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Saturday, March 14, 2015

Part 2. Monkey's Farewell to St. Louis!

Tonight at 5:30 I am driving to New Orleans with 'The Claw' to see Craig Ferguson in concert. Shouldn't there be another word for when comedians perform? Concert? Yes, Squirrel was invited. No, she isn't a Craig Ferguson fan. So before I go and attempt to let someone make me laugh, I will sit down and write something in an attempt to make you laugh. Sound fair?

The exit wound from my week in St Louis has almost healed. Last night, I almost even dared myself to log on to Bovada...before I checked myself. And two days ago...I even got the itch to take Allen Kessler up on his 'buy a piece' offer on Facebook...for his Bay 101 action. I bit. For 10%. And honestly...didn't even know the event had started before someone told me he was out. Huh? What? Oh. Okay. Nice sweat.



Any pain I had from that...or anything else was temporarily healed yesterday when I heard that the Saints decided to throw in the towel on another season, and trade their best player to my Seahawks. Yes...that kind of made my day. Can we just go ahead and start the season 3 months early? Please?



Went to a steakhouse last night, Logan's Roadhouse...to celebrate the great news...and was informed by our waitress...and this was at 7pm on a Tuesday, that they were OUT of all their steaks. Oh...and salmon, too. Huh? And this was AFTER we'd had to vacate our favorite sushi joint because Carley decided to freak out. Pretty funny...I made a post about it on Facebook, which always posts to my Twitter...and I had the CEO from Logan's blowing me up this morning! Wow...social media is something, eh?

I have a Fantasy Baseball League...its $350 per team. It's 20-teams deep..and I've been told it's 'the best setup in any league I've ever played, Monkey!' Been going on for about 7 years now. Head-to-Head league on Yahoo...non-keeper league...live online draft Sunday the 29th at 7:30pm CT. 16 teams came back from last year...and one was scooped up yesterday. I have three teams available to anyone interested. Just email me: ThePoolMonkey@aol.com.  Also have the March Madness Pool coming up...my 17th Annual. $25 per entry. Had 689 entries last year. I've never won. First place last year was $6600. The winner was a woman. If you're interested in playing, again, email me.



The final night I was in STL...when BJ and I were holed up in our room watching the Family Feud marathon and contemplating going off campus to eat...while scrolling through the channels...we land on a poker tourney...taking place in Australia. And I noticed my good friend Frank Kassela had made it's final table and busted like 4th or something for $100k+. Today I notice on Facebook he's in the Bahamas with his wife, Piper. Nice life, Frank. So we watch the 3-handed play for a few minutes...and I hear the announcer say something that sends me rolling on the floor howling. It was especially funny because you rarely hear the poker announcers make fun of the players.



It was only about 3 minutes into watching when I was already telling BJ all the various ways I'd like to bitch slap all three players. I just don't get these fucking players these days. But this guy? Oh...he was the ultimate DoucheCase. And when the announcer says..."Lets see what the Emperor from Stars Wars does on this one" I lost it. It was perfect. Not sure if it was actually 'the emperor' or not, Star Wars fan-geeks...but it referred to that creepy black-hooded guy with the awful teeth and the red eyes. This guy's thing was sitting there trying his damnedest to never move even a single muscle. With his black hood, big glasses sitting there like a statue. Then...one of my favorite (and by favorite, I mean I'd like to watch an ISIS militant be-finger him) moves...would do that fucking slow, robotic picking up of the chips...then monotonously dropping them just about 4 inches in front of his stack. Which I know is a move dealers also universally loathe.

I couldn't take it any longer. "Change it BJ! Change it!!! Please!!! Back to Steve Harvey! Back to Steve Harvey!!!!!"  We're gonnna play Steve!!!!

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Okay. I've made you wait long enough. Let's talk about 'The Table' you've been all anxiously waiting to hear about. Present at that table was the man I not-so-affectionately have labeled the Official Face of St. Louis Poker. I do not know his name. And really, does it matter? And do the other 'gentleman' at the table matter, either? I mean, you'll never see any of them on TV at a final table, or any other final table that matters. These are the cretins who live in the poker world who like to push the envelope, to see just how much they can get away with. These are the men with 2 to 3 inch peckers, who I would say drive Corvettes from the 80s and 90's (the affordable ones) if I didn't have such a hard time debating with myself between Vette and Trans Am.


My view of Mr STL from my 2nd seat (after rebuying)
The Crown Prince and Face of St. Louis Poker...something like a cross between an inbread family of possoms, and Mike Matusow. A solid 30 seconds of his glare will turn you into Queso dip!
I think I  mentioned it in either my last post or else on Facebook...but one of the things about being at a poker table...is that you always seem to have sanctuary in one of the player's next to  you...who you can chat with about the terrible play going on before you. But what do you do when the entire table is playing like a bunch of fucktards? Granted...in this particular event...the person on my right was a tall, lanky young man who I'd discovered had won the Main Event at Tunica the previous month. But he rarely played any hands. And he didn't talk at all. He might as well have been from Romania. So I was getting nothing from him, aside from an occasional snicker at one of the collection of epically (not sure that's an official word-but you get it) awful-played hands. No...my only salvation for sanity resided in the seat to my left...in the form of the dealer. And it rarely mattered which dealer it was. A hand would be played...I (in seat 10) would turn slightly to my left...make eye contact with the dealer...and a smirk would cross his/her face...followed by a rolling of the eyes.
Mr 4-Seat...a true Fashionista in his 'too-small-sweatshirt-too-long-Tshirt' look, that is sure to make a smash hit this spring! At least in STL. The only thing funnier was his hairline...which I spent most of my first buy in debating with myself: real hair? Bad toupee? Never reached a conclusion
Mr. 6-Seat. AKA: Sexist Pig. AKA: Show Bluff to make himself feel better about his male inadequacy.
Say this for dealers: I don't know how they do  it. I can't see myself lasting more than a few days if anyone was ever stupid enough to hire me to deal. I am just too outspoken, and too much of a smartass. I wouldn't be able to help myself. Not to mention some of the bullshit they put up with. And I'm not excluding myself. I've had those days...where a succession of one beat after another turns me into a raging dickhead...leaving my cards and/or antes or something short of the desired placement area. But I think for the most part, I treat them with a fair amount of respect, and appreciate the service they provide to us players...and just marvel at some of their abilities to deal with the aforementioned BS. The dealers in STL and floor staff, were top-notch.

(I stopped writing to get ready to go New Orleans...for the comedy show...then left...got about 25 minutes  into the drive...and got a heads-up from someone that the show had been cancelled. Awesome. It's now Friday. Will try to finish....but Squirrel has split for Pensacola for the day/night to visit her best friend, and I have sole possession of Carley...who can be a major handful!)

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The Table From Hell:  The Play-by-Play!

The Main Event was still being played...so playing in any event while that is still going on just a few tables away is always depressing. I'd already busted that. And I also busted, as discussed...that day's ring event. So I was relegated to that day's 3pm tourney...which, contrary to the way they played..was a $250 buy in...with rebuy/re-entry available. Yes..it played like the buy in was $25 with $100 bounties. Not so much. I busted out of the nooner...so in very unfamiliar fashion, I was the first one arriving to my table.

The table fills. The game begins. I don't even know how...but the guy next to me (3-seat) busted in the first five minutes. He was replaced by a nice guy who was a former Israeli soldier..so we talked about the Arab/Jewish conflict for awhile. While we  were chatting the guy in Seat 4...with the hair I couldn't stop looking at...trying to figure out if it was the worst haircut ever...with an incredibly bizarre hairline...or just a silly ass toupe. Oh! Sorry...yeah, he announces to me "Hey...remember me? I'm the one who busted your kings the other days with QQ to cripple you when you bubbled!" Oh...gosh...no...I didn't actually remember that it was YOU...but how nice of you to give me someone to target, you schmo! Well, he then finds I'd be interested to know that he just 'busted exactly the same way in the Main Event' and wanted me to know how tilty he was feeling. Hey...that's great. Guess what? I don't fucking care! (there are no (") there because I didn't actually say that. I think there is this misconception when I blog that everything I print is interpreted as me having said. If it was said, you will see (") if not...I was only thinking it. And I think a LOT of nasty shit!)

In ironic fashion...I'm talking to the nitwit to my right (seat 1) who had already demonstrated his prowess by calling early position raises with 10-6 off and 3-9 suited. We were discussing how to play AK...and I'm saying that its not a hand I really like to 3-bet with early...only late. Just then I look down at JJ. I raise (at 50/100) to 250. The Israeli guy makes it 650. Ugh. He'd already been very, very active early...so I was not going to just fold to him. Bad Hair/Long T-shirt/Short Hoodie guy calls the 650. So I complete. The flop comes Queen high. Shit. I check. Seat 3 bets 1500. Hair calls. I fold. Turn 6. Bets 2200. Hair calls again. River deuce. Bets 2500. Hair calls again. Isreali guy has AK...and hair has? JJ. Fuck me. Note to self. Don't try to bluff Bad Hair. (later note to myself...don't try to bluff ANYONE at the table)

The guy in Seat 3 wouldn't last much longer. He was replaced in the 3-seat by a fellow long time circuit grinder...but not until I'd busted from seat 2...and got re-seated in seat 10. That fellow grinder and I would exchange looks from afar, looks that cried out..."Am I really witnessing this shit?!!" I think it might have been Bob Chow.

My first bust out came after I'd basically just gotten flustered after having folded what I thought was the best hand twice already...and when I flopped a pair with a straight draw...then turned two pair...I check raised the guy big...and he just puts me all in. I couldn't make it make sense....and the guy in the 4-seat had already shown two hands (and many more later- even later I didn't hate my call) that made no sense...I called...to find I'd ran into top two. Shit. Whatever. I felt almost good busting...thinking I'd get a new table. Nope. Sorry Monkey. Same table. Different seat. And now, directly across from the idiot I'd already deemed the 'Face of St. Louis Poker'  in Seat 7...who bore some freakishly bizarre resemblance to a bloated Mike Matusow...and he came with the prerequisite (for any STL grinder) St Louis schwag (either a STL hat, or some form of camouflage) in the form of a Cardinals hat, and plastic pullover.

This guy was un-fucking-believably bad at poker. Here was his deal. Bet big...always bet big! Ignore the pot! Dare them to call! And...and this is the best...if you have the nuts...we'll call it, say, on the river, and you have four people in the pot calling bets on all streets...whatever you do...do NOT price them into a river call with a bet you think at least ONE of them might call! With a board (unsuited) of 10-5-Q-2-3....this guy goes ALL IN...for like 11k...with a pot of about 5500....holding pocket tens! And after everyone folds? He SHOWS his hand! Buhhhhh-RILLIANT!!! 

Now some might argue that he was doing this to set some kind of trap later on. Ha! Kids...don't be silly! This guy wasn't capable of thinking forward to his next breath of air, let alone anything he might have had planned strategically in the poker tournament! But good thinking, I feel ya!

It's been almost two weeks since I got home from that place...so it's getting hazy...some of the hands...but I'm trying. A lady joined our table a while later...her name is Michelle Royster...and lives (I think) in Houston. Her Aunt is Joan Rhoades...who a lot of you might recognize. She used to back Maurice Hawkins (who you ALL know) for a while. Well...she has played mostly cash  game in her fledgling poker career...and just started playing tourneys. She was in the 8-seat.  We had a nice chat. She was very nice. And her game was pretty similar to mine. Meaning...we weren't calling re-raises with hands like 2-8 and J-4. That would be the rest of our table. 

Michelle Royster (left) and Joan Rhoades
As the game went on, and we sat and watched quality hands like AA and KK get punished by garbage hands...and our own raises with good hands got murdered as well...hopelessness started to set in. After having finally won a decent pot, and gotten back to starting stack...I picked up 10-10 on the button with the blinds 100/200 and an ante. Three limped. On the button I make it 750. Not one of 'em folded. Not surprising. I get a pretty favorable flop of 10-6-9. The idiot in the 5-seat (gray shirt up above) checks the flop. As do the other three. I bet 900 into a pot of 3200. Folds to idiot. Idiot ships all in on me. Um...okay...pretty sure he's not doing that with 7-8...I call. He turns over 5-8 off suit. Mmmm..yes...makes sense. Nice hand sir. Well played. Great pre-flop call. Tells the dealer he 'guesses he needs a 7 or he has to go rebuy. The dealer promptly delivers him a seven on the turn...no suspense. It holds. I give Michelle a glance...she rolls her eyes. I look at the dealer...she also expresses disgust. Misery loves company. Right? I'm now short.

I fight back...while watching fuckbird, fucktard, and fuckstick all duel with each other...mainly the 1-seat, the 4, 5, 6 and 7 seat....all fucking morons. All playing pretty much the same way. Raise...or re-raise...WAY too much....still get called, then hope they hit the flop...and if they don't...generally check it all the way to the river (great poker!) or have one of them jam their whole stack in there and pray no one calls. They just sat there trading stacks back and forth. The players who actually had some skill...just decided to play the game in sniper mode...hoping/praying for a big hand in early position...limping with it, and HOPING someone raises...so they can shove...KNOWING they'll get at least ONE call...then just hoping no one sucks out.

Michelle finally picks up AA. Guy limps for 300....he gets one, two three calls....from all three of the usual Stooges in the usual seats....it comes to her...she glances at me...I know immediately she has waken (woken?) up with AA or KK...and she is contemplating what kind of raise to make. Because in typical spots, you don't want to price anyone ...or rather, EVERYONE...out with those two hands. But you also don't really want to play it 5 or 6-handed either. Especially against these dipshits..because they can literally be playing ANYTHING. She settles on 1400. Good raise? I would think so...at least with this table. Typically, I think I make it 950 there...especially if I'm garnering a tight image. Which she was. But under the circumstances, her raise made sense. We all folded back around to the original limper...Mr. Bad Hair. Also calling was Perma-Tinted-Reflective-Glasses-Guy. Then Grey Shirt/Black Shades, Corvette-driving-short dick (more on that soon) Guy also calls...as does The Face of St Louis Poker....Matu-rodent. She groans. I groan FOR her.

The flop comes a very pesky 5-6-7...with two diamonds. I look at her...I can read her mind. "Great...just fucking great!" They all check to her. She doesn't shit the bed and shove all in...credit to her. She makes a rather innocuous bet of about 1500. She might as well have just bent down and lit the fuse to a stick of dynamite. BOOM! ALL IN!!!! From Seat 3 (hair) ALL IN! From seat 4 (Reflecto) ALL IN!!! (Pecker-Vette)....Man-Rodent folds. She tanks. I ask her if she has AA...."Of course I do!" Yeah...thought so. She correctly folds. Oh and...just so we know where things had devolved to at this table...any kind of respect to rules had long since flown out the window. So 'talking in and about the hand' was not even scratching the surface of anything that would have gotten the dealer worked up.

The hands:  3-4 off suit. (bad straight)  8-9 (good straight) and A-8 (open ended and that's it-for his whole stack) The 8-9 holds...and Reflecto rakes the biggest pot to date.

A little while later...Ratboy gets into a hand with 77...Michelle got in there with 6-8 suited. The flop comes 7-9-x....eventually it all gets in on the turn. Douchenozzle quickly turns over his set with pride...as it was about the first time in many orbits that he was ahead in a hand. She calmly turns over her hand...says nothing...then rivers a straight. He freaks out...Seat 6 mutters something to him...and as he gets up to leave the table, he turns and tells us all to go fuck ourselves! Heyyyy yo!!!!! Good times sir! Good times!

Well, I guess we would get the last laugh...because he went and rebought...again...and guess which table..and SEAT he would return to! Bingo! We got his ass again! 

Now he locks horns with his nemesis in the 6-seat again. Gray shirt raises with 2-7. Mr STL re-raises with K10. Seat 6 calls (obviously) The flop? Not sure exactly...but there was a deuce...and no king or ten. That didn't slow them down. Betting would ensue...on the flop...the turn (still no king or ten or anything helping either player!) and finally...on the river...gray shirt makes a huge bet....dipshit with K10 goes ALL IN...and dude with 2-7 CALLS...with bottom pair! And it's good! Mr. STL Poker goes and rebuys...AGAIN....third time. 

It was a shit show of epic proportions. Oh...there were so, so, so many hands like this...not just in this tourney, but all throughout the week. Now let me take just a moment to reflect on this kind of illogical poker.

I consider myself kind of a poker purist. I play the game as I think the inventors of the game intended for it to be played. Now...don't get me wrong. I DO,  however, agree that there are times...when it calls for a range to be opened up...and those times? Usually when you are shorthanded...like 4 or less, and certainly heads up. Or on the bubble against a lot of shorter stacks. I get it...there ARE times. When you can't just play A-B-C poker and think you are going to win a tourney. So for all you 2-2'ers, and OFP-players...pot-smoking, backpack carrying, RunGood members...who are bashing me for 'not knowing how to open up my game' you can cool your jets. Trust me, I get it. A lot of you STILL think I play like a 'nit' (your word not mine) since when I started playing tourneys in 2004...they started you out with 1500 starting stacks and you pretty much HAD to play tight or you ran out of chips VERY quickly. Yeah...despite the popular sentiment, I play a lot looser than most of the seasoned veterans think I do...but shhhh don't tell anyone, I rely heavily at times on my squeaky tight table image!

Here is my argument, that I think is pretty sound. You start with 10k in chips in this particular tourney. And yeah, its a black chip bounty tourney ($100 for everyone you whack). So I get it, that sometimes factors in...but for your whole fucking stack? Shouldn't happen-ever! Should you manage to play like a complete kamikaze early...and collect two or three bounties (which means you are now 'freerolling') while building up a stack of 3 or 4x the starting stack...and in a tourney with less than 100 players...wouldn't it make more sense to defend your position, and keep yourself in a good spot with a shit ton of big blinds? TO ensure a deep run? All while maintaining that ever-important +/EV? My favorite I think...is the guy who plays like a complete retard in a $250 Mega satellite that offers rebuys...while trying to win a seat with a $1600 value attached. Um...how many times do you rebuy before common sense pisses in your mouth and makes you realize just what a stupid fuck you are? I'm convinced some NEVER figure it out. Those are the guys who used to get to school in 14-foot yellow transportation vans.

This is why I come away from St Louis thinking they are without a doubt, the worst...and STUPIDEST players...I've ever experienced of all the venues I've ever played. And I've played a LOT of places! Because...while I can appreciate the ram and jam...stick and move...bluff and shove shenanigans that can often take place at a poker table...never have I seen it in a way that made little to no sense more-so, and on a consistent basis, than in St. Louis.

Another fun hand...and evidence of that which I'm addressing. Blinds are 50/100. Bunch of limpers. I have 6d8d. The flop comes 7-8-9...with a diamond. Seat 7 (doofus Mr. STL) bets 400. I call. Turn is a six. I'm now losing to any 10. But I do have two pair. He bets 400 again. Seems like a weak bet...maybe he has something like K9. I decide to raise...to 950...kind of a good way to sell  the straight myself...or just find out what he's up to. What does he do? He raises it to EIGHT THOUSAND!!!!! Um....okay. I fold. Wow. Wanna try to guess what he had? Oh..me too! No idea. Never saw it. OH wait...I forgot...when I looked at his bet...and said "Whoa! EIGHT THOUSAND!??" he says...."give me $20 and I'll show you my hand!" Um...why would I give you $20 to see your hand? You either just misplayed the nuts...again!...or made a bluff that is stupid because you could have gotten more out of me! That tilted him I think. 

He pretty much spent his whole time at our table being tilted. I wish I could remember all of the horrible ways in which he played hands...but like I say, two weeks have gone by, and mercifully, I've forgotten most of it. But this guy....wow...just brutal.

One thing I remember...while engaged in a conversation with Michelle...was attempting to impress her with his poker resume by telling her he'd played in 'millions of poker tourneys.' That brought the 6-seat (gray shirt) into the conversation. Him and Michelle chatted amiably for awhile...discussing mutual people they may or may not have known...and her giving him her name. Well, unbeknownst to her...he took a moment to try to look her up on Hendon Mob, and check out her stats. Later in the action...he (for whatever reason) decides to tell her he looked her up and announced to the table that she 'didn't have any stats at all!' 

ME: "Wow! Dude just called you out for not having any stats! What a guy!!!"

Her comeback was fair. "Well, that makes sense, since this is only about the 3rd tournament I've ever played. I've just been playing cash game for the last few years. I never had any interest in tournaments." She kept it friendly though...I guess because she had a little class. 

So about two orbits later...they get into a hand. He limps in for 300. She gets what was probably AK...and raises to 950. I think they went to the flop heads up....and when the flop came 9-high...he decides to lead out on her. Like 1400 I think. She hesitatingly calls. I don't remember the turn...but he checks...she bets big...and he raises enough to put her all in. She just shakes her head...and folds. 

This guy was in his mid-50's I'd guess. With the security of a 15-year old. After she mucks...he proudly announces..."Okay, I'll show you just this ONE time....." and he turns over 2-8 off suit. No...he didn't have any of that on the board. She looks at me.

ME: "Hey! He's gonna show you...just this ONE time...because you know...you guys have this blossoming friendship and all...and he just felt you would appreciate it!"

MICHELLE: "Right!?? He's taking, and watering the seeds that will make our friendship grow...and last a lifetime!"

Her and I went back and forth like that for a few seconds...adding more to it...and letting it get funnier...to us anyway. He then tells her "I just wanted to see if I could bluff you, so I could try to feel superior to you just one time." Huh? Yeah...see...what I always try to do, is bluff the tightest player at the table with 2-8...and put a dent in the stack I luckily inherited by sucking out twice before...when there is really NO reason to...other than wanting to humiliate the only woman at the table by bluffing her. All I could think about was....WHAT A FUCKING DOUCEBAG! There is no doubt in my mind that this guy drove some kind of sports car from the 80s or 90's and had a dick NO BIGGER than 4 inches. I also think he probably still has the posters of all his childhood heroes on the walls of his bedroom. In fact...he probably lives with his mom...as I didn't see a wedding ring on his finger.

Michelle would bust from this table...when once again...a limp fest was in process...5 of them...for 400 a pop...and she looked down at 66 in the big blind and 5600 in her stack. Tough to fault her for moving all in. But unfortunately, Mr. Bad Fashion/Bad Hair had limped in with AA...and it held. A little while later...with 3 limpers behind me, I decide to shove with KJ suited for about 5500...really kind of just wanting everyone to fold. No such luck. The dork (who reminded me of the office manager in Ghostbusters) in the 1-seat snap calls with pocket fours! Everyone else folds. Flop comes K-J-4. Lovely...and I don't improve. Ball game. I exited gracefully...despite my burning desire to remove two live grenades from my satchel..and roll one under each end of the table...hollering 'fire in the hole' and bolting from the casino!!!!

In conclusion: I would go and sit alone eating sushi and Michelle would happen along a while later. She sat and we discussed that table for awhile, and poker in STL in general. We both pretty much shared the same sentiments about everything we'd witnessed. And I expressed to her that there was/is nothing that could EVER get me to come back to play in that place. There just isn't a reason. I mean...to play tourneys there you basically are playing roulette. And I don't like or play roulette. Sit and wait for a good hand, then hope it holds up? Pffft. No thanks. It's stupid. Sure...if you play cash game...I suppose with a certain amount of patience, and the right table draw...there is money to be made there. But I think you have a better chance of ending up in an insane asylum in STL before you ever end up being a 'successful' poker player. Its not worth the gamble. 

Sadly, nothing changed in the 6 years I hid from STL. And as a lot of you know...those bounties I would place on players while in Vegas...who were sporting ANYTHING with STL on it? It was for a damn good reason. Because I didn't want THEM...or their shitty-ass style of play...fucking up my table. And when a 'Louie' shows up at your table? It almost always turns to shit. And for those of you who somehow, for some dumb reason LIKE a table that has been 'Louified?' Hey! It's all yours buddy! Move to St. Louis! But for the rest of you? With a brain? Get about $20-$100 ready for one of these goons sit at your table...and be ready to bounty their ass. Trust me, you'll thank me later. And no need to send me a tip...consider it my free gift to the poker world.

By now this post has grown VERY long. Whatever. I'm just glad I've finally finished it...because I need to get to other things...in another post. Like next week's WPT event at the IP in Biloxi. I think it's like a satellite event or something. There aren't any guarantees or anything so I have no idea what to expect. But its HERE in Biloxi...which means I can play some poker without having to leave Carley, and listen to her cry every night on Facetime because Daddy isn't home to sleep next to her. I hate that. Plus I tend to run pretty damn good at the IP.

So...there ya go! Hope this blog post was at least partially what you were hoping it would be...and if not? Well...sue me!

MONKEY

Friday, March 6, 2015

Some Going-Away Jabs for St. Louis PART 1

I'm home. Unpacked. Caught up on sleep. (sort of) And ready to share my mental anguish that was the last 6 days in St. Louis. Making it harder to share was the final 18 hours..which were actually pleasant. Dang St. Louis, just when I was in full-on nuclear mode and ready to unleash the hounds!


My flight to St. Louis was perfect and without incident. And the day of my flight home...everything was also going perfect, which was almost ominous. Then sure enough...as my plane was literally lifting off from Lambert Field...I check my email and find 'Your flight from Charlotte to Gulfport has been canceled.' Hells bells. And so began the day from hell. I won't share every gory detail other than to say I navigated the horror better than most by doing the opposite of everyone else, staying calm, and speaking in a pleasant voice to the agents. It seemed (for once) to be the winning formula, one that kept me from waiting in a line that 140 (I counted, because that's what us people with OCD do!) tortured souls were standing in after flights were being canceled all over the board. I found a sympathetic gate agent to help me when all I did was ask what would happen to my luggage if I decided to forgo the line and just book a ticket online.

"Why would you buy a ticket if you don't have to? That's crazy. Let me see your boarding pass from your canceled flight?" Next thing I know I had a confirmed seat three hours later, albeit to New Orleans...but hey! I wasn't sleeping in Charlotte! And I got lucky, as 'The Claw' was driving home from Jackson, MS that night. She made a detour and picked me up at NOLA International..and I was home and in bed with my girls by 2am! Without my luggage of course...got that the next day around 6pm. No big deal. Say this...for all four legs of my trips to and from I had exit rows...and surprisingly friendly flight attendants, so it wasn't a total disaster.

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A NICE FINAL 18-HOUR's IN STL

After a horrendous experience (that I'll discuss later here) in the 3pm Bounty tourney (after a ridiculous beat in the noon tourney that day) I sauntered off to my room. Along the way I was reminded of a good amount of comp dollars that I'd built up on my players card while there that needed to get burned through, so I sat and made them all vanish, enjoying some sushi at The Wok in the lobby of the casino. I was planning on playing the 7pm tourney...and trying to run my streak to five final tables (with a 1st, 3rd, 3rd and 8th) in nightly's while in St Louis. But I got to my room...was met by BJ McBrayer, who'd just experienced yet another idiotic beat of his own...and the more we sat and talked about the week, and that day, the more it just seemed like a good idea to let sleeping dogs lie...if that cliche applies. I changed into my bedtime clothes and called it a night. We sat through a 3-hour marathon of Family Feud...and then all of a sudden BJ got hungry, and was wanting to go to a place 3 blocks away that I'd heard a lot about but failed to get out to see....Joey B's.

The view from our more-than-spacious room at Lumiere Place in STL

I guess I didn't realize it had become a dealer hangout...because when we walked in it was about all I saw. It turned out to be a really nice evening..and I  discovered what everyone was raving about...telling me I simply HAD to experience 'toasted ravioli' while in St Louis. Well I did...and also enjoyed the best pulled pork sandwich I'd ever laid my teeth in to. In fact, they were SO good...that before my shuttle arrived to take me to the airport the next day, I schlepped on over there to get the same thing to go...and ate it on my way to the airport. The bartenders were great, and friendly...and I had a really nice time talking to dealers and some players before calling it a night. In addition to that...on the walk over with Chris Conrad and BJ...we got a little side-tracked, and got to see a really cool part of St. Louis...where the streets were made of brick...or maybe they call it cobblestone? There was still a ton of snow on the ground from the day before, making it a really neat, almost movie-like setting. Some people hate the cold and snow...I love it, and think it has a very nostalgic, almost romantic feel to it.

A late night journey with my roomie BJ McBrayer from some grub at Joey B's
So I said my goodbyes and headed back over to the casino. Like a moth attracted to the light...I decided I needed some kind of 'fix' before heading home. Would it be the blackjack table...where I'd had unprecedented success on this trip? Or might I find a poker table that drew me in? I walk in to the poker room and find it dead as a doornail. Three tables. One of the floor guys informed me this a 'typical Sunday night when the WSOP isn't here.' Yeah I'd heard the place was pretty dead most of the time. Two tables were full...a 1/3 and a 2/5. So those were out. Then I see a 1/2/5 PLO game with 3 players. Hmmmm.....why not!??

I buy the table max ($1000) and take a seat. As I'm sitting the old guy in the 10-seat is racking up. So it remains 3-handed. I would play TWO hands at this table...and stay for 5 minutes. On hand #1...it's raised to pot...and since I have junk, I ditch my hand. They are heads up. The flop comes 6h-7h-8h. One guy has a set of 7's. The other guy has 4h-5h. I think you see where this one is headed! Especially when the turn is a 7, giving the guy quads! Which still doesn't beat a straight flush. Oh...and NO! They didn't have a badbeat jackpot at this place for Omaha. Great. The hand left the very large man to my right...with the quad 7's, in a very sour mood. So it wasn't a surprise when on the next hand he potted it preflop. I had 4-5-K-J double suited so decided to take a look for $40.

I flop the nuts...3-6-7...which is nice, but which most of us know rarely ever holds up in Omaha. There were also two rather precarious clubs out there...of which I had none. The big guy pots immediately. I just call..preferring to see the turn card before doing anything I can't get myself out of. The third player (still stacking his chips!) folds. The turn is harmless (not a club) and when Gigantasaurus Rex pots again, I re-potted it...only to have him put me all in, while saying "If I can't win this hand, I'm quitting poker!" Yeah he had AA67 with two clubs. So he had, indeed, a lot of outs. And if St. Louis was going to be it's typical self, he would hit one of them on the river. But shockingly, he didn't. I couldn't believe it. And after he claimed to be "out of here" after that hand...I did the same, not about to sit and play heads up. So for those scoring at home...that's a $1000 profit in 5 minutes, or $200 per minute. Not bad. Thank you and good night, St. Louis!!!!

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I know I know...there is a large contingency of you out there who are dying to see the rip job I'm about to lay on certain players. It's coming. But first, here's a real head scratcher. Can someone...anyone...tell me how SO many GOOD players made it deep in the Main Event....but not ONE of them managed to make the final table? Nothing but locals. It defies poker logic. And just gives anyone who prides themselves as a 'good poker player' more reasons to stay as far away from the St. Louis poker area. You almost have to come away from it thinking there is some form of witch craft at work for such an anomaly to occur.

I'm not sure how I managed to fade so many of these fools the first four days I was in St. Louis. It boggles my mind. Because with each payout...or each winning cash session...I knew in the pit of my stomach that disaster (and normalcy for that place) had to be looming just around the corner in whatever I chose to participate in next.

There is this 'thing' about poker that serves as a bit of a security blanket. You pick your friends very carefully when you choose the poker lifestyle. For me? I like to surround myself with those who don't like to gather in strange  places and play Open Face Poker at all hours. Or talk about poker until they are blue in the face. Or roll around with backpacks in the same change of clothes for days on end, while smelling like the ounce of pot they've been smoking all week. I also like to associate with people who basically share my philosophy of how poker is played. Now sure, I get that there are times in every game where we might play a hand slightly different. And that's to be expected. But I don't want to hear about how 'he ripped 45 big blinds with 10-4 off suit in an attempted 5-bet re-re-re-steal, and got caught by the original raiser with KK calling, but sucking out with two pair.' Not only am I sick of hearing the expression 'ripped' which for those of you not 'in the know' is another, hipper (apparently) way of saying 'moved all in.' But I'm even more sick of hearing and seeing the ways in which poker is under attack by those who have made the decision to bastardize what once was a grand game, played by those who play a very patient, plodding, strategic brand of poker.

Nope, these guys are the equivalent of tightrope walkers...who see poker as a place they can go to test the limits, to seek out their 'rush' against those mortals who are playing the game as prescribed by the innovators of the game. Because anyone with the ability to use the millions of hands they've played in the last 10 years can tell you, whenever ALL FIVE CARDS come out on that board...anything can happen. And it almost always seems that the 'anything' I speak of is an epic disaster.

And nowhere on the Planet Poker is this more on display than in the area code of 314 and its surrounding area. Now, as most of you know...I am not one to sit here in my blog and document individual hand play. Why? Because it's boring. Unless you are a big fan of Jonathan Little and his style of writing, in which case...I'm not for you, and I don't even know what the hell you are doing over here.

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The Lead Up to Sunday's Final Shit Storm

There is no doubt that my ultimate punch in the face, kick in the groin, and taser to the face came in Sunday's final event...the $250 Black Bounty Chip event...in which the participants primarily played as though they'd been given $1000 each by some stranger in the parking lot and told in a very stern voice to NOT COME BACK with any of this $1000 remaining in your pocket! That or they all had a money tree in their back yard...which, as a poker player...you have to admit, would be awesome!

In reading over my notes...I just can't see how any individual hand is going to shock and amaze. Its like the way any good joke or story goes, where the person telling it, noticing that the crowd isn't as blown away as they'd hoped or expected them to be is left delivering that famous disclaimer "I guess you had to be there."

One hand to start off this parade of pain:

Blinds at 100/200. Guy limps with K10off. Fair enough. Another overly aggressive, late-position raiser, makes it 550. I'm in the big blind with Qc10c and call. This guy calls also. The flop comes Kc-Jh-5c. Pretty damn good flop for me...and as I usually do in spots like this, I check with the intent to raise. K-10 guy bets 1500. The original raiser calls...with who-knows-what? And since I had just 6200 in my stack...it seems the correct play is to push all in with my 17 outs. I do. K10 guy doesn't even hesitate to call. And not shockingly he holds. Busto. (oh and no! He did not have a big stack...he only had me covered by about 800)

Here I was in the event after busting out of the main. I get priced in to a raise of 900 at 150/300 in the BB with 5c7c and 5 callers. I was sitting with about 14k in my stack. The flop comes K-6-8 with two clubs. Another pretty damn good flop. It checks to the raiser who makes it 2300. The old guy who for years I've been calling George Seiffert, (for you youngsters, Seiffert was the one time coach of the 49'ers) and who I know plays crazy hands in weird positions, makes it 5000...and now I know my hopes to play this hand without being all in just became a pipe dream. And there is no way I am ever folding this hand, especially in a $365 event. Ever. I shove all in for my 14k. The original raiser was gone in a heartbeat. And Seiffert moans...then calls and tells me I'm way ahead but hopes he can 'shit out' on me. Well...shit out he did. Turns out...I didn't even need to hit. He was sitting there with 2c3c. The only outs he had were a two and a three...and hope that I not hit one of 17 outs. Both of those things happened, him pulling a 3 on the river...to eliminate me. 

This will conclude PART 1 of this Blog...for two reasons, (a) my blogs tend to get a little long and I don't want to lose ya and (b) I need to drive to the Pensacola tag office to finally get my tag/title  for my new car that I've had now for over two months.

Monk

Friday, February 27, 2015

Monkey Does St. Louis...

I've been here a full week...and am 20 minutes from going down to the poker floor to get started on Day 1A of the Main Event...which I avoided buying into for the full $1675 by winning the $250 Mega Satellite last night, on my 2nd buy in, after my KK fell to QQ early in level 2. 

I'm not sure what kind of crowd to expect for these two flights of Main Event action. As I looked around yesterday, I didn't see too many of the 'tourney regs' come flocking in like they usually do the Wed/Thurs before the Main Event starts.  But with the field sizes in the $365 events being around 250-400 I imagine they will draw enough to make it at least lucrative if I can find my way to the final table.

As for how I've been running this week? Well, it's been kind of a weird week. To summarize, I won a nightly for $4000, then picked up two 3rs, both good for $1800...so those have been good to me. I've only played 3 nightly's. The first nooner...the big one, 792 players....I was deep and in the money when I got two-outed on consecutive hands, on the river....to finish 69th for a min cash of $625..picking up another 7.5 freeroll points and bumping me up to around 40th place with 100 points. 

But the rest of the week has been frustrating. I bubbled the next days's noon event...stone bubbled it. 22nd place, paying 21. That sucked. Then next in the 6-handed I went out 45th...also paying 21. So I've been deep a lot and don't have much to show for it, unless your counting nightly tourney's which I guess I should.

The cash game? Wow....that has been a green pastured every time I've sat down in it. 3 out of 4 sessions I've booked a profit of $500 or more. I won't go into detail about the way they play here...but if you are an experienced player...it's pretty easy to figure out how to play against most of these people if you are trying to have success at the table. 

The hotel room here is really nice...very spacious...and located very close to the poker room. I picked up a roomate, BJ McBrayer, for this trip...so it's nice to half my costs there. BJ has been running pretty well himself, finishing 4th in the $500 tourney and min cashing another before getting hit with some bad luck. 

One negative to this place is the presence of the Missouri Gaming Commission, who, as it's been explained to me, are the losers who weren't good enough to make it as regular cops...so that was their fall back plan. They basically just roam around the tournament area antagonizing the players, almost daring them to engage in a confrontation with them. I've heard story upon story about them. As for what the poker room management or casino management can do about them? I don't think here is anything they CAN do...I think the law stipulates that they HAVE to be here...so they just basically loiter around looking for things to bust people's balls about. Real fucktards.

One thing that has really stood out in my mind here. The Official St Louis 3-bet...is just ALL IN. Pot size does NOT matter. Stack size does NOT matter, either. If a guy limps...and someone raises...9 times out of 10...if he isn't folding...he is shoving all in. Same thing for if he raises, and someone actually (probably not from here) makes a reasonable 3-bet...once it gets back to the ghoul from St Louie....he is shipping it all in! It's just mind boggling. 

One of the eventual circumstances of this type of play...is the play getting whittled down VERY quickly. In just the last three days...with field sizes of approximately 175....the field has been narrowed down to about 32-36 by dinner break...which has been just 10-15 from the money. That doesn't happen unless people are just bombing away with their whole stacks and playing almost ZERO pot control poker. And that is pretty much exactly how they play here...and why the fields are being blazed through at the speed they are.

The other thing I've been noticing is the amount of 'hero play' that takes place here. I can count at least four times...in hands where there was betting on the flop, the turn and the river...where one of the two players in the hand would turn over two cards that made no connection...NONE...with the board. No pair,  No draw. Nothing. Just the desire to get into a back and forth battle with the other player in hopes they could make them fold. Only...in this place? People don't ever fold...especially if they have so much as bottom pair. So this really adds to the amusement element of the attempted bluff play. 

I thought my five-year break from this  place would see an improvement in the play up here. I was wrong. It has not gotten one tiny iota better...if anything,  it's gotten worse. But I think my game may have evolved to a point where I've learned to be a little more evasive when it comes to avoiding getting into bad spots with these jokers...by either keeping the pot small to avoid going bust on some ridiculous river result...or just bailing in certain hands when I know it's got a good chance of being one of those 50/50 death hands. I choose the path of least resistance, knowing they are bad enough that I can just peck away at them one chunk at a time...instead of trying to get the whole ball of wax in one fell swoop. Yes, it's mentally taxing, and time-consuming...but a lot more safe, and effective.

Okay...I have a great table draw...and I say that because I got my favorite seat 6...so I think I will try to get down there on time...when they tend to spend a lot of time giving away chips early. Maybe I can bag up a fat bag of chips on Day 1a...then take tomorrow off and do something away from the poker table. For those of you up here and playing...good luck to you as well!


MONKEY

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Time to Go Play Some Poker!

First...I would like to wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day...that holiday dreamed up by the folks from the greeting card industry. That holiday expressly intended for those who wait for ONE day a year to share their feelings with their loved one. I can share with you that I spent the most I've ever spent for a simple greeting card, by simple I mean it doesn't play music or feature pop-up animation of any kind. $9.26 for a greeting card. Wow! Carley had her first real exposure to the holiday...as she is now old enough to cognitively register what each holiday kind of represents now. And for her...it meant lots of candy, and the chance to write what she thinks is her name on valentines for her classmates at daycare. After her party...we went to pick up Jasper, our black lab, from Petsmart..where he'd been getting groomed. As soon as I picked her up from her car seat...I was covered in vomit. Orange-colored vomit. I quickly grabbed her 'party cup' that was half filled with candy...and she filled up the rest of that thing...with more vomit. My baby likes to eat the frosting off of cookies, cupcakes and cake. She did a lot of that at her party. And together we ended up wearing it! But once she got it all out of her, she was good to go! 

Today, it will be a big Mardi Gras parade in downtown Biloxi, which I guess is a big deal because it's the first 'night parade' they've had since Hurricane Katrina almost ten years ago. Me? I'm not a big 'parade guy' and have never gotten into the whole 'Mardi Gras thing.' But whatever...I'm a good sport, I can go along with whatever I get dragged to in the interest of showing my girls a good time.

My sadness over the Seahawks loss in the Super Bowl has almost worn off. I won't lie...I was totally distraught over it. And if the pride associated with a back-to-back Super Bowl champion wasn't tough enough to swallow, another thing I lost was the $19,000 I would have won from my $100 Survivor Pool. I resisted the 'chop talk' all week...thinking that with 4 people left, there was a pretty good chance that they other three would take New England. I was right. They did. I was one yard away from the greatest day of my sports lifetime! A touchdown to win the Super Bowl for the 2nd year in a row!!!! And my biggest win in one of my pools in the 18 years I've been running pools. And then Malcomb Hunter happened. 

We had a huge Super Bowl party at our new house...and I can't even tell you what a great job Squirrel and The Claw did making it simply amazing. My buddy Barth, who owns bars in the New Orleans area, showed up Saturday night packing a TON of beer, liquor and supplies...and after I ran all over Biloxi picking up food platters and football-field themed cookies...we had the most amazing Super Bowl Spread you could ever imagine. We got a great turnout as well...and with a huge deck in back with a fire pit raging..and a TV inside and out...it was just a great setting...on top of it being a great game. Everything was perfect...except that final 30 seconds. That crushed my soul!!! But...like I said...I am ALMOST recovered from it. The only...and I mean ONLY thing...that I take away from the loss...is that I hope the Seahawks come back next season just pissed...and hungry...and focused...and steamroll their way to another Super Bowl.

Yesterday I mailed out the FINAL payments for ALL of my Super Bowl squares...of which I sold out 24 boards for a total of $102,000! Last week, I mailed out all the winnings from the various pools throughout football season. It was quite a season. I awarded a shade over $500,000 on just SQUARES this season...then another $100,000 in pools...and ALL OF THEM ARE PAID! It gives me the best feeling wiping that slate clean every football season. Granted...I'm still owed about $9000 from various people...but whatever...they'll pay (most of them) I just have to hound the shit out of most of them. And that shit gets old.

The website I tried to get behind...Fantasy Draft...did not quite pan out the way we all hoped it would. I know a lot of us poker players that were in on it from the outset, and were busting out butts to get the name out there...and get people signed up...were really hoping it would make for a huge success and reward all of us for working so hard on it. Well, they had a lot of problems getting launched...and delays...and when they finally did launch, in the 2nd to last week of the season, it was a total meltdown, slow...like molasses, web delays, lack of stat updates, inability to do player-to-player transfers...which sucked because a lot of people had problems even getting money onto the site. They are trying to get it together right now during basketball season...but I think we all realize that basketball just ISN'T fantasy football..in any way possible. So I don't know...maybe they will do something amazing and kick off next season in grand fashion. I hope so...it would be nice to get something out of all that work I dedicated to it.

I played some online poker this past week...and came to realize why I hate online poker so much. I fired up my Bovada account and was shocked to see I had over $500 in there. Hmmm. So I played some 1/2 NL Hold em and some 50/1.00 Pot Limit Omaha 8. I played for 3 hours one night...and 4 hours another night. I now have $250 in my account. There is nothing that took place that I can honestly call 'normal.' I am pretty sure their software is geared to provide the most ridiculous things you can ever imagine on the river. And no one ever folds...ever...so you can always count on getting drawn out on. Screw it, don't even know why I brought it up. Online poker is a joke.

Did I hear the news? Regarding the chatter coming out of Nevada that they might try to ban, or make illegal, poker players selling 'pieces of themselves?' Of course I did...and even if I hadn't, there were 4 or 5 people posting excerpts about it to my Facebook wall. 

(had to pause to open the door for the Fed Ex guy who was bringing flowers for our selfie-snapping housemate, The Claw! That was just the first of what I assume could be a long stream of flowers coming to the house today for her! She's become quite popular since becoming a demon in the gym and shedding 60 lbs in the last 8 months or so)


Back to that stupid threat of a law banning player staking. First of all,  if it HAD gone through...there is no way players would have stopped selling off pieces. In fact, in my opinion, the ONLY one it would have protected, was the douche bag player who sells pieces of himself, wins something...and then feels he/she doesn't legally have to cough up what he/she owes the investors...since there is legislation stating there couldn't legally BE that arrangement in the first place. Can you imagine that? A way for douchey poker players to be a little douchier? Yeah...shocker.

Well, I was getting people telling me about it for one reason I suppose. Maybe two...as I've been known to sell a lot of packages for my poker adventures...which is what I call them now since, as a daddy of the Amazing (and high-maintenance) Carley...I rarely get a chance to venture out and play with the other poker kids. But I think the primary reason people were concerned was that they are all waiting on me to launch the 2nd Annual Search for Monkey's Minions...or more easily explained as my raising money from my vast network of friends/acquaintances looking for a sweat on the Main Event. Last year we raised $40,000 and sent four very qualified players to the Big Event...with none of them cashing, much to our chagrin. But despite their inability to cash...nearly all of those involved expressed a desire to do it again this year...so they will certainly invited back.

And so...yeah...you can consider this an announcement, I guess...that I WILL, in FACT...be doing it again this summer. Mainly because I've been rejected for reinstatement by the folks at Horseshoe Hammond, as discussed in my last post. Don't know why, other than there is a vendetta being served up by the 'Big Guy' at the WSOP. Childish, ridiculous, and borderline damaging from a legal perspective...but one which I'm no longer allowing to get me worked into a lather. Life is just WAY TOO GOOD away from the poker table for me to give much of a fuck.

How many will I/We send this summer? I guess it depends on how many I raise money for. We only had enough for two last year and then in the three days leading up to Day 1a of the event, quickly raised another $20k. I would prefer not having to go the route we did last year...which turned into the ultimate rush job, and stressed me out. This year I'd like for them to have their buy in at least a week before the event..and be able to get out to Vegas (if they aren't already there) with time to get settled in and rested up. I also hope to have T-shirts and maybe hats made for them to wear to announce their presence! I also hope to have one of them get deep and make us a return this year!!!

Okay...so what is this talk about me getting off the bench and getting back out there? Well......

Once upon a time I traveled (by car, horrible road trip btw) to a place called St.Louis, where I'd never been before. I think it was 2009. What I encountered that trip were some of the most AWFUL beats I'd ever witnessed...that was the trip where Mark Cain (dealer) forged his legendary status of destroying me...as he will openly share with any of you that should ask. I also saw some of the worst poker played of any god-forsaken place I'd ever traveled to. And I don't know what the deal was with the ugly people...but St Louis has some of the most unattractive people I've ever seen...and they all seem very fond of wearing camouflage. Will things have changed in the 5 years I've been away? I mean...how much COULD it have changed? Really? And? I played at the Harrah's up there...and the set up was beyond horrible, slapped smack in the middle of slot machines and surrounded by plumes of cigarette smoke, to go along with that clank clank clank ding ding ding irritation. I was expecting this to be a better set up...but someone I spoke to today has informed me that at the last event they ran there..it was almost a mirror image of the events at Harrah's. Isn't that awesome!

 So an obvious question would be....'Then why the hell are you going back?' Of course, my wife clearly remembers my feelings about St Louis and all things St Louis-related...so that was her immediate question when I told her I was thinking about wanting to go up there for the circuit event. I can honestly say I didn't have a great comeback...other than to tell her I hope that the level of play has improved, and that since we are currently in the best financial shape we've been in since we've been married, I won't have to take that mentality of 'needing to win' with me. 

I think playing in that frame of mind can make poker really stressful, and affect your total behavior towards people. I know it has for me in the past. Needing to make a score, and running into a constant stream of bad beats and suck outs can make you a mental wreck...which translates a lot of times to appearing to be a total asshole to people around you. I mean...what are you supposed to do? Qualify everything you say to people with a long, drawn out story about how bad your running?

I learned pretty early on in my poker career that no one...I mean NO ONE...really cares about how bad you are running. And even when you are running good...they don't want to hear about THAT either...especially when they are running like shit. Poker is a weird game...and to develop REAL (I mean truly REAL) friendships among poker players...you really have to share things in common that don't include poker. I've been lucky to have made about 4 or 5 really, really good friends through poker...who, no matter how well or bad we are doing in poker, it never gets in the way of our friendship. It's pretty simple, we just don't talk about poker that much. Frankly, all of my good 'poker friends' and me agree that poker is a pretty boring topic of conversation, generally speaking.

It was a little tougher for me, I guess, because I've created an identity with this blog. And I'm not saying that it's bad. But when I'm somewhere playing, and things are going bad..and a blog reader approaches and greets me in a very pleasant way, I have to try to put on a happy face...and I'm not always the best actor. Now my wife? She is the BEST! I know that those of you who know the Squirrel have NEVER witnessed her being rude to anyone. It just doesn't happen. Not because she doesn't WANT to be ugly/rude...she just doesn't do it. Me, I have a little harder time with it...so I might just say "Hi..listen..it's really bad timing right now, can I talk to you later?" And people tend to act understanding...but you just KNOW some of them are thinking "What a dick!" And I hate that!

Blah blah blah! Ugh sidebar from hell there! So yeah...I'm going to St Louis...because its being held at Lumiere Place...owned by the people who own The Trop...whatever that is. I know that when I called to make a room reservation, since the website boasted of WSOP rates...I was connected to the switchboard, in Atlantic City. And immediately, I was in reservation hell. The lady hit a snag when it came to booking 'long-term' reservations. Huh? And after first being told the day before they had plenty of availability, she was telling me they were N/A on that first Saturday night...my STL trip was looking like it was going to fizzle.

Finally...a Supervisor took over. He did finally fix the problem...but not until he had to wrestle with the 'long term' thing himself. Apparently, they weren't set up to deal with 11-day reservations...which you would think, if they are going to host a WSOP event, offer WSOP pricing, and get a LOT of players who are coming for the whole time to play the event...they might want to have worked out ahead of time. And so..with only a week until the event starts, less actually now...I have a bad feeling there is going to be a lot of horror stories about getting room reservations there. A little tip...if you call, ask for Supervisor Joe! Feel free to tell him Will Souther referred you to him.

I am hopeful they get a good turnout. Obviously I am playing there because I can play there. The only other properties I can play this season (WSOP-related) are Foxwoods in Connecticut, and The Bicycle Club in Los Angeles. As I looked at the Freeroll standings...I have plummeted to 35th place. The Top 50 (I think) make it into the freeroll for the Million bucks...or whatever it is. And of course, as most of you know...I'm unlikely to be allowed to play in it. But I still would like to actually QUALIFY! And maybe stir up a little attention that makes a few people have to answer a few awkward questions. And with the points I have now...I figure I probably need 20-30 points to lock up a spot in that tourney I can't play in! That could be 3 or 4 min cashes...or just one final table.

I'm excited, because I'm not going with any pressure to win. And I'm not selling any packages or pieces, playing for 100% on my own dime. If I win...great. If I don't win...no big deal, other than having to be away from my girls for 10 days...which always sucks. I fly out on Friday morning...get into STL at noon, with enough time to get over to the casino and registered for that day's event. I decided not to rent a car...so I won't be tempted to go sightseeing in Ferguson!

I guess that's it! If you're going to St Louis...I'll see ya there...otherwise, I'll see ya when I see ya! Hope your year is going great! And if your down here on the coast...have a wonderful MARDI GRAS!!!! 

MONKEY

Thursday, January 22, 2015

2015: So Far So Good!!!

Greetings! And Happy New Year! I know, once again, its been quite awhile since I posted anything here. One of the contributing factors to this, is that my 'o' key and my 'space' bar are both sticking on my Sony Vaio...which I've just learned, Sony has discontinued the manufacturing of! Perfect! Aspired for years to buy one...then buy one..and they quit making them. I suppose I could utilize the 'Geek Squad' thing I paid for and let them fix it...but somehow it always seems that when I try to do anything with Best Buy it NEVER ends well! And so...I just keep putting it off!

So wow, where to start? Poker? What is that? Haven't played a single hand since I last posted. Haven't watched any on TV...haven't read a blog. Zilch. In fact, my closest brush with poker was staking a couple friends in the tournament at the Beau Rivage. The guy I staked (name withheld out of respect) is a guy I've been friends with for awhile...who was up here trying to work, having been dealt a healthy dose of bad luck so far this year. I felt like being nice and offered to put him in something. He rewarded me buy making the final table, before busting out 8th. I was bummed for him. Me? I was just happy to double my buy in!

As for my other stake horse? Well, most of you probably already know who that was! The Claw...who continues to live under our roof. In her first event, she was the bubble. Ugh. Then the next three she just busted...all in pretty irritating fashion. I wasn't about to pony up $2500 for the main...but on her second try in the Mega satellite, she won...so we still got a shot. It went south. I believe she lost with JJ to some wacko judge who's claim to fame is playing any two cards, and not caring. He beat her with 4-8 off suit. Oh joy! I received that news while at sea, on our family cruise.
Always a good idea to give a little 'shout out' to your sponsors via wardrobe choices!
Yeah...cruise! Both Squirrel and I had never been on a cruise in our 40+ years. Joining us on the cruise was our mother and her friend, my sister and her friend, and Squirrel's mother...as well as Carley. So yeah...it was me and SEVEN females! 
The 7 Ladies of Carnival Dream!
About the ONLY bad thing that has occurred so far in 2015, was Alabama losing to Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl...which we were there for. In fact, we got the 'royal treatment' from our friend Barth Melius, as his dad serves on the Sugar Bowl committee. We got to go down on the field before the game. And when Bama got out to a 21-6 lead, everything pointed to a berth in the NCG game. But we all know how things turned out there. Not good. I sucked up my pride, and tweeted out my congratulations to the Ohio State fans. They showed their true skill and grit when they went out and pretty much smoked Oregon...winning the National Championship. We  watched from the Lido Deck on the Carnival Dream...with a little sadness, but knowing we lost to the eventual champion was some consolation I guess. 

 



Bama may have lost....and once again fell short of the goal of NT #16...and it looks like we may be losing Offensive Coordinator Lane Kiffin to the Niners...but we did quickly pick up  commitments from the best cornerback and one of the top RB's along with a top-notch DE...to keep the factory at Alabama rolling in the wins. Just sucks having to wait for the next season to start.

The new Monkey Mobile!
Also in the first few days of 2015...I made a tough decision. I traded in my 2004 Toyota 4-Runner...which has been a great car to me...for a 2015 Chevy Tahoe LTZ. Yep...it is a beast! Fully loaded, and just huge inside! Carley loves it, Squirrel loves it...and I love it. I rented one a few months ago when I took mine in for some minor body work...and instantly was hooked. I think the thing I  love the most about it? My 4-Runner, for all its positives, was VERY loud at speeds over 60mph. And it drove me bananas. It also had 'that little rattle' that came from the back seat, and one from the drivers-side door. Me and rattles? Oh...we do NOT get along well!!! So, this new car? At 105 mph...Cheryl and I  are practically whispering to each other! It is like a library in there! No rattles, no creaks, nothing! And the bluetooth, hands-free action? Love it. Bottom line!?? I  am NOT regretting the decision one bit. I also haggled like a mother to get my payment down to a number that when I told Squirrel, elicited an actual raising of the eyebrows! If you are married, you know how HUGE that is!!!!

Our new  house is awesome. I have to give all the credit to Squirrel and Claw...as they have made all the interior design decisions...and all I've had to do is hand over the debit card! The one and only drawback, is the busy road right behind our house...Squirrel says its like living in a road side hotel! But we will only be here until about October...when we will be moving into our OWN house, finally! The taxes are paid  for 2013 and 2014...and we are now finally 'qualified' on paper to be 'allowed' to stop renting! Thank heavens! Now I guess the tough part will be deciding where we want to live. And knowing Squirrel...it's going to have to be just perfect!

Pulling into New Orleans after a great 7-day trip...too bad our 'welcome party' included one of New Orleans' least finest.
So we got back from our Western Caribbean cruise on Sunday morning...pulling into New Orleans after 7 days of absolute bliss. We took two great adventures, one in Cozumel, the other in Isla Rotan, Honduras...which was the definite highlight of the trip. My daughter Carley...loves 'ooh ooh, ahhh ahhh'  which is the sound monkeys make. She has several stuffed ones.Well, we booked an excursion where we went on a nature hike...and came upon 'Monkey Town' where these monkeys would come right up to you....sit on your shoulders, even head...and just interract with you. It was really cool.. Carley just loved it...and didn't stop talking about it for....well, she STILL hasn't!


Pretty obvious that ALL monkeys like the Seahawks!



After that, we met the moms at a semi-secluded beach that the cruise only issued 110 excursions to, getting us away from the overly crowded beach that most of the cruise passengers opted for...and it was simply amazing. It really looked and felt like Tahiti. White sand beaches, beautiful blue water...and a coral reef right off shore that you could snorkel around. We met lots of nice people also. And Squirrel and I even got 30 minute table massages ON THE BEACH! (in the shade!!! we aren't stupid!) 


On the last day at sea, I treated my mom and Cheryl both to 'Top To Toes' treatments at the ships spa. They both came back looking like jello, claiming it to be the best thing they'd ever experienced...which made me happy. Meanwhile, Carley and I were having a blast on the water slides. Followed by a  round of putt putt golf! 

Tackling the Monster Slide with Carley!!!

I think about all the things Carley has done in just under 3 years...and it makes me proud. I love seeing that little smile on her face. The only thing I regret, is that I don't think you remember much from before you are 5 years old...so I'm sad that she won't remember most of the adventures she's been on. Oh well, there are worse things in life, I guess!
Which one is Carley? Both? Nope...the one on the right is Squirrel! Wow!!!!
One of the most amazing things (I thought) on the cruise,  was the way our room would get serviced two, sometimes three times a day. And not ONCE....did a maid/housekeeper knock on our door, like they ALWAYS seem to do at EVERY hotel I ever stay at. It's like they had a secret camera that would tell them when we were out. And whenever we came back...we were greeted by an animal created out of towels...with two little stick-on buttons that served as eyes. Our favorite, was the monkey, that was left hanging from the curtain rod!!!! No kidding! Again...Carley ate that up!
On nature walk in Honduras..Carley kept asking when we were going to see "oooh ohhh ahhh ahh' which is what she calls monkeys!
The food was everywhere! No one starves on a cruise! And there was entertainment everywhere as well, we took in a few good shows, saw some Karaoke, some piano bar, and some comedy. The moms did a little gambling in the casino. I never stepped foot in there. They had poker, but it was through those machines...where you have no dealer...and the rake on cash games was 15%...so I said 'no thanks' and stuck to the reason I was there...being with my family, and enjoying the cruise! 

There was very little I could say anything negative about. We are very excited about doing it again, I know that for sure! 

So...its always nice when you spend 7 days being happy, and being surrounded by pleasant people, right? Well...then you come home!

My mother and their group wanted to see my new car, as well as say goodbye to us. So once we all exited the ship, and got our baggage, I told them I'd get the car and drive around to where they were waiting. Great. Did that. Drove car around...spot them, and pull up in front of them. I am greeted by an angry-looking black lady in Sheriff uniform, asking me if I was loading or unloading?

"No, we just finished our 7-day cruise, and I'm just going to say goodbye to my family right there, as they are going to the airport to fly back to Seattle. I'll be just a minute."

Oh no! She had a major issue with that. Got very ugly, and for what reason? I mean...really...what reason did she have to be a bitch? Cars were standing all around us. She kept hollering about calling her supervisor. I told her that's a good idea. "What? Are you saying you AREN'T going to move your car then?" (obvious attempt to bait me into something she could actually charge me with) "No, that's 100% NOT what I'm saying. I'm saying you should call your supervisor over...so I could discuss with him your attitude, and your insistence to not let us simply say goodbye to our family."

Oh well, she went right on ranting and raving...obviously making no attempt to get her supervisor over. Instead what she did manage to accomplish was upsetting my family, and getting Squirrel all fired up wanting me to just get in the car and leave. Of course, I did...but once I did, there was no opening to get back into...so I had to listen to ALL OF THEM chirping at me now. I asked the lady for her badge number, so I could file a complaint against her. "I aint gonna give you my badge number!!!" Of course you aren't. 

Wow...welcome back to New Orleans! And people wonder why I loathe most of the citizens of that city? Not exactly how I wanted my day to start...but there it was.

Oh...it got better. I think you all know I'm a huge Seattle Seahawks fan...and are aware of the year, and the run, we had last year. Well, starting out the year 3-3 wasn't exactly what I had envisioned...but the 7 game winning streak to close out  the season was pretty awesome. And they looked, to me anyway, better than the team from last year. Well, all that ended when I sat through the absolute worst half of football that I think I'd ever seen  from the Seahawks. 16-0...and it should have been worse. Russell Wilson was 1 for 8...with 3 INT's. They committed 8 penalties, most of them stupid. It was looking like my birds were going to go out  like Bama did...one game from the big one. We were home in Biloxi by then...and I  was mostly watching from our bedroom...and hiding from the family.

Then...magic happened. And there is no need to give you the play-by-play...as I'm sure you all watched it, or at least caught the highlights. I did things, dances and whoops mostly...that I will never be able to remove from the eyes and memory of my family and some other friends who were here. I don't care. It was unbelievable what I was watching happen. But when we scored, to take the lead...I noticed there was 1:25 on the clock...and it took me back three years...to that game in Atlanta...when we scored against the Falcons after trailing huge early in the game...to take a 2-pt lead, but left Matt Ryan about the same exact amount of time to work with...and he promptly marched them down for a game-winning FG and a berth in the NFC Championship game...which they lost to the Niners. That was all I could think about. Then we went for two..and made it, on a desperation heave! Oh thank god! 


And..well, the rest is history. They got their game-tying FG as I feared they would...but then Russell Wilson took over in OT....and all of Seattle went crazy! Consecutive trips to the Super Bowl! A chance at history. Against one of my all-time favorite QB's in Tom Brady. The line is currently about even...which just adds to the luster of the matchup. Top offense vs top defense...just like last year...and we KNOW how that turned out! I don't have any predictions, hell I'm just tickled to be there again! And have the chance! Last year, it was a tipped pass from Richard Sherman that got us there...this year, a miracle finish that included an onsides kick, and a two-pt conversion. It happened three days ago and I'm still floating around on Cloud 9! 

As for the game? Would I like to go? Sure! Can I afford to go? Probably, yeah. But will I? Naw. That's just obscene to pay that much to see a football game. ANY football game. I think the most I will ever pay to see any game is $500. Anything over that just feels irresponsible. And its always almost better on TV anyway. And so...this morning, The Claw announced that we will be having an EPIC Super Bowl Party at our new home...which just happens to be perfect for staging parties in! The owner, for whatever reason...decided she didn't want to deal with a big back yard...and so 85% of the back yard is one gigantic deck! Complete with wrap around benches around the trees. Perfect for sticking one of our big screens on! It will be a great party, to be sure. And one thing Claw and Squirrel are good at? Hosting parties! So I think our Super Bowl Sunday will be fantastic!


As for poker? Well..I am maybe, possibly, going to request permission from Squirrel to go down to Palm Beach and play that event down there. I currently sit in 16th place still in the WSOP Freeroll standings, and while I've managed to make no headway with the WSOP people on getting my ridiculous '86' lifted at Horseshoe Hammond...which is preventing me from playing at  ANY Caesar's-owned casinos, it would still make me proud to qualify as one of the Top 50. That and I am kind of itching to play some tournaments, and see some of my buddies. The only other event I want to play is the one in LA...in March, at the Bicycle Club. That one is probably not as likely though as Palm Beach. We'll see. 

As for the WSOP, itself? Well...they say sometimes in life all you have to do is wait some things out. That may be just what this little stand off with them comes down to. I'll just tell you all, in fact show you...the letter I got back from the Horseshoe in Hammond after submitting my request for reinstatement. You might not notice, but the date on the letter they sent back to me was dated February 2012! And was signed by the Security Manager who hasn't worked there in a year and a half. Yeah...a lot of consideration and time went into that decision, huh!??? Pretty obvious they have orders from above that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is Will Souther to be reinstated. I mean...when they just reach into the file cabinet, grab a letter from two or three years ago, make a copy of it, and mail that to you? Please! Give me a break! 
To view the ridiculous/hilarious part of this letter, click on it to expand it to full size.
And don't think I didn't call the current security manager to inquire about it. That was a real 'fun' conversation...one filled with questions asked by me that were answered with, well, nothing that made any sense. Yeah, it was both frustrating and angered me...despite staying calm and trying over and over to get something out of her. Yeah...its pretty easy to see, the 'Jam Job' is definitely on in this case! I asked her...did they get the letter from the female dealer who got this whole mess started in the first place? The letter claiming she had made a mistake? And wanted me exonerated? Yeah! They did! She admitted. Did it matter? Nope! Why? Because, she claims a 'committee' of casino representatives made the decision to not reinstate me. When asked what 'representatives' those were...she couldn't really answer that. And I asked, since I'd never played any games on their casino floor, how could there possibly be any 'representatives' from the casino outside of poker who would have an opinion on me either way?

Bottom line? I got f-u-c-k-e-d by the one and only person at the WSOP who has the ability and the power to actually fuck me.  To that...I say this: FINE! You win, big boy! Congratulations! Your one last dying wish as a poker tournament supervisor was to see me ousted from your events? Well, you did it! Way to go! You can now die a happy man!

But the whole 'waiting things out' theory? Well...just so happens a few things are going on behind the scenes. For one...Caesars just filed for bankruptcy. Shocker...as most of us knew they were broke and swimming in debt for years now. But one of the top people at the WSOP was recently let go. That man just happened to be the table games manager at Rio. You know? The place that annually hosts the WSOP? Why did this happen? I suppose its because they are going to be forced to sell the Rio this year...which means this is going to be the last year the WSOP is played at Rio. Where is going to end up? Probably at Planet Hollywood...right there on the strip...with all that abundance (I'm joking) of parking! And it just so happens...that a certain person who serves as Table Games manager at Planet Hollywood will likely assume the position left vacant by the guy who was let go recently. And oh...wait! Guess who might have a thing or two against a certain TD from the WSOP? 

Oh....I'm sure I've given you plenty to chew on. See...poker? It is not what I live for. It doesn't shape me,  or personify who I am. I don't NEED poker to be happy or thrive. In fact...about the only time I am happy with poker? Is when I'm sitting at a final table...that IS the justification for putting up with all the rampant bullshit that just seems to always persist in the world of poker as we know it. Yes, I've met a lot of really wonderful people in the world of poker...and they know who they are, and we remain friends. But they know exactly what I'm talking about...and exactly the things, and the people that I am alluding to, and am pretty sure they all agree with me for the most part. 

So lets just sit back...and lets see what happens to certain people that are working in the poker world. Lets see where the WSOP ends up. Will they even stay with Caesar's? Or will they be bought out by someone else? Who would surely get rid of all the current management...because we all know...companies don't buy up other companies so that they can retain their managers. I am extremely patient! And I've got plenty of years left on this planet! And in the meantime...there are PLENTY of places I can go and spend my money playing poker tourneys! If the urge should happen to hit me to do so!

I hope you are ALL (even you haters!) having a GREAT 2015 so far!!! 

MONKEY