Monday, March 30, 2009


The Chako clan are fans of the movie Twilight. As many of you know, much of the movie was based in/film at Forks, WA. As the crow flies, it's not that far from where I live south of Seattle. As the car drives; however, it's about 500 miles round trip.

So, that's just what we did. Saturday morning, we packed the family (including one Au Pair and one mother-in-law) into the van and headed for the extreme Pacific Northwest.

Forks, WA is about what you'd expect. Not much there other than a few spectacular rainbows. We went searching for the high school, but didn't find it. Just west of Forks is La Push, which was featured in the movie. It's even better than you'd imagine. It felt other-worldly. The only place I've felt that way was when we were on the volcano in Hawaii.

The next day we hit Cape Flattery, which is the furthest northwest you can get in the continental US. We loved the view across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Canadian mountains.

Other than a little boredom after such a long drive, I think everyone had a blast.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dilbert Blog

I read Scott Adams' blog every day. You should, too. He's always entertaining and thought provoking, often weaving humor throughout his posts. Today he asked an interesting question:

If you have a white collar job, leave a comment telling me two things:
(1) What is the next WORK item you expect to do.
(2) Tell me why it's probably going to be a waste of time.

I've never commented on his blog before, but today I registered and left a cheeky note. He has a unique feature which lets people vote comments up or down. For whatever reason, my comment is the highest rated on his post from today. I don't know why this pleases me, but it does.

So, what's your answer to his question?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mookie? Me? Seriously?

That's right folks - I played my first Mookie. Didn't do 1/2 bad finishing 25th. I played super tight and lasted through the 2nd break. Alas, I ran into Aces, which is an honorable way to go.

I wouldn't have played at all if it weren't for the urging of my brudder. Thanks for the push. . . and the PUSH. I'll take a last-longer with you anytime. As promised, drinks are on me next time we get together.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Have a Toke and a Smile

I played another session of 8/16 today. This time I didn't give back the profit and nearly quadrupled up.

The only negative to the session was one dealer who was really just going through the motions. Whenever I win a pot, I always toss the dealer a toke - usually just one chip, but on big pots I'll go two. On rare occasions, I've tossed a red bird, but usually only if the pot is over $500. I know - I'm cheap. But, if you're gonna beat the rake, every little bit helps.

Well, of all the tips I give in my daily life (and I consider myself a reasonable tipper), I usually expect something in return. Dealers really don't do anything to help me win a specific pot, but I know they do more than just sling cards. They keep the action moving and referee when necessary. I appreciate it, and it's how I justify the toke.

Well, when I flipped this dealer a chip, she didn't even blink. She just put it in her tip box and shuffled the deck for the next deal. Not so much as a smile or a nod. Not even the old "bang the chip loudly on the box" trick. Nothing. It pissed me off.

The next pot I won, I put a single chip on my winning hand and slid it toward the dealer. As she reached for it, I casually took the chip off the cards and put it back in my stack. No toke for you! Well, it seemed like she didn't even notice. I was hoping for a reaction. Something. Anything.

Nope. Nada.

So, the next pot I won (did I mention it was a good session) was a really big one. I'd feel like an ass if I didn't tip something. So this time, I said to her, "If I tip you, will you at least give me a smile?"

Well, that was all she needed to come out of her shell. She smiled at me and was all smiles for the rest of her down. Her tips (not just from me) reflected it, I think.

If there are any dealers out there that read this, keep this in mind. Please don't take my tokes for granted. It will be better for you in the long run.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

"My Name is Sue!"

I'm an unabashed Johnny Cash fan. So was Dad. Now my son is, too. Here's the song I've been playing for him every night at bedtime. Johnny and Dad did it better, but just by a little.

PS. Go give some love to Waffles.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Poker Content!

After all, this is a blog called Poker Doctor.

I was on call at the hospital this weekend. I left to attend a dinner party with The Wife, but then had to go back in to work. I was there until 2 am Saturday night/Sunday morning. We got our butts kicked. I have a sneaky suspicion a lot of the extra work was due to overzealous St. Patty's Day revelers.

So, today I was off and free to do my own thing. I've got a ton of paperwork to file for my side business, but I chose to play poker instead. Not much to report. I won a ridiculous pot with AK on a King-high flop. It was capped pre-flop 6 ways. The flop was capped 5 ways and the turn and river were both two-bet by three people. I just check-called. Imagine my surprise when it came my way! I was up against KJ, pocket queens and a busted flush draw that caught a pair of tens but paid off on the river anyway. $544. That's just crazy with TPTK. But that's 8/16 at Diamond Lil's.

More interesting to me was that there were 3 tables (!) of 20/40 going. I desperately want to get back into that game, but I have to earn my way there. I still have too many leaks, as evidenced by the fact that even though I won a $500+ pot, I just broke even for the session. I've had some big scores at that table, but right now I'm focusing on bankroll management, and I'm not ready.

Well, enough about me. Right now, The Wife is in need of your support. Don't ask silly questions. Just go say "hi," and let her know you care.

Edit: Every now and then, I find myself longing for a simpler time. It doesn't get any simpler than singing your ABC's. You can thank me later.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Help Requested

While waiting for The Wife to come home from work, I was clicking around the internet. I'm a big fan of Craigslist. After getting bored surfing for Ferrari's, I clicked on "Therapeutic Services." An interesting ad came up titled, "Come Experience The Most Exhilarating Massage!!!" I opened the ad, but I got a text from a buddy and didn't close it.

That's when she walked in.

What do I do now?

Sad Anniversaries

Miss you, Dad.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Lost & Found

For those that care to notice, I briefly put a message on my Google Chat profile that said, "l o s t . . ."

I'm not sure why I put it there. Maybe it was a cry for help. There really is no help anyone can offer because I don't have a specific problem. In fact, you could argue that I am nearly problem-less. I am the antithesis of problematic. Life couldn't get any better. People envy my life. I've got the perfect job. The perfect kids. The perfect nanny. And I've got The Wife. Seriously, could you ask for anything more?

Well, since you asked - yes you could.

My whole life has been structured. High school. College. Well, okay. That one didn't start out all that structured, which is why I dropped out and joined the Army. Back to structure. Back to college. Med school. Army. Internship. Residency. Germany. Washington. Lieutenant Colonel.

And now I'm out of the Army, I am adrift on a sea of structureless perfection. I get up. I go to work. I come home. Wash, rinse and repeat. This is such a foreign concept to me that I don't know what to do. Well, technically that's not true. In the absence of structure, I go looking for it. Lately, I have been contacting recruiters to see if perhaps I should go into the Reserves. Or maybe back on Active Duty. Today I had a lengthy discussion with a Navy recruiter. How does Commander Chako sound? A helluva lot better than Commander Riker if you ask me.

You see, I need structure in my life. Something to look forward to. Some guiding hand that leads me around. I'm restless. Why can't it be like it was when someone else decided my fate?

As it turns out, the hands of fate may have a little twist in store for the Chako household. Perhaps it's no coincidence that the one year anniversary of my father's death is this week. Perhaps it's no coincidence that as I hovered my mouse over my "l o s t . . ." message, it drifted over my sister's icon, which happens to be showing a picture of my dad.

Whatever the reason for the uncertainty, I find myself extremely excited at the unknown. I'm fond of the saying, "It all works out in the end." I really believe it. It's time to test the theory.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Tilting Lee Jones

Well, despite good intentions, I just don't have the motivation to write up the rest of the Mastodon weekend. It was awesome on a whole other level. That's all you need to know.

That said, I promised a post about Tilting Lee Jones, and here it is. Let me spoil the surprise right here in the beginning - you can't tilt Lee. But, you can make him raise an eyebrow. Unfortunately, "Lee Jones Raises an Eyebrow" isn't a catchy title for a blog post.

First of all, let me say how cool it was to sit in a home game and have one of your poker heroes volunteer to be the dealer. Seriously - he dealt PLO, PLO8 and NL Hold 'em until 4 am. He was right there with correct bet amounts whenever a random drunk (i.e. ME) yelled, "POT!" He was courteous, kind and conversational. In short, he's the kind of guy I would want in MY home game. Oh yeah, he's also the guy that wrote the first poker book I ever read, "Winning Low-Limit Hold'em." I told him a story about the book (which I don't think he believed, but it's absolutely true), that I played in a tournament with a young kid and beat him soundly. Afterwards he came up to me asking for advice. It was obvious to me that he didn't know the basics. He asked me what to read and Lee's book was the only one I recommended. Well, that kid came back two weeks later and busted me out early from the same tournament.

When I told this to Lee he seemed confused. You see, his book has nothing to do with tournament play. Why would it be helpful in this situation? Well, it does such a great job at covering the basics that it really applies to all situations. If you are even remotely interested in poker, pick it up.

Now the hand. I have position and we are playing PLO. Lee pots it in early position and I call with A-2-6-Q rainbow (or something really close). The flop is 3-4-x with two diamonds. I have basically nothing at this point. We are heads up and Lee pots it again. I call. My call here was for one reason only. Namely, I'm about to make a play on Lee F-n* Jones. Well, the miracle card comes on the turn - it's the 5 which completes my straight to the six. Lee pots it again, and I do something very strange. I raise him $100. Why didn't I just pot it, you ask? Because I was drunk and excited and I made a mistake. Sue me.

Lee goes into the tank. After probably a full minute, he announces to the table, "I never do this, but if I fold and show you my hand, will you show me yours?"

I'm reminded of a story about a young amateur playing golf with Jack Nicklaus. Jack is minding his own business when the amateur hits a great iron shot. Jack comes over and casually asks, "What club did you hit there?" That one moment will be frozen in time forever. The Master shows interest in the neophyte! I felt the same way.

When I turned over my hand, Lee exclaimed, "A gutshot? You were chasing a gut shot?!"

I replied, "Look at my hand. I had nothing. I called the flop simply to make a play on you. If a diamond comes on the turn and you bet out, I was going to re-pot. As it turned out, I got lucky." **

Well, I don't think Lee believed me. Further evidence of this was that after the game, he gave me an invite to his next home game. It was probably the same way Doyle Brunson would butter up would be "producers" back in the day. Still, I'd take him up on that offer any day. He's true class.

* Not actually his middle name.
** Based on what he was holding, it would have worked. He would have made a flush, but only to the 9.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Mastodon Trip Report

After some hard thinking (read: I finally sobered up), I realize that most of what happened this weekend doesn't translate well to a blog. You had to be there. So, once again, let me coin a phrase from Inigo Montoya, "There is too much. Let me sum up."

As I sat at the bar with Iggy, reveling in the insanity of this group, I was once again awed by his insight. We separately had come to the realization that this group, well, it just works. We each have something to offer and, damnit, it's worth driving or flying from Canada, Chicago, Seattle, or wherever.

Man hugs with BamBam and not-so-man hugs with Pebbles made the trip worthwhile. 'Nuf said.

It was an interesting contrast of brothers. In one corner we had Otis and Dr. Jeff. When my boys grow up, I want them to have this relationship. They look out for each other. In corner #2 we have BG and the (absent) BB. Meeting the other brother was very cool. Technically we had met before, but I just realized they were related. I'm not sure which one was trying to hide the relationship from the public, if in fact they were. Regardless, it all makes sense now.

In the 3rd corner we have Steve and Tripjax. Trip - it was cool meeting you. I hope you survived the elements. 'Nuf said.

Next up - conversations with Otis, BadBlood and Falstaff, and of course, Tilting Lee Jones.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A Blog-Worthy Weekend

So many thing to blog about, but I'm meeting Falstaff for breakfast (at noon - which is in about 10 minutes). Here are some things coming in the next few days:
  • Traveling 3000+ miles and not being the one with the most arduous journey
  • Seeing and conversing with these degenerates
  • Highlights of conversations Al, Iggy, Pebbles & BamBam, Dr. Jeff, Otis, Falstaff and so many more
  • Playing the biggest home game ever
  • Tilting Lee Jones - this will be a post all by itself
  • Seeing Greenville, SC - who knew this was actually a cool place to live?
Now, I must have food.