Monday, July 31, 2006

The Post I Can't Write

I wish this had never happened."

I wrote the other day about how I was "happy." That's true, but it isn't the perfect word to describe my condition. In the midst of a recent wide-ranging conversation with X, the perfect word came out, blurted from my face. What I said was, "I am at peace."

She came over recently so we could talk about a change in AJ's schedule, mete out the holiday assignments and plan for his upcoming adventures in First Day of School and AYSO Soccer. After we dispensed with all that, I started to tell her what's been happening to me.


I stated almost right from the outset of this life-altering event that I intended to make some personal changes in my life. That was bravado talking, a defiant sneer in the face of my pain. I meant it, on some level, knew I had changes to make for AJ's benefit, but it was mostly words. Inside, the turmoil overwhelmed everything else, fueled my anger--both righteous and not. I spent whole days arguing internally, a cacophonous place, white noise and shouted indignation filling me, bashing X, myself, the world at large. I was consumed with regret, with those moments that kept coming back to me, little things I did or didn't do that might have corrected the path. I seized on every slight--real and perceived--and built towers of blameless rage, waiting to unleash them on her.

That emotion, that pain, slowly dissipated and I began to see--to feel--a greater truth. Knowledge seeped in between the cracks of my busted heart. That urge to harden myself lost the battle. Instead of shutting down, letting scar tissue develop on those open wounds, I let the fissures grow wider, laying myself open, willing to start again at the bottom, to find purpose.

I've finally gotten away from my emotional rendering of the event and have been able to look at it with a more logical eye. And what I see is, that even when I thought I was happy, I really wasn't. This is true not just of that failed marriage, but of my whole life. I found comfort in a great many things, found solace in a bottle, fun in dope, fantasy in high potency blotter acid. I found escape in women, love even, letting my heart lead the way into those dizzying relationships. And all those things worked, calmed the demons inside. For a time.

If I'm honest with myself--not an easy thing--there's always been something missing, something I had not yet done, a standard to which I'd not ascended. For many years, I've felt aimless, not unhappy, but wondering if "that's all there is," wondering where the last 20 years have gone and why...oh I look back and find nothing of import, nothing with lasting resonance?


I gained so much strength from you people when this went down. I can't enumerate, nor adequately convey, the depths to which I was aided by your attention, support and love. At a time in my life where I could have felt the most lonely, I never felt alone. At the same time, your kindnesses caused in me some regret, even guilt. Because, for too many years, I'd isolated myself from others, walled myself off inside my marriage because that's what I'm supposed to do right? I'm father and husband now, I can't be spending time traipsing off with friends when I have responsibilities, adult responsibilities!

And maybe that was simple justification for the laziness with which I attended my friendships. Guys I've known almost my whole life and my contact with them had been reduced to the occasional e-mail. It's a trait I recognize, since it's the same as the distance I always noted and disliked in my own father. About a year ago, I got some photos in my e-mail from Donny. In them, were pictures of a camping trip they'd all taken, complete with families, a camping trip I was wholly unaware had taken place. My first reaction was, "What the fuck?!" Thanks for inviting me, guys. My second was that I didn't deserve to be invited, so little had I contributed to my friends' lives in recent years.

I'd done the same with X, of course. When the logistical changes occurred in our lives a couple years back, separating us, diminishing our physical time together, a distance was fermented. And instead of working overtime to narrow that gap, we pulled further away, each of us caught in our own rut, taking the easy, lazy way so as not to be interrupted from our personal attentions. Our connection crumbled, the bridge between us no longer able to reach the shores with neither of us willing to speak up, to give a name or solution to the expanding gulf.

In both instances, I isolated myself, wrapped my life in distraction while ignoring the obvious. It was who I had become. At some level, I recognized it, but at the same time, somehow thought there would be no implications. That any danger could be dealt with.


"I wish this had never happened," she said to me, as we sat on my balcony in the humid heat.

"Me too," I said. "But it had to."

It had to happen to expose my faults. I was not self-aware enough and as much as I'd like to think a less-dramatic change would have shaken me from my fugue, I can't be certain. And the realization that this split was necessary is an idea I resisted long and hard these many months. For much of it, I only sought to quell the hurt. Once that subsided, I lit out to find fault in X. Sure, I did a lot of self-examination. Too much, in fact, so much so that I was asking endless questions, but never quieting long enough to find answers.

With a couple recent and life-affirming events, that noise inside me subsided. I found myself open to ideas I'd not previously considered or heard. There was optimism there, a rendering of the possibilities, not only going forward, but rewards in calming the past. So I was still. I listened.

Regret can be debilitating, because you have no opportunity to go back and alter your decisions. It gnaws at you, those simple things you let pass by that may have made a huge difference. I found many reasons to be regretful in the aftermath. They piled up on me, heavy on my shoulders, an illustration of how I'd failed. I've gone on and on about how I was going to turn those into something positive, how I could profit from my setback, but I was missing a crucial piece of that particular puzzle.

I had to give them up. You can't hold fast to regret. I grasped my failures with white knuckles, trying to choke the life out of them, render them impotent. That's not the way to go. You have to hand them over, release them from yourself. Six weeks ago, in the midst of a soul-shaking moment, I did just that.

I told X all these things that lazy Sunday. I also told her that letting go of that burden pointed me in an obvious direction. One of the great rewards of this tumultuous time has been the realization that I can help people. My words and experience resonated with some, so that they came to me with similar problems. That became one of the things that kept me going, kept me sharing the day-to-day roller coaster. It connected me with people. It turned me into the role of counselor and in the process of re-living my own hurt, of empathizing with the pain of others, I began to heal. And with those regrets now gone, I can take my experience, all that I've survived, and use it to light the paths of others.

So maybe that's what's been missing all these years. Maybe this entirely self-directed life I've lived is what has left me unfulfilled.


"So," said X. "Can you help me?"

I laughed. "You just need to not be afraid to show people your true self."

"Yeah," she said, nodding.

"I forgive you, Mari," I said. "I love you. And I forgive him too."

She only stared at me, blinking.

"And now I'm off into the world to do some good."

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Technology Rules

Ow, my head.

First, let me congratulate Ryan for successful navigation of Day 1B in the WSOP Main Event. Mad ups to my homie. I can't get away with saying such phrases in real life, but on the internet, I'm happy to pay homage to my urban background.

Second, I don't even remember writing most of that...that...whatever that is last night. The point I made is NOT the point of the Post That I Can't Write, though it's related and definitely important. I was not at all in a state of rue and lament over my lost marriage as I'm completely over that (reasons for which theoretically would all be contained in the Post That I Can't Write). I suppose it was simple tilt and the need to pound some keys. But, in the light of day, what it REALLY was was the 21st Century version of a Drunk Dial.


It's past midnight and I'm sitting here eating the remants of three-day old chicken-fried rice cause it's easy and yummy and I'm drunk and I don't want to go to bed, but I sure as hell don't want to play poker any more. In fact, I didn't want to play poker at all tonight. I kept my day and night open, hoping for a rendevouz with a certain person of the female persuasion instead of booking alternate means of entertainment on my first non-AJ Saturday of the new custody schedule. I did not do this because I'm a big fat pussy. I did this because I wanted to see her, but she was too tired and too busy fresh off a recent business trip and goddamn if I didn't fall into large-to-extra-large infatuation with someone who likes to sleep more than I do and is loathe to give up that sleep for face time with someone as handsome and charming as myself.

All of which resulted in me having to drink those 12 beers all by myself and play poker in three MTTs, 'cause what else am I gonna do, and busting out of all three because I get so excited when I get a hand, at least until some a-hole draws out on me or my pocket pair is just slightly worse than the other guy's pocket pair or a marginally functional retard calls my pre-flop raise out of position with K7s when I have aces and flops a boat.

All of which contributes to me being this hour. Too buzzed to sleep. Too manic to read. Too...okay, I'll say it...distracted to watch porn.

Alright...enough of that. Had a cigarette. I feel better. How about maximum cuteness:

AJ looks pretty cute there, too. Haha. See what I did there? In comedic parlance, it's called the Inverted Premise or the Cincinnati Bow Tie or something like that. Anyway, that brings me to a point:

I've been trying to write a post for weeks. It's important and I've come at it from every angle, used every literary device at my disposal, foreshadowing, thematic shading, the Dirty Sanchez. But I can't get it out. It's TOO HUGE. Which is retarded, because it's also really simple.

That boy...the boy in the picture up there...he's my life. There are no words I can find to describe the depth of love I have for him. Every one of you reading this has someone--multiple someones--about whom you feel the same. Do they know this? I bet you assume they do. DON'T. Make certain they know. Make certain with your every word and deed. Because maybe they wonder. Maybe those feelings you have for them, which you consider a given, aren't quite reaching them. Make sure. Now. Or you might find yourself at one in the morning in an empty apartment, making little or no sense on the internet.

And who wants that?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Do The Hustler

This Is Sometimems a Poker Blog

The setting: Hustler Casino in lovely downtown Gardena. Table number 72 (seriously). The game is 4/8 Limit Hold 'Em. The players:

Seat 1: Emily, girlfriend of the 2005 WPBT Winter Classic champion. She thinks I should be a male excort, an idea I'm one bad beat away from undertaking. Filled post-Dodger game by Alan who was wearing a neon sign over his head that said "I'm here to lose money."
Seat 2: Glyph, aforementioned champion and soft-spoken shark who is not afraid to push someone off their chair if necessary, even if it's his girlfriend.
Seat 3: Coco, multi-time Bad Beat Cover Boy, turbo-LAG, who holds the distinction of being the only one of us to play California Blackjack at 3 in the morning.
Seat 4: Asian Guy, who buys in short, is crippled on Hand One by Glyph's AJ (Gold!) with A9. Loses another pot and is gone like the wind within a half-hour. Seat is taken by Morey, a nice guy who sits down with an aura of Dead Money, the color of which, for future reference, is piss yellow. His predictable demise is a signal for things to get nuts as the seat is taken by F-Train, reigning WPBT champion whose powers--and physique--very closely resemble that of the fella on his right, turning that little corner of the table into a chorus of "three-bet" and "cap."
Seat 5: Big Red, amiable giant with a foot-long banded goatee. A tight, competent player who turns out to be an unlikely voice of reason to his buddy.
Seat 6: Middle Eastern (or Latino) Luckbox/Card Rack. Nothing but made or rivered monsters for this cat who finally left with quadruple his buy-in, give or take.
Seat 7: High Plains Drifter, the OC's tightest player who had a difficult choice between Girlfriend Time and Poker Time, ultimately choosing the latter and totally forgetting to call the former.
Seat 8: Yours Truly, known throughout the region as a guy you want at your table after eleven drinks.
Seat 9: Uber-Tilt, Big Red's buddy who professed to be slumming (claiming 15/30 as his standard level) and gets his ass handed to him repeatedly throughout the evening and yes, he took some river beats, but he also took some (obvious) turn beats and couldn't let his hand go and he also played WAY too many hands against a hyper-aggressive table and he also bluffed too much against a table that would call you down with second pair. He moved to Seat 6 when Luckbox/Cardrack moved on and the 9 was filled by Veneno, who scooped one of the biggest pots of the night in a hand that had the floorman updating his resume.

The Hustler 4/8 game has only one $4 blind and no live straddling, news to most of us that put a damper on the usual blogger silliness. At the beginning. Soon enough...

I call Coco's raise from the blind, as does a limping Emily. Flop is all spades and I bet my unimproved/no spade SMTL, Emily calls and Coco raises. We both call and I bet out again on the no-help turn. Emily calls and Coco drops. Still no improvement on the river and my bet induces Emily's fold. I show, Emily fumes, Coco claims The Hammer.

Coco raises and gets two callers. He continues to bet/raise Uber-tilt all the way through and the board is all red and all high cards by the river. UT has a pair of jacks and a busted heart draw and folds to Coco's river bet. When he shows his 6s5s, Uber-Tilt immediately murders our Asian cocktail waitress. Coco soon has Shower's Remorse and attempts to buy Uber-Tilt a drink. "It's not enough money to matter," UT says by way of forgiveness. His face and constant mumbling betray him.

Emily takes a bad beat when she flops the flush and Luckbox/Cardrack turns two pair and boats up on the river.

HPD raises pre-flop and the flop gets capped (with Emily and Uber-Tilt) when it comes KTT. Turn and River are both Kings and betting is hyperactive throughout. HPD shows Big Slick for DQB, Emily JJ and Uber-Tilt JT. One pocket 10s from an $11K jackpot hand, instead HPD scoops a $170 pot and endures glares from Uber-Tilt, who now visibly has steam coming off his head.

I turn the nut flush against Emily in a big pot, value check-call my nuts, then check-raise her on the river. Hear that ladies? Chivalry is totally dead on Table 72. Now it's my turn to feel like something of a dick. Not a good night for her with the cards. Oh well, it's Glyph's money.

F-Train bets me off my pair of sevens on a four-flush board with unimproved A9. I raise my turned straight (which was also an open-ended straight flush draw) on the river and lose to a higher straight when Cardrack/Luckbox hits a gutshot for a higher straight (3-outer, ladies). My stack, which was over my buy-in for the entire evening is now about half. Me not so good at the limit, though I do know well enough to call Coco down with second or third pair.

Uber-Tilt finally snaps. I've only mentioned two beats here, but he took several others, like turning the flush (with...ahem...3h2h) only to see Big Red's Qh (half of his Hiltons) play when the fourth heart hits the river. Funnily enough, UT flopped quads twice, but even on this "loose calling" table, doesn't get paid on either. Anyway, he's had enough and starts loudly lamenting his fate when Big Red speaks up and says, "Dude, you've played every hand for an hour." While not exactly true, true enough, and many of those hands he called more than one bet cold. He never adjusted to the table and had only himself to blame for losing a lot of bets, bets that I wager added up to about $400 when the night was through.

Then, all of a sudden, he gets happy after moving to Seat 6 when the cards start working for him. He's back up to over $200 in front when the Raising Corner conspires to cap pre-flop and he calls three cold from the blind with QT. Five of us--FIVE!--see a flop of KJ9 with two diamonds. It's capped again as I ram and jam with my nut flush draw, four still in. Turn is 6d. He bets, I raise, everyone else drops and he calls. River diamond probably saves him a bet as he check-calls, asking, "You got the flush?" Huge pot takes me from down $50 to up $80. Takes him from the 6 seat to wherever it is that steaming Poker Experts go.

It's down to just six bloggers now and there's really only a couple things that could happen. Vegas Hold 'Em? Check. The dealer is amused, but not concerned. That changes when we play a hand of Indian Poker.

"What are you guys doing?" says a flustered Paul, our very nice and accomodating floorman. "You're gonna get me fired."

We cap it pre-flop.

"Turn the Camera off on Table 72," says Paul into his walkie-talkie.

Veneno pairs her queen on the flop and HPD, Alan and I drop. Coco and F-Train, both unimproved, cap it, lengthening Paul's discomfort.

"We'll tell 'em it's somebody's birthday or something," Paul says to the dealer.

It was probably the longest four minutes of poor Paul's life, but in the end, Veneno scooped a three-figure pot. She then dragged another nice-sized one with AQ, thereby doubling up her buy-in within an hour of sitting down. Timing is everything.

We broke pretty much right after. I apologized to Paul, telling him I hoped nothing bad would happen and he assured me it would have happened already. Larry Flynt's hammer is quick, apparently.

Great fun, as always. And this time, I didn't get stacked. Repeatedly.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Running Loaded

I enjoyed my relatively brief spell in the DADI last night, which ended, as all poker tales do these days, with me losing a race to a bully big stack (last night's special guest star in the ongoing saga of Speaker's Bankroll Depletion was smokkee), who pushed over-the-top with his 14 outs (twice) and I called with my top pair. No miss, no drama (his overcard paired on the turn, his flush completed on the river) and I was off to pummel the nearest throw pillow.

I was feeling a little frisky drunk, however, so I was simultaneously playing the Crazy Re-Buy on Stars, where I cruised into the third hour with an above par stack before losing three straight races, the first two to shorter stacks, the didn't matter since I had an M of 4 at the time. I guess I'm numbed to my bad runnin' (and all to frequent poor play) these days, because I've been through it before. I'm definitely due for a little pullback from the poker machine. Always refreshes me.

Strangely, I feel like I've been on a downswing for almost 8 months. And, for the most part, I have. Yet, I've had three big tourney--and one big cash game--scores and am virtually even in that time. Now, even is not the goal of any player, but staring at the catastrophic losses of February and March, even don't loook so bad. And considering my middling play, I feel fortunate. So I can turn my attention to other pursuits with a clear head and hopefully come back with a better mindset.

That said, I might hit a card room tomorrow night with some of LA's finest. Live is different.


From the Statistical Anomaly Dept.: The A's are 7-6 since the break. I've seen all, or part, of a half-dozen of those games. Their record under my watchful eye? 0-6. Ken Macha may be a Moron, but I'm the fucking jinx.

Here's an old time baseball story I like to tell. I was probably 7 or 8 and went with my Dad to Candlestick to see a Giants-Dodgers tilt. Both my parents are Giants fans and while this wasn't my first trip to the Wind Tunnel By the Bay, it WAS my first to see the reviled Boys in Blue. I remember my Dad telling me about the history between the clubs, those first seedlings of Dodger Hate being planted. I remember the muddy parking lot, the bone-rattling chill off the water. But most of all, I remember being accosted by a drunk and toothless man almost immediately after we exited the car. He had items for sale and he jammed them in my young face, bumper stickers for only a dollar. I pulled way, frightened, but also curious, to read the sentiment:

Fuck the Dodgers.

Welcome to the rivalry, son.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


I love a good re-buy. I popped my cherry with the Crazy $11 Re-Buy on Stars (before the fields routinely went over 1500) and have a handful of Final Tables to my credit. I've built a new wing onto the Speaker Museum and Bachelor Pad with my winnings in the Paradise Special Re-Buy. All thanks to superior intellect and impeccable card savvy.

Tonight however, I'm gonna push any two cards. "But Speaker," you say. "Didn't you do the same thing in Vegas?" To which I reply, "Shut up, smartass." This time, I have a reason, one not having to do with tequila shots and a hyperactive hypothalamus. I'll be 45 minutes late for the start, leaving me only 15 minutes in which to grow a stack that won't be laughed at by the big kids. How many re-buys can a man make in 15 minutes?

Register to find out. Bitches.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Grasping the Concept

"Daddy, what is that funny man eating?"
"Crayons, AJ."
"Yep," smiling and shaking my head.
"You're not supposed to eat crayons."
"No, you're not. And look at his face."
"Ewwwww. He looks like he's gonna puke."
"Crayons are not good for you."
"Why did he eat them?"
"For money."
"How much?"
"Four hundred dollars."
"Four hundred dollars. Wow!"
"It's a lot of money."
"Why'd they give it to him?"
"It's called a prop bet."
"What's that?"
"'s like when Daddy says he'll give you a popsicle if you eat your green beans."
"Yes, AJ."
"I'll eat my green beans for four hundred popsicles."

God bless you guys.

Bash Brothers

I'm booked. I'm Bash at the Boat Bound. Why do I think this trip is gonna be harder on my body than even the Vegas jaunts. Why do I think I'll be playing the role of Derek and stage a minimum of one "Puke and Rally"? Will my long-time drinking buddy, Donny, who will allegedly be joining us from New England, be horrified at the event or will he feel as though he's stumbled into a coven of like-mided degenerates and find himself at sunrise with his arms around Pauly and drizz, the three of them singing, "We Are the World?"

The possibilites are infinite.

See The Good Sir Reverend AlCantHang for all the juicy details.


I was perusing the beer list at Le Boathouse (it's French, right?) and was reminded of a cool thing that happened the other day. I was invited over to a woman's condo (hear that ladies?) and she listed for me the adult beverages she would have at my disposal, ending with, simply, "beer."

When I got there, 90 degrees in the shade, she pulled out some Chimay Grand Reserve and said, "Is this okay?"

Um, yeah. That's okay. I sure can pick 'em.

Heat Index

It was 105 degrees when AJ and I returned to our swank bachelor pad last night at nearly 7 p.m. This marks the 19th straight day of 100+ temps in the Greater LA Region. Now, I'm not one to complain about the heat. Given the choice, I much prefer sweaty over teeth-chattering, testicle-freezing cold. But this is getting sorta silly. We've had humidity that would make Chicagoans beg for relief. On Sunday we had a very cool flash thunderstorm featuring raindrops the size of mini Coopers. It's crazy. Perhaps Al Gore is right. But he's still a douche.

So AJ and I braved 80 yards of simmering asphalt and made our way to the resort-style concrete pond, where we spent two hours submerged in its cooling waters. He doesn't swim yet, but absolutely refuses to wear anything inflatable or floatable, presumably because those things are dorky looking and my son would rather eat vegetables than wear anything dorky, which right there eliminates need for a DNA test to prove he is of my loins.

Back at the pad, we both spent the rest of our waking night clad only in our underwear and building, then flying, a squadron of paper airplanes, a bonding experience I highly recommend to everyone. We crashed early--both of us beneath high-powered fans--momentarily forgetting the cardinal rule of living in the desert in the summer: Don't leave food out. In this case, it wasn't food, but a glass of Gatorade on the dining room table, a glass (and table) that were crawling with ants this morning. Those fuckers. My first infestation of the new place. I only had time this morning for a quick spraying and cleaning, but tonight I'll batten down the hatches by wiping bleach on all the floor boards. Ants don't so much like the bleach fumes.

I've kind of broken up with poker. I'm on a bit of leave, my recent forays not even being of a very serious nature. For one, I'm not playing when AJ's around, which he has been a lot more lately because we've switched to a new schedule, one where I'll actually have every other weekend free. For another, it just bores me. And a newly divorced guy cuddled up with his laptop every night, shouting at the rampant retardation of the players, living and dying on every flop......not so sexy. Sure, it's social (pathetic and sad, but social), but it's not exactly time well-spent for someone who needs to develop a network of locals with whom to drink and talk and have sex.

Plus, Ryan's gonna pad my bankroll in the Main Event.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Luck is Good

Ten more minutes:

After the World Cup Final, I trekked over to the Rio to railbird the GLOBs (Gorgeous Ladies of Blogging) in the women's WSOP event, still horribly hungover, and honestly, I'm the worst railbird ever 'cause the room was crowded and hot and I just couldn't stand there without waves of nausea threatening to overtake me. So I went back into the Rio proper to buy something for AJ. On my way back, I stopped at the various hospitality suites to pick up some free swag.

The first was Poker Stars and I noticed a line about 20 deep waiting for an audience with Greg Raymer. I wouldn't mind a handshake and commemorative photo with the '05 champ and all-around good guy, but I sure as hell wasn't standing in line for one. The day I stand in line for an autograph is the same day I kill myself, especially with a pissed off head and stomach. I skirted the queue and got my t-shirt and tote bag, when a head of luxurious brown hair flashed in my peripheral vision. There, seated on a white leather couch, was Isabelle herself. Mere feet from where I stood. And there was no line.

I walked up calmly enough (hangover stilled my nerve, I guess) and greeted her, mentioning that those 20 suckers over there were lined up to see the wrong person (I still got it). She smiled and shook my hand, no double kiss, and asked my name. I gave it, causing the other inexplicably sexy woman on the couch to make a lame joke about my name that I've heard a million times before, a fact of which I appraised her, trying to sound jovial, but likely coming off as snide due to my general uncomfortableness in the company of strange, stunning women.


The whole scene reminded me of this girl I used to have a massive crush on about 15 years ago. She was a co-worker and, at the time, I believed her firmly out of my league. She was somewhat petite, with huge brown eyes and dark hair, a working man's Winona Ryder (circa "Heathers"), complete with the impressive chest. I was wholly infatuated and could barely get a sentence out every time I had dealings with her.

One time, I had done some work for her and delivered it to her desk. "Thank you," she said and instantaneously I was stuck for a response. Seems pretty easy, yes? but I couldn't find anything to say in those agonizing seconds. "My pleasure?" A little flowery. A simple "You're welcome?" Boring. "No sweat?" Hey, there ya go, informal, stand-offish, I'm a cool guy, playing it off and I'm TOTALLY not touching myself inappropriately to thoughts of you three times a week. So, finally, I responded,

"My sweat."

That's right honey, please to enjoy my own personal perspiration.


I stood there, shifting from foot to foot as Isabelle signed my T-shirt. I was less self-conscious than I was scanning my vocabulary for something fancy to say. Nothing came to mind and I could really only stare at her thin fingers as she wrote. She stood, handed me the prize and said, "Thank you." I laughed a bit then, searching for a response, something to make me stand out, something that made actual sense.

"Good luck, Isabelle," I said.
"Luck is good," she responded.

Maybe I didn't stand out. But she hardly shrunk away in horror or looked at me as if I'd dropped from another galaxy. I'm gonna take that as a good sign. Certainly a step above offering her the dampness in my armpits, which, incidentally, smelled like vodka and grapefruit juice.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Alright. I'll be your Huckleberry. Saw some familiar names on the sign-up list, figure it's fun to play poker with these guys for a buck and if I manage to snag an iPod, I'll donate it to the For Peyton auction. I'll even sign it and include my new DVD, "How to make Shane Nickerson Rich."

Jugs and White Pumps

More 10-minute rambling:

One of the funniest quotes from the Vegas trip was courtesy of Mr. Rini. He wandered by my WPBT tourney table and I asked if he was still in. He replied,

"No, I busted. I needed some 'me' time."

Michael Chabon makes me sick. I'm reading "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" and there are words in there that I don't know, have never heard and can barely pronounce. I think I have a wide vocabulary, but this guy...well...I'm just gonna say he's making shit up. Faker!

AJ and I went to a minor league baseball game the other night. The home of the Cal League (High A) Rancho Cucamonga Quakes is just a couple miles from my new place. The home side, Angels affiliate, was taking on the Stockton Ports, the A's farm team. The A's are pretty much devoid of real prospects at that level. It's mostly a graveyard for too old, past draft mistakes (*coughSnyderMcCurdySullivancough*). Landon Powell, a first round pick from two years ago, is still viable, but he was out all last season with a knee injury and it appears he rehabbed by eating Crisco right out of the can. The ground shook when he came to the plate. Oh well, not selling jeans here.

We sat right behind home plate on another warm IE night, surrounded mostly by scouts with JUGS guns (the Quakes starter, a relatively slight 19-year-old, hit 97 a couple times), which AJ immediately announced he wanted to play with. The Baseball Annies were easily spottable, as well, situated behind each dugout, always standing at the end of a half inning and sporting as little clothing as possible. I give the group of 'em about a 7. My area of LA is a little more white and trashy than other parts and I particularly enjoyed the girl with the pink skirt, white pumps and Jersey-teased hair.

The atmosphere in the park is sleepy, typical jaded Angelenos not sure why they're there, only that they have to be somewhere. The between-innings skits were goofy and lacking any real imagination, though I find it curious that the mascot (Tremor) is an alligator. AJ got a kick out of it, but I couldn't divine the reasoning behind that choice of reptile, since the desert isn't a hospitable habitat for his kind. A lizard would be more location appropriate. A lizard in white pumps would be even better.

Time's up!

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Until the damn dam breaks, I'm gonna do Pauly's 10-minutes-a-day writing exercise, keep the chops working, the gravitas honed to a fine edge.

Played an token race with drizz and easycure (in which we each miraculously snared a Peep) the other day and the (incessant) table chat reminded me of a story from a few years back. I was seated at TGIFridays ('cause that's how I roll) with a couple attractive female co-workers, one of whom was trying to catch the eye of a dashing young man in an ill-fitting jacket. It seemed she succeeded, as he sauntered over. Just before he reached the table, he stopped, turned up his nose as if startled by some scent and said to the girls, "Do you guys smell fish?"

Not the best opener, fellas.

My lunch today, mediocre Mexican fare from the lunchroom, cost $6.66. I have a zit on my left cheek that is so big it's blocking a substantial portion of my peripheral vision, as if I'm sitting behind a tall guy at the movie theater. I ate sushi for dinner last night, the third time I've done so in the last month. In the previous 39 years, I had sushi once, in 1986, an incident that ended traumatically, and without me getting laid.

I moneyed in the Full Tilt 8K last night, doubling my buy-in, but mis-playing a hand late that crippled me. I tried very hard to concentrate and did a good job. I was helped that the plays I did make were rewarded and not victimized by those draws coming in. I got three big pocket pairs, all of them UTG, and played each differently, winning two of the three. Zig and zag, baby. Also on the poker front, I've got a Horse in the Main Event. One percent of one, at least. I've also contracted to feed him grapes and fan him with palm fronds if he advances to later rounds. Kudos and best of luck to Ryan and Zeem in The Show. Sometimes I almost forget I was one turned 4-outer from joining them. But now I remember.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Holding Tight

How is it, with one less wife and half a week without a child, I now have almost no free time? It's not because I have to do all my own cooking, cleaning and laundering, because I pretty much did the lion's share of that toward The End, anyway.

It's pretty simple: I have a life again. I have a social calendar. I have new commitments. I have "things to do." And they hardly ever include poker.

The times in my life when I've been most prolific at the writing thing were when I was in the worst mental and emotional shape. Both divorces brought out my poison pen, those circular arguments in my head being transferred to papyrus for therapy, for relief. And if I'm a little humiliated at some of the unexpurgated stuff that made it into this little corner of Al Gore's internet, at least I could write with passion. Needed that outlet.

And now? Well, I'm kinda stuck. Why? Because I'm happy. Tilt moments are little more than gnats and I easily brush away X's latest--almost daily--inappropriate actions. She can't hurt me any more. Can't even touch me. And while I'm certain she's harming AJ with her carrying on, I am equally sure that I can adequately compensate and fix what ails him on my end.

The thing about it is, I don't wanna talk here about all that's going on.

You? Mr. Let-It-All-Hang-Out?

Yep. I want these things to stay mine for a little longer. I want to keep them for myself and the others involved. I'm not comfortable shining the blog light on any of it just yet. Trust me, I tried. Yet, in the end, simply deleted about six hours worth of rambling. Because it's not time yet. Not ripe enough. So many wonderful experiences lately, from my trips, to my renewed and better-than-ever relationship with AJ to...well...the stuff you don't know about yet. Alright, fine. I won't be a totally coy jagoff: I met someone. She's lovely. Inside and out. And every time she leaves, I miss her more strongly than before.

But it's not just her. It's a shifting. Tectonic plates, man. I'm talking internal stuff here. And I could not be more fucking excited. Just wish I was still able to write.

Quality Content

Short supply around here, I know. There are reasons. I hope to (sorta) get to 'em tomorrow. The creative engine is a strange and fickle beast. And I'm on E right now.

In the meantime, more chances to do some good:

Poker Pro's Donate Items for Charity Auction

That Bobby Bracelet is quite the guy. He's gone and set up a whole bunch of new items to be auctioned. It won't stop there, either. Look for additions like 2 tickets to Howard and Suzie Lederer's WSOP party, a signed cowboy hat by Kenna James, Matt Savage running your home game, Greg Raymer signed a fossil for some lucky bidder, and even more!

Oh yeah, there will be a poker table auctioned off thanks to Bluff Magazine. It will be signed by every pro that Gavin, Spaceman, and Bluff staff can muster. It'll also be signed by the brand spanking new WSOP Main Event Champion. Then of course, Bobby Bracelet will be auctioning that off to one lucky bastard. Better bring your checkbook for that one though, cause it'll go for over 10k.

Here is a rundown of the stuff you will soon find on Ebay and ready for your bids. And by "soon" I mean later today, July 19th.

Two tickets to the Full Tilt Poker Gala Event at the WSOP! There are two tickets available, each one is allowed to bring a guest. This is up already and will end in 5 days because the event is July 26th. It's at Pure nightclub in Caesar's. Check it out, make a bid, meet and marry a celebrity.


One lucky sob and a guest have a chance to attend Howard and Suzie Lederer's
(and Steve Zolotow's) 4th Annual WSOB and Karaoke Championship. Thursday July 27th, from 6pm - ??? at a restaurant off the strip. Many of the top pros will be there, and you never know, possibly a celebrity or two. I can't think of much that would be more entertaining than seeing somebody like Phil Hellmuth belting out Endless love.

Gavin Smith, poker professional and all around great guy, has the tickets and we will get the winning bidder in touch with him to ensure the tickets are in your hand in time.

(Note: this does not mean to imply that Phil Hellmuth will be there.)
(Also: WSOB apparently stands for World Series of Beer. NICE!)

Steve Zolotow has donated a night out at one of his favorite hangouts, a place called Nice Guy Eddie's in New York. Dinner for two, drinks, and whatever sort of poker conversation you'd like to have. Ask questions, listen to stories, get some tips and pointers, or just shoot the breeze. He's a great guy that truly enjoys conversations on a variety of topics.

Robert Mizrachi has offered a 2 Hour Lesson. This will be by phone unless by some chance you can work out a time and place that works for him. With tourneys and travel, chances are you'll have to settle for a phone lesson, but you never know. Doesn't hurt to ask.

Annie Duke sent two signed copies of her book along with 3 DVD's. They were split up into two packages. The first is the hardcover edition with the advanced secrets DVD, while the other is the paperback version with two DVD's, one for beginners and one for women.

Mike Krzyzewski signed a Duke hat. Bobby Bracelet tells me it has taken every ounce of his will not to stomp it into oblivion before setting it on fire. If you're a fan, it's a great Nike fitted hat. If you aren't, buy it for charity and do exactly as Bobby would do in hopes it will work like voodoo on Duke's chances next season.

There is another Card Player package like last time, only this time we have the ability to also add a one year subscription to Card Player Magazine.

There is another Phil Hellmuth DVD package similar to last time, though it will also be joined by a one year subscription to Card Player Magazine.

Go To For Peyton and keep in eye on these items. Should be up today.

PLEASE DO THE BRACELET A FAVOR AND POST ABOUT THIS ON YOUR SITE. Again, if you'd like to help out, but don't have the means to bid on something, please pass this information along and/or post it on your blog.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sunday: Bloody Sunday

The first thing I did when I woke up Sunday morning was math. I vaguely recalled my craptacular flameout at the table the previous evening and wanted to know exactly how much it cost me. The second thing I did was decide not to drink for quite some time, at least until later in the afternoon.

I was barely coherent and was lucky to have Chad and Bobby around in order to make it to Mandalay Bay for kickoff. Left to my own devices, I'd probably still be wandering around Luxor. I did have the good sense to buy a couple bottles of Gatorade first.

"You wanna drink," Bobby asked me...oh...27 times. "Leave me alone," was my usual answer. I felt awful, but the game was instantly compelling. As Garth is my witness, I called Zindane going with the "cheeky chip" on the PK. I should bet on things like that--and Roshambo with Iggy--rather than my crappy poker cards.

I had put a hundred on Les Bleus, my reasoning being that the game was essentially a coin flip, so France was the price play at +140. I was exactly correct. In fact, France was an underserved loser after their complete domination of the second 45. Not that it won me any money. Gambling is dumb.

Despite the full-body rebellion against the previous evening's (morning's, afternoon's) excess, the match was enjoyable, thanks to the attacking play and the company of a dozen or so bloggers. One surreal moment came when the big screen flashed a shot of President Clinton (white wine in hand) in the stands, causing the sportsbook to erupt in cheers. Did that just happen? Another time, the camera panned to the French President, Frenchy McFrenchman, and Bobby The Rooster screamed out, "Fix your economy!"

As you all know, the Italians won in penalties, their first such triumph in the World Cup (see that, England, Holland?) and took their trophy back to the Mediterranian to face criminal charges, demotions and expulsions. Nice. I took my stupid ass over to the Cafe, along with Bobby, April, F-Train, The Heads and The Kid, for a $20 double cheeseburger. It was very good, the first food I'd had since a stromboli about 24 hours earlier, but it only served to further illustrate that what I really needed was sleep.

This is a hurtful revelation to me, a man who has spent many Vegas weekends without the slightest shut eye. Guess I'm feeling my age.

I was awakened a couple hours later by a phone call from a girl. Hear that ladies?

I shower and call ANOTHER girl (damn, how does he do it?) and she says,

"It's roulette time!"
"Did you just say...?"
"Roulette Time!"
"It's NEVER Roulette Time."

Except when it is. Soon, we had commandeered the entire table, save one spot (shout out to my main man, Jorge!) April had a massive stack. Iggy's was bigger. Bobby, as you may or may not have heard, was running a little poorly that weekend, a fact he helpfully pointed out to the rest of us so we could bet on numbers he didn't. In fact, it soon became apparent that whatever number hit would be adjacent to the one he put a fiver on. So, each time he placed a bet, there was a frenzy of activity to surround that number. It was like the monkey cage at poo-flinging time. Such advanced strategy kept me--and my buy-in--alive for a good 90 minutes. Maudie and The Princess would soon join us, the latter showing special skill at both roulette and knocking over my beer (three times!). I eventually had to hold my Heine above my head and give her the Heisman with my off arm to keep the precious barley and hops safe. Dawn and Penner happened by and called out winning numbers for us. I was all-in on half a dozen occassions and still managed to keep playing. My favorite number, 17, hit five times. I played it one of those five. I played it 20 other times to no avail. Clearly my roulette game is rusty.

The surprisingly long roulette session led to us chasing The Heads to Casino Royale for some cheap craps (a decadent choice made over drunken bowling at the Orleans). By the time we arrived, they were safely back at the Excal. D'oh! We walked part of the way back, stopping for food at O'Shea's (only the best!) where Iggy got tilted over his chicken parm and Heather didn't spill my Gatorade.

Back at the Excal for Beverages and More, including me dropping another buy-in and a half at the 1/3 game, most of it to Garth, meeting Carmen (officially) and having some fun with the non-bloggers at our table.

Blogger (I forget who it was), to random guy with iPod: What are you listening to?
Randome guy: Nothing (takes ear buds out). Battery ran out.

I'm loud when I'm drunk. What? Oh yeah, somewhere in there I got drunk again.


I had a fantastic time. I have a few regrets, mostly born from the fact I was a drunken chicken running around drunkenly with his drunken head cut off for most of the time. The best parts, as always, were sitting with my freinds, shooting the shit about this that and everything, and in my hyper state, I didn't do enough of that. To those new folks I did meet, however briefly, I apologize for the short shrift. I'm a giddiot. Ask anybody. Next time.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Saturday (Part II): Rich Man, Poor Man

I suppose the best way to illustrate my frame of mind on Saturday evening/Sunday morning, is to start at the end.

I was into the 1/3 NL game at Excalibur for a grand, sneaking up on 5 a.m., with about $150 in front of me when I live-straddled. Byron raised and Katkin re-raised behind him. Folded to me and I look at my cards for the first time: Seven-Two Off-Suit. I release my cards, hands headed for my stack, which I push in. As I do, the dealer grabs my cards (I'm in the always dangerous 10 seat) and moves them towards the muck. Thankfully, I catch him before they get lost in the pile. Retreived and suitibly double-checked for accuracy, I await Byron's fold and Katkin's call. It all goes as planned and Katkin makes the grevious error of bringing Pocket Kings to a Hammer Fight.

Flop: 654
Turn: 8

I'm a bad man. The result brought a mini-eruption and the table broke soon after. (Though the story had legs. On Sunday, I ambled into the Full Tilt hospitality suite and saw Katkin, who immediately turned to a colleague, pointed at me and shouted "THAT'S THE GUY!" Jon's played enough at Murder's Row and with other bloggers to be able to shake off the ridiculous beat, since he's seen it happen many times--usually to Hanel.) The fact is, this hand was pretty consistent with how I'd played all night. If I was in a pot, I was bluffing at it. I really don't recall hitting many flops. I was getting my silly ass kicked, but I was having every bit as much fun as I did back in March when I took $1400 off a similar table (the only difference being I became a card rack after I showed myself to be a moron). That might be a leak. I play a different game with bloggers, but they've seen it enough to adjust. And the booze? Well, I was feeling no pain, even as I reached into my wallet on four occassions. So, you see, even my rather large losses couldn't stop me from being the jackass playing The Hammer from a Live Straddle against a raise and re-raise.

Shane made me broke on three different occassions, two of them from the Live Straddle position (in his BB). I had outs the first time, with an OESD to his overpair. I was drawing about as thin as a person could be the second time with FHMK (that's five-high-middle-kicker/53o) to his set of 3s. I don't even remember what I had the third time, but I was told days later he had TPTK and the nut flush draw when the money went in. What a loose call.

I tossed some more chips away pre-flop to doubleas when his JT kicked my Big Slick's arse. I doubled up Veneno when we both had the OESD, which didn't hit, but her unimproved crappy cards were better than my unimproved crappy cards. Hmmmmm, who else did I pay off? I think that's about it.

I did win some hands, getting doubleas and smokkee to fold on the turn--after a pre-flop raise and a flop bet with unimproved SMTL. In their defense, it was a Hammer two-pair board, they held only ace-high and, well, it was pretty clear I was playing any two and could have a piece of the ragged board. I bluffed at a couple others, making myself the guy who won a lot of small pots and lost a lot of big ones. Not so much the way to go.

But, again, it was a blast. Ultimately costly, and I woke up Sunday morning feeling like a perfect ass for donking away hard-earned bankroll, but I honestly think it's a coin flip about what I'd have rather been doing that night: grinding out a small profit or sitting at a table with friends, old and new, and laughing until my face hurt. And it's no matter if they were buying me shots of tequila and making me laugh just to keep me at the table as long as possible so I could donate.


It was not yet light this morning when I awoke, the smell of fresh rosemary--from her garden--teasing my nostrils. It wasn't a dream, I thought, as I rose and stepped into the living room where, under the herbs, I could smell her, too, her perfume clinging to my sofa.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Saturday (Part I): Surprisingly Fresh

I have photos up.

Chad, Bobby and I were remarkably showered and present at Caesar's by 10:15 on tourney day, figuring our fashionably (and, in my case, extremely fashionably) late arrival would still beat half the field. Not even close. The program was underway, a good 95% of the bloggers were seated in rapt attention and we quickly made the exectutive decision to not upset the solemnity, since the group would have likely been distrated by the three of us striding confidently, if a little woozily, into the proceedings. Instead, we went in search of food, life-giving, alcohol-sopping food.

We ended up at a deli, where it took a month and a half to get our orders, the employees apparently under anesthesia, at least until Bobby tried to sit at a table to eat while the rest of us were waiting. Apparently seating is reserved for the OTHER customers, as opposed to those simply buying sandwiches in the establishment. I went with a double-decker turkey and roast beef, half of which I ate in the adjacent sportsbook, the other half which became my bounty, as I was unprepared--and lazy--in that regard.

As such, we missed the speakers and the Roshambo tourney, which I regret, but it really was for the best. Your intrepid narrator was not feeling his best and various sounds and smells were coming out two of his orafices. You're welcome.

There was really only one solution and it comes in the form of tomato juice, some spice and vodka.

My WPBT starting table was tigher than Sherry Nevala's 7th grade Dittos. The lineup:

Seat 1: Columbo, carrying the Flag for VHS users everywhere
Seat 2: Alan, my traveling companion
Seat 3: Garthmeister, with whom I would have too much fun talking proper football
Seat 4: Lori (okay, not so much ALL tight)
Seat 5: Heather, fortunately a buffer between she and I, but not for reasons you might think
Seat 6: CA April, buffer extraordinare, who check-raised me in a battle of the blinds
Seat 7: Moi
Seat 8: Sox Lover, who pronounced himself "sick" upon sitting down and immediately blew his nose with the 8 of diamonds
Seat 9: Grubby, he of the Tic Tac Toe chicken bounty, which demanded a cry of "Chicken in Every Pot!" each time he entered one
Seat 10: Empty to start. Filled eventually by Amy and her impressive cleavage.

I offered to kiss a guy after he complimented me on my blog. Actually, that happened on Friday at the Excal, but I totally forgot about it until I read it on his blog and I'm even more embarassed at my flippant remark to his sincere words and thus, must re-trace my trip report steps to offer this public apology.

I got pocket 10s three times in the tourney. The first time, at Level 1, I laid them down to Alan's re-raise. I said, "You have Aces or The Hammer." It was the latter. For such a breach of "passenger in my hawesome new luxury sedan" etiquette, I promised 3 hours of speed metal on the ride back to LA. The second time, at Level 3, I called a 4x raise on the button. Grubby came over the top--enough to put me all in--for the second time in the tourney. It was folded back around to me and I said, "I'm either way behind or slightly ahead." It was the latter. I called and won the race against his AK. This is part of my philosophy to always call Grubby or drizz if it's a race situation. The third time, I lost about 20% of my stack when I laid down my tens pre-flop to a push behind from ChicagoBryan. I said, "I'm not slightly ahead this time." I was right. He had Jacks.

A similar circumstance happened the same orbit when I laid down my raised 66 pre-flop to Columbo's push. He claimed Jacks, as well. And that, dear people, is how I went to the second break with a looming M was 2.5, quickly down from a fairly lofty above-par stack without even seeing a goddamn flop. I soon ran my naked ace into Garth's AJ and plummeted out mid-field. I bet he didn't even eat my sandwich.

I then adjorned to the bar for untold hours. It was simultaneously my favorite and worst part of the trip. And I'll leave it at that.

Stromboli + Nap + Shower and I was back at it in the Excal Poker Room, after a few drinks (which further cemented the Shampoo Theory--one extra dab equals mucho lather--as I was trashed again by my third beer). I met some other newer bloggers, Hoff, Miami Don (who conveniently made himself recognizable with the Hurricanes shirt) and Iakaris, and got myself seated at a boring 1/3 NL game before moving to a (mostly) blogger table.

Hilarity and Carnage Ensued. And it really deserves its own post but it should probably be written by someone other than I since I have the faintest recollection of most of it, the time being marked only by the regular intervals at which I re-bought. I tend to play hyper-aggressively against bloggers anyway and you add in my blood alcohol content and the hilarious time had by all, what you get is stuck $700 on the night. And it shoulda been more, but for the power of The Hammer.

Coming Soon: Nickerson adds a new wing to his house, Katkin's drawing dead by the turn, smokkee goes on SMTL Tilt, the World Cup Final and Roulette Time.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Friday: Descent Into Madness

"Spending the weekend with the bloggers, who revel in playing rotten hands, it’s hard to find a crummy hand that doesn’t have a nickname.
--Michael Craig at Table Tango

"It's amazing someone hasn't died at one of these things yet."
--Iggy, peering at me over the tops of our 12th greyhounds of the morning.

Commence semi-chronological snippeting.

Upon entering the Excal (I'm so done with that fucking casino and its poker room employees), I see Bobby, April and The Princess playing blackjack. I kiss Bobby first. He's playing two spots, tipping two bucks in every spot, 'cause that's just how he rolls.

Hear that ladies?

Head off with DonkeyPuncher and the two ladies for a couple errands and "lunch with the girls" after dropping a c-note on blackjack. Briefly lose the ladies when DP and I can't resist a Newcastle at the MGM bar. Eat sushi and chicken at Caesar's and bet DP a dollar for every dried red pepper I can eat. I earn a dollar and a hole in my espohagus. Meet with Caesar's Poker Room managers. All three of them are named Carmine. DP puts them on tilt admiring their pinkie rings.

Back to the Excal for 2-6 retardation. Meet Hoyazo and Dawn. Play with Maudie, Derek, Zeem, Chad and The Rooster, who cracks my Kings with Aces, even throwing in a Best Performance in Low-Limit Reverse Tell Bullshit Acting when an ace falls on the river. Stop playing poker. Take abuse from Felicia. Leave when she threatens to lift up her shirt.

Roll some dice. Lose $25. Buzz kicking in. Eat something, somewhere. Shower and don my linen finery for the trek to the MGM. Set up shop in the bar. I don't pay for drinks. Female bartender remembers us from last trip and is comping. Hear that ladies? Josh shows up. Stays upright. Meet tons of bloggers: Garth, Kat, Jules, Blinders (and, okay, you know what, if I miss listing you, I apologize. I was well in the bag by this point and that particular condition showed some bleeping stamina this weekend. So, let's all just assume I'm a drunk idiot from this point until Sunday at 11 a.m. when I start to remember things again).

Play 1/2 NL cash game. Have Nickerson two seats to my left when I sit down. Wait two orbits for him to notice me. He doesn't. During discussion of getting dealt good hands when away from the table, I mention I always get aces when I have diarrhea. Immediately leave table for three orbits (to go to the bar) and, upon my return, announce that I didn't wash my hands.

Offer to back Mrs. Head in Roshambo against ANYONE. No takers. Can't find Bobby, who, at last report, was passed out in Pauly's room.

Tell new girl at my NL table she smells good. She says "thanks" then gives me odds to draw all the way when she holds aces. I don't hit. Go to bar for SoCo. My bartendress benefactor is gone. Actually have to buy it.

Meet Waffles. There is a look of fear in his eyes as I pump his hand. Go to the bar for Newcastle. See Bobby. He's a fetching shade of green and drinking water. I give soon-to-be Blogger Champion F-Train a swat on his bony ass. I don't remember why.

I also don't remember going back to the Excal, but I must've, 'cause that's where I woke up Saturday morning.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

First Things First

I lost my first wager of the weekend 9 hours before I even left for Vegas. I lost my last six hours before heading home. In between, I dropped a grand to bloggers at the poker table, $250 on dice, a buy-in at roulette(!?), a Benjamin on blackjack (within 15 minutes of my arrival), two weeks' pay at various bars, a well-conceived, but ultimately feckless bet on France and the price of a medium-range hooker on cab rides.

I'd have paid double just for the pleasure. Not the hooker. The bloggers.

Every time I go, it gets more and more difficult to write it up. So here I sit, festering ideas and gaps in memory plauging me. Therefore, I give you something even more important for now, my old friends, ones I just made and my invisible internet stalkers. After all the bad I done this weekend, it's time for some good. I encourage you all to join me.

Poker Pro's Donate Items for Charity Auction


As many of you know, Bobby Bracelet has been on a mission to help a young girl named Peyton, whose mother passed away recently from small cell ovarian cancer. Many people have stepped up during this process to lend support. Gavin Smith, World Poker Tour Player of the Year, has worked very hard to generate a buzz within the poker community. Gavin has gone above and beyond the call of duty, even spending enough quality time with Phil Hellmuth to persuade him to donate. That is what I call dedication. Jason “Spaceman” Kirk has used his connections in the media to gather donations and turn Card Player Magazine on to our exploits. Shelly Hokanson designed, and continues to manage, She has the worst job since Bobby Bracelet is a prima donna who can’t seem to ever make up his mind about things. I could continue on, but needless to say there have been many more who have helped along the way.

Currently there are a bunch of items up for bid. Items are available through Ebay. You can go to the sight and click from each item in the “Silent Auction” section to be taken right to its page on Ebay. We have some amazing things coming up in our second wave of items. Keep coming back to see us auction another lesson from a professional, tickets to an exclusive party held by the Lederers at the WSOP, and much more!

Please post about this on your website and help me get the word out.

Phil Gordon - One Hour Lesson with Phil!

Card Player - Card Player Package!

Hellmuth and dummies - Phil Hellmuth DVD!

Hachem - Joe Hachem signed photo!

Mercier - Isabelle Mercier signed photo!

Ivey jersey - Phil Ivey signed jersey!

Smith jersey - Gavin Smith singed jersey!

Seif jersey - Mark Seif singed jersey!

Grinder hat - Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi signed hat!

Negreanu package - Daniel Negreanu items!

Fischman package - Scott Fischman items!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Holding Down the Empty Fort

As one of the two people on the planet who actually has to work today, I would just like to get something off my chest:


Of course, back-to-back weekend benders may have contributed to my ill mood this morning, though last night's wasn't entirely my fault as I was up well past my bedtime final tabling a 180 on Stars. My finish was 7th, which sucks, because I was in control of my table for 90 minutes and briefly the Chip Leader with 28 left, at which time the poker gods decided I was going to double up the short stacks by giving them AA when I had KK or dropping an TTAAx board for the short stack's ATo when I had to call the extra 1K (into an 8K pot) with KQs. By the time I got to the final table, I had a quarter of my previous stack and basically folded to my finish. Not that I'm complaining, because it cut my evening's losses in 2/3rds.

The reason I love the Paradise Special Re-buy is because people will call off all their chips with QT on a QJx board when I'm holding Kings. Their 10K stack of chips. At blinds of 100/200. That he made a runner-runner straight to cripple me bothers me not at all. He is why I do well in that tourney. And I hope he does it again next time (same with the guy who had doubled me up on the previous hand by calling my AK push with AJ. Love those guys).

So, the poker was 'meh' during my only session of the weekend. And I didn't know until this moring that Rafe Furst won a bracelet (YAY!) and so did Rusty Boyd (^$%$#%Y$*^#%$^%%#%). Hopefully, Dutch spent some of his winnings on blow and his heart gave out and he's currently dead in a hotel with several cross dressers weeping over his rapidly deteriorating carcass. I guess Karma had the day off. Fucking scumbag.


You wanna get better at poker? DoubleAs can help. His book, Pressure Poker, is out, with contributions from Otis, Pauly, Iggy, HDouble, Nick and Grubby, with cover art by DuggleBogey.

Getcher ass over to there and reap the reward of this vast storehouse of poker knowledge.


Been here 90 minutes. Haven't been asked to do a single thing. Have no work backed up. Glad I came in today. As my high school teammate Vinnie Montana used to say, "Worth it."


Has anybody seen Frank Lampard? There was this dude wearing the #8 shirt for England, but that couldn't have been him.

What a cock-up. I don't even know where to begin. Eriksson's selections, I suppose. Way to give yourself no way to change tactics, not that you have anyway in your time on the job. They were boring, without invention and rigid as fuck. When Owen Hargreaves is your best player on the day, you know you're in trouble. They have more world class talents right now than they've had in 16 years, but as a team, they're a mess. Perhaps McLaren can figure out how Gerrard and Lampard can co-exist on the pitch, because Eriksson hasn't. I was a big proponent of the 4-5-1 with Hargreaves (or Carrick) in the holding role, becuase it's been painfully obvious for a long time that neither Gerrard or Lampard were comfortable in that role in a 4-4-2. Yet, the change of formation didn't help. Where are those rampaging runs we see from those two on a regular basis? They've willed their club sides to victory on dozens of occassions, but neither have ever translated it to the international game.

Hopefully, this is the end of Beckham's international career, He's basically the equivalent of a placekicker at this point. He can't defend, he can't beat anyone off the dribble. He doesn't even have that engine any longer.

This team needed Robbie Fowler. No, I'm not kidding.

I hate PKs, but England did not deserve to win. And if you saw their expressions and body language during the spot kicks, you'd have clearly seen they weren't going to. I was pissed they lost; more pissed at their level of play the entire tourney.

On a related note, I was not surprised to see France beat Brazil. After their performance against Spain, I was struck by how organized they are defensively. Little to no space in their rear guard and they close it down quickly. Having world class ball-winners like Makelele and Vieira helps. They started the tourney slowly, but have been getting better each time out. Zizou remains imperious and Henry is a predator, pure and simple. They have a strong chance to win the whole thing and I don't believe they'll have any problems with Portugal.

Brazil looked a step slow to me and Ronaldo was not just fat and lackadaisical, but goddamn lazy as well, the team only coming to life when Adriano came on. Cafu and Roberto Carlos were bottled up on the flanks, Kaka was pedestrian and Ronaldinho just couldn't seem to find any groove. Contrast that with Zidane who pulled the strings masterfully in the second half. Dissapointing peformance from the Brazilians, lacking in flair and rythym.


Her eyes are green flecked with gold, her lips are soft as down and as I kissed her repeatedly, my breath quickened and the heat rose in my skin.