“Do you want to watch some football?” A Thanksgiving Parody

This blog was originally written on Thanksgiving 2014. Be sure to see the extra note at the bottom of the page to read what happened next.

I was inspired to throw together this little parody today while watching football when I noticed how well the phrase “Do you want to watch some football?” fit the melody. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and enjoy this little composition.
(Sing this parody to the tune of “Do you want to build a snowman?” from Disney’s animated feature “Frozen”)

Do you want to watch some football?
Nothing else is on TV
My belly’s full of turkey now
So on the couch, is where I need to be
I used to be a Bears fan, but now I’m not
Their record’s the reason why.
Do you want to watch football?
If you’re not watching football
Bring me pie!

(Second verse)
Do you want to watch some football?
Second game will soon begin
Ol’ Romo has all day to throw
The poor defense can never get to him
He throws an interception, the Cowboys lose
At halftime I had more pie
Do you want to watch some football?
If you’re not watching football
Okay bye.

(third verse sing slowly and melancholy)
All alone still watching football
The third game’s about to start
My belly feels much better now
’cause I finally passed a great big fart
I don’t know what the score is
But I don’t care
The tryptophan made me high!
I’m still gonna watch more football
I can’t get enough of football
But no more pie!

After I posted this blog online and reposted it the following Thanksgiving, some guy who I’ve never met before in one of my maker groups wrote me an email and told me that he loved my little parody so much that he had to record it. He found a karaoke track for the song and recorded his voice over it. The karaoke track cuts the second verse a little bit short so he had to drop some lines. But other than that he sang it exactly like I intended it to be sung. Click the link below to play the MP3 version of my song.

“Heard While Disabled” Campaign

Today I came across this article from The Huffington Post about people raising money for various disability causes and raising awareness about the stupid hurtful things that people say to the disabled such as “You’re so pretty it’s a shame you’re in a wheelchair.” I had interesting experiences with that at a very early age.

Most of you who know me know that I went to a special all handicapped school from kindergarten through high school (1960-1972). One of the reasons we were isolated in such an environment rather than being mainstreamed was that they wanted to protect us from the hurtful things that kids would say to us. But I recall an incident in kindergarten where we proved that we were more normal than they gave us credit for. You can read more about that school and my experiences in an article.

I’m sure it was from the constant nagging of my grandmothers and aunts asking me “Have you got a girlfriend yet?” just days after entering school. So to get them off my back I picked a classmate named Cheryl to be my girlfriend even though neither of us really knew what that meant. One day I was drawing this really cool picture of an airplane and for whatever reason she decided to reach over and scribble on it. She did so by holding one of those chunky kindergarten style crayons between her toes because she had no arms. When I tried to return the favor and scribble on her picture she pulled it out of the way where I couldn’t reach it.

Verbal insults flew back and forth and I don’t really know who was the first to get really personal about it so when I tell the story I give her the benefit of the doubt and take credit for the first verbal punch when I said to her “Nobody would ever want to be your girlfriend because you can’t hug them because you haven’t got any arms.” To which she replied “Well you’re never going to get married because you can’t walk down the aisle because you’re in a wheelchair.” At that point the teacher stepped in and broke it up. I think I played the handicapped card because she took advantage of my disability and wouldn’t let me get my revenge by scribbling on her drawing as well. As a side note I think it’s funny that a couple of five-year-olds perceived romantic relationships to be based on hugging and walking down an aisle but that’s a different story 🙂

In later years when the whole issue of special school versus mainstreaming was debated whether recall that incident and realized that they weren’t protecting us from anything. I won’t debate whether it’s nature or nurture that makes us attack what is different from us but that incident leaves me to believe that it’s pretty much universal.

Of course all of that comes from simple ignorance. In the article linked above the person didn’t really realize how insulting it was to say “You’re so pretty. It’s a shame you’re a wheelchair.” My girlfriend and I and age 5 really were trying to be cruel to one another. If someone is trying to insult me and using the disability as the mechanism it doesn’t really bother me because they’re just being stupid and I say fuck them. And if they do not realize they are being insulting I dismiss that as well.

The only thing that really bothers me is when you’re in the shopping mall and some little kid points that you start asking questions “What’s that?” Or “why are you in that thing?” and then the parent slaps the kids hand for pointing and tells them to shut up. That really pisses me off. They are stifling the kids natural curiosity. The parent is also sending the not too subtle message that “people like that” should be avoided, not talked about etc. I’m not sure which bothers me more: Teaching the kid to avoid me or stifling their natural curiosity. Let the kids ask questions. Answer the questions openly and honestly. Just maybe when they grow up they won’t think it’s a shame that we’re in a wheelchair. Then they can just make fun of us for other reasons 🙂

One afterword: Much of what some disabled people find offensive doesn’t really offend me at all. They get hung up on the words handicap, disabled, differently abled, challenged etc. For an overview of my thoughts about what each of these words mean, check out this article.

My 23 Hour Hospital Adventure

I promised everyone some more details about my recent hospital visit. Start by setting your Time Machine for a couple of months ago. I woke up in the middle of the night with a strange pain in my chest and back. It was right about where my back brace hits me and it sort of felt like a muscle cramp but it was pretty bad. I tried calling dad to wake him up but couldn’t get his attention. That led to the story already told here about the new call button that I designed and built. That night the pain finally went away after about 45 minutes and I never did get him to wake up till the next morning.

Now fast-forward to this past Tuesday. I had a rough night sleeping or rather not sleeping. About 4 AM I hit the buzzer and had dad roll me over on my side. Then my CPAP mask got out of adjustment and that kept me from getting to sleep. Finally going on about 6 AM I called dad again and rolled over on my back. Shortly after that I started getting a little pain in my chest and back like I had before a few months ago. I called dad again and took some Tylenol. After about a half hour the pain had subsided enough that I finally got to sleep a little after 6 AM. I told dad that he should cancel my caregiver Rick. Dad reminded me that he had a doctor’s appointment at about 10:30 AM. So we went ahead and had Rick come and stay with me while I slept and dad went and got his blood test.

I slept pretty well from around 6 AM to about 1 PM and decided to get up. I had only the tiniest leftover pain from earlier in the morning. If I had not been looking for it, I probably would not even have noticed it.

Since it was so late in the afternoon by the time I got dressed I decided not to eat lunch. I just drank a bottle of Ensure and had a chocolate chip cookie. I figured I would eat supper around 5 PM like normal. I had hoped to get a lot of computer work that so that I could show off my latest electronics project on the weekly video chat. It was at 7:30 PM but I knew I would get enough work done to have anything to show by then. A little after 3 PM I started getting the chest pain again. About 3:30 I took some Tylenol but it didn’t do me any good. In fact the pain was getting worse. It was so bad that after another 15 minutes or so I decided to lay down and take off my brace.

As was the case a few months ago when I had chest pains it also included back pain and it was in the location where my brace hits. However it wasn’t on the skin like I had been rubbed raw. It felt like muscle tightness. I don’t know what a heart attack feels like so I don’t know how I came to the conclusion it wasn’t one. But after laying there in bed another 15 minutes or so and it wasn’t getting any better at all I finally said to dad “This is ridiculous. I could be laying here dying of a heart attack in total denial. I think we need to go the hospital.”

Dad called 911 and in about one minute I can hear the sirens coming from fire station 33 just a few blocks from here. Firefighters listen to my heart and said it sounded okay but agreed I couldn’t take any chances with chest pain.

At first they were going to try to wrap me up in my bed sheet and carry me out to the gurney in the living room. I knew there was no way they could do that without banging up my elbows or knees or toes. We have had a gurney in the bedroom before and it took a lot of convincing to get them to try to bring the gurney down the hall. It turned out it fit just fine. They had the gurney sitting up at about a 45° angle which was no good. Then I had to convince them that there was also room to lay it down flat with the bed and just drag me over. They ended up taking the entire contour sheet off the mattress and dragging me over with it. We could put a towel under me or gotten another sheet and it would’ve been easier.

One of the firefighters pointed to the gadget on top of my TV and asked me what that was. I got to give him a very very brief demo of my remote controlled remote control and call button. He commented to my dad as they were rolling me down the hall “He’s a pretty smart guy isn’t he?”

As they rolled me out the door I was looking at the sky and there were about four or five huge black birds circling around. I said to the EMT “Look at those birds up there. I hope they aren’t buzzards. You don’t want to see buzzards circling as you’re being rolled out to an ambulance.” And we both laughed. The EMT said she thought they looked like crows.

Once I was in the ambulance she hooked me up to a heart monitor and said that everything looked okay. She did have some trouble getting all of the leads to stick to be especially with all of my hair on my chest. She also gave me a handful of four chewable aspirin to take. I probably should’ve done that myself already. I guess it was my insistence that this still wasn’t a heart attack and the Tylenol would be good for the muscle pain.

We got to St. Vincent about 5 PM. The pain was still pretty bad and it had been for about two hours now. I did have some problems with the nausea but I never did really throw up. They put me on a heart monitor in the ER and again said they didn’t see anything suspicious. They put an IV line in me although they didn’t look anything up to it. They did a blood draw and gave me a nausea shot and a shot of morphine for the pain. That helped quite a bit but it didn’t go away completely. They gave me another shot and that did the trick. I’m not had any pain since then.

I thought perhaps the pain was from congestion in my lungs but they did a chest x-ray and it came back clear. The blood tests were to check for cardiac enzymes which appear whenever you have a heart attack. They actually did two sets of those tests throughout the evening and another one the following morning on which came back okay.

Most of the time I was dealing with nurses and someone who is called a physician’s assistant. It wasn’t until about 10 PM that I actually saw a real live doctor. He said he wanted to have been seen by a cardiologist. He didn’t really say if they were going to keep me or not but we were pretty sure that they would. I was expecting a cardiologist come in at some point but the next person through the door was a transport technician (that’s what they call orderlies these days) and he said “I’m here to take you to your room.” That was the first I really knew for certain that I was staying.

Dad had packed my CPAP machine and special St. Vincent call button but did not break my wheelchair, my back brace or any clothes. If they had decided to send me home, dad would have had to run home to get the wheelchair and then come back for me. So since it was getting so late it was probably the best that they kept me. I got to the room a little before 11 and dad was out the door by 11 PM.

Unfortunately the residence or whoever the on-call doctor was changed shifts right about the time that I got there. So the nurse told me it would be a while till the doctor came to see me. Of course I can’t do anything without doctor’s orders. Also someone from respiratory therapy would have to hook up my CPAP machine into their oxygen and hook up a humidifier. I didn’t see the doctor until a little after midnight and the respiratory therapy girl didn’t show up until after 1 AM. Under other circumstances I would have been a little bit upset that it took that long but since I had slept until 1 PM I really wasn’t that. The pain was gone and I was doing okay.

Because I didn’t know if I was staying or going or what was going to happen I ended up not having anything else to eat all day. I asked the nurse if she could rustle up a bottle of Ensure or Boost or something similar. She found a carton of something called instant shake.

The doctor mentioned something about a third set of cardiac enzymes being taken. I asked the nurse when that would be interested about 4:30 AM. I chuckled and said “Well I’ve got that to look forward to.” Actually I slept pretty well. They did not have to stick me again to do the blood draw. The IV they had already established (which never did get hooked up to anything) held up pretty well and they were able to get all the blood they needed.

I woke up about 8 AM with the new shift came in to take my vital signs. They have people called PCT which stands for Patient Care Technician who do things like take vitals, give baths, anything that isn’t too medical. Then you also have an RN who gives you medication. Since I hadn’t eaten hardly anything the day before I was pretty hungry for breakfast. I told the PCT then I need to order breakfast. She said she had to check my chart to see if I had a special diet. I had her turn on the TV to watch the Today Show.

A couple of other RNs came in and each time when they asked if I needed anything, I mentioned I was waiting on the PCT to help me order breakfast. It used to be that in the hospital they had a couple of different choices for each meal and you had to pick one of those or you got nothing. These days they give you a full room service menu and you can order just about anything anytime of day. There’s not a particular service time or a set of entrées that you only get a couple of choices. You just phone and what you want and it’s there in about a half hour.

Eventually the doctor came in. She was someone from internal medicine. She said they wanted to do and echocardiogram. I was okay with that but I wasn’t too keen on doing any kind of a chemical stress test unless it was absolutely necessary. The resident the night before had mentioned the possibility. What they do is if you cannot run on a treadmill stress your heart may pump you full of some sort of medication that makes your heart race and then they do cardiogram. I forgot to mention that the doctor that saw me in the ER asked me if the pain got worse “When you exert yourself”. Dad and I almost laughed out loud in his face. I managed to say without too much sarcasm “I don’t ever get exerted. I can’t.” Anyway this new internal medicine doctor said they would do the regular echo first and see what it showed.

The TV system they have in St. Vincent Hospital is pretty sophisticated. It actually some sort of IP TV kind of system with a menu that allows you to watch videos about their services, check your email, I think it even lets you play games. All of that in addition to a pretty good selection of cable channels. Because of a computer-based system with lets them do interesting things which one wishes they would not do. Case in point in the middle of watching the Today Show a message pops up on the screen saying “If you’ve been here within the last 30 days would you like to take a brief survey?” Then it gives you the option to click yes or no. That of course presumes that you have the physical capability of working there remote control which I do not! I laid there staring at this pop-up window blocking my view of an interview with Bill Cosby thinking about what I would tell them if I could take their damned survey.

I plotted that I would lay a really bad trip on them. I would say something like “There I was lying alone in my hospital bed feeling sorry for myself that I was this for crippled man who nearly died of a heart attack. My only enjoyment in life as I awaited the fate of my test results was to enjoy the Today Show which a nurse had so kindly turned to at my request since I was unable to push the buttons myself in my feeble state. And then this pop-up message appeared on my screen asking my opinion. It not only robbed me of my only pleasure at the time (the ability to watch Matt Lauer) but it reminded me of how helpless I was lying there fearing for my life and unable to push a single button. I didn’t dare call the nurse to clear the message from my screen lest I jeopardize the health of some other poor patient who needed her attention more than me.” blah blah blah blah blah you get the idea. I would’ve given it to them with both barrels. People who know me know I’m not the “feeling sorry for myself” kind of guy. But I’ve been around enough of them that I can turn it on for affect 🙂

It was getting close to 10 AM and I still didn’t have any breakfast on order. Or at least I didn’t think I did. Just about the time that the transport guy comes to take me to the echocardiogram, room service shows up with the breakfast that the damned PCT ordered for me without asking me what the hell I wanted! There was a different PCT helping the guy load me on to the gurney. I expressed my disapproval that they had ordered my breakfast without asking me what I wanted. She said “What did you want?” I said, “Well for one thing I wanted eggs. Are there any eggs there?” She said no.

It took me down to the basement for the echocardiogram. Basically it’s an ultrasound test where they watch your heart beating. As a joke I asked the guy if I could get a DVD of it afterwards. He said actually if you wait a couple of days you can order one. It’s part of your medical records that you’re entitled to have. They probably charge you a bunch of money for it. I don’t think I’ll bother. But it would be fun to upload it to YouTube 🙂

You’ve often heard it said of people “Well at least their heart is in the right place”. Apparently mine isn’t. I knew that because of my bad curvature of my spine and my strangely shaped chest that my anatomy was strange. But I didn’t know that my heart was very low compared to my rib cage. He actually got the best picture of my heart by putting the probe below my breastbone. It’s a good thing I wear this heavy chest brace because apparently my heart isn’t covered by my rib cage very well. He had a little bit of difficulty getting a side view but he managed to see everything he needed to see.

When I got back to my room not only was there the pancakes and sausage breakfast that I didn’t order, there was a second tray with a plate full of scrambled eggs. Apparently the other PCT took my offhand comment “I wanted eggs” very literally and ordered them for me. What I really wanted was scrambled eggs, two pieces of white bread toast, and two cartons of 2% milk. There was coffee, orange juice, and one carton of milk in the original breakfast. So I managed to get by with the eggs, juice and milk. Of course when I really, really, really wanted was to be ASKED! By the way I never did see again the PCT who ordered breakfast without me.

When I got back from my tests there was a different RN who helped feed me. She wasn’t my regular nurse. It’s probably a good thing or I would’ve never wanted to leave the hospital. She had to be the hottest looking nurse I think I’d ever had in my life. She was so hot it didn’t even matter that she was about six months pregnant.

I tried calling dad to fill him in on what had happened throughout the morning but he was apparently already on his way to the hospital. All I got was the answering machine. Soon after that a PCT came in to get me cleaned up. She was the one who ordered the eggs. I didn’t really complain because she was trying to do the right thing.

Just as I started the bath, dad showed up. He said he had brought clothes and my wheelchair but had left it all in the van. He had ridden up from the parking lot in the little three wheeled gogo that my mom used to use. He gets around pretty well but for long distances like the hospital, the cart really came in handy. It also brought with him my laptop computer. The last time I had been at St. Vincent a few months ago with a urinary infection, I could not get my laptop to connect to their Wi-Fi system. He had gotten his tablet to connect okay but I think there was something funny about Windows 8 that they weren’t yet ready to support. Fortunately this time I connected okay. He had not left my home computer on. I was hoping to be able to use Team Viewer to login to home. I was able to post a message on Facebook but could not send any emails because I didn’t have anyone’s email address on the laptop. Going to have to make a list for next time.

We spent the next few hours just sitting around waiting for results from the echocardiogram. Dad read a book on his tablet. I played a little Candy Crush on the laptop but was a little bit uncomfortable with the bed raised up so I put away the laptop and we put the bed back flat again. Finally the internal medicine doctor came back and she said that the echo looked okay. She said I should follow up with the family doctor but she was cutting loose.

I called up Acme Homecare to tell them that I was going home and would need Rick back again the next day. I wanted to make sure they didn’t need to do a reevaluation of me. When I was in for three days with a urinary infection they had to send a nurse to ask me a million questions that they already knew all the answers to. Once you are in for more than a couple of days they have to treat you like an entirely new patient. Fortunately with just an overnight stay in an observation room they didn’t need to do all that. Rick was back on the job the next day.

Dad rode the gogo back to the van taking with him as much stuff as he could. That included the laptop, my dirty clothes, and my contour sheet and pillow from home that had traveled with me in the ambulance. He then parked the van at the pickup area in front of the hospital, loaded my clothes in a bag on the back of my wheelchair and rode my wheelchair from the van back to my room. He got me dressed which included putting on my back brace which is tricky for a novice to do. It’s better to have him do it than the nurse. As he returned with the wheelchair I asked him several questions about things he might have forgotten like my shoes. One thing he did forget what the headrest that goes on my wheelchair. When I’m getting in and out of the chair we remove it so it wasn’t on the chair when he picked it up at home. That meant I had to write home in the van without the headrest. We propped a pillow up behind my neck when I was still pretty uncomfortable in my neck was very stiff by the time we got home.

We left the hospital about 4 PM which means my total visit lasted just 23 hours. We were going to stop to give McDonald’s on the way home but I suggested we go straight home because my neck hurt. He went back out afterwards and got the sandwiches.

When I went to bed that night I looked on the floor and underneath my bed with someone’s wristwatch. One of the firefighters are ambulance people must’ve lost it while transferring me on to the gurney. We will probably drop it off at the fire station sometime.

We still have no idea what was wrong with me. It had to be some sort of muscle cramps. My heart’s okay. I haven’t had any pain since then.

My Biggest Poker Win Ever

A couple of weeks ago I played in a poker tournament at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church in Zionsville. It was my second biggest live poker tournament winning ever. I promised my friends on Facebook I would write a blog entry telling more about the event. I’m just now getting around to doing that.

I think this was the fourth tournament I played at that church. My friend Jack Brake goes to that church. The tournament director a guy named Gil Keller also frequented the St. Gabriel poker tournaments and is a really great guy. He also plays that Jack’s home game which I’ve been to a few times.

St. Alphonsus has a very large complex of buildings on them quite beautiful. I’m not been inside their actual church but considering the quality of their parish hall send other facilities my guess is it’s gorgeous. The parish hall we played him look like it might’ve been a chapel or sanctuary that had been converted to use as a hall. They have a large video projector screen and a pair of 2 large flatscreen TVs. Gil hooks up his laptop to the screen to display the time left in each blind level. He has a really nice app that he can program in all the details of each level. It also tracks the number of players remaining in a number of rebuys so that it can report the average chip stack size. I found myself looking at that number frequently to see where I stood in relationship to the field.

The buy-in was $50 which got you 20,000 chips. Blinds started out 100-200. You are also allowed to rebuy to bust out before the first break. Each blind level is 20 minutes and the break was after the fifth level. A rebuy would be $50. After the first break, anyone could do an ad on for an additional $50 for 20,000 chips or half of an add-on $25 for 10,000 chips. They had 33 players on the one guy didn’t show up so they put his chips in play and posted his blinds until the first break. He never did show so they removed his chips at the break.

I had a reasonably good hand the first hand of the game. I forget what it was but it was a face card with a decent kicker and the opportunity to play the first hand was irresistible. I think I ended up with a pair of Kings that ran into three of a kind. It was disappointing to have a decent hand right off the bat and get beat. It was a sign of things to come. The entire first four levels of the tournament I did not win a single hand. Most of the time I would get marginal hands out of position. Of course every time I would limp in, someone would come over the top. I basically sat there for the first hour and a half and watched my chips dwindle away.

As we got closer to the break in the end of the period in which you could rebuy I decided to play a little bit looser having already made up my mind that I was probably going to have to rebuy or with a big pot if I was going to be any kind of competitive for the rest of the game. Late in the fourth level I went all in and lost and is the rebuy. That meant I now had $100 in the game. That’s what I plan to put in because I expected I would do the initial $50 plus the add-on for $50. I only had $140 with me and I had already spent $5 on a 50/50 drawing. If I was like to do an add-on it was going to have to be the half add-on for $25. By the way I really like the idea of having an option to do the half add-on. Even if I hadn’t already done the rebuy and been short on cash, I might only done the half add-on.

The very first hand after the add-on I got in a very big pot against three other players. One of them was all in and the other two we checked down the remaining cards. I ended up winning the entire pot and although I didn’t count the chips completely, it was very nearly a double up for me. So in two hands I went from being nearly out of the tournament to having almost double the starting chip size.

Since I had won that big pot, I considered not doing the add-on but in the end I decided to do the half add-on anyway. That meant my total investment was now up to $125. At that point they were introducing a new red chip that was worth 10,000. Most of the people who did the add-on got 2 red chips. When I sent my dad up to the chip table to buy my add-on, I expected him to come back with one red chip. Instead he came back with five yellow ones which were worth 5000 each. They had given him 2 ½ times more chips than they should have. I thought about just keeping my mouth shut and I would like to say that it was my sense of honesty that prompted me to speak up but that really wasn’t it so much. I was more concerned that other players were similarly getting the wrong amount of chips. In the end I did tell him that give me the wrong amount and I gave back the extra chips.

From there on out I just took it easy and picked my spots carefully. It was clear that many of the players were staying on marginal hands. That told me that the right strategy was to wait for a premium hand and let them go at it with their marginal hands. If I would happen to catch a flop on a good hand I would be able to take them big. Because I was playing only a few hands, I think I developed a reputation for only playing premium hands which was in part true. But on a couple of occasions when I missed the flop or perhaps played position and really didn’t have much, I was able to bluff my way to winning a few pots that were total bluffs.

There was a guy sitting to players to my right played a lot of pots and won a lot of chips. He knocked out several players and had amassed quite a big stack. As I looked around the table I could see I was doing okay compared to the other players and I was maintaining average or better stack size according to the big screens. But I really wondered how things were going at the other tables.

We were playing about eight players per table on average. However when it got down to two tables they decided not to merge to a final table until there were actually eight players. Most tournaments I’ve managed and most that I’ve played in add an extra player for the final table. Even the World Series of Poker Main event which plays nine players per table, merges to a single table when there are just 10 players remaining. They don’t call that 10th place player a member of the “final table” even though he does sit at the final table. It was really rough playing with just four players while we waited for the ninth place player to go out at the other table of five. I’m going to have to recommend to Gil that next year the go-ahead and put nine or 10 players at the final table.

When we finally merged to the final table I was pretty proud of myself for making it that far the second year in a row. Last year I think I went out eighth but they only paid five or six places. This year they were going to pay six places however sixth was only going to get $40. Fifth was $90. For someone who only did the initial $50 entry, at least they got some money back for sixth place and would possibly turn a profit at fifth. But considering I had $125 invested I knew I was going to have to get to at least fourth to get in the black.

We had about three minutes left in the level when we merged to the final table. We took a break after that and they did a color up of chips. Someone use the phrase “chip up” and so I got on my soap box and started preaching. There had been a running joke going around the table about people whining about how poorly they had been doing. I said to the group “It’s my turn to start whining”. I wasn’t whining about how I was doing in the tournament. I was whining about the misuse of language. I explained to the group that this was a pet peeve of mine. Technically “chip up” is a process where you win a series of pots and gradually build your stack of chips. What we were doing was called “color up”. That’s where you trade in your low value chips of one particular color that are no longer needed for chips of a higher value and different color. But I hear people call “color up” by the term “chip up” frequently and it really bugs me.

Among the chips that were added with a new 25,000 chip that is a rectangular plaque like the ones that they use in European casinos. We all joked about how we felt like we were James Bond playing Bacharach against an evil villain. It was kind of fun to have these unusual chips in your stack even though after the color up I only had one of them. The guy who was sitting to places to my right had about five or six. The advantage to color up is it makes it easier to see the relative stack size of each player. Amateur players don’t always keep their chips very well organized and do not keep them in easily countable stacks. At this point it was easy to work around and just look at the number of 25,000 plaques each player has to judge their stack size. I turned to my dad and said “can you believe it? It looks as though I’m currently in third place!” Considering that I didn’t win a single hand for the first 100 minutes or so and it had to do the rebuy, it was amazing enough that I made it to the final eight but to be sitting third at that point was just unbelievable. Dad reminded me that in fact I was really only in eighth place. The way that game goes, you could get kicked out at any minute.

Considering the size of the stack that the one guy had with his six or seven 25,000 plaques, I think we all figured that he had the win tied up we were all playing for second place. The problem was his strategy was a mess. He had been bullying people because he had such a big stack and it had been working. But now rather than going after the shortest stacks, he was going after the larger ones. Because the blinds were so big and he was playing so loose that whenever he would lose it would cost him 10% -15% of his stack or more. Of course some people were going all in with a short stack because they didn’t have any other choice and he would call because he figured they didn’t have much. Occasionally they would double up and that would cut his stack even more.

I tried to lay low as I could because I needed to make it into the money. When we finally got down to sixth place I was still in third or fourth. At one point I ended up all in against one of the other shorter stacks. I barely had him covered. It was classic coin flip where I had a small pair and he had two over cards. The odds of winning one of those are about 50-50 so that’s why they call it a coin flip. I ended up winning that one which kept me alive a little bit longer. As I saw the guy with the big stack begin to lose his and the guy who had been in second place take over the lead I realize that those two weren’t afraid to go at each other. That really worked to my advantage so I picked my time when to get involved. Once I got down to fourth place I don’t recall what it paid but it was more than the $125 that I had invested. I was so happy to be that far along I didn’t really care what happened after that.

When we got down to just three players I turned to dad and said “I told you I was in third place”. He said “you can say that now that you couldn’t say it before. You could have just as easily gone out in eighth”. Of course he was right. The guy who had had the big lead at one point probably had more chips than all of the other players combined. Now he had about half the stack of the new chip leader. I just let them go at it and occasionally picked up some blinds when I had position. I knew the two big stacks would go at each other and eventually they did. The guy with the big stack was gone in third place. If he played a little bit smarter he could’ve won the whole thing. That left me heads up against a really smart player. He had about a 10 to 1 lead over me. We’ve been playing over four hours and were both very tired. He had indicated he might make some sort of deal which I probably should’ve taken. I doubt he was going to take first and second place money combined and split it even with me but he might’ve given me more than I would’ve gotten for second place on my own. But it’s pretty rare to get a chance to play heads-up for good money and I asked him if we could just go ahead with it for a few more hands. “I’m probably going to go all in pretty soon here to see if I can double up. If I don’t it will all be over. Let’s given a few hands.” He agreed.

Sure enough a few hands later I caught a couple good cards and pushed. He called and caught a pair on the flop. I never did improve and it was all over. Second-place paid $460. Subtracting out the $125 that I had invested gave me a profit of $335. That doesn’t include the $5 I spent on the 50-50 drawing. I count that as separate. First place paid $740. I don’t know if he did rebuy or add on. My guess is he did the initial $50 plus a $50 add-on. I don’t think he did a rebuy.

Overall I had a great time. And winning my second biggest live tournament ever made it even better. For the record my biggest live win ever was at a tournament at brother-in-law Joe’s club that he belongs to in Danville. They had 64 players paid $50 each and I got second place which was $650 total or $600 net. My biggest win anywhere was a limit hold‘em game on Poker Stars. It was a $5 entry against about 4000 players. It took about five hours to play. I got first place which was about $545. Although that was less than the $650 that I made in that other live tournament, I still consider it my biggest win as a percentage.