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

Sunday, 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.