Thursday, December 29, 2005


29 DEC 05

In the spirit of the season, may these brighten your day. Have a safe and happy holiday.

See you next year.

-Dr. C

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Cute Kid Story

28 DEC 05

Warning – No Poker Content!!

This is supposed to be a poker blog, but this was just too cute to pass up. Besides, Drizz has frequently posted about his young ‘un, to positive dramatic effect.

I too have a potty-training youngster who can be a handful at times, but will easily make up for it with comments like these. Like most 3 year-olds, he is learning to speak and will occasionally mix up letter sounds. We don’t have a Doggy, we have a Goggy.

Dr. Chako: Jason, it’s doggy.

Jason: Goggy.

Dr. Chako: No, Jason. Try again. D – D – Doggy.

Jason: D- D - … Goggy!!

Cute factor 5/10

So fast forward to last week. The scene is set while riding in the minivan with his 8 year-old brother.

Jason: Mommy, I want a Powder Ranger.

Older Brother: Jason, it’s POWER Ranger.

Jason: That’s what I said! D- D- … POWDER Ranger!!

Cute Factor 10+.

Okay. I thought it was cute. Maybe you had to be there.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Making a Move

27 DEC 05

I’ve grown fond a making a of move that, when it works, the payoff is phenomenal.

Here is the situation. Typically, it’s a loose-passive 4/8 game (better with a full kill). Often there are two bets pre-flop with 4 or 5-way action. I’m in late position or on the button with either J10 or Q10 (preferably suited, but not necessary). Early raiser. One or two callers.

Here is the move. I reraise.

Okay. It’s not the trickiest of moves, but it does a couple of things. First, since I’m not an overly-aggressive player, I get big-hand equity. Post flop, it will usually check around to me - the final raiser. At this point, I bet and most everyone calls. Beware of check-raisers at this point. A flop check raise means only one thing – the check-raiser has a hand, but is afraid of a suckout. It never works. Nearly everyone preflop will call this bet. If it happens, and I have no piece or no draw, I quietly fold. Most people at 4/8 never pay attention to the flop-fold, so I’m not afraid they’ll think (or remember) I was bluffing. If I have a draw, I reraise.

Here is the key. The fish will often fold to the first raiser. If he bets, watch out. If he checks (9 times out of 10), I bet aggressively to the river. It’s amazing how he will fold to the river bet when his gutshot doesn’t get there or his Ace doesn't pair. And if he does get there, I get the wonderful reaction from the rest of the table...

You three-bet with THAT?

I simply go back to my regular tight-aggressive style and collect from all the future bluff equity. They always remember the river bluff.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


Just what I needed to get my mojo back - a little blogger tournament. Thanks to Wil for setting these up. I placed 25th, but I made good decisions (okay the big bluff with KJ against the 99 wasn't so good, but other than that...)

Second place in a $15 two table SNG turbo helps too. I had recently fallen in love with middle connectors and one gaps. Strange. I kept losing. I started folding them and, what do you know, 2nd place.

Now my wife and sister are headed to Vegas. Without me. Guess where they are staying...

The Bellagio.

Dammit - I've never stayed at the Bellagio. All I'm saying is, they'd better have a friggin' awesome time. And I mean this - I fully expect them to come back with at least one "what happens in Vegas" story.

Of course, my dear wife of 10+ years will eventually tell me the story.

You will, won't you dear?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Pathetic Short Post

Thanks for the advice about getting my money into Pokerstars. I figure the advice is self-motivated since you are all likely going to get my money eventually.

Online first (for me) - getting AA cracked 5 times in one sitting.

Hands that beat my aces:
J10 off
92 off (WTF?)
63 (but they were soooted)

'Scuze my whilst I go kick my dog.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Best of the Rest

Looks like I'm reaching for a re-buy
How can Bill maintain such a high level of "coolness?"
Yup. I'm a big dumb fan. Jealous?
He totally should have sold these shirts.
Two docs and a luckbox. To quote Dave Barry, that would be a really good name for a rock band.

Back in the Saddle

16 DEC 05

That was the longest I allow myself to be depressed – about 12 hours. I never want to do that again!!

In order to recover my normal jovial disposition, I played intensely with my kids and skipped online poker. Actually, skipping poker was easy. When I tried to rebuy, it said my card was denied. WTF? I know I have a big balance (I set up this account exclusively for online poker), and I keep rigorous records. I clicked on the website to check my balance, and it’s fat and happy. I tried again – DECLINED.

I called my bank. They said the problem was at Pokerstars. I called Pokerstars. They said it must be a problem with my personal information. Well, I haven’t changed the info at all since I opened the account, but sure, I’ll look again. Nope. No problem there. Then they said it must be coming from my bank.

Back on the phone to the bank. NOW they apologize. Sorry, they say, Mastercard (credit or debit) can no longer be used for online poker. You’ll have to find a different way to get them your money. Does anyone else know about this?

Anyway, all this meant more time with the kiddies. I love watching my youngest squeal when I yell, “Who needs a beating?” Then we chase each other through the house with the dog in tow. It’s a blast.

After bath time and bed time (can I have a 3rd drink of water, pleeeeese?), I decide to re-scrub my poker stats.

Since October:

Tournaments (both live and online): +$350
Live Ring Games: +$1100
Online (non-tournament): -$1000

The highlight: I’ve won (meaning walked away with more money than I started) in 18 of the last 20 ring games I’ve played.

The low point: Mega-tilting away $1000 in (basically) one session online.

It’s time to refocus on what I’m good at – live action and tourneys. If I ever get more money into Pokerstars, I’m skipping the ring games all together and concentrating on the SNGs (including the 180’s) and the satellites to the bigger games on the weekends. That’s how I ran up my balance last time.

Just thinking about it makes me smile.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


15 DEC 05

I still have more stories and pics from Vegas. In fact, thinking about it is the only thing that’s making me smile right now. For those of you looking for poker stories, I’m afraid I have to disappoint you. I have a cold, I lost my entire stake (again) on Pokerstars, and their damn site won’t take my credit card for some reason. WTF?!?! I’m NOT transferring money to Neteller again – not with an 8.9% transaction fee!

To top it off, I had to have “the talk” with two patients yesterday. Normally, I have to give bad news about once or twice a month. Twice in one day was tough. I’ll write more about it on my other blog, Beauty in Shades of Gray.

For now, I’m going to keep thinking about the great weekend we all had in Vegas, knowing that tomorrow will be better.

Final thought: I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble. - Helen Keller

Monday, December 12, 2005

WPBT ’05 Trip Report

12 DEC 05


Like most bloggers preparing their trip report, I have no idea where to begin. How do you describe the best Vegas week ever? Are there enough adjectives? Will I get the point across? Does anyone care?

Faithful readers of my blog (basically my Dad, and sometimes my dear and patient wife) were both there. They know what happened. New bloggers I met may also stop by this humble blog (hey guys!), but they were also there. We all saw this incredible event unfold. It was legendary even before it ended.

But let’s go back to the beginning.

Wednesday: My mother-in-law has everything under control. She knows where to find the daycare, the school and the scotch (okay, maybe not the scotch). She kisses the dear and patient wife/daughter and the dutiful son-in-law (your hero) and sends us off to the Seatac airport. An uneventful direct flight into McCarran Airport has us both saying, “Vegas, baby!”

My wonderful wife has already set up the shuttle to take us to the Wynn. That’s right. You heard me. We were staying uptown! And let me tell you, everything they say about this place is true. You gotta love a guy (Steve Wynn) who says, “hmmm… I think we need something in front of the hotel. I know! A mountain. Yeah. Put it right there. No, a little to the left. Good. Now cover it with trees and a huge friggin’ waterfall. Hmmm… Better make it four waterfalls. And fountains!! How come you didn’t remind me about the fountains???” Rooms? Go ahead and put plasma TV’s in the bathrooms. You heard me!! Put in a computer operated mini bar while you’re at it. If they lift up the chocolate and don’t put it back within 60 seconds, charge ‘em! We gotta pay for these friggin’ waterfalls, dammit.

Still, I couldn’t help but think that the Bellagio was a bit more grand. I think it was intentional. In an article I read, Steve Wynn said he already did “grand.” With the Wynn, he wanted to pay more attention to detail. He did, but I think he lost something in the effort. Most of my party agreed (that the Bellagio was better), but that shouldn’t detract from how incredible the Wynn really was.

I’m not there for 10 minutes, and I already have a $100 bar bill. Can you say $25 for 18 year-old Macallan? The bartender actually had a 52 year old Macallan that he let me sniff. It smelled sweet, but get this - it’s $650 for one shot. No shit. This is going to be a great trip. Dinner at Wing Lei is $800 for our party of 10. I better hit the poker room. Fast.

Well, first I have to stop off at the craps table. I help Dad with his chips (he’s blind) and the pit crew is awesome and patient as we start playing the highest stakes craps game of our lives. $15 minimum bets, and suddenly I’ve got $200 on the table. Point. Point again. Holy crap! No wait.


No phrase is more painful than “7 out” said in that droll monotone. I friggin’ hate that. Still, I was about even. Back up to $300 on the table and… “7 out.” Donked off $300.

It’s time to play a little game we call poker.

It’s the $1 - $3 NL table right by the rail at the Wynn. A huge crowed of railbirds watch as I sit down next to Duke. Duke is a local Vegas legend. I pull out my $300 stake and call for chips. That’s when I notice that Duke has about $20,000 in cash and chips in front of him. Can you say, “seat change!!” I moved from his right to his left (he was now seated on my right). He was very boisterous and gregarious, introducing himself to everyone at the table and flirting with a really cute girl on the rail. He said he just had his 50th birthday and he was here to celebrate. Needless to say, I was nervous. I fully expected him to live straddle and run over the table. What I found, though, was the tightest player I’ve ever met. He never bet more than $9, he saw about one in 10 hands, and never saw a river card. I’m sure he never varied more than $20 up or down for the hour he sat there (and half of that $20 was spent buying a drink for the model/hooker on the rail). At least he got a kiss on the cheek from her before she left.

After he left, I heard from some of the locals that this is a regular thing for him. He hops from casino to casino as sort of a pseudolife - buying in for far more than necessary, but never playing the games where he might actually put any of that money at risk. Sometimes he shows up in a tux. One of the locals started going on and on about “Duke’s little weiner,” until the dealer had enough and threatened to kick him out. For my take, I thought the guy was a little desperate for attention, but he certainly found a way to get it and was one of the highlights of my trip.

End of the night: Up $100, including the $300 loss at craps.

Thursday: More family time. Our posse consists of my dad, his wonderful girlfriend Judy (is it okay to call her a girlfriend when their combined age is over 120? Talk amongst yourselves), my aunts and uncles from Florida and Alabama, my dad’s cousins from Toronto and us. We all head out on the town, culminating with Rita Rudner doing her stand-up shtick. We all laughed really hard in places and at least smiled the whole time. Sitting in the front row sucked, and we all complained of a sore neck by the end.

Back to the Wynn. Donk off $200 more at the craps table before I learn my lesson. It was the last time I played craps in Vegas. A long wait for the $1 - $3 NL table has me sitting in with the dear and patient wife at the $4 - $8 limit table. Holy crap! She plays 4 hands, 4 hands, and she’s up $200. Can you say, OPM*? I knew you could.

Move to the $1 - $3 NL table. Win $300. Thankyouverymuch.

Okay. It’s two am (Golden Earring, anyone?). We are back in the room and the pillows look awfully inviting, but I’m restless. There are bloggers in Vegas, and it’s my duty to find them. Shaking her head, the dear and patient wife finally says, “go already!” A 10 minute taxi to the Excalibur and, holy crap, I’m in blogger heaven. Immediately I see all my internet heroes. There’s Joe Speaker, Bad Blood, CJ, Otis, Drizz and The Mark. Where the hell is Pauly? Shit, he’s right there. I shook his friggin’ hand!! What? There’s a seat for me?

Pauly isn’t at our table but all the others are. I buy in for $100 and proceed to stomp all over the bloggers. That’s right. You heard me. I ran that $100 up to $450 in about an hour (sorry Bad Blood) when Drizz says, “let’s switch to Omaha 8 high/low.” The dealer says no way, and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. My total experience at this game is .01/.02 PLO on Pokerstars, and I’ve lost nearly every time. The Mark chimes in. “If the manager tells you to do it, will you deal it?” “Of course,” says the dealer, “but he will never agree to it.” Turns out The Mark knows the guy and sure enough, I’m playing PLO. Crap.

I fold every hand until I’m dealt AAQ2. The flop is AA10. Holy crap. I bet $25 and everyone folds. I turn over my quads and ask, “Is that any good? I really have no idea how to play this game.”

Only one other hand of note. The details are a little fuzzy, but here is the gist. I pick up A23Q on the button and call $3 into a five way pot. The flop is K53 giving me the nut low draw. I call a $15 bet and three of us see the turn. It’s a 10 and it checks to me. I check and the river brings an 8. I have the nut low. The Mark bets $50. Drizz folds, and without knowing what I’m doing, I say, “pot.” The dealer (very sharp, BTW) says, “that’s $262.” Did anyone see my balls jump up into my throat? Geez, I hope not.

The Mark goes into the tank. I’m praying he has the high when he says, “I’ve got the nut low, I think I need to call.” Shit. All I have at this point is A-high. Even a pair of 2’s and I get ¼ of the pot. I just keep smiling. Finally, he calls and turns over…


That’s right. Chop it up!! Everyone at my end of the table says no one else makes that call. Too bad for me, but I walked around and gave him a high five. It was the hand of the night. Even Otis said it was a hell of a lot of fun to watch. With the blinds and extra small bets that were in that pot, I’m up! I’m a winning O8 H/L player, dammit! Look out Pokerstars!!

I shake hands all around and I’m off to bed, crashing at around 5:30 am. Gotta love Vegas.

Friday: The Wynn buffet for breakfast and dinner. Can you say, “hedonism?” I knew you could. All I remember is John Elway was sitting two tables over, I had king crab legs that were (no shit) 3 feet long and my wife had 4 rambutons. I wouldn’t eat these things on a bet. They look like small pink porcupines, but apparently the fruit inside is quite good. I’ll take their word for it.

No one’s at the Excalibur at midnight (I forgot they were all the MGM playing HORPSE), but the wife and I both won at $2 - $4 limit with a table full of donkeys. We should have won a lot more but for a few unlucky rivers. Still, OPM is awfully nice.

Saturday: Show up at the Imperial Palace at 10 am with our luggage and see a whole lot of familiar faces, including Whiskeytown, who I played with the night before at the most incredible $1 - $3 table I’ve ever sat at. It was at Paris, and I hope he blogs about it. If not, look here for a future post about the maniac of all maniacs.

I’m first on the alternate list, and as people are paying the $65 entry fee, I get to pose with some of the invited speakers, including Barry Greenstein (the Robin Hood of poker) and Charlie Shoten. Holy crap, it’s Wil Wheaton! I shake his hand and I’m a big dumb fan again. I tell him the story about how bonding with my son while watching TNG in Germany was similar to his story about bonding with his step kids while watching Firefly. I hope he doesn’t think I’m too big of a geek. Wait… doesn’t that make me a kindred spirit?

Okay. Here comes the negative part. I’m a real upbeat person, and I hate to say bad things, but here goes. Next time we do this, will someone please tell the speakers to limit their talks to 5 minutes max? Thanks. If I had to hear Michael Craig say, “the next thing that happened was…” one more time, I was going to punch someone.

11:45 am and the cards are in the air. I’m seat 4, table 4 and Bill Friggin’ Rini is on my right. He’s aggressive, so I get to coast a bit. Before the first hand he tosses a $25 tourney chip at the dealer and says, “Aces please.” Sure enough, the next hand he bets $150, gets no callers and flips up aces. I try the same shtick.

No kidding. I get Aces the very next hand.

But wait, there’s more. I proceed to get AA again 4 hands later. I raise to 4x BB and get one caller. It turns out she’s Pokergeek’s girlfriend, and she just calls. The flop is low cards. I bet, she raises and I reraise all in. She thinks for about 20 seconds and calls with QQ. No help on the turn and river and she’s out. I love busting people, but I felt truly bad for her. She clearly has a lot riding on this emotionally, but she recovered quickly and came back just in time to watch me go up against her boyfriend.

Pokergeek is to my immediate left. I’m SB and he’s BB. Everyone folds to me and I go right into the Scotty Nguyen bit from one of the Poker Superstars events.

Dr. Chako: Dealer, what’s the minimum raise?

Dealer: $600.

Dr. Chako: So I have to put in how much?

Dealer: An extra $450.

At this point I deliberately count out $450 chips.

Dr. Chako: Okay. Minimum raise. Is that right?

Dealer: Yes, that’s right.

Pokergeek (looking right at me): All in.

Dr. Chako: Call!!

I couldn’t get the words out fast enough. He flips over KQ, and I flip over AA.

That’s right. I busted out both Geek and girlfriend-of-Geek with AA. He was very gracious and shook my hand before giving me his bounty prize – a very cool Full Tilt hat. Truly a gentleman.

Afterwards, everyone at the table said they knew what I was doing. I made it easy for them because I had AA 5 friggin’ times within the first ½ hour!! It seems they had all seen that Scotty Nguyen episode, too. Too bad Geek doesn’t watch poker on TV. To be honest, I really expected him to fold just so I could show everyone that I AA once again.

I’m up and down, including folding AQ off suit to Jason (Justin?) who then showed his Q4 (bastard!) and reraising Bill Rini with QQ. He folded after a short time in the tank. I put him on something like J10 based on the way he folded and his aggressive style. We’ll see.

I run up to about $8000 (we started with $2500) and it’s the break. I stay to watch the dealer race off the green chips. I’ve got three greenies and she flips me a 2, a 3 and a 4. Oh well. But wait. My four plays!!

I’m moved to table 1, seat four, and guess who is in seat 7? Wil Friggin’ Wheaton. I’m in heaven. Thank goodness for the wife and the digital camera, because I wasn’t there long. The table is pretty tight and I pick up pocket 4s on the button. It checks around to me, and I briefly think about folding (I had folded 44 twice so far) or maybe put in a minimum raise, but no. I go, “all-in.”

The small blind goes into the tank. Shit. We are even in chips and I think he’s thinking about calling. He does calls and the big blind quickly calls behind.

SB has 10s and BB has Qs. A straight for the 10’s on the turn means I’m done. The river brings the BB a full house for a very exciting hand that I got to watch as I was walking away.

Still, the early exit meant we could catch an earlier flight back home to Federal Way, and I got to hug my kids before bedtime.

Here’s the bottom line. I got a hug from Pauly. I got to shake hands with Wil Wheaton and John Elway. I got to pose with Barry Greenstein, and I got to play in the WPBT.

I’d say I’m the luckiest man alive, but there are about 100 bloggers that probably feel the same way.

When are we doing it again guys, ‘cause it can’t be soon enough.

*OPM – other people’s money

Saturday, December 10, 2005

WPBT, baby!!

Still recovering from the best Vegas weekend ever. Here's a quick pic dump.

Bill, I had QQ.

The amazing Bill Rini
Dr. Chako and Dr. Pauly
The ever gracious Barry Greestein
Al Can't Hang - what more can I say?
Table 1. I'm in Seat 4. Wil Wheaton is in seat 7.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Kicked in the Juuuuunk

2 DEC 05

I have been WAY too full of myself lately. My mistress has finally set me firmly on my ass.

Flash back to early November:

Mistress: Oooh, Dr. Chako, you are a poker god (running her fingers through my hair). I want you. I NEED you. I’ve never met anyone like you. How can anyone make correct decisions time and again like you? You won three straight hands with Q 10 off suit. Masterful! Take me.

Dr. Chako: Settle down, baby. Just watch me go.

Hell, I’ve been bragging about myself in the comments section of other bloggers (go see Drizz). How friggin’annoying.

Now, how’s about we look at two days ago.

Mistress (still running her fingers through said hair): Oh, Dr. Chako. I’ve got something for you.

Dr. Chako: Yeah, baby. I know. You really dig me. I get that.

Mistress: WHAM! (Kneeing the unsuspecting Dr. Chako square in the junk). Are you okay, baby?

Dr. Chako (eyes wide with despair): WHAT DID YOU DO THAT FOR?!?! That really friggin’ hurt! (Our hero crumples over and retches his comp’d fruit plate)

Mistress: I know, sweety, but I only do it because I love you. I won’t do it again. Promise.

Dr. Chako (groaning): Really?

Mistress (smiling that sweet smile that you MUST believe): I love you, baby.

And yesterday…

Mistress (without hesitation or smile): WHAM! (right back in the ol’ sweet spot – square in the junk)

Dr. Chako: Whu….? (air goes out)

Mistress: Baby, I wasn’t sure you got it last time. You understand, right?

Mistress, I have two things to say to you:


2. I’ll see you tomorrow.

Final thought: Thanks for the pimpage, Iggy. I really hope to see you in Vegas in a few days.