Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Third Time's the Charm (Back to Vegas)

I love airline change-fees.  I mean, I must.  I can't get enough of them . . .  My first "vacation" of summer 2013 is a week away and, yes, for the third time, I've changed my plans.  USAIRWAYS doesn't like me . . . they LOVE me . . .
Turns out, I don't need two weeks at the pool in Hawaii to relax...  I just needed two weekends at the pool at my condo in Bethesda thinking about the pool in Hawaii to relax . . . and to realize how bored I'd prolly be after a day or two surrounded by families with kids and honeymooners in Maui and Kauai with absolutely nothing to do at night.
True enough, I was looking forward to doing some hiking on the Islands.  But, after some basic research, I came to realize that hiking in Kauai may not be the best idea for a shitty poker player with a fear of heights:

I mean, just look at these psychos on the Kalalau Trail.  Does this look like fun?
Or, maybe it was partly the email I got last week from the "butler service" at the St. Regis Princeville inquiring what "special occasion" I was celebrating and attempting to plan out my stay for me.  I don't need a "butler" on vacation . . . or things like "turn down service," which is just another excuse for a stranger to annoy me.  In short, I don't need, or want, 5-star service.  I just want a cold can of Miller Lite poolside, and I don't need to fly 13 hours and pay $700 a night to get that . . .
So, I'm back to where it all began - ten days in Vegas during WSOP.  I still have my initial reservation at Signature.  I plan on rededicating myself to my poker game.  I haven't played much cash at all this year and, when I have, it's gone badly.  I'm down about $1,200 over my last 15 hours of play, and nothing I do seems to be working.  Yes, it's a small sample size; and yes, I know I've taken some bad beats.  But, if I'm being honest with myself, I've also not been playing my best poker.  I've largely ignored position . . . gotten bored and played too many hands (e.g., weak aces and suited Kings) . . . made too many C-Bets in bad spots . . . and donated too much money on bad calls simply because I thought: "there's no way I can be beat again!!!"  I think I need to just "nit up" a bit and get back to basics (once I start winning some sessions, I can get a bit "fancier" with my play).  I figure Vegas, during the WSOP, with all the tourists in town, is prolly a good time to "get healthy" at the tables.
So, I'll be in town from July 4th to July 14th.  Holla if you are around and want to play some hands, bet some bases, or have a couple of Miller Lites.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Building a Streak

I've stayed in town the past two weekends.  I'd call that a streak.  All in all, it was a rather chill weekend.  Drinks Friday night in Bethesda with friends, and a Saturday afternoon at the pool.  Later that evening, I hit up the Zac Brown Band at a venue just outside Baltimore:

Pretty good show.

Late Sunday afternoon, after another rough afternoon poolside, I drove up to Maryland Live! for a couple of hours of button mashing.  I was switching between Triple Bonus, JOB and Deuces (all 10-handed, of course).  About an hour in, I finally got dealt "the hand" :

I whiffed on all 10 spots.  Some days, that's just the way it goes...

In closing, I'll leave you with a little bit of VP Porn (my hand from Planet Hollywood from last July):

Yep; that's what keeps you coming back for more.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Weekend in Bethesda

Weekends the past few months have been busy.  Fun, but busy.  Accordingly, last weekend, I decided to take it easy and do nothing (well, almost nothing).  I had plans to visit Home Depot (no, this is not an Old School reference) and finally get started on some much-needed home renovations.  I also wanted to purchase some lounge chairs and tables for my balcony.  I also needed new running shoes.  By 9:00 a.m. Monday morning, I had succeeded in purchasing a lounge chair.  The rest of my "to do" list would have to wait a while longer (I mean, how much can one man get done in a single weekend?)
I awoke Saturday morning and thought really, really (like, very) hard about hopping in the car and making the 5 minute trek to Home Depot to talk to a flooring consultant.  But, then I remembered there was also a Lowes about 10 minutes away.  An old fashioned dilemma.  Which to choose?  I turned on Sportscenter and grabbed a cup of coffee while I thought about it.  By the time I had nearly made a decision, my motivation had passed.  I decided to head to the pool instead.

The pool at home is ok.  But something is missing.  And, that something is called drink service.  I mean, is a pool really a pool without young, half-dressed waitresses serving cold cans of Miller Lite for $10.50?  On the bright side, at least the condo association has once again hired an army of 17 year old high school girls to spend the summer pretending to be lifeguards.  They are most definitely fun to look at, but I'd hate to be drowning . . .  

After the pool, I again thought about Home Depot.  And the patio furniture I needed.  And the running shoes.  So, I got in the car . . . .
. . . and 45 minutes later I ended up here:
Sunday morning, I decided to make good on at least one item on my list.  I picked lounge chair / patio table.  It took all of 30 minutes.  When it was over, I was exhausted.  Enough of this "work" crap.  It was time to have some fun.  Time to drive out to Maryland Live! and watch the Orioles-Red Sox game from the bar while mashing some video poker.  I found a spot dead center of the bar and slipped a crisp $100 into the machine and switched over to ten-handed Triple Bonus.  I ended up pulling a nice hit after being dealt three 3's and catching quads with a 4 kicker.  A solid $200 hand:
Easy game.  Of course, video poker being what it is, I gave it all back and walked away up three Miller Lites and down $30 USD.  Still, that's a win in my book. 
- P3

Monday, June 10, 2013

2013 WSOP Cancelled . . .

. . . at least for P3...
Several months ago, I booked 13 days at Aria during the WSOP.  What's better than 13 days in Vegas, right?  Well, after watching a bunch of reruns of Magnum, PI, I came to the conclusion that spending some time in Hawaii might be better.  So, I paid the $150 change fee to USAIRWAYS, and split the trip in half - 6 days in Maui, a red eye to Vegas, and 5 days at Aria.  What could be better, right?  Well, after two painful sessions of $1/2 NL and a craptastic tournament run at Showboat on Saturday, I woke up yesterday morning, dusted off my hangover, fired up the IPAD, paid another change fee ($200 this time . . . thank you USAIRWAYS . . .) and cancelled Vegas altogether.  I mean, if I'm just going to throw money away, I might as well throw it towards 5 days at the St. Regis in Princeville, Kauai . . .
I woke up early Saturday morning and was on the road by 6:30 am.  My goal was to get to AC in time for the 11:00 am tournament at Showboat.  The drive was uneventful and I was registered by 10:15.  I made it through the first break unscathed, and managed to build my starting chip stack up to 32,000.  Then the wheels fell off.  With blinds at $1,800 / $900, I lost two decent size pots and saw my chip stack fall to 22,000.  Then I made my first real blunder.  Action folded around to me on the button.  The small blind had just had a nice little rush and commented, "I'm done playing hands for a while."  I look down at KQ clubs and raise to 4,200.  Small blind calls.  So much for his respite.  Flop comes out A 5 9.  I'm first to act and fire out a 5,800 continuation bet.  Small blind moves all in, and my cards are in the muck before his chips cross the line.  Small blind showed AJ.  In retrospect, that was probably a poor spot for a C-bet. 
Shortly after the hand, I got moved to another table.  My second hand there, I look down at 99 under the gun.  I open for $5,800 (which pretty much committed me to the hand, as I started with only 13,500).  It folds around to the old lady in the big blind.  She looks at her cards in disgust and says, "what the hell, let's see if I can hit something..."  She calls.  Flop comes down KT2.  She shoves.  Fuck me.  I have no desire to sit around waiting to shove my remaining 7,000 on another hand.  I know she has the fucken king.  But I donate.  She flips K6.  Love it.
A few hours later, I bought into the cash game for $200.  An hour or so in, I'd built up my stack to about $325, when this hand occurs:
I'm in late position with 88.  Three people limp, including a 90 year old man and a kid who's tilting heavily and is down to his last $65 or so.  I raise to $17.  Old man calls $17.  Kid shoves for $65.  I call.  Old man, who is sitting on about $350, also calls.  Interesting.
Flop comes down 3 7 T.  Old man checks, and I bet $85.  Old man calls.  Turn is a 3.  Old man leads for $50.  I call.
As we're awaiting the river, old man starts yapping about how he wants a deuce to fall.  Huh?  Is that old man humor or senility?  The river is another 10 instead.  Old man bets out $100.  I fold.  Old man triumphantly tables 23 off for the turned trips.  Turns out, he actually did want that deuce on the river.  Yep, old man puts in $65 preflop with 23 off and crushes my 88.  Love it!  [Kid had AQ, by the way].  I got up shortly thereafter a solid $100 in the hole.  It was time for dinner and drinks.
After a filet and about 6 glasses of Cabernet, black jack seemed like the right move, so I stumbled over to a $15 table right as the dealer was stacking a fresh shoe.  I bought in for $400, and proceeded to bet between $20 and $30 a hand.  Dealer repeatedly set me up nice with hands like 8 against her 6 . . . pocket 77 against her 5 . . . I doubled and split and got shit, while she turned her 6's and 5's into magical 20's.  I didn't even last the shoe.  Love it.   
It was still early, so I decided to head over to Revel for some more $1/2 NL.  I bought in for $200 and simply could not hit a hand.  I bled down slowly to $65.  I didn't even have enough cash in my pocket to top off, so I just played it out.  Eventually, I got dealt AJ and raised to $10.  One caller.  Flop was A 5 9.  I bet $14 and he called.  Turn blanked.  I checked and he checks back.  River was a 7.  I bet $25 and he raises me all in.  I call.  He shows . . . . [drum roll] . . . A 7.   Love it!
So I awoke yesterday morning with a banging hangover and nearly a grand "missing" from my wallet.  I had a comped room Sunday night, but really just wanted to head home.  I felt, however, too sick to drive four hours back to D.C.  So I grabbed some coffee and mashed some video poker.  I started feeling better and decided to go for a run on the boardwalk.  That's when it hit me.  Maybe it was the site of the ocean . . . or the clean beach . . . or the attractive, half-dressed New Jerseyians frolicking on the sand [yes, sarcasm . . .], but I decided about 3 miles into the jog that I was skipping Vegas.  I got back to my room, broke out my IPAD and made the arrangements on the spot.  Done deal. 
Afterwards, I spent the rest of the day mashing more buttons -- video poker, Sex in the City, Miss Kitty, Mr. Cashman . . . all of it.  Didn't play a single hand of poker.  And I couldn't have been happier.  
As the afternoon winded down, I found myself enjoying a cold beer at the new Landshark Beach Bar, just enjoying the view (no sarcasm this time) and looking forward to some time in Kauai.  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

From SoBe to the Jersey Shore

The past three weeks have been tiring to say the least.  Two Sunday evening red-eyes direct to work in the a.m., and a 10:00 flight from Miami last Sunday night.  I'm too old for this lifestyle.  I swore to myself I'd take it easy for a week or two.  Yet, after a few evenings watching Arrested Development Season 4 on Netflix and getting 8 or 9 hours sleep, I feel re-energized.  And, more importantly, I'm itching to play some poker.  So, to loosely paraphrase the great David Puddy, "[I]t feels like a Showboat weekend..."  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gone Fish'n (. . . Came up Empty)

This past weekend was the annual "Gentlemen's Mets Extravaganza."  This was the tenth straight year we've flown out for a road series and some debauchery.  Of course, the older we get, the more lame the debauchery becomes (this year's debauchery involved a 10:00 pm sushi dinner, a glass of wine, and 9 hours sleep . . . Yes, I hate myself . . .).
I left work Friday evening and caught the 8:45 pm on American Airlines down to Miami Int'l.  I arrived at the Fontainebleau around midnight.  Chris 1 and Chris 2 had arrived hours earlier.  Chris 2 had apparently popped some pain meds and passed out, while Chris 1 sat in the dark attempting to crush the entire mini bar before I got in.  He came close.  I applauded the effort.  
I grabbed a room key from the front desk, and navigated the lobby which resembled a giant club more than a hotel - there must have been at least a thousand people hanging out and partying.  It was a scene.  I found the room.  Chris 1 downed his opened Heineken and we both headed downstairs for some $18 shots of Patron and other assorted drinks.  $180 and two hours later, the lobby bar shut down and we begrudgingly called it a night.
We got back to the room and Chris 2 was still in a muscle-relaxer-induced coma.  Three guys, two beds.  Chris 1 and I grabbed the second bed at 3:00am, making use of the cylindrical pillow pictured below as a divider to negate any potential unwarranted, unintentional, male-on-male contact.
At 7:00 am, with the sun blaring through the open blinds which we were too drunk-and-or-lazy to close the night before, and both the living room TV and the bathroom TV (both of which we were too drunk-and-or-lazy to shut off) still on, I was awake after a restless 4 hours of sleep.  Notwithstanding the protection from accidental contact afforded by the make-shift rape shield pictured above, I still found it hard to sleep well.
After breakfast, it was time to hit the ocean and pool.  The weather was more clouds than sun, but after the first bucket-o-beers poolside, the weather hardly mattered. 
Late afternoon, we set out for Marlins Park. 

Marlins Park (like last week's destination, Chase field) has a retractable roof, which was closed all weekend.  Even though it was indoor, it was still a great venue for baseball.  The stadium is on the small side, holding approximately 36,000.  There were probably 10,000 tops in the stands both Saturday and Sunday, many of whom were Mets fans.   And, after a 4-game sweep of the Evil Empire earlier in the week, Los Mets proceeded to get crushed three straight nights to the local team, which featured no more than 1.5 actual major-league-caliber players.  It was depressing.  Not terribly surprising; but depressing.  Ultimately, I ended up just hanging out on the stadium patio drinking some $9 bud lites and reflecting on how, or why, I ended up a Mets/Jets fan, and counting the Super Bowls/World Series wins racked up by the cross-town rivals: 
                                                       (P3 circa June 1, 2013, Miami, Fl.). 
Sunday morning, I woke up and decided to sweat out the remnants of Saturday's booze with a run through South Beach. 

It was nearly two miles from the Fontainebleau down to the main drag by the Delano -- a  solid 4 mile run to start the day. 
After some more pool time, we went back to the Stadium to watch Mets' ace Matt Harvey get shelled.   Of course . . .  More beer helped dull the pain.  Then it was off to dinner, followed by one more round of adult libations at the lobby bar, before flying back out:

I get to the airport . . . buzzing nice.  Going through security, I take my shoes and belt off.  My shorts are a year or so old.  I've lost 30 pounds since I bought them.  They are at least 3 inches too big (generally held in place in reliance on my belt).  So I go through the x-ray machine with my boarding pass in one hand, and the other hand holding up my shorts.  On the flip side of the machine, security pulls me over for a good old-fashioned "wanding."  I put my hands above my head to oblige, and my shorts hit my ankles.  Naturally.  TSA worker: "SIR, PLEASE PULL YOUR PANTS UP!!!"  Yep . . . that's how I roll . . .    

In the end, no one died.  No one found the back seat of a cop car (which can't be said about all of our trips . . . another story for another time, perhaps . . .).  All-in-all, another successful trip.