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, November 15, 2014

They say that all good things must end somday

Autumn leaves must fall.  Those of you who are really old will know this line from "A Summer Song" by Chad and Jeremy.  I always thought The Association did that song but Google tells me I'm wrong and who can argue with the monolithic Goog?

The point of all this is I am sitting in McCarren airport waiting to board my nonstop flight back to Tampa on Cattle car  Southwest Airlines.  And I'd rather be staying than leaving but life is like that.  I have a lot to post but that will wait until I'm home.  Goodbye Vegas.  I didn't take all your money but you didn't take all mine either.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Just hitting my stride

Just a short note from the Land of Enchantment, no isn't that New Mexico?  How about the land of anything goes?  First two days have been difficult on the gambling front but yesterday seemed to turnin our favor .  The PQ got on a mini run playing VP at the Hard Rock of all places and I did ok everywhere we went but small profits only.

We were downtown on Monday night getting killed at the D and Binions (well I did ok at Binions at least) but I could not believe the zoo that awaited us on Fremont St when we were leaving.  Wow just about anything goes there. It was wild. Strange. And a lot of other things.

Well gotta run, breakfast at the Peppermill is waiting.  Hope y'all are having as much fun as I am.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I've got this feeling

That today's the day.  Yes indeed it is.  Shortly we are heading out to the airport.  I always get this feeling I've forgotten something once it's too late for me to go back and get whatever I missed.  And I usually have forgotten something, though it's never anything that important like wallet or credit cards or plane ticket.  But I do hate forgetting stuff.  Too bad my mind is like a sieve and all the small stuff sifts right through it.  Some of the larger stuff too now that I think about it.  But not the minor unimportant stuff like the lyrics to a song by America

We were watching the country music awards a few days ago.  Wow what a disappointment.  I don't listen to much music today, especially not modern stuff.  My daughter on the other hand is a huge country music fan now which means we watch the CMAs.  Anyway they're playing all these songs and NONE OF THEM ARE COUNTRY.  I know country has gotten more poppy and rock and roll like but really?  Can it hurt these guys to throw in a fiddle or god forbid a steel guitar once in a while?  Just a little twang from time to time.  The only twang is in their voices (if you don't listen to Keith Urban speak that is) and all you hear are electric guitars. 

Now I am no country purist by any stretch and I know music is constantly changing and evolving but wow, that was shocking.  They acknowledged a few older stars but really the only one who sang was a duet by Loretta Lynn.  While we were watching my wife started listening to some old George Strait on her computer and turned it up a couple of times.  I wasn't surprised to remember all the words to The Chair as I always really liked that song but then she put on Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind and I remembered all of that one too.  Now there is some twang baby.  While she was drooling over the old pictures of George (and he is a handsome dude I will admit) I was singing along in my own inimitable way.  Cold Ft Worth beer just ain't no good for jealous, etc etc.  

Well enough of me lamenting what I can't change.  Only old farts like me listen to that kind of country and obviously the young ones love the new country at least judging from my daughter and some of her pals they do.  And that's where the money is. But while they're singing new country and watching new videos I'm winging my way to Vegas in a few hours.  Take that kiddies.   So on that note, I'm outta here.  Doubt I will post much while I'm there but you never know.  I will try to take some pics.  I do have one here.  Its my next vehicle.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

So close I can just about taste it

Wow only 4 days till my next Vegas adventure.  The wait is killing me.  But I got so much to do at work before I leave that I'm gonna be near exhausted by the time I leave.  And while Vegas is the ultimate fun time, it's not known to be a place for me to get a lot of rest and relaxation.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Our anniversary dinner on Saturday was really nice.  Food was good, the views were outstanding, and we all had a great time.  A cold front had come in that day and it was actually chilly and very windy outside.  As the sun was going down in the Gulf, there were a couple of different brides and grooms having their pictures being taken right there on the beach.  The wind was really whipping at times and I'm sure they were pretty chilled, especially the brides.  The grooms at least had jackets on.  But I'm also pretty sure they didn't care at all.  Ain't love grand?

Our sunset view on Saturday night

I'm finding there's so much to do to get ready for Vegas.  I needed new shoes badly, my sneakers were shot, my dress shoes were shot, and I really wanted to get a new pair of deck shoes.  So I started looking around online but I never bought shoes online before and I hate to buy without trying them on because I want to make sure I get a good fit.  So I decided to check out some of the sneakers I was looking at online at a shoe store and while there maybe pick up a pair of dress shoes.  Went over to Peltz and found a pretty good deal on some loafers.  I also tried on some New Balance sneakers I was looking at online and found the right size to fit me well.  So now I know what size to order and I can get them online a good bit cheaper than at the store.  Only one problem still remained.  I don't want to spend more money. 

Then it hit me.  I'm sitting on $250 worth of Amazon gift cards I won in some contests online.  I wonder if Amazon carries New Balance shoes  Why yes they do, and there's the ones I was looking at.  Good price too.  Sold.  Hey I still have plenty left, lets look at some deck shoes.  Here's a pair of Timberland and look, they're on sale for less than $50.  Sold again.  2-3 days later everything arrived and fit perfectly.  I've been wearing the deck shoes and sneakers around a bit to make sure they're well broken in before we leave.  I don't see a problem at all.  And it's great to buy things and not spend your own hard earned cash.  As Fast Eddie Felson said, "Money won is twice as sweet as money earned".  Too right.

I heard there was snow on Mt Charleston a few nights ago.  I wonder if any will be there still when we get to Vegas.  I haven't been out in snow in at least 12 or 13 years.  Maybe we'll take a little side trip out there one day.  Where else should we go?  Last year we hit Zion and the big ditch Grand Canyon.  We've been to the Hoover Dam.  I'd like to get somewhere off the beaten path a bit and see what's out there.  So I'm looking for different day trips I can take from Vegas.  After all I can't gamble all the time can I?  What am I, PPP?

Had some fun at work this week.  Had a coworker go up to Cleveland last weekend.  She came in Tuesday morning and the following conversation comes up

Me      Kelly, how was Cleveland?
Kelly   It was nice.  Cold but really nice
Me      Kelly, people who live in Cleveland don't even think it's nice
Kelly   Some do
Me      Well yeah, I'm sure that guy who kept 3 women as hostages in his home thought it was nice
Jan       You're sick
Me       After this long you're finally realizing this?
Jan       No, every day you go and prove it a little bit more. 

What can I say, they love me there. 

Well I better wrap this up so I can get ready for another wonderful day at work.  Hope I can get by without working 12 hours today but we'll see.  At least I get paid overtime for the extra hours.  Went in to see my boss yesterday and told him I'd need to take Thursday and Friday off this week.  All this working was interfering with me getting ready for vacation.  My request was unfortunately denied.  So I'm off.  Have a great day folks

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Anticipa - a - a - tion

Its the 1st of November and Fall has finally fallen in the Tampa Bay area.  Windy, kinda cool (for us anyway) and a tang of Autumn is in the air.  It reminds me of September in Rhode Island long ago when I was a young lad. 

The 1st of November also means that in 8 days, the Poker Queen and I will be winging our way west to the bright lights of LAS VEGAS, NEVADA!!!  Oh boy are we ready for this vacation.  6 days in Sin City, what could be better?  I've been playing a bit of poker over the last couple of months to get back into the swing of it as I hadn't played too much in the year before this.  I plan on playing a few tourneys while we're there.  I'd also like to not embarrass myself should I play some 1-2 no limit with some of those card sharps like Lightning or Vegas Rob.  There will also be copious amounts of adult beverages imbibed, food consumed and possibly a road trip somewhere to the hinterlands.  Yes it will be fun. 

We did get some good deals.  We found some really good air fares on the only airline flying direct from Tampa to Vegas - Southwest Airlines.  5 of 6 nights are comped at the Flamingo, the last night will be at the Silverton where we got a nice room deal for a Saturday night and we liked the staff there so much last time we were in town.  We've also got some retired friends joining us for a couple of days from the wilds of San Diego.  Any way you slice it, we're gonna have some fun. 

I've stayed busy some other ways.  For one I've picked up the golf clubs after an extended time off and started playing a bit.  Man do I suck.  When I first started playing golf many years ago I hit my irons really well but not my woods.  Then I started hitting the 3 and 5 wood well and just not the driver.  Now about the only club I can hit relatively well is the driver.  And I'm putting ok too.  I never was a good putter before either. 

This was a really wet summer for Florida.  We usually get some rain almost every day in the summer but normally a half hour or hour's shower.  This year we had days of rain.  It was so wet I played in a course more mud than grass one day and was cancelled out another day because some of the holes were under water.  But for the past month or so the weather has been really nice.  My cousin and brother were down here early in October and we went out to play a round.  The course was almost dried out by then.  We drank quite a bit, ate quite a bit, and stories were told of my youth that some of my in laws had never heard before.  It was a fun time.

Tonight the PQ and I are going out to dinner in early celebration of our anniversary.  The trip to Vegas is also in celebration of our anniversary.  The actual anniversary date is on Monday the 3rd but we're gonna celebrate it all month.  Hey it's 30 years.  We deserve to celebrate for a while.  Tonight we are being joined by my sister in law Becky and her husband Tod.  Today is their actual anniversary, number 28 for them.  We are going to be dining at St Pete Beach in a restaurant on top of one of the hotels.  Beautiful view of the Gulf and beaches and everything else.  The restaurant actually spins around and I made the reservation early enough so that we'll be able to watch the sunset into the Gulf.  Last of the great romantics I am. 

I actually went to this place with my cousin and his friends a few weeks ago.  I had never heard of it before and after living here all this time, there is apparently a lot I don't know about my home.  While we were at dinner last time, some moron who was sitting with his back to the windows decided to tilt back in his chair.  The feet of the chair slipped out and I'm not sure if his head or his chair hit the window behind him but the window actually shattered.  Pieces of glass went down to the ground about 12 stories below, luckily not hitting anyone.  Pieces also landed inside the restaurant, luckily not impaling the man.  He did get a decent cut to the back of his head but I'm not sure if that was from contact with window or floor.  It did lend some excitement to the evening.  At first I thought someone had gone through the window.  Now that would have been exciting.  But not necessarily in a good way. 

Well it's time to get ready for dinner.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend and if someone is gonna be in Vegas between the 9th and 15th let me know.  If not I hope you're playing poker better then I am.  In the immortal words of Marco from Tropoja "Good Luck."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back to the asylum

Just to prove I'm not really crazy, I decided to visit the Hard Rock last night for a little more torture NL Holdem action.  I was immediately seated at a 1-1 no limit table.  At least I didn't have to wait long for a playable hand.  3rd hand I'm in the small blind and get AK off.  There were 5 limpers so I raised to $6.  Everyone called including the big blind.  Flop completely missed and I check folded to a bet and raise.  That was the story of my night every time I got AK (at least 4 times).  Raise, bunch of callers, whiff the flop, someone bets, someone raises, I fold.  Felt like every other flop had an A or K or both but not when I held those cards.  Or AQ or AJ.  I didn't get either of those very often but they also failed to improve.

In less than an hour I'm down almost $50 and wondering how bad this session will go.  But then things turned around.  I picked off a bluff when I flopped a pair of jacks and called the guy in seat 1 when he tried to steal the pot on the river.  This got much of my losses back.  From there I just held even for awhile and watched the action.  I kept my range pretty tight which set me apart from most of the rest of the table.  I won a couple of small pots with JJ (got that 4 times, outside of 1 hand, the best pocket pair I saw all night) when the flops were low.  Then came the key hands.

Lady to my right in late position limps in with about 6 others.  Flop was AK2 all diamonds.  Everyone checks and she bets out about 6 bucks.  Guy in seat 7 calls.  Turn is another K.  She bets $10 and he calls her again.  River is a black 3.  Seat 7 leads out for $25.  She raises him all in for another $60 or so.  He has her covered by about $50 and calls her.  He flips over K2 for the boat.  She shocks the table by flipping over AA for the bigger boat.  No one could believe she held AA on that hand.  Well played madam.  I made sure I when I tangled with her I had the goods or at least could represent them.  And the poor guy in seat 7.  It wasn't the last time he took the worst of a big hand.

A few hands later I was dealt QQ in the big blind.  There were 5 limpers including the guy in seat 7.  I raised to $7 from the small blind and all but one called.  Not ideal but for the only time that night, I had a pocket pair that hit.  And it hit HARD.  Flop was AQQ with 2 diamonds. Now how do I get big value out of this.   I checked the flop and so did everyone else.  Ok, not ideal either.  Turn was an 8  unfortunately not a diamond.  I led out for $10 and got 2 callers.  River is a 5, also not a diamond damnit.  I decided to try a weak play and see if someone would make a move.  So I bet $7.  Seat 7 raises all in for another $30.  Seat 1 regretfully folds.  I immediately call and flip over the Queens for flopped quads.  It was unfortunate there were no bonuses for big hands outside of royals there.  It was also very unfortunate the K of diamonds didn't hit the flop or river.  I'd have lost the hand to Seat 1 and his royal flush draw but would have won around 25K for the bad beat jackpot.  I wouldn't have minded losing with quads that time.  But it was not to be.  If any other diamond had hit the turn or river, Seat 1 said I'd have cleaned him out too as he would have pushed in.  I waited a little later to do that to him.  I didn't see what seat 7 held but I think it was either AK or AJ.

I got Seat 1 a little later.  I was dealt Q8 of diamonds in the small blind and checked from the small blind along with 5 limpers.  Flop was Q 10 3 with 2 spades.  I bet out 5 bucks and 2 callers then Seat 1 raised to 12.  I thought for a bit and put him on a small 2 pair, a flush draw, or possibly a Q 10.  I was the only caller of the raise.  Turn was an Ace of diamonds.  Now I have the queens plus the flush draw.  He only bet out 10 and I felt priced in.  River was the 8 of clubs giving me 2 pair.  I didn't like the feeling that this guy might have a bigger 2 pair so I checked.  He pushed all in for $24.  He had lost a chunk of chips a few hands earlier on a semi bluff and that factored into my thinking.  I took a couple of minutes to work through the hand.  Based on the fact he didn't bet the turn very hard, I really didn't put him on Q-10 because if I had that in that setting, I would have tried to take it down on the turn to prevent the flush draws - both diamonds and spades - that were there on the turn.  So I figured either the small 2 pair or the busted draw and eventually called.  I was right as he had 10-6 of spades for a small pair and flush draw. 

That hand put me up about $120 for the day.  Wait a minute, I actually am having a positive session?  Maybe I should quit now.  But I didn't.  I got a lot of cards that I folded, played a few hands that were unsuccessful, then got JJ in the small blind.  Only 2 limpers at the point so I raised to $5 and got 2 callers.  Flop was sweet, 8-4-2 with 2 spades.  I led out for $10 and the guy in seat 8 pushes back for $30.  Now I have to think hard.  The guy had just lost a hand a few minutes before when he flopped 2 pair and let the guy in seat 1 stay in the hand on the turn and then he rivered a small flush to beat him.  That definitely figured into my thinking.  I took maybe 3 minutes thinking about the hand and in the end I decided he either had a small pair, a set, or maybe a flush draw.  I really thought it might be a case of him thinking I had AK or AQ and he felt he could push me off the hand as I flopped nothing.  But something inside me said he had 44 or 22 and feared a flush draw this time.  Eventually I folded.  I was debating fold or put him all in for another $60 on top.  If I'm wrong I lose almost all my profits and maybe that weighed into my decision.  No maybe, it did a little bit.  What do you guys think?  I never saw his hand so I don't know if he stole it or I avoided a big trap. 

The poker gods apparently decided I blew that hand.  I didn't get anything much for the next hour or 2.  I folded a lot but the few times I did play I missed everything and my stack dwindled to about a 40 buck profit.  I was in the big blind in an unraised pot with 3-5 off.  As the dealer spreads the cards I'm thinking  "Ace, deuce, four".  He listened.  Ace of clubs, 2-4 of diamonds.  I lead out for $6.  Seat 7 again pushes all in for around $55.  He had taken another beating on a hand when he raised with AA, got 2 callers, bet out on a KJx flop and lost to seat 1 who called with KJ.  So I figured he had a hand and didn't want the flush draw to hit.  Everyone else folds, I call and when an 8 and a Jack, non diamond, hit the flop and turn I flip over the 3-5 for the wheel straight.  Guy is stunned and that's it for him tonight.  He went through $400 and lost every big hand he was in.  Some times this game is just a bitch and tonight he was the fire hydrant.    

The PQ texted me that it was time for dinner not much later so I packed up a nice $110 win and headed out.  My daughter and her pal who was in town for the day met us so we dined at the Rise deli and bakery.  We had some tasty food, I went for the chicken pot pie.  It was HUGE.  It tasted delicious and smelled like victory.

Now it's time for me to get my fantasy teams together.  I have Adrian Peterson on two of them.  Guess I better sub him out today.  Hopefully not for the rest of the season.  Have a great Sunday everyone and Go Bucs. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Defining Insanity

The definition of insanity they say is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.  In that vein I decided I would visit Derby Lane again last Saturday and take on another tournament.  I got there just in time for the 6pm tourney but only 15 people were in it and I hate playing tourneys that shorthanded.  So I decided I would play some NL holdem for a while and play in the 8pm tourney which is usually much better attended. 

Boy the results were very similar to my last NL foray the week before.  In less than an hour I was down about $85.  Living proof that yes, I am insane.  I worked hard on it and made my way back.  Got AA and raised to get 3 callers.  Flop was jack high and with my shortened stack I decided to push all in then rather than wait.  2 folds and the 3rd guy hemmed and hawed but eventually called my push with QJ.  He did not improve and that started my comeback.  Eventually I got myself up to -$20 by the time they called the 8pm tourney and I called it quits.

The tourney went much like the previous one.  Struggling to keep a stack together.  Not getting much in the way of hands.  I did manage to take out a shortie when he pushed his A8 into my AQ.  Otherwise it was back and forth keeping my head above water and never getting up to an average stack after the first break.  I was sitting to the right of a fairly aggressive guy and hoping to take a shot on him.  I did push him off a hand with a pure bluff but he probably had nothing either.  Then we got into a blind vs blind hand when I flopped top pair.  He called my 2/3 pot bet on the flop.  The flop had 2 hearts on it which worried me some as I'd seen he liked to play suited cards, especially connectors.  The turn gave me 2 pairs but also put a 3rd heart on the board.  I made a little less than half pot bet and he raised me up.  I thought long and hard about this hand.  What I ended up coming down to was I doubted he called my flop bet without a flush draw.  So I dumped the 2 pair.  Not sure if it was the right play tho later he told me he had the flush. 

A little while later he was gone.  He was in the big blind.  Under the gun raised and the lady next tom him with a pretty big stack called.  Another caller in late position.  I dump my crap hand but guy to my left pushes all in over the top.  UTG has been pretty loose but he immediately folds however the lady to his left goes all in as well.  She was loose early but tightened up a lot after getting a decent stack.  The other guy in the hand dumps his hand after thinking a while.  The lady turns over pocket 10s which surprised me a bit while the guy to my left had AK suited.  I was really surprised the lady went in with 10s at that point.  She had plenty of chips to afford losing the original call but was risking almost her whole stack on the push.  AK did not improve and my neighbor was out.  He was truly surprised she called him with 10s and it turns out the UTG player folded JJ that hand.  The other caller said he had AQ.  UTG said when she called him he put her on a bigger pair than JJ so his fold was easy.  He was surprised she only held 10s as well. 

Otherwise, nothing to remarkable to report.  I actually thought I played ok but there was nothing memorable.  I was 7th in chips when we got to the final table and was looking for opportunities to double up.  The cards I probably should have played a bit looser on the final table I think but there were a couple of people pushing hands and I tried not to run afoul of them.  Eventually we got down to 6 left with 5 getting paid.  Yours truly was 6th.  I pushed in with 9-9 and the lady from my previous table calls with JJ.  She had played maybe 1 hand since we got to the final table.  I did not improve and went out on the bubble.  We had a deal to pay $20 each to the bubble boy (or girl) so I made a few bucks out of the tourney.  All told for the night I lost maybe $10.  Not bad for an entire evening pitching cards till about 1:30am.  Wish the tourney results had been better but I'm still getting into the tournament groove.

By the way, I hope some of you Vegas regulars can give me some tips on when and where the best tourneys are there.  I'm looking for relatively inexpensive tourneys, under $150, that have a good turnout.  I hate tourneys with 2 or 3 tables.  Also tourneys with a decent blind structure would be nice.  I expect to put in a fair amount of time playing craps, some NL holdem and maybe a little limit Omaha 8, some tourneys, and monkey mashing some sweet VP buttons for fun.  Plus the requisite visits to Hash House, the Peppermill, and a few other places.  Anyone got an opinion on the Binions steakhouse? I was thinking of dinner there one night.  I've heard the views are pretty nice and the food ain't bad either. 

The week hasn't been a complete bust.  I'm sure some of you remember me mentioning a while back I won an Ipad online in a trivia quiz.  Well both me and the PQ have struck again.  Late last week I took down a $200 gift card to Amazon and a couple of days ago the PQ struck for a $350 card.  Ka Ching.  And since she won so much, she stopped asking what I was gonna get her with my card.  That's a win for both of us.  Of course it didn't stop our daughter Betty Crocker from asking what we both were gonna get her.  Have I mentioned how much I miss having the house to just the PQ and me?  Ah well, all too soon she'll marry a Buccaneer or Ray player and leave her family in the dust. 

Well time to wrap up this missive.  I gotta make a reservation for a room for one more night.  We got 5 nights comped already but we're spending another night there as well.  Think I found a good deal.  Also need a shower as the PQ is coming to fetch me soon and we're gonna hit the Hard Rock tonight.  Poker for me and VP for her.  Hopefully I'll be there late enough to catch the PPV Mayweather fight tonight as they will be showing it in the poker room as well.  I hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll try to post tomorrow to update you on my latest round of insanity. 

Friday, September 5, 2014

It's back again

Yes it's that other special time of year, it's the beginning of the NFL season.  I've been looking forward to this for awhile.  So far I have 4 fantasy teams going this year and I like the looks of 3 of them.  We won't talk about the 4th one, at least not today.  In about 40 minutes it's kickoff time and I plan to be comfortably ensconced in my recliner with a Magic Hat #9 in my hand. 

I really haven't been doing too much since celebrating my birthday a month and half ago.  We celebrated our daughter's 22nd birthday last month.  Yes my baby is 22, now I feel old.  What am I saying, I've been feeling old for a good while.  Tomorrow is my middle child's birthday.  He'll be 28 this year.  Holy cow.  Now I know I'm over the hill.  As one of my teachers used to say, I've got one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.  But enough of this maudlin bullshit. 

Outside of all these birthdays, the PQ and I have been planning our next Vegas trip in November.  Its supposed to be in celebration of our 30th anniversary but c'mon now, do we really need a special reason to go to Vegas?  We've got 5 nights comped at the Flamingo but it looks like we'll have to actually spend a little money for 1 more night's lodging.

To prepare for Vegas I've started getting back into the poker swing.  I took a bit of a break as I was running pretty bad for a while.  I decided to play a tourney a few weeks ago and though I was a bit rusty, I played ok.  Ended up going out 13th when they paid top 7.  I was short most of the time and felt good about my play all in all. 

Last weekend I decided to get in some more practice.  Saturday I was over at the Hard Rock.  While the PQ was mashing the sweet VP machines very successfully, I was getting my ass handed to me playing 1/2 NL.  I started ok.  Not great hands but stayed patient and made one guy with trips pay to see my straight.  Then the wheels fell off.  Good flops getting crushed by bad rivers.  Twice I flopped two pair only to lose to river flushes.  And I wasn't giving them bargain odds to draw to them either.  On the other hand, none of my draws were hitting.  Which was costing me money too. 

After a few hours I was down $150 and contemplating calling it a day.  Some days you got it and some days you ain't got it.  But I decided to try and grind a bit more and see if I could change my luck.  And luckily I did.  I'm not saying I made money but I ended up down about $50.  Which is a victory from where I was at.  I didn't think I played badly but I was unlucky a few times.  I do have to pay a little more attention to bet sizing sometimes.  That cost me on one hand and prevented me from winning more on another.

Labor Day I thought would be a nice day to play another tourney.  So I headed over to Derby Lane for their 1 pm tourney.  Spent a couple of hours folding cards.  it was garbage hand after garbage hand and yet as soon as I try to steal a pot, I get called then reraised.  Oops.  So much for that.  I did manage to win a pot with a 9-2 when a 2 hit the turn and at the first break my 12K starting stack was down to about 10.  At that time I had been dealt exactly one pocket pair - 3's that of course did not improve on the flop. 

But I held tight to my chips and just stayed out of trouble.  Channeled my inner Mojo and waited out the cards.  As the blinds climbed I got down to around 12 big blinds when I woke up with pocket 9s.  Loose guy to my right had already put in a raise so I pushed all in over him.  Everyone else folds and the loose guy thinks a second and dumps it too.  Then I start to make something happen.  I bust a short stack and take some chips off a large one when I flop 2 pair.  Then I get a walk when I raise with AJ which gets me up to an average stack.  That lasted all of 1 hand.  The very next hand I get QQ.  This is the last hand before the 2nd break.  Raise again.  5 callers.  Yuck.  Flop has a king and I give it up to a bet by one of the callers.  So I'm a bit below average at the 2nd break. 

Come back from the break and they move this really big stack in a few seats on my right.  He has no qualms calling raises with at the very least speculative hands.   This costs him a chunk of chips when the guy sitting just to my right raises all in and he calls with J8.  Guy to my right has QQ and takes a big chunk off the guy.  He's still the table big stack but he's not huge and you would think he'd be a little leery of this guy now since he has enough chips to really take a piece out of him.  And you'd be wrong. 

First the guy across the table puts in a raise to 4K in early position which big stack calls.  I wake up with KK and push all in for about 18K.  Folds back to the original raiser who calls for a large part of his stack.  Surprisingly the big stack folded.  He only had about 90K so I was a bit surprised he folded but he must have had something like 7-2 off based on the rest of his play.  I flip over my cards and the other guy flips AQ.  He doesn't improve and I'm off the mat though still a little below average. 

Then the big hand happens.  We're down to around 22 people and a guy across the table pushes all in for around 12K.  The big stack calls but then the guy to my right who is sitting on about 60K pushes all in.  Now this is about two thirds of his stack but the guy isn't fazed and calls anyway.  He's already busted a couple of other guys while holding some pretty marginal cards.  Guy to my right flips over AK, guy across the table has AQ, and the big stack flips over 10-7 suited.  Flop is A J 8 and the guy to my right is happy as he's looking at a huge double up.  Turn is a 2.  River is a 9 and the guy to my right starts to celebrate till he sees he just got sucked out on.  The big stack is now the ginormous stack as he wipes these guys out. 

Our table gets broken and I'm moved to a new table.  Mr Enormous stack is moved to the same table.  I don't mind because I think I can get a chunk off him if I get a chance.  But blinds keep moving up and I'm short, maybe 18th out of 19.  I'm in late position and push all in with 77 but the lady in the small blind calls me with JJ.  Amazingly I suck out a river 7 and I'm still in.  Even though I doubled up I'm not even an average stack.  Mr big stack keeps calling bets with some weak holdings but now he isn't catching cards and is giving away chips.  Just not to me. 

I get AA in late position and make a raise but am called by the JJ lady in the big blind.  I noticed she is also playing some pretty ragged hands.  Flop is J 4 2 and she checks to me.  I push all in for about 25K and she thinks a minute and calls.  She has 4-8 suited and seems surprised to see me with aces.  She does not improve and now I am almost comfortable.  I at least have an average stack around 75K.

Lady across from me gets all in with another guy and Mr not so big stack.  She wins knocking out the one guy and taking another chunk from the big stack.  She's up to about 100K and he probably now has 150K.  I'm looking for a chance to hit him up.  But instead she tangles with the guy again pushing bets at him on the flop and turn only to fold on the river when he pushes all in on her.  Now she's down to about 60K.  She's in the small blind when I get AA again.  Blinds are 2500/5000 so my 75K isn't an amount I can sit on.  Mr Big stack has already bet so I raise him up to 30K.  I'm really hoping he tries to push back.  Instead I get called by the gal in the small stack and he folds.  I'm ok with that.  Flop is queen high with 2 clubs.  I decide to not fool around here and push all in which puts her all in if she calls.  She does with 89 of clubs.  Really?  You call half your stack away with those 2 cards when I have not shown down one bad hand?  Then you call the rest of your stack away?  Of course she rivers a club and there goes most of my chips.  I'm soon out in 14th.  Not sure if I should have played that differently or not but I didn't feel I played poorly in the tourney.  I got really lucky one time and really unlucky another but all in all I was satisfied with my play if not my results.

So that's what I've been doing.  I'd like to play in the Senior tournament at Derby Lane this Saturday but we'll be celebrating my son's birthday so that's out.  That's ok as a couple of weeks from now they're all going to Disney World but I won't be going so I'll have some more chances to pitch some cards.  I see the Packers had no answer for Seattle tonite.  I'm not overly surprised.  Hope y'all are doing well and I hope some of you will be in Vegas in November.  

Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's That Time of Year

It's that special time of year again.  Yes it is the middle of summer but here in Florida, the middle of summer runs from May through October so that's no big deal.  The WSOP just played down to the final 9 which is pretty special, at least to those nine guys.  BTW how incredible is it for Mark Newhouse to make the final table 2 years in a row.  I thought Dan Harrington's run in 2003-2004 was pretty special but he only had to deal with fields of 800 and 2500.  The last 2 years have had 6300 and 6600 players.  So hats off to Newhouse.

No the special thing is of course, the anniversary of my birth.  A little before midnight on July seventeenth, Nineteen hundred and too long ago, I made my presence known to the world.  The PQ would tell you I haven't stopped making noise since.  She's probably right.                            .

Thursday was the actual birthday and my wife surprised me by taking me to Bern's Steak House in Tampa.  If you've not heard of Bern's or have been to Tampa but never been there, let me recommend it whole heartedly.  It was recently ranked the #2 steakhouse in the US by Daily Meal but hell I can't judge that.  I've been to a grand total of 2 high end steak houses, Berns and Don Shulas.  But I will say the 2 times I went to Bern's were without a doubt two of the best meals I've ever had.  Just go there prepared to spend a bit of time there.  It's not a dinner you eat, it's an entire dining experience.  The choices are many, the beef is tasty and tender, the sides are delicious (the PQ even ate and loved the carrots and that's not something she normally does) and the wine list is enormous.  They have their own farm and grow a lot of the veggies they serve.  For first timers I would heartily recommend taking the tour of the kitchens and wine cellar, an enjoyable experience.  Also make sure to tell your waiter you want to hit the dessert room as well.  The entire upstairs of the restaurant is a dessert room with many choices of high end desserts, cheeses, and liquors.   Here was my dessert, carrot cake with hazelnut ice cream and warm hot fudge sauce on the side. 

We had the NY Strip for two.  2 inches thick of fabulous tasting choice beef.  We also added an order of mushrooms which had to be the best tasting mushrooms I have ever had.  And as good as these were, I made an even better decision to order some Port Wine cream sauce.  OMG I could have sat there and just drunk the stuff.  Next time I'll get two or 3 orders of it and pour it on everything.  Holy guacamole was it gooooooood.

So tonight we're doing the actual birthday celebration.  We'll have about 12 people over for Chicken Bog.  My younger son is bringing over a smoked pork butt and my daughter made a delicious looking german chocolate cake.  The house is smelling delicious.  And surprisingly I'm hungry again.  Shocking after that last dinner.

Not much else is happening here.  Work, eat, sleep, repeat.  We did make reservations for Vegas in November as part of our 30th anniversary celebration.  I'm definitely looking forward to that.  I went and played a bit of poker a couple of weeks ago.  That did not go well.  Bad cards and bad results.  Managed to lose a set to a straight draw when this lucky chick went on a tear and had the deck hit her upside the head.  45 offsuit and of course she turns the straight.  There was one guy constantly raising hands to my right so I opened up my range but all it did was cost me.  Suited connectors, small pairs, good cards, it didn't matter as I couldn't buy a flop to help me.  Then one hand I finally get KK.  He of course raises it up.  I reraised him and he pushes me all in.  I seriously doubt you have aces sir so I call.  He has A 10 and of course rivers an ace.  Nothing helps me on the flop or turn so I gave up after that.  Sometimes poker really sucks. 

Well time for dinner so I'll finish this up tonight.  Time to be my usual charming self. 

Or actually finish it up tomorrow.  Happy Sunday morning.  I'm doing the rest of this post in between cooking breakfast for the PQ and our daughter.  BTW if you love bacon, you have to try baking it rather than cooking it on the stove.  All you do is take a baking sheet, put a sheet of parchment paper on it, lay the bacon on it then put it in the oven.  Then turn the oven on and set to 425.  Regular sliced bacon takes about 17-18 minutes and thick sliced is about 21 minutes.  Comes out perfectly done with very little mess.  The oven doesn't even get to 425 before it's done except for the thick stuff.  I never cook it on the stove anymore. 

I had a good birthday with a lot of laughs and hey isn't that what you get together for?  I have no blood relatives here so it's all my wife's family plus my boy's girlfriends but I get along with them all pretty well and they seem to have accepted a conservative Yankee in their midst - at least I give them someone to argue with and try out the George Bush jokes on. 

We got a dog a couple of weeks ago.  I don't know if I mentioned but our old dog Izzy had to be put down.  She had a tumor wrapped around her intestines.  I was not ready for that nor was the PQ.  But she didn't suffer at least.  She did leave a bit of a void in our life but we delayed getting another dog because of the cruise we were gonna take.  Well a few weeks after our return the PQ and Betty Crocker (BC from now on, she got this nickname at work because of all the goodies she has baked for them already.  My daughter definitely knows the way to people's hearts lol) found a rescue dog on a website and decided they wanted him.  We actually got his brother I think and he's a good dog.  Terrier/Maltese mix.  Pretty calm but likes to run around some as he is only 3 years old.  He was in a hoarder's house and I think he may have been abused by a man because he doesn't warm up to most men easily.  But he's good with me now and we have fun.  Last night I was reclining and he jumped on me and sat on my shoulder like he was a parrot and I was Blackbeard.  His name is Mico but my wife has given him two names.  Stinker and Mico You Little Shit. 

Last weekend I decided to do a big breakfast for all of my family and their girlfriends.  We had some biscuit mix to make the Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits (OMG they are so good) so I made a batch of biscuits and gravy along with some eggs for those like my daughter and wife who don't like biscuits and gravy.  And they're supposed to be southerners.  Me, I never had biscuits and gravy until I was in my 20s.  It definitely is not on too many New England menus.  My younger son - who is turning into a pretty good cook himself not to mention a fantastic meat and cheese smoker - said to me while I was hard at work, "Let's see if your biscuits and gravy are better than mine."  A little later he grudgingly admitted that it was.  Thing is we both use the same recipe we pulled from the Pioneer Woman's website to make our biscuits and gravy.  I told him that's because my version was made with love because when your parents feed you they're really saying "I love you."  Not sure he bought that. 

Last night we were talking about Vegas, specifically how the women in Vegas tend to dress.  I was explaining to my sis in law that she needed to check out the legendary "Slut Parade" at the MGM next time they went to Vegas.  I told them a bit about some recent posts by Rob Vegas Poker (known as Boob Rob in this house after the PQ coined that term for him last year) and they got a good laugh at the EDC stuff not to mention how the clubgoers dress sluttier than the "working girls". 

Ran across this story yesterday here about a guy who beat the living crap out of an 18 year old guy who was having sex with his 11 year old son, then the dad called 911 to let them know they could come collect the POS from his living room floor where he left him unconscious and bleeding but still alive.  The Daytona Beach cops who showed up got Dad's story and declined to arrest him and the city chief of police basically said he could see nothing wrong as a cop or as a father with how the guy handled the issue.  According to the PQ who has over 25 years experience with the courts system, because the boy was under 12, if the rapist is convicted as charged he will get life for this little bit of deviancy.  And he should.  So I went to the Volusia County jail to see his booking photo.  Now I know what "beat the shit out of" looks like in real life

If this occurred to more of these people perhaps this would happen less often.  Perhaps not but then again I bet the victim's families wouldn't feel so helpless while the offender sometimes gets a slap on the wrist, especially if it's their first conviction. But I know in many areas the dad would have faced worse charges than the criminal.

Well time to end this missive before some readers mistake me for the immortal Boob Rob.  I hope everyone is having as fine a weekend as I am and I want to make sure I send some healing vibes to Lucki's mom.  Being a cancer survivor myself, I know firsthand how scary it can be.  And mine was no where near as serious.  Also I'm glad to see Gary (aka The Crafty Southpaw) is getting better and better.  He is an inspiration. 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back on the beach

Well I've finally dried out from my recent cruise across the Gulf of Mexico enough to attempt a little post about it.  It's not that I had to deal with a lot of bad weather or monster waves, but my liver and kidneys needed a break.  The PQ and I did our best to drink all of the rum on the boat but alas, being in the islands meant they could refill at each stop.  In case you hadn't guessed, it was one FUN boat ride. 

We left on a Saturday afternoon and by the time the ship went under the Sunshine Skyway bridge, I was already on my 3rd boat drink.  It was far from my last.  I tried some new things - escargot is better than I thought it would be - and just did my best to take it as easy as I could.  I was pretty close to burnout at work and just needed to refresh and recharge.  Mr Mai Tai helped a lot there.

Outside of drinking, I also did a fair amount of reading, eating, and of course, gambling.  The casino was bigger than I expected and most of the table games were decent.  The slots and especially Video Poker machines sucked royally.  Double Double Bonus VP paying 6-5?  WTF is that.  I tried a bit but hit nothing and gave up before I wasted more cash.  Besides there's a craps table calling me.  And that's what I did for the rest of the trip.

The PQ kept trying and not hitting on the VP but I learned my lesson early.  I didn't make a killing on the craps but I kept it pretty conservative and didn't lose anything.  I made a little.  Unfortunately not enough to pay off my booze bill.  Holy cow did we drink a lot.  Fortunately our cabin was only 3 doors down from the lobby bar so I didn't have far to stumble to reach my bed.  And I could blame it on the ship rolling instead of my inebriation.  Win-win right?

Because we had to wait for my niece to graduate from high school, we couldn't take the cruise until June.  Which meant we paid more for the cruise as they're cheaper before June, and even worse, a ton of kids were on the cruise.  Something like 900 passengers out of 2300 were kids.  Every day and night at all hours I'd hear kids running in the hall outside my door.  Unfortunately the PQ wouldn't let me string some fishing line across the hall and under the door to take down a few of the little maniacs darling angels as an example for the rest.  And man was it hot too.  Everyone else made sure they got plenty of sun and pool time but I opted for shade and booze time.  Win-win again.

Our first stop was in Grand Cayman.  We were only there about 6 hours and for us that meant going ashore for a little shopping.  Very little.  It turned out we got there on Queen Elizabeth's birthday.  Most of the island was closed up and since we were the only cruise ship in port, they really didn't have much reason to open.  We bought a few small things but nothing too much and were back on the boat early.  Gave me a chance to reacquaint myself with some more boat drinks at least. 

The next day we got into Cozumel, Mexico.  We've been there before so this time the girls were looking to find some bargains.  They brought me along to carry the wallet.  I did that quite well.  We had fun walking around town shopping but man was it hot.  After wandering around Mexico for a few hours it was time to head back to the boat for some A/C, a shower and of course, more boat drinks. 

We left Cozumel with the sun setting behind us and headed back toward Tampa.  It was beautiful sitting outside on the back of the boat (the fantail?) watching the land receding.  There were thunderstorms in the area and we could see the clouds flashing in the distance as we sailed away.  One more day at sea allowed me a bit more time to play craps.  Though my luck turned I made sure I didn't lose much so I came back to port with cash in my pocket along with the large booze bill we racked up.  It was a fun trip and truly allowed me a chance to recharge.  Once we got back the PQ found some good flights to Vegas and we planned out our trip in November.  I'm ready to go now.  Better practice up on my dice throws. 


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Three to get ready..........

And four to go.  As Peter, Paul, and Mary once sang (also John Denver) "All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go."  We are all packed up and we're about to take a short vacation.  This time it's a cruise in honor of my niece and my daughter's graduations from high school and college.  We'll have 5 days and nights on the high seas, time for plenty of relaxing, sun, along with some gambling (cuz you know my vacations will involve that at some point) and a full supply of boat drinks.  My plan are to do ........................... as little as possible. 

Before I go further I want to give major kudos to Memphis Mojo whose run to 3rd place in the WSOP senior event was truly inspiring.  I really enjoyed watching along online and following on Poker News - even though they kept changing his name and home town.  I noticed they even had it wrong on the broadcast when they introduced him and he had to correct the announcer. 

Well folks, I gotta wrap this sucker up.  I will hopefully have some good post material when I get back.  I hope everyone enjoys themselves as much as I will.  And I want to make sure I wish good luck to Lucki Duck on his upcoming foray into the WSOP.  Bon Voyage

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Finding the Muse

Wow it's been forever since I've posted anything here.  I'm almost surprised the site is still up and running without me.  I know I started posts 3 or 4 times over the past 10 months or so but I just couldn't keep up the momentum and finish a whole post.  And it's not like most of my posts are Rob Vegas Poker like missives either.  At least they're not supposed to be though I have been known to run off at the mouse at times.

Things have been pretty mellow at the homestead.  This has been a year of transition in a number of areas.  At work my department was split up.  We were handling so many areas of the business and more stuff was heading down the pike that we got split into a Cost Basis department and a much smaller Reporting department.  Cost Basis handles making sure the cost of stocks, bonds etc is updated correctly for our accounts and Reporting handles Pricing for all the securities along with Performance calculations and reporting for a number of different areas.  About 3/4 of the department stayed in Cost Basis while the rest went to Client Reporting.  I am in Client Reporting now.  I'd go and explain all I'm involved in but your eyes are probably glazing over now (much like the PQ does every time I talk shop) so suffice to say I'm enjoying it and it keeps things interesting.  And it pays the bills.  I got a nice raise last year when I took my new position and then they gave me a small one at end of year as well as a decent bonus too so I'm staying solvent.

After the department split, the PQ and I took a trip up to Biloxi for a bit of gaming around our anniversary date.  We had a really good time.  Biloxi is a much more laid back town than some other gambling areas like say .......... Vegas.  A lot older crowd for the most part but still a lot of fun for a semi old fart like myself.  We settled in at the Grand Biloxi - now called Harrahs Gulf Coast - and settled in for some good ole fashioned gamblin on the Red Neck Riviera.  It was not a great trip for me on the gambling front though I did have an epic roll on the craps table late one night.  The PQ on the other hand got on one of her hot streaks again.  The first full day in Biloxi we grabbed a nice breakfast at one of the few places around there not named Waffle House that served breakfast.  Then it was on to the glory for the PQ.

First place we visited was the Palace Casino.  First casino I ever went to that was non smoking.  Nice change for us non smokers.  I can't tell you how many times I've been playing at a VP machine only to have someone sit down next to me and immediately light one up.  And of course the smoke always seems to drift my way.  That's one good thing about Poker rooms, but no problem there however.  For me the VP was a complete bust but not so much for the PQ.  They had a progressive jackpot VP machine with the royal valued at over $2100.  Fifteen minutes later it was all gone.  The PQ pulls four to the royal and damned if the fifth card didn't come up on the draw.  Needless to say we had a good time that day.  And it didn't end there.  Later on we went to the Margaritaville  Casino and she pulled another royal good for another thousand bucks there.  I told you she runs in streaks and when she gets going good it's a sight to see.

We really had a fun time in Biloxi and also in New Orleans as we spent a little time there as well.  I got into a great roll on the craps table at the Harrahs there which was about the only highlight we had gambling there.  But we had some terrific food and enjoyed ourselves immensely.  We're gonna do that trip again, maybe next year as this year is pretty spoken for. 

Lets see what else is going on.  The boys are doing very well in their chosen professions.  My younger son took a position doing liaison between the IT department and his department.  He sets up computers for new employees, troubleshoots connection issues, etc.  He's really enjoying it and is doing a good job.  In fact I got a call from someone who worked with him and when he found out I was his dad, he had a lot of nice things to say about him.  The older son has been doing well in 911 and helping train people there.  He and his girlfriend are in St Augustine celebrating her birthday this weekend.  And the daughter just graduated from UCF last month.  So our final child is out of school but is now back in our house.  My days of strolling the house naked at all times have come to an end. 

My niece also graduated high school recently.  So for the two grads we're going to take a little cruise soon.  We're looking forward to that.  Nothing major, just over to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  But I predict a lot of relaxing in the sun, many boat drinks, a bit of gaming on the high seas, and some good food to go with it.  We also found some good rates on flights to Vegas later this year.  A fine way to celebrate 30 years of marriage we decided.  So we'll be out there in November it appears.  I wasn't expecting to go to Vegas this year as a lot of our money is tied up in the cruise but hey, how many 30 year anniversaries to you get? 

Not much else has been happening on the home front.  I haven't been doing much gambling, in fact I haven't played in a live poker tourney or hit the Hard Rock in months.  And I've done very little gaming online too.  Saving up my gambling jones for the cruise I guess.  I wonder if they'll have any poker on the cruise.  Probably not but there's always VP.  And of course CRAPS. 
Anyway I just haven't felt like I had much to say to spend time spreading my banal thoughts on the net until just recently.  And you can probably tell I haven't improved much in the intervening months.  Well that's about all I got for now.  No good stories yet, nothing exciting.  I have kept up with some blogs so I'm not completely out of the loop.  Congrats to Mojo and Lucki for getting to play in Vegas soon.  I'm sure some others of you will be making your way to Sin City during the WSOP and beyond.  I hope you have do well and stay lucky.