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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Poker For Dummies

That seems like the perfect title for this blog post.

Oh, whoever 'KL' is? And I've established that it isn't my friend Kai Landry...two things, (a) the comment 'widget' on my blog layout is messed up, has been for awhile now, and comments aren't showing up in their designated place...so even if I did 'approve' your comment...which I very well may have, it won't show up anyway. Oh, and (b) I will go ahead and address your comment, since I don't dodge people and their opinions very often:

"Maybe if you go look in the mirror and do exactly what you recommended in your blog your life would be much better too. You have become so negative it is unbearable to be around you. KL on How to Silence a Lunatic...."

Mmmm..yes, let's address your comment. I avoid mirrors at all costs. That being said, I'm not sure what you mean by my life being better. I can't think of a time in the last decade, maybe even two...when I've been MORE happy with my life. My marriage is great. My relationship with my daughter is perfect. My finances are sound. My dogs are both still alive and relatively healthy. My favorite team just won the Super Bowl. My baseball team might actually have a decent season. (Mariners) My car is great, is paid off, and has just had video screens added to please my whole family.  I've lost some weight, and am eating much healthier, and have an Elliptical in my room to motivate me to stay in shape. Nope..I can't think of what could possibly be going on around me that could improve that much. But seriously, thank you for your advice, KL. You say I have become so negative it is unbearable to be around me? Who are you KL? Are you someone who is 'around me' on a regular basis? There are really only about FIVE people I know who are around me enough to have been driven to those extremes, and none of them have those initials. I won't lie. I'm stumped.

Regardless, I will address that. You clearly are NOT a good friend of mine. For, if you were...you would understand that you are mistaking my 'negativity' for what it really is, 'intelligent cynicism.' Huh, you ask? Exactly. You are a bit daft...so most of the things I say...are said in sarcastic tones of humor that simpleton's will never, and ARE never, expected to get. It's humor by design. It's the reason I tend to get into 'altercations' in places that lack smart humans. Because sometimes, I might not even be talking to or about them...however, since they can't figure out my humor...because it tends to be WAY over their head...the assume in their stupidity that I must, certainly, be talking about them. Sorry, chief, you aren't that important. In fact, I was talking about the political situation in Ukraine and what it's impact on the European Union will be if Moscow decides to annex Crimea and then move on Ukraine itself. But you go ahead and insist that I'm making fun of you over there in seat 8...you ferret!

So...yeah, uh...I've 'become' so negative I'm unbearable to be around. Tsk. I don't want to share oxygen with people who don't 'get me.' My wife? Little Miss Nice to Everyone Girl? She 'gets me.' She doesn't necessarily like it...but she GETS IT...and gets ME...and knows all the good that exists inside of me...probably why she married me. Maybe? Ya think? To those who think I'm just a grumpy OMRG in training, who aspires to become a curmudgeon who spends my afternoons yelling at kids to stay out of my yard? I've got you fooled. So, stay fooled. And maybe someday I will come by your house with a bottle of RoundUp and spray the words 'Village Idiot' on your front yard.

Breathe! Whoa...that was quite a rant. I'm almost exhausted.

It's March Madness. I entered 13 brackets in my pool that attracted 689 entries...up from 559 last year. After bed-shitting performances from Syracuse, Duke, Villanova, and Kansas, I think I can safely conclude that this will be yet another year of sniffing NO money in the annual event. It's amazing how incredibly bad I run. And I go out of my way to mix it up with all different variations too.

The teams I decide to root for in March Madness are the teams with players who decide to stay at their school longer than one season. Give me a team with 5 white guys who are all seniors and have no chance of every making the NBA. That's my team! Are there any teams out there like that? Probably not. Maybe Creighton? I'd have to research it, and frankly I don't have that kind of free time. It's all I can do to try and blog once a week. I am taking advantage of Carley taking a nap to do this post. I already banged one out this morning for my 'pay me' blog site...which, again (a  lot of you keep asking, its not difficult) to see it,  just click that crazy looking monkey up there on the right hand side...and it takes you directly to that blog.. It's all original content. Some of it is stuff I post there because I don't want to hurt certain people's feelings. Don't ask.

NO! Not how I want to see Erin!

Yes! This is how I want to see Erin!
 Some of you recall that I had a monster celebrity crush on Erin Andrews. I'd like to declare that crush as being officially dead. DEAD. It started with that fucking Pro-Biotics commercial. Something about her voice in that thing grated on me. Then it was her switch to Fox Sports...and hearing her in the studio. And watching her act like she is all chummy chummy with every athlete, acting like she is one of them in every interview she does. Just annoying. Well, the final straw came when Dancing with the Dipshits decided to get rid of Brook Burke, who I've always thought was a rockin hottie...and to add to it, she's incredibly classy and soft spoken...in favor of Erin. Well, after one episode that I forced myself to sit through...I almost sawed off both of my ears. Unbearable. That voice could kill cancer. So yeah. She's dead to me.


Brooke doing what Brooke does best.....

Well, unless you count THIS....and yeah, that's much better!!!


Poker? Yeah, I've played a little. I'm coming off of two of my worst cash sessions of the year...one at Coushatta (imagine that) that other coming this past Tuesday night at Golden Nugget. That one first. I went to play the Tuesday night 10/20 Omaha hi/lo game that attracts pretty much the same people every Tuesday. Calling ahead to get on the list is a good idea. Like, around 2pm. It starts promptly at 6pm. I didn't call til 5, and hence was #12 on the list. And they all showed up. So it took me two hours of playing mind-numbing 4/8 limit hold em before I got a seat. I should have stayed on the hold em table, as I was up $150 when I finally got my seat.

I sat in the 8 seat, which I was informed by the lady in the 2 seat, after about 2 hours of sitting there losing every hand...that the seat was cursed. That she had sat there losing in that seat for three hours. Now I'm usually not superstitious to that degree...but after hearing that, I was starting to think she might have been right. Even more so after I flopped the nut flush with 6  in the hand...only to lose to a full house on the river...yeah...the 'ol paired board on the river. Thanks dealer. My whole night was like that. I literally lost with a full house SIX times. When I got AA in my hand...I was oh for six. Not as crazy as in hold em with aces...but still, oh for six? Two of those times, I flopped a set. It was painful. And when I did finally get to move seats, I actually started to crawl out of the hole a little bit....grinded my 580 buy in...which had dipped to 150...then saw me rebuy for 300 more...putting me at -880....all the way back up to 650...with a shot of at least getting even in sight, only to EVAPORATE.

If you play Omaha...either high only, or high/low split...then you will know what I  mean when I say its a game that just kind of reaches into your body and removes your soul, one confidence-crushing hand at a time.  I was left with no desire to see a playing card for at least a day or five.

That final session at Coushatta? Pffft. That was just a product of the environment mostly. Do not come from a broken table at 2am, on a Friday night...with 4 racks of chips. It's like rolling around in broken glass and doing a cannonball into a pool of sharks to impress people. You are not getting out of that pool alive. Just as I did not get out of that game alive. I had spent 9 hours grinding in that place, after a relatively early exit from the Main Event, which I will address in a second...and had nothing, literally NOTHING else to do. I couldn't even go to my room...since it had been invaded by Lurky Nicholson, who, with Ashley Butler had arrived from their cross-country trek from Bay 101 in Barth's car...to a place that was sold out of rooms. So they were in there sleeping. Cash game it was.


I started out good. That wouldn't last long. Then this guy showed up. Yes...you get a picture. I have nothing really personal to say about this guy. He called himself a lawyer. He probably was. At first he was entertaining. Very colorful. All this despite being covered in LSU 'shit.' He was a welcomed addition at our otherwise boring table. After about two hours I was hungry for boring. He was one of those guys who liked to raise with shit...then show his shit when everyone folded...and start cooing about it. Or we would get heads up...and he would make some stupid three times the pot bet...I would fold, and he would show me air. Yeah...needless to say, his act wore thin pretty quickly. But I didn't act like a jerk. I just stayed calm. It actually started to turn against him...after I got into a huge hole. I was stuck about 600 on the session and then just reached in for 1000 and declared war. It worked.

I would bust him three different times. He finally gave up around midnight...and to be honest, it felt pretty fucking wonderful. I stayed at the table and grew my stack to about 1900...was finally in the black...and still had a relatively full poker room.

Then the shit hit the fan. Yup.  My table broke. And I got moved to a full table. Me and my four racks of chips. And as I sat down I could read their minds. We've all (well most of us)  been in that spot, either as the one with the chips, or the ones at the table watching that new player show up. How did he get those chips? Bluffing a lot? Being a maniac? Aggressive prick? Bully? Was he actually just good? Well, I got zero credit for having earned any of those chips. I sat there for two hours...and lost every single one of those chips....plus another 1000 that I walked out and stole from the ATM. That machine was the ONLY one I was able to 'steal' a pot from that night. Bluffing? Nice idea. Protecting your hand on the turn? Nice try dummy. No one is folding. As long as I had all those chips, these fuckers were never folding before the river. Ever. It was crazy. And what sucks is that I just kept crushing every flop. I can't tell you how many 17-outers I brick bricked. (straight and flush draws)

When I walked out of there at sunrise, I felt like I'd just been anally gang raped by a whole motorcycle club.

TOURNAMENTS AT THE COUSHATTA CASINO SHOULD BE AVOIDED

I can't be any more vociferous about this. These guys who run their tourneys up there are simply clueless. And worse than being clueless, they don't give a fuck what the players think...which just comes off as fucking arrogant. And yeah, I know they will read this. And yeah, I 100% honestly hope they ban me from ever playing there again. They would be doing me a favor. Yes,  I knew what I was getting into before I left. I saw the structure. I even got a text message from one of their guys who works there telling me (warning me) that they were using dealers who had JUST been hired that week...who no experience dealing poker,  let along tournaments. So, yes...to an extent, its on me.

But when you hear a floor guy respond to an honest question, a concern, with "Hey man, we give you guys free food!" Really? Okay,  in fairness, they do provide a nice little spread of 5 chaffing dishes filled with buffet food and a gigantic seating area for all the players to sit and eat.  A seating area out in their tent...that doubles as a bingo hall, that would be sufficiently utilized for about 10-15 additional poker tables, which would shockingly solve the problem of them having huge amounts of players who sat around for 4 or 5 levels trying to get into Thursday's $300 event.  Not that it really mattered I guess, since there were 15 empty tables in the cash room...with only 9 tables dealing live action.

Yeah, we arrived late Wednesday night...knowing they started their event at 10am. (brutal) Barth ventured over to register the three of us at 8am...which was nice of him. He returned to tell Claw and I that we would be alternates number 48, 49 and 50. Huh? Oh! We were the lucky ones. They took  like 150 alternates...and though announced earlier that you could only get in until the end of Level 4...they decided (greed has ways of doing that I guess) to 'let' players in until the end of Level 6. So essentially, you had a shot of going in with 6 big blinds (8000 chips) if you got in at level 6. I was lucky enough to get in during Level 5. Awesome. And the structure?

This is kind of funny. The structure for the $300 event was actually BETTER than the structure for their Main Event. No bullshit. In the $300, you got $8k chips...and the structure went 25/50, 50/100, 75/150, 100/200....and actually had antes come into play in Level 5 at 150/300 with 25. A normal, playable structure. Just not so hot if you never get in until Level 5! In the Main Event? 20K chips...which they claim is a 'TON' of chips. Uh...guys? I know, you exist in the backwoods of Louisiana, so you might have missed this. But it's 2014...and 20k starting stacks in Main Events are no longer considered to be 'TONS.' In fact...it's kind of a meager starting stack. But the structure? That was awesome. 100/100. Yes that was level 1. 100/200, 200/400, 300/600, 400/800 and then....in Level 6...you finally saw antes come into play. 500/1000 with 100.

Most 'decent' players that you encounter in bigger buy in events, they like to make raises of 2.5x. It's almost automatic in most Main events that I  play. 50/100...you see 250 pretty regularly. 100/200? 550 is the norm, even 450 a lot. 150/300? 750, normal. But try making those bets when you have NO green chips (25) in play. You cant! So basically, you are just encouraging shitty play. Though most of the mutants that come from that area don't agree. Since most of them are 5x/6x raisers...they fucking love it...and love their not being any antes until 500/1000. Sorry, I can't function in that world of poker. Can't. Won't. Ever again.

Dealers? Honestly, I was hearing one story after another about how lousy the dealers were, but to be fair, I didn't experience any horrible nightmare scenarios. In fairness, a lot of that could be due to me not lasting long enough in either tourney I played to have one of those 'special moments' happen to me. But what I encountered, they were all very courteous and open to constructive criticism...so I won't bash on them. But who I will bash on,  are the dummies who run that event. The guy with the 'free food' comment tells one of the other players, point blank, that they don't 'contract out for dealers' because they cost money.

Translation: We are cheap. We don't give a fuck about the tourney players. We are just getting them in, getting them out, and taking their money. He said as much when he followed that up by telling this guy that they run the tourneys for one reason....to get players up there who will then bust out and go play in their cash room. He said that. That got me hot. And I made my voice heard at that point.

"So what you're saying, is you don't care the least bit about your tourney players? That they have to play with dealers who have zero experience? In a tourney where you can't seat any more than 280 players because you don't, or WON'T, hire enough dealers to accommodate them? Seriously, why do you guys even bother running tourneys if you  aren't going to even TRY to run a legitimate event? It's offensive!"

The guy told me to have a nice day and to enjoy the free buffet. Wow. So...in conclusion...if you the player decides to go any reasonable distance to play this event, and play it on your own dime? You...sir...or madam...are a fucking moron. And I will go out on a limb and predict that they have no intentions of making any changes. Why would they? They only care about getting people in their cash room. They are laughing at all of us, I guarantee you. Well, they won't ever laugh at this guy again.

One thing I would like to say...is that all, or at least most, of the cash game dealers were great. It's just a shame they don't let them deal the tourney.

After busting the main event....I played blackjack while waiting on Barth and Claudia to bust...which they cooperated by doing at a reasonable hour. We all sat down for a meal together at their ridiculously over-priced steak house, called Big Sky Steakhouse. 

Here's the thing about being a steak house that charges $60 for a filet; if a customer asks you where your oysters on the half shell are from? The proper answer isn't 'the gulf.' If a customer asks you if you store your pinot noir at 'cellar temperature' you should probably either know what that means, or not make yourself look uber stupid by replying with something that makes the entire table laugh. That's just bad. To make it worse, your manager doesn't even know. The ambiance of the restaurant? What does that mean? If it weren't for the dark lighting, it would have looked like your average run-of-the-mill cafeteria that you'd find in a hospital. I would like to thank them for giving me a mild bout of food poisoning, which I pretty much predicted would happen when my 12 raw oysters were brought out on a platter of salt, not ice...but salt..and were nowhere close to being cold. If you aren't aware of this, oysters are basically a bacteria. Serving them warm, is just asking for someone to die a slow,  painful death. 

I even requested the manager, to inform him that he would likely face future wrongful death claims unless they changed their presentation on their raw oysters, and explained all the reasons why in as comprehensible science as I thought he could understand.  Somehow I feel like it was going in one ear and out the other. Why I didn't just send those oysters back is beyond me...I guess I like pain. I  paid for, both in the wallet, and in the bathroom. Thanks, Big Sky. 

We went to our rooms, and packed. I went to check us out early, and there was a gaggle of middle-aged gentleman assembled in the lobby of the hotel. Hmmm...what the fuck is this all about? Golf tourney? Alcoholics Anonymous retreat? All men? All very excited about something? Hmm...seemed like a good time to make a video. Hope you enjoy this:

video

Then we piled into the 4-Runner...which had been transformed into the Hotel Toyota, as it had been for the ride up...enjoyed by Claudia.  Last week I did my little girl a solid by going to the local custom car stereo shop and having head rest video screens installed in the two front seats. It only took her two rides in the car to become an addict. Hey...whatever it takes to make my baby smile! I'm a sucker, I admit it...the kid has ownership of my soul!



It was my turn...blaming the Pinot Noir that Claudia and I guzzled (Barth is a non-drinker...I know,  and he owns 4 bars, go figure!) to enjoy the back 'lounging area' of the Hotel Toyota for the ride home. 



Oh! But...before we left...we sat around discussing our strategy....where we might all decide to go play next. The name Vicksburg came up. Well...I for one expressed the opinion that they would likely draw a very small crowd. Barth, on the other hand, had just played the event out in Colorado and was amazed with how easy it was to win their satellites. So to that end, he was a fan of the idea of attending. I could go either way. This phone call, however changed it for me from a 'YES' or a 'MAYBE' to a 'HELL NO!!!'

We decide to call up there and see how many entries they had that day in Flight C of their 3-day tourney that cost....shit I don't even know. $200? $300? Something cheap. Ring ring: Hello? Hi. I'm with two other players in Coushatta and we are thinking about driving over there to play your event. But first, we want to see how many players you had today, and how many you have through three flights so far to see if we want to make the trip over there. Pretty standard line of questioning, wouldn't you say?

Ready for this answer? (and I'm almost positive that this was who we were talking to on the other end)



She tells us...she is not 'allowed' to give out that information! Huh? Like, she is protecting some kind of amazing trade secrets? When Barth very patiently took a deep breath and tried to explain it in a way that didn't come off as sounding like industrial espionage, I was rolling on the bed laughing, and Claudia had her exasperated 'what the fuck' look  on her face. Did this new path of patience work for Barth?

Really? Did you forget? We  are dealing with fucking idiots.

So he then asks if he is speaking to the poker room,  or if its the tournament area. When told it was the poker room, he decided to get crafty...maybe, just maybe...he was dealing with someone in the cash room, someone who was either fucking lazy, possibly ill-informed, or both. Ah ha! It was the poker room. He asked to be transferred to the tournament area. And was transferred.

A male answers the phone. A male idiot. Barth asked the same question. Barth got the same answer. This time we got  to listen on speaker phone. Me and Claudia were coming unglued....as most people do when they are trying to reason with an fucking imbecile. Barth kept motioning us to calm down. Barth has the patience of a saint. It didn't help. These people were just fucking stupid. You are running a poker event...and yet, when people call to inquire about the event...you stonewall them. 



"NO! You will NOT call here and get information about our poker tourney!!!! No POKER for you!!!!"

How do these people keep jobs? Seriously? How? It continuously baffles me.  And for you assholes that are reading this and in your little tone of voice asking "do YOU think YOU could do a better job, Monkey!???" Ugh...yeah, I abso-fucking-lutely think I could. And if anyone would like to hire me to prove it, I'd be more than happy to work for them  for the first 30 days for FREE to  prove it. They aren't building damn rocket ships. 

Okay. I'm done here. Me and the missus are actually going out tonight...with actual adults...while leaving Miss Carley at home with a babysitter. I predict I will be babysitting both Carley AND Squirrel tomorrow.  Hash tag...long day ahead for daddy!

MONKEY




Monday, March 17, 2014

How to Silence a Lunatic....

Now that I have two places to write...one that pays me...both of which require 'original' content, it's become a balancing act deciding on which topics to write about on each site. Every time I'm certain I have my next topic to write about, BOOM! Here comes another one. Damn! 

Last night, it was a news flash from a guy I've always liked a great deal, sending me a message on Facebook asking me for advice on how to deal with a certain person I've come to regard as nothing more than vermin. A guy who has failed to realize that his life has become a never-ending story about all the people who have screwed him over...failing to take the opportunity to look in the mirror and realize that the person to blame for 99.9% of his problems in life is staring back at him. 


I would concern myself more with his ramblings if I thought people were actually paying attention to him, and what lies he was spewing. But the thing is...anyone that knows him, knows he's fucking nuts. And a terrible human being. And that little he says is even close to credible. So, how much time is a person supposed to commit to defending themselves against the things being spewed by someone like that? I'm pretty sure that his 'hit meter' is ridiculously low, since it takes the time for his drivel to reach my ears an amount of time equal to the time for a glacier to transform into a lake. I won't even give him the benefit of a  name mention here...because I know it would  be doing him a favor.


But one thing I should say to Mr. Narcissidiot...is that in my recent post that referred to you (again not by name, but guilty just always seems to know when it's being talked about) you erroneously (reading comprehension is clearly not your strong suit) jumped to the conclusion that I was giving you credit for comments made by my anonymous comment poster who has taken to threatening the lives of me and my family. I was never suggesting that you were this person....in fact, this person and you have very different writing styles. Yes, you are both sick in the head, but on two different levels all together. You did, however...and I have the emails to prove it...make threats against me and my family. But something about you making threats? It just makes me think of that little yip-yip dog that some old granny leaves in the car while she goes into Dollar General,  to bark incessantly at people who dare walk within 15 feet of the car...flashing their drool dripping fangs to anyone brave enough to come near it.

This guy likes to run around the internet telling everyone/anyone that will listen to him that all these people owe him money, myself included. This is the part that cracks me up the most. I gave him a blueprint on how to make money on a Pokerstars Homegame poker club...something that couldn't be easier, but merely required a little investment of time. But what he did with that blueprint, was allow it to turn him into a lunatic...and I won't bore you with the details, but lets just say his ability to manage other people's money is painfully lacking anything resembling 'normal.' Not sure how he comes off telling people I owe him money, since him and I never had a situation that would have had me owing him money. He had players. I had players. He held his players' money, I held my players' money. Period. When he decided he no longer wanted to operate a poker club with his and my players...he (in a very hostile manner) ordered all of us to basically go fuck ourselves. I then spent the next week sending back every red cent of the money I was holding on behalf of my players. And washed my hands of the whole Home Game 'experience.' 

Since this has occurred, I've been approached by numerous people who've continued to have issues with this guy. Others have invited me, or asked me...to help them set up, or partner with...to start a new poker club. Sorry, not interested. And I learned my lesson about doing business with someone who is also responsible for other people's money. Bad idea. The whole guilty by association thing has a chance to rear its ugly head. No thanks. I've been running sports pools and fantasy leagues now for almost 25 years. Hundreds of people have played with me, won with me, and always gotten paid. People who have bought into my poker packages...and made money...have been paid, always, in a timely fashion. I prefer to be 100% responsible for anything I get involved in where other people's money is concerned.

So to hear this miserable piece of shit take to his blog to name-call me...as well as other people I consider friends, and also good people...isn't so much angering as it is pathetic. I know that human nature sometimes makes you want to set people straight...and fight for your good name to those who may have been convinced that you are not the person you want them to think you are. But the truth is, life on this planet is pretty short. And to make EVERYONE like you, or respect you, or think highly of you? It's probably not even possible, especially someone who doesn't live the life of a hermit. Yeah...the hermit can probably skate through life without some of the drama that someone like me enjoys on a regular basis. But how boring would that kind of life be?

I mean...the guy posts a picture of me on his blog...that was pulled from mugshots.com that would lead the reader to think I'm some kind of criminal. Cute. First, I will be the first to admit that I have run into some awkward situations with law enforcement...nearly all of them from when I lived in Atlanta from 1993-2003...yes, that long ago. None of which ended in a conviction. Most of which had to do with a questionable relationship I had with a girl most deemed to be a drama queen who had a fondness for calling the police every time we had a disagreement, or who would call the cops when she had a guy in the apartment with her (cheating) and tell them her ex-boyfriend (current actually) was outside her apartment, describe my car, and tell them I was stalking her. Cobb County, Georgia was a place in 1997 that was very eager to aggressively go after 'stalkers.' No questions. Just a quick arrest, a ride in a police car, and a trip to jail until you could get before a judge to plead innocent at an arraignment hearing and find out what your bond will be. 

Oh sure...drama queen girlfriend usually showed up to admit she over-reacted...but not before I had spent 3 or 4 days sitting in jail wondering why I'd chosen to fall in love with this person. And yes...I was the idiot who kept going back to her...earning the ire of my family and closest friends. I wasn't proud of those days. But I also don't look back on my time in Atlanta as that of a hardened criminal either. But let this jerkoff rip a picture off of mugshots.com and  post it on his blog,  and he thinks he has free will to call me whatever he wants. You might notice I was wearing a shirt and tie in his picture...yeah, most guys who go on a crime spree are usually wearing a suit aren't they?

I  had 3 or 4 unfortunate incidents like this one while  I lived in the Atlanta area.  And they were all just as equally frustrating, and led me at times to ask that question that some of us ask of ourselves when we are running bad in something..."why does this shit keep happening to me?" Well, that is where accountability in life comes into play...and while I might not have deserved some of the things that were happening to me, the truth is, I was putting myself in the position to allow those things to happen to me. I've learned a lot about accountability in the past 10-20 years. And about not putting myself in bad situations. 

Fortunately I met my wife, who really helped me learn about myself, my faults, my weaknesses....as well as my strengths and what I should be trying to build on. She is a great person, comes from a great family, and is now demonstrating on a daily basis what a great mother she is. Having her in my life makes it a lot easier to tolerate people like this guy who seems to have made a life of making enemies and then using his blog to try and sully their reputations. At some point you just have to hope that everything catches up with a guy like that. I can't make it my mission in life to make this guy pay for his endless lies about me. All I can do is keep living as good a life as I can, treat people well, respect those around me, be a good husband and a good father, and a good friend to those in my life. Those are the things I have control over. What I don't have control over...are the antics of a lunatic.

MONKEY

COMING UP NEXT: My trip  to Coushatta...and a ridiculous fact-finding phone call to Vicksburg that kept three players (at least) from trekking there to play the HPT event.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Who is Chan Pelton?



A very large number of you have been waiting on this post, and are understandably tired of the carrot-dangling that I've been subjecting you all to over the past week.Well, I'm sorry. Don't hold it against me, I just had a lot of other things I had to get out of the way first. So...here it is. Hope you find it interesting.




http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/02/chan-pelton-stripped-of-title-17608.htm

Okay...if you don't know who this fella pictured is? And you haven't heard about the scandal that rocked the WSOP circuit event at Palm Beach Kennel Club a few weeks, ago, then (a) you're living under a rock and (b) I've provided you with the link to brush up on the details, at least....the details that the ruling bodies (PBKC and WSOP) wanted you to know about. Is there information lurking below the surface that isn't being shared with us? The correct answer: No one really knows, except the folks at WSOP and PBKC. Why would they be withholding certain elements of information?

Just two weeks before the PBKC event, a major scandal erupted in Atlantic City at the Borgata event. Most of you know about it. If not...I really don't know who referred you to my blog! But the end result was that a huge event had been compromised because counterfeit chips had been introduced into play...by a guy named Christian Lusardi. He has also been busted for running a house game (big deal) and for fraudulently manufacturing and selling DVD's. They popped him with 37,500 DVD's that had come from China. Hmm...doing business with the Chinese, eh? Guess we know where all those counterfeit chips came from, then...don't we?




http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/02/alleged-poker-cheat-christian-lusardi-charged--bootlegging-17481.htm

That event was halted with 27 players remaining, and kept on hold, while they investigated the full scope of what was going on. Well, they found 2.5m chips in the plumbing of the hotel room where Lusardi was staying, and arrested him. So, what happened with the event? Nothing! And sometime last week, one of the 27 remaining players filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all the players in that tournament against the Gaming Commission for the State of New Jersey. Can't wait to see how that turns out.

So...with all that going on, you can see why the poker tournament operators were collectively on high alert status. So when this 'incident' with Chan Pelton went down, it created a very unique opportunity for them to flex their authority, to make an example of someone, in order to send a message (loud and clear) to the poker community, that malfeasance in the game of the poker will NOT be tolerated , if they can help it.

So when I ask: Did they really tell us everything, when they handed down the virtual 'death sentence' to Chan Pelton? Because if they did, then it raises the question, was the punishment for this offense too harsh? Well, I had a nice 200+ thread on my Facebook wall discussing just this thing. There was also a very lengthy thread on 2+2 where he was basically skewered, which is (as we know) kind of the nature of any 'debate' that occurs on 2+2. The person in question almost 97% of the time ends up being proverbially burned at the stake.

Let's explore a couple of reasons for why they might NOT have told us everything, shall we? The official report was that he took a chip, or chips (that was never very clear) either during the tourney...or when it just ended. That too wasn't very clear. They left a lot of room for people to speculate, when they issued their somewhat ambiguous 'statement' for the poker community to feast on.

First: Let's imagine that when they went back and watched video surveillance from every event he played that week, they observed him taking chips on a frequent basis. He won the Omaha event earlier that week. Incidentally, they let him keep that prize money. What would the Kennel Club and/or the WSOP have to gain by letting people know that they had that information? I would answer that by saying absolutely nothing. If anything, it would create a nightmare, both logistically, as well as from a public relations standpoint. The last thing you want, especially in the wake of the Borgata shit show...is to have people feeling like they are playing in an event where the operators can't provide a safe, secure tournament without cheating. 

Had they come out and told people that they had evidence of him stealing chips, or 'removing them from play' in other tourneys....then they open themselves up to legal action from EVERY player in all of those other tourneys. I think the path of least resistance, was to simply acknowledge he took a chip (or chips) from that one, single event (The $1100 event that he also won) drop the hammer on him, and move on. Sound about right?

Most of the people I know who work in poker, who make the tough decisions, could not have looked at that punishment and not thought it was overly harsh. Unless...UNLESS...they knew/know something that we don't know. Which I have to speculate may have been the reality of the situation.

What he lost:  They DQ'd him from the $1100 event. He had won...$42,000. He lost all of that. They stripped him of the points he accumulated during that whole circuit event, which would have made him the Casino Champion in the race for the National Freeroll.... a seat that would have been locked up, and is potentially worth about $300,000 were he to win. And finally, he was banned from ALL Caesar's properties, with no time frame on it.

Maybe you're asking the same question that a few people were asking in the comment boards; if this happened at a place that Caesar's didn't own or operate, how then, could they take the initiative to ban him from all Caesar's properties? I don't know the answer to that question.

The common thread in the message boards seemed to be 'Did the punishment fit the crime?' A lot of good analogies were made, and the debate raged on for days. There were the hardcore folks, those who are adamant that 'stealing is stealing' no matter the value of the item being stolen.

Was he taking the chip as a souvenir? Was it something he did on a regular basis? There were stories that he had a table...where all these chips he had taken in past events were laid out on and made into a display. There were stories from people claiming to be his friends, who concluded that he would 'never do something like steal chips to introduce later in a future event, he is just kind of a dipshit who doesn't always think.' Heard that one a lot.

So which side was I on? Well, as you know (or most of you do anyway) I am currently banned from all Caesar's properties myself...for something that amounted to a simple misunderstanding with a female dealer...which has since been hashed out and rectified with that person. At the root of my situation, was that the man who is basically the face of the WSOP was forced to kind of eat crow a few years ago when the ban he had (again) unfairly placed on me was overturned by people who ranked over him. This put him on a mission of revenge that I knew to watch out for. 

I knew....KNEW...that he was looking, for anything....anything, to use against me, to allow him to take to his bosses and essentially present whatever it was to them and say "Look! See! What did I tell you about this Souther guy! And you didn't want to believe me! Well, here you go! He screwed up...AGAIN! And now, he is DONE!" Oh...that's exactly what happened. And what could his bosses say? No one really cares enough about me to really do any heavy investigating. I'm sure it was just a case of, "Well, okay I guess maybe you were right Jack...I guess he screwed himself, do what you gotta do." And he did. 

Where am I at in that mess? I honestly just kind of threw my arms up in the air when it happened and said 'Fuck it' because I was tired of dealing with that asshole. I knew what I was going to face to get my good name back. And I just didn't have the energy to pursue it. Plus, I talked to Nolan Dalla about it, who at the time was still traveling with the WSOP to all the circuit events...and he advised me to just leave it alone for about a year,  then come back and ask to be reinstated. Well, Nolan reduced his role with WSOP a while ago, and I no longer see him at the small number of events that I go to play. I'm glad he cut back on his duties with the WSOP though, because now he has become the greatest blogger on the planet. 

http://www.nolandalla.com/

I suppose in the next month or so, I will either write a letter to Ty Stewart of the WSOP, or maybe even try to secure an appointment with him out in Vegas (preferable) with the intent to explain my side of things to him (which you never get a chance to do when these people decide to boot you)...and to let him know that the female dealer and I are perfectly friendly with one another now, and that she is willing to sign anything necessary to exonerate me and allow me to return to playing events on Caesar's-owned properties. Will things go my way? Pffft....I wouldn't even put odds on it, knowing my history with those guys. But I can say that the one time I met Ty Stewart, and from everything I've heard about him from people who have worked for and with him....he seems like a really decent guy. One who's vision isn't clouded by vendetta. One who doesn't have a problem using good judgement to make a decision on something like my situation.

I kind of got sidetracked there. But part of the reason is to let you know just how much the punishment they hit this guy with is going to impact his poker career. Massively. To some who aren't as heavily involved in the poker world, this punishment might be hard to fully understand.

So,originally, I was totally on this guy's side. And I know that a lot of you would liken that to me having a 'grudge' against the WSOP, and that I would take sides with anyone who had been punished by the WSOP. That is narrow-minded and simply incorrect. My problems with the WSOP, and really, one person specifically, do not cloud my ability to see a bad thing that has the ability to really hurt poker. Whether it's WSOP, WPT, or a tournament at the VFW. 

I was on his side because I just couldn't convince myself to believe that this guy could have had sinister motives when he removed ONE 25k chip from the tourney either near the end, or at the conclusion of the tourney he won. It seemed quite feasible that he had, in fact, simply removed it with the intent to take it home and make it a part of his collection. I never like the way these guys make their decisions...which is done without ever hearing anything from the person being judged/accused. What kind of a process is that? How does anyone make an educated decision on someone's future and livelihood without hearing what they have to say? Just seems insane.

So when they announced the punishment, I was blown away...as were a lot of people I know. It was debated for three days or so through these comment threads. Nobody could really agree on anything. 

A VERY REVEALING PHONE CALL

On about the 3rd day, I get a message in my Facebook inbox from a guy I've known and played poker with for probably 8 years. He wanted to tell me something. Something about this guy Chan. Whoa! 

So the next day, I called him. And what I heard really threw me for a loop. First, let me say something. I have a lot of people who have taken advantage of me over the years. People who owe me money, some, a lot, others a little. They know who they are. They know they owe me money. And how people are ever able to rationalize NOT paying someone that they owe money, I will never, ever understand. It's just not how I happen to be wired.

When I owe someone money, they get paid, immediately. I don't owe ANYONE money. A lot of people have told me that I have to 'just let karma take care of those people' who owe me money. I've always kind of scoffed at that, since karma never really ever seems to 'get' these people. My own selfish desires require immediate satisfaction in these cases. I want to see them suffer. I want to hear that someone 'got them.' Or that they ran afoul of the law and wound up in jail. Anything...to make me feel like they got what they deserved.

So. This Chan fellow? He seems to be a real piece of work, according to this guy I spoke to, who knows him as well as anyone, having played house games with him off and on for almost a decade. He has seen enough to know what his deal is. Turns out what his deal is, is something that someone like me would run around my front yard fist pumping like Tiger Woods after hearing what happened to him.

You may have heard that he was pulled over by cops 3 years ago, and that they found an ounce of marijuana on him...that he first claimed that it was going to be sold. Then, when common sense kicked in, he changed his story, telling the cops it was his own, for his consumption. I guess that is what happens when you've fallen asleep at a stop light...and are woken up by a cop tapping on your window. You lose your sense of what to say!

Well...that may not be far from believable, since, apparently he is quite the pot head. I'm told he hasn't worked...a real job...ever. He has run house games, and has sold drugs. Along the way....he has managed to accumulate a bevy of debts with people, from sports gambling, to poker, to drugs. On many occasions he has simply refused to pay them. Or if he owed, say $2000, he would give them $300 and tell them that was all he was going to pay them. Period. Huh? You owe me $2000 but you are only going to give me $300...then TELL ME that is all I'm going to get?

Well, see...he isn't as stupid as he may seem. I mean...if he owes someone money for something that is essentially illegal, what are they going to do? What is their recourse? Okay, if we are talking about Flatbush...in Brooklyn, he's probably going to get a visit from Guido and Tony, who are going to convince him of all the reasons why he should pay his debt in full, and probably with a little interest tacked on. But this guy was living in College Station...home of Texas A-n-M...and he was dealing with college kids. Not guys who were going to remove a pinky until he came up with the rest of their money.

Seems the trail of people this guy has burned is a fairly long one. And when those people found out what happened to him, there was kind of a collective celebration, that someone had finally done to him what he'd been doing to everyone else for the past 5-10 years. 

When I asked this guy if he thought Chan was taking a chip out of play to simply have as a keepsake, telling him that I'd heard from a supposed friend while in Palm Beach that he had a collection of other chips, that he kept as memorabilia. He laughed at that, saying that Chan is the least 'nostalgic' person he knew. That this was just something he would never do. He had zero doubts in his mind that Pelton removed that chip, and maybe several chips...with the full intent to either use them in a later tourney, or possibly sell (or exchange for a 'sweat') to a player who might make it deep in a tourney that he's been knocked out of already. And after hearing that? It made me think....wow, I never even thought of that angle. 

I had convinced myself that it didn't make any sense to accuse this guy of planning to steal ONE chip with the intent to bring it into play in the next event, the Main, a $1675 buy in. My main reason for doubting that? Because I had just finished 38th in that event...and specifically recall that the 25k chips didn't even come into play until we removed the 500 chips from the tourney...which happened when we were down to about 5 tables. And only 1 or 2 at the most per table. So realistically, anyone holding a 25k chip that was trying to sneak it into their chipstack, wouldn't really be able to do so until action got down to about two tables, otherwise it would be too noticeable, especially to guys like me. Me and my O.C.D. come in very handy for things like counting everyone's chip stacks about every half hour. There is no way, if that guy was at my table...that I wouldn't notice a 25k bump in his stack when he hadn't won any hands. 

And the argument that some were making? That he could steal ONE chip and ship it off to China to be produced in mass quantities? That just seemed far-fetched and lacked any logic, since the Palm Beach Kennel Club...which the chips were branded with, only hosts that one in event annually. If someone were going to make that 'play' it would make a lot more sense to steal a chip from the WSOP at Rio, or maybe Hammond...places that get massive fields. It's pretty obvious now that this is precisely what this schemer Lusardi did. The Borgata hosts a lot of tourneys...and hasn't done the best job of mixing up their chip sets, or even bringing in new ones every year or two...which should be done when you are running that many tourneys a year. So Lusardi basically just exposed and exploited a weakness within their tournament operation.

But hearing this new info, about Pelton? I was able to easily convince myself that this guy is/was the shyster that a lot of people had convinced themselves he is. Maybe just not as slick and calculating as the Borgata shyster.

The friend I spoke to even said: "The thing is, even if he was innocent on this one occasion, I can promise you that he has done plenty in the past that he DIDN'T get caught for, that make this acceptable for me to handle." He used an analogy that he got caught shoplifting gum at a store that he'd been robbing at gunpoint in a ski mask for the past 5 years. I thought that was pretty good.

So, in conclusion...and I know this has been a long post...but there was a lot to discuss on this matter, I feel kind of mmmm.....not even sure what the word is. Stupid? Gullible? Something. For thinking this guy was a total victim in all this. Just knowing that he's made a habit out of screwing people over who he knowingly owed money to, that alone makes me glad he got bent over and screwed without lube.  

And something tells me, and this could be way wrong...but it wouldn't even matter either way, that when they went back and watched that video from the whole event over ten days? That they found a lot of evidence of wrong doing by this guy. And they may or may not (I suspect they probably DID) have informed him of what they discovered. Why would they tell him that? Maybe to save him the time and money (and themselves, obviously) of trying to sue them...so that when he arrived in court he wouldn't be humiliated by the numerous video clips they would show in court that blew his case out of the water. Or showed him just to shame him into ever trying to step foot in their casino again. These are just guesses. But I have a really hard time believing that their punishment would have been as steep and as severe as it was if they didn't have something else on him.

You could counter that because of the mess at Borgata, they were over-reacting, trying to make this guy their official poster boy for WHY NOT TO STEAL CHIPS. A lot of people will still think that is exactly what he was, a gigantic scapegoat. Hey, he might be. It might have been just what he said it was. A keepsake. This one time...he may have truly been innocent of wrong doing.

But now that I know what kind of guy he is? I could care less. I am more happy for all those people he fucked over, who finally got to see karma pay someone a visit and clobber the shit out of him. Now...if I could just get Mr. Karma to go visit some of the assholes who have stiffed me over the past 5 years...it would be a perfect day!

Monkey


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Final Table in Baton Rouge....Who Knew????

Okay...first, Happy Mardi Gras, to those of you who embrace that silliness. When Cheryl and I started dating 12 years ago, we went to a few Mardi Gras balls together, and it was, well....like any other formal dance I attended in high school. People go to parades. Why? To see shoddily created floats, and have beads and moon pies thrown at them. I just don't get it. A lot of what I decide to partake in, entertainment-wise, I do by asking myself first: "If aliens came down from space and saw me doing this, would I be embarrassed?' 

If the answer is 'yes' I tend to avoid those activities. Some of you may tell me, 'Dude, you just don't UNDERSTAND what Mardi Gras is all about it! If you really understood, you would love it!' Okay, maybe. That being said, I was all ready to take Carley Grace to a parade today, but the weather is crappy...cold AND rainy...terrible combo, and we are all kind of sick anyway. Didn't seem to stop our new house guest, 'The Claw' who just left to go spend the day partying with her friends.

At 7pm, I may return to the scene of Sunday's session at the Golden Nugget. To play their nightly tourney, a $100 buy in. I've made a decision. The Nugget recently remodeled their poker room...and from the days of the Isle of Capri, it is a million times better. 10 tables, located in a private, quiet, area of the casino. Plenty of TV's to watch. Big tables. Good dealers. Only problem? No players are coming out? Why? I don't know. So I'm going to make an effort to start playing their more often. And anytime I go to play a tourney there, I'm posting on FB and Twitter that I'm heading there to play...and putting a self-imposed $50 bounty on myself. They are currently getting only 1 or 2 tables for their tourneys. I'm hoping they can get that up to at least 3 or 4 tables per tourney. I mean, I'm certainly not going to play thinking I'm going to get rich...that's for sure. But just playing tourneys is fun for me sometimes. 

So Sunday, I went with the intent of playing their 3pm tourney. My luck? I find out they are holding their February freeroll that day...for all the top point-getters from February's tourneys. Great. So decided to play cash. What? No game of no-limit? Shit. Guess I'll play some limit,  since I'd already secured my 'hall pass' with the wife, after performing all of my required 'chores' the day before. 

It was entertaining to say the least. I sit down and am immediately greeted by a guy claiming that now that Alabama has lost McCarron, their day's of competing for National Titles is over! Then another guy piles on that Nick Saban's best days are behind him. Followed by a third guy claiming 'everyone has figured Alabama out, and no one is afraid of them anymore.' Oh...this is going to be fun. It was funny, I literally felt my blood pressure increase as I sat there listening to these morons. I spent the next five hours beating up on them. Twice...a player asked for a set up! Yeah...a set up, in a cash game, a LIMIT GAME...after two monster heaters by me. When they finally got enough players to open a 1/3 NL table, 5 hours after I'd arrived, I had won $350 on that table...which, if you know anything about low-limits limit poker...is amazing.

Something pretty incredible happened while playing on that table. Something that, after I posted about it on my Facebook, Frank Kassela told me had a 1 in 353,000 chance of happening in hold em. Whoa. But first...it was made even more eerie by what happened just one hour before that.

I pick up QQ. I put in the raise to $8. Whole table calls. Flop comes 8-8-2. I bet. They all call, of course. The turn is a queen, boat. Bet, more callers. River is insignificant. Bet, get raised...re-raise...gets capped. The guy had the nut flush. VERY next hand...I get JJ. I raise again, obviously. The whole table (and casino I think) calls. Flop comes very similar to the flop with QQ. 6-6-3. I bet. Country of Pakistan calls. Turn...a jack. Weird. I bet...India calls, with a raise from Somalia. The maximum gets in there...I win again. The table now things I'm some kind of Svengali or something.

Flash forward an hour. I get QQ again. Raise again. Get calls from the Province of Narnia...and flop Q-Q-10. Hello! Check. All check. Damn it. Turn another card (don't recall) Bet...get just one caller. River? Who knows, who cares. Bet 8. Get called. Show quads. More eye rolls. Next hand....NEXT hand? JJ. Flop a set...with I think K-10-J. Get called many times. I turn a J....yeah, just quads....back to back...and action all the way to the river. 353,000 to 1. Crazy. 

Aside from that...it was a typical 4/8 limit game. Lots of swings. But mostly me busting players and making people leave...and lots of old guys mumble under their breath.

So I finally got to play no limit. Sat with $500. And at 3am...yes, 3 am...cashed out with $1300. It was a good session. I had fun. Met some interesting, and even nice, players. And found out the late night shift manager is a guy I  used to play with a lot, and really like. He is really making a huge effort to turn the Golden Nugget into a premier poker destination in Biloxi...which was great to hear. And he has the energy to do it. I just hope upper management over there is open to the ideas necessary to make it happen. I'd love to see the place succeed. And so I will do my part to try and help them out...playing tourneys, putting a bounty on myself, and playing as much cash as my schedule at home will allow for.

Part 3 of three-part Saga from the Belle of Baton Rouge

So when I left off, I was driving through a monsoon to return for Day 2 of the MSPT $1100 Main Event up in Baton Rouge. I returned 4th overall (out of 36) in chips with 132k. Claudia also made it back, with around 70k. There were several other known faces/names in the field, including Austin Bursavich, who brought 180k and a very aggressive style, and who was seated at my table, along with the current chipleader, Erica Sumners...who bagged 232k the night before. I had pretty good position on both. Not that it really mattered. 

I will say this about Austin. He is a young kid. A likeable kid. And has amazing poker skills and instincts. He will eventually win something in this game. But there is a very good chance it's not going to happen if he never learns how to adjust to the later stages of a tourney...to switch gears as they say. I've had him at my table now in three tourneys...where he had a lot of chips in the latter stages of a tourney...and all three times, he immolated his stack by simply playing crazy. Going back, I got a lot of texts and FB posts from people warning me about Austin, and predicting fireworks between us. I knew better. I think I'm one of the players he respects enough to know that if I ever re-raise him, his chances of winning the hand are slim to none, unless he flops the world. And I think he knows, I'm not the player to get locked up in a 4 and 5 bet duel just for the sake of playing big stack chicken with another player. I think it's stupid. I'm there to win money for my family, not prove that I can make an aggressive player fold.

So my strategy with him...and this Erica, who I'd heard was majorly aggressive, was to just sit back and let them do their thing. Pick my spots. Maintain my stack, hopefully add to it a little bit, and take a decent, above-average stack to the final table if possible. Well, it did all kind of go according to that plan. 

I opened the day on the first hand, accidentally limping with AQ. I got the blinds wrong...and put out what I thought was a raise but was only a call. So when Lynn Morris of Pensacola shoved all in for about 35k (blinds I think were 1500/3000)...and Austin called him...my AQ dried up fast. I folded. Lynn had JJ. Austin had A4h. Wow. Well, I would have hit my Q on the river...beating Lynn, if it had been just us....but Austin hit a flush on the river...and eliminated Lynn. Admittedly, I felt bad for Lynn...that is NOT how you want to get knocked out of any tourney. 

On the next hand I got KJ...raised, got called, and lost post flop. Great start. It got worse. I decide to just limp with Q10s...and fortunately...don't get raised. A flop of 7-8-9 comes out....with a spade (backdoor flush draw). It's going to take a large bet to get me off that hand! Well, the small blind...one of the no-names at the table...and a guy who would kind of torment me all day, then finish 5th....just open shoves for 38k. Damn. Smells like he either has a 10...or top pair...or maybe bottom two. I made the call...and he turned over 7-8. Yep...makes sense. It holds. Shit. And now I was down to around 70k and needing something positive to happen pretty soon or I was not going to cash (12 got paid). 

Two levels of sticking and moving, finding good spots to steal blinds...and one nice check-raise all in on the eventual 2nd place finisher for a nice pot...and I was back to over 150k. I managed to hover around that count while we spent one of the longest periods of time ever on a bubble. It took us two and a half levels (50 minutes per level) before we finally got into the money. By the time we got into the money...the average stack was now just 18 big blinds. This final table was going to go quick. I think it took like 15 minutes before we lost 3 and were a final table. 

Austin would not make the money. He got nuts like he always does. I think his biggest debacle came on a hand where he raised on the button...to 25k I think, with 9-10 off. He got re-raised by the big blind, and old guy...who never raised without a big hand....to 80k total. Austin thought about it, and calls. The flop comes ten high....all diamonds. The guy in the BB...with QQ! and the queen of diamonds...leads out for 100k. Austin tanks....forever...then shoves on the guy. We ALL knew the old guy was never folding. He wasn't. He held, and Austin was crippled. Not sure what his elimination hand was...but that 9-10 hand was his real killer. There were a couple other hands that had a lot of us scratching our heads. Austin at one point early in the day had close to half a million, and never had to get crazy like he did to easily make the final table. One day, he is going to figure that out. I would assume.

Claudia got knocked out fairly early in Day 2...when she couldn't bully Q-10 into folding to her AK button raise...when a ten hit the flop and he (Ben Thomas) simply refused to fold to her barreling on all three streets. Ben would later get stung when his aces got snapped off by Michael Benson's 'El Diablo'...yeah...K10. Good 'ol K10. 


When we got to the final table they put us on dinner break. I went with 5 guys to a place near the boat there called...Shucks. The waitress understood our need to get in and out of there...and made it happen. Chantelle. She was awesome. And the food was really good. Allan Kessler ate with us...and about half way through the meal text messaged the tourney director and asked him to extend the 45 minute dinner break by about 15 minutes...which they complied with. So with me...were Kessler, Michael Kasoulis (might have botched that spelling) Michael Benson, and Robbie Williams...all really nice guys and good poker players. And Brett Allelo, who was 2nd to me when I won my one and only WSOP ring 3 years ago, and who lives in Baton Rouge and has become a good friend also joined us.

Well, something eerie happened, and I am not sure if it was my fault or not! Before we left, I said, "I really hope that lady is the first one knocked out...so I can have all that leg and elbow room!" She was in the 10-seat, me the 9-seat...and you know how I am about my space at the table! Well...literally, on the first hand back...8 seat raises with AQ, and she shoves in the SB with A10d. She lost. And was out. The other guys were like...'Monkey...how crazy is THAT!??' I knowwwww right? I felt kind of bad, actually!

Well...what happened next was equally eerie. All four guys that I had eaten dinner with? All went out in order...one after the other. Until it was just me. Did I mention? I  was sitting there card dead as fuck! Getting nothing to play back with, nothing to raise in position with...just nothing. But luckily, I brought enough to the final table to at least weather a 5 or 6 orbit storm. Well, as I've done in other tourneys in my life...instead of getting it in bad out of desperation, there is always money to be made by just sitting there and letting people knock each other out. And that's what I did.

Once we got to 9...I think the payout was $2300....so I had at least covered my two buy ins of $1100 each. It didn't take long and we were down to 6...which I think was $8500. Then we lost another one...and I still had NOT played a SINGLE hand at the final table. Not one! Well, finally, I got a hand...in the SB...and shoved into the chip leader...the guy Shawn who would end up winning,  and who was probably the 2nd worst player at the table. He snap called my shove with A4...and I doubled up to an amount that kept me around long enough to watch another player leave! Now four left...and since I'd not had AA or KK all day, I figured they were either coming soon, or it just wasn't meant to be my day.

The one who was getting all the good cards was the knucklehead in the 1-seat who would eventually win. And though I think he was pretty crappy, he must have had SOME kind of ability, since him and the 2nd place guy played heads up for 3.5 hours. It's pretty hard to play that long if you totally suck. But his play early just made him easy to dislike. 

The guy on my right, in the 8-seat...opened with KK. Shawn in the 1 seat re-raises. It folds back to the 8-seat...and after a minor tanking...he shoves all in....for a LOT...I mean...a TON..and had the kid covered. He calls off. With AQ off. Jeezuz. That's horrendous. But you know he hit an ace on the turn to double up to a massive stack.  And then, he did what most of us players loathe. The 'ol clap of the hands...followed by 'Yes! Ship it!!!!"

On another hand...with the blinds at 6k/12k...he opens for 80k! With what turned out to be aces. Lucky for him he got a call from a guy with K10...who was unlucky enough to flop a king-high board and go broke. More money for monkey. And more ordering by the 1-seat to 'SHIP IT!!!!"

So...at four-handed....and needing to start taking control of the table if I was going to get any deeper, the button raised with me in the BB with A4. He was a pretty decent player, and was one to raise a lot on the button, so I felt like A4 might have been the best hand...or at the very least....not that far behind. I was wrong. I shoved all in, and he called with AQ. Ooops. I picked up some really decent chop outs on the flop and turn...but nothing materialized, and I was out 4th...for a shade under $11,000. 

I felt no sadness or bitterness. I was pretty proud of my ability to get that deep with very little to play with. Patience had really paid off. And I was playing for 100%, so that was nice too. To reward my backers from the S. Florida trip, who I hadn't gotten around to refunding yet (though it had only been about a week since I got home) I sent them all an email telling them I had decided to double their return due to my good run in Baton Rouge. Why? Hell I don't know...just felt like it! And they all sure appreciated it. I have paid all of them out...as of three days ago. EVERYONE is paid out...all my pools, all my Super Bowl Squares winners. I owe NOBODY! Even paid off my homeowners insurance on my house in Pensacola (which STILL sits unrented and is causing me to lose my mind!) for the entire year...which I've never done before in ten years. I love that feeling of liberation that comes with paying off everything you owe! Now...if I could just get the people, and there are a LOT OF THEM....who owe me money....for various things, to get that feeling...and shoot me a payment...it would really be a good day/week/month/year!!!!

I was happy to get out of Baton Rouge with a final table finish. I honestly never, ever expected to do well up there. So it was obviously a huge shocker...and a much needed boost to my rep, my confidence, and my bankroll. All good things. And now, I am a little more excited about packing up a suitcase and going to play somewhere else again soon. Maybe St Louis? Yes, I hate that city, and the players are horrendous....but there is a WSOP event up there...at Lumiere Casino, that is not owned by Caesar's...and another event just down the street...so maybe it's not such a bad idea to trek up there. I also just put about $2000 into repairs and maintenance into my 4-Runner....getting it into peak, road-tripping shape! And with Carley in daycare and loving it...it's a good time to be out winning some money...and trying to get our down payment for a house and move out of this damn rental. I figure I need about 40-50k cash to plunk down on a house of about 200k. Not too bad. Very do-able. Let's see if the Poker Gods agree!

COMING UP NEXT: The 'inside story' about Chan Pelton, the PBKC player disqualified for removing chips from play.

MONKEY