HELP SAVE a KITTY!

HELP SAVE a KITTY!
A BIG KITTY!!!! [click the logo]

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

Friday, May 19, 2017

Update on Wild Card Tourney

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

As I prepare to head to Grand Bear Country Club and play 18 holes (been wanting to play that course for a long time!!!) I wanted to get some quick info out to everyone!

First...if you plan on being an investor in this years 4th Annual Monkey WSOP Grinders' Team...you best be getting on it! I am at 223 shares sold right now. At 350 I stop selling...as I've decided on a maximum of 7 players this year. For info on how to purchase $200 shares email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com

Second...the Wild Card Tourney I am running tomorrow night (Saturday the 21st) at Out of Bounds in Metairie? I made one little gaffe. I thought 'Wild Bill' Phillips was running his annual WSOP ME Satellite at noon there tomorrow. So I picked a time of 6:30 to run mine...using that first one as somewhat of a 'feeder' tourney. 

Well...MY BAD! His tourney is actually NEXT Saturday at noon! However...I kind of determined it might actually be a GOOD thing! Some of the invited players might play the WSOP Main Event today...bust out, and NOT have the money to fire a second bullet for another $1675. Or maybe they will....and then bust before 6pm. And decide to head over to play. OR...in the most optimistic scenario...they may play today...and BAG UP CHIPS tonight! Which would make THEM very happy; as they could THEN play my tourney tomorrow night ALSO! 

SO....bottom line...I am gonna run with it. But what I need, or would LIKE, anyway...is a RSVP email, text, Facebook message...something...letting me know if you PLAN to TRY to make it. I really don't want to do the tourney unless we get 16-20 minimum. If we don't...then I will likely postpone it until either next week, or the week AFTER that. And then I will just stick around tomorrow night and play cash game with everyone for a few hours and buy everyone that DID show up a drink!!! Either way, you can't lose!!!!

SO please text me (if you have my number) or email me (see above) if you are planning on playing in the Wild Card tourney tomorrow night...or would LIKE to be considered for it if not already previously invited. 

THANKS. 

Now I'm going to go out and see how many balls I can lose!!!!

MONK

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Hunt for Minions Continues!!!!

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

Happy May! Okay. Happy Middle O'May!

A bunch of you are currently toiling away at the WSOP circuit event in NOLA. Me, not so much. I'm busy hosting my mom, Squirrel's mom, AND my brother Jimmy...who sleeps about 21.5 hrs a day.

I've been busy working on the Summer Grinders for the 4th consecutive year now...and now that my 'big ballers' have mostly re-upped for another run, the numbers are starting to get very respectable. As of today, I have run it up to 215 shares SOLD, with about 75% of them already paid for.

That locks us into FOUR players...3 of whom were previously named, and one of whom was added via a clarification I confused myself over. Robert Harwell, who was last summer's highest finisher, will return to the squad as the accomplisher of that feat.

So...to date, Chris Canan, David Chocheles, Kenny Milam, and Robert Harwell, are all LOCKED IN and their shares accounted for. With 15 to spare.

Which gets me to the next order of business. The final 2 or 3. Last year we ran a brilliant little tourney, one that was the idea of Lord Puddingsworth, aka Kai Landry. It went so well, and I have such an abundance of applicants from the Gulf Coast area, that it made all the sense in the world to do it again. And this time, instead of 11 players...I can reasonably see us getting 20-25.

Picking the best time to do it was tricky. Having it while the WSOP circuit event is going on here means we have a lot more players in the area, with the opportunity to be here to play. The Main event is this coming weekend. They can either play in that on Friday OR Saturday OR both...if things don't go so well. Kai's place (The Manor) was a no-go...so we settled upon the place my friend and business partner Barth owns, in Metairie, to hold it. His only request? Please don't do it Friday night! Okay. So on Saturday...Wild Bill Phillips, a 3-time Minion member is holding his own WSOP ME satellite tourney at Out of Bounds at high noon!

AHHH HAH! Well...I anticipate some people who will be playing in that, also happen to be some people who will want (and who have been invited by me) to play in a Wild Card Tourney to Find the Next Minion!!!! Hence...I have picked the time of 7pm (arrive by 6:30!) to run this tourney! And I will receive help from the aforementioned Wild Bill...as well as others, including 2017 Grinder Chris Canan, who has offered to be a dealer for the event.

The cost will be $450. Of that, $400 will guarantee each participant two SHARES ($200 per share) owned for this summer's team. So by playing they are already a likely winner of some amount (because SOMEONE is DEFINITELY going deep this summer!!!!!) The other $50 is for admin costs to run the tourney. If you think you are up to my standards for consideration for the team? And would like to participate? Shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com

I would like to have a pretty good idea of how many players we will have (ballpark) by Saturday morning, even Friday night...so we can kind of plan accordingly. Barth has a really great set up at Out of Bounds...so it should go off without any real headaches!

"I WANT MY MONEY, MAN!!!!!!"

Hey! Are you a poker player who owes me money? Well...there are a lot of you out there. And I'm just warning you...I'm getting less and less patient in my old(er) age. I've been awfully laid back about this topic the last 5-10 years...but I find myself getting real cranky lately. And the more I listen to old-school rap and hear them talking about disrespect and what-not? The more I start to understand the motivation behind some of their actions.

See...even if I don't NEED the money, necessarily? It is starting to, more and more, irritate me that some of you chumps are sitting there laughing at me. Thinking to yourselves (perhaps) "pffft! Ha! Fuck that guy! What's he gonna do? Seriously? I ain't payin that dick!"

Well. See, first of all YOU are the one who is a DICK. Second...karma also has a way of catching up with losers like you. (though I'm getting old, and waiting for karma to get you? I'm kind of OVER that) Third. I DO actually have a number of people who have offered their 'collection' services to me. And no...I don't know HOW they go about collecting from deadbeat losers. I don't. And I don't want to. All I know...is if I get 75% of what you owe me? I'm happy. As for finding you? It's amazing how easy it is for these guys. I don't know what they do or how they do it. But they do it.

Look. Those squares you took? That you KNOW I always pay out 100% to the winners on? Nobody put a gun to your head and told you to try and become a big winner when Janikowski made that huge game-winning FG. He missed. It's not MY fault. You still owe the money! I still paid the winners. Out of MY own pocket...since you decided to be a douchebag with no morals. And frankly? I've given you plenty of time to pay. And I'm sick of playing Mr. Nice Guy.

So I think I've come up with a game plan. I think I'm going to give ALL OF YOU until JULY 1st to pay me what you owe me. Or watch you come up with a really believable story that convinces me that you're "good for it." (a phrase I hate almost as much as "check is in the mail."

And once that date passes? And since it will coincide perfectly with the start of the Main Event? And I know a lot of you will be out there trying to get people to back you? Well...I can almost promise you that NOBODY will want to touch you with a ten-foot pole after I torch your ass on this blog. Nope. You will be what we like to call 'radioactive!' 

Pictures. Stories. Yeah. Those two combined? Tell a 1000-words. And if you think it makes me an asshole for doing that to you? And your falsely-earned 'good' reputation? Well...you are wrong. You NEED to get called out. Before you can fuck over anyone else. You know who you are. Quit being a deadbeat, loser, dickbag. PAY UP! Because Phase One....of destroying you on my blog? It's gonna be a go! I promise! In fact...you're damn lucky I'm not doing it RIGHT NOW...because trust me, the urge? It's there!!!!!!

As for Phase Two? Well...I think you're clever enough to figure that out! But let me share this with you. Because this is something I've discussed with a good buddy of mine...who thinks this idea would make for a #1 smash TV hit, were I ever to do it. Let's hypothetically say I get a diagnosis that has me croaking in, lets say 9-12 months? Terminal! Like...I'm going to DEFINITELY die. Well...that's when I pack up all the available firepower at my disposal, grab my buddy, and maybe a camera crew. Rent a sweet RV...and start a tour of the country. Knocking on doors of those who have a long-running debt and demanding payment. Because If I'm leaving this Earth? I'll be damned if I'm doing it before I collect on EVERY DAMN DEBT that is owed to me, and putting it right in Carley's college fund. You might think you can fuck ME over...but my daughter? Ha!!!!!!! Good luck with that!!!!! Plus? You will have the chance at letting me make you famous (or infamous) to the rest of the world!!!!! Good luck digging your way out of THAT hole of Loserdom!!!!!!

Okay. That should be about enough on THAT topic, yeah!??? Needed to get that off my chest!

Bar is almost open! Booked our flights to fly the girls and I...and our little sidekick, Abbey...down on June 14-19th. Barth booked us a charter on the most kickass 53' yacht for a day of boating to the British Virgin Islands. Can't wait! The bar itself looks amazing! Can't wait to start making some money, too...as its been nothing but money going out, out and out since February! But he is down there doing EVERYTHING right! It's gonna rock! I've invited any and everyone to come on down for the Grand Opening weekend...June 14-18th...we have bands and all kinds of special stuff planned. So far I have two, maybe three friends who are coming down and bringing their families.

I'm on another weight loss campaign. And its utilizing the oft-successful in the past Le-Vel/Thrive (see info on right-hand margin over there) Wow. I posted (on Facebook) that Robert Harwell and I are embarking on a challenge with each other...and while I already have the diet plan and exercise regiment all set up, I must have gotten about 10-15 emails from people telling me how I should go about losing the 20-25 lbs I am looking to shed. I guess if one doesn't work, maybe one of those will!!!!!

Is this shit with Trump and the lunatic Liberals driving anyone else as crazy as it is me? I'm not gonna lie...I've almost completely quit watching the news altogether. I just don't see the point. The Trump-haters are never gonna quit hating Trump. The Dem's aren't going to quit trying to impeach him. Ever. And Trump supporters just grow more and more galvanized because of all the BS being heaped at him. It's human nature. Even if THEY (his voters/supporters) don't LIKE Trump...he is THEIR Trump...and they'll be damned if they aren't going to support his ass while all these jerkoffs are trying to take him down 24/7/365. It just amazes me how completely STUPID the leadership of the Democratic party is. I mean...how can you not understand simple human nature? But they don't. They truly don't.

What IS their end-game anyway? Get Trump (somehow-despite a GOP majority in the House AND Senate...which BOTH have to vote to impeach him if its to happen) impeached and then what? They get Mike Pence? Who most diehard liberals think is even WORSE than Trump in a lot of ways? And in doing so (the impeachment) pissing off every conservative and probably even the moderate conservatives in this country SO much...that the thought of EVER voting for another Democrat in their lifetime would be about as possible as ME running and winning the presidency???? First, they will lose all of their remaining seats in 2018. Then? Well...there will be NO then. 2020 would be a hilarious cakewalk to a GOP re-election. It's all so simple...and yet...these liberals just continue to march themselves in to the pits of hell. I love it. It really is comical and entertaining.

The Rangers won't be winning the Stanley Cup again this season. Hence, for me, Hockey season is over.

The Seattle Mariners have nearly their entire starting pitching staff on the DL. And their two best hitters. Could be another long one for Mr. Monkey the Baseball Fan.

The Seattle Seahawks have a new beast mode I think. Eddie Lacy worked out with the founder of P90x last offseason and showed up to GB camp in the best shape ever. His first 3 games he was a monster...but then got hurt. Well Seattle has him now. And yeah...he came in overweight...but yesterday he cleared his first weight 'hurdle' and picked up 55k. I anticipate GREAT things out of him this year. Bad news? There are rumors and rumblings that management is contemplating picking up that douchecanoe Colin Slapperdick. I hate that guy. And I hated him BEFORE 'KneelGate.' I even DM'd Pete Carroll yesterday BEGGING him to NOT let that piece of shit step foot in a Seahawk locker room. We'll see what happens.

Carley got sick this past week with strep throat and had to miss her graduation from Pre-K. Fortunately....she didn't really care. Props to my kid. Graduation? From fucking Pre-K? For real? I hear they have the same shit from Kindergarten next year too. Stupid. You graduate twice, as far as I'm concerned...from High School, and from College. Period. The rest? Are just more idiotic ideas dreamed up by the parents of under-achievers. Fuck those clowns. If you're kid is a loser...it's probably because their parents were losers too. It's called the Circle of Life. Deal with it!

Hmmm...are we done here for today? I think we are. Thanks for tuning in. More soon I promise.

MONK

PS: I did actually step out of the house to play some poker. Went to the Beau and played the $50k Guarantee a couple weeks ago. First bullet, busto! Second bullet...and the $600 last longer I had with this other guy...also busto. Raised on the button with JJ. Got called by BB with A9. Flop came 9-4-3. He led out. I raised. He shoved. "I am going to assume you have Ace Nine" and I called. Yup. Turn? Nine! Poker is great! And that...is my ONE bad beat story for this post!!!





Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Time for a WSOP Team Monkey Announcement!

(so yeah..I STARTED this post last week...should be obvious)

Hello everybody! Hope you are having a wonderful spring! I haven't posted in awhile, and mainly its because I've been busy. I've had the intention to sit down and pen a blog post a couple times...but it seems like every time I'm about to do that...something comes up and sidetracks me! At the moment, I'm sitting in our room in Pensacola Beach, where I brought the girls for a few days while Carley and her buddy Abbey are out on Spring Break. We got lucky...the weather was perfect the entire time. We have to leave in a couple hours. On the way out of town I'm going over to the house I own here and meet with a landscaper about re-doing the sod and getting the sprinkler system back up and running again. I finally have a great tenant over there, and I've been doing a lot of little extra things for her to keep her a happy renter.

Since my last post...I've played ZERO hands of poker. But I have been putting the wheels in motion to launch the 2017 WSOP Team Monkey...aka Monkey's Minions. We are about 2.5 months away from the BIG WEEK.....and its about time to get the ball rolling. I've received a handful of players who are interested in being a part of this year's squad...and I appreciate the interest.

I've decided to take a bit different approach this year. In the past, I've first put shares on sale...then after enough had been raised to send 3 or 4...started naming the players who would be representing us. Predictably, I've had a lot of people who wouldn't buy in until they knew who the players were. I stayed stubborn on those situations...insisting that it would be best if I waited to announce who the players would be. Frankly....I'm damned surprised that I was able to use this method and be as successful as we have been. I guess its a testimony to how much people truly trust my eye for talent and just really wanted to be a part of the action. But after viewing it from another perspective...I now realize that knowing in advance who the players are...or at least who SOME of the players are...also will give THEM a chance to work their own personal networks to get investors to buy shares...not just to support them...but the rest of the team as well. After all, a purchased $200 share not only covers their favorite player...but also buys a piece of ALL the members of the team.

It just makes more sense, I've decided...to name the first three members of the team...and give everyone a glance at who they will have representing them as we go after the MILLIONS that the final table will be offering those final 9 players again. If you are interested in buying a share ($200 per share) or more...just email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Each 50 shares sold, sends ONE player. Last year...we sold 300 shares and sent 6 players, two of which cashed...Robert Harwell and Christian Iacobellis. The investor/player split is 65/35.

2017's FIRST THREE MEMBERS of TEAM MONKEY!!!!

KENNY 'TRUCKER' MILAM

DAVID CHOCHELES

CHRIS CANAN

If you go checking stats on these guys...and the place where most people like to check stats is either on www.cardplayer.com or www.hendonmob.com you will find that Kenny Milam has the most cashes of the three. Another thing I noticed is that his earnings are split...which often times happens with these reporting sites. I've personally had profiles under various combinations using my first, middle and last name. Kenny is listed under Kenneth, Ken and Kenny. Aggravating. I finally got on top of mine...and had them all merged a long time ago.  Kenny's biggest listed cash is $40,000 which was accomplished in the $10k WSOP Main Event in 2015. As for David, he's a relatively new player..and his biggest score is also $40,000...which he won playing in the $3k Main Event at the Beau Rivage's Main Event in the Million Dollar Heater in January 2016. 

None of these guys are going to knock you out with their amazing stats. One large reason for that is that they play a lot of local tourneys...at Caesar's New Orleans for example. Here's the thing about the reporting sites...they no longer report ANY results that come in events that are less than $400. Which eliminates a LOT of results. I'm not a big fan of that decision by those sites...but its THEIR sites, so.....

For the first couple years...I had 'Wild Bill' Phillips back on the squad for a couple of reasons. One...he ran deepest the first year...and he was the only one to cash the 2nd year. But also because he was the owner of the site who has been hosting this blog for the 9 years I've been writing it. He has also been incredibly supportive to me personally, through all my trials and tribulations in poker. And additionally, he played a huge role in promoting this effort on the site itself. I didn't necessarily make it a POLICY that anyone who cashes will be back the following year...though it seems some have arrived at that conclusion. Obviously...they would merit consideration, especially if they were good team members...which our two players who cashed last summer WERE. Robert Harwell and Christian Iacobellis certainly have to be on the short list for consideration on this year's team again. 

It's always an extremely stressful job in deciding who gets one of the spots on the team.There are a lot of various factors that come into play...and I always fear upsetting people. 

I'll be totally honest...I was really close to nixing the whole thing this year. What started out as a bit of a mission born of spite towards Jack Effel, who has unfairly kept me on the outside looking in when it comes to playing WSOP events...and it being my way of having a presence in the world's biggest poker event, has become more of an annual event that focuses a lot more on just giving a lot of people a fun sweat during the tournament. On top of that...it gives an opportunity to some players to chase their dream, players who most likely wouldn't be able to otherwise play. That aspect of it has taken front and center since my own involvement in poker has dwindled mightily the past few years. I've been much more involved in being a husband, and a father, and branching out into other avenues of making money. It just gets harder and harder to justify traveling to cities and spending countless hours at a poker table trying to win amounts of money that are inconsequential. If I get the time...and a BIG tourney presents itself...where the prize money is worth putting in the time for, then YEAH...I will totally give it some consideration. But it just doesn't happen that much anymore.

This winter I was presented with an opportunity to do something I've always kind of yearned to do again. Back in the early 90's...after a number of years in the Food and Beverage business doing every job from the bottom to the top...I got involved as a part owner in a bar (Lulu's Baitshack) in Atlanta, as well as another one in Athens. We had 6 of us...which proved to be very problematic for a variety of reasons. I always said I would NEVER do a bar again with partners. Well, my best buddy from the New Orleans area, Barth Melius, who happens to have his hands in several (anywhere between 3-5, I can never keep track) bars and/or restaurants over there...took a trip to St Thomas with a girlfriend for a little vacation, and while there kind of tripped upon a place that was available. He asked all the right questions and got all the right information...and when telling me about it...I asked if I could get in on it with him? We've talked about doing 'something' together in the past...but so far it had only been to maybe buy a boat together!

Well...after a lot of research, we decided to buy this place in the Red Hook area of St Thomas. Barth is literally the only human on Earth who I would be partners with in a bar. And he says the same of me. I have a background also as a wine and liquor rep for Southern Wine and Spirits...my last job (in Pensacola) before quitting in 2003 to play poker full time. So I have a good amount of knowledge on the other side of the business as well. But Barth is basically a genius at these things...and has been down there pretty full time for the past three months. Any thing I've asked about...he's usually already covered. It's an amazing location. He negotiated a fantastic lease. The food we will be serving is cajun...which the locals down there are thrilled about. We are located in a big yacht marina..just a few hundred yards down from the Ferry that runs to St Johns. We will be called 'Bernies'...and feature a theme that plays off the old movie "Weekend at Bernie's" which was actually filmed in St. Thomas! We have gotten permission from the production company who made the movie to use various items to promote the bar. The build-out has been going on for over two months and is almost completely finished. We are both REALLY excited, and so is Squirrel. The opening...which will be a 'soft' opening...will take place in about two weeks (May 15th) and then on I THINK June 9th...maybe the 15th...waiting on final word there...we will have our HUGE Grand Opening party...which is being sponsored by Avion Tequila! If you were a fan of 'Entourage' you know who THAT is!!! There will be bands and lots of give-a-ways as well. 

I went down 3 weeks ago for a week to just basically check everything out and see what I was getting myself into! I loved it! Barth has rented us a condo that is literally 50 yards from the beach...called Sapphire Beach, which is beautiful. There is a little bar and grill right on the beach too. When its time for the Grand Opening I will be bringing Squirrel and Carley with me...and maybe Carley's little travel buddy who goes just about EVERYWHERE with us....Abbey! It's going to be a really hectic month...with my mother, my brother (Jimmy-the one with Down's Syndrome) Cheryl's mother...all coming for long visits during the month. Then in June...the trip to St Thomas...then a week in Orange Beach with the family. All of this...led me to waffling on whether I really wanted to take on the added stress of doing the Poker Team again. It wasn't going to take much to talk myself out of it. 

But....then the emails started coming in! The ones wanting to be on the team. The ones wanting to invest in the team again. And before I knew it...I was sucked back in again. And since we got 4 in the first year (2014) then 5 in the second (2015) and 6 last year (2016) naturally I am going to shoot for 7 in 2017. What can I say? I'm silly like that!

Oh...and to you donkey dicks who read my blog to find something to bust my balls about? Who think everything I do is a scam? Oh how I love thee! This little deal that I do? I've lost money doing it the first three years. I take NOTHING for doing it. Zilch. I invest in it myself...15 shares last year ($3000) and if the players don't win enough to get us back to even and beyond? Then I come out a loser. It's a very straight forward business model. All investors know who each other is and how many shares everyone has. The backers hold a 65-35 stake in all the players. If a player cashes...the $10k buy in is taken out and put in the collective prize pool. Then whatever they win...they get 35% of...and the rest? Into the prize pool. However much money is placed in the prize pool...it gets split up into even shares. If we sell 300 shares like last year? And there is $50,000 in the total prize pool? Then each share is worth $167. Which is $33 short of the purchase price of $200 per share. So basically, the break even point on 6 players...with 300 shares sold...would be $60,000. Everyone would get exactly $200 back per share. The first year we got shut out. Two years ago, Bill Phillips won $40k roughly, and each investor got back $95 per share. (taxes also figure into things) Then last year...two players accounted for $43k and each investor got $105 per share back. So...to be fair...with the tax implications...the break even point is actually a bit higher than $60k...probably closer to $80-85k. 

Ideally, we get ONE player who makes it down to the final three tables then we are freerolling on all the other players! To be able to get back to break-even with one player would be great! Bottom line...I put in a LOT of work...with the rounding up of money....with getting all the t-shirts, hats and hoodies made, and just the never-ending back and forth correspondence that goes along with doing this. But...when we get to the Team Day...and all the contracts are signed, the buy ins are done, the team photo is taken, the schwag is passed out...and the team dinner is over....and all I have left to do is kick back and watch the Minions do their thing? It's all worth it. To watch them from afar...through their social media updates...its a blast. To see all the support they get from the investors. To see them give us all their updates on their current stacks. It's a blast. It's easy to see why people get so excited about it. It's not everyone who can just drop everything in their lives and run off to Las Vegas for 7-10 days to play in this thing. So to be able to spend a little money to have a bunch of 'horses' to root for? Its the next best thing to a lot of people.

As for myself? From a poker standpoint? I don't know what or even HOW much I will play when I go out there. Maybe just play one or two big tourneys at Venetian and The Wynn. I know last year my trip out there corresponded with their main event at both places. I ran pretty well in both of them...bagging up on Day 1 in both but falling short of the money in both too. I wouldn't mind trying to improve on those performances. 

So...Carley just turned five this week...and one of the things I got her for her birthday was something she'd been pestering me about for months now: a fishing pole. Our friend manages the local Academy Sports and I went in there last week, spent a couple hours with him...and him hook me up with everything I could possibly need to go sit at the fishing pier and try to catch some fish. She is all excited to go fishing now. I promised her if she was good at school today I would take her fishing tonight. Well...I also forgot we promised her best friend Presley we would go to her last T-ball game tonight when we saw her at Carley's birthday party last week...so looks like I have to figure out how to squeeze in both things tonight!!! 

Again...if you are interested in being on the team this summer...please email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and tell me a little bit about yourself...and why I should be considering putting you on the team. You don't need to tell me your life story...just enough to get my attention! Throw in some stats...but I can also search on those myself. No promises! And I DO try to at least respond to everyone who applies...but that can get tough at times too. 

TAKE CARE!

MONKEY


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Hobbies Never Suck!

Greetings my poker (mostly) friends. It's been quite a year so far. We saw the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last month...or the greatest choke job, depending upon your point of view and who you root for (or against). We've seen the most controversial president in the history of our nation slog through his first 100 days with a wholly divided nation hinging on every action and every word that comes out of the White House. 




We saw an Academy Awards end with a Steve Harvey-esque conclusion...throwing chaos into an event that was already being watched closely by the Conservatives...as they waited for another Liberal Hollywood personality use their pulpit as a place to preach politics. Chet...the older brother in 'Weird Science' who couldn't cut Wyatt and Gary a break in their pursuit of building the perfect woman (and at that time, Kelly Le Brock WAS the perfect woman) just passed away. We had a lot of famous people die last year...and in fairness, most of them had reached their end naturally. But Bill Paxson...only 61? All these actors and musicians who I grew up with in my childhood, dropping left and right...has put a whole new perspective on my own mortality. 




On February 16th, I hit the half century mark. Ask me twenty years ago if I considered 50 to be old...and I would have enthusiastically replied, "Hell yeah it is!!!" Then you get to 50...and things really change. Little changes in your subconscious...you don't see yourself as being old. Even looking in the mirror, you still see that guy you saw in High School and College. It's not until you go to Dollar General and that little acne-faced teenager addresses you as "Sir" that you even feel a little bit older. Funny thing...when I was younger...much younger, I wasn't one of those asshole kids who made fun of old people. And I think that it was mainly due to my grandfather who passed away when I was about 15. Before he died, we had some of the greatest chats. He taught me so much about life, and about people, and shared so many experiences with me of his amazing life. I took a lot of what he said to heart...and have tried to live the fullest life I possibly can. I've traveled the world. I've dabbled in numerous career fields. I think I can safely say, I left it all out on the field! And whenever I encounter someone I consider elderly...I'm left wondering to myself, "Hmm...I wonder if they are happy with the life they've led? I wonder if they have regrets? Things they wished they'd done? 

We get older...and friends and family members die. The older we get...the more frequent it gets. It gets harder and harder to process. But then....I wonder...do we just get numb to it? Does it become such a regular thing that it doesn't phase us after awhile? Do we just wait for our turn to arrive? And while we are getting older and older...we have these little jerkoffs...they are currently called 'The Millennials' in most circles, who think they know SO much...and have such little regard for anyone outside of their generation. 




They will be replaced by my daughter's generation...no telling what they will be called. And so it goes....on and on and on some more. Ask me when I was 10, "Do you think America is an old country?" And I would have reacted by saying "Oh yeah! Really old! 200 years!!!" But then you live 50 years...and it all seems to go by so fast...and you realize...damn! 50 years is but 25% the age of our nation!  (older now, of course) So no...I think our country is nothing but an infant. Isn't that weird? This...what you have just read? Is what I would call one of my classic sidebars! Now back to my originally intended blog post! 

Shall we talk a little about poker? Especially considering this is a poker blog on a poker website? Sure...why not. I also assume there are a handful of people checking in periodically to see if I am taking on comers for this coming summer's team of grinders...to venture out to the desert in pursuit of millions. Well...I will, indeed be getting that ball in motion soon...very soon. Let me just say...I have about two or three people in mind for this year's team already...if, of course, they are equally interested in being on the team. As for all others? The process...is that I take applications...with (hopefully) an impressive cover letter. And one thing that I would impress upon potential applicants? Have some impressive scores on your resume. Try to keep in mind...its not just ME who is investing. In fact, I am but a mere partial investor. I just happen to be the choreographer of the whole shebang. So, while I may very much be impressed with your skills at the poker table...remember that there will always be 100-125 people who I must convince that this person I have chosen is legitimately qualified to take our $10,000 and make a run deep into the most famous poker tournament on the planet. Because when I select someone? And they fall on their face? Guess who gets second-guessed and criticized? Yup! This guy!!!!

All interested/potential candidates should email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com for consideration.

How have I been running? Well...first I drove over to New Orleans...then drove a little longer. Got lost a couple times...but eventually found my way to Boomtown, who was running a semi-big tourney for the folks from Heartland Poker Tour. It was a good field, and had a good structure. I had only committed to firing one bullet, and wasn't all that excited about it....because their Day 2 would be played on Super Bowl Sunday...and they didn't have any kind of set up to be able to watch the game from the tournament area. It was also situated in a very poor location, smack dab in the middle of the slot area. So it was noisy as hell, and smoky as a mother. I'd been warned about the smoke by others...so picked up some surgical masks on my way over there. 




I made the dinner break...and that was the highlight...because, while the service at Pier 41 was dreadful....just lousy....the food coming out of the kitchen was amazing. I sat at the bar and feasted on a ribeye steak that was incredible. Then I returned to the tourney and busted....don't even know when. But I didn't bag, so what does it matter? The following day...having returned to Biloxi, I posted on my Facebook that I'd been fantasizing about that steak all day and would happily pay someone to bring me the same exact meal I had enjoyed the night before. Well, no sooner did I post that, than Charlie Gelvin messaged me that he'd take me up on my offer. I was like...."Whoa, what?? Really!??? Okay!!!" And about two hours later I was sitting at my kitchen table eating that same meal and drinking one of my better bottles of Pinot Noir! Bliss!!!



Know what I forgot? I forgot that after busting the Main there...I made my way to their poker room...just to see if it was as much of a joke as I'd heard it was. To my surprise...there was a big 1-2 game going. Yes...I said 'A big 1-2 game going.' I know, some of you are snickering! Well...by the time I got into the game...bought up to the biggest stack ($1800) and played for about an hour...there had to be $15-$20k on that table. We had railbirds...probably 10-15 just sweating this game. It was nuts. Completely nuts. Had I caught even a couple of breaks, and had even a few hands hold up as they should have...I would most likely have cruised out of there with about a $3500-$4000 profit. Instead...I lost $2700. So...a nice little -$3800 road trip. Ugh. 

Next up on the poker agenda...was a trip to West Palm...aka Palm Beach Kennel Club. I flew down this time, instead of driving. And for the first time, I became a UBER user...which I was more or less impressed with. The one hiccup being the day I got a Cuban lady who spoke NO English at all and took me on a ridiculous maze-like adventure all over South Florida! If you follow me on Facebook...you might have enjoyed that exciting adventure! Well, I also decided to treat myself...since it was the week of my BIG FIVE OH...and booked myself at PGA National Country Club in Palm Gardens. It was incredible. Maybe not exactly worth what I paid for it...but it was peak season...and they did have the Honda Classic coming in the next week, so it was a very electric environment. While I was there I got a chance to play three rounds of golf and loved every second of it. Before I went down there...I got with a local golf pro to work on some of the holes in my game...mainly with my irons, and seemed to have worked through the major issues. Thank god...because the last thing I wanted to do was embarrass myself in such good 'golf company.' Turns out I played fairly well...well enough at least to convince my playing partners that I knew what I was doing!

The day I flew in, I got to the hotel, checked in, and returned to the Kennel Club to play that day's Omaha 8 or Better tourney. Getting there late was probably a good thing. I got deep...and then ran like crap. I don't remember exactly, but I think I busted about 15 from the money. I was just in time to hop into the 4pm Turbo tourney...and got deep in that one too....but busted 8 from the money in that one. Sigh.......

The next day I played the 6-max at noon...a tourney I've never cashed in my career. I've been close many many times...but never a single cash. Well...that ended, finally. 188 played...and I busted 11th...just missing the final table...but happy to finally have a 6-max cash on my resume. The only downside to that day...was that the 4pm tourney was an 8-max...which seemed to me to be the PERFECT tourney! The ideal amount of leg and elbow room...and not too speedy or geared for super-aggro players. So I didn't get to play that. 

That was the extent of my tourney play that week. I took the rest of the week off to focus on R&R at my resort and playing golf. On Thursday night...I went with Tim Burt to where he was staying, the Hard Rock...and played some cash game. It was my birthday...and it would only stand to reason that I would run like a....well, actually, I didn't really RUN GOOD....I just had all my hands hold up. And got paid off on them. I bought in for $300...and in only about 2 hours...cashed out with $2450. A very nice little session! Earlier that night...Tim and I had dinner in my hotel lobby...and they were having a big benefit raffle. We both bought a good amount of tickets, and I ended up winning the Grand Prize...which was a 3-day/3-night stay at PGA National along with golf for two on the Champions course ($420 value per round!). I don't think I've ever won a raffle in my life before that!  So yeah...my birthday was somewhat memorable!!!


I came home from South Florida...and got together with my best friend...who I've decided to enter into with as partners on a bar and restaurant in St Thomas, Virgin Islands. As we sat eating sushi, I forked over the second LARGE certified check in the last calendar year (the first being for our house!) for a major purchase/investment. I used to own a bar in Atlanta with, ahem...SIX other guys...big mistake, and I said I would never do a bar venture with multiple partners again. That bar was incredibly popular and successful...and I've always kind of missed that business. Well, my friend is the ONLY person I would EVER be partners with in this kind of thing again...and he's done an amazing job securing the location, the lease, and all the other components necessary to get a place like that opened. We look to open the place in about a month. So I will most likely be taking some trips down to St Thomas in the coming year. Hopefully I don't lose my shirt! But I feel good about it overall, and think we will be really successful! 

Finally...last week, I decided to play the Beau's Friday $130 tourney...my first tourney there (not counting the Million Dollar Heater) since I'd had my five-year ban lifted in January. It got a decent turnout of 54 players. The nice thing about playing a little hundred dollar tourney...is that there is very little that can happen that is going to get me irritated. So early in the game...when I was losing to some of the shittiest hands...I just bit my tongue and laughed. To myself, of course. Overall...it was a nice day of poker. And after my hands started holding up...I started building a pretty nice stack. It was only paying 9...and when we went from 34 down to 17 all of a sudden..I started thinking how nice it would be to win my first weekly tourney since I returned. But I've been in those spots so many times...and every time you start thinking you have a pretty good shot to win....something almost always seems to derail your plans! So I just kept waiting for it to happen.

We combined at 10 players...and they all started chirping about taking $15 out of pocket to pay the bubble. Well, I am now...at this stage in my poker career, heavily ANTI chop. And I don't give a crap about the bubble...whether its me, or someone else. I mean...seriously? Is that $150 really going to change your life that much? Luckily, there was another guy at the table who said 'No' so I didn't have to be the lone voice of dissent. Which was nice...I hate being the bad guy if I don't have to be. 

So we played on. Eventually we lost that 10th person. Then we got down to 6...I was still 1st or 2nd in chips. They started up with the chop talk again. I politely declined. They offered me 'a little more' than the others. Again...I told them, "Guys, no offense, I don't like to play all day so I can quit when we get down to 6, or 4, or 3, or 2. Sorry, I like playing final tables. It's not a money thing for me." And that was it. Well...we get four handed...the blinds are 6000/12000 and a very interesting play happens. This guy limps on the button with 9-10 off. The guy in the SB...who was extremely 'squirrely' all day...meaning...mmmm....I don't know how to explain it, very twitchy or something. Made very erratic plays. Well he completed for 12k with what turned out to be A10 off. Well, if I'm in the big blind with something like QJ suited? And they have both limped at THOSE levels? And I have them both covered by a good amount? To me...that's just them telling me..."Hey Monkey...you want this pot of $36,000??? (with antes)" And I'm like..."Of Course I do! I'm all in!" (for about 30 bb's) Well, before the button can act on his hand...the SB acts out of turn and stands up (like he'd been doing often) and declares he calls. In my mind I'm alternating between..."what the fuck?" and "whoops...fucked that one up, I guess" and ...."Sure hope I suck out!!!!" 

Well now the button limper...who actually had plenty of chips to just get out of the way...especially knowing that the SB had already announced his intention. Now...as a logical thinking human...I'm thinking...WOW...this guy just did me the biggest favor ever! Hopefully he can cripple Monkey...then we can finish him off...and do a three-way chop deal! Right? Nope. Not this guy. He stands up...and says..."Well, shit...since this guy isn't going to do a chop deal....I might as well just get it all in, what the hell...." Um...okay then! So we are all three all in...and the flop comes A-Q-7. Well...I got outs! The turn is an 8...giving this guy a straight draw...and killing my Jack as an out...shit. The river...BOOM! I spike a queen! And I take them both out!  Heads up!

Now this other guy starts asking about some kind of deal. I have him about 5 to 1. I repeat my speech....he respects it...and we prepare to play. At this point...his wife...who had been observing for awhile...situates herself right over his left shoulder. And he is showing her every hand.

Okay first of all? I've never seen that happen where the floor doesn't make that person leave. Frankly...I couldn't care less if someone wants their lady friend to sit and watch. In fact, I'm all for it...it certainly makes things more interesting for them! In such a boring game, otherwise. I just was surprised, that's all. 

Secondly? Boys and girls...word to the wise here: If you get heads up with a player that is above average in skill level? And has demonstrated an ability to pick up physical tells from other players over the past decade and a half? It is probably not in your best interest to have someone sitting over your shoulder, who's face is in clear view of your opponent, looking at your hole cards. Because what that does...well, I don't think I need to spell it out for you, right?

Lets just say...it was a nice advantage to have...when I would look at his wife's face after looking at his cards...and know if he had a big hand, or a shit hand. Because if I was on the button, and I was fairly certain he had a shit hand...I would just raise 2.5x and take down the pot.  Hopefully the guy I played against will read this, and not let that happen again. Not that I don't think I would have or could have beaten him anyway....it just might not have been quite so easy. 

He almost had me, actually. It was down to 4 to 1...and when I raised with AJ suited...only to have to call his all in with 99...I flopped two pair only to get turned by a nine and ship him a very large portion of my stack. Then he caught a bunch of good hands to get me down to where he had me now about 5 to 1. But I turned it around...and got super aggressive against him. Finally, I raised with A6 suited...and called his all in...with KQ. I caught a dream flop....a 6-5-4 flop with two spades. Nice. I held...and it was over. I don't usually ask for a 'Victory Shot' in a tourney like that (daily) but given the circumstances, I felt it was both necessary, and appropriate. It felt good to win again. Anything...but especially to win at the Beau Rivage. It had been a long time....on the outside looking in. It was a win for $1570...no big deal. It was a great feeling to just sit there...with all the chips. Its one of the very rare feelings in poker that still get me excited. Right up there with making that hero call...when you are counting on your reads to be right...and they are! 


I left a generous tip...and went to meet the girls who were already at Chili's. Carley gave me a card protector for my birthday, that has her picture on both sides of it. The first thing she asked me: "Daddy! Did you use your coin today for poker!???" I love it. "I sure did! Don't you know that's why Daddy won!!!???" 



That's the last poker I've played...last week. I don't have anything else planned right now. Me and Squirrel are taking a little 4 day/night trip to Punta Cana next week...her birthday gift to me. Carley is staying home with her Mimi...its an all-inclusive, adults-only resort...so it should be a nice weekend. Not something we get to do very often. She's been on a rampage lately in the gym and with her diet...trying to get down to her 'playing weight' for this summer! The Elliptical I bought her about 3 years ago...that she largely ignored and used for a place to stash the extra pillows from the bed...has finally been getting a great workout this month! After that? Well...as you know...I run sports pools...and here comes March Madness! I don't really follow or care that much about hoops...but March Madness is always pretty exciting. So that will keep me busy through April I guess. After that? Not sure! Guess we'll have to wait and see!!!! 

MONKEY

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy New Year...Back in the Beau.

Well, here it is January 22nd, Sunday. Later today...4 of the best QB's in the NFL today take the field in the NFC and AFC Championship games. Sadly...my Seahawks will not be there for the 2nd year in a row after a run of consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Even sadder, was last Monday night...watching Alabama control Clemson most of the night only to get 'Vince Young'd' at the end and having their 17th National Title snared away from them by the hungry Tigers. Our home was in mourning for a few days. (yeah so...I finished this post a little bit later. We now know our two Super Bowl opponents are New England and Atlanta. Should be good)

This weekend, we celebrated...well, half of America did anyway, the Inauguration of our 45th; and easily the most polarizing and controversial, President of the United States...The Donald. The Trumpster. Or all the names the liberal folks decided to label him. It went smoothly, no terrorist attacks. Madonna didn't blow up the White House, despite threats to do so. There was bickering about crowd sizes, about the talent level of the concert performers...and of course, what event in the new USA wouldn't be complete without some good 'ol fashioned rioting and looting!!! Even more ironic was watching these collective group of asshole Millennial's as they threw a garbage can through the window of their iconic gathering place...Starbuck's. If that didn't make you laugh...well, that's just impossible! Then Saturday...we had a march...a march that was originally planned to be a 'I'm With Her' victory march for Hillary Clinton...as she was completely expected by everyone to be taking the oath this weekend. But just like all that money that was spend on fireworks that were never used, the champagne on ice that was never popped...this parade turned out to NOT be a victory celebration, but instead, a part to protest Trump's being elected. Oh sure...some tried to put a pretty shine on it, saying it was just 'an expression by woman to voice their concerns about their human rights' etc etc etc? It just came up sounding lame...especially when women who voted for Trump were kept OUT of the proceedings, as if they don't have the same needs and concerns as women who voted for Clinton. This was simply another reason to scream, yell and stomp their feet in anger and frustration that their party wasnt good enough, or their candidate strong enough...to beat what was easily the biggest joker the GOP has ever put up on the ticket! Sorry...but knowing what I know now about liberals? That just cracks me up even further!!!!

So the event, the Million Dollar Heater, has just concluded at the Beau Rivage. I had mixed results in my week there. In the first multi-day, multi-flight event...I somehow, miraculously managed to play just ONE bullet...and bag a good amount of chips. After a day off I came back for Day 2. I didn't play very long...it's been over a week so I've forgotten what occurred...but I lost early, finished somewhere around 200th place...for an eerie amount of prize money, $666 in my first tourney back to the Beau after five years.

The next event I played was the Omaha 8 or Better. I started pretty bad...but once I gathered momentum...I pretty much cruised to the Final Table. I came into the final table with the chiplead...but then it ended up being ONE OF THOSE final tables....all good hands went up in smoke. If I flopped a great hand with outs to get better...I'd miss all those outs...while they would hit some crazy miracle card. Or if I was behind but only needed 17-23 outs...I seemed to miss them...every time. And at those blind levels...that can't happen very often before you are out of chips. I ended up busting a disappointing 6th place for $1500. But hey...at least I was 2 for 2 so far.

The week would just go downhill from there. I played deep in the Monster...only to bust on Day 2 in...if I recall...45th? Something like 9 from the money if I recall? Then basically the same thing happened in the Mini-Monster. Can't remember how many it was paying...or where I went out...but it was within 10. Another bag up for Day 2, only to come back and bust. I had a run with AA over Friday and Saturday where I went 0 for 6 at one point....and finished that run 10 for 12...that's LOSING with aces, 10 out of 12 times that I had them. It was pretty sickening. I kept losing...of all hands, to KQ.

Then, after bubbling (or close to it) in the Little Monster, I directly bought into the Main, Flight A. What a freaking train wreck. I've tried to put it out of my memory. But I do know I lost with AA not once, not twice, but three times! I also flopped a straight and lost. Turned a flush and lost. Flopped a set and lost to a bigger set. Honestly...I have no idea how I made it to Level 5...but I did. I finally busted before the 2nd break...when in a blind vs blind situation, I moved in for 8k vs.Houston Carter...who literally puts an entire table on life-tilt in about 10 minutes no matter where he goes. Asks if I want a loose call...which pretty much ANY call he makes for more than 2.5x the blinds IS anyway. "Sure...give me a loose call....I need a double up." So he calls...with Q4. I flop a King...feeling pretty good...pretty safe. He turns a four...and rivers a four....and I just have to laugh.

I go play the 3pm $355 Mega Satellite. It would eventually end up paying 5 seats..with the 6th person getting $970. Care to predict where I finished? I'll just tell you. I finished 7th! I went from feeling relatively comfortable with my stack...to losing to a shortstack...me with ACES (again!) and them with 66. I blind down a few orbits...and am now in desperation mode...with 7 people left. This guy raises three hands in a row...and I look down at 55. I have to take a stand. Dammit. I shove all in vs. his raise. He tells me "You're going to be SO mad at me....I have to call." Oh. Just aces? That's it. How wonderful. I don't improve. Bubble boy!!!!

Bubble Boy decided to go play some cash game...and that did not go well either. I did, however enjoy my comped meal. That might as well have been the highlight...as I think I dropped about $800 in there that night. I like the new location of the poker room. More spacious, and a cool feeling to it with the brick walls and stuff. On the weekends, yes it's a little loud, with Coast being right next door...but oh well...bring your headphones if you don't like noise.

SO I show up the next morning ready to have a good run. Allen Kessler again ducks my Last Longer offer...which had kind of been blowing up all over Facebook. After he made some slapdick comment on his Facebook page, trying to sell pieces of himself for the BR Main...he mused about how 'soft' the field would be at the Beau. So I took exception with his claim...and took it up another notch by offering to play him for a $5000 last longer. But of course, Allen being Allen, he decides to make it all about math and a bunch of other factors that basically just added up to him being too scared to take me up on it. Once I busted on Day 1A...which he also played...he inaccurately ripped me on his wall..saying I had burned two bullets already...I guess when he saw me bust out of the Little Monster he assumed that was the Main. Then he tells his wall buddies I busted at 100/200...again, not true...close...but not true. It was 150-300! And he ends up busting not too long after me...so I had the thrill of having 'ComplainSaw' seated right over my left shoulder on Saturday for Flight B.

He would end up back at my table for the last level of the night...and I watched him go broke with his 55 vs 10-10 when he figured he might be good on a rag-infested board and a straight and flush draw. Other guy had the 10 of diamonds to counter his 10 of diamonds. And no cards came to help him make a straight, or a set...and Allen was busto. I'm not sure who's happier that he didn't take a last-longer bet with me...him or me! I know if I had won...he would have attempted to pay me with a plethora of free play and comps and other shit I had/have no use for!!!! That would have been sheer hell!!!

SO I end up bagging 143k that night. I came back with 58 players....paying 18. The day started pretty smooth. I won exactly ONE hand in the first level...K10...that I got to see in the big blind....betting top pair, getting called...then going runner runner 10-K and getting no more action. Bummer. Then I sat there card dead as a mofo, and not getting into any good spots where I could raise to steal some rounds of blinds. But we were also losing players pretty rapidly...as you always seem to do in those tourneys. When we got to about 30 players I finally started getting some hands. I picked up JJ...and after raising 2.5x...I get shoved on by TK Miles...with a semi-short stack...holding 66. It was a tough tough spot. But after having played with TK for years...I knew...that HE knew...that I was the one person he could most likely get to fold a hand that strong to his shove. I hated calling...but I did..and was thrilled to see an underpair...which didn't manage to hit a two-outer on me. Now I had some breathing room, finally.

I picked up another few pots and was now over 200k and really liking my chances...despite the field being incredibly stacked with talent. Frankly, I have always preferred to play against better players in big tourneys.

That is when the shit hit the fan. Tara Snow was sitting on about 15 big blinds. I will assume since she has never played against me...and doesn't know that I don't screw around on the button by raising with shitty cards...that she thought when she called my raise (and me holding KK) with her KJ that she was golden when the flop came J-8-4 rainbow. So she check raises me all in. I call of course...and when the dealer was kind enough to deliver a jack on the turn...she felt like a genius, I felt oh great...here we go again...and instead of being up to close to 400k...I was back down to 145k. Then our table breaks. We go to a table where she is seated next to a guy I've never liked. Aaron Massey. Why don't I like him? No special reason. I just find him annoying. He's short, and I never seem to click with most short men. And the way he acts in mid-hand is extremely irritating. Ive watched him play a lot, too...so nothing he does ever comes as a surprise. So of course...the festivities get started with me raising under the gun with AQ suited. I get a ridiculous 4 calls....from the table full of call stations...then it comes to him and he goes into his 'terrified ferret' act. The look at the cards. The shuffling in the seat. The eyes growing larger...the breathing unsettled...chest bowing up...eyes darting all over the table...oh for fucks sake, DeNiro...DO SOMETHING!!!!

He does...he re-raises the shit out of it. Well, I've seen this little act from this little shithead too many times to even WANT to give him credit for a hand. And since I have about 235k and he has only 105k...I think I can blow up his big plan by just moving all in on his ass. Which is what I do. The other four fold, of course...as I expect him to do. Only he doesnt. Nope. He snap calls and arrogantly turns over two kings. Hmmm...isn't that marvelous. The dealer and eye look into each others eyes...him being the guy who just gave the gal a two-outer jack on the other table to beat my hand not too long ago. I say to him...."throw me ace here and all is forgotten sir!" Naw. Why would he want to do THAT? Instead...the flop comes K-J-J! Oh...okay. How nice. Here you go, troll...take 105k off my stack.

Then I sit there, seething a little bit, and I hear him chit-chatting with Tara some more...and I'm not certain about what hes saying...but its annoying me, whatever it is. About this time...once again under the gun...and now down to about 28 players (paying 18....good for $4500'ish, with $150k going to 1st) I pick up AJ suited...and raise from 800/1600 to 5200. Again, I get two callers. And Tara is one of them.. Well? I have KJ smashed preflop!!! Then here comes the 'Terrified Ferret' again. Oh lord. Goes through the whole act again. And raises a bunch, again. I'm so tempted to shove. But decide I can wait for a better spot. I fold. Everyone folds. I hear the two of them talking...she says she almost re-raised...which he responds to by saying if she had re-raised, he would have folded. Huh? So your telling me I should have folded when I shoved...and I should have shoved when I folded? Yep...about what it felt and sounded like. SHIT!

So I go another couple orbits without anything to play. Then...finally...and once again under the gun...I get pocket jacks. And I'm not down to about 22 big blinds. I raise. I get two callers. And this time, SHE does the Massey-like re-raise...and after sitting and watching the two of them chat for the past hour...all I can think, is that she is basically getting tutored by the little troll..and he has taught her that move. So, that probably has as much to do with my move to ship back over the top as anything. That and I was just sick of getting pushed around by that end of the table. Maybe I could have folded there. I don't know. But this time? Of course...she has AA. Of course she does. And unlike her...I don't get any help from the dealer by handing me a jack or two. How nice that would have been.

I was out. 25th. 7 from the money. I was feeling pretty bummed out. Thought about jumping into the last event...that 200 plus a bunch of juice tourney...but I knew in my head that I wouldn't be bringing anything resembling my 'A' game...so I just kept on walking out the door, and went home. I wanted to get as far away from that tourney as I could. As fate would have it...she would end up winning the whole tourney...and $150,000. I dont know if they made any kind of chop deal or not. She got heads up with Kyle Cartwright...and exceptional player who everyone expected would win....but the cards just really, really, REALLY went her way for the whole session. Seems it was her 'one time' to run good in a big tourney. I had a few pretty well known, good players tell me they had encountered her recently up at Pearl River...and that she was known for playing KJ really hard. Makes sense. I will assume it's her favorite hand.  Well...good for her. She does live in Tuscaloosa, so I can only assume she is an Alabama fan...so after our loss in the National Title game...I'm sure that money and that win helped ease her suffering as a Bama fan...as it would have mine!!!

But for me? Just another two-day deep run gone up in smoke. But...if you know anything about poker...you know that this is just how cruel the game can be to you. A lot! In fact...most of the time!!! So, now? Now that I don't play with the pressure of HAVING to win...or some bills might not get paid? It's mostly just the losing that irks me. Which I guess is a nice place to be, mentally, when playing the game. During the week I was able to have some fun, have some nice conversations with some people I actually missed seeing in poker. Also saw some very funny things. I wish I could have shared some photos, but I think we all know the history with me and posting pictures of people on my blog! One of my favorites of the week, though...had to be the guy who we ALL know...I mean...can I just say: If you are known to a large group of people? And you decide to go out and buy a toupee? Is that REALLY the group of people you want to try it out on!??? This guy walked by my table in the first weekend, during a sit n go...and I was look and am like...."isn't that...wait...whoa...what the...." and had a guy next to me finish the sentence for me, "yeah man....that's what you think it is! No idea who he thinks he's foolin!" I'll tell you what...if you are looking to be a huge millionaire? Come up with a toupee that isn't so painfully obvious that it's a...well...toupee! 

It's now Wednesday...and we are minutes away from leaving for...ugh...Orlando. Last year...we went to Disney the week before the Super Bowl...and apparently, my wife thought it was so wonderful, she decided she wanted me to take everyone back again. Only this time...we've flown my brother down from Seattle to join us. Jimmy. My special needs brother who basically sees through me and only sees my wife...or 'Seester' to him. Who he has an obvious crush on. So while his being handicapped status should move us up to the front of most lines...he will turn our journey through the theme parks into a crawl...as he putters around at a clip of about half a mile and hour. Its painful. But don't feel bad for me. I got all my pain pill prescriptions renewed, and refilled...AND...rented a motorized scooter for down there. Isn't there some kind of universal name for those things? Hover-round? Land Yacht? Is it motorized scooter? I assume you all know what I'm referring to. Anyway...because I'm sensitive about people looking at me with the stink eye when they see what on the outside looks like a perfectly healthy man...even though they have no idea what lurks beneath the skin with my two bad knees or my shot-to-hell lower back and the three bulging discs and two arthritic vertebrae, I feel compelled to slap a knee brace on my leg just to give them a sign that I've earned the right to pay $176 to rent this bitch for 4 days!!!! Hey...whatever it takes to cut down on the hate!!!! I can promise I will be feeling a LOT BETTER when I get home THIS year...than I did LAST YEAR!!!!

As for poker? I really entertained going up to Choctaw to play that Main Event. But I was too burnt out and tired from the event at the Beau...and didn't even bother with it. I know they have a pretty juicy (it would appear) coming up at Boomtown in New Orleans this coming weekend...but alas, since I will be in Orlando going heads-up with Mickey and his crew of Extortionists...I will have to miss that one too. Next on my possible hit list...despite the fact my mother would like me to come visit her and my sister in tropical Milwaukee for that WSOP event at a casino I can't pronounce....is West Palm Beach WSOP. I might have to package that request to my wife as it being my 50th birthday gift to myself. Hanging out with my boys and playing a little poker while betting on the doggies like a real old fucker! Picture it! So yeah...that is what I will be angling for! West Palm in the middle of February. This Monkey officially becomes an OMRG and eligible for OMRG events on February 16th. Beleeee-dat! It's freaking me out...I can't lie.

Okay...gotta pack, before this woman has an aneurysm. 

MONKEY

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Farewell to 2016....

Sept 16th. That's three and a half months. The period of time since I've last posted here. Very un-Monkeylike of me, I know. I actually wrote half a blog post in October...but never got back to it to finish it, and now, its just totally out of date. So this seems like an excellent time to put up one more post for what some, has been a very traumatic year. 

The Chinese calendar called 2016 The Year of The Monkey. And for me, personally...it was an exceptionally positive year. Bought a house. Paid off a car. Played very little poker. Staked some players, some successful, some not. Took lots of vacations with my girls. Went to a lot of Bama games, and even a Seahawks game. Had lots of family come and visit us, with more still on the way. And as I sit here in my hotel at the Marriot Marquis Atlanta...where the Alabama football team happens to be staying...I look out over the city from our 24th floor room, cold and dreary outside...and contemplate what today may hold, and what 2017 may provide us as well. 

As a kid growing up in the Seattle area, my first true love in sports was of the Washington Huskies football team. Thanks to Warren Moon and his heroic effort in leading underdog Washington to a win in the Rose Bowl over mighty Michigan in 1978, I've been hooked for life. I sat with my girlfriend at the time...having flown in from NYC where I was living at the time, and with a room at the famed Chateau Marmont, and in the SAME room that John Belushi overdosed and died in...we went to the Rose Bowl in 1991 versus, again...Michigan. Michigan and their Heisman poser, Desmond Howard. That day, the greatest Husky lineman of all time, Steve Emtman...owned Michigan. The Huskies crushed Michigan...and the Dawgs had their first National Title in program history. Granted, they had to (unfairly!) share it with those hated Miami Hurricanes. I can't tell you how many Husky games I attended as a teenager....a LOT! I saw the Dawgs play and beat the John Elway-led Stanford Cardinal. I saw them upset 3rd ranked USC with Marcus Allen and a cold and rainy day in Husky Stadium. I saw them win the Apple Cup when my step-brother was a backup for the WSU Cougars...and got to go in the locker room before and after the game. Simply put...I had an amazing childhood as a football fan growing up...and everything was Huskies and Seahawks!

The following year, in 1992, I had a new girlfriend. She was a model...from Mobile, who had recently graduated from Tuscaloosa, then moved to NYC to get 'discovered.' She decided we were flying to New Orleans...visiting her family in Mobile, then driving to Tuscaloosa for homecoming, and the game against South Carolina. I fell in love with the whole 'SEC-thing!' Husky football was great...but 'Bama football...and later, as I would learn years later...the SEC in general, football was a religion. A deep-seated passion. And I was hooked! It was another cold, crappy day...and we all left at halftime with Bama winning big. I followed them closely the rest of the year...all the way to the Sugar Bowl...where they upset the heavily-favored Miami Hurricanes to win the National Title. And so...a relationship was born with Alabama football! 

As most of you know...I married a girl from Alabama...and while 'the other side' of her family are 'Auburn folks' most of her family...the 'good side' I call them...are diehard 'Bama fans! Over the last decade I've lost count of the number of games we've attended...and even Carley went to her first two games this season, in Dallas vs USC and Oxford against Ole Miss. I wasn't brave enough to dare take her to Baton Rouge with me for that game! But she is ready and excited for today's huge game in the Georgia Dome. We are being joined by our good friends Robert and Kelly Harwell...and their 10-year old daughter, who hit it off right away last night when they met. Jayden even brought Carley a cute necklace for their first encounter. So sweet! 

And...so...it's happened. In the past, I've had people ask me: "Monkey, what happens if the Huskies ever play Alabama in a bowl game or for the Championship? Who will you root for?" I never thought it would actually happen. It has happened. And yeah, it feels super awkward, and not even right...but I have to be true to my Huskies. Partially I suppose because 'Bama has done SO MUCH winning this past decade that maybe they can let us have one! Honestly though? The knowledgeable football fan in me doesn't see the Washington O-line being able to handle the incredible Alabama defensive line. In the only two games where I saw Jake Browning get pressured hard...against USC and again vs Colorado...he looked dreadful. It could be more of the same today. BUT...big but here...if the UW O-Line really steps up...and gives him just DECENT protection? UW could very well pull the upset. I think the Husky defense is more than good enough to stop Alabama's offense. Guess we'll see...either way, one of my top two favorite teams of my life...is going to Tampa for the title game!!!  What I do NOT want to see? Is Washington getting destroyed and embarrassed. Anything but that. 

After the game...I suppose we will find something to eat, then find a good place to hopefully watch some fireworks and the peach drop. Tomorrow we are doing the aquarium...and if I can talk Squirrel into it...the Falcons-Saints game...where I need a Saints win...coupled with a Seahawks win...so they can clinch the 2-seed and homefield. GO SAINTS!!!!! Then of course...that 6-hour drive home!

So....poker??? Have I played? Meh...a little, not much. At the WSOP event at the IP in September...in their first event...the biggest, player-wise...I made my deepest run...finishing 8th out of 800 players. But at the final table, I made two really really bad plays, that cost me at least three more spots, and probably any chance at winning. Live and learn. Then they had a decent little event at the Scarlet Pearl that drew a pretty good turnout. After Day 1a and 1b I somehow had the chip lead coming back on Day 2. Well...pocket queens pretty much took care of that. It didn't get all in preflop either...I flatted the four-bet...then on a board of rags couldn't find a fold button...insisting in my head that I was up against AK. I wasn't. It was KK. I was crippled, and would lose a little while later, finishing with a much-hated min-cash. That was my last tourney action. I've had a couple of non-memorable cash sessions since then. Starting next week however, now that I am again welcomed to play at the Beau Rivage, I will most likely head over there for the Heater and see if I can splash around and find some luck. It will be nice to see a lot of people I haven't seen or played against in a very long time. I'm very excited about the crew they have running the place now, a bunch of guys I basically spent the last decade either playing WITH, or having deal TO me...or watching them start their careers as floor guys. I'm happy for them, and their progression in the business. They seem to be doing things right over there. Good to see. Hope they get a great turnout this coming event. 

So as this year comes to a screeching end tonight, we will be ushering out, as I mentioned from the top, a year that was pretty traumatic for a lot of people. And by that, I mean death, and Donald Trump. I spent quite a lot of time...too much, my wife would argue, debating politics on Facebook over the past 12-18 months. I'll be honest, I have NEVER in my life gotten SO involved in anything political as much as I did this election. I can honestly say...before this election, I really didn't know the TRUE difference between a conservative and a liberal. I didn't know what to even call myself. I think, now that I have a true understanding of the two...that I am a fair mixture of both, but a lot more of a right-leaning conservativeSLASHrealist. Most liberals that I've 'discovered' during this year have really opened my eyes about a lot of people I never guess I really knew as well as I think, or thought, I did. Sadly, a lot of 'them' would say the same exact thing about me. When I look at the skirmish...the 100's of years old skirmish between the Palestian's and the Jews...and see how no amount of dialogue ever seems to lead to peace, it reminds me of the frustrations of trying to have a logical conversation with a diehard liberal. It starts as being frustrating. Then I get angry. Then I get flustered AND angry...then I finally back away from the computer before destroying it!

The long list of dead celebrities this year is shocking. We literally lost some of musics most celebrated artists this year. In sports we lost one of our greatest legends in Muhammed Ali. In this latest death...Carrie Fisher dies after a heart attack, not really a surprise given the years of abuse she has put on her body with drugs, alcohol and obesity, but nonetheless, she was an amazing actress and writer...and someone's daughter, someone who was also a celebrity, and also still alive at 84. The next day, Debbie Reynolds, her mother...also died. As a father, this hit me and hit me hard. Cheryl (yes, that is Squirrel's 'real' name) and I often talk about how horribly tragic it would be to lose Carley... and how we would likely respond. I know that I would almost certainly want to die. We have no other kids, are too old to have more...and she has literally become our whole world. Losing her? I would lose my desire to live. I've had a great life. I've done all that I could have ever wanted to do. My whole life now is all about making sure Carley has a great life where she never has to struggle...while, along the way...teaching her the value of a dollar, teaching her m. anners, and respect...and teaching her valuable lessons. All while showing her the world, and giving her one great memory after another. I write to her in a book, a journal I guess. Letters from Daddy. Some day, after I'm dead and gone...she will read that book...and learn things about me she never knew. About feelings I had on everything, her especially...and I will hope that will round out her relationship with me and make dealing with my death a lot easier for her. I meet so many people who I hear say, "I just wish I had known more about my father....." I don't want to be that father. 

And so here comes 2017. A new year. A new start for a lot of people. A time to make all those new year's resolutions. A time to usher in a new administration in Washington. Will The Donald do the job he promised? Will he drain the swamp? We he bring back jobs? Strengthen our military? Build that damn wall? Will he EVER be able to do enough to satisfy the Hillarista's even a little bit? I don't know the answers. I wasn't Trump's biggest supporter. I took issue with a lot of things he does and says. Still do. But to me? He wasn't Hillary Clinton, who I regard as one of the worst human beings on the planet. The worst, and most corrupt, careless and reckless politicians of all time. She felt we owed her the presidency. She has no respect for 'average' Americans...and at the end of the day enough Americans saw through her act to keep her from her ultimate goal. It is a night (Nov 8th) that will be forever etched in my memory. A lot of really good pinot noir was consumed on that night. I've never been so fired up about an elections results. Hey...in 2007, I voted for Obama. I bought the dog and pony show. The big hope and change BS. I did. I admit it. And it didn't take long to be disappointed, as the curtain was ripped open and the show exposed. I read a LOT of books...about his administration, about the Clintons...about the Bush years. I informed myself. And I knew that a Clinton in back in the White House was going to be VERY bad for America. And thank god...for once, my fellow Americans DIDN'T let me down.

And so...as we head into a new year...I am hopeful for great things to transpire in the new year. A recovering economy, a stronger infrastructure (roads and bridges), more jobs, better education, better relationships with our foreign adversaries, while also garnering more respect, and a little fear. A real, no BS effort at protecting our borders and toughening up our immigration laws. A diminished emphasis put on political correctness...THAT would be REALLY nice to see!!! Perhaps we can even get a president in office who doesn't seem hell bent on dividing the races and driving a wedge between us at every opportunity. Sorry...but my glass is resoundingly half FULL...and my glasses are in fact rose-tinted! And if I'm wrong? Or if my expectations are NOT met? Well...it will just be another disappointing president. Nothing new. But the worst thing about it, will be having to listen to what has easily become the most annoying and loathed group of people I ever thought could exist...LIBERALS. If liberals were a race? You could truly call me a racist!

With that...I must conclude this. We are set to meet our friends in 20 minutes. So I will wish you ALL a very safe, and happy New Year!!! May all your teams win! May all your champagne be cold! May all your hangovers be cured by Excedrin Migraine! And may all your first dates be deals that get closed! 

MONKEY