Friday, December 6, 2013


Albuquerque, New Mexico...I lived there from 1997-2000. It's a time of my life I try to block and never talk about. It was a time of frustration, confusion, bad decisions, and most of all a lot of heartache. It's been 13 years since I left Albuquerque and haven't really talked about my time there to anyone: Not my acquaintances, not my friends, not even my wife...My wife and I have been together for 11 years, and she has been trying to get me to open up about my 3 years in Albuquerque for a long time, and each time, I've shunned answering her. I didn't want to open Pandora Box. I didn't want to believe of the things that happened there happened to me. I've been trying for so long to erase my memories of that time of life for 13 years. Because every time I think about those "Albuquerque" years, I get depressed, sad, and always shed a tear. I always have a myriad of emotions every time I think about those 3 years

Lately though I've been doing a lot of remising about my life...or the good times and the bad times. I believe my time in Charletson, South Carolina was some of the best times of my life. I believe my time in Las Vegas, NV was some of the best times of my life, but in between I lived this Southwestern state and became the worst time of my life.

So this blog entry will be more therapeutic for myself. To finally open up about Those Albuquerque days...I'm about to opened up Pandora's box and reveal every detail of those 3 years, and why it scarred me for a long time...I'll probably be crying a lot as I type these words in because it will bring huge emotion and I hope you, my blog readers, will bear with me as I pour my heart into this blog entry. It something I probably don't want to do, but something I NEED to do:

I will divide these blog into 3 parts representing the 3 parts of my Albuquerque time:

PART 2: YEAR ONE (Adjusting to my new life and Meeting Gina)
PART 3: PROFESSIONAL (How a Group of military people treated me like dirt)
PART 4: PERSONAL (My First Marriage -- Scarring my heart)

Saturday, November 30, 2013


It's been awhile since I wrote about my favorite leisurely pastime: the great game of poker, so let's talk about this game shall we...

I used to play a lot of online poker when it was readily available, and I used to make pretty decent money at it. In fact, I hate to pat myself on the back (but I will), I made some very supplemental income. According to number of websites, I've made over 35K in tournament winnings, not to mention I've carved my teeth in the 2-4, 3-6, 5-10 Limit cash games on Paradise Poker and Poker Stars. The best part about playing online was these ridicously high prize pools for micro buy ins. You can play a $5 tournament on Pokerstars and if you can navigate through 5,000 people, there a huge pot of gold at the end..usually between 3K-5K. It was insane how much money you can make playing online poker. Although I never made "life-changing" money, I did pretty well, that was able to withdraw $100 here, $300 there, $900 here. Checks would come in a week or so, I never had a problem cashing was the ultimate "second job". It was lucrative, addicting, and fun, then every online poker players with dreams of playing poker a living in the UNITED STATES shattered when this happened:

BLACK FRIDAY (And I'm not talking about the busiest shopping of the day), I'm talking about Apr 11, 2011.

I remember I had just cashed in a $2 tournament on PokerStars, ran some errands, and when I went back on my computer to log onto PokerStars, I got this:

Of course when the reality of not having online poker set in, I had major withdrawls. For weeks, I logged on to PokerStars and tried to get on hoping this was just a bad dream, but everytime I would get, it would tell me I couldn't play online sucked!!

FAST FORWARD to Apr 30, 2013...The day Ultimate Poker opened it's legalized, regulated online poker in the state of Nevada. Funny, I wasn't rushing to my computer to make a deposited because something unusual happened on my way to online poker riches...I didn't have the desire to get back to online poker. I began to play a lot of live poker, not that I didn't play live poker before "Black Friday", but I concentrated my efforts into being a decent live poker player...that by the time poker was legalized in Nevada I was conditioned by the "live" poker way and initially I was stubborn to get back into the online poker. I'm lucky enough to be a resident of Nevada, therefore online poker is legal, and thus I can play.

My wife deposited money into, the other online poker site and began playing small sit and go's. I watched her for weeks having no desire to play myself, but as the days and weeks passed, I began to get intrigued (mainly because my wife was cashing a lot). Finally, I set up an account and played a freeroll. I played for an hour, busted out, and smiled because I felt the juices flowing through my blood and began to remember why I loved online poker so much. It was the convenience and the addiction of the thrill that hooked me again.

So, two weeks ago, I made a small deposit on WSOP.COM and started at the VERY BOTTOM of the ladder, 2-tabling 1c-2c No limit....NOT 1 DOLLAR-2DOLLAR NO LIMIT, 1 CENT-2CENT NO LIMIT!

Although I'm playing at below micro limits, I'm trying to look at it as playing for real money. Trying to play my "A", and making the right decisions. The thrill of winning (even it's it's 30 cents, 14 cents, or $1.26), is back and I'm loving online poker again.

From here on out, I'm going to blog about some of my sessions trying to grind from the bottom. Not thinking about money.

Yes, online poker is back (In Nevada) and loving every minute of it.

Friday, November 1, 2013

"The Poser" Broter -- A Las Vegas Tale

Kids, parents, interested parties, and anyone who wants to listen..


According to the Urban Dictionary, one of the funniest websites I've ever come across, a POSER is defined as "One who pretends to be someone who's not" or "someone who tries to someone with exaggeration."

In Las Vegas, you come across a lot of posers. Most do it because they're visiting and just want to have some fun, so I don't fault them. Then, you come across people, who live in Vegas, and do their best to become someone they're not...and what makes it worst, they'll always tell you about it. And, it's always unsolicited.

There's a young poser, who I've played poker with around town...we'll just call him "Broter", Broter would always play in a cheesy gray suit (similar to the one worn by the Dos Equis guy), always with the collar unbutton, hair greased up, cheap lofters, and walking in talking on this cell phone. Convinently, Broter would end his conversation when someone in the poker room approached him.

Broter started ranting about how he was just talking to girl, and she wanted him to take her to fancy restaurant or how he had sex with all these women..The funny thing was all this was unsolicited -- Not one time, did a player, dealer, floorman, cocktail waitress, porter ask him about his "exploits" with women. Here's a example of a dialogue I had with him about a year ago:

Me: What's up, Broter

Broter: Hey Ron...just got back from seeing this girl. She said she wanted to meet me for lunch, but I told her I was too busy (Insert goofy laugh here). I told her I wanted to play poker.

Me: That's cool

Broter, Yeah, I mean she keeps calling me and saying she want to meet me and that I should take her to Bellagio for lunch, but I'm so cheap that I couldn't. (TO THE DEALER: I'll buy in for $300, give me 20 in ones so I can tip the cocktail waitress). Yeah, I could have sex with her anytime, but man I got all these other women I need to get with that I have no time for her.

Me: Really

Brother: Like today, she asked me to meet me for lunch, but I told her I'd rather play poker, so consider yourself thankful.

Me: (Sarcastically) WOW, aren't we the lucky ones.

Then Broter becomes the poser poker player.

He tries to comes across as this loose aggressive player capable of making bluffs, but playing with him for years, I can tell you he is the most transparent player you'll ever face. He's the tightest nit, unwilling to gamble when it's warrants, then sits there folds and folds while getting up from the table to answer or text his phone. I'll tell you, I've won some nice pots, by always reraising him preflop because 99 percent of the time, he'll make some wimpy, pussy 7 dollar raise and I'll make it $20 and he'll make a speech about how he has a big hand (He always has a big hand when he raises), then he'll fold 99 percent of the time, saying he'll find a different spot. Although the different spot is always the same one...Broter raise, I re-raise, speech, then folds. When faced with aggression, my poser friend, Broter will usually shy from it.

I've played with Broter a lot, and I've never seen him have a big stack. I can honestly say the most I've ever seen him win was maybe 200 bucks, and that's because the deck totally hit him in the face.

Another one of his favorite lines always came when a beautiful woman passed through the poker room: "Look at tits on her, I'm going to get her number." Alas though, he would never leave his chair, he'd just sit there fold his 15th straight hand, and go back to messing with his phone.

Another thing I noticed about Broter was he would always ask the dealer if he tipped them, which he rarely did, as if he did something extremely noble. As a dealer, I noticed this cause he would be condescending to the dealers as if it a "pleasure" and his "honor" to toss a buck their way.  He was one of those "obnoxious" tippers..guys that toss the toke up on the air so the entire table could of those, "I'm a tipper, everyone look at me. I'm the best."

Let me say this, I don't think Broter is not a terrible person. I think he has some self confident issues always from the poker room, and he uses poker as a way to become and try to become something he desperately wants to be. He tries and craves the attention that he comes across as a total douchebag...again, not a bad thing, but damn when you hear and see the same shtick repeatedly, you want to take his head and pound it against the wall....ONE TIME!!!!!!

I'm sure the next time I'm playing poker and I see Broter stroll into the poker room, you can assure two things: 1) he'll make sure everyone knows he's in the room 2) one of the nittiest players will sit with you, so ask for a table change

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Take a peek at this gem

Johnny Depp is one of my favorite actors, from the time I saw him on 21 Jump Street to Lone Ranger (Yes, I liked the movie despite it being universally panned by critics and fans alike), I've always loved his work -- Loved Edward Scissorhands, Loved Pirate of the Caribbean, Loved Sweeney Todd, but I remember watching one of his earlier works, under the radar movie, that I thought was one of his best movies ever called "Ed Wood". Ed Wood was about an ambitious film maker, who loved making films and despite not having the talent, his relentless drive to follow his dream of making movies was admirable. From this movie, it featured his "prime" movie.  I watched what was considered the worst movie ever made, "Plan 9 From Outer Space.

"Plan 9 From Outer Space" was so bad it was laughable. The movie was considered a horror movie, but it was unintentionally funny because of it's many visual gaffes, lapse in time, and just laughable dialogue...from the opening monologue by a guy name "Criswell", which didn't fit into the movie at all "Future events such as these will effect you in the future" Laughable. A few days ago, I watched the movie on Youtube, and watched it...damn it was funny....I actually bought the DVD awhile back.

So in honor of this masterpiece of horrific piece of film making, I'm going to give you the 3 worst movies I've ever watched (1:30 Hrs or 2 hrs of my life I can never get back):

THE HOST (2013): Laughable dialogue, ridiculous storylines, terrible acting combined made it 2 hours of my life I couldn't get back. Very surprising coming from the author of the Twilight Series. I remember sitting in the theather and turning to my wife several times stating how stupid his movie was. It was so melodramatic when it didn't need to be. The Host was trying to much to be emotional, that they didn't take any time to develop the story. Movies are supposed to move you emotionally, not move you closer to the exits. I don't know, people with blue eyes as enemies just wasn't believable.

SECOND SIGHT (1989): Growing up a huge fan of the television series, Perfect Strangers, I was looking forward to watching this movie, even though I knew it would be stupid. Anytime you have a pyshic in a comedic role, good things aren't bound happen, but hey, it's Balki Bartokomous, it's got to be funny. I remember watching it and not laughing one bit. If a movie is supposed to be a comedy, but you aren't laughing, it's probably not going to be any good. I kept watching for Cousin Larry to make an appearance so I can see the "Dance of Joy"  Alas I saw was Bronson Pinchot bumbling around shaking like a madmen whenever he had a premonition...Awful!

MANNEQUIN 2 (1991): The First Mannequin starting Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattral (Pre Samantha Sex in the City days) was one of the most underrated movies of it's time. I watched this movie many times because it seems to always be on in the afternoon weekday HBO slot, and I thought it was funny. Then they made the sequel...and it was terrible. First of all, if you can't get the original cast together to do a sequel, it probably won't be as good as the original. I remember seeing it and how disappointed I was. They made no reference to the original, and the acting was god awful. I hate when studios decided to make sequels to movies that don't really need too just to make a buck. Some movies are timeless, the original Mannequin, was just that...don't ruin it.

There are lot of bad movies out there, but those are my top 3 worst of all time. Nothing can beat the laughable, but timeless Plan 9 From Outer Space. Wish that movie was on Netflix right now...really need to get my fix.. :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

REDBIRD CENTRAL -- NOW I KNOW WHY!! -- A Story About one of the most Generous Gentleman I ever met....So I thought.

Poker dealers see alot. Poker dealers think they know their customers. Poker dealers speculate about how their customers live their life away from the poker room, but as I'm about to show never truly know..

Case in point...Here's two links to a very important legal case that got a lot of attention here in Las Vegas..please read it before you read the rest of the blog, because it'll all make sense in the end...

Stem Cell Con Game

They Called him Dr. Frankenstien

Why do I care about a crazy Romanian Doctor who defrauded senior citizens and performed his "research" on unsuspecting victims? And what does it have to do with poker?

His name is Alfred Sapse, he doesn't have a lot of ethics, he'll probably die in prison, and he's a GEORGE!

George, in the poker dealer world, is a term for a good tipper. They don't come around very often, but when they do, the poker dealer prays he pushes every big pot to him/her. When a "George" is playing a big pot, and he/she is betting/raising a pot, you get a warm fuzzy feeling inside because if you push him a pot, you'll be sure he'll toss you a redbird...ALFRED SAPSE was that person.

Three years, Mr Sapse used to play in our room every day. When I first met him, he was your typically bumbling 85-year-old, wearing these thick glasses. He seems so absent minded about everything. He insisted he sit in the middle he couldn't see the flop, and don't dare ask for his players card. I remember asking for his player's card and he would wave it off and give me "Are you kidding look?" He was the worst player I've ever dealt too. Talk about a guy who didn't have a clue about the game of poker. If he had any part of the flop, any type of draw, and sometimes not connected to the flop, he was going to the river. As a result, he would put some horrendous beats on the players, and the players would go absolutely nuts, calling him the worst player ever...Mr. Sapse would never say a word as he scooped up a pot. Occasionally, he'd glanced at one of his many poker victims and give them a sly smile.  Another thing about Mr Sapse, I don't think I've ever seen him cash out! No matter how may big pots he won, he would always lose every dime and more...I don't think I ever saw him rack up chips and walk back to the cashier...NOT ONCE!!!

But there was one consistent trait, he ALWAYS tipped the dealers a Redbird, whether he won a $15 pot or a $1,500, he would toss you a redbird, so even though he was a terrible poker player, it was a race for the poker dealers to push him as many pots as possible to they could get those coveted Redbirds. As a poker dealer, putting Mr Sapse on a heater could potential make your day, week, month, and year.

As a man, I don't have respect for him because of the terrible things he did. He stole over $1 millions dollars from these patients, and according to the story, he used that money and lost $700,000 in gambling loses...most of which was probably done at the casino I work at.

Here's my theory of why he was such a terrible poker player..he didn't care about the money. I think he was using the poker room to launder the stolen money through the poker players, and in some sick way, he was tipping redbirds, we the poker dealers became unknown, unsuspecting assailents to his cycle of crime. The thought cracks me up.

When I read the story of Alfred Sapse and his crimes, I was surprised and appalled. I never in a million years with this man I've dealt many hands too could do something this dispecable, but it made me realize you  truly don't know anyone even if you think you do.

Well, I hope he enjoys his last years of his life in prison, and maybe saved a few Redbirds so he could buy favors from the

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

From The School Bus Driver to Tonya Baltazar -- The Journey to my 40th Birthday!

6 Days ago, I started a Facebook/Twitter daily post reminiscing about moments of my life leading to my 40th Birthday, but I wanted to blog about the meaning behind each post, and maybe give a slight anecdote behind each one. The purpose is it give you, the reader, an insight of the events, people, lives, loves, heartaches, mistakes, decisions, and happiness that lead me to what I am today approaching a milestone in my 40th birthday....Enjoy the journey....hope it will trigger an emotion as it did with me.....

Posted on Facebook/Twitter Sept 20, 2013:

Looking forward to celebrating my 40th birthday this weekend with my beautiful and wonderful wife Tonya Baltazar. As the big day approaches, I wanted to reminisce about my 40 years on this my earliest memory of a child living in Washington when I was 5 when I got on the wrong school bus and cried, but the bus driver went out of his way to get me home

My father was in the Army, stationed in Fort Lewis, Washington. I don't remember much about this time of my life. I remember a patch of fruit patches I rode my bike through (I think it was raspberries or blueberries) and getting lost.. Yes I cried. I remember a public water hole... Not really a swimming pool crowded with kids in a Tacoma park. But most of all I remember my first day of school, how tough it was. I remember being completely confused searching for the right school bus. The buses were identified with animals but I couldn't for the life of me couldn't remember what my animal was...I think I ended up on the giraffe bus. I remember sitting there being driven to an unfamiliar neighborhood and little by little, kids emptied until I was the only kid left.. I cried and cried as i had no clue where I was. But this very nice school bus driver (wish I knew his name or what he looked like) comforted and ensured this scared little boy that he would get me home...and he did.. I got home late, most importantly I got home...I reminisce 

Posted on Facebook/Twitter Sept 21, 2013:
As my 40th birthday approaches, I reminisce about my middle school days, Went to a school called Piedmont in San Jose, CA for 3 months... I remember finishing second in the mile and a half run... I peeked athletically.

When I was 12 years old, my father got orders from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii to Ft Benning, Georgia. While my dad got things settled in Georgia, my mom, brother, and I lived with my Aunt in San Jose, California. I went to a school for three months called Piedmont Middle School. Not sure if the school is still around. Whenever I visit San Jose, CA, I always tell myself I have to at least drive by to see if it still exists, but never got around too..someday I will. Didn't really make any friends, but I remember my P.E. class, we had to run a mile an a half every day. I usually finished in the top 10, and every day I improved...My best finish was second, I could never beat this guy who always finished first..this guy was a freaking speed demon. Seems like he would finish his run 5 minutes ahead of us. I did have this major crush on this gal who lived in the neighborhood, Michelle Fernandez, was her name, but that quickly faded when she was being a bitch to me on the bus for no I reminisce...

Posted On Facebook Twitter Sept 22, 2013

As my 40th Birthday approaches, I reminisce about my high school days, I really don't have a great memory of this time of my life, but I do remember how awkward I was...didn't really fit in with any group, but was never felt like I didn't belong...guess I was lucky it that aspect

High school was a weird time. We had an interesting high school, because of it's close proximity to the Army Base, we had a diverse student body, something Spencer High School was proud to tell everyone. It made our school rather unique. I remember one of my good friends, Mario Juestel, we had a good time hanging out. High school was an awkward time for me as I never fit in with any of the cliques, but I never was felt like an outsider. I was extremely shy especially socially. In fact, I had a huge crush on this girl for two years, and I don't think I said two words to her the entire time despite the fact we had classes together. I won't reveal who she is, because ironically, I'm facebook friends with her and still never revealed my crush to her....and probably never will :) Overall, despite my awkwardness, I enjoyed my high school years, got to go to my prom with a gal who was out my league but she was nice enough to say yes when I asked her....Lilian Pelegreen, I'm talking to you. Got to play a team sport and worked on the school's yearbook during my senior year. I thinking the best part of those high school years is I sometimes get to relive those moments on Facebook as I'm facebook friends with many of them. I reminisce

Posted on Facebook/Twitter Sept 23, 2013

As my 40th birthday approaches, I reminisce about my time in the Air Force.. Had some awesome times... Some of my treasured memories was my 3 years at Charleston AFB. On the other side, the darkest times was my 3 years at Kirtland AFB, NM

My Air Force time had many ups and downs. The majority of the ups happened when I was stationed at Charleston AFB, SC. First of all, the city was beautiful: beaches, great architecture, great people, incredible food, and a small town without a big city feel to it. I often tell people my time is Charleston, South Carolina was some of the best 3 years of my life, because it came at a time when I had so little worries, where I would go to work, have fun, learned about myself both personally and professionally. If I would to ever move from Las Vegas, the first place I would look into moving too is Charleston, South Carolina. I met so many good people, had so many fond memories, and had so many great stories I could tell (But that's for another blog). The experiences in those 3 years are memories I will treasure for the rest of my life, and the friendships I made will last the rest of my life.

As incredible as my time was at Charleston, it was just as awful at Kirtland AFB, NM. I got married for the first time to a woman I had no business marrying because we weren't ready. Professionally, it nearly wrecked my Air Force Career. I worked with the worst group of people who only worked for themselves, and treated me like some second-rate citizen. It was so miserable that for a while, it jaded my outlook on the military. I was so happy when I left that duty station. If I stayed any longer and I probably wouldn't have made it. I want to mention a man named Donald Ortiz, who was the worst of the worst. He was a civilian who treated me like I was a punk, a child, and sometimes not human. I hated this man so much, the sight of him always made my blood boil to the point where I wanted to punch him every time. He conspired with my supervisors to give me the worst performance report I ever had. Mr. (and I use the term lightly) Donald Ortiz is the only human in this world that if I saw him falling off a cliff, I'd look the other way -- yes cruel, but at the time, this human treated me a like dog shit and hated him for it. Someday, I'll blog about my time in New Mexico -- it should make for an intruging entry. I reminisce

Posted on Facebook/Twitter Sept 24, 2013

As my 40th Birthday approaches, I reminisce about receiving one of the greatest gifts ever... When news of my daughter Anastacia was going to be born 9 months later

I cried with joy. I cried with laughter. I cried with happiness. I cried tears of joy. I was going to be a daddy, that was the first set of emotions I felt when my then-girlfriend, Tonya Baltazar told me she was pregnant.  My daughter Anastacia Marcelina Baltazar is a bundle of joy I never thought would make me love someone unconditionally. Having Anastacia taught me the value of love, selflessness, and sacrifice. Today, my daughter is the beacon to my happiness. Whenever I'm having a bad day at work or something awful happens in my life, I can always look into my daughter's beautiful browns eyes and those negative emotions just wash away. "Nothing is as bad as it seems, when your daughter runs into your arms after a bad day and yell DADDDYYYY!!" It happens every day I come home and it never gets old. If that could happen every day for the rest of my life, I'd be a happy man. At this point of my life, every thing I do, every important decision, every motivation is with Anastacia's well-being in mind. I'm hoping that feeling never goes away. I reminisce

Posted on Facebook/Twitter Sept 25, 2013

As my 40th birthday arrives, I reminisce about the years gone by, the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the incredible highs and the unfortunate lows, and events and people I've met through my life...I'm truly blessed. The best part is having my beautiful and loving wife in my life. She's my best friend and the absolute love of my life. Here's to the rest of my life

Life is not a straight has a lot of crazy zigzags, diagonal, and winding roads we have to navigate to get to the destination we truly want. I've had many windings roads in my 40 years on this Earth. I haven't regretted too much in my life...maybe I've made some untimely decisions that put a fork in my path, but the journey has been amazing. But the road has not stopped for me, until I take my last breaths in this world, I will continue this journey I started back in 1973 in San Jose, California. I'm sure they'll be bumps in my path, but I know they'll be packets of pure joy in my life...I'm going to make sure to stop and smell the roses when I get the chance.

One last thing...I'm so happy to have my soul mate and best friend, Tonya Baltazar to be my partner in my journey to the rest of my life. I truly found my inspiration, my heart and soul. 11 Years and counting, baby, I've every second of our time together and looking forward establishing more memories with you. I don't where I've been if Tonya Baltazar hadn't entered my life, so for that, I'm truly grateful

Thank you for everyone who's touched my life....Thanks for being part of my life as I reminisce...


Sunday, September 22, 2013


I really hate the term "hero" call. The word "hero"should be reserved for people like the military, police, and firemen who actually who's mission is the serve and protect the freedoms we American enjoy. Someone who calls with a Queen High in a $1-$2 game in a $20 pot for $5 should use the term "hero".

A while back I wrote about my poker night at the Luxor with fellow bloggers Lightning , Lucki Ducki, and robvegaspoker , if you need to refresh your memory check it out here. (Sorry if it brings a sore spot for you, Lightning :))

Anyway i wanted to talk about another hand I played that didn't involved any of the poker bloggers. There was another gentlemen playing with us, probably in his mid-40ish, probably the worst player at the table, was into his 4 buy in, and probably his last $100. The other bloggers each took their shots at this guy and managed to chip away at him. Everyone but me, then this hand came:

After this 4th rebuy, he moved from the 8 seat to the 1 seat. I was sitting in the 10 seat. It's folded around to me and see Pocket 6's...I make a standard raise of $8 (As I tossed my $8 in, Lucki Ducki had just racked up and was saying his goodbyes to everyone. I returned the salutations. Lucki Ducki was small talking with Lightning and RobVegaspoker)...mid 40ist guy calls from the button, SB calls, BB folds so we take the flop 3-handed:

Flop comes 7 4 3 rainbow, Small Blind check to me. I bet $12....called by the button, Small blinds Folds. We're now heads up going to the turn. At this point, I'm assigning him to a range of a pair, a suited connector, or maybe something like A-5 or A 6 suited, but being the worst player at the table, I couldn't entirely takeout broadways cards like QJ or KQ out of his range.

Turn brings a King. Although I do think KQ is in his range -- I believe it's in the bottom of his range. I want to bet again here just in case he's playing a hand like A-5 or A-6, cause I'm know he's probably calling. I didn't want to bet too much to drive him away, but at the same time, I want to get value from my hand...I settle on a bet of $20. Instant call from my opponent.

River is a 9. I think this card is a total blank. I thought about the best way to play this hand..I thought betting out again, but I don't think I'm going to get a call from a worst hand. Also, if I get raised, I'm going to be faced with a tough decision even against a titled opponent with a wide range...Checking is probably the best play here, hoping I get a showdown, but be willing to call a modest bet...I tap the felt, and before I could opponent shoves the rest of his chips in..

WOW!! Didn't expect that. I asked for a was $80. With around $70 in the pot, my first instinct was to fold, not because I thought I was beaten but it was something else very tangible, and probably the wrong reason....You see at the time, I was up around $200, and I was nearing the end of my session. I wanted to make sure I booked a win and at the time this hand came up. This, of course, is the wrong way to play poker. If you're playing "scared money", you probably shouldn't be gambling.

As I thought about what to do, the thought crossed my mind, "You can't play scared, you gotta to with your gut. If you're wrong at least you were true to yourself" I began ruffling the chips faster and faster as time inched by..felt like forever..then I did something I've never done.

"Can I show my hand?" I asked the dealer. Most poker rooms, the ruling is always if it's heads up you can show your hand, but occasionally you come across a room who rules the  hand is dead even if it's heads up, so I wanted to get clarification from the dealer.

"Yes you can." The dealer started.

I flipped over my pocket 6's, immediately placing a chip on it to indicate that I wasn't folding. At the corner of my eye, I could see my opponent leaning on his open mouth, covering his mouth, and he kept his eyes squarely on the flop. As I was I riffling my chips I looked over to my right, where another $1-$2 game was running -- that one was a wild game where I could honestly say there had to have been 3K-4K chips on the table. At that moment, I wish I was at that game.....I looked back at my opponent and saw him glance at me, then back at the flop, then at me....His eyes darting back and forth like one of those cat-eyes clocks which rotates with every passing second.

Then I saw something my opponent did which helped me make a decision -- it was subtle move, something I probably wouldn't have if I wasn't paying attention: in the midst of darting his eyes back and forth...He quickly looked his chips, then looked down....It's a pattern I've seen many times when I'm dealing usually indicating a bluff....A second later, I pushed my chip towards the pot and announced call....My opponent mucked his hand instantly and stormed out of the poker room, talking to no one in particular, "I can't believe he made that call!!!!!"

As I raked the pot, I got congrats from Lightning and Robvegaspoker, "Great call" Coming from those guys, it meant a lot...LuckiDucki said goodbye once again, and left....Soon after, Robvegaspoker and I left....What a great night of poker playing with my poker blogger friend and having a winning session.

Friday, September 6, 2013

25 Random Things About Myself

Back in 2009, one of my Facebook friends, asked her friends to write 25 random things about yourself. I decided to do the same thing. As I was scanning through my facebook account, I came across it and decided to share it to the blogosphere...

1. I absolutely love family...they are the best!
2. It took me 30 years to find my soulmate
3. My daughter is my heart and soul. I don't know what I'd do without her.
4. I'm a big Atlanta Falcons fan..GO FALCONS!
5. I love everything about poker...playing and dealing..
6. I've won over $50,000 playing poker tournaments since 2002!
7. Through dealing poker I've met: Jason Alexander (from Seinfeld) -- great guy, outstanding tipper, Don Cheadle, Kevin James (Clerks director), William Floyd (ex 49ers player), and the one and only William Hung -- genuinely a nice guy!
8. I'm addicted to "24" Love that show! Jack Bauer is the best!
9. One of my biggest regrets -- not continuing playing the piano when I a kid.
10. The hardest I ever laughed was my trip to Myrtle Beach with Wayne Capps, Chris Maxey, and Jeff Bright -- TWO CONDOMS!!!
11. The 3 years I was in Charleston, South Carolina were some of the best times of my life.
12. My first real addiction was the BBS and tradewars
13. I'm a pretty good dancer...
14. I've done P90x 3 times! 
15. My poker dream is to travel the world and playing poker tournaments for one year
16. Sometimes my temper gets the better of me.
17. I really need to lose weight
18. I'm very good at betting sports especially college basketball and baseball.
19. If I could sit and watching basketball all day...I would.
20. My favorite vacation spot is San Diego, California
21. I will win a poker tournament for 6 figures one day.
22. The biggest mistakes I've made in my life occured when I lived in Albuquerque, New was a dark 3 years both personally and professionally.
23. I am the worst handyman in the history of the world...I cannot fix ANYTHING!!
24. I think Las Vegas, NV is the greatest city in the world....
25. Is amazed at all the people from high school who has a facebook's great getting in touch with everyone and amazed at how everything is doing in their lives!!!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

....And Now a Public Service Announcement from The Poker Dealer Association of The World.....

...Okay so The Poker Dealers Association of the World doesn't exist (But what a grand ideal, huh), but today, I wanted to give all poker plays some advice centered around this:

Remember this commercial:

"Image is everything" - Andre Agassi

In every poker book I've read says your image at the poker table is very important -- you have to be aware of it at all times. Poker is a lot tougher now than it was a few years ago during the "poker boom" when every Dick and Jane watched Rounders or Chris Moneymaker glorify poker as the easiest outlet to make lots of the money. If you're a good player, your edge is very slight. If there is a way to gain an edge even the slightest can get you the extra chips you need to beat your poker game.

REMEMBER THIS: Local grinders are always look for the sucker (the mark) at the table. Why not take advantage of this by playing up to that image?

Today, I'm going to give my advice from the view of a poker dealer of ways you can get an edge simply by tweaking your image to suit your opponents, and I call it, "Being the Tourist". I know a lot of local grinders, local wannabe pros, local recreational player say, they like to play on the Las Vegas Strip, to take advantage  the "Sucker tourists". Although I believe there is merit to the argument, as someone who wants to take advantage of their thinking, there are ways to exploit this.

There are FIVE things I see most common is "tourists play/mannerisms/actions that a poker player can use to take advantage of that headphone/iPod/iPad/backpacktoting/backwardhatwearing/hoodiewearing/
critiqueeveryhand guy/gal. It all centers around building an image at the poker table:


These guys, usually a young hotshot, stride into the poker room, and ask, "Can I play the All in game?" They usually buy in for the minimum, and are constant bluffers, not because it's the right play, but it's to impress their smokeshow girlfriend. They always wear large obnoxious sunglasses, and usuall wearing something from Ambercrombie & Fitch. They're loud, crude, and overbearing. Watch out though when they become suddenly quiet during the hand because they always have a monster.


First, you need to get a hot girlfriend,  If you you're ugly, you may have to scrap this technique.  But if you want to give this a shot, you can rent a smokeshow at any bar in Vegas and for a nominal (well, maybe not so nominal), they can act as your girlfriend. Then you have to be loud and obnoxious when you have a hand, and be quite when your bluffing.


Most first-time players seemed to always stack their chips in increments of $25.  To the local grinder, they're used to see "regular" players stack their chips in 20 chips increments forming geometric shapes usually squares or triangles. SO when they do see "Joe Schmo" from middle of nowhere Nebraska stacking they're chips in increments of $25, they seemed to go after them, going out of their way to play pots with them.


A while back, I dealt to this guy who obviously was playing live poker for the first time, and although I thought he wasn't doing it on purpose, what he was doing was brilliant. He would always say how much he wanted to bet, then he would count out his chips, stating ever denominations as he placed each chip individually, it would go like this, "I bet $50." He'd grab his chips, then count each one, "There's 5, 10, 20, that right? No? there's 35, 45, I right now?" And for some reason, this obvious wannabe pro would call him or raise him and usually lose the pot.


Another mannerism reserved for those who've never played live poker. It's usually frown upon by the casino. AS a dealer, I tell these first-time players, that they can bend the cards, and after a while they figure it out. When they're first starting out, you see them life the cards to their face, as if they're playing in their college hot game.


I think this is a technique you have to use at a table full of aggressive players who see players who lift their cards to their face as a mark they can prey on. Unfortunately, this technique doesn't last very long as the poker dealer will always tell them they have to keep the cards on the table. Use this during the first few orbits when starting a session, and hopefully you'll catch a hand and stack an unsuspecting grinder thinking you don't have a clue of what you're doing.


At the apex of the "poker boom" I saw these kinds of apparel in every WalMart, Ross, Target, Sears, AND JC Pennys I've been in. To me, there were the corniest things I ever seen. Whenever I see someone walk into the poker room wearing one of these shirts, I always just looks so ridiculous. I remember years back, I was playing at Red Rock, and I saw a poker dealer I used to work with wearing one these shirts. He was kind of a dork anyways, but I literally laughed outloud when I saw it.


Again, it's about looking like a mark for a the local grinder/wannabe pros who want to take advantage of the "tourists" It also helps to get a shirt that fits snug on your body. For some reason, slightly overweight people who wear this type of shirt just look like suckers.


Utah, Idaho, Vermont, Wyoming, and South Dakota are just some of the states you can use. When you think of where the best poker players come from your rarely hear the state of Kentucky as a breeding ground. The grinder will think, "This sucker is from South Carolina, probably his/her first time in Las Vegas, they never get to gamble..I'm going to take every penny." and they'll do everything in their power to snag every chip from you..


Easily, as soon as you tell them you're from North Dakota, tell them this is your first time in Las Vegas and I only played in home games.You instantly have a bullseye stamped on your face, but you'll know better.

BONUS: ALWAYS SAY YOU'VE ONLY PLAYED IN "HOME GAME" For some reason, the words "HOME GAME" seems to be a beacon for the sharks to come after you. They think that just because you only play in home game, you have no clue what you're doing. Vegas is the big leagues, these wanna be pros are thinking, they don't  have a shot against me.

I'm not saying this is full-proof and you'll wins piles of money using some or all of these techniques, but if you use them at the right moments against the right type of opponents, you can get a slight edge on your opponents.

.....and so ends the Public Service Announcements from The Poker Dealers Association of The World!

BestofVegas. Best Shows. Best Hotels. Best Prices.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Poker is my passion
My family is my passion
Life is my passion.
And many moons ago, writing used to be my passion.

Let me take you on a journey to how I wanted to be the next Stephen King....

When I was a teenager, I read every Stephen King book I could get my hands on. There a used book store down the street from my house where I would scoop up all the Stephen King books for a $1 or $2 (Cant remember the exact amount), and sit in my room and read every book. I also took a drama class for two years, not sure why I did it, I just thought acting was fun and wanted to see if I could do it (Needlessly to say, I wasn't any good). I learned a lot about the power of acting from one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Paul Hampton, who doesn't realize how much he impacted my life back then. I combined these two elements, reading fiction, and acting fiction, to become a creator of fiction. 

It started with a purchase of a notebook and a pencil. The first story I wrote was a horror story about a guy who was killed and somehow he came back alive to avenge his was corny, stupid, but at the time I thought I was brilliant. Then I wrote another story: This is one was a about 10-year-old girl who escapes from her mother's abusive boyfriend. The title was "Within her". I remember the main character's name was Bernie, short for Bernadette. I used that name because I heard the name Bernadette on TV, and wondered if anyone used Bernie for short. "Within Her" was 30 pages long, I think to this day, it was the best thing I ever wrote. I thought my characterization of this 10 year girl was pretty damn good for guy who started writing short stories.

After those two stories, I wanted to do more, but I wanted to become a better, more sophisticated writer. So I went to the mall and entered a WaldenBookstore, gazed through the porporri of writing books and two books caught my eye:

For the next two days, I think I read each book cover to cover twice! I was mesmerized by the information, and wanted so badly so incorporated some of these brilliant teaching. I wrote several more short stories, and with each passing one, I was gaining confidence, feeling I could do this.  Then one day, I thought, I'm going to write a novel...

I was in college at the time when I started writing this novel, I wanted to write something a dramatic piece telling the stories of two friends, who drifted apart, had a secret that only they knew. One friend fell on hard times, the other was on the verge of becoming something great. Their worlds would collide bonded by a secret that could ruin the very fabric of one of their lives. The working title, "Back to Basics". So I bought some spiral notepads and spend every free second writing this novel. One friend, Claudia, was in a abusive relationship and a job going no where. The other was Lori, who moved up the political ladder in Columbus, Georgia and was on the verge of running for mayor. The first 6 chapters I alternated from Claudia's and Lori's story until they're lives intertwine in a story of love, blackmail, and deception. I remember all the writing techniques of the books I read especially from the "Characters make your story". I remember one piece of advice, "In order to make your story believable, you have to make your characters believable." I stuck to that moniker with every world forming from my pencil. I was so in-tuned with this story that I would sit in my room all day not realizing when day turned to night and night turned to day. The novel was coming together perfectly, and I was so proud of what I was producing 

When I reached Chapter 7, I stopped writing the story. I was at a crossroads in my life, I dropped out of college to join the Air Force. I remember tucking everything in a box and took it to my first duty station in Charleston, South Carolina. As soon as I was settled, I began writing again, but instead of writing everything in longhand, I bought myself one of these:

Not quite this model, but you get the

When I bought a typewriter, I become immersed with this story. I would come home during my lunch hour, and write. After work, I'd work all night till way pass midnight. ON weekends, I would type and type and type. Piles and piles of paper with my words were scattered all over my room, I had a box full of used typewrite ribbon which I bought up from a local office story. All those sweat from days of writing this story took a lot from but alas...

5 year later, I completed my first novel, and settled on a title, "Claudia" She was the true focal point of this story so I thought it would be appropriate to name the novel. The day I wrote the last word was one of the proudest moments my life at the time. I was 22 years old, and I just wrote a 200 page novel. 

When I completed the novel, I didn't know what to do next. I never let anyone read it, because I just didn't think my friends would understand. Most of friends knew I was a writer, but they didn't seemed into it, so I never forced them to read any of my stuff so I put the "Claudia" in a box and never let anyone read it. Regrettably, it's the only novel I ever wrote. Sure I tried to write other novels, but nothing seemed as good or as satisfying as that first one. It got to the point where I was frustrated and gave it up all together. The next three years I was station at Charleston, that "Claudia" novel stayed in a box in my closet, along with those two books I purchased from Waldenbooks never moving from its spot. 

After that I went on with my life, doing to the Air Force thing for the next few years gained other interest, working 40 hours a week, becoming the best airman I could be, and I never wrote another thing since then.  When I got orders to move from Charleston to Albuquerque, I somehow lost that box on the move. I'm not sure how I lost it. I think I accidently threw it away. I was devastated when I lost that novel. Words can't describe how terrible I felt when the realization that "Claudia" was gone. In Albuquerque,  I tried to recreate the novel, but I couldn't do it. I felt wasn't doing to the original justice so I scrapped it all together and moved on with my life....

17 years later, I was blogging about my wife's surgery and the thought of that "Claudia" novel popped into my head. The motivation started creeping in that I want to recreate that novel I wrote many moons ago. But as I reached my 40's my memory was fading as to how I good I was writing that novel. I didn't set out to write "Claudia" because I wanted to be the next best selling author, I did it because I developed a passion for something I enjoyed doing. It gave me a sense of fulfillment, a sense of completion, a sense of pride that I wish I could get back. 

"Claudia" was definitely my first love, and most importantly, it was my first passion.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


Had another laugh out moment at work. I dealing next to an older gentlemen who had to be in his eighties, and he was having a friendly conversation with a woman sitting next to him. This older gentlemen was proud to show off his girlfriend who was the backdrop to his phone. I didn't quite catch some of the conversation, but the subject of libido came up, and he said something to the effect of it doesn't matter how old I am, I can still work it. That got the table laughing including myself. The woman sitting next to him said, "Damn, I need a sugar daddy like you, will you be my sugar daddy?

Across the table, another lady, who was cracking jokes throughout probably oblivious to the conversation going on between them, said, "I love Sugar Daddy..I ate my fair share when I was a kid" Her friend sitting a few seats down, apparently didn't hear the conversation chimes in, "Someone has Sugar Daddies. I want one." Contributing to the fact was these two ladies were finishing off a nice, cold, ice, fruity spirit from her Fat Tuesday souvenir cup....

I laughed out loud....Sometimes, being a poker dealer is the greatest job

Monday, August 12, 2013

What?? No More Main Street Station Seafood Buffet? (PART II)

The end game to all this is my wife and I will never be able to eat at the Main Street Station Seafood Buffet, one of the best value buffets in Las Vegas. It doesn't hurt it's also one of the best: RAW OYSTERS, HUGE SHRIMPS, AND OF COURSE, THE BEST CRAB LEGS IN THE CITY! Damn, it's gonna suck, but I may just go there by myself..

Now on to PART II

My iPAD became my best friend as I watched the clock crawl at a snail's pace, I was watching a WWE DVD, not sure what it was, but I remember staring at it, listening to it, but not knowing what the hell I was watching. All I remember is the nervous energy consuming my body. I kept thinking, "Let this be over already. Let my wife be okay!"

As the surgery entered the 2nd hour, I starting pacing around the waiting area like a caged tiger. According to the pre-op discussions we had with the doctors, the procedure was supposed to take an hour, but here I am, full of bottled up energy, staring at the clock entered the 2nd hour. Finally, I sat down and felt nervous, but not the excited nervous I had, but a depressing nervousness. As I continued to watch doctor after doctor come out of the operating area, I thought, What if something had gone wrong?

Finally, Tonya's doctor came out and explained to me everything went well, and I would be able to see her in an hour. I felt a rush of relief sprout from my body, and sat back down, taking a deep breaths as I did, I felt like a balloon being squeezed slowly, but it was such a great feeling knowing my wife made it through the operation.

I entered her room an hour later, and I saw a nurse working on her, She was slightly awake...I kissed her on her cheek and asked her how she felt, "Sore" she whispered. I asked her how the operation went but she was going in and out of consciousness, so I didn't push it..I was just so happy she was alive and other than looking like she got hit my freight truck, she looked healthy. Of course, the weight loss surgery didn't do anything immediately, I knew this was the beginning of the journey of the new Tonya Baltazar.

There was a moment, when I was sitting next to her as she slept, that I stared out her hospital room and saw the moon shining brightly on the hot Vegas Night and the starts glisenting through the midnight blue sky, that I had a vision. A year from now, she would lose the 100LBs like she read on those gastric sleeve forums, she would feel healthy like she read on those gastric sleeve forums, she would be happy like she read on those gastric sleeve forums. I remember thinking, I can't wait to see what my beautiful wife would be like a year from then. I remember thinking, she was beautiful on the inside, but a year from then she'd be even more beautiful then she was now. I remember thinking, I can't wait for those 365 days to pass and I would see how my wife would look like...and I smiled.

Next Friday, will be the one-year anniversary of that surgery and did everything I thought come true. You damn sure it did:

The happiness she has now isindescribable. She tells her friends, family, and or course her husband that this is the best decision she's ever made in her life. Every time,  she comes home, she always has a story of how someone says how great she looks especially those who hadn't seen her in a while. The glow in her face, the beam of her smile, the look of pure joy written all over her makes me, as her biggest supporter, the happiest, jubilent, and most importantly, the luckiest man in this world.

Goddamn.....I'm so lucky!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

What?? No More Main Street Station Buffet?? (PART I)

There's a very important anniversary coming up for someone very special in my life. As many of you know, my wife Tonya Baltazar means a hellava lot to me. I don't know where my life would be without her, so if I could help her in any way possible I would.

I've been with my wife for a total of 11 years, and for most of the time, she's been, shall we say, a more than average size woman. I didn't care how she looked, what's most important is I loved her no matter what she looked like. But I could tell the extra weight was carrying a heavy burden on her daily life. Physically, she had a hard time moving and it took her a long time to get around places. She fatigued quickly if she had to do anything physical for a long periods of time.

For a period of 3 or 4 years, she tried everything to lose her weight: She tried everything from exercising to crash diets to fad diets, but nothing seemed to work. Then one day, I was at work chatting with my co-workers when the topic of weight loss came up. I knew someone who had lap band surgery, so I decided to talk to my wife about it...

Needlessly to say, the thought weight loss surgery peeked her interest, so for the next few weeks, she did all times of research on Lap Band Surgery. For those who don't know, Lap Bank weight loss surgery is basically a device on the top of the stomach to slow the consumption of food. It's an effective surgery but it becomes a pain in the ass because you had to adjust it from time to time. Then one night my wife said she saw something on the internet, "What about this gastric sleeve weight loss surgery?"

My wife explained the surgery to me where they about 25 perfect of the stomach. She found a web site with other's who had the gastric sleeve surgery and 100 perfect had high praise and high recommendations for it. The next couple of months, my wife because a disciple to this web site, reading all the stories of how much weight all these people had lost and the positive impact it had on their lives.

With each stories she read, with each smile she saw, with each happier person she soaked, the more she want to do the gastric surgery. There was one hiccup to this weight loss surgery, it was irreversible. If she decided to go with it, she never go back. I asked her if this what she really wanted. Admittedly, she nodded, "I want to see my kids grow up. I want to be there when each get married. I want to be a grandmother. I want to be there for everything is my kid's life" With that, I was convinced at her determination and as her husband and her biggest supporter I was going to help her get this surgery to make her dream of losing weight a reality.

After three months, and lots of paperwork, the time had finally arrived, Aug 16, 2012. The night before as we were packing her day bag, you can tell she was a extremely nervous. This was life-altering , major surgery and with any surgery there was an element of risk.  Around 8PM, the night before the surgery (I remember this night like it was yesterday) she called her three kids into our room, and with tears flowing she spoke from the heart, "In case something happens to me tomorrow, I just wanted to say that mommy is proud of each of you. I love all of you." She gave each of her kids a big hug and kiss...I had tears in my eyes too cause the thought of losing her would break my heart.

The next day, we arrived at the hospital early in the morning and after all the preliminaries, she was laying in the hospital bed. A blur of nurses, doctors, and orderlies prepared her surgery. I don't think she or I remember half of the things they were saying to us. All that mattered was my wife was going into major surgery, and I was thinking about all the great and beautiful times we had as a couple. My wife was getting nervous as the moment of truth arrived. I did my best to reassure her that everything would go smoothly, but even I was nervous.

That 30 minutes before the surgery seemed like the longest 30 minutes of my life. A million thoughts raced through my head. Will this surgery work? What if something goes wrong? What if doesn't work?? Finally two orderlies walked in and prepared to wheel her to the operation room. I gave my wife a big kiss and we hugged for a minute but it felt like an eternity, united in our love for each other no matter what happens for the next two hours. I shed a tear and said, "I love you with all my heart" then watched as they wheeled her further away from me. Her bed shrinking with ever feet away, until she disappeared around the corner leaving me with a hallway full of bustling nurses, patients, and doctors walking back and forth through the hallway. I stood there for a moment, frozen in time, said a prayer to myself, then walked into the waiting room...This was going to be the longest 2 hours of my life.....

PART II SOON: The Aftermath..."What?? No more Main Street Station Seafood Buffett??"

Monday, August 5, 2013


One of my favorite short stories was an obscure Stephen King short story I read when I was a teenager, called "My Pretty Pony". I believe it was part of his collection called "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" It's a story about a dying grandfather who gives a watch to his grandson, and explain the concept of time. According to it's wikipedia page, "My Pretty Pony" was actually a flashback scene of working Stephen King novel that was scrapped; it was to be published under his Richard Bachman pseudonym.

In my opinion, TIME is the most important commodity we have because it's the element in our lives that we can never get back. When we're young, time seems to run at a snail's pace: we want to grow up fast...lazy summer days sitting on a beach..that fun summer job life guarding checking out the cuties from the opposite sex.

Before you know it, you're an adult, then you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your life, and forget to have the fun you had when you were a carefree child. You make excuses for not pausing to smell the roses (as they say) to savior the good moments of your life. Time starts to accelerate and passes you by without even noticing it. Before you know it seconds becomes minutes, and minutes becomes hours, hours becomes days, days become weeks, weeks become years, and years become decades. 

Chunks of time melts away, and sometimes you have regret: things you wish you've done before you got older. Things you should have said. Little things add up before one day, you're sitting in a rocking chair when your hair becomes grey, and with the wind bellowing through your face, you remember all the good memories of your life. 

Time is doesn't wait for you. You can sit around the play the "What if" games, but as you're wondering about that...those seconds are ticking away....tick tock tick tock...

So do I have a moral to this....of course...take advantage of every second you're in this earth, and make it the best time of your life. 

Whenever I think of the concept of time, and it's importance, I always go back to that obscure Stephen King story.....