Friday, April 29, 2022

Announcing: A Poker Blogger Meet Up Game in Las Vegas for Current/Former Poker Bloggers and Readers

If you have never been here before, welcome to the lightning36 poker and life blog: Lightning Strikes -- celebrating 16+ years of whining, crying, and bellyaching. 😀

Some things just begin and grow organically. Old Aussie poker buddy Koala Pete informed me that he would be visiting Las Vegas for about a month beginning in late May. I arranged a trip to coincide with Pete's visit. Another old blogger friend, VeryJosie, heard the news and made trip plans along with another old friend, Gary - the Crafty Southpaw. Once we had several people committed to being in Las Vegas, and thinking back to the recent "drunken poker" gathering that I had gone to, I decided to set up a game for poker bloggers, former poker bloggers and readers.

To go back more than a few years ... Shortly after online poker player Chris Moneymaker's WSOP Main Event victory in 2003, poker exploded across the country and, in fact, much of the world. The number of people who blogged about poker exploded as well. It was common for groups of bloggers to form their own social groups and play private online tournaments together. There were live gatherings in Las Vegas and a few other venues in the US and Canada. It was a great time to be playing online poker and blogging!

Black Friday, April 15, 2011, proved to offer substantial damage to poker as the US government went after some major poker sites and related businesses. Poker blogging declined as most online options were closed to United States residents.

As poker started an upswing several years later, blogging was no longer the in thing. Now, poker vloggers gained in numbers and popularity and podcasts were the way to go. Bloggers became like dinosaurs, disappearing off the cyberworld. Unlike dinosaurs, however, there are still a few poker bloggers around.

The idea of the meet up game is to have fun, share old stories, unite old friends, and talk with the people who wrote blogs, commented on them or just read them for enjoyment. So ... a few details ...

Poker Bloggers Game - for current/former poker bloggers, readers and friends

Monday, May 30, 2022 beginning at 6:00pm at the Sahara Las Vegas poker room

Games will be $1/2 NL. We might throw in a few wacky things like bomb pots or collecting a buck or two from other players at the table if you successfully "drop the hammer" (win a hand with 7-2os). The object is to HAVE FUN!

Players who are already scheduled to play (Twitter names) include:








So ... and this is REALLY IMPORTANT ... in order to make things run smoothly, there will be a list for playing that will be maintained by me. If you'd like to get on the list, please leave your name in a comment on this post or PM me on Twitter. It would be nice to fill up a few tables. We are already well on our way a month before the event.

If you have any questions about the meet up game, please leave a comment or PM me.

Thanks for reading! 😁

Monday, April 25, 2022

Famous Sites in Popular Music -- Part Three: Carefree Highway by Gordon Lightfoot

One of the advantages of having a blog for so long is being able to publish a series of posts over time. Despite some good intentions, I have not followed up on my series of Famous Sites in Popular Music for over 11 years. The first two installments:

Famous Sites in Popular Music -- Part One Dan Fogelberg: Same Old Lang Syne

Famous Sites in Popular Music -- Part Two: The Day the Music Died

But today ... FINALLY, Part Three!

Wikipedia states:

The title comes from a section of Arizona State Route 74 in north Phoenix. Said Lightfoot, "I thought it would make a good title for a song. I wrote it down, put it in my suitcase and it stayed there for eight months." The song employs "Carefree Highway" as a metaphor for the state of mind where the singer seeks escape from his ruminations over a long ago failed affair with a woman named Ann. Lightfoot has stated that Ann actually was the name of a woman Lightfoot romanced when he was age 22: "It [was] one of those situations where you meet that one woman who knocks you out and then leaves you standing there and says she's on her way." states:

Carefree Highway, by Gordon Lightfoot, is one of his most famous songs. Lightfoot wrote Carefree Highway in a rental car, inspired by the sign for the Arizona highway. Lightfoot placed the paper with the lyrics in the glove compartment, and almost left it there! Carefree Highway reached #10 on the billboard charts.

Carefree Highway is a part of Arizona State Route 74, but now also extends beyond SR 74 for several more miles. It is close to a town actually named Carefree.

Before I moved to Arizona, I was actually not even aware that the name of the song was Carefree Highway. With Gordon Lightfoot's unique voice, I perceived the title of the song to be "Every Highway." Learn something new every day!

Carefree Highway

Picking up the pieces of my sweet shattered dream
I wonder how the old folks are tonight
Her name was Ann and I'll be damned if I recall her face 
She left me not knowing what to do 

Carefree highway, let me slip away on you 
Carefree highway, you seen better days 
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes 
Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you 

Turning back the pages to the times I love best 
I wonder if she'll ever do the same 
Now the thing that I call living is just being satisfied 
With knowing I got no one left to blame 

Carefree highway, I got to see you my old flame 
Carefree highway, you seen better days 
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes 
Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you 

Searching through the fragments of my dream shattered sleep 
I wonder if the years have closed her mind 
I guess it must be wanderlust or trying to get free 
From the good old faithful feeling we once knew 

Carefree highway, let me slip away on you 
Carefree highway, you seen better days 
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes 
Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you 
Let me slip away on you 
Carefree highway, I got to see you my old flame 
Carefree highway, you seen better days 
The morning after blues from my head down to my shoes 
Carefree highway, let me slip away, slip away on you

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 17, 2022

CONCLUSION TO THE HAND: What Would You Do? An Actual Poker Hand From Talking Stick Resort Last Night. Put Yourself in My Shoes.

And now for the conclusion to the hand. I have already been chastised on Twitter by @Robvegaspoker for yesterday's tease. Perhaps he feels that I owe readers an apology? Well ... I believe that Andy Kaufman can best express how I feel (NSFW).

So ... 😝. Just kidding, Rob. 😁

As I am the creator and author of this blog, that also makes me the de facto "hero" of the blog. Therefore, it seems only right that this post should end up with the hero winning the hand ... and the girl? However, I am reminded of a quote from the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" : "I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight , and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy tale world." Is poker a fairy tale world?

After the flop and after all three of us had gotten our our money in, we did not immediately turn over our cards. In my mind I was whispering "Don't pair the board. No diamonds. Hold!" This is the result of the hand:

It all happened so fast. When the turn was dealt, Seat 2 immediately slammed down his cards and yelled "Quads!" I didn't realize it at the time, but at that point, I should have been rooting for the case Ace to fall on the river, as that would mean the bad beat jackpot would be hit and I would get a table share. However, that salvation was not to come. This was like a bad online poker hand. This stuff never happens in brick and mortar casinos, right?

I certainly can't can't fault either of the other players. Although I had the best hand after the flop, there should have been no way that Seat 5, with a set of Aces, would fold to my all in. Surprisingly, he was the one who actually thought about his shove before doing so. My guess is that he has had his share of run bad and had some fear of losing to a flush. As for Seat 2, when he re-raised with his set of 4's, he was likely convinced that he had the best hand. After I went all in and so did Seat 5, he might have thought that he would be the victim of a set over set, but he was pot committed.

Everyone at the table was shocked as Seat 2 began gathering his huge stacks of chips. He said "I'm still shaking." I am guessing that it took him at least a few minutes to realize that he hit the only card in the deck that could win him the hand -- a true one outer!

Well, sometimes poker sucks. This was one of those times. I had a bad feeling when I shoved as I have been running bad for some time. There was not much I could do at that point but either rebuy or leave. I had been playing for several hours and it was getting late, so I decided to call it a night. I needed to head home and lick my wounds, knowing that once they were sufficiently healed, I would be returning for more poker torture. Such is the nature of the beast.

Thanks for reading. 😀

Welcome back!

As you might recall, I flopped a straight on a very wet board of Ad-3s-4d. With my raise and two re-raises in front of me, what was I going to do? Well, the answer was really pretty easy: it was time to shove! I shoved my remaining stacks (about $430) and crossed my fingers. Seat 5 went into the tank for a bit, so I was guessing something like A-K since he had opened up the betting UTG with $20. However, he decided to call. Seat 2, who had already raised to $200, obviously wasn't going anywhere with $220 already in the pot. Suddenly, everyone at the table got pretty excited as the play had been normal for several hours. There were some interesting hands and some people lost money, but this pot was in the area of $1,700-$1,800, a pretty big pot for regular $2/$3 play at Talking Stick.

What did everyone have? The poker odds chart below shows the hands and the percentages to win:

I was surprised to see that nobody was chasing a flush and shocked to see that both players had flopped sets! I was a 71% favorite to win. Pocket Aces was 23.5% and pocket 4's was 4.5%. There was a 1% chance of a tie. Nobody had any diamonds, so either the board doesn't pair and I win this huge pot, or else the board pairs and the Aces most likely wins. Seat 2 had only one out: the case 4. If the turn and river are a 5 and a deuce, we would hit that 1% and split the pot. Things were now in the hands of the poker gods. They had been pretty cruel to me in 2021 and fickle in 2022. It was time for the dealer to burn and turn and burn and turn ...

To be continued ... 😁

Happy Easter, everyone! If you do not celebrate Easter, than Happy Sunday in April!

Last night, with my wife attending to some church obligations, I decided to head to the Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort for a little poker. Later in the evening, the table's biggest hand of the night came, and yours truly was front and center in the hand. I decided that I would have a little Easter fun and let you tell me how you would have played the hand I was dealt. I'll wait a day or so before revealing what I did, how the rest of the hand played out, and who was happy and who was sad.

The situation: $2/$3 NL at Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, AZ. The Arena Poker Room is just to the side of the casino area that houses slot machines and several gaming tables. The are some bars and restaurants in the area, which are part of a nice vacation place featuring great rooms and a sweet outdoor pool. It is Saturday night and the place, as usual, is hopping on the weekend.

The first villain is in seat 2. I am in seat 4. The second villain is in seat 5. We are eight handed. I have about $500 in my stack and the other players each have about $600. Seat 5 has been at the table for hours. He seems to be a pretty solid player. He is not jumping into every hand and, more often than not, seems to win when he is in a hand. Seat 2 is newer. I've seen him make some good plays, but have also seen him spew a bit. However, he has my respect.

I am the Big Blind.. After the cards are dealt, Seat 5 raises UTG to $20, Common initial raises at the table had been anywhere from $10 to $21. One player calls. Then another. Then another. It looks like it is going to be pretty much a $20 family pot. Surprisingly, the Small Bling is about the only player who hasn't called. I looked down to see 5h2h. With over $100 already in the pot, I decided to call. The flop: Ad, 3s, 4d. I flopped a wheel! What to do ... what to do ...

I decided to throw out two green chips to see who might be chasing a flush. One thing about Talking Stick: almost everyone at $2/$3 NL chases flushes. Surprisingly, Seat 5 raises to $100. A-K maybe, raising against a flush draw? Even more surprisingly, Seat 2 raises to $200! Here I am with a flopped straight with two other players both re-raising. The play now comes back to me and leads to the question I asked in the blog post title: What Would You Do?

So, let's have a little fun. In the blog comments (please don't put your comments in the Twitter tweet since nobody will understand what you are talking about), please analyze the situation as presented and answer some questions:

What did you think of my initial call and subsequent raise after the flop? What would you do?

What did I do with two raises in front of me and me while holding the temporary nuts? What would you do?

What did Seat 5, next to act, do after I acted?

What did Seat 2 do?

What did Seat 5 and Seat 2 have?

How did things turn out?😀

Several questions here, but my experience over the years has been that people like to kibitz hands and see how things turned out. So, as Blue Bloods Chief Frank Regan would say, Have at it!