Saturday, December 26, 2009

The White Elephant Night - The movie

It really needs no introduction. Watch and enjoy:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The 3rd Annual White Elephant Game

The White Elephant game is the home game that I really look forward to over the course of the year. Its the annual Christmas Gift exchange between our home game group, and consists of more laughs than any other.

This years game featured 9 of us, and we began with 50 starting chips, with 1/2 blinds, and the buy in was a Wrapped Present, in which you were not allowed to spend more than $5 on the gift. The basic rules were, the first person to bust out opens a wrapped gift. The second person to bust out has the option to either steal an open gift, or open another unwrapped gift. This continues until all of the presents are unwrapped.

A few rules implemented from our home game are, there are no direct steal backs, meaning if I bust and steal your gift, you can't steal it back from me on that turn. However, if another player busts later and steal your gift, then you're free to steal from anyone, even if that person had taken yours before. Just no direct steal-backs.

Also, an item cannot be stolen more than 3 times. After the third steal, it becomes frozen with that person.

Next, if the gift is edible, then it cannot be consumed (even partially) until after the game is complete.

Finally, the individual who wins the night, has the option of opening his/her gift, and then deciding if they want to keep that gift, or trade it with any other gift regardless of the number of previous steals. Basically, the winner has the option of any gift throughout the night.

And so, 9 of us brought our wrapped presents to the game, and the first person to unveil contents was Janeth. She called the rest of her chips after Jordan moved all in showing AKos, and Janeth showed 9s-2s. The board ran clean for the AK, and Janeth came back in with a large box. After unwrapping she pulled out a controller for an X-Box, then a second one, and finally, an X-Box system. It was said that there was no way that she was ending up with that gift, and it was true.

The second player eliminated was Chris, and he came back with a gift bag, that upon opening revealed a classic set of Hotel "Freebies" from Las Vegas. Included was a bucket to place quarters in, A Pad and a Pen, Soap, Hand Lotion, A "Do Not Disturb" door hanger, and a $.10 Ticket Voucher from New York New York Casino. Last but not least, a set of sun glasses with a pink trim. Classic.

Amber would be the next person to go out, and her gift was another gift bag where the tag read "To Snuggle with your honey." She unveiled a Soft blanket, which she wouldn't be able to hang onto for the evening.

Andrew would go out next, opening the other of the Vegas and Swag gifts, which included A Black hat from Stack restaurant and the Commerce Casino, A Bottle of Chocolate Liquor, Tickets to A few Las Vegas shows, and everything was kept in a commemorative Ka Cup.

The next elimination produced the gift of the night, as Robert decided to open the biggest box of the evening. It was easily a 2x2x2 foot box, that wasn't terribly heavy. He set it upon the table and asked for Tim's help with his knife to cut open the tape that kept it shut, and opened the large package. It was full of crumpled newspaper, and he began digging through it. Anticipation grew as it took him quite a while to get to the actual present which lay at the bottom of the large box, and when he finally reached it, we all new exactly what it was without even seeing the gift. Simply by the look of awe from Robert's face, we new that the White Fur Coat of White Elephant games past had made its reappearance. Andrew had contacted Amy (who'd received it last year, but couldn't make it to this year's game) and picked it up from her, and re-gifted it. It was the moment of the evening producing unparalleled laughs, sending most of us into tears from laughing so hard. Truly an epic moment.

After the emotional outburst, the game continued, with Tim busting next, and he promptly stole the X-Box from Janeth. Janeth surveyed the opened gifts, before deciding to open a new one. Her gift was a classic piece of American Literature, so profound, that I didn't catch the title of the book. But she was happy with her new find.

I was the next to go out with KhQh, busted by Jordan's 8-9os when a 9 hit the flop and Jordan called my bets on every street to take the big pot. After busting, I promptly stole the X-Box from Tim, and he went to open a new gift. He unveiled a few items, most notably a Holiday CD that included songs such as "Hanukkah is da Bomb" and the like. It was a good laugh at that one.

Traci would get her money all in against Jordan on the second hand they played, and Jordan ended up winning the pot and the night. Traci decided to steal the blanket from Amber, and Amber opened another gift which ended up being a Sesame Street Oscar the Grouch garbage can, which I think was a piggy bank.

Finally, Jordan opened the final gift which was a large box containing a hammer and some zip ties. He was really pleased with the gift, and elected to hang onto it, and the night was done. We all hugged and said good nights to Robert, Janeth, Amber and Chris, and the 5 remaining players stayed for a quick $5 winner take all game. I ended up on top to finish the evening. It was a truly remarkable night.

Many thanks to everyone who came and participated. It was, as it always is, a night of fantastic laughs, and a wonderfully good time with great friends. Its a great capper to the end of the year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Catching up

Its been more than two weeks since my last blog entry, largely due to motivation....or my lack there of.

I just haven't really been motivated to do much of anything lately. Perhaps its depression. Perhaps its just being overwhelmed with a large amount of other responsibility. But really, I think it's just that I haven't really had that many opportunities to just sit down and actually write. Which is somewhat unfortunate given that it has proven to be a somewhat successful and profitable venture in the recent past.

But I've played some pretty good online poker lately, placing 12th in the BBoC Tournament, 2nd in a $3 KO MTT for my largest personal score on Full Tilt (just shy of $300), and today I took 2nd in a $3 90 person S&G on Full Tilt again for another $48. My good play has carried over to live play as well where I've taken first place in each of the last two weeks at the home game. Its been a pretty good ride actually.

But for now, I'd like to focus less on playing poker, and more on my writing and the TPT Live show that Geoff and I are running on Thursday nights. I'm really enjoying putting together these shows, and tonight, we're going to be joined by Jay Rosenkrantz of DeucesCracked. He's one of the Two Months-2 Million guys, and a solid poker pro. We may even be joined by Pocket 5's Jennifear, but if not this week, probably next.

But between preparing for Thanksgiving (we hosted), the Post Turkey Day "Bring Your Leftovers" game, and this week with the kids getting early out days all this week and attending their Parent/Teacher conferences, as well as tending to Traci's never ending medical needs, it's just been overwhelming.

In a couple weeks, Traci and I are going to Las Vegas for 2 nights to see some timeshare presentation that we were invited to by a friend. It'll be nice to get away from all the responsibilities here for a little while.

I also want to congratulate my best friend, and Team7Deuce Member Jordan. On Tuesday, we made a last second trip down to the Bike for their Daily Nooner. It's my favorite local live poker tournament. There were 148 entries, and I hit the rail in 40th place. I got short when I 3-bet shoved 15k with pocket 9's, and the open limper called all in for 9k with Pocket Tens. He spiked a Ten on the river, and I was pretty much toast. I moved my last 4k from UTG when blinds had just been bumped up to 500/1000 ante 200, and found 2 callers. The flop came out T-8-8, and I knew I was in trouble when the guy on my left led out for another 3500. The BB folded, and my opponent showed AA, and I was sent to the rail.

But Jordan made a great run, and when I busted, he was still sitting on the same 30k that he was at when we met up after the 2nd break. And when the blinds went to 800/1600, people really began falling out quick. The bubble burst at 19 players, and with Jordan sitting on 28k. He open shoved 2 times in a row with the blinds now at 1500/3000 ante 500, and scooped two decent pots with just the blinds and antes, to give him some cushion. Those two steals really catapulted him to the final table.

There at the final table, he waited patiently until there were 7 players left, and he finally got active. The player UTG +1 and directly to Jordan's right was short and moved all in. Jordan re-shoved on top of him, and then found another Caller in the BB. The original raiser sheepishly showed KQos, and Jordan trumped with with Pocket Q's. But the Big Blind showed "King Kong" with a monster of 2 kings, and Jordan was down to basically 1 out. But lady luck was on his side as the flop came out AQ5, and Jordan's set took the lead. The turn and river bricked out, and Jordan chipped up to around 70k. He was able to shove and pick up the blinds and antes 2 more times, when with 5 players left, he found himself in another showdown. This time, he opened shoved with QTos, and found a caller on the button with AJ. The two blinds got out of the way, and the two players saw a flop of J-8-5. The turn 6c was no help, but a Q on the river gave Jordan a better pair, and eliminated his opponent in 5th place.

With 4 player left, the remaining players agreed to look at a chop. Without the chop, 1st place was guaranteed about $1200, and when they came back with the numbers, Jordan agreed to the proposed $810 that was for his stack, and walked away a big winner. It was a lot of fun, and my hat is off to Jordan, who played very well, and was very deserving (if not very lucky).

But that's about it from the major news. Tomorrow looks good to go for the home game, and we should have the usual crowd. I'll try and get a little more diligent about writing here, and giving some of the updates on what's happening with the home game. For instance, we're aiming for the White Elephant night to be on December 18th, which is one of my favorite nights of the year. I need to find a quality gift this year. But thats it till next time. Cheers, P