Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Wish List

Regrets, I've had a few...

I wish I would've learned to deal poker first, instead of blackjack and dice.

I wish Diet Coke tasted just like regular Coke.

I wish one of these jobs I applied for would call me back.

I wish I knew how to PhotoShop.

I wish the earbuds on my iPod were more comfortable.

I wish I would've sold all of my Schwab stock that day it hit $126 per share.

I wish I would've bought American Airlines stock back in February of 2003 when it was about seventy cents per share.

I wish I would've never bought Lucent. All three times.

I wish I'd never gone to Embry-Riddle and taken out all those student loans.

I wish there were a genuine Conservative running for President in 2008.

I wish I would've never bought that 2001 Frontier. The 1995 one was just fine. And almost paid off.

I wish I'd moved to Vegas sooner.

I wish I'd discovered sailing at an earlier age.

I wish I didn't have to pay so much taxes.

I wish the morning sun weren't directly in my eyes as I type this.

I wish I would've never bought a computer with Windows Millenium as the operating system.

I wish Cuban cigars weren't so expensive or hard to come by.

I wish I could've had another night with Jennifer Lequia.

I wish I had a martini shaker and a shelf full of fine booze. Besides all the rum, of course.

I wish I would've practiced the guitar more.

I wish I didn't need DirectTV to get the NFL Sunday Ticket.

I wish more bars and restaurants in this city served Michelob Light.

I wish there were a 24-hour Chinese take-out place close by.

I wish I would've sold Enron short back in 2001.

I wish I would've sold every stock, long option, and mutual fund I owned back on April 14th, 2000.

I wish I would've never asked Jeff Ackerson why nobody in our department got a thousand dollar bonus for passing their Series 8 exam when the guys in Electronic Order Review got them. I picked the wrong flag to die under that day.

I wish I would've bet my entire paycheck on the Rams to win the Super Bowl the day after Trent Green went down with a knee injury. I could've used $280,000 that next February.

I wish I'd had more situational awareness that night Trisha and I spent out in Provo Canyon. I also wish I would've called her back once she got home from London.

I wish I wouldn't have stopped in Lumpkin County, Georgia that day. Or at least not have been such a smartass to that cop.

I wish I would've stayed on the ship an extra week and never taken that job at Washington Mutual.

I wish Geico Insurance would just go under. Or at least stop advertising. I had the Gecko tattoo long before I'd ever heard of their stupid asses.

I wish people from California would stop moving here.

I wish I would've had the balls to ask out Missy Tate back in college. Hottest girl I've ever met.

I wish digital cameras had been invented back when I spent six months in Alaska.

I wish I would've finished getting my pilot's license.

I wish my big cards would hold up as often as statistical analysis says they should.

I wish they still had Taco flavored Doritos.

I wish I would've bought the V-8.

I wish I could control the dice.

I wish I could afford a Harley. And a garage to keep it in.

I wish I were a better shot.

I wish writing were easier.

I wish I could control who wins and who loses at my table.

I wish my coffeemaker worked faster.

I wish I had more vacation time.

I wish our oven worked.

I wish I had never seen Pat Summit in a cheerleader outfit last night. Ruined a perfectly good fantasy...

I wish I had Biff Tannen's Sports Almanac.

I wish the NBA would just go away.

I wish the temperature would get above 65 degrees today.

I wish I had the motivation to write about that road trip to San Francisco.

I wish I could spend more time sailing. And camping.

I wish I had an Egg McMuffin right about now...


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Question Mark

Hey Gang! I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend--mine is just beginning. I scooted out of work a couple of hours early, rewarding myself for not doing so these past few weeks. On the way home I stopped and picked up a sixer of Michelob Light, a jar of salsa, and a bag of Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips, ready to celebrate the fact that I have 67 hours of freedom ahead of me. Woot!

I'm not ready for bed just yet, and I didn't feel like going out with the local buffoons, so I'm sitting here at my keyboard, sipping an ice-cold brew and enjoying the fact that I don't have to wear shoes at the moment. Or pants, now that I think about it...

Monday was eventful--I spent a good portion of my day doing paperwork and interviewing for a poker dealing job. It sounds promising, and when they sent me down to the poker room to talk to the manager and have an audition, it turned out that he was off on Mondays. Gotta go back on Wednesday and try again. I *hope* scheduling isn't an issue, because I'm fairly sure I can pass the audition (haven't messed one up yet!).

But while standing there in the HR office today, I was absolutely amazed at the typical moron out looking for a job. There must've been about 25 people that came in while I was there, and only one of them wore a shirt with buttons on it. Most of them had on jeans and t-shirts, backwards baseball caps, or sweat suits. I couldn't believe that people would actually go and apply for a job looking like that and expect that anyone there would give them the time of day. Of course, some of the jobs available were for housekeeping or buspersons, but damn, have a little self-respect and maybe you wouldn't still be looking for a busperson job at 35 years of age!

While I was standing in line waiting to talk to the screener, some jackass walked in with his iPod cranked up so loud that everyone in the room could hear that he was listening to Asia's Greatest Hits. Seriously. I was about ten feet away and could totally make out every bit of 80's cheeze on display. But because he refused to turn it down, even with everyone giving him dirty looks, it told me all I needed to know about how he interacts with others, and if I were in charge, he wouldn't have gotten in the door. Besides--Asia? Are you effin' kiddin' me? Jesus, not only did he show himself to be a self-absorbed moron, he doesn't have any street cred, either.

I also noticed how many people couldn't follow simple directions and had to be tossed back to the desks to finish all of their paperwork. And I was amazed at the people that came in with all of their paperwork rolled up like a newspaper or folded up and carried in their back pockets. At least bring a clipboard, notebook, or file folder... I don't know, maybe I'm old fashioned, but I could never work in Human Resources--my tolerance for stupid people is almost non-existent, and if I were one of the applicant screeners in a casino, I'd get fired for telling people to pull their pants up, turn the hat around, and don't come back until they can speak English and dress properly.

By the time I got in the office, the gal behind the desk treated me like a breath of fresh air and we had a very productive meeting, telling me that they were *very* interested in taking the next step with my application. Cool. Hopefully soon I'll be dealing some poker and pocketing my own tokes. But I have to go back on Wednesday and try to impress the poker room manager.

Speaking of tokes, ours have been going up a bit lately. I think the People In Charge have finally been listening to all the bitching the dealers have been doing and things are improving--slowly, but still improving. Now we no longer open the Rapid Roulette game on weeknights, and on Sundays we only have one dealer running it instead of two. That helps a bunch. They've also stopped having so many dead tables open after 1am--now as soon as a game goes dead after midnight, they slam the lid up and send home and extra-board dealer. All of that means fewer dealer-hours to divvy-up the money amongst. And our tips are up almost $50 per night these past couple of weekends, versus what we were making in January. Oh, things still aren't all rosy, but at least it's getting a little better. Ultimately I'd prefer to be dealing poker full-time somewhere else, and go back to being on extra-board at my current casino.

In the meantime, I'm going to get up somewhat early tomorrow and head back down to school to practice my poker dealing skillz for a couple of hours. Of course, it's my weekend, so the weather forecast is calling for cloudy, windy, and cold, so sitting out on the patio, having an adult beverage, and smoking a fine cigar are probably not on the agenda for tomorrow night.

Maybe I'll come up with a good story or two to share with y'all, instead.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sticky!

Yep, today is Sticky's birfday, but sadly I'm unable to spend it with her. But thanks to the miracle of the internet, and cool inventions like web cams, I was able to perform my interpretation of Marylin Monroe's "Happy Birthday Mr. President" for her early this morning. I'd like to say that it went well, but I haven't heard from her since... I just hope she wasn't recording it and it ends up on YouTube by the end of the week. Something like that could be embarrassing if I ever decide to run for Supreme Ruler of all the Universe or some other public office.

Anyhow, I raise my glass of Crown & Coke to her today-- Happy Birthday to one of the coolest chicks I've ever met! You always keep me laughing because you can deliver a one-liner better than just about anyone, and there's nobody I'd rather have next to me at the poker table, stumbling around downtown, or just enjoying the aftermath of a Vegas bender with toast and coffee.

Here's hoping that the best of last year is the worst of this year.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007


One of the downsides to working the swing shift is that my sleep routine becomes irregular. I don't mind the hours that I work (although I think I'd prefer to move it forward a bit to say, 6pm to 2am), but I hate being awake when the sun comes up. I don't have blackout curtains in my room, and I have a big east-facing window, which adds another degree of difficulty to the equation. So sometimes it's tough to fall asleep, no matter how tired I am. And on my nights off, it's impossible to go to sleep before 3 am, which would allow me to wake up at a reasonable hour and get things done during the day like a normal person.

Last night was one of those nights that I couldn't sleep, no matter how hard I tried. I stayed up playing in a couple of online poker tournaments with Sticky and Dougie, even winning the last one outright, but after that I was drowsy and went to bed. But sleep wouldn't come. I ended up watching some Tivo'd movies I had on my DVR (Anybody seen Four Brothers? It was better than I expected--and I've yet to see a Marky-Mark movie that I didn't enjoy. He's not the greatest actor in the world, but I like all of his films), and when I ran out of those, I endured the 36-minutes-of-commercials-per-hour goodness of Mike & Mike on ESPN2. Still I couldn't sleep.

I was very hungry at the time, having eaten nothing but leftover pasta salad and Wheat Thins in the previous 14 hours, so I put on a sweater and went to get a breakfast croissant and a hash brown. I sat down at my computer, thinking I'd write something entertaining, but I found no inspiration while sitting here staring at the 70's-era woodlands-mural wallpaper background in front of my desk. Another reason to get a laptop, I guess--I could probably find some inspiration while sitting at the bar in the Fireside Lounge at 4:00 am, sipping a Kahlua and coffee, watching the hookers blowing their hard-earned cash on video poker. Maybe I could be the 21st-century Vegas equivalent of Ernest Hemingway sitting in Sloppy Joe's churning out a masterpiece on a well-traveled Underwood, while the micro-dramas of the neon city play out around me.

Yeah, it could happen, but I'm afraid we're several years away from the Peppermill using the fact that "Hurricane Mikey Drank Here" as a tourist draw.

Anyhow, my mind was also racing due to the fact that I had planned on applying for one, maybe two, new jobs today. Both were poker dealing jobs, but I didn't have all the details about the one Very Good Job I was interested in, because that particular casino's website has been down all day, and I remember that they had certain hours/days that one could submit an application. I certainly didn't want to waste a trip, or even worse, show up and be thought of as a jackass who can't follow directions, so I didn't get to do that today. The second, and not-quite-nearly-as-good-now-but-has-more-potential-upside job would require me to immediately resign from my current position, and going back to the Extra-Board with part-time hours and no benefits is not a possibility for me right now. So the things I was thinking about and causing me a sleepless night turned out to be for naught.

I finally fell asleep around 7:00 am with Saving Private Ryan playing on Showtime, waking up around 12:30 and not accomplishing a damn thing today except realizing that 1) I can't apply for Job #1 today and 2) I probably can't apply for job #2 at all unless I want to live in the poorhouse for the next several months and I try to do the ultimate juggling act by quitting one full-time job and getting two part-time ones. Not a good trade as far as can think into it, so I just spent my afternoon drinking coffee and playing poker instead. At least I cashed in the first tournament and won the second one.

At some point this afternoon, I realized that if everything works out favorably, four weeks from now I'll have a new computer--and Sticky will be here, too! Of course at that time I'll be fully immersed in the buffoonery ofMarch Madness, so any updates might be sketchy at worst, colorful at best. I think I can coax another week or two of life out of my beat-up digital camera, so I'm hoping that a photographic record will accompany any commentary.

In the meantime, I don't have much in the way of plans for the evening. I'll probably play another online poker tournament or two, and then maybe bundle up and go sit out on the patio and smoke a fine Dominican cigar, sip a concoction made with Barbados' finest export, and enjoy the waning hours of my weekend.


Monday, February 19, 2007

Random Vegas Encounter

Almost forgot to tell this story from several days ago...

So there I was, taking a piss at an un-disclosed Vegas location. I was standing there, doing my thing, when some dude walks up to the urinal right beside me. What the hell? Since the whole row was completely empty, it was a total breach of mens' room etiquette. I didn't want to give him a dirty look, but it was certainly creepy.

But out of the corner of my eye, I saw that it was Penn Jillette.

Well now I wanted to say something, because I thought he might've been messing with me. But I make it a policy to never initiate conversation with another dude while I'm holding my junk in my hand. So I stood quietly.

He was just standing there whistling, so I finished up and headed for the sink to wash my hands. Right about that time, Pour Some Sugar On Me started playing on the overhead music.

As came over to wash up, I said the first thing that came to my mind-- Hey Mr. Jillette--Do you know what has nine arms and sucks?

No... What?

Def Leppard!

Huge laugh. No free tickets to his show though.



Pay That Man His Money

Instant Karma's gonna get him, if I don't get him first...

Sunday night was an interesting night in the casino. Of course I was stuck dealing Rapid Roulette again (and I'm really starting to hate that game), but as the evening wore on, I managed to find my way to a few other games too.

We were a bit shorthanded early on, and the shift boss came over and asked if we really needed two dealers to run the Rapid Roulette game. My immediate answer was HELL NO--Where do you want me to go???

And just like that I was sent over to Chinatown to open another Pai Gow table. Score! However, I was only there for forty minutes before getting tapped out to go on break, and after my break was over, I had to go back to Rapid Roulette. Ugh.

I stood there alone, no players at all, suffering through listening to the Sunday night Karaoke happening next door in the club. Imagine spending four hours each week of listening to American Idol rejects with no witty banter from Simon and the gang... I stood there for 45 minutes like a pound puppy waiting for somebody to pick me. But nobody came by to play. Of course, when the clock struck 10:50 and I had exactly eight minutes left on the game, two young hotties in low-cut tops sat down and bought in. Oh hell yeah! Suddenly we were laughing it up, high-fiving, flirting a bit, and having a great time...

But it was just my luck that they didn't stop by an hour earlier, because the eight minutes passed like the blink of an eye, and my Rapid Roulette 'cellmate' Jo showed up to tap me off the game. Oh well.

By the time I got back there, we were back to two dealers on the game, and we had one player who'd bought in for a meager amount but had managed to win enough after about two hours to get almost $500. We had been chatting him up, telling him we were trying to hit his numbers, all that stuff that comes with dealing the game and trying to earn some tips. But the dude was a complete stiff, even after numerous hints and other players asking how the tip jar button worked.

Finally he said mentioned that he was a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory and that he'd bring us a cheesecake if we'd hit the number 20 again. But Jo had had enough of him by then. She just looked at him and said Oh, you're a waiter? So you're familiar with the concept of working for tips? I work for tips, honey, not cheesecake!

Ouch! That's probably not something I could get away with saying, but I certainly didn't disagree.

So he hit the tip jar for fifty frickin' cents on the next spin.

And then the most beautiful thing happened. He never hit another number for the next 15 or so spins and went completely broke. Didn't cash out a dime. Hah!

On the plus side, now we know where he works, so Jovanka and I are planning to head down to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch next week, ask to sit in his section, run his ass ragged, and not leave a dime. Karma's a bitch.

After that little episode, I went to deal blackjack. I was on a low-limit shoe game, dealing to a bunch of the worst players I've ever witnessed. They were just throwing their money away--standing on 14's, hitting against my stiff cards, just losing their asses. It finally got down to one couple, and the gal told me that she hated having all that silver in front of her. I told her to stack it in front of her bet for me. So she did, and when I dealt her a blackjack the very next hand, she was all excited. So much so that she tried to take my money and winnings back along with hers.

I said, Um no, drop it--that's dealer money.

*Oh, I'm sorry...*

On the next hand, she put up another dollar, and we won again, and she tried to take it again. So I reminded her again that it's my money out front. I thanked her of course, and tapped it on the rack, and dropped it in the toke box.

Then she said, out of the clear blue, Well, I'm not doing that again...

I asked her why not, and she told me that she just didn't want to. In fact, she had a whole stack of silver and pushed it out and said to color it up to nickels.

Fine, bitch.

After that, it was Shut Up And Deal time for Mikey. All the way up to that point I'd been giving her advice on when to hit, stand, split, or double down. Not anymore.

And whenever she got a tricky hand and asked me what she should do, all I said was It's up to you. Do you want to hit or stand?

Those were my only words to her until she went broke and left the table. Then of course I thanked her for the bets and wished her good luck. Heh. Stiff the dealers, you'll get no help. Normally, I love to see people win. But when they flat out tell me that they're not going to tip, fuck 'em. I hope they go broke.

And last night, they did.


Catching Up

Well, since everyone is curious, the pasta salad turned out pretty damn good, although I'm completely pissed off now. It was a beautiful sunny and warm day when I made it, and now that my weekend--with two full days away from the casino--is imminent, it's cold, overcast, and windy. Just a shitty day outside. Pasta salad is "summer" food. I'm eating it, but I'm not happy. Today is more of a soup day. Believe me, I'd rather be out on the patio getting some sun and drinking a rum cocktail, but no, I'm inside, eating cold food, and looking for some wool socks and a sweater. Ugh. It better be nice outside tomorrow, or I'm going to have a few choice words for Mother Nature.

I played two tournaments today, but gave up in frustration. I went out on the bubble in the first one (for you non-poker players out there, "on the bubble" means "the last moron knocked out before the prize money"), and then took a third place in another tournament--I swear I would've won the thing--I was totally outplaying the other guys and had them dead to rights, but when I made a straight and a flush and went all in, the doofus next to me had two pair and called, catching a ten on the river to make a full house. Mikey went out in third. Oh well... That's poker. All the skill in the world doesn't matter when somebody catches their miracle card. So I'm taking a break until tomorrow.

As far as the new computer goes, it looks like we'll be picking it up the week of March Madness. And it looks like I'll probably be going with a Toshiba laptop. They seem to offer the most bang for the buck and the least amount of headaches. (Never again will I go with Compaq/HP unless I get some sort of SCREAMING deal). Dell was an option, but I question their service capabilities and would hate to have to ship the thing away whenever there is a problem. The ability to take the machine back into the store where I bought it to do upgrades/maintenance/repair is a big factor, so we've pretty much eliminated Dell from the equation. As far as getting a Mac goes--that was more tongue-in-cheek, but as nice as their machines are, price is a heavy consideration. We keep looking at Sony, HP, and Toshiba, and Toshiba keeps edging out the competition in every category.

Anyhow, with a laptop handy during the Madness, I will hopefully be able to do in-progress reports, and maybe post a few pics along the way. And we've got big plans for Saturday, even beyond the poker tournament, so there should be plenty to keep everyone entertained.

That's the news from here. I've just got to endure eight more hours of work, then I'm free at last, free at last...


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ode to the Wingman

You can be my wingman anytime...

Bullshit--you can by my wingman!

Speaking of which, does anyone remember the Coors Light commercial? I do, but since I've lived here in Vegas, I no longer have a wingman. All of my friends are chicks. Of course, now that I'm something less-than-single, it hasn't been an issue. But every guy needs a good wingman at some point.

For years, Eddie B filled the role admirably, and we had some great times back in the day--the stories could fill a book. But he's married now, and excused from active duty. Before that, I had Reverend Dave. He's been married twice now, but word around the campfire is that he's soon to be single again. It's probably a good thing that he's in Alabama, because if he were here with me in Vegas, we'd probably get into trouble and Sticky would be kicking my ass on a regular basis.

But I'm reminded of a story from about 15 years ago when we were both living in Phoenix and first started attending ASU. There was a smokin' hot girl named Michelle that sat next to me in one of my classes--long dark hair, blue eyes, great smile, and gorgeous long legs that she liked to show off (and she busted me looking at them on several occasions).

Back then I wasn't nearly as gregarious as I am now, and it took me a few weeks before I got the nerve up to start talking to her. But I finally did, and she was receptive and actually pretty nice. About that time, U2 was on their Zoo TV stadium tour, and announced a date at Sun Devil Stadium. So I bought a couple of tickets and asked her out.

She said yes!

When I picked her up that night at her dorm, she looked even better than she normally did. I'll never forget the mini-skirt, high heels, and the black stockings which were revealed to be thigh-highs as soon as she sat got in the car and crossed her legs. At that point I realized that she was probably about the hottest girl I'd ever gone out with.

I took her out to dinner before the concert, and during the conversation she told me that she had an I-dentical twin sister attending school up at BYU. Luckily she couldn't read my thoughts at the time, because they were fairly naughty.

We made our way to the show, found our seats, and early on I realized that--Bono and the guys aside--it was going to be a very good night. It really was a fantastic concert, and we both sang along with every song. It got even better when the show ended and instead of taking her back to her dorm, she said, Let's go back to your apartment...

Bow chicka Bow Bow!

I will spare the details of the rest of the evening, but I'll just say I got a better souvenir than just a concert shirt.

Unfortunately, things were a little awkward after that. We went out a couple more times, but just to lunch and such, and I missed my opportunity and she found herself a new boyfriend and we drifted apart. The semester ended and I didn't see or hear from her very often.

I still thought about her though, and was hoping for a repeat of the night of the concert. Then one day I ran into her on my way to class and she told me that she was single again and she had a part time job in the public-relations office there on campus and that I should stop by and see her sometime. Score!

A couple of weeks later, Reverend Dave and I were hosting a pizza and basketball party to watch the Suns/Sonics playoff series, and I was thinking of calling her up and inviting her.

The Good Reverend and I were out driving around doing our thing one afternoon, and happened to drive by her office. I told him to pull over because I saw her bike locked on the rack out front. We went inside and she was sitting at her desk goofing off and talking to the other girl she shared an office with.

No bosses were around, so we sat down and started chatting. After a few minutes of catching up, I asked her if she wanted to come over the next night and watch the game with all of us. She told me that she wanted to, but that her sister had just come back from Utah and they had planned on playing volleyball that night instead.

Reverend Dave gave me a look that said "Hell yeah--You better get the twins to come over!", so I started telling her that she could play volleyball anytime, the party was just one night, we haven't seen each other in months, it'll be fun, etc etc etc. Basically I was pulling out all the stops and doing my best salesmanship.

The other gal in the office, not nearly as hot as Michelle and annoyed by the fact that she wasn't getting any male attention, glared at us with a "something smells bad in here" look on her face, but wasn't saying anything.

Michelle was offering slight resistance--she was torn between wanting to come over and having to talk her sister into it, or sticking with their original plans. But I kept pressing.

She kept giving me the I-want-to-but-I-can't vibe, so I went for the deal-closer... Come on, you know you want to come over and see me again--It's been months and you know it'll be fun!

The other gal, who up to this point hadn't said a word, decided that now was the time to contribute to the conversation. So she opened her ugly yap and said Wow, you must be really desperate to keep asking over and over like that...

There was a split second of stunned silence in the room, and then Reverend Dave offered up the most memorable comeback I've ever heard:

He's not that desperate. He hasn't asked you yet!

Michelle and I both started laughing so hard that we almost had tears in our eyes, and the roadblocks magically lifted. Michelle said she'd be there, either with or without her sister, and Dave got a well-earned high-five, while the she-dog excused herself until we left the building.

Fast forward to the next night, when all my buddies were sitting around my living room watching the game and two smoking-hot twins showed up.

I was The Man. With a little help from the wingman, of course. It was a fun night, but unfortunately I never got to go out with Michelle again after that. I *did*, however, see her sister again, but that's a story for another time...


A Few Random Thoughts While Playing Poker Today

I don't play well on Saturdays. Never have. Sundays, however, I am King of the Online Poker Universe. Saturday--didn't cash in a single tournament. Today I am undefeated. First place every time. (Oh shiat. Isn't the T2V tourney on a Saturday? Damn. Dead Money.)

Sometimes you just know you're in The Zone. During my last tournament, I was in first place for about 90% of the time, and when it came down to heads up, I had a $25000-to-$2000 chip lead. And the blinds were $300 and $600. My opponent lasted exactly four hands.

Most online no-limit players are complete donkeys when they have the goods. Risking $3000 to pick up $125 worth of blinds is one of the dumber moves I see happening on a regular basis. Following it up by showing your pocket Aces afterwards is just good comedy. That's taking the old maxim of "Better to win a small pot than to lose a big one" to the limit of reasonable-ness. Funny how none of those guys are ever left at the end.

People put way too much stock in the strength of having an Ace in the pocket. It doesn't do much good unless it has friends. And if I've got any kind of pair with less than two face cards on the board, my opponent is working with a three-outer. I'll take those odds every hand. Of course, it's even easier online because nobody wants to fold an ace, so even if I have three opponents, a lot of times they are all usually waiting for the case Ace.

Aggression is very useful, especially the deeper you go into a tournament. But over-using the All-In tool renders it ineffective. Like they say, when all you have is a hammer, every situation seems like a nail. I love playing against the guys that go all-in too early and too often. Sticky hates playing with them, and they always earn a stream of expletives from her, but I love having them at my table, especially on my right. They always bust out.

Blind-stealing is extremely effective later in a tournament. And you're much more successful at it when you have a big stack. Once we got to $200/$400 on the blinds and I had a monster chip lead, nobody even called my big blind again until we were down to in-the-cash with four players left. They didn't want to tangle with the big stack and risk getting knocked out.

Of course, in order to get to that point, you have to cultivate the image of a tight/aggressive player and fold stuff like Ace/junk, King/Ten, or suited connectors (really, how often to you get a straight flush?) early on in the tournament. When the blinds are low and everyone is just calling, most people like to see flops. Not me--that's when I'm the tightest. Last week I folded my way to fourth place before ever winning a single pot. Sometimes being card-dead is a good thing.

A lot of my opponents win the battles but lose the war. They take it personally when I raise their blinds, and when it happens a few times in a row, they think I'm gunning for them personally and that I really don't have a hand. So they go on tilt and start making huge raises or going all-in with any high card when I'm on the big blind. And I'll let them take a few off of me, and then they think they own me. But then they overplay their hand at the wrong time and get knocked out. People assume that when they go all in against a big stack they're either going to pick up the pot right then or double up. Sometimes the guy with a big stack actually has a hand.

I'm amazed at how many people will call an All-In raise after the flop when all they have is Ace high. I almost never do it unless I have at least a pair.

I think I finally understand what Doyle Brunson said about calling--Don't just call, either raise or fold. Great advice, especially pre-flop.

A couple of years ago, I bought a poker practice program called Turbo Texas Holdem. There's a setting on the software where you can have tricky boards--lots of pairs, possible straights and flushes, etc. I swear to God that PokerStars has their tournament software wired to do the same thing. Every board it seems has overcards, pairs, or three-to-a-straight or flush. Rarely do I see a raggy flop.

It is beyond the time to retire this shitty computer. It doesn't have enough RAM to allow me to play more than one tournament at a time, I can't use the T2V chat while I'm playing, and it only has 800 x 600 resolution on this 17" monitor. Sometimes I can watch another table if Sticky, Dougie, or Snert are playing at the same time, but it's like walking on thin ice whenever I do. Oh, and one of the "features" of Windows Millenium is that every so often the mouse and keyboard go unresponsive and you have to reboot the computer--and it's happened to me three times this weeked during tournaments. You have never seen Mikey angry until you've seen me go all-in on the bubble and have my computer lock up. It's not a pretty sight. If Bill Gates ever goes missing and they find him three days later all beat to shit with the letters "WinME" carved into his forehead, it's a fair bet that my name would be on the short list of suspects. Wait, what am I saying? I'm sure there are thousands of people out there who'd like to do the same thing. Maybe I should just sell a kidney and get a Mac.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Mother of All Pasta Salads

Ok, so after another expensive reminder of why it's a bad idea to spend Saturdays with every drawing-to-the-river donkey who spend their weekends on PokerStars, I decided to find another creative outlet to feed my nervous energy, plus I was hungry.

So I hit the kitchen.

I've been thinking of trying to make my own version of a good pasta salad for a few days now, and last week when I went grocery shopping, I gathered all of the ingredients I'd been thinking about.

And now that I finally had some free time away from work/school/computer this afternoon, it was time to get cooking. It wasn't really a complicated recipe--just Fusilli pasta as a base (It was a one in a million shot, Doc!), minced red and green bell peppers, black olives, canned mushroom pieces, sun-dried tomatoes (drained), pepperoni (I used the kind made out of turkey--less fat and a whole lot less greasy), and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Once the pasta was cooked, I mixed together all of the ingredients except the cheese, and then added a half a bottle of Italian dressing. Then I added the cheese, stirred it all up and put it in the fridge. It looks really good, but I figured it would be better if I let the flavors marry overnight. So instead of digging in and enjoying my creation, it's sitting in the fridge waiting until tomorrow, and in the meantime I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch.

But at least I took a picture.

Mmmm.... Food porn!

When I was was first putting it all together, I was afraid that I had too many "ingredients" and not enough pasta. But it looks like it all balanced out afterward. Maybe a tad more green pepper next time, and of course once I finished I thought that it might be even better with a little bit of fresh basil sprinkled on top.

I know, I know, it's not coleslaw, but this is what I did with my Saturday afternoon...


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Down at the Bama Breeze

Back in January, when Hoya and Dane came to visit, they brought me a nice gift--a copy of Jimmy Buffet's latest CD, Take the Weather With You. I listened to it once, but at the time I was all about playing with my new iPod and moving music from my computer. So it sat in my truck for the past several weeks, and just a few days ago I popped it back in and listened to it while I was out running around doing my errands. It's a good collection of songs, not his best work by a long shot, but still, there are some great tunes included. The first track had me laughing though, the title of it is Bama Breeze, and it's a song about a bar.

Now, I have some experience with the Bama Breeze in Decatur, Alabama, although I don't know if there might be another one down on the Gulf Coast. I mean, really, who sings songs about Decatur? But let's pretend it was a tribute to the one I was familiar with, because the place burned down a couple years ago, according to Reverend Dave.

So let me tell you about the Bama Breeze. Several years ago, my sister Cyndi got remarried to a guy named David. I couldn't make it to their wedding, so consequently I never met the guy until after they were married. In fact, I didn't meet him until the weekend the Reverend Dave was getting married to his second wife, also.

So I took a little vacation time and flew out to Nashville, and my new brother-in-law David--who I just met for the first time that afternoon--and I drove down to Decatur to take Reverend Dave out for a bachelor party--the rest of the family was going to come down the next morning.

Well, there ain't a whole lot to do in Decatur Alabama, as anyone who has been there can attest. So instead of doing the usual weekend activity common to those parts, sitting on the porch with a six pack watching the bug zapper, or driving all the way back up to Elkton Tennessee to go to the Boobie Bungalow (the best strip club housed in a circus tent in all of Dixie!), we decided to compromise and just go have some beers at a local joint, the Bama Breeze.

It was your typical Southern dive bar, complete with University of Alabama football paraphernalia all over the walls, a small dance floor, and a stage in the corner for live music. Luckily there was a band playing that night, and they provided the entertainment with the expected repertoire of classic and hillbilly rock.

We were having a good time ordering Coronas and shots and laughing it up, but what made the evening complete was our total white-trash waitress. Apparently, we were the biggest tippers she'd seen in awhile, so she was johnny-on-the-spot with the refills. We were getting good and liquored up and she kept the drinks coming. And just listening to her complain about the other white-trash losers in the house made for good entertainment. Of course, once I had a few drinks in me, I wanted to introduce everyone to my brother David and my other brother David. In my state of mind, that was the highest of high comedy.

But the best laugh came when I got up to take a pee, and when I did, I bumped into the table next to us, knocking it over and spilling the unfortunate couple's drinks all over them and the dance floor. All the good reverend could say was "Dude--your ass!". My other brother David just sat there laughing hysterically because the first thing out of the waitresses mouth was "That was great--those fuckers come in here every week, drink water, and never tip!"

I stumbled off to the outhouse bathroom, and by the time I got back the mess was picked up and the Mexican guy with the mop was just finishing up on the dance floor.

Things calmed down a bit after that, and we were pretty well behaved for awhile, just sipping our beers and watching the band. The did a great cover of Steve Earle's Copperhead Road, but as a musician, I really appreciated their super-fast up-tempo version of Clapton's Wonderful Tonight, kinda like when Guy Patterson joined the O-needers and turned That Thing You Do from a sappy love ballad into danceable hit song.

Unfortunately, the more we drank, the more buffoonery we expected. Reverend Dave was getting good and plowed, and decided he wanted to go to a strip club. Unfortunately, there aren't many Gold Clubs in rural Alabama, and we were a good 50 miles from any respectable establishments.

So what does one do in that situation? Why, proposition the waitress of course!

Hey, how much it gonna cost us for you to take your shirt off?

Uh... I dunno... twenty bucks?

Score! That was easy. Maybe a little too easy, so I went for the discount...

How 'bout ten?

Ok. Gimme the money!

Brother-in-law David just sat there giggling and shaking his head, either amazed that we would be so audacious, or surprised that we could talk the waitress out of her clothes for just a Hamilton. Either way, it was a good laugh and Reverend Dave got to see a nekkid chick at his bachelor party. It was ten bucks well spent. Hell, we even gave her the other ten just because of her enthusiasm.

We couldn't top that, so after that show, David's bachelor party was pretty much over.

So that was my trip to the Bama Breeze--we never made it down there again, although we talked about it on several other occasions. Brother Jimmy would've been proud of us, and had he known about our antics, we might've even earned a verse or two in the song.

Word around the campfire was that our waitress got a new job over at the Waffle House after the bar burned down, so next time I'm down in Decatur visiting the Good Reverend, I'm bringing a ten-spot with me and we're gonna get scattered, smothered, and covered...

Because if seeing a topless Waffle House waitress is wrong, I don't wanna be right!



That new ad for Go Daddy software has been bothering me. You know the one--it aired during the Super Bowl, and it was the guy in the suit wandering around at Go Daddy Headquarters, peeking into the Marketing Department and the loud music is going with strippers and whatnot. Of course, the tagline is Everybody wants to work in Marketing...

Well, I'm here to shine the spotlight of Truth on that ad.

First of all, I used to work at Go Daddy--back when there were only about 40 employees and the number one priority was to put Verisign out of the domain registration business. So I can attest that Go Daddy World Headquarters doesn't look like that. It's a cheap office in Scottsdale with dirty carpets and very few windows--all the prime real estate with views of the parking lot is taken by the bosses.

And nobody wears a suit, fer Chrissakes--the company is populated by programmers and techies. Hell, there were many days where I got out of the pool, put on some flip flops and a Jimmy Buffet t-shirt, and went to work in my swim trunks. And I was the most well-groomed person there--you've all seen the I.T. guys at your offices--imagine being locked in a room full of them for eight hours a day. "Dressing up" consisted of wearing socks and their least-faded Grateful Dead t-shirt.

As far as having hot chicks in the Marketing department--not a chance in hell. Working with a bunch of World-of-Warcraft playing Trek nerds who dress up like this guy for Halloween, one can only imagine the disruption that would be caused had any female, especially an attractive one, wandered through the corporate equivalent of the Parent's Basement. The place would've shut down, work would've ground to a halt, and thousands of websites around the world would suddenly cease to function.

Seriously, any tank-top wearing Scottsdale hotties in the area gave the place a wide berth. I went back to the break room one day to get a pop (Jolt Cola or Mountain Dew Code Red were the most popular choices), and two guys were arguing about an episode of Star Trek--not just debating, but getting all up in each other's faces like the Sharks and Jets were getting ready to have a slap-fight. It was a seriously surreal place to work, at least to someone who's not of that particular world.

It was a decent job, though, and I appreciated the nice income after having been unemployed for the previous eleven months. One of my co-workers and I were making so much commission selling hosting that one day they suddenly changed the payouts without warning. After emerging from the meeting where they gave us the news, I immediately tendered my resignation and headed for Tennessee.

The rest, they say, is history.

I would've loved to, however, been working there with hot chicks and loud music providing the ambiance--it would've been great fun. But I guess I've got the next best thing at the casino--cocktail waitresses and drunks.

And I don't need to work in the Marketing Department to participate.


Poker Therapy

I've mentioned recently how I've re-discovered the fun of online poker, and with what limited free time I have, I can usually be found playing single-table sit-n-go's over on Poker Stars. Unfortunately, the downside of it is that the speed of online poker is sooo much faster than a traditional poker room, and you play so many more hands. Couple that with human nature's predisposition to remember bad beats ("Few players recall big pots they have won -- strange as it seems -- but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of his career." Seems true to me, 'cause walking in here I can hardly remember how I built my bankroll, but I can't stop thinking how I lost it...), it just seems like they happen way too much. And that's why people get so frustrated playing online poker.

I know I've sworn at my monitor a few times lately, and running into suck-outs four tournaments in a row will test your patience to no end. I mean seriously, if you flop four Kings, but somebody else catches runner-runner Aces to beat you, it just may not be your day. Or playing pocket Sevens three times in a row and running into pocket Aces each time, pretty soon it's going to get to you. The most common frustration seems to be raising with pocket Queens before the flop, and having Ace-King-Rag make an appearance, which is followed closely by flopping top two pair but some jackass making a straight on the river after you've gone all-in. I couldn't even begin to count all the times I've been beaten with 3-outers since opening my account on Poker Stars. I've never taken such bad beats in real life, but then again, I'm usually playing higher stakes while sitting in an actual card room.

I just have to take a deep breath, count to ten, and remind myself that even though I got busted out to the tune of $6300 by some jerkoff with King-Seven offsuit, my actual investment in the tournament was less than $15. But still--what do you do?

I think I found the answer. Back in the old days of Party Poker, I never played anything less than $5/$10 cash games online--I never even considered 'micro-limits'. But Sticky showed me the 2-cent/4-cent tables on Poker Stars, and I swear, for a dollar, you'll get not only an hour's worth of great entertainment, you can play raggy cards that everyone else always seems to suck out with and suffer no damage to your bankroll.

It's even more fun if you've got a friend at the table and you're using Yahoo Voice Chat to collude yuck it up while calling raises with junk cards. It's amazing how much fun it is to lay the occasional bad beat on somebody who had good cards that turned to shiat on the River. And even if you don't make your draw, it only costs you about twelve cents. Occasionally, however, you get to see bad beats happen for you, not to you. And that's very therapeutic.

And after an hour or so of that, the desire to play crappy cards will lose it's appeal, things will even out, and you'll again be reminded why you don't call the blinds with King-Ten (because low-limit players absolutely refuse to fold an Ace, and will call you all the way to the river...). So you'll go back to your no-limit tournaments refreshed, rehabilitated, and ready to pound on limpers who play junk.

I guess I've discovered that for me, that the best way to get over a bad beat is to go lay one on somebody else. At four cents a call, that's cheap medicine. At least that's the way I see it.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Long Week

Hello everybody--it's comforting to know that I'm missed when I take an extended break from updating. Not that I was being lazy (well, not too much), it's just that I don't have the time I used to, with school and work and whatnot taking time away from me sitting here hacking out silly posts for your reading pleasure.

But I'm skipping school today, and so I've got a little bit of free time to pop in and say hello. Unfortunately, I've got no new news to report. I still haven't heard back from any poker dealing job I've applied for, but we're still early in the game. And my philosophy is, the closer we get to March Madness, the more I'm ok without getting an immediate job offer. I'll take it easy for the next month or so, then once the Madness concludes, finding a poker job will be my number one priority. I can get by for now without one, and of course, I'd hate to get a new job right away and miss out on half of the festivities of March Madness. So I can wait. I'll practice a bit until then, but redouble my efforts once everyone heads home next month.

In the meantime, work at my primary job has improved somewhat. It seems that the people in charge finally got around to reading all those surveys we did last month, and have been quietly addressing our concerns. Hell, on Monday, they didn't even open the Rapid Roulette game, which immediately freed up four dealers who would otherwise be standing around for eight hours not dropping any tokes at all. We still seem to only have "slot" hosts, so it doesn't look, at least from where I see it, as they're actively recruiting big players for table games.

But just taking a night off from having to deal Rapid Roulette improved my outlook immeasurably, which helped me start off my weekend in a much better mood.

After getting out of work early Tuesday morning, a bunch of us got together for a drink or two and some laughs at a local watering hole. It was a lot of fun, but one of the old guys that deals dice came along and he's just a complete f*cking tool when he drinks, and he was starting to make a few of the gals uncomfortable, so we finally ditched him. I ended up eating pancakes at Blueberry Hill at 6am that morning with my friends Anna and Jovanka and laughing about the poor guy. We finally wrapped it up around 7:30 in the morning, and I came home and tried to sleep.

Except that I was awakened about three hours later to the horrible sound of chainsaws and a midget going through a wood chipper. Ok, once I woke up, I realized it wasn't a midget, just a thick tree branch. But it was right outside my window (which I'd kept open), so sleep was no longer an option with a crew of Mexicans hanging around with leave blowers, chainsaws, and the wood chipper going. On the plus side, I no longer have shade near any of my windows... Wait, what? I don't get it. I kind of liked the shade. I hope it grows back by June.

So instead of sleeping, I turned up the tv and played online poker all day. It started out pretty rough--I entered four tournaments and didn't make it to the cash in any one of them. In fact, cards got so bad at one point that when I checked my stats deep into one particular single table sit-n-go, and found that I had seen only six flops up to that point in the tournament, and hadn't won a single pot. I still made it to fourth place (they only paid the top three, unfortunately), but I got there by folding. Amazing.

I was about to give up completely for the day, so I took a break and watched some tv for awhile, then got into a big tournament late last night with Sticky. There were like 700 players involved, and we both did pretty well--we both made it to the cash, but I got knocked out when my pocket Kings were dominating a guy who had the bad sense to go all-in against me with Ace-King and nothing on the board... until an Ace landed on the river. Mikey out!

The funny thing about the tournament was that after we made it to the first break and they re-seated everyone, Sticky and I ended up at the same table sitting right next to each other! What are the odds of that? Out of almost 40 tables going, we ended up sitting together. So that was cool, and she made it a little deeper in the tournament after my Kings got cracked.

After we both got busted out, I did another single table sit-n-go and actually ended up winning the thing outright, so my night ended on a positive note, and I made back all the money I'd lost earlier in the day.

Anyhow, that's about it from here. It's a beautiful and sunny day here in America's Playground, although a tad cool. Word around the campfire is that the rest of the country is buried under a foot of snow, so y'all try and keep warm out there, mmmkay?

Mikey out!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

All In

Howdy everyone.

Sorry that I haven't made an update all week, but it's been all kinds of crazy busy for me. Besides working, I've also been going to back to school working on my poker game every day, and when not doing that, I've been pounding the digital pavement looking for opportunities. Once I find one, it's a couple hours of online applications and paperwork--casinos inspect your colon with a microscope every bit as much as brokerages do, so I have to provide all my employment and residence history for ten years with each application. That's a tedious pain in the ass, but something that has to be done. And I've done it a few times this week, so hopefully my phone will ring soon. But I swear, you do less paperwork buying a new car than you do when applying for a casino job.

I'm also going to wear the black and whites to school tomorrow, practice a bit, then show up at a room that is looking for dealers (and where I've applied) and see if I can't get an audition, or at least do a little bit of networking and politicking with the boss.

Besides working and looking for more work, the rest of my free time has been spent earning a little extra cash playing online poker again.

Back in 2003, I played poker online for about four hours a day every day, and whenever I could get away, I'd drive down to Tunica and go on a poker bender for the weekend. And I had a good run--I could consistently beat my normal Tuesday night game at the City Club, in fact I even programmed $125 per week into my Microsoft Money budget spreadsheet as regular income. Trips to Tunica were hit or miss--I'd either break even or come back down a couple hundred, but that was tuition in Poker School, I've since realized (not poker dealing school...)

But I had the most success playing online on Party Poker. It started out a bit choppy, but after awhile I found my groove and was consistently beating the Single Table Sit-n-Go tournaments, with buy-ins as high as $55. And I just killed the six-player $5/$10 tables, too. That was back when Chris Moneymaker was just becoming a household name, and like thousands of other kitchen-table poker Gods, I harbored not-so-secret fantasies about being a poker pro and sporting an arm full of bracelets. I wasn't a great player, but I was pretty good. In fact, I had a stretch of about nine days were I made just short of $2000 playing online poker. I remember cashing out $1700, and then with that last $300 I couldn't win a hand to save my life. I played in a tournament where I lost with Ace-King four times, and after that I started counting how many times Big Slick would lose for me. The answer, unfortunately, was 28 times in a row. That's when I said goodbye forever to Party Poker. It seemed to me and my tinfoil-hattery there were some poker-bots or at least some type of collusion going on, so once my account balance hit zero, I never played online again.

But fast forward about three years, and now my Vegas partner-in-crime Sticky is a poker freak. On her last visit a few weeks ago, we played poker three times and each time I walked away a winner--two times a big winner! So I began to think I would enjoy it again.

Unfortunately, I don't like to go down to the Strip by myself (even though I absolutely *love* the poker room at MGM Grand), because I get that "degenerate gambler" voice in the back of my head. So I was cool with only playing poker when I had friends in town who would join me.

But Sticky plays online all the time, and has been preaching that gospel to me ever since she left. She finally talked me into downloading the Poker Stars program and opening an account, and last week she put $20 in it for me to get me started, thanks to those traitorous bastards in Congress who outlawed online poker, or at least transferring money to poker sites from US banks.

Again, the first few days were rough, and I lost most of my mini-bankroll playing those micro-tournaments. But I knocked the rust off, and in the past four days I've paid Sticky back and quadrupled my bankroll. Yesterday I played four tournaments, won three of them and took second in the other one. Today was a little rougher--two second place finishes, one knockout on the second hand, and then I finished off the day with a first place win.

So my poker game is back. And so far it seems to be working for me. I can tell, however, as much as I enjoy it, I don't crave it nearly as much as I used to. Back then, I couldn't wait to get home and play every night. Now, I'll play if I've got nothing else going on or if I'm tired of doing housework and such. But as long as I'm doing well I'll keep playing. But I'm playing low-limit cash games and small buy-in tournaments, picking up no more than $15 per win. So it's not like it's a retirement plan. Hell, it's not even much of a part-time job, but I'm still having fun.

And since the March Madness Tournament is looming on the horizon, it's good to be able to tune-up a little bit. Last year I wasn't very good at No-Limit tournament play. But I can see how far I've come and how much my game has improved. Sticky can see it too, and doesn't like to play in single-table tournaments with me any more. I think maybe I'm too aggressive for her tastes. She has a different style and plays damn well, but when we've got the Yahoo voice chat going while we play together, she's called me a few choice names after some of the moves I've made... But in structured-limit cash games, I've *never* lost while we were playing at the same table. She's definitely been my good luck charm.

So this week has been all about poker--either playing it, or looking for a job dealing it. I'm hoping next weeks results are even better.


Monday, February 05, 2007

The Big Sleep

Good morning, everyone, I hope you having a wonderful Monday. To all you Bears fans out there, you have my condolences, and my post-Super Bowl prediction that Rex Grossman jerseys will be finding their way to the clearance bins later this summer. To all you Colts fans, congratulations for a well-deserved win.

As I mentioned in my comments section yesterday, I took the Colts and laid the 7 points. And here's the thing--it was an absolute bargain of a bet. My only regret is that I didn't take out a payday loan for a grand and bet it all... heh heh... Anyhow, with Bears fans around the country outnumbering Colts fans by about a 20-1 margin, everyone was betting with their heart, and not their head, so even giving seven points to the Bears, I didn't have to pay the 10% juice--it was an even money bet! Bet a hundred, get back $200. However, there were so many people betting on the underdog Bears that taking the seven points cost 20%--You had to bet $120 to win a hundred on the dog. Unbelievable. I thought that 7-point line was about three points too low when it came out, but again, so many people were willing to bet on the Bears regardless of the line that the bookies had to 'artificially' lower it to get more action on the Colts.

I don't consider myself an expert sports handicapper by any stretch of the imagination, but damn, I know a bargain when I see one, so I took advantage of it. And luckily I was right.

As happy I was to cash my ticket tonight, and collect another few bills in side bets from co-workers, there was a complete downside to the Colts win. Once the game was over, all the Bears fans who lost all their bets were broke, so they took off--that left nobody to stick around playing table games. Yeah, it was a bit quieter this year than last year. When the Steelers won, we had a good night--busy all night with a bunch of happy players. Since all the Bears fans left early last night, the bosses were slamming lids on games early and sending folks home starting at midnight. Had the Bears won, or at least covered, we would've had a *big* night. But since the Colts won, it was just a busier-than-usual Sunday night. We'll make a little more money than usual, but nothing to cause too much excitement.

On the plus side, we dealers were happy about the Colts covering the spread, even some of the Bears fans. On Friday night we had a player in telling all of the dealers how he'd just bet $50,000 on the Bears. No big deal--we get some crazy sports bettors in there every week. Well this toolbox went on a run and won over $35,000 playing blackjack. And when he colored up, he totally stiffed the dealer. Didn't tip him one thin dime.

What's even worse is that this guy is a former dealer from a now-defunct property, and should know better. So once that happened, word spread around the pit and everyone was gunning for him to take him down. He had every dealer in the joint wanting to take a shot at his bankroll. I don't know if anyone did--I was dealing Pai Gow and Dice all night, but tonight we were all pretty happy knowing that he lost five stacks of high society in the sports book. Karma, baby.

Since our shift didn't start until after the game had ended, I heard some pretty good stories before hitting the floor. The gal who lost the side bet to me had also made a 5-way parlay and took the Colts, the Over on number of field goals, the Over on number of turnovers, the over on number of interceptions, and the Over on the half-time score. She hit 'em all for a 20-1 payoff, so she didn't mind losing a measly $25 to your humble scribe.

Another guy I work with took "Devin Hester scoring the first touchdown" at 25-1, and put $20 on it, so he cashed a $500 ticket to go with his $100 win on the Under.

I think the most interesting thing I heard however, came while I was sitting in a bathroom stall, ahem, reading, and I overheard a guy a few seats away from me carrying on a conversation on his cell phone. Apparently he'd been in the Book all day long and had a big day betting the ponies. A very big day. And every time he'd "cash" in a race, he'd go lay that money on the Bears. Apparently, brothaman had lost several thousand dollars of house money, but was still up $800 for the day because he laid a bunch on Rex Grossman throwing at least one interception. Damn, talk about easy money. Wish I'd bet that.

Anyhow, as happy as I was with the results, the euphoria has given way to the sad fact that there isn't going to be anymore football until next August. Sports, as far as I'm concerned, is going into hybernation. Yeah, I'll watch a few important things between now and then--The Daytona 500, The Masters, The US Open, MLB Opening Day (and I'll follow the Cardinals religiously...), and March Madness, but as far as I'm concerned, football is king, and when it's not around, the countdown is always on as to when it'll be back.

So here's to a quick off-season. Hopefully the Rams will be contenders again next season. Only six months until training camp opens!


Friday, February 02, 2007

Weekend Update

Hey gang... As much as I'd like to update more this week, time is of the essence, and I'm a little short of essence.

Instead of going to school today, I got some sleep and once I got going I went out to do my usual Friday errands. One of the things I had to do was go over to Fry's Electronics and do a little shopping, because a generous benefactor has offered to help defray the costs of new laptop computer, under the condition that I actually use it to blog more often.

So I had to go and do some looking. I was mainly window shopping and browsing, because while I have a small list of required features, I didn't want to get some poor sales associate worked up into a frenzy. It was interesting, and I found lots of good stuff, although I'm guessing that what I want is going to be more expensive than first imagined.

After hanging out a bit in the computer department, I took a stroll down Apple Avenue looking for iPod accessories. I had my hands on some Altech Lansing In-Motion portable black iPod speakers that I've wanted for some time, but the $129 price tag kept them safely there on the shelf. Instead I picked up a DC car charger so I can use it in the truck without wearing my battery down.

Once I had that in my hand, it was off to stroll around looking for any other goodies I could find. Looking for some software to transfer video and pictures to my iPod while still avoiding iTunes, I asked the nice salesman if there was any such thing available. Of course there was, but when I told him that my computer runs Windows Millenium, he damn near laughed me out of the department.

Thank you Bill Gates for foisting such a shitty, and unsupported, operating system on us.

So I bought a twin-pack of canned air instead and have since blasted enough crumbs out of my keyboard to make a chicken fried steak.

Anyhow, once my shopping was finished, I spent 18 minutes just trying to get out of the parking lot. Yep, there's construction happening all over Las Vegas Boulevard South, and with no traffic light there at the Fry's exit, traffic leaving the place is gridlocked all around the property and I felt like the dude on Office Space getting outpaced by the old man with the walker.

Once I reached escape velocity from the gravitational pull of the Fry's parking lot, I headed over to my neighborhood and picked up some pants at the alteration shop, grabbed a ten-pack of McNuggets with hot mustard sauce, and finally made it home. I was hoping to get a nap in before work, but Sticky talked me into playing in a poker tournament and at this very moment we're on a break, and I made it to the final table. Unfortunately, with seven players left, I'm the short stack and probably won't be around much longer.

Shifting gears, I know I've been bitching about work a lot lately, but it's been justified. Like last night for instance. It felt like I was shaming someone into leaving a tip. I just had dealt a player three big bonus hands on that Ultimate Holdem game, putting her up a quick $300 with no toke love coming my way, and she then asked me for change to tip the waitress. Then she had the gall to say "I guess the cocktail waitresses make a lot more money than you dealers do, huh?".

So I responded with Well yeah, when people tip them for bringing say, an iced tea, instead of tipping the dealer for laying out three full houses in a row, yeah, it would seem that they *do* make a little more money...

She didn't say a word after that, but left a brotha $24 when she finally left the table... And I felt kinda dirty after that. Later on, however, she ended up at my table again and was laughing and yucking it up like she was having a great time and that I was her favorite dealer. But she gave me no love.

And then, whatever geniuses were in charge decided to deep clean all the tile in the bar last night starting at midnight, so with all of the ammonia poured all over the floor, the entire pit smelled like a giant litterbox. That was nice, and it had the bonus side effect of driving players away from the tables. I dunno, I'm not in charge, but it seems to me that perhaps it'd be a better idea to wait until after the Super Bowl weekend to do the deep scrubbing. And maybe wait until around 3am on a Tuesday, also. But those decisions are above my pay grade.

In the meantime, I've put in a couple of applications for those poker dealing jobs we found the other day, and I'm hoping to be peeing in a cup for legitimate reasons very soon, and not just because I don't feel like walking to the bathroom. I think I'll wait until I find a poker job before I start looking for a different pit/dice job, just because although I'm *extremely* dissatisfied with my current job, it's still a decent enough one to keep until something better comes along.

Maybe the best of both worlds would be to find a part-time poker job that nets me about $500 per week while I stay at my current casino, able to take early outs whenever the hell the mood strikes. And it's been striking a lot lately, although I haven't taken advantage of it the past few nights.

Anyhow. I'm now busted out of my tournament, just shy of placing in the money. I could tell you a bad beat story or two, but you've heard 'em before. Let's just say if they quit putting cards out after the turn, I'd be a millionaire by now.

More this weekend.