Friday, September 23, 2011

Veni. Vidi. Velveeta... (They don't make'em...)

Reno's famous Virginia Street during Street Vibrations they used to.

September 20th, 2011 - dateline Reno

The Coyote, his bride and I
Were to meet early for our annual trek
To Reno, Nevada for the biker event "Street Vibrations"

Coyote and wife both had to work late
The previous night
So begged off our departure time
I had to get there as I also had
A World Poker Tour tournament
I wanted to enter
I left ahead of them

I should have been forewarned things might be cockeyed that day
But I pressed on
Warm temperatures on both sides of the Sierras so I dressed light
T-shirt, shirt and light jacket
Figured I would endure the cold on Donner pass

The trip was smooth and uneventful
Set the cruise control on 80 and let'er rip...
I hit Reno in a couple hours with a little time to spare
So I headed for Chester's Harley Davidson
To present my HOG (Harley Owner's Group) fanatic card
And pick up my 'proof of life',
A commemorative event pin for members only

Got that done then went to the wrong casino
To enter the tournament
They were both off the main strip
And I'm easily confused
But then repacked the bike
And found my way to the right casino in time

There I quickly paid up
And had a few moments to grab a bite
Went to the table a couple of minutes early
Sat in my assigned seat
And noticed a player there who looked familiar
I asked, "Is it possible I have seen you on the rectangular screen?"
He said "Yes."
This is TJ
He doesn't look mean at all in real life.
(It took a Poker Hall of Fame pro to knock me out of that
tournament... I'd like to spin it that way.)
I said, "Please forgive me for forgetting but you are...?"
He said, "TJ" and the dealer said his last name but I couldn't make it out
So I said something dumb like; "Well, its awesome to be sitting at the same table with you."
He turned out to be TJ Clotier
My first genuine poker pro and I was gambling with him
Me and eight others that is

(I'm thinking; 'Wow, these are all pros here?... I am in wayyyy over my head.)

I broke (yes, a play on words) into tournament poker here in Sacramento a few months ago
And have played with some pretty tough hombres
So I was surprisingly comfortable with the table
Got about an hour and a half into the puppy
Was a couple thousand ahead

Then after small initial bets ("blinds"), TJ and I were head to head
After the flop I had a flush draw.
TJ was first to act and pushed all in with over 12 thousand in chips
There was a king in the flop
I correctly assumed he had another as one of his hole, or "pocket" cards
But was still surprised at the size of the bet

I knew I had a 15-20% chance, twice to hit the flush
It would be on the turn (sixth card) or the river (seventh and final) card
I had recently seen one of the top players in the world, Phil Hellmuth
Miss a flush in similar circumstances... three consecutive times in a televised tournament
So I had a little more vivid picture of my chances in spite of the odds

Yet, I had a chance to knock out a Hall of Fame poker player
I took the chance and called
It wasn't to be

I again thanked TJ for the privilege of playing against him 
Wished the rest of the table luck (two had been knocked out before me)
And headed on my way with another precious memory
To tuck into the treasure chest

In all, TJ is a really friendly person who plays fairly tight poker
(But I am truly unworthy of judging)
And entertains the entire table with short stories of his past adventures
(That part I CAN judge...)

As for the rest of the trip...
I had a $49 dollar room that night at Reno's Silver Legacy
Right on the strip and in the middle of the biker/vendor action
They close down Virginia Street for bikes and spectators only
It was impressive how low key things were...
Not as many bikers and not as many vendors as years past

The recession has made it less than half of what it once was
But the Coyote, his bride and I still got a chance to mosey
Down the middle of the street,
Enjoying the night lights,  a damn good Santana tribute band
A couple of beers and a couple of stogies
So it was... beat out of a tourney, a low density crowd and few vendors

Cheap and cheesy.. just the way I like it... Velveeta
...and a little spam can't hurt either! 


Anonymous said...

Tom, you sure know how to have fun and we missed you at Sturgis 2011

TomC said...

Thanks Judy... yes, I really missed Sturgis and bugging you and Butch too. I am already pumped about coming next year though... gotta do it as I may be running out of room on my dance card!