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Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Minions Get Hit With The Shrink Ray!!!!

I thought by now (Day 6) you all knew this already...but I guess not, judging from a lot of the comments left here. 

The Grand Plan fell short...as our only Grinder advancing to Day 3...'Wild Bill' Phillips, was somewhere in the 2nd level on Day 3 when his KK fell to JJ...the other guy flopped a set. It was a true bummer, as Bill started the second day with 18k...and managed to get it up to 54k while the other three guys all busted on Day 2. 

In checking the unpublished comments before writing this today, I happened upon one that kind of irritated me, and left me feeling like I owed some people an explanation. Maybe I don't...but hell, whatever.

I can honestly say that I had an equal amount of confidence in every one of these players. Who I picked, and who the public (you guys) picked, really didn't have anything to do with my friendship with any of them. Now, saying that...I am really good friends with Kai Landry and BJ McBrayer. Bill and I have mostly a professional relationship, though I think the world of him...we've never actually 'hung out' before. And Joshua and I had never met before spending half a day at the same table at Venetian. His father had actually presented him as a 'Grinder Candidate' way back when I first announced my intentions to try to pull this idea off. I liked what I read. I  researched his results and also liked what I saw. And embarrassingly, I didn't even realize it was him at my table that day at Venetian! The other two guys who didn't get picked, Christian Iacobellis and John Wesstra, are both also good friends. In addressing one of this guys' comments...that he found it 'interesting' that I ONLY chose my good friends? This is what I would say in rebuttal:

If you were going to invest a large amount of money in someone to play in the Main Event...who would YOU pick? Someone who you KNOW had a good shot to win that was a friend? Or someone you KNOW had a good shot to win who you either didn't KNOW...or who you didn't like? I would hope that isn't a tough question to answer. How you would use this as a 'conspiracy angle' makes me shake my head in utter confusion. 

To further that...I had somewhere between 15-20 people apply for the seat. I would say at least 10 of those players I knew pretty well. It would be hard to go out and just dig up people with skills who I DON'T know...especially considering how long I've been at this game. I mean...I look over the final 300 players in the WSOP Main Event yesterday...and I would estimate that I know (in some way) at least 25% of them. Currently the field is down to 55 the last time I looked...and I'm pretty friendly with four of them...Leif Force, Kyle Bowker, Matt Waxman, and Bryan Devonshire. I would love it if ANY of those guys won or even made the Final Table. Not because I have a piece of ANY of them...but because I just enjoy rooting for people I like to have good things happen to them. Simple concept, though I do think there are those who wish for some of their fellow players NOT to do well because they are simply jealous of other people's success.

Anyway...the "you just picked good friends" barb is pretty stupid, if you didn't figure that out. Last point on that: If anyone, and I'm speaking of investors...thought that the players I selected weren't worthy...or didn't possess the skills to win the Main Event...do you think...for 1 second...that they would have committed $200 per share? Again...you can't fix stupid...and even harder is trying to defend yourself AGAINST stupid!

I managed to make a big discovery last night/today. Two discoveries actually. So out of nowhere, on my Facebook wall..someone I'm not friends with...and who goes by the name of a woman that just happens to be the name of his dog...and who's dog is featured as the avatar/profile pic on his account...pops up out of nowhere and poses a lot of very unusual questions.

To paraphrase, he basically was trying to insinuate that I was 'running a scam' by overselling the shares...and that I then apparently sat crossing my fingers that NONE of them cashed...so I could, you know...make a little money on the side. Then he spent the next two hours waffling back and forth (in true Bi-Polar fashion)...going from "Oh I was just curious about the business model of such a venture" then swerving to "Well, if no one verified how many were sold..then how would anyone know!?? I want you to send me your whole list of investors and what they bought!" Huh? This was about the time he got jumped by 5 or 6 of my investors...who had taken notice and come in to both defend me and explain to this guy that he had absolutely no fucking business asking to see information that he wasn't a part of. I was grateful for that...but at the same time...I'm sitting there thinking to myself, "Holy shit...is there ANYTHING I can do in this life without SOME asshole trying to paint me as a shyster?"  I'm telling you...the shit really gets old.

Just so I can make this as easy to understand as possible. We raised enough to send 4 players to the WSOP. FOUR. Which cost a total of $40,000. I personally bought five shares myself...for $1000. Once we hit 200 shares...the sale was closed. Two guys who sent me $200 before I had a chance to tell them we were full....Jon Chisholm and Eric Cochran...both got their $200 refunded back to them on PayPal within an hour of sending it to me. It's my opinion that only the biggest idiot in the world would go out of his way to find and send the BEST PLAYERS he could to try and win $10m in a poker tournament...purchase $1000 of the plan HIMSELF...and then go and oversell shares for what? A chance to make a few hundred, maybe a thousand extra dollars?

There is a reason I don't play tournaments under $100. Because 'scores' of anything under $1000 are pointless to me. $1000 will do very little to change my life. And I would assume, most of your lives too, who are reading this. So...why in the F*** would anyone with half a brain (which I'm positive I have, maybe even 3/4 of a brain) run the risk of exposing himself to potentially $32,000'ish PER SHARE should one of your four players WIN the Main Event? Hmmm...can you say "find a new country to run away to?" As I stated, I have TOTAL confidence in every one of these players. So for someone to insinuate something like overselling shares...to me is just a reflection on how fucking stupid THEY are.

In addition to just common sense...there is another thing called credibility. After doing pools for over 20 years...and selling poker packages for about 7...I have a spotless record on paying people who win, and doing it quickly. People don't chase me all over kingdom-come looking for their money. Ever! I run pools on a regular basis where I actually lose money on them. Mainly because I always take a lot of extra entries for myself...that eats up the small commission I charge for running them. And now...I award a hoodie to every winner of my pools...which is another $50. On all three Triple Crown race pools I did...all the winners got a hoodie despite me losing about $100 on each pool. No big deal. It's all about keeping my word.

The people who bought into the WSOP Grinders package...73 of them....I would say about 80% of them either play my pools or have bought into one of my past poker packages. I'm pretty sure NONE of them have any doubts about how I run  these things. So why do I let it bother me when someone like this guy hijacks my wall on Facebook (I finally blocked him after he turned it into a contest of 7th grade-like 'your mama' and 'your sister' jabs with people who were defending me and slamming him) and starts making all these ridiculous and irritating comments and accusations? I'm not sure. I've never been someone who is good at just dismissing them, turning my head...and marching on. I've always for some reason felt like I needed to defend myself. I don't know if that is a flaw or not. It's just the way I've always been. 

One note regarding my 73 investors: We had some REALLY classy people in the group. Midway through Day 1 I opened a private Group page on Facebook just for them, the players, and the players' family members. Once all the players had been eliminated, there were some incredibly nice comments left on there, in support of the players. It really made me happy to see that the overwhelming feeling wasn't sour grapes. And in turn, the players did a great job at expressing their gratefulness for being given the opportunity. Wild Bill posted a really cool post on his blog, that appears on this site. I won't lie...I was touched. And it made me feel SO good about the decision I made on these four guys. 

And to take it one step further, several of them (investors) expressed enthusiasm about doing it again next year, if I do it again next year. I am currently working on trying to get back in to playing all the WSOP events, and hope to have that resolved by the new year...but I have to think..even if I DO get in, and am free to play the Main Event next year...I think it would still be a lot of fun to do it again. It would give me a chance to start earlier...and outfit everyone in 'Team Monkey' gear...make it a real 'team' thing. Granted...all four guys really did work together, from picking each other up at the airport, to meeting to get their money and get bought in together to staying in touch with each other. It was cool. And as a player...I'm telling you...when you are in Vegas...it can be a very lonely place sometimes...especially when you are out there grinding by yourself. Having a group of people with you...all supporting each other...it really is an emotional boost...whether you're running good or like shit.

And hell, if you have 4 or 5 of you on a 'team' and you all have a financial interest in each other...it makes it less of a blow when you get 1-outed on the river for your tourney when, as your walking out you realize the other 4 guys are still alive...and you can turn a positive into a negative by being supportive of them and hoping good things happen for them, and in turn...yourself!

For the financial backers? A lot of these people play poker...but can't get out to Vegas to play for numerous reasons...jobs, family, other obligations. And so what this offers to them is a chance to have a 'sweat' in the biggest tourney of the year. And I made damn sure the players picked would be good about keeping everyone informed...which they did a pretty good job of. Granted, had any of them made it past Day 4...they wouldn't have had to...since every move from that point on is pretty much on the websites...and I wouldn't want them being distracted by ANYTHING. Having a bunch of those backers tell me they can't wait to do it again? That makes me feel like I did things the right way.

Oh...so back to my 'discovery.' I've been getting these shitty comments on my blog as I mentioned. Obviously there is never a reason for me to publish them. Well...and besides, for whatever reason...that 'comment' widget on the blog design/layout stopped working last year some time. I've done everything to fix it and nothing seems to work. So I couldn't publish them if I wanted to. Well...after the marathon (250+) comment thread that I finally locked him out of last night...he turned around and left a post on my blog, again. Same manner of speech. Same tone. Same theme. Never before has someone gone so NOT out of their way to mask their identity. Basically reiterating everything he had to say on the Facebook thread...with the warning that my 'little pool operation is now being watched!' OH!!!! Scary!!!! Watched by who? I'm about to be busted by the Pool Police? That's hilarious. Bring em on. I register EVERY payment. EVERY payout. Report all my profits (minimal) on my taxes...where I file as a professional gambler.  Not exactly sure what this guy thinks I'm going to get popped for. Then he mentioned I was going to be 'watched' for something I don't even partake in. So that was interesting.

What I haven't mentioned is that I was tipped off by someone as to who the 'talking dog' on Facebook was. And the more he talked the more it matched. Other little clues fell into place until I was 100% convinced of who it was. I won't go into detail or reveal his name...but suffice to say, it came as a disappointment. It was someone I honestly tried to help about 4 years ago...and who kind of suffered a mental episode while we were amongst fellow friends, and instead of confiding in me like I'd hoped he would have...he just retreated. Went home, and burned all the bridges to all of us...lumping all of us into the same category. I was never upset with him, or mad about anything. In fact I felt sorry for him. But what that got me was a big EF YOU I guess. I hadn't heard anything from him or about him in the 3 or 4 years since. But now, I realize he's been keeping real close tabs on me and my life...while leaving these horrible messages on my blog message board. And then taking it up a notch and blasting me on my Facebook wall last night.

Here's the thing with my Facebook. I have my settings set so that people who aren't my friends are free to see my wall and make comments on it. Is that smart? Meh...probably not. But the thing is...I feel 100% confident with how I live my life. I know I live a clean life and don't screw people over. Sure...I'll make fun of people sometimes...or rip on people I think deserve to be ripped on. And that probably isn't what some people would call 'nice.' But I can't help it. I'm sarcastic...and there are some people who just leave you no option but to make fun of them. But does that make me a 'bad' person who does 'bad' things? Of course not. If I was a scum bag with a lot of shit to hide...there is no way I'd let just anyone make comments on my Facebook, as I'd be running the risk of getting caught. 

Oh wow, I just thought of something. Now that I've said this...if I now go and make my wall private, and only open to my 1500+ friends to see and make comments on...then they WILL say all those things I just said are all the reasons I DON'T make it private. See!!!!??? Damned if I do...damned if I don't! I guess I'll just leave it alone...and hope that I can count on my friends to have my back when I'm getting assaulted by some jagoff.

So yeah...I've had a pretty fun day. In between all this I watched a pretty boring World Cup final. I'm 75% German...but if Argentina won I'd have won 3rd place in my World Cup pool. And I never played soccer. I really just watch it during the Olympics and the World Cup. And will watch if the Seattle Sounders make the MLS Championship only because they are from Seattle. One thing about soccer that makes me sick is the number of times guys go down like they've just had their leg cut in half...rolling around on the ground like they're dying...only to pop back up 30 seconds later and resume playing. Yeah yeah...I get it..their trying to sell the foul. Just like in basketball. Well, I hate it there too. Well...Germany won. In extra time. Thank God. I think using penalty kicks to decide a World Champion is a joke. Another reason I love the NHL. Sure they use penalty shots in the regular season after a 5-minute OT period doesn't decide a winner. But not in the playoffs. Nope. Play til you die! And you will see quite a few 2 and 3 OT games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It's the greatest. That last game between my beloved NY Rangers and the LA Kings...that ended near the end of the 2nd overtime...was one of the most incredible games I've ever seen in my life. And that's coming from the guy whose team LOST. Anyway...enough about soccer.

I've been going at it with people on the ESPN message boards all week. It is literally one of my primary sources of entertainment. My wife thinks I'm nuts and that it's a waste of time. But it's just damn near impossible to read some of the stupid comments people leave and not just rip into them. I really think if I was a comedian, I would resort to the message boards for a lot of my material. It's there...in heaps.

I drove 5268 total miles on my trip out west and back. Before I left I had my rear brakes fixed. So why..I wonder...did they squeak and squeal the whole time I was gone? It was driving me bonkers. I get back from our family trip to Orange Beach this past week...take it in to where I got them done...and this old guy tells me...yeah,  I just knocked the glaze off your discs...you should be good to go now. Huh? Glaze? Made me think about ham. Mmmmmm...ham! Snapped out of that and said, "Um..so they aren't squeaking now?" Nope...you're good. And I was. No charge. Weird.

Anyone wanna talk about what's going on in Israel? No? GOOD!  Brought it up on my Facebook wall and it became another 200+ thread. One thing about the Arabs and the Jews...no matter who is involved in the conversation...it almost always becomes heated. Just when I think I know enough to have an educated discussion about what is going on over there...people hit me over the head with facts I never knew..which always leaves me kind of regretting getting into the conversation in the first place. I'll say this...I like learning things, and at 47 it doesn't happen as much as it once did. And that two-day thread was very educational. I will only say that I hope nothing happens that both sides will regret.

What's next for me on the poker landscape? Hmmm. Well...there are TWO events, both in August, in South Florida. The Palm Beach Kennel Club was awarded a second circuit event..and now they have the first one of the season...from July 31st to August 12th...in addition to the one they have in February. Then from Aug 14th to the end of the month, the Hard Rock in Hollywood has the $10m guarantee that I went down and played last year...min-cashing the Main and running pretty bad in everything else. The investors made about half their money back if I remember right. Those would likely be the last events I'd want to play heading into football season...when I become content to sit at home for the most part. In fact...I don't think I played anything last year after the Hard Rock until January, when I went to Choctaw. Those four months off from poker were great. I just looked at the All-Time Cashes for WSOP circuit events...and where I used to be 3rd on the list...I've plummeted to like 15th! With nine cashes I could get back into the top 5. It must be the competitor in me that has me thirsting to regain my spot on that list. Well that and I just like winning. Oh and winning money also doesn't suck. So that is a possibility.

The only thing that complicates those plans...is word from my sister today that my mother, who after recently retiring, is planning on selling her house in Seattle and moving to Wisconsin to be closer to my sister and her kids...is requiring my assistance to fly out to Seattle sometime in the next 30 days to help her get her house ready for sale...and move a bunch of heavy objects. Well...it's my mom...you only have one mom...and I don't see how I can say no. She's done a lot for me over the past 5-10 years...as well as for my wife and daughter. Not that those things make me feel obligated, I would do it anyway. But NOT doing it...well, that would make me a pretty rotten son. And hey! Maybe while I'm there my suddenly resurgent Mariners will be in town and we can take in a game! My mom loves the Mariners too. We sweat out games together via text message...her watching on local TV and me watching on MLB.tv that I subscribe to for $29.99 a month. 

Okay...that's it for this blog. Hope you all had a great weekend!

MONK

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Grinders Return to Day Two....All Four of Them!

Here we are. The cards just went in the air on Day 2C...which is 1200 players shy of the 3768 they started Day 1C with on Monday. Five levels were played and at the end of the night, all four of my sponsored players (by 73 individual investors) were still standing. Oh...none were sporting monster stacks...but why would that be any fun!??

Early in the action on Monday, an article appeared in the Live Reporting thread on PokerNews...an article penned (or pecked I guess) by Chad Holloway, who I've gotten to know fairly well through the years. With the exception of the photo of me he chose, one I'd never laid eyes on before and if I had would have burned...and his letting the cat out of the bag on my 'strategy' should any of my Four Horsemen of the Monkpocalyspe make it down to the final three tables (yes Kai, I'm giving you creative credit for that moniker) it was a fun and appreciated mention! Here, in case you missed it was the feature itself.

 http://www.pokernews.com/live-reporting/2014-wsop/main-event/post.233959.htm

I will assume Chad searched for the picture that best illustrated my utter disdain for the WSOP and their reasons for keeping me on the sidelines of the worlds biggest NL Tourney.

 So as you may or may NOT have been aware, this Friday was a frenzied affair! I woke up needing to still sell a few shares to get our 3rd player into the big game....and that was immediately remedied by (a) writing a blog (b) posting on Facebook and Twitter and then (c) sending out an email to my 1800+ distribution list that I use primarily for my sports pools. As a matter of fact, they were sold within an hour of the notification...and then oversold, to the point that I found myself turning away enough to cover half of another player. 

Then it happened. One guy...who I won't name, announced he'd take 20 shares if we could get one more, a 4th guy...into the tourney. Boom! Done! And so like that...we had 42 covered. The last shares went quick....and suddenly there were four. Now my biggest problem, was going to be getting my hands on $40k and getting it to Vegas. That proved to be a nightmare. First, Friday was the 4th of July...so all banks were closed. I'd received a lot of the money on PayPal...which, if you have PayPal you know it takes 3-4 business days before a withdrawal from there actually hits your account. Oh, I tried to find someone in Vegas who would let me send them 10k on PayPal and in turn hand one of my players already there 10k in cash. No dice.

My money mule, who I'd given $30k in checks to...to cash...on my way home from Vegas...had elected to NOT GO to Vegas...creating another roadblock. Oh boy! In a last second hail mary...I woke up on Saturday morning, found the nearest Wells Fargo that was open on Saturday (until 2) and drove there from our vacation condo in Orange Beach, Alabama. What took place for an hour after I got there about drove me to do things I'd never in my life contemplated, like robbing your own bank of the money that belongs to you! Seriously. 



Between my three accounts with Wells Fargo...I had  a total of about $42,500. And I needed $40k of it. When was the last time you walked into your bank needing to take out 96% of your funds? Needless to say...they weren't letting it go without a fight. Just when I thought we were all good to go, in steps....The Bitch. Aka...'transaction supervisor.' Wait! There was a deposit on Tuesday....yeah...TUESDAY....for $18k that hadn't cleared. Huh? You mean the one that was quoted as clearing on Wednesday? That one? Now...as a side note...three checks..one for $50 (guy was in the middle of closing an account) and one for $500 and $750 from the same guy...a guy who is supposed to be a friend, would both end up bouncing later on. That friend just played the $10k Main Event...and when pressed about the bouncing checks was sitting at the $500 Aria Main Event requesting not to be questioned about it because it was 'tilting him.' I had already held those two checks for 45 days per his request...and told him they were going in once I got home from Vegas. Ahhhhh friends!

But I digress! Back to the deposit that The Bitch didn't want to credit to my account because it was now, for some reason...showing a post date of 7/7/14...yeah,  MONDAY! As soon as I heard that I started getting faint. My head started spinning....I started getting all hot, my skin was kind of tingling. Oh my god...this is NOT happening. I am envisioning my inability to get at least two of the players money...of the investors who's trust in me would be destroyed. Of this bank bitch...who once she walked out of work in less than an hour now...would most likely be run down by a 2005 Toyota 4Runner with 144k miles and a recently rebuilt engine (for those following my Vegas trip this makes sense!). Then I started feeling nauseous. 



And  then....I remembered the movie I'd been watching that morning (for the 847th time)...Rocky II. And I rallied. I could hear that song....how it starts with the chiming of bells...Clang!.....Clang! Da da da ta da da da da ta ta! Da da da ta da da da da da ta ta....da da da da ta da....DA DAAAAAA!!!!! And I went ballistic on that bitch! Started hitting the speed bag...doing pushups...some situps...chased a wild chicken around the lobby...was doing sprints out in the parking lot...me and Apollo Creed...and I went off on her!

Lady! I've banking with Wells and Wachovia for 20 years! I've never written a bad check! I've never been overdrawn...not ONCE! You guys TOLD ME that deposit would clear on WEDNESDAY! This is Saturday! 9k of that deposit was my OWN MONEY! $4k in cash, and $5k from my other bank! This is BS! If you don't approve that deposit a LOT of people are going to suffer...one of them being YOU! 

"I'm trying to help you sir...but if you keep raising your voice I'm not going to!"

Oh yeah? Really!??? That's your comeback!??? Ha! You aren't going to threaten me with withholding service! Like I said...you think you're worried about your job NOW regarding approving a deposit that is shown on your computer to not post until Monday...if you approve it? I promise you....I will move heaven and earth to make sure you are living off Obama's meal ticket by Monday morning if this isn't put through. I know how you people do things...one of your customers makes what is seen as a run on the bank and the roadblocks just start popping up for why they can't have their money. You WILL give me my money...all $40,000 of it!!!!

Well....The Bitch got on the phone and started making a bunch of calls. I calmed myself, sat down in a lobby chair and let the process play out. What I believe happened,  was someone on the other end of the phone with some common sense looked at my account...noticed my daily average balance on all accounts was/is around 45k...and noticed my banking history....and told her to process the withdrawal. If I heard her say (on the phone to whoever she was talking to) "well, I'm just trying to protect my job" one more time? I was going to walk over with a machete and whack her head off.

I got the money. All of it. Walked out of there with it in an old-school lunch sack...like THAT isn't conspicuous or anything, right!??? Memo to readers: If you have hit rock bottom and have decided to knock over a bank? Don't do it...it's not worth it. However...if you just park outside the bank and wait for 'that guy' to walk out with the brown paper lunch sack? Well....

I returned to Orange Beach. Made the most of my wasted first day at the beach with my family, our friends, and a condo (penthouse at least) full of 11 kids. You heard me...eleven! But honestly...it wasn't as crazy as that might sound. And Carley had a total blast for four days...yes, we stayed an extra day...getting home finally last night. (Tuesday) 

Back to Saturday. Later that night, after everyone had gone to bed...I slipped out around 1am...drove (halfway, per the agreement) to Loxley, Alabama...to an Oasis Truck Center (your welcome for the free plug) and waited on Kai Landry to arrive. I stepped into the cafe, called Derailed Diner (again, your welcome) home of the greatest liver and onions I've ever had the pleasure of feasting on (at least five times in the past) and placed my order with the old waitress who's skin was trying very hard to escape the rest of her body...yes, it was freakishly creepy. That is when she informed me that liver is not served after 10pm!

WHAT THE!!!!???????

French toast it is. The crowd moans......

Kai finally showed up. After an hour of chit chat...we retreated to the parking lot and my 'little brown bag' to cut up the buy in money. Somehow...when I got to him, the last one ...I fell $400 short. C'mon! How did THAT happen? Well...no big deal, I opened up my iPad and fired him the $400 on PayPal. Later on...Joshua discovered I'd given him $100 too much...and like a solid, honest man I knew him to be...brought it to my attention. Thank you sir! 

Kai made his way back to Biloxi...I returned to the beach...and my job was DONE! Well, aside from all the various investor updates and rounding up the remaining 10k or so in payments still due (of which most were sitting in my mailbox last night when we got home!). Him and 'Wild Bill' Phillips made their flights on time the next night...the guys all met up in Vegas...and per my instructions, bought in around midnight to avoid the massive crush of players on Monday morning...and sent me their proof of registration for me to send to my investors....as well as a very cool, 'Jersey Boys-like' photo of the four of them in front of the big WSOP sign in the hallway of Rio. Very cool stuff. Of course...I didn't see any of that until I  woke up because when you go to the beach...for some reason,  you can never manage to stay awake past 10pm, can you!???



Well...Monday came finally...and about half way through the day I realized the MyStack app wasn't working too well for anyone. Forming a group proved to be impossible. Bill and Kai were having major problems getting their app to work. Finally...I created a Facebook Group page...and added all the players and every investor and/or family member of them that had Facebook to the group. They all seemed pretty pleased with that move. It gave the players a better place to post stuff...and it was a lot easier to access.

ALL FOUR PLAYERS SURVIVE DAY ONE! When we started, I said I would be happy if 3 of 4 made it through. I know how tough it can get. I  also know how easy it can sometimes be getting through Day 1. Well...our players faced a LOT of ups and downs all day...some really crazy hands. Some of them got up as much as 50k at one point...but when the dust settled, BJ McBrayer led the way with 32k...Kai Landry had around 22k...Josh Reichard had right at 20k...and Wild Bill Phillips was at 18k...but seemed to be the most confident...which reminds me of myself. Sometimes the fewer the chips I have in a nice, long, deep structure...the better I like my chances!

As I type this...and maybe I should have waited, but why? BJ texted me a little while ago telling me he had busted. He had QQ...and raised...was 3-bet by another crazy Euro...then a short stack with 18k shoved all in. BJ decided to isolate by shoving all in over the top only to get snap called by the guy....holding aces. Oh boy. To make it worse (if that's possible) the small stack was holding KK. Ouch for that guy! BJ was relegated to needing to hit a two-outer and hoping it held. It didn't come. And BJ is our first 'Minion' to see his 2014 Main Event come to an end. Bummer.

A few people texted or Facebook'd me telling me they couldn't find Josh anywhere in the field....so I texted him and he replied, telling me he is at table 385...the same table as NBA player Paul Pierce. That must be a pretty entertaining table!! Pierce does a lot of talking...not like Maurice 'The Black Mouth' Hawkins (black mouth since there is already one 'Mouth' in poker...Mike Matusow of course) who will talk the felt off a table...and the two tables next to it!

Well...that will do it for your Monkey's Grinders update in the early stages of Day Two...with 3 of our guys (as far as I currently know anyway) still alive and kicking!

MONKEY

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Who Will Be Monkey's Third Minion!???

Well hell's bells...this is getting exciting now! I don't know what these guys are doing...Kai and Wild Bill...if they are just click click clicking all day...or if they have genuinely rallied the masses to their cause! But somehow...and I'm used to it by now, I'm gonna come out of this feeling like the bad guy.

There is no doubt in my mind we are going to get the third guy in...and I've also personally bought a few pieces of some other players too...so I'm going to have a healthy sweat for the WSOP this year...despite not getting to go there and run over it (tsk tsk) myself!

Today is Thursday. Been running errands like crazy since I got home. Carley has been like glue...refusing to leave my side for even a second. It's so cute. And it is so amazing how much she has changed in just the 5 weeks I was gone. She's learning so much at school..and is so much more animated. She cracks me up. This weekend, tomorrow, we are leaving for Gulf Shores for the 4th of July weekend with friends. She has her best friend Abbey from across the street coming with us too..so it will be a great time for all of us. 




Okay...so where are we at? I've been adding people to the spreadsheet all morning and taking in payments. I've already handed off the full $30k to my friend Barth...who is flying out to Vegas today sometime...and will meet up with my 'horses' or 'minions' as they've playfully been labeled by some! Close to 85% of the backers/investors have already paid...which is a relief! As I write this...we have sold 128 of the 150 shares...leaving just 22 shares before we are SOLD OUT! In my mind its a foregone conclusion that this will get done.

What I would like to do...is ask my investment group if they have any aversion to  pulling out $2000 of the $10,000 from any of the players who might cash...and use it for the 3rd last second player who will have to make a very expensive flight to get there by Monday's last flight...as well as hotel. Assuming  one or more cash...I wouldn't think it would be too much to ask, since we will all be making money in that case! Kai and Bill are both family guys with three kids..and I would really like for them to not have to suffer the burden of taking  all that on...then go and somehow not cash. It would leave a rather bitter taste in their mouth probably.

Okay...so this will be my final post regarding the sale of shares to get on board! The details? Simple. We are selling 150 shares. ONE  share cost $200. The  investor group gets a cut of 65/35 on anything won. The 10k buy in is immediately refunded if the player cashes. Taxes are something we've worked out ahead of time and each players will have signed a contractual agreement for all scenarios. Players have agreed to use all forms of communication to keep the investment group 'in the loop!' That includes Facebook, Twitter and the MyStack app that the WSOP utilizes where each player can self-report their chip stack. I will accept payment in the forms of, Chase QuickPay or Wells Fargo Sure Pay. For info, or to let me know you want in...shoot me an email ASAP to ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. I want this put to bed before I leave for the beach!

MONKEY

EDIT/UPDATE at 3:30pm Thursday! I posted this blog...made a post on Facebook/Twitter...then sent an email to my 1800+ email list for pools...and BOOM....the remaining shares I had for Player #3 were GONZO! Then...got such a tremendous amount of overflow requests...and payments attached to them...and a request from several people to get a FOURTH MINION in...that I couldn't realistically say NO! So...I went with it...against my wife's wishes...as she somehow thinks all the 'extra work' is going to somehow cut into our weekend and result in me being behind my computer all weekend. Ha! Fat chance! As I post this...we have sold out 42 of the 50 shares required to send the FOURTH MONKEY GRINDER to Vegas to try and help me make up for my shortcomings this summer! This is going to be fun...a LOT of fun!!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Last Minute Cash to Save the Summer

Greetings. I'm coming to you from Houston. Parked on the side of the highway under an overpass. Why you ask? I was tired. Too tired to drive, but not too tired to blog. Huh? I can't begin to make it make sense, sorry.

I started driving a couple days ago. Then...I got to Albuquerque...that place Bugs Bunny advises everyone to take a left at. So I did...and went to the Sandia Casino, where the dealers call clock on players who they feel have had plenty of time to act on their hand. Yes...the DO work on tips, believe it or not.

When  I left...four hours later, my car was making a sound that said "you're nuts if you think I'm getting back on the freeway!" About that time the engine light and everything else started flashing. Oh shit! 7 years ago...while on the way to the WSOP for the summer..in the same car...I caught a rock in my radiator...which then drained my radiator...which caused my engine to overheat and seize up on me. It was bad. Real bad. This one, fortunately wasn't quite as horrible. Two blown cylinders, new spark plugs, ignition coil and fuel injector replaced for a total of $762.89 and I was back on the road to see my princesses at home. That was about 22 hours ago.

How did cash session go at Sandia? Well...I sat down...won $105 on the first hand....then $80 on the next...and within one orbit my $300 was $600...and the players all thought I was sent by Satan to  ruin their Sunday. I knew it would turn. It always does. And it did. My AA got cracked by 66. Then again by 5-7. I went up and down for awhile until I finally decided, since it was dark...prime movie-watching time in my car...that it was time to split. I left with a $120 profit. Whoopee.

Prior to that...I was having a very unusual conversation with a guy on my right. He was drinking...and had been drinking for awhile. His mood and content grew steadily more stupid by the minute. He was also an absolutely horrendous player who had to get lucky to win hands. So near the end of the session, I had gotten a pretty serious call from a friend who I'd been working with all day to arrange for Chad Brown's WSOP bracelet to get to NYC before (sadly) he passed away. Well..after offering to pay the shipping for same day Fed Ex, and being told not to worry about it...that WSOP would take care of it...someone (I don't know who, or how...so I'm not pointing any fingers) dropped the ball and it didn't get sent. So I'm sitting there talking to this friend...in a very hushed tone..so as to not disrupt the game, when all of a sudden, after about 1 minute or two...this idiot says "Hey man...not trying to be a jackass, but you know that we ALL know you aren't really talking to anyone on the phone, right!??" 

"Huh? Are you kidding? What are you? Five?" So I put it on speaker phone and let him hear. Then my friend asked what the uproar was about, I told her "Some asshole is telling me I'm not really talking to anyone." He ended up catching hell from the dealer and the other players. Then he busted and disappeared, despite saying he'd be back. I predict that guy ends up in a trunk some day.

Okay...so before I get to the exciting news...about who our TWO (of a possible, and hopeful three) WSOP Grinders are...I will tell you about my final tourney in Vegas.

Electing not to play anything where I would have to come back the next day, I opted to play the $1040 at Golden Nugget. They only got 33 players...which to me was fine, especially since I knew if I made the final table the structure would still be good. I'll just cut right to the chase: I took 2nd for $8000. Did I do anything different than I'd been doing all summer, only to fall short time and time again? Hell no. I was card dead as hell early. Then caught a few hands in the middle to get paid off...then got some big hands late...getting QQ to hold up twice, against AJ and A10...then fading El Diablo...aka K10 twice in big pots. I pretty much dominated the final table...and with three left...four actually...had half the chips in play. 

There was some chirping about doing a chop...but the way my summer had gone,  I wanted to go for the $11k...all of it. I also felt like I was the best player...and since I had the most chips, a chop seemed ridiculous. Jason Faircloth from Houston, who I got to know pretty well throughout the day would end up getting heads up. I had a big lead on him and decided to go for the kill, when on a 6-7-8 flop I held K9. Turned out he had 99...and I  didn't improve...and it crushed my stack. I was sitting on 43k compared to his 450k...with the blinds at 6000/12000....it didn't look good. But I  rallied. Doubling up  with J7 vs. J4...then catching more hands...until eventually I had the chiplead back somehow. We played heads up for THREE HOURS! It was pretty awesome. Then it ended. I raised with K10h. He re-raised...and I called.  I flopped a royal flush draw...Ah-4x-Jh....there was no way I was folding...him either! He  flopped a set of aces! Yikes. The Jack on the turn left me only one out...the King of Hearts. No dice! And I was the 2nd place finisher.

But it was a really good day. I also got to spend a majority of the day sitting next to Larry Gurney, who  like me is a good friend of Chad Brown. We talked a lot about him...and how he was doing  back in NYC. We had a few bloody mary's together before he busted out with about 12 players left. 

Speaking of Chad...he did finally end up getting the bracelet last night! And according to  Perris Calderon who has been by his side almost non-stop the past week...he  responded when they put it  on his wrist. That made me really, really happy when I heard that. I have already said a lot about Chad...and the friendship that we have shared over the years...I really don't think there is much more I can add to what I've already said. It's amazing the outpouring of love and support that he has gotten from not just the poker community but people in the acting world (he used to be an actor) his former teammates in baseball...and friends and family. Chad was a one-of-a-kind person. If I could be even half the man Chad was...I'd die feeling really good about myself. I've never known ONE person who ever said anything bad about the guy...how many people do you know that you can say that about? I'm really going to miss my buddy, a ton. But I know, having talked to him a lot the past 2 or 3 months on a regular basis..that he was/is totally at peace with passing on to the next place, wherever that place may be. Rest in Peace old friend!



Okay...brighter news. I have officially raised MORE than enough to cover TWO of Monkey's WSOP Grinders for this year's Main Event. And I pretty much based my decision on feedback from other players...as well as the results of the poll, combined with my feelings on all the players. Here's the good (or rather...better) news! Though I am about to announce two...there is still time to get the THIRD Grinder into the Big Show! And since the two guys I am about to name have probably got friends, family and fellow players who will want a piece of their action? Guess what? Any share they buy in the next week? Will not only get them a share of their buddy...but also go towards getting a third guy in. So...without further adieu...I am happy to present a Main Event entry to:

JOSH REICHARD of Wisconsin   and BJ MCBRAYER of Tuscaloosa

These two guys will try to give us investors a great sweat as they shoot for $10,000,000 later this week! Now...if you check the polls....it would appear that Wild Bill Phillips is garnering the most votes, along with Christian Iacobellis, who I know is already IN Vegas...thus eliminating any last second travel needs. Whereas, conversely, I know Bill is back home in Louisiana...and who might have an issue getting out to Vegas within a week to play. Not sure about our other two candidates, John Westra and/or Kai Landry. I just know I am still getting a LOT of interest from people wanting to jump on the bandwagon and get 'their sweat on' for this year's Main Event. Personally? I can't wait! I have a really, really good feeling! Now...if you want in...I still have shares. They are $200 per share...and a total of 150 shares will get 3 players in. The investors will enjoy a 65/35 split...the players, on the other hand...get a freeroll...with no makeup of any kind to worry about...just a chance to play for 35% of $10 million!!!! If you want a share....I will need your money ASAP! Best way to send to me is Wells Fargo Surepay or Chase Quick Pay. If interested...shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com.

Okay...that's my much-needed update on everything...now to get back on the road and get home to my girls. And hey! How bout the USA go and upset Belgium today, too!?? That wouldn't suck too bad, would it!??

MONKEY

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Finalists for Monkey's 2014 WSOP Main Event Grinders!

Originally...the plan was to recruit my candidates, then raise the money for three players...then discuss and decide with the input of the investment group, who our three Grinders would be.

A couple of things got in the way. First...to do this...I should have started this in about April instead of May. Granted...your investors/backers usually don't get in until its close to 'go time.' Just like with all the pools I run...the majority of the people come hard late.

Next...I was bogged down by the last month of grinding my face off playing my own summer schedule out here...and admittedly did not give enough time and attention to making this come to fruition. I can honestly say that if I were running decently...which as most of you know, I haven't been...I'd have been able to take more days off from poker, and give it a little more time.  Instead I keep going back...again and again...to get pummeled.

With my time in Vegas running down...just three more days for me to play something and hope to make a score before returning home to my family, I've allowed myself to focus now on this project before its too late. I'm pretty confident...I say about 95%...that we will get to at least two players...as I am almost at 80 shares sold. I'm a little less confident about getting three. 

So I decided to improvise and announce who my 6 Finalist are...why? Well, a lot of people have suggested they may be more inclined to buy in to the group if they knew who the players will be. I can certainly understand that. I just wanted to avoid getting a player's hopes up...only to later not select him...and leave a bad taste in his mouth. I certainly don't want to create any bitterness with these fellow players, some of whom are good friends of mine...so doing this is done with that in mind.

Over the past few days, I've also gotten some more shitty comments from the 2+2/Twitter/Markup Mafia twerps. One such guy...who I don't know personally...but who was at my table in a couple tourneys in (I think) South Florida, and who I was secretly taking pictures of to use later to express my disdain for...is Scott Baumstein. Just look at this exchange of Twitter messages with this buffoon.

Jun 24
why do you make the "share" prices so vague so as to not understand what markup you are paying? Irresponsible at a minimum

I know you from playing with you Scott...and understand you're part of that Markup Mafia...so I can see why this is so HARD

No, I'm just for transparency. I don't really care what you charge but you shouldn't take advantage of people.

WTF are you talking about??? Transparency? Please...oh mighty one...shed light on please on WHO is being taken advantage of!

excuse my poor sentence structure...but I think you understand my statement. Please feel free to call me....to discuss.

I deal with MUs all the time yet have no idea what youre charging. Can anyone else decipher this?

so you're confused, but suggesting that I'm doing something wrong, on Twitter no less...is fine?


it's quite simple. If you're selling action, then state a price. It shouldn't be a mystery. Can I be more clear?

Scott...did it ever occur to you that not everyone prescribes to your way of thinking? No probably not.

my way of thinking??? That you shouldn't scam people into buying your action who don't know what you're talking about?

how did you come to that conclusion?

65/35 split backer/horse. Backer putting up 100% of funds. 15,385 x .65 = $10,000 buyin.

I see, I wasn't understanding how many shares existed. Sounds absurd for some nameless random who is putting up zero!


Who is Scott Baumstein? Well, in fairness, he is a decent player. He has 2 wins, 48 cashes, and $1.1 million in career winnings. I personally hate his style of play and he's one of those guys you just want to smash in the face after about 9 orbits of play...he has this perma-smirk on his face all the time...whether he's winning a hand, losing a hand, or showing you a bluff just to be a dick. All that being said...I again reiterate, that he is a good player. And so, I tried to give him respect by inviting him to call me to discuss the details of this program. Did he? Naw. He just continued to rag on my program on social media (Twitter) like an asshole. So frankly...I have no problem ripping on the little shit head.

At one point a good friend of mine, and a guy I respect...John Zentner, was invited into the conversation (by Baumstein) to discuss the 'number' that Markup Boy was trying to arrive at. See, the whole 'angle' of the 'investigative sniping' by Scott was to find the ever-elusive markup price on my deal. He was implying that there were some nefarious attempts by me to hide that information. So John was nice enough to provide what that number was. Me? I don't get caught up in that crap with markup numbers...I think it's pointless. I base most of my package prices on the actual value of the event being played. But I know that guys like Scotty like to sleep with a bed full of Texas Instrument calculators that probably have cum stains all over them. (sorry...too gross?)



Well, John provided that number which as you can see up above was 1.54. Which of course, required Scott to ask how John how he arrived at that number. Once it was explained...his only response was that my idea is ABSURD! Why? Because we are investing in some 'nameless randoms!' Nameless? Well...I will let you decide if they are 'nameless randoms.' As for Scott...keep humping your calculator chump.

NOW...JUST TO CLARIFY...BECAUSE I DON'T WANT ANYYYYYONE THINKING THERE IS ANYTHING BUT TRANSPARENCY BEHIND MY STAKING PROGRAM...HERE ARE THE TERMS OF THE DEAL:  (and to be clear...I literally had NO idea who Scott was suggesting I was ripping off at first, the actual players themselves, or the backers/investors who were buying in to the group. I later figured out that I 'think' he was referring to the backers/investors. 

What makes that so hilarious to me...is that it's not me trying to get staking for MYSELF...so why would I ever be thinking about 'scamming' the investors? Especially when I myself am ONE OF the investors!!!??? There is literally no reason for me to do anything BUT make the investing opportunity itself as juicy as possible for the investor. But see...to understand that...you would need to possess some common sense, and not even that much. Just some. Which Scott obviously has zilch of. Oh well, luckily he hasn't been tasked to do anything really meaningful for mankind)

We are attempting to send THREE PLAYERS. Total buy ins...$10,000 x3 = $30,000
I  am selling shares at $200 a pop...a total (potentially) of 150 shares.  200x150 = $30,000

The players are playing under an agreement of a 35/65 percentage. They are ALL more than willing to do this. Even though all five players are very good players, and would never, under 'normal' circumstances, play for 35% only...the upside is what makes it an acceptable deal. Since the winner is guaranteed $10,000,000....it's a deal that has tremendous upside for ALL involved, both the players AND the investors. 

Also weighing heavy in my decision is the trust involved with handing a guy $10,000 and knowing he will not stiff you or even slightly rip you off after he cashes. I know these guys, I trust these guys...and would stake my reputation on all of them. Which...for those who really know me...know that this gives them comfort in making the investment themselves. 

If a player cashes in the tourney? The $10k investment comes immediately out of the winnings and returned to the investors in equal parts per share. The remaining amount is then split 65/35....and returned to the investors in the same equal amounts per share. 

IS THAT CONFUSING? If that is confusing...I don't know what to tell you. It's just about as easy, as cut and dry...as I would think you could POSSIBLY make it.  But if you STILL are confused? And require some kind of a calculator to figure it out...to make it make sense in your gerbil-like brain? Do me a favor...please...I beg you...NEVER EVER even possibly consider buying into one of my staking deals. 

TAX IMPLICATIONS? Pretty simple...well unless you are a gerbil. For any player that wins $20k-$50k...they will be permitted to withhold 20% if they elect to take on 100% of the tax burden. If not...they will be issued an affidavit (by me, as the leader of the investment group) which they can provide for the IRS...with ALL investors information...including SS#'s. This affidavit will be issued to each investor as well...so that when that taxable amount is submitted to the IRS...it will be clear what each person won. For any player that wins $51k or MORE...that amount will inflate to 30% with the same options. Pretty simple..and frankly...I hope it becomes a problem to deal with!!!!!

THE SIX FINALISTS FOR MONKEY'S 2014 WSOP GRINDERS (in no particular order)

CHRISTIAN 'DA PROFESSIONAL' IACOBELLIS:  a bit of an online legend. Once won 3 MTT's on Full Tilt in one DAY! Got me to thinking he was a cheater. This was before I met him. Then...one day at the 'hooker bar' at Rio...I was told 'that guy' who I'd blogged about was sitting right behind me! We met, we chatted, and he's become a great friend. I've also watched him put up some very impressive scores both live and online. We took a percentage swap the year Dwight Pilgrim won the Borgatta Open...and I finished 45th while he took 10th...in a final table of 10 that played for 3 hours before losing a player. A couple years ago he got into the money in the Main...so I know he has the skills to do it again. Here is the link to his Cardplayer profile with cashes and career winnings. 




B.J. McBRAYER:  One of the nicest guys in poker, and a friend for almost as long as I've been playing poker. BJ lives in Tuscaloosa and already gets the nod from me as a Bama lifer! He understands the game as well as any player I've ever known....and that means a lot. His game is unwavering. Unemotional, he handles the swings in poker as good or better than anyone I know. BJ has put up a LOT of great results...and would likely have cashed two or three times as many as he has if he put in nearly a fraction of the playing time that a lot of regular tourney grinders do. He also is a fellow labrador retriever owner...sorry but that's huge!!! Here is BJ's Cardplayer profile, which is skewed because as they often do...they don't merge names...so you can find Billy McBrayer AND BJ McBrayer...kind of annoying:

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-players/9543-b-j-mcbrayer

http://www.cardplayer.com/poker-players/243606-billy-mcbrayer


'WILD BILL' PHILLIPS: No bias here, promise. Bill is a guy I've know for 8 years...and like me, is a family guy with 3 kids and doesn't play as much as he'd like to. But when he plays...he almost always gets deep. He has a style similar to mine...which is highly conducive to getting deep in a tourney like the Main Event. He also happens to be the co-owner of the website that I blog for, www.GulfCoastPoker.net. He's always been incredibly supportive of me, and that to me is something I can't put a price on. He's one of those guys who I know could do it...and who I would love to see do it. Some players out there...and seriously...there is a lot of them...I would cringe to see them make a WSOP Final Table. 




KAI LANDRY:  My longtime buddy, and occasional travel partner...Kai has had to significantly cut back his playing schedule to be a better father. And I certainly get that. Another reason to cut back may have been his need to regain some sanity that playing full time can take away from you! Kai comes with a very interesting style...both the way he plays, as well as the way he dresses and acts. He excels at putting his table on tilt with his antics and getting them to destroy their chipstacks. Hmmm...sound like anyone else you know!??? (wink wink) Kai cashes main events with deep structures at a respectable 45% clip. Here is the Cardplayer line for Kai....





JOHNATHAN 'UFPOKERSTAR' WESTRA: I got to know John back in 2006...when he came out of his bedroom....where he'd been locked up playing online for a few years. His online success translated well to the live game. A polar opposite of me in personality...quiet, reserved, a bit introverted...it only worked to make us friends. He has gotten off the full-time circuit the past few years to do the unthinkable, start his own successful business!!!! But he still possesses a love for the game, and the dream of chasing after $10 milly...just not willing to put up 10k to do it. That's what happens when you become mature and responsible...you don't throw 10k around! Here is John's Cardplayer profile link:





JOSHUA REICHARD:  Who? Yeah...maybe you haven't heard of this kid. Well...take notice! He just started playing a few years ago...and already has 4 wins and 23 cashes...and very few min-cashes. I had heard of him...but wasn't sure who he was. Without telling his son...his father shot me an email about a month ago...trumpeting all the reasons I should pick his kid. That alone kind of endeared me to this guy. Then I had him at my table in the Venetian's $1100 event that was hosted by MSPT...and watched him play some incredible poker, including folding KK to me when I had AA and he had already put in a 4-bet huge re-raise...very few players are EVER folding in that spot. He did...and it was the right move. That to me tells me that this kid is a solid pick to do something special. We aren't good friends, yet...we have friended each other on Twitter and Facebook, but I can see us being buddies in the poker world. If you haven't heard of this guy yet...I promise you....YOU WILL! Here is his Cardplayer line:




How will our 'Grinders' be selected? Trust me...it's not going to be easy. AT ALL! Especially if I only raise enough to send TWO players instead of the desired three. Hell...if I could send all six of them...I would LOVE TO! Any of you big ballers out there wanting to reach DEEP into your pockets to make that happen...BRING IT ON!!!??? That, obviously would be my dream! Well...that and having all of them make the final table...and when getting cashed out request the presence of a certain Tourney Director for the WSOP...and let him know that if he'd like to rescind my ridiculous ban/86 that they'd be happy to leave a very generous tip for the staff. Blackmail? Ha! No worse than what he's been doing by keeping me on the outside looking in!!!!!

I have created a POLL! Look to the right margin...I am asking YOU...the poker fan, the reader of my blog...to maybe HELP ME in making the right decision! Click on who you think should go play the Main on my backing group's dime this year! And don't think for one second that this isn't about to become an annual affair with me! And next year...it will be even BETTER organized, with more time to plan and recruit! 

IF YOU WANT TO INVEST...shoot me an email. ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. Easiest way to pay is WF SurePay or Chase Quick Pay. If you are a 'checks in the mail' guy...I will need to really know who you are and can trust that method. Keep in mind...in about a week, I have to present these guys with a $10,000 cashiers check...and that has to actually come from somewhere...my checking account!  So obviously...that money needs to get to me! And yes...ALL PLAYERS will send me a picture of their registration receipt as soon as they buy in....for those of you conspiracy theorists who think you might be smelling a scam!!!!  (you people scare me, by the way...hope you enjoy that rubber room in 5 or 10 years!)

MONKEY