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Thursday, July 31, 2008

INTERNET POKER

INTERNET POKER

KILL ME! Just kill me! AA 12 times in two days. Win with them twice. 10-10 9 times in two days. Win with them ONCE. QQ 11 times in 2 days...win three times. This seems to be the standard for my online poker life. Make a $300 deposit. Run my $300 up to $1000 by playing my usual game. Start feeling good about online poker. Start thinking...Hmmmm...maybe its NOT rigged. But then wait a second....lets watch our balance go from $1000 to $200 in three days while playing nothing but tourneys from $2 to $50 and SNG's from $6 to $20. And not because I am playing bad.

To sit and cite hands would be tiresome and tedious. But it gets pretty bad when you are deep in a tourney...have about 4 people sweating you on the rail, which is kind of fun...and nice now that I have MY CHAT BACK!!!! Talk about a test of my ability not to go APESHIT....the beats, suckouts and ridiculous shit that I saw on there this past weekend...to NOT say something to get my CHAT BANNED again...wow....I'm amazing! ANyway...back to DEEP IN A TOURNEY.

This guy...who has made 5 horrendous calls....and sucked out every time....wont respond to any chat. I am starting to think this guy is a bot. In the money in a $33 MTT...but not good money yet...I've just lost a huge pot with AK vs. AQ (of course) and now have 18K with the average being 45K. Blinds 800/1600. BOT BOY limps in for 1600. Another guy calls. So with around 5000 in the pot...and me being in the BB with AA....I put in the chat bar "well, schmecki77, I know your range of hands so I am just going to go ahead and SHOVE ALL IN with THE BEST hand!"

HE thinks for a second and calls...with 7-8 offsuit. The flop comes 6-9-10 of course...and I am out. Of course it does. This starts a firestorm from the railbirds. Emails to customer support get answered with the standard "we strive to provide the utmost level of security for our players" blahblahblah standard BS response that I have been getting from Stars for years!

How bout this play? IN the BB in another tourney late...I have KK. Guy min riases on the button. SB calls. WITH KK I raise FOUR TIMES THE MIN RAISE. ANd the guy SMOOTH CALLS with 10 freaking 6 offsuit. He flops two tens with a 5. I of course bet into him...he puts me all in and I am pot committed and cant fold. He turns a 6. YEAH, uh huh...that play always HAPPENS and PLAYS OUT like that in the live play! I sat out the Sat and Sun Beau Rivage tourneys so I could play the big tourneys online.

Had a ticket into the 100K freeroll on Stars...that ended 25 from the money with a bad beat. It was a horrendous weekend. The thing about online poker....that I have noticed...for three years now, is that the level of play on the weekends is SO BRUTAL...you almost cant believe your eyes when you see some of the plays that transpire. Its almost like someone hands $1000 to a total stranger...and makes sure they don't know how to play poker...and just for their own personal amusement...sit and get drunk and stoned and watch them play poker against other players who are good, or at least THINK they are.

I can see how that would maybe be entertaining. By the time I get to Sunday night I am left feeling like...."wow, I must really just SUCK at poker. Maybe I should think about going out and getting a real job, because clearly I can't make a living like THIS!" It really leaves you wanting to either kill someone or yourself. I haven't had a big score on Pokerstars in over a year. Just a small score here and there...enough to make you think you have an excuse to keep playing online. I don't get it.

THere are some players...like SHAUNDEEB for example, that just ALWAYS win online. I know these ...personally. I've played against them online AND live...and there game is in no way ahead of mine...and yet....they dominate online. HOW? It doesn't make any sense!

Last fall, while playing in the Ceaser's Classic...I don't know if I already wrote about this or not....but going into dinner break...and ranting all day about the online play lately, about how if feels like players can see my damn cards with some of the bizaare calls I have been seeing, another player invites me to his room at the Bellagio to check out some pretty amazing software. I accept, because I'm curious...not because I am a potential customer.

I would never CHEAT at poker. I walk into his room and see what puts me in spin mode..and basically caused me to NEVER buy into a tourney over $100 on ANY SITE ever again. Right in front of my face is a computer...with Pokerstars up...and you can SEE EVERY PLAYERS hole cards! WTF!??? Just like now, when after you fold...and you hold the cursor over your cards and your folded hand shows up in shaded gray? That's what everyone elses cards looked like! I couldn't believe it.

He was using a 3-day shareware version given to him by a guy who was trying to sell copies for 100K per. Well, that would be pretty risky for a lot of reasons. Mainly because they write updates to their software (pokerstars) about every 4 days. But if you are the guy who knows how to WRITE the software to hack....why even bother selling copies, putting yourself in that spot? Why not just sit there and crush everyone? So that just makes me think that THOSE GUYS are OUT THERE...crush crushing all of us!

Of course I sent an email to Pokerstars TELLING THEM what I just saw with my own two eyes! Their response? NONE! NO response! Well, then all this shit goes down with Absolute and Ultimate Bet. Big shock! Russ Hamilton is the biggest scumbag on the Poker Planet. I hope he goes to Jail. Or gets whacked by mobsters. I think of all the decent players out there whose confidence, as well as bankroll, has been crushed by these scumbags and jerkoffs just like him/them!

ITS UNBELIEVABLE! Poker is a SKILL game...and they have taken and completely SCREWED the game with these actions! I hate it. And yet I still go on and play? Why? I guess because when I see a place where I can buy in for $10 to win $3000 to $20,000.....how do you NOT feel inclined to take a shot at that huge payday? Even when you know, for almost 98% certainty that you are going to get ass-raped!??? Does that make me/us addicts to online poker? Maybe? I don't know. I just wish somehow they could FIX the problem. Until that happens, the only place I will buy in for more than $100 is in live action.

My back is still in Paris, and I still haven't updated my spreadsheet from Vegas. At least we got a nice little $1000 pop on there from the Beau Tourney. maybe we will get some more this week...I am playing tonight (Tuesday) and probably the rest of the week. I guess I am a little scared to sit down and update it....plus its going to take about two hours! I guess I just need to sit down and knock it out! Its not fair to her to NOT KNOW where we stand on our bankroll. Its just real easy to put things off when you don't want to know the answer!!!!

Its almost that time of year again...when the POOL MONKEY kicks it into high gear. I started my Monkey-ness as the Pool Monkey. For ten years + I have been hosting sports pools. I have a mailing list of over 1500 people who participate annually. I seldom win. And I don't take enough from doing them to deem it a 'profitable venture' but I promised all my 'poolers' that no matter how much I win in poker I will continue with my duties as the "POOL MONKEY," so here comes football season....and I have a $50 NCAA SURVIVOR POOL....a $25 NFL SURVIVOR POOL (with one rebuy up to week 6) a $100 NFL SURVIVOR POOL (same rebuy deal) and then I do a $100 FANTASY LEAGUE...where we usually have two different leagues due to demand. Last years Survivor winners won, $1500 (NCAA) $8,500 (NFL $25) and $12,000 (NFL $100) Its a lot of fun. Keeps me away from sports gambling...which is nice...especially when you are trying to play poker for a living and preserve an always tenuous bankroll. Any of you that are interested in joining my mailing list for my pools shoot me an email at THIS email address.... THEPOOLMONKEY@aol.com. I will add you to the list. Should be an awesome football season. Poker is always a lot more fun when there is a football game to look up at!

This has been a crazy long entry...and I think I have pretty much covered everything that has happened lately, and that is driving me nuts, or making me happy! I'm gonna go try to take down another Beau Rivage final table tonight. Hope to see some of you there!!!!!

MONKEY SEACREST.....OUT!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The King of 2nd Place Strikes Again!!!!!

....and Why I think the Internet is a RACKET (will be up tomorrow)!

Not sure which story line is more compelling! Well, obviously the one about Internet Poker! Since almost everyone can probably identify with it. It has been a very interesting/frustrating week!

Last Thursday I officially ended the longest, driest spell of my poker career at the Beau Rivage. Not counting my sickass run in March....and I don't/cant really count that because it was a sanctioned event and took place upstairs in the convention room, NOT in the poker room...I had failed to Final Table a Beau Rivage nightly/daily tournament since last freaking FALL! Well, that run ended finally as I made the final table. It was a serious grind getting there, as I was short stacked from the time I sat down late. I forgot that making moves against players who call out of position raises with hands like A3, K5, Q7....is never a very good idea! Holy crap!

Here is how I got most of my chips. I started the night being FURIOUS with the dealer...who I guess likes me, as she always asks Squirrel how I am doing when I'm on the road. So I felt kind of bad biting her head off. Granted, I was right...nevertheless, I felt kind of bad. My steam/tilt moment starts like this...its a rebuy tourney...you get ONE rebuy for $40. We are coming up on the end of a blind level...and its going from 100/200 to 200/400...a BIG jump for a small stack. There has just been a big, 3-way all in hand which resulted in 2 players having to rebuy and a pot to be pushed. There is under 1 minute left in the level...with me being next to have the BB. I am anxiously trying to encourage the dealer to get the pot shipped, get the cards shuffled...and get going! Well, she decides to FIRST handle the financial dealings of the rebuys! ARGH!!!!!! I ask her...."please just push the button on the shuffle master!"

Which will constitute the new deal. She wont do it...and BOOM "Players and Dealers, on the next hand..blinds are going up!" (*@#&($$&@#(@ And here we go...here comes 2/4 offsuit for $400. I am now seething. I get lower and lower. Sitting in the 7 seat...I keep leaving my folded hands right over the betting line...making her have to reach way out to get them. Then...they are about to push (where the dealers switch) and here we are INSIDE OF A MINUTE before the blinds go up and we go on break!

This is one of my BIGGEST gripes about tournament poker. Its totally unnecessary and completely inconsiderate to the players when the dealers push when its inside of a minute. It drives me NUTS! If I could change one thing in poker...across the nation...it would be to have every dealer ORDERED NOT to push when its inside of a minute. I mean...COME ON! Is it really THAT BIG OF A DEAL!??? I know its not. My dealer buddies have told me its not. It doesn't upset the rotation if they are an extra minute late getting to their next table (sometimes a cash table) its just them being rude, and lazy and not giving a damn about the players.

Well, she is about to push with the clock showing :55 and I don't freak out...I just mutter "hey why not push with :55 left in the level...why not!?" and I think in her attempt to make up the earlier deal to me, she announces "okay let me deal this final hand for you guys!" Hmmm...okay, I accept her attempt. I ask the poker gods to give me ANYTHING that I can push with and either get doubled up or busted before the break! Well they comply by giving me 55. Guy who has been making some of the stupidest, and weirdest plays all game raises UTG...well that could mean ANYTHING...and I have stopped caring! Or trying to make reads on this table full of idiots. I don't remember the numbers...but I send a Money Gram to the middle of the table...and whoa now...get called by the BB!

Well, now UTG boy certainly HAS to come along for the ride. I flop a set of 5's. They both check. The turn is a spade..putting two on the board. Uh Oh. Kind of rooting for the board to pair now. They both check again. The river is the A of spades. Ah hell! Guy in the BB bets $2000 which is a 1/3rd of the pot. And UTG Donkey Boy says...."I am laying down a flush! I hope you got him!" Well he doesn't, he has AK...duh. Now, if you guys are thinking what I'm thinking...UTG boy is either a total liar (the option I'm going with here) or the Stupidest Poker Player in America...which could very well be the right choice as well. I mean, what does he think is beating him? Oh! A bigger Flush!!!!!>>>>???? Yeah. Who cares!??? $6000 in the pot...and $2000 to call with a flush and you fold? Yeah, SURE! Well Monkey takes the pot...goes on break...where I go find Squirrel to tell her what happened...and receive a reprimand from her about "being nice to the dealers." BEING NICE! I might be the only one in there who tips them big STILL even after they started their 'toke the dealer for extra chips' business. Whatever...nice break that was!

I go back in....and right away...with the blinds 100/200....UTG guy, to my left, who I have already decided I want to bust so bad I cant stand it...raises to 750. The same dumbass who has made one dumbass play after another SMOOTH calls. Well, our little buddy from the previous hand, who allegedly folded a flush...decides to make it 2000. He has pulled this move about six times! The one time he got caught with J8. He got lucky on that one and hit a flush. Well, I look down at 99 in the BB. Well, I am only afraid of the first raiser...but I know how he plays...and he could easily have some shit like A10, maybe even a smaller pair than mine...I'm pretty sure I have him beat. I don't feel like I should worry about the next clown...buy hey...you NEVER know at this table!

So I take some time.....think about it...and decide "You know what? I'm pretty sure I have the best hand here....and I like the pot...I'm ALL IN for $5500!" The first guy Insta-folds. Cool! Now comes the moment of Extreme Stupidity! Dum Dum decides...after thinking long and hard...to CALL! Huh!??? This should be good. Well the pot is too big now for the other guy to fold, so he calls too. Well, his hand wasn't THAT bad...definitely scary....AJ spades...but the first guy? Ya ready? KING SEVEN of SPADES!!!!!!!! When I say the entire table, and players from surrounding tables started to snicker....its an understatement! The flop produces all undercards with two spades.....grrrrr......the turn card is the 9 of spades...giving me a set...but both players a flush. K7 guy goes bananas...and is still going bananas when the 6 hits the river to pair the board...giving me a full house...and a nice 14K pot...and eliminating both players. It took him about a minute to notice that he had lost! It was pretty funny. Well from that point on I pretty much cruised to the final table.

Never putting myself in position to call off more than 20% of my stack on any one play. I pretty much played flopless poker the rest of the way. Got a lot of walks in the Blinds, and got a lot of folds when I raised. We got to the final table and I had around 100K with the average at like 30K. So I was in good shape. Despite my huge chiplead I did the right thing and agreed to a $20 per player allowance to give 10th place their payoff instead of being the bubble boy. A lot of players wont do that when they have a lot of chips. They like the strategic edge it gives them...and I understand that. You can sit there and just keep raping the blinds because no one wants to go out on the bubble. But I also have a pretty firm HUMAN side to me...that says "this guy just sat here for 5 or 6 hours and might leave with NOTHING...and that just sucks ass! I've been that guy...I know how horrible it is...why put that on someone, while at the same time inviting Bad Karma onto myself!??" So yeah I do the deal. The Final Table goes pretty quick.

We get down to 3...and its me, This kid Dan from Atlanta who I met at Ceasers Classic in Atlanta last fall, and who I had eaten with before the tourney started...he had final tabled the night before and did a 5-way chop...so he was running good....and this Old Man...we will call him Old Man River and his Pack of Donkeys! Or O.M.R.P.D for short! He is INCAPABLE of folding. If he sees a flop and he has bottom pair...and you bet into him big...HES CALLING! Dan has QJ and raises him in the SB. OMRPD calls with K4. The flop comes Q-6-4. Dan bets out TWICE the pot! OMRPD CALLS! THe turn!??? A FOUR! Dan loses all his chips. Me and Old Sparky get heads up. He wants to chop. Which would have been I think $1500 each. I'm already guaranteed $1000...but I want to play for $1900. I go card dead immediately. But he keeps limping in without me ever raising (because I didn't have SHIT to raise with!) Finally I think...as he limps and I look down at 5-7spades...that I can probably bust a move one time...take a nice pot and turn the tide a little. He limps...I MOVE ALL IN and he INSTA CALLS...with A4 offsuit. I tell him..."good, I like my hand!" And I do...as I hit the 7 and win a HUGE double up! Now we are dead even. Well, it wouldn't last long.

I pick up 99 on the button and because its him, raise 5 times the blinds. HE CALLS! UGH! The flop comes 10-8-3. He just SHOVES ALL IN! Huh? I think to myself...no one with top pair (no one decent) would just shove right there would they? I'm putting him on like A-8 there. So like a dumbass I call..when I could have just folded and still had a lot of chips. He turns over my longtime nemesis....damn K-10....and I fail to improve. And once again...I finish 2nd place. DAMMIT! I tip out the dealers and the floor...I am one of the only ones who tips out the floor. Basically...its kind of a way to keep them from throwing me out! Ha! Maybe not QUITE that extreme...I also appreciate the job they do for us. Being from the restaurant industry my whole life (not anymore) I've got tipping ingrained in me. Oh I almost forgot the "Crown Royal Red Snapper quote of the night" which was initiated by Jeff the dealer. Not sure how it was inspired but it went like this.

JEFF: Monkey was that guy who in high school was voted "most likely to get thrown out of a public place" I bet.
MONKEY: Hmmm, interesting. I was thrown out of HIGH SCHOOL!

Which, when repeated to Squirrel, got her to asking me "sweety, you didn't graduate from High School?" Of course I did, how would I have gone to college! OH, I got thrown out of High School SEVERAL times....I think about 7!

After I said that...this sweet little old man who had been on my right all night asks me if I know his son, Jason? Jason? I know a lot of Jason's sir....what's his last name? GLADDEN! Oh hell yes, I know Jason...we ALL know Jason. One of the cleverest players/humans I know. Well, his Dad tells me that Jason was into trouble a LOT when he was a kid. Interesting! But "different kind of trouble than most kids" as he stated it.

Exactly how I would have imagined it. Things that would require a higher level of intellect, like breaking into the computer lab and fixing test scores....like, gaining access to personal files and changing them...stuff like that. Stuff I would have NEVER thought of while in high school. Stuff like slipping through a partially opened window and stealing the answer book for Geometry off the teachers desk...then withdrawing from Geometry (while receiving a D at the time) and re-taking it again the following semester! (wink wink) You know...stuff like that!

The following day I went to play the Friday tourney. Started much like the one the day before. Couldn't hit a draw. Couldn't get anyone out with any raise. But then it looked like I was about to become ChipZilla in level 4. IN the SB I completed a 6-way limpfest with J8 (the Roosters favorite hand!). The (as I am thinking in my head...how bout flopping me the nuts dealer) flop comes Q-9-10. NO WAY! Check! Checks all around. DAMMIT! Hate that. Turn is a harmless 4. BB bets out 600. ONe caller. Two callers! Hell, I have 4500 and the pot is like 4000...I know what to do. I don't even move all in! I raise 75% of my stack....to 3000.

That SHOULD be an INDICATION to EVERYONE at the table that I JUST MIGHT HAVE THE NUTS! But no no....doofus in the BB shoves all in...the others fold, I of course call. He turns over Q4. Two Pair. Oh god no...don't do it dealer. She (the dealer of a good portion of my recent Beau Rivage Cooler Beats) does it...putting a 4 on the river. UNREAL. I'm gone. I go home and begin the BRUTAL RUN that will conclude this entry....we will call it the ONLINE INTERNET POKER BEATDOWN AND MENTAL FIRESTORM! but first......this just in!

Allie Prescott ...fresh off his 27th birthday, just called from Vegas with some good news. $2,000 of the money owed to me has just been transferred into his account from our buddy who borrowed from us both! Yes, indeed, as this is the end of the month and bills are coming due..this is VERY exciting news! I also received a phone call from Mr. 12.5% of my Main Event action for $2500 last week stating that he isn't avoiding/ditching me...that he will be coming clean also. So this could end up being a very good week for the Monkey.

Now if I could just get Russ Floyd to pay up...and a couple of the guys who STILL owe me money from LAST football season (uh huh...that!) I would REALLY be in good shape with August's Beau Rivage tourney coming up. OH...I also decided, that I think it will be a good poker decision for me to drive over to Dallas on August 17th....shack up with my boys Smoke and JD...and play the WinStar $3million guarantee. It is only a $2K buy in...but if I get there on Saturday I can play one of the two remaining $400 Mega Sats they have to get in cheap. First place in that sucker is a cool $690,000. That wouldn't SUCK too bad! Ah....yes, ALLIE has just revealed to me that he is becoming a BONAFIDE Las Vegas Handicapper Extraordinaire!! Allie is one of the GAMBLIN-EST guys I know.

He made NINE....that's right NINE....baseball bets on Sunday...his birthday..in a drunken, lets-go-celebrate-my-birthday-in- Allie PRescott style with a couple of his buddies from back home. Of those nine bets...he combined 3 of them into parlays. that's 2 3-team parlays. HE WON THEM ALL! He banked around 6K. Here is the bad news. And the news he wont let go of. Had he made a 9 team parlay...for, I forget the amount, whatever he was going to be willing to put on it.....he would have clocked $171,000!

He may end up killing himself over it. The only thing I can think of that is worse than that is the 3-week depression he went into after Memphis Choked away the NCAA title game to Kansas...a game, that had they won, I would have won my March Madness Pool for $1500. It might have been my fault. He was in San Antonio...sitting at half court ( I have NO idea how he pulls that shit off either! ) when I texted him with Memphis leading by 8 with what? 2 minutes left? I think I may have black-catted them when I text Allie...."do the folks in San Antonio a favor and leave them some alcohol for tomorrow after your boys wrap this shit up." DOH!!!!!!! We all know the rest of the story!

Hey...saw that Tim final tabled at Orleans. Awesome. Tim is a really cool dude. He also has a super hot Mom. I actually wrote a song about her...and pretty sure I sang it at the table one night in some tournament or sit n go. Even hotter than Tim's Mom is Tim's girlfriend...who took a gig as a rounder girl while we were in Vegas. In the Main Event, Hod (one of their photogs) brought the three Rounder girls over to my table for a photo op. I didn't recognize the one blonde girl. She says..."remember me?" I was like......duhhhhh ummmmm...no....WTF! Didn't event realize it was "Hundred Pounds Of Fury!"

Oh whats up with that? Back in New Orleans at the WSOP event...we were all out...me, Tim, our buddy Brian Taylor (another great player, from ATL) in the quarter...drunk...Im sure...when these text messages started coming at Brians phone from a girl. (tims girlfriend, whose REAL name I will withhold) Apparently while in Vegas the previous month, Tim had 'acquired some lipstick' on his shirt collar that she found...and well, didn't take very well. Somehow this was BT's fault, guilt by association kind of deal. And here came the text messages...threatening, basically to kill him! She uttered the quote of the year (as far as I'm concerned) when she stated, "I am a 100 lbs of fury coming to get you!" I went nuts! Now every time I see her that is what I call her. Ive almost forgot her REAL name given her by her parents! I will ask Tim..."so where is 100 lbs of fury!??" "Shes up in the room" "Shes on her way out, gets here tomorrow". I cant wait to see how long those two last. Tim's my boy and everything....but as far as I can tell, course I'm not gay so I'm not very good at this stuff...she has him SERIOUSLY OUTCLASSED in the looks department!!!! Then again...have you seen Squirrel!!??? I'm kind of freerollin too! ANYWAY....congrats to Tim for another nice score in Vegas!

Ohhhhhh the Orleans....Gabe and Claudia. WOW. What a sage they had their last week there. They bought this new car before Vegas. The damn thing is JINXED! They got out there fine...unlike me, when MY ENGINE BLEW UP in Albuquerque! But once they got there...oh boy. First....they had a tire blow out. And they are custom wheels. Gabe bought the thing off of Ebay. He couldn't get the original owner to return a phone call. It took him two weeks to get a new tire put on that thing. Then his fan belts went to shit. Listening to that thing screech every time he pulled into the garage was kind of funny. I personally, could not DRIVE a car if it was making that noise!

Well, the night before the Orleans was to start...Gabe had a session, a cash game session at the Bellagio that didn't go especially well. In fact...it was one of those where you decide you are going to stay until you get it all back. I think we ALL know how THOSE usually end. So he ended up missing the Orleans tourney altogether. Well, upon leaving the Bellagio, the Valet guys crashed his car...basically ripping off the back end! This was on Saturday. He then gets five days of the biggest run around in history. My ass would have gone STRIAGHT into the CASINO MANAGERS office...parked my ass there until he saw me...and demanded instant satisfaction. What ended up happening was Gabe and Claudia ended up flying home, their car is still there waiting on a part from Japan that takes 3 weeks to get...then the Bellagio is shipping them their car on a train. WOW! What a nightmare. Luckily they have another car here. Claudia came by yesterday and brought me one of her surprises that we got three times while living in the house in Vegas. CLAUDIA PIE! Which (stop it you sickos!) is a Strawberry cream pie..and is amazing.

She also made brownies for Rooster. Then she, Squirrel and some other girls went to see Mamma Mia...a TRUE chick flick. Claudia is really a cool chick...I'm really, really glad we got to know each other this summer. She might swear a little too much, and be a little rough around the edges...but she has a great heart...and she is funny as hell. I really like her a lot. And Gabe. I'm glad they came into my life this summer. They are both joining us next Sunday night...when me, and about 14 people will celebrate Squirrels 30-somethin'ish birthday (you're welcome sweety!) by going to dinner at Bonefish Grill then the Def Leppard/Joan Jett concert at the coliseum. Should be a really fun night out.

Monkey's take on Internet poker to come...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back to Hot, Humid Biloxi

Well I have returned to Hot, Humid Biloxi.....

The drive home was...well, UNEVENTFUL! My car had no issues, which was nice. We visited the Hoover Dam...which would have been nice if it hadn't been 315 degrees outside and the tour would have just entailed me and Rick and not 135 other knuckleheads. Crowds...pushing....@*#@$# I hate that! Gabe and Claudia decided NOT to join us, but to stay behind in Vegas for a few days. Gabe wanted to play the Main Event at the Orleans...a $2000 buy in that I would expect maybe 50 players to attend. Monster.

Rick and I decided to skip the Grand Canyon tour. Three reasons. #1 Gas is $4 a gallon and the Canyon was a 225 mile 'diversion' #2 We wanted to make it back to Biloxi to play the Sat and Sun $235 buy in tourneys and #3 Squirrel gave me a guilt trip about "thinking maybe we could see the Grand Canyon together since I've never seen it either." Sigh.....okay. Skipping the Canyon! My new favorite thing in the world is RED BOX! Yeah...at every Wal Mart in America (except, as it turns out....BILOXI!) you will find a vending machine in Wal Mart where, for $1 a day, you can rent a movie..and return it to ANY RedBox in America. So in Las Vegas, we rented 3 movies. Finished them by the time we got to Albuquerque. Returned them to the Wal Mart right next to the Toyota dealership where my car spend 4 weeks getting the engine rebuilt after it blew up on the way TO Las Vegas! We rented 5 more there. Finished them somewhere in the middle of Texas...and returned and rented 5 more.

We pulled over ONCE, at a rest area somewhere in Texas, and slept for 5 hours....and continued home. Finished those movies...I dropped Rick off at home...and decided to return them at our Wal Mart. The greeter had no idea what I was talking about. And bless her heart and her 28 IQ...she kept trying to tell me I could buy some movies there but not rent them. Yeah, Yeah...thanks Sweety...have a nice day! So after calling Red Box, I get to send the movies (at my cost) to somewhere in Illinois now. Perfect.

Saturday. $235 buy in. $20k guarantee. Biggest field I have ever seen...around 160. Of course I forgot to change the time on my phone, so when I set the alarm for 9:45am...it was actually 11:45. Lovely. And Jessica no longer works there...so the 'ol call ahead and get me a seat system is no longer in play. So I got to race over there and go in as an alternate! DAMMIT!

On the drive there I had a nice conversation with my backer...who wasn't the least bit down and out about how our Vegas trip went. AND she decided she wants to be in on my action on the local tourneys. That is cool, it takes a lot of trust on her part to want to do that...since the results from these tourneys don't post anywhere, she is pretty much taking my word on how they go. Realistically I could win one and never tell her. However...that would make me a total weasel. And a moron. And invite Bad Karma. And screw over the one person who has stuck her neck out and taken a chance on me when others wouldn't.

Yeah, that would be a brilliant move. But I know there are those out there who do that kind of thing...and it makes me sad for them. So I agreed to that deal with her. And also agreed to sit down and work out the spreadsheet in the next few days and figure out how much exactly we lost in Vegas. She of course, was about to board a plane with her husband to go gallivanting in Paris for two weeks....NICE! Me? I'm about to lose to tournaments at the Beau Rivage, weed through 7 weeks of mail, figure out who I owe money to...spend a few days working in the yard, washing my car...taking Cheryl to dinner...hmmmm...who has the better end of this relationship? I think my backer!!!!!! Good for her!

Yeah, so I get to the Beau and whoa...what a crowd. I see that Eric Comer, who I had heard was offered the job but never heard for sure if he took it or not...was indeed the new poker tournament director. Hmmmm. Eric and I have a bit of a history. Some of it good, some of it not so good. He is quite fiery...which I actually kind of admire and respect. I actually think we have a lot in common, which should easily spell out why we have had our issues in the past. Those who I closest to in poker, I usually started out with despising at one time!

Eric has had some 'episodes' in his poker life that have sort of changed the course of his career. I have had some 'episodes' in my poker career that have also created some roadblocks during my travails! I think Eric and I are probably a couple of nights of drinks and shots away from being really good buddies. I will say this...Eric has as much poker knowledge as anyone I know in poker...and his presence at the Beau Rivage is a GAIN for them. Johnny Grooms is one of the best in the business, PERIOD...and he usually knows what he is doing, and hiring Eric to run the tourneys there should pay off for them. He will be overseeing the upcoming event in August as well, an event I am very excited about..as I try to run down Cub (Matt Culberson) for the ROUNDER OF THE YEAR contest!!!! I think, too that Eric and I may have worked out a 'call ahead seating' agreement...so I am feeling a little more relaxed about things now! Takes very little to keep Monkey happy! Well........

I am not going to go too much into detail on the next two days....lets just say that both days I made it to the 300/600 blind levels and both times lost coinflips to knock me out of what would have been nice scores. Kind of a bummer. On Saturday...this one kind of pissed me off, because the player it involved was a guy I have always liked, and respected....but after this, I feel like I now owe him a couple of beat downs, maybe even a slow roll. Bert...whose last name escapes me...but ya'all know him...he always has a white fedora on, he's older, very quiet. Cant believe I cant remember his last name...but you know him if you play down here.

Anyway...I pick up 10-10 at cutoff, I have 4200 chips. The blinds are 300/600...a standard raise would be about 1800...leaving me with 2400. Kind of tough to raise 1800 and leave that behind. So I was stacking my chips, counting this all out, figuring out the math on it...before finally thinking...well, there is 1400 in the pot....an all-in here isn't the worst play. So I shove all in. Well, it comes to Bert in the SB and he very annoyingly announces "all that damn stacking...oh let me see, this over here, this over there....(mocks my stacking) let me show you how easy it is....just grab them all and stick them out there!"

He was basically clowning me. Okay Bert...so you have a good hand, I GET IT! Its not like I'm stealing with crap! He turns over AK. Congratulations Bert you have AK...and of course you will flop not just the Ace but the King as well. I lose. Goodbye, and good luck everyone. Bert, welcome to my shit list...hope you enjoy the stay there.

While I was there this weekend, I found out just how many people are reading this. Wow. I was quite amazed. Flattered? I'm not sure. I guess so. I have had a blast writing in this. I'm not sure this is much of a contribution to society, or if anyone is really benefiting from this. I know I am. I always feel after writing that I have cleared my (mental) inbox of everything that I am feeling! The one thing I feel its causing in me though, is that now I feel like every time I sit down to play a tourney that I am expected to make the final table.

I cant think that this is a good thing. Maybe it is. I don't know. I do know that when people beat me they act like they have accomplished something major. Hmmm...that's funny to me. I'm no different than anyone else I don't think. The cards are the same. I had a guy make what I thought was a ridiculous play against me either Saturday or Sunday, don't even remember which day it was. He knows who I am I guess...and after the play, I made a couple remarks, not incendiary or anything, just remarks alluding to his inability to think his top pair with bad kicker was good against the board that was out there. He insisted on finding me on break and breaking down WHY he thought his hand was good there.

It cost me about half of my stack to bet behind his check on the river, betting the pot into what I was trying to represent the whole way down as a set. He called and took it down. I think a good player insta-folds to my bet there. But I don't know, maybe it was just a situation there where both sides were glued to their thinking. He NEVER saw my SIDE, and I NEVER saw his. But sometimes, you just don't WANT TO hear what they were thinking? But maybe I'm being stupid here...maybe I SHOULD WANT to hear what they are thinking, to help ME as a poker player?

You know...because sometimes you are left asking yourself...."what the (@#*@ was that guy thinking on that hand" well when they are willing to come up and TELL YOU....I guess you might just want to hear them out, huh? After all, I do NOT think I have this whole poker thing completely figured out, and am ALWAYS looking for ways to get better. That might be a step in the process.

That's about all I have for you guys. Some exciting news...after being banned from having chat by PokerStars for LIFE....that happened last July, that's over a year....I sat next to a guy from Stars out in Vegas who gave me the blueprint to getting it back, and VOILA!!!! I got it back! Played on Saturday and Sunday...and no kidding, cashed in 8 of 18 MTTS and/or SNGs that I played in. Took 3rd in a 20/180 (good for $450) that I should have won.

The next day I get a text from Ronnie at the IP, who has the guy who won standing there telling him how he beat me in it. Nice. Small world. Yeah the guy beat me. Whatever. I raise with 55. He calls in the BB with AQ. Flop comes 10-6-7....he checks. I bet the POT. He CALLS! Turns a Q. He checks I check...ace on river. He checks again...I'm not betting another penny. He turns over AQ. Yeah....beautiful play. Love those guys who call big bets with nothing other than OVERS! Yeah I made a horrible play because I was trying to hold out for 2nd place money ($780) when I had an open ended straight draw to his top pair betting into me. I should have shoved it right there but I folded. 3rd place sucks. What sucks more is when they go around bragging about how they beat you....especially when they suck!

So I plan to play most of the nightly tourneys this month at the Beau Rivage....and when I am not there, I will be at home playing on PokerStars mostly, under the username ThePokrMnky....maybe I can make a big score or two before the August Beau Rivage event arrives. I am also entertaining thoughts of going to WinStar in Oklahoma for a big 3 million guarantee tourney they are running there. I got buddies now living in Dallas who I would go stay with. We'll see what happens. Off to take Squirrel out to dinner for Sushi at some new Sushi restaurant here in town.

Thanks to all of you who have been reading this and giving me such nice feedback, as well as to all of you who have been following me while I was in Vegas. Sorry I wasn't able to bring back a huge score for us in Biloxi to get excited about...but hey, we GOT A LOTTA POKER TO PLAY THIS YEAR!!!!!!!! See ya all soon!!!!

MONKEY

Thursday, July 17, 2008

End of the Road

Its Over.

My Great Summer of 2008 in Vegas is over......

Sad but true. My 15 hour mission for one 'last lick' ended last night at 4am...with me walking out of the Planet Hollywood, having played the 2am DONKFEST, and, quite predictably...losing on a donkeyboy beat...not once...not twice...but three times....
I cant say I was sad or irritated, since I fully expected to experience this when I walked through those doors. My day started at the Ceaser's Palace. We got there late, but due to me being friends with the floor guys over there they got us in after registration had closed. MISTAKE. I made a bad read on a guy....who just happened to be holding, what else? ACES. I have run INTO ACES maybe NINE times this week.

Ugh. I left, went over to Mirage, with the idea of playing a sit n go. They weren't going off...so I sat in a cash game, quickly losing $150. I don't know why I thought QQ would hold up after I raised the $15 raiser to $40...only to be called by the clown with 97. Catching a board of K-7-10...I bet out $60. He calls. Turns a 7....there ya go. I left that game before I killed the guy. I go play Stud with perhaps the oldest people in the Western Hemisphere. 1-4 stud. So when I put $150 in red on the table, you would have thought I dropped $100,000 on the table. Whoops.

As it turned out I had more fun at that stud table than I had in several days, maybe weeks. It didn't hurt that I was running over the table. I love stud. Its a dying game...cant even find it in Biloxi anymore. They used to spread it at the Beau but not anymore. I was up about $75 when they called me for the $115 sit n go. And guess who was sitting on my left? Good 'ol 79 boy. He was on my left in the cash game as well...and he has this little habit of turning his right knee directly into the player on his rights' thigh. After about five minutes of fidgeting around I finally just said "Dude, if you could do me a favor please and quit shoving your @#$(*$@ knee into my thigh I would really appreciate it!" This guy turns out to be one of those jerkoffs you simply CANT BEAT...no matter what cards you have.

He couldn't miss anything...was running over the sit n go. I get AK in the BB....he limps in again for $150. I decide to flat it and try to trap. Flop comes K-9-3. I think about betting then decide to check to him. He leads out $550. Perfect. "I'm all in. $1150" He calls...of course...and turns over the EVER POWERFUL K-6..........and hey hey hey...what hits the river? You know it! Time to leave The Mirage. Went and met Rick across the street at Venetian, who was losing his ass in the WSOP Texas Hold Em casino game..the one I had turned him onto a couple days ago. He was irritated again.

We went to dinner at Palazzo...wow, you talk about a nice casino. The biggest, wide-open thing you have ever seen. Talk about a lot of unused space. I don't know what is going on in the gambling industry...I read a trade magazine yesterday about how EVERYONE is down this year...and down big. And yet all these new casinos, bigger and more beautiful than ever keep popping up all over the place. Squirrel is a cocktail waitress at the Beau and is so bummed out at how slow its been there. Sorry...for that little sidebar. We decide after dinner to play the 8pm $180 tourney at Venetian.

I tread water for about two hours...then this assclown who has been alternating between sitting and drinking his ice coffee while playing one hand out of ten...and sweating his buddy at the final table of the 5K tourney (turns out he had 40% of his action) watching with his hands on his hips like some kind of hairdresser in SoHo...prancing around sporting his man boobs. I hated this guy. After his buddy sucked out and ran around squealing like a pig repeating over and over "YEaaaahhh....ONE TIMEEEEE baby.....ONE TIMEEEE...ship it oneee timmmeeeeeeeee........." Everyone at the table took a collective sigh of "I hate that guy" which resulted in the inevitable. Me placing a $100 bounty on his Greg Brady-looking friend with his twitchy eyes and his chip fondling, chip flinging ways.

UGH! So there it was...bounty in play! He finally rejoins the table for an amazing 6 hands in a row. He is the guy who likes to Re-pop behind the limp/limp/raise scenario..... or raise 2x the pot behind the limp/limp/limp scenario. Just like our Euro buddies. I laid down a hand about three times to this crap...then finally I limp in with QJ spades...guy limps behind me...and 'ol twitchy eyes flicks $2000 in there. I have $3800. Screw it. I'm over it. I UPS that shit...and find AJ of hearts.

Perfect. Looks okay though when I flop 9s-8d-2s.....any spade, any Q, any 10.....but nope, I brick it out...and jagoff gets all my chips. I DO SAVE my $100 bounty though! He would proceed to donk off a pretty big stack of chips in less than hour. I went over and bought into a $1/$2 game for $300 and when I cashed out at 1:30am had $1260. So I won what I would have had to finish 3rd in the tourney to win. Not to shabby. That was when I bee-lined it over to Planet Hollywood to play that stupid tournament. And you know how that ended.

Its weird around here now. Its pretty much taken on a ghost-town like feel. All the tourneys have less than 100 players, so its not much better than the tourney scene in Biloxi. I know this weekend they have the $20,000 guarantee at the Beau...so I am feeling somewhat motivated to get on the road and get home by Friday to catch that. I'm sure Squirrel is going to be ecstatic with me coming home and going straight to the casino to play poker. Once the WSOP leaves town...its like there is a big hangover. Its kind of depressing.

Frank played yesterday in the WPT Bellagio...and got up to over a half million chips around 5pm....but as I was trying like crazy to get an update around 11pm...no website would give me the chip counts....I cant understand the lack of coverage on a damn $15,000 buy in event with most of the worlds best players...but finally found out that he had busted out, I think 35th. I was bummed for him. But it does mean that I don't have to sit around until Thursday to watch him at the Final Table as I promised I would. Two weeks ago, I loaned a guy $2000....it was a friend of Allie's who I felt I wouldn't need to sweat getting the money back from...they were on a blackjack bender. I was promised it back in four days. Well...needless to say, I haven't gotten it back. Then, my old backer wanted to buy a piece of my WSOP Main Event action...so a day before I played I sold him 12.5% of myself for $2500.

Got out of Day 1....called about it....since it wasn't in my account...told me not to worry about it....it would be there. Next day. Not there. Played and got out of Day 2. Still no money. Then lose early on Day 3. Money? Still not in my account. Now have called and texted twice and heard nothing. I love this life. That's $4500 out on the limb. It pisses me off...because had I cashed I would have paid him his piece right away. Like I ALWAYS do. I'm so tired of getting strung along. So I am going home with, lets just say...a tiny little bit of irritation lingering deep in my soul! And I have no money on PokerStars....what little money I had Squirrel has depleted with her late-night, bored and lonely sessions on there. So before I leave for the drive home, I need to get some money on there. I have the wireless card...I hope to let Rick drive some so I can get my fix!!!!!!

I woke up around noon today and thought it would be nice to head out to the pool and try and recapture what I spent the last 8 days losing...my killer Vegas tan! Between being locked away in the poker room coupled with the last 6 days here being overcast with the occasional rain showers....despite still being 90-100 degrees everyday. This following 6 consecutive weeks of nothing but clear skies and 110-115 degrees and every day of pool and tanning.

Great...so what happens? I go out there when its nice and sunny...only to watch this huge cloud roll in..and start raining and here comes thunder. Hey cool..maybe I will get hit by lightening on my last day here! So naw..instead I've come back into the house to sit on the couch with Claudia and watch Jerry Springer and his Leg and Torso-less security guy. WTF is that all about? Claudia is now discussing the merits of the Springer Show...how it has never crossed her mind to get into a fight with another girl with her shirt off! But that she wouldn't mind giving it a shot! Lord, please kill me! I love my life!

Me, Rick, Claudia and Gabe might leave tomorrow morning, driving together. We all kind of want to see a tour of the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Make a bit of a longer trip of it. My buddies JD and Smoke (from Baton Rouge) just moved to Dallas to open a bar (I think) so we might stop in there and spend the night before making our way back to Biloxi. I don't know though....as the weather is crap outside, and its 1pm here...IM thinking more and more about leaving today. Otherwise, I might be tempted to go down and find something to play...which is just going to make me tired for tomorrow's drive. Probably talk to you all when, or after...I get back to Biloxi, hopefully after a nice score at the Beau Rivage. Take care!

MONKEY

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Laugh Track at Mirage.

You posted the blog yesterday....and I was reading it on my Blackberry...and while at Mirage playing in their 7pm tourney ended up having the whole table reading it. Let me just say, when I write this thing, I am NOT TRYING to be FUNNY. I am usually just blurting out whatever is on my mind. Apparently, I am now a comedian...the whole table was in stitches. Interesting.

Rick and I were going to try and go play the 7pm 2nd chance at Orleans. Rick got (again) late in the noon tourney over there...I was going to play there only because I could be there to sweat him in that deal. Well, on my drive over there he busts out. Guy under the gun with a lot of chips raises with 66...and he moves in for quite a lot with AK in the BB. My opinion there was that he should have flatted it (smooth call) and see a flop, knowing that the guy would NEVER fold to his all in.

Well, he hit the ACE on the flop....had he flatted it....he could have shoved then and the guy would have folded. He didn't though...and when the guy turned a 6 it was over for Rick, and I had to deal with him feeling like he hated poker for the rest of the night. I went and played the 7pm at Mirage....a $125 joke of a tourney with 37 players...nice. Pretty much a four table sit n go. I couldn't catch a break. Its official, my perfect record of never cashing a Mirage tourney continues.

ON the one chance I had to double up, with 14 left...I catch JJ behind a shortstack (shorter than MINE!) all in...and what does he have? What else? A9 offsuit. Flops an ace of course...but wait, I turn a JACK! No way....are we turning the trend? Nope, he rivers a four-card club flush. How nice. Then they move Mr. Tattoo to our table, you know the guy...tattoos all over his body, too many chains and bracelets, ball cap turned sideways...and a lot of chips that he got early on accident. Either calling or raising every hand...then betting out 2000 anytime it checked to him. whatever. I got blinded out.

The good news is that I quickly got into a $120 sng with a $20 last longer....it would end up being the LONGEST sit n go on this trip. Played heads up with the guy for over an hour...with the blinds at 1000/2000 I moved in on this guy with 10-3 hearts...beauty...and got called by his AQ. I lose. 2nd place. Good for $350 and the $80 last longer. SO the day wasn't a total lost. Then I won $150 in blackjack...which for me is like winning a THOUSAND! I NEVER WIN IN BLACKJACK!

Well, while I was doing this Rick was sitting with his Iphone and his statistical info telling him how to hit a Royal Flush on the video poker machine. He was in for $400 and was completely convinced he was going to hit it by 1:15am...and if not we would leave. Well, he was pretty close. At 1:12am...this little old lady two machines away from him nailed it! He was, uh...lets just say....FREAKING OUT! I couldn't help but kind of snicker. He is 46 years old, but sometimes I would swear he is 11. Cracks me up.

We went home and Claudia was hosting another 'BIG DEUCE' game while Gabe was overwhelming chipleader in some Full Tilt $11 buy in with 145 players and 35 left. She appeared to be cleaning house on her Big Deuce guests...as they were playing for $10 a card. I declined a spot in the game. Instead of spent an hour cleaning the house and went to bed.

You need someone to rail now that the November Nine are done for the summer? Well, how bout getting behind the "COOLEST MOST NON-PRETENTIOUS RICH GUY YOU WILL EVER MEET" in the WPT Bellagio Cup? Once I would like to see someone spell his name right (sure he would too!)....FRANK KASSELA, who has about 325K and sits in around 7th as the action continues today...they start at noon and play down to 27 today. If he makes the final table he is going to put me up at Bellagio so I can watch him. Frank is from Dallas originally but has been living in Memphis for the last few years....and is married to Piper who is from the Memphis area. I would love to see him go deep. He is the one who staked me in the Venetian 5K. So lets get some Rail Love for Frank there!

I am off to play the noon tourney at the House of Satan....a $120 juice-fest (they take $30 of the $120 for 'fees') at Ceasers Palace. Trying like crazy to win something....ANYTHING...before I leave the City of Sin.

MONKEY

Monday, July 14, 2008

Harrahs is the devil

Harrah's IS the Devil!

Well, here we are, down to 27 in the Main Event. I have a mantra that I adopted quite awhile, that when I eliminated from an event that event is officially DEAD to me. However, with the Main Event it is kind of hard NOT to keep at least ONE eye on what is going on. Two or three things about this event I have opinions on. First of all, a guy I have come to be pretty good friends with, Brandon Cantu, is still in contention and has been among the chipleaders for most of the way.

I met Brandon on my trip out here in February. We hung out at Seamless together and talked about a lot of things poker related and otherwise. He is very level-headed and I can see that a lot of logical thinking and strategic positioning go into his poker playing. We spend a night about two weeks before the World Series started hanging out at VooDoo (club in Rio) and then Seamless, me, him and a lot of my other friends.

It was our one BIG NIGHT OUT on this trip. That night I had Allie Prescott with me, who was hammered to the point of unconscious, and when I got him to his house he was locked out. To avoid bringing him to my house, I climbed a tree and jumped across to the roof and pried a window open. Just the Monkey being a monkey! Anyway, Brandon has had a great year. He won the Bay 101 up in San Jose for a million and took down a big tourney on PokerStars for $75,000. He is a solid player. I am happy for him. I would love to see him make the Final Table. I will tell you what is going to make a very interesting Final Table.

This girl Tiffany Michelle, who I have gotten to know in the past year as the CHIP UPDATE girl...she works for Poker News...somehow got into this event and on Day 2 was at the table behind me when I was at the table with Jen Harman...has managed to get herself into a pretty enviable position going into this, the most CRITICAL day in ANY poker players life. If she can manage to make it to the Final Table she is going to be set for life. Why? Because she is attractive. And that is the only reason.

Because if you look up her stats...she HAS NONE. She is going to be your prime example of the luckbox who got hit with the deck at the right time...and was good enough to NOT donk off her chips. I like the girl. She is cool. I would love to see it happen for her. It just makes me a bit irritated and frustrated that guys like me who have 30+ tournament cashes grind and grind and just keep getting cut short of big scores by bad luck and bad players and continue to flounder in relative anonymity while these other come from nowhere and become overnight superstars who will undoubtedly get deal upon deal handed to them.

Am I bitter? Yeah, maybe just a little bit. But I know that if I keep plugging away, keep my head straight...not get impatient, that it will all come to me someday as well. The big superstars have fallen. Matusow, OUT. Hellmuth, OUT. Hellmuth, on the last hand of the night, night before last...incurs a penalty for calling a guy an idiot...and comes back the next day and sees a 1/10th of his stack blinded off while serving it. That could not have helped too much. Incidentally, the reason for calling the guy an idiot was that the guy (an idiot) called his raise out of the blinds with 10-4! He, of course flopped two pair. Yeah, sorry, but I have to agree with Phil there...and that is a rare occurrence on my part! I really cant wait to see who makes this final 9.

Harrah's. Ugh. As much venom that gets spewed about these guys...and then they go and pull a move that NO ONE can figure out. 6,844 players started this tournament. Typically, 10% of the field makes the money. Which in this case would be roughly 684. I think that an even number of 675 would have made sense. But some how, some way, for some unknown reason...Harrah's settles on 666? Everyone is talking about it...and now, officially, everyone is convinced that Harrah's IS the devil.

Two nights ago...I am playing the 7pm at Ceaser's (another Harrah's property) and early in the game I get knocked out when, holding JJ I take a flop of 666!!!!!! Other guy just happened to have AA. Of course! Ceaser's Palace...there are some nice guys working over there...but that is where my compliments end. They made the biggest gaffe this summer...by running their Mega Stacks tournament when they did. By running their events at noon, not only were they competing with their own product at the Rio but ran up against Venetian.

It was just idiotic. One of their guys was telling me in February that they were "planning on running something this summer to compete with Venetian" and I told him then....in order to maximize the player pool, they should stagger the start time, start it at 2pm or 3pm....simply make it a 2-day event (which they DID ANYWAY!)...that way you get everyone who busts out of the other tourneys that all start at noon, thus guaranteeing all the properties bigger fields/payouts.

But no, and I am sure it was a decision made upstairs by corporate bozos who don't think like poker players but corporate baboons (no offense to myself) who merely are in competition with each other. So stupid. We could have really seen some HUGE fields at every event this summer, but leave it to good 'ol stupid Harrah's to screw it up. And their structures? Even worse. We played to 100-200 then had the greens ($25) taken OUT OF PLAY...no antes at ALL until the 600/1200 level....which meant a few things. First of all you are forced to make even number raises....no 250, 350, 425, 450 raises....no...they have to be 400/500/600...whatever....takes a lot of strategy out of the process.

Also, by not having 25 and 50 ante levels, you are taking a lot of pot value away from the three levels that those are usually in play, and what that did was to encourage incredibly tight play...since there is a lot of risk in stealing blinds when there is very little there to be stolen in relation to your chip stack. What that did was to slow down the play for four levels. NOW here is the harebrained reply I got when asking the reason for taking the antes out of play for four levels. 'We found that having the levels with the 25 and 50 antes slowed down the play too much because the dealers were taking up too much time collecting the antes, and also some of the players liked not having the antes that early.'

Okay so what we get is basically this explanation, translated for you by me "We found that our dealers suck so bad that we took the antes away to speed up the action, when in actuality it slowed DOWN the action, which basically rendered this as a counterproductive act...and we decided to cater to the awful players who don't understand that adding the 25 and 50 antes provide you the opportunity to make a move at the stage of the tournament when you can build the kind of stack required to win a tournament!" But hey, I understand why Harrah's would want to keep attracting bad players! And case in point...last night. Lets call yesterday A TRULY AWFUL DAY!

Venetian 5K. I was incredibly excited to play this event. Frank Kassela put me in and I wanted to do really well for him. The night before it started I won not ONE but TWO $540 single table satellites, to restore a little respectability to my bankroll, so I was in a really good mood coming in. In the 2nd one I had one of the sit n gos where I just NEVER missed a flop. It was awesome. We all started with 5000 chips. So 50,000 in play. With 6 players left....I had 30,000!!!!

And I don't blow leads like that. I didn't blow that one either. It was great. After having won 3 of 5 sit n gos the night before, I was actually starting to regain some of the huge losses I have encountered over the last week. So we start the day yesterday and I have some big hands. Set of 8s turns into a boat on the river with a guy chasing a straight flush for two cards. I get QQ twice and lose both times. I pretty much now feel that when I see QQ I should just muck them! At my table were some pretty crazy players. I had "lilholdem" a pretty successful online player...who looks like a strange cross between Eminem and a Keebler elf.

Then we had the standard 4 Euros...from Germany, Sweden, England and Italy. I have NO idea why these guys play like they do over there...but if ANYONE ever INVITES me to play in Europe there better be three things that happen.....(1) my buy ins are totally covered by someone else, (2) All of my other expenses are covered as well (3) there be an unlimited supply of alcohol and depression/anxiety medication! These people drive me NUTS! THere was NOT A SINGLE hand where if there were more than 3 limpers that a 2x pot raise wasn't made in late position.

Well, I would get skewered by that play. I am one of those players who doesn't like to RE raise with AK early in a tourney, and it would come back to haunt/kill me! With the blinds 50/100...and my sitting on 28K....starting chips were 25K....there is a limpfest in progress......5 limpers for 100. And the clown from England makes it 700 on the button. I am in the SB with AK.

I decide to just call. Being a player with a tight image, I figure I don't need to re-raise, that very few are going to call the 700, my chances of getting heads up with this idiot are pretty good. And in fact they all fold. THE FLOP? Oh...lets get what should be the perfect flop.....A-K-4. I check (check-raise). He bets out 1500. I raise him to 4500. He gives me this 'you don't have anything' look.....and moves his chips around for about 3 minutes....then RE-RAISES me.

Well, there is NO WAY I am putting this guy on 44. AA is more of a possibility...but I just don't see it. I think if he had AA...he would have just flat called me and got the rest on the turn. NOPE, I just think he is making a play to take down the pot...putting ME on a move. BUT I am sure in my head that I have the best hand...and I AM right. He watches me push all in and INSTA-CALLS. Now I'm thinking "oh shit he has Aces or Kings" but oh no. HELL NO. What does he turn over? Remember the other night?

When four from the money, and about to drag a 250K pot my opponent made the HERO call with A9? Well this clown also turns over A9. I and the rest of the table are stunned. WTF? Well, don't worry about it....Monkey is NOT about to chip up to over 50K like I think I am going to. Nope....the turn card is a 9...and on a 615 to 1 shot....he also rivers the 9. That's right. WHY NOT!!!!!??? Steve Danneman, who I had spent five or ten minutes chatting with at the table behind me earlier, was watching as this went down...and I swear....I think he was about to offer me a hug! I'm pretty sure I would have taken one. :)

I couldn't believe it. I was left with 475 chips. Great. I did TRIPLE UP on the next hand. QJ finds a KQQ board with the other player holding Q3. Amazingly, no 3 hits the river. Now I have 1700....I get down to 1300. I pick up KK under the gun...and gamble on a limp here for 200. Our little internet buddy, sitting on about 8,000 decides to raise me 1200.

I ask him...."hmmm did you miss the raise there by 100 or are you leaving me 100 for breakfast and a taxi home?" He gives me this stupid look...and I tell him..."well, Im certain I'm ahead but we have seen what that is good for in this place! I'm all in for another 100!" He turns over 6/8 of diamonds. Nice. No problem...he flops a 6 and turns an 8 and Monkey leaves the building. I called Frank and told him the upsetting news.

He took it very well. I felt a little better. He was really the main reason I felt bad, I really wanted to do well for him. Anytime someone takes a shot on me I really, really want to win for them...so I was really mainly upset about that. I get to my car, put on a good song...and am pulling out, past the front door, when who do I see waiting on a cab? "lilHoldem" himself! I pull up next to him....roll down my window, and ask him...."say, you need a ride to a place where you can get internet access? I then roll up my window and drive off."

Earlier at this table he had gotten into it with a guy in the ONE seat, who lives in New York and works in the commodities market with Oil and natural gas and is clearly pretty wealthy. He had told the kid...."you know, you really should stick to playing internet poker where you don't have to see or talk to anyone" Well, that blew up into a big 'who can insult the other one best' contest...I would have to give the edge to the guy from New York...although the kid did get in one good comeback. New York Guy "I've lost more in one day than you have won in your life" LiLHoldem "I wouldn't consider that to be a very impressive accomplishment." The whole table had a good laugh on that one. Yeah, I think Mr New York would like a do-over on that one!

I went home...took an hour in the hot tub....watched Claudia sit on the couch and play some stupid video game on her phone....where she would be when I got home later at 2am...playing the SAME GAME....sitting in the SAME SPOT on the couch. Claudia goes back today for Day 2 of the BELAGIO CUP championship with a decent stack, as does Frank....I hope they BOTH do well. I picked up Rick and we decided to go play the 7pm $160 at Ceasers. WHY? Dont know...because I like to please the Devil. I sit down a little late...and immediately MISS every flop I play.

I watch this kid....a skinny, ugly kid wearing a terrible shirt make a huge moron play....check this out....blinds 100/200.....guy in 2nd position raises to 400...which you all should know by now how much I LOATHE the min raise...but whatever, he does it anyway (he is holding AK) well SCRAWNY BOY makes it 1200 to go. He likes to re-raise...pretty sure is also from some European place. First guy calls. Here comes the flop....K-4-8. The first guy bets out 1500. Well Scrawny RAISES to 3000.

By the way...he is holding AQ offsuit. The first guy goes all in, and when Scrawny calls we ALL think (assume) that he has AA at WORST! NOPE. Scrawny is pretty much drawing dead...and loses half his stack. Two hands later....I have KJd and limp in behind two limpers. I am sitting on 3400 chips...we started with 6K...so I could sure use a courtesy double up. Scrawny is in the SB and doesn't raise amazingly enough with his J6 offsuit. The flop comes J-4-2. Scrawny fires out 600. Folds to me. I FedEx my 3400 chips...and he INSTACALLS! Great...I must be up against two pairs at worst. No No...just J6.

I announce "hey great call bud, no problem I'm sure you must have a 6 coming....." And just like clockwork....the dealer slides a 6 on the turn. The table just looks in astonishment as I get up, laughing...and leave the table. I did say this to him "son, I sure do hope you aren't an organ donor, cuz God forbid someone should get stuck with YOUR brain some day" GOOD LUCK! Checking on the table later...he was OUT before the next break. I love poker. Well...things would turn out better for me. After getting whacked I found a $120 sng...that I also got 7 people to do a $20 last longer in...so it was $550 for first and $140 in the last longer. With four left...and me and the one other last longer guy still in it, He moves all in for 3600.

I have 3200 and AK. I tell him "I am going to call you....but before I do, I think I am ahead of you right now....I am willing to chop the last longer if you'd like right now, before this hand plays out" He declined. Okay. He turned over AJ...and amazingly....for ONCE....I won with the best hand! He was down to 400 chips...with the blinds 300/600. I pick up 88 and raise to 1200...he has 45 and I flop a set of 8s. Thanks for coming out....and thanks for the 140.

I would steamroll the remaining two players and take down $690...minus a $30 tip for the dealer.....then, waiting on Rick to get knocked out of the tourney...go pick up another $250 in the cash game...so it wasn't a terrible day after all. Rick got whacked close to the money....again....and was bummed, so we went out and played some of that WSOP Hold Em casino game, a game I like, feel its the only one where your odds are actually decent to win. We pooled out winnings and after two hours left with a couple hundred bucks. Called it a night.

Today we are all going to play the $550 event at Orleans. I think its about the only thing really going on in town that's worth a damn. Should be a pretty big field. I have never played at Orleans...though I have been there. Its...what should we say here...well I am not going to sugar coat it, the place is a dump! A good place to go though if you like people watching! One of the most entertaining things for me to do is sit and watch the parade of people go by in whatever casino I am in...its just so damn funny to see what people will wear, or how they will do their hair....but mostly...what they will wear!

I would really like to make one more decent cash before I leave Vegas. The lease on the house is up on the 16th...two more days...I am getting kind of sad...this was supposed to be my breakout summer...and it looks like I am going to be going home down for the trip. Feel bad for my backer. And I hate the idea of driving all the way back home a loser. Maybe something good will happen in the next couple days. And at least I know that when I get back home Squirrel will be very happy to see me, whether I won a bunch of money or not...and that's a nice feeling. Also, I will be very happy to see my dogs, who I ALWAYS miss when I am gone! Rick is making the road trip with me, and I think we are going to see two things I have never seen....a tour of the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Well this should be another exciting day...gotta get showered and outa here....hope you all are having a nice time down there on the blazing hot gulf coast!!!! See ya soon!!!!

MONKEY

Friday, July 11, 2008

Sit 'N Go Easy

Hey just won a sit n go! Woo hoo! Busted out of todays nooner FAST! Me and rick both. Frank Kasella is putting me into the venetian main event 5k. Very excited to AGAIN play for someone that i like and respect so much. Should be a huge field. Playing for 40%
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Just won ANOTHER sit n go! The taste of victory has returned to my parched tongue! Playin the 8pm at venetian.
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The Dream is Dead.

And it didn't take long.

But believe it or not...losing out of the WSOP Main Event wasn't even the
biggest disappointment of the day.
I got to the Rio on time....got parked in Valet....and saw Chris Moneymaker, who I know pretty well. We talked about our situations...almost identical.
Sitting on 80K at dinner break...going in the tank the last five hours...and closing out with only 35K'ish. We walked in wishing each other the best.

I sit down. Victor Ramdin and his mountain of chips are two doors down from me in the four seat. First hand I pick up Q5. Fold. Another player raises and takes it down. On the next hand I look down at QQ. Blinds are 800/1600. I raise to 4500. The BB gives me that "how dare you raise MY blinds looks" and delays for awhile. He raises me, I think it was 6K more. Well, it didn't make a lot of sense for me to call off 10K if I wasn't going to be willing to put in the rest...I am sitting there though, and I am thinking back to 2006, when in the same situation with QQ...I raised then, the BB put me all in and he had AK...rivering a King and sending me packing about 400 from the money. I remember how horrible that feeling was...so I was hesitant to play the QUEENS.

After all, on Day 2...I had raised with them UTG...and got raised FOUR times my raise by the tightest player at the table and folded without hardly even hesitating. I just felt like this guy was trying to squeeze me. He had a LOT of chips and I was feeling like he was preying on my small stack. I moved all in. He turned over AA. Oh my god! I was feeling a lot better when the dealer put out Q-7-10! It blew up in my face though when the A of clubs came on the turn.....10 on the river and I was gone. I shook his hand, wished everyone well, and left. OR TRIED TO! They were letting the spectators in, a LOT of them, and I was like a salmon trying to swim upstream....it was very frustrating.

I finally got out into the Hall...and who do I see? Chris Moneymaker..who had JUST got whacked as well. WOW! That was quick. His beat was on an attempted bluff. We walked out together. I got my car and decided to shoot over to Venetian and play the $550 over there. Ended up being 473 players. I went in and played very loose and crazy. Called an over bet with 66 and flopped 4-6-7. Raiser bets, I call. Turn 7. He bets again. I raise. He calls. River didn't matter. He checks. I bet big, he calls. Didn't show. Half an hour in and I'm up from 15K to 25K. Then the @*&(@$# hits the fan. Sort of. Luckily I am good friends with all the floor guys over there.

There was this lady in the #1 seat, who I find out later is Jeff Pollacks personal assistant at Harrahs who was a total bitch. For some reason she thought she was some kind of great player. She was basically trying to correct everyone on every little thing. I dont remember how I finally got into it with her...but when I did, IT WAS ON! She says "I know I made it longer in the WSOP than YOU did!" Oh really? So you got knocked out FIVE minutes ago? Cuz I got knocked out TEN minutes ago! It kept going back and forth and finally, I put a $200 bounty on her. The whole table got excited about THAT! Well, on the break she goes and whines about it to the floor guys. They come talk to me about it in private, it was more of a joke, but I agreed to NOT keep the bounty on her...I guess if I paid someone a bounty after whacking her they could disqualify me. So I told them I would pay the person on the next break!

They actually laughed at that one! I go back to the table. A few hands later she makes this huge donkey play. Pushing all in on a board where she had middle pair and a 3rd nut flush draw against a guy who had flopped broadway. She missed and was left with less than 1000 chips! HA! Couple hands later I get into a hand with 910s. The flop is A77, two spades. Raiser checks. I should have bet right there but I didnt. I brick the next two...and him and I are talking about what we think the other guy has...and suddenly she starts claiming that we are colluding! HUH!??? Yeah I am colluding to lose $3000 chips! I told her "lady, you are just bitter and pissed off because you made a donkey play and lost all your chips....and to cite collusion is about the biggest a-hole thing you can accuse a player of, especially when its so FAR off base!" Well, here she goes again, calling the floor.

They come over, and for calling her a donkey, which I didnt....I said she made a DONKEY play....I get my FIRST penalty of the trip! Yes! Finally! I get a ten hand penalty. Big deal. On the 4th hand of my penalty...she gets whacked. BYE BYE lady! Have a nice day. I spend the next five hours getting drunk and stacking up chips. In fact...it went by so fast...I couldn't believe it when I looked up and we were at 49 players....4 from the money!!!??? Wow. Well, I get moved to this table full of total MORONS! Literally the first hand I see when I sit down, with the blinds 1500/3000 is this guy SHOVING all in for 65k under the gun (with JJ)...and getting called by this lady with A7! Jacks held. I actually pick up some hands....KK....AQ...99...and chip up from 80k to 130K....starting to look like another certain cash, which would be my 10th of the trip. The money was $714...so at least I would get my buy in back plus...but I had a great chance to get deep in this thing and if I could win a big share of the $70,000 first prize, I could really get over not cashing the Main Event.

Well, here we go. This dipshit in the two seat...who had just laid down 88 five hands earlier...when there was a raise and THREE callers(getting a great price there and FOLDING? Great laydown, clown!)...then flops an 8 and goes bananas...only to see that another player with QQ had flopped a set of Queens, so I am thinking this guy is capable of making 'decent' laydowns right? He raises at cutoff, from 3000/6000 blinds...to 21,000. I look down at 10-10 on the button. He has about 75K behind his raise. So I find a good number to re raise him....60K. Another 39 to call. He tanks....I know I have him killed, know he was stealing with probably a weak ace, or a small pair. HE CALLS! Huh? The flop comes out 4-2-6....rainbow...pretty much a dream flop. He checks. I go all in for 55K. I assume he is auto folding. I even tell him when he looks at me...dude, I have a big overpair...save your money. I will let you see the cards. But NO! He CALLS!!!!!! And turns over A9! WTF!??? He called 60K PREFLOP with that garbage! The turn was a miss....and on the river!???? AN ACE!!!!!!!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! I am not going to lie...I WENT NUTS! I should be sitting there with 250K and a path to an almost certain final table...and instead, I am OUT. NO CASH! another wasted 11 hours of my life at Venetian, losing not to a GOOD PLAYER...but yet another MORON, IDIOT DONKEY!

I left Rick there, who was playing the 8pm tourney and had chipped up to 15K as I was leaving. He is going for the lead in 'HOUSE CASHES'...we are tied at 9 each. Oh...almost forgot to tell you guys that story. The night BEFORE Day 2....I was jonesing for some poker action. I had taken Monday totally off from poker. On Tuesday I went to Binions where my buddies Allie Prescott and Lou Esposito were both at the Final Table of their 2K Main Event. Allie would finish 6th...and Lou would end up taking it down. He got this plastic trophy that he joked about all the way back to the Rio where I dropped him off. I then went to Venetian to try and build up my bankroll in sit n gos.

After finishing 4th...that was cute, too. Two pairs with the nut flush draw and this german fool calls with 10-3 offsuit...where the only way he can win is by hitting a NON diamond 8 for a straight. he hit it.. For some dumb reason I decide to play the 8pm $180 tourney. Well, I went on a big run midway through that and almost won it...before getting my 88's rivered by a Q against the guy holding KQ offsuit, or I have a TON of chips. I finish 16th....for a whopping $277...and get home at 3am. Perfect. But it had zero effect on me the next day in Day 2. In fact, if anything,

I think it helped me. I really think I had gotten TOO much sleep the last couple of nights. First place that night was $8500. I should have won SO MUCH MONEY on this trip so far. I cannot BELIEVE I am DOWN for the trip. Its ridiculous...but a testimony to how FREAKING hard it is to be a profitable poker player when doing it for a living. You just really, really HAVE to get that top 3 finish once or twice a year and just hoard that money....not blow it, not buy into a bunch of bigger buy in events...and NOT BLOW it in CASH GAME! I feel bad because I haven't added it up yet, but I think I have really gone through a LARGE portion of my backers bankroll since I have been here. I have a week to take something down before the house lease is up and I have to drive home. I really am NOT looking forward to driving that drive, at $4.25 a gallon...on the bad money run that I am on.

ACE NINE! Un-freaking-believable! Its really a good thing I don't carry a gun.

I am at home now....licking my wounds. I think that sitting down and writing this is a bit therapeutic. I already feel a little better, just talking about it. I have to try and focus on the positive. I have played great on this trip. I have earned a ton of respect (I think, anyway) and I have met a lot of great people. The results are always RIGHTTHERE but just not finishing out. But what can I do? Such is the life of a professional poker player. I am probably going to 'medicate' now and read myself to sleep. Oh, by the way...Jena is out. Poor thing. She has a decent stack...raises with KK...only to be reraised ALL IN by a guy with JJ....I'll take that race for a double up to 190K......but never mind...the jackass hits a Jack on her...and she joined me on the rail. So everyone in the house is OUT! Gabe and Claudia went and played a $1400 satellite at the Bellagio for a seat in their $15,000 Main Event. Claudia WINS! But she didn't want to play, she wanted to pass it to Gabe to play. They wont transfer it. So now of course, she is hacked!

I'm just wondering...now that I am OUT of the Main Event...am I not allowed to post on the blog anymore? Do I get fired? Does anyone care now? I mean....we have a week of tourneys out here...then its home to play the daily/nightly tourneys at the Beau Rivage...until the Gulf Coast thing gets there in August. I guess I will play it by ear!!!! Good night everyone!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 3 Today

I tried to write this when I got in last night at 3am but I was so tired I fell asleep in bed and my laptop went dead...so I will try to do this now...even though it is 10:47 and I have to be back in the Amazon room at noon. I am a slave to the BLOG!!!!

Well, if you guys are following along, you knew by going to the updated chip counts that I survived. Yikes, you talk about a grind! I am now sitting on 34,400 chips. I guess you could say I went back from Day 1 and doubled up!!!! I have to call the day a disappointment though. In the first part of the day, I went in and played very carefully. I was trying to find a good place to get it in good in search of a double up. Well, after I got down to 11k I finally woke up with AA and a guy (the loosest guy at the table-a guy from Europe somewhere who looked like Spider Man) raising behind me. I re-popped, he put me all in with his QQ....and my Aces held. A while later, the 84 year old guy on my left, the oldest player to ever win a bracelet (Seniors Event a few years ago, and a very nice man) slid me a HUGE pot. In the SB I completed the blinds with K5. The flop came K-5-4. Nice. Check. Check. Check. Turn 7. I check again. Old guy bets 1500. Other player folds. I raise to 4000. He moves all in, and has me covered. Wow....I hated to see my Main Event end here but I had to think I was good. I called and he showed....um...J7. Wow. No 7 on the river and I chipped up to 50k. Then I went on a tear. 33, I flop a 3 and take an 8,000 pot. 10,10....I flop a set again...and win another 10k. 88...I flop 6-7-8 all diamonds...scarry...but I bet out big and the other player folds. Whew. I was up to around 80k at the dinner break and was starting to think I might make it out of the day with the 100k I had made as my goal and be in excellent shape to cash at the very least. Cashing right now is good for $21,000...which would be great at this point in the trip.

On dinner break I grabbed a steak with my buddy Frank Kassella, who took an awful beat. He had around 100k and flops Q-7-6 holding 77. Disguising his hand by not raising preflop was his opponent who held QQ.....oooof. So instead of enjoying dinner break with a couple hundred thousand chips...he had to eat with me and wish ME well. Sucked. Frank took me golfing on Monday at his country club...which was a beautiful course...filled with lakes and sand traps. Monkey lost a LOT of balls! And ached like a 90 year old the next day. I'm pathetic. We brought Andy Miller with us, who sat at my Day 1 table. It was kind of ironic...but I was looking up profiles on my Blackberry early in Day 2 trying to see if this guy "Iceman" had actually ever won anything...since he was at the table next to me repeatedly telling everyone how he was "one of the top players in the world!" As I was trying to find ANY good results for him, I saw that ANdy was the featured profile. Bizaare. Andy, as it turns out...was a really cool dude. Ive managed to meet some very cool guys on this poker trip. Even if I dont cash this thing today....I have had 9 cashes, 3 final tables...and met some great people. There is something to take from that...even if it means I go home down 15K or so!!!!!

As a side note...my housemate Rick Rudloff, who I bought 25% of his action on the Ceasers Main Event...went back for Day 2 yesterday as well. He played his typical tight, patient game...and went on a TEAR. He went card dead at the end...but among a field of over a 1000 players he finished 20th for another $5600 cash! Score $1400 for Monkey Boy! Rick has had an awesome trip...I am very proud of him! And he is incredibly humble too, which makes him even easier to root for.

On dinner break of Day 2 I decided after eating to run to the house and change socks, underwear and take 15 minutes in the pool and hot tub. Good decision. I returned and had only missed ONE hand. I had moved to another table. It would be my first of two moves in the hour. I went south. From dinner break to the end of the night I lost 45K of my chips. I think I might have misplayed two hands pretty bad. But I also threw two pretty sweet bluffs to take down pots...so I guess we could call it a push. The bottom line is that I just NEVER could get any cards late or hit a flop after raising and getting called. Raise! Call. Flop hits....other player leads out either HUGE or ALL IN. Dammit. FOLD. On my last table I had Jennifer Harman on my right. We hit it off right away. She is really cool. She even wanted to read this blog...and had it up on the phone reading it at the table. She told me I reminded her of Vince Vaughn...yeah I get that a lot. She was struggling all night with HER chipstack too. But she is like me...shes very patient...and willing to wait on a hand. It was funny, because she was wanting to ship it on the last hand...but the two players tanked on the last hand for about five minutes and we never got to see another hand. Everytime she was in a big hand the cameras would come swooping in...so I think there is a good chance that I may have snagged some nice ESPN face time!!!!! I know they had a lot of her and I chatting in between hands. Her and I kept getting 3-8 and 4-7....we kept thinking about going down to the blackjack tables...since we were running so hot with those hands!!!!!

IN all, the day was a real grind....mentally mostly. Brett Youngblutt (GANK) had wanted to challenge me to a drinking contest at the start of the day...but once again failed to keep up with the Monkey. I am single-handedly keeping Crown Royal in business on this trip! When we make the money its Red Snapper time....not there yet...so its Crown and Ginger Ale. Would be Coke...if you could GET A COKE at the RIO...which you cant! Pepsi......doh!!!!!

Giving out my email address might have been a mistake...as I am writing this I am getting peppered by Instant Messages! Hey at least its cool to know that people are reading it!!! I really do appreciate all the local support that I am getting from people back home. I am not going to lie...with you guys following along, and with the Rounder Magazine people following along, almost every big hand decision I make I take into account ALL the people who I feel like I am playing for. It helps. Its keeps me from making bad, emotion-driven decisions. I just really, really hope I go in there today (in 45 minutes....YIKES...gotta hurry) and get hit in the face with the deck! Get me up to 100k and I coast to the money then go into Monkey Ninja Mode and try to take this sucker down!!!!!!

I had a bunch to talk about but time is of the essence and I dont know yet what I am wearing today. Guess I will go with the RED poker stars jersey since I wore the white one yesterday. Dont know why...since PokerStars has NEVER approached me about any kind of a deal. Whatever! Wish me luck everyone...I am going to need it. In our house, me and Jena Delk (with 82K...tell you about a wild hand she played yesterday in a later blog!!!) are the only ones left. Claudia got whacked early on a cooler beat. A-8 vs 8-8 in a SB vs BB hand early. FLOP A-8-Q. Ooooof. Then Gabe locks up in a SB vs BB battle before dinner break, holding AK vs the BB's (a very aggressive player he had been battling it out with) QQ...they end up getting it all in preflop!!!!! Both players holding over 120K in chips. The Queens held and Gabe was on the rail...a huge disappointment to all of us. So its on me and Jena to produce. Alright I am outa here!!!!!!!!!! I will text you my updates as long as I last today!!!!

MONKEY

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 2, update

Amazon red 47 seat 3. In with 18400. Won a few. Lost a few. Just doubled up to 26k with AA vs QQ
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Monday, July 7, 2008

The Monkey Lives!

The Monkey Lives!

Thank god....I didn't want to crawl back to the house as the only one not to advance!

Unfortunately my buddy Rick Rudloff got whacked shortly after the dinner break. Tough day for Rick, he had a very tough table, and never could gather any momentum. He took it very hard, but I told him when I got back that he had NOTHING to hang his head about. He has had a GREAT trip...and should feel proud of himself. Today he is going to go play the Ceasers Palace Main Event...which is a $1000 buy in, starting with $25,000 starting chips. I really wanted to play that sucker...but I guess I will try instead to go back for Day 2 and play for 9 million at the Rio!

I had a weird Day 1. I got moved twice in the first three hours. All three times I had pretty soft tables. No major pros at any of my tables. Some guys get freaked out when they have big name players at their tables. Me? I like it. I had KK three times on the day. Twice I would raise and get a walk. The other I would raise, get two callers and have to ditch them when an ACE...then an obvious (take your pick) straight and/or flush hit the board.

I got ACES once when the blinds were 200/400 holding 14K and I was under the gun. Had been seeing aces get cracked at my table a lot so I decided to NOT play them risky, and just raised. I got a walk. Speaking of Aces and funny stories....at the table next to me was Sully Erna, who I had all day in Day 1 at my table two years ago. We have become kind of friendly. I saw him in Biloxi last year and he invited me to his concert in Pensacola. In case you don't know who he is...he's the lead singer for GodSmack.

Well, he always seems to get a lot of camera time at his table. I walked over to his table when there was a limp, raise and him reraising...only to have the original limper shove it all in and get called by the first raiser. He folded. I was standing behind him....in seat 5. The first raiser says to me "Hey buddy, the spectators behind you can't see!" My first thought was 'why is this guy worried about people being able to see' so I replied to him "I don't care" and he says..."well I do, why don't you move!??" About this time he turns over AA...to find the other guy with KK. I tell him "No, I'll just stay here A-hole!" Well, the flop produces a King! Ha! Ooops...he turns a flush! Uh-oh.....river pairs the board....and Mr.Jerky is OUTA HERE!!!!! Everyone from three tables around starts laughing and I tell him "that's what happens when you screw with the Monkey dude!!!!"

I guess I feel kind of bad for the guy...but not really. He was so concerned with everyone watching his HUGE PLAY and his CERTAIN double up...that he black catted himself to RAILBIRD status. I wanted to say something like "I hope I don't block YOUR view from the rail!" hahahaha. My table played pretty tight all day long. I never could get my courtesy double up that always seems to come at some point. I guess I will get it at Day 2. I BETTER!!!! Or I will be on the rail myself!!!!

My biggest hand of the night came when I was down to 11k in chips and in the small blind. This is a move that two years ago I would NOT have made. But now, of course...I know better. With two or three callers ALWAYS complete the small blind...no matter HOW bad your hand is!!!! Well, sure enough I complete the 300 blind with 2/3 offsuit. There were 6 limpers in the hand...one of the largest limpfests of the day! The flop comes 2-2-3! NO FREAKING WAY!!!!! check...check...check...all the way around. DANG IT! Turn is another 3. Hmm....tricky? maybe. Probably not. Unless someone has A3 or something and I get counterfeited. Should be okay.

Finally a guy bets $800. Another guy calls. Sweet. I make it $2000. First guy CALLS. Second guy folds. 10 on the river. Maybe I should have checked here...but I don't...I make what I think is a $2500 value bet. He says "I cant beat a 3" and folds. Guess maybe he had a 2. Still a nice fat pot when I really needed one bad.

Brett, forget his last name...everyone knows him as GANK...I've known him, his brother, and his brothers hot wife for a few years now (who was walking around the room taking pictures all day) got moved to the table next to mine. He had Paul Loh at his table, some newby who spent the day stacking chips. The guy is a total donk...who just keeps on sucking out on people. He ended the day with about 150K...chips that I fully expect him to donate to good players on Day 2. Gank and I spent the last level having a drinking contest...him Coronas (wussie) and me Long Island Iced Teas. The count stopped at 7.

We bagged up our chips at 1am....and tried to get out to the Valet...very crowded. That's when I encountered Team UB member Heidi Northcott...who was all the buzz during the day with her body suit and gorgeous face. Lets call her Heidi Klum...because that is about how hot she is. She actually approached ME...and started talking to me. It was awkward, because I kept waiting for Ashton Kutchar to pop out from somewhere after having PUNKED me! That and me being engaged to the amazing Squirrel and EVERYONE knowing...I didn't want to do or say something that came back to screw me later!

Topping this was my day inside...when the guy from Rounder Magazine kept bringing the Red Hot Rounder girls over to my table for photo ops. Of course the guys at the table LOVED it! I'm pretty sure I was embarrassed...still liking it...but still feeling awkward! All in all, it was a pretty fun day on Day 1.

As I am standing in the Valet line...Claudia calls me and asks if I can go pick up Gabe at the Venetian. Ugh....alright. I get over there, where he is playing in the $1000 buy in event. They are either playing to 2am or the money, whichever came first. I found him....and OH MY GOD...saw his chip stack! The average stack at the time was $130,000. Gabe had more chips than I have ever seen at that stage of a tournament...over $600,000! Compared to the rest of the table it was HILARIOUS! They finally got around to bagging up their chips..his barely fit in the bag.....and we bolted.

On the way home we discussed CHIP LEAD strategy...and how not to donk off all his chips tomorrow, as he goes back and plays for $78,000. Him and I have a very different tournament philosophy. Gabe is a big cash game player, and a lot of times I think it really helps him (early in tourneys....when he accumulates a lot of chips) and hurts him (late in tourneys, especially when he has a LOT of chips) too. He really, really trusts his reads and puts almost all his faith (and sometimes chips) in them. A very high risk way to play late.

I am encouraging him to sit back a bit and let the action come to him instead of always wanting to force the action. I also adhere to the 15% risk/reward policy when I am deep in a tourney and sitting on a big stack. I believe you are going to get a LOT of walks in the blinds when you have a monster stack..and that alone almost guarantees you of sustaining a superior stack. When it comes to calling a small stacks all in, or even calling a re raise after you have raised to open a pot....I really don't like to commit more than 15% of my stack on what in my mind may very possibly be a 60/40 coinflip. Its just not worth it.

It may help my chipstack a little bit...but what it will mean to my opponents' stack is just not worth creating. I would rather fold, leave that guy short...and be able to attack his stack with a later raise. Why create bigger stacks if I don't have to while still maintaining a huge edge? And at the same time...you are picking up more and more money on the pay ladder as the short stacks fall. Of course you give me AA, KK and even QQ and maybe JJ...and I will call for pretty much any price. Sometimes, yeah...you have to gamble with what you think is the best hand. Suckouts will and almost always DO happen...but you have to take those chances.
I really hope Gabe goes back today and kicks the crap out of that field for a big win. He has had such a great trip but hasn't closed the deal once yet. He, like me, is also big into the POY point chase.

OH! POY point chase! While in New Orleans I had this goofy-ass drunk hillbilly sounding guy in one of my sit n gos. he is talking all kinds of crap. I pretty much discounted this guy as a clown. I end up making a side bet for $5000 on who will have more POY points at the end of the year. Then I found out who he was. OH SHIT! Tim Vance....who luck boxed his way to a win at Copenhagen EPT a few months earlier! At the time he was sitting in 5th place in POY standings. Oh boy. Well, I am not one to welch on a bet. I then went on to finish 2nd in the $1000 new orleans wsop event...for a big chunk of points. I've collected a few more points on this trip...but I am still only at about 140th.

The good news is that Tim hasn't cashed in ANTYING on this trip. I see him almost everyday...and we have kind of become buddies now. He is actually a really cool guy. He has even offered to let me out of the bet...but I am not that kind of a guy. If I make a bet, I will honor it! Plus, I like having something to drive me...and with my 8 final tables this year versus his three...I like my chances of catching him. If I can cash at this years Main Event....there are a TON of points to get. I am not too far behind him now (2800 vs 1300). So go, Monkey, go!!

I never got a chance to wrap up my segment on BACKERS:

In addition to being the Poker Monkey...I have been the Pool Monkey for over ten years. I have gathered over 1500 email addresses of people around the country who play my pools year around. I feature March Madness pool, NFL Survivor Pools, Masters Golf pools, NCAA Bowl Pools, a lot of pools. So I have a big network of people out there...and they all know I play poker. Last year I started a program that really turned out to be a great idea. I sold shares of myself in an event. It started with the Ceasers Classic in October. I pledged to play 6 events totalling $5500 in buy ins. I sold a 2% share for $200. I sold a total of 23 shares...or 46% of my action...for a total of $4600. SO I nearly raised enough for all my buyins while only giving away a little less than half my action. I ended up cashing 5th in one of the big events for $15000 so all of my investors ended up getting a nice return on their investment.

At the next trip in New Orleans I did it again. A lady (who will remain nameless per her request) bought a lot of my action...ten shares. I pulled an O-fer on the trip. It was an absolute horror-show of bad beats and suckouts. The exit act has become kind of famous. My ninth consecutive loss of the day on the river resulted in my tossing my hat in the air and having it land in the rafters...to the laughter and applause of all the other sit n go players. I get kidded about it every day it seems. There were maybe 100 people in that room...but you think there were 1000! My newest share holder took it very well though, and promised to be on board for Tunica in January. Well she was...she bought in big again. And I produced. I only cashed in one big tourney...the $340 at the Grand...but in the 7pm 2nd chance at Goldstrike...I pretty much OWNED that event...making 6 final tables...she got a nice FAT return on that trip.

About that time, she decided she wanted all of my action from there on out. So she officially became my CEO! I jokingly (but sincerely) referred to her as BOSS whenever we talk on the phone. I am the luckiest Monkey in the poker world. This is a gal who loves to gamble, mostly Blackjack. She is married, retired, and lives on the beach in Florida. I had never met her in person when she started backing me...she had just played in my pools for a number of years. I finally met her in Tunica. She was just as cool as I had imagined she would be. I had a horrible trip in Vegas in February...and it didn't matter to her. She was SO incredibly supportive. That means everything to me. Sometimes when you are running bad or unlucky you start to doubt yourself. When you have someone so positive in your corner it can bring you right out of your slump.

My year has been very odd. January (amazing) February (brutal) March (incredible-Beau Rivage, 4 final tables) April (awful-all local tourneys in Biloxi) May (GREATEST ever-New Orleans WSOP trip) then June out here...7 cashes but down 10-15K overall (need to actually tabulate it still, afraid to!) and now July...starting with a Mega Satellite win to get in the Main Event...and still alive in the world's HUGEST tournament. Great month to have 'THE GOOD MONTH'! Our deal is pretty simple.

She gets 50% of everything I win. Anything over $5000 I withhold 30% for taxes. It didn't used to be a big deal...but this year I am sure to get WHACKED by the IRS so I have to be careful. I have been squirreling away money for that. I am not going to get shellacked by those clowns. I will be ready. Some players, mostly those with Internet deals...have this thing called "MakeUp" wherein, they have a deal for 50% with makeup...meaning they play 5 tourneys and don't cash....then finally do cash...their backers get paid half of the winnings and then buy in reimbursement for all those other events that they didn't cash. YIKES! which means some of them are left with NOTHING! I don't have MAKEUP with mine. THANK GOD.

The other great thing my backer did for me, about 5 days before I left for Vegas, was to tell me she wanted me to be in the right frame of mind the whole time...and went and covered the expense for my house out here ($1300 was my share) and ALSO gave me a $50 per day per diem for 'expenses.' Let me tell you....it does NOT get any better than that! I have got to have the greatest backer a player could ever ask for. And for that reason I would NEVER, EVER think about (a) dumping her or (b) screwing her in any way. If I hadn't qualified for the Main Event, I would have probably excepted someone else buying me in for 40 or 50%...but I would have STILL given her a 10% share of my action....just for being there for me.

We had a pretty nice 'cushion' when I came out here after New Orleans...and her attitude was pretty much 'let her rip' and do what I think is right. I was NOT about to kill our whole bankroll by buying into a bunch of big WSOP events. So therefore I have played a LOT of tourneys...I mean a ton...mostly Venetian and Ceasers deepstack tourneys...most of them of buy ins under $1000. I have missed some huge cashes by virtue of some unlucky river cards. I could very easily be up about $75,000 on this trip.

What is great is that she UNDERSTANDS this. Should I catch some cards Wednesday and get myself in position to cash the Main Event...I might just go in a holding pattern and lock up that $22,000 for cashing...it would get us back over even for the trip for sure...and put us in really good shape for the rest of the year. But once I get into the money (if I do) I am going into Monkey Ninja Mode and playing like a guy who wants to win.

The goal, obviously, is to make the Final Table. With this years 3-month break before the Final Table, ANYONE who makes that thing is going to be VERY famous...and probably VERY rich, long before they go back and play that thing.

I want to put myself in position to make my own deals. I don't care all that much about a LOT of money. I do like attention...not a TON...just the right kind. That would be from my peers. I don't care about being recognized by strangers at Wal Mart or something. But if I run good and win some tourneys...I love it when fellow players come to me to offer their congratulations. I've had players that I like and respect come to me lately for advice. Wow. I find that very flattering...and am ALWAYS more than happy to share my thoughts with them, whether my thoughts are right or wrong...the fact that they respect my opinion means a lot to me.

When (or if) I do score huge its going to be a great day for a lot of people. After I pay off everything I owe...and buy me and Squirrel some nice things we both want....I will be making a point of doing some really cool things for some really cool people in my life. Anyone who is in my 'circle of cool' is going to love it when I cash huge! What will be a bummer is all the jerks who come out of the word work who think they are in that circle but aren't. I am pretty sure that those who ARE in there will KNOW they are in there.

Something I want to do....and if anyone out there knows anyone who makes hats...please get in touch with me.... ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com.....is I want to have some cool hats made. As most of you know....I like to celebrate when I make the money and/or the final table by drinking Red Snappers! Crown, Amaretto, Cranberry with a splash of sprite and chilled. I always try to buy the whole table a shot...I always cover the tip. It has become almost a tradition. I want to have some hats made....featuring a CRAZY MONKEY holding a ShOT GLASS....with "M.R.S.P." below the Monkey...on the side of the hat...... " Monkey's Red Snapper Posse" I will have about 100 of these hats...that I will GIVE AWAY...that's right...NOT SELL (I am NOT that guy) to people who are in my 'Circle of Cool' and they can either wear them or just keep em at home on a shelf.

I don't care! Its not for my ego...I could care less...I just think it would be fun! And there wouldn't be a million of them...and I wouldn't make a PENNY off of them. Once I have given away the 100...well, that's probably it! Maybe someday they will be worth something!!!!!! So if you know a hat maker that will bust these out...let me know!!!!

Okay...its Monday, a day off, in fact I have tomorrow off too. My buddy lives in a really nice country club and has golf privileges there. I brought my clubs out here and have not swung them once...except out in the pool...to work on my swing. Thinking about braving the heat and going to play a round. Couple of guys who were at my table yesterday may join me. This was a pretty long blog today...I hope there are people out there reading this....if not, I guess its making one helluva diary!!!!!