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Monday, August 25, 2014

Great News From Seattle!

This is not a post about how great my poker results have been out here....although I have booked two winning cash sessions, albeit modest in gain....+570 and +310 both coming at the Snoqualmie Casino which is only 2 miles from my mother's house.

Nope, this a report about my mother, and how her initial breast cancer treatment went. The news is great! I arrived on Wednesday night...after yet another horrendous airline experience. This time on United. I'm not even going to waste my breath or keystrokes on this latest episode. Just know that my disdain for commercial travel has only worsened.

Her surgery for double mastectomy occurred on Friday. Her doctors were so wonderful. She felt very relaxed and confident going in...and the procedure went flawlessly. We haven't gotten back the oncology report and wont until later in the week...but all signs look very positive, most notably, it appears that the cancer hasn't spread to any of her lymph nodes...which is the best news possible! She left the day after her surgery...and later that same night, insisted on making us all dinner. We had grilled steaks, baked King Salmon, and seared sea scallops, with roasted new red potatoes. What a meal!!!!

We've had lots of visitors this weekend...and have pretty much just sat around watching the Seahawks crush Chicago, the Mariners sweep the Red Sox in Boston for the first time in club history...and movies. On Tuesday...I think my sister and I are taking my mom to the Mariners game. We hinged between Tuesday's game and Wednesday's game. We chose Tuesday because King Felix pitches on Wednesday, and since he almost NEVER gets any run support, I feared it would be a boring game for her to see.  And since they are playing the hapless Texas Rangers with the worst pitching in baseball....I'm hopeful there will be a lot of runs scored! 

Before we go to the sister and I are going to do our very imaginative ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Through today...the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $79m! That is phenomenal! And yes...I understand...people have short attention spans, as well as short leashes when it comes to fads. I've heard a lot of people grumbling about 'being sick' of all the 'stupid Ice Bucket videos' out there. Hey! Look! I get it! But think about this...never has so much money EVER been raised for what is an absolutely horrible disease. Whether you are tired of the videos or can't NOT like what the results have been. It's been simply amazing. That being said...I am cognizant of the fact that if we are/were going to make a video somewhat late in the 'Ice Bucket' game we need to do something very unique and original. And so...that is what we will attempt to do. I hope to have the video up and available to view by Friday or Saturday. Oh...incidentally, I've been challenged already by 3 or 4 people, including a little girl named Alexa Fisher...who, according to her father Justin, was impressed by me when, way back in 2011 I went to dinner break with Justin and his two little girls, JJ Liu, and Men 'The Master' Nguyen on the dinner break of the WSOP Main Event. 

Alexa and her little sister were there...and they thought it was funny that my nickname was 'Monkey.' And I think I spent most of the dinner attempting to entertain most of you know how much I love kids. So they asked if I would be okay with them challenging me...and I (of course) responded by telling them I would honored. Dad told me she screamed out 'Yay!' when he told her I said yes.  How cute. I love kids. Almost as much as I love dogs!

Carley is mad at me again...for not being home with her. The first 5 days here have been hard on her I guess. She won't talk to me on Facetime. It makes me so sad...but it's also kind of cute. The good news is that she has had all kinds of attention since I left, with friends spending the night, and her daycare teacher keeping her on Saturday while Squirrel had to work. They had a great day together, which made me very happy, of course. She just LOVES Miss Bobbie Sue...and freaked OUT I guess when she was at our front door Saturday morning. 

It looks like if my mom DOES need chemo or radiation treatment...that the treatments wouldn't start for 4-6 weeks from now. So I guess it looks like I would/will be going home probably next Wednesday the 3rd...and will be able to play the event coming up at the IP in Biloxi...the 3rd WSOP Circuit stop of the year. It will be the first time I've played at the IP in two I am excited to add to my career-earnings/cashes total at IP events. I'm not sure...but I think I might still be the all-time leader there. Maybe not. Either way...with the letters having been sent from the 'dealer-who-wrecked-me' in Hammond to all the various people with the power to remove my ban in Hammond and have me reinstated...I just want to keep adding on to the 35 points I picked up in Palm Beach in hopes that I will be reinstated....and have the chance to make the WSOP Freeroll National Championship next spring for the 2nd time...and then of course play the WSOP events next summer. I hope it works out...but if it doesn't, then it doesn't. After all, there are a lot more important things in the world, and in my life...then whether or not I can play WSOP events.

A little more about my cash sessions here. The players up here all seem to kind of play the same way. It's eery! They only spread two games at this casino, 4-8 limit...and 2/5 no limit. In the 2/5 game you can only buy in for a maximum of $300. And the biggest bet you can make is $500. Which is kind of a stupid rule...since the way around it is to just keep raising and re-raising an amount not exceeding $500. That is, if you both decided you simply have to get it all in. 

A very common scene is the guy who keeps buying in for $200....and whenever there is a raise of $15 or $20...just shoving all in and praying to get heads up and either hold up or outdraw the person(s) who were brave enough (or confident enough in their hand) to call. It is a very, very wide-open game. You, of course, have your overly aggressive players...and your somewhat tight players. But those tight players play in a way that they are never going to get any value out of the hands they wait around for hours to get. So I developed a pretty sound strategy for this game, I think. My opinion obviously. I simply played the entire time in sniper mode. Limped a lot with decent hands (middle pairs, anything suited connected, random face-card hands) and would call the eventual raise as long as I had a decent price to call...then hope for a good flop I could use against the majority inferior opponents. This worked perfect in almost every scenario...the exception being, obviously, when I got caught slow playing or exercising some pot management to get the aggressor to keep feeding the pot, and them sucking out. It's just one of those unfortunate eventualities of playing sniper poker...but for the most part, it paid dividends.

The other thing that was fun to do was limping with QQ or better...then waiting (or hoping) that someone would raise...which they usually did, then betting an amount that would lead to a lot of head scratching. Not that this stopped guys from calling with shit like 7-9, Q-10 and pocket deuces. I could sit here and complain about my KK losing to JJ, or my 88 losing on a flop of 8-3-A...turn Ace....when a river of ace came...completely fucking my hand..showing the guy how lucky he got, then having him show me a complete bluff. But why bother? You are always going to lose some hands you shouldn't lose. At the end of the day...the fact remains...that if you are a decent player, and you sit down at the 2/5 game at Snoqualmie Casino, you should almost never leave a loser. I think cash session #3 will come tonight...after my Big Money Fantasy draft...which is at 6:15pm Pacific time and should end around 9pm. My sister has expressed a desire to try her hand at the game after hearing me talk about it a good amount. She is a decent player...but doesn't get a chance to play much with her job and kids. Hopefully she will fare well. 

Okay...I'm going to wrap up this post. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day....I am going to be writing a blog, pretty serious in nature, and a direct observation of my time here in Seattle...both in my early years growing up well as my current trip home. This will be a post focusing on race, and the tensions that exist all throughout  our country. Today they are burying the kid in Ferguson, Missouri, in that case that has once again driven a wedge between the relationships between whites and blacks in this country. I will also express my views on that, and share a conversation I had with a Seattle police officer who happens to be a good friend of our family. I asked some questions that were really bugging me, and got some really surprising (to me anyway) answers. I'm hoping you will find this next post interesting and maybe even educational. 

Have a great day!


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