Sunday, September 27, 2009

Great Situation but no Traction

Once again I chaffeured the wife to a charity ball and then did the noble thing by parking across the street at Harrahs and killing time at the tables. I sat down in a newly opened table which I wasn't too pleased about at first but when I saw the group I didn't mind the lack of money.

There were four or five guys together who had been out most of the evening and had some money to burn. They were all from the same home game it seemed and all overplayed A rag and all made bad calls and were willing to splash around some money. I wasn't going anywhere.

Then the two kids that could play at all, and actually did everything I hoped to do sat down to my right. Sweet position on the only guys that worry me. To me left was a guy who should have come from the same home game because he overplayed anything resembling a hand but couldn't lose. Case in point he ran a bluff (???) with King high betting on all three streets and would get called down and... win. Later he chopped a pot, where he played the board at showdown but exposed his king (two pair on the board with an A) which resulted in an opponent complimenting his hand and mucking his own(?!?!).

So, in short it was a great time to win some money. Couldn't ask for a better table.

I bided my time waiting for my AK to hit an A and get called on all three streets by a guy holding A4. That never happenend. Nor could I get two pair or any kind of hand on an Ace high board. I couldn't count how many times the home game players would bet at an Ace high flop, c-bet the turn and river, and one guy would show say A9 (in the face of a scary board) and another would dejectedly flip over A4 like he got coolered when it was all said and done.

Well, long story short I had as much chance of connecting with a flop as I do a customer service rep not working in India. It was a painful night. I made a couple of thin calls with scary boards because of glaring tells on my opponents part but other than that I just bled off blinds.

I dumbly, ran a bluff on a guy, with an Ace on the board. I had raised in late position with suited connectors. Checked to me an I c-bet. He called me on the flop. At that point I have to give him an Ace. We check-check the turn. On the river when a couple of draws missed I put a big bet out and he called. Yeah A9. I think my patience had worn thin and I tried to generate money out of nothing. Back to poker school for me.

I reminded myself the gameplan was to punish them for overplaying A9 not to pay them off with it. Anyway, I won my final hand of the night when I made two pair on this board AKQ10. Four players in the hand. I had Q10 and obviously couldn't get any more money in the pot than we had preflop (not that I wanted to until I saw Arag, Qrag, and 88--who thankfully started the preflop betting with a scared overbet).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Free Agent Fans...

I was perusing Hot Clicks on as I often do and I saw this link to a blog about a SingleWhiteFan. This guy is basically offering himself up to the NFL team that makes the best case for him being their fan. It's a great idea, and oddly one I've already done. Here's the copy of a letter I sent the kid wishing him good luck in his quest:

"Just wanted to write you a note, to let you know yours is a road I've already traveled (and it's a fun one). Shortly after an NBA lockout, me and three of my roommates, fresh out of college and avid sports fans, all realized we didn't really care all that much for any particular NBA team. Pissed about the greed (or perceived greed) that spurred the lockout we wrote angry letters to every NBA team declaring ourselves NBA free agent fans. We were all big college basketball fans and knowledgeable sports fans, some of whom gambled but had a tough time adopting an NBA team.

Whoever wooed us, got us. Here's how our quest went down: NJ Nets sents some stickers and paraphenalia much like you've seen, we lived in DC and the Wizards sent us a schedule or something flimsy (weak), the Grizzlies sent us about what the Nets sent us, and that was about it.

Then I got a phone call from the Bucks, I believe the gentleman's name was Bill King (and he was a VP or some high position in the front office). He was a pretty cool guy. He enjoyed the letter, recognized the humor in it as well as the sentiment, offered us courtside seats and a tour behind the scenes at the stadium, and the opportunity to meet some of the players. In short he was going to make it a kind of dream weekend for us... all we had to do was travel to Milwaukee to make it happen. I'll tell you this much to this day, the Bucks are a team I root for, and so do my other friends.

Our only regret is we didn't take them up on their offer because we couldn't align schedules at a very busy time of our lives, where it seemed every weekend we were getting half days to go to all these out of town weddings of our friends, and then we just kind of put it off, until we never got back to them. That's a big regret on our part. My advice to you, should any NFL franchise be as giving as the Bucks were to us, take them up on their offer, even if you have to pay to get there.

We envisioned timing the trip to catch a Cubs game in Chicago and travel north for an NBA game. Big missed opportunity. I'm sure as your site spreads somebody will recognize the PR opportunity and do something to convince you they want you as a fan and maybe be as generous as the Bucks were--Just do it!

Anyway, feel free to print this letter, if you like,

Wild Bill"

Friday, September 25, 2009

Slimed... Other Hand from cash game post donkley...

I know the dishonest origins of poker, in fact, it was once called the Cheaters Game, one that bilked unwitting fish out of so much money it replaced three card monte on the riverboats of the Mississippi as the con game of choice, and I know it's a liars game to this day. I know all that, but I also know there is some honor amongst the thieves we play with and there are some things I won't do. Is that a weakness when I play this game for money? Probably.

You ever get that guy who is buddy buddy to you. Usually, he's on your right because everybody from Negreanu to Hellmuth has written it's a good idea to buddy up with the guy on your left (who will wield position over you all day). And I'm even fine with the fake platitudes and niceties, and surely I can't deny I've been a little nicer to a woman in a tournament, or a lesser skilled player on my left, knowing that when I have to steal they'll have a harder time calling, but that's the extent of my fakeness.

Sure, I might lie afterward and say good fold or if pressed give them a hand better than my holding, but almost always prefaced with I might be lying or I might have held... xxx. So, my right and wrong is maybe only a shade different than what I consider to be a sleazy style of poker, a style on Wednesday that slimed me. I felt like the Jonas Brothers at a Kids Choice Award only not rich and there weren't thousands of tweens screeching.

Slimed is when a guy is on your right and you've been cordial with him, maybe even friendly. You've discussed hands and shared some laughs. You've won some pots, he's won some pots and you clearly are not softplaying one another but he's a good enough player and a nice enough guy that there are other spots you are keying on. Then he plays off of your "friendship" for gain.

On Wednesday a weird pattern arises. He limps, I have a hand, I raise, the lady after me calls, folded around to him and he calls. I make a comment about this when I have QQ and the same pattern follows through. To that point, the lady behind was running me down with a weaker holding and though I wasn't showing my mucked cards I think people knew she was catching up to legit hands. So, I was preparing for another AK flop.

Instead 1095. Check, I bet pot sized. She folds, my "buddy" calls. Turn is another nine, he leads out a pot sized bet. I call, 9 is possible for him, and he might lead out to disguise it a bit. I'll pot control and just call the river. River is a king. I'm not threatened by it. My "buddy" shoves. Hmmm.

This is where it gets slimey. I'm considering my options and the range of hands he's limped called with. A nine is squarely in there. King 9 probably not. Maybe 97 or so. Perhaps, he did hold a 9, and like he twice did before with other players, put me on AK and thought he might be able to jam for a big pot. That made sense. I wondered could he be making a move on me? He did watch me lay down the Aces so I am a target to bluff. After hands like that I usually open up my calling range. I might have to call here.

Then the strong is weak bullshit happens. And I have to give him credit his patter is good. Normally, I sniff that out with an insta-call, but he did so in a whisper like he was doing me a favor and didn't want the table to know. "Man, I'm good here, I got the nuts." I look at him surprised. This doesn't make sense why shove on me and tell me to fold. Only two reasons, one he's trying to stymie a call of his bluff because he sees me thinking about it, or two, well, people that softplay sometimes overbet to tell their friends to get out of pots and since I didn't get that hint he was whispering to me to get the message--but were we friends (?).

I felt like calling just on principle.

He gives me his best looking out for you buddy voice and says again "I got the nuts." Alright, I've seen this play a lot and idiots become my buddy and tell me to fold when they hit a massive hand. But something felt different this time, something felt disingenuine. Okay, even if not, his holding could make sense with the action. I start to fold, and I see this look of relief on his face. Normally, another insta-call on my tell-meter. Then, I stop, I say "Are you going to show me." He's uncomfortable with it. "Yeah, I'll show you," he says. "I got 'em."

It wasn't that I totally trusted him, but I counted up my chips and again. I had enough chips to play with if I folded (I KNOW BAD, BAD BILL) but I limited my rebuys and again, I'd have to pick up if I called and I was wrong. Plus, I got a bit of a mental freeroll knowing that I would expose him as a slimey liar to at least my half of the table either way if he was lying.

So everything said call, except for two factors that had nothing to do with the hand. Plus, we did share some laughs, and he seemed nice enough earlier. I chose wrong. And he half-willingly showed a bluff with air 85 suited. I told him nice hand. Course, inside I was already mad at myself for not listening to my gut.

So I went from running in mud to getting slimed. Later I headed home after one more badly misplayed hand and could only count the mistakes I made.

So, that's a lot of posts in a row, about mistakes I've recently made. Which, may make for bad reading, but was kind of the main point of this blog from the start (at least from my private perspective): to chronicle my mistakes so I could avoid them in the future. Sure now, people actually read it and it's morphed into other things too, but every once in a while I have to recognize my poor play and document it. Fear not, I've also played some hands really well and made some great calls, great bluffs, and great lay-downs but it's the mistakes I need to learn from not the right decisions.

I think I've been able to plug some leaks, but certainly one running leak is not making the best decision in the moment because of other factors like not wanting to pick up, which I had fixed for a while but on Wednesday I slipped back into to it. Hopefully, this time the lesson is learned for good.

Why I limited my rebuys... I don't know, actually I do know, it's dumbly showing up with no cash and having a limit on my ATM withdrawal, bad strategy, and a mistake I won't make again. Also, while I re-learned a tactic to prevent a call by brazenly playing on goodwill, I don't think it's a tactic I'll ever employ.

Poker is a game of deception yes, but deceive me within the constraints of the game. I don't harbor the other guy that much ill will, I define it as sleazy, but I do understand others consider that kind of banter as not only fair, but skilled play. To me it's a bit like taking a dive in soccer, flopping in basketball or faking an injury in football, but worse. Sure, some may praise you for it, but most of us recognize it as a cheap way to make a buck. That might be the key to winning Survivor but on a Poker Island it's just the desperation of a mediocre player.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cash Game Theatrics after Donkley

Couple of interesting hands. Probably will do a post for both...

Sometimes playing poker is like running in the mud. It's an intractable slog that is a tension filled grapple with yourself and a table where you can't seem to get a break. Or it's 20 kids in front of you kicking mud into you face. People start keying on that and it just gets worse. That's when you should stand up. Some go play blackjack, but me no I stayed in the mud.

After getting run down with some premium hands, I get Aces (but thankfully the way my day is going) during Aces cracked. The board goes four to a flush and I've commited only $74 to the pot. On the river my opponent shoves for $164. Which is an odd place for me. On one hand, because you get $100 back if your aces are cracked I'm only risking $64 to win a pot that is over $300 before I call. Obviously, I don't have the flush. This would be me if I were to play online blackjack, sitting next to the dealer with a tough decision and the whole table stuck waiting for me to make up my mind. Course the only one i'd hurt here is me.

I flip the aces over to him, and this guy who I've got a long history with starts doing these theatrics, like he's beat, he's bitching and moaning and shaking his head. He's had a bit of a rough day, and I know him to be a solid winning player so this throws me off. Is this genuine or not?

Part of me thinks it was genuine because he's like oh no, he shoved to win the pot, and I have rockets during aces cracked so I have to call him and his ruse can't work. So, since I HAVE to and will call why not be genuine... however, I clearly was thinking about it, so unless he's been running bad all week (not just that day), you'd probably think he'd still contain his emotion. He was acting like he was the guy who sat down to play blackjack online without an opponent watching him.

The other part of me, seems like this is just a ploy to induce a call. It's just weird because I haven't seen him go into acting mode before. Which suggests call, but the only hand I beat is Ak, where the Ace is the non spade Ace. In one perspective I only need be right what 1 out of 5 times for the call to be worthwhile (?) but in the other perspective if I'm beat, I'm beat.

I ask this rhetorical question: what's the point of getting information if you don't know what to do with it?

Here's the action. I raise my standard (at the time $12 bet) from middle position. The people who are with me in every pot with meager holdings who I want action from fold. The two good players who only play against me in position, are in position and they go fold... reraise. Basically a Min-raise to 30.

Long time ago, I played this guy and laid down Kings to his Aces preflop. I haven't see him reraise all day preflop and that's the only other time (when he held the Aces) I've seen him repop preflop any other time I've played with him. Aces or Kings for a threebet, though despite him being tight, I know he's good enough that I'm not 100% his range is that limited (though I've only seen it as thus).

Is the situation now reversed, me with the Aces him with the Kings? Am I now crushing him. I decide to flat call and hope for a no face flop. Board comes out K high, three spades... ugh. I don't glance back at my cards as I'm fairly certain I don't have the Ace of spades and don't want to tip him that I'm spade hunting.

It goes check-check.

I don't like it when he checks. The King, could have given him a set. Which based on our history is what I'm putting him on. Though you'd think he'd protect there. I'm hoping for AK but with the spades, I'm hoping to keep the pot under a $100 and be on a freeroll.

The turn is a brick and I think about a blocking bet but I don't want him to shove over the top. So, I check. He bets $44. I call.

River is the fourth spade. I check, he shoves.

I won't tell you what I did, but I will tell you he racked up after the hand (obviously that means he had some chips). What do you do?

Sometimes I wish I just played from a math perspective, then I don't let these physical factors come into play. At the very least, when in a quandry I could just go to math as a default. Though, once it gets robotic why not just play blackjack for a living (another rhetorical question).

Oh yeah... it should be noted and this plays into the next hand I'll discuss, I put myself on a budget of rebuys and the call would basically forced me to play with a shortstack or pick up (yeah, a mistake I know).

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Donkley At least Two Mistakes Means No Chop Soup For Me

Had a pretty good tournament. Ended up going out 17th. I think I was a little rusty with my Donkley strategy there and paid the price. I usually try to get first in vig and play small ball if someone else is in the pot when the blinds get to that critical stage.

Mistake number 1: I made a loose, loose call for most of my chips defending an opening raise. Too often if I get resistance when trying to steal during a rotation I find I'll fold the first and maybe second hands but the third time I'll make a dumb stand. Why dumb? Because usually nobody is keying into the fact that I'll fold to reraises there and in that tournament at least they are genuinely raising me with a hand.

No need to make a stand with a A rag, when there will be other spots. Yet, I do. It's a leak, I've identified and am working on.

After commiting that I error I have to rebuild my chips. Fortunately, I don't run into any hands and then I stack up enough chips with all-ins into unopened pots to be a threat again. We are down under 20 and I'm actually dangerous again, yet I don't recalculate and recalibrate my strategy, I'm still in the shove mode.

Reid G has mentioned positive Tilt before and I think that happens when you feel the rush of putting all your chips at risk and continually scooping pots. In tournaments during those recovery stages, I have a leak where I don't remind myself, I got some chips to play and can be patient again. Usually I walk that fine line when the old timer at the other side at the table is muttering "Always works until it don't," or some variation of that.

Mistake Number 2: Sure enough, I've scooped some pots and got some random luckbox wins by seeing multiple (tight players) all-ins before I fold my jacks. Yes, AA was out there and held. Which feels like a scooped pot on its own.

Then, I'm in the big blind when the chip leader puts in a barely over min-raise, and actually takes off some chips before putting it out there. Had I not been on positive tilt I might have seen that for what it was. Instead, I'm folded to and I look at pocket 10s. I shove, more out of instinct and less out of strategy. Not saying shoving with 10s is a bad play but I had some information that I wasn't utilizing. Texas Hold'Em is all about gathering information and making the best decisions obviously, so ignoring informtion that is out there is like playing baseball without a first baseman.

Guy had made bigger bets every time before, why not use his stack unless he wants some action. Even worse the image I had been selling around the table was shovebot and why not make a weakish bet. Even worse, I had the chips to afford all options, call, fold, reraise, reraise shove. Since he's the chip leader by a ton, and even though my stack is medium sized, it's no sweat for him to call, so i don't have any fold equity preflop.

Shove is probably the worse choice for a holding that is at best dominating 9s maybe 8s (though chipleader probably isn't betting those hands so light so that might be a 1 in 30 shot) in a coinflip with AK, AQ, AJ, and unlikely facing A10 or suited aces. Or getting killed by an overpair (which is probably most likely given the information I had).

With that in consideration, fold is a possibility especially as we are on the cusp of the money and a likely chop (oddly, the chipleader at the time, my opponent in the hand, is a guy I discussed final table chops with at the outset so I know he's amenable to it). The price he is selling at makes sense for me to set mine with 10s though I don't think it's a mistake to fold either given how valuable any chips are at that stage of the tournament (what's that Independent Chip Modeling and based on the fact this event plays more like a mega satellite than a true tournament).

I do neither, nor do I pop back (though, I probably didn't have enough chips to raise fold... but against other opponents this might work). Instead I shove. He insta-calls and cordially turns over his aces like a gentleman, no slow-roll there. I get no redraws and leave.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Random Musings

First off I want to say congrats to Captain Ron who cashed in the same event as I did at the Beau. I believe he came in 10th. For some reason he wasn't listed on the front page of GCP with the other local finishers. We'll get that information up soon and fix it. Also, Captain shoot me another email I couldn't find the one the other one in my email box. My address is wildbill @ g(ulfcoastpoker).net. Without the parenthesis.

Saw the Captain take some brutal beats on Wednesday. Unfortunately after he left I seemed to catch his second best-itis and it turned into a grueling, rough, rough day for me. In the tournament I watched Ron get out-setted in two out of three hands and that was rougher than anything I felt.

I did a lot of folding when my opponents picked up better hands and I figured it out on the river. Course when I tried to bet to win the pot, turning formerly made hands into bluffs, I didn't have much luck with that either. Kind of hard to bluff a guy that hit the card he was rooting for. No, much better to felt him when that card did nothing for him.

Don't want to turn this into a personal bad beats log so I'll only mention one hand, not because I lost it (basically a flip) but because my opponent didn't realize she had won. That's always fun. I flopped top two pair and got called by an opponent who was open ended with a flush draw. I had one of her flush outs to make it as close to a flip as you can get 50.2 to 49.8.

She hit her straight and thought she had lost. She still didn't get. I almost feel like if people can't tell they won the hand they don't deserve the pot. That was the final straw and I went home. Now when I redo the odds if she didn't realize she had a the straight draw (must not have to miss that she hit it) then I think about the fact she called a huge protection bet with a 9 high flush draw.

The action was thus: I checked the flop. She led out. A third opponent min-raised. I shoved. She insta-called. Hmmm. Don't know if I would do that with a 9 high flush draw--might be drawing dead. As it turned out she made the right decision even if she didn't know it.

Oh well, whining over. To look on the bright side I got money in good a lot, folded when it was in bad and had a bump of misfortune. I did get frustrated and lose a bit more money than maybe I should have. Would have gotten up to go except the wife asked me to win a little extra yestereday because she needed some new clothes for a charity event for her school. Don't know if that was a good thing or not. Definitely kept me from leaving as soon as I would have wanted.

I played with a guy from William and Mary, and early on I got the best of him (go Spiders), then he moved two seats to my right and owned me. Whenever I'd steal and he wasn't in the hand he'd give me a wry smile. Whenever I'd try to steal and he was in the hand he either have me or bet me off my hand.

I decided to only play pots with him in position, after too often I got caught with marginal holdings in the blinds facing a raise from him in a limped pot. Frustrating day to say the least and as my frustrations mounted I think I played too predictable. Congrats to that guy because when I left he was up over the 2k mark and still ginning.

Actually funny moment, I went to call my wife on the public phone as my cell died two hours earlier and when I came back his stack was down to 300. I was stunned, I looked around the table to see where his money went. The one kid that could put a dent into it (but not a 1700 dent) didn't have the chips. In fact they weren't anywhere.

Did the guy really try to pull 1700 off the table... 1. Why? and 2. How are we supposed to miss that move. Then I saw a chips in transit button and got it. When the chip-runner returned with a stack of blacks, I really got it.

Having a big stack is fun (no shit, wow that's insightful--me on a proofread, yeah I do proofread this and still make this many mistakes). People would semi-bluff into him with check raises on the river and he'd call with third flush (four to a flush on the board) and be good. Or he'd look at his piles of chips and shrug and put in a stack of 100, calling with second pair when his opponent had third.

Calls I don't make even when I'm sitting on a pile that big. Kudos to him for doing and for running so hot for let's see 8 hours.

The Champions League started on Fox Sports, one problem is Harrahs wasn't showing it on Wednesday... just ESPN. Used to enjoy playing and having a football (sorry soccer game) to distract me when I wasn't in hands. Also, afforded me some bets to keep things interesting with table mates.

Speaking of soccer, Ronaldo, (Christiano... the Portugese one) not Ronaldo (simply Ronaldo the Brazilian one whose weight changes like Oprah at an all you can eat buffet and vomitorium) scored two nasty, nasty free kicks for his new team Real Madrid. He does some sort of toe-ball top of the foot thing to the ball that makes it dip--that nobody else does. Maybe it's the new balls allowing them to curl and curve in different fashions (probably is and he's exploiting it before anybody else) but if not he's invented a new way to kick a ball in a game... that has solely consisted of kicking a ball and is hundreds of years old.

That's pretty remarkable. It'd be a bit like inventing a new pitch (and though I don't follow baseball I've heard every "new" pitch is just a slight variation of an old one). There are only so many ways to hold a ball or to kick one. Here's one of his.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


"Well, you always lose with Aces, so why even play them?" My non-poker savvy wife has asked me. I usually laugh knowing, despite all my bubble exits getting my money in preflop with Aces, there is no hand I'd rather hold for those situations.

After last week, maybe I should revise my thinking. I played a second chance nightly late last week at the Beau. The plan was win over a 1k, hopefully 9, and then buy-in to the turbo mega on Saturday morning. Then play in the main event after taking it down. Good plan.

Started out okay. With barely over two tables left and a healthy, hearty, wholesome, and hale chip stack I was well on my way. In fact, there was only one bigger stack at my table and we might have been the two biggest stacks in the tournament. So, channeling Coyt Horkins, I thought, he's the guy who's going to double me up. I wanted Aces and lo and behold they showed up. I salivated but still I had a kernel of fear as it had been an odd tournament.

I listenend to Barry Greenstein say, or perhaps his son attribute this thought to Barry Greenstein: pros don't want big hands deep in tournaments. Use to think that was foolish. Supposedly Main Event chipleader Darvin Moon has just waited for Aces and Kings, sets and more and just kept doubling his stack. Why wouldn't I want Aces and take a rush of good fortune over having to earn it with post flop play and careful bet sizing?

Well, I got my fill of them on Friday night. After going through a long dry spell barely seeing them (live not online) for a couple of months, it felt like I got them every level. For me, they come in bunches. I won't see them forever and then like Friday night I can't get away from them...

First time, I limped with them in early position. I expected an overly aggressive player to my left to raise as I saw him load up his powder. Oddly, he limped. The BB checked and we went three to the flop.

9Q9. Big blind did something weird and checked but I felt like he hit the flop pretty good. He was an average player so that might have meant just hitting a queen. So, I lead into the pot. Aggressive guy on my left called, BB called.

Turn was a rag. BB checked again. I checked, I believe you can sometimes get more information from checks than bets but I know I'm in the minority thinking that. Just feels that way after playing a ton of multi-way live cash game pots. Aggressive player bets out a callable bet. Big Blind min-raises. I fold.

They get it in. Aggressive player had AQ. Big Blind 9-something. Why aggressive player didn't raise it preflop and let me double up through him heads up still perplexes me. Especially after watching him not limp more times. He wasn't getting away from top-top and I'm not afraid of him having a nine.

Still good fold, I guess. Did get me to question how to play poker though.

Second time, I see aces, I 3x and took the blinds. Fun.

Third time, I 3x and get a caller. I lead out on a ragged flop and I can see the dude mull over a shove. At this point I had been pretty aggressive so players were looking to play back. I willed him to put his stack in but he finally folded. I flash the aces and relieved he said, he almost made a play with two overcards. DAMN!

Fourth time, I mix it up with another guy I've been bullying a bit. This hand had a bit of history. After several three bets to steal pots preflop he's ready to play back. I limp He bets and pop him back with AJ suited. He calls, not happy about it. The flop is AJK. He leads out and I raise him. He calls. On the turn he checks and I bet out. He stews and again, another guy considers a shove on me. Again, I'm trying to will his stack in. He folds.

So, I look down at Aces in one of the blinds. He just fired a raise. I pop him back and he frustration shoves and I insta-call. He's got K-J of clubs. Flops a royal flush draw. It's over by the turn. I chide him that I wished he shoved on the previous hand and then he couldn't have doubled through me. He said he pocket nines as though they could have been good. Jeezh.

Which brings us to the end of the story, me and the big stack eying each other, I bet (3x). A guy on the button (tired of my raises calls). The other big stack comes over the top for 60% of my stack. I shove (no thinking here). Fold. Call. I show my aces. Big stack shows his qq.

"That was the hand I was afraid of... well, that or kings." Really... you had queens and the two hands you were worried about were kings or aces--shocker.

After the flop I wish I held kings as it comes KQx. I glance at first place money knowing it won't be mine tonight and then I head to the rail.

Odds for getting aces are over 200 to 1. Getting them five times... I dont know. Getting them cracked three times I don't know either. Has to be some sort of anomaly. Much rather the anomaly be me getting them and winning with them. Course it wasn't as painful as this:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Donkley Recap

With most of the players who can think beyond the two cards in front of them at the Beau this week, I figured the Donkley would be soft like pudding. I imagined it'd be like trying to make the varsity team of any sport from a collection of home school kids. Basically, I thought they'd all be learning how to play poker for the first time. When the wife gave me a pass for the day I raced over expecting a smallish field and plenty of spots to be rewarded for patience.

I was surprised to see a number of players I think highly of, who perhaps like me, were tethered to New Orleans for the day and couldn't make a full day of hookey at the coast. I got in late and left early. Better than bubbling I guess. However, it continued a bad couple of days for me.

A day prior at the Beau, I flopped a set and because of stack sizes and bad bet sizes on my part couldn't get away from a guy who flopped a flush. A little bit of a cooler. Interesting when I retell the hand I get a range of responses from stone cold cooler, to maybe you could have gotten away from the hand. I won't repeat it here as many of you have it heard it.

Then I played two satellites, and through agression and hitting some hands (that I couldn't hit for two days in tournaments), I became chip leader in both three handed. Here's where I'm a moron. I thought the structure was like Harrahs where two players split the prize pool (not quite and I'll get to the difference in a second). So, I basically decided I'll sit on my chips and let the other two guys knock somebody out or at least cripple 'em and make sure I get a piece. Yeah, I know pretty bad sit 'n go strategy in it's on right, though at Harrahs I had success letting the other two do the dirty work to each other.

In satellite number 1, twice the shortest stack needed a river card to double up. Eventually, the blinds catch up to me and I have to shove, as they've picked up on my passivity and just stolen blinds from me. I get called by K9 and that's a wrap. Chipleader to nothing, I leave before seeing that you actually play it out for first and second and first place is over 500. Yeah, I'm dumb.

In satellite number 2, same situation. I sit on my hands and the other two guys come back and basically rape me on the bubble negating my chip advantage. The short stacks again get lucky with each other. I shove and get called by K9 (again!) and that's a wrap. Then I stick around and see there is still playing to be done (because we agreed to a save for third place). What you guys don't just split it? They consider doing a chop by chip stacks. Damn it! I'm stupid give me my hundo and let me go.

Had I known that, or simply just not been a pussy and tried to Kelly Kim my way to the cash, probably a different story in both.

Well, steaming from a bit of a cooler, two third places of my own doing, I know I'm going to run over the donkley. Yeah, ran over my own foot.

Here's background. I sit down late and my first hand I have AK suited on the button. 8 limpers. Hell no. I make it a healthy raise, and a guy in early position calls. Flop is Axx all spades. He checks, I c-bet. He folds angrily thinking I'm on a steal.

I don't like these donkeys getting riled up, for the very reason that I'm about to relay, so I show AK. Of course he doesn't look up and the dealer mucks it, but the rest of the table saw it. Just about exactly the opposite of how I'd want the cards to be seen.

A cycle later I'm in the small blind. I got 8-8. Same passive limping that every hand has been. Okay, blinds are a little bigger so I fire out a bigger bet. Same dude calls with this determined look on his face. Yes, he thinks I'm full of shit because I've gotten hands TWICE in 10 which force me to raise in a table of limpers.

I get that little cold sweat you get when you feel a donkey breathing on you and you know he's about to self-destruct and possibly bring you with him. Flop is queen high (73). I run through the hands he could have limped with with a queen, and most don't make sense. I'll bet to see where I'm at but I'm pretty sure I'm ahead.

As I'm thinking how much to bet, I can see him balling up his courage. He's going to make a play. I put out my bet and he insta-comes over the top for 40% of our chips. I roll my eyes to myself. Nope, doesn't have a queen. Doesn't have a set. Doesn't have two pair with that board. Maybe a 7. Doesn't have any kind of a hand he wants to get paid on. Classic trying to take the pot right there.

Still, I slow down and run through if he could have limped say QJ. Maybe. Then he gives me one of my favorite donkey tells and I know my read is right. I'm definitely ahead. I stack up my chips and shove. Eat it.

The guy doesn't call immediately. My reads gotta be good. Can't call without a queen here right? So probably not QJ. Eventually, he does that what the hell shrug, I'm outplayed let me donate my chips and calls. Maybe he did have queen. I say, "You gotta queen your good."

He slows down his reveal. I show my 8-8, silly showdown games, and he turns over A-7 with a little consternation. The donkey stench is heavy on me. I know what's coming. Splat! On the turn trip 7s.

I get it in one hand later from the button, on a limped pot (again). A9, get called by two. Flop comes ace high. Check, check. Turn is a brick, oops one guys betting he checked an ace, I think. Other guy folds. Don't have Ace rag two pair! No... it's Ace 10. See ya meat.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Lots to cover

Gulf Coast Poker Championship:

Some quick thoughts. I like the deep stack structure. Despite being mostly card dead and never getting any action on some flopped monsters I had plenty of play. It was weird I was short for almost all day and never got worried. My tables respected my tight play and anytime I shoved for limps, blinds, antes and survival I never ran into a big hand. Since I was card dead I was usually going to be embarrassed if I had to turn over my hand. I had two min rushes at my fourth table of the day. The first rush was pure aggression and opponents that missed the flop. I got to a point where the antes were getting so big, I just decided to lead out an c-bet and my table was relatively passive. I lost a couple of big pots when my hand got caught in the cookie jar and went back to working the short stack. Eventually I came back on day two and I went out 30th for a small portion of the flat payout structure.

One side note, I got to play with Matt B for a while and I was surprised to read that he was card dead, but that shows you how well he was playing, I felt like his table (my new table) feared him and his stack. I was impressed with the timing of his bets and his ability to acquire pots without showdowns. I was really short when we were at the same table and hoped he didn't remember an IP tournament where his pocket queens ran into my AA, just prior to the money.

I got some hands I'd like to discuss and solicit feedback on:

-I inform the dealer that he started with 20 seconds left in the level and though he tried to get out of dealing another hand, I petition him to continue. The table agrees and doesn't give him a pass (I HATE IT WHEN THEY DO THAT). He does so, but not before the short-stacked big blind left thinking the break was on (lol the clock was still ticking... his fault). Anyway, this crazy from Atlanta who played fast and loose and was finally paying the price as he ran into hands limped. I'm on the button, two seats away with 44. I fire out a big raise, playing on my tight image, which he's not aware of and he calls.

We are both short, but I got him covered. Problem is my big raise is a little over half his stack. Flop is Q92. He shoves. Fold or call? My answer at the bottom.

-I get a good read on a talented aggressive young player. We play at the same table as Matt and then get moved. His style screams internet play, though he's got some banter to him. I pick up a solid tell on him. I'll sell it to you for $200 if you are reading kid. You'll probably make that back times a thousand so it's a fair price.

Anyway, while I am on my min-rush and aggressively chopping up the table who are busy eyeing us inch closer to the money. It's fun to win with air. The kid gets moved there as well and things get a little more difficult. I'm firing out a bet with 7-6 o/s and the kid 3bets me. It's a stiff reraise and I stew thinking about laying down. Just as I'm about to he demonstrates his tell.

Great. I know the play here is shove and take down a HUGE pot for that moment in the tournament. But I have 7-6 o/s. Then, I remember two things. When he showed this tell his hand was marginal and being overplayed but if the math was right or close to right he'd still call. Ugh. That'd also shatter the image I'd set up at the new table even if I sucked out on him for a massive pot. Plus, there was easy money to be had, why put my tournament at risk with 7-6 o/s. I can't even count my chips as I'm contemplating this audacious play. Perhaps one of the advantages of playing online poker is you don't have to deal with guys accidentially talking you into hands. So, Fold or shove?

-On day two I come back looking to gamble as I'm second to last in chips. On the first hand in the SB it's folded to me and I shove with Q-7 o/s against the tightest player left in the tournament. He folds and I more than double up. Next hand on the button I look at A3 sooted and I'm getting ready to shove again. Then an EP player leads out. A late position player puts another raise out there. Suddenly A3 doesn't look too good. Background EP player opens a lot of pots, and LP player three-bets a lot of pots. I don't have enough in the face of their raises to force a fold. Shove or Fold?

1. I call and he has a 9. I didn't put him on top pair as he probably bets with less emphasis (strong is weak), but I fear a 9. By the way, he called for half his stack preflop with j9 o/s. Is that a bad call? It was for a third of my remaining stack, but at the time I rationalized he might make that bet with a huge range most of it being hands I beat.

2. I fold. Still stewing about it.

3. I fold and would have flopped the nuts. Funnily (what kind of word is that?), in two hands I would have gone from near shortest to one of the top five in chips. Alas, I didn't and a few hands later my 99 ran into A4. He flopped A4x.

Alright... I was happy with my play for the most part, though I think I could have made mistakes on all three of those hands I listed. I also screwed up late by flopping four to flush and betting it, only to get checked raised all in on a paired board by the blind. Might have had to call there with one over to the nonpaired card.

Also, folded AK preflop to a guy who swears he had AA on me. Gene D never believes anything his opponent says, I tell the truth a lot so believe others tell the truth sometimes. I can't decide if the guy had jacks, which his bet felt like and I called him out on it at the time, or if he did have the painkillers.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bad Times Timelion... Part 4

Ultrasound is this darkened room, now sometime in the a.m. The tech is listening to some earthy beats and it's like we walked in a yoga class. She smiles while shaking her head, then nods and says "no, no" very motherly. Am I in the twilight zone or what?

She asks us the same series of questions and tells us we should be worried... about the blood loss.

We try to ferret out information from her.

"I'm not allowed to say anything, but you can!" She smiles. What does that mean? I had visions of playing the equivalent of the poker player prank on her. But what is a ultrasound technican prank? Who knows.

She conducts the ultrasound while listening to the music and bopping her head. At the same time she is letting out all sorts of omnious "tuck-tucks" and awkward faces, even letting out an "ugh..." once.

"See anything?" my wife vainly tries.

The tech shakes her head and says "Yes."

"You can't tell us anything? Who will tell us?" I ask.

"Well, just know that's its very, very good that you came in here today." She points to the monitor and nods, "Nope, nope."

Wow. Talk about being ambigious but loading it with bullshit.

I can see my wife's fear rise, I'm now expecting her ovaries at any moment to explode. She later tells me she's focusing on some sort of cancer. She tears up, and I'm trying my best to console her.

They ship us back to the E.R. and this time I actually spot Doctor Combover using the door, he is human afterall.

"I just wanted to let you know, I'll be in when we get the results from the ultrasound, maybe 20 minutes..."

Now, he's f'ing with me.



I say "Okay."

He says "O-kay?"

My wife says "Okay!" And he leaves.

Now, let me tell you something about "20 minutes." Everything in the hospital apparently is 20 minutes away, and what that means is at a minimum 1 hour, maybe 2 but certainly not 20 minutes.

Later we are pumping some breastmilk for our baby to pass off to my mother-in-law who is waiting outside the E.R. and the nurse pops in and says, "Don't worry the radiologist is examining the ultrasound we'll have the results in probably 20 minutes." Is that an additional 20 minutes?

So, I walk through the E.R., and I see all these nurses and doctors standing around chatting like it's happy hour at an airport Hilton and I hear no doctor talk, it's all about the weekend and banal bullshit. Meanwhile, everybody else is in a room morbidly waiting for them to do something.

I keep walking holding these little bags of breast milk, and I see the security guard eyeball me again. He's still in the same spot harrassing the nurse who apparently sits there and does nothing else. His partner is one of those guys that just continously nervously giggles and frequently adjusts his gun belt.

The guard tilts his head at me when he sees me. Now, I'm getting REALLY pissed, but I suppress my anger, I don't need to be kicked out a hospital and try to walk out an exit. One of the guards presses a button and a quick honk/siren buzz goes off.

I turnaround, the giggler is talking, "You gonna have to go around. That's for emergencies."

I'm angrier and I notice the ice cream guy from Friday cop is tilting his head back and forth like we are in junior high and I just took his dodgeball from him. He's itching for a fight (in retrospect so frickin' weird).

I muster a smile at them. "Oh, okay, I wondered what you guys did all night. But I get it, you make sure we walk through the right door. Oh, okay, my bad. I'll walk around."

I see my nemesis puff up a little bit in the corner of my eye, as I walk out the correct door.

Later, and finally, the E.R. doctor returns after talking to the radiologist (why couldn't we hae talked to the radiologist?) and says, "We have to admit you. Will get you up there in 20 minutes. You've lost a lot of blood. Something is causing you to lose blood. It could be something from the pregnancy or something else. We want you to see your doctor in the morning and she'll tell you how to progress. Okay?"

"What about the..."


"Okay, What about the blood loss and you know stopping it."

"We should put her on some medicine to do that?" Again inflection like a question.

"Yes, let's..."


"Okay, okay, okay! Yes, okay, let's get her on some drugs, okay?"




"Okay!" my wife, the nurse and I all practically scream.

"Okay." He walks out.

Then we get shipped up to labor and delivery, where I wanted them to put us from the get go. We get nurses that know their shit, we finally get something to stymie and mitigate the blood loss (!), my wife's doctor shows up the next day, and tells us my wife's got some blood clots the size of lemons they have to remove, but might be able to do without surgery and some other things going on that also caused her to never really dilate during labor. She'll get that cleaned out but it doesn't look like anything major right now.

So basically, my wife is loaded up on four or five different medications, but everything looks good. Course now, I'm going from a totally inexperienced parent leaning on my wife for direction to the one doing almost everything for us both.

However, one last bit from my twilight zone experience. After getting admitted to the regular hospital and given some nurses that know their shit, I leave my wife's room to go home to get my wife some stuff around 3-4 in the morning and the floor is basically deserted. The lights are off and it's a bit like a horror movie. With weird noises coming from rooms, a mechanical grinding for mood music, and just nobody anywhere its eery and ominous. No nurses, patients or anybody.

I hear a rythymic slamming as I a turn a corner in the hallway. Violent slamming. I get to the main bank of elevators and there is this one door opening and closing the ding going on and off with each close and the light flickering like it's at a disco. Frickin weird. The up button is lit up and nobody is there.

I depress the down button. I wait and wait. Nothing. Elevators are broken in a hospital? Can't be good. I turn and around and I'm about to find a stairwell when I hear a ding. One of the elevators opens and its up arrow is lit. The door closes. 2o seconds later another ding and another elevator opens with the up arrow lit and closes. The another ding and a third elevator opens with the up arrow. Weird. Meanwhile the broken elevator is jerking like crazy opening and nearly closing it's door, and lights flickering at an increasing pace.

Then it gets even stranger, the broken elevator finally closes all the way, and nothing, then it dings and opens with the down arrow lit up. I look at the open elevator and shrug "why not,"and it a strange way that was our night in a nutshell and I ride it safely to the button floor.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Bad Times Timelion... Part 3

So, the security guy who looks a bit like the ice cream vendor in Friday, with the slightest of muscle twitch turns it into a full blown glare.

Like I want to get eyeballed and intimidated (is that what he was doing?) when I'm walking my wife to the emergency room. For all he knows I could be walking her to her deathbed. Meanwhile, there's all these signs saying stuff like "They may not remember what you say, but they'll remember how you say it, customer service with a smile."

I glance back over my shoulder, and this guy is still eyeballing me like I was a known shoplifter brousing in Sachs Fifth Avenue. WTF? I ask for the 20th time this day.

We get to the room, and all that germaphobia goes away. There are no coughing roommates, no feverish clan of mexicans nearby, and no recovering from blubonic plague nurses. It's a clean sanitary room, they use for labors and deliveries. Wow. Greg Focker number 2, stresses to me because we have a newborn we should probably be segregated from the masses. You don't say.

By the way, all the nurses we dealt with in this same hospital upstairs in Labor and Delivery and elsewhere were lightyears better at customer service and seemed to have 40 points on IQ better than the folks at the E.R. So, I'm not slamming all nurses, just these particular nurses who were in the E.R. that night.

We get a nurse who's nice, but every time we ask her a question she gives us an answer that maybe has a loose connection to the question but only in the most circumspect fashion possible. It was enfuriating. Made worse because she was so nice, it was almost like she was stoned out of her mind. Maybe she was. For example this was our typical interchange:

I ask, "She's lost a lot of blood. Is she in any immediate danger?"

"Well, she just had a baby a little over a week ago... So, there is some bleeding immediately after that happens."

"... Yes, she bled and that stopped and all of sudden she's bleeding again a week later. Is there any immediate danger."

"Well, you see you bleed for a few days after the pregnancy. Mmm--hmmm."

"... Okay, what about the bleeding... that's taking place right now, that's happening right now, is this a normal complication?"

"Some people bleed a lot right after they have the baby. And that is normal. In the first couple of days. Totally normal."

"... okay (?). So... normal in the first few days and I guess you don't know about 10 days later."

"Oh, no. I know," she says very assuredly.

"You know if this is common complication or not?"

"Well, sir, your wife's lost a lot of blood and she gave birth over a week ago."

"...I know"

"Okay. Good, I'm going to get some gauze."

Then, we get the E.R. doctor, and if I could describe a gentleman I'd least like to examine my wife's goods it would be this guy. I mean in advance if I worked with a police sketch artist drawing what I imagined this guy would be captured by the end of a newscast. There he was, 5 foot 10 inches of board certified pedophile. Thin, greasy combover from a 1970s cop movie, thick, thick bifoculs, an odd array of pockmarks, and what looked like a tan-line stache, a curious facial feature which was basically a bushy discoloration where a porn stache once festered (?) or the oddest of natural birthmarks, and of course as I was taking measure of this man, he snapped his latex glove like a cliche from a bad movie.

However, he was nice and a gentleman. Not his fault his lookalikes line the walls of post offices. My poor wife though, she has a female doctor because she doesn't feel comfortable with strange men examining her junk. A fear, I think, we all share. And now, she was staring at the epitome of a strange man.

Afterward, he looked at me pretty sternly and proffered this valuable piece of information, "What I'm concerned about is your wife has lost a lot of blood, and is still losing blood. Okay?"

I nod thinking "...yeh... that's why we're here."

He arches an eyebrow like he probably does while seated in a darkened van with shag carpeting holding a box of nerds for a five year old outside an arcade. Then he asks again, "O...kay?"

Didn't you see me nod? "O-kay" I'll take the candy.

And like that he was gone.

It was like St. Nick vanished up the chimney. My wife and I look at each other like WTF?

Then nothing. I sit there wishing I had my laptop and the hospital had wireless internet access. It had neither or so they said. Then, as I wander the halls looking for a vending machine. I see a nurse on the internet. Maybe it was through a satellite card but I was envious. So what if it was a mac. I know a site that you can play poker on a mac. Oh well, I stews

A few hours go by. Again, trying not to be graphic but I'd fail... so avert your eyes squeamish folks, the E.R. bed my wife is in is starting to look like a scene from a M.A.S.H. unit. Rationality takes over... they aren't going to let her bleed to death. This must be okay. This must be somewhat standard.

Suddenly, creepy doctor is at the foot of her bed looking at us both. My wife and I exchange looks like "I didn't hear him come in--did you?"

He notices the sheets, "Yes, you are losing a lot of blood. My concern is... blood loss. That's what you should be worried about. O-kay?"

I nod. Think better of it, and step between the doctor and the door and say, "Okaybutwhatarewearewegoingtodoaboutit?"

"Well, there's a lot of blood loss, so that means something is causing her to lose all this blood," he arches the eyebrow again, is he about to warp out again I wonder? He continues.. "O...kay?"

He's one of those people that can't finish a simple sentence without asking Okay, it's like they have to make sure you heard and understood even the simplest sentence. I give him the benefit of the doubt considering he has to work with all these E.R. nurses that probably try to put their scrub tops on their legs some mornings.

I determine to say okay, before he can ask me it. It fails. Instead I merely answer the question before he asks it, and yet he still asks it and wants me to answer it again. Damn it, you pedophile lookalike you've outsmarted me in civil discourse.

So, to review. We headed to the E.R. because my wife suffered a ton of blood loss. It took a while for the nurses to grasp that, then hours later the doctor figures that out and now wants us to understand that. OKAY!

"So now what?!?" I ask.

"Maybe an ultrasound..." with the inflection of a question.

"Okay, an ultra-s..."


"Okay... so she's getting an ultrasound."

"Yes, that will be twenty minutes..."


"Twenty minutes, O..kay"


And in a blink of an eye, the mere slightest of moments when my wife and I look at each other like is this really happening, the dude vanishes again. It's was like he was our own personal Doctor from Deep Throat (with a tan stache) Lepruchan.

So we head to the Ultrasound...

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Bad Times Timelion... Part 2

So we wait, with sweatshirts over our mouths and I'm a pile of worry. The wife says she is feeling dizzy, probably from the massive blood loss and the fact she is anemic anyway. People keep coming into the waiting room and I think I'm in a deleted scene from 12 Monkeys. The girl that checks people in by dismissing them, finally realizes there are a lot of sick people who are only standing and then does the other half of her job.

She comes out and says, "Oh, if you already seen a nurse you can go to the other waiting room." The coughing, sweaty, phlegmy zombies get up en masse and all the seats except for a handful of folks empty. The new group of coughing, sweaty phlegmy zombies take their spots. So, in short, even though there was this much bigger waiting room, which I later see around the corner, where you are supposed to go after seeing the nurse, this girl would rather the initial death box fill before emptying it. In essence, maximizing exposure to the few people in there for broken arms, spider bites, and excessive bleeding. Fun.

Finally we get called to see a nurse, and have to wait until he wraps up a conversation with another nurse. By the way, there was a lot of standing and chatting by the employees there. There was about as much urgency in this emergency room as NFL team up by three touchdowns with two minutes to go. If you are into sports gambling and you need a couple points to go the other way it's pure frustration, and that's what I felt.

So here's the snippet of the conversation, I hear and I loved this one... "So... yeah today is the first day in 6 days I've been able to get out of bed. No, I was doing nothing but puking and pissing out my ass." Then this guy, takes the wristband he's printed out for my wife, coughs on it, mind you he coughs enough that he wipes his hands on his scrubs, but does nothing to the wristband and steps to her arm to put it on.

"Uh-uh, buster." I step in (okay... I didn't call him buster, but my tone did), "You want to wash your hands and print out a new one."

No offence, to any of you emergency room nurses out there, and hopefully this batch was not representative of your true intelligence, but they were pretty f'ing dumb. No, more than that, the fact they get to wear scrubs is like nominating Osama Bin Laden for the Nobel peace prize, they were idiots and undeserving of any of the implied respect that scrubs connotates. I know drug reps, those vapid pretty faces that peddle flexor to doctors, who try but fail to not say the word "ain't" in their lunch meeting get to wear scrubs, but that class of idiots is brighter than these emergency room nurses. Again, sorry for those intelligent Pfizer reps I insulted that are more than just a pretty face.

The nurse gives me a screwed up scrunched up Jim Mora face, like what the f was I talking about. My wife is giving me a glare for making a little bit of a scene. I simply and vey lowly say... "Pissing out your ass..." and mimic his coughing on his hand and bracelet. I felt like Larry David. Sometimes I fear I am becoming him.

The guy gives me a "WHATEVER!" shrug and eyeroll and like a petulant 13 year old washes his hands shaking his head the entire time. Yes, I'm sorry to put you out, but I'd rather her not piss out her ass right now, Greg Focker. He manages to not cough up the black plague on the wristband this time. Then he asks my wife the same questions the check-in girl asks. Meanwhile his buddy Greg Focker number 2, is typing ernestly into a computer facing us.

So, my wife gives the same answers, the guy repeats her answers to Focker number 2 who is on the other side of the desk we are sitting at, and unless he's deaf shouldn't need them repeated, and he keeps typing vigoriously. This plays out, with Focker number 1 writing down a scrawl on a notepad in front of him too. He leaves, then turns around having forgotten to administer my wife's vital signs. He left us with one smug cough skyward and gave us a devious look like a rancher handing out smallpox blankets to native americans on the plains. Focker.

Finally, Focker number 2 looks up at us, with Focker number 1 gone, he kind of comes back to reality. I guess he was finished his World Of Warcraft task, he then asks us all the same questions we've answered twice, and were also repeated to him for his benefit. Now, he types somewhat slower. Like the others he doesn't seem all that worried about my wife's "hint of the morgue" white complexion or her immense blood loss.

In the background, I watch a vaudeville act of nurses pick up a urine sample move it a few feet put it down, and another come by pick it up, look at it blankly, move it, and then have the first nurse look for it where she left it, shrug because it's gone, and this repeats, for literally 5 minutes. I manage to stop worrying about my wife long enough to hope one of them drinks it. One time! They don't.

Finally Focker number 2, seems to get "it" when we stress to him she's been bleeding a lot... since 5 am. He looks at his watch to verify that's... that's over 12 hours. It was like for a split second he realized where he was in the real world, and we recaptured his mind from his dungeons and dragons computer game, or maybe the Internet porn readin, and finally we get some urgency. He hustles us into a room. We pass by the massive room housing the infected who have seen a nurse and they will probably just prescribe some tylenol to for their fevers.

We walk by two "security" guards who are flirting with a nurse and apparently get paid to lean over her desk all day trying to peep into the top of her scrubs. These hospital Paul Blarts have cabooses that sprawl halfway into the hallway and I watch people in wheelchairs struggle to get around the employees of the month candidates who can't be bother to move the quasi-able bodies for the disabled.

I nod at one. He looks blankly at me but sullenly like I pissed in his cornflakes. Weird... I felt like I just walked down the wrong street in Detroit.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bad Times Timelion... Part 1

Sorry for the absence here and at the front page of GCP. Had quite a scare earlier this week, though things started off good. My entire family was in town during the weekend doting on our newborn which was a lot of fun. He got to meet his grandparents (again), his aunt (again), and for the first time his uncle (my brother ) and his wife and their children. He met his 31/2 year old cousin and her sister who is 1 1/2. They flew in from Delaware. Yes, Delaware lacked a population when they were in town.

The 1 1/2 year old thought she was going to meet a playmate and didn't quite understand that the baby is basically a burping, nursing and pooping football. My niece was very sweet though wanting to wipe his nose when he sneezed. She'd get a tissue to bring to him, her grandfather who was holding my son would thank her, take it and put it aside. She'd get another tissue and he'd do the same thing. It was only when my dad faked wiped the baby's nose did my niece stop bringing him tissues. That made her happy.

So, that was good. I'll spare you the rest of the "cutesy" details as probably that's only interesting to the people that were in the room when in happened. Needless to say, there were a lot of those moments.

Of course, with family in town my poker sessions were limited to just a few online sessions. I played micro stakes. Are there stakes any smaller than that? I finished about even. Still I'm lucky that I can satisfy the same poker need no matter the stakes. If I play online poker for 5 cents it's the same as playing high stakes live. Course I don't play poker online for too much more than that because I hate doing anything over the internet. I don't do any banking online nor any transactions. In person, by phone or by mail.

On Saturday, my wife started feeling ill. On Sunday morning at 5am she felt really ill and started... mmmm... I'll try not to be graphic here... though that's kind of impossible. Let's just say she bled... A LOT.

This did not abate through out the day. In fact, it got heavier. She didn't tell me until 4 and after my family had left. I assumed it wasn't much or she would have said something earlier. Later she went to the bathroom and I looked and I was shocked. Sorry, for those faint at heart and easily queasy, and for sharing too much information, well you guys.... skip the rest of this sentence... right now... Ever seen the movie Carrie with Cissy Spacek when she's at the prom? Yeah? Well you'd think my wife was doing the special effects for a remake.

"WTF? You've been doing this all day?" I ask.

"Yes," she said meekly.

"Alright we are going to the emergency room."

Well, just because I said it didn't mean it was going to happen. What part of putting my foot down am I doing wrong? I try to convince her that the human body only has so much blood, I looked this up on the internet (I'm something of a google doctor with a success rate of about 50% diagnosing things) and it's possible she's hemorraghing which has some bad effects... like death. Okay... Without trying to scare her, but still trying to convince her to go the E.R., and to get her parents to come take care of the newborn, I run into some stubborness.

See... on Sunday before my family left we discussed the Swine Flu. And how, it's imperative parents of newborns do everything they can to avoid it. Babies are especially susceptible so when the Swine Flu shots come out, we get to move to the front of the line and should get one. My sister-in-law is a doctor and while there was lot of conjecture about swine flu from my non-doctor relatives the fact that she was sitting there through all of it and not contradicting it made it all true--whether it was or wasn't and regardless of whether she did or did not agree with it.

One of things said, was that the Swine Flu pandemic was underreported and with schools back in session things were pretty dire. The USA Today last week had a cover story about thousands of people dying so, to say it's underhyped is... troubling. And of course, last place you want to go as a parent of a newborn is an emergency room. So this is on both of minds, and probably colored our experiences afterward.

We call my wife's doctor and they say go in.

Not quite enough to convince the wife.

However, one more visit to the toliet and she was convinced.

So we head to the emergency room... which is always fun.

We get there and it's like a scene out of a movie like Outbreak or something. The waiting room is JAMMED packed. Everybody has this glazed over look in the eyes, they are all coughing, people are sleeping, and it's like every one of my wife's fears realized. There was this one family of Mexicans with foreheads shiny from sweat that could have been lifted off a poster warning about plagues.

We sign in and I stress to the girl we have a newborn at home and my wife's lost a lot of blood. I'm really worried at this point. The last time we came in they shipped us up to labor and delivery pretty quickly because my wife was pregnant... this go round I hinted at that and the check in girl pretty obstinately said, "The nurse will decide that, please go sit down and wait." With a wave of her hand she dismissed us back to the waiting room. We turn around and I look at a collection of West Virginian black lung victims.

I ask my wife if she wants to wait outside. No, she wants to sit. This is after she declined a wheel-chair because she doesn't like a fuss being made about her. Great thing about a wheel chair is... I think to myself because she wasn't listening to me... you get to sit where-ever you want. Like away from this group of Ebola victims.