Monday, October 28, 2013

A Day in Par-A-Dice

For some unknown reason, it appears that my "international" home game from last year just fell off the face of the earth. I know that some of the guys who play in it play several nights a week, so maybe that had something to do with it. The last Brick and mortar poker I remember playing was seven weeks ago, so I thought that I would take most of Sunday and travel to the nearest poker room -- the Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria, IL.

Playing at Par-A-Dice is kind of a mixed bag. I have been doing well there recently, but the tables tend to be populated by regs. They are not unfriendly or anything. It is just that I am not one of the bunch. A WSOP Circuit Event was going on at Harrahs Hammond, so I thought that maybe some of the stronger players in Peoria would be out chasing money in Hammond -- even more reason to go to Peoria.

I got there in the early afternoon and was surprised to see that one of the former international home game players was seated at a table. He appeared to have a big stack, which his aggro ways grew to over $2000 as the day went on.

As for my table ... the players were mostly decent. I got a reg who is a good player to dump a ton of chips to me when my A-K was rewarded with a King and the flop and one on the turn. He didn't show, but I am guessing he had perhaps K-Q? In another hand, I raised with A-Q and was called by a player appearing to be new to poker and one of the aggro players. The flop came Q high, but as I was getting some chips to raise. I saw that the new guy was getting ready to put some chips in the pot, so I checked. He bet out $20 and was called by the aggro guy. I re-popped to $60 and the new guy called. I was concerned that maybe he was playing some junk cards and hit two pair ... but I also knew it was possible that he didn't know better. I raised on the turn and he called. Hmmm. The river was no help and my pair of Queens with Ace kicker did not improve. I bet on the river and he again called. I was relieved to see that he had been calling all the way with Q-J! My instinct was correct, thankfully.

Had another fun pot when I was on the button with 9-7os. Almost the whole table limped in, so I did also The flop: 7-7-9! The turn and river made flush and straight possibilities and I was able to extract some money from a few players. It is nice to flop a boat -- especially when it holds.

I stayed way too long, seeing that I had a long drive home. However, the trip was fun and profitable. What more can a poker player ask for?

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sucky Day Today

Just a short post to whine about a day that was certainly short on fun.

1.Wake up, get dressed, drop daughter off at school, go to work.

2. Make coffee, look at email, handle a few small tasks.

3. Go to meeting. Zzzzzzzz.

4. Go to session to explain latest progress on first meeting. Zzzzzzzz.

5. Person no-shows for appointment with me. Lunch, train new employee.

6. Catch up on paperwork. Try to learn some procedures done by administrative assistant before she goes on four to six weeks leave.

7. Stay after work to catch up on more paperwork. Leave after 12-hour day.

8. Go home, eat, watch Big Bang Theory.

9. Switch cars with daughter so that I can get hers worked on tomorrow. Remove air conditioner from window, move to basement, move big air conditioner to basement. Go home.

10. Write post. Wonder where last 17 hours of Monday went. Get ready for bed.

Tomorrow: Debate taking small sockroll to Las Vegas and donkng VBJ and video poker.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Meeting a Fellow Blogger In Person Is Always a Good Thing

Today really started out like a day straight from hell. Some work issues and other concerns had been bothering me lately, and the past several nights I had woken up way too early and had difficulty falling back to sleep. Needless to say, I did not have an ideal start to the work week.

My brother, the King of Komps, was scheduled for a medical procedure to start the day, and he was a little worried. I tried calling my sister to get an update, but as you might know, sometimes cell phones just don't function well in hospitals. I had at 8:00 a.m. meeting that had been scheduled last Friday at the end of the work day. Me -- at 8 a.m.? Without a cup of coffee? Ha!

I had a crucial meeting scheduled a bit later in the morning, then received a call from my youngest daughter, who was feeling ill at school. She would just have to hang in there if she could. Immediately after the second meeting, I had an emergency meeting scheduled with a student, a parent and an administrator. Two hours later, I was wondering if the meeting and day would ever end.

But ... my saving grace for the day was a late lunch that I had planned with a fellow blogger who was visiting the state and would be passing through town. Some readers -- Memphis MOJO, Ken P and maybe some others, have read the postings and commented on the blog of the gentleman from the Pacific northwest known as Spot, or in a former blogger life, bastinptc. To others, he is just known as Patrick.

I recall first communicating with Patrick during the good ol' days (January 2010) when people in the USA could still play for real money on PokerStars. I final tabled an Omaha event (#2) of the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker (WBCOOP). A total of 1634 entrants battled each other and the Omaha poker gods. From my tournament report of event #2:

Around the time we got to the first bubble, I was seated at a table with IlliniFan97 and bastinptc -- two Illinois guys. It was almost like playing in a home game. I got pissed off when I decided not to play my 10-10-rag-rag and saw a flop of 10-10-rag. Grrrr. Shortly thereafter, both the other guys hit quads and were about to leave me in the dust. I doubled up, however, and then watched the other guys get coolered. Great game, gentlemen. It was fun talking with you and playing with you!

Patrick and some other bloggers railed me, as was common back then if someone went deep in a crowded field. I began reading and commenting on his blog, and thus a friendship was begun. I looked forward to meeting this guy I had known mostly through his writings.

We had a long lunch and were able to talk about poker, family, bloggers (I'll bet a few ears were ringing!), and life in general. For me at least, it is always a thrill to meet someone whom you have known for years through his or her blog. And as I have usually found to be the case, those whom I have liked online have turned out to be pretty great people. Patrick was certainly no exception.

So ... even though I still had to return for the last 1 1/2 hours of work, I was certainly much more enthused about facing down work's challenges with great memories of meeting a blogger friend in person.

Best o' luck, Patrick. And just for you:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Yes, I Was The Guy Singing Tiny Dancer In My Car Yesterday

It is hard to believe that October is already almost half over. I have had some significant challenges at work and thus have had little time for poker outside of a little micro online cash games and private tournament action.

Yesterday was a day I dreaded for some time as we had a garage sale. I hate hate hate them, perhaps because my job is one of constantly dealing with and interacting with people. Worse yet, my wife was getting her hair cut during it, leaving me to deal with some of the sale myself. I heard my son was going to help, and I pretty much begged him to make sure he didn't come late.

Surprisingly, it was not as bad as I expected. No one tried to rip us off, people were nice, I had some interesting chats about sports, and there was only one pain-in-the-butt person who wanted to dicker about something that cost $1.

The money we made was likely not even worth the effort my wife expended in getting everything ready and setting it up, but hopefully that means the next one won't happen for some time. More recently we had just donated, sold on, or given away some of our extra stuff. I am not sure why my wife wanted to do the sale.

It was nice, however, to then have the worst of the weekend over and then enjoy the wonderful October day. As I made the drive to pick up a KFC bucket and some other items for dinner, I felt this rush of just being in the moment. Elton John's Tiny Dancer came in the radio, and it was time for the lightning solo version of the Almost Famous scene:

 Life might be far from perfect, but I hope that I continually remember to stop and smell the flowers sometimes instead of just rushing from one thing to another.
Count the headlights on the hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighwayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy ...

Sunday, October 06, 2013

For All the Breaking Bad Fans ...

You might have not known it before but likely do now, the song featured at the end of the Breaking Bad final episode was the 1972 classic Baby Blue by Badfinger. In fact, I recently included this song in one of several posts of my top five favorite songs of all time. I was elated to see that it was chosen for the end of the series.

The song was most fitting for Breaking Bad. How many other bands have such a tragic history, including two members (lead singer Pete Ham and bass player Tom Evans) hanging themselves?

Two versions -- first a "live" one:

And, of course, Breaking Bad:

Guess I got what I deserve
Kept you waiting there, too long my love
All that time, without a word
Didn't know you'd think, that I'd forget, or I'd regret
The special love I have for you
My baby blue

All the days became so long
Did you really think I'd do you wrong
Dixie, when I let you go
Thought you'd realize, I would know, I would show
The special love I have for you
My baby blue

What can I do, what can I say?
Except that I want you by my side
How can I show you? Show me a way
Don't you know, the times I tried

Guess that's all I have to say
Except the feeling just gets stronger everyday
Just one thing, before I go
Take good care, baby let me know, let it show
The special love you have for me
My Dixie dear

Saturday, October 05, 2013

The Year That Friggin' Was

I have been busy at work, which is not always a bad thing. Sometimes being busy serves as a good reason -- or excuse -- to avoid some of life's unpleasantries. Sometimes being busy just helps period.

The year that began at the end of September 2012 and just ended was one of the most challenging of my life. In fact, it likely made the top five list of Worst Years of My Life.

The year began with a totally shocking event: the suicide of a close family friend. Cindy had been a member of an Italian dinner club that my wife and I joined. I had assisted her husband, Keith, when he returned to college. I advised her daughter, Jamie. My wife was one of Cindy's close friends and had already been out to visit her once after Cindy and Keith moved to North Carolina. Cindy was the type of person who was there for her friends, but sadly, would not allow her friends to help her when she needed help most.

In the next few days after Cindy's death, I found that poker blogger Gary (The Crafty Southpaw) had a stroke and the wife of poker blogger Tim (OhCaptain) was seriously injured when she and her daughter were involved in an an accident. That was one heck of a week.

Things muddled along the rest of fall, but after the first of the year, I just wasn't feeling right. Stupid me thought I was having an issue with my lungs. I should have gotten my butt in to see a doctor, but some serious family issues which I have chosen to keep private kept my focus elsewhere. I didn't realize that I had a serious health issue until I was forced to take some time to get medical attention. I found out that the problems I thought were associated with my lungs were, unfortunately, related to my previous heart issues. An artery that had been partially blocked became bad enough that another heart procedure was necessary in March. It was a very scary time indeed.

I barely had time to recover from my heart procedure when I was shocked to hear that Ron, a regular member of my international home poker game, passed away. Having just had a serious medical procedure, this really hit home.

Throw in multiple strokes by poker blogger buddy Wolfshead, and the crappy year continued. In a sense I guess it was fitting that the year ended with the passing of my former co-worker Jen Smith, who finally lost her struggle against breast cancer.

So a new year has begun. It almost certainly will be better than the last.



Let us learn to show friendship for a man when he is alive and not after he is dead.
F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Great Gatsby