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Movies and Poker

I usually wait for movies to come to Red Box or even on TV but lately, I’ve been on a “movie in the theater” kick. Our local cinema has the wonderful recliner seats and Wednesdays are Seniors Specials. Just $4.00 for a movie. The popcorn is still exorbitant but with an AARP card, you can get a break on refreshments. I had a left over from Christmas, Regal gift card, so I was a cheap date. (I took myself to the movies.) A couple of weeks ago, I saw “Bad Moms.” You would think this would be a family movie. You would be wrong. After being in the poker world for decades, you could think my ears would be accustomed to harsh, even vile language; you would be wrong. This movie was overflowing with very unfamily-friendly language. Funny in some parts, totally unnecessary in others. Glad I didn’t pay $12.00 to see this one, but it was worth $4.00. A nice break from real life.

Most recently, I saw “Florence Foster Jenkins.” I love true stories and this one was a hoot. A sweet, yet unusual love story. A lot of laughs and well done by Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, and Simon Helberg. Streep will likely win another Academy Award for this one and who knew Grant could dance? One dance scene was incredible! I wish I could have rewound it and watched it several times. Helberg (Howard on “The Big Band Theory”) is a magnificent pianist!) Who knew? I heard other movie goers talking about his talent. They said the producers romanced him for the part; not only for his appearance but also for his talent. You don’t have to be a music lover to enjoy this movie.

Now I anxiously await the movie “Sully”, opening in early Sept.9. I love the true story and I love Tom Hanks.

I also anxiously await the upcoming documentary about Women in Poker. A little backstory: Jan Fisher and Linda Johnson were having dinner one night, a couple of years ago, at a Japanese restaurant where folks share a table. They met and started talking to some  folks in town for a convention. Turns out these folks were movie makers in general, documentaries in particular. “What a great idea for a documentary!” They said after hearing about Jan and Linda’s careers. And that was the beginning. I was delighted to be asked to participate and can’t wait to see the outcome.

On another subject: Attention all mixed game poker players. Binion’s is turning back the clock to the way poker used to be. Beginning this Friday, Aug. 26, at 3 P.M. they will be spreading mixed game tournaments four days a week, including Triple Stud (my favorite), Mixed Triple Draw, Mixed Pot limit and HORSE. Buy-ins range from $125 to $200. Call Binion’s for details, 702-382-1600. I hope to see you there!

The Traveling Desserts

It has been and will continue to be, a long hot summer in Las Vegas. The World Series of Poker has come and gone and I am sorry to have to admit that I, personally, had a rather dismal series. Certainly nothing to brag about. However, playing and winning is only part of the fun and excitement of the WSOP. Every summer, we celebrate what has become known as “Ladies Week”. It is always the days surrounding the Ladies World Championship. Lots of parties, tournaments, and get togethers happen at this time. This year, the Raes hosted a 4th of July dinner at a local restaurant, followed by desserts and  watching fireworks  from their backyard. This year, their dinner was, of course decorated with red, white and blue. The patriotic decorations, followed by patriotic music by a quartet, and a surprise gift, an acappella solo by poker friend, Georgia Napolitano. Georgia is the daughter of Mark and Tina Napolitano. What a voice this young woman has been blessed with! Her spontaneous rendition of “The National Anthem”  gave most goosebumps and many patriotic tears and definitely brought down the house. After the standing ovation, my BFF Hermie, who has been blind for a number of years, was motivated to speak to the crowd. She said, “In 1951, my life began in the Hawaiian Islands. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state. All my life I have been very proud to be an American. When I lost my vision, things were tough, but at least I couldn’t see the awful things that were happening in this world and in our country. Tonight, I am glad to tell you that I ‘hear’ the American spirit is alive and well!”  Another emotional and patriotic moment that brought down the house!

After a memorable dinner and entertainment, we all traveled the short distance to the Raes, where there was an assortment of desserts that, as my friend Della would say, could make you slap your Pappa. (This is a very good thing, she assures me.) The list of confections would make any bakery envious.

The following evening, Shirley our poker friend from Lake Tahoe had a “Sweet Suite Party” for a bunch of the girls. Shirley had a connection and managed to get a beautiful suite at one of the major casinos. The only man present was James Gilmore. James is a Professor of Communications and Journalism and Screen Studies at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He was there with Dr. Tracy Halcomb, a Professor of Communications at Flager College in St. Augustine, Florida. If what I am about to tell you is a big secret, nobody told me. James and Tracy were in town putting finishing touches on a Documentary about “Women in Poker.” Even after filming, there is a lot of work before the finished product is ready to view, but I’ll certainly let you know.

Shirley’s Sweet Suite party offered all the leftover desserts from Doralee’s 4th of July party plus some new additions.

The following day, the film crew and 10 poker playing gals came to my house for lunch and a poker game for the film. What a dessert spread we had … all the sweets from Doralee’s and Shirley’s parties were on display and attacked again.

Even for those of us who did not win a huge hunk of money, we certainly were winners in the friendship department.

 

 

Here We Go Again!

From the time I was six or seven years old until my 15th year, I looked forward to summer camp with much anticipation.  It was as exciting a time in my young life as was Christmas. Perhaps more so because it lasted longer. I knew I would meet up with old friends and make new ones. I knew that if all went well, I would have great challenges with great rewards!  Unlike today, where kids get awards for showing up, we had to win to collect a prize or trophy, either our team or us as individuals, depending on the competition. We had to practice, play well, and get lucky in order to win. Today, as a 60 something adult I look forward to our poker summer camp with just as much anticipation as my childhood self looked forward to four weeks at Youth Incorporated Camp.
Today I was putting together a calendar of events that I am interested in, and what is going on where, during our Poker Summer Camp in Las Vegas.  I would have to have the energy of a 21-year-old on speed and a Trump wealth bankroll to play all that I would like to play. However, today, with the huge growth in poker competition, one does not have to have the wealth. Just a normal bankroll will do. A moderate bankroll might not get you into a world championship event, but it sure as heck can get you into some of the side tournaments, which will be happening all over Las Vegas from the middle of this month, everyday, all day and evening, through the middle of July. I plan to use these smaller buy-in tournaments to satellite into the events that I hope to play at the 2016 World Series of Poker. Whew! If you are going to be in the city and you are a poker player who loves competition and the possibility of turning an average, even a small bankroll into a major win, check it out: Aria, Binions, Golden Nugget, Venetian, Wynn and of course, the WSOP at the Rio. Good luck dear peeps, unless I am in your pot!
On another subject, I saw a good movie the other day, “Mother’s Day.” Many would call this a chick flick, but if you’re a guy type person, and go to see this movie and claim not to enjoy it, you’re a liar! It’s not very often that a feel good, funny movie with a deep message comes along. Do yourself a favor, go see it!
On yet another subject, another great review for you: The Horseshoe Casino Poker room in Tunica, Miss. The room and the employees are terrific! I had the pleasure of visiting Tunica (and Memphis, Beale Street and B.B. Kings ) with the Senior Poker Tour March 30 – April 5. What a great time! I had not been there for a couple of years, but I am happy to report that nothing has changed from the great Southern cooking to the truly outstanding poker room staff.

Sitting on Top

When everything was real good in life, my Daddy used to say, “Sitting on Top.” I am so happy to tell the world that as of yesterday, I am sitting on top! I  haven’t been there in quite awhile and it feels so good to be back. First, my best friend had a mammogram a couple of months ago and they didn’t like what they saw. She had a follow-up mammogram and a lump was discovered. The next step was a biopsy. Holy hell, it was malignant! The next step was a lumpectomy. That took place last Thurs. April 7. Then it was time for the waiting game. The hardest part was not to think about the worse case scenario. And then, finally, the “verdict”. I took her for her follow-up visit yesterday, April 13. The Doctor, who ironically looked so much like my father that it floored me, was very pleased with the outcome. He was proud to announce that he got it all and the lymph nodes were clear. Hallelujah!
To top off my sitting on top, I am going to Tunica for the Senior Poker Tour April 20-24. There will be lots of poker action and lots of seniors! I decided long ago, when I played my first ever senior’s tournament at the WSOP that Senior’s tournaments were my favorite. It is poker the way it used to be, friendly, lots of smiles and laughs, kind, and no rammer jammer young, pants-on-the-ground punks. Hooray for Senior’s poker Tournaments, and hooray for Tunica Horseshoe.
To add icing on my cake of life, my wonderful son, Doug will be visiting me while I am there. He lives in Springfield, TN. which is just outside of Nashville and not too far a drive to Tunica. I raised a fine young man, if I do say so myself. Listen to the Tim McGraw song, “Humble and Kind” – that is my son.
If you would like to see me or meet me, or play poker against me, or meet my son, join me in Tunica at the Horseshoe April 20-24. For more information or to book a room, check their website. For more Senior Poker Tour tournament info. check out seniorpokertour.com. There is even going to be a Card Player Cruise Senior Poker Tour!
Hope to see you in Tunica!

Ladies International Poker Series

If you have time to spare, go by air! What a mess the airports were, coming and going! I could have driven home for the hours I had to wait (along with another zillion unhappy travelers.) When I am super wealthy, I am going to buy a jet like Trumps and avoid all that hassel!
I just returned from 4 days in Reno where I joined the LIPS (Ladies International Poker Series) for Nevada State Ladies Poker championship at the classy and beautiful Peppermill Casino. I didn’t win a dime, but I had such a good time, greeting old friends and meeting new ones.
There is a documentary movie being made about Ladies in Poker and we got to see a preview. When Jan and Linda were approached about this project, believe me, they had heard this pitch before. Both thought, “Yea, yea a movie, sure, prove it.” And then, if it went any further, the possible producers would eventually come back to them and request help with financing. Not this time. This group actually got a grant, made a promo then got a bigger grant from a University to complete the project. It is all very exciting.
Ladies tournaments are different. Believe me, I would rather play the men as the ladies are double tough. They are tough, but they are also softies. One of the Peppermill ‘s cocktail waitresses was “great with child.” She was having a terrible time delivering all the drinks and bottles of water. Not only did some of the girls help her out, one of them took up a tip collection. Baby needs new shoes, sure enough. That baby will end up with new baby furniture to go with the shoes. These gals are generous!
One of the funniest stories I heard was when Della told her boyfriend that she was getting to the age where she was considering having a little work done, so perhaps she could look as young as she feels. He was ardently opposed to the idea. He assured her that she looked just fine and did not need to spend her hard-earned money on such vanity. Not long after, Della showed him a picture of a beautiful woman, a poker player, on the beach during one of the fabulous Card Player Cruises. For all of us who know and love this lady, she is one knock-out-good-looking woman. And, as Della explained to her fellow, she and this poker lady are about the same age. He then said, “Honey, it’s your money and if you want to spend it on improving yourself, so what if it’s vanity. You go for it!”
Congratulations to all the winners and a special congrats to Linda Johnson, our First Lady of Poker, for making the final table in all three events and winning the first one! LJ, as many of us call her, is one hell of a poker player! Creme de la creme, indeed!
Don’t miss the next big LIPS reunion, during Ladies Week during the World Series of Poker, in Las Vegas this coming July. Go to Ladies International Poker Series for dates, times, and places. Hope to see you there!

Time Flies

Time flies when you’re having fun … and it seems, at my age, it flies even if you’re not having so much fun, it just flies by!
How about those politics these days! I have never been so “into” an election until this one. I’ve always kept up, but never found it very interesting and certainly not exciting; not until this year! I can hardly wait to see who is going to say what next, or bark, or cuss!
I have learned a new word this election cycle. My friend and extreme liberal, Nolan Dolla writes a regular blog – me too if you count at least once a quarter, regular. Nolan writes every day and he always has something interesting to say. It may be a restaurant review, or a movie review, something personal, or politics – he is campaigning hard for Bernie Sanders. I’m afraid if Nolan gets much further to the left, he might fall off the earth! Anyway, Nolan recently wrote an essay on “Push Polling”. A term I had never heard of. Eye-opening, indeed!  If you don’t know what Push Polling is, ask your smart phone. Better yet, follow Nolan on Twitter: @nolandalla.
I’ve been playing at the Venetian. No score yet, but a story to tell. I usually don’t tell bad-beat stories but this one is worth sharing. I was in decent shape about half way through the tournament when I picked up those beautiful pocket Aces in early position. I raised and got five callers (that’s four too many!) The flop came 3, Q, K rainbow. I bet out pretty big to narrow the field which I accomplished. I had only one opponent, he thought he was cock of the walk all day. He was super aggressive and making a lot of hands. There was now a backdoor flush draw and I didn’t want that to happen so I moved in. He called and beat me with K-Q, two pair. He was so cocky. You know, that isn’t necessary just after putting a bad-beat on someone. Ten minutes later, same scenario: I had pocket Aces again, again I raised and this time I got two callers. After a safe flop of 2, 10, K rainbow, I bet. Only one caller, Mr. Cocky Britches.  He had been so aggressive and I knew if I checked; he would bet. I did just that on the turn and as soon as he bet, I check-raised him, and he moved in. I called. He had K-Q again! I had him until a Q fell on the river. To cap this story, the next three times I had pocket Aces online, they got crushed by a variety of hands. I still love it when I peek at pocket Aces.
On the lighter poker side. I went to Choctaw Casino in Durant, OK. last month. I met a slew of girlfriends there for a couple of WSOP Circuit events. I played two, the ladies and the Seniors. I landed in the money in both, 11th in the Ladies and 15th in the Seniors for a total cash of almost 3K. Not bad for two days work! Had a ball! A highlight was when the chip leader of the Seniors event, super duper aggressive, kept raising my blind every time he was on the button or in the small blind to my big blind, if no one had opened the pot. After the third time, I decided that I was going to move in the next time he did it. I had a nice stack and we were getting close to the money. That time came. I didn’t look at my cards so I couldn’t chicken out. His jaw dropped. He thought and thought, then decided he was pot committed so he called. Time to turn our cards over. He had a 3-8. I had a Q-2. Lots of dropped jaws. I won the hand with Q high and the table talk was amazing. I felt like a hero and I was so proud of myself!
Many have asked me about my friend Miss Dee. She is still with us, but not doing so good. I called her for an update before I sat down to write this. She said, “One day at a time Sweet Jesus … and sometimes it’s on an hourly basis.” She is now in a lot of pain. Miss Dee has always been overweight. And like me she has tried over and over again to lose some weight. Over the last year, she has not had to try. She has lost 85 lbs. She was pretty tickled about that and especially when the doctor told her to eat dessert and try not to lose anymore. She said that she never thought she would hear those words in her life. She can still talk on the phone and if she’s in too much pain, she doesn’t answer: 727-784-0515 or drop her a note, she loves that and has gotten notes and cards from all over the world. Miss Dee Cay, 2755 Curlew Rd. # 172, Palm Harbor, FL.  34684.
I’ll leave you with, if are not in pain and you are reasonably healthy and you can SEE, take a minute and say a prayer of gratitude.

Snail Mail Still Exists

Death. Not a very pleasant thought at Christmas time. Birth, a time for celebration and happiness. Let’s face it. Death is as much a part of our lives as birth. We’re all going to face it … someday. The older we get, the more we think about it. Not a damn thing we can do about it, so we just accept it and go on. Would you like to know if you only had six months or three or two left on this earth? My friend, Miss Dee just informed me that this will be her last Christmas. She had been back to the doctor and found out, she has 6 months, at most. I have written about her before, my friend for over 45 years. Boy, that’s a long time. I became a part of her family, I guess because she has no family, just “chosen family” – her good friends. I can’t imagine facing half what she has gone through in the last few years without my family. Miss Dee is stuck in the 90’s. She has never gotten around to a computer or any of our modern technological advances. A highlight of her life are a few favorite TV programs, telephone calls, and mail (snail mail.) I send her a note or a card often. She has a good attitude and told me that when she “goes” to the other side, when I saw a rainbow or a water fall, to think of her. I said, “No, I want you to whisper in my ear.” She said she would try.
Want to do a good deed at Christmas? If you remember how snail mail works, send her a card. She would love that. The last time I made this request, she got almost 100 cards and post cards over a period of a few months. She talks about it every time we talk. It meant so much to her. People from all over the world contacted her, just to say Hi, or I am a friend of Susie’s, or I am praying for you. She was thrilled. I admit, and she knows it, I carried addressed post cards around with me for months. I don’t have time to do the postcard scheme again. But you do have time to make a lonely person smile at Christmas time. What a gift!
Miss Laurie “Miss Dee” Cay
2755 Curlew Rd  #172
Palm Harbor, FL
  34884-4829
When I last spoke with her she said, “I am not afraid, not at all. As a matter of fact I look forward to no more pain; I look forward to dancing again in my purple poodle skirt, I look forward to seeing a lot of people I have not seen in a long time, just please tell my friends to pray that I will have an easy transition.”
If you have time to do nothing else, take a few seconds and whisper a prayer for my friend Miss Dee.
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