Friday, March 31, 2006

April Fool's Day "Be Your Favorite Blogger" Submission. Seven Hours Early Because I'm Going to Morongo Tonight. Bitches.

There are things about which I am serious and things about which I am blase and, without a doubt, soap scum--and the eradication thereof--falls in the former camp. Even the slightest hint of that filmy plague can send me into a furious pique of dervishry, and if you've ever had one of those, you know it can be both frightening and hallucination-inducing. It was in such a mind that I donned my rubber gloves (a light blue to match my fabulous eyes) and my cleaning product of choice, which is so downright lemony that its mere presence makes me feel like I'm being propelled down a citrus waterslide.

So I'm scrubbing away with the elbow and grease both working in maximum and syncopated overdrive, the poor little 49-cent sponge disintegrating under the pressure--like the occasional Space Shuttle--when I let my concentration slip. It was only the briefest of moments, but the scars will last at least until I win the $17K again.

What happened was this: I had buffed the porcelain of our bathtub to a shocking whiteness. The sun that FINALLY peeked through the clouds was intense in its glare and with laser-like precision, bounced a ray right off that shimmering sea of cleanliness into my eyes. Momentarily blinded, I threw up my sponge hand in alarm, slamming it against the vanity mirror, which cracked, sending splinters of glass, both large and small, throughout the room. One of them, particularly ornery and opinionated, flew right through the loose shoulder of my fabulous sweater (much like Barbara Billingsley, I clean in only my finest garments, or nothing at all; unlike Barbara Billingsley, I'm not afraid to tell the PTA ladies to "suck it") and into the wall, actually pinning me there, as if nailed to a cashmere cross, or to a cross wearing cashmere or something, quit being such a pedantic twit.

Recovering from the shock, I called out for my husband, Hugh, that's not his name...I forget his name...I haven't seen him since the Carter Administration, but he's a furry guy, huggable like a bear or a giant ape. I then screamed for my impossibly cute kids, but they were playing Pot Limit Omaha all the way down stairs and from the shouts and table-slamming, the game was pretty raucous. So I sat there for a while, contemplating my fate, wondering why my arms were paralyzed, as if someone had put Durex Maintain inside my gloves. I could not free myself.

Maybe I was just in shock. I don't know. But I fell asleep there. In the morning, I woke to find myself freed. And wrapped in my favorite blanket. That was nice, whoever did that. Fucker didn't have to leave me on the bathroom floor, though.


Rockin' the Paradise

So whatcha doin' tonight?
Have you heard that the world's gone crazy?

1981 was a top 3 year for me. My beloved Oakland A's were on their way to the playoffs--despite a mid-season strike--behind the imperious Billy Martin and His "Amazing Aces" (Norris, Lankford, Keough, McCatty, Kingman); I was a Big Man on my Junior High campus in my dazzling white soccer jacket, a first-year switch from the old red and a latent nod to John Travolta; my girlfriend was Tanya Elkins and if her face somewhat resembled a bulldog's, she made up for it with her preternaturally large breasts. Life was good. And every morning, while Jay Brown and I folded our newspapers to prepare for the route, we listened to Styx "Paradise Theater."

All of which barely qualifies as a segue, but I'm all about barely qualifying. Maybe I just have Too Much Time on My Hands. I mentioned yesterday the $10 Re-buy tourney at Paradise Poker. I played it again last night, finishing 12th for a nice little payday. I was on target for the final table until two late boards missed me, despite flopping huge draws each time, while in good position against bad players. Nothing Ever Goes as Planned. For more than four hours, I watched some of the most horrendous play I've ever seen. Have you heard that the world's gone crazy?

There is a lot of good vs. bad in this tournament. I had a single tactic all night: wait for a huge hand, push, double up. It's not rocket science. You will not be able to "work on your chops." Because of the 12-minute blind levels, by the third hour, if not before, it has the feel of a Turbo. Even with the re-buy aspect, there are not enough chips in play (last night, average re-buy/add-on per player was less than 3). Part of that is because fully 30% of the field was out by the end of the re-buy period (230 of 692), and a chunk of those players didn't re-buy once. Additionally, 50%(!) were out within 90 minutes, or inside a half-hour AFTER the re-buy. That, friends, is a lot of dead bleeping money in a prize pool that has gone over $20K both times I played (it's $15K Guaranteed).

Mine was the kind of finish that makes you feel a little dirty, because there was little or no skill involved, unless you count patience as a skill. I was card dead for 90 minutes, my 18K stack at the end of the first hour reduced in half by the middle of the third, all while I watched folks push with KTo and get called by A5o. Stealing? Forget about it. There was so much limping (and limp-calling) that I think we need to work on a vaccine to eradicate the threat. There were open raises of 8x and open-pushes by guys with Ms of 14+. The only thing to do was wait for a hand.

Of course, it was nice to get called every time I pushed and not once did I do it with a hand worse than JJ. I went from the aforementioned 9K to 44K in a single orbit when all those cards that had eluded me forever came at once. Later, I went from 29K to 260K in short order, one Donk doubling me up twice in a row when he was dominated. It was The Best of Times. Yet, at no point in those last two hours, did my M go over 8. Not even when I sat 7th of 22 remaining.

So it's a crapshoot, but the play is so poor that one with even a basic understanding of tournament play should still have an advantage, even if almost all the action occurs pre-flop. It's not a format that's gonna improve your game, but based on my experience, it'll improve your bottom line. The Tourney starts at 8 p.m. PST every night during the week (don't know about weekends) and is called Palmetto or something like that. If you play at Paradise, or, like me, still have money sitting there from the WPBT satellite, I'd urge you to give it a shot.

Whatcha doin' tonight?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Here, There, Everywhere

Time to clear out the Errata File:

First, some pimpage.

Iggy has set up the latest WSOP Blogger tourney. Please to go sign up now as we continue a life-long quest for a Blogger Bracelet Winner. Details:

Blogger WSOP Satellite Tourney
PokerStars - Private Tab
April 3rd
$30 +3
No Limit
Password: socoshot

In other tourney news, Easycure is once again raising money for cancer. I called EZ from The Mansion last Saturday, but he was apparently out doing good for others, while I was cleaning the slobber off the front of my sweater. I will assauge my guilt by throwing money into the pot. The details:

What: Hammer Out Cancer - WPBT-POY Circuit Event
(Tournament ID 3381723 under the Private section.)
When: April 16th - Sunday
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Full Tilt Poker
How Much: $10 + $16
($15 goes to American Cancer Society so buy-in is 25+1)
Password: dahammer

Our man Spaceman is doing his thing is Reno. Stop by Bluff to read his up-to-date reports on the World Poker Challenge.

I will have a Blogfile interview up this afternoon over at Wicked Chops Poker. Be sure to hit refresh over there all day. I've long been an admirer of the work of those guys and was honored to participate, kicking off Year Two of their site. They also have an extensive Q&A with some other guy, Mark Seif. You may have heard of him. As per our agreement, I have released the families of Chops, Snake and Addict from their island prison.


And now, further news and notes from the past weekend and beyond...

I played a $100+15 Sit and go at the Mirage early Friday morning. Grubby told me they were juicy and I found mine to be exactly that. Of course, I don't think two in the ayem is prime time for the sharks to come out. Saw--and was the benefactor of--some curious play (calling two all-ins with AJo, for example). Finished second for a $300 payout. Had twelve outs twice heads-up after villain trapped me with KK, but my ship didn't come in. They also run $60+10 and $150+20 buy-in SnGs pretty much 'round the clock, the lone exception being during their nightly MTTs.

Earlier that day, I put a chunk of change on UCLA in their Sweet 16 game vs. Gonzaga, but the sputtering Bruin offense and the Zags tendency to play close games compelled me to take the money line instead of giving 3.5 points. As you Hoop Heads well know, UCLA had an unlikely comeback to win by a bucket. Live ticket! When I went to cash, the guy at the window was incredulous, saying, "UCLA on the money line?!?!?! This, young man, is found money."

Boy, I do look bleeeping skinny in my sweater in those Mansion pictures. Anybody got a number for Sally Struthers? Looks like I could use a bowl of rice.

I talked to my LA Party Girl friend yesterday and even on a Saturday where I get to go to the Mansion, she still managed to top me: she partied with a Midget KISS cover band. She was pulled up on stage and serenaded by Midget Peter Criss during "Beth." The gig was an after-party at some Hollywood hot-spot. Guess who else was there? Yep, Tara Reid.

Too Drunk to Call won again on Saturday. It's a shame I was Too Hungover to Remember BG told me he was running.

I keep stumbling across cached internet searches conducted by X on our home computer. The latest was "How do I know if I'm in love?" Great. I'm happy to know she consulted the vast and unassailable wisdom of the internet to justify her infidelity.

One of my local Indian Casinos, Pechanga, is running a short series of tourneys in mid-April. I think I'll play this one on the 13th. Anyone else?

I played a $10 Re-Buy MTT on Paradise this week with my left-over-from-the-WPBT-satelitte money. Better than 650 runners and the pool topped $20K. Saw some Gawd Awful play and I was moving along well 90 minutes in before losing two straight races to erratic players. It had something of a turbo feel, despite all the chips in play, because the blind levels are only 12 minutes. By Level 8, a par stack had an M of only 6 and more than 2/3rds of the field was gone. That's only THREE levels past the re-buy/add-on period. Silly. I'll probably play it a again next week.

That dude? At the Mansion? In the white double-breasted blazer? Totally not Michael Rapaport. But Tom Wolfe called and he wants his jacket back.

One last time, thanks again to Joy--easily a Top FIVE Babe in the Mansion Rankings--for the Hef hookup and to the Urban Health Institue for their fine works and the sweet party.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Keeping Scores

"I'm going to hurt you."

I'm not really a strip club guy. I've made fewer than ten trips to such establishments in my lifetime and have not once had a lap dance during those ventures. The only lap dance I'd ever had was for my first bachelor party, way back in 1986. She was a petite blond with Shakira-like hip-wiggling skills. Suffice to say, she made an impression. I saw her a few months later on campus and was compelled to follow her, mute and dumbfounded, all the way through the quad.

So I felt like an amateur on a packed final-round leaderboard at The Masters when I wandered, child-like, into Las Vegas Scores on Thursday night with Pauly, Grubby and Pauly's longtime partner-in-crime, Senor. change100 was there, as well, and the Doctor's skillz at palm-greasing soon got us past the cover charge and into cushy seats around a well-positioned table. Before my ass even made an impression in the chair a skeletal Eastern European entertainer was in my ear, offering her services. That, or a promise to get Moose and Squirrel. I couldn't tell due to the thick accent, or maybe it was just her large, protruding front teeth that appeared as though she could eat corn on the cob through a picket fence. I convinced her to leave, with a little help from Senor, and tried to get comfortable.

It didn't work. I passed on another couple offers for dances (and word must've gotten around, because I was hardly propositioned the rest of the night). I dunno, twenty bucks for three minutes worth of hair fanning and crotch-kneeing isn't exactly something I see as a good cost-to-benefit ratio. Especially when a Newcastle was already running me $8 a pop.

I was, however, getting a kick out of the PA announcer and his patently lascivious attempts to drum up business. He had an Australian accent and his catch phrase was a clipped, "Nice. Idea." Cracks me up even now.

After a time, a well-appointed young lady came by with test tubes full of tequila, which I'll refuse almost never. And I didn't this time, either. Cost me $15 to first watch her deep-throat the test tube and then serve it to me from her mouth, followed by a quick slap and grind. Pretty good deal, relatively speaking.

At further risk of outing myself as a goof, I confess I thought the coolest performance of the evening was the guest dancer/acrobat from Cirque du Soliel. This brunette had amazing abs (though a little short on the upper deck) and she put on a couple brief shows, one with patchy, hairy chest guy and another with two magenta-hued strips of fabric hung from the ceiling. She as frickin' amazing with the spinning and the lifting and the posing.

All this time, the strippers were flocking to Pauly. He had the hardest-to-reach seat, the bottom of the 'u' in our semi-circle, but the man is a magnet. He turns strippers into bloodhounds. Every time I turned around, he had another female on his lap. And then every time I turned around, he had the same female on his lap: Nikki.

She was an exotic Eurasian mix with long black hair and flawless skin. Not a blemish on her anywhere that I could see. She danced a few songs for Pauly and left, only to come back again. She was a New Yorker and was digging her fellow East Coaster. I don't think Pauly minded much and she was soon dancing for him again. I had trained my focus elsewhere, but when I caught Nikki again out of the corner of my eye, I snapped to attention (not a euphemism...yet). Doc had sent her over to change100 and it was clear Nikki was enjoying her new assignment. I have to say, it was hot. Fingers were put into mouths and...well...I...unintelligible gurgling.

Transaction consummated, Nikki went off to wherever strippers go when they're not on Pauly's lap. It wouldn't be long, however. "You again?!?!" Pauly shouted when she re-took her customary seat. I chuckled, and as the laughter died away, she was standing in front of me, uttering the threat that led off this prurient post (and yes, I'm aware I've been traveling pretty exclusively on the indelicate side of the street lately). I blurted a surprised, "Okay," not having any idea what was planned. She moved in quick, without a map, not even pausing to gauge the terrain, and snapped her fingers down on my nipples, giving them a hard twist that brought both tears and memories of titty twisters on the 4th grade playground. "Ow!" I screamed in my head as she flung her silky hair in my face. She turned to show me her perfect backside are my nipples on fire!...gyrating in a manner that would have pleased Martha Graham for its sheer beauty of burns!...flashing me a feline grin that hid a thousand's like somebody took a belt sander to my chest! I tried, unsuccessfully, to hold her eyes to mine.

And it was over. Except for the burning. That lasted another 45 minutes.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


"What time does the Playboy Mansion party begin so I know when to start jerking off."
--Mr. Subliminal, in a rare burst of overtness.

We ran into Mr. S in the Aladdin poker room on Friday afternoon. Yes, the events of Saturday night at Chez Hefner have tended to over-shadow the previous days in Vegas, which were also chock full o' blog material. Today, I'll get to the poker.

CJ and I sat at a 1/2 NL table with Mr. S after busting out of the Aladdin $60 tourney. A few hands in, I got a couple 3s in the SB and completed to see a flop with 5 others. It came down J42 with two spades and I bet half the pot ($5) to see where I was at. I got two callers and figured at least one spade draw and the other...a weak Jack or a medium pocket pair. The turn came a non-spade 5 and since I'm now open-ended, I bet out $15 (did I--or Chad--mention I'm a pretty aggressive player live?). One call, then a min. raise to 30. I take a bit of time and eventually put the raiser on either ace-rag (I've got yer outs, dude!) or a turned set of 5s. Regardless, I correctly assume the other guy is coming along, so I've very nearly got the odds to put the extra 15 into a $110 pot (better than 7-1 and I've got six outs on my open-ender if the other caller is on the spade draw, a reasonable assumption; I actually had 8 outs, so the price was indeed right). A lovely non-spade 6 drops on the turn and I make a value bet of $25. Spade draw drops and raiser reluctantly calls, tabling his KK and saying, "That was a nice call on the raise."

I, uh, responded, "That was a nice limp with your kings." He said something back that I didn't quite get largely because it didn't make any sense and I replied, "Check the math, sport."

I love poker.


I was still loving it later that evening--needing it, in fact--after sinking nearly $500 into Villanova and a frigid craps table at the Excalibur. BG, Chad (of Pukerama-rama fame), Jason and I pulled up at a 1/3 NL table where I soon more than doubled up. I paid an extra fiver (getting 4-1) to see a flop in the BB with Qs2s. The flop came up all spades. I checked to the raiser, who put in a cute overbet of $25. The SB called and I popped it to $100. Groans from the left of me. He took his sweet time and finally pushed in his remaining $150. SB folded her KK (including the King of spades) and I called to see his aces (including the ace of spades). Jason immediately mentioned he'd folded two spades, so the guy actually only had 4 outs twice to the flush. He didn't get any. He left for his wheel spin, not happily I might add, and returned with a scathing, "That was a lucky flop, buddy."

"I know," I said. "But you knew you were beat."
He replied, "Yeah, but I gotta try and get lucky, too."


So then I had more than $400 in front of me and I'm feeling a little invincible. Until I donate more than half of it to a guy when holding aces to his flopped set of Kings. It was now my turn to make the walk of shame to the cracked aces wheel spin and my mood was not lifted by the $20 that came up. Then I get back to the table and the new dealer has put a missed blind button in front of my seat. It's possible I snapped, internally, and verbally at the dealer. I did toke her a redbird in apology when she got pushed.

By this time, The Bracelet had replaced BG, who had gone broke with an overpair of tens to a flopped set 8s (same guy as with the KK, by the way). Bobby and I sat in consecutive seats to Chad's immediate left and believe me--or The Chadillac--when I say that's not exactly the seat you want. Bob and I play at each other pretty hard. You don't wanna get squeezed into a pot we're both in unless you're comfortable pushing your entire stack. We'd both, at this point, gotten each other to lay down the better hand, he raising a ragged flop with unimproved 53o, causing me to lay down similarly unimproved AQo. Then I got him to fold two pair with A4o on a flush board, when I held A3o (what I like to call my patented Drizz Play, an Excalibur specialty).

Apart from that, I was still smarting a bit from having my aces cracked and soon saw my chance to stack up with pocket tens. They were an overpair to the flop and I raised Bob's bet a healthy portion (I do that sometimes). He said, "I'm going to push here to help get you off tilt." Thanks, buddy.

I called the remaining $40 or so to see he'd made a set of 8s (yep, tens and 8s again) and I was in re-buy mode. But first, I did perhaps the only truly intelligent thing I did all weekend. I took a walk.


I'd be lying if I said I still felt pretty solid about my play. I was down to my last $200 and didn't want to buy back in as scared money. But as I walked a couple loops around the garish casino floor, I rationalized the prior events and knew I had not done anything terribly wrong. I also knew I had cultivated my perfect Drunken Idiot table image, which, while not an act, is still highly effective, because I AM still able to play cards while being a drunk idiot. Ask anyone.

What happened next was unparalelled in my poker existence. It was so crazy, in fact, that I forget how I stacked up in the first place, though I seem to recall a Broadway straight in there somewhere and a couple smaller pots with Bob and the guy two to my left (who was replaced by a psuedo-Sammy Farha who would donate the most to my burgeoning stack). Anyway, before I knew it, I'd had a couple more SoCo shots and better than $800 in front of me.

Photo and chips courtesy of Bobby Bracelet

At that point, I turned into Uber-Aggro and started making Game Theory raises with 54o and 82s. I showed down both those hands and they were both winners. You know what they say, "Gotta give action to get action." And I got it.

Flopped set of Jacks? Paid off. Flopped set of Queens? Paid off. Flopped Quad 7s? Paid off. IN TWO PLACES.

When the quad flop came down, I fairly yelled in Bobby's ear, "I gots quads beetches!" then paused in my idiocy long enough to bet out. the player next to act hemmed and hawed before saying, "I think I'm behind."

I responded, "Oh, you're behind."

He pushed in his last $150 anyway (with unimproved AQ) and was called by a shorter stack's AK. In addition, I spun the wheel for another $120 (triple + 40).

Bob, Chad and I were the last men standing, though I was weaving in my chair, having gone well past our sleep deadline of 3 a.m. It was light outside, which Chad refused to believe by avoiding looking out the windows. We had to be up in 4 hours for the drive to LA and Playboy Fantasy and I'd been drinking pretty much straight for 17 hours. That drive was gonna suck. As I racked up my nearly $1400, I didn't care.

Ava, Dork, Tiffany

I had Ava Fabian's issue of Playboy and it (she) and I spent many quiet, and surprisingly tender, moments together in my dorm room at San Diego State.

I was once a subscriber to Tiffany Taylor's website shortly after going online, before I knew you didn't have to pay for most of your internet entertainment. Unless my memory fails me, it's the only subscription I've ever had to such a site.

No, it's not creepy. I'd like to think it's pure, glorious serendipity that these were the two dressed-up Playmates for this perfect evening, a nod to me and my years of patronage to the Hefner Empire, a special event Just. For. Me.

At least that's what I told myself when I spent a quiet, and surprisingly tender, moment later that night in the hotel bathroom.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Angel is the Centerfold

"I'm talking to a girl for the first time in seven years and you call and interrupt me?!?!"
--Bobby Bracelet

It was an idignant Bob who answered the phone at some point on Saturday night at The Playboy Mansion. We were wondering where he was. These midwestern kids turned loose at the City of Angels' most exclusive address is cause for concern, especially when the drinks are free and an early tip of $20 means you are a "Platinum Member" in the eyes of the bartenders, who suddenly forget to include the "Coke" portion of your Jack and Coke. But Bob was doing just fine and I quickly answered his revelation with a "Goodbye!" I'm not a c-blocker and I am certainly not one to try to block a man widely rumored and thrice confirmed to be hard to handle in the 'c' area.

It was difficult not to whip out the cell phone and scroll through my numbers to find someone to call. "I'M AT THE PLAYBOY MANSION, SUCKO!" I handicapped my stored digits, trying to find who would MOST be put on tilt by receiving a call from me. Of course, the people who knew I was going probably saw the Caller ID and ignored it, while also cursing me for my luck, as well as my impeccable fashion sense. What? You don't want to talk about my clothes any more? Well, what the hell are we gonna talk about then? Oh yeah.

The clientele at the party, if you removed the celebrity and bunny factor, was roughly what you'd find at any LA party/nightclub on a Saturday night. But you CAN'T remove that factor. The thing that struck me about the women in attendance, the bunnies and those obviously affiliated with the mansion, was how much more innocent they look than your average LA siliconed wannabe starlet. The term I kept coming back to was "willowy." Thin, but not too thin, and effortless. They moved through the crowd with an easy confidence, without a trace of haughty arrogance. There's a Girl Next Door vibe to all of them, a freshness that contrasts with the typical "attitude" of beautiful women in this town. Each was imminently approachable (if you didn't swallow your tongue) and unfailingly nice. They were not the type of women where your mind screams "HAWT!" They're the type that make you mutter "Wow" in a voice approaching reverence, like stumbling upon a breathtaking painting in a museum. But they were human works of art and far from objecifying them, I could only admire their beauty. From afar, of course.

I did have two extended conversations with women there, one who hugged me like an old friend and was generous with compliments and another who promised to send me gifts. Of course, the former WAS an old friend, a woman with whom I graduated college. She's married to an actor who's got some solid poker chops, if his performance on Celebrity Poker Showdown is any indication. We talked about our kids and being a poker wife and while I was forced to mention my situation, I skirted the recentness of it. The other was a rep for a new poker video game (starring Amir Vahedi!) and she's gonna send me a PSP version.

So, no, I did not get my swerve on, not that it was any surprise to me and I think that people who say "swerve" have no shot with this group anyway. I'm not capable right now. Even with the blonde with the finely sculpted nose that was totally checking me (not Bob) out.

The 3 Hottest Non-Bunny-Outfitted Women of the Night
1. Shannon Elizabeth's friend. I hope somebody got a picture of this woman. Flawless skin, an inviting tangle of chestnut brown hair and a smile that could inspire nations. Pretty nice can, too.
2. The Latina waitress in the Poker Tent. Chad and I must have stared at her for a good twenty minutes. She didn't seem to mind. If memory serves, we may even have spoken to her. Nah, probably not.
3. The Katie Holmes look-alike girl at the schwag table. This list is useless without pics.

My favorite moment of the night was when Al, who had recently told us of heckling Daniel Negreanu from his limo (you're surprised Al found his way into a limo with Dannenman and Corkins? You don't know Al), only to have Negreanu walk by shortly thereafter. Al stopped his progress and engaged the Canadian, whose face, during the relatively brief conversation, slowly morphed from friendly to concerned to ouright fear. At the first pause, he skipped away as if ghosts were nipping at his heels, turning the rest of us into bent over blobs of laughter. I'm convinced this is why Mr. Hefner never made an appearance. The Al Can't Hang Experience is not for the faint of heart. Or the elderly.

I didn't take very good notes. Some things happened that I have only the slightest memory of and they tend not to make much sense when I put them down. So I think I'll just stop here and leave you with the one quote I think summed up the whole night, courtesy of Gavin Smith, who said the following upon arriving in the hotel lobby the next morning,

Does anybody know how I got home last night?

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Second Wind

A couple months ago, I fielded a large number of phone calls, had long chats in the IRC and an inbox teeming with verbose e-mails. They were from friends, family and yes, poker bloggers, writing to see how I was, offering their help and support. Just thinking about some of them make me tear up to this day. One, in particular, said the following,

Take care. Stay focused. You have friends who are here to help you up when you fall. Some of us will even carry you for a while. Never forget that.

My friends have carried me at times, always answering when I call, responding to my cyber requests and, finally, flying across the country to see me, to wrap me in an embrace and find me some fun, allowing myself to forget about everything for a few days.

And THAT is why we ended up at The Playboy Mansion.

When all this shit came down on top of me, Bob and Chad immediately hit upon the idea of us getting together in Vegas, to get me outta Dodge, if only briefly. We soon added BG and found out during one of our lunches in LA that Pauly and change100 were going to be in Sin City on our chosen weekend, as well. Jason was with us that day, and considering he had to be in Reno the following Monday, figured he could come out for the weekend and then move on to cover the tourney.

And THAT is how we ended up doing SoCo shots with Steve Dannenman and Hoyt Corkins.

When Jason was invited to cover the Playboy Charity/Celebrity Poker Tournament, with the proceeds benefitting The Urban Health Institute, I chose to believe it was a stroke of good fortune handed down to a bunch of selfless people who would do anything to help out a friend.

And THAT is why I had my picture taken with two of my top 3 favorite Playmates of all time, Ava Fabian and Tiffany Taylor. Yes, I knew their names and yes, they like it when you address them by name, based on the elbow squeeze and couple extra questions Ava asked me after the shot was taken (I'll post it as soon as Chad sends it to me).

I wasn't entirely sure I was gonna be any factor at the party. A 17-hour drinking/poker binge the day/night/day prior went well past our stated deadline for sleep, followed by four fitful hours of said sleep and a 6-hour drive to LA had put us in a rather down-trodden state as we dressed for the Bunnies. Funny thing about The Playboy Mansion. It, and some hair of the dog, can give one a second wind pretty easily.

I came home to an empty house today. An empty, depressing place with nobody to talk to, nobody to share the events of the previous days. Nothing here but me and my rampaging thoughts about all I have lost in the last months. But I sat down and played the WPBT event, logged in to the chat and laughed and bet. I read the first impressions of my fellow Mansion-ites and the memories came flooding back, bringing smiles and good cheer. Everywhere I look around me are remnants of my decimated past, the negative baggage of my present, but a bunch of charitable individuals have shown me the possibility of an improved future, a life beyond all that currently ails me. They have given me my second wind.


Back at Home Base. The events of this weekend are too fresh to process right now. They need to marinate a bit and I have no small amount of stage fright knowing I have to try to do it justice. I'm totally spent right now, my body finally rebelling against the harm I've done to it. I had an awesome experience and have a hundred stories, but none of them are any better, none more rewarding, than the time spent simply sitting on the front steps of The Mansion, the immaculate lawn sloping away from us, talking and laughing with my friends.

Yes, I know that's not the debauchery you wanted. Be patient. It's comin'.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Eat a Peach

Mom: What are YOU going to do at the Playboy Mansion?"
Me: Stand there with my mouth open.

Yes, it's true. After nearly 39 years on the planet and dozens of brushes with greatness--appearances on Scrabble and Greed, a 35-minute set on the stage of the Sunset Strip's own World Famous Whiskey-A-Go-Go, twenty seconds worth of B-roll on the KTVU evening news and minor internet celebrity status as The Divorcing Guy--I have hit the Big Time. I'm gonna hang out with Hef and bluff some playmates. Or, to put that last part another way, check-raise some Fun Bags.

I make no apologies for my good fortune. That sorta thing has been in short supply around Chez Speaker these days. In fact, very few people, at this point in history, are MORE deserving of a trip to Mansion. Maybe Jennifer Aniston. Maybe a few Make-a-Wish Foundation teenagers. But that's it.

So, I bet you want to know what I'm wearing. Oh, the fucking pressure. It has been relieved somewhat by the flurry of e-mails between--and betwixt--a half-dozen 30-something heterosexual males worrying over their wardrobe for the festivities. It's high comedy, I can assure you.

I'm tempted to "dance with the girl that brung me," the nice--but ratty in all the right places--jeans, big clumpy black shoes and a pressed, tailored, untucked vertical-striped dress shirt in a pleasing hue. It's a good look for me, what with the slenderness and the five-and-a-half feet of legs that make up my 6'1" frame. But this is the Playboy Mansion! It's not Tuesday night at TGiF's.

I went shopping, too. Duh. This being LA, a "Must Have" is a black leather jacket. And I have one. But I bought it before I got married. It's a stylish cut, but lately it's begun to take on the odor of a rest home. So I went looking for a jacket, perhaps to top my usual look. But I didn't want black leather. I wanted something different. Maybe something in a suede (hold the fringe, thank you). I failed in the suede department and ended up with a brown leather jacket. And now, three days later, I know I'm not wearing it to the Playboy Mansion. I still like it, though.

I also bought something that just caught my eye. I was at the outlet mall and wandered into Hugo Boss. I walked out with a form-fitting, light gray, faux turtleneck, ribbed sweater, or, as I like to call it, "The Adjective Sweater." It's a slim cut, so it accentuates my thinness. Usually, I hate that, but, for some reason, I get a good vibe off this particular model. All it takes is one Playmate to have a fetish for skinny brown guys and I'm gold.

So I think that's what I'm going with. The question now is do I pair it with the nice jeans or with slacks. I have two pairs of the latter that would work nicely, both flat-front, to further amplify my vertical lines (I honestly don't know what that means, but it sounds reasonable). One pair is black, the other charcoal gray. And while the sweater looks very good with the charcoal gray (based on all the eye contact action I got on the train when I wore the ensemble on Monday morning), I'm thinking it's a bit dressy, a bit "He's trying too hard."

Boy, who knew I could turn such a macho thing as a trip to the Playboy Mansion into Ubergeigh Central?

This thing came about unexpectedly and we were all lucky enough to have already planned to be in Vegas this weekend, a weekend originally conceived as a way to get me the hell out of Dodge, one planned during the height of The Troubles. I'd like to think the kind and supportive souls who spent their good money on airplane fares to cheer up a pitiful friend have been rewarded with this little adventure. I'd also like to think that telling my story on Saturday night might convince one (or more than one) drunk and empathetic Playmate to offer up a Mercy Romp. I'd like to think a Playmate exists who knows what "empathetic" means.

I've spent enough time in and around this city to know what happens when I talk to beautiful stupid women (and yes, I'm making certain assumptions here based on the way Playmates are presented in the mass media, including, but not limited to reality shows and morning radio programs). What happens is they either laugh at inappropriate spots in the conversation, a sure sign they are either not listening to me or don't understand what I'm saying, or they stare at me with a look suggesting a coma. I have a good friend who has never, in her entire life, had an ugly female friend. While she's a college-educated, professional woman, all her friends are part of the nebulous model/actress/Coors Light Girl/Ring Card Girl sub-culture that exists in this empty city. And, without fail, they're all idiots. Beautiful, vacuous vessels who tend to smile at me like I'm an irrelevant child or an inconsequential house pet. Every attempt to set me up with one of these dingbats has met with disaster. One even said she couldn't date me because I was smarter than she was, whereupon I had to resist the urge to inform her if that's her idea of a deal breaker, she's reduced her potential pool to a miniscule percentage of the population.

Just thought I'd help the rest of ya out with the whole "insecurities" thing.

That said, I'm gonna get trashed and make lewd comments at every opportunity. I'll make sure to use multi-syllabic words so the Bunnies don't catch on. I'm also gonna give Al a dollar every time he introduces himself as Duane Allman.


Reds Put Seven Behind Blues

I wonder how Steve Bruce's arse is doing today. Probably gaping, just like Maik Taylor's net.

Gotta keep my 8 footy fans happy.


Does it seem like Friday to anyone else? No? Just me? Today's my last stint in the cube for this week. I'm going to Vegas tomorrow. Don't hate. And that's nuthin' really. Placing this weekend's events on a scale of 1 to 10, there's a 10 and then there's Vegas.

Update: I see where BG detonated the Information Bomb. I can't really talk about it, either, but I'm going, too. I will not be live-blogging, however. I will be hiding behind palm fronds near the Grotto with my pants around my ankles.


I moneyed in the $17K on FT last night, finishing 34th. I got a little squirrelly with 88 (and an M of 7) and over-played my way out of the proceedings. Even so, I haven't felt this good about my game since before the WPBT in December. It mostly has to do with finding an extra level of aggression. I've preached many times, especially in these (relatively) low buy-in online MTTs the need for patience. It's difficult to "out-play" players who never pause to think what you might be holding or representing. With the nice run I had on Saturday (and the longer levels helped), I made some moves I hadn't been able to practice lately and, to my surprise, found there ARE opportunities in the regular tourneys to incorporate some more subtle plays. You don't want to get all fancy schmancy and the real challenge is picking the right spots, the right players. But the opportunities are there. I'd have not made it as far as I did last night if I didn't take a few extra chances and dictate the betting post-flop.

I'm going to AT LEAST play the $100 Aladdin tourney on Friday. I might get over to the Sahara for one of their late-night offerings if I aren't being dragged to certain establishments with certain others for certain adult entertainment.


The date got postponed. Is it bad that I immediately thought she was full of shit when she e-mailed me an excuse? Probably. I'm scarred, what can I say? But I reserved judgment and when she called me a couple hours later and was as sweet and nice as she's been to this point, I was sure her reasons were legit. And she was insistent that we re-schedule as soon as possible, which we did. She's half-Irish. Have I mentioned that? The last woman besides X who put her tongue in my throat--seven years ago--was Irish. Bookends.


Vegas, baby. Vegas.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bender on Deck

Mike: What the fuck are you carrying a gun for? In case somebody steps to you, Snoop Dogg?
Sue: Hey, man, you're not from here. You don't know how it is. I grew up in L.A.
Trent: Anaheim.
Sue: Whatever, man...

It's true, I no longer really reside in what could be considered Los Angeles, though I still work there. And for 16 years, I did live in L.A.
Trent: The Valley
Whatever, man.

My credentials are secure, iron-clad, and I am honored, as always, to have a story included in this month's special LA-based edition of Truckin', the excellent literary e-zine put out by our very own DrPauly. Please go check it out and support your local degenerates by reading their excellent work: facty, Shane, change100, Dan Keston and The Good Doctor himself.


Haven't been able to find much time for bloggery. Shot my wad on Saturday, I guess, in more ways than one. I've got a bunch of stuff going on, a fair amount of non-blog writing and a pending weekend straight out of the funny pages. But first, this single parent thing...whew. The fallout from my 9-hour WSOP satellite experience was that I neglected AJ for that many hours, and act over which I felt horrible. Stupid 30-minute levels. Good for poker; bad for parenting. So I promised him a long day at the park on Sunday to make up for it and it promptly began to pour as soon as we hit the climbing structure. Excellent.

Because the Blogger WSOP tourney was Sunday night, I played at my Mom's so AJ could have some company. I was a little distracted while playing, but settled in after about 45 minutes. I pulled an elaborate hammer bluff on Gracie, though I didn't realize it was her at the time, to get my stack to to 3800 or so. On the following hand, I got aces and managed to get NealCassady (sorry dude, don't know yer blog; hit me up in comments and I'll do the linkee thing, if I haven't already) to double me up. I moved along nicely for a while after that, through the second hour, busting a couple short stacks (DonkeyPuncher is the only one I remember). Then it all went south in a hurry. I raised with 33 and a short stack pushed, forcing me to call. I was happy to race with AK. Until the A hit the turn. A few hands later, I re-raised lifesagrind's massive stack from the BB with JJ. He pushed and I let them fookers go. Then I pushed with QT. Naturally, change100 called. With Kings. By my count, she has personally put me out of four tournaments: two at Murderer's Row (once with KK v my QQ push), the first DADI event and this one. Gawd, is it just four? It seems like a hundred. (change, you know I love you, and you've no reason to feel "genuinely sad.")

I didn't stick around after busting, though, it must be said, I did type into chat, "I want gracie to win." (YAY!) I went and watched "Rescue Heroes" with AJ, the two of us sitting close in the chair, him giggling, me rolling my eyes at the over-the-top antics of Lifeguard Dave. I hated dropping him off at daycare the next morning, knowing I won't see him for almost two weeks. That Boy is my pulse. So, diversion is the name of the game until April. With my game rounding into shape, it might be the perfect time to go on a poker bender for two weeks. Fund the Kitty, so to speak.


drizz has a great idea and I'm gonna try to get something up next week. Can't quite settle on a subject just yet. I know one thing: On Friday, drizz is going on mega-tilt.

Monday, March 20, 2006

My Other Online Friends

...are pretty funny, too.

lps: hey, (Joe),
I read a book the other day and thought of you.
Larry: I took an extra clumpy shit the other day and thought of the douchebag poet.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Back on the Horse

Just a reminder that the first WPBT satelitte to a WSOP event is tonight at 9 p.m. Easterm, a lovely 6 here on the Left Coast. Forty-five players signed up at press time. We need at least 55 to hit the $1500 payout mark. Get thee to Paradise Poker. As an added bonus, you'll get to see me finish one off the seat.

What: WPBT WSOP NL Satellite
When: Sunday March 19
Time: 9pm EST
Where: Paradise Poker
How Much: $30
Password: email iggy at allimcbeal_69 -
Restrictions: Bloggers only!

Much love to Iggy for organizing this for us.


I was remiss last night in not thanking the hordes of y'all railbirding me in the satellite. Forgive me, I was in full wallow mode for about 90 minutes afterward. You really helped me stay patient and keep focused and it's always nice to share some misery.

The AA retrospect, result of the hand notwithstanding, I feel like I could have gotten away from it on the river. But I would have had to think about something I didn't think about. I was fully zeroed in on his betting pattern and he did exactly what I expected, exactly how he'd played for two hours. Had I let in some other information (the smooth call on the turn chief among them), I may have been able to salvage that 75K I gave up on the river. Believe me, I know it would have been a tough laydown, maybe the toughest I've ever had to make, but there was a chance I could have made it. What irks me (less and less) is not processing ALL the information that was there before making the call.

That said, I can't help but be imminently satisfied with my play. I don't think I've ever played better. Certainly not for nine hours. And, let's be honest, that thousand bucks I got in the save for third is highly likely to do me more good than the $10K donation to the Main Event prize pool. I will play in that tournament someday, maybe someday soon. I had a great time last night, found I could trust myself and my reads enough to make big bets, something that's been lacking. So, as my high school economics teacher used to say, I've got PMA. Positive. Mental. Attitude.

Thanks again to everyone and I'll see y'all tonight.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Totally. Fucking. Gutted.

Down to 3, we all had chips. Plenty of 'em. I briefly had a nice lead, but had to drop a hand on a big draw after investing quite a bit. From there, it was a lot of give and take. One hand was gonna decide it. One big hand. The guy on my left was either a genius or a retard. He pushed (a huge overbet) over every raise where I was vulnerable. He had me flummoxed, but I knew I could trap him with one big hand. That hand was AA. I flopped a set. I let him take the lead and just milked it to the river where I knew he was gonna put all his chips in. It's what I wanted. It's what he did. Except he had turned a straight with 43. That put me in push/pray mode and I took a shot on the flush draw. Didn't come in.

We saved a grand of the travel money for third, so I'm not toally empty handed. A nice ROI on 400 FPPs. But...

...I wanted to go to The Show.

Best Laid Plans

I'm on Schedule Change Tilt right now, my morning plans of leisurely coffee and footy, followed by a trip to our local park for some "climbing structure" fun for AJ (his words) morphing into a furious house-cleaning/floor polishing session thanks to a wayward Real Estate Agent waking me up at 7:30 in the ayem to say she's bringing some prospective buyers by this morning/afternoon, a range of hours rivalling that of your basic cable outfit. So they're still not here, the house is pristine in its goodness, I'm shaking from the effort and lack of food and I'm probably not going to be able to get my goddamn dry cleaning today because in 20 minutes, I have to win my WSOP seat.

I'm in a Stars Round II Satellite to the Main Event. Two seats given away. Currently there are 382 runners. All Round I sats have been completed, so the only additional participants will be ponying up 4K FPPs to join. About 20 have done so in the past two hours.

I'm gonna open up in this bad boy. The patient approach isn't gonna work. I'll still sit back for the first 20 minutes or so, getting the lay of the land as I have no idea what level of play I'll be facing here. But I'll get involved more if conditions dictate. I'm certainly going to try to exploit the first-in vig earlier than usual. I want chips, dammit. I want the ability to play post-flop instead of being forced into push and pray before the end of the second hour. Gotta be willing to die in order to live.

Yesterday, I got another unexpected phone call, altering my plans for NEXT weekend, one I'd been looking forward to for a long time. More Schedule Change Tilt. This call, however, pushed me in the opposite direction than the one this morning. Can't reveal the details just yet, but it has nothing to do with The Troubles. Unless of course this is Karmic Payback, which is possible. Not much has gone right for me lately. This...well...if this is wrong, I don't wanna be right.

It also has nothing to do with the fact I have a date on Tuesday. Check my shit out. While nothing gives me greater pleasure than revealing every last bleeping detail of my life here in this forum, I'm gonna go ahead and lay low on this one, as well. I know what you're all thinking and yeah, it's probably too early, but she is aware of my situation and well...get busy livin' or get busy dyin', I say.

I didn't get any St. Paddy's Day action, unless you consider a surreal call from...


We interrupt this bloggery for real life situations. One of the sentences you never want to hear as a parent is, "Daddy, I pooped my pants," especially when your 4-year-old is exceptionally dependable in that regard. You specifically don't want to hear this sentence when people are coming over to view your house with the purpose of buying it and making you semi-walthy for the short-term. And you REALLY don't want that sentence to be followed up by, "I also pooped on the toilet and on the carpet," two things which have been recently cleaned and buffed to a blinding shine. Sigh.

I asked AJ how this happened and he said, "I was pooping standing up." Which is odd, but also funny enough to get him out of jail. Anyway, where were we...

...surreal call from Reverand Al during his day-long bender. Suffice to say Al kept me highly entertained for a good 15 minutes of my train ride home. St. Paddy's Day also happenes to be my Mom's birthday, so I spent it having dinner with her and my sister's family. My neice just had her second birthday and she and AJ are a riot together, so it was an enjoyable evening. I got home in time for the $9K and moneyed, though it left a horrible taste in my mouth. In the money, sitting mid-field with an M around 10, I called a short-stack all in with AK. I was up against A9 (flop was 998, thankyouverymuch), taking me down to a 9K stack instead of having 17K. A few orbits later, I called another push with AK. He showed A5 and flopped his five to put me out in 37th. Speaker. Smash. Things.

I did get out on Thursday night as my buddy Jorginho was in town on assignment. I remember now why I don't drink much on school nights. Good heavens. A local microbrew's Red variety kicked my bleeping ass. Of course, I began the evening with a dial-a-shot of whiskey from the one and only Daddy. My Friday workday was fraught with headaches and tiredness and, at least once, I caught myself snoring on the train on the way in. That's right ladies, I'm available.

My satellite is starting (428 players). Let's call this semi-live blogging:

Much passivity in the early going. Min. bets, check-checks on turn and river. No flops for me thru an orbit. Table is 7-handed with two sitting out. And as I type that, I get moved. Limp UTG+1 with JTs and play to a min. raise behind. Flop is QJJ. Giddyup. I milk 600 out of a dude--flop check-call, turn check-min. raise--before he figures it out and folds to my river value bet.

This table is passive, too. Lotta butt clench play. Pre-flop raises are universally good so far. I, myself, have let The Hammer go twice to a raise.

Well, when I do play, looks like the flops are hitting for now. Raise with AQo, two callers. Flop comes AAJ. Silly. Since I played the last one fancy, I went ahead and bet out, though continuation-size. Didn't work. T2290.

Seventy players gone already, nearly 1/6th of the field. Still at Level 1.

I just got rivered in back-to-back hands. Unfucking believable. Back to starting stack. Unimproved A8 called raise, flop and turn bets to river my KK. And checked his aces. Then, with me, with second pair/top kicker and the nut flush draw, he calls a pot-sized bet on the turn while chasing a gut-shot and ends up pairing higher than I. Same guy. Checked the river again, too. Won't fold, won't bet. Good player.

Oh My Lord. No reason to get involved without a hand. These fuckers won't fold. Unimproved T6s just went to the river with no draws and paired his 6 to beat KQ. Perhaps patience is required.

Heh. I just realized we have 30 minute levels. Might be a reason for the tentative play, huh? Well played, me. Well played.

Patience, schmatience. Limped with A7s. Shorty pushed for 200 more and with two big stack--shitty players mentioned already--I have odds and position. Ace on the flop and I pray shorty doesn't have one, 'cause I'm bettin' into a dry side pot. He doesn't. T2230.

Okay, please, please, please somebody explain to me how one can chase a fucking draw and then not bet it when it comes in on the river? Seriously, are you people brain-dead?

Maybe it's just me, but if there are 3 aces and a king on the board and two people are all in before me, I'm gonna assume at least a boat and fold my flush. Not that guy. Quads are good.

This new table is 6-handed and both seats to my left are unoccupied. Nice. The Drizz takes the blinds. Yippee. Rough estimate of non-players is around 80. With that into account, I'm sitting mid-pack among live players.

Fuck me. There's really nothing I can do about anything. JJ gets re-raised and I call. Ten-high flop and a war breaks out. Against a lot of players, I'd think JJ was always behind and drop it. Not this one. King-fucking-ten rivers two-pair. T900.

I can, however, more than double up with JJ v. 99. T1920.

I can also limp with KK (6-handed!) and make a little cash on a J-high flop. One caller who dropped on the turn. T2120.

First Break: Stack: largest 11415, smallest 200, average 2377
Your current position is 118 out of 270

I'd say a quarter to a third of that 270 is dead (absent) money, so, I'm in worse shape than it appears. Plenty of time, though. King-rag seems to be my hand of the day

A9o is gorgeous 6-handed. Got two pre-flop calls. Ace on the flop is good. T2595.

Guy to my immediate left just showed up. Seven-handed. No more free blinds.

Two new players at my table are donators. Not to me, of course.

I'm not averse to chasing. Flush comes in. T3465.

KKQ is not a good flop for TT when 3 fucking limpers call 250 more to play pre-flop. I'm pretty sure. That 300 chips didn't stay in my stack long. I am slightly above par, however.

I am amazed at the number of pople calling flop and turn bets with nothing. NOTHING. I'm also amazed that a limp equals a call of any raise, too.

So much for the flop hitting me. A raise with 88 gets two callers. AKQ. Thanks.

My strategy of being more aggressive has pretty much been hindered by the longer levels and the calling stations all around me. Still having to wait for a hand at this point.

Forget what I said. Pick up two orphan pots in position on ragged flops. T3540.

The good thing about the longer levels is that my long periods of card deadness are less prohibitive. I've only played 10% of flops. Horrible, but conditions are not conducive to doing what I want. Once the absent money leaves (they have about 700 left), it'll change, I'm pretty sure.

I'm able to limp with baby pairs. I've had 7, including 33 4 times. Stats say I'll hit a set once in the next 4. Stats also say each flop with these little pairs won't be all aces and faces, but I guess we have an outlier situation today.

My new hand of the day is 73, both suited and un-.

Kiddie game is down the street. Called pre-flop with 55. Fired at the J97 rainbow flop. Check-called by PFR. Fired again at the 2c turn and he laid it down. AQ or AK, yeah? 8s? T4890.

Guy at my table has shown aces three times this level. Gotten no action on any of them.

There's my set of 3s. Too bad I folded. Was 1300 for me to all a shortie. Quarter of my stack with three to act behind. Got a caller who had QQ. Three in the door on a 10-high flop and I woulda got rich (assuming QQ didn'r re-raise if I called pre-flop, a distinct possiblity).

Big Slick is profitable. T5440.

82s in the BB flops two pair, turns a boat. I got 400 out of a guy, though I mis-played it. He had second pair and the queen-high flush draw on the turn and probably woulda called a couple hundred, but I checked it. He did call the value bet on the river. He couldn't hit one of his twelve outs for two pair or better? Help a brutha out. 'Course ha also had two outs to bet me so, no complaints. KK on the next hand gets the BB and a limper. T6040. Hear that? It's me making a little move.

Second Break:
Stack: largest 20185, smallest 105, average 4652
Your current position is 41 out of 138

I love making a raise from the SB with a playable hand (JTs in this case), having a limper call and seeing an ace on the flop. I bet out, he folds. T6790

These kids are very readable. I can unquestioningly fold my open-raised AJo to a 5K push, I think. Especially to the tighest player here.

Okay, maybe not so readable. Button limps and I complete with Q7o. 8-high flop is checked around. Turn 6 makes me open-ended and puts two flushes out there. Checked to button who min bets and BB and I call. River pairs the 6 and it's checked around. Button wins the pot. What does he have? If you correctly guessed pocket 9s, you might need therapy.

I'll call weak bets on every street with second pair. It'll be good, too. T7470.

Got my flops seen number up to 18%. That's more like it.

Sigh. Min. raise and a call and I'm licking my chops in the BB with 44, until the SB pushes for 3K. I have to drop. One caller, with, uh, QJ. SB has AQ. Four on the flop. our on the river.

You know what? I'm playing my ass off. My reads kill. A9s to a min. raise on the button. T9x flop with two of my suit. I call a smallish bet. Jack on the turn--not my suit--and pop another smallish bet 4x. He mucks. T8740

Now, if I'd just call those pushes in the blinds with my little pairs, we might be going to The Show.

Up to 100/200 blind level. My first steal attempt with T9o is met with resistance in the form of a re-raise from the Big Stack in the SB. Oh well, live and learn.

I'm in the top third of the remaining 78. Well behind the top stacks (who have 25K), but plenty of play to go.

Big Stack to my immediate left just pulled a limp-push. Tricky, trappy fella.

Since there's no time stamp on this here semi-live blog, what you don't know is I've been folding for most of the last half-hour. T7770

Bad turn card for me. Dropped 1500 with 77. Two guys chasing. One with a king apparently.

Brokeback next hand and I simply call a 3x raise in the SB. KT9, two club flop is juicy. Potentially dangerous, to be sure, but I ain't no pussy. I check-call a grand. Ace turn doesn't give the flush and I still ain't askeered of QJ, so I check-raise his 2K bet and he folds. T10040

Power Poker. I open-raise with ATo. Two callers. Qxx flop and I bet 3/4 pot to take it down. T11340

Table change! Guy to my immediate left is sitting out with 7K. Two comparable/bigger stacks, both in the 3 seats to my right. Good spot.

Heh. I raise over a limper with AdJd. Call from the button, push (for 7K) from the SB. I fold, button calls and AK and AQ are flipped. Two pair on the board and they split. T10340

Third Break:
Stack: largest 35835, smallest 1380, average 10700
Your current position is 20 out of 60

Just in case you didn't think there were still donkeys in the tourney at this relatively late stage, a guy with an M well in the green zone just went to war with K2, which is a bad idea when the other guy--who is now a top 3 chip stack--has KT and flopped two pair. Happy Hannukuh.

Again, I repeat, Kiddie Game is down the street. This is not hubris. I am not on Hubris Tilt. I'm just taking pots away with garbage when I sense weakness and I've been almost spot on so far. In this particular instance, I raised with 76s and the SB called. On a J53 flop (one of my suit), he bet 800 into 2200. I popped it to 2600 and he went away. Hey, I had a gutshot. T11965

Pussed a little with KQ. I have a sordid past with that bastard. Simply limped behind two others on the button. K32 rainbow flop is about the best one could hope for with that stupid hand and my bet takes it down. T12540

An exceptionally aggressive player on my immediate left. Must. Get. Hand. To. Trap.

We have arrived at Moving Day: 200/400/25. I don't chip up this level, my M will drop below 10 at the next. Accordingly, I just limped with T7s and took the pot on the flop by betting my second pair. Position, position, position. T12790

Things that make poker difficult: Flopping TPTK in the SB (842, two heart flop with A8o in this instance) and betting out, getting a caller--the BB--on some kind of streaight or flush draw and having an overcard land on the turn. Doens't complete the draws, but he could be holding. I bet out anyway and he folded. I wasn't exactly excited about it, though. T16865

Chip leaders have lengthened their distance from the field. Only two seats, remember. I've been about a third of their stack all day, but the Top Guy is now sitting on 67K (second at 41K). Long way to go, though. Get me to the Final Table with a reasonable M and I'll take my chances.

Me and my folding winners in the blinds. Push from the CO. I fold A9o. BB calls with 33. CO has QQ. Ace on the turn, 9 on the river. Definitely a leak in my game. Yes, I'm kidding, but if I sucked more, I'd have 67K.

CO raise with 44 is no g00t. Villain wasn't strong, but he WAS short and nearly pot committed with his flop bet. I surrendered willingly. T14790


Time to gamble. Limped on the button with Ah8h behind two others. Crazy aggressive SB raised 4x and the BB called, so I was getting 2.5-1 on my admittedly loose call. 9h5hx flop and SB pushes. I have him covered by...uh...400 chips. BB folds. I stare at the screen for untold seconds and decide I gotta give it a shot here. I need to double. My fate is in the hands of the poker Gods. I call. He shows KK. Eleven outs twice (since he has Kh). 8 on the turn gives me two more outs and the beautiful Jh falls on El Rio. T28016

Fourth Break:
Stack: largest 71894, smallest 2024, average 18882
Your current position is 4 out of 34

Um...everybody calm down, 'kay?

I'm tempted to log onto the girlie chat thingee at this point, but I think I will stick with what got me here. Abject loneliness.

That 4th place standing is a little mis-leading. I'm half the stack of 2nd place and 45K behind first. But as I said, get me to the FT with a reasonable M. It's all I ask. And I can pressure now.

Turned Broadway. Made some money. T33865

Fuck me. Hurtful. QQ v. JJ. J in the door. T24379 instead of 43K. Bitches.

I'm a card rack. KQ flops a K and caller chases one more card. No flush on the turn and he drops. T30929

Those three hands above occured in one orbit. Only 3 of the other 8 players at my table have as much as a third of my stack. This is good.

Card Rack. KJ open-raise. J-high flop. T33583

Down to 3 tables. Two stacks above me at my new digs, but only by a few grand.

Your opponent can not fold unless you bet or raise. Flopped the nut flush draw from the SB. Didn't need to catch it. T36183.

Crazy. The Drizz in the CO. Get blinds, antes and the last 1300 of a short-stack holding AK. T38729. This is ALL still happening at Level 9.

Okay, rush died and folded to Level 10. M is currently 23+. I guess that's okay.

Raise with JTo. Get a caller. J-high flop. Me likee the flopee. T40179

Man. I made an overly aggressive play, knowing there was a good chance I was behind, but also a good chance it would end up a split pot if I couldn't get a fold. SB open-raised and I called in the BB with A6. AKQ flop. He bet, I raised, he min. re-raised. I have him covered by 17K. I push. He goes down under 10 seconds before calling with A9. King on the river chops it. I like my play. Put him to the test and he did a good job. The longer it took for him to call, the more I knew he had me.

Two tables. T40740 is good for 7th overall.

Playing some Power Poker. Taking the lead at this table is worth its weight in gold.

Made my straight on the River. Too bad the other guy flushed. Dropped a bit.

Fifth Break (T37204):
Stack: largest 208184, smallest 16272, average 53500
Your current position is 6 out of 12

That's it. I'm calling in the horses. No more blogging. Screen shot of my victory (hopefully) to come.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Like an Old Pair of Shoes

About 15 years ago, a homeless guy stole my shoes. He didn't exactly "steal" them. What I mean is, I did leave my athletic bag in the grandstand during baseball practice and that is precisely the sort of thing that draws a homeless guy, an orphan bag sitting unattended. These guys spend their time rummaging through garbage cans and the like, so one can't expect them to deny themselves an easily accessible athletic bag, especially one containing some kick-ass Adidas hi-tops.

A week later, again at baseball practice, I noticed the gentleman wearing my shoes. I confronted him, incredulously, and eventually negotiated to buy my shoes back from him for $10. What can I say? I was extremely attached to those shoes.

I'm feeling similarly about poker these days. My game has returned to pretty close to where it was before The Troubles, but I feel like I have to negotiate with Poker Zeus to allow me to slip back into the club. I'm currently barefoot and failing to get any traction at all. I can't build a stack. When I make a play, there's invariably a re-raise. I get a nice hand in position and one of the blinds ends up dominating me. I get KK cracked by KQ when a guy willingly risks his stack on a 4-outer.

As you might guess, I've been able to play a lot over the past couple days. No distractions, but no results. Went 0-3 in cash tourneys last night, failing to make the slightest impression in any of them. However, all the while, I was playing a 400 FPP Round I WSOP satellite on Stars, which eventually ended up with me winning a seat to a Round II this Saturday (two Main Event seats awarded, pool of approximately 600 players, if my calculations are correct).

For those of you scoring at home, that's two satellite wins in the last 9 days. And no cashes otherwise. But hey, it's something.

Part of it is people not knowing how to play satellites. Goodness gracious. Bluffing into empty side pots, big stacks mixing it up with each other near the bubble and medium stacks getting involved in hands they shouldn't. For my part, I sort of ambled along the first hour, picking up a couple pots, but finishing well below par. I doubled up in the midddle of the second hour with JJ and turned into a stealing fool at Level 8. Still, I was below par and sitting about 15 spots off the final seat when I made the play of the day.

With blinds at 300/600, I called a 3x button raise in the BB with J8o. I knew I could out-play this particular guy post-flop, the pot odds are there, and though my M would be around 6 after the call, I had to pick up some chips. I'll take my chances heads-up with this guy. The flop comes QJx with two clubs (I have none) and I check. Normally, this would be the perfect flop for me to bet out on, but I'm certain he's gonna make a play at it. I don't get any information from checking, but hope the size of his bet will tell me something. It did. Standard continuation and I smooth call. I'm pot committed now and am risking my whole tourney to double up, insead of trying to wrest it away right there. The turn is the two of clubs and again I check. That's a good card for me. I'm confident my jacks are good and my play in the hand thus far certainly smells like I called the flop bet on a draw. I plan on pushing at him if he bets here, but he does not. The river is a King and, don't ask me how, I know I'm good. Just one of those things. Malcolm Gladwell can explain it to you. I also know if I check, he'll try to steal it. I do check, muttering to myself, "Here comes the over-bet." He pushes his remaining $8K (pot is just under $6K) and I call so fast I pull my groin. He has 87o. I have an M of 14, comfortably inside the top 10, with 20 to the seat, which I casually folded into.

So, I lost a chunk of change last night, but I did win something. And I felt good about how I went about it. With the way the cards have beeen falling for me lately, I haven't had a great deal of post-flop action, haven't practiced that aspect of my game (and not playing the Crazy Re-Buy very often is another reason). It's been big bet/push pre-flop poker, which is dull and unimaginative. I relished the chance to break out some chops last night and I'd like to thank my adaptive subconscious for helping show me the way. One thing about being alone in the hosue is the lack of distractions. Which is how I could have three tourneys going at once and still feel like I wasn't missing any clues. Glad to know my brain agrees.

I still do want my shoes back, though.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Random Things That Happened in the Last Week

In a bar on the Hermosa Beach Pier, a serially-enhanced woman wearing impossibly high heels responded to a comment about her shoes by saying, "Honey, I have heels so tall I can only wear them when I'm on my back."

I played pretty well in the DADI 6-handed tournament--and enjoyed having The Champ on my right for most of it--until X came back to pick up a few more things and I almost immediately pushed my stack into the nuts. I believe there's a cute Latin phrase for questionable cause and effect (post hoc ergo some shit), but I don't speak Latin.

I bought MLB 06 for my PSP (I'll be 40 years old in 15 months) and played the A's vs. the Cubs. In three of the first four innings, I got the first two A's on base and failed to score each time, proving once and for all that the people who make video games are scary in their attention to detail.

I had microwaved chili for dinner.

It turns out I have to close my bank account instead of simply removing X from access, which means my online bill pay, various internet accounts, offshore tax shelters and poker contacts need to be altered, closed or cashed out before I can have sole access to my money.

I was about 6 Italian beers into my Friday night when I realized I'd forgotton to eat, so on the way to the bar, I picked up some Beef Jerky and Granola bars from the nearby convenience store. My "dinner" was paid for by an absurdly good-looking blonde in our group who spent most of the evening worrying that the dopey guy in the Ashton Kutcher outfit (jeans, white t-shirt tucked into front of jeans so as to reveal large belt buckle, mesh and foam trucker cap) didn't REALLY like her. At one point, I grabbed her by both shoulders and fairly screamed at her, "HE'S A DORK! YOU LOOK LIKE PAMELA ANDERSON! STOP BEING SO STUPID!"

I finished a "rather proud of myself" 154th in the $200K on Sunday, 55 off the money and in the top 15%. I got aces once in the first hour and busted a short stack. Got tens once in the third hour to double up. But I never had a five digit stack. I spent most of my last 90 minutes throwing my chips into the pot first with any two just to stay ahead of the blinds. Good plan until it doesn't work, like when I pushed with Kournikova from the CO and got called by AQo in the SB. Thanks to all of you who hung out to cheer me on.

Since I'm Divorce Boy, my friend--whose birthday party I was attending--kept intoroducing me to other divorced people with kids, including a couple now dating. They explained that the woman's kid was being babysat by the boyfriend's Ex that evening. Weird, huh? Oh yeah, they were also in their mid-40s and on Ecstacy.

I played the WPBT POY PLO (BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Acronym overload!) on Sunday night. I suck hard at PLO and proved it almost immediately, putting one guy on tilt when I rivered a boat to beat his straight. I felt really bad, so I gave it all back to him on a failed flush draw against his turned straight.

I got a tip at work today that a very well known, A-list, Big Time, hot, hot, hot comedic actor in Hollywood (know who it is yet?) had died in a para-gliding accident, which is so silly I shouldn't have believed it, but I did--the source was semi-reputable--and worked up his profile with a heavy and disappointed heart, only to find out it was false, which did brighten things a bit on my day. And that's really the best I can do in the run-on sentence department.

Last night, I fell asleep on the family room couch, which I suspect will be a fairly regular thing for me in the short-term. I woke to see the thermometer reading a chilly 58 degrees in the house, until I got upstairs where I had accidentally left the heat on and saw it was 78 up there. At least it was toasty when I got out of the shower.

I took the training wheels off AJ's bike and after a few moments of abject fear, he did okay (with me steadying him). He was so amazed by the feeling, he tended to giggle too much and forget to focus on the whole pedaling thing, but I'll take a giggle any day.

I've used the German phrase "Das UberGeigh" eleven times since Bobby found that video.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Home Alone

What's a guy to do his first night in a nearly empty house that sounds like an echo chamber while wondering how he's supposed to cook any fucking dinner since his wife took all the pots, even though she said she wouldn't?

I wrote a story.

The day rose a flat gray, gloomy and chilly, like a shroud keeping the light at bay. A few crows darted aimlessly above as I pulled into the church parking lot, their blackness sharp against the sky. Driving down, my stomach had been clenched the whole way. It had been years since I’d seen Gwen’s family. She was the youngest of four children, the baby to two brothers and a sister. The oldest was a military man, twenty years in the Marines, whom I always felt regarded me with slight suspicion, though you wouldn’t know it by his manner. Next was Oscar, a psychiatrist with a friendly bearing and sharp mind. He openly liked me and had always treated me like little brother. Olivia, Gwen’s only sister, was a couple years older, tall and lean with similar features. A bit of the family outsider, she was the one who would wink at me as her father went off on another tirade, as if to say, “don’t mind him. For all his bluster, he’s harmless.”

I wondered how they’d receive me, seeing my face again amid their grief. I dreaded meeting Gwen’s fiancé. And the very idea of a funeral…it had been so long since I’d attended such a sad occasion. Yet, despite all that, there was a glimmer of anticipation, of seeing Gwen. It was confusing and I wasn’t sure from where that feeling sprang. It almost felt like hope.

A crowd of people mixed in front of the church façade. It was gray, like everything else seemed on this day, the colored panels of its front windows failing to brighten. I walked closer, determined not to tarry, and began to mark some familiar faces, friends of Gwen’s, clustered in small groups, talking low. Of the family, I saw Oscar first, hovering over one such cluster, a familiar patient look on his face, arms clasped in front of him. I aimed right toward him, eyes fixed on his, willing him to greet me. He looked up slightly and caught my gaze, stepping around the crowd to spread himself wide, thin lips growing into a grin. I mirrored the look, before folding myself into his strong embrace. “He’s happy to see me!” I thought, and felt calm for the first time that morning.

We exchanged meaningful greetings, asked after each other, verified that it had been too long. He grabbed me by the crook of my elbow and led me a few paces, reaching out for a shape covered in a black shawl. It was Gwen’s mother and when she turned at Oscar’s prompting, she only stared at me. She was a stooped, wrinkled woman from the old country, but she could uplift a room with her still-strong voice, her laughing eyes and a humorously garbled command of English. After a long moment, she seemed to straighten up. Her face opened in surprise and then, impossibly, what seemed like delight. Her eyes sparkled behind folded lids and she took my face in her hands, tenderly, and pulled me close to kiss my cheek. She repeated my name several times, running the sound of it over her tongue, never taking her eyes from mine. Inside, I roiled. My throat caught and my gut churned with emotion. I began to weep then, unconsciously and without shame. I told her how sorry I was, for everything. She patted my cheek lightly and nodded, still looking at me fiercely, absolving me.

She turned to other attendees, leaving me momentarily dazed. I absently wiped the moisture from my face and turned, suddenly embarrassed. I stepped away from the crowd and looked down. I didn’t hear Olivia come up. She slipped a slender arm around my shoulders and came around to face me. She, too, was smiling and we laughed and hugged. “You look fine,” she told me. “Just fine,” and I offered my condolences. She hooked her arm in mine and marched me toward the church. Toward Gwen.

She was standing on the top step, to the left of the double entrance doors. She was dressed in monochrome, matching the weather. A single iris, blooming yellow and white, was pinned to her blouse, a sign of color—-of life. Her hair was shorter, pulled behind her ears and hanging past her shoulders. She seemed tired, lines on the corners of her eyes which tried to project her usual strength, but failed. She held sheets of papers in her hands, which she shifted back and forth nervously. She didn’t see us until we were almost upon her.

She smiled wanly, as if the very act were exhausting. I greeted her quietly, with a hug that was only barely returned and whispered condolences in her ear. She thanked me and began pointing out some people I knew, though I’d still yet to spy the fiancé.

Then she moved quickly away, offering a valid excuse, but leaving me cold. Sensing my distress, Olivia said, “she’s just nervous. She’s delivering the eulogy."


I sat near the back, in a scattered row with strangers. The alter was rung with flowers, some of them scattered on surfaces, others propped in arrangement along with pictures, the largest of which sat on top of the closed casket. The pulpit was off to the side and the Father led us in prayer and a hymn. Oscar and Olivia got up to say a few words, the latter struggling to compose herself, stopping often, her voice catching. And then she introduced Gwen.

She stepped up, her shoulders back, defiant almost, like she would not succumb to the moment. Her words were tranquil and she spoke evenly, though with obvious effort. Soon, she began to lean into the task, nervousness falling away as she seemed to feel her speech, her body rising and falling with her cadence. She had everyone enthralled.

I sat rigidly. Every nerve ending in my body was poised, straining, as if I were leaning against a crumbling wall, trying to keep if from toppling. Then, it happened.

Gwen stopped without warning. She stepped back from the podium and lowered her head. Her shoulders began heaving, great shudders and spasms wracked her body. Her sister started up the stage to help, but Gwen raised a palm to stop her. Back at the pulpit, she looked up, the pain and anguish etched deeply in her face. At that moment, the dam within me burst.

She continued her tribute, haltingly now, brushing a handkerchief across her brow. I had lost the thread, however, as my own tears cascaded down my ruddy cheeks. I gasped for purchase, that faraway breath deep inside my chest seemingly fictitious. My sorrow was audible now, surging, like a toddler unable to stem a tantrum. I felt self-conscious, disapproving eyes upon me. But it wasn’t an act. It was loss. Pure and terrible. My tears washed over me, opening those old wounds, but salving them at the same time. It was exhausting and pulled me inward. The funeral continued around me, but I was no longer present. I had my own loss to mourn.


The grave site was across the street and I followed behind the procession as it walked that direction. I continued to hover, not joining the mourners surrounding the casket, but staying back, leaning against an oak tree. The family was in tatters, all except Oscar, who assumed the role of consoler and rock. They held each other for comfort, tightly, as their husband and father was lowered into the ground. When that final act concluded, they accepted handshakes and hugs, encouragement and compassion, and bore each other away from the site.

Olivia stopped when she saw me against the tree, our faces in similar states of puffiness. “You should come by the house,” she said. “We’re having some family over.”

“I don’t think so, Olivia,” I responded. “But thanks. I’m not sure Gwen’s comfortable with me being here. And I certainly am in no hurry to meet her boyfriend, fiancé, whatever.” She looked at me queerly.

“Fiance?” she said. “They broke up, Eric. Months ago. He was cheating on her.”


Gwen’s parents’ house was the same as I remember, a small squarely built affair not without its charms. All the houses were the same around this part of Redondo, cheap housing built shortly after World War II, all function and no form. People had gathered around back on the smallish patio, taking in the sun which had finally appeared in the early afternoon. Gwen came around the corner before I quite got there.

“Eric!” and she said it with the kind of fervor that reminded me why I once loved her. She fairly skipped into my arms and hugged me tightly. “It’s so good to see you.”

“You too, Gwen,” I said sincerely. “You were wonderful today. Very moving.”

“Oh thank you,” she said, her face a curious mixture of the pleasure at the compliment and the pain of the occasion. “I’m so glad you came. I didn’t mean to be short with you before the service. I was…well, preoccupied.”

“Not at all. I totally understand. It was a beautiful service, Gwen. You did your father justice.” She looked away then, tears coming again. But she was smiling in profile, maybe recalling a good memory. “And I…I just can’t believe you. You just had everybody in the palm of your hand.” She laughed, a quick chortle, and looked back at me.

“Thank you,” she said, putting an appreciative hand on my shoulder. “Can you help me grab some stuff out of my car?”

“Of course,” I said, putting my thumb to her cheek and wiping away a tear. We carried the various Tupperware dishes to the backyard, casseroles and salads. I greeted everyone again and we got caught up on each other. They seemed impressed at where I’d arrived, a sharp contrast to the many sordid tales they'd undoubtedly heard about my behavior when Gwen and I were together. We laughed easily as we recalled their Dad’s opinionated manner, a gruff exterior that masked a caring family man.

Later, Gwen and I sat on the grass talking, shaded by a cherry tree. I didn’t ask about the fiancé, but she finally brought it up, shrugging it off as one of those things, an error in judgment. I offered my solace anyway, truthfully. A few months ago, I may have rejoiced in the end of her relationship, but things have changed since then. I think I wanted her simply to be happy and no longer thought that I was the only one who could be responsible for that. I told her about Monica, about how I thought I was ready to move on to a good life, after spending far too long doubting myself.

“I always knew you had that in you, Eric,” she told me. “I ALWAYS knew. I could just never convince you of it.” I smiled, believing her correct, and pulled her into an embrace.

“Thanks, Gwen,” I said. I left not long after, telling her to call me if she needed anything, anything at all. I felt cleansed. I couldn’t quite explain it. Maybe it was seeing her, seeing that her life was good, her family close, that not even her father’s death could chop her down. Maybe it washed away some of the guilt I felt at our failed relationship. Maybe it was the tears, the first in a long time, proving to me that I can feel again, that my emotional spring had not dried. Maybe it was the simple love I felt from the family, welcoming me after all this time, being genuinely happy to see me, even in their time of loss. Whatever it was, my heart beat strongly, with purpose.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Moving Day

It's like any normal morning. I'm sitting and writing with a cup of coffee next to the laptop and a couple smokes in me to get the blood running. Except half my furniture is sitting in the hallway. X is running around humming merrily to herself, a new and disconcerting habit, as if she's on her way to paradise instead of a dingy brown two-bedroom in a pre-fab suburb.

I took this momentous day off from work, ostensibly so we can go separate all our finances at the bank, but also because I knew I didn't want to be stressed out, rushing from the bank to daycare to work. I want to relax today. And I'm gonna.

I've mentioned before that I've never lived alone. I've always had roommates. I'm a social being. I like telling people things. I like sitting around and laughing with others. So this is gonna be different. And not only in a negative way. I've plenty of experience in the kitchen, as a bachelor, and for half of each week, I'm my own master again. That's a bit liberating. I have some new goals for this unexpected free time and am looking forward to their pursuit.

A lot of people have asked how I'm feeling and it's difficult for me to say. Relatively-speaking, I'm doing fucking awesome. Just six weeks after my world changed forever, I'd put myself in the top 99th acceptance percentile of "Guys Who Found Out the Love of Their Life Cheated On Them and is Leaving" demographic. In relation to the whole of the population however, I'm probably just below average. I'm not sad. I'm not angry. I'm just dulled. I can laugh easily enough. Tilty moments are shorter and less invasive.

One of the most frustrating aspects was helplessness, since I was convicted on all counts without benefit of a trial. I did not get my day in court with X. I'm a guy who fixes things and I never had the chance here. One of the most remarkable conversations we had was 10 days ago. It was my last meltdown, where I sobbed all day at my desk and sobbed harder when I came home. I could barely get two words out before having to blow my nose. I wanted to know why. How she could do THIS? Why THIS WAY? Why didn't she come to me when there was a chance we could work everything out? She couldn't--or wouldn't--tell me. And when I got to the end of the interrogation, when it was all laid out, she didn't exactly say she was wrong. What she said was, "What do you want me to do about it now?"

And that's where it clicked. The past is gone. Time to look forward. Time to work on getting beyond all of this.

Someone asked me yesterday if I was still in love with her. The person loading my bed into a rental truck right now? Most definitely not. But I'll always be in love with the notion of her, me and AJ growing older together, an idealized version of events. While, at the same time, I acknowledge that's fantasy, a ghost. We were happy once. Very happy. And I will always be of the belief that that happiness was sustainable, was recoverable. I also know I was the only one of us who believed that, the only one of us who was committed to doing everything possible to hold our lives together.

Am I in love with her? Right now, on the spot, under the bright My perception of her has been altered to such a high degree that I am certain I could never get past this incident. It will always exist between us, serving as a defense against the love we once shared. All that went before has been tainted. The cowardice she exhibited did not just occur in her. It's been there a long time. She's withheld her deepest feelings from me almost from the moment we married. It's the way she is, she says. I never knew, never REALLY knew, the depth of her secrets. Until now. And I know nothing could ever be fulfilling between us if she holds fast to that trait.

I've written all of the above without the slightest hint of emotion. That's new. As I said, I'm dulled. I'm going to go out and enjoy the day. I've got an extra walk-in closet now, so maybe I'll expand my already impressive wardrobe, buy myself sumpin' purty. I'm gonna come home later and sling virtual chips with my friends in the latest DADI event. I know I'd be nowhere near my present--mostly positive--state of mind without the embraces of this community and others. Y'all have given me a rock to lean on, carried me at times, and I'm so thankful. Everyone should be so lucky to know this bunch of degenerates.

And tonight, alone in my bed--which is now just a mattress--I'll hear the usual creaks and groans from the house. They won't signal AJ padding down the hallway to join us in bed, nor X getting up for a toilet run. Just the house, settling, shifting. There are no ghosts.

I need to remember that.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I know I keep saying I'm through with the divorce topic, but I can't not write about it at all. Just trying to keep it to a minimum. Yet, this post does seem like a coda of sorts.

The last week or so, my wife and I have been on even terms. Most of our conversations revolve around the logistics of what is happening, regarding her move on Monday, the financial arrangements, AJ's care. We've also been dividing up the more personal items in our possession: CDs, photos, etc. It can be, at times, otherworldly, staring at a picture we had taken in Vegas, both of us grinning and happy then, completely happy, and figuring out who gets to keep it. Some of those photos have caused me minor tilt, but I don't have the appetite for more recriminations. It's over. No use going back into the Octagon.

But it's also because my sadness has given way to more pensive reflection, a less emotional rendering of events, both past and present. My anger has subsided, replaced by someething more akin to resignation. And I'm okay. Really, technically, day-to-day operations "okay," while still acknowledging there are more blind curves and unseen pot holes to navigate.

This morning, my wife and I were discussing one of these logistical issues as we passed in the hallway. I finished what I had to say and she impulsively hugged me. She has not voluntarily touched me in a long time, but today, she fairly lept into my arms. It wasn't a quickie either, not a pat on the back, "good on ya" embrace. She held there for a while and I returned her gesture.

"What was that?" I asked, when she finally pulled away.
"Nothing," she said.

As I descended the stairs, I was puzzled. I got in my car, headed for work and continued to wonder. I was a couple miles down the road when it hit me exactly what that hug meant.


Thursday, March 09, 2006

It's Not About Me...

I have often mentioned the many people--many whom I've met, many whom I haven't--who offered their words and much more during this difficult time for me. I have been truly overwhelmed by your support and kindness. I can't begin to name all of you, nor can I accurately convey how much you've helped and how much I owe each and every one of you.

The corollary to this is that all we do is talk about me. We don't have to do that any longer. And as my first step in becoming a functioning member of the community again (one who gives back, instead of simply accepting), I'm gonna pimp a whole mess of shit today. And I'm also gonna get a bunch of deserving folks on the ol' blogroll over there.

I'm back, bitches.


Leading off is the first WPBT satellite to WSOP events, brought to you by Iggy.

WPBT WSOP Satellite Tournament
March 19th - Sunday
9pm EST
Paradise Poker
$30 NL
password: email me (address is down blogroll on right)

Not only are these fun to play, but there's quite a bit of gold at the end of the rainbow. I feel I must warn you, however, that Bobby Bracelet and I win half of these things and I have the stats to back that up.

If you don't have a Paradise account, like me, that is no bleeping excuse. You know how to download shit, right? Plus, this way, we can all register at a new site with some variation of the ZeeJustin name. Because that's funny.

Byron is also giving 'til it hurts, setting up the first of six thousand blogger tourneys to determine a WPBT Player of the Year. Event #1 is as follows:

What: Pot-Limit Omaha
Where: PokerStars (Private Tourney 20742121) (password wpbt72)
When: Sunday, March 12th at 9:30 PM EST (that's 6:30 PM PST, according to the supercomputer I use to keep track of time-zone changes).
Cost: $20+2

Requirements: Be a poker blogger who wants to take part in this year-long experiment. The poker blogging requirements will be light. Even if you post as often as Hdouble, or mention as much poker as AlCantHang, you are good. This rule will be enforced on an honor system. Non-bloggers will not be eligible for the title and the as yet unannounced prize at the end of the year.

POY-Race: From a biweekly series of events (buy-in between $15 and $20) points will be allotted according to the PokerStars tourney formula (buy-in, placement and number of entries are used to figure points). The winner will be announced at the December WPBT gathering, with the December WPBT event counting as the final event towards the race. See previous post for the origin of the rules. Events will be alternated between PokerStars and FullTilt.

Not sure if I'll be able to make the first one since I'm winning the $200K this Sunday, but I'll definitely be there if I (very likely) bust prior to the start time.


Roll call

Maudie got Star Bombed in comments.

DonkeyPuncher procreated.

s.t.b. took it down. So did change100. Otis had a big score, as well.

Falstaff has a few questions for you and a new line of t-shirts. Rini has tees, too. I'm still working on the final design for "I helped pay for
BG's perforated colon and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

Head got a new gig, but also some bad news. Give him your love and support.

Pauly has finally (allegedly?) left the City of Angels. He had some great write-ups. My favorite was Getting Showcase Laid.

-EV got him some Moneymaker.

Nerd has opened up his online school. Now you too can learn to play 37 tournaments simultaneously.

I have been a little light on my blog reading lately and I'm certain there are a hundred...okay, maybe that's pushing it...other worthwhile posts, strategies, events and so on out there. So, those of you who have come by in recent months to view the latest twist in the divorce saga, thank you, and please visit the good and hard-working folks on the right over there. Some amazing stuff in this little community and very often it has little to nothing to do with poker. First wait like a half hour while I put up some new links.