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!


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.


Kyleigh


Nick


Cheryl


Aaron


Katie


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...