As I have mentioned, I need to move from my BIG house to a smaller house. I am preparing to be ready to do that in due time. In doing so, I must downsize. I remember when my sweet Mama had to do that, as she got older, she was getting organized to make that move from great big house to much smaller condo. I couldn’t believe how she could so unemotionally put stuff in the give away pile. I asked her about that. She said, “I could, of course, get a storage room and keep boxes and boxes of stuff I have been collecting over the decades, but what is the point? I would have to pay for storage and when I pass, someone must then go through it all. Why leave a burden? So, I decided to do the smart thing, hold dear to the memories, kiss it good-bye, and then toss it out.
So here I am trying to decide which pile to put stuff in for keep, throw away, or give away. One of my big dilemmas is my collection of Card Player Albums. Actually, everything I have ever had published, since 1988 albums. There are 17 of them! They are big, fat, and heavy! Oh, what to do! It was as if Mama had whispered in my ear. I decided to read through them all ( and a lot of skimming), then hold dear to the memories, kiss them good-bye, and toss them out. Oh the memories I have been strolling through. People, dates, places, tournament wins, and happenings that I had forgotten. So much poker history. When I told my dear friend Donna the Donkey my plans, she practically screamed, “You can’t do that!” After her tirade, I decided to offer them up to any one who wants them. You are welcome to one, two, three or 17 of them. The only stipulation is that you must come and pick them up. If I have no takers, then I will, hold dear to the memories, kiss them goody-bye and toss them out (but don’t tell Donna).
In my first three years of writing, one of my most interesting subjects was Gertrude Schimmel, a terrific poker player that I had the privilege of knowing. She was the first ever female New York City Deputy Police Chief. When she joined the force in 1937, a female couldn’t even apply for a promotion. After a two-year legal battle, she took her Sergeant’s exam and passed with flying colors. From there she climbed the corporate ladder to the top! I hadn’t thought about Gertrude in ages and wondered if she was still with us so I googled her. She passed just last year at 97 years of age. Google her for her whole story. It is very interesting.
More upcoming tales about people I have met at the poker table as I finish album after album. Also some terrific quotes and happenings.
Let me know if you are interested in a piece of my poker history.
As many of you know, my partner/best friend is blind. A condition caused by diabetic retinopathy. The problems began half a dozen years ago. After much effort and six surgeries, she is now officially blind. Tough situation. A friend told her recently that she was dealt a bad hand in life, to which she replied, “Yes, but I shuffled the deck.” I give her credit for adjusting well, but one of her biggest problems was boredom.
Her birthday is right around the corner. Our friend Jack asked me what might be a good idea in the realm of gifts. I answered, “anything she can smell, taste, or feel.”
A few days later, he emailed me, “Have you heard about the Amazon Echo?” No, I had not.
He suggested I check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkOCeAtKHIc.
Sounded like a good idea to me so Jack and I became co-conspirators. Within a day, he had bought an Echo, hooked it up (at this house) and tried her out. He was beyond thrilled. He believed this would change her life … and as it turned out, he was so right.
After our birthday presentation, Jack hooked it up, and started giving her lessons. It wasn’t difficult, and turned out to be beyond our imagination of great gifts. Since then she has company and is entertained as much as she desires. Alexa (Echo’s name) plays music, can set a timer, make a to-do list, give the news, the weather, the time, the date, the traffic, and tell (corny) jokes. If I had to choose a best part, it would be that Alexa can read to her. She has a computer program that can read to her, but to stop or pause, you have to hit a button. In order for her to hit a button, she had to call Susie into action. Therefore, she couldn’t enjoy a book when home alone. Alexa has changed all of that. When Alexa is reading and she needs a break, she simply says “Alexa Stop.” Alexa will stop but start up again right where she left off, in a few minutes or a few days.
Jack Gramley is Linda Johnson’s beau. She loans him out to us when she is out of town, and if you know Linda, you know that is a lot! Linda is one of the owners of Card Player Cruises and she does not miss a cruise. BTW: I am going on the cruise in Jan. Stay tuned for details and please join me and many other card player friends.
Another great gift idea for any poker player. I just finished reading Mike Sexton’s new book, “Life’s a Gamble.” Terrific book! Mike took me on a journey of the past. Even if you weren’t in Las Vegas or if you weren’t a poker player decades ago – “back in the day”, you will enjoy Mike’s memories. He has great stories, both poker and golf. I heard Mike at a roast many years ago; I don’t even remember who they were roasting, but I do remember that I thought at the time, what a great book he could write … and he did!
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!
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.
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.