Friday, June 29, 2012

Feelin' Stronger Every Day

I finally made it back home last night at about 6:30 p.m. My flight back to Chicago Wednesday night was delayed and didn't get into the airport until after midnight. I couldn't bear driving home during the night so I stayed overnight at my Mom's house in the suburbs.

I do not know what kind of virus I caught in Las Vegas, but I am glad that I am getting back to normal. I ate two meals yesterday for the first time since Sunday. Whereas most people might gain weight in Las Vegas, I actually lost some. I still feel fatigued and hope to get in some good sleep time this weekend.

More Las Vegas trip posts will follow in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Rob: The King of the BSC

I only have a few minutes while I wait for my flight to leave. However, this afternoon I witnessed a scene that I would not have believed if I had not seen it with my own eyes: donkeys betting into Rob's boat (not so unbelievable), women VOLUNTARILY exposing their breasts to Rob, and women who exposed their breasts then BEGGING Rob to take a picture of them on his camera phone!

It is all true. I saw it with my own eyes. I am shocked. A new level of respect must be given to the King of BSC. I am sure he will write a loooooong post about it in his blog.

Really. It happened ...

Misc Las Vegas Pictures

Poker Idol and American Idol

Great Picture of Very Josie ... in my hotel room ... he he

Busted down on Fremont Street. Yowsa!

Rob (Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog) enjoying our meal at ... BSC!

Two cuties -- Very Josie and Carmel

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Las Vegas Stay Extended

Geez, I wish I could say that I am having such a great time or am so hung over that I am staying an extra night in Las Vegas. I would like to be hung over? Well, maybe that option wouldn't be so bad. At least I would have had fun getting there.

Either I caught some nasty virus or ate some bad food at the Slots O' Fun Subway Sunday night, but I felt like absolute crap yesterday. I did go out to lunch with VJ yesterday and was already feeling the effects, but it got worse afterwards as I played some cash games with Tony, Robs Vegas Poker, VJ, and koala of TBC fame. After VJ left to catch her flight, Rob dropped me off at Bally's. I had hoped to put in some hours at the poker room there, but instead immediately went to my room. Believe me, you do not want to hear details of my last seven hours.

So ... I have extended my trip one extra night. Plane reservations have already been switched and I should be able to take care of the hotel in the morning.

This will not exactly go down as one of my favorite Las Vegas trip report posts. Even rat bastards get sick sometimes ...

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Las Vegas Days 2 & 3: Brief Report

Not having either the time or the inclination to make a looooong blog post like this guy, I am, however, able to at least briefly note some things that have been happening the past two days in Las Vegas.

Day 2 (Thursday): Met koala, a member to the TBC “head patters,” at Harrah’s and had lunch together. It was quite a great time, reviewing the history of Tony and talking about some of Tony’s latest happenings and his upcoming homecoming in Las Vegas. Koala, like most of the lone poker players and or bloggers I have met, was really great in person – very personable and very funny. We had a great time!

I got in several hours of poker. Koala and I played at Harrah’s, where he did quite well and I finished with a small loss. I then went to The Mirage, where my table quickly disintegrated soon after I got there. I lost a little bit also. Things just never seem to go well for me at The Mirage. I then returned to Bally’s (naturally), played more poker, and then met Man in Black for dinner. I had met MIB in passing on my last trip to Las Vegas. He has been through some difficult times but recently got a new job and is getting some important things back on track. As always, the conversation at mealtime was great. This has turned out to be the social trip of all time for me!

Later that night we were hoping to meet Carmel, who earlier in the evening had sent me this great direct tweet: “You rat bastard.” It turns out that she was going to surprise me at Bally’s but got a ticket driving there. Of course, I was to blame! Unfortunately, due to my getting his twitter name wrong and Carmel’s fondness for libations, we never met up. However, MIB and I must have looked so pathetically desperate while waiting for Carmel that we were approached for “dates” by an elderly hooker. As I texted Pokah Dave, “I wouldn’t screw her with your dick!” Oh and yes -- when I tweeted about the incident, referring to the woman of way too many evenings as a “random woman,” I received a few texts informing me that she was a prostitute. Thanks to those people for explaining to me what a hooker is. Having been to Las Vegas more times than I can remember, I had always wonders who those skanky looking women were who flirted with me in the wee hours of the morning. Gee – I never knew …

I ended the evening playing more cash games at Bally’s, and then finally called it a night. Actually, it was the early morning.

Day 3 (Friday): Woke up late and had a brisk walk down the strip to get in some exercise. I then caught a bus to downtown and registered for a deep stack tourney at the Golden Nugget. I was surprised during the tourney to get a tap on the shoulder from Memphis MOJO, who was also playing in it. Unfortunately, MOJO got felted on a big play and was out while I played short stack ninja. After 6 ½ hours of play and on the final hand before the dinner break, I woke up with A-Q and pushed all in against a raise and a call. The original raiser said “I am giving you a gift” and called. Unfortunately, a big stack who had already called the first raise also said he was all in. The nasty scene: my A-Q vs. A-J (original raiser) and A-A (big stack that originally smooth called the raise). Shit! The big stack knocked us both out.

I then headed to Rio to have dinner with cmitch and Shabazz Jenkins, two really tough online tournament players. It was interesting as Shabazz was at the end of his trip, I was in the middle, and cmitch just arrived a few hours earlier.

After dinner I headed back to Bally’s and played some poker at the same table with Very Josie, Poker Grump, and Rob’s Vegas Poker. The game deserves an entire post in itself. I made a totally donkey play against Grump (there were reasons, of course) and Josie was a total agro wild woman at the table. I was so card dead (and trapped at an aggressive table with the guys on my right button straddling my every blind) that I was finally forced to switch tables. Later on in the evening I finally got a few cards at a table I could exploit and ended the session with a nice profit.

I have gotten to the point where I play very few live tournaments. I look at this day, for example, and see most of my day wasted in a tournament where I failed to cash while losing a buy in. I much prefer the flexibility of cash games. I will therefore most likely take a pass on the big All Vegas Poker tournament on Saturday but will play in the much more intimate private tournament for “Friends of TBC” Sunday night.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Las Vegas Day 1: Brief Report

What -- I am up posting at 8:00 a.m. while in Las Vegas? And this is even after a night of sleep!

Nothing eventful, thank goodness, on the trip here. I got to the airport with plenty of time to spare. Going through the TSA line, however, I was selected at random, yanked to the side, and my laptop was given the swab test.

Check in at Bally's was quick and easy -- just the way I like it. No -- keep your mind out of the gutter!

Met two bloggers in person for the first time. The first was balt999, who is also a dealer at Bally's. I had played at Ron's table before, but did not know he was a blogger at that time. I also met Rob from Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog. Rob and I played some cards at Bally's, had dinner together, then went to his favorite place, the "BSC" poker room, and tossed a few cards there. Of course, knowing full well Rob's aversion to guys who were their caps backwards, I made sure I wore one just like that for a bit in his honor. We had some great conversations, and I am sure at least a few ears were ringing!

I hit the wall at BSC and decided to call it a night early. I did sneak in one more quick sessions at Bally's before going to bed.

The first day was one of ultimate grinding. I actually made a small profit in every session, even if that profit was only a few dollars. Still, being ahead is better than being behind.

If anyone in Las Vegas wants to connect up with me while I am here, send me a tweet: @lightning36.

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Almost There

My flight for Las Vegas leaves in 12 hours. I spent the past few days preparing things at home and at work so that I would have little hanging over my head when I return. The past ten weeks have been challenging as I moved into my new role at work. I have been looking forward to this vacation for some time. I am ready.

I don't know how this vacation will turn out. I am looking forward to connecting with some old friends and perhaps meeting some of my newer online friends in person for the first time. I hope to play in two or three decent tournaments and spend plenty of time in the cash games at Bally's, maybe Harrahs, Bellagio, the WSOP, or other places. I have a feeling down deep that I will win a Royal Flush high hand bonus at Bally's. Just a feeling ...

Entertainment should be all around. Lots of WSOP bad beat stories will likely be heard and of course, the best entertainment might be the Very Josie show -- watching the princess somehow navigate her way through her many male admirers (and at least one female admirer!) while trying to get in some poker hours.

Thanks to a co-worker, I will have free online access this trip and plan, for the first time, to actually blog from Las Vegas. I have been asked to take some pictures, so I might be like Memphis MOJO and Oh Captain and be that guy always taking pictures. On the other hand, I have never liked to live my life looking through a view finder, so maybe not.

I am even packing for this trip earlier than usual. I usually wait until the last, last minute and just throw things in the ol' suitcase.

So ... these are just the boring ramblings of a guy who needs a break. I've got a feeling things will get more relaxed ... and less boring ... over the next six nights.

Sunday, June 17, 2012


Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there! This is the one day of the year specifically designed for sitting back, propping up the feet, grabbing a drink, and watching a ball game or two.

I have mentioned many times how it seems that fathers have had a great influence on the lives of many bloggers. Their passing often remains a difficult issue with us many for years.

In wanting to focus on the positive today, though, I am reminded that what often helps defines fatherhood is a simple word: sacrifice. My dad worked two jobs for much of his adult life to be able to make the move from living in the city (Chicago) out to a nice area in the suburbs. He was not a very complicated man in his needs, but his experiences in World War II left indelible marks in his psyche. He carried a WWII attitude throughout his life: you do what you need to do and don't complain about it. He tended to be more distant from the family until his later years in life, when he seemed to flourish with conversation and contact. The times he broke out are among some of my all-time favorites.

My father-in-law was much different than my own father. He was very gregarious and worked a professional job, unlike my father who was a blue collar worker. He had an almost never ending positive attitude and was a very religious man. He saw himself as the captain of this big ship with many children, including a mentally and physically handicapped son. He clearly led the family in a righteous manner, but could also be one of the guys. The fishing trips I took with him and the male folk from his family were fantastic.

I took clues from both men in becoming the kind of father I am. I inherited my dad's notion of just hunkering down and doing work, but also my father-in-law's positive attitude and love for talking, telling stories, making lame jokes ... One other thing II inherited is that notion of sacrifice. My kids will never know the extent of things I have done for them over the years. It took me many years myself to appreciate the sacrifices my dad made for my family. It is sometimes kind of funny when I think about how little I spend on myself. I guess it is part of that fatherly tradition that is handed down. Mothers are often the great nurturers of the family, but usually lurking somewhere in the background is a father who is doing the dirty work to make everything possible.

So today ... a tip o' the hat to all the fathers out there. It is quite a fraternity -- one in which I am proud to hold membership. I just might prop my feet up and watch a few innings of Cubs or White Sox baseball today.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Yes -- it is finally here -- VACATION -- as of 5:00 p.m. yesterday!

The past two months became extremely busy as we started the transition process at work for me to become head of my department. It seems like the final part of the process happened Wednesday when we shuffled offices and I moved into the place that has always been designated as the director's office. It is large and pretty nice, but needs a couch or comfy chair -- just in case a short nap is needed!

Part of my goal has been to install a new attitude within the department, and I think I have succeeded so far. A little fun has been brought back, and that was sorely needed. I allowed myself to be the center of a lot of abuse because of how nasty dusty my old office was. Hey -- I am a low maintenance guy. I don't worry about crap like dust. I was asked when the last time I dusted was. Last? Are you kidding me? There was never a first!

Of course, I also had to deal with some of the crappy stuff these past two weeks, including handling a few complaints some people had with my staff, then having to talk with the staff members about the complaints. Those of you who are in managerial positions might be used to that, but I had not supervised anyone for 12 years. Now, suddenly, I am supervising an office of 18 professionals.

I am a bit surprised that I have been dealing so well (so far!) with the stuff one person described as "administrative hoo hah." Although my kids probably see me as a conservative company wonk, they really do not understand that most of my life I have been the guy who challenged the standards -- always the guy who was going against the grain. Sr. Joan, one of my professional references when I was seeking my second professional job, was brutally honest in her assessment of me, describing my many good points, but also relating that I "bristle when dealing with authority." I have gotten better at it over the years, but I still hate wasting my time in endless meetings, filling our reports for state or other agencies, or dealing with situations that just suck the life out of you.

But ... hey, I am now on vacation! I will still have to do a little work over the next few weeks, but I am thankful that this break has come. I look forward to catching up on some things in my personal life that have taken a back seat the past few months.

I am counting down the days until I return to Las Vegas. Five ...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Am Very Scared Today

I received the following today in one of my email boxes:

It looks like I am in biiiiig trouble. I think the dog scares me more than anything ...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Deep Run at AlCantHang's Blogger Tournament on Face Up Gaming

Poker blogging legend Al Cant Hang helped whip up a tournament for bloggers at Face Up Gaming earlier today.There were many familiar faces  -- some good ol' competition against bloggers who were very familiar to me. There were also many unfamiliar players, and that added some uncertainty to the game. The top prize: a poker cruise for two to the Bahamas.

I was able to chip up very early due to some good cards and players who made very bad decisions. I just tried to play fundamental NLHE and then use my stack to keep people out of pots or put them to the test. Things worked out pretty well -- third place out of 144 runners.

I played well enough to win. It just did not work out that way. My big hit at the end came when I ran my suited Ace into Q-Q.
The final standings list of the top end of the finishers shows several familiar blogger names
I was at the final table with Wolfshead, who took a nasty cooler beat when he ran his Q-Q into A-A. Of course, I knew he was doomed because seconds before the fateful hand I got a text message from Very Josie that said "Wolfie's gonna kick your ass." Thank you, VJ! Al Cant Hang made the final table but ended up in 9th place. I missed how he went out. JT88Keys finished 15th. He had a healthy stack stack but was at a different table. I'll have to find out what led him to the rail. heffmike was right behind him in 16th place. Unfortunately for heffmike, my streak of running like God versus him continued today when I woke up with A-K and called his all-in with Q-9.
Other bloggers I had at my table during the tournament included the lovely Joanada,  and good buddies Memphis MOJO and Lucki Duck. And no -- I am not calling either of those guys lovely.
I am a little pressed for time today and need to keep this short, but I encourage people to give Face Up Gaming a try. A really good critique of the poker software was written by heffmike.
I have to finish getting some info to Face Up to get my prize -- a pair of Blue Shark sunglasses. I'll report back on how that whole process went.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

The Office Picnic

So yesterday was my work area's annual picnic/retreat. Some years the morale had been so bad that people bitched about getting a Friday afternoon off to go to a picnic. Imagine that!

After an obligatory boring morning meeting, I headed out to the shelter. The weather was supposed to be ideal for the picnic -- clear skies with a high of 81 degrees. My duty was to be on the grilling team. Well, if you know men, you know that ofttimes there is some degree of ego involved in grilling. Von, the head of our police force, was the chief cook. Being the newest director in my area, I just laid low and helped where I could. Von had this unique method for cooking brats, alternating between grilling them and boiling them in beer. I sucked in my share of smoke when we put the hamburgers on. I had forgotten that when you are one of the people helping to set up and work on a picnic it isn't nearly as much fun.

A little later I was drafted to help run the bingo game. The lead in to it was kind of funny.

Tim: We need someone to help Melisa (not her real name -- Oops -- wrong blog!) run bingo. How about ... lightning?
Me: What is Melisa doing? Is she getting the balls from the mixer or calling the numbers?
Tim: She might handle your balls.
Me: Okay. But what is she doing?
Tim: She's from Turkey. I don't even know if she knows how to play bingo ...

Dang, but we ran the fast games of bingo you ever saw! After the picnic was over, I joked with two of my folks that they needed to head into the office for the last working hour of the week. But ... we instead cruised to a downtown bar where I, Mr. El Cheapo, even bought the first round. Yes, I told them, I am not above buying their allegiance with alcohol. They seemed to think it was not a bad tradeoff! Several others from work headed for the same bar, so it was a nice end to the week. Better yet, I had some leftover hamburgers and hot dogs for lazy man meals this weekend. Some days just go well!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Bob Welch 1945 - 2012

Yes, and all of the things that I said that I wanted
Come rushing by in my head when I'm with you ...

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Waiting

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers said it best: the waiting is the hardest part.

Two weeks from today I will be back in Las Vegas for six nights of fun. My last trip was four months ago -- not very long ago, actually. I have been making anywhere from two to four trips to Sin City for so many years that I long ago lost track of how many trips I have made. Some of the trips involved staying gratis at some of the nicer Las Vegas properties (Wynn, Encore, Bellagio, Caesars Palace) courtesy of my brother, the King of Komps. Other trips featured staying in less than desirable locations (Circus Circus manor, Westward Ho, Best Western Mardi Gras) and hanging out in little cubby holes like the old snack bar at Westward Ho. Can you say 3/4 pound Mega Dog for $1.49 and a Bloody Mary fountain?

I was all set to get a free room at Bally's until I changed my travel dates due to not wanting to miss the appearance of a certain poker princess and one of the proposed TBC poker tournaments being set up by followers of TBC's blog. Awk -- you mean I might actually have to pay something for my room? I therefore, being the el cheapo guy I am, went for an old standby -- the IP! I might switch back to Bally's, my Las Vegas "home" poker room, if I can negotiate a decent rate.

As for poker ... I have gotten away from playing in many tournaments in Las Vegas due to the time needed if you actually go far in a deep stack tournament. This trip, however, I plan on playing at least a few deep stack events TBA. I am looking at the Rio, maybe Golden Nugget and/or Venetian for these. I will, of course, spend plenty of time playing cash games at Bally's. I also hope to play some cash games at Rio, maybe Bellagio, Planet Hollywood, MGM, etc. I am looking forward to this.

I am keeping my daily schedule relatively flexible since sometimes it is just best to go with the flow. Outside of a planned dinner and one tournament I will definitely enter, I will see what works out best.

The clock is ticking ...

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sometimes It Is Just The Small Things ...

Okay -- so I will readily admit that I am a cheap guy. I did not come from a wealthy family and had some really tight times financially when I went through graduate school and got into my first professional job. I have always looked for bargains and am the money manager in my family. That being said, I have a good job with a good salary. However, I still live for getting bargains. So last night, I made a last-minute run to Dick's Sporting Goods to make a few purchases for my Monday night softball game.
Much to my delight, I found exactly what I was looking for within a few minutes. I was able to buy:
New spikes -- ON SALE
New batting gloves -- ON SALE
I then stopped in Meijer to buy a couple of items. I got:
Deli meat -- ON SALE
Four for four -- batted 1.000 tonight on purchases!
Yes -- it does not take a lot to make to make me happy sometimes. Such is the life of an optimist. I recommend it.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Expose' -- Rob's Vegas and Poker Blog: The REAL Story

Fear me ...