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NFL Plays — Week 14

Posted by on Dec 9, 2012 in Blog, Sports Betting | 0 comments



76 WINS – 65 LOSSES – 4 PUSHES —– (+ 48.65 units / 1 unit = $100)





I’m coming off a brutal week where I lost -11.2 units (-18.2 units were lost on Sunday).  First quarter wagers have been deadly last three weeks, with inept offenses wiping out substantial profits.  I’ll be much more selective about these trap wagers in the closing weeks of the regular season.  Reducing some exposure on these first-quarter plays and going a bit heavier on sides and totals.

Shorter write ups today.  Apologies to readers for not doing more writing on these games.  But the plays have been handicapped and look very strong.  It’s 4 am on Saturday night, and I have to get some rest.  So the narrative will be kept to a minimum.  Here it goes….

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The Christmas Decoration War

Posted by on Dec 8, 2012 in Blog, Las Vegas, Rants and Raves | 7 comments



Christmas means war.

Let me explain why.

We’ve lived in “The Lakes” section of West Las Vegas for about ten years, now.  When we first moved onto this street, it was a quiet neighborhood made up mostly of retired people.  Now, younger families with kids have flooded into the area.  Our street also has many different nationalities — including Canadians, Palestinians, Chinese, Russians, Mexicans, Egyptians, Persians, and Romanians.  We even have a few Mormons.  They’re from some weird place called Utah.

During those earlier years, a few of our neighbors put up decorations over the holidays.  Usually, the lights and decorations were modest.  A few strands of lights here and there.  A lit up Christmas tree.  Maybe a Santa Claus or a manger scene.

Moreover, decorating usually began during the first week in December.  Thanksgiving was regarded as separate holiday.  Imagine that.  No one dared to put up lights at least until November had ended.

But something happened.

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Movie Review: Lincoln

Posted by on Dec 7, 2012 in Blog, Movie Reviews | 3 comments

Abraham Lincoln Movie


Portraying historical figures on film is a daunting challenge.  Such is particularly the case for beloved American icons with well-established identities.

The filmmaker’s challenge rests not so much in recreating history.  Typically, plenty of credible narratives exist which provide multiple accounts of the icon’s role in history.

What’s toughest is striking the right balance between realism and art, melding history with entertainment, and doing what would seem impossible — satisfying academics, film critics, and the fickle ticket-buying, movie-going public.

This is where Lincoln, the new film by director Stephen Spielberg ultimately soars on at least one account, but fails in others.

Based in part on a book by noted presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the film concentrates on the final five months of Abraham Lincoln’s life.  Surprisingly, this is not a war movie as much as an intriguing political drama.  The film’s primary focus is the struggle to pass the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  That’s the amendment which essentially outlaws slavery in America (Note:  To be precise, the famed Emancipation Proclamation was a war directive.  It took an actual amendment to the Constitution to obfuscate state laws on slavery).

The gauntlet is laid down in the U.S. House of Representatives, where a two-thirds voting majority is needed to change America forever.  Remarkably, the movement to pass the 13th Amendment is exactly 20 votes short.  Virtually all of Lincoln’s advisers, most notably Secretary of State William Seward (played to perfection by the consistently-excellent David Strathairn), pleads with the 16th President to abandon the fight and focus instead on ending the Civil War as quickly as possible.

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Idiotic Fortune Cookies

Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Blog, Rants and Raves | 4 comments



Look at this lunacy!

I just finished my dinner at the Chinese Restaurant called “Fortunes,” located at Harrah’s Rincon, near San Diego.  As is customary with all Chinese meals, the curtain call of the dining experience is opening the traditional fortune cookie.

Well, look at mine.

How in the hell do I open up my fortune cookie and receive a message like this?



Boats and water?  In my future?  Have fun?

I live in Las Vegas in the middle of the desert, for Crissakes!  Water?  Boats?  Where?  And how can they be in my future?  It’s the middle of freaking December.  And for those of you who might ask — no, I am not taking a cruise nor have I ever been on a cruise ship.  I don’t like boats.

Sometimes I think fortune cookies are just plain full of bullshit.

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My Walmart Credit Card Application

Posted by on Dec 6, 2012 in Blog, Personal | 5 comments

Nolan Dalla Humor



Like most people, I receive unsolicited credit card offers, on occasion.

Whether we like them nor not, credit cards have become a modern-day necessity.  So, I try to maximize their purchasing power by using them to accumulate free airline mileage or bonus cash.

Just about every major retailer now offers either a Visa or MasterCard.  I even received an offer from PetSmart, recently.  PetSmart!  I declined their generous offer.  Sorry kitties, I’m not paying a 23 percent annual interest rate so you can stockpile a cabinet full of Pounce and Whiskas.

The most insulting credit card offers I’ve received are usually by the bottom feeders, which are banks that prey upon the financially insolvent.  These are nothing more than seedy loan sharks masquerading as a major financial institutions.  A typical offer includes a low credit line (sometimes as low as $500), a ridiculous interest rate (typically 29 percent), a preposterous number of penalties if you dare miss a payment or exceed the credit line, and a whopping annual fee.  These dope dealers essentially prey upon the vulnerability of millions of desperate people — including millions of unemployed or under-employed Americans — taking advantage of those who are least able to afford bondage to the banking industry.

When I get these offers in the mail, I have a ritual.  Here’s what I do.

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Remembering Lou Krieger

Posted by on Dec 4, 2012 in Blog, General Poker | 11 comments



Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.

                                                                    — Dr. Seuss


Lou Krieger was so fond of quotations.

Yet I sit here now reflecting upon the devastating news of his passing and the extraordinary measure of his character, desperately grasping for the appropriate quip which captures the essence of a man who passed away yesterday.

Of all people, Dr. Seuss provides the best summation of how we should look upon the death, and more importantly the life of the man known by most people in the poker world as Lou Krieger.

Most of us simply called him “Lou.”   That was his chosen pen name.  Over the course of two decades, during which poker was ushered out of smoky backrooms into international prominence, he wrote hundreds of columns for Card Player magazine.  He authored 11 poker books, all on strategy.

Lou was a writer, a teacher, a broadcaster, a strategist, and a player.  But his accomplishments within the game of poker – although widely appreciated – were but a tiny fraction of the very full life of the man who was born in Brooklyn, NY and died yesterday at his home in Palm Springs, CA.

Indeed, Lou was actually born as Roger Lubin.  The son of Jewish parents, Lou spent his early childhood on the streets and playgrounds of Brooklyn and his summers along Coney Island.  Although he later blossomed into a true philosopher and gifted intellectual, Lou never veered very far from his working-class roots.  He was able to converse with just about anyone, on virtually any subject, and was able to make those around him feel as though they were both heard and respected — sadly characteristics increasingly rare in society.

Alas, if listening is an art form, then Lou was our Michelangelo.  He was the best listener I have ever met.  Perhaps that’s ultimately what made him such a respected and beloved figure to those who knew him.  Lou was always there to listen.

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What Strength Really Means — A Story of Two Cowboys

Posted by on Dec 3, 2012 in Blog, Essays, Las Vegas | 4 comments


Personal Note:  In the coming days, I’ll be posting stories of people and incidents that have inspired me.  Hopefully, these special people will inspire you, as well.


How would you define strength?

Ponder this question for a moment.

How is strength best defined?  Take a moment and consider the possibilities.

Okay, so perhaps you have an answer.  Now, permit me to have a go at this.  Perhaps by the end of this essay, you may want to re-think your answer and consider alternative ways that strength is revealed in our society.

Here’s my take.

Strength isn’t manifested in achieving superiority, nor by making others inferior.  Strength isn’t exhibited in anger or intimidation.

To the contrary.  Real strength is embodied in personal sacrifice.  It’s going out of one’s way to help a fellow human being.  It’s putting another person’s comfort above your own.  It’s dealing with the bad breaks in life and making the most out of them.  That’s real strength.

I still have a lot to learn.  I have a long way to go.  No doubt, I have inner demons to conquer.  But life has taught me it’s the small things that really matter.  It’s the small things in life that bring joy and nourish optimism.  Small things, like a glass of vintage wine, a meaningful conversation with family or friends, a comfortable resting place beside a warm fireplace, hearing your favorite Christmas carol, or watching a golden sunset.

Each of those things might not seem exceptional.  But they are!  They are indubitably rewarding.  When we look back at our lives, I think most of us remember the simpler things we have done and experienced that brought us the most happiness.

It’s also the small things that often provide us with the most profound lessons.  A seemingly trivial moment in the middle of the day can reveal a great deal about what’s really important.  Our values stem not so much from formal education or access to the most learned academics.  Life’s most meaningful lessons are taught in the classroom of daily life and come directly from one’s own experiences and observations.  Our values are challenged and often reaffirmed by things that happen to us every single day.




The National Finals Rodeo is in town this week.  Every December for the past 27 years, thousands of rodeo cowboys and cowgirls come to Las Vegas from all over the country — indeed from all over the world — to watch and participate in the national championship finals rodeo.  Up and down the Vegas Strip, it’s backed up bumper to bumper with pick-up trucks and horse trailers — with license plates from Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Manitoba, Texas, and all points in between.  Cowboy hats are everywhere — whether it’s elegant Venetian or down-home Sam’s Town.  Almost every visitor has shiny new belt buckle and wears a pair of blue jeans or coveralls.  An “invasion” of cowboys would not be too strong a word.

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NFL Plays — Week 13

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Blog, Sports Betting | 1 comment




74 WINS – 60 LOSSES – 3 PUSHES —– (+ 66.85 units / 1 unit = $100)





This week’s “best bet” already won (Atlanta).  Looks to be another strong lineup of games.  I’m making eight plays on Sunday.  See write-ups below.


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Restaurant Review: Kelly’s (Las Vegas) / Dinner With Terrence Chan & Co.

Posted by on Dec 1, 2012 in Blog, General Poker, Las Vegas, Restaurant Reviews | 1 comment


Photos of Kelly's Restaurant, Long Beach
This photo of Kelly’s Restaurant is courtesy of TripAdvisor



It’s rare to get four very busy people who live in different cities together for a festive meal.  Fortunately, that was the occasion last night at a new restaurant located on Paradise Road, in Las Vegas.

I joined good friends Rich Korbin (who works for one of the better-known companies in the poker business — I’ll leave it at that), Glen Cadamartori (Marketing Director for Caesars Entertainment), and Terrence Chan (one of the best Limit Hold’em players in the world and currently a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter) for drinks and dinner.

We chose a new steakhouse which just opened up about a week ago, called Kelly’s.

The following narrative will be a combination restaurant review and recount of our dinner conversation, which went three all-too-brief hours.



I’m a carnivore.  Morten’s of Chicago, Ruth’s Chris, Del Frisco’s, The Palm, Smith and Wollensky — pick any of these places and you’re guaranteed to enjoy a good meal.

Friday night, we decided to go a different route.  Since both Ruth’s Chris steakhouse locations have now closed in Las Vegas (victims of the economy, no doubt), we noted that a new restaurant had opened up at the old Ruth’s Chris location on Paradise Road.  This is positioned in a busy strip mall, across the street from Del Frisco’s.  In fact, Yoli’s — the excellent Brazilian-style steakhouse — is also located along the same row of businesses.

Kelly’s has only one other location, so their excursion into the highly-competitive Las Vegas restaurant market is a major step for the privately-owned landmark based in Long Beach, CA.

Indeed, “Kelly’s Restaurant” has been an institution in Long Beach for more than 30 years.  It’s very much an old-style “power lunch” kind of place.  However, given its close proximity to the ocean and fresh seafood, there are many other menu options, as well.  One has to wonder if this would be a rubber-stamp of the proven Long Beach venue.  Or, would the new owners decide opt for a different flair near the Las Vegas Strip.

Upon first glance, Kelly’s looks very much like what was the former Ruth’s Chris restaurant.  Perhaps when the new owners moved in, they realized that redecorating costs would be minimal, since the dark-wood, white-table cloth ambiance would perfectly match the atmosphere Kelly’s would be trying to create.

Some holiday decorations around the bar and dining area added to a festive feel.  That cordiality was enhanced by very personal attention from the host (actually series of hosts) which greeted our party warmly as we made our way to the table.

Upon taking a seat — the look, the feel, the atmosphere all are what one would expect at a first-class steakhouse.  Add live music in the bar area provided by a piano-playing crooner performing old standards, and you have all the makings of a great night out on the town.

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NFL Plays — Week 13 (Thursday Night Game)

Posted by on Nov 29, 2012 in Blog, Sports Betting | 0 comments



73 WINS – 60 LOSSES – 3 PUSHES —– (+ 59.85 units / 1 unit = $100)





I love tonight’s game.  This looks like the “Best Bet of the Week.”   See full write-up below.


ATLANTA -3.5 vs. NEW ORLEANS (-110) — for 7 units <BEST BET OF THE WEEK>

This is a puzzling spread for two teams that have put up vastly different results this season.  Atlanta is arguably the best team in the NFL at the moment, with a 10-1 SU record playing against a 5-6 SU team (worse ATS) that has been a huge disappointment.  Normally, a 10-1 team playing a team with a losing record would be lined at more than a touchdown.  Add three points for home field advantage, and this line should clearly be at or around the -7 mark.  Number is probably shaded downward due to New Orleans playing well historically versus Atlanta.  But this game has all the makings of a complete reversal of recent history.  Atlanta probably should have won the matchup at New Orleans three weeks ago.  The Falcons played one of their worst games of the season and nearly pulled out a victory in the closing seconds (first and goal at the Saints 3-yard line with a minute to go, and couldn’t score).  That sets up a nice revenge spot here, for the home team.  Moreover, this looks like a tougher travel spot than normal for the Saints, who have performed poorly on the road.  Three days off between games clearly favors a good home team off a road victory, versus a struggling team that might have given its best shot the previous week and could be spent.  That San Francisco game was a must-win for New Orleans, and I fail to see how the team can regroup on the road so quickly versus one of the NFL’s top teams.  Coaching, this is a complete mismatch — as Mike Smith is proven to be on a mission with his team, as opposed to Saints staff which has failed in every conceivable way this season.  I have no idea why this line is not at least -6 and perhaps -7.  Again, bettors are looking at New Orleans’ history versus Atlanta, but these two teams bear no resemblance to the contests that have been played in the past when Sean Payton was on the sidelines.  I’ll take a solid team playing great football at the moment in a revenge spot on a very short week of preparation which is laying no more than a standard toss up home-field number.  


LAST SUNDAY’S RESULTS:   4 wins and 6 losses and 1 push for a net loss of 16.0 units

CLEVELAND +1 vs. PITTSBURGH (-110) — for 4 units…..WINNER

NEW ORLEANS +1 vs. SAN FRANCISCO (-110) — for 4 units…..LOSER

BALTIMORE -1 vs. SAN DIEGO (-105) — for 2 units…..WINNER

NEW ORLEANS / SAN FRANCISCO OVER 48.5 (-110) — for 3 units…..WINNER

GREEN BAY / NY GIANTS OVER 51 (-110) — for 3 units…..LOSER

1Q:  CAROLINA / PHILADELPHIA OVER 7 (-130) — for 5 units…..WINNER

1Q:  MIAMI / SEATTLE OVER 7 (-125) — for 5 units…..LOSER

1Q:  ST. LOUIS / ARIZONA OVER 7 (EVEN) — for 5 units….PUSH

1Q:  ST. LOUIS + .5 vs. ARIZONA (-150) — for 4 units…..LOSER

1Q:  GREEN BAY + .5 vs. NY GIANTS (-135) — for 3 units…..LOSER

1Q:  OAKLAND + 3 vs. CINCINNATI (-120) — for 5 units…..LOSER


LAST THURSDAY’S RESULTS:  2 wins and 1 loss and a net gain of 7.7 units

WASHINGTON +3.5 vs. DALLAS (-110) — for 5 units — WINNER

NEW ENGLAND/NY JETS UNDER 48 (-110) — for 3 units — LOSER

6-POINT TEASER:  WASHINGTON +9.5 / NEW ENGLAND -1 (-110) — for 6 units — WINNER


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