Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 Year in Review (November and December)

31 DEC 06

November

Ah, politics. I never started out to be a political blogger, but I’ve also never been one to hold inside what needs to be said. John Kerry pissed me off. It later turned out that I really think he botched a joke (as opposed to calling me a idiot for not being smart enough to stay out of Iraq), but it lead to a pretty good post.

Sometimes, I think of something and I can’t let it go (no pun intended). Finally, I decided to write it down thinking, “Surely, no one else has the problem of when to pee while playing poker?” Boy was I wrong.

I love poetry and wit, but only when they are brief. If I have to work too hard to translate the words, I get bored and miss meaning. That’s why I love The Onion for its wit, and why I loved this short poem by Samuel Menasche. It has such profound meaning in such a short space.

Scribe out of work
At a loss for words
Not his to begin with,
The man life passed by
Stands at the window
Biding his time


I stayed a little political in November (it was hard not to with the election results), and then taught you all how to tell The Perfect Bad Beat Story. How come you haven’t learned?

I also started to get paid for blogging this month by signing up with Review Me. In a never-before-seen comment, I give you, right here and right now, my review of Review Me:

The folks at Review Me are criminals and sham artists. They will never get another review from me. They were sending my money to the wrong PayPal address. Here is the entire email they sent me when I asked about it:

Hi,

Very sorry, but we are unable to reinitiate past payments.

Thanks,

ReviewMe Support
support@reviewme.com

I finished the month by once again apologizing to my wife. At least I got the Vegas trip approved, right? Too bad it nearly cost me my marriage. Okay, that’s overstating it a bit, but trust me – it was ugly and it was my fault.

December

December brought World Poker Blogger Tour (WPBT), and Trip Reports One, Two and Three. What an awesome experience. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that thoughts of this trip will carry me through my impending deployment to Iraq. Thanks again for the memories and stories.

As I approaced the end of the month and the end of 2006, I decided to let you all share in my Midlife Crisis. Folks, I am really struggling with this, but it’s been cathartic to share it with you. There is no end in site, but the revelations are coming fast and furious.

First – here is the Wikipedia description of a Midlife Crisis (don’t you just love the Wiki?)

My favorite part?

Acquiring of unusual or expensive items such as clothing, muscle cars, jewelry, gadgets, etc.

And so, we are down to this. 2006 was an incredible year. 2007 will be interesting, even though I will spend a significant portion of it in the desert. I know that going to war and going to prison are very different, but that’s how I’m approaching this. I’ve never been to prison, but if I was sentenced, I think I would mentally prepare myself for the dead time and focus on the end. In this case, the end may be in doubt. I’m told it’s “just 6 months,” but the Army is notorious for changing things at the last minute. Think about it for a minute. What would you rather have?

Option 1: You are told you are deploying for a year, but you get to come back at 11 months.
Option 2: You are told you are deploying for 6 months, but you get extended to 7 months.

On the surface, Option 2 is 4 months shorter, but can you see how much more difficult it is mentally?

I will end this year on two notes – one political and one personal.

First off I give you my thoughts on Iraq. Saddam is dead.

Saddam Hussein execution. Warning! This video shows to the end. It’s crappy, but it’s important.

I’m a little conflicted here. I personally want him dead. I’m glad he’s dead. He deserved to die. I’m just a little worried that things will get worse in the short term – like, just when I’m boarding the plane to head East.

Lastly, it’s time for a little revelation.

I first heard about this concept on a couple of old posts from Iggy and Wil Wheaton. The question we need to ask ourselves as poker players is this:

Why do we play poker?

Folks, I am stuck over $15,000. Now, I am very fortunate that this will not affect the way I live my life. I can absorb this loss and move on. But, what have I gotten for my 15 large?

I had one helluva time playing cards. My heart beat like crazy. I got some great stories and met some interesting people at the casino.

I met you all through poker. Surely, no value can be placed on that. I never would have known about the WPBT if it wasn’t for poker and blogging, and that would be a shame.

But, at the end of the day, why do I play poker? My big revelation is this: Poker has been an ego thing for me. I got so much pleasure when I was winning that I lost site of the big picture, and it affected my game. Poker, at least limit poker, is a grind. I needed the action and played too many hands. By putting myself in too many drawing situations, and not having the bankroll to sustain when the odds don’t come my way, I decimated my bankroll. I now have two options – rebuild the bankroll, or take a break from regular poker.

Guess which one I’m headed towards?

I know my wife and family will be happy. I spend too much time away. I have decided to limit my poker to home games, Vegas and freerolls (unless Stefan comes into town – then I’ll be forced to hit the Muckleshoot once again).

So the big answer and the big revelation is this. Why do I play poker?

For the wrong reasons.

It’s time to fix that.

Starting right now.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

2006 Year in Review (July thru October)

30 DEC 06

July

This month brought the Ozzfest giveaway to a close. I got some incredible offers for my free ticket offer:

I would piss myself and stay in those pants for 3 days just to hear System of a Down for 1 minute…

The eventual winner sent me a great email and pic from the concert, and he kept his word and thanked me on the liner notes from his band’s new CD. Check out Proto-Leviathan.


But July also saw the WBPT. As I said in my 101 Things About Dr. Chako, I could not wait for this event. I may have done a few things wrong (like not meeting many of my blogging heroes), but I would correct that at the next event.

This was my first attempt at a trip report, and it chronicled my time on the “Deuce” and meeting one helluva crowd.

Timmy: Dad, what kind of birds do you like?
Dad: I don’t know, Timmy. I guess I like colorful ones like parrots or fast ones like falcons.
Timmy: No Dad. I meant do you like alive ones or dead ones.
Pause.
Dad: I guess I prefer the live ones, Timmy.
Timmy: I like the dead ones.

Given a choice between Huge Junk and Laura Prepon, we all know who I would choose. Honest, I had no idea who she was.

I also went to Alaska where I would pen the short story, “Fairbanks.”

August

This month included a great cruise, with a little donkey poker thrown in (who the hell has a 10% rake no max?! Royal Caribbean, that’s who!).

In my Experiment, I further chronicle the downward spiral of my bankroll, yet I was able to do something about it. I ran a $20 buy-in to a local tournament to nearly $3000. Yep, I gave it all back to the poker community. Can you feel the revelation coming?

I also found You Tube this month. Tommy Emmanuel. You can thank me later.

My rise to blogging fame culminated this month with the publication of my short story in the incredible online magazine Truckin’. I can’t thank you enough, Pauly.

Fairbanks.

October

This month I started out comparing myself to Daniel Negreanu. I was serious. Somehow I forgot about a key difference, namely the direction of our respective bankrolls. Actually, in an interview with CardPlayer magazine right before the final table of the recent 5 Diamond Classic, Daniel mentioned that he was broke. Somehow I doubt it, but it makes me feel a little better.

My wife (who I’m currently pissed at for leaving a mean comment on my first Year in Review post) wrote a hysterical rebuttal to my Fairbanks story. I’m forced to admit it was as good (better?) than the original.

The rest of my posts this month can be summed up as either realizing that I suck at poker or that I’m good a sucking out. Two great traits of donkeys, in case you were wondering.

The month ended with this bit of prose:

Still another summer has spilled from my hands as a precarious pile of plates that topples to the floor. I gaze at the ruin, and wonder what wonderful opportunities were missed.

October

I start to hint at my impending midlife crisis. I hadn’t yet named it, but I knew something was wrong.

I found out that I would be headed to Iraq.

I follow this with another top 10 (yet morbid) post called If You Are Reading This, I’m Already Dead.

I also realized that I have actual readers, based on tons of comments I got when I announced my impending deployment. Thanks guys and gals. As you know, I’m not doing this for you, but it sure is a helluva ego stroke to know that you read my stuff and support me as a soldier and doctor.

I hinted at Taking a Shot. This is really the beginning of the end. In retrospect, this is an obvious cry for help. This post is no different than a losing gambler staring at a craps table and saying (sometimes outloud), “Okay, last chance. I’m gonna break even right here. Right now.” There are only two outcomes.

90% of the time, the bankroll disappears.
10% you win big, only to give it back – usually sooner than later.

I wrote my funniest post ever, called A Nickel Please.

Finally, I wrote my most important post ever on the 20th anniversary of joining the Army, called 20 Years After.

Now, you’re gonna have to wait for November and December because my plane is boarding.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 Year in Review

28 DEC 06

The folks here at NPCWaMCD would like to thank you all for your support and frequent visits. It’s been a helluva year. This also marks my first full year of blogging, since I only started in August of 2005. Quite a lot has happened.

2005 ended with a couple lame cartoons, but had a pretty cute “goggy” story on my second to last post of 2005, called Cute Kid Story.

January

2006 started off with a bang as I shared a horrible start to the year with Mr. Speaker, but followed quickly with an interesting post about playing better on drugs.

Continuing a theme that would pervade many of my posts this year, I addressed my ongoing problem with managing Tilt. It’s interesting that I KNOW I go on tilt, and I KNOW it affects my play, yet I still haven’t fixed the problem. Well, maybe I have, but I’ll address that later. As an aside, I was asked just this morning to take on a HUGE new responsibility at work. The one thing “the powers” noted, though, was a concern that I sometimes get too emotional and lose my temper. “Better watch that,” they said.

January 12th launched me to blogging fame. This post, about a 7' 4" Dutch woman called Moving to Holland (and the accompanying picture) remains my most frequently visited page, and provides some very interesting Google searches leading to my blog.

I also posted my 101 Things about Dr. Chako in January and figured out how to include it on my front page. I need to update a few items. For instance, I’ve recently crossed the 20 year mark in the Army, and I may need to address that little thing about never being in combat. Well, technically, I’ve still never been in combat, but as my readers know, that’s about to change.

I ended the month snake-bit.

February

This month brought a great guest post by my buddy Bill, an outstanding physician and friend from my days in Germany. We golfed together at St. Andrews, and he wrote a story about it that he was going to submit to a more prestigious publication, but instead gave me the privilege of posting it here. I give you St. Andrews on the Fly.

I followed immediately with an intense apology to my wonderful wife. For those of you who have never been married, take a cue from this post and don’t be afraid to apologize, even if it means hanging your ass out there for all to see. Damn. I was drawing dead, and got there.

February continued as perhaps my best blogging month ever with a post called This I Believe. This was inspired by a story about Mel Rusnov on NRP, and finished with a throw away line about one of my favorite entertainers, Rob Lumbard. What made this extra cool was that both Mel and Rob left comments on the post. This belongs in the top 10 things I love about blogging. It may be number one or two.

Rabbits.

I really started catching my stride when I opened up a little of my personal life with a post called This is Not About You. The situation has since resolved, but it’s a notable post because it helped me sort out some issues, just by writing it down. At its essence, isn’t that what writing in your diary is all about?

It’s funny, because in the rest of my February posts, I kept threatening to stop playing poker.

March

Also in my top ten is my post called Where Am I Going with This? I have trouble re-reading this post.

March came to a close by living vicariously through my blogging brethren as they tried hard (and failed) to not brag about their exclusive invite to the Playboy Mansion. Can I go next year?

April

I started April with my April Fools Guest Post by Al Can’t Hang. I still can’t read his blog at work because I get “Access Denied: Dating.”

My 39th birthday saw me finally climb out of the hole in my gambling budget for the first (and last) time.

One of the highlights in April was playing at the ‘shoot with my buddy Stefan. Why did you have to move to San Antonio, dammit?! I miss those days. Who knows what 2008 will bring?

I also started bragging about my bluffs. That should have been a sign that things in poker were not going well.

May

I read some great books, flopped quads and found some great blogs this month, and further sounded my doom with the statement, “When I’m running well, I’m a conceited, full-of-myself, egomaniacal sonofabitch.”

I also took my longest break from blogging in May. I’m not sure it did me any good, but reflection (like I’m doing now by writing this post) is important. Gosh, I feel a big revelation coming on.

Oh yeah. I also killed one of the few really great voices on the internet by going to Atlantic City. Well guess what, Lady Falcon is threatening to post again! I can’t wait.

June

June brought Ozzfest and led to another top ten series of posts and events. I told how I came in possession of two VIP passes to Ozzfest and how I gave them away. I got so much pleasure out of this, it makes me wonder why I haven’t done something like it again.

Stayed tuned for the second half of 2006 Year in Review.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Midlife Crisis On Hold


24 DEC 06

But just for today.

May you all have a wonderful holiday season. See you next year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

MCA #1c – Rocky Has a Midlife Crisis, Too?

22 DEC 06

I just got back from Rocky Balboa. Wow. I’m a huge Rocky fan, and like most fans, I got more and more disappointed with each subsequent Rocky. Now we have Rocky VI – AKA Rocky Balboa. Does anyone really want to see Rocky hit some guy with his walker?

All I’ll say is this – if you liked any of the Rocky movies (and c’mon, who didn’t like the original?), then go see this movie. Stallone wears this role like an old baseball glove, and God help me, it was his ACTING that made this movie. In fact, everyone did a tremendous job, including Antonio Carver – an actual boxer.

This movie fits in nicely with my ongoing theme of having a midlife crisis. Obviously, Rocky fighting again at an advanced age has crisis written all over it. He handles it with style and grace. I still maintain that it’s easier to buy a Ferrari, but if you all really want me to become an Ultimate Fighter (weird Friends reference) instead, then so be it.

What say you? Ferrari or UFC?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

MCA #1b – Is My Crisis Premature?

21 DEC 06

One of the things I love about blogging is that occasionally my posts create discussion and debate. I posted many poker hand histories early in my blogging career and got zero comments. When I posted about John Kerry or When to Pee, I got tons of comments, and ever further interesting discussion off line.

My Midlife Crisis has had a similar affect.

I wish you all could have been in the car with my wife and me to listen to our debate on this issue. Aside from being highly entertaining, it raised some key issues, not the least of which is, “Am I too young to be having a Midlife Crisis?”

As I’ve said since I was just a lad, if you have a question about life, consult the supreme authority –Wikipedia [1].

Here is what Wiki has to say about Midlife crises, with my commentary added in bold:

A mid-life crisis is an emotional state of doubt and anxiety – Hmmm… Perhaps I’m a little anxious, but I’m not doubtful.

In which a person becomes uncomfortable with the realization that life is halfway over. – Getting closer.

It commonly involves reflection on what the individual has done with his or her life up to that point – Reflection yes, but this implies that many MC’ers are disappointed with their accomplishments up to this point. In fact, I’m quite pleased with mine. I have a great wife, wonderful kids, and I get to serve my country and save lives every day. All totaled, I happy with where I am.

The condition is most common ranging from the ages of 35-50 – Ah HA!

And affects men and women differently – Amen, brother.

Mid life crises last about 3-10 years in men and 2-5 years in women- Fasten your seatbelt.

There is some question whether a "mid-life crisis" is any different from "a crisis occurring in mid-life." – This was peripherally addressed with my wife. “What if,” she asked, “I was premature and decided to have another midlife crisis when I’m 50? No one will believe me then.” I guess it would be like the boy who cried wolf. Well, guess what honey? This crisis will probably last until I’m 50, so nyah nyah – I can have my cake and eat it too (well, not if I intend to lose weight).

[One study] found that the average age at onset of a self-described "mid-life crisis" was 46. Hmmm. I may be a little premature, but I’ve always been an overachiever (underachiever?).

Certain characteristics displayed by individuals experiencing a mid-life crisis often include but are not limited to:

Search of an undefined dream or goal – Oh yeah
Desire to achieve a feeling of youthfulness – I was too awkward in my youth to really want to go back there.
Acquiring of unusual or expensive items such as clothing, muscle cars, jewelry, gadgets, etc. - Ferrari, baby!
Paying extra special attention to physical appearance – Hence the weightloss
Need to spend more time alone or with certain peers – This has Vegas written all over it.

Some people claim that these older and established individuals, rather than going through their mid-life crisis, are actually in a time of their lives when they can afford to do the things they wanted to do when they were young, which may explain the indulgences in certain commodities or activities. Some individuals find hitting 40 a great relief.

That about sums it up right there. Maybe this will all be a great relief. Stay tuned.


1 - Okay, Wiki has only been around for a few years, but you have to admit, it's pretty cool.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

MCA #1 – Weightloss


20 DEC 06

My midlife crisis is precipitated by my rapidly approaching 40th birthday. In light of this, I give you Midlife Crisis Alert (MCA) number one, which will address my ever expanding waistline. As most of you remember from Las Vegas, I am a rotund black man. I guess I’ve been letting poker and other distractions take too much time away from the things I love – well, except eating I guess. I used to exercise every day. Hell, I actually enjoyed it! I played racquetball like a fiend, and would run a 10k every other week. I ran two marathons.

Now I get short of breath climbing the stairs.

I while back I did the Body for Life challenge. The book is 1% recommendations about diet and exercise, and 99% motivational speech. I did it before – let’s hope I can do it again.

Here is my personal challenge to myself. While I will never look like this photo, my plan is to drop to 155 pounds, which is what I weighed when I joined the Army over 20 years ago. Furthermore, I intend to stay below 160 pounds for my entire 40th year. You may see the occasional weight posted at the bottom of some blog entries. Feel free to watch as my weight plummets like George Bush’s approval rating after today’s speech about increasing troop strength.

Weight today: 177 pounds.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Midlife Crisis Alert!

19 DEC 06

I’ve decided to go whole hog into my midlife crisis and share it with you. Why? Because it will be fun, entertaining, educational and eventually really embarrassing.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but right now I can tell you it will involve:

Weightloss
Extravagance [1]
Acquisition
Personal Revelation [2]

So sit back and enjoy the show. It could be spectacular, or it could be a total train wreck.

1 – The kind NOT involving a hooker or mistress.
2 – Revelations are restricted to those I’m capable of – I’m not going to wake up one day and realize that it’s my calling to be better at helping around the house. Give me a break already.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

WPBT 2006 Trip Report - Part III

13 DEC 06

I'm playing tight for more than one reason. The main reason that I was concentrating on getting two gallons of Gatorade into my system. The esteemed Dr. Chako raised ahead of me, I re-raised with my KK. He pushed in and I called. He flipped over AA. I stood up ready to finally track down some place to lay my head when he said "Don't worry. This is how I went out of the last tournament." King on the flop for a proper 2 outter and I picked up a very nice bounty. Picture to come.

-
Al Can’t Hang

So, I’m cruising around the internet reading some great trip reports, and I’ve confirmed what I suspected. I did the Blogger gathering right this time. How do I know? ‘Cause people remember me this time. Well, most people remember me. Linda Geenen put up this pic of me and Karol from IHO titled, “Unknown2,” but at least there was a pic, dammit!


For the ultimate link to all links, and to read a great trip report, see Iggy. As usual.
Editors Note (I just love calling myself “editor.”): I mistakenly referred to Stb as Slb. My bad. Situation corrected. You are still a sore loser.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

WPBT 2006 Trip Report - Part II

12 DEC 06

Editors Note: My apologies to those of you who read my blog via Bloglines. I’ve been doing some housekeeping. What I didn’t realize was that even something as simple as putting a “tag” on an old post republishes it to the “new feeds” section. You can always click on the name of the blog to get my most recent post, but that’s what Bloglines is supposed to be for. I have a few more housekeeping things to do, so please bear with me a little more.

I only have time for a short quip. For posterity, I wanted to document two hands at the Blogger tournament.

First was a simple one, but it cost me. Glyphic (last year’s winner) is at my table and playing tight. He raises to 4 x the BB in middle position and I call with pocket sixes. The flop is 9 7 4 with two spades. He bets about ¾ pot. I put him on over cards, so I decide to advertise top pair, maybe top set. I raise an extra thousand. In retrospect, this was a horrible play. Why commit so many chips just to get information? He goes all in. I fold. Later he tells me he had Queens. I’m not sure I believe him. AK spades makes more sense.

My final hand was played perfectly (ha ha). Pocket Aces in early position. I make a standard 4x raise. The legend himself, Al Can’t Hang raises to 1000. He has been playing very tight, so there are only 4 hands he could have here, and the other Aces are unlikely. It folds to me. I deliberate a little and finally push all in. He insta-calls and grimaces when I turn over my Aces to his Kings. I actually said, “Don’t worry. This is how I went out of the last tournament.”

King on the flop and IGHN [1].

Look for the gripping critique of my live play on the next installment.

1. IGHN = I Go Home Now. I know every blogger knows this, but my dad reads this blog, so I have to keep it simple.

Monday, December 11, 2006

WPBT 2006 Trip Report

11 DEC 06

An amazing weekend was had by all. I did it right this time (I think), and didn’t hide from my fellow bloggers. I met, re-met and/or hung out with some truly outstanding people. I’ll have more thoughts in the coming days, but here are some early highlights:

Two tables of HORSE at MGM. Drizz was not at my table, but I was able to see his legendary huge stack of chips. He was certainly the topic of much conversation at our table, though. Something about a wheelchair, security guards and an irate (but hugely understanding) Ms. Drizz. He claims to not remember.

Playing some truly horrible donkey poker at said HORSE game and somehow managing to come away a winner.

Getting repeated dirty looks from Mr. Sore Loser (AKA Stb[1]). This was perhaps one of my top three highlights.

Having chips thrown at me IN ANGER by the Poker Princess after I cracked her set of Kings with 7 4 of diamonds in a pre-flop capped pot. I SO deserved it.

Having The Rooster correctly call out my bluffs (twice!) leading to said dirty looks from Stb.

Getting numbers and setting up a new home game with Easycure and Zeem. As many of you know, Easycure busted out Gigli [2]. Washington represent!

Getting swag from Poker Pro. Mucho thanks to Falstaff for helping set this up. How ‘bout a loan from that $60 you won from me at video heads-up? Perhaps I should ask Pablo, too…

Shooting the breeze with Michael Craig for an hour. Did I actually tell him that his first speech to the bloggers sucked? Gosh, I think I did. If I remember correctly (there were several Kamikazes involved at this point), I also told him that his second speech totally rocked (which was true) and his book was excellent.

Telling war stories with Dr. Pauly at the Geisha Bar. Always entertaining.

Watching Iggy screw with bloggers by introducing himself as Grubby. Crafty little dwarf.

Seeing the worst bad beat I’ve ever seen in my life. Since I wasn’t involved in the hand, I can tell you about it. All in preflop with pocket Kings vs Ace Queen. The board went 9, 9, 9 (with Kings going, “Yes! Full house, baby!”).

River …. 9!

In case you don’t play poker, that’s Quad 9s. Ace kicker. Pocket Kings goes home now. Bye bye.

I’m bummed that I didn’t spend more time with so many people, especially Team IHO (it was great seeing you again, Dawn and Karol), Brad (Otis), Maudie, Linda G., Veneno, Change100, Speaker and Bobby. We may be in the initial discussion phase of setting up some live entertainment for the next blogger gathering starring me on guitar and Daddy on the banjo. Any drummers or bass players out there?

[1] – Out first from the tournament, for you newbies.
[2] - I mistakenly referred to Stb as Slb. My bad. I'm not sure who is insulted by this slight. In any event, situation corrected.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cardroom Supply


7 DEC 06

The following is a paid review!

My buddy Stefan just bought a $2000 poker table. I’m jealous. He’s a solid player and should make more than enough on that table to pay for that table. Despite what you may think, I don’t have money dripping out of various orifices, and I can’t bring myself to drop a couple grand on a nice table.

Yet.

That’s why it was a pleasant surprise when I was asked to do this review. Cardroom Supply has a very nice website and some really nice products. I was impressed with the quality of their front page. It seems easy to navigate and the products seem (at least in the photos) to be of high quality. I’ve been looking at various products on eBay and these seem quite similar. While prices on eBay may be better, you never know what you’ll get. Not so with Cardroom.

Once again, I was a little disappointed with how slowly their page loaded when I clicked on Weber's Elite Texas Holdem Table. If I’m not mistaken, this is quite similar to what my buddy bought. They have a wide variety of selections as evidenced by this:

The table is is avialibale [sp] in a 72", 82", or 96".


As they say, the tables, “are made to order, using solid oak legs and proven construction techniques to produce beautiful furniture of tremendous strength and durability. The designs reflect a blend of functionality, practicality and natural beauty.”


Tables are custom made to each order and take 2-3 weeks for delivery. I may be checking for a special delivery when I get back from Vegas.

Now THAT'S Conviction


I'm a lifelong Republican, but you have to be impressed with this.
(Sorry for the blurry camera phone foto).
See you in Vegas!


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Some Final pre-WPBT Thoughts

5 DEC 06

Those poor vacationers. All they wanted to do was come to Vegas and play a little poker. Too bad for them they picked the weekend WE would be there.




Sunday, December 03, 2006

Accused of Stealing!

3 DEC 06

So, I’m playing a little 4/8 LHE at the local cardroom, PJ Pockets. We are short handed, so two of the dealers are filling in the open seats. The dealer/player to my left announces that he has $47 to a question from the other dealer/player. He then gets up from the table for a smoke break.

When comes back, I see him playing with his chips. Finally, he turns to me and says, “I have only $40 here. Did you take the other $7?”

At first, I’m stunned into silence. “I’m sorry?” I reply. He restates that he had $47 before he left and now he only has $40. I look at his stack and sure enough, he only has $40. I didn’t remember seeing anyone mess with his stack. My stack still had exactly my $100 buy-in neatly stacked in 5 columns right in front of me. “Go check the tapes,” I insist. There are cameras all over this place. If someone took his chips, I’m sure it would be on the camera. We go back and forth like this a couple of times. I’m getting more insistent now. “Go check the tapes. You, a DEALER, are accusing me of stealing.” What I wanted to say was that if this were Texas, I’d have drawn my pistol already.

He gets up and comes back a little later without saying a word. Finally, I can’t take it anymore. I’m bursting at the seams in my seat. As calmly as possible, I ask, “Did you check the tapes?” “Huh?” he replies. “Oh, the $7. I found it over at the board.”

That’s it. No apology. Nothing else.

I picked up and went home. I would not have been able to play good poker in that frame of mind.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

H.O.R.S.E.

2 DEC 06

I’m trying to figure out how to play all the HORSE games in preparation for the upcoming WPBT, but when I search Google, all I get is this:



Friday, December 01, 2006

Internet Poker Forum

1 DEC 06

The following is a paid review!

You gotta love a Must Read from someone named Dorkus Malorkus. He gives "A brief guide to Cardschat forum events" on the freeroll page of CardsChat AKA the Internet Poker Forum. In a set up much like other forums (2+2, RGP), CardsChat is another place for poker players to discuss hands, philosophies and bad beats. They have posts like:

PokerStars is going Huge!

and a Private Forum called

Top Secret Forum for Loyal Cardschaters

My problems:

- I can’t load the site from work.
- The site loads slowly
- Much of the information comes from overseas players who aren’t restricted. Thanks for rubbing it in guys.

There is the usual stuff like, “Verbal abuse is everywhere online,” from JimboJim, with followups like this from Sammyv1, “Sticker, [abuse] is out of hand. I had someone verbally abuse me just last night. I went back at him a little bit, but not with too much aggression. He was using the old "Your mamma" insults and the "sexual preference" insults. The play I made that he was angry about was: I called a re-raise with 9-9 on the button. Well, I hit a 9 on the flop and he had AA. Yes, he got bad beated and maybe my "call" was a little weak, but the whole table was Super-Agressive. So, yes he has a gripe cause he lost with AA, but we all do (many times in fact).

Bottom line, I’m not certain the site adds any value to me personally, but it seems quite popular. There were over 30,000 posts in the Poker General Forum, so they must be doing something right.

I’d certainly recommend checking them out. What you do after that is up to you.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vegas, Baby

30 NOV 06

Thank you for the helpful suggestions on how to get the Vegas trip approved. Here is what you need to know:

I decided to chose option D combined with a previously unknown option E. To recap, Option D involved mentioning the trip on my blog and hoping everything turned out okay.

Trust me when I say this – Option C (Call from Vegas and beg forgiveness) would have been MUCH easier.

Here is what you need to know.

1. I’m an idiot.
2. I have the greatest wife on the planet.
3. Open communication is always the best option.
4. Quoting MacArthur – Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.
5. I am an idiot.

That being said, I’m staying at the Trop, I’ve been practicing some killer Omaha moves (take note Drizz and TheMark), and I am on a mission to step away from the tables on occasion to revel in some good ol’ bloggery goodness.

Oh. My. Goodness.

(If I wear my Army uniform, do you think it will get me free drinks?)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Advice Needed

27 NOV 06

What is the best way to ask/tell your wife that you plan on going to Vegas?

a. Buy her flowers and ask on bended knee.

b. Demand Vegas as a God-given right.

c. Call her from Vegas and beg forgiveness.

Immediate help would be appreciated.

(Alternatively, what if she just read it on your blog? Would that be enough?)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Scrubs!


23 NOV 06

The following is a paid review!

I’m very excited – my first paid review! On the advice of fellow blogger Drizz, I signed up with the ReviewMe site and was instantly approved as a reviewer. I now get paid to write these reviews (theoretically). I’m a bit conflicted, though. Here’s what you need to know before you read further:

Since this is my first actual paid review, I’m feeling some pressure to give a good review. In this way, I may entice others to ask me (and therefore pay me) for future reviews.

This plan could backfire. What if the product actually sucks and I recommend it out of a perceived need? No one will trust my future reviews. No one will want me to review their stuff because I might say something bad.

Since I’m conflicted, I’ll choose the only option truly available. I’ll be honest.

Scrubs, also known as Scrubs Gallery sells, you guessed it, scrubs! Their byline is, “Saving Cash on Nursing Scrubs and Medical Uniforms.”

Since I’m in the Army, I don’t have to buy my own scrubs. Occasionally, I like to be a little different, so I’m plopping down all the cash I will (theoretically) earn from this review and buying something from their site. Their front page seems pretty basic and easy to use. I searched for v-neck, blue and poly-cotton (for that poly-cottony goodness) and matched with this (seen in the picture above).

I chose my size (2XL - ‘cause I like ‘em big) and proceeded to the check out. Interestingly, there were no options for smaller sizes.

Some thoughts:

The site loads slowly. I’m certain this was not due to my computer – it must be something on their end.

Many of the options were only cartoons (as opposed to actual photos of the product). Hopefully this will be corrected in the future.

So far, I give the site and the experience a "thumbs-up."

I will write a follow-up review when I receive the product.

This was fun. Thanks again to Drizz for letting me know about the ReviewMe site.

Thanksgiving and the WPBT

23 NOV 06

I think I have something new to be thankful for! With only one small hurdle to cross, it looks like I may be joining my fellow degenerates and birthday celebraters on the lastest iteration of the WPBT! Who’s up for some bloggery goodness?

As some of you know, I am slated to deploy to Iraq. I was supposed to be gone already, but things seem rather… fluid right now. Believe it or not, I don’t think the delay has anything to do with the recent election, but those election results could potentially effect me in the long run. Uncertainty rules. It could that be I don’t go at all. It could mean I go for longer. I have a plan:

1. Don’t think about it.
2. Drink heavily in case plan #1 isn’t working.

Who’s with me?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Technorati!

Technorati Profile

Secrets

21 NOV 06

Recently, Otis revealed to the world one of the best kept secrets, the joys of owning Ecco shoes. Now I’d like to reveal mine:

Myzithra Cheese (also spelled Mizithra).

The secret is browned butter and shaved Myzithra over pasta. That’s it. You can thank me later.

What is your best-kept secret?

PS. In a “way-cool” moment, I got an email from Dr. Pauly out of the blue. It’s gonna be a good day, I think.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Quick Notes

20 NOV 06

I tried to post this comic, but Blogger wouldn’t take it. Check out the link.

Iggy isn’t dead – just moved. I can’t read the new site from work, so I’ll have to link it on Bloglines. Unfortunately, some posts (like the ones from G&P) don’t post in their entirety on my Bloglines. Crap.

I really expected to see more about Casino Royale in the blogsphere. I guess it was just me.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Casino Royale Review: Part Deux

18 NOV 06

In my excitement for remembering Frank Gorshin’s name for yesterday’s post, I forgot one of the most important poker related items from the movie.

While the quality of poker truly sucked out loud, there was one authentic piece of poker-related dialogue that really hit home. I don’t want to spoil anything, but there is a scene after Bond is knocked out of the tournament where he has to ask for the money to re-buy because, “I can beat this guy. You know I can!”

This hit a little too close to home, and was quite genuine.

I found a couple more tidbits, courtesy of this link toWikipedia. Don’t go to the link if you haven’t seen the movie, because, as it says multiple times on the page, the whole entry is a spoiler. See the movie first, then read the entry.

I was right about some of the movie being filmed in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic, although I spelled it wrong. The Kaiserbad in Karlovy Vary was used as the exterior of the Casino Royale, with the Grandhotel Pupp serving as the "Hotel Splendide" where Bond stays during his time in Montenegro. The movie with Queen Latifah featuring the same hotel was Last Holiday. Let me say again, you should put “staying at the Grandhotel Pupp” on your list of things to do before you die.

Other scenes in the latter half of the film were filmed at the Villa del Balbianello on the shores of Lake Como.

Stunning.

I’m still trying to wrangle a trip to the WPBT, so if you can tell me what other movie features this locale, I’ll buy you the first round when (and if) I get out to Vegas (hint, the answer can be found on the link).

Friday, November 17, 2006

Bond… James Bond

17 NOV 06

Casino Royale Review follows.

I just saw this movie and here are some of my thoughts:

Daniel Craig is a much better Bond than Pierce Brosnan. There were several references to the old Sean Connery days which Bond fans should appreciate. Craig may turn out to be "Connery good."

I had a hard time deciding if Craig’s pursed-lips look was intentional, or just a result of his chiseled face.

The first half of the movie was awesome. I will put the foot chase scene against any car chase scene in recent memory. In fact, I’ll put it up against any BOND car chase scene.

The second half of the movie was good, but it ran too long in segments.

Judy Densch is the perfect M.

Italy (I think this was partly filmed at Lake Como or Magiorre) and Monoco are beautiful. I didn’t stay to see the credits, but I’d swear one of the hotels was the Grand Pupp in Karlo Vivary, Czech Republic (also seen in a recent movie with Queen Latifah). I stayed there a couple years ago. Magnificent.

The poker in this movie is horrible and predictable. “Everyone has a tell, except you…”

Craig reminds me of a combination of Steve McQueen and Frank Gorshin.

Thumbs up. Go see it.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Actual Poker

16 NOV 06

Well, if you count Razz as poker…

I played my first ever Razz game yesterday on Full Tilt. It was a Free Money one-table Limit SNG, so I’m really not putting too much stock in the results. I showed some aggression early and chipped up. Then I left for an hour. I really expected to be out when I got back, but to my surprise, I was one of 4 left, albeit the short stack. From there, I showed more aggression and became the chip leader, only to fall to a couple river suckouts.

I am a Razz deity.

Then I went back to my old standard – the two table turbo NL Hold ‘em SNG. 1st Place.

I am the king of the world!

Still, there was something missing. Oh yeah – no real money on the line = who really cares?

PS. Has anyone switched to the “new” version of Blogger? Is there anything I need to be worried about?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hiatus Continues

14 NOV 06

I forgot that there is a life outside of the cardroom that is filled with pain and pleasure.

The pain – I just had my teeth cleaned. I wonder how many poker players neglect their health because of poker?

The pleasure – I just test drove a Lotus Elise. This is a totally impractical car. I bumped my knee of the roof (!) while trying to get in. The salesman was 6’ 7”, if you can believe that. Once I got behind the wheel, I was amazed at how fun this car was to drive. The salesman told me that he has a client that sold his Ferrari and only drives his Lotus. Perhaps… It sure was fun.

Oh yeah – I downloaded the Full Tilt software last night. I’m still not playing online poker, but it was a hoot to watch Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen and David Benyamine multi-tabling with about $300 to $500K behind.

Still not sure about the WPBT. My deployment date was pushed back, so I’m free that weekend…

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Perfect Bad Beat Story

12 NOV 06

I’m taking yet another break from poker. This break comes on the heels of watching some recorded WSOP episodes where several (most?) players remarked that they went broke numerous times before hitting the big time. Been there, done that.

On my way out after another bubble bust, I passed a player in a ring game that I had knocked out earlier from the tourney. Strangely, he asked me what happened.

Excuse me? Are you ASKING me to tell you a bad beat story?

This is unusual. Most people don’t really listen and don’t really care. This player and I are friendly, and he seemed genuinely curious (as opposed to the gloating question i.e. Ha Ha – you got knocked out, too, ya big bully. Let me hear your sob story).

My bad beat stories have been perfected. They come in three flavors:

“I ran into a set.”

“Runner runner.”

“Bigger full house.”

All of these stories are told with a shrug of the shoulders and a (hopefully) devil-may-care attitude. Interestingly, they seem to satisfy the questioner, who usually nods knowingly with a been-there-done-that smile.

So if you really need to tell me your bad beat story, it should be no longer than 5 words. After that, I’ll start charging you 25 cents a word. Seems fair.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Final Political Thought

9 NOV 06

First off – real poker content. I saw a guy call a preflop raise and then call the flop of Jc Jh 8c. Turn 7c. River 9c. Call. Call. Call.

Think about that for a minute. There is 4 to the straight flush and the board paired on the flop. He had 10h 4d for the gut-shot straight against trip Jacks with Ah Jd.

My Ah Jd, dammit.

Final political thought follows: Believe it or not, my faith in the system was somewhat restored this election. It's the strongest message we can send to the world - look how we do it, boys! Republicans aren't forming a militia and killing Democrats just because they lost (yet). Peaceful transfer of power based on a referendum of the masses - what a concept.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Random Political Thoughts

8 NOV 06

If you are coming here for profound political ideas and analysis, please go elsewhere. These are just some thoughts of a 20 year soldier and doctor.

Donald Rumsfeld resigns. Too many people I respect think this was long overdue. Buh-bye.

Liberalism did not win this election. The Democrats played Republican far better than Republicans did. Just look at Sen. Lieberman soundly beating the liberal Democrat.

As a nation, we will soon be talking about redeployment. As you all know, I am getting ready to deploy. As I’ve said before, the most dangerous time to be deployed is during the redeployment (coming home) phase.

Nancy Pelosi will try to socialize medicine. This could affect my career as a physician when I get out of the Army. I’m taking a “wait-and-see” approach. The only thing I know for certain is that Whiskytown is dancing a jig right now.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Poetry

5 NOV 06

I’m not a big poetry fan, but as I rode into work this Sunday morning, I heard a story on NPR about Samuel Menashe that left me awestruck. During that story, he read his poem Curriculum Vitae. Here is the first verse:

Scribe out of work
At a loss for words
Not his to begin with,
The man life passed by
Stands at the window
Biding his time

Friday, November 03, 2006

Borat Needs Your Help

3 NOV 06

My friend Sacha Baron Cohen is having trouble getting people to go see his movie, Borat. David Letterman was nice enough to chat with him. Apparently, some guy named Beck was there at the end.

See the clip here.

Help my buddy out. He’s kinda funny.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

When to Pee

2 NOV 06

Editors Note: Regarding yesterday’s post – I’ve listened to the 10 second quote on You Tube about a dozen times, and I’ve heard Mr. Kerry put his spin on it. Believe it or not, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. It is certainly possible that this was a botched joke. Still, shame on you for even attempting such a kindergarten recess stunt as trying to intimate that the reason we are in Iraq is because we have a stupid, uneducated president. Our troops, and the world is listening, Mr. Kerry. Attack his policies if you wish. Personal attacks are for the playground.

Darla is the best cocktail waitress at the Muckleshoot. Poker player can be a mean bunch. They routinely stiff the waitstaff and can be rude and tasteless. Darla rises above it all.

Darla does two things that make her stand out:

She brings me two Diet Cokes instead of one.
She brings them to me as soon as I sit down at the table – without even asking.

I always tip when a waitress brings me my Diet Coke. I started tipping Darla more, and she deserves every penny. The problem is that I have to pee like crazy within the hour. So now the question:

1. Do you get up to pee just before you post the Big Blind? In this situation, you expect to miss the blinds. You can post behind (plus the missed Small Blind), or you can wait until the next blind comes around.

2. Do you go pee when you are in early or middle position and hope to get back before you miss the blind?

3. Or, if you are Daddy, do you just pee at the table?

I’ll post my thoughts in the comments later today.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

John "****head" Kerry

1 NOV 06

I was going to blog about the important concept of when to pee, but I have a burr in my saddle, so please excuse me. Peeing will have to wait until tomorrow.

John Kerry.

This is not a political blog, dammit. I deliberately avoid political issues. As I’ve said before, I don’t want the appearance of conflict of interest, so I rarely engage in political discourse. This time is different.

I saw the video here.

See it for yourself. Kerry said, “You know, education… if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

Fuck you MISTER Kerry.

My name is DOCTOR Chako. I am a board certified radiologist. I went to 13 years of higher education to get where I am today. I am headed to Iraq.

And I am GODDAMMED PROUD to be going with some of the smartest, most educated and honorable people I have ever met.

Go away. You personify the reason I could never be a Democrat.

Attention prudes: I tried writing this post without cursing, and it just didn’t work. Sorry if you are offended.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

20 Years After

28 OCT 06

I wish I had the writing skills of Joe Speaker or Otis or Pauly to tell this story, but I don’t. Even if I did, I’m not sure how I would begin to tell this tale and make it interesting. I’m reminded of the first time I ever heard Michael Craig speak. “The next thing that happened was…” followed by, “The next thing that happened was…” Who knew he would turn out to be a phenomenal speaker (reference the last WPBT) and writer (see what’s happening on his blog these days. Amazing stuff). I don’t want to be that kind of story teller. Besides, how would I accurately convey:

A freightened 19 year old college dropout on a “cattle car” with 40 other scared young men and one large, angry, black man yelling at us from under his “brown round” Drill Sergeant’s cap.

A broken but hardened man at the end of basic training, ready to take on the challenge of becoming a Combat Field Medic.

Seeing my first real non-military female after months of training, and picking her up on the first try. Albeit with a British accent…

Sewing on a 1st Cavalry Division patch and feeling immense pride, until I learned some of their sordid past in Vietnam.

Meeting my 1st Sergeant (a “door-gunner” with the 1st Cav in Vietnam) only to have him call me a “college puke” who was only there to “abuse his Army and take the Army College Fund and GI Bill and run away.”

Competing with 10,000 other active duty soldiers for 350 slots in ROTC, and winning.

Leaving Active Duty as a Private – having never been promoted (thanks again, 1st Sergeant!).

Riding my motorcycle from New York to Florida to restart college.

Meeting more girls than I dreamed possible, thanks to “Baby,” my Ovation guitar.

Kicking ass in college and getting accepted into the first medical school I applied for.

Meeting the girl of my dreams and realizing that all those other girls were just practice.

Being accepted into the honor society in medical school and finding my true calling in the world of x-rays.

Pinning on the rank of Captain and resuming my Active Duty career in Colorado.

Meeting my old 1st sergeant (now a Sergeant Major) and having him call me “Sir.”

Seeing the look on my advisor’s face as she told me that I didn’t match with a residency and therefore had to move to Ft. Benning, Georgia.

The birth of my first son.

Moving to Texas to start my residency.

Wearing the uniform on 9/11.

Moving to Germany.

The birth of my second son.

Standing in a US Army bookstore in Germany with an 80+ year old German woman who barely spoke English. We watched together as Saddam Hussein was dragged out of a hole and she began to tell me about her time as a Nazi cartographer and how this was similar to the fall of Hitler.

Moving to Washington State into a home that trick-or-treaters frequently call a mansion.

Teaching young doctors the art of radiology and finding true beauty in shades of gray.

Preparing to go to combat for the first time.

How do I eloquently tell you of these things? I have no words - just a few more gray hairs then when I started and a wealth of truly awesome memories.

Thanks for listening!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Unfinished Business

27 OCT 06

From the Nickel Please story: She finally gave me my nickel and took the 4 pennies, but I’m certain she thought I somehow cheated the system.

From the You People story: The thing I left out was that Bill doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. When I told him how the comment may have been perceived, he was shocked. Bill is a pretty simple guy with a good heart, and he was really bothered by what I said. In fact, he was so bothered that he went out of his way to tell me two things he felt were really important:

He looked up “people” in the dictionary.
There was nothing in there about racism.

My bad. I guess I was just being overly sensitive. I think the correct term here (endearingly) is “palooka.”

Finally, this thought regarding someone breaking into my home: Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. - Helen Keller

My next post will reflect on tomorrow, October 28th, 2006. To coin a Beatles song, “It was 20 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.” Or, more appropriate to my case – 20 years ago tomorrow was the day a young Private Chako joined the US Armed Services.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Nickel Please

26 OCT 06

I want to continue Part II of the “You People” story because there is something significant I intentionally left out, but first I have to share this.

I was running late this morning because my wife left me [1], so I stopped into BK for a crossanwich. The total was $2.18. I had a few pennies, so I gave her two bills, two dimes and three pennies.

She hands me my sandwich and then hands me my change – 2 pennies.

Huh?

I hold them out to her and say, “a nickel please.” She looks at me quizzically, reaches into her drawer and hands me another penny.

Dr. Chako smiles patiently.

“Nope,” I reply, still holding out my hand. I just want a nickel, thanks. She reaches into the drawer and hands me, yup, another penny.

Straining my smile muscles now.

“Nope,” I say, hoping it sounded like the last one and not a little maniacal like I was feeling, “I just want a nickel, thanks.”

Looking at my open hand with the four pennies, she replies, “but then you would have too much money.”

[1] – Okay. She didn’t really leave me. She’s just in Arkansas, but that’s kinda like the same thing.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

You People

25 OCT 06

I hope none of my neighbors read this blog…

About this time last year, someone broke into my house (while I was HOME), and stole a bunch of my stuff – about $2000 worth. I started talking about it to my neighbors and many of them said they had similar experiences.

Last week, I go to the city council meeting. Mr. Mayor is presiding over a hearing as to whether or not to let my neighborhood install gates. Needless to say, I was there to vote in favor. It turns out that about 80% of my neighbors were also in favor. Arguments against were basically that they didn’t want to seem elitist. Whatever.

Well, there was one dude who said that it was obvious to him that the thefts were coming from WITHIN the neighborhood, so the gates would have no effect.

Huh?

Turns out I knew what he was talking about. Two weeks ago, my next door neighbor (let’s call him Bill) was teaching himself to rollerblade and tripped in front of crazy neighbor’s house just as he was pulling out of the driveway. The crazy neighbor rolled down his window and started yelling at Bill saying, “Why are you staring in my garage? Are you casing my house? You better not try and steal my stuff!”

Now, let me say that Bill is rather well-off. He was so shocked by this that he was speechless. Now fast forward to the city council. Crazy neighbor gets up in front of all my other neighbors and the mayor and says we don’t need the gates because he knows the thefts are coming from within (the call is coming from within your house!), not without.

Now it’s Bill’s turn to speak. He starts in about wanting the gates. He’s about done, when he looks over his shoulder at crazy neighbor and says that he wasn’t going to say anything, but, guess what? It was him who was looking in the garage. He wasn’t “casing the joint.” He was looking for a place to bleed to death.

It would have been fine if it ended there. We were already convinced that the other guy was nuts. But then, Bill continues…

You people need to watch yourselves,” he threatened.

You people? Did I mention that crazy guy is black and Bill is white?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Beware of Rapidly Changing Gears

23 OCT 06

1st Gear: Take a Shot vs. Grinding – I think 99.4% of all bloggers are grinders. With good reason, I suppose. I’m guessing most top players all eventually “took a shot” at some point in their poker career. Presumably they all hit their target, too. Sure, they also grind (if you can consider playing 4000/8000 HORSE grinding), but in order to get to that level, they all stepped up at some point and made it. I know several bloggers that took a shot, HIT, and then came back to a more reasonable level. What separates the two?

Gear change! Someone volunteered to go to the Middle East in my place, but it’s too late to change. Thanks a lot guy – I would have been better off if you never said anything to me in the first place.

3rd Gear: I’m probably going to deploy before the WPBT in December. Someone better raise a glass of Guinness for me, dammit.

Downshift: You may flatulate in front of a woman only after you have brought her to climax. If you trap her head under the covers for the purpose of flatulent entertainment, she's officially your wife.

Now excuse me while I go save some lives.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Guest Post (against my better judgment)

Dear Dr. Chako,

As the host of the radio show, "The World of Hunter Silvastorm," I felt compelled to make some additional comments on your October 11th performance.

You were correct when you wrote on your blog that the radio station experienced a record number of podcast downloads during the 24 hours following our interview. What you were not aware of, was the record number of e-mails that poured in from listeners all over the world.

To set the record straight and give your fans a balanced view of how you did during that interview, allow me to present a sampling of those e-mails:

From a listener in Detroit: "...the doc used a lot of big fancy words, but can he drive a stick shift?" Doogie "Mad Muffler" Mulligan

From Sydney, Austrailia: "...the damn sting ray got the wrong man." Tiger "Snake" Kresh

From Miami: "Since you're such an expert, can you do anything to stop my breasts from hanging over my waist?" Estelle Shapiro

From Barrow, Alaska: "Other than moving to Los Angeles, can anything be done to prevent 'stiff nipple?'" Joe "Orca Man" Koko

From Paris: "...and although you spoke about the one subject that is very dear to me and all my fellow countrymen, you neglected to mention the sheer beauty of those lovely orbs." Guy Tremain

And finally, from Las Vegas: "Now I know that Dr. Chako is not only an expert on Texas Hold 'em poker, but he really is a doctor who knows everything there is to know about boobs. In this town, that makes him Top Gun!" Graham "Gunny" Fieldstone

Sincerely,
Hunter Silvastorm
www.huntersilvastorm.com

Hearts

19 OCT 06

Not much to talk about today. Thursday is Cardiac Day. If you are interested in seeing some of what I do, click this link to my other blog.

Other random thoughts:

I just finished Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series. All I can say is this – Stephen, you are a magnificent, egotistical sumbitch.

He could not possibly have used more clich├ęd plot devices if he was sitting in Lit 401. In fact, the story ended up seeming like it was written as an assignment for an advanced writing class. No, let me take that back. It’s like a very cool professor gave the writing assignment to his class, and after seeing the results, decided to show his students how it’s supposed to be done. I realize this isn’t the most glowing review, but let me just say that I really liked the books and if you like Stephen King, give this one a whirl. Great characters. Unique story.

Now I’ve started Missing Links, by Rick Reilly (from Sports Illustrated fame). Laughing my ass off from page one.

I’m still trying to steel myself to get back to George R. R. Martin’s A Feast for Crows. His first three books in the Song of Ice and Fire series are the best science fantasy I’ve ever read. I’m struggling with book 4.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I’m Famous!

18 OCT 06

I’ve talked about Hunter Silvastorm on this here blog before. He’s a blind author and inspirational speaker. He now has his own radio show at www.thruoureyes.org. It’s a great show. You can check out the site for more details.

I was privileged to be his guest on his last broadcast. I’ve never done anything like this before. The closest I ever got was being a radio DJ in college (where my audience consisted of one drunk, one girlfriend and one ex-girlfriend who would delight in my mistakes on the air).

I had a great time on the show. Apparently, they had so many callers that the call-in thingy shut down. I was shocked that anyone really cared that much about what I do.

Hunter just called me to say that this interview is the single most downloaded show in the history of the radio station. There were over 26,000 downloads within the first day the podcast was available on the archive!

The show is about an hour long. I’m in the second half (Podcast 16B). If you have no life and an extra 24 minutes to kill, give it a listen.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Lack of Information

I still don't know the details of my upcoming deployment (hence the title of this post), but it made me remember a conversation from my last Vegas trip.

The young gun had just moved all in after the flop and was called by Crazy Ivan with A Q. The Queen spiked on the turn and the desperado went home. Overhead from the other end of the table:

Lack of information favors _______.

They gave their answer (which I completely disagreed with). Then I gave mine (sage that I am) and everyone nodded in agreement.

What is your answer? I'lll post mine in the comments section later today or tomorrow.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Spice Girls

13 OCT 06


Why am I not surprised that this post comes on Friday the 13th?

Thanks Pauly. I’ve now got this stupid project in my head, and I can’t rest until I pick which Spice Girl I would be and why. I hope you choke on my answer.

This is stupid.

I hate the Spice Girls and I hate pop music. I couldn’t name a single song they did. Well, except for Wannabe, but, I mean, everyone knows this song, so it’s not like it’s a surprise that I know it too. It’s a stupid song. The only reason I know it was Jhoan Camitz that directed the video is because she has a cool name. That’s it. I could care less otherwise.

Okay, I guess I know one other fact, but that doesn’t make me like them any more. Or at all, in fact. It’s just that when the song came out, it was the highest debut in the US by a non-American act (beating the Beatles). I guess that’s kinda cool. If you like that kind of thing.

Which I don’t.

If you remember that video, it was Scary Spice right out front. Her cleavage was amazing. If that was me, people would totally be looking at my chest and it would feel really cool and stuff and all the other girls would be sooo jealous. ‘Cause I’m scary, you know, like, it’s my name but I’m really scary to the other girls. I’m powerful and female and woman and you all love me so much that you hate me.

Haters.

But, I really think this is a dumb idea. I’m mean who cares, right? Right?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Humbled

12 OCT 06

Thanks for all the kind comments. It’s times like these when it’s really nice to hear that people support our troops (even if they don’t support our government).

I’ve often voiced my opinions about being a disenfranchised Republican. I’ve never publicly criticized our government for its foreign policy, and I won’t start now. It’s not for fear of retribution. I truly feel like I can say whatever I want. Many of my colleagues in uniform certainly voice their antigovernment opinions loudly and often. Rather, I feel there would be a conflict of interest, and I like to keep things simple in my life.

I signed up with the Army 20 years ago, and even knowing what I know, I’d do it again. It’s support from you (yes, even you Dr. Pauly. In many ways, especially you) that reminds me how cool it can be to wear the uniform.

I probably won’t be leaving for a couple of months, so you’ll have to put up with a few more Muckleshoot stories (and hopefully an awesome Vegas trip report), but if at all possible, I’ll update this blog from the desert.

Won’t that be a tale to tell…

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ain’t Gonna Do It

10 OCT 06

I was going to write about some of the things I may include in my “letter from the departed,” but I can’t stay that moody and dark. It’s just not in my nature.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the positive. There is nothing like an impending deployment to use as a bargaining chip.

That’s right folks, I’m headed to Vegas! It makes perfect sense, right? I’m sure you can picture the conversation in your head:

Dr. Chako: Honey? You know, since I’m going off to war, don’t you think it’d be nice if I had one more trip to Vegas? You know – in case I don’t make it back?

DAPW (Dear and Patient Wife): Sure, dear! Take as much money as you think you need to have a great time. You deserve it!

Actually, those of you who have been married for more than 2 or 3 days know the conversation was nothing like that, but the end result is the same.

I’m headed to Vegas!! Did I already say that?

My plan is simple. I’m going to really crank up my side business. This is a win-win-win. The family gets to keep most of the money, the hospital I work for gets a ton of cheap work from me, and I get to splurge like a high-roller (hopefully not) one last time.

After reading Seattle John’s post about his recent Vegas trip, I think I know where I’m going to start, but I’m open to other suggestions. Who’s with me?

Friday, October 06, 2006

If You Are Reading This…

6 OCT 06

I’m already dead.

Sorry folks. This post may sting a little.

***

I’m not dead. Far from it. Confirming the fact that I’m not dead are two idiots who are telling a bad beat story (courtesy of me) from last night at the Muckleshoot. Perhaps I was overly aggressive with my second nut flush draw BECAUSE of my impending deployment into combat? Who knows? It’s certainly possible.

What I do know is that in the very near future I’m going to have to write a letter that starts off with those words (If you are reading this…).

Talk about a time for introspection.

I know I’ll tell my family to read my old posts on this here humble blog. There is a piece of me in here (I don’t think it’s in the hand histories, though). I’ll talk about my love for them and about how proud I am to be an Army doctor.

Shit. I can’t type more now. I’ll post some thoughts tomorrow about other things I might include with the letter. For now, just this…

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I am Psychic!

5 OCT 06

From comments I posted to Whiskytown’s blog regarding Rep Foley:

Look for some mid-level staffer to take the blame for not informing his boss in a timely manner.

That was two days ago. Now this from yesterday:

Kirk Fordham, chief of staff to Rep. Tom Reynolds, resigns amid fallout from Rep. Mark Foley's sex messages to a teenage page, CNN confirms.

And prediction #2 – also from a comment on Whiskytown’s blog:

This [political climate of indecision] GREATLY increases the vulnerability of our troops in theater and increases my likelihood of being deployed (doctors and hospitals are ALWAYS needed most at the beginning and end of conflicts).

Now this from today:

Dr. Chako – pack your bags! You’ve won an exciting and all expenses paid trip to the Middle East, where you will have the finest sightseeing, shopping and traveling experiences of your life. Think how fashionable you’ll be in the latest Kevlar and camo!

Anyone want to know who’s gonna win the World Series?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Desert Doctor?

4 OCT 06

I can’t say more right now, but I bet there are some rockin’ poker games in Iraq…

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just War on Poker?

This set out to be about poker and our government, but it rambles a bit.

I heard an interview with John Ashcroft on NPR yesterday where he talked about past presidents infringing on human rights during times of war. In his new book, he talks about the fact that Woodrow Wilson surveilled (Ashcroft’s word) all calls in and out of the US during WWI. In WWII, FDR surveilled and started jailing 100,000 Japanese (almost a third of whom were American citizens) on December 8th. Lincoln suspended the writ of habeus corpus and jailed journalists, among others, (see Otis’ link to the Ze Frank parody about the death of Mr. Corpus) so it should come as no surprise that George Bush is doing it now. He’s looking out for our interests. He’s protecting us.

John Ashcroft met with President Bush after 9/11 where the president gave him a mandate to prospectively mete out terrorism, as opposed to what we had been doing, which was react to it. This presumably led to the domestic “warrantless” surveillance program at the NSA and other secret programs, too.

Here is the problem. We are at war, but nobody knows it, or no one cares. The disconnect between the White House and the American people comes down to this fact. In DC, they are peddling like mad (or at least they think they are) in order to protect us, but they aren’t selling it.

They certainly haven’t sold it to me. As a Republican, I am finding it harder and harder to stand behind my government as they continue to erode my civil liberties. Make no mistake, the attack on online poker is an offshoot of this war on terrorism. When government officials begin to take away our civil rights because “it’s in our best interest,” there comes an insatiable greed to take more.

Has history taught us nothing?

I’m not sure what I want. I guess I’m asking our government to either convince me that it’s in my best interest to (hopefully temporarily) give up some civil rights because it is best for my country. Hell, I’ve already taken an oath to die for my country while in uniform. Either that, or stop the nonsense and leave me free to dance while Rome burns.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Something’s On My Mind

2 OCT 06

Obligatory poker content: I’m not good enough to get away from a flopped set when a third diamond comes on the turn and I KNOW he called my big raise on a draw.

***

I’ve been bugged lately. Normally, I’m a very happy-go-lucky kind of guy. I think my blog reflects that. I have a youthful enthusiasm. I love my job and I love my life. Sometimes I think my “voice” on this blog is too childish, but it’s all I know. I read Otis and hear a depth that I can’t manage. Pauly’s world is backed up by character with more folds than a Shar Pei. My life comes across like Mayberry.

But something is bugging me.

I’m hesitant to blog about it. I’ve read others like Joe Speaker who were able to really work through some issues by blogging about it. Sure, there was plenty of great advice in the comments sections of those blogs, but the catharsis obviously came from putting the words out there to begin with.

There are some big life changes ahead of me in the very near future.

I’m turning 40.
I’m celebrating 20 years in the Army this month.
My poker game sucks (relatively minor, but I think it factors in somehow).
My side business is successful and profitable.
I’ll be getting out of the Army to look for gainful employment in the world of “real doctoring” within a year and a half (probably).
My wife is set to make partner within the next two years, which may entail a move.
My oldest son is a great storyteller, but all of his stories revolve around TV shows (as opposed to soccer goals or baseball plays, I guess).

There is more, but just typing this is starting to sting a little. I can’t put my finger on it. I just have to work a few things out.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Jackass 2 Review

29 SEP 06

I saw Jackass 2 last night. I laughed so hard my head hurt. I think this should be our new psyops weapon against the terrorists. You show them this movie and tell them THIS is what Americans do in our free time. Let me see YOU put a fishhook through your cheek and act as bait for hammerhead and Mako sharks! Let me see you put a leech in your eye!

I don’t want to give too much of the movie away. Go see it.

One thing that did give me a chuckle – Johnny Knoxville has a WaWa tattoo on his arm. After reading the Bash at the Boathouse trip reports, I can understand why.

***

I promise I’m working hard.

That’s being said, I had some free time at lunch and found this for you. If you don’t have 7 minutes, fast forward to minute 4 of this Celebrity Death Match between Chris Martin (Coldplay) and Bono (U2). Watch at least until minute 5:30. The key words you are listening for are, “It would take a miracle to save Chris Martin now!”

Click Here

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Jamie Gold Stole My Move!

28 SEP 06

Technically, it wasn’t my move to begin with, but still...

So, I decided to play live last night. I started at 3/6 just to pass the time and try to clock some hours for the player appreciation tournament (only 30 more to go). I take the big blind and 6 of us see a flop of 2 4 5. I have 10 3 for the open-ender, so I bet right out. 4 reluctant callers see a 2 on the turn. I bet again and only two very reluctant callers come along. We see a blank on the river.

I’m sure I’m beat, but I might as well sell this thing. I bet again. Now I look across at my opponents. Player #1 is a woman in her mid to late 40’s. She somewhat attractive, and she’s very nervous. I casually smile at her, and she mucks.

One down, one to go.

Player #2 is a German woman in her mid 60’s. She very conflicted. I grab my cards and say, “I’ll show you.”

She mucks her two pair. I flip over my 10 high nothing and drag the pot.

“You made a mistake!” She cries.

I’ve done this move before, but for some reason, I kinda feel bad, so I play up the mistake as genuinely as possible.

“I thought I had trip 2’s,” I say.

Tough guy in the 9 seat was having none of it. “Jamie Gold did the same thing at the WSOP." Pointing at me he says, "He knew he didn’t have shit.”

So I went home and watched the September 12th episode of the WSOP that I had saved on my DVR. Sure enough, there is Jamie Gold saying, “I’ll show you either way,” when he had 6 high nothing.

My move was for $30. His was for $12 million.

At least I get to keep my winnings.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Phone Update

27 SEP 06

So, I bought the phone. At least the laughing blonde didn’t get the sale.

Take that!

Apparently, my new phone comes with an MP3 player. Anyone know how to use this thing? Are there good places to get free music?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

As Summer Ends

26 SEP 06

Still another summer has spilled from my hands as a precarious pile of plates that topples to the floor. I gaze at the ruin, and wonder what wonderful opportunities were missed.

Thus ends my alliterative appreciation to the Summer of ’06.

***

I am a geek. I’ve always been a geek. My guess is that many of my poker comrades are also geeks. It is with this understanding that I’m sure you will appreciate the following anecdote.

I need a new cell phone (or mobile phone, or whatever the kids are calling them these days). As I walk into the T-Mobile store, I am greeted by a stunning blonde 19 year old who starts to smile at me (you know that smile – it’s the, “I know I’m cute smile.” It’s the smile that says, “You will buy whatever I tell you to buy because I’m who I am and you’re who you are smile.”)

But just as the smile touches the corners of her mouth, it turns into a hand over the mouth giggle as she points at my groin.

It’s 1984 all over again. I thought I was past young women pointing at my penis and laughing, dammit!

But wait. I still have my pants on, so it can’t be that. No, she is pointing at my belt. The source of her giggles – my pager.

“You still have a pager?” She asks, incredulously. “How cute!”

Would it be inappropriate to start crying in a T-Mobile store? I’m not sure about the etiquette here.

Instead, I half listen as she recovers enough to tell me about the latest Samsung model that has passed the “vault test,” whatever that is.

I didn’t buy the phone. I’m calling it a victory.

Monday, September 25, 2006

More Random Thoughts

25 SEP 06

- I don’t much care for the hair style where women with long hair cut the back into a “V” shape.

- Parts of Texas can be beautiful, but it’s got nothing on Washington State in the summertime.

- Nothing is more important than family.

- I’m still not certain which is worse – losing a buy-in to the main event of the World Series by buying in or losing the same amount in various cash games.

- When you think you can absolutely do no more, that’s the time to reset the bar.

Final thought: They sicken of the calm that know the storm. - Dorothy Parker

Friday, September 22, 2006

Driveway Moment

22 SEP 06

NPR has something called a driveway moment, where people will sit in their car in order to finish listening to a particularly compelling story. This morning, in the parking lot of the hospital, I had to finish listening to John Feinstein talk about the Ryder Cup and his favorite moment.

He reminded us about Payne Stewart in the 1999 Cup, when, after enduring really horrible American crowds all day, Colin Montgomery was facing a 20 foot putt to win his match. The Americans had already won the cup, but Colin’s match hung on this putt. In his last public act (Payne died in a plane crash a month later), Payne picked up Colin’s ball and handed it to him, conceding the match.

It was one of my favorite moments, too.

The driveway moment was especially funny because as I got out of my car, two other doctors, who also had been sitting in their cars to listen to the story, also got out. We all looked at each other and smiled.

Final thought: I can no longer go to Al Can’t Hang’s blog from work. I get this:

ACCESS DENIED: DATING

This is hysterical and wrong on so many levels, I can’t begin to explain.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Chess Doctor?

20 SEP 06

I just received the following e-mail. While it isn’t as great as the old, “Congratulations, Dr. Chako! You won 1st place in the two-table turbo SNG” e-mails, it’s still pretty good.

Hello, drchako!

Congratulations on winning the 1st round of Intermediate Chess section, 30th GameKnot tournament! The 2nd round will start on Monday, September 25th, 2006.

Good luck and have fun!
GameKnot.com

I wonder – are there other poker/chess crossovers out there? Are any of you playing on Gameknot? If not, where do you play?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aces

19 SEP 06

You’ve got Aces and raise pre-flop. You get one caller, an aggressive young player, and you see a flop of K Q 5 rainbow. You bet and he raises, so you put him on either top pair or maybe two pair. The turn is an 8. You check and he bets. You call and the river pairs the board with a 5.

You bet right out and he raises. What do you do?

Final thought: One more surreal You Tube video. Real Life Frogger. Watch this 10 second video several times.