Friday, March 30, 2007

Vegas Trip Report

30 MAR 07

Spring Edition

I just returned last night from the Society of Thoracic Radiology meeting at the Red Rocks in Las Vegas. Well, technically it’s in Summerlin. In case you are wondering, that’s about:

a. 25 minutes from the Strip
b. $30 to $50 from the Strip
c. A world away from the Strip
d. All of the above

If you guessed D, you are correct. I’ll have more thoughts in the coming days, but here are some things I jotted down.

Met Pauly, Change100, Amy Calistri (we never did get to share notes on mid-life crises!), Derek and Miami Don. Amy was even nice enough to note the occasion:

As we were playing, a familiar face approached the table. OMG, it was Dr. Chako! If you’ve not caught up with his blog lately, Dr. Chako is reveling in his newfound mid-life crisis. What better place to wallow one’s own mortality than Vegas.

Other random thoughts:
I am a winning craps player!

I am a winning 2/5 No Limit player!

I lost a ton donking around at ½ No Limit.

I lost another ton at 30/60 Limit.

Here are some other thoughts I wrote on my Blackberry:

Arrived at 6 PM on Saturday. Zero people on the taxi line. 1st corny line heard at the airport "If you hang with me, I'll make sure you go home with a heavier suitcase.”
Using my Blackberry in the taxi makes me motion sick.
Weird thought about graphic novel. More later.

At baggage claim, I'm forced to stare at a huge smiling David Hasselhof, who is staring in The Producers at The Paris Hotel. Europeans must be coming here in increasing numbers.

I am greeted at McCarran Airport with a tram ride from Gate D. Check out the mural below. There are separate panels for different cities like Toronto and NY. The NY panel shows a large jet with flames coming out the back headed toward the Statue of Liberty. WTF? Sorry for the crappy camera phone photo.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Vegas, Baby!

23 MAR 07

I’m headed out Saturday (tomorrow) for sin city. For any bloggers that might be out there, consult the old Gmail spreadsheet for my number and give me a call. I’ll be staying at the Suncoast (long story) and attending a conference at Red Rocks Sunday thru Thursday. Otherwise, look for me at Table 1 in the Bellagio.*

*Okay, maybe NEAR Table 1. Like I’m really gonna play 4000/8000 with Negreanu.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Birds and the Bees - Part II

For my RSS readers, please see Part I here. This part of the conversation begins after the question, "Do you know what Fertilize means?"

Dr. Chako: That means that something has to happen to the egg in order for it to become a baby.

Son: Do I have eggs?

Dr. Chako: Good question! No you don’t. Only girls have them, and guess what? All girls have eggs, right from when they are born. Isn’t that cool? You have something different, and now we are getting to the important stuff.

Son: What’s that?

Dr. Chako:
In order for the egg to get fertilized it needs sperm.

Son: Like the sperm whale?

Dr. Chako: Kinda. Well, no. Not really. Um…

Son: You okay, Dad?

Dr. Chako: (Recovering). Yeah. Anyway, do you know how the sperm gets to the egg?

Son: Nope.

Dr. Chako: The sperm comes from your penis.

Son: Ewww!

Dr. Chako: You may not think that in a couple years. In order to get the sperm there, a man puts his penis into a woman’s vagina.

Son: Ewww!

Dr. Chako: (Laughing) Do you know what that’s called?

Son: (A little embarrassed) Yeah. I heard you say it about mommy, but without the “y.”

Dr. Chako: Huh?

Son: Sexy. Well… sex.

Dr. Chako: It’s also called making love. But wait, there’s more. Do you think you could get your penis into a vagina?

Son: Ummm… no.

Dr. Chako: It would be kinda tough, right? Well, something has to happen first. Your penis has to get hard. Has that ever happened to you? Like, when you first wake up in the morning?

Son: (Excited) Yeah! Or when I tickle myself down below my belly button!

Dr. Chako: (Showing incredible restraint) Exactly. Well, when your penis gets hard, it’s called an erection, and it makes it easy to put your penis into a woman’s vagina. Here’s the other thing. Right now, only one thing comes out of your penis.

Son: Potty!

Dr. Chako: Right. But pretty soon, your voice will start to change and you’ll get armpit hair and you’ll need deodorant like we talked about, right? (He’s been asking us to smell his pits to see if he’s ready for deodorant.)

Son: You mean puberty.

Dr. Chako: Exactly. Well, the other thing that happens is that your body is preparing to make sperm. It also comes out of your penis and it looks very different from potty. It’s white and creamy. Someday, you’ll meet a woman and fall in love and get married. When you are ready to make babies, this is what you’ll do. What do you think?

Son: Well, I guess I’m glad you told me, but… I kinda wish you hadn’t.

Dr. Chako: (Laughing) Maybe so, but it’s important you know these things. Any questions?

Son: Nope!

Dr. Chako: Goodnight, son.

Son: ‘Night, Dad!

I heard a story on NPR about kids saying that their parents never talked to them about the birds and the bees, and I didn’t want to be in that group. My conversation was not perfect, but it’s the best I could do. Feel free to plagiarize, copy, duplicate or otherwise steal this conversation and call it your own.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Birds and the Bees

20 MAR 07

Two events of momentous proportions have coincided, so I figured I’d commemorate them on my blog. I got my first ever live Royal Flush (had two online, but those don’t count right?), and my buddy Andrew BET INTO ME on the river, and I had “The Talk” with my 9 year old. When I look back on this day, I want to remember both events.

My son had been asking questions about reproduction for quite some time. Mom and I have been very good about answering in generalities, but I felt it was time to get specific. I waited until bed time, and it went something like this:

Dr. Chako: Son, it’s time I let you in on a little secret. It’s a secret all grownups know, and it’s your turn.

Son: Cool. What is it?

Dr. Chako: It’s about the birds and the bees (I actually said that – mostly for historical significance). You’ve been asking a lot about where babies come from, and now I’m going to tell you.

Son: I know where they come from – mommy's tummy.

Dr. Chako: That’s true, but do you know how they get in there?

Son: Umm, the egg?

Dr. Chako: Exactly! They start as an egg, but something has to happen first. Mommy mentioned it earlier this evening. Do you remember the word? It starts with an “F.”

Son: Umm, no.

Dr. Chako: The word was Fertilize (what were you thinking?).

Son: Oh yeah.

Dr. Chako: Do you know what that means?

Son: Not really, no.

Part II tomorrow

Monday, March 19, 2007

I Hate Cats

19 MAR 07

But they sure can make you smile.

And, in honor of Iggy, I give you the (UFC) Ultimate Fighting Cats.

Editors Note: Tomorrow we discuss the Birds and the Bees.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Omaha Question

17 MAR 07

Call, Raise or Fold?

Drizz, I’m looking at you.

The Muckleshoot spread 4/8 Omaha 8 last night! They even had a full kill to 8/16. Seattle John managed to pull me away from the 20/40 game to donk around with a little eastern Nebraska high-low action. It actually wasn’t that hard to pull me away – I ran really badly really quickly. John’s reminder to play tight when the game is loose came a little too late. I’ll stop before this turns into a bad beat story.

So, donk around I did in the game with too many hole cards. First let me start by saying that before I got into the hold’ em game, I played 1-4 Stud for about an hour. Walked away a winner, too! This marks the first time I played three different ring games in one session. If you count limit and no limit hold ‘em, that makes 4.

Anyway – to the hand. Without too much fan fare, here is the question.

4 of you get to the river which cinches your nut low and gives you the second nut straight for high. You bet right out. Call, call and the button raises.

Call, Raise or Fold?

Editors Note: Before I tell you what I did, apparently it was the wrong choice. It even brought a “You dumb ass!” from Seattle John.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Smiles

16 MAR 07

When you have 5 doctors doing to work of 19, you get a little burned out. I’m starting to get that hysterical giggle. You know the kind, you’re stressed out and something funny sets you off. You can’t help it. People look at you strange and, despite your embarrassment, you can’t stop laughing.

These two items set me off. You WILL NOT find them as funny as I did, but I hope they make you smile (even if they are a little twisted).

The first is from an invitation my wife sent out to her firm. She is throwing a party to reward her team for some really hard work. I should note that this invitation went to most of her office, including several partners and even the managing partner. It said, in part:






Since I was included in the mass email, I hit REPLY TO ALL and sent this:

A quick note from Dr. Chako: The big screen TV is not, I repeat, NOT one of the prizes in the friendly games of chance. If you try to leave with my TV, I'll sick my dog on you.

The other funny is this comic from The caption really put me over the edge.

Fun game: Find a combination of two items that most freaks out the cashier. Winner: Pregnancy test and a single coat hangar.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Family Values?

15 MAR 07

Editors Note: The follow may or may not have happened all or in part last night.

So, I took the FAMILY out last night for a FAMILY dinner to a nice FAMILY restaurant, Marie Callender’s. Great salad bar. Our traditional FAMILY of 4 enters the well appointed lobby and waits next to an eclectic group of 8. There is a traditional mother and father type, a friend or two and a mess of teenagers. Two female teens stand out.

Female teen #1 is your traditional Goth chick. Long dark hair, long dark duster and dark eye makeup.

Female teen #2 is your typical girl next door cheerleader type. They are whispering to each other and giggling. Good for them.

As my 9 year old looks on with the curiosity of, well, a 9 year old, Goth chick plants a deep tongue kiss on cheerleader girl. Eclectic mob reacts not at all. The Chako family stands in stunned silence, thinking our own private thoughts.

My son: Daddy…?

Dr. Chako: Um… what?

Son: Wha….?

Dr. Chako: Good question, son. Let’s ask.

Tap tap on Goth-girl’s shoulder.

Dr. Chako: Excuse me. My son here is curious. Aren’t you two women?

Goth-girl and cheerleader turn to look at each other and are now sharing in the stunned silence.

Dr. Chako: I have an open mind, but I’ve never had the chance to talk to my son about what we have here. Since you two seem quite comfortable, would you care to talk to my kid about alternative relationships?

At that point, we get called to our table, so I guess I’ll never know what their answer was. They sat near us and gave us curious stares while they ate. My son was oblivious. I was not.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Push It – Response

13 MAR 07

Hunter left yet another insightful comment on my blog from yesterday. I didn’t want it lost to the masses, so I’m elevating it to Guest Post Status. Enjoy.

Is there a correlation between poker and weight loss? Or, better yet, poker and the failure to lose weight?

As someone who has spent a lifetime trying all sorts of diets, including Dr. Stillman's, Dr. Atkins, Dr. Bernstein's, Weight Watchers, The Turbulent Diet, the Caveman Diet, the High Protein diet, the No-Carb, the No-Fat, and the No-Food diet, the West Point diet, the South Beach diet, the Alcatraz diet, the Heart Association diet, the Diabetic diet, the Chocolate diet, the yogurt diet, Slim-Fast, Metracal, Nutri-System, Rancher's Diet, Lumberjack's Diet and, finally, the Sex-instead-of-Food Diet, I am acutely aware of the difficulty involved.

Furthermore, I have concluded, that if the mind is not focused on the diet, failure is inevitable.

The list of distractions far outnumber the list of diets, and include such things as magic tricks, loud music, barking dogs, unruly children, a Hell's Angel's procession, car crashes, parachute jumpers, structures on fire and, of course, beautiful women in various stages of undress.

However, in a recent scientific study, it has been shown that there is a new distraction that causes weight-loss failure. That distraction is POKER. Unfortunately, the game is insidious. Much like marijuana, the participant is totally unaware of his body's need for munchies.

So, Poker Players take heed. If dieting is your priority, stay out of the casinos.

Hunter Silvastorm

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Push It!

11 MAR 07

The title of this post refers to many things. It’s my sister’s favorite song (a little Salt to go with that Pepa?), but it also refers to me and my style, not just in poker, but in life.

I went running this morning. I told my wife that I ended up stopping and walking a couple of times because I pushed a little too hard. She asked me why I do that.

‘Cause it’s who I am.

Similar thing from last night. I had an incredible rush of cards, including a hammer toss! First hand of the night. I post the big blind in a 3/5 spread limit game (max buy-in $300, $3 and $5 blinds). 8 limpers (!) and I look down at 7 2 off-suit. The flop is K 7 2. I bet ½ the pot. MP guy raises to $50. Everyone folds back to me and I make it $100. He calls. The turn is a 6. I bet $100. He calls. The river is an Ace. I’m a little nervous, but I trust my read and go all-in. He goes in the tank (whew)! I say, “I’ll show you. You can pay for it if you want, but you are going to see it either way.” He calls and turns over K 10. I drop the hammer on my first hand and double up.

I parlay that into a stake at 20/40. Long story short, I ran it up to almost $2000.

Push it!

Long story shorter. I cashed out a winner for the night. At 5 am, (damn time change), I pocketed my profit for the evening.


I could have walked away earlier. I got tired. I had good pre-flop discipline, but a combination a bad timing and a few unlucky rivers (and, I admit, a few bad reads), decimated the profits. I’m still learning this game.


On another note, I’m forced to admit that I might not make my weight loss goal. I’m close. I’m doing the Atkins diet and exercising. I don’t think I can lose the 11 pounds by the first week of April, though. Still, I’m not giving up.

Weight: 171 (started at 184)

Saturday, March 10, 2007


10 MAR 07

I always had the feeling when reading some poker books that pros instruct us on some tells they’ve seen, but keep the best ones to themselves. I’ve never been great about reading tells. Yesterday I encountered two that became very profitable.

Mike Caro, in his section of Super/System 2 said that most poker players are actors. Seeming weakness means strength and visa versa. A young Asian business major from USC was three seats to my left, and he had the whole Hiro Nakamura look going. He was a fairly good player, but he had a screaming tell. It was so unbelievable that I forced myself not to act on it until I could confirm it at least three times. Sure enough, it happened all three.

When he had a hand, he would place his bet across the line on the felt. When he was drawing, he would stack his chips in front of him (behind the line) and then push his chips across the line with the tips of his finger nails. What made this a profitable tell was that he was good enough to fold when my raise priced him out of an obvious draw.


The other tell was different. I’m not sure if I can call it an actual tell. Sir Robert is a legend at the Muckleshoot. He must have tons of money because there is absolutely no way he can be a profitable poker player, yet I always see him in the biggest games they run. Strangely, the few times I’ve played with him, I’ve seen him come away a winner every time. His strategy is this – Play Every Hand and Suck Out.

The tell is foreknowledge that you cannot bluff him out of a pot. He’s completely predictable. If he has bottom pair, he will call you to the river - an ultimate high-stakes calling station. The trick is, if you can isolate him, don’t bet if there is a chance he has you beat. You simply cannot put him on a hand. The other tell is, if he has been calling all the way and then bets into you on the river, you are beat. I don’t care if you flopped a set. I don’t care how non-scary the river card looks. You are beat – fold.

These two tells lead to yet another very profitable session. I’m ready for Vegas. Two weeks!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Difference between Military and civilian Friends

8 MAR 07

I just got the email below from an old military friend. It reminds me about some of the good about being in the Army. It’s always been about the people.

Some have asked me to comment about the situation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. I won’t go there other than to say that there has never been a complaint about the quality of medical care patients receive while at the hospital. It’s only afterwards that there is a problem. There are more wounded soldiers than you can believe, but that’s the price we pay.

Similar complaints have been levied against my hospital (Madigan Army Medical Center), but it’s mostly noise. We do it well here. In fact, I would want MY family seen here, and I can’t say that about everywhere I’ve been.

One quick poker note – played a great short session last night that involved getting heads up a few times with my buddy Ryan. I tripled up (no thanks to Ryan) with a few good plays and a few lucky cards. Dammit Ryan, did you have me beat when I showed that top pair hand?


Now to the email…

Subject: Difference between Military and civilian Friends

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Get upset if you're too busy to talk to them for a week.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are glad to see you after years, and will happily carry on the same conversation you were having last time you met.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Never ask for food.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Are the reason you have no food.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Call your parents mom and dad.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Bail you out of jail and tell you what you did was wrong.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Would be sitting next to you saying, "Damn...we screwed up...but man that was fun!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have never seen you cry.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Borrow your stuff for a few days then give it back.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Keep your stuff so long they forget it's yours.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Know a few things about you.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Will leave you behind if that's what the crowd is doing.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Will kick the whole crowd's ass that left you behind.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Would knock on your door.
MILITARY FRIENDS: Walk right in and say, "I'm home!"

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Are for a while.

CIVILIAN FRIENDS: Have shared a few experiences. ..
MILITARY FRIENDS: Have shared a lifetime of experiences no civilian could ever dream of...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Truckin's Up!

7 MAR 07

I love when someone does the blogging work for me. In this case, I get to pimp the greatest online magazine on the web – Truckin’. I’ve been fortunate enough to get one story in there and (well, maybe aside from my one story), every short story, poem or essay is top notch. If, like me, you are tired and bored with most web content, give this issue a spin.

Truckin - March 2007, Vol. 6, Issue 3

1. Slices by Paul McGuire I'd spent most of my time partying hard doing blow with C-List actors while avoiding the daylight and roaming the city late at night during one of the most rowdy benders I'd undertaken in the past few years. We were vampires, sleeping during the days and partying every night until sunrise. I would not crash until 6 AM and by the time I'd wake up, everyone on the East Cast was leaving work for the day... More

2. The Next Block by Joe Speaker The crowd was a stew of unwashed urchins. My kind of people: musicians, writers and hustlers. Feast or famine in this town; the middle class doesn't pass the velvet rope, or lead the newscasts. Sally from Chatsworth is home making fucking meatloaf...

3. Killing Independent George by Wil Wheaton We played on for another few levels, the clatter of shuffling chips frequently interrupted by the TD announcing the exit of famous actor after famous actor. I will admit that it felt good to be outlasting them., though I will also admit that it was the most Pyhrric of Pyhrric victories: where it really counts in Hollywood, they all have their names on call sheets, while I have mine on a blog... More

4. Everything You Need to Know About Driving in LA by Change100 In order to become a true L.A. driving warrior, you will sometimes have to be the asshole. This doesn't mean you're a bad person -- it only contributes to your overall savviness. By understanding that this attitude is just an unfortunately necessary part of your own survival, inner peace will come much easier... More

5. 15 Seconds by Dan Keston With minimal experience and a microscopic budget, I found a way to make a movie about kids and guns that was not only interesting enough to be one of sixteen selections out of five-thousand entries at the most prestigious festival in the world, but also the topic of a story on NPR and the lovechild of the largest gun lobby in Washington... More

6. Three Strikes and You're In by Dr. Tim Lavalli It was then that I realized I may have made a mistake trying to have a 'break-up' dinner here. Becca's gastronomic creations always put me at ease but ease was not the best place for easily ending a relationship. Besides the vaunted 'do it in public break-up' was a cowardly way out... More

Editors Note: I'm too lazy to fix the few links that didn't come across correctly. Go to the main page of Truckin' and link from there, ya lazy bastid.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Rush Continues

6 MAR 07

Got right into 10/20 and doubled up. It was a very tight table and I was able to push it around with ease. Well, until one Crazy Asian decided to call my river bluff with Jack-high – and it was good! It was perhaps one of the best calls I’ve ever seen. My job was to figure out – was he really that good, or just curious?

One of my favorite Doyle Brunson quotes:

“He may go home broke, but he won’t go home curious.”

It turns out he was just the curious type. I had most of his money within the next half hour. The following hand helped.

I raise from early position with J 10 of diamonds. Crazy Asian just calls. Flop is Q 9 of diamonds for the open-ended straight-flush draw. Check, check and the turn brings the King of diamonds. I think I pooped. I announce to the table, “I can NOT bet this hand.” Remember, there is a bad beat jackpot at the ‘shoot that is sitting at $130,000. If he somehow has a set (and didn’t raise?) and quads up on the river, I take home ¼ of that jackpot.

Anyway, after my basically telling the entire table exactly what I had, he bets! I just call. The river is a blank, so I bet out. He calls and I show my king-high straight flush. It’s good for the high hand, but get this – there were two other King-high straight flushes, so I only got $67!

I’m freerolling now, so when they call me for 20/40, I’m in. Talk about a contrast of styles. 20/40 is the biggest game running, and so all the players are the usual 50/100 guys. 4 to 6 players in every hand and most pots were three bet or capped. I went from super loose to Captain Squeeky. From the big blind I call one raise into a 6 way pot with pocket threes. The flop is J 3 3. Damn right – I flopped quads! Unfortunately, this was not a super aggressive hand, so I ONLY made $400. I still got one non-believer to call me to the river.

So, I flopped quads and hit a straight flush within two hours. Of course, I bought a lottery ticket. Mega Millions stands to be the largest lottery drawing in history. It’s today and the jackpot currently sits at $355 million. They are doing the drawing in Times Square.

I can’t lose.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Vegas in March!

5 MAR 07

That’s right boys and girls – I’m headed to Las Vegas! The Army is sending me to the Red Rocks for the Society of Thoracic Radiology annual meeting. I’ll be there from March 23rd thru the 28th. Believe it or not, I plan on actually going to the meetings, but I’ll still have plenty of time for poker. My buddy Josh is coming, and we may even get in a little golf on Monday.

Anyone going to be out there at that time? If so, you all should still have the contact sheet from the last WPBT. Shoot me an email or just call my cell phone.

Less than three weeks!!!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

70’s and 80’s Power Rock

1 MAR 07

I was thinking about great rock from the 70’s and 80’s and trying to come up with songs that had a “moment.” You know, when an awesome drum beat or opening guitar riff just hit you in the gut. Here are my first thoughts:

Money for Nothing – Dire Straits. When the music builds beyond all reason and Knopfler kicks in that guitar – awesome.

We Will Rock You – Queen. Foot stomping and hand clapping mayhem.

Bohemian Rhapsody – Also Queen. The “moment” was immortalized in Wayne’s World in the AMC Pacer.

In the Air Tonight – Phil Collins. That drum beat half way thru the song. Two sticks per hit. Da-da. Da-da. Da-da. Da-da. Da. Da. Boom. “I can feel it comin’…”

Rock You Like a Hurricane - Scorpions. HUGE guitar and drum opening, classic 80's power rock.

How could I forget AC/DC?! Church bells, anyone? Listening to AC/DC now, I'm amazed at how they did so much with relatively slow beats. Other than things like Thunderstruck, think about how slowly Hells Bells starts.

Hells Bells via the Wiki

You Tube – Great old AC/DC!

I’m having a hard time coming up with anything today that makes me feel like these songs did. What does it for you?