Saturday, July 24, 2010

Progressive Tipping

I think it's customary to write trip reports on poker blogs, especially when your travel takes you to Las Vegas, the Mecca of gambling. And I'm sorry if I've let you down. Rest assured that the lack of stories does not in any way correspond to an uneventful time. I had a great time, and a lot of fun things happened, but today I'll just focus on one of them: My experiment with progressively increasing tips for the poker room cocktail waitress.

The idea is simple: I tip the standard $1 the first time she brings me a beer. Then I up it to $2 the second time around, etc. I didn't explicitly mention my intention of doing it - hell, I didn't even have the intention of doing it until I was already well under way. Besides, cocktail waitresses seem to have a very sophisticated sense of tip, so I feel confident that most of them will pick up on it without having to be told.

The end result of this was that as the session went on, my beers became more and more frequent, which is hardly surprising. But here's the kicker: About 90 minutes into the session, my waitress came by our table and went up to me and offered me a last Corona (my beverage of choice this evening). I say "offered" and "last" because

1) I hadn't ordered it (I was still working on the last one she had brought me), and
2) she was getting off her shift but wanted to make sure I wasn't without a drink in the time it would take the next waitress to start her shift and get to our table.

So: She had ended her shift and brought me a beer (that I had not - yet - requested) on her way out. Out of kindness and generosity and care for customers? Maybe. But I bet she also wanted the $7 tip that was coming. So that was funny in its own right.

What made it even more fun is that BelgoSuisse (from Cardschat) who was sitting two seats to my right had tried to order a beer from her just a few minutes prior to her bringing me this Corona and had been told "no, sorry, I'm getting off my shift now." Had I known about this exchange as she brought me the last drink, I would have tipped her $20, because that's awesome.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Yesterday, we had our first home-grown salad: Tomatoes and lettuce, with a sprinkle of (our own) parsley and then cheating a bit by adding some store-bought olive oil and garlic. I can honestly say that I'm not sure I ever want to buy tomatoes again. If you've never had home-grown tomatoes, you don't know what tomatoes taste like. I kid you not. There's just such a huge difference in sweetness, texture and aroma that it's not comparable. The best analogy I can come up with is comparing Heinz Ketchup to a really old bottle of generic ketchup mixed with two parts of water.

There's another thing that's in bloom and maturing wonderfully, and that's Sean Gibson's career as a poker reporter. Sean and I go back a few years from CardsChat, but I got to meet him last year in Las Vegas, when he was trying to break into the world of poker reporting. He had some various writing jobs, among others for PokerTableRatings, but at the time (if I'm not mistaken) his future was pretty much up in the air. I got the feeling that he wasn't sure if it was going to work out or not.

Fast forward one year, and we have who I can honestly say I consider the best on-camera poker reporter in the world right now. To combine the two traits of actually knowing what he's talking about and at the same time keeping the interviews light-hearted and being able to connect with the interviewee and make them feel relaxed is, I think, unprecedented in this (admittedly so far relatively small) field. Privately, he seems to have changed as well; more relaxed, much more confident and overall having that look of someone who's really, really enjoying his job and his life, and that's just awesome.

Sean, my friend, you're the home-grown tomato of poker reporting. Keep it up.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Next Stop: Vegas

Heading out tomorrow morning, and should be at the Venetian around 11:30, by my calculations. Taking only a carry-on and checking in online cuts the airport time down to a minimum, which. Is. Awesome. I really don't like airports. To me, they're buildings with thousands of people who can't wait to get out of there, which makes the overall mood in the place pretty damp. Whatever, I'll have my book. Or books, rather, seeing as there's three of them in my bag.

Once in Las Vegas, I'll be meeting up with Debi almost immediately for lunch. After that, I have exactly zero plans - and that's how I like it. Will I play poker? Who knows. Maybe. I'm bringing some change just in case, but I don't expect I'll be spending a ton of time at the tables, unless for hanging out with friends who want to play.

I'm excited about going there, I'm excited about coming back and doing a truckload of shopping, I'm excited about going to my parents after that to get back to my cats, and I'm excited about going home a few days later still. Once home, I'm excited about going back to work for the first time in 6 months, and I'm excited about grabbing my poker career by the horns and turning this year into my best one yet. I'm overall very excited about what's happening in my life right now.

Did I just jinx it? Let's hope not.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Two random observations:

1. I'm under the impression that oil is used for a lot of very specific things, among them making plastic. It's a really neat substance. I don't know how much of the "stuff" we have today in which oil is a necessary ingredient, but I'm guessing it's a whole lot.

2. Also, oil is probably one of the most rare substances in the universe, based on the fact that it's what happens to organic lifeforms after millions of years. We don't know any other planet on which it exists.

And we're burning this stuff?