Sunday, January 31, 2010


While playing against a Russian opponent today on PokerStars, I came up with a variation on the hammer. I am now calling 7-2 suited the "hammer and sickle."

It is the newest addition to my hammer variations:
7-3 is the Austalian Hammer (hole cards of Joe Haschem on the hand he won the Main Event)
8-2 is the Canadian Hammer (because they are just a little off)
4-2 is the Grumpy Hammer (the Poker Grump's favorite hand)
10-2 of course is The Brunson (winning 2 main events with the same odd hand is mind boggling)

You guys got any others?

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Aces are high in 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw? Huh. Did not know that. How the hell do you play that game?

Friday, January 29, 2010


I'm still hurting and a little stunned by the Vikings loss on Sunday. And I do mean Vikings loss- the Saints had very little to do with that win. For the Vikings to have had 5-6 turnovers in a road playoff game, and still be in it down to the wire is a testament to the Saints not being for real. It's yet another heartbreak as the Vikes melted down at the end of regulation. It's too bad Favre made a horrible decision at the end, because now all the haters get to say "told you so" and gloat for a year. The Vikes wouldn't have been there without him. Live by the sword, die an agonizing death by the sword, or something like that. I'm proud Favre was a Viking, and I thank him for an incredible ride. The multiple horrible calls by the officials in overtime didn't even bother me that much. The Vikings had already cost themselves the game through fumbles and interceptions. Bad calls are just icing on the cake that is the continuing torture of bleeding Purple.
Tuesday was the Jeopardy! online test. I was physically and mentally prepared. I hadn't drank in a month, I hadn't smoked for a week, I was ready to go. The familiar sounds of Tony's Lullaby (the Jeopardy! countdown music was written by Merv Griffin for his son, and has earned him an estimated $70 million in royalties) played as the last 30 seconds counted down to the test. The first two questions were The Scarlet Letter and the Coen Brothers! I thought I was home free. The test was surprisingly easy, and right after the test I thought I had done pretty well. Then I started going back over the questions in my head and realized that I had missed a minimum of 12 fucking questions! That's not going to cut it, especially with an easy test. The 3-4 fairly easy questions I blew are probably the margin of making the cut. I'll have to wait another year, and my window of accumulated knowledge vs. quick retention is passing. Every year it's a little harder to pull up files quickly from my brain. Getting old truly does suck.
So within 36 hours, two of my biggest dreams in life were killed for another year. One, I have no control over, and one I control completely. Both came out the same: tantilizingly close, but no cigar. It's not how many times you get knocked down that matters though, it's how many times you get up.......

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Played in event #1 last night on Pokerstars. Weird tourney. For the first hour and a half, I was playing at a table with 4-5 people "sitting out." These free promo tourneys are always like that. They shouldn't allow registration until an hour before the start of the tourney. I didn't recognize any bloggers, and when I looked up OhCaptain, he was one of the "sitting out" players and never made it to play. It was fun as people got home from work, or whatever, and popped up with their diminished stack. They would usually be all-in within a few hands and you could pick them off pretty easily if you woke up to any kind of moderately good hand. I finished in 125th place and got my $11 SCOOP ticket. I hope the main event is better. Maybe there will be a couple bloggers I recognize in that. By the time I got knocked out of event #1, practically my whole table was chatting in Spanish, including about 4 observers.
Does anybody know when Walmart started carrying life sized AlCantHang dolls? He looks in pretty rough shape. Maybe that's why they're only charging $6 for him.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Dear God,
Why do you hate me? I know I don’t believe in you, and all that, but don’t you love all your children no matter what? Doesn’t it say that somewhere in the bible? Sure I taketh your name in vain 7-8 times an hour and tell lots of Catholic priest jokes, but who doesn’t? I’ve been a Vikings fan my whole life, and they’ve never won the Super Bowl. I’ve been waiting 33 years for them to even get back there. Oh lord, why do you torture me so? Two of the last three NFC championship games they made it to have been heartbreaking overtime losses to inferior teams. Clearly you had to intervene to make that happen. Why do you pick on me and my beloved Vikes? Don’t you have to be somewhere making Paris Hilton more famous, or creating earthquakes and tornadoes to destroy churches (you sick bastard)? What could you possibly care about pushing footballs wide right, or making them pop out of players hands over, and over, and over, and over again? I truly don’t understand you, God, but I’m trying.
Is it me? Are you punishing me specifically? Because that’s what it feels like. Will you let the Vikes win if I stop rooting for them? Is that what it’s going to take? Because I’ll do it Lord. I’d renounce my love for the Purple and Gold, like Abraham sacrificing his son, if it means that my Minnesota brethren could experience a championship. I would do anything you want to make that happen. I’ll get one of those silly bowl cuts and wear a brown robe and never speak again if that’s what you want. I’ll wear a shitty polyester suit and a name tag and go door to door if that is thy will. If you want me to hand out flowers at the airport and have 40 children on a ranch, I will. Oh God, I will! Just give me a sign. Any sign and thy will be done! But if you do give me a sign, could you make it before training camp? The defensive front four will be back next year, and if you could see fit to get us some secondary prospects…….I’m just sayin’.

You bless,

P.S. I totally get the irony of naming a team of arrogant, undisciplined cheap shot artists the “Saints.” Very funny. I predict that the next storm you send to destroy New Orleans will be called Hurricane Colts. What? Too soon?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


After my political excorsism yesterday, I feel pretty good.
Big game coming up Sunday. The Vikes are playing for the NFC championship in a dome that Favre owns. Go purple! My favorite moment from last weeks game against the Cowboys was when Fox showed a split screen of Prince and Bud Grant (two of my favorite Minnesotans, and idols) right before cutting back to a beautiful touchdown pass from Favre to Rice that pretty much put the game out of reach for Dallas. Sweet, sweet moment.
As I said, my poker game is back on track. It's helped me considerably to think of pennies as dollars when playing micro micro stakes. Basically equates a 1-2 cent NL or 2-5 cent NL table to the lowest NL stakes at Foxwoods. Makes it easier to walk away from a table with 80 cents profit when I think that that would be $80 in a casino. I've also been buying in for $5 ($500) at those tables, which gives me just enough buying power to get some respect on bluffs.
Things have been going well, so I decided to play a $4 tourney. It was nice to play in a tourney with 1500 people instead of the 8000 I'm used to. Everything was moving along nicely. I hit some cards, made some good decisions. I did lay down pocket tens to an all-in and a call ahead of me. Not only did neither of them have a pair, but two tens ended up coming out on the board! I still think it was a good fold, but it would have only cost a 1/4 of my stack to call the original all-in. I was worried about the caller, who had me covered. Of course, I would have flopped the set, but hindsight is 20/20. It's so hard to shake off a hand like that where I would have won a nice pot with quads. You just have to shake it off and play with a clear head. All part of becoming a better player. The tournament ended badly. I was cruising towards the money, when I woke up to big slick suited against a 2x BB preflop raise from a hyper aggressive player who had been getting lucky with suspect hands when he showed. I min raised and he called. Flop comes K-4-10. He bets 2x pot, and I shove. He snap calls with pocket 4's. His set held up and I clicked "close window" in a shocked stupor about 40 places from the money. 2 1/2 hours completely wasted, and a certain cash snatched from jaws of victory. Did I blunder? I knew he didn't have pocket K's or 10's or he would have raised more pre flop, and probably check post flop, but I didn't even consider 4's. I put him on K-Q or worse. I had seen him bet so aggressively with mediocre hands for about 1/2 an hour. I would love feedback from my (possibly imaginary) readers....
Oh, and don't forget, if you are in Vegas, stay at the Palms Place or Signature at the MGM Grand! Perfect for extended poker stays. Sweet suites at a sweeter price! Ugh, I feel so dirty....

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Their lips are moving.
Rough Tuesday in Massachusetts. The mystery writer Robert B. Parker died, and a right wing nutbag got elected to the U.S. Senate. Robert B. Parker was a generous philanthropist and a proud Bostonian who featured the city in his writing, especially his Spenser for Hire series. I worked at a Beacon Hill wine shop that his wife frequented occasionally. Classy couple, and he will be missed.
Now the nutbag.
But first a little background. I have vowed to not talk about politics any more. Never. To anybody. Whether I agree with you or not, it doesn't matter. If we agree, what's the point? And if we disagree, you're not going to change my opinion, and I'm probably not going to change yours, so what's the point? Talking politics only breeds hate and mistrust where there could have been a perfectly good relationship in the absence of politics. You know what I'm talking about. We've all had somebody who we got to know and like, maybe they went to bat for you or helped you out, only to discover they have some wacko political views diametrically opposed to yours, and you can never really look at them the same way. Personal politics should be just that. When you step into the booth you make your voice heard and that's that. However, I can't just let this one go, so I am going to violate my rule one last time here, and then I'm done.
The nutbag.
I don't know too much about Scott Brown, except that he is basically a male Sarah Palin. Pretty, anti-abortion, anti-gay, mindless right wing Republican foot soldier who claims to be an "independent thinker." Wow, they could be twins now that I think about it. I don't think Brown likes to hang out of helicopters and slaughter wolves, but that may be the only difference. Hopefully he'll be a worthless quitter too, and leave 2/3 of the way through his term to pursue a profitable book tour. I respect his service in the National Guard, but I do not respect his service in the Massachusetts Senate. It was there that he helped pass the pathetic health care bill that penalizes people for not having insurance, but does nothing else. It is the same mangled plan that we are heading towards on a national level. Oh wait though, maybe not. With Brown in office the Republicans can filibuster and shut everything down. Congratulations GOP. You've won! You can now finish slowly choking health care reform to death. You must be so proud! What an awesome victory for you! You've taken the most important issue in America, and the thing that needs fixing beyond desperately, and you suffocated it because it didn't suit your interests. The corrupt and hypocritical mega banks and insurance companies that tax payers bailed out are safe to continue pillaging. Yeah! All the bipartisan goodwill and ill-advised Republican appointments Obama made were a complete waste of time. This is a cage match with no mercy. The citizens don't matter. The health of the nation doesn't matter. The future of the planet doesn't matter. All that matters is that your team comes out on top, and you did it Republicans. Red beat blue! In your face President Trying To Do Something Good For The Common American!
Don't get me wrong, both parties disgust me, but the Republicans disgust me more. If only for their bible thumping, anti civil rights, corporate welfare supporting, rape the planet mentality. Those are deal breakers for me. I recently finally figured out the secret to the success of the GOP. I always wondered how they managed to get poor people and moderates to vote for them when it is clearly not in their best interest. It's a party built on protecting the wealthiest individuals and corporations. The insanely rich and upper middle class are on their side for obvious, selfish reasons, and donate a shit ton of money to campaigns. Then there are the middle class people who aspire to one day be upper middle class. They are convinced to vote based on future hopes that they will probably never acheive, and based on ridiculous lies like "read my lips, no new taxes." Remember that one? I do. And then the poor. The Republicans get a shitload of them with the bible thumping kool-aid. The GOP is God's party (much the way the Cowboy's are God's team, but we saw how that worked out this year). It's funny that a lot of Republicans tend to be the Toby Keith-loving, American flag doo-rag wearing, love it or leave it morons, when all they are doing is facillitating the exploitation and looting of America by an elite few. Not to mention the war mongering, but I better not get started on that.
The Democrats are pathetic in their own right. When they had the chance they should have stuck the knife in their enemies across the aisle as often as possible. But their weakness is also their strength. Compassion. For all their faults, they still want to help people and protect the average American. They want less people to die, unlike the Republicans who want more people to die (as long as they are the right ones: poor people, retarded convicts, and foreigners). That's it in a nutshell. For all their faults, I find it hard to believe that a Democrat would have shouted insults at a sitting President during a speech in the house the way that knee-jerk fascist Republican from South Carolina did. If there ever was a time to do that, it would have been during the eight years of lying, war crimes, blocking stem cell research, and denying global warming that we had just gone through with W. Now that may have justifyed yelling "liar."
But let me get away from party bickering. I believe all politicians are narcissistic whores who would sell their own mothers up the river if it meant a 1.5% gain in the polls. It's a job requirment these days. The political structure has bogged itself down just like ancient Rome, and soon will collapse under it's own arrogant weight. Health care reform was the albatross for me. The sign that we had become so polarized and inefficient that we can't even accomplish something that would benefit everyone. I just finished reading a mind-boggling account of hospital greed and corruption by Otis which exemplifies so many of the problems in American health care today. I was in Massachusetts when their so called reform passed, and all it did was create more business for legitimate and illegitimate insurance companies. I have many health problems that I should have dealt with, but didn't because I (and my employer) couldn't afford real insurance. Many nurses and doctors gave me the same advice when I couldn't get an appointment due to lack of insurance: just go to the emergency room. They have to treat you and you don't have to pay for it. Somebody does though. The hospitals and the taxpayers. And so the disaster that is our health care system continues to snowball. Why can't we solve this problem when so many other countries have incredible systems that we could model our own system on? Arrogance? Greed? Stubbornness?
Well, congrats again GOP on your hard fought victory. Go celebrate by drinking the blood of a pacifist, or taking a money bath, or having shameful, hypocritical, gay sex in a Minneapolis airport bathroom, or whatever it is you do for fun. I don't care anymore. I've gone from Libertarian leanings to Anarchy leanings. Screw it. Every man, woman, and child for themselves. Good luck. And now I'm done talking about politics forever.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I had a funny experience yesterday. My poker game is getting back on track, which is always a mood elevator, plus I was still riding the wave of the Vikings big win. When I logged into Felt Up during a poker session, I was delighted to see my third comment ever! When I clicked on it however, I found it was spam for phone sex. I had to laugh. It was raunchy stuff too. "For Granny sex dial ###-####, for Tranny sex dial ###-####, for Sarah Palin sex dial ###-####, etc. etc. Real creepy fetishes (at least the third one is). Well, smut peddlers have to eat too! At least a spammer found my blog. They must scour every corner of the internet box!
One of my favorite writers, Nick Tosches, said that everyone is a whore, so at least be a high priced whore. Very true. I myself have started prostituting myself for some luxury suites in Vegas, which I will shamelessly plug here. They seem like really nice suites, at good prices, so I figured what the hell. They offer particularily good deals for extended stays (WSOP anyone?). The Palms Place is right across from the Rio, in the heart of the Palms complex. Nice rooms with all the amenities.
So far I've been banned from one poker forum for life and haven't even received my first paycheck. We'll see how that works out.
I left the phone sex comment up because it cracked me up. Who knows, one of my readers might need one of those #'s too. Besides, I have to respect my fellow hucksters, don't I? Also, I was in such a good mood after the Vikes game and The Dude getting a standing ovation for his best actor Globe. Christ, after that I was in such a great mood that I didn't even skip Hotel California when it came on Pandora while I was playing poker. And I hate the fucking Eagles, man.
I did add the word verification to my comments. After all, a little phone sex spam goes a long way.

Monday, January 18, 2010


To paraphrase my main man Ice Cube, "Yesterday was a good day." I should say former main man. How he went from one of the angriest gansta rapper to making the shittiest kids movies of all time, I'll never know.

The day started with an incredible victory by my beloved Vikes. I thought Dallas would be the biggest challenge for the Vikes in the NFC. I hate the Cowgirls. Despise them. From Drew Pearson's push off Hail Mary in '75, to the worst trade in the history of sports (Herchel Walker in exchange for two Super Bowls), to Emmit Smith slowly and mundanely creeping past the great Walter Payton's rushing record, right up through the T.O.-Tony Homo era. The beating that the Vikings laid on the Cowboys was beautiful. I have never seen a defensive front four dominate and control a game as much as yesterday. Ray Edwards had a career day before getting hurt, the Williams Brothers were at their disruptive best, and Jared Allen was a force of nature unleashed. They actually lived up to all the pre game hype. Not an easy thing to do. And it's a good thing that they did, because the Vikings secondary is banged up (and pretty weak even before that). I don't think I saw one deep ball from Dallas. Romo didn't have time. He was too busy fumbling or inspecting the Metrodome turf. How's it look Tony?

Favre on the other hand was the man. Even though he was pressured too, the old man stayed calm and hit Sidney Rice for three of the prettiest touchdowns all year. I would also like to invite that macho jack off Brookings to fornicate with himself. If you didn't want to be embarrassed, then maybe you shouldn't have laid down. Go cry on that meglomanical crypt-keeper Jerry Jone's shoulder. I'm sure he'll be sympathetic. On to New Orleans, who I don't fear at all. Defense wins championships.

The day ended with Martin Scorcese getting a lifetime acheivment award, and The Dude finally winning best actor at the Golden Globes. It was heart warming to see him get a standing ovation. Fairly tepid award ceremony other than that, even Ricky Gervais' insults seemed flat. Was it me, or did they not do a "people who died" segment? Looks like a terrible year in movies. I'm a little worried for the Oscars. They definitely picked the wrong year to go to ten nominations for best movie.

So there you have it. Momma cooked the breakfast with no hog, no barking from the dogs (except the D-line of the Vikes), and I didn't even have to use my A K. I gotta say it was a good day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Well, I guess I have to weigh in on the late night TV battle. It’s frustrating to see a situation where the right thing to do, the financially smart thing to do, and the thing everybody wants are all the same, and yet the opposite of all of them seems inevitable. Television executives have got to be, hands down, the dumbest, most near-sighted, worst taste having morons to walk the planet (or roll around in their Hummers), and yet they have some of the biggest egos and power trips this side of D.C.
The bottom line is this: Conan is funny, Leno is not.
Just because NBC and Leno were so arrogant and stupid as to think his barely retooled show could succeed in prime time doesn’t mean Conan and his staff should now have to suffer. The programming donkeys have blown it again, and now the only original, funny, compelling show on NBC (other than 30 Rock) is the one that gets cut.
Unfortunately, I thought Conan was better in a later slot. He had more leeway and it just seemed a little edgier, more underground. If Conan was going to take over the Tonight Show, they should’ve waited until it was time for Leno to retire (five years ago in my opinion).
Now, this whole debacle may be a Machiavellian scheme to generate buzz and boost plummeting ratings. After all, network television is on the ropes right now. If that is true, then it’s a brilliant ploy, but I don’t think the studio execs are that clever. Did you know that Jeffrey Zucker called the cops on Conan and had him arrested when they were undergrads at Harvard? Conan was the editor of the Harvard Lampoon and Zucker was the editor of The Crimson. As a prank, the Lampoon stole an entire press run of The Crimson, and Zucker freaked out. Conan had also listed Zucker’s dorm phone number in a fake phone sex ad. Hi-larious. Zucker didn’t seem to think so. Not much has changed. Conan continues to be funny and subversive, and little Lord Fauntleroy stomps his feet and takes his ball and goes home. Sounds like he’s still holding a grudge after all these years. No wonder there is a new term in Hollywood. When you make a colossally horrendous decision that royally screws everything, it’s called a “Zuck up.”
Let me conclude by simply presenting some facts. Conan was writing and producing during the Golden Age of the Simpsons. That alone makes him comedy royalty in my book. He also wrote for Saturday Night Live (a rite of passage for any great TV comedy writer), and continued his biting yet self-effacing brand of humor on Late Night. Pimpbot, Clinton with the moving lips, Triumph the insult comic dog, In the Year 2000, If They Mated, Joel the announcer, and the Masturbating Bear. Need I say more? What has Leno done? Made half-ass-kissing jokes in his whiny, high pitched monologues, that he then repeats a couple times as the brain dead, consumer sheep feed bags of an audience laughs away because the sign told them to. His biggest bit is interviewing people who represent everything that is horrible and wrong about uneducated, self centered Americans (or else they’re just pretending to be retarded which is even more offensive). The funniest thing on his show is Headlines, and that’s just him reading stuff that VIEWERS SEND IN! Leno can take his over inflated chin and ego, his lame jokes and lamer interviews, the pathetic cumstain he calls a bandleader, pack it all in one of his precious hot rods, and drive into the fucking San Andreas Fault for all I care.
I’m proud of Conan for sticking to his guns. If there is a rally near you on Monday, I highly recommend attending. It is great to see the outpouring of support for Conan. Funny is funny, and right is right. I’m with Coco.

Friday, January 15, 2010


As I go up and down the micro stakes tables on PokerStars, I find (not surprisingly) that the skill level plummets the lower you go. This doesn't necessarily translate into winnings for a more sound player. You end up losing to inside straights hit on the river, 2-3 flushes crack your aces, and people stupidly call brilliant bluffs with bottom pair. Nobody folds when they are supposed to. No one is paying attention, or don't understand what a move means, so setting somebody up with clever deception is pointless. At the lowest levels you don't even get to size up an opponent because if someone wins a moderate pot they usually run away. Hit and Run for .45 cents?!? Weak.
My problem is that right now I don't have enough of a bankroll to even handle a 10 buy-in swing at the higher micro or low level stakes. Pretty sad, but cut me some slack- I'm unemployed right now. I don't know if I'm getting a good gauge of my abilities at the "blood clot" tables (that's the opposite of nosebleed, right?) People at higher levels make appropriate bets, slow play less, and fold when they should. The chat is a lot better too. Of course, so is the play, and that's the rub. I don't know if I am good enough to succeed at a higher level, and there is only one way to find out. Maybe I'll run that experiment when I get my tax refund.
Ugh. I better go study more if I'm going to do that.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So I'm looking to infuse some new vocabulary/slang into the poker world. As I mentioned before, I'm sick of donk this, and donk that. You're a donk, I'm a donk, everywhere a donk donk. Can we at least start mixing jackass in there somewhere? Same thing anyway, right?
Has anyone heard any good new terms, insults, adjectives? I need a word for when somebody plays horribly, but sucks out. I saw "ghey" the other day, but it kinda creeped me out. Too PC. Something along the lines of "lame," or "pathetic"...
The term I want to coin is "fool house." When there are two pair on the board, and you have the lower full house, that is a "fool house." Kinda like the sucker straight.
Well, let me know if you have any good ones....

Monday, January 11, 2010


Well, the Foxwoods trip was a blast.
The tourney went badly, with two ridiculous beats back to back to knock me out, but I was proud of the way I played. The $60 turbos have quite a few hopeless players who probably watched a little WSOP on ESPN, and figured they'd give it a shot. Easy marks (if you can dodge the horrific suckouts). One guy at my first table called the floor over to argue for three minutes about the dealer calling "blinds up" with five seconds left on the level clock. Really? Are you serious? Play at our table came to a screeching halt for three full minutes while this ancient nutbag argues over losing five seconds in a turbo format. Brilliant move you fucking poser! He kept saying he "didn't appreciate" the dealer cheating him. The TD carefully explained that if the dealer can't begin dealing before time on a level expires, then he can announce the blinds going up. Since the dealer hadn't even started putting the old deck in the shuffler and pulling out the new one, he was in the right. Unfortunately it took awhile to explain this to the offending a-hole while we sat around with the action on him of course. I should have called clock on him! Oh well, by the end of the whole debacle, everyone at my table wanted to shove his stupid scrimshaw card protector so far up his ass that it would peek out of his nose with the rest of his hideous old man nose hairs. Bah! When are they going to open the "under 50 only" casino?
If I thought that guy was bad, I had a shock waiting for me at the dreaded $2-$4 No-Fold 'em limit table. There's a reason I vowed to never play at these! I will not make that mistake again. After a slow torture for an hour, I decided to at least get something out of the trip and start drinking. I'd only drank a couple times in the past 6-7 months, but as soon as I started drinking the cards turned around for me. What is God trying to tell me? Long story short, I had a blast getting hammered at the video poker bar, and held my own at the $1-$2 NL table, which is where I feel like I belong for the first time!
The bottom line of the trip was that I got to spend some great time with my friends (we even got to play at the same tables because Foxwoods was so deserted). I walked out of a casino with only $20 less than I walked in with, and that's less than the money I tipped for drinks! I love live play, and I always seem to do better than online, but internet poker certainly has it's advantages. Quicker play, readily available info (chip stacks, mucked cards, etc), and most importantly, it's a lot easier to block chat. Also, you are protected from the germs, sights, and smells of the casino, as evidenced by the sloppy, career degenerate, who had clearly given up on competing in society and was sitting next to me openly farting and bitching about everyone's play at the 2-4 table. Truly the darkside of brick and more tards poker......

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Ahhh, the ubiquitous “trip report.” It seems to be a right of passage, so here goes.
I left Eastport, Maine on Saturday morning. A major blizzard was moving in starting Friday. Chance of snow on Friday: 100%, Saturday: 100%, Sunday: 100%. Even I believe the weathermen when they are that sure. The snow started for real Friday night. By Saturday morning it was white out conditions. The little coastal transportation bus showed up surprisingly only ten minutes late, but it was obviously going to be slow going down Route 1. Another woman got on with me, and she made many trips back to a car to load a bunch of junk on the bus. I wasn’t really paying attention, but I did notice one of her items was a broken down oscillating fan. You don’t see one of those that often in the dead of winter. Once we got under way, I heard a weird little sneeze and looked over at her. She had a baby on her lap! Somehow, riding the short bus, in the heart of a blizzard, in the middle of nowhere, with only one other passenger, I had ended up traveling next to a baby! I knew Dr. Pauly would have chuckled.
The baby was blessedly silent the whole trip, and we made our connection in Bangor. I felt like that lone snowboarder in a Warren Miller extreme movie, flying down the mountain barely ahead of a huge avalanche. I was trying to escape Maine before the avalanche caught up. Unfortunately around Augusta, just as it happens so often to the snowboarder, the giant cloud engulfed us. Even the mammoth Concord Trailways bus was fishtailing all over. The highway signs were plastered pure white with snow, and you could barely tell the road from the ditch. Pretty fucking cool, except I was convinced I wouldn’t make it to Boston that night. Somehow, miraculously we emerged from the storm bank, and rode the cusp of it all the way to Massachusetts.
Boston was a ghost town. It was the second day of the new decade and everyone was broke, hungover, and probably ashamed. 2010 was starting quietly. It couldn’t be worse than 2009 though, right? I met up with my friends in the People’s Republic of Cambridge, and we had a good weekend. Bar trivia one night, and a night at my friend Lea’s place watching old Twilight Zones and playing Personal Preference (a fun board game from the 80’s where you have to predict your friends rankings of random items). I actually worked a couple of days too. I have a really cool boss who lets me fill in at the wine shop whenever I’m in town. You know, for gambling money and what not. Speaking of which, Tuesday morning was what I was looking forward to. That’s when we headed down to……..


Foxwoods always looms up like a trashy turquoise mirage out of the bucolic Conneticut woods, but it’s the most beautiful ugly thing you’ve ever seen when you are jonesing for some cards! We played in the 1pm $60 Turbo. I took a horrific two-outer beat on the river to cripple me the hand before the first break. I had to wait five minutes to go all-in blind in the small blind. The big blind calls and another guy in the hand shoves. I think “Oh great.” BB folds and the other guy shows 6-7 off! I have no idea what my cards are at this point. I flip 7-8 off. Sweet, right? Of course not. Even the dealer says “You have him dominated.” Thanks, dickhead. Flop is Q-3-10. Turn 4. I immediately predict the 5 on the river and am literally walking away from the table before the five of spades hits the felt. “GL” idiot, and all that happy horseshit my ass.
Time for a cash game. I break my #1 cardinal rule, and head for the $2-$4 limit tables. I have vowed to not play No Fold ‘em Hold ‘em ever again. It is the paper cut of poker tables. Unfortunately, I’m pretty low on the bankroll, and have to play there by necessity. Maybe I’ll hit a couple pots and be able to move up to the $4-$8 tables. Yeah right. I sit down at the table and survey the damages. It is the table of misfit toys. And I don’t mean that in the ironic fun way. Seat one is the retired rock, seat 2 is a fat Edward James Olmos look-a-like with a ponytail, seat 3 yours truly, seat 4 soon to be empty, seat 5 friendly chatty old lady, seat 6 weirdo with a super deluxe sars mask who repeatedly answers his phone and has to be told to hang up every time, seat 7 the grouch who stares at his cards for ten minutes before inevitably folding after the river every time, seat 8 the Russian who bets wrong and has to be told how limit betting works every time, seat 9 my friend G eventually, and seat 10 the old Jewish lady with bifocals perched on her nose who looks up and down, back and forth from the board to her hand and eventually calls with middle pair every time. It is beyond a crushingly slow pace, especially being used to online play. When the 4 seat opens up, the grouch asks to move to it. Dealer says fine. A couple minutes pass and a young kid sits down in 4, pulls cash out, gets chips, gives the dealer his Dream Card to swipe, and settles in. After all this, the grouch says “Can I have that seat now?” So the kid has to get up, move his chips, move his water, get his Dream Card out to reswipe, and slide two seats over. The grouch sits down next to me and actually asks me to move over. Are you fucking kidding me? I tell him in my most restrained Charles Bronson rage filled calm voice that I am directly in front of my seat’s cup holder so he can go blow. I mean seriously, he pulls that shit, unnecessarily moves two seats over to be next to the biggest guy at the table (me), and then expects me to move over?!?? Am I on hidden camera? Oh wait, I am. But not the good kind like Candid Camera. Oops, I’m dating myself. I should have said Punk’d. Everybody at the table is talking shit and analyzing strategy. At a 2-4 table? Stategy? Please. And they all know each others names. They sit here all day, everyday and do this. How depressing. Someone at the table calls 2-4 limit “morphine for heroin addicts,” but I find that very insulting to morphine. After none of my hands hold up to the brilliant “call everything” technique employed at the table, I realize I’m in hell. Poker hell and humanity hell. The absolute lowest point that both could sink to. Now I finally realize why casinos call them “pits.” Edward James Olmos keeps farting, and now there is a putrid, somewhat sulfurus stench to round out the metaphor. I flag down the waitress. If I’m going to be in absolute hell, I might as well start drinking. Ahhh, it tastes so good when it hits your lips! After actually winning a couple pots, G and I flee hell and head upstairs to purgatory.
Whenever I’m steaming, broke, want to get drunk, or maybe all three, I head to the video poker bar tucked behind the racebook. It is one of my favorite spots in Foxwoods. Ya stick $20 in a machine and you get served free drinks by a bartender right there. No more craning your neck around looking for a non-existent waitress in the poker room. G and I get hammered playing video 5 card draw for an hour or so. Good times. I win about $40 profit because of hitting quads a couple times. We then head back downstairs to find my friend Van D who is at a $1-$2 NL table. We find him and it’s open seating, so I decide to jump on the table. My favorite line of the trip came later when I told Van D that the table image I was playing was Drunken Fool. He muttered under his breath “You played it well.” That’s what happens when you don’t touch a drop of liquor for over two months then get wasted at a casino. I kept my wits at the table though, and played super tight. I knew everyone would be dying to call the drunk guy every time. It worked. I won a big pot with big slick against a guy who I had been debating over the merits of buying in under the gun. I was violently opposed to it, while he said it was worth it to try and hit the bad beat jackpot. I got all my money in by the turn with a pair of Kings, Ace kicker, and the nut flush draw. His pocket pair was no good. I had him covered by about $5, but he had a cool hot pink $2.50 Foxwoods chip that he was using as a card protector. I wanted that chip. I don’t think you should be allowed to use a chip with a monetary value from the casino you’re playing at as your card protector! I had just taken about $80 off of him, so I didn’t press the issue. After he left, the dealer said he was one of the better players in the room, and that he was just killing time while he waited for a high stakes seat to open up. That made me feel good. The dealer then apologized for talking about another player. Bad etiquette, but in this case I’m for it!
The bad beat jackpot seems to be all people think about these days at Foxwoods. By the way, they raised it up to quad 8’s minimum that has to be beat. Both hole cards of both players have to be used and obviously it has to be shown down with at least 4 people at the table and a $20 pot.
I left the 1-2 table up $30 or so and we piled into the Lexus and headed up I-95 rocketing towards…….


Anyone who has driven past Providence, Rhode Island has probably seen the shockingly ugly pink building just off of the highway. Cheaters is probably the most appropriately named strip joint in the country. I say strip joint, but it’s really more of a roadside whorehouse. And even that is prettying it up. It’s the one place I’ve been that still has the wild west, anything goes credo. I’m surprised we didn’t have to check our six-shooters at the door. I always half expect Mae West to come down the stairs. Any place that you walk into and a gorgeous woman rushes up to you and whispers in your ear “I really want to suck your cock right now.” is a cool place in my book. Cheaters is like a virtual reality box that you step into and see what it’s like to be a rockstar for an hour or two. Anything goes (and usually does). I must be getting old, because Van D and I sat at the bar and talked movies while G went to take care of business. As we looked around we realized we weren’t missing anything. It was definitely not the A-team working a slow Tuesday in the dog days of January right after New Year’s (although one of the strippers did look like Mr. T). Christ, it looked like all of their customers had resolved to stop cheating on their wives, and were actually sticking to it for a few days! It was deserted and the talent was…..less than….remotely talented. It’s the first time I’ve ever been to the Pink Palace when there weren’t at least a few knockouts working. We were a little insulted that none of the girls came over to harass us. Not that we wanted them to. They were hideous, and we weren’t interested, but you know, it’s the principle of the thing. The girls were all lethargic, and the music was suicidal. I’m not kidding. It was like Edie Brickell, Depeche Mode, and Sarah McLaughlin. The whole place felt like a deserted opium den as envisioned by Russ Meyers and David Lynch. Speaking of which, the best looking girl in the joint finally came over and started talking movies with us. She must have been bored johnless, and turned out to be surprisingly knowledgable about movies. Just when they finally put my homey Prince on the sound system, G came streaking out of the back room like he had seen a ghost. A slightly overweight, half dressed, gap toothed, glitter covered ghost. It was time to split. The rest of the ride was fueled by Head Band and SoCo (in a tip of the hat to AlCantHang).
We were back in Boston and reality again. I had played cards in a casino for seven hours with friends, I was drunk, happy, and left with only $20 less than I had walked in with. That’s a mega win as far as I am concerned. I can’t wait to go back.
All right. Enough. This writing bullshit is cutting into my poker time.

Friday, January 1, 2010


The best thing about abandoning your dreams is that it really frees you up. A great deal of pressure is lifted from you. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get lost, or something like that. There is one dream I will never give up on though; getting on Jeopardy!. It has become an all consuming drive that motivates my every action.
Two years ago I took the online test and made it to the second round. Phase two of the test was held at the Sheraton in a non-descript conference room. As soon as I walked in, the lady running the auditions thought she recognized me from somewhere. Bad news. You can’t be a contestant if you know, or are related to, any Jeopardy! staff or even their friends. Throughout the two and a half hour process, she kept bringing it up over and over, even though I told her I had never met her.
Now, imagine the best one or two people you have ever watched Jeopardy! with, I mean the absolute top one or two lights out best. Now imagine yourself in a room filled with thirty of him/her. The competition was tough to say the least. The written test at the beginning of the audition was tricky, but I thought I did all right. Then we had a mock round where three of us would get up and actually compete with buzzers and everything. That was fun, and I smoked my two competitors. Our threesome was one of the last to go, and part of the mock round was being asked “If you win on Jeopardy!, what would you do with the money?” I was so sick of hearing person after person say “I’d travel,” or “I’d pay off my student loans,” or “I’d cure cancer, and plant a tree, and save the fucking whales…” Ahhhhhh! Booooring. So when I got my chance to answer the question, I said “I’d drink and gamble most of the money away…..and the rest I would squander.” Well, the middle of the three judges thought it was the funniest thing he had ever heard, but the other two judges looked like I had just kicked their prized pet poodle in the privates. They both glared at the cool judge until his laughter kind of broke down into a throat clearing.
Now, let me explain the philosophy behind my answer.
If you watch Jeopardy! then you are probably just as sick as I am of the banal contestants. If I see one more patent attorney from Hartford, or an accountant from Sacremento, with their fucking sweater vests and ridiculous bow ties rambling on about a cat they named Trebek, or their trip to Spain, when some store owner mistook them for Bill Gates I’m going to scream. Nobody fucking cares! (They really need to get rid of the little interview portion, but perhaps that is another rant on it’s own). Whether they know it or not, Jeopardy! needs cooler, funnier contestants, so I went into my audition with that agenda. It must not have worked, or maybe I did way worse on the written test than I thought, or maybe that crazy judge insisted she knew me from somewhere and put the kybosh on me. Either way, I never got to phase three, which is actually being on the show. It’s brutal to know that I was that close, and I’ll never find out why I didn’t get the call. Every winter they have the online test, and mark my words, I will be on that show someday!
I just hope there aren’t a lot of Bible or geography questions when I do get there…….