Wednesday, September 15, 2021

What do you say to someone you haven't seen in over 45 years?

This weekend, my wife and I will be taking a much-needed trip from our regular routines (and the hot Arizona weather) to Seattle to visit our son and his girlfriend. Thanks to COVID-19, we haven't been back there for over two years.
When we took a Seattle trip a few years ago, I were alerted via Facebook that someone from my high school class lived there and wanted to meet up. I was kind of surprised since this is someone who was really more of an acquaintance than a friend. My wife suspected an ulterior motive -- that she was going to try to sell me something. On the other hand, remembering how I could be a real dick when in high school, I was reminded of the many television shows where someone poisoned another person to get back at them for some perceived wrong from the past. I decided to take a pass on the meet up.

Right now, a tentative plan is for my wife and I to have breakfast with this woman and her husband this weekend. I invited by son and his girlfriend to tag along, but I'm pretty sure they would be bored. What I'm really interested in hearing is a high school perspective on me from someone who hasn't seen me since. I'm pretty sure she is the kind of person who wouldn't say negative things even if they were true, but nonetheless, this could be an interesting look into what I was waaaay before I became the person I am today.

Poker Update
Even though I ran Kings into Aces last night, I haven't been squawking about poker much on Twitter because I haven't been playing due to a virus I caught and have been winning when I have. My confidence level has gone up, which is always good. My terrible run bad streak seems to have ended with the final crushing blow I did tweet about, when my AA went down to A-Qos when my opponent binked a third Queen on the river with us all in. Gawd, that sucked!

I will have a Seattle report after I get back home next week.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

She Pranced Across the Lawn Like a Delicate Fawn & Phoenix-area Poker Rooms: Subjective Experiences

She Pranced Across the Lawn Like a Delicate Fawn

As some readers might remember, I have three children: a son and two daughters. My oldest daughter, while growing up, had a core of friends whom we saw quite often. One friend, Lizzy, had several connections to my family. Her younger brother was friends with my son, my wife was friends with her mother, and her family attended the church we attended.

It's funny, the things you remember as you get older. I can still picture Lizzy as that little girl from long ago: Blonde hair, pale skin, thin, and cute as a button. The word that comes to mind is adorable. The memory that is etched in my mind is one from when Lizzy was getting older. She had been at my house and needed to get home. I volunteered to drive. I don't remember any of our conversation, but when I got to her house, she thanked me and got out of the car. The sight I saw next was amusing. This sweet girl, wearing shorts and a t-shirt, put her hands up in front of her and headed to her front door. She pranced across the lawn like a delicate fawn. It was the cutest thing! Why that memory stayed with me for all these years, I don't know. Maybe because it was a combination of beauty and humor.

As the years went by, my family lost most of the connections with Lizzy's family. I had not seen her in many years. Unfortunately, we were alerted to some horrible news from last week. Lizzy had been crossing a moderately busy road back in our home town and was hit by a car. She suffered multiple traumatic injuries and was on life support. She was able to donate several organs including her kidneys, pancreas, corneas and skin before she was taken off life support and passed away. Lizzy was only 29 years old.

Phoenix-area Poker Rooms: Subjective Experiences

Earlier this year, someone on Twitter asked if I would write a post about subjective experiences in the Phoenix-area poker rooms. Over the past several months, I have played many sessions, skipping from room to room depending on my schedule, casino promotions, and how my luck seemed to be going. So ... this seems like a good time to write about how it feels to be playing poker in the three main poker rooms in the Phoenix area. Pleas keep in mind that I have been playing the smaller spread limit games: $2/100, $2/200, $3/300. No Limit games are not allowed, so spread limit games are as close as I can get. 

The Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort (east side of metro area)
Known by many simply  as "the Stick," the Arena Poker Room has been a mainstay in Scottsdale, AZ  for many years. It was the only poker room in town that I played in before I moved to the area.

The Stick is easy to get to as it is right off "the 101" -- the highway that loops around greater Phoenix. Most players come to the room via an entrance right outside the room and adjacent to a huge parking garage. Sign in is done via a players card. The brush workers are adept at controlling the wait lists in this very busy room.

Players can order both food and drinks at the table. I don't know if tableside food might be stopped again as it was during the main COVID-19 period, but as least for now, it is still there. Recently, players were again required to wear masks and many of the plexiglass dividers returned. However, all the tables were not outfitted with plexiglass. I am guessing that either the number of tables might be decreased again or more plexiglass ordered. 

What is it like playing there?
When I think of the Stick, I think of a professionally run room. The dealers are very good and are friendly, but maybe a tad too friendly with some of the regulars. Sometimes I get the feeling that I am playing in someone else's home game. Although several people have told me that they think the level of play is soft, perhaps things have changed since COVID began? I used to play in the day but really struggled to make a profit. I think some of the regulars are quite good. More recently, I have been playing in the evening. I believe that the level of play is not as great and there can be some really loose action. So ... if you play at the Stick, I recommend the evenings - definitely. Overall, the players tend to be more friendly than not, although that is harder to evaluate with masks and plexiglass. Players seem to take their lumps better here than in the other rooms in the area.

Gila River Hotels & Casinos - Lone Butte (south side of metro area)
"The Butte" is a new poker room that opened earlier this year. Gila River had previously had a poker room in its Wild Horse Pass property 2 1/2 miles away but closed it to move into the new area that was built for poker at the Lone Butte location in Chandler, AZ. The old poker room at Wild Horse Pass was small and congested. The new room at the Butte has tons of space and has all brand new tables, chairs, etc. It recently went back to requiring masks for all players, the the plexiglass hadn't returned as of last weekend. Easy access to the casino is available off the 202 Loop. There is a huge parking area outside the poker room and a private entrance to it. Drink service has tended to be slow most times I played, and few players take advantage of food delivery to the table.

What is it like playing there?
I think that of the three major rooms in town, the Butte has the softest players. I've tended to play lowball here, most often getting in the $2/100 spread game. The stacks are usually closer to max buy-in size ($300) and the play is much more friendly. The dealers are pretty good, but once again, seem to be almost a little too friendly with some of the regulars. Although it is the furthest poker room from me, it has tended to be my default room if there are no outstanding promotions going on in the other rooms. As with the other rooms, I have found evening play to be much better in terms of pulling a profit. After I am done playing, I especially like to wind down playing several of my favorite slot games in the casino.

Desert Diamond Casino - West Valley (west side of metro area)
Every time I walk into the Desert Diamond Casino, it is hopping!  Located just off the 101, the energy level seems to be especially high at this place. I have used slot wins to cover poker losses more than a few times here. This casino is relatively new, opening in February of 2020. The casino is actually not open 24 hours and doesn't open in the morning until 10:00am.Don't get there more than a couple of minutes before it opens or you will be turned away when you try to get to the parking garages.

The poker room is a very nice area that is close the the entrance to the casino via the west garage. The only spread limit game that has been offered on any of my trips has been $3/300. This casino has not faltered, requiring every player to wear a mask ever since I started going. The poker room also has continued to keep its plexiglass at the tables. The room has mostly Limit poker going at the tables, and the room is certainly underutilized as there are always many empty tables.

What is it like playing there?
The brush gets players seated promptly as there are less poker games and players in this room than the others. Dealers are good and management seems to be okay. I found the drink service to be slow. In fact, now that there are free coffee and soda stations in the casino, I prefer to get a drink on my way back from using the restroom. Because the wait to play $3/300 used to be agonizing long, I started coming in when the room opened at 10am. I found it difficult to win against the morning regulars. Now, as with the other rooms, I shoot for the evenings. And ... there are some great slots that I love to play.

After writing these impressions about the three poker rooms, I feel like I haven't said much about them at all. I guess that is because, in my mind, all three are okay, but I am not enamored with any one room. My room choice often tends to be based on which casino is offering the best promotion that day.

When I moved to Arizona in December after retiring in July 2020, I had questions about myself: how I would handle having poker rooms nearby, would poker dominate my life, would I be hauling bags of money back to my house every night ... I adapted to some realities. I now do not play as much poker as I imagined I would. I try to enjoy playing as much as possible when I play. And ... no, I have not been carrying home bags of money. After starting off the year with seven winning sessions in a row, I hit probably the worst poker slide of my life. However, I did survive it. I still love poker, but it now has a certain place in my life. I look forward to seeing what the last months of 2021 will bring. Of course, if I get on an ultimate heater, ... he he!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Remembering My Dad on the Anniversary of His Passing: A Repost of a Repost of a Post from Long Ago

17 years ago today, my family experienced an absolutely horrific event: we watched my father take his last breaths as he quickly passed away after being taken off life support. I can't describe how horrible that was.

Days like today certainly give me pause for reflection. Having some relatives with teenage kids, I am reminded how teenagers are the smartest people on earth and their parents are among the most stupid. However, sometime beginning in kids 20s -- maybe after getting married and/or having their own children -- they begin to realize that maybe their parents were a little smarter than they gave them credit for. More importantly, if they had not done so already, kids begin to realize and understand the many sacrifices their parents made for them. In my mind, this is really a significant landmark in becoming a mature adult.

I have reprinted the following blog post a few times over the years. Today seemed like a good time to do it again. Oh -- and if you are still fortunate enough to have one or more parents, give them a kiss or a hug or, if living in an area distant from them, give them a phone call. Being a parent myself, I realize the value of those actions so much more now.
I had just gotten to work at the 7-Eleven store in the next town. I was working the evening shift, as I recall.

The year was 1980. I had completed my B.A. degree in the spring and was working at 7-Eleven during the summer to save some money for grad school, which I would be starting in the fall. My car, a junky 1973 Pontiac Catalina, had been totaled the previous January when some idiot blew through a stop sign and drove across four lanes of traffic to hit me with a Chevrolet El Camino. Although my Catalina was a tank, so was the El Camino. My Catalina didn't stand a chance. The complete driver's side of the car was dented in. Thank goodness it was a big sturdy car or I might not be here writing this.

I did without a car for five months. However, I needed a car for grad school since part of my first semester responsibilities would include traveling to many elementary, junior high, and high schools in central Illinois to give intelligence tests as part of my training in Clinical Psychology.

The Catalina had come from a Lincoln-Mercury dealership a few towns away. My dad talked with his "buddy" -- Freddie -- a typical used car dealer, to set up the deal. I bought the Catalina for $500, only to see it need a new tranny a few months after completing the sale. I did not want to go back to Freddie to see what other mechanical marvel he would try to unload on me.

My dad and I decided to look at the local AMC dealership in the next town. We saw a car that looked just about right -- an early 1970's Matador. It was white with blue interior and seemed to be in great condition. It was selling for $1000. We examined the car pretty closely and seemed to really like it. But for some reason which I do not recall, I didn't close the deal. Instead, I had my dad drive me to work.

Once at work, I started fretting about the car, thinking that I should have bought it before someone else got it since it was a good deal. I was beating myself up when lo and behold, my dad pulled into the 7-Eleven parking lot with the car. I went outside and he told me that he was worried that someone else might buy it, so he went to the bank to get money, then went to the dealership to buy it. Needless to say, I was surprised as hell but happy to have a car for my grad school years. The car gave me two years of semi-reliable transportation.

I recall this story with tears in my eyes since today marks the fifth anniversary of my dad's death. This story reminds me of all the small things that parents do to help their kids -- things which often are not appreciated until many years later or until people have kids of their own.

Shortly before my dad passed away, he gave me his 1992 Honda Accord, which he could no longer drive, so that I would have a  winter car and could keep my Mustang convertible in the garage during the cold, snowy weather. I recently gave the car to my sister-in-law -- someone who could really use it. However, I did keep one item from my dad's car -- his trusty riding companion, Bongo, one of the Beanie Babies. Bongo now rides with me everywhere in my Mustang. Today, however, Bongo gets a special treat -- he is sitting in my office watching me work, just as I imagine my dad is doing somewhere, looking out for me as only a father could ...
Dad lightning

Bongo in his new car

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

I Can Hear Music ...

I am hoping ... really hoping that the spread of COVID over the next several months will not again result in life being basically put on hold for the next 6-12 months. One thing that I recently missed was not being able to attend any live concerts. So ... I have several concerts planned or available through the next few months. My lineup:

Pump Boys and Dinettes (actually a musical) - Saw it last week. Very entertaining!
Cheap Trick - I've seen these Illinois homeboys several times already.
Herman's Hermits - Been wanting to see Peter Noone for about 50 years!

The Monkees - Only Mike and Mickey left. Possibly a real last tour.
The Eagles - Saw them once before. On the fence on this one.
KISS - Saw KISS once before without makeup. 

John Fogerty - I have always wanted to see John Fogerty. Fingers crossed that this one takes place.

The Rolling Stones (Las Vegas) - Mad for not seeing them in Chicago. Charlie Watts is already out for the concert. He is 80 and the rest aren't far behind, so ...

Other ones in which I have less interest but will consider
The Doobie Brothers - Seen them at least two times before in Las Vegas.
Alan Parsons Live Project - Interesting. If I am bored that night ...
Styx - Seen these Illinois homeboys several times. If only they'd let Dennis DeYoung back on stage for one final tour.
Jackson Browne - Never was a huge of this great artist.
Air Supply - Just to bring back the 80's.
Christopher Cross - Welcome back to 1979!
George Thorogood & the Destroyers - Saw them once or twice before. 

Several years ago, I posted that while in Las Vegas I was deciding whether to see Air Supply or Black Sabbath as they were playing in town the same evening. I thought that my buddy PokahDave was going to have a stroke upon hearing that!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Las Vegas Trip Conclusion -- July 11-15, 2021: Did I Misplay JJ As Badly as Possible?

Since Tuesday night was a late night for me, I had no plans to wake up early on Wednesday, my last full day in Las Vegas. I was guessing that being out late several nights was taking a toll on me. I was just really bushed. I waited until the afternoon to head to Ellis Island. I had seen notice of its prime rib special and decided that would be my meal for the day. It was pretty spectacular. And no ... this was not the "old" steak special. That still exists. This one was $18.99.

I was not able to finish my potato and my green beans, and there was a significant amount of fat to trim, but the prime rib certainly was delicious.

I went back to my room to relax, maybe even sleep. I seemed abnormally tired this trip. After a couple of hours, I decided to play some $1/3 at Bally's while waiting for Tony Bigcharles to wake up. I had decided that I would try out the new Resorts International poker room. I had only played a few orbits when Tony called. I had added $100 to my opening stack when I outflopped Aces, so I decided to just take the small profit and run. I picked up Tony (u see, the hotel location must remain SECRET, of course) and headed to Resorts World. I was quickly seated, and Tony followed shortly thereafter. He did notice that Mrs. Lederer was right behind us playing Omaha.

The play that got my shorts in a knot began when I looked down to see JJ. Although some people hate to play JJ, I don't mind it. I was relatively new to the table and had no idea how any of the other players played. I had about $350 in front of me. About six other players at the had me covered and were more around $600-700. TBC had less than $100. Someone raised to $40 and there was at least one caller - maybe two. I considered monkey shoving, but most people were raising with less pre-flop -- as low as $7 and as high as $25. I decided to call and evaluate after the flop. Tony, short-stacker that he is, surprisingly called the $40. The cards on the flop were all below 10 with two clubs. Everyone checked ahead of me and I pushed out a stack of $100. Tony, who had a lesser amount (maybe $35-50?), called. Everyone else folded. I turned over my pocket Jacks and Tony turned over QcJc. The turn was a blank. And the river? What else: a club! I was pissed. As I looked over at Tony, he started jabbering about the hand (those who have played with him before know what I am talking about). Of course, when you get sucked out on, the last thing you want is to hear the person that did it talking about the hand. I said, "Shut up Tony," but he kept jabbering on. I then very loudly said, "Shut up, Tony," and the people at the table were all looking at me. The guy on my left had played with him before and understood why I was upset. It was bad enough losing the hand, but then I had to hear his suck-out jabbering. I then announced that a ride from me would cost $60, then $80. He left the table shortly after to play Omaha as I muttered "friggin' short-stacking #$@#@#." A short time later he texted me "And I've never seen anyone misplay JJ so awful (sic)."

Now, a few things. I will admit to having what is sometimes referred to as an "Irish temper." It's just part of me. However, in 2021, I have been sucked out on so many times that I just exploded. My odds calculator tells me that I was a 62% favorite over his hand preflop and a 54% favorite after the flop. Later on, I asked Tony why he was even in the hand for $40 when he was short stacked with Q-J sooted. He said that he was getting about 5-1 odds, so he did it despite it leaving him with about $35-50 after the flop. Frankly, I though it was a moronic play for him to be in the hand with a short stack. Mine was around $350 and most other players had me covered.

So ... please comment on the hand. Was Tony right -- that I really played my JJ hand terribly? Buts as a short-stacker, should he even have been in the hand with his hole cards?

Now, what didn't help the situation any was that I was starting to feel bad. Aside from some fatigue, I had begun to suffer from some severe gastro-intestinal issues. You don't want to hear details.

An orbit or two later, I got AA in early position and raised to $15. I got called by several people. The flop was 7-7-K. One guy stayed in the hand with me. I was putting him on K-something. I was wrong. He called with some crap hand of 7-rag. Boom - I was felted and pissed. I left the table to find a restroom and then play some slots.

I hung around for several hours. I did give Tony a ride. We went through a fast food drive through and then I dropped him off at his hotel. I went back to Bally's in some pretty horrible abdominal pain. Let's leave it at that.

Thursday morning I woke up around 8:30. I didn't know if I could make the drive home. It takes about 4 1/2 hours, and there are long stretches with no off-highway services. I considered staying an extra day and just staying in bed, but after sleeping a couple more hours, I felt a little better and decided to just head home.

About halfway between the Hoover Dam and Phoenix is a little stop called Wikieup. I had seen that a restaurant there advertised Chicago-style food -- Dazzo's Desert Oasis Chicago Eatery & RV Park --, so of course, I had to stop in ... wearing a Chicago Blackhawks t-shirt and a Chicago White Sox cap! I ordered a great special: a fully-dressed Chicago hot dog, fries, and a Bud Light.

The Chicago hot dog was spot-on with everything EXACTLY like you would get in a superior Chicago-area hot dog joint. Next time I'll try an Italian beef sandwich.

I ran into some heavy rain in the final two hours back home. Nothing I hadn't seen a million times before in Illinois. Nothing else was notable.

How would I evaluate my trip? Meeting new friends and seeing some old ones was excellent! I was not able to see/meet a few friends I wanted to see/meet, but sometimes that just happens when in Las Vegas.

As for the poker and gambling? I am sorry to say that this trip will not be put in the winning column. I did not play as much poker as I planned, but there are always other trips to be made in the future, plus there are three great poker rooms within a 25-50 minute drive from my house whenever I feel the urge.

A final thanks to Dan Kuester for assisting me with getting my room at Bally's. Also, thanks to both the new and old friends I saw this trip. The poker might not have been great, but the company was awesome!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Las Vegas Trip Report So Far -- July 11-14, 2021

Planet Hollywood  Poker Room Event
This current trip to Las Vegas has been pretty good so far. Of course (u see), almost any trip to Las Vegas should be good. But how did this one start?

I was saddened to hear that the Planet Hollywood poker room would be closing. I had spent many fun nights playing there. As luck would have it, a distribution of the extra rake jackpot money was to be held last Sunday, the first day of my trip. So ... the drive to Las Vegas began with waking up at 4:00am on Sunday, loading up some drinks and beginning the drive from Phoenix to Las Vegas. The best part of the trip is, in my opinion, the area of Arizona just south of the Nevada border. The scenery is absolutely stunning, especially to a guy who lived in Illinois his whole life until last December.

I got to PH early - just in case. As advertised, they began the process at 11:00am. They stated they would not recognize any line that might have formed prior to 11:00. By 11, the poker room was teeming with people. It almost seemed like PH didn't realize there would be such a big crowd. The man giving instructions throughout the process wasn't using an amplification system -- definitely a mistake. We were led up the nearby escalator to the mezzanine level. I'm guessing the elevator couldn't handle the load of people since it shut down, forcing people to walk up it. 

People were standing around wondering what was going on. I saw The Trooper (@TheTrooper97) and had a brief conversation with him. He put out a nice vlog on his experience with this day. Anyway, we were divided into groups. The Caesars Seven Star people were few in number and were to get seats in the poker room. Most of the Diamond and above people got seats -- all except four, who were placed at the top of the wait list. For the remaining Platinum and lower hoi polloi, we were to pick a tournament card from the organizer. If it was blank -- cya. If it had a number, you would be placed on the waiting list. I drew a card with the number 8, so I was actually 12th on the wait list.

The process: Drawings for $10,000 WSOP Main Event seats would be every half hour. To get in a drawing, you needed to win a pot with a straight or higher using at least one hole card. If you ticket was drawn, you won. The ticket hopper was then emptied for the next drawing. You could only win once, so when people won the Main Event seat, they left. I believe only one or two other people left during the event until the very end. With number 12, I was hoping I'd get in before it ended. So ... it was slot city time ... for several hours. Those of us with small wait list numbers hung around and had fun plotting. Could we find some spoiled food and deliver it to players for free? Perhaps some Ex-Lax infused chocolates?

I finally got in a $2/5 game in time for the final two drawings for the final $10,000 and the remaining $4,000. Despite winning a few hands, I never had a hand good enough for a ticket. Such is life. I was able to meet Bill Boudreau (@billvan1971) in person. That and a decent run at slots were the highlight of the PH day.
The now empty Planet Hollywood poker room   R.I.P.

What the long-time poker room area has become

After wasting most of my day at PH, I drove to South Point for some uneventful cash game play. I was pretty tired and headed to Excalibur, where I was staying for one night. I was so zonked that I just took off my clothes, collapsed on the bed and crashed at midnight. 20-hour days used to be easier in my younger years!

Monday Morning Blues
I awoke Monday morning and was in a dazed, tired state. I just stayed in bed, caught up on news, made social media posts, etc. It had rained Sunday night and my car looked like crap with Las Vegas rain drops on my Arizona dust, so I got my car washed and headed for lunch. When the eating area of a local Popeye's was closed, I made a terrible mistake and disregarded what Yelpsters said about a particular restaurant. I foolishly ate lunch at Kirin Buffet on East Flamingo near Maryland Parkway. It was terrible! The restaurant was hot inside. Almost everything was bland except for the sushi. It was probably the second or third worst Chinese buffet I had ever experienced. You don't want to go there - trust me.

I then went to the airport to pick up and meet for the first time Dan Kuester (@ddkuester), whom I'd know on Twitter for some time. After dropping Dan off at his hotel, I checked into Bally's, where I would be staying for three days. Thanks to Dan for getting me hooked up with a great room!

After some relaxation time in my room and a quick dinner, I headed down to the Bally's poker room and said hello to my old friend and Las Vegas lifestyle/poker/garage sale vlogger, poker dealer Ronnie B (@balt99). Ron and I have been friends for many years. I think I have finally forgiven him for felting me at the old Luxor poker room. After all, it has been more than eight years.

I sat down to play and was later joined by another Twitter friend I had never met in person, Jeff Temple (@JT88Keys). What kind of a guy is Jeff? When my youngest daughter had her iPhone stolen at her high school and I was searching for a cheap replacement, Jeff sent me an old one - for free!

I was at a table with some bad mojo when Jeff came and was seated at a new table. I quickly moved there was able able to sit right next to Jeff. Just two Midwest guys who talked like they lived next door to each other! One of our dealers was another friend -- Vinnie, who many people might recognize as Tony Bigcharles's friend "Vince."

I built up my stack form $300 to about $575, taking advantage of a great run of cards and some loose, poor players at the table. One of the guys seemed annoyed that I was winning and had bested him a few times. I was dealt pocket Aces and three bet this guy big. He called. The flop was 4-5-6 rainbow and he muttered something like "I caught some of this." A bet and a couple of raises later we were all in. He flipped over A-7os. Now why this guy called my big pre-flop three bet with this hand? Anyway, as luck (and poker) would have it, he binked a 3 on the turn and won a big pot, doubling up through me. An orbit or so later, I flopped a set of Kings. Another crappy player at the table was relatively short stacked and decided to shove and chase a flush, which he hit on the river. So not only Aces went down, but a set of Kings. I kept my profanity to a minimum, but I surely was not happy looking at my scrawny pile of chips that should have instead been over $1,000. Sometimes poker really sucks.

After Jeff left to eat and go to bed, our table broke and I was moved to another. In my first orbit at the table (the same one I vacated earlier), I twice called guys who went all in and seemed to be on tilt due to losing other hands. Both times I had A-Qos. I won both hands, and just like that, I was back at even for the night. I left a short time later with a minimal loss. It should have been a great session.

Tuesday on my Mind
Tuesday another old acquaintance from online poker days, Chris AKA Mrs. Lederer (@MrsLedr) invited me to have lunch at the South Point buffet. She was being joined by another old poker social media (AVP) friend, David Petina (@dappoker). Dave was able to use his comps to pay for lunch for all three of us. Yes! Dave, Chris and I had a great time talking poker at lunch. 
Blog Hero, David and Chris

Chris then went to enter an Omaha tournament while Dave and I talked about tournament poker. Recently, I had been thinking of giving more tournaments a try. I decided to play in the South Point 6:05pm NL donkament. Later on, Dan Kuester entered late and was seated at my table.

I was down a little early, but hung in and chipped up when the times were right. I think the only time I sucked out was when I won with A-8 vs 8-8(70% favorite). As we were at the bubble (players could not agree on paying the bubble), I made a big raise on the button with A-10. The guy on my left, who had me covered, three bet me, which would put me all in on the bubble. He had only been at the table a relatively short time, but I got the impression that he was a solid player who wouldn't attempt to bluff off most of his stack to abuse the bubble. With his big raise, I started thinking of all the better hands he might have. I decided to fold (I was called out on this type of fold one time many years ago). He showed ... A-J! Good thing I am a wuss or had a great read on him). I could always chip back up.

I kept hanging in. Dan was moved the other table when we got down to 18, and he cashed a short time later. I kept hanging in and chipping up until finally we were at the final table! My final hand was shoving UTG with A-Q. The same guy who had the A-J before made a huge raise, so I was pretty sure I was sunk. He had A-K. With so poker god suckout assistance there, I finished in 7th out of 129 runners. Without a few suckouts guys had at the final table, I would have finished 5th or higher. But no complaints - I had a good run!

I drove Dan back to Encore and was going to head to Resorts World to play poker with  Tony Bigcharles AKA TBC (@sevencard2003), but we were both tired and hungry and decided to eat instead. Of course (u see), we got one of our favorite meals: country friend steak.
A TBC and lightning36 favorite: country fried steak

Blog Hero and the legendary Tony Bigcharles

I gave Tony a ride back to his hotel and headed back to Bally's. I was tempted to  get in a little late night poker, but just went up to my room and crashed instead.

I am here all day today (Wednesday) and have to drive home sometime tomorrow.  I am currently running a gambling deficit this trip and hope that maybe I can break even or head into the positive column before I leave.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Destination: Las Vegas!


As things have gotten a tad boring and mundane at home, what with 100+ degree days every day, dips in the pool and trips to the local casinos just isn't cutting it anymore. Therefore, it's time to take another road trip to that magic place.

Trip details: I am driving up On Sunday, July 11. It appears that I will be staying one night at Excalibur and three at Bally's. This trip should be fun, as I am looking forward to meeting some online friends in person for the first time. On Sunday, it is definite that I will be meeting Dan Kuester (@ddkuester). Since Dan is a huge professional wrestling fan, I might have to keep him in line with a figure four leg lock! I also plan on meeting Jeff Temple (@JT88Keys) and perhaps have him confirm that my singing voice would be good enough to be featured in one of his show choirs. Finally, I hope to connect with and expose (umm ... not the way you're thinking) the dude who runs around on Twitter and Twitch calling himself "Lightning Poker" (@lightnin_). The audacity of this guy! We joke back and forth about who the REAL lightning is. Followers of this blog know the easy answer.

I pretty much gave up playing tournament poker sometime after Black Friday. I occasionally play in online private freerolls and low buy-in games hosted by When in Las Vegas, I have  sometimes played in daily tournaments, most recently Planet Hollywood, South Point and Sam's. I did chop my most recent tournament at Sam's and in fact chopped several years ago at places like Caesars and Sahara. I played in the WSOP before when I won $2000 tournament package, and am tempted in play in something this year -- either a lower buy-in event like the Colossus or maybe the Seniors or Super Seniors. Yep - I am old enough to play in either. However, I get the feeling that I would most appropriately fit in the group know as "dead money." I've got time to think about this. Maybe I need to get a couple more in-person tournaments under my belt to help me decide.

As always, I am open to connecting with old friends or meeting new people while in town. Please post a blog comment, PM me or text me if you want to meet up. I don't really have a firm schedule at this point.

Thanks for reading!