Sunday, August 04, 2013

Riding the Tail of the Dragon.

I took a solo trip up to the Deal's Gap area of North Carolina to ride a section of US129 known as The Tail of the Dragon, The Dragon's Tail or simply The Dragon depending on which store is selling t-shirts.  It is a mecca for motorcyclists and sports car enthusiasts because it has an 11 mile stretch that contains 318 curves with no side roads or driveways to worry about.  As you can imagine, many people see how fast they can run this without getting busted by the ever present police.  Other than a driver losing control in a corner or coming up on another vehicle that is going much slower, the biggest danger is the oncoming traffic.  Tractor trailer trucks are the biggest problem as they can dangerously block corners.  The oncoming lane crossers are another hazard to watch out for.

I rented a cabin for a night in nearby Robbinsville that worked out well.  Each one room cabin has it's own covered parking and a queen bed along with a set of bunk beds.  The one room was big enough that if someone had ridden with me it would have been fine.  The only drawbacks were the lack of wi-fi signal in my room due to a damaged router and a busted TV remote.  Also, the water heater is a little small so I would have to significantly shorten my shower if someone was joining me.

There are some fantastic riders along with some first timers like myself.  I did the full run 3 times and was amazed and how much I learned and improved.  By no means am I ripping ass through these turns like some people do and I think I realize my current limitations.  Unfortunately on my first day someone got too exuberant and made a very poor decision that cost him his life.  He was only about 20 minutes in front of me so I came across the scene of onlookers before the police or ambulance arrived.  I didn't realize how severe it was at the time and found out the next day while in one of the gift shops.  Apparently, he did a quick pass on the left, got back in his lane and didn't have enough time to slow down before a hard left turn approached.  He locked up the back wheel and flew straight ahead and in to a tree while going down the side.  While talking to the guy at the gift shop, he also told me that a girl had flipped her Miata sometime in the evening as well but survived.  I remember her on my tail for my very first run on the previous afternoon.  She was very aggressive and I assumed she knew what she was doing and pulled to the side at the first opportunity. Apparently, she was driving similar to that later in the night and rolled in to a ditch but he said she was OK.

One of the cool things about riding the route is they have photographers set up and take very high quality pictures of your ride along different points.  Here is a link to some action shots of my weekend on the Tail of the Dragon.

As fun as the Dragon was, I enjoyed the Cherohala Skyway much more.  It is a longer, well maintained road with big sweepers, great views and 3000ft of elevation changes.  It stretches 37 miles from Tellico Plains, TN to Robbinsville, NC and reaches an altitude of 5390ft.  It makes for a longer trip from Atlanta but still easy to make it to Deal's Gap in one day.

I plan on making more trips up to area for many years to come and hopefully the weather will be as great as it was for this trip.  Maybe next time I can get some buddies to schedule time so we can do it as a group.

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Goodbye My Love

In early 2001, Stacie and I welcomed a 10 week old shepherd, retriever mix in to our home. I saw her humane society adoption photo on the internet and immediately was drawn to the fuzzy, cute little "bear" with the kindest eyes. She was as sweet as her eyes suggested and we quickly fell in love with her.  She was a great fit for an active young couple with no kids.  We had no idea how much she would impact our lives for more than a decade.

Our lives changed again when we came home from work Friday afternoon. She came to the door to greet us as usual but she just looked so small and pitiful with her ears back on her head and tail tucked firmly between her legs.  We knew immediately that something wasn't right but I was just hoping she had slept wrong and the arthritis in her hip was aggregating her. She stood up for a few moments and then lied back down while we got ready to take her outside to do her business.  After a little resistance, I was able to get her to stand up and then carried her outside so she didn't have to battle stairs until she stretched out her legs.  She did her business and as she walked towards me she was wobbly with all of her legs and she just collapsed as her legs gave way. At that point my fear was she have a pinched nerve that was causing partial paralysis. I carried her to the back yard to let her relax in the soft grass and sunlight. After she unsuccessfully tried walking again I picked her up and carried her inside. She had no interest in eating but she would drink the water I put before her so we made plans to take her to her vet in the morning. Later in the night I carried her up to the bonus room so she could watch TV with me and I got down on the floor with her and just loved on her until I got in my the bed. Stacie had already gone to sleep in a guest room to avoid the TV noise.  Sometime in the night, she walked to the guest room and took her "safe" spot underneath the end table where she hides during fireworks and thunderstorms.  She wasn't in her spot long before she started howling.  She has never done anything like this before so Stacie woke me up and we immediately drove her to the emergency vet.

We arrived at the vet and they immediately started to examine her and took her away for X-rays and to draw blood.  The vet came back and informed us that her spleen had ruptured due to pressure from masses surrounding it.  She was extremely weak because she was bleeding out internally.  The vet could have performed an emergency splenectomy but gave her very low odds of even surviving the anesthesia due to her age and heavily weakened condition.  Even if she did survive until surgery, it is very likely that the cause of the problem would be cancerous masses.  Stacie and I had already agreed that we would not put her through any aggressive surgery especially if she was possibly cancerous.  We were really just hoping she was just going to need a pain and cortisone shot and we could schedule light surgery if necessary.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  We tearfully told the vet of our decision and asked to see our little one for one last time.  They brought her back to us wrapped up in comforters on the little pet gurney and we let her know how important she had been to our life and we were grateful she made us a family.  We continued to love on her as long as possible and then released her for the last time.

Every waking hour since then has been a constant struggle to accept that she is no longer sharing our home with us.  We had developed so many habits, patterns, and schedules that we find ourselves acting as if she is still around and have to have our hearts broken just a little more each time we realize that she's not.  Everything from taking her out in the morning, daily sharing cheese as I add it to my grits, the places in the house where she normally would be at certain times of the day.  Every knock on the door that isn't followed by protective barking and then excitement as she realizes who's visiting us.  For me, evenings after Stacie has gone to bed have been the hardest because she would join me on the couch for hours while I watched way too much TV.

The rest of this post is just a collection a memories, rants, and wishes.

I miss my couch buddy.

I have never cried this much in my life. I have been very fortunate to have never experienced this kind of loss in the first 42 years of my life.

We were cheated out of at least 1, possibly 2 years of how much more time we should have had with her.  At 12 1/2, she wasn't young, but we incorrectly assumed she was in good health.  We consistently took her for all of her scheduled appointments but unless you looking for everything, every time, you just don't know what could be coming.

I know we will have more dogs some day in the future but I am positive that we will never have the perfect combination of looks, personality and intelligence that she possessed.  I mean she was really smart and never did any of the destructive things that many curious dogs do.

Oddly, she rarely farted.  In fact when she would do it, it usually startled her.  I just mention it because I know plenty of people that have dogs that often run everyone out of the room with gas.  How's that for a quality to remember?  Sorry babe, it just came to mind.

When I took this picture years ago in our old house, I always thought it was a perfect shot of how an angel would look as a dog.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

December 2012 WPBT Trip Report

Like many of you, I love my December pilgrimage to Vegas every year.  While in Vegas for WPBT, we meet new people, develop deeper bonds with existing friends and share once in a lifetime moments.  This is what makes this such a great and fun weekend.  While I love playing poker and thoroughly enjoy the Saturday tournament, this trip has become more about spending as much time with those I have become closest to over the years.  As that initial group grows larger, it has become very easy to add others to my "must see" list.  This is not a list of how famous a person is, instead it is more of a collection of people I have grown compatible with and crave their company due to mutual interests or a unique perspective that has appealed to me.  I missed a few of the kindred spirits that are usually there, but I am lucky enough to visit with most of them outside of the neon confines.

The few weeks after returning from a WPBT trip can weigh heavily on the mind.  The Vegas weekend flies by and everyone begins the work week with terrific memories of the gathering.  It's around the middle or end of that week that the reality of minimal contact begins to sink in and take hold. I will most likely not see most of you for another year and this makes me sad.  I mean seriously, that.fucking.blows!

Remember when you were at the beach and you dug holes in the sand at the shoreline?  Although you removed the earth it immediately filled back with the surrounding water.  It never stayed empty, the volume was replaced with something new.  For some reason, this image has calmed my soul and I feel the comfort of that which is already around me filling the void that was left when I hopped on that plane at McCarran.  Or in some other cases, the ones that were created even sooner than that.

While my heart and wallet heal, I will look back fondly on the weekend and at the same time be thankful for the fortunes that my every day life brings.  I'm counting the days until I see most of you again.  Trust me, it will be here sooner than you think.

Pardon my indulgence as I list out the memories I will treasure:

Playing chaperon to Michelle for the day until her sweetie arrived and her teaching me the finer points of the free play at the slots in Cosmo.  Sharing plates with her and Dan at Carnevino and then climbing in to my clown car rental Fiat 500 to return to Aria along with Carol.

Gay penguin conversations with April, Jason, and Michelle over breakfast.  Reference link found - among others.  It's on the internet so it must be true, Uhhh...BONJOUR.

The car ride out to Red Rock with Michelle and April and sooooo wishing Jason was in the car to balance out the conversation and tweet my many one liners.

Getting to enjoy the hiking at Red Rock thanks to the wonderful planning of Dan.  It was a great few hours to spend with the 14 other folks off of the felt.  Oh, and don't forget about #ninjabears.  Here are the links for the pics so far:

Meeting my roomies for the weekend, Michael and Eddie.  Thanks again to Michael for the hospitality.

The main gathering of the weekend is of course the tournament at Aria.  They do a fantastic job and have been treating us well for the past few years.  Congrats to "chipleader" CJ for taking it down right before his flight.  Nice job on the cashes for Jess, Dan, Wookie and Travis.  Thanks to Ryan for being my last longer partner.  Nothing like going out back to back to kill our chances.  I think I played well enough, right up until I shoved 77 in to Dominic's aces when I was in the 10X BB range.

Drinking my dinner on Saturday with Astin (Orange, you're up!) and Chilly then ending the night at Excalibur playing 1/2 with Alan, Carol, Fuel, Wil, Shane, Vinnay, Curtis, and Ryan.  While there, I performed a minor miracle and scared the bejeesus out of Carol by curing her hiccups in a matter of seconds.  I think when she called me a "freak" it was meant as a compliment.

My initial plan for Sunday was to go motorcycle riding with my buddy.  I let the weekend get away from me and never finalized a time so he was already booked by the time I called him.  This allowed me the chance to hang with Lori, Travis, and Carol while we cheered on the folks running the half marathon.  "Worst Parade Ever" - classic.

Dinner at Tao with Alan, Kat, Johnathan and Chris.  I always enjoy my time with Alan and it was nice to meet his fiance and brother on this trip.

Ending the trip at the Mirage poker room with Chris, Johnathan, CK, Dan and Alan.  Not playing Pai Gow (PAI GOW!) with Astin may have been the salvation of both my liver and my bankroll but I won't let that happen next time.  I will never tire of hanging out with him and look forward to a possible Toronto trip in the summer to visit with him and Katitude.

Dave seeking me out at the airport for one last goodbye.  Good luck with your tournaments this year.

I'm sure I missed something and no slight was intended.  If you have a favorite memory with me, feel free to leave it in the comments.  I look forward to seeing how I brightened your trip.

Is this my return to blogging?  Not too sure, I plan on taking a few trips in 2013 and would like to capture them so maybe some on the road posts will occur.  I will also most likely do some retro posts once I've sorted through some old pictures.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The New Bike

Ever since I sold my BMW, I always get the itch to go riding on a nice day or when I see others on their bikes.  I had decided that my next bike would be similar to the R1150R but with a little more amenaties like adjustable windshied, bigger fairing and ABS.  Shaft drive is now my preferred way to go and for budget purposes, I ruled out another BMW.  Great bikes, but I don't want to spend so much on maintenance costs.

This criteria led me to the Honda ST1300 and Yamaha FJR1300 with the possibility of a Kawasaki Concours14.  I've always been pleased with the Hondas I've owned and ridden so I expected it to be the winner.  One of the problems with buying a motorcycle is that it can be difficult to do test rides so I decided to rent each for a day to help in my decision.

First up, I rented a Honda ST1300 from Eagle Rider.  I picked it up at WOW Motorcycles and headed straight to the mountains of north Georgia.  This is where I would do most of my riding so it would be the perfect test bed.  It combines a couple of hours of highway riding along with 50+ miles of twisties.  Two good links for where I like to ride are here and here.  The ST1300 hasn't changed in a looooong time so it didn't matter which year I rented.  The only option it had was ABS which I have decided I want on my bike.  The bike rode comfortable on the way up to Dahlonega but I wasn't able to drive it one handed on the long highway stretches.  Once you're in the turns and tight twisties it started to show it's size.  It never felt agile or light.  For the bike I was sure would be the winner, it didn't have the feel I was looking for.  That's too bad because the used market has quite a few options and the pricing is good for a bike that is still less than 5 years old.

Next, I was able to test ride the Kawasaki Concours14 at a dealer days event.  I wasn't expecting much from it but hey, I will always take advantage of free test rides on bikes I've never ridden.  After signing in and waiting for about an hour, my group was called.  We did a 20 minute guided ride around Alpharetta with a combined city and highway speed route.  Within minutes of riding the bike, I was totally impressed with the acceleration, riding position, and handling.  This was a great surprise from a bike a hadn't really considered.  It is based on the previous generation Ninja ZX14 so it is no surprise that it was very quick and quite fast on the top end.  It trades chain drive for shaft, adds hard saddle bags, a small glove box and heated grips.  By the end of the test drive I really wanted the bike and immediately started checking in to the used options.  I found a link for a video where somebody did a similar ride but at a demo in another city.  This gives you a good idea of a first impression.

To finish my sport tourer evaluations, I rented a Yamaha FJR1300 from Dan's Motorcycles.  Dan was real easy to deal with and very accomodating for rental pick up and drop off times.  My buddy Chris met me at Dan's place and we headed up to the normal riding area.  Chris rides a Honda Shadow 1300 cruiser style but since we're not doing a track day, we should be able to easily ride together.  On the way up 400 north I was able to get on the gas a little especially on on ramps.  It will scoot to 100mph in a very short period of time so I did leave him behind on occasion.  The Yamaha felt much lighter and more nimble than the ST1300 but it had a horrible factory seat that had my ass cheeks cramping by the end of the day.  It was easy to drive one handed, felt very sporty and was a good looking bike.  I wasn't crazy about the burgandy color but I have seen some dark blue and silver models that looked very nice.  This bike also has the ABS option.  The used market for this bike is also pretty good and I was looking at 2007 and newer due to some design changes.

My biggest disappointment with all of the 3 initial options is the lack of electronic cruise control. It is my intention to do some big rides in 2013 and this would make the ride much more comfortable. Since this is not available, I will buy a Kaoko throttle lock and install it.

After riding the three bikes, I had my choice narrowed down to the 2007 or newer FJR and a 2010 or newer Concours14.  Kawasaki did some good design changes in 2010 that helped with heat issues and added ABS / traction control as an option.  By 2011, ABS and traction control come as standard equipment.  My preference was a 2010 model because I like the blue option that was available.  I continued to read reviews and had myself convinced that I should go with the Kawasaki.  Everything I read had it at the top of the heap with only a BMW K1600GT consistently beating it.  Finding a used '10,'11, or '12 was proving to be difficult for this time of year so I decided to just wait until a good deal came along or maybe a screaming deal on the Yamaha and just buy a new seat.

While still deciding between the Yamaha and the Kawasaki, I wanted to be able to hop between the 2 to see if the seat on the Yamaha was the only thing holding me back from considering it more.  On my way home from visiting Surflexus in the hospital, I stopped by my local dealer because I figured they would have both in stock and I can compare the them in the same room.  Unfortunately they didn't have the FJR in stock so I spent all my time on the Concours.  The salesperson came over and asked me if I had any questions and I told him I was comparing the 2 bikes.  He asked the right questions and was very knowledgable about both bikes.  He asked when I was looking to buy one.  I was honest with him and said I was ready to get one but had no intention on buying new due to the cost.  He asked if he could at least give it a shot and I said sure.  They came back with a pretty attractive offer and 0% financing for 60 months.  Hmmmm, now the price discrepancy between a hard to find used bike and this brand new one was much less.  Granted, it is still a few thousand dollars more than used but dangit, I was ready to stop shopping and start riding again.  My car was going to be paid off in a couple of months so I basically would be trading that payment in for a new motorcycle payment with a little cash back each month.  That cash back hasn't happened yet since I keep buying motorcycle related things.  So, with a good offer presented, I called Stacie to ask if there was any major expense coming that I needed to know about before committing to purchasing the bike.  With a confirmation from her that we were in the clear, I said let's do it.  When I say, let's do it, apparently I was in the mood for the whole package.  I prepurchased 3 years worth of service work, got the extended warranty and even the tire / wheel warranty.  Normally I wouldn't consider most of this but two things helped ease the pain.  First, all of this would also be financed at 0% and second, if I don't use the extended warranty, I get that money back.  It's a gamble I know but I'm OK with it.

So after all of that, I ended up buying a new, black, 2012 Kawasaki Concours14 with single digit miles on the odometer.  The dealer had to do their normal prep work so I came back the following Monday to get a check out and take final delivery.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Netflix Plans Change

Anyone that is a Netflix subscriber, and those that aren't, have heard the news that the "Blockbuster killer" has changed the game again. Like many changes, this will benefit some and hurt others. Unfortunately for me, the way I use their service, I'm seeing a 60% increase in my monthly bill.

Now some of you will say the with Redbox and Blockbuster Express in the mix, we no longer need to get DVDs in the mail. For the most part I agree, but Netflix still has a better DVD library, especially for catching up on TV shows. Also, since I don't have HBO, I have to wait for DVD to see shows like Entourage, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones. HBO offers a great product but their monthly subscription rate is higher than even the new DVD subscription. I will admit, with the new HBO Go, I have been considering signing up for HBO since I can now watch shows on my iPhone, Stacie's iPad and our next TV.

One of my biggest problems with this deal is the overall DVD service from Netflix has changed quite a bit in the last couple of years. I feel with this rate increase on DVD service, they are double dipping with the savings they achieved by releasing new discs 28 days later than they used to do. They got quite a break from the studios when they made that move. Even with these savings, Netflix would rather not send out the physical discs. The shipping and inventory costs are increasing dramatically each year so it just makes sense to figure out how to get more subscribers at a lower cost per subscriber. With the ability to stream Netflix on so many devices, their customer base is increasing much faster without the need to increase their physical disc inventory. Admittedly, this was one of the reasons I initially bought my Blu-ray player and iPhone 4. I have not regretted the years of service I have enjoyed streaming shows from the SyFy and BBC America libraries. They are so committed to the streaming service that when Netflix is launched in Central and South America, it will be streaming only.

Netflix is not the only "villian" in this new strategy. Movie and TV studios must shoulder some of the scorn for the greed. They underestimated the deiree for the product and now want more for retransmission rights. Netflix had already signed a great deal with Starz but Starz and the studios have already stated that Netflix will not be getting the 'bargain' pricing went the contracts are renewed. It is estimated that the renewal rate could rise from $30 million this year to possible a couple of hundred million a year. That is just for one provider! This year we have already seen Netflix having to pull some movies from the instant streaming offering because "too many" people were taking advantage of the service and Sony siad it violated the agreement they had with Starz. Unfortunately for those of us that have cable / satellite service, this kind of thing is very common because of sports broadcasting. Whenever you hear athletes signing big contracts, we all will pay with higher cable rates because those costs are handed down to the end consumer. The owners / leagues start charging more the the right to carry games which in turn increases the costs to ESPN / Fox Sports, which gets charged the the cable / satellite providers and then eventually shows up in our monthly bills.

Who does this help beside just Netflix? People like my mother-in-law don't use the streaming service, so her bill actually went down $2 a month. Also, people that only do the streaming service will also see their bill go down by a couple of bucks. I think Redbox will see a good jump in their subscribership beginning next month and Amazon will probably see more people trying out their service just out of protest.

While I don't like the increase, it's still a great value compared to the old days of driving to the store and paying $4 a movie. With all of this in mind, I will continue to enjoy streaming on my devices and still get DVDs in the mail until the competitors offer the titles I'm looking to rent. I'm fully expecting the streaming service to be at $9.99 in a little over a year and probably be at $11.99 by the beginning of 2014 due to the higher and higher carriage rights that Netflix will be paying. I am also afraid that we also might be in a situation where the wired high speed provider start charging for data like the wireless providers currently do, but that's a post for another day.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ocala Poker

On Sunday, I drove from a bachelor party weekend in Destin to Orlando for a week long business trip.  I looked on the internet and found a poker room at the Jai-Alai place in Ocala where I could spend some time Sunday afternoon and evening.

The address didn't show in my GPS but I figured I would see some signs for it in Ocala.  I apparently blew right past it and didn't start looking for it until I actually hit Ocala. Since it wasn't in my GPS I looked it up on the trusty iPhone and realized it was 15 miles back up I-75. According to the website, it is "located half way between Gainesville and Ocala." D'oh! Truth be told, I was distracted by all of the Cafe Risque billboards. So back the way I came for another 20 minutes and then I finally found the place. It is in the middle of nowhere but sure enough, they had 1/1, 1/2, and 2/5 games running.

I bought in for $100 at the 1/1 and immediately played 1 hand before getting moved to my seat at the 1/2.  We had a couple of gamblers at this table that would see flops. One of the gamblers was pretty good and was running great. He was a young kid that used to deal there. He was good at extracting value and putting people on hands. He had the deadly combo of running great and getting paid.  He flopped a set of kings 3 times in less than 2 hours and got paid every time.  I didn't get involved in to many pots in the first hour or two and was slowly getting blinded away.  I tried to steal some pots but usually got push off pots when I got a caller or 2 and then a raise. To induce a little more action or fight boredom, I started doing some straddles and that would build the pot a little better.  My timing was pretty good because I was able to hit some good flops whenever I did straddle.  This got me back over the original buy-in and then the heater began.

I'm in the big blind and we have some early position action with almost everyone calling behind so I complete with the almighty 4,7 offsuit.  The flop comes out a terrific 4,4,7 with 2 diamonds.  Weeeeeee!  I do my usual early position check and let the action unfold.  We get a bet, a raise, and a call by the time it gets to me.  I grabbed some raising chips but then put them back and just called.  Yikes, major tell there.  I clearly wanted the diamond draw to come and I couldn't have advertised it any better.  Sure enough, the turn brings the 3rd diamond.  I check again to see how the flush draw that got there was gonna play.  The first guy checks and the other gambling guy puts out a good size bet.  The tightest player at the table is next to act and just calls.  Now its to me and I have about $50 more left after I call so I go ahead and push all in.  The gambling dude thinks for a bit and calls.  Now it's to the tightest player at the table.  He thinks for a couple of minutes and folds.  We flip over our cards and he's got 4,6 and is drawing dead.  He actually caught his boat on the river but mine was better.  The tight player showed us the nut flush that he folded.  Damn old rockie coots!

This put me back to being up slightly over a buy-in.  After folding for the next 5 hand,  I was ready to leave because I still had 1.5 hours to go to my hotel. I grabbed an empty rack to put my chips in after the next hand. I had 2 more free hands before I was big blind. I look down at UTG+1 and have 2 black Aces. I make it 11, a short stack behind me calls and the guy I just doubled through earlier makes it $25. I have about 210ish in front of me and am willing to just take this pot and book a +150 win for the night so I push. The shortie call his last 30 or so and the other guy thinks and finally calls. Fortunately, he had recently topped up and won a pot so he had over 200 total. The shortie has AJ and we all know what the poor bastard with the big stack had, KK. I quietly ask for my hand to hold. How many times have we lost it all on the "last hand" that we intended on playing, or the 1 after we should have quit? The flop is a wonderful wiff with no draws for either. The turn seals the deal with another ace and I rake one of the biggest pots of my life. I tip the dealer and tell him I'm done. I told the table that I wasn't hitting and running, it was already my last hand. They were cool with it and said they saw me grab the rack before the hand started.

I didn't play particularly well. I had too many tells that I caught myself doing and at least 2 of the other players saw them also. I did make some good laydowns and never really got myself in trouble. I was card dead for a while and bled down to a $40 or slightly below before I went on the heater by winning a couple of good pots and then the biggie.

Since I have a coworker riding back with me tomorrow and I'm so ready to be home, I will have to skip the Ocala Poker Room on the return trip.  I don't expect to be back in the area any time soon, especially not by myself, so who knows when my next casino poker session will be.  I was going to try to meet some friends over in Tunica, but the flooding has put those plans on hold for a bit.  I will have to live vicariously through the bloggers that are in Vegas right now and follow the progress of the winner of our home game league that will be playing an event any day now.  My 2% interest in him could be worth tens of dollars if all goes well.

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Conclusion of Season 1 of Survivor Poker: Donkey Island

Well season 1 is in the books and I think it turned out great.  My run came to end a couple of weeks ago when I wasn't able to survive my heads up match against SmBoatDrinks.  I played it really hard but just could never put it away.  I played both the nuts and rags for almost an hour before he finished me.  I don't do alot of heads up play but I was very happy with my play.  While we both had some suckouts, I was on the brutal side of too many to snag the victory.

I was able to finish the series off with a win in the dime rebuy.  I had to pump 20 double rebuys in before I was able to hold on to a stack and then I went on a monster tear.  In just a few hands, I went from 2,000 with a fresh rebuy to around 125K.  Once I got that stack, I never looked back.  Funny thing is, I wasn't able to build it up again too much until we lost half the players at the final table.  I was able to keep taking enough pots to pay for the blinds and keep others from scooping too many pots.  Not even I could blow a lead with a stack that big and eventually took the top prize which netted me almost 13 whole dollars, American even!

This was the game that would decide who would get the guarantee pay day.  Simply put, the last of the two candidates standing would secured 40% of our Survivor's pool money. This came out to be a little over $120.  With momentum from our heads up match and after VeryJosie decided to bring him to the final two, SmBoatDrinks was able to last longer than her.

After the tournament was over, Buddy was able to announce the voter's choice to receive 60% of our Survivor's pool good for a slightly less than $200.  With a close vote, VeryJosie was crowned our first champion.  Congratulations to both players.

Ahhh, what could have been?  I had a real good shot at some of the prize pool.  I certainly floundered in the beginning and was apparently clueless when the teams merged.  That was when my immunity winning skills came to good use.  I still can't help but wonder what would have happened if the 3 outers didn't hit so much during the heads up game.  I could have also played a few hands better but looking back I realize what I did get out of it all.  It was a nice mix of cashes, great conversations and I got to know XKM1245 and Turtle a little better.  Hanging with Buddy, Jo, and Numbbono on BDR is always a treat and I hope I added to the entertainment.

A big thanks goes out to all of those that put this together and contributed extra dollars along the way - Buddy, Julius Goat, Heffmike, AlCantHang.  I think we have begun to expect all of this free, extra money or at the very least we take it for granted.  Whether there is a BBT6 or not, let's not forget BBT 1-5, the WPBT gathering goodies and what we got for Season 1 here.  As part of the poker blogger community, we all know many people who are employeed by the major poker playing and reporting sites.  Let's make sure we let them know how much we appreciate them and their companies throughout the year, not just during the freebie madness times.