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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Off the Bench, Off to Baton Rouge...MSPT.

It's been kind of a strange month in poker...and I haven't even played a single hand, live or online. But that will all end this weekend when I traipse on up to Baton Rouge for a return engagement to that beautiful boat casino on the Mississippi River. They call it The Belle of Baton Rouge. If 'Belle' means 'pile of shit' in some other language, it's one I haven't learned yet...but it would be an accurate title. Frankly, I'm amazed that place actually floats.

I'm sorry, I've really tried to tone down my assault on all things horrible, ugly, annoying and irritating the last couple or few years...but some things are just impossible to not make mention of.

Like that salesgirl at the sports store in the mall in Biloxi the other day. After addressing me as y'all when it was clear I was all by myself (a big faux pas in Southern-speak) then struggling to comprehend what I needed her to do when the size I wanted was about 15 feet in the air on a rack. (it's called a hook on a stick!) But then when it came time to pay for my new piece of Alabama apparel, the most pressing thing in her world was needing to know the location of the hangar that the jacket came off of. Huh? The hangar? I don't know. Maybe over by where the jacket used to be located?

"Oh, okay...I was just wondering if you knew where it was cuz I'm gonna have to go find it now."

So many great comebacks were sifting through my mind. But then I realized where I was. A sad, lonely, half-leased mall in Biloxi, Mississippi, where...as I walked through the place, was overtly aware of the depressing facial expressions on the faces of those poor souls that were working there. It's like you could read their minds.

"My life sucks. This blows. I can't believe I'm working in a fucking mall...making $8.50 an hour...to stand around, bored. I'm not even making commission."

And it dawned on me how any witty or clever comment I made to this dipshit behind the counter would either be wasted, or completely miss the mark. Like taking shots at your own shadow. Pointless.

I fear I've gotten sidetracked. That seems to happen to me a lot. Oh well.

Speaking of malls, and any place you park your car...where other people are also parking their cars; have you noticed that there is a certain kind of person who backs their car into their parking space? No matter where they are? Mall, grocery store, gym, stadium, restaurant, night club, fabric store!!!!??? It could even be one of those places that have the angled parking...and they will drive down the wrong-way so that they can get that stupid back-in parking move accomplished....then when leaving, drive right back out the wrong way. You could say this drives me insane. That and the idiots and assholes that insist on walking IN through the EXIT and OUT through the ENTRANCE at places like Wal-Mart. And if there is anything worse than that...it's the pricks who give you that shitty look...as if to say, "you ARE going to step out of my way ARENT you!???" To which I have always got about 20-25 saucy one-liners to hit them with, but alas...being in the place I live...they are almost always wasted on the ignorant.

Alabama is the team I root for. On Saturday we beat the #1 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs...and have reclaimed the #1 spot in the rankings...with a big rematch against the team who destroyed our shot at THREE National titles in a row last season...when, while sitting in Jordan-Hare with Squirrel and my sister...one of the most replayed and unlikely plays in football history transpired before our very eyes...the 'kick-six' from Auburn's Chris Davis that beat the Tide on enemy turf. Yes, we should have won. Yes, our kicker sucked. But we didn't. We lost. It was a very painful and long walk back to our car. We encountered a lot of Auburn fans...and they were mostly classy, as we were to them.

"Congratulations. You guys played a great game. Good luck the rest of the way. See you next season."

There is a thing about rooting for a team who is mostly great every season. People of other teams experience the highest of highs when they beat you. You have to appreciate that. It's more or less a show of respect. So when my team has a big game coming up...I try really hard not to talk a lot of shit leading up into the game...because eating your words is a bitch. And when we win...it just comes with a great degree of satisfaction. And it's always enjoyed the most with mutual fans. I don't understand fans who need to seek out a fan of the losing team and get in their face with some bullshit taunting. For that reason right there...I find wide receivers and defensive backs to be the most annoying position players in football. What the fuck is their deal? Their jobs are to (a) catch the football and score touchdowns and (b) stop guys from catching passes and scoring touchdowns, right? Yes every first down or touchdown by a receiver we get either the 'first down' sign or dance...and every touchdown met with a jump into the stands, a collective chest bump...and occasionally, some jawing with the defensive back. And oh...don't let the fool MISS a ball..because then he insta-leaps up demanding a flag from the zebras for pass interference. There is NO WAY he could have just dropped the ball or not caught that pass. he HAD to have been interfered with, right!???

Conversely, a DB makes a play and in an act created I think to sell the back judge or ref that no pass interference occurred, they immediately go into their arms waving like an umpire in baseball signalling that the runner is safe. And when that happens, you will also occasionally see the douche getting in the face of the receiver who probably just dropped the ball, when the DB had nothing to do with breaking up the play at all. I always root for that guy to get burned on the very next play. I pretty much hate receivers and defensive backs.

Whooops...side-tracked again. There was meant to be a central theme in all this. And I think it occurred when we were attempting to pull out of the mall, with Carley in her car seat acting like a monkey with rabies...which is kind of how she's been acting the last month or so. It's making me and the Squirrel a mental wreck. Anyway...I was turned around trying to calm her down...when I look through my back window and see that a car has stopped right behind us. I look a little closer and notice a Miss St flag attached to the back window. Then, all of a sudden, the girl driving the car...who could have been your average worker at the Town Hall, or maybe a school teacher...suddenly flips me off and has this look of sheer anger on her face. I'm like....what the fuck!???

Then I realize I hadn't removed our flags from the 4-Runner that we put up on game day...and it was Monday. The flags that said 'Alabama' on them. I see...this girl was so upset about her team losing...that two days later, she found someone to take her anger out on. Fascinating. I no longer feel sorry for Mississippi State. In fact...I think I might have to root for Ole Miss now in the Egg Bowl!

So I came across an interesting little snippet via Poker News the other day...one in which Daniel Colman was being critiqued by the poker world for comments he made about Phil Hellmuth. Well, if you know anything about me...you know that Hellmuth is one guy I've always wished would sit down at my table so I could 'let er rip.' Unfortunately, I've never been that lucky. Sucks for me. If you didn't see the story...here is a link to it.


http://www.pokernews.com/news/2014/11/dan-colman-phil-hellmuth-19817.htm

It's funny...but the more I hear and read about this kid, the more I like him. I really identify with a lot of the things he has had to say about, well, poker in general, and the people who play the game. I've been soured to the game obviously the past few years due to the 'jam job' I've experienced by 'that guy' at Ceasar's/WSOP who seems to have made it his life mission to make my life hell. I've made enough friends who either deal or work as floor people to know just how fucked up the inside of poker is, sadly. The politics in poker are almost as bad or worse than those in Washington, DC. And as far as his comments about Hellmuth go? I could NOT agree with him more. And I've not only been in that situation before, but have seen that situation transpire, where I'm like...who the fuck is this guy to think he needs to stroll in and make like he's the man, like he's passing the torch or welcoming someone to 'the cool kids club?' 

Sorry...but nobody...I mean N-O-B-O-D-Y who has ever spent more than ten minutes with Phil Hellmuth (which, btw I have...albeit not at a poker table..but at an outside/pool bar down in Aruba one year when I was with Jeff Madsen, Chad Brown and Jason Young. We were watching a very tight college football game between USC and Oregon late in the season) and come away thinking he was the member of ANY cool kids club. Do I think he is a good poker player? Sure. Obviously. He's earned the right to be considered that. But to me...life is a hell of a lot more fucking important than having someone scratch the words 'here lies a great poker player' on your headstone. And as far as I can see...that is the ONLY thing that guy can expect to have on his. When my good friend Chad succumbed finally to cancer on July 1st this year...I don't think anyone even mentioned  what a good poker player Chad was. At least not any one who really KNEW Chad.

And speaking of losing close friends this year...dammit if I didn't just lose another one. And in kind of weird twist of fate...the last time I ever got to play baseball with Chad...this guy was there. On a day when we might have had 10 people at our game in the blazing heat of Arizona...along came this buddy of mine...a poker dealer and player who was living in the Phoenix area and who I loved hanging out with. I would NEVER ask a friend to come watch me play baseball or poker. But he always came to sweat me at a final table if he was around. And here he was at my baseball game.  He met all the guys on the team...that was one of the greatest bunch of guys I ever played with...and a lot of them, when finding out what happened to this guy, remembered him from that brief encounter.

A couple weeks ago...the night after Halloween in fact...my buddy Tony Dick left a strip club...with a girl on the back. Tony had been drinking. And he wasn't wearing a damn helmet. He'd had that Harley Davidson for only 3 months. I warned him every time we talked or texted each other...to PLEASE be careful...that its the bad drivers who would get you. He knew. He agreed. He promised to be careful. Tony was one of those guys who just kind of marched to his own beat. No one could really tell him what to do or how to live his life. I suppose it was because he was this way that I liked him so much. And it was because he was this way that he is no longer with us. I guess I'll kick his ass when I get to see him in the next life. He left that club...swerved for some reason...hit a curb, and was thrown from his bike. He landed on his head. The passenger, a girl (of course) was fine. Thankfully. He never regained consciousness and was taken off life-support a couple days later. 

I woke up on Sunday to a text message from my good friend Jennifer Gay...who was also very instrumental in rallying the poker world (players and dealers) to award Chad with a ceremonial WSOP bracelet, which we finally got to him in his hospital bed mere moments before he passed away...just in case any of you erroneously thought that was some kind of heroic act by the fine folks at the WSOP...it wasn't. In fact, I have it on pretty good authority that they were pretty miffed at how it all unfolded...feeling they were pressured to do it. You know what? Good!

Anyway...Jenn's text read:  "I'm sure you heard about Tony Dick's accident?" My heart sank. And I responded: "Please tell me he didn't crash on that fucking motorcycle. No..I haven't  heard anything." Then she told me the rest...and my circle of friends got a little smaller. 

So back to this Dan Colman business. Poker isn't that big of a deal. The players who play aren't that big of a fucking deal. It's a game. It's been around a long time. And it will be around when the players, dealers, floor staff and office grunts have long since come and gone and been replaced by other guys and gals in their place. His points of view are really pretty spot on in most of the things he has said. And now that there are SO many damn tournaments all over the world...who really remembers who wins these things? Other than the winners themselves, and the dorks who can spout off all the winners, the hands they played..and what they had for dinner after their big win! I mean...does anyone really aspire to be that Fruit Loop, anyway? I sure hope not! But I know those little booger-eating morons are out there...trust me, I see them at every event. They tend to hang out together in what they think are 'posses' but which the rest of us just regard as speed bumps to swerve around.

Do I think Daniel Colman might have used a little more grace, and perhaps a little better timing for where and when he delivered his 'message' to the rest of the poker world for them to digest and attempt to make sense of? Mmmm..yeah, undoubtedly I do. But keep in mind this 'kid' who just won about $23m SINCE JULY...is only 23! For being just 23 I give him a lot of credit for what took me 10 years of playing poker to really figure out. His comments strike me as coming from someone who is incredibly insightful and mature. But yeah, his timing and all that...maybe a little immaturity at work there. Or maybe, just maybe...this is a form of shock treatment he's delivering on all of us. A guy who seriously just doesn't give a shit what others think of him. Period. And if that's the case? Hey! Great...the poker wizards can feel free, I guess, to cast him as their 'bad guy' while trumpeting the usual 'poker pros' as their knights in shining armor. Yeah...I just chuckled to myself when writing that!

So, tomorrow, I am going to drive to Baton Rouge to play in the MSPT's 2nd event there at the Belle. In defense of MSPT...I really like the guy who runs their show. Brian Mileski has been really nice to me since the first time I played their event up there in February. He has emailed me often asking for ideas on how to make their tourneys more successful. I really appreciate that. And the fact that a tournament director is trying to make his product better by reaching out and asking players for input deserves a lot of respect. So, while I might not typically be that fired up to drive 2 hours to play a single event for $1100 that I could be out of in just an hour or two if things don't go right...it's a lot easier to do when I know the guy that's running the event is really counting on players like me to make the effort to get up there. So I would consider this 'giving something back' to the poker world. Maybe I'll get lucky and make the final table again...this time without having to rebuy. They have a flight A on Friday and a Flight B on Saturday...but Squirrel works on Saturday (she's off on Friday) so getting back up there for Flight B might be kind of tough. Their Day 2 is on Sunday and starts back at 10:30am...ouch...obviously not a big fan of that, but it's part of their strategy to not have to require players to be back on Monday. They try to market themselves to the 9-5 working man who only has the weekends to play poker. I guess I can understand that...whether I like it or not! It's really really tough if you are one of those Saturday 4pm players who makes it to the end of the night...at around 1 or 2am...and after bagging your chips have to be back 8 hours later. Brutal. So I'm hoping it goes like it did in February..minus my second buy in with a few minutes to spare before registration was closed! I got to take the next day off...then drove up Sunday morning...waking up along the way!!!

Fantasy Draft still hasn't kicked off yet. It has been holding freerolls every weekend for the past three weeks so at least the owner/operators are showing they appreciate everyone who has signed up so far by giving them a bunch of money to keep them inspired. I have topped 200 referrals now so I am VERY ready for things to go live...to see just HOW much can be realized from this new business. 

Squirrel and I (as well as 'The Claw' who has joined us in our new guest room) have gotten fully moved into our new home, just 2.5 miles from our old stomping grounds. There are things we like and don't like about it...but we are only here for a year most likely, then we will finally BUY our next residence. I payed my readjusted income tax for 2013 last week...will do the same for 2014 in a couple months...and we will then be fully qualified to get a mortgage. I've been doing that creditreport.com thing for the last 9 months and finally this month passed over 700 for the first time on all three of my scores! That made me quite pleased! And at the moment...we have enough in our nest egg to allow me to put down 20-25% when that time comes, and our one-year lease it up on this rental. So I guess between now and then we will just keep stashing money away for Carley's future and stuff we'll want when we get our OWN house. I'm excited. There is a chance we might move to North Alabama, to be close to Squirrel's family. Her mom is in Florence, and her brother and his three boys are in Athens...close to Huntsville. And she has relatives all over the place up there. We both agree it would be best for Carley to grow up with her family close to her. As far as me? I don't care where I live. I just want my wife to be happy, and my daughter to have the best life possible. For what I do in life, I could be living anywhere. 

Thanksgiving is next week. Not sure what we are doing. She always has to work at that damn casino. Maybe I'll whip up a turkey while she's at work and surprise her with a nice Thanksgiving feast when she comes home around 5pm. Of course...my Seahawks are playing on Thanksgiving...a huge game against SF at SF...one week after taking on the 1-loss Cardinals at home. Some huge games coming up! Then that Saturday its off to Tuscaloosa to stay with BJ McBrayer and attend the Iron Bowl. We weren't sure about leaving Carley overnight...so we experimented last night and let her stay the night with her babysitter/slash/daycare teacher Bobbie Sue..who Carley just loves. Well...it went great. And Squirrel and I got to have a 'date night' for the first time in god knows HOW long. We had a nice night...though we both really missed Carley...especially at bed time. But it went so well that we now have no qualms about leaving her with her to go see Alabama hopefully beat Auburn and clinch the SEC West title!

I have some more poker-related news to share...but this blog has gotten pretty long, and hopefully I will first have some good news to share about this weekend in Baton Rouge...and then later I will get to the 'news' that I'm not so excited about...but which is just another chapter in my life as a poker outcast.

I hope you all have a great weekend...and a safe, happy Thanksgiving next week!

MONKEY

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!!! And Hello November!

I'm a little shocked to see that I haven't blogged since Sept 18th. That's probably a record. I could blame it on not playing one single hand of poker in about 45 days. Or I could just blame it on being really busy with life! 

Since I last posted, I had a cancerous basal cell removed from my neck (skin cancer), had a procedure done on my back where they made some weird injection, the Giants won the World Series (again) despite an amazing postseason 'feel-good' story by the Royals  that was stopped just one win shy of the happy ending.  My mom seems to have conquered her bout  with breast cancer. Speaking of cancer, Percy Harvin got traded away from the Seahawks to the 1-7 NY Jets. 



Florida State is still unbeaten. They now have their starting running back under investigation to go along with the QB  who seems to just keep stepping in it. And Bama, after a loss to Ole Miss,  when they led by two td's going into the 4th quarter and just played 'not to lose' did just that...is rebounding nicely, and now pretty much controls their own destiny with big games coming up against LSU, Miss St. then Auburn...winning all three should either get them into  the SEC title game or the NCAA Playoff. It's going to be a VERY exciting month of November!

 Basketball season and hockey season have both started. I've got fantasy leagues for both...so that keeps me busy!

And finally...the thing I've been working really hard on for the past month...the website called Fantasy Draft...is just about ready to kick off. We've been BETA testing the site for the past three weeks...and we are set to go live, or play-for-pay, starting either THIS weekend...or next at the latest (probably). I've already signed up a ton of people under me...and am hoping that once it goes live, will sign up a lot more. I'm really excited about it. I was ushered in by one of the sites 14 Team Pros...who happen to all be pro poker players...and all are under Matt Savage, tourney director who most of you know by name if not personally. 

It's one of the coolest setups for a MLM aka 'pyramid' investment models I've ever seen...and the guys I've talked to about it who have a lot of experience with MLM's say this is very unique. They pay you for 6 levels/tiers of your 'down line' or people who sign up below you. Most business models gives you the most at the 1st level...then it gets less and less as the tree branches out. This one? Total opposite! It goes 10%, 10%, 15%, 15%, 20% and 30%....on the 6th tier. If you have a shred of common sense...you know what that means. If you get just 100 referrals under you...and even a few of those get 'after it' and get aggressive with it...you could have 1000's under you...with a large percentage of them in the Tier 5 and Tier 6 levels...earning you 20-30% of whatever action they generate! It's literally a possible life-changer.

Is it an idea that people are interested in? Pffffft! Hilarious! Uh...yeah...if you haven't noticed Fan Duel and Draft Kings? Yeah...these sites are getting like 90,000 entries every Sunday for a $27 contest that guarantees $1m to the winner! No kidding. A buddy of mine finished 6th (I think) a couple weeks ago and won $40,000. His TE dropped a few passes and had the QB overthrow him for an easy TD or he probably wins at LEAST 3rd and maybe higher. But yeah...this idea is currently on FIRE! People are tired I guess of the season-long fantasy leagues (I'm not!) and want to play one-day or one-week contests...where you simply pick a roster of 9 (for football-they have contests for EVERY sport) for that day or week and compete against other people's roster. Simple. 

Well...no one is making money off  of Fan Duel and Draft Kings (and all the others) except the owners of those sites. Fantasy Draft? The ones making all the money? The players themselves! So...that's all  I'm going to say about it...at the risk of coming off like an annoying car salesman! But you want in...click the link up there...should take you right to the sign up page and I'll get credit for you. Also? EMAIL ME...at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com and tell me you just joined up. I am keeping a spreadsheet of ALL my personal referrals,  and will be doing weekly freerolls and private contests just for those who signed up under me! I'm going to have a LOT of fun with this whole thing!

You all know how much I dig Nolan Dalla's  blog? I've mentioned it several times. Well,  he is the brains and creative mind behind the show, I  think it appears on CBS...called 'Poker Night in America.' I've kind of, in the back of my  mind...been wishing I'd get invited to appear on the show. But I didn't want to ask. Figured maybe someday my 'flamboyance and controversial' personality would appeal to someone. It's risky for sure. You have to bring your own bankroll, as its a cash game. And I don't typically fare too well  in cash game...but hey! I  know I'd have fun! And I'm pretty sure I'd be a lot more exciting to watch than most poker players I see on TV!!! Well, this morning, I got a message from a guy I won't name, asking if I'd be interested in appearing on the show when  it goes to Florida in December. Of course I responded that I'd be thrilled to! So  I'll let you know who that turns out!

Squirrel, Carley and I are right in the middle of moving. I tried to get a mortgage, that would allow me to buy the house we'd been renting the past 7 years. But since I file as a professional gambler, I  don't usually show much on paper...since I choose to use all  my  buyins and expenses to offset the tax burden. Well, I was told if I could just show about $40k annually, for two years....I could get a mortgage easily, since I have great debt to credit ration and have a credit score over 700. So that was good news. And since I always file late...I had yet to finalize my taxes for 2013. So...I told my landlord I would re-do my taxes for 2013...requiring me to cough up a healthy sum, and file the same way for 2014 as soon as  January arrives. Sounded like we might have had a deal in place. But then...they kept showing the house anyway...which, if you've ever been a tenant and had the owner trying to sell the house, is a REAL pain in the ass!!!! And Squirrel didn't do us any favors, leaving the house looking like a model home before every showing.

Well, lo and behold, the owner calls me on the16th and tells me they have a contract, and that we have 30 days to be out! Wow. Really!? Squirrel freaks out. But in the next couple days we managed to find a few houses real close to us that were all really nice. We settled on one that's only 3 miles from us, and we are in the middle of the moving process now. Claudia "The Claw" Crawford, who has been occupying our guest room, is coming with us, for a while at least...and she's been over there all week with Squirrel and a couple of their other friends painting all the rooms in the house. 

A LITTLE MORE LIKE THIS.....

A LOT LESS THAN THIS!!!!!

I guess everything worked out for the best. We will rent that house for only a year...then I will have our financing in place next fall, and we can buy something we actually like. In the mean time...we can pay off all the rest of our credit debt...which is getting pretty close to nothing! To me...that is exciting! Debt free just sounds like a fantasy!

I'm sure all of you shop at Wal-Mart right? I've never been real big on the self-checkout deal...it seems like it always hits a snag of some kind. Squirrel and I used it yesterday because all the other registers were backed up for days. And sure enough...snags...like four times. Real annoying. As I was standing there waiting our turn...it dawned on me. It seems like there is a way for people to shoplift using that method. Then it occurs to me that I often times see somewhat shady-looking people  in those lines. Hmmmm. Do you  think...maybe?

Speaking of Wal-Mart...Squirrel was there shopping back in August when I was home visiting my mother...and after I called her, and the phone was answered by our 10-year old almost sister to Carley...Abbey...I detected something very bizarre going on. "Abbey, what is going on? Why are you answering the phone? Where is Miss Squirrel?" There had been an accident. Black lady, no insurance, suspended license, and expired tags...was going the wrong way in the parking lot...sees Cheryl backing out of her spot...and decides to jam her car in reverse and try to get her parking spot....albeit by virtue of backing into it. (one of my favorite motorist moves-NOT!) Well Squirrel, not the most observant of drivers herself...does ONE head check...then backs out...the perfect storm occurs...and boom! Cops came. Lady clearly at fault. Cited. End of story right?

Nope. Get a letter from my insurance company a few weeks later. The lady seriously tried to file a claim against MY insurance company. Wow! So we had to go through the whole rigamarole of keeping that off my policy. I decided to get my car fixed. Wasn't going to at first...but then got annoyed. The body shop gave me an estimate of $950. Geico gave me one for $1400! And cut me a check for $900 in the driveway (minus  the $500 deductible) and I got  my whole back in repaired for fifty bucks! Had it done last week...while it was being repaired rented a 2015 Chevy Tahoe and fell in love with it.  There could be a new car coming to the Souther driveway soon. But it is nice to have two of  us  owning cars that are BOTH paid off and not having a car payment. We'll see what happens. No, that bitch didn't get her piece of shit car fixed at my expense. I love this society we live in now.

I have this little flip out compartment in my car where I hide/keep dollar bills for the valets and drive-thrus and stuff like that. A couple weeks ago...Squirrel decides not to lock my car...which she does a lot...despite my angst about it. Next morning...flip panel  is open...all my ones (about $120) are gone...and my loose change (about $10) is also gone. Nice. Real nice! Oh! But my $300 radar detector? Didn't touch it! Nice thieves. Meanwhile, my next door neighbor has a broken garage door, hasn't had it closed in 6 months...and not once has he had anything stolen from his garage. Strange.

There are those who think having a job is the only way to get ahead in life. Then there are those who think the best way is to make your own opportunities. Sure, you can make arguments for both. Me? I have this thing about  working for idiots...taking orders from morons. I can't do it. I don't have the tolerance for it. My wife? She is great at it. I have no idea how she does it. I just embrace the whole concept that we live in the land of opportunity, and as long as you have a little motivation, and some smarts...you can create your own ways to make a living. Why do I say this?

This is just one of many reasons why  I hate corporations, and question why anyone would ever want to work for one. We have a person we know...well, my wife does. He had been a long time, solid employee at this 'place' we all  know. Great work record. Well-liked. Just a very solid employee that any business would/should want to have working for them. This guy is a recovering alcoholic...and sometimes after work, deals with it by smoking a little weed...which by the way is legal in a few states now. And frankly...do we not think it will be legal nationwide within a few years?

Anyway...this guy is getting off work one night. He is pulling out of the parking garage at his place of work...and his car is barreled into by one of the valet parkers, totally the other guys' fault. Security for the property shows up. Information is exchanged. And then...per company policy, both drivers are ordered to take a urine/drug test for human resources. Well, this guy has THC in his system. And just like that...he's fired! Guy has a wife and three kids...and was already struggling to stay ahead as it was. Now he loses his job, loses his insurance...getting a reference now will be hard. All because some over-eager valet kid was speeding in the garage. Is this the company's fault? Are they the 'bad guy?' Well, this guy's immediate supervisor, who was  summoned to the garage, stood with that look on his face, that says "Oh my god, I can't believe this is happening,  I wish I could do something to help you." I know this supervisor. He's a great guy. But not even he could do anything about it. Because it's a stupid corporate policy.  And now a family is thrown into chaos.

This is just ONE story. I've heard many. And when I had my last job ten years ago...for a big liquor distributor...I saw some of the dumbest shit, over and over. People getting suspended or fired for the most ridiculous things. And in this new PC (politically correct) world we live in now...it's even harder to tow the company line without mis-stepping. So  for those of you out there who are working for 'the man' you have my sincere sympathy. And I pray for all of you that you won't fall into one of these horrible, life-altering traps!

Well...it's Halloween...and my brother's 45th birthday. Carley is going trick-or-treating with her best friend Abbey tonight, and will be Queen Elsa from 'Frozen' along with a gazillion other kids in America tonight! Squirrel ordered it online...and Carley loves it of course. But today...she has a party at her school...and we didn't want to ruin her Elsa costume...so we bought her a 'backup' costume for school  today...and one for Squirrel and I...to wear to her party, and trick-or-treating tonight. I  shall be the Cookie Monster! And Squirrel is also a Bumble Bee! Carley loves riding the Bumble Bee ride at the fair..and when she saw the costume she went crazy. My little girl is growing up SO fast...and is getting so beautiful. I'm trying so  hard to  enjoy every second of her being a little girl...because I know I'm gonna blink and she's gonna be a teenager and I'm going to be in hell!



We discovered this neighborhood last year...wow! It's actually the  neighborhood where Abbey's grandmother lives...but it's like something you'd see in a movie. Two cop cars posted  at the entrance to the subdivision for protection. And everywhere you look...kids! People go all out to decorate their houses and yards. It's like one huge party. Lots of block parties. Well...we will be going back there again tonight! And even though Carley, as a lady bug last year was adorable...she didn't quite embrace the whole Halloween thing. Well...she sure has formed an addiction to 'shee shee' (candy) and I suspect tonight will be amazing for her!

Okay...well...there ya go! Just wanted to pop in, drop a post...and let you all know I haven't fallen off the face of the Earth!!!  Have a great weekend!

MONKEY

Thursday, September 18, 2014

IP Biloxi Wrap Up....

It's Thursday...and all the dust has settled, my sleep has been caught up on, and I've started with my personal trainer, in my  mission to lose 30-35 lbs before our family cruise in January!

All in all I'd say the WSOP-circuit event at IP could be viewed as a success, despite firing twice and not cashing in the Main Event...which was regrettable. But 4 cashes, including a 5th in the 6-Max (an event I'd never cashed before) and a 3rd in the 11th ring event...coupled with a 1 for 1 Mega record and a 4th in the only nightly I played...and it was the 2nd consecutive circuit event where I turned a profit! Woo Hoo!

Currently I sit in 5th place in the standings for the WSOP National Freeroll at the end of the season...something I won a seat in when they first started it four years ago. My 92.5 points have me in pretty good shape...what doesn't have me in good shape is that I'm still not allowed to play in Caesar's-owned properties. Hopefully, after the female dealer who started that mess, has had her letters received by all the various people who hold the power to rescind that 86, they will see fit to reinstate me to play at their casinos again.

In the meantime...I'm pretty sure I'm done playing tournaments for 2014. There really isn't anything I have any desire to go play...and with football season keeping me busy with my pools, and the holidays quickly approaching...there just isn't any real desire to go anywhere and be gone from home for a long time. I'd say I might play Choctaw in January..but that is the week our whole family is going on a Caribbean cruise, so that won't happen. Maybe the Bicycle Club event in LA and the next Palm Beach event...aside from that, no idea.

We are living in a 'house of stress' right now on the home front. Though I own my house in Pensacola that I rent out...we have been renting this house in Biloxi for the past 7 years. At $1250 a month...it irks me knowing how much money has been basically flushed down the toilet. Well, now  our landlords have decided they want to sell this house. They got it appraised and are listing  it for $125,000. They are offering us the 'amazing' price of $123,000....isn't that nice? For the $105,000 in rent they've collected from us, with ZERO missed or late payments..and we get a discount of $2000.  Well, I got my taxes back today...the 7th year in a row that I've filed as a Professional Gambler...and forwarded that info to the mortgage person I've been working with to  try and buy this place. Sorry...can't help you! Something about claiming $220,000 in winnings...but $170,000 in buy ins...with another bevy of deductions...leaving my overall taxable income being like $6500 or something...means they won't touch me. And Squirrel and her waitressing tips don't exactly put us over the top either. 

So I don't know what to do! I have the 20-25% to put down on it. Our credit scores are both around 700. But because of what we do...and what the idiot predatory lenders did to the housing market last decade...we are in the position of not being able to get a mortgage. So irritating. And rentals? Squirrel has been beating herself over the head searching for them the last month...finding nothing even CLOSE to desirable. I'm not sure what the options are. I was hoping to just win the Main Event at IP...and pay them cash for the house! Didn't pan out!

So...in that last event? Ha...first, when I was logging on here to make a new post, I saw I had a new comment. It told me that 'Mr Poker' from my previous post....had written a blog post about me on his 'Big Slick Academy' site...but which he took down after three days. That really bums me out. I was hoping to read it. Well...I am happy to report that his 'Big Slick' style of play blew up in his face. All those chips...and all Sean Hansen (his real name) could muster, was a 9th place finish. Prior to starting back, I pulled up everyone's names to view their career results. I was amused to see that 'Mr Big Slick Poker Guy' had a whopping five career cashes. That made sense.

Not sure where he developed his style, but I would argue that he'd read 'Kill Phil' by Blair Rodman about 20 times...where it's basically just hammered into your head that pushing all in, regardless of the situation is going to work 99.5%  of the time. And when it doesn't? And you get called? Pray! Well...I had a couple of spots where I was pretty sure I had the best hand...and he pulled that bullshit. The best hand I folded to his 3-bet shove was AcQc...which I'm 99.9% sure was ahead. But these final tables? Especially when I feel the table pretty much sucks? It's easier to just let the bad play weed it down to 3 or 4 then do whatever I can to win from there.

So that is what I did....and on a hand where there was a raise, and a re-raise, this fool shoves all in for an amount that was now, finally...a callable amount. So he got looked up by AQ this time...him holding Jack-Five. Well...he didn't get lucky...thank god...and he was gone, in 9th place.

Meanwhile...while that was going on...Quan Nguyen...who came to the final table with about 60% of the chips in play...was busy doubling up one short stack after another. I got into him a couple times myself. And finally...he shoved all in with A7 I think...and ran into the eventual winner's AA in the BB. Busto. 6th place. Wow. Granted...he had some bad luck...raising on the button with KK...getting shoved on by Kip Jones with AQ...who would flop an ace. But there were a lot of hands where he was just being overly aggressive when he didn't need to be. But this was the same guy that one of my buddy's was telling me was raising to 450 constantly in Level One of the Main Event when the blinds were 25/50. So aggression was kind of his middle name. 

Things were really starting to go my way...I was getting close to having the chip lead. We were down to three..and I was really starting to get that 'feeling' you get when you're about to win a tourney. My 2nd ring, my first in Hold Em (finally-after 4 2nd place finishes) a big 50 Freeroll  points that would put me in 2nd place overall...and a healthy score of $8300. 

HICCUP #1. Kip Jones raises on the button...and I call in the SB with QJ. Now Anthony Gray (who would later win) goes all in with 55. But he goes all in for about 12 BB's. This is where I think Kip really fucked up. Instead of just calling...and having me flat behind...we hopefully knock him out...and lock up 1st and 2nd place money. But no...he shoves all in with 33. I fold obviously...and Anthony nearly triples up. Had Kip done what I think is the right thing there...we bust Anthony...and get heads up. He cost me $1600. And possibly a chance at the win. And only got 2nd place anyway. So he might have hurt himself too.

HICCUP #2.  I raise Anthony in the SB with A-10 and get called by him in the BB with A-9. The flop comes A-9-9. I lead out. And he spaz shoves all in. And it wasn't a ton to call. I put him on either QJ...open ended...or K10...'El Diablo' which I'd be feeling pretty good about. I had to call. Ace nine? Wow. That was a bad hit....

HICCUP #3. The blinds were now out of control....I'd lost a couple more hands...and was 'down' to $120k at 6k/12k....10 BB's. Anthony raises on the button...and I have A5h in the BB...which at those levels..is gold. And since I really didn't have enough to three-bet...and didn't think flatting was a very smart move....I shoved. He snap called with QQ...ouch. But the flop brought two aces.....A-7-A....awesome...but three diamonds...and him holding the Q of diamonds. I'm just hoping to fade the diamond...but then he rivers a fucking queen. Gross. Nasty. Busto. 3rd place. Shit.

He then went on to beat Kip...collect his second ring of the circuit event...and lock up the Casino Champion title...securing his seat in the WSOP National Freeroll. Good for him. He was a nice guy...I'm glad he won.

I then walked over and watched my buddy Kai Landry play and get heads up in the....ahem...Ladies Event. You heard me. Kai played the ladies event. He even busted and rebought. It wasn't a big field...they only got  33 entries. And when Kai got heads up with who I'd coined 'Angry Joyce' because of an 'experience' I'd had with her a couple days before in the cash game...it was a scene out of a bizarro poker film. I had Nick and TK Miles there watching with me...and we were basically berating Kai the whole time...while the three ladies watching 'AJ' were rooting her on while also playfully berating Kai. Angry Joyce was tough because she basically had two moves...limp on the button or push all in. Weird. Kai had one beautiful suckout with A7c  versus A9...and me calling the river card of victory for Kai. But even after that massive double up...he couldn't seem to do what needed to be done to tame the Angry Joyce....and she walked away with the pendant.

I'm told by a few ladies, that had Kai won...he never would have made it  out of the parking garage with that pendant. Well, since I know he parked in valet...I  wonder if they had a backup plan for him!?? So yeah, that was funny...and the post I made of him pictured at the final table with Joyce on my Facebook got a lot of entertaining comments!

So poker is over for me for awhile. Thanks to the folks at IP for letting me come back and play. It was a fun week. They did another great job of running the events. The dealers also did a fine job. It was nice seeing and playing with a lot of  you I hadn't seen or played with in a long time. For those who I may have offended with my dry,  sarcastic sense of humor...I offer you my condolences for not being able to comprehend good comedy when you see it. 

MONKEY

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Main Event Dreams: Dead Bitter Bowl Hopes: Alive

So I'm waiting (37 minutes) for my car in valet last night at IP. The lobby is crawling with people in clothes that shock, confuse and amaze. Skin showing that should never be seen in the light of day. Two or three people are asleep and/or passed out in the chairs in the waiting area. In fairness, you could likely attribute this to alcohol or the excessive wait times in picking up your car in the slowest valet in America. 

Then there is this one guy. By most standards you'd consider him 'normal.' Until this: "Excuse me...where are you heading?" Huh? Are you talking to me? Yes...yes he was. Why are you asking me where I'm heading, I inquired? Oh...well...because, despite it being 2am...he claims he was supposed to have been picked up by a 'friend' at 12:00....PM! Like, yeah...14 hours ago. To travel to a town I'd never heard of 35 minutes north. 14 hours! Surely this guy was kidding? I ask the person in valet if this sounded right? "Oh...yeah...that guy has been sitting there for a long time." 

"Sir, I would love to help you...but I have a tremendous phobia of getting robbed and possibly killed....so I will have to say no. Good luck to you though."

I finally get my car...the midget in valet has once again left my seat pinned almost to my dashboard...and raised to the ceiling, so I spend the required time adjusting my seat so I can actually ENTER my car. Then on the way...turning left off of the freeway...this lady is literally in the middle of the intersection...like, she'd just STOPPED when she realized she'd run the red light. And since it was two lanes...and cars were going by me on the right, I couldn't even go around her. I sat looking at her...with that face...you know the one? That sort of....'what the fuck?' face? I felt bad for her...she looked panic stricken. I tried waving her to just go...but she wouldn't. It was awkward. I was so glad to finally get to my driveway,...where I sat for about 5 minutes thinking about my day.

I played Main Event Flight A...on a ticket I won in the Mega. At one point I doubled from 12k to 25k...then had a guy...who smelled (not making this up) like he had been soaked in old bourbon...rolled in animal feces, and decided to go play a poker tourney. In THREE minutes the entire table had their shirts up over their face. On his second hand...at 300/600...he moves all in with 97 offsuit. I happened to find KK on the button. I win. He leaves. And everyone at that table now has clothes that resemble Jerry Seinfeld's car after that trip through valet. For the fear of spores attaching themselves to my clothes...and spreading like ebola to my other clothes once I got home....I took off my clothes in the driveway, poured gasoline on them...and lit them on fire. I'll miss that t-shirt. And jeans. The greater good.

That put me at 40k. Then I raise with AK. I get called by the small blind. Flop comes KK5. Wow. He checks. I C-bet. He raises! What? Makes no sense. I'm thinking maybe K10 or KJ. This could be really nice...and get me to almost 75k. Turn is a 3. Now he bets 6k. Strange. I just call. The river is a deuce. He bets 8k. I think most players would have raised at some point in there. I'm glad I didn't. I just called. Pocket fives. Boat. Ugh. Gross. I then struggle and grind 10 bb's for about 3 or 4 levels..and sit thought a 90 minute dinner break. Come back...patiently grind...moving in a couple times to pick up the occasional 'round of M' to keep me afloat. Then down to 5 BB's...I shove Q10c UTG...and get called by Ryan Ennis with pocket tens. Nice hand sir. Whoa! Queen in the window! Followed by a 10! One-outer. And no queen would follow...I was out. And bummed. Was gonna play the 10pm $240 Mega...but then as I was about to register, noticed it was 10 minute levels. Super Turbo. A $240 that takes $50 in juice. Gives you only 3000 starting chips. Um...yeah, no thanks. I'd rather just go get a good night of sleep, and pay the full $1675. Which is what I did.

Came back good and refreshed. Squirrel had to work, and I'd managed to line up a babysitter, Carley's daycare teacher....or who WAS her teacher until next week, when they've decided to move her up to an advanced class. She is such a nice girl, and Carley loves her...so getting her to take Carley for the day was awesome. I drove her to meet Bobbi Sue and got to the IP about 45 minutes early. Weird feeling. Had a pretty good table draw. A few guys I know pretty well, Kris Kent, Nick (from Louisiana who's last name I always forget-great guy, solid player) and TK Miles. Then later that crazy Russian Dimitri would come to our table and talk everyone's ear off! 

I had a modest start....+2250 at the first break. But then, from there, it was kind of a brutal, torturous grind. I got down to 6100....when, with a raiser, and a re-raiser....and a call...I look at KK in the SB and shove all in, getting called by Nick with AK, while the guy with 10-10 folded. I held...and was back in business. That didn't last long. This goofy looking mutant...and if you play down here...you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about...shows up at our table, and I say "I hope you play as bad as the last guy who sat in that chair!" Oh...he did, and worse.

He was fond of limping. Very fond. He would donk off chips, then get lucky and chip back up. On one hand I raised with QQ. He called. The flop came K-4-4. He confusingly checked. I bet a normal c-bet amount. And he looks at his cards....makes a motion to fold...then does a 180 and shoves all in. WTF? Whatever...I fold. Well, I was so wanting to get rid of this guy. Ever just have a guy sit down...who you observe for awhile...and just KNOW...that this is gonna be the idiot who ruins you? And your chance to win a tourney that will let you buy a house? Something about this clown was screaming that...so I wanted to take every chance to bust him. My chance arrived.

He limps in for 1000. Two others call. I find 99 on the button. I make it 3200 to go. He sits there, blinking like an iguana and a hot desert boulder....I'm waiting for his tongue to flicker....then he all of a sudden goes all in for 18k. Makes no sense. The others fold. I decide to call..and he turns over AJ offsuit. Pffft. Nice move buddy. The dealer puts all rags on the flop. Nice. Turn. Nothing. One card away from having 27k and being in good shape. Whooops, sorry, Monkey....stupidity gets rewarded again...ace of hearts on the river. Two or three guys just look at me and shake their head. Kris Kent quips "Monkey, I've never seen someone get beat on the river as much as I've seen you lose on the river over the years. It's crazy!" Yes, Kris...it is, indeed, crazy. I was left with 2500 chips.

Those eventually went in with KJ...and I was called by the one guy (from Atlanta) who I hadn't seemed to be able to beat all day...who turned over AQ. At least I was live. He flopped two aces...and I was dead. Main Event...over. Shit. 

It's weird because for the past few years...I've run so lousy in prelim events...but then cash in almost all the Main Events....which, as noted earlier, is not a terrible thing. But this week? I've been kind of crushing the prelim events...but then get smoked with both bullets in the Main. Not something I'm proud of, or happy about.

So since it was 6:30....I had the chance to climb into Ring Event #11...a $365 tourney. Why not? I renamed it the Loser's Bracket's Bitter Bowl...consisting of mainly forlorn, saddened players who were no longer toiling in the Main Event. I sit down...and played like a maniac....opening super light...throwing bluffs left and right...floating with nothing and hitting. It was crazy. Then actually get a couple good hands and get paid off...before I knew it I  had 26k and was running over the table. Looked up and saw 86 players. Hmmm...this might be the easiest final table I ever make!

Then the shit hits the fan, And it all happened on one dealers' down. It was a whirlwind...flopping two pair...betting flop, betting turn...and getting rivered...by a flush, by a better two pair. Left, right, knee to the groin, punch to the head...gouged eye...I was battered and bloodied and now down to...yes...1600 chips! At 300/600. So much for waltzing to the final table. I wasn't even going to make the money!

Or was I? I shove all in with 9-10 on the button. Get called by A2 and BB's unknown hand. Flop comes K-2-5, two clubs. Ugh. When the small blind leads out I figured I was dead meat. BB folds. I see his hand...and thank him for betting the other guy out of the hand...then turn a nine, that holds! Boom! Triple up. I won't bore you with the rest....I went on a massive heater. Then get moved to a new table at 27 players...seated next to...we'll just call him Mr. Poker. 

Gawd I  wish I could show you a picture. But he wouldn't consent, like a lot of these other folks. Let me describe him. White with red trim wireless BOSE headphones...which had no music playing, mirrored amber colored shades, and a hat that identified him as a member of the Big Slick Poker Academy. This guy was the 'real deal.' Oh and he had 60k...which was likely more chips than he'd ever had in front of him in his life. He just kept feeding me chips. It was beautiful. All the while, he's talking about 'the game' as though he'd been doing it all his life. Now...all of this might be convincing unless you were/are someone who actually does do this a LOT...and is noticing all the 'little signs' that identify him as a newbie pretender. The dead, and final give away...was during the bag up...when he was utterly baffled as to how to carry out the whole process. This just gave me great joy. White sheet...DEALER. Yellow sheet...BAG! Pink sheet...YOU! Is it really THAT tough? What to write on bag? NAME/CHIP COUNT/TABLE ASSIGNMENT. Easy. Three things! OH...you can't figure out how to seal the bag? So...when exactly WILL you be teaching classes at the Big Slick Poker Academy? Dipshit.

But he wasn't even the biggest dipshit. No...that title goes to the 60+ year old hillbilly with the almost bald head...but pony tail going down to the middle of his back. See...tomorrow (actually today) there is a 12 noon $365 turbo event. Some of us (yeah me) are still competing for Casino Champion, yes, I'd definitely probably need a win...but I am at least within striking distance...and with only being able to play Non-Caesar's owned events for now...I only get a few chances to add to my current point total of 62.5 Freeroll points. So obviously I would like to have kept playing...as did everyone else. All the other tourneys have played til Level 15. But on the structure sheet...this event was reportedly only playing 12 levels. No one was liking that...and the floor guys let us all vote on it...willing to let us play 15 levels, and at the least, get into the money (12 players) and at best, make it down to the final table of 9. I was now in good shape with 44k. And I wanted to get as deep as possible. Who wants to come back with 17 players...5 away from the money?

Answer: No one! Except for Mr Barren Desert in the Front, Party in the Back. His rationale? "I played it knowing it would only play 12 levels...and that is what I'm sticking to." Ugh...sir, does it bother you that ALL 16 other players want to keep playing? That some people would like to play tomorrow's noon tourney? And also...did you notice that you only have 7 big blinds? He didn't care. I have a feeling this might be the first time he's ever bagged chips...and he just wanted that special thrill. Maybe he has a big 'rail' that will show up to watch him turn his 7 big blinds into an amazing title and WSOP glory capped with a $473 gold ring that he can show to all his friends at the Eagle's Club. Who knows. But we all left very pissed.

Oh...and incidentally...upon my departure from my Main Event table, I quipped to Kris, you know? The sad thing? Is that those chips he just took from me? Are just gonna get redistributed right back to you guys. Dead on. Went back over there on our first break in that 5pm tourney...and guess who was no longer at the table. Uh huh. That guy. The dream crusher. Never fails. 

So...here it is 12:42pm on Sunday....and as badly as I'd have liked to go in at noon and play that  $365 1-day Turbo...how smart would that be? The return time for us 17 players left in the Bitter Bowl is 3pm. How many chips, exactly, would I need to accumulate to feel comfortable walking away from to play the restart for Event 11? The answer is WAY TOO MANY...which isn't very likely, so instead of just setting $365 on fire, I elected to write a blog, play with Carley, watch some football, get caught up on all my pools...then go in fresh and dialed in to try and win my 2nd ring, rack up 50 pts, close out my IP event on a strong note and show a profit for this circuit event. 

Hope you are all having a good weekend. 

MONKEY

Friday, September 12, 2014

Today: Main Event WSOP-C at IP Biloxi

Before I write a blog I am greeted by the blog roll of Nolan Dalla...which just gets more and more intimidating every time I  sign in. The guy is simply amazing. I'm pretty sure he posts every day. EVERY DAY! And everything he writes is entertaining, informative and insightful. Makes me wonder why I'm wasting my time.

Then I read the comments that have been left. Today there was just one. Yesterday, Squirrel drove to Pensacola to join her girlfriends for a Miranda Lambert concert...leaving Carley home with me. We did the yard work together...her following me around like my shadow, gulping Gatorade (finished off with a big Ahhhh!) when I drank Gatorade. Then, once done...asked her 'ya wanna go eat chicken!??'  "Yeah!!!" So we headed to Buffalo Wild Wings. She was perfect! Did her coloring with the crayons and kids menu/coloring sheets...then devoured some cheese dip and a little chicken. Then we came home, took a bath, and watched 'Frozen' for the 837th time...the 'sing-a-long' version...in which Daddy leads the way with all the theatrics. She finally fell asleep! So I log on and see this comment: "You took sweet Carley to a bar to watch football! What is wrong with you Will!??"  Sigh. Yes...yes I did. I took her to a BAR! To watch football! We were there for 45 minutes. And I think I might have caught one play of the Steelers game. 

So I finally got my 4-scene ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video finished and posted. I promised to donate .50 for every 'like' that I  got on Facebook. So far it's somewhere around 150 likes. A lot of people, mostly in drought-stricken California, have been belly-aching about the Ice Bucket challenge, countering it with pictures of skinny African kids walking down dirt roads clinging to  their mothers and asking why we have to 'waste' water. This is about the dumbest counter-argument I've ever heard I think. In my case...just so it's disclosed, I bought 10 bags of ice, and 10 gallons of distilled water from Fred Meyer in Seattle...total cost: $36. As well as two orange buckets from Home Depot for $11. $47 was my total cost to try and raise awareness for a horribly debilitating disease. Here, for your viewing is the finished product. And I know...the audio sucks. Sorry.




I won't bother talking about ISIS, or former Raven Ray Rice, or Russian/Ukraine, or Ferguson, Missouri, or Joan Rivers and Betty White dying. Won't talk about how heartbroken I am at the guy in South Carolina who killed all five of his kids. Won't tell you how many people lost in the first week of my Survivor Pools (astronomical). Won't bring up the rant made by Gordon Hardy against the Pensacola Greyhound Poker room...pertaining mostly to the treatment of their players. I also won't get into the anniversary's of Hurricane Katrina or 9/11...and/or none of the conspiracy theories that are attached to the latter. You know? Like...what really happened to WTC building 7? I won't share with you how I was able  to see the very-hard-to-find beheading videos of our two journalists in Syria, or the discussions I've had with a member of ISIS on Twitter..just to gain perspective on how these people operate, and what is going on in their brain. (all very riveting). I will tell you how sick I am of over-dramatic Shepherd Smith of Fox News...and specifically his overuse (ad nauseam) of the expression 'boots-on-the-ground.'

I will talk about poker! For  the last few years, I've tended to run pretty bad in noon preliminaries, but then have cashed about 70% of the Main Events I've entered. I guess that could  be considered a 'good' thing. But what it's led to is making me want to skip the first week of most events...then show up at the end...and play the last three events...so I  don't drive myself crazy all week, kill my confidence, and go into the Main with a diminished state of mind.

Well, in the case of the IP Biloxi WSOP event...I'm on home turf...and with 35 points picked up in Palm Beach with the 6th place finish in the Main Event....I had no reason NOT to play every event that I can. Once upon a time I  used to cash about everything I  played at the IP. It's the place I  picked up my one and only WSOP circuit ring (in Omaha 8 or better in 2010-a great year!) and also where I got my first outright win in a decent sized tourney...winning the 50k guarantee on Halloween in 2008 I think. There have been some good memories there for sure. So I always kind of look forward to playing events there.

Since it's the day of the Main Event...you will be spared a lot of the histrionics of each tourney that  I've played this week...and will merely get an annotated summary. Event 1. $365. Oh...and every event has had about 125-150 entrants...very standard/typical for the events at the IP. I would love to  see it draw better...but it just never does. In fairness, the big event is/was going on at Borgata at the same time...and while I would love to be up there  playing for hundreds of thousands instead of 10's of thousands...it is nice to sleep in my own bed and be home. 

I got deep in the first event, made the money...and with 13 left...and getting excited about a final table in my first tourney back in three years....I have a guy limp at 1500/3000 with 57...and 37,000 in his stack. The SB calls. And I have KQh in the big blind and 38,500...seemed like a no-brainer. All in. The guy CALLS and tells me "You're definitely ahead...but I like this hand." I expect to see like A6 or something and NOT actually be ahead....when I see 57 I'm scratching my head. The flop is clean....and the turn brings me a flush draw...but also gives him a gutshot....he needs a non-heart 6 on the river. Six of spades. And I'm out. Unreal. I just shook my head in disgust, collected my measly $600  or so...and went home. 

Next event...another $365. I get deep again. And now...sitting on 136k with the average stack being 72k...I'm thinking there is no way I'm not making the final table in this one. At 1200/2400, this guy with 43,000 raises to 10,000 in early position. Huh!? Wow...but then I look  down at AA. Nice! And as I  look  down the table I see three short stacks. Seems like a really nice spot to just call and hope someone shoves. I flat. No one shoves, or calls. The flop comes J-3-7....one spade. "Well, I guess I'm going to give you the rest of my chips, he says." I hate it when they say crap like that. Expecting to see pocket jacks...but hopefully QQ....I call. He turns  over AK...of spades....about the best I  could hope to see. Then two spades roll off the deck....flush. Wow. Gross. Hit number one.

Then the same guy calls my AQ raise from UTG. The flop comes A-Q-10. Nice. He checks. I bet 7500. He shoves all in. WTF? Tough fold but I fold face up. He is grinning and shows KJ. Just the nuts. Wow...thanks for shoving all in and letting me off the hook sir. And now...I am down around average. No cakewalk today I guess. And to be honest...I don't even remember how I went out now....but I busted 14th...again for not much money. But it was 2 cashes  in two events...so that felt kind of good I suppose. And my points total was up to 42.5 in the National Freeroll. 

Next up...after busting that tourney....I played the 3-flight 5pm tourney...needing to bag that night because I'd been informed by Squirrel that I couldn't play on Saturday...needing to take care of Carley. Well, I played long and deep...but busted near the end...then went and played cash game...all night. Totally lost track of time...getting a call from Squirrel at 8am asking where the hell I was. Wow! 8am!?? How did that happen? Must have been one helluva Omaha game...one in which I was way  way stuck before rallying to get back most of my losses. Took Saturday off. And then Sunday as well.

Monday I was back for the 6-handed. I have never cashed in a 6-max. Ever. I'd bubbled one twice, and been close a few times...but never cashed. Until this week! I made the final table...and had a lot of people chirping about me being the favorite to win, given the lineup of players. I too liked my chances, but take nothing for granted. We went from 7  to 6 on the 3rd hand. Official final table now. But then we went for like 90 minutes before I eliminated the 6th place guy with my AK vs his 44...hitting a straight on him. And then....we played 5-handed for another eternity...and the structure started getting out of hand...which is what I was fearing. The coming of the Shove Fest! It arrived. And my 275k stack took the 'Big Hit' when the eventual winner, Rodney Sermons...raised on the button with A8...I found KK in the big blind and re-raised...but I guess not enough because he called. I led out on an ace-high flop....only to get called, and was probably done with the hand...until I turned a flush draw...I checked, and called his bet...which gave him two pair with the 8 of hearts. The river was a brick and I folded to his bet...frustrated. 



He raised a few hands later and I felt like KJ was probably a good hand to go with, so I did...and got called by his AQ. And the board ran out all rags...and I busted 5th. Bummer. $2700. But a small degree of satisfaction. They would  lose the next two players in 20 minutes. And the two heads up players only played about 20 more minutes. I was THAT close! 

Well...as soon as I busted I had 7 minutes to get into the $240 Mega Satellite. So I bought in. I gambled on the first hand...and tripled up. I would later get AA cracked by JJ and flop a straight only to lose to a guy going runner runner with just top pair for a boat...but still survived...and ended up winning the seat! Yahtzee! A savings of $1400!!!!

And once that was over? I had mere minutes to get into the $130 7pm nightly...AKA the Nightly Shit Show. I got into that....with like 5 big blinds...and continued my good run. I made the money at 8 players....and they allowed us to play on the 'Disco Final Table' which the IP puts together on a lighted stage...it's really cool...and it was my THIRD appearance that day on that stage! I ended up busting out 4th....losing with AJ to AQ....for another $700...and what ended up being a really decent day. Not a GREAT day...but a decent day for sure. And in the Freeroll race...I now have 67.5 points...good for 12th Nationally! So a good run in the Main could really be sweet!

Oh! For all those naysayers who wanted to criticize my selection of the Minions this summer? Yeah...well...you fools can suck it! BJ McBrayer got 2nd in the biggest event of this series so far for $27,000. He also cashed the Main Event  at the Beau Rivage last month...for another $15k. Josh Reichard? He's has only won a ring at this event...cashed a couple more...and is sitting in 2nd place for the race for Casino Champion. Yeah...a real slouch! Wild Bill Phillips hasn't gotten a chance to play every event...but the one he has played? He's gotten deep in them. And Kai Landry? Well...he has been too busy dealing with 'life issues' this week to come out and play. There are rumors floating around that we may see him for the Ladies Event on Sunday. So you BETTER respect Monkey's Minions...because they are doing work!!!! And as their 'handler' I too am holding my own!

Okay....time to go take a shower...then hopefully go keep this weeks 'run good' going! 

MONKEY