Saturday, September 8, 2012

My New Friend the Skink, Ante Up Cruise, 24 Hour Jaunt to Jersey and More.

I currently have a no-contact order against a blue tailed skink. One has taken up residence on my front porch.  This is unfortunate, as this is my favorite place of refuge multiple times throughout the day.  He seems as distraught by my presence as I am his, though, so hopefully we're able to come to a mutual division of assets and maintain a comfortable civil arrangement.

My Skink-A-Saurus Rex. He's larger than some house dogs.

I just finished up dealing the Ante Up Cruise with the crew from the magazine. It was amazing. I don't know what I expected a "poker" cruise to be like, but I can't believe it's taken me this long to find out. I can't stress it enough.. you MUST go on one of these cruises.  The next one I'll be on is Feb. 4-8th, leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida. I would love for some of you to come along. 

Don't you want to cruise with this dealing staff?

The first day was spent at sea evading Hurricane Isaac. We dealt and played poker all day long, shared cocktails with friends and enjoyed the pretty awesome food aboard the Monarch of the Seas.  The next day, Poker News Senior Editor and friend, Chad Holloway and I took our Moms to Nassau for shopping. (We both had our Moms as our dates aboard the ship!).  The afternoon was spend zipping along on Jet Skis off the coast of Cabbage Beach behind the Atlantis Casino and Resort.

Cabbage Beach is oddly lacking in cabbage.

The following day was spent at CoCo Cay. Eric Terpening, Heather Mae and I went snorkeling and despite clearly defined barriers.. immediately slipped off the shelf into "no man's land" and came face to face with a mutant Manta Ray. When Terp pointed it out, I literally couldn't see it because everything was dark in front of me. Then, in slow motion, as the current rippled it's arm/fin/skin flap thing.. I realized the darkness WAS the Manta Ray. It was the single most awesome and terrifying moment of my existence. Only heightened by the sheer terror I saw on the faces of my co-snorkelers as I realized a smaller (but still Volkswagen sized) Manta Ray had settled onto the sand directly beneath my feet. It was pretty amazing.  We saw barracuda, eel and box jelly fish. We were attacked, rather viciously, by some variety of large tropical fish. I couldn't have had a better day.

Terp, the co-snorkeler who had my back in the "Manta Ray incident of 2012".

The remainder of the cruise was spent in the poker room.  It's amazing how you can board a ship with a handful of familiar faces and leave with dozens of friends.  It might have something to do with the fact that no one can escape. These cruises are worth every penny they cost.. (And really, at around $350 a person, it's a bargain). I can't stress enough.. PLEASE come join us. You haven't lived until you've partied with the Ante Up Crew. For more information, please visit

Following my Bahamas experience, I went and visited my sister in Destin for a minute.  My brother in law just returned from Afghanistan and it was nice to see him safely back stateside. Then a quick trip to return Mom to Memphis, and in less than 24 hours I was back on the coast to kill 36 hours with the always fun PK. In dealer world we're practically neighbors, and when I realized I had no specific plans for Labor Day.. it made perfect sense to recruit/force-by-guilt-trip him into spending the afternoon playing air hockey and seeing Possession with me. Time well spent. If you have the pleasure of having him deal to you, feel privileged. He's one of the good guys.

Incidently, this movie poster is the scariest thing about the movie. It wasn't "bad". It was just kinda.. "Meh".

Speaking of good guys.. Chris Quan busted his ass to get me lined up to deal at the Borgata in Atlantic City. After leaving the coast, I rushed back to Memphis, pulled a quick dealing shift at an unspecified location and then immediately left the game to board a plane to Jersey. With almost zero sleep, I was quickly running on empty.  On the flight out there I was rather delirious.  So it's no surprise when I saw a strapping young gentleman assisting every lady over 40 with her luggage, that I'd pop off with some smart ass comment about him being on a work-release program. Instead of him being offended, he laughed. I knew then that we'd end up friends. But sleep was taking priority and I quickly forgot about my new travel buddy. It was when he heroically returned my driver's license (I'd dropped it without noticing) that I made the effort to chat him up a bit.  Sarasota Greg made the second half of my flight a lot more enjoyable. He's interesting and smart and as charming as a Yankee can be. ;) Welcome to my blog, new facebook buddy! (P.S. I DID mention that almost everything I do ends up publicly spread all over the internet, didn't I? Oh I didn't? My bad.)

This is a VERY flattering picture of Atlantic City. Trust me.

So now I'm in Jersey. At the prestigious Borgata WPT event. I'm THRILLED! All set to deal.. make new friends and continue to take the poker world by storm right?! Nope. Apparently if you've ever been married and divorced, you must have copies of your marriage and divorce decrees in order to obtain a Jersey gaming license. Yeah.. let me just grab those out of my purse. Oh wait. I don't carry those with me. FOILED.  I spent the afternoon walking on the beach with Andy Lee, sobbing and feeling sorry for myself. I still hadn't slept, so I was a swirling vortex of tears and heartbroken declarations. 12 hours later.. Yep. Back on a plane to Memphis.

Starting out the trip, plane-resting on dealer cushions, curled up in my Carhartt Hoddie.
 Really excited, 24 hours without sleep.
Didn't care.. running on adrenaline.

Finishing up the trip, in the airport, 47 hours without sleep.
I make end stage terminal patients look vivacious.

I came home and slept 15 hours. Woke up. Turned over. Slept 15 hours more.  And now we're here. I have no immediate plans. Going to play in a poker tournament with the illustrious Scott Williams tomorrow. Gonna go down to Bossier for the WSOP circuit stop and harass my dealer friends, have dinner with Bob Talbot, and hopefully run into Kenny Milam (Who I've been promising a blog mention for over a year now!) and perhaps take HIM to dinner. Right now my tentative plans include kidnapping PK after the event wraps up and road tripping down to Florida for some poker. But my car seats four comfortably.. and six in a pinch.. so anyone up for an adventure is welcome to come along. (It's ALWAYS an adventure in the Death-Focus!).

Thanks for reading, and continuing to read. <3

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Quick Update: 6 Days on the Coast, Fitness Goals, Waiting for Lightning to Strike.

I have 7 saved drafts, but no new blog post to speak of.  I start this one, not knowing if it'll actually turn into a post or not. I always have the best intentions though. :)

I'm leaving tomorrow, to drive down to Port Canaveral to catch the Ante Up Poker Cruise.  I'm taking my Mom as my date. Ordinarily, I would be looking forward to it.. but we're in the middle of tropical storm Isaac, and I think I'm up against 5 days of rain.

Part of walking so much, is you SEE so much more. Here a rainbow, literally pouring into my home up on the hill.

I walked four miles today. At the beginning of the year I blogged about wanting to get in better shape. Aside from Vegas (Or as I like to call it .. "The worst two months of my life").. I've been pretty faithful. My goal was to lose a significant amount of weight slowly so it would stick, add a moderate amount of muscle and increase my overall health. I'm 1/3rd of the way into the weight goal, down three sizes, and I've just upped the ante from casual increase in activity to hardcore exercise. With CatCat staying in Biloxi during the cruise, working out has replaced him as my natural anti-depressant. Right now my body hurts so good. I still have about 35 pounds to go before I'm content, and I want to be able to run a mile without being winded. Run. Not jog, not walk fast. Run.  So far, so good.

This stupid cat makes me happy. Lame, I know. But he's part of my heart.

I've been watching a ridiculous chick-flick mini series on Netflix. I won't name it, because it's embarrassing. My mom is a fan. It's a rom-com type of feel-good crap show I wouldn't normally watch. One thing it has made me realize, sadly, is that my life is utterly void of romance. I go out. I know plenty of men. When I choose to, I have a great sex life. But I have no romance. I look at the men in my life, the ones that interest me.. and the ones actively pursuing me, and not really any of them are categorical knight-in-shining-armor-types. Not that I necessarily need this.. but I think, maybe twice this year have I gotten butterflies. Maybe I'm getting sentimental in my old(er) age, but I kind of want to hear some of that sentimental crap from time to time. I'm going to make more of an effort to go out on dates that don't involve a bar. My expectations are high though. Which is probably why I'm on a 2 year streak of flings-turned-friends. Not that I'm complaining. I heart those 3 or 4 guys who have managed to make it past my self-imposed walls. :)

French Quarter Road Trip with the Boys!

I just spent six day down on the Coast, killin' time between Biloxi and New Orleans. It was fun. There were a few moments that were down right enchanting. I had dinner with three of my favorite friends, Pique, Kreigl and Zackary at the Old Cuevas Bistro. It was one of the best meals I've ever had. I'd anticipated a nice night out, so I spent ages doing the hair and makeup.. picking out the perfect rust-colored sundress.. and after two martinis and one fantastic dinner, I was back in jeans and and a hoodie driving down the coast. I can only do super-girly in short spells. I'm pretty sure the dress is still balled up in my car somewhere.

Yes, it was every bit as good as it looks.

We did a day at the Aquarium in New Orleans, feeding Parakeets in the rain and watching rockstomper (Rockhopper?) penguins kick ass and take names. The night on Bourbon street I realized the difference between my buddies and I.. by 11:30, I was drunk and ready to retire to the condo. They stayed out till nearly dawn. I surprised myself by braving the streets of NOLA on a Friday night alone, during the walk home, as I fended off potentially-homeless conversationalist. I wonder sometimes if my lack of an internal fear gauge is strength or stupidity.

Pique is quite the Parakeet whisperer. Apparently.

We went to Destin to visit my sister.  She's dealing with some health issues and I haven't had the chance to spend time with her since being diagnosed. She looked great, and we had fun.  Kreigl and I flopped around in the ocean a bit, in what will be one of those pictures that stays burned in my brain. Zack, PK and Bex on the shore, with the storm rolling in behind them. It was a perfect, imperfect day. The drive home we listened to music, waxxed philosophy about rat hair and lentil bisque and country music vs hip hop.

I saw The Campaign, and laughed so hard it hurt. Sat on the beach and poured my heart out over a can of beer. Lost a prop bet in a Best Buy. Watched Pirates of the Caribbean and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. (You all know how I love me some Meatwad).

Oh hell yes.

And then it was over, and I came home. Without CatCat, without the three boys. Back to my regularly scheduled life.

But not so much. I've got to make some changes. I want to be closer to my sister, and yet still in the South. Poker is part of my blood.  There is no escaping it. I can't imagine working wholly in another field. So I'm somewhat limited to where I can settle if I'm going to look into "House" jobs. I'm shopping a bit though, and I have irons in the fire. I want a bit more normalcy than I have now. And yet, I still want to travel. I want it all. But that isn't much of a surprise. Of all the people I know, though, I am most likely to have it all. I generally find a way to get what I want.

I'm not sure what the next step for me is. I'm drifting at the moment, and I'm waiting for lightning to strike. When it does, you all will be the first to know. :)

I'll update the details of the cruise, hopefully from the ship. The next couple of weeks are going to be hectic, but I've got some half-written blog posts that I'm looking forward to finishing. A final tribute to Casey Jones, who has been laid to rest.. as well as another installment of "This Dealer Life". 

As always, Thank you for reading.

Bella Donkey

Post Script - I dyed my hair red a couple weeks ago, to get it a few shades closer to it's natural color. I posted a few pics online, and a blog reader, who is pretty handy with photoshop dolled up one of my photos with some sparkly stuff. I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to do with it, but it looks kinda neat.. so I'll repost.  Thanks, Charlie!

My hair.. it's on FIRE. Ahahahahaha.

Friday, August 10, 2012

A call to all poker family - A pledge for Casey Jones.

I mentioned Casey briefly in my last post, but in light of recent decisions regarding his prognosis I feel like this warrants it's own post. I've never solicited donations for anything through my blog or column, but every once in awhile an actual worthy cause comes along. If donations aren't something within your ability, you will be doing me a personal favor by re-posting this in your own blogs/social media. Thanks in advance.

Casey and Dad. <3

Casey Jones is a traveling poker dealer, WSOP supervisor and friend.  He is the son of Dennis Jones, an institution in our poker world.  On August 2nd, he fell into a coma from some undiagnosed ailment (presumed heart attack or stroke) during his sleep.  Initially, though things looked grim as he was transported to ICU in New Mexico, a lot of prayers and hope were requested.

The doctors say the extent of brain damage is too much, and Casey isn't going to pull out of this one. His family has made the decision to put him in hospice care, rather than on life support, while they await the inevitable.

Casey is 29 years old, and the father of beautiful twin daughters. I could go on and on, in typical eulogy fashion.. albeit a bit premature.. about what a tremendous man he was, a devoted father and hard working pillar in the poker community.  I think most of my readers know me better than that though, and those sentiments are best left for the family during a time of significant tragedy.

Casey was funny.  He was tall, and gorgeous and completely unassuming. He was a big kid with a sarcastic sense of humor that echoed my own. I'd run into him in the halls of our Council Bluff hotel rooms after working a 14 hour day, and we'd exchange witty one liners about the joy that is dealing cards in cornfield Iowa. The "smoking gazebo" downstairs, in the middle of the night, became a place for dealers to gather and discuss all things from sports, hands we dealt, the particular shape of an especially endearing cocktail waitress, or just talk shop. Having worked with Casey dozens of times, it was in this gazebo that we became friends.

I saw him this summer at the Series, as did everyone else. We shared insight about our ability to eat chicken and rice every day for 70 some odd days (the standard WSOP staff meal at the Rio EDR). We'd grab a quick cigarette and talk about what was in store for us during the fall. These conversations were never earth shattering, but always enjoyable. I liked Casey. I liked seeing him at work, and I looked forward to catching up with him.

I could recount some of the things that endeared him to me, or made him stand out from other coworkers. But really, all that matters is that he was one of us.. and that he's missed.  There is a big gaping hole that can't make sense of how unfair it all seems.

I've buried a few people that were tremendously close to me.  I can say, with no uncertainty, that this is the hardest thing the Jones family will ever go through and that it will NEVER heal. It will get easier, as time progresses, but it never goes away. Whatever faith they have, and whatever source they draw comfort from will only numb them to the reality that they'll never sit around and shoot the proverbial shit again, with someone they never imagined losing. My heart breaks for them.

Like most people in our industry, Casey didn't have medical insurance. At 29, he didn't have the means or ability to properly plan for his girl's futures.. or even purchase life insurance. The darkest days in the situation are still yet to come as hope ebbs and reality sets in. Long after the rest of us go back to our regularly schedule lives, the Jones family will be living with a deeply personal loss compounded by financial strife.

Its amazing how the lines blur and the poker world, become real family.

Long time poker family, Joanne Douglass has set up a trust to be administrated by the family to take care of Casey's needs and help him be comfortable in his final days.  Any remaining sum will go towards raising and caring for his twin 3 year olds, Sadie and Kennedy. In case the half dozen links I have peppered this post with all fail, the website is Give Forward, specifically,  Or just do a search for Casey Jones Give Forward.  You can also inbox me on facebook or email if you have any questions.

If you have the ability to make a contribution, regardless of size, please do. If you can't, you can do me a personal favor by re posting this to your facebook or twitter. At the very least, if you could offer a prayer to the Jones family, I will be in your debt.  I will donate .10 cents for every page view this post gets, up to $250. It isn't nearly enough, but I'm hoping it will generate some awareness and help out a family that needs it.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and prayers.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1 Lie, 5 Truths. Depression, Escape & Reflection. Carpe Diem, Kids!

Where to begin, where to begin.

My friend and DC (Dealer Coordinator) -slash- Oregon Mom says.. "Write from the heart!". So I suppose that's what I'll do.  Remember that ridiculous game where you're given a few phrases and you have to guess which ONE is a lie, amongst 5 truths?  We'll start there.

In the last four months I have:
  • Hit a royal flush in video poker.
  • Watched a theatrically staged group orgy on stage with Scott Williams in LasVegas, where a 70 year old randomly chosen-from-audience grandmother from Crete simulated raunchy sex with what I'm pretty sure was a transvestite.
This is just a PG-13 snapshot. Zumanity is WELL worth the money.

  • Left a mostly naked male exotic dancer/playgirl model in a hotel room, because I would rather drink beer with a socially awkward slightly gangster dealer, who by all accounts is NOT my type, and who didn't appear to be the slightest bit interested in me. The dancer, on the other hand, was/is. I did this twice. I am a failure of a woman. But I'd make the same choice again.
  • Got in the first, and only, physical fight I've ever been in. With a man. I was not the aggressor. We were not drunk, nor involved. It was purely random. I guess some people can't handle my sarcasm.
  • Had a roommate threaten to kill me. With a frozen diet coke bottle. While chasing my cat around the apartment. In front of 10 witnesses. She wasn't kidding.
  • I inherited two wayward dealers, who have become like little brothers to me, and suddenly I can't imagine not having them with me.. despite me preferring to travel/room solo.

West Coast Road Trip 2012. Zack and Kreigl.

I'm not going to elaborate on any of the above subjects, but let's just say.. I've been running really bad at video poker. No royals, anywhere, to speak of.

I left Vegas abruptly, and in the middle of the night. Which was fitting.  It was the worst experience of my life, being there. I had such high hopes.  I worked too hard, I did it all on foot (My car was in the shop for a staggering two months), I was homesick and so socially shut in that all I did was work and sleep.  I lived with 8 roommates in a 3 bedroom apartment, and every single day was like the reenactment of the battle of Normandy. Only, with more bloodshed. And less national commendation. I feel like I've fought a war. Right now I'm saying I'll never do it again, but I'm sure the pain will fade and next year I'll be rearing to go.  Someone please bookmark this post and email it to me when I start making travel plans.

The "kids", Zack and Kreigl and I, plus another dealer.. who I won't out (to protect his not-so-innocence), fled the city with no hesitation.. headed back to the dirty south for an event in Tunica. 24 short hours later, we were home. I was in the midst of my first bout of real depression in a long time. For long time readers, you know I've chronicled my battle with depression.. and nearly giving up.. but for the most part, I'm on the other side of it.  I was dangerously close to the proverbial ledge in Vegas, a few times.

Do you know how hard it was for me to get to my penguin cave when it was 120 degrees outside?!

Being home is a wonder.  I appreciate every thing I'd often taken for granted, so much more. I came home with only a fraction of the money I'd hoped to, and even less sanity, but by God I was happy to be here.

For those who have been at my various events, Pendleton.. Reno.. etc, you know that I've pretty much focused on work and scorned others for their lack of ambition.  It's always been all about the paycheck for me.  I took a different approach for my Tunica event and I actually got to know a lot of the crew.  I had an incredibly awesome fling with a man I still can't get out of my head, despite it having already come to a close. (Now accepting applications for a rebound bitch. You know how to reach me). He revitalized my senses and gave me something to look forward to.  Revitalized in the "I would drive 10 hours to have a cup of coffee with him" kinda way.  It was much needed, and now I crave more. I am trying not to second guess myself, and wonder if the fling was a product of necessity or genuine connection. This is a huge stride for me, because I second guess most things. I patched up relationships this summer had nearly destroyed. I made new friends, and experienced alcoholic beverages I'm pretty sure aren't even legal.  I lost 12 pounds I'd been trying to shake for eons.

In short, I needed to screw off a bit.  I did.

Now that I'm on the other side of it, I'm sort of sweating the fall.  I'm not sure, 100%, where I'm going or what I'm doing.  I've applied to the events I'd like to do this fall.. but the jury still hasn't come in and I'm not confirmed for anything aside from an Ante Up cruise at the end of the month.

A friend, coworker and traveling dealer (Casey Jones), had a presumed heart attack in his sleep last week.  He didn't wake up.  He's on full life support and considered brain dead.  A lot of the crew are still optimistic, and I'm not one to dash any one's want for prayer.. but the whole ordeal slammed me like a ton of bricks.  It made me realize how quickly it could be any one of us, and how these people that we interact with on a daily basis, might not be here tomorrow. I don't use my blog to impart wisdom.  It's more like a peep hole so that you all may enjoy a voyeuristic feed upon the vortex of calamity that is my life.  With a small side of humor. But right now, I want to stress more than ever, that you need to grab on to every experience with both hands. Feel something. Or as a friend of mine would say, be bold. Think less, act more. Run the risk of being perceived as a little crazy, because on the off chance your "crazies" are well received.. you're going to be so glad you took a risk.

Oddly, this photo also works to sum up my roommate situation in Vegas.

I am plagued with terrible nightmares.  Have been for ages. But they've abated somewhat as time has progressed.  I was in a hotel room the other night, next to the aforementioned fling, and I couldn't escape this horrible paralyzing fear-dream.  I was running from something, and whatever it was.. was not good.  It was dark, I was alone and I was absolutely petrified. I would wake up, realize I wasn't alone.. or in danger.. go back to sleep only to feel it again. It was something cataclysmic and much more significant than any human entity.  I woke up in tears, despondent.

I have no idea what this means, or what it's signifying. I'm not good at analyzing these sorts of things. This was not a typical nightmare for me. I know myself, having lived with myself for 32 years, and I know that I always dread the end of something positive. Whether its an amazing weekend, a happy period in my life, or even an isolated incident. I think it's the sharp edge of depression that still thwarts my attempts at normalcy.  Part of my brain says "Run while you can, I'll eventually catch you".

After the tears cleared up, it was a beautiful sunshiny day.. with a lot of laughs before, during and after work. I wonder if I'll ever be a girl, entirely free of shackles, who feels pretty enough and smart enough or special enough to walk in the sunshine all the time. I wonder, if when I get there, I'll still like me.. because I've grown so accustomed to being a well guarded pain in the ass, the cynicism has become like a comfortable hoodie. I used to pray for a rescue package. A perfectly timed "emergency low" when I'm dead to two outs. I don't so much anymore.  I'm enjoying the mid-range, slightly playable hands I've been getting.. with the occasional really good one thrown in for variety.

You know you're making strides when you view this less as a metaphor for your existence, and more for a possible recreational activity. Jackpot recovery, here I come!

Sorry I got so deep.  At Penny's request, I wrote from the heart.  I appreciate you all so very much, even in my long bouts of silence.  <3  Thanks, as always for reading and reposting, and hopefully I'll see some of you soon.  Drop me an email if anything interesting has come up you think I should write about. And if you're going to be cruisin' with Ante Up or playing IP Biloxi.. we must have a cocktail!

I'm off to shop for new jeans with the Zack, and then find a life-size Margarita to jump into.



For his fans, CatCat would like you all to know he's doing well and enjoying some much needed R&R.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

This Dealer Life P1 - St. Louis Failure, Prop Bet Loss, A Drunk Squatter and More.

I have been a terrible blogger lately. I can't help it, I've been busy trying to find a balance between this Dealer life and my other life. I refer to the two as if they're separate entities: Casino World and Real World. In Casino World, it's a non-stop poker vortex of work, sleep, go out, repeat. In Real World, I'm either somewhere beautiful taking in the view or home with family.. and I don't want to think about Casino World.

But I am back now, and I will do a better job of keeping you updated in the future.

To make it up to you, I'm going to write a short series of posts over the next couple of weeks called "This Dealer Life" that includes funny stories from the road, and little glimpses into what this life on the road, event to event is actually like. The good, the bad, the ugly.

When this is "normal" dealer behavior, just wait till I share the WEIRD stories.

This Dealer Life: Part 1

The St. Louis Debacle, Can't Find The Sears Tower, A Lost Spongebob Prop Bet and The Drunk-Homeless-Squatting-Poker-Pro

The St. Louis Debacle

Maxcel, a Los Angeles native turned Brit (moved to London and lived most of his life over there), decided to accompany me from Chicago back home to Memphis for a couple weeks.  We stopped off to play the Heartland Poker Tour in St. Louis on the way back.

We came to St. Louis in search of Fish.
...And Fish we found...

Our first night (and as it would turn out, our ONLY night) in St. Louis we went out with a friend and fellow dealer, Jason Menendez.  We got stupid drunk. Stupid, stupid, stupid need-a-cab, drunk. At one point I was passed out in Jason's Mustang in a truck stop slash bar slash strip club and part time pool hall, shivering and turning blue from the cold but absolutely unable to walk. I did manage to throw up occasionally in the parking lot. It was horrendous. I haven't been THAT drunk in years and years and years and haven't since. (And hopefully never will again). I'm still not sure Jason lived through that night.. I haven't talked to him since. (If you're out there, you should shoot me a text, pal. We left your coat at that casino with the weird name with security).

THIS is how drunk we were. The guy in the sparkly coat? Yeah. We don't know him either.

Sometime around 7 am, after we'd sobered up a bit and made it back to the hotel, Maxcel realized he'd lost his wallet.  It contained his entire life-roll here in America. A decent amount of cash.  We searched EVERYWHERE for it. We drove back and traced our every step (that we could remember at least) from the night before, even seeking our cab driver out and essentially suggesting he'd taken it. Only to find the wallet, eventually, in a place we'd already searched.. clear as day. This is why alcohol is BAD for you. Brain cells. We need 'em.

This caused us to get to sleep around 9 am, and wake up slightly past check out time at our classy Motel 6 abode. After some debate, we ultimately decided to stay one more night. I sent Maxx down to pay the bill, around 45 minutes after check out time. I'll let him tell the story in the below video. It's pretty hysterical, and 100% true.  Be warned though, the language is NOT family friendly. I apologize in advance. Again, I repeat.. not family friendly or work safe language.

Dear Motel 6 St. Louis,

You suck.



And that pretty much sums up St. Louis. If I don't see those arches again for a long time, it'll be okay by me.

The Sears Tower
The event was the Chicago Poker Classic. I arrived early into The Windy City, to spend time with an ex-boyfriend who I remembered fondly.. despite having not seen him in 7 years. My first night in the city we hung out and had a good time, just catching up. The second night, my traveling companions and friends Suzy and Amy met up with us and we decided to go sight seeing in Chicago.
CatCat hadn't seen him in 7 years either, but he clearly hadn't forgotten him.

Just a few miles into our excursion, we decided to go see the Sears Tower, although.. as I've been informed, it is no longer actually called The Sears Tower. Pulling off the interstate, we were immediately ambushed by not 1, not 2, but half a dozen of Chicago's finest police officers. Spotlights glaring they advanced on our vehicle with SWAT team precision. Apparently, there are real criminals in Chicago.. and the cops are used to dealing with more than just out-of-state dealers acting like tourists.
Chris, the ex-boyfriend & driver, was 100% certain we were getting a ticket or going to jail for SOMETHING. The first officer approached the vehicle and asked exactly what we were doing driving the wrong way down a one way street in downtown Chicago on a Friday night. (Oh shit!). Without thinking, I blurted out.. "We're tourist. I'm from Memphis." He responded "You don't have one way streets in Memphis?". When we explained we were looking for the Sears Tower, the officer pointed at the sky to the very obvious structure that loomed over the rest of the city by leagues, it's presence unable to miss.."You couldn't find it?" All of the officers (who had now surrounded our car) laughed in unison. The look he gave us was one of pure pity. I think he felt sorry for Chris, the Chicago resident, having to cart around these poor dumb southern women. They let us go, without a ticket with just a reminder to not drive the wrong way on one-way streets.

Fairly easily overlooked, if you ask me.

We never did find The Sears Tower, but sometimes being a dumb blonde can get you out of trouble.
Chicago was a great event. It was a fantastic crew, and one of my favorite events in the country. I can't explain it.. but it had a good "feel" to it. Massive crowds, huge prize pools, lots of hours for the dealers. I loved it. It's like WSOP-lite.. the only event that comes close to it, in the country, is the Series.

The Lost Spongebob Prop Bet

Dealers bet on everything. We wouldn't work in Casino World if we didn't have a bit of a gambling streak.  One particular night in Pendleton, Oregon we had a 5 way prop bet between dealers to see who could make the most in live tokes. I knew I was a lock to win... I averaged 6 to 1 on their tokes for the entire event, so I had no doubts about participating in these shenanigans.

The winner had to suffer no consequence, and was able to benefit from watching the losers suffer.  The last place finisher had to sing the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme song, on the microphone, during the main event of the poker tournament, from the box (dealer chair). It was a floor supervisor who actually came up with this penalty, so we had pre-approval.

Anyone who finished between "winner" and "loser" has to attend the survivor party in costume. Some sort of humiliating costume. The survivor party is the last blow out for all dealers and staff, if they managed to make it through the entire event without getting fired.  The survivor party is somewhat of a tradition, and it's a big deal. Not just for bonding among dealers, and saying our goodbyes.. but it's a celebration of a job well done.

Survivor Party 2012. I heart these people so much.

I felt pretty sure I was a lock to win, but to make sure.. I decided to minimize my losses by paying off a floor guy to make sure I got more time in live than at least one of the other participants in the bet.  Normally, this would never fly.. and is down right corrupt.. but seeing as how public humiliation was on the line, one bottle of liquor got me a guarantee out of last place.  Poor Zack, was immediately cut from his spot in live.. and sent back to tournament, finishing the day out with a whopping $59 in live toke. Max did only slightly better. Kreig asked to be sent home once he'd made $150, certain that he'd win with such an impressive number. At 13 hours into my shift, I asked to leave, knowing full well that I had a win on lock down. The only other competitor, Amy, hadn't gotten as many downs as me and is notoriously a bit of a slacker (At least, compared to me). I was sure she'd take off the minute she saw me leave, and at this point.. with $272, I had her by miles.

Damn it if that woman didn't manage to muster up work ethic no one thought she possessed, and stay another 3 or 4 hours in the box. She cashed out $332, making her the grand champion for the evening.  Maxx attended the survivor party in full drag. Kreig went as a sparkly vampire from Twilight. I dressed like a hooker, complete with catholic school girl costume.  Poor, sweet, Zack.. who took an extra bad beat (the survivor party occurred on his 25th birthday) had to attend in a Tinkerbell costume. I'm STILL untagging myself from photos.

Below is the video of Zack performing the Spongebob Theme Song during a short break at the Main Event of the Pendleton Wildhorse Spring Round Up 2012.

In case we haven't embarassed Zack enough, here he is in full Tinkerbell costume.
A pity you can't see his tiny, glittery wings strapped to his back.

The Drunk Homeless Squatting Poker Pro

In Vegas, for the WSOP, dealers room together to save money.  My group REALLY wanted to save money, and somehow that translated to 38 roommates in a three bedroom condo. (Okay, really, there are only 7 of us, but sometimes it feels like 38).  Everyone works multiple jobs, and is gone at different hours.. but someone is almost always home.  We have a third story condo in a very secure complex, with guards and regular patrols to keep an eye on things.  Most of the time, our door isn't locked.

A few nights ago, I came home and found someone passed out on the living room floor at 2:30 in the morning.  This someone was asleep on the air mattress, had managed to make himself a sandwich, partially disrobe, and had the distinct vibe of someone who was piss drunk and had subsequently passed out.  I assumed, naturally, that this was an intoxicated friend of a roommate and went to bed. 

After getting to bed and realizing my level of annoyance that my roommates would have a stray over to sleep on the floor without clearing it with everyone, I decided to do what any logical smart ass would do, and I went out and snapped a few pictures of him.. and made a witty post on Facebook.

Oh come on. It's funny.

A couple hours later, the boys came home and assumed this squatter was a friend of mine, and with similar annoyance.. went to bed.

A few hours after that, the girls came home with the same sentiments. As people would run into each other in the hallway, between the kitchen and bathrooms, they managed to piece together that this house guest did not belong to any of them, at around 6 am.. they came crashing into my room en mass to question me. I very quickly informed them that I didn't know him, and that we might actually have a problem on our hands.

Five of us, plus CatCat, crowded into the living room to prod our strange guest into waking up.  Freshly awake, he looked at us quizzically and said "Who are YOU people?". To which we responded, "Who are YOU?!".  He started gathering up possessions (None of which were his, but he politely put them down when we told him as much) and in a still, clearly, drunken haze exited the building. Obviously he was unsure of what had just happened, and we were just as mystified.

After a good laugh, I put the video of his eviction up on Facebook and went to sleep.  Hours later I woke to dozens of missed calls, and even more texts.  Apparently, our house guest is a Team Bustout Pro, very good friends with some excellent friends of mine, and a fairly prolific player with a nice win record (I Hendon Mobbed/Card Playered him straight away, and it wasn't too shabby - this is no rookie). The player himself, who I won't name.. though everyone on Facebook managed to put it together when the pictures and videos went semi-viral, sent me an email professing extreme embarrassment. Apparently he lives in the same condo, same complex.. just a different actual BUILDING than ours.  He'd had a battle with Tequila the night before, and Tequila won. He was very grateful we didn't involve the police, and that nothing had come from the incident aside from a few laughs.

I assured him that we've all been there, and aside from being a bit freaked out at first... we knew he didn't pose any imminent danger. Unfortunately for him, he wandered into a house that's pretty well connected to the poker community, and the story spread like wild fire.  The poor guy can't hardly get through a tournament at the Rio without a dealer sharing the tale. 

We've since struck up a bit of a friendship.  He's a super nice southern boy, who by all accounts is very normal and not prone to wandering into other people's homes, and passing out on their floor. The best part is.. he managed to stay here, without anyone piecing it together, for the better part of 4 hours.

 I won't post the video here, because well.. it's a bit embarrassing, and now that I know the guy and realize how many mutual friends we have.. I wish nothing but good things for him. The laugh we got out of it certainly overrides any creep factor.

Besides..When you already have 38 roommates, what difference does one more body make?

This is all for now.  I'll be back in a few days with more sordid tales from the tournament trail.  Thanks, as always for your emails and for reposting. <3


Friday, January 13, 2012

Half Way Through Biloxi: SNGs, $300/$600 Badugi, Scott Williams, Employee Dining

We're at the halfway point of the Biloxi event.  I've had such a great time here.. I could stay in Biloxi, easily, if there were full-time house jobs just laying around.  But there aren't, so I'm off to the next one at the end of the month. I've had so many of you come up and tell  me you read, and it's been overwhelming. Bloggers.. all bloggers, love nothing more than to hear who some of faces are behind our "hits".

I don't have a lot of time, as we're creepin' up on the hour where I have to go to work. I've spent the last two days dealing Single Table Satellites, for hours and hours on end.. and I think I've found a new favorite thing to deal.  The people are really laid back, for the most part, they're in it to have a good time and the money is decent.

The nuts.

I dealt $300/$600 Badugi the other night. This is the biggest game in terms of limits I've dealt so far, and for it to be Badugi of all games?! Seriously?! And it was a cast of characters too.. all the "regular" high, high rollers who are rumored to be either really nice or really difficult to please.  I've never spread Badugi, though I have a good concept of it.. and I've never actually dealt a triple draw live. So imagine my fear when I push the next table to find out it's triple-draw mixed game, $300/$600. Josh has been telling me from day one  that there would be a day that I get yelled at, cussed at and humiliated by players.  I have been expecting it, and I certainly expected it from this table. I did get yelled at (twice), but both times I deserved it. I burned a card before all the draws were declared.. and I didn't wash the deck once between hands (it had been requested).  Overall though, these were the nicest guys I could have possibly dealt a game this big to. They were patient, they explained things.. and within a few hands, I found my groove and I was putting Badugi out like a pro. Or at least, a terrified dealer pretending to be a pro. I'm sure they knew how nervous I was. It was incredibly exciting to be spreading something new, and I don't think I'll be nearly as nervous next time I cycle through that table. I didn't have any floor calls either, so bonus!

I dealt a SNG yesterday where 4 of the 10 people had never played poker before. My initial thought about this was that it would be fun.. I love newbies. They're the next potential superstars, and friends. (I wrote about this once, here). But really, after about 15 minutes.. I was exhausted. "Post your blind, sir." "Why? What if I don't like my hand?" "Sir, you have to post a blind, once per round, before you see your cards." "Why?" "Because it's the rules of the game." "Oh. Okay. Why is his blind less than mine?" "Because there is a big blind, and a small blind. The small blind is 1/2 of the big blind, every round." "Oh. Okay. Wait.. I'm going to have to pay BOTH?! I don't have many chips left!" Facepalm.

I would have thought it wasn't possible for this to happen. For it to happen three times in one SNG, I would have bet a grand it wasn't possible. Oh, but it is. New players are also prone to conversations like this "Is it my turn?" "Yes sir, action is on you." "How much is the bet?" "You may bet 400, raise, check or fold." "Can I bet $500?" "Yes sir"  "If I check, I don't have to pay anything, right?" "Yes sir" "Can I go all in?" "Yes sir" "How many people are still left to act?" "4 sir" "Oh, okay. I fold."

..... Ohhh kaaaayyy.

See how desolate the poker room looks behind him?
Yeah, the final hand was played at 9 AM after a marathon session.
Congrats Scotty. You deserve it.

So, as most of you know by now.. Scott Williams won event #1 of the Million Dollar Heater.. the largest field in MS history. He took down the biggest cash of his life, a trophy, a main event seat and a bracelet.  I'm going to blog about the whole experience.. but first, I've got to get to work. Today and tomorrow should be ridiculous days. 15/16 hours maybe. So I wanted to get something out there before I'm comatose later tonight.

On a side note, the employee dining room at the Beau Rivage is by far the nicest I've ever seen.  Long time readers know.. I've eaten in some pretty shady EDRs.  Southland's in West Memphis seemed great.. it was $5 and you got to eat food leftover from the buffet the day before. Over time, and after buying stock in Pepto Bismol, it lost it's luster.  Horseshoe Tunica's EDR was shiny and pretty, but the food was lackluster.. cold sandwiches, and hot dogs. Hot food for a price. The Riviera's is in a boiler room full of people who don't speak English and park bench seating.. the food was grey. All of it, and shaped into things that resembled Salisbury steak and carrots.. but still grey. I never ate it. Wildhorse in Oregon was nice, and free and very close to the poker room.. but they only served food three times a day, during short hours.. so if you were dealing, and couldn't get a break, you were out of luck.  The Grand Sierra in Reno was sketchy. The food was okay, and for $2 it was a bargain, but it was nothing to write home bout.

The Beau Rivage is bright and cheery, set up like a cafe with abundant drink stations, dozens of entree choices, soups and salads. We get to eat there once per shift.. FREE, and if we're hungry otherwise, there are a bunch of cereals, fruits, yogurts, ice cream and snack foods we can have otherwise. It's nice enough that I haven't eaten out once (aside from a celebration dinner with Scott). I actually aspire to get into work early so I can grab cereal, and I look forward to the dinner break.. I've had salads and grilled chicken, almost every day. I will miss it when I move on to the next place.

If you're at the Beau Rivage, and don't have access to the empoyee dining.. the Terrace cafe has the best grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup I've ever had. <3 Totally worth the $8.99. Go try it NOW.

Alright kiddos, off to work! I will write more later. :)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Year in Pictures, Destin, Biloxi, Processing for the Next Poker Event & Cat Stick.

So I didn't get out a blog-post-a-day after all. I got pretty damn close though.. I was 2 short. I can live with 2 short. I am going to make a greater effort to update while on the road this year. I found it all to be so overwhelming last fall that unfortunately, the blog fell to the back burner.

Today's entry will be mostly in pictures.  Either to sum up my travels, or share something I found funny. Anyone who has ever spent more than ten minutes in my company knows that I photograph EVERYTHING.  With that being said, let's start with the really bizarre. Every day I checked my blog hits, and the traffic sources. The "day" on my blog starts over around 8 pm for some odd reason. This screen shot was taken about two hours into the new "day" today.

Four separate people wanted to see Tunica Mississippi residents, NAKED.
I don't even need to explain why this is disturbing.

New Years Eve ended up being an impromptu trip to Destin, FL with my Mom to visit my sister and her boyfriend Marvin.  It was our first time meeting him, and I can say with no uncertainty that I absolutely adore him.  He's good to my sister, he's funny, he's well mannered and he's smart. I give him 2 thumbs up. I hope they get married and give me nieces and nephews.

Bex and Marvin at the Cactus Flower Cafe in Navarre, FL. Marvin is being deeply entertained by...

This guy. Who just randomly approached our table and started talking
excessively about sidebets and housecleaning. Anywhere else,
this might be scary.. in the South, it's consider "hospitable".

Bex gave me an iPad2 for Christmas, which is beyond awesome. I've wanted an iPad since they first came out.. an even more so on the road, and now having one to play with is even more delightful than anticipated. 

Mom at a cool Irish Pub called McGuire's in Fort Walton Beach, FL.
They claimed to have over $1 million in $1 bills stapled to the walls and ceilings.

I had the traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie. It was fantastic, and worth every penny of the $16.99.
P.S. Thanks for dinner, Bex and Marvin!

I only went to the beach a couple of times, but while I was there, I struck cosmic gold. I had just finished reading's article on the 6 greatest discoveries science can't explain, only to step out of my car and find what I classify as the 7th.

To you, this probably looks like a bamboo shoot stuffed with feathers. Because, well, it is.
To me, it looks like the single greatest Christmas present I could have gotten CatCat.

It passed the initial taste test.

He managed to shove it under the door, and then fought bitterly to retrieve it.

Now in Biloxi, it's still his favorite toy.
Score one for Me!

Anyway, after a few days on the beach.. I was then off to New Orleans to drop Mom off for her return trip to Memphis, and to pick up my roommate Amy Brady. I decided to stop on Bourbon St for lunch, only to realize it was the day of the Sugar Bowl. I run good. 3 billion people, all drunk and running around in team colors, descended on Bourbon St about the same time I was far enough down the road to not turn back. Over an hour and a half later, I made it to the end of the relatively short street, full of creative adjectives about New Orleans.

We eventually made it back to Biloxi, got checked in at the Studio Six and crashed. 

Sleeping is a joint effort, 'round here. Apparently boobs make an excellent catbed.

Today was an 8 am "cattle call" for gaming.  Basically, all of us had to be at the office to process bright and early.. and because I lingered to provide shuttle service to the dealers who don't have cars, I drew the absolute last number for processing.. and got to hang out for more than a few hours. It isn't like I had anything else to do though. 1 pm, paperwork.. 3 pm mass drug test.  Nothing gets you acquainted with your new coworkers like organized urination.

From the literal job description for my job.
Must be able to constantly sit.
This one might be a challenge, boys and girls.

Normally tomorrow would just be wasted time.. with only a 4 pm meeting, and not actually starting work until Friday, but Scott is coming down to stay the weekend with me. It'll be nice to actually visit with him BEFORE starting work. Then, Sunday, if all goes as planned.. Steven is going to come down and spend a few days with me as well. I'm a lucky girl who has friends willing to drive 6 hours to hang out with her. It couldn't possibly have ANYTHING to do with the free hotel room on the beach, while a major poker tournament is going on, right? ;)

Every year on New Years Day, I take an extreme closeup face/hair picture in natural lighting.. so that someday I can put them all together in a book and figure out exactly when everything fell apart. Or at least, when the wrinkles really set in.  I'll be 32 in exactly six months. Though I won't bore you with all of them, the first picture is from New Years Day 1999. I have no idea why I did such horrible things to my eyebrows back then. Or dyed my hair that color. The second is from 2012. Age. It's amazing how small, and yet radical the changes are.



2011 was a fantastic year for me. I have no complaints. Well, no major ones. It was one of the best, most transitional, most exciting and most challenging of my life. I am enjoying aging (so far) and growing as a person. Sure, I have the same resolutions as everyone else.. lose weight, be more charitable, be healthier, show more kindness.. etc. For the most part, though, I am blissfully happy. At least, more often than not.  For 2012, I was to do all of the above resolutions .. and add a few more. I'd like to become entirely debt free, and save 6 months of expenses for emergencies. I'd like to fall blissfully in love, or at least.. deeply in lust. I'd like to go see new and exciting places, and simultaneously spend more time at home.  I have a list I'm compiling, which includes more, but that will have to wait for another blog post. For now, I'm off to bed. <3