November 29, 2009

The Vegas Debrief - Part 3 (Abridged)

Filed under: PolenPoker, Globetrotting Elititude, PolenBabble — Twin C @ 10:43 am

Well, I really want to write this, but we still have unpacking to do (the move is like ten blog posts by itself), and it’s really starting to be faint, so I’m going to summarize as best as I can. Jon, please chime in in the comments.

As Jon and I were leaving the Monte Carlo, I hear from Gary, a friend of mine from that job I did a few years ago that never went anywhere. He got us tickets to a comedy hypnosis show for later that night. Somehow, I had booked a New York evening in Las Vegas - three happenings in three locations on the strip, all sort of closely timed. There would be some hustling. . .

Jon and I headed over to the Gambler’s General Store - a quick drive - which was just amazing. Filled with a zillion decks of cards and a zillion poker books and bingo supplies and beautiful old slot machines and giant hold ‘em tables and dice and trinkets. . . Jon looked for some new decks of cards, and I just wandered around grinning at everything. They gave us some swag for free as we left, including a card cover which I’m still carrying around with me.

After a quick pit stop for food (more sandwiches, which unfortunately took a lot longer to make than they should have) we hit the Pinball Hall of Fame. If the General Store had me grinning, the Hall of Fame had me bouncing off the walls. Every single machine I ever loved to play was there. I could have spent hours there just playing Twilight Zone alone. But I had to make it to one friend’s little show before the hypnosis show, so my time there was super short. The only thing I played was this, the trippiest pinball machine I’ve ever seen.

Jon drove me to my next stop, Margaritaville, where my old friend Scott, who I probably hadn’t seen in twenty years, was in the show - dancing on stilts, and flirting with the Buffet Virgin, who takes a slide down the volcano into, what else, a giant margarita. Scott was great on the stilts and everyone really liked his character. It was great to see him, even if just for a few minutes. Scott has an awesome four page spread in Magic magazine - I picked up a copy on the way over to meet Gary.

Gary was splashing around at a poker table - just like old times! His lovely wife Nikki was home with their kid, so it was boys night out - we decided that he’d come back with me after the show and play at the Monte Carlo and teach me a thing or two. (Also just like old times!) As Gary and Nikki knew one of the comedian/hypnotizers, we got comp tickets to the show, the Naughty Boys Comedy Hypnosis show. We got drinks, got warmed up by the opening act, a funny sardonic magician named Josh, and then, the hypnosis. Gary tried to get me to go up there, but being really tired and not wanting to be fucked with, I politely declined. Gary’s subterfuge backfired, as he got brought up on stage instead, but he was soon released as it was obvious he wasn’t going to go under. Out of ten people, eight went into a trance, as well as a few people from the audience as well. The show was very funny and very raunchy.

We headed back to the Monte Carlo, where eventually I was to meet one more friend, Jeff, who was working a concert that night (he is a fantastic lighting designer/technical advisor). Gary and I sat down at a poker table together, where he proceeded to get tanked and completely RULE the table - brilliantly reading people, getting under people’s skin just enough (although at one point maybe too much, as the dealer asked him to tone it back a little), and running like a god. I stayed out of his way, and waited until I could nail the drunk redneck at the table who had been razzing me for being from New York (lucky he didn’t find out I was Jewish and a metrosexual!), which I eventually did - catching a set and check raising him, then pushing when his flush draw didn’t hit on the turn. Jeff showed up super late, so we bullshitted for a little while while playing “50 draw video poker” which I found pretty fun. He had to head back to the venue at 2:00 am, I went back and splashed around a little more until the table broke when the redneck started throwing slurs around. Gary was up at least $300, and I was up maybe $20 or so, but I still hadn’t had a losing session, which to me was pretty amazing.

Sunday: My flight was at 2:00 pm, so we figured I should leave around 12:45 from the hotel, giving me time for one more session. The only hand of note, and perhaps the hand I played the worse, was when I called someone’s preflop reraise, flop bet, and turn all in with pocket jacks, because I just couldn’t be sure I wasn’t ahead. It turned out he had the other pair of jacks, so we split the pot. I left up another $30 or so, never having had a losing session. Some good play, but mostly sheer luck.

There was NO ONE at the airport - it was really weird - I breezed through the ticket line and security. I could have played for another half hour at least. :)

We’re hoping to go back to Las Vegas for my 40th birthday - a scant year and a half away. . . PSB will go to Burning Man and I will watch the rugrat, then we’ll all meet in Vegas, hopefully with my parents and a brother or two and any other friends who might want to make it, and PSB will keep the kid while I drown myself in debauchery. . . until then, Sin City.

November 24, 2009

Congratulations to. . .

Filed under: PolenBabble — Twin C @ 8:39 am

our old neighbor Louisa, whose book comes out today!

November 22, 2009

New apartment pics coming soon!

Filed under: PolenBabble, Kvetch! Kvetch! Kvetch! — Twin C @ 3:13 pm

PSB and I are emptying boxes and setting up as fast as we can.

I have such a kvetch about this new apartment, but I will save it for later. I have to finish the Vegas recaps first!

Special special thanks, a zillion of them, to Twin A, Twin B, Twin D, and Kissyfur for all their help this past week.

November 16, 2009

The Vegas Debrief - Part 2

Filed under: PolenPoker, PolenBabble — Twin C @ 5:10 pm

Memories. . . fading. . . quickly. . .

Saturday - I woke up at 10 am. . . New York time. 7:00 am in Sin City. I tried my best to fall back asleep but had no luck, so I took a shower and headed downstairs to the poker room, where Jon was still at the table, having never gone to bed. They had managed to raise the table stakes to 2/5 no limit hold em, which I had never played before, but I figured, why not, I’ll play with winnings, and sat down with $300, a little short stacked but not terrible.

I ran pretty cold for a while, then got bluffed out of a medium sized pot when a flush hit the board and someone appeared to be drawing for it. I was out of position and checked, he pushed all in, I crankily folded, and he showed second pair, which I had beat. The very next hand I get pocket kings, and throw out a slightly bigger preflop raise than usual. Someone asked me what was going on, and I said “Obviously I’m tilting.” I get two callers. The flop is 4 8 9 offsuit. I get checked to, put out a half pot bet, get called, and then get raised big by someone who says “I don’t believe you.” I push all in, and get called by both players. I get nervous that someone has a set, until another king comes on the turn - I then feel much better. The river is a rag, and I triple up. (One of the other players had Ace 9, but the other had King 9, bad beating the other player and taking her stack, which later on she gave back to her and then some, getting too tricky with pocket 8s versus pocket Aces.) I went from being understacked to having just enough to actually do some damage, and I stayed out of trouble and played strong when I had the goods. The table broke around 11:00 am, and I was up $250.

James had gotten up, having gotten a good night’s sleep, and the three of us decided to go eat in the coffee shop. We also started to plot out the rest of the day, as Jon needed to go to the Gambler’s General Store, and I wanted to make it over to the Pinball Hall of Fame, and my other Las Vegas friends were texting about possibly meeting up. But first - more poker. The three of us sat down at a 1/2 table and promptly got it raised to 2/5. It wasn’t clear how long it was going to last - some of the guys kept saying they needed to leave, but kept playing anyway. My only hand of note - I raised preflop with AK, got three callers, the flop came K K 9 - blammo! Even better, someone kept betting it for me. I made $150 that hand alone, and by the time the table broke I was up another 250 or so total. James went to a 1/2 table, Jon went up to take a nap, and I splashed around on the slot machines, where I wasn’t hitting a damn thing, so I gave up before I did too much damage to my winnings. I went back and watched James play a little bit, and eventually went up to get Jon up, so that we could begin the Vegas errands. . .

November 13, 2009

The Vegas Debrief - Part 1

Filed under: PolenPoker, Globetrotting Elititude — Twin C @ 1:09 pm

As I am sometimes bad at posting trip reports (unlike the other Polenbergs, who rarely post anything, but that’s another story), I wanted to give a write up of last weekend. In a word: AWESOME!!!!! Jonny Z, I’m going to rely on you to fill in details that I will no doubt be forgetting about. . .

Friday - my flight was at 9:00 am and I figured I should wake up around 6:30 and get a car at 7:00 to make sure I made it in time (I’ve missed a few flights in my day, and it’s never any fun). Unfortunately, I forgot that I was going to be texted at some point in the middle of the night with my hotel room number, and that text came in at 3:30 am at full volume. I managed to wake up and turn off the alerts without waking PSB up, but I never really fell back asleep. Not the best way to start a trip that was already guaranteed to be sleep depriving! I made it to the airport in plenty of time, of course. I wanted to get a coffee or breakfast or something but the line to the coffee place (not a Starbucks, even) was obscenely long. I watched someone play poker on his laptop and waited for my flight to board.

I was on a Virgin America flight, which turned out to be really great. They have the video screen like Jet Blue, but give you more options. The TV wasn’t quite as good, but you could play games, listen to music (including creating a set list from about 200 different albums), or buy movies. I ended up buying Wolverine, which was pretty good. The food selection was a little sparse, but I made due.

We touched down a little late, and I didn’t manage to sleep much, so I wasn’t feeling great. I bought a huge coffee and got on the cab line, which looked huge but actually moved pretty quickly, and got myself over to the Monte Carlo, where Jon Z and his friend James were waiting for me. Lunch had been ordered - sandwiches from Capriotti’s - and although I thought I should have been hungry, having only had a snack on the airplane, I didn’t want to eat my sandwich. So we sat down in the poker room and played my first session of 1/2 no limit hold em. There was only one table going (a few of 2/4 limit, which I’d rather poke my eyes out than play), but the action seemed pretty good. I was pretty out of it and didn’t want to have to make tough decisions, so I played very conservatively, a little tighter than usual. (I checked with Jon about how to play against each other, and was told we were to try not to bump heads whenever possible.) Jon took a hit - he flopped a straight, but the turn paired the board, and he couldn’t get away from an all in from someone who had a full house. I won a bunch of small pots - people were folding when I was bluffing, and calling when I had a good hand - pretty convenient! I finally got up, up a hundred or so?, when I felt like I needed to eat and take a nap.

I went up to the room to eat my sandwich - the Bobbie - turkey, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. When I first opened it I thought there was no way I was going to eat the whole thing, but after one bite I knew it was done for. I DEMOLISHED it. It was incredibly delicious! I then wanted to nap, but I realized that was going to be impossible. In order to stay awake at the table I kept alternating between Pepsi and water, and my heart was racing. So I just watched television and tried to relax. (The rooms at the Monte Carlo were okay, except that their television reception was really crappy for the most part. Tons of snow - weird for cable!) I gave up after a few hours and headed back downstairs.

I sat down for another session and stuck to my pattern of staying pretty tight and not messing around too much, and again, it seemed to work for me. After a few more Pepsis I switched to whiskey and ginger ale to start to try and get sleepy, and eventually it worked. Without playing any massive pots and without messing around too much, I was up another two hundred or so! I went up to bed at midnight, while Jon and James stayed at the table to try and pry more money out of the donkeys and the fish. . .

November 12, 2009

It’s that little extra step that makes all the difference. . .

Filed under: HA!, PolenBabble — Twin C @ 4:22 pm

Hat tip to That Fuzzy Bastard.

Playwrights Horizons Blood Drive

Filed under: PolenBabble — Twin C @ 2:07 am

Playwrights Horizons Blood Drive
416 West 42nd Street
Ford Motor Company Lobby (1st Floor)
Monday, Nov. 16th

Top 10 Reasons To Give Blood:

10. You might get out of a boring meeting or class.
9. It’s easy to do.
8. It takes less than an hour.
7. You get free cookies and juice.
6. And a free mini medical exam, too.
5. You’ll learn your blood type.
4. It might make your spouse, parents, kids or boss proud.
3. It shows you care about others.
2. David Letterman did it on TV.

And the No. 1 reason to give blood?


If you would like to schedule a donation appointment and/or get more information about donating blood, contact:

Caroline Aquino
212-564-1235 x3136



November 5, 2009

In 24 hours. . .

Filed under: PolenBabble — Twin C @ 11:44 am

I’ll be on a flight to Vegas for a weekend of poker. And some pinball too.

In other exciting news, I’ve discovered that two packets of Sugar in the Raw are not enough for my cup of coffee. Back to three! Woo hoo!

I have some work due in an hour and a half. I should probably be doing it instead of typing this. . . off I go!

November 3, 2009

Ten Jokes

Filed under: HA!, PolenBabble, Kvetch! Kvetch! Kvetch! — Twin C @ 4:45 pm

about Joe Lieberman.

I hate him. So much.

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