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Casino Nights

April 10, 2005

It was another nice weekend here in Tampa. I mean, really, what am I going to complain about? The weather is comfortable, though that won't last. It's better than Denver, where it's snowing. In APRIL.

The Masters weekend (major golf tournament for you non-golf fans) is the marking point for my move to Tampa four years ago. That makes it rather easy to keep track of the years, though I can assure you that it doesn't feel like it's been four years since I moved here.

On Friday night my friend Joe talked me into going over to the Hard Rock Casino. I've not been much for the party scene lately, and I felt like giving Texas Hold 'Em a try. Despite a relatively early arrival time (10ish), Joe and I had to wait a good 20-25 minutes to get our seats. But as luck had it, we ended up being seated together at the same table.

I'm not sure if they did this for all of the tables at the casino, but the table we were placed at had a contraption in the middle that worked as an automatic shuffler. It also allowed for a deck switch every other hand, which I presume helps against people scribing (marking) cards.

The Apprentice's Chris Shelton
Check out The Apprentice's Chris Shelton's mug shot.

I look at Texas Hold 'Em as entertainment, but I had my game going on pretty well. In a related note, I was wearing my lucky Peyton Manning jersey. At $1/$2, it's usually pretty cheap to see a flop (the first three cards of the five community cards that are dealt out). If I have something on the flop (or I have something that could be bet "on the come", like an open ended straight draw, such as a 6-7-8-9 with say 6-7 in my hand and 8-9-3 on the board), I'll stick with it. Otherwise, I'll fold.

It proved to be a good strategy, as I ended up winning several pots. People were starting to remark about my luck and looking at me like I was a young Doyle Brunson. Joe's luck wasn't as good, and he lost $40 before leaving the table. He did win one pot at least. I ended up breaking even after chasing a couple of pots at the end. No joke. I had two 50 cent pieces, and I had $99 in chips (I got $100 worth of chips to start), so it was legit, to the penny even. Take away the tips and I was ahead, but tipping is part of the game.

What's really funny is that the next night, there was a party at the Hard Rock with some people from The Apprentice for John Hafford, one of the people "fired" from Season 3 (the current season) of the show earlier this year. Among the people who showed up was Chris Shelton, one of the people who (as of this writing) have not been eliminated in any aired episodes. Unfortunately for Shelton, he was arrested on disorderly conduct charges because he was mad about the $20 cover for the nightclub at the Casino. Oops.

I'm still playing ESPN College Hoops 2K5 like mad. I managed to get Lipscomb to the Final Four and the Elite Eight in consecutive seasons, and I consequently landed the head coaching job at Virginia Tech. So now my conference competition goes from the likes of Georgia Southern and Mercer to Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, etc...

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