26 December 2005

Musings from the Trip, the Season

This is a couple of days after I wanted to write, but here are some observations and thoughts from the last three weeks:
  • As I was traveling through Holland via train, I was struck by the general simplicity of the villages and homes I passed. Living in suburbia with the three-car garage, stuck in traffic constantly, I wonder what we have lost in America. Even when you try not to become materialistic, it is hard to argue that any of us don't overcomplicate our lives and those of our children with the trappings of stuff.
  • I don't like smoking; one of the great advents of American social change has been the elimination of smoke from the public arena.
  • I'm humbled by the generosity of total strangers like PokerSweetHome and his bride, sharing an evening with a strange poker-blog-traveler, as well as Pinky, just to ping kind words. Even the seemingly innocent online hello's from WillWonka, PokerCats, etc.
  • I wonder what my true poker disposition and potential are. I have all the books, practice with my simulator, play whenever possible. Have I hit some sort of transition phase, as all these hands are becoming more and more predictable in what to do with them. "I had JJ and call the raise with one limper, the flop comes AQ3 with two spades..." I mean, this is a limited universe we're talking about, right? I've played more no-limit and pot-limit in the last three weeks than I had played all year, I think. Is loosening up and becoming more aggressive the key to success, to interest, or to ruin? And is it more about taking me beyond my comfort zone into areas that are unlike my fairly conservative nature? I don't know.
  • I liked the disparaging comments of the Gutshot crew; the most vulgar comment toward one of their buddies: "You're a real rock!"
  • You're mouth can get really dry on the Atkins dies after awhile, as meat seems to suck the moisture out.
  • I made a bad read waiting to exchange pounds until the airport. I'm now stuck carrying 25 twenty-pound notes until I can get an exchange rate somewhere at 1.8.
  • Best way to eat a pizza when in your hotel room: order a pie, take one piece to use as the base piece, scrape one-two more slices onto the base piece (doubling or tripling the toppings), then either pick up or eat with a fork.
  • There is nothing in the world like your nineteen-month-old son seeing you after three weeks apart, screaming DADDIE, then jumping in your arms and putting his head on your shoulder.
  • I like my iPod, although I need to figure out how to do things like playlists, etc.
  • I enjoy traveling much more than staying put. I'm not particularly adventurous, but I do like the comfort of the airplane, of sleeping, of getting to the hotel, of room service and breakfast buffets, of omelettes.
  • The universal poker look for we've-found-a-fish-at-the-table is unmistakable regardless of language, locale, or stakes. You see the call or the turning over of cards (either winning or more often losing), you glance at the person across from you, who has just glanced at you. You both know why you are there: to relieve the chips from the fish without crashing into your peers.
  • My dream poker holiday would be to take my brother, my brother-in-law, my wife, my cousin-in-law, and a couple of friends to the Bellagio for a juicy five days during a tourney. My wife is solid, and I'd love to back her and see how she would come up. My brother is an absolute zealot who I've become closer to as an old fart than ever. My brother-in-law is just wonderful to be around. Our new cousin loves to play, though a bit poverty stricken for sure. Add in Mary Virginia and her new husband, and it would be a real treat.
  • The British are all pretty much sex-fiends from what I can gather.
  • I think I finally figured out what the max bet is in pot-limit. When playing, I would simply say raise then ask what the pot was then put that much in. The max is your call added to the pot; the sum of that plus your call equals the pot.
  • The rake in Holland and London is scandalous. I think I'd like to open up a card room soon.
  • I don't understand why the big card room doesn't exist in London or elsewhere in Europe. How many do we have in the US? Bellagio, Commerce, Bay 101, Casino Arizona, Borgata, Foxwoods, then add whatever others you want to add to that. That was a big surprise, that there really are no even medium-sized card rooms.
  • I always marvel at the history of Europe. Cologne's cathedral (photo above), built in the 1100's, holding relics from the Magi, seeing the Roman wall. The American culture of the moment loses in this area, to be sure.
  • City-dwellers walk ten-times as much as suburbanites.
  • I want to cash in a MTT tourney sometime soon.
  • I want to work to create an Atlanta poker blog community. Anyone out there let me know.
  • I adore my wife.
  • Poker is unique wherever it is played, but it is also the same. Some players in over their heads. Hearing the guy explain why they did whatever. The apologies after taking a pot from someone. The big bluff. The re-buy after crashing out. The muck. Altering your hand-muck to prevent carpal-tunnel. Dealers. Hollywood. Watching someone truly torn about laying down a hand. The family pot. Splashing the pot. Seeing the regulars size up the new guy (me). The list. CardPlayer magazine to pass the time until your name is called. Rifling your chips. The chip-trick players. The agonizing wait when everyone knows he's going to muck his hand. Being happy you laid down the mariginal sb hand pre-flop after you would have hit two pair and gotten beat by the flush on the turn. Calling the floor. No place to put your drink, so do you order something or not? Asking for another rack when leaving a table. Cashing out.
I'm working today and all of this week, so I hope most everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and more time this week to be with family and loved ones. Thanks for stopping by.


Blogger WillWonka said...

Awesome post... especially the 19 month comment... that is the best part of my morning and afternoon when I first see her... I can't imagine the multiplication factor of 3 weeks.

Here's to a great 2006!!



1:25 PM  
Blogger kurokitty said...

Trip report is awesome, I've only skimmed it. Will read again when I have the chance!!

7:56 AM  
Blogger PokerSweetHome said...

It was a pleasure to meet you too. I am back from my Canadian Christmas and will be putting up a post soon about our night out in London.

Thanks for the review of the Gutshot. I'll be getting there fairly regularly in the new year as I am starting a job that is just around the corner!



6:19 AM  
Blogger e-e baby said...

THe atkins diet also makes you smell really bad at some point! (-: My hubby tried it while we were dating and he REEKED the bed with his protein-heavy sweat. It was very odd.

Glad you weren't an axe-murderer and that, on bonus, you were actually very interesting and fun. I probably wouldn't have thought you were an axe murderer if I had read your blog at all before I met you. Unlike my hubby, however, I WORK during the work day! LOL

9:58 AM  
Blogger Pinky said...

Great post. SO many of those things ring so true. I'm sorry to have missed you - next time!

11:29 AM  
Blogger mishu said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:07 PM  

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