I was freshening myself up for my nightly trip to the poker room at Talking Stick Casino in Scottsdale, AZ. when I decided to check Fox News to see what was happening in the world. Being a journalist and writer first and second and a poker player third, I am a news junkie at heart. I love to know what is happening in society. Nothing much interested me until I came across a story about actor Johnny Depp. The popular star of 'The Rum Diary,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean,' Johnny Scissorshand' and my favorite, 'Don Juan DeMarco' had granted an interview to Rolling Stone Magazine to talk about his life.
In 1984 after eight years as a reporter on the Phoenix Gazette in Phoenix, AZ., I decided it was time to return to my roots. I wanted to go back home again to the place where I was born. I was married, had a family, and had a pretty good reputation as a journalist. I found out through Editor & Publisher Magazine that the Brownsville Daily Telegraph in Brownsville, PALK 30 miles from where my parents and brothers lived, needed an editor. I applied for the job over the phone and was hired. My parents, siblings and sister were glad to see me back. After a great homecoming, I found a house in California, PA., just a couple of miles from Brownsville, rented it, and went to work.
I love to talk about interesting subjects other than gambling when I am playing poker. We were in a game of Texas Hold'em when Randy, one of the players, said, 'You're a writer. Are you a Hemingway fan?' I had to smile at the question. 'From my high school days to college, Papa Hemingway was my hero,' I said. 'In journalism class at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA., he was the writer we talked about and even toasted with our drinks. I loved his long sentences and descriptive phrases and the way he wrote about relationships between men and women. Does that answer your question?' 'That's more than an answer,' Randy responded. 'That's a review. You should visit his cabin.
If you're an Internet junkie like me, you probably have heard the news that poker legend Doyle Brunson is retiring from poker tournaments. The news broke while he was still playing in a $10,000 buy-in no-limit 2-7 lowball draw tournament at the Rio in Las Vegas. Friends, I have news for you. That was fake news. Brunson, who is 85, clarified what he meant after the story sailed around the poker world. He will not be entering any more World Series of Poker tournaments.
Every person who likes to gamble should make a trip to the Atlantis Casino on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. If you are single and male, the place is paradise. If you have a family, the same thing. I have only been to Paradise Island, but I am yearning to return. I can still remember the savory taste of the fresh conch salad I bought from an outdoor vendor next to the beach. While I was consuming the salad, local island girls passed by and gave me inviting smiles that didn't need an interpretation. I made both of my visits to the island with John Carroll, who published a weekly newspaper called Weekday in Lake Park, FL. Carroll was an adventurer, a journalist and a dice player.
Have you ever underestimated an opponent and wound up getting your butt kicked? When I was in the U.S. Army and stationed on a Nike-Hercules missile site in Southern California, I discovered an important lesson in life: never challenge a small man to a fight unless you know how good he is. On a Friday night at a bar in Palmdale, CA. I made this mistake after a few beers. The little guy who was the object of my challenge smiled and came over the bar at me like a rocket-propelled grenade. We started the fight in the bar, finished it on the street, and fought each other to a draw.
You're never too old to learn a lesson on how to play poker. Take it from someone who knows. One of the lessons I have preached to members of this website is 'Don't fall in love with a hand.' When you do, it can turn into a disaster. Well, tonight I fell in love with a hand and it cost me. The game was $8-16 seven card stud high-low. This is a game where you normally ignore hands where all of your starting cards are high with one exception. Wired trips.
Not to boast -- well, maybe just a little -- but my regular readers on this great website may recall that more than six months ago I predicted Omaha High-Low would catch up to Texas Hold'em in popularity. Excuse me if I blush. It's starting to happen. Poker room managers in Arizona, California, Nevada and New Jersey are receiving more and more requests from people who want to play Omaha High-Low, seven card stud high-low and other mixed games.
One of my favorite dinners at Talking Stick Casino in Scottsdale, AZ. is a plate called The Sampler. It's a Mexican dish made up of flatbread and a special cheese sauce that you dip the bread in -- and it's delicious. But to get it you have to walk downstairs from the poker room to the Blue Coyote Cantina. There a Latin Jazz guitar player and vocalist entertains patrons while they drink and order food. Talking Stick's poker room has a strict policy of giving poker players only 10 minutes absence from the tables. If you exceed that time limit, you are picked up and replaced by another player.
The Internet and television have brought people around the world closer to one another. While that is good, it can also be bad as current events have proven. Today a massacre of high school students and teachers that occurs in Texas seems like it happened in your own back yard. Mean-spirited young people bully others on the Internet, often to the point of making the victim suicidal. Oh, for the good old days when privacy was something we experienced and cherished. You rarely hear of bullies taking a gun and emptying it into faceless innocents the shooter didn't even know.
'High Noon,' a classic western film starring Gary Cooper and Grace Kelly, was an immensely popular movie that thrilled audiences across America in the1950s because of its tense plot about a Town Marshall who faced a gang of killers alone. The screenplay originated from a short story titled 'The Tin Star.' Marshall Will Kane, portrayed by Cooper, has retired from his job and is planning on leaving town with his new wife played by Grace Kelly.
If you met Jerry on the street, there is little about him that would stand out in your mind. He's in his 60s, graying hair, with a sallow complexion. He looks tired. He has a gentle attitude toward others and offers a ready smile for the smallest of favors. Jerry is a bank robber. Let me rephrase that. He is a reformed bank robber. He spent quite a few years in prison for a string of bank robberies before he went before the parole board and won his release.
Every now and then a player will find himself in a game where his opponents are out for blood. I call this poker combat. In most cases, the table is made up of poor or substandard players who gained most of their poker knowledge from the games they see on television. They play low limit poker and rarely consider what people are raising with or even what flops. The only thing that matters to them is their own hands. Sometimes they In play havoc with good players and win, but in the long run, they lose. There is no way they can sustain such play.
We were sitting at an empty table at Talking Stick Casino near Scottsdale, AZ., waiting to be called to a game. There were four of us, all regulars, and someone brought up the question I have often asked myself: why do we spend so much of our time playing poker? 'That's easy,' said Rick, a professional investments counselor. 'I do it to make money. I want to be the first person in my family to make a million dollars playing poker.' I decided to push the envelope.
There was once a king named Midas and he was given a unique gift that nobody else had: Everything he touched turned to gold. There are many gamblers who yearn for the Midas touch. They enter a casino full of hope and great expectations. They spend their money trying to earn a fortune. Sometimes they are lucky, but much more often they are not and they lose their entire bankroll. As many of my followers on this website realize, I am an internal optimist. While I have my losing days, I win more often than I lose, especially at poker. Today I played at Talking Stick Casino and am happy to report to you that I had the Midas Touch.
Have you ever ridden on a Ferris wheel that takes you to the top of its circle -- and then stops? There you are sitting strapped in a seat that is swaying gently in the night air and going nowhere. You wait...and wait...and wait...and nothing happens. That occurred to me years ago in a small firemen's fair in my hometown of Sutersville, PA. Something had gone wrong with the mechanism and all the riders were stuck in the immobilized Ferris wheel for over two hours. When the wheel finally began moving again, all the riders cheered until we were safely back on the ground.
Who is the most dangerous player at your poker table? Could it be Al, the toothpick-chewing guy who looks like an extra from 'The Godfather' or 'The Sopranos'? He has a mountain of white and red chips in front of him. When he gets into a pot, watch out. The man is formidable and he is always holding something. Maybe it's the Asian in seat three. He seems to know only two words, 'Raise' or 'Re-raise.' He never talks and his face is inscrutable. Rarely does he leave the table with fewer chips than when he entered the game.
There are few things that can get you off to a good start in a poker game as effective as making a good flop. You have just taken your seat in a new game and the dealer throws you an ace five of spades. You call the bet and another player raises. Three other players join you in calling the raise. The raiser is holding pocket kings. The flop comes king queen seven -- all spades. A perfect nut flop for you.
One of my favorite childhood fairy tails was Aesop's 'The Tortoise and the Hare.' My mother read the story to my brothers, sister and me. It was the story of an arrogant rabbit that mocked a slow-moving turtle because of its lack of speed. Fed up with the rabbit's criticism, the tortoise challenged it to a race which the hare immediately accepted. If you haven't heard the tale, here is what happened. The rabbit burst into an early lead, leaving the turtle far behind. Somewhere along the way, it decided to take a nap. The nap lasted longer than the hare intended and when it awoke, the tortoise had passed it and won the race.
If you happen to take a seat at my poker table, I have a warning for you: expect to be kibbitzed. I don't know if kibbitzed is in Webster's Dictionary. But kibbitzing is and I happen to be a kibbitzer. It's part of my social game to comment on hands, especially the ones where I am involved. Some poker players smile when you comment about a hand, especially if it has a humorous touch. But it infuriates others.
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