Greetings from the tempest-tossed wasteland, ‘Redheads… As per usual, this installment is a couple days overdue. I would’ve gotten to it on Wednesday, but my power got knocked out by the cataclysm that roared through town. No lights, no internet, no tv…like Robinson Crusoe, it was primitive as can be. You don’t realize just how plugged in you are until the power goes out and you almost turn into Jack Nicholson in The Shining from the lack of stimulus. It made Jack a dull boy, is all I’m sayin’. Now that power has been restored, I can continue to chronicle my moments of non-boredom for ye.

Let’s spin the clock back to last Wednesday, which began a very interesting and exhausting 24 and change hour stretch. I was at the Arlington Drafthouse, competing in round one of the Drafthouse Comedy Challenge. Also vying for the audience’s adulation were Sean Gabbert, Larry Poon, Tyler Sonnichsen, Bey Wesley, and Lance Smith. After we all did our 8 minutes, the massive throng (45 is a throng, right?) chose Bey and Larry to move on to the next round. Congrats to both of them. You can check out their round two exploits on June 12th.

Luckily, the show got done at around 9:30. This gave me time to race home and take a couple hour cat nap before I made the drive up to AC. Registration for the tournament started at 7am, and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to deal with traffic or long lines at the Borgata. I set two alarm clocks for 2:45am and put my head down to charge my batteries for the trip. I was on the road a little after 3:00. Got to watch the sun rise over New Jersey…nothing like the first light of morning glinting off a toll booth…striking. I pulled into the garage of the Borgata at about 6:30, which gave me time to find the poker room and get a general lay of the land…and pee. After I got registered for the tourney and shoved a bacon and egg sandwich down my neck, there was still two hours to kill before this thing kicked off. I decided to do what any high roller would do…went back to the garage and napped in my car. Scintillating so far, right?

Ok, let’s get down to brass tacks. How did I do? Well, the good news is, I beat 300 people. The bad news is, there were 400 players in the tournament. I would like to have made a little scratch, but it was a respectable showing. It was a roller coaster of a game. **WARNING: POKER LINGO AHEAD** I had a stretch that started with me doubling up through the chip leader at the table when he bet into my pocket aces. My fortunes changed a couple hands later when I had an ace-high flush cracked on the river when the board paired, turning my opponent’s trip twos into a full house. Then I called another all-in that I shouldn’t have and my stack dwindled down to 4,000 chips, which may sound like alot, but that’s less than half of what we started with. Then I doubled and tripled up through consecutive all-ins with ace-ten and ace-jack. I built my stack back up to 41,000 before the second break in play. I think I had three playable hands the rest of the day and the rising blinds and antes conspired to whittle my stack down to $17, 500 by the time we got down to the final ten tables. After finally seeing cards above a 7 at the table I got moved to, I decided to play. At that point, it was $6,000 to call. The guy sitting next to me raises it to $15,000, so I decided to take my chances and go all-in with queen-jack off-suit. He had a pair of fives. He flops a five and that pretty much put me out of my misery. I went out with a whimper. The guy who went out right before me took the worst beat I’ve ever seen. He was all-in with pocket kings against ace-queen. Ace-queen are live cards, so it’s not out of the question that it would win. A simple ace comes out on the flop and the kings are sunk. But that would be too easy. Here’s how it went down: the flop comes out six-eight-six, giving the guy with kings two pair. The turn is another six, giving the guy with kings a full house. The last card? The last six in the deck, giving both players four of a kind sixes, but ace-queen has the higher kicker. The guy with kings loses. Brutal. If it was the wild west, somebody would’ve gotten shot over that hand. Probably the dealer. He seemed to take it really well, but I hope he punched a wall when he left the poker room.

I got knocked out at 3pm. Here’s an interesting little fact about the Borgata. No food allowed in the poker room. I last ate at 7am. I almost started gnawing on the felt during the last couple of hands. After calling a couple people to break the news of my pseudo-victory, I proceeded to the food court and inhaled a plate of Panda Express. My day wasn’t over yet. I hopped back in the car and headed to Philly to visit my sister and the cult of adorability, my nephew Mo. We played in the sandbox and I followed him as he wobbled around the front yard. Life was good.

Small sidenote: Mo’s going to be getting a new brother or sister in the next couple days. I’m not sure if the new kid will be able to measure up on the cuteness quotient. Mo pretty much broke that scale. Just letting you know that you’ll have new baby pictures to coo at in the coming weeks.

I finally got home at around 10pm. And collapsed.

More to come…

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