Thursday, August 27, 2009

Has That lightning Guy Stepped Up His Game?
The fields may be small, but there is no denying that I have been doing well in tournament action lately. The guy who couldn't seem to seal the deal in BBT4 has actually won several small tournaments in August and had a few near misses. Sometimes tweaking your game a little when it has gone flat can really help.
Since this is the busiest time of the year at work for me, I have been playing only a few private tournaments and an occasional SNG. I don't have the time to get involved in many tournaments with big fields right now.
Tomorrow night -- live poker action as some guys from my softball team get together to donk it up. Yowsa!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What WILL They Think of Next?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Tale of Two Donkeys?

Or is it more like I sometimes describe myself: Half genius, half donkey?

I missed the first 35 minutes or so of the regular CardsChat freeroll and came back to win it. Meanwhile, I went out in the first few minutes of the CardsChat Loyaler freeroll when I failed to believe that someone flopped a straight. Hee haw!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chicago Sports and Poker Updates
Chicago Cubs
Stick a fork in them -- they're done? Geez -- many people think so. Sweet Lou just doesn't seem so sweet to people anymore. The calls for Lou Piniella's head seem to be coming more frequently and louder. GM Jim Hendry should really shoulder most of the blame for moves that didn't work out -- getting rid of Mark DeRosa (and now the Cards have him -- great!), signing Milton Bradley (many people wanted the Cubbies to get Adam Dunn), yadda, yada, yadda. I didn't understand why the Cubs didn't bring Jim Edmonds back.

Anyway, the Cardinals, a first class baseball organization, have been making excellent personnel moves and are pulling games out in the last innings -- similar to the Cubs success from last year. It is hard to see the Cubs overtaking the Cards. Most likely they will be fighting for a wild card playoff spot. And they have some real competition this year. Things don't look good.

Chicago White Sox
The White Sox are a mystery. They are a combination of youngsters and grey beards and are only consistant in their inconsistancy. However, they are not positioned too badly. Although they are only three games over .500, they are only two games behind the Detroit Tigers. They need to win their division as currently four other non-division leading teams are ahead of them for the wild card spot.

The Sox can do it. Will they? I don't know. I hope so. They have the starting pitching to make the playoffs and even surprise some other teams. But ... their bullpen has been terrible lately. They will be interesting to watch.

Chicago Blackhawks
Patrick Kane has not explained what happened the night of his altercation with a Buffalo cabbie. I think most people are assuming that it was a case of alcohol-induced bravado and young guys -- a dangerous mixture. The funny thing is that Kane has this reputation of being a mama's boy and being fragile. No one expected a story like this to break.

The Blackhawks want to win the Stanley Cup so badly next year. Rocky Wirtz really turned the franchise around. They are serious about winning and are making cutthroat personnel decisions to do so. Out with coach Savvy at the beginning of last season. Out with Dale Tallon, pretty much the face of the Hawks for the past several years. But ... they seem to be having one public relations faux pas after another this summer. The Hawks players had better produce right from the start of the new season. If not ... things will get very interesting.

Poker Content?
I got second place in The Mookie last night. I lucked out when my shortie shove with Q-Q was called by BuddyDank, who had K-K. I spiked a Queen on the flop. Yesss. However, I did make a terrible move when heads up against JOELPOKERGOD. The move cost me a chance for me third Mookie title since BBT4. Ah well ...

Monday, August 17, 2009

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 ...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Near Victory in Shark Home Game
I must be doing something right lately as I almost pulled off a victory at the weekly Shark Poker Tour "home game." I was the shorter stack of the final two and pushed with a weak Ace. I was called by my opponent who had something like K-Q. The flop brought some paint and it was over.

My poker tournament success (or lack thereof) seems to come in big streaks. I was on my game in February and did quite well. I started off really hot at the Battle of the Blogger Tournaments 4 in March, final tabling several events with many runners. I won a BBT4 prop bet in April, then fizzled badly. Although I had several good finishes in BBT4, I failed to win an event and was forced to watch the BBT4 final from the rail.

Participation in blogger tournaments has fallen off since BBT4 (burnout and summer are major factors), but I have actually been doing okay, winning a couple of Mookies and at least one Skillz game.

And I attribute this to ... who knows? I have been playing pretty well and have been making less moronic decisions. I also seem to be winning my share of coin flips. But hey -- no complaints from me.

I have not been playing in many other tournaments as this is a busy and stressful time for me at work. My cash game play has been following a usual pattern -- get ahead, then make a bonehead call or get sucked out on. More discipline is really needed here.

I am itching to make some comments regarding Chicago sports, but I'll wait until the weekend to address issues such as Patrick "20 cent" Kane, the Cubs, Kenny Williams, and da Bears. There is never a dull moment in Chicago sports.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Nothing like a game of Razz to get the blood flowing. Brick ... brick ... brick ... then you actually win a hand. Is any poker game more of a crap shoot? Granted, there are some skills involved, but you lose when your A-2-3-4 can't catch a final low card and win when you hit a lucky card on the river.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A day at the St. Louis Zoo ...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

A Little Trip to Memphis

I took Mrs. Lightning to Memphis this past weekend to just get away and also to have a little food excursion weekend. On the way south, there was no way we could not stop in Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, MO, "The Only Home of Throwed Rolls." In case you have never been there, waiters throw rolls to you when you request them. Yep -- they whiz through the air right to you at your table. The waiters also come around to the tables with big pots and serve free helpings of extras like fried okra, black-eyed peas, macaroni & tomatoes, and fried potatoes with onions. The service and food were both excellent!
Once we actually got in Memphis Friday night, we had to spend a little time on Beale Street, which is always Party Central.
And you can't walk down Beale Street without a Big Ass Beer in your hand, can you?

On Saturday morning, we headed to the National Civil Rights Museum. If you have never been there, put it in your future travel plans. The museum was built on the site of the old Lorraine Motel, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

The wreath on the balcony outside room 306 marks the spot where Dr. King was shot.

Walking through the museum, it is hard to believe the injustices that were done in my lifetime. They were done not that long ago, but they seem like they came from another world.

After our morning museum visit, we ate lunch at Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken restaurant. travelors rated Gus's #1 of 888 rated restaurants in Memphis. Well .. we just had to try out the little hole in the wall place that people said produced the best fried chicken in the world. Our verdict: it was good. Although the chicken was spicy, it was spicy-flavorful, not really spicy-hot, so even my wife, who doesn't like heat, could eat it. But ... the best in the world? It did not impress us that much.

After lunch, we journied to the south side of Memphis to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. If you like soul music, brotha, this place is for you. Where else can you see the original wah-wah pedal used in recording the Theme from Shaft or the original organ used to record Booker T & the MG's Green Onions?

For dinner, we hit up a place I had seen on the Food Network, Jim Neely's Interstate Bar-B-Q. Could this popular barbecue joint become my favorite? The verdict: it was pretty good -- good taste, good value, good service. But not good enough to hit my #1 spot.

On Sunday morning, we went to the place that had always been my all-time favorite barbeque joint -- Corky's. We went before the noon rush and were able to get seated immediately. Lunch was courtesy of fellow blogger Memphis MOJO, who was paying off our last-longer bet from the WSOP. The verdict: great barbeque, as always. Fantastic service, good value, and always a great experience. However ... as I expected ... my growing addiction to a local barbeque joint caused me to change my rankings, lowering Corky's to #2 on my all-time list.

After lunch, online poker buddy Memphis MOJO and I paused for a picture outside the deposed champion. Thanks for the great lunch, Dave!
Mrs. Lightning and I left Memphis after lunch to start a long, pleasant drive back home. Amazingly, our kids didn't demolish our house. Heck -- it didn't even look half as messy as I expected when we got home. Back to work tomorrow, unfortunately.
If you have never been to Memphis, you need to check it out. It is a laid back, fun, and interesting city that makes you want to come back. If only there had been time to play a little poker in the casinos just south in Tunica, Mississippi ... he he.