Thursday, June 30, 2005

Can't Read Between the Lines

I haven't been able to play live poker since our trip to Vegas in June. All I've had is the internet kind. This wouldn't be so bad if I was any good at it... I just don't seem to be able to get a read on any of the players. I usually have to go solely on my hand, which isn't always a good read.

A hand from the other night - I'm playing a NL $25 max buy-in table on FTP. (This may be the first part of my problem.) I get pocket Q's in the BB. Three people try to limp in for $.25, and I raise to $2. I'm guessing that I'm just going to get the $.85, but I haven't seen any cards in a while. The guy to my immediate left calls, rest drop. Flop comes 10 high, mostly crap. I bet $3, he calls. Turn comes, a two or something like that. I bet $3, he raises to $6. I call the min raise. River is a jack. No pairs on the board, no flush possibilities, remote possibility of a straight but highly unlikely. I bet $5, he pushes all in for another $15. What do you think this person has?

A pair of 3s. A lousy stinking pair of 3s. Luckily I called on this one. I know of many times where I've laid hands down and they gloat by showing crap. Another hand, I had a pair of 6s (one of which is a spade) but caught nothing to go with them. Board showing spades. There was a feeler bet or two on my part, but he didn't raise. On the river comes the fourth spade, he raises 4x my bet. I had to fold, right? I'd put him on two overcards, and almost any spade would kill me. No spade for him. I would've had a decent pot.

Am I just too tight/passive? Should I be making these calls more often and taking more risks? I thought I'd become more aggressive by playing online, but I just can't see making some of these calls. I've been burned several times by people slow-playing pocket As or Ks, or playing crap cards even after a 6-4x BB raise. Do I give some of these people too much credit for having what they're representing? I just hate losing several buy-ins because I have problems reading their online play.

Is the play any better at the higher limits? How high would I need to go? What type of bankroll do I need to weather the variance? Is it better that I just stay lower limits and try to work it out?

Questions, questions.... this is the part that frustrates me. Maybe I'm just not meant for online poker. Unfortunately, that's all I usually have access to. I guess I'll just have to start up a home game on Thursdays. That way, our home game can call the GreenVegas home game for dial-a-shots. :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

The Best and Worst News!

I just walked out of my manager's office in a daze. I called in sick yesterday - not because of the late nite chats and poker, but because my sinuses are killing me - and my manager asked if I would stop by his office. I thought it was something about my sick day. Nope. Something much, much better.

I've only been working heavily with HP-UX over the last 8 months. My manager's been really supportive when I've asked for education and the like. I've been to one class and was looking into another on performance tuning, but the classes usually cost almost $3K. When I stopped by, he told me that HP is currently waiving "tuition" at their next conference for individuals who are fairly new to HP products. Cool! I get the class I want (plus additional ones I didn't know if the company would pay for) for free and get to go to a conference. HP will even be allowing me to test for my certifications for free if I go. Score!

Here's the best and worst part of it. The conference is September 12-15. My birthday is the 14th. I get to celebrate at the conference. Normally this would be a downer, but the conference is being held in New Orleans, LA. Woo-hoo! I love New Orleans and can't believe my luck in getting sent there! I just want to know how I'm supposed to stay sober (and not hung over) enough to actually attend the sessions I need to attend and pass my certifications....

Monday, June 27, 2005

Weekend Hijinks

After this weekend, I have found out something new about myself: In Bloomsburg, PA, I am a GODDESS! *lol*

I'd gone back to Berwick to help BigMike do more cleaning at his Grandmother's house. (More on that later.) As my reward, BigMike took me (and his cousin and her friend) out to dinner in Bloomsburg. We had excellent food at a little Italian place called La Fontana located on one of the main streets. Afterward, we decide to go visit his cousin who recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl.

Now, this is where it started to go down hill. His cousin lives with her boyfriend in the outskirts of Bloomsburg. When we got there, another cousin and several friends of the couple were there. We'd had a bottle of raspberry stoli in the car, so we made stoli and sprite drinks and settled in. While relaxing outside with everyone on the porch, the proud father decided that the newcomers needed to do a shot to celebrate his daughter's birth. A 1958 bottle of Crown Royal gets broken out. I personally can't stand the stuff and tried to cry off. BigMike made this impossible. He started teasing me about being able to drink at Mardi Gras and the like but not being able to do a little shot. I'm sure there was much more, but it's a little cloudy now. If anyone has ever been the target of BigMike's teasing persuasion, you know that the only way to save face is to give in. I did the shot, then had to chug half my drink to get the taste out of my mouth!

So, while we're talking about shots, the host brings up that he has a bottle of Jagermeister. I get thinking... and ask what else he has. The bartender in me comes out, and soon we're all doing Jager-bombs and red-headed sluts (the shots, not the locals). Multiple shots each. (I've since learned from BigMike that women in Bloomsburg are the type just to be compliant and just go along with what the men want. Not me! He had two of the guys there ask him if I was single.) We start getting loud. The new Mommy had just put the baby to bed and was on her way to bed herself, so she didn't appreciate our boisterous mood. The command decision was made to move the fun to the bar!

I didn't pick the bar. Heck, I'd never been to Bloomsburg before that night. BigMike's young cousin (who's 23 years old) asked if we'd have a problem hanging out with a younger crowd. I just laughed and looked at BigMike. He just smiled, nodded, and said that we could outdrink the college kids. And we did.

We walked into this little dive bar in Bloomsburg. There's a few people in there, but it's by no means full. BigMike sidled up to the bar and ordered drinks - 8 or 9 - for the people with us, including a double shot of SoCo for himself and an Alabama Slammer for his cousin. The bartender came back with a total - $14. BigMike gave him a $20, and he started to bring back change. BigMike said that it's his tip, and his jaw hit the floor! We quickly became favorites with the staff.

I see a shuffleboard table and immediately head for it. We got a couple of teams together and start playing. I had an amazing night - 7 points with two pucks in the first round! My partner didn't play that well, but we still took two of the three games. I proceeded to be the social butterfly that I am and made many friends in the bar that night. I know I drank a lot because I could barely stand by the end of it.

BigMike later gave me a little background on the area where he grew up. He clued me in to why I got such a good response. Since the women there are so passive, anyone with any type of initiative or personality immediately stands out. It also doesn't help that they guys are like neanderthals that think they came grab a girl by the hair and drag her out, and that the women like that. I guess if I ever have self-confidence problems, I'm heading back up to Bloomsburg for a night out. I was their queen!

All in all, we got a lot of work done this weekend, but it's definitely left me wiped out. It will be an early night tonight, but I'm going to try to get a little bit of poker in before I crash. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 24, 2005

In the Genes?

There are people that think some individuals are "born bad", and no matter what their childhood is like, those individuals will always be the ones to get arrested, drink, take drugs and raise hell. Heck, I married a man that is nothing like the rest of his family when it comes to his lifestyle. (His family is very religious, and his sister married a minister. Yeah, that really is Al's family.) He was raised in the same home with the same upbringing as his sister, yet he is very different.

Is that destiny? Is that predisposition? Inherited? I believe that there is a gene somewhere that drives you to take risks and branch out from what is familiar in your upbringing. I think that there's a "gambling" gene tucked into one of those dna strands that we have. I know that I'm a risk taker, a thrill seeker. It compels me to ride outrageous roller coasters, drive vehicles over 100 miles an hour and (want to) jump out of perfectly good airplanes. It also draws me to poker and the thrill of the cards, the bluffing and taking down large pots. It's the adrenaline rush that you get from making a big play and coming out on top.

I found out from my Mom that many of my great-great-uncles were riverboat gamblers down south, and many of my relatives now still frequent the tables. I grew up in a family that always played cards. Is my love of poker due to the fact that I was always playing cards growing up, or did I inherit it from ancestors long ago?

Wherever it came from, the game of poker definitely gets in one's blood. It's more than a way to win a couple of bucks for me. I see it as a challenge, and something fun that will take some time to master. Actually, I may never master the game, but I will definitely keep trying...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hugs and Sympathy

Here are some virtual hugs going out to Iggy and his family on the loss of his niece and Jason (Spaceman) and his family/friends on the loss of fellow blogger Charlie. I wish I knew what to say to make the pain go away, but I've found that hugs are all I have to offer.

I always like to think about the times when the people we love were with us and what an impact they had on the world instead of what a sad place it is now that they're gone. I'm sure they're looking down on us right now, smiling. We are just lucky to have had them with us as long as we did.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Bad News and Good News

Bad news is that I didn't win the freeroll at the Boathouse last night. Good news is that Big Mike did! He played great and was catching cards. He was also a little drunk too, so I think it made him harder for people to read. The win paid for the bar tab, so I guess it was a win all around. *lol*

Twenty five people signed up, and we started out with T100, 1/2 blinds. Actually not a bad structure for a bar freeroll. I got pocket 9's on the first hand and got my butt kicked! I didn't have a chance to get a read on the other people yet, and I went up against pocket K's and A-little. I raised pre-flop and bet first after the flop of all low cards. On the turn, I fired out another bet and was raised by the pocket K's. I was able to drop the 9's, but I was down T50. An A came on the river, and the guy who shouldn't have been in there in the first place took it. He then proceeded to waste his new-found wealth by playing every hand and calling any bet. I wanted to get him in a hand so bad, but I wasn't seeing anything I could even play with.

That's pretty much how my whole night went. I saw very few playable cards, but I made the most of what I had. I went out in 8th place, and proceeded to deal for the rest of the tourney. I did the same thing for Al's last tournament, and I actually enjoy dealing.

Last night gave me a whole new respect for dealers. With players who have some idea of how to play, it's not bad. When you have a group of drunk idiots (like we were in Vegas on the first night), I'd be fired for making rude comments to the players. The guys playing all knew that I'd played plenty of times since was always on top of things and correcting the worst cases of bad etiquette. I just couldn't keep my mouth shut about some things. Then, when we have two all-ins with two additional callers, they're going to argue with me and tell me how to work it. Talk about frustrating...

The worst offender was a guy to my left who was extremely drunk (could barely stay on his chair) who didn't know that the min bet is the big blind and the min raise is the amount of the bet. I really don't think he liked me for correcting him those 7 or 8 times. Felicia has taught me well. *lol*

I'm sure I'll end up playing there again. We're there anyways... and if it results in the occasional reduced or free bar tab, it's just a bonus! They're moving the time of the tourney from 8 PM to 7 PM so more people will play. As more people start playing, they'll start increasing the amount paid for a win. It's also one of the few places that pay second and third place. It's only $25 each, but it's better than the others that don't even do that much.

I'm planning on a nice quiet night at home tonight. Let Al make (order) dinner, grab a book and curl up in bed. And if Al happens to be doing something else which leaves the computer free...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Jumping back on the HORSE

I finally got to play some poker last night. I logged onto Full Tilt Poker around 7:30 or so. I was only going to play for a couple of hours, so I figured I'd try a little no limit, then on to razz or stud.

I found a pretty soft $25 NL table, and doubled my buy-in in about 45 minutes. I was able to get pocket K's to hold up and drew to a flush that got my opponent all-in. I still don't know if I'm concentrating enough on "tells" for online players. I did make mental notes about who played more hands and who would fold on a decent bet though, so at least I was making progress there. I must have gotten some of the ADHD genes that run in my family because I tend to find myself watching tv while playing instead of concentrating fully on the game.

I moved on to razz. I usually play an hour of razz, then switch to stud (or vice versa) but the stud tables were full. I only play the $.25/$.50 right now, so I'm usually very limited in choice. I saw Spaceman on the table - well actually, he saw me. *lol* I'd played on tables with him before, but sometimes it's hard to tell if you know the person. In my case, Al made sure that there was no question who I was. We had some good conversation and good cards. We went heads up in a couple of hands, but mostly we preyed of the other players at the table.

(I wanted to ask about Charlie, but I didn't want to bring up a sensitive subject. I'm still rooting for ya Charlie!)

After 2.5 hours (and a movie - Girl Next Door), I was up $35 and I decided it's time for bed. Tonight, we have the Boathouse's freeroll.

I'll talk more about this tomorrow, but... can you believe that the place where Al has had at least a dozen tournaments and brought in hundreds of people would go out and hire someone else instead of Al to run their freerolls? Yeah, don't get me started...

Wish me luck! I will hopefully have something good to report tomorrow.

Awesome WSOP coverage

Those of us who are stuck working for a living no longer have to wait until August or September to get our fix of this year's World Series of Poker. Through the blood, sweat and tears of some great people, you can get real-time updates or articles on the tournaments and see photographs of some of the best poker professionals playing in this year's WSOP. There's even podcasts so you can listen while at work.

Pauly at the Tao of Poker has actually moved out to Vegas for this year's World Series of Poker and gives his color commentary along with all the info you need to keep current on your favorite players. He's one of my favorite writers, and you can't help but go back to his site again and again. Poker Prof at LasVegasVegas has great articles on the players and photos that you can't get anywhere else. Lord Admiral Radio brings you interviews with the pros and others covering the WSOP. It's the best coverage you'll get anywhere!

Make sure you check them out - today and every day - for your WSOP info!

“World Series of Poker Live blog”

“World Series of Poker”

“World Series of Poker News”

“World Series of Poker Podcast”

Monday, June 20, 2005

What a weekend!

I've been a little delayed in the writing department lately. Poker department, too. Obligations with family and friends have taken all of my time lately. Because of these, I spent some time in the lesser known areas of PA this weekend. I grew up in a redneck town in New York... all I can say is: WOW. At least in NY we didn't have liquor stores that were also gun shops. (Stay out of that place on a Saturday night!) We'd gone to Berwick, the town of BigMike's origin, on Friday for a funeral so of course we didn't bring a camera. I guess I'll have to make sure I always have it around in the future.

Berwick was an experience. I'd only been there once before, during the winter. Now that the weather was nice, I got to experience a whole new side. I knew things were going to be interesting as soon as we parked across the street from our destination. There were two women on their front porch who actually got out of their seats and leaned over the railing to stare at us as we got out. These women had 5 teeth between the two of them and were gawking at the fancy car (my 2 yr old pathfinder). Ok, not quite THAT bad... it was Al they were staring at, not the car. The rest is true. *LOL*

While keeping Mike sane in the land of mouth-breathers, we went to a place called Bandit's Roadhouse. I wished I had Scott's cowboy hat that night... something else I didn't think to bring. We went for food and beer - food was good and beer was cheap. The crowd was where it got funny. I saw hairstyles in that place that went out 15 years ago. Mullets and 80's tease-jobs that never went out of style here. I managed to behave myself, even when one of the other girls dared me to try to get a second cowboy hat for my budding collection. I coerced a drunken Al to play some pool with me instead. We beat the reigning table champions and held our title until closing.

After 2 nights of sleeping on a rock-hard bed and drinking all day (we drank to stay sane), we get up and head to Lancaster to meet Al's family for Father's Day. We drove back routes from Berwick to Lancaster. I wish I could remember all of the crazy stuff we saw on the drive, but there was too much and I was too beat up. Maybe Al will remember and write it up.

Al's family is staying in a campground next to a kid's amusement park called Dutch Wonderland for the next couple of days so the kids can go to the park. Our niece and nephew are great kids, but they have tons of energy and I didn't have any at that point. We had a nice dinner and a couple of hours around a campfire with the family. We drove an hour home and I crashed.

I plan on going home tonight and playing a couple hours of solid poker. I also hope to have a decent post for tomorrow. I just need a little sleep and a little poker to make the world right again. Maybe a vacation day, to recover from my "time off"...

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Now who's the idiot?

I was taking a look at a couple of comments on my last poker post. Something Hank wrote got me to thinking...

Yes, I'm female. Yes, I'm blonde. Do people make blonde jokes around/about me? Yeah, sometimes. With this stereotype around, I'd be an idiot not to realize what an advantage I have! Having people think I'm dumb at work is a bad thing, and I've built a great reputation here over the years by proving I'm very intelligent. Having people think I'm dumb at the poker tables gives me the ultimate advantage!

I'm a very happy-go-lucky person in general. Anyone who's met me in person knows that I will find any excuse to laugh and enjoy myself. At the poker tables, this is a huge distraction to anyone around me, especially guys. Under the right circumstances, I can enchant the entire table. It's not as hard as you'd think to play hold'em and play the part of the social butterfly.

Add to that the long blonde hair. Those men who think I'm bubbly and fun now also think I'm dumber than a box of rocks. I would never try to dissuade them from those notions either. [In a sing-song voice] "Oh my. I don't think I can beat your two pair. I don't have any pairs, but all 5 of my cards have these pretty hearts on them."

Al has been there for some of my best performances. My favorite was at the Borgata in Atlantic City, where I was seated at the end of an all-male $300 max NL table. I started out kinda serious, but I wasn't catching any cards. Instead of trying to force hands with bad cards, I began chatting with the guys around me to pass the time. I found out that the guy to my left had been gambling and drinking all night, and he was still boozing it up when I sat down around noon. He'd had some big swings in gambling wins and losses, but he'd come back from an $8,000 roulette loss and was feeling pretty good. It also seems that he didn't see the wedding ring on my left hand, either. The guys to my right were more sober, but just as clueless as the drunk guy. I'll skip the sordid details, but I walked away +$1200 after only 4 or 5 hours. I'd take that table again any day!

No, this tactic won't work at every table. Some people are just immune to my personality. Good poker players usually aren't distracted by me, but they're not the ones I'm targeting. My targets are the fishies on the live tables that are just looking to be cool and emulate what they see on TV. If they're dumb enough to believe that they can watch a couple of shows, play a couple of home games and win tons of money at the casinos, they're my type of idiot.

Many thanks!

I just wanted to say a quick thanks to all the people who have left praise and encouragement in the comments. I've loved reading many of you over the last year or so, and I wanted to be just like you...

I'd always known that it wasn't easy to start a blog, especially until your blog developed it's own style and "personality". I was still flabbergasted by the amount of time and thought even the smallest post requires. What do I write about today? Did I already write about that? Do I really sound that stupid in real life?

I have a whole new respect for those who have these great blogs out there. I loved meeting all of you in Vegas and other trips around the country. I'm proud to be accepted by the blogging community! I hope I don't let anyone down.

Now back to your regularly scheduled program...

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Limiting No Limit

When I put my inital deposit onto Full Tilt Poker, I wanted to clear my bonus as quickly as I could so I wouldn't lose it. It wasn't the first time I'd played on FTP because Al had been nice enough to transfer a couple of bucks to let me give it a try. I lost his money, so I figured the only way I should keep playing is if I did it on my own bankroll. I was going to try make some money at online poker.

So, there I was, depositing my measley little $100 into my FTP account. I tried to figure out what would clear my bonus the quickest. I knew I didn't have the money for the big games. I decided on the $25 NL hold'em. With .10/.25 blinds, I could afford to wait for the best hands to play. I was doing pretty good after the first session - I cleared a couple of dollars for the bonus, and I was up about $10 or so.

After a couple of sessions, I get the great idea that if I can do that on one table, imagine what I can do on two tables! I start two-tabling. Clearing the bonus twice as quick, still playing tight and making a decent amount on my play. I go another few sessions like this. I think, I'm getting better at this online poker thing.

Again, my logical mind starts thinking... if two tables are better than one, imagine how great three tables would be! I finished clearing the bonus quickly and doubled up my buy-in. I can play hands on multiple tables and be up on every table I play. I'm an awesome online poker player! Woo-hoo!

Then all hell breaks loose... I can't win a hand to save my life. I have second best hand every time, or I get sucked out on. Not just on one table - I'm losing no matter where I play. It was like everyone could see what the cards were going to be except for me. I suck... why did I ever start playing this game in the first place?!?

I got my official welcome to the world of online poker and compounded variance. On a good day, you're up on all three tables or at least the gains of one table makes up for the losses on another. When you're having a bad day on all of the tables? Watch out bankroll! Plus, how much is this really helping my game? I got too caught up in the thrill of winning to see that I wasn't getting any better.

For the time being, I'm going back to playing one table at a time. I'm also taking Felicia's advice and playing more stud and razz. (Thanks for that advice - they're the only games I'm making money at these days!) I need to concentrate more on my opponents in the online games I'm playing, which I never really did before because I figured I couldn't see their "tells" anyways. I also need to keep mixing up my games to keep things fresh. Can't let myself get into a routine where I'm just reacting instead of thinking about how I should be playing.

Time to take the game up a level. Time to focus on poker and grind it out instead of taking the easy way out. Damn, I liked the big wins too.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Office Zen

While it may surprise some people to learn that I make a living working on Unix servers, I don't think the look of my office would. It looks more like a college kid's dorm room than an office. Plants, pictures, mini-fridge, fishtank and all. Yes, I know that some of these things are against corporate policy, but some rules are meant to be ignored. (Kind of like the dress code... hehehe)

I spend more time at work than at home most days, so why wouldn't I make my office a comfortable place? Most people aren't very happy in their jobs. I know I'd be much happier hanging out at home or away on a trip to some far away place. That's just not an option yet. I keep increasing the amount of Al's life insurance, but I don't know if I can feed him any more fried foods and alcohol without attracting attention. So, since I figure that I'm stuck in my office for a while longer, I'm going to enjoy it.

I got new fish for my tank today. I'm so excited about the new fish... I'd had a disease go through the tank when I introduced a plecostomus to clean algae a month or so ago. It's been empty of all fish except the pleco for the last couple of weeks. After a good tank cleaning and another round of water testing, I was finally ready to get my new fishies! I was looking at some glass catfish and some other kind of black-finned silver shark (can't remember the exact name), but ended up with another pretty little quartet of guppies.

I have a strange habit of naming my fish, too. My favorite was a guppy I'd named "Dopey". He was the heartiest fish I'd ever seen. I figured he'd be living with the cockroaches if there was ever a nuclear war. The little guy had been in the first batch I bought 7 months ago, when I initally set up the tank. The first heater I put into the tank had a little problem with its thermostat, so it never shut off. The temperature was close to 100 degrees when I came in the next day (the usual temp is between 70-78 degrees). It cooked all but Dopey. I thought he was brain dead (hence Dopey) and would keel over any day. He just hung in there. After a few days of living on the bottom and the addition of some new fish, he perked up and quickly became the leader of his new buddies. He survived the disease that killed the rest of the fish. I think it was boredom that killed him.

Hence all of the fun stuff in my office. Otherwise, I'd be just like Dopey... dead of boredom at work.

Any ideas for names?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Too long? Is that a problem?

I get ragged on by the husband for playing too long at the tables. Whether it's online or live games, I hate to lose. (Doesn't everyone?) I find that if I sit there long enough and wait for the cards, I can almost always make it back and usually make a profit. Is this wrong?

Al keeps telling me that I should limit myself to 4 hour sessions online and 6-8 hours in live games. If I'm winning, I'll stay until the luck swings downward and I start losing. Easy enough to quit when you're up. When I'm down, I can sit for hours on end until I make it up. It took several hours of my time at the Plaza when I could've been hanging out with the bloggers, but I went from -$250 to +$200. It took 12 hours, but I came back.

Is this a sign of obsession? Do I need to limit myself to a time frame, or should I keep on doing what I'm doing? I know that poker isn't always about the money you make, it's about playing well. I think I'm doing that when I come back. I pride myself on getting better and doing what I do well. I'm in the middle of reading some of the books by the pros and I try to play the best game that I can. It doesn't interfere with the rest of my life, except for the fact that sometimes I'd rather play cards than go to the bar. It's one vice in exchange for another.

I'd like to hear the opinion of others on this subject. Is my husband right (God forbid) or should I keep doing what seems to work for me?

Friday, June 10, 2005

No longer unknown...

It seems that I've been found out! I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to write in a forum like this since my day-to-day writing is primarily technical, but I figured I'd give it a shot. Hiding in the nebulus of the internet.

I guess you can't hide anything for long out here... but, as long as those Mardi Gras pictures stay hidden, I'm happy. *lol*

Well, welcome to anyone who wants to read! It's no "AlCantHang" writing, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Vegas Aftermath

I'm still trying to recover from the trip to Vegas this past weekend. I met a lot of great people and had a wonderful time. Those trips are always too short, and the three hour time difference wreaks havoc on my system when I get back. (When did I get old? I used to be able to work a night shift for 5 days straight and be fine the next day. Now I can't make a three hour time change without hurting for days...)

My highlights from the Vegas trip:

The trip started out a little rough, with our plane being delayed by several hours. We missed a great sushi dinner with the bloggers, but we were able to meet up with them at the MGM poker room later. I was convinced by Felicia to try some games I'd never played before (Razz and Stud/Stud8) and really enjoyed learning. After that, we all headed back to the Plaza for some no-limit hold'em. I finished down only $12 for the night, so I consider that a good night. I was a little fish in a big pond...

Fast forward to Saturday - the Aladdin tournament. I wasn't getting any cards and I was afraid of finishing low. I should probably feel bad for cracking pocket As twice, but I don't. *lol* Once, they were slow-played when I was in the BB and it was folded around to the SB. He was trying to make a little chips off of them, and I was on a high flush draw after the flop. When third heart came on the turn, Helixx had to lay them down. Later, with Felicia seated on my right, I finally saw a hand I could play - KTs. Went all in, which wasn't even the amount Derek bet. Flushed again. I'm sure they were both cursing me, but I felt I didn't have much of a choice at that point. Finished up in 16th out of 71. Not in the money, but a very respectable finish.

Afterward, we headed for dinner/drinks at LaSalsa. I just have to say that the female bloggers/wives are the coolest people! If they only lived closer... They are a group of women that I could hang with on a regular basis, which is something for me since I don't have many female friends. We drank many margaritas and planned our evening out. I have yet to see it, but I know there's a picture of Rachel, Heather and I singing karaoke. I think Bill Rini has it... I need to get a copy!

That night, Heather, Michele and I decided on Coyote Ugly first. I'd been to the one in Philly and always had fun, but Michele wasn't so sure that this one would be from her first experience there. We got in and grabbed drinks. The place was a bunch of zombies. Since we weren't afraid to dance and have fun, we soon became the favorites of the girls working the bar. They called us up to dance at least half a dozen times. After we tired of it, we got other women to go up and dance on the bar. We found benefactors that supplied us with drinks for the rest of the night, and we were golden. Several hours of dancing later, it was time to call it a night.

I'll admit that I was the reason that we didn't go to another bar. While in the thick of things, I didn't even feel the alcohol. Once we stepped out of the bar, it hit me like a ton of bricks! Heather and I walked Michele to her room, then Heather dropped me off at the Plaza.

Sunday was an all-day poker session for me. I know I should've gotten up sooner, but I had a streak of bad luck initially (-$260) and I was determined to make it back. 12 hours later, I was +$200. I just regret not spending that time with the others.

Monday we checked out of the room and spent some time in the sports book. I attempted to learn to read the racing sheets but failed miserably. We headed to Ceaser's sports book to wait for dinner. I bypassed the racing sheets and decided to pick a horse the only way I know how - find the prettiest horse and bet on it. After placing my $5 bet, I find out that the horse is a 20-1 longshot. Great. Turns out that the horse was having a good day and he won, making my $5 bet pay out $101. Yay for me! You'd have thought that I'd just won several thousand dollars for all of the noise I made. Enough betting for me. Dinner time.

We met up with Poker Prof and picked out a restaurant. We decided on BOA, a place that nobody in our party had been to before. It was a great choice. We were served by Victor, one of the most amazing people. He talked wines with BG, made great suggestions, and made sure we had a great time. Even when two people showed up late, he made sure their food came out with ours only a few minutes after they ordered. After he arranged dessert on the terrace with a beautiful view, he informed us that he had arranged some evening entertainment for us - VIP access to the House of Blues' Foundation Room at the top of Mandalay Bay. I tried to get Al to wait a while to go to the airport so we could be bumped, but he wasn't into the idea.

After a delayed redeye flight and an hour drive home, we crashed. Hard. It's been 2 days since we got back. I'm still having a hard time, and I think it's just because I'd rather be back in Vegas. Having a great trip like that makes it harder to come back to the grind.

There were a few things that I didn't get to do - play craps with the guys, play slots with Grubby and Iggy, and hanging out with some of the other wives. I'm sure there are a million more things, too. Next time...

The best part of the trip was definitely the people - all those that I'd met before and those I just met this weekend. Al and I don't feel the need to do everything together, so I got to do the things I wanted to do and vice versa. It's a realization we came to a long time ago - we would probably kill each other if we spent that much time together. We work for the same company and ride to work together every day. Add home time and other social activities, and it's good for us to do things separately.

Now, I just can't wait until the next trip! We'll be seeing Bob and a few others out in Atlantic City in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, we'll continue to see people before our next big trip to Vegas.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Starting a new hobby....

I've finally broken down and done it. I'm one of the "cool kids" now. I've started a blog. (Thanks for the encouragement Pauly and Al!)

So here I go... First things first - an intro!

Being married to a very dynamic individual (and being one myself) can be quite a strain on a marriage and life in general. Throw poker into the mix, and you have my blog. I'd like to share my thoughts on how these things work/don't work in my life. I've been a "poker wife" for a few years now... maybe I can help a new poker wife come to terms by sharing what I've learned.

...and maybe I can amuse a few people in the process. And so it begins...