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!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Black Old Man Shoes

Good morning everyone.  Two posts in two weeks - I have to pace myself...  I feel refreshed as I begin this post, as I find myself in the middle of having three straight days off.  I love my job as a ticket writer, and would prefer working and having the $$$ that goes along with it, but if you're going to force me to sleep...  :)  Considering how much poker I've played and football betting that I did this past fall, I've actually been pretty disciplined with my money since starting my job at the end of August, and now I feel comfortable enough with my finances to take some shots at no limit poker cash games here in the near future.  One of the reasons that I started this blog back in the day was to track my weekly football predictions with the intent of possibly moving back to Las Vegas someday.  For those of you who don't know, I first lived here from May 2005 to April 2007, and I worked as a poker dealer during the majority of that stint.  It's safe to say that I now know a lot more about sports betting than I ever have (and I wasn't exactly starting from a position of complete ignorance before), and my poker knowledge continues to grow with each passing day.  A funny revelation about working in the sportsbooks is that A LOT of my coworkers share my passion for poker and/or sports betting.  My brother Pete, David, Ben, Errol, Mike, Mike, Chris, Don, Kirk, and Adam are among the ticket writers I work with who enjoy playing a little poker.  Back to Errol, he actually shared something with me on Facebook recently, and it turns out that it would be the ultimate Las Vegas apartment complex for me to move into...

In reality, I will be looking to improve my living situation in the near future.  I'm not in the worst place on the planet, but if I can find something closer to work, or cheaper, or nicer, or a combination of the three, etc..., it might be worth moving.  As things stand, I am about to take more shots at no limit poker, and to start studying more (again).  When I was in New Hampshire last February, I started a one-year subscription to Card Player magazine.  I did so thinking that I would be living there until December, and as luck would have it, I moved out here in May.  Now in the past, if I had an active subscription to any magazine, it would never find my new address.  However, now that I'm living in the desert, where you can pick up free magazines in several poker rooms, the Card Players naturally found me, and I have a STACK of reading to catch up on.

Poker and work, work and poker...  We've been a little slow at work since the Super Bowl, but things are about to pick up in the month of March.  The Las Vegas Speedway will be hosting NASCAR from the 10th-12th, and the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament will be kicking into full gear on the 16th, the following Thursday.  The first four days of this tournament combined typically see as much money wagered as the Super Bowl.  Following the madness, we'll have the stretch runs of the NBA and NHL, with baseball and the Kentucky Derby in the mix.  Once we reach June and things have slowed to a crawl, luckily for me, the World Series of Poker will be underway.  I plan on spending a lot of time at the Rio this summer.  Even when I'm not playing, I can spend hours and hours just watching the live cash games and tournaments, trying to pick things up.  This year's World Series of Poker is scheduled to run from May 30th - July 17th for those of you who are keeping score at home...  If any of you are planning to visit Las Vegas during this poker spectacle, let me know, and I'll be happy to show you around.  If any of you are planning a visit to Vegas anytime, just give me a heads up like these friends did, and I'll try to get together with you for at least a photo op.






and Michaela.

After Kyleigh and Nick, I learned to actually get in the photos, and I'll have to make sure to get shots with Cindy and Emmy the next time that I see them in town.  Maybe I'll post some pictures with my Vegas friends, or include some photos of the sights of the city someday, as I've been promising....  :P  

Now it's time for some bathroom humor, or "toilet humor," if you will.  You don't ever get this from me, but stay with me...  I was recently in a restroom at a local casino..., doing what you do in a restroom.  I suddenly heard this guy wandering around, yelling, "PETE?!  PETE?!  ARE YOU IN HERE?!"  I don't know if Pete was drunk, or if the guy looking for him was drunk, or both, but Pete was missing evidently.  THEN Pete's friend starts knocking on the door of EVERY STALL, in search of his lost buddy.  "PETE?!  PETE?!"  When my door was knocked on, I didn't answer, because I'm not Pete.  Then I hear this guy talking to another member of the search party, as to whether or not Pete was in my stall evidently...  "No, that guy had black old man shoes..."  For starters, I realized that Pete's friend had looked under the door of my stall.  Secondly, I realized that Nike has a potential new marketing slogan for their black Air Monarchs...  
Black Old Man Shoes

There's never a dull moment in Las Vegas...  :)  That's all for tonight my friends, but have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hello Again

Good afternoon everyone.  It seems that time got away from me since the last time that we visited.  I just looked back in the archives, and the last time that I posted here was December 6th, so..., HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  With the football season just coming to a close, I will probably have a little more time to write.  For those times when you don't find a new post here, I have about a gazillion older posts in the archives.  Gazillion, 630, same thing.  This little blog was born on September 28th, 2011, and this entry will put it over 110,000 page views.  For those of you who are new here, 'Bikini Hill' overlooks the San Marcos River on the campus of my alma mater, Southwest Texas State University (now known as Texas State University).  I tell you that not only to get the newcomers up to speed, but also because I have a lot of great photos of this spot saved in my phone that I've been wanting to post here...

Okay, the first four photos revolve around Bikini Hill and the river, while the last four are random shots of that amazing campus.  In case the topic ever comes up, I love my alma mater...  :)

And as far as 'The Strip' part of the blog title is concerned, I'm currently living in Las Vegas, Nevada.  As much as I love Texas, and more specifically, San Marcos, I can play poker 24/7 here, and wagering on a wide variety of sports is also readily accessible.  Actually, I have been working in a trio of sportsbooks since the end of August, taking bets and enjoying life.  As far as my wagering is concerned, I bet on football more than all of the other sports combined, so I'll continue to play more poker as I hopefully continue to write more.  For those of you who are friends of mine on Facebook, I recently shared a pair of statues from the Las Vegas Review Journal which gave a recap of the betting on Sunday's Super Bowl.  In case you haven't already heard, this Super Bowl generated a record of 138.5 million dollars wagered in the state of Nevada.  Speaking to the game itself, I don't know how this group of Atlanta Falcons will ever get over giving up that 28-3 lead and losing the game.  While we're on the subject of the Super Bowl, my brother Pete predicted the exact final score of the game, Patriots 34  Falcons 28, in my blog here.  Pete, my friend Joey, and myself gave our favorite weekly bets throughout the football season at 'Coach's Parlay Card,' and we included score predictions when the playoffs arrived.  Pete also struck it big just before Christmas at the Sunset Station bowling lanes, as he threw a perfect 300 game and an 820 series.  This is Pete...

Let me go on the record now that I'll include a photo of Pete in the blog every time that he bowls a perfect 300 game and/or picks the exact score of the Super Bowl.  :)  Nice job Pete...

As for me, I wrote quite a few bets and worked a little bit of overtime in the days leading up to and including the Super Bowl, and the NCAA Tournament in March is supposed to be our next big uptick in business.  I also played a substantial amount of poker over the past month, which included cashing in three consecutive Monday freeroll tournaments at the Falmingo, for $250.00, $250.00, and $150.00, respectively.  I see a lot more poker in my future as we bid our farewell to winter (it's currently 66 degrees in Las Vegas) and eagerly anticipate this summer's World Series of Poker, and the return of football in the fall.  As I've promised my Facebook friends, and now you, I'll eventually get around to posting more photos of Las Vegas for you.

I think that's all that I've got for you today, but I SHOULD post again in the next week to ten days...  :)  See ya soon my friends... 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Twelve Hours Later

Hello everyone.  It's been more than a month since I've posted here, so I probably have something to say...  I've now been working for Caesar's Entertainment in Las Vegas for just over three months.  I work as a ticket writer for the sportsbooks at Bally's, Paris, and Planet Hollywood, and I absolutely love the job.  I have worked several jobs in the past where I haven't had much downtime, but when I do have occasions at this job when no one is in my betting line, I get to watch sports.  :)  The job itself consists of taking people's bets on horse races and sports, so the work itself is interesting.

I stopped playing poker for about two months (until returning to the tables over the weekend), and my new job was one of several factors contributing to that decision.  As I said, I like my job and I'd like to hold onto it, and putting in tons of hours at the poker tables and showing up for work tired while learning the job wouldn't have been in my best interest.  Not only do you want to avoid making mistakes at work, but it's hard to provide good customer service when you're tired and grumpy.  Another factor in taking the poker break was the start of the football season.  I bet on football more than any of the other sports combined, and it was going to be difficult having a football and poker bankroll if I wasn't winning, which leads us to the other reason for my break...  I was running cold at the poker tables.  I'm talking COLD my friends.  Ice, snow, BLIZZARD..., cold...  In the course of a week, I flopped three-of-a-kind (either in the form of a set or trips) about six times, and managed to lose every time.  I also took several other bad beats, and after taking a short break, I returned to playing.  When I've run bad in the past, I've taken breaks before returning to the tables, but on my "first" night back, I lost 40 dollars in an hour and a half, and I basically said "screw this..."  I did play again on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after this two-month layoff, and I expect that you'll be hearing a lot more references to poker (if I start writing that often again)...  :)

Football.  Yes, the football season has contributed to less writing also.  Making my football bets, watching games, doing a little studying, etc...  It's almost unbelievable to me that it's December 6th.  The college football bowl season is rapidly approaching, and the NFL has four more weeks of regular season games before the playoffs begin.  I have done well during the bowl season in the past, so with my plans to continue playing poker, the next month ought to fly by also.

Twelve hours...  I've been working swing shifts recently (which I LOVE).  I'm a night owl by nature, and have gone on record several times stating that if it were left to me, I would get my eight hours of sleep from 4:00 a.m. to noon.  I worked from 3-11 on Friday and Saturday before a 1-9 shift on Sunday, and played poker after each shift.  I was off yesterday and today.  After sleeping sporadically yesterday, I finally crashed at about 4:00 a.m. Tuesday (today).  When I woke up, I could see just a little light coming through the blinds, and figured that it must be cloudy outside.  Before looking at the clock, I guessed what time it was (a game I often play)...  I figured that I hadn't been sleeping too long (the phone hadn't rang, I didn't remember getting up to go to the bathroom, etc..), so I thought that it was probably about 9:00 a.m.  Then I rolled over, and saw that it was 4:14.  But it wasn't dark outside, so...  Yes, I slept for TWELVE hours, and it seemed cloudy outside because it was ABOUT TO GET DARK, being 4:14 in the afternoon...  Turning on the t.v. and perusing the t.v. guide, I discovered that old episodes of 'Poker After Dark' were going to be airing until midnight, and that 'Planes, Trains, and Automobiles' would be starting at 1:00 a.m.  I'd call that a pretty good day...  :D

I fully intend to go out on the town and give you some pictures sometime in the near future, but for now I'll just leave you with this year's Christmas card...

I hope that you have a tremendous holiday season, and that I'll post here again before 2017...  :)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I've Paid My Dues

"I've paid my dues..., time after time..., I've done my sentence..., but committed no crime..." -Queen- (We Are The Champions)

Good morning everyone.  I just took an unexpected four-hour nap, and I plan on waking up for the day (Thursday) in less than six hours, so why not write a blog entry for y'all?  Things are still going well here in the desert.  I plan on going to the Strip early tomorrow to make some football bets before work and the upcoming football weekend.  I've been in worse spots...  A year ago at this time, I was (unknowingly) on the precipice of walking to and from work in the "delightful" New England cold and rain and snow.  I'll tell ya, I've "paid my dues" so many times in my life, moving from place to place, starting different jobs, and when I moved back East from Texas just over a year ago, I thought that everything had finally come together and made sense.  So much for thinking...  After encountering what can best be characterized as a general lack of respect on several fronts upon returning to my hometown, I can honestly say that I won't miss the long walks to and from work in the snow and cold (and TRUST ME when I say that last winter was a MILD winter in my hometown).  I am so thankful that I won't be anywhere near the winter that New England is in store for this year.  I am also thankful for the rides to and from work that I ultimately began receiving from my co-workers at Walmart.  Prior to moving back to my hometown, I would have never thought that I'd be treated better by the people I worked with than some of the people I'd grown up with.  Pretty surprising...

As for Las Vegas, we're hitting a stretch where the daily high temperatures are in the 70s, while the lows are in the 50s.  For those of you who aren't familar with this part of the desert, the winter temperatures are usually just a little cooler than those in central Texas, while the summer temperatures are just a bit higher.  For what it's worth, that's a "dry cold" and a "dry heat" that we're talking about...  ;)  Speaking of cold, I've been running bad at the poker tables for quite some time now.  I took off about three weeks due to this streak of "run bad," but I decided to play a little last weekend.  After losing about 40 dollars in an hour and a half, I said "*#@%*&% this," and I've decided to focus on betting football for just a little while longer.  I believe that my job working in the sportsbooks out here has made me pay more attention to football during the week than I normally would have in the past.  I have also been exposed firsthand to the wide vareity of bets that people place on games (different types of parlays, teasers, etc)...  Long story short, I have had an enjoyable football season to this point, and have not lost all of my wages betting on the games.  :)  With that being said, I just had a REALLY BIG yawn, and I'm going to be waking up in less than five hours.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon...

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Good morning everyone.  It appears that I haven't visited with you on this blog since the end of August.  Since the start of the football season, I've still been writing weekly at Coach's Parlay Card, where my friend Joey, my brother Pete, and myself give readers our favorite weekly football bets.  However, those blog entries don't take very much effort to write, and the job that I started right before the end of August has occupied much of my time.  For those of you who don't know, I was hired as a temporary ticket writer by Caesar's Entertainment, and I work in the sportsbooks at Bally's, Paris, and Planet Hollywood.  I love the job and the people that I work with, so hopefully I'll be able to stick around for a while.  I have cut back on my poker playing since being hired, but I had been enduring an epic run of bad cards and bad beats, so playing less hasn't been the worst thing in the world for my mental health.  Naturally, my football betting increased significantly since the football season began (DUH), and I have been more successful this season than in any of my prior Vegas stints to date.  When betting parlays (where every bet that you make has to win for the ticket to win), I've been combining fewer bets (2-4 team parlays as opposed to 8-10 team parlays for example), and I've also been picking more winners this season.  That's one of the interesting things about my job on the weekends - when I'm not taking a customer's bet, I'm looking at the t.v. screens to see how the teams that I've bet are doing.  Thus, there are rarely any dull moments at work...  :)

Back in the desert.  I returned to Las Vegas on May 23rd, so I've now been back for just over 4 1/2 months.  This makes my current stay officially my second-longest in Las Vegas.  I lived here for just under two years from 2005-2007, and for just over 2 1/2 months two years ago.  Since I was last here two years ago, my finances hit almost rock-bottom, and due to the generosity my former department at the University of Texas at Austin showed by hiring me back, plus my good friends Brandi, Chad, and James putting me up (and putting up with me) and housing my belongings while I found a place to live (and then waited to move into), I was able to get my house back in order (so to speak).  ;)  Then, after being hired as a full-time employee by the University of Texas, which provided me with extra financial stability (plus paid health insurance), I gave all of that up to move back to my hometown to take a shot at happiness with my now ex-girlfriend.  I've taken the high road when the subject has come up ("things didn't work out"), but I'm still pretty underwhelmed by the way that I was treated, not only by my ex, but also by some of my former classmates in the aftermath.  Anyway, after spending nine months in my hometown, I moved back out here, and I hope that I'm finally gaining some traction.  If I'm fortunate enough to work for Caesar's for a prolonged period of time, I'll be able to get my finances under control again (you'd be surprised at how much it costs to move across the country, twice...), and then if I could just have one miraculous football weekend and/or poker cash (or several not-so-miraculous ones), then maybe I'll be able to rest easy again.

I had actually worked 8 out of the last 9 days (before yesterday), and now I'm in a stint of having 5 of the next 10 days off.  After getting home from work on Sunday night, I proceeded to sleep for 18 of the next 28 hours - that's how I spent my Monday...  :)  My birthday falls within this ten days (where I have five off), so I guess if there was ever a time to have your birthday...  :P  As I finish typing this entry, I'm waiting to do exciting things, such as my wash.  Hopefully I've almost completely adapted to my new job, and you'll be seeing posts from me more frequently.  As you read, this entry is going to be the one that puts this blog over 106,000 total pageviews.  I was so wrapped up in my new job and football and poker that I failed to do a post when this little blog celebrated its fifth birthday on September 28th (since we're talking about birthdays).    

Anyway, that's what's been happening here in Las Vegas.  I hope that y'all enjoy my birthday week and I'll see you soon, hopefully...  ;)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wake Me Up

"Summer has come and passed, the innocent can never last, wake me up, when September ends..." -Green Day- (Wake Me Up When September Ends)

"Let no one discourage your ambitious attitude.  You don't need a fan club to achieve your goals.  Be your own motivation." -via Leanne Calderon-

"Dreams don't chase themselves..." -J.J. Natal-

"Clearly we haven't met.  If I'm playing, I'm planning to crush the competition..." -Shelley South Pennell-

"The older I get, the better I understand the treasure that is friendship..." -Kevin Joyce-

Good evening everyone.  Sorry about my absence last week.  I was unexpectedly busy, and as I've said, if it's not Tuesday or Wednesday, you probably won't be seeing posts from me otherwise in the fall.  Think football and poker...  It's late for me to be posting tonight, but I took a nap, so...  :P  I'll keep it relatively short anyway.  I'm taking great liberty with the post title and the Green Day lyrics since I'm ready to wake up now, and not at the end of September.  Cooler temperatures and full blown football are just around the corner.

There is something that I wanted to address last week, when I thought that I would be writing...

After leaving a job interview recently, I decided that I wanted to have my picture taken, since I was wearing a dress shirt and tie.  So I headed to a nearby casino bar (because that's what all of the cool kids are doing, right?), and I had a bartender snap this photo.  Seventy of my friends on Facebook have 'liked' this gem, bless their hearts.  Now let me tell you why I don't like this picture...  My tie is really crooked.  I wish that the bartender (or someone) would have said something.  Oh well...  Then I have this red mark that makes it look like a big mosquito bit me right between the eyes.  Didn't happen, but nice blotchy look nonetheless...  My expression.  Of three photos, THIS was the best one.  Awful...  And then there's the matter of my hair...  My hair color has gone from blond to really dark brown over the years.  I occasionally lighten it, but this time it appears that I grabbed the "Serial Killer Blond" box from the shelf.  Do you remember the end of 'Silence of the Lambs,' where Hannibal has escaped from Memphis???

This was the best photo that I could find, but trust me, if my hair wasn't gelled back, and I had a witty personality, I could be Hannibal Lecter...  :)  Serial Killer Blond...

Alright, I'm gonna have a midnight snack before I crash, but have a great week and I'll see you soon...