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Monday, August 25, 2014

Great News From Seattle!

This is not a post about how great my poker results have been out here....although I have booked two winning cash sessions, albeit modest in gain....+570 and +310 both coming at the Snoqualmie Casino which is only 2 miles from my mother's house.

Nope, this a report about my mother, and how her initial breast cancer treatment went. The news is great! I arrived on Wednesday night...after yet another horrendous airline experience. This time on United. I'm not even going to waste my breath or keystrokes on this latest episode. Just know that my disdain for commercial travel has only worsened.

Her surgery for double mastectomy occurred on Friday. Her doctors were so wonderful. She felt very relaxed and confident going in...and the procedure went flawlessly. We haven't gotten back the oncology report and wont until later in the week...but all signs look very positive, most notably, it appears that the cancer hasn't spread to any of her lymph nodes...which is the best news possible! She left the day after her surgery...and later that same night, insisted on making us all dinner. We had grilled steaks, baked King Salmon, and seared sea scallops, with roasted new red potatoes. What a meal!!!!

We've had lots of visitors this weekend...and have pretty much just sat around watching the Seahawks crush Chicago, the Mariners sweep the Red Sox in Boston for the first time in club history...and movies. On Tuesday...I think my sister and I are taking my mom to the Mariners game. We hinged between Tuesday's game and Wednesday's game. We chose Tuesday because King Felix pitches on Wednesday, and since he almost NEVER gets any run support, I feared it would be a boring game for her to see.  And since they are playing the hapless Texas Rangers with the worst pitching in baseball....I'm hopeful there will be a lot of runs scored! 



Before we go to the game...my sister and I are going to do our very imaginative ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Through today...the Ice Bucket Challenge has raised $79m! That is phenomenal! And yes...I understand...people have short attention spans, as well as short leashes when it comes to fads. I've heard a lot of people grumbling about 'being sick' of all the 'stupid Ice Bucket videos' out there. Hey! Look! I get it! But think about this...never has so much money EVER been raised for what is an absolutely horrible disease. Whether you are tired of the videos or not...you can't NOT like what the results have been. It's been simply amazing. That being said...I am cognizant of the fact that if we are/were going to make a video somewhat late in the 'Ice Bucket' game we need to do something very unique and original. And so...that is what we will attempt to do. I hope to have the video up and available to view by Friday or Saturday. Oh...incidentally, I've been challenged already by 3 or 4 people, including a little girl named Alexa Fisher...who, according to her father Justin, was impressed by me when, way back in 2011 I went to dinner break with Justin and his two little girls, JJ Liu, and Men 'The Master' Nguyen on the dinner break of the WSOP Main Event. 



Alexa and her little sister were there...and they thought it was funny that my nickname was 'Monkey.' And I think I spent most of the dinner attempting to entertain them..as most of you know how much I love kids. So they asked if I would be okay with them challenging me...and I (of course) responded by telling them I would honored. Dad told me she screamed out 'Yay!' when he told her I said yes.  How cute. I love kids. Almost as much as I love dogs!

Carley is mad at me again...for not being home with her. The first 5 days here have been hard on her I guess. She won't talk to me on Facetime. It makes me so sad...but it's also kind of cute. The good news is that she has had all kinds of attention since I left, with friends spending the night, and her daycare teacher keeping her on Saturday while Squirrel had to work. They had a great day together, which made me very happy, of course. She just LOVES Miss Bobbie Sue...and freaked OUT I guess when she was at our front door Saturday morning. 

It looks like if my mom DOES need chemo or radiation treatment...that the treatments wouldn't start for 4-6 weeks from now. So I guess it looks like I would/will be going home probably next Wednesday the 3rd...and will be able to play the event coming up at the IP in Biloxi...the 3rd WSOP Circuit stop of the year. It will be the first time I've played at the IP in two years...so I am excited to add to my career-earnings/cashes total at IP events. I'm not sure...but I think I might still be the all-time leader there. Maybe not. Either way...with the letters having been sent from the 'dealer-who-wrecked-me' in Hammond to all the various people with the power to remove my ban in Hammond and have me reinstated...I just want to keep adding on to the 35 points I picked up in Palm Beach in hopes that I will be reinstated....and have the chance to make the WSOP Freeroll National Championship next spring for the 2nd time...and then of course play the WSOP events next summer. I hope it works out...but if it doesn't, then it doesn't. After all, there are a lot more important things in the world, and in my life...then whether or not I can play WSOP events.

A little more about my cash sessions here. The players up here all seem to kind of play the same way. It's eery! They only spread two games at this casino, 4-8 limit...and 2/5 no limit. In the 2/5 game you can only buy in for a maximum of $300. And the biggest bet you can make is $500. Which is kind of a stupid rule...since the way around it is to just keep raising and re-raising an amount not exceeding $500. That is, if you both decided you simply have to get it all in. 

A very common scene is the guy who keeps buying in for $200....and whenever there is a raise of $15 or $20...just shoving all in and praying to get heads up and either hold up or outdraw the person(s) who were brave enough (or confident enough in their hand) to call. It is a very, very wide-open game. You, of course, have your overly aggressive players...and your somewhat tight players. But those tight players play in a way that they are never going to get any value out of the hands they wait around for hours to get. So I developed a pretty sound strategy for this game, I think. My opinion obviously. I simply played the entire time in sniper mode. Limped a lot with decent hands (middle pairs, anything suited connected, random face-card hands) and would call the eventual raise as long as I had a decent price to call...then hope for a good flop I could use against the majority inferior opponents. This worked perfect in almost every scenario...the exception being, obviously, when I got caught slow playing or exercising some pot management to get the aggressor to keep feeding the pot, and them sucking out. It's just one of those unfortunate eventualities of playing sniper poker...but for the most part, it paid dividends.

The other thing that was fun to do was limping with QQ or better...then waiting (or hoping) that someone would raise...which they usually did, then betting an amount that would lead to a lot of head scratching. Not that this stopped guys from calling with shit like 7-9, Q-10 and pocket deuces. I could sit here and complain about my KK losing to JJ, or my 88 losing on a flop of 8-3-A...turn Ace....when a river of ace came...completely fucking my hand..showing the guy how lucky he got, then having him show me a complete bluff. But why bother? You are always going to lose some hands you shouldn't lose. At the end of the day...the fact remains...that if you are a decent player, and you sit down at the 2/5 game at Snoqualmie Casino, you should almost never leave a loser. I think cash session #3 will come tonight...after my Big Money Fantasy draft...which is at 6:15pm Pacific time and should end around 9pm. My sister has expressed a desire to try her hand at the game after hearing me talk about it a good amount. She is a decent player...but doesn't get a chance to play much with her job and kids. Hopefully she will fare well. 

Okay...I'm going to wrap up this post. Tomorrow, or maybe the next day....I am going to be writing a blog, pretty serious in nature, and a direct observation of my time here in Seattle...both in my early years growing up here...as well as my current trip home. This will be a post focusing on race, and the tensions that exist all throughout  our country. Today they are burying the kid in Ferguson, Missouri, in that case that has once again driven a wedge between the relationships between whites and blacks in this country. I will also express my views on that, and share a conversation I had with a Seattle police officer who happens to be a good friend of our family. I asked some questions that were really bugging me, and got some really surprising (to me anyway) answers. I'm hoping you will find this next post interesting and maybe even educational. 

Have a great day!

MONKEY

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Palm Beach Wrap Up....and What's Up Next!!??

I probably should have posted a blog last Monday, to report to you how Day 2 went in the Main Event at Palm Beach Kennel Club. Well, I figure most of you who truly care did enough limited research to discover that I finished 6th...which matches my highest finish in a WSOP Circuit Main Event. I also took 6th in Hammond back in 2010...in a gigantic field, at a table littered with great players like Kurt Jewell (winner), William Reynolds, Nick Jivkov and Bryan Devonshire.

This final table had the likes of Tristan Wade (winner), David 'Lefty' Diaz, Zohair 'BrownMagic) Karim,  and Chance Kornuth. I came into the day with a pretty small stack...but did what I'm best at, playing patiently. Eventually, my breaks would come...and I would amass enough chips to allow me to persevere long enough to get to the Final Table, which was my ultimate goal...well, okay, it was Hurdle #4 officially, with Hurdle #5 being WIN! I guess the good thing about waiting a week to write this is that I have pretty much forgotten about most of the hands...so you don't have to be bored with that.

I have some regrets. We got down to 6 players...and I was surging...having just topped a million chips. And I don't know what it is about being at a final table...but when you start surging like that...and winning every hand your in, you being to start feeling a little bulletproof. A sense of invincibility starts to set in. And this can either be incredibly powerful and lead to victory, or be falsely intoxicating and lead to your demise. I'd had a pretty rough run leading up to the Main Event...having gone out less than ten from the money three times and having zero cashes to show for my efforts. I'd determined that I  needed to finish 8th to break even for the trip. So once I cleared that hurdle...I was basically freerolling. Sort of. I mean, the idea when you leave for a poker trip is to come home with more money than you left with right? So 'freerolling' is probably not the correct term.

In 2010 in Chicago, I was on a similar tear at the final table. I had moved up from low stack to 2nd in chips. Then I made that one fatal error that cost me dearly. I  might not have won...but I surely would have probably finished at least 3rd...which meant the difference between $47,000 and $125,000. Quite a difference. In the case of PBKC...my actions on two back-to-back hands meant the difference between $20,000 and probably $60,000.

In Chicago, William Reynolds had opened on my big blind a lot, and everytime I'd woken up with a huge hand...3-bet him, got called, and got favorable flops to either lead on or check raise on...to which he folded every time. Then he raised me with KK...I  flatted with Q-10...flopped ten-high, and check raised him all in. Stupid. I had so many chips, and we were playing so deep,  that  I could have simply check called him...and  had plenty to work with on the turn and the river. His kings held, and I was crippled. 

In Palm Beach, Tom Midena...who was pretty unpredictable, but more or less a very tight player...raised behind me at cutoff, and I looked down at 88. At that stage of the tourney...and with him holding about 400k and me 1.1m...flatting a raise of 75k didn't seem like a smart move holding position and an almost 3-1 chip advantage. So I reraised him to 200k. He shoved. I had no price to fold now. Which sucked. ANd of course...he had KK...which held. Then on literally the NEXT hand...Zo Karim raised (again)...got re-raised by Tom...and I once again had 88. That would have been a great time to fold. And had I? I think things would have shaken out a whole lot differently. I fold, Zo calls with AJ...Tom's KK wins again, taking a large chunk out of Mr. BrownMagic...and really leveling the playing field. 

But nope, like an idiot, I shoved with 88..hoping I had the best hand...which wasn't the case. Zo calls with his AJ..and Tom again has KK. Incredible. And they held. I was busto..and Zo would end up, somehow...after having about half the chips in play when we were 6-handed, going out 5th. 

Nevertheless...it was my 3rd Main Event cash at PBKC in as many attempts...and first final table. My $20,200 for 6th got me out of the red for the trip, and also triggered a bonus for all 80 people who invested in either my summer package, or the one for the 'Monkey's Minions' that sent 4 players to the Main Event at Rio this summer. I had promised to pay out a total of 10% of my winnings to them if I were to make a cash over $20k....which was just barely what happened! So they all got a little stimulus check of $25. To their credit a lot of them have donated it to either Carley's College Fund...or Breast Cancer research. Still more are using their credit for the upcoming pool season...which is always a good/fun investment!

Congrats to Tristan Wade for winning the title over another guy I'm pretty good friends with, David 'Lefty' Diaz. Tristan sat there in the 1-seat...very quiet, very patient...in fact, it took me a couple hours to even realize it was him! We had met a few years back in a lounge in Vegas and my impression of him was very favorable. Incredibly nice young man. And great player. He waited, and found his spots...and next thing you know...with his family present (they are all from down there) shipped the thing for $106,000. Good for him!

I played the last event the next day...despite my insistence that you should NEVER play the day, or even the week, after making a decent score. Why? So you can actually enjoy it a little. But since it was the last event of the trip, and I figured their would be a small field and why not  take a shot at a ring and more freeroll points? So I bought  into the $365 Turbo event.

I  flop trip nines....on flop of A-9-9 holding J-9h. It checks around to me. I make it 500. Only one guy calls. The guy with 33. Good call sir. He turns a three. I lose a bunch. Same guy....limps with QQ. I call in SB with A3h. I flop four to the flush. Call his bet. I turn a flush. Check raise the crap out of him. He calls. Why not? He  has a set of queens. River pairs the board. Ugh. I check call his bet. Wonderful. I got down to 900 chips are was thinking about the beach...as it was only noon, still. I jam JJ. No callers. I jam AK no callers. Then get KK utg. Limp. Get 6 callers, no raisers. Ugh. Guess this is how I'm going out. Nope. Q-high flop...guy in BB bets. I ship. He calls with Q-10. Doesn't improve. Then I ship on the button behind an UTG raise and four calls, holding AK. Get called by JJ. Flop a king and it holds. Back in the game. Before I know it...I have the table chip lead with 23k. Will this be an amazing story on the final event?

I'm in the SB with QQ. Cutoff raises to 1000. An OMRG chewing on a toothpick (always a double whammy for me) makes it 2500 on the button with AJ off. I make it 5500 in SB. He announces "Oh what the hell, I'm going to the beach (I can respect that sentiment)" and calls off with AJ. No sweat. He hits his ace. Sigh. Then it was just a shit storm from there. Same guy would beat me two  or three more times...and for my final act, I shoved 11 BB's in early position with 99...and got overshoved on by a  lady with A10. Nice hand. No help to her on the flop...or turn...but sure enough...tenball on the river and my Palm Beach trip was a wrap.

I went downstairs, where I'd  had  mixed results the whole two weeks I was down there...and this time picked up $525 in my final cash session. A nice going away gift. Went to Dicks and bought a new pair of sunglasses to replace the ones that got stolen at the beach while I was in the water snorkeling. Driving home would require them. Picked up 5 movies from Redbox, and some KFC....then went and packed...and got on the road. I made it home in a record 9 hours,  stopping only three times for gas and nothing else. It was about 8am when I walked in, and Carley heard me...shrieked, and came running into the kitchen to greet me. It was awesome. I got the biggest hug! 



It gets harder and harder to leave my little sweetie. But at least this time the trip was worth it, since I came home profitable. But it sure doesn't make me miss her any less. We have been connected at the hip all week. This weekend we did her favorite thing...playing on her slide and pool in the backyard...while throwing Jasper his ball. Whatever it takes!

I only have three more days with Carley and Mama Squirrel...then I have to leave for Seattle. I have no real idea on how long I will be there. I wrestled with revealing the reason for my trip on this blog...as I really didn't feel like dealing with the asshole haters who leave their snotty comments...and any negative comment on this subject would put me in a state of mind  I really don't want to deal with. But since I guess the majority of you who read my blog are actually kind, caring human beings...you'd probably be a lot more understanding. Just a few weeks ago, we found out that my mother has breast cancer...and that the doctor wanted to perform surgery right away. So she made an appointment originally for August 12th...which made me think I would be leaving Palm Beach...getting home, doing laundry, and getting right back on a plane.

But then she rescheduled it for August 22nd, this coming Friday...which came as a bit of good news...so I get home, get caught up on...well, life...spend some valuable time with my girls, and then head out there for her mastectomy surgery, and after-care for as long as she needs me. My sister is also going out, coming from Milwaukee. Some of you know of my involvement in the past with causes for Breast Cancer...and of the tragic loss of our friend Cincere Mason,  who beat Breast Cancer twice, before dying of a strange bacterial infection after helping a friend after flooding in Pensacola. And you certainly know of my painful loss of my good friend Chad Brown this summer, also to cancer. So it really kind of hit us all right smack in the face when my mom called us and shared the news with us.

I know my mom is scared, despite acting very brave. Cancer is a scary, scary thing...to be certain. But one bit of good news that we got was that after they did the biopsy and scan and all that...they determined that the cancer had not spread to the lymph nodes...which in my limited knowledge of breast cancer, is for sure good news.  So we are crossing our fingers that after her surgery, they will have eradicated all of the cancer from her body and not have to get into all the chemo and radiation. I will keep you all informed as I learn more.

As for future poker events? Well, while I was in Florida, I received the letter from the IP in Biloxi informing me that I am no longer 86'd from their place. So that opens the door for me to play the WSOP Circuit Event there from Sept 4th-14th. I fully expect to play that event IF I am home from Seattle. If not...then so be it. Anything beyond that event I have no idea on. Hopefully, my Mom's surgery goes well...I come home and play what I hope is a well-attended WSOP event here in Biloxi, and make a couple cashes. Then if I need to go back to Seattle, I can do that.

Football season is right on our doorstep...and I am SO glad! It feels like its been the longest offseason ever! I am so excited to see if my Seahawks can make a good defense of their Super Bowl title. To see if my Washington Huskies are better under Boise State's former coach. To see how strong Alabama is, and if their new QB can handle the task. And of course, all four of my pools and my four fantasy leagues...which are just about full with a few openings still available. I just LOVE September! The weather gets tolerable...the playoff stretch run in baseball....hockey starting...and of course FOOTBALL! IF you aren't on my pool distro list and have any interest in getting on it, shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com and I will make sure you are involved!

Well...this seems like a good place to end. Thanks to  those who threw me their support during the Main Event run...I always appreciate that, as I'm sure most players do! It was a very fun event...and I honestly left town with a very good taste in my mouth! Thanks again to the staff of WSOP and the people from the Kennel Club's poker room for their hospitality! 

Monkey

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Here We Go Again....

One thing I like to do before a Main Event is get some sleep. The other thing I like to do is limit myself to one buyin, aka 'bullet.' The only way I don't mind firing twice is if I am either (a) backed for two bullets (b) running exceptionally well that week and have it to spend or (c) am playing in a field that is so large that the value dictates doing it.

None of those three elements are in play this trip. I've been playing on my own dime this event. I've been running like crap the whole time. And the turnouts have been relatively disappointing in comparison to all the other events this play has hosted. Not sure why, exactly. So with all that in mind...and with my brain overloaded from a plethora of river beats, runner runner suckouts, and way too many one and two-outers...I took Friday completely off from poker.

I joined some friends for a trip to a beautiful park just north of West Palm Beach...where you had to walk through what looked like a rain forest and a three hundred yard wooden bridge that took you over an ocean-filled lake and to the beach. We snorkled around a rock reef...seeing all kinds of fish while dodging what I found out is called 'fire rock' which is...well...bright red rock that when you touch it burns like a mofo. I was wearing flippers which kept me from stepping on it. 

While I was snorkeling, some asshole was busy stealing my $140 Under Armor glasses out of my snorkeling gear bag. That kind of took a little happiness out of the experience. But nonetheless, it was a nice day...while 109 players were playing down to 20 in the Flight A of the Main Event. I returned to my room around 7...and slept uninterrupted until 10am the next day...getting roughly 15 hours of sleep!

I showed up in a very positive frame of mind. My first table draw wasn't too tough. What happened over the next 3  hours though was perplexing and  irritating. I've been playing poker tourneys now for 10 years...and I can't ever remember getting Ax so many times in a tourney as I did yesterday. It was mind-boggling. Here were my cards that I can remember. AK? Had it five times...lost all five before winning a double up with it against A10...who thought I was squeezing from the big blind with nothing and snap called my shove. AQ...had it three times. Won once. AJ...had it four times.All losers. A10...had it 3 times...lost them all. A9...5 times...won twice. A8...3 times...lost them all. A7...twice, no winners. A6...three times. Losers. A5...4 times...losers. A3....6 times. One winner. A2...twice. No winners. AA....five times! Won 3 (2 good pots, 1 walk) Lost 2 (both big pots).  That's 46 hands  that included at least ONE ace. That is...crazy!

I was quickly in a -2500 hole from my starting stack of $20,000. But I wasn't panicking. I picked up KK and got it to win. I bluffed a couple of pots. At the first break I was sitting at my starting stack. More up and down in Levels 4-6 saw me go on break with 19k...still hovering around starting stack. It was a grind...and I was grinding my face off.

Registration was open until 12 levels...which is nuts. We ended up getting a total  of 194 in our  flight...combined with the 109 from Flight A...to give us a total  of 303 players...with first place paying $106,000 and 33rd place $2700. 

My table would break three times in two levels...which is never very fun...since you have no info on how the other tables' players are playing and how  much your raises are going to be respected. 

I ended up going on a bit of a heater. The double up with AK vs. A10 behind four other raisers of 1100 before I jammed my 14,000 was huge. Then...I'm in the BB  when the guy UTG raises...it folds to John Holley who had just rebought into  the tourney....and he shoves all in for 28k I think. It folds to me...and I say "Well...let me find some aces under hear"...and what do I look at? Two black aces! Wow. I say call...the guy on my left chuckles knowing what I just discovered and he folds. John says "Shit...if Monkey's calling my hand can't be good!" He had 10's. He was right...as he failed to do what so many others had done this week...two out me. That moved me up to 74k.

Then a while later...at 800/1600...I find AA again...UTG...and raise it to 4100. I get  one caller....then the button...a player who had about 150k when I sat down at the table but was having a murderous couple of orbits...jams it all in for 34k. I called,  the second guy folded and I was up against 88. Again...I faded the two-outer...or of course, some weird straight...and now I was right near 100k in the top ten in chip counts.

I got into another two or three big hands where I was able to win  post flop on hands where I may or may not have been good. But the bottom line? When you have a big stack in big tourneys, it  really changes the way you can play. You have leverage. I had Ylon Schwartz at my table and he was really playing well...and was tough to battle with, due mainly to his stack size. I would flop middle pair against him....or some kind of obscure draw...and while a lot of times I didn't think he had anything, it  just didn't seem worth it to keep getting deeper and deeper into the hand with him. When I get a big stack...I like to minimize my liability to about 15-20% of my stack size on any given hand.

I know that there will be a lot of times like those with the AA and small stacks jamming into you...that will present themselves late in tourneys...enough so that I don't necessarily have to get mixed up in hands where I'm guessing if I'm good or whether it justifies calling huge bets on the flop and turn to 'get there' and possibly cut into my stack in a significant fashion.

We got down to 51 players...and were on the last hand of the night...when the current chipleader...Zo Karim...who had gloated that he should just be raising with anything since he was running so good, and he had! He'd gone from 12 big blinds about 30 minutes before I got to his table to over 400k...beating AQ with QQ...beating AK with QQ...and a few others I can't recall. But he was dropping players like flies. So here we go on the last hand of the night and me sitting at 108k preflop. He raises (at 1200/2400) to 5000. I'm on the button and flat his raise with AQ...not wanting to do anything crazy...and just wanting, really...to see if I can nail a flop against him. 

Well, I do. The flop comes A-5-Q. Rainbow. He leads out for 5000. I raise him 15,000. He quickly calls. Hmmm. That uneasy feeling sets in. The turn is a 7. He checks. I bet 22k. He calls again. Now I'm getting nervous. The river is a king. He sits there staring at me for quite awhile then bets a very peculiar 17k. I knew something smelled bad but I couldn't bring myself to fold. I thought there was a chance he was just making a play where he thought he had become bullet proof in his mind. And if I folded and he showed me some bullshit hand I was going to never forgive myself. I called up the 17k. He turns over J-10 offsuit. He rivered the gutterball. And instead of bagging up 180k in chips...being in the top ten in chips...and likely cruising to the money today....I was stuck on 65k...or roughly 21 big blinds heading back for day 2....and 18 spots away from the money.

That was  NOT how I wanted to end my night. At all. I wonder what he'd have done had he missed that river card? Whatever. It is what it is. We go back to 1500/3000 and I've researched the players on my Day 2 draw...and it in no way resembles the tough tables I had yesterday...at one time I had a table with Lefty Diaz, Chris Conrad and TK Miles all present. That was like a blast from the past. All friends, but admittedly a table where NO ONE was going to give me a break.

Earlier I had a table with my buddy BJ McBrayer...who would lose on the river when he patiently sat blinding down before shipping with 66...getting called by two face cards...and getting rivered by a straight. 'Smiling Don' from St Louis was also at my table...and on a play where Chris Dombrowski, who has quickly become one of my most annoying opponents...as he's been clearly watching Tom Dwan play WAY too much....he of the 4 finger slow robotic checks, and the slow blinking...long staring with the cold emotionless eyes in between the action on each and every street....well, Durr-squared decides to 'make a move'...as he 3-bet the utg raiser (holding 66) only to run into Donnie 4-betting (with AA) behind him. The action folded to the utg raiser...who also folded. Then 'Dombo Durr' decides to get cute and jam all in for 43k. Donnie had about 38k and snap called him. 

I was confident Don was going to double up and put Dombrowski on the brink of elimination. I was wrong. The board ran out K-10-7-9-8....giving him a straight and sending Donnie downstairs to the cash room I suspect. Really an awful awful beat. In fact, I saw AA lose quite a bit yesterday...I lost with it twice...once for 6600 of my chips in Level 4 to a guy with KJh...and another to a guy with J10...who made two pair on the river. 

All told it was a very, very, long 12-hour day of poker. While I am happy to have emerged from the herd with chips...I sure would like to be going back with 180k instead  of 65k. But hey! I play some of my best poker when I've got my back to the wall. I took a melatonin when I got back to my room and managed for a second night in a row to get a good night of sleep.

Just got done Facetiming with Squirrel and Carley...who are in Pensacola at her best friend's house for  the weekend. They spent the day at the pool yesterday and are going out on the boat today. The same boat Squirrel lost her engagement ring on 5 years ago. Well, having replaced her ring this past Christmas...I reminded her to take that thing off before going out today!!!! I don't think I needed to remind her! Carley is now able to say the words (sort of) "I love you, Daddy" and there is nothing that puts me in a better mood or makes me smile harder than hearing that come out of her mouth...with a big 'ol smile on her face. 

For no other reasons than wanting to bring home a big payday for Squirrel and Carley and also wanting to kind of re-establish myself in the poker community as a player who is successful...I just want to have a good day today. If not 1st place, just making the final table...I just really really want to NOT encounter something like I've been encountering down here all week, and frankly, most of the summer. Playing deep only to get derailed by some horrific beat. If I lose...let me lose fair and square to a hand that either had me beat...or was just as good. Those are the kind of situations where I can stand up...say "Nice hand sir" and "Good luck to all of you" and leave knowing I did everything I could to win but that it just wasn't my day.

I just want....for once this year....for it TO BE my day!!!!

Here we go!!!!!!

MONKEY

Thursday, July 31, 2014

ONE BULLET!!!??? Call That a Win!!!!

 (I am pleased to announce that I won't be using any of these stupid fu**ing words in this blog post: 'bird' (in place of tourney) 'heaps' (lots of chips) 'spew' (giving away chips on a frequent basis) 'rip' (moving all in with aggression) 'showers' (being felted) 'binked' (hitting the card you are rooting for) 'runners' (number of players-a British term, this is America) and I won't refer to myself as 'we' either. It's just ME and/or I. I won't say 'bagged and tagged' either, that's for dead people. Nor will I describe my opponent as 'villain'. Enjoy)

A 12-hour drive. 5 hours of sleep. 8 hours of poker. Standard disaster in Level 12. 42,500 chips (16 bb's) placed in plastic zip-lock bag in the opening event of the PBKC WSOP Circuit event's Flight 1A. I will take it!

When you arrive for the first day in an event that has FIVE starting  flights....with unlimited rebuys/re-entries for the first six levels, the painful reality is that a lot of players are going to expend a LOT of buyins (bullets) to chase the big prize at the end of the rainbow. It's inconceivable to even imagine who will own the record for entries in this event. But suffice to say...you will have someone with 10+ bullets spent probably.

Are you laughing? Don't. If you were at one of the tables yesterday, and saw how a lot of these pickle brains were playing...you would think they all have money trees in their backyards down here. Hell maybe they do...if so, I need to follow a couple of them to their house when they leave, being stealthy as hell, of course.

The day started horribly. I sat down at 12:18pm EST...and looked down at JJ on my very first hand. Wow. I raised to 250 (50-100) and got no action. That would  be the last hand I would win in three levels. It was a blood bath. What made it worse was my table was SO soft...I mean...the whole time I'm just thinking....please just let me make a damn hand ONCE...so I'll get paid off. Didn't happen. I just kept losing, and losing, and losing. My 12k starting stack dwindled to 5400. But I wasn't freaking out. In fact...if you've followed my adventures this summer...you're likely aware that anytime I've started out hot...which I did a LOT this summer at Venetian, it usually ends in disaster.

I finally caught my break. The worst player at the table...a black guy I'd never seen before, wearing a (I shit you not) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt...raised to 750 at 150/300. Pretty much the whole table looked him up. I wasn't about to fold J10h in the SB. Flop comes...hello! 6c-8c-9h. There was about 5400 in the pot...and I had 4600 in my stack. Can you say "check raise?" I can. I check.

Ninja Turtle bets 1000. He gets two callers. I move all in. He tanks and calls. Then Ricky Daniel calls with 9-10. The turn is the king of clubs. Ugh.  But they both check...so maybe they WEREN'T on a flush draw!!?? The river is...boink! 7 of clubs! Making me the straight...but also putting 4 damn clubs on the board. Surely I'm fucked. Ricky turns over his hand...'I have a straight.' Then he sees my J10 and groans. And I'm still waiting for the other guy to turn over a club that sends me walking. (or to the showers if you're one of these 'new age' Twitter fucks) No! No club. I win. Boom! And just like that I'm up to 17k! Hell yes!

From there I took off...and had the chiplead at my table about half an hour later and held it for 3 levels. Then our table breaks. I move to an equally soft table. In fact...the whole field yesterday was crazy soft. I guess all the 'real' players haven't shown up yet. I have one guy at the table who is a major fucking pest...raising light a lot, raising 5 or 6 'x' behind one or two limpers. You know....'that' guy! He was a generally pleasant guy...and if we were just hanging out I'd actually like the guy. But as a poker player? I wanted to kill him. Bad!

So I'm sitting at 44k. He raises in MP. (not a rarity) It folds to me in the small blind and I look at KcQc. Had I been at the table a little longer...and known this guy like I would hours later, I would have three-bet the hell out of him there. But I had limited info at that point. So I flatted. The flop comes Qs-Js-9h. I decide to take it down right there. I lead out for 3500. Which is about what was in the pot. He immediately shoves. It's 15k to call. I look at him. I look at the board. I watch his body language. I finally conclude that he either has A10...or a flush draw. Even tell him that. And watch for a reaction. I'm pretty convinced that I have him beat...at least on the flop. And now there is a pot that tells me I'm getting two-to-one to call. I'm also thinking that if I can hold...bust his irritating ass, and be sitting on 60k with the average at 27k...I can likely cruise to the finish line.

I call. He tells me "good call" and turns over 9s-10d. Boom. Yes! Right call. Now please hold! The turn is a four of spades. The river is the 2 of spades. Holy shit! Four-card flush. He jumps up, celebrates...and I just bury my face in the bumper...clenching my fist under the table. It leaves me with 21k. At 800/1600.  And then I go card dead. Lovely. here we go again.

Had that sinking feeling it was going to be another one of those play all day deals only to get hit with disaster at crunch time again. The last three hours were excruciating. This lady...who had 22k when I got to the table...literally blinded down to 5400...never played a hand...so when she finally moved all in, and I looked at QQ I wasn't that thrilled, knowing how long she waited. Regardless I moved in for 14k. No one called me.

She says "I only looked at one" which tells me...shit! She has an ace! Yup. Luckily her kicker wasn't an ace! She had Ac3c. Flop was clean....but the turn gave her a flush draw and a gutshot. "Oh god, oh god, oh god...don't do it don't do it!!!" River......brick! I had already cut out the 5400 preflop expecting to lose. Okay...so it wasn't a double up...but it was a hand  I could NOT afford to lose. And didn't. Whew.

I picked up a few other pots along the way...finding a few good spots to move in on guys I knew were just raising because they had position. Hate those guys too. To their credit they didn't screw around with folding..making it quick. 

Earlier in the day, we had this old guy in the 1-seat...who had an accent that suggested he was Greek maybe. He was insane, we think. Later, an older guy named Dave who I've played with, and who everyone seems to know, told us he's always been a prick...even when he was younger. So that explained a few things. For some reason, he took a severe disliking to me. So I started doing what I do in those situations sometimes...speaking like a loon. He would be talking about something, and I would quickly switch the topic to something completely irrelevant to the conversation. During one occasion, in the midst of another one of his 3-5 minutes to act on his hand, someone quipped that if he stayed at our table we would all make it to Day 2. I think I said something to the tune of..."I might kill myself before we get that far." 

He heard me and goes ballistic about not being able to see. Oh...because those bright yellow chips are incredibly hard to make out. 5 yellow chips...none on top of the other...neatly and clearly  laying on the felt: "How much is that?" about 100 times. He goes on a rant about how lucky I am because I have perfect vision.

But instead of sharing with him that I actually have pretty bad eyes...I tell him instead that it's not fair for him to 'discriminate' against me because I have good eyes. I tell him I'm an astronaut for NASA and that we are required to have perfect vision. Meanwhile he loses the hand...and it was the last hand before break...and he starts mumbling incoherently, then as he is leaving the table...says this classic gem..."why don't you go shit out your ass!" Huh? I look at the guy two seats over...who is cracking up...and who says "Aren't you SUPPOSED to shit out your ass????"  The table laughs some more.

While the back and forth with this guy was going on...the floor person was walking back and forth behind our table and visibly trying not to start cracking up. I notice the guy has a badly infected finger. You know when you have a hang nail...and you rip it off...which leads to your finger getting all infected? Real nasty and painful? He had that going on. So I tried to act like I cared...and asked him what happened to his finger. He got really defensive and refused to tell me. A little while later...while he was fuming from a hand in which he lost AK to A10 for a good portion of his chips....he said something to me...and I said "Sir, I don't want to talk to you anymore...not until you tell me what happened to your finger!" 

"It's none of your goddamn business what happened to my finger!!!!!"

About three hands later he moves all in with A8. I call him with AQ. Nice. Oh...is it? Jeezuz...the board comes J-9-4-9-4. Unreal. Chop. And he yells out "Karma!!!" Huh? Karma??? Who's dog did I poison!?? How is that karma? I think karma might be one of the most misused words in the vocabulary...and it's certainly not the first time I've had a poker player use it out of context. But okay...you got me old man. KARMA!!!!

Well...a little while later...he would raise again...with AK again...and the guy next to him...a guy I'd grown fond of, actually I pretty much liked our whole table with the exception of that old psychopath...who I actually was enjoying because he made the table interesting...and the pest in the 10-seat. Oh sorry, back to that guy next to him who shoves all in (for a lot-a lot of that going on yesterday...the standard 3-bet was simply all in, not a lot of pot control) with Ac3c. The old guy calls obviously. And loses. And goes mental. He's now sitting there with 4000 chips at 600/1200. He's cursing the dealer. I almost feel sorry for him...but naw...that would be stupid. He is literally the definition of the word CURMUDGEON. I did take his picture...but per my agreement with the WSOP...I will NOT post people's photos during an event. But if you want to see him, email me and I will send it to you.

Now you want to talk about funny? Jessica, the floor person...shows up to our table to balance the tables...and moves our next big blind. Who is it? Yup! Good 'ol Happy Pants! Who picked up his now 2400 chips and goes to another table. We all start howling! I think he was out five minutes later. I'm guessing he busted...then went down to where they keep the racing dogs and kicked 5 or 6 of them. 

Late in the action...it folded around to me and the big blind. We had both been struggling the last three hours. He had a scene like me where he had trapped this old lady...him holding AQ her with A8 on a flop of A-4-J. He checked. She shoves..which she did a LOT (she was also a pretty nice lady...and appreciated my warped sense of humor...which made her alright in my book!) and he calls...only to watch the board go JACK...KING! Chop! He lost another hand in sick fashion after that. In fact...our table was disgusting...the best hand RARELY won. And if someone was all in...they almost inevitably won. Well it folded around to us in the blinds and I looked at A4 at 1200/2400 and 16k in my stack. I raised. He shoved. I couldn't fold. He had Jd10d. Yikes. I think we all like his hand there. Whoa! Ace on the flop. And on the turn he was drawing dead. That...was a critical hand!

I managed to fade the Level 15 disaster...picking up a few pots...and bagged up the aforementioned 42,500. And yeah, it's certainly not a lot. But...most of my 'good work' in tourneys has come when I go to Day Two with a smallish stack. I tend to make better decisions, play more patiently...and frankly, we will go back almost in the money...so I should be able to survive long enough to at least bank what will likely be about $800 or so to cash. And while I'm certainly not chasing $800...I think it's important to set goals and accomplish them one at a time. Goal 1: Buy in ONCE...and bag. Check! Goal 2: Make the money, get that buy in back, with a little profit. Goal 3: Get down to 3 tables and some respectable money. Goal 4: Make the final table and make a 5-figure, life-altering score...and Goal 5: Win that bitch! Win a ring! Win some respect! And freeroll the rest of the event! Goals...gotta have 'em. 

So I bag up. Decide (bad decision)  to play the 8pm $135 Shit Show. I seriously wish they would just rename it that. Because that is exactly what it is. Horrible horrible players...or players on super tilt from busting out of the nooner (11am!) littering the field. 12k starting stack! Wait what? Okay calm down. The blinds go like this...brace yourself:  100/200 (yes that is the FIRST level) 200/400, 300/600, 400/800, 600/1200....yup. 20 minute levels. Started with 68 players. I busted and rebought. Turned that 12k into 40k at 300/600 and actually had a moment where I thought I might just win this thing. Had a real friendly 2nd table too. Ricky Daniel was back at my table..and to be honest...he owned my soul. I had a good hand, he had a better hand...about 3 or 4 times. I finally got 8 BB's in with KQ and ran smack into AA and KK. Wow. I did flop a queen...but didn't get another one...and was out. 17th place. Oh well. It was fun.

Next up? Cash game. The max buy in is only $200. Hate that. It was a weird table. We had a guy who looked like Meatloaf when he cleans himself up, and not quite as fat. We would end up liking each other I think. Him in the 3 seat, me in the 8 seat. At one point we tried to get the floor to let us...just him and I....play for our bankrolls. He was raising just about every hand...to 15 or 20. And he would run hot and cold. I slow rolled him one time on a board that sported four spades (I had the ace) and which gave me a straight on the river. So at showdown...I turn over the 3...and tell him 'Straight!' He turns over the king of spades and says...'Well I have a flush!!!' 

"Ahhhh...nice hand. Oh wait! I have a flush also! And show him my ace!' This was early in our 'table relationship' so he snapped. Went storming off telling anyone he knew that he'd just been slow rolled. Apparently he'd been bullying the shit out of the table because they all loved it. I had only been there about 20 minutes. It only got better from there, until we eventually were having a lot of fun with each other. He was over there pounding tequila while I was having an occasional Coors Lite. Then at some point...he started wigging out. Why? Oh shit! The waitress cut him off. Now in his defense? Sure...he'd had a LOT of shots. But he was plenty coherent. Big guy. But I guess he had violated the 'drinks per hour' rule or something. That had him pretty pissed off.

I wasn't running very well. Missed 17-outers about 5 times. One of the more memorable ones being a flopped open-ended straight flush draw only to brick. And it kept happening to guys who had less than 100 chips...so I could never fold to them. Standard play. They bet 20 on the bet (c-bet by them) and I raise to about 50...they shove, I obviously call...and go brick brick. Sigh. Over and over and over...with an occasional win mixed in.

It was getting late. I was getting tired. Then IT happened. Our dealer was this old...I mean OLD guy. Three of the regulars had mentioned how f***ing slow he was, and how he always makes mistakes. Great. Well...he did NOT disappoint. 

Have you ever been playing cash game late at night...and notice that the floor supervisor has that look about him that if he is ever called to your table to make a judgement call that it is very likely not going to be handled correctly? Well...we had THAT guy. And that guy cost me $380...and got me sent home for the night. That guy will  have a written complaint issued against him today when I go in to play the 5pm PLO 8 or Better tourney.

The kid next to me had been whittled down to $12. Yah! TWELVE DOLLARS. Nice kid. I looked at him...and told him "Dude...your $12 stack is putting me on life tilt! Buy some chips!" Nope. He was gonna ride that $60 buy in into the dirt. Okay. Literally two hands later...he moves all in behind a raise of $20. I re-raise to $60 with QQ. My buddy (Meatloaf) calls, because, well...he calls everything WITH anything. Fair enough. The original raiser...a crazy guy who was either Hispanic, Asian or a combination of both...and who kept trying to tell us some kind of story about a mango he kept trying to smuggle into the poker room, pushes all in. This meant nothing. I wasn't folding QQ to this guy. No way. I call. I show the kid my hand. He shows me AK clubs. Ah. Nice hand. The flop? Hilarious. Qc-Jc-9c! Set for me...nut flush for him...and we don't see the other guys hand.

I turn over my cards...tabling my queens. The cowboy hat-wearing,  mango-smuggling guy grunts when he sees my hand. This is when things get interesting...and by interesting...I mean TOTALLY FUCKED UP!

The dealer pulls my cards into the muck. Um...excuse me? Sir? You just mucked my cards!

"What?" Uh...you just pulled my cards into the damn muck!

Fortunately I'd tabled my cards...so it was anything but dead...despite the guy in the 5-seat now lobbying for it to BE dead. (angle-shooting asshole) Oh no you don't! That's when the floor was called. A guy I can only compare to someone who looks like the cartoon character Droopy Dog. I won't post his name here. But if you are a regular down here, you know who it is. The hand is explained to him, unfortunately by the dealer...who is failing to mention that my cards were tabled. And when I try to tell the floor guy that, the dealer barks at me that 'I'm explaining the story, do you MIND!???" 

"Um...well, yeah...I do mind, because its almost a $400 side pot...and you aren't explaining the story correctly, the way your telling it...that my cards were face down...the floor guy here is going to rule that my hand is dead, despite you 'accidentally' pulling it into the muck. So please...explain it right!"

Well, this is when Meatloaf chimed in...insisting that the WHOLE table saw my queens...and that my hand should NEVER be dead there. So...I got my cards back.Thanks 'Loaf!

Now? It gets REALLY REALLY interesting...and this is something I have NEVER seen happen before. Ever. And HOW long have I been playing poker? Get ready.

With Droopy Dog still hovering around the table...Kermit the Frog (the dealer's nickname in my mind, due to his posture mainly) puts out the turn and the river. The kid holds up on the main pot (small) but I win the side (big) pot. The guy in the five seat turns over KJ, cards in his hand still...displays disgust...and shoots his cards...upside down...into the muck. Hand over...pot shipped to me.

Wait!!!! Now the guy in the 5-seat claims he had a straight! Okay...first of all...no he didn't...as there was no ten on the board...which he needed to make a straight. And furthermore...he knowingly mucked his hand...even if there WAS a ten out there. Done deal right?

Nope! The dealer...who couldn't be counted on probably to remember his address, let alone the last 5 cards on the board...all of a sudden decides that YES...he DID have a straight! What!??? No fucking way. 

I go mental. Here comes Droopy Dog. He had been watching the scene unfold. I am freaking out...two other guys at the table have my back...and they are telling the floor that he did NOT have a straight...and that he killed his hand anyway. But oh no...this fucking dealer is insisting he did. Well then he tries to dig the cards...both hands..AND the flop from the muck...and it's a total circus. There are cards scattered all over the place. 

"You have gotta be kidding me!??? Is this really happening? Floor! Do you even realize how ridiculous this is? This isn't even a hard decision."

He waves security over...and tells me if I don't calm down he's going to make me leave for the night. 

"So you are about to give away my $400 pot...wrongly...and I'm pissed because your wrong...and you are going to just make me leave? Really? That's how you deal with a mistake? I know you have surveillance here. Go check the damn tape...see what the board was...watch his action...then give me my damn pot!"

Oh no...the dealer reaches over...and pulls my pot back..and pushes it to Mr. Mango! I come unglued. And Droopy tells me I'm done for the night. I get escorted out...by a Sheriff I'd been chatting with earlier in a friendly manner...so he was pretty cool with me..and just told me to take it up with the poker room manager the next day. He told me he didn't know enough about poker to know what just happened. I told him I basically just had $400 stolen from me by the fucking dealer...and had an incompetent floor guy back him up.

Now...ya ever had THAT happen to you??? No? Yeah, probably not. Do I expect them to make it right? Hell no. Maybe they will say their sorry. Yippee. But they need to know who they got working graveyard. And the mistakes they are making. 

Oh...speaking of the cash room. They did a real nice remodel here. New tables, new carpet...and I guess they painted the walls. The layout is still the same...it just looks and smells better. 

I bet on my first dog ever yesterday. #4. Don't even know his name. But I was on break...was running good...and saw the dog take a crap on his way to the starting gate...which I'm told is the dog you should always bet on. So I put $20 on him to do something I didn't understand. Told the lady I didn't know what I was doing...she said something about a box, or a quintilla  or something. Whatever...I was rooting for #4. That dog sucked. He was in last place until he made a little burst at the end to finish 2nd to last. Damn dog. Maybe if he could have run TWO laps instead of one he'd have pulled it out.

It's 1pm...and I kind of want to go to the beach. I've never been to the beach down here..and I can only assume its really nice. And my 4th of July tan has pretty much faded. But I don't know...the beach really drains you...and I would like to be fairly 'fresh' when I go play this Omaha tourney at 5pm. I'm also afraid of sharks. And they live in the ocean.

Day Two in this first event isn't til Sunday....nice! So I will just play some one day events probably, work in a few sit n gos...try to build up my bankroll. Then hopefully return on Sunday and get lucky!

I'm outa here!

MONKEY

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Back To Florida....In Search of Run Good!

It's been a pretty weird month. I've played some poker. Had two back-to-back nights of run-bad on Bovada. One night I literally went 0-15 in tourneys. Losing with every imaginable big hand in every way you can possibly come up with. It was comical. So having had enough of that BS I decided to go to Nugget and play some live poker.

The first night...it took 4 hours to finally get a 1/3 NL table going. In the mean time I  lost $300 playing 4/8 limit when no matter what I had in my hand, it was losing. Flopping sets, flopping straights, flopping flushes....nearly never held. It was always 9 to the flop...7 or 8 to the turn and 6 or 7 to the river.  It was a joke. How anyone sits and plays limit poker for any significant amount of time and doesn't come away wanting to either kill someone or themselves is beyond me.

I  think the worst part of playing limit poker is the annoying conversations that take place at the table. You are listening to people attempt to have meaningful chats regarding poker, something none of them know anything about. It's painful. Two guys in a hand vs. each other...not saying anything throughout the hand...but then once the hand is over...we get the pleasure of hearing them share their mindset on the hand from beginning to end, what one guy put the other guy on. And it just devolves from there...until finally....you envision yourself removing a bullet...writing both of their names on it...then selecting an angle where if you shoot them you stand a good chance of killing them both with the same bullet!

Yeah...limit poker sucks!

So finally, a NL limit table opened. I was excited just to be able to make a $30 bet on the flop or turn and maybe get lucky and win a hand when I have it. Well...that didn't go as planned either. I was getting called down with junk, usually when I was bricking 17-outers while bluffing the flop and turn. It was a lousy session...I lost a good amount for the night.

But I returned the next day, a Saturday, mainly because they were giving away $100 or $200 every half hour...pulling names out of a drum. I filled out about 70 tickets the night before so my sore hand forced me to go back. I went back...and I ended up winning $625 for the session, which ended at 4am. My name was never drawn in the hours between 10am and 12:30am. Guest appearances were made by Gabe Costner and Kai Landry. 

As for circuit events? I've decided to travel today to Palm Beach Kennel Club for the first WSOP-circuit event of 2014-15. It was nice of WSOP to add a second event to the PBKC...as they draw very well there. I was a little surprised, however to not see it mentioned on the Cardplayer schedule and the WSOP site itself doesn't even have the schedule for the new season up. Weird. Also not on the schedule is the 3rd event of the WSOP season (after Foxwoods) at the IP in Biloxi. And since I've just learned that my two-year ban at IP is about to be over I would hope to see that show up there soon so they can hopefully get a better turnout than they traditionally seem to get there.

Leaving to go play poker is getting harder and harder the older Carley gets. This past two weeks we first broke her of the habit of wanting a bottle. That was a lot easier than we thought it would be. What we feared would be impossible, shedding the pacifier? Proved to be even easier...but it was kind of by accident. Carley got a little cold sore on her mouth, which was something called Stomatitis, something common in toddlers. It resulted in a terrible fever that persisted for 4-5 days,  and more sores on her mouth. She was absolutely  miserable. Well, during that bout with sickness, she couldn't put a paci in her mouth...and now that she is completely recovered, she has forgotten all about it. Wow! No bottle, no paci! And in the last week...she has turned into a little chatterbox. She is getting so funny, and smart. It's amazing watching her transform from baby...to little girl. 

When we went to Squirrel's family's house two weekends ago...Carley saw me packing and started freaking out...because she thought I was leaving her again. It killed me....even though she was coming with us. She was bawling...and we had to explain to her that she was coming with...that I wasn't leaving her. So when it came to this trip to Palm Beach..which I think will be my last trip,  poker-wise, for 2014...I decided to wait to pack until  I dropped her off at daycare. Yeah, it will suck when she comes home chanting 'Daddy? Daddy?' and I'm not here. But she is getting a lot more responsive to Facetime...so that is at least some relief. 

There were  two events I wanted to play...the Palm Beach event, and the big Hard Rock event a little further south. And both of those events consume all of August. Last year, in that $10m Guarantee $5k buy in...I min-cashed. It's a field of great players and the structure is awesome. So it was hard to decide what to play. I couldn't play both...I just can't do that to Carley...or Squirrel. It's too much work for her...and not to mention, I miss them both a ton when I'm gone. That month in Vegas this summer was really tough...I couldn't do that again. 

So  the plan is to play the shorter tourney...and the one with smaller buy ins...and if I should happen to run pretty well, maybe just fly down to Ft. Lauderdale at the end of the month and play the $5k Main Event only. 

I decided to play on my own dime for this event...but am throwing all of my backers from this summer, both MY package and the package for the Grinders, aka 'Minions.' I've told them that if I cash for over $20k in cashes at PBKC, I will throw them all 10% of my winnings...paid out over equal shares to anyone who was involved in one or both. I'll be honest, I decided not to sell a package because I don't think I'm worthy! I haven't done much lately that I feel warrants getting backed! So I will hope to go down there, play well, and have some hands hold up at crunch time and come back with something to show for it. And if not? Well,  at least I will be the only one who suffers!

The other reason I'm not selling a package, is that I have some personal stuff going on with my family back home in Seattle...and at a moments notice, there is a chance that I might have to hop on a plane and fly home to deal with it. It wouldn't be right to sell to investors knowing that I have that floating around out there. Kind of irresponsible. 

In the news this past month has been totally dominated by the fighting in Ukraine, and then the shoot down of a Malaysian airliner. It's absolutely sickening the way its been handled...and I hope the world comes down hard on Vladamir Putin and his band of idiots in Russia. Watching that whole mess, it really makes me appreciate our own NTSB and FBI for the way they handle plane crashes. First and foremost is their total respect for the dead. Secondly, the way they totally seal off a crash scene...then catalog each and every piece of debris they find..in an attempt to find out EXACTLY what happened. This crash scene in Ukraine is a total shitshow...and I feel terrible for anyone who lost a loved one in that tragedy.

Meanwhile,  in the Middle East...I think they are now up to 22 days of bombing the shit out of each other. Facebook has been one big adventure. I have friends that are both Jewish and Arab...and there have been some incredibly spirited debates supporting both sides while decrying the other. The whole thing is sad. Saddest in all of it, is all of the innocent children that have been killed and wounded in Gaza. As a father..it really breaks my heart seeing these kids. I don't have any hardcore feelings either way as to who is right and/or wrong. My only thing is that I can't understand some of the views of Hamas, such as their message to fellow Arabs/Palestinians being that Israel and all Jews needs to be wiped out. I mean...you can claim hardships all you want...and maybe they are warranted, but when you are living by a mantra that your neighbor needs to die? It's hard to feel sorry for you.

About a week ago...I made a post on my Facebook that pissed some people off. Totally not the goal. I suppose instead of using the words Jews and Arabs...I was supposed to use the words Israelis and Palestinians. And by saying 'this is the place to be' some who hadn't been embroiled in my days-long thread on Facebook or known about it...took that to mean the Middle East was the place to be.  I was guilty of having tunnel-vision. My own friends who are from Israel and Gaza and contributing to the debate had no problem with it because they knew what I meant, but because my Facebook wall  posts are open to everyone, including people who aren't friends....and all of my FB posts ALSO post to Twitter? Well...it got a lot more visibility than I'd contemplated. 

So I get a message from a friend of mine who was aware of the beef I had with a certain woman of Israeli descent two years ago after all that shit happened at Hammond. When that whole thing was going on...she decided to bash me on her wall, saying I'd been at her table during the WSOP Main Event (the year I cashed 175th) and that I'd done and said all these sexist comments...none of which was true. In fact, what actually happened, was that I mistakenly thought SHE was a HE. And during a hand we were in, I respectfully called her 'sir.' She didn't correct me. She didn't even make a facial expression that would suggest I had made a mistake. Instead...on the 15-minute break...the dealer told me. I felt so stupid, and embarrassed. But holy crap...I couldn't be the first person to have made that mistake!!!


I will let you judge for yourself. Does that not look like it MIGHT be a man? Well...that day at my table...she looked like a freaking man! And after the break I did everything I could do to try to make up for it, being overly nice. Guess it didn't work, because the first chance she had to trash me, she took  it. She even went so far as to say the WSOP had TAPES of me acting in the ways she accused me of. Hilarious...this was on day 1...where there was a whole ROOM full of tables...and somehow she thinks there was a hidden camera filming me? Anyway...her name is Breeze Zuckerman...and once she saw my comment on Twitter she went nuts! She posts my comment then calls me a racist idiot pig.

First of all...I'm not sure what in my comment would have led to anyone considering me a racist. Last time I checked, Israeli's and I are the same 'race.' If anything, she could have screamed that I was Anti-Semitic, except that would be pretty stupid too,  since I'd been supporting the Israeli's all throughout the threads on my wall.  Nope...the easy to figure conclusion was that my buddy Breeze saw my post and just went with her knee-jerk reaction...instead  of doing about 3 minutes worth of research. She then tried to rally all her 'friends' to inform them all of what an asshole I am. Well, I reached out to several of them...sending them messages explaining in detail my 'history' with Breeze..and the reasons for her bitterness. I also explained my position on the skirmish in Israel. Three of them responded very positively. 

Ya know...what the fuck is it with miserable human beings? Okay, in fairness, and I say this because I've seen a lot of heated discussions as a result of this conflict, this particular issue has really caused people to react with a lot of ire. I get it. It's a very heated subject. And people have some serious personal feelings about it. I lived in NYC for five years and several of my very good friends are Jewish...and I've asked a lot of questions over the years, as a kid raised in Seattle and Montana, we had very little religious and racial strife where I grew up. The answers that I've gotten from my Jewish friends have educated me to the situation, but also led me to want to know more, and wanting to understand the views of the Palestinians. To be frank...the whole thing is a mess.

But these people who just decide that when they see something they don't like, or agree with...that they just declare war on the person? It's incredible. And to be honest...the way a lot of these people act? Is a microcosm of just how irrationally the two sides are acting over there! I might agree more with Israel's plight in all this...but it doesn't mean I think they aren't making mistakes along the way. And I obviously find a lot of fault with Hamas' handling of the whole conflict as well. But the reactionary attitudes of some people when simply discussing this situation? They prove just how closed-minded they are to the other side's feelings. And until that ends...there will never be peace between those two sides. Ever.

As for Breeze Zuckerman? And her constant attacks on me? Pffft....whatever. I really don't care about that broad...she's got her own problems that I can't ever begin to hope to deal with.

Incidentally I will be meeting up with the dealer who started all of my nightmare with getting banned in Hammond and subsequently all Caesar's owned properties while I am down in Florida. We talked last August about the whole mess...and she assured me she wanted to help me get back in,  that what happened between us was just a misunderstanding. But I didn't do a very good job of following up with her on it. Well I've gotten more proactive about it  because I really do NOT want to be sitting out another year of WSOP events next summer. My current goal  is to get Cheryl to take a month off of work...and have her and Carley come out to Vegas with me, and rent a house with another couple with a kid about Carley's age. Make it a much better time for all of us. Well...so with that in mind, I'd really like this ban to be worked out and eliminated. So her and I are going to get a letter written and get it sent off to the appropriate people while  I'm down there. 

Well? I think that's about it. Oh! Football season is almost (finally!) here and once again, my four major pools are about to get kicked off. I sent out the first invite of the year yesterday. I always get so excited for football season to start! I also opened up my  4 fantasy leagues last week...and am close to getting those 16-team leagues sold out. If you are a reader that is NOT on my distro list...and would like to  get involved in my pools and/or fantasy leagues...shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com and I will get you involved!!!!

Time to go pack...and get on the road to Palm Beach!!!! Hopefully I have some good news to report in the next 12 days in what will likely be my last poker road trip of 2014!

MONKEY