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Monday, July 13, 2015

Poker Is a Cruel, Cruel Bitch!

Happy Monday! What's so 'happy' about it? Well...I don't have the foggiest idea. For me, it's looking out my hotel window, seeing blue skies, and knowing that I have TWO more days here in the desert to 'make a splash' as we poker players like to call it, before heading home to resume my duties as a husband, a daddy, and a pool operator as football season looms.

Yesterday was virtually a carbon copy of Saturday. On Saturday, I played the 2pm Mega into the $5k Main Event at Venetian. I lost. Sitting on a decent stack...I raised UTG with JJ...had three callers, which is always fun, then watched as the big blind squirmed around in his seat...read his body language, became aware of his 'Euro-ness' and before I could even get the words out ("Go ahead, squeeze you clown!") he jammed his stack all in. I was sitting at about 25k with the blinds 400/800 and had raised to 2200. He moved all in for 8500. I did what any smart poker player would do, and I 'iso-raised' by moving all in. The first two guys folded and the last guy insta-called. Huh? 

Oh, lovely..he has QQ. The punk in the BB has 88. He would turn a set. I would turn a straight. A fourth club would hit the river...me holding the Jack of clubs, guy on the button holding the Queen of clubs. Game over Monkey. Go cash in growing stack of buy in tickets for food comps. Go to Grand Lux...sit with Nick Jivkov, eat, and talk about stupid poker players. Listen to Cali girl on my right (we are seated at the bar) and her mom "Oh my god, Oh my god" their way through their meal and wine. Walk back to poker room. Buy in for the 7pm Mega. 

Play 7pm Mega. Start well. Again. 158 started. Level 10 arrives, structure goes to shit. Once healthy stack, now a stack in perpetual peril. Get KK. No action. Get QQ next hand. No Action. Not good. Blind down. Level 12, level 13....need a double up. 10 to the seat....8 to the seat....shove all in with KJ...no call...survival chips. Down to 6 from the seat. Look at clock. 3am. Tired. On 5th cup of coffee. Average stack now is 8 BB's. I have 7. Please don't let me not win this seat. Playing since 2pm...13 hours in...I gotta nail this down. Three orbits of nothing...down to 5 BB's now. Four from the seat...and I look down at AJ on the button. Nice! ALL IN! Called by SB with A5. Anddddddd.....ace five wins. I stand. I face the wall...I pound my face into wall several times, then gather my bag, and shuffle off to the Treasure Island across the street. Stumble into the coffee shop, order a grilled cheese sandwich, which is served with an amazing tomato florentine soup. Then to my cocoon of darkness, curtains drawn, TV extinguished, and proceed to sleep until 11:48 am. 

I awaken, and realize this could be a day that heals all wounds inflicted on this trip. Wild Bill is heading back for Day Five...with a short stack, but an amazing ability to sit patiently waiting on the hand that would get him back into contention, and/or at the very least, chipping him up long enough  to allow him to penetrate the Top 100 and 'real' money. I fire up the laptop...tune into 'live updates' which have been painfully shitty since the WSOP decided to save the money they used to pay PokerNews, who did a fantastic job with their Live Reporting, and do the job themselves with their own in-house staff (a common complaint this summer from all poker players). 

We quickly lose 12 players and make a pay jump, from $34k to $40k. That's a good start to the day. Then...all of a sudden, while hitting refresh, I see a post to our Facebook Group page that causes my stomach to clench. Oh no! Nooooooo! Not again! Those who know my history, know a couple things about me. #1 I'm a Seahawks fan. #2 I fucking hate the Dallas Cowboys. and #3 I have been RUINED by  pocket kings so many times I can't count...the most painful being my punch out by Elisabeth Hille at the 2012 WSOP Main Event...when, with 175 players left, I picked up KK for the first time in the whole tourney. I raised. She re-raised me with 10-10...and I shoved all in for about a half a million...with her reluctantly calling. Flop 10....with three hearts however and me holding the King of hearts. No help on the turn...QUAD TENS ON THE RIVER! ESPN was nice enough to film the whole painful debacle...and provided me with pain over and over and over again for the next year. Then of course, I  got to hear from everyone who had seen it. "Hey Monkey, I saw your out hand on ESPN the other night....wow, that was rough!" Yeah. No shit.

Last summer, Bill was our deepest-running Grinder...making it to Day 3. His day ended when he picked up KK. Cowboys. Fucking Cowboys. Yesterday? Same damn deal. Kings again. Raises in early position. Guy re-raises him with AQ...Bill ships, called, Ace on the river. End of the ride. 223rd place. Lots of proud investors. Lots of atta-boys, but that same horrible feeling that kings always seem to deliver. I had barely finished grieving when I see our good buddy Kenny Milam had been eliminated 5 players later with KK! His was even worse. His opponent had QJ. Everything got all in on the flop...when it came jack high. The dealer was kind enough to put another jack on the turn...and Kenny's dream had died as well. Holy crap, poker gods. Are you seriously that much of a fuck face?

I went to the pool. Invited Bill to  come join me. He never made it. I can understand why. He probably went to his room and reflected on the last week. Maybe cried a little. Maybe broke a hotel lamp. Or...Bill being Bill...maybe he just sat there like a lizard on a rock out in the desert...staring listlessly at nothing in particular, blinking once every 4 or 5 minutes. No idea. But I sat at the pool, watching  people hula hoop, dance (most badly) and fill the pool with so many humans you needed to just find an empty spot and stand there. I was seated near a family from some Scandinavian country who had three gorgeous daughters...all in their teens. It was fun to watch when they went to the pool...knowing that some creeper would inevitably come hit on them. They would approach, and all I needed to do was watch the body language, the early level of confidence, followed by the 'shrinking violet' demeanor, as the shoulders sagged, that sheepish smile on their face...concluding with the guy crawfishing away trying to retain some modicum of coolness. Free entertainment.

Went back to coffee shop. Tried the turkey sandwich this time. Not as good. Sat on the rail...watching people walk by. It's always amusing watching the luggage-toters, those who are coming, and those who are leaving. Reading their faces, you can spot the ones who won, and the ones who lost...the ones who feuded with their significant others and the ones who are still in love. My attention was suddenly grabbed by a sight that made my skin crawl. Two twin sisters, both in their 50's, and both anorexic, were both speed-walking in and out of traffic, pulling their suitcase...one about 8 feet ahead of the other, zig-zagging in between casino patrons in their race to get to their room so they could, I assume, look in the full length mirror and lament how fat they look in their travel attire. 

Meal finished, I changed clothes, and made my way back to the Venetian, to again play the $600 satellite. I was shocked to discover that in Flight A (of three flights) the Main Event had only attracted 60 players. What the???? That's the bad news. The good news? There is a $2.5 million guarantee! So an overlay is for sure a possibility, but anyone who knows anything about poker tourneys knows that Flight A is always the smallest field. They also know that anytime an overlay possibility exists, there is a Twitter storm/alert letting all of the poker community know whats going on, which usually leads to a massive avalanche of players showing up. So I'm not getting my hopes up.

I end up getting Nick seated on my right. After getting rid of some dead weight, we add Chris 'Armenian Express' Gregorian, Tommy Vu, and Tommy Vedes to our table. It was a good table. Good poker was being played. It was a refreshing change from earlier in the week, when every table I sat down at was a literal shit show of horrendous poker. I felt like my game was spot on. I carried an above average stack all throughout the first ten levels. I started to once again allow myself to get optimistic about securing my seat in the $5k Main. Then it became like a repeat of the night before. Instead of 158 players with 16 getting a seat, we had 211 with 22 getting a seat. We quickly went from 40 down to 30...and I was once again getting very low. 

Then we were down to 27...my stack size dwindling..needing badly to at least pick up a round  of blinds and antes. I picked up 77 in late position and shoved all in for 31k with the blinds at 3k/6k and got called by AQ. Yuk. I weathered the flop...and turn...and as soon as I ask the dealer to let me hold...he slaps a queen on the river. Son of a bitch! Look at my watch...3:20am! Fuck....me! Two nights in a row. Same exact scenario.  Win that hand, and I'm at around 80k...and probably lock up the seat. One freaking card on the river. Cancels out 8 hours of play. Sickening. This time I wander off to my hotel, and instead of eating, sit down at a $10 blackjack table to have a soul-soothing coffee with baileys and kahlua before going to my room.

Joining me at the table...or rather, already seated, was a couple in their 60's...a delightful woman from Canada, and a juvenile-acting man from Marin County, California who saw my Mariners jersey and started harping on the Seahawks. (are ALL 49'er fans pricks, or does it just seem like it?) Seated to their right was a younger couple, who I learned live in Orlando and were somehow related, with the young man working at Disney. He was an incredible tool bag. I was in no mood to speak to strangers but tried to be as polite as possible. Dork boy from Disney kept trying to make witty comments directed at me. I was in my dry, expressionless and somewhat sarcastic mode...responding with replies that lacked any emotion. The two women thought I was funny, as I was making both men look like jackasses (not difficult). 

It's funny how easy it is to make most men, especially the ones who are trying and failing miserably to impress the women they are with, look like complete buffoons without hardly even trying.  I consider it a bit of a sport. Eventually, they decided to get the fuck out of there. I remained...and won a couple hundred dollars...and as they were bringing in the 'Asian closer' like they always seem to do if I've been lucky enough to win anything in blackjack...I stood up, colored up, and left. In bed by 4:30...asleep by 4:32...then at 5:25 my Facetime started ringing. Carley, at home...up and getting ready for school and wanting to see and talk to daddy. There is nothing in the world that will ever keep me from taking that call. I miss that little monkey so much. And in a few days after I return home...her and I start swim lessons. Four days a week, an hour a day, for two solid weeks. 

I've been up a couple hours. It's sunny out. I thought there were only two flights in the Main Event...but found out last night there are three. Which means there is also another 7pm $600 satellite. I'd already told my list of 88 investors that I've decided that if I didn't win last night's Mega that I would sell 50 shares for $100 a share...and play for 40%. For those in the markup mafia, I think that equates to 1.2% markup. I have already had a bunch of people request shares if I didn't win last night. Well...now I need to decide, should I just go ahead and sell 50 shares, commit to play tomorrow rested and relaxed, and just frolic around the pool today, and skip the 7pm mega that I keep ALMOST winning every freaking night? Or should I play it again...in hopes of finally winning that damn thing, and playing for 100% of myself in a contest that I like my chances of cashing in? Kind of a tough call. 

I guess I'll figure it out in a few hours or so. Thanks for listening. I only have two more pair of clean boxer shorts. 

MONKEY

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Monkey's Minion Marches on to Day Four

And this...is why I put this all together! Taking the negative of my own ridiculous situation with the WSOP, one person specifically, and making (somehow) a positive out of it. To perhaps cast a national spotlight on the absurdity of it, of one man's infantile actions to keep one player out of the competition due to a personal vendetta...and making him answer to people he would never in a million years be able to satisfy with his foolish response. You can't ignore the  Minions. They are very clearly marked! People ask questions. Cameras will capture the photos, even the moving images. It will start with questions...lead to rumors, whispers will make the rounds. Finally that curious journalist looking for a scoop will get motivated to start asking the 'tough questions.' And then...my master plan will have fallen into place. This is the day I have dreamed about for two years. Not the potential money...don't get me wrong, that would also be nice...but this was my primary motivation last year when I started this ball rolling.

I had exhausted my list of options to get my ban lifted in Hammond. But orders from a higher power had intervened, demanding that they not, under any circumstances, lift my ban. Despite receiving a letter from the dealer who initiated the mess, pleading with them to let me back in, that it was merely a misunderstanding on her part. That I never should have been kicked out for what was labeled 'making sexually harassing comments to one of the dealers' when, after cashing in the first event; a huge field where we were asked to remain at the table until we were joined by an off-duty dealer and escorted to the pay out area. I stood at my table, awkwardly waiting for someone to arrive...before finally wandering over to the area where they were assembled, asking the first girl in line if she was "the person who is escorting me to get my $1000?" The snotty look left me confused, before the guy behind her intervened, saying "I got ya Monkey..." and took me back to get my $986 min-cash. This led to a chat in the employee lounge later, where she shared with Aaron Lashley, who I have come to regard as the Judas of all poker dealers. He encouraged the female dealer from Belarus to file a complaint against me with her supervisor. For what had been interpreted by her as "Do you want to be my escort for $1000?" (because as any player knows, after busting out for $986 in a tourney paying $150,000 for first, your first thoughts are always to offer a poker dealer your winnings for sex!)

Next thing I knew...two days later, I was surrounded by 6 Indiana Gaming Commission tough guys, which wasn't humiliating at all...and removed from that day's event, which I'd already tripled my stack in. No, I wasn't given a refund of my buy in. I wasn't even really given a reason. I had to find that out later through the rumor mill, and the dealer actually telling a fellow player about the exchange, while threatening to have him kicked out for bumping her foot under the table. On my way to the airport, my phone rang. It was Mr. Effel himself...as him and I have had a long history of personal incidents. It was his moment to gloat. Having had to swallow his pride and make the phone call to me in 2010 letting me know that I'd been un-86'd by the Caesar's legal department due to a few of his shady acts against me...this was the moment he had dreamed about for the past two years. Any slip up of any kind by me, and he was circling like a buzzard, waiting to swoop down and peck away at my vulnerable carcass. I wasn't surprised by his phone call. And it was typical Jack Effel, expressing his 'sincere regret' at hearing the news, and hoping I could clear things up. Bah! Comical. All I could do, as I was in my cab heading to the airport, listening to him talk, was picture him in his office out in Vegas dancing around while trying not to crack up laughing. 

This dealer and I worked things out between us. She couldn't have felt worse about her actions that led to my getting 86'd. She was only too willing to write letters to whoever it needed to be taken up with. I gave her the names and addresses of 5 people to send it to. She did. Then I sent a letter to Hammond requesting reinstatement. I got a response. That too was comical. It was the same rejection letter they sent me two years prior. The SAME EXACT LETTER...with the name of the since-departed security manager's name on the bottom, the same date of the original letter, Feb 9th 2013...despite me having received that letter in September 2014. I mean...make just a LITTLE effort to NOT make it so obvious guys! 

So....with that shit show seemingly at a place where I can no longer do anything to help myself, and also finding out from an inside source that a phone call was placed from headquarters in Las Vegas to the head of table games up there in Hammond that a 'Mr Souther would be making a request to be reinstated at their casino, and that it would be appreciated if he NOT be allowed to return to Hammond under any circumstances.' Some people call this conspiracy. The shitty thing about it? In the casino industry, this crap goes on all the time. And they manage to get away with it. You have no rights. If they simply don't like you, for whatever reason...they can fuck you any way they want, and you just have to take it. Sucks, huh? Pretty much all you can do is hope that karma serves that person or persons a big heaping plate of steaming shit in the future, and forces him to eat it.

So my last ditch hope, my 'plan' was to 'assemble the Minions' in an act that would not only work to hopefully serve me, and bring attention to my case, but to also provide a great opportunity for some deserving players who wouldn't otherwise get a chance to play the greatest poker tournament on Earth. And since I have a rather large distribution list from doing my various sports pools over the past 20 years...it was something I thought I could pull off with relative ease. I was right. We sent four last summer...and since I started it a little too last minute, I didn't have time to put together 'Grinders Gear' for them all to wear. And sadly, none of them cashed, despite all of them being rock solid players. This spring, I got started a lot sooner...and by having our players selected by May...I gave myself ample time to get them all outfitted properly in gear we all felt good about. The money was all collected in adequate time. And I brought my ass out here to Vegas to run bad for a week myself, get my wife pissed off at me for an unacceptably long visit to the Spearmint Rhino, get my rental car keyed, fall in the shower and suffer a concussion,  entertain my father for four days on his first visit to Sin City, and be here to get my Team all set up and taken care of. 

And now...we head to Day Four. And last year's longest-lasting Minion, invited back based on that accomplishment...and because he may or may not hold some incriminating photos of me and a farm animal, starts his march in a few mere moments having made the money last night. Wild Bill Phillips comes back with a very healthy stack of 298k and the blinds at 2500/5000, almost 60 big blinds. His table draw is devoid of any 'big names' that the investors who don't know much about poker would get excited about. But there are two or three excellent players who I know of. In fact, he has a very similar table draw to the one I had back in 2012 on Day Five when I went on my deep run. A lot of investors are hoping he gets on TV. I've had to tell them...unless he is in the top ten of chip leaders, or has some 'big names' at his table, it likely won't happen. Trust me...nothing would get me more geeked than to see our Team Monkey gear-wearing hero featured on ESPN today. But I also know the big picture stipulates that Bill playing well, and getting to Day Five tomorrow will just about guarantee that happening. Patience, grasshoppers! 


Meanwhile, I fired my third bullet yesterday in what turned out to be the biggest field I've ever seen at the Venetian. I arrived on time to find a line all the way out to the slot machines. 25 minutes later I sat at a table full of complete jacktards. One level in I was down 5k and feeling hopeless. I couldn't believe the hand play I was seeing. It was as if I was playing in a bar league...where there is no buy in, and everyone is playing for a drink tab. There ended up being 1235 players...adding that to the 1000 or so who had played in Flights A and B which I had bricked both of. First place is going to be in the neighborhood of $350k. With me sitting at around 9k and 10k in the pot holding K9 in the BB...I checked to the initial raiser who I'd already had a share of futile battles with. After having bet 2500 on a flop of K-J-7...and the guy on the button calling, me as well, he checked the turn...after another Jack hit. The guy on the button, who I'd already determined to be a bit of a reckless bluffer...fired out 3500. I did a little deep-thinking...deciding that I was putting him on Q-10, and hoping to take the pot down with his bet. So I shipped it for my last 9k. The original guy folded...placing his cards to the side for the dealer to share with us later (two queens) and the second guy tanked like a scuba diver...then tried to pick my brain before the dealer jumped him about 'talking in the hand.' He finally folded, and I showed him a king.

Things got even better. Seats 2, 3 and 4 were three of the most ridiculously wild players I'd seen in a while, so any raise from them meant almost nothing...and if you re-raised them it was never NOT getting called...which had me feeling very nervous about the prospects of ever getting AA or KK...the two hands I convince myself to feel good and comfortable about (usually) when playing tournaments, even cash game sometimes. So with two limps of 200...maniac #1 makes it 800...followed by a call from maniac #2....it folds to me on the button and I look at, voila!....AA. Typically in this spot, I'd make it about 1800...wanting at least one call, and wanting to make sure I get some value out of the #1 starting hand. But since I knew their ceiling for folding after raising was exceptionally high, I made it 2500 to go. No sweat, both maniacs called. Ugh.  That sick feeling hit my stomach...as I'd already watched AA and KK go down to these idiots with hands that never should have seen a flop.

Dealer delivers 4-4-2, rainbow. That seems harmless enough. They both check. I bet 3500. Maniac #1 folds. Shocker. Not #2. And I'd just watched him beat a guy with AK after a four-bet re-raise...holding, ahem....2-4. So that was obviously fresh in my mind. The turn was a ten. He checked again. I bet 5000. He finally relented and folded. Nice pot! On the VERY NEXT HAND...I get 99. Maniac #1 raises to 550. Someone else called. And I just called, at cutoff. The flop was pretty good. 9-2-2. Yahtzee. Nobody bet the flop...so I checked too. Turn was an 8...no bettors again. I checked again. River is a queen. They all check again. Better try to bet something!!!??  I bet 1500. I get a call from the guy who rivered a queen! Another decent pot. Surging now. And on the NEXT HAND...I get AJ...and call another raise of 550 from one of the maniacs. This is when the guy in the 10-seat, who had earned the title of 'Table's Tightest Player' made it 2500. Shit. I can't conceivably call 2500 with AJ offsuit, right? Kill all my positive momentum? The maniac called. I begrudgingly folded. Something sucks about folding when you're on a heater, right? You just feel like you are supposed to ride it until it ends. I allowed it to end prematurely. 

The flop comes Ace high. Ugh! And after they both checked I was certain I let a 6k pot get away. When a jack hit the turn I was really steaming. Then behind a check, Mr Tighty bets out...freak-a-zoid folds...and he shows AK. Hells bells. I could have shot up to around 50k. I proceeded to sit there card dead for about two hours. Then after raising with KQs...getting called by 'The Tight Guy'...and getting a flop of 10s-8s-Jh...I c-bet the flop. He goes all in. Huh?? But its only another 8k to call behind my bet of 3100 and a pot of around 11k. Open ended flush draw? Easy call. He shows 10-8 off suit. Mr Tight? Time to come up with a new name for this guy. I brick the turn AND the river. Shit.

Then this guy Jimmy shows up in the five seat. I can't remember his last name. But he's Asian...and I have a 'mental contract hit' on him since he busted me out of the Main Event in Choctaw two years ago...having called my raise with KK holding 6-9 offsuit...calling my flop bet with a gut shot...then calling my all in on the turn with a gut shot and a pair of sixes...and mind you, he did NOT have the kind of stack that warranted that kind of action...and rivering a fucking straight. I wanted to kill him. I took his picture. Then I stood a few feet away from the table, glaring at him. Yeah, so he showed up at my table, dragging a short stack. I gave him his greeting, "Hello Mr 6-9....enjoy your stay here." Then he figured it out. Well...the poker gods were clearly not in the mood to let me get any payback against this garbage-pail kid. I raised his big blind with 9s-10s. He called with J10. We both checked the flop...having each flopped a piece. So when the turn brought me an open-ended straight flush draw...and he shoved all in for 12k...I snap called...seeing that he had two pair...with me holding one pair and needing to catch. I didn't. FUCK!

Then our table broke. I was in bad shape now...and needing a double up. At my new table I got it in with 66 against AK and flopped 4-5-3...an amazing flop...which usually results in a heartbreaking turn or river. But it didn't. I held, and was back to 21k with the blinds at 600-1200. One more double up and I was back in contention. Level 12...which I am famous for busting out in at the Venetian arrived. Sitting under the gun, I pick up AKs...nice...I open to 3500, with 14k behind. The euro in the 1-seat, who had already over-shoved with mediocre hands twice since I'd been there, did it again, this time with a pair  of 7's. Yeah, I'm raising under the gun, I'm sure there is no way I have two sevens beat. Whatever. I called. And I missed everything. And I was out. I glumly returned to my hotel room, and fired up my computer to follow along with Wild Bill's Adventure...which culminated with the bubble FINALLY popping around 10pm...then watched it til midnight or so, before falling asleep and waking up at 6am, turning to my right, and wondering who had been murdered in my bed.

HUH? If you have been following me for awhile, you know about 'desert nose!' Shockingly,  I haven't been as victimized by 'desert nose' as bad this summer as I have on most trips to Las Vegas. That all ended last night. When I looked at my pillow and the sheets around me, the only thing I was wondering was where the body was. It literally looks like a crime scene in my bed. Blood everywhere. I have no idea what I'm going to tell housekeeping. I thought about taking a picture and posting it...but somehow that seems like a very poor decision. It's pretty gross. And I know this is regarded as a 'family blog' so I will refrain!

Okay...enough. I am going to go to the pool for a few hours, try to cleanse my mind of yesterday's frustrating 8 hours of poker...then return to the torture chamber to try again in a newer, less lucrative tournament. Oh yeah...and check in with my hero, Bill Phillips, to see what kind of magical memories he can create for all of us today!!!!

MONKEY

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hopes Pinned on One Lone Minion

Day One was unusually cruel to my team of 5 grinders...who have affectionately come to be called Monkey's Minions. They all played flight C on Tuesday, and when the dust had settled, we were left with the same guy who made it the furthest last summer, and the only returning team member. Wild Bill Phillips, the owner/operator of this website that I  blog for, used a high degree of patience to recover from earlier debacles to bag a healthy amount of chips and head to Day Two...which begins in a few minutes. We have 88 investors all pinning our hopes on his ability to navigate the remaining field of players.

At sometime near the dinner break, one of our investors...who read the 'out hand' from Seville Hale on our Facebook group page, decided he wasn't pleased with his effort, and furthered that by doing 'research' on all the players I'd selected and concluding that he had made a bad investment on my chosen team of players. This, of course, set off a firestorm on the group page...with the players themselves issuing up apologies (unnecessarily) to everyone for not making it out of Day 1, and the investors and supporters coming to their defense and attacking the judgement of the person making those negative posts. It got pretty hot and nasty...which really sucks. On the other hand, it was nice to see all the team members and all their supporters rally together and show their support. 

It's a tough game, poker. No one knows it better than I  do. Hell, I've been here for  a week, and finally got around to playing my first tourney yesterday...Flight A of the $1100 Venetian tourney. I'll be back for Flight B at noon today.  Admittedly I played bad yesterday. And I blame it on a concussion I suffered on Monday when I slipped and fell, smacking my face and head on the bathroom wall in my hotel room that knocked me senseless, and left me feeling nauseous and dizzy all day. I've had two or three in the past, and know the symptoms. During yesterday's tourney I was simply making bad decisions, and on a couple hands actually misread my hand, or the board. On others I was screwing up my bet amounts. It was embarrassing. So I played cash game most of the night...losing most of my buy in of 1k (in 2/5) when my AA lost not once, not twice, but three times.  Then I put up another 1k and rallied that back to 1750 before calling it a night with a mere -250 loss on the session.  I can accept that. Prior to that I'd  had 3 winning sessions out of 4 playing 2/5.






This is three days later...looking much better!
It's been a crazy week. I flew my father down for four days and I didn't play anything while he was here...taking him to Frank Kasella's 4th of July party...which was wild and crazy as always, and laden with poker pros like Mike Matusow, Gavin Smith, Brandon Cantu, Matt and Esther Brady, Karina Jett, Mike 'Grinder' Mizrachi, Rick Fuller, and the King of all Blogs himself, Nolan Dalla.  I'm sure there were others I can't remember. Frank has this gigantic 4000 lb gorilla in his back yard. Gavin thought it would be funny if I climbed up on the gorilla and rode the beast.  Yeah...it was funny when I didn't realize there was a chair on the other side of the gorilla that I could have used to crawl up the thing, but instead tried to mount it like a horse, tearing up my leg. Walking around the pool with blood pouring down my leg had a few people freaking out. No big deal!


The night before that I took him to the memorial cocktail party which followed with a charity tournament for my good friend Chad Brown who we all know passed away from cancer last summer. It was a nice event that they held at Planet Hollywood. After the cocktail party ended, I left with Jenn Gay and her husband Steve...then picked up Sara and Todd Elwood from the curb out front of The Wynn and headed for Fremont Street where we had an amazing dinner at one of Vegas' best-kept secrets, Hugo's Cellar, and reputable (and very expensive!) steakhouse in the basement of the 4 Queens casino. Todd and Sara are easily my favorite married couple in poker, and like me are huge wine aficionados. As a matter of fact, they are currently in the middle of investing in a vineyard out in California that I might get involved in with them. Our wine steward, John...had been working there for 31 years, and was your typical Englishman with a great sense of humor. The food and service were both incredible. 
Welcome to Vegas Dad!!!!
After dinner we went gambling. My dad wasn't much for playing blackjack, but dabbled in slots while Sara and I both played blackjack and Todd hung out at the craps pit. We stayed out pretty late...about 6 or 7, and my dad's first night (ever!) in Vegas was a kick in the pants! 
The Minions..minus our team's 'Black Sheep!'
There is  more...but I don't want to be late to today's tourney. Wild Bill also carries the hopes of our team into Day 2. GO BILL GO!!! Pictured above is the team photo for our Minions this  year. Yes, there is ONE player missing. That would be Seville. Why? Well, for some reason, he decided it would  be a good idea to play a one-day tourney on Monday at Venetian...and when he got deep, finishing 11th, it caused him to miss our team meeting at Rio at 8pm...where we passed out shirts, hats and hoodies, got contracts signed, got their money, registered, and got the team photo done. He did finally manage to join us at Maggiano's for our team dinner by around the team we were finishing dessert. 

At first I was ticked that he  did that, knowing what we had planned that night. But then, the more I talked to Seville, I just kind of came to the  conclusion that he is a bit of a dodo-bird, and marches to his own drummer. I don't think there was any disrespect meant on his behalf, I think he's just a bit aloof. No big deal. I did, however, tell him that due to his no-show, he was to be the ONLY Minion I'd be pissed at if he didn't cash in the Main. And so...as promised, I am PISSED at him...and when I see him I'm gonna beat his ass! Just kidding, but as an Army service member, I am going to order him to drop and give me 100!

More to follow later, hopefully some good and exciting news.

MONKEY

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I'm Sick of the News...Ready for Some Poker!

I'm sitting here watching Outnumbered on Fox News. Today's guest is Taya Kyle, the wife of former Navy Seal Chris Kyle, who as most know, died at the hands of a troubled fellow service member at a gun range in Texas. Am I the only one who thought the story of Marcus Latrell, in the movie 'Lone Survivor' was way better than 'American Sniper?' Two weeks ago, as Rick Perry declared for president, he had Marcus and his twin brother Morgan flanked on each side of him...scowling all throughout the speech.

What does any of this have to do with poker, or my current state of mind? Oh...nothing. Sorry. But I am at the point where I am getting real sick of the news. Mainly because it inevitably leads to some super-aggravating thread on Facebook that leads me to think I am living among Super Idiots. The fact there are people in this country who will actually vote for Hillary Clinton for president makes my brain hurt. The presidential 'race' has already begun, and I just don't think I have the patience or the stomach to sit and watch all the phony speeches, the awkward posturing, the talking out of both sides of their faces...etc etc etc. It's literally the worst of what American TV has to offer. The only thing that seems to interrupt this period of obnoxious TV news...is your occasional cop-killing, or your racial incident and it's resulting fallout, and of course, your big-news-of-the-day occurrence: A train derailment. A vanishing airplane. The latest ISIS story. Rockets fired from Gaza. I mean...seriously...does the news ever really change?

This week's big news item...is the 21 year old asshole who went into a predominantly black church in Charleston, South Carolina...sat there for an hour, almost changed his mind and didn't carry out his 'mission' because the church-goers were ''so nice to him" but then eventually opened fire on them...killing nine of the most innocent victims you could ever imagine. The only ones in memory who come even close...are the 20 kids who were gunned down by Adam Lanza (who bears a rather creepy similarity to this prick Dylan Storm Roof) for no apparent  reason whatsoever. Granted, there are still some who think  none of that happened. Whatever.


Dylan's goal was to start a race war. Hate to break it to you dickhead, but there has more or less been a race war going on in this country for quite awhile now. Just because there aren't battle lines drawn and daily gun battles going on in the streets doesn't mean there isn't a war going on between the two races. Ironically, dead-man-walking Dylan picked the wrong town to pull his dastardly deed. And in the wake of this tragedy, the fine folks of Charleston have proven that. The doors to the Mother Emanuel Episcopal Church were opened to all this past Sunday...and the mix of white and black church-goers heard a powerful sermon from Rev. Norvel Goff that only served to bring the tight-knit community even closer together. Nice try Dylan...epic fail! Even Al Sharpton and his band of rabble-rousers were encouraged to take their act elsewhere. The 'Hands Up Don't Shoot' posse...that has rumored to be funded by George Soros...as he's been sued now by 'professional protesters' claiming to not have been paid for their 'work' in Ferguson and Baltimore....even they were chased away by the city of Charleston.

If this isn't progress...I don't know what progress is! Which brings me to the next topic on this subject. The Confederate Battle flag, and its existence in places like government buildings.

Can we just be 100% totally honest for a second? Can we all agree that there is no good reason whatsoever to have a flag...ANY flag...fly over anything that only serves to anger some people? I mean...what is the point? The people who are fighting to NOT have this flag removed? Do they take daily treks to those government buildings to salute that flag? Or are they just fighting so hard because they are stubborn? Because they don't want to feel like they were defeated?

After being raised in the north until I was 35...my view as an outsider of the Confederate flag, was that it always kind of had a connection to slavery. Now...if I dig deeper into history, which very few people do, I discover that it was actually only used by the Confederate armies while in battle against the Union armies. Was the Confederate flag an official symbol of slavery? No. It wasn't. Was the Civil War fought because of slavery? That is a point you can debate. No, not directly it wasn't. But it was a factor, or catalyst for what brought it about, for sure. So it's pretty easy to make the connection for some. 

When we go to the beach, and see that 'gentleman' driving the gigantic truck that has been boosted about 8 feet off the ground, and has the huge rebel flag raised on a pole in the back of his truck...is that guy ever NOT a redneck who probably uses the 'N-word' on a regular basis? Seriously...how many 'classy white folks' do you see wearing rebel flags on hats or t-shirts or flying the flag on their front porch? If I am a black person...I'm sorry, but its real hard for me to think these people are wearing rebel flags because they are honoring the memory of the Confederacy or their fallen soldiers. Who's kidding who? There are times that I think blacks are being overly sensitive, or even dramatic about some things that are going on in our society right now. This? This is not one of them. I think they have every right to be totally offended, and pissed off about this stupid flag issue.


Nikki Haley did the right thing yesterday. She said all the right things. I am hopeful that the required number of votes are cast to make what she proposed a reality. And hope that this leads to a popular movement that leads to the removal of this racially divisive flag to be removed on all government buildings. Hey...if you are that person who thinks you need to fly it above your own property? Go for it. No one cares. We will all just look at you like we've been looking at you for years now. That won't change.

If this country is EVER going to make strides to come together, it needs to start with the simplest of deeds, and this flag issue? It's the simplest. 

That's all I have to say on that subject. But back to me hating the news...or being sick of it. I would just like to thank HBO and Showtime...as well as online sites like Hulu and Amazon, for saving TV. Because you sure as hell are NOT finding it on network TV anymore...with all the crap that they are putting on there, whether its the latest piece of shit reality show, or the garbage sitcoms they are putting out like 'Two Broke Girls.' How in gods name does that lousy show stay on the air? And haven't we evolved enough in the entertainment business to the point where they can finally stop using 'canned laughter' during the taping of their shows? When I hear that...it becomes all I pay attention to. I don't even hear the dialogue anymore...just that fake, shitty laughter. 

All the best shows are on premium TV now. The other night, Squirrel and I did something we haven't done together in years...we sat on the couch, no phones, iPads or computers...and we watched the premier of 'True Detective' followed by 'Ballers' and both were awesome! Add that to the list of 'Game of Thrones' (not me-I have yet to make that plunge) 'Veep', the 'John Oliver Show', and several others...and its just about the only place I get my entertainment anymore.

It's Tuesday the 23rd. Squirrel and I just celebrated our 6th anniversary yesterday...though we celebrated it all weekend. We've been together for 14 years. Wow! Time flies! Things couldn't be better. Tomorrow we head to the beach for four days...to stay with her family, watch a ton of baseball games with her nephews...and hopefully get some time at the pool. Yes, the pool...I'm not getting in that water! Flesh-eating bacterias, sharks! No thanks! As soon as we get home from that, I have 3 days to get my stuff together and any errands run, then take off for Vegas, for poker!

I've sold out the poker package for the Minions...with some on a wait list in the event the last 8 remaining people who still owe don't come up with their money. $45k is in...with only $5k out. If you look up on the right-hand side, you'll notice I finally got our logo made...20 hats showed up today, 6 (to be personalized) for our Minions and myself...and the other 14 sold and shipped by me to our investors who wanted one. The T-Shirts also got made...again, 6 for me and the players...and 14 to sell to investors, I think 12 have been requested so far. And finally...hoodies! Those were $65 each..and yeah...all the Players' hats, t-shirts and hoodies are on me! So I really hope one or all of them do some winning! That, or I hope I  make a big lick in my tourneys at the Venetian! I am promised the t-shirts and hoodies on Thursday...which is great except that we won't be home until Sunday! 

If anyone out there would like a hat, or a t-shirt or even a hoodie...let me know by emailing me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com and I will get you taken care of. And no...I am not making a single cent off of these! They are being made by Custom Ink and you pay what I pay.

I'm outa here!

MONKEY




Wednesday, June 10, 2015

It's June...and I'm Hot and Bothered!!!



The countdown clock is ticking. 23 days til Flight A of this year’s WSOP Main Event…and my 2015 TEAM MONKEY GRINDERS is now approaching 5 team members. That is where I will draw the line…this late in the game. As of today, I have sold (or had people commit to-pending payment) 239 shares…which leaves us just 11 shares ($200 per share) short of the required number of 250 to send 5 players. I think we can assume that we are going to make it to 250. I’ve already welcomed our 5th member to the team and given her the okay to purchase her airline ticket and book her hotel. I am proud to welcome Bridget Fredericks to our team of Grinders this summer. I’ve known this gal, as well as her mother Linda and her grandmother, for close to 10 years. They are all very solid players…with Bridget being exceptional. She has a ‘real job’ working in real estate, so she doesn’t get the chances to go out and play as often as a lot of your average ‘poker pro.’ So this is a great opportunity for her!

Payments are about 75% accounted for…which is great…especially considering I still have 20 days before I head for Vegas myself. I think the most pressure I am feeling is getting them t-shirts, hats and hoodies made. My frustration lies with the ‘artist’ who I’m dealing with who is doing the graphic design for our logo. It’s amazing how possessive they get over their artwork! If you are someone who still would like a piece of this summer’s gang of 5…shoot me an email at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com. I’ve decided that I will oversell if necessary…to account for anyone that doesn’t pay before the Main event starts. If we end up, ultimately, with more collected, it will just be issued back in equal refunds to everyone…that or added to the total winnings (we hope!). It’s going to be a pretty exciting month of July….I can’t wait! 

Are you a poker player who is sick and tired of being uncomfortable at the poker table? There is nothing worse…especially considering we sometimes spend 10-12 hours at the table on any given day.  Those jeans that bunch up…that belt that cuts into stomach…those underwear that, well, let’s just say there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to protecting the ‘man package!’ And on top of it all, if you are in Vegas, that walk to the casino, whether it be from the parking lot, or from a casino a few blocks away…you are always facing that awful and inevitable ‘butt and nut’ sweat. We all hate it. Well, I’ve been fortunate to make a couple of discoveries this year that I am excited to pass along to my fellow players. And NO,  I have no financial interest in passing this info along…though I  ought to be. 

Now, I know most poker players, despite spending tons on their buy ins, are typically cheap in other areas. And when I tell you the cost of these two items, you’re going to look at me like I’ve lost my mind. To you…I say…GOOD, keep playing uncomfortable, I hope you go on life tilt by Level 6! There are TWO names you need to remember: SAXX and ROCK REVIVAL. 

You have likely heard of the second name, and might even own a pair of their jeans. But! Here is the secret you might not be aware of: Rock Revival recently went to using 2% Elastane (from the word 'elastic') in the making of their jeans. What this does, is keep the jeans from bunching up…and driving you crazy!! They are so comfortable its almost unbelievable! I have stocked up on them myself. On one side of my closet, I have 6 pair of ‘the old kind’ that will likely never be worn again…and on the other side, 7 pair of ‘the new kind.’ Yes! They ARE expensive! $145-$165 per pair. But that was ALSO the price on the old kind…so nice price increase despite a TOTAL quality increase!

The other item, SAXX underwear. They are designed with cooling material…and also have a separate chamber that has little fabric walls around it, for your sticks and berries. No more getting stuck to the inside of your leg, fellas! These things are DA SHIT! They come in all different sizes and colors and styles. For my money…and it’s quite a bit, I’m not going to lie…I like the Fiesta, because it offers the widest waist band. And unlike so many pricey boxers/underwear…the waistband does NOT bacon…or flip over where your waist becomes your, ahem…beer gut! Now if you are some punk kid with a six-pack? Fuck you, I hate you! Just kidding…I’m very envious. But for you…that waistband flipping over isn’t such a big deal as it is with most of us guys over 35! 

The guy who sold me my first pair 8 months ago…told me…”Just buy ONE pair today…and if you don’t love them, bring ‘em back. No questions asked!” Ha! Didn’t happen. I have since been buying them on second-party sites on the internet for about $24…compared to the $35 or so you will pay for them at the retail stores, or from their own website.  I’m now up to 14 pair. Which is perfect for those 2-week poker trips when you really don’t want to have to either go commando, or find a laundromat somewhere. I think the only thing worse than that is sending it out with housekeeping and paying like a fortune for just a few items to get cleaned.

Okay…that’s all for my helpful shopping hints this summer, in my efforts to give a little back to my fellow poker players! Hope you enjoy these tips!

So, last night I took my wife and 3-year old daughter Carley to the Fair. This is about her 3rd visit to the fair and they tend to all be exactly the same, for the most part. Same rides. Same stupid games. Same food booths. Same animals for the kids to look at, feed, and pet. And to a degree it’s about the same brand of people at these get togethers. 

Any time I go to the fair, I am reminded by the guy who owes me $475. Last year…it was $575. It’s amazing. I do football squares all during football season, pretty sure you’ve all played a squares board at some point in your life. It’s fun…and adds a little something to every game. Well, this guy….jeez, him and about 4 or 5 like him, kind of don’t care that I come out of pocket and pay everyone whether I get full payment or not. It’s pretty aggravating. I don’t understand how someone willingly participates in something that they later decide not to pay for. As for this guy…I guess after he finally paid off his first debt to me, I should have never let him play again, or at the very least demanded his payment BEFORE playing any more boards. But I guess I’m a sucker.

And what’s worse? The guy who keeps on telling you he’s going to pay you…but doesn’t? Or the guy who just completely stops communicating with you altogether? Leaving you to believe you just got screwed out of that money? So it’s fair (pun intended) to say that while walking around the fairgrounds last night, I was consciously looking around for my little carnie friend. Yeah, well…no dice. 

On one occasion, I made the mistake of engaging one of the carnies in a conversation. While Carley was riding the Bumble Bee with her mother…I asked the guy, who was sitting in a chair, his belly spilling out of his shirt that was unbuttoned at the bottom, and sweat covering his face: “Hey…I thought this ride rose up and down as it goes around?” Whoops. Big mistake, as his big ‘summer teeth grin’ (some are here, some are there) came out and decided to tell me this rambling story about why the Bumble Bee was ‘kinda not workin that right.’ Something involving a co-worker, a break that wasn’t supposed to be taken, followed by a bunch of carnie-talk that I couldn’t interpret. I finally just did what you do when you’re in a foreign country and don’t speak their language, but also don’t want to offend them. I just smiled and nodded my head a lot…while scooting further and further away from him along the viewing fence. I was never happier to see a ride come to an end.

My evening concluded with an experience that left me wanting to toss a flash bang (or concussion grenade to those who don’t know military weaponry) into the stupid trailer that was housing the two food carnies and their overpriced and unhealthy carnival food. I had just purchased $22 worth of food. Two corndogs, chips and disgusting melted cheese, and a lemonade. While taking my credit card, the lady tells me $21. Then she slides my card across her IPhone….using what I recognized to be the app called Square. I know, and use Square. They charge a fee. But this lady then tells me $22.69 or something like that…and tells me it’s for taxes. I tell her, “Um, your sign there says taxes are included…so how can you tell me you’re charging taxes on top of the total?” “Oh well then I guess it’s for credit cards we have to charge taxes.” To which I had to explain it to her…”No, that fee your charging is the fee that Square app charges YOU. You do not have to pass that charge along to the customer, you just have chosen to.” Oh, she says…and proceeds to tell me how tired she is, how she’s been working all day, and served probably 600 people.  Hey…cool story. Don’t like it, quit your job! Real simple.

So me, Squirrel, and little Squirrel eat our disgusting food. About 15 minutes into our feast, I notice all the ice in my lemonade was gone, and my drink was kind of warm. I make my way up to the counter and ask the overweight, mouth-breathing line cook if I can please have a little more ice in my drink. He takes my cup, then leans back (without falling over, somehow) and hollers to his co-worker (credit card lady) asking if they charge for ice!?? She replies by telling him, yes, they charge $1. He looks at me and tells me “Ice is $1.” I looked at him…and just glared, as I would if I were one of the Avengers and was trying to make him catch on fire. At that point…It became not about the money. Jeezuz, no…as much money as they grind out of you at these things…a dollar was the furthest thing out of my spending range. It was about principle now. I feel fairly confident that this guy was at least slightly nervous that he was about to get shot full of holes over a $1 cup of ice. I don’t really know why, exactly, that got me so steamed…but man, did it. It just really put a lousy taste in my mouth, and it wasn’t 100% due to the terrible corn dog we paid $7 apiece for.

Last month I invited my dad, as his Father’s Day gift, to come meet me in Vegas for a few days while I’m there in July. Well, he finally got back to me with an answer…and he will be coming to Vegas, for the very first time in his life, from July 2-6th. My dad and I haven’t really ever done a father/son trip or vacation together in my life…so it should be pretty cool. For those who find that hard to believe, well, my parents divorced when I was about 5…and she remarried a monster who was incredibly abusive, an alcoholic, and who kept me from being able to see my father. We lived in Montana during that reign of terror also, so there was also that barrier between us. 

When the step-dad gambled away his business, he moved us back out to Seattle, where we had moved from when I was 7. I was 14 now…and after a couple years, he left my mom. Which was the greatest day of my life! I reconciled with my dad, and when I turned 18 changed my name back to Souther, from Magnuson (the adopted name). Throughout high school and college, my dad and I hung out a lot…but never for very long. Then I moved to NYC in  1989…lived there for 5 years, then to Atlanta, for another 10 years, off to Pensacola for 3 years, and  Biloxi for the last 8  years or so. So I’ve been over 1500 miles from ‘home’ for the past 25 years almost. I am going to try and not play much poker while he is there and play tour guide. I will definitely take him to Frank Kassela’s 4th of July party, which is always awesome. And now that he’s become a bit of a fan of poker via ESPN, he will get a chance probably to see and meet some ‘poker celebrities’ which I guess maybe he will get a kick out of. 

How many of you have a will? Probably not many, if I had to guess. I think poker players are pretty aloof when it comes to things like planning for their death. That, or you get people who are living paycheck to paycheck who don’t see a reason for a will. I guess I suppose I was probably guilty of that to an extent for a number of years. Well, a couple things have changed for me in the past few years. #1 I had a child, and everything that happens in my life now is done with her in mind. I mean, EVERYTHING. #2 I finally got out of debt, completely, and even paid off all of my wife’s debt, which she’d been dragging around since the day I met her!  #3 We actually have assets now! A house in Pensacola, cars that are paid off, and stocks, cash and college funds to consider. Then I guess #4…people have been dropping dead left and right. It seems like every week Cheryl is telling me about a sad Facebook post she’s just read where one of her friends from school just died. Seemingly in good health, and then just BOOM, dead of a heart attack. People killed in car crashes. I mean…you seriously never know when your number is going to be up. I am not delusional enough to think I am going to dodge every bullet along the way and live forever. A few years ago, I took the first steps in protecting Carley’s future, by purchasing life insurance for both Cheryl and I, and naming the people to take care of our affairs in the event of our untimely death. Well, I felt like getting a will done should be a priority, so after doing a little research, I finally crossed it off my To-Do List last week. I ended up using Legal Zoom.com and I was very impressed. I paid a total of $160 for a Last Will and Testament and for a Living Will…which has to do with how you want your body to be treated if you end up on life support. It was so easy to do, I was surprised.  I think all told, it took me maybe 90 minutes to complete the whole process. Now, I feel so much more secure with everything. Basically, I guess it means I can now die responsibly!!!

WHO WANTS A LITTLE SCANDAL!???

I know, silly question. I have a good friend, who is also a very good writer, as well as a good snooper, or investigator! Jenn Gay is about the best I've ever known personally at sniffing out a story. She's also very good at bluntly calling people out for acts of doucebaggery. Such an occasion arose yesterday!

About two months ago, Jenn sent me a link to this dealer, a circuit dealer, (who's name I won't reveal here, just because I'm feeling nice today for some stupid reason) who had (not kidding) started up a GoFundMe page, to gather donations for...well, himself. Citing unfair work conditions, wages and travel costs...he somehow thought he could get people to feel sorry enough for him to send him money. Unbeknownst to most, I was told, was that this guy has a pretty bad gambling habit, weather its sports betting or playing casino games. In short...he's a degenerate. I looked at his page once every few days to see if he was finding any suckers. Nope. None. Not one. Ever. How embarrassing.

Then a short time after that, I  get another email...from that same Go Fund Me site. A player I've known for close to 10 years was citing that he'd just gone broke, and was basically traumatized by it. And in trying to rationalize what had happened, got into trying to explain variance. Oh brother. And instead of biting the bullet, dealing with the adversity, and perhaps getting a job to climb out of the self-inflicted hole, people were being asked to make donations to fund his summer in Vegas playing poker. Huh? For a hot minute, I seriously thought maybe someone was pulling a vicious prank on this guy. Turns out...they weren't. He later copped to it. Wow. Again, no names here.

This leads me, however...to someone who I WILL name. Why? Well, for a couple reasons. Mainly because I consider him to be (a) a con artist (b) a complete thief (c) a terrible father and (d) an addict who needs help. That and I don't know the guy personally. He'd friend requested me awhile back I guess...as so many recreational poker players do. I've never really been a poker 'fan boy' or friend requested people on the basis that we are fellow poker players....but whatever, they are out there.

I open up my iPad and start browsing my newsfeed on Facebook, and there it is. Bob Wallace,  who has called himself a 'poker legend' while accusing his detractors of not being good enough to even sit at the same table as him...has posted a very public 'apology' didn't really read like an apology as much as it did a boo-hoo story about why everyone should feel sorry for him. Basically, here is what this guy did. He found a couple backers willing to back him in a tourney at Binions and the Seniors WSOP event. Not a lot of money. They gave him the money. The money never made it to the buy-in cage. Because it got spent playing cash game. In what he thought would be shooting fish in a barrel at some cash game involving tourists, instead turned out to him  losing all of his backers money.

Now...some might ask, 'Why post this on Facebook?' Right? Why not just apologize to the two people who you affected? It's not like anyone really knows this guy, Bob Wallace, right? Why shame yourself to the poker world? Well, the thread slowly grew...and grew...and grew some more. The first few comments were typical, "you've apologized Bob, that's very stand up of you...let me know if I can help"  blah blah blah. I mean, in the apology he tugged on the heartstrings with talk of killing himself, of turning his back on his 'dreams of WSOP glory' and about hitch  hiking back to Nebraska to see his daughter and grand children.  So of course, you had those trying to sooth him. 

Then it started. The first comment from someone calling him out. From someone I don't know. Basically telling him he's a thief. Originally  I had planned to copy/paste a lot of the  comments,  but by the end of the night last night...Bob had craftily deleted the comments (and defriended the commenters) of those who were critical of him...which was about 5 or 6 people, myself included. 

The disturbing thing about what he was saying all throughout his apology and ensuing  comments, was that he basically is living in denial. Denial that he has a gambling problem. Denial that poker doesn't 'owe him' anything. He seems to think he is destined for greatness. At some point, a lady named Cindy Jones...who's Facebook  profile is only represented by a single picture of a woman that is sporting a bikini made of playing cards...a picture that is found all over the internet. We all began to doubt the existence of an actual Cindy Jones, and started thinking it was possible that Cindy was actually Bob...only he had created her to help his cause.
Cindy Jones? yeah, no likely...as this specific photo pops up on Google under several different searches. Nope...just a convenient screen grab for whoever is posing as 'Cindy Jones'

Cindy started telling everyone what a wonderful guy Bob is...that he is dying, doesn't have  much time left (unsubstantiated claim) and that everyone should help him to realize his dream. Then she started trying to drum up support by getting everyone to chip in $100. This is where Jenn Gay arrived, and called Cindy out. Asking her, basically, how fucking stupid she was!?? "Yeah...it's nice to help people out...but there are a LOT of players with dreams of winning in the WSOP.  Put your money on them! Not some guy who has stolen from his investors and now wants to be handed money. Any money raised for Bob needs to go to his investors who he stole from. Period!" It was great. And then....it was my turn. I wouldn't say I ambushed the guy. But I did share my feelings on the subject. 

The thing that some people in poker have come to realize in this game...and have made adjustments in their life accordingly,  but which some just seem to never, ever want to try and grasp, is that being a profitable poker player is VERY VERY VERY hard, to the point of nearly impossible. People talk about variance, and some don't even know what they are talking about. No, see, if you really want to know what variance truly is? Play poker...either cash or tournaments for anywhere from 5 to 10 years, full time. Then you will know! If you are not fully staked, or have a great source of revenue flowing from somewhere unrelated to  poker, your chances of being a 'winning player' are very slim. 

Me? I've been very fortunate, in that I've had a lot of backers over the last decade. This has provided me the chance to emerge as a winning player,  overall. But  had all my buy ins come out of my own pocket? I seriously doubt I would be. Maybe a little bit...but certainly nothing that could support a family. No way. And how many players are there out there who are as  lucky as having that kind of staking network as I have? Not many...I know that for sure. So what you have is a lot of players out there who are grinding away hoping for that one big score that can make it all seem like it was worth it. And you know what? Sometimes, it is. It is that happy ending. The guy who grinds for years and years...winning just enough to keep playing...then one day he has everything go his way, and winds up winning a million dollars. We all feel happy for that guy.

Then what? Does he start playing all the 10k events, and all the high-roller events? Does he change his standard of living? Does he end up broke? Or close to broke? Or is he  responsible about what to do with that money that he's been chasing for all those years? I've played for 10 years now, and I've seen a lot of players come and go for these reasons. It's sad. But it's life. Some people have discipline, and some people just don't. Some are survivors, and some aren't. Survival of the fittest certainly applies to poker.

So, this guy Bob? Well, I originally wanted to merely question his logic in putting himself on blast to Facebook World. In most of my comments, I was actually responding more to the other commenters, then Bob himself. It wasn't until his comment where he was calling out anyone with anything negative to say, and saying they wouldn't have a chance against him at the felt, that I started to lose any empathy for the guy. And then his very own daughter made an appearance, and it was official...he was a douchebag. 

Bob's daughter is Mandy...you might have to click ON the message there to get it to show up big enough to read. It made me sad for her, just reading it.
Later, I found out he'd been hired to run some guy's little ma and pop hotel that the guy had paid 400K cash for...basically his life savings, and good 'ol Bob had basically ran it into the ground...while drinking and gambling on the clock at the neighborhood casino and lounge. And then finally...I find where Bob tried to start up his own GiveForward page (surprise surprise) in which its headline reads 'ALMOST HOMELESS.' Looks like he managed to mooch about $600 from kind-hearted, unsuspecting souls. Well played Bobby, well played.


Why am I telling you all this story today? To be mean? To throw this guy under the bus? Naw...none of that is my primary motivation, though I know it may look that way. Frankly, I am concerned about  the number of con artists, thieves and liars that seem to have found their way into the poker community, and I'm pretty sick of it. So in a way, this is to serve as a warning NOT to give this particular man money for any reason, as well as a warning to be very careful about who you enter into staking agreements with. Always have some form of binding agreement, whether it be by virtue of a simple text message or email...or something a little more legal, like a contract you have drawn up and had signed, as I will be doing with all 5 of our Summer Minions. Not that I question the honestly and/or integrity of ANY of my team members, because I don't. But..you should always protect yourself, 100%.

There is also a story to be learned here about what is truly considered an apology. Now, if you truly feel personally responsible about something that you have done, to the extent that you decide to put yourself on blast on social media for the entire poker community to critique, then you MUST be prepared for the shit storm that is bound to follow. And handle it like a man. It doesn't make you a man because you said "I'm sorry" in front of the world. It makes you a man to say you're sorry, handle the shit storm, and make things right with the people you fucked over. But what did Bob do?  He simply deleted any and all comments that were critical of him and his actions...and then deleted and blocked them as friends. What that shows to me...is that on top of having a gambling problem, and an honesty problem, and maybe a lack of respect for others around him....Bob is a coward.

Monkey