All My Waking Minutes: The July Poker Report

(Editor's Note: Yeah, this Poker Report is from events that took place five months ago, but you try living my life. Exactly. That's what I thought.)

2 July 2006

It Was a Lovely Day With My Father: First, I have to be up really early so that I can pick up my dad in order to take him to Fresno so that he can go to this meeting for former braceros. The braceros got screwed on some of their money (not by Americans [which I had just assumed was the case], but by their own government; sorry, America, for thinking so lowly of you) and now they’re trying to get it back. The problem for a lot of these workers is that the Mexican government is asking for copies of their original contracts and their work permits, but it’s been over fifty years since those documents were issued, and, of course, most of those documents are gone. Most reasonable and honest people recognize that this documents request is a dodge; they just don’t want to give the money back.

The meeting’s supposed to be in front of the Mexican Consulate, but it’s a hot day and the Fresno Veterans Memorial Hall is right across the street and there are some nice, tall, shady trees there, so that’s where everybody’s milling about. My father had been told that the meeting was at 10:00 a.m., but it turns out that it actually starts at 11:00 a.m. It’s only 9:30ish (because I’m kind of paranoid about being late for important stuff), so off to breakfast we go. We find a newly opened Mexican restaurant and I make the mistake of getting the beef chimichanga. Don’t get me wrong, it was tasty (damn tasty), but a chimichanga’s basically a giant deep-fried burrito, and it must have had about a billion calories, give or take, and I’m all about calorie-consciousness and non-self-destructive living nowadays. So, like all pleasurable things, eating that chimichanga was a guilt-inducing experience, which probably made it even more pleasurable. Hmmm, that goddamn chimichanga was chock full of transgressive goodness.

After breakfast, we went back to the Fresno Veterans Memorial Hall and waited around until the meeting actually started. Like all meetings, this one went on about three times longer than it needed to (I hate inefficiency, so I was standing there, thinking how I could have moved things around, table- and flyer-wise, and how I could have helped the speaker, kind-hearted and informative though he was, tighten up his remarks), but we found out that my dad might have a chance at recovering the money that was stolen from him, which made for a nice ride home. All in all, a lovely morning and early afternoon.

The Middle of My Day: I take my dad back to the house, go inside for a quick nap, wake up two hours later (leave me alone, I’m not used to being up early, so I was really sleepy), drive to a coffee place so that I can get some work done (but spend most of my time reading the on-line NY Times; I’m probably addicted), go back to the parents’ house for dinner, and leave at about 8:30 p.m.

I had left my cellie in the car, on the dash, and when I got in my car in order to leave, I saw that I had a message from Bert, inventor of the Bert Classic and the non-thematic guitar solo. If it’s a Sunday and it’s a message from Bert, inventor of the Bert Light and the sound of the wind in the trees, then it’s because he’s trying to put together a poker game.

Sure enough, when I call back (I didn’t even bother to check the message), I get the word that there's a game, that it’s at his house, and that it starts at 9:30 p.m. He knows me. I can’t say no to poker, but, as I say yes, I’m filled with an uneasy sense of unease.

I’m Scared: It’s only two days since the end of the worst poker month of my life. I gave back nearly all of the money that I had spent the first five months of the year earning.

I know that my game I sound. Or, at least I used to know that. Now, I’m not so sure, and that’s a problem. I’m full of self-doubt, and a poker table had been one of the few places where the self-doubt that’s embedded in my delicate psyche and that can make life a bit of a drag seemed to miraculously go away. As the month had progressed, though, I became more and more tentative. Plays that had made me money had started to cost me money, sometimes, lots of it, so I was hesitant to pull the trigger, even if the moves had been solid (and I don’t often make moves that aren’t solid; sometimes I dare to dream and will call when I don’t yet have a made hand; my dreams are duly crushed, and I go back to solid play).

Also, I’m only up $35.50 for the year, so another losing night and I’ll probably be in the red for the year. True, I had ended January down $113.25, so a deficit wouldn’t be something new. What would be new would be to be down after a little more than half of the year is gone. It would be even more discouraging than June had been.

I know that I’m not in the right frame for tonight’s game, but I can’t not go. Whatever’s gone wrong for me can only really be corrected at the poker table. Even though I’m going into the fray scared, into the fray I have to go.

Waking Minutes: The game starts at 9:30 p.m., but if I take off right away I’ll be at Bert’s thirty minutes early, which would not be classy. What are we going to do, sit around and talk about our innermost feelings? Uh, no, dude. As men, we are obligated to keep that shit deep inside and then lead wrecked and desperate lives.

But I’m nowhere near a place where I can get some work done, which means that I’ve got thirty minutes that I can’t use for anything. Thirty idle minutes. The thought of it makes me uneasy.

As I’m driving toward Bert’s, I’m trying to figure out what to do with these thirty minutes because I despise wasting time. I could drive slower, but that would just waste time, and, besides, driving slowly’s no fun.

Tonight’s Day One of the workout cycle (weights and the Wavemaster), which was what I had planned to complete when I got home. I know that Bert, inventor of the Bert Death Spiral and the automatic can opener, has weights at his crib, so I thought that I could hit the iron there and then complete my workout when I got home, but then I’d have
to lift in my street clothes and then be all sweaty at the poker game.

The New Thing: I decide that one way that I can use some of these minutes in a useful way is to stop at a grocery store and get some healthy, low-calorie snacks and drinks, my thinking being that there might not be any at Bert’s.

Poker night is junk food night. I’ve got a fridge full of candy bars and chips and sodas and beer expressly for poker-night use. Bert provides the same types of snacks and drinks when he’s host. But I’m sick of not being in shape. In high school I wrestled for one of the top teams in the state, and I was in great shape for all four years. I could go and go and go. You know how it is, though: you get busy and the thing that’s easiest to drop from your life is workout time.

I’ve also got that thing about making the best use of my time, so that means that I don’t cook; I microwave, and microwaveable stuff, convenient though it may be, isn’t exactly the healthiest food in the world.

So I’m at Save Mart, looking for those nasty soy chips that Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer/host of this here website, bought to the game a while back. They taste horrible, but they’re good for you. That’s right, I’m finally growing up and being semi-smart about the future. But that goddamned store doesn’t have those nasty soy chips and I’m actually disappointed. Goddamn, do I hate my life.

So, then, I’m walking up and down the aisles, looking for the healthiest thing that I think that I can tolerate. Shortly, I’m standing in front of a wide selection of rice cakes. Rice cakes. I hate my life.

If you read the June Poker Report (And why wouldn’t you have? What, you're too busy? You disappoint me.), you already know what I think about rice cakes. I’m picking up the various bags, trying to find the one that has the least amount of calories and that might have some flavor. I ended up with these apple-cinnamon ones that had fifty calories per rice cake. I also picked up a big-ass bottle of diet lemon-flavored Lipton iced tea. As an artificial sweetener connoisseur, I know that the tastiest one is sucralose (its street name being Splenda), and that’s the one in this iced tea.

I get to Bert’s, and I say “Let me pull out the pizza and beer,” at which time I produced the rice cakes and tea. That joke, folks, was as much pleasure as I derived from those worthless rice cakes.

Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer/host of this here website, bites into the first one (I was a little scared of them), and he says that it’s pretty good. That was when I knew that Ivan’s wrecked his taste buds with all of that healthy food that he’s been eating. His food is so devoid of flavor that he actually liked these nasty rice cakes.

The Fruit Salad: Thankfully, I was spared from having to eat more than one of those rice cakes (which I intentionally left behind, even after Bert, inventor of the Bert Light and the tripod, said that I should take them home) because Bert’s special lady made a killer fruit salad. Cantaloupe, watermelon, and strawberries, and all of them juicy and full of flavorful flavor.

I think how excited I was to both see and eat the aforementioned fruit salad is a measure of how much my life has fallen apart. Those who know me know that I take a moral stand against fruits (they’re too fruity) and vegetables (they’re too vegetabley). Whenever I’m at a restaurant I almost never eat whatever vegetable is on my plate, and I like my fruit in strictly processed form: pies, cookies, etc.

At least the old me did. It turns out that fresh fruit is tasty, damn tasty. Who knew?

Our Long National Nightmare Is Over:
I’d lost five games in a row, and I’d never done that before. I’d poured out $605.75 during June, and I’d never had a worse month.

Tonight, though, I rocked it, I rocked it hard. How hard? To the tune of $5.25. Word up.

The YTD Total’s at $40.75 now, which doesn’t sound like much until you realize that, percentage-wise, my total went up by14.79 % in only one night. I also got the won-loss record to 16-13, so there’s a little breathing room between myself and being a .500 player.

The Workout: It’s a little after three in the morning, and, on the drive home, I’m debating if I should work out or if I should just postpone said workout until I wake up the next day. The sensible thing is to postpone it, but I have a schedule.

In the old days (every day before this summer started), I was probably one of America’s highest ranked postponers. It was a ranking that I took seriously and that I worked hard to maintain, but it was enough, already, with my half-assing my way through life. The workout schedule’s the schedule, so any postponement of the workout is going to have a ripple effect on every other workout.

Besides, I've got the workout schedule finely calibrated for maximum gains in all fitness and health categories, so more of a delay (I’m already behind schedule by seven hours) will start to have adverse consequences in terms of strength and conditioning.

Yeah, I’ve got to work out, even if, by the time I get home, get changed, stretch, and warm up, it’s almost four in the morning.

Achieving Ambulation: My workout’s a killer. I can barely make it to the end. Usually, after the workout and a cool-down, I stretch out on the floor, using one of my boxing gloves for a pillow, and take a little break in order to get my heart rate down and because I’m not very ambulatory afterward anyway.

Tonight, that break lasted until eleven in the morning. There I was, in just my sweaty shorts, passed out on the floor. When I woke up, I had no idea where I was or what had happened or why I was in my workout shorts. That was sort of trippy.

7 July 2006

Special Poker Crew Field Trip Report: Tonight, Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer/host of this here website, asked if we wanted to go play at this dude Ruben’s house. They play no-limit there, Ivan said, and there’s lots of action.

Since we had had a hard time putting our game together this week and there would be tons of players at Ruben’s, we—Ivan; Bert, inventor of the Bert Classic and the breakbeat; and Big Daddy (I’m Big Daddy)—decided to meet up at the Tacklebox and roll in to Ruben’s together.

By the time Bert and I were getting ready to leave, a little after two in the morning, only five players out of the original twelve (Twelve? Don’t poker tables only hold about ten players? Yes, but some players would bust out and then be replaced by others) remained. Only four of the original twelve had made any money. I had made $28 (which I don’t count in my YTD Total or my won-loss record because it’s not an officially sanctioned Poker Crew event), but had been down about $155.

I hadn't made any bad plays, but I was getting killed. On one brutal hand, I made it $20 to go with pocket aces. American Airlines. There were blinds to be had, and a small bet, so I wanted to reduce the number of players in the hand in case anybody was thinking of playing a draw. This was early in the evening, and I had been playing tight, so the most I expected was that I’d get one call, maybe two if I were lucky. Instead, the guy next to me goes all-in for $26 more and there’s a fold behind him. I couldn’t be happier.

The best hand that he could possibly have is K-K—cowboys—but that pair would make him a three-to-one underdog, as would any other pair that he could have. I’ll take those odds any time, so I immediately call.

But this guy doesn’t even have a pair. He’s gone all-in with A-J hearts, a drawing hand. Even against pocket deuces, he’s only a 50.41% favorite. Against my aces, though, he’s in deep trouble because I’m an 86.45 % favorite. That means that if we played this exact hand nine times, he would win roughly one time. Only two jacks on the board are going to help him.

The flop doesn’t bring a jack, or an ace, but it does land with two hearts. I’m still a heavy favorite, but now he’s got two turns to see a heart that will give him the nut flush. He doesn’t need two turns because a heart lands on the turn, a heart that doesn’t pair the board and give me a shot at making a full house on the river, so I end up drawing dead at the end (that is drawing when there are no cards that can make your hand a winner) and lose $46.

Him catching his miracle card on the turn was stupid enough, but then it got stupider. After the heart landed, he jumped up, shook his fists, and half-yelled/half-whooped, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” I was wondering what he was talking about. If he was talking about being dumb and getting lucky, then, yes, that was what he was talking about. Dumbass.

Later, some guy went all-in after the flop on a club flush draw after I had bet $20 with top pair, tens, with an ace kicker. He raised me all-in, I call, and, of course, he had nothing but an idiot flush draw, made it on the turn, and I was again drawing dead on the river.

Of the twelve original players who sat in on the game while we were there, and of the five players still in the game at 2:00 a.m., only three made any money: Bert and myself and one other guy.

So, after those two horrible beats, I still made $28, so I have to be at least a little pleased. A person who was really pleased was Bert, inventor of the Bert Light and the knuckle curve. He made over $160. I think that it’s safe to say that we repped hardcore for the poker crew.

14 July 2006

Papa Verde: At our game the chip with the highest denomination, $5, is the green chip. We use two sets of chips, so we have 100 green chips that can be put into play. Sometimes, after buy-ins and re-buys, most of those chips will actually end up on the table. It looks really cool, though it can be a bit scary to know that there may be close to half a grand up for grabs.

Jesse had had a spectacular June, winning over $600, and he’s quite clearly become the player to fear at our game. That domination has continued on into July. Tonight his domination was so complete that he was up $260 and most of the green chips were under his loving care.

His stacks of green were so imposing that Kay Jay started calling him Papa Verde. For those of you who don’t get down in Spanish, Papa Verde means Daddy Green.

Jesse had so many chips to play with that he could just throw five-dollar bets out there, and he would mostly get folds because you just knew that calling one of his bets would only lead to more bets to deal with later on in the hand. Poker-wise, it was a pleasure to watch him work, but, as a player trying to defend his chips, not so much.

The Learning Curve: At this point in our game, it’s hard to come in and do well. When the limits were $2-$4, one could get up to speed, skills-wise, in a game or two, and without having paid out too much. I’m not saying that one would be playing at a high enough level to actually make money, but one could do a half-decent job of limiting one’s losses. Maybe one could even go on the attack on a few carefully chosen occasions.

At $1-5, however, it’s now much, much harder to acquire the necessary experience that will be required in order to not give away the car payment. If our game had been like Double-A ball—good but not very good—it’s now like Triple-A—very good, but not great.

A player just isn’t going to be able to deal with the pitchers and the speed of Triple-A without first having acquired experience and skills at the lower levels of the game. Surge, however, is going to have to do just that. Surge first played in our game three weeks ago, and he got eaten up pretty quickly. This week, he did manage to hold on to more of his money for quite a while longer, and he was even up for a good part of the game, but, by the end, he had lost most of his chips.

It can be a test of character to watch your stacks diminish while others are growing, and you can sometimes see that player’s confusion and distress and you know that it’s only going to get worse for him as the night progresses, but I never saw Surge go out of his head. He kept his wits about him and he was actually making better/smarter plays as the night progressed.

Hoops With My Crew: Readers of The June Poker Report know that I’m doing the healthy-living thing now. Weights and the Wavemaster, and I feel like there’s an outside shot now that I won’t die of a heart attack before I’m forty. I’d have to say that the odds as of today are, like, 70-30 in favor of me ending up on the ground, clutching my chest, and hoping that everything that I had thought about the afterworld (uh, that there isn’t one) was completely wrong.

I guess that my new lifestyle, much like the flu or syphilis, is catching, and it seems that the poker crew has become infected.

I have long asserted that the best way to get in shape is to find a sport that you love and then play it as much as is possible. Think about it: there’s nothing in the world that’s more boring than running or hitting the elliptical machine, and, for a dude, there’s nothing more embarrassing than aerobics, so those seem like dead ends.

What the poker crew came up with was basketball. All of us, except for Ivan, began hoping it up when we were kids. I, myself, loved hoops so much that, out of wrestling season, I used to play one-on-one all the way through three-on-three with whomever was hanging around the gym after school, including some of the guys who played for the high school team.

There was this one guy, let’s call him, Timmy G., who played all four years for the high school team and who thought that he was really good but whom I used to school all the time because he couldn’t guard me in the post. If two guys are of roughly the same height, then the guy with the low-post moves is always going to beat a jump shooter.

Then there was John C., who wanted to play me for $5 (these are '85 dollars, so $5 was a lot, especially to a broke guy like me). I had seen him play a few times, but he had never seen me play, so he was just going on looks (because I didn’t look like a basketball player), but I thought that I had a good chance against him.

It turned out that he couldn’t come anywhere close to guarding me, and I beat him pretty badly. When I asked for my money, though, he pulled a knife on me (right there, in the middle of the basketball court), so I decided right then and there that one should play basketball for its own sake, and not for any monetary gains, and that, consequently, he didn’t have to pay me.

So we’ve come up with the basketball idea, but where are we going to play? Turns out that we’re connected to some people who are connected to some people who have some pull, so we have easy access to a lovely, private, indoor court that. Sweet.

We’ve been playing for a few weeks, and it’s been fun as hell, but also very intense. How intense? So far, I’ve gotten an elbow in the throat from Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer/host of this here website. If you’ve ever been hit in the throat, it feels like you can’t swallow and like something in there’s just been caved in and/or broken to pieces and like there’s a good chance that you're going to die.

The mean guy, though, is Jesse. On one play, he pimp-slapped me in the mouth like I had held out on him. On another play, he smacked me so hard in the arm that I had a pretty sizeable bruise for about a week. Bert was also rocking a Jesse-delivered bruise on his arm for a little while. Also, Jesse popped Ivan in the mouth, you know, for getting uppity.

I Triple Up on the Quan: But it’s not that hard to do when you were only up $40.75. June, as we all know, was a disaster, and I had only been up $35.50 at the end of it, down from $641.25 at the end of May. Tonight, I made $84.50, which means that I’m up to +$125.25 and that I've now won two in a row, and the overall record’s up to 17-13, so there’s a little breathing room between me and being at .500 for the year.

21 July 2006

Shawn Gee, My New Hero: Bert, the inventor of the Bert Classic and the subwoofer, and Ivan, poker player deluxe and designer/programmer/host of this here website, met up with me at a Taco Bell so that we could roll in together to Shawn’s crib. If you want to feel cool, my people, roll at night in a caravan to a poker game while your car stereo is pumping out the loud music.

I don’t get very many opportunities to feel badass, but looking in my rearview mirror and seeing my homies rolling behind me made me feel badass. The only thing that could have made the drive even better would have been if I hadn't had to pull over so that Ivan could lead because I didn’t exactly have the directions for getting to Shawn Gee’s house. I had thought that I could remember the way, but that didn’t exactly work out for me.

Last time we played at Shawn Gee’s house, the only time, actually, we played in the garage. Hey, his garage is lovely, so cool. This time, though, the game was inside the house proper. We walked in through the front door, and the first thing that I see is a lovely poker table. I’m talking one of those fancy ones, and he had nice leather chairs. It was classy.

Taco Bell, Hell Yeah: I’m heavily into this new I’m-trying-to-not-die-any-more-stupidly-than-I-have-to lifestyle: workouts and healthy eating. At least for the summer, when I can carve some time out of my unreal schedule. After the summer, all bets are off.

I have managed to stick pretty closely to my diet, but I make a few exceptions: dinner at the folks’ (because you eat whatever it is that your mom is cooking; that’s just being classy, and you know that it’s going to taste good), stints in prison (because you eat whatever it is that the burly dude rocking the lovely hairnet slops onto your metal tray and you’re trying to avoid getting shanked in the yard), and at poker games because, come on, I’ve got to live it up some time.

So I’m waiting at around 9: 00 p.m. in front of the Taco Bell for my homies. I only eat twice a day, and breakfast, as usual, had been oatmeal and some fruit, all washed down with water, a total of four-hundred calories. I am, in other words, starving.

And here I am at a Taco Bell.

I start thinking about maybe getting a little something to go, something on which I can get down when I get to Shawn Gee’s.

Technically speaking, though, the poker game proper doesn’t start until I actually enter Shawn Gee’s, so even having this food in my possession would seem to be, at least in spirit, a violation of my new I’m-trying-to-not-die-any-more-stupidly-than-I-have-to principles and practices. But I wouldn’t actually be eating this food until I got to the poker game. In effect, I’d be acting as a delivery person to myself. It would be the same as calling early in order to have pizzas delivered to Shawn Gee’s house.

But I can’t kid myself; this feels at least a little bit wrong. I should say here that I’m pretty good at wrecking my life with my stupid little rules and ideas and principles. Screw it, sometimes you’ve got to live, just live, and take pleasure where and when you can find it. But, man, what about my new lifestyle?

It’s gonna be a judgment call, and it takes me a while to make it. I go from looking at the blacktop in front of me and fighting against lovely desire to looking at the brightly lit interior of the halls of paradise.

I go inside and make the purchase: two burritos and two soft tacos.

If I had committed a sin, it had been a sin of desire. I had sinned in my heart and my mind, but, because I was not partaking until I was at the game, not in the material world. The fact that my purchasing the food was at least a little bit dirty, though, made the actual food taste that much better. Forbidden fruit, if you will, unh, word up.

Mostly Hold ‘Em: Jesse is hardcore at Omaha; it plays right into his aggressive and seemingly random style. In the past six weeks, he’s up around a grand. Respect, but while these cats are my friends, I want to be the one pulling the green. I’ve been dealing Hold ‘Em almost exclusively for the past few weeks in an effort to limit Jesse’s effectiveness. Shawn Gee only deals Hold ‘Em, and so does Art, Shawn Gee’s homie. Then Bert, inventor of the Bert Light and the vacuum tube, dealt Hold 'Em almost the entire night. That means that four of the seven players dealt a game in which Jesse might pay out if he made the same kinds of plays that he makes in Omaha. All of this Hold 'Em seemed to limit Jesse’s effectiveness because relying on pure aggression in a game in which most hands aren’t any good and the flops even worse will only buy you grief if the other players actually make a decent hand because those players will never go away. So, for the first time in a long time, Jesse didn’t make a ton, though he still won a little bit.

Special Hoops Report: Like I've previously stated, we’ve been hooping it up twice a week, every Tuesday and Thursday, and we've been having good games. Good, but ragged. Most of us are, uh, a little bit past our primes (if we looked in our rearview mirrors, we probably couldn’t even see our primes anymore, but that may also be because our eyesights are starting to go), and none of us has been spending too much time on basketball courts in the recent past, or anywhere, really, where you might actually work out a little bit.

When you're young, all that you had to do to get into a game was show up at a court, any court, with or without a basketball, and you'd almost always be able to get into a game in about three minutes. Being young is great that way.

All that you needed was desire, but that desire runs out of you and is replaced by every little thing that takes you into adulthood. I don’t want to get all Lao Tzu on your ass, but he writes in the Tao Te Ching that “The One produced the two. The two produced the three. And the three produced the ten thousand things,” and while he was writing about the interconnectedness of all things (forever and ever, amen, for we are all sisters and brothers, yes, even you, you selfish bastard), I’m just using that shit to talk about how your (and by “your” I mean “everybody’s”) life, the simple and pure and lovely life, gets taken over by all of the stuff that you accumulate and that weighs and that wears you down as you grow older. (And, yes, if you're wondering, that is the extent of my Tao Te Ching knowledge.)

But, once in a while, you look at yourself, literally or metaphorically, and you ask, of no one in particular, perhaps of the air around you or perhaps of your younger self, that person whom you have betrayed, or of your current self, that worthless bastard who did the betraying, “What happened? I used to be a pretty good athlete.”

This whole section, metaphysical though it is, is just a setup so that I can share this particular highlight: Jesse, my own teammate, a teammate who was standing about six feet away (yes, we do need to work on our court spacing), fastballed the basketball right into my face. Boing, it went, right off of my right eye. I was knocked loopy, and I staggered around a bit, blinking my newly boinged eye and trying to regain whatever was left of my already iffy vision. Yes, I staggered about, but I manned up (as the kids say), and I didn’t go down.

But I wasn’t the only one who suffered or was injured at our games. One of our players, who, to protect his street cred, will remain nameless, utterly bollixed up his knees. The first operation is in December, when he has time off from work. While I’m worried about the procedure, because this dude is my homie, I’m mostly worried that he may not be recovered enough to make our already-planned trip to Vegas to play some poker. I already told him that I’ll wheel his ass from poker room to poker room if I have to. The second operation’s taking place in June.

KayJay’s Departure: KayJay’s a special guy, and by special, I mean a complete pain in the ass. He arrives and says that he has to leave by midnight. Hey, brother, cool; sometimes you’ve just got to go. At midnight, though, he’s down a lot of chips, and by a lot, I mean at least $100.

Can you guess what happened? Magically, midnight comes and goes without a word from KayJay. Nobody’s saying anything, but I sure noticed. Sometimes the cards run cold, but then they all of a sudden heat up, and you start making hands. KayJay started making hands. By around 1:30 a.m., KayJay had made a nice turnaround and was up over $100.

Can you guess what time he left? That’s right: 1:30 a.m. I think that I’ll try that the next time that I play; as soon as I’m up a ton, even if it’s only after a few hands hand, even if it’s only after one hand, I’m just going to walk out.

Childproof Doors: I don’t really have anything to say about them, other that that they’re just weird. Shawn Gee has them all over his house, and they intimidated me at first. (Yes, I’m easily intimidated.). There was one in the entry, I looked at the thing, but I couldn’t figure out how it worked. It was all white and puffy, and it had these weird indentations. I was scared to touch it (Yes, I’m easily scared.) for two reasons: First, I didn’t want to damage the thing, and, second, I didn’t think that I could live with the mortification if I actually couldn’t get the door to open. That’s one that you would take to your grave: failed to open a childproof door.

I Thought That It Would Be a Hit: One of my homies from the poker crew is working on his latest divorce. The first one’s just practice, really, and you don’t really get good at divorce until the second or even the third one. By then, you’ve got all of your lines worked out: Can you tell me where you hid that last little scrap of my dignity and/or self-worth, or are you planning to take that, too? I never loved you. There’s no way that you're getting my recliner.

You went into the most recent marriage secretly cataloging your pre-marriage possessions and as you made post-marriage purchases deciding which items you would be willing to give up and which items you’d throw into a wood chipper first because, damn it, you were the one who wanted to buy the James Brown boxed set in the first place (over her many objections), and she wasn’t even into the Godfather until you turned her on to him, and now she’s claiming that she had always liked him? No way, dude, no way.

(Editor's Note: I wrote the above paragraph at the end of July, before the Godfather died. I've been down with him from early in college, and I've got his Star Time on my rig. If you want to hear some out-of-this world drumming, listen to There Was a Time.)

I have a theory about marriages: They’re like television shows. Everybody thinks that he or she’s going to be starring in Seinfeld, the greatest comedy of all time, (it’s not even close), and you think that you’ll run forever (in television, nine years is about as close to forever as you can get) and that everything will be perfect and lovely until the end of your lives.

Not so much. Most marriages, nearly all of them, are like After M*A*S*H,: it looked good on paper, a sure hit (look at all of the nice people who are involved!), but, Lord, did it end up blowing, and you're actually a little embarrassed to be stuck in the middle of it because, first of all, you're no idiot and you know that it’s blowing, and, second, you signed the contract and now you're trapped. Even then, though, work is work and just about anything beats the hell out of being alone and so you try to ride that mother as long as you can, even if each waking second of your life is unpleasant, man, just unpleasant. Tragically and comically, you'll still be lucky if that bastard lasts more than a few seasons.

What About the Green?: Hey, I won again, $40.50, taking me to a grand total of 165.75, and upping the won-loss to 18-13. If you go back to 13 January 2006, you’ll see that I've made exactly $53.00 in a little over six months. That is awesome.

28 July 2006

Pocket Deuces: We’re playing hold 'em and I've been dealt pocket deuces, the most cruel of pocket pairs. Every card that lands that isn’t a deuce weakens your hand. Let’s do some math: there are two remaining deuces left in the deck, along with forty-eight non-deuces, which means that one has exactly a four percent chance of getting better.

It is a made hand, though, which is a little bit better than even money against any non-paired cards. What to do, then, with this crummiest of pairs, a pair that’s so vulnerable to so much of the deck? If you’re a man of character, then you bet them pre-flop and try to reduce the amount of players who are drawing against you.

Tragically, I am a person completely lacking in character. If you drop your wallet, I’m gonna go and buy myself something pretty. Also, I’m deficient in the bravery department. Additionally, I’m easily frightened. I make up for all of that by crumbling completely under even the slightest pressure.

However, I decided to try to be brave for once in my life and actually defend my deuces. When Jesse, a betting machine, came at me with $5 bets before the flop, afterwards, and then on the turn, I called every single time. I used to be able to read Jesse pretty accurately, and most of the time I knew when to call and when to let my cards go. But that was when there was even the slightest relationship between Jesse’s actions and his cards, but now that he bets anything (and, no, I’m not exaggerating: anything), it’s just hard to know.

The thing is, though, that every card could have helped him. Even if he had been raising with 7-3, he could have hit a three for the winning hand. That means that there are now four cards on the board with which he could have made a winning pair. And, after the river, there’ll be a fifth card. The river’s not a deuce, though it’s not any scarier than any other card. Jesse bets it again, putting him in the pot for $20. I’m already in for $15, so, even though I’m not sure that I’m good anymore, I make the call.

Even though Jesse had been called and should, according to poker protocol, been the first to show his cards, I turned over my deuces, and they’re good enough to win the pot. Jesse doesn’t show his cards; he just throws them into the muck and says that he was on a draw.

The Donut Perplex: Jesse had brought over a box of donettes, those tasty-ass mini-donuts made by the lovely people over at Hostess. Now, Jesse knows that I’m trying to give healthy living a shot, at least for the summer, but he also knows that I am a longtime connoisseur of the junk food. I think that he bought them over mostly just to get a kick out of watching me struggle with my desire to not die of a heart attack before I’m forty.

I managed to ignore the donettes for most of the game, having only consumed two or three (which for me is pretty damn good, verging on the miraculous), so I was relieved when the game was breaking up. I told Jesse to take the donettes with him. Jesse, being well raised and a delightful guest, of course insisted that I keep them and then left the premises shortly thereafter.

Now, what to do? Donettes, no matter how hard I looked for an exception, would never fit into my new lifestyle, so they'd just sit in the fridge, slowly turning into rocks, and it’d be wrong to let them go to waste. Or, I’d cave and eat the hell out every single last one of them, and there goes the new lifestyle. I’ve not encountered a moral crisis of such gravity in a long time.

But, wait, I decided, there was one workaround. I had, from the very beginning, given myself an exemption from healthy eating for poker games, but, wait a minute, I had never really defined the outer edges of what exactly constituted a poker game.

I decided, on the spot, that the poker game didn’t officially end until I finished putting away the chips and the table and then tidying up the place a bit since all of those actions fell under the umbrella of poker-related activities. So, as long as I was working on the clean-up, there was no real reason that I could find for not working my way through that box of donettes. See, now that’s some world-class rationalization.

Eat It, America: Tonight, I made $171.75, my second-highest total of the year. After the last game, I had only been up 165.75, so I more than doubled my money with one game. Also, I was undefeated in July and made $302.00. The YTD is up to +$337.50, which, while it’s not a huge number, does give me an outside chance of reaching a grand in winnings for the year. All I have to do is average +$132.50 for the rest of the year. Difficult, especially considering the fact that I play with some poker-playing heavy-hitters, but not impossible.


When I pulled up my RSS reader and it read "All My Waking Minutes: The July Poker Report"; I must admit that I almost "nutted". "He pimp-slapped me in the mouth like I had held out on him" had to be one of the funniest parts in the entire post. Additionally, I recalled your arm getting slapped down and you stating "I guess we don't have any lay ups in the bigs" or something to that effect. Good post.

I Run a Clean Website

Thank God that you said almost. According to the 2006 Poker Log, by the way, it's been eight weeks since you hung out with us. Que onda?


I apologize for the bad language, I just read my earlier post. Well, in regards to the the fact that I'm MIA, Ive been pretty busy with work, school, girl, family reunions, my grandfather's death, a trip to Monterey, a trip to Oregon, and a trip to the Lava Beds National Monument. Sam thought that I had returned to Mexico.

Homie,I didn't know that you


I didn't know that you were so busy; it must be nice to have a life. And, yeah, there are a lot of rumors going around about where you're living nowadays, but I'll stop spreading them as of today. I'm sorry about your grandfather, man. That's rough. Come by when you have some time. No pressure.