Friday, January 04, 2008

Conversations with Saunter

Context: I am describing some action that occurred in the India vs Australia test match going on at the moment. I'd say the cricket education is going well.

GarthmeisterJ: Looks like we missed out on another wicket.
GarthmeisterJ: Could have been given either way, but looks like it was out.
Saunter: stupid umps
GarthmeisterJ: That's my girl!
Saunter: ::kisses you and starts yelling 'fuck' a lot like you do, too

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sav Rocca!

This is why it's fun having punters in the NFL who used to play Aussie Rules Football.


For those who can't see the clip in an RSS reader, here's the link to the clip.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Thanks! & Vegas Trip Report 3: Tourney Time (Which Way to the Venetian?)

Mmmm, I loves me some of the New Year Smell. While the "Holiday Period" can be fun, it can also be somewhat hectic. Pulling aside December for a fresh batch of January seems like a good idea to me.

Many thanks to those who wished me Happy Birthday, and I credit you all with inspiring my picks and helping me take down Pauly's Pick'em Pool.(apparently I also finished in 1010th place amongst all people picking on ESPN, placing me in the 99.7th percentile... which means absolutely nothing). I do have to give myself a lot of credit for refusing to second-guess myself and switch my Atlanta and Chicago picks, though Daddy sure wishes I did. If I had to pick one habit of mine that could be removed, it would be my Chronic Procrastination. If I had a second habit of mine that could be removed, I think it could possibly be Second-Guessing/Out-Thinking myself. Limited not only to choosing the winner of NFL contests, it's an ailment that affected many aspects of my life, including the Pokery one.

I have resisted writing a 2007 write-up/2008 goal-setting post; I usually sniff haughtily at the concept of New Year's Resolutions, but I have found myself (once again) musing about my poker game and other aspects of my life. It's possible I'll set myself some goals for the coming months, and it's not beyond the realms of possibility that I'll even post something regarding them in this space. Maybe I'll do that in February, just to be a contrary bastard. That's what I do best.

With no further ado, here's part Three of my most recent Vegas Adventure, which (in all probability) exactly no one is clamouring to read, besides the delightful Saunter. I'm soldiering on for two reasons: 1) to stick it to the the Great Demon Procrastination, and 2) so I have some record somewhere of what the hell happened for the rest of the weekend.


I was late waking up Saturday, which wasn't a shock since I collapsed into bed at 7:30am that morning. I had instructed Saunter to not bother getting me up too early, as all I wanted to do was get some brekky in me before heading to the Venetian for the tournament. I finally arose with about an hour before cards would be in the air, and hurriedly got myself together so we could leave the hotel. Here is a bulleted list of what happened between leaving the hotel room and receiving my first hand in the tournament:

  • I decide that we should head to Denny's for brekky, before heading to the Venetian
  • When we are almost at Denny's I decide that a potential wait to be seated, plus time to eat, plus time to get to the Venetian, might be cutting it too close. So, to the Venetian first!
  • My plan for getting to the Venetian: head to the Monorail. I can't recall exactly where the Venetian is, so that should tell me. (Also: I have no sense of direction. )
  • Zooming through Harrah's to the monorail, we are just too late for a train. Though I don't know if it is going in the correct direction, so no matter.
  • Consulting the monorail map, we discover the Venetian is served by this same monorail station. Oops. Guess it was lucky we didn't jump on that last train.
  • Racking my brain, I guess that the Venetian is to the South of our current position.
  • Saunter and I fly Southward down the strip, dodging through crowds like demons.
  • After heading South for a few blocks, Saunter spies the next monorail station. We have not passed the Venetian. Translation: the Venetian is in the other direction.
  • Saunter and I fly Northward up the strip, dodging through crowds like demons.
  • Turning the corner past Denny's we see... the Venetian.
  • Have I mentioned that I have no direction sense yet? I have no direction sense.
  • We race into the casino, which thankfully has the card room right near where we entered.
  • Huffing and puffing, I line up behind Iggy and Johnny Hughes to get my Venetian card, and then register for the event.
  • I spy Mike, who is taking side bets for Tournament Horses. I hurriedly pick mine, since I had not thought of who I wanted beyond Otis. To round out my field I pick Waffles, before remembering that I wanted to pick Miami Don - so I make the Don for Waffles switch.
  • That was a good switch I made.
  • I get my registration, just as the tables begin seating. I head off and find mine, with Saunter in tow.
  • As I seat myself, I realise that I am about to pass out from lack of blood sugar.
  • Saunter offers to hunt me down some coffee and food for me. I profess my eternal love for Saunter.
  • Shuffle Up and Deal!
Some people might wish to spend their pre-tournament time meditating and getting focused. Some people may employ some kind of Procedure. Me? I get lost on the Strip, and don't eat. Advantage: people who are not me.

I had an interesting first table, with a couple of "friends of bloggers" who were lovely people, along with Karol and Linda, amongst others. Linda doubled up early, almost busting a friend of Pauly's. Linda's AJ was victorious versus AJ when all the money went in on an AA22 board... a J hit on the river, allowing dozens of people to make "live poker is rigged" jokes.

Karol was being very pushy, and got me to lay down AKs with overcards and a nutflush draw when I blanked on 4th and decided I wanted to hang around rather then get it in early. After some bustings Iggy and Schecky made their way to our table, which made things fun. I made a big laydown, getting away from AK when Karol and Schecky got it in with JJ vs AA (yay me!). Schecky also informed me that I was the best poker player from the Southern Hemisphere in the tournament (I'm pretty sure there wasn't a "second best") causing me to bellow in triumph... which also scared off our cocktail waitress. Whups.

At about this time Bacon Bikini Mary showed up, with The Hat[tm], which was an exciting moment for me. Also at about this time I saw that I was getting very short. And there were antes in play. Which meant it was time to steal. Steal, steal, steal. Then I stole some more. I re-stole for good measure, when I sensed weakness. All this meant I all of a sudden had a decent-ish stack.

Which was when I ran QQ into Mary's AKo. And then I could no longer steal.

On my way out of the tournament area I had a nice chat with California April's Dad (I had spoken to him the evening before at the MGM), who asked me if I had busted, meaning I got a free chance to moan about losing a coin flip. As I walked out I remarked to Saunter that he was lovely guy to ask after me. As it turns out, he picked me in Mike's sidebet pool. Sorry, California April's Dad!

Once back at the IP, it was time for a nap. I was pretty zonked out, and curling up for a couple of hours seemed like a good idea. Once I came to I jumped into the bathroom for another shath (or bower, if you prefer). All of a sudden I decided that the perfect tonic for my current fragile state was some Indian food. Only problem was that I had no idea where in Vegas to get decent Indian. My solution? Send text messages to every poker blogger in my phone, whether they were in Vegas or not.

Various wonderful people came back with quick (negative) replies, except for Joe Speaker, who informed me that Gaylord's at the Rio was the go. I discussed it with Saunter, and I wasn't sure whether I wanted to zap over to the Rio or stay on the strip... though if I wanted Indian, that sounded like the plan. Special credit goes to Donkey Puncher, who was in Des Moines at the time, but still was able to reply to me. Our exchange went as follows:

[Me]: "Where do I find a good Indian restaurant in Vegas?"
[DP]: "Don't you mean Native American?"
[Me]: "You text tomato, I text tomato."
[DP]: "Looking for a reservation at the reservation?"

Advantage: DP.

That's about the time when Saunter finally gave in, and said that maybe it would be a good idea to look in the magazine in the hotel room. You know, the magazine with things like restaurant listings. And maps to those restaurants.

Once again professing my eternal love, we quickly leafed through the options at hand, and settled on Tambla, a short distance down the strip. In no time we were out of the IP and down to Tambla, enjoying a fine Indian meal. Despite Saunter talking me down from ordering half the menu (I only ordered 1/3 of it) we had plenty of food left over, which I gleefully self-boxed up in the container provider by our waiter. I had no idea if I would be in the mood for cold Indian food later on that evening, but why die wondering?

Heading back in the IP-Venetian direction, I received a text from Penner the Younger, telling me that he was in the house, and that he had money for me (a loan repayment). I was overjoyed since a) Penner the Younger is a nice guy, and b) I had totally forgotten about the money. So after dumping off the leftovers in our room at the IP, Saunter and I zapped back over to the Venetian where I renewed acquaintances with Penner the Younger and accepted his loan repayment.

Wandering back to the card room, I noted three things: 1) it was Final Table Time, 2) Miami Don had made the final table but had just busted, and 3) Otis was still alive with a healthy stack. Go me! Checking in with Mike, I noted that I was a chance for a money finish, which I was pretty stoked about.

Heading to the Sportsbook bar, Saunter and I knocked back a few drinks and chatted to Irish Jim, Speaker, and Betty, amongst others. A little later I offered to help Pablo ferry drinks back to the final table area, when I noted that all of a sudden it was Heads Up: Rooster vs Otis. Racing back to the Sportsbook I informed the masses there of the situation, and we all scooted back to the tourney.

As the heads up match played out I once again conferred with Mike. Good news: in essence I was free-rolling for first. If Otis won, I would win outright, but if the Rooster won I would chop with Mike himself and Penner the Elder (all due to my swapping Waffles for Don!).

It seemed over quickly to me, and when the dust had settled the Rooster was Victorious, and I was chopping up first. All up I was happy to pocket the Benjamin and change with Mike and Penner the Elder; after all, Mike had organised the whole thing, and it turned out that Penner the Elder had also picked me amongst his horses. How could I complain about splitting the spoils of victory under those circumstances?

Once everyone had recovered from the tourney result (congrats Rooster, and thanks Falstaff for organising it all!) the communal decision was: back to the IP! We stood around and drank for a while, before a mass stampede clued me into the fact that it was party time in Change100 and Pauly's suite. Being the kind of guy I am, I invited myself along, chilling out with some fine folks and enjoying some Train Wreck.

A little while later we headed back down to the casino floor. I was hoping to maybe play some Pai Gow, but there were no free seats to be had. Shrugging my shoulders, I introduced Saunter to the the Second Best game in town: sweating Joe Speaker playing Pai Gow.

As previously mentioned, Joe Speaker is a man who loooooves to squeeze his cards in Pai Gow. His method, essentially doing it as slowly as humanly possible, not only amps up the suspense, but increases the time taken for a hand to be played. Which means more drinking time. Win Gow!

In my altered condition, watching Joe Speaker sloooooowly squeeze his cards was absolutely transfixing. It was like I was playing as well! And it was maddeningly exciting! I finally had to tap the unaware Joe on the shoulder and let him know how awesome his Pai Gow playing was. Saunter was also enjoying it immensely, and the thought occurred to me that perhaps I would be able to get her at a table sooner rather than later...

Finally I started to feel a little tired again, and glanced at the time. 4:30am?! How did this happen!? At that point Discretion seemed the better part of Valour, and Saunter and I retired to our room, at which point I was delighted to discover the leftover Indian. The food was consumed in roughly 4.6 seconds, putting a wonderful capper on a crazy day.

Coming Up: Sportsbook Shenanigans and the Corruption of Saunter