Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fear & Loathing in the Valley of the Sun

I'm not one to waste a three-day weekend.  So, Friday evening, I set out for a little adventure in the desert.  Scottsdale to be precise.  Three days of sun, baseball and, yes, even a little poker.
I landed in PHX around 9:00 pm local time, headed for the rental car counter, and picked up my ride.  Thirty minutes later, I was at the lobby bar with a drink in hand.    
My last trip to Phoenix, three or four years ago, the gentlemen and I stayed at The Biltmore (where we had the pleasure of watching Pedro Martinez attempt to plow young ladies with Pineapple & Vodkas post-game at the hotel bar . . . perhaps a story for another time).  This time, I decided to use some of my 100,000 SPG points and platinum suite-night awards, and free-rolled a Casita Suite at the Phoenician:

Saturday, following an early morning run by Camelback Mountain, I spent the day at the pool:

There's not much better than spending an afternoon poolside in the 97 degree desert heat, floating around with a cold Miller Lite, and enjoying the local "scenery" . . . 
That evening, I headed downtown to watch Wade Miley duel Andrew Cashner:
The roof was open, and it was a great evening for some bases.  In the 5th inning, with a small lead, Miley took a comebacker off the leg.  And, while he shook it off and stayed in the game, he basically blew up his shit and failed to make it out of the inning.  The Padres ending up winning 10-6.  A bad night for my OVER 82.5 season totals bet on the D-Backs . . .
Sunday began with a 5 mile hike in the McDowell Sonoran Mountains.  I rolled into the parking area and witnessed several other groups of people about to venture out.  They had gear.  Like, a lot of gear.  Backpacks, hiking sticks.  And water.  Lots of water.  I felt somewhat ill-prepared.  For my part, I had my IPhone (and OAR's Live from Madison Square Garden queued up) and a half-drunken latte from Starbucks.  Fuck it.  It's the desert.  What could go wrong?

I made it just more than half-way around the mountain trail.  I was trying to run as much of it as possible, which was tricky given the terrain.  Then, it happened.  In the distance, I saw two very "in shape" women who were also running some of the trail.  I tried to catch up.  I found myself with a crap load of momentum rounding a corner and tackling a dip.  My left foot caught a rock.  Suddenly I was parallel to the trail.  Airborne.  Face plant.
I busted up my leg and left wrist; but otherwise, I walked away relatively unscathed.  It could have been much worse.  I could have easily landed on one of the many large, jagged rocks and broken something or knocked myself silly.  Or, the two women ahead of me could have witnessed my tumble.  I walked the remainder of the hike . . .
Sunday afternoon was spent at the pool.  Then, it was time for some poker.  I programmed Google Maps to Talking Stick Resort, and by 6:00 pm I was on the wait list for a $2/3 spread game.

The poker room had a decent set up.  Lots of space and plenty of TV's.  Yet, there was something somewhat depressing about the room.  Maybe it was the local crowd, many of whom looked like they should be spending their buy-ins elsewhere on more important things.
I bought in for the max ($300):
I had never seen $2/3 spread before.  Apparently, Arizona does not allow no limit games.  I had a basic understanding of what the game meant (basically, it played the same as no-limit, except that the maximum bet was capped at $300).  This, however, did not stop me from asking the gentlemen next to me, and loud enough for most of the table to hear: "so, what exactly is $2/3 spread?" 
The game was wild.  Much like my experience in South Florida last summer.   Lots of very big raises with relatively bad holdings -- $80 or $90 preflop raises would routinely be called.  The raisers would show hands like Q9 off, and the callers would have a weak Ace.  Money was flying around the table.  I kept my head down.  I was able to limp in late with 45, turned a straight, and got paid off.  I also hit the nut flush with A4 hearts.  The hand was somewhat interesting.  It was limped 5 ways.  I was second to act.  The flop was JTT with two hearts.  It checked around.  The turn was the 5 of hearts (giving me the flush).  First to act bet $20, and three of us called.  The river was an 8, putting several straights on the board as well.  Original bettor again lead out, this time for $45.  There were two players behind me (one of whom was very good).  Clearly, I'm beating a hell of a lot here.  The eight could have been a great card for me.  In the end, I choose not to re-raise (particularly with two behind).  Unfortunately, both folded and I won the minimum.  I took some stares from the table.  Clearly, any one of these maniacs would have shipped the river in that spot.  I don't think my play was terrible.  Although, as mentioned many times before, I sort of suck at poker...
I had a second big hand about thirty minutes later.  I had just gone for a walk around the casino in search of Ms. Kitty and/or her good friend Mr. Cashman (neither were present).  When I returned, I had just missed my big blind.  I bought the button for $5.  6 people limped in and the action came back around for my option.  I glance at my cards: two red AA.  Sweet.  I bumped it up to $22 and got two callers.  Seems reasonable.  Flop came down QTx with two spades.  I'm first to act, and I'm not messing around.  I bomb just under the pot -- $60.  Fold, fold.... 
In the end, I won just under $200 . . . and promptly pissed nearly all of it away on Oysters, Cabernet and a filet at J&G Steakhouse back at the resort.  Easy come . . .           
Monday morning I woke up early . . . again . . . when for a run, and then checked out "Old Town Scottsdale."  Cool little town:

Later, after some additional pool time, it was back to Chase Field for game 2 of the D-Backs' Memorial Day double header.  And, more psyched I could not have been -- my fantasy ace, and overall stud, Yu Darvis was on the mound for the Rangers.

Yu did not disappoint.  He gave up hits on his first two pitches, and promptly fell behind 2-0.  Then Yu did what Yu do -- 14 K's in 8 1/3 innings.  Mixing in his cutter . . . hitting 97 on the gun with his fastball . . . throwing the slider mid 80's . . . and working in a 66 MPH change up.  Just wicked.  Unfortunately, with a 4-2 lead in the eighth, he made one mistake to Didi Gregorious (I thought he was just a glove?) and left with a no decision.  The D-Backs went on to win the game with a walk off single in the 9th.  I listened to that play in the rental car on the way back to Sky Harbor, hustling to catch the 11:30 red eye back east.
This morning, I had a layover in Charlotte.  I boarded the 7:30 am flight to D.C., got to my middle seat, and found an open can of ginger ale in the aisle seat.  Shortly before take off, some chick who looked like a beaten Russian prostitute takes the seat.  She pulls her hoodie over her head, sips from the can, and constantly fidgets.  She's clearly ill.  I think she has SARS.  Fucken great.  I try to hold my breath for the fifty-nine minute flight, but it's no use.  I can't do it.  Russian Hooker spends most of the flight with her head down on the tray table . . . still fidgeting non-stop.  The old lady in the seat in front of her must be about to go bat shit.  But at least she's not being exposed to the SARS like me.  So, now, back in the office, I'm just waiting to contract a disease with no known cure.  My lungs are starting to ache already.  I have no idea what the incubation period is, but this is sooner than expected.  It could all just be in my head....  I hope so.  Because this weekend is the annual "gentlemen's bases" trip -- we're heading down to South Beach for a few nights at the Fountain Blue to see the Mets play one of the few teams in the league they may actually beat.  Looking forward to the beach scene as well.  A stiff case of SARS would be a bummer.



  1. "$80 or $90 preflop raises would routinely be called..." It's a damn shame that Arizona doesn't have no limit games... :)

    1. Tell me about it. I mean, the $300 cap wouldn't seem to come into play that often; but then again, the way these jokers play, maybe it does!

  2. what neither of u realize is the fact they dont allow NL is why the games are loose. but how did they RAKE the game while u were there?

    1. Tony, to be honest, I didn't pay attention to the rake. Just played a few hours for fun. The only thing I did notice is that they pulled away $1 of the $2 small blind immediately, which was very weird. I'd post the $2 and, then, there would just be $1 out there. Then, if I wanted to call the $3 to see the hand, I'd have to put up just one more $1, but then there would only be $2 in front of me.

  3. $1 from the small blind is for the jackpot. I don't know the exact rake, but I usually see $3-5 dropped, depending on the pot. I don't think it goes over $5 (I'm sure I'll be corrected if it does, though!)

    1. Yeah, I thought that was where the $1 was going. It forced me to pay attention. Several times I ended up putting up another dollar because I thought I was short.

  4. Nice Trip Report P Cube.

    On a different note, played them the machines at CT. Dueces Wild, the machine takes a max of 20 coins (25c). But, I wasn't going to feed it 20, so, played my usual 5 max.

    Board: AsJc328, held As and 2.
    Redraw: As2Js22 (hit the spade royal with a duece for 125 coins).

    I usually never have luck with 4 to a st8 flush or royal at CT. I think that is the biggest I ever won on CT machines.


    1. Nice hit, GP.

      I still refuse to even play VP at the Chuck. First of all, I prefer 10-hand or 100-hand VP, none of which they have at the Chuck. Second, they have no bar-top VP which I love (presumably because of state law). But, beyond that, I hit my first and only Pure Royal Flush there about 5 years ago, playing 5-quarters ($1.25) a pull. That typically pays $1,000. At Charles Town, it paid (I believe) $250. I mean, C'mon!!!!