WBCOOP already?!

I’ve played in this blogger tournament at Poker Stars for the last four years. Never made “the money”, but it’s always a good quality group of players. It may not surprise you that I go by “themissy” at Poker Stars, so if anyone out there is playing, you may see me there.

They require players to post the following widget:

Online Poker

I have registered to play in the PokerStars World Blogger Championship of Online Poker! The WBCOOP is a free online Poker tournament open to all Bloggers, so register on WBCOOP to play.

Registration code: 025757

Cherries & Casino

I got the 2-pound container of Rainier cherries at Costco last week. They’re good, but they’re not as good as whatever brand Safeway has these days. But even the worst Rainier cherry is way better than a bing.

We had a staff meeting at the casino today, and got some big news. Though they first prefaced it with small news, mainly that we’re going to have contractors coming around shortly to put in bids to paint the walls and replace the carpet. Which is good. But then the big news — as of next Wednesday, we go from a toke-pool system to a “Go for your own” system. Instead of everyone putting their tips into a central pool, then divvying it up by hours worked, now you keep your own tips. There are going to be some other changes, but that’s the big important one. It’s scary and cool all at the same time.

I scooted there, and I can make it the whole way on roads that are 35mph or slower in around 40 minutes. Not too awful on a nice-weather day. I get to go back tomorrow and pick up my first ever casino paycheck. HEE!

Casino Deeeealer

So yesterday, I became a totally official casino dealer. I even have an ID badge with my picture on it.

I did a 10-hour shift, which was a LOT. Here in Washington, casinos can be open for 20 hours a day, so most of them have two 10-hour shifts, and full-timers work 4 days a week. But I won’t necessarily be working 10s in the future — a lot of times, people want to leave early, or split a shift in half, so I should get plenty of much easier 5-hour shifts too.

But the 10 hours were really broken up — due to the combination of standing up and concentration, the breaks are frequent and plentiful — mainly an hour working, then a 20-minute break. It’s usually eight dealers with six tables open, so two people are on break at any given time. Then you come back and tap someone else out, and deal a different game. I ended up dealing a little bit of 3-Card Poker, a wee bit of 4-Card Poker, and lots of Fortune Pai Gow, Double Action Blackjack and Spanish 21.

At the beginning, it was (to paraphrase Scott) vast swaths of boredom punctuated with moments of pure terror. A couple of times I spent a full hour at a dead table, never dealing a single hand because some games just aren’t as popular. Fortunately, there are TVs all over the casino, so you can watch out of the corner of your eye. Then I’d have five people at a table at once, and I’d be constantly expecting to screw up in some major way. Though I didn’t.

I got some tips, despite feeling gawky and awkward and clumsy — probably $60 or $70 over that 10 hours. I didn’t get much from either Double Action Blackjack or Spanish 21, because I cleaned up on both of those games — I took a LOT of money from a LOT of people. But the tips are pooled at this particular casino, so if all dealers made, say, $2000 in tips for the day, and there were 200 dealer hours worked, everyone gets an extra $10/hour that day (in addition to the base minimum wage).

So all in all, it went pretty well. One of the floor managers told me afterward that I did “pretty damn good” for my first day, so that was nice to hear. I felt a TON more comfortable by the end of the day than I did at the beginning, and that comfort level will only grow over time. Everyone was very nice and answered all of my dumb questions, and most of the players were really nice too. I got two different players who told me about long-dead pets they’d had named Missy (I get that all the time), one guy LOVED my hair (but couldn’t touch it to find out how crunchy it was, since they’re not allowed to touch us) and one guy told me, “If I weren’t gay, I’d marry you!” after a good streak of cards. It’s really a fascinating combination of managing a game while casually shooting the breeze with people.

Oh, and the timeclock is hella cool — it’s some kind of biometric hand scanner. Futuristic!

Quel Week!

Last week. Whew!

I was in both Reality World shows over the weekend — and won the one I was competing in. Last season, I went 5 straight final-twos without winning, but then finally won the last show of the run. Looks like my luck has finally turned. I hosted one, and while it took me a little bit to get into the groove, I really felt on my game. It was awesome.

Scott fiddled with our old PS2, and finally got it to recognize controllers in both ports (when we first started it up, it wouldn’t recognize any controllers). So he’s started up with Ratchet & Clank and the first Sly Cooper. I don’t play many games myself, but I do enjoy watching him play, and helping him spot things to collect and such.

And in my usual habit of putting the most important item last, I got offered a job! I went to a casino Friday and requested an audition, since the teachers at dealer school found out they were specifically looking for girls. The audition was WAY easier than the one I had to do to graduate school. A little Pai Gow and Spanish 21, and we were done. So now I have to go get fingerprinted for my gambling license application, and find some cheap Hawaiian shirts for my “uniform”. It takes a couple of weeks to get the license, so I figure I can start work in about 3 weeks. Huzzah!

Anonymity ROCKS!

So I was playing some online poker this morning over at Poker Stars. I decided to pop in at a play money table, and doubled my money in the first ten minutes or so.

Then, a charming player by name of “MoneyIsGAY” came into the room, sat down, and put forth the following chat:

MoneyIsGAY: GET THE **** OUT

(please note, swear words are automatically replaced with the appropriate number of asterisks. So I’m guessing I’m a stupid something-harsher-than-bitch-which-is-four-letters-long.)

Never saw the guy before, don’t know what his problem was. Fascinating. He left a couple of minutes later without every playing a hand.

EDIT: for giggles, I searched for him and found him in another room. Here’s what he had to say to the players there, after losing a hand:

MoneyIsGAY: u ****ing luckpiece of ****
MoneyIsGAY: stop ****ing hacking
MoneyIsGAY: u little ****aing *****
MoneyIsGAY: u ****ing piece of **** u dont know me, ill kill u

Whew! Glad to know I’m not the only ****ing **** in town. ;^)

A Tale of Some Poker

All rightie. So last night Scott and I went up to the Swinomish Casino (located near Anacortes, a little over an hour north of Seattle). Scott was doing his comedy thang, and just like last time he performed there, I accompanied to take part in the 7pm Hold’em tournament ($10 buy in, no rebuys). This time, since we knew from previous experience that the tourney takes less than two hours to complete, Scott played too. So then, for your enjoyment…

We decided to head out early and have dinner on the road. Traffic was heavyish through Everett, which it almost always is. We got to the casino at around 6:10pm, so we decided to just eat there. We went to the poker room first and signed up — out of 55 seats, there were less than 10 left. Last time I played this tourney (about 4 months ago), when I signed up a little after 6pm I was the third person on the list. So it’s good to see that the tourney is growing in popularity.

We cruised over to “The Salmon Cafe” and were seated. Our waitress came by to ask what we’d like, to which we responded, “um … menus?” She seemed surprised that the hostess hadn’t given them to us, and declared that she’d have to go to the front of the restaurant to get some. Mind you, this waitress was stumping around in a walking cast, so everything she did took twice as long as normal. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, except for the fact that we needed to be quick-ish.

We ordered, and fortunately the waitress asked if we were playing the big bingo game. That gave us a chance to let her know that we were in the 7pm poker tournament, so that we were on a tight schedule. We finally ordered burgers and sat to wait. There was a buffet going on, with crab legs galore. A guy at the table next to us left his crab cracking pliers on the table and instead cracked the crab with his teeth. Sexy!

The waitress clomped out with our burgers, delivered mine, then looked long and hard at Scott’s. “I’m not sure this is right, let me go back and check,” she said. So away she went with his food, finally bringing it back a couple of minutes later. “It was right!” We had about 8 minutes to eat and pay, so we dug in. The burgers were pretty darned tasty, actually. And they gave me pickle chips instead of a big spear, which earned them points. We settled up, grabbed our jackets, and headed over to the “poker room” at around 2 minutes to 7.

Now when they say “poker room,” it’s not really a room. It’s just a corner of the casino with five tables. Though perhaps if poker does well enough there, they’ll put up some walls. We got there, and most of the tables were full — they pack us in 11 to a table for the tournaments (55 players total). I grabbed my seat (table 1, seat #2) and Scott found his (table 5, also seat #2). I could see him from where I sat, which was cool.

My table consisted almost entirely of old men (and by old men I mean 50 and above). There was also one young kid and one older lady who looked very uptight and high maintenance. I think the old coot to my right was flirting with me, while the two to my left were just loudmouthed boobs.

The game started about a minute after I sat down. We started out with $1000 in tournament chips: nine $100 pinks and four $25 greens. Play started at $50/$100, so the blinds were $25 and $50 (the blinds went up every 10 minutes). We drew for deal and began to play.

I caught one hand at the first level – A5 suited, flop came JK5, turn came another 5. Otherwise, I didn’t play a single hand the first level. Likewise the second level, I only played one hand, but it was the winner. My pockets were 8J diamonds. Flop came JJ5, so of course I bet. Three people called me, including the gruff guy to my left. The turn was a 3, so I bet again, and again all three called me. The river came … another Jack. Giving me four of a kind. I’m proud to say I didn’t make a sound or a move, and I tossed in my bet with the same speed as the others. And again, all three of them called me. I flipped over my cards, and the guy next to me groaned. He turned to his chucklehead buddy and started telling him about how excited he was to see that last Jack fall, because it gave him a full house (guy had A5). HA! Eat it, old man! It was a sizeable pot, over $2000, so that held me through the next dry streak.

The game would pause every now and again as players were shuffled between tables. We had a couple knocked out, and those seats were promptly filled. I kept an eye on Scott’s table, noting that he’d won a hand by the larger stack of chips in front of him. But I looked again a couple of hands after my four Jacks, and his seat was empty. He’d been knocked out after going all-in with pocket kings, and the caller caught a straight on the river. Tough beat, but it’s a seven card game and all that blah blah.

One by one the older folks got knocked out. I didn’t catch much for the rest of my time at table one. Finally we were all given seat assignments at one of the two remaining tables, so I moved over to table 3, seat #6. We were down to 20 players at two tables, and my stack wasn’t that tall. We were about 50 minutes into the tournament at that point. I noticed that the loudmouthed trash-talker who’d won the tournament last time I was there was at my table. And it was a pleasure to see him knocked out.

Blinds were coming around, and my stack was pretty short, and the cards just weren’t coming that powerfully. I was dealt an 89 of hearts and decided to push in. Two others called me, one of them also all-in. We all flipped our cards over. One guy had QK offsuit, the other Ax (can’t remember his other card, but it was something middling like a 7 or 8). Flop had two hearts. Turn didn’t help me, then the river gave me my fifth heart. I tripled up with a flush on the river, which left some people at the table grumbling. More players were knocked out, blinds went up, and once again I was dealt connected hearts, this time TJ. The guy next to me went all-in, had one other caller, and I pushed my still-short stack all-in as well. We flipped, and once again it was two face cards, Ax, and me. And once again, I caught my heart flush on the river. More grumbling ensued.

The game paused, and we all got up from my table and sat down over at table two, the final table. Ten of us were left out of the original 55, and I made my goal of beating my previous ranking of #11. I could be knocked out happily at that point. The bulk of the players at the final table were all young men. There was only one other woman, the high-maintenance lady from my first table. I asked the kid next to me where all the young men came from — he said he only came with one other buddy, but they all know each other since they’re all from the Mount Vernon area and went to school together.

A few hands were dealt which I threw away. Two players were knocked out, bringing us down to eight. I caught an AJ suited and went all-in. Two players called, both with taller stacks than mine. Flop came QK4 rainbow. I knew the only thing that could save me was a ten. I wasn’t involved in the betting, being all-in. I just got to sit there and watch the cards turn. The two other players both checked after the flop. The turn came 8, and both other players checked again. The river came, and it was a glorious ten. Both of them checked again, and I flipped over my cards showing my straight to the ace. Of course, more grumbling ensued because of my now historical tendencies to make a great hand on the river.

I asked Scott to find out where the money started. He reported back that the top five places were paid. I folded diligently as we whittled from 8 players down to 7 down to 6. It wasn’t that hard, because the cards weren’t that great. Finally, player number six was knocked out, leaving us at five. My stack was again the shortest at the table, since I hadn’t been knocking anyone out and the blinds were up to $2000/$4000. One of the tournament operators came over with one of those zippered plastic bank bags and the clipboard on which we’d all signed up.

The second hand as a five-player table gave me pocket 7s. I moved all-in and was called by one of the young men. I flipped my cards, he flipped his — he had pocket 8s. The table came A46, 2, K. Nothing to help either one of us, so his eights held up. I was knocked out of the tournament in 5th place, earning $33. Whew!

They paid me with a $20 bill, two red $5 chips and three white $1 chips. I kept one of the white $1 chips, cleaned it up at home, and it will be framed as part of my first real tournament winnings ever.

As far as Scott’s comedy show: usually the show is in the “Cabaret” space, which is a nice big separate room. However, the Cabaret was rented out for a private party last night, so the comedy show had to be in the “Starlite Lounge” in the corner of the casino. The bar was packed to capacity, but it was hard to hear Scott over the casino noises. He made the best of it, and had a very good show.

The Little Things

I’m glad to see that the grocery stores have pumpkins. Soon it’ll be time to scoop out the gooey guts and roast the seeds.

I really miss Tim’s Cascade Coney Island potato chips. Even though they’re not low-carb, I’d buy some if I ever found them. But I don’t think they make them anymore. They were the most awesome flavor — really mustardy, with just a hint of hot dog and grill char.

Sounds gross, probably. But oh so delicious.

I also miss Canada Dry’s lemon ginger ale. They used to make that back in the early 90s, and it was really good. *sigh*… now they just make cranberry ginger ale, which sounds icky.

I’ve found that PartyPoker, EmpirePoker and AbsolutePoker all have single table tournaments. So that’s how I’m blowing my fake money this afternoon. I’m consistently getting top half out of 10 entrants, but my goal is to improve that to at least top three every time.

My audition went, I think, well. I asked the director (whom I already know) to be sure to tell me if I sucked. After my monologue, she had a big smile and said, “you certainly don’t suck.” She gave me something to cold read as well, which only a couple of the other auditioners got to do. They’re going to call this evening, and callbacks are tomorrow. So we’ll see. But it’s nice to know I don’t suck. I did learn one thing — if you’re going to be in a sweaty, nervous situation, be sure to wear cotton. My polyester shirt, while very cool looking, kept the sweat trapped in, and I was very clammy when I got home.