Saturday, January 15, 2005

Hold the phone.... 

I'm used to seeing Philly make The List several times during the year. Fattest City, Worst Dressed Transvestites, City Where You're Mostly Likely to Die of a CheezeWiz Induced Heartattack....

But how about this one.

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (AP) -- For the 10th straight year, Charleston tops
the unofficial list of the nation's best-mannered cities.

yeah yeah, big deal. but....

Hollywood, Florida, was seventh, followed by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
Houston, Texas, and Salt Lake City, Utah.

WOOHOO, in your face Shelbyville!

Oh wait, that wasn't very well mannered.


Wheels down 

Oh, it's much warmer in Minneapolis today. Weather.com says it's actually warmed up to -10. Not that I needed the re-inforcment, but here's how I really knew it was going to be bad. When we took off from Philly, the pilot said the current tempature at MSP was -4. When we landed Captain Smartass said, congratulations, it's warmer now. The temp is up to -2.


Brad says the heatwave is coming through and they may make it to zero degrees F on Sunday. Yeah. Humans, or any living being for that matter, are not meant to live / survive in these conditions. It's. just. not. natural.


Last night after I landed we made a run to Mystic (Mistake) Lake for Brad's stepdaughter's 18th birthday. Since there's no goddamnedmothereffing booze, you can gamble at 18. Horrible little place I swore I'd never go back to.

Slots and blackjack. That's it. I can't "press it kenNETH". And no booze. And I never once ONCE saw a damned indian in that place.

Top it off with ungodly wait times at Canterbury and there was no gambling for me (unless you include gambling with my life by eating at Mystic Lake)

Brad and I dropped everyone off and went in search of our football-watching, booze-swelling, lung-crushing bar for the weekend. I think we found the place. Prairie Pub in Eden Prairie if anyone is around. Long pours, good bartenders (buying us shots after their shift), and plenty of pool tables so I'll have something to do when the Eagles are up by 40 in the second quarter.

And on Sunday I get to test drive other blogger livers.



Friday, January 14, 2005

Off to NeverNeverLand 

Who does this to themselves? Sure, some people may have to go to Minneapolis for business. Some may have to go for family obligations. There may even be some poker-playing, snowboarding, hippy Kiwi's in Canada that can stand this weather.....

Of my own free will, I am flying into Hell Frozen Over. And I hate the cold. 85 degrees in the Bahamas last weekend was a little chilly for me.

Don't planes just shatter when landing in weather that cold? Have I mentioned that I'm flying to crappy little regional jet?

It's ri-goddamned-diculous.


My bags are packed, MP3 player is jammed full of metal goodness, and I have a craptacular book for the flight.

Hopefully I'll be able to find a machine to blog from this weekend, but if not, have a good weekend.


Thursday, January 13, 2005


I have a major announcement.

After struggling with my current job and my recent mastery of this game we call poker, I've decided to give it all up and become a.....

Professional Poker Player!

Which means I'm also quitting my night job as an "exotic" male dancer. But that's ok. I've been bored recently since my clientele has been reduced to deaf mute quadriplegics with a fetish for fat hairy old men who sweat Southern Comfort. Sure the money was great, but how long am I supposed to put up with hearing an old bat telling me to do things, using Stephen Hawking's voice box, that would make a $4 Bangkok hooker blush?

Besides, that stripper dust can get into some very uncomfortable places.

I will be sure to play nothing but AA, KK, or AK. But only AK if it is sooooted and I can limp because you should never take chances or switch gears. I have to make sure I grind out my .5BB per hour.

And of course I'll continue to play the 5 player SnG's where 3 people get paid. It's almost like the Special Olympics where everyone gets a trophy.

Here's my theme song. I hope Scott and BadBlood like it.


Set sarcasm detector to stun.


The real announcement is the continuation of my National Blogger Tour (sponsored by close to defunct USAir).

This weekend I've decided to make a drastic change from the 85 degree weather of the Bahamas and head to hell frozen over Minneapolis where the forecast calls for a tempature of -20 degrees. Fahrenheit, not celcius.

Anyone can go to a bar in the Philly area and watch the Eagles play against the Vikings. I'd rather fly to Minnesota and watch the game the game with my friend Brad and a couple bloggers.

I've already contacted Halverson and Drizztdj and we'll be meeting up Sunday for the game.

Anyone else want to knock back some shots for the game?


I'd like to give a big ol' thanks to Grubby for those nice pics on his last post. My co-worker behind me? Not so much.

"Look, I really don’t know who you guys think you’re dealing with, but if there were some sort of Alcohol Olympiad, I guaran-damn-tee you Al and Big Mike are on the team, if not carrying the flag into the stadium. You are not fucking around anymore, this is not a drill. "
That BoyGenius cracks me up. For the record, I really don't think I drink that much.

What to drink while you're playing poker? Here's what StB at "While Drinking, I" has to say...

"But what do you have poured in that tumbler to tempt the taste buds and awaken the mind? For that, there is no definitive answer. I could defer to the some of the masters who I believe provide fantastic answers. Iggy, the blogfather, would answer Guinness. Who am I to argue with a man of such high standing? Another, Al would quickly say Southern Comfort. The entire bottle. For the first hour. Then you bring another. BadBlood may answer Heineken. Linda would probably tell you to drink wine. "


Wednesday, January 12, 2005

48 hours in Paradise complete 

Before I begin, I seem to be getting quite a few hits from the UpForPoker guys. Probably because Otis linked from the Caribbean Poker Adventure blog to his blog and my link just happened to be near the top with a picture from the Bahamas.

If you popped in here looking for a real poker blog, try the links on the right.

If you popped in here looking for a drunk poker playing 'tard, you might find something here.


Forgotten stories from the first 24hours in the Bahamas for the PokerStars event.


Not long after the four of us arrived at the poker room, G-Rob quickly spots Isabelle Mercier. The darling of MeanGene. She was polite and kindly took a picture with the two of us. Minutes later she becomes downright friendly.

All because she found out we were friends of Otis the Blogger King. She was very friendly and didn't seem the least bit worried when I told her there was a poker-blogger, volleyball-playing, writer in Pittsburgh lusting after her.

Oh, and Gene, none of the pictures you've seen anywhere on the internet remotely do her justice.


How could I possibly forget to mention Evelyn Ng.

During the breaks, the lobby immediately outside the ballroom turns thick with cigarette smoke. While I was hanging out and smoking with the missus, I notice Evelyn standing over to the side. I'm drunk and feeling brave. This woman couldshouldwould kick my ass.

I thanked her for coming to Sam's Town for the WPBT gathering. She could only stay at Sam's Town for a little while but said that Max had good things to say about it. Then she and the wifey (the real poker player in the family) start talking. I make the smartest move so far in the trip. I shut my drunk mouth up and let them talk. I just oggled :)

BG walks up and joins the gathering. Since he didn't realize that I was in fool slobber mode, he later chastised me for not introducing him. There's the rub. At that point, me no speakie anglish that well.


Saturday morning didn't start off so well.

Ok, the first part of Saturday morning was fine. Drinking at the Atlas, 6 mile - 1 hour limo ride home, etc.

The waking up part the next morning was a bit of a problem. Nothing I haven't written before but I don't generally wake up with a first class hangover and have to deal with Poker in Paradise. BG jumps on the grenade and takes the wifey out for breakfast to give me a couple more hours to recoup.

I was finally forced to make my move out of bed after a horrendous breakfast of (what I assume) turkey-jerky bacon, the most overcooked rubbery eggs, and 5 week old french bread. But we had to get moving because we had very specific plans for the day.

Football baby.

We had every intention of reenacting the WPBT gathering at the Mandalay sports book. Booze, smokes, and the San Diego Super Chargers.

Well, at least we had our smokes to keep us company.

We popped into the poker room to check on Otis and G-Rob. Apparently G-Rob was 'broken' and on the beach in bad shape. We left word for him to meet us at the casino.

When we finally got to the sports book at Atlantis, we found a few seats near the back with a good view of all the screens. This would be our home for the next 8 hours or so. We looked around for the cocktail waitress. She was not to be found be we figured we wouldn't have to wait that long.

(G-Rob would eventually get the first sports book drink approximately 5 hours into the day. Plus, no free drinks in the sports book).

Here's the progression of the horse betting for the day.

- THE BoyGenius pulls out all the data, carefully going over every detail before finally making his decision. He hits first bet.

- THE BoyGenius tells me that I have to place a bet on a horse named Bourbon and Blues. or Blues and Bourbon. Something like that. He gives me a thorough rundown on why the horse has a great shot. Plus, he thinks the name fits me and if he bets it, the horse will lose. For the record, the horse came in dead effing last.

- BG bets a horse because his brother's name is part of the horse's name. Research and data have fallen by the wayside.

- G-Rob asks the wife to pick a number between 1 and 10. She picks 4, which comes in.....
dead freakin' last.

G-Rob, "Al what's your birthday".
Al, "September 28th".
G-Rob, "Damn, that doesn't help me, there is no horse numbered 928".
BG, "How 'bout a trifecta with the 9, 2, and 8".
G-Rob, "Bingo!"
You'll never guess where the 9, 2, and 8 horses finish.


None of that mattered because we had our real money on the Chargers. No way they don't win and cover against the Jets. I added a two team parlay with the Chargers and Gonzaga against what I thought was a high school team.


Around the time we started betting the horses, one the races finished and we heard a yell that I knew I had heard before. Suddenly Josh Arieh jumps up and starts handing out high fives as he heads up for his payout. I chatted with him for a bit at the desk commenting on his incredible up and down run on Friday.

Nice guy. Clearly not the complete jerk the ESPN coverage made him out to be.


After the Chargers game got underway, we soon realized that we would not be singing the Chargers fight song very often that day. G-Rob and I headed off towards the Atlas bar for a shot to heal our wounds. The bar was packed and we decided to hike to see how Otis was making out for the day.

During the 6.4 mile walk from the casino to the poker room, we noticed about a half dozen scantily clad young women. (At this point I re-stated someone elses comment. God bless the person who made it OK for women to wear lingerie as evening wear). As we passed the group of girls, I noticed two guys standing with them. I looked at the way guy, flashed him the peace sign with a nod of my head.

G-Rob asks, "Is that...".

"Yep, that was Damon Wayans. Nice crew."

And we kept right on walking. After all the poker players and celebs we'd seen and talked to the last 24 hours, it wasn't worth our time to stop and chat with someone who wouldn't be able to endlessly debate the proper way to play AKo in MP in a multi-way pot. Or god forbid, speak on such classic hands as the hammer.


When we got to the poker room, G-Rob and myself were jonesing. G-Rob for some hotblooded poker action, me for my wonderful booze. G-Rob put his name on every game short of the 20/50 NL table and we started chatting with some girls we'd met the night before.


Friday night, hese girls were waiting for their guys to get done the tourney when they overheard G-Rob's conversation with a gentleman from Aruba....

G-Rob, "So, you're from Aruba? I'm from Aruba, I actually own a bar. It's called Slick Cheese."
Arubaman, "Really? I've never heard of it. Where is it?"
G-Rob, "It's near the big hotel...."
Arubaman, "Ah, the Hilton?"
G-Rob, "Yeah, that's the one. It's on the busy street..."
Arubaman names some busy street.
G-Rob, " Yeah, that's the one. You should stop in next week and I'll buy you a drink"
Arubman, "That's very cool. Let me buy you a drink."
G-Rob to me. "SCORE!"

The girls from West Texas thought this was hilarious and fun was had by all.

We ran into them Saturday night and they proceeded to guess what our professions were. They nailed mine on the first shot.

"You're a drunk dirty hippy who works with computers."

Bing, first time. I added the drunk dirty hippy part but you get the idea.

Then G-Rob surprised me and outted his super secret government identity to them. They looked stunned for a second but we knew what was going threw their heads.

"Yeah, yesterday you owned a bar in Aruba and today you're the junior senator from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico."

or something like that.


While G-Rob waited for his seat to open, we jumped back out to the bar for more shots. The bartender of the weekend, Hugh Hefner (that's the name he gave us), holds up an empty bottle of Soco. It's official, we drank more than two bottles the first night.

But have no fear, he says. He leaves his posts for what I assumed later was a full marathon in search for the last remaining bottles of Soco in the Atlantis. An hour later he shows up with the only bottle he could fine.

By then, G-Rob has his poker seat and I'm chatting with one of the cameramen there for the WPT event from Louisiana. He had no problem picking up the slack for G-Rob and we quickly finished off that very. last. bottle.

Mission. Accomplished.


Otis finished up for the night, we closed the bar again, left G-Rob to his fishy NL table and took off towards the Atlas sports bar. The last chance for booze before they shut the place down.

We walk into the bar to find Ted Lawson and Lee Watkinson enjoying a bottle of Moet. The wifey distracted Ted long enough for me to try on his WSoP bracelet. It looked good on me. I'm gonna have to get one of those this year.

While Ted was making the moves on the wifey, I resisted the temptation of asking about the "straight" hand during the Omaha WSoP event. Bad karma and Eva can hold her own.

Barry Greenstein walks by and makes nice nice chat with us stumbling bumbling idiots and the rest fades to drunken goodness.....

....and I eventually wake up in the airport waiting for my flight out.


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

48 hours in Paradise 

The first 24 hours....

Here's how this whole mess started.

The wifey and I have a crap load of frequent flyer miles on USAir. The same USAir that is about to go out of business. Last Monday morning we were trying to figure out where/when to use them before we lose them.

The first option was flying out to Minneapolis to hang out with my friend Brad. Also, maybe run into some of the many bloggers living in the fly-over state.


Only 30K FF miles nonstop from Philly to Nassau. The flight was the easy part. Now I had to find cheap housing for 48 hours in the Bahamas. Not an easy prospect. Unless you find one of the places that will put you up as long as you listen to their time-share speech.

So now we've set up a free trip to the Bahamas. While I'm convincing the wifey it's a good idea ('cause we are broke), I managed to talk G-Rob and the BoyGenius into joining us.

Poor Otis seemed so lonely in paradise.

So everything was set. We would fly in friday morning, followed by BG, and meeting up with G-Rob later at the Atlantis.

Game on!


The flight down was unspectacular other than the fact that we had to be at the airport by 5:30am and I closed the Boathouse with BigMike the night before. Flying with a hangover is never fun, especially when the rugrat two rows up starts blowing chunks all over the bulkhead.

We set some sort of land speed record getting through customs (it WAS USAir. Nothing but carryon) and were quickly dropped off at the hotel at a taxi cost that would make a Manhattan cabbie jealous. Waiting for the room to be prepared, the wifey and I settled in for the first fruity cocktail of the trip.

Here's a pic from our beach-side bar. That's the Atlantis waaaay far away. The wifey also tried to get some hottie pics for you guys but they just weren't co-operating.

We enjoyed the rum-filled beverages, tracked down the super BoyGenius, and took off for the monstrosity that is Atlantis.

We met up with G-Rob at the sports bar and worked on our strategy for surprising Otis while we drank our $14 double S0co's. The plan was to plant G-Rob with the camera and have just Eva walk in and see what his reaction was.

The best laid plans....

When we walked into the huge temporary poker room, after the 4.2 mile walk, Otis was nowhere to be found. We looked everywhere, BG and I headed for the lobby.

Suddenly Otis turns the table and completely surprises Eva and G-Rob. After a quick reunion and recap of the week so far, busy Otis was back to work.

Only Felicia can fully appreciate what Otis is going through. For all the posts, crap juvenile comments, and amazing writing, he is working harder than you can possibly imagine. Don't take for granted the effort his is putting out. It's truly incredible.

The poker room was packed full of pros and fishes. A quick look around I spied many WCP's and I was sweating Kathy Leibert's table for awhile. But soberiety was bored and wanted to leave. Drunkeness was more than happy to come to the rescue.

We settled into some nice comfy chairs and sofa's in the lobby near the bar. This bar made me happier than the sports bar. They poured the Soco from the bottle instead of a gun making it possible to get good shots after priming the bartender.

And we just sat there. Drinking. and then drinking.

During the dinner break, the flood of well known poker players were streaming by us heading for god-knows-where in the ginormous site. Then the Fossilman shows up and we have our first interesting discussion with one of the big guys.

As Felicia will atest, Greg Raymer is one of the friendliest guys out there. I don't know where he was going, but he spent a long while discussing poker strategy and how he handled some of his hands earlier in the tournament. But he never cracked a smile like the one when the wifey walked up and said HI. We grabbed some quick pics and let him on his way. During the next two days, he was never without a smile and handshake every time I saw him after that.

We also got to chat up awhile with Negreanu who also didn't mind being molested by the wifey.

Otis pops out as often as he can tear himself away to give us updates. But things are starting to get a little fuzzy in Al / G-Rob land. Thank god for BG and his notes. I'm not sure what time it was, but we officially crossed the drunk line when John Juanda walked through the lobby, I threw him the horns, and told him not so quietly to "go get'em JJ!"

Not to be outdone, G-Rob sees David Williams shortly there after and gives him a "what's up D Dub!"

Now that I'm drunk, any person who has read me will know what happened next. Yep, we decided it was time to play some poker.


When the tourney tables started to combine, the Atlantis opened up several ring games, SnG's, and a $300 nightly multi. Looking at the list, the $100 1/2 blinds NLHE table seemed perfectly sooooted for my cloudy brain. We signed up and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Drunk Al and G-Rob are NOT built with patience. At this point, we would have our run in with the Bahamian Gaming Commision.....


We're bored waiting and we're drunk. We've been helping ourselves to the free bottles of water. G-Rob's bottle is empty and he asked me how much I would give him if he could toss it in the trash can from where we were.

I'd say it was a good 10 to 15 yards. I offered him 5 bucks and he misses. No big deal.

I just happen to have an bottle and he offers me 10 to 1 that I couldn't make it. Swish, nothing but can. $10 in my pocket easy.

And then it gets a little crazy. I'm standing halfway between a couple of guys (G-Rob and some other guys) and the trash can. I'm giving 10 to 1 odds to anyone wanting to take a shot. 20 to 1 if there was someone in the way.

Apparently, setting odds and collecting money from degenerate poker players / gamboolers is not exactly legal according the large man with the Bahamian Gaming Commision badge. And to say that he wasn't real happy would be an understatement.

I did take one last shot. 200 to 1 I couldn't sink a bottle with G-Rob, all 7 foot of him, standing 2 feet in front of me. I hit the bottle of the trash can. BG was spotting for good measure.


So now that I've pissed of a local goverment official, it was time to sit down at the poker table and piss off some players.

The BoyGenius has already written about who was at the table. This started as the standard drunk blogger table. Except when you piss off the non-bloggers live, it's much much easier for them to physically hurt you. The lovely lady in 8s next to me, the PokerStars photographer, HATED me by the time I busted.

G-Rob dropped the hammer a couple of times with my flair and pizzazz. I was just happy that I had free reign to curse my hippy ass off after getting pummelled by the dealers at the Excalibur.

I did, however, bust someone on the second hand of the table. While I'm still finding room for my glass of Soco, I look down to find AQsooooted and I raised it up $10 or $15. I don't rightly recall and it doesn't really matter.

If there's one thing I learned playing the tiny blinds NL game at the Borgata, nobody notices how big the bet is compared to the BB. The price to do business is set early and pretty much stays that way.

Anyway, I raise and get at least one caller. My ADD is kicking in as I'm still stacking my chips and seeing who's at the table when the flop comes out QQQ.

My personal poker god whispered in my ear, "enjoy this one, it's never going to happen again".

Now everyone knows that I pretty much suck at this little game we call poker, but I calmly let this guy give me his entire stack. Check/call, Check/min raise, weak ass bet on the river. He pushed all-in and I immediately called.

Later, Otis and BG were nice enough to tell me THEY wouldn't have given up their stacks because big red lights were flashing the way I was playing it. Luckily this guy didn't know me at all.

Then I bled everything back to the table the way I'm supposed to. It's my lot in life to the donator.

Terrence Shaw started doing the Mississippi blind straddle (which I had never seen) and the table loosened up. Ms. Hootie McBoobs in the 5s eventually left to play the 20/40 game. I finally busted out when my small all-in was barely (snicker) dominated by G-Rob's AK and the 8s with QQ.

Oh well, my head was starting to clear and I was in no mood for that condition. I head back to the bar where I'm eventually joined by the rest of the crew.


The lobby bar closed after G-Rob and myself finished off the second bottle of Soco and we take off for the only other bar open. Back to the evil Atlas sports bar.

Things have gone from fuzzy to downright blotto. Here's some of the stuff I remember as we closed the last bar....

- Hiccups, I was getting the hiccups every 15 minutes or so. Otis kept saying, "Al, you don't look so good". I'd explain it was the hiccups and everything was fine. G-Rob tells me he has the perfect cure for the hiccups. Apparently he thinks the Heimlich manuever works. All he managed to do to crush my chest cavity and drop my drunk ass on the floor. When I stood back up, yep, still had the hiccups.

- Somehow during this time, I managed to roll myself into the high roller area. I started talking to some guy who was from the same general area where I live. I followed him over the blackjack table and I thought my eyes must be deceiving me. Min bet. $5,000. d'oh. I wasn't in Kansas anymore.

- G-Rob came back to the table. When I asked him if he puked, he said "just a little". Isn't that like being a 'little' pregnant?

- At the end of the night/morning we had one shot left. G-Rob and Otis were debating who was going to the last remaining shot of Soco. To settle it, they played a round of paper, rocks, scissors. Here's the proof. Otis lost, so he did the shot.

- Then the kicker was G-Rob challenging Mrs. CanKickYourAss to a wrestling match. Right there in the middle of the empy bar, I thought I was going to witness a 8 foot man cry if the wifey kicked him in the junk.


BG, myself, and the missus took off for the casino exit leaving Otis and G-Rob to fend for themselves. I'm sure nothing interesting happened after we left.

We found our ride waiting for us in the image of a monster stretch limo. Perfect. We piled in and head of to never-never land.


That is the end of the first 24 hours in paradise.

We had a ton of fun, met a lot of great people, drank alot of booze.

The next 24 hours would include.....

- Playing the horses with Josh Arieh
- Watching the wifey get hit on by WCP's
- Trying on a WSoP bracelet while the wifey gets hit on by a WCP
- Meeting Barry Greenstein (who was NOT hitting on the wifey)

Check back tomorrow


Monday, January 10, 2005

A beginning 

I'm in the process of writing up the mad mad Bahama surprise visit to Otis. Here's some pics for those who were freezing this weekend.

Nice view

The view from our back deck

The molestation of a WSoP Champ