WSOP Poker League

For the past few years I’ve been involved in a poker league.  Each season the three winners are sent to Las Vegas to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event.  The tournament costs $10,000 and first place pays millions.  It is every poker player’s dream to play in it.

I’ve been working hard on my game and made it to the top of the group.  My buddy Walt won a seat right off by having the most points of the season.  There was a one table tournament where the top two would win $11,200 each.  The ten thousand dollar entry plus money for flight, room and expenses.

I went in with a plan and won a seat along with Paulie.  So, Walt, Paulie and me are going to play in the WSOP in July. I am incredibly excited.  Then I won or cashed in a few more tournaments so I have some real spending money for Vegas.  My wife just retired so her and my daughter can go with me.  This is a dream come true.




I’ve decided to reboot this blog.

Since I last wrote so much has happened.  I retired in 2011 to take care of my younger brother who had colon cancer.  Endless doctors, chemo and radiation until his death in May of 2012.  Soon after my mother found out she had lung cancer.  It was once again up to me to get her to the same doctors, chemo an radiation.  We spend a lot of time together until her death in September of 2013.  I was exhausted but soon after I found out my other brother had mouth cancer after years of tobacco and alcohol abuse.  I spent the last couple of years taxiing him around and handling all of his medical appointments and surgeries.  During all this I was also caregiver for my father-in-law.

My brother got better and my father-in-law passed in February.  Finally I was free to be retired person and throw myself into the things I loved like poker and music.  I began taking my guitar playing seriously and my poker even more so.

A lot is  happening and I will be updating regularly.

Things That Annoy Me #63

I got this in the mail yesterday.



My birthday was a couple weeks ago and it felt like a card or invitation.  Look at the return address.  I don’t know anyone in El Segundo, Ca but know a lot of people with the surname Thomas.

I opened it and found this.



with this



This was purposefully deceptive.   I will NEVER use DirecTV,  If they are this deceptive with their advertising then how can they be trusted with my billing or other business practices.

When I’m driving my car and ad come on for auto dealerships many they all have disclaimers at the end.  Some have the person speaking very fast and add on oscillating sounds to make it nearly impossible to understand what they are saying.  It is an obviously deceptive practice.  Why would anyone buy a car from a place that is willing to be deceptive.  What make them think that they would be honest in their business practices if they are dishonest in other facets of their business.

Chess and Columbo

I practice guitar, banjo and ukulele for hours every day.  Sometimes I will put onb6d154e733a95e506e38ee1752901b77 the television while I practice.  Especially if I am just playing the same piece over and over.   Usually I will put Netflix on and watch on the TV via my chromecast.  Recently I started watching Columbo again.  I haven’t seen it in nearly forty years and I’m surprised how well it holds up.

To the uninitiated and the young Columbo is a detective series that is the opposite of a who done it.  The murder is shown in the beginning along with the murderer.  Detective comes in much later and the fun is watching him catch the bad guy.  All of his cases are celebrities and people with money.  He is rumpled and obviously not in their social class.  He annoys the hell out of them.  The murderers all think they are smarter than this bumbling detective.  It’s a joy.

This morning I was watching Season 2 Episode 7 called The Most Dangerous Match.  Now I love Coumbo and I love this episode but some things about the chess are hilarious.

At one point the world champion mentions a game between Alekhine and Casablanca played in 1914.  Columbo seems amazed that the world champion can remember the game.  Ha!  Every serious chessplayer that I know can do that.  We can quote hundreds of games.  I can demonstrate The Evergreen Game played in Berlin in 1852 between Adolf Anderssen and Jean Dufresne or The Immortal Game played by Adolf Anderssen and Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London.   We remember chess games the way emo girls know Hawthorne Heights songs.

Two things made me laugh out loud during the episode.  Both were during a simultaneous exhibition.  The world champion has invited ten players to play against him in the exhibition.  You’d have to assume them to be competent chessplayers but look at this chess set that the woman is using!

photo (5)

This the same $2 chess set that eight year-0ld kids use.  I’ve played in dozens of exhibitions and I’d be embarrassed playing a grandmaster with this set.  I can assume that anyone who would be worthy to play would have a real set.

Then the true howler comes in.  Columbo is harassing the poor chess genius during the exhibition and the world champion loses in two moves!!!

Here is the game:

1. f4 e6
2.g4 Qh4 checkmate!

This is called Fool’s Mate.  This is the Bigfoot of chess games.  It is so bad and obvious that you never see it in the real world.  That a world champion could play this (even under Columbo’s duress) is unbelievable.  I am a pretty good chessplayer but nowhere near a grandmaster.  I wouldn’t make that move if I was drunk, high on meth and had substantial brain damage.

World chess

I loved the episode.   The chess was crap but it usually is on tv.  The real chess game was between Columbo and Grandmaster Emmett Clayton.

One last thing.  The criminals in the show are usually celebrities and/or people with a lot of money.  I doubt if more than 2% of his cases would win a conviction in court.

Fourth Colonoscopy and Time to Breathe

I had my fourth colonoscopy in three months yesterday morning.  There had been a couple spots on my colon that were suspicious.  The surgeon has been scraping away at them trying to get rid of the bad tissue and down to good tissue.  Good news is that he finally got rid of it.  He then said, “It was on the verge of being cancer“.

I’m okay.  I have to have another colonoscopy in two months but I’ve dodged a bullet.  One that my two brothers and assorted relatives haven’t.  I can breathe.

For the past couple months things have been on hold because of these colonoscopies.  I fast for three days and on the fourth have the procedure then take a few days to recover.  Finally I will be able to put it at the back of my mind.

It’s time to get back to my life.

Memorial Day

My father died in a car accident on Memorial Day 1967.  I was ten years old and he was forty-two.  I thought he had lived a long life.

As a UPS driver the route I had traversed the spot where he died.  I crossed it twice a day for over thirty years and thought about him every time.

He wasn’t much of a father.  He drank and was seldom home.  I spent my youth looking for someone to say one nice thing about him.  I never heard a nice story or one good thing.  The only thing my older sister would say when asked was, “He was never there.”  My brother only spoke once of him to say, “He was the meanest son of a bitch who ever lived.”  My brother and sister have both passed so I’ll never get any more. Oh well.

I know so little about him.  I know he graduated from Eaton High School  He fought in WWII in the South Pacific.  I have a box full of photographs.  I would have loved to ask him about them, opportunities lost. I know where he worked and where he drank.  I would give anything for a conversation that will never happen.



I Needed a Filter on my Gene Pool

As I mentioned in my last post my colonoscopy went well.  I have another one in a few weeks and then one a year for the rest of my life.

Coincidentally my first cousin just had genetic testing.  She had colon cancer, as did her father and brother.  Thankfully she is well now.  Turns out she has Lynch Syndrome or Hereditary Nonpolyposis Colorectal Cancer Syndrome (HNPCC). It is a mutation in the MSH2 gene.  It all makes sense now.  Men with Lynch Syndrome have a 60% to 80% lifetime risk of colorectal cancer and women have a 40% to 60% lifetime risk of endometrial cancer.

It’s important that everyone in the family gets genetic testing.  I’ll be in contact and getting the word out.

Lynch Syndrome