Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Learning, and Other Updates

winning I spent five days in Las Vegas, and came back with a cold. That's the main reason why I didn't blog right when I came back. It's hard to blog when you're stuffy and having trouble sleeping.

I also came back a winner, but when you have a cold you can't enjoy the winnings right away and you can't go back to being an earner right away either. But, my cold is just about over, and I'm ready to get back to work and to blogging!

I Won in Las Vegas!

I won over $500 playing poker, and it all came from two big pots! I didn't have to do anything tricky, as all I did was play my hand. In the first big post, I got pocket queens and won the pot on the turn. In the second pot, I had Q7 suited, flopped trips, and shoved on the turn. Two people called my shove, and ended up winning when neither opponent could beat my three sevens. I understand that's not going to happen every time I sit at a table, but sometimes, all it takes is a big pot or two to change everything.

Even though I came out a winner, I didn't win all the times I played poker in Las Vegas. I tried a live poker tournament at the Quad (the old Imperial Palace), and ended up taking 12th out of 30. Nothing to complain about, but not a place that pays either. I also played a few hours in a cash game where I bought in for $200 and ended down $15. Essentially I broke even, which isn't bad either. In both sessions, I didn't get many good spots to build a big pot or to make any moves.


I've previously written about coming out of my comfort zone, and chose to learn how to drive a stick-shift as the activity to do to take myself out of my comfort zone. Finally, I've set aside time this Friday to get behind the wheel and to learn how to operate the clutch, to switch gears, and all that good stuff. I know I said that I would do this weeks ago, but it's in my schedule and I am going to get started this week. Eventually, I will know how to operate the vehicle Considering that I live in the city, I'll also be spending a lot of time learning how to parallel park. Unlike most people, I actually didn't have to parallel park to get my license.

Getting Back into the Swing of Things

Going back to the office and to work, so I'm excited to be doing all of that. One of the toughest parts about vacation is ending it and going back to what you were doing before vacation. Half of my Las Vegas winnings went to groceries (I now have food to make for lunch and to take to work), while the rest will go towards a new pair of glasses and lenses that I purchased six months ago. I could only pay for half of it then, and after all this time I have the other half of the payment to get those new frames. It's about time too. I've been needing to zoom in on every website just so I can read it from a reasonable distance. Leaning in hurts my back. I also can't see the community cards from certain seats at the poker table, which isn't too bad, as you should be watching the players when the flop comes. The cards never change once they hit the table!

The Next Few Posts are Pre-Scheduled for My Convenience

scheduling blog postsI do leave for Las Vegas tomorrow morning, so while I'm out-of-town, I've scheduled some posts for the next few days. I don't want to worry about posting while I'm visiting family and playing poker, so I've posted some articles that I've written for previous clients a year or two ago. Might as well, right? These clients aren't using the content (at least not anymore, as a few of them have closed up shop) and some of it is great content. Although I'm not going to include these pieces into my portfolio, some of them are still relevant and could be valuable to a few people. So, I've scheduled a few posts, and will return to extemporaneous blogging on the 10th. Or, the scheduled posts will at least stop by the 10th, as I won't guarantee I will post something next Thursday.

The Topics Might Be a Bit Off

When choosing which posts to schedule, I went with articles that were written well, that were still relevant today, and that were about something that my current audience would find interesting. An article about Facebook Places doesn't mean anything today, and I wasn't a big fan of this article I did offering tips for an effective websites (it might be worth doing over and publishing somewhere too). So, with the exception of one article, the blog posts scheduled all have something to do with the Internet or technology. When I first started freelancing and blogging for money, technology was a niche. It still is, but it's much more strongly considered a business topic than previously. I don't write about the latest iPhone rumors, or computer code, or how certain technologies work. I more cover technology as how it relates to business and how business owners and professionals can use it.  You know, the practical stuff. Hey, it's what I got.

What to Expect After My Trip

Well, I'll probably do at least one post about the trip, probably discussing my poker escapades and what I want my future to hold for poker. After I get that out-of-the-way, I do need to tackle several other posts I've started and haven't finished. These include my list of things I suck at, what I would do if I were the CEO of AOL, my list of empowering songs, and my wrap up of what I've learned in U.S. history. I have made progress on this venture, but finding the answers in a book is a little tougher than I anticipated. I don't want to look up every single thing online, but I am looking up more online than I wanted to, as I don't want to do borrow several books just to answer those questions.

Once I finish those blog posts that I've started, I can get to those on my list of 50 blog post ideas that I haven't started yet, primarily those questions regarding politics and international affairs. Since I'll be at my office more often, I will have more consistent access to a printer and can spend time doing research. It will help if I get that file cabinet that I said I would get a few months ago, and it looks like I would be able to get it by the end of November. I do have one last payment to a vendor this month, so I will have that money in November if I can't do it this month. I do need to work on my niche and keeping up with it. I also need to work on blogging in general. I think it's best that I consider myself similar to a musician, who is always going out to find gigs and to build an audience. I should do that but with words.

And Just Like That, I'm No Longer a Night Owl

no longer a night owlI woke up at 7 a.m. this morning, 4:30 a.m. yesterday (I had a 7:30 a.m. meeting, in my defense), and 10 a.m. the day before. I don't see myself going to bed very late tonight, so it's looks like my whole night owl phase is over. This is actually good, as I am going to Las Vegas this weekend to visit family, and I don't think my parents would appreciate it they never saw me because I was sleeping whenever they were awake. This schedule is also good because I do feel more productive and I am getting more done. This whole thing started because I had a job interview a week ago at 10 a.m., and even though I didn't get the job, I've been nervous and energized ever since then and haven't really done back to the night owl schedule. Also, this past weekend was pretty hectic since I had guests over, and you don't really want to sleep until 2 p.m. when you have guests over. You need to be awake and welcoming when you have guests.

I Didn't Get the Job :(

It was a great job, and it sucks I didn't get it, but I do think it was a blessing in disguise. I interviewed for a director of marketing position with a content marketing company, and it's a position I really shouldn't be qualified for at 25. But, I was considered qualified for the position, and even though I didn't get it, the interviewer did say that I would have done a great job in the role if I had been chosen. It's still a confidence boost and a huge testament to my skills and what I'm capable of. It's hard to get this kind of feedback when I'm self-employed, and although I'm not actively looking for a full-time position, I will consider another one if the right opportunity comes along.

However, everything will be fine. I've picked up quite a bit of new work lately, so it would have sucked to turn around and tell those people I can't do their work anymore because of the new job. Still would have liked to be director of marketing, but it's not as if I don't have anything going for me now or anything to go back to. I can keep doing what I've been doing, and I can do it knowing that I'm really good at what I do and am capable of directing the marketing of a major marketing brand.

I'm Working On My Poker Before I Go

I haven't played too much poker over the past several days because I've been focusing on my work and getting as much done as possible. It's tough to get work done when you're out of town, especially in Las Vegas. Not only are there a ton of distractions, but getting Internet in your hotel room is expensive. But, I am trying to get some poker time in before I go, as I don't want to go to the table and have the last time I played be over a week ago. One thing I am working on is getting comfortable quickly when I am outside of my comfort zone. Part of the reason why it was so tough to play live back in March was that I as out of my comfort zone and second guessing myself sometimes. I know I am a better player than I was in March, so I think I will do better this time around. I won't let any of the regulars scare me this time!

I Have a New Kitty!

new kitty

Kitty Cat Cat Cat Cat Cat

Our new kitty finally arrived from the shelter yesterday. He is awesome and it is so wonderful to have a cat in the house again. He is only 20 months old and he will be our kitty for the rest of his life. I am at work as I write this and I miss him very much. He needs love and attention and treats. I might go home early so I can pet him and teach him how to be held. However, I must do more work... after I finish writing this post. Fortunately, I get to have even more coffee tonight so I will get lots and lots and lots of work done (and playtime, which is most important).

He doesn't have a name yet, as we originally planned on naming him Pizza the Cat, but he doesn't look like a pizza. We want to give him a poker-related name, but haven't found one that's really good. The best we have so far is Mr. BigStacks, which we might end up settling on because that's not bad, but we have yet to think of one that jumps out at us. We'll probably have a name by the end of tonight. He can't go this long without a name.

Good News and Bad News

new kittyGood News about the Cat: He is fuzzy, outgoing, cute, playful, and talkative.

Bad News about the Cat: He doesn't yet understand bedtime, or what to do when the humans are sleeping. Thus, he wins at 7:00 a.m because I got out of bed, and tried to catch more sleep on the couch, but he saw me and that was enough to wake him up and to get him talking.

Good News: He always wins. That's the rule, except when he wants almond butter. However, all the rest of the time, he wins. It's probably the only way I'll wake up in the morning.

Bad News: I leave this Saturday to go to Las Vegas for a week! I have to go all those days without any kitty! That's no fun, and I am worried the kitty will miss me and bond with Sean without me.

Good News: He understands the scratch post, so he won't ruin the carpet.

Bad News: Anything that dangles is a toy, so my ear buds and belts are in grave danger.

Other Than the Kitty...

I am incredibly tired (because the kitty doesn't yet understand bedtime), so I haven't been as productive as I need to be today. I'm a little scattered and it's taking me longer than usual to get each thing done. This is also a reason why I want to go home early. I can take a quick nap before my Amnesty meeting tonight (which also gets in the way of kitty time). I wish I could skip it, but I can't because I promised yesterday that I would arrive early to put the sign up for the meeting at the coffee shop. Now, it's all a matter of remind myself to go to the meeting, and to go early, and to remember the sign.

new kittyBut, the meeting will be fun! And I will have a medium soy latte with brown sugar! We will discuss things to do regarding the Arms Trade Treaty, and it will be invigorating as I will contribute ideas and then feel inspired to reading our book club reading once I get home. Of course, if I don't get home and get distracted. He meows a lot and wants to get my ear buds.

Back on Track

getting back on trackI woke up today and committed to making today a productive, awesome day. I committed to making today a great day and to getting things done. Not only did I accomplish that, but I also found a dollar bill this morning on my way to the bus stop. It's the second dollar bill I've found in a three-day period. I hope I find more money on the sidewalk within the next few days, the next one being a 10 or a 20. You know it's going to be a good day when you find money on the ground, especially when the ground is covered in snow.

However, I'm Nervous

I applied for an Arch Grant about two months ago, and today is the day when they are notifying who moves on to the next round. Haven't heard anything yet, although they announced on Twitter three hours ago that the notifications will go out by the end of the day. It's less than an hour until the end of the day and I haven't heard anything. What's considered the end of the day? I'm nervous because if I don't get the grant, I will start on my project that I hoped to fund through the grant. If I do move on, then I will do the next round and go through the waiting game once more. Getting this grant will be huge, but I think my idea is even better, and I will want to make the idea a priority. However, I don't want to start on it if I do move to the next round. When will I hear something? Eeek!

Other Than That...

Today was a committed and productive day, and I will continue this by playing poker tonight (or maybe game night with the neighbors, as they haven't said anything yet). I played a SNG yesterday and lost, but I was incredibly spaced out. Before I knew it, I only had 2/3 of my original chip stack, and it felt like I hadn't played any hands or made any bad moves. I had no idea where the money went. Alas, I will play again tonight. It will be fun, and I will make the best decisions possible.

Poker, Poker, Poker

I need to practice for my Las Vegas trip, which is less than month away. I am super excited to go! I can't wait. I have this trip to look forward to as well as the Heartland Poker Tour in April. On Pokertube, they have videos of two separate HPT final tables. I plan to watch that to get a glimpse of how tough the competition is that these HPT events. I'm excited, and nervous. I feel my awesomeness exponentially growing. I want to be featured on Pokertube because that would be the coolest thing ever. I would be a semi Internet star. Also, if I happen to win big over the next few months, I could maybe make it out to the World Series of Poker to play one tournament or two. I want to play in the WSOP so bad, even though 2014 is probably when I'll make my first appearance. I need to win super huge to be able to play this year, even though a couple of events have a $1000 buy-in.

Finishing Up

I need to hurry and to finish this post because I want to catch the 5 p.m. bus. I was hoping to catch the 4:30 p.m. bus, but I took too long thinking of something to write about and then I got distracted with the Arch Grant announcement. I keep hitting refresh, hoping to see the notification, but a watched pot never boils. It'll probably come in while I'm on the bus, and then I'll get home and completely forget about it. Then, I won't see it until tomorrow morning or something. Why wouldn't it happen that way? It's usually how these sorts of things go.

Today Isn't My Poker Day

poker pocket aces

But I Wish it Was

I'm not tired yet, and Sean has already gone to bed. I want to play poker, maybe a tournament or a sit-n-go or two, but I don't want to be up too late as I have to do work tomorrow. My poker days are usually Thursday, Friday, and Sunday because that's when I've scheduled my poker. It's weird, I know, but I pretty much fill my schedule a week in advance. My computer has also been weird today, as my desktop hasn't been refreshing on its own when I move/rename files, and my Google Chrome has had trouble all day loading new tabs. I did have trouble over the weekend with a horrible server connection, although I can't blame that one on my computer. Perhaps this is a classic case of, "one thousand reasons not to do something." But, perhaps some of those one thousand reasons are reasons I should strongly consider.

Bad Run This Weekend

Yes, indeed. It felt like I was getting outdrawn every single time. It's just one of those runs! There were a couple of misplayed hands, I admit, but as a whole things were just unfortunate with me having the best hand pre-flop and then getting outflopped or the villain hitting their card on the turn or river. It really sucks, but it's poker, and the trick is determining when you are running bad or just playing bad. Sometimes, if you're not careful, running bad can turn into playing bad. I feel like this particular time was a little bit of both. I also admit that prior to this run bad I did have a streak of run good. I won a tournament two weeks ago, and won about four heads-up matches in a row. You don't do that if you're not playing well, but you also need a little luck on your side to do that too.

I will Be Going to Vegas in March!

I am excited to get some live experience in, finally! I'll be staying at the Orleans, so I at least know I'm going to play one tournament in their poker room. First prize is usually around $6500 for their 7 p.m. $125 buy in. OMG that would be amazing if I was able to win that. Depending on how I do in my first few attempts (hopefully I can win something at least once), I can play tournaments at some of the other casinos, such as the Rio, the Venetian, the Aria, or the Bellagio. Okay, maybe not Bellagio, because I just checked their buy-ins and their cheapest buy-in is like $250. Granted, I'll certainly have that if I win one at the Orleans, but I don't know if I'd be ready for a $250 buy-in yet. Anyway, I'm looking forward to the trip.

Until Then...

However, it's not March yet, so I am left practicing online. I should make it a point to go to a local casino and play in a tournament, at least once before I go. That way, I'm not going to Las Vegas completely inexperienced. My business coach also suggested that I find a poker coach, so I need to do that too. I did a quick Google search and I didn't like what appeared on the first page. I'm not sure if I want to go through a poker coach directory, and I certainly don't want to go through a poker coaching site. My coach also suggested that I find a live coach, not someone who will coach online. I'm not sure what to do here. Maybe if I make an awesome run for it, someone will volunteer to coach me.

What a Week!

what a weekActually, the phrase should be, "What a Past Few Weeks!" I've been MIA on the blogging for two weeks now, where in that time I've turned 25, have quite possibly put my business on track to double last year's revenue (is it big shot to be able to say that February), and won my first online poker tournament (okay, it as a $15 win, but I bested anywhere between 164 and 324 people, which is an accomplishment no matter what the final prize is). I stopped blogging because I was really tired after hard week, too tired to write anything. I've started up again because a friend said that my blogging was amazing and wanted me to continue blogging. So, with a two week hiatus (which will be factored into the quarterly blogging analysis), I will restart this blogging case study of mine. I have one loyal reader out there, and that's good enough for something.

Not Without Hiccups

Of course, these past two weeks haven't been without their share of problems, even with the good things that are happening. I have a client who was trying to backup his Wordpress site, and now nothing happens when you want to add a photo, or change the publication date, or fix the widgets, or add tags to a post (can anyone tell me how to backup a Wordpress site and whether its worthwhile. I would think investing in Wordpress security is a better option, but oh well.) This started two days ago and it's still not working, which means there's not much I can do with it.

The Internet has improved at the coworking space, but it has been a bit choppy this afternoon. Watching video is still difficult, which makes me sad because I can't watch live poker when I eat lunch. Nothing like Monday or last week, but it's still no one hundred percent. I think the space got its own network yesterday, which should be fully functional tomorrow. Hopefully.

Managing Your Online Reputation

I also earned the ire of an "investigative blogger", who wrote a disparaging article about my company and how we provide awful advice to citizen bloggers regarding the first amendment. Fortunately, that's all that's happened, since this particular person has previous history of buying domain names and writing all sorts to stuff to trash your online reputation. It's also fortunate that both me and my company have maintained a strong online reputation, where one post isn't going to ruin our search engine results. I want to be as vague as possible about this, because this person hasn't made the connection between me and my company, and the last thing I want is an online cat fight or to have to defend myself against really odd claims. However, the article can be found on page two of results when you search for "Stirring Media, LLC", if you are interested in a laugh or some weird insight into the crazy world of online reputation management.

But, as the saying goes, "if they're shooting at you, you must be doing something right."

I'm Blogging Again, I Promise

This isn't some weird fluke to entertain a friend and this isn't some stupid "update post" where I apologize for not blogging for two weeks only to not blog for two more months and then apologize again in two months. I'm back in the swing of things, with good ideas to discuss! Tomorrow, I'm going to go over building a personal brand and answer a few questions to build my own personal brand (will do the same with my company's branding, but will answer completely different questions). This weekend is Mardi Gras in St. Louis, and I might have a few things to say about that (not sure if I'm going or not). I'll also do some blogging from Las Vegas, when I go in about a month. Plan to play a whole bunch of poker tournaments in the casinos. Crossing my fingers I can announce a few cashes!

The past two weeks may have been hectic, but I'm looking forward to the next two months, that's for sure!