Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Weekend without sleep...

The Friday game went to 5:30AM and I got to bed at 6AM. Fine for a weekend except I had to be up in 2 hours to make it to Penn Station in order to meet my friend Scott L out on Long Island for an afternoon of fishing! Oh, the sacrifices I make for my poker games!

2 hours of sleep goes *really* quickly when you have to get up afterwards. Shockingly, I wasn't completely dead on my feet. Yes, I had to stand the entire train ride out to Long Island due to all the damn beach goers, but I was alert and awake on the boat. My catches on the 4 hour boat ride consisted of 2 crabs and 1 Robin-fish, which goes right back in the water on account of them being really small. Scott, on the other hand, managed not only to bag two Fluke, but the second one was the BIGGEST one caught on the boat for that trip. There were about 50 other anglers with us, so it was an impressive feat. So not only is his ego stoked over it (yeah, like there was any skill involved!), but he also won the Boat pool. The Boat pool is $2 collected from each fisherman which goes to the lucky guy lucky enough to bag the largest catch that trip. Ka-Ching!

On the boat ride back, we were in the cabin eating our lunch. A group of large guys (and a large girl) were playing cards next to us. It turns out that one of them was a, ahem, cardroom proprietor out on Long Island. His own cardrooms (4 of them) had all been shut down, but he taught me quite a bit about cardroom operations. The most interesting tidbit is that Long Island cardrooms typically rake the pot rather than take a time charge. And what *he* said was that they often rake far above what they advertise in an effort to boost profits. He claimed, and I believe him, that the dealers would often rake an extra $10-$15 dollars from large pots because the players rarely noticed, and when they did the dealers could claim ignorance. Yet another thing to watch out for! Atlantic City and Vegas dealers sometimes rake the pot incorrectly but it's NEVER in the range of 2 to 3 times the regular rake. It's usually just an accidental dollar here and there. The reason, of course, is that the casino dealers are taped and the extra money doesn't even go to them anyway. So, if you're on Long Island in a raked card room, watch out!

The other thing this guy taught us was a new game called BALLS. Scott and I played it for about 30 minutes and it was a lot of fun (not to mention I took about $30 off these guys as a result). Here's how it works. You get a group of players together and each person contributes $1 into the middle. Each player is then dealt 4 cards (of an eventual 5 card hand). Starting with the player to the left of the dealer (whom we'll call player 1 for now), each player has to decide if their hand is good enough to contest the pot. Each player decides, in turn, if they're going to be "in" or "out". When everyone has decided, if there is more than player left, a 5th community card is dealt in the middle. This card is used by everyone and it's rank is also wild. So, for example, if it's a 5h and you have a 5c in your hand, you now have 2 wild cards. The best 5 card hand scoops the pot. The Losers of the hand have to match what the initial pot was ($1 per player). So, if the pot starts with $8 (8 players) and two players lose the hand, they each have to put $8 in the pot. The pot then starts the next hand with $16. But if a player loses the next hand, they don't match $16, just $8. This is so it won't get too expensive. If, at the end of a hand, only 1 player has decided to be "in", then they play against the deck. A four card hand is dealt from the deck and then the 5th card is dealt to be community and wild for the player and the deck. If the player loses to the deck, he/she has to match the initial pot. If the player wins, all players add another dollar and the game starts anew. The only other two rules are: 1. The player who first decides to be "in" or "out" rotates every hand. This is because the last person to decide has a built in advantage. 2. If you win a pot, you have to deal the cards until another person wins the pot.

It's a very fun game and we're definitely going to be playing it soon.

That night, Scott and I had the fish he caught for dinner. He mercifully let me catch a one hour nap while he cooked. It wasn't enough, but it was sufficient. Then we went out to see the new Die Hard movie. The move defies disbelief but it's enough fun and the action sequences are good enough for me to recommend it. It was much better than I would have given it credit for.

I got home at about 1AM, and instead of going to bed immediately, I decided to "quickly" read some blogs and catch up. Karol's blog, www.alarmingnews.com, had a request for breakup songs. So I decided to submit a few by scrolling through my Itunes list and seeing what I could come up with. 3 hours later (!), I had given her nearly 70 songs. Oh yeah, did I mention I had agreed to meet a date the next morning at 10AM at Grand Central?!? Whoops.

5 hours of sleep later, I took a shower and got to Grand Central at 10AM on the nose. We caught a 7 train to go out to Flushing Meadow park to see the Hong Kong Dragon Boat festival. The festival was much crappier than I had hoped for. It's basically a series of boat races, which were cool, and a small fairground with a few tents, which sucked ass. There were about 20 tents sent up, with about 15 of them offering credit cards or cell phone subscriptions. There were 2 offering cold chinese food and the other 3 were stuff strictly for kids. On top of that, it was hot in the sun! We sat under a tree eating cold dumplings, chatted a bit, watched a boat race and then headed back into the city. We decided to go to Blatt's Billiards so I could check out their poker table offerings but they turned out to be closed on the weekend's during the summer! Bummer. So we saw the new Bourne Ultimatum movie instead. It was awesome. The best yet and a great cast, with some ridiculous action sequences. Fun stuff.

We had a drink at a cool rooftop bar in Koreatown afterwards and then I had to say goodbye. The lack of sleep was catching up to me, and quickly. So home I went. I managed to stay up until Entourage (good stuff! 'Your wife cheated on you..with an exact duplicate of you?') but then fell asleep like a baby in a cradle. 6AM I was up and out to work by 7:15. Today is going to be rough, but I plan to come home from band practice by 9:40 and I'll be asleep in my bed by 9:42. Don't call me, please!

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