Thursday, April 29, 2010

Smells Like Baseball Season

The softened baseballs came out of the much worn equipment sack yesterday.  On a white metal hanger hung the number 3 with my last name on it.  After fitting his purple hat with the city's name and logo on it, my son took the field for the first time this year.  Cub baseball is the buffer between the tikes running the wrong way after hitting a ball from a tee and the groaning of watching the coach's son walk 15 batters in a row while proud papa keeps encouraging him to hold the ball like an egg and breathe thru his eye lids.  The coach seemed confident and knowledgable, especially since he'd taken his 12 year old son's team to state championship and a tournament win in Iowa the past year.

It's my hope my son decides to listen to the guy and pick up the game that carried my stick figure-self thru some tough times growing up.  He's not the best nor the worst on the team, but definitely needs an upgrade from the plastic glove obtained three years ago from nana and pa. 

Half way thru the practice, just as my wife arrived, my daughter expressed a need for a bathroom break.  Luckily my parent's home is right behind the practice field and with a dash made the stop with time to spare.  After picking some "flowers" on the return trip she bounced back to the mini playground aside from the barren ice rink and elementary school.  The son was dilgently learning the alligator method of covering up grounders while his partner decided to give his best impression of Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams and throw the ball in every direction that was only catchable by Ozzie Smith. 

"Dave, I think you better check on YOUR daughter" said the wife.

I was enjoying the move in practice where my son got to line a few hits as his offense is much better then the glove work, but as I turned towards my princess squating under the metal bleachers, much like McD watching Teddy turn over those aces, I knew what had happened.  Crying, and a very long walk ensued to clean up what could only be described as taco meat in her Dora underwear that had been left out for two weeks in the sun.  After six years of this why my brain clicked on this song is beyond me:

Aside from the accident, baseball season looks to be a good one this year.  But, hockey is still being played and Mr. Alex Ovechkin if I may have a word about your epic choke job.  Karma is a bitch.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Self Intervention

In a former life there would have been nothing to do this weekend except attend my niece's third birthday party, eat some ice cream cake, and sit in front of a computer screen yelling at the virtual cards dropping in favor of someone that was not me.  Those days of free-time and want of such mindless time are over, thanks to the awakening of sorts that repeats every day.  Some people hate the fact that they HAVE TO go to work and feel it's an obligation versus a chance or a learning experience.  It took my thick head several years of self-loathing while swimming in depression to see that the numbers on the computer screen are not what a job is about.

It's the people.  Watching, studying, and ultimately learning from their experiences and chatting about their daily lives help me figure out what I wanted to do with my own course.  Was staying in a safe, mindless data-entry job until I hit 65 in the cards?  My past self was ready for that.  No life at home to speak of, might as well stay with status quo and end up with the 14 karat gold watch and retirement cake while 100 people I've barely met sit in uncomfortable chairs spilling over my "career" of plunking numbers into Microsoft Excel boxes. 

Safe.  But not life.  No, life is working 4:30pm to 3:30am on a Sunday (go check that out at the PokerStarsBlog if like such poker recaps) because there are friends to visit in dark casino bars and VIP rooms that momma doesn't need to know about.  Life is playing softball in the rain and mud with co-workers to see them without their corporate masks and fake smiles on, and hoisting a macro-brewed beer after losing terribly but enjoying the day of getting out to the field and being an 11 year old with an oversized jersey and underdeveloped arm hoping dad will decide on treating the family to Angeno's after the game again.  Life is studying to learn more about the work field that chose you so data entry becomes data analysis and the rusty academic gears shine a little light in an otherwise grey economic time. 

There is no end game.  No more searching for June 24th, 2039 to get that sheet cake from Byerly's with "best wishes on retirement" splattered across it and a most likely passed around card with scribbed "enjoy the golf course" notes written within.  Afraid of reaching that point of being shoved along and not striving to make the top tier traveling team as I did in my youth, never chancing disappointment, never willing to say "yes, I'll do the extra work" because of something that happened in elementary school is stunting growth and making excuses for a life path that only one person can guide.  Not control, no one controls their life, many aloof self-important people with titles and lofty egos may think so (see Big Ben Roethlisberger for an example).  No, you can guide yourself to places, much like returning to school may lead to a better, more rewarding job in my field of choice.  It's not your dream job, but it's mine, and I'm happy to the fact that I did not end up like this guy below when my degenerate side could have easily slipped into a black hole of mindless gambling:

Check out this link from Intevention and a child prodigy turned into a $5 blackjack gambling addict that blew thru $500,000 by age 25. 

Watch the facial tics while he plays and the inability to control himself.  This is someone who TAUGHT pre-meds at the age of 18 and was well on his way to obtaining a PhD before I had even thought about doing something other than Cyndi or hitting lead cashier status at the bullseye.  The above video on Gabe's addiction to gambling didn't sway my wanting to sit down with Mr. Pai Gow, Speaker, and Otis this June at the Gold Coast somewhere north of 4am sipping on greyhounds and trying to get the ice queen pit boss to ship some free breakfasts our way.  In fact, it made me want to work even harder toward making that happen. 


Because watch the casino clips.  Watch the clip at the end with the barren apartment.  Watch how self-centered this prick gets when mommy won't bail his ass out of debt again.

He's alone.

Something I used to be years ago, curled up in a blanket of insecurity and unwillingness to try to stretch.  I may have been married for nearly ten years and a sperm donator for over six but feel like it's only been a few years since I became a husband and father.  If Gabe teaches you one thing, take away this:  talent can only open doors, turning the knob, opening the door, and walking thru is up to the person who poured themselves a bowl of Frosted Flakes and fried up some bacon and eggs this morning because they were hungry.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Back to the Beach To drink at 5

See what I did there?

The BBT5 officially kicked off for me last night as part guilt and part degeneracy got the cards in the air at 9:00pm CST for The Mookie.  A long-standing blogger tournament named for a house which is probably rivaling the Duggars for most kids produced in shortest time frame via one birth canal.  Wherever you are Mookie, salute to you and your family in the future.

While my lack-dazzle play and catching a few cards preflop got me three hours deep and into the money, someone short stacked as I shoving Snowman-Tater Legs into my King-rag and flopping two pair was my undoing.  No fuss, no muss, little money, little sleep.  While the invitationals on the weekend seems like a better shot of earning one of 24 TOC seats in which the big prizes of WSOP seats sit, my weekends will be taken up with reporting on poker while taking a week off of "normal" work at the bullseye versus playing it.  My participation may vary to prevent burn out but kudos to Mr. Cant Hang who put together a structure to give away the awesome prizes put forth by Full Tilt.

Your participation, dear reader, should be towards the two open events during the week (see BBT5 link above for details), unless of course you are an active poker blogger yourself and have a golden ticket to the invitational.

photo cred:

Tonight is normally reserved for poker on the non-sober side but with the rabid 3am to midnight shift of human activity yesterday, I may need to be a pussy and fall asleep before sleep falls on me.  Besides my wife needs encouragement on the beach volleyball courts while various women in different stages of beachwear, bounce around with an open bar in visible crawling range. 

The things I do to keep a happy marriage, where's my "Bestest Husband EVER" award?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Exiting Pleasantville

Make everyday interesting, push it to the max, rock out with your cock out, don't settle for less, be somebody, if your boat doesn't come it swim out to it.  Life is a bunch of sayings that one could attribute to live to, one of my favorites with a tip towards poker of course, "life is not holding a good hand, life is playing a poor hand well".  But, why get wrapped up in words designed to sit on a saying-of-the-day website for the server's eternity or the foreword of the latest New York Times Best Seller, instead why not hop into a 1961 Ferrari GT California and live a little, eh Cam?

Sure one minute your wife is berating you on a workday at 3am over the overweight cat's ability to ask for food by strategically placing hairballs in high traffic area for maximum squishatude.  Then the following day she mentions in between bites of Filet Mignon and twice baked potatoes she hopes you'd join her for Patron body shots and reverse cowgirl action out on the deck tonight.  Some people need pharmaceuticals to get through their day others need to jump from 15,000 feet or watch reruns of Ellen with a heaping bowl of Orvell Redenbacher's new instant kettle corn sitting besides their encyclopedia-sized sudoku puzzle book. 

Personally, I've given up on "normal".  Here's what my normal schedule used to be:

4:30am - Up for work
6am -4:30pm - Do said work, dream of Vegas and WSOP
5pm - 6pm - Play with kids
6:pm - 6:30pm - Eat
6:30pm - 8pm - more kids time
8pm - 8:02pm - Try to get wife "in mood"
8:03pm - Get slapped, go play online poker
8:04pm - 11pm - Play break-even poker by winning last hand of the night to make back three buy-ins lost
11:30pm - 4:30am - sleep, dream of not normal things

This doesn't happen anymore.  Instead there's school, there's going on walks, there's going to the gym, there's sitting down with the kids with a learning book of sorts or in the backyard teaching my son the art of the hanging curveball which some All-Conference switch-hitting going to a D3 school douchebag will eventually tag onto Hwy. 81 so that return ride on the bus sucks and even more than lonely one to the ball field. 

Yes, the suburbs can be a vortex of suck.  There's zero flavor along Hemlock Lane, all of it is pre-determined, pre-planned Pleasantville black-and-white perfectness.  Bland to the core, born to be mild!  But, it's home so instead of settling into that block of time used up above for five days a week, we go out and find little blocks of weird or fun.  Disc golf has finally brought a family activity in which we all can participate, with the exception of my daughter who has spent the last 18 hours wailing more than an extended Eddie Van Halen solo riff due to what I could only describe as D.O.R.A. (Deficient Oral Retraction Action).  For parents, D.O.R.A. usually occurs if a child (age does not matter) does not receive the recommended daily allowance of sleep or Cartoon Network personality shaped fruit snacks.

And remember:

Based on this, and if my body makes it through Sunday's attempt at four final table write-ups in the same night, and SCOOP for the first three weeks of May, I'll be bringing the freak show to Vegas to root on Speaker's attempt at poker immortality after his bracelet race win.  Or at least to provide some rays of light to those on media row for a few nights of Pai Gow, bowling prop bets, and degeneracy at the hooker bar.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Battle of the Blogger Tournament: El Cinco Edition

Gotta be in it to win it.

Skip over to Poker From the Rail or Al's place on the internets for the details.

WSOP Seats Now Available

After staying at till 3:30am this morning with another glorious crash-and-burn before the final table in a $2 rebuy ($2K to the winner, I got $34 and a headache worthy of two bottles worth of Excedrin for 29th place), my attendance will hinge on being awake for the 6pm CST start time.

Especially after doing a 5K run at 9am this morning at Midway Stadium:  Home of the St. Paul Saints that does not allow people to do the Wave nor can you wear a necktie (true statement, disclosure found at the front gate).  Perfect weather outside, made even better today with only a breeze passing through.  The "Running of the Pigs" (as of 2:00pm Sunday the stats/photos were not out yet but I finished in 30:25 which included me walking almost a dozen times) started out with the son and daughter units doing a quick half-mile run.  It wasn't a competitive run with medals but we try to get the kids to finish as fast their little legs can carry themselves.  Instead we were treated to Kyra giving up half-way through and watching Wyatt run backwards while doing some sort of parade princess waving to the crowd despite being in last place.

Now, time for that nap as Pavano just got tagged for a few runs as I envy the folks enjoying the game and beautiful weather at Target Field.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Be Frolfing Yo

In times past a morning where I'm not hussling the kids towards the kitchen table for Fruity Pebbles and eggs, there would be online poker to be played. 

Instead I'll be enjoying some disc golf at Elm Creek today.  Yes, there's a fee and I'll find out if it's worth it.

The weather is too nice, and this whole getting-in-better-shape doesn't stop at the inclined bench press and glider machines.  No, there's only so many repeats of Sportscenter and yelling at the computer after some bad beat that's happened too many times to care.

Yes, I still enjoy the game.  Yes, I'm still a fanatic that loves the fact that I get to report on the game.  But, a balance must be there, instead of posting a "I'm burnt out" post every 6 months there's more important things to do.

Like hitting this monster 694 foot hole in under 10 shots:

See you at the tables tonight perhaps when the sun goes down so does my ass after having some fun outside today.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It's Go Time

I was looking at a slightly larger guy in the mirror last night.  Sweat poured down a maroon t-shirt emblazed with a tacky saying from a particular brand of rum that the author is fond of.  The time was a little after 8pm as my son would be playing with the few kids left in the well-stocked child care area of the gym (seriously, back when I was a kid you were lucky to play with a full inflated ball now you get ball crawls, computers, movies, they probably have live entertainment there too), it is time to pick up the aging, hurting body for parental duties.  On the left was a women in her mid-forties who's sports bra and pant set looked like she ran face first into a cotton candy machine, the peppy lead trainer with short blonde hair, perfectly filling her sleek black warm-up gear was chatting non-stop while massaging her female client on the cushioned tables.

Why was I sitting cross-legged on the green yoga-like mat doing stretching exercising like 17 years ago when the lanky 120 pound kid with zero self-esteem was warming up to throw a few innings for the Osseo Orioles the next day?  Just staring at the guy in the reflection who's grey hairs have started to form on the left side of his chin, why are you doing this?  Well kid, you never tried.  Maybe once, making that leap from the soft, velet blanket of home, Minnesota, friends, parents and shoving off to a college where your economic and social background were so vastly different you never had a chance.  The academic part was easy, too easy that you slipped into a shot glass every other night, and instead of learning the lessons of life you figured out how to cut lime dead drunk without missing digits afterwards.

But this is now.  Now we're going outside that comfort zone again, this time it's not a big-time Pac-10 school surrounded by Sigma Chi alpha males and 22 year old freshman with a chip on their overgrown egos.  We're not sitting on the couch figuratively or realistically, going to the gym, getting an education, doing more at work, and most of all being more active with the kids and wife.  No longer are the ties to staring blankly at a computer screen night after night, but doing so with a purpose.  Like tonight's late-night poker binge that I save for every Thursday, it has a reason.

Stress relief.  Chat with friends unseen except via their blogs and twitter. Hey, maybe even make a few bucks like this guy who won a bracelet race or play Al in heads-up PLO and get swore at for a good half hour while tipping back my favorite beverage. 

No more "I can't" and more "I'll try" or "I'll do", much like accepted the biggest poker writing assignment to date for myself starting May 2nd at the PokerStarsBlog for SCOOP.  This will be a test of juggling school, work, and testing my family how they'll function with a guy sitting in his green flannel pajamma bottoms emblazed with fuzzy dice and four leaf clovers with the broken elastic waistband describing how a check-raise eliminated 5th place for $24,589.31 while the sun creeps up through the porch's windows.  They did it before during the maddness of live blogging the WCOOP when things weren't looking good for a 10 year wedding anniversary, they'll do it this time not for the money, but for better reasons.

Because they like seeing me truly happy for the first time in my life (and I'd be even happier if I get a degeneracy pass to skip off to the WSOP this summer for a weekend of Pai Gow, lifting sullen bloggers spirits, and hang out with those friendships I value greatly...).

[Side Note:  Here's a must read from Big PirateInspired writing on faith.]

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ooooooooooooooh Yeah!

I'll be purchasing this from my favorite movie, before the doc gets his hands on it.

Image from

In "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," before taking a daylong joyride with a rare sports car, the title character asks, "If you had access to a car like this, would you take it back right away? Neither would I."

Ferris did not heed his best friend's pleas to return the Ferrari. But, in real life, Matthew Broderick, who played Ferris in the 1986 cult classic, might not have driven it in the first place.

While Ferris famously described the car as "choice," Broderick has some choice words for the faux (hold that thought) 1961 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder, which will be put up for auction in London by Bonhams on April 19.

That's right, the car in question is not actually a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California Spyder. In reality, it's an MG that was modified to resemble the GT. Or, as Broderick calls it, "a kit car."

"We had a real Ferrari that we looked at in the garage, but when we drove, it was not real, and that's what this is," Broderick told New York Magazine at the opening night of Broadway's "The Addams Family."

Broderick went on to describe what the future owner can enjoy. "My memory of that car is that it often didn't start. That's all I remember." He continued, "Which I probably shouldn't say; I don't want to bring the price down. But, uh, it was unreliable, that car."

The auction house is hoping that the car will go for between $45,000 and $60,000. In 2008, an actual 1961 Ferrari California Spyder sold at auction for just under $11 million.

But, I'm sure the newly employed Californian radiologist would rather have the real thing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Shooting Lefty Until Righty Feels Better

First link for "More Masters News" on

Free Tiger Woods PGA Tour®

No Download or Console Required. Play Right in Your Browser Online.

Good thing the front page actually had more praise for Lefty among the major newspapers and web-zines instead of someone who finished in a tie for fourth.  Personally I'll admit to being a huge Tiger Woods fan, the glut of focus on the golfer is starting to reach Brett Favre heights (by the way Brett, any time you're ready sir, no need to drop by Jay Leno's set).  The real test for Mr. Woods will be at a golf tournament where the security and decorum measures are not aligned with a Presidential State dinner.

Some busty attention whore running across the 14th fairway at the TPC of Scottsdale to get 10 minutes of web fame is going to happen in time with "reality stars" carry zero shame to gain Youtube hits.  It's going to happen, not if, but when.  One will hope that the 76 year old golf ranger will run down the chick before someone's iPhone or pocket recorder picked up at Target for less than $100 films the lead story for the week on Sportcenter.  I wouldn't even be surprised if she has a website tramp-stamped on her back.


White ball golf aside it was a weekend to be outside as Minnesota's weather was nothing short of perfect all weekend.  I managed two rounds in between the normal running around that a family does.  Normally that meant plunking down $50-$75 on a round, plus drinks before, during, and after with losing a half dozen balls to various places in which water resides.  Instead I paid zero green fees, walked at my own pace with my family (ok, my daughter's little legs got a bit tired and needed a boost), and I even made a few pars.  Disc Golf has been the choice of stress relief lately, thanks to a unknown shoulder injury that feels like a torn rotator cuff but a dull pain of an overworked muscle, I have had zero desire to play "real" golf and softball for that matter.

The first round was at Central Park in Brooklyn Park which has a nice 9 hole layout that's fairly open and includes a great wide-open downhill shot from the top of a sizable hill.  Throw in a park for the kids to wander off to, and you've got free family entertainment.

Next one was over in Plymouth at Plymouth Creek where the setting was carved into a forest, and reminded me more of the Timmons Park course I played while in G-Vegas last month.  This 12 hole run was very challenging as there were shots over water, aside from water, and some godless person put in this 480 foot monster hole in which I had my best drive of the day of about 180-200 feet AND STRAIGHT!, but only reached the ladies tees and contained a very small window of fairway that did not produce wetness.  This course even came equipped with juniors tees with signs pointing the direction of the basket.  One, small note if you do visit the course that hole #1 is at the far of the parking lot, as pointed out by the stroller toting family that was teeing off hole #10 when I arrived with wife, daughter, and son who held his own orange Innova disc.

You will need to listen to my dirt filled adventures here since my shoulder doesn't feel like it's going to heal up any time soon and well, I'm having a blast playing!  Go for a second round?  Free!  Only cost your dignity of watching your disc hit a tree over and over.


Today notes the start of a brand new ball park in which I was allowed by wear Twins colors to work.  The broadcasting started a 5am as Kirby get a statue and after 10 hours of hoopla, they'll actually play a game (why against the Red Sox and not a divison rival??).  Just saw Frankie "Sweet Music" Viola is going to be here with...  Shannon Stewart?   Ok, not who'd I with but someone from each of the pennant winners will be on hand to get the flag flying as the 2010 World Champions flag will be hung by Joe Mauer of course.  Oh, they have to play out the season.  For shame.  I thought I'd get my $20 from Pauly just based on the quick start by the best lineup this franchise as seen since 1991.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday Notes

Finding the right mix of crazy busy, and remembering to relax enough with the new work on Sunday-School-Work during the week-Kids and finding some time to noodle on here.

Oh and poker.  That unfortunately comes under the if it crap weather outside, kids are sleeping, homework is done, and wife has a headache quadfecta before I'm able to hit the tables (which I'm doing right now since The Masters are on and Mickelson is playing out of his mind, while seemed to have a case of sex withdrawl while yipping a couple of short putts).  All while Vanessa Selbst is current taking apart the NAPT Mohegan Sun final table which is on PokerStars.TV.

Busy is good, just need to keep my eye on that prize at the end of all this which is total enlightenment of course.  Actually, the ride is providing the fun and the reward for going back.  Doing something other than spinning my wheels in place (while typing this sentence Selbst officially won the NAPT event) has made all the hard work worth while.  The hardest is yet to come with SCOOP on the horizon about the same time that I'll be wrapping up my first quarter of school work.

Which reminds me to get out of here and get back the ledgers and balance sheets.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Truckin' Now With Riboflavin!

While I sit in pain from aging athlete disease, another part of my anatomy decided to feel the pull of recent events.  No, that part is working fine as re-discovered every morning in the shower while virtual glimps Jessica Biel's be-thonged ass are still freshly implanted in my mind.  While my shoulder has decided to start crying out daily for a dose of Advil, the learning part of the soft mass uptop is getting a healthy RDA approved amount of knowledge.

The classes are going slowly but well through the first week, as this busy bee is enjoying the time behind a dense Accounting book.  The online nature of the classroom has some taking used to, but very welcome for someone in my position as I get to flick on the classroom when I want and not have to have the professor repeat his/her lecture or worry about mis-hearing information.

In a sense.  Perfect. 

Now if you need some brain juice this morning or afternoon whenever you dear reader get around to reading these pages, Truckin out for all the vitamins and minerals for the thing you call an information storage center needs to stay in top shape.  Especially those of us who could use some witty banter besides the debit and credits within Income Statements, Cash Flow Statements, and Balance Sheets.  Holy shit, I retained somethin' I read, 14 years in Accounting and never had to know/learn the basic finanical statements, well played bullseye.

Anyways, on to the show:

1. Lovers' Whirlwind by Paul McGuire

I don't know if you want to know the real answer. You're a new arrival. It's not proper to ask all these questions on your first day. The real answers are not important... More

2. The Dog Lover by Sigge S. Amdal

I had a chat with my pet fish and decided to check out the local pet store to see if they had frozen larvae – a delicious to hungry Kili fish that'll make 'em fornicate like swine given the opportunity... More

3. A Hermit Faces the Drunken Public by Jonny Vincent

People are still - generically - boring as all fuck. Guys are still - generically - pathetic in their desperate and pitiful sleazy crabbing for attention when placed in the vicinity of the Unfair Sex... More

4. Pie by Katitude

Her gray hair was caught up in a bun that had become untidy and thin wisps had escaped it to frame a pale face. A much-washed pastel pink t-shirt proclaimed her to be the "World's Greatest Grandma"... More

5. Crazy Colonel Ranald MacKenzie by Johnny Hughes

In the scene in Dances With Wolves where Kevin Costner rides around between rebel and union lines trying to get shot, that was based on Crazy Ranald. He was brave like only a crazy man can be. He got shot with bullets and arrows. He was also called Bad Hand because he lost two fingers in combat... More

6. Hip-Cat Jargon by Tenzin McGrupp

I secured a one-way rental. $300 for the week. Would it take me a week? Maybe more? I had no idea. I'd probably want to make a couple of spontaneous stops along the way. My new life in California would have to wait a couple of days, maybe a couple of weeks. Who knows, maybe I wouldn't even end up there at all... More

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

In Which I Play Poker and Write About It

A game-time decision to play the morning turbo tournament at MGM Grand turned out to be the gambling equalizer on a week-long trip to Vegas.  After getting burned in the Pai Gow pits and lowly slums of the penny slot machines, it was the 2-minute drill before having to shove off for warmer weather in Minneapolis.  Yes, for a brief week it was actually warmer a couple of thousand miles Northeast then it was in the middle of the desert. 

After paying the $65 buy-in to receive $2,000 in tournament chips with starting 25/50 blinds and doubling those blinds every 20 minutes, it was known that playing for small pots was going to get me a short stacked 18th-25th place finish, which paid nothing but the free stream of Captain and Cokes.  Luckily, I never ran into that problem thanks to a mix of good cards, run good, and good players.  Usually good players you'd prefer at other tables, but they not only kept my interest into this all-in fest, they made me think before making decisions.  Of course, random guy who usually plays high-stakes blackjack wander in and start amassing a stack with hero calls of jack-high on double paired boards, only to lose those chips to the solid players sitting on my left.

The first big hand occurred just four hands into the tournament as I sat in the small blind after taking down a small orphaned pot the previous hand with air and position.  AQo with four limpers ahead of me, I choose to just call as the big blind checked his option.  A - J - Q rainbow came out, as I led out for 200 and got 4! callers.  With BOOM! BOOM! POW! thumping in the background at the adjecent Centrifuge bar, the dealer and poker gods kindly turned another queen on the board for me.  No time for acting here as I led out for 500 this time and only managed to lose one person as the gentleman on my left I recognized from the 1-2 NL cash game called as did the overdressed for 11am japanese dude.  The river blanked, as I flung another 500 out there and cash game guy called again, but businessman stood on the table and shouted "BANZAI!!!!!1111" while shoving all-in.  Ok, he did a triple take of his cards knowing his flopped straight was good trying to get my remaining 1,200 chips before shoving all-in.  I snap called, as cash game guy most likely folded a queen and my boat was good versus the suit who didn't know flopped straights never get there.

Very next hand, pocket kings which I raised from the button to 275 to dissuade the couple of early position limpers.  Good player on my left which I'd been chatting with about an aging Paul Pierce and the putid Timberwolves re-pops me to 750-850.  This time I hollywood a bit because I'd only had two drinks in me and after a short wait, and seeing he'd only had 1,000 behind, I thought he'd pay me off if I shoved, so I did.  Unfortunately, I got the one guy at the table who could fold pocket queens in that spot.  Still, a nice pot and gave me room for a few blind and continuation bet type steals.

Last hand before the first break, I called a min raise from the big blind QJo as the middle position raiser and small blind watched a Q - Q - T flop.  Interestingly enough the small blind led out for 400 with the blinds already at 200/400 ante 25 (like I said TURBO!).  Since I had nearly 6K behind, a smooth call was elected and the short stacked raiser pushed about 1,500 into the middle.  It's the small blind's money I wanted since he'd just doubled up off me racing pocket sevens vs. my big slick, but he folded as I called to see his not-in-good shape A9o.  No runner-runner and the table broke for the break as a quick glance around after my third drink told me there were only four tables left already.

Near chip lead at the new table, my folding powers took precident over my suckout powers as I folded two hands A9o and KJo to early position shoves that would have boosted my chip count to obscene levels, choosing to take advantage of my stack and get more free drinks while enjoying the company.  Down to two tables, just before the break again I catch queens on the button facing a raise from the Nordic blonde who raised from UTG to 3K and had a similar big stack to mine around 10-12K.  With blinds at 400/800 ante 100 there was no time for "plays" as I shoved hoping he'd call with the Ax that he certainly had.  After an internal debate and some umlauts, he would fold and I gladly ran to the crowded bathroom as the chip leader.  This was important as the second hand back from the break I found red aces and led out for 3K.  Sure enough my lutefisk lover took the bait and shoved with QsJs, and I took a little sweat after a jack flopped but no other paint hit the board, up to near 20K. 

Nothing of note happened from here except two steals kept my big stack, well big as I took out a few micro stacks making math calls in my blinds with powerhouses like 54o (which made quads) and 73o (which hit a seven).  At last the lone dangler departed and we reconvened to blogger donkey blood stained Table 16 where interestingly enough a similar amount of cash was laid upon it, minus The Mark calling time on himself.  $1,600 for 1st, $1,100 for 2nd, $650 for third, trickling down to $90 for eighth, as the final ten tried to get chop numbers up right away with donkalicious blinds at 1,500/3,000 ante 500 and being third in chips I had 26K. 

Pai Gow anyone?

The big stack shot down the chop talks, after playing maybe an orbit, we would lose 10th, 9th, and 8th in consecutive hands with the two big stacks getting bigger while ultra-shorties were looking at an even shorter payday without a chop.  This time when discussions went up the big stack offered to take $1K while second place wanted $700-$800 I believe.  This left $535 for the other five in which I had no desire to play more Pai Gow after they stole my dragon hand soul over the course of the week and accepted the deal.

Back to near-even for gambling on the week as I was ready to accept the loses, this found money may be the seed to head back to the WSOP this summer with a fellow degenerate. No, I will not be playing in the $10K O8 World Championship as my wife may decide to burst into the Amazon room with a taser gun and drag my ass from the chair with drink still in hand.  Instead the $1K June 12th event or with hopes to return to glory at Binions may be in store.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Tenth Time Is a Charm

The Vegas trip report.

Normally I'd fill these pages with regal drunken stories of Las Vegas Boulevard.  It's what Vegas is to me.  To some it's a vacation, an escape, or a place to say "ah, fuck it" and let go of every sane, rational thought in your body to push it to degeneracy levels that could leave a person on Clark County's 10 Most Wanted list. 

The escape route of casino hopping in Nevada happens every December with a group of friends who huddle around the forgotten watering holes of Imperial Palace to pay homage to writing, gambling, and each other.  This is a time for pushing your body to the max, filling it with alcohol and stories of fellow bloggers that might not make their respective pages.  It was during one of these trips, I had an "ah, fuck it" moment in a city where such notions could kill you. 

This past week that weekend nearly ended in divorce, took a 180 and rung in the 10th year of taking vows in a church near her homtown.  While the actual date of our anniversary is still a few months away, due to kids, the impending return to school, and having no time off in August, our decision was to go back to Vegas during Spring Break as we'd done on many occasions before the whole responsilbity part of our union took hold.

Where else can you see a Gene Simmons look-a-like being flanked by Hooters Waitresses or have Jay Leno pose for a picture with your non-sober wife in shopping mall Sbarro's ?  Where else can you sit down with people of different reglious, political, sexual beliefs and orientations and gather up a cheer for the trucker with the beat up John Deere hat from Montana as he hits yet another point erasing the champagne room bill from Cheetah's as the last of the glitter finally falls off the shirt you've worn for the past 56 hours.

It wasn't that kind of trip though.  It was to see if two people in love could brave the elements of zero adult supervision inside America's candy store.  Having just enough money to play and drink without financial reprecussions could have been a receipe for dividing something special as the patches lines of our past rough times started to fade.  Instead we walked away hand-in-hand despite some nasty weather which took from my wife's leisurely pool time.

There was the fullfilment of a 10 year old promise to drop her out of a plane at 15,000 feet.  With prerequisite parachute and studly diving instructor latched on to her of course.  That video in which she manages to say seven words for 2 mins may make YouTube in the future as testimate to her adventerous side, as I sat safely with two feet attached to mother earth as humans were built to do.

While fine foods at overpriced restaurants were not eaten, there were some surprises found in the shape of the improved Treasure Island buffet which last time I remember spending a considerable amount of time in the hotel bathroom after consumming what they claimed was food.  Fresh Cotton Candy as a dessert?  Win.  Orange chicken and chicken dumplings that didn't taste like an unwashed lower female anatomy part.  Worth the price of admission.  Freshly served pasta bar? 

The new Aria/CityCenter blew me away sightwise but had a cold feel to it until the beautiful waitress appeared at the Lone Wolf slot machine with a perfectly made Cap'n Coke and vodka collins no more than a few moments after feeding the -EV game a c-note.  Excellent service but the metallic feel of the place was better suited for nightclub versus taking tourists money at $100 a pull.  The poker room looked VERY inviting, but time and marital obligations along with being there during the live poker death hour of 8am there wasn't a chance to check out its comfortable surroundings.

MGM Grand's rooms were comfortable as always but the drink service lacked in it's slots area.  Then again while playing a quarter or more a hand Pai Gow, they were filling my glass faster than I could relay my distaste for Xioa's inability deal me a non Pai Gow in a bloody monring session.  Same with the poker room, where getting me drunk actually has a negative effect on their profit margin yet their wait staff never slowed and professional dealers that our writing group gets to bother every year never missed a beat at all hours.

Gambling-wise the week was break-even as the money "lost" was on the tipping, cabbing, drinking, eating side of the ledger.  This was helped of course by entering the 11am donkfest as the wife tried to direct a few sun rays towards her before hopping on the return flight eight hours later.  Thanks to good cards/bad players, I managed to come 3rd in chips as the chop numbers came down and won back most of the money deposited into Xioa, Yi, and Charles' rack.

But the trip was a complete success as two people were able to be friends with benefits again versus just parents and breadwinners.