of golf or a trip to the driving range.  I haven't decided which one.  At least I have some extra cash for a good breakfast and to decide with.  I hope everyone is having a good Friday and I hope you all stay lucky, as lucky as me.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Vegas Part 5 - All good things come to an end

But I wish I was still there.  I was politely informed that someone did not appreciate my attempts at showing the beauty and glory of the countryside and instead speak more of the neon lights and casino sights.  In other words, less Henry David Thoreau and more James McManus.  Well who am I to argue with one of my 2 or 3 readers.  So here ya go Lightning.

Before we start, I have it on good authority that Lightning has been killing it at the tables lately.  He has done so well he even made the headlines of USA Today - albeit as an "anonymous donor" but we all know who it was.  You can read all about it here

Friday was moving day.  We only had the room at Bally's till Friday because we first set up our reservations for 6 nights.  Getting 5 of them comped was pretty sweet.  But when we decided to stay another day I looked around because Bally's wanted a good bit more to stay longer.  Then I got an ad in the mail from Station Casinos with a special deal at both Green Valley Ranch and Red Rocks.  We had been to both casinos and liked them a lot but Red Rocks was a bit far out there.  So I went online and got a great rate from GVR and decided why not spend a night there.

We checked out of Ballys about 11 after grabbing breakfast down in the café there.  Nothing special but the coffee was good.  Then we decided to head over to Casino Royale to do some cheap gambling.  I wanted to throw the dice again and the PQ was determined to hit a royal on the video poker machines.  We played some VP for awhile and neither of us hit much.  I decided to try my luck with the craps table and the PQ moved to other machines in the back. 

Craps was a lot of fun.  Started slow but finally the dice got around to a guy in the corner and he had a good run then a guy to my right had a decent run then I went on a decent run.  I ran my original 100 up to a bit over $200 when the table got real choppy.  I held back on some bets and just played it slow with the Pass Line and the odds only but still couldn't get anything going and after I lost back to about $150, I decided to quit while ahead.  As the day went on we hung around until the evening rush hour slowed down then made our way south the Green Valley Ranch.

Apparently the thunderstorms from the day before were still tracking us because we could see clouds building as we headed out.  Looked like they were coming from the Northeast and coming Southwest toward the city.  By the time we got to GVR we could see rain was falling north of us.  Check in was pretty simple but I was again amazed by the number of people with small kids there.  One lady in front of us had a very young child in a carrier around the front of her.  She looked to be in her early 30s maybe.  I'm wondering why she felt she had to come to Vegas with a little kid but maybe there wasn't anyone else at home.  Then just before she is done with her check in, her husband comes up with 2 more kids aged about 7 and 5.  Ok, now really??  Again with the little kids in Vegas.  I thought this was a bad omen for my last night in Vegas but we got our room keys and such with no fuss and were out of the registration area pretty quickly.  I changed my mind about our last night as soon as I stepped in the room.  OMG what a beautiful room.  Hell the bathroom was about as big as my bathroom plus my kitchen at home.  All tile and marble and just beautiful.  The suite went on around the corner and was just fantastic. 

While we are settling into the room we can hear the thunderstorm brewing outside.  We look out the window which overlooks the strip and toward downtown and we can't see downtown at all due to the rain.  While we watch the clouds keep sweeping south and before long it's almost upon us and the strip is completely gone from sight.  Unfortunately I can't provide pics of the room or the storm as we left the cameras in the car.  Or maybe y'all are sick of all the ones I posted last time and you're cheering now.  Whichever it is, going to GVR was a hell of a good decision.  We were pretty much starving by then so we hit the café there for dinner since neither of us brought nice enough clothes to go somewhere more upscale.  We still had good dinners, prime rib for me and I'm not sure what the PQ had. 

After our late dinner I hit the poker room and got into a pretty wild 4-8 Omaha hi table.  Every pot was raised and reraised preflop and just about everyone but me saw every flop.  I managed to win a couple of hands to turn a profit but didn't hit a couple of nice wrap draws that would have really put me up big.  Unfortunately the table only stayed for about an hour so when the table broke I decided to quit and met up with the PQ. 

We found some video poker machines that were paying back a little over 100% for double double bonus which was the first we had found in Vegas.  We played on them for awhile but no big scores were made and then headed to a fairly early bed as I was still a little wiped out from the driving the day before. 

We got up the next morning and saw we didn't need to check out till noon.  Plenty of time to grab some breakfast and play a little more video poker.  Which we did.  Unfortunately again no big scores.  This trip was probably the worst the PQ has had of our last 3 or 4 as far as winning at VP.  For me I had that one fantastic night at the Silverton but the rest was pretty mundane.  The craps was pretty good by and large, more wins than losses but the other table games really sucked.

After breakfast and checkout we had some time to kill so we headed over to the M Resort to finish out our trip.  They were so nice to us before I wanted to make sure I gave them some more business.  I had a little luck on the VP there but lost a little on the craps game.  Before long it was time to head to the airport and the 5 hour flight to Tampa. 

The flight was pretty uneventful and nothing really of note to report.  Except for the chick sitting in the row behind us.  SHE    WOULD    NOT    SHUT    UP.  I put on my headphones and tuned into some Law and Order episodes on the airplane wifi with my Ipad.  Everytime I stopped watching and took them off all I could hear was this gal yammering.   It was just yammer yammer this   yammer yammer that.  blah blah blah blah blah.   At the end of the trip while the plane was landing she was still going.  This gal was one world class talker.  I expect she will spend time in the legislature at some point and she'll be the one they turn to when they need a filibuster. 

And that's what I did on my summer vacation.  At least the first one.  I'm on my second one now but it is not nearly as fun or exciting.  Hope everyone else is getting lucky.  Maybe one of you guys won the powerball this weekend?  If so I wouldn't mind a donation. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Vegas Part 4 - The Narrative Goes On and On and On...............................

After the incessant gambling we had done for the first 4 days of our vacation we decided Thursday would be our travel day.  Surprisingly we were both up early in the morning and out the door before 8 am.  Destination Zion National Park. 

I had seen pictures from there and it looked like there was a bleakness but also an austere beauty of the mountains, the rock formations, and the scenery in general out there.  So we headed out without even stopping for breakfast before we left.  We figured we'd be able to get off I-15 somewhere east of Vegas and grab some McDonalds or Burger King for breakfast. 

Well you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men.   Once we got past the traffic and the road construction heading north and east out of Vegas, there weren't any fast food places to stop at.  We zipped along getting hungrier and thankfully rolled into Mesquite about an hour later.  After a quick stop at McDonalds and another at Walmart to pick up some water, ice, and a cooler, we were back on the road.

Once you go through Mesquite you head into the Virgin River Gorge.  High hills on both sides and a road and river running between them.  I imagine in the Spring when the snowmelt is running that the river must be something.  In the middle of summer lets just say I've seen bigger ones.  But it was still quite beautiful going through there.

Definitely not a sight I'm used to seeing in Florida that's for sure. 

After getting through the gorge we were almost to St George Utah.  Very pretty town.  Outside of being in Utah, I bet it's a really nice place to live.  Outside of town are a number of hilltops and mesas and a number of them have some really beautiful homes on top overlooking the town. 

There were some gorgeous looking golf courses and really this was the only green we saw for about 100 miles. 

From St George it's a pretty short trip to Zion but it's not like you're driving on the interstate the rest of the way.  Much of the roads were built in the 30s and while well built are not sized for today's vehicles.  There's a tunnel through a mountain that can barely take two cars going through at the same time and certainly cannot handle today's SUVs. 

So we enter the park and slowly make our way through it up hills and around switchbacks.  It really was beautiful.  Mountains and rock formations that stand out more because of what isn't there, almost no semblance of trees, undergrowth, bushes, etc.  I cannot imagine settlers moving through this part of the country without the benefit of air conditioning, bottled water, pizza delivery, etc.  Everything is bare, windswept, desolate, weather-beaten.  But in a beautiful, awe-inspiring way if you're into that kind of thing.  I kinda am.

Then we came to the aforementioned tunnel.  We waited in line for about 15 minutes while a line of traffic came through the tunnel towards us.  Then we got our chance while traffic was stopped on the other side waiting for us to go through.  Nice tunnel, just over a mile, kinda narrow, etc.  On the other side of the park we noticed it was a lot greener.  Apparently that side of the mountains gets a bit more rain than the west side.  Which is kinda surprising since most weather travels west to east.  But the east side apparently gets some airflow up from the Gulf of Mexico so summer thunderstorms are not unheard of and in fact as we were driving from the tunnel we noticed dark clouds forming over the mountains near us.  There was even some wildlife to view outside of roadrunners and vultures like this guy whose roadside lunch we disturbed
What, do I take pictures of you when you're eating lunch?

Notice more greenery, even on top of the hills. And the approaching storm
After going through the rest of the park we turned south.  After all once you go to one national park you want to go to all of them.  I had never been to one before but I'm not going to turn down a chance to head to the Grand Canyon.  South we turned being chased by the approaching storm.
We stopped for lunch in the little town of Kanab Utah at a place called the Rocking V Café.  Cool eclectic place and the food was delicious.  It was a bit of a hippy dippy place but it was still cool and I don't care if the place is run by PETA members or even Michael Moore fans, they make good food. 

When we left Kanab, the storms were almost right on top of us.  I goofed and stayed on 89 instead of shifting to 89A leaving town.  I thought I might have goofed but wasn't sure until I traveled a while and was still in Utah.  I figured Kanab was no more than 10 miles from the Arizona border and when we didn't get into Arizona I figured I goofed and I was right.  I had to go back and retrace my route a bit which delayed us getting to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

I was not really that hopped up to go to the Grand Canyon.  Hell it's a big hole in the ground isn't it?  I've seen it flying over and of course in plenty of pictures.  But I'm really glad we went, especially there.  The North Rim is at altitude, about 9000 feet up and because of that, is not like the rest of the area around Nevada, Utah and Arizona.  It's actually green.  Like North Carolina mountain green not like Las Vegas golf course green.  There's tons of big trees, open meadows, wildlife, and after all the driving we did up to that point it was really a different sight. 

Because of my wrong turn, the storms caught up with us and we spent most of the trip from Kanab to the North Rim in everything from drizzle to hard driving rain.  As we got closer to the Canyon we really noticed the change in scenery.  Wet but very green.

It was a bit of a drive especially with the wrong turn but we finally got to the Grand Canyon.  And immediately put on a jacket.  It was 104 when we left Zion and 55 when we arrived at the Canyon.  Now that's a weather change.  We walked around, took in the view and took pictures.  Of course there was no cell or wifi service there.  If you ever want to get away from it all in the middle of summer, do a bit of site seeing and hiking, and just decompress I would seriously recommend you rent one of the cabins they have their up on the North Rim.  If my family had gone out there when I was a kid I know we would have wandered the place all day, played cards and board games half the night and do it all over again.  Nowadays I don't know how much that appeals to the modern families and their computers, tablets, Iphones, etc. but I can certainly see the appeal in it myself. Of course with the rain and such, our canyon views and pics are nothing to write home about but man it was still really cool.


Yeah so I'm not a professional photographer am I?
We picked up a few things at the gift shop and a coffee in the cafe there.  I asked the counter man what the high was that day and he told me 76 until the storms came in then it dropped like a rock into the 50s.  When we headed back to Vegas from there the rain slowed and then stopped.  And then the wildlife came out.  Just about every open meadow had deer grazing in it.  We passed a wild turkey sitting on a log and a lot of other small animals. 

The drive back to Vegas was looong.  Mileage wise it wasn't that far but damn it felt like forever.  Of course part of the problem is there are no roads going directly there from Vegas unless you want to try your luck on dirt roads.  Which is how people get lost and die in the desert.  You basically backtrack to St George and then catch the interstate the rest of the way.  It's no straight shot and half the trip is on two lane roads but it is a very nice drive.  We saw some more wildlife, a lot of scrub brush and a fantastic view of the sun breaking through the clouds over a mesa.  That may be the nicest view we saw on the whole trip.  I don't think the pictures we took do it justice but here's one.

While we were thousands of feet lower than we were at the Grand Canyon, we were still up on a plateau until we got almost to St George.  Then we came down a very scary downgrade with switchbacks and long plunges to our death should we decide to take a shortcut or go out of control.  Eventually about 10 pm we got back to Las Vegas.  Where it was 105 degrees again.   But at least it was a dry heat. 

Well I thought this would be my last Vegas post but again it isn't.  Apparently meeting Rob has rubbed off on me more than I thought.  I just keep running over with things to say and of course I did post a lot of pictures as well.  I'm going to do one more post this weekend and finish this up.  Here is a wrap up of all the animals we saw.  Roadrunners, vultures, eagles, hawks, bison, burros, cows, horses, mountain sheep, mule deer, wild turkey.  Hell its like a zoo out there.   

Today I started on vacation again.  Originally I took this time off as we were going to take the daughter to New Orleans for her 21st birthday but now that she's a working woman she can't take that much time off so we are celebrating the birthday this weekend (it's actually on Monday) with her and she is staying here till Tuesday when she has to head back.  I might take her out shooting on Monday even.  Then I'll spend some time relaxing and playing poker the rest of the week.  And I'll even find time to post as well.  You guys are so lucky.  Till then, stay lucky.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Vegas Part 3. Birthday Diamonds

Wednesday in Vegas we got up early.  Our plan was to start off my birthday with a trip to The Wicked Spoon in the Cosmo for breakfast.  We had never been there but heard good things so it seemed like the perfect way to start out the day.  We were not disappointed.

First off the Cosmopolitan is a beautiful facility, puts even most other strip casinos to shame in terms of looks.  You have to go up to the 2nd floor for the buffet.  It was everything it was advertised to be.  I thought Bellagio had more diverse offerings but as for freshness and taste, The Wicked Spoon was definitely tops in it's class.  When you can put out individual servings of biscuits and gravy and both keep them hot and not let the biscuits get hard, you're doing it right.   It was a bit pricey at $25 but I would recommend not passing it up when you get the chance to go. We did not leave there hungry, that's for sure.  One thing we noticed there were certainly a lot of families there with kids and it seemed a lot were foreigners.  So maybe Cosmo really appeals to the European gambler.

***** WARNING ***** WARNING ***** WARNING ***** WARNING ******

Sorry folks, time for a rant breaks.   Nothing pisses me off more when I am in Vegas, especially at casinos, than to deal with kids.  Teenagers, little kids, doesn't matter.  Vegas is really not designed for the kid element and personally when you have people walking around drinking alcoholic beverages, doing stupid things, etc, it just isn't a place where little kids fit in.  Even teenagers but especially little ones.  How much do these casinos provide for kids to do?  Now I can't blame the foreigners that much, they really don't understand Vegas and perhaps it's part of a bigger trip going a bunch of different places but Americans do know Vegas and it's nearly criminal for them to bring little ones to Vegas. 

I know when they were in your early twenties, Johnny and Mary Sue partied like rock stars in Vegas and soon got married.  They had careers and delayed having kids until they were pushing 30.  Now in their mid 30s with 3 kids aged 5, 3 and 1; they think Vegas is the place for them to go have fun and recapture the magic.  Maybe that's true but here's a tip:  DON'T BRING THE KIDS.  I don't want to deal with your little brat crying about this and being bored  because it's illegal for you to put a twenty in a slot machine for them.  Too many people think that these vacations are for them.  No they aren't, they are for the kids.  Go somewhere kid appropriate.  Disneyland, Disneyworld, any one of a gazillion national parks that are in the area, a beach somewhere.  Come on aren't there enough places in the world that are just aching to take your money and entertain your kids for you that you don't have to drag them up and down the 110 degree strip??  Please??  I do remember when my kids were young and I may have not been overly thrilled some times but we spent a lot of vacation time at beaches, Disney themed places, and the like and not one of them in Vegas.  In fact the PQ and I didn't even go to Vegas the first time until we'd been married 20 years.  Now yes we are a little late to the scene often times but then we didn't bring the kids either.  And the boys by then were adults and even the little girl was 11 or 12.  She easily survived staying a week with her cousins.  So for the love of God people, stop being insensitive assholes and take your little brats someplace they'll enjoy and not where I go so I can GET AWAY FROM KIDS.   OK  Rant time is over.

After breakfast a little gambling was in order.  It was early so not much of a crowd at the tables and the machines.  Maybe I need to experience the Cosmo with a big rowdy crowd.  Of course I don't know if I'd ever see that.  The place was kinda hoity toity for my tastes and the casino floor was just kinda dead.  I don't know maybe it was too early but I just didn't feel any soul there.  Most of the staff didn't really seem overly friendly either.   Then again maybe if I had a Rolex and wore a linen suit they may have looked at me differently.  I played some craps poorly and lost enough to feel glad to get out of there. 

We took the long walk across Harmon to the Aria to check it out.  And for being right next door, it was a looong walk.  We checked out a few games and such and signed up for the $125 tourney at 1pm.  That was a good tourney.  Apparently my karma from the night before transferred over to the tourney at least for a little while. 

Early in the tourney I raise to 200 with AK off in early position.  Only 6 callers.  Flop is KQJ all diamonds.  Not terrible since I'm sitting on the diamond Ace but I'm not going wild with TPTK on that flop.  So it's checked to me, I check and surprisingly everyone else checks too.  Next is a 2 of hearts.  It's checked to me again and I put out a bet of 700.  And 3 people call anyway.  I'm really wondering what I'm up against and why no one is raising me.  Makes me think everyone is on a draw and I may even be ahead.  When I see the 10 of diamonds hit the river, I no longer care what everyone else has.  It's another royal flush.  I can get used to seeing those.  It's checked to me and I put an immediate 3000 bet out like I want to steal.  Kid in a hoodie to my right immediately moves all in.  Can you say Cha Ching?  Then it gets across the table and the next guy goes into the think tank.  Oh is he really thinking of calling here?  I try to make myself as invisible as possible and just sit a little away from the table, like I'm not even involved here.  It kind of works as the afterwards the guy tells me he wasn't even considering me still being in the hand, he was only considering the kid in the hoodie. 

After 3 or 4 minutes a guy calls the clock on Rodin and as the supervisor counts it down he eventually decides to go all in as well.  Bingo.  Guy to my right folds and I verify with the dealer that it was an all in and a call already.  Then I immediately push in and flip over my AK for the royal.  I had them both covered by a little so I almost tripled up to 30K. 

From there it went downhill.  I made a huge mistake when I thought a guy was making a move on me and pushed back with JJ.  Yeah he made a move.  With AA.  No help for me and I lose half my stack.  I got most of it back not much later when I called Rodin's all in push (he rebought after I knocked him out the first time and was reseated right next to me) with AK and he only had A10.  He didn't improve and I took his chips again.  But after that I couldn't make anything happen and I missed my chance to use my big stack to bludgeon people earlier.  Eventually I got moved to a new table where I ran into a real buzzsaw and again ran into AA when I hit top pair.  Good night for me.  Out of 110 I finished 35.  The PQ on the other hand was on the short stack nearly the entire tourney but out lasted me and made it to 30th.  She played well.  For me the best thing I did was sit there while the massage the PQ bought for me was pounded into my aching back.  Oh was that a nice birthday present.  Thank you baby.

We got out of there around 7 and headed down to Silverton for the big drawing.  We both had a number of entries in the drawing but neither of us were among the 10 names drawn.  We played for a while but the magic was definitely gone and we ended up heading back to Ballys disappointed for the day.  Still it was a good day, just not a great day.  Then again most days cannot be like the day before.

Well I was going to try to finish the whole trip up with this post but it was not meant to be.  So I guess another post will be in order later today or tomorrow.  Slacker that I am, I just don't have Rob's ability to put out mega posts and get everything in them. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Vegas Part 2 - I was hit by a Toyota once..............

Oh what a feeling.  Actually getting hit by a car (it was a VW bug) hurt like hell and my parents nearly had a heart attack when it happened.  But that's all in the past.

Monday in Vegas dawned bright and clear and warm.  About how it does for 5 or 6 straight months I imagine.  We decided to do a bit of downtown gambling to start out our day.  Back before we really got into video poker we went downtown and played and turned a bad trip start into a damned fine trip ending.  We were hoping to kick start it again.


We started our day with breakfast.  You have to start with the most important meal of the day and when we're in Vegas we do it up in style.  Most days we don't grab lunch as breakfast tides us over until dinner.  This was no exception.  Off to the Peppermill we went.  I usually have the chicken fried steak and eggs as I am a sucker for good cream gravy but this time decided to change it up.  So the PQ had the chicken fried steak and eggs instead (I had a couple of bites of course) and I got a dish I'd never tried called Munch's Breakfast.  Here is what it had:

Sautéed peppers, onions, linguica sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes, stirred into our hash browns, topped with three eggs any style and finished with Cheddar and Jack cheeses, served with toast or muffin
 Doesn't that sound good?  It sure tasted good.  It looked so good that the guy at the next table asked me what I was eating and ordered it for himself.  Personally I can't get linguica too often here and I really grew up liking it when I lived in Rhode Island so it was really nice to get it for breakfast.  Then after valiantly failing to finish our breakfasts it was out to the car and downtown we headed.  

We drove right past the Pawn Stars pawnshop but with a line outside and nearly 100 degrees on the thermometer already, we decided to pass on that one.  We parked in one of the garages and walked onto Fremont St.  First stop the D, formerly Fitzgeralds.  About 5 years ago we hit the video poker machines here for some major scores.  Funny thing  was, these were kinda old machines and actually paid off in quarters.  We quickly learned that 200 dollars in quarters filled about a bucket and a half and weighed a good bit.  But it was fun to learn, believe me.  That kick started the rest of the trip that resulted in the PQ hitting a royal flush at Casino Royale later in the week.  Definitely a fun time in Vegas.

While they still had a few old machines around, the PQ contented herself playing more up to date ones.  I was not in the video poker mood and decided to take on the 3 card poker game instead.  Eventually my luck would turn on that game.  NOT  The dealer killed me, every good hand she beat.  I never got a really good hand and quickly lost a chunk before deciding to bail for craps 

Good decision.  The dice were rolling well for me and the guy next to me.  He was showing his girlfriend how to play and racking up a nice score.  I hit pretty well myself.  I heard the guy talking to his gal and he sounded kinda familiar so I looked at him a bit closer and it clicked.  I had seen him before, on a tv show called Baggage Battles.  It's kind of a storage  wars but with unclaimed luggage.  I think it's even tougher to do because you have almost nothing to go on except maybe the weight of the bag and how fancy it might be.  So as he was racking up I asked him and he confirmed he was Mark Meyer of Baggage Battles and was filming in Vegas that week.  We talked a few minutes and shook hands and he wished me good luck.  Hell I'd already gotten lucky almost tripling up on craps.  Meeting him was icing on the cake. 

From the D we headed over to Binions.  The PQ had not done well at the D so I handed her some more cash and hoped Binions would treat her better.  Luckily it eventually did.  It took a while but the machines repaid her for her efforts with a few quads.  I even hit one myself.  Then hit the dice again though without much success this time.  We wrapped up with dinner in the café there.  I actually had a salad.  Don't tell Pete Peters but I understand why he had salads in Vegas.  After all the excesses sometimes you just want something a little healthier than a steak and baked potato. 

We decided to check out the Rio.  Wow what a load of walking there was in there.  We got to the Amazon Ballroom only to find the players were all on dinner break.  So we hung out at the Rio for awhile, played some video poker and I hit the craps tables again.  Not much luck there and I lost a bit.  The VP did not come through either and we headed back to Ballys disappointed in our gambling for the day.  But after all, tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday we decided to spend some time at Casino Royale.  Right in the middle of the strip across from the Mirage is this for lack of better words, dive casino.  It's not very big, it's not all crystal and light, but we like to gamble there.  The staff is great, the games have low limits, and the treat you nice.  The waitresses always remember my drink (after all how many guys run around ordering Planters Punch all day) and there's always a good vibe there.  We started with video poker right where the PQ hit her first royal flush

I didn't have any luck on the video poker and decided to try craps.  That didn't go so well.  I lost a bit on a very choppy table.  I finally just said the hell with it and went to the 3 card poker table.  For once I didn't lose my shirt.  I didn't win a lot but I wasn't getting killed.  The other 2 guys at the table were hot before I got there but they cooled off quite a bit.  After they left the PQ walks up.  She plays 6 or 7 hands and then pulls a set of 4s.  Of course she was sitting to my right.  Still I have determined that if we are at a 3 card poker table together, no matter where I sit, the big hand will find her.  So at least she cashes out for a good score there. 

From there we decided to go to the Silverton Resort off the strip.  We'd never been there before but saw pictures and thought the place looked nice.  That was a great call.  Silverton is west and a bit south of the strip, almost as far down as the South Pointe.  We found it without problem and parked right by the door in the parking garage. 

It really was a nice casino.  Had a western motif, kind of what I'd expect a casino in the middle of Montana or Wyoming to look like.  Rustic, a lot of wood, etc.  Not what I expected in Vegas.  The vibe was really laid back and the staff was great, very friendly and helpful.  We got players club cards then played some video poker to get some points for a free dinner.  So we went to the café there and ate dinner which was quite good.  Even split some dessert, apple pie a la mode. 


After dinner we went back to the VP machines and then it happened.  I sat at a machine and the Video Poker God looked over and got some interstellar dust in his eye and mistook me for my wife.  His finger came down and anointed me.  All the lights got bright for a second, sounds were sharper, and my vision was magnified.  I put a 20 in the machine and boom, quad 8s right off the go.   10 minutes later its quad 3s with a 4 for a nice 200 bucks.  Then not 15 minutes after that came the big one.  Flopped AJQ of spades, held them and here come Mr King and the 10.  Boom goes the dynamite.  The lights dimmed and time stood still.   Well not quite but you know what I mean.  It looked just liked this:

And the payout looked like this.

About 10 minutes later I pulled quad 3s with a 2 as well.  In the space of 45 minutes or so I picked up a nice $1500.  Lets just say I was one very happy camper.  I have seen the PQ go on rushes like this before where she hits everything in sight and after having it finally happen to me, all I can say is What a Feeling. 

After the magic wore off I decided to play some craps again.  Had a great time, made about 100 bucks and got a bunch of entries into a drawing for $1000 they were having the next day.  The way my luck had been going I figured, why not show up. 

We got out of the around 11:30 and headed back to Ballys.  I barely remember the drive, I just kept thinking of that royal flush hitting.  That was probably my best night of gambling ever.  If only every day was like that day.  And it wasn't even my birthday yet.  Happy almost birthday to me.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Vegas Part 1: Sundays with Rob

Last Sunday started out at 8 am and a balmy 90 degrees in sunny Las Vegas.  I know, I know, many of you degenerate gamblers (and you know who you are) believe that 8 am is perfect sleep time in Vegas.  I would agree except that to my body it is 11 am Florida time and nothing I can do will apparently change that today.

Vegas has been it's usual up and down self.  I really cannot complain much about my results.  Sunday night I made a nice score on craps but gave it all back playing video poker and 3 card poker with the PQ.  She has not really made the kind of legendary run she made last time we were here yet.  I am sure it is coming soon.  I got a taste of it yesterday.

We started our morning on Sunday by visiting the Hash House A Go Go in the M resort.  We had never been there before and I must say it is a very impressive property.  I brought the Ipad with me when we went there so that I could do a little surfing and mapping of our day at breakfast.  I also had a 10 dollar off coupon for HH from the American Casino Guide I bought this year.  Paid for the book right there.  Going to use another coupon or 2 today as well.

Breakfast was as usual marvelous and unfinishable.  The PQ had eggs, bacon and a pancake bigger than her head even if she had an 80s hairdo.  It had bites of Snicker bars in it.  OMG sweet but very tasty.  I had the HH Benedict which is poached eggs on top of applewood bacon on top of fresh spinach on top of biscuits on top of grilled mashed potatoes.  All covered by a delicious roasted pepper cream sauce.  While not a foot high pie, it was at least a half foot high breakfast.  The PQ and I gave it our all but finishing was not achievable by mere mortals like us.

We gambled a bit in the M after that.  What a nice casino and the staff was very pleasant and friendly.
We were both impressed.  I was even more impressed when I realized I had stupidly left my Ipad sitting next to a VP machine when I got up and left.  We were leaving when the PQ asked where it was.  I was so mad at myself and had about figured the Ipad was a case of easy come easy go when I went back to the machine and nothing was there.  But an observant staff member of the property found it and turned it in to security and shortly thereafter we were reunited.  Major kudos to the M resort, you are a top notch operation and I plan to do more gaming there in the future.

On the way down to the  casino we traveled directly down Las Vegas Blvd rather than taking the highway as we had never been all the way down there and I wanted to check out South Pointe as well.  We almost got to witness our own episode of Cops too.  Just past the Welcome to Vegas sign a cop had an SUV pulled over.  We didn't think much of it.  A few minutes and a couple of intersections later we are waiting at a redlight while the cars going north on Las Vegas Blvd turn left at the light.  This same SUV comes flying past us at 60 mph or so, goes right around the cars waiting at the light and then somehow charges thru the cars that are turning without slamming into one and charges off down the road.  The PQ and I are amazed he didn't kill someone or himself as he almost lost control doing this maneuver.  We are also amazed no cops are chasing him.  A bit later I thought I saw the SUV turn into the parking lot at this Budget Hotel place.  Maybe half a minute later 2 cops come cruising past us, no lights and not really pushing the speed limit  either.  Then they hit their lights and keep going past the Budget Hotel.  I'm not sure if they had a helicopter following the SUV or what because the next intersection both cops take a quick U Turn and another cop come north up LV Blvd and into the hotel parking lot they go.

I'm not sure what all was going on there but 6 hours later on our way back to Ballys, there were still 4 cop cars in the Hotel parking lot.  And the lesson as always boys and girls is "Don't run from the po po."

From M we headed back north to the South Pointe casino to check that out.  We liked the place but not as much as M.  The PQ went to work her video poker magic while I decided to try out the craps table.  Got on a nice run and cashed out a sweet little 150 profit.  The PQ was not having much luck on the VP machines but after I sat down with her she got on one of her patented runs and crushed it.
She hit 5 quads in the space of maybe 45 minutes.  I had gone back to the craps table and this time got runover by the table instead so I came back to her on the back side of this.  While none of them  were monster quads , they all paid a nice chunk.

While at the South Pointe I got a text from Rob here to fore known as Boob Rob that he had wrapped up his work for the day and was in the MGM poker room.  So we headed back up LV Blvd to Ballys to change up and join Rob.  Which was our mistake.  For some reason LV Blvd was closed northbound right before MGM.  What a traffic nightmare.  Took a while to get back to Ballys and that was after managing to sidetrack around some of the mess.  Going back to MGM afterwards showed how the traffic nightmare was now a disaster.  Cars everywhere. Buses too.  Luckily we were going Southbound and managed to go speeding past them all the way to the MGM valet.  After walking through the immensity of MGM we finally make it to the poker room. 

Rob was already seated at a table when I got there so since he had sent me his table number and position I introduced myself and we talked a little between hands.  I got on the list and got seated shortly afterward.  When they seated me I asked for a transfer to Robs table when it became available and lo and behold it happened almost immediately.  Not long after the seat to Rob's right opened and I slid right in.  Early on I got involved in a hand with a loose guy to my right.  I flopped top pair with a so so kicker and didn't want to risk much money on it.  So I didn't push the turn and let the guy beat me on the river when he hit his second pair.  I ended up losing more money by calling his river bet much as I didn't want to.  If he hadn't caught we were looking at a chopped pot I think.  Later on I got into it with the same guy when I raised with AK and got 3 callers.  Flop was KK7 and I made a smallish continuation bet.  Only he called and when a blank hit the river I just checked.  On the river he couldn't help himself and bet into me when a queen hit the board.  I reraised him and he paid me off reluctantly because he just couldn't put me on a K.  Unfortunately I managed to give back a chunk chasing a nice draw and by the time Rob and I met up with the PQ for dinner I was down about 60 bucks. 

Rob and I both cashed out together and he had exactly one hundred more than I did.  After he cashed and the gal behind the counter was cashing me out she gave me 240 instead of the 140 I was owed.  I immediately pointed out her error and gave her back the hundred.  After how I got my Ipad back that very day, what was I gonna do?  Take an extra hundred out of the MGM poker room? Why mess with that Karma?

Rob generously treated us to dinner at Wolfgang Pucks using his many comps to pay for it.  Not a bad deal at all.  Both Rob and I had the burger which was very tasty.  The PQ had a pizza which I tried and liked quite a bit as well.  We talked and laughed and Rob still treated us even after the PQ asked him if he was "Boob Rob".  I was giving Rob a hard time that nothing wild had happened even though we had played poker for 2 hours.  He assured me the night was young and we would see plenty.  Boy was he right.

We got back to the poker room were seated not long after.  While I was waiting to be seated the counter gal came over to thank me again for returning the cash.  Very nice of her to do so and I explained to her how someone had done me a good turn earlier that day, it was the least I could do.  We sat in for more poker.  Rob being the experienced MGM man that he is made sure we were positioned perfectly to view the upcoming parade.   And boy did we.  We were in the 2 and 3 seats on the table, facing the aisle many of the young lovelies walked up to go to the club.  So we basically had a frontal view of these scantily clad bimbettes ladies who then would turn to the right and follow the walkway along the front of the poker room presenting us an offering interesting side view. 

That's not to say all of the young women were dressed like wayward tramps looking for their next pickup.  Some of them were dressed quite tastefully all things considered.  But the vast majority of them seemed to revel in wearing less fabric than what was in my t shirt along with no bra and I will not hazard a guess on how many of them were going commando as well.  It was quite a parade.  Hell we even played some poker. 

There were a number of loose aggros at the table including the youngish French guy to my left, the guy next to him, and the guy in the 8 seat across from us.  Rob tangled with the guy in 8 first.  I believe he flopped a low set against him but had to give it up on the river when the turn and river put 2 or 3 possible straights out there.  A little later we got into it when he was in the big blind and I raised in early position with QQ.  Both blinds called me.  The flop was 9 8 3 with 2 clubs.  Seat 8 led out for $21 which I then repopped to $65.  The small blind folded and seat 8 called.  I put him on maybe A8 or A9 or possibly the club flush draw.  Possibly both.  The turn was the queen of spades.  Didn't help him and gave me the set but I only had about 140 left with nearly that much in the pot.  When he checked to me I figured the best move was to push in.  If he wanted to draw to a flush or straight he was gonna have to pay for it.   He looked at me a long time before finally folding giving me a decent pot.  It got a bit later and I started to get pretty tired even though Rob and I were having a pretty good time chatting and people watching.  I decided to call a raise from the big blind with Q 10 of hearts.   Flop was KJ3 all hearts.  Bingo.  I checked and let the crazy Frenchie to my left bet out.  Both me and the guy to his left called.  Turn was a black 8.  Frenchie checked and the guy to his left bet 15.  I called and the Frenchman folded.  River was another 3.  I checked again and the guy to my left bet out 25.  I didn't figure him for the boat but decided to play it a little safer and just called.  He had a K but nothing else and I ended the night positive with my flush. 

Well I better wrap this up.  I gotta work in the morning and this post is getting positively Rob-like.  I have a good bit more to post which I'll try to wrap up this week.  Good night to everybody. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Quck Vegas Recap

I started this while sitting in McCarren Int'l Airport waiting to board my Southwest Airlines flight home from the City of Lights, the City of Fights, the City of Late Nights, yes Las Vegas Nevada.  Wow a whole week went by already.

Sorry I did not post while here, it was just so hard to carve out time to do it.  I started a good post on Monday morning but then it got long and we had to go and next thing I know it's Friday and I still hadn't finished it.  But I figured I would recap a bit here and then flesh it out in some later posts.

Our flight was delayed Saturday so we got in a little late.  Then baggage claim decided to extend the lateness a bit too but eventually we got settled, got the rental car and made it to Ballys to check in.  We were already getting tired as we didn't arrive there until about 8.  After grabbing a bite to eat we did a little gambling and got to bed.

Sunday morning we were up early, especially by Vegas standards, so we went to breakfast at Hash House A Go Go.  This time we went to the one in the M resort since we had never been there.  Gambled a bit had a good time but I managed to do something pretty stupid which fortunately did not come back and haunt me.  Liked the M resort a lot and the staff was especially nice and helpful as well.

From there we hit the South Pointe where we also had never gone.  I had a hot streak on the dice which was really nice and the PQ got some video poker machines to talk dirty to her pay her off so we both made a score.  Finally Rob texted that he was ready to face the day and we met up in the MGM poker room for some fun and a little profit.  It was a very interesting time and Rob used his comps to take us all to dinner at Wolfgang Pucks for which the PQ and I were both grateful.  This was where the Boob Rob question occurred.

Monday we went downtown to gamble a bit.  On the way we hit the Peppermill for one of their legendary breakfasts and were not displeased again.  We weren't planning on staying too long but it turned into a most of the day affair.  We started at the D where the PQ did a lot of mostly unsuccessful video poker playing while I had a really fun time at the craps table.  Even recognized and talked to someone semi famous there.  We then went to Binions for some video poker and more craps for me.  I made a few dollars there on the dice, made more from the video poker but then the PQ got a hot streak going and had a nice return.  We ate an early dinner there and spent the night gambling fruitlessly (in my case) back at Ballys.  We both got killed on the 3 card poker, the dice let me down a bit, and video poker just killed me.  I did manage to hit a quad right before bed but that was the only bright spot in that session.

Tuesday we went to one of our favorite casinos, Casino Royale.  While the place is kind of a dive especially by Vegas strip standards, the people are always friendly, the servers take great care of you and the craps are cheap with a 20X odds allowed.  I was betting $3 on the pass line and putting 10 - 20 behind on the odds bets.  I broke even on the craps.  The PQ did not do well in video poker but again scored there on the 3 card poker hitting a 3 of a kind while sitting on my right.  I still have never gotten a 3 of a kind or straight flush in 3 card poker.  From there we went to another casino we had never been, the Silverton resort which is west of the strip near the South Pointe.  At the Silverton I found out what it's like to go on a PQ type heater.  Man it felt good.

Wednesday was my birthday so to celebrate we went to the Cosmopolitan for the buffet at the Wicked Spoon.  It was a great breakfast and the Cosmo is a beautiful casino but I didn't get much of a vibe from it.  We went next door to Aria and played there for a while including playing the 1pm tourney.  That was a good tourney but I misplayed a couple of hands costing myself a chance at getting in the money. 

Thursday was a travel day.  We visited Zion National Park in Utah.  It was a nice trip out there and some great views of the mountains, the landscapes and wildlife.  From there we went down to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  It was also gorgeous there though not in the way we expected.  It was a pretty long day of driving and by the time we got back we were pretty beat.  Had a nice lunch in a café in the bustling metropolis of Kanab, Utah.

Friday was move out day from Ballys.  We did a bit more gambling there as we hadn't done too much in Caesars properties then headed back to Casino Royale to spend some time before going on to our last night's stay at Green Valley Ranch.  Now that was a good decision.  The room was almost as big as our house 

Which brings us to Saturday also known as the Day of Tears or the day we left Vegas.  Gambled a little at GVR then headed to the M resort as I wanted to spend a little more gaming time there.  I wanted to make sure I let them know how good a job I thought they did there before we left.  In too short a time it was time to head to the airport, turn in the car and board the big aluminum tube back to Tampa.  Which is where I am posting this from now.  Wow how I wish I was back in Vegas still.  Unfortunately it will probably be a while before we can head back.  Till then I hope we all can stay lucky.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

T minus 12 hours

Finally the day is at hand.  In about 7 hours I'll be getting into one of these tin cans
and about 5 hours after that I'll be landing in the Las Vegas aka Sin City, aka the Promised Land or more commonly, the place where people lose much money.  Those big castles were not built by winning gamblers after all.

Notice how they never show you the back side of the sign?  I have it on good authority it says "So Long and Thanks for all the Cash"  I guess Douglas Adams worked for the city many years ago.

The packing is just about done.  Hopefully nothing has been forgotten but we shall see.  I will try to do a little posting from there using the Ipad and Bluetooth keyboard I recently acquired.  Of course I do expect to stay pretty busy as well, and even when I'm not in Vegas I wouldn't say I'm the most diligent blogger around.  I'll definitely post any major scores, if I do actually achieve any.  Last time all of the major scores were done by the PQ and yours truly definitely lost his shirt in both poker and video poker as well as craps. 

I keep getting interrupted by other pressing needs getting ready to go and all so I'll wrap this up now.  It's now T minus 8 hrs and 8 minutes until we land in Vegas.  I hope to see some of you there.  Sorry I missed some others.  And as the Pointer Sisters once said "I'm so excited"

Saturday, July 6, 2013

T minus 7 days

X amount of hours, and still counting.  And boy am I ready.  Bought a few things I needed for a good vacation like clothes, a bathing suit, and a new pair of tennis shoes.  I know I bragged about mentioned a while back how I won a new Ipad which I am truly loving.  It's much easier bringing a tablet like that on vacation than a whole laptop however in the interest of perhaps posting a time or two in Vegas I thought I would need an input device.  Found a nice blue tooth keyboard for Ipads online at a big discount so I scooped that up to take with me.  With any luck I'll have time to crow about any big scores or eat crow over bad losses.  Since it is Vegas I expect more of the latter than the former but hey, you never know.

Not much else has been going on.  I have played a bit more poker but not overly successfully on the Omaha tables.  2 weeks ago I had a nice session at the Hard Rock almost doubling up on my buy in but this week I played twice at Derby Lane to not so good results.  Last Saturday was the most frustrating.  I am at a table with a usual assortment of oldsters, and I'm watching these 2 women across the table just play absolute garbage cards and get rewarded.  One is a long time player who I know will play any 4 cards but that night, the deck just kept hitting her on every hand.  Even when she lost she ended up winning.  She flopped 2 pair with K-J-6-3 when the board comes out K 7 3.  She bets it like she has top set.  She doesn't improve her 2 pair but makes a straight when the turn and river are 4-5 and takes down the whole pot because no one had a better low than her.  I never really tangled with her because my cards were just too sorry most of the time.  And she is pretty good at reading where she is but I know I can sandbag her if I ever hit.  The gal next to her was even worse.  She hadn't played much Omaha and anytime she got trips she figured she was good.  I tossed top set of Jacks one hand on the river when the lady next to her bet, she raised, and the board had too many draws for me to stay in.  Turned out she rivered a set of 3s and figured she was good.  Which it turned out she was.  I was PISSED.  But I didn't go on tilt much as a wanted to.

That was the way my night mostly went.  I river top full house with no chance of losing to quads but I did lose to a straight flush.  The lady next to me was just as bad as the ones across the table.  She folded the grand total of ONE hand preflop and that was to go to the bathroom.  Raised, kill pot, didn't matter.  She caught a number of hands as well but not like the one lady across the table.  She did get me with the straight flush while the guy to my right makes quad queens to beat my nut flush.  That kind of night.  I was down 2 buy ins but kept it together, avoided playing crap hands and started to come back.  I did manage to take a couple of pots away from the lady to my right.  Playing good cards usually means you make better hands.  Played a high hand where I made the nut straight against her lower straight.  Never hit another full house or flush but made some half pots and got myself up to down 60 bucks.  Almost a success in my book. 

Wednesday the stock market closed early on the day before the holiday so I was able to spend a few hours playing cards in the afternoon.  Many of the same players, some different.  Same old luckbox across the table from me, still making hands like mad.  She just pissed off the guy next to me beating him on 3 or 4 hands on the river.  It got so bad I thought he might throw something at her.  And she was not above rubbing it in a little.  One hand she is betting like a madwoman and he is calling her as am I.  I have nut low draw and even though I should have tossed it after a JJ6 flop, a 4 on the turn keeps me in and gives me a straight draw as well so I'm not dropping out but I fear I'm going to get quartered.  She keeps betting into this guy and he keeps calling which makes me think maybe he has her beat and isn't going for a low.  Final card is an 8 which makes my low but not my straight.  She bets he calls her I call and she says trip jacks.  Guy to my right says trip jacks with an ace (she had a 10 kicker) and I show the low.  He's happy to finally take something off her but the dealer looks at her cards and she has a low flush with her other 2 cards.  He is very unhappy needless to say. 

I did get one pot off her when I turned the nut low with a pair of nines.  One guy is all in and she has just been calling this time.  River is a nothing card and she finally leads out a bet.  Guy to her left calls and I read this as one of her bull shit plays to push me out of the pot so I raise her up.  I got nothing but the low but she knows I'm tight and she dumps the hand as does the other guy.  I get all of the side pot and half the low.  She gave me a look that time.  Another time she wins like 3 hands in a row then complains when she flops two pair and it doesn't come in for her.  At the time I hadn't won 3 hands total.  Guy next to me wanted to slap her.  I probably would have helped.  I spend most of my afternoon down 50-60 bucks but come back at the end and go out down 30.  Thought I was gonna get it all back and then some but ended up splitting one hand when another guy made the same straight I did and got my nut low quartered on the next hand.  Instead of making another 50 bucks I made like 5. 

I wasn't overly unhappy with my play though my luck was pretty piss poor.  A ton of lousy hands and when I had good hands I got lousy flops while I watch other people parlay garbage into hundreds of dollars.  I just had little luck and in the short term, luck is a much bigger factor than skill.  The PQ has also not been overly lucky on the video poker machines either.  But she figures to turn that around in Vegas as well.  Not to mention 3 card poker.  I have no doubt she will either. 

While we haven't been overly lucky in the gambling lately we have done well in other places.  Outside of my scoring an Ipad, the PQ recently scored one of these for free.
Also I have managed to score a promotion along with a pretty nice raise that all went into effect on July 1.  And just in time for vacation I should be getting a nice little bonus which will come in very handy where we're going.  All in all things are looking pretty good.

For July 4th, the wife and I headed over to Orlando to visit our daughter and share a breakfast.  I believe I mentioned Hash House a Go Go opened a house in Orlando which we hit up for dinner a month or so ago.  This time was breakfast. 

Biscuits & Gravy, scrambled eggs, some fruit and underneath it all in true Hash House fashion are the grilled mashed potatoes.  I made a valiant effort but could not finish it. I pronounced myself ready for Vegas now.  I'll take another crack at the Hash House then.  As well as the Bellagio, Wicked Spoon, and the Peppermill.  Oh yes I can hardly wait.  Well all this food talk it making me hungry.  Time to grab some dinner.  T minus 7 days, 3 hours, and 23 minutes. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

T Minus 20 and counting

Those of you who grew up in the 60s like I did (or gasp, those of you who were already grown then) probably remember the countdowns for the Apollo rocket launches.  As it went along they would announce "T minus 20 minutes and counting" all the way down to T minus 10 seconds then they would count it down from there.  Of course those rocket launches were a big thing back in then and all 3 networks carried the launches live.  Of course there were often delays and I remember whenever there was a delay and they would break to the newsroom and Walter Cronkite would come on with that deep voice and say  "Well the launch has been held at T minus 22 minutes and 20 seconds and we're waiting for word from NASA on when the countdown will continue or if it will be scrubbed".

Here in the Neophyte household the launch is at T minus 20 days, 3 hours etc.  It's getting closer and closer and I find it harder and harder to contain my excitement.  Unlike some people who can pick up and go to Vegas for the weekend on a whim or have a job that actually involves going to Vegas and telling stories about all the boobs he sees, Vegas to me and the PQ still holds mystery and excitement and the closer our trip gets, the more excited we are.  We have plans to see and do a lot outside of Vegas as well this time.  Though I'm not sure how much we will do when daytime temps average 110.  Still it's a dry heat I hear.

Friday night the PQ had determined we were going to take on the Hard Rock again so that she could beat down play some Video Poker.  I went along to but my budget precluded playing a lot of VP.  So I figured I would lose a few bucks on the machines then make my way to the poker room.  But instead I managed to hit quad kings early on and broke even on the VP before walking down the long hallway to the new poker room they put in.  Was second on the list for the 3-6 limit Omaha 8 and got seated in about 5 minutes.  Kind of a strange table.  One new guy was really a wild card.  He seemed to have never played the game live before and was also raising a lot of hands.  A couple of times he didn't understand about having to play 2 cards from his hand and 3 on the board and how he needed 3 unpaired cards under 8 on the board to make a low.  Still he hit some big pots too.  I'd made a few dollars on a couple of hands but nothing much, maybe 20 bucks then tangled with him in a big pot.  Cost me a chunk of my buyin when he raised preflop (with A368) and then pushed the pot all the way to the river.  Flop was 689 with 2 spades.   I'm on AJ102 with the AJ of spades.  Flush draw, open ended straight draw,  and nut low draw.  Turn is a red king, river another 6 and he scoops it.  I knew if I hung around he'd give it back and hopefully I could score some hands so he gives it back to me.  I was right in both respects though I didn't get as much as I had hoped from him. 

A little while later I was down about half my buyin when I picked up AKQ6 with AK of hearts in the big blind.  Not a great hand but I'm already in the hand.  Of course my buddy across the table throws in a raise so now its another bet to stay in but I call as about 4 others are in the hand.  Flop is 6-6-3.  Not bad now that I'm sitting on trip 6s.  I check and guy on my left bets out.  I immediately figured him for 6-3 or 3-3.  My nemesis raises.  I'm not sure what he has as he has shown all kinds of hands but I don't put him on 6-3 or 3-3.   Guy to my right calls as do I but the guy on my left raises again and my nemesis caps it.  Now I'm getting a little concerned.  But I feel much better when the turn is a queen.  Now my only concern is if someone had QQ in his hand and I didn't think that was the case.  I checked, the guy to my left bet out for 6,  my nemesis raised to 12, and guy to my right called while I bounced it up to 18.  Guy to my left was unhappy when I did that but he called.  My nemesis caps it again and we all call.  River is an 8 which puts a low on the board.  I would have preferred another queen and a scoop of the whole thing but it still wasn't bad.  I bet for 6, call, then my nemesis raises to 12.  Guy to my right calls, I put in my last 3 dollars to call hoping the guy didn't play something with 88 which I'm half expecting now.  Guy to my left calls and shows 6-3 as I expected.  My nemesis and the guy on my right both show A2 for the nut low and I take down the high side of the pot with my 6s full of queens.  Even though it was only half the pot I got over $150 pushed to me which took me from 50 down to 50 up in one hand. 

Wasn't too much memorable after that.  I had one weird hand, I was in the small blind and it was unraised to me.  I was gonna chuck the hand as I had a garbage 5-7-9-10 hand but 5 people had already called so for 2 bucks I figured why not.  Flop is 5-6-8.   Can you say bingo.  There is betting going on all over and I'm raising every level.  Kid sitting just on my right keeps betting and I keep raising him up.  Turn is a 3 and river is a king.  The way the betting is going I'm thinking I might have the high hand and 3 people are splitting the low hand but it turns out another guy played 7-9 (what a donk) and 2 of us got the high while the other 2 got the low.  Made about 4 bucks on the hand.  I took down a few smallish pots and by the time I left I was up 80 over my 100 buyin.  So it was a good night all in all.  The PQ did not do so well as she was not able to hit anything big on the video poker.   We played a little more after I finished but neither of us hit much.  Did catch a nice late meal at IHOP on the way home at least.  The PQ was quite disappointed in her results but even she can't win every time.  Besides she needs to save some luck for Vegas

Outside of the poker I did have a very nice massage on Saturday.  Did a little shopping as I needed some new tennis shoes.  And I refuse to spend 55-60 bucks for them.  Then I found a nice pair of Avia's on sale for 35 and jumped on those.  So it was a win win weekend all in all.  Didn't do much else this weekend but did do some searching for poker tourneys in Vegas and also planned out a little more what we would do.  It looks like we're gonna hit Zion and maybe go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Anyone been over there or are you all too busy playing poker? By the way it's now T minus 18 days and 22 hours.  But whose counting?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Just some Saturday odds and ends

It's Fathers Day weekend and I hope you dads are having a good one.  Mine has been pretty good so far.  The PQ brought me donuts and iced coffee this morning which is our normal Saturday morning routine and I got to watch a lot of the programs I put on the dvr over the week

I've been reading a number of bloggers and feeling jealous over the fun they are having in Vegas.  It makes it hard to wait another 28 days and 6 hours until I get to Vegas to have my own fun.  Of course none of those people will still be in Vegas when I get there with the possible exception of Rob who is almost always in Vegas hunting boobs.  What a lucky guy. 

On my end its just work and home.  Getting stuff ready for Vegas including buying some clothes.  Still need to get some new sneakers.  I have been playing some online poker to try and sharpen my skills a little.  Results have been ok but I don't know that it will carry over to live poker.  I'm trying to concentrate on placing my opponents on a hand range and make my decisions from there which has worked pretty well so far.  I just hope I'm improving. 

I'm thinking of going to play a little poker tonight but not sure I have the bankroll for it.  Or maybe whether I want to risk part of the cash I plan on taking to Vegas with me.  Maybe I will. I've also been doing a lot of reading and I think I need to put some more time back into some poker books I own to refresh my memory. 

We had an AC problem last weekend.  I am no electrician or HVAC guy so I had no clue why the AC had kicked off and the thermostat didn't read anything.  I called my buddy Chad and explained it to him and he thought it was some transistor thing that is on the air handler in the attic being burned out.  Unfortunately since it was Sunday afternoon it might not be fixable till the next day.  He said when that transistor kicks off the electronic thermostat goes blank unless you have battery back up in it which we didn't.  Then he talked to his dad who is an electrician and he explained it was more probably just water backing up in the system due to a clogged drain.  So I worked on the drain outside and got some slime out of the pipe.  Once the water back up went down the AC kicked back on.  We didn't see this happen as we were out at dinner at the time. When we checked the drain pan afterwards it was dry.  Cool, fixed the AC and didn't have to spend hundreds.

In talking to Chad he said the thing to do is to get a hose with a high pressure sprayer and connect that to the drain to clean out the crap that builds up.  Last week we picked up a hose and sprayer but never used it as the AC was on when we got back.  Today though it kicked off again.  I saw the thermostat was blank again and I immediately went outside and hooked up the new hose.  After once spraying all over myself, I managed to get the hose spraying up the pipe and letting it drain.  Man was there a lot of built up slime in the pipe.  This orangey crap just kept coming out.  And the AC kicked back on immediately so I guess its now clean out, at least to the best it can be.  Ideally I'd like to run some bleach down the drain pipe from the drain pan down but the AC is located so high up that I need a higher ladder to reach everything.  Until then we're gonna keep hosing out the drain every month and I think we'll be fine.  Considering we've lived here 2 years and that was the first time we had to do it, I think we won't need to do it all that often even.

Well I'm off to the shower now.  Gotta get some of this mess off of me and try not to stink up the poker room tonight.  Good luck to all of you gambling fools out there in Vegas.  I'll be there in 28 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes and 30, no 29, make that 28 seconds.  Or something close to that.  Man am I getting excited.  Stay lucky and happy Fathers Day all you Dads.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I need a vacation

You know how it gets sometimes, don't you?  You have a good job, you like what you're doing and almost everyone you work with (there's always someone no matter where you are who just gets under your skin), and you have no plans to work anywhere else.  But you need a break, some time off longer than a long weekend where you can get away from it all and not think about any of it for awhile.  Well that's where I am.

What's making it even worse is the PQ and I have been finalizing our Vegas plans.  Tickets are bought, rooms at Bally's and Green Valley Ranch are reserved, and the rental car has been booked.  Now comes the hardest part, waiting for the day.  It's already getting hard as the excitement keeps building.  Especially as I keep reading all these other blogs for people who have already gone to Vegas or are there now.  Unfortunately they will be long gone before I arrive. Big props to Lucki Duck for cashing in WSOP Event 7 and to Memphis Mojo for a 6th place finish in a Caesars Mega Stack event on the day he arrived in Vegas.   Setting the bar awfully high guys, well done indeed.

Last time in Vegas, the PQ and I hung out some with Lightning36 and we all had a great lunch with Lucki and the lovely Ms Duck.  Got to play a tourney with Mojo down here in St Pete a few months ago as well.  I'm sorry I won't get to spend anytime in Vegas with them this year.  

Things here have been going pretty well all in all.  Still working hard and racking up OT hours though less than last year at least.  I'm even up for a promotion which I should find out about in the next couple of weeks.  Still it's time I got out of town for a while.  The last few years the PQ and I have taken the opportunity around my birthday in July to go on the annual Neophyte pilgrimage.  I pick some small out of the way places and we drive there and spend time exploring the area.  It's really let us see some of the other parts of Florida, the non touristy, non Disney, less traveled parts of the state.  As populous as the state is, there are tons of areas that are pretty sparsely settled and I'm glad I've been to some of them.  If you ever get a chance to travel down here, I really recommend getting off the interstates and going exploring.  Unless of course all you want to do is sit on the beach and get some sun.  I also recommend that as well. 

This year I'll be in Vegas for the birthday so I hope to take that rental car out and travel around some sparsely settled areas of Nevada, Arizona and Utah.  I hear there are a lot of those areas out there as well.  I'm also planning on going west to cross over the border into California.  I don't plan on going anywhere in the state, I just want to say I've been to California.  Actually if memory serves me, there is a little restaurant over the border in California that Diners, Drive Ins and Dives went to.  Let me look that up and see if I can find it on the map.   Well I'm half right, there is a place just over the border in Cali but it's up near Reno, not down near Las Vegas.  Still there are plenty of places in Vegas to eat and we've already picked out a number of places to hit up. 

Originally we planned on arriving early in Vegas and breakfasting at Hash House a Go Go but the flight we are taking now doesn't get in until around 6pm so I'm not sure what we're going to do first when we get there.  I know we will be going to In and Out at some point as well as the Peppermill and of course Hash House.  Plus we always hit the Bellagio buffet and I hear we need to go to the buffet at the Cosmo as its supposed to be better than Bellagio's.  Now that I have to see.  And taste.  I'd also like to hit Binions steakhouse downtown at some point.  It's gonna be hard to hit all of the gastronomical delights we have planned.  We were thrilled to learn Hash House a Go Go opened up a location in Orlando.  Of course we've hit that.  And it was delicious.  I got a dinner plus 2 lunches out of one meal. 

I haven't played much poker, especially hold em tourneys lately.  We did hit one last weekend at Derby Lane.  We both did ok, the PQ went out about 18 and I final tabled but missed the money in 8th.  I thought I played pretty well, made mostly good decisions but let some opportunities go where I might have been able to get more chips.  Seemed like the times I did try to steal, someone always called me with a real hand.  Made it awfully hard to chip up much.  I did take some chips from one guy when he made a smallish raise in mid position with KK and I called him from the big blind with Q4 suited.  Flopped two pair and called his C bet.  I reraised his turn bet and he made a good decision to let it go.  Other than that I've been only playing Omaha 8.  I'd like to play some of that while in Vegas and I've been looking at the All Vegas Poker site to see what's available. 

Well I gotta get going.  Heading over to Derby Lane soon to bet the Belmont then down to the Trop to see the Rays and Orioles play.  I hope everyone has a good weekend.  Good luck to you tourney players.