Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas & Off to New Orleans

I hope everyone had and/or is having a wonderful holiday season. I wanted to get a group selfie with the family on Christmas. I have to admit, I kind of like it!

As the end of 2016 began dragging on and on, I had little energy or incentive to write a new post. I am thankful to finally have a few days off work.

Later this morning, my wife and I will be heading to New Orleans for a few days. We were unable to go earlier this summer when my mother passed away. I am looking forward to this, my second visit there. Rest assured that I will get in a session or two (or three) at Harrah's New Orleans. On my previous trip I did quite well. I am looking forward to flinging a few cards.

We almost had a big scare on Sunday when we were notified that our flight to New Orleans was canceled, apparently due to expected heavy fog in Chicago this morning. Fortunately, we were able to re-book the flight and leave instead from St. Louis. It means driving a bit further, but we should only get in about four hours later than originally planned.

I doubt I will make a new blog post while in New Orleans, but I probably will send out a few tweets. You can follow me on twitter at @lightning36.

Time to begin a major poker heater. I can't wait!

Friday, December 09, 2016

"Dad - You're not a Republican!"

It looked like dinner Thursday evening was going to be solo. My wife and my younger daughter both had plans for the evening, leaving me with numerous choices for dinner. I decided to call my older daughter and invite her to dinner. She, being a poor college student, jumped at the chance to get a freebie meal courtesy of her old man. She chose a family restaurant, and off we went.

Just as an interesting point, do you have any guess at what I ordered? Shades of TBC ...
While eating, my daughter and I talked about her upcoming finals, all the papers she still has to write and the usual concerns of  a college student. The talk finally gravitated toward politics, as it usually does. She heard my views, which I present as coming from a moderate Republican, and I heard her views -- the views of a far left liberal majoring in Gender and Women's Studies.

Before I dropped her off at her apartment, and after she heard me whining about how the Republican party has left many of us behind, she said something that surprised me: "Dad -- you're not a Republican." I was pretty surprised to hear this. I have been called a RINO (Republican In Name Only) more than once in my life, almost always by someone on the far right. In fact, I believe that Tony Bigcharles even called me this once! It is the way that the far right aficionados try to shame people who share some of their values but are not nearly as, shall we say, adamant about conservative ideology.

If my daughter is correct, what exactly am I? I did have fun with my liberal co-workers, asking about the "secret hand code" that I thought Democrats had -- making the letter H with fingers from both hands. I clearly am not like the far left, that group that seems to exude arrogance and bitterness more than any other political group. And although I see that I have some libertarian leanings, I would not want to classify myself as a member of that group. Maybe I am a member of the new version of Nixon's "silent majority."

I thought about delving further into politics and political beliefs here,  but I think I will just stop at this time. I had on both CNN and Fox News earlier this evening. I've already had my more than my fill of the division within our country for one day.

Peace out.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Poker Relationships

Yesterday, the annual World Poker Blogger Tour (WPBT) tournament was played in Las Vegas. There were only 23 runners, a far cry from when the weekend could attract so many people that the tournament had in the area of 140 runners.

I wonder if we are are the verge of a new revolution in poker. Vlogs now seem to be the latest venture by a number of poker players. I may be mistaken, but it appears that Trooper97 ("What up? It's The Trooper.") might be the Chris Moneymaker of poker vloging.

Anyway, poker relationships are quite unique. I started this blog over ten years ago -- right when poker was riding the wave of popularity across the globe and certainly in the United States. I, like many others, played online poker virtually every day. And not just for a few minutes. Somehow my wife did not divorce me during this time when it seemed that I lived and breathed poker almost every minute of the day.

At that time, I had a number of poker friends and acquaintances that were part of my daily life. Most had a poker blog, so significant time was spent reading all the blogs each day. Posting was frequent, the gossip flowed, hand histories were posted and analyzed, and good cheer and friendly digs ruled the day.

The highlight of the week happened every Wednesday night when The Mookie, a private tournament for bloggers, took place. It was like having a prom every week. No matter what I was doing, I tried to be home Wednesday nights at 9:00 p.m. Central time for the weekly social gathering. There were also other blogger tournaments, but The Mookie was the king! I never actually met Mookie, a guy from Texas who kept stats, posted the results and even featured the winner in a blog post. And if you won, the next week's tournament featured you or your blog's name!

I have to tell you, many of the poker bloggers were really talented poker players. Winning The Mookie was tough. I actually won it the second time I played it and figured that I would just crush it every week. Ha! I didn't win another for over two years! Check out this picture from ten years ago that I used to advertise "The Mookie - Lightning Strikes:"
There have been many ups and downs since that time. A couple of bloggers turned bad and cheated some of their friends. Many just faded away as poker's popularity faded. The restrictions on online poker that were thrust on many of us via the U.S. government dealt a crushing blow to much of the poker enthusiasm. There were some relationships that were tattered for one reason or another as, after all, we are just people. But, I have to tell you, when problems arose, poker buddies always seem to have your back. The support I got from my poker buddies when my son was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer many years ago was unbelievable.

Toward the end of the poker boom, a newer crowd of poker bloggers started appearing on the scene. Some of those people remain some of my most treasured friends and are actually some of the people who still read this blog. For those friends, I am particularly thankful.

I have met many online poker buddies in person because of the WPBT and subsequent trips to Las Vegas. It is always interesting meeting online friends in person. And the most fun? Being able to actually sling some cards in person with these friends, whether in Las Vegas, Reno, the Wisconsin Dells, St. Charles, MO or any other place that has a poker room ready for action!

As for my future poker schedule, aside from infrequent trips to my closest rooms, East Peoria, IL's Par-A-Dice Casino and Harrah's Joliet, I do plan on playing at these distant casinos over the next two months:

December  17: Ho-Chunk Casino, Wisconsin Dells
December 26-30: Harrah's New Orleans
January 23-27: Las Vegas

And finally, thanks to the people who read this blog. If there are any people from the "old" days, make sure you pop in on the comments occasionally so I know you are still around.

Onward and upward!