Friday, March 01, 2024

Yeah - I'm Still Around. Poker Nonsense and Upcoming Las Vegas Trips


It has been almost two months since my most recent blog post. The results with life, as often with poker, have been mixed. Years ago (almost 18 now!) I started this blog to write about poker, so away we go.

My last Las Vegas trip (January 4-8, 2024) started out great, notwithstanding the travel error I mentioned in my last post. Even though I missed out on several hours I had planned to be in Las Vegas, I decided that I would hit up MGM Grand when I got into town late Friday night. I started my trip with a nice profit, got some sleep, then had two successful sessions the next day at Bellagio. I seem to remember spotting Chris Abramski and Flynn & Ollie in the afternoon session, and after a nice dinner with NormInVegas, having a fun session with Norm. One woman whom I abused time and time again (in a poker way, of course!) told me that she did not like me. My response: "I have this habit of making beautiful women angry with me." I mean, seriously -- how could she respond? I had been on a heater for several weeks and then did the dumbest thing in the world: I tweeted about it. I guess I was just asking to get bitch slapped. I got what I was asking for.

I decided that after finishing at Bellagio, I wasn't quite ready to go to bed. I hit up one of my old favorite spots: Horseshoe. I got into a game with a group that had been playing several hours, so I was the odd man out. I was hanging in with a loss of chips until I  thought that I was way ahead in a hand and attempted to bluff a flopped two pair. Yuck. But wait -- that was only the beginning.

I headed back to my sweet, sweet home (Excalibur), ready to sleep and resume my "success" the next day. I decided to play at Wynn. I built up a nice stack at a table of relatively quiet, sour players. I was ready to lock up my winnings and get dinner when I stoopidly stayed for a few more orbits. I then made a monumental mistake in not properly betting a player off his flush draw. I didn't believe that he had it and payed the ultimate price. I was livid with myself and felt like I had embarrassed myself in front of the table with my play. I decided to leave at that point, but I was pretty sure that Mr Runbad Tilt would be following me. Unfortunately, I was correct. I dusted off a buy-in at Caesars when I jammed my dwindling stack all in with my pair of 7s on a board that was 8 high. A player with A-8 called me. Meh. Time to call it a night.

On Sunday, I played in a poker tournament at The Poker Oasis. I was at a table with Norm (thanks for driving, sir), Luke Johnston and @bigfokkerdog. Flynn was at at other table. The game was likely memorable for others, but not for me. Things just didn't go right and my frustration continued. I was harassing Luke for catching cards and playing well  and blasting music in addition to what was being played, and bigfokkerdog got pissed at me and threatened to throw me in the pool outside. As Harry Caray would say while broadcasting Cubbies games, "You can't beat fun at the ol' ballpark" -- or poker table. Thanks to Joseph and Toni for hosting.

After Norm busted, he drove me back to the Strip. I ended the trip torching off money at MGM. Frankly, I was so numb by that point that I don't even remember how I lost money there. It was time to shut down poker for the trip. 

I look back, and I see that I could have played so much better in the sessions where I lost money. Before I retired, I was known in my professional job as someone who NEVER makes mistakes. Therefore, it is difficult for me to accept that I make mistakes in poker. Frankly, sometimes it is quite maddening. I guess this is one of the reasons why so many of us love the game. It can take you to great heights, then suddenly show you that constant success is an illusion.

Meanwhile, back at home, the carnage continued. After starting out with a win at what used to be my "home poker room," Talking Stick Resort, I played sparingly and lost four sessions in a row. Over the course of four weeks, I took some horrendous river beats when I had gotten it all in while ahead. Additionally, I had a dispute with the Stick floor people over a ruling that I thought was exceeding unfair. I've been whining enough here already, so you'll have to ask me in person in Las Vegas why I got my panties in a bunch. The floor was pretty tolerant of my language since I did not direct my F-bombs toward anyone in particular (including those who made the decision against me). I decided to back away from Talking Stick for a time and play at the local place where I didn't win much in previous years, Desert Diamond. Of course, poker is such a quirky game that one night when I went specifically for  Wednesday night's Rise of the Phoenix promotion, I won two promos in one night: $200 for a straight flush, and $1,200 for quad deuces. In fact, I've played seven sessions at Desert Diamond in 2024 and have won at all of them! Go figure.


My brother-in-law, Philip, came to visit us in Arizona for the first time. He had not taken a vacation in many years, so we served up a great trip for him. He got to do the number one thing he wanted to do while here -- visit Alice Cooper's house. My wife threatened him with his life if he rang the doorbell out at the entrance. I took him to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, and we surprised him by taking him to the Eagles and Steeley Dan concert at the Footprint Center. Yep - it was a great trip!

Three days after he left, our youngest daughter, Erin, came to visit. Plenty of mom's home cooking was consumed, and I took my daughter to a special store with mega Japanese products and out for one of our favorites: Banh Mi sandwiches and bubble tea.

Finally, a former co-worker, Dennis, and his husband, Joel, visited us before February ended. We had a great Mediterranean dinner followed by Italian ice and ice cream. Dennis and Joel have visited us each year we have been out in Arizona. It's great to have friends who don't forget you once you have moved away.


Two months after my last blog post and I am still dealing with/helping out Eva. She got on a hospice program, then went off it. She is currently in a local rehabilitation facility, hoping that she can learn to walk again, which would solve many of her problems. I am guessing that her walking days are behind her. She is a stubborn survivor and continues to live despite end stage renal failure and going weeks without dialysis. Who would have ever guessed that my "normal" day would consist of things like talking with the funeral director and visiting a Jewish cemetery?


I will be heading back to Las Vegas March 18-21. Former poker blogger AgSweep will be there that week, so we will likely be hitting up a few of the Strip poker rooms.

Former poker blogger and Aussie Koala Pete will be arriving back in Las Vegas on June 4. I will be heading out to Las Vegas June 9-14. Most likely, Pete will ride back to Arizona with me at the end of the week to visit for a few days, as he did his last trip to the US.

Thanks for reading. I am looking forward to soon beginning year 19 of this blog!


Blogger Tony Bigcharles said...

im finally discovering agsweep will be in vegas soon. and u went to horseshoe on a saturday morning sometime after midnite and didnt mention seeing vince deal?

7:04 AM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Vinnie must not have been dealing that night. I did not see him.

9:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John if you still have one of those Australian Koala coins can you give it to Alaska Girl for me and I will give you a couple of replacement ones when I come over. I haven't seen her for a few years now, but the last time I did she was still dealing and gave me the biggest friendly hug. Such a nice lady.

6:25 PM  

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