Poker Cats

Friday, June 29, 2007

All roads go through Vegas (Vegas bound)

Oh, the things I do for England part two.

I've successfully rerouted a business trip to Kansas City through Las Vegas where I'll get to play poker all weekend the weekend before the trip (July 13-16) and get to hang out with K Rose.

Then will fly to Kansas City where I hope I'll get to play poker in the evenings, maybe late in the evenings between seminars.

Can't wait.

Kitty update

UGA says there is no lymphoma in Kuro's bone marrow, which is an extremely good sign.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The first battle of the war

What if tomorrow the war could be over? Isn't that worth fighting for?
-The Matrix Reloaded

Wearing his Cone Trooper helmet, Kuro's lounging on the floor. Part of his fur on his right arm and shoulder and a wide swath across his belly is missing. He's been drugged, poked and prodded, lost blood and bone marrow and worst of all -- having to endure three hours in a car.

But he's taking it all in stride. Like an Absinthian blog headline, the first battle of the war is over. And the franchise cat can claim victory.

The ultrasound did not find any other evidence of the cancer in his body. So Kuro's starting out in much better shape than when Lance Armstrong's cancer was diagnosed and it had already spread throughout his body.

With the lymphoma hopefully localized, Kuro received chemotherapy designed to shrink the tumor and hopefully knock out any cancerous cells undetected in his body. If the tumor shrinks, university surgeons will remove it.

It's like going from a flush draw to flopping a pair and a flush draw. Suddenly the ol' man kitty is looking like a slight favorite. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

A cat in Athens

ATHENS, Ga. -- So the toaster min raises me on a flop of Jxx, two flush cards. I think for a moment and then put him all in with my AA. He instacalls with QQ, letting me double up in a few minutes at the University of Georgia's Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

Whatever happened to the mantra of not going busto with a pair?

It's so hard to play QQ to a raise preflop and I'm not convinced that smooth calling is going to get you there. I think you have to 3-bet the raiser preflop and see what happens.

Or when you minraise on the flop, prepare to fold when you get raised all-in. It's not simple but it is simple.

I was happy that transpired, since I didn't get much play in after that. The vet came by to examine ol'Kuro, who still seemed to be in great spirits. I have to leave him for testing and we'll see how things approach the river.

In other news, looks like next week I'll be mounting my HD on the wall and I love the Washington Nationals. Even at -220 with Smoltz pitching for the Braves, it was like free money.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Throwing into traffic

Normally I won't continuation bet with two people behind me, but the K on the flop is a decent scare card to justify the breaking ball.

PokerStars Game #10641362004: Hold'em No Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2007/06/27 - 01:49:11 (ET)
Table 'Rhodia II' 9-max Seat #9 is the button
Seat 1: gnik21 ($29 in chips)
Seat 2: HighPDrifter ($40 in chips)
Seat 3: kronixx ($65.55 in chips)
Seat 4: ellibaer ($22.80 in chips)
Seat 5: halo599 ($51.05 in chips)
Seat 6: mkyu123 ($99 in chips)
Seat 7: kurokitty ($107.40 in chips)
Seat 8: Slim Freddy ($48.30 in chips)
Seat 9: cisb ($22.95 in chips)
gnik21: posts small blind $0.50
HighPDrifter: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [7h 6h]
kronixx: folds
ellibaer has timed out
ellibaer: folds
ellibaer is sitting out
halo599: folds
mkyu123: folds
ellibaer has returned
kurokitty: raises $3 to $4
Slim Freddy: calls $4
cisb: calls $4
gnik21: folds
HighPDrifter: folds
*** FLOP *** [9h 6s Kc]
kurokitty: bets $10
Slim Freddy: folds
cisb: folds
kurokitty collected $12.85 from pot
kurokitty: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $13.50 | Rake $0.65
Board [9h 6s Kc]
Seat 1: gnik21 (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 2: HighPDrifter (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 3: kronixx folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: ellibaer folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: halo599 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: mkyu123 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: kurokitty collected ($12.85)
Seat 8: Slim Freddy folded on the Flop
Seat 9: cisb (button) folded on the Flop

Likely overpairs, pt. 3

In this case, neither of the two players has enough money behind them to justify a call.

PokerStars Game #10641371023: Hold'em No Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2007/06/27 - 01:50:08 (ET)
Table 'Rhodia II' 9-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: gnik21 ($28.50 in chips)
Seat 2: HighPDrifter ($39 in chips)
Seat 3: kronixx ($65.55 in chips)
Seat 4: ellibaer ($22.80 in chips)
Seat 5: halo599 ($51.05 in chips)
Seat 6: mkyu123 ($99 in chips)
Seat 7: kurokitty ($116.25 in chips)
Seat 8: Slim Freddy ($44.30 in chips)
Seat 9: cisb ($18.95 in chips)
HighPDrifter: posts small blind $0.50
kronixx: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [Qd Qs]
ellibaer: calls $1
halo599: raises $3 to $4
mkyu123: folds
kurokitty: calls $4
Slim Freddy: folds
cisb: folds
gnik21: folds
HighPDrifter: raises $10 to $14
kronixx: folds
ellibaer: calls $13
halo599: folds
kurokitty: folds
*** FLOP *** [Ah Th 6h]
HighPDrifter: bets $24
ellibaer: calls $8.80 and is all-in
*** TURN *** [Ah Th 6h] [Jc]
*** RIVER *** [Ah Th 6h Jc] [Kd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
HighPDrifter: shows [Ac As] (three of a kind, Aces)
ellibaer: mucks hand
HighPDrifter collected $52 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $54.60 | Rake $2.60
Board [Ah Th 6h Jc Kd]
Seat 1: gnik21 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: HighPDrifter (small blind) showed [Ac As] and won ($52) with three of a kind, Aces
Seat 3: kronixx (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: ellibaer mucked [7d Ad]
Seat 5: halo599 folded before Flop
Seat 6: mkyu123 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: kurokitty folded before Flop
Seat 8: Slim Freddy folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: cisb folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Likely overpairs, pt 2

How to deal with aggressive overpairs:

PokerStars Game #10641205861: Hold'em No Limit ($0.25/$0.50) - 2007/06/27 - 01:33:05 (ET)
Table 'Thalpius' 6-max Seat #6 is the button
Seat 2: kurokitty ($50.65 in chips)
Seat 3: glaros ($17.65 in chips)
Seat 4: Jacqie82 ($50.90 in chips)
Seat 6: Devirginizer ($30.65 in chips)
kurokitty: posts small blind $0.25
glaros: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [Qc Qd]
Jacqie82: folds
Devirginizer: raises $2 to $2.50
kurokitty: raises $3.50 to $6
glaros: folds
Devirginizer: raises $9 to $15 (I thought about raising all-in here but the 4-bet seemed suspicious)
kurokitty: calls $9 (yet calling pretty much meant i'd be all in on the flop anyway)
*** FLOP *** [2c 2h Qh]
kurokitty: checks
Devirginizer: bets $15.65 and is all-in
kurokitty: calls $15.65
*** TURN *** [2c 2h Qh] [6c]
*** RIVER *** [2c 2h Qh 6c] [4h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kurokitty: shows [Qc Qd] (a full house, Queens full of Deuces)
Devirginizer: shows [Ah As] (two pair, Aces and Deuces)
kurokitty collected $59.80 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $61.80 | Rake $2
Board [2c 2h Qh 6c 4h]
Seat 2: kurokitty (small blind) showed [Qc Qd] and won ($59.80) with a full house, Queens full of Deuces
Seat 3: glaros (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: Jacqie82 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Devirginizer (button) showed [Ah As] and lost with two pair, Aces and Deuces

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Urashima Taro, part 2

I return home from my grandfather's funeral in Maui and it's like I opened the little chest that Urashima Taro was given upon his return back to his world above the sea and warned never to open.

My once energetic kitty is a different kind of cat now, mainly content to lie on the couch and sleep (although that's not too much different from many cats). He eats ravenously the specially-formulated cans of cat food that are prescription from the vet to nourish him back to health.

The vet put a plastic cone around his neck to keep him from disturbing the wound created when they took the biopsy from his groin. Only thing is, he has a very skinny face that's not much wider than his neck, so he easily can get out of it.

I feel bad for him having to wear it. It's a problem for sure. Around my apartment, he's constantly running into things with it and the cone makes Clonie think she has a stranger for a brother -- she hisses at him anytime he is nearby and wearing it.

I admire his independence. During the week that Kuro was at the vet, he apparently learned how to escape from his cage -- the vet tech who was taking care of him said she went to the part of the clinic where the cats are kept one morning and found him outside his cage, hanging out with the other cats.

I'm taking the day off and traveling with him to the University of Georgia on Thursday in an attempt to find out how bad the cancer has spread and whether he can be helped, if at all.

It somehow reminds me of the old Japanese classic Lone Wolf and Cub series. He is like Daigoro, the child, in the series. He is fighting the demons of his dreams and is walking the road to Meifumado, the road to hell that Itto Ogami and his son travel on in the series.

The Buddhist priest at my grandfather's funeral service said we all are dying everyday. Instead of being sad and focused on death, we should cherish life. I know that if not in the near future, Kuro will pass away within a decade from now. I'm going to make sure he continues to have a good life and to remember all of his other great moments.

Likely overpairs

While in limit hold'em you may be able to call down in situations in which you may be up against an overpair, in many cases it doesn't make much sense to check-call in the same situation in NLHE.

PokerStars Game #10631404702: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2007/06/26 - 14:03:45 (ET)
Table 'Eleonora III' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: Tedlo ($13.65 in chips)
Seat 2: Xbody_yaya ($24 in chips)
Seat 3: Toole ($19.60 in chips)
Seat 5: Richafort ($13.35 in chips)
Seat 6: kurokitty ($24.05 in chips)
Seat 7: carlsoneve ($16.85 in chips)
Seat 8: Kjetil87 ($5.65 in chips)
Seat 9: trekkie ($14.25 in chips)
trekkie: posts small blind $0.10
Tedlo: posts big blind $0.25
g4bri31: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [Js Jc]
Xbody_yaya: folds
Toole: raises $0.50 to $0.75
Richafort: raises $0.75 to $1.50
kurokitty: calls $1.50 (I could 3-bet here but do not)
carlsoneve: folds
Kjetil87: calls $1.50
trekkie: folds
Tedlo: calls $1.25
Toole: calls $0.75
*** FLOP *** [Tc 5d 9c]
Tedlo: bets $1.25 (why exactly is this guy firing it out?)
Toole: calls $1.25
Richafort: raises $10.60 to $11.85 and is all-in (too much trouble here).
kurokitty: folds
Kjetil87: folds
Tedlo: calls $10.60
Toole: folds
*** TURN *** [Tc 5d 9c] [Td]
*** RIVER *** [Tc 5d 9c Td] [Jd]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
Tedlo: shows [8h Ts] (three of a kind, Tens)
Richafort: mucks hand
Tedlo collected $30.95 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $32.55 | Rake $1.60
Board [Tc 5d 9c Td Jd]
Seat 1: Tedlo (big blind) showed [8h Ts] and won ($30.95) with three of a kind, Tens
Seat 2: Xbody_yaya folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Toole folded on the Flop
Seat 5: Richafort mucked [Ac Ah]
Seat 6: kurokitty folded on the Flop
Seat 7: carlsoneve folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 8: Kjetil87 (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 9: trekkie (small blind) folded before Flop

Monday, June 25, 2007

Landing at Kona

Boeing 777, registry N215UA, United Flight 3 stops Sunday evening at the open-air airport at Kona to refuel before making the 7 hour, 25 minute flight to Chicago. 6/25/07.

KONA, Hawaii -- Near sundown, the big aluminum turtle takes me to Kona on the Big Island, making a spectacular pass around the dormant volcano crater of Haleakala on Maui.

There's not much at the Kona airport, and by what's there, it's clear that United dominates the port. United's N548UA, a Boeing 757-222, is already there, parked before the airport's thatched-roofed gate area.

We deplane by a set of stairs while the aircraft undergoes a complete refuel and cleaning. The Boeing 777 is giant, possibly taller from wing to ground than that rock at Waimea Bay that I hesitated to jump off. The assembly of planes just parked before the open-air gates reminds me of pictures of the old days when PanAm clippers would refuel at Midway.

We start boarding but it's halted when a United 747-422, N175UA, lands on the small strip. As it turns toward the gate, there's a loud sound, almost like rocket thrusters firing. The 747 dwarfs the 777, and as its nose heads toward the gate, with nothing but a thatched roof in between me and it, a feeling of fear comes over me, as if I expect it to be shooting out lasers any minute now.

We lift off shortly and on the tower communications I can hear a few flights heading into Honolulu that evening -- a couple of FedEx cargo planes and a Delta jet. There's always a bunch of turbulence over the Pacific, but one thing is reassuring -- in the 13-year history of the Boeing 777, there has never been a loss of a single aircraft.

After a couple of movies, I sleep but am awakened by the busier traffic near O'Hare. Conditions are good, so the crew opts for the autoland feature. It feels a little bit rough, but I'm just happy that I'm back on the mainland, all that much closer to an ailing kitty and home.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

My chariot has finally arrived.

KAHULUI, Hawaii -- Although 2 hours and 12 minutes late, my plane has finally arrived.

Check out pics of N215UA.

It's hard to leave paradise

KAHULUI, Hawaii -- So I leave Honolulu with plenty of time to catch my mainland connection at 2:48 p.m. I get to Maui at 10:45 a.m., only to find that my flight has been delayed until 6 p.m.

Ugh. Been putting that extra time to mostly good use, as I won some nice change at 'Stars, helping refuel my account after sending money to Fuel today for a stake in the WSOP Main Event and other tourneys he's planning to play in Vegas next week.

The turtle grinder

HONOLULU -- After jumping in the ocean, I swam back to shore but soon was out in the water again with goggles on to look for fish in a small cluster of rocks in the middle of the clear blue water.

I found an interesting fish nearby. As I followed him around the rocks, I noticed more fish ... and a huge sea turtle, slightly smaller than the lid of a Weber grill.

This turtle looked really out of place among the tiny fish. It was like he was a higher limit player stepping down to the kiddie tables. He would swim about, tilt himself vertical in the water and then swoop down to nibble on vegetation underneath the water.

On my second trip out to the rock, I saw two turtles playing about. It seemed really unusual since the outcropping was in the middle of a clear beach and you'd think slow turtles would want more cover.

As I swam from the rock across to check out another outcropping, I nearly ran into a third turtle, who turned and started to head in the direction I was going. I hovered above him and followed his path. It was something out of the Japanese children's tale Urashima Taro.

We passed over rocks full of tropical fish and nearly translucent eel or sardine-looking fish keeping close to the surface. The turtle made for the rocks I had wanted to check out but the water was really choppy there, crashing all about. Eventually, like Urashima Taro in the tale, I had to return back to shore.

Like in the tale, I've seen some fantastic things here in Honolulu and its outskirts -- the pineapple maze at the Dole Plantation, goregous Asian girls dressed in Buckhead casual at Bar 35 like what you'd see in Singapore or in some movie about Shanghai in the 1930s, and even the sea queen herself, my grandmother, holding court in her huge Pali Highway home with her children in attendance.

My dad and his brothers and sisters have really fixed up the 1917 Prairie-style mansion and when I looked at the home and the feast my dad cooked up for my grandmother, I could really see and feel love at its highest level of emotion.

After more than a week of interesting life experiences, my trip has come to an end and it's time to get in the great aluminum turtle and head back home.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sea chicken and early morning poker

HONOLULU -- Just beyond my toes is a clear blue ocean -- twenty-two feet down.

I'm at Waimea Bay Beach Park with Gnome, and the jump off the rock is the main event.

Wasn't I just telling my mom in Maui I never liked jumping off the high dive as a little kid? I'm a big sea chicken in these kinds of things. As I walked up to it, I told myself there was a $5 prop on this. So I had to.

"It's one of the few things I've done that I haven't been hurt in, so it must be ok," Gnome says as we drive up to the park.

I let this lady jump off. Then a few kids jump nearby, but swim in the area of the water where I would land. So I wait some more. Then a blonde chick and her man jump off besides me.

I make a step to the edge. But can't pull the trigger. Back on the beach, watching our gear, Gnome is ready with a camera.

Damn.

Woke up very early this morning -- I had won a 1,200 FTP buy-in freezeout for a $50+5 satellite into the Moscow Millions tourney on Full Tilt. Only thing was, in Hawaii time it was at 4:30 a.m.

The odds seemed good -- there were 85 people, and 14 received seats into the $333+33 tourney.

I was down to half my chips early, as I fired a rare three-barrel bluff into a calling station, who proceeded to devastate the table with his fishy calling moves. He had 7,300 chips when I busted out.

Gnome bought in and fared the same at a different table. At least, we both made some money playing fishy 'Stars cash games. It was amazing the games were so fishy at 10:30 a.m. ET on a Satty.

Back to the rock, it's a traditional sight on the Gnome tour -- Matt did it when he visited and Sham tried but the beach was closed to swimming because it was the winter.

Man. It's like trying to jump off a building. I feel like I'm there forever.

Then I just close my eyes and do it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Gnomey's secret

KULA, Hawaii -- I should have known that if I came to an island in the middle of the ocean, there would be lots and lots of fish.

This afternoon I was back tracking my low-limit fish on 'Stars, busting him when I flopped jacks full of tens with JT vs his str8 on the river. He kept on leaving tables but I kept on finding him, appearing nearly instantaneously like the Cylons following the Galactica fleet in BSG.

I had to let him go a while later when my grandmother and my family packed up some of the flower wreaths from my grandfather's service for use at my grandmother's parents' graves on another part of the island.

When I came back, I found lots and lots of PLO action. Got a nice call when I made my boat on the river when a toaster made his A-high flush. Also ended up in a weird 3-way all-in pot when one guy had 2-pair with 86, I had 2-pair with J6 and a toaster had a pair of Js with KJ. I split the pot with the toaster when we both made kings up on the river.

I can't believe more than a week has passed and I am going to be flying to Honolulu before returning back to the mainland. It's been a sad but wonderful time out here yet I can't wait to be back with the poker cats.

Presto no good pt. 2 (second in an occasional series)

KULA, Hawaii -- Time to gambool.

PokerStars Game #10565085653: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2007/06/22 - 15:33:55 (ET)
Table 'Tyche V' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 2: dean1963 ($7.90 in chips)
Seat 3: Michelos ($14.40 in chips)
Seat 4: blakablaka ($13.55 in chips)
Seat 5: julzTheDane ($18.15 in chips)
Seat 6: Tomboy666 ($12.50 in chips)
Seat 7: kurokitty ($31.15 in chips)
julzTheDane: posts small blind $0.10
Tomboy666: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [As Ac]
kurokitty: raises $0.75 to $1
dean1963: folds
Michelos: folds
blakablaka: folds
blakablaka leaves the table
julzTheDane: raises $2.75 to $3.75
Tomboy666: calls $3.50
kurokitty: raises $9.25 to $13
julzTheDane: raises $5.15 to $18.15 and is all-in
Tomboy666: calls $8.75 and is all-in
kurokitty: calls $5.15
*** FLOP *** [3s Tc Ad]
*** TURN *** [3s Tc Ad] [3h]
*** RIVER *** [3s Tc Ad 3h] [9h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
julzTheDane: shows [Kh Kd] (two pair, Kings and Threes)
kurokitty: shows [As Ac] (a full house, Aces full of Threes)
kurokitty collected $10.75 from side pot
Tomboy666: mucks hand
kurokitty collected $35.65 from main pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $48.80 Main pot $35.65. Side pot $10.75. | Rake $2.40
Board [3s Tc Ad 3h 9h]
Seat 2: dean1963 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Michelos folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: blakablaka (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: julzTheDane (small blind) showed [Kh Kd] and lost with two pair, Kings and Threes
Seat 6: Tomboy666 (big blind) mucked [5s 5c]
Seat 7: kurokitty showed [As Ac] and won ($46.40) with a full house, Aces full of Threes

A peaceful man (1915-2007)

MAKAWAO, Hawaii -- My grandfather was born in the middle of the worst war the world had ever known, at the time, and yet lived out his entire life as a peaceful man, untouched by the savagery of conflict.

As a young man in his late 20s, Masaichi Okamura nearly joined the all Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team -- the most decorated combat unit during World War II, yet was persuaded by a friend not to join, instead serving his country on the island of Oahu. (Years ago, I remember seeing a black and white picture of him, looking stern wearing the outdated flat-rim metal helmet of the previous war. Then and now, the homefront always suffers from the lag of up-to-date equipment rushed forward to the field of battle).

Not joining the 442nd likely affected many future timelines, including my own -- as the unit ended up having one of the country's highest casualty rates (about 93 percent of its members wounded, missing or killed and earning nearly 9,500 Purple Hearts).

Instead, he married my grandmother, found a nice spot of farming land halfway up a dormant volcano on Maui, and raised six children. Like many of his era, his handiwork helped him acquire luxuries he otherwise would not have had -- he painted his own car and developed his own pictures -- tiny, two-inch square pictures of my mom and her siblings as little tykes. When he wasn't laboring over growing cabbage and onions in his fields, he sketched to round out his kids' school projects.

I first met him in the early 1980s when we lived in northern California when he and my grandmother came to the mainland for a farm tour. He always smiled and had kind things to say, even though we didn't know each other well (I am the only one of my family members to be born on the mainland). Later, I would make trips to see him and my Hawaii relatives. He was still the same, smiling man who always had kind things to say.

This seemed to be similar to what people had to say about him during yesterday's funeral. Prolly about 200 people, many with the most expressive, peaceful faces, came to wish him a good afterlife, packing the community Buddhist temple and wearing "island casual" -- a good Aloha shirt, some nice trousers, and, in some cases, squeaky clean sneakers.

His urn and a nice picture of him sat among a field of white flowers before the temple's immensely beautiful guilded altar -- a golden pagoda housing an image of the Buddha jutting out into the temple. A young Japanese minister performed the service.

"We are all part of a net," the young minister told his flock in an earnest way that reminded me of maybe how the young Martin Luther King spoke to his church members when he started out in Montgomery, Ala. The message: We depend on each other.

For a long time, I've always wondered what I have to do with a clan of peaceful Buddhists who farm in paradise. But now I know. My grandfather always worked to make sure that the farthest strands of the net -- more than 4,000 miles away -- always remained tightly tied to the center. When I run up hilly grades, I realize I have gained his endurance in the fields and his determination. When I get up at two in the morning to write a very off-topic post about my grandfather, I realize I have some of his creativity.

And maybe I'm helping pick up new strands, making ties for the net he tended until his death last Wednesday. One smile from a simple but wise old man begets a kind act that snowballs into a way of life, even a whole world that a peaceful man can be proud of.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A toaster's gift ($$)

KULA, Hawaii -- While all this kitty stuff has been going on, I have been tracking an unusual low-limit fish on 'Stars. No doubt he'll tire of me constantly following him and soon join the ranks of higher limit NLHE so Fuel can bust him.

It happened a few days ago when my 6-max table busted and we were just heads-up. I didn't really want to play heads-up, but I humored him and crippled him with my nut flush vs. his turned pair of Ks.

Then I found that he was constantly at the fishiest tables. Coincidence? I think not. There've been times when the little leprechaun has bolted but many times he stays immediately to my right, donking off chips along the way.

Characteristics: He'll call any raise, call a flop bet but fold to a sign of strength on the river nearly all the time. He'll min raise pf with a monster and bet out something if he has it. It's like a dream.

It's times like these that make me glad to be playing online.

What I know

KULA, Hawaii -- Kitty lymphoma is a common cancer for cats, affecting about 9 percent of those like Kuro without the feline leukemia virus.

If left untreated after diagnosis, a cat with it will die within a month and a half on average.

It's typically treated with chemotherapy, which can extend a cat's life by 6 months 70 percent of the time. But there's a 30 percent chance a cat can live two years or more.

It sort of reminds me of constantly being in the move-in zone of a SNG, having to push all-in with any ace, suited connector or pocket pair. Most of the time you'll get folds, but eventually someone will call, hoping to snap you off.

It's his biggest tourney ever and if a 30 percent chance will help him get into the money to buy him the rest of his life, I like the sound of that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

In spite of it all, Kuro still loves me

KULA, Hawaii -- I accidentally hit "call" with my sixes. The other guy had the kuro (63).

Full Tilt Poker Game #2724086380: Table Blythe (6 max) - $0.10/$0.25 - Pot Limit Hold'em - 22:32:10 ET - 2007/06/20
Teabagger88 stands up
Seat 1: thadonger ($14.05)
Seat 2: kurokitty ($23.35)
Seat 3: Hodgkins ($12.85)
Seat 4: jeff422 ($10.50), is sitting out
Seat 5: geneyuss333 ($40.55)
Seat 6: Teabagger88 ($0), is sitting out
Hodgkins posts the small blind of $0.10
geneyuss333 posts the big blind of $0.25
The button is in seat #2
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [6d 6s]
thadonger folds
kurokitty has 15 seconds left to act
kurokitty raises to $0.85
Hodgkins folds
geneyuss333 calls $0.60
*** FLOP *** [4c Ks Qc]
geneyuss333 checks
kurokitty has 15 seconds left to act
kurokitty bets $1.55
geneyuss333 calls $1.55
*** TURN *** [4c Ks Qc] [9s]
geneyuss333 checks
kurokitty has 15 seconds left to act
kurokitty checks
*** RIVER *** [4c Ks Qc 9s] [7h]
kmktj420 sits down
geneyuss333 bets $2.45
kurokitty calls $2.45
*** SHOW DOWN ***
geneyuss333 shows [3c 6c] King Queen high
kurokitty shows [6d 6s] a pair of Sixes
kurokitty wins the pot ($9.35) with a pair of Sixes
kmktj420 adds $10
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $9.80 | Rake $0.45
Board: [4c Ks Qc 9s 7h]
Seat 1: thadonger didn't bet (folded)
Seat 2: kurokitty (button) showed [6d 6s] and won ($9.35) with a pair of Sixes
Seat 3: Hodgkins (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: jeff422 is sitting out
Seat 5: geneyuss333 (big blind) showed [3c 6c] and lost with King Queen high
Seat 6: Teabagger88 is sitting out

Kitty update III

KULA, Hawaii -- So although Kuro continues to do well, my vet says he has developed some type of lymphoma, which is a common kind of cancer for cats, she says, although not so much in a cat's nether regions.

She's going to refer me to a specialist at UGA who can do more tests and review my options.

I guess the good days have already started to leave us.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunrise over the crater


KULA, Hawaii -- So we got up way early in the morning to make the 5:45 a.m. sunrise over Haleakala Crater. It's a typical trip for guests who stay at the Kula farm, Gnome made the trip in February 2006 and I've been up there several times.

It's always worth it, though. You stand at an observation area which is 9,740 feet elevation (the Kula farm is just above 3K feet) and look into the volcano crater. Usually some parts of it are obscured by clouds.

Slowly the horizon turns orange and then the sun sneaks over the clouds. It's pretty blinding and I was amazed at the 90 percent of people gathered there who were staring at it without shades.

After the sun is up, that's pretty much it, everyone goes about their business. Time for a nap, in cat language.

Punk Hand of the Day

KULA, Hawaii -- Ah, those mighty 4s...

PokerStars Game #10507939394: Omaha Pot Limit ($0.25/$0.50) - 2007/06/19 - 00:56:14 (ET)
Table 'Boucolion II' 6-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 3: kurokitty ($73.75 in chips)
Seat 4: VitorLemos ($14.90 in chips)
Seat 5: claudioramos ($6.15 in chips)
Seat 6: xmorbidx5 ($79.45 in chips)
claudioramos: posts small blind $0.25
xmorbidx5: posts big blind $0.50
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [4s Ac Jh Qc]
kurokitty: raises $1.25 to $1.75
VitorLemos: raises $4.25 to $6
claudioramos: folds
xmorbidx5: folds
kurokitty: calls $4.25
*** FLOP *** [Th 4d 9d]
kurokitty: checks
VitorLemos: bets $8.90 and is all-in
kurokitty: calls $8.90
*** TURN *** [Th 4d 9d] [4h]
*** RIVER *** [Th 4d 9d 4h] [8h]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kurokitty: shows [4s Ac Jh Qc] (a straight, Eight to Queen)
VitorLemos: mucks hand
kurokitty collected $29.10 from pot
kurokitty is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $30.55 | Rake $1.45
Board [Th 4d 9d 4h 8h]
Seat 3: kurokitty showed [4s Ac Jh Qc] and won ($29.10) with a straight, Eight to Queen
Seat 4: VitorLemos (button) mucked [Ad Kh Kd Js]
Seat 5: claudioramos (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: xmorbidx5 (big blind) folded before Flop

Ridiculous hand of the day

KULA, Hawaii -- So no one has two spades in a four way hand???

PokerStars Game #10507881574: Omaha Pot Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2007/06/19 - 00:51:18 (ET)
Table 'Epeigeus III' 6-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: kurokitty ($94.30 in chips)
Seat 2: Harnesspro ($56.95 in chips)
Seat 3: 1975F2 ($112.35 in chips)
Seat 4: cluban ($104.70 in chips)
Seat 5: RHIA DYKES ($105.55 in chips)
Seat 6: Room 101 ($58.40 in chips)
RHIA DYKES: posts small blind $0.50
Room 101: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [Td 9c 9h 7c]
kurokitty: calls $1
Harnesspro: raises $3.50 to $4.50
1975F2: calls $4.50
cluban: folds
RHIA DYKES: calls $4
Room 101: folds
kurokitty: calls $3.50
*** FLOP *** [Ts 8s 6s]
RHIA DYKES: checks
kurokitty: checks
Harnesspro: checks
1975F2: checks
*** TURN *** [Ts 8s 6s] [7s]
RHIA DYKES: checks
kurokitty: checks
Harnesspro: checks
1975F2: checks
*** RIVER *** [Ts 8s 6s 7s] [Kc]
RHIA DYKES: checks
kurokitty: checks
Harnesspro: checks
1975F2: checks
*** SHOW DOWN ***
RHIA DYKES: shows [Ah 5h 3c Js] (high card Ace)
kurokitty: shows [Td 9c 9h 7c] (a straight, Six to Ten)
Harnesspro: mucks hand
1975F2: mucks hand
kurokitty collected $18.05 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $19 | Rake $0.95
Board [Ts 8s 6s 7s Kc]
Seat 1: kurokitty showed [Td 9c 9h 7c] and won ($18.05) with a straight, Six to Ten
Seat 2: Harnesspro mucked [6d Th Jd Qc]
Seat 3: 1975F2 mucked [Ks 6c 4d 8d]
Seat 4: cluban (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: RHIA DYKES (small blind) showed [Ah 5h 3c Js] and lost with high card Ace
Seat 6: Room 101 (big blind) folded before Flop

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pea-roll busto!

LAHAINA, Hawaii -- After helping my mom clean the outside of my grandparents' house in preparation for the Thursday funeral service, I made my way back to Camp Kitty with the rest of my pea-roll.

The shallowest water has the lowest limit fish -- little fish that you'd see in Sham's aquarium. About a swimming pool's length out, it gets more interesting. Mid-limit fish swim around in all colors. The water's a little rougher, too, with gentle waves coming to shore.

I moved about and unloaded peas. They were about three days old, so picky fish ignored them but the sight of lots of free peas in the ocean created lots of swarming fish action.

Once done, I headed for shore and came back up the mountain to play a round of SNGs after I showered. I feel like I make plenty of mental mistakes around the bubble but in general I've liked my play.

Meanwhile, in another part of the world...

....congrats to Fuel, who cashed in his bad karma from the blogger trip (getting knocked out by Waffles in the blogger tourney) into a package in the WSOP Main Event, courtesy of PokerStars!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Return to Camp Kitty

KULA, Hi. -- After the viewing, my relatives and I attended another Buddhist service at a different temple in town for the 1-year anniversary of the death of my granduncle. As that priest performed the service, a sea breeze blew in through the temple, and it was spectacular.

With the day's duties at an end, I went by the Kahului airport to pick up Gnome, who was here for the day and hadn't been to Maui since February 2006 when we were both here. We met up with my relatives, who had taken over several tables of an IHOP at the Maui Mall.

Later that day meant a return to Camp Kitty, that makeshift stretch of beach along the highway to Lahaina, as chronicled in these archived posts.

Once again I had my "pea-roll," or pea "buy-in" of a bag of frozen peas to play with the real fishes in the ocean. It didn't take the sea creatures long to discover who the real "fish" was, who was spewing their pearoll and didn't even care. Soon, there were fish swarming me like a waitlist at the Commerce Casino. I tried to entice some mid-limit fugu (blowfish) over, but they must've thought I was playing too low to attract their attention.

Drying off while standing on the beach, Gnome and I discussed NLHE hands and proper play before driving back to Kula through Maui's small towns and rejoining my relatives for dinner.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

"One more hug"

KULA, Hi. -- So we're led around a chapel to a small room, no bigger than the room in CC's basement that holds his poker table. My grandfather, dressed in the comfortable farmer's clothes he always wore, is lying on a table with the mortuary's velvet blanket draped about chest high over him, a bunch of metal folding chairs like the ones I have in my home game lining the other wall.

The reporter in me senses his preparation was not expertly done. His eyes and mouth are tightly shut and there's some kind of discoloration around the mouth that makes me think of the effects of rigor setting in.

I've been to lots of funerals, nearly all of them for work. But rarely for my relatives or people I know. The last family funeral I attended was the passing away of my dad's father in 1997. I wore the same tie -- a navy and khaki regimental tie -- for my grandfather's viewing as I did then. The only other time I've worn it was while covering the funeral of a Georgia man who was beheaded in Iraq.

My grandmother and all of my mom's brothers and sisters (three and two respectively) are there. My aunt's husband is a Buddhist priest and delivered the service for the viewing. He's a big, Dom DeLuise kind of guy. Has a fantastic sense of humor and also collects casino chips.

He explains that the ceremony is helping send my grandfather "to the light" or more explicitly with all of his ancestors who are waiting for him on the other side.

It is a sad moment but I do not cry. I am my father's son and we have a stiff upper lip for this kind of thing. Instead, I think of my grandfather, last year when Gnome came to visit the Kula farm, and all the years before, where he would laugh and say, "Danny. Drink beeah and talk story."

Actually this is how many people remember him. His kindly nature gave me enough piece of mind to not mind sacking out in his old room when my mom and her brothers and sisters didn't want to and we were pretty crunched for space. I just slept on the floor that night, feeling that his spirit is not a restless one and won't be prone to minding me curled up at the foot of the bed.

His passing made me realize that me and my folks, who live on the mainland, are like the 13th tribe in BSG. We are so distant from our little clan and every passing day separates us farther and farther away.

Because we lived so far, I didn't get to see him much -- my Honolulu cousins prolly saw him more in a year than I did in my entire lifetime -- but I'm grateful for his calm presence and cheerful disposition in life.

"Thanks grandpa, one more hug," I say, approaching him before we all shuffled out of the tiny room.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cat update II

KAHULUI, Maui -- So the vet says she took three biopsy samples from the franchise cat and he seems to be doing fine. Won't be until the middle of next week when they know what the tumors are made of...

A kitty update

CHICAGO -- I received a call from my vet, who said ol'Kuro's bloodwork looked good and his kidney function seemed fine.

Today she is going to do a biopsy of the mass around the cat's groin area and testing prolly won't be back until Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, they'll continue to observe the old man kitty.

It's good news so far and I feel fortunate she was able to update me here in O'Hare before I jump on an 8-9 hour flight to Maui.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cat Committed

So this lady comes out with a piece of paper with a whole bunch of zeroes on it. I've seen this kind of thing before, back when my old car was continually needing new parts to stay aloft like maintaining an original Viper Mark II in the modern BSG series.

But this is an estimate at my vet to remove a tumor from Kuro, the franchise kitty, and to see if it's malignant or not.

It wouldn't matter if they presented me a bill for a $10,000 entry to the World Series of Poker's Main Event. I'm cat committed. I will call any bet.

Why? The kitty is so full of life, like he's already skipped onto lives 2-9 all at once, running all around the examination room, hiding under the bench.

He's got to have a shot at this. And I will give him one. I will stake him the buy-in for a shot at being able to live out the rest of his days.

Tomorrow, he will undergo surgery to have the tumor removed. They'll keep him for observation until I return from Maui. The logistics click and my main concern has been taken care of.

Sure I have a funeral to go to. There's nothing I can do to change that situation.

But this kitty still has outs.

The Kitty Trials

I want to die at a hundred years old with an American flag on my back and the star of Texas on my helmet, after screaming down an Alpine descent on a bicycle at 75 miles per hour.
A slow death is not for me. I don't do anything slow, not even breathe.
-Lance Armstrong, It's Not About the Bike

I spoke too soon when I previously mentioned to let the trials come. This evening, after trouncing a $20 SNG table at 'Stars, I went out for a grueling 7-mile run on my Middlebear H-Loop course, the first time in a while that I tackled it.

I came home and there was a message from my mom on my cell phone. I knew immediately what it was. I dialed my folks but accidentally called my dad's cell phone. His voice was crystal clear, although he was in Dubai. I didn't even know you could call someone in Dubai on a regular cell phone.

My Maui grandfather passed away. It wasn't any real surprise, as he had been slowing down last year when me and Gnome went to his farm. This year he had gotten worse, sort of like Junior in the last episode of The Sopranos. Everyone thought it would be a while though, there would be some time left.

But that's how it goes.

While I was talking to my dad, Kuro, the franchise kitty, came by me. This time I noticed something strange on his behind, so while I was talking to my dad, I grabbed up the kitty. He has developed some kind of growth near his groin that reminded me of how Lance Armstrong described his testicular cancer. The difference is, of course, is that Kuro was neutered.

I drove out to an emergency vet clinic out in Middle Tucker (always Middle Tucker!) but quickly realized there was nothing they could do then that would help my poor kitty -- I busted out of there and am planning to hit up my vet later on this morning. Kuro was in good spirits, he was walking around and meowing, so hopefully whatever he has on his groin isn't in a bad stage yet.

Surprisingly, I feel pretty calm about all this. I guess neither of these situations was a surprise -- poor Kuro is past his warranty and he's lived for more than 5 years longer than his sister, Lahaina, who died of a congenital heart defect when she was 3. At the same time, the poor cat represents a lot of the modern me.

Other than making sure poor Kuro gets good medical care and love, this is out of my hands -- I have to see this thing through to the river, and hopefully not the river Styx.

At the same time, I'm going to have to be there for my mom, especially as my dad returns from the other side of the world. It is a terrible fielder's choice. I hope that years from now, I understand -- and accept -- the decision I'm going to have to make in the days ahead.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What not to do with Presto

Dealer: Game #10421443406: kurokitty wins pot (2440) with a full house, Jacks full of Sixes
Dealer: swedox finished the tournament in 3rd place
Dealer: We are now Heads Up
kurokitty: dude chill out. it's a $20 tourney.
Dealer: kurokitty has a pair of Kings
Dealer: japaneezer has three of a kind, Kings
Dealer: Game #10421453877: japaneezer wins pot (2550) with three of a kind, Kings
japaneezer: yea kuro
allota [observer]: u suck
japaneezer: youre right
kurokitty: what are you talking about? i play for fun.
japaneezer: who cares?
allota [observer]: i play for fun but i play correct
Dealer: kurokitty has a flush, King high
Dealer: japaneezer has two pair, Kings and Deuces
allota [observer]: i bet u are negative too jap
Dealer: Game #10421459051: kurokitty wins pot (5100) with a flush, King high
Dealer: japaneezer finished the tournament in 2nd place
Dealer: kurokitty wins the tournament - congratulations!
kurokitty [observer]: um your betting sucks
kurokitty [observer]: i win! blow me!

PokerStars Game #10421410566: Tournament #52792769, $20+$2 Hold'em No Limit - Level VI (100/200) - 2007/06/13 - 19:38:31 (ET)
Table '52792769 1' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 2: swedox (1670 in chips)
Seat 4: japaneezer (1775 in chips)
Seat 5: kurokitty (5015 in chips)
Seat 6: allota (5040 in chips)
kurokitty: posts small blind 100
allota: posts big blind 200
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [8s 9s]
swedox: folds
japaneezer: folds
kurokitty: raises 400 to 600
allota: calls 400
*** FLOP *** [5s 2c 7s]
kurokitty: checks
allota: bets 600
kurokitty: calls 600
*** TURN *** [5s 2c 7s] [6h]
kurokitty: checks
allota: bets 1600
kurokitty: raises 2215 to 3815 and is all-in
allota: calls 2215
*** RIVER *** [5s 2c 7s 6h] [8c]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kurokitty: shows [8s 9s] (a straight, Five to Nine)
allota: shows [5h 5c] (three of a kind, Fives)
kurokitty collected 10030 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 10030 | Rake 0
Board [5s 2c 7s 6h 8c]
Seat 2: swedox folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: japaneezer (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: kurokitty (small blind) showed [8s 9s] and won (10030) with a straight, Five to Nine
Seat 6: allota (big blind) showed [5h 5c] and lost with three of a kind, Fives

Monday, June 11, 2007

For the sight of home

I long for home, long for the sight of home.
If any god has marked me out again
for shipwreck, my tough heart can undergo it.
What hardship have I not long since endured
at sea, in battle! Let the trial come.
-The Odyssey

Every time I'm on a plane bound for Atlanta, I'm almost more excited to be coming home than going outbound in the first place, even to Vegas.

I long for my bed, my mail, SportsCenter on tv, the poker cats curled up asleep near me.

I always feel so weary returning home, although I would travel every weekend to Las Vegas if I could.

It is a part of me. When I am there it is like I am just one clone trooper battling it out with many different fights around me. When I checked my wallet on my way there, I had $501 on me, it felt auspicious since in the game Battlefront, you are part of the 501st Legion, a Romanesque army of clone troopers in the service of the Republic.

I had the barest minimum of money on me to play (although I carry several ATM cards for rapid deployment of other "troops" if needed -- you typically max out an ATM card for the day with a $500 withdrawal).

Coming home is as important as going there. Today I recovered my bike and used my poker winnings to set up a Wachovia checking account (easier access to poker funds and one more ATM card) while doing laundry.

Later I made some money at a diner playing PLO and hold'em online at Full Tilt and 'Stars while waiting for my car to be serviced (the two prior posts are from those tables) and I also took a carload of things I wanted to donate to Goodwill.

And now I'm back. Ready to embark on new missions for the 501st.

Let the trial come.

Glad to see the donks are back

Full Tilt Poker Game #2638773163: Table Aristotle - $0.10/$0.25 - No Limit Hold'em - 14:21:37 ET - 2007/06/11
Seat 1: stittl ($9.40)
Seat 2: ajbrooks00 ($20.45)
Seat 3: Jaro Alva ($26.40)
Seat 4: kgap1010 ($9.80)
Seat 5: therealmagoo ($10.30)
Seat 6: dillyshak ($16.15)
Seat 7: kurokitty ($30.15)
Seat 8: justaflick ($6.15)
Seat 9: 1easytilter ($23.90)
ajbrooks00 posts the small blind of $0.10
Jaro Alva posts the big blind of $0.25
The button is in seat #1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [As Kc]
kgap1010 folds
therealmagoo raises to $0.85
dillyshak folds
kurokitty has 15 seconds left to act
kurokitty raises to $2.55
justaflick folds
1easytilter has 15 seconds left to act
1easytilter folds
stittl calls $2.55
ajbrooks00 folds
Jaro Alva folds
therealmagoo calls $1.70
*** FLOP *** [2c 5c 8c]
therealmagoo has 15 seconds left to act
therealmagoo bets $7.75, and is all in
kurokitty calls $7.75
stittl folds
therealmagoo shows [Tc Js]
kurokitty shows [As Kc]
*** TURN *** [2c 5c 8c] [7h]
*** RIVER *** [2c 5c 8c 7h] [Ac]
therealmagoo shows a flush, Ace high
kurokitty shows a flush, Ace high
kurokitty wins the pot ($22.35) with a flush, Ace high
therealmagoo is sitting out
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $23.50 | Rake $1.15
Board: [2c 5c 8c 7h Ac]
Seat 1: stittl (button) folded on the Flop
Seat 2: ajbrooks00 (small blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 3: Jaro Alva (big blind) folded before the Flop
Seat 4: kgap1010 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: therealmagoo showed [Tc Js] and lost with a flush, Ace high
Seat 6: dillyshak didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: kurokitty showed [As Kc] and won ($22.35) with a flush, Ace high
Seat 8: justaflick didn't bet (folded)
Seat 9: 1easytilter didn't bet (folded)

Deuces never lose

PokerStars Game #10383668668: Hold'em No Limit ($0.10/$0.25) - 2007/06/11 - 14:19:03 (ET)
Table 'Gudrun V' 6-max Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: pokerturnier ($4.80 in chips)
Seat 2: markdoe ($22.05 in chips)
Seat 4: Dreamt1ldead ($16.20 in chips)
Seat 5: kurokitty ($34.45 in chips)
Seat 6: vanquish331 ($21.50 in chips)
markdoe: posts small blind $0.10
Dreamt1ldead: posts big blind $0.25
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to kurokitty [2c 2h]
kurokitty: raises $0.75 to $1
vanquish331: folds
schneggeli leaves the table
pokerturnier: calls $1
markdoe: folds
Dreamt1ldead: folds
*** FLOP *** [9s 9c 7s]
kurokitty: bets $2
pokerturnier: calls $2
*** TURN *** [9s 9c 7s] [Kh]
kurokitty: bets $2
pokerturnier: calls $1.80 and is all-in
*** RIVER *** [9s 9c 7s Kh] [4d]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
kurokitty: shows [2c 2h] (two pair, Nines and Deuces)
pokerturnier: mucks hand
kurokitty collected $9.50 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $9.95 | Rake $0.45
Board [9s 9c 7s Kh 4d]
Seat 1: pokerturnier (button) mucked [Qs Js]
Seat 2: markdoe (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 4: Dreamt1ldead (big blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: kurokitty showed [2c 2h] and won ($9.50) with two pair, Nines and Deuces
Seat 6: vanquish331 folded before Flop (didn't bet)

Thank you, Tony Soprano...

...for not dying. I may never watch a full episode of your show, but you came through for me in the end.

Date placed:
Mar 23, 2007 8:12p

Date settled:
Jun 11, 2007 12:25a
Single # 70432287
Film/Television Props (Game)Moneyline
(8902) No-200 Apr 08/07@7:00p

Final Scores
Yes0
No1

Outcome:
Win

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Almost feel like a Cubs fan

CHICAGO -- Biding my time in Chicago's immensely huge airport (it's amazing that Atlanta is busier) eating a double cheeseburger from the airport Billy Goat while watching planes go by.

No delays. Good weather. And some online poker while I wait to board my flight to Atlanta.

I can make a pretty good day out of this.

Vegas Recap

LAS VEGAS -- I'm at the airport right now, waiting for my flight to Chicago and then on to Atlanta.

It's been a good trip -- I've been in the plus since the first day and have added the Las Vegas Hilton and Treasure Island as the two latest poker rooms that I've played in. The starting shirts (Cali, Biscuits and SPAM) all booked wins for the three days.

It was great seeing Gnome, Fuel and MetsFan and all the other bloggers. Placed 6th in the blogger tourney (making the money after I got the final table to agree that places 6-10 would receive their $80 buy-in back).

No real fireworks, but just steady, careful play. The CR offense plus a few of Fuel's recent posts helped me stay in the plus by steals. It's like learning the breaking ball -- a nice weapon to add to the quiver.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A day off from the minors

Tonight I abdicated my right to host the $5 game, since I've been pretty worn out from running around -- traveling to Chicago and then only having a few more days before Vegas.

That doesn't mean it was DNP -- I played some horrible PLO on PokerStars and placed 2nd in a $20+2 SNG on Full Tilt, enough to keep me happy while I watched the Braves almost cede a no-hitter to a young pitcher with a 12.75 ERA.

Anyway, all I have to do is get through one more day of work and then I'm back outbound to Vegas.

That's all that matters, isn't it?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Vegas bound

Just booked my August trip (Aug. 8-12) to Las Vegas for a work-related conference. Rock!

Also was informed last week that mid-July will be going to Kansas City for a work training conference. Can't wait to revisit Ameristar and go for the first time to Argosy.

"United Flight 566, you are cleared to Rome..."

Although I had a two-hour delay in Chicago that was partially influenced by weather and also influenced by what the pilot said was "necessary" maintenance checks on the fuel system of the old Boeing 737 we were flying, there was one cool bit from the flight -- you can hear the air traffic control communications the entire flight on the in-flight channel 9.

It was really cool to hear the speed at which the ORD tower was giving instructions to the different planes taking off from the world's second busiest airport.

Once in the air, the tower eventually handed the plane over to various different air traffic control centers along the way -- Chicago, Indianapolis, Memphis and finally Atlanta.

It was pretty cool because you could hear updates on turbulence in the area -- "light chop" meant not so bad.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Revenge of the Cicadas

Well, we barely made the airport/
For the last plane out/
As we taxied down the runway/
I could hear the people shout/
They said, "Don't come back here Yankee!"/
But if I ever do/
I'll bring more money/
'cause all she wants to do is dance...
-Don Henley

CHICAGO -- As I drove to the Tri-State expressway, the cicadas were as loud as I'd ever heard them -- they were gleefully heralding the bad luck I had -- and was going to have.

First, they were happy that the hapless Cubs delivered a 10-1 drubbing of the Braves in the last game of the series. This combined with my bounce-out of the $5,000 RakeTheRake freeroll on FullTilt, the first time I was ever able to play it -- I had an OESD with a 4-flush vs a set of Js. Despite my edge, didn't catch a single card. Caught swinging.

Next, I found myself at the toll plaza before the airport with a dollar bill in my hands -- and no way to make the .80 toll change. I threw the 15 cents in coins that I had into the machine and pushed forward, guaranteeing some kind of ticket that will be forwarded on to me by my rental car company.

And third, I get to the airport, only to find my plane delayed by 45 minutes, which is why I'm in the Red Carpet Club here, long enough to guarantee that I'll miss being able to catch dinner with Susanne and watching the Sopranos.

And a precursor to it all, I missed out on seeing K Rose. I was pretty exhausted last night after the game and going out to dinner when she txt msg'd me at 9 p.m. She was at a party in Libertyville, and it might as well have been the moon (although looking at the rental car map that I just threw away, it prolly would have been an easy ride up on this very Tri-State from my folks' house).

Bad beats, to be true, but this is not a TuffFish post. It's just variance. The weekend was excellent -- I'm sure my predestined meeting with K Rose will happen -- either in Atlanta or here and I can't wait to return to Chicago, especially to visit my folks and catch the Braves destroy the Cubs.

A good way to spend a Sunday...


...outside on the deck playing online, before flowers and husks of cicadas.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Best served cold (like 31 years later)

Cubs manager Lou Piniella walks off the field after being ejected for kicking dirt on an umpire and yelling at an umpire after a Cubs player was called out after trying to steal third after a wild pitch while outfield fans start to litter the field in protest.

CHICAGO -- I will remember this day always, being the only one in my section at Wrigley Field giving a standing ovation to Andruw Jones' 9th inning homer that padded the lead in today's game and helped address the Braves slugger's hitting slump.

Thirty-one years later after Wrigley "took" my toy car (I mean, c'mon, I went there with it but when I left I did not have it), a certain cat came back to settle the score.

And lots of havoc happened -- upset Cubs fans littering the field with blue promotional mugs after they were upset that a Cub got called out at third base and Manager Lou Piniella ejected for kicking dirt and cussin' the ump. They had to stop the game in the bottom of the 8th to clear up the mess.


Groundskeepers have to take to the field in the bottom of the 8th inning after upset Cubs fans litter the outfield with blue promotional McDonald's travel mugs because of a correct umpire call at third base that resulted in the ejection of Cubs manager Lou Piniella.

(Cat's commentary: It sort of reminded this objective observer of a Tuff Fish video, since Piniella was mad at an outcome that maybe would have been entirely different had the Cubs third base coach let the hitter continue to third instead of stay at second after hitting a ball so deep into the right field corner it was nearly touching the wall's ivy).

Of course, the Braves had the most fragile lead ever, especially missing firepower from Chipper Jones, who is out for the next two weeks.

But it was awesome to see the magic of Wrigley -- a true old course, a community field where season ticket holders greet each other and know everything that's going on in their seat neighbors' lives.

Where the sound is as deafening as the return of the cicadas with cheers and and equal number of boos as the Cubs flirt with the idea of success with their faithful, yet let them down.

On the Red line subway, a trio of concessioneers:
Person #1: They ain't win, but I love the Cubs.
Person #2: F*** the Cubs. They sorry.

In Union Station:
Person #1: Who won the game? (the Cubs game, not the White Sox, who played in Toronto, or any other game on earth.
Person #2: Cubs lost.
Person #1: Sheesh (sarcastically).

It's the only Braves game I've attended this year in which the Braves have won.

It's almost as if some little kid's curse, as revenge for a "stolen" toy car, is still in effect.

Attack of the Cicadas


WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. -- I drive up to my parents' home this morning and I hear a humming sound that could be a ray gun from an Orson Welles movie.

In their backyard, it looks like the aftermath of a science-fiction battlefield -- the shells of hundreds of insect warriors lie under a big maple tree. Some of the spent insects are permanently affixed to the great tree's trunk, others halway up the stalks of flowers there.

After burrowing deep beneath earth for 17 years, the cicadas are back. It's pretty incredible, the noise they can make and the sheer numbers of them that have been underground for years, just waiting for the attack.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Random trivia

Sarah Silverman is three days older than me.