Happy summer, everybody!
This is the time of year when I exhale and relax, enjoying a little respite from work while making all kinds of plans for what I'll do over the next 3 months... half of which I never get around to. One of those things is to play some poker! I've had a few opportunities lately - there's a home game around, and there's a poker room about an hour and a half north of me - but neither is as convenient as things were back in Chicago. So I was glad when the old online league I played in came back to life. (It had gone under when Full Tilt tanked). We're not playing for league points yet (as far as I'm aware) - just random tourneys - but I'm glad it's back.
One challenge I'm finding, though, is that I don't seem to have the attention span for online games that I used to. During last night's game, I went against my better judgement and called all in on a double gutshot straight flush draw with 1 card to come. Hey, my mac n cheese was almost ready, and the game was getting in the way of the Runner's World article I was trying to finish! Luckily for my distractions, I busted out.
I'm hoping to at least get up to Hollywood for some table time a couple times this summer. I'd love to make it up to Atlantic City, but I'm about to take trip #2 of 3 (which means, leaving the cats alone and paying a cat sitter). This generally results in some form of destruction of my house, as the cats get pretty mad when I leave them for so long. So I don't think a fourth trip is in the cards this summer (because I would want to spend at least 4 days in AC). I haven't ruled it out, though. The magic 8 ball just says, doubtful.
I will officially kick off my version of summer this weekend seeing Dave Matthews Band at SPAC! There will be camping and good times involved. And when I get back... maybe some poker. :)
Guess what? I played poker! Wheee!
Last weekend, I checked out the poker room at Hollywood Casino @ Charles Town Races in Charles Town, West Virginia. It's about an hour and a half from my house. On Saturday night and part of Sunday, I played $1/2NL. The rest of Sunday, I played $3/6 limit. Then I went back Monday afternoon after work and got seated at an insane $1/2NL table and quickly switched over to $3/6.
The verdict: decent room. Coffee/soda/water and well drinks are free (nice that there's some free booze, even though I don't usually drink when I play). Dealers for the most part were good, if a little slow. They don't strongly enforce things like English-only at the table, or one-player-per-hand, which got a little annoying. But I didn't see any mistakes in the hands or pot calculations/etc. There's a small selection of items available for table-side dining (none vegetarian that I could tell, though they don't have a menu - the waitress just recites everything). Drink service was fast most of the time.
The drive is a bit of a bummer compared to the days when I was 15 minutes from the poker room, but I often opted to drive an hour over to the Indiana boats anyway, so it's not much worse than I'm used to, either. I'm just glad there's a reasonable option!
The only downside on top of the drive is that they don't accept call-in's for seating. The wait for a seat has been 30 minutes or so (even on Monday).
With the exception of the insane 1/2 table I was at for all of 5 minutes, the games are soft soft soft! Back in IN, the 3/6 limit game in particular was usually full of rocks just grinding out their chances at the bad beat jackpot. In WV, it was more of the, 8-people-to-every-flop kind of game... just the way I like it!
With this new addition to my recreational options, I think I may have to fire up my old poker tracking spreadsheet!
I've also been invited to a local home game this weekend. Man, I miss home games!
So as spring starts springing, I gladly welcome poker back into my life. :)
WPBT event #6 for me. The art of the Trip Report is lost on me these days.
I used to write very detailed trip reports (because I used to take copious notes whenever I attended poker-related events). These days, not so much. Couple that with the fact that I have a terrible memory (I blame the advent of multitasking and habitually splitting focus amongst 12 different things instead of honing in on one), and you have a recipe for disastrously empty trip reports.
But don't think that'll stop me from trying to write one. :-D
Day 1.... Friday
Yeah, Friday. For those that missed it, I moved half way across the country and started a new job this past August, and I wasn't feeling up to requesting time off work for a weekend of qualifying for the #degenerate hashtag, so I didn't make the typical Thursday pilgrimage. That means, I missed the reunion at the Sherwood Forest bar, for which I am truly bummed.
So, a day late, I hopped a plane from DC to San Francisco. Paid an extra $60 for "economy plus" seating on United (touting up to 5" extra legroom - and they weren't lying. Legroom was nice). Of course, as my luck had it, the plane was half empty and I had the whole row to myself anyway.
I had hoped to accomplish 2 things on the plane: sleep, and get some grading done. I was on the road by 4am to get to the airport for my 9am flight (2 hour drive from the Shenandoah Valley to DC/Dulles), so I was beat. I passed out before we even took off (and slept through take-off - crazy!), but unfortunately woke up about 15 minutes into the flight and never fell back to sleep. Fail. I also wasn't in the mood to grade anything. Instead, I read the last couple hundred pages of Steve Jobs' biography (SO. FRIGGIN. GOOD).
The next leg of travel was from SFO to Las Vegas. Is it just me, or are United regular economy seats actually smaller than Southwest's? I swear they must be. Holy claustrophobia, Batman. Flight was packed but fine.
Arrived at LAS and hopped the shuttle to Aria. April (Maine!) and Maura and Michelle were kind enough to wait for me to arrive and check in and change clothes (which took for-ev-er due to the slow shuttle and my gawking at the room at Aria... and pressing buttons). We headed out to the Fashion Show Mall, which surprisingly just seemed like a regular mall. There was, however, a California Pizza Kitchen, and that turned into a delicious dinner (complete with the most crazy good mac and cheese balls - thanks Michelle! - and conversations about everything other than balls). What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, people.
I was also treated to a warm-up poker beverage by Maura, who is responsible for the awesome caboose bounty that I gave away this year. (See Falstaff or BrainMc for its significance - though Falstaff might not remember. There were a lot of pitchers involved at the Geisha bar that year). My other bounty was the infamous Wild Turkey shooter, which has passed through many WPBT blogger hands over the years, including OhCaptain and Dr Pauly. They were the only two present of the list of previous bloggers to covet the bottle, so I had them sign the matboard of the shadow box frame I mounted it in (thanks to the TSA for tearing the frame apart, screwing up the mounting, and cracking the glass). If you're a previous winner of the Wild Turkey bottle, see Chilly's friend next year to sign it. He promised me he'd be back with it.
After the mall, I headed down to the Aria poker room to find some bloggers. I'm not into mixed games, but a new blogger NLHE table was starting up, and I scored a seat there. Eventually both April's where there (former CA April and Now In CA April). Huge thanks to the latter for her mad prowess at herding cats and organizing the WPBT weekend, once again.
Not much was happening poker-wise, until Lightning felted me. Queen high flushes would become my weekend nemesis. The nuts! Good hand, sir!
There was a bit of a congregation going on at the Skybox bar next door to the poker room, so I played social butterfly for a little bit (and had the first of many conversations with BrainMc that somehow neither of us would be able to remember). Greeted Iggy and Pauly and Kat and assorted others.
After that, I hit the hay! It was only 1am Vegas time, but I had been up for nearly 24 hours at that point, and I'M OLD, PEOPLE. And I love to sleep. So I called it a night and crashed out in the most awesome hotel room ever.
Day 2... Saturday
I discovered the hard way that the magic computer box in the Aria room that looks like an alarm clock and acts like an alarm clock doesn't actually buzz. It can turn on the TV or lights or open the curtains or change the room temperature at any time you specify, but it doesn't buzz. I set it for 9:45am expecting it to wake me up by buzzing, and... nope. Good thing I woke up anyway. How can such a high tech room not have standard alarm clock functionality?
Off to the Aria Buffet with April, Maura, and Michelle. Yum. So much good food. Pancakes, cheese blintzes, and pesto pizza. Livin' the good life.
We snuck out of the buffet one at a time to go register for the WPBT tournament, just in case breakfast ran late. I ran into Poker Geek but was on my way back up to scarf down breakfast, and sadly that's the last I saw of him all weekend! So that sucked - sorry for bailing so fast! I also bailed on metsfan at another point (due to an urgent call of nature), and didn't end up seeing him later either. So to you boys and all of the others I only got to hang with in passing, my apologies!
The tournament was uneventful on my end. I was surprisingly not nervous (I usually am). Maybe I knew subconsciously that I'd be out soon :) I did go into it thinking I either want to bust out early or go all the way, because being the first 3-time WPBT Bubble Girl just didn't sound like a title I wanted. I was pretty card dead, and lo and behold, the Queen high flush came back to bite me in the ass again. Chilly's friend, this time, held the nuts, and knocked me out. (He went on to finish 2nd in the tournament, I believe, so at least my chips went to good use). I did get to see rcfox, which was a nice surprise! Also got to chat running with Dr. Chako, which is one of my favorite topics of convo.
I hung around the Losers' Lounge (aka the rail) for a while, then took off in search of more poker. The list at Aria was ridonkulous, so I walked over to Monte Carlo. Unfortunately, the average age in the poker room at that time appeared to be about 30 years my senior, so I left without sitting down.
Just then, a tweet came in from maigrey, who informed me that she was riling up a blackjack table at Monte Carlo. Once she vowed to help me out (I haven't played blackjack in years and have long since forgotten most of the rules), I agreed to play. I stalked her out and found a lively table at her command. Things were great, until that toxic woman came to deal! (I remember her name, but I don't want to be mean and post it... heh. I'm so lame). Man. Get. Her. Off. This. Table. We praised our male dealer every time he came back to save us (ironically, I can't remember his name). I won back all of my poker losses to that point, plus some. I think I like blackjack! It was a really fun table, and we were even graced by the presence of Drizz for a brief moment in time, but he vanished as quickly as he appeared.
Eventually, it was time for food, so I tagged along with maigrey, Chilly, Katitude, and [god help me I can't remember who else]. We headed to some cowboy themed place in Monte Carlo. There were cowboys. And line dancers. And college football. Chilly did some 'splainin to help me understand college football playoffs and overall conference organization, now that I'm rooting for a college team (GO DUKES!). Sadly, the Dukes had been knocked out of the playoffs that day. Boo. We had a good run.
Then, again out of nowhere, Drizz arrived, and we all fed him table scraps like he was a DrizzPup. Good times.
Determined to play more poker (now that I live so far away from any live poker options... I needed to get my fix!), I conned BrainMc and OhCaptain and Numbono to join me at the Imperial Palace poker room. (Again, I totally can't remember who else joined us. I suck). My luck wasn't any better at Teh Poker, but we sure had a good time! :) There was a crazy CanAsian guy (*term copyright BrainMc. Definition: a Canadian Asian) in the ten seat that was playing like a total happy-go-lucky maniac. He ran his $200 up to $900 before felting out, all within an hour or so's time. He bought the table a round of Patron (though I declined) and told us how he was in the process of beating cancer and was just out to have a good time and enjoy life. More power to you, sir. I wish you the best of luck and victory in your fight. It's a tough game, though, when you're faced with constant $20 preflop raises at a $1/2 NL table.
That didn't stop BrainMc and I from having great laugh-fests over stories that we couldn't remember 10 seconds later. Literally. I blame the fact that the IP is a black hole for electronic devices. Had we been able to immediately tweet our very, very funny one liners, we'd have had an archive to remember them by. In reality, it's probably a good thing that we were swallowed by the vortex of No-G service. We probably weren't that funny. EXCEPT THAT WE WERE! Seriously. Had a stellar time hob-knobbing it Saturday night. I haven't laughed that much in ages.
I didn't play much poker and eventually walked away with $14 of my original buy in. Meh. OhCaptain tried to convince me to go on a photo walk, but I was totally lame sauce by that point. I was cranky at the poker gods and sleepy and meh. I didn't feel like going out in the freezing cold (it was colder in Vegas than it was back in Virginia!), so sourpuss me declined the photo walk. That turned out to be a giant mistake, first because I passed up an opportunity to hang out with OhCaptain (OhDumbOfMe) and second because I ended up walking in the cold anyway!!
See, I bid my friends farewell and headed for the cab. When I got there and told the cabbie to take me to Aria, he goes, "That's right across the street." I said, "Ummm, yeah....?" He said, "I can drive you there, but I'm gonna have to go all the way around - it's gonna cost you!" I was totally taken aback. The ride cost us $7 on the way there. What the heck was it going to cost me for the way back?! There was a group of guys waiting for a cab behind me, and in my flustered state, I backed away from the cab and let them take it.
I stepped back into IP to pull up a map of the Strip on my phone. Aria didn't look all that close, but after the cabbie implied that I'm a giant wuss for not walking it, I decided to walk it... in the freezing cold. Turns out, it took about 40 minutes to walk from IP to Aria - which SUCKED because I was COLD and CRANKY already! But I did get to walk through Bellagio, where I got to check out the cool penguin display they had up for Christmas. It marked the first time I took out my camera all weekend. So, my apologies, OhCaptain. I should've just taken you up on the photo walk! I'm losing my ability to party properly. Damn old age.
Day 3... Sunday
Last day in Vegas. I had to leave for the airport around 1pm, so there wasn't much time to hang out. April and I hit the Aria buffet after a false start at another Aria restaurant (where the line was. not. moving). Food glorious food. This time, we settled in and relaxed and enjoyed plate after plate of ridiculous goodness. I made a rare trip to the dessert line and ate an insane quantity of junk food. (That may have been what prompted me to later buy a quarter pound of gourmet chocolate treats in the Denver airport during my layover and proceed to eat that for dinner). Wow. Holy junk food bender.
We headed over to the Skybox bar in Aria to see how the sports betting #wpbt 'ers were doing. I paid Falstaff for my last-longer team debt (sorry, guys!) and ran into Lightning again. I live vicariously through Lightning now, since he hits up all of my formerly-local poker rooms in and around Chicago. We had a great chat about food and fitness and - well, my friend, I am glad you will be around for many more years to continue loving life. May we still be rockin' it next year and the year after that and a hundred more! And if you ever find yourself on the east coast, holler! Would love to play some cards with ya out here. (Likewise, if I find myself trolling the IL/IN poker rooms, I'll keep ya posted!)
On that note, I took to the roads once again for my flights home. Since I was too chicken to try to get Monday off of work at the new job, I could not join my friends that were running the Las Vegas Half Marathon on Sunday night. Oh, how I wish I did! Huge, huge regret. I spent my first flight kicking myself for not finding a way to make it happen. Then I spent my layover (and subsequent snow/ice delay) in Denver obsessively refreshing Twitter to get any nuggets of information I could about the race and how everybody was doing. OhCaptain and Maura kindly shared photos of the runners on the strip, and I continued to beat myself up for not being one of them.
I'm still mad at myself, as I sit here getting ready to head out to Fredericksburg, VA tomorrow to run my own half marathon on Sunday. It just won't be the same without a gaggle of bloggers cheering me on or crossing the finish line with me. Mad mad mad.
All in all, this was yet another most excellent WPBT trip. You're an fantastic group, my friends, and your kindness and generosity and good-natured-ness never ceases to amaze me. I'm so glad to be a part of this wonderful little family. /end cheese
I learned a couple things on this trip (besides how to play blackjack). First, it's definitely worth upgrading seats on airplanes. Second, now that I'm an east-coast-er, flying to Vegas takes a freakin long time - and as such, it's probably no longer feasible that my primary goal when booking a flight is to find the cheapest one possible. It might just be time for me to graduate to paying for a bit of comfort (whether it's upgraded seats or direct flights). Third, 2 nights is just not long enough to spend in Vegas, particularly when it takes a solid 24 hours or so of travel end-to-end, round-trip, from where I live.
With that, I conclude this trip report. I'm forgetting a lot of notable names and events, but such is life. Tomorrow, I head out for my half marathon weekend, and then back to work for finals week. Real life beckons! In other news, I'm getting an iPhone on Monday *squeee!* :) I know. That has nothing to do with anything. But I'm excited!
Until next time, take care! And if you find yourself in Atlantic City, gimme a holler!
So, I'm a latecomer to the WPBT Winter Classic this year. I will arrive Friday, early afternoon. I'm phlyersphan on twitter if you don't have my cell phone number.
Final weekend details if you missed it: #WPBT Final Details
I can't even tell you how bummed I am to miss the return to Sherwood Forest. Over the summer, I made a group of (non-poker) friends go there for drinks at the end of a night of bachelor-partying (yeah, I crashed the bachelor party. I'm just one of the guys anyway).
I got sucked down the old-blog-post rabbit hole last night (a la Katitude) and have concluded that this is my 6th WPBT event. My first was summer 2005, and there was a lull 2007-2008 where I couldn't make it out. I'm such a bad blogger. I didn't even write trip reports for all of them.
This year, I'm staying at Aria, and considering the short nature of my trip (I leave after lunch on Sunday), I'm figuring that I won't leave Aria all that much.
Friday: Arrive to Aria by 4pm or so. Text everybody to find out where people are at. I hear Monte Carlo is the afternoon hang-out, but by the time I could manage to get there, it'll probably be time to head back to Aria for the mixed games. I don't really play mixed games, so I'll either be in Aria's poker room playing NLHE or maybe hitting up their 7pm nightly tournament (which I really like the structure of). I went deep last time I played it (busting 2 out of the bubble... seems to be my M.O. I'm sooooo due to hit....)
Saturday: WPBT tourney at noon. Planning to play poker well into the evening and win the tourney. Then I will make Falstaff wear a kilt and recruit some minions to carry me around on one of those guys-carrying-a-girl-on-a-chair things, maybe while fanning me with large feathers and feeding me grapes. OhCaptain is in charge of capturing the moment for all eternity. No plans for Saturday evening - will go with the flow.
Sunday: Sounds like football will be at The Pub at Monte Carlo. Since both of my fantasy teams are in the gutter this year, I may be playing poker instead, likely at Aria or MGM. (I'm not sure I can survive a trip to Vegas in which I don't play at MGM). But I might be lured by the desire to hang out with my WPBT peeps. We will see. I have to head to the airport around 1pm, which logistically complicates any plan that has me leaving Aria.
I checked into my flight online this morning and in my half-sleepy state, convinced myself that it was worth it to upgrade to the premium economy seating (extra 5" leg room). $59. It's a 6 hour flight - I have to fly from DC to San Francisco first, then hop a short flight to Vegas. So it's a beast of a flight on the first leg (and NO WIFI, shoot me now). Maybe I wasted my money, but I do have a lot of work to do on the laptop, and I think it'll be more comfortable in the upgraded seat.
My bags are already packed, and now I'm just counting down the minutes until work is done and I can go home and try to sleep - ONE MORE SLEEP till Vegas!! I have to wake up around 4am to make the 2 1/2 hour drive up to DC for my flight.... meh. But it will be worth it, because I'm going to win the tourney, of course.
(Editor's note: more likely, I will bubble like I always do - and that would make me the first blogger to bubble in THREE WPBT tourneys). Go me!
Where does time go?
I'll be in the Promised Land for the WPBT 2011 tourney, fear thee not!
Going for WPBT Bubble #3!
I'm back from Vegas!
It always takes me a few days to stop wishing I was still in Vegas. It's like a drug. Real life is so... not Vegas.
My trip reporting skills have declined severely in the past, oh, 6 1/2 years since I started this here blog. My apologies. I don't take notes anymore. I should. There'd be more reasons to actually read this spooge if I did. But I don't.
I was in Vegas for a good friend's wedding, which was on 7-11-11 (pretty sweet, eh?). A friend from my east coast days flew to Vegas via Chicago, and we met up at Midway to trek the remaining miles to the Mecca. Take to the skies, Big Bird! Got to watch the last shuttle launch before we left.
Shuttles go fast.
We figured we'd get to Vegas in about 45 minutes if we were taking a shuttle instead of a jet plane.
Arrived around noon Vegas time on Friday. Checked in at Excalibur (creature of habit? *raises hand*). Started pondering things we wanted to do in Vegas. It was my friend's first time there. Sadly, it's impossible to do every cool thing within the span of 3 days (the fourth being wedding day). But our list looked something like this:
Less than a week from my next invasion of Vegas, I've been getting antsy to play some cards. Saturday night, I was at the casino to celebrate a friend's birthday, and as the group was getting ready to turn in for the night, I got on the waiting list for $1/2 NL at Hollywood Joliet. Played for a couple hours - didn't win, didn't lose. But the poker machine seemed primed for a good holiday weekend.
So I went back last night with a full buy-in to see what sort of damage I could do. Got seated around 7pm as the first person on the list of a new feeder table. That meant I got moved to the main game quickly (which is good, because there's a lot more money on the table at the main games).
It was a good night. I was never down more than $50, and after treading water for a couple hours, I bumped up over my original buy-in and stayed there.
One of my goals was to see more flops than usual. People tend to peg me as a rock pretty quickly, and, well, they tend to be right. Though my playable range is pretty wide, particularly in late position, I'm just not a lucky player. I don't get playable hands all that often! So I wanted to be sure that early on, I saw a few extra flops.
I was gifted with a perfect advertising opportunity in my first hour or so at the main table. I played 5-7o from middle position, flopped top pair 5's. Bet it, one caller. Turn came a Q. I bet, he called. River came a blank. I checked, he checked. He had the Q. I patted myself on the back as I heard one of the regulars at the other end of the table mumbling to the guy next to him about the garbage these TV kids play. I got a lot of action the rest of the night from my opponent in this hand, and never again lost a showdown to him. (And I was pretty happy to be called a "kid" - man, 36 has been a tough year on my ego).
That's the thing with Hollywood Casino Joliet. If it's not a holiday or weekend, the game is made up of primarily regulars. A handful of the regulars are loose maniacs, but most of them are either rock-tight or pretty savvy players - neither of which are easy to extract money from. I'm not good enough to be uber-profitable against the rocks and the savvy tricksters. Being a rock myself, I pretty much break even against good players (which I take as a win! but it doesn't help the bankroll). And the savvy ones can bully me out of pots. They know it, and I know it. So I try to pick my spots and only play when I can sit down against people I can beat.
Hey, I'm no fool.
But last night was a good combination of decent cards and really good timing on my part. I kind of surprised myself with the post-flop aggression I was displaying. I don't know if I was reading people well, or if I was just getting lucky to make the right moves, but in 3 different hands, I got bet into big on the flop or turn, and raised or re-raised to find out which of the gaggle of geese in the pot I was really up against. Sometimes everyone folded. Sometimes "the one" came along for the ride. But in all 3 cases, it was the right move and I won the pots, one way or the other.
I mean, me? Re-raise? It's not like I had the nuts (which is about the only time I typically tend to raise or re-raise). I guess I just felt like I was good, and if I wasn't, I wanted to find out right then and there, instead of calling down to the river and passively bleeding chips.
In one case, I honestly would have folded if I got popped back. I had AA on a 3-heart, K-high unconnected flop. I figured, all these jokers are either drawing to the flush, or already made it - and I was going to find out right then and there what the deal was. Bet was $20, one caller before me, and I popped it to $75. One guy thought long and hard before giving it up. He didn't have the flush. (Whew!)
That was the only hand I raised preflop all night. Yeah, I still suck at raising preflop. Might as well jump up on the table and yell, "I HAVE A TOP TEN HAND!" Hell, I don't even raise 10 hands preflop. More like, oh, 3. Sometimes 4. It's brutal. I suck.
I tell myself every time I sit down that I'm going to raise a few junk hands preflop, or raise a few hands in position preflop. It just never happens.
To be fair, at this peanut-limit, most people aren't taking a preflop raise to mean anything. You still get 4 or 5 or more callers to the flop, even with a raise of 6xBB.
But I still think it would be a good exercise for me. It's a personality flaw. I'm not one to stir the pot, and jumping in raising it up is like stirring the pot. Causing trouble. Disrupting the quiet flow of things. It's against my nature. I've kind of accepted it as part of who I am as a poker player. But that's no reason to just settle. I should at least try to poke my head out of the box every once in a while.
I had a brief stint of success in my aggro game after I read Gus Hansen's book. Maybe I need to read that again. Too bad it is packed away in a box right now.
6 weeks till I move to Virginia. The days of living 15 minutes from a poker room will soon be but a memory. It looks like the closest poker room to me will be at least a 4 hour drive. If anybody is familiar with any casino/poker rooms in Virginia or surrounding, holler! I don't mind driving, but at this point it kind of seems like, if I'm going to drive 4 hours, I might as well drive 5 and go to Atlantic City.... I'll be in the Shenandoah Valley, about 2 hours south of DC.
With that, I am counting the days until I take to the skies westward for a weekend in Vegas. Technically, I'm going there for a wedding, but there will undoubtedly be some poker involved. And now, I have a nice little stash of OPM* to play with.
Any suggestions on tournaments I should hit up (<$250 buy in)? Right now, I'm planning to play tournaments at Aria and Venetian. Looking for a nice structure - slow levels, good starting stack. I do not want to waste my time or money with the push-monkey all-in fests. Suggestions welcomed!
Happy 4th of July, everybody!
* Other People's Money
Yes, my friends - it looks like I just might play some poker this fine weekend!
Friday: possible home game.
Saturday: possible post-DMB poker somewhere in Atlantic City. I've always wanted to check out Borgata! I wonder if they spread low-limit NLHE on weekends. Probably not. Maybe?
Any other Atlantic City poker room suggestions for the girl with no bankroll? (This time, I spent it on summer travel! w00t AC, Vegas, and Seattle!)
Let the fun begin!
Black Friday, yada yada yada. No online poker, yada yada yada.
When you've watched all of the poker re-runs on your DVR that you can stand, do the only thing a responsible degenerate can do:
Go read up on the 2011 WSOP over at Tao of Poker. It's even better than daytime TV!
Where does time go? Life sure got busy there for a second.
I'm happy to report that I will be in Vegas once again in July (this time, for a friend's wedding - but I'm fairly certain some poker-playing will occur at some point).
The last time I was in the Mother Land, in December 2010 for the WPBT tourney, it was my first trip there as a vegetarian. I have great memories! My first time trying my now-favorite falafel... a fantastic veggie burger from the Burger Bar at Mandalay Bay.... This time, it will be my first visit as a vegan.
It's going to require some planning ahead, for sure. It will also require me to grow some cojones and ask servers at restaurants to accommodate my dietary needs. The latter, I'm not so good at. I suppose if I was medically unable to eat these things, I wouldn't feel bad asking for special accommodations. Since it is my choice not to eat these things, however, somehow I feel like I'm applying undue burden (read: being a pain in the ass). There's probably something here that needs to be worked out on a therapist's couch.
Besides - I will be paying these people to prepare a meal and serve it to me. What's wrong with expecting a reasonable bit of accommodation?
One place I will definitely be hitting up for food is the Wynn. Steve Wynn is vegan, and has implemented pretty extensive vegan dining options at his Wynn and Encore properties.
Next on my list, I just might give sushi a go, possibly at the Yellowtail restaurant at Bellagio. I'm one of those people that mistakenly thought all these years that sushi meant fish. Well, it actually means, rice - and what gets mixed with that rice is very often vegetables. Sensi at Bellagio also appears to be very vegan-friendly, and blog-rumor has it that they've added a vegan risotto dish to their menu.
The Grande Lux Cafe at Venetian looks like it has a decent menu - easy enough to customize to a vegan's liking. I did read though that their crispy sesame tofu dish (which you would think is a dead ringer to at least be vegetarian) is made with an oyster sauce, so is neither vegetarian nor vegan. Bah! I'd love to find some good tofu on the Strip.
I have to imagine that most of the finer dining establishments on the Strip will either have veg options, or be willing to customize something on the menu. I don't usually eat at the fancy-fancy places when in Vegas, so I'll have to budget accordingly, but this might be my most delicious trip to date!
Does anybody have any other vegetarian/vegan dining suggestions on the Vegas Strip?
I'm playing in the last WBCOOP game on PokerStars - NLHE. So far, so good.
2:30pm... So, I've started seeing a chiropractor. It was an accident really. They were offering free spine checks at the gym, and with that, a free diagnostic exam (foot scan, range of motion tests, xrays). I figured, why not? There are some skeletal anomalies in my family, and based on my various occasional running pains, I was pretty sure I'm a little out of whack. I suspected one leg was shorter than the other.
So I went for the free exam, which confirmed some things I knew. My hips are out of alignment (making one leg shorter). I've destroyed the arches in my feet (thanks to my love of Converse All Stars and other horribly unsupportive shoes). I learned some new things - my lower back is slightly curved, and my neck is losing its curve. I carry my head too far forward (thanks to terrible posture at the computer desk).
My thinking in going to the chiropractor was that if any of these things are going to cause me pain, it will start now, because I'm significantly increasing my running mileage and workout training for the 25K race in May. I don't have any pain right now (aside from occasional running tweaks).
So, the chiropractor recommended a 12 week plan of adjustments and at-home exercises, and shoe inserts. My insurance covers just about everything - my out-of-pocket costs are slim.
And now I'm totally paranoid that the chiropractor is gonna mess me up. I should never have consulted wikipedia. Now I'm thinking chiro's are all quacks and they're gonna kill me. Considering how much I believe in the body's ability to heal itself, you'd think I'd be all about chiropractic. My insurance wouldn't cover it if it was a scam, right? Damn you, wikipedia.
I'll report back in 12 weeks!
2:43pm... Nothing exciting poker-wise. I've grown to enjoy the PokerStars Big Game TV show. So for this game, my goal is to raise more preflop. That's the story of my life around here, eh? I don't like that PokerStars doesn't give an audio indication of a raise.
2:55pm... Pushed all in over the top of a short-stack that raised to try and isolate... AKd... got an extra caller along for the ride! Extra caller had pocket 10's, original raiser had AQo. Flopped 2 pair, turned the boat. Phew! I was thinking of going to the library today, but it looks like I'll be playing too long. We'll see!
3:13pm... Whew! Thought I was toast when I flopped 2 pair, AQ, and the board came 4 diamonds. Big pot. Got to check down the river. Thought maybe I'd be going to the library! Nope. About half way through the field. I'm currently 43/473. So far, so good on my PFR practice. Currently 12%, much higher than my typical single-digits.
3:20pm... Ya know, the J4 from this past Winter Classic still haunts me.
3:38pm... Yawn. 70/354. Missed the library window. I'm watching a hummingbird nest with 2 babies - http://www.phoebeallens.com/
3:51pm... Good read! *pats self on back*. Doubled through with JJ. Chicago's upcoming weather forecast sucks ass. We've had only FOUR days over freezing in January here this winter. Another winter storm (and cold ass temps) are scheduled to come through here mid next week. I hate Chicago weather!! Get me out of here!!
4:01pm... Seinfeld's Soup Nazi episode is on. Break snack: PB&J and a pear. I've got plans to make my favorite asparagus potato soup tonight.
4:48pm... Gambooool'd with a double gutshot and flush draw... then doubled back to even with JJ... and got berated for being a fish. LMAO! Yup. Tag me, baby. This game is taking forever. 20 spots or so to the SCOOP tickets. I should just fold to the loot. I'm starting to get antsy. 25xBB or so.
4:55pm... 33/163. Another break. I've grown bored.
5:12pm... Bubble has passed. Folding laundry. 18/146.
5:47pm... Can't believe I'm still here, with as goofy as I'm playing. PUSH! AGAIN! Wheeee! 30/64, about to get the next level up of SCOOP ticket. Ha!
5:55pm... Ya know, this whole hooplah about the "best time to exercise" to lose the most weight... OK, how about this theory, people: the best time to exercise is whenever you will actually do it. I've tried the whole "workout in the morning for the residual calorie burn and metabolic boost." Ya know what? It never lasts - because I am not a morning person. So what good is burning a few extra calories when I quit after a few weeks? Workout whenever YOU want to workout. It makes a whole lot more sense to build a sustainable, ongoing habit than to start, stop, and fail, over and over. For the record, my best time to work out is after lunch. And that's just me.
6:25pm... Alright, now I'm getting hungry. 35 people left. I'm middle of the pack. I should probably decide if I'm playing this thing for real or not.
6:30pm... Food wins. Pushed with an open-ender. Didn't hit. $33 SCOOP ticket for 31st place. That works!
Playing in the Mookie for the first time in a whilez. Enjoying a hot mug of decaf Chai, latte style. Sitting in my new comfy computer chair - one of the best investments I've ever made, even though it was only like $120 on sale. I got The Montbrook from Staples.
One bummer about playing in my comfy chair is that I don't have Poker Tracker on this computer. Boo.
Sweet! Doubled up early (KK vs AJ, held up).
There's one game left in the season in the online poker league I play in. Had I not missed a couple games due to work, I can guarantee I'd be in the running for 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. As is, I'm a couple spots outta the loot with just the one game left. Still, it's fun to have a regular game, as much as I wish it was a live game. I even made it out to the casino this month, but chose to donk around at 3/6 limit (though I do love me a full kill game).
Now, I'm donking around the Mookie :)
I will get a chance at some live poker this Sunday, at a new-to-me local game. Me likey.
In other news, I do believe I'm holding all of the documents I need to do my taxes this year. So early! I might even file before February! Awesome sauce.
I'm still waiting for someone to say that I'm not the only one who likes pickles on salad. I cannot be the only mutant out there.
I'm gonna go read Runners World for a while... biab.
Now THIS looks like the solution to my treadmill boredom! If only I can get it on my iPod... VirtualActive.
First break... I'm 5 of 16. Meh.
Half hour later... 6 of 11. Done reading Runners World. I've had pocket 4's a zillion times tonight. No floppie for me.
Damn it. I'm gonna go back to folding.
Actually, I should turn into aggro-maniac. Heh. As if.
I highly dislike playing short-handed. But I am up to 2 of 10.
Final table! So now it's like a SnG except uneven starting loot :)
I'm getting a headache and I wanna go to bed. That never bodes well for my poker game. Who calls an all-in with KQ? Sleepy me. I'm hungry, too. Cranky is soon to follow.
Break #2. 3 of 9. Guess I'd better go get a snack.
Well, there goes 160 calories I'll wish I hadn't eaten, come scale-time tomorrow. (Chobani Strawberry Banana Greek Yogurt, if you must know). Chobani is my favorite Greek yogurt. I love Greek yogurt - don't really eat regular yogurt anymore. Actually, I don't really eat dairy anymore, except for yogurt. If it weren't for yogurt, I'd be vegan. Even more so than cheese, yogurt is the one thing I haven't desired to give up yet.
I even found a creamy replacement for my coveted ranch dressing - if I were to go full-on vegan. Mmm miso dressing... but I love yogurt. Sometimes it's my breakfast side-kick when I know I've got a long stretch before lunch. Other times, it's my late-night snack, when I just need enough fuel to get through another hour or two before bed. (I tend to eat a light dinner, so if I eat it too early, or stay up too late, I get hungry!) I'm fairly certain that I'll give up the yogurt someday... but not today.
Hell, the ranch dressing in my fridge right now is a yogurt-ranch dressing. HA!
And with the blinds putting me around 12xBB, I'm just about nearing push-or-fold mode.
I've been trying to make my own dressings lately, because I eat at least one giant bowl of leafy greens every day, and commercial dressings tend to have a bunch of crap in them. Even when I go organic with the dressing, they're not as whole-foods as I'd like. I made one decent one so far, a cucumber dill dressing, but it works better as a salad topping than the actual dressing. Anybody have any killer salad dressing recipes?
And... out in 4th. That KQ hand zapped my will to live. Tomorrow is another day.
So, I made it home in time for tonight's PokerStars WBCOOP NLHE game (the World Blogger Championship of Online Poker). PokerStars is a great supporter of the online poker community. They ponied up some great stuff for this year's WPBT tourney at Aria this past December.
6:20pm... I raised UTG with AA. I flopped quads. I blinked a few times to try and get the sandman outta my eyes. Seriously? That's a lotta A's. I got paid (well, as much as I was gonna).
6:35pm... I've been engaged in idle chit-chat. I don't usually talk at the table when I play online. I'm letting them all think I'm a guy.
6:41pm... I'm bored. I've drained my DVR of poker shows (and every other show). Live TV is tormenting me.
6:46pm... Called a shorty's all-in with 66. He had AJ. I won. He called me a bastige lol! Same guy I had quad rockets against. Phil Laak has rockets built into his last name!
6:56pm... First break. Average stack.
7:00pm... The Biggest Loser. So, Jillian is leaving after this season. I totally thought Bob would leave with her, but it looks like he's staying. The new trainers aren't really that interesting to me. I love Bob and Jillian. I own DVD's from both of them, and they've been a big part of my weight loss this past year. I hear Jillian has a new show in the works. I hope it's better than her last solo show....
7:08pm... Button raised with 44 when it folded around, and a bully in the BB put me all in. I saw him push a couple people around with junk, and I rolled the dice. He had J8. I won. Doubled up w00t!
7:21pm... And just like that, I'm the table chip leader. Does anybody else like to eat pickles on your salad? Or is it just me?
7:30pm... Yawn. So I'm going to a chiropractor for the first time tomorrow. I scored a promo at the gym. I get 2 spinal x-rays and a digital orthotic foot scan, amongst other things. Like a spinal wellness check. I already know I'm a little out of whack... I put more weight on my left side than my right, and consequently my left ankle over-pronates when I run (whereas my right doesn't). While I don't have any pain issues now, I'd love to find out if there's anything preventative I can do as I start upping my mileage in the next couple months (training for the 25K race in May). Should be interesting!
7:53pm... Still treading water. I can tell you this, though - my "better breakfast" is not made from Subway's frankenfoods.
7:55pm... Second break... I'm just under average stack. Not bad - I don't think I played a hand in the last 40 minutes.
8:01pm... The State of the Union, 2011. I used to love watching stuff like this. These days I usually just get the reader's digest version from the news the next day - but the slogan amuses me: how we "win the future." So hip. No epic fail? Wow - Hilary Clinton looks different.
8:16pm... whew. Took a risk with AJ when I hit top pair A's and got check-raised on the flop. I was being bullied by A8 with a flush draw. Held up, doubled up. Breathe!
8:17pm... There it is - TO WIN THE FUTURE! I think we should make a drinking game out of it. SHOT!
8:19pm... China scares me.
8:29pm... It's not just the winner of the Super Bowl that deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. HELLS YEAH. Nerds unite! But seriously. Yes.
8:32pm... Props to teachers. Reward the good ones and stop making excuses for bad ones. YES, PLEASE. (I'm a teacher, and lemme tell ya - the system is effed. The majority are rewarded for longevity and not quality of work. I've been doing it for over 10 years and still can't swallow that it's the right way to do things).
8:40pm... Obama's first joke. I'm short stacked. Gonna push soon.
8:42pm... Doubled up, my KQ hit a Q vs A3. Man, I am at the slowest table ever. There are 4 different people with VPIP's below 10 that fold every hand after the timer. Nobody home. I'm at about 12BB.
8:44pm... Oh no, Mr. President. Our food is NOT safe to eat. Keep those blinders on...
8:45pm... Joke #2.
8:54pm... Best joke yet. Smoked salmon lmao! Everybody is running out their 160 second clocks. We're a handful of spots away from the loot.
8:55pm... Third break. One bust to the loot.
9:06pm... No American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. Damn I wish all of this could come true. And, this is the longest bubble of all times.
9:20pm... Out, 66 vs. KK. 116th place out of 720 - wins me a $11 SCOOP entry ticket.
Just in time for the end of the State of the Union.... gnite all!
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