Thursday, May 29, 2014

Transition Day

After 5 days at the MGM Grand, I took the red-eye back east last night and rolled into the Showboat around 8:00 am.  I went from the  "City of Entertainment" in Paradise, Nevada, to a fifth-rate Mardi Gras themed casino in a broken-down town which, according to rumor, even Gary Loveman no longer wants.  From the vanilla-scented casino of the MGM to the smell of old person and vomit at the Boat.   What I have done?

I took the elevator up to the 9th floor, hoping to get a few hours sleep before the "gentlemen" arrive.  I start walking down the hall and some middle-age dude, in a bathrobe and looking like a character from Dallas Buyers Club, is staring out the window smoking a cigarette . . . on a non-smoking floor, of course.  Welcome to Atlantic City on a Thursday morning.

As for the room here . . . there are stains everywhere and on everything.  The window is so dirty you can barely see the ocean outside.  And the toilette has been dripping non stop.  I think someone might have been murdered in here.  Seriously.  

In any event, Vegas was awesome as usual.  I spent 95% of my time playing sweet, sweet video poker and watching sports (the other 5% generally consisted of me hungover as fuck and trying to convince myself I was not going to die).  I grinded so much devils game that my right hand actually felt weak and numb.  I thought it was a stroke at first; but it turned out to be a video poker injury.  True story.

I should have a complete trip report up Sunday . . .

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Preparing for the Storm Ahead

The next 9 days will be a test of both physical strength and mental character.  I'm not quite sure I'm up to the challenge.  I should have spent more time preparing.  I should have rested the entire month of May.  I should have hopped on the wagon weeks ago.  5 days of sobriety, clean eating and 5 mile runs is simply insufficient preparation for what's to come.  Should things go south, I'll have no one to blame but myself . . .

It begins tomorrow night, with an after work drive from D.C. to Philadelphia.  I'll be arriving late, grabbing dinner and a frosty beverage or two at last call at the hotel bar, before getting up at 4:30 am the next morning for the flight to Vegas.  Nothing like rolling into Paradise, Nevada, already sleep deprived.  The count is 0-1 before the bat ever comes off my shoulder.

I'll be at the MGM for 5 days.  5 days of too much sun.  5 days of too much booze.  5 days of too little sleep.  5 days of steaks and burgers, interrupted intermittently by a supply of sashimi, oysters and other raw creatures from the sea.  Gambling will prove the least of my concerns . . . the healthiest thing I do . . .  My bank roll can be replenished; the damage to my liver, however, could prove permanent.  Between us, lately, long weekends in AC -- even solitary nights out on the town -- have proven difficult events from which to recover.  I'm not sure I'm ready for a run of this proportion.

And, Wednesday night, when the Vegas bender comes to an end at 10:50 pm, and assuming I can coax the boarding agent to permit my access to the redeye given what will assuredly be an overly-intoxicated state, the real test may only just begin.  I'll fly 4 hours . . . have 3 hours of my life stolen from me . . . hopefully pass out for a spell . . . and land back in Philly at 6:30 am . . . presumably still drunk from the evening before.  I'll stall at the airport . . . eat . . . caffeinate . . .  get sober  . . . and then drive up the AC Expressway, arriving at my favorite Jersey shore town mid-morning. 

Three additional days of moral, physical and spiritual racketeering will ensue with a few partners in crime from up north.  More libations . . . continued sleep depravation  . . . more gambling . . . Mets baseball . . .  impure thoughts of David Wright . . . 

If all goes well, I'll return to the seat from which I currently write ten days from now.  Hopefully, no permanent damage will be done.  Optimally, a good time will be had.  True, I've done this sort of thing before.  But I was younger then . . . better physically prepared.  At some point, this type of debauchery will have to end.  But that time is not now. 

See you on the other side .  .  .       


Sunday, May 18, 2014

First to Last

I had planned to spend Saturday at National's Park watching Los Mets.  But, when I woke up, I felt the urge to play some poker.  So I made a reservation at Showboat and hit the road.

I rolled into AC around 2:30, just in time to see the Rangers bust open game one in Montreal.  I went over the Caesars to grind some sweet, sweet Devil's Game at Toga bar.  About 40 minutes in, I paid for dinner at Morton's and my tourney buy-in with this hand:

After a filet and some cabernet, I walked over to the Boat and registered for the 7:00 pm tournament.   I took my seat at Table 13, and played the second hand I saw:

Sitting on $25,000, with blinds at $100/$200, I look down at A(d) T(h) and raise a limper to $700.  Two callers.

[Pot: $2,600]  

Flop: A(s) 7(s) 8(s)

I lead the flop for $2,000 and get one caller.

[Pot: $6,600]

Turn: T(d)

I lead for $4,400.  Dude tanks, and calls.

[Pot: $15,400]

River blanks.  I have about $18,000 chips left.  I bet $9,000.  Guy shoves.  Ooops.  I know he flopped it, but I figure I'd rather rebuy than be stuck with $9,000 chips two hands in.  I call, and he flips K(s) 3(s).  Good game.

I rebuy, and get moved to another table.  After 3.5 hours or so, I had built my stack up to $60,000, despite being card dead nearly the entire time.    We hit the second break, and come back to $2,000 / $4,000 blinds.  The third hand of the level, a player raises to $16,000 and I look down at KK.  Sweet!   I'm still around $55,000 and villain is sitting on about $70,000.  Given my stack size, I decide to just shove. Villain snaps and tables A(h) 8(h).  I dodge the ace on the flop, but two hearts fall. Turn puts the third heart on the board, and I'm done.  The two buy-ins cost me $140.

After a cocktail at Amada next door at Revel, I sat down to play some black jack at Showboat.  I bought in for $200 and grinded until 3:00 am, when I walked after doubling up:

All in all, I ended up a hundred or so to the positive.  Not a bad day . . .

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thursday Morning Quickie

Work has been jumping the past few weeks, which, while stressful, feels good for a change.

Monday, we settled the case I went down to Miami for last week.  It was a fairly decent settlement in my mind.  The client thought the case was a dog.  I disagreed.  I thought we had a really strong claim . . . like $80% or so . . .  Our potential, top dollar, Giancarlo Stanton monster home run, post-trial result would have been $11 million . . . plus attorneys' fees, plus pre-judgment interest (which would have been a 7-figure number in this case).  I thought we could have settled for $6.5.  But the folks from London played some hard ball.  Ultimately, we ended up at $5.8 (pre-lawsuit).  Oh, and we took the case on a full contingency, which, like, makes it somewhat sweeter.  And we still have the chance to tag an excess insurer for another $5 on the claim . . . .  Incentive is a sweet elixir . . .

Now I'm working with some brokers out of Chicago to place a $50 million tower of D&O / E&O insurance for a private equity client of ours out west.  And I'm sort of losing my mind on it.  The client has the most complex corporate structure I've ever dealt with  -- a series of like 20 related partnerships and LLC's.  It's difficult enough to figure out what each of the entities does, and what potential risks each has, let alone trying to figure out whether the policies being offered (which are crazy complex in their own right) would cover those potential risks.  Every once in a while, a project comes up were I just don't feel smart enough to figure it out.  This is one of them.  Unfortunately, "I'm too dumb to deal with this" doesn't fly . . . So, I'm looking at another day of spinning my wheels  . . . (as soon as I stop procrastinating by writing this post, of course . . .).

On the bright side, in a mere 8 days, I'll be on vacation.  Next Friday night, I'm driving up to Philly.  Saturday morning, I have a 7:00 am flight from PHL to LAS for 5 days at the MGM Grand.  I have G-n-R tickets at the Hardrock Sunday night, which should be interesting!  Then, Wednesday night, I'm taking the redeye back east, and spending Thursday through Sunday with the Long Island crew in Atlantic City.  We have Mets-Silly's tickets Friday and Saturday, and will be making the drive out the AC Expressway for the games both days.  Should be a cool 8 days of debauchery.  I'm currently resting my liver in anticipation.

Well, back to the grind . . .


Sunday, May 11, 2014

Live From Harrah's

It's Sunday, and I decided to stay another day in AC and make the degenerate's commute back to D.C. in the morning.  Harrah's crushed me Friday night and all day Saturday. No sweet, sweet machines were to be had.   By mid-afternoon yesterday, I was down about a grand, and didn't even feel like playing anymore.  The video poker was just a constant and consistent suck.  So, I cabbed over to Ceasars to grab an early dinner at Morton's, with the plan of finally playing the 7:00 pm guarantee over at Bally's WSOP Room.  However, when I got to Bally's, they were announcing that the guarantee was cancelled. Um.  Seriously?  Someone needs to explain the concept of a "guarantee" to the fine folks at Caesars!  So much for Bally's plan of developing a major room on the boardwalk to compete with Borgata.  Seems like an epic fail....

So I ended up walking down the boardwalk to Showboat to waste a few hours playing the $65 buy-in.    I was already pretty drunk, and had no plans of actually playing good poker.  However, 8 hours and many beers later, there I was, at the final table with by far the biggest stack, chopping for around $2,000 . . .

I'm still not really sure how it happened.  Frankly, I don't remember too much of it.  I do recall waking up with aces a couple of times in big spots near the end. That sort of helps.  I don't even recall the bubble.  By then, I had such a big stack I couldn't have cared less about it.  I spent most of the final table knocking down my chip stack, and restacking . . . and trying to find room on the table for my delicious beverage.   I was pretty much a mess.  I can't imagine what the rest of the final table was thinking.  My performance was surely all luck.   But I'll take it.

And now, back to monkey mashing some sweet, sweet machines!



Thursday, May 8, 2014

Who Wants to Settle?

Having still yet to recover from a couple of long flights over the weekend, and walking in the door at nearly 3:00 am Sunday night (Monday morning), it was back out on the "road" yesterday morning.  I awoke at 4:30 am to catch an early flight down to Miami for a settlement conference.  Of course, the flight was delayed 2+ hours, which meant I did not land until 12:30, and had to rush to make the 1:30 meeting downtown.  Who needs lunch, right?

We're trying to settle a case "pre-litigation."  In short, our client is a big public company.  They were sued years ago in a series of putative class action securities fraud and ERISA claims.  To date, they've incurred excess of $15 million in attorneys' fees defending against these underlying claims.  Our client purchased D&O insurance, as well as Fiduciary Liability Insurance, to cover this very scenario (i.e., pay the company's defense costs and potential settlements/judgments for these types of lawsuits).  But, of course, while insurers are quick to collect premiums, they rarely pay claims.  And that's where we come in ... 

So, after literally years of letter writing, conference calls and the like, we all finally sat down in  room together to see if we could resolve our difference without going to court.  We had the assistant general counsel of our client present, along with our client's lead underlying securities lawyer.  The bad guys had its (three) lawyers and corporate representative, who had flown in from London.  We all sat across the table from each other and spent several hours explaining why the other guy was full of shit.  Then, when it reached the point where tempers overcame the ability to reason, we spat out some numbers to see whether we were in a ballpark where a deal might get done.  Nothing was reached yesterday; but I'm hopefully we'll resolve this in the next few weeks.  I love our case; and I love suing insurers.  I'm not afraid to litigate this one.  But if you can reach a good settlement, and eliminate litigation risk, why not?  Also, as this is a full contingency case, a quick result with a good number would be sweet.

Anyhow, before we left, I got to stare out the conference room window for a brief moment . . . wishing I was in board shorts on South Beach (in the background), rather than in a suit on the 42nd floor of a high-rise . . .

The meeting broke about 6:00, and I made it to my 7:30 flight just as the gate was closing.  In fact, the dude at the gate was paging me ("Last call for Pete P. Peters . . . .") as I scrambled through the airport.  Who needs dinner . . . I rolled in the front door around 11:00 and went right to sleep.

And now I'm ready for some degeneracy.  I briefly thought about flying to Vegas tomorrow night.  But the connections on the remaining available flights were all very tight, and I didn't feel like stressing over it.  So, instead, I'm heading down to the Jersey Shore tomorrow afternoon for 3-days of monkey mashing at Harrah's.  I may even get in a little poker this trip.  I'm still looking to play the Saturday night tournament at the new poker room at Bally's. . . . Maybe this will be the week. 


Sunday, May 4, 2014


It's 6:00 local time, and I'm at Elway's Bar & Restaurant at at DIA.  Watching game two of the Rangers-Pens series and having a few pre-flight cocktails.  Awaiting a late flight home.  Another weekend comes to a close.

Friday night sort of sucked.  I decided to spend the night at the Westin near Dulles airport to make the early morning flight somewhat more tolerable.  After dinner and some drinks at the bar while watching game 1 of the Rangers-Pens series, I got back to the room around 11:00. With the alarm set for 5:00 am, rather than going to sleep, I decided to watch the Comedy Central roast of James Franco.   When it was over, at mid-night - 5 hours from the alarm -- I couldn't get to sleep.  And the longer I laid awake, the more agitated I became.  I saw 2:50am  go by on the clock before finally getting some sleep.   

Two hours later, I was on my way out the door.  My plan to stay near the airport and get an extra our sleep was a clear backfire....

 I arrived in Denver around 10:00 am Saturday morning, picked up my rental at Hertz, and made the 40 minute drive to Arvada, Colorado, just Northwest of Denver.  I spent the morning and early afternoon hanging out with my niece.... we went to the park, and played with the legos I had brought her.  Kids are fucken funny (for those of you that have them . . . yes, I know I'm let to the party and stating the obvious).  Mini-P4 has an entire playground of equipment at her disposal.  But she spends 90% of the time climbing on the brick retaining wall surrounding the park and playing with the wood chips lining the ground.   

Around 4:00, Mini- P4 took a nap and I drove into Denver to check into the Westin.  I met my brother and my dad around 5:00 at the Wyncoop Brewery -- one of my old haunts from May 2012 when I spent 5 weeks living out of the Oxford Hotel a few blocks away.   After a few beers, it was off to Coors field for game 3 of the Mets-Rockies series.

Every once in a while, I need an up close and personal reminder about how painful it is to be a Mets fan.  On this night, after building a 6-0 lead, the Mets gave up an 8-run 5th inning.  All 8 runs given up by the young starting pitcher.  Eight runs without so much as a visit by the pitching coach to the mound, let alone a pitching change.  Indeed, with 4 runs in, and runners on 1st and 3rd, Mejia beaned Troy Tulo to load the bases.  I used the opportunity to get up and made a beer run.  Because, like, I knew  - I KNEW - Collins would make a pitching change at the point.  Yet, as I roamed the concourse for a 24-ounce miller lite, the crowd erupts as the Rockies 3rd baseman drives a first pitch fastball over the outfield fence for a grand slam.  Really?  Really, Terri?

The Mets fought back . . . twice  . . . to tie the game, before ultimately taking the lead in the top of the ninth.  I saw none of it.  I was at the Denver Chophouse with my brother and dad enjoying dinner and a bottle of Cabernet.  After saying goodnight to them, I walked back to a bar by the Westin just in time to see Kyle Farnsworth give up a pinch-hit, two run, walk-off homer.  A fine end to an otherwise great night.

This morning, I awoke early and met my family for breakfast at my brothers new restaurant.  I'd mention the name of it, but I'm afraid angerisagift might show up with his stoner crew and never leave!

The afternoon was spent chill'n with mini-p4, including another trip to the park, where she spun in a circle until she got dizzy and fell down (apparently, that is fun . . .), and played with more wood chips and even a pinecone.

Around 3:00, I finally discovered the answer to the age old question -- what's better than a ball game on a sunny spring afternoon?  A FANTASTIC FUCKEN TURKEY DINNER.  

Afterwards, it was off to the airport.

And a bit of seriousness in closing . . . After 41 years, I've sort of mastered the art of emotional detachment.  I'm not saying it's a good thing.  It just is what it is.  I'm OK being alone.  I'd prefer to be alone rather than compromise.  In fact, many times, I like being alone.  I do whatever I want, whenever I want.  But, for some reason, my niece has the ability to break through whatever barriers (conscious or otherwise) I may have.  Every time I leave her, I feel a pretty profound sadness.  I'm definitely not use to it.  I wish she lived closer . . .

(Mini P-4 Making a Breakfast Mess at My Brother's Restaurant)

(P3 and Mini P4)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

This is Not the America I Want to Live In!

At the Airport, waiting at the gate for an 8:08 flight to Denver.  A group of about 30 Mexican students are also, apparently, on the flight.  Their chaperone comes around taking orders for a pre-flight food run.  "Who wants a breakfast burrito?"  What a crazy week this has been.  Racism and prejudice are clearly still alive and well in America . . .

Which reminds me of this classic scene from Dunder Mifflin:

Michael Scott:  "Oscar, why don't you start?

Oscar Martinez:   "Okay, Michael, um... Both my parents were born in Mexico."
Michael: "Oh, yeah..."
Oscar:   "And, uh, they moved to the United Sates a year before I was born. So I grew up in the United States."
Michael:  "Wow."
Oscar:   "My parents were Mexican."
Michael:  "Wow. That is... That is a great story. That's the American Dream right there, right?"  
Oscar:   "Thanks... Yeah..."
Michael:  "Um, let me ask you, is there a term besides Mexican that you prefer? Something less offensive?"

-Hope everyone has a great weekend.