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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Crunch Time

Week 16.  The NFL Season is drawing to a close.   I stopped making the drive to the Meadowlands after the Pittsburgh game a month or so ago.   I've become so detached that I even lacked the effort to try and sell my tickets on EBAY the past two games.  I'm actively rooting against the Jets, hoping for a good draft pick . . . Jet Up!

And yet, I've ben loving NFL Sundays.  Thank you gambling!

This is another big weekend for PPP.  As I previously wrote, I placed $2,000 in NFL Futures at Bellagio in August.  Tampa OVER 7 . . . Colts OVER 9.5 . . . Pittsburgh OVER 9 . . . Philly OVER 9.5.  (Before you say anything, as I've explained before, I don't play unders out of principle . . . If I did, I would have been big on the JETS and SKINS under 7.5 . . .).   Tampa was dead out of the gate, but I've been sweating the remaining 3 all season.  The Colts cashed last week, and Philly and Pitt need to win 1 out of 2 the next two weeks to bring it home (of course, Pitt should already be across the goal line, except the Jets had to fuck me, as usual, by winning that game at home).

In addition, I'm in the finals of my fantasy league -- a 12 team, $100 buy-in, winner-take-all . . .  $1,100 on the line this weekend.  I generally suck at Fantasy Football.  This year, my team finished the regular season 7-5, but has been hot the past two weeks when it counts.  Here's the line-up I'm rolling with this weekend:

QB:  Pepe Sanchez (mid-season replacement for Foles)
RB:  Eddie Lacy
RB2: Leveon Bell
WR1: De Sean Jackson
WR2: Julian Edelman
WR3: Kevin Benjamin
TE: D. Allen
Flx: Jeremy Hill
K: M. Crosby
D: Rams (vs. G-Men)

Let's do this!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Post About Our Hero

I had originally posted this (or, attempted to post this), as a reply on Lightning's blog. See  Sir Lightning's Blog. But, apparently, there are limits to the acceptable length of comments.  So, I decided to repost here.  I'm not sure this is even worthy of a post.  But, since I spent some time drafting it, I figured I'd let if fly.  Blogging is hard WORK, u see . . .


So, take it for what it's worth.  And, Tony, if you are reading, I hope you are not offended by this.  It's my honest opinion.  Hopefully you are capable of seeing your "friendships" from other people's perspectives and, in response, perhaps modifying your behavior. 


***



Lightning's post epitomizes the experience of being "friends" with TBC on a vacation to Vegas.  Except that it under-emphasizes the amount of pestering text messages and phone calls you actually get when you don't do exactly what he wants you to do.  Many of us (like myself and Lightning) go to Vegas a handful of times a year, for vacation.  Sometimes, I'll fly in just for a quick weekend -- arrive Friday night and redeye out Sunday, straight to work Monday morning).  Speaking for myself (and I assume others), I do NOT go to Vegas to spend time with Tony.  Often, I do see him while I'm there; but it's certainly not the point of the trip.  Not even close.  I don't think Tony understands this.

Beyond this, spending time with Tony in Vegas is not always easy or convenient.  Often times, by the time Tony wakes up and feels HE is ready to MUST GAMBLE IMMEDIATELY, I'm already doing something for the evening.  Many times, I'm at a Casino on the South end of the strip, hanging out, with plans to grab a nice dinner somewhere.  Then Tony starts in, trying to get me to come to the Venetian . . . the Wynn . . . or even downtown.   It's generally a non-starter for me.  Again, I'm in Vegas a few times a year, often for just a few days at a time, and I'm not giving up my evening for Tony's convenience. 


This weekend was another prime example, 1000 miles away from Vegas.  Earlier in the week, I had finalized my weekend plans.  I booked a room at the Westin by BWI Friday night, and a room at the Sheraton in Towson Saturday (and no, I did not get room 1029 -- the "death" room . . .).  The plan was to play poker Friday night, go see a concert Saturday night, and spend Sunday watching NFL with friends back in Rockville.  So, Friday night, I left work early, got to the Horseshoe around 6:00, played some video poker, briefly, then had dinner and played poker for 4 hours.  Around midnight, I drove back to the Westin and went to the Lounge for a scotch or two.  It was then that I saw Tony's twitter posts.  He was in the air, heading for Baltimore, and wanted me to pick him up at the airport . . . at 2:00 am.  He apparently had a room for the night, like 3 miles from the airport.  Now, this is simply not a normal request.  Why would I (or anyone) stay up until 2:00 am to greet Tony at the airport and give him a 5 minute ride back to his hotel?  I declined, without hesitation . . . Saturday, I woke up about 10:00, got in a quick workout, an drove over to the Horseshoe to spend a quick couple of hours drinking coffee and playing VP.  Around 1:00, I drove out to Towson, grabbed some food, and started pre-partying for the O.A.R. / Train concert, which started at 6:30.  I went straight back to the hotel afterwards.  Sunday, I woke up (with assistance of an alarm) at 10:00 and drove home to Rockville.  I did some chores around the house and, around 1:00, went out to a local bar to watch some NFL.  Now, I have no idea what Tony did over the weekend.  I do believe, based on what I read, that he played poker from Saturday evening until 7:00 am Sunday.  I'm pretty damn confident he was not awake in the mornings, which would have been the only times I had a few free moments over the weekend.  Yet, Tony was apparently pissed off that I did not make an effort to see him.  This is what it is like to be "friends" with Tony . . .


Compounding the issue (and, Tony may not like to hear this, but it's the realty of the situation), I'm yet to find something Tony brings to the "friendship."  Sure, he'll occasionally comp you a meal.  A nice gesture, but I don't need a free meal (I don't come to Vegas for a free meal.  Rather, if I'm in town for three days, I want to eat at three awesome restaurants.  That's just me.  But that's how I roll in Vegas).  And, Tony will often write about all the things he WISHES he could do for his friends (like be there at the airport for them when they arrive in town).  But it's a lot easy to write about what you WISH you could do when you have no means of actually doing it.  It, of course, is a matter of speculation whether Tony would actually follow through with these things if he had a car, etc.  I mean, Tony always talks about the things he'd do for his friends, if only he could . . . but then he seems to ignore his own family.  He'll claim he lacks the means to travel home for Christmas to spend time with his mom and his son; yet he can afford to dust of $3,000 in a singe night degening on a video poker machine and then fly out to Maryland the very same evening and travel around the east coast.  So, if actions are any indications, it seems like Tony may, in fact, be all talk when it comes to all the giving he would do if he were only capable of giving . . . 

Beyond this, (at least in my opinion), Tony and I have nothing in common.  He has no interests outside of poker . . . doesn't like sports . . . doesn't like good food . . . has f*cked political / religious beliefs . . . and is virtually impossible to carry on a an actual conversation with.   I went out to lunch with Tony in Vegas over the summer.  We went to Yard House, a place where you can actually sit down, order from a waitress, and spend time hanging out.  The conversation was all about what Tony should do . . . were he should play poker . . . where he should travel to . . . And, even in the context of this loaded topic, it was apparent to me that Tony did not want to hear what I was saying to him.  When the advice was not exactly what he wanted to hear, it appeared he was a million miles away . . . then, when I was done, he'd shoot out another question.  And, no, I'm not an idiot.  I'm aware this is a prime behavioral characteristic of his autism.  But, it provides some insight (at least from my perspective) on what it's like to spend time with Tony. 

In short, if you want to hang out with Tony, you will play poker.  True enough, he may occasionally relent and go to lunch with you or something; but, even then, it's patently obvious that each and every minute, all he really wants to do is get back to gambling.   And, for the kicker, when you do play poker with him, he generally makes the table as unpleasant as possible.   Generally, he talks . . . a lot.  And, regardless of his intentions, much of his behavior comes off as patently antagonistic.  Showing bluffs . . . telling people how bad they played a hand . . . Generally speaking, a table with Tony is less pleasant than a tony-less table.  That's just the reality of the situation.   And hell, I'm saying that and I KNOW the guy.  Imagine how your average tourist views him?  

So,  all of this begs the question, why would I go out of my way to hang out with Tony?

Lightening actually makes the rest of us "inner circle guys" look bad.  He, prolly more than anyone, spends substantial effort trying to be a friend to Tony.  I'm not really sure what he gets back in return, aside from a better spot in heaven when this ride ultimately comes to an end.  In my opinion, he devotes an undue amount of time on his trips driving Tony around and playing in poker rooms in which he might not otherwise play.  I think he's just THAT nice a guy (no, I am NOT being paid to write this).  But, as his most recent trip proves, even he has his limits when it comes to dealing with Tony.

In the end, Tony renders me perpetually conflicted.  On the one hand, I can emphasize with him.  I can only imagine how lonely it must be to live the life he is leading.  I also understand that his personal issues contribute largely to his conduct and self-centeredness.  On the other hand, I just find it hard to deal with him.  I think it's actually easier to deal with him in person, largely because his issues are ever present -- a constant reminder that I'm not dealing with the average guy.  On-line . . . not so much.  Tony claims he is insulted by the things I sometimes write.  I think that's a fair point.  But, I also think Tony brings a lot of it on himself.  I do believe Tony trolls.  Often.  And yes, I think he is 100% aware of his actions.  And, for my part, I often write things, or respond to his posts, in a way that I later regret.  I should be a big enough person to just ignore a lot of Tony's statements.  But, apparently, I'm not.  in the end, Tony just has a way of getting to me.

Ultimately, I'm not sure what Tony can do about any of this.  I'm not sure he is capable of broadening his interests  . . . or of seeing things from other people's perspective, including trying to actually carry on a conversation . . . listening, and not just asking questions . . . . delving into topics others want to talk about, and not just what he wants to know about . . . doing things that other people want to do, aside from just gambling.  Maybe the answer is for Tony to find friends whose interests and mindsets are more in line with his.  Off the top of my head, I have no idea who these people would be... But, perhaps some exist.  Of course, Tony's nomad lifestyle makes it difficult to find such friends.    

But, it seems clear the current situation is not working out for Tony.  He is constantly pissed off and disappointed in his "friends," and his "friends" inevitably get pissed off at him and distance themselves.  Frankly, I think the problem is that, when push comes to shove, Tony and his friends have nothing in common.  It seems like all of Tony's "friends" are bloggers and other people he meets on the internet.  My experience is that such people are generally quite normal people, who lead normal lives and have normal interests.  They would not typically be friends with Tony under normal circumstances.  If you met Tony at a poker table, he would probably not be the first person you would ask to hang out with at dinner or to watch a game.  Many of the people Tony meets online are simply drawn in by the saga.  Some get a first hand taste and withdraw back into the online shadows.  Others step forward and actually try to help Tony.  I'm constantly amazed by the stories I hear of the assistance people have rendered.  I learned of a new story just yesterday (yes, I'm looking at you, agsweep . . .).  Josie was incredibly kind back in the day.  I'm not sure Tony truly realizes the lengths people have gone to help him.  Are these people "friends"?  Perhaps.  But I don't think they provide the type of "friendship" that Tony is looking for.  That's simply the reality.  Or, at least that's my educated take on it. 
 
So, assuming anyone is still reading this . . . in sum:

(1) Tony is hard to get along with;
(2) lightning is a good guy; many other folks who have met Tony through blogs /forums are also great people;
(3) PPP should try harder to be nice to Tony
(4) Tony should try some different approaches to making friends aside from bloggers;
  
 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Night Session at The Shoe

I'm writing from the Westin by BWI, about 6 miles from downtown Baltimore . . . sipping a Macallan . . . neat, of course. 

I just finished a fairly wild 4 hour session of $1/3 NL at the Horseshoe.  After complaining that the last few sessions were relatively uninteresting, tonight I found myself in several uncomfortable spots.  I probably blew a few of them.  Perhaps in laughable fashion.  You be the judge.

My second hand at the table, I look down at AQ off.  Some chick limps.  I raise to $12, and an older reg re-raises to $38.  Action back on chick, and she re-pops to $88.  Welcome to the table.  Old guy has KK.  Chick has JJ.  Pete Peters has two cards in the muck.

Fifteen minutes later, I win a nice pot with 99.  The very next hand, some dude straddles to $15.  Then old guy from first hand (KK) raises to $48.  He has me covered by a lot.  Action comes around to me.  I'm flummoxed.  I have no idea how to play the hand.  Limping for $50 to set mine seems bad.  And re-raising doesn't seem any better, particularly since the only time I've seen this guy raise he had a monster.  I don't think he folds to a three bet.  So, what the f*ck do I do on the flop (assuming I don't hit a set)?  I'm basically paying $50 to set mine or playing JJ for stacks early in the session.  So, I fold.   Folding JJ pre flop feels bad.  Frankly, I just didn't know how to play the hand.

Over the course of the next two hours, I pissed away $75 or so calling small raises with hands like 55 . . . 44 . . . 66 and missing my sets.  Repeatedly limp-calling-folding-to-flop-bets also feels lousy.   Then, I finally hit my hand.   I look down at TT in position and raise to $16.  Two callers.  Flop comes T84 rainbow.   It checks to me, and I decide to check through as the board is fairly dry.  The turn is a delicious 8.  Some dude, who I had previously been informed, is a "really, really good player," shoves $180.  I snap.  He asks, "do you have tens?  You must have tens.  Only hand that can call there."  Um.  Yes sir, I do have TT.  I show and he mucks.  He then proceeds to bitch about how I run so hot, unlike him.  Of course, I hadn't won a hand in several hours.  But, whatever.

Twenty minutes later, I again get into a hand with the "really, really good player."  I have AA UTG.  I raise to $16 and get two callers, including the "really, really good player."  The flop comes down KQ8.  I lead for $28.  Kid next to me, who has me covered and is decent, but capable of chasing draws, raises to $65.  "Really, really good player" tanks and bitches about his misfortune.  Then, of course, he shoves for about $180.  Looking at the hand, I'm having trouble putting him on a hand that has me beat.  QQ or KK likely would have re-raised pre flop.  Did he call with KQ?  88?  Ultimately, I don't want to lose most of my stack with a mere pair.  Plus, I have the kid behind me yet to act.  I fold.  As does the kid.  The "really, really good player" asks me what I had.  For whatever reason, I tell him - "Aces."  And then he flashes an ace of his own.  Presumably, he had AK . . .  He then launches off about how I am totally predictable, etc., and how knew he could get me to lay down.  Um.  OK, sir.  Based on what?  The one hand you saw me play where I turned the nuts on you and called your shove?  Go fuck yourself, sir.

A little while later, I sort of get my revenge.  A bunch of us limp into a pot 6 handed.  I have A(d) 5(d).  The flop comes down K(d) J(h) 2(d).  The kid from before leads out for $10, and gets 2 calls, including the "really, really good player."  I call.  The turn is the J(s).  This time, it checks around, and I bet $45.  I figure it's a decent spot to represent trips in the event the diamond doesn't hit the river.  Both the kid and the "really, really good player" call.  The river blanks and both check to me.  I value bet my imaginary jack for $120.  Both fold rather quickly.  "Really, really good player" shows his really, really good lay down of top pair.  Of course, I can't resist, and show him the busted flush draw.  But, given how predictable I am, I'm sure he already knew I had ace-high . . .

Anyhow, I ended up walking with a $253 profit, which made up for the $200 I lost playing VP when I first arrived at the casino.  Not a bad evening.

I may head back tomorrow for a little while, depending on when I wake up.  I'm going to see a concert up the road in Towson tomorrow night, headlined by O.A.R. and Train (but "no," I'm not gay . . .) . . .  And, weather is suppose to be high-40's, so I'm hoping to get a 5-mile run in as well before I begin pre-partying.  So, not sure how much time I'll have to gamble.

And, finally, some BREAKING NEWS:

To paraphrase the greatest television show ever, which happened to take place just a few miles from where I sit: "TONY COM'N . . . TONY COM'N"  That's right, apparently TBC is on his way to Baltimore as I write.  He'll be landing mere miles from here at 2:00 am.   He's already offered me money to pick him up from the airport and drive him to his hotel.  At 2:00am.   As Lightning would say . . . FML . . .

-PPP
  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Who Died in this Room?

I spend many nights in hotel rooms.  In addition to visiting various casinos, I generally hit Platinum at SPG every year (25 visits / 50 nights) and stay the occasional night at non-affiliated hotels when a deal is too good to pass up.  I don't stay at bad places.  I don't do "motels."  Perhaps it has something to do with my upbringing.  I spent many a night on family vacations in a Motel 6.  It's not an experience I wish to replicate.  Hell, the primary reason I went to law school was to be able to avoid roadside motels.  Several years ago, I briefly forget the lesson.  I booked a room at a Holiday Inn Express in Charles Town, West Virginia, so that I could enjoy some cocktails along with a night of poker and not worry about driving.  I cashed out my chips, and returned to the room around 2:00 am.  It smelled like mold and poor service.  If depression had a fragrance, this was it.  I tried to sleep; but after an hour, I decided I was sober enough and made the hour or so drive back home to Bethesda.

Even the nicest of hotels present certain concerns.  I mean, just think god-knows-who was sleeping in that bed before you!  Shit -- how many people DIED in that bed?  Generally, however, I'm able to push these thoughts aside and get some sleep.  But there's always one exception -- a little something spelled M.U.R.D.E.R. . . .

Yes, this freaks me out.  Back in 2009, a father drowned his kids on the 10th floor of the Marriot in downtown Baltimore across from Camden Yards.  I haven't stayed there since, for fear I'd pull a key-card for the death scene.  Some dude killed himself and his girlfriend in their room at Revel in AC last year.  As a result, I haven't stayed there, either (well, that and the fact that Revel charged like $400 a night).  And, of course, there was the suicide at the MGM Grand this morning.


But, the MGM Grand death was not what had me thinking about this.  No.  Rather, I have a reservation this weekend at an SPG property, walking distance to a concert I'll be going to.  As a Platinum member, I generally get upgraded to Club Level.  Well, in researching this property (as I always do before booking a place for a first time), I discovered that there was actually a murder at this hotel as well.  It happened back in 2009.  And it wasn't just a murder.  No.  There were 4 deaths!  Some dude -- an attorney -- killed his wife and two kids.  Strangled them.  Laid them out on the king bed.  Then went into the bathroom and blew his fucken brains out.  And it happened on the Club Level.  Hell, I even know the room number.  How many rooms are on an average hotel floor?  And how many of them are king beds?  What are my odds of pulling that room?  It's prolly only slightly worse than flopping a set with a pocket pair (which, I guess, means I have nothing to worry about the way I've been running lately).


Generally, when I check into a place, I'm easy going.  I take what's given to me.  I can't remember the last time I requested a room change.  Maybe never.  But, this weekend, there is no way I'm spending my Saturday at a murder scene.  F-That!  I think I'll be inventing a medical condition that requires accommodations on a low floor.

Surely I'm not the only person with issues about things like this.  Could you spend the night in a former murder scene?         

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Post About Nothing

It's Monday evening.  I'm home watching Eaten Alive off the DVR, knowing, based on reviews I read this afternoon, that no one will, in fact, be eaten alive.  An inevitable disappointment . . .

It's been a while since I've written.  It looks like I've found a way to post again on my MacBook.  Indeed, this very post post renders it beyond question.  So, now that I have the ability to post pictures again, I'll try and put on my Pete P. Peters hat more often.  But, the truth of the matter is I really haven't had much to write about recently.   My weekends have all been pretty much the same -- some concerts . . . some gambling . . . watching football.   Only so many times I can write about that.  

Work has sucked.  To say things have been slow would be an understatement.  I haven't done much of anything the past two months, since my biggest case settled the first week in October and nothing else is really ready for litigation.  So, I've been writing articles . . . and looking for work to manufacture on a contingency case . . .  I get up early . . . get to work by 7:30 . . . and try to stay busy in the morning.  After lunch, I go to the gym for 2 hours.  Then I waste away a few hours before leaving at 6:00 or so.  It's depressing.  And, while the checks still clear every two weeks, it remains to be seen how long this will continue if things don't pick up.  And, frankly, I have mixed feelings about it all.  Some days, I feel like being laid off would not be the worst thing in the world.  I could get by for quite a long time without worry.   And I'd love a few months of doing nothing.  Hell, if I got canned, I'd probably be in Hawaii within days . . . and then Vegas for a month or so  . . .  Only then would I start looking for work.  It would probably be glorious . . .  And I'm not even sure I'd try and continuing practicing law.   Perhaps I'd go in-house at one of the big insurers . . . or finally pursue my dream of becoming a barrister at Starbucks . . . and just run out the clock for the next couple of decades . . .  At least my investments in LVS and MPEL are killing it lately . . .  FML . . .

On the positive side, I've been focusing more on working out.  Usually from like 2 to 4 in the afternoon.  It gives me a nice break from the nothingness of my work day.  I lift for an hour or so and get my swell on.   There are some smoke-shows walking around in Yoga pants.  I like to stare at them in between sets . . . just trying to resist the urge to dole out spankings.  In my head, I'm certain they've all been bad and are in need of some light punishment in the form of a heavy hand to their delightful ass . . . (oops . . . sorry . . . forgot I was blogging there for a second . . .).   Afterwards, I try and run 2 or 3 quick miles before calling it a day . . .  I look forward to getting into decent shape so all the young girls can ignore me at the pools in Vegas yet again this summer  . . . I guess it's better than being laughed at?  

Anyhow, after depressing the crap out of myself writing this crap post, I'll leave you with some sweet, sweet (like, really sweet) video poker porn from last Saturday at the Shoe.   I flopped this sucker within the first 10 minutes of mash:


Then followed up with this one:


Then, after running bad for an hour or so, I rallied with this:


And finally, closed out with a little deuces wild:


As I started with free play, so I walked with $350 profit . . .

I also played actual poker for 3 hours, won $120, and played not a single hand worthy of comment . . .   I've only got 88 hours of cash logged this year.  I'm down $30, thanks mainly to hands I lost in Vegas earlier in the year, including being abused by ggrouchie.   As TBC would say, "my hourly sucks . . ."  Hopefully, I can get it black before years end (something TBC would likely not say) and obtain a moral victory . . .