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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Minneapolis Trip, or Visual Evidence of Why I Suck At Blogging

A brief trip report. Because I can.

There will be a handful of photos and before I do anything else, let me say that I'm sorry about the crummy quality. I did think "gee, I should've brought my camera" - unfortunately that thought didn't occur until I was 20,000 feet over Wisconsin. So all you get is cell phone pics.

As long as I'm apologizing for stuff, I'm also guilty of mixing metaphors, changing tenses randomly and the occasional misspelling. Sorry.

Friday: Casinos Are Rigged

I decided to take a different route to Minneapolis/St. Paul this time. I usually drive and when I do fly I've always taken the direct jet flight out of the big airport an hour or so away. Given the price of gas and Northwest's perpetual labor troubles, I decided to take a puddle jumper over to Milwaukee and connect through there. Very nice. I especially liked the announcement of "we're beginning our final descent into Milwaukee" about six minutes after takeoff. Smooth flights. I picked up my piece-o-rental-crap Hyundai and got out of dodge.

I had a couple of stops to make during the day while my pals were working, so I got those out of the way. I had about an hour to kill in the south Metro area, so I paid a courtesy call on the Mystic Lake casino. It's been about ten years since I'd been there - I used to play blackjack every once in a while back in the day - and it's bigger than ever. There were several hundred senior citizens blowing their Social Security checks and not much else was going on. I donated a twenty at a penny slot in record time, downed a comped lemonade (no booze in the casino) and made a run for the head.

In homage to the one and only Dr. Pauly, the last 5 pros I pissed next to at Mystic Lake: Nobody. The can was entirely deserted. Nice facilities, though.

I spent a few minutes at an empty blackjack table chatting with a dealer who told me of his plans to get back into the broadcasting business. It took his entire down for him to mix and spread the sixteen decks of cards (two shoes) and detail his plans. Nice guy, even if he never did deal me a single hand. I eventually got to play a little and had a fun hand - dealt AA. Split. Another A. Split. Another A. Split. Another one. Not only did I not get a single blackjack, the best hand I made was an 18. Yeesh. Fortunately the dealer busted.

After getting out of there and taking care of my remaining business (which didn't amount to much), the rest of the weekend was all gravy.

Did dinner at J.D. Hoyt's, a fine downtown steakhouse. I always enjoy giving directions to Hoyt's - it's conveniently located between Sex World and Deja Vu. Yeah, yeah. Hoyt's was there first. The place was packed, with a large number of well dressed young African Americans in particular. Spotted Gopher basketball coach Tubby Smith make an entrance, but didn't recognize anyone else.

Saturday: How I Lost $24 Before I Even Had Chips

Up at the crack of dawn for breakfast and a trip out to the golf course at The Wilds. I was looking forward to a few hours of it's-not-a-sport entertainment and shooting the breeze with blogger extraordinaire Drizz of Drizztdj fame. I resolved to limit the wheelchair jokes and not even attempt to keep up with a man who drinks Cap'n Cokes like they're nothing but tap water. Both promises would prove impossible to keep.

We met up on the range and had an extra half hour to kill thanks to a frost delay (MINNESOTA, [CENSORED] YEAH). After observing some shots, we managed to come up with an appropriate game - the almighty $2 nassau. I gave Drizz a shot per hole and the game was on.

He promptly made me look like a sucker, blasting his tee shot on the opening hole fifty yards past everyone else - nothing like the shots displayed on the range. Fortunately, there's more to the game and I managed to win the front nine three hours later by three shots.

The endless waiting produced several opportunities to come up with other bets. A straight up wager on the Lions-Vikings game. A wager on closest to the pin on the Par 3s with carryovers. We could have come up with more, but the female half of the couple we were playing with latched onto the subject of internet poker and we spent a fair amount of time discussing that subject. I regret missing the opportunity to try and convince her that Drizz was really Johnny Chan. They were nice folks, though.

We managed to make it though all four Par 3s without either of us hitting the green once. The proximity bet lived on. The 16th hole is a short (285 yard) par 4, and closest to the pin in 2 shots -- on in regulation -- would win. Drizz jacked one into the marsh left, I dumped one in the sand left of the green and blew my next shot over the green. Still going. It came down to the last hole, where I managed to scrape one onto the green and Drizz just missed collecting $5 for scattering a flock of geese sitting next to the water hazard. He still took the back nine by two shots, but fell one short on the overall. I also picked up the closest to the pin bet for a massive win, shown at right.

SCORE! I run good at golf gambling.

After a quick bite we headed over to Canterbury Park for some cards.

Canterbury wasn't terribly busy and we got seats in the $3/$6 limit game right away. We both put in for a table change in order to sit together. I got shipped to a table in the middle of the casino and made it there just in time for my big blind. I gave the chip runner my hundred and waited for a dealer from another table to move so that I could sit down. I got sooted cards, there was lots of action, I flopped a flush draw and [this is foreshadowing] whifffffffffffffed. Next hand, small blind, big sooted cards. Lots of people in. Complete and again flop a flush draw, this time to the nuts. Um, yeah, whiff. I get called for a table change, and then last called, and I still don't have my freaking chips. I get pocket twos on the button and just fold the stupid hand as the girl shows up with my rack. I deposit $24 with the winners and beat a hasty retreat.

Live poker, so rigged.

I take the 10 seat at the new table, Drizz ends up in the 1 seat. There was a very attractive (at least to me, I don't know what Drizz thought, but then again he's married) young mom in the 8s, a middle-aged woman who wouldn't shut up in the 9s and three poker kidzzzzzzz who rode together in the 5, 6 and 7 seats. The 5 seat had obviously never played live before - he shook like a leaf when he had a hand. To his credit, he was pretty tight. The 7s loved to try and take pots away by value betting the river. I managed to get him to fold once when I had 10 high by raising just because it was obvious that he couldn't call me.

I also had one of my more enjoyable moments in live poker. Not long after we sat down, the rest of the table had figured out that Drizz and I knew each other (we were not trying to hide that fact). Someone had made a comment about his winning a hand, and I advised the table that he was a well known aggro-LAG who plays any two cards. As I was all but calling him a donkey (in good fun, of course), I had the button and raised with 85s. That scared everyone - OMG he's a rock! - and only one player called. I scooped up a couple limps as well when the nit in the 3s folded to my continuation bet on the ace high flop, none of my suit. I'm not too proud to say that I was proud of the setup - I'm not Jordan and do not often use da mouf.

Yay live poker.

Oh, other than that, I got pounded. Outdrawn time and time again. Flopped straight went down to rivered quads. Sets and two pairs were crushered by rivered straights. The nit flopped a boat on me when he called a raise preflop with Q7s. Drizz managed to vacuum up some chips by making quads and a nut full house, so he did okay. I just spewed.

At least it was fun.

The woman in the 8 seat told us that her husband was off on a golf trip and that she and her kids were staying with her mother - she'd finally had enough and told her mom she needed to get some rest. So of course she came to Canterbury instead. We had a good time trying to decide what she should tell her mom that would buy her a couple more hours.

Finally called it a night at a pretty early hour and headed back to crash. All in all, a very enjoyable (if expensive) day. I think I should quit poker and become a professional microstakes golf hustler.

Sunday: On A Serious Note

I really didn't have much on anything planned for Sunday, so I just hung out for a while and then visited some favorite spots. It was an absolutely beautiful morning and there were tons of people walking and biking. I ended up downtown and decided to take in the I-35W bridge. I was not alone - there were several hundred people viewing the site from the 10th Avenue Bridge. Some carried flowers, some carried children, most carried cameras.

Television is a wonder, but it really doesn't convey size and distance very well. To fully appreciate the distance that this bridge fell you really have to see it live. It is a true miracle that more people were not killed, much as it is a tragedy that any had to die.

I made it down to the airport, dumped off my car and spent the afternoon getting home. It was a nice weekend trip and it made me all the more eager for Las Vegas in December. Vacations are great, but when you can add in good friends and silly card games, it's just that much better.

2 comments:

Drizztdj said...

The key to winning big at $3/$6 is getting nut full houses versus underfills and of course quads :)

Great to see you again man, and NO GOLFING IN DECEMBER!

BigPirate said...

Nice sounding trip.

Frost on a golf course? What's that? It's always 100+ degrees when I play down here.