Monday, August 21, 2006

Motivational Training

This reminds me of days working in sales offices.

Nose Ring

My daughter Miranda asked me if she could get a nose ring. We went down to Motor Psychos in Santa Ana to see the tattoo artist there. I assumed he would do piercings and I was right. Miranda at the grand old age of 14 has a nose ring. I told her she owes me big time for that. God it is good to have some leverage on your teenagers. Lighten up parents. Let them make mistakes. I have. We all have. Enjoy life. Pura Vida.

Friday, August 04, 2006

When is enough, enough?

When is enough, enough? This damn war has been dragging on and on. More bombings and killings today. I mean they had it bad under Saddam I understand that. Obviously not aa big problem for the U.S. government when we backed him against Iran. The U.S. leaders claim to be Christians. Please email me where Thou shall not kill except for when in war is in the Ten COmmandments that some of these nuts try to get into our Court Houses. I swore off this shit and I wont vote for the first time in a major election since I was 18 but man get real. Click the the above title of this post and just look at the cost. Do you think you are better of and safer than before this war started? If yes then we just see things differently. I mean think of it how can we not ask the Iseralis for a cease fire? OK just needed to vent. You know how good it feels in a country with no army? PRICELESS.

Safety: Escazu vs. Phoenix

I often hear complaints about the safety of Costa Rica. I moved here from Chandler AZ which is a suburb of Phoenix. I have only had some tools robbed from me here and that was do to the stupidity of someone else. Basically I had a house I was renting rooms out in and also played poker there. I decided not to continue doing so and my partner unknown to me fired the woman who was staying at the house. I had some tools stolen and he had 3 TVs and a few other things taken. If I knew there was no one in the house with guys there renting the rooms I would have had all my stuff out and throw the guys out. Oh well lesson learned but that is my closes call with danger here.

I wonder if my AZ friends still think it is more dangerous in this 3rd world country?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First day of school

Today is the start of a new chapetr here in Escazu. Miranda and Delaney are going to school. Today is a visit to the Itskazu School which is about 500 meters down the road from our house. The school is totally in spanish except for the english class. So there is atleast one course they should pass. The school year runs from end of Feb through mid December so they basically have four months to learn spanish before the start of the next school year.

We were told to arrive there at 7:30 this morning. We arrived about 7:20 and went to the front office where the girl only speaks spanish. Now the area we lie in has more expats and I believe more english speaking Ticos then any where else in Costa Rica. As the girl was asking me a question I am thinking she is asking me what group of children the girls are suppose to spend the day with and I am night quite sure if I understand. She gets up from her desk and goes out in front of the office to talk to a group of kids hanging out waiting for school to start. Two kids come in and start asking me the questions in english and we get the girls settled and I am out of there. This is one of the reasons I liked the school is because though it is all in spanish i was pretty sure there would be a group of kids that speak some english atleast. These two their english was perfect.

The school is very small and covers 1st through 11th grade. I am not sure of the total students but it is less than 100 for sure. The arts a heavily stressed and it is quite informal. The uniforms is jeans and a logo polo shirt from the school. Usually schools here have the typical blue and white uniforms. The arts and creative thinking are stressed heavily. While the girls were back in the states I looked at many schools and this one definitely seemed to be a little different. It also runs a full day schedule from 7:30-4:00. This is not how the public schools run. They run two sessions a day and I am not sure what those hours are.

Miranda has turned into quite a young woman over the summer and here she is at dating age and I have to ponder what to do about these charming young Ticos. Then my brother reminded me about Sir Charles:

When my daughter is old enough to date I plan on killing her first boyfriend and hoping the word gets out - Charles Barkley

There are not many 6'2"290# Ticos so hopefully pure size will be a detering factor but I doubt it Miranda had really turned into a young beauty. Delaney also grew and matured a lot. I was figuring she would never grow but was I wrong.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Long trip almost over...the return of the girls

Those of you that know me probably know my wife and kids go back to New York every year for a month in the summer. It usually works out to be the month of July. The restaurants in Phoenix are in there low season and easy for Jae to take time off. Plus her family celebrates Christmas in July where everyone can get together and celebrate which is hard to do Christmas time. They do it at my inlaws lake house at Hatch Lake near Morrisville NY. They live on top of a rolling hill with a view of the lake. They have two farms around them both with beautiful horses, one of those horses kicked LT last year so he was definitely not looking to go back there.

The usual month long trip turned into a 3 month trip do to a convention at Disney World for my inlaws business. A month away from the family is a long time but three months have been way too long. That wont be happening again. Today is the day they return and there is a lot of work to do. I have had a live in maid here since they left, no we haven't hit it rich a live in maid cost me $200 per month, but she had to go back to Nicaragua for two weeks do to family issues. This weekend we closed the B&B/poker room and the place was a mess. Now my house is a mess and I should be cleaning instead of typing but I think this might be my last chance for a week or so and I haven't posted in a while.

Poker has been running bad and I have decided not to play no limit anymore accept for tournaments. That means I have to concentrate on internet poker. It has been a tough switch back to the limit game but I am positive so far since I started back at it so that's a good sign. Right now my brother and I have been swithing off at a half hor a time do to having no router to set up two PCs. Jae is bringing one back today. Electronis are 1/3 to 1/2 as much more down here do to tarrifs.

I belong to a Yahoo Group called CostaRicaLiving. It helps adjusting to this new country and way of life. Things can be hard to find and there is no address system here so guidance from a knowledgeable person is also needed. CRL is also a good place to make friends. Jae and I have made some friends off there as well as the girls. On this group we have had recent discussions about ethics and bribing local cops. I asked how much the fine was for a particular offense and asked if 5,000 colones($10) payment on the spot would cover it and man did I get a load of shit for that. I tell you it is just common practice down here. I wrote when in Rome.....OOPS hit some nerves with that comment and ridiculed beyond belief but I got thick skin and gave it right back. You all know how much I like to back in the post where I asked about bribing the cop I originally asked to know what the actual law was because it didn't sound like the original poster was 100% sure. Sure enough no one knew what it was and the only responses I got was ridicule. I found the law posted it and yes the guy was only partially correct and it would not apply to me. I basically gave my critics the good old "**** YOU" but did it in my usual good spirit....OK maybe it is not usual but I did with a wink. Can they see a wink on line....I need to use though damn icons. OK back to cleaning.

Pura Vida


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

No Electricity

Well last Monday I wake up with no power. So my maid calls up and says my bill is passed do. Suprise sometimes I don't even get a bill so I grab it and go down to pay and they tell me it is already paid. Now the place I pay my bills has people that only speak spanish working there so when they say I owe no money I am suspicious. I go directly to the power company ICE, a government controlled monopoly, and again in my broken spanish I find out that someone just paid the bill. WHAT? I know I am a nice guy but people paying two months of my electric bill is not possible. Off to my favorite watering hole, The Pub in Escazu, Caroline is a Gringa/Tica who is partners in the business and her spanish after 13 years here is awesome. She is married to Tavo a tico who walks in the door right after me. I explain the situation and Tavo says grab you beer we are going down to the ICE office. Well it checks out someone paid my bill and I will be reconected in 1 hour so after going back to The Pub I pick up my brother and head to the casino.

When we get home there is still no power so in the morning I realize I had my neighbors bill. Bills stay in the same name as the phone number stays with the house. So anyone that knows Mark the old owner of a bar El Che in Escazu knows my number as well. KInd of odd but you get use to it. SO I pay the bill and electricity is back on in a few hours. When ever I think something is screwed up here I say "bienvenidos" which is welcome in spanish. It is amazing how patient I have become since moving here. Maybe not by other peoples standards but by mine for sure.

Ok I am concentrating on tournaments because in August there is a week of tournaments with some big buy ins and I want to practice. I just keep getting busted early. Tournament #1 with 23d in big blind I flop A45os and have 2 other players all in on the flop. WOW I got the nuts and will triple up until the board pairs the 5 on the river and it is adios. Tournament #2 pocket 88, flop AA8 full house. Player 1 check me small bet next guy triples my bet next guy raises 3x the raise hmmmmm....ALL IN by me the guy is thinking so I know he has the Ace and must hit his kicker or get running pair or case Ace to beat me. You think I want a call? HELL YES. So I go into my ultimate Steve talking BS and he finally calls. If I win I have 15% of all chips in play and we are in the 2nd round. A sure finally table is missed when he shows A3 and a 3 hits the turn. Someone comented that I should have talked him into calling. Are you kidding me? I am a 4-1 leader can more than double up and coast to final table if it holds up. Put me in that spot all day long. Now last nights tournament #3 round 2 blinds $2/4 guy raises to $100 thats 25 times the big blinds I am out of here, wait I have AA both black "I call" everyone else folds. Flop is 945 2 diamonds. Raiser checks I bet $50 he moves all in I call faster than he can put his diamond draw chips in the pot. AQd river a diamond buenos noches. Oh well thats poker. Pura Vida all.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tournament Melt Down

For those of you have not played poker tournaments with me I usually start with an aggressive style. This really matters on the tournament structure. But at the Europa Casino loose aggressive play suits me well. I probably see anywhere to 4-6 flops per round and hope to get paid off on a monster hand or two and build up some chips. Compare this to my tight aggressive style where I usually see 1-2 flops per rounds of cards. Well I did start of well and builts up some chips. I made it to the final table and with five players left I bluffed of almost all my chips when I moved all in on the turn picking up the nut flush draw to a guy who flopped a straight and slow played it. Oh well 5th paid $180 bt keep in mind 1st paid $1000. Tournament play really requires you to finish in the top 3 to be making good money.

Today we are off to the Horseshoe Casino to play in a free roll tournament. My prediction is 25 players will play with 1st place paying $3500 2nd $1750 and 3rd $900. Hopefully my brother and I will both finish in the top three. Till next time.

Pura Vida

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Tourney at Radisson tonight

Tonight at the Europa Casino at the Radisson in San Jose is a $100 buy in with no rebuy No Limit Tournament. I have been doing well in these tournaments and anticipate the prize pool to be $5,000-$6,000. I won a tournament there Tuesday night and turned 15,000 colones($30) into 390,000 colones($780). Hopefully tonight both my brother, Glenn, and I will both make the money. I have been prepairing by reading Dan Harringtons Book on No Limit Holdem Tournaments and would highly recomend it. Glenn has the second book as well but I have only flipped through it. The books are very detailed in hand situation and general strategy. I will let you all know how we did in the next few days when I post again.


Well I wasn't positive I was the only guest but as I sit here at the only one of twelve tables with a table cloth on it I am pretty sure I am the only guest here. Now San Jose during the rainy season seem like a guaranteed beautiful day until early afternoon around 2:00-3:00. The owner here told me that they had two straight days of rain. Costa Rica is a small country but has I believe 52 different micro climates. So knowing the exact weather in each area is tough. For example during the heart of rainy season in San Jose which is September and October the weather in the Caribean is the best of the year according to the owner of Bungalow Malu, my wifes and I favorite place to stay in Cahuita just 15Km or so north od Perto Viejo. So if your looking for a nice fall get away I would definetly recommend that as one of your stops. It is maybe 50 meters from high tide and has the coolest stone and wood combo bungalows and they are working on a house that sleeps 8+ for those big family trips. A room that slept four cost us $70 per night incluing tax. There are also some great little restaurants our favorite being Cha Cha Cha. Playa negro in front of the bungalows is pratically deserted and you will see one of the locals on a bike guiding eight or so horses to what I pressume is work(horse rentals I believe) and home in the late afternoon. Quiet a sight to see actually it really fascinated me.
For today the plan is to head back to San Jose maybe via Nosara. I learned last night there may possibly be a high road I missed so maybe I will check it out. Last night a party for six came into the restaurant while I was at the bar. They were raving about seeing the lava flow from Arenal Volcano, my ass it flowed. I said “What time did it start flowing?” The response ÄT about 10:00” Damn here I am a guy that goes to bed between 4:00AM and 6:00AM most mornings and I can't stay up for this. Muy tonto(very silly) oh well I don't think it is going anywhere I will be back with the family.

Final table situation....was it a mistake?

I am playing in a no limit unlimited rebuy tourney at my local casino. It pays 10 spots there are 8 of us left. I am 2nd chip leader with Approx. $4,200 in chips and am in the cut off spot. Blinds are 200/400 with a $50 ante so each round is costing $1,000. Everyone folds to me I look down at AQos and raise to $1,600. Button folds and the small blind thinks a minute or so and moves all in. He is chip leader with about $5,600 of the $34,000 chips in play. Big blind has only $500 but folds. If I call and go out I receive $300. My buy-in and rebuys added up to $350. Next spot up pays $500. I play with this player regularly and am fully aware that he could have any pair or have me dominated with AK. He is also quite capable (even likely) to move in here with a weak ace. I feel the chances are 50/50 that I am ahead. If I win this pot and the $9,200 in chips I feel I will win the tourney which is a $3,400 payoff. I think and call he has AKs. No help and I am out kicking myself. Hw else could I have played it. Raise less preflop maybe to $800 or $1,200? Fold to the reraise? There is $6,600 in the pot and I have to call $2,600 so I am getting 2.46:1 on my money. I am open to any advise and analysis. Steve