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

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas everybody - Now to finish this damned trip report.

Merry Christmas to all.  It's been a good year all in all, not the easiest but not a bad year at all.  I hope everyone else has had a good year but knowing the law of averages, I'm sure some will have gotten the short end of the stick this year.  Just wait till next year (as a Tampa Bay Rays and Bucs fan, I've said that a lot).  

I never finished blogging my Vegas trip report.  And of course in the intervening time I've probably forgotten a ton of things.  But I will do a quick recap of the last few days.  

The day after returning from Lake Havasu my luck finally turned.  I hoped it would - law of averages and all - but sometimes it doesn't.  Well this time it did with a vengeance.  Wednesday after another fine breakfast - this time at the MGM buffet, we gambled a little at the MGM and the Tropicana.  Never been in the Tropicana before, hey they let you park for free there.  What a concept.  Bad odds but I liked the vibe in the place.  Nice staff and kind of an older Vegas feel there.  I broke even playing some Video Poker and a little slots.  Avoided the craps table since I hadn't had any luck so far this trip.  The girls did some shopping at M&M, Hershey and World of Coca Cola before returning to the Trop and hitting the VP machines.  Our daughter the foodie really wanted to hit Pink Taco at the Hard Rock for a meal so we decided to do some gaming at the Hard Rock.  The PQ and I usually do well at the Hard Rock so off we went.  

Boy do I like the Hard Rock.  As soon as we got there (and didn't pay to park) I hit the mens room.  Cleanest nicest mens room I had been in all trip.  Their staff pays attention to the little things.  From there we hit the Video Poker machines for a little while.  I didn't do much but both my daughter and wife hit nice hands and start making some cash.  So I decide to hit the craps tables again.  That turned out well.  My luck finally turned around.  Table was almost empty on one side so I took position next to the stick man in the middle of the table.  I play pretty conservative just a pass line bet and the 6 and 8.  Make a little cash and the dice come to me.  I put down a pass line bet and also 5 bucks split between the 2 each on the Small and Tall bets and 1 on the All.  To win you have to roll either 2-6 for the Small or 8-12 for the Tall before rolling a 7.  To win the All you have to roll every number before rolling the 7.  Seems fairly simple but odds are pretty high and the house edge is something like 7 percent so not a good bet.  If you hit it though the payouts are high.  35-1 on the Small and Tall and 175-1 on the All.    What makes this bet so tough is there are no off bets.  If you are playing pass line and make your point then roll a 7 on the come out roll, you win your pass line bet again.  If you're playing Small/Tall/All, that 7 is a loser.  

I got on a decent roll.  Made a couple of points and all the small numbers so I got a nice payout on that.  Had one number left on the high side when I crapped out.  But by then I had more than doubled up.  When I started my roll this guy walks up to my left and buys in for something like $1000.  He lays out some bets including $100 each on the Small and Tall and $25 on the all.  So he hit a nice $3500 payout on the Small even though he lost some other bets along the way.  He skipped his roll and the guy to his left had a decent roll and I made some more money.  My $100 buyin is up to about $300 now and I'm finally feeling like my luck had turned.  Dice go to the other side of the table and this next guy goes on a massive roll.  I've got 2 each on the small, tall and all now.  I'm also playing the hard ways and the 6 and 8.  Every time a 6 or 8 hits, I bump my bet on them by another 6 dollars and take the rest of the payout as profit.  I also bump up my hard ways whenever one of them hits until I have 5 each on them .  And this guy is rolling some doubles.  He hits all the tall numbers pretty early and only needs a 4 to complete all the small numbers (and the all numbers bet) but he keeps rolling sixes and eights.  Which is fine as I'm taking down $42 each time he hits them now.  But finally the 4 hits and the table erupts.  

I take down $420 on my All and Small bets as do a couple of others.  One guy had $5 on each so he took down around $1000.  Then there's the guy to my left.  He takes down almost $8000 on that bet.  Something the dealers did in paying his bets pissed this guy off and he immediately cashed out and took off with over $11,000.  He did tip the dealers a couple hundred before he left.  I kept putting in bets for the dealers on my hard way bets so they got some decent payoffs as well.  After that the table got choppy and I cashed out for $1100.  My Vegas luck had finally turned.  

Sometimes Craps does pay

We had a really nice late lunch at the Pink Taco in the Hard Rock.  Great food there but I was just not hungry enough to eat much or maybe I was excited because I finally ran good.  But that was not the end of my good luck.  That night I went over to the Palms to check it out.  I really liked the casino though it was under construction still.  I can't wait to see how it all looks when they finish the construction.  They have good odds on their Video Poker machines including some 10-6 Double Double bonus machines.  And my run continued on the craps table.  This time I rolled the All numbers bet .  Unfortunately no one else could get much of a run going but I ended up cashing out for another $700 score so in that one day I made up all of my previous losses and then some.  And for the rest of the week I ran pretty well.  No huge scores but no big losses either.  We all went back to the Palms the next day and did ok, I made a few dollars on craps.  On our last day in Vegas, we didn't fly out till late afternoon so we went back to the Hard Rock since it was on our way to the airport.  The girls did decent on the video poker and I made another $200 playing craps.  Just missed throwing all the numbers again, needed an 11 and couldn't roll it but did make all the small numbers and some hard ways.  I was all by myself a good part of the time.  From there it was off to the airport for the long flight home.  Was nice to come home with a wad of bills still in my pocket.  The girls came home with cash too.  A damned good trip all in all though my reporting, as late as it is, does not do it justice at all.

We had such a good time that when the PQ got an email from Southwest with cheap flight info, we looked into going back to Vegas in January.  We checked out some dates and looked at vacation time available and settled on going back in Mid January.  Got rooms comped at Ballys for the whole stay.  Good rental car rate, inexpensive flight.  We're there.  In 20 days we head back out.  It had been almost 3 years since our last trip to Vegas when we went in October, now we're going back only 3 months later.  Hope my run good continues.  And I'm definitely gonna play more poker.  Until then, Happy New Year everybody.  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Some days the burro gets you

Sorry about the delay in posting.  After getting back to work I've been buried and when not buried I've had some obligations (including a golf tourney I played in last weekend) which has kept me away from the keyboard.

I wanted to write up this post a lot earlier and didn't,  Now I hope my memory doesn't betray me.  I mentioned losing in a poker tourney to maybe the worst player I've played with.  Nothing I've done since then has changed my view.

We were at Harrah's and while the girls were playing some slots and walking around, I checked in the poker room to see if they had a tourney going on.  They said they had one starting soon so I signed up even though there was only a couple of tables going right then.  As it turned out, it was basically a single table tourney as it started with 9 of us but you could rebuy for the first hour or so and a couple more people did buy in after we started but they replaced guys knocked out.

There was one guy a couple places to my right who was maybe the worst player I had seen.  Somehow he could not grasp the concept of raises.  If he bet 200 and someone raised to 800,  he'd put out 800 more.  I saw him do this at least 8 or 10 times.  I figured he would be one of the first to be gone, especially when I saw him call down a couple of people with only 3rd or 4th pair and lose to a guy with AK who flopped an ace.  He called one guys river bet of 5K with 9-5 after pairing the 5 on the flop.  He would call nearly any raise and after the first half hour his 20K stack was down to maybe 6K.  Then lightning struck and the poker gods decided to fuck with every other guy at the table.

I had beaten him on one hand early when I flopped 2 pair and he called me on the flop and turn (amazingly folded the river) for a couple of thousand.  But apparently some people at the table were not very observant.  First a couple of guys decided to bluff at him when they missed their AK and KQ hands on the flop, etc.  And he just kept calling them with small to mid pairs and taking their chips.  Before you know it he's back to 20K and these other guys are grumbling.  Then he gets into this hand with the 2 guys to my left.  Neither guy had played overly aggressive.  I was in the big blind when the first to act to my left just calls.  Next guy puts out a healthy raise so I figured him for a solid hand.  Mr Lucky to my right calls of course and I fold my crap hand. I was surprised to see the guy next to me then call and I figured him for a big hand too.  Flop is A, 2, 6 with the Ace and 2 of clubs.  Guy to my left leads out a healthy bet, guy next to him pushes all in.  I'm figuring one of them flopped a set or something.  Mr Lucky calls the all in.  That surprised me but not too much.  Then the original bettor also goes all in.  Mr Lucky has them both covered by a little bit now.  Guy to my left shows AK off suit for top pair, top kicker.  The first all in guy has KQ of clubs for a nut flush draw, and surprisingly, Mr Lucky shows A2 for flopped two pair.  I half expected him to show up with a 10,6 or something but in this case he actually had the lead.  Of course calling a healthy bet preflop with A2 is not what I'd do but it works for him.  Turn is then the 10 of clubs completing the flush for the KQ,  Then the river is the last ace and Mr Lucky takes down a huge pot with aces over twos and takes both guys out.  He goes from lowest in chips to table leader in a very short time. Which can happen but damn.

I of course am getting an endless succession of 8-3, J-4 etc.  The few playable hands like 9-10 suited are completely missing.  Mr Lucky on the other hand takes out a couple of more people with some unlikely hands - I think he won one with 10-6 when he filled a straight and beat a guy who flopped two pair with 9-8.  I'm bleeding chips from blinds and antes and I'm first to act with about 4K left when I see A-4 suited.  I push all in.  Mr Lucky calls with 9-2 and the whole table is shocked my A-4 miraculously holds up when I flop a 4 and he doesn't improve.  Next hand I'm in the big blind with 3-3.  No one raises and I just call.  4 of us see a flop of JJ2.  I push all in for almost 8K.  Everyone folds except Mr Lucky.  He calls with K5.  I dodge the turn but lose to a 5 on the river and my tourney is done.  I'm not shocked at the outcome as everyone else has lost to that guy.  I almost wanted to rebuy just so I could see how the rest of the tourney played out but I was disgusted at the way my poker had gone, I hadn't played particularly well and had zilch luck.  Of course that was how the whole week had gone to that point so I decided to call it a day and went looking for the girls so we could grab a late lunch/early dinner.

I never did play any more poker in Vegas.  A couple of times later including the last night we were there I planned to play and I was just too beat.  I was also coming down with a nasty cold that kept me out of work 2 days when I returned home so maybe that played a hand in it.  Oh well.  It was probably for the best.

After 3 days in Vegas I had not won diddly squat and I'm wondering if I'll need to budget my gambling expenses the rest of the week to make sure I have enough money.  Then on Monday we decided to day trip down to Hoover Dam and further down to Lake Havasu.  While the PQ and I have visited Hoover Dam in the past, this was a first for our daughter.  I was pretty shocked at how much lower Lake Mead is than the last time we were there.  Then again it was fall and after a long hot summer so I'm sure it's a bit higher in the spring.  Lake Havasu and Havasu City are nice but unless you're into boating and retired, it's not where I'd live.  I mean it's out in the middle of absolutely no where.  Then again being 2 or 3 hours from Vegas does have some appeal.  We did see the London Bridge that was bought and shipped and rebuilt there stone by stone.  Had a really nice lunch at a brew pub next to the bridge and took a few pics by the bridge.
The PQ by London Bridge

On the return to Vegas we took another way back so we could go into California.  I'd never been to California before so I can cross that off my list.  That area of California doesn't look any different from Arizona, - dry and sunbaked.  We did get to visit the thriving metropolis of Needles, home to Snoopy's brother Spike.  So I can cross that off my bucket list.  Then we headed overland on some realllllly sketchy roads up to Laughlin Arizona.  I missed the exit I wanted to take on State Highway 95 from Needles (Needles Highway I believe and calling it a highway is a major stretch) and ended up on this two lane beat up road called Needles Highway that I put me in fear of my life led through some very picturesque countryside that man hadn't travelled through since they rode on burros.  In fact we even saw a burro crossing sign on this road.  Like burros can read signs (they can't but they can follow the pictures).  Calling that road a highway was proof of the optimism of the residents of Needles.  I was scanning the horizon looking for bands of Indians massing to massacre the wagon train but never did see them.  However the road did in it's own way lead to Laughlin, even though I had my doubts along the way.

Laughlin was a pretty town along the Colorado River with some casinos.  We didn't spend very long there, we did hit the Harrahs in town and I actually won a little cash on the video poker but lost it playing craps continuing my bad run there.  Next time in Vegas maybe we'll come back here and hit a few of the other places.  It was a pretty long day's driving and I was ready to get some rest so as darkness fell we drove back to Las Vegas.  Saw a pretty sunset on the way - they get some great sunsets around the mountains there.  And I didn't lose money the whole day which was some improvement over the previous 3 days.  Some days you win by not losing.  Luckily it all changed the next day.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Vegas - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Got back from Vegas late last Friday night/early Saturday morning.  It was a fun trip and I'll detail more in the next few days about everything but thought I'd talk about some of the things we saw this trip.

Good things - Wow did we eat well.  Of course travelling with our daughter the foodie ensured we would hit some restaurants we had never been to before.  Here are some places you might want to try next time you go to Vegas:
Cinnamons Restaurant - This is a small chain from Hawaii, the Vegas location is the only one on the mainland, and they serve authentic Hawaiian dishes.  I had been wanting to try Loco Moco and this was my first chance.  It was great.  Try their pancakes too.  They are known for their guava chiffon pancakes but the PQ opted for the Red Velvet pancakes.  We expected them to be pretty dense but they were very light and fluffy not to mention delicious.  Our daughter got the Korean BBQ which I feared would be spicy but was actually a bit sweet and very tender.  The restaurant is located west of downtown near Summerlin right off US95.

Rice with a hamburger patty, brown gravy, and 2 eggs on top.  Loco Moco indeed

Eats - Just outside of downtown in an area that used to be run down but is now in a renewal, Eats is a nice locals breakfast/lunch/brunch place.  A bit hipster and it gets loud in there but the food is worth the wait.  We hit this place just before noon on the morning we arrived in Vegas.  I had a very tasty chicken fried steak and eggs and of course sourdough toast which I usually can't get here in Florida, our daughter had a fantastic killer grilled cheese and tomato soup and the PQ had a delicious chicken sandwich on ciabatta with home made chips.
The Peppermill - right on the strip just north of the Wynn/Encore across from where the Resorts World is being built.  This is one of the first places we eat in Vegas.  If you've never been here, you must go.  Step back into the 70s.  Purple neon and velour covered furniture.  Food is great and portions are huge.  Usually I get an egg dish but I chucked the diet for the week and it had been so long since I'd had French toast that I got this huge order of French toast with fruit (hey that's good for me right? ) and whipped cream.  I ate half then traded with the PQ and had some of her chicken fried steak and eggs.  None of us finished our food and we all left stuffed.  There's also a lounge in the back with a fire pit which does great business every night.  In the Vegas tradition I had Baileys and coffee with my breakfast.
Somewhere under this is 6 halves of French toast.  

Wynn Buffet - I thought it was excellent, our daughter was unimpressed saying the food lacked seasoning.  Didn't stop her from piling on the desserts.  Great biscuits but a surprising lack of sausage gravy to go with them.  Strange, not refined enough for the Wynn?  

No sausage gravy but you can get a breakfast candy apple at the Wynn

El Burro Burracho - TV Chef Guy Fieri's Mexican restaurant in the Rio.  There's also one in the Linq I believe.  Wow this was good.  I've been wanting to try Beef Machaca Enchiladas and they were fantastic.  The girls split an order of trash can nachos which were also excellent.  We'll be eating here again next time.
Gordon Ramsey's Fish and Chips - didn't have any fish but the chips are out of this world.  While not a fan of his, the man knows how to make delicious fries.
Pink Taco - more excellent Mexican food this time at the Hard Rock casino at the Pink Taco.  I wasn't really hungry so I had the quesadilla appetizer and me and the PQ split some queso fundido.  Our daughter was after the pink tacos and really enjoyed them. We'll also be back as the Hard Rock treated us very well in the casino.
Barley Bros Brewery - by Lake Havasu.  Right next to the London Bridge that was moved stone by stone from London to Havasu City.  PQ had one of the best steak sandwiches I've had - thick but very tender and the bun was perfect.  My burger was really nice and the cole slaw with it was really good.  The foodie had a pizza which was also well made and tasty.

Other good things.  Trader Joes in Vegas sells hard alcohol including their own brands of Rum, Vodka, Scotch, and Gin.  Finally went to the Gamblers General Store outside downtown.  Very cool, got a number of souvenirs there.  Gambling at the Hard Rock and Palms was fun and profitable.

Bad Things - It was very sobering to go to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign at the south end of the strip and see the memorial to those killed only a week before.  It was good too to see the offerings from people who many times did not know the victims and the city really has come together over the tragedy.  The concert venue was still taped off and police were not letting people in except for a few at a time to retrieve belongings.  The window where the shots were fired from was easy to see as it was the only one with plywood on it.  Ugh.   My gambling the first 3 days qualifies as bad.  I couldn't win anything on any game whether machine or table.  I was calculating how much I could continue to lose and still have money but thankfully everything turned around the last few days.  Paying for parking on the strip is definitely bad.  What the hell, I'm coming to your casino to play and dine and put money in your coffers and you have to nickel and dime me to park there too??  And it's not a buck or 2, it's serious coin if you stay awhile.  When did the Strip Casinos become Disney World?  Almost makes a person not want to play on the strip.  This is not an issue off the strip, no charge at the Rio even to valet, nor at the Palms right down the street.  Fortunately as a Caesars Platinum rewards member I get free parking and valet at their properties on the strip and I did make use of that.  But even self parking at the Wynn or Bellagio costs if you stay more than an hour.  I can see myself not going to those places very much in the future.  One other place I parked for free was the Tropicana which I had never visited before.  While I was gaming there, the PQ and Foodie were visiting M&M world, Hershey World and World of Coke at neighboring casinos. Odds weren't nice at the Tropicana but the people were extremely nice and the layout was cool inside there.  I was surprised to find I was a rewards member there due to signing up for a rewards card at Boom Town in Biloxi several years before.  Another bad thing was I didn't play much poker.  I had plans to play on 2 different nights including the last night we were there but ended up backing out.

Ugly Things -  I did play one small poker tourney at Harrahs.  Like the poker room much more than the old room as it's not set off completely from the rest of the casino.  I lost to maybe the worst player I had ever played with.  Of course, I wasn't the only one - he took out at least 4 others.  It was crazy.  The drivers around the strip are absolutely nuts.  I saw some outrageously bad driving including a taxi who decided the left turn light was green when it was red on Las Vegas Blvd and almost caused a huge pile up at Harmon.  Some guy apparently climbed over one of the sidewalk barriers on LV Blvd and was run over.  As Ron White says "you can't fix stupid".  There's a reason those barriers are there and walkways were built over the street.  I picked up a nasty cold about half way through the trip.  While I wasn't suffering much during the week, I was tired a lot and it really kicked in when I got home.

Well that's enough for now.  I will update with some food porn pics a little later and some more in depth posts including my poker tourney and exit.  Going to hit the poker tables at Derby Lane and try to improve on my Vegas experience.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Getting Ready for Vegas

We've all heard it said, hell we've probably said it ourselves, that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result.  I thought it was Einstein who sad it but some places say the author is unknown.  But Einstein was pretty smart so I'm sure he said a lot of wise things in his life.  But I digress.

Saturday was a long day for me.  I headed into work about 10 because I have 3 days to finish testing and I have a lot to do.  Of course I get there and the testing environment is down.  I contact a couple of people and 3 hours later they get it figured out so I can start testing.  Great.  I was hoping to not work on Sunday too but that pretty much clinched it that I'm coming in on Sunday too.  Lovely.  I was able to get a fair amount done in the next 3 hours but missing out on 3 hours of testing meant I had plenty to do by the time I left at 4 that afternoon.

I was a little tired but I had talked to the Poker Queen earlier in the day about maybe going to play poker that night at Derby Lane.  There was a small tournament at 6 that we like to play.  And we're off to Vegas in a week.  So after work, I headed home and picked up the wife and off to Derby Lane we went.  Because, hey let's do the same thing again and hope my results change.

We arrived about 45 minutes before the tourney and went to sign in.  I was thinking maybe I'd play a little holdem before the tourney to get into the flow of the game but when we got there I was hungry (since all I'd had since breakfast was some peanuts) so we figured to sign up and I'd grab a bite before played.  We went up to the window and told the girl there we wanted to sign up for the tourney.  And were told we'd have to wait until 5:30.  What?  It's 45 minutes before the tourney and we can't sign up for it?  I was miffed.  Then the room manager came by and told the girl it was ok to sign people up now.  So we got that out of the way.  We went over to the snack bar and I got a bite before we started.

The tourney was s $60 buyin with 15K in chips and 20 minute blinds.  I did not get off to a great start, lost one hand early on when my Q high flush ran into a K high flush.  That sucked.  But I didn't lose too much.  After a couple of orbits I was down to about 13K.  Blinds were 50/100 and I was in middle position when I looked down at KK.  After a couple of people called, the guy a couple of places to my right raised to 2500.  What?  I had notice this guy and another one a few places to my left seemed to make large preflop raises but this was big even for them.  I figured he probably had a mid pair like from 8-J or even Qs.  Which is great for my KK.  So I reraised him to 7K which was kind of dumb because it was more than half my stack.  But I don't mind taking it down there and if he reraises all in I'm not dumping Kings at that point.  I really doubt he has AA but if he does I'll stomp my feet and cry about how unfair poker is take my beat down like a man.  And rebuy.  But I figure he'll fold or push here.  He surprised me by calling.  Ok, now what?  Flop is 10-6-3 rainbow.  He checks to me.  I'm really hoping he doesn't have 10-10 as that's right in his range there but I'm pot committed already so I push in.  He goes into the think tank for a long time.  Now I know he doesn't have 10s and I figure he has JJ or QQ so I'm hoping he'll call.  Finally after a minute he folds.  Still a nice chunk of change for me.

A little later I call on the button with A2 of hearts.   5 of us see a flop of 10-5-3 all hearts.  BINGO.  Now how do I get chips out of this.  Everybody checks it around so I check too.  Turn is an 8 of clubs.  Guy in early position makes a small bet of 350.  Comes around to me and I just call as do the 2 blinds.  Nice, now we're getting a pot built.  River is a 2 of spades.  The guy who bet now puts out 2500.  Much better.  It comes to me and I immediately raise him to 6K.  He thinks for quite a while.  Tries to get a reaction out of me and finally calls.  He doesn't like it when I flip over the nut flush.  Not long after that he busts out and a older gentleman moves into his seat.

I'm not sure what this older guy is playing but he's calling a lot preflop, even when it's raised, then stays in calling the flop and turn only to fold at the river.  He wins a couple of hands but loses more.  Blinds are up to 75/150 and I've about doubled my 15K starting stack so I'm feeling pretty good when I get JJ in early position and make a raise to 600.  The old guy is in the small blind and is the only caller.  Flop is K 6 3 rainbow.  I don't like the king but he checks into me so I bet out 900 which he calls.  I'm not sure what he's calling with here but he hasn't shown me much so far.  Next a 9 of clubs hits the board.  It's not a scare card so after he checks I put out 3500.  I'm hoping to take it down here but he calls again.  Now I'm getting a little worried.  River is a 10 of diamonds.  While not a terrible card, it's not great.  And since I don't have any idea what he has, when he checks, I check behind.  He then mucks his hand as I turn over my JJ.  I never found out what he had but it wasn't too much longer before he is gone though he did hurt one guys stack pretty good when he backed into a straight on the river.  I'm a little over 40K when everything starts to implode.

I raise in late position with A-10.  Blinds are 200-400 so I raise to 1200.  3 people call but the flop is 10-6-3 with 2 spades which I'm liking.  It's checked to me and I bet out 2500.  Guy in the small blind raises me to 5K.  I'm wondering if he's on a flush draw or if he really has the goods here.  Everybody else folds and I decide to call. The turn is an 8 of clubs.  He checks to me and I think for a bit.  I almost checked back but decided he's probably on a flush draw so I bet 6K.  And he goes all in.  I ask the dealer to count it down and it's another 13K on top.  I can afford to lose this hand but then I'm down to around 15K again.  I think for a couple of minutes and figure he probably flopped a set of 3s or 6s so I fold,  I never found out what he had and if he bluffed me, good for him.  But I felt fairly confident he had me.

A little later on blinds are 300/600.  I haven't had much to play and I'm slowly bleeding chips from blinds and ante.  I raise in early position with AQ suited.  Guy to my right who was on the button and the old guy who folded to my jacks both call my raise to 2K.  Flop is a nice Q62 with 2 hearts.  It's checked to me and I bet 5K.  Old guy calls all in (of course) for less than 5K and it comes around to my neighbor.  Who pushes all in for almost 20K.  Oh crap.  Now I start to think.  What the hell did I get into?  I start thinking it through.  My options are pure bluff, semi bluff with a flush or straight draw, set of 2's or 6's or AA/KK.  I toss out pure bluff, why do it here?  With the other guy calling he has to figure he'd probably lose most of the pot to him.  Semi bluff is possible though again, he doesn't get all that much if I fold and he doesn't fill his flush or straight.  I didn't think he had AA or KK.  If he did I think he raises preflop instead of calling and I'm sure he reraises me preflop.  So I'm left with pocket pair making a set.  Of course this took me probably 2 minutes to work through. I'm not the brightest bulb out there in the poker world.  So I fold and he flips over 66 for the set and takes the old guy out.  I'm now down from over 40K to just over 25K.  And the break can't come soon enough.

I meet up with the PQ over the break.  She had just over her starting stack, hadn't gotten much to work with.  But with the blinds and antes increasing she knows she's going to have to make some moves.  And I got to see a couple of them.

Not long after break my table was broken up.  I came out of the break running pretty well and hit a couple of big hands.  No all in's but I doubled my stack.  I was not thrilled to move.  Wouldn't you know I got moved to the PQ's table.  One of the first hands, the PQ gets it all in vs a guy who came over from my table.  He was a pretty solid player.  Flop was King high with 2 hearts when the PQ pushed all in.  The guy calls and flips over KK for top set.  PQ has QJ offsuit with the Q of hearts.  She's drawing nearly dead but the turn and river are both hearts giving her the flush (K of hearts was on the board) and a miracle double up.  It would not be the last time the card gods smiled on her that night.

Not long after that the PQ was moved to another table to keep them balanced.  As for me, I spent a lot of time folding having nothing worth playing.  I did make some chips on a couple of well timed semi bluffs so I actually was up to about 55K in chips.  Average stack at this point.  I figured for the final table I would need to be near 100K.  We got down to 2 tables so I knew I'd need to take some chances.  On the button I was able to just call with K5 of hearts.  I almost threw it away, then I almost raised with it but decided to just call.  It worked out.  Flop is KQJ with the QJ of hearts.  I figure I might not be ahead but I certainly have a decent shot to win the hand.  It gets checked around to me and I put out a healthy raise of about two thirds the pot.  Folds around to the guy in seat 7 (I'm in 3) who pushes all in.  Everyone folds back to me.  I get a count on it and if I call I'll have about 20K left.  As blinds are 800-1600 now, I'll be in push or fold territory.  Then I start considering what he might have.  I didn't think he had flopped a set or even two pair as I suspect he'd have raised any hand of QJ or better in that situation.  I also discounted A-10 for that reason.  Now 9-10 is definitely possible.  But more likely I felt he had either a pair plus a draw like J-10 or a just a draw.  Maybe flush plus straight draw too.  I put my odds at 60% I'm ahead and even if I'm not, I have a decent flush draw.  Only thing I fear is he played something like A2 of hearts.  So I call.  And I'm right.  He has 10-7 of hearts.  So he's drawing just to a straight as no heart saves him.  He's calling for a 9 and gets his wish on the river.  Unfortunately for him its the 9 of hearts and I take him out.

At this point I'm feeling pretty good.  I've got almost 100K, nearly the biggest stack at the table.  I get to play a little bully and no one wants to mess with me much.  But I keep it pretty mellow just trying not to dump a bunch of chips.  We get down to 5 handed while the other table is 6 handed.  PQ is low but holding on as she pushed in AQ of clubs preflop and got called by a big pair.  Flush on the river again saved her.  I lost some chips when 2 guys went to war with me in the middle.  I decided to get out which was good but dropped me down to about 95K.  The good thing was, one of them got knocked out and we're at final table time.

We draw seats for the table and I get seat 3 again.  And directly on my right in seat 2 is the PQ.  She was not thrilled but we never tangled as it turned out.  I've got an average sized stack for the table but the guy in seat 1 is a monster.  He's sitting on nearly 300K - and only 900K was in the whole tourney.  Seat 1 proceeds to play more than half the hands.  He gets it in with some smaller stacks taking one out but losing a chunk to the guy in seat 8.  He and the guy in seat 10 keep tangling sending chips back and forth but along the way seat 1 is losing to some other guys like seat 4 directly to my left.  I do not get to benefit from his largess, I can't draw any cards and I can't hit any flops I do see which are quite few.  Every time I'm in the small blind, seat 4 puts in a big raise and I can't call or go in over the top with the crap I have.  Seat 4 takes a healthy piece off of seat 1 and he falls down to about 100K.  I keep going down and I'm about 70K when the PQ gets all in and loses to go out in 8th place, 2 off the money.  She wasn't too disappointed as she didn't get a lot to work with and she got lucky a few times to stay in the tourney.  Making the final table was a very good result for her.

At 7 left with 6 places being paid, I'm content to wait out the bubble.  I'm not getting much to play anyway.  Seat 5 is very short and seat 6 is not far behind.  But seat 5 makes a big double up and seat 6 ends up splitting a pot he was behind in.  I'm wondering when the axe will fall.  All the while I'm dumping crap hands, best I get to see is K9 in the small blind and I can't call seat 4 when he raises me all in preflop.  Finally seat 6 gets all in and busts out and we're in the money.  Now I just gotta keep moving up.  So I channel my inner Memphis Mojo and buckle down.  I take down the blinds and ante's a couple of times with all in preflop bets but I'm still bleeding chips.  Guys are talking about a 6 way split with the 2 big stacks, seats 4 and 8 getting extra but we keep playing on as no one can get to a consensus.  I'm down to about 40K and one off the button when I look down to AQ suited.  It's folded to me so I push in.  Seat 4 next to me calls and we're off to the races.  He flips over QJ off so I feel pretty good about my chances.  I hold and I'm back up close to 100K.  Just after this we reach a consensus.  Top 2 stacks get 500, rest of us walk out with a little over 300.  Not bad on a 60 dollar tourney.

I felt pretty good about my play.  I was a little too conservative at the final table maybe but I picked good spots to play I thought.  I also thought I made the correct lay downs which allowed me to keep playing.  I'm not really sharp but I'm ready for Vegas.  So in 2 days the PQ, myself and our daughter hop the big bird to Las Vegas for 6 days of fun.  Staying at the Rio this time and I'll be renting a car so we can take a day trip or 2 depending on how the gambling is going.  Hope someone of us is lucky this time.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

When is my vacation again?

Happy Sunday folks.  Sorry about the lack of posts lately, I've been doing that work thing a bit too much.  The OT pay is nice but the time spent at work on nights and weekends has really curtailed the leisure time activities I like to indulge in.  Haven't played any golf since before the hurricane nor any cards.  Until today anyway.

The PQ and our daughter left this morning for Orlando.  They are spending a couple of days at the "happiest place on earth" attending the EPCOT food and wine fest and seeing Sugar Ray in concert.  Good for them.  I stayed home to ensure Disney World remained the happiest place on earth.  With me there, it's probably no better than number 3 or 4.  I'd love to go to the Food and Wine fest except with my current dietary restrictions, there would be no wine and probably very little I could eat.  And that's fine with me.  The happiest places on earth to me are found in places like Biloxi and Las Vegas.  Sad I know but hey, free drinks, gambling, entertainment, plenty to eat.  What more can a degenerate gambler person ask for?

So while the girls were away I had a decision to make.  Put some time in at work?  Play golf?  How about some poker?  I decided to play the 1pm tourney at Derby Lane.  2K guarantee, 15K in chips and 25 minute blinds.  All for 60 bucks.  56 people signed up.

I got off to a good start playing 7-5 of spades on the button in an unraised pot.  Flop was Q -9-5 with 2 spades.  Everyone checks to me and I bet 200, about a pot sized bet.  2 people call.  Turn was the 4 of spades.  Yahtzee.  Checked to me again and I bet out 550.  This time only the big blind calls me.  River was a 10 of diamonds.  I bet out 1100 and big blind, calls again.  She was very surprised when I flipped over the flush.  Next hand I gave it all away.  Aggressive older guy raises to 400 preflop which is a bit high on a 25/50 blind level.  I look down at 2 tens.  I probably should reraise, especially in position but decided to call.  Tens are not an easy hand to play postflop, better to try and take it down early.  Flop was very good though with 776 rainbow.  Raiser leads out for 600 and I pop it to 1600.  Not enough of a raise there?  Not sure.  He calls which I hated.  Turn is a 3.  He checks to me and I bet 2800.  He then goes all in.  I have him covered but not by much.  He is also doing some talking during the hand and while I'm thinking I'm listening to him.  I interpreted his talking as he felt strong in the hand.  Now maybe he feels that way with 9-9 on that board but maybe it's something like JJ or QQ.  Eventually I dump the hand but I thought long and hard about calling.  Let me know if you think I screwed up that hand.  Later on I thought I might have but at the time I did think his talking was a sign of strength.  Other hands I watched him play, he did not talk much when he wasn't strong.

So I ended up giving back more than I made in the previous hand.  After missing a draw on a later hand I'm down to about 10K and pretty card dead.  Blinds are up to 75/150 so I'm not hurting but I need to make some chips up.  I check my big blind with K7 of spades.  Flop is 3-4-Q all spades.  I check and a few others do to.  Older guy puts out a bet of 3K.  Which was a big overbet in a pot with like 750 in it.  I noticed this guy bet pretty strong when he caught any piece of the pot and stayed in till the river a few times.  So I pushed all in over the top of him.  Everyone else folds back to him and he calls me and turns over 5-6 of spades for the flush and the draw to the straight flush.  Unfortunately for him, I'm holding one of his outs so he's drawing to the 2 of spades to win the hand.  Which doesn't come and I double up to a bit over 20K.

Blinds were up to 200-400 when I was dealt AK of spades in late position.  After a couple of people call, I raise to 1500.  The lady to my left on the button thinks for a bit then calls along with a guy a couple of places to my right.  Flop is AK of diamonds and 8 of hearts.  Checked to me and I bet 3K.  Gal to my left thinks for a long time and I'm wondering if she's gonna reraise me.  I really felt she had a strong hand and was afraid of aces or kings though I also thought she would reraise with either of those hands.  She was well known by the dealer so she was definitely a regular player and I thought could be tricky enough to not raise preflop.  She finally calls and the guy on my right folds.  Turn is a Q of hearts.  I started thinking about the hand some more and the betting and was more and more convinced she called me with AQ.  Possibly with KK but more likely a big ace and since she didn't reraise the flop bet, I doubted she had AK.  So I pushed all in.  She didn't think long before she called and flipped over AQ.  And did not improve.  I had her well covered and my stack increased to over 35K.

That was the high water mark of the tourney for me.  I lost a chunk of my chips when my AQ suited flopped a queen and turned a flush draw but lost to Q 10 when the flush didn't hit.  I did get away on the river without wasting a 3rd bet but it hurt.  Then I screwed myself.  Late position with 99 and I just called instead of raising.  I'm still rusty and that position was tailor made to raise it up and take it down preflop.  Instead I let the small stack in the big blind flop a boat with Q2 then make quads when a queen hit the turn.  After that my fate was sealed.  Never got too much to play with the whole tourney, but I had fun.  I went out 21st which wasn't too bad and I did get in some needed practice before going to Vegas but I really was my own worst enemy some of the time.

After busting I watched some football including seeing the Lions get hosed at the end of the game against the Falcons and the Patriots pull one out against Houston.  Then I went to play a little 1-2 no limit holdem.  I had played for about 45 minutes before the tourney and made about $5.  I wanted to make back my tourney buyin and surprisingly I did.  No major hands but I got a guy to pay me off when my J-10 flopped a broadway straight and another guy to keep pushing his AJ at my AQ on an ace high board.  The only note worthy hand was me losing with AA again.  That's 3 times in a row I've lost with it, once to 10  3 suited when the moron called my raise and flopped his flush.  Another to Q-10 suited who also made his flush.  This time I'm not sure what the old bat nice old lady had but it probably included a 3.  Button straddled to 4 dollars.  A couple of people call then I raised to 11.  Maybe not enough of a raise but I don't want to drive everyone out there.  Turns out the button and the old lady call.  Flop is an ugly 2-4-6 with 2 hearts.  Checked to me and I bet 17.  They both call.  Turn is a 5 of spades.  Old lady immediately leads out for 25.  Ok, so you played what 33?  43 or 5or 78?I was pretty sure I was beat especially with another guy in the hand so I dumped it.  Don't know what she had but I'm not throwing more money into the pot on that kind of board.

I left a little bit later and lo and behold, I'd made back all but $2 of my tourney entry fee.  So while the results weren't great, they weren't too bad either.  A whole afternoon's entertainment for only $2.

So that's my in a nutshell.  House is quiet, got the Raider game on and it's time for bed.  Probably a long day at work tomorrow.  13 days till I leave for Vegas.  Hope you all are running luckier than I am.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Breathing a Sigh of Relief

Well Irma has come and gone and we can all breath a sigh of relief today.  As bad as it was, it could have been so much worse.  Lucky for us, Irma came ashore a little earlier than expected down near Naples.  Not so good for the folks living there but it kept the hurricane for staying over the Gulf waters and strengthening a lot more.  Irma was only up to a category 3 when it came ashore after losing some power in Cuba.  If it had stayed in the Gulf longer and come ashore further north it would have been a Category 4 and we'd have had it much worse here.

Looking at a lot of downed branches in our neighborhood. Downed trees all over town too.  A lot of the county is without power but we never lost it here.  It flickered on and off a number of times probably due to transformers blowing but never went completely out.  Lucky for us.

The hurricane came ashore around 2 pm and while we got wind and rain from the outer bands, we didn't get the really strong winds until last night.  About 9 or so we could hear the wind howling and see the trees blowing back and forth.  Winds were probably around 50-60 then.  It really got going around 11.  Lost a lot of branches on the trees by the house and we really cringed every time we heard one land on the roof.  I didn't sleep well last night, woke up a few times due to noises.  When I woke up today there were a couple of big branches laying across the front walk but amazingly no trees laying down on the road (or the car or the roof) so that's a victory.

We were fortunate that the hurricane weakened over land and was only about a Cat 2 when it got up here.  It also went further inland than predicted in its course up the state.  The eye went over western Polk county which is about 40-50 miles inland from here.  We only dealt with winds around 90 mph.  Easy peasy.  Still a lot of friends and relatives are currently without power now.  Some have been told it could be a week before they have it back.  Florida in the late summer without A/C is no picnic.  Of course Houston is even hotter than here so we cannot complain too much.

Anyway, while we planned for the worst, we came out pretty good and I cannot complain about that.  Maybe this weekend I can get out to the poker tables or the golf course again and talk about that instead of all this Weather Channel nonsense.  By the way I want to thank the local tv stations for showing hurricane coverage 24-7 here.  No football for me yesterday.  Lovely.  Turns out they were showing it on an alternative channel but since they never posted anything about it on the actual channel or on their website, how was I supposed to find it?  No, much better to go on and on about Hurricanemageddon.  It was like watching the Weather Channel where every major storm is turned into some kind of apocalypse.  Then again when you devote 24/7 to one topic, you end up having to manufacture viewer interest somehow.   People stop tuning in if you tell them, "well, it's not gonna be that bad.  We think it will be windy and rainy but nothing as bad as we feared."  Instead it's all day screaming about "Evacuate or die!!!  Doom is coming to the Florida Gulf Coast."  As a very wise man said, "if your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."   Well enough ranting.  Off to bed for hopefully a full night's sleep for a change.    

Saturday, September 9, 2017

And It Just Keeps Getting Worse

You've all been there.  You look at your hole cards and see two lovely black aces.  Your brain immediately starts plotting how to win a nice pot.  You're in the hijack seat and it's folded around to you.  You make a standard raise as you don't want to chase everybody out.  And see the cutoff, the button and both blinds call you.  Ok this is gonna take some work.

Then the flop comes out.  A J 9 with the ace and 9 of hearts.  Lovely.  You're certainly ahead, you flopped top set, but there's a lot of bad things that could happen from here.  If someone played Q10 - and someone is always playing Q 10 it seems - how do you get rid of him?  Not to mention J9, 10-8 suited or even two crap hearts.  It's checked to you and you decide you're not gonna let someone draw to the heart flush for cheap.  You put out a healthy bet.  Only to see the button plus both blinds still call you.  And it keeps getting worse.  Turn is a Q of clubs.  Small blind puts out a pot sized bet, big blind raises him and you're sitting there wondering how it could have all gone so wrong.  It's like that scene in the Tom Cruise/Paul Newman movie, "The Color of Money".  Cruise is purposefully - against his will - dumping a game to Grady Seasons and the whole time Seasons is keeping up a running commentary making it hurt that much more.

That is basically how I'm feeling right now.  Thursday I'm looking at the weather charts and the projected hurricane path.  While the Tampa/St Pete area is within the cone of possibilities, all of the models are projecting Irma to pass either just east of the state of Florida or right along the east coast.  Over here on the west coast, we'll see some wind and rain but nothing too bad.  

Thursday night and Friday morning, the path keeps adjusting west.  From off the east coast to up the east coast to hitting the south end of the state and traveling up the middle of the state.  Now we're talking about true hurricane winds and rain here in the Tampa Bay area.  Still as long as it stays east of us, it won't be too bad.  Plus going over 200 miles all overland would take a lot of force from a Category 4 hurricane. It probably wouldn't be more than a Category 2 by the time it reaches here.

So imagine my dismay when I looked at the latest computer models tonight.  And see most of the models tracking right up the west coast and right through Tampa Bay.  It just keeps getting worse and worse.  I almost fear what I'll see tomorrow morning when I look at the weather.  Oh great, my phone just went off.  A Hurricane Warning has been issued for my area.  Lovely.

My biggest fear is the hurricane stays west of the state before turning into Tampa Bay.  If it does that and stays over water in the warm Gulf of Mexico, it could easily become a category 5 storm again.  And I don't want to contemplate what a Cat 5 hurricane would do to this area.  The last time a major hurricane hit the Tampa Bay area was 1921 and that was only a Category 3.  Do you know how much this area, especially along the beaches, has been built up over the past 100 years?  A category 5 direct hit here would be absolutely devastating.

Hopefully I'll wake up in the morning and find the storm is already turning and all my worrying is for nothing.  Or it starts to break up.  We'll see what happens.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.  It'll probably fall somewhere in between.  After all this depressing talk, I will at least leave you all with something nice to look at.  Too bad she isn't doing the weather here.

You're going to have a hurricane and a tornado soon but you won't care

Well off to bed folks.  Stay lucky out there.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Company's Coming

Happy hump day boys and girls.  Just sitting here getting ready for a visit from some chick named Irma.  Like who names their kids Irma these days?  NOBODY.  Except of course the National Weather Service.  Apparently they try to pick the weirdest names for hurricanes today.  Back when I was a kid (and before that if you can imagine it) they used regular names like Donna, and Carol, and Betsy.  Now they try to think up the craziest names for hurricanes.  Hugo and Katrina and Wilma were all terrible.  And currently we have Irma and Katia hanging around.  No wonder these storms get so nasty.  If you were named Irma, you'd have a bad attitude too.

Irma looks to be a beast.  Category 5 right now, winds of 185 mph with gusts to 225.  That's tornado like.  According to the current predictions, Irma is expected to make landfall in southeastern Florida which is a fair piece away from me.  As a category 4.  Which means wind speeds from 130-155 mph.  I don't want to be flying a kite in that wind.  Luckily for me, I'm up on the west side of the state.  Based on current predictions, the worst of the storm should be to my east.  Good for Tampa/St Pete.  Not so good for Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Ft Pierce, and Daytona Beach.  Of course even with as good as the weather service is now, they still aren't sure where landfall will occur.  Things can change.  So we're preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.  Just got some gas for the cars, we've got a lot of food and paper products.  I gotta get the spare tank filled for the gas grill in case we lose power and we have water being delivered Friday.  Storm should be here sometime on Sunday.  Even if it goes up the east side of Florida as predicted, we'll see a lot of rain and hurricane force winds over here.  Just not the flooding and storm surge.  I'm good with that.  If things change on the weather front I may be out of touch for a bit.  Like that's unusual.

So time to sign off.  Hope everyone stays lucky and pray for the people impacted by this storm.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Too much time on my hands

Old farts I mean gentlemen of a certain age like myself might recognize the title of the Styx hit above.  I am using that as a kind of tongue in cheek title because too much time is something I definitely don't have right now.

Work has been super busy of late, we have a number of new reports coming out that require testing and refining so that these reports are correct when one of our financial advisors presents it to his client.  What this has meant for me and a few of my coworkers is putting in extra time trying to do all the testing, log bugs we find, etc.  Most days I'm putting in 10 hours or so and I've even been putting time in on the weekends as well.  The overtime is nice come pay day but it's really screwing with my leisure time

So there was no poker for me this weekend.  We actually had a couple of new reports being downloaded this weekend and we had to test them on Saturday night to ensure they were running correctly.  The new reports ran great but whatever the programmers downloaded completely screwed up one of our old reports which I caught during some tests I was running.  That was too bad.  The PQ was over at Derby Lane trying to re-enact her previous run in the 6 pm tourney and was unable to join her.  I did tell her if testing ended fairly quickly - it was only supposed to go for a couple of hours - I would join her.

We started testing a little before 8 pm.  By 9:30 we were almost done and everything was running smooth as silk.  Then I found the issue with the older report.  Boom, everything goes to hell.  The programmers were trying to figure out what went wrong and then how to fix it.  I actually went into the office to test because it's easier for me to do it there rather than at home and it's closer to Derby Lane than my house anyway.  For a while it looked like I'd be out before 10.  Then it got extended while they worked on it.  Then extended a bit more.  About 11:15pm they send me home but I have to sign in from there and see if they are ready for us to continue testing around midnight.  They weren't.  In the meantime the PQ busts out of the tourney and heads home so I didn't even get to play any cards that night.  Finally about 1am they tell us to close up, it's gonna be hours later before the fix can be input and tested and they'll get a few people to test it on Sunday morning.  Not me thankfully as I had 2 fantasy football drafts on Sunday.  And after 6 hours of doing this stuff on Saturday night, I was about done.  I heard today that they stayed till 3 am working to fix the issue and finally did get it working right.  As I said, the OT will be nice on my paycheck but man am I tired today.

While I did not get to sling cards yesterday, I did manage to hit the golf course Saturday morning.  It was a tale of 2 nines.  On the front nine, I was killing the driver - I even hit one about 260 yards which is much further than my normal drive goes.  But outside of my putter, it's like I was using wooden clubs to hit the ball after the drive.  My irons were horrendous, my pitches were bad.  It's so disheartening to get a ball 3/4 of the way to the green in 1 shot and then take another 5 to get it the last 80 yards.  I did it on the second, third, and fourth holes.  5 and 6 were complete disasters from tee to green.  7 was good.  Short par 3, I hit a nice iron to about 15 feet and just missed the birdie.  At least I got a par.  On 8 I got unlucky when my iron came in left of the green, hit the cart path and went way left.  Then on 9  - a long par 5 with a dogleg right - I hammered another drive, hit a really good 4 iron to about 75 yards.  Hit a wedge a little too good all the way to the back of the green.  Then 3 putt and take a bogie. For a glorious 50 on the front.

The back nine I didn't drive nearly as well on most of the holes, but I was hitting the irons and wedges much better.  Got 3 pars in a row, think I only had one double bogey and managed to shoot a 42 on the back.  So a 92 total.  Not terrible but I'd really like to be more consistent there.  Much like poker, golf can make you laugh and cry - or at least curse long and loud.  Managed to get all 18 in without a rain storm which I didn't think we'd be able to do.  That hurricane may be in Texas but it's stirring weather up all around the gulf and we've gotten a fair amount of rain the last few days.  And just for Lightning, here's a little golf porn just like Vegas Rob would add to his blog.

Today was 2 different fantasy football drafts.  I think I did pretty well but you never know until the season starts.  I'll hope for the best (and after the way last year went, expect the worst) and we'll see what happens.  By the way folks, pray for the good people living on the Texas Gulf coast.  While this hurricane was not the destructive force of Hurricanes Katrina or Camille, the way it's just sitting there dumping rain on entire area is really making a mess of that area.  Houston can flood from normally heavy rain, this kind of historic rain is putting a lot of the city under a lot of water.  I had some good times in Houston though I never lived there and met a lot of fine people.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How can you mend a broken heart

Saturday the Poker Queen and I decided to try our hand at the poker tables at Derby Lane.  At the end of the day, I wished I hadn't however the PQ persevered and brought home the cash for us both.

We started off the morning by taking our daughter and meeting some friends at Derby Lane to have brunch in the Derby Club.  We've eaten there a number of times though it had been a while since the last visit and it's always been good.  We were not disappointed this time.  Of course with my diet I had to pass on the crepes, waffles, and potatoes but there was plenty for me to choose from including a very taste pork loin with sausage stuffing.  A small omelet and a salad was enough to fuel me up for the day ahead.  While we were eating, the dogs started racing so we were able to place some bets and enjoy the show.  I did not win one bet.  If I had believed in omens I probably would have avoided any further gambling.  Fool that I was, I blithely pushed forward into the turbulent poker waters.

After brunch, the PQ and I decided to try our chances at the tables.  There was a big tourney that had started at 1pm but the $250 buy in was a bit more than we wanted to bite off considering how little we've played but there was a $60 buy in tourney at 6pm that we thought about playing.  Till then it was time for some 1-2 NL holdem.

We ended up next to each other at the table with me on her left.  First hand I pair the flop, turn 2 pair and lose to a bigger 2 pair.  Not a great start.  I kept bouncing from about down $50 to down $20 bucks but could never get back to even or better.  Never could hit a draw for a flush or a straight but I did manage to turn a couple of small pairs into sets and then boats.  Those kept me in the running.  At the same time the PQ mostly was holding her own, lost a little, got a little back.  Then we tangled.  I had moved one place further left to sit next to the dealer.  She was on the button and I had the big blind.  No one raised, she called and I checked my Q8.  Flop was KQ8 rainbow.  I led out, everyone folds and the PQ calls.  Turn was a 7, nice card for me.  So I bet out again.  I'm more than happy for her to fold there and take it down.  Instead she gives me a dirty look and calls.  The rest of the table is enjoying the back and forth as they knew we were together.  River is a very pretty 8.  I had already decided not to push the river on her so I checked.  And she bets into me!  It was my turn to give her a dirty look then.  At this point, I'm not going to just call her.  She wanted to lead there, fine.  So I raise her $8 bet to $20.  That got her attention.

She looks at her cards, looks at me and I can tell she's unhappy.  Finally she says to me, "you better have it" and folds.  I look at her and say, "I've had you the whole time.  I know you have a king.  I tried to bet you out on the turn but you wouldn't leave."  Then I turned over my full house.  The table got a kick out of that, one guy said I should have just mucked and let her wonder.  Yeah right, I still gotta sleep at night.  After that the PQ couldn't get anything going and busted out a little later.  I kept playing till it was almost tourney time then cashed out.  Unfortunately the last hand I played I let myself fold top pair, so/so kicker on the river into a draw heavy board against 2 other guys.  Maybe I call one guy but with 2 I figured one of them had a straight or flush.  Nope both had a smaller pair.  If I stay in I get back to positive numbers.  Instead I lost a bit for the day.

Once I cashed in, I met up with the PQ and she said she didn't really feel like playing the tourney.  I asked if she was sure because I really thought that was what she wanted to do.  She said she didn't have the cash for it after losing at the 1/2 table so I paid for her to play along with myself.  Good choice as she was killing it.  I was pretty card dead and only by picking spots and a few timely bluffs was I able to keep close to my starting stack.  PQ on the other hand was dominating.  She got some cards but she also used her image to push the others around some.   I got some decent starting hands, small pairs and suited connectors, but I never hit anything.  So I channeled my inner Memphis Mojo and just kept waiting.

Blinds got up to 300-600 and I was sitting with around 14k in chips, slightly below my starting stack.  I look down in my hand and see 2 red aces. Finally.  I raise to 2k and get one caller, the player immediately on my right.  He'd been pretty calm so I figured him for some kind of hand there.  Flop was King high, all hearts.  Not great but at least I'm sitting with the heart Ace so it's not so bad.  He checks and I lead out for 3k.  He immediately shoves in.  He had me covered by a little so I have to start thinking.  Flopped flush?  2 pair?  KQ maybe?  I thought he might have Q-10 suited for the flush but I thought it more likely he had something like KQ with the Queen of hearts in his hand.  Or a stone cold bluff.  So I called.  And he turned over 10-3 of hearts.  Really, you call a 3X plus raise in bad position with that hand??  Of course a heart did not hit the turn or river and I'm out.  That was a pisser.

After that my (bad) lucky streak continued.  I went back to the 1-2 tables and got my ass kicked all over the place.  I was being dealt a lot of decent hands but nothing great.  No AK or AQ or big pairs but nice cards like QJ, 10-9 suited, and like that.  So I ended up seeing some flops only to see nothing that helped.  If I had spades, it was diamonds and hearts on the flop.  If I had middle cards, it's all high.  Finally I get dealt 2 black aces.  I raise and get 4 callers.  Flop is a black king and 2 low hearts.  I put in a 3 quarter pot bet and get called by the guy on my left.  Turn is another heart.  I check and the guy to my left puts out a small bet which I call though I don't want to.  River is a blank and he bets again.  I figure he has it but call him anyway.  And he has Q-10 of hearts.  Of course he had hearts.  Hearts are killing me.  This guy then gives away a pile of my chips to someone else playing something stupid that doesn't hit.  Only seems like it hits against me.

I get a rebuy and table change but my luck follows along.  Really bad cards which at least I'm folding without committing anything to the hand.  I do get AK off suit on the button and raise to 6.  I get 4 callers.  Flop is Ace and 2 low cards with 2 hearts.  Hearts again.  I can see it coming but I put out a half pot bet and get 2 callers.  Turn is another heart.  Of course it is.  Guy to my left bets and the guy across from me calls.  I'm done.  I fold that one.  These 2 go to the river and bet into each other.  To find out they both had the flush.  So I've got 2 guys chasing the flush against me and they still hit.  After that I knew my night was fated to be lousy and I cashed out while I still had some money if not my pride.  And I went to rail the PQ

By then they are down to the final table and she's in the money.  Normally this tourney only draws 60-70 players but because of people busting out of the big tourney there were over 100 players.  When I get to the table they are down to 7 and the PQ is pretty short compared to a couple of guys.  While I'm watching, 2 of the bigger stacks get it all in and the woman - there were at least 3 women at the final table - had flopped a pair of kings with her AK.  Unfortunately she was up against KK and she went busto.  Another short stacked woman and a guy also went out.  The PQ pushed her stack in a couple of times at opportune moments to keep in the fight then she pushed K-10 suited into KK,  and rivered the flush to double up.  It was around 1am and everyone was getting tired so they decided to chop it up between the last 4 players.  PQ walked out almost $700 richer and quite happy.  She played really well.  Apparently we're playing again this Saturday.

Sunday I decided to indulge my other passion and play some golf.  Actually I went to the course to maybe hit some balls but the range there was full while the course was nearly empty.  What?  Ok so I guess I'm playing instead of practicing.  I teed it up on number one and it was like a replay of the previous day's poker.  I was all over the place.  Bogey, Double bogey, double bogey.  After the first 6 holes I'm 8 over par and that's only because I hit a really good wedge and then sunk the putt on number 6 to save bogey after dumping a shot in the water.  Then it all came together.  I parred the 7th, 8th, and 9th holes.   I was finally hitting the ball solidly with almost every shot.  Almost holed out a sand shot, drilled some really good 4 irons to a couple of greens and turned the whole day around.  Ended up shooting an 85 which is only one shot off my best round ever.  Those are the kind of days that make you come out and play again.  Kind of like cashing poker tourneys does.  So with any luck I'll be playing next Sunday again.

Well that's enough for now.  I keep going and someone's gonna think RobVegasPoker has taken over the blog.  I hope everyone's cards are running better than mine.  Hopefully I'll have a better report after this weekend.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

It's about damned time

Hello World, didja miss me?  I decided to come back and pollute the intertubes try to provide my own view of life in my corner of the world again.  What have I been doing?  Now that is a good question.  Let me recap

I did mention before I got back into playing golf again.  I really had become a couch potato and about 3 years ago my wife asked me why I no longer played golf.  Before we married and for a little while after, I played quite often with a group of friends around Dallas where we then lived.  But after moving to Florida and with the kids growing up, work, etc, I pretty much stopped playing.  I maybe got out once or twice a year.  So I decided to give it a go with some friends here in sunny Florida.

The first time I went back out was a disaster.  Besides not being able to hit a ball straight, I was in terrible shape and playing nine holes in the summer down here killed me.  But I pressed on and started practicing and got to where I could pretty much hit the ball near where I wanted to.  So I started playing just about every week and kept practicing.  Which took a fair amount of my free time not to mention money, but it did get me out of the house and gave me a good reason to drink beer with some friends.  A great thing about golf and bowling is they go well with beer.

After a year of this I looked at myself and realized "you gotta do something about your health."  I was in horrible shape.  Just walking uphill from the golf cart to the green made me huff and puff.  If I was in a sand trap, forget about it.  So I started dieting about 2 years ago.  My goal was to lose 180 pounds.  Which seems excessive but then again, those who have met me know I can stand to lose it.  I'd had success before doing low carb diets so I went that route again. I can't say it's been easy.  What diet is.  I mean look at the word - D  I  E  T.  Die to a T.  I like food.  No I love food.  Why do I want to restrict that?  Besides the eventual diabetes, liver and/or heart trouble, high blood pressure and early death most obese people have to deal with, that is.  I already had some issues with blood pressure.  Not very bad, really marginal, but a warning sign none the less.  Diabetes was probably lurking right around the corner as well and from there life gets much more difficult.  So I went the Atkins diet route.

So far it's been pretty successful.  I've lost 105 pounds as of last Monday.  I've kind of been in a range of down 100 - 105 pounds for a while but I am really pushing myself for the next 2 months before my next vacation.   As I mentioned before, it's not easy and anyone who tells you dieting is easy is either lying or a fanatic.  Or both.  I used to LOVE high carbohydrate foods - potatoes, pasta, breads, muffins, rice, pastries, etc.  Not so much a dessert lover but give me a plate of biscuits and gravy with some home fried potatoes and I'm in hog heaven.  Or at least I used to be.  Who am I kidding, if a plate of it was sitting in front of me, I would be there again.  But mostly I have learned to restrain myself and avoid those foods.  I do eat a lot of eggs, cheeses, meats, salads, green veggies (except peas, very high in carbs) and I can't tell you how long it's been since I've had a soda.  My beer intake is pretty much limited to Miller Lite which has only 3.2 carbs per can or Michelob Ultra which is even lower at 2.6 carbs.  When you are limited to 20-25 grams of carbs per day (the usual amount when you start a low carb diet) and a single regular beer is 10 or 12 (or more for dark beers and ales) you make some sacrifices.   While I've upped my carb limit since starting this, I still watch it pretty carefully.

So it's not easy and I don't eat and drink a number of things I used to but the results are definitely worth it.  While I still have more to lose, I can now do things I couldn't do before.  I can wear clothes I haven't worn in years.  In fact I've gotten rid of a bunch of clothes that are now too big for me.  That's a nice feeling.  I can walk a golf course if I choose though most courses around here require you to use a cart.  I've played 36 holes in a day this year for the first time in about 30 years.  I have energy, I'm not physically tired all the time and my blood pressure is better than it's been in many many years.  The results are definitely worth it.

What else is going on outside of my golf fanaticism?  Well I haven't played a lot of poker lately though I should be playing some today at Derby Lane.  Occasionally my wife and daughter go to the Hard Rock in Tampa to play video poker and when they do I usually spend some time in the poker room.  No great results to speak of but I've held my own and kept losses to a minimum at least.  I hope today goes well.  We took a recent trip to Biloxi and while I didn't play any poker except of the video variety, I did have a good trip between VP and playing craps. I do enjoy throwing the dice.  Our last day in Biloxi, I tripled my money on the craps table then the Poker Queen and I both took down the VP machines for some nice green as well.  I didn't want to leave.  But leave we did.

Now we're preparing for our next vacation.  Vegas in early October.  We're actually bringing our daughter for her maiden voyage to Vegas.  I can't wait, it's been a while since we were last there.  I'll get some poker in then, table games and a tourney or 2.  Craps for sure and Video Poker as well.  We'll rent a car and do some traveling to non strip casinos and restaurants.  The daughter is a real foodie (and a helluva cook, especially baking) and has a list of restaurants she wants to go to.  We'd probably need a month to hit them all unless all we did in Vegas was eat.

Well it's time for me to sign off.  I got a few things to do before we head out.  I hope everyone is doing well and staying lucky - in life if not in cards.  I'll be back a lot sooner than my last post (probably).  I'll talk to you then.