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playing poker and teaching science: August 2013

playing poker and teaching science

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Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a middle school science teacher, wrestling coach, poker player, scuba diver, aikido black belt, amateur writer, and student of life. In the past I have tried to give back a little by volunteering at a children's home in Belmopan, Belize, Central America. I also love Frosted Flakes. I have taken a year sabbatical from my teaching position in order to sail the Caribbean. Does that sound crazy to you?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sitting with soldiers

I’ve seen the sign for months: “Friday Hold ‘em. 7-12. Open to the public.” It’s on the marquee outside a local American Legion post that I have actually been inside a time or two for unrelated reasons. However, as Indiana is a state that as a whole believes poker played with cards is of the devil unless you’re on a moving body of water or recently excavated retention pond, it didn’t seem legal so I’d never checked it out.

What do I know? They even had a county sheriff ensuring security.
It’s an interesting set up with amateur dealers who are Legion members working for tips. I only had experience with one dealer as I stayed at the same table from 7 until nearly midnight, but he did a fine job with few noticeable glitches. The only game was $1/$2 Texas Hold Em and the buy-in was in plastic bags in $50 increments. You could buy up to four bags for $60 each, although you saved $10 if you did the maximum buy in. There was no rake and four full tables were going most of the night.
As it was my first time playing, I bought two bags full, $100 to start.
It was a fairly uneventful game. I played tight most of the time but did manage a couple well-timed bluffs to take down medium sized pots. A big score came when I caught a set of 8s against KK. KK raised to $10 and got four callers. On the button, I checked the flop and KK bet $40 and I check-raised to $85 and as planned got out the drawing hands. He re-raised all-in and did not improve and I’m sitting with more than $250 in chips an hour into the game.
The players ran the gambit from pretty good to I-will-play-every-hand. I saw at least four players come in, lose a bag or two, and leave. Thank you for playing.  I watched the frustration of the man to my right as he bet his two pair on the flop, the turn, AND the river only to be raised because his opponent had hit his inside straight. The villan paid almost $80 trying to hit a four outer. All in all, it was a good players dream.
Fifteen minutes before midnight the game was getting shorthanded and there were two very aggressive gamblers at the table so I opted out after being bet off a hand because I didn’t want to lose too much of my winnings back to what may or may not have been a bluff. I think knowing when to get out is something I’ve really improved at and so I got while the getting was good.
I will however be back. It was a well-run game in a smoke free room and the players for the most part were a lot of fun to talk to.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

What a summer!

School is back in session and is seems the summer blew by. I determined that between trips and shuttling people around, I was at the airport 13 times this summer. That has to be a new record. Only four of those airport visits were for my own traveling however and one of those was business, flying to Dallas to do a couple days of physics workshops for teachers.

The other three were all fun! First to Jamaica to stay at a new (to us) all-inclusive resort. I found a very colorful driver in Lindsay McFarland who shuttled us on a tour around the island and then to the Cool Blue Hole, that turned out to be the highlight of the week. We bypassed the Dunn's River Urine Falls trip on Lindsay's suggestion and climbed the uncrowded cascades of the CBH instead. We jumped off cliffs, swung on ropes, and swam under a waterfall and then climbed up a cave and out THROUGH the waterfall itself. Quite a treat!

Next was a mission trip back to Belize to work at The King's Children's Home again. I took my girlfriend's daughter along and she did an amazing job helping with the children and around the home. One day we made 400 tortillas and then 150 blueberry muffins another day. It was just inconceivable that the children had not tasted blueberry muffins so they were a must make. We ended the trip with a water taxi trip to the uber-quiet fishing village of Caye Caulker and spent the night in a little cabin right on the water.

The final trip of the summer was a long weekend in Key West. I took the kids there years ago and always since had wanted to go back as an all-adult trip. Key West did not disappoint. To spice things up, we slept on a 44-foot sailboat and spent the middle 24 hours of the three-day trip sailing at sea. Another great adventure in the books.

Now back to school on a "modified calendar" that allows for a two-week break in October and plans are already set for that time off. We will be landing in Venice, Italy on my birthday for a few days before heading to Florence and Rome and then ending up with four days along the Amalfi Coast. I think we'll be able to take a pizza cooking class in Sorento. Another adventure!

I didn't play much poker, but sometimes fun gets in the way of fun :-)