Saturday, October 08, 2005

China Trip 2003 Part 1 Kunming

So finally! It took 25 minutes but I finally got the 1st 5 photos of my 2003 trip to Yunnan province in China onto this site. I've been trying to get these photos up but I lost my home internet access and not having time or opportunity to put these up, I just haven't gotten to it til now.

The first photo is of a fort that was placed equidistant between two ancient pagodas in the city of Kunming where we flew in to for the start of our trip. The pagodas were of some significance but I never got a good photo of either them (too dark, no good angle on the shots) . From the top of the parapets, you could see each pagoda 500 meters to the east and west of this fortress.

The next 2 photos are of the famous nine dragon pools in NW Kunming where the intial water works for the city were established. The pools were used by the people in the area as far back as memory can tell.
The next photo is of a very old temple (300-500 years ? i think) and I can't remember the name of the temple but I do remember that my siblings and I got a few shots inside the temples even though they weren't officially allowed ; )

This last photo is of the start of our road trip that would last for the next 8 days. This is taken in the front seat of the "bus" that we took from Baoshan to Ruili; actually just a large van with an aisle down some very narrow seats but it got us where we wanted to go (barely). I remember that we had left Shanghai with the temperatures hovering around 10 ° C but we flew into the aiport in Baoshan after one day in Kunming and got hit by a blast of tropical air at 32° C as we stepped off the plane. The tarmac was just a hot plate and we were the "frying Pons" at that moment.

Just cuz I felt like it, here's a photo of my team from the Polo Open 2003 of Shanghai at the wrap party for the tournament volunteers.

All of my tennis photos are listed below but I'm trying figure out how to organize them better... like making a folder on the sidebar with "Tennis" listed as the major index... Still trying to figure this blog thingy out.

Friday, October 07, 2005

I Played Texas hold'em for the first time with real players...

Played my first Texas Hold'em tournament at a friend of a friend's (thx for hosting Qi{?} ) house yesterday night. I wasn't even going over initially because I was going to work later on at 11pm (long story...) but I decided at the last minute to go cuz I heard there might be cute girls going. There were over 15 people and more expected later so I joined one of the tables to catch a game before I went to work. I joined the "experienced" table cause the buy in was only going to be $10 each w/ no additional re-buys. 2 of the experienced players even went to play at the "newbies" table in anticipation of gettting some free money but I felt like "what the hell" ...go big or work.

I'd only played for my first time online for a total of 5 hours while at work over 2-3 days before I was caught by my boss and then I stopped playing for a while... (didn't want to get fired). Other than that , my only experience w/ texas hold'em is watching all the games that get constantly repeated over and over again on TSN and Thescore. So really, I was a total noob to the game, unless you count all the 10 years of my misspent youth, gambling w/ my brothers and friends during all the lazy summers growing up in Saskatchewan.

So anyways, when I got there, I started playing for fun with my new roomie and a few of the other early arrivals to the party. I got my ass booted a numbers of time and dropped out each and every time my hand "would" have won. Thankfully, no money was on the line cuz we were just practicing for the real action that was to start when all the rest of the players rolled in. I practiced with Qi's two brothers who were reputed to be the most experienced players and I lost a couple of hands to them going all in on full houses and getting stomped w/ the straight flush on the river or when i bluffed on 7-3 offsuit and one of them called my bluff and I lost BAD!

After about 5 practice rounds ( I went all in on all of the rounds at some point and lost every time) and the arrival of a number of the aforementioned cute girls, we finally had enuf players to start the 2 tables. We had one total new player (a girl of course :o) but the rest of the 6 players had some experience w/ poker, even if it wasn't texas hold'em. I got off to a good start by taking down a big pot in 2nd hand by betting modestly early and then betting a lot at the end to bring in as much money as possible from the rest of the table. It didn't hurt that I had a full house after the flop (pocket 4's... i think to start w/ a 4 flopping with another pair). After that I took down a few pots here and there and eliminated 2/3's of the table myself w/ a couple of all-ins. After my run of bad luck in the practice hands, it seemed I couldn't lose in the hands that I stayed in during the real game(I also made a couple of good lay-downs with only minor wounds).

Finally, after we eliminated the other "experienced" players, I found myself heads up with the 2 brothers. I had only went up against one of them in an earlier hand and got my ass booted before I folded out at the river. Now, it was me versus both of them and I was shakingly nervous. I think I had a slim chip lead over the younger brother (~150 for me and 130 for him... it didn't look like that big of a lead) and the older brother had 1/4 of my stack as well, so I wasn't feeling too secure. We took down our respective pots on the button for a few hands and I tried to get the 2 brothers to fight each other 1st with the hope that the weaker (but the more savvier one in my opinion) would weaken his younger sibling but that didn't happen. Finally, I got the older one to nibble on a minorly expensive bet of 30. After my initial raise of the blinds (6/12) he went all in. I think he must have noticed how much my hands were vibrating when I pushed in my bet cuz he was fairly quick about making his decision to go all-in. After staring at my 2 queens for half a second I called his Ace-King/Jack? (suited) on the all-in and won with something on the turn.

I was totally shaking with adrenaline after I pulled out that hand, but the job wasn't finished. I still had his younger brother to deal with. I think he had killed off 2 players while I dealt the deathblow to every other player, including his bro and his sis (who was actually very good... the sis, Qi, I mean...oh ferget it). We only exchanged two quick fold'em hands before I saw he bet heavily on a flop that I never should have decided to hang in for with a suited 5-3. He was trying to initially slow play his pair of jacks but we put in over 100 chips in the pot with the 1st round of betting because I turned agressive after my inital bad decision to stay in. I guess I felt so heavily invested in the pot, I didn't want to let go of my "bluff". He bet all-in after the flop and I asked for a chip count and found that he had 71 chips left to my remaining stack of about 140. With a loss or fold by me at this point, he could bully me right out of the tournament just like I had done to most of the other players. I hesitated only a second before I called. The problem for him was that a 4 and a 2 showed up on the flop and I decided to gamble on getting a card to make a straight. Like most of the night, I had the luck and a 6 came out on the turn.

I wanted to explode and jump around when I saw my straight come but instead I waited for the meaningless river card to drop before I smiled broadly and shook my tough opponents' hands like I had done this lots of times before. That was my first texas hold'em tournament and I netted a pot of $80. God, I was shaking with excitement and pent up energy after the win.

I think I might play some more.... :)