Wednesday, June 27, 2012

2-4 Limit Hold 'Em In Las Vegas - August 2012

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to my 125th post at 'Bikini Hill'.  I have said here before that one of the many things that will be good about returning to the desert is that I will have fresh poker material to post about.  Even if I'm busy and have to go find a 2-4 limit table where I play for 5 minutes so that I have something to write about, it will be available to me.  This is what that post might look like in just over a month from now:

'Good afternoon everyone.  Last night I stopped by Big Strip Casino (BSC) to play a few hands of 2-4 limit hold 'em so that I could give you a blog entry today.  I was at a full 10-seat table, and I knew that it was a tight 2-4 table when only 8 of us saw the flop.  I came into the game in the big blind, sitting in the 3-seat, and only the 5 and 10-seats folded their hands.  Actually, I think that the 10-seat was away from the table when the hand was dealt, and the 5-seat was too distracted by the cocktail waitress taking his order to participate in the hand.  Either way, I went to the flop with the seven other players who limped into the pot, who surely limping in an attempt to conceal the strength of their hands.  I was dealt Q 10 offsuit (a.k.a. the 'evil hand', so I wasn't feeling very good about my prospects from the get-go)...  The flop came As 4c 9s, so I immediately knew that this flop would succeed in thinning the field since no one ever plays a ragged ace or suited cards in 2-4 limit hold 'em...  Players tend to shy away from chasing draws in 2-4 also...  After the flop, the guy in the small-blind folds his hand.  At this point, the dealer pushes his cards back to him and tells him that he doesn't have to fold because no one has bet yet (by the way, THIS IS one of my MAJOR pet peeves at a poker table - I have lost before to hands that have been pushed back to players when they made miraculous catches.  Dealers, if a player, however inexperienced, wants to fold, TAKE THEIR HAND!).  The small blind insists on folding, so I go ahead and check.  The 4-seat then exclaims "Raise" - the dealer tells them that they can't raise because no one has bet - disappointed, they put 2 chips into the pot.  Being a strong 2-4 game, every ensuing player to act just calls the 2-dollar bet until the action returns to me, at which point I fold, JUST IN CASE a player at THIS 2-4 table actually has an ace.  There are now 6 players going to the turn (for those of you new to limit poker, the hint that this story has some fabrications is that NO ONE ever folds for 2 bucks in a limit game)...  The turn card is the 5h, and immediately the 4-seat says, "RAISE" - the dealer informs them again that they mean 'bet', and 4 chips go into the pot.  The 6 and 7 seats call, and then we wait on the 8-seat, who is staring at the board...  After a pause, the 8-seat asks the dealer, "whose turn is it?, and then calls the 4 dollars after being apprised of the situation.  The remaining 2 players call, so 6 players go to the river.  The river card is the 3d, giving us a final board of  As 4c 9s 5h 3d.  The 4-seat now decides to check their hand, the 6-seat bets 4 dollars, and then the 7-seat, with about 70 dollars of chips in front of them, announces, "ALL-IN!"  After being informed that they can only raise 4 dollars, the 7-seat just calls, naturally...  The 8-seat then goes into the tank for like 2 minutes, and then finally decides to fold their hand, which is totally understandable, seeing that they surely had an excruciating 4-dollar decision to make.  This was followed by calls from the 9 and 1 seats, and then the 4-seat, who had been betting-out and trying to raise throughout the hand, proceeds to fold, naturally.  Then at showdown, the 6-seat tables A 7.  The 7-seat, who had tried to shove, now folds without showing, seeing that the pair of aces has him beat...  The 9-seat says, "I've got that beat" before proudly tabling A K.  And then the 1-seat shows the winning hand, 7 2, for the 5-high straight.  At this point, the 9-seat is INCREDULOUS, and asks how the 1-seat could play 7 2.  "Well, I'm 27 years old, so it seemed like a lucky hand..."  The 9-seat responds with, "but how could you stay in after the flop?"  While raking in the pot, the 1-seat answers, "well, I only needed a 5 and a 3 to make a straight after the flop..."

I hope that you read the summary above with a grain of salt, because none of the scenario mentioned above would EVER HAPPEN in a 2-4 limit game...  ;)  Have a great day and I'll see you on Friday.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pray For The Teachers

Good morning everyone.  I was sitting in my apartment Saturday afternoon, having already taken my short post-work nap, killing the few hours before I went back to sleep, when I for some reason decided to open a twitter account right then...  I think that the twitter account will come in handy when I return to the desert, helping to notify people far and wide that I can be on the wrong side of a sports prediction...  :)  The bad thing about my timing is that my poker blogging friends (most of whom I have never met) are tweeting like a bunch of little baby birds about where they're going to meet up and play, who is going to treat who to dinner with their comps, and I'm NOT in Las Vegas...  #badbeat  Hopefully I put it in a place that you can't miss it, but my twitter handle is @desertcoach if any of you want to follow me.  I already have eleven followers, so you can see that I'm extremely popular...  :P  For any of you that do not already have a twitter account, you should check it out.  Getting an account opens up a whole new world to you, very similar to when you opened your facebook account (assuming that you're on facebook that is)...  :)  Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter...  I was watching this movie preview again last week when it struck me...  We are about to have a whole generation of children who believes that 'Honest Abe' hunted down and killed vampires...  "Johnny, who was Abraham Lincoln?"  Johnny doesn't even have to ponder this...  "Mr. Davis, he was the President who freed the slaves and killed the vampires!"  Outstanding...  Pray for the teachers...  Penn State...  What did you just think when you read the words 'Penn State'?  I think that negative legacy is going to stick with that university for a LONG TIME...  I'm seeing the rumor headlines on Yahoo! where Jerry Sandusky is thinking about appealing his conviction - guilty on 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse...  Mr. Sandusky, just GO AWAY where you belong...  Being a Red Sox fan, I have never been a big fan of Joe Maddon, the head coach of the Tampa Bay Rays.  Now I know why I had that read on him...  He had a pitcher who was tossed from a game last week for illegally using pine tar on his glove, and MADDON'S ISSUE was that the opposing manager had the umpires check the glove.  Never mind that Maddon's pitcher was CHEATING - that didn't phase Maddon...  It was reported that Maddon even went so far as to have the glove of the opposing team's pitcher checked later in the game (just for the sake of gamesmanship - his glove was legal).  Joe Maddon, one class act...  Brace yourselves - as the summer goes on, the next annoying issue with the NFL is going to be the chatter about this multi-BILLION dollar monster being unable to reach an agreement with its officials...  Yes, my fantasy baseball team is still sitting in 10th place in its 10-team league...  At this point I'm really thrilled that I dedicated a whole blog post to my fantasy baseball draft strategy...  :)  Just over one month until I move back to the desert.  In totally unrelated news, I have A LOT TO DO in the next month...  If any of you happen to be reading my blog for the first time today, this is my 'Monday ramble' - I do actually make use of paragraphs on Wednesdays and Fridays...  Sad day yesterday, as the Red Sox traded away Kevin Youkilis...  Have a great day and I will see you again on Wednesday with my 125th post at 'Bikini Hill'...  ;)

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Should Move To Las Vegas...

Good morning everyone.  I am awake thanks to the guy who is chipping away (literally) at the swimming pool at my complex that has been out of commission since the start of June, so it seems like now would be a good time to gloat...  As the pool is drained of the green water that has filled it for the past few weeks, I can drain the champagne bottles (imaginary) that I had on ice (also imaginary) after the Miami Heat downed the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games to win the NBA Title last night.  The many, many readers of this blog (two) probably thought that I was crazy when I predicted that the Heat would beat the Thunder in five games to win the trophy.  This is probably the proudest moment of the blog sportswise since I predicted that the Giants would beat the Patriots 24-21 in the most recent Super Bowl - Final Score:  Giants 21  Patriots 17.  My phone has literally been ringing off the hook this morning with calls from ESPN, Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated (actually, no one has called).  I have mentioned here in the past that one of the reasons that I started this blog (sportswise) was to give me a place to keep track of my predictions in case I did decide to move back to the desert - it gives me a good place to track my results (now a dog is barking at the guy chipping away at the pool)...  I honestly hope that I have a comparable rate of success betting sporting events in the upcoming year to match the frequency that I have had in calling games and series with success this year.  Sorry, maintenance just stopped by to change my air conditioning filter - I swear that it's like Grand Central Station around here this morning (okay, without the masses of humanity, and the smells, and the trains obviously, but otherwise, just like it)...

Where 'Bikini Hill' is sitting right now in relation to sports and Fridays is that you will be reading a little bit about baseball, and A LOT about FOOTBALL in the NEXT SEVEN MONTHS!!!  :)  During the month of July, one of my many projects in preparing for my move will be an IN-DEPTH STUDY of college and NFL football.  I will predict right now that I will be one of the most knowledgeable people that you know when it comes to the 124 FBS and 32 NFL teams for the 2012 season (at least I freakin hope so)...  ;)  Let me thank you again for stopping by my little piece of the internet.  The pageview counter to the right of my drivel is telling me that 'Bikini Hill' will very likely go over the 9,000 view mark this weekend, so to the two of you who have clicked on this website almost 4,500 times, keep up the good work!  When I get the chance to start exercising more next month, I may start posting my weight-loss results here on Fridays also.  I weighed 233 pounds on May 28th, and I'm trying to get that down to 215 by the end of July.  I stopped eating bread about ten days ago (but who is counting?), and I have not been a scale again because I want to get a chance to work out regularly first.  August is likely to go much more smoothly if I am in shape, and physical fitness seems like it should have something to do with sports, so you'll probably start seeing those updates here on Fridays in a couple of weeks.

I hope that you have a great weekend and I'll see you again on Monday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I Will Be Happy Just To Get To Bossier City...

Good afternoon everyone.  I think that it's a positive when other people are able to help you put things in perspective.  I ran into my brother in the facebook chat just a little while ago, and he let me know that he was monitoring the results of the WSOP online.  I told him that at that very moment I was trying to come up with something poker-related to post in my blog today.  I also mentioned that I can't go to the WSOP website too often because it just makes me wish that I was already back in the desert, and that I happen to have a lot of blogging friends who are making a trip out to Vegas this week (punks)...  Then my brother says, "I will be happy just to get to Bossier City..."  Checkmate!  You see, my brother and his family are also moving in a few months, and as I wrote here earlier, he is the one who brought me into a poker room for the first time.  It's hard for me to complain about the tick, tock, tick, tock of my own countdown when comparing the poker destinations that we will be moving to...

As I mentioned to my brother and have stated here before, it will be much easier for me to do my poker entries when I get back to Las Vegas, but I think (HOPE) that I have a few fresh topics to write about today.  If not, then just consider me in reruns...

I honestly don't remember if I posted about this hand before, but even if I did, retelling the story wouldn't be a crime because this is a story that I have told often when conversing with others.  I was playing at a 3/6 table at 'The Mirage' (shocker), and I was dealt pocket tens.  I don't remember if this hand was raised preflop, but I do remember that the flop came J 10 6.  And then I remember everyone at the table suddenly going NUTS with their betting and raising.  Let me mention right here that this table WAS NOT one of those tables where pots were bet and raised by maniacs at every opportunity.  However, everyone suddenly decided to go crazy on this hand.  Of all of the poker that I have ever played, live or online, for money or for free, and of all of the hands that I have seen on t.v., this is 1 of only 2 times that I can recall this happening.  I had flopped a set of tens.  Another player flopped a set of jacks, and YES, the third player flopped a set of 6's.  Set, over set, over set...  Guess who won the hand...  The guy who hit his open-ended straight draw...  Go figure...  :)

In another 3/6 game from 'The Mirage', I got involved in a hand with a female player who I had played with before.  She was a very solid player, a cocktail waitress at another casino if I remember correctly.  The last time that I saw her playing, she had actually graduated to 6/12 limit, which is a limit game that I have not ventured into (4/8 has been my highest limit action)...  We both raised preflop and ended up going against each other heads-up for the remainder of the hand.  As we proceeded through the hand, a king hit the board, and some other cards were flipped which in combination were scary for my hand.  By the river we were both CHECKING our hands, and I flipped over my pocket aces.  And then she flipper over..., HER POCKET ACES...  :)  In no-limit games the chips find their way to the middle pretty fast when aces meet aces, but it is a very interesting matchup in a limit game.

I think that I may have posted this piece of poker advice before, and if not, shame on me!  If there is one nugget of wisdom that I could pass on from all of my poker experience, this is it.  Whatever you do when you are seated at a poker table, DO NOT PLAY TIRED!!!  Going through my poker notes from previous sessions, this is REPEATEDLY the one notation written by my losing sessions.  You get ancy, you get irritated, you get impatient, and you make bad decisions when you are tired.  DO NOT PLAY TIRED!!!

I wish the best of luck to all of the poker bloggers who will be in the desert over the next few weeks - I hope that you CRUSH your games and tournaments.  For all of you who will not be too busy playing poker to stop by later this week, I will see you again on Friday.  Have a good one!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Dad Won The U.S. Open

Good morning everyone.  Let me start off this ramble right away by saying that my fantasy baseball team is still in 10th place in its 10-team league.  Enough said...  :)  Yesterday I had a very enjoyable Father's Day hanging out with my dad.  With the late start of the U.S. Open due to the fact that it was being held in San Francisco, it caused the golf tournament to run late into the third game of the NBA Finals, but that didn't matter because my dad was in the Open.  Well actually, he had not one, but a couple of golfers who started the day "in the hunt."  Yes, my dad is involved in fantasy golf and he is not actually Webb Simpson, but the tournament was interesting because Simpson, who started the day at +3, and then fell to +5, made a charge in the middle of his round and was near the top of the leaderboard for the rest of the day.  This had us rooting against every other player at the top of a crowded leaderboard.  Furyk hooks a drive at almost a 45-degree angle, Yeah!!  Golfer after golfer after golfer has their drive bounce and roll way off the green, YES!!  Westwood hits his ball up... INTO A TREE...  AWESOME!!  I don't golf very much myself, and I wouldn't call myself a golf expert, but I believe that it's a bad sign when a golfer is looking up into a tree with a pair of binoculars for his ball during a round...  Anyway, we had a great time watching as Simpson won his first major tournament and my dad picked up a fantasy win.  On the drive to hang out with my dad, I passed by a Golden Corral restaurant, and noticed that it had a "best buffet award" sign for the small city that it is located in.  This made me smile and got me thinking about Las Vegas.  I wonder what the odds would be in a Vegas sportsbook for a valley Golden Corral winning the best buffet award in the desert.  "And our finalists for the best buffet in Las Vegas ARE... (insert drumroll)...  The Bellagio (polite applause), The Rio (more polite applause), Aria (even more polite applause), AND...  (wait for it...), GOLDEN CORRAL!!!"  Yuck...  :)  I also passed a billboard in this city which I meant to comment on in an earlier ramble and just forget about.  They are trying to sell space on the billboard, so across the top in BIG letters it poses the question, "DOES ADVERTISING WORK?"  Underneath, in smaller letters, is the answer..., "It Just Did!"  A phone number is listed at the bottom, but my point is, advertising did NOT just work...  The billboard didn't convince me to BUY anything (which I'm pretty sure is the point of advertising) - all it proved is that I can read...  STUPID...    While I was hanging out with my dad yesterday talking about the past, I remembered a great story involving my brother.  Our parents divorced when we were younger, and upon remembering this story, I was pretty sure that my dad hadn't heard it.  Somehow the topic of attending school came up in the conversation that a small group of us were having.  I had to brag about the fact that I only missed 2 days of school total during all 4 years of high school.  I was really sick the first time, and the second time leads us to our story...  During my senior year of high school, when my brother was in the sixth grade, we were moving from one location in town to another on a Sunday night.  It was pretty late on Sunday night and I still hadn't done any of my homework, and then the power went out...  I don't remember what was due at school exactly, but I know that it was something pretty major, so I told my mom, "I can't go to school tomorrow because I haven't done any of my homework..."  And then my sixth grade brother chimes in, "IF HE'S NOT GOING, THEN I'M NOT GOING!!!"  :)  I hope that you have a great day and I'll see you again on Wednesday.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Letter To LeBron James


Good morning LeBron.  I wanted to make sure that you are aware of the fact that you have a great opportunity ahead of you this coming week.  I suspected that it was very possible for your basketball team to go into Oklahoma City and 'steal' a win in the first two games of the NBA Finals and that has happened.  Now your team is tied 1-1 with the Thunder and you have 3 home games in a row waiting for you in Miami. This exact scenario is the reason that I picked your team to win the NBA Title in five games.  You are playing a team that lost two games in San Antonio and barely won the third game there in the Western Conference Finals.  Saying that the Thunder were the beneficiaries of questionable officiating in the last round of the playoffs would be a MONUMENTAL understatement.  For some reason Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker do not seem to get the same calls from officials that you do, even though you have never won anything - I factored that into my prediction for the current series.  There was no way that Mr. Wade and yourself were going to get jobbed by the officials to the extent that the Spurs did.  I have to be honest with you LeBron - I want to see the Thunder win this series, but I did enjoy seeing Coach Brooks complaining to the officials last night when his team didn't get the same calls that they received against the Spurs - enjoyed that just a little I must admit...  Your repeated contact on Kevin Durant when he attempted to tie the game without a whistle - priceless...  Now you have a young and inexperienced Thunder team coming into your arena for three games.  If you take care of business, they won't make it out of the state of Florida for another basketball game this season.  The pressure is on them because they were inexplicably tabbed as the favorites for this series, with most of the 'talking heads' predicting that they would take the trophy, and now Russell Westbrook has to explain why he took 26 shots last night to score his 27 points when he's sharing the floor with Durant.  Oklahoma City has to deal with your team's outside shooting ability, which is opening a lot a room up for drives to the hoop.  Of course you must realize that the pressure is on you and your teammates also LeBron, in large part due to your bad decision to be part of an hour-long, self-centered spectacle called 'The Decision'...  The smokeshow and the dancing on the stage in Miami when you hit town didn't help you out a lot either.  Not expressing your appreciation to the fans in Cleveland and in the state of Ohio while putting them through 'The Decision' didn't help you out either.  "Taking your talents to South Beach"... - that didn't help you out a lot either...  I would suggest that if you and your teammates are successful in winning the title in the next week, you might want to show just a little bit of class in doing so.  There is no question that you are a very talented basketball player LeBron - you might want to work on taking your compassion to the next level.  Just remember that there will be people like me out there who will continue to say that you have NEVER WON ANYTHING if your let this opportunity slip through your hands, and I would be happy to do so for the reasons I just stated.  If you do manage to hoist the trophy, handle it with class.  Right, I've already covered that...  Have a great weekend and I'll see you again on Monday.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I Thought You Were Special

Good morning everyone.  Just a few loose ends to mention here before I talk a little bit about poker in Las Vegas.  For some reason (?????) I forgot to mention my tenth place fantasy baseball team again on Monday.  Tenth out of ten teams - you have to love consistency...  I will mention that my team had 4 stolen bases yesterday though (3 of them courtesy of a guy named Tony Campana, who I couldn't pick out of a lineup - a Chicago Cub if that helps you)...  Watching last night's opening game of the NBA Finals went something like this for me (keep in mind that I have no money on this series):  first half - "well, my prediction of the Heat in five games is looking pretty good right now";  second half - "well, I'm glad that the Heat are going to lose..."  I'm watching 'The Dan Patrick Show' right now and Charles Barkley is being interviewed.  Patrick just asked Barkley what worries him about the Heat after seeing last night's game.  Barkley responds, "LeBron don't have a lot of help right now.  He's like Michael Jackson playing with a bunch of Tito Jacksons..."  :)  I also wanted to say thanks here to the other bloggers who have given me 'links' (added me to the list of blogs that they read) - it's interesting to see the different places that 'Bikini Hill' is getting visitors from.

I wanted to type a little bit today about some of the people that I've seen while playing poker in Las Vegas.  Let me state right here (again) that I feel very strongly that if you are a poker player or fan, then you MUST go check out the WSOP if you are in Las Vegas while it is running at the Rio (through July 16th this summer).  You don't even have to enter an event or sit down in a cash game - you just need to check it out.  With that being said, at the WSOP you will see MANY pro poker players (DUH!!!) and celebrities, and I'm obviously omitting them from my blog today because of course you're going to run across them at the Rio, and I saw a ton of them while I worked the WSOP, and later during visits there when I wasn't working it.  The thrust of this blog entry is people that I have sat at the table with, or have seen in the poker room playing at other tables in Las Vegas.  I'm hoping that some of you readers will come in and comment about people that you have seen in poker rooms in various places.

When I started playing poker in the desert I played some sessions downtown at the Golden Nugget.  I don't know if they still run the promotion, but at the time you could get a buffet comped there if you played for four hours (for those of you who might not be hardcore poker players, it is rare for poker players to receive comps - 'free stuff' - that compares to what the gamblers receive playing games in other parts of the casino).  I personally liked their breakfast buffet because they have the deal where the chef prepares your omelet to order and they also had a lot of fresh fruit.  Anyway, I was playing in a 2/4 or 4/8 limit game at the Nugget when I glanced at another table and I SWEAR that I saw... Lou Diamond Phillips??? there...  This registered for me because it was the first time that I saw a celebrity in a poker room in Vegas.  I saw where he went to sit, and I could see him playing at his table from where I was playing, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Okay, I played A LOT of 3/6 limit poker at the Mirage when I first started...  These sightings won't be in any particular order...  I was sitting at a table during football season, it seems it was on a Saturday when college games were on the t.v.'s, and I was seated by a guy who had a sling on his arm.  We had been playing for a few hours and we started talking, and I come to find out that this guy is Dave Burba, a major-league pitcher.  Burba has played for several teams for those of you who aren't familiar with him, and he was unsure of this status for the upcoming season due to the arm surgery.  I was surprised initially that he was playing 3/6 limit, but a lot of people just play to have fun/blow-off steam.  I try to win money EVERY TIME that I sit at a poker table (TRY), so this seems a little weird to me...  I have been told on NUMEROUS occasions that Bill Gates has been seen playing 3/6 limit at the Mirage...  It seems like it was about 3:00 in the morning another time when I saw 'Webster' strolling through the Mirage poker room on his way out (Emmanuel Lewis played 'Webster' on t.v. a long, long time ago)...  I remember sitting a Mirage table another time with Susie Issacs.  Ms. Issacs is one of the 'first ladies' of poker.  She has written poker books, played for a long time, etc..., and I did already know who she was at the time because I remembered how surprised that I was that she was sitting at a 3/6 limit table...  I didn't ask her why she was playing that game (probably because of fish like me), but she was very friendly to the people who recognized her and approached her.  I remember another time when I was sitting in the 2 or 3 seat with the 'rail' immediately behind me, my back to the sportsbook and the California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage, when I happened to look behind me, turned back toward my table, and then attempted to get whiplash as my head IMMEDIATELY shot back around to get another look at the two BEAUTIFUL ladies whose conversation had caused me to turn around in the first place.  In one of my many not-so-shy moments, I apologized tongue-in-cheek for whipping my head around so fast, and they explained good-naturedly that they were in town for the Adult Film Awards...  :)

On that note I will wish you a great day and will see you again on Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

"Uh, No..."

Good afternoon everyone.  I've had WAY TOO BUSY of a day so far considering that it's my only day off this week and that it is the anniversary of the day that I graduated from high school a long, long, long time ago...  Haircut, bank, electric bill, Nike outlet store, phone bill, bookstore...  The Nike trip and the bookstore turned out to be a bunch of 'window shopping' mostly because my conscience got the best of me (I have to save my money for the move), and I got out of the two stores only blemished with the wristband that I bought at Nike.  Interesting (maybe) note:  When I started playing online poker, I began wearing a wristband anytime that I use my computer due to moving and clicking the mouse so often - that habit has stuck with me and I am now on my third wristband...  I'm going to get into this ramble with an apology to the baseball fans of LSU for a comment that I made on my facebook page this weekend.  While watching the 'super regional' from Baton Rouge on Saturday, the Tigers' fans were mercilessly booing the umpires on a call that an umpire got correct (see, I give officials their props when they get it right)...  ;)  An LSU baserunner was called out at second base after being tagged out by Stony Brook on a pitch that was actually ball four to the batter.  The problem was that the Tiger baserunner overslid second base (touching it, and then losing contact with it), so the free base that he was entitled to with the walk was moot when he broke contact with the bag, and he was clearly tagged out before he could re-establish contact.  Your friend 'Coach' made a comment on his facebook page to the effect of, "LSU baseball fans need to learn something about..., baseball...".  Well, last night when I returned home from work, I was watching the highlights of the third and deciding game in the super regional (LSU has always advanced to the College World Series when hosting a super regional).  Well, Stony Brook pulled of the upset of the Tigers and will be heading to Omaha, but the LSU fans seated along the wall, in a VERY CLASSY move, were high-fiving the celebrating kids from Long Island and they took a victory lap around the ballpark.  Very nice gesture...  With a lot of my last post focusing on the officiating in the Spurs/Thunder game six, it should be obvious to you that I cannot prove collusion by the NBA and its officials and I just said that the calls looked really suspect...  Speaking of really suspect, there was a Welterweight title fight in Las Vegas this past weekend...  I did not see the fight, but the OVERWHELMING public opinion is that Manny Pacquiao was robbed when he lost a split-decision to underdog Timothy Bradley in a fight that took place at MGM over the weekend.  Tsk, tsk, tsk...  Since we seem to be on the topic of sports, let me update my predictions and give you my call on the upcoming NBA Finals.  First to the world of hockey, where my New Jersey Devils (mine, because I predicted them to beat the Kings in seven games for the Stanley Cup) are now playing a HUGE game six in Los Angeles tonight.  If the Devils can somehow manage to win this game and erase the 3-0 deficit they were saddled with, and take this series back to New Jersey for a seventh game...  :)  That game will be shown on NBC at 7:00 CST tonight for you hockey fans.  In the world of basketball, I predicted that the San Antonio Spurs would defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, and as you surely know by now, it was the Thunder downing the Spurs in a half-dozen games.  I was correct on my Eastern Conference prediction, down to the game, as the Heat eliminated the Celtics in seven games.

2012 NBA Finals     -----     Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Miami Heat

My Prediction      ------     Heat in 5 games

Just as I said about my Devils prediction against a red-hot L.A. Kings team, this prediction is also a hunch.  If you know me at all, you know that I will be rooting for the Thunder in this series.  I am not a LeBron James fan thanks to 'the decision' and the inane smokeshow introduction of the Heat's 'Big Three' when James arrived in Miami.  That being said, I still do not like the fact that OKC has so many young, inexperienced players.  Wade and James have been in the league for a lot of big games, and Wade has even won some...  :P  Okay, so has James.  I think that the experience of the Heat and the outside shooting ability of Wade and James (which the Spurs were SORELY missing in the last series - successful outside shooting) will test the Thunder.  If the Heat can steal one game in Oklahoma, and then return to Miami for three straight games, I think that it might be done - we will see...  Game one of that series is tomorrow night.

For those diehard ramble fans reading this, sorry about the extra paragraphs (Merry Christmas Grrouchie!). Chris Mannix, a writer for, was the guest host on 'The Dan Patrick Show' this morning.  One of his interviews was Rex Ryan, the head coach of the New York Jets.  Since Mannix was going to be interviewing Mark Paul Gosselaar (a former star on 'Saved By The Bell') later in the morning, Mannix asked Ryan, "did you watch 'Saved By The Bell'?"  Ryan's response - "Uh, no..."  CLASSIC...  :)  Ryan was also asked during the interview about his weight-loss...  Ryan has dropped over 90 pounds, going from 350 to 257...  Being the anniversary of the day that I graduated from high school, this got me thinking...  I remember growing up when we were taught that the United States was going to convert to the metric system.  Obviously, we never have, but I can tell you one thing FOR SURE - Americans completely understand what pounds are...  I hope that you have a great day and I'll see you again on Wednesday.


Friday, June 8, 2012


Good morning everyone.  It's in the wee hours of the morning here in San Marcos, America, and I thought that I would do this post now so that I can sleep in until my alarm goes off for work if I choose.  As a Spurs fan, I am obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game played Wednesday night, and not just because Oklahoma City has a good ballclub.  Let me repeat that - the Thunder are a very talented basketball team.  It really became difficult to watch the final game of that series because the officiating was so obviously one-sided and eventually decided the outcome of the game and the series.  The calls made in the second half of that game were of the, "well I wonder if this game is fixed and David Stern would rather see a young up-and-coming Thunder team in the Finals, as opposed to a Spurs team that doesn't draw high ratings when they win the championship variety...".  There was the call when Manu Ginobili was driving across the top of the lane, Kevin Durant slid in front of him, hit Ginobili while still sliding, the shot went in the basket, and then a CHARGE was called...  Then there was the call when Ginobili hit the Spur in the corner off the left baseline, got run into by James Harden, Harden flopped, and Ginobili was hit with another offensive foul as the Spurs' three-pointer ripped through the net (five points and a free-throw taken away to this point)...  There was the offensive rebound under the basket when Westbrook whacked the Spur across the face, the Spur lost the ball out of bounds, and nothing was called, except Thunder basketball...  BRUTAL...

I think I mentioned this in an earlier post, but officiating is a real concern when I consider the amount of sports betting that I plan on doing when I return to the desert.  It was just a few days ago that I heard the NFL's officials are having a labor dispute with the league, and that the league has publicly stated that it is prepared to lock them out and use replacement officials this year if an agreement cannot be reached.  ESPN reported this move was likely made because there was the threat of a walkout by the league's officials in October, once the season has already started.  It's hard enough watching sports with the "good" officials sometimes, isn't it?

I missed the Spurs/Thunder prediction, calling the Spurs in six games, and my other two current playoff predictions are still ongoing.  I called the Heat in seven games over the Celtics, and they are returning to Miami for the seventh and deciding game Saturday.  I think the James just scored on the Celtics again....  I called the Devils over the Kings in seven games in the Stanley Cup Finals, and the Devils have the Kings right where they want them, only needing to win three more games in a row to completely overcome the 3-0 deficit they began the series with...

The officiating from the other night brought to mind a few stories from my coaching past that I wanted to share with you.  Right as I was getting into coaching, this as a volunteer with summer softball leagues that my sister participated in, a popular chant when fans were upset with calls by the umpires was "TSO, TSO, TSO!!!"  For those of you who don't live in Texas, that would be 'Texas State Optical'...  :)  As a basketball coach, the question that I had most often from the bench in varsity games (which use three officials in most cases) was, "THREE OF YOU DIDN'T SEE THAT?!"  Game six of the Spurs/Thunder series brought that one to mind...  Once when I was on the bench as an assistant coach, my head coach was yelling at the official, "WHERE'S YOUR WHISTLE, WHERE'S YOUR WHISTLE?!!"  The official, running by our bench, stopped, turned to face our coach, blew their whistle, called a technical foul on our coach, and responded, "there's your whistle..."

It's so good to have a place to vent...  :)  I hope that you have a great weekend and I'll see you again on Monday.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Neon Lights

"You belong to the city, You belong to the night, Livin' in a river of darkness, Beneath the neon lights..."
-Glenn Frey- (You Belong To The City)

Good morning everyone.  I'm about 60% of the way through this stretch of 4 off-days that have been bestowed upon me, and as you can see if you're a regular visitor to 'Bikini Hill', yesterday I put some of that time into changing the layout of my little blog.  I was curious as to why I had never noticed the 'option' for displaying the list of blogs that I follow on my own blog page, so I started snooping around...  I obviously discovered how to do that, giving some long overdue recognition to the group of blogs that I enjoy visiting.  I was also successful in finding a pageview counter, so there is a slight threat that my blog may someday creep into the 21st century...   

When I was in high school and first heard the Glenn Frey song leading off today's entry, I was instantly hooked.  I made a comment in my last blog entry endorsing the start of summer school in San Marcos, America.  I am just not a big fan of things being completely quiet.  This is a LOCK:  Las Vegas, America is not completely quiet...  If you have ever been to Las Vegas and have been out and about at night, you can look up the complete lyrics to this song, and as you read through them it will be easy to visualize different parts of the city to accompany the lyrics.  I am personally looking forward to cruising the Strip on my way to a sportsbook or a poker room.

This is going to be a long two months of waiting poker wise - everytime that I look at the World Series of Poker website (, I just wish that I was already out in the desert.  Later during this month and at some point in July, many of the poker bloggers I follow are going to be meeting up in Vegas and writing about their adventures.  Posting specifically about poker and/or Las Vegas only once every three times that I write here, I wonder if this group would only let me participate in 1 out of every 3 games that they play, and only let me dine with them every third time that they get together to eat...  "Okay Coach, so we'll see you tomorrow afternoon for the 1/2 cash game at BSC, and then the next morning for breakfast..."  And I'd be like, "but, but....."  :(  Obviously, I sincerely hope that this group of poker-playing writers has a great trip to the desert.  

Let me mention here that as I'm typing this entry, I'm watching the movie 'Avatar' for the very first time (on cable), and it hasn't been completely horrible...

Neon lights...  I was recalling some of the places in Las Vegas that I remember fondly.  I like seeing the neon of the 'Rio' because that's where I got my first job in Las Vegas (as a chip-runner).  It is also the host of the WSOP.  I also like seeing the lights of the 'Mirage' (in addition to the spacious fish tank behind the check-in desk) because that is one of my favorite poker rooms to play in.  The same goes for the lights of 'Red Rock' - a very nice 'locals casino' with a very spacious poker room.  The beam shooting skyward from 'Luxor' is very impressive.  The lights of downtown and Fremont Street overlook a very unique part of the city.  

Eight weeks.......  Have a great day and I'll see you again on Friday.  And any positive karma that you can send my Spurs tonight would be greatly appreciated...  ;)  



Monday, June 4, 2012

Four Slices Of Bread

Good morning everyone.  I have to admit that one thing that I like very much about the Monday rambles here on 'Bikini Hill' is that I can write about ANYTHING...  I do have the majority of the next four days off, and at some point I will manage to completely wipe clean the dry-erase boards that are hanging on the wall to the left of me.  Right now they are both FILLED with random plans and to-do lists and things that I need to buy, etc..., which in my opinion is hurting the quality of these Monday posts because I was able to actually write down things that I wanted to include in the rambles before the boards became filled with the nonsense of my life.  The countdown is now at EIGHT weeks...  :)  In a happy coincidence, while my computer was running a virus-scan, I went to the store and found 'Phil Steele's College Football 2012 Preview' and 'Pro Football Weekly Preview 2012'...  I now have the "books" necessary to do my homework over the next couple of months before returning to the desert.  Although I have many things to accomplish over this rare stretch of off-days, do not bet against me taking a peek or two into these magazines...  Phil Steele's magazine is 344 pages long (he puts this on the front of the magazine - I didn't go through and count the pages).  The interesting thing that he mentions in the foreword is that he personally writes the team preview for every major college (which is over 120) - pretty impressive.  The fantasy baseball team is still in 10th place (I'm not forgetting to mention them in the ramble THIS WEEK).  As an example of how the first couple of months of the season have gone for me, I dropped Miami Marlins closer Heath Bell last week because he has really been struggling to this point.  From the start of April, he had seven total saves for the season before I dropped him.  After I dropped Bell, he had three saves LAST WEEK...  GRRRRRR...  The silver lining (?) is that because my team is currently the worst in the league, I had the first pick on the waiver wire, so I added him back to my frustrating team...  Plenty of sports to watch on t.v. over my days off...  The Spurs/Thunder series and the third and fourth games of the Stanley Cup Finals will both be airing tonight and Wednesday.  Both NBA Conference Finals series are now tied at 2-2, which will make this week very exciting for basketball fans.  I have decided and am committed to losing some weight before I move back to Vegas.  This is a great idea because I will probably gain at least five pounds during the drive out there...  Having lost weight successfully in the past, I know that cutting down on the consumption of bread and pasta (two things that I LOVE) makes losing weight so much easier.  With that being said, I'm hopeful that the loaf of bread sitting on top of my refrigerator will be the last that I buy before moving.  The "loaf" overlooking my kitchen now consists of only four slices of bread...  :(  When I "weighed-in" last week, I tipped the scales at 233 pounds, and my goal is to be down to at least 215 before I make the trek westward - wish me luck...  If you haven't watched 'Mad Men' yet, pencil in some time to catch at least a couple of episodes if you are looking for a way to fill some time- it's a pretty smart t.v. show...  People, the word is SANDWICH, not sammich...  Also, stop letting others get away with the MONUMENTAL OVERUSE of the word "legendary" - I keep seeing this in advertisements...  I found some common ground at work this week on a subject that I don't understand - the popularity of Ashton Kutcher...  I've never "got it" as to why people think he's entertaining.  Let me add Ben Stiller and Jimmy Kimmel to that list while I'm at it.  And the 'Austin Powers' franchise - I can't watch even five minutes of any of those movies...  (I toyed around with the idea of doing what some fellow bloggers have done, which is a list of 25 things that you don't know about me - the previous "mystery" as to the popularity of those actors and that movie franchise was just something that I would have put on that list)...  Today is the first day of summer school for the college students of San Marcos, America - this should successfully restart the town's heartbeat for my last two months here.  This will be a welcome change since I am not a big fan of "quiet" - I would much rather be where things are happening...  I hope that you have a great Monday and I will see you again on Wednesday.