Sunday, December 28, 2008

Return to Las Vegas
Time for the first trip of the year to Las Vegas. I will be going January 24-28, 2009.

I suppose that everyone has been receiving multiple Las Vegas room offers in their e-mail in boxes each day. I know I have. Fortunately for me, my brother, the King of Komps, got two offers that he couldn't refuse. As a result, I will be staying with him in comped rooms at Bellagio and Encore, the newly opened extension of the Wynn Las Vegas. This is certainly a far cry from the early days of staying at places like the Westward Ho and Circus Circus manor motel rooms.

Strangely enough, I have never played poker at Bellagio. I have looked over its poker room, but the multiple online reports of poor treatment of the low limit players kept me from playing. Now that Bellagio is spreading $1/$2 NL and I will be staying there, I'll give it a try.

The Return of the Triple J

Yesterday was a special day for me as I met up with two former college buddies. The three of us had not actually been together for ten years. Amazing how time flies.

We had all gone to Quincy College (now Quincy University) in the late 1970's and early 1980's and were involved with the college's Circle K club. In fact, we used to bill ourselves as the Triple J of Circle K -- since we are all named John, of course.

We each traveled down different paths in life. JB was the computer geek of the group. Mind you, this was before anyone knew anything about computers. Mr Math Wiz (and therefore Mr Logical) has worked in the computer field since graduation and has crafted a nice life for himself along the Atlantic coast in Florida after several years in Texas. He started out to be pretty shy and withdrawn, but hanging out with two outgoing obnoxious buttholes changed that.

Gomer (or Crawdad or just Peckerhead) was the good ol' boy. He wore cowboy clothes and boots before wearing them became the rage and has probably uttered more quotable funny lines than any person I've ever known. He was very rigid and used to go to all his classes early just to make sure he wouldn't miss them. He went on to law school and has created a nice law practice for himself as an expert in defending people charged with DUI. This former pagan (as we called him) converted to Roman Catholicism several years ago. Who'd have believed it?

Me? I don't know how they'd describe me -- probably the acerbic one, the guy who had fun stirring the pot to keep things shaking. I guess I am lucky I didn't get smacked in the face every day. Plus, I used to make Gomer have a stroke on a regular basis since I always did things at the last minute. I majored in Psychology, went to graduate school, and have worked in higher education all my professional career. Gomer was shocked to find that I am Republican and have been since the early Reagan years.

In sharing stories and reliving the past, we discovered that we all lost our fathers in a two-year period. We have all had good professional careers and are in position to enjoy life a little. That was not much of a surprise to me since we were pretty bright, hard-working, motivated guys. It is gratifying to find out that doing the right things and doing them the right way turned out okay for each of us.

It is hard to believe that we have been friends for about thirty years. Some things never change ... except maybe JB's shyness and Gomer's discovery of a higher power. And oh yeah -- I got to the meet up early without having to pick up my freaking sport coat at the cleaners ...

Guinness World Record Poker Tournament

"Dear lightning36,

You finished the tournament in 8452nd place. A $20.00 award has been credited to your Real Money account. Congratulations! Thank you for participating."

I went completely card dead the second hour of the tournament. As the bubble got closer (a relative term for a tournament this size), I was so far behind and small stacked that I thought I would try to fold to the money. Fortunately, the guys at my table helped out -- good karma to them all. When we reached hand-for-hand at the bubble (tournament paid 8,750), I had 250 chips left! When everyone got done stalling, a bunch went out all at once and I slithered into the money.

Yes, it was fun participating in this tournament. PokerStars has been great this December with its many special, great promotions.

Da Bears

They suck. That is all.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The deck smacked me right in the face in last night's Skillz game. I believe that I knocked out the first three players and collected bounties on at least half the players. When down to the final three, my wife told me that someone came to the door and said he hit one of my cars that my daughter parked on the street. It was pretty slick with lots of rain and ice outside. My wife wanted me to talk with the guy. When I'm battling for first place. Right. He broke a turn signal lens, a $25 part if bought on eBay.

Pirate Lawyer and I got down to heads up, but PL was already late for a birthday party and had to go. Yes, I was a good sport and agreed to ship him some cashish on the chop. He left and I just raised until it was over ... but I was ahead on chips when he left, so I figured this was more of a victory than a second-place finish -- in my mind anyway, twisted though it may be.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I took second in a CardsChat buy-in at Ultimate Bet on December 22. Looks like I might have to donk off a few more dollars here and try my luck. I definitely like UB and Absolute Poker much better under their new system. Funny thing though -- I was a little spooked because of the latest UB "situation" regarding Phil Helmuth's being awarded a pot he didn't win in a cash game. I thought I lost a hand to trip 4's, yet I won the hand with two pair. I obviously read the final board wrong, but the latest news gets you thinking ...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Disappointing finish in the WBCOOP Final. Familiar story -- I ran K-K into A-A and went out during the second hour. Congrats to BuddyDank, who finished in 12th place, and Shamanalix, who finished in 34th.

I finished 21st in the Forum Challenge event at Ultimate Bet.

UB and PokerStars are places I infrequently play. I actually did much better than usual there. Could this be a new door opening at the year's end?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

WBCOOP Final -- I'll Be There
Wheeee -- I made it in to this Sunday's final event of the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker at PokerStars. I qualified today by making it into the top 72 of the 8-Game Mix event. My recent experiences with Razz and Omaha really helped me. I had never played Limit 2-7 Triple Draw before, but it was fun. Some fellow poker bloggers from CardsChat, the Shark Poker Tour, and my regular group of blogger foes have also made it in. I hope one of us takes it down!

Friday, December 19, 2008

There Was Something Up The Butt Of A Poker Blogger Today
Okay, I am am taking no prisoners. I am going to reveal the poker blogger who definitely had something up his butt today.

It was me.

For those of you who have no interest in reading about a colonoscopy, stop reading here. However, if you are wondering what the experience was like, read on ...

I was in my physician's office a few months ago when she asked me the dreaded question: "How old are you?" When I told her I had turned 50 earlier in the year, I knew what was coming next. She scheduled me for an appointment for a colonoscopy informational meeting, which was the first step in arranging the procedure. The meeting just reviewed stuff I had already read on the internet. My procedure was scheduled for today -- Friday, December 19.

Two days before my procedure, I received a call from my clinic, informing me that the FDA had pulled my pre-procedure medicine (basically, uber-laxtives) off the shelves of drug stores. Crap (literally and figuratively). Instead of taking two 1.5 oz doses, I was going to have to drink a half gallon of some other stuff.

The day before the procedure, I was restricted to a clear liquid diet only. No food (except jello and popsicles), no red liquids, no dairy products, etc. I worked until noon, then headed to the drug store to buy my items. I got home just in time for the PokerStars blogger tournament, knowing that my laptop might be moved to the bathroom if I went deep!

At 1:00 p.m., I took my first medication -- four laxitive tablets, and put some lemon jello in the fridge. I then had to wait two hours before I went to the next step. Just after 3:00, I mixed an extire box of laxitive powder in a half gallon of lemon lime Gatorade. Yeah - twelve one-day doses to be taken in four hours! Lots of fun drinking 8 oz of Gatorade every half hour. At least the laxitive left no taste in the Gatorade. On the other hand, I guess that is better than the stuff some other people have had to drink -- and a whole gallon at that.

I was doing fine, wondering when it was going to hit, and then ...

Oh momma ................

I made a mad rush to the bathroom. Let's just say that the laxitives worked very well ...

The rest of the evening I made several trips to the bathroom. I fell asleep while working on my laptop in bed and discovered that falling asleep after taking a mega-dose of laxitives is not a good idea. Another mad rush to the bathroom was in order.

I was able to drink clear fluids until midnight. After that, no food or drink until the procedure was over later in the morning.

I actually felt pretty good when I woke up in this morning. Maybe a clean colon does that to you. As you might guess, however, there was one area on my bod that was a tad tender. Ouch.

My wife drove me to the clinic for my check in at 10:00 a.m. They will not do the procedure unless you have a ride home since they put you under. After reviewing some paperwork, I went to the waiting area. Shortly thereafter, a nurse called me to prep me. I laid on a mobile bed and they covered me with warm towels. When it was time, I was wheeled into the room where they would do the procedure. I asked the nurses, "Hey -- is this like when you donate sperm -- am I going to get to see some porn movies?" Well at least joking around made me feel better.

It turns out that the husband of one of the nurses is an avid online poker player. Therefore the nurse had a pretty good understanding of our world. Definitely kewl.

They hooked me up to check my vitals and started an IV in me. When it was time to start, I rolled on my left side. They put the happy juice in my IV and asked me my date of birth. I was already starting to feel fuzzy and told them. Then I was out -- really quick! I think I woke up during the procedure and felt some pain, so more happy juice and I was back out. The next thing I knew, I was waking up. They pump air into your colon during the procedure, so it is important that you pass some gas immediately after the procedure. They said that most guys have no qualms about doing so - ha ha. It was actually all over very quickly.

I was a little unsteady walking out of the clinic, but felt much better after getting some food in me. Geez -- only a day and a half without food and I felt like I was starving.

It is now over twelve hours after the procedure. My colon is not back to normal, but it is getting there. If it could talk, I'm sure that it would be wondering what the hell I had been doing to it the past 36 hours!

Some of my friends who had already had a colonoscopy told me that it wouldn't be that bad. They were right. If you need to get one, don't delay. It just might save your life.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Just Another Fun Night

Last night was an interesting night in the online poker blogger world. Three diferent tournaments, three different sites.

World Blogger Championship of Online Poker event @ PokerStars

I was one of 559 poker bloggers hoping to make the final 72 and get a seat in the blogger championship final. I perhaps played a bit too loosely at the start and pissed off any chips I won. My big move came before the second break when my 3x raise in early position with A-A was raised all-in by someone with 10-10. The double up moved me as high as about 35th place. After that, however, nothing went right -- average cards and missed all my draws. I ended up going out in 85th place -- 13 away from a seat. Very frustrating. Had BamBam and BayWolfe at my table for some time. I don't really know BayWolfe, but he seemed like a damn good player. And ... it was fun playing with Bam ... as long as Pebbles stepped away, since we all know that she is the brains behind that poker decision-making team. He he.

Big congrats to the following guys who made a great showing in the tournament: Memphis MOJO - 4th place (way to go, bro!!), Loretta8 -- 12th place, and NumbBono - 17th place.

Got Q-Q and raised. I was re-raised by big stack guy NumbBono. I went all in and was called by Numb, who had 10-10. A ten came on the flop, and once again a Bodonkey comes to a sudden, bitter end.

Blogger Skillz

The funniest game of the night for me was the Omaha H/L Skillz tournament on Full Tilt. PirateLawyer almost went out, then made this tremendous comeback and was kicking everyone's ass. I barely stayed in when a desperation all-in caught a boat on the flop. I was surviving on this mini stack when katitude and Zeem were all-in in a pot with PirateLawyer. He caught a flush on the turn, knocked both out (and collected two more bounties), and ... put me in the money! I guess we all need one of these every so often to make up for all the times we bend over to donkey play.
Damn -- I feel some sort of victory coming tonight. Watch out, world!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Got second place in a CardsChat Razz game. I was dethroned as King of the Crap Cards. I will try to recover my title at a later date.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Bloggers Invade Las Vegas; More on Governor Blago
While Some Are having Fun in Las Vegas ...
Best wishes to all the poker bloggers who are invading Las Vegas this weekend for a blogger tournament and for some good old fashioned fun. I wish I were going. Unfortunately, November, December, and the beginning of January are my busiest weeks at work. Right now, I am just running on fumes and hope to make it to the Christmas holidays in one piece.

Most of you know how it is when you hit that time of year at work when you just struggle to get through one day at a time to only have to turn around and struggle back for the next day. I am pretty much mentally and physicaly exhausted. Last night, my wife and I just sat around discussing what we would do for dinner. Not making dinner. Not going out for it. Just discussing it. Is that pathetic or what?

More on Governor Rod Blagojevich
Today is just another day in dealing with the variety of emotions felt with the Rod Blagojevich situation. Remember that this is a governor who had a lower approval rating than President Bush. Looks like it is Limbo Rock time now -- "How low can you go?"

I grew up outside Chicago, so it is not like political shenanigans are anything new to me. I lived in my state capital, Springfield, for eight years while working my first professional job. I could not believe the education in state government that I received during that time in the 1980's. We used to refer to the people who ran the state as Republicrats. Whichever party won the governor's seat controlled state government. The minority party was allocated its fair share of graft. As long as the head honchos played well together, the state ran fine. Everyone got his or her share while the citizens were really screwed.

Blagojevich, however, didn't play nice. He refused to live in the governor's mansion and refused to live in Springfield. Instead, he ran things out of Chicago, as did a previous governor. The biggest problem, however, was that Blagojevich somehow believed that the support of the people of the state gave him license to do whatever he wanted. He did not work well with the Republican party leaders. He did not work well with his fellow Democrats. For some reason that I can not understand, the idiot voters in this state re-elected him to a second term. We missed out on a woman who would have been a hell of a governor, Judy Barr Topinka. Instead we got Blago again.

I am sure that Barack Obama is glad he stayed as far away as possible from this train wreck of a governor. It was common knowledge that he was being investigated by the feds. I was fairly certain that he would end up in jail after his term of office expired. Little did I know that he would be stupid enough and arrogant enough to try to sell Obama's vacated senate seat and and get taped doing so.

The people of Illinois are certainly embarrassed to be made to look like a bunch of stupid chumps in front of the world. However, believe me when I tell you that the overriding feeling is one of elation for seeing the beginning of the end of this corrupt administration. Lt Governor Pat Quinn will hopefully be taking over sooner rather than later. Quinn is a true maverick (he he) who has rubbed many in his party the wrong way. However, he is known throughout the state as a populist politician. I have confidence that Mr. Quinn will be the first step in restoring some sanity in our state government.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Arrested Sooner Than Expected

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested on federal charges Tuesday morning at his Northwest Side home.

A source told ABC7's Chuck Goudie that Gov. Blagojevich was taken into federal custody at his home on Sunnyside around 7 a.m. His chief of staff, John Harris, was also arrested.

"There was no advance notice given to either individual," said Ross Rice, FBI.

The affidavit was unsealed around 8:30 a.m. That affidavit accused Gov. Blagojevich of, among other things, trying to obtain campaign contributions up front in consideration of an appointment to the Senate seat left open by Pres.- Elect Barack Obama.

Check out this gem from the federal affidavit:

ROD BLAGOJEVICH said that the consultants (Advisor B and another consultant are believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.” ROD BLAGOJEVICH states that he will put “[Senate Candidate 4]” in the Senate “before I just give fucking [Senate Candidate 1] a fucking Senate seat and I don’t get anything.” (Senate Candidate 4 is a Deputy Governor ofthe State of Illinois).

Yes, my dumbshit governor, who was already looking toward some jail time after his term expired, was stupid enough to get caught by the feds in something so serious that they wouldn't even let him serve out his term.

Immediate past governor now in prison ... current governor now in federal custody ...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Truth About Waffles -- Really
Okay -- I am a pretty honest guy. Outside of games like poker, I rarely misrepresent anything. Therefore, I feel that it is my duty to verify and make public a dirty little secret within the poker blogger world: Waffles has become a damn good blogger tournament player.

It seems like some bloggers have had their day in the sun in 2008. lucko was a monster earlier in the year. lj had a great run. Other bloggers have had one big moment or another. But ... in the last half of 2008, who can deny that Waffles has upped his game, constantly challenged for the top position in individual tournaments and cumulative competitions, flourished while having a bounty over his head, and constantly charged out toward the top of the chipleaders in most blogger tournaments in which he has entered?

He has adopted a new, aggressive style that has served him very well. He has also shown the ability to make the right plays when they count and to almost always be one one the last players standing if he reaches the final table. I don't know exactly what he did to change his game in such a dramatic fashion, but whatever he did, it is working.

Earlier today, I listened as a colleague at work talked about taking a fresh look at people and not allowing past reputations to totally color our view of them. I believe that it is time to do that with Waffles. He is no longer Awfuls. He has become a monster. Fear him ... or at least give him his due. He has proven it at the table -- which is where it really counts.
This blog entry was posted as a public service.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker!

All bloggers can play in this exclusive online poker tournament.

Registration code: 124733

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Won the Blogger Skillz Game, but Missed a Double
I won against a small field in Limit Hold Em in the Blogger Skillz Game but came up short in the Bodonkey, finishing 7th. Short stack went all in, so I did also with A-10os. I was guessing that I was ahead. Unfortunately, a big stack called with Q-9sooted. Short stack had A-8 and I was looking good, but a 9 hits the board, knocking me and the other short stack out. Bummer.
R.I.P. Pit Martin

MONTREAL -- Hubert "Pit" Martin, a four-time NHL All-Star in the 1960s and '70s, has died after his snowmobile plunged into an icy lake, Quebec provincial police said. He was 64.
Const. Marie-Josee Ouellet said Martin was driving the vehicle on Lake Kanasuta in northwestern Quebec on Sunday when the ice cracked and he plunged into the freezing water.
Another man who was driving a separate snowmobile at the time has confirmed Martin ended up in the water, Ouellet said.
Divers were attempting to retrieve Martin's body.
Former Chicago Blackhawks teammate Dale Tallon, now the team's general manager, said Martin was a "wonderful guy" and a great hockey player.
"He always came back in the summer to play golf," Tallon said. "I always admired him as a kid growing up in Noranda. ... It's very sad."
Martin, who would have turned 65 next week, lived on an island in the lake that was reached by boat in summer and snowmobile in winter, but there were always tricky periods in spring and fall when the ice had to be tested regularly, Tallon said.
Martin played 1,101 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, Blackhawks and Vancouver Canucks, amassing 809 points from 1963 to 1979.
"He was a very smart player, with good speed, and an excellent playmaker," said Tallon, who was seven years younger than Martin and was a good friend of his younger brother while growing up. Tallon and Martin ended up as teammates through most of the 1970s in Chicago.
Martin was part of one of the biggest blockbuster trades in hockey history in 1967, when he and two other players were shipped to Chicago in the deal that made Phil Esposito, Ken Hodge and Fred Stanfield part of a Bruins dynasty.
The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Martin was a strong skater and passer whose best years came on Chicago's MPH line with Jim Pappin and Dennis Hull. The Blackhawks had been planning to honor the line at the United Center this season.
He won the Masterton Trophy for sportsmanship and perseverance in 1969-70, his first of three 30-goal campaigns. He had a career-high 90 points in 1972-73 with the Blackhawks.
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

Pit Martin was the center of my all-time favorite line in the NHL. A small, gritty competitor, Martin was at his best setting up slapshot artist Dennis Hull or sniper supreme Jim Pappin.