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!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

December, Really?

Good morning everyone.  In case no one's ever told you, time flies my friends.  Tomorrow is December 1st, 2017.  The first day of December.  You've got to be kidding...  Things are going pretty well for me in my life right now (you'd already know that if I wrote more often).  I've been back in Las Vegas for just over 18 months, and I have a job that I love, writing race and sports tickets for Caesar's Entertainment.  Who would've guessed that a coach would enjoy working in a sportsbook???  :)  This is my second football season at work, and it seems that our most busy chunk of the year takes place from September Thanksgiving.  Of course we have other busy weekends during the year (Super Bowl, March Madness, the big horse races), but regarding a big block of time, we start to slow down a bit during the holiday season.  Conversely, I've found myself playing very little poker during this time of the year, but I'm looking forward to spending more time at the tables in the near future.

Speaking of poker, one of my favorite poker players visited town recently (I'm trying to convince Courtney that she needs to visit Las Vegas during the World Series of Poker and play in the Women's Event this summer), and I was able to watch her win some cash in the Flamingo nightly tournaments over the course of a couple of days.

I met Courtney several years ago through Spadeclub, an online poker site that is similar to the current WPT site, and when I thought back on it, I realized that Courtney was the one who initially let me know about the existence of the Winstar Casino in Oklahoma.  A fellow Texan, Courtney lives much closer to Oklahoma that I did in San Marcos or Austin, and she is able to take advantage of her proximity to the cardrooms in Oklahoma.  Recently I've started studying my backlog of poker materials again, and watching Courtney play succeeded in getting me just a little more amped up for my serious return to the tables.

The last time that I wrote about anything here was just before my birthday, which means that I've been holding onto this little gem for a while.  Like most people, I was looking forward to going out and having a nice meal for my birthday, while hoping for more prosperity and bigger and better things in the year to come.  Ali, one of my friends from work, found this little treasure and gave it to me on my birthday weekend...

My first reaction was that I'd never seen such an extravagant post-meal 'wipe," and then of course I chided Ali for not bringing me a "Post-Lobster WIPE DOWN," which seems to promise more optimism for the future than it's chicken counterpart...  :)  Truth be told, I eat some form of chicken almost everyday...

Speaking of birthdays, I've waited so long to write this post that it's already this youngster's special day...

Eileen was a high school classmate of mine in New Hampshire, and she recently crossed the country with her husband Darren (both pictured above) to do a little networking and have some fun in the desert.  Although we hadn't seen each other since we were in high school ten years ago (ha ha ha), I thought it was pretty cool that Eileen and I picked right up like we see each other on a daily basis.  Acutally, Eileen looks like she could be at her ten-year reunion, and as for me..., well...,

Have a great birthday Eileen!  :)

While we were up on the 50th floor of the Rio, I pointed out to Eileen and Darren the convention halls where the World Series of Poker is held every summer.  It's now going on fifteen years when my brother first brought me to the Bellagio to see the start of the $25,000 buy-in Main Event of the Five-Diamond Poker Classic, which is the annual capstone event of the WPT (World Poker Tour) season.  After railing the action til the first break, Pete took me to the Mirage, where I promptly lost $337 in six hours in my first live casino poker session, and I was hooked...  :)  Anyway, the WPT is back in town, and on Tuesday I'm probably going to go rail the first day of this year's Five Diamond Main Event.  Like I said my friends, time flies...  Have a great weekend, and I'll see you soon!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Almost Half A Century

Good evening everyone.  I think that I've finally adjusted to my new schedule at work since the start of the football season, and hopefully that will bring you more posts to read.  The football season brings more business in, and it also changes our operating hours.  Today is my "Saturday" now that I'm off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.  I'm currently tuned into the first game of a hockey doubleheader as I begin typing for you.  I've been a fan of the Montreal Canadiens probably for longer than most of you have been alive, although they've admittedly been the least-followed of my favorite teams (Red Sox, Steelers, Spurs) due to more limited televesion coverage throughout my lifetime.  However, living in Las Vegas and working in a sportsbook, I've pretty much decided that I'm adopting a second-favorite hockey team, as the Golden Knights drop the puck on their inagural home-opener in the next couple of hours.  Anyway, the Canadiens are up 1-0 on the Blackhawks right now, and Vegas hosts the Coyotes after this game.

Almost half a century...  I'll be starting my 50th year on the planet as I turn 49 years-old on Friday the 13th.  When I was younger (in my teens, etc...), I could never envision even living into my thirties.  It's funny how your perspective changes over time.  When you're a teenager, a 50 year-old is OLD...  Now that I'm almost 50, it really doesn't seem that old.  Okay, well it kinda does...  :)  Regarding writing more blog entries, I could probably become a hermit and still have enough material to write for at least the next ten years.  I've had a pretty full life to this point.  :)  Surely in an effort to honor me, my alma mater has a nationally televised football game on the eve of my birthday Thursday night.  Unfortunately, Texas State won't be playing the game in San Marcos, which is the one thing that would make it better.  Well, and winning of course.  I believe that we're currently about a two-touchdown underdog to Lafayette.  In the midst of my not writing anything here since late August, I neglected the 6th birthday of this blog, as the first entry posted here came on September 28th, 2011.  I remember that day well, as I had kicked around the idea of starting a blog for a little while, and then I just happened to dive into Google's 'Blogger' for a couple of hours, investigating and choosing my layout, design, settings, etc..., and then I suddenly had a blog.  With this post or the next, this little blog will have been seen over 120,000 times, and that number will skyrocket if I dedicate myself to writing again.  

Football and playing poker are the types of things that cause me to write less, so life isn't exactly horrible for me when I'm not writing, but I'd still like to post more.  In the past, I've played in several freeroll tournaments at the Flamingo (you play 12 hours of poker in a week, which gives you a free entry into that week's tournament).  However, I recently realized that working until 11:00 on Thursday night, and then having to wake up at 8:00 a.m. to be on the Strip until after midnight (morning poker tournament, followed by work) is probably not a very bright idea.  Anyway, not having to chase those twelve qualifying hours every week, and just playing when I choose to, that should probably enable me to write a little more.

Another thing that I should be doing more is exploring this great city.  It's been almost a year and a half since I've returned to Las Vegas, and I STILL haven't made a trip downtown to Fremont Street.  You have no doubt seen the news recently and heard about the senseless shootings that took place here just over a week ago.  That tragic night actually opened my eyes to how great a place this city can be.  As the news coverage began hitting the airwaves, reporters had to convey the message from police that people should avoid going to the Strip, because concerned citizens were arriving to offer help in any way that they could.  Blood banks had lines of people waiting to donate the next day before the doors were even open.  People used pickup trucks and SUV's to rush wounded and injured concert-goers to hospitals because the local EMS units were so overwhelmed.  Over ten million dollars had been raised in seemingly the snap of a finger to help victims of this tragedy, and there's no telling how high that number is now.  The site of the memorial to the shooting victims has literally blossomed with flowers, cards, and other expressions of love.  As numb as I felt in the aftermath of last Sunday night, the response of the people of this city has just been phenominal.  All I'm saying is that I need to pull myself away from the television and poker tables more and just get out and enjoy this city.  

I'm going to stop here for now, but I want to say thank you again for following this blog, and I'll try to do better in the future...  Until next time, have a great week!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Outer Space

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Fishing For Clouds

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


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

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

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

Congratulations on your great finish Chris!

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Poker Season

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

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

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

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


Thursday, May 18, 2017

They're Back...

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

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

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

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Hoops, Chips, & Broken Ice

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

A Whole Two Months

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Black Old Man Shoes

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

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

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






and Michaela.

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Hello Again

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

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

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

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

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

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