Returning the Favor and other Slices of Life

Returning the Favor
Returning the Favor
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Friday, December 29, 2006

Meet Pai Gow, the sea cow

Meet Pai Gow, the sea cow, originally uploaded by John Falstaff.

I've finally gotten off my ass and uploaded the photos from the December gathering to flickr. Click through to take a look. This is probably the goofiest one I got of Gracie, but aren't they both jsut so damned precious?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Free James Brown!

Sometimes my boss is a genius. Today he comes into my office and hands me this gem -

We need to come up with a grassroots movement to get James Brown to lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda, and put Gerald Ford at the Apollo Theatre.

Pass it on. Free James Brown, one last time.



If you don't read Truckin' every month, than you're missing out on some of the finest writing on the intertubes, especially in the months where I have a story in there. Like this one! Really, there's some fantastic writing happening here, so if you haven't been there already, go check it out. If you've already been, go back. I'm always honored to be included in this fine company, and this month is no exception.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Be afraid...

Be very afraid. The wife has Christmas-gifted me with my wardrobe for this summer's Vegas gathering.

Behold - the Utilikilt. Designed by technicians and real men for real men, this puppy can carry four beers easily in the side pockets and a hip flask in the back pocket.
For more styles and colors, go to their website. Guys, I can't explain the freedom unless you've worn a kilt. Let's just say that if chicks were packing what we're packing, there's no way they'd put up with pants. Utilikilts are available in extra-long for the Bracelet.

Hope everybody else had as great a Christmas as we did.


So I've come to realize something over the past month, as I've racked up losses that almost erase my entire winnings for the year. I'm a losing online poker player, a winning live poker player, and a profitable poker writer. That's kinda funny in a way, since to people with more patience than I have internet poker is almost like an ATM, you insert time and withdraw money.

Not me. I can string together 2-3 days of winning internet poker, then piss it all away in a frenzy of redonkulous play.

Other realization - I don't really care.

I have a job, one that pays me well and is fulfilling. I enjoy the writing that I do about poker and am constantly amazed that there are people who are willing to give me money for it, and more amazed that there are people who read it. And I love playing cards with people. Real, flesh and blood people that I can look at, lie to, and get a vibe off of. Online poker to me has become a time-killer more than a really enjoyable pastime, and it's pretty heavily reflected in my results. Yes, I know most of my losses this month were live in Vegas, but were I a good internet player, it would not have taken me much time to recoup $900 online. But I'm not, and I'm okay with that.

So I've cashed out a chunk of my bankroll to rebuild my withered live roll, and left myself with about $500 online, about a third of my roll. That gives me enough on Full Tilt and Stars to get into the games I want to play with just enough risk of ruin to make it interesting, because frankly, if there's no chance of going broke, I'm not interested. I play cards for fun and profit, but not to create a real job for myself. So I'm not spending a ton of time "building a bankroll" anymore. As long as I've gota grand or so floating around that I can piss off to Vegas with, I'm good. I don't need to be sufficiently bankrolled, because I can just pick up more side work and earn a new roll in a couple of months.

There are enough people who stop by here to keep my few sponsors happy, and I do enough work for Pokerworks to keep myself in the games I want to play, and right now that's enough for me. I'm never gonna "go pro," or even semi-pro, but I'll take the occassional shot at a bigger tourney to see how it goes, and concentrate on having fun at the game, more than eking out every BB/hr I can squeeze. I still want to play well and get better, but my results focus is shifting a little, I suppose. I don't really care how much I've got in my bankroll, as long as it's enough to sit down with at the table and play.

It's time to have fun again.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I got nothing. I've been recovering from Bird Flu v2.0 aka the Waffles ever since I got back from Vegas. Who'da thought that sitting at a table with the bastard for three hands would be enough to get me sick? Anyway, I'm almost done with all that jazz, and on to other things in life, etc.

I've got a couple more articles up at Pokerworks, including one about the sale of Harrah's and what I think it means. Go over there, check it out, and feel free to tell me I'm a dumbass with no idea what I'm talking about. You'd probably be right.

I think I'm finally going to break down and sign up for the Neteller debit card. Since Pokerworks pays me through Neteller, and I'm generally terrible at planning anything in advance, I always seem to be on the verge of a trip to Vegas or somewhere else hoping against hope that my Neteller transfers into my bank accounthit quickly enough for me to get the money I need for my trip/new shoes/whatthefuckever I'm spending bankroll money on this week. The fee structure kinda blows, but I'm always paying somebody for the privilege of accessing my money, so no biggie there.

I've finalized the selections for this year's Y2J end-of-year CD, so if you want one, shoot me an email with your mailing address and I'll make sure one gets out to you. I think it's a good CD this year, with cuts from the Duhks, Sam Bush, PinMonkey, Oakenfold and Jay-Z. Not many places you can get those folks all on one CD.

Go over to gadooney and check out Scurvy's new venture. I've started a site to try and cash in a little on some of his affiliate marketing tips, but it may just end up being a place where I review CDs and concerts instead. Either way, I'm learning the WordPress interface over at, so feel free to come visit. There's not shit for content yet, but I'll populate it as time goes on.

That's about all that's going on, I actually strung together two winning nights in a row online, so I'm now guaranteed to piss away the remainder of my live roll at BadBlood's house tonight. Oh well, better to donate to friends than random internet donkeys.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

For Daddy

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Brandi, Buttlove, and I will fly someday

Damn you, Iggy. Talk about destroying workplace productivity. Really, if you haven't at least stopped by the thread of the year on 2+2, it's worth the hour or so it will take to get the highlights. Hovering somewhere around 225 pages of replies as of now, this one has all you've ever wanted in a poker story - hot young babe getting slapped in the back with Tom Franklin's penis, Dutch Boyd, Mark Newhouse getting a handjob, newhizzle getting offered anal, somewhere around $50K floating around various parts of the story, a couple of missing passports, and some videos from pokulator showing what appears to be a slut in a Santa suit.

It all goes to show, boys, if you think a chick that hot shouldn't really be hitting on you - then she probably shouldn't! And girls, if it doesn't make sense for that sweet old man to be that nice to you, he probably wants to smack his lingam on your spine! I couldn't make this shit up if I tried.

Friday, December 15, 2006

I kicked Dutch Boyd's Ass

In badugi. In one hand only. But it makes for a good title, right?

So I'm sitting in the remaining $1/2 NL game at the IP. It's about 2AM on a Monday morning, and I'm thinking that I either need to go on a heater and get my fat ass unstuck for the trip, or go to bed in about an orbit. Bed's looking better, since there isn't enough money on the table to get me unstuck if I took every.single.chip. Not to mention that I just shipped a stack of reds to -EV chasing my flush draw that didn't get there, so I'm pretty much even for the night (read stuck $800 for the trip).

Then I hear this chick come in the room and start talking about getting a mixed game going, and saying something to this guy about "champion" and "bracelet." So I look around, don't see Bobby, figure it can't be anything important, and go back to my game. Then she yells out "mixed game starting up!"

"What games?" I query. I am getting a little bored with this NL table. After playing the rollercoaster that was the Speaker/Spaceman/Daddy/NGLF table, anything is dull.

"Badugi, Triple Draw and Omaha."

"I don't know how to play those." And turn back to my chips.

"C'mon, you gotta learn sometime. It's 2/4 limit, it's cheap." Those are good points. WTF, I suck at triple draw and Omaha, but I do want to learn badugi.

"How many players you got?"


"Get 6 and I'm in." Thinking to myself this way I don't look like a chickenshit, cause there's no way she's finding anybody else to play this crazy shit in here of all places at this hour.

About 90 seconds later, she yells out "We got 6, get over here." So I rack up, and while I'm at the cage, the floor guy says to me "Do you know who that is?"

"Who, the redheaded chick? No clue."

"No, the guy with her." I look over, and there are three guys with her.

"Still no clue."

"Dude, that's Dutch Boyd."

"Ok, cool." So I figure I'll sit down, play a few hands with Dutch and his buddies, and go to bed with at least a decent story for the blog. So I sit down at the end of the table and Melissa (the redhead) proceeds to tell me the basics of Badugi. One guy at my end of the table hasn't got any chips yet, and the other guy (Casey) folds. I have 6432 of three different suits, which is pretty good, almost very good. I show my cards to my end of the table, looking for advice, and they tell me to stand pat, that I probably have a winner. I believe them, because I have no real clue what I'm doing.Melissa folds, the guy at the other end of the table raises, and I call. In between this action there is a very nice woman who had even less of a clue than I did about the game and no idea how to set her hand. She finally folded. I called, and stood pat.

The hand went on for a bit (there are three drawing rounds in Badugi), and when we got to showdown, the guy at the other end of the table showed A832 of three suits, for an 8-high three card Badgui. I had a 4-high three card Badugi, and scooped the pot. That's about the point at which I realized that I wasn't sitting at the end of the table with Dutch, but had just won a hand off of Dutch.

That whole never watching poker on TV kinda keeps me in the dark about who's who in the poker world, so I really didn't know which one of the three guys at my table was in fact Dutch Boyd.

So we went on in the rotation, me bleeding chips like I always do in mixed games, until at some point I accidentally outed myself as a blogger. I'm sitting there playing and Change100 walks up behind me. She tells me that Pauly is on mega-tilt playing Pai Gow, and I respond with "C'mon, only Otis goes on Pai Gow tilt."

At the mention of Otis,Casey looks at me and says "are you a poker blogger?"

I give him my best "fuck. busted" face, and say, "yeah,there's a bunch of us here this weekend. You read blogs?" fucking rock star Otis.

So a little while later, out of the blue, Dutch hits me with the quote of the weekend.

"Can I ask you a serious question?"

"Sure, dude."

"Do I owe you money?"

I search as best I can for an appropriate smartass response, but then I look at him. He's so fucking sincere, and so fucking concerned that I hate him for owing me money that I just can't fuck with him. BTW, if that puppy-dog eyes shit works on me, that guy must get more trim than a lesbian bikini wax artist.

"Nah, dude. I didn't even play online back then."

"Cause I'll pay you if I do."

"Nah dude, you don't owe me any money." I gotta say, the fucker might have made some bad decisions with his business, and I was never a fan of The Crew and their antics, but he's a fucking poker savant, and actually came off that night as a really nice guy. No ego, no attitude, just a guy out hanging with his friends having a good time. I'd play with him again in a heartbeat.

A little while later Soxlover comes down, having been roused from sleep by a phone call from F-Train saying "Falstaff's playing mixed games with Dutch Boyd and there's a seat open." So Sox comes in for a bit and gets the secondary quote of the night.

On the river in O8, Dutch catches whatever he's been after, looks at Sox and says "I really advise you to fold here."

"I don't think I should."

"Here." And he slides his cards over to Sox for him to take a look.

"No, I still think I shouldn't fold."

"Ok. Bet"


Nobody expects the Spanish Fucking Inquisition, otherwise known as flopping quads. Sox's flopped quad 5s were good for the high had, well outranking Dutch's boat. Later on a trek was made to Seamless, a strip bar somewhere else, and I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, and I should go up to the wife and sleep for a few hours before we fly home. Go over to I Had Outs to read about Karol's exploits with Dutch at the strip club.

Christmas Poker plans

For those of you planning to be in the Charlotte/random Carolinas locations this holiday season, here is a list of the pokery events I plan on hosting/participating in. Let me know what dates work for you. I am also open to scheduling other events at other times for out of town guests.

Tonight - my home game.
Next Saturday - 12/23 - my house - home game
Sunday 12/31 - Emily's house - home game/New Year's drunkenness
Monday 1/1 - Bad Blood's joint - defending my BBSOP New Year's Massacre title (likely poorly due to leaking alcohol from every pore)

Let me know if you're in town and if any of those games work for you. If you're around other weekend nights, I can probably make something happen. Or we could just go get drunk. I drink g00t.

And if you're shopping for shit on this christmas, hook a brutha up and click through my link. It doesn't cost you anything extra, but I get a 4% kickback from them.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Guarantee

So I finally got my seat in the blogger $1/2 NL game, and it was a rollercoaster for me and my poor little chip stack.

Yes, I paid off my entire stack to Speaker when he caught a flush with 7c4c out of position.

Yes, I Hollywooded an old lady into calling another $50 on the turn when I held the stone cold nuts.

Yes, I gave that same lady back all $100 I took off her six hands later when I didn't see the flush hit because I was looking at the cocktail waitress' ass.

Yes, I felted Spaceman with a rivered flush when I was waaayyyyy behind his AK with my AJ.

Yes, he took it back three hands later by cracking my KK with KQ sooted. "I need two Queens." I knew it wasn't going to be pretty when I saw a Queen in the door.

Yes, I took it back AGAIN when I flopped trips with an Ace kicker and slow-played him into pushing.

But THEN things got interesting.

I knew he was an asshole when he sat down. You've seen him all over Vegas cardrooms - perfectly groomed 42-year old guys with just a little bit of bling and a whole lotta attitude. He sits down with about $100 in reds and a few green chips, which don't play at the $1/2 table at the IP, so he had to get them changed. Immediately he does something silly and the dealer reaches out for his chips and he responds with "don't touch my chips, sir, I'm a trained professional," and I know this could get entertaining.

This Josh Arieh wannabe has just sat down at a table with me, Speaker and Daddy, three of the biggest smartasses ever to sling chips together, and he's starting shit with the dealer right away. This could be fun. A few hands later he's in the SB and throws out a red on top of his $1 SB. Dealer confirms that it's just a call, and nasty guido-looking fucker (NGLF from here on out) snaps back with "I have to announce a raise, it's a call," like everybody at a $1/2 game adheres to all the protocol of the game. So I'm just waiting for the inevitable collision between bloggers and NGLF.

I don't have to wait long. Daddy raises to $15 from MP and NGLF calls out of a blind. Flop comes down 337 rainbow, and NGLF bets $30. Daddy looks down to check out the chip counts, and raises another $50 on top. NGLF decides that this is a good time to show everyone what a smart guy he is, so he turns his 7 face up and slides his cards into the muck, oh-so-proud of his big laydown. Daddy tables his KQc for no pair and rakes the pot.

NGLF goes apeshit, telling Daddy what a mistake that was, how now he has "a tell on you," and then he says it. We had him repeat it just to make sure those words had come out of his mouth, but he did indeed make The Guarantee - "I'll have all your chips in half an hour, I guarantee it."

"Excuse me?" queries the donkeyfucker.

"I'll have all your chips within 30 minutes, I guarantee it." repeats NGLF.

I've heard enough, so I reach in my pocket, slap a $20 on the table and tell NGLF that I've got $20 says he can't do it. He takes my action. Meanwhile, the Baconmeister is flummoxed.

"Dude, I just played circles around you and now you think you're gonna stack me?"

"Yeah, I'm gonna have all your chips." replies the NGLF.

Daddy tries to defuse the situation and bring an air of fun to the table by offering the guy his hand, but NGLF refuses to shake the hand of the man who invented the Hilljack Double-Gainer CrossGrip with a Half Twist, and I know it's about to be, as they say, "awn like neckbone (only works when read aloud)." NGLF looks at Civilian Phil for help, but none is forthcoming, as civilian Phil from the ATL is having a great time playing with us, and has nothing but disdain for NGLF. Then he looks to Irish Reader Tim and mutters "that guy's a prick, huh?"

Now Irish Reader Tim has only spent the last 48 hours caught up in the whirlwind of the WPBT, so even though he doesn't blog, he's an honorary drunken degenerate, so no solace for NGLF here, either, as he replies with "leave me out of it." I dodge pots with the NGLF for a couple hands, figuring that I don't wanna get involved in a pecker-measuring contest between a donkey-fucker and chihuahua molester, but then it happens.

Irish Reader Tim raises preflop. NGLF pushed all in, and throws a glare to Daddy. Daddy peeks at his cards, adjusts his nut sack, and says the words we're all waiting to hear: "I Call." IRT calls, and they all flip 'em up. IRT has TT. NGLF has QQ, and I swear I saw his hair gel melt when Daddy flipped up his Aces. Daddy didn't even look at the table, but he could hear from the sound of one Guido-gourd exploding that he had held up. As NGLF sprinted from the room in a bout of Rosen-level ubertilt, all I could think was "serves him right, the bitch." And Daddy rakes in some seriously stout stacks.

Then I remembered. And just as NGLF passed the brush I yelled out "Hey! You owe me twenty bucks!"

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Vegas the Deux

So I played the tournament, and was less than thrilled with my table draw. I understand the concept of playing with superior players to improve your game and all that jazz, but with Spaceman and Blinders at the table, so I really deserve to have Absinthe sit down immediately on my left? Now really, what did I do to deserve that?

But I told myself to focus, put the ipod on, and play my A-game. It took a little while to remember what my A-game looked like, but I figured if I stayed away from the guys who were way better than me for a little while and focused on the guys who are at about the same skill level as me, I wouldn't die too quickly. I hope Easy, Head, Curtis and Slayre aren't offended that I think I'm on about the same level as they are, but if so, sorry.

Easy got Gigli, but only after he picks up a few chips early to stay alive after Ryan catches on of his 29 outs on the river to crack Easy's top two pair. After he goes down, I bust Head with AA versus his QQ, and begin my run of card rack. I had 13 separate pocket pairs during the tournament and won with 10 of them. 33 I folded to a preflop raise, but I didn't lose another hand with a pocket pair until my last two hands of the tournament. I felt like I was playing very well, and Spaceman and I got into some great hands against each other where one or the other would pick up a read and either apply pressure at the right moment or fold to moderate pressure when the other really wanted a call. Jason was on top of his game, and I felt like I was too. I stayed at the same table for quite a while, until it broke after the 2nd break. I got moved to a new table with CC, Waffles, Amy, Veneno and some folks I didn't know.

CC and I didn't play much together, since he got Waffled shortly after I sat down, then I gave Veneno a courtesy double-up when she caught a two outer on the river to give her 4s full of 3s and beat my pocket 55. Next hand I look down at pocket Kings, and make my first serious mistake of the day. At least the first one I got caught with. I didn't push. I had about 8xBB, and I raised to 4xBB, and shoulda pushed. At least with a push I had a chance to push the SB off his AT, but I blew it, and the Ace on the flop when I was pot-committed left me drawing to two outs. IGHN. Pissed.

But I played as well as I've played a tourney in months, and still feel good about all my game until the last two hands. More trip reports coming, including my night with Dutch and Daddy's guarantee.

Tags: ,

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tunica in January

I'm gonna play one of the circuit events in Tunica in January, so I'm selling pieces of myself to be able to afford it. Let me know if you're interested in buying a piece of my action, I can take shares via FTP, Stars or Paypal (or cash if I'm gonna see you in person before January 10th).

$50 gets you a 5% share of my action. I'm planning to play the $500 NLHE event on Saturday 1/13. Please let me know if you're in for a piece of the game. If for whatever reason I don't play, any backers will be refunded their money, and if for some reason I cash, we'll figure out the taxes later, but I'll probably have Harrah's take taxes out of the payout and then pay everybody their 5%. This is by no means me saying that I have a real shot, but I do feel like (results aside) I played some good poker in the tourney last Saturday and I think I've got as good a shot as 90% of the other donkeys out there.

Oh yeah, there are 9 shares available.

Vegas Winter 06 - First Flashes

I'm not going to try to do some long trip report, largely because I don't do them all that well, and there are pieces that I don't remember, so we'll start with some quick hits from the weekend.

"The Guarantee" - Joe Namath had his, Jerkoff in the 8s had his. Namath's worked out better. Film at 11.

Stacked, restacked, and de-stacked again - the up & down story of me & Spaceman moving the same $400 back and forth three times in 15 minutes.

BTOR with Dutch - when WSOP champ invades the IP at 3AM, I'm donkey enough to play $2-$4 limit Badugi, Triple Draw, O8 and Razz with him and his buddies. I've played two of the four games before live, and never played Badugi in my life. And I did NOT go to Seamless with Dutch, Karol and Soxlover.

KK no good, sir - again and again. Pocket Kings made the difference between what could have been a +$100 weekend and what was a -$900 weekend. That, my friends, is why I have a bankroll. So I don't fucking shoot myself when I lose that kind of jack.

Pai Gow the Sea Cow - Gracie's bounty, won in the tourney by Special K, was a stuffed manatee that was abducted by Mrs. Falstaff under the pretenses of "Curtis, you don't have enough room in your luggage for this so I'll take it back to Charlotte for you." Dude, you're never seeing the manatee again.

Pokertek party - I beat Veneno heads up. That is all. Also Easycure, Dr. Chako (twice) and Pauly fell to my lucksacking ways. Couldn't hang with Spaceman and Pablo, though.

Caesar's Tournament Structure - kinda like a wonderbra - there's enough underpinning to make something that's not all that great look really impressive.

I had a great time, and I've lost less money in December than Dawn, so I can't complain too much. Stories to follow.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I love me some Full Tilt Poker

That is all. Sleepy now.

Huh? You Fold?!?

Full Tilt Poker Game #1366284252: $4,000 Guarantee (9314567), Table 22 - 300/600 - Limit Hold'em - 0:09:33 ET - 2006/12/07
Seat 1: deanhall (1,684)
Seat 2: Jhartness (9,080)
Seat 3: kamb1 (8,720)
Seat 4: smittyuiop (2,625)
Seat 5: THEnaturalACE (11,481)
Seat 6: Hockeystud94 (2,240)
Seat 7: FNSdirector (10,743)
Seat 8: DevilFlush (4,769)
DevilFlush posts the small blind of 150
deanhall posts the big blind of 300
The button is in seat #7
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to Jhartness [Kh As]
Jhartness raises to 600
kamb1 calls 600
smittyuiop folds
THEnaturalACE folds
Hockeystud94 folds
FNSdirector folds
DevilFlush folds
deanhall has 15 seconds left to act
deanhall calls 300
*** FLOP *** [8d 7c Ts]
deanhall checks
Jhartness bets 300
kamb1 calls 300
deanhall calls 300
*** TURN *** [8d 7c Ts] [7d]
deanhall checks
Jhartness bets 600
kamb1 folds
deanhall calls 600
*** RIVER *** [8d 7c Ts 7d] [2c]
deanhall checks
Jhartness bets 600
deanhall folds
Uncalled bet of 600 returned to Jhartness
Jhartness mucks
Jhartness wins the pot (4,050)
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot 4,050 | Rake 0
Board: [8d 7c Ts 7d 2c]
Seat 1: deanhall (big blind) folded on the River
Seat 2: Jhartness collected (4,050), mucked
Seat 3: kamb1 folded on the Turn
Seat 4: smittyuiop didn't bet (folded)
Seat 5: THEnaturalACE didn't bet (folded)
Seat 6: Hockeystud94 didn't bet (folded)
Seat 7: FNSdirector (button) didn't bet (folded)
Seat 8: DevilFlush (small blind) folded before the Flop

After the fold, he didn’t have enough chips left to complete his small blind next hand. The strangest river fold I think I’ve ever seen.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Not exactly snakes on a plane...

Flatulence forces plane to land

Associated Press

An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.

The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.

"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006


No, silly, not poker goals. I have enough of those to fail at reaching. No, these are goals for this weekend's upcoming Vegas trip. These are things that I shall endeavor to make happen for the fun and enjoyment of all, and the occassional profit.

1) Learn Pai Gow. Or at least yell "Pai GOW!" a bunch. I think I may have been taught this game at some point, but I was drunk'd. I'll be drunk'd this weekend too, so we'll give it another shot.

2) Family Portrait - with the addition of Iggy to Pokerworks, almost everyone who writes for that little corner of the interweb will be together at one time, so we should do a christmas card picture.

3) Get Maudie to say "fuck" enough times to get another verbal warning at the IP poker room.

4) Get my wife to go shot for shot with Maudie. She won't do tequila, but she'll knock back some lemon drops.

5) Get Drizz to do karaoke in the sports book bar at the IP. I think it's only fair that if there are people actually sitting in a karaoke bar in LAS FRIGGIN' VEGAS, then they need to be punished by a rum-soaked deaf guy from Minnesota belting out "My Way" in a fashion that could be considered a perfect complement to waterboarding. Bonus points if we can get Al and Pauly to do the Electric Slide. Triple word score if they do the Electric Slide WHILE Drizz sings Sinatra.

6) Get a blogger (not Change100, that's so 2005) thrown out of a casino for public intoxication. Depending on the level of challenge I'm willing to undertake, I'm either going for F-Train (easy), Kat (challenging) or Karol (that would be impressive).

7) Convince a random female blogger to give Joe Speaker a lapdance. There's no real challenge there, let's make it tougher. Hmmm...convince ALL the female bloggers in attendance to give Speaker a lapdance. At a poker table. In quick succession. Bonus points for Mrs. Drizz, Mrs. Head and my wife. Double-plus bonus points for The Rooster, Chilly, or THG.

8) Witness The Fall #2 - revenge of the TrumpJosh. Somebody at some point is gonna bust their ass in a drunken stupor this weekend. My goal here is twofold - first, to not be that somebody. Second, to witness it with camera in hand.

Those are just a few of my goals for the weekend. Others include all the sappy shit that will happen anyway, like catching up with old friends, making new ones, dial-a-shots with the poor bastards who can't be there, and general bloggery goodness.

Monday, December 04, 2006

And Full Tilt Poker Loves me right back!

So my post on the Cap NL games at Full Tilt has been picked up by their poker blog, which is neat, and will result in a small cash bonus from the folks at my favorite online poker site (Bonus code Falstaff, dammit). If you want to read it, you can scroll way, way down, or go here.

If you're joining us in Vegas for the first time, read Pauly's post about how to prepare. I've upped my nightly alcohol consumption severely to put my liver in training, but there's still no way I'm gonna try to go drink for drink with Al, Iggy or Pauly. That shit'll get a good man dead, as a hippy I know once said about this goofball.

Anyway, in just a few days I'll be drinking with my buddies, eating like the swine that I am, and maybe playing a little poker. Yeah, a little. That's right. Heh. Like probably no more than 30 hours of poker in the 5 days I'm there. That's "little."

In this week's edition of the Falstaff homegame, we cranked out a little $1/2 Limit Hold 'Em to get Suzy ready for the casino tables. Yeah, I know the lowest they spread is 2/4, but I only have so many $1 chips, so this worked better, trust me. I lived up to my plan of playing like a true Vegas 2/4 donk by rivering a straight with my 3c4c on Special K to crack his legitimate hand, then continued to do similar silliness for the next couple hours. I really did play no fold 'em hold 'em for a while, because if I was in a pot, I was certainly getting odds to call ANY draw in the world. And I hit most of them, much to the disgust of the rest of the table.

Then Nate came in and we switched to no limit. Nate is a great guy, and a real action generator. He'll lead out for $10 into a $6 pot with second pair without a second's hesitation. Again and again. It's one of those things where if he's hitting, he's killing you, and if he's not, he's a rebuy machine. He's left my house in the black by serious amounts for the past two weeks, and this week I had a plan. Don't call with less than two pair. Period.

Fortunately my string of donkalicious catching continued, so I had two pair or better enough times to take most of the money off the table. When all was said and done, we had busted about 5 players, three on the last hand, and Dan, Andrew and I had all the chips. Then Andrew slid across the table 12 reds to pay back the $60 I loaned him earlier, and Dan and I had all the chips. Andrew cashed out down a few bucks, Dan was up at least $150, and I profited $245 on the night. In a $50 max buy game. It made up for several weeks last month when I was stuck $70-80, and felt good to book a decent win in my last home game before Vegas.

In reading the plight of the G-Vegas home game, I'm thinking of changing up the structure in my home games. We've been playing strictly NL cash games, $50 max, for a while now. I think the new look is gonna go something like this - Week 1 & 3 $50 Max NL Cash Game. Week 2 - $10 Rebuy tourney with 15 minute levels, unlimited rebuys for the first 4 levels. Week 3 - $100 Max $.50/$1 NL cash game. We frequently mix in a little Omaha, Crazy Pineapple or other games. Any comments on that monthly structure?

Stop by if you're in the neighborhood, we play most Fridays.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Football Saturday night

A long, long time ago, Bobby took me to see the USC Gamecocks play the West Virginia University Mountaineers in an ESPN night game. The whole atmosphere, from the TV cameras and the bright lights to the guys outside hawking tickets for far too much money, was electric. As we walked past the scalpers, Bob looked down at me and said "Yeah, and five minutes after kickoff they'll be lucky to get five bucks for 'em."

The stadium was full and the crowd was rocking. I don't remember who won, or even how old I was. I just remember the noise and energy of the crowd, maintained even through the interminable television timeouts, and Bobby telling me "watch the stands on the sides, you can see the stadium sway when the students get excited. If it ain't swaying, we ain't playing is what they say around here."

Sure enough, Williams Brice Stadium was designed with some flex in the upper levels, and they put the students in those sections and they took full advantage of it. There's something a little scary about watching thousands of tons of concrete flex and bounce under the weight of 15,000 students. Apparently after that season the college officials decided the same thing, because they stopped letting students jump in place in those seats to make the stadium sway, and eventually reinforced the stadium to take the sway out. But that night, the joint was jumping. Literally. When USC was cooking, I swear I could see that upper deck bounce by at least a foot.

The upper decks were pretty empty yesterday, but that doesn't mean the crowds for the state high school football championships were slack. Just the opposite, the lower levels of the stadium were pretty full, and why not? If you're a fan of one team or another you had your designated home or visitor side, or if you're just a fan of high school football, you could watch the top six teams in the state play all day for just $10.

And that's a pretty damn good deal when you consider this is one of the last levels where sports remain pure. A lot of these kids are done with football now. They got their chance to play in an 80,000-seat stadium, with their names announced over the big-time PA. They stood on the field where Chris Leak, Steve Taneyhill, Dan Reeves and Sterling Sharpe played. Those coaches walked in the footsteps of Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. Their careers ended last night on a high note or a soul-crusher. They won't ever play college ball, unless it's intramural, and they've known all along that they'll never strap on pads for the big bucks in the NFL. But they played their ever-loving hearts out. Some have next year to look forward to, but they may never get back to this stage again.

Look at number 20. Josh Moseley. My sister and I watced this skinny redheaded white kid pace the sidelines through a chunk of the first half, and didn't really notice him getting into the game much. Then he blew up defensively in the second half, coming through with a Mike Minter-style hit on a kcik return in the second half and then it seemed like there wasn't a play that went by without his name being called over the PA for making the tackle. This kid left everything he had out on the field, just like he was taught.

Then there's number 24, Samun. He's in one of my niece's classes. This poor kid's fucked every way he turns around. Parents gone, he bounces around from aunt to aunt around Newberry. He's not the biggest kid on the field and got burned for a TD near the end of the first half when he was stuck in single-coverage on a receiver that was at least half a foot taller, but he was always going. Full out. He's trying his ever-loving balls off to find some structure and meaning in his life, and this team let him do it.

Number 68 played special teams. Tatiana Swittenberg was the chick on the team, and she wasn't some lissome, ponytailed kicker like you see in Sports Illustrated human interest stories. She's a stocky chick, built like a fullback, who plays kick coverage and special teams and knocks the hell outta anybody in her way.

These kids weren't stars, and if they were seniors, their career is done today. But last night they played in the big house, under the bright lights, and they've got an Olympic-Style medallion to take home and drag out to bore their kids with someday.

Oh, the game? It was a helluva game. After running the bal up the gut and just beating the hell out of them for the whole first half, a questionable pass interference call put Cheraw in scoring position right at the end of the half. With a tough second half, Newberry leading all the way, an absolutely terrible pass interfernce call on 3rd and long gave Cheraw the ball and a whole new set of downs on the 3 yard line. I know, it's my brother's team, so I'm biased, but it's hard for the pass to be interfered with when the intended receiver has tripped over his own feet six away from the nearest defender and is lying on his face when the pass zips by 12 feet away from him. That was the deal-breaker right there. Cheraw punched it in, Newberry couldn't score another TD to retake their game, and lost by four points. Sad that two bad calls made the difference in the game, because if either one of them had not gone in that direction, they'd be the champs today instead of the runners-up.

And I'm not taking anything away from the Cheraw kids, who have played in the state championship game for three years straight now. They've got a helluva good program that has come up short in this game twice before, so their kids deserve the moment in the winner's spotlight. Unfortunately, last night they were not the best team on the field despite their athletic superiority, and the officiating decided the outcome of the game.

But for a few hours, Sam Baird walked the same sidelines as Sam Wyche, in the bright lights after nearly thirty years at Newberry High, and took his kids to the big show. And I hope when some of the pain wears off, they can all look back at those medals with pride.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Long time coming

Almost 25 years ago, my brother moved to Newberry to teach high school history. To supplement his income as a teacher he started coaching. Football, basketball, golf, whatever. Bob has always enjoyed sports and played a lot of tennis when he was younger, but blew out his knee and that was all over. Newberry has never really been what you'd consider a powerhouse in high school athletics (I should know, I went to school in York, which also has never been a powerhouse). In fact, Newberry has never played for the SC football state championship.

Until tomorrow. After coaching at Newberry on and off for more than two decades, my big brother gets to sit in the press box at his alma mater, the University of South Carolina, and break down plays and help coach his team in their first state championship attempt in school history. I'm frankly so fucking proud of him I can't see straight. For him and the other coaches (I'm not even sure what his title is, but he's an assistant coach in charge of figuring out what the other guy is going to do and then fucking up their plans) who have worked for so many years, for so little results, this is as good as it gets. They've allowed a total of 14 points in their last 4 games, so if they can hold Cheraw to about 14 points tomorrow, they oughta be good.

So tomorrow afternoon my sister and I will be up in the stands at the WB in Columbia, yelling our asses off at a bunch of high school kids that we've never seen before, hoping that BrotherBob can bring it home. He doesn't know I'm going down, so it oughta be a cool surprise.

Thursday, November 30, 2006


Due to overwhelming popular response (2 comments, but that's pretty overwhelming) anything I blog on MyGaySpace will be cross-posted here. If you aren't on my MyGaySpace thingy, you can go here and I'll "friend" you, and then we can totally be BFF, OMFG.

Pokery content

So I sat down last night at 9:50 and thought "I wonder what time the Mookie is?" So I go look it up, and sure enough, I have just enough time to register. I sign up, and type in the chat thing "why am I playing this thing, I suck a tourneys."

For the record I played one hand. The only street I didn't misplay was preflop. I outsmarted myself right to the rail within one orbit. But I wasn't Gigli.

I'm the BB with T6c. I check. This ends the correct play on my part. Chilly was the SB and he completed the blind. This does not end the correct play on his part.

Flop is T84 rainbow. I bet 1/2 the pot. Chilly calls, continuing the correct play.

Turn is a 6. I bet 1/2 the pot. Chilly types "what are you doing?" I respond "bluffing." Chilly calls. I don't think this was a brilliant call on his part, but I kept the bets small wanting him to call, and he obliged.

River is an Ace. Chilly bets a significant amount, and I think "Oh, he had some silly Ace and just hit top pair. I can mostly stack him now." I push and he insta-calls, since my push was barely more than the significant bet.

Good read. Except that the silly ace was A8, giving him better two pair, justification to call me on every street, and all my chips.


Oh wait. No Rebuy. Sad panda. I'll be at the $.50/$1 cap NL games if you guys need me.

As I said in the chat thing, Chilly did everything I wanted him to do, except catch on the river. I was trying something different, trying to play smaller pots with smaller hands and extract maximum value, but I blew the bit about letting go when it became obvious I was beat. If I hadn't been so busy congratulating myself on getting called on the flop and turn, I would have realized that Chilly ain't calling me with air, so he must have had at least a pair. Thus when he led out on the river and I thought "hmmm...he hit his ace," I should have realized that he hit Aces up. So that's how I outsmarted myself out of the Mookie. I play g00t.

So I went to my 6-max cap tables and made my money back. There's still plenty of folks over there willing to give it away, and Tuesday night I was one of them. Don't you love how one bad night doesn't just undo one night's work, it undoes several? Monday night I came home early from rehearsal because it was a clusterfuck and went on an amazing heater. I picked up $250 in about 90 minutes off the $30 cap NL tables.

So Tuesday I gave away $320 to the same tables. I couldn't stop myself when I was just stuck the previous night's winnings, I had to give away at least two night's winnings. The games were good, I just was playing abysmal poker.

So last night I finished clearing my FTP bonus, and crawled $100 out of the hole I dug myself into. I'm pretty happy with my play lately, Tuesday and Mookie excepted. My bankroll is back up around pre-digital camera and new Birkenstocks levels, thanks in large part to writing for Linda and the Cap NL tables, and I've more than doubled my last deposit to FTP since I stuck money back in there. We're not going to talk about my last Stars deposit, because it didn't go well and I'm just not playing there for a little while as I lie in the corner and lick my wounds, whimpering all the time about things like "I want those calls in the long run," and other things of that nature.

I'm a ways away from any bankroll goals I may have had for the year (doubling last year's winnings seems like a fair one), but I'm still (amazingly enough) a winning player for the year. That makes me a happy fat boy, because I don't have a whole lot of illusions about my play, but one of them at least is that I win more than I lose, and it's nice to have that proven true via Excel. Look! Actual poker-esque content!


I've heard from a few people that they didn't think I was "doing theatre" anymore since Off-Tryon folded. That makes me giggle a little, since I'm certainly doing as much theatre since the closure of OTTC than I have when it was open, it's just not as visible as it was when I was running a company, I suppose. Here's a brief list of what I'm up to theatrically since last summer when Off-Tryon disbanded.

Designed lighting for A Chorus Line at Theatre Charlotte. A kickass production of A Chorus Line I might add.

Serving as co-chair of the Metrolina Theatre Awards, and as a board member of the Metrolina Theatre Association.

Serving as President of the NC Theatre Conference, as well as the NC State Representative to the Southeastern Theatre Conference. These are the leadership, service and advocacy organizations for the field of theatre not only in NC, but in a 10-state region.

Designed lighting for an original play called The Eyes of God.

Designed lighting for Tick Tick Boom.

Helped produce a major theatre festival for over 1,000 participants.

Been hired to design The Guys in February.

Been hired to design the NC Dance Festival Charlotte in February.

Been hired to design Les Miserables in March.

Been hired to design The Crucible in March.

And held down a full-time job.

In contrast, in the last year that Off-Tryon was in existence, I directed one show and designed the lighting for it, and designed two shows for other companies. Then we took a show to Stoneleaf and I handled a lot of that. That's it. So I'm actually doing a lot more theatre stuff now than I have in the past couple of years. And people are paying me to do it. It's been a nice change.

I'm also committed to a production of The Taming of the Shrew in Rock Hill in the spring, so that's another bit of insanity. So I'm still around, just not quite as visible as I may have once been

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Look, I know it's all the "beauty of live theatre" but this is friggin' ridiculous! Last night I got to the theatre to find out that our spotlight operator couldn't be there because her mom was in the hospital, so we got another kid to come in at the last moment, got him trained and he ran the spot for the dress rehearsal. He did a good job, and my light board operator did a good job as well, especially for two kids whose total age doesn't come close to mine that had never performed their relative tasks before last night.

The show is pretty good. The cast has to fight over the band, which is too loud, and the mics on the cast keep fucking up, so that's always festive. Maggie had to sing her big solo last night without mic, and she was able to push over the band, but I could see she was working hard to do it, and hope she didn't blow her voice doing so. Jimmy's mic kept fucking up, too, there's just so much RF interference in the auditorium it's almost impossible to get it to sound good. Oh well, it's up, it's good and in a week, I'm in Vegas, baby!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tick Tick BOOM!!!!

So maybe I'll blog theatre stuff here and poker stuff on Pokerstage. That could work, since most of my theatre friends are on myspace anyway. Let's give it a shot, anyway.

Rehearsals this week for Tick Tick Boom in Rock Hill. Sucks! It's in Tillman Auditorium, which is this old-ass run down theatre with no friggin' lights on the Winthrop campus. I'm really only doing this as a favor to Sheila, Jimmy and Maggie, since they didn't really have anybody else that could do it. Not to mention the little bit they can afford to pay me will at least cover most of a nice meal in Vegas next week.

But I have a total of 18 lights to work with, to light an entire musical. Challenging to say the least. Especially when you consider that Sunday, I used 16 lights just for gobos on the orchestra shell for the Philharmonic, and wanted more there, too. But I've got red and blue backlights, and almost enough front light so you can see the action, so it's about as good as I can make it. I don't have a light board that can record cues, so the high school kid that's running lights is going to have to run everything on the fly, which she of course has never done before. Add to that the fact that we're running lights from the side of the stage and I can't see what anything looks like and we're a little challenged. I don't understand how my buddy Chris does it (he's the facility manager there), they do a shitload of shows and they've given him practically nothing to work with.

Sheila (director) understands the constraints of the facility, so she was fairly happy with what we acheived last night. Which is good, because it's about all I can do. We do have a followspot, which will help a bit in some songs. I feel bad for the cast, they're working their asses off in shitty conditions, and they sound good (when all the mics work), too.

So tonight when I get off work I'll trek back down the the Rock and look over the shoulder of my board op while she runs the show tonight. She watched me run it last night to get a sense of what we're trying to do, so we'll see what sticks. Should be interesting to say the least.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


So I'm eating lunch and reading bloglines, when I stumble across a notice from one of my great sponsors - They've got a listing of the televised tapings of the Ultimate Poker Challenge, taping at Binion's next weekend. So I go take a look, and think that $340 is a little more than I want to lay out for a tourney, so I check out the satellites.

Then I get interested.

For $80, you can play a 10-seat tourney that awards 2 seats to the main tournament. So why don't we storm the Horseshoe and load up a couple of these satellites? If we get a full blogger table, we can all throw in our $80, two bloggers will get into the big tourney, and maybe we can all have a tiny piece of their action if they cash.

Anybody interested?

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Sunday bloody Sunday

A day in the life of a freelance lighting designer. This is not any kind of “live blog,” since there really isn’t any time to stop and blog while I’m doing these one-off gigs, but I thought I’d take a little bit and give folks some idea of what I do in my “free time.”

A little background – I’ve been doing most of the shows for the Charlotte Philharmonic Orchestra for about 4 years now. I do their events that take place downtown at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, because it has a nice white orchestra shell that takes light very well and has a lighting rig that supports a little bit of creativity. The Philharmonic shows aren’t your typical symphony shows, they like a lot a kitsch and flash with their music. The Christmas show in particular features a 250-voice choir, two different groups of dancing girls and a group of nine vocalists. I get one rehearsal. And I’ve usually never heard the music before that afternoon. It presents a few challenges. So here’s my life yesterday.

6:30 AM – Yep, on a Sunday. I roll over, beat the alarm clock for 15 minutes, then stagger downstairs to check email quickly, since I know it will be late before I get the chance to do so again. Nothing requires my attention other than the Delete key, so I’m all good.

7:30 AM – Roll out of the house. The theatre’s a touch more than 15 minutes from the house, and a stop for a pair of McD’s sausage biscuits with a large Coke will get me going with just the right mixture of caffeine and gas to get me through the morning.

8:00 AM – I walk into the crew area backstage right and meet up with Hank, my master electrician du jour. Because it’s a union venue, I can’t operate the lighting board without a union stagehand “shadowing” me to make sure that I don’t blow anything up. Them’s the rules, regardless of the fact that I’ve logged more hours on this particular brand of console than most people in a 4-state region, and am factory-certified to train people on how to program the consoles. I don’t mind, though, because Hank is invaluable in keeping up with all my paperwork over the course of the morning.

By the time I arrive, the orchestra shell is in place, and the choral risers are beginning. That crew was called at 6AM to get things rolling. I have a good electrics crew today, so I figure we’ll be done earlier than usual. Bonus – the other symphony was in last night and used a 4-color wash from one of the lighting positions where I usually put in a 3-color wash, so that’s 24 lights that I don’t have to haul up from the basement and put in the air. They even left their color in the lights, so that cuts at least 30 minutes work off my day. This is gonna be sweet.

I get Hank started patching lights into the console and get Tim, Larry and Cat on putting together my floor spoo lights. That’s a highly technical term for lights on plywood bases sitting at the base of columns that are scattered around the stage. Floor spoo. Don’t be afraid of the term, theatre goofs will understand. I decide that since we’re doing risers, we probably won’t have room for the full 6-column setup we’ve used in the past, so I plan for 3 colors on 4 columns, instead of 2 colors on 6 columns like I usually do. Regardless, there are 12 floor mounts for lights in the theatre, and I’m using them all. As usual.

9:00 AM – Jeff (stage manager) arrives with the company’s gobos and gels. Gobos are the metal disks that can be put into a light to project an image. Gobos can be of anything, and can be made with any custom artwork on them (if you’re got the coin). These are holiday-themed. A buttload of snowflakes, Santa, sleigh, Christmas trees, bells and a couple that say Merry Christmas on them. I’ll project these all over the orchestra shell for the different musical numbers.

Gel is the colored filter that goes in front of the lights to make different colors. I use a lot of reds, blues and greens on these shows, not just for the Christmas theme, but because I can mix colors to make a lot of different purples, pinks and yellows as well.

9:15 AM – We’ve got eight 1,000W lights hung on the first electric to wash the choir area. This big-ass choir has been a thorn in my side for years, but this should make all the mommies and daddies able to see their babies now. I send Cat and Larry up to the roof of the building to focus front light on the apron (the extreme downstage part of the stage in front of the main curtain) for the dancers.

9:45 AM – Front light is done. I’ve got 8 lights from the cove (way the hell up in the ceiling) and 4 from the balcony rail (not quite as high) for front face light for dancers and singers. Then we’ve got 12 lights on the mezzanine rail for the organ pipes. The orchestra shell has faux organ pipes in it, which are a nice brushed silver. It takes light very nicely, so that’s one of my main sources of color for the show. I use 3 colors on the pipes, red green and blue, because they’re the primary colors of light and I can mix them to make any color I want on the pipes. We’re now stuck until the crew finishes risers and we can close in the rest of the shell and focus gobos on the sides of the shell.

Break time.

10:00 AM – We’re back on. In a union house, breaks are pretty regimented. Every two hours (3 max), there’s a 15-minute break. Every 4-5 hours, there’s a minimum of a one-hour meal break. If you go longer than 5 hours without a meal break, you pay more for the labor. It’s called the “meal penalty.” My job as the client’s lighting designer is to get done without going into meal penalty. Crew is guaranteed to be paid for four hours for the setup, with the fifth hour optional. If I can get done in four hours, that’s great, but it’s no big deal if it takes five. If I go into meal penalty it’s a very big deal.

Crew also has to have a minimum of an hour break between load-in and a rehearsal, and between rehearsal and a show. This can be the dinner break, but there has to be an hour break. Period. Today’s running pretty smoothly, so there’s no worry about going into any meal penalties. I think we’ll finish in our first four hours, so that will mean a 2-hour lunch break before rehearsal.

We’re fucking off waiting for the shell to be ready. The crew’s running circuits for the floor spoo since I know pretty much where that’s going to happen, but they’ll leave a little slack in the cables in case of clusterfuck. It’s obvious now that the big fru will not be ready to light before lunch break, so I make plans to bring my spotlight operator back an hour before rehearsal instead of at half-hour to touch the focus on the Christmas trees and 6-foot Santas that are on the downstage corners of the stage.

10:30AM – Shell’s in place, so I send Cat and Larry each up into a box boom to focus the gobos. Box booms are vertical lighting positions usually on the walls of a theatre downstage, they’re really good for side lighting or for projections on walls (like I’m doing).

11AM – Booms are done, now time for the floor spoo. Get all that circuited, patched and colored, then head to the booth to program.

11:30 AM – Hank and I are in the booth setting up submasters. I’ll run this show on the fly, with no pre-programmed cues, so I set up all my looks on different faders, and “play” the faders as the show goes along. Each fader will get a different piece of the stage look, so the lights aimed at the pipes are on three faders, Red, Blue and Green. The gobos are paired, with each pair on a fader, and the downlight washes are on four faders. So as the song progresses I change the lights to go with how the song feels. It’s really “old-school” lighting, how we did shows before there were computerized boards, and I prefer this method for shows with limited rehearsal time and planning. It lets me be creative and correct things as they happen. After 15 years or so, I’ve gotten pretty good at this part.

Noon – Done in 4, time for lunch. Then come back, go through a rehearsal which will be done out of order, so I really have no idea what the lineup of the show feels like, take a dinner break, and come back and do a show for 2,200 people. At least this time I’ve seen all the numbers, which is not always the case. Add 250 high school singers, 30 baby ballerinas, two dozen hot college dancing girls and nine adult singers who can’t find their light, and I’m cooked by the end of the show. Fortunately my part of strike is quick, all I do is collect my gels and gobos, give them to the client, collect my check and I’m out the door by 10:30PM. So most of a 14-hour day for $350. Depending on your limits it’s either much better or much, much worse than your 2BB/hr. but the check always clears and there’s no risk of ruin.

And how was your weekend?

This sucked

So maybe it wasn't the absolute brightest move to call a preflop all-in re-raise with AKo, but in the Cap NL games you sometimes get some wild ones.

Like the guy who pushed preflop for $30 with ATo.

QJ3 rainbow on the flop.

You know where this is going.

K on the turn.

Ship it. Away.

Very next hand I raise 3xBB with A8 sooted. Not a good hand, but good enough for a cutoff raise. 3 Callers, about 1 more than I really wanted.

588 flop, two spades. A Push and a call in front of me.

With trips, top kicker, I call. I just got pushed into by a guy who limp-called with Kings and a guy who's on an open-ended straight flush draw with the 67s.

9d on the turn.

Pair the board?

Nope. Js on the river.

Ship it. Away. Again.

Glad it's capped, or I'd be down at least $150 right now instead of $60.

An hour later, and I'm back to even, thanks to a couple of people who just couldn't resist pushing all-in on a flush draw when I've made top two pair. Repeatedly.

Those weren't even particularly bad beats, so I'm not paying anybody a dollar, but that shit in your first two hands will make you throw up in your mouth a little fo sho.

Hope everyone had a good turkey day. I ate too much, big shocker for a fat kid. Hung out with the fam and got some great news from my brother on Friday night that I'll share more about later.

Don't you hate when people do that shit? See you in a couple weeks!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Memory Lane

Reading Wil's post today about his Con experience sent me wandering down the memory lane of my own early geekdom, so take a walk with me, why don'tcha?

I was 18 years old and full of my own independence. Jason, Steve and I had torn off down to New Orleans for Fall Break, gotten drunk at Wet Willie's, pissed in a public park under a streetlight and gotten front row seats at Big Daddy's Topless & Bottomless, where a Eurasian chick with a black pageboy cut and three tattoos did things to Jason's hat that made him swear he would never do laundry again. So when the chance popped of to go to Dragon Con that year, I was totally there.

I'd never done a major Con before, and Dragon Con was pretty damn major. I found out that Todd McFarlane was going to be there, so I packed up my Spiderman #1 in my backpack, tossed a bottle of Mescal under the front seat of my 1978 Impala, and we cruised off down I-85. Steve was originally from G-Vegas, and we were meeting up with Jay and a bunch of his friends from the Greenville Rogues Society, who threw an annual party at Dragon Con that was apparently something not to be missed.

Hell, the whole trip was something not to be missed. From drinking White Russians with Jay that had so much liquor in them they actually fermented the milk, to seeing the bodies lying in the hallway of the Atlanta Hilton (I think) sprawled on the floor, mouths agape with black drool dribbling down their chin after drinking The Black Death (a Rogues Society Speciality), the whole weekend was incredible. It can all be summed up for me by one brief moment.

We were in a ballroom waiting for the dance to start, but there was no music. We'd had about a gallon of White Russians at this point and I felt the need to lie down. As I lay there, I noticed that the chandelier in the room was really neat-looking from that angle, so I called over Jay's friend Carol, who also was feeling a bit of a need to be recumbent just about then. So Carol and I lay in the center of the ballroom exploring the landscape of the chandelier when I felt a twinge in my neck.

I turned my head ever so slightly to notice that there was someone biting me. A smallish woman, at least from what I could tell given the relative angles, with tricolored hair. Platinum, red and goth black. She nibbled a little longer, then she kissed me. Rather intently. I decided this couldn't be all bad, so I kissed her back and nibbled a litttle on her neck in return. After a couple of nips and nibbles, she suggested we depart the ballroom for somewhere a little more private. I thought briefly of going off to have wild gymnastic monkey sex with a woman who I had yet to actually speak with and who introduced herself to me, if you could call it that, by getting down on her hands and knees in the middle of a hotel ballroom floor and biting me on the neck, but then I decided I was really drunk and should get a second opinion.

"Carol, should I go fuck her?"

"No, honey, that would not be good."

"Sorry, my friend says I shouldn't go fuck you. But thanks."

"Thanks, Carol."

"Friends don't let friends fuck dogs, baby."

I saw the tricolored hair vampiress the next day. I wept a little as I thanked Carol from the bottom of my little bitty heart, because while she didn't have the kind of beauty that makes time stand still, she certainly had a face that could stop a clock.

That's my earliest geek-con memory. Kinda heartwarming, in a Vampire:the Masquerade sorta way, isn't it?

My other writing

A lot of my writing lately has been on the aftermath of the UIGEA legislation, and I've been covering that beat over at Pokerworks, home of CC, Iggy, and of course, Linda. I enjoy writing these "newsy" articles over there, so if you want to check out the latest on the internet gambling legislation, head on over.

Cap Limit Musings

Contrary to what you might be thinking from my last few posts, I have actually been playing some poker. Life hasn't been all rehearsals and theatre festivals, just 80% of it. When I've been playing, I've been inhabiting mostly the Cap No Limit tables at Full Tilt, so I thought I'd scribble down some impressions on how the Cap Limit game is different from standard No Limit.

Well, it's capped. I know, duh. But basically that means that your Risk of Ruin on any given hand is significantly decreased. While your betting is unstructured, you can only put in a max of a given amount (I play the $.50/$1 tables, and the max is $30, so I think it's usually 30XBB for the cap) for each hand. Once your betting has reached the cap, you're treated as All In.

So why am I hanging out around these tables instead of the No Limit tables? Because they're making me more money (I know, I just cursed it). The Cap allows me to play at a higher level than I'm bankrolled for by standard bankroll management theories, which says that to play NL100 I need to have at least a $3,000 bankroll. I currently do not have a $3,000 bankroll, although I do have a nice new digital camera and two plane tickets to Vegas in 15 days, so I'll take the trade. But the Cap games allow me to play higher while risking on one hand no more than I'm risking at a NL25 game, which keeps me interested.

I play a very aggressive style of poker. I know, big friggin' surprise. I raise a LOT. That means that I don't often see the river, and frequently don't see a flop. Now I know that's what I like, but I hate making a good preflop raise and driving everyone out, only to pick up $.75. So at a cap game I'm able to take down a pot preflop for $3, which makes me much happier. So my blind steals are much more profitable, which is a big part of my game. And when I get one caller who then folds to my continuation bet, I'm picking up $6-9, which is even better.

But how does it play out if they don't fold? Well, I'm glad you asked (or at least glad that you are allowing me this silly literary device that lets me pretend we're having a conversation instead of you being my invisible internet friend). After the flop is where I feel that the cap games really benefit the aggressive player. If you've read Pressure Poker (and if not, why not!?!?), you understand that aggressive play is profitable play, and if you're the one applying the pressure, then you're forcing your opponents to make tough decisions all the time, while your decisions are pretty easy. The cap games are beautiful for this, as the cap takes away the most potent weapon in a No-Limit game, the over-the-top re-raise.

Let's look at a hand from last night. I don't have the hand history, so you'll just have to suffer my narrative skillz a little further. I'm at a $.50/$1 Cap No Limit Game with about $100 in front of me. Stack size is obviously irrelevant, since the Cap is $30. It's a 6-max table, and I'm in middle position. I pick up AKh, and raise to $3. I get two callers, and lead out for $5 with a flop that includes the JQh and a black rag. This bet is a pattern that I've worked for a while to build up, regardless of my holding and whether the flop hit me or not - if I'm first in the pot preflop, I raise to $3, and then I bet $5 on the flop regardless of hand strength.

I get one caller. I've now invested $8 into the pot, and the cap has $22 remaining. The turn comes a black T, and my opponent (who was the BB), led out for $15. Now this is where the game is lovely. Aside from the fact that I have the nut straight with a redraw to the nut flush, I am pretty much guaranteed to get the last bet out of him at this point, because there's only $7 left to the cap. In a normal NL game, where our entire stacks were at risk, I would have a very difficult decision to figure out the maximum I could get from this opponent, and he would still have the opportunity to push over the top of me with a monster bet. As it is, I raise the $7, he calls with his J9o, and the pot ships my way.

The structure of the cap games prohibited my opponent from any effectiveness in pushing me off my hand. Regardless of the fact that I had the nuts with a redraw, there simply wasn't enough room under the cap for him to put any pressure back onto me. So for a LAG like me, the preflop and flop action that I generate makes all my decisions on later streets easier because of the cap. It also makes it harder for opponents to get away from their obviously second-best hands, becuase the "awwfuckits" are more likely to set in, because of the cap. That's something I have to constantly watch out for, and try to hang on to my small bets when I think I'm beat.

Something odd to think about for me in the cap games, though, is the fact that my implied odds are dramatically diminished. When I'm calling a raise on the button with 64c (yes, occassionally), I'm looking at an opponent's entire stack as my implied odds, because if I hit with 64, I'm getting paid. But with a cap on the betting, it's not worth as much to call with trash, because I can't get an opponent's whole stack, I can just get the amount of the cap. So that's an adjustment I'm just beginning to make.

I also think that these games are great transitional games for limit players wanting to switch over to no limit, because of the limited risk of ruin, which is very similar to the level of a limit game. It's also good for new players, so they can get their feet wet with some bigger bets than at a baby table, but still not blow their whole bankroll in one session.

So that's where I've been and what I think about the Cap games. The 6-max at my limits have been very profitable, allowing me to pretty much double my last FT deposit in the past month, so I obviously like them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

As if there were any question...

I am now officially a dork. Those of you on bloglines will have to click through to see why.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Thank god for Monday

Because work isn't nearly as hectic as my weekend. Poker is further down, so if you want to read about that, scroll, baby, scroll.

As some of you know, I'm heavily involved with the North Carolina Theatre Conference, the statewide leadership, service and advocacy organization for theatre in NC. Like President of the Board involved. Well, this weekend was our annual Fall Gathering, which loosely translates into the following:

2 - College theatre productions entered into the American College Theatre Festival
5 - Community theatre production entered into the American Association of Community Theatres festival
16 - High school plays entered into the State HS Play fest.
250+ College kids auditioning for 100 slots at the Southeastern Theatre Conference auditions, where they'll try to get summer stock jobs
100+ High School kids auditioning for college scholarships
20+ Colleges with displays recruiting students

and not much fucking sleep.

I ran the lighting board for all sixteen high school plays, with no cues pre-programmed due to a snafu at the venue. So I ran a couple hundred light cues live for shows that I'd never seen before in a facility that I'd never worked before on a console I'd only used twice before with 16 different stage managers, some of whom had no idea what they were doing, none of whom were born when I did my first play, and all of whom had a different method of calling cues. It was the most challenging thing I've done lighting-wise since I lit the Count Basie Orchestra on an unfamiliar console with only two hours of prep time. But I was getting paid for that, and this was free.

It's also some of the most rewarding work I do each year, working with these kids. The enthusiasm they bring to these events is incredible, and I can only wish that I had teachers like they have when I was a kid.

I also got to have dinner with a 4-time Tony Award winning costume designer, which was pretty neat. William Ivey Long was our Keynote speaker, and he was very charming. As Pres., I sat at the front table with William, and got to chat with him a little. Suzy of course couldn't come, because she was working as a dresser for Amadeus, which was a bummer. But it was cool chatting with someone who has such a huge theatrical experience and has worked with all of the biggest names in the business.

If you don't want to google him, he did costumes for Hairspray, Chicago, The Producers and Nine, among 50 others. He's a pretty big deal. His brother is a theatre consultant that I've worked with on several projects, and William still comes down to the summer theatre at The Lost Colony in Manteo, NC each summer. His parents started the theatre program at Winthrop, where I went to school, so we chatted a little about Rock Hill and the school and all that. It was pretty neat.

Sunday after our board meeting wrapping up the gathering (by the way, does anyone want to move to NC to be the Executive Director of a theatre organization? We're losing our ED at the end of the year and need to hire.) I went to see Amadeus, and was very impressed with Suzy's work on the costumes. The set was good, lighting was okay, and the acting was good. I wanted them to push it a little more, but they were good and solid. Probably a 6-7 on a scale of 10, but a solid 8.5 for the company that produced it, which is usually a little spotty. It was nice to see them exceed their normal production and performance values.

Last night marked the return of my home game! Since I've been gone or booked on weekends for a month, no home game for me. But last night we crammed 11 people around my table and got in a good 5 hours of play before I ran everyone home. I bought in a BUNCH, but finished the night only down $50, which was pretty good. It was a ridiculous game, with a $3 preflop raise ($.25/.50 blinds) routinely getting 4-5 callers. My highlight of the night was when I managed to call both hands in an all-in when Brian went in with the Hammer and Suzy picked him off with Big Slick. That was about all that I managed to put together that was good, but I didn't lose too much. Been hitting the 6-max NL100 Cap games and liking them pretty well, I have a post brewing about why I like them, but it's not soup yet. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Aahhh, nothing like cracking open a cold Guinness or 27 and sitting down to post. Get settled in, boys and girls, this is going to get uber.

Wait a minute, after all that Guinness, I gotta go pee. While I go whizz go sign up with Party Poker using Bonus Code IGGYDAMMIT.

Ok, I'm back. Let's get rolling with some of our favorite poker news, this from our friends over at

There's no way I'm actually going to read all the stuff out there, so follow the link.

Wow, that's good stuff. Now here's a great quote from RGP resident curmudgeon Gary Carson.

Sklansky - I'm smarter than you.

Carson - But I have sex with girls, and I'm still smarter than Mason. So bite me.

Gotta love the subtlety of Gary.

In more poker news, other stuff happens other places.

So it's finally come. The time to come clean about my identity. I know you've all been waiting for this moment for years/months/weeks/days. Ok, I realize you've only been thinking about this for about 17 seconds since you started reading this sentence. But here's the deal. Once and for all, here's a real photo of the Blogfather. Here is my self-portrait.That's right, bitches. I am Poker Champ. This uber-post brought to you by Bonus Code IGGY, dammit! Excuse me, I hear the trashcan near the Sherwood Forest bar calling my name.

Thanks for everything, buddy. See you soon.


Work is ridiculously busy, and the state theatre festival is this week, so I'm really running ragged, but it's all good.


Because in three weeks, my happy fat ass will be in Vegas, drinking it up with my buddies!

See you then!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Funny link

It all started over a T-shirt, but this link is funny. I wondered when all the tubes would get full.

Absolute makes good

According to Pauly, Absolute has taken care of his issues. I deleted the post below where I emailed them nasty things. In their defense, Peter from AP did respond very quickly to my email, and once he got hold of an angry Pauly, took care of the Doc as well.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Interesting times

It's an ancient Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times. Well, we certainly are. Here in NC, a 4-term incumbent is currently leading a high school history teach by less than 400 votes, so the recount is underway. The NC speaker of the House (scandal-ridden can only begin to describe him) is hanging on to a 7-vote lead (those Civics teachers that told you every vote counts were apparently correct). And the Democrats managed to, with the concession of Senator Allen from Virginia, grab the majority in both House and Senate.


Let's not forget that the Senate is actually split 49/49/2, with two independents, which makes Joe Lieberman one of the two most powerful men in Congress. Doesn't that present all sorts of opportunities to thumb his nose at the party that dumped him in favor of a more liberal new kid? Now, Jilted Joe has said that he will caucus with the Dems, but I think he'll likely find an opportunity or two to spank the Donkey Party for their lack of love at some point.

Rumsfeld resigns. Huzzah. Now, while I think that we should bring our troops home from Iraq, and that we shouldn't have gone there in the first place (although since we've been there before, wouldn't this be the second place?), I think it's really, really important that people put together a strategy for getting the hell out. For the record, I don't have one. If I did, you'd be the second to know. But I don't. But there are a whole lot of smart people that work for (although not necessarily run) our government, and I'm sure that plans are already laying around someone's desk. It's going to take time, regardless. We can't just elect a new Congress and expect them to get people out of Iraq by February. That would be silly. But maybe by February '08 people can start to come home and shake the sand out of their shorts. I hope so.

So back to poker - I've actually played a little this month. After I angered the poker gods by talking about booking small wins I gave most of it back, then reclaimed a tiny bit last night. I'm up for the month. Not much, but up a little. And I finished last month up a little, largely on the back of my trip to Vegas, which was a welcome change. I'm loving the Cap No Limit games on Full Tilt, and there's a long post coming soon as to why I think they're great games for a donk like me, so more poker content coming, I promise. Not that I think I'm any more qualified to babble about poker than about politics - I'm pretty equally clueless on both topics.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Interesting Election night

CNN projects around 11PM that the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives after twelve years of Republican control. It's still too close to call in the Senate, but I don't think the Dems will be able to pull off three more seats, leading to a divided Congress for the first time in a long time, which I don't necessarily think is a bad thing.

So what does it mean that Democrats take control of the House? Well, it means that W is likely to have to find his long-misplaced veto pen, which I think has only been used once in his entire term and a half as President. It also means that the opportunity for retributionary investigations and impechment bullshit could rear its ugly head. I would like to think that if the two houses remain yet divided that would be less of an issue, as the Representatives are stuck working to get re-elected every two years and have less time to get mired in that kind of ugliness than Senators do.

It does mean that Democrats would be in charge of all the committee chairs, and likely those chairmanships would go to long-time Congressmen and women, like the appointment of Nancy Pelosi as the country's first Speaker of the House. Now while this is just the way things are done, it might not be the smartest move, since a lot of the seats being picked up by Democrats are by new-breed conservative Democrats, who look a lot more like the Republicans of 40 years ago than they do Democrats. Heath Shuler is a great example of that, dumping a long-time Republican Congressman from western NC while working on a very conservative platform, supporting gun rights, refusing to debate on Sundays to avoid conflicts with church and other similarly conservative ideals. Now if you'r the Democratic party and you've just gained control of the House on the backs of these new Conservative Democrats, how do you turn around and put old Ultra-liberal Democrats in leadership positions everywhere through the House?

In other news, my earlier decision to run for President was half-joking, but I'm pretty seriously considering a run for Congress in 2008. Right now the incumbent Republican Rich White Guy who hasn't worked a day in years Robin Hayes is still leading dark horse Larry Kissell, but Kissell put up a good race. My district is kinda oddly constructed, encompassing a piece of Charlotte (very metropolitan) and also some very rural areas of the state as well, so the structure of the district is very diverse, and I don't feel like Rep. Hayes listens to people in his district unless they come to him with checkbook in hand. So if he is re-elected, I'll be looking for a campaign manager. And maybe somebody to bury a LOT of embarassing photos of me in various drunken stupors.

Keith Olbermann said it

Here's the text of his special comment from last night. I got nothing that can even come close. I'm headed out in a few minutes to do my part to clean governmental house.

And finally tonight, a Special Comment about tomorrow's elections.

We are, as every generation, inseparable from our own time.

Thus is our perspective, inevitably that of the explorer looking into the wrong end of the telescope.

But even accounting for our myopia, it's hard to imagine there have been many elections more important than this one, certainly not in Non-Presidential years.

And so we look at the verdict in the trial of Saddam Hussein yesterday, and, with the very phrase "October, or November, Surprise" now a part of our vernacular, and the chest-thumping coming from so many of the Republican campaigners today, each of us must wonder about the convenience of the timing of his conviction and sentencing.

But let us give history and coincidence the benefit of the doubt — let's say it's just "happened" that way — and for a moment not look into the wrong end of the telescope.

Let's perceive instead the bigger picture:

Saddam Hussein, found guilty in an Iraqi court.

Who can argue against that?

He is officially, what the world always knew he was: a war criminal.

Mr. Bush, was this imprimatur, worth the cost of 2,832 American lives, and thousands more American lives yet to be lost?

Is the conviction of Saddam Hussein the reason you went to war in Iraq?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the Weapons of Mass Destruction that did not exist?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because of the connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda that did not exist?

Or did you go to war in Iraq to break the bonds of tyranny there — while installing the mechanisms of tyranny here?

Or did you go to war in Iraq because you felt the need to wreak vengeance against somebody — anybody?

Or did you go to war in Iraq to contain a rogue state which, months earlier, your own administration had declared had been fully contained by sanctions?

Or did you go to war in Iraq… to keep gas prices down?

How startling it was, Sir, to hear you introduce oil to your stump speeches over the weekend.

Not four years removed from the most dismissive, the most condescending, the most ridiculing denials of the very hint at, as Mr. Rumsfeld put it, this "nonsense"…

There you were, campaigning in Colorado, in Nebraska, in Florida, in Kansas — suddenly turning this 'unpatriotic idea'… into a platform plank.

"You can imagine a world in which these extremists and radicals got control of energy resources," you told us. "And then you can imagine them saying, 'We're going to pull a bunch of oil off the market to run your price of oil up unless you do the following."

Having frightened us, having bullied us, having lied to us, having ignored and re-written the constitution under our noses, having stayed the course, having denied you've stayed the course, having belittled us about "timelines" but instead extolled "benchmarks"…

You've now resorted, Sir, to this?

We must stay in Iraq to save the two-dollar gallon of gas?

Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

Sir… you have been making this up as you went along.

This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.

Those vaunted founding fathers of ours have been so quoted-up, that they appear as marble statues: like the chiseled guards of China, or the faces on Mount Rushmore.

But in fact they were practical people and the thing they obviously feared most, was a government of men and not laws.

They provided the checks and balances for a reason.

No one man could run the government the way he saw fit — unless he, at the least, took into consideration what those he governed saw.

A House of Representatives would be the people's eyes.

A Senate would be the corrective force on that House.

An Executive would do the work… and hold the Constitution to his chest like his child.

A Supreme Court would oversee it all.

Checks and balances.

Where did that go, Mr. Bush?

And what price did we pay because we have let it go?

Saddam Hussein will get out of Iraq the same way 2,832 Americans have, and thousands more.

He'll get out faster than we will.

And if nothing changes tomorrow, you, Sir, will be out of the White House long before the rest of us can say… we are out of Iraq.

And whose fault is this?

Not truly yours. You took advantage of those of us who were afraid, and those of us who believed unity and nation took precedence over all else.

But we let you take that advantage.

And so we let you go to war in Iraq. To… oust Saddam. Or find non-existant Weapons. Or avenge 9/11. Or fight terrorists who only got there after we did. Or as cover to change the fabric of our Constitution. Or for lower prices at The Texaco. Or… ?

There are still a few hours left, before the polls open, sir, there are many rationalizations still untried.

And whatever your motives of the moment, we the people have, in true good faith and with the genuine patriotism of self-sacrifice (of which you have shown you know nothing)… we have let you go on…

Making it up.

As you went along.

Un-checked… and un-balanced.