Wednesday, May 23, 2018

A Fleury Of Activity

Good morning everyone.  Here I am again, writing when you least expect it.  It's pathetic how little I've written recently, considering how busy I expect to be over the next two months, but let's get started.  Las Vegas had the pleasure of hosting the honeymoon of my sister and her husband recently, and although Whitney and T.C. weren't in town very long, they got their money's worth.  Catching a show featuring one of her former students at the Flamingo, a picture with the iconic Las Vegas sign, a 24-hour Caesar's buffet pass, a stroll down The Linq Promenade, and this visit to Beer Park at Paris are among the boxes they checked in their whirlwind visit to the desert...  (Coach pictured far left, happy couple lined up on the right...  :) )

I should also mention the three hundred dollars that Whitney won in less than an hour playing three card poker while T.C. and myself were checking out the Flamingo's poker room...  :)  Knowing my love for all things Texas State (and, by the way, we're all Bobcats), T.C. and Whitney sent me a nice gift which I received recently....  :D

It was great catching up with the happy couple, especially since it was their first trip to Las Vegas, and hopefully they'll make many more in the future...  Speaking of trips to Las Vegas, it was exactly two years ago today that I returned to the desert.  After leaving northern New Hampshire at 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, followed by one Saturday overnight stay in Des Moines, Iowa, I pulled up to my brother's house at 7:20 a.m. on Monday monring.  Yes, I was a driving machine...  :)  After Carmen and Pete were kind enough to put me up for about a month while I resettled in the desert (found a place to live, applied for jobs, etc...), I'm happy to say that I've been working for Caesar's Entertainment for going on two years now.

With my feet back firmly underneath me, I'm looking forward to a summer filled with poker.  We're a couple of days from Memorial Day Weekend, which means that Las Vegas will be crawling with poker players for the next two months, with the World Series of Poker returning to the Rio early next week.  I'm estimating (conservatively) that I'll play 20-25 times over the next eight weeks.

In my last month of non-writing, I haven't told y'all the story of one of my most recent excursions to the poker tables, where I ended up costing myself about 175 dollars.  I was playing 1/2 no-limit at the Flamingo, and in early position, I folded pocket 3's to a raise of 11.  I believe that four players went to the flop for 11 each, and the flop came... 9 3 3....  So as I pondered the quad three's that I folded, I watched three players check, followed by a bet of 60.  The three checkers (including the pre-flop raiser) proceeded to fold, leaving me to assess the damage.  Excluding the casino's take (the rake and jackpot drops), I lost 44 dollars (11 x 4) from the money put in before the flop.  Then I lost the 60 bet after the flop, plus the 30ish I'm assuming I would have won from that same bettor when I eventually got all of my chips in.  I only had about 90 when the hand started.  I also would have won a 50 dollar bonus from the casino for hitting four-of-a-kind.  So yeah, I lost about 175 dollars for folding quads.  WHEEEEEEE.......

Back to the present, one of my friends and former athletes has a fight coming up Friday night in Dallas for anyone who might be spending Memorial Day Weekend up in the Metroplex.      

That's a pretty cool photo of Leanne (sorry, the Lioness) if I say so myself.  :)  Have a great fight Leanne!  Poker, UFC, and....  hockey???  Yes, there's a new hockey team in town, and if you haven't heard yet, the expansion Vegas Golden Knights are headed to the... STANLEY CUP FINAL...  Anchored between the pipes by Marc-Andre Fleury, the fledgling Knights have defied all odds, and will begin playing for the Stanley Cup on Monday...

In the midst of all of this excitement, I will also be heading over to Brooklyn Bowl in the middle of June for a Blue October concert.  Fun times in the desert...  :)  Have a great summer and MAYBE I'll write again sometime before football season...  :D

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Damn You, Molly Bloom

"It didn’t matter who his opponent was, he outplayed them every time..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

"I felt like a fly on the wall in a top-secret, masters-of-the-universe club..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

"And, for all the negative stigmas, gamblers seem to have an endless reserve of hope and optimism.  They all believe they can make something out of nothing..." -Molly Bloom- (Molly's Game)

Good morning everyone.  My sleep patterns over the last week-plus have been horrendous, so it should come as no surprise to you that I'm writing a blog entry at about 4:00 a.m. PST today.  I'n sure that your surprise is that I'm actually going to post something for the second time in a week...  :)  So back to my irregular sleep.  First, it seemed that the universe was conspiring against me getting any sleep last week.  In this instance, 'the universe' being defined as anybody out to make a ridiculous amount of noise at my apartment complex.  Some "temporary" residents were here (enough that I saw them leaving together the next morning in a van), and they were loud, and I was trying to sleep...   A few mornings later (and by the way, I was sleeping til 1:00 p.m. because I didn't work until 3:00 p.m.), it seemed like they were completely filling an empty unit with furniture, because a loaded dolly kept RUMBLING past my apartment, and it sounded like a FREIGHT TRAIN, every..., single..., time...  Okay, so that's the sleeplessness that I'm blaming on random people.  Next, I'm specifically blaming Molly Bloom.  I could blame myself for buying Molly's book, but I wouldn't want to lose any sleep over it........   ANYWAY, Molly used to run an underground poker game for some of the rich and famous people in Hollywood (actors, athletes, other celebrities, wealthy businessmen, etc...), and she wrote a book about it.  'Molly's Game' has been well-received, and has also been into a movie.     

Well, yours truly thought that it would be a good idea to start reading Molly's book right before going to bed every night.  A poker junkie, already countng down the days until this summer's World Series of Poker hits town, thinking that Molly's stories of poker and money and her part in all of this would somehow soothe and calm me, and help me get to sleep faster at night...  WRONG...  :)  Needless to say, I finally figured out that I shouldn't try reading this book right before going to bed, but I highly recommend 'Molly's Game' for any of you who are looking for a very interesting read.  I have also heard great things about the movie also...

In totally unrelated news, I woke up for no reason EARLY yesterday morning, my first of three days off.  When I'm awake at 6:00 a.m. PST, I tune into the NBC Sports Network and the 'Dan Patrick Show.'  Normally I'm upset to be awake that early and find that the show is not on, due to DP being on vacation, or something else bumping the broadcast temporarily, but yesterday was Patriots Day in New England, and the Boston Marathon is traditionally run on that Monday.  Back in my youth, I previously completed three marathons, so this 26.2 mile challenge peaks my interest...

I was IMMEDIATELY sucked in further when I learned that the temperature was 39 degrees, with rain, and wind gusts of up to 25-30 miles per hour.  Hey, I wasn't running...  :D  So I settled in, and was able to enjoy watching Des Linden become the first American woman to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.  After posting an update on Facebook, I learned that one of my former athletes is a big fan of Linden's, so thanks to Jenn, you get to see these photos that I took as the race concluded...

One point of intrigue in both the women's and men's races is that runners who broke away and led for long stretches of each event were not the eventual winners.

So, now that I've finished my "monthly" blog post, I have tons of chores awaiting me in the next two days.  Wash, a haircut, shopping, continuous and endless apartment cleaning, finishing Molly's book...  :)  The one big obstacle that has been erased from last week is having to do my taxes.  Since my coveted WSOP and the extra poker action that it brings to town are about 42 days out (not that I'm counting), I should probably get to it.  Have a great week and I'll see you soon! 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

April Showers

Good morning everyone.  As Aprl has arrived, I hope that y'all are ready for the change in seasons, and I hope that everybody has filed their tax returns.  Unlike you procrastinators, my return has been filed for....  HOURS...  If you haven't filed yet, why are you reading this right now?  :)  As always, it has taken me longer to return here than I had anticipated, and maybe all of my life stories and musings are going to have to wait until I'm retired, when the highlight of my day will be sitting down at my desk (which I don't possess yet) with a cup of coffee (which I also don't have currently) and tapping away at a keyboard.  But since I am here right now, keeping up my torrid pace of posting almost once per month in 2018, let's get you caught up on life in Las Vegas.  Fortunately for everyone, there isn't anything to distract me on t.v., so this post should go up pretty fast.  I watched the crew of Apollo 13 safely splash down AGAIN about twenty minutes ago if that's any indication, and this was preceded by watching the U.S. beat the Russians at Lake Placid AGAIN back in 1980...

Anyway, it's April here in the desert, and we've been showered with sunny weather in the 80's.  The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament and all of the action that it brings to Las Vegas has come and gone.  Next up for us are the NHL and NBA Playoffs, baseball, and the Kentucky Derby early next month.  As things begin to slow down a bit at work, this will be offset in my life by more poker, especially once the World Series begins at the end of May.  I have continued to represent Texas State and San Marcos with my Bobcat tees and Rattler card protectors at the poker tables, and I have recently added a little more to that arsenal....

These ballcaps are destined to spend more than their fair share of time at the Rio and other poker settings througout Las Vegas this summer.  Having a job obviously removes the pressure of me "needing" to win at poker, and this has made the game very enjoyable for me as of late, as I can choose to play when it's convenient, and I don't feel it necessary to play in bad games (against nine other local poker players for example)...

I'm going to let you go for now as I have a poker book (SHOCKER) that I want to begin reading before I go to bed tonight, but hopefully I'll see you soon.  Within a month anyway, right???  :)  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, March 2, 2018

For A Limited Time

Good morning everyone.  A funny (not really funny) thing has been happening with me this past week, where I wake up for no reason at about 6:00 a.m., and I'm WIDE AWAKE.  To compound matters on weekdays, my favorite sports talk show ('The Dan Patrick Show'), airs live from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. locally on the NBC Sports Network, and I'm EASILY hooked into watching all three hours.  Depending on the day of the week, my alarms are normally set to wake up for work between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., so this "funny thing" has made life a little interesting.  Anyway, since I was up (again), I decided to write a blog entry for you.

For those of you who happen to stop by here on a regular basis (whenever I feel motivated to write), this will definitely be the post that pushes the blog's total view count over 125,000.  I remember when I started this blog, and searched Google and Yahoo for information pertaining to writing blogs, and read that "personal" blogs (blogs about someone's life experiences, etc..) weren't very successful, and I find that pretty amusing now.  For any of you who know how often I wrote (3 to 4 times per week) when I began this blog (September 28, 2011), and how little I've written by comparison since, the reach of this blog could be exponentially bigger right now.  LAZY...  Well, life gets in the way sometimes, but I'm writing now, so....  Thanks again to those of you who take the time to stop in and check out my ramblings.  :)

I'm interested to see how much (when) I'll be writing here the rest of the month.  Oh, by the way, welcome to March.  Life at work (and in the sports world) really amps up this month.  In college basketball, the conference tournaments are taking place over the next two weekends, and we'll have the official NCAA Tournament brackets available to us on Sunday, March 11th.  The four days of the tourney from March 15th-18th are an event here in Las Vegas, and the amount of betting on games during these four days rivals the amount wagered on the Super Bowl.  This weekend there is a NASCAR event here in Las Vegas.  Also heating up right now are the stretch runs leading to the NBA and NHL playoffs, which begin in mid-April.  Las Vegas also has a playoff-bound NHL team now (the Golden Knights), which adds a little to that.  Throw the impending start of the Major League Baseball season into the mix, and there is A LOT going on...  :)  Due to this sports calendar (and my wonderful sleep habits), I'm putting my poker on the back burner until activity in the sports world calms down a bit.

As I referenced in my last entry, I've been listening to a lot of stand-up comedy on my lunch breaks at work, and I've been posting a lot of my favorite material to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  It's very easy to be negative and pick fights in today's world (especially with the explosion of social media), and I just want to throw a few laughs in the mix.  Since you stopped by today, I thought I'd share a bit of this humor with you...

"If you were to second guess your decision to book time at a Native American community, that would be a reservation reservation reservation..." -Brian Regan-

"Have you ever asked somebody something so profoundly stupid to them that they have to physically regroup before they answer your question???" -Tom Segura-

"A fish tank is not a pet.  It's a t.v. that you've gotta feed..." -John Caparulo-

"I order a club sandwich all the time and I'm not even a member.  I don't know how I get away with it..." -Mitch Hedberg-

"I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, 'Where's the self-help section?' She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose..." -George Carlin-

"You've got bad eating habits if you use a grocery cart in 7-Eleven..." -Dennis Miller-

"Let's go to Brunch. What a great idea! Why would you want to sleep in on a Sunday when you can go pay $18 for eggs???" -Bill Burr-

"I'm not a big animal person. Some animals I hate. Uh. Bats. I think bats are disgusting. I hate bats. I hate rats with leather wings. Have you ever seen one? They look around. It's like somebody. They have a face. It's disgusting. Hate bats. Oh I am sure there's a whole thing, "Did you know that bats make all the french toast in the world?"  Whatever. I don't care..." -Louis CK-

"Craft beer snobbery has now surpassed both wine and soccer snobbery..." -Paulie Pabst-

"You ever talk about a movie with someone that read the book? They're always so condescending...
'Ah, the book was much better than the movie.'
Oh really? What I enjoyed about the movie: no reading..."  -Jim Gaffigan-

"I'm not sure how many problems I have because math is one of them..." -via Laura Spencer-

"Because the best things in life should be never-ending, for a limited time..." -Olive Garden Commercial-

"I always wonder what a bird is thinking standing in a cage.  “Alright, thank you! I have been blessed with the gift of flight. I know how to fly, and I am standing on a STICK!” -Brian Regan-

I have found that the stand-ups make it a little easier for me to get through the rest of the workday (plus I end up sharing their material with my coworkers)...  :)  I was pretty proud of myself for picking up on the Olive Garden line, and that's why today's post is titled what it is.  I hope that y'all have a great weekend and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Lots Of Olympics

Good morning everyone, and while I'm at it, Happy New Year!  As I lay here watching Switzerland and Germany skating to a current 1-1 tie in the 2nd period in men's hockey, I realize that I haven't posted here since December 16th of LAST YEAR....  (Oops).  The focus of that post was my Bobcat and Rattler poker gear, and to be honest, I haven't played much poker since 2018 started either.  I'm not going to try to convince you that I've been too busy to EVER stop my life for a minute and write something here, but my work life did get busier since my last entry here with the onset of the college football bowl games and the NFL playoffs, which culminated in that little event that we call the Super Bowl...  Uncharacteristically for me, I'm not writing from any notes this time, so let's see where we go...

Las Vegas.  I'm still living in the desert, and I've been back for about 21 months now.  I've been working at my current job in the sportsbook for about 18 months.  After giving up a full-time job with benefits at the University of Texas at Austin to move 2,000 miles back to my hometown for a girl (and to say that things didn't work out as I expected would be the understatement of forever), I'm glad to say that I've bounced back (because that's what I do)...  ;)  Like I said, I haven't played much more poker than I've spent time writing blog posts, although after working on New Year's Eve, I did ring in 2018 by playing poker at the Flamingo until after sunrise...  :)  I still enjoy playing poker, but since it's my job that enables me to pay the bills (to live), I try to get the necessary amount of rest required when things like the Super Bowl come up...  :)

Twitter.  I have been spending a little time on Twitter, because that's a place that I can easily visit during my lunch breaks at work.  It's a little bit easier for me to put together a tweet than a blog entry.  Funny Twitter story...  Lately I've been listening to a lot of stand-up comedy during my lunch breaks on Pandora Radio (Pandora may get its own little paragraph here).  Anyway, I've been quoting some of my favorite lines from the comedians to my Twitter and Facebook accounts.  One joke that I tweeted from Brian Regan (FUNNY guy) was 'liked' by Brian on Twitter.  The result of him 'liking' my tweet was an increase in views for that tweet to the tune of about 8,500 impressions.  Good stuff...  :)

Pandora.  I originally started listening to Pandora (with earphones) at the poker tables a few months ago so that I could relax and focus better.  It's amazing how much the earphones help drown out the extraneous noise in the casino.  Then I decided to listen to Pandora during lunch also, because I had been reconnecting with a lot of old music that I enjoyed while playing poker.  Something possessed me to click on the comedy stations within the past month, and I have to admit that hearing the jokes makes the rest of the workday a little easier.  I end up telling my coworkers the best jokes that I heard on my lunch break...  ;)

The Olympics.  Switzerland and Germany are heading to overtime tied 1-1, in case you were wondering...  I usually work til 10:00 or 11:00 at night, and I've watched A LOT of Olympic coverage after work because the NBC umbrella of networks has done a great job of broadcasting around-the-clock.  I've watched more women's hockey and curling than I ever imagined possible, that's for sure...  :)  By the way, the Germans just defeated the Swiss in overtime, 2-1.

124,532.  Despite my writing hiatus, you awesome people have continued to find my little blog, and we're on the precipice of 125,000 views.  That's pretty impressive considering that I almost NEVER write.  Hopefully I'll do better in the future.  I have no shortage of stories to tell, that's for sure...  :)

I'm going to leave you now so that I can start my chores for the day, but I hope that all of you have a great week!

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rattlers & Bobcats

Good afternoon everyone.  This is a very strange time for me to be writing a blog entry, as it's an hour before I have to start getting ready for work on a Saturday, but I woke up early, and I'm wide awake with an hour to kill...  :)  Let's get started...  ;)  I started playing poker again on a consistent basis very recently, and I've purchased some more "gear" to bring to the tables with me.  For those of you who may not know me as well as others, I have lived more of my life in San Marcos, Texas than in any other single place.  San Marcos is a rapidly growing city located right in between Austin and San Antonio.  I was introduced to San Marcos when I enrolled at Southwest Texas State University.  SWT had about 20,000 students when I entered as a freshman, and now 'Texas State' has almost 40,000 students.  In addition to my several years in school as a Bobcat (B.B.A., return for a teaching certificate, etc...), I also taught and coached high school for four years in San Marcos.  Additionally, I lived in San Marcos, America for several additional years.  'Bikini Hill' is the nickname for a stretch of grass by the river where students commonly tan on the Texas State campus, in case you were confused about the blog's namesake...  :)  For a while now, I've been wearing some sort of Texas State gear when I play poker, because when you're living in Las Vegas, it's very rare to see any Bobcats.  Texas State's maroon and gold is a very unique item here in the desert, and it stands out to fellow Texans.

When I was playing poker a few weeks ago, a woman at my table was using a card protector that had a spider on it.  This protector was basically a ceramic collectible or miniature with a spider on a rock, about the height and width of a quarter.  As players at the table chatted about it, I guess that the little thing crawled inside my head, because later the thought suddenly occurred to me.  RATTLESNAKE!!!!  For a while now, I've simply been using a poker chip to protect my cards (if some sort of object is covering your cards, the dealer is less likely to kill your hand by mistake), but then I thought, how awesome would it be to find a rattler to guard my hands.  The mascot of the high school in San Marcos is the Rattlers, if that helps bring you up to speed.  :)  In addition to my Texas State gear (which now includes eight t-shirts and a football jersey), I have my newly acquired collection of three rattlesnakes to help me represent San Marcos at the poker tables.  These are my new card protectors and my most recent shipment of clothing from San Marcos...  

As I said, I've been wearing my Texas State clothing to the tables for a while, so much so that when I wore my Steelers jersey to play poker after we clinched the division title, a poker dealer at the Flamingo commented, "no Bobcats shirt today?"  :)  As for the rattlesnakes, I can't recall anyone using any sort of snake as a card protector in all the time that I've been playing poker, and let me tell you, they are QUITE the conversation starter...  :)  Some people have very strong feelings about snakes, especially when you add fangs and a rattle to them.  The very first time I sat down with one, the guy to my left didn't say anything, but just looked at the snake curious and wide-eyed.  Another time, a player lifted the rattler from my cards for a second, and then proceeded to lose over 100 dollars pretty quickly.  The rodeo is currently taking place in Vegas, and a cowgirl from California had a visceral reaction to my rattlesnake, explaining how she's killed 28 of them on her property.  In another instance, a dealer picked up my rattler, and then proceeded to deal me my first winning hand in hours.  And yeah, I've only been playing with the snakes for about a week...  :D

It appears that I have to get ready for work now, but I'm sure I'll have more stories for you in the future.  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Happy Belated Birthday

Good morning everyone.  I saw on the poker calendar a few weeks back that the $10,400 main event of the WPT's Five Diamond Classic at the Bellagio was set to begin on Tuesday, so I notified my brother Pete, and we decided that it would be a good day to belatedly celebrate our birthdays.  After getting out the calculator, I figured out that this is the 14th anniversary of Pete bringing me to my first Five Diamond Classic.  I had never lived in Las Vegas or played poker in a casino at that point in time (heck, I had barely played or watched ANY poker up to that point).  As we headed to the Mirage to play some poker ourselves, I remember asking Pete if a straight beats a flush, and after TORCHING $337.00 in about six hours in a 3-6 limit hold 'em game, I was HOOKED....  :)  Tuesday cost me a little less, as we watched the professionals play for free (free for us) after we had lunch at the Planet Hollywood buffet.  When Pete and I arrived at the Bellagio, there was a substantial line of players waiting to enter the tournament, and most of them would become alternates as the tables in the Bellagio's poker room were the only ones being used for this event.

Bigger poker tournaments are often held in areas outside of a casino's normal poker room.  We arrived at 12:15 p.m., but instead of being 15 minutes late, we actually showed up a little early, and got to see Richard Seymour in his pregame routine.  For you poker people, we recognized several well-known players on Tuesday, including defending champion James Romero (he cashed for 1.9 million last year), Mike Sexton, Tony Dunst, Ben Lamb, Noah Schwartz, Freddy Deeb, Allen Cunningham, Andrew Lichtenberger, David Williams, and an attractive female player that busted when she ran her flush into a bigger flush.  No worries, she hopped right back into line to buy in again for another $10,400...  Pictured below is former NFL player Richard Seymour...

And this picture is my first plate of food at Planet Hollywood...  :D

After Pete left, I ventured over to the Flamingo to watch my friends Errol and Mike play a little bit of poker in cash games.  I had planned on playing myself, but I suddenly remembered that I had been awake since 6:00 a.m. and was completely exhausted.  After Mike completely blew by me without recognizing me, Errol won a nice pot when he turned a full house before his opponent rivered a flush (yes, fourteen years later, and I now know that a full house beats a flush)...  ;)  I returned to the Flamingo last night and won $29.00 in an hour in a 2-4 limit game when I flopped a set of 5's against an opponent's two-pair on a K 9 5 flop.  I'm preparing to play a lot more 1/2 no-limit soon, but I'll gladly accept a wage of $29.00 an hour playing poker any day.

Things are going to change a bit for me at work now as the college football season ("regualr season") has ended, meaning that there won't be football from very early to closing now on Saturdays, and I'll also leave work an hour earlier on Friday nights, which naturally means more time for playing poker.  :P  I also anticipate having more time to write, so cross your fingers...  For the second post in a row, I'm stealing a little something from my friend Ali, as she took a great shot of some desert Christmas trees...  :)

Enjoy your holiday season until next time, and I'll see you soon!