Monday, June 30, 2008

Elvis Has Returned to the Building!

Howdy all!

I finally got all of my moving done, and I am now fully ensconced at the new and improved Ultimate Man Cave.

Well, I'm here, but I'm not completely moved in yet. Half my stuff is still down in the garage, but the bed, desk, clothes, and computer are up here in my room, and the bag of toiletries found it's way to the bathroom, so I can survive for a few days living out of boxes and suitcases until I get stuff organized.

Lars and I sweated our asses off yesterday in the 110 degree heat, getting the rest of my possessions migrated, and my new roommate Gavin and his girlfriend Paula were extremely helpful in getting the bed and some of the other bulky stuff up the stairs. Between the four of us, the unload was a breeze, and all of the bedroom essentials made it up here without too much trouble.

Once that was done, Lars headed home, but the three of us here at the house ordered some pizza and enjoyed a relaxing dinner which was a nice temporary break from the work. I also took some time out to play with the dogs--my new roommate owns three golden retrievers, two of which are absolutely HUGE, and they all love to play. Living in an apartment, I missed having animals around--dogs or cats, it doesn't much matter either way to me, they both have their redeeming qualities. But these dogs are just so lovable and lots of fun to play with, so I'm sure I'm going to enjoy having them around. As soon as the house gets more organized, I'll take some pics and post them up.

I went back to the old apartment around 10 pm to get the last few things and to help with the final cleanup, and Rob and Danielle were already there killing every last germ they could possibly find. I was getting high on the smell of bleach and Pine-Sol, but we got it all done. Danielle had already cleaned and scrubbed the fridge, saving me a bunch of time, so I got to work on the stuff she couldn't reach, like the top of the bookshelves and the microwave and whatnot. Rob busied himself on the floors, and it didn't take long at all to finish up. I'm fairly certain that we'll get most of our deposit back.

I got back here to the house around 11:30 at night, exhausted, sweaty, grubby, and pretty well spent. It was all I could do to haul my worn out carcass up the stairs and into the shower. I had enough foresight to dig up a set of work clothes for the morning, and then I collapsed into bed. My whole body was stiff and sore, and exhausted as I was, I laid there wide awake for almost 2 hours. I remember being a little pissed off, looking at my phone and seeing that it was 1:52 am, and I tried to force myself to sleep, knowing that my alarm was going to go off at 5:40.

I finally got to sleep, and I heard my new phone going off. I was like No way, I barely got any sleep at all... But again, this phone is brand new and I'm not used to all the noises, so instead of rolling over and turning it off, I figured I'd wait until it went off again and then get up. But then it gave me that ringing noise indicating that I had a voicemail.

That could only mean one thing, which was likely bad news. It would be work calling. Nobody else in their right mind would call me up at 3:45 in the frickin' morning!

Yep, it was work, and for a split second I was holding out hope that they'd be calling to tell me not to come in until 9 or 10, but I had no such luck. They needed me at five. Apparently, there was an all-night game going on, there was only one dealer, and he'd been locked down in the box for two hours, and after 5 am, he'd be on overtime. And we all know that the casino can't spare nine bucks an hour, so I got the call.

I called 'em right back after listening to the message and begrudgingly agreed to get up and be down there at 5:00 am.

Once I sat down in the box, I was locked down for three hours straight, but luckily I made a quick $120. We had another dealer coming in at 8, and another at 9, plus the eleven o'clock tournament crew. So I did one more half-hour down, and they were kind enough to cut me loose at 9:00 am. I came straight home and went directly back to bed, crashing until 3:30 this afternoon.

I had considered going down to Binion's and playing in another one of their Poker Classic events, but damn, I was just too tired. Oh, and the $500 buy-in for today's event pretty much kept me in bed, too. I didn't want to invest that kind of cash when I was still feeling like a zombie.

I woke up when I heard the dogs barking--it was the cable guy coming over to get us all hooked up. We now have HD down in the living room on the big screen, and I have a cable box up here in my bedroom for my old-school TV (which is still sitting down in the garage, by the way). We also got the internet hooked up. Once all that was working, I took of for WallyWorld to pick up a new wireless router and some other household goodies that I need. They were also having a sale on Lexmark photo printers, and since I've been printer-less for over a year, I snagged one.

Once I got back home, we got the network all set up, and now I'm back on the internet, ahead of schedule. I'm still pretty tired, and damn, I'm already missing that hot-tub, but I'm lovin' this new place so much more than the old apartment. I forgot how much better it is to live in an actual house--and this is a nice one, too.

So I'm gonna chill for a bit tonight. I may get the TV hooked up, I may not. I'm too tired and lazy to go grocery shopping, so it may be hot wings and beer or something along those lines for dinner.

I'm gonna go to bed early, too, not only because I'm still tired from the move, but because I have to be in at 5 am again first thing in the morning.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sorry Folks, Park's Closed [UPDATED]

The moose out front shoulda told ya!

Yep, I'm wrapping it up--this here will be the last update from the Original Man Cave. We're shuttin' it down. I'm spending the rest of my Sunday afternoon getting my room and desk taken apart, then loading the truck up and making a couple of trips over to the new place with odds and ends sometime this evening. Once it gets dark and cools off about ten degrees, Lars is gonna come over and we'll get the bed and the desk outta here.

I'll come back to make sure the place is all clean, but then I'm completely over at my new place tonight. I work tomorrow during the day, but we don't have cable at the new house (my roommate has satellite TV in the living room), so I've got the cable guy scheduled to come over sometime between 5 and 7 pm and activate the outlets upstairs. I've been without TV for a week, so I probably won't hook that up right away anyways, but I'll be able to get back on the internet by 7:30 or so on Monday night.

It's been a nice place, and I've enjoyed living here. I love the neighborhood, which is kinda why I'm staying close by. But it'll be even better to live in a house again and not have to listen to noisy asshat upstairs neighbors. I'm gonna miss the pool and the hot-tub, but I'm looking forward to being able to grill outside again and also use the firepit. Even at the old place, I used the grill and the fire pit a helluva lot more than I used the pool, so it's a decent trade off.

Anyhow, that's it from here--we're going dark for the next 36 hours or so.

Mikey out.


Well, here it is almost 5:30, and I've got almost everything done that I can possibly do, short of scrubbing the shower and wiping down the inside of the fridge. I started loading up the truck about a half hour ago, but decided to call and make sure my new roommate was home from LA. He's not--he's still a hundred miles away from Vegas, so I put the brakes on loading the truck so my stuff doesn't just sit out there and bake. So I've got about 45 minutes to kill before I get back after it. Once my free time is up, I'll finish loading the truck, go over the shower with a scrub brush again, take a shower and get some fresh clothes on, load the stuff in the fridge into a cooler, then wait for Lars to show up at 6:30. He's gladly donated the use of the huge trunk on his Crown Vic police cruiser to carry the odds and ends that don't quite fit in boxes and Rubbermaid totes. It should take us all of 15 minutes to unload that, then it's back for the bed and desk.

Then I am D-U-N done with this place!

Well, I may come back later tonight and do some last minute cleaning, but everything except the floors are done, and I know how much Rob enjoys pushing the mop around, so he may be doing that (not sure when he's coming back over here, but sometime tonight to finish the housecleaning).

Once the move is complete, Lars and I are gonna indulge in some pizza & wings at the mobbed up pizza joint that's about a good 7-iron from my new driveway.


Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Month In Poker

I've got a few minutes here while I'm taking a break from scrubbing the kitchen, letting the sweat on my forehead dry, and I was looking back at my results for the month playing poker.

In cash games, I'm up $265 since May 28th.

In tournament play, I'm up $921 for the month. My actual tournament winnings are close to $1600, but subtracting out the buy-ins and dealer tokes, I've pocketed $900+. Not too shabby. And I was actually in a much more profitable position in my cash games until Wednesday, when I just couldn't catch a hand all afternoon.

The amazing thing is that I've played in nine tournaments this past month, I've made six final tables, got the final-table-bubble once, and cashed in five of them. Tossing out that first-one-voted-off-the-island showing a couple weeks back at Binion's, I have placed no worse than 11th place in any tournament I've gotten into. All of them have had no less than 24 players, and three of them had more than 100 entrants.

Clearly, there is much more work to do, but my game has come a long way in the past year. I'm much better than I used to be, but still, I have my lapses. My last two tournament knockouts have come because I was playing my hand, not my opponent, and just didn't think that they had the goods. I think that bothers me more than getting knocked out by having my pocket Kings and pocket Queens cracked by inferior hands. At least then I know I played properly and got my money in the pot when I had the best of it.

Anyhow, I just wanted to share that with my poker-freak readers, because results matter. When I play tournaments, I'm now to the point that I go in expecting to make the final table every time. My immediate goal is to actually win one, so it's tough for me to agree to any type of deal-making right now--I really want to see if I can win a live tournament. I've won dozens of online tourneys, but that's just easy--and pure luck most of them time. Live tournaments are a different animal altogether.

Once I finally get that first win under my belt, and get a few more bucks in the bankroll, I'm gonna start playing in some bigger tournaments. Grinding it out for $300 in four hours is ok, and playing for nine hours to get $600 ain't too bad either, but in addition to actually winning a tournament, my next goal is to hit a four-digit payday.


Just Crawling In, With a Little Extra Cash

Hey Gang! I'm not sure how many of you serial re-clickers are around on weekends, but I send you my warmest regards for taking a moment to check in on me.

Here it is, 6:30 on Saturday morning, and I'm just getting home from another successful night at the poker table. Last night, I was kinda half-assin' my way through my chores, putting in a load of laundry here and there, messing around in the kitchen, moving boxes from one place to another, and decided to take a break. Falcon Rob and the Mrs. came by around 11:00 to pick up his computer and the last of his stuff--he's basically completely gone now except for tomorrow night's scrubbing party we've got scheduled. Me--I'm not quite there yet. Most of my stuff is gone, but I've still got plenty to do, and it actually looks worse than it is. But I managed to get a bunch of stuff thrown out, including saying goodbye to my worn-out coffee maker.

Sometime after midnight, I bailed on my relocation chores, took a shower, and then headed down to the bright lights of the Strip. After consulting one of my reference sites, I saw that Planet Hollywood offers a pretty good tournament four times a day, one of which is at 2:00 am. That was right up my alley, so off I went.

I got there with plenty of time to spare, hoping not to get locked out of the tournament like at Treasure Island last weekend (and almost at the Mirage too--I got the last available seat). Now, I haven't been back to Planet Hollywood since last summer when it was still the Aladdin, but now, it's quite the swanky joint. I really loved the look and the vibe of the casino, and the working girls were quite the step up from the skanks I've seen trolling around at the Tropicana.

Anyhow, I got to the poker room, and the cash games were absolutely packed. Inquiring at the desk, I was told that they may not have a tournament at all, since they were short of dealers, but that they'd know for sure in maybe a half hour. So I parked myself at one of the empty tournament tables with a complimentary copy of Bluff magazine, and did a bit of reading. A half hour later, they announced that they'd do a tournament but it was limited to just two tables, first come-first serve. You should've seen the mad rush to the desk--it wasn't quite up to the stampede level of the Who concert in Cincinnati, but it was close. Luckily, I was sixteenth in line and got a seat.

But the tournament started late because of high demand, and they had their floor people sit in the box and deal tables, too. There ended up being 43 entrants, each paying $60.

When the cards went in the air, I was again flabbergasted at the absolute crappy players that showed up. I was just shaking my head at some of the calls I saw being made, thinking that it really shouldn't be this easy. I mean, it was almost comical in the ridiculousness of it all. One guy next to me started going off on one of the other really bad players, saying something like, Why would you call with just Ace-high when somebody's betting into you and there's a straight and a flush on the board?

All I could do was nudge him under the table and say Dude, quit tappin' the glass--you don't wanna wake up the fish!

A few hands later, I was on the button, and three people in front of me went all-in. The action finally got to me and I had a chance to look at my hand, hoping it was junk so I could throw it away and side-step the obvious train wreck that was about to unfold.

But no, the Poker Gods were testing me, and happened to bestow two big fat red Aces on me. I honestly thought about folding, thinking there ain't NO WAY Aces are gonna survive against three all-ins. Somebody probably has Ace-King already, taking away one of my outs, and some other jerkoff with a low pocket pair is probably gonna make trips on the flop...

The thing was, I had them all covered, so even if I lost, I wouldn't be out--I'd be crippled and gasping, but I'd still have a pulse. Besides, I reasoned, if you can't go all-in with pocket Aces, just what can you go with? So I joined the party and went all-in, also.

I thought I'd be the last to get in, but the guy on the big blind agonized for at least a minute before showing and then folding his pocket Queens. I told him he was beaten with Aces, and four hands went face-up. Everyone else had junk except for one guy with pocket Jacks. Nobody paired up, nobody made a flush or a straight, and I damn near quadrupled up, making me the tournament chip leader.


Soon thereafter, we were down to two tables. I put one guy all-in and he beat me, costing me about a third of my stack, and then just a few hands later, the last hand before the break, I totally misplayed a hand against the worst fish at the table, raising him before the flop, but Planet Ho's tourney chips are different colors than what I'm used to at Binions, and I made it too cheap for him to see it. I had pocket Jacks and he had like King-Eight offsuit, and like a complete doofus, he called my initial raise and my continuation bet. Of course I thought I had him all in on the turn, but those were $500 chips he had, not $100s, so once his dumb ass figured out that he'd still have money left even if he lost, he called with absolutely nothing.

Of course, his three-outer King came on the river, and he finally made his first bet of the hand. I knew I was beaten and it cost me about half my stack. Ouch.

I was a little steamed after that, and the blinds were going up to $400 and $800. Just before my big blind came around again, I was short-stacked and had Ace-Queen of diamonds and went all-in with my last $6000. One guy had the exact same amount and called me, and he turned over Ace-King.

Damn. I thought I was about to get knocked out of yet another tourney with that dreaded Ace-Queen, but I got lucky with a Queen on the flop, doubling up and getting the blinds too. Whew! I could breath a little easier.

It didn't take long after that to get to the final table, but they were only paying the the top six players. I got pocket Kings at one point and managed to triple up, and by the time we got down to the in-the-money group of survivors, I had the second-biggest stack. I thought I'd probably win the thing outright at that point.

But by then, the blinds were getting ridiculously high, like $3000/$6000, and people were agonizing over every call, and the clock just kept ticking, making it seem like the levels were going up artificially fast.

Once we got down to the final three, there was talk of a chop, but I kinda wanted to play it out and see how I did. One of the other guys felt the same way, so we agreed to just keep playing. Unfortunately, that's about the time I went card-dead for about a half hour and then lost about half my stack to the chip leader when my Ace-King couldn't improve by the turn and there was all kinds of trouble on the board.

My last hand of the tourney found me on the big blind with 10-9 unsuited, and the small blind limped in. I called, and the flop came out 9-6-3 rainbow. With my top pair and overcard kicker, I went all-in. The small blind called entirely too fast for my liking, and showed the two-pair, nine-three offsuit.

I was like, Are you effin' kidding me--calling a $4000 bet with that crap before the flop?

All he could say was "I was on the small blind..."

My hand never improved, so after almost four hours of poker, I went out in third place, earning $276 for my troubles. Not bad, but again, I thought I played pretty well. I got lucky twice, but you can't win a tournament without a little bit of luck, it doesn't matter how good you are. But I got extremely unlucky right there at the end.

Still, it confirms my suspicions that I'm getting to be a pretty good tournament player, and if I could just get over the hump and actually win one outright, I'd probably be insufferable for at least a week.

Anyhow, I stumbled out into the bright morning sunlight, thankful that I had the foresight to bring my sunglasses with me. I came straight on home, and I'm pretty tired right now. I'm supposedly on-call today at work, but I checked the schedule before I left yesterday, and they're way overstaffed today, so I won't be getting the call. I'm gonna go ahead and go to sleep once I get this posted, and then spend the afternoon/evening finishing up around the house, getting the rest of everything stacked in the living room. If I'm not too tired, I may go back down to Planet Ho once again and take another shot at poker glory.


Friday, June 27, 2008

Finally, Some Free Time

First of all--I want to apologize to everyone who has sent me an email in the past week or so--I haven't answered any of them... Between the move, work, the occasional poker game, and trying to sleep, I just have not had any free time lately. The move will be done by Monday, but I may not be back online for a couple of days after that, either. So again, sorry for not replying--I'm not being rude or ignoring anyone, I just don't have the time.

And I can say with all honesty that I'm not diggin' having to work daytime hours. I've been working swing shift pretty much ever since I got out here three years ago, and that's what my system is used to. Also, working day shift, I don't get to see any of my favorite gals anymore, either. I've seen Kimmy once in the past ten days or so, and my schedule is such that we won't cross paths again for at least another week. That really sucks. Also, I'm used to waking up sometime late in the morning, brewing a pot of coffee, doing the daily internet rotation, and then doing my writing and posting while I enjoy my coffee. Day shift screws that up, too.

But the worst thing about working the early-morning hours is that the poker room is extremely slow until about 2:00 pm every day. There's a group of regular goombahs (I swear half of them are retired mobsters) that come in every morning at 7:00 am or so, dressed in their jogging suits and slippers, to play a little 4/8 Hold-em. But their game sucks. About 90% of the time, every one of them limps in to see the flop, then they all check down to the river and then flip over their cards to see who has the best hand. It truly sucks to have to deal that game. Not only that, but it's the only table going, so at best, me and the other dealer on duty are working a half-hour on, half-hour off all morning. The only bright spot is when some random Asian kid with a backwards hat and an iPod wanders in and joins the game, raising everyone pre-flop and not letting anyone check. Then the pots finally have a little juice in them and the game gets interesting. Otherwise, it's basically just a bunch of old farts sitting around playing War. More importantly, they're not bad tippers, but I'm not gonna get rich off of them, either.

At least at 11:00 am there's a daily tournament, which brings in more players, but today, we had four more dealers scheduled at 11, so I didn't push two tables in a row for my entire shift. Even worse, I hardly ever get to deal any no-limit cash games--they don't start up until mid-afternoon, and by then I'm gone. I can count on a buck or two per pot as an average toke on the 4/8 game, but if there is some good action at a no-limit table, I can make some really good cash. But I've been missing out on that these past two weeks.

So today I had some one-on-one time with the new boss, and told her of my schedule concerns. She comes in every morning around 7:30 anyways, so she's seen the lack of action I've had to sit through. Anyhow, she said she'd get me some later shifts, more weekend shifts, and balance out the schedule a little more so that the same poor schmucks didn't get stuck on early morning shifts every day. This next week will probably be a little tight, money-wise, but I'm hoping that it improves after that.

Also, having the World Series going on, in addition to all the good tourneys and juicy cash games at Binion's, Bellagio, and The Mirage has really sapped all the players away. Series time is the slow time for us--all of our good players are down on the Strip and over at the Rio padding their bankrolls on all the fish in town. And believe me, we have some pretty sharp ones that use our room as a home base. I know I'm good, but there's a couple of guys I see on a regular basis that I don't wanna tangle with.

So with the World Series winding down next week, and the fact that our Bad Beat Jackpot is up to almost $200,000 and the qualifying hand is down to getting four sevens beaten, well, our business is gonna pick right back up pretty soon.

I'm off the rest of the weekend (more scheduling woes), so tomorrow is going to be the day that I get the rest of the move done, except, of course the actual moving part. My new roommate is out of town until Sunday night, so that's when the rest of my stuff gets migrated over since I don't have a key to the new place yet. But right now, I still have to clean and pack the kitchen, scrub the bathroom, wash every piece of clothing I own, and pack up my desk. After that, it's just a matter of vacuuming and dusting. I'll get a bunch of it done tonight, but I'm heading over to Planet Hollywood for their 2:00 am tournament in a few hours.

I'm hoping that the tourney at the Planet Ho is as soft as the one I got into at the Mirage last weekend. I swear, after twenty minutes or so of watching the action, I looked around the table and made eye contact with another player and he gave me a barely perceptible nod--there may not be any such thing as ESP, but at that moment, we both knew that it would be him and I as the last two players standing. And that's exactly how it worked out.

I found out later, once we were heads-up, that he'd been playing at the Rio earlier in the day and had busted Joe Hachem (the 2005 WSOP Main Event champion) out of whatever game they'd been playing that afternoon. So he was a formidable opponent, and he ended up beating me when he slow-played pocket Queens against my Dougie hand--a 10-6 offsuit that gave me top pair on the flop. Second place still paid me $180, so I couldn't complain too much about getting beaten, especially when the guy was better than me.

Anyhow, that's my plans for the rest of the night.

Right now, I'm just sitting here munching on some pizza from Chicago Brewing Company. Last night, after I took a truckload of junk over to my new garage, Lars and I headed over to the West Side for dinner. Since CBC has such an extensive menu, we decided to skip the pizza and go with more traditional fare. We started with some thoroughly appetizing calamari again, and Lars got a huge ribeye steak that had been marinated in Black Star Stout all afternoon for his entree. Still too hot outside to try the French Onion soup, I skipped it and let the waitress talk me into their Chicken Sonoma dish, which is grilled chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and mushrooms in a creamy pesto sauce served over bow-tie pasta.

For our beverage selection, Lars of course had the 'beer pairing' of Black Star Stout with his steak, and I went with the lighter All-Nighter Ale. And damn, those beers are good. I'm not a beer snob by any stretch of the imagination, but if I keep going to Chicago Brewing Company, I'm gonna become one in a hurry. It's truly some of the best beer I've ever had.

I was a wee bit disappointed when the entrees showed up, if only because Lars' steak looked so damn good in comparison to my pasta dish. I swear, it made me look like a girly-man, eating my light beer and pasta while Lars was sitting across the table enjoying a great bloody steak and a tall schooner of Stout. I even called the waitress out on that one.

Damn, why did I let you talk me into this? Look at that steak over there! I feel like an wimpy hybrid-drivin' nancy boy. Thanks a lot.

Not only did she and Lars start laughing, so did the diners at the tables nearest to us. The dude behind me even threw in a "Seriously man, what were you thinkin'?" which just added to the comedy. But the pasta dish was excellent, regardless of how inadequate I was feeling at the time. And the beers were doing their job on us--we had several, and giggled our way through dinner. Mine was an easy buzz to catch--I hadn't eaten anything all day, and had sweated my ass off moving stuff before we went dinner, so I was a bit dehydrated anyways.

Still laughing about my pasta choice, I told our server that I at least needed some bread to go with it, and I went with a half-order of garlic knots.

All I can say is they are Oh-my-god good. I've had them before at places like New York Pizza & Pasta, where they brag about how good they are, but I was always like Feh--garlic bread... So what...

Not these, my friends. They came in a basket, hot out of the oven, and after the first bite I dove into them like a hungry crocodile at Wildebeest migration time. Between my Homer Simpson sound effects, I offered one to Lars, and his first comment was Oh my god--that's like a garlic donut!

We loved 'em, and considered making a meal out of that and the calamari next time around.

We boxed up the leftovers, and I ordered a large pizza to go while we had another round of beers. Since I'm not using my kitchen any more, I figured I'd just bring home a pizza and put it in the fridge for dinner tonight.

The waitress could tell that we appreciated the good brews, and offered us samples of their in-house specials, a Belgian Saison and a Blueberry-Vanilla wheat beer. I'm normally not a fan of wheat beers, but I was willing to give it a shot. The Saison was good, but the Blueberry stuff -- Oh. Hell. Yeah.

Just sniffing it was a fun experience, as I told Lars that it smelled like one of those hippie smoke shops that sells nothing but bongs and pipes. And sipping it reminded me of kissing a girl who wore lip gloss. But it was damn tasty.

Knowing that I had to drive, I went with the smaller glass (only a pint), while Lars got to enjoy the schooner-sized blueberry vanilla goodness. Of course, we had our buzz going on, so we were making ridiculous toasts like Hooray for Bloobies! and laughing it up while we guzzled down a few pints.

After that, I switched to their house-made root beer, while Lars kept the blueberry train running. Of course, my pint glass came with a straw in it, which just gave the diners at the other tables even more ammunition to use against me... You can imagine the comments.

But we sat there laughing it up for almost four hours. Seriously, we were having so much fun that we didn't want to leave, and well, I had to metabolize all that beer out of my system, so staying late was not only fun, but practical as well. It was well past 11 pm when we finally called it a night, and I made Lars an offer he couldn't refuse. I paid the tab, but he's now on the hook to help me move my bed on Sunday night. Actually, he didn't hesitate for one second when I asked for his help, so I would've bought his dinner anyways.

Anyhow, once we made it back to this side of town, I came home and went straight to bed. I had to get up early again, and I felt like I was still running a sleep deficit. Once I got home from work this afternoon, it was nap time, regardless of the amount of work I had to do around the house. But now I've got to bite the bullet and jump on my chores. I've got about three hours before I take off for the Strip, so hopefully, the laundry and the kitchen will be done by that time.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving Day

Here it is, late on Wednesday evening, and I'm pretty damn exhausted. I'm still kind of running a sleep deficit, and it all started on Monday. Since I worked all night and didn't get home until 9:00 am on Monday morning, I was a walking Zombie. I tried to stay up for a bit, thinking the UPS man would do his normal routine and stop at our place by 9:30. By 10:00 am, he still hadn't shown up, so I went to lie down. I passed out for four hours, waking up at two in the afternoon, still no phone had been delivered. I forced myself to remain awake, but the guy didn't show up until almost 7:00 pm! Dang, I was pissed. I could've just slept all day.

So, once the new phone arrived, I put it on the charger and called up AT&T to give them all the magical codes they need to register it in their system, and I spent an hour messing around with it. I went out and grabbed some Taco Bell for dinner, watched the last of the stuff on the DVR, and fell asleep around midnight. I was scheduled to go in at 5:00 am on Tuesday, but they told me to call in before I came in and maybe I'd get some extra sleep. So I set my alarm for 3:45 am, called the poker room, and they told me to go back to bed. Instead of coming in at 5:00, I went in at 7:00 instead.

I worked the entire shift, making decent, if not excellent money. Once my shift was done, I drover over to the Orleans to check out their upcoming series of poker tourneys, but the cheapest ones are $200, and they really don't have that many good ones. So that turned out to be a bust, kinda. While I was there, I started talking to this pretty hot red-headed chick named Jamie who was also lurking around by the poker room getting tournament information at the same time I was. We hit it off pretty well, started chatting, and eventually exchanged phone numbers, and she told me to call her later that night.


I wanted to hang around and chat some more, but I had shiat to do. There was a auto-repair shop over there by the Orleans that I used to take the Ghetto-Sled to on occasion, and I went in there to see if they could give me an estimate on my truck fender. They said "Sure, just have a seat, we'll get right to it."

Forty five minutes later, nobody had looked at it, so exasperated, I left--just in time to hit rush-hour traffic on the 215 back to Henderson. Grrr...

I was just beat by then, it was a hot day, which saps the energy out of you anyways, but my lack of sleep was catching up to me. So I collapsed as soon as I got home. I must've slept for about three hours, and I woke up feeling all confused and out of place. It was still kind of light outside, but I had that momentary lapse of reason where I wasn't sure what day it was or if it was am or pm. Eventually, I figured it out. I was starving, so I grabbed a book and headed out for some Chinese food at my buddy Kenny's restaurant. When I walked in, I saw a couple of other guys I know, so I joined them. Kenny came out of the kitchen with an armload of icy cold beers, and I spent the next hour or so hanging out with those guys eating Kung Pao and telling casino stories.

I think it was about 10pm when I got back to the house, and Rob and the Geek Squad were there loading up the U-haul. I worked on my room and my closet, while they moved furniture and cleared out the living room. Once they left, I did a little vacuuming and took a shower. It was almost 11:00 by then and I remembered that I was supposed to call Jamie. Of course--there was no answer, so I logged on to the chatroom at T2V and socialized with those degenerates for awhile.

About a half-hour later, my phone was ringing--it was Jamie calling me back. We talked for a few minutes, and seizing the opportunity of having the place to myself, I took a shot. I just said Hey, you wanna come over? and unbelievably, she said Sure, let me take a shower and such. I'll be over in an hour...

What's that word again? Oh yeah-- SCORE!

So I found some candles, changed the sheets on the bed, and made sure the bathroom was clean, the seat was down, and that there was a fresh roll actually on the spindle, not sitting there bachelor-style on the back of the tank.

An hour later... Still no Jamie. Another half hour passes... still nothing. I call her. Of course it goes to voicemail. I just hung up without leaving a message, thinking she flaked. About fifteen minutes later, I called again, this time to leave a message, kinda with the idea of telling her to just forget it. But she answered that one, and said she was five minutes away. I guess it took her longer to shower and such than anticipated.

So I lit up the candles and set the iPod to the Dean Martin playlist. She showed up a few minutes later, and well, we had a pretty good time together. But she was a little kooky and hippie-ish, and she suffers from that curious malady of being 'Not Kimmy' so I really don't see myself hanging out with her in my spare time. Of course, we both had places to be in the morning, so she did the Guy Thing and scooted out around 4:00 am, trying to avoid doing her Walk of Shame in the daylight.

Two Ships, I think, is the term I'd use to describe our encounter...

Anyhow, it felt like I'd been asleep for five minutes when that alarm went off, forcing me to get up. I had that meeting at work at 9:00 am, but I didn't have to shave or anything. It was just shorts, a t-shirt, and flip flops for me.

The meeting lasted about an hour, just a bunch of procedural stuff and departmental policy stuff, but since nobody told me anything about anything when I made the jump over to the poker room, it was all brand-new info to me.

After the meeting ended, a bunch of us had breakfast together, then a few of us decided to play in the 11:00 am poker tournament they put on in our poker room. Yep--out of three tables, half the people playing were dealers. Anyone wanna guess who lasted longest?

Oh yeah, it was me.

I made it to the final table, but man, it was a tough crowd. I was lucky to get 9th place. No money though. This was one of those "I was in it for the experience" days. Just the fact that I outlasted all of my co-workers was compensation enough.

Once I busted out of the tournament, I stuck around for awhile to play some 4/8, but it was just a card-dead grind. I was on a loosey-goosey table, and the one and only time I got pocket Aces, I was on the big blind, everyone folded, and the small blind asked if I'd be willing to chop. Damn.

It was pretty much a waste of an afternoon, poker-wise.

So I took off from there, ran a few errands, hit Wal-Mart for some more Rubbermaid storage totes, and then came home to do more packing. Rob was here, getting more of his small stuff out of his room and the kitchen, while I packed up all of my books, DVDs, CDs, and half the crap in the storage closet. Once the truck was fully shaded by the building, I started loading it up.

Behold, the emptiness of the Man Cave:

Well, this side isn't so empty:

The first load of junk prepares for departure. Two of those blue things are full of booze. If you click on the picture and make it full-sized, you can see the damage to my front fender:

Once the bed of the truck was full, I headed over to my new place and dropped it all off in the garage. By then, I was hot, tired, and sweaty, but felt pretty good--it was like a crazy workout, lifting weights while walking on the treadmill. I swear, I must own about 800 lbs. of books, and another 200 lbs. of ammunition. Only god knows how much the booze weighs. And I still have all that damn cast iron from the kitchen to move, too.

Luckily, I had the foresight to remove a bottle of Captain Morgan Silver from the stash and leave that behind at the almost-vacant Man Cave. There's a case of Coke and a couple of limes still in the fridge, so my relaxation is fairly complete. In fact, I think I'm gonna head down to the jacuzzi again once the temperature finally drops below a hundred tonight. It's gonna feel good on my tired muscles.


Where's Mikey?

Hey everybody! Just wanted to check in and say hello. I'm sorry for the lack of updates, but I've been pretty busy for the past couple of days and haven't had much time to get on the computer. I'm off today, but I have to head back in to work in a few minutes for a meeting with the new poker room boss. We got a new HNIC last week, and we've got a mandatory departmental meeting today. Normally I always skip 'mandatory' meetings, especially when they're casino-wide, but since I'm the newbie and it's just the poker room, I can't miss this one.

Once I get back home, I'm gonna sleep for awhile, then do the the majority of my packing. Rob got about 90% of his stuff out last night, and the house, for the most part, is empty, except for the kitchen and my bedroom. I'll be taking a truckload of stuff over to the new place once the sun goes down, and we'll do some cleaning tonight. I'm working the next two days and I'm on-call all weekend, but seriously, I think it would take maybe four good hours of work to get this place empty and clean, so it shouldn't be too bad. We'll be completely out of the Man Cave by Monday.

That's all for now.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Spirit Is Willing, Flesh Is Weak

Hey gang!

I've wanted to post an update, basically giving all the details of my Saturday night at the Mirage, and I still may do so, but since then, I've either been asleep, packing, or working, and have had no time for dilly-dally.

In fact, I just got home from work an hour ago, after pulling an all-night shift. I should be in bed right now, I'm completely exhausted, but Rob is still asleep and I'm waiting for the UPS man to get here with my new phone. Usually he hits our apartment complex first thing in the morning on his daily route, so I'm hoping I don't have to stay up long.

Anyhow, this time yesterday, I would've sworn that I had Monday off. I was on-call, but the phone didn't ring all day. I called in at 4:30 to see if they'd need me on swing shift, but the manager on duty said basically, Hell no, you're not getting called in tonight--you have to be here at 5:00 am!

That was news to me, but he re-checked the schedule, and yeah, it said for me to be there at 5:00 am this morning.

Damn. I was planning on doing the majority of my packing today. Oh well, I still have a week. Anyhow, around 9:30 last night, just as I was going to bed, my phone was ringing again. It was work calling, asking if I could come in at 1:00 am instead of 5:00 am.

Not wanting to turn down any shift, of course I agreed, but then I was unable to go to sleep. So I stumbled in to work at 1:00 am, and was happy to see two games going. Of course, by the time I changed, clocked in, and came back, we were down to one game and I got sent on first break.

I was shuffling back to the dining room, when I heard that wonderful voice behind me calling my name. Yeah, it was Kimmy, and I hadn't seen her in almost a week. She was just finishing up her shift and heading for her locker, but she wanted to thank me for the birthday card and the Starbucks gift card. And since she still has that strange effect on me, I couldn't think of anything clever or romantic to say, so I just stood there stammering like a drooling idiot the whole time we talked.

Of course five minutes after we parted ways, all the things I should've said came flowing back into my consciousness...

--Ah, don't worry about it, I like doing nice things for you, your birthday was just an excuse...

--It's all part of my master plan to make you think about me when you get your morning coffee...

--What about the diamonds? Did you get them too?

Oh well. It just goes to show that I'm not so smoove with the ladies. At least with the ones that matter the most...

Anyhow, my lone poker game went dead around 3:00 am, and we didn't get any more players until 7:30 or so. So me and the floor guy just sat there at an empty table for four hours shooting the shiat and dozing off. At one point, he had do go do some paperwork, so I hit up Starbucks for a big-ass vanilla latte with four, yes, four shots of espresso in it.

That pretty much carried me through the rest of the shift, and I'm still a little bit wired. I ended up working the entire eight hours, but out of those eight hours, I was actually dealing for only two of them. But I made $80, so I'll take the forty bucks-an-hour in tips.

I grabbed a quick breakfast once I got out of work, put on the sunglasses, and headed back to the apartment. No UPS man yet, and I'm afraid to go lie down, because once I fall asleep, that's all she wrote for at least eight hours.

And I'm scheduled to go back in at 5:00 tomorrow morning, but they told me it'll probably get changed to 7:00 instead, which I'm cool with. So that's about it from here. Once that phone gets here, I'm going to bed for the rest of the day.

Y'all have a good one!


Saturday, June 21, 2008

KRZR Little Thing

I made a purchase last night, although I really didn't want to. Seriously, I sat at the computer for ten minutes staring at the screen trying to talk myself out of hitting the 'Place Order' button on the Amazon check-out page, but I couldn't do it--it was something I almost had to buy, although I was hoping to put it off for a couple of weeks.

My current cell phone is a complete piece of shiat. It's a an obsolete Sony Ericsson model that does nothing well, and after having Motorola phones for the previous six years, I found the buttons and the operations to be counter-intuitive. It doesn't have a camera, the ring tones are all annoying, it gets overwhelmed whenever somebody sends me a multi-media message--it chokes on pictures and absolutely goes into survival mode if somebody sends me a video. The most annoying thing, however, actually two things, is the fact that every f*cking day I have to 'agree' to reset the clock. I don't know why it does that, but half the time I open it up to make a call, I get a message saying The new time is XX:XX Do you wish to reset? (And it's always about a minute off of what the clock is displaying). So I click 'yes', and then I have to tell it whether it's daylight savings time or not. I have to do this before I can make a call, which drives me absolutely crazy, especially if I'm on the road. In addition to that, whenever I finish a call or a text message, it starts vibrating and telling me that I have a message, which is how much of my time balance I have left. I don't mind the message, but I can't disable the vibration mode whenever it displays, so it *really* eats up my battery on a day where I'm making or getting a lot of calls.

In addition to pissing me off for the past two years, about two weeks ago I dropped the thing on the floor, all the pieces flew in different directions, and it's been acting squirrely ever since. Normally, I'd put up with it, but I've gotten a few dropped calls lately, and on some calls I can't hear. Other times, it won't ring at all and I look down at the display and see that I've had several missed calls. On the other hand, I love my service, and have never had one problem at all with customer-service, billing, or technical-support. I use AT&T, and compared to Sprint, they are a wonderful service provider. Their system just works. It's my phone that sucks ass.

And now, with my new position in the poker room, I'm On Call at least once a week, if not more often. And I cannot afford to miss that phone call when it comes. So I had to bite the bullet.

Now, I've been wanting a RAZR phone for a long time, probably ever since the first time I saw Ari on Entourage flip his open and berate Lloyd a couple of years back. But everyone I know who has had one has warned me not to buy one--the sound quality sucks, the buttons aren't ergonomic, it doesn't 'feel' right when you talk on it, it gets damaged too easily, etc. etc....

I've had one on my Wish List for a long time, too, but again, I can't afford to take a chance now that I'm basically chained to my phone on my days off, so I had to rethink my choices. I knew that I'd absolutely be buying a Motorola phone again--they've always been good quality (except, apparently, for the first-generation RAZRs), and I'm used to the way they're set up--I don't need to spend hours studying the manual to get stuff to work.

As much as I've wanted a RAZR phone, buying one now would be a lot like waiting until 2005 to buy my first Pearl Jam cd--pretty far behind the curve. So I did my research (hours of reading reviews and specs on the internet) and opted for a new KRZR phone, instead. I certainly don't need one of those so called 'smart-phones' with the full keypad and such, and Angy has had nothing but problems with hers, so I considered that to be just a little too much technology in one place. And the cost is prohibitive unless I sign a long-term service contract anyways--and I'm not willing to do that (I'm one of those 'liberty hippies' who values freedom more than security, even with things as trivial as wireless service...)

Apparently, the folks at Motorola listened to their customers' complaints about the RAZR, and beefed it up and improved it this time around, and for those of us who don't need a 'smart-phone', they offer the sleek and sexy KRZR.

So, I went ahead and ordered one last night, in nifty Cosmic Blue (kinda looks like my old Stratocaster). Due to the fact that I'll be moving next week, in addition to needing it right now, I went ahead and sprung for next-business day shipping, and it'll be here sometime on Monday. I was really hoping to not have to purchase any non-perishables of any type until after I got moved, but missing one phone call in the next ten days (four of which are On-Call) might cost me $200+, so I figured it was a justifiable expense.

And Monday is my day off, so I'll be home stacking boxes in my dining room and tossing out junk when the UPS man delivers it.

Once I get moved, my next expense, obviously, is a new fender for my truck (upon closer inspection, the damage was limited to one piece of metal, so it won't be as pricey as I feared). After that, I have to decide on new bedroom furniture (feh...) or a new HDTV (oh yes!). Now that I've had a taste, it'll be tough to go back to regular TV. But I really want a new, nice, bedroom set, suitable for entertaining, if you know what I mean...


Friday, June 20, 2008

Not The Way I'd Choose To Make It...

Well, the initial shock of having my truck violated has worn off, and I'm finally at peace with my smashed-up fender. I was quite irritated yesterday when I got home, but a wee tot of rum in my Coke helped a bit, and I was able to relax, do some reading, and just chill with the anger.

Rob got a call from Jack21, who was still in town, and wanted us to meet up with him downtown for a drink or two at the Triple Seven brewpub down at Main Street Station. I figured I could use a night out, so I agreed to go.

The plan was to meet up at 9:00 pm, and we got there just a few minutes before Jack (Eric) did. Neither one of us had eaten, so Rob and I both ordered burgers to go with our schooner of the monthly brewmaster special -- Raspberry Cream Ale. It was pretty good, but I liked the strawberry cream ale much better. And since I was driving, I only had one. But dinner was good, and we had a nice visit with Eric.

Once we finished up, I was cool with just heading home, having to be at work at 9:00 in the morning, but Eric wanted to hit the dice table one more time before calling it a trip. I agreed, and we found ourselves at the end of a $5 game just a few minutes later.

There were a couple of decent rolls ahead of us, and I was actually up about $35 when the dice got to our end. Eric hit a couple of inside numbers and made one point before going out, and my roll was fairly shiatty. I counted my rack and saw that I was up a big $5, so I told Eric that I was going to not tempt fate and just go ahead and color up. He said he'd play the rest of his red chips down, and said that I should stay for one more shooter.

I reluctantly agreed, and while this conversation was taking place, the players at the other end of the table were all passing the dice to an old Asian man that had just come up to the table. Apparently, they knew something we didn't.

Well, my friends, this old dude had one of those rolls that you dream of, holding the dice for almost a half-hour and hitting several points. I was was playing fairly cautiously (but not nearly as cautiously as Rob and Eric), and when all was said and done, I had quadrupled my $100 buy-in!

Rob broke even, Eric had bought in for a grand and colored up for $1400, and I had bought in for a hundred and cashed out just over $400 (I left the breakage for the dealers). That was a nice score to go with my already good week, and I was quite pleased that Eric talked me into sticking around for one more shooter. We hit the cage and then said our goodbyes, then Rob and I made our way back home to Henderson.

So my otherwise crappy day ended up on a good note.

I went straight to bed when we got home (sometime after midnight), and I found myself back at the casino this morning at 9:00 am. I sat down at our only game going, a 4/8 game with all the old regulars that come in every morning. But as soon as I pushed my first pot, the game broke. One of the old guys had to get down to the Rio to play in a WSOP satellite, and a couple of the other guys were gonna go with him to watch. None of the other old farts wanted to play shorthanded, so one by one they all picked up their chips and left. So I didn't have a game.

It was just me, the 6:00 am dealer, the floor supervisor, and the cocktail waitress left standing. The room was dead. Shortly after that, the 10:00 am dealer showed up, and we had four more dealers scheduled to come in at 11:00 for the daily tournament. But we didn't have a single player.

So, after earning ONE single dollar in tips, and then sitting on my ass for the entire hour, they cut me and the 6:00 am dealer loose. We both clocked out and changed back into our street clothes, rounded up a couple of guys lurking about, and sat back down at the table, this time as players. In no time at all we had beers in front of us and a new 4/8 game going.

We played for almost an hour, and I lost the equivalent of one big blind before coloring up. But we decided to play in the eleven o'clock tournament, and Preston (the other dealer) and I had a side bet for one American dollar to see who would last longer in the tournament.

Of course I won that, but I got knocked out by two suckouts. Both times I went all-in, I had the best hand, but both times my opponents caught their two-outers. so I can't complain too much about how I played--I got in with the best of it, but sometimes the cards just don't hold up. I know I was playing my A-game, so I figure the odds will even out over time and maybe next time (or in a tourney with a bigger prize pool), my good hands will hold up.

Once I busted out, I headed for home. I had to go to the bank first, however. One of the best things about being paid in cash is that I always have money on hand now, I never feel broke, and I'm always finding money lying around in my room or in the laundry and such. But the downside of having all the cash on hand is that all of my electronically deducted bills need to be taken care of, so I had to get down to the bank to make a deposit--my piddly little paycheck doesn't cover expenses anymore.

Oh, and my cheap-ass company also cut my hourly pay rate when I made the leap, too, I just found out today. I guess $7.10 per hour might break them, so now one of the 'best companies in America to work for' only pays me $6.33 per hour with no benefits. On the other hand, I also found out today that my tip compliance contract with the IRS is only $4.00 per hour. Yep, that's the income I get taxed on now. The rest is free and clear and in my pocket.

Anyhow, I basically didn't make any money today at work--I only dealt one hand. And I didn't cash in the tournament either, so I'm glad that the night at the dice table was so lucrative.

I'm on call for the next two days, with Monday off. I don't know if I'll be working at all, but I'm guessing that I will be there at least one day. Otherwise, I'm just gonna be here at the house getting stuff done for the next few days. I hope to be living out of a suitcase by Wednesday.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not My Day

I had a four-hour day at work that seemed like it was about ten hours long, and it just got worse afterwards.

We only had one game going the entire time I was there, but four dealers were on hand after 11:00 am. Luckily there was a single-table tournament going (I got $26 for the half-hour I was dealing at that table), but otherwise, it was half-hour on/half-hour off all shift long. So I didn't mind so much getting sent home, although another round would've been better.

But when I went outside to go home, I wanted to kill somebody.

Somebody had smashed into the front left quarter-panel of my truck, leaving a good size dent, a huge scratch and a whole lotta paint missing. No note was left behind of course. And there are no surveillance cameras on the roof of the parking garage until you get close to the elevators, so whoever did it got away with it. Some moron who can't park, or more likely, can't properly back out of a parking space was the culprit.

So, I've got to get that repaired, and I'm sure it'll probably cost about a thousand bucks. I'll get an estimate first--I don't want to put it on my insurance and have my rates go up if it's less than $1500 or so. But I don't have a weekday off in the foreseeable future, so I'll be driving around all ghetto-fied for a couple of days. And if I don't go the insurance route, I'll have to pay for a rental car out-of-pocket, also. (That might make it a deal-breaker. I may just bite the bullet and call my agent tomorrow).

But that didn't totally ruin my day. I came home to find a package from Amazon waiting for me. Reader Ron from Torrance sent along the Michael Yon book and a copy of the Serenity dvd from my wish list, along with a nice note. That lifted my spirits a bit, so I say Thank you, Ron for the nice gift.

That's all there is from this end. I have no poker stories to share, but judging from the responses I got after that last post, nobody seems to care much about them anyways. I'm working tomorrow, and I'm on-call all weekend, so I'm not quite sure when my next day off is going to be. Whenever it is, that's the day I'll do the majority of my packing and getting ready for the move. Rob told me that they get into their new house next Tuesday, so that's when he'll be outta here. No more HDTV for awhile... I'm gonna try and move boxes and storage stuff this weekend into the garage at my new place, but everything else will be later in the week and into the weekend.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not Quite As Good As I Thought I Was

Hey everybody--happy hump day!

I was lucky enough to get a full eight hours of sleep last night and wake up without the alarm today, but man, my sleep schedule is all jacked up. I've been working swing shift for the past three years straight, then last week I had a couple of graveyard shifts, and this week I'm on day shift. Yesterday I had to go in at 5:00 am, and today I'm going in at 11:00. There's no rhyme or reason to my schedule at work, I just do what they tell me, but damn, it plays hell with my system. I still kinda feel like a zombie today.

Maybe it's time to just brew a pot of coffee and get over it...


Ok, coffee's on. Now I can concentrate.

Since I last updated late Monday night/early Tuesday morning, much has happened. I got up at 3:45 yesterday morning, did my usual morning toilette, then headed in to work, thinking I was gonna get stuck doing not a damn thing all morning, making no money, and generally sitting at the desk yawning all morning, hoping some players would show up.

I took a walk by the poker room on my way in from the garage, just to see if there was a game going, but there was not. There was a dealer sitting at a dead spread, with two players and the floorguy, but they were just hanging out and shootin' the shiat--they weren't playing.

So I went and changed, got some breakfast (the only good thing about working those oddball hours is that they put out a nice breakfast buffet in the employee dining room), and had a cup of coffee. Once it was ok to clock in, I headed back over to the poker room.

I sat down at the table, letting the other guy go home, and joined the conversation. The two players and the floor supervisor each had at least $300 worth of chips in front of them, and as soon as I sat down, one of them suggested that they go ahead and play some 3-way mixed format games with a dollar rake each pot. The floor supervisor was ok with that, so we decided on playing a modified HORSE game. I'd deal eight hands of Stud, then eight more of Omaha, then Razz, Omaha Hi-Lo, and then Stud 8-or-Better. Nobody wanted to play Hold-em.

The thing about those game is that they are all 'action' games. There are lots of ways to make hands, so the pots get huge, even just three-handed. And the betting was capped almost every round, too, so I was pushing huge stacks around the table after each hand. Of course, the players were just moving money around the table, but I was getting anywhere from a buck to five bucks a hand in tips, so while the house was making a buck around, I was making double that or more each time.

After awhile, my shirt pocket was so full of white chips that they were falling out onto the table every time I leaned over to push a pot or bring in the muck. The floor guy got me an empty rack, so I while the players were doing their thing, I was using the couple of free seconds I had each hand to transfer chips from my shirt pocket to the chip rack in the chair next to me.

I ended up sitting there dealing to those guys for just over two hours straight without a break, and managed to make over $150. So my crappy shift turned out to be a huge score. But all good things must come to an end, and once all the regular old codgers that come in every morning at 7:30 showed up, we had to break our game up and I had to go and deal the normal 4/8 game. I spent the next three hours doing a half-hour on, half-hour off the Hold-em table, and managed to pull another fifty out of the old guys. Another dealer came in at 10:00 am, and since we only had one game going, I got sent home at 10:30. I was ok with that--I was tired and I'd made my money for the day.

Since I thought I'd make about fifty bucks for the entire shift, and coming off of the previous days big score in the tournament, I had a few extra bucks in my pocket. Instead of coming straight home, I drove over to the men's store and bought a couple of new shirts. I was going to get the black guayabera shirt I was talking about a few weeks ago, but they weren't on sale and I didn't wanna pay $58 for a shirt. But there were some other good-looking sport shirts on sale for 25% off, so I got two of them, instead.

I came home, relaxed for a bit, took a shower, then headed back downtown to Binion's to take another run at yet another tournament. The Tuesday tournament was exactly the same as the Monday event--same format, same buy-in, so I figured my chances were good if I didn't get too cute and donkey off any chips with stuff like Ace-Jack.

I got there about 45 minutes early, so once I signed in and paid my registration, I walked over to the other side of the casino to the snack bar, where Lucy the short-order cook has been working for decades. If you haven't been to Binion's since the good old days of Benny and Teddy, or even the bad old days of Becky, you wouldn't recognize the place. It's bright, airy, and clean, with new carpet and paint, fewer machines, and more space to walk around. Even the snack bar has been expanded from the 12 or so stools at the counter to having tables available.

But the menu hasn't changed at all, so I went with one of my all-time favorite Vegas meals, a plain hot dog and a bowl of their famous chili, piled high with cheese and onions. Yeah, I know it was 104 degrees outside, but inside the casino, it's always around 68 degrees, so chili didn't seem too out-of-season. Knowing Hoya's affinity for the Bean-of-the-Day special at the snack bar, I sent her a text message saying

Binion's Chili. Oh hell yeah.

She texted me back saying that she hated me or some other such nonsense. Some chicks have no sense of humor...

Oh, and by the way, back in the old days, whenever I'd eat at the snack bar, I'd always have a root beer with my meal. But not anymore. The good folks in charge at Binion's have now seen the error of ways past, and no longer serve that vile Pepsi shiat. They are now a Coke place! Of course, they still have the old Pepsi menu boards that Benny hung in there back in the sixties, but still, an all-time classic just got much better!

Of course, I never can finish a whole bowl of the chili, so I gave up about halfway through and headed back over to the tournament area. And I saw a bunch of the exact same players as the day before, and even had one guy that was two seats away from me for most of the day on Monday sitting next to me when the Tuesday tournament started. Of course, all the players that saw me on the short stack late in the tournament came over to find out how I fared, and were all fairly surprised that I'd made it all the way to eleventh place. Like me, they thought I'd be out much sooner--it's tough to go to war against an army of big guns when all you have is a slingshot. But I a very lucky David, and several Goliaths went down ahead of me.

Feeling much more confident and biblical on Tuesday, instead of being the underdog David, I felt more like Samson going up against the Philistines. And a jaw-bone of an ass seems to be more my speed, anyways.

So, the cards went in the air, and we were underway once again. The tournament started with about 189 players or so, so I figured the payouts would be close to the same as the previous day. And when the announcement came over the PA system to Shuffle up and deal, well, I was thinking about all the things I could spend that seven thousand dollar first-place prize money on.

Normally, in big tournaments like this, most players start out playing extremely tight, so it's pretty easy to pick up the blinds and scare away limpers early on, with the happy side effect of letting everyone at the table know that you are not one to be trifled with.

On the third hand of the tournament, I was on the big blind, and looked down to see an Ace-Nine offsuit, one of my most-hated garbage hands of all time. Everyone else always over-values it, but you're generally beaten by a raise, or outkicked, and you can't make a straight, either. So unless we're late in a tourney and shorthanded, or I'm on the short stack and have to make a move, I generally treat it like it's a seven-deuce with a bad case of the clap, and get rid of it without a second thought.

But there was only one limper, so I was free to check.

The flop came out Nine-Queen-Nine. Jackpot!

I checked, as did the limper. The turn was a Four, but wanting my opponent to think I had a Queen, (and also see if I could get more than $50 bucks out of him), I raised it up to $175. He fired back at me, betting $400.

Since he had limped in, I knew he didn't have pocket Queens or even Ace-Queen, but I put him on probably having an 8-9 or 9-10 suited. Since the board was all raggy, the best he could have was a nine, and I had him outkicked, anyways. So I came over the top of him for $1200. He went all-in and I couldn't call fast enough, thinking that I'd just doubled up.

The cards got turned over, and the dude had Queen-Nine, flopping a full house!


Seeing that last non-Ace card coming off the deck was like watching a slow-motion train wreck. Or as Lars Vargas so eloquently put it, I haven't witnessed anything that sick since I saw Tony Bourdain getting tea-bagged in an Uzbecki dungeon. And just like that, Mikey was the very first person eliminated from the tournament. A dubious distinction, indeed.

All I could do was laugh and tell myself that sometimes I'm too smart for my own good. I suppose I needed that lesson in humility, if not only to remind me that I'm not as good as I think I am, but also to provide a good laugh and a good story for everyone else at my table. I know the guy that beat me is gonna be telling that story for years.

Stunned by my sudden demise, I wished everyone good luck and shuffled off towards the cash games, hoping to get my money back...

Luckily, I got a decent seat at a loose table, so it was just a matter of time before I could get my money back. All I had to do was be patient and wait for big cards. It didn't take long, and within a half hour I'd limped in with Aces and made four-of a kind, raking a bigger than expected pot against a flush and a full-house.

Then later on, I think I put one guy over the edge. I was on the button and had pocket fives. He was on my right, and raised the action. I called, as did three or four other people (limit game--everyone calls to see a flop), and although the board was rags, there was a five in the middle of it. I'd flopped trips. I knew the guy had Aces, and everyone checked to him, knowing he'd bet. He did, I called, and so did everyone else.

The turn didn't help much, he bet, and I raised. He was in love with his cards and re-raised. I was thinking WTF--is this guy that stupid that he doesn't recognize trips? So I just smooth-called, in case he was semi-bluffing a flush draw or a bigger set of trips (there was only one overcard on the board, but I was about 99% sure that he wasn't rolled up with it, and I knew that a re-raise wouldn't get him out of the pot, so if he made his hand, I didn't wanna be stuck for another $16).

But, the Poker Gods rewarded me for accepting their earlier lesson in humility, and the case Five came out on the river. Mr I'm-in-love-with-my-pocket-Aces guy bet into me, and I raised.

He cursed, and said Oh yeah, show us all your f*cking Ace-Five, genius as he called my raise.

One thing I can't stand is people who think they are experts at calling other people's hands and love to just talk about it, trying to validate their delusions of what expert poker players they are. Especially when I know I'm the smarter and better player (that's not arrogance, that's a fact--there are some dumb players out there, and pushing with Aces all the way to the river when you should *know* you're beaten just proves my point). And to insult me, in addition to thinking that I stayed in with Ace-Five, well, he had to learn his own expensive lesson in humility.

So I said You can't read a hand for shit, genius, and I showed my quad fives.

The whole table erupted in laughs and groans of disbelief, and my opponent went on a pretty good tirade, coming just short of Duran-Duraning the table, before he cursed some more, kicked his chair over, and headed outside to cool off. Or find a building to jump off of. I'm not sure which.

Oh, and by the way, I raked a huge pot.

It was pretty fun after that, and the guy came back about twenty minutes later--still on tilt. Since I was directly to his left, I straddled his big blind every time, which just pissed him off even more. He sat there bitching and moaning the rest of the afternoon, and eventually lost every dime he had. He raked a couple of small pots before going broke, but of course he stiffed the dealer both times, so both times I tossed the dealer a buck from my huge stack and politely said That's from him.

Heh. If he wasn't about sixty years old, he probably would've tried to beat my ass, but he was a scrawny piece of shiat and couldn't do anything but sit there and take his medicine.

Anyhow the day was pretty mellow after that, although I raked one more huge pot when I had King-Queen of diamonds, catching the Ace and Jack on the flop. I totally pushed the action with my Royal Flush draw and some poor unfortunate soul had trip Jacks and another guy made a lower flush when the Ten of diamonds came on the river.

Man, there's nothing quite like getting called in a showdown and turning over a Royal Flush! Well, maybe showing quad fives to the resident asshole, but you know what I mean.

After that, I played until my blind came back around, and then I racked up and called it a night, not only breaking even, but actually making a few bucks in the process.

I'm not sure if my schedule will allow me to play in another one of the Poker Classic tourneys before it wraps up in two weeks, but I'm ok with that. I think I could use a break. I've got to work for the rest of the week, and I still have that whole moving thing looming on the horizon.

In fact, it's about time I take a shower and head on down to the casino for another day dealing the cards instead of playing them.

Y'all have a good one.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Another Good Finish!

Hey gang--as much as I would *love* to post an all-encompassing and lengthy summary of my days activities, I shall not. I'm dead tired, and I have to be at work in five hours. And I just got home a few minutes ago... (It's just after midnight on Tuesday morning)

Yep, I went down to Binion's to play in another one of their Annual Poker Classic tournaments, a $150 buy-in No Limit event. There were 237 players, and I busted out in 11th place, one seat away from reaching the final table. I still made $465 for the effort (first place paid $7400, which would've been a little better...), but it just took all damn day, which is truly a grind.

I was lucky to finish in 11th place, as I thought I was done in 31st place, when I was short-stacked and went all-in with Ace-Jack. Somebody with Ace-King called me, and well, I lost and was walking away, but they called me back and I got a refund on the pot because I had the guy covered. I had just enough to cover the ante and small blind for the next hand, leaving me with a single $100 chip.

I was literally down to a chip and a chair, thinking I was going home on the very next hand. But I made the Mother of All Comebacks with a 6-4 offsuit, picking up the blinds, antes, and an extra $300 from three callers. And not only did I work my way back to get into the money, I had a real shot at the final table when I looked down and saw pocket Queens. Of course some jagoff with a pair of fours called, and a four came out on the flop.

I swear, I was kinda feeling like Phil Helmuth when he so famously said, If it weren't for bad luck, I'd never lose a single tournament. Minus, of course, the temper-tantrum and asshattery. But under-pairs have taken me out both times. Kings and Queens. I guess I need Aces if I want to win the hardware.

It took nine hours to get to the final table, and since I have to work in the morning, I just took off as soon as I got paid--no sticking around to watch.

But now I'm two-for-two in the Binion's Poker Classic. Two entries, two cashes. I like those odds and would love to play in another one. They're running the exact same tournament later this afternoon, and if I get some sleep, I could still make it down there after work.

We shall see. In the meantime, I've got to go to bed.

I may not post again sometime on Wednesday. Y'all have a good one!


Monday, June 16, 2008

Figuring It Out

Hey gang.

Man, if y'all had any idea just how worn out I am at this very moment, you'd have a fine appreciation for the fact that I am not passed out in bed right now, drooling on my pillow.

I am a tuckered out little trooper. I got home a little while ago, after doing a full eight-hour shift in the poker room. And yeah, it was a very lucrative weekend for me--the pit dealers are hatin' life right now, and I'm more than doubling what I would've been making had I stayed. Notice I didn't say that I'm doubling what I used to make. Basically, the casino has died these past couple of weeks, and my former co-workers are struggling to make a hundy a night. Me? I'm doing much better.

Anyhow, I learned something new this past week, which is another lesson nobody told me, but I picked up on from observation. There's that tip bucket on the desk in the poker room, that both dealers and players toss chips in. And I'm no different--I always put a couple of singles in there every time I cash in before going on break. But then I noticed a couple of dealers throwin' a little bit of scratch at the poker room manager, also.

So a few nights ago, I asked him if he got any of the stuff in the bucket, and he told me that he didn't unless he was the only floor/cashier there. So basically, I've been stiffin' the guy whenever there is more than one person at the desk. I had no idea. I apologized and told him that nobody had ever told me that, and since then, I split my tipping out between the bucket and the room manager. Later at night, when he's there alone, it all goes in the bucket.

It doesn't cost me any more than I've toked out before, and ever since I corrected my mistake, not only have I not been sent home early from any of my shifts, he's actually called a couple of the other extra-board dealers on days I've been there and had them stay home and let me work a little extra. And I noticed that I've been getting better line-ups when I come in. Instead of starting on break, or on the 'break table' (the one you deal before going on break), I've been starting at the top of the line-up, getting as many 'downs' as possible.

And with the new schedule for this week, I'm off today, work the next four days straight, and I'm on call on Saturday and Sunday. I'm sure I'll get called in this weekend, so it should be a good week for me (well, except for maybe on Tuesday--I go in at 5:00 in the frickin' morning--I may not pitch a single card for the first two hours).

The whole situation may sound a little bit, I don't know, unsavory maybe, to an outsider, but it's so old-school Vegas that it just works perfectly, and it makes sense. I toss the guy a five-dollar chip when I go on my first break, and instead of going home at 11:00 pm with $150 in my pocket--which ain't bad for six hours--I get to stay until 1:00 am and go home with two and a quarter instead. That's a pretty damn good return on investment.

It also helps that one of my cardinal rules--which helped me back when I first moved to this town--is that while I'm on-call or on the Extra Board, I never say no to a shift at any time. If they need help, I will absolutely drop what I'm doing and be there within the hour. And I have told them as much. I don't have kids or family obligations, so they know they can count on me. I picked up a lot of extra dice time back in my early days with that philosophy, and now I'm getting all the work I can handle in the poker room.

Since there are so few full-timers available, the bosses have to juggle all the part-timers to fill in the gaps the best they know how, and if they can use a guy who the players like, who doesn't screw up too much, never turns down a shift, and oh by the way helps them make a few bucks too, well then, that's why I've been pulling good shifts so far.

And I gotta tell you--I'm thanking my lucky stars every time I walk by the pit and head to the break room. It's so dead over there right now, and every night I see all those fleas that I just hated to deal to. I was telling some of my buddies last night , when they asked how the poker gig is working out so far, that I couldn't think of a number high enough to get me to go back there and deal blackjack. Seriously--I'm so much happier now that I don't think present technology exists that could measure it. And just two months ago, I had no idea how much better it could be.

Really--craps and blackjack? What the HELL was I thinking? It feels like I almost wasted the past three years, now that I've seen both sides. Of course, the experiences I've had and the friends I've got made it all worth it, but damn, had I known--Y'all would've never seen me at a dice table...

And just when I went on my late dinner break and was self-philosophizing about just how good things are going, I walked in to the dining room and saw Michelle sitting by herself reading her trashy gossip magazine. So I grabbed an iced-tea and sat down to join her. And wouldn't you know it, about thirty seconds later, Kimmy came along and sat down with us too.

So my dinner break was quite enjoyable, spending a half-hour of my night laughing it up with two of the cutest gals I know. Between them sitting there with me in their low-cut tops, high-heels, and mini-skirts, and the big wad of cash I had in my pocket, I felt like I was just a purple suit and some gold teeth short of being an official pimp.

But homey has to answer to The Man, and I eventually had to head back out to the floor. The rest of my night paled in comparison, and that last down at the 4-8 game just sucked the life out of me. I cashed out for the last time, changed clothes, and dragged my tired ass to my truck.

When I got home, Rob was awake, barely, kinda dozing in the magic sleepy-time chair watching the recording of yesterday's Nascar race. I'd already seen the whole thing live, so I already knew about Jr. winning, but I didn't spoil the surprise for him. He finally shuffled off to bed, and I stayed up to write this post.

As soon as I hit the submit button, I'm gonna go take a shower, then get a few hours' sleep. And I noticed that Binion's Poker Classic has a juicy-looking No-Limit tournament at 2:00 pm today, so if I'm not too tired, I may make my way down to Fremont Street this afternoon and spend the day texting Dougie.

Y'all have a great Monday!

Mikey out.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Road Trip!

Howdy everyone--and a happy Father's Day to all you dads out there. I called my dad earlier today and we had a good conversation, catching up on all the latest. Being that it was Father's Day, it was a good time spring an idea on him that I came up with a few weeks ago that Reverend Dave and I have been kicking around.

Basically, here's what we're talking about doing--Next summer, the three of us (Me, Dad, and Rev Dave) are gonna take a week-long road trip together. I'm gonna fly out to Alabama-land and hook up with the Good Reverend, and then we'll drive to dad's place in Georgia. We'll spend the night there, and take off early the next day and make our way to northern Virginia. The plan is to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps outside of Quantico, the Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard, and probably also the Air & Space Museum at the Smithsonian (although, we've all been there in the past, so we may give that one a pass). After the D.C.-area portion of our visit is completed, we'll head down to the Hampton/Newport News/Norfolk area and take in some of the sites down there, like the Hampton Roads Naval Museum, Nauticus, and the Norfolk Harborfest to see the Tall Ships and do some of the other related activities going on that week. If time allows it, we may head down to coastal Georgia and see the submarine museum and base in St. Mary's before we circle back up towards Atlanta.

Of course when I told my dad about it this morning, he was all for it. Not only because of the interesting things to see, but because the three of us haven't done anything together, where it was just us, in probably almost thirty years. And time on the road would be great for re-connecting. About ten years ago, my dad and I took a road trip like kind of like the one we're planning for next summer--I flew out to Atlanta, and the two of us drove to Charleston for a couple of days, then road-tripped up to Mystic Seaport in Connecticut for a couple more. That was a lot of fun, and we've talked about doing something like that again, and now we've finally got some concrete plans for next summer.

I'm really looking forward to it, too, and spending a week on the road with Reverend Dave will be a lot of laughs, regardless of the destination. I hope Dad knows what he's getting into...


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Suckout City

Well, it's been an interesting couple of days, at least in the poker world. Once I made that post yesterday morning, I shuffled my butt down to Green Valley Ranch to get into their 10:00 am No Limit tournament.

I was expecting a $65 buy-in, but was happy to find out that it was only $45 when I showed up at the desk to register. Turns out, there were 29 players at three tables, and one of my buddies was actually sitting next to me when the cards went in the air.

Now, I always joke about 'folding my way to fourth place', but I was catching big cards early on--enough that I was able to run some absolutely sick bluffs, and within the first half hour, I had a monster chip lead. There were re-buys available, and I knocked a couple of people out twice to pad my lead. Once the re-buy period was over, I had a dominating stack and was able to push people around, and nobody wanted to tangle with me. A nice position to be in.

About an hour into the tournament, when the blinds were 100/200, I was on the small blind and looked down to see a pair of black Sevens. The player that was under the gun raised it to $800, and a player two seats past him went all-in. Now, the all-in guy had a short stack, like maybe $1800 or so, but the UTG player had about $4500. I was sitting on about $21,000 at the time. The all-in guy was an easy call, but I didn't want to go up against two players with a medium pair, so I thought about it for a second and went all-in, trying to discourage the guy under the gun from splashing around in 'my' pot. I figured him for pocket Tens or pocket Jacks, and because he was a solid player, I also figured that he didn't want to bank his tournament life on hand like that with two other players to beat.

As soon as I said 'all-in', you could see the look of frustration cross his face. He agonized over his next move, saying stuff like--

I know I have the best hand here...

I think you two have the exact same thing and I'm in the lead...

How can I lay this down???

So yeah, we were both thinking the same thing--that the all-in player had something like Ace-Queen or Ace-King, but I knew my hand was better than that, but still probably a huge underdog to the third player. That's why I wanted him out of the pot.

He took about a minute or two of agonizing before he finally showed his pocket nines and mucked them.

The all-in player said, Yep--You had me beat!, and I concurred. And you could tell that the guy was just really ticked off about his lay-down.

But then, the real craziness manifested itself when me and Mr. Short Stack turned up our cards for the showdown. I had a pair of black sevens, he had a pair of red sevens!

Everyone started laughing because the guy who folded had said I know you guys have the same hand (of course he thought we both had Aces with a big kicker).

So we were expecting a chopped pot, but the flop came out with three clubs. So I called out Gimme an Ace of Clubs!, and I'll be damned if that wasn't the very next card to come off the top of the deck. It was sheer pandemonium at the table--everybody just went nuts when they saw the turn, and I raked a nice pot, adding to my lead.

Basically, I knocked the guy out of the tournament with a running four-card suckout before the river.

Things calmed down somewhat after that, and about an hour later, we were down to ten players. So I sent Dougie a text message -- Chip leader at the final table, bitch!

I was feeling like quite the Poker God at the time, but I guess the real deities figured I needed a lesson in humility, so I went card dead for the next 45 minutes or so. It was ugly--a never-ending stream of crap like 5-2 offsuit. What made it worse was that I got the worst seat draw possible. When we came to the final table, I landed on the big blind. And twice more I was on the big blind when they announced 'Blinds are going up next hand' so basically I had to pay double blinds. And I couldn't defend for shiat--I just couldn't catch any cards.

Finally, I caught pocket deuces and the short stack went all-in, so I called. He had Ace-Jack and paired up, costing me about $3000 more than I'd already frittered away with blinds and antes. After an hour or so at the final table, the blinds got to be 1000/2000, and I was down to my last $7500. I was on the button and looked down to see El Mon-yo del Diablo, Ace-Queen.


My hatred for that hand is well-documented, but I was about to be blinded off so I had to make a stand. Of course the dude in the big blind, who had me covered by about a grand, called. He had pocket Kings, my Ace never got any help, and I went out in sixth place, two spots away from the money.

I was a little pissy--you always are when you bust out of a tournament, especially when you are playing so well. But the fact that I played for three hours and just barely got a whiff of the money was the real downer. I was truly playing my A-game yesterday, and when we got to the final table I was supremely confident that I'd win the thing outright. But when you get no cards for so long, no amount of skill in the world is gonna save you. There's still a small element of luck involved, which is one of the main reasons why poker is so appealing. Every now and then you get spectacularly lucky.

But of course, I can't be too upset. I got in cheap, I played great, I had a lot of fun (the other players were all really cool and we had a lot of laughs at the table). Had I not folded a King-high nothing a few hands before the Ace-Queen debacle, I would've scooped an unbelievable four-way pot and probably went a little deeper in the tournament. But you can't dwell on the lay-downs. It was the right decision under the circumstances. Besides, almost going wire-to-wire with the chip lead is not that easy. And that's what makes no-limit hold'em so interesting--You can go from King of the World to flat-ass broke in two hands.

But like Patton so famously said, I love it. God help me I do love it so.

I didn't stick around to see how the final table turned out--I came home to make some lunch. It was around 2 pm by then, so I figured Kimmy was finally awake, so I called to wish her happy birthday and share my exploits with her. Of course, her response was Well, sometimes that's what happens when you gamble...

But she's not a poker player, except for the video kind, and I had to lay one of my favorite quotes on her. Poker isn't gambling unless you're drinking. But she's all about the bottom line, and since I had no winnings to report, I don't think the message is gonna stick.

Anyhow, I spent the balance of the afternoon watching the US Open, rooting for Phil and Rocco, and trying to hex Tiger's putter. I don't know why, but I'm just not a fan of Tiger Woods anymore. It's like rooting for the house in blackjack. But my hexes didn't work, Rocco lost his spot alone atop the leader board, and Phil didn't hit a fairway all afternoon. So it turned out to be a somewhat disappointing afternoon for me.

Being a budget-conscious dude, especially after not collecting any money that I felt I was entitled to at the tournament, I decided to just stay home last night. I got online, ran into Sticky in the T2V chatroom, and she talked me into re-loading PokerStars and watching her play in a big tournament. So that's what I did--Friday night in Vegas, and I stayed home and watched Sticky play an online poker tournament for almost four hours. Yes, I am a huge loser dork. But we had fun chatting and laughing it up like we did in the old days of hooking up the webcam and Yahoo messenger, and staying up all night playing tournaments.

And even though I wasn't playing, it was still fun to watch, although she went card-dead at the end and her results for the night were much like mine earlier in the day.

I finally couldn't take it anymore, and went to bed around 11:00 last night. I got some good sleep, but woke up around five o'clock this morning and made a pot of coffee. Since there were no changes to the Internet since I'd gone to bed, I was browsing the PokerStars site, seeing what kind of satellites and micro-tournaments they offered. And, like a basement-dwelling dork, I made a minimal deposit to re-activate my account.

And then I played in two quick sit-n-go's that reminded me of why I left the online poker world in the first place. Pocket Jacks cracked by some toolbag with 5-6 offsuit, and pocket Aces not only getting cracked, but coming in fourth place in a four-way pot.

I think I'll stick to live poker.

As far as the rest of my day goes, I'm just chillin' around the house, doing a few pre-move projects, and I'll probably bang around in the kitchen some before settling in to watch the Open. I've got to work at 3:00 this afternoon, so I'm figuring on a full eight-hour shift and a full wallet when I come home later tonight.

I'll make my money at the poker table one way or another, dammit.


UPDATE: While drinking my coffee, I played in another online tourney, winning the whole thing, and doubling up my initial deposit. I still got some mad skillz.