Thursday, September 28, 2006

How To Blow An Early Chip Lead

I stepped back in the Mookie last night. I was able to double up on the first hand against Smokkee with my AK spades to his mid pair. I made a pretty hefty call when he went all in on the flop with low cards and 2 spades showing. I had a ton of outs to almost any pair he was holding so I decided to make the call since I thought I was ahead percentage wise. The turn was K and the river a spade to seal the deal. I tried to keep my chips after my early lead and only play premium hands. By level 3 or 4, I started to get involved where I shouldn't. I made 3 stupid plays in a row and that gave me my exit shortly before the first break. The deathnail was my steal attempt from the button when Papi, in the big blind, had AA. He had the great fortune to have a sweet hand and go up against me while I was being completely mindless. He used the chips well to take 2nd I believe. Nice job and congrats to Duggle for taking it all.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

NYC Trip - Day 5

We had a noon flight back to Atlanta on Wednesday so this gave us time to go out for breakfast and walk around The Reservoir in Central Park. The park was one of our favorite places that we visited, so it was fitting to end the trip here. It was still overcast but it had stopped raining so we just had to dodge the puddles. We spent about an hour along the gravel path that circles the water. It looks so much nicer now that they have replaced the chain link fence with shorter iron one that looks more like the original.

Bill, our nice driver, picked us up around 10:30 and took us to the airport. We had a smooth flight back home and were greeted by a very happy puppy. It was good to be home and we look forward to going back in the future.

NYC Trip Report - Day 4

We woke up to gray skies on Tuesday. We didn't get moving early enough to catch The Today Show while they were still broadcasting from their outdoor studio. We did walk around the Plaza area and tooled around Rockefeller Center. I was wearing my Andruw Jones / Braves jersey and had no shortage of New York baseball fans stopping me to talk. New York fans seemed to know more about other teams than most hometown fans. It was quite interesting to see how excited other people get talking about our team.

After learning why Andruw is a "fish" (not in the poker sense) and being reminded how tough the year has been for the Braves, we headed over to 5th Avenue. We walked by Trump Tower and it has a sign that said it was open to the public. What they heck, so we went inside. It has a really cool multistory waterfall, a bar, small restaurant, and most importantly, a public restroom. I have to say, this is the nicest bathroom I have ever seen. I am used to the hands free water and towel dispensers, but this one even had a touchless soap dispenser. The funny part was hearing some poor guy struggling in one of the stalls. Here I am washing my hands in this beautiful facility and I have to hear his obvious distress. I know it's cruel, but this just made me laugh. I found it to be an odd juxtaposition. So if you're ever in the area and need to use the facilities, I highly recommend stopping by Trump's to take a.......look at the place.

We wanted to check out Tiffany & Co to see what the hype is all about. OK, I don't know shit about jewelry, but even I was impressed with what was displayed. I don't know if it was the quality of the jewels, or the lighting, but all the pieces were very brilliant. Of course, so were the prices. When Stacie saw some things that were going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, I knew we were buying nothing that came in one of their famed blue boxes. I didn't realize how big the place was. It has 5 or 6 levels with different things on each level like a department store. The elevator operator calls off the floors like in the old movies. He made me smile when he slyly said "Yankees rule" as I stepped in and wished us good luck when we got off the elevator.

It started to rain again as we left Tiffany's, but I wanted to go back to Times Square to do some souvineer shopping. I found it odd that there wasn't that much of a good selection for simple things like magnets and post cards. It was easy to find 4 for $10 t-shirts that were practically see through. Nobody needs to see me wearing one of those.

Late in the afternoon, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I am not a big art museum guy, so I didn't think we would need to spend very much time there. I was completely wrong and we shorted ourselves by trying to do it in less than 3 hours. Now that I know what is there, I couldn't do it in less than a day. It had so much more than just paintings by artists I have never heard of or cared about their work. It did have a fair amount of boring stuff like old chairs, spoons, and dressers. If you avoid these sections, you can enjoy the Egyptian section (complete with temple), awesome Greek sculptures, Tiffany stained glass, medieval art, great paintings, and a complete Frank Lloyd Wright living room. Check it out if you can. They usually close at 5:30, but are open until 9 on Sat and Sun.

The night ended at Serendipity 3 for some dessert. The place is eclectic and the dessert was very good, but not cheap. We attempted to share a Forbidden Broadway Sundae, but barely made a dent in it. I think we should have gotten the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.

This was our last night in NYC and with full bellies, we headed back to the room to pack. We would have a few hours to kill in the morning before our car picked us up for the ride to the airport.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

NYC Trip Day 3

Labor Day Monday was another clear and beautiful day in NYC. We chose this day to see the area at the south end of Manhatten. We started with Ground Zero. As you can imagine, this was a very emotional place to visit. The site itself, just looks like a construction site for a new building. The memorial photos, flowers, and quiet repose of all the visitors is the part that truly brings you to tears. All of the vistors had red, teary eyes and many people were hugging each other just a little tighter than I am sure they normally do at home. I know we did. The only thing left from the original buildings is a small set of granite stairs and some pipes in the outer wall that I guess were sprinkler lines or something. We walked most of the way around it and saw the drawings for Freedom Tower and a PATH new terminal that should be completed in a 2012. The new plans look awesome and appear to still have enough areas reserved for reflection of both the 1993 bombing attack and the 2001 air attack that eventually brought down the towers.

We walked along the Hudson and enjoyed the pedestrian path, parks along the river, and the Battery area. This is where the boat tours launch. We decided to skip the formal tour of The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The lines were extremely long and we opted for the free Staten Island Ferry. It goes right past both every 30 minutes and did I's free! We did this around mid afternoon and the views were great. This trip is funny though, you get over to Staten Island, get off the ferry, go through the terminal, and right back on again. I realize this is because its main use is for transportation and not site-seeing the harbor area.

*Edit / Update* I completely forgot that we went to Coney Island later in the afternoon. We took the subway over to south Brooklyn. It was the last day for some of the places on the boardwalk to be open before winter shutdown. The first thing we did was ride the Cyclone rollercoaster at Astroland. Astroland is set up like a fair so you pay per ride. Stacie and I paid our $6 each and sat down in the very back/last car on the Cyclone. I immediately commented to Stacie about how well cushioned the seats were. I love roller coasters, but I can't stand wooden ones because they are so rough. I did this one because Stacie really enjoys them and I was encouraged that this would be a more comfortable ride. Man were we wrong! Sweet Jebus, this thing was a death trap that threw us, bruised us, and generally just screwed us up for the next week. Stacie got wiplash after the first hill and I had a knot in my right thigh from a drop halfway through the ride. When the ride ended they asked us if we wanted to ride again for only $4. We promptly told them to go screw themselves and we were calling Ken Nugent. We didn't do any more of the rides because we figured we would rather spend our money at Six Flags back home and do some of the newer rides and have less injuries. We hobbled around the boardwalk for a while, bought an Italian Ice, looked at Nathan's, and did some people watching. As attractive and fit as the people were in Central Park and Manhatten, there wasn't much eyecandy wandering around this place. The Brooklyn Cyclones, the Class A team for the Mets, had a game that night with fireworks afterwards. Their stadium is right off of the boardwalk. I really enjoy minor league baseball games, but we didn't want to stay out that late since it is a fair distance away from where we were staying.

Days 4/5 recap coming soon. I know you can't wait.

Friday, September 15, 2006

NYC Trip Report - Day 2

We woke up Sunday to beautiful clear skies and a very pleasant temperature. We decided to make this our Central Park day. This is the place we were looking forward to most. The irony of going to one of the largest cities in the world to go hang out in the park was not lost on us. We are fans of outdoor activites and "natural" surroundings. The park was awesome as expected. We spent almost the entire day walking around the Mall, the paths, the ponds, Belvedere Castle, Conservatory Gardens, Bethesda Terrace and Angel of the Waters Fountain, the carousel and still didn't see half of what was there. You see alot of things that you recognize from movies and television shows. It was also very interesting to see the different people running, walking dogs, skating, listening to free concerts, sailing boats, playing on the lawns and having picnics. We would love to come back for walks in the Spring and Winter.

Late in the afternoon, we went to the top of 30 Rockefeller Center to check out the views and watch the sunset. Based on negative reviews, we skipped the Empire State Building tour and went with positive recommendations to do TOP OF THE ROCK. You don't go up quite as high, but the lines are very short and the view is more central to Manhatten. I would say it was worth the visit. I didn't realize how old (for American buildings) that some of the skyscrapers were. I guess I need to start watching some more History Channel. Just what I need, another reason to watch TV.

Stacie's cousin recommended Tony's for dinner. It is a family style Italian restaurant near Times Square. Our meal of Ravioli Bolognese was fantastic. It is now one of those places that we crave. We are going to try a place here in Atlanta to see how it measures up to the quality of pasta and pizzas we got used to during our stay.

We enjoyed our day of site seeing and good eats. Maintaining our usual active vacation status, we walked over 16 miles for the day. We did go to bed by 10 PM though. So much for the city that never sleeps.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Weekend Movie Reviews

2 great ones to recommend:

The Sentinel

Even though Michael Douglas is getting older, he still does a great job with thrillers. Kim Basinger looks great and it was good for Eva Longoria to do something besides the gardener. It was funny to see Sledge Hammer playing the President. I would like to see Kiefer Sutherland start doing something different than the "intense" character / narrator that seems to be all I see / hear of him since 24 and Phonebooth. Remember Lost Boys, Stand By Me, and Young Guns. Those were great flicks were he played strong characters but with different feels. The movie had action, nice pacing, and a good story. I wish they expanded more about the motivation of the "traitor."

Inside Man

This was awesome! My man, Clive Owen, does great along with Denzel Washington. The dialog was great, even with the bit characters. Good story and smart roles and not your typical "cop and robbers" movie. I loved the loose flowing interrogation scenes. You don't know whether Denzel is being a good cop or just a total prick. I would put this movie high on the rental / must see list.

I Do Love My Pocket Pairs

Not to be confused with the pair in my pockets.

The cards were just hitting me in the face last night in Big Willy's Game last night. Before the break, I had the hammer, a full house, pocket Aces, and hit quads. Even with these great cards, I never got much higher than double the initial count. I was having a good time chatting with RicoM and MsJoanne, but I was not terribly pleased with my play given the cards I was getting. That didn't excuse my idiotic move with S.T.B. He raises from middle postion and it folded to me in the big blind. I have pocket nines and pay to see the flop. With Q, 10, X on the flop, he makes a large bet. This gives me plenty of opportunity to fold, but I was thinking he was on an A,K straight draw, so I stupidly push. Well, I was half right, only his K was an A and I didn't improve. I have been knocked out too much lately when I fall in love with my pocket pairs in the blinds. I don't have a problem with my initial call, I just need to let them go if the flop doesn't go my way or I'm faced with a game ending bet. I'm gonna work on fixing that. We have company tonight, so I won't be in the Mookie, so I'll see everyone later. Stay tuned for days 2-4 of our NYC trip.

Monday, September 11, 2006

NYC Labor Day Trip Report - Day 1

While Stacie was packing Friday night for our NYC trip, Dundee ran downstairs, grabbed her Kong and dropped it in one of our bags. This just about broke Stacie's heart because Dundee didn't want us to forget to pack her toy. As we are always excited to go someplace new, we don't like to leave Dundee at home. We are lucky to have a good friends and Stacie's mother as resources when we travel, so this trip Dundee got "Grandma time." Give me a break, we don't have kids so we gotta worry about someone.

We arrived at Laguardia early Saturday afternoon after a mostly smooth flight with an exciting decent and landing. The remnants of Ernesto gave us a bit of wind and rain. We had one of those nice tilty, swervy approaches and then the hard slam to the runway that made dozens of woman scream. This was immediately followed by the rest of the passengers laughing at them and then the obligatory clapping for making it down safely.

The sky was gray, but we didn't have any rain when we arrived at our room. We stayed in a Brownstone that was about 200 feet from the east side of Central Park / 5th Avenue. We had a good sized room in a very quiet neighborhood and the subway was a few blocks away. After we dropped off our luggage, we grabbed a slice of pizza at Marco Polo for a late lunch. We then decided to head down to Times Square to do some tourist stuff and maybe watch the Auburn game at ESPNZone. When we exited the subway, it was raining pretty heavy so we didn't wander around too much. We had a so-so dinner at Chevy's (too many chain restaurants in Times Square) and then decided to head back to the room to watch the game and relax. We were absolutely soaked and wanted to give our shoes some time to dry out before our day on Sunday.

We stopped off at Grand Central Terminal to see what it was all about. Man, that place is huge. It's an absolutely beautiful complex with restaurants, shops, train terminals, and the constellations on the vaulted ceiling. We oohed, ahhed, took some pictures, then jumped back on the subway.

While riding the subway back to our place, we had a "War Eagle Moment." I was wearing my Auburn cap and a young lady, Olivia, wearing an Auburn t-shirt came over to us and asked us if we were going over to watch the game. Apparently we were close to the bar were the Metropolitan New York Auburn Club meets to watch the games. We headed over to the bar to catch a few quarters. Holy Crap! that place was packed. I didn't expect to go New york to spend time with a hundred Auburn grads watching football, but it was a cool experience. Brian Stultz, the president of the Club, eagerly greeted us and we stayed until about halftime before heading back to our room. We were ready to relax a bit and since it was standing room only at the bar, we looked forward to lying on the bed to watch the rest of the game. In case you were wondering, Auburn won and Stacie was happy about her Clemson Tigers winning that day as well.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Mansion Freeroll

I played in the Mansion Freeroll this afternoon. I didn't do too bad considering there were 270 in the tournament. I finished 14th and collected enough to play in the Mansion / PokerSavvy adder tomorrow. The only name I recognized was Smokkee. We even were seated next to each other when we hit the money at the final 3 tables.

No words of wisdom about my play. I got nice cards at times, made good bluffs at times, and got lucky as well when I needed it. I was really working for the final table, but made a bad call when a shorter stack went all-in and it folded around to me in the big blind with pocket 7s. I called and he flipped over AA and took half my stack and I didn't advance anymore after that. Boy, 1st sure would have been nice, but I'll take anything in a freeroll. Right?

I hope to see you tomorrow at the Mansion tourney and don't forget to participate in the Monday and Thursday Titan League. It's a $2 rebuy with a good prize pool at the end of the season.