Sunday, June 28, 2009

Kim Carpenter's Judo Poker

No, this is not a new form of Texas Hold Em. This was a game created to help support Kim Carpenter as she follows her dream of becoming an Olympic judo athlete. In particular, the rake from the game will help her pay her way to Holland to qualify for the Olympics.

Look, don't expect much sporting detail here. As a sports writer I would be better with a coloring book and a Crayola burnt sienna or perhaps a periwinkle. But her friend John Blowers wanted to help this local girl, so I figured it would be a good way to say thanks for his game last week. The fact that Kim is both sweet and cute and will listen to the details of bluegill fishing, or that I could use what I don't know about judo as excuse to play more poker this week, had very little to do with my decision.
(right... and if you believe that, let me explain the mathematical advantages of a 7-5 offsuit)

Kim has some photos but is having trouble posting them. If she manages, I'll add them to this post. So check back. In the meantime if any of you missed her game and still want to support her Olympic dreams, I can get money contributions to her. Send it to me and I'll pass it on. Or send it to John and he'll pass it on.

Okay, so I went out to the Jason Morris Judo Studio to try the tournament fully expecting that I'd drop a hundred and come home. In the end I got lucky and finished second and then joined a cash game and got lucky again. So my win was over a hundred dollars.

Before the game Ed and I talked fish, especially the pickerel in Galway Lake.

Kim's game was poorly attended so we started with just one table of nine players. This was a bit disappointing, but we took the 20% rake for Kim and upped it to 50% so that gave her the profit of a larger game. Few people could pull me into a 50% raked game, but I guess Kim can.

Also, they agreed on rebuys. Normally I don't like rebuys, but they agreed to allow folks to come in again for $50 and this would boost Kim's profits, so I thought that it would be fine. As it turned out, I never had to rebuy, and so I made a bit more because of that decision.

Along with the poker, Kim managed to collect some fine Italian sandwich snacks and here the low attendance helped. The few of us who were there ate very well indeed. I ate too well, but what else is new?

I was there early and helped John and Fast Eddie Galway set up the chips for the game. In the judo center it is expected that we remove our shoes, and so we did. Then John had us walk in our socks through the parking lot to an outside storage room where chips had been locked.

I was a bit puzzled by this, but John was able to explain mathematically why it was a reasonable activity. I filed this away with why 2-9 off suit is mathematically superior to A-K and why 5-7 off suit wins almost every time. I am honored to keep learning poker math, and now judo customs, from John Blowers and expect if I keep accurate notes to improve my game in both areas.

Fellows arrived. I may be able to remember all of them, but perhaps not. So someone reading this report may like to add in the names of the players I missed.
All guys this time.
But Kim was there to host and smile be nice to us while she raked in half the money we lost. She does not play much poker, but she is getting the idea of how to set up a game.

The players were all fellows who play poker often and they were good competition. Blowers, Fast Eddie Galway, bracelet winner Gary Styczynski, Jason Morris, and I played Chad, Dave, Bill, Hector and one other fellows who all play against one another regularly in an Albany league that has a tournament once a month. They were going to be tough to beat because they knew how each one played.

John played his usual mental banter game of betting rag favorites, often in the dark, and trying to chat us into not watching carefully and then hoping to grab the winning edge n the confusion.
His subconscious added in another trick called, " I'll put in this $25 red chip and take these two $100 green chips as change," but we noticed and made him do the math again.

Nice try Blowers, but if you do that again, we're having Kim take you down to the mat room.

I don't remember too many hands, but I remember my pocket fours, my first big win against Ed. I doubled the blind just on a whim and then the third four flopped. Having bet preflop it was perhaps even harder to put me on the small pocket pair and Ed called my all in bet after the turn produced both straight and flush draws. Since it was early in the action, we were about even chipped and it put me up as eary chip leader.
I know I had pocket kings that went to trips on the flop against Dave, slow played them way too long and let Dave catch an inside straight on the river. That reduced significantly my early lead.
Unlike cash game thinking, tournament strategy suggests we plot to assemble a huge amount of chips. We can't cash out and walk away and say, "Well, I won twelve dollars and drank $50 worth of free Myers Rum" like I can at the El Cortez.
So My decision not to bet on the turn and disguise my strength, hoping that the river would give me the nut full house, and Dave would mistake perhaps his river catch for a good hand, was good thinking, until the river offered both a straight and a flush possibility.
Then I should have called Dave's small bet of $400 rather than raise and get greedy, misread his value bet into my weakness as bluff or two pair, and basically give him a huge chip lead.
That was my worst play of the night.

Afterwards I beat Dave when my K-2 of spades flopped trip kings, and he called my all-in bet with jacks. That gave me enough to stay alive while others pushed each other out. In the final stages of the game, I was small chip guy and Gary was pushing hard to steal blinds with all-in bets while the rest of us moaned and groaned with rag cards that we just did not want to trust even, against what was a possible bluff.
And of course, just about the time someone did call him,Gary started to catch and show some good cards and throughly confuse us.
Once Gary pushed me out off my son Peter's favorite hand (6-9 suited) which is also the hand Greg played in order to be eliminated just short of the money at that big Turning Stone tournament. Gary showed his 6-9 off suit and took in the blinds.

Somewhere in the middle of all this John lost a hand when he held overcards against Bill's pocket eights which went to trips on the turn. To rub it in Bill bulled the case eight on the river for the only set of quads that night.

Dave was conserving his top chip status and waiting for the table to eliminate enough guys to protect him by keeping him in the money. Tournaments have this weird phase when the next guy eliminated gets nothing, and everyone else is guarranteed at least the return of the buy-in.
It was a struggle as I got just rags during that phase, but eventually others went out and my small chip stack was third highest, so I'd not lose money that night.
It is such a strange arrangement for me. I am so much a grinder at limit poker where if I can't win, my goal is to lose less that session. In tournament play losing less does not matter. You can't cash out and move on to some other game where you aren't out chipped. It is all, or nothing. I was lucky.

My best bluff of the night was to take John's favorite 7-5 off suit and when it developed into zip, bet it hard on the river and bluff out Bill, who otherwise would have had me beat. It was fun to then turn over John's hand and announce the bluff.
But my thinking was not so much that Blowers must know the math of this combination, but that my chip stack was just too small, I could not win the pot without betting, and it was time to get a few more chips or go home.

Some luck came again later. Being short chipped as the blinds raced higher, I had to do something so I went in on an ace-4 of hearts and was called by Chad's ace-nine. A four came on the flop and another on the turn. What great luck that was! It put me in second place.
Now I was going to win money beyond the buy-in.

Chad was disappointed but I'd like to mention to my regular poker buddies that no cards were thrown and no "unbelievable" was shouted and there was no grumbling. Whatever disappointment chad felt, he put into a handshake and a "good hand" and moved over to the cash game, while Dave and I played and played and played some hard head to head poker.
Hector was kind enough to shuffle and deal and make sure that we knew who was what blind. I was tired by then. This is my other problem with tournaments. I get tired just when I am called upon for my best play.
In a cash game I can quit; in this game I can't even go to the bathroom.
I had won some chips to play with, some of them by going all in with pocket 3's and having those hold up against A-X. So I went all in with pocket 6's and Dave called me with A-J and caught a J on the turn.
He was happy.
His wife had tried to talk him out of playing tonight so the win would look good when he came home.

Jason Morris was gracious to allow us to use his facility, and generous to join us to play as well. Jason playing poker is like me playing judo. He was so new to the game as not to know the bets, so he needed to get very lucky.
It was good John was there, however, to tutor him with the power of 7-5 off suit. No 2-9 came. Jason was a good sport and was very funny too.

"Aren't any of you guys married?" he asked when he heard how often and how much we all play poker.
"All of us are married," he heard. "But we are not yet characters in a Blowers novel. We don't play that much poker."

It had to be frustrating for Jason, so when he was pushed out of the tournament, he did not know he was supposed to lie and say, "Good hand."
His expression was another classic poker axiom:

"I hate this fukcing game!"

We were glad, however, that as he finished the poker, he did not keep up the competition with a little judo with his new poker pals. His photos announcing his wins are all over the walls of his studio. . So this was celebrity poker in more ways than one.

And Jason quickly learned some nuances of the game. At the cash game he perfectly acted out the John Blowers patented technique of winning poker. it is one of Pokermaster Greg's plays as well.
Jason put his hands over his eyes, mimed putting in all his chips, took away his hands, and shouted gleefully, " Look, look, I win again!"

And then Jason finished explaining this classic Blowers move with yet another:
"That's why I hate this fukcing game!"

So it was good humor all around.

Kim played a bit at the cash game. Not enough to lose back her profit for the trip, especially since we helped keep her stake high enough to stay alive.
This game was like the old Stephentown games I played for quarters with the old guys.
The dealer called any game and put in a dollar ante which would be part of the dealer's first bet. No blinds. I was very tired and I don't much like playing all these odd games, so I knew I would not stay too long, and thought I'd leave losing my $20 buy in in a "low card in the hole is wild and roll your own" stud game, but the final card gave me 5 jacks and I won with that luck a huge pot.

So I played a while and then I left up a hundred or so, depending on how you count giving Kim chips, and full 0f fancy Italian sandwiches and the delightful smiles of this lovely judo champ. I hope she accomplishes her dream. I am honored to be able to help her along in this small way, especially since I helped her at my profit.

I guess we could say, "As you reap so shall you sow," but perhaps it is more like, "When the patron of the arts is a lying theif, the artist can skim from a smiling face."

"Thanks for the invite, John. What can I say? You are instant party, man!"

It is going to be fun watching this movie of yours take off.

And Annie Duke and her negative, insulting TV attitude can just suck my hole cards.
Or perhaps she'd like to bring that arrogant attitude down to the Jason Morris studio and test her skill against a woman of gentle class in another sort of game.
I think we should arrange that.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

greg's game

I woke up so sick I did not think I'd make the poker this week. I did not make lunch with Peter but he brought me a nice Subway tuna fish sandwich. Man, those are really good!

I was so dysfunctional leaving the house that I forgot my wallet. It is hard to come to a poker game without any money. It is the worst place to be asking for a loan. Generally, I never loan money for gambling unless I am ready to never get it back. Greg, however, is more generous and he lent me $100 for the day.

Jerry, Bruce, Phil, Greg, Peter, Bill, and I played.

I think Peter, Phil, Bruce, and Greg left the rest of us with money. I ended up $134 ahead, a very good game indeed. My wins were based on a couple hours of pocket pairs every third hand. I had almost all of them and most went to trips or held up on their own. Jacks came over and over again.

Bruce did very well until one hand at the very end when Bill had a larger full house than Bruce and they were both all-in on a board that hinted at straights and flushes. It was a tough beat. This was not a two pair board where one card made the full house. Each player needed both cards and the full houses were surprises to us watching the action.

Peter seemed to get hit the hardest, but I think he overbet many of his hands and found that no one believed him and that someone had the better hand. I took him once for an all in, but I have forgotten the cards.

I took Phil a number of times by having just a bit better of a hand. On his way home, I took all his chips, calling his all in bet with a club flush draw and catching the club on the river. It was bad poker really, just a lucky win.

I wish the same had happened when Greg made me pay for my royal flush draw which did not come on river. In fact, nothing came so I folded. I held the king and needed four hearts, preferably the queen. Perhaps Greg had it.

Jerry learned the beauty of the seven dollar bet. It is just nicely balance for this game. It is not an overbet. It makes the chasers fold or pay for their cards over the course of the day. It builds a pot without scaring out the weaker hands. It discourages bets in the next round and so often provides free cards, and since it does all of that, no opponent really knows which of those is the goal of the bettor or if it is simply a bluff and none of those goals apply.

I guess I'll have to experiment with ways of answering the lucky seven dollar bet.

I thought it was the most pleasant game at Greg's in a long while with hardly any rule squabbles and only a bit of "unbelievable" angry rants at lucky river cards.
And I needed that.
My migraine head ache stayed in part with me throughout the afternoon, but ti was greatly diminished. And my hand managed to bollocks up a bit of the dealing.

Meanwhile Vegas is moving in the other direction:
(from las vegas advisor)
Go Ahead and Slow-Roll ’em
Wanna go Phil Hellmuth on someone? Then check out Trash-Talk Tuesdays in the Hard Rock Poker Lounge, where players are encouraged to slow-roll losers, berate players who beat them, and generally mouth off with impunity. (Note: These things aren’t tolerated the other six days of the week.)

I did like the new system of starting with eight very different decks all arranged in order like a new deck so no cards can be missing and not noticed if the dealer fans the cards and checks before dealing. I arranged them again for next week when I got home. It only takes a minute.

I also liked my fresh deck of Hawaiian cards I bought when Eliz and I went with Keith and Bernie to the Islands. That was a fine trip! These cards cost about $5 a deck, so I was happy when I opened them to find they were not just a souvenir, but practical as well.

Jo9hn Blowers was on the radio this morning talking about poker and promoting Kim's tournament. Since it is at night, I can play and still make Eliza's graduation. Yippee!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Playing the Bigtime to the party beat with Blowers

navigational note: Most of the orange underlined lines are informational links. You can click on them.

This past Friday John Blowers invited some of Greg's regulars to a party to celebrate his novel
Live on Full tilt: Confessions of a Poker dad moving closer to becoming a movie.

I really looked forward to John Blower's game, but I was nervous anticipating it as well. I had to decide whether to play a hundred dollar or a twenty dollar buy in. I wanted to jump in the higher action, but I worried that my no limit skills were not ready for the tougher competition, especially when John kept telling us that that Gary, who had won a bracelet at the World Tour of Poker, was coming. The game would be our chance to pit our inexperience against a poker celebrity and an opportunity to get squashed across the felt as well.

I became less apprehensive when the Wednesday before the game John had brought to Gregg's game Oak, the movie guy from New Orleans helping to put John's novel up on the big screen. We expected a killer player, but Oak had never played Texas Holdem and asked questions like, "So a full house is three of a kind and what?"
At Greg's we helped John give Oak some experience and a few lessons. John gave good lessons running a bluff chatter while looking at Oak's terrible cards. Unfortunately, John had neglected to tell Oak in the car that he would be running a deceptive chatter of lies and suggesting Oak go all in with nothing, while representing to the table that Oak held almost the nut flush.

"Well, someone might have the queen, but if not, your hand is golden, so you might as well bet as much as you can."

And so there was Oak, having barely processed the combinations of cards, studying some rag offsuit hand and trying to make sense out of Blowers' bluff banter.

Then John made the crucial error of all bluffers. Oak revealed his hand in a manner that let all of us except John know his hole cards. When John started to hyperbanter these cards, we could not be sucked in.

Oak is John's movie guy from New Orleans. He has been involved with Spiderman, Day After Tomorrow,
Jumper, Basic,also has a magazine... He was an interesting guy, but I did not get much time with him at John's party. I regret that.

I regret even more that I did not get much time with Oak's friend Kendra, a perky blond who was just full of fun.
Kendra, who took a train from NYC to join us, is a model/actress who has an acting troupe in NYC with a production called Crazy Head Case.
As John reports it,

"It's a rock opera set in an insane asylum...sort of like the game at my house Friday :)"

My conversation with Kendra focused on her wish to sit in John's daughter's Princess chair.

Hearing her woeful lament, "I really, really want to sit in the Princess chair," I was enticed to respond.
"Well, if you sit in that chair just right with just the right frame of mind for just the right amount of time, you can go through John's mirror into a magical kingdom land.
The unicorns there are just beautiful and skipping down the lane of outlandishly colorful flowers is great fun."
"I sat in a chair like that before, but none of that ever happened."
"Well, you might try clicking your heels together," I suggested, as I looked down at her feet,
" although that might be hard in those sandals.
It is hard to really be a Princess in sandals.
And when the Prince comes to try the lost shoe on on foot of the one and only true Princess.... well..... a sandal fits just about anyone. How could he be expected to find you?

I liked that I could come up with the mirrors and unicorns and multiple literary allusions. It did take me some time. however, to actually name that last fairy tale allusion. I fumbled through "Snowwhite" and "Sleeping Beauty" before someone finally took the heat off with " Cinderella" and by that time perky blond Kendra had drifted off.
I guess I could hardly blame her.

And don't think that simply because Kendra was from NYC and talking about being a Princess that there was anything in a NY city Princess stereotype about her. She was just the opposite of snooty as was everyone else at this party. These were accomplished people, having fun in life, and not taking anything totally seriously, certainly not themselves.

But getting back from fantasy fairy tale thoughts to poker spite of my apprehension, my skill must have been sufficient for this competition because I bought in for a hundred and cashed out at $1119, the largest single session poker win I have ever experienced.
All my fears that after failing to find the fish at the table, I'd find myself starring at him in John's bathroom mirror, without any money left for skipping or unicorns, were for naught. I would not say there was a fish at our table, but I felt in sync with the dance of the game and neither the bracelet winner nor our own pokermaster intimidated me.
I suppose when I do the math my win is no different than coming out with over a hundred after playing Greg's ten dollar buy in game, but it felt different and was quite a thrill. Also, I was surprised that from the beginning I was ahead in chips, and I never dropped below my buy in. Most of that was good cards as opposed to skill, although Greg had one chance to take me down completely and the great ole river card risker played safe and let the waters of the pot run through his fingers.
I don't think the Pokermaster would have done that in a smaller game.
So while most of the winnings were luck, I can take credit for not making the kinds of mistakes that drain pots slowly over time. I played mostly premium hands, and I did not often chase.

My daughter-in-law Julie, when I told her my win was more luck than skill, responded with a chuckled,

"I thought when you guys won at poker, it was always all skill at work; that it was only considered luck when you lost?"

Very perceptive. Julie must have listened to the endless river of bad beat stories that form the trip reports of holdem players.

The truth in no limit is probably that good players ultimately collects a good pile of chips by not losing. That requires skill. It is the cards not played and the lay downs that make for profit.
The nut flops are not too hard to play. If they never come, we go home down chips, but we can consider ourselves winners even at the end of those losing sessions whenever our best play protected us from losing much more.
Sometimes in cards and like simply losing less is the best we can do.

Greg reported that he won $300 and all in three hands without ever initiating an all in bet. I remember his trip eights. They came as a huge surprise.

My two largest wins happened after playing A-J suited. In one I beat my K-J offsuit opponent when a jack hit the turn. In another I caught the nut club flush on the turn. And I had the absolute delight of all poker players; I had lucky boards with plenty of callers.
I took a hand from Jerry when the fourth club took away the power of his small straight and gave it to my king. I ended with the nut flush draw (ace on the board).
I had decided to semi bluff and bet out strongly before the river and perhaps take the hand right there before my flush arrived, using the draw as mere backup. Instead of folding, Jerry raised my fifteen dollar semibluff to thirty.
It seemed I had to call and at least see the river.
Out popped the club.
I went all in. Jerry called. I collected.

And it also helped to be playing against Greg and Jerry who I have played with week after week and without Bruce calling everything down to the river. That gave me some early betting options I would not have had in a limit game or the "kiddie" twenty dollar game and do not often have at Greg's. I gain those options in large part too because it is a hundred dollar buy in game, and not just an easy ten dollars to rebuy. The money means more.

I lost one hand because I did not chop with John. I thought he was kidding. I always chop in the casino, but there the house rakes and that is the rational behind the practice. In an unraked home game, I like the head to head action and there is no mathematical reason not to include a head to head experience every little while. But had I known he really wanted to chop, I'd have done it, even with my A-K.
He remembers my going all in. I remember just raising and having him go all in.
Why he decided to call me or go all in with his 9-2 is more of a mystery. I understand why he wins with it.
It is his son's favorite hand.
He spent a good bit of time explaining how the mathematics supports playing 2-9 against A-K until I felt a bit like Oak, listening to John talk about the power of his hand at greg's the Wednesday before.

Here is how John reports our conversation:

Please know I'm completely kidding about chopping the blinds. I tend to chop, but my jibber jabber about the 9/2 hand is just that. Obviously I called your all in blind and there was no math whatsoever. I was just making a point about chopping and got lucky when I turned over my son's favorite hand and got lucky on the flop.

However, I am not sure what John might say next. I never really know when he tells me some poker related angle whether he is trying to clear up my misconception or to confuse me even further. Perhaps I can learn that jibber jabber poker strategy from him.
I have done something similar in casino limit games when I try to convince my opponents that my card protecting fish is really in charge of why I fold or bet. But John is the jibber jabber crackerjack of poker.

When he turned the favorite 2-9 hand, I groaned that I knew I was beat, as it was the favorite hand I had heard him talk about.
It was destiny he win.
And as predicted he managed to make a pair of nines and beat me.
This was my biggest loss of the night. Had John had more money at the time, my bankroll would have been seriously hurt.

Our table was fairly quiet and focused as is proper for the serious table.

The other table was boisterous, talkative, and attracted three young and beautiful women who joined the party. I could watch them from afar, but my interaction was limited.
Sometimes I felt like I was in the classroom while the physics teacher explained the complicated mathematics of interface optics, I found my attention drawn by the kids in gym class playing baseball on the green, green grass of summer.
I could not really leave the table without busting the game, and since I had won all the money it would have been a great poker faux pas. Finally Jerry made good on his many promises to go home and I got to move, but by then the smaller game was busting up too.
John did move from our table, and joined the party table. As he explains it:

"You noticed how quickly I gravitated to the "kiddie table" once the demographics there changed...I may be a poker player, but I'm also human :) "

I guess John is the type who runs at the first sign of beauty.

Judo champ Kim, who did not play poker, was just there for the party part. She came over and sat right between Greg and I.

This meant that Pokermaster Greg and I had two games going.
One was the hundred dollar buy in poker game to see who could get all the chips.
The other was a contest as to who would be able to hold this young judo champion's attention and chat her up more effectively.
Kim was delightful. We learned a little about judo and we were very careful not to piss her off as wel had been warned. Normally, neither Greg nor I probably have any real reservations about being thrown out of a poker game, but when it might mean we would become airborne from the third floor, well ..............we were polite.

I hear Greg saying as he reads this, "I am always polite."
And I suppose that is the truth.
"Me too, Greg... me too!"

You would have thought that Greg would bring his "all guy" rule from the Wednesday game to this table and just pretend Kim was not there.
Yeah, like that's gonna happen!

Kim is an aspiring Olympic Athlete and you can use her as an excuse to play more poker this Saturday at the Jason Morris Juno Center, 584 Saratoga Road, Scotia NY 12302. There a $100 poker tournament with one optonal $100 rebuy and 20% will be used as a benefit to help her reach for her dream by funding her trip to Holland to compete in the World Competition.

Here is a report of a prior win:



There was a good bit of poetic tension between the activity of judo and physical combat and the looks and personality of this sweet, soft spoken young woman. She was delightful to talk with, and she even listened to why I fish for bluegills rather than cast dry flies for trout.

I expect to go up and support her judo dreams and play in the tournament on Saturday. I don't much like tournament play and I am not very good at it, but I like supporting this young woman. Elizabeth may come along to watch the play as well and then we can explore some Scotia restaurant. If any of you have an interest in making a day of it, let me know.

It is surprising that I could continue to win money at poker while competing with Greg for talking time with this beautiful young, but perhaps I am managing the multitasking skills of my host, John Blowers.
John managed to play at simultaneously at two tables while answering the door, introducing people to each other, playing with some tech equipment, and making fast jokes and dry bluff put ons.
At my retired age it seems hard for me just to accomplish one task, like sipping my coffee without covering my tee shirt with brown staining liquid.
Perhaps there is still hope.
One new trick I learned is in the middle of the party:
I should go into the bathroom and get thoroughly doused with overpowering cologne.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. I wonder how that would work in Vegas.

Kim was the only woman who ever sat at our table. However, because our table was close to the "kiddie" table, I did get to watch the facial expressions of one other graceful beauty who I will call Sarah of the dark hair (although John tells me she has another name.)
One of the best parts of low limit poker is that faces are reveale
d in varied and subtle expressions that might be rare in conversation.
And at the poker table, it is acceptable for even old men to watch the faces of beautiful young woman. This is often of more value than any chip winnings.
All faces have always fascinated me. It is one of the reasons I enjoy riding buses and subways. In Vegas I love watching the faces from all over the world. At that low limit game almost on the sidewalk at O'Shea's, player's can watch all the people walking along Las Vegas Boulevard and be entertained with both faces and body language.
Poker is a random game of money and chips and cards, but it is also a random game of observing strangers.
In Vegas people from all over the world meet and their facial messages are not those you might find at a polite party when you try to mingle and everyone stays rather formal and distant with expressions that more often protect their personalities than reveal anything at all.
Just as poker simulates all aspects of real life, so faces often take on all manner of human emotion in spite of the goal of only showing the poker face.
Sarah of the dark hair smiled delightfully as she played with an occasional gentle laugh. She was quite lovely to watch.

An exciting meeting for me too was meeting Ed, John's brother-in-law, known as Fast Eddie Galway to his regular poker opponents. Within minutes Ed was saying things like:

"You can catch pickerel anytime right off my dock at Galway Lake. Or perhaps you'd like to use my pontoon boat. You should come up and try. Way too many pickerel in that lake. We like them fished out."

Ed is also the only person I have ever met who when I explained that we have decided not to mow our grass at home, said, "Good for you!" and then added suggestions as to how more wild flowers might be encouraged to push out the overpowering grasses.

So I could have lost at poker that night at John's and still been a big winner. And while a retired guy who knows about pickerel fishing, respects wild growing things, and plays poker is not quite such a fantasy experience as young beautiful women who might like passing through magical mirrors, he runs a close second.
Ed may join us at Greg's some Wednesday. I hope so. He seemed a fine fellow.
And I'm not just saying that because of the pickerel. He actually seemed like a steady guy, retired like many of us at the Wednesday table, with perhaps some fresh new stories.

I played next to Geoff, one of John's best friends. Geoff operates a consulting firm:
He was a good poker player frustrated by no good hands. He too lives up in Galway, not far from Ed. Geoff brought to the party one of the best dips I have ever eaten, a concoction of chicken wing sauce and chunks of white meat. He said that the girl ( his sister I think) who had made this chicken wing tasting concoction told him if anyone liked it, she wanted a date.
Somehow I did not think she had an old fat guy in mind when she imagined that scenario, but I offered to take her to Vegas if she'd cook more of this. I even offered to get a permission note from my wife.
It wasn't like Geoff jumped at my suggestions, but I did manage to get the recipe through John:

Here's what the recipe says, perhaps it is easier than what I do:

1 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken tenders*
10-12 oz Frank's Hot Sauce ( Buffalo Chicken Wing)
1 jar Marie's Blue Cheese Dressing
1 brick cream cheese
8 oz bag shredded taco cheese

Put chicken in baking pan and cover with hot sauce. Bake 20 mins at 350
degrees. Cool and break apart with two forks, shredding the chicken.*

In 9x13 inch baking dish spread softened cream cheese on bottom. Pour the
chicken sauce over cream cheese then swirl on Blue Cheese dressing.
Sprinkle top with taco cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with tortilla chips or Frito Dippers (my preferred.)

*I use 4 boneless chicken breasts. I boil it then let it cool (it has a
bit of a smell). Cut breasts into 2 inch wide chunks then take your two
forks and pull out the shreds of chicken. Mix the entire bottle of Hot
Sauce with all the chicken. It can be divided and/or frozen at this point.
What I brought to your house was a half-batch. The cream cheese and taco
cheese can also be frozen (separately); the dressing hold in the fridge.

My sister usually does hers in the slow cooker all day and it has more
juice so pulls apart easier.


In addition to Geoff's chicken wing flavored dip, John put out some lasagna and a fine array of drinks, chip dip, vegetables and other tasty food We were well fed and watered.

My winnings were not limited to money. John splashed a pot I won with this book: Charles Shoten's No Limit Life. It is a good companion to Larry Phillips' Tao of Poker as it offers ten ways of thinking about poker and life that promise to defeat the "thought terrorists" and fundamentally make us happy, focused poker players and people.
It comes at a time when I am thinking about these issues of patience and kindness and of how to leave anger and move into a more peaceful and celebratory experience in my games and in many parts of my life. So I will read it along with Thich Nhat Hanh's book Anger and see what I am able to learn.

I was ready to win a shirt as well when bracelet winner Gary Styczynski
splashed the pot with one of his shirts.

Gary and his partners decided to create a line of tee shirts that reflected violent and gory movies and the idea seems to have caught on, so that they are selling well.
The name of the company is Bloody Aces so a shirt with the logo of aces in a pool of blood, will be quite a lot of fun to wear to Vegas. It would certainly spark some conversation at the poker table.
Rather than splash an already flopped pot, Gary just decided to pass a shirt to everyone at the table.
Gary obviously had been having a lot of fun with this bizarre line of clothing. When he talked about it, he was so entertaining that I could imagine him with a stand set up on Freemont street, selling the tee shirts and bantering with the visiting crowd.
I had expected a serious poker player who rarely cracked a smile, and instead I met an animated story teller, a fast and frequent talker who reminded me of the best of poker tables in Vegas, and of the reason I play this game.

The juxtaposition of these pot splashes might be a way to define the delightfully mad tone of John's poker party, a place where the pot might be splashed with a book to create gentle people who have transcended violence or even angry thoughts, and the next hand followed up with graphic tee shirt celebrations of classic slasher movies.

Whatever the symbolism, I did not really want more value splashed into that particular pot.
I held A-9 and Greg held A-10.
Greg had been making small pot building bets as if he had a pocket pair.
Two aces were on the board by the turn. I decided to go all in to see if I could grab the pot right then rather than wait until Greg tried a similar semi bluff or push a stronger hand after the river.

Greg thought a long while.

"Do you have a full house?" I asked, reminding him that I was representing a full house in my bet, reminding him that it was a possibility on the board, reminding him he had better fold if he did not have one. (He claims that had nothing to do with his decision)
Had I bet just a hundred, he would have called, but we both had ab0ut three hundred in front of us, and I had not bluffed all night.
He turned the ace-10 over in front of him.
"Is that a fold," I asked as if I was ready to just toss my cards and gather in the pot.
"Yes," he said is a whisper so soft that I thought he might be able to back out of it.
"Sorry, are you sure you are folding that hand?" I asked again.
"It is a fold," he said definitively.
Had Gary splashed the pot with a Bloody Aces tee shirt, that might have been enough incentive for Gregg to take a shot and call. And while it would have been such fine symbolism for Gregg to win $300 and a Bloody Aces tee shirt while my trip aces bled all my winnings away, I was much happier to skip that bloodbath and rake in a bit more profit.

When Greg folded his A-10, I could have just tossed my cards and picked up the pot without showing. But I had not showed cards this weak all night, nor indicated that I might be ever bluffing. I intended with all these winnings to play tight for the rest of the evening and not risk them again this way, so this was the hand to show a semi bluff and encourage the guys to pay me later for really powerful hands not bluffed, but similarly bet. As it turned out, I did not have another hand that I pushed with an all-in bet. But perhaps I got paid on strong but lesser bets.

Gary did not end up being as formidable as opponent as he might have been for us old, retired, inexperienced players.
It was not that he was distracted or played poorly. He just got a run of nonproductive cards and gradually the small bets that might have set him up with nice pots simply drained his funds and then drained those funds Blowers had left at out table when he deserted the serious poker to indulge more poetic party pleasures.
And Gary was in the party too as much as he was in the poker, so he did not play the whole night with us.
Delightful from the beginning until the end, this game did for me what I want a poker game party to do. It introduced me to interesting strangers brought together with something common interest who party together.
Other parties have Charades or Truth or Dare. We have poker.

And it was refreshing as well to have an entire night go by without some long winded harangue about some obscure rule details or long winded justification of the minutia of past hands. That did not happen. Even the rule Czar was rather restained both about early turn overs and about river losses.

John says, My life is a bit fragmented and it's fun to have my various worlds unite on the felt.

While my own life is not fragmented at all just now, it is perhaps at times a dull old guy life, so meeting strangers around this game rejuvenates me.

It gave me a place to play at facing randomness with people who were not dead serious, but still playing a good game.
I have been worried that moving from limit to no limit in Vegas might lose the joy I have of the interaction of strangers facing randomness and on a bit of lark at the same time. However, I can see that I am ready to play some low level game no limit. I am sorry that Excalibur has chosen to replace their electronic room with live dealers. I loved those Poker Pro games. But perhaps I can find something in chips that I can manage.

I keep arguing in the Vegas discussion boards with people who say they don't like the PokerPro machines because they want to interact with the other players. They confuse machine dealing with being at home playing on line. The players are right there, closer and more accessible than at a traditional table. Also there is no dealer to jump authoritatively into every conversation.

I'll play them at Four Winds, New Buffalo Michigan this winter and in Montreal if I ever manage a trip there.
On my last trip at the dealerless table I met a fellow who told me all about the games in Montreal and another who recommended I read How to Dominate $1 and $2 No Limit Texas Holdem by Sam O' Connor.
I bought the book and am just starting it. Perhaps it will help me before my Vegas trip in early winter.

And now I have a new bankroll for that trip.
And so I am really jonesing to go there.
I'll be harder than ever for Elizabeth to live with.

I know I missed reporting on many of the party goers and poker players. Sorry. My memory fades and my interactions were limited as well. Slink, for example, was there but his quiet self. I don't know how he did in the end. He played the other table.

Thanks again, John. Good luck as this novel morphs into movie. It is exciting and if it all makes you a rich celebrity, it could not happen to a better man. Perhaps your next 2-9 all-in bet will be at a thousand dollar buy in game just a limo ride away from the premier.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Eleven Hours of poker

With less than an hour break for lunch, Greg sponsored an eleven hour game yesterday with three sessions of poker. We started at one and played until midnight as different people came and left at different times. We cashed out and started over twice. It was great to see some of those in the group who we rarely see in the daytime. And then, just as we were about to quit, John Blowers called and wanted to stop by with Oak who he was getting at the airport. I'll bet Greg did not expect to see the day when players would fly in to play at his house.

Of course, we expected some bracelet winning, well experienced player who would take us down. Instead we welcomed Oak who was brand new to the game, so green that he needed the term "full house" explained.

We let John help him. That was really fun. John would talk this banter to him, trying to help him play his cards and at the same time bluff to us as to what he held. This was really funny.

I lost in this section partly to a gut shot draw that John used to take one of my all-in bets.
John is amazing.
He put me on hands perfectly. That time he put me on pocket 8's or 9's and I had the 9's. That is a skill I don't have even a small part of.

In the middle session Chuckmonk came with food and beer and his general good nature. For a while Greg, Charlie and I played. I liked playing with three. It seemed easier. I think he left some money with us.

Bruce did not leave any with us this week. He left with a profit. Peter left with a small profit the first session but with nothing in the second. Greg lost money. That is rare. the Pokermaster actually having to pay to play.

Silver, the rule czar, came and lost money. He really more enjoys finding every error or irregularity or ridgedly enforcing each correct playing pattern. and he enjoys debating the fine details of each, reasoning out his position until anyone who dares to point out anything esle just tires out. Perhaps that is his table strategy.
There were plenty of irregularities to keep Poker Czar Jerrry occupied this week including a flop that included two fours of clubs. Apparently one of the Colorado Belle decks did not have a three of clubs and instead had two four of clubs.
Perhaps now I can get people to actually check the new decks before they use them.
Nah. that ain't gonna happen.
In this case Phil had a high hand with the fours so I surrendered the pot.

Each of us has our own set of favorite patterns that we like kept as rules, and Jerry likes to collect all of these and make them all his rules. He is then the enforcer, or failing to manage enforcement he becomes the "rule nag."
Greg generally stays out of the fray, but this week Greg came out with two of his pet peeves:

Don't cover your cards.
Don't deal so that you see the cards before the rest of us.

Slink offered his favorite pattern of randomly assigned seats. Generally, we sit whereever.

Bruce has yet to get Greg to stop squeaking the trays across the table so that we all cringe when he goes all in.

Mike was annoyed that people left with winnings. He prefers a game where everyone play the full time unless they lose, more like a tournament. We allow coming and going at will like the casino cash games. Play when you can.
I think Mike misses the old tournament games, but they were so hard to make happen as few people could commit to long stretches, no one much liked coming and losing a hand and going home, and few showed up on time. It was hard to determine who was playing. Chips were more difficult to arrange before the game and often we ran out of what we needed. So most of us who are hosting have evolved into this game.

Jerry added his new rule, "don't be rude" this week.
This was the most ironic rule of the year.

We definitely need a sense of humor to play at the Greg Casino.

Last week I lacked that, and I was tired and playing very badly. This week I did tire, but I seemed to manage to play well nonetheless. I did get some fine cards and exceptionally good flops. I had four flopped straights which all held up to win.

I slow played flopped trip tens when head to head with Greg and got more money on the river after two rounds of checking around. He had poocket kings and never bet them up very big.

No quads this time. Peter took me down when I had a king high heart flush and he had a straight flush.

I had a fine time except for my hand acting up again. coffee spilled down my front as did some of our snacks. I fumbled and broke one of Ann's drinking glasses. I dropped and fumbled chips.
However, I seemed to be able to deal cards much better than last week when I got so frustrated with my performance I just wanted to go home. I was in the middle and that helped. Also, instead of ruffling as much as I would like, I do the more traditional shuffle all the while I wait for the cards. So I drop fewer cards.

Once, when it was my deal, Mike Karp dealt out a flop, but I caught it in time. Charley was mad and wanted to bet the flop Mike dealt. Luckily the cards were of very distinct colors. This error is one of the problems with each of us dealing our own decks.

Sunday Blowers has a game at his place to celebrate progess on the movie. A few of us will go and play. I am looking forward to that.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Curse is Lifted

Returning to Foxwoods on the Yankee Trails bus, I experienced some really fine poker. Soft tables coupled with good cards and fine luck let me leave with $229 profit, the first really huge win in a long, long while.

I played 4-8 because there were seats open when I arrived and it was a wait for the 2-4. After lunch I played it again although I put my name on the 2-4 list. I found the players very bad until the last hour.

In the morning I got great cards and bad flops so I was down $40 in no time. Then things turned around. The great thing was that so many people bet so many poor and third best hands that when I did have good cards, I got paid.
Then in each case after about two hours I stopped getting paid and found people folding as soon as I raised. That tells me I need to think more about hit and run in poker and not play such long sessions.

I went on the bus with Jimmy Morey who turned 57 today. Although we live just a mile from one another, over the last few years we just don't seem to get together. I am hoping that changes now and we find things to do together. We had so many stories and people to catch up on that there was no time with conversation and stories on the way up. On the way back we watched Deja Vu with Denzel Washington, a movie that was no doubt over the heads of most of the elderly riders, but fascinated me as I love stories of time travel. They did too much car chase scenes and too few tying up the loose ends of the time travel ideas, but it sure kept my attention the long ride back. we had a fine driver whose name escapes me. A Black fellow (Bobby?)who was so polished and finally one who picked a movie that respected our intelligence. Some don't even care enough to bring a film for the ride back home. It sure is appreciated on dark ride home.

Quite a bargain using a $10 coupon that came in Yankee Trails email. Booked on line the trip cost $15 and offered a free $16 buffet. A good deal.

I drank a bit of coffee and amaretto in the morning and a bit of Myers rum in the afternoon, so I really got my money's worth and had such an easy time of it winning money.

It was a while to get back from my earlier losses in the morning, but I went to lunch ahead $117.
One of my best hands was Q-3 of hearts in the big blind that flopped two hearts, turned the flush and won me a fine pot.

The buffet was not as good as usual. The cod fish batter has suffered a set back. Soggy. Too bad that was my favorite. The chili just looked dried out. Another favorite. The beef looked overcooked and grisly.
But there were good bits and bites. Always enough to eat. Nice fresh cut onions for my salad. Tasty bit of chicken breast. Great chocolate chip cookies and iced cream for dessert.
We met some neighbors while we ate. I remember the woman from Little League here with Frank years ago.

I sat down in the afternoon and waited for the blinds, watching the players. Then I moved my seat just as the big blind came to me, and because I was new, they let me go and I saw 2 other hands before I had the big blind.
when I was dealt cards, my hand in the big blind was A-A.
Everyone called except one. I raised the big blind. Everyone stayed. When it got half way around the player I'll call Kid Fish asked, "Who raised?" and drew attention to the fact that I had raised the big blind. These folks had not played with me before, so I explained it by saying,
"Hey, it is my first hand. Ya gotta raise your first hand"
I don't know how many believed me, but when the flop came up Jack-rag-rag I bet my aces again hoping that they would believe me. Only half the table believed me.
Turn was nothing important. I bet again and this time there were three.
The river was nothing, so I checked, one guy checked and Kid Fish bet into me. I called figuring my aces were busted, the other guy called as well. Kid Fish had a pair of Jacks with a five kicker.
I showed my aces and the last guy just folded. Incredible! What did the kid think I had to raise and bet and bet? Well, he looked at me and said,
"You said that you just raised because it was your first hand." as if I had lied to him and his feelings were hurt.
"Well, " I said, " I do always raise my first hand......if the hand is pocket aces."

The kid entertained us all afternoon while he lost pot after pot. He would be so dumbfounded when someone would beat his hand and always question why they played certain things. I remember one time when Statistics Man called caught a pair on the river and beat the pair of eights that Fish Kid had been betting. On the board was one card short of a straight and four other cards higher than the eight. Fish Kid bet anyway.

Of course, my raise on the Aces could be debated. With everyone in the hand I was not the favorite to win. Had I been playing mathematical players I might easily have cut my own throat by giving them enough pot odds to keep calling draws they might otherwide fold after a flop with a smaller pot. But this bunch was not folding draws, or even pairs. So it was a good bet, putting a good bit of money in the pot. I was fortunate the aces held up.

Statistics Man also made some of the most ridiculous plays. He was so busy writing down each hand on this set of forms he brought and telling us the statistics that he did not take time to play very well. I beat him time and again. Even when he won a hand, he often did not get as much as he might have had he bet as he should.

Finally, for a good while there was Granny. Granny was a stubborn lost in space player who liked to raise for no reason and who often did not seem to know it was her turn. She played three to my right and one time the action went all the way to me before she acted. She had missed her turn. I kept talking about that so that folks paid attention and when we got a new dealer quietly asked her to keep tabs on Granny and see that she acted in turn and that the entire table did not jump in ahead of her. That worked. Granny told me I was such a considerate man and had such a good sense of humor. I laughed a lot at this game. These players were very funny. The worst raise I saw Granny make was when she held K-8 and raised after the flop when there was no king or eight there. I found out about another bad play when I won a pot with a trips and any ten would have made a straight. Granny had folded her ten not seeing the straight and after I won and remarked that I was happy no one had a ten, she told me she had folded hers and missed the straight. I thanked her.

The rest of the table could play, but only two were tricky. Solid Rock guy played for almost two hours and hardly made a bet. He complained a bit of bad luck. A bit later I had a good draw and missed it on the river when Solid Rock Guy and I were head to head. It was a small pot and I thought a bet might steal it. Solid Rock guy said, "Well, I have a pair but I think you have me beat." and folded. Another time he asked if another player contemplating betting had aces up as well and they might split. The other player had trips but did not take the hint and make a bet. Sure enough Solid Rock Man had the aces up.

After a couple Myers rums I did have s0me fun joking with the players. Some were so stiff it took a lot to warm them at all.

Only about half the dealers were attentive to what was happening. That is very frustrating. I go and pay a rake so I don't have to watch the game and catch mistakes and explain them. One dealer in the morning kept misreading hands. I keep my winners close to me and my fingers on the cards until the others are mucked and the money is coming my way. But is is nicer not to have to watch all those details.

On the other hand there is no questions of or fighting about rules. This time a woman brought up the rule that only Hold Em related materials can be read at the table while playing. A Chinese guy had a book in Chinese. The cover was Chinese too except for two English words, "Sex Shop" Well, he did not give up his book, and the floor was not called, but had she really been bothered by it, we could have gotten a definitive answer easily.
He was a pretty good player and used the book to entertain himself between payable cards and also whenever Fish Kid decided to take a long, long, long time to decide acting as if he were on television and playing no limit.

I was dealt 10-3 in the small blind. Everyone was in this pot. So I tossed a chip on top.
The flop came 10-10-6. I checked and the fellow next to me bet. Some called and I called. The turn gave a blank. Same betting pattern. On the river I had not made any improvement. There was not even a pair on the board to cancel out my poor kicker. I checked and again the fellow next to me bet. One guy called and I called last and reluctantly saying I supposed I was beat. The guy turned over a pocket pair of jacks. Second guy folded and I showed my trip tens. Jack guy got very disgusted and left the table.
I figured that any raise on my part would have announced trip tens. There was nothing developing in straights or flushes so I did not want anyone out of the hand. What I don't get is all day, whenever it flopped a pair, no one took seriously that anyone staying in the hand ought to have at least trips. They would be so flabbergasted when trips would be turned at showdown.

I won a second time with pocket aces. These I raised preflop and bet every hand after that and yet I was called by two players including Fish Kid.

After a couple Myers rums I did have s0me fun joking with the players. Some were so stiff it took a lot to warm them at all. One woman had her socks rolled so tight that her face had become part of the rigidity. I worked and worked at her, but rarely could get a smile. Her answers to any kidding were serious crabs. I did not see her smile until she left with her two racks of chips. As she packed up what probably was a $300 win, she said she had to leave to catch her bus, so I asked her if having done so badly at the table, she was not short bus fare and needed us to pitch in a few coins.

About two years ago an old fellow showed up with a powder blue Laughlin hat. He seemed to know quite a few people and made the rounds of the tables talking, so when he was at my table, I engaged him in conversation. We told a few tales of Laughlin and he told me that in the Colorado Belle gift shop he had found this hat for $2. Well, I got my own powder blue hat this time and brought it along. I saw the fellow pass by and went over to the table where he was playing.
"Are you the guy?" I asked tapping the brow of my hat.
"I'm the guy" he answered.
"Well," I said, " I got my own now only it cost me $2.50."
He laughed and said, " God Bless you."

.Jimmy quit ahead left with a good bit on his slot play, something called a Popcorn machine. Great for his birthday. Let It Ride and Three Card Stud tables were pretty crowded, he reported.

Well, it was a great trip and I look forward to going again. It is a long bus ride, but was well worth it this time. After all those games up the Mississippi and in Vegas and Laughlin it was such a relief to be in these games, much easier by comparison.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Burden Lake Game

Well, we had a very successful gathering here for a few hours of poker. We started session one at about ten thirty on Sunday morning and ended session three at 3:30 AM Monday. Fortunes were won and lost and won again. I was down most of the day, but recovered to clear $42 of profit.

We had two tables, one downstairs and one upstairs. I banked and managed the downstairs one and Greg banked and managed the upstairs. My banking never came out right (does it ever?) but shortfall in the first session was made up with overage in the second, so that seemed very fair. Peter banked for a bit and he came out right on the money.

The mix of players was delightful. My nephew from Buffalo came for a couple nights and met his brother-in-law Barry from Connecticut. John Blowers, author of Life on Full Tilt brought his latest Poker Pro magazine column. Son Peter came and passed around grandson Casey who thought the entire affair had been arranged to amuse him. Peter's friend Cassidy and Ivan really started this game with their suggestion Charlie Chuckmonk Town, the beer brewing fisherman from Troy brought me a few samples from his latest batch. Neighbor Ron came with his chili to play "just a few hours" and stayed for almost the entire event. Gail Gregory got back from Florida in time to win just too many racks of chips. Two of the Delmar highschool chums, Silver and Slink came to keep us honest. And of course, Pokermaster Greg came and banked the upstairs game, so I did not get to play against him except for a couple hours at the beginning and the end.

Memorable hands for me were two quads that won a bit of money and then a nice rush of good cards in the last session into the morning.

Ivan played an entire hand blind and ended with a full house.

Blowers writes:

My favorite part was when we got four handed briefly and I isolated Gregg
with a preflop raise when he was the dealer. He burned a card and I said
"Wait!", then pushed out a sizable bet in the dark before he dealt the
flop. The flop came 10 6 4. He was clearly flummuxed by my action and,
after a while, folded A/9 face up. I showed 7/2 and declared "the kiddie
game is down the stairs" (a takeoff of Mike Matusow's famous WSOP line "the
kiddie game is down the street").

Well, randomness prevented Blowers from playing us downstairs kiddies or we would have showed him a bit of "death on tilt." But I sympathize with his love of tricking the Pokermaster. Don't we all love to do that? One of my lifetime retirement goals is to flummox Greg.
One of my favorite hands with him was early in the morning when we had only one table. I went all in with aces full and Greg called "my bluff." Sweet.

We did draw in session two for random seating places, but it did not really mix us up much. Just a couple changes. Players could have exchanged seats, and a couple did, but few wanted to move. Greg and I were stuck in our respective places so we did not get to encounter one another except at the beginning and at the end.

I guess I had the best time I have had at any game. I just felt pretty relaxed, and I get a bit stressed when I run a party. The food seemed to work out fine, but I could have used one more pizza and the chicken soup needed a label. Ron brought some great chili. It disappeared very fast. My tuna salad pleased many, but I thought it bland until Chris suggested I add some of the slice black olives and that was really good.

Drinks seem to go well. Thanks to all who brought them. And thanks for moderation, folks. I did not have to worry a bit.

Mixed in the breaks were plenty of fishing, building, beer making and gambling stories. Folks got a long very well and seemed patient with one another for the most part.

We missed regulars Wild Bill and Robin, who generally do come to Burden Lake, as well as Bruce and Phil who don't come this far to play but play every Wednesday. And we missed seeing Peter's old Pal Kelsie. She stood us up. I was looking forward to her banter. And we hope to see more of you who come occasionally on the next occasion.

I'll add in more impressions and favorite hands on this blog post as I get feedback from other players.

Chris, Barry, Peter and I had a fine omelet and bacon for breakfast and told lots of family stories before the long distance travelers helped me jump Elizabeth's dead car battery and took off for home and work and responsibilities.