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22 Oct 2008

Curacao

Curacao is a beautiful island in the southern Caribbean Sea. It is the largest of five islands of the Netherlands Antilles. As such, it is officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. 

Though the island was granted was granted full internal-affairs autonomy in 1954, the Netherlands is still responsible for its defense. It is located just 35 miles north of Venezuela.

Curacao is unique in that it blends classic Dutch architecture with incredible colors. Rumor has it that in the early 19th century, the Governor-General decreed that none of the buildings are to be painted white. Why? He was said to suffer from migrant headaches, which he believed were brought upon by the sun’s reflection off of the white buildings.









21 Oct 2008

A “W” at Caesar's Palace

Today was a kick. Nine of us returned for the final table after playing yesterday in a 278 person field for 13 ½ hours.

It was Event #4 at Caesar’s Palace, Las Vegas, $500 No Limit Hold’em.

Often play starts slowly at the final table (except for the short stacks), because the big money tends to be in the top three places. Today was an exception.

Play was fast and furious from the getgo. I laid low with plenty of chips because the pots were just too big, and I thought I could hold my own well against the field. I didn’t need to be taking big risks early.

I blinded off about 15% of my chips feeling I had a ring side seat at a spectator sport. Pretty soon half the field was gone and I started to get to work.

I got to heads up with a very nice gentleman from L.A. who had been the aggressor for two days. Over and over I had laid down hands to his raises.

But heads up is a entirely different game. He started making extra large bring in raises and reraises. About one time out of seven or eight I had to move in and pick up his chips. I whittled him down consistently for two hours and finally was able to get all of the chips when my TT held up against his 88.

For those of you who play poker, you know that there is nothing quite like winning a tournament. Great feeling.

(if you are interested in learning or playing poker risk free, check out SpadeClub.com. It's the best).









20 Oct 2008

Meeting Michael Phelps

The Caesar’s Palace Classic Tournament takes place during the final two weeks of October. Allyn and I decided to spend our Sunday playing in Event #4, a $500 No Limit Hold’em tournament.

The 278 person event started at noon. We both played well and even made the dinner break with about 50 others.  I was able to make the final table and will be returning tomorrow along with eight others. I’m playing well and have a good stack. Hopefully both will stay true tomorrow.

However, the real highlight of the day was meeting Michael Phelps. It turns out that he is quite a poker player, as well as an accomplished swimmer. He came in ninth in yesterday’s tournament, and was there today for the final table play.

Caesar’s management was kind enough to give me the microphone to welcome him to Caesar’s and the poker community.  All in all it was a very fun day. Even the sushi at dinner was great. More tomorrow.

 









16 Oct 2008

Keep Memory Alive

One of our favorite charities here in Nevada is the Keep Memory Alive Foundation which supports the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute.

Tonight, Allyn and I went to a cocktail party at The Wynn to support the charity. We were joined by a veritable who’s who of Las Vegas.

Dementia wasn’t a big deal until recently because people didn’t live as long. Did you know that one out of five people aged 65 have dementia, and that number grows to one out of two by age 85? It is irreversible. By the time Alzheimer's is diagnosed, the damage is done. It progresses until the person eventually dies.

My senior moment (or was it just stupidity) came when I met Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. I put my hand out to shake the hand of the wrong gentleman who was next to him.

The beautiful lady in the picture with me is Elaine Wynn, Steve’s lovely wife.









15 Oct 2008

Budapest, Hungary

Budapest, often referred to as “Paris of the East,” is Hungary’s largest city and its political, cultural and economic center. It is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Often named as one of the most livable cities in the world, Budapest’s rich culture attracts over 20 million visitors annually. 

The river Danube divides the city into two, once independent cities: Buda and Pest. They united in 1873, after 150 years of Ottoman rule, to form the present day global city and Hungarian capital.

Below is the night-time view across the Danube from our hotel room – Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace,  formally the Royal Palace. Fabulous hotel. One of the best in Europe. Get a Danube view for sure.

Hungarians are great believers in the medicinal powers of thermal bathing. Though the baths of Budapest have a history that stretches back to Roman times, it was under the Ottoman occupation that bath culture flourished. Today, several still-functioning bathhouses are among the architectural relics of the Turkish period.

Budapest's most spectacular bathhouse, the Gellért Baths (pictured above) is located in Buda's Hotel Gellért, the oldest Hungarian spa hotel and an Art Nouveau jewel. Enter the baths through the side entrance. The exterior of the building is in need of restoration, but once inside the lobby, you'll be delighted by the details.

The unisex indoor pool is without question one of Europe's finest, with marble columns, majolica tiles, and stone lion heads spouting water. The two single-sex Turkish-style thermal baths (off to either side of the pool through badly marked doors) are also glorious, though in need of restoration.