Friday, August 25, 2017

Outer Space

Good morning everyone.  This is the tail end of my last day off from work before the football season begins, so I'm psyched to say the least.  My friend Joey, my brother Pete, and myself will once again be sharing our favorite weekly football bets in cyberspace on my blog Coach's Parlay Card.  This promises to be a big weekend in Las Vegas as the McGregor/Mayweather fight takes place here Saturday night.  The onset of fall will be bringing cooler temperatures in addition to the kickoff of football, and this pleases me to no end.  The older I get, the less thrilled I've become with triple-digit temperatures.  The forecast high of 108 degrees on Monday will probably be the hottest day that Las Vegas see for the rest of 2017.  The combo of the fight/football/cooler temperatures should also bring some more poker players back to town.  After the World Series of Poker ends each summer, the poker scene in the desert is a bit more quiet before football returns.  Last night after my "Friday" shift ended at work, I felt the urge to play (I hadn't played poker for about a month), and I was pleased to find that the Flamingo had several tables going.  There was enough action going on that I was able to get my feet wet again for five hours at a 2-4 limit table, and after being down somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 bucks at my lowest, I flopped a set of 6's in a multi-way pot (like 8 players saw the flop, with a preflop raise), and even after I raised to 8 on the turn, I still had two players around to call my river bet, and I scooped a pretty nice pot.  Long story short, I won 33 bucks for my five hours of blood, sweat, and tears, in addition for the 5 comp dollars of course.  Anyway, after my month-long poker hiatus (which afforded me more time to study for the upcoming football season), I should be making numerous appearances in local poker rooms in the near future.

Outer space.  Since we recently got to experience an eclipse firsthand (except for a nameless person that was taking a nap in cloudy Las Vegas during the festivities), I'll share some photos with you that my friends on Facebook shared with me.  Hang onto your hats though, because these photos are not the reason for the title of this blog entry.  My friends Michelle, Kristi, Sydney, Courtney, and Wes were busy sharing these photos from across the U.S.A. a few days ago...

Now I won't go to the trouble of buying special glasses (or even staying awake for the eclipse for that matter), but I'm more than happy to steal some pictures from my friends...  Thanks y'all, great work!  ;)

Outer space...  So my friend Kimberly traveled to Area 51 recently to compete in a run (I believe it was a 10K, but I won't promise you that). Anyway, Kimberly is posting Facebook statuses about the big event, and in the comments section to a status, Kimberly says (I'm paraphrasing) that the course runs along the perimeter of Area 51.  Something instantly clicks in my head, and I think that I'm about to win the internet for that day.  I immediately reply to Kimberly's comment:  "So you're saying that the course is in the outer space of Area 51?"  Think about it, think about it, think.......  BRILLIANT, right?  The "outer space" of Area 51?  Aliens..., OUTER SPACE..  I think that I'm going to get this HUGE 'LOL,' and win some award from Facebook for being clever (probably presented by Mark Zuckerberg himself).  I brace myself for Kimberly's sheer delight and gratitude, and the powerful response that I receive...  "Yes."  ***Crickets***  I was so crushed that I was telling the story at work, and now I'm sharing it here with you...  :)

On a more serious note, I'm hoping for the best for all of my friends in Texas as Hurricane Harvey makes its way toward the Lone Star State.  On a lighter note, you have to love that someone in Corpus Christi was thinking of Selena (and the statue dedicated to her) when news of the imminent storm came.  Thanks to my friend Valerie for sharing this gem...

Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fishing For Clouds

Good morning everyone.  Well it's been a little while since I've posted, and I just have excuses for you, and not good reasons, so let's get started...  :)  Although it's August in Las Vegas, the temperatures are finally starting to cool a little.  Okay, let me take back the word "cool."  We still have triple digits here, but earlier in the summer, the highs were around 115, and we don't have 110 degrees in the ten-day forecast...  :)  Today's forecast high is 96 degrees, and 106 is the highest expected temperature over the next ten days.  Tonight's low is supposed to dip down to 80, which is also the expected low ten days from now.  I think that you get my drift by now - it was warmer in the desert earlier this summer.  Thanks to Facebook, I recently realized that I've had the same mindset at this time of year for at least the better part of a decade.  I've lived in hot climates, and I've been counting down the minutes until the start of football season and the accompanying cooler weather.  Yesterday when I was "supposed" to be writing this blog entry, I was ordering some football jerseys from various online retailers because I'm allowed to wear them at work during football season.  My one-year anniversary at work is three weeks from tomorrow, which falls on the date of the Mayweather/McGregor fight, and the first four college football games of the year.  Seems fitting...

My poker didn't go as well as I would have liked this summer, but when things weren't going well, I showed discipline by reducing my number of sessions and saving my bankroll for the impending football season.  As far as gambling is concerned, I wager far more on sports during football season than I do the rest of the year combined, EASILY...  I haven't played much poker since the World Series ended, and have instead focused my time on studying for the upcoming football season.  If you've heard the rumor that I was released an hour early from work one day last week, and proceeded to head to a sportsbook and make my first bets of the football season (in addition to putting more money into my online betting account), there's only about 100% truth to that story...

My brother and I had a pleasant surprise last week as a family member visited us here in the desert without any advanced warning.  Our stepmom Brenda came to Las Vegas with her friends and surprised me at work, and I was able to keep the secret that she was in town until she saw my brother at work a few days later.  Talking with Brenda, I found out who one of my mystery blog readers is, as my blog stats tell me that I get several visitors from Facebook, but the amount of 'likes' that I get on my Facebook blog "ads" never seem to match the traffic that I receive from the social media site.  We all had a good visit, as Brenda treated Pete's family and myself to Johnny Rockets, which is a place that I had never dined at before.  How many times in the history of history has someone gone wrong with a cheeseburger and french fries?  :)

Although the calendar says that we're only halfway through with summer, the start of the NFL preseason, coupled with the lower temperatures here in the Valley, have me reminiscing back to my youth, when I spent the waning summer days dreaming about the future, and "fishing for clouds," if you will.  My friend Vicki has a great photographic eye, and her daughter is already living a life that most people can only dream about (that's a whole other blog entry in itself), so I thought that I'd leave you with a little photo of a young girl fishing for clouds...

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Good morning everyone.  I'm in the midst of having three days off, so there's no excuse not to write a little for you.  I won't tell you that was also the case last week, when I basically slept for three straight days...  The last time that we were together, I was getting ready to go to the 2017 World Series of Poker.  As you might suspect, I overindulged, and on very little sleep, I spent twelve hours at the Rio, before working the next five days in a row.  I've pretty much been tired all month.  Oh, did I mention that I go play poker most every night after work also?  

The 2017 WSOP...  I had planned on eating with my friends at the Rio's breakfast buffet, and only upon arriving did we learn that they're currently not open for breakfast during the weekdays.  We settled for a hearty breakfast at Hash House A Go Go.  I asked one of the employees to take a photo of us for the memoirs...   

The Riviera didn't know how lucky they were to have this group dealing poker for them back in the day.  Pictured from left to right are myself, Joey, and Brian.  After dining and our media photo op, we staked out the setup for this year's WSOP before the Casino Employee Event began at 11:00 a.m.  I may have told you previously that I played the event in 2006, and for $500.00, I had the thrill of watching my aces go up against queens and sixes, with a queen hitting on the river.  For $500.00 less, I decided to rail the festivities three weeks back, with Brian and several of my other friends from around town participating in this year's first bracelet event.  Brian himself ran into a number of tough beats, and decided to play in the $235.00 daily tourney after busting the Employee Event.  As I said, I hit the wall at 7:00 p.m. after twelve hours of fun, but Brian persevered and ended up cashing in the $235.00...  While Brian and I were chatting during a break in the Employee Event, a mutual friend of ours spotted us and we chatted briefly.  As it turns out, Chris was also playing in the Employee Event.  My immediate plan was to sweat both of them on the rail, but when I ventured from the daily back to the employee tourney, it was practically impossible to see the action at Chris's table, so I returned to the daily.  A few days later, when I saw a couple of Chris's friends, I asked how he did in the event.  As one of them responded that he did okay, the other held up two fingers.  Immediately, I excitedly queried, "HE FINISHED SECOND?!"  This is how you look when you run deep in a poker tournament...   

Congratulations on your great finish Chris!

115.  Yeah...  That's been the average high temperature here lately in Las Vegas.  Today is actually the first day of summer, and it also happens to be the one-year anniversary of my residence in my current apartment.  I joke with others that I live on the edge of the hood, but no one has tried to mess with my place in the last year, and it's within walking distance of the Strip, so I may stay here a little bit longer.

5:00...  At 5:00 p.m. Vegas time today (8:00 Eastern/7:00 Central), the 2017 NHL Awards Show/Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft will be taking place at the nearby T-Mobile Arena and will be televised on the NBC Sports Network.  This coming fall, the desert will be fielding (icing?) an NHL team for the first time, and tonight they get to pluck a player from each of the other 30 NHL franchises.  Being a sports junkie, I find drafts inherently interesting anyway.  Knowing how difficult it is for an athlete to make it to the top level of his/her sport (and for an organization to forecast which athletes which achieve that level of success), it's intriguing to watch as players that franchises were unable to protect are named to the roster of a brand new team joining their league.

In other news, things are still going very well for me here in the desert.  I love my job, I get to play poker whenever I choose (outside of work hours), and believe it or not, the football season is actually creeping closer.  I'm doing my best to use poker and fantasy baseball as a bridge to get me to football season...  :)    The one drawback to my cable carrier is that I don't have the NFL Network.  Anyway, the last week of August will give us a light smattering of NCAA games, then widespread footballs break out in September...

Alright.  We're within a half-hour of the NHL shenanigans, and I plan on writing a little in my other blogs too.  Have a great week, and I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poker Season

Good morning everyone.  I had lofty ambitions regarding writing yesterday (making an entry in all four of my blogs), but I did finish my chores and catch up on some sleep, and since I'm still up when I shouldn't be, I thought I'd give you a post here.  I should be sleeping because the 2017 World Series of Poker begins in the morning (for me anyway).  Following an early buffet breakfast at the Rio with my friends Joey and Brian, I'll be watching this year's first bracelet event, the Casino Employee's Event.  I played this event back in 2006, only to watch my pocket aces get cracked by queens when a sinister lady arrived on the river.  Later this morning, I'll be watching Brian and hundreds of other players chase a coveted bracelet while I get my first look at this year's WSOP setup.  As I've said before, I can enjoy watching the action and learning as much as playing myself, and I'm sure that there will be a few (hundred) cash game tables available should I get the itch.  The best part of this time period that the WSOP is running (now through mid-July) is that there will be more games (cash and tournaments) all over town.  I like to refer to this time of the year in Las Vegas as 'Poker Season.'  #pokerseason  Here's a recent photo from the Flamingo, as the poker players started returning to the desert over Memorial Day Weekend...

Even if I don't play a single hand at the Rio this summer, I'll be playing poker after my most of my shifts at work, and I'll have a multitude of games to choose from.  My current plan is to watch and play as much poker as possible in the next 1 1/2 months, and then to use the following month and a half to get ready for betting the upcoming football season.  If you're ever looking for me this summer, I'll be the one wearing the Texas State gear.  Wearing my Bobcat gear at the poker tables over the last few months has already initiated several conversations.

Football...  I contacted Joey and my brother Pete today, and they confirmed that they'll be joining me once again in making weekly football predictions this fall at my 'Coach's Parlay Card' blog.  My smart-ass brother asked me if I needed his Week 1 picks soon...  :)  Pete predicted the exact score of the Super Bowl correctly, so I guess I'll let it slide...  Anyway, in case you're not already aware, I enjoy predicting the outcomes of football games and wagering a little money on them, so I'm looking forward to the games kicking off late this summer.

I'm going to stop for now since I'll be waking up in just over four hours, but I'll have plenty of words for you throughout the summer.  Thanks again to all of you who are regular visitors here.  This blog just surpassed 115,000 total pageviews (quite a trick when you almost never write)...  ;)  Have a great week and I'll see you soon!


Thursday, May 18, 2017

They're Back...

Good morning everyone.  There have been several times in the past where I've said that I intend to write more often (in this blog, and in the others listed at the top of this page), so I'm not going to go into some big diatribe, but hopefully I'll begin to churn out more words for y'all to read in the near future.  This is my second blog entry here in the past three days, if you can believe that (no one believes it)...

Poker.  Depending on the minute/hour/day/week/month, my grand/ideal/dream plan for making my fortune shifts between playing poker, betting sports, working forever, or some combination of any two and/or all three of those.  NOTE:  One of the best things about owning your own blog is that an English teacher can't make you (me) rewrite that previous sentence.  Anyway, I hadn't played poker for a little more than a month because I had run into some cold cards, and before April 18th I wasn't sure how much I was going to owe in federal taxes.  I tend to wait until the last minute to file based on the number of times that I've had to pay Uncle Sam in the past.  It's not that I've had to pay a lot, but why pay early is my motto.  Well, as it turns out, I actually received a small refund instead of having to pay, and there are only two weeks until the World Series of Poker hits town.  For those of you who haven't been to Las Vegas during the WSOP, there are poker players all over town during those seven weeks.  Tonight I decided to stop by the Flamingo after work to see what was happening, and I saw many unfamiliar faces, which is good.  The poker players from around our great nation and the rest of the world are starting to trickle back into town, which means that Las Vegas locals don't have to settle for playing against mostly other Vegas locals.  I put my name on both the 2-4 limit list and the 1/2 no-limit list.  Each list had about 6-7 players on it, and the ideal scenario came to fruition - I was seated in a brand new game, 1/2 no-limit.  If given the opportunity, I almost always prefer sitting in a game that is just starting as opposed to joining one that has been going, unless I've spotted particular players that I want to square off against.  Well, long story very short, I sat for one hour and made 97 dollars.  WHEEEEEE...  I've stolen Antonio Esfandiari's "WHEEEEEEEE.." several times now, and should really settle on just one spelling.  Anyway, I limp/re-raised with pocket kings, got two callers, and doubled my stack through one of them (plus picking up the dead money) when I flopped a set of kings.  Go work your shift, and then make another 97 bucks in one hour - not a bad way to fly.  Anyway, I had a player sitting to my left wearing shades and doing "chip tricks."  During the course of an hour, he lost a chip on the floor, and couldn't see me check when we were in a hand together, so the "cool kids" are indeed back in town...  :)

I'm going to stop right here and continue some more notes for what I hope will be NUMEROUS posts in the near (and far) future.  Thanks to all of you who continue to stop by and read my ramblings, especially when I take the big breaks between making posts.  I have some great friends and a loyal following that deserves to see my drivel on a more consistent basis.  :)  Have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hoops, Chips, & Broken Ice

Good morning everyone.  Well, it's 3:30 in the morning, and I've got nothing better to do...  ;)  I've found a B movie on cable (more like a D - film), and I figured that I'm once again overdue for a blog post.  Let's start with hoops, since that's what the title says.  If you know me at all, I'm a little bit of a sports guy and a Spurs fan.  Have you heard of the Spurs?  My team has only won five championships since 1999, but never gets any credit or respect.  The Warriors finished with the best record in the league this season, and the Spurs finished six games behind them.  The Rockets finished six games behind the Spurs with 55 wins.  After the Rockets, the Celtics had 53 wins, and a group of four teams (Clippers, Jazz, Raptors, and Cavaliers) finished with 51 wins each.  If you watch mainstream media, you would NEVER guess the Cavaliers were here in the pecking order.  We're not even going to talk about how the Cavaliers play the weaker Eastern Conference schedule...  Anyway, the Spurs find themselves in the Western Conference Finals once again.  Ho, hum...  One of my friends and former student-athletes stepped up for us Spurs fans in Game 1 of the series versus the Rockets, as some of her friends and family were among those who absorbed the blow of Houston's best punch of the series, before the Spurs rebounded to STUN the Rockets without Kawhi Leonard or Tony Parker, ending the series in Houston.

Did I mention that Bianca and her crew were recognized on the court, appeared on the Jumbotron, or that she went to a Tom Petty concert the next day?  Punk...  :)

Chips...  As May passes by here in the desert, the World Series of Poker is rapidly approaching.  I'm looking forward to the WSOP for several reasons, the top one being that there will be no shortage of players and games in town for a seven-week period.  The WSOP announced a major change for this summer's Main Event, as there will no longer be a "November Nine."  Long story short, when the series finishes in July, we will have a Main Event champion.  Also, more of the Main Event will be "live" (30-minute delay) broadcast this time around.  Not only have I been neglecting my blog-writing, but I haven't played much poker in the past month either.  I know that the games will be good in two weeks, and I'm really looking forward to the fresh faces arriving in town.  In all honesty, I can also watch the professionals play at the Rio and enjoy railing the action as much as playing myself.  I'm also protecting my bankroll to some extent, in case I hit a run of cold cards, because I'm going to be more than ready for the wagering that the new football season will bring.  I was hired for my new job just before last season kicked off, and in the interest of keeping that job and doing my best, I hadn't studied up on my football near as much as I plan on this time around.  In unrelated news, Phil Steele's College Football Preview issue will hit the newsstands on June 27th...  :)

Broken ice...  The NHL playoffs are also going on right now, and with four teams remaining, there seem to be a wide spectrum of Finals possibilities.  If Pittsburgh plays Anaheim for the Stanley Cup, we'll have a matchup of the defending champion Penguins against the large t.v. market Ducks (Los Angeles/California).  However, we could get a Cup battle matching Ottawa verus Nashville, a possibility which I think must have the executives at NBC cringing...  How many U.S. viewers tune in to watch that final?

As I watch the NHL Playoffs, on more than one occasion, I've been watching a scoreless game, and then when the initial goal is scored, the announcer has talked about the "ice being broken..."  I find this ironic, since hockey is played..., on ice.  I'm not going anywhere with this, but I just wanted to point that out.  :)

I had another visitor come to town recently as my friend Annie was kind enough to treat me to lunch at the Bellagio's poolside cafe.  It seems that a lot of my friends are finding the Bellagio, doesn't it?  :)  An obscure fact about me is that I have yet to visit a hotel/casino's pool in Las Vegas.  This is especially sad considering that I can utilize some of these pools for free with my work I.D.  Anyway, the Bellagio has several different pools, and Annie and myself could see different parts of them as we dined by a window.  Thanks again to Annie and all of my friends who take a minute out of their vacations to say hi when they visit the desert.

Now it looks like it's time to tell my little story about Anishika...  :)  Anishika, another former student-athlete and friend of mine relayed a story on Facebook recently.  When you're old like me (100 years old), you think that you've heard everything, but trust me, you've NEVER heard anything.  While on this tangent, someone was climbing the Eiffel Tower in front of the Paris Hotel & Casino a few days ago, but I digress...  Back to Anishika.  Once upon a time, a guy had been chatting with Anishika at her job.  The guy and his wife had recently filed for divorce, and the converation had been normal for the most part.  THEN, the guy says this:  "I think I'm gonna stop dating extremely beautiful women and start dating more regular types of women, kinda like you..."  *crickets*  Oh, the CHARMER...  :)  For a moment, pay no mind to the fact that Anishika is attractive ("beautiful," "hot," and "gorgeous" are some of the other adjectives that can be found in the comments section to her little story), but WHO is out there saying things like this?!  I guess it gives me thing to write about though...  :)

I'm going to sign off for now, but hopefully I'll do another post before winter comes...  :)  Have a good one and I'll see you soon!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Whole Two Months

Good morning everyone.  One minute and the NCAA Tournament is approaching, the next, and we find ourselves in the middle of the NBA and NHL playoffs.  If I hadn't made a facebook commitment earlier today, I probably wouldn't even be making this post right now, but since I did...

Maybe we can make a smooth transition from my last post two months ago if I start with a similar theme.  As I've said in the past, when my friends come to town, I'll always try to make myself available for a handshake, hug, bite to eat, high-five, photo op., etc...  :)  While Las Vegas was mad with NCAA hoops in March, some friends of mine from my beloved San Marcos, America came to town.  Business was hopping at the sportsbook, but I managed to meet up with a group of my friends after they dined at the Bellagio...

Sean, pictured on the left, was celebrating his wedding anniversary with his wife Kate (not pictured).  Sean and Kate are now owners/co-owners of several thriving businesses back in San Marcos.  While I was visiting with my friends, I realized that it's now been almost four years since I've lived in San Marcos (way too long).  My last job in San Marcos was working for Sean at Harpers/Slackers/The Veranda, a triple-decker bar that was the basis for many of the early stories in this blog.  Pictured on the right is my friend Alma, who based on her facebook posts during and after her Las Vegas visit, probably didn't see her own house for two weeks straight.  :)  Her husband Joe gets the photo credit for this shot, and I'd venture to say that they had a good visit to the desert.

As I reach this point, I realize that it's not going to be possible for me to omit that I almost "literally" caused the death of a cocktail waitress while I was watching Sean play three-card poker.  Long story short, I probably owe Sean a pack of Camel Blues the next time that I'm back in San Marcos...  :)  It was nice hanging out with the cool kids for a little while, and at the first opportunity that I find myself with extended vacation time, I'll definitely be headed back to the 512..

Speaking of cool kids, my friend Valerie (the "meme queen" for those fortunate enough to be her facebook friend) came out with a classic a while back, and I was going to incorporate it into one of my poker stories.  Poker.......  I've been running pretty well for most of the new year, and one case in particular involved me playing a weekly freeroll tournament at the Flamingo.  This highly popular freeroll pays the top 30 each week, and in this instance I didn't pre-register and wound up being the 18th alternate.  Long story short, in a field of 108 players, I had to wait 45 minutes for 18 players to bust out before being seated.  However, the poker fairy was with me that day, and I scratched and clawed my way to a top-20 finish and a $150.00 cash...

That's obviously the poker fairy, and I told you that I'd work your meme into the blog (eventually) Valerie...  ;)  This meme is unique because Valerie isn't usually a part of the awesome memes that she posts...  And speaking of being a part of an awesome photo...  My second teaching and coaching position in Texas was in a town by the name of Quinlan, which is about a half-hour east of Dallas.  After mailing in my resume (when mail used to be a thing), I was in Dallas watching 'St. Elmo's Fire' when I received the phone call to interview at Quinlan.  As it turns out, I was interviewed and hired on the same day as the phone call.  I told you that I had a good St. Elmo's Fire story, didn't I Cassie?  :)  One of our Quinlan kids recently met one of her favorite actors when he visited Austin...

Yes, that would be Andrew McCarthy, and he had the good fortune of getting his photo taken with Cassie.  :)  You can ask Valerie and Cassie, this blog post was supposed to take place SO LONG AGO...  :P  However, as I said earlier, I did publicly state my intention to post an entry tonight, and my friend Leanne wasted NO TIME in breaking her own personal news, just in time for my publication deadline.  Two months from today, my friend Leanne will make her MMA debut!!!

Good stuff, huh?  :)  I've been writing for a while now, and I've barely said anything about myself.  I still love my job, and working at the sportbook was busy in March, as you might expect.  I worked shifts during the first four days of the tournament at Planet Hollywood that ended at 1:00 a.m., and if we hadn't closed at that time, we would have still had customers lining up to cash tickets or bet the next day's games.  Our next big weekend happens with the Kentucky Derby two weeks from now.  After the Derby, we have the conclusion of the NBA and NHL playoffs, and lots of baseball.  I mean LOTS of baseball...  As a bridge to football season in the fall, I've joined four fantasy baseball leagues this year.  Having not played or watched baseball closely for several years, that meant lots of studying about a month ago.  Of course the other bridge to football season will be the World Series of Poker, which will be taking place from the start of June through mid-July at the Rio.  Editor's Note:  If I'm not at work, you'll be able to find me at the Rio OFTEN from the start of June through mid-July...  ;)  And speaking of football, the three-day NFL Draft begins this Thursday.  Yes, I'm an addict...  :)

I honestly hate to cut this short, but I have to be at work early the next two days.  I usually wake up at 11:30 or 12:30 (for a 2 or 3 o'clock shift), and I have to BE THERE before 9:00 a.m. tomorrow...  :)  Have a great week, and I'll see you soon!