Saturday, December 27, 2014

Las Vegas Trip Report Part III: WPBT Results, Poker with Friends and Where's Tony?

Saturday, December 6 was the day of the big World Poker Blogger Tournament (WPBT). I didn't wake up early enough to get a decent breakfast, so a quick trip through the McD's drive thru got me fortifications to make it through the start of the tournament.

At the Aria, I ran into several old friends and acquaintances. I got to catch up with fellow TBC Inner Circle member AgSweep, who I had met and played poker with once before at a previous WPBT. AgSweep has really done a lot to help Tony Bigcharles (as many of us have), and she is a blast to talk to.

My opening table had two tough customers at the opposite end: DrChako and Mondogarage. I was happy to finally get to meet Mondo (David) the previous evening. As for the uber-aggressive DrChako ... he antagonized the table with his ruthless aggression. NumbBono was also at the table, making it even tougher.

I actually felted two people and collected their bounties. A blogger tradition is to have a bounty on yourself that is given to whoever knocks you out. One bounty was a mini bottle of some type of alcohol enclosed in a frame with glass and everything. It bears the inscription of those who won the bounty in the past. The glass doesn't travel well and was cracked, so I'll have to rehab it before the next one. I also busted one player who didn't have a bounty, so she game me the one she won: a Texas Longhorns shot glass and a bottle of Fireball. Not bad!

The tournament went south when I was moved to a new table and was seated next to AgSweep. I was moved in the big blind and AgSweep was directly on my left under the gun. She raised to 5,000. Blinds were around 600/1,200, I believe. We were both sporting stacks that needed a big move. Everyone folded and I looked down to see J-J. I clearly put AgSweep on Big Slick and contemplated shoving. However, I knew she'd call with A-K and I would be in a coin flip for tournament life before I was ready for that. I decided to wuss out and just call. And, of course, there was a King on the flop. I checked, she pushed, I folded. Damn. I at least had a moral victory in correctly placing her on her hand. It didn't make me feel any better.

I eventually pushed when I got a sooted Ace and ran it right into Cowboys. I bubbled the final table, finishing about 10th out of about 40 entrants. Rob ran into some bad luck early on, so we were no threat to win the team competition. I was knocked out for the second time in a row by CJ, nicknamed "the lucksack." CJ went on the win the tournament, as he did when he felted me two years ago. Congrats to AgSweep, who went from short stack ninja to second place.

After I was out, I headed to MGM. I was hoping to grab dinner with AgSweep, but that fizzled when she ran deep. Rob and I decided to eat at TAP Sports Bar at MGM. Rob then told me that cokeboy99 (Nick) had just gotten into town and was on his way. Soon Nick joined us, and as we were chowing down, who else but grrouchie made an appearance and guzzled down a monster sized cold one. Oh -- a special thanks to Rob for using his comps to get us dinner for free. Readers familiar with this blog know that the word "comps" is music to my ears!

After dinner we headed to Rob's home, the MGM poker room. In fact, on this trip we were informed the Rob is actually the king of the MGM poker room, ranking higher than the lowly shift managers we talked to.

As I had mentioned in a previous trip report from last winter, there is nothing like playing poker in Las Vegas at a table with several friends. The four of us were seated together (of course, King Rob was able to engineer that through his poker room connections, and we had a blast. I had a great night and, as I recall, so did Nick. I think grrouchie took it on the chin some, and Rob had a nightmare evening. But even when things don't go right with poker, playing with friends in Las Vegas just can't be beat! I'm not sure if Nick would agree, however, after he suffered some verbal abuse from me after beating me in a hand. Among the more charitable names I called him were things like "dick face" and "penis nose." Never let it be said that I am a good loser and do not carry a grudge!

We even got to see a little of the "slut parade" that Rob frequently writes about -- the long line of attractive women in various degrees of undress and tight clothing who are on the way to or from Hakkasan nightclub. One woman in particular provided some great entertainment as she drunkenly stumbled just outside the poker room.

MGM was filled with cowboys since the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was in town. It was interesting counting the cowboy hats on any one evening. And ... there sure were some cute cowgirls!

After a long night of poker, I headed back to Circus to catch a little sleep. Come Sunday morning I had to check out and move to Bally's.

On Sunday, December 7, I checked into Bally's and headed to Planet Hollywood for one of my Las Vegas pleasures -- eating Mongolian Beef at P. F. Chang's. There is not one in close proximity to my home, so I make sure I get there each time while in Las Vegas. Nick joined me, and afterwards we went to Caesars Palace for the 2014 Great Gift Wrap Up -- a promotion that gave out points for free gifts based on casino play. Being the degenerate I am (and not seeing any inexpensive gift I really wanted), I opted for getting some free slot dollars for Bally's. Can you say Willy Wonka slots?

Caesars was having a huge promotion to celebrate its revamped poker room, but there was no way we could play. By the time we got there, there were already over 100 names on the wait list. We headed to Bally's to play some $1/2 and were eventually joined by Rob, who had negotiated his way to near the top of the Caesars poker room wait list. However, there was virtually no way anyone was leaving the tables during the promotion, and Rob finally got tired of waiting for something that just wasn't going to happen.

Surprisingly, Rob was having a good poker session at Bally's -- MY home room. As for me - meh! Perhaps Rob and I need to switch home poker rooms?

Even though we were having a fun time at Bally's, Tony had been wanting us to play poker with him at Venetian. We knew that AgSweep was heading to Venetian to meet Tony, so we were looking forward to playing with her also. Unfortunately, we found out that AgSweep didn't actually play any poker with Tony at Venetian and was long gone. When we got to the V, we looked and ... no Tony. What? There were several tables with plenty of action, so I looked a second time. No Tony. There was no response to any texts.

We decided to play since we were there. Alysia Chang heard and let us know she was on her way. It looked like it was going to be another fun night at the poker table with friends. We began playing at different tables, and eventually I was seated at the same table as the others. Alysia had position on me and Rob and Nick were further away. I remembered the story of Alysia blowing Rob off a hand (the dreaded pocket Kings?) by being aggressive. Therefore, whenever Alysia was aggressive with me, I didn't believe her story. This was a good strategy!

Eventually word came from Tony -- cryptic, as usual. He was at Wynn because ... he had been 86ed from the V due to some altercation he had with someone at the Palazzo. Big surprise, huh? And of course, he wanted us to come to Wynn. We had already gone out of our way to play at Venetian, so I told him that we were going to stay there to play.

Things were going okay until I got into a big hand with a seemingly decent player. I had Rockets and re-raised his initial raise. He called. The flop seemed uncoordinated and I bet. He called. The turn was a King. I bet and he pushed all in. So, I had to guess at whether he had pocket Kings, A-K, or perhaps another hand like pocket Queens and was looking to scare me off the hand. I uneasily said "I call" and found out that he had pocket Kings and hit his set on the turn. Dang! Goodbye buy in.

I was pretty tired and was pissed off at losing the big hand, so I decided that, despite Tony's requests to talk with him at Wynn, I would just go back to Bally's and get some sleep. Unfortunately, Tony's frustrations were building up, and they would blow in full force in the days ahead.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas ... and Thank You!

lightning family Christmas tree in the
early morning hours of Christmas 2014
Merry Christmas to all my readers and online friends!
At this time of year, I find myself being very thankful for everything I have. I am fortunate to have a wonderful, loving wife and three great kids. I have a job that I love and co-workers who make going to work a joy. My mother is still alive, as well as my brothers and my sister.
I am also very thankful for all the friends I have made and interact with through poker, both online and in person, this blog, twitter and facebook. These modes of communication, along with text messages and phone calls, keep me connected with others who lead similarly busy and full lives.
I am thankful for the friends I have met through social media and have had the opportunity to meet in person. As I will be writing in my next post (the continuing saga of my last Las Vegas trip), playing poker and just bumming around with friends in Las Vegas in the absolute shitz!
Best wishes to everyone as we navigate through this fascinating thing we call life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Blast from the Past -- wtf?

I was totally shocked to go on Facebook yesterday and see a friend request. I am not such an ogre that any friend request would surprise me, but this particular one did.

It was summer many years ago. I was king of the world -- or at least I thought I was. I had been the student government president of my high school, an athlete and the president of the school's business club. I had a decent job at the local drug and liquor store and a college scholarship in my back pocket. The world was unfolding before me, and I welcomed it. I would guess that my good friends at the time would best describe me as "cocky." In fact, one of my two best friends wrote this in my senior high school yearbook: "lightning - I don't know how I managed to hang around you for such a long time without putting a fist in your face. I can't help it that all the sophomores love you. - Friend"

Well, that was the other thing. I guess the senior girls were smart enough not to have anything to do with me, I was carrying a torch or two for some juniors, but then there were the sophomores: young and easily impressed ...

Kathy was one of the sophomores that I took special interest in. We were in one of the high school clubs and participated in some projects like making and selling pizzas. I apparently was a veg in doing that since she wrote about it in my senior yearbook. I also apparently promised her some Stroh's beer. She did express an interest in seeing me that summer, and I certainly took that as an invitation.

I don't quite remember how our dating started, but I remember that we were having some fun. Going over to her house was cool because her mom took a liking to me. Things seemed to be progressing well in the relationship. So well, in fact, that I passed on going on my family's annual vacation. I figured that I wanted to spend the remaining time in summer with my girlfriend and my gang of good high school friends who would soon be scattering to different colleges once the new school year began.

Unfortunately, things unraveled rather suddenly. In retrospect, I believe that in Kathy's mind, things were  ... ummm ... progressing a little too rapidly. Enough said. I went over to her house one day and she basically ignored me as she tended to the green tomatoes in her back yard and watched Family Feud on television. I only remember these things since I wrote a song about that day shortly thereafter. Anyway, when I asked her what was wrong, she said "I just don't have a feeling for you anymore."

And that was it. I was, of course, unhappy that the relationship ended, and ended so abruptly. I was also regretting the decision to pass up the family vacation. But ... what the heck, I would be leaving for college in a few weeks, so I took my lumps in stride, knowing that my world would be changing soon anyway.

I rarely thought about Kathy over the years and was only reminded of her over the last ten years since her brother is buried in the same cemetery as my father. And then, out of nowhere, she sent me a Facebook friend request. Huh?

What has happened since we last saw each other? Barack Obama was elected president. Twice. George "dubya" Bush was elected president. Twice. Bill Clinton was elected president. Twice. George H.W. Bush was elected president. Ronald Regan was elected president. Twice. And even Jimmy Carter was elected president. It was that long ago. Geeeeez.

She seemed to me to be very bright. It's hard to believe that it took her this long to see the error of her ways ...

Oh -- and Nick and Rob: I thought that you would get particular enjoyment out of reading what my friend wrote in the yearbook!

And ... to all my friends, have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Las Vegas Trip Report Part II: Lack of Success, Poker Hijinks and TBC and the Big Stink

Friday started out with a formidable task indeed: eating at the Circus Circus breakfast buffet. Now, many, many years ago, the Circus buffet was really all that. It had this fantastic selection of food and there were long lines at almost every meal. The King of Komps and I had eaten breakfast there several years ago, and it wasn't that bad. However, I did this with full knowledge that it was likely one of the worst buffets in Las Vegas. However, I had a plan: 1) It was a freebie via My Vegas Slots on Facebook; and 2) I had been advised that the best strategy was to get a freshly made omelet.

Some would argue that a free breakfast buffet from Circus is not even worth the cost. Well ... it would be difficult to disagree. The omelet station was excellent. Everything else was pretty bad -- and I am not an especially picky eater. I tried a few samples of different foods, but found out that sticking with omelets and drinks was clearly the best course.

I then went to Bally's to play some cash games. However, there was a waiting list, and it did not look like anyone would be leaving soon. The Bally's 2:00 p.m. $1,000 guarantee NL tournament ($65+5 entry fee, I think) had only six players playing, so how could I refuse? The play was borderline horrible, but the guy to my left was the ultimate card rack. KK, QQ, KK set of 10's, set of 6's ... Of course, I barely got a hand to play. I hung in for awhile, then needed to make a move to avoid a stack with no fold equity. I woke up with A-Q and shoved. Unfortunately, Mr. Card Rack had K-K, called, and sent me to the sidelines. Yech.

The weekend I was in Las Vegas was also the weekend of the annual World Poker Blogger Tournament (WPBT). In its heyday, the weekend would draw over 100 bloggers and friends for a weekend of Pai Gow, drinking, and various other Las Vegas "activities." Now, however, it looked like only about 40 people would be in attendance. Part of the weekend was the annual Friday night mixed games fun, so at 6:00 p.m. I headed over to Planet Hollywood to take part.

When I got to PH, I was able to be seated at a table with several friends and acquaintances of old -- OhCaptain, BWOP (also known as "ck"), Grange95, and Yestbay1. Yes, it was fun, but everyone knows that ck makes sure the Friday night tradition continues so that she can just grab our money!

I was texted by TBC that he was coming to play at PH and would be coming with his chauffeur, (big fat) Vince. However, once again a meeting with Vince did not take place. I think he is a figment of Tony's imagination.

Tony came to the table right after most people left to get dinner. In fact, I was just getting ready to leave to eat and only played a little bit with Tony. However, I thought it best not to start up the strip for poker and end up getting in too late since I had the blogger tourney in the morning, so I grabbed a quick sammich at The Earl of Sandwich and watched the young and beautiful crowd waiting to get into PH's Rock Bar. Ummm ... may I revise that to say "the young crowd?" Let's just say that the crowd entering was not quite the bevy of sexy beauties that Rob talks about when playing poker near a club at MGM. I would say more, but my oldest daughter would probably bop me in the head if I gave a detailed description of the clientele.

I went back to the poker room and watched Tony play a little of the mixed games. When the game broke, we got seated at the same $1/2 NL table. We were seated at opposite ends and therefore mostly communicated via text message.

Mr. Bigcharles, you won't be happy to read this, but as you have heard from several people before -- "STAY OFF YOUR FRIGGIN PHONE!!" I was amazed at how little attention Tony paid to the game unless he was in the hand. I don't know how he could possibly be playing his best poker when he had no idea what was happening 90% of the time.

A guy at my end of the table was being pretty aggressive, and I was looking for just that opportunity to double up on him. He started asking me questions about where I was staying. Once he established that I wasn't some new local, he became more intrusive. Frankly, I shouldn't have even let on that I was from out of town. However, I remembered the words of poker blogging guru Dr. Pauly: When in Las Vegas ... LIE! Pauly delighted in telling all kinds of bullshit stories to people at the poker table. So ... I told the guy that I was independently wealthy, staying at Four Seasons (yes - everyone who knows how "thrifty" I am can chuckle at that) and that Tony was my limo driver. The guy didn't ask any questions after that.

Finally, I got the moment I was waiting for: pocket Queens. I raised and he re-raised to blow me off my hand. I rarely talk during my hand at the table, but I thought I would this time and said "I don't think you have shit" and re-raised. He went all in and I insta-called. He had a funny look on his face and said "I have a pair that is part of the wheel." Just what I was looking for! The flop was 10-high and then he said the magic words: "Now I have a set." Yes, I had him dead to rights Q-Q vs 10-10 and he binked a 10 on the flop. Instead of having a stack around $600ish, I was felted. Friggin game of poker and the damn two-outers!

At that point I decided to call it a night. I told Tony that I was leaving and told him that if he wanted a ride it would have to be then. He asked if I would drop him off at the Venetian, which I said I would do. However, on the ride to the V, the hygiene issue I mentioned in my last post came into play. Without being too graphic, let's just say that Tony's body odor was overwhelming.

Now I have played a decent amount of poker with Tony over the past few years. Despite what I had heard from everyone about how much he stunk, I had only played with him once when his odor was questionable, but probably not worse than some of the other less pleasant smelling guys at your average poker table. This time, however, it was bad -- really bad again. Think Seinfeld bad:

I rolled down the window and Tony put it back up saying "It's cold." I then told him that a guy with money and living in a nice place had no business presenting himself like that and told him to get a shower and brush his teeth. I know that this might all sound mean, but anyone who has interacted with Tony knows that subtle hints do not work. Bluntness does not always work, but at least it has a chance of success. But as you will read in upcoming posts, things with Tony will get even worse ...

I dropped Tony off at the V and headed back to my room. I was looking forward to getting enough sleep so that I would be sharp for the blogger tourney the next morning. Adding to the self-imposed pressure was that I asked Rob to be my partner in the last longer competition. I have played few tournaments in the past few years, preferring instead to play cash games. Rob is a very solid tournament player, and I certainly did not want to mess things up by going out early. Not to mention that he would blab about it in his blog, outing my lack of tournament chops if readers could ever make it to the end of one of his lengthy posts.  : o )

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Las Vegas Trip Report Part I: Circus Circus, Tony Bigcharles and the Search for Deep Fried Oreos

I guess it is about time that I post about my recent Las Vegas trip. After all, old, feeble minds like mine can barely recall anything anyway. Ummm ... this is my blog, right?

I decided to take a trip longer than I usually take. This particular trip would be for six nights, keeping me away from home for almost an entire week. And of course, the most difficult part of a trip is getting everything at work in line so that I could go with no worries.

With that accomplished, I did my usual wait until the last minute to pack routine. I don't know why I wait, but it works.

I woke up early in the morning on Thursday, December 4 and was finishing up my packing when I got my first trip-related text -- from Tony Bigcharles, wanting to know when I would be getting in. And so it began.

Instead of my usual routine of driving to Chicago Midway airport and taking Southwest Airlines, I instead flew from my town to Chicago and then on to Las Vegas on American Airlines. It sure was nice being dropped off at the airport a few miles from home rather than having to drive about 150 miles just to catch a flight. I had just enough time to catch my connection in Chicago, so my morning meal consisted of a Snickers bar and a Coke. Breakfast of champions.

When I arrived in Las Vegas, I picked up my rental car from E-Z Rent-A-Car. I have rented from E-Z many times. They keep getting better as there was no line and I had my keys in about five minutes. I highly recommend this agency.

I headed to The Orleans to eat at the lunch buffet there and was able to use comps to pay. I didn't even charge myself have the cost!

After lunch, I checked into ... hang on to your hats ... Circus Circus! This was a throwback to earlier Las Vegas trips when my brother, the King of Komps, and I would stay in crap holes like the Circus Circus Manor, Westward Ho, ... With the rodeo in town and because I didn't make room reservations early, I actually thought that Circus was my best option for the beginning of this trip. I knew that I should get a room in the West Tower since they were refurbished. Additionally, the elevator for the West Tower is right inside the hotel lobby, meaning I could just basically go to my room and avoid most of Circus.

The room itself was actually pretty nice -- as long as an orange motif is fine with you.
I then headed to my usual poker home, Bally's, to play some $1/2 NL. I even was dealt some hands by balt999. Surprisingly, he didn't oversee my typical decrease in stack that seems to happen whenever he is around. Just a joke, buddy!

I saw that TheGameCat was at a different table, but I chose to just observe for awhile. I did put out a tweet that I was observing him in stealth mode, but he was not able to locate me until we finally met while heading to the restroom.

The session was not particularly productive (my way of saying that I lost some money), and I eventually picked up TBC at Wynn and drove us to Fremont Street where Tony needed to pick up some promo. Tony did treat me to dinner at the El Cortez café, and then headed off to play one of dem good machines.

Meanwhile, I heard the siren's call from angerisagift and headed toward Mermaids in search of nirvana.
Unfortunately the time was about 2:00 a.m. and Mermaids was already closed. Heresy!

As I was now up for 24 hours (not counting cat naps on the plane), I decided to call it a night. I went back to El Cortez to grab Tony to drive him back to the super secret hidden location where he was living. It is on ... oops, still can't tell you! I know he wasn't too happy with me when I admonished him for his lack of hygiene. This will become more of an issue in the next installments of my trip report.

So ... it was back to Circus Circus to get to sleep. How nice it was at that late hour with almost no kids around.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Con Alt Delete Coming This Weekend

Eren Jaeger from Attack on Titan
Anime fans of the Midwest, it is time to unite! The 2014 Con Alt Delete convention will be held this coming weekend, December 19-21, at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, IL. The convention is brought to you by, the same group that sponsors Anime Midwest and other anime conventions in Illinois and Minnesota. This will be the last opportunity in 2014 to dig out that cosplay outfit and strut your stuff!
Although the early registration period is almost over, tickets can still be purchased online. Registration at the door (cash only) will cost $40 for the weekend.
Events at Con Alt Delete will include gaming rooms and tournaments, fan panels of favorite anime topics, the Maid Café, an artists and dealers room, and of course, ConSweet, which features free Ramen noodles and Mountain Dew.

A schedule of events for the weekend can be downloaded at

See you there!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Repost: Living in the World of TBC: A Short Response to Tony Bigcharles

I have received several requests to put back up the post I wrote last night that responded to Tony's most recent epistle. I actually took it down right after I posted it for several reasons. It was not going to satisfy the blood lust of the anti-Tony crowd and, upon review, seemed to me to be even more boring than my usual posts. Ha!

However, I did want people to get a feel for how demanding Tony can be and why he wears out some people -- me included. I have included part of an e mail that I wrote Tony shortly before I left because I had a pretty good idea of how things would eventually come down.

I also understand why Tony sometimes feels the way he does. So yes, if he says that I can sometimes be insensitive to other people's feelings, I will not disagree. The part Tony doesn't get is the way he wears on people and wears them down. I have met many people because of Tony (Koala, PPP, s i, Alysia Chang,  Nick, CoolDave, etc), and the thing most have in common is that they are great people who have tried to help Tony but have found that helping him exacts a price.

People who follow Tony also know that the ways Tony perceives the world and posts about it are, shall we say, unique. Little wonder that the most recent version of his blog has almost 1.5 million views.

So, here goes. If you received the impression that I did not spend any time with Tony while in Las Vegas or constantly blew him off, you would be wrong.

Have a great day!

In the near future I will be posting a series of blog posts about my recent trip to Las Vegas. However, since Tony has chosen to make an issue of several things, I present to you this quickie lesson in understanding the wonderful world of Tony Bigcharles.

1) About five days before going to Las Vegas, I sent Tony an email that contained the following:

Hi Tony:
I just wanted to make sure you heard this up front to minimize any confusion. I will have lots of friends in town this trip and already have some things planned. For example, I will be playing in the annual blogger tournament Saturday morning/afternoon, will be going to a bar/restaurant with Rob, Alysia, Michelle, Kristi, Nick and maybe others Monday night, and will need to get in at least ten hours of cash game play at Bally's from Thursday at 5pm until noon on Sunday to qualify for Sunday's freeroll. There are a few other blogger gatherings going on that I might or might not attend and other people I might be seeing. I am deciding on going to a concert, too.
So, I am just warning you ahead of time --  you might not plan out things in your life, but I do. I am going to be in Las Vegas for six nights and have lots of things I plan to do. We will have some time to play poker and to talk, but just don't be expecting that I will be dropping everything to be taking you around from poker room to poker room, especially since you don't play in the rooms in which I plan to spend time, like Bally's and Luxor.
2) I was waking up, getting dressed and doing final packing before my 6:30 a.m. flight to Chicago departed when a text message from Tony arrived, asking me when I will get into Las Vegas. And so it began..

2) I got into Las Vegas early Thursday afternoon. That evening, I picked up Tony at Wynn and took him downtown so that he could get to a slot club by midnight to get a promotion. Ate at El Cortez (via Tony's comps) and hung around while he played Dealer's Angel. Eventually drove him back to his apartment to end the night.

3) Friday night - Tony played mixed games at my table at Planet Hollywood. I left for a bit, then stayed to play $1/2 NL with him for several hours. Finally left and dropped Tony off at Venetian.

4) Sunday night -- Was playing poker at Bally's with Rob and Nick. Left to go to Venetian solely to play poker with Tony. Alysia Chang met us there. No Tony there as he had been 86ed. Of course, he wanted us to then leave to go to Wynn. We just got to the V so we declined. I got tired, took a nasty beat and just decided to go back to the hotel to sleep immediately.

5) Monday night -- outing at 6:00 p.m. arranged by Alysia Chang. Tony didn't wake up and text me until almost 6:30. He wanted me to leave to pick him up. I declined for several reasons. Later that night he claimed I was selfish because I was playing at MGM, one of the 1001 places he can't play due to his behavior.

6) Tuesday -- Tony woke up just before 5:30 p.m. and was told that Nick and I just started playing poker at Mandalay Bay. We were obviously not just going to pick up and leave since the King now commanded us. I was told that I am not reliable, I am a hypocrite, I don't keep promises, on and on. I told him that I was sick of his shit and would not come now. I was told I never intended to, I don't know how to treat someone as a friend, etc.

Of course, when Tony feels sorry for himself, he then spews crap about how people play at certain poker room just to exclude him. Well, now there are virtually no poker rooms in Las Vegas where he can play anymore. And frankly, I have little desire to play in those few places.

There are many more details to these stories that I will include in future posts, but I wanted you to get the flavor of the TBC Experience. I actually had an excellent vacation, which I rated a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 scale. Thanks to Nick, Rob, AC, Poker Prudence and a few other friends and characters who made for a great trip!

Note: Check out the excellent post by Pete P. Peters.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

On Leaving Walden

I wrote this post three months ago but never published it, leaving it in draft form on my blog. After returning from a great trip to Las Vegas -- a trip that had only one real negative to it --  I believe that the time to publish is now.

I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one. It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity! I did not wish to take a cabin passage, but rather to go before the mast and on the deck of the world, for there I could best see the moonlight amid the mountains. I do not wish to go below now.           Henry David Thoreau

Several things have struck me recently, especially regarding friends. In my most recent post, I wrote of my friend Carol, a former co-worker who I have know for over half my life. Spending time with Carol is always fun, as we have many memories of fun times in our early adult years.

My life outside of work and regular home duties and activities is enriched by the many friends that I have met via poker and/or the internet. I communicate with some via text messages, blog posts and comments, e mails and tweets. Sometimes the routine consists of sharing and celebrating friends' successes and commiserating with them and their struggles. Sometimes it is just fun giving and taking little jabs about favorite sports teams and the like. In almost all instances, there is a positive vibe running through these communications. These are the little things that are the spice of life.

People who know me well see me as a positive person. I do not like to dwell on the negative and like to engage in productive activities. Sometimes, though, like many people, I get stuck in ruts -- the beaten track that Thoreau speaks about in Walden. And like Thoreau, it is time for me to leave the woods.

Please consider this to be my resignation as assumed chair of the Inner Circle. It is time for another to ascend to this lofty position. Godspeed to my successor.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Polk Salad Annie

I might be eating Steak 'n Shake tonight, but my friends down south just might be eating some polk salad.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Back Home and at Work - Ugh

I got home from Las Vegas last night at about 10:00. Although it is always nice to return home, I sure wish that I'd had at least ONE more night in Sin City.

After catching up on several hundred e mails at work, I crawled to my lunch hour. I do believe that I will be able to make it through the afternoon. Then tomorrow -- only a half day as my department is having a holiday celebration in the afternoon.

In the very near future I will put up several posts regarding my Las Vegas trip. I will try to keep them under 100 paragraphs each so that Rob does not feel that I am taking on his role in blogging. I have rated this trip a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. It was pretty fantabulous!

So ... you will hear about Rob, Nick, grrouchie, Alysia Chang, Tony Bigcharles, the PPP Stalker, Ohio TBC Junkie, Mr. Subliminal, AgSweep, Poker Prudence, WPBT (World Poker Blogger Tournament), cowboys playing poker, the "King" of the MGM poker room, In-N-Out Burger, deep fried Oreos, Cards Against Humanity, the value of Q-10, ...

Lunch hour is over - back to work! Posts to follow in the coming days.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Leaving for Las Vegas ...

... in the early morning on Thursday. I didn't get a pass on work earlier today as I was in meetings all day and was busy right until the end of the day.

As always, I wait until the last minute to pack. O.J. Simpson once mentioned "that little thing I do" -- referring to his frantic last-minute packing before a trip, not killing people, as I recall. Well I still have to do that little thing!

I am taking my old laptop computer with me to Las Vegas, so if the friggin resort fees I have to pay on four of my six nights get me decent wifi, I will be posting from the trip.

With the annual WPBT (World Poker Blogger Tournament) going on and with plans to meet up with some old and new friends, this should be one heck of a fun trip.

So ... the next post will be from Las Vegas. Catch ya then!