Not much time to write today, so I'll just post some pictures from my drive to Luxembourg. It was particularly interesting to me that there was no border stop. It was going from one state to another in the US.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I made it to Germany today. Actually, since it is 0330 Germany time (3:30 am as we write it), I got here yesterday morning. Tonight, Germany went on daylight savings time so I'm having a little trouble keeping up with the time for several reasons.
With the Tarheels doing so well in the NCAAs, I was going to hate missing the games tonight and next weekend. They were going to have to make the final game for me to see them again. Ah, but this is 2008 and CBS is putting all of the games on the web.
So I'm typing this post in one window while I watch the game on CBS.com. I'm pleasantly surprised at the quality of the video over wi-fi. It's a little jumpy which I don't get on TV, but it is widescreen formated which I don't get at home.
As for Germany, I didn't do a lot today. The plane landed around 0700. Customs in Europe is a breeze and my rental Mercedes was ready (it's a little diesel SUV). I did enjoy cruising down the autobaun with the speedometer reading 160+. I have no idea how fast that is, but it feels real fast in a mini-SUV. Wow. I just calculated it and it is 100 mph. Cool.
I got to my hotel about 0900. My run of luck continued as my room was ready. That let me get some rest before starting my day. That rest took about 5 hours. I spent the rest of the day wondering around the little town near my hotel. Here are some pictures.
I would have like to have gone up to the castle, but they put it at the top of the hill overlooking the town. How inconvenient!
The Tarheels are rocking. 44-32 at the half. If they play like that, they are going to be tough to beat.
Friday, March 28, 2008
We played a little poker this Wednesday night. One of our players had his wife out of town, so he had the boys over to play. I got crushed by the deck. I won a few substantial pots early and then I couldn't buy a card that I needed. I guess you could say I got 2nd place. The problem was that I got 2nd over and over and over. It's OK. I've been on a good run and have a good bankroll built up. I'll try again later.
I really don't have time to worry about that now. I'm sitting in the Philadelphia Int'l Airport awaiting my flight to Frankfurt, Germany. I've got to run a four day workshop nearby. Afterwards, I plan to take a few days in Paris. I hope that lots of pictures follow from my adventures.
Monday, March 24, 2008
It has been over a year and a half now since the passage of the UIGEA and seemingly the end of internet poker for players in the USA. I came across a site today that works to help poker players in the USA to find internet sites where they are welcome. The site is Internet-Poker.co.uk. Their main page is located at http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/. Let me tell you, this site is a one stop portal for all you need to get back into playing poker on the internet.
The first thing I saw on the site was a chart listing the top 10 internet poker sites. The chart has a special column for those sites that accept players from the United States. The chart also shows the bonuses offered to players who can play for real cash and the bonus codes to use.
If you like, you can click on the link below the site to get the best sites for US Poker Players. That site is http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/US-Online-Poker-Sites-Accepting-USA-Players/ in case you want to go straight there. Once there, you get the same chart, but now with only sites that accept players from the United States. For those players who can deposit British Pounds, the UK Poker link (http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/Best-UK-Poker-Sites-Rooms/) will give you the sites that accept your money as is. Canadian’s also get their own page (http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/Poker-Reviews/Canadian-Poker-Sites-Canada-Accepted/). Those lucky Canadian don’t, however, get a list of sites that they can play on. They get the shorter list of sites where they cannot play along with deposit options.
The folks at Internet-Poker have given some of the top sites their own pages, complete with links, bonus codes, and reviews. Some of these sites are Party Poker (http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/Poker-Reviews/Party-Poker-Bonus-Code/), Poker Stars (http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/Poker-Reviews/www-PokerStars-com/) and one that I’ve not heard of before, Sky Poker (http://www.internet-poker.co.uk/Poker-Reviews/Sky-Poker-Review~41.html). There is even a page that lists sites that accept PayPal deposits from European players only.
Internet-Poker.co.uk rounds out their site with pages for Poker strategy and Poker news. Like I said, it is a one stop portal for the poker information that you are looking for. I do wish that the news page was full of hope for US players to be lifted free of the bonds of the UIGEA, but we will half to wait on that a while. In the mean time, you should check out Internet-Poker.co.uk.
<end of sponsored post >
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Last night was this first chance I've had to get together with the gang for a night of poker in about 3 weeks. We started with a tournament. Losers started a cash game of hold em until midnight when we changed over to dealer's choice.
My first hand of the tournament was AK suited with me under the gun. I raise pre-flop and get 2 callers. The flop was TTK. It gets checked to me and I bet about the pot. Both callers call. "Okay," I think, "No aggression" so I think I'm up against a flush draw with 2 clubs on the board. I'll keep after it until another club hits. The next card was a J or Q, something that makes a straight possible, so I go with about half the pot. Call. Call. The river brings a small club. The big blind (one of my callers) checks, I check and Jim completes the hand by checking. Jim tables a K with a low kicker. I table my TPTK. T in the big blind tables two more tens for quad tens on the first hand. I feel like this is a good sign because I'm not crippled or out on the first hand.
Unfortunately, I don't think I took any more than a hand or two in the whole tourney. I bleed down to just a few blinds when I got ATo and push in pre-flop. Falstaff is my only caller and he tables JTh, so I'm looking good until a J spikes on the flop. I get no Ace and head for the cash game.
Congrats to Big Nick for winning, Dave B for 2nd, and Falstaff for cashing for the 2nd week in a row.
I win the fist hand after sitting down and then go pretty dry here as well. I manage to eak out a few hands to stay right around my buy-in amount for the next 3 hours. Every time I got a decent hand, somebody got a monster. I tried to make one nut flush on a draw, but couldn't hit it or much of anything else. Finally at midnight we switched over to other games.
The stud round didn't do much for me, but Omaha and O8 did great things for me. I drug some really good pots to end the night up 140 points.
I don't remember much of the conversations. There was very little talk early. I don't know if that was because of the daylight or the tourney making everyone concentrate a little harder. But here's what I remember 24 hours later:
- I'm going to Germany, Jim's going to London
- Vegas in June, October, December
- Bobby B's coming to Charlotte
- I'm going to Paris, Jim's going to London
- 95.3% of statistics are made up on the spot
- A humidifier? I thought is was a weird water pitcher.
- Garmins and Tom-Toms
- Poker Chip Displays
- The next president is going to be a Democrat, even if it's McCain.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
2001 - A Space Odyssey will always be one of my favorite books. Rendezvous With Rama still fascinates me with it's big cylinder flying and rotating through space with the environment on the inside surface. Somebody should make that movie. His writing certainly expanded my mind. Thanks, Mr. Clarke.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
That line from Billy Joel's "Miami 2017" keeps going off in my head. I never did understand that song, but I've always liked it. 2017 sure was a lot further away when I first heard it in high school and HS is the topic of this post. I'll get to that in a sec.
I'm in Norfolk, VA this week, working in the shadow of those carriers. I won't say exactly where or for whom as that makes me seem much more exciting and mysterious. I can say for sure that nearly unlimited patience is required to play good poker and to work anywhere near government, any government.
I did have a very good conversation with an old friend today. First a little back story. I was the class president my junior year in high school (and not a very good one). As I understand it, it is traditionally the senior class president's job to coordinate the reunions. I can't seem to find Jim (not his real name). I've got a few more place to look, but I'm not hopeful. I've been told more than a couple times that the responsibility falls to me.
Well, I liked HS and I almost always enjoy visiting with my old classmates. I would like to see a reunion happen, however, I'm not looking for a part-time job. Planning such an occasion for a graduation class of 600 (or what's left of us) could easily overwhelm anyone.
That is where the old friend comes in. Jen, not her real name, was very involved in putting on a reunion for the HS class that is one year ahead of mine. I was hoping that she would be involved this time and could share some hints or lessons learned. She isn't involved, for reasons I'm coming to, but she did share some good advice on the subject. But as these things happen, there was so much more to be discovered and the reason for the call became eclipsed by the visit and the stores she shared.
As it turns out, Jen came home from the hospital a few days ago. She went in for 5 days and came home after 5 weeks. I don't think they keep heart/lung transplant patients for 5 weeks any more, so I knew that her case was very serious. She told me that she came very close to never coming home, though she never believed it. She told me with all the conviction in the world that she would continue to heal and then travel to all the people and places that she had put off. The thought of having to watch my wife go through something like that scares me deep.
She told me about her husband and children and job as an associate pastor. She told me about her mother passing recently and current enrollment in divinity school. It is certainly a life worth hanging on to. I tried to share some stories of hope and faith that have happened to me recently. I took away inspiration and purpose and a smile. Thanks Jen. After all that, I look so forward to hugging my wife when this trip to Norfolk is done.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
After work last night, I took a trip over to the hangout of Sir Al Can't Hang. Al was high atop his usual bar stool surrounded by a troop of locals. I was fortunate enough to be able to visit with Al, Big Mike, Connie, and more for a couple of hours. They were most welcoming.
The Tyler James Pub will be the location of "The Bash" in September. I got a short tour of the facilities. The huge room with a bar and street level access (we don't want too many drunks navigating the stairs) will make for a great party. My calendar is already marked for the weekend of Sept. 27th.
We talked about work, retirement (Al's, not mine), dogs, baseball, Key West, Eh-Vegas, Oki-Vegas, Las Vegas, AC and more. Connie's story about bringing a drowned puppy back to life was particularly enthralling. My Bass ale, bacon burger and fries dinner was excellent.
I learned that the myth, the legend, the utter bullshit about Al is true. Though he had not taken a drink since Eh-Vegas, he broke bad and ordered us up a couple of shots. I knew the stories to be true when, upon Al asking for two shots of SoCo, the bartender asked if he wanted "your kind of shots?" Al has his own kind of shot? The bartender really just meant big shots, but the point was made. These were not among the first hundred shots that Al has ordered.
It was a good time and I look forward to returning. If you find yourself in the vicinity of Valley Forge, PA, make your way to Tyler James' Pub and knock one back with Al. I'm sure he well be there.
Monday, March 03, 2008
We played again this Saturday night. Saturday night in Mooresville, NC is like being nowhere at all... Oopps. I reverted back to that John Denver song for just a second (See the post from 2/17). Actually, it was quite fun except for the fact that I didn't get to play cards much. I did get off to a good start in the first orbit and probably had twice the chips as I started with. Then I got to look at a lot of crappy starting hands and I got into a fair number of limped pots. Considering that I had BG and Falstaff on my immediate left, seeing any limped pots is a minor miracle.
Pretty much all of the hands from there on went south pretty quickly, so I sit and sit and wait for the tide to turn. I did donk off some chips to Twitch when I should have known that my two pair were beat. I know how he plays well enough that I could have avoided it, but frustration overtook me and I called him down. I later got KK, bet, got two callers and saw an ace flop. T bet and I'm gone. Kings cracked! I also had Nate dead to rights when he went all in with K2 to my KJ when a K hit on the flop. The 2 hits on the river and I get more chips (from the bank).
It wasn't all bad. I made a big comeback late in the Omaha hour (literally 2 hands before I had to leave) to finish the night up by 12 points. I'd have to say the patience was the only thing that kept me around that night.
- Either BG really had to go bad or his nose opened up again.
- Make a double batch (hair color)
- It's hard to tilt listening to Perry Como (yea, that was me)
- If T were going to get embarrassed, she would have left years ago.
- Rosalita (Come Out Tonight) (Springsteen)
Poker this week will be on Friday and I will just be returning home from Philly, so no poker for me this week. I'll miss the gang, but I could use a break.
One last note, I've been invited to become a contributor on a real web site - LasVegasVegas.com. I have no idea what form my posts will take and they will probably be few and far between. I'm honored and excited to be a part of the LVV team.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
When Dr. K came back from Vegas last week calling the Imperial Palace the "ip", I knew this post had to happen. Here it the totally unofficial list of shorthand names for Vegas casinos:
- IP or "ip" - Imperial Palace
- TI - Treasure Island, but even they call it the TI now
- The Castle - Excalibur
- P Ho - Planet Hollywood
- The Gem - MGM
- The Burnt Marshmallow - Monte Carlo (that one only lasted a couple of weeks)
- GVR - Green Valley Ranch
- That place where the waitresses have huge hooters - pretty much anywhere in Vegas except Caesars.
- The Rhino - no wait, that's not a casino
I guess that's it. Feel free to suggest more.