From dusk 'til dawn
We were driving down Route Tampa when all of the sudden all hell came down around us, all these guys, wearing all black, a couple dozen on each side of the street, on rooftops, alleys, edge of buildings, out of windows, everywhere, just came out of fucking nowhere and started unloading on us. AK fire and multiple RPGs were flying at us from every single fucking direction. IEDs were being ignited on both sides of the street. I freaked the fuck out and ducked down in the hatch and I yelled over the radio, "HOLY SHIT! WE GOT FUCKIN' HAJIS ALL OVER THE FUCKIN' PLACE!!!! They're all over goddammit!!!"
Bullets were pinging off our armor, all over our vehicle and you could hear multiple RPGs being fired, soaring through the air every which way and impacting all around us. All sorts of crazy insane Hollywood explosions were going off. I've never felt fear like this. I was like, this is it, I'm going to die. I cannot put into words how scared I was.
-Colby Buzzell, My War
So the sun starts to set and we're stuck close to the Alabama-Georgia border in the mother of all traffic jams. How the fuck can the best country on earth fuck up the little things so routinely? World of the 21st century, observe one of man's great achivements -- the interstate system, now a parking lot.
For a little while you sort of just humor it. Stop, creep forward, stop. Over and over until one hour becomes two and then three. The only entertaining thing is this guy who I've dubbed "Old Jalopy," who keeps on trying to pass these trucks in the emergency lane. Only, these trucks are having none of it. They honk at him and get in the lane. He skirts by them on the grass, only to have his car stall out later. It's amazing what people use to get on the open road.
It's close to 9 p.m. now and the possibility of me finishing up my 1,400 raked hand Empire Poker bonus, which expires at 9:14 a.m. Monday, is looking really, really slim. For one, it'll take me about 7 hours to do, at an estimated 50 raked hands per table, 4 tables max. That's 200 raked hands an hour.
Finally we get through to a rest area. Sham finds a map that at least gets us around the jam by taking the next exit through local highways. Tons of trucks are already on these side streets, possibly having told each other of the way to go.
I drop off Sham and Drew and then finally get home at 10:30 p.m. I'm beyond tired. I only slept maybe three hours the night before, since I uncharacteristically stayed up until 6:30 a.m. playing at the 'Shoe and Gold Strike. What a mess.
Plus I have to turn in the rental car at the airport at 9 a.m. If I can't leave here by about 7:30 a.m., Atlanta's rush hour traffic will make the return trip a complete mess.
So I log on and play. I can't even begin to explain how surreal the experience was. There were plenty of hands that I would just push all-in because I didn't have time to do anything else. Playing four tables at the same time means there is action every few seconds. I couldn't believe how many times I was getting premium cards. It seemed like I'd broken a water main full of QQ.
For one, it took me way longer than seven hours. According to Poker Tracker, I played 2,935 hands, getting credit for less than half of them. Now I figured out why that was. My strategy for the last two Empire bonuses has been to play NL$25 6-max, a game that makes it an understatement when I say I absoutely dominate. Of course it helps when you have 400 times the required buy-ins for bankroll, instead of the requisite 20.
Hands, 2,935. VP$IP: 21.29. PF Raise: 11.41 AF: 5.37
I am a total maniac at these tables. It was my fault that I didn't get raked hand credit for a lot of the time -- basically I raised nearly every time I played a hand, prompting others to fold constantly, no matter where I was -- big blind, small blind, UTG, sitting out. LOL.
I only remember some of the details. I played at 30 tables, cashing out money in 17 of them. I lost my buy-in at least twice from RPGs. I made quads three times, including one hand in which I open raised with TT only to find a set and lots of action. The other guy reraised me all in. Fine. I call, only to quad up on the turn, beating his set of jacks.
"That's a good beat," I tell Mark via IM.
Two times I took a buy-in from a calling station who would call me on the river. Once I figured this out I was doing this all the time to her.
I missed out on one straight flush chance, with 73d. I boated up five times, won with flushes 15 times and had trips nearly twenty other times.
At around 4 a.m. I didn't really feel tired. But the raked hand count was going so slowly. I was only around 950 hands in. I figured it would be 8 a.m. before I even would finish.
At 6 a.m. I panicked a little bit. The NL $25 tables were drying out. In order to keep it going, I jumped it up to the NL$50 tables, which were weak but still had die-hards playing. It was a little more aggressive, too. Unlike NL$25, sometimes I was faced with massive re-raises to my open-raise bid. I would just fold and move on.
Finally, around 7 a.m. I finished my last required raked hand. I made a small profit from the regular play (like during the previous Empire bonus in February). I was pretty happy because last year I hadn't figured out how to cut my variance at this site and was in the red.
That wasn't the end of it. Although I swore to Mark I would just fucking go to sleep and take the rental car penalty, that's not how I roll. I drove the rental car to the gas station, rain now pouring all over the place, and then made my way through the early-morning rush hour traffic. I dropped the rental car off around 8 a.m. and then made my way back to the airport's MARTA station, where I blissfully slept most of the 11 stops back to Midtown station.
At around 9 a.m., more than half a day since I was stuck at the Alabama border, it was bright out but drizzly and windy. I trudged back the four and a half blocks back to my apartment and blissfully, finally got some sleep.