February 15, 2007

Heads up

Having been inexplicably passed over yet again for the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship I decided to play the $200+30 rebuy satellite Saturday at Caesars Palace for one seat in the exclusive field. Only 71 people entered so I had a decent chance of getting into what’s becoming one of the premier events in poker.

My buddy Chad Layne was at my table but was busted early by the charming Alex Vuong, who trapped him with top pair and a better kicker.

Terry Fleischer showed up at the table with 25,000 chips but his wild style didn’t work out so well at this table as people kept showing down big hands against him. He doubled me up playing four-deuce suited but I lost most of my chips when my Presto couldn’t hold up against eight-six flopping two pair.

I put my last few chips in with a raggy queen and got called by the same guy who busted me in one of the season two UPCs by calling with Ace-Ten. Once again, he had Ace-Ten and once again I lost the race and busted 25th.

It wasn’t so bad to bust at 5:59 p.m. since I had a 6 p.m. dinner invite from Benjie and Mark at Bradley Ogden, conveniently located steps from the poker room at Caesars Palace. I had a steak tartare and Chilean sea bass, both excellent as is pretty much anything I’ve ever had at Ogden. Benjie always lets me pick the wine and I saw no reason to get anything but the 2002 Casa Dalla Valle Cabernet.

After dinner we went to The Producers, the new abridged version that had just opened at Paris. We walked across the street and enjoyed David Hasselhoff’s performance as the flaming director-actor. I was not a big fan of the show when I saw it on Broadway, not loving Mel Brooks’ score, and it’s fair to say that it in my eyes it benefited by being shorter. The acting and production were terrific and I’m sure it will be popular with tourists.

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December 6, 2006

Anything Goes

An uberbabe invited me to a local production of Cole Porter’s Anything Goes the other night. The conversation went something like this:

Uberbabe: “I’m sure you’re busy but I have two tickets to a Cole Porter play and I remember you either love or hate musicals.”
QL: “Google informs me that you are referring to his most popular show, Anything Goes, which is in fact closing tonight at the Second Story theater in Redmond. Shall I meet you there or do you want to eat first?”

I do love musical theater (which puts me in good company with my and Jerry Seinfeld’s hero, Superman – watch till the very end) and Cole Porter is my favorite. The tiny theater had seats on three sides and we strolled right in and grabbed front-row seats. It was delovely.

The days of Anything Goes in Las Vegas are long gone, and to the amazement of many, this Friday smoking will finally banned in most public places in Nevada. While there are still exemptions for brothels, bars that don't serve food, and gambling areas, this will be a tangible improvement to health and quality of life for millions. Some businesses are mounting an unlikely last-ditch challenge to the law, worth mentioning only so I can quote the aptly named American Cancer Society director from the Las Vegas Review-Journal story:

Buffy Martin-Tarbox, the government relations director for the American Cancer Society and the spokeswoman for Nevadans for Tobacco Free Kids, which advocated for Question 5 but was not mentioned in the suit, said it's disappointing some business owners are doing their best to "skirt" the will of voters.

Buffy Martin-Tarbox is my new favorite name.

Atlantic City is keeping a step ahead and proposing to remove the casino exemption for New Jersey’s smoking ban. If they do, look for Vegas to watch closely how it affects business. Given the boom in poker rooms since they all went voluntarily non-smoking, I doubt the effect will be negative.

Meanwhile, New York City is making a bold step in public health, voting to ban the use of trans-fats in restaurants. No more tobacco, no more partially hydrogenated vegetable oil…long gone is the day when anything goes.

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November 10, 2006

Unremarkable milestone

Steve and I drove through a break in our usual November torrential rains, although not a break in the traffic, to Issaquah for opening night of Bye Bye Birdie at the Village Theatre. It’s a fun if lightweight show that I remember from our high-school production (I didn’t act in that one, although I did play Big Julie in Guys and Dolls). We traditionally meet beforehand at Jak’s for the best steak in Issaquah. Jak’s doesn’t take reservations and what with the traffic and all we got there a bit later than usual and were quoted an hour’s wait. Fortunately they got us seated in half that time and we polished off two filet mignons along with most of a bottle of 2002 Darioush Cabernet in time to arrive at the theater seconds before the curtain.

As usual the cast, costumes, scenery and music were top-notch, as expected from one of the top regional theaters in the world. After the show I hit the cast party, congratulating two of the regulars who really do a tremendous job and flirting with a few of the starlets. Visions of Citizen Kane flickered across my mind’s eye as I imagined myself taking an interest in one fetching brunette’s career but I didn’t want to end up alone in a castle with a lot of crates so I just smiled and congratulated her.

I’m 47 today, kind of an unremarkable milestone, but I informed the crew of the US Airways flight to Vegas that everyone had to be nice to me today. They brought my Diet Coke in a clean plastic cup. Steve and I are painting the town for my birthday weekend starting with dinner at SW tonight. He’s a spontaneous kind of guy who loves to hop on a plane at the last minute so we’re planning a memorable Vegas vacation.

I recovered from my unlucky streak in Moola and crossed the 50-cent mark for the first time before taking a bad beat and retreating to 47 cents. Poker? What’s that?

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