Monday, April 30, 2007

A Tale of Two Wins

30 APR 07

Saturday nights at the Muckleshoot are a raucous affair. Buckle your seatbelt and hang on. I start out at 4/8, double up, and get to 10/20 where the deck absolutely clobbers me in the head. This is a game with a half-kill, meaning after you win two in a row, you have an automatic post of $15 and the next hand is 15/25. If you win, you post again and this repeats until you lose.

I won 9 in a row.

After 30 minutes, I was up over $1100. The whole table was commenting about it. I tried to make light of it, but it’s clear they weren’t happy. Unfortunately, I didn’t adjust for the fact that I put the table on tilt and caused everyone to draw to everything.

I ended the night up only $200.

Fast forward to last night and I get stuck playing 3/5 NL. I lose a buy-in pretty quickly, but a succession of good reads and good hands has me up a little when the following hand comes up. I’ve got Q6 in the big blind in an unraised pot with 6 limpers. The flop has a six, two overs and two hearts. I check and it checks around to one player who bets $15 into this $35 pot. I make a loose call as do 5 others. The turn is a Queen, giving me top and bottom pair. I bet $55. This is a mistake and prices in all draws, including the small blind, who I am certain is playing two middle hearts. He has shown about 5 bluffs up to this point and proudly dumps is craps cards in the middle for all to see. He’s bluffed me out of two pots already.

The river is my dream card – the Queen of hearts. I have the full house. He has the flush.

Now, several players were “playing friendly” up to this point. Checking the nuts. Honestly advising another player to muck a losing hand and showing – that kind of stuff. Gee – thanks guys! Well, I looked at this guy, who checked to me, and I acted up a little bit. “Aw, man. Did that make your flush?”

I grab a bunch of random red chips and dump them over the line. He quickly calls and starts cursing me even before he gets the money out there. I can’t even repeat anything he said. I honestly thought we were going to have to call security.

Sorry guys,* but at the table, you are not my friend. Sure, we’ll laugh and joke, but I’m there to get your money.

Anyway, back to the point of this post. Both nights I walked away up $200. Which night would you rather have?

* I’m not really sorry.

Oh yeah- to the inevitable comment from my wife. I get it. I should have walked away the first night when I was way up.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


29 APR 07
Reminiscing is a part of my life now that I’m the big 4-0. You will indulge me a little reflection. This picture is my old house. After being born in Brooklyn, we moved to the little town of Wappingers Falls (near Poughkeepsie), NY. When I was about 8 years old, my dad and I planted the tree you see in the front yard.

26 Swenson Drive

There is nothing that shows you the passage of time like the growth of a tree. I mean, just look at that canopy! We did that. I was there when we took the little sapling and carefully placed it in the little hole we dug. I watered it and mowed around it and sat near it and dreamed of what it would look like some day. I even had my first kiss right near it (well, technically my 8 year old “girlfriend” and I stuck our tongues out at each other and they touched. We both agreed that it was disgusting, and we’d never do it again).

Similar to writing a book, this tree gives me a little immortality. I know it won’t last forever, but it will likely outlive me, and that is somehow comforting.

Thank you so much sis for taking that photo. I think I need to go plant a few trees with my kids.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Angle Shooting

28 APR 07

I shamelessly stole this joke from the internet.

Two couples were playing poker one evening. Mark accidentally dropped some cards on the floor. When he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed Bill's wife, Sue, wasn't wearing any underwear under her dress!

Shocked by this, Mark, upon trying to sit back up again, hit his head on the table and emerged red-faced. Later, Mark went to the kitchen to get some refreshments. Sue followed and asked, "Did you see anything that you liked under there?"

Surprised by her boldness, Mark courageously admitted that, well indeed he did.

She said, "You can have it, but it will cost you $500."

After taking a minute or two to assess the financial and moral costs of this offer, Mark confirms that he is interested. She tells him that her husband Bill works Friday afternoons and as Mark doesn't, he should be at her house around 2 p.m.

When Friday rolled around, Mark shows up at Bill's house at 2 p.m. sharp and after paying Sue the agreed sum of $500 they went to the bedroom and consumated their transaction. Paul then quickly dressed and left.

As usual, Bill came home from work at 6 p.m. Upon entering the house, he asked his wife abruptly, "Did Paul come by the house this afternoon?"

With a lump in her throat Sue answered, "Why yes, he did stop by for a few minutes this afternoon."

Her heart nearly skipped a beat when her husband curtly asked, "And did he give you $500?"

In terror she assumed that somehow he had found out and after mustering her best poker face, replied, "Well, yes, in fact he did give me $500."

Bill, with a satisfied look on his face, surprised his wife by saying, "Good, I was hoping he did. Paul came by the office this morning and borrowed $500 from me. He promised me he'd stop by our house this afternoon on his way home and pay me back."


Oh yeah – Happy birthday, sis!


One last thing – the Link of the Day

This dude is for real. This person actually exists and has done the impossible. Go watch and celebrate humanity.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Make Sure

27 APR 07

If it’s sunny where you are, make sure you take time to lay about in the grass this weekend.


27 APR 07

A man calls home to his wife and says, "Honey I have been asked to go fishing up in Canada with my boss and several of his friends. We'll be gone for a week. This is a good opportunity for me to get that promotion I've been wanting so could you please pack enough clothes for a week and set out my rod and tackle box? We're leaving from the office and I will swing by the house to pick my things up."

"Oh! And please pack my new blue silk pajamas."

The wife thinks this sounds a bit fishy, but, being the good wife, she does exactly what her husband asked.

The following weekend he came home a little tired, but otherwise looking good. The wife welcomes him home and asks if he caught many fish.

He says, "Yes! Lots of Walleye, some Bluegill, and a few Pike. But why didn't you pack my new blue silk pajamas like I asked you?”

The wife replies, "I did, they're in your tackle box."


And, my new favorite quote:

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx
US comedian with the Marx Brothers (1890 - 1977)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Identity Theft

26 APR 07

I get a call yesterday from my wife who casually asks if I withdrew $1200 from our personal accounts for poker.


Now, I have withdrawn funds from the casino ATM when I forgot to bring enough cash, and a couple times when I went broke, so the question was not unfair. Still, I haven’t done it in quite a while, and I certainly never withdrew that much.

So, a quick call to USAA confirms that there were 3 rapid ATM withdrawals yesterday totaling $1200. And get this – they were all from London, England. They asked me if I’ve been to London recently and when I said no, they asked about my ATM card. Sure enough, it’s still in my wallet.

Long story short - the card has been cancelled and all $1200 will be back in my account by tomorrow. I love USAA. If you or your parents were ever in the military, you are crazy not to insure and bank there.

On that note, one of my residents told me about Life Lock. Has anyone tried this company? The ad campaign is impressive. The president put his own social security number out there for all to see – challenging would be thieves to steal his personal information. So far, I think he’s safe.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

High Stakes

25 APR 07

In this case, I’m referring to high stakes testing. My 9 year old is taking the WASL this week. It’s supposedly a must-pass test for all 4th graders, although the Washington State legislature has once again succumbed to the pressures of the lowest common denominator. Some parents were able to convince the lawmakers that the test is too hard and unfair, so, rather than test and adjust scores appropriately, they have cut the legs out from under it and basically said it counts, but not really.

I’m annoyed at this culture of "everyone is an A student." Nonsense. My son is exceptionally bright, but I have no illusions that he’s a prodigy. Nor is he in danger of failing, so maybe that gives me a comfort zone. Perhaps I would be less critical if I thought he was in danger of failing, but I like to think I have courage in my convictions.

You will indulge me a moment of pride, though. When I asked him how it went on Day 1, he said, “That was a lot easier than I thought. I was done way early.”

He takes after Dad it seems. We all know that Mom is smarter, but no one was faster at test taking than Dr. Chako. In fact, they used to have the “Dr. Chako Factor” on the blackboard in my medical school. It was an informal pool about how long it would take for me to finish a test. I think money changed hands a few times. My best was a 100 question Pediatrics final that I finished in 9 minutes. Got 100%, too.


Quick gear change. I played in my racquetball league again last night. I’m less sore today than last week. Played 7 games; won 6. Not too shabby.


Final gear change. Thanks to all who chimed in on my rules question. I posted my response in the comments section of my last post, but I’ll bring it up here so you don’t have to search for it.

Thanks everyone. I totally agree with Karen's ruling - I had to put in $40 more. Since there was only one opinion, it's all the information she had. If I had suggested a different amount, she might have compromised. To be honest, my bet was so big anyway that I was pot committed. It actually helped me to put more into the pot, because I really didn't want to see a turn. It's a stupid rule that is not uniformly enforced, but I knew the rule and had even violated it in the past. You are always safe by announcing the EXACT amount of the raise. You can even say, "RAISE," put out the amount of the initial bet, and then go back for more.

Don’t put more in your hand than you intend to bet, or better yet, announce the exact raise amount before your hand crosses the line. There is the added benefit that anyone paying attention may be giving you credit for coming up with the raise number after careful consideration (as opposed to blind guessing – the usual case), and fold just because they can’t figure you out.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


21 APR 07

I had another legendary night at the ‘shoot. I bought in for $100 at 4/8, moved quickly to 3/5 No Limit and finished at 20/40. My $100? Turned it into over $1400.

I so totally rock.

Rather than tell you how awesome I am, I want to discuss a rules question. I won the hand, so the outcome isn’t important.

I’m playing 3/5 No Limit. On the button I call a minimum raise with KQ and 7 of us (!) see a flop of Q 8 4 rainbow. It checks to the cutoff, who bets $15. I announce raise, grab a stack of chips and place 60 more over the line. What I have left in my hand comes back to my small stack. I am not certain how much I have left in my hand.

Crazy Asian Dude in the 5 seat, who has a hand, says, “That extra money plays.” He’s referring to the extra chips in my hand. He is correct. The problem is, I don’t remember how much it was. He tells the dealer it was about $40. The dealer tells me to put $40 extra out there. I refuse, saying that it shouldn’t be up to CAD, especially when he is just guessing. I agreed to abide by whatever the floor walker said.

What did Karen (the floor) tell me to do? Ryan, I’d really like to hear from you on this one, but anyone feel free to chime in.

As an aside, after all the bickering, CAD folded. It put the whole table on tilt, and I profited handsomely over the next hour.

Friday, April 20, 2007


20 APR 07

Did you ever go on tilt for no good reason? I haven’t played poker in over a week, so that can’t be it. My deployment is still 5 months away – no change there. I even heard from the doc who is out there now. He tells me it’s about the safest place in Baghdad.

I’m still 40. Been that way over a week now. Hmmm…

No. I really don’t think that’s it. If I force myself to think about it, I built up turning 40 pretty badly. The worst was about one month before the actual birthday. The day itself was pretty good – fun actually. I felt at peace with the inevitable and decided to enjoy it. Maybe the source of this unusual feeling is the reality of being 40 actually setting in.

I sure got a reminder of my age this week. I started playing racquetball again. Since I’m not one to go half-way, I decided to play 8 consecutive games.

Okay, so I’m a bit of a moron. At least I won 5 of them.

I can barely walk this week. Surely I didn’t struggle this much when I was younger (or in shape).

I’m still working on this one. Maybe it's some combination of all of it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

I Wish to Register a Complaint!

17 APR 07

Now that I sit in the Big Chair as the Chief of Staff for my department, I am occasionally the subject of criticism. I know. You find this hard to believe. How can anyone complain about someone so awesome?

We have 19 residents and 13 staff radiologists. Anytime you get a group that big, there is bound to be at least one disgruntled member. Well my disgruntlee has chosen to focus his incompetence in my direction. Not only that, but he chose to write it down and file a formal complaint. And he delivered it in person on my birthday.

Happy Birthday!

I won’t go into all the details. Believe it or not, there was actually some merit to a couple of his points. I just want to highlight some of my favorites.

Unprofessional Behavior: Among residents, it is a common complaint that residents feel that whenever we are on a service with Dr. Chako, he does not provide any help in getting through the daily work. What is most concerning is that he sits behind us and talks about his hobbies like vacations and poker while we are trying to get through studies. His behavior becomes a distraction.

Unprofessional Teaching. Staff members have very few days of assigned teaching per year. Dr. Chako, however, chose to have his wife, a financial accountant, lecture the residents on starting up a retirement savings. That day was assigned to him to teach us radiology and not his wife. Many residents were upset for having wasted their time.


So, this morning, I gathered all the residents together and apologized for my unprofessional behavior. I told them I’d never bring my wife back to lecture again. I also scolded them for not having the courage to come to me directly if they were so “upset for having wasted their time.” They wouldn’t even let me finish my sentence. Every single resident that attended my wife’s lecture reiterated how wonderful and important the information was. They also thanked me profusely for being the ONLY attending physician to show up to every single morning report.

Unfortunately, the complainer wasn’t there. He’ll be back next week. I have a feeling there are several of his peers that might want to have a chat with him.

Oh yeah, on that business about, “he does not provide any help in getting through the daily work.” It turns out that I am the most productive radiologist in the department. By far.

And, if you don’t like my bad beat stories, well, tough noogies.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Disneyland 2007!

16 APR 07

I could come up with awesome prose to describe my recent trip to the Happiest Place on Earth, or I could just show you this:
Electric Light Parade

Two handsome boys who can't sit still while waiting to shoot the Evil Emporer Zerg.

I totally have the hots for Elastegirl.

Playtime over! I can nap anywhere (just like my dad).

And, after a quick powernap, it's time for bathtub gymnastics!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Side Tracked

14 APR 07
I still plan on writing about my Disney trip, but I have a few things on my mind. Poker is intimately involved, but it’s a bit more personal. Bare with me.

As I walked around the Muckleshoot casino last night waiting for a table, I stopped and talked with many of the regulars, both players and dealers. This is my Cheers – a place where everyone knows your name. I feel like I belong there, and most players welcome me at their table. I’m sure they like me because I bring action and I suck, but I also think they enjoy talking with me. What can I say? I’m a likeable guy.

We just had one of the first really nice days here in the greater Seattle area. This comes after another brutal rainy season. As I sat in with one of the regulars a couple nights ago – a young attractive Asian girl who wears too much eyeliner - she peripherally noted that it was nice outside, but she had been at the table all day. This got me to thinking.

I think people enjoy talking to me because I have a life outside of poker. They want to talk about my military service, my life as a physician, interesting patients I’ve had, and their own medical problems. I’m more than happy to comply. If they can get a tell from me while I’m telling stories, good for them. My dad is a storyteller, and so am I. Can’t change who we are.

I guess this somehow relates to Disney after all. Bringing my family there is further proof of a life outside of poker. Even though one night I put everyone to bed and snuck out to Commerce, I was able to enjoy my primary purpose – spending quality time with my family before my deployment.

I’ve got a pretty good balance between poker and family, but I’m thinking I may need to change it a little. Maybe I need to get to where I have a good balance between family and poker.

Shouldn’t family come first?

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Just returned from Disneyland. I'll have to tell you about:

- California Adventure vs. Disney
- The best part of the vacation
- Playing at Commerce
- My Birthday presents
- The true meaning of passive/aggressive

Stay tuned. For now, I've got to get some sleep.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Tower of Terror

9 APR 07

I am enjoying a wonderful trip to Disneyland with the family, but I just had to share a quick conversation from the Tower of Terror.

A cute young Asian girl is working at the entrance and the line is paused, so she decides to make small talk. I am wearing a shirt that says, “US Army 10-miler, Washington, D.C, 1997.”

Cute Asian Girl (while looking at my shirt): Army 10 miler (pronounced miller). What’s that?

Dr. Chako: It’s a race.

CAG: Really? How far?

Dr. Chako (with remarkable restraint): Uh, 10 miles.

CAG: Wow! Is that on foot?

The TOT was awesome as usual. I may be 40, but sitting in that elevator with my son while shooting up and down, I’m still just a kid.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

On Birthdays

5 APR 07

And other nonsense…

You’ve been listening to me lament about my upcoming 40th birthday for some time now. Thanks for putting up with me. Now that the day has arrived, I have a sense of peace. Well, at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

To celebrate early, we had a wonderful dinner at Tokyo Garden, the local Teppan Yaki steakhouse. They even banged the drum and made me get up and dance to celebrate my birthday. The kids loved it. I went off my diet for the first time in a month, but it was worth it. On that note, I didn’t reach my weightloss goal of 160 pounds, but I did lose 12 and people are even beginning to notice. There is a picture of me and my family on the wall of the restaurant, and even I could tell that my face is thinner.

My 41st year will certainly not be dull. Hell, even my car decided to get into the action and turn over 60,000 miles this morning. Other upcoming events this year:

I begin my 6 month deployment to Iraq.
I get promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.
I get to go to Disneyland (day after tomorrow, in fact)
I get to see the Bat Mitzvah of my cousin’s kid.
We are flying in my Mother-in-Law so my wife and I can have a last fling in Hawaii before I head off to the desert.
I’ll finally get to purchase a Ferrari.

It’s going to be a good year.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

My Family is So Helpful

4 APR 07

I just got this from my sister:

If you think about it…

Tomorrow is actually the start of your 41st year. So you can pretty much say you’ve already completed the first 40 years! I mean really…what’s 1 day when you’re talking about 365? Instead of being 40 tomorrow, you can say you’re OVER 40! Doesn’t that make you feel better??

Always glad to help,


Gee, thanks.

On another note, I’m headed to Disneyland on Saturday! Did you know Commerce is near there?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Balance

3 APR 07

The big day is only two days away. I’m a bit numb to it now. At least I’ll be distracted. We had another doctor call in sick this week, so I’ll be covering three services. Happy friggin’ birthday to me.

The title of this post refers my new balanced look on life, but also to my purchase yesterday of brand-spankin-new sneaks. They even have a cool pivot point on the bottom lateral surface. That’s a good thing, because I’m playing racquetball again!

I’ve always been psycho about my hobbies. As I noted in my 101 Things About Me post, racquetball is one of my many loves that fell by the wayside in pursuit of other things. It was replaced by golf, which was then usurped by poker.

Well, I broke down and joined LA Fitness. They just opened a new one by my house and they have 4 state of the art courts and even a racquetball league! I was in there yesterday morning at 5 :30 am and the place was already hopping.

Anyone up for a game?