Monday, March 30, 2009

Time To Pack

Well, it's that time again--time to find a new place to live. No, there's no drama or anything like that going on here at the homefront. It's been a good place to live and my roommate has been almost ideal. But it's his house, and he's taking on a huge new responsibility, so I have to move out.

His mom is elderly and in poor health, and recently took a bad fall. She broke about four or five bones from her shoulder to her leg and is now confined to a wheelchair, pretty much permanently. And she's moving here to Vegas and needs a place to live while she recovers, so my roommate is putting her up in his bedroom for a year, and he'll need to move upstairs into my bedroom (the only other room with a bathroom), so I'll have to find a new place to live by June.

I hate moving, but damn, I sure am glad I didn't order that new HDTV yet, and my laziness paid off by not putting together that huge TV stand that's still in the box and has been leaning against the wall in my bedroom since the weekend after Thanksgiving.

Anyhow, I'm hoping to stay here in the same area--I like living in Green Valley, but I've got to start looking pretty soon. I'd like to be out in a month, but I've got two months before I have to go. We'll see what happens, and I'll keep ya posted.


One Of Those Days

I think I may have a case of the Mondays. Not the bitter I hate the world and my job, but mostly my job cases, but more of an apathetic attitude towards just about everything today. The job is fine, although last night I only worked for an hour and a half--but it was a great 90 minutes. I was only dealing for an hour, but made over a hundred bucks in tips, and whenever that happens I always wonder why I can't stretch it out for eight hours straight...

Anyhow, I've got lots of stuff I could be doing, but I'm just not feeling the motivation today like I had late last week. A few days ago, I was running around being crazy busy and getting lots done, but today, I'm cool with sitting here working my way through a pot of coffee and planning stuff to do, but not actually, you know, doing any of it. I guess I'm more of an idea guy than an implementation guy, even if implementation is nothing more than downloading photo files, doing laundry, reporting on a restaurant visit, practicing the guitar, or any number of other little things I could be doing.

I know I'll get around to it eventually, but I think my problem is that I didn't get enough sleep last night. I left for work an hour early, the soup, sandwich, and apple from Panera Bread not quite tiding me over for the entire day, so the idea was to grab a bite before my shift in the poker room and hopefully that would give me the energy to carry on all night if I needed to.

So I went over to Sierra Gold and indulged in one of my favorite meals, their toasted sourdough breadbowl full of clam chowder. Oh yes, it was damn good, and it was just what the doctor ordered on a cold and windy Vegas night. Once finished, I went to work, and walked in to the poker room to see that the only 4-8 game had just broken, and there was only one short-handed no-limit game. Yet there were three other dealers hanging around. It didn't look good for Mikey, that's for sure.

But the other dealers, all full-timers, decided to bail, so I got the no-limit game all to myself. My buddy Brooklyn Joey showed up a few minutes later, and the game was actually a lot of fun to deal, although out of the seven players, three of them were short-stacked, so I figured it was going to be an early night.

Joey and another guy ended up breaking the game, both of them coloring up for over $800 apiece just an hour later, and thus ended my night in the box. When we were shutting the room down, the three of us (Joey, the floorman, and I) decided to head back over to Sierra Gold and hit 'em up again.

So we got out of the casino by 2:30, drove over to the bar, and ordered a round of beers. I was still full so I played a little ten-cent triple-play video poker while the other two guys ordered food. I managed to hit a couple of four-of-a-kinds, earning me $40 on top of my 'free' beer, so it turned out to be a profitable post-shift diversion.

We sat at the bar for awhile, but once everyone had finished their food, we headed over to the pool tables. A few minutes later, I found myself dozing in the booth, so I called it a night.

I think I got about four hours of sleep before my phone was ringing at 8:00 o'clock this morning. It was Mamasan, wanting to share her excitement with getting a free upgrade to unlimited minutes on her phone plan. Yay. Since she could now call anyone at anytime, and all the rest of my siblings have real jobs, that left me.

I tried to go back to sleep after I got off the phone, but that was a losing proposition. The neighbors were making noise outside (my window was open), the dogs were barking at a chipmonk on the back patio, a delivery truck of some sort was backing up and beeping, and somebody called my phone, but it was a wrong number. Clearly, I was not going to get any more sleep.

So I've been up ever since. About the only thing productive I've done, however, is pick up the clothes off the floor and put them in the basket (along with the lotion!) and do a little online shopping. I don't really 'need' any new clothes, although I've discovered that the Crandall Addington approach to poker works for me.

Whenever I'm wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and flipflops, I notice that I'm not nearly as well-behaved when I'm playing cards. But when I'm wearing slacks and a button-down shirt, not only do I not act like a typical foul-mouthed drunken tourist, but I also play *much* better. I don't fully understand the psychology behind it, but when I dress better, I play better. It's not that I'm an asshole when I'm dressed down, it's just that I act better-than-usual when I dress up. I'm much more calm, quiet, reserved, and patient, and it has had quite an impact on my game. So, anyhow, I hopped on the Casual Male website and ordered a couple of nice shirts, and while I was there, I indulged and spent a hundy on a St. Louis Cardinals game jersey, too. I've always wanted one, and since I had the money, I decided to treat myself.

Other than that, not much else is going on today. I'm sure that eventually I'll post some food p0rn from my visit to Stripsteak last week, but an hour-by-hour March Madness travelogue just ain't gonna happen.

More later...


Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Swift Kick to the Man Bag

Ouch! is all I can say. Yep, I took a shot to the jewels last night that still aches this morning.

But we'll get to that later.

Right now I'm sitting in the Panera Bread cafe in The District at Green Valley Ranch. I figure if Linda Lou can write an entire book in here, I should be able to knock out a few blog posts. Besides, it's a beautiful day outside and I wanted to get out of the house. I needed to--I've been steaming all morning like a fresh cow turd on the frozen ground of a midwestern barnyard. I am *not* a happy boy. And to add to my current displeasure, one of the local Hendo-milfs just rolled up with her four little spawns of Satan and sat in the booth directly across from me.

They're all screaming and hitting each other, generally being little shits, annoying the rest of us. And here I was hoping for a little peace and quiet whilst I pounded the keys and ate my roast beef samminch. Seriously mom, the playland at McDonalds wasn't suitable? Probably not--these kids would get their asses kicked by all the other rugrats--they all have huge lima-bean shaped heads which makes them an easy target, not to mention the unimaginable damage done to mom's clown car, so they just have no chance.

Anyhow, the winning streak at the 4-8 poker tables is officially over. I was stuck in the mud all night, unable to make any hand hold up, and I just couldn't avoid the river suck-outs. And I wasn't having any fun, either, so finally, sometime after midnight, I gave up, $80 in the hole, and moved to the no-limit game.

That was much better for me--on my first blind I damn near doubled up when a guy went all-in against me when I had sixes full of Jacks and he was unfortunate enough to have fives full of sixes. That gave me some bullets, but damn, I was soooo tired. By that time I'd been grinding away for almost eight hours.

The thing is, I was playing really well all night--I only made a few minor mistakes, but when you're running bad and your opponents keep catching cards, there is nothing you can do. So I felt pretty lucky to be up about a hundred bucks after just a few minutes at the no-limit table. I had a few more opportunities to knock off short stacks, but both times I lost on river suckouts.

On the first hand, I flopped two-pair, Aces over Tens, and my opponent went all-in with a pair of Jacks. Yes, he caught his two-outer on the river. It only cost me about fifty bucks, but still, it wasn't much fun. A few minutes later, another short stack went all in with Ace-Queen on a nothing board, and I had pocket Jacks. They got cracked by the Ace on the river. That one really sucked because it was a three-way pot, and the other guy who was all-in only had pocket Nines.

I just couldn't make a hand stand up, it seemed. But I stuck to my game and managed to chip up here and there, nothing really big, although I managed to make back another hundred when one guy kept paying for a draw that never came.

A few minutes later, another guy showed up at the table, wearing sunglasses (indoors, in the middle of the night), with slicked-back hair and a max buy-in. He took the seat directly to my left and immediately started raising every pot. Yep, more naked aggression that worked for a few minutes. He won a few hands, but whenever there was a showdown, he didn't have much. The problem was, he was directly on my left, so every time I bet, I had to expect an oversized raise from him.

Eventually, I found myself with King-Ten suited, so I raised it up to $13 pre-flop. I got about six callers, surprisingly enough, and the Steven Segal wannabe was one of them. The flop came out Ace-Ten-Six rainbow, the early position players checked, so I bet out $40. Mr. Pomade on my left called, as did one other player. Everyone else folded. The turn was a Four, no help, so I bet $100. Of course my neighbor called, but the other guy finally dropped out, so I no longer had to fear an Ace, I thought.

The river brought a harmless Nine, so I made a crying-call $25 bet, changing gears so that maybe he'd think I was trying to squeeze just a bit more money out of him, like I was representing trips or something. He thought for several agonizing seconds and then announced that he was going to raise. He put out the first $25, then fiddled with his stack for a bit before pushing out another $125 on top.


That was *not* what I wanted to see. If I were to call and lose, it would leave me with only $80 or so in front of me, plus making the tab for the night's entertainment somewhere around four bills. That would truly suck.

But I called for time and started to think about it. If the guy had an Ace or any pair in the pocket, he would've re-raised me pre-flop. I knew that much, just because he had been so aggressive up to that point, and he had position on me. There was no flush to worry about, but there was a straight possibility out there. I reasoned that even though it was possible that he'd call a $40 bet on an inside straight, there was no possible way he'd call a hundred dollar bet on a four-outer with one card to come. So the straight was eliminated. And since the only card bigger than a Ten on the board was an Ace, and I had the King kicker, a chopped pot was the least of my worries.

Of course, I agonized over this and ran it through my head for about three minutes, and it was so intense that the entire table was silent, staring at me, wondering what I was gonna do. I really didn't want to go home stuck for almost four hundred bucks, but on the other hand, I didn't want to dump the winning hand to the cheesy mope on my left, either.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, I shook my head like a man who knew it was make-or-break time, and said "I call". The entire table stood up to look, because it was a monster pot, and my opponent turned over 10-8 offsuit--second pair, no kicker. I looked briefly at the board before turning mine over, just to make sure he didn't have two pair, and said I have a pair of Tens also, but my King plays.

Oh hell yeah! While a huge cheer went up from the rest of the table (they were all rooting for me to bust the guy), I let out a sigh of relief like I'd never done before. That call really put me to the test--that was the biggest 'real money' hand I've played in months, and when I finally got finished stacking up all the chips, I had just over $700 in front of me.


I was spent. Eight hours was enough for me, so it was time to take the money and run. Now, I didn't want to be 'that guy' and immediately cash out after a huge score (I still have to make a living from those people), so I decided that I'd play a few more hands until my big blind and then cash out. I folded three or four hands while I was racking up, and then on my last hand of the night, I found myself with the Ace-King of hearts, under the gun.

I raised it up to $17, and got five frickin callers! I guess everyone wanted a shot at my stack before I left. Well, that wasn't good, so I was prepared to fold if the flop didn't hit me directly between the eyes.

Of course, the flop was Ace-Six-Deuce, and the six and the deuce were both hearts! Oh hell yeah--jackpot! Top pair and the nut flush draw! I didn't want to mess around, so when it was checked to me, I put out a $60 bet. Everyone dropped out except for one guy. He thought about it for about thirty seconds, then made the call. The turn was the eight of hearts, giving me the nut flush. Thinking I'd give my opponent a break, I bet $100 straight up when he checked to me. He thought about it again for about ten more seconds and said that he was all in. I got a count, and he only had $232 left, so I obviously called--I had the nuts!

But just as the Poker Gods giveth, they also taketh away, and the river card was another Eight, pairing the board. My opponent turned over his Six-Eight offsuit for the Full House, annihilating my 'nut' flush. A huge groan went up from the table when they saw the devastation. Talk about a total kick to the nuts, I could not f*cking believe how shiatty my luck turned on the last card of the night. It just crushed me. Instead of adding another $300 to my racks, I found myself counting out more red chips to pay him off. That was a $600 swing--had I won the hand, I would've racked up over a thousand dollars. As it stood, I ended up with just under $400.

So yeah, I was steaming. Too pissed off to play worth a damn, I just went to the desk and cashed out. Now, overall, I was still up about $75 for the night, but that small win felt like a huge soul-crushing loss.

One of my buddies was working the floor that night, and told me to walk it off and get back in the game, because we both knew I could beat the guy and get my money back. But a loss like that is a tough one to absorb, so I just said farkit and went home. I was so damn mad that I could've eaten glass.

I got home, took a shower, replayed the hand over and over about a hundred times in my head, took a huge gulp from the bottle of Crown Royal on my shelf, and tried to lay down and go to sleep. But sleep wouldn't come. I couldn't clear my mind no matter how much I tried. After about an hour and a half, I called back down to the poker room to see if the game was still going on--I figured I'd calmed down enough to play rationally and grind the guy into dust. But my buddy the floorman said there were only three players left and my chips had been frittered away--the guy that beat me had spent the last hour donkeying them off to the other players and the game was about to break.

Ugh. I guess I was just gonna have to swallow this one.

On the bright side, I guess, my streak is still somewhat intact. I have not yet had a losing session in the cash games for the entire month of March. But the seventy-five bucks profit from last night is small consolation when I consider that the last river card cost me a new HDTV that I had my eye on.

Eventually, I was able to get to sleep, but it was not relaxing at all.

There was another positive experience that came from last night, though. I finally got to meet one of my fellow Vegas blogger gals, Serena Denise, an exotic dancer at a local club and the original Single Gal in Sin City. She came by the poker room to say hello early last night, and we made plans to have her join me and the rest of the gals for our Thursday night Frog-n-Blog next week. She's a little cutie and I'm sure she'll be lots of fun to hang out with and share stories.

When I finally woke up this morning, she gave me a funny ego boost, too. I got an direct message from her on Twitter asking me if I were single.

Thinking I still had my fastball and could land a hot stripper, I said Why yes, yes I am!

Cool, she replied, I told my mom about you! She's wicked cute!


After everything that's happened in the past 12 hours or so, the only thing I can think of is Cheech's famous line in Tin Cup.

You humble now, Holmes!

Ah well... Such is life. All I can do is laugh and be glad that I get some good stories from my experiences. That poker hand doesn't bother me nearly as much this afternoon as it did last night, and everyone knows I've kinda got a thing for older women, anyways. And it's a beautiful sunny day in Vegas, the lima-bean kids are now long gone, and Panera Bread lets me have free refills to go with my free wifi.

I guess I can't complain too much.


Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Streak Is Still Alive


But it's still going. Last night was a tough one for me at the poker tables, and for a few hours there, I thought my hot streak was gonna come to a screeching halt.

I went down to the casino early--mostly out of sheer boredom--rolling in around 6 pm. I wandered by the poker room and the 4-8 games were full of the tight-playing daily grinders--no money to be made there--but the 1-2 no-limit game was looking fairly juicy.

Now, here's the thing--in my room, we have some tough tough tough no-limit players. I can name about ten guys off the top of my head who I don't wanna tangle with at any time, and that's just the obvious ones. If I sat and thought about it, I could probably come up with ten more. So whenever more than two of them are in the same game, I usually don't want any part of it unless I'm feeling like I've got my 'A' game with me along with a decent-sized bankroll, just in case I need to re-buy.

But there was no danger at all at the one no-limit table we had going. There were a bunch of soft players with minimum buy-ins sitting around passing chips back and forth. I looked at the table and at first glance I thought Oh hell yeah, it's time to get paid!

On the other hand, it was still early, and nobody had more than one or two drinks in them, and I was hungry anyways, so I decided to wait and come back after dinner.

I ambled off to the Mexican restaurant and had some awesome bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp and some pretty damn good chips & salsa, along with a couple of ice-cold Pacificos, but damn, the so-called chimichanga I had was probably the worst one I've ever attempted to eat. Memo to the chef--If I've got rice and beans on the plate as side dishes already, I don't want beans in my chimichanga. I'm just sayin'. I didn't even finish half of it.

Luckily, I was able to pay for dinner with points from my players card, so the bad chimi didn't cost me a dime out-of-pocket. I wandered over to the pit to talk to my gal Jen for a few minutes--she was on a dead mini-bacc table--and then made my way back to the poker room.

Of course, the no-limit game had filled up, but I wasn't too disappointed. I still heed Crash Davis' timeless advice about respecting the streak, so I took a seat at a 4-8 game. There were three tables going at the time, but two of them were full of the old farts and regulars, where the average pot size is about twelve bucks, and I got seated at one of them. I immediately requested a table change, so I only had to sit and fold for about five minutes before a seat became available at the 'good' table--the one full of tourists where one of my vacationing co-workers had been camped out on for several hours already.

As soon as I got there, I was ready to roll, and my first hand was pocket Queens.

They got cracked.

Not the start I was hoping for. As it turned out, my first three or four hours were just awful. In that span, I had AA, KK, QQ, JJ, and TT all cracked twice each, plus AQ and AK knocked off a couple of times, too. It was a miserable run of bad luck and bad cards. I sat down at the table around 7:30 or so, and it was sometime after 11:00 pm before I got my first hand that was better than two pair. Seriously--I was the real-life textbook definition of being 'card dead'.

What made it even worse, in my mind, was that there were two people at the opposite end of the table just catching everything. The kept showing junk cards that made it over and over again on the river. It was quite frustrating to watch, as it didn't matter what I had, I couldn't make it hold up. And that's the main problem with a low-limit game like 4-8. Bad players will always call you down to the river, which is 'statistically' a good thing, but man, when they're catching cards, it just *kills* a bankroll. It's a double-edged sword, that's for sure, and last night, I was the one getting cut.

One gal, I swear, racked up three hundred dollars worth of chips without ever raising once. She just called to the river every time, and in the showdown she'd always have the junk-card flush or the four-outer straight. Not once did she 'play' a hand. She just sat there and got run over by the deck.

At one point, I had bought in $190, which I thought was ridiculous, but I just couldn't scoop a pot no matter what I did. One of my buddies who deals at the MGM poker room was sitting there next to me, and somebody had the brilliant idea to do tequila shots--Since we couldn't win, we might as well get drunk.

So we had the waitress bring over three shots of Patron (the guy on my left got in on it, too), and the game suddenly became more enjoyable. Lots of laughs and goofing off after that. The cards were still running bad, and before I knew it, we'd done four shots each. I got up to go to the bathroom, and surprisingly, I didn't feel the least bit toasted. I thought it to be very odd, because the last time I did four shots of tequila in less than a half an hour, I puked all over the wall at the party I was at (Great story that goes with the messy punchline, though... I'll get around to sharing it at some point). Anyhow, the tequila didn't give me the slightest buzz. My compadres, however, started to feel it.

Eventually, the law of averages caught up to me and I started winning some hands. But after midnight, the table got shorthanded and our game broke, which really kind of sucked because I was just starting to make a furious comeback.

Due to the 'table stakes' rules in most card rooms, you cannot take chips off the table until you leave the game. But there is one great loophole in that rule--if your game breaks, you can cash in some of your chips and go to you new table with just the minimum buy-in amount. Since I was making a good comeback, when I moved, I gave the floorman sixty bucks and told him to bring me three twenties, which went back in my wallet, while I kept the rest of my chips (another $120 or so) and brought them to the new table.

I was really happy to be almost breaking even, seeing how I was 'stuck' over $150 just a couple of hours earlier, and considered coloring up and calling it a night. But when I wasn't drinking tequila, I'd been doing my normal late-night drink of coffee with a splash of Kahlua or Bailey's (or sometimes both), so I was wide-awake, and there were two guys at my new table who I *knew* I could get chips off of. So I stuck around. And I'm glad I did.

Because then, the Poker Gods decided to bestow a gift upon us.

Some jackass came to the table with four hundred dollars worth of chips. Yep, that's right, three racks of white and one stack of red--a ridiculous amount to buy in with in a low-limit game. He wasn't a transfer from another table or a broken game, he walked into the poker room and asked the cashier for $400.

As soon as he sat down, it was almost a Pavlovian reaction for me. My mouth literally started watering. I am not making that up. I glanced across the table to my vacationing co-worker at the other end, and he gave me an almost imperceptible nod--by eye contact only, we were both saying We're gonna cut this guy up and take all of his money!

From the very first hand, the newbie jackass raised every bet, and he won the first three hands he was in. The other players around the table were mumbling and calling him all kinds of names and getting frustrated pretty quickly. But I was watching the guy the entire time, and something that nobody else noticed is that he never looked at his cards pre-flop--he was just raising and re-raising, winning with nothing but naked aggression. Everyone else at the table was so concerned with hoping their hands were good enough that they didn't watch him until it was his turn to bet, so they all missed the most obvious tell in the world.

My co-worker (short stacked at the time) caught on and doubled up through him twice. A few minutes later, I got him three times in a row--the first one was a huge pot that he was doing all of the raising and re-raising in, and there were four players involved, but I'd had pocket sevens, flopped a set and rivered a full house, so I took down a monster. On the very next hand I had pocket fives, again he never looked at his cards and got into a raising war with me, and I finally got redemption when the board ran out J-2-4-3-6, giving me a straight, so again, I took down another monster.

On the third hand, the one that broke him, I had pocket nines, somebody else had another small pair, and he had nothing but Ace high, and nobody's hand improved. The newbie jackass had gone from having over $400 in front of him a half hour earlier to being flat broke, and I went from having barely a hundred in front of me to having $350! Oh hell yeah!

Once he went broke, I figured that my night at the poker table wasn't gonna get any better, so I played until my blinds came up again, then tipped the dealer a fiver and racked up. I gave the floorman a five-spot, too, and cashed out for $340, most of it coming in the last 20 minutes of the night after grinding it out for almost eight hours. I guess it pays to be patient. Oh, and luck seems to help a little, too.

Thank you, Poker Gods!

Looking back at it, it's hard to believe. People play cards their whole life hoping for a doofus like that to sit at their table, and I'm just glad it happened to me. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. It certainly turned my night around. Well, actually, I was making a comeback already when he sat down--he was just the fast-forward button, that's all.

Once I got out of there, I started to come down a bit and I realized how tired I was. No stopping for a celebratory steak & eggs breakfast, no taking a run at the Megabucks, I just drove straight home and went straight to bed, happy to be adding to my bankroll once again.

I think I slept for about nine hours, and today I feel like I finally caught up on the sleep deficit that I was running since last weekend. Right now, it's almost 5:30 on Saturday night, so I think I'm gonna shower and shave, and of course later on I'll go down and see if I can't go 14-for-14 on profitable poker sessions this month.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Not Just A Girl's Best Friend

I had another productive night at the poker tables, and I wanted to write about it as soon as I got home last night this morning, but I was just too tired and went straight to bed instead.

But I'm awake now, thanks to work calling me and waking my ass up, which really sucks because it wasn't about me picking up a shift, either. Oh well. All is well, however--they just wanted to make sure I'd done some paperwork, that's all.

Anyhow, I went in around 9:00 pm last night, hoping to find a couple of tables full of drunks, tourists, and those likely to call to the river every hand, but instead, what did I see? One solitary 4-8 game with two of my co-workers already playing in it, and no obvious fish. Damn. Oh well, I sat down anyways, just to be social. I knew it was gonna be a tight game. The no-limit game looked pretty good, though, but even as I was considering it, one of my co-workers, who was actually working at the time, said No way baby, no no-limit for you! You've been killing this game--you gotta stay and play 4-8! She was right, so I sat down at her limit table with a rack of white chips.

And it was a very tight game--I hovered around breakeven for about three hours, never really getting away from the +/- $20 level. But then, I got lucky. I don't know what time it was, maybe around midnight or so, when I was dealt an 8-9 of diamonds. I made a casual glance up at one of the big screen monitors in the corner of the room and saw that the High Hand of the Day was paying $239 for an 8-Queen straight flush.

Of course some knucklehead raised pre-flop, so I decided to go along for the ride. I think there were six callers, so the pot already had over forty bucks in it before the first three cards came out. And what a flop it was--Queen of diamonds, Ten of diamonds, and a rag. That gave me four to the straight flush. It was bet and raised in front of me, so I just called again, thinking that this was gonna be one hell of an expensive draw.

Four players saw the turn, which was that magical Jack of diamonds, giving me the monster straight flush! I was hope hope hoping that somebody in front of me had the Ace/King of diamonds, giving them a Royal Flush, with me getting the sucker end of it. If that were the case, we would soon be cutting up a $175,000+ bad beat jackpot, and everyone would then see Mikey doing the $50,000 naked happy dance right there on the poker table.

Of course it was checked around, but the guy on the button bet. Here we go, I thought, saving my raise until river, not wanting to knock out anyone, hoping the board would pair and somebody might make a full house.

The river was a blank, it was checked to me, I bet, and then everyone folded. Damn. Nobody had the Royal. But I still turned up my Queen-high straight flush and a cheer went up from the table when everyone saw that I'd made the high hand.

$239 baby!

It took about two or three minutes for the floorman to fill out the paperwork, and he brought me over my prize money. I toked out the breakage to the dealer and floorman, and then had them change the $200 in chips into two crispy Benjamins which went directly into my wallet. While all of that was going on, the post-hand discussion revealed that one of my co-workers had actually folded the King of diamonds, but didn't have the Ace. That would've been something had the two of us hit that bad beat jackpot--I was thisclose to pocketing forty-five grand-plus!

Oh well, no complaints here--I'll certainly take the small payoff!

Even after that, it was still kind of a tight game, tough to make money in, although there was one really obnoxious guy who everyone wanted a piece of. He'd been all-in twice, and since everyone was coming after him, players would pay him off with marginal hands, thinking he was stealing, so he survived and started to chip up again. I was three seats to his left, and decided that I was not leaving the table until I busted him.

I got the opportunity about an hour later--he bet into me when I flopped trip Kings. We got into a small raising war that put him all-in with only a draw. It never got there, and I ended up busting him. After that, we played short-handed for another hour or so, and I raked one very nice pot on a beautiful semi-bluff that got there--I was on an outside straight draw with an 8-9 in my pocket, a King hit the turn, so I bet out like it made my hand, got two raisers, I re-raised, they called. A five hit the river, giving me the stone-cold nuts, but lather, rinse, repeat on the betting action, and I took down a HUGE pot. Of course, both players put me on Ace-King, and when the other two players turned over their sets, they were just completely flabbergasted when I showed the out-of-nowhere straight.

Bam! Knockout.

That pretty much killed the game right there--like I said, we were short handed, and I broke one guy and crippled another on that hand. The other two players had begun to rack up and call it a night anyways, so that's where it ended.

I managed to walk away with almost $200 profit from the game, plus the other two benjis in my wallet from the high hand. Not a bad night at the poker table!

I considered heading over to Sierra Gold to celebrate my good fortune with their graveyard special steak & eggs deal, but I was exhausted and the whole idea of eating a steak right before going to bed was a lot of fun last week during the Madness, but now, not so much. So I drove straight home and hit the sack, where I've been ever since.

Today, I have no plans at all. I may head over to the bank and deposit some scratch for when the next round of bills make their appearance. But I'm not scheduled to work again for awhile, and since it's now the weekend for the rest of the world, I'm gonna go back down and feast on the tourists and drunks tonight. I gotta make a livin' somehow.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's Only Been Three Years

But just today, I figured out how to get individual playlists to shuffle on my iPod, instead of shuffling the entire music library. Tech savvy, that's me!

And speaking of years, we are now well into 2009--do we really need three different radio stations in Las Vegas to be playing Huey Lewis songs at the exact same time? Didn't we get enough of him back in 1984?


A Little Bit O' Poker Stuff

Aside from the layoff during March Madness, I've been playing a *lot* of poker lately. Normally, I prefer to play the 1-2 no-limit game, but a couple of weeks ago, when funds were pretty light, I took a hundred bucks with me and sat down at the kiddie table and played 4-8 all night. Well, that was an eye-popping experience, as since that time I've taken almost a thousand bucks off of that game (in addition to the almost $800 I got as a player share when the jackpot hit a couple of weeks ago).

People are starting to think of me as being a limit-game player only, but that's not the truth. The truth is, I found a way to beat the game at night, so I'm going to keep sitting in until the money train stops running. During the day, the limit game *is* damn near unbeatable, only the house wins. But at night, when there are a bunch of drunks and regular 'calling station' type players at the table, I feel like a very big shark in a very small Koi pond. It is extremely beatable, and I just sit there and play dumb and nod my head in agreement whenever people talk about how you can't beat a limit game. And on the inside, I'm thinking to myself Y'all just keep on talkin' and call yourself broke.

It's all about game selection--I'll probably never play in the old guys' limpfest game in the morning ever again. It's such a tight game that the rake takes away all of the potential profit. But at night, when I come in and see a table with four or five truly horrendous players sitting in the game, plus another guy who plays every night, who is solid, but plays much too tightly, then I can't wait to get a seat.

Not only have I been playing very well and minimizing my mistakes, but I'm getting pretty damn good at reading the other players. More often than not, I *know* when they don't have anything, and I *know* when I'm beat. Just last night I laid down pocket Kings with a fairly blank board, knowing I was up against trips after the flop. When I showed it to my opponent, he flipped out like Teddy KGB in Rounders.

Lays down a monster... YOU SHOULD HAVE PAID ME OFF!!!

Heh. I felt pretty good about that one.

Not that I'm some kind of pro or anything, but I can tell that I've made the jump, so to speak, and now that particular game is a positive expectation for me every time I show up. I was playing so well the other night that in the seven hours I was sitting at the table, I made exactly five misplays all night long. I knew them immediately and could identify them, and at the end of the night, I felt like I was playing about as well as I possibly could.

Having bad players in the game helps, too. A few times now, I've said to myself that I'm not leaving this table until Player A and Player B have gone broke, and as long as they keep re-buying, I'm still gonna keep going after them. It's worked so far. I just hope that I can keep it up, because working two nights a week is a tough way to make a living, but pulling an extra $500+ a week off of the table sure helps the bottom line.

Speaking of work, there is some good news on the horizon. There are three graveyard shift dealers on the extra-board in my poker room. The guy with the most seniority gets three days a week, and me and the other guy only get two days a week, and since I'm the bottom of the totem pole, I'm scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. Sucks, I know, but it beats dealing in the pit. (Plus, I get the random call-ins, too, so I still manage to eek out a living). Anyhow, the other dealer with only two days a week is leaving next week for at least 90 days--his visa or passport or something expired and he has to leave the country for awhile, so I'll pick up at least one more scheduled night per week, and I think it might actually be worked out so every other week I get four nights on the schedule. That would be ideal. We'll see how it goes.

Also, I've also had my time off approved in June to participate in a World Series of Poker bracelet event. I'm going to play in the first one, the Casino Employee's No Limit Tourney. It turns out that my boss is also taking vacation on those days and we'll be playing in the same event. (She made it to the final table last year, too). Anyhow, I've wanted to play in that thing ever since I've been here, but this year is the first time that it's gonna actually happen. If I happen to cash, then I'll probably play in another $2000 or maybe a $1500 event also, later in the Series. If not, well, at least I'll have a good story to tell--one much more interesting than cold-decking Teen Beat cover boys in a low-stakes limit game...


One More Thing To Consider

Good morning, everybody. I just got home from an epic night in the poker room--well, epically long, but nothing really interesting or noteworthy happened, except that there's one dirtbag stiff who comes in pretty regularly and I busted him out twice. That was cool. I played for almost eight hours, and at one point I was up $175 for the night. But then my juicy game broke, and we had to move to another table, and right after I got there, I had four hands in a row with big pocket pairs that got beat every time. So it turned into a grind and I felt lucky to escape with a $50 win for the night.

It was a long one, and yeah, I'm ready to get some sleep. I've got much to write about, not even including the Madness, but man, I'm just tired right now. I'm off for the next couple of days, unless I get called in, so I should get plenty done over the weekend. Right now, however, I just want some sleep.

I might post up some stuff later (like food pr0n from say, StripSteak), but I'm not making any promises.

I'll see ya when I see ya.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Anecdotal Evidence

Everyone knows that the slumping economy has hit Vegas pretty hard. I'm feeling the pinch myself--the poker room I work in is down five people since December, yet I'm still only working 2 or 3 days a week. It's just been slow all over.

But March Madness weekend was a booming weekend here in America's Playground. Most of the hotel rooms in the city were sold out, and the crowds were enormous. But check this one out--this really puts things in perspective as to just how much business picked up last weekend.

The last time the $1 Megabucks jackpot hit, it paid just over $21 million. It was hit at The Palms, and that happened on May 7th of last year--just over ten months ago.

Once somebody hits the jackpot, it's reset to $10 million, and when I left work last Wednesday morning to start my vacation, the jackpot had finally built itself up to just over $19 million. So basically, it took over ten months to get another nine million dollars into the prize pool. When I went back to work late on Monday night/early Tuesday morning (less than 48 hours ago), the Megabucks jackpot was up over $31 Million!

Yep, it took ten months to get the first nine million built up, but less than a week to add another eleven million to the top prize.

It was an amazingly busy week out here.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Emerging From The Fog


Anyone still out there? Do I still have readers? Re-clickers?

I'm back--I survived the Madness, and although I am worn out, I'll try to put together some stories over the course of the next couple of days.

First of all--this March Madness was much different than any of the other ones. It was completely mellow, and even though there were lots and lots of people around, I didn't do half the stuff I normally do, nor do I feel like I hung out with everyone as much as I wanted to. It wasn't a bad week--far from it--I had an absolute blast and I didn't come home broke (which is usually the case every year), but it seemed that something was 'missing'.

Eddie B never made it, which sucked, nor did LV Terry. Those two absences probably cut down on the laugh-out-loud moments by about 50%. Also, as much of a heater as I've been on at the poker tables, I didn't play any poker at all for the entire weekend, except for the Saturday tournament. I don't think that we ever got a private cash game going at any point either, which really sucks--that's where some of the best laughs and most famous stories come from.

On the other hand, it was wonderful to spend time with the family and see my little sis get herself married. Her and Scottie make a perfect couple, and the weekend with the Tennessee crowd is always a great time. Also, goofing off with Doc Al and Dougie is always a highlight of the Madness, and this weekend did not disappoint--it seems that every time we get in the car together or sit down to a meal together, we laugh so much that getting to our destination or actually eating a meal becomes a secondary distraction.

Angy's party on the patio was excellent, as usual, and the view from the Terrace Suites at MGM was worth every penny. I don't know if she can afford to do it again, but damn, that was one *nice* place to party. It sure put the Imperial Palace penthouse balcony suites to shame.

As far as the gambling went, I didn't play any poker, but I played a lot more dice (ouch) than usual, a bunch more blackjack--where I actually won, and a bit of pai gow and video poker. Also, I should've never left the El Cortez or the Nugget--I never lost at either place. Binion's, on the other hand, gave me the smackdown.

And just as soon as it ended last night, I had to go to work. So I was exhausted! I got home sometime after six this morning, and I've managed to get a few hours of sleep. I'm going back to bed as soon as I post this, but I still have a couple of friends in town, so I'm going to head back down towards the neon glow on the horizon again later this afternoon and squeeze a little more Madness out of the week.

In the meantime--it's good to be back. Once I detox the system, I'll probably start back onto my regular writing schedule. By Thursday or so, it'll be like I never left. Oh, and the batteries in my camera died on Saturday afternoon, and since I was stubborn and refused to pay giftshop prices to replace them, well, I just stopped taking pictures, so there is no photographic evidence of anything that happened after the wedding.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Another Hump Day Is Here

And you know what that means? It means we're that much closer to The Madness. Oh yes, I cannot wait. Like I said before, my Madness begins tonight with some low-grade buffoonery with SteveB from DC. I'll fetch him from the airport this evening, then it's off to the Peppermill for our usual first-meal-of-the-Madness with a couple of other folk, then I'll take him downtown. We may hang out there for a bit, but I'm not going to make a late night out of it. Well, I may play some poker later, but that's an iffy proposition.

Then it kicks off for real tomorrow morning when I pick up Cyndi. Once we get her checked into the hotel, we're meeting Dougie and Eric for some lunch at the Triple 7 Brewpub, and then, well, all bets are off. I will be drunk incognito for the next few days.

As far as this year's St. Paddy's day went, it was pretty lame. I was up all day farting around, finally got to sleep late in the afternoon, then woke up around 9pm. I got dressed and headed down to the casino at 11, but by the time I got there, both games had broken and they were shutting down the room for the night. That kinda sucked. No drunks to fleece.

Since the floorman didn't have to stick around, we took off and headed for the bar. We didn't go to Sierra Gold, like I wanted to (it's my new favorite), but we went over to Chilly Palmer's, which I don't like so much anymore. Of course, when we got there, it was a total sausage-fest. Not one single chick in the place. But since we were already there, we stayed. We chilled out for a few hours, had a few Newcastles and some hot wings, but later on the bartender came over to talk to us and he Just. Wouldn't. Shut up.

Oh dear god, it was annoying. That pretty much drove us out of there, and since it was getting late anyways, well, it was a good enough excuse to call it a night. I guess I didn't get enough sleep the day before, and I was pretty damn tired--I took a shower and passed right out.

Of course, my phone was ringing at 6:30 this morning--it was Mamasan, all excited about the weekend, but since everyone else was at work today, she had nobody to chat with. So she woke me up. We talked for a bit, but I was still out of it, so I went back to bed.

Now I'm up, and I'm busy doing the last minute stuff before I head out for the weekend. I started on the bathroom last night, and it's pretty clean, except I need to scrub the tile in the shower and also windex the mirrors, but then I'll be finished in there. I've still got a few other housekeeping items on the checklist to do today--more laundry, change the bed linen, print my bracket (I've got Louisville winning it all), rip some CDs, clean the coffeemaker, and vaccuum the bedroom floor. I'm also gonna go and get my truck washed and detailed (some turdcutter dumped a coke on the passenger's side window in the Walmart parking lot the other day), hit the bank and the liquor store, and maybe go buy a new shirt and another pair of cargo shorts. I'm also assembling all the stuff that goes in the backpack, too.

Otherwise, that's it--there ain't much else going on around here. When I get home this afternoon, I think I may grab a beer or two and just sit out in the sun, relax, and unwind for a bit. I think I may need to charge up the batteries before I go flat-out stupid this weekend.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Woot! It's time to get green and funky, people!

I hope everyone gets their fill of corned beef and cabbage, Guinness, and Irish whiskey today. Me, I've got about as much Irish in me as the President, so I'll be more of an observer than a participant in the various celebrations. Besides, my weekend of drunken buffoonery is lurking just around the corner, and frankly, I can't spare the brain cells.

Besides, I'm kinda tired. I just got home from a ridiculously long night at work, although it was quite profitable. When I came in, there was only one table going, it was shorthanded, and two of the players were a couple of the biggest stiffs in the room. Not a good sign. Everyone else was cool, though, so it kinda made up for my losses, although the two stiffs were scooping pot after pot. I hate it when that happens.

Eventually, I needed to empty my pocket and change the mojo up, so I had the floorman sit down at the table while I got a drink of water and racked up all of my tokes. Not two minutes after I got up, he dealt a small jackpot hand--one of the players had pocket Eights and made Four of a Kind, and this month, four eights pays $1500 plus everyone else at the table gets a hundred bucks!

Unbelievable -- the guy sat down and dealt two hands and hits a jackpot! So, I jumped back in the game while he did all the paperwork and called surveillance, and that loosened the game up a bit. One of the stiffs actually started toking, which was nice, but when the money finally got delivered from the cage, I had the floorman sit back down at the table and make the payouts--he dealt the hand, so he should get all the tokes.

The players took good care of him, and then when I got back in the game, I was the lucky recipient of a few extra bucks that I didn't really earn. But I'm not complaining. Since everyone at the table had an extra hundred dollars all of the sudden, the game didn't break up--it went on all night long.

I was locked down pretty much all night, so it was a lucrative one for me. And even though the money was good, I was kinda glad when the table broke--I was ready to go home. I'm now 'officially' on vacation, although they could conceivably call me tomorrow if they needed me. I wouldn't mind, but I really doubt that it's gonna happen.

So, yeah, it's now March Madness time for Mikey!

A few folks are already here--Angy and Sticky--for instance, but I'm not nearly as close with them as we used to be, so I probably won't see them at all until probably Thursday night. Tomorrow night I'll see a couple of folks for dinner, but Thursday is when I start to really Get It On!

My plan today is to rest, do laundry, and start packing. I also need to get a bunch of music moved over to the iPod. After that, I'm gonna clean my room and scrub the bathroom one last time, just so it's all sparkly clean when I come back from four days of debauchery.

Right now, my bedroom looks like Christmas morning hit again--I've got tissue paper, empty boxes, and wrapping materials strewn all over--I unpacked my new luggage set and I've done a bit of shopping, and the remains haven't made it to the garbage yet. Once I get all those chores done, I'll gas up the truck one more time and go and have it washed, maybe hit the liquor store for an extra bottle of rum, and then I'm good to go.

Also, I didn't feel like addressing this right now, but I feel I have to. This will be the final word on Marcie...

It looks like my last post created quite a stir, and I've created some expectations that I can't live up to. I apologize for that. It seems that 'the Marcie situation' has grown so large and out of proportion and into such a huge issue, that it feels like the over-arching theme of my life this week, and thus, this website. That is not true. I honestly hadn't thought much about her.

Spending the night thinking about the situation and my readers, and gauging their reaction, I've decided that there will be no secret Word document that only those who've donated can see. That has 'Bad Idea' written all over it. I guess I didn't quite think it through at first.

First of all, the whole thing can be summed up in just a few sentences, so here it is: Marcie has much on her plate--much more than I've ever said here. But as far as her and I being a 'we' goes, that was never gonna happen. I mentioned that in the 'Miracle' post several days back. There's just too much drama, and I would be the recipient of the backlash. Somebody has to pay for all the shiat she's been through, and well, that was me. I understand and accept my role in this whole thing. I was an easy target--I'm the first guy she's been with in a very long time that wasn't gonna beat her ass, spit on her, push her around or tell her what a loser she was whenever any conflict arose. So when she needed someplace to vent, there I was--and honestly, she needed somebody that SHE could kick around (figuratively), if only for her healing process to begin.

This of course, is my freshmen psyche 101 take on things, looking back with a better perspective.

We were never going to be together as a couple and we both knew that even though we shared a very unique and strong bond, it was going to be severed eventually, and it was going to be very painful. It just happened sooner rather than later. And deep down, we both know that it's much easier that way.

We were talking last Monday afternoon, and she was having a very bad day, and I was feeling like she was blowing me off. I think my exact words were I guess I've just got to get used to you not needing me anymore, huh? and well, that was probably the exact wrong thing to say. It spun out of control from there, and now, well, our paths have diverted and my role in her life is over.

Did I have strong feelings for her? Well yes--it's hard not to when you go through hell with somebody, especially if you find them attractive. But do I realize now, a week later, that I dodged a HUGE bullet? Yes, yes, I do. Am I depressed, angry, bitter or hurt? Not really, and certainly not to the extent that people seem to think I am (or even worse, wish I were). Honestly, I feel like a huge burden is off of my shoulders.

That whole 'Crazy Bitch' thing? Well, it gave me a chuckle, and it appeals to the inner adolescent that all men are when it comes right down to it. My ego is a little bruised, but hey, I've been dissed by the best of them. That's just me being a stupid guy.

Do I feel used? Surprisingly, not really. I may have right at first, but I was speaking to one of the folks who donated a nice sum to her, and he set me straight. In all of this, no matter what happens, her kids have a roof over their heads and a fridge full of groceries--and for a few days there, it was questionable if that was going to be the case. Personal feelings aside, some folks may think she used me/us, but I think if you walked a mile in her shoes, you'd understand why. Interpersonal relationships are a low priority when you've got two kids to take care of and no place to live, and there's no need to waste energy on something that's gonna end soon, anyways. I know that's kind of rambling, but I don't feel used. I feel like I did the right thing all along, and we made a difference. I cannot control whether or not anyone else appreciates it, even if that 'anyone' is the recipient.

So Marcie is gone. I wish her well and hope that her life eventually turns out better. I'll sleep well at night knowing that I did all I could for her, and I hope that she eventually finds somebody that makes her happy and gives her joy in her life.

Now, as far as some of you other knuckleheads go, I've got to say, this whole experience has been a master's-level course in Human Nature. Good lord, some of the comments and emails I've gotten--I'm amazed that so many people live in the emotional gutter and wish ill-will upon others. And also, one thing I noticed is that out of all the people who were stomping their feet and insisting that they get to know all the details, not one of them stepped up and donated to her cause when the call went out. Not one. Yet they bitch and moan to me that I somehow 'owed' them an explanation. Fuck that. I don't owe anyone a god-damn thing. Especially you whiners who didn't help out. On the other hand, ever single person who stepped up and hit the Marcie fund or sent checks has been nothing but supportive, and not one of them has said Yeah, you owe it to us to give us the sordid details. It's amazing--it's like the people with class were the first ones to step up and donate, and yet they are the least interested in the ensuing ugliness.

Now, I have a lot of friends and readers who did not donate, and I don't blame you or fault you folks one bit. It's just the idiots who think I owe them something who I have a problem with. Even better are the handful of drooling retards who think that because they have about 5% of the information, they know exactly what's going on out here. My favorites are the ones who insist that she's back with her ex. Oh. My. God. Please--just stop talking. You have no idea what you're talking about and you sound like a bunch of drooling fist-humpers when you speculate. I also love the ones who say that Well, if you don't tell us what happened, next time, nobody is gonna ever give you any money again. First of all, jackasses, I doubt there will be a next time, and secondly, you are so wrong it's pathetic. If I had any situation--a family emergency, a serious illness, loss of my job, etc.--I could put the word out and good people would step up. I get unsolicited offers from readers all the time to assist with little things here and there, and my friends are good people. Most of my readers are, too. It's just a small percentage of fools that pollute the water here. So seriously, keep your thoughts to yourselves, because all you're doing is offering further proof that you're a moron. If you don't like the explanation I've given, or you have a problem with me, tough shit, go read somebody else's blog. I certainly don't need you.

The bottom line is, we did a good thing here, regardless of what my detractors may think.

So there. It's over. I'm done talking about it, and frankly, it's kinda like a bad coleslaw thread--it took on a life of it's own, and now I'm over it. I'm not thinking about it anymore, expending any energy on it, and I'll probably ignore any questions I get about her from here on out. I've moved on, she's moved on, and so should everyone else.

I feel much better now, again, another burden lifted.

And since I planted that ugly ass picture in your mind at the top of the post, here is some eye-candy to make up for it:

Y'all have a wonderful day!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Speeding Towards The Weekend

Holy crapola--I feel like I'm in a time warp and the clock is speeding up. That's cool, because I've got something fun to look forward to this weekend, but right now, it's a little overwhelming. It might have something to do with the fact that I've been up for the past 18 hours straight, and I'm about to head to bed and get some much-needed rest, but damn, this past day has absolutely flown by.

First things first--no, I'm not taking time off from the keyboard. I was just frustrated last night because I don't know what the fark I'm doing sometimes, and this site was giving me fits. Finally, I just said the hell with restoring stuff back to the way it was and figured what's gone is gone and it ain't coming back. I won't lose any sleep. But, I *will* be taking some time away this coming weekend. I'll be checking out of reality around noon on Thursday, and I won't be coming back until Monday night or maybe Tuesday. And I'm pretty sure I won't be bringing my laptop with me when I go check into the hotel and start living like a drunken tourist. Updates? If you want to know what I'm up to on a minute-by-minute basis, bring your asses to March Madness!

Oh, I'll have my camera, and I'll be taking a few notes here and there, but this may be the *busiest* Madness I've had in the past ten years, so a running dialogue ain't gonna be in the mix. No time for love, Dr. Jones!

Anyhow, enough housekeeping...

Last night, I was kickin' around the house around 10:15 or so, and the poker room called, asking if I could come in at eleven instead of one. I was cool with that--more hours when it's busy is just fine with me.

There were three games going when I got there, and I pushed in at the top of the line-up, doing an hour-and-a-half straight. That was a good start. By 2:00 am, however, we were down to a single 4/8 game. By 3:00 am, the players decided that they wanted to change it to a 5/10 game, and then it was off to the races.

I don't know if anyone has ever played in a 5/10 or 10/20 game, but they are action-packed and amazingly fast games. I don't know why more casinos don't spread 'em. But the cool thing was that the pots were huge, and since it was mostly all dollar chips in action instead of the $5 redbirds, the pots looked even bigger, too. So instead of getting a buck or two for a tip every time I pushed a pot, I started getting two, three, or four bucks after every hand. Very nice!

It got so crazy that I had to get up twice in the next two hours and empty my pockets because they wouldn't hold any more chips. I love when that happens. The game finally broke just after six this morning, and man, I was wiped out. What a great night it was, though--I made almost $300 in tips for the shift--we call that 'stripper money'. I guess if I'm only gonna work twice a week, I'll take days like this and be happy.

Once we got everything shut down and the day shift crew showed up, the floorman and I took off and headed over to the bar for breakfast and a few drinks. We hung out there for a couple of hours, drinking and socializing with one of the bartenders and one of our cocktail waitresses who'd been hanging out, too. It was a fun morning, but man, I didn't realize how tired I was until I paid my tab and headed for the door.

But I couldn't go straight home--I had to do some Madness shopping. First of all, I had to get some powdered coffee creamer and a can of Folgers for the old women. I also needed to get a new suitcase, too. So I went over to the Walmart Supercenter and spent a few bucks, doing my part to stimulate the economy. I ended up getting a decent four-piece luggage set for a good price, as all I had for luggage until now was a garment bag and a couple of too-small duffles. Now I've got a proper matching set with wheels and straps and pockets and such. And the crazy old women will get their morning coffee fix this weekend without having to wander down to Starbucks.

After that, I came on home and unloaded my goodies, took a shower, then talked to Ed W, finalizing our plans for the Madness. The family and most of the crew will be there by Thursday night, but he's rolling in on Friday morning, due to his work schedule. No problemo, though--there will still be plenty of buffoonery on tap by the time he gets here.

Right now, however, it's time for me to get some sleep. I doubt tonight will be nearly as good as last night was, (the last two weeks my Tuesday am shift has been cancelled outright), but I'm hoping it holds together for at least a couple of hours. Regardless of what happens, I need to get some rest.

Talk at ya later.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Technical Difficulties

Please stand by...

I'm having some issues with the site tonight. Both my composing interface and commenting software are driving me to the brink. I lost an entire post while editing it, (Memo to self: Don't use the greater than/less than symbols next to each other in reverse order on the Blogger interface. It's like dividing by zero--it'll split open the universe and destroy us all!), and my commenting software will not allow me to approve a bunch of comments as a group, yet I can delete them all at once. WTF? Anyhow, lesson learned.

I'll be back to posting about goofy shiat like grilled cheese and silly string soon enough. But right now, I'm looking forward to a little vacation away from the keyboard.


Where Did My Weekend Go?

I think I have fully embraced the graveyard-shift lifestyle, as my system is now in the habit of staying up all night and sleeping during the day, even though I went six days between shifts. Normally, after a few days away from work, I start to drift back to 'normal' hours, going to bed around midnight, waking up early, etc. But not now--I've been a nightcrawler all week.

Since I haven't been working, I've felt the pressure to try and earn a bit of extra cash, so I've just been going out and playing poker against the drunks every night this past week. And every night I've made almost as much playing as I would've made had I been working. I wouldn't say I'm on a heater, I've not been playing no-limit and I haven't had any big scores at the table (except of course that Jackpot share from the other night), but I've been grinding it out at the kiddie table playing 4/8, and I've managed to pocket around $150-$200 profit each night. Not too shabby, especially in a room that has a reputation as being as tough as the one I work in.

I honestly don't remember too much from Friday night, except that I played for about six hours and pulled about $160 off the game. I wanted to stay longer, but I *had* to get some sleep. I had to get up early on Saturday morning and go to the St. Paddy's Day parade with Linda Lou.

I remember cashing out and feeling really hungry since another 24 hours had passed since I'd had anything to eat (nope, I didn't order room service that night, just wasn't feelin' it), so I stopped at the 7-11 on the way home and grabbed a chicken salad sandwich and an iced tea. I've always been afraid of those sandies they have in there that I always see the construction workers getting, but I was hungry, and it was either that or junk food, unless I wanted to drive to a bar or something. I thought I was tired, so I just wanted quick and cheap, I guess.

So, I came home, but damn, I just couldn't sleep. I ate my sandie, got on the computer, watched some TV, and tried to go to sleep, but it just wasn't happening. I knew I had to get up in a couple of hours, but as soon as I got home, I was wide awake. I decided to give Mamasan a call back in Tennessee, as I knew she'd be up, and we ended up talking for about an hour--the whole gang back there is all kinds of excited for this coming weekend, so we had lots to talk about.

Eventually, my alarm went off, so with no sleep, I showered, shaved, and got myself dressed. I headed over to pick up Linda Lou, and we drove over to old Henderson to watch the parade. We parked in the garage at the El Dorado casino, a place I'd never been in, and walking through, it reminded me of one of them truck-stop casinos that dot I-40 as you drive through New Mexico. Meh.... No reason to stick around.

But we arrived just about the time the parade was kicking off, and I was amazed at the size of the crowd. Water Street was just a sea of jade-colored humanity, but we managed to find a spot in the crowd, sitting on the edge of a planter.

The parade, as you can imagine, was exactly like I thought it would be--a small-town affair that won't cause the folks at the Tournament of Roses any sleepless nights. But it was a lot of fun. Lots of firetrucks, marching bands, classic cars, and pretty much every elected official from the Henderson City gub-mint riding in convertibles. I think our city council is about the same size as the U.N.

The highlight for me, while we were sitting there enjoying the sunshine and people watching, was seeing Darth Vader come wandering down the street leading a squad of Imperial Stormtroopers from the Neon City Garrison of the 501st Legion ("Vader's Fist"). Holy shiat--cracked me up. I didn't take many pictures, but I had to get a couple of shots of that! Because really, nothing says St. Patrick's Day like a bunch of Stormtroopers on the march.

After that, I was pretty much done--nothing was gonna top seeing Lord Vader and the basement dwellers wandering down Water Street. Even the random Irish strippers (hey, it's Vegas) weren't nearly as fun to watch.

The parade lasted about two hours, and we really had a good time--it was a lot more fun than I expected, and yeah, it's on the calendar for next year. We're gonna do it right and make it a full-on tailgating event. The weather was so nice that I even had to bust out the sunscreen, but still, I managed to get a little color on this pasty-white countenance of mine.

Once that party ended, we wanted to go get some breakfast. The original plan was to go to the Omelet House, but since Marcie has turned into a raving psychopath, we decided against it. Instead, we drove over to Green Valley Ranch and had breakfast at The Cracked Egg. (A more aptly-named restaurant for the two of us, I cannot imagine).

Neither one of us had ever been there before, but we immediately liked it as soon as we sat down--big place, extensive menu, cheap prices. They lose points however, for being a Pepsi place. (As much of a dive as the O-House is, at least a brotha can get a Coke in there). Linda ordered the raspberry stuffed French Toast, and I knew what I was having as soon as I saw it on the menu--the Monte Cristo sandie with hash browns.

Our waiter seemed a little harried, but that didn't detract too much from the experience. Linda's breakfast was quite good, but I don't think I'll get their Monte Cristo ever again. It doesn't stack up nearly as well to the ones I've had at Bennigan's in years past. Good, but not great. I found myself wishing that I'd ordered something else. I think it might have been a little overcooked, too.

Even though my meal was kind of a miss, we'll definitely be going back--everything else looked great, and I need to find a new breakfast spot anyways.

Once we finished our meal and our conversation, it was time to call it a day. I was hitting the wall finally, so I dropped Linda off back at her place, and then I made a quick stop at Walgreen's to pick up a ten-dollar coffeemaker so Mamasan and Crazy Jane can get their Java on in their hotel room next weekend.

As soon as I got home, it was bed-time. I lasted about five minutes before I was a drooling heap, passed out and snoozing. I got a good six or seven hours of sleep in, which was just what I needed.

I woke up again around 9:30, and decided to head back down and take another shot at earning a few bucks in the poker room. This time, instead of shorts and a t-shirt, I wore nice clothes--a twill shirt, slacks, and a pair of tassel loafers, and grabbed a work shirt out of the closet and took it with me, just in case.

The poker room was pretty busy when I got there, but again, I only brought $180 with me, so I took a seat at the kiddie table again. There was a very juicy and action-packed no-limit game going on, and I thought at first that I should get in it (in fact, it was so crazy that people were requesting table changes--the bad players wanted off the game, the good players wanted in!). But I got a seat at a decent 4/8 game, and one of the fish from the other night was there on my right, and he brought his brother with him, who was an absolute dream player you wish you could always have at your table--he was absolutely a horrible player, but he had a pocket full of hundred-dollar bills!

I took a couple of bad beats early on, and reached into the wallet for another $40, but after that, it was off to the races. I sat there for several hours, being patient, waiting for cards, and then unleashing the fury when I had the opportunity. By 3:00 am, I had almost $400 stacked in front of me, and I was able to build a model of the Bellagio out of my chips while I was sitting there.

The problem was, the bad players with the seemingly unlimited bankrolls kept buying in, and once people realized it, nobody else would leave, either, so the games went deep into the night, and at 4:00 am, they needed me to work.

I *really* didn't want to get up from that table--I told one of my buddies there, and the floorman, that as long as they guy in the ten-seat had chips in front of him, I wasn't leaving that table. But I'd made my money, and they needed me to sit in, so I colored up and cashed out, ran out to my truck to get my shirt, changed, clocked in, and five minutes later I was back at the exact same table, except this time I was dealing the game!

It was kinda funny, as soon as I sat down, I was like Well, hello everyone, how's everybody doing tonight? like I'd just walked in. It was a fun group, and I thought it'd be tough to pull any tokes because I'd taken $300 off of 'em and walked, but as soon as I started pushing pots, it was just like a normal night. Kind of surreal, when you think about it. Even the two guys who I was hammering on the most, if they'd win, they'd still tip a couple or three bucks each time. Nice!

I only worked for an hour and a half, as the last no-limit game finally broke up, but in addition to my winnings, I earned about $75 in tips, too. Not a bad night at all! As soon as I was done, I ran in back to hit the time clock, put my street-shirt back on, hustled back to the room, grabbed a rack of chips, and sat back down in the game.

Unfortunately, by then, the two fish at the table were about to go broke. I got three hands in before they did, none of them playable. When it was my turn for the blind, they were gone, so there was no reason to stay--I put that hundred chips back in the rack and cashed right back out again. One of my other buddies decided to do the same thing--he'd bought in for forty bucks and cashed out $325, so it was a good night for everyone. Well, everyone except two players.

The game pretty much broke up after that, so everyone headed for the exits. Hungry again, I headed over to Sierra Gold for their $5.99 graveyard special. I had a huge ham steak, eggs, hashies, and toast, and washed it all down with a draft beer. Gotta love breakfast in Vegas!

The sun was up by the time I got out of there, so it was a long night. Once I got home, I made a few phone calls and puttered around the house for a few hours, finally going to bed around 11. I got my six hours of sleep in, and now I'm up and killing time before I go into work tonight. I'm actually scheduled for the first time in six days, so I'm hoping I work more than a couple of hours before the game breaks. But soon, very soon, I'll be on vacation and enjoying the Madness.

I cannot wait!


Thursday, March 12, 2009


I just knew that Wednesday was gonna be better than Monday. I guess it's actually Thursday now, but I'm still up from last night, so we'll credit Hump Day with being a good one.

First of all, I didn't do much yesterday, my case of the blahs this week has been well documented. I don't know if I put any credence into it, but I'm guessing that all of my biorhythms had been on a low ebb for awhile.

Around noon, I drove over to the O-House to get some lunch and try to mend fences with Marcie, but that didn't go so well. I'll talk more about it later, but I'm trying to take the high road right now. Please don't fill up the comment section with questions or advice about her, or even comments offering opinions to her character--I'll deal with it later. Right now is not the time. Oh, and I didn't even eat while I was there, either.

Anyhow, I came right back home, did a little websurfing, and finally fell asleep--I'd been up for about 18 hours by that point. I woke up around 7:30, checked in with the buffoons in the T2V Chatroom, did a little more puttering around on the computer, and then realized how hungry I was. I hadn't eaten anything since the hot pastrami sandwich the night before, and I was starving. Plus, I wanted to get out of the house again.

I got dressed and headed back down to the casino again. I figured I could try and make a few more bucks at the poker table, plus embrace my newly frugal lifestyle by eating dinner for free. When I got there, there were two full tables going, and I had to sit on the waiting list for about 20 minutes before I got a seat.

On my first hand of the night, I had a suited Ace-King that ran into pocket Aces and another hand that made their flush on the river. The bronze medal cost me a quick $27. Not a good start. A few hands later, I had a guy convinced that I had Ace King, when the truth was that I had a set of tens, and I raked a huge pot, putting me over par, where I stayed for the rest of the night. Yep, I had a decent night at the 4-8 game--nothing to make a living on, but I was never stressing about being stuck the entire time. I had plenty of bullets and it was a stress-free game. Plus it helped that nobody was sucking out on the river against me this time around, either.

It was a fun table, and sometime after midnight, the other game died, and we were the last table. One of the other dealers clocked out and grabbed a seat too, so it was a fun crowd. My buddy the floorman was hungry again, so I told him I'd order him some more french fries. Since I was so hungry too, I also had an order of calamari sent over, along with another hot pastrami sandie (oh yeah, it was that good) and some potato salad. As soon as the grub showed up, it opened the floodgates--it smelled so good that everyone else jumped on the phone and ordered a room service delivery too.

I don't know what time it was, but I'm guessing it was around 2:00 am or so the floorman came over to the table with the 'up' dealer, and as soon as the hand ended, he announced May I have everyone's attention please...

Happy Birthday to you all--the Jackpot just hit over at Texas Station, so nobody move--We've got paperwork to do!

High fives all around, and he then passed out the jackpot buttons to everyone at the table (you gotta turn one in to get paid). That slowed the game down considerably, because everyone who was stuck suddenly became unstuck, and the celebration was on. The jackpot was up to $193,000, so doing some quick back-of-the-cocktail-napkin math, I told everyone that if there were 80 players, we'd each get $1450+. Oh hell yeah!

It took a while to fill out all the paperwork and such, and after about a half hour we found out that there were 148 eligible players when the bad beat hand went down, so we each earned $780 apiece! Not bad. (And BTW, we never got the details of the hand that won, but this week the low hand to get beaten had to be four of a kind 8's or better).

Talk about great timing--It's been so slow lately that I was really worried about how I was gonna have any kind of bankroll for the Madness. I mean, I had a couple hundie tucked away, but that ain't much when a weekend in Vegas is looming on the horizon. Now, it's all good! And normally, I'd be totally pissed that the jackpot hit again, but since I got a chunk of it, I don't mind--yeah, I'll only get two shifts this weekend, but money won't be a problem this week.

Once they figured out the individual payouts and had the chips brought over from the cage, it was time to collect (Yeah, they pay out the prize money in casino chips). I dropped $60 in the dealers toke bucket, and happily pocketed $720. I was also up sixty bucks in the poker game at the time, so I figured that I'd play until my next blind, then call it a night.

Everyone else had the same plan, so I think the game broke up shortly after I left. I had a little celebratory drink and then grabbed a cup of coffee and headed back here to the house. On the way home, I squeezed as much gas into the tank as it would hold, and then picked up a few groceries, too. I thought about going out to breakfast, but I was still full from my dinner four hours earlier.

When I got home, I put $750 away as 'untouchable' until next week when the buffoons start arriving en masse, and I figure with my little paycheck and a couple of shifts this weekend, I should easily have a grand in my pocket when I go to get my Madness on.

I know I should get some sleep, but right now I'm just a little too keyed up.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Getting In The Madness Mood

Ok, the question has been asked a few times now, both in the comments section and in emails. Apparently, several of my readers want to know why I feel the need to carry a backpack during March Madness.

The answer is quite simple, really--I have a lot of shiat to haul around with me. Normally, when I 'do Vegas', I don't need to carry around too much--a wallet, some hundies, and a few odds and ends that will easily fit in my pockets.

But March Madness is a different beast altogether. I might leave my hotel room and not return for 24 or 36 hours. Who knows where the day will take me, or even better, who knows where I'll be sleeping that night. If I play my cards right, no pun intended, I may end up in a different hotel for the night, enjoying an evening of 'What happens in Vegas'. You just never know.

So, what am I going to carry around every day while I'm doing The Madness? Well, off the top of my head--

  • Wallet
  • Keys
  • Money clip
  • Glasses and case
  • Sunglasses and case
  • Chip protector
  • Cell phone
  • Camera
  • iPod
  • Pen
  • Aspirin
  • Jimmy Hats
  • Chapstick
  • Handi-wipes
  • Lighter
  • Cigar cutter
  • Cigars
  • Room key
  • Kleenex
  • Coupon books
  • Porn flyers (oh yes, always fun to plant them someplace embarrassing for your friends)
  • Matches
  • A bag of 420 (can't count on having Johnson's underpants handy)
  • A copy of my bracket
  • A corkscrew/bottle opener
  • Line sheets and game schedules from the sports book
  • Altoids
  • An extra shirt
  • Sharpie markers
  • Other weird shiat that I pick up in the course of my travels, like glow sticks, souvenirs, mini tabasco bottles, lobster shells, 3-D glasses, a fish-shaped caribiner, tournament schedules, Matchbox cars, candy, cigarettes, business cards, water bottles, Mardi gras beads, etc...

Yes, some stuff could fit in my pockets, but it's a pain in the ass digging around for stuff when you're in a hurry. I like to keep just a small bundle of singles in my pocket, that's all, just to make it easier to tip the waitress. It seems like they only come around when you're involved in a hand or it's your turn to shoot the dice, so I like to be prepared and not slow the game down. Also, it seems that at the end of every Vegas trip, I have a shiatload of loose coins at the bottom of my suitcase. And I hate carrying change around in my pockets--it scratches my cellphone.

A fanny pack, of course, is out of the question, and a 'messenger bag', which seems to be fashionable amongst the skinny-jeans and Che-shirt wearing Apple cultists, looks a little too much like a man-purse for my tastes. So a cool-looking backpack with lots of pockets, snaps, and zippers is just fine with me, and so I'll have one hanging over my shoulder for most of the weekend.

Besides, with a backpack, I can also pack a pair of boxers and a toothbrush, just in case I manage to close the deal with some cougar at the Carnaval Court.

Be Prepared.

That's what they taught me in the Boy Scouts, and thirty years later, it's still sound advice.


Let's Hope Wednesday Is Better Than Monday

So far, it's looking much better. But then again, Hump day is always better than Monday. I mean, yeah, I'm still feeling rather blah and uncreative, and I still haven't talked to Marcie again, so it's not all balloons, rainbows, and unicorns in my world.

Yesterday helped. I didn't do a damn thing all day. I mean, absolutely nothing, like Peter on Office Space. I pretty much laid in bed all day being a slug--I didn't pick up the guitar, I didn't do any laundry, I didn't answer any email, and I didn't even watch TV. It was nice to check out for awhile, that's for sure.

But one cannot subsist on trail mix, coffee, and the internet, so around eight or nine o'clock, I was bored off my ass. So I took a hundy out of my meager stash and headed down to the poker room to get in the game. Normally, I'd insist on playing no-limit, but I hate sitting down at the table unless I've got four or five hundred in my pocket, and the wallet is pretty thin this month. With just a hundred, I grabbed a seat at the kiddie table and played some 4-8.

I was having a good time, and one of my gals I hang around with on occasion was there at the table sitting next to me. We did a few shots and had a few laughs, but she was absolutely trashed. It got so bad that they had to cut her off and I was afraid she was gonna get sick. But eventually she said she'd had enough, so I helped her color up, get to the bathroom, and gather her bearings. She wanted me to take her home, but I had told the guys in the poker room to hold my seat, so I didn't really want to leave.

Eventually, she found out that her boyfriend was still in the casino, playing table games in the pit, so I steered her over there and she became his problem, while I went back to the game. I played for a few hours, and was playing very well, making a few bucks here and there. The problem was there was a maniac in the game who was raising pretty much every hand, but then he kept catching cards on the river, blowing up everyone and sitting behind some huge stacks. It was ridiculous.

I tangled with him a few times, and he rivered me on four separate hands, irritating me to no end--they were huge pots, too, and he had absolutely nothing until the very last card every time. Ugh. The fact that I rolled out of there with a $25 profit after about five hours is a testament to patience. I should have made about $250, but I could never hit a draw, nor did my big suited Aces ever make a flush, in addition to the maniac winning with junk cards on the river every hand.

On one hand, however, I was this close to pocketing a $2000+ share of the in-house bad beat jackpot. I flopped four queens, while another guy had pocket Aces. Had an Ace come on the turn or the river, we would've been doing the happy-naked-muppet dance right there at the table (If Aces full of Tens gets beat by four-of-a-kind, the table gets a $10,000 payday--the losing hand gets $3500, the winning hand gets two grand, and the entire table splits up the other $4500, so I would've gotten $2750 for winning that hand had a third Ace shown up). If my opponent would've gotten running Aces, we would've hit the big one, and I would've come home with more than forty-five thousand! So close I could almost taste it.

But it wasn't the Bad Beat jackpot that was making my mouth water. After a few hours, I realized how hungry I was, having not eaten any real food in two days. I finally figured out how to use my points to pay for room service, so I ordered a hot pastrami sandie and a side of they-call-me tater salad, and I also ordered a side of fries for my buddy who was working the floor last night. He's not allowed to have food up behind the desk, but if somebody has some munchies there at the table they're willing to share, then he can wander over and grab some. I knew he was hungry and since I didn't have to spend any cash out of my pocket, it was on me. And once we figured out that system, it was Game On for the room service gal--she made several trips back to the room after that because everyone else decided to get their grub on, too.

Eventually the game broke, and I was lucky enough to walk with a few more bucks than I came with, but I stuck around for a bit to watch the action at the no-limit game. I was sorely tempted to get in, as there were three drunkasses in the game who were just terrible players, but again, they kept catching cards. I saw one of my buddies double up the same guy FOUR times in about an hour--the other guy just kept hitting ridiculous two- and three-outers every time. You can't beat a game like that, no matter how good you are. If somebody is running extremely lucky, like I saw on both tables, it's just bankroll suicide to try and go up against them. So I just watched for awhile before eventually calling it a night and coming home.

I stopped and put a couple of bucks in the tank before coming home, then I played in a 90 player micro-limit sit-n-go on PokerStars before going out in 33rd place when my flopped set ran into a turned boat. No money for me.

That brings us to now. I'm still fairly wide awake, and I'm sipping on a cup of coffee and wondering what I'm gonna do with myself today. I may go down to the O-House and try to make nice with Marcie later, and oh yeah, get some breakfast, too. But other than that, I've got nothing going on today. I would *love* to be able to pick up a shift tonight, but chances are slim and none, and Slim has that shifty look on his face like he's trying to make a break for it.

Otherwise, there ain't much going on out here in the world of Mikey. I still think I've got a mild case of the blahs, anyways. Nothing sounds fun, I don't want to spend any money, it's still cold outside, and I can't think of any good stories to tell.

But at least it ain't Monday.