Thursday, August 02, 2007

One Poker Hand from the Thursday Night Game

I played tonight from 8:30 PM to 10:30 PM at Ryan's house on Euclid Avenue in Boulder, Colorado.

Ryan was away with Kelly in Montana at a wedding so it was Ryan's brothers Nick and Kelly plus Andre Smirnov and Ken.

I bought in for twenty dollars and played pretty tight. The only game we played was no-limit hold 'em. I didn't get great cards and I had 2 7 offsuit a few times.

The last hand I played I had about thirteen dollars left. My hole cards were Ace Four of clubs.

Pre-flop the only players to stay in the hand were Nick, Kelly and me. The flop came with an Ace, Four and a 10. I had two pair but there were two cards of the same suit on the board.

I bet $1.50, Kelly called and Nick raised to $3.00.

Here should have been a good indication Nick had a good hand: either a flush draw, a gut shot straight draw (doubtful) or a set.

I called Nick's raise and so did Kelly.

The turn didn't improve the flush draw but might have given one of the guys a straight. That would have been doubtful.

Nick bet $4.00 and Kelly folded his hand. Now it was up to me to decide what to do.

Here should have been an indication that Nick had a hand. Since he raised to $4.00 for the turn he definitely had a hand and might have made a bet like this to get rid of those trying to get their flush draw. I didn't have a lot of money left - and wanting to get home too - I thought I should go all-in.

I did go all-in but didn't improve while he turned over a set of 4s. My only out was an ace on the river, which I didn't get.

Regardless, I wanted to get out of the game but when someone does raise on the flop and increase their bet size on the turn it's a good indication that maybe your two pair is drawing thin to win on the river.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Getting Open Water SCUBA certified

Last weekend I flew from Denver International Airport to Salt Lake City so I could become open water certified in scuba.

One of my New Years resolutions - that carried over from 2006 - was to get certified in scuba.

I had talked to my friend Bryce about doing scuba and felt that a reachable goal, which would be fun at the same time, would be to take an open water scuba course in Boulder and then get certified in open water diving. That way if any trips came up where I could do scuba, then I would be prepared.

My first preperation was a weekend scuba course I took from Joe's Dive Shop in February. The course was Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Altogether, it was about twelve hours of instruction, dive practice, four multiple choice quizzes and a final multiple choice exam. Scuba instruction took place in a multi-level pool that had a max depth of fifteen feet. We practiced initially in the shallow end and then took our techniques to the deep end where depth would be more of an issue. The final exam I passed with a correct score of 49 out of 50 questions.

Since the course went so well I wanted to get open water certified as soon as possible and find a location that was convenient and not too far away. One option was to get open water certified in Utah in a heated natural spring pool located at the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah.

I have family in Ogden, Utah and felt it would be most convenient to take my scuba certification in Utah. I also wanted a mini vacation after that weekend for one day of skiing, which would allow me to ski at one of the world famous ski resorts near Salt Lake City, and also equalize my body before getting on a plane.

The flight out was uneventful and I got to rent a car in Salt Lake. Unfortunately, the first car Hertz gave me died from a weak battery so they gave me an upgrade, which was appreciated.

The two weekend morning days of diving at the resort was a real treat. The pool had a surface temperature of 93 degrees so there was no need for a wetsuit. The biggest trouble I had with the open water dives was when I had to remove my mask 20 feet under water and breath, then put it back on. After putting the mask back on I had to blow out the excess water from the mask and that caused my body to think I wasn't getting any air. I felt as though my air supply had been cut off and that gave me a big panic attack. Luckily, I was able to breath again, but I definitely need to practice that technique again to be comfortable with it.

Other times we practiced navigation at the surface using a compass, buoyancy techniques, and swimming down to a depth of 60 feet.

The last day of the trip I went to ski at Alta for a half day. The snow on parts of the mountain was not that good but by 2:30 PM I was over by the WildCat lift and then the snow had softened up so that I could really enjoy some mogul mashing.

Altogether, a good weekend.

Some photos from inside the Homestead Crater.

The dock inside the Homestead pool.

The tunnel where you get your gear that also leads to the pool.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Skiing Vail for the first time

I've been in Colorado for over ten years but never skied Vail. I raced my mountain bike there one time back in September, 1992 but never felt a strong desire to ski the mountain since the prices seemed quite high and the drive from Denver was an hour longer than going to Summit County to ski.

This winter my friend Bryce finally convinced me to ski there and we finally committed to going up Sunday, March 4th. Bryce had already skied there about ten times for the ski season since he considered it by far the best skiing close to the Front Range.

To get there for plenty of morning skiing we had to leave Boulder at 6 AM. Bryce picked me up in his car and we took off by 6:15. We were in Vail around 8:30 AM after about a hundred miles of driving.

Parking was a little tough to find since garage parking close to the mountain cost around ten dollars. We drove around a little bit and found a parking lot off a frontage road north of I-70.

The hike from the car to ticket area and lifts was about a half mile and was a little tough in ski boots but we made it to one of the base areas by 9 AM.

Ticket prices were eighty-five dollars. Since Bryce had the Colorado Pass for the season I was able to get a discount from him swiping his card at the ticket window, which made my ticket cost a more manageable sixty-seven dollars.

Since there had been a substantial snow storm a few days before and the season was turning out nicely for snowpack levels, the mountain had plenty of snow.

The mountain has the most acreage out of any ski resort in Colorado so a day's worth of skiing will make it hard for anyone to hit more than thirty percent of the terrain.

Since it was my first day to ski Vail, Bryce asked me where I wanted to ski on the mountain based on personal recommendations made by him. We skied the western-most trails of the mountain for the first hour and then made it to the infamous Vail back bowls for the rest of the morning. By noon we had made it all the way out to Blue Sky Basin, which is the furthest distance out from the main resort.

I had a blast exploring the mountain. It was quite nice to have someone who'd skied there before to show me around. The highlights were definitely the back bowls: Sun Down, Sun Up, and China Bowl. Blue Sky Basin was also quite good although it was more tree skiing. I did get lost from Bryce doing the Skree Field trail run. We finally met up again on the top of the front mountain near Patrol Headquarters.

Altogether, a very fine day.

Skiing on the western side of the front moutain at the start of the day

On top of the front mountain near Patrol headquarters