Thursday, November 27, 2008

Obligatory "What am I thankful for" Post

I'm still a little curmudgeonly, but not so much that I can't give out some thanks.
  • Thanks to my kids for putting up with a (sometimes) grumpy Dad.
  • Thanks to the Army. It was a good 22 years.
  • Thanks to incompetent Iraqi insurgents. Despite your best efforts, I still made it home alive.
  • Thanks to the Army for hiring me back as a civilian.
  • Thanks to Psyllium Fiber
  • Thanks to my little sister for taking her dog back. (We still miss Macy-moo)
  • Thanks to my not-a-nun sister for finding a real guy, and giving us all a reason to gather in Florida in a few weeks
  • Thanks to Nana Judy for being a great Nana to the kids. You are every bit their grandma and we love you for it.
  • Thanks to my nanny. Do you really have to get married next year?
  • Thanks to my in-laws. The quiet fortitude of life on a farm is inspiring in so many ways.
  • Thanks to our Issaquah Thanksgiving Family. Deep fried turkey. 'Nuf said.
  • Thanks to you, dear readers. I don't write this blog for you, but it's nice to know you're there and you care enough to occasionally leave comments. Even you, Waffles.
  • Finally, thanks to The Wife. At least I made you cry less this year.*

Joke! (kinda). You know you're the best. I'm thankful to your parents for having the incredible foresight to have you. I'm thankful you grew up on a farm with the values that go along with that. I'm thankful you are the mother of our children. I'm thankful you are a successful business woman. And I'm thankful you put up with me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Otis is grumpy. Kat is grumpy. I'm grumpy. Sheesh.

I'm blaming it on the season. Or maybe it's the economy. Perhaps the Audacity of Hope hasn't reached us yet.

Nah. That's not it. I'm actually quite bullish on the future. Sure, I think America is in trouble over the next 20 years, but that really doesn't affect me. I'll be retired by then (hopefully) and cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway in my Ferrari. Or something like that. In the mean time, I still can't shake this feeling that I'm spinning my wheels.

Since I got off Active Duty, I've gotten a huge pay raise, more time off and I have a lot less stress. My kids are doing well in school. My nanny hasn't crashed my car. Things are looking good.

On the flip side, my pants are a lot snugger. I haven't seen my wife in months (technically that's not true, but it feels pretty close), and I have this nagging feeling like everything is a little surreal. (Boy, it feels like I've written this same thing before. Sorry if this is a repeat, but it's still on my mind.)

It would be easy to say that when I was in the Army I had "purpose," and now that I'm out I've lost my way. I don't think that's it. It's more a feeling like I shouldn't be here. That part is true, actually. We thought we would have moved away from Seattle by now, but we are here until at least the summer and possibly longer. That means another winter with little sun and lots of rain (bring on Vegas!), and it also means more time spent in the doldrums.

On a semi-related note, I played in the finals of the league racquetball tournament last night. I went in as the 5th seed, but lost in the first round to the same guy that beat me in the last tournament. I stayed to watch the semis, and at one point, one of the players came bursting off the court in mid-match yelling and cursing about his opponent. I felt like saying, "Chill out, dude. It's just a game," but I held back. It's probably a good thing, because he looked ready to kill. He went back in the court and proceeded to trounce his opponent. You'd think he'd be in a better mood after that, no?


He was still cursing about a bad call made by his now-defeated opponent. I wanted to say, "Dude. You won. Chill out." He had that helter-skelter look so I held back again.

Maybe I need to get angry at something. At least it's different from the doldrums.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Is this statutory rape?*

(Or is it just a moosedemeanor?)

*Blatantly stolen from an email from our friend Junko

Friday, November 21, 2008

Conversations at Breakfast

In honor of Betty's Conversations in Montana, I give you the first installment of Conversations at Breakfast. Even though I'm out of the Army, I still work at the military hospital and eat breakfast in their dining facility.

Soldier 1: (Referring to someone he met recently) ... and he kind of looked like Carl Lewis.

Soldier 2: Carl Lewis? I know Carl Lewis! I met him and even got an autographed picture of him.

Soldier 1: Really? He was one of the best!

Soldier 2: Yeah. He was that black guy, right?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shaving Your Goat

I'm not a vain person. If you need confirmation, just check out the pic of my tubby ass diving into the pool a few posts back. That said, when I got out of the military, I decided to try something I haven't been able to do in the last 22 years (thanks to Uncle Sam) - I grew a goatee. After small learning curve, I figured out that I liked to keep it trimmed pretty short, in sort of an upside-down egg configuration. If I let it get too long, the gray really stood out.

Everyone loved the goat, or so they told me. Everyone, that is, except The Wife. Little chiding questions here and there were quite telling. Is this a phase? Are you going to keep it forever?

When that didn't work, she started getting bolder. "You know, I had a dream last night. It was about Otis..."

All right, already! I get it.

So, amongst the many gifts I lavished on her last night, I gave her one more - I shaved it all off. It took her a second when she got in the car, but she quickly figured it out. "You shaved!"

For you, baby. All for you.

Other than the big negative reaction from my oldest son (How could you, Dad?!), I really didn't think anyone else would notice. Boy, was I wrong. I wasn't at work for 10 minutes before one of my techs asked me what happened. I told him it was for The Wife and he gave that nod that only someone who's been married for at least 10 years can understand (I think he just celebrated his 25th anniversary). Many others followed. All reactions were negative. "We really liked it!" they cried. On my way to write this post, two more people stopped me to ask about it.

So now I'm stuck. On the one side, I've got at least a dozen votes in favor, but I've only got one against.

What's a guy to do?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Wife!

Well, the big one is in the books. I'll let The Wife tell you about it from her perspective. From my perspective it was as good as I planned. Thanks especially to Sis, Betty and Kat for the assist. If nothing else, your enthusiastic responses to my choice of a gift encouraged me to pull the trigger. I'm not sure I would have felt as confident without you.

Now, if you haven't already done so, go wish her a happy birthday. For those of you lucky enough to be here this Saturday for the home game, I don't think it will take too much cajoling to get her to do a little modeling. Don't worry - she'll be showing 'em off in Vegas in a few weeks.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Need to Post

Recently, a girl I knew from my freshman year of college (was it really 1985?!) contacted me to ask about a career in radiology. At first, I thought it was a scam, but something about the email made me curious, so I responded. Turns out she's legit and has beautiful kids, including one who's getting ready to graduate from high school.

Here's the problem - she knows a few things about me. It's almost like we've talked before. Tonight she sent me an email and asked about racquetball. I played racquetball in college, but dammit, I think I've spoken with her more recently than 23 years ago. Why can't I remember?

I'm not that old, dammit! I'm 41. My mind can't be going already, can it? And this is a girl you don't soon forget, either! Get me a few drinks in Vegas (3 weeks!) and I'll tell you some stories. Of course I'll embellish a little, but I don't have to all that much in this case.

I'll leave you with this - I dated her roommate, but secretly had a crush on her. You know, classic freshman stuff. But one night...

I'll save it for Vegas.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The WPBT is Coming!

In honor of the prize for 1st bustout at the WPBT tournament, I give you these reviews of the infamous movie, Gigli (pronounced Zhee-lee, if you care):

Rarely has a movie that doesn't star Madonna achieved such a skin-crawling mixture of deluded preening and bungled humour.- Liam Lacey

[O]ne of the worst movies I've ever seen.- Richard Roeper

An overlong, joyless, and inconsequential affair, full of dead air, and possessing only a few moments of jaw-dropping bad taste. - Ty Burr

Ach. Oy. Woe and poo, bleccch and uck! ZZZZZ-zzz. - Stephen Hunter

Such an utter wreck of a movie you expect to see it lying on its side somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, with a small gang of engineers circling and a wisp of smoke rising from the caboose. - Stephen Whitty

Nearly as unwatchable as it is unpronounceable. - Manohla Dargis

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Birthday Party for The Wife

That's right - The Wife is celebrating the 10 anniversary of her 30th birthday. What better way to honor her than by taking her money!

What: Birthday Party/Poker Tournament
Where: Casa Chako
When: NEXT Saturday (November 22nd) at 7pm
What to Bring: Nothing but a little scratch and a smile. We'll have snacks and booze, but if there is something you like, feel free to bring your own drinks.

RSVP either here, on The Wife's blog, or via email.

See you then!

Edit: If you happened to read this blog when I first posted it, I got the date wrong. The correct date is now listed above.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Trouble Sitting - Pre-WPBT Vegas Trip Report

Yeah, I can't quite sit down since I got my ass kicked by Otis and CK at mixed games. You want to know the definition of -EV? Try playing multiple games you never heard of with friggin' pros. I was really drunk (also -EV, me thinks), but I remember 3-2-1 Omaha, Badugi, BadiCi, triple draw, Razz and a few others. 3-2-1 Omaha was ridiculous. On the river, CK announces, "Straight Flush!" it took me at least 30 seconds to find the damn hand! Still, even though I lost over 3 racks (at a damn 3/6 table no less!), I had a blast and I can't wait until next month.

Other than the mixed games at the IP, poker was good to me. Other than my losing session at the Bellagio, I only lost one other time, playing 1/2 while waiting for my seat at 2/5 PLO.

I know what you are thinking - WTF, Dr. Chako! Yeah, I had no business in that game. Here's how it went: I bought in for one rack, bled away half, got all-in. Got back to my buy in.

I did that three more times, before I got back down to $200. I wake up UTG with JJ 10 9 double suited and raise the pot. I get called in 2 places and the button raises pot. That's more than I had, so I called. Three of us see a Jack-high flop. Unbelievably, it holds up and I drag a $600 pot and walked away. I'm a lifetime winner at PLO.

Um, that was my first time playing.

Of course, I donked away nearly all of my allotted Vegas BR playing craps with my buddies. I actually won a little playing blackjack, but it all went to the craps table. I had one winning craps session - the first one. After that I hit a run of 11 seven-outs. Bye-bye BR.

Anyway, I just bought The Wife her birthday present(s). I'm actually really excited about these. She will be, too, as long as she doesn't look at the credit card statement.

Make sure you stop by and wish her a happy birthday. It's next week. And don't forget, she may be sporting some of her presents (and not much else) thanks to the damn Packers and a poorly timed (depending on your perspective) bet with Drizz.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Poor Form

Dr. Chako + (Macallan + Maker's and Diet Coke)^3 + "what the hell am I drinking now? + ATM machines = Bad Idea

After trying 2 different times to withdraw money from the ATM, my buddy Mike steps up and gets cash with no problem. We go to a different machine. I can get my balance, but no cash, despite 2 more attempts.

Hence the groggy call from The Wife this morning.

Honey, did you try to withdraw $2800 from the ATM? Wells Fargo Fraud Prevention just called...

My bad. Have you ever tried to explain to a phone rep that, no, I was just too drunk to figure out how to use the machine?

Let's hope this is the low point of an otherwise fantastic trip so far. Otis gets in today - it can only go up from here!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Vegas Update

Bullet points - deal with it.

  • Winning at Blackjack, craps and 1/2NL
  • Got my ass handed to me at 15/30 LHE at the Bellagio
  • Seriously, why do I even go there?
  • CK and F-Train are the bomb
  • My buddy Josh has more gamble in him than most bloggers I know
  • Seriously
  • Otis should be in today and my buddy Mike is coming in as well.
  • I got to bed at 6 am and I'm writing this post at 9:47am.
  • Vegas!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Beware of low flying bloggers!

President Obama Predictions

This is a blog about poker and my life, but on this momentous occasion, I feel a strange need to write a few things down. Poker stuff will resume shortly.

In no particular order, here are my thoughts:

  • President Obama may go down as the best orator since Reagan. In fact, he may be better. He's got a good speech writer, and he likes being on camera. Expect to see him a lot.
  • History will note that his was the first acceptance speech to mention gays. Not a prediction I guess, but a glimpse at direction and priorities.
  • Roe v Wade is safe
  • Socialism. This has been on my mind a lot lately. The most liberal president in history is taking office at a time where the government is taking over - actually BUYING - businesses and banks. However well intentioned he may be, socialism is insidious. It may not take complete control during his administration, but as government lackeys get more and more power to control business decisions, they will begin to do what they do best - seek more control. At some point, we may all look back and ask, "How did we let this happen?" The answer will be multifactorial, of course, but temporally it will all point back to this time in history.
Socialism refers to a broad set of economic theories of social organization advocating state or collective ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods, and the creation of an egalitarian society.

  • I predict my portfolio will surge in the coming months. Well, if not surge, it should at least go back to close to where it was a few months ago. I'm not certain we would have seen the same effect with a President McCain.
  • I predict that world opinion of America will improve in the Obama administration.
  • I also predict that as some countries are praising the new direction America is taking, they will be scrambling to find ways to take advantage of us. It doesn't always pay to be the nice guy.
  • I predict most of my friends will be home from Iraq by the end of Obama's first term, but we will also have a presence there throughout his administration, even if he's reelected in 4 years.
  • I predict Obama will be reelected in 4 years.
  • I predict that I will see a decrease in reimbursements in healthcare. Doctors will lose money while big business, laywers and insurance companies make out like bandits.
  • Say goodbye to tort reform. Liberals LOVE pain and suffering damages. It's like winning the lottery. Hell, I've met more than a few people who secretly hope that their doctor screws something up so they can be "set for life."
  • I predict it's a good time to be working for the government.
  • Finally, I predict that it's a good time to be a poker player. Well, let me clarify. I predict that the UIGEA will be repealed. I don't think it will happen in Obama's first administration unless there is serious lobbying. Look to the beginning of his second term for the act to be repealed or significantly reformed.
You may now return to your lives. Enjoy the swell of American pride. Despite the fact that I preferred McCain, I too am enjoying this moment in history. It's good to be an American.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sure is Easy...

...when you have help.

Thanks again SJ. Still, I sure do wish this came with massive prop-bet payouts. Anyone care to lay odds on how long it will take to turn this into $1000?

Running Good?

Poker has taken a (slight) turn for the better lately. While predictable, penny stakes Razz on FT is a consistent money maker. It's simple really. Raise when your highest card is an 8. Reraise if you have a 7 or better. Lead out when you are ahead (almost) every time. Fold if you catch two cards that are 9 or worse. A pair is the same as x-King.

And let the money roll in.

I played a little 3/5 spread limit last night while waiting for my 8/16 LHE seat. I won three quick pots, all with huge hands. KK, AJ and 55. All connected on the flop. The 6th hand of my night was the interesting one. I have Ad-10h in the cut-off. UTG - the table captain and a regular at 3/5 - limps UTG. There was a lot of limping at this table so it wasn't unusual. It gets to me and I pop it to $20. The button calls. Back to UTG, and he limp-raises to $45. Uh oh. I call and so does the button.

We see a flop of 9c-4c-3c. I've been much better about checking the suits of my cards pre-flop, so I know I don't have a club. I see the button check his cards. UTG doesn't flinch. Everybody checks the flop.

The turn is the 10 of spades. This is a potentially bad card for me. UTG fires $50 into the $150 pot. I hate that bet for two reasons. I get little information from it and I have to act without knowing what the button is going to do. We all have about $200 behind. I elect to call. What do you put UTG on? Would you have raised here?

Button folds (whew). The river is a horrible (and potentially expensive) card - the 10 of clubs. I now have trips, but there are 4 clubs on the board.

UTG hesistates and goes, "All-In!"

What do you do?