So ... how has your holiday season been? Mine has been quite different so far.
After working through December 23, my school closed down, not to reopen until this coming Monday, January 4. There was great success on the last working day in December, though. I finally was able to hire a replacement for my office assistant who had been gone for pretty much five months. And the new worker who will start on Monday? The timing was perfect for her. She is a long-time dedicated worker to the school and was due to be furloughed starting Monday due to a lack of a budget in the state of Illinois. Instead of having to use her accumulated time off and hoping for the best, she is back working without missing a beat AND is getting a pay increase. She appears to be addicted to coffee and chocolate, so we should get along just fine.
After spending Christmas with my wife and kids, I headed to the Chicago suburbs on December 26 to drive my brother, thundering36, to the airport for his vacation to Las Vegas. While he was gone, I took care of my 90-year-old mother, which is quite a chore. The first day went fine. However, thundering36 booby trapped me by making sure our mom was taking a stool softener. Well, dammit, on Sunday it worked ... in spades. I will spare you the gory details, but believe me, I earned my merit badge that day! The rest of the time wasn't so bad. And ... I had not had a chance to spend some real time with my mom for quite a while, so the time was important to both of us.
After picking up thundering36 at the airport on December 30, I headed back downstate. However, there was no way I was not going to reward myself with a poker session at Harrah's Joliet. Much to my surprise, the poker room was completely filled. The wait to play was two hours, but I hung around and played some slots and burned time. I was tempted to just leave, but ... nah!
The session was not really memorable. I did end up winning a buy in and left in the wee hours for the drive home through the night.
After actually getting to spend some time with my wife on New Year's Eve, she told me she just assumed that I would be going to East Peoria to play poker on the holiday weekend. Hmmm ... just what I was thinking!
So ... I made my first poker trip of 2016 to Par-A-Dice casino yesterday. I got there about 2:00 in the afternoon and was seated immediately. Things went downhill from there.
Big Hand #1: I was dealt A-A in middle position (stack of about $270) and raised to $12. Got about three callers. The flop looked harmless and I threw out a 2/3 pot bet. The guy in seat ten went all in for an additional $100 or so. I was pretty new to the table and didn't have a good read on him. I called. He said "Uh oh -- I think I'm in trouble" AND FLIPPED OVER A SET OF THREES! I guess he was thinking his bottom set wasn't good. Crappo.
Big Hand #2: I was dealt "the dreaded pocket Kings
." The flop had straight possibilities and included an eight and a nine. I was in the hand with an unfamiliar player and a guy who is a pretty scared player. I don't remember all the details, but I really should have just gotten out of the hand early. Anyway, the river was a nine, putting two eights and two nines on the board. My stack was dwindling, so I decided to rep the nine and pushed all in. The scared guy went in the tank. He said he had flopped a straight and was pissed at letting me catch up. He folded. Ding! The other guy called and waited for me to flip over my cards. He then showed pocket nines for the flopped set and rivered quads. Nice slowroll, asshole.
So Aces and Kings both were crushed and I was down in a buy-in in the first two hours of play. I got up from the table to head to sooth myself with some slots. I thought about just driving home -- that perhaps it just wasn't my day, then decided to give it one more chance after cooling off. I returned to the poker room and had a short wait before a new table opened up. And what a table it was. I only lost one big hand when I floated on a Jack-high flop with pocket tens. I then hit my set on the turn. Thank goodness there were straight possibilities on the board which tempered my opponent WHO FLOPPED A SET OF JACKS! I was lucky to only lose about $70 on the hand.
The rest of the session is a blur of patience, winning hands, a bluff or two, and solid poker. Since I was on a bit of a heater, some guys got paranoid and thought I was bluffing and called awfully light. Or they just sucked. Anyway, I headed out after about an eight-hour session with a nice profit.
Next poker stop: Talking Stick in Scottsdale, AZ. My wife and I are heading there for a brief vacation in less than two weeks. I have done well at Talking Stick before and hope to continue the trend of the past week into the middle of January.
Hey thundering36 -- do you want to do a guest post with your Las Vegas trip report?