Monday, November 22, 2004

New Hobbies, Challenges, and Vacations

After I fired my return salvo against the invaders Saturday (I poisoned the hell out of them). I sat down to enjoy another hobby that has been taking more of my time lately. I call it my retirement plan. Some others call it poker.

I've always enjoyed poker, but I wasn't very good at it. I always figured folding a hand was a sign of weakness, and by God, no one calls me weak. Except for my mother, friends, co-workers and family - but no one else. So I would stick it out to the bitter, bloody end.

There was also the sad, sad day when some slacker dude somehow tricked me into thinking he had a better hand than a full house, which I had. So I folded. That's weak.

But I stared playing more hands against friends, and I still sucked -- but I was having fun.

Then two things happened: The Mt. Willis Tournament and I discovered the Internet; well, to be more precise, Internet poker. I've always known the Internet was there. It's a great source of information. And porn. But mainly information.

I never really played Texas Hold 'Em until that tournament, but I played fairly well against people who REALLY played. I bounced out in the middle of the pack. So I started playing. And playing. And playing.

Okay, so I'm thinking a call to 1-800-BETSOFF may be in order, but I can live with my problem. Haven't missed a mortgage payment yet . . .

Then I found the poker rooms at the casino. I took an ass kicking, but I learned valuable lessons, that I applied to home games.

In a few weeks, I'm returning to Vegas. I'm excited about this trip, but I'm also curious to see how I stack up against people who play down there. I won't be in any high stakes games, but the competitive beast is awakening. And I really want to take some poor tourist's money. Forgetting, of course, that I'm a poor tourist down there.

Ultimately though, it's great to have a new hobby. Something to pass the time and learn. Challenges are always welcome and good; in the past, I tended to shy away from them, but lately, I've figured that challenges are what makes life liveable.

So, in a few short weeks, I'll be hitting the tables for a much-needed vacation. The clock is ticking and I can't wait.

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