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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

June 28, 2005

Aspartame and Splenda

by G-Rob

I tried the new Diet Coke with Splenda. It doesn't taste like the other Diet Coke and it sure as hell ain't the old syrup itself. I still liked it. It's funny how people start with a taste for a sugar sweetened caffiene, only to switch to somthing which tastes entirely different. Diet Coke is to the "real thing" as nails are to screws. So why would I try another "Diet Coke" that bears no resemblance to any Coke at all? Why would it carry the "Coke" brand?

The same reason we play poker.

8:00 AM Saturday (Vegas Time)

I had to get a wake-up call. In the wee hours of the morning, BadBlood and his lovely bride joined me in a Plaza 2/4. The only thing worse than the play was the players. To my left sat a larger woman, yes larger than me, with IPOD buds and a scowl. She called each pot to the river, lost, then in a calm and well-mannered voice declared her hatred for the rest of us. She wanted out, I could tell, but she kept tossing more money from her wallet to the game. I tried to put a read on her. I decided she was in some sort of pre-Bhuddist denial.

At about 2:30 I stumbled up to the 19th floor. I pressed zero on the 19th century relic of a phone and found the only cheerful person in this rotten ghetto hotel. "I need a wake up call for 8:00," I said.

"I don't think so," she replied with nerve shattering cheer.

"What?" I whispered.

"I'm just kidding," she said with the self-conscious laugh of someone who knows they aren't funny, "8:00 it is."

I passed out.

At 8:00, the Plaza came through. The phone rang and I rolled over. I could see the distant desert outside my window and the snow capped mountains beyond. I could feel the stirring of my stomach, running on pure booze for days. I could also smell something unnatural, the odor of a G-Rob bender. I took a shower and found the last of my clean shirts.

Downstairs I looked at McDonald's first, but the line was too long. I looked at Subway, but wasn't in the mood for reheated egg loaf. So, like a drunken game of craps, I rolled the dice, and hit the Plaza buffet. It looked like every buffet at every Best Western in every part of the USA: lukewarm scrambled egginess, soggy bacon-grease shavings, old potatoes shaved of sprouts, and WAFFLES!

I filled and cleared 2 full plates. Then caught a cab to the Aladdin.

The players were already gathered

The Aladdin CJ Challenge was only a few minutes away. I really didn't care who won but it was great to have everyone there. I struggled to guess how Maudie could look so sexy at that hour, and I assumed she stayed up all night getting ready. I wanted to get a glimpse of the Aprils too, to see if they were looking hot, but the bright lights of the poker room caught Otis' forehead just right and I was blinded for a half hour. If I won the tournament, he'd get hair plugs. It's for both our sakes.

I sat with some solid players, Joe Speaker, Felicia, FlipCHIP, and Marty. I was ready to be agressive. But how could I match the agression of my intestines? The Plaza strikes again. Midway through level one, I bolted for the bathroom and made my most loose agressive play of the week.

Back at the table, I was already bleeding chips. Middle pocket pair? 3 players and a danger flop. Suited Connectors? Unconnected board. And then, with only 900 chips in my meager stack, I found my 2 red aces. The good man under the gun raised the blinds to T600. I pushed ahead. Everyone folded and, of course, he had to call. I showed my monster and he showed the beast.

He had pocket 6s. Joe said he folded a 6. A 6 came on the flop. Adios G-Rob!

I Suck in Tournaments Anyway

I'm an excellent boozer. I found April at the bar and her bustout was even more difficult to bear. I went with beer until the cavalry arrived. Then I switched to SoCo.

Even while the tournament ran, I knew I needed more. BadBlood and I took seats at the first table up front. The game was NL with $1/$2 blinds, standard Vegas fare and standard Vegas play. Russ Fox massacared my first buy-in, but the second grew fast. I won back both buy-ins, my tournament donation, and the day's commute to the Plaza.

Of course, all the while, the lovely bride was sunning herself with Mrs. Blood. And, of course, she'd been in the company of said surrogate for most of our trip to Vegas. And, of course, the hammer was about to fall.


The ladies hit Aladdin at about 5PM. Sure, I was running hot at the tables but the thermostat was yanked left. I needed a blanket.

All of us, the Bloods, and Russ and a token geek shuffled into the suprisingly bright midday light for the short walk to a drunken party. I love drunken parties and actually earned enough credits to make them my minor in college. Back then the wife and I were regulars at those events, like a hippy Norm and a skinny Kirstie Alley. Apparantly, two children ago, Kirstie grew up and Norm... the world passed Norm by.


I got in trouble. Saturday = Over.

I like to tell the wife she knew I was a drunk when she decided to marry me. She likes to add, "I've since sobered up."

C'est la vie. She makes me a better man despite my inclinations.

We left the party and walked over to the Excalibur mini-tram. We toured Mandalay Bay and walked all 26 miles to the Shark Reef exhibit before deciding the whole damn thing was too expensive. 26 miles later we found ourselves in a $14 dollar deli with at least a half-dozen hookers.

I didn't notice them when we walked in, I swear. But when I left the deli to find a bathroom (in Vegas there are no bathrooms IN the restaurant), I returned to find them all at the counter. The best of the bunch was a 6 foot blonde with a Hustler T-shirt. It said, "Relax, its only sex," on the back.

At the table next to us an entire family was enjoying their summer vacation, mom... dad... and 3 little boys. Mom did her best to hold it all together with a constantly babbling chatter, but all the sons and pop were sitting, mouths open, staring at the whores. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... except the psycho-sexual scars, those are yours to keep.


I decided to make a break. The lovely hit the monorail for a last fling with Vegas and CJ, Lil' Willie and I hit the Luxor poker room.

The games were bizarre but so is my play. I was feelin' strong again. The only no-limit game was $50 max... with 3 blinds per hand. ($1,$1,$2). All three of us found an unbalanced table by the rail and let the chips fly. I was in the 1s, and a Luxor shill was in the 3, she said she was paid by the hour but used her own money in the game. I assumed that would make her more free-wheeling with the chips since there was a backup compensation. The opposite was true.

In the 6s was a man with at least $950. He'd been destroying the table for at least 8 hours. He knocked ol' Willie out when his A-3 flopped 2 pair over Willie's big slick.

After a solid hour of tight aggressive play I'd doubled up twice. After another 2 hours I was up $400. I cashed out up $500 and up for the trip to Vegas. Except for the whole ignoring the wife thing. I'm still deep in debt at home.

You need plenty of (Diet?) Coke in Vegas

So 2,000 miles from home and I'd managed to spend a solid 3 days playing poker with CJ and BadBlood. It was like a jet powered home game. Which is really what I wanted. I'm back home and I miss it all.

I look forward to each Thursday when I go over to casa Blood for our weekly showdown. I like poker there because I like hanging out with him, and Shep and Scott and the Rankster et al. Poker, and all its varieties, are just a substitute for what I really enjoy. Guys are funny like that.

When I first arrived at the MGM on Thurday night, I found Iggy and Bill and Al at the bar. They didn't want to play poker, its not WHY they came to Vegas, at least not REALLY. This is a place to hang and chill and shoot the shit. But I'm a funny guy like that. Despite the fact that I'm a "Professional TV personality", I'm not always comfortable just hanging out with a buncha doods. I need a reason to be. I need a competition to share. I play poker for that.

I play poker because it's a reason for a bunch of guys to spend 5 hours sitting around a table and drinking beer. I like to tell stories about stupid crap with people who feel financially obligated to listen. I play hold-em or omaha or stud because I can pay attention whenever I want and tune out the annoying crap while I "concentrate on a hand".

A few years ago I played frisbee golf with all my friends. We took it very seriously and went to the course almost every day.

Before that we were just drunks. We invented a game called the "drunk olympics" which only Otis or I could ever win. It was us taking turns inventing challenges which all involved a few drinks. The loser had to take more shots. In each round. I loved that too.

There are a million varieties, but they're all the same thing. Poker doesn't look or sound or feel like "Frolf" but I play it for the same reason. I enjoy the company of my competitors.

The people I went to Vegas with were a lot of fun to play poker with. That's why I'll go again.

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