The Cards Spoke

After 5 years of silence, I'm back! Check out the new poker blog.



And Miles to Go Before I Sleep

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

--Robert Frost

After a one-night trip to the Vegas state line, I feel like I have enough Blog material for a week. What a trip! Imagine being 10 feet away from blackjack, craps, and a soft poker game, and the NFL playoffs going on. I felt like Pacino as Tony Montana, running around with a kilo of coke on my face. I didn't know which way to go.

Hopefully I can return to writing some better posts... my wife's friend has (finally) left after 3 weeks, and I get some time to let my thoughts unfold, and reflect them. I have a deeply introverted streak, and if I'm around people all the time for an extended period of time, my brain turns to mush.

Anyway, let's start with the NFL games. Although I think the overall quality of the teams this year is somewhat lacking compared to recent years (the no-talent Pats are looking the best right now), the games this weekend were some of the best I can remember. Kudos to Boy Genius, who picked all 4 games correctly, and was on the money about the Colts-Chiefs over:
"Who’s going to stop this one from turning into a 38-35 game? No one, that’s who. Take the over on this game. Hell, double the over and take it."

Listen to BG and win cash. If anyone out there wants to open up a new account before the superbowl, Pinnacle offers the best lines.

Yours truly had a good weekend, thanks to going 4 for 4 on my prop bets in the Carolina-St.Louis game. That got me to even in that game, after losing the under bet in the second most heartbreaking gambling loss in my life. Number 1 was another under, in one of last year's San Antonio-Phoenix NBA playoff games. Amare Stoudamire hit a bank shot three pointer to tie the game and send it into OT. I still had 10 points to spare, but with 3 minutes of overtime, I was a little nervous. Of course, another buzzer beater at the end of the first overtime put them over my total, and just to rub it in, sent the game to a second overtime. I remember staring at the TV in shock as they showed the replay Stoudamire's ridiculous shot banking off the glass over and over. That one may never be topped.

But the good old Panthers did their best to top it. This game was in the bag from the start. Neither team could get in the end zone, and after the first half the total was at 19. The game rolled on, and it was in the bag. I was getting ready to hit the blackjack tables with a nice win, the Rams needing to score 11 points in the final 2:39 for me to lose my under. Not a chance.

The St. Louis onside kick recovery was like being all-in with trip aces against pocket 2s, and seeing runner runner twos to knock you out of the tourney. Just mind blowing. I'm not going to discuss how badly the Rams played (I really thought Martz would have his team more ready than that), but I wasn't surprised when one of the most overrated players in football (Jason Sehorn) was badly burnt for a big play in the clutch. If I was a QB, I'd lock in on Sehorn and throw to whoever he's covering.

That loss was a heartbreaker. But I won my props, and then watched Peyton put on an offensive clinic against KC and poor Dick Vermeil. Why would anyone ever kick to Dante Hall? Manning is in the zone, and I can't wait to see them against the Pats next week. I guess I was wrong about Brady's knee... anybody else see that block he threw? I'm gonna ride the Pats to the bowl, although the chess match between Peyton and Belichek should be one for the ages.

I was also wrong about McNabb, who willed his offense into the end zone to beat the Pack. I hope everybody saw the play where he scrambled around for about 10 seconds, escaping the GB dline and throwing a dart to Pinkston in the end zone. Just amazing. However, any defense that gives up that much space down the middle on 4rth and 26 in the clutch deserves to lose. Way to send 4 guys Mike Sherman. This game was over, and poor Brett reverted back to his early days, just throwing the ball up like a college freshman. This was a truly terrible play, and sadly is a mistake that Favre has never really learned how to fix. But 4rth and 26, you need a stop.

Ok enough football. On to Vegas!

For anybody who's never made the drive up I-15 from Cali into Vegas, you probably don't know that there are 3 large casinos in Primm, Nevada, just across the California state line. The state line is about 50 miles west from Vegas, so why the hell would anybody go there? Well, it saves an hour drive, turning a 5 hour drive into 4, or 3.5 if you're lucky. On Friday night, the wife and I decided that since we were both off, we'd spend Saturday night at the nearest Casino, which happened to be in Primm, Nevada. I booked a room at Buffalo Bill's, the only of the 3 casinos with a poker room. I probably could have gotten comped if I wanted to play some green chip blackjack, but the room was only $50 so I figured I should just book it online.

We left Saturday morning, and the drive was quite nice... around 4 hours, going 80 the entire way. Everybody must have blown their wad on New Years, as bad traffic can make the drive up to 7 hours long. After checking in and watching the heartbreaking Rams game, I was ready to win some money (I needed a couple of gin and tonics first).

The suckers at the poker table were calling. The poker "room" was right next to the sportsbook, and was composed of 3 poker tables cordoned (is that actually a word?) off by some metal rails. Hollywood Park has 100 tables (most of them going 24 hours on the weekend), and I can never get over the horrible treatment of poker in Vegas. Yeah, I know, 1 slot machine probably makes more than 5 poker tables, but give us a break. To my amazement, there were actually a few people on the rails watching the two games going-- this was a 2-6 spread limit game, why would anyone watch?

But poker would have to wait. I wanted to wait until the wife was all gambled out, so I could fry up some fish without being disturbed. She LOVES the slots, and doesn't much like any other game, so I quickly dumped 40 bucks and watched the little lights flashed as my credits quickly were reduced to zero. Talk about a game for suckers. Not only is it negative EV, there's not even any way to calculate how much you're losing on each play. No I'm not bitter.

We then played around on the roulette wheel for an hour or so, which was actually fun. I met a guy that was charting the wheel, and had a system for beating it. You might not believe it, but roulette is a game that can actually be beaten. I was amused that the guy was standing right in front of the wheel with a pad and taking notes on each spin, and the pit bosses never said anything to him. After a half an hour of up and down, we both got bored and dumped our remaining chips on "even" and "black" and the ball hopped out of my lucky number (10) into red 31. Not a good start.

Stay tuned for a report on the poker game. Let me just tell you it involves me peering over a tower of chips, and tales of the biggest fish you've ever seen.

Before I forget I have to leave you with a little bit of poker content. Well, not quite. But at least it's "poker on tv" content. I just discovered that my cable company has graciously given me free cable for the month. I am not a big fan of tv-watching, although growing up I saw my fair share. On Friday after I had overdosed on NFL previews (O how I miss thee Chris Berman!), I flipped around to see the old familiar face of Jean-Luc Picard. I never was a trekkie, but I thought "Next Generation" was one of the best shows on TV. I watched for a few minutes, and realized it was part one of the famous "Borg" episode. But it appeared the commercials had been cut out. This was like a dream come true!

Finally after the 1 hour episode ended, I remembered that I wasn't in some sort of TV heaven, and some ad told me I was watching "Spike TV, the network for men." Network for men? What the hell happened to cable? I felt like some sort of chauvinist for enjoying the Borg episode until the part two (the second hour) of the show came on. Groans from the wife as I reenterd TV heaven for another hour.

(Be patient, poker on tv content is coming)

Ok, so after the show was over it was time for bed, but I had to figure out how to get my wife's EAD (Employment Authorization Document) renewed. For those of you who don't know, the US pisses on its immigrants, even if they happened to be married to an American. But that's a rant for another time. After a few minutes of web searching, I turned to see a flyover of Vegas on the Spike Network. I'd heard about CSI: Las Vegas, but never seen it. After the intro, I was drawn back to hear the clatter of chips and see poker on TV.

What followed was one of the most appalling and hilarious plot lines involving poker I have ever seen (or probably ever will) on TV. Who writes this stuff? I'm not going to spoil the ending for you, but lets just say it was more improbably than a MacGyver plot. I urge you guys to read the entire script (it's short) for laughs. There was even a more horrible subplot involving fast-and-furious type racing. To whet your appetite, I'm including the intro scene that sucked me in (note the great discussion about the number of outs that "Doyle" has). Check out the entire script here:
The worst written tv show about poker

SCENE #01:


(Camera view looking in on a group of poker players in a quiet room. It's a
high-stakes game.

DEALER: Start with you, sir?

(GRINDER knocks his fist on the table three times.)


MATT: He doesn't bet, but he keeps a beat. You check. Someone's on a flush
draw. Mm, I'll take the free card. Check.

LITA GIBBONS: I'll check.

(LITA puts some eye drops in her eyes.)

MATT: What do you got, Candyman?

(DOYLE PFEIFFER, the Candyman, puts some candy in his mouth. The waitress
approaches the table to refresh the drinks. She stops by MATT first. He puts a
chip on her tray as she serves the drinks.)


WAITRESS: (to Matt) Thank you very much.

(The waitress moves to serve DOYLE PFEIFFER. She puts a drink in front of him
and he gives her his empty glass. MATT notices the slight.)

MATT: (mutters) "Stiff" ... typical.

(The Grinder looks at his cards.)

GRINDER: I can bet. Make it ... $2,000.

(The Grinder puts a short stack of blue chips in the middle of the table.)

MATT: The Grinder speaks.

(Matt puts his chips in. DOYLE PFEIFFER doesn't hesitate.)

DOYLE PFEIFFER: We raise $4,000.

MATT: Call the bet.

DEALER: $2,000. Raise you $2,000.

MATT: It's all about you, Grinder.

GRINER: I'm going to go get a $2,000 slice of pizza.

(The Grinder folds. LITA GIBBONS smiles.)

MATT: Well ... might as well make It a poker game. I'm all in. What do you
got, Southern Iowa?

LITA GIBBONS: A pain in the ass to my right side.

(LITA GIBBONS folds. There are only two players left in the game.)

DOYLE PFEIFFER: Um... yeah, you might have a winning hand. You might be just
trying to buy it. Johnny Chan thought I was too old, too back in the '86

MATT: You mean, the series where the ball went through Buckner's legs?

DOYLE PFEIFFER: Save the story, kid. Here's what's what. I got aces. What do
you got? Maybe you got trips, maybe king, queen. Maybe you got two pair. Ace
hits the board ... I win. Club hits the board ... I win.

(He pops in a piece of candy.)

DOYLE PFEIFFER: Eight, nine hits the board ...

(He pops in another piece of candy.)


MATT: Here's the matter old man. Thirteen of every suit in the deck. I see
three clubs. That means you've got ten coming 37 cards left in the deck. You
like those odds?

DOYLE PFEIFFER: I like 'em a lot better than I like you.

(DOYLE PFEIFFER moves to gather his chips. His hands freeze and he starts to
convulse. His entire body starts to spasm uncontrollably. The players around
the table stare aghast at the man.)

(DOYLE PFEIFFER lands face forward on the table. Dead.)


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