Tag Archives: video poker

I have just entered my 81st year!

Last year on my birthday I wrote, Holy crap! I am an octogenarian! I can’t believe it. I don’t feel that old. In fact, having been retired for 20 years now, I can honestly say, I feel better and healthier now than I did when I was working and in my ’50’s. I rode my bike 20 miles yesterday in Chicago’s balmy 30 degree January weather and I plan to do the same this morning. Lucky me!

Here I am a year later with 12 months of a grueling pandemic behind me.

Thanks again to some of my Facebook friends for doctoring this B’day picture for me some years ago.

This is from my birthday blog post last year:

One of the main reasons I feel like I have things so together is this blog. I started writing it in March of 2010 with a partner who has since left for other pursuits. From the beginning, I discovered a focus. At first it was simply trying to keep my weight down. I learned portion control and serving size. This Italian guy was surprised to learn that a “serving” of pasta was not a 10 inch plate heaped with spaghetti noodles smothered in tomato sauce. No, a 200 calorie serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Incredibly, that was a revelation to me. I put the information to use. I began to reduce my portions accordingly. I am not going to recount all the lessons I learned in the past nearly 10 years, but if you want to get control of your own weight, check out my Page – How to Lose Weight – and Keep it Off.

My girlfriend shot this photo at the Horseshoe Casino steakhouse last night where we celebrated.

Because of the pandemic, I wasn’t able to get blood work done at my annual physical. The following documents my present health as of October 2019: My resting heart rate falls several beats under 50 beats per minute. My cholesterol level is 199. The HDL (Good cholesterol) is 77; LDL (Bad cholesterol) 111. I stand 5 feet 9-1/4 inches tall (vs 5 feet 11 inches 10 years ago. I weigh around 150 pounds and have a 32 inch waist. This is pretty much the same as when I was a senior in high school in 1957. I don’t take any drugs, prescribed or not. I do take some plant based pills to relieve the arthritis pain in my hands. For the record, my alcohol consumption is minimal – maybe three bottles of beer in a month. And, no, I don’t smoke.

This year, to celebrate, my girlfriend and I dined at the Horseshoe Casino Steak House on Saturday night. We couldn’t go on my birthday, because the venue isn’t open during the week. We were comped to a sumptuous meal much of which you can see below.

I enjoyed an order of king crab legs for dinner.
This was the Jackpot chocolate cake we shared for dessert.

My ‘go to’ exercise is still riding my bike. I average over 100 miles a week year ’round here in Chicago. Last year it totaled just under 6000 miles. Find some kind of movement that you enjoy, dancing, walking, etc., and do it regularly and you will be on your way to good health, too.

Because of the pandemic, I was not able to travel to Las Vegas every few months as I have for decades. Thankfully, the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN, just 17 miles from my home has reopened for business following the spring lock down. So, I am still able to enjoy the agony and ecstasy of video poker on a regular basis. If you are not familiar with video poker, you can click on that link for a rundown from a previous casino trip.

Here is just one example from last night’s casino visit:

I was dealt the Ace-Queen of diamonds and held them hoping to draw the Jack-King-ten, the remaining three cards to a Royal Flush. The chances of catching the only three cards in the deck that make up the Royal are one in 16,215. Needless, to say, I didn’t catch them and didn’t win the $5,000 plus jackpot that it would have paid. On the other hand, I did draw three other cards that were diamonds, so I was paid $25 for my trouble. While a bit hyperbolic, I hope this little example demonstrates, if not the agony and the ecstasy, at least some of the highs and lows of playing video poker. If the luck of the draw in this game interests you, check out my Pinterest board Video Poker Porn to see lots more hands like this.

Again from last year’s post: I wanted to share this information with you because so many people I run into who are in their late 50’s and 60’s appear to be giving up on their health and conditioning. They act like it’s over. The phrase ‘I’m gettin’ old’ bubbles out of their mouths frequently. A lot of the posts I write for this blog are meant to demonstrate that by focusing on your eating and making sure you get adequate exercise you can continue to enjoy yourself for many more years in reasonably healthy condition.



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My 80th birthday dinner …

Having told you that I was going to the Horseshoe Casino to celebrate my 80th birthday with dinner at the Jack Binion’s Steakhouse, in my birthday post two days ago, I thought that the least I could do was fill you in on the event.

The casino was celebrating the Chinese New Year and we were greeted by this lovely display upon entering.


Here are a few elements from dinner.


I started with these gorgeous scallops. They tasted every bit as good as they look.


My main course was the two lovely lobster tails. Mouth-watering.


Although this was my 80th birthday celebration, I confess to a 10-year-olds pleasure at the chocolate cake and ice cream with the birthday candle. No, they did not sing.

We played both before and after dinner. As I have mentioned in numerous previous posts, my casino game of choice is Video Poker. This was a highlight of the trip.

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I had a fun  Enjoyed my lobster tail dinner finished up with a slice of chocolate birthday cake and cappuccino. And, as you can see from the photo above, I finished over $1000 ahead gambling. All in all, a very happy 80th birthday.



Filed under 80th birthday, casino play, Uncategorized, video poker

My mid-December trip to Las Vegas

I have just returned from our annual Christmas season trip to Las Vegas. Thought I would share a few aspects of it. Clearly, what happens in Las Vegas doesn’t have to stay in Las Vegas.


Above is my girlfriend arriving at the airport. She is not handicapped, but does have a bad knee which is worsened by airport treks. I like this shot because it looks like the queen coming to visit.

This was the view out our window on the 44th floor after we checked in to Caesars Palace at dusk. Isn’t that a lovely light?



Above is me at Caesars Palace Food Court in my Christmas sweater. They have a wonderful variety of offerings and I love breakfasting there on a freshly made crepe.


Speaking of freshly made crepes, this strawberry one was my breakfast on more than one of our four mornings at Caesars.

I have mentioned more than once how much I enjoy playing video poker. Here is a Royal Flush I caught early in the trip. If you would like to know more about the game of video poker check out my post from last year – The agony and ecstasy of video poker.


Taking a break from gambling we always see a movie while we are there. A friend of mine once said that we are probably saving several hundred dollars going to a movie in Las Vegas, so we always catch one. This time we chose Ford vs Ferrari with Matt Damon and Christian Bale. Great fun! I recommend it. Nice ’60’s soundtrack, too.


For us, no trip to Caesars would be complete without dinner at Nobu. The absolute pinnacle of the dining on sushi experience. You’re looking at tuna tartar with a dollop of caviar on top. Tastes even better than it looks.


Here are some cute little figurines for sale in one of the Caesars shops. As a dog lover I was enchanted, although not to the point of actually purchasing one.


And finally, here is our pre-flight snack that we always get at the McCarran airport before we leave. They do a wonderful job on the very healthy hummus.




Filed under Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, Uncategorized, video poker

What happens in Vegas …

I am just back from Las Vegas. As regular readers know, when I go to Las Vegas, what happens there doesn’t stay there. I share my experiences, some anyway. My girlfriend and I stayed at Caesars Palace in the Augustus Tower. I like that tower because we get a view of the fountain at Bellagio. The photo below is what I saw out our windows.

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These sprays dance to music.

We had some amazing meals there. Below is the soft shell crab roll at Nobu, Caesars’ superb sushi restaurant. Say that five times fast.

IMG_6878.jpeg Continue reading

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Sushi, euphoria and video poker …

This is a repeat of an item I wrote a couple of years ago. I thought you might enjoy reading it.

I hope you are asking yourself how could those three seriously diverse elements possibly be related. If you are, good. That is precisely the reason I am writing this post. Maybe you can answer that question.

I have just returned from four nights at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. I have written about going to Las Vegas and gambling there previously. Last May I wrote – Off to Las Vegas – The agony and ecstasy of video poker. In several past posts I also talked about the various wonderful meals we have had there.


This is the Nobu specialty – black cod – from our meal last week.

Over the last couple of years on at least five occasions, something weird and wonderful has happened to me that I can not explain except that it is a series of the most incredible coincidences I have ever experienced. I am writing this up in the hopes that a reader will be able to point out what I am missing in understanding it.


This was our dessert when we went on our anniversary.

Continue reading


Filed under Caesars Palace, gambling, Nobu, video poker

Off to Las Vegas … the agony and ecstasy of video poker

I am off to Las Vegas this weekend for four nights and five days at Caesars Palace. Regular readers know that I play there regularly and have written a number of posts on my trips – primarily on the health aspects of dining out for several days and nights. This time I am writing about playing there. You won’t find much in this post about healthy eating, just what I do that passes for fun in my life.


The upper left hand in this pic qualifies as the ecstasy of VP. For anyone interested, the chances of holding an ace and drawing a Royal Flush are one in 178,365.

At 78 years old, I have been playing gambling games for most of my life. I grew up on the west side of Chicago. My father owned a pool room with a poker game in back. So my earliest recollections were playing cards. To this day the only thing I do left handed is deal cards because I was so little when I started that I couldn’t hold the cards in my left hand. I had to hold them in my right and peel them off with my left. My family always played games together, including Monopoly and all the card games. So, I grew up experiencing the vicissitudes of probabilities in cards and dice.

As a kid in the 1940’s my friends all gambled. I remember pitching pennies in grade school. We would stand behind a line on the sidewalk and try to toss our penny closest to the line two sidewalk squares (about 10 feet) away. Although we were pretty much uniformly poor we always ‘played for keeps.’ Continue reading


Filed under Caesars Palace, Las Vegas, video poker

Is it Possible to Enjoy Las Vegas and Control Your Weight?

First of all you have to decide on your fun factor. Part of the fun of visiting Las Vegas is the chance to eat a lot of wonderful foods. So, if you are going to sweat your weight, you might not have nearly as much fun. My decision was to have a good time and worry about the food when I got back home. I didn’t go crazy stuffing myself with bad food, but I also didn’t listen to the food cop inside me.

We stayed at the Paris Hotel and Casino on the strip. Here is a shot of the view from our window.


Another aspect of weight control at home or in Las Vegas is exercise. The hotel where we stayed had a health club as most do. I am not much on health clubs. They make me feel like I am in prison. In addition, as I wrote in a previous post on a Las Vegas visit, “Although there are no signs posted anywhere in the health club, or in the city for that matter, no one mentions the fact that Las Vegas is 2000 feet above sea level. The air is thinner. Air compresses under pressure. At sea level there is greater pressure than there is 2000 feet above, so while there is the same amount of oxygen in the air, the molecules are farther apart and you get less oxygen when you breathe.” I really don’t like working out there because I get strange feedback from my body. The bottom line is that I decided to skip exercise for the four day trip.

In the course of four days we had a lot of meals. I am going to pick out a few that I can illustrate and share them with you.

One of my healthiest breakfasts was a bowl of granola with yogurt and berries at Bally’s I am guessing it come in around 700 calories. Very tasty and held my appetite in check very well. granola

Below is a picture of a bacon, cheese and egg croissant sandwich. Paris has a lot of little eating places on a little street on the ground floor. I am putting the calorie count close to 1000 I know that croissants have at least 250 calories and that doesn’t count the eggs, bacon and cheese. By the way, this is a wonderfully tasty sandwich.egg and bacon


Another treat I look forward to on every trip is a visit to the Lobster Chowder Company in the Caesars Palace food court. As you can see from the photo they will serve their lobster chowder in a bread bowl if you want. This adds calories, but also adds a lot of fun cutting up and eating the bread soaked in chowder. I like this so much I wrote it up for Yelp. I am guessing this would run 100 or so under 1000 calories. Again a lovely meal. One observation here about eating at these fast food type places. I bring a bottle of water. I don’t order sugary soda or is chemical substitute diet soda. This eliminates at the least a bunch of calories and at worst throwing damaging chemicals into my system. Check out my Page What’s Wrong With Soft Drinks? for more details.

Lobster chowder in a bread bowl.

Lobster chowder in a bread bowl.

For our big meal we dined at Mon Ami Gabi, also in Paris. This is a very popular restaurant frequented by the locals. It also happens to originate in Chicago, so we knew about the quality of its food. mon-ami-gabi-patio

One of their specialties is Steak Frites which as you can see from the photo, I ordered. I guesstimated this entree at 1000 calories minimum. Yes, it was very large and I ate it all. steak frites

Another of my favorites is the pizza they serve at the Chicago Brewing Company in the Four Queens downtown. I know – why travel to Las Vegas for Chicago style pizza? The fact is it is excellent pizza and not like any of the pizza places I frequent back home. As you can see from the photo we had two good-sized pizzas on the final night. Our plan was to eat half of them and wrap the rest for the plane ride home. Cold pizza to an Italian guy beats the life out of anything they serve on an airplane.

So, as you can see, I was pretty lax about my eating there. Take a guess at how much weight I put on with these meals and no bike rides from Monday through Friday. Spoiler alert, I gained a pound. That was all.

I was very pleased that I did not pack on more pounds on the trip. However, to put this in perspective, to eat like this regularly and not exercise would gain at least a pound a week, or 52 pounds in a year. Clearly, it is a one off experience.

Speaking of one off situations. Here is a picture of a Royal Flush I caught at Paris. I am a video poker player. Man does not live by bread alone.paris royal 7:22:2014



Filed under calories, Exercise, Las Vegas, weight control