Sunday, February 26, 2006

Be Careful Who You Kiss

I’m back in Vegas this weekend. Every trip has its own identity. The identity varies with the purpose of the trip (business, pleasure), the lead time in planning the trip (emergency trip, vacation), and the other people involved (friends going with, staying with locals, going solo and making friends there). It feels to me like I have been picking from the above lists and coming up with a different trip every few weeks now.

The current trip is part business and part pleasure. It was planned quickly, but not an emergency by any means. I’m traveling solo on this trip and staying with some friends that live in Henderson. The accommodations are spartan, but when you are with a group that you genuinely enjoy, that really has no impact on the trip.

There is good news to report on the poker front. Several of our group decided to play the $200 buy-in tournament at Binion’s last night. That price is too steep for my bankroll when I have not played yet on this trip. The last trip, I did pay $260 for a tourney, but that was when I was up $200 for the trip. I decided to move up a level from my usual $2-4 donkey poker.

I played $4-8 limit. The table was neutral except for one asian fellow who raised preflop about 8 hands of every 10. The other 2 hands were split evenly between calling and folding. That made for a very expensive game and I though about moving, but decided to do what I could. I though about moving again after I came up 2nd best on the first hand with AQs and again with JJ on the second hand.

But I buckled-down my game and waited until more good cards came along. As it turned out, last night was a good night for sets. I must have seen half of my pocket pairs turn into sets. Not that they all won, but many of them did.

At one point I got up $200, but a few more 2nd best hands and one painful lay-down of the best hand in a 3 way pot saw my final winnings shrink to $106.

After poker our “party of 7” went to one of my favorite eateries in Vegas: The Upper Deck CafĂ© in the Las Vegas Club. The event of the night happened when a chemically impaired patron of the restaurant got in the face of the one we call Monster. He got so much in Monster’s face that their lips actually touched. I think that was as gross for me to see as it was for Monster to experience. Did I mention that Monster used to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championships?

Well, as their lips touch, Monster’s hands impact on this guy’s chest and he slams his back into the rail at the cashier’s station. In a few minutes the casino security shows up. There is talking and pointing and we were eventually seated. Needless to say, the kiss was a favorite topic of conversation for the rest of the night and morning.

Today will see more poker followed by a flight back to Charlotte. Be careful who you kiss.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

So the fonts look like she-ot?!?!

Here it how it looks on my screen:

I'm guessing that this is a FireFox issue. Any other ideas?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Is this the beginning of the end for online poker?

WASHINGTON - More than 100 lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bipartisan bill Thursday to outlaw the $12 billion Internet gambling industry.

"The explosive growth of the Internet has provided a means for gambling operations to evade existing anti-gambling laws," said Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat. "These Internet gambling Web sites typically operate offshore and often serve as a prime vehicle for money laundering and other criminal enterprises."

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican and chief sponsor of the bill, said Internet gambling has mushroomed into a $12 billion industry that also threatens minors.

The bill would update an existing ban against interstate gambling over telephone lines to also outlaw use of the Internet and related technology, Goodlatte said.

A total of 115 House lawmakers co-sponsored the bill.

The legislation would specifically prohibit a gambling business from accepting credit cards, checks, wire and Internet transfers in illegal gambling transactions. It also would set a maximum prison sentence of five years for violations.

Goodlatte and Boucher previously introduced similar legislation but the bill was defeated in 2000 due in part to efforts by Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who represented gambling interests, according to both lawmakers.

Abramoff pleaded guilty to fraud charges in early January and is cooperating with prosecutors in a corruption probe that could implicate lawmakers and officials across Washington.
No companion bill has yet been introduced in the Senate, a Goodlatte spokeswoman said.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Time to count blessings

It has been a rough couple of days, so it’s time to count blessings:

- My wife (always at the top of the list)
- My health
- Our dogs, Wrigley and Fenway, who love us no matter what.
- My family and my wife’s family. They are all so good to us that it really does seem like one family.
- Good jobs
- Our home
- Lack of financial worry. I’m not rich, but I’m doing OK.

Life can be a bitch sometimes and this week I’ve been beset by some people who don’t find the same things important in life (I just can’t be any kinder than that). In this case it has cost me a lot of money because I trusted them. That lesson is hard, but I don’t want to change. Selling that trust isn’t worth the money saved. I keep telling myself that, but being taken is still hard.

It is good to remember how blessed my life is. I wish the same or better for you dear reader.

Special K

Sunday, February 05, 2006

This week, I have the honor of being a guest writer on After my recent trip to Vegas I penned the "Top nine ways you know you spent too long in Vegas after returning to work." Flip Chip though enough of it to make it this week's nine's list at He and his son are wonderful and hard working guys. You should check their excellent site out if you have any interest at all in poker or Vegas.

A few other notes:
  • Everyone in my family agrees that my grandmother needs to go into assisted living except my grandmother. For the first time ever, I sat down with her and told her what she should do. That was hard. I just pray that some of it sinks in.
  • My uncle is very, very sick with cancer. He is facing a six or eight week routine of chemo and then surgery.
  • The award from my peers at work is great, but pales in importance to the two points above, but thanks anyway.

Rocky Mountain High

It's Sunday night and the end of another kick-ass week. This week really kicked my ass.

Don't get me wrong, it was great. I had a really good visit to a customer in Golden. This visit got me to Colorado ski country on the company's bill so that I could visit my Brother and his family in Boulder. It also gave me the unexpected treat of going skiing this year. I had blown off my usual ski vacation for the poker in Vegas this year. But shortly before leaving for Vegas, one of my managers contacted me about this customer visit.

Wouldn't you know it, I woke up with a developing cold the morning I was leaving for CO. I know where I got it from, and he is a regular reader of this blog, so I don't have to mention any names. It's OK though. I'd catch a cold in vegas again for all of the fun I had there.

The post-nasal drip and sore throat kept trying to get a foot-hold all week, but never really impeaded my plans. Wednesday and Thursday were spent with the customer. Friday was solo skiing at Copper Mountain. Skiing is fun, but skiing alone is the bottom rung or that ladder. It's just more fun with friends. Friday night I stayed at my brother's house and early Saturday morning (6:00 am to be exact), we (me, my brother and nephew) loaded into the van and headed for Breckenridge.

Breck is by far my favorite place to ski, and this year it is even better. 7" of new snow had fallen in the past day, and for a Saturday, the crowd was not awful. The sun was out so the terrain could be seen well. It wasn't too cold or too windy. It was some of the best conditions I've ever skied. When I say that it is even better now, I mean that put in a new lift this year at the very top of the mountain (peak 8 for those who know the place). This lift takes you up to over 13,800 feet. From there, you can ski for over 2.5 miles into town with out stopping. I tried, but had to take a break (OK, two breaks), but it was a blast. Here is a view from the top.

I caught an early flight home this morning. I got up at 4:15 to catch my 6:45 departure from DEN. I got the big bump up to first class giving me on of the most uncomfortable seats in any first class cabin, but I had enough room so I have no complaints.

This week I have a very boring destination, Wilkesboro, NC. I think after the last few weeks, boring is going to be enjoyable.