Feeling Rusty

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Brian and I played poker at Nilla’s for the first time in a long while. I was feeling pretty rusty. Brian had a good showing, though. He got to the final three tables and did better than all of us. He was feeling sick that day, which is a good thing because he seems to do well whenever he’s not feeling well.

Although, he started feeling better halfway through. Not good. The only time I don’t want Brian to feel better is when he’s playing poker. LOL.

We have another poker tournament this Saturday. I’m trying to figure out what to feed Brian to make him feel sick. Maybe I need to start exposing myself to germs at work. Hmmm…

Cards for the Cure 2013

Cards for the Cure!

Brian and I played in the Susan G. Komen Cards for the Cure poker fundraiser yesterday. Brian registered for the event on the 14th. I wasn’t going to play at first because of my Saturday morning Zumba class. Pat Thompson of Wheels Studio agreed to sub for me (Thanks, Pat!) so I was able to play. I was torn at first because I didn’t want to abandon my class on the second week of the session but then all of my friends were playing and I didn’t want to be the only one left out and I really, really, really wanted to play. I kept going back and forth. I finally just registered on the 22nd, two days before the pre-registration cut off, so I wouldn’t be able to change my mind.

We took our time on Saturday morning. Brian’s usual routine is to watch Saturday morning cartoons in bed. Yesterday was no different. He wanted to finish Ben 10 before we could leave so we didn’t get out of the house until about nine o’clock. After stopping by Scooter’s to get coffee and the bank for cash, we were off the Hyatt. We figured we were pre-registered so we’d be able to just walk in with our receipts. Not so much. I think that’s what everyone who pre-registered thought because when arrived at the hotel around 9:30 AM, the line was crazy long.

The tournament started late because of the long lines at registration. I think it was almost eleven o’clock before we could get started. I remember thinking that I could have checked in to get my table number at eight, taught my Zumba class at ten, and then come back to play in the tournament. I think that’s what I’m going to do next year since they probably won’t start on time anyways.

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Our team didn’t do so well in the tournament. A few members were out before the first break. I only lasted until about three o’clock in the afternoon, which was a bummer. I really wanted to have a good finish and help the team win some gift cards. Oh, well. At least I made it past lunch. And, I outlasted several other people.

Brian and Cory were still in but, as several of us were already out, Jay, Becca, April, Vic, and I all decided we would go to the Kansas Star instead. Vic and Jay played in the poker room. April, Becca, and I decided to try $5 slots and Let It Ride. I did pretty well at Let It Ride. I was up $190 when I got up, so I almost made up for our $200 Cards for the Cure entry fee. I lost $20 in the slot machines, though. We had some other expenses that day (like food and booze) so we’re still down overall. But, hey, at least $200 of it is tax-deductible. LOL.

Brian had a little disaster with the truck so he and Cory never made it to the casino. We all ended up back at the Hyatt instead. We walked by the ballroom around nine o’clock in the evening and the tourney was still going strong with three full tables. We decided to hang out at the pool. I think the highlight of the evening was meeting this guy Jordan. He and his girlfriend were hanging out at the only working hot tub. When he saw how disappointed we were that the other hot tub wasn’t working, he invited us to join them. He even gave Jay one of his beers. They didn’t stay very long. Maybe we were being obnoxious. Who knows? But he came back down a few minutes later and gave us a bottle of his homemade wine. So maybe they really just had to go.

Anyway, Jay and the others eagerly tried it. I was having none of that. You know how, as a child, you’re not supposed to take candy from strangers? Well, as a grown adult, you really shouldn’t drink homemade wine from random people you meet at the hotel pool. Jordan seemed nice enough, but then so did Alan in The Hangover.

When Brian and I left to go home, the tournament was still going. Jonathan (one of the friends we made when we used to play poker at Fingers back in the day) and several of the Mucking Misfits were still there cheering on one of their teammates, Michael Abay. When I woke up this morning, I found out that Mike won the tournament. His #1 finish pretty much sealed their team victory so, aside from winning the coveted trophy and $10K for himself, he also helped secure $200 gift cards for every member of their team. Way to go, Mike!

The funny thing is we had one more spot left on our second team and I was trying to recruit Jonathan the day before. He told me that he was already on a team. Clearly, he made the right choice. LOL.

Even though our team lost and I didn’t finish as well as I hoped, I still had a lot of fun. I had a great time playing cards and hanging out with our friends who we really don’t get to see that often any more. It was also great to see all the familiar faces of the local poker scene. The event really brought out some of the best players in the area. It also made me realize that I’m really, really rusty.

Over the last couple of years Brian and I have spent most of our free time working out at the gym. We’re making a slight change this year and are bringing poker back in the mix. We’re thinking of playing at Nilla’s (it’s quite convenient now that we live just down the street from it) once or twice a month to stay sharp. Obviously, not playing poker for years and then playing in tournament against almost a thousand players is not the best strategy. I’ll be more prepared next year. Until then, as they say on the WPT, may all your cards be live and your pots be monsters!

Cards for the Cure

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Brian and I decided to participate in Cards for the Cure this year since our friend Jay (The Travel Junkie) is putting a couple of teams together. Brian normally hates it when I donate to random charities, but this is one that he doesn’t mind because he gets to play poker out of it. And, hopefully win some prizes at the same time.

The downside is that we haven’t played poker regularly in a few years so we are quite rusty. I invited everyone to play poker at Nilla’s (they’re located next to Club Rodeo) last Friday to knock off some cobwebs. It’s the only free Friday I had left since my Zumba classes are about to start again. I’m crossing my fingers that I won’t have to teach on Thursday or Friday nights this session, though. I really miss our salsa nights.

But I digress… Darcy, Cory, and April joined us. We all met up for dinner at Taste & See first. Cory and April had never been there before. It was the perfect night to go too, because Chef Jason will be gone for a week. He is leaving for LA today to film his episode of Bar Rescue. We took the opportunity to congratulate Chef Jason and wish him a safe trip.

Sorry, kids. No pictures of food this time because Darcy and I arrived later than everyone and Brian vetoed the picture-taking because, “We already have dozens of pictures of Taste & See food.” I didn’t argue because I was starving after working out with Darcy (my first genuine workout post-surgery) and he’s right. We didn’t order anything that night that we hadn’t already tried before.

After dinner the five of us went to try and conquer the poker tournament at Nilla’s, but only two were successful. Darcy was knocked out first, right before the break. I wasn’t getting any cards at all, but the add-on during the first break helped me last a while longer. Brian was the second one out. I followed shortly after that when my pocket jacks ran into pocket kings and the kings held up. Ironically, I had tripled up on pocket jacks vs. pocket kings vs. AQ earlier that night. I had the pocket kings that time, so I had the best hand going it at least. I just had to dodge an ace, which I did. So that helped a little, but it was about the only hand I had all night.

There were still three tables going when I got knocked out. Since Darcy, Brian, and I were all out of the tournament, we told Cory and April that we would just wait for them at our place where the drinks are free. LOL. Since we moved to this part of town, we live conveniently close to Nilla’s now.

Cory and April both did very well on Friday night. They both made the final table and, when they got down to five players, they chopped the pot five ways. They both made money. Great job, guys!

I doubt I’ll have time to play any more poker between now and the big tournament. I’ll just have to trust my instincts. I made a couple of mistakes the other night, which I recognized, but I thought I played well overall. I’m sure I’ll do well, rusty or not. And, if I don’t, it’s all good. My entry fee is going to a worthy cause that I would have donated money to anyway. See you all at the Hyatt in about three weeks!

Good Friday

Good Friday was made even better by the fact that the Flying Stove parked its truck in Old Town just down the street from my work. We hadn’t had a chance to try the new menu yet, but enjoyed the last menu so much that we were dying for another taste.

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I hadn’t paid much attention to the guy who takes the orders, but at the dining panel they other day the ladies were talking about how cute the order taker is. I told them I wouldn’t know, as we’ve only gone a couple of times and Brian ordered for us on both occasions. Natasha was like, “You need to order!”

Taking her advice, I paid closer attention to the guy in the window. Brian still did the ordering, as he always does, but I did check the guy out. I mean, a couple of dining experts can’t be wrong. Right? They know what’s yummy, food or otherwise.

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I snapped a photo, which doesn’t do him justice, while Jan placed her food order. I think he looks much better than this in person. Good job, ladies!

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Because I’m a little piglet who loves, loves, loves to eat, I had a fish taco in addition to eating half of Brian’s pork torta and most of the truffle fries. I couldn’t help it. The truffle fries were amazing!

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The fish taco was good. It’s hard to see that there is fish in there, but there’s a small piece of tilapia filet under that pile of veggies. The pork torta was good too, but Brian and I both agreed that it’s nowhere near the calibre of the bahn mi sandwich they serve. They need to bring that other menu back because I liked everything on it. That Korean bulgogi was killer and the flavors of the bahn mi just erupts in your mouth. Their last menu was so delicious that it made me delirious from inside out, starting with my stomach. This new menu is just okay. Although, I have a feeling I might just change my mind if I order the steak plate next time. According to Nick, it’s really, really good.

Oh, we ran into Coley at the Flying Stove yesterday. I wasn’t going to mention it though, because he’s really private and doesn’t like to be tagged or mentioned. It’s just a small mention so I’m sure he won’t mind.

I did a solo Zumba workout (it was more like a practice session, actually) after work. I think I was mostly trying to make up for eating out (and pigging out) at lunch. I just couldn’t resist the Flying Stove, though.

I showered before going to poker, but didn’t bother to fix my hair or put on any makeup (which actually influenced my decision of not going to Suede later that night). Besides, it was 11 PM by the time we got done with poker and we normally leave the club before midnight because by then it’s too crowded for us. It wasn’t going to be worthwhile to drive there and only stay for a half hour. Although, had I known that it was Justin’s birthday outing, I probably would have gone anyway, despite having messy hair and no makeup.

Poker was fun. I didn’t win, but I outlasted everyone except for Cory, who actually made money last night. He won $200, after the four remaining players agreed to chop the prize. The big stack got $280 and everyone else got $200. It was a win-win solution as I don’t think any of them were interested in playing for another hour (or longer, if people are playing tight).

I was actually impressed that I lasted as long as I did considering that I had the smallest stack of all the people in our group every time we convened and checked one another’s status at break. I knew I was rusty too but poker is much like riding a bike, I guess. You never really forget. Though it might take a while to get your groove going. I don’t think I made any huge mistakes or bad plays. I just didn’t get any cards. My table was quite interesting, too. We had some really boisterous, animated people. That added an element of difficulty, but I’m sure the rest of the guys faced similar challenges at their respective tables.

After poker, we celebrated Cory’s victory at Buffalo Wild Wings. We were eating at midnight, which was not good, but we haven’t really hung out much with the Dills and Phelpi the last few months so it was well worth it. Last night reminded me so much of old times, except Brian is now much better looking than he was then. LOL.

Looking back at the fun-filled evening we had, I think that I probably ought to change the title. Good Friday was a great Friday! Thanks for the fun evening, April, Cory, Jay, and Becca!

Poker Benefit

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I had the opportunity to play in a poker charity event for Saint Peter’s last weekend. It had been a while since Brian and I played poker so we were both rusty. Brian got knocked out right before the break, but I managed to make the final table. It took a lot of patience to get there, though. I had to fight the frustration. As rusty as I was, at least I still knew how to play poker and I knew how to deal cards.

One of the challenges I faced were that the people at my initial table didn’t know how to deal Texas hold ‘em. There was a guy that could barely shuffle properly and the cards would always be so messy when he dealt. Another guy held the cards so high when he dealt that you could sometimes get a glimpse of the cards being dealt. Another guy needed to be reminded to burn a card before the flop, turn and river. We were playing so slow that we didn’t even get all the way around the table before the blinds went up. I usually prefer being able to play several hands before the blinds go. We barely got around the table in 15 minutes. People moved so slow, it was almost unbearable. I would try to make up for all the time we’d lost each time it was my turn to deal, but I was still at everyone else’s mercy as they thought about their hand and their next move.

There was this one instance where I was dealing and this one girl was all in. It was just her and me left in the hand so I went ahead and dealt the flop, turn and river really quickly. It was pretty much, “boom boom boom, thank you, goodbye” because my pocket eights held up. I just wanted to move on to the next hand. The clock was ticking after all. This one guy was picking on me, I suppose for being so callous. He was like, “This isn’t a band aid. It was her last hand. At least let her enjoy it.” I was really thinking, I’m here to play poker not to make you all feel better about playing poorly. I didn’t say anything, though. I just smiled and shrugged. The older gentleman next to me said, “I can’t even think that fast.” My initial thought was, thank you Captain Obvious, as this fact was painfully apparent the entire time that we’d been playing together. This was probably one of the most trying poker tournaments I’d ever played. Not because the players were really good, but exactly the opposite. Besides testing one’s patience (because it often felt like we were moving in slow motion), the players were so terrible that they were completely unpredictable, often calling with hands that they had no business playing, betting with bottom pair, betting with absolutely nothing when someone’s already all in, etc. I managed to hide my irritation and keep my inner Helmuth in check, though.

As tables got consolidated and fewer people remained, it got better. There were still people who tried my patience, though. Despite this, I didn’t let my frustration show. I focused on my game and felt that I played really well. I think I only made one mistake the entire tournament. It was very early in the game and I learned from it. I did get lucky a couple of times, but I was always ahead going in. One of my proudest moments was when I played Brian’s favorite hand, pocket deuces, like they were aces. I really didn’t want anyone to call. I just wanted to pick up the existing pot. However, as expected, someone called with ace rag. Go figure. Thankfully, my puny pocket pair held up. That worked out great actually, because it doubled me up.

I folded a lot of hands and carefully chose my spots. More often than not, if I was in the hand, I would win it. Since I played very few hands, I didn’t really have a big stack going into to the final table. This put me at a disadvantage. When there were only eight people remaining, I found myself holding pocket aces. The guy next to me quickly called. Everyone else folded. It was AA vs. AJ off. Of course, AJ guy made his straight on the river. LOL. I got a $50 check as my consolation prize, though. I basically just got my entry fee back.

I had fun overall, despite all the challenges. But I have fun anywhere I go. LOL. Brian and I agreed, however, that we will stick to Nilla’s for poker in the future. At least there they have knowledgeable dealers that keep the game moving at a reasonably fast pace, just the way I like it.

First Time at Nilla’s

So we checked out Nilla’s after Press last week, but we didn’t really play because it’s mostly cash games late in the evening. We did come back last night and play. After a couple of years of not playing poker, I was very, very rusty. I played terrible. I was actually the first one out of the tournament from our group. Bobby was out shortly after me. The sad thing is that he outlasted me even though I had at least twice as much chips as he did. He was severely short stacked. Brian was out shortly after Bobby. Darcy was in the tournament a while, but then eventually got bored and gave her chips away. LOL. Jonathan took 7th, which paid out $30, so he got his money back and then some. April outlasted everyone and made $300.

Brian and I didn’t make any money and got accused of being unfair to the world by choosing not to have our beautiful babies but, all in all, it was a good night.

Here are some pictures…

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Darcy and Bobby

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Brian and Iaonnis

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Brian and Ching

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Ching and Iaonnis

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Poker at Nikki’s (Again)

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We had talked about checking out The Flop tonight, but somehow we ended up at Nikki’s Poker Room again. Maybe I can talk the others in our poker posse into trying a new place next time. Nikki’s is okay, but I really want to check out the other poker establishments in town. There are so many of them.

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Cory got knocked out first among our group. Brian was out next and I followed shortly after. April actually knocked me out. Boooo!

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April, Becca and Jay did pretty well. Becca and Jay did the best out of all of us. They both made the final table and Jay actually cashed.

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So far, only Cory and Jay have cashed at Nikki’s. The rest of us have yet to place in the money. I’ve made the final table a couple of times, but somehow always fall short. Maybe next time I can take it down.

Poker Wednesday

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We found ourselves at Larry Bud’s again on Wednesday. Uh oh, this is quickly becoming a regularly weekly thing.

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The three of us didn’t make it to the final table. Some of us (and I will refrain from naming names) didn’t even make it to break. LOL. Becca did great, though.

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She totally obliterated my third place performance the previous week by taking second this last week. Way to go, Becca!

Poker at Nikki’s

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The gang got together last weekend for poker. Jay, Becca, Brian and I played the 7 PM tournament and then April and Cory came out for the 10 PM tournament so Brian and I ended up staying for that as well. Cory did really went and split the prize money for first and second. Way to go, Cory!

Poker Night at Larry Bud’s

Brian and I checked out poker at Larry Bud’s for the first time last week. It’s just down the street from us, but we’d never been. I couldn’t believe it. It was actually a lot of fun, specially since I took third place.

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Running into Todd (who runs the poker tournament there) was a bonus. We hadn’t seen him in years! I think the last time we ran into him was at Loft 150, three or four years ago. Brought back memories of our old poker days at Fingers.

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It’s been so long since I’d played bar poker. It felt a little weird. Weirdness aside, it was pretty fun. I think I could get back into bar poker. Maybe.

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