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, " 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, " 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" 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 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.