Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Play Money Fun

I like playing poker, but most of the time I don't have the disposable income to play as much as I would like.  Recently "The Dank" got rebooted on Poker Stars as a play money home game. This has led me to start playing a lot of play money sit n go tournaments on Poker Stars just to kill time while watching football on the weekend or in the evenings to wind down before bed.

Since they are play money games it's impossible to not play them a little looser than you would with real money at stake and it has made me realize something.  My normal style of poker is way too tight.  I've had lots of success in these sit n go tourney's thanks to looser than usual play that is just a wee bit tighter than most of the maniacs on there who are shoving on the first hand with any face card.

I have to admit to a little douche-baggery on my part though.  I can't help but mess with the players that take play money games way too seriously.  You see all kinds, but the ones that make me laugh the hardest are the ones that are pausing a really long time to try to make their easy decisions seem like hard decisions.  These are the same guys that lose their minds when somebody snaps off their TPTK shove because they called with bottom pair and hit trips or two pair on the river.

So the other night I had made it to the final 3 in a two table sit n go that paid 4 spots. I had a fairly sizeable chip lead.  The other two players were super tight and clearly took their play money game very seriously based on comments they had made earlier in the game to the "donks" and "idiots" who kept getting lucky.  I announced that I needed to leave (which was partly true) and started declaring what cards I had and shoving preflop.  When they both would fold I'd show my cards to prove I was being honest about what I held. 

About 6 hands into this process I'm dealt pocket aces.  I'm dishonest for the first time and announce 9-2 off suit and shove. The player with the next largest stack of like 5,000 to my 18,000 called and revealed King-Jack off suit.  He caught a King, but nothing more and was eliminated in third place.

I chuckled to myself as I pictured him punching his keyboard while cursing about that lying sack of shit JT88Keys.  It kind of makes me wish there was a way for them to send me private messages on there.

So if you miss the days of your youth spent burning ants with a magnifying glass, you really should play some play money tournaments on Poker Stars. It's very entertaining.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


So...time to get accountable for myself. I've not been the type of blogger who posts regularly about every mundane detail of my life.  I'm not condemning that style of blogging.  In fact I quite enjoy the day-in-the-life style of writing that gives me a glimpse into their every day life. The funniest thing is it invariably doesn't make me go, "Look how different their life is from mine." I actually am much more likely to think, "Wow, I'm a lot more like them than I would have imagined."

So I'm about to bang out details more personal than usual on this little laptop keyboard. I've worked for a Fortune 500 financial services company for more than 20 years now.  I started out as a peon that did data entry work. Even though I felt completely overwhelmed for about the first six months that I worked there I soon discovered I had a knack for the intricacies of qualified pension plans and their myriad compliance rules. I also was personable, outgoing, and had an ease with verbal and written communication so they promoted me into a position as a contract administrator where I was the single point of contact for about 30 of our pension customers.

After a couple of years in that position I moved into the training and education department just as they began a year long project to document a new system that was going to revolutionize the way we processed the requests of our clients. It would allow us to process most requests the same day they were received and produce payments for them in just a day or two.

When that system rolled out into production the department that took phone calls from customers with computer issues was ill-prepared. They couldn't differentiate between the callers that had a real problem and the ones who just plain didn't have a clue what they were doing.  That was where I came in.  My work in the training department gave me the knowledge to at the very least determine the difference between system issues and training issues. Even though I knew little to nothing about computers and computer programs I was now a computer technician.

I held that job for 15 years and got really, really good at it.  I can say without hesitation or undue pride that I was one of the best computer technicians in the Pension department. My customer surveys were  universally positive. My customers often told me, "Oh I'm so glad it was you that answered," when they called our support line.  I was comfortable and content except for one thing. The job didn't really have any upward career path. If I stayed in that position I could be good at what I did...maybe the best at it...but I'd never progress any further. I'd never make any more money and worst of all I'd just stagnate. I didn't know how unfulfilled I really was until my boss approached me out of the blue one day.

He was the supervisor of two very similar teams. One was the team I was currently on. The other was another call center that took phone calls on problems related to our in-house proprietary mainframe computer systems.  They dealt with the complex issues that come up when things get entered incorrectly by a peon or a programmer misses the colon that should have been a semi-colon.  He wanted me to consider moving onto the other team. They had an opening and he thought I would be a good fit.  Moving would open up a career path into the systems programming and project area where he ultimately thought I could be very successful.  He told me to give it a fair shot of like 6-12 months and if I hated it I could move back to my old team.  So where was the risk?  The risk I was most afraid of was what if I loved it?  What if I became really successful?  What if I realized I had wasted like 10+ years in the wrong job?  Worst of all what if I had to attend a bunch of meetings?  (I loathe meetings.)

I took the job and started about two weeks ago.  I haven't felt this uncomfortable or anxious over work in years.  So now to the real point of this post. In my new job I have to dress up a lot more than before.  In the old job I crawled under desks and lugged computer equipment hither and yon.  I got sweaty.  They let us wear jeans to work every day even though nearly everyone else in our buttoned down world were only allowed to wear them as a reward once in a great while.  I haven't dressed up for work in years. 

And now to the real point of this post.  About two years ago I quit smoking and gained a bunch of weight.  That was long after I stopped dressing up for work.  I don't fit into any of my dress work clothes any more.  My wife went out and bought me a few pairs of slacks and a few new shirts and I'm all set for now, but I don't like the way they fit or the way I look in them. So I'm doing something about it.  It's only been a few days, but I've started changing my diet.  I'm sitting here snacking on grapes instead of chips or cookies.

I'm making plans to begin an exercise regimen. I'm the type that once I put my mind to doing this I will succeed at it.  The success might not be permanent long term.  I've done it in the past.  About 10 years ago I did the same thing and lost down to about 195 pounds.  At the beginning of this week I was 278 pounds.  Before I quit smoking I was around 235 and never wavered far from it no matter what I ate or how little I exercised.  Two hundred and seventy-eight pounds!!!  That's so close to 300...  I'm disgusted with myself.

I know I won't regularly update anybody on my progress through this blog, but now I've put it out there.  I have to do it.  I have a strong sense of accountability, so it's happening. I'm stubborn if nothing else.  My very aggressive stretch goal is 50 pounds by January.  That's about 4 pounds a week.

Here goes nothing....or hopefully a lot less of something. (Me I'm talking about less of me.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Never Go In Against a Sicilian When Death Is On The Line

How 'bout them Cowboys?  I've been a Cowboys fan since grade school and they have been equally thrilling and frustrating to follow.  They are also one of those teams you either love or hate and there usually isn't a lot of middle ground, so I'm used to people groaning when I tell them that's the NFL squad I support.

How do you become a fan of the Dallas Cowboys when you grew up in Des Moines, Iowa?  Well, my immediate family lives in Des Moines, but all of my extended family was in southwest Mississippi and northwest Louisiana.  They were all either Saints or Cowboys fans.  The Saints sucked long and hard during the seventies while the Cowboys were pretty good for most of that decade, so I gravitated towards the winner. 

So, yes, I was kind of a bandwagon fan at first, but I stuck with them through the terribly mediocre Danny White eighties and  that awful 1-15 season in 1989 when Troy Aikman first took over the quarterbacking duties.  (The only win that season came against the Washington Redskins when Mr. Aikman was on the bench recovering from the first of his many concussions in the NFL.)

The nineties were awesome for Cowboys fans.  Jimmy Johnson had the Boys riding high with a high-powered offense featuring an offensive line with a mean streak and an aggressive hard hitting defense.  Jimmy led the team to two dominant Super Bowl wins over the Buffalo Bills in '93 and '94 and I firmly believe the dynasty would have continued if Jerry Jones' massive ego didn't get in the way.  He couldn't just let Jimmy Johnson have the credit for the success and pushed him out the door.  He hired his buddy Barry Switzer as his replacement, but Barry wasn't nearly as good of a coach when he couldn't bribe and cheat his way to championships like he did back at Oklahoma University.

Barry got a Super Bowl win in 1996 thanks to Jimmy's player evaluation skills and some terrible QB play by the Pittsburgh Steelers' Neil O'Donnell.  I mean...he single-handedly made Larry Brown the MVP by passing the ball straight to him.  Even Cowboys fans didn't think Larry Brown was that great.  The Raiders, who greatly over paid for Larry Brown in the free agent market, certainly didn't think he was most valuable...or a player.

In the 2000's we've had a shred of hope, but the team is painfully and frustratingly inconsistent.  Tony Romo vascillates between brilliant and recklessly idiotic.  When the defense is good, the offensive line is weak.  When the offense is efficient, the special teams give up big plays.  The few times they put it all together they look like world beaters, but that only happens like 2 or 3 times a season and never in the playoffs.

I'll just say this for the record.  The Cowboys will never again contend for a Super Bowl unless and until Jerry Jones gives up the player personnel duties to somebody with some actual football knowledge and experience.  His ego is way too large to let that happen, so until Jerry joins his buddy Al Davis in the big owner's box in the sky I have little hope that my Cowboys will add to their five Lombardi trophies.

And so it was that I sprung to the defense of my beloved Cowboys when I felt they were slighted by my friend Very Josie.  I've seen her posts about how she dominates football pools and pick 'em contests, but I ignored history.  She said Dallas would lose to Seattle last week.  I disagreed.   I dared her to put her money where her full-lipped Sicilian mouth was.  Well we never agreed on cash or other stakes, but a friendly wager was made.

She was right.  I will never again doubt the prognostication prowess of Lady Josephine and shall pay my penance in Las Vegas in December if I'm able to attend the WPBT.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Heartland Poker Tour

The Heartland Poker Tour is coming to my home poker room this October 12-21.  I don't have the scratch to buy into the main event directly, but I'm going to try to win my way in through satellites. I'll probably take a crack at a $65 single table sit and go where the top 3 win an entry to a $180 super satellite. The top ten percent in the super satellite earn entry into the $1,650 main event.

I've never played in any truly deep-stacked events and I'd love to try out an event where patience and well-timed aggression are valued over luck.  The sit and go is a pretty quick structure, but the super satellite allows for a little play and isn't an all out donk fest. The main event is a 3-day tournament where you start with 25,000 in tournament chips and it looks like the winners of most HPT main events win somewhere in the neighborhood of $120,000-$130,000.

If you're interested in the full structure it can be found here.

I know it's still like a month away, but wish me luck.  I could really use a little financial windfall about now.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Waffles, Why So Serious?

I made a flippant comment on Waffles' recent post where he criticized the play of Poker Grump and earned a post of my own from him raining down his particular brand of vitriol on me.  I tried to make a rebuttal in the comments and jab him with the virtual stick, but he deleted both of my comments.

I thought his skin was thicker than that and he would just fire back at me, but he chose to just maintain his bully pulpit by silencing me. I'm disappointed because I really thought Waffles was somebody who could give and get abuse when it was all in fun.  I thought that was sort of his thing.  Guess not...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

TIL..Iowa is Thick With Poker Bloggers

One of my favorite websites is Reddit. It's colloquially referred to as "The Front Page of the Internet" and is a conglomeration of user created and user shared content.  Take it from me...if you value your productivity and non-digital pursuits, don't go there. It will steal your will to do anything other than try to turn all of the links from blue to purple.

Most of it is funny pictures, memes, odd photos, and generally inappropriate humor, sprinkled with atheism, and hate for "the man," but a couple of the common posts are AMA (ask me anything) and TIL (today I learned).

In an ask me anything post a celebrity or other person with some unique knowledge, notoriety, or interesting insights will provide proof of their identity and then field questions. A couple of the ones I've enjoyed reading in the past were movie and TV star Terry Crews and lead singer of the band System of a Down, Serj Tankian.  Serj's had one of my favorite comments ever. In reference to maybe the best known System of a Down song "Chop Suey" a smart ass Redditor asked, "Why'd you leave the keys up on the table?"  The predictable response was, "He wanted to."

Side note: I have very eclectic music tastes enjoying everything from opera to classic jazz to current pop to dubstep...you name it.  I'm not a fan of most hip-hop music, but I can appreciate the ones that are especially clever or inspired.  I typically don't go for super aggressive hard rock music though. I have to be able to sing along a little or the music has to be interesting in some way or another.  System of a Down on the other hand is probably in my top 3 or 4 hard rock bands.  Their music is not the predictable 4/4 pattern with mindless themes. They adeptly change tempos and moods while expressing their social agenda (which doesn't really match up with my own, but good on them for trying to make a difference).

Oh and last night the President of the United States, Barack Obama, did an AMA and crashed the site. Usually popular AMAs will draw 4 or 5 thousand comments which is a lot by normal Reddit post standards.  The President's currently has somewhere around 22,000 comments. I'm skeptical that it was the actual POTUS fielding questions and not some PR or campaign staffer since almost all of the responses to questions looked like they could have been copied and pasted from his website's FAQ page.

The point of this post was not the AMA, but the TIL post.  Today I learned that Buddy Dank is from Central Iowa.  This was a somewhat shocking revelation to me considering that I was playing in the Buddy Dank Radio tournament which had around 30 some entrants and at least 4 of us were Iowans: Me, Grange95, xkm, and Buddy Dank. Since my little old state only accounts for about one percent of the overall population of the U.S.A. it's a remarkably high number.

Anyway, I luck-boxed my way into a win last night in the Dank getting lucky in a few key spots by playing way looser than I normally would if there were more than play money chips on the line.  But I got bragging rights for a week!!!

Enjoy a music video while you're here:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Home Game - I Winz It

I played in the regular bi-weekly game I play in during the summer months (show choir rehearsals conflict with it during the school year) last night and lets just say it was definitely my night.  After a slow start thanks to poor play from me I was forced to play short stack ninja and came all the way back and won the whole thing.

I lost about a third of my starting stack chasing a nut flush draw very early.  My wife's nephew is a regular at this game and I lost about two-thirds of what I had left in a hand against him.  I limped in early position with pocket 7s.  The flop came out 4-3-2 with two spades. My nephew bet big and I was the only caller. I considered raising there because I just had a feeling I was in the lead, but I don't think he was going anywhere.  The turn was another 4. My gut told me that was a card I didn't want to see.  My read was that he had A-4, A-3, K-4, or K-3. Now I've played a ton against him so I'm comfortable with his play.  I'm rarely surprised when he reveals his hand. He bet pretty large on the turn and river I still just called in case it was A-3 or K-3 even though my gut was screaming to lay it down after that second 4 fell.

He of course had A-4 suited so he had the trips plus backdoor flush and straight draws.  At this point I had about 1200 left from a starting stack of 6000.  I locked it down and played super tight from there on out and only gambled when forced to near the end of the tournament.  I got super lucky several times at the end of the tournament although there was never a time where I felt I made a bad or incorrect play.  I just kept running my good hands into slightly better ones and getting saved.

Lets see...I won with Q-10 suited vs AA when I rivered a straight, AK suited vs. QQ when I rivered the flush, and K-10 suited vs KK when I turned a straight.  I also called all-ins from short stacks holding K-J when I woke up with A-A and 10-10 when I had J-J and had my hands hold up.

I guess I'll take lucky over good.  I'm taking my winnings from last night and going out to the Prairie Meadows poker room tonight to see if I can win a little extra spending cash or even get lucky and hit their $80,000 bad beat jackpot.  Lets hope the run good continues.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

That's So Dank

"The Dank" (fka "The Mookie") is back.  I like calling it "The Dank" because it's just so....dank.  (At least that's the term the kids use these days for things that are cool or awesome and I want to seem young and hip so...)  I really only got in on the tail end of this tournament right before Black Friday happened, so I'm not as familiar with all of the participants as other bloggers. I'd guess that I've interacted with around a third of the people that played last night.

It's always fun to play a little poker and have a little online fellowship, but the nature of a play money game makes it play looser than one where something is on the line.  I know I personally found myself making looser calls than I might have if I had invested even $10 on a buy-in with the chance to win $100 or so.  So here goes some examples of my less than perfect tournament play.

Very early on with blinds of 20-40 I raised to 100 preflop with pocket tens. I got two or three callers. The flop was a lovely K-10-2. I don't believe there was a flush draw on the board.  I bet out about two-thirds of the pot and got raised by Tatude1.  I repopped it to like 1,000.  They (I'm unsure if Tatude1 is a he or she) shoved and I called hoping I just didn't see two kings.  Unfortunately for them they had flopped bottom set with pocket deuces to my middle set and it was buh-bye in 21st place.

I only had one massively memorable suckout. I limped preflop with Q-8 suited. The flop was Q-8-5.  I bet and got raised by Bammer. I reraised and he shoved. I called and was horrified to find that he had me crushed with pocket 5s.  I was saved when my four outer came through on the river with a third queen to boat me up and reward my very bad play.  I was immediately consolidated to another table, but luckily had the chance to tell Bammer sorry.  He was very gracious.

The hand that essentially ended my tournament took place on the last hand before the final table was seated.  I'm a little fuzzy on the preflop action.  I think I raised to like 3X the BB preflop with two black jacks, then Elcee reraised and I elected to just call.  (Elcee is another who I'm not sure is male or female, but I'm guessing female from the very frilly calligraphy LC that was their avatar.) The flop contained an ace and two other insignificant cards, but all of them were spades.  I think I checked and Elcee shoved. I had her covered by about 750 chips. The shove read to me as an ace that was afraid of the flush draw and wanted to end the hand right there. 

Edit: I've since learned that Elcee is very much a guy. So no offense intended by any of my remarks. Now I know better!

Now...this is definitely a situation where I played differently because I didn't have anything other than pride on the line.  I figured I had my 9 spade outs plus both jacks to have the best hand by the end.  So if my read is correct I'm about a 60-40 dog there.  In most cases I would reluctantly, but in my opinon correctly, fold there. I would have still had 10-12 big blinds left and could have made it into the money with smart play and a little luck.  My messed up rationalization last night went, "It's only play money and it's almost my bedtime, so who cares if I lose this hand." I called and discovered my read was exactly correct.  Elcee had AQ of diamonds. I didn't catch a spade or jack and was down to 750'ish chips when the final table was seated.

The very first hand of the final table I was dealt Q-10 off suit.  I shoved and got called by K-J.  I don't remember if they paired up or if neither of us improved, but it was GG me.  I logged off without saying any goodbyes or good games because I was kind of pissed at myself for being such a donkey.  So I'm sorry to everyone that was still around.  I should have at least said good night and been friendly.

I'll probably play in future Danks just because I'm a poker junkie and I need my fix.  I just wish it started even one hour earlier.  I have to be at work at 6:00 AM and I'm guessing the tournament went on until around midnight my time. My carriage definitely turns into a pumpkin about 11:00 PM Central Time.  So if you find yourself at my table and the clock is approaching that time, you should probably try to play hands with me.  I'm very likely to do something stupid and dump a bunch of chips because I can hear the call of my pillow, or better yet the clang of the very early alarm clock.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Couple Quick Poker Stories

I've been continuing my limit poker sessions.  This weekend had mixed results.  I won $100 on Friday night, but lost about $80 on Saturday night.  I had fun playing both nights and have a couple of interesting stories to share.  I won't be detailing a bunch of hands because I honestly find that very tedious when reading blogs.  I'm including one just to get to the payoff to the story.  Tonight's topics are improbable probability and confrontation.

I usually do my very best to be friendly, or at the least not unfriendly, at the poker table.  On Friday night I had only been at the table for maybe 15 minutes when there was one of those common moments of confusion about who was supposed to have the button as one dealer was leaving the table and another was sitting down. The guy to my immediate left in the ten seat claimed he should have it, but the dealer departing and the guy in the two seat both said it should go to the guy in the one seat.  The consensus seemed to be that it should go to the one seat, so that's where they put it.

The older guy to my left was quietly explaining to me that he thought he should have it because he swore he acted first on the last round of betting in the previous hand. He wasn't arguing or even upset about the decision, but the guy in the two seat was pissed that his recollection was being questioned. He angrily and condescendingly said from the far end of the table, "I was definitely the big blind in the last hand, sir!"  The old man replied with the same explanation he was trying to give to me and the two seat got even more agitated and even started to get out of his seat. I finally interjected, "Look! Nobody really cares.  If it means that much to you I'll give you three bucks out of my stack. Okay?" He sat back down, but looked a little bruised.

The next night I had another rare moment of conflict.  I had completed from the small blind with A-2 of diamonds.  I flopped a diamond flush draw and bottom pair. The guy two seats to my left bet and pretty much the entire table called the $3 bet. The turn didn't improve my hand so I checked.  Same guy bet $6 and this time everyone folded but me and one other player.  I figured any ace, deuce, or diamond would be enough to win the hand and figured I had like 14 outs.  The river was a third deuce. I bet out and the aggressor sighed loudly and called. I turned over my cards and just said, "I have a deuce." He very snottily said, "Very well played, sir." I stopped stacking chips to say, "You're critiquing my play?  Really? Have you played $3-$6 limit before?"  Oh yeah...forgot to mention this.  About 5 minutes earlier the same guy had won a hand by catching trip deuces on the river when he called all the way with a flush draw holding 8-2 of spades.  Well played, sir.

The improbable happening of the night happened on Friday. Not once, but twice that night the final board was a royal flush. The first time it was a royal flush in spades saving a guy who was all in and way behind for the entire hand to that point.  The second time there were like 6 of us in the hand all meekly and passively checking it down Both hands were dealt by experienced dealers who claimed they didn't remember ever doing that before.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Limit Poker Drive By

Just a quick update on my new limit poker obsession.  I've now played a total of seven sessions of limit poker since I decided to back down from the no limit game.  I've had six winning sessions where I've averaged between $80-$100 profit and one losing one where I lost $100.

Tonight I was out at Prairie Meadows sitting at a table 7 and I glance over at table and 8 and spot none other than Grange95 and almost his whole Ironmen of Poker crew. They were at a table with a bunch of white $1 chips, so I thought they were playing $3-$6 limit too but the dealer at my table informed me they were playing $4-$8 Limit Omaha with a half kill. It sounded like they were having a blast playing their usual splashy brand of poker. A few of the comments overheard from the table:

"I better be nice. I'm going to be sleeping with him later. Well...near him."

Dealer to the one pushing into the game: "You won't get many hands out, but you'll have a good time."

Grange95 to a player joining the game: "We all just put a bunch of money in the pot and then she tells us who won at the end."

Later in the evening they converted the table to a $1-$2 No Limit Holdem table. Everyone had to reduce their stack back to the max buyin for that game of $300.  One of the guys from my $3-$6 game was moving to that table. I told him, "Have fun! If those guys play like they normally do you won't be starved for action."

Edit to add: I forgot to mention that I do have one TBC like habit. After winning sessions I always put ten dollars in the video poker machine and play $0.25 Jacks or Better. I play til I either lose it or double the ten bucks and then I go home. Just a dumb little superstition, but I love the video pokerz.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Seeing the Low Limit Light

I used to be a strictly no limit poker player. I used the past tense there because I think I may have seen the limit poker light.  I used to look down my nose at the limit players thinking, "Oh look at the nitty old men. Too scared to play no limit...a real man's game."

Last night I played my fourth session in a row at Prairie Meadows of 3-6 limit holdem with a full kill and each time I've left with somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 profit.  Every time I go the table dynamic is pretty much the same:

2-3 decent players
2-3 loose-passive nits just chasing straight and flush draws
1-2 classic calling stations
1-2 no limit players killing time waiting for a seat who are tilted by all the draw chasing

Almost all of the players are positively leaking tells and might as well be playing with their cards face up. Most players only bet when they have something and will call all the way to the river with any draw or almost any pair.  The majority of players only bet when they have a made hand of some sort and don't see the value in betting their draws.  I've made the majority of my profit betting on combo flush/straight draws and getting paid off when I hit them.  I also try to play as many hands in position against the nits and calling stations as possible while avoiding the players that are at least a little tricky.

I have to fight the urge to limp from early position along with 7-8 other players with weak cards.  It's so easy to get in the mindset of "everybody's doing it, so I will too."  At first I worried that people might catch on that I was playing tighter than others at the table, but most of them don't seem to be able to see past their own two cards.  The ones that did notice that I was betting draws and not necessarily made hands were just that much more eager to play with me when I had big made hands like flopped sets or full houses.

My tactics are pretty simple:

* Avoid the good players
* If the nits bet, fold unless I have a really solid drawing hand
* Call or raise in position with pairs, suited broadway cards, and connectors
* Bet any made hands or draws to build pots worth winning and punish the calling stations
* Encourage people to play with me by being friendly
* Sooth the wounds of the nits when you snap them off on the river (oooo sorry, I got lucky)
* Don't bitch when they hit their 3 or 4 outer against my made hands

I have to admit I enjoy seeing the no limit players go on super monkey tilt when their big over pair gets run down for the third or fourth time in the session and they can't push anybody out of the pot. That used to be me.  It's for sure a different game and you're not going to get rich playing it (unless you hit the bad beat jackpot), but I'm having fun playing and slowly building up my bankroll.  Maybe once I get it up to a few thousand I'll jump back into the no limit game, but I promise to no longer look down on my low limit brethren.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

No Fold Em Fun

My poker playing gets greatly curtailed during the summer since my income from show choir dries up outside of the school year. This week I was able to make it out to play twice.  Tuesday afternoon I played the $30 buy in donkament at the Prairie Meadows poker room. It's a tournament with a structure that quickly becomes a shovefest after the second break. Because of this it takes a little skill to make it deep, but only luck will get you in the money because you just have to take your chances shoving or calling all-ins once the average stack gets to be about 7 or 8 big blinds.

I went out in 15th place.  It folded to me in the small blind and the blinds were 1000-2000.  I had about 6500 and shoved with K-4 off suit. The big blind thought for 30-40 seconds and called turning over A-5 off suit. I caught a king on the flop, but he got a four flush in clubs to match the suit of his ace and I was out.

Last night I went out to Prairie Meadows again and only took along $100 to play some cheap limit poker. I got to the room about 11:00 PM and got shown straight to the ten seat of a 3-6 limit holdem game with a half kill. I played much more conservatively than most of the limit players since I was still playing like I was at a no limit table. I tried to play in position as often as possible and only played against the players on whom I had pretty reliable reads.

The table went like this:

Seat 1: Harmless old Asian guy who was playing almost every hand and getting lucky.
Seat 2: Serious old dude who seemed to know what he was doing.
Seat 3: Middle-aged guy who fancied himself a pro. Got pissed whenever somebody ran him down.
Seat 5: Typical loose passive limit player.
Seat 6: Young Mexican guy who quietly complained whenever he lost a hand.
Seat 8: Young Persian guy who was trying to play way too tricky for a limit game.
Seat 9: Uber calling station.
Seat 10: The hero of our story.

I ran my $100 buy in up to close to $200 just by winning a few $20-$30 pots mostly off the Persian guy because he was playing very predictably. The nice little Asian guy declared that he was going to leave and started to rack up his approximately $500 in white chips. The dealer asked him if he wanted to play one more hand. He agreed and won a small pot, but it was his second in a row activating the kill pot, so he asked if he could play one more. Our table was situated very close to the cashier and the front desk, so the floor wandered over and said he could keep playing out of the rack if they colored him up.

Now typically at this room they'll only let you play one hand out of the rack after you declare that you're leaving, but if you decide to play past that one hand they make you unrack to stay. Since the floor had ruled he could keep playing I assumed nobody at the table was upset about the decision.  Nobody spoke up and asked to have him unrack so he played "just one more hand" about four times when the following hand occurred.

I was on the button and was dealt K-J off suit. I called the $3 big blind along with all but one other player. Little Asian guy raised to $6 from the SB and all but one player called. The flop was Kd-Jd-6d. I had top two, but given the penchant for flush chasing in limit games I wasn't thrilled about all of those diamonds.  Little old Asian guy bet and everyone called. The turn was an inconsequential 3s. Asian bet again and the whole table called. River was the 9s. Asian bet and the 3 seat 2 bet.  Everyone called and the Asian just called too. As the hands were revealed it turned out the Asian had hit a set of sixes on the flop and nobody had the diamond flush.  The 3 seat also had K-J off suit, but he was not happy about losing with his two pair.  I quietly mucked.

Then the 3 seat started ranting LOUDLY. "That's fucking bullshit! One more hand! One more hand! One more fucking hand!" He scooped up his remaining chips and spun around to the cashier to cash out, but continued his rant. "Complete fucking bullshit! That little asshole shouldn't have even been in the hand!" This obviously drew the attention of the floor who came over and very calmly told the guy that he needed to calm down and stop cursing. His response shocked all of us when he pointed right in the floor's face and screamed, "FUCK YOU!"

The floor didn't say a word, but walked over to the desk, picked up the phone, and said, "Yes, I need security in the poker room right away please." The guy from the 3 seat started pleading, "Oh come on, I'm already leaving. I'm sorry I cursed. I was angry." The floor escorted him out of the room into the hallway to meet security.  The floor that works late Friday and Saturday night is the most no shit guy they have on staff. I turned to our dealer, Lance, and said, "I had K-J too, but you don't see me freaking out. Why didn't that guy just yell I NEVER WANT TO PLAY POKER HERE AGAIN."

The little old Asian guy started hurriedly racking up with a terrified look on his face. Everybody at the table told him that he didn't do anything wrong and not to worry about it and he seemed to calm down.

I played about another hour and quit when it got down to four handed.  I left with about an $80 profit which I consider a success at 3-6 limit holdem.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

FaceUpGaming Take 2

So there was another Bloggers freeroll on www.FaceUpGaming.com today. I made it fairly deep last time, so I decided to give this one a shot too. I had been planning to drive over to a nearby casino to play in a live tournament, but decided instead to stick around home and join with my virtual friends on the virtual felt.

Lets just say that the blogger event didn't come off quite as smoothly as last time. About 5 hands into the event I looked up and realized I had been disconnected.  I thought it may have just been me or my internet connection, so I closed and reopened my browser, logged back into Face Up Gaming, etc. to no avail. Still couldn't get the tourney to open back up again. I found a few of the other bloggers bitching about it on Twitter and realized I wasn't alone.

I finally got back in after 5 minutes or so and discovered I hadn't really lost any chips, so apparently everyone at my table had been disconnected too. Saw precisely two hands that I folded before I was disconnected again.  This time it took about 10-15 minutes before I could reconnect and I wasn't as happy with what I found this time around.  Apparently not everyone had disconnected so somebody was hard at work clicking raise over and over again stealing the blinds of all the other people who were disconnected.  My 2200 or so chips were gone and I had been eliminated in 86-88th place according to the tournament lobby.

Once again there were several bloggers complaining via Twitter and their own blogs that they had suffered the same fate as me.

Gotta love two things about this.  First the frustration of being blocked from participating in the tournament and second the douchebaggery of the person who took massive advantage of the opportunity to steal, steal, steal over and over again when playing against people they are acquainted with. I don't know if the tournament continued to its conclusion and people were awarded prizes.  If so I hope they drop their iPad or iPod and shatter the screen as they remove it from the package.
I will most definitely not be paying to play on Face Up Gaming and I wouldn't recommend it to anybody else either.  I think inviting poker bloggers to play on your site is a great marketing idea. Hopefully you get some very cheap publicity out of the deal...I  mean unless you royally screw the pooch. (And the pooch is walking decidedly bow-legged after today's effort.)

I might go back if it's another free event, but I won't skip other plans for it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

Today is the first Father's Day since my dad passed last November.  Dad never made a big deal about Father's Day, but I realize in retrospect it's because he did a lot of sacrificing for his family.  I get it now.  My kids look at me like I'm crazy when I say I don't want anything for Father's Day or Christmas, but I honestly don't.  I get just as much or more happiness from seeing them get things they enjoy.

The reality and gravity of the occasion really struck me harder yesterday than it has today. I was listening to a CD that was recorded by the select choir at the high school where I help out with the show choir program and it just started up the waterworks. Music does that to me above anything else and especially because my dad loved attending the choral concerts of both his kids and grandkids.

This song in particular by current American composer Eric Whitacre impacted me. His use of tight dissonant chords just seems to grab me by the soul and shake emotion out of me:

Note: This recording was another of his internet experiments where he has people from all around the globe record their one part and submit them.  They're then edited together to form a virtual choir.

I was also especially touched today by the post made by Otis/Brad on his stunningly well written blog over at Rapid Eye Reality. If you're not a regular reader of his, you should be.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Well, I guess I better join the chorus of stories about today's blogger tournament on FaceUpGaming. I almost forgot about it, but I joined my table a few minutes after the tournament began.  I still had my whole starting stack so I apparently didn't miss much. 

I looked around the table to see if I recognized anybody and found none other than Waffles sitting three seats to my right. We exchanged pleasantries and he told me I better not eliminate him.  I started out playing super tight, but it didn't take long before I figured out that the tournament was a super turbo with blinds increasing every 5 minutes or so.  The tourney started with 2,000 tournament chips, so it was definitely not a deep stacked event.  The first decent hand I saw was AQ of diamonds after I was down to around 1,600 chips.  I got it all in with my lone opponent when an ace fell on the flop.  He had A-10 and neither of us improved so I doubled early.

A few hands later Waffles raised on my big blind.  After the hand I warned him to stop doing that and he typed something like "lol" or "hahaha" in the chat window. By sheer coincidence his comment happened to come up right after somebody was eliminated. Some dude with Zeus in his name yelled at Waffles for being an inconsiderate jerk.  Now look...Waffles can definitely be an inconsiderate jerk, but this time it was a simple misunderstanding.  To his credit Waffles tried to explain to the guy that he just misunderstood, but he wasn't buying it and a typical online poker game chat fight ensued. Waffles, to his delight, discovered that the FaceUpGaming software doesn't filter swear words.

Note: Waffles claims he raised my big blind mercilessly.  We'll have to let him live under his little delusion that the 2 times he raised it counts as mercilessly.

Wolfshead wound up at our table shortly after the little altercation.  I never tangled with him and we eventually made it to one of the final two tables along with Lightning36.

Waffles got crippled a little later after he got it all in with pocket kings and lost to Ace-rag when an ace flopped. I don't remember what he went out on.  I avenged his internet pissing match by eliminating the Zeus d-bag on the first hand after the break.  I was the BB and he was the SB.  I had A5 offsuit and the flop was a beautiful A5A with two spades.  Zeus bet almost his entire stack and I couldn't shove my stack in fast enough. He showed 78 of spades for the flush draw. He didn't hit his miracle turn and river for the straight flush and it was buh-bye Zeus.

I finally went out in 15th when I shoved my stack that was like 7-8 big blinds with QJ suited and it lost to J8 offsuit when the flop contained a jack and an eight.  I hung around and railed Wolfshead and Lightning who eventually went out in 8th and 3rd respectively.

The one cool feature they had on the site was the ability to feed your microphone and webcam directly to the table so you could live chat a la Skype with other people at the table.  I didn't take advantage of it, but Wolfshead and Lightning seemed to have a good time with the banter.  I had to mute them because they were causing me to sometimes miss the little bell that signaled it was my turn to act.

I hadn't played online poker with anything of value on the line in over a year, so it was nice to get back to the tables. It was your usual blogger donkament and I wish I could claim some great skill in making it deep, but with the structure of this one it was all about catching cards at the right time and avoiding bad beats because it was a complete shovefest after only about an hour of play.  Too bad Josie didn't play.  I would have really enjoyed having some bragging rights for outlasting her.

Play lucky.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

DirecTV: How to Piss Off a Customer 101

I seem to only be really motivated to post here when I'm pissed off about something. I'm not sure what that says about me, but it is what it is.

Last night I was watching TV with my kids and they wanted to go watch a funny, but idiotic, television show called "Workaholics." I tuned to channel 249 which is Comedy Central and it gave the same error (771) it gives on the rare occasions that weather blocks our satellite service. I returned to the channel I came from and it was still working fine. I checked a few other channels and all of them were working except for 248 and 249.  Now, I didn't check every single channel, but I checked all the ones I regularly watch and these two were the only ones out of commission.

I went online and dug around to see if there was any chatter about outages on DirecTV specifically for FX or Comedy Central, but turned up nothing. So I called DirecTV's customer service line. After fighting my way through their ridiculous voice response system I finally got to speak with Crystal. Crystal clearly knew nothing about DirecTV's systems or how they worked, but had a script that was meant to deal with any situation. Crystal had me unplug the power to my SWM. She couldn't tell me what the SWM was or what it did or even what that acronym stood for, but doggone it unplugging it and plugging it back in was going to solve my problem. Anybody want to wager a guess what the result of unplugging the SWM and plugging it back in was?  If you guessed that none of my channels would now work, you'd be correct.

Her troubleshooting script led us right to me having absolutely no TV service at all.  The 771 error (searching for satellite signal) had now become a 771a (problem communicating with the dish). I told Crystal that I was going to be a very, very unhappy customer if I just went form missing a couple of channels to no service at all.

"I apologize that almost never happens." Which I discovered was complete bullshit since their technical forums are littered with post after post about this 771a error. Maybe Crystal's script also told her to never admit that this was a widespread issue. 

"I'll get you scheduled to have a technician come out and look into the issue. The earliest I can get somebody there is Thursday morning." A service call usually costs $50, but Crystal wisely waived that charge and helpfully told me that I could still watch the programs already recorded on my DVR or I could watch shows online using their new DirecTV Everywhere service.  I helpfully told her that if I wanted to watch things online I'd cancel my DirecTV service and just use services like Netflix and Hulu Plus and maybe if I find I like watching things online due to this problem that's just what I might wind up doing. 

So I'm pissed to say the least.  I get that things break, really I do.  I mean I make my living repairing computers. But you know what?  I have enough experience with the things I repair to know that if it is experiencing certain symptoms you don't attempt to apply certain fixes because it will break it worse.  I'm 100% convinced that if the person I had reached on the phone had any real knowledge of their systems and wasn't just following a script, they would have recognized the symptoms and known that the steps the script said to try would break it worse.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Twin Peaks

So my son's girlfriend went in to apply at this place today and was hired on the spot.  No background check.  No drug tests.  I'm not even certain she filled out an application.  They just said, "When can you start?  Come back today at 2:00 for orientation."  Did I mention my son's girlfriend is a super cute Asian college co-ed?

Twin Peaks Restaurant

She begged us to come in and eat there while she is working and I told her I didn't know how comfortable I would be with her bringing me food dressed like that.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Poker with the Pip Squeak

My oldest son and I ventured over to participate in a cheap $30 donkament at Meskwaki, the local Iowa indian casino.  (Is that a politically incorrect term?  Should I have said injun instead?) He's only nineteen, but Meskwaki allows 18-year olds to play poker and the even more exciting option...BINGO.  They can't play slots or table games.  When we arrived at the casino the security guard at the front door checked his ID and then asked where we were headed.  Once we told him the poker room they put a bright green wristband on his left wrist and then stamped the back of both of his hands with a giant UNDER 21 stamp.  It seemed like overkill to me, but whatever.  Then they radio ahead to the poker room to let them know an under 21 was on the way.  I assume if we hadn't showed up at the poker room there would have been a massive manhunt. 

You start the tournament with 3,500 in chips, but for $5 you get an additional 1,000 tournament chips.  Pretty much everyone took the $5 add on.  The tournament had 25 minute levels and the blinds started at 25-50 and basically doubled every level.  There are no antes.  None of the tables have auto shufflers so the whole tournament was hand shuffled....very slowly.  The dealers at Prairie Meadows are at least twice as fast and way more efficient as a group.  I only lasted until shortly after the first break and I think some of that had to do with my frustration with how poorly the tournament was run.  It was one of the most bizarre tourneys I've ever played in.  At one point my table was four handed for at least two orbits while the other two remaining tables had 8 and 9 players each.  When I said something to the dealer about balancing tables she replied, "She'll (the floor) get to it! She has to wait until they're not in a hand!"  And in the meantime the blinds come around almost twice as fast on our table.  That seems fair.  

My son and I wound up seated right next to each other with him on my left.  To my immediate right was a guy who had to have been 80 years old minimum.  My son said he looked like the stereotypical old prospector from the old westerns so he nicknamed him "Stinky Pete" for the Toy Story lovers out there.  The old man was the most passive player I've ever seen.  Twice I saw him just call a bet or check on the river with the absolute nuts.  The second time it happened the dealer admonished him, but didn't threaten a penalty or anything. 

On the very first hand of the tournament I folded 5-7 offsuit from early position only to see it limp around.  I would have flopped an open ended straight draw and then turned the straight.  Stinky Pete and another older regular were the only two players to make it to the river. After tiny bets and calls on the flop and turn both players checked the river.  The other older regular showed pocket kings and Stinky Pete rolls over pocket aces.  The whole pot was maybe 500 after 5 players limped preflop for 50.  The dealer even remarked, "What I'm wondering is...where is the rest of this pot?"

There was only one player at our whole table who seemed like a tricky aggressive player.  The rest were either super tight-passive or just played such ABC poker that it was 100% obvious when they had a hand or not.  I had a frustrating day where the only semi-playable hands I saw were offsuit broadway cards like Q-J or suited connectors, but I always seemed to get them in early position.  The one or two times I got something good and came in raising I missed completely and one of the ABC players who only bet when they had something came out firing.  Another time I raised preflop with J-J and my son who plays just as tight as me 3 bet me.  I called and when an ace hit the flop I folded to his continuation bet.  He showed his dad (and the rest of the table) A-K suited.

I wanted to jump into a cash game, but the only one they had going was a 3-6 full kill Omaha high-low game.  I suck at Omaha, so I passed on it.  I headed out to the blackjack table and played for about 20 minutes.  I was up about ten whole dollars when there was an overhead announcement that they were starting a new 1-2 No Limit Holdem table in the poker room.  By the time the cash game got rolling I had played about an orbit and a half when my son busted and had won about $25 more to basically cover one of our buyins to the tournament.

We had a good time and I need to get him all practiced up before we go to Vegas in November of 2013 for his 21st birthday.  Next time over to Meskwaki I'm going to take him on a Friday or Saturday night and stake him in the no limit cash game.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012


I almost forgot the most hilarious story of the entire trip to Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.  I was sitting in the waiting area in the hallway outside the poker room waiting to be called for the 1-2 No Limit Holdem game.  A guy came stomping out of the room on his cell phone angrily shouting into it.  I didn't have to strain to hear his end of the conversation.

"I can't find my fucking keys!!! They were sitting on the table right beside me and when I got up to leave they were gone.  I don't know!  Somebody stole them I guess!  I flopped a set and then lost to a runner-runner straight and then when I try to leave my god damned keys are gone!  I think I have another set downstairs, but I think they only work in the ignition.  I don't know how I'm going to get into the car.  Well go ahead and see if you can find them and then call me back."

About halfway through this conversation a guy wanders around the corner and patiently waits for him to end his phone call and the following conversation ensued:

"Hey, buddy, are these your keys?"


"They were sitting on the table next to my phone and I just picked them up by accident.  Sorry, man, I got all the way back to my hotel room before I was like wait a minute...whose keys are these?"

"Are you fucking kidding me?!?!? Who picks up somebody elses keys and walks off with them?!?!? God dammit!!! I was about to have a heart attack!"

Then he stomped back into the poker room to the table he just left and really loudly and equally as profanely recounted the story to the table full of dudes who looked like they could give two shits about this guy's bad beat or his lost keys.  As he got louder and cursed more and more security and the floor people were inching closer and closer to him.  He finally realized they were hovering right behind him when he sheepishly said, "Sorry...found my keys," and left.

I wound up getting seated at that table and the consensus was that he should have just thanked the guy and shut the hell up.  The guy didn't have to return the keys and could have just dumped them in the trash if he'd known he was going to take the abuse he did when returning them. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Birthday Poker

For my birthday I got a kitchen pass from the wife to go play some poker at my local card room at Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino.  I headed out about 10:00 PM last night.  It was clear when I got there that they had drawn a huge crowd for the simulcast of the Kentucky derby and their own race card.  The parking lot was emptying out so I got a spot pretty near the front door, but there were cars parked in the far reaches of the lot where there is usually nobody parked.

The night didn't start great.  I checked at the desk and they informed me that I would be fourth on the list for 1-2 no limit holdem.  I asked if there any seats at 3-6 just to kill some time until my seat was available at the no limit game.  The floor asked me to wait a second and then went to check the waiting area in the hallway outside the room.  He came back in and said, "Go ahead and take seat 3 at table 6." I went and bought $100 in white chips and was just setting the rack down on the table when the floor called my name from across the room.  He informed me that the other guy who should have been in front of me had returned, so I now I didn't have a seat. He apologized and said he would leave me clocked in while I waited.  (Thank goodness! I would hate to miss out on their massive $1.00/hour comps.)

I had to wait about 20 minutes, but finally got called and sent to seat 9 on table 4.  First a couple of comments about this table.  This was the type of table where if you wanted the whole table to call you raised to $6-$8.  If you wanted four callers you raised to $10-$15.  If you wanted one caller you better make it $17 or more.  I was barely in my seat and the dealer was pitching cards at me without ever asking if I wanted to post to enter the game.  Since I was still about 5 seats from the big blind I didn't argue and posted my $2 blind.  It checked around to the big blind in seat 4 who took his option to raise and made it $17 to go while shaking like a leaf.  Everyone folded except the cutoff.  After the flop the big blind kid bet $50 with an even shakier hand and took down the approximately $40 pot. 

I turned to the guy in seat 8 and asked, "Does he always shake like that or did he just have a huge hand?"  He replied that the kid had been shaking like that since he sat down, but he hadn't been there very long.  Two hands later I raised from middle position to $10 with J-10 of spades and got three callers.  The flop was a jack and two low spades.  I led out for $15 (low I know, but I felt like I was way ahead at this point and wanted action).  Only the shaky kid called.  The turn was the 10 of diamonds to give me 2 pair.  I led out $25 this time and shaky kid fumbled some chips and shakily called.  The river was the 7 of clubs.  My gut said the kid had a missed flush draw.  I didn't think he would call much, so I just bet $25 again.  Surprisingly he raises to $200 straight.  I tanked for a minute or two, but finally decided it was either a really courageous bluff or he had actually been calling with a set the whole way so I folded my top two pair.

Shaky kid soon stopped shaking so much as the night wore on and it became evident that he was just nervous at the start of the night because he wasn't very experienced at live poker.  One of the regulars made a call saying that they were on tilt and the kid honestly asked "What's tilt?"  I also learned that he wasn't one that bluffed, but way over valued top pair top kicker.  In hindsight I'm guessing I folded the winner on that J-10 hand and he likely had something like A-J.  He lost all of that money and then left and returned about an hour later with another $150 that he quickly lost.

There was one crazy hand that I wasn't involved in.  There was a standard raise preflop and three people saw a flop of Ah-Kc-Js,  The action went bet-raise-shove-shove-shove with almost no hesitation.  First guy showed Qd-10d for flopped broadway.  Second guy showed Ac-Ks for top two pair. Last guy showed Kh-Jh for bottom two pair.  The turn was the 6h and the river was the 9h to give the guy in third place when the money went in the whole $700'ish pot.  The Q-10 guy left without saying a word and A-K guy took it like a champ and just rebought.

The only other hand of note happened right before I left.  It was getting late and our table was now 6 handed.  I had about $110 left of my $200 buy in and looked down at two red queens in the small blind.  I raised to $12 and got two callers.  The flop was a beautiful A-Q 4 rainbow.  I checked my set and the next guy to act bet $10.  The button called the $10.  I made it $30. The original better called, but the button folded.  I don't recall the river, but it didn't complete any straight or flush draws.  I sense is that the other guy in the hand had a big ace (AK, AQ, AJ) or possibly some other Ace rag two pair. I now have $80 left.  I really think he feels like he is the winner and the only hand that I'm beat by is AA.  I ship the $80 and after tanking for a minute or two he folded.  I was sure he was calling.  I won a few more small pots to struggle back to even and then decided I didn't want to play short handed anymore and called it a night. 

On a whim I sat down at the $5 blackjack table.  I don't count cards.  I simply play the standard optimal strategy and bet with my gut.  I had a buddy that used to swear by a betting system.  If he won consecutive hands he would bet 1 unit, 3 units, 2 units, and then 5 units.  If he kept winning hands he would alternate between 2 units and 5 units.  So if your standard bet was $10 you'd bet 10-30-20-50. If you lose a hand at any point you drop back to one unit.

The blackjack table was 2 young "gangsta" wannabes and three very drunk 30-something chicks who had obviously enjoyed their Cinco de Mayo.  None of them were following standard strategy.  The drunk girls in particular were not just standing on 16 in situations where they should hit it, but they would hit hands like 14 when the dealer was showing a 5 or 6.  I don't get upset when somebody is playing bad strategy like a lot of people do, but I was wincing at the bad decisions these girls were making because of the effect it had on their results.  They seemed to be having fun though, so I didn't offer any advice.  I know that Prairie Meadows has a little card with the basic strategy on it and the pit boss will provide them on request.  They'll even let you sit there with it on the table.  I almost asked them for one to give the girls, but decided that as drunk as they were it would just slow the game down too much.

I started out just betting the minimum $5 and won the first four hands I played.  I bumped my bet up to $10 and kind of stayed even after 4-5 hands.  I decided to try out the betting strategy to see what would happen.  Basically it was my birthday and I didn't really care of I lost the $100 I bought in with.  I won a hand and then bumped my bet to $30.  Of course the dealer gave me 11 and his up card was a 5.  I doubled down and he dropped a 9 on it to give me 20.  He busted and I won a pretty big hand by my standards.  I lost a couple of hands in a row after that at $10 per hand and decided to go home and get some sleep since it was now almost 3:00 in the morning.

So I broke even at poker and left about $70 up on blackjack.  Subtract the $10 or so I spent on 3 beers (alcoholic drinks aren't free at casinos in Iowa) and I profited about $60 for 5 hours of work.  Better than minimum wage suckas!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Home Game (w/bonus bank rant)

Well since I've finally earned a place in the prestigious Very Josie blogroll I figure I better up my game a little and try to post more than once a week or so.  I'm going to do my best to post something every other day at the very least.  I can't promise they'll all be award winning prose, but I'm aiming for quanitity not quality.

Last night I played in a semi-regular home game.  It plays every other Thursday night throughout the year.  I'm unable to play it during the school year because it conflicts with show choir rehearsals.  Since show choir rehearsals are over until late August I'm back to playing again.

The game is a single table No Limit Holdem SNG (like twice a year they'll do Omaha or HO) that usually draws between 8-10 players.  You start with 6,000 chips and the structure is blinds only (no antes) starting at 25-50.  The blinds basically double at each level.  The first three levels are 30 minutes and then 20 minutes for the remainder.  You're able to be somewhat patient, but if you haven't found some decent hands to play by the time it gets to level 4 you'll be out quick.

The regulars in the game are a mix of a couple tricky loose aggressive players, a few calling stations, and a couple of super tight nitty old men.  You can make a few plays on the aggressive players without having a real hand if you've established a tight image and are brave enough to play back at them.  Otherwise you better make a hand of some sort because you will get called by top pair and every straight/flush draw.

Last night I went out 5th of 8 players.  There were really only 2-3 interesting hands.  My nephew and his wife often play in the game and were there last night.  He is one of the tricky loose aggressive players.  He usually either busts out early from playing too many hands early or he goes deep.  Last night he couldn't miss.  All of his crappy hands were connecting and all of his good hands were turning into monsters. 

I only clashed with him three times.  Once I raised preflop with two black aces.  He called with what I believe was a suited king.  There was a king on the flop.  He called my about two-thirds pot bet after the flop probably thinking it was just a standard continuation bet with a plan to steal on the turn if I showed any weakness.  When I bet out again he folded.

The next time I got heads up against him it was a disaster for me.  My AK suited flopped two pair while his pocket fours flopped a set (which turned to quads on the river).  Lost about two thirds of my starting stack on just that one hand and was out a little bit later when I shoved with pocket 7s.  He called with J9 suited and hit a nine on the flop and buh-bye JT. I didn't stick around to see how it all turned out, but he was by far the chip leader and would have had to majorly screw up to not at least cash. 

And now for a bank rant.  Those of you who only came for the poker content may check out now.  I received notification from my credit union on Tuesday that my card number may have been compromised in a breach of their credit card clearing house company's systems.  They're canceling my current card as of today, but my new card won't arrive in the mail until the end of next week.  I use that card for EVERYTHING.  I rarely to never carry cash anymore and this is going to be a big hassle.

I called the credit union just because I wanted to get more information and I wanted to vent a little.  The poor twenty-something customer service call center girl was umm-ing and ah-ing all over the place trying to appease me.  Here's the crux of my beef with them.  The breach of the clearing house was reported in the news at the beginning of April.  They waited until April 30th to notify me that I was affected and now I have to go a week without my card.  It's poor customer service that they didn't coordinate this to minimize the interruption of service to their members.  At the least they should have worked with the card issuer to expedite the new cards so I was only without it for a day or two.

Their solution is for me to come to their branch and withdraw cash to tide me over and they can issue me a temporary ATM card.  It can't be used for point-of-sale transactions, but I can use it to withdraw money from ATMs.  Here's the fun thing about that.  I get 10 free ATM transactions and then I get charged $0.50 for each one after that.  I asked if they would waive those fees for this month since they were forcing me to use the ATM more than I normally would.  They said, "If you incur any charges this month, contact us and we'll waive them." I asked why they couldn't just preemptively waive the fee and they refused.  If I were a betting man (and I am) I'd wager I won't have such an easy time recouping those fees at the end of the month. 

Side note: ATM and PIN are two of my biggest grammatical pet peeves.  Lots of people around this region tend to say PIN number and ATM machine.  Since the N in PIN stands for number and the M in ATM stands for machine what they're really saying is Personal Identification Number number or Automated Teller Machine machine.  If you say PIN number or ATM machine, we probably can't be friends.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Little Poker Content

Rob's recent story on his blog about a huge pot he won in Vegas reminded me of the first really big pot I won.  It was really the rush of that night that hooked me hopelessly and forever.

My First Really Big Pot

It was about three years ago when I played a little more regularly than I do now.  I showed up at the Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino's poker room about 8:00 PM on a Friday night.  I got called pretty quickly and bought in for my usual $240 and was seated just two to the left of the big blind and elected to wait for the blinds to get to me instead of posting to enter the game.

First hand I look down at 8-9 off suit.  The action limps around to me and I check my option to see a free flop.  The flop was a beautiful K-9-9 with two spades.  Small blind checked to me.  I bet $10 into the pot of about $14.  The action folded to a guy in middle position who popped it to $25.  A guy in late position calls as well as the small blind.  I take the cautious route and call the $25.  Pot is now like $114.

The turn was a beautiful 8 of spades.  I bet $50.  Middle position shoves (he has me covered by about $50).  The button calls for less (he started the hand with about $200 total).  While the small blind was tanking I rechecked my hand to make sure I really did have the third nuts.  The small blind finally folded and I snap called.  The dealer informed us we could show for the crowd if we liked.  I happily rolled over my boat and was delighted to see the other two shrink in their seats.  The river was a meaningless low card and after one hand at the table I was having a pot of about $700 shoved my way while late position guy stomped off cursing to himself.

A buddy at the far end of the table who had folded preflop sarcastically said, "Well...welcome to the table I guess."

You Seem Like a Really Good Player

It was my second to last day in Vegas.  I had a pretty profitable trip to that point and was enjoying a semi-drunk afternoon session at Planet Hollywood.  I had only been playing for maybe half an hour and was chatting up the guy next to me who was some sort of scouting guy for the Memphis Grizzlies.  He was the classic LAG player who loved to mix it up and bully his way into pots whenever anybody showed weakness.  I was happy to have him on my immediate right and was trying to play my usual TAG style while avoiding him for the most part.  He seemed to be staying out of my way whenever I showed some aggression too.  It was one of those beautiful times in Vegas where we were clearly the two most experienced players at the table and we wordlessly decided to just take turns picking on everyone else.

Sitting right across the table from me was a guy who had just arrived in town and was apparently trying to drink all the long island iced teas in town on day one.  He raised to $8 from early position and I called with 8-8.  The flop came out A-10-3 rainbow.  I was certain from his reaction to the flop that he at the least had an ace.  He picked up some chips to bet and then looked up and saw me watching him.  I wasn't staring him down or anything.  I was just observing.  Before releasing the chips from his hand he looked earnestly at me and said, "I don't think I want to play this hand against you." When I asked why he said, "Because...you seem like a really good player."  He bet like $10 and I said, "I'm going to show you how bad a player I am.  I'm almost certain I'm behind, but I'm going to call anyway."

The turn was another 8.  He only had like $50 left and as he reached for more chips to bet I said, "Careful...I'm pretty sure I just caught up with you."  I'll never forget his reply.  He said, "Just don't take it all okay.  I just got here."  I said, "Why don't you just bet as much as you're willing to lose then."  He bet $25 and I just called.  I considered raising to like $75, but decided it would be a dick move.  We both checked the river and I showed him my set.  He showed A-10 off suit for the flopped two pair.  He lost his remaining chips in a few hands and packed up to leave telling us all how his wife wanted to go to the M&M store anyway.

Maybe if I tell a few poker stories every day or two I can get a link from a certain blog that apparently only lists poker blogs in their blogroll.


We got new kittens this weekend.  Let me start by saying this.  In a world where there seem to be either dog people or cat people, I'm a dog person.  I don't mind cats, but I definitely prefer dogs.  I had resisted the pleas of my family to get a cat for years now.  Last Friday night my younger son (who is a freshman in high school) brought me his laptop to excitedly show me the kittens on our local animal shelter's website. "Aren't they cuuuuute dad?!?!?  Can we please get one?  You can count it as an early birthday present and you don't have to get me anything else."

For who knows what reason I agreed to go in the morning to look at them.  I guess I knew on some level that there was no way I was leaving there without a kitten unless by some chance they were already all adopted before we got there.  The twist to the story is that my wife decided she wanted one of her own too and told me it could be her Mother's Day gift.  Since I never know what to get her for Mother's Day and my defenses were already weakened I gave in.  Here is a shot of the little furry ones on their way home from the shelter:

They are pretty frigging cute, but they're already pissing me off with their insatiable curiosity and relentless desire to chew on my laptop cord.  It's their one desire that cannot be quenched and I'm running out of items to throw at them to make them stop (remote controls, pens, magazines, empty plastic soda bottles, cat toys, balled up napkins, throw pillows, etc.).  I think I'm going to go the way of the spray bottle and see how that works.  I'll just have to have good aim since it would probably be a bad idea to spray the electrical outlet where the laptop is plugged in.

My dog is pretty much indifferent to the cats.  She seems annoyed, but otherwise disinterested.  The tabby cat is oblivious to the dog's presence.  It's honestly like she's invisible to that cat.  The black one, on the other hand, hates the dog with the passion of a thousand burning suns.  She growls, moans, hisses, and spits at the dog if it comes within about 10 feet of her.  This seems to startle and amuse the dog, but so far no damage has been done.  We keep them separate, but are allowing them to peacefully coexist at this point.  I'm hopeful the cat will eventually realize the dog is no threat and chill the hell out.

Wish me luck.  I'll need it until the little buggers grow up and stop being so annoying.

Note: I think I'll post some poker stories tonight.  I haven't played any interesting sessions lately, but I have some fun stories to recount from past trips to Vegas and play at my local casino that might be worth sharing. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Retail and Dad

My recent misadventures in retail reminded me of a few quirks my dad had when it came to his relationships with retailers.  Dad was loyal to a fault if a retailer treated him right.  He'd drive far out of his way and pay extra if he'd get good service from somebody who treated him like an individual.  I guess that was why he got so angry the first time our local department store Younkers asked for his ID to write a check.

Dad also hated credit cards and as far as I know never carried a balance on one in his life.  He paid every bill practically the minute it arrived and prided himself on his spotless credit record.  I was with him more than once when he filled out a request for credit to purchase a car or some kind of large appliance like a refrigerator and most times they would barely transmit his information and the approval would come rocketing back.  A loan officer at the local bank once told him they'd never seen a credit report that impeccable.

He had a couple of pet tricks he would pull though.  I was with him once when he bought a car and after he had negotiated the price down as low as he felt he could he off-handedly said to the salesman, "Oh...and I don't want the name of your dealership plastered on the back of my car." The dealer replied, "But, Mr. Temple, we put it on all of the cars we sell."  To which dad replied, "Well if you want to knock another $2,000 off the price of the car for the advertising I'm going to give you for the next several years, then go ahead and put it on there...otherwise leave it off."

When we went to pick up the car lo and behold the dealership's name was on the back of the car.  This was back in the old days when they didn't just slap a sticker on your car, but actually stuck a metal insignia on the trunk that was punched through the sheet metal.  Dad just shook his head and said to the salesman, "Nope...you can either write me that check for $2,000 or sell this one to somebody else.  I'll take another one with the same options in the same color without holes in the trunk lid."

The two times in my life I bought a car brand new from the dealer I forgot to do this.  If I ever buy a brand new car again (which isn't likely because I'd much rather buy the car after it's depreciated a little) I hope I remember.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Worst Buy

Yeah...I know the title is cheap and unimaginative, but I'm pissed off and not in the mood to be clever.  Best Buy can go screw themselves.  They will never see another dime of my money again ever.  I ignored the many times I went in there and had some acne riddled snot nose pretend he knew about the product I was buying. Never mind the fact that a cursory amount of research online was enough for me to know for sure he was full of shit. So what if every time I bought anything there including DVDs and CDs they tried to upsell me to their ridiculously overpriced warranty coverage.

Today was the last straw.  Best Buy is now on my corporate black list.  They join Blockbuster and McDonalds as two places I will never spend my hard earned money again. 

I recently was given a sizable gift certificate for a nearby high end mall known as Jordan Creek Town Center. They have a Best Buy on property and their gift certificates work there.  I've been without a subwoofer on my home theater for a few years now.  The old one blew and I just never wanted to spend the money to replace it. So I figured this gift certificate was a great opportunity to remedy that. 

I researched my options on the Best Buy website and found one that looked like it would fit the bill.  I picked up my son from school yesterday and we drove the half an hour or so to the Best Buy store.  I was stupid and didn't write down the model number of the sub I was seeking, but I figured it would be no problem to describe to the associate what I wanted (brand, price, etc.) and they should be able to direct me right to it.  Right?  Wrong.  They had no clue. So he took me over to their little workstation and started searching the Best Buy website.  I tried to tell him exactly what keywords I used to search and find the subwoofer in question, but he completely ignored my suggestions. He couldn't find the one in question.  In disgust I said, "I'll just go look it up again and get the model number and come back."

Today at work I looked up the item again.  I quickly (by repeating my steps from the previous day) found the item again. I wrote down the brand and model number and then just to be sure I clicked the little link to see if the item was in stock at the store.  It was, so I picked up my son and made the 30 minute trek across town again. When I arrived I grabbed a different sales associate and told him the item I was looking for.  He took me right to it which I thought was a good sign.  He said they had them in stock and headed to the stock room to find it.

After about 20 minutes he returned and informed me they didn't have any in stock.  I asked if they sold one in the last hour and he said no. I said, "Well the reason I made the drive over is that your website said the store had one in stock. Can you look again?" To which he said, "We definitely don't have any. The website is wrong all the time. Would you like me to order one? I can have it here in 5-7 days." To which I said, "No thanks, I'll pass. I'll buy it somewhere else like American or Amazon.com." To which he just shrugged. He didn't offer to check with any other Best Buy stores or substitute a different item for the price of the item that showed as in stock on their site. Just watched me walk out the door for good.

I know they're going under on their own without my help and the few hundred dollars I spend a year on electronics and video games won't bankrupt them, but I'm becoming an evangelist.  My sermon will be the same every Sunday.  BROTHERS AND SISTAHS....IF WE PULL TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING! BUY FROM A COMPANY THAT ACTS LIKE THEY WANT YOUR BUSINESS!  THAT COMPANY IS NOT BEST BUY!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Missing Dad

Tonight I had to go over to my mom's place to fix her computer.  For some reason her Mozilla Firefox decided to start blocking the Java plugin which prevented her from playing her fake slots at www.simslots.com which was an unimaginable tragedy that had to be remedied RIGHT NOW.

As I was working on the computer she started telling me how she was getting a bunch of dad's stuff ready to sell at my sister's garage sale and kept asking me if I wanted any of it.  I wanted to take it all because I didn't want to have strangers buying my dad's stuff for a nickel or a dime.  Plus dad hated garage sales.  When my mom used to have them he would occasionally be asked to man the cash box while mom went and got lunch or something.  The garage sale regulars pride themselves on getting the best deal possible.  They would bring items to my dad that were marked 25 cents and ask, "Would you take a dime for this?" Dad would always refuse and when they would tell him that it wasn't going to sell for a quarter he would always say the same thing, "If you want it it's 25 cents.  If it doesn't sell I'll donate it to charity."

Mom also told me that the monument company finally installed dad's headstone.  I'm playing golf tomorrow at a course right across the street from the cemetery where he's buried so I'll be stopping by to see the headstone.  

On the way home from mom's the finality of his passing hit me again.  I sat in my family room when I got home with the TV droning in the background and went through pictures of him reminiscing by myself.

I have had so many things since he passed that I just wanted to run by him to get his opinion, but I can't do that anymore...ever again.

I miss him.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wedding Season

When you play piano like I do, you get asked by nearly every friend you have that ties the knot to play at their wedding.  Some ask me to do all the music and others just ask me to accompany a soloist.  Either way there is one thing that is always true...I hate playing for weddings.  There many different reasons why, but here are just a few:

  1. Brides are notoriously high strung and indecisive.  That's a dangerous combination when trying to pick music for their special day.
  2. It's a high stress gig for me.  They're always recorded, so if you fuck up it's saved for posterity's sake.
  3. Weddings are very unpredictable.  I've played for some that started close to 30 minutes late.  That's 30 more minutes of prelude music I have to pull out of my ass.  They never go off without a hitch.
I have a friend that is an extremely talented organist and he agrees with me that playing for weddings sucks. He tried to price himself out of the market by charging $750 to play for one.  When people were willing to pay him that much he whined, "Dammit, Jeff, I can't turn down that kind of money!!!"

I don't charge that much when I play for one.  In fact I usually don't charge a dime.  You see I only play for the weddings of close friends or the kids of close friends.  I tell them to consider my services their wedding gift from me.  It's a win-win because I'm often short on cash and I hate shopping and they need music.

All of this comes up because I am playing for a wedding tomorrow that I never intended to play for.  The bride asked me if I would play something at her wedding.  She mentioned that her brother was going to sing something, so I assumed she just wanted me to accompany him.  (By the way her brother is an excellent singer.  Think a cross between the voices of Justin Timberlake and Michael Buble.)  So she emails me about 3 weeks ago and asks if I'm still planning to "help out" with the music.  After I tell her yes she says she will send me the music.  I'll be damned if I didn't get music for the whole entire ceremony.

So think of me tomorrow afternoon about 4:00 Central Time.  I'll be sweating in a monkey suit much like the one in my profile picture while I try not to screw up playing Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, and Debussy.

Monday, March 26, 2012

25 Things About Me

1. I have a near photographic memory when it comes to useless and mundane trivia. You don't want to play me in Trivial Pursuit.

2. I can sight read almost any song for piano as long as it isn't crazy hard, but I can't play by ear to save my life.

3. I love show choir. The people and the performing....not the rehearsing. I especially love our show choir bands. They completely rock and are one of the reasons our groups have been so successful for the past decade or so.

4. I've been in high school for 27 years now thanks to Urbandale show choir. If you're in high school and need relationship advice or just generally need to know how to survive, ask me. I've seen all the drama over and over again.

5. I attended Wartburg College for one year and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I didn't learn that much and received a letter suggesting I take a semester off to re-evaulate my academic goals. I never went back.

6. I have two dogs. One we adopted from a rescue league and she is one of the best dogs ever. The other I was tricked into adopting from my in-laws. She is not one of the best dogs ever.  (Addendum: Old dog died of old age, but I still don't like her any more than before.)

7. THIS is the Cubs' year. No seriously, this time I mean it.

8. I love Hawkeye football. There is almost nothing better than Kinnick Stadium on a fall Saturday filled with screaming rabid Hawkeye fans.

9. I'm a video game addict. I used to be a TV addict, but then I discovered Xbox 360.

10. I have a love-hate relationship with computers and gadgets. I can repair them and make a living doing so, but I hate repairing the mistakes of stupid people who shouldn't be allowed to operate them.

11. I want to move to Las Vegas and earn a living taking money from tourists at the poker tables. I would probably be living under a bridge in short order, but I'd have a blast getting there.

12. I believe that Diet Mt. Dew is the nectar of the gods.

13. I want to write a novel about a year in the life of a show choir. Most people have no idea how much work it is to put together a really good competition show. Of course the names will be changed to protect the innocent and not so innocent.

14. I can eat two burritos from Pancheros and still have room for more. I think I could be a professional eater, but it would probably kill me in under a year.

15. I used to be an EMT and firefighter for the Urbandale Fire Department. I have lots of good stories from that...ask me the next time you see me.

16. I once was nearly shot by my best friend's dad when we were trying to wake him up in the middle of the night. He thought we were burglars or something.

17. I really badly want to take a trip somewhere tropical. I think Tahiti and Fiji look like the most beautiful and relaxing places on the planet.

18. (Stolen from Darrin Dowell's 25 random things) If you're the person that sees the lane closed markers, but thinks you can just drive up in front of the 30 other cars that had the foresight to get into the lane that isn't closed and then just cut in front, I'm not the guy that's going to let you. I will do everything I have to including risking a rear-end collision at 70 mph to keep you from merging (to the dismay and terror of my wife). I get very angry at the people in front of me who just cave and let the person in.

19. I secretly wish that I had moved to New York City when I was in my twenties and started a career as a rehearsal and audition accompanist for aspiring Broadway stars. I think I could have been very good at that and I hear they make decent money.

20. My dream job is either sports writer or PA announcer for a major league baseball team.

21. I used to be a waiter in a fine dining restaurant that did tableside cooking. I was good at cooking the tableside dishes, but I never understood why somebody would come to a fancy expensive restaurant and then order something that was prepared at their table by some 20-year old with no culinary experience when there was a kitchen full of very talented chefs just yards away.

22. I like to talk. I can spend hours and hours just sitting around trading stories and jokes with friends. I think I could have made a decent stand up comic because of this.

23. I can quote almost any movie that I have seen more than once (see number 1).

24. Even though I've attended church regularly for my entire life, I don't know the words to most hymns and praise songs because I'm usually playing the piano accompanying them and rarely sing them.

25. I think I would make a really good doctor. Too bad I didn't take that whole post-secondary school thing seriously.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Actual Poker Content?

Hit and run here.  I'm planning to hit up the card room at the local brick and mortar casino that Grange95 likes to refer to as the ATM.  Hopefully I can leave with as many racks of chips as he usually does.  Regardless I should have some poker content up in here for a change.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Two More Stripper Stories

Reading some of the other stripper stories shared in the blogosphere has triggered my memory of a couple other good stories I think are worth sharing. 

The first one happened with the same strip club loving friend from the first stories I shared.  We were at one of the clubs out west of Des Moines and it was a very slow night.  Besides us there were maybe 15 other people in the whole place.  We of course were sitting right up front with our elbows practically on the stage since that was where my friend insisted we always sit.  The next dancer out was not in the best shape.  She was a little on the heavy side and I don't just mean curvy...she was verging on fat.  She came over to try to hustle us for tips.  We weren't interested in having her dance for us, so my friend tried to politely turn her away by saying, "Sorry, we don't have any cash on us right now."  She replied with, "Well if you don't have any money you shouldn't be sitting in the front row."  To which he replied, "Well if you're fat you shouldn't be stripping."  She angrily stomped off in her giant platform stripper shoes and apparently told all of her friends we were assholes, because all of the rest of the girls pretended we didn't exist. 

The next story occurred at a bachelor party.  The buddy that was getting married managed a large telemarketing call center in Saint Louis.  As we walked in the door of Roxy's in East Saint Louis one of the dancers yelled hello at the bachelor and called him by his first name.  I was like, "Jesus, dude, how often do you come here?"  He explained that she used to work for him in the call center and he actually had fired her because of poor performance.  Anyway...she doesn't really factor into the interesting part of this story.  Roxy's had a big half circle shower that was used for shows that wasn't on a stage.  It was just against the wall next to the door where the dancers' dressing room was located.  We talked to the DJ and found out that for just $100 we could get our bachelor in that shower with two strippers.  Since we had like 10 to 15 guys in our group that was a bargain at around $7.50 per person so we all chipped in. 

Soon after we ponied up the cash one of the dancers, who I'll call Crystal, came to get the bachelor, but he was having second thoughts.  He argued that $100 was a lot of money and we could have way more fun spending it a little at a time instead of all at once.  We all told him it was no big deal since we had split the cost.  He still seemed apprehensive so the stripper tried to convince him by saying, "C'mon, baby, it'll be fun.  We're going to be in the shower with Ginger and she's my favorite."  (FYI - the stripper names are completely made up because this was like 20 years ago and I don't remember them anymore.) He was still arguing when Ginger strode up.  She was maybe 20 years old and super hot...athtletic build and just oozed sex and sensuality.  She whispered something in his ear and he instantly said, "Okay I'll do it."  They took him back to the dressing room to change into his souvenir bathing suit and very shortly the DJ was announcing that it was time for the shower show to start. 

They had setup about 3 or 4 rows of chairs around the shower with the first row maybe only 2 to 3 feet from the glass.  We went over to grab seats and all of the front row chairs were already filled with other dudes.  We were like, "Nope, we paid for this show and that's our buddy that's going to be in there, so we're sitting up here."  They were like, "The club sold us tickets for the front row."  We responded, "Well then you better go get your money back from them because we're sitting here."  I guess because we out numbered them they complied and gave up the front row seats.  The show started with the two very naked strippers showering and soaping each other up.  It was okay, but nothing too exciting.  Then Crystal went into the dressing area to get him. They put a chair in the middle of the shower and sat him down.  Ginger then stood on her hands and did the splits wedging her feet against the glass walls of the shower so that her crotch was about 2 inches from his face.  Crystal proceeded to go to town on her while the DJ egged them on and instructed the crowd to throw money over the shower walls to encourage them.  It was a straight up sex show and they weren't simulating anything.  I had never seen anything like it before or since and simply sat with my mouth agape while exchanging looks with my other friends like, "Are you f-ing kidding me?" The bachelor tried several times to lean forward and join in the fun, but the first girl kept grabbing his hair and pulling him back.

We later found out that Ginger had convinced him by saying, "Don't tell your friends, but me and Crystal are going to have sex in the shower and I want you to watch from up close."  The whole thing had to be illegal and was the most bizarre thing I've ever witnessed in a strip club. 

Oh...and a little post-script to this story.  Later that night (or really early the next morning) my extremely drunk friend from the earlier stories got lost trying to find his hotel room at the Embassy Suites, so he just crashed on the floor in a corner of the hallway.  A couple hours later a security guard woke him up and then radioed the front desk to find out his room number.  Turned out he was sleeping right outside the correct room number, but like two floors off.