Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September Poker Statistics and an Interesting Poker Hand

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First let me give you the Statistics for this week, which was a short week Saturday – Tuesday. I played some 2 cent 5 cent poker and won a total of $90.00 those hands are not in the follow statistics, I do not track my play at those tables. I just use those tables to try new strategies and to help get back into playing after time away from the tables. This way I limit my losses if the new strategy does not work or I am rusty from being away from the tables.

For the 50 cent one dollar (where I normally play) tables this week, I played a total of 148 hands over 1.27 hours my hourly rate for the week was $53.05 winning $67.20. I loosened up a little from last week I voluntarily put money in preflop 15% of the time vs. last week of less then 10% of the time. This is still to tight I should be closer to 20%. What this means is out of 100 hands dealt to me I only called or raised 15 times.

For the month my hourly was $55.85 which I am very happy with, my volume was the lowest ever with only 2.83 hours of play for a total hand count of 271 hands. Normally I play well over 4,000 hands in a month. Going to France for 2.5 weeks really affected the amount of poker I could play. I won $158.25 and had 11 out of 12 winning sessions. This was definitely a quality month but not the quantity I need. The down side is I picked up very few FFP, thus reducing down my bonus money for the month.

I have no travel planed for October so the volume of poker play should pick up. I need another 1,000 FFP by January to get a $240.00 bonus. I should be able to make this without and issue.

Here is hand were I played suited single gap connectors. A hand in the past I would have folded from middle position. I led out on the betting. This way I have two ways to win. 1) I hit the flop, Straight or Straight draw, Flush or Flush Draw, 2 pair, or a long shot with three or a kind. 2) I act like I hit the flop when a high card comes.

PokerStars Game #20783906730: Hold'em No Limit ($0.50/$1.00) - 2008/09/29 - 06:42:09 (ET)
Table 'Bacchus' 9-max Seat #3 is the button
Seat 1: pinchitos ($94.50 in chips)
Seat 3: Oldgott ($22.50 in chips)
Seat 4: zkipper ($75.15 in chips)
Seat 5: popai123 ($125.80 in chips)
Seat 6: packman 612 ($110.55 in chips)
Seat 7: DUG ($92.65 in chips)
Seat 8: Koldan ($18.50 in chips)
Seat 9: Mr Masefield ($100 in chips)
zkipper: posts small blind $0.50
popai123: posts big blind $1
Mardagg: sits out
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DUG [Jd 9d]
packman 612: folds
DUG: raises $2 to $3 So here is my initial raise other players should put me on a decent pair of 2 high cards. Not j9 suited
Koldan: folds
Mr Masefield: calls $3 Good
pinchitos: folds
Oldgott: folds
zkipper: folds
popai123: calls $2 2 callers are good it increases my pot odds.
*** FLOP *** [2c 6s 9s] Just an ok flop top pair with a good kicker, but there is a flush draw and someone might have hit a set. Since they would have put me on 2 high cards or maybe a high pair, they will not think I hit this flop.
popai123: checks
DUG: bets $5 Continuation / Probe Bet, it makes sense that this flop did not help me, but it might not of helped the others either and I can take the pot right here. Half the pot bet should do it. So if they think I have a high pair they will fold (continuation bet) if they call I know they have something, draw or pair if they raise a lot I know they have something set. (Probe bet)
Mr Masefield: raises $5 to $10 Must have a pair over a 9 or a semi bluff with a flush draw. A set would have raised more to chase the draws away.
popai123: calls $10 He must be on a draw as he only called a set or high pair would have raised.
DUG: calls $5 I only have top pair, but 5 dollars into a $30.00 pot is 6 to 1 odds, I have to call. If the bets were higher I would have folded.
*** TURN *** [2c 6s 9s] [9h] Bingo.
popai123: checks
DUG: bets $15 I have three of a kind, I doubt anybody had a nine since I know where 3 of them are. I did not put anybody on a set so I should be in the lead, but there is still the flush draw out there. With the pot at 35 I bet just under half the pot a somewhat weak bet, but making it a mistake for a flush draw to call.
Mr Masefield: folds
popai123: calls $15 I would of rather had both players call.
*** RIVER *** [2c 6s 9s 9h] [Jh] Full house wish it was a J or spades so he would have hit his flush.
popai123: checks
DUG: bets $21 The pot is about $70.00 so I make a weak bet, hoping he will either bluff at the pot of at least call, if he has nothing he will fold to anybet.
popai123: folds I was not getting anymore money from him.
Uncalled bet ($21) returned to DUG
DUG collected $66.50 from pot Nice pot for a lousy J9 suited
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $69.50 Rake $3
Board [2c 6s 9s 9h Jh]
Seat 1: pinchitos folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 3: Oldgott (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: zkipper (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 5: popai123 (big blind) folded on the River
Seat 6: packman 612 folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: DUG collected ($66.50)
Seat 8: Koldan folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Mr Masefield folded on the Turn

P.S. The picture is "G de B', me, Mobe, and Margarite, at the Top of Le Mont Ventoux, this was a mountain we biked up in France, we started east from Bédoin: 22 km over 1610 m (around a mile in elevation change). This is the most famous and difficult ascent to the top of the mountain. The road to the summit has an average gradient of 7.6%. Until Saint-Estève, the climb is easy, but the 16 remaining kilometers have an average gradient of 8,9%. The last kilometers have strong, violent winds. The ride takes 2-3 hours for trained amateur individuals, and professionals can ride it in 1-1.5 hours. Margarite and I did the climb in 2 hours 27 minutes, while Mobe and “G de B” were more like 3 and a half hours. This was the worst and hardest bike ride of my life.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Week of September 22, 2008

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Busy week, traveled back from France on Tuesday, I just love those long flights. With spring around the corner, the village farmers are getting ready for some planting. Before I left for France I volunteered to help some of the farmers when I returned. So Thursday I spent the day working in the fields. Not as productive as poker but it goes a long way with the locals.

I started organizing and cleaning up all the pictures I took in France, well over 1,200. I will work hard to reduce the number before I post them so not to bore everybody. I also kept a detailed journal of the trip I will work to pair it down also for the same reason.

As I thought, I was not ready to go back to poker play full guns. I played about 500 hands at the 2 cent 5 cent tables just to get my head back in the game. I do not keep detailed stats at those levels as I play significantly looser then I do at my normal level of 50 cent one dollar tables. I won around $40.00 in those 500 hands so I was happy with that. I only played 111 hands at the higher level tables. That was one and three quarter hours of play, it is tough to get back to work after a two and a half week vacation. I was very happy with the quality of my play, but I need to bump the hours up.

I won $42.80 for the short week at the higher tables for a total of a little over $80.00 for the week which is plenty for a person living in Botswana, where a U.S. dollar can last a person a week. It is nothing for a person that just spent two and a half weeks in France were a U.S. dollar will not last five minutes. Just another reason I need to increase my play, to pay off my last vacation. My hourly rate was close to $30.00 per hour which I was happy with. Since I am just getting back into the game, I played very tight, seeing less then 10% of the flops. That means out of the 111 hands I actually played in less then 11 of them.

I tried some of the new strategies I learned from reading Dan Harrington’s books. Below are two examples. The idea or this strategy is to every once in a while (maybe 10% of the time) play middle connectors or almost connected cards (single gap), sometimes suited and sometimes not suited. Connected cards would be two cards that are right next to each other like 7, 8 or 8, 9 almost connected would be (single gap) would be like 5, 7 there is a one card gap between them. Middle means less then Ten and higher then a 4. Sometimes you lead out with this hand (first to bet) and sometimes you just call, all depending on your position at the table. With this strategy if you just call and hit on the flop you will win a big pot, since no one would think you called with what you had, if you miss you just fold and lose a little. If you lead with a bet preflop and hit no one will think you really hit, if you do not hit, but high cards come you can act like you hit. So your chances of hitting a hidden straight are very high, and a medium flush if the cards were suited are also high.

In the two below hands I played 8 T one time they were suited and one time there were off suite. One time I lead the betting and one time I called.

POKERSTARS GAME #20653651353: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.50/$1.00) - 2008/09/24 - 07:54:01 (ET)
Table 'Pan' 9-max Seat #8 is the button
Seat 1: DUG ($93 in chips)
Seat 2: alexbibi20 ($50.55 in chips)
Seat 3: zZzTILT ($18.50 in chips)
Seat 4: Tobsen ($183.30 in chips)
Seat 6: Checkmater ($94.50 in chips)
Seat 7: badcallm8 ($84.40 in chips)
Seat 8: ibiza007 ($107.30 in chips)
DUG: posts small blind $0.50
alexbibi20: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DUG [Th 8h]
zZzTILT: folds
Tobsen: folds
Checkmater: folds
badcallm8: raises $2 to $3
ibiza007: folds
DUG: calls $2.50 In the past I would not play this hand, but the concept here is if you hit you have a good chance of winning a lot of money and if you miss you only lose 2.5 blinds, so I called. I put badcallm8 on 2 high cards, KQ, KJ, KT maybe AK
alexbibi20: calls $2 This was not expected maybe he has a pair.
*** FLOP *** [8s 4d 9d]
DUG: bets $6 Since I hit a pair of 8’s based on my assumption that alex had a pair and Badcallm8 has 2 high cards, I make a bet about ¾ of the pot.
alexbibi20: calls $6
badcallm8: folds What I expected one player to stay in, just not the one I expected to stay in.
*** TURN *** [8s 4d 9d] [3s]
DUG: bets $11 Since he only called he must be on a draw, as pair higher then a 9 or a set would have raised because of the chance I was on a flush draw.
alexbibi20: calls $11 Ok, so he likes to chase hands.
*** RIVER *** [8s 4d 9d 3s] [2s] I doubt the 2 or spade helped so I need to keep betting.
DUG: bets $12 about ¼ the pot so he will call because he will be getting 4 to 1 odds on his money.
XL883 joins the table at seat #9
alexbibi20: calls $12
*** SHOW DOWN ***
DUG: shows [Th 8h] (a pair of Eights)
alexbibi20: mucks hand
DUG collected $64 from pot While I read the starting hands wrong, which player had which cards, I won a very large pot because I hit the flop and had a chaser in the hand against me.
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $67 Rake $3
Board [8s 4d 9d 3s 2s]
Seat 1: DUG (small blind) showed [Th 8h] and won ($64) with a pair of Eights
Seat 2: alexbibi20 (big blind) mucked [Ac Kh]
Seat 3: zZzTILT folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 4: Tobsen folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 6: Checkmater folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 7: badcallm8 folded on the Flop
Seat 8: ibiza007 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)

POKERSTARS GAME #20659495415: HOLD'EM NO LIMIT ($0.50/$1.00) - 2008/09/24 - 13:42:03 (ET)
Table 'Menippe III' 9-max Seat #4 is the button
Seat 1: wushusuni ($159.35 in chips)
Seat 2: DUG ($101.50 in chips)
Seat 3: massageman2 ($157 in chips)
Seat 4: mentalo09 ($102.40 in chips)
Seat 5: Hgh_Ssociety ($109.55 in chips)
Seat 6: ilovegyoza ($102 in chips)
Seat 8: stickerbushT ($35.80 in chips)
Seat 9: Rusty Nails ($95.70 in chips)
Hgh_Ssociety: posts small blind $0.50
ilovegyoza: posts big blind $1
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DUG [8s Tc]
stickerbushT: folds
Rusty Nails: folds
wushusuni: folds
DUG: raises $2.50 to $3.50 This time I raise with 8T off suite to make it look like I have a high pair, or 2 high cards like AK so I can play the hand 2 ways, one if I hit and the other I can make it look like I hit.
massageman2: calls $3.50
mentalo09: folds
Hgh_Ssociety: folds
ilovegyoza: calls $2.50
*** FLOP *** [8h 3d 6h] Wow three callers.
AUSZAHLUNG has returned
ilovegyoza: bets $10 Large bet must have at least a pair or a flush draw and he is making a semi bluff (a bluff that has a nice chance to hit).
DUG: calls $10 I have middle pair, but if a K or A hits I can act like I just hit my cards. Remeber I lead the betting preflop. So I can hit a T or an 8 and most likly have the best hand the other guy will never know it. So I have two ways to win. Also because of my position I am last to act to the other guy has to make his move first.
massageman2: folds
*** TURN *** [8h 3d 6h] [As] Perfect now I will make it look like I hit the Ace.
massageman2 leaves the table
AUSZAHLUNG is sitting out
AUSZAHLUNG leaves the table
Fl0Sch joins the table at seat #3
ilovegyoza: checks This is good this shows he is afraid of the Ace or he is trying to trap me.
DUG: bets $15 The pot is $30.00 so I bet just half the pot, any higher he might think it is a bluff and call or raise.
ilovegyoza: folds Perfect.
Uncalled bet ($15) returned to DUG
DUG collected $29.50 from pot
prince119 joins the table at seat #7
DUG: doesn't show hand
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $31 Rake $1.50
Board [8h 3d 6h As]
Seat 1: wushusuni folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 2: DUG collected ($29.50)
Seat 3: massageman2 folded on the Flop
Seat 4: mentalo09 (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 5: Hgh_Ssociety (small blind) folded before Flop
Seat 6: ilovegyoza (big blind) folded on the Turn
Seat 8: stickerbushT folded before Flop (didn't bet)
Seat 9: Rusty Nails folded before Flop (didn't bet)

As you can see both hands played out nicely in two different ways, if I would have missed the flop or got a lot of resistance I would have simple folded. So with these hands if you play them correctly you will lose a little or win a lot.

P.S. The picture is of the orphan kids in our village greeting Margarite on our return from France. I am not sure if they were happy to see her or just trying to get some of the chocolate she brought back for them.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


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I am back from France and will be working on getting all the pictures and video’s posted though it may take a while. I have not played poker in over two week so I am a little gun shy and may start back at the lower tables to get my feet wet. I did finish both volumes of Dan Harrington’s book on playing cash games. I think I picked up some important information but only time will tell.

Here is an interesting article about an internet website that was rigged.

I wanted to finish filling you in on my career before becoming a poker player. As I had mentioned, I quit my job as a software sales person to sail around the world, I was working on getting the boat ready to go (about 4 months) when I got a call from the President and Executive Vise President of the company I had worked for. They wanted me to come back as their Vice President of Sales. It was not an easy decision, but I said yes. Over a 12 year time frame, I worked as Vice President of Sales and then Executive Vice President. We grew the company from forty million in sales to just under one hundred million in sales. While I got some of the credit, I do not deserve any. I was very lucky and had a great team that made it all happen. I just happen to be in the right place at the right time. After 12 years in these roles, the company was sold and the new owners quickly fired me. I now had to look for a new job.

I had always wanted to cut hair so I tried that for a while, I think I did a great job, but I only had 3 customer one of which was me, and none of the customers paid me. So I had to give it up, though I do still cut hair as a hobby. From cutting hair I went to playing poker. And this is how I got to where I am.

I have attached some pictures and videos of my hair cutting days. In the video my one customer (Lee) trash talks my other customer (Gary) see if you pick it up. They both wanted to be exclusive customers.

I have been asked why I look so different in a lot of the pictures I post. That is all part of my poker play. Even though I play poker on-line and no one can see me, I change my look just in case I every start to play live poker, this way no one will know who I am.

P.S. The above picture is of my sail boat before I sold it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week of September 1st, 2008

To a great surprise I got a kings welcome back into my small village in Botswana. While I had been gone visiting the Grand Teton Mountains (see below post, of journal and pictures), the elephant dung that I had bought for the village farmers was delivered. Elephant dung is a great, but expensive fertilizer in Botswana. The elephant dung will really help the crops this year, the village was so happy. Our spring will be starting in another few weeks, so the framers are just getting ready to plant. The celebration include a parade as well as a huge party. The village just wanted to thank me for my great generosity. I think I spent about $100.00 on the dung, but to them it is all the money in the world.

I am a bit of a god to most of the villagers. I am the big fish in a small pond. They know I come from America (so they think I am rich), but they see I live much like them. The only real difference is I live in a small trailer instead of a hut like most of them, other then that I live much like them. It is true I am the only one in the village with internet service, but I need that for my poker. I also have a generator to insure I have electricity at all time. They call it current rather then electricity and they lose current at least once a day do to the quality of the power lines.

I make a donation of some sort to the village anytime I have a big win at poker. I believe this helps keep the poker gods on my side. After the big celebration over the elephant dung, I slept 24 hours straight, boy was I jet lagged. This week was short, by the time I had my wits about me it was already Wednesday and I was leaving Sunday to vacation in France. So I spent most of the week getting ready for that trip.

I am taking this hot babe, she is from Holland, she is here doing humanitarian aid. I told her we are going as friends, but boy do I hope it develops into more then that. Also another couple that lives here is joining us. Once in France we will spend a week in Paris and then a week in Bodoin. Bodoin is a small down just outside Avignon. We are meeting another group of friends I know from American once we arrive in Bodoin, more on the trip when I return.

I want to continue to explain what my career was before I started my life here in Botswana. As I mentioned last I was given the position of Technical Sales Consultant. At the three mark I realized I was working about 10 times as hard as the sales people and making about one fifth of what they were making. So, I requested a sales position. After a lot of negotiating, I received the sales territory of Virginia and West Virginia. This territory had been the worst producing sales territory in the country. The first year I made it one of the top territories. I believe I was able to do this from all I had learned from the sales people I had worked with over the past three years as a Technical Sales Consultant. After five years of Sales, I decided enough was enough and I quit. I had bought a boat a few years back, a 42 foot Whitby sailboat, the plan was to sail around the world. I will go into more detail about this trip around the world, and my past career later.

As I mentioned this week was short so not much poker play. I made some money, $48.00 to be exact. The exciting thing was my hourly rate was the highest every $361.88 per hour and so was my value per hand, $4.02. I only played about 8 minutes of poker which made up 12 hands. It happened I hit two nice hands in those 8 minutes. I am reading a new book on poker play which I highly recommend. The author is Dan Harrington and the book deals with playing cash games. Most books on playing poker focus on tournament play. You might not realize this there are some big differences with tournament play versus cash games.

One little tip I picked up is the value of deception in cash games. In cash games most of the times all the players have big stacks (lots of chips compared to the blinds) while in tournaments it is rare that many players at your table will have a big stack. So in a cash game you may want to bet preflop with a good drawing hand, but make the bet look like you have a great betting hand, like AA or AK. This way you have three ways to win.

1) Everybody folds to your preflop bet because they think you have the best hand.
2) You do not hit, but neither do the other players and the other players fold on your next bet.
3) You hit your hidden draw, and the other player or players hit good hands, but not as good as yours.

I played at some low level tables to practice this strategy (these hands are not in the above stats) below is a hand that the strategy worked. I only risked about 3% of my stack to win 100% of the other players stack or you can look at it this way, if I hit, my odds are 33 to 1, if I did not hit and the other player bets I would fold and only lose my original bet.

PokerStars Game #20152979214: Hold'em No Limit ($0.02/$0.05) - 2008/09/04 21:20:50 ET Table 'Anchialos III' 6-max
Seat #1 is the button
Seat 1: tavusa ($4.20 in chips)
Seat 2: Varón ($4.01 in chips)
Seat 3: wamaul ($2.86 in chips)
Seat 4: DUG ($6.45 in chips)
Seat 6: taberhouse ($9.80 in chips)
Varón: posts small blind $0.02
wamaul: posts big blind $0.05
*** HOLE CARDS ***
Dealt to DUG [3s 6s]
DUG: raises $0.15 to $0.20 I am first to act so I make a bet 4 times the blinds, but just over 3% of my stack.
taberhouse: folds
tavusa: folds
Varón: folds
wamaul: calls $0.15 Ok one caller
*** FLOP *** [Ks 8h Qs]
wamaul: checks
DUG: checks I did not hit and the flop could have hit him so just give the hand up if he bets.
*** TURN *** [Ks 8h Qs] [3d] Now I have the lowest pair, not good at all.
wamaul: checks He might have a pair of kings or even KQ, and is slow playing, which is dump, because I could have a flush draw.
DUG: checks not worth a bet, since I have a very bad hand.
*** RIVER *** [Ks 8h Qs 3d] [3c] Bingo, now I most likely have the best hand and he will NEVER think I have a 3.
wamaul: bets $0.25 Great, I hope he has KQ
DUG: raises $0.25 to $0.50 If he does he should go all in.
tavusa is sitting out
wamaul: raises $2.16 to $2.66 and is all-in Perfect
DUG: calls $2.16 No brainier
*** SHOW DOWN ***
wamaul: shows [8c Kd] (two pair, Kings and Eights) He had worse then I thought
DUG: shows [3s 6s] (three of a kind, Threes)
DUG collected $5.49 from pot
*** SUMMARY ***
Total pot $5.74 | Rake $0.25
Board [Ks 8h Qs 3d 3c]
Seat 1: tavusa (button) folded before Flop (didn't bet) Seat 2: Varón (small blind) folded before Flop Seat 3: wamaul (big blind) showed [8c Kd] and lost with two pair, Kings and Eights Seat 4: DUG showed [3s 6s] and won ($5.49) with three of a kind, Threes Seat 6: taberhouse folded before Flop (didn't bet)

As you can see I like to practice new strategies at low tables so I limit the possible loss.

Off to France so there will be limited posts if any, and most likely no poker play. On my return there should be a good journal of the trip and some great pictures.

P.S. The above picture is of me in my trailer in Botswana.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hiking Trip Grand Teton Mountains

Below is a 2 min. video scroll down to read my journal of the trip and at the bottom are the pictures.

I kept a journal on this trip that goes along with my pictures, so I hope you enjoy both. At the top of this post is a little 2 minute video and at the bottom are the pictures. The first picture is titled Hiking Trip Grand Teton Mountains. So look for that picture and you will know you are at the first one. You can double click on the pictures to go to a bigger screen or just watch them in the post. I hope you enjoy. The journal will explain the pictures.

Well, the flight from Botswana to London was uneventful. I left at midnight and arrived in London at 9 am.

Meet Larry and Eddie in London, seem to be ok guys. We have two hours to kill before our flight to Minneapolis. Then we have a 3 hour layover, then continue on to Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

I think Larry and Eddie might be on the other team especially Eddie.
(Not that there is anything wrong with that) Eddie keeps asking me to take pictures of himself with Larry using his iPhone and then he emails them to someone with captions about Broke Back Mountain.

Once we arrived in Minneapolis Eddie wanted to visit all the men’s rooms. Eddie and Larry spent 20 Minutes in one of them. Eddie then came out with a banana in hand and wanted a photo with it in his mouth which he emailed to some friends on his iPhone-very mysterious. Then when they saw that the Republican Convention was in town they were so excited hoping they might run into Sen. Larry Craig from Idaho in one of the restrooms. I did not think I would be able to get them on our next flight.

In case you want to hear more from Larry Craig click on the below link.


I was finely able to round up Larry and Eddie and off to Jackson Hole we went. On the flight from Minneapolis to Jackson Hole, “FATMAN” was in the window seat in the row that Larry and Eddie were in. Eddie made Larry take the middle seat, half way through the flight “FATMAN” spilled his diet coke all over Larry, Eddie was laughing his head off. Larry was not happy. The issue here was Eddie was in Larry’s aisle seat and yet Eddie felt no guilt and rather only showed glee when the soda spilled. “FATMAN” = needs a seat belt extender when flying.

Landing was so cool! The Jackson Hole Airport is in Grand Teton National Park and as you land to the south the Grand Teton Mountains are on the right. They are majestic, rising up from the meadows.

The town of Jackson Hole is a typical cowboy/ski town. We stayed at the Antler Inn. Not sure why, but for some reason Larry had his own room and I was rooming with Eddie. Remember, I am a guest on this trip that Eddie had set up, so some of the events are a surprise to me.

At 8pm our guide, Brad Armstrong showed up for our pre-trip planning meeting. I think we got the “B” team with Brad. Not all that sharp, more to come on that later. He gave us our gear; backpack, tent and sleeping bag. He outlined the trip.

Day One: Backpack to the back country.
Day Two: Do some day hikes.
Day Three: Depending on weather head back straight away or do a short day hike and then head back

We had a concern about weather. The forecast was as follows.

Day One: Sunny low 50 high 75
Day Two: Some rain low 45 high 65
Day Three: Rain/snow low 35 high 55

So there was concern about getting caught in a mountain storm.

Brad said he would pick us up at 9am the next morning. We asked if we could go earlier since most likely it would be the best day weather wise. Brad said how about 8am? Eddie said how about 7am? Brad made it clear 8am was the earliest. He put Eddie in his place with a very stern, “NO!”

Brad picked us up at 8am sharp. We had already eaten breakfast at the Teton Steak House. All you could eat buffet for $5.99. Larry really stuffed himself, I think he was really trying to get his moneys worth.

We had a couple of stops before heading to the mountains, get gas for Brad’s truck, get some sandwiches for lunch, and the best one, go see if we could find Brad's hiking boots. Yes, our hiking guide forgot his hiking boots. What happened was he lent his jeep to a buddy and left his boots in the jeep. We spent 40 min. searching the streets of Jackson Hole looking for a green jeep. No luck in finding the jeep or boots. Remember I said I think we got the “B” team with Brad, this is more proof.

Next stop, Brad's house to get an old pair of shoes that almost passed for something you could hike the backcountry in. The smallest hole was two inches in length. Again, reinforcing to us we got the “B” team. Maybe even the “C” team. We finally made it to the trail head it was 11am. On the ride to the trail head, Brad explained that the owner of the hiking expedition company had taken a full time job elsewhere. We had an enthusiastic conversation about Brad taking over the company with advice on how to accomplish. After further thought, Larry decided not to say another thing about the topic suddenly realizing Brad had no ability to run a company if he couldn’t even find his shoes. Brad, who seemed enthused at the time, never broached the subject again either-go figure.

The plan was to hike to a place where we could camp both nights and take day trips from there. We were starting the hike in the Grand Teton Wilderness area, or at least that is what Brad told us. It was really the Jedediah Smith Wilderness. We would end up hiking in the Grand Teton National Park if things went as planned.

The day was perfect weather wise. The only problem besides the late start, was Larry having a hard time with his pack, my guess is the packs weighed between 35 and 45 lbs. Larry was complaining the pack was digging into his shoulders, He also seemed to be getting winded from the elevation, which was 7,000 feet when we started and we would camp at 8,200 feet. Camp was 6 miles from the trail head and as I mentioned a change in elevation of 1,200 feet.

Eddie, I will call him “Steady Eddie”, has got to be the slowest hiker I have ever seen, he keeps moving, does not complain, but boy does he go slow. I had no issues with the hike once I got my pack set right, my strength and endurance are pretty good since I have been training for the Philadelphia Marathon (more on that in future posts).

Camp was a spot 100 feet off the trail. A place Brad decided was as far as he wanted to carry his pack. At this point in the hike we had made it to the Lower Basin. Larry was all for stopping, boy can Larry complain. Steady Eddie wanted to keep going to the Upper Basin. Brad actually had some logic to his reasons for stopping and eventually won Eddie over. We set up our tents, and then from a high tree hung all our food along with anything that might have a scent that could attract bears.

Brad had all these rules about camp; the tents had to be 200 feet away from where we cooked, you had to pee at least 100 feet from any trail or water source, if you pooped you had to bury it in a hole at last 8 inches deep and you had to carry the TP out. Fun stuff, I decided to go with Camper Belly rather then having to deal with the pooping rules. In order to have an incentive and since I was not making any money on Poker this week, I asked Eddie and Larry to bet me $1 each that I could go the whole 3 days without pooping, they both took the bet, I won.

Once settled in we decided to go on a short hike. Larry was complaining, but we pushed him to join us. For some reason Larry and Eddie brought their packs. Not sure why the only things we needed was water and maybe a snack.

We hiked up to the Upper Basin where there was a small lake. The hike was fairly steep we climbed 1,000 feet in one and a quarter miles. Larry complained the whole way, while Steady Eddie went as slow as possible the whole way. Both Larry and Eddie had walking poles. Brad noticed that Eddie’s poles had a logo that said, “Designed for Women”. I do not know of a woman that would walk as slow as Eddie walked. Despite all that the views of the mountains were incredible and the colors of the wild flowers were amazing.

It was about this time that Larry said he was hungry having not eaten at base camp like we had as well as thirsty. Just as he went to drink from his water bottle, he asked Brad who had filled his bottle at Base Camp from the stream, whether he had purified it. Brad looked at Larry questioningly and said “No, I thought the other guys did.” Eddie and I nicely volunteered to share water with Larry but in doing so, everyone became short on water. Fortunately at the next stop, we found other campers who kindly allowed us to use their water purifier. Good thing Larry didn’t depend on Brad to follow through on the water.

From the Upper Basin Eddie wanted to go on to Alaskan Basin, which was another two miles and 1,000 foot climb. At the pace Eddie walks that would be 4 hours, the rest of us said, “NO!” We felt we did not have enough time before dark. We decided to hike back to camp, but go a different way, one that was a little longer but not as steep. The views were even more spectacular then the way up. It was a little farther then Brad had said it would be, 4 miles rather then the 2 miles. We were starting to get use to Brad’s miss-information. He was getting an “A” for effort but “C’s” and “D’s” in everything else. The good news about the longer walk was it gave us more time to listen to Larry complain, both about how far he was hiking and how tired he was.

For dinner we had this packaged chicken casserole. I am sure it was not very good, but after the 11 miles of hiking we had done it tasted like the best meal we had ever had. We were all asleep by 7:30pm. I woke up once that night and looked outside; the stars were so vivid the constellations were clear as could be, not a cloud in the sky. The Milky Way was so full of stars it looked like a Milky Way.

At 6:30am Larry woke up full of piss and vinegar. To start with he had not gotten much sleep because his tent was set up on a slant, which caused him to keep sliding into the corner. It was raining and Larry was miserable and wanted to go home. We convinced Larry that the day could only get better. Brad made breakfast while Eddie and I helped Larry move his tent three times. The first move Brad said was to close to where the food was, the second time it was to close to the trail, the third time was just right. After breakfast Eddie wanted to start hiking but Larry and I enjoyed an after breakfast siesta to freshen up prior to the day’s events and to allow the rain to pass.

At 8:00am the sky cleared and it was a gorgeous day. Even Larry was happy. We decided to hike to the top of Alaskan Basin. The first mile and a quarter would be a same hike we had done the day before up to the small lake. Then we would have another 2 miles and 1,000 foot climb, we would hit an elevation of 10,500 feet. The hike was great, the day was beautiful, and the views of the mountains and landscape were awesome. None of us had packs, except Steady Eddie, who was carrying a water purifier because you could not drink the water right from the streams. He also had our lunch in his pack.

From the top of Alaskan Basin you could see the entire Teton Mountain Range. On the far side was a glacier that ran down into a glacier lake. Larry was in a great mood and was not complaining; in fact he suggested we hike down to the lake, so we did. It was only a half mile hike and a change in elevation of 500 feet. I put my feet into the lake I would guess the temputure was above 32 and below 40 degrees. It was soothing to my feet which were sore from hiking or so I thought.

As usual Eddie wanted to continue hiking, the rest of us were ready to head back. Then we looked up at the sky and saw a storm was coming. This made for an easy decision to head back to camp. With 2 miles to go the rain got us and it was a cold rain. On the bright side, while we saw a Moose with a calf feeding just off the trail. With the rain coming down Larry and I went ahead and Brad stayed back with Steady Eddie. Larry and I got off course and we were lost for a bit then we saw Steady Eddie and found the trail.

When we got back to camp we were a bit wet and fairly cold, our guess was the temputure had dropped from 70 degrees to 50 degrees. Before we left for the hike Brad had suggested we leave our tents open to air out from the morning rain. Larry followed Brad’s suggestion so his tent was fairly wet when we got back, another example of Brad being on the “B” team. Eddie did close his tent, but since he had put his rain fly on upside down it was leaking like a sieve. We found out later that Brad had told Eddie his rain fly was upside down, but Eddie didn’t fix it. Eddie is not the sharpest knife in the draw.

As Larry and Eddie tried to dry out their tents, I hung out in mine which was nice and dry. While we hung out Brad made us dinner, rice and beans. After dinner unless you wanted to sit out in the rain, it was off to sleep. Larry and Eddie changed roles, with all Eddies stuff wet he was the one complaining. The good news, I was having a great time, my stuff was dry, I was happy, the hikes and scenery were unbelievable. That did not last to long, the part about me being happy, that is. At the end of the hike my left foot was aching a little, I did not think much about it. Half way through the night I realized I was having a gout attack.

In case you’re not familiar with gout, Gout occurs when urate crystals accumulate around your joint, causing the inflammation and intense pain. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, substances that are found naturally in your body, as well as in certain foods, such as organ meats, anchovies, herring, asparagus and mushrooms. Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine. But sometimes your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little uric acid. When this happens, uric acid can build up, forming sharp, needle-like urate crystals in a joint or surrounding tissue that cause pain, inflammation and swelling.

To put it simply, it feels like you have broken glass in all the joints in your foot. I tossed and turned all night. I had some pills that would help with the pain, but they were hanging in a tree 100 yards away to keep the bears from eating them. There was no way I could crawl that far in the rain and get them down from the tree. At 3:00am an ice storm came through, sheets of ice formed on the tent, this helped a little as I was able to take some ice and put it in a bag and ice my foot. It ended up being a very long and painful night.

In the morning I was able to get some pills. I was still concerned because they usually take 24 hours to kick in and at this point I could not walk and we were 6 miles from the nearest road and I had a 40 lb pack to carry. Fortunately Larry had some awesome pills not sure why he had them or what they were, but I took them and in an hour the pain had subsided to a minor ache. I was able to walk with a hobble. If it was not for my training in the Botswana Special Forces I am not sure I would have been able to endure the pain through the night. My body might still be on the mountain. Larry and I really pushed the hike down to the trail head. For me it was the pain, I figured the quicker we went the faster I could get off my feet. For Larry it was the outhouse at the end of the trail. Larry poops 4 times a day and I think he was tired of digging holes and carrying around used TP. We made it to the trail head, Brad and Steady Eddie caught up to us 30 minutes later.

The trip was a great experience, great hiking, camping, views, the company was a little strange but what do you expect when two guys invite you on a hiking/camping trip after reading your blog.

Weather worked out as perfect as it could be, warm the first day, rain in the AM and PM the second day, but clear during the day, an a Ice Storm the last night but clearing for the hike down.

Once back in Jackson Hole we got cleaned up and had an awesome dinner at the Cadillac Grill. http://www.cadillac-grille.com/, we all ordered the wild game sampler, which had Elk, Buffalo and Wild Boar with mash potatoes and vegetables. What a great dinner to celebrate a great trip.

The flights back to Botswana were fairly straight forward with one funny situation. On the flight from Jackson Hole to Minneapolis Eddie and Larry had a middle and aisle seat respectively, as they were getting on the plane guess who was in the window seat, none other then “FATMAN”. The very same “FATMAN” that was on the flight down that had spilled his soda on Larry, when Eddie saw “FATMAN” he started laughing and went right by his row and found another empty seat. What are the odds?

I hope you enjoyed the journal of the trip and the pictures. I am off to France for two and a half weeks on Sunday so I am not sure how much poker play I will get in this week, so do not be shocked if I have a low hand count.