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Saturday, May 11, 2019

HELLO MAY...HERE COMES WSOP!

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It's insane how fast this year is flying by. Not only have I continued to be a slug when it comes to posting blog entries in this poker "diary" of mine, but when I sat down this morning to write in my journal to my daughter Carley, who just turned 7 yesterday, I noticed I haven't written in there either, in a long time. 11 months to be exact. And that's disappointing. I have SO much to share with Carley...or rather, FUTURE Carley...and every day, week, month that I don't write to her, is just more things I neglect to share with her. And it's awfully hard to cram a whole year's worth of stuff into one single entry.

On the poker front...I haven't been playing a whole lot. Actually, I've been super busy with projects around the house. Just put the finishing touches on my "super awesome kickass shed!" What started out as a pretty simple thing, added one thing after another as the project progressed. Windows. A loft. A carpeted loft! Added power. Added lights and ceiling fan. Then added an A/C unit...in the wall...just as they were about to brick over the only place I could put one. After having insulated the walls and ceiling, I kept having these mental images of this perfect shed...that was BOILING hot. Boom. AC added. She's a beaut! Carley got her playhouse rebuilt...as the first-run attempt lacked any kind of insulation or wrapping of the walls, so we had mold growing all over the walls. Nasty. I'd been promising Carley a garden for over a year...so I got THAT done...then, a few weeks ago, on Good Friday, her and I were out planting all of the seeds when she went into the loft to get something. Suddenly I heard her screaming in agony.

When I went into the shed, there she was...on the floor, having fallen off the ladder, breaking her ankle. So sadly, we had to cancel her big birthday party the next weekend...which was going to be a pool party with a rented bounce house. She was devastated. And when we went to get her cast...she was terrified. But once she got it on there...in her favorite color (pink) she started getting excited about all her friends signing it.

I think the last time I played was at the Beau Rivage...for their monthly $50k Guaranteed. The previous month, I made it to the Final Table...but couldn't improve with AK vs QQ and busted out 9th for a meager payout. Well last months, I only fired once...on Friday, since I had a lot of stuff I wanted to get done on Saturday. It was paying 12 spots I think...and I busted out 19th. Don't even remember how. Just remember being annoyed at having played all day only to bust so close to cashing. Oh well. My mother is in town visiting, her first trip down since we moved into our new house...and she's having a great time, and loves our new place. She's a bit of a poker enthusiast...and I might take her to play the monthly 50k next weekend if she is still here.

UPDATE! Took a little break from writing this post. I did, in fact, take my mom to play the 50K last weekend. She busted in Level 4. Me, I busted 1 from the money in the Friday flight. It sucked. But with Saturday calling for rain, and the airshow headed for cancellation, I wandered back to the Beau for Flight B...and somehow managed to ride a roller coaster all day, including getting ONE-OUTED three times in ONE freaking day! No BS! First one, had a guy all in with his short'ish stack...with Q3. Offsuit. Me...AQ suited. Guy next to me folded 33. So...yeah, he had one out. No sweat. River 3. Later on a flopped a set of 10's versus Jacks...and despite someone folding a jack...he turned the last jack in the deck. Sweet! And I'll be damned, but I forgot the third one now.

But like I said...it was a ridiculous up and down day. One of those where you build a decent stack...then get some stupid beat, and get cut in half, or worse. Then you scrape and battle your way back...get another decent stack...only to take another punch in the face for a bunch of your stack. This time...near the money....like, TWO I think...I get freaking QQ...which is almost ALWAYS a sign that my tournament is about to end. And had I played them like 95% of you would have...I would have been out...again...two from the money. Two days in a row. But this guy simply raised in early position...and knowing my history with QQ, and being SO close to at least getting my money back, I flatted. The flop comes K-10-x. He checks. Hmmm...weird. Feels like I have to be good. I bet about 3/4th of the pot. He calls. Hmmm. That's odd. The turn...I don't even remember. Something small. He checks AGAIN. Now I'm a little nervous, so I check back. The river was another nothing card...and now I'm putting him on MAYBE A-10. He checks yet again. And I bet what I THINK is a value bet. He once again, JUST CALLS. I am expecting to drag a much needed pot to put me up to around 100k. Then he turns over AA...and I'm dumbfounded. Huh? Aces??? I mean..in retrospect...with the king out there...he played it perfectly, and got as much as possible from me. If he even bets the flop, I'm gone. But instead I donked off about 70% of my stack. SHIT! 

Well, I lucked out...a shorter stack than me goes all in for 19k...and me with my 28k at 800/1600 and in late position...didn't find FOLDING to be much of an option, so I shoved. He turns over A9...which, yeah...is great...finding out your ahead. But when you've sat there all weekend losing when you're ahead on almost every all-in situation, only to lose...there is NEVER really a feeling of comfort in those spots. Well, he didn't hit a nine, or any other bizarre combinations that would have led to me losing. He was out...we were one away, and I now had a workable stack.

We made the money, then quickly lost three players, and I bagged a small but "workable" stack that I felt confident I could turn into a good stack the next morning. I went home, got very little sleep...and returned at 10am with 17 other players. And...ya ready for this shit?

I sit down...I get dealt 7-7...and say something like, "Really, first hand? Well...okay...lets go." And at 1500-3000 with 48k, I raise to 8000. The SB calls. All others fold. I flop TOP SET!!!! And all I'm thinking about is how to get this guy to give me full value. He checks the flop. I bet another 8k. He snap calls. Hmmm. Turn completes a possible flush AND a straight...yuck. He checks. I am not going to bet so that I have to fold if he shoves. Then again...I would have had to call anyway, and pray I pair the board on the river. Safer though to check and hope to pair the board and get paid off. River is a blank. Dammit. He makes a perfect value bet of 10k. Impossible for me to fold there. Fairly certain he's got something...but I'd be sick if I folded and he showed something lame. I call. Oh. Nut flush? That's it. Lovely. I'm now sitting on a paltry stack. And in the SB, I complete with FOUR callers. I flop bottom pair with an ace and stick the rest in there. Well this time he has top pair...and it holds, and I'm the first one out...17th. For a whopping $940. Out in 5 minutes. Wishing I'd have gotten pulled over for speeding in my new car, might have saved me!

So....wow! It's already May. And with May comes the WSOP event in New Orleans...which I haven't played now in quite a few years. And I believe, if I'm not mistaken...that it's the last circuit event before everyone high-tails it out to Vegas for the 7 weeks of WSOP in the desert, which culminates with the $10,000 Main Event where my team of Grinders will assemble for the 6th consecutive year in my version of poker's Make-A-Wish-Foundation pet project! We haven't had a HUGE score from any of our players yet...but we've had a lot of players cash, and a few go relatively deep before getting derailed by the typical crappy luck that happens so often (way too often!!!) in the game of Texas Hold 'Em. But the way I see it, we are destined to eventually have our day in the sun. We keep sending solid players out there...and they keep making great runs...it's just a matter of time.

Last summer...I was horrendously slow to pull the trigger on the annual festivities, and I nearly bailed on the whole thing. But suddenly, at the 11th hour, I got a burst of motivation, and with the help of some extremely amazing people, made it happen. Well, I was so encouraged by last summer's efforts, and the great feedback I got from so many investors and players that I vowed to get things kickstarted in PLENTY of time this summer. And I have. I have already sold 47 shares towards this summer's team...and I haven't even sent out an email yet to all of last year's investors, nor written a blog post here to signal the start of things. SO that is what this will serve as. The OFFICIAL KICK OFF POST!

Some know that I have a pretty firm policy of the previous year's highest finisher getting an automatic invitation to return to the squad if he or she so desires. I mean...I can understand why it might not be an automatic for them. Do you play for 100% of yourself, and put up (or raise) your own $10,000? Or do you play for just 35%, yet not have to come up with ANYTHING...and have the added excitement of having anywhere from 100-200 people on your bandwagon rooting for you? Definitely two things to mull over!

Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this summer's upcoming squad, I need to give a shameless plug to a couple of really good people, not just in the poker world...but just in life in general. I've known them for over a decade, and met them when they were working as a dealer and a floor person. They started up a poker club a few months ago and asked me if I would give them a little kick start, a shout out, on my Private Minions Group Page on Facebook. I was only too happy to oblige, and they have been doing moderately well with it. I don't know how many of you were around when I had my own poker club going on the Pokerstars site back about 7 or 8 years ago. It was a pretty amazing little thing we had going for awhile. But it was a TON of work, on the accounting end of things...for ME! And when it came to end, courtesy of some asshole ratting us out to Pokerstars...I never did know for SURE who the culprit was, though I did have my suspicions, and am fairly sure I was right. But when it did come to an end...I noticed I sure had a lot more time available to focus on other things. SO, whoever that fucknut was? Thanks! You did me a favor! Since that endeavor ended, I've been only TOO happy to endorse other people who have wanted to get into doing it themselves. Better them than me!

So, Nikki and Brandon Moore have started this Poker club named Angry Aces.


https://www.facebook.com/groups/AngryAces

Go to that link...and you will find them. OR...if you don't have Facebook, simply email them here:  AngryAces@outlook.com

Here is what I know. Right off the bat, they ran a freeroll, where the winner won shares of our team. They have tournaments, AND they run cash game tables. I haven't gotten in there and participated myself yet...but that's not due to anything having to do with them...I just don't play much online poker anymore...and with Carley, and all the other things I have going on...I just don't find the time. Today, however, I finally downloaded the app...yeah...APP! You don't play on your computer! Its phone-based, and offers an app for either iPhones or the other kind...what is that? Androids? It's a really quick download and set up too. And if you need help getting up and running, Brandon or Nikki are awesome at walking you through it. But it's a piece of cake, trust me. So...check out what they got going on! Tell 'em Monkey sent ya. I'm not sure if that will get you or me any special gifts, but at least they (and I!) will know that "word-of-mouth" is still alive and well!!!

I DID...finally...manage to FINALLY get my taxes done! For the past FOUR YEARS!!!! And I owe a BUTTTTTTT-load of money!!!! I think I'm about to pay for a new bridge somewhere! Or a good stretch of highway. Maybe even a portion of a certain Wall!!!! That's not going to be a fun check to write. But then again...at least I will have the comfort of knowing the IRS won't be coming after me now! I'm not exactly sure how I got so far behind. Probably because different business ventures kept popping up. Houses were being bought. Stocks were being bought and sold and bought again. Just a lot of confusing wrinkles in my finances...led to me doing a LOT of procrastinating!!! But it's all done now!

And now that all that is done? It's JUST in time for our purchase of our NEXT business venture! I've been trying to get Squirrel to quit working at the Beau Rivage for years now. Not because of anything I have had against the Beau...but for her own good. That job, carrying that tray around, it takes a toll on her body. And money-wise, we haven't needed that job for quite some time now, but the health insurance is the ONE good thing that has kept her there. That and the fact she just feels a sense of comfort being there, and all her friends work there. But I've been telling her for four or five years..."Let me buy you something, ANYTHING....so you can own it, run it, make your own schedule, etc etc." But she refused, much to my chagrin. 

Well, finally...after half-jokingly making comments back and forth with each other about buying her business, she approached me about the possibility of buying this gal's tanning salon in D'Iberville. I did a bunch of due diligence on it, talked to my tax accountant about it, then my personal lawyer and after mulling it over...we are going to pull the trigger on what I think will be a good investment. We are getting a really great price on it, the lady has a really solid clientele, the beds are all in really good condition, the rent on the building is low...and well, my wife is kind of a social butterfly, and I'm pretty sure all her girlfriends will give her their business. 

I'm really excited for her, and think she's going to do great. She's really nervous about it...which is understandable. I mean, she's been at the Beau since they opened...that's a long time (20 years!!!!). Anyone would be nervous. But I'm pretty confident that once she gets up and going and learns everything she needs to know about it, she will run it really well. I'm just excited because now we can be free to take vacations whenever we want to...and not just when she has vacation days, or the right combination of days off. Basically...FREEDOM! Now, my biggest headache is finding Health Insurance for our family of three. That is literally my biggest obstacle in all of this. I won't reveal the name of the place...or offer any special discounts or promos...until we actually close on the business! We won't be renaming the place....nothing like "The Sunny Squirrel" or anything...we're going to keep the existing name.

Okay...so...let's get into the reason you probably clicked on this blog in the first place! MONKEY'S 2019 WSOP GRINDERS! AKA...Monkey's Minions!

I am going for an all-time high of TEN PLAYERS on this summer's squad. And...a little secret here...I may or may NOT be one of the team members! I have had a discussion with the person who holds the key to my basic existence at the WSOP...and was encouraged to write a letter asking the security people at Hammond Horseshoe outside of Chicago, where I was unceremoniously 86'ed back in September of 2012 for what we will simply refer to as "mysterious and/or controversial circumstances." I have swallowed a little bit of pride, issued my regrets for some of my past behaviors at various poker events and venues...and am now sitting back waiting to see what happens. So...I could be back. And I might NOT be back. Either way...it will have no bearing whatsoever on my level of commitment to make sure we put together another exciting team of players chasing their poker dreams this summer. And even IF I DO get reinstated...I might just buy in with my own money and play for 100%. Only time, and circumstances, will tell. So stay tuned on THAT ONE.

As for what this team is? Simple. I assemble a team of players who, for starters, I like! I will never have a player on my team who I personally dislike. Won't happen. Ever. Furthermore...even if I like them...they might not be universally liked...and for that reason, I try to avoid those people too. I try to get players who I am fairly confident a group of investors will simply love. Maybe they have a really good story, that makes them easy to root for. Maybe they just have a 9 to 5 grind of a job, and simply can't find the time, or disposable income, to go play the biggest tourney on the planet. Lets be honest...you're humans...you know what I mean...there are a lot of reasons that make up WHY you would want to get behind a player. And I try to encompass a little bit of everything into my teams.

Are they any good at poker? Well shit...yeah, that's kind of important! I'm not just here trying to throw $10,000 into a wood chipper for fuck's sake! Of course they can play the game! And don't think for a second that I'm not looking for the types of players who can flourish in the long...I mean....LONNNNGGGGG structure of the WSOP Main Event. $50,000 starting chips. 2-hour levels!?? It's the ultimate marathon. Patience IS the ultimate virtue in this one. A first level disaster where you lose half your stack with a couple orbits from hell are NEVER a reason to panic! You come back with 25k! There is almost ALWAYS time to fight back from a bad start. It's just patience, and finding spots, and developing a good table image, and paying attention and learning about your table opponents. If you get lucky...and get a table that doesn't break early...you get a chance to learn EVERYTHING you could possibly want to know about these lunatics, maybe even what kind of soap they do or DON'T use, as well as toothpaste! It's a grind...a long long long grind!

I try to get players who will participate with the investment group...as well as the rest of the team. Sharing hands. Sharing stacks sizes on the group page. Sharing interesting, even funny things about other players. While I do NOT ever want my players being distracted from the task at hand...we also have well over 150 investors most years...that are itching to know what's going on with them. So posts on the break are usually encouraged. Some players are better at that than others. We just really like and appreciate any interaction between the players and the investor group. The one nice thing about the WSOP...once you get to Day 3...a lot of what you do...is covered by the WSOP.com. So updates start to become more shared universally. We also have some pretty incredible yearly investors who are amazing at posting information about our own players, their table mates, and other vital, relevant information. It truly has become a TEAM EFFORT.

If you are thinking about applying to be a player? Send me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Tell me WHY I should think about selecting you to the team. Tell me about your accomplishments. Maybe even link your poker stats for me to look at. Got a personal story that might make you a one of those "special interest" stories? Share it. Whatever you think it will take to consider you for a spot!

IF you are wanting to be an investor? That's the simple part. Shares cost $200 per share. Once I sell 50 shares...that's $10,000....we have enough for a player. What do I take to do this endeavor? Nothing. Not a penny. I've lost money on it every year. I usually buy about 15 shares. In addition to that, I foot the cost for each players first hat and t-shirt, sometimes even their hoodies. And if the players don't break even and/or make a profit overall? Then I don't make anything either. Nor do any of the other investors. Over 5 years...our typical result has been about a 50% return on investment. So if you bought 10 shares last year? For $2000? You ended up getting about $1000 back, as we had two players cash for a total of about $58,000. Kristen Deardorff finished 928th for $15,920 and Michael "Carwash" Schneider put together a nice, deep run, finishing 226th for $42,980. I think we figured out that last year's 8 players would have needed to win about $120,000 for us to all break even. Anything above and beyond that...would have been "Let's Get Excited" time for the group!!!! And that is what we ALWAYS root for! The 7-day sweat is great...but we are looking for those last 3 or 4 days!!!! And it WILL happen...mark my word, I have NO doubt that it will happen!

What is the "cut" that everyone gets? That's also simple. The player is playing for 35% of their potential "winnings." What that means, is if they make the money, the $10k from the buy in comes off the top, obviously, since they didn't invest any of that. That 10k goes straight back to all the investors. The investors then get (also) 65% of the winnings. There are some pre-arranged agreements that are worked out with the players where tax withholding are involved. Basically, the more they win, the more they are allowed to withhold from their winnings in lieu of me having to a separate tax form for each and every investor. (pain in the ass!!!!) As for payouts? I am extremely good about getting all my investors paid out as soon as the run is over. I typically have everyone taken care of within two weeks of the last bust out. Bottom line? I don't like owing people money!

ANYBODY that wants to be an investor...and buy a single share for $200 or more than one shares....just email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and I will tell you all the various forms of payment I will accept for this deal.

Okay...so, as I think I mentioned earlier in this post...in the past years, I have kind of waited until about a month before the event to start naming players. I decided to alter that a little this year. The reason? I think when people KNOW who they are investing in...it might motivate them a little more to get their shares purchased. I know....I would love it if everyone just trusted me, and my opinion and "picking ability" and just went with it! But I know the reality of the situation! I'm not THAT stupid!!! Also, it's helpful to the players, so that they can be making their hotel and travel arrangements! And finally...a lot of the players have their own support network, and knowing that they will be on the team encourages a lot of them to also buy shares...so they will not just have a rooting interest in their own player...but also a piece of several OTHER team members! So in essence, its a total win/win! 

One area where I would really like to see more participation, is from past team members. I took a chance on them, after all. Gave them a free (basically) shot at winning millions...a shot they wouldn't have otherwise been able to take. Since their time on the team, a number of them have gone on to have either modest or even MAJOR success in poker. So I'm quite certain that one or two...even ten...shares in the team...to basically show their appreciation for the experience, and stay a part of the team through their own investment in the squad, isn't going to place a financial burden on them. It's certainly not a contractual obligation or anything, and I don't even go seeking them out, pestering them to buy in. But...I don't know...I guess it's just kind of one of those things that irritates me a little bit. On the other hand...there are former members of the team who are there each and every year, buying in...and handing out support all along the way. Those guys and gals....are "The Real Deal" and kind of personify the spirit of the entire concept, and why I started it up in the first place!

So...without further adieu...I give you....this summer's first FOUR "WSOP GRINDERS!!!!!"

TEAM MEMBER #1   MICHAEL "CARWASH" SCHNEIDER

This will be Mike's third time representing us. Last year, he made an exciting deep run, and ran into some bad luck right before the money started getting really good. Mike is one of the nicest guy's I've ever known in the game, and truly appreciates not just the opportunity, but the support he gets from all the other players and investors. He's been great about giving back feedback and keeping everyone in the loop. His run of success over the last decade on the tournament circuit is well-known by most who have toiled on the circuit themselves. He's about as well-liked and well-respected as any player I've ever known. Having him represent not just me, but all of us...is an absolute thrill! I know he will give us all another fantastic "sweat" this summer!

TEAM MEMBER #2   KRISTEN DEARDORFF

Kristen is a gal I've known for quite a long time. She used to live in our area, and was a friend of me and my wife. She works as some kind of technical wizard for freaking NASA...so when it comes to logical thought processing? She's kind of ahead of the curve!!! Despite the limited amount of tournament action that she is able to play, it seems like just about every time she DOES play...she makes the money. She had a fantastic run for our team last summer...and really represented the team well. Also, as a female, she just kind of naturally had a lot of fellow-female support! It's always good to try and get a little estrogen on the team!!! But Kristen is a lot more than just a pretty face in a Monkey's Grinder's t-shirt. She's a beast on the felt! I have 100% confidence in her coming back this summer and not just matching last summer's performance, but exceeding it. She's rock solid.

TEAM MEMBER #3   JERRY GIROIR

Who? Okay okay...to be fair, a lot of you probably know the rambunctious Prissy Giroir from Lafayette! That would be Jerry's flamboyant wife...who is also a poker addict! I've been playing with Jerry and Prissy for years...and they are about as frick and frack, as Yin and Yang, as Jeckyl and Hyde as they come!!! Jerry is the quiet one who lurks in the shadows...letting Prissy have the spotlight! So maybe some of you don't know who he is. But those of us who are regular Gulf Coast grinders...or who were at some point in the past 10-15 years, know exactly who Jerry is. He has a lot of great results on his resume. And he is PERFECT for the long structure of the Main Event...which was/is my main reason for naming him to the team this summer. Two years ago, in the Main Event, Jerry finished 207th for a shade over $46,000! And then this past fall here in Biloxi, Jerry won the well-attended $350 tournament at the Beau Rivage for a whopping $69,000. He doesn't play a whole lot...but he STILL has 42 reported cashes for almost a quarter million. Keep in mind...Cardplayer stopped reporting anything with a buy in under $400...and that used to be $300. So like me...he probably has about 30-50 cashes that never show up on Cardplayer. Take my word for it...Jerry is a MAJOR THREAT to go on a deep run this summer!!!! And on top of it all...he is one of the nicest gentlemen you'll ever want to meet. I'm pretty positive that he will give the whole team great feedback along the way!

Before I reveal the 4th player...I just want to let all of the players who have expressed a desire to be on this year's squad...you are ALL still in consideration! I have gotten a really good stack of applications this year...and the process on my end is always SUPER TOUGH. I am a big softee...and really hate when I can't give someone the good news they are hoping for. It's the most agonizing part of this whole deal....having to say "no" to people who I KNOW would most likely be great! But...I can only send as many people as the shares I am able to sell. I've actually had players in the past who applied, maybe once or twice...that after NOT being selected, literally teed off on me, telling me all the reasons why I sucked. One guy even owed me a balance for some pools he had played, and decided he was justified in not paying me for his pool debt. His rationale? That if I had put him on the team...that he'd have had a way to easily pay off his debt to me AFTER he cashed in the tournament. Yup! I get 'em all, folks. When you run a lot of sports pools like I do...you really get a chance to see some crazy shit, as well as some of society's bottom rung in the "class" department. Goes with the territory. On the other hand, 92% of the people who play in the pools I've been running for the last 20-25 years, are some of the finest people I've had the pleasure of interacting with...and it's because of them that I keep investing so much of my time putting on these pools every year. It was my pool players that allowed me to build up such a big network of people who I turn to for stuff like this very poker team. It also was critical in providing me an avenue to playing fully staked for the better part of a decade. I think that 8% pretty much exists in just about every walk of life. You just have to learn how NOT to let their bullshit consume you and your life. Sometimes, it's hard.  

One other thing...is that Wild Bill Phillips...a FOUR-TIME member of this team...who is ALWAYS in consideration for a spot...is running satellites out of our bar in Metairie, Out of Bounds...and that will be an avenue that some of you will be able to use to hopefully win yourselves a seat into the big tourney! Bill does an amazing job of running those tournaments!!! Sometimes I even come snooping around to watch, scouting for talent!!!! So there's that!!!

(I have to go keep my lunch date with Carley now...who we found out yesterday gets her cast off next week!!! I will finish this post when I return from lunch with her!!!)

Okay...I'm back! A little later than I had planned! Golden State went down to Houston tonight as a huge underdog without Kevin Durant, and knocked the Rockets and their flopping, flailing, foul-drawing with dramatics James Harden from the playoffs once again. And we celebrated my visiting brother's birthday. This is about the 4th or 5th year in a row that we've either had him down here for his birthday, or flew up to Seattle to celebrate it with him up there. He's my special older brother...who's Down's Syndrome just means he's happy most of the time..and lives without the stress that the rest of us do! He's also got a massive crush on his "seester" who doubles as MY WIFE!!! He clings to her like Saran Wrap! And she treats him like gold. Just further proof that I truly married the right woman! She's amazing. 

And now....drum roll please....I give you....our 4th team member....

TEAM MEMBER #4   JASON BOND

Who is Jason Bond? Well..if you look up his Cardplayer stats...you aren't going to find a whole lot. And for good reason. I met Jason way back in 2006, and we hit it off immediately. He was a complete BEAST at the table...ballsy as hell, and impossible to put on a hand. And one of the first things I noticed about him...he was incredible as sniffing out bluffs. I was pretty new to the game, and he was the first player who I stood in virtual awe of. While he was winning an event out in Reno that I played in...I was smashing Sit N Go's left and right at that WPT event...back when the WPT event in Reno was a big deal. I crushed those SNG's so well at that event that I had two or three guys wanting to stake me the Main Event...which I THINK was either a 5k or 10k event. It was a pretty exciting two weeks out west! Through the years I've stayed in touch Jason and we've become pretty good buddies. He wasn't able to stay fully immersed in the poker scene because he had a family to support. One of his jobs took him to Williston, North Dakota where he worked in the oil industry. Well, my family happens to own a little over 700 acres up there that are under lease with an oil company. So Jason has come in handy a few times when I needed a little snooping around done on our plot. He has since moved to fabulous Bakersfield, California...where he tries to find opportunities to go play some poker. Most of what he plays is on the lower end of buy ins...so his results never show up anywhere. The thing about Jason? He truly LOVES poker. He also is truly appreciative of getting a shot to play "the BIG ONE." I know he will excel in that structure...and he will definitely respect his chip stack. He's promised a deep run...but I wish players wouldn't do that...because they just put pressure on themselves. I just want our guys and gals to go....enjoy the experience, and play the game that caused me to pick them in the first place. Don't change anything. Don't fell like you have to play SUPER tight just so you don't run the risk of an early exit and the shame that might come from all the investors. Pffft...that's nonsense. Nearly ALL the investors also play poker...and understand the game...the ups, the downs, the suckouts, the bad beats, etc etc. JUST PLAY YOUR GAME! And enjoy the ride! The rest will take care of itself!!!!

So that's it! Your FIRST FOUR PLAYERS on this Summer's squad. Who is "on deck" or "in the hole?" Well...I'm not quite ready to reveal that just yet. To be honest...I have about 3 or 4 total newbies I'm deeply considering...and I also have about 3 or 4 former team members who are on my short list. And since I don't think I will be able to make 12 team members happen...that means someone is going to be disappointed. But there will also be about 5 or 6 people who are going to be REALLY excited too! 

Now...its time for me to email out the announcement to all of my past investors...and get the ball rolling on selling shares! I fully expect that by Monday, I will most likely have ALL FOUR of these players funded...and be working towards Team Member #5 and beyond. Yup...this is going to be a fun month. And while a lot of you will be over in New Orleans...playing in that circuit event that just got started over there yesterday...I will be here, waiting anxiously on a letter from the Chicago area...and selling shares left and right to build another team of Grinders!!!!

I'll be back in a week or two with an update on how we are progressing!!!!

MONK








Monday, February 25, 2019

Spring is Upon Us!!!!

When I last checked in, I was heading back for another bullet in the $2700 Main Event of the Heater at the Beau Rivage. Well it didn't turn out so hot...not the first bullet....OR the second bullet. In total, I dumped $8100 into that damn thing and didn't even cash. Very frustrating. Enough time has passed now since that thing that I've forgotten how I went out...which is good. The best thing you can be in poker, is forgetful! 

I've played very little since then. Been keeping busy with stuff outside of poker. Traveled out to California to watch the Tide get slammed by Clemson in the Championship game. Found out from the wife that I was on TV for a pretty fair amount of time during the 4th quarter, when I was heavily into the Coors Light and the mourning had begun! This morning, for the first time...I pulled the game up on my DVR and watched it. I got to the end of the 1st quarter...with Alabama leading 16-14, and was like, "You know what? I've seen enough!" I know that we never scored again! One failed trip to the red zone after another. For ONE quarter, aside from a pick-six, and one big play from Clemson, we totally dominated them. I will choose to stop the tape there...and use that to get me excited for NEXT season!!!!


"Momma! Why is Daddy talking to those girls who have toilet paper on their head???"

Things got worse in January...as "The Non-Call Heard Round the World" went down. Squirrel and I had found the most ABSOLUTELY convenient playground while in The Animal Kingdom during the NFC title game. I had my iPad to watch the game...and Carley was in heaven playing with 100's of random kids as we both sat watching the game. Soon we were joined by a bunch of other parents...who were dying to watch the end of the game. In my life...I think I have had 3 or 4 of those "Where was I when" moments...and this one just joined that list. I was freaking out. Being in a sea of kids...and their parents...all I could think was..."Don't swear! Don't swear!!!! Be careful....DON'T swear...no matter what you do!!!" And those of you who recall when "IT HAPPENED" have to know how hard that was!!!!

In my life of watching football...hell ANY sport, really...we're talking 45 years...I have NEVER seen such an unbelievable injustice ever occur in a professional game, but to have it happen in a CHAMPIONSHIP GAME? Unfathomable. I mean...I'm a diehard Seahawk's fan...as most of you know, but I take a real rooting in the Saints as my SOLID #2 team. And as pissed, upset, distraught as I FELT? I can't even BEGIN to imagine how busted up Saints fans were. I guess the City of New Orleans spoke their minds on Super Bowl Sunday when (according to the Nielsen Ratings) they only posted a 29% share that watched the game...which is WAY WAY WAY the lowest EVER for not just New Orleans, but ANY top 25 TV market for the Super Bowl. And to boot...the Super Bowl suuuuuuuucked! Great I guess if you love a defensive struggle that featured the prowess of both teams' punters. What? 14 total punts? Yuck. The NFL got exactly what they deserved. 

So football is over. I finally dug out of my massive accounting hole when it came to the football Squares boards that I have been doing now for the last five years. What started as a Super Bowl-only thing I featured...due to the popularity and the overwhelming demand...I started doing them all football season. This season and last season...I did almost the exact same number....roughly 400! Well...because of my detached retina in November, and then an infected thumb in January, that resulted in me losing my whole nail (yeah, gross!) I was unable to function correctly, and at one point was 80 boards behind! Very time consuming...but 2 weeks after the Super Bowl ended, I was finally FINISHED with all of it! So now I'm sitting around waiting on a bunch of people to pay me the money they owe...as I have already paid out almost all of the winners. Up next: MARCH MADNESS, then the Masters Pool. But for now...and before my wife murders me....I have to get my taxes done. That will be my goal for the next two weeks...get taxes done for the past, ahem...few years!!!! I know...I'm a moron!

The pool is FINALLY done. The 10 pallets of sod I thought would be needed to go around it somehow became 40 pallets of sod....I guess I decided some OTHER areas could use some sod! All I've got left now is the wrought-iron fence to go around the pool...it's a law, code demands it. Matter of fact, the pool guy called about an hour ago...and is on his way over to give me the final walk through on how to work everything. I bit the bullet and decided to buy a heater for it...and it's a monster. I figured, why spend all that money and NOT be able to use it 4 or 5 months of the year? The Squirrel and I started a MAJOR diet this weekend...doing it together for the first time ever. I KNOW I've gotten ridiculous overweight...but I think she looks amazing. But what I think, as any husband knows...matters very little. So we are trying to lose a bunch of weight. For me...that incorporates exercise. For my terrible back, I bought an inversion table awhile back...and it really helps. I'm planning on swimming a LOT of laps in the pool...then using the elliptical out in the garage to both lose weight AND get in better shape.  So...I am hoping...that come summer...I will be in MUCH better shape!!!!

Speaking of summer? I just this weekend booked my flight AND my hotel in Vegas for the week I go out to get my TEAM of WSOP players all set up, funded, photographed, wined, dined and showered with attention! I've decided to really treat myself this summer and stay at Encore...which is owned by Wynn. I have a game...an Omaha game...at Encore...that has kind of served as my Cash Cow the past two summers...so I figured, HEY! Might as well just stay upstairs. Besides...they have a beautiful pool, beautiful casino too, actually. And they fancy people stay there! Something about staying at a hotel with the upper crust of society always makes me feel more....mmmm...I don't know....happier? Staying in a hotel that is a "value hotel" seems to attract the underbelly of society, you know? Trailer park trash. Ghetto dwellars. People who save up all year for ONE trip...then act like they are world travelers. They bug me, to no end. Does that make me shallow, even pretentious? I don't know. Maybe. If so...whatever, I can deal with the insults. I just know who I feel more comfortable rubbing elbows with. And damned if I don't just happen to enjoy some of the nicer things in life. Like a good mattress. And a friendly and polite staff. 



So yeah...check out my summer. In April...I fly my MOM and my brother down for a few weeks...for both of their birthdays. My wife's mom is also coming down for a couple weeks. Carley wants one of those birthday parties with a big 'ol inflatable bounce house. So now that we have a huge backyard...she's going to get her wish. I have a stocked pond...so I will have fishing for the kids. Maybe 4-wheeler rides. Carley has her own playhouse...which I'm sure she will be proudly showing off. The pool should be a big hit. And from the pool I now have a wonderfully sloped, freshly sodded hill...that will be perfect for a slip and slide! Should make for a great 7th birthday party for my little angel! 

A couple weeks after that...Cheryl flies off to Key West for 5 days with her girlfriends. I can't remember if its for someone's wedding or just a girls weekend. I think the latter.  A couple weeks after she gets home...we celebrate our 10th Anniversary...and then, BOOM! Me, Barth, who has been down in St Thomas killing it with our bar, Bernies, since the hurricane did all that damage to the Virgin Islands...and a couple of other bar owners from St Thomas, are flying to Scotland...to go play golf for a few days. Then we are taking a train to London...where I've never visited, to see the Yankees and Red Sox play in their first MLB game ever played in the UK! I hate both teams....duh, I'm a Mariner's fan...but I can respect the novelty of such an event. It should be a blast! Then we fly home...and we are flying on Delta ONE...which is their super-awesome-kickass 1st class that has the pods...where your seat slides down into a BED!!!! I'm psyched for that! Barth has been flying American down to the Islands for the last year or two, and they have those pods...so I'm a little sick of the bragging!!!! Can't wait to experience it for myself!



The day I get home from the UK...I will simply change out my suitcase, do some laundry, cut the grass (a 3-hour job!!! even on my 61' riding mower!!!) and kiss the girls...then the next day...head off to Vegas for a week. The invitation has been extended to Squirrel to come with Carley. But she has kind of a "been there, done that" attitude about Vegas, and a limited number of vacation days to use...so she might want to use them to go somewhere else. But I do hope she decides to come out. Encore is really nice...and I'm sure her and Carley would be able to have a really good time while Daddy is playing some poker!

Once all that is done? Well....for now...August looks pretty clear! But August 4th IS Squirrel's birthday...so maybe something else will come up! Oh...I also forgot about our June trip to Milwaukee...to see my nephew graduate from high school! So yeah...four days in Milwaukee in early June. I'm crossing my fingers that the Bucks make it to the NBA Finals so maybe I can go take in one of those games. Another thing I've never seen in person. Bucket List!!!!!

Poker? Yeah...that! Well...I am going to try and play the monthly 50K guaranteed at the Beau this upcoming weekend! As for any other tourneys? Just haven't had time...or really, much motivation. We have been trying like crazy to get our UPSTAIRS open at the new location of Out of Bounds in Metairie so we can start having a much bigger poker presence over there. We have been running into all kinds of delays due to various licensing snafus. Oh and permits. To build. I am not real involved in all of that, Barth is kind of the point man on all that...I just know I have yet to make a red cent from that rather hefty investment that I made either one or two years ago. How sick that I can't even remember THAT, right? I'm just anxious to get that upstairs open so we can help Wild Bill run some more killer satellites into the WSOP Main Event. 

Are you someone who is interested in what has become known universally (at least in the Poker Community) as Monkey's WSOP Minions? Well...last year I really dragged my feet, and almost didn't field a team. But I caught a little steak of motivation in late spring...and finally got it all organized and managed to field a team of 8 players. It was another great, and exciting run...one that due to some bad luck...as is almost always the case with poker when you DON'T get really deep, we fell short of our goal. But it was exciting enough that I got a big charge from it, and really came away from the experience excited about 2019...and I pledged to get the ball rolling a LOT earlier this year than I did LAST year.  If you are someone who would like to APPLY for a spot on the team? Email me....right here at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and tell me WHY you think I should pick you!

Here are a few things I look for:  (1) I have to like you. If I don't like you...or even more importantly, you don't like me? Don't waste my or your time. (2) you MUST have SOME kind of positive results. Main reason being..it's not just MY money that is going to be raised to send players. It's anywhere from 200-250 separate investors who are buying shares....all of whom trust me to put the BEST players possible on the team. They trust my judgement. So for me to put someone on the team who has close to ZERO accomplishments...is going to raise a lot of eyebrows, and call my own judgement, even credibility into question. And I don't need THAT!!!!  (3) Be someone who is HUNGRY to play in the worlds most visible poker tournament. Be someone who PROBABLY can't just cough up 10k to play also. Anyone who is loaded, and who has no issue bringing 10k to Vegas and playing poker for a few days? I probably don't want you. Because... (4) I want someone who has a great story to tell. That guy who I KNOW is a great poker player...but is stuck working a 9-5 job to support his family. Or maybe a guy who left a successful poker career to go live with his dying father? A story! Have a great story! A reason for my investors to WANT to root for you!!! Or just be the kind of player who is going to MAKE IT EXCITING for the investors. Someone who will give frequent updates (within reason) and give some great insight into what you experienced. I understand that there are a LOT of different personalities in poker...TRUST ME I KNOW!!!! Look who you're talking to here!!!! So the chances of getting a team of players who are exactly the same? IMPOSSIBLE! 

     So I try to assemble a team of players who all bring a little bit of something that together, add up to a GREAT team! But the most important thing I look for...is a player who most likely wouldn't be able to play if it weren't for me and my backers. That just having a CHANCE to play for millions...is something that they are extremely appreciative for. Don't just use me as a way to get in to the tourney. A way to pay a lower buy in. I've taken a chance on a couple players like that in the past five years...and I regretted it. I won't RECRUIT YOU! Sure...I could. I could put together a virtual ALL STAR TEAM of poker players if I wanted to. But it would have a totally different feel to it. And I am fairly confident that would give very little BACK to the investors. One thing that almost every single investor I've had in the last five years can say? Is that it was a GREAT SWEAT! And that they learned a lot about the game...about the tourney...and about the players. All in all...I think it's one of the greatest and most positive things I've done in my life. Would I have liked to make a HUGE score? Well duh...oh course I would. But if you know anything about poker....you know how it works! Patience is key. We've come very close...a few times...and I have NO DOUBT that if I keep rolling out a team every summer....that we WILL eventually make a huge splash! So I will keep giving it my all until I just run out of motivation to do it anymore. 

Speaking of "knowing how poker is." Back in 2008 I met a guy through some friends and we hit it off and became really good buddies. He won a bracelet back then...in the WSOP Shoot Out. He won half a million (I think). First thing he did was go back home to New York and open a restaurant. I was psyched for him. He met a girl, they moved in together, and then had a little girl...who now is close to Carley's age. Well, then he was hit with some major bad times. He lost his business. His girlfriend went crazy. Tried to run off to Florida with his little girl. So he moved there, to stay close to her. Struggled to find work. Struggled to keep joint custody. Just kept suffering one bad stroke of luck after another. I was a constant source of assistance...for whatever was needed, bills, lawyers, whatever. Friends helping friends. I tried to give him opportunities to make a big score...staking him in some circuit events near his hometown. No dice. Then putting him on this past summer's WSOP team...deep run....but a bust out close to the money. Bummer. He went home...and sunk even lower emotionally. I was really, really worried about him...but was hopeful that having that little girl in his life would prevent him from doing anything stupid.

Well...cue this winter. He texted me an offered me (I always get first dibs) the chance to stake him in the WPT event down at Hard Rock. I declined, just because I had so much money tied up in things like the POOL! So what did he do? He proceeds to go and first, final table one of the early events...and make a nice score. But then he REALLY rubbed my nose in it! He goes and WINS the Main Event for a quarter million!!!! That stung! Well...as if that wasn't enough of a kick in the nuts...don't get me wrong...I'm very very very happy for Jason Young, on a personal level....it just sucks as someone who has staked a LOT of people over the past three years with very little success. Well...he got staked by the same person to play WSOP Coconut Creek earlier this month...and once again...he final tables the Main Event. Ended up finishing 3rd for $110,000! Granted...he probably only walked with half of all that prize money...whatever! In the past 90 days...the guy has won a total of close to half a million bucks!!!! That's crazy. So like I say...poker? It's a weird game. I've had runs like that myself...back in 2009 and 2010 to be exact. Sometimes you get on these crazy runs...where all your hands, for whatever reason, hold up! People fold to your bluffs. People forget to suck out on you left and right. You DON'T run KK into AA 2 or 3 times a day!!!! Or your own AA doesn't lose to AK!!!! A weird game.

So when I see players who I KNOW are good players...run bad? I have nothing to offer in the way of advice. Because they are almost NEVER doing anything wrong. It's just shitty luck. And THAT element of poker...is what I hate the MOST! Because you would hope that skill would eliminate, within reason...that aspect of the game. But it doesn't. And where most of that shitty luck happens, is LATE in tourneys...because in the first 1-12 levels...you are rarely playing each hand for your whole stack...as you are in the later stages of the tourney. 

I really love the thrill of playing a final table...and winning? That is something that you can't explain to someone who has never won. Growing up playing sports...there is very few things that give me that special feeling of WINNING...and winning a poker tourney does it. But on the other end of the spectrum....getting deep after playing for HOURS....only to bust in horrendous fashion...is about as emotionally debilitating as it gets. And that aspect of poker? That's what makes it harder and harder to go back for more! 

Okay well, I've been writing this now for two hours. My pool guy STILL isn't here...he is late a LOT...or just doesn't even show up! And while I've been writing this? I've had to get up and go to the bathroom...I'm not lying....FIVE times! I've been instructed by the boss to drink a GALLON of water a day while doing this diet. And it does right through me! Really hope this diet works...I NEED (badly) to lose 20-25 lbs. I would LIKE to lose about 30-35 lbs. That would leave me in perfect shape as far as I'm concerned. AND...I would be below the 250 threshold that is required to go sky diving! 

If you are a returning INVESTOR in the Minions...or a future WANNA-BE investor...I will go ahead and start taking payments for shares...which will, as always...be priced at $200 per share. I make NOTHING off of this. 50 sold shares sends one player.  However many shares I sell...is how many players we send. If they don't make money, I (and the investors) don't make money. Period. It's not complicated! The players play for 35%...which if you know math...means the investors gets 65%...plus return of the $10k buy in....if they cash. I've already decided that I am going to shoot for 10 players in 2019. 

GO BIG OR GO HOME!!!!!

MONKEY

CONTACT ME:  ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com

IF interested in POOLS or SQUARES? ThePoolMonkey@aol.com  
March Madness Pool is right around the corner, and last year I had over 1,000 entries! Each bracket entry costs $25...and anyone entering 10, receives one FREEBIE! 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Hi! Remember Me???

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!

The past year and a half, I've really gone from a frequent blogger to an almost NON-blogger. It's not just blogging that I've neglected. I have sponsor kids in four countries who send me letters constantly...but who I struggle to ever get around to writing back. I've got a journal to Carley that I write in, to give her a glimpse into who her daddy was someday after I'm worm food. I've written over 100 pages in that thing...but realistically, it should be 300 pages or longer. My biggest complaint there is that it's a hand written journal...and its weird how little we write now that we have computers. After about 3 or 4 pages, my hand starts to hurt. And its a little journal, so the angle of writing is a bit of a pain in the ass. Then of course...we have the taxes...which I continue to procrastinate on. It's gotten to the point of ridiculous.  But it's also been aided by the addition of numerous elements to my financial life that require certain documentations that I've been trying, unsuccessfully, to obtain. Then, of course...is this new house. It's kept me VERY busy...with lots and lots of little "projects," the most recent...this expensive hole in the ground in the back yard that is nearly complete. In fact...right now I'm watching the guy on his tractor pushing about 11 truck loads of dirt around to dress the area around the pool. Next will come about 10 pallets of sod to give it a nice, grassy finish. And finally...there is Carley herself...my best buddy, my one and only...the apple of my eye. What she wants, she gets. And that keeps me VERY busy. Very! She doesn't even know it yet...but on Wednesday night, we are driving to Orlando for her third visit to Disney World. 

If you don't know, I HATE Disney World. Mainly because of how bad they gouge people. It's insane. And for all the money spent...they still keep running those same old boring ass rides. It's crowded. The lines are long. And my knees and back pay the price. I try to stay as heavily medicated the entire time I am there. And yeah...I said THIS Wednesday. Huh? Yeah...we are going the weekend of the NFC/AFC Championships! In the last two trips...we went on the off week between those games and the Super Bowl. Well...the wife fucked up. Even tried to change it....couldn't. Would have costed a fortune to move it up a week...more of a fortune than it already is. Ugh. Disney. And wouldn't ya know it? If the Saints can win at home today as 9 pt favorites...where they are 5-0 in the playoffs since 2006...they will be at home, hosting the LA Rams for a shot at a trip to the Super Bowl. And I will be running around the Palace of the Extortionist Rodent!!! Fuck me!!!!

Why aren't I going to TODAY'S game, none of you are asking? Well, that WAS the original plan. However, we have this little thing called "The Heater" going on at the Beau Rivage...and this weekend is the Main Event. I played yesterday, with the hopes of bagging up some chips...then going to today's game vs the Eagles...then coming back on Monday and going for a big win. Scrub all that. I'll just be honest...I've made a couple bad plays this week. However, I am also running incredibly bad. Three times, after being card dead for an eternity...I picked up QQ with a raise behind me...and shoved all in, only to run into AA. And of course, I never hit a queen there. But oh! The third guy? He tells me..."you're good, don't worry, I've already lost with aces TWICE today to queens." As soon as he said that? I knew I would NEVER in a million years hit a queen. I was right. REBUY!

There has been a LOT of rebuying this week. All I have to show for this week is ONE min-cash out of four flights in the first tourney last weekend. Finished 3rd in the only sit n go I played...after having a chiplead then getting sucked out on three times in a row. That was awesome. 

I've seen a lot of people I haven't seen in a long time, some I was happy to see...some, not so much. There seems to be a bigger collection of maniacs than ever before. Some, from a poker perspective, and some...just from a human perspective. In the Mega the other night...this older lady sits at my table. She was a chatty Cathy. Kind of playing that, self-deprecating, I don't really know what I'm doing persona? You know that type? She had a love affair with A10..and really...ANY ace for that matter. Her favorite move? Over-betting. And if you thought it was a good idea to raise? You'd better be ready to put it all in there, cuz if she had an ace? It was ALL going in. I just started calling her all ins with mediocre hands...sadly, I was ahead most of the time, but still lost. Yeahhhhh I ended up being into that Mega for $550 in rebuys before I finally was executed mercilessly. But at least I lasted longer than that kooky broad. 

I know I know...I don't blog for 5 months than just think I can come splashing around with little to no details about the past half year. Sorry. It's mainly because I know how hard, and/or annoying long blog posts are. But also, its because my babysitter will be here in about 13 minutes...and then I get to go BACK down to the Beau....plop another 2700 on the counter...and see if I can run a little better than I have all week there. 

I WOULD like to give a shout out to Henry, Derek, the ladies in registration, the dealers, floor staff, and the wait staff for doing such a great job at this week's event. My dream/wish for 9-handed tournament play still remains un-granted and remains on my wish list! My detached retina that I suffered in November...and which I been slowly recovering from, has been giving me fits when it comes to reading the cards on the board...and I would like to REALLY thank the staff for going overboard to give me a seat in the middle of the table whenever possible. The couple of times I've been stuck in the 2 and the 8 seat...it's really been a challenge. Everyone seems to be enjoying the event...the turnout has been great. I think the only grumbling I heard was during the Main Event yesterday...and from some of the top players. They were upset about a couple missing levels. And I honestly seem to recall talking to Henry about that very thing after the September event...but I think it was about a missing level much later in the tourney...I want to say it was the missing 2500-5000 level. It was going from 2000-4000 with a 500 ante straight to 3000-6000 with a 1000 ante....so the per-round price nearly doubled in just ONE blind level...which that late in the tourney is catastrophic, potentially. 

I think his rationale was that if it was going to come down to add back in the 250-500 round, or the 2500-5000 round...the latter was going to win out. And of course...that is totally his right to do so. We all, as players...just want the play to be nice and gradual and in accordance with the average chip stack. And as for too many levels taking up too much time? I don't think anyone that is paying over a grand to play a tourney has ever considered that to be an issue. But...I should say...it's not an exact science, and it's not an easy task running these things. And the new staff at the Beau...who was kind enough to welcome me back, has been wonderful since I've been back. The one really noticeable thing to me..is this staff really seems to care what the players think. What they would like to see changed...whether it be in tournaments, or in the cash room...and that is great. Its nice to see a poker room where management acknowledges that without the players...well, they wouldn't exist!!! Funny how that works, huh?

So yeah....I need to go grab a quick shower...and head on down. Maybe I will find some "run good" today. I sure as hell hope so. Pretty tired of making that long walk to the parking garage!!!!

MONKEY


Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Another Summer of Broken Dreams....

And...just like that, it was OVER. 

Sadness ensues. That familiar empty feeling takes over. Replaying hands in your head is the new normal. Laying in bed...and trying to find the motivation to pull yourself up so you can wander out to the kitchen and start another "back to the daily grind" list of chores. 

No trips to the local BMW dealership. Or the boat dealership. No calls to the guy to come out and give you an estimate for that backyard pool the wife and kid wants. (and dogs) No big score to take the sting out of all those 2k withdrawals you made while in Vegas...convincing yourself that "it's all good...in a few days, you'll be getting it all back anyway!!!" 

For the fifth summer in a row...this feeling has befallen me. Me and many of the 160 investors who joined TEAM MONKEY 2018. Every year...we get that one or two players who seem to have it all going their way. They have undisputed talent, and they've garnered the admiration and respect of our massive rooting section. Nothing seems capable of derailing them. We catch ourselves checking out flights BACK to Vegas for what would be the night of the Final Table. In what would be a glorious day and night spent doing unspeakable things in the streets of Sin City! 

For me...its that "finding out" that is the most memorable of all the summer memories. In a "where were YOU when JFK was shot?" kind of way. Or if your not that old..."where were YOU when the planes hit the towers???" So when I ask...."Where were YOU when you heard that Carwash had busted???" there will always be that moment that you look back upon, and realized that none of our dreams were going to be fulfilled in the summer of 2018 for TEAM MONKEY. That like so many seasons as a Mariners fan...it would be "wait until next year!" Sure....we got a little bit of a financial band-aid for our rooting efforts. And to be honest? I would almost rather we DIDN'T cash at all. To have to now go and process the returns on investment for 160 individuals...is SO time consuming. At least if no one had cashed at all...my work would be DONE! See...if we cashed for enough to have made a profit, at least....then this process wouldn't be painful at all. I like it when people play my pools, or my poker investment groups...and actually WIN money! 

So...where was I, you ask? When I learned that the Carwash has broken down and started mutilating cars as they were passing through the assembly line-like chip cleaning process? First...to answer that, I have to share a little story with you first.

My last day in Vegas was Saturday...and I was all set to fly out on the red eye. It was Day 3 in the tourney...and we had Easton Oreman, Kristen Deardorff and Mike 'Carwash' Schneider all taking to the mound for Team Monkey that day. Fresh off an over-the-phone counseling session with Jason Young...who had fallen short of his goals, and taken it extremely hard...I found my way to the pool, joined later by the aforementioned JY....to try and wash the stank of numerous bad beats off my body. Despite there being a 20% chance of rain...the sun finally broke through at around 2pm. When JY finally arrived I was on my 5th Pina Colada. He got started in his Jameson/Ginger run...and we were off. 

Eventually the pool closed, and we were forced to find out last action before I had to depart. So we up, I packed, and we decided to go play BIG O...and order food from Grand Luxe...using my plethora of comps acquired in $10 increments with every tourney buy in (bustout). Lets just say...what I had was enough to cover BOTH of our meals. Neither one of us had much luck at the table. I gave him a last-ditch shot at making some money...staking him with the understanding he could have 50% of whatever he won. He didn't win. Neither did I. Just another losing session on this trip. 

If you following my tourneys at all...I had the same luck with KK out there that I seem to have every time I play tournaments in Vegas this decade. My last two punchouts came holding KK both times. Making it all the more irritating and painful...was that I lost to K10 and KQ. Yeah. No BS. One to a flush. The other to a straight. That following significant 4-bet re-raises by me too. Whatever. That's poker. Lots of idiots play poker. They pay their money...they have the right to play like complete fucking morons. I think it says that in the rules somewhere. 

The good news...is that cars still run on gas....oil is still far from obsolete, and our property in North Dakota is still up to its eyeballs in crude...so I'm not going to give any "woe is me" stories about going broke. I'll leave those stories to the guys who scrape together every last penny they have...make that venture to the desert...chasing a dream...and lose on the river...to bubble the big one. Yeah...I'll be okay. For me? It's no longer about the money aspect of it all. For me...its just fucking losing. I hate losing. FUCKING HATE IT. Especially when I lose some of the ways I lose. It drives me fucking berserk. All I wanted...was to make my little one-week journey to Vegas...handle my Team Monkey shit..then go play a few big tourneys. Have everything go my way, have my better hands hold up, pull an occasional bluff, suck out a couple times...and then? Be sitting at that table. All alone. Me...my pile of chips, the two winning cards...and that shit-eating grin on my face as I pose for the "money shot" that would announce me as still be relevant in the game of poker. Shit I might even flip the bird and hold up a sign giving an insulting shout out to the person responsible for making me play on the outer circle tournaments instead of the one I keep sending players off to play. Yeah well...none of that happened, kind of like Carwash making it to the Final Table...which would trigger "The Great Reveal!!!!" never happened. 

So uh...we played, we lost. We ate, it was delicious. Took forever...as the food there did all week...which is really a disappointment. Went to my room, called an Uber...grabbed my bags...and headed to the airport, dropping JY off along the way at his hotel. As I was nearing the departure area, our two players were now 41 spots away from making the money. Kristen had 20 bbs, and Carwash was in good shape...with many many more than 20 bbs. I arrive at the gate...ready to take my seat...a seat which was in "Delta Comfort Plus" which I should share with you...is a fucking oxymoron. I know better than to select window seats now. Why? Because planes are essentially a tube. Tubes are round. If you are next to the window...your space is significantly reduced. If this doesn't make sense to you...I don't know how to better explain this to you. But if you are large...like I am? You will, one day, experience this...and you will remember these words...and probably say something to yourself (or scream out loud) like "Ohhhh fuckkkkk...this is what Monkey was talking about!!!!!" By then, it will be too late. 

See...I didn't book seat 19f. Nope. But Delta had a problem with their original airplane...which was an Airbus A-320. They had to replace it with a Boeing 757. Slightly different configuration. They decide to move me to 19f. A window seat. In an exit row. Which means no movie screen. Oh and the seat doesn't recline. Sitting in the two seats next to me? Both very large guys wearing MMA t-shirts. I assume they had come to town for the big fight that weekend. Some of you might be aware that I have anxiety issues. So much so that I've been on Celexa now for a decade. And for those REALLY HAIRY situations....I'm prescribed Ativan. Well...this was to be one of those moments. I pleaded and begged with the flight attendants to do something...ANYTHING...even let me sit in the "jump seat" which is that seat the Flight attendants sit in during take offs and landings. I offered $100 to ANYONE on the plane in a seat with actual shoulder/arm/leg room to switch with me. No dice. Not even sure they tried. As I started to freak out...I could detect in them that they were starting to get...mmm...what's the word? Agitated? I was foreseeing one of those "episodes" we are treated to occasionally on the news. An unruly passenger causing a plane to land early or something. So here comes this little smart ass...who tells me they can book me on a later flight. "Oh...really? That's super. First, your plane has a problem. Then you MOVE me to this seat. Btw...I am 'celebrating' my escalation from Gold medallion to Diamond medallion with this flight. Very memorable! You offering to rebook me is SO accommodating. Except I don't have anywhere to sleep. And I have a wife and kid expecting me home. So no...I will have to decline your wonderfully generous offer!" 

Lucky for me...the Ativan and muscle relaxer-combo kicked in about 20 minutes after we left the ground...and the pretzel position I managed to get my body twisted into failed to prevent me from slipping into a virtual coma. I was awoken by one of the flight attendants once we got to the gate in Atlanta. When I attempted to stand up, I immediately fell over. I'm still not sure if that was because half of my body was asleep from the goofy position I was trying to contort my 51-year old body into, or simply the effects of the pill. With a 3 hour layover...I limped off to the Delta Sky Club (which by the way...is really a nice thing to have access to) and found a nice quiet corner to make my sleep quarters. I got home to Biloxi on time...but in a hurry to get home by 10:18am (ish) so Squirrel could make it to work on time. Well...despite having gotten to McCarren a full hour before my flight...guess who's luggage didn't make it home? Yup! Oh...one of them did. The other one didn't. I'm confused...how does that even HAPPEN? Whatever. Went home. Kissed the wife. Hugged the kid, and dogs...crawled into bed...and passed out. 

That was Sunday. It's now Tuesday. I think 'Wash got knocked out yesterday. But it might have been Sunday. I can't be certain. Because the last two days have been me slipping in and out of the Ativan-inspired coma. Poor Carley...so excited for me to get home...and I keep falling asleep on her. She laid in bed with me, eager to watch some Disney movie...and I couldn't keep my eyes open for more than five minutes at a time. "Daddy! Are you sleeping!!???" "No...promise!!" That went on forever. 

So yeah...back to my original topic of "where was I when I found out" about Carwash running out of chips? Sorry...I know...that was another long, rambling sidebar. If you've been reading my blog either full time...or off and on over the past decade..then you will know that I am renowned for that kind of writing style. So where was I? I was in bed. Duh! Don't have any idea what time of day it was. But I had the WSOP.com site up on my phone...and whenever I was lucid...I would click REFRESH and see what results it produced. They were painfully bad about posting accurate chipcounts...seemingly focused on just reporting the chipstacks of those who's names your average poker follower was familiar with. Everyone else didn't seem to matter. Well...it mattered to 160 of us! So to that end...it was pissing me off...that every time I looked it said "Michael Schneider 660,000  +330,000" and it stayed that way forever. Well...until they erroneously reported him as having 1.9m. Then I got EXTREMELY excited...as did a bunch of people in our investment group.

I have a private page on Facebook...set up with the sole intent of keeping all of the players, their friends and family, and the investors a place to post updates, or share their thoughts. And once word got out that Mike had 1.9m chips...I won't like...knowing how Mike plays...which is very similar to my style of play, especially when sitting on a big pile of chips...I allowed myself to start thinking about flights back to Vegas. My own Day 5 ended 6 years ago...when...with 175 players left...and me feeling extremely confident, and with a very healthy stack (for me anyway) of about 35 bb's...I raised with KK under the gun. The first time I'd seen KK the entire tournament. Most of you know the rest of the story. It's only aired on ESPN since then about.....ohhhhh...I don't know....100 times? Elisabeth Hille (who eventually finished 10th) would get out of line with 10-10...due in large part to Jeff Finkelstein shitting the bed with AK a few hands prior. A guy who had already admitted to being enamored with the TV cameras...he decided to make a big show of committing chip suicide, with everyone at the table...and most likely the Amazon room knowing that she had AA. But hey! He got his moment of recognition for all of America to see. Dipshit. Well he passed her 1.8m chips with that move...and made it easier for her to call my 5-bet all in shove, hoping I had something like AK and she could win the race. Not a problem though. She simply made quad tens and my shot at glory was extinguished right then and there. I used my best acting skills to keep it together...knowing that however I acted at that moment would be seen by everyone...likely for years. Over the years...I've received a lot of praise for how I acted after that brutal elimination. So for once in my life filled with episodes where I DIDN'T use good judgement, I'm glad that I did on that one. 

So...back to the main topic of conversation. Kristen had already been eliminated early in the day. She did all she could to last as long as she did. She managed to move up one little pay jump at least! She did great...and everyone made sure to let her know how proud we all were of her. And I've already let her know that she has a place on the team again next summer. The thing about having a solid woman on the team? Women players are REALLY loyal to each other...just...as a gender. You certainly don't see that in men. At all. So having Kristen, and Jacqueline on the team this summer...resulted in a lot more shares being purchased...and a really amazing rooting section. I like that. It's a great element to have on the team. 

So, Wash never had 1.9m. I guess that what happened was that the chip counter erroneously combined the stack of the player not sitting at his seat, with Mike's. So for awhile there...Mike was a bit of a beast, and in the top 50 in chip counts. About that time...I fell asleep. Then I woke up....clicked on REFRESH...and couldn't find him anywhere. Hmmmm...what the.....don't even tell me......set over set? Aces vs Kings? The orbit from hell??? Lord knows I've had those at that stage of a tourney! You only get 3 or 4 hands max...and you go from a big stack to the felt like THAT! It suckkkkkkkkkks!!!!!! 

I kept searching. Then thought...shit...guess I better click on RESULTS...and pray that I don't see his name there. And....there it was. 226th. Michael Schneider. $42,980. Had he made it just ONE more spot...to 225th...it would have paid another $7k. OUCH! I checked my phone. No text from him. I know him. I know what he was feeling. He's like me. He was probably in a very dark, cold, isolated place...seething. Not wanting to talk to anyone. I get it. I didn't bother him. Didn't even think to. I hope no one else did, but I can't be sure. Eventually the texts started coming in...asking me what happened. Fortunately for me...I had passed back out. The last day or so have been spend lamenting the "wrap up" blog post....then subsequent report to the 160 investors letting them know what they are getting back....which...after doing all that math work last night, is exactly $100 per share. So a 50% return on investment. Which means I get to facilitate the disbursement now of about $40,000. Fun times. 

So last year....the "wrap up" blog post was, I think...the last time I posted a blog until June 1st of this year. Nearly 10 months in between posts. Its true that I just seem to be lacking the same desire to write as I used to posses. I don't know why. I really don't. My mind is still constantly generating crazy thoughts and ideas. I still have that "bug" to go sit down and play poker. Maybe not as much as in the past. Today's players have managed to diminish that somewhat, both with HOW they play...and HOW they approach the game. Sometimes, its just too much for me to tolerate. Plus I find myself getting impatient a LOT faster than I ever did in the past. They have an event coming up here in Biloxi...at the Beau Rivage...that I will try to play all of. The competitive fire still burns in me. I like to win. I enjoy winning. And I guess there is a tiny little part of me that wants to prove to people that I still have what it takes to win a poker tourney. Maybe that is childish and stupid...maybe. I don't care. 

For now...I will wait for football season to arrive. My busy season! When all of my pools and fantasy leagues kick into high gear! When the road trips to go watch the Crimson Tide, the Huskies, and the Seahawks start. Maybe this fall...there will be (finally) a flight out to Seattle to see my Mariners in the MLB Playoffs! Carley starts 1st grade in a month or so. There is lots to do around the new house. Yup...Summer Poker Camp is over. It's not the 7-week variety that I enjoyed, or suffered through...from 2005 to about 2010...this is a much shorter version of Summer Poker Camp...but it still dredges up all the same feelings...both before it starts, and after it ends. Poker is a game that is really good at leaving lasting marks emotionally. For better or worse. And I have my own fair share of both. 

Thank you to all the investors who joined in to make the 2018 TEAM MONKEY poker adventure one of the most exciting in the five years I've been doing this. I'm extremely proud of my 8 selections to this year's squad...and thank them for their incredible contributions as team members! After dragging my feet to get this year's team launched...even waffling on whether I would do it or not...this summer's team really showed me just HOW important this thing is, to so many people. So I am hereby pledging to everyone that I will come back in 2019 with a renewed vigor...and a promise to get the ball rolling no later than April 15th! Get your player applications ready! In 2019...I will be gunning for at LEAST NINE team members...maybe more. 

SEE YA SOON!!!!

MONKEY