Current Lines

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

"The Dreaded Pocket Kings," at 4 AM

It was well past my bedtime last night when Hossein Ensan defeated Dario Sammartino in the WSOP Main Event to pocket a cool $10m.

How could we not think of our friend Rob when Ensan turned over "the dreaded pocket kings," as he calls them? All he had to do was fade Sammartino's 12 outs, which he did when a harmless queen of clubs hit on the river.

It must have been an exciting moment, one that very few poker fans saw due to the late hour when it happened, 4 am in Texas to be precise.

Coverage of the final table has been a pet peeve of mine. It seems there should be a better way to schedule it. Currently, the FT is shown over three nights. The first night lasts until three players are eliminated, the second night another three, and the third they play until a winner is crowned (or bracelet-ed). The first two nights do not begin until 9 pm Central, with the final night starting at 8. 

That's too late.

Here's a thought; start it earlier. How about 8 pm Eastern each night, that's 5 in Las Vegas. Surely the players can make it to the Rio by late afternoon. Instead of playing until a certain number of players are eliminated, what about limiting play to four hours per night? Even old fogies like me could stay up watch all the hands. And if it takes the FT five nights rather than three to come to a conclusion, who cares?

Wouldn't it be more fun if we could see the final hand live, rather than reading about it the next day? 

It would also better promote the game we love.

Congratulations Hossein Ensan, it must have been an exciting moment. Sorry I missed it.

Monday, July 8, 2019

Celebrating a Loss and the WSOP Main Event from "Shakey Town"

One of the requirements when preregistering for a colonoscopy, is stepping on the scale, never a pleasant task. I've always been thin, but had developed a bit of a gut as the years passed by and had to face the truth when I tipped the scales at 188, the heaviest I've ever been.

I knew a diet was in order, but Ms. Duck and I were less than two weeks from leaving for Las Vegas. As most of you know, not the best place to start a diet.

I know there are a multitude of different diets these days, Adkins, South Beach, Paleo, etc, but I like to keep thing simple, so I went with my old standby; calories. It's a simple equation, take your target weight, say 170 pounds and multiply by ten. That means you have to limit your calorie intake to 1,700 a day in order to get your weight down to 170. I'm a believer that if you limit your calories, the rest will take care of itself and you'll be eating a generally healthy diet.

Once we returned from Vegas I began. I've always felt my best between 165-170 pounds, so my plan was to limit my calories to between 1,300- 1,500 per day, thinking that would get me there a little quicker. My target weight was 167-168. To accomplish this, I would have to give up two of my favorites, sweets and chips.


I was vigilant, only eating the occasional chocolate chip cookie at our Tuesday night poker game, and have an occasional chip even less than that. By the time I went in for my annual physical in early May, I was down to 181. My blood work came back the best it had been in years, especially my triglycerides, which had always been in the 70-80 range (less than 50 is normal), but this time was down to 50. A little high still, but I was pleased.

By the time we headed back to Vegas for the WSOP last month, I was soooo close to my goal, weighing in a 169. I was worried I would lose some ground while there, but Ms. Duck and I managed to only go to one buffet, always a danger zone. My vigilance paid off and when we got home I weighed exactly the same.

The bad news is that I had plateaued, something everyone who has dieted understands. I weigh on Tuesdays and Fridays, and each time for the last two weeks I was stuck on 169. So close.

Friday morning I stepped on the scale and gave myself a fist pump as it read 166. Yea me!

I need to gain a pound now. Think I'll have some chips!

Well, a few. :)


Have you watched the first few days of the WSOP Main Event on ESPN? I was pleased to see over 8,500 entrants, confirming poker is still strong. I think the most interesting thing I saw was when the second earthquake started shaking the broadcast booth. Lon and Norm seemed a bit nervous, but California resident Maria Ho was undaunted, even giving the boys a hard time about it. Funny stuff. :)

I'm looking forward to seeing more.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Summer Fantasy

It was the summer of 2001. My son was 9 years old and was ready for his first year of Little League baseball. He went to tryouts and was drafted by the Davis Brothers Diamondbacks. Davis Brothers was a local printer that was gobbled up a few years later by a bigger company.

The Diamondbacks were in need of an assistant coach and since I had experience both playing and coaching, I volunteered. That's when I formed my friendship with Richard, who was the head coach. It became apparent early in the season that we had an exceptional team and we won the league championship and then won the city championship by beating other league champions in our area.

Richard and I, along with our other assistant coach Rob, stayed in touch through the years, occasionally meeting for lunch and reminiscing about that magical summer and catching up with each other's families.

During one of those lunches, Richard mentioned he was in a fantasy baseball league, the Twin Rivers Baseball League. Formed long before the internet sites began hosting leagues, he said the first several seasons they kept score manually, checking the box scores in the local newspaper. As fantasy websites came to be, they joined the ESPN site, which hosted the league stats for years. This season the league switched to the Fantrax site, so there was a learning curve for us all as we played with the new software. He mentioned several times that if someone dropped from the ten team league, he would extend an invitation to me to join. That invitation came four seasons ago.

The league values power hitting and consistent pitching. Hitters receive one point per base on hits, one point each for stolen bases, runs and RBIs. There are no points awarded for walks or hit by pitch. Pitchers receive one point per out and lose two points for each earned run. They also receive seven points for a win, four points for a save, and one point for a hold. No points are awarded for strike outs and no points are deducted for walks. Each team has a total of 25 active players per week, with the entire league playing heads up games beginning each Monday and ending the following Sunday. The top team goes 9-0 for the week with the second best going 8-1 on down to the worst team shouldering a 0-9 week.

Each team is allowed to keep five players from the previous year with the remainder of the 32 player roster eligible for the draft. Every third year all the players, including the "keepers" are eligible to be drafted, causing each team to start clean. The 2019 season is the second season of this cycle, allowing each team to keep five players.
This is my fourth season in the league. As a greenhorn, I managed to finish fifth my first season . Not the greatest finish, but I did finish in the top half of the league, which meant I got some of the prize money, so I was satisfied. My second season I made a few roster moves that worked out, plus got a little lucky and managed to win the championship! There are a couple teams that have been in the league since its inception 29 years ago that have not won a championship, so I'm extremely proud of that accomplishment. Last season was one of consistent injuries, a major reason I slipped to sixth place.
A week before our draft, which was in late March, each team must submit their list of five player they intend to keep. My five were starting pitchers Blake Snell (Cy Young winner) and Carlos Carrasco, catcher J.T. Realmuto, outfielder Marcell Ozuna and third baseman Nolan Arenado. My thought was Snell and Carrasco would be a strong 1-2 punch at the top of my rotation. Other than the Yankees Sanchez and the Phillies Realmuto, the catching position offered little in the way of hitting, so I felt that keeping Realmoto would give me an advantage at the position. Ozuna and Arenado are both no brainers.
Of the players I drafted this season, the ones that have pleased me the most is the Mets' Pete Alonzo and the White Sox Eloy Jimenez. Alonzo has been raking it this year and Jimenez is heating up after a slow start. My biggest disappointment has been Blake Snell. Between injuries and poor performance, he has become a liability. And Carrasco isn't far behind, posting a pedestrian record and spending a lot of time on the injured list.

This past week I threw in the towel with Snell, trading him, along with starting pitcher Jon Gray and first baseman Jose Abreu. Trading Abreu stings a little, but I was able to strengthen both my bullpen (Sean Doolittle) and middle infield by receiving Eduardo Escobar and Scooter Gennett, who is on the field after being on the IL all season. I will also be able to put Craig Kimbrel on the active roster now that he is closing for the Cubs.
Currently I'm sitting in fifth place, 16 1/2 games out of first. Although it's not where I want to be, it's not as bad as it looks. A big week coupled with a bad one by the leader can gain you up to nine games in a weeks time, but I can't afford to lose any more ground on the Comets.

I'm sure there will be a few more free agent pick ups and maybe another trade or two before the season ends. My hope is that Carrasco will get back sooner rather than later and that injuries in the second half of the season will be much less common.

Keep your fingers crossed for a big second half by the Lucki Ducks. 🙂

Monday, June 24, 2019

Vegas Trip Report

Ms. Duck and I caught an early flight Saturday from Dallas to Vegas and arrived at McCarron in time for a late lunch. After shuttling to the rental car facility, we grabbed our Celica (which we affectionately named the "Plastic Car," because it was hard to locate any metal on it) and drove to the Ellis Island Casino to share a four cheese, grilled cheese sandwich, plus a couple cold glasses of their in-house root beer.

We then made our way to the Walmart on Spring Mountain to pick up supplies for the week before motoring over to the Orleans and checking in. Since it had been a long day already, we decided to stay at the Orleans and play there for the rest of the evening.

View of the Strip from the Orleans
The clock on the night stand read 8:58 when our heads hit the pillow and I commented to Ms. Duck what a pair of party animals we had become in our golden years. But, we had been up since 3:30 am Vegas time and we were both spent.

I won our local poker league and the prize was a trip to Vegas and an entry into a WSOP event. I chose the Super Seniors Event again this year and would be joined by Philly Phanatic, who won the second seat our league awarded.

Philly and I met at the Rio Sunday evening and walked the hall to register for our tournament. Once we completed that task, Ms. Duck and I drove Philly and his girlfriend back to the Orleans and bought dinner. The chicken and sausage gumbo was as good as I remembered.

Our tournament started at 10 am on Monday with Philly and I seated only one table apart, which I thought was unusual considering how many tables were used for the 2,600 players who entered.

Philly Phanatic prepares for battle.
Beginning with a $20k stack and $100/100 blinds, we had plenty of time to wait for profitable opportunities. We had one player who was uber-aggressive, and my hope was to get involved in a hand with him. My hope was realized when I called a raise with JT soooted and flopped an open ended straight draw. I called Mr. Aggressive's c-bet and was rewarded when my straight hit on the turn. I checked, he bet big, and I pushed my stack towards the center of the table. I was a little surprised when he quickly called and couldn't believe I was all in at only the second level of the tournament. The villain tabled a flush draw, but misses it and I am north of $40k at the first break.

Actual photo of me at the break.
My son texted that he thought doubling my stack every break was a good plan. :) I can't disagree, but the execution is where I was lacking.

I have no big hands to report at the third and fourth levels and at the second break my stack had grown a little to $44k. My table had broken, so Philly and I were separated and I was unable to keep up with how he was doing.

At my second table there was a legally blind player to my immediate left. He used a card magnifier to read hie hole cards and have the dealer read the board to him. It was fascinating to watch him play, and he played well.

When we hit the dinner break I was down to $34k, having lost several small to medium pots. The blinds and antes were getting large enough to be a concern and I knew I needed to start building my stack quickly.

Shortly after the dinner break I was moved again, this time to another room. Looking to my right, I saw Philly sitting at the next table, holding onto a decent stack of chips.

Memphis MOJO texted me earlier in the tournament and I was able to stop and say hi to him as I was moving tables. We were able to visit for a few minutes at a later break and shared an enjoyable talk about poker and preparing for tournaments. MOJO works hard at his craft and it shows in his results. Plus he's a pleasure to be around.

By the time we visited, my stack had dwindled to $18k. I was at $45k when I called an all-in for $25k from the lady to my right. She tabled A9 and I felt good about my AK bringing me a much needed big pot. However, an A-4-9 flop did me in and rather than having $70k to play with, I was short stacked.

A few hands later I pushed with AQ and was called by the big stack at the table who tabled 99. No pair for Lucki Duck and my tournament ended on the final level of the evening.

Philly Phanatic finished the day with $44k chips, but busted at the second level on Day 2, just short of cashing.

MOJO finished number 232 and cashed, so congratulations MOJO!

Ms. Duck and I decided to drive to the Silverton on I15 the next day, and enjoy the buffet and some gambling. We also stopped by the 117.000 gallon aquarium, which is impressive if you like that sort of thing (I do).

On the way we passed by the construction site of the new NFL stadium. They say it will house a professional football team, but it's the Raiders, so I'm not sure that qualifies. :)

Wednesday was moving day as we packed and moved our operations to the Palazzo, one of our favorites on the strip. Once settled, we decided to have a late lunch at the historic Peppermill. We shared some sliders, quesadillas, and chips with salsa. The sliders were excellent, but the quesadillas and salsa were pedestrian. I guess we are too used to the spicy "Tex-Mex" food at home. The atmosphere was great and we will definitely be back, but for an evening meal next time.

Your humble scribe at Peppermill.
I wanted to get the "bad beat" taste out of my mouth, so I entered one of the daily tournaments at the Flamingo. We were nearing the money when I called an all in with AK, and (again) was happy to see my opponent turn over A7. A seven on the flop ended my tournament as I thought "NOT AGAIN!"

Unfortunately, this was the story of my trip. Whether tournament or cash game poker, craps, video poker, slots; I lost at 'em all. It was one of those trips we all have.

Ms. Duck was the recipient of a fresh summer cold, so there's that.

We caught a late flight from Vegas back to Dallas, which was delayed. Once we secured our truck we headed south to Waco, but didn't get far before coming upon a wreck on the freeway, causing another delay. It was a little after midnight when we pulled in the driveway and completed another fun trip to Sin City.

I can't wait to get back!

Good luck to all who are competing in the WSOP this summer, I hope you make a deep run!

Till next time, win the flips!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

WSOP in Vegas

Ms. Duck and I fly to Las Vegas on the 15th, where I will participate in the "Super Seniors" event at the WSOP on the 17th. I had a nice run of cards last summer in this event (click here to read about it) and hope to do well again.

Philly Phanatic won the second seat in our poker league and has decided to play the same event. This will be his first time to play in the WSOP, so it will be fun to see the tournament through his eyes.

We are staying at the Orleans for three nights before moving camp over to the Palazzo for the remainder of the week. We've stayed at both numerous times and look forward to getting back.

We started the eighth year of our Vegas or Bust Poker League last month. I finished fourth, so I have some work to do to win another WSOP seat next year.

If you're in Vegas the week of June 15th, hit me up and maybe we can share a meal or pitch a few cards.

Till next time, win the flips.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Vegas Bound X2

Ms. Duck and I will board a Southwest flight from Love Field in Dallas this Saturday and jet our way to Vegas. We haven't been since my WSOP tournament last summer, so we are really looking forward to getting back out there to consume adult beverages and do some gambling.

For the first time we will not be staying on the strip. Ms. Duck likes to do so, because it allows me to walk back to our hotel if I'm out late playing poker. More importantly, it allows her to drive back.

This time however, she booked us for three nights at Sam's and four at the Orleans. We both enjoy playing at both casinos, so why not stay there?

I wrapped up another seat to the WSOP by winning our local poker league. We have one more tournament left before it's official, but I'm far enough ahead that I can't be caught. I'll probably play in the Super Seniors on June 17th (I think) again and hope to make another deep run.

I hope all the flops are going your way!

Till next time, win the flips.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Basketball Parlay Pick

Image result for ncaa basketball logo

3 TEAM PARLAY BET- (NCAA Basketball)

(Money line bets on all three)

$32.00 on Mississippi, Kansas St, Stoney Brook (-160)

Season: 4-1, +$21.50