Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Impressions of Vegas – Oct 2009

Unlike last year, I’ve not made many trips to Vegas in 2009.  My business travel destinations have just not been to the west coast.  There was a trip to Vegas back in May with Falstaff in which I lost a chunk of bankroll.  Otherwise, I’ve had to satisfy myself with the home game action that I can find and an occasional casino game when the business or vacation road takes me to a good location.

But last week, Brian the Red was going to a professional conference in Vegas, so I thought that as good a reason as any to book my own trip.  I also convinced the Pirate Monkey to join us (or so he blamed me).

I’ve already posted my monetary results from $1-2 NLHE.  I/we did a few other things and I left with some interesting impressions.

One of the biggest impressions was City Center.  Wow!  That thing has come a long way since May.  The buildings look mostly finished.  There is still a lot to do at ground level, but it seem impossible that they have come so far so fast.  It was just a hole in the ground back in March of 2007 when my group at work had a conference at Bellagio and my room overlooked the site.  Now it is a small city with 8 or 10 tall towers.  Some signage is up.  The chrome-looking retail center that runs up and over the sidewalk on the strip looks cool from a distance, but when you get up next to it the scale of the thing is overwhelming.  The whole project took 62 acres and 8 billion dollars.  What boggles my mind even more is the effect that this will have on the rest of Las Vegas as it starts to come on-line in December.  They are already giving away rooms.  What they will be able to do with all of this inventory is anyone’s guess.  I’ll bet there are some really scared people in Vegas about now.

The Pirate Monkey had an excellent run in the Venetian daily tournament.  He took 10th out of about 180 runners for a nice 3 or 4x score.  He would have run much deeper except for a bad suck out.  I don’t remember the details, and since he sucked out on me in fantasy football last night, I don’t really care.  To be fair, from what I saw of his play, he did an excellent job and deserved a better finish.

The Bellagio is back to spreading $1-2 NLHE.  They were spreading $1-3, like Caesar's, but I guess they didn’t get the numbers that way.  I didn’t check the drop, but I’m guessing they will still drop $5 on big pots.  The Venetian is still be best room for my play.

The Venetian has their new player tracking system up and running.  They were about to turn in on the last day of my trip in May.  Players no longer get credit for time away from the tables, but we no longer loose time when we forget to log out.  I guess that is a wash.

Did I say they were giving away rooms in Vegas.  I stayed at the Hooter’s Hotel and Casino for $55.  That is not per night.  That was for three nights.  Many hands of poker that I played were worth more.  Hooters always gets a giggle when I mention it, but it was a nice hotel and the room was just fine.  I’d do it again.

I did get on the elevator with a john and hooker on my final night there.  He was a little balding white guy with kakis, sport shirt and a wind breaker.  She was a 6 foot tall slender black woman with huge boobs in a day-glow yellow stretch halter top and skin tight jeans.  Obviously, it was only my prodigious sense of observation that allowed me to size up this situation.  Once the elevator arrived it was just the three of us.  No one stood near anyone else.  No one spoke.  No one even glanced at each other.  Except for me, that is.  I lit up.  “Hey, how are we doing tonight?  Having any luck?  Man, I sure have.  Let me tell you…”  I thought the guy was going to open the door in for floor of the elevator and jump.  The hooker didn’t flinch.  She must have been a professional in every sense of the word.  Floor number 4 was never so far away, but it arrived and they scampered.  I laughed until my sides hurt.  I love Vegas.

The town was mostly dead compared to a year ago.  I like it in the short run.  It is easier to walk on the sidewalks, the wait for service is no so long, and the deals are great. But I also know that it is not good for Vegas or poker in the long run.  Eventually (read “when city center forces the weak properties to take drastic action”), deals will go away along with poker rooms and other things that I now enjoy, and that will be more than just sad.  It’s probably coming.  I’ll just have to go back in December to enjoy it before it changes again.  My flight is already booked.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Quick Vegas Results

I spent three days in Vegas this week.  I have many impressions that need more time and space than I have right now.  Instead, I’ll just post my results graph.  I tried to record my chip stack every time I got the button.  That allows me to estimate how many hand I play and how I’m doing during the trip.  Here is the result from this trip:


The blue line is my chip stack at that time.  The red line is total win/loss.  Each tick mark along the x axis is a button.  I estimate that I played about 540 hands in a little over 20 hours of play.  My late rally brought me back close to even from the trip.  I actually lost $6.  I saw AA 4 times, KK 3 times, QQ 5 times and JJ 2 times.  On average, I should have seen each 2.5 times each.  Though that could be considered catching good cards, I did not win one substantial hand with any of these 14 hands.  I lost much more with them than I won.

More Vegas impressions to come.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Last Night’s Poker Report

We had a gathering of poker heads at the warehouse last night.  Me, Jim the Knife, T, Lou D., B Razz, the Brown Recluse, and later Falstaff joined in the festivities.  I’ll just say right off the top that it was my best night in a local poker game.  I started off hitting my cards and pretty much ended the night the same way.  Since I' knew a trip to Vegas was starting early in the morning, I called it quits at midnight with 414 more than I came with.

Our table discussion had a good run and many laughs with quotes from Monte Python and the Holy Grail.  The Life of Brian also came up.  I’ve run into several conversations where people found LoB just as funny as HG.  I don’t see it, but that opinion was voiced again last night.  Maybe I’ll have to go back and watch it again.  I’ve only watched it once sober and that was on commercial TV.

Several fun jokes were made about the balloon-boy saga that hit the news this past week.  For example, I heard something in the 911 call that I would never want a parent to hear, “Does your son know how to operate the flying saucer?”  We also put the odds on Pres. Obama winning the best actor oscar at 2:1.  Also heard - “You only have $10?  You’d be better off buying my book and going home now.”

I’m sitting in Pheonix’s Sky Harbor Airport as I write this.  We board for Vegas in about 10 minutes.  Here’s hoping that the roll will continue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poker this weekend

I traveled to G-Vegas for some good poker action and camaraderie.  At least I got some camaraderie.  I would say that my play was bad, my cards were bad, and my mind just would not stay on any one track.  I felt fine, I just wasn’t quick mentally.  Even so, I left with a profit, so it could have been worse.

Some quick examples:

8:10 flopped boat holding A4 and AA4 on board.  I slowplay.   4 on river allows the other player holding an A to catch up. chop pot.

9:25 next had won

9:55  double through G-Rob - my AJs v. AQ.  We get all-in preflop. Two jacks hit the board for me to luck out and chip up.

11:00 I get KK when I’m first to act.  My raise is too big and I win 7 in a walk.  Dumb.

We went to O8/Hold’em rounds after 11 and I took a couple decent hands O8 hands to get out of the hole and make my small profit.

The funniest story was about someone not at the game.  This single father sent a sexually blatant text meant for his girlfriend to his 8 year old daughter of the same first name.  Ouch.  It would be funnier if I were to post what was actually written, but it was a bit over the top so I won’t.

I got caught up with Otis and his crazy travel schedule.  I hope I have him and another buddy schedule for our upcoming podcast.  That should be a hoot.

A profitable night of poker is like any plane landing that you walk away from.  Hopefully, Vegas will be even better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Little League Football

I took this picture this past weekend.  “Hennessey” is my nephew.  Beyond that, this picture caught my eye because of the actions of all the boys in the shot.  In some areas it is easy to see what is going on.  In others it’s hard to imagine what the boys are doing.  Come to think of it, that’s just how it looks live.


Monday, October 12, 2009


Another friend just passed the 4 year mark on her blog.  Like her, I don’t pay a lot of attention to that sort of thing.  But she got me thinking about my blog and where I am in age and posts.

Well, I started this blog on December 2, 2004.  Before that I had a website (www.curtisk.com) since about 1999 and had figured out in 2002 how to post to that site from the road, in effect creating a blog before the term was probably even coined.  I’m pretty sure that all of those pages have been lost over time.

Back to this blog.  Since 2004, I’ve posted to this space 409 times (410 when I publish this).  I posted 116 times back in 2005 and peaked again in 2008 at 115 posts.  So far this year I’ve been really lazy and have only posted 49 times.  Having the ability to make quick posts to Facebook have cut my posting quite a bit, but laziness is a big part, too.

I’ve still got a few weeks left and I can do better.  My life in not boring, so I do have stuff to write.  And I understand that it’s mostly interesting to me, but if I hit something you find interesting or funny 1 out of 10 times, then it’s probably worth your time.  At the very least, I get to come back in a year or two and remember a lot of details that I’ve forgotten.

So I’m going to energize this blog.  I’m headed to Vegas next week and again in December.  That is always blog-worthy. I’m scheduled to go to Brazil in November.  I won’t be touring much in Brazil, but I’m sure I’ll find something to write/post.  I’m starting a podcast with a friend, so there should be a stream of post coming from that.  All-in-all, I have plenty to share without falling back on politics or passing on others’ posts.

My goal is to get to 100 posts by the end of the year. Since today is day 285 of 2009, I have 80 days left to post 50 times.  Heck, I should be able to go around the world in that time.  50 posts sounds easy.  We’ll see.

Friday, October 09, 2009


Here’s a fun picture for my poker friends who follow the behind-the-scenes of the poker world.


Maybe this is Capt. Tom’s truck.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


With the running of a short triathlon, I checked off a bucket list item on Sunday.  Folks who have been around us in the past 6 months know that my wife has really enjoyed working out and getting physically fit. She has a trainer that she likes and a determination that I really envy.  It all started with her 24 hours of booty ride to raise money for brain cancer research but has now taken on a life of its own.

About a month ago she hit me with a challenge for us to run a ‘tri’.  I told her that I would like that, too.  I had no idea at the time that she meant “Let’s run a triathlon SOON.” 

My travels have made it easy for me to not workout like I should.  I didn’t run at all in Iraq during August for obvious reasons.  Since my return, my travel schedule has been no less crazy though I have done somewhat better in recent weeks.  For instance, I’ve rented a locker at the local YMCA.  I have really enjoyed swimming laps before work.  Even with that, I knew I wasn’t where I wanted to be for a triathlon.  I started referring to it as a try-athlon.  Oh how accurate that was.

We signed up for the Take Flight Triathlon that took place in Huntersville this past Sunday.  The event consisted of a 250 meter swim, 10 mile bike ride, and a 3.1 mile run; short for a tri.

Things didn’t start all that great for me.  As I arrived at my bike storage location I dropped the pop tart I was having for breakfast from my pocket.  Just having a pop tart at a triathlon is like interviewing Bill Gates and taking notes on a Mac.  I would have gotten fewer funny looks had a dropped a dime bag or “Bring Back Bush” bumper sticker.  We checked in and got marked with our numbers (magic marker on skin) around 6:30 am and then had to hang around for over 2 hours until our start times.  I took a nap in the truck.

Dr. K started the race about 7 minutes in front of me.  She insisted that I enter a higher 100 yard swim time and it was this time that was used to set starting positions.  The swim section was in a pool.  We were to swim up one lane, turn and push off and under the lane ropes back to the other end.  The pool had 10 lanes, so the whole course was 250 meters.  It was good that I got to watch her swim as she is a really good swimmer.

Almost before I knew what was happening it was my turn.  3..2..1..GO and I’m swimming.  All I hear now is the rush of water by my ears.  I’ve got a long way to go so I’m concentrating on my stroke keeping it long and consistent.  There were times when I felt like I wasn’t moving in the water at all.  I glanced up at one point and counted 2 more laps than what I thought remained.  Curses!  I did manage to do crawl the whole way.  I passed 3 people and didn’t get passed so I felt pretty good at this point.

Then I had to run wet and mostly naked outside and around the building to the transition area where the bikes are kept.  It was now about 9:15 on an October morning.  My blood was pumping pretty good but it was still a bit chilly.  I find my bike and stuff, get dry, put on shirt, socks, bike shoes, helmet and I’m off on stage 2.

After fumbling with my pedals for the first 200 yards I get the bike moving.  I’ve got the wind in my face and no sound but the tires on the pavement, oh yea, and my breath that is really not in the sprit of the moment.  The breath getting a bit short and there is too far left to go.  I saw a young woman wipe out on her bike going up one very steep hill (there were no non-steep hills).  She said that she was OK which is good because I don’t have to feel bad about not stopping.  I wasn’t stopping in any case, I just didn’t need to carry guilt, too.

As I mentioned, the hills were rough and I had to coast a few down hills to keep moving and I wished that my bike had one lower gear than it has, but I didn’t stop and after what seemed like an hour I got back to the starting area.  Now it’s off the bike, off with the shoes and the helmet and on with the running shoes and number.  My legs are mush and my lungs are struggling,  but it’s time for a 5k so up and off with me.

Here is where it really gets bad.  I start to cramp in my calves and my stomach felt like it is about to reject the pop tart I had for breakfast.  It was about this time I hear another runner yell “Number 447, you suck!”  Wouldn’t you know it was my lovely bride who had already looped around the halfway point and was headed to the finish. 

Then is gets worse.  I gotta go.  I tell my body to forget it, but it insists.  I gotta go #2 and soon.  I’m looking around for a porta john, abandoned lot, phone booth, anything, but there is nothing.  So I do what I’ve got to do.  I find a resident and plead for a toilet.  I really didn’t have to plead.  Just the fact that I stopped running to ask let her know that the situation was dire.  She may have rightly decided that it was either going to be her bushes or her toilet so she led me into her house.

Once the pressure and about 5 pounds was released I was back on the course and doing much better.  I was able to run the final 2 miles to post a not awful time.  Final results for the event with splits is available here: http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=1546.  You’ll find me down in 300th place in the men division.  Dr. K’s times were better than mine in every phase of the event to beat me by 3 minutes and 148th place among the women. As usual, I’m very proud of her.

As difficult as it was, I look forward to going back next year.  I’ll be sure to do a little more than 1 months training next time so I can shave a little bit of my time.  I’ll be sure to go before the race, too.  At the very least, that item is done.  Triathlon: Check.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Truckin’ has a new author - Me

Go read my story.  I’ve been told by several kind friends and family members that it is the funniest thing they’ve ever read.  I hope you enjoy it.

In fact, go read all of the stories in this month’s edition.  Paul (Dr. Pauly) is a great writer and editor.



October 2009, Vol. 8, Issue 10

1. The Booth by Paul McGuire
A fidgety Larry had nowhere to blend in as only person sitting in a booth along the wall. The cops had to pass him on their way out and they'd know that he was fucked up. How could they not know... More
2. The Demon of Oscar Braathen's Tavern by Sigge S. Amdal
The baby wants attention and makes a horrible shrieking sound, making the hairs on my back stand up. That's exactly what you'd expect from a demon hovering above a deserted town. It's just doing what demons are supposed to be doing. But it freaks me out nevertheless... More
3. Just Lunch by Betty Underground
We're not strangers, though perhaps we should be; the span between the time when knew each other before and now, is vast. Back then, we didn't even know ourselves, and what we knew about each other was drawn with immature minds. When we first reconnected I'm sure we imagined what we thought the other had become... More
4. Danger Box by Curtis Krumel
In Mexico they have Montezuma's Revenge. In Iraq, the bane of the visitor is Saddam's Revenge. The source of the condition, like that of the Nile, is shrouded in mystery, but the effects are unmistakable.... More
5. Two Memories by Johnny Hughes
I was called in the middle of the night, when I was higher than a hawk's nest, and drunker than Cooter Brown. Joe explained the deal, and he and I both knew Jesse had a handful of warrants out, and unresolved entanglements with Texas laws... More