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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monkey Monday and big news...

DID NOT WIN THE PCA TRIP...BUT DID WIN SOME $$$ !!!!

I woke up Saturday morning and noticed when I logged on that there were 7....SEVEN people signed up for STEP 6 on the PCA satellite! Whoa...this sucker is finally gonna go! I jumped in there, to make 8...even though I was still half asleep. 20 minutes later we were off and running.

Predictably, it played very, very tight. I learned from my STEP 6 a month ago that playing tight in these is a BAD strategy...because you are going to get grinded down to very little chips when the blinds get huge. You HAVE to gamble a little bit early and get some chips. And after all, you cannot fall back to Step 5, or Step 4 by finishing 6th or higher like on the other steps. Quite simply, you must WIN. 2nd place gets $2100 and 3rd place gets $1600....so there is at least a nice consolation prize.

I lose my first few hands early...and my 3000 starting stack shrinks to 2400. But no big deal. I'm patient. I pick up a big hand and build it to 3800. Nice. We get down to 6. I take a guy out with AA vs his QQ and become chipleader. Whoa!!!! Could this be my day????

The action goes on, drags on....5 handed. Getting short. Come on cards!!!! One guy makes a horrible play and goes out 5th! Nice! One from at least making money! But I am getting horribly short. Average is 5500 and I have 2200. Dammit. Don't let me come this far and not at least make some money. Especially with my once $3500 bankroll now being down to $1800 after two horrendous days online. Well, lucky me. Guy makes a raise on the button with JUNK...gets called...and he flops his junk...but its middle pair. The caller checks. He goes all in and the other guy calls with TOP pair...it holds, and I am IN THE MONEY! SWEET! Now its time to try for the huge comeback and win the trip!!!!

We play 3-handed for about half an hour. Damn! I'm surviving though, looking for that huge double up! Or hoping one of the other guys goes out and I at least pick up another $500...but I know if I finish 2nd I am going to be miserable! Well, the moment (I think) arrives for my big double up. The button raises...for the millionth time. I look down at AQ suited. A monster in this situation. I re-raise all in. He snap calls and turns over AK. Oh shit! Flop comes K-Q-9. Damn. Need another Q or runner runner J- 10 to win or chop. It doesn't happen. I go out 3rd. Dammit. No trip yet. But I won some money! Got me back up to $3400!

Then I proceed to play a $12/180 and finish second there...for another $396. Cash another tourney for $225...and hell, it ends up being a $2000 day. A nice day online. But the best thing happened about 15 minutes after my STEP 6 PCA SNG ended.
My Blackberry makes that sound it makes when I have a FACEBOOK message. I look on there....and there is a message from JOHNNY GROOMES! As in, the Manager of the Poker Room (along with Ken Lambert, not sure of exact titles, but you get the idea) at the Beau Rivage....with a message...."Will, call me I have news."

WHOA! My stomach flutters. I call Squirrel over and show it to her. She of course takes me off the mountain with her..."don't get too excited, they might be letting you know you are NEVER getting back in" comment. Oh, sweetie...COME ON...why do you have to be like that!??? Like they would be contacting me to tell me THAT! "I'm just saying....don't get your hopes up!" Damn, so now I am actually nervous about calling him!

But I do. Come to find out he has been reading my blog. So he read about me and Squirrel having a baby. Talked a bit about that. Wished us well, very nice. And then the big news. I am having my 86 lifted effective Jan 2nd! Not sure why not the 1st....seemed like a bizarre date, but who the hell cares, right!??? I don't really like partying on New Years Eve ANYWAY!!!! Maybe we will have a bunch of friends over that night..after all, its been a great year, we have had a lot of reason to celebrate this year! But getting this news? A week or so before Christmas? HUGE! I was so happy! Of course I have to go in before I'm allowed back in and meet with him, and Ken and Warren Mason to go over what I know will be a "Monkey, you screw up even ONE more time...and you can kiss your ass goodbye" speech. I know I don't like how this whole thing was handled...but again, I know I made mistakes. I have MADE mistakes in the past. My behavior, often misunderstood, has allowed for some dicey moments that were solely my fault. So I know that I certainly bare some (okay, a lot) of responsibility for the things I have incurred. But the bottom line is, I was patient, I wasn't ugly to or about them...I didn't pester them to let me back in...and finally, they have invited me to return. I am ecstatic! And really looking forward to the upcoming event at the Beau Rivage. It is going to be HUGE!

And now, its takes some pressure off of me winning this PCA trip. I mean, if I do...I do. And that will be super cool, since its been 4 years now of frustration trying to win that damn thing and falling short. But if I don't its cool because now I have the Beau event to look forward to. Without all the travel and hotel/food/incidental costs to worry about. And I know all my friends will be down here, which is ALWAYS fun!!!!! Great way to kick off the new year!!!!!

That's pretty much it. Had a great weekend online. Yesterday took 2nd in a $22/180 for $780 and final tabled a couple other tourneys. For the weekend I won about $3500. Got my bankroll online looking very healthy now! Bout time. And I am refusing to cash out...since every time I do cash out I get hit with about three weeks worth of horrible beats. Though, I'm not sure much can top that Thursday debacle! I guess if/when I NEED the money...I will cash it out. But one thing I find...is with 5k in my account, my desire to buy into and play $11 SNGs is diminishing. So I am not sure if this is a good thing or not. I mean if I cashed out 4K...leaving me with a dime in there....those $11 buyins wouldn't seem as small. Just seems stupid to try and win $100, to add to a $5k bankroll...when I could be buying into $30, $40 and $50 sngs to win, you know...like $300-$1000. I think this IS the road I need travel if I am ever going to build a REAL bankroll online. It just scares me, because I know there is cheating on these damn sites...and I do NOT want to be the victim, for a large amount of money. Doesn't bug me as much when I know they are just scamming me for $10 here, $20 there, $7 here....ya know?

Pokerstars has a very cool promotion for those who finish in the Top 100 and Top 1000 TLB this month. I want to win that. I am sitting 456th right now for the month. I have a full week to DESTROY online...then on Saturday we leave for Florence and Squirrel's family for Christmas, where there is NO WAY IN HELL she will allow me to sit and play online! So I have 6 days to go nuts! If ya'all see me on there give me a shout out!!!!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!!!!!

MONKEY

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Part 4: The beach and more

(Will has been blogging fast and furious, I already got another one in the hamper will be up tomorrow, but lets finish his trip log-WB)

JUST WHEN YOU ARE READY TO LEAVE...YOU DISCOVER THE BEACH!!!!

Saturday morning, after passing out at 6:45am...I wake up at 10:15am. Awesome. Text Squirrel for exact flight departure time. 3:20pm. Hmmm...leaves me very little time to try and see the beach. The Final Table for both events starts that day at 2pm. Another brilliant move. Both final tables at the same time. Clever! And at 2pm. Even smarter. Don't do it at 5 or anything..you know? So people can enjoy a nice day on the beach. I get my book and make my way for the beach. I walk. It was a very long walk. Like...45 minutes. When I get to the beach, I am amazed. It is BEAUTIFUL. And running all over the place is topless women, and surprisingly, they weren't all gross. Wow! It took four days, but when I found it...wow, it was worth it. The water was so clear and warm. The sand, smooth, soft and white. It was about 85 degrees and no clouds in the sky. Oh boy...and I am scheduled to leave in 4 hours? Hmmm...

I enjoy the ocean for awhile. I read for an hour. I look at titties. I get something to eat. Hey...THAT WAS FREE! All Inclusive finally scores a hit! Then I see Phillip Jones stumbling out of the restaurant...with Matthew and his crazy Turkish wife who had disappeared the night before at the club about ten minutes after we arrived. Phillip comes over and sits with me. I guess that he somehow made the Final Table of the Second Chance tourney and has to go play in that pretty soon. I tell him my ordeal, do I stay...which, my changed reservation has me staying until WEDNESDAY if that's the decision I go with...and enjoy three days of sun and relaxation...and of course, topless honeys!?? Or do I go to my room, rush pack, try to get a shuttle, and high-tail it to the airport and try to catch my flight so I can go home to the Squirrel, who hates it when I am off on these excursions? Also, if I go home right now...I can drive over to New Orleans on Sunday, play the $550 Mega Satellite and try for one more decent score this year. I go back and forth in my head about three times...before finally deciding..."Ah hellll....okay lets try to make the flight!"

I get to my room, immediately press 0, since that is one of the only keys I have on my phone...and get the front desk. Tell them I need a shuttle and a guy to come help me with my bags. She promises me a guy in ten minutes. I take a shower, power pack...15 minutes have elapsed. No baggage guy. Typical! I leave the room key, the towel card, and the safe key all IN THE ROOM. I take my bags to the front...a 5 minute odyssey that leaves me hot and sweating. The first thing I see is a shuttle with a guy holding a sign that says WILLIAM SCOTT. Hmmm. SHUTTLE! "are you William Scott?" Ugh..yeah yeah...William Scott! You never know...it MIGHT have been MY shuttle! They might have just misunderstood my last name. It happens! I tell this guy I am in a MAJOR hurry. I give him $10 (which is like a $50 down there) and ask him to step on it. He does! WE nearly die about 4 times on the way to the airport. We arrive at 2pm. Not bad. Not bad at all. I see a HUGE line in the DELTA/ATLANTA line...so at least I know I am in 'contention' to make the flight. I didn't check out of my room, so if I miss the flight I still have the option of going back to the hotel and getting my room back. Standing at the end of the line I see a dog. A big, potentially ferocious dog. I think about the bag of weed in my luggage. And I make an unusually good decision. I dig the bag out of my shaving kit...and walk it over to a garbage can...and dump it. I am NOT going to jail in this SHITHOLE! No freaking way! The line is NOT moving. THen I notice a second line. The first class? Business class line? Whatever...I will pretend. I get in that line. Two others ahead of me. Its my turn. Not a problem. Not even sure it was designed for higher class. Its never even brought up. But now we have a new nightmare. Their are literally 7 people behind the counter. None over the age of 25. All Hispanic. All appearing clueless. I come to the conclusion that the big problem is with my flight times changing from Wednesday to Saturday. I stand there for 45 minutes waiting for them to figure it out. Every time I look at my watch, it is getting closer and closer to 3:20. My bags are long gone. I am still standing there. Panic sets in. I am told to stay calm. Really? okay. There is now NO ONE left in the other line either. EVERYONE has been checked in. Everyone but me. Beach, here I come. It aint looking good.

Finally, something happens, they figure it out. And something good happens. I get an escort through all the customs and security bullshit. Almost as if I was someone famous. But most importantly dodging those lines. Then we get to the gate, and the guy who had been helping me snares me a seat in FIRST CLASS for all the hassle! Wow. Awesome. I tip the guy $100. I think I pretty much made his week! I see John Robert Bellande and David Williams at the gate and we talk a little bit about everything. I know JRB pretty well, met him in Aruba a few years ago with my buddy Chad Brown and we hung out a bit. He's a pretty good dude. I still think he looks down his nose at me a bit and will until I win something big. Its like that with a lot of the top players. They know me, but they don't give me much respect as a player or friend. NOW. That's why I like all of you on the coast. We don't have that FAKE friend thing going on. You are either my friend, a REAL friend...or we cant stand each other! Doesn't get much more honest than that does it!??

So I get on the plane. Seat 2a! Nice. And along comes a married couple. They claim to be in my seat. Ha. Really? Well, talk to that flight attendant, because she is the one who just put me in this seat. Turns out they were a couple who worked for the airline, so they had ZERO right to be trying to claim my seat, since they were flying on a pass in the first place. I win. But instead of the guy letting his wife sit in the seat...he kicks her back to coach and takes the seat himself. Wow, ya Squirrel would let me get away with THAT ONE!??? I think not! The flight to Atlanta was delightful. Me and JRB and David were going to play some big deuce but we couldn't figure out a good place to spread the game. Dave's mom was sitting in front of him...I enjoyed watching her eat her salad...like a lion eating an antelope...lettuce hanging out of her mouth. It was funny. Classy. I get to Atlanta and hear the bad news. News that almost assures me of a miserable night when I get home to Biloxi. Florida 31, Alabama 20. And when I get to Biloxi, and see Squirrel's face, I know I am right. Damn. Waiting 41 minutes for my luggage probably didn't help. I don't know what it is about the Gulfport/Biloxi airport...but in the past two years, I have flown in to this airport no less than 20 times, and the AVERAGE time that I wait EACH time for my luggage is around 25 minutes. WHY!?? It is a tiny airport. Where do they take the bags? Why do they take so long? I mean..its EVERY STINKING TIME! Its the worst airport for that in...well...maybe the world!

My dogs are in the car. Happy as hell to see me. Always nice to come home to them. True, unconditional love from those beasts! Molly (the new dog) has been stealing ornaments off of the Christmas tree, sneaking them under the bed, and chewing them into pieces. Nice. Get home. Don't unpack. Fall asleep. Wake up Sunday morning...and with every intention of driving to New Orleans and playing the Mega into the Main that starts at 1, 4 or 8, or maybe all three...get talked out of it by Squirrel, who wants me to stay home with her. Grrrrr.... But then I talk online to several players who have been playing over there and are FUMING about how badly that tourney has been run. THe poor turnout and the even poorer structures. Apparently, they completely removed some of the most critical levels in the tourneys. 25/50 to start...instead of 25/25...with only 3000 starting chips. Then from 50/100 it went straight to 100/200 with an ante. Then it went from 300/600 straight to 500/1000 then skipped the 600/1200 level. I dont get it? The last event they had...the one where I got two 2nd places and won over $87,000 for the week (so it made it hard to complain TOO MUCH) it was the same way. I made my pitch to them about it, and they ASSURED me that everything would change for their next event. NOTHING CHANGED. Jason Lipscomb took over as the tourney director and I would have EXPECTED things to get straightened out. But nope! WHY? $65 SNGs with 800 starting chips. $125 SNGs with 1000 starting chips? What a joke. Which is why on the last trip, the best play was to get 5 people and buy up two stacks in the $65 sng....add a $50 last longer....and play for one winner. Those are the STUPIDEST SNG structures on the planet. They are designed for one purpose, to make Harrah's money. Get them in, get them out...get them over in a hurry, and get Harrah's their juice! And these tourney structures? It makes absolutely NO SENSE! The economy is bad, poker tourneys are everywhere, too much...so when you have a tourney, you REALLY have to make it attractive to the players...and what do they do? They destroy the product! It makes me sick what these idiot casinos are doing to poker. I really, truly wish that some casino would approach me and offer me an incentive-laden deal to run tournaments for them. I can promise, that they would kick ass. I would get every player worth a shit to play them all.

Its now December. Christmas is right around the corner. My Playstation 3 60gb has arrived from my eBay seller. I have bought a couple games. I have bought Squirrels Xmas present. The only thing I have to accomplish now is taking down this Pokerstars PCA entry. I have been home now for three days and have gotten deep over and over again in MTTs on Stars. In the last two months I have gotten inside of 30 in big tourneys 12 times. I am going to clip one of these soon, I have to. I cant keep getting deep like this and NOT win ONE of them eventually. Yesterday, I went on a huge tear...as I write this I am sitting on a STEP 5 ticket and a STEP 4 ticket for the PCA trip. THAT close to winning that trip. And if I make Step 6 and get 2nd or 3rd I still get $2100 or $1600. So I can keep playing those $80 satellites into the $650 satellite. I HAVE TO WIN THAT TRIP! And in the meantime, hopefully a big MTT this month. My College Bowl Pool is about to start as well...and already have 75 people signed up for that. Should easily top 150 this year. I won it last year...and will be trying to take it down again this year!!!

In January, after I get done winning the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure, and becoming a millionaire celebrity (ha! Hopefully) I have to go to Seattle on the 12th to spend about three weeks with my Mother, who is getting that gastric-bypass surgery done. She will require a lot of physical therapy and help around the house..and since I am the only one without a normal job, its pretty much my responsibility to take care of her...so I will do so and not feel the least bit bad about it. She has done a LOT for me in the past year. I can take a couple weeks off from poker. No big deal. They did just open a casino out there though, only a couple miles from her house. Snoqualmie Casino, and they have poker...so hopefully I will go there and terrorize their cash game! If I do not win my trip to PCA...I guess I will go to Ken Lambert and ask/beg the Beau Rivage to finally let me come back there to play. I still have never gotten any kind of response to my letters or emails to them. Whatever. They have their own issues right now. Every day it seems like Squirrel comes home talking about another round of layoffs. And Terry Lanney, MGM GRAND's CEO for around 20 years resigned last month. Their huge project, the City Center thing going up in Vegas...has been majorly downsized due to their struggling company. And now, rumor has it that there is a very good chance that Steve Wynn, the man who built and operated the Bellagio and later the Beau Rivage, before selling them both to MGM...is now in position to possibly BUY the ENTIRE MGM GRAND corporation! Wow, amazing how things can change isn't it? So, I know that right now...Will Souther being allowed back in to play poker isn't exactly their biggest problem right now!

Well, it looks like I got this whole thing re-written. Only took me two hours. The guys from Rounder Magazine have called and invited me to play in some Charity event at Ebro tomorrow I think...something that Hoyt Corkins is going to be there for. I had Hoyt at my table down at the WPT thing for most of Day 2. He's one of my favorite guys on the tour. Nice guy. Solid player. If there is nothing else going on, I might trek over there and have a fun little day in Panama City. For now...I am going to take Squirrel to dinner and come home and try to take down this PCA seat!!!!

Catch up with Y'all later!

MONKEY

Monday, December 15, 2008

Part 3: More Carribean Madness

WORST DEALERS IN THE HISTORY OF POKER....in a WPT SPONSORED EVENT

Literally THREE weeks before the camp started, the local casino started training their dealers to deal poker. Remember when you were trying to learn poker? Can any of you sit there and tell me that in THREE WEEKS you had it all figured out to the point where you felt you could competently go and deal a tourney where there was over half a million in the prize pool? Oh...and lets throw in the obstacle of dealing to players whom spoke a language you didn't understand!

Meanwhile, the WPT gang decides to bring down 5-8 dealers who were trained in America. Dealing in real tourneys. But did they have them deal the Big Tourney? Nope! They let the Dominicans deal the tourney. The 'real' dealers instead were held out to deal the cash game and the minimal SNGS that they were runnning. Whose decision was this? And where was the logic involved? So what we had was a litany of misdeals all through the Day One and Day Two action.

I am told, but cant confirm because I refuse to go watch Final Tables that I am not a part of...that they actually used the REAL dealers for the Final Tables. Well, hallelujah! How do you spend $4500 on a poker trip and sit there and watch dealers who have NO CLUE without losing your freaking mind? The answer? Very simple. You make sure you managed to smuggle some weed in with you...and about every 45 minutes, or whenever there is a ten minute break...you run outside to your favorite bush and light up the one-hitter. Because if you do NOT....you most likely end up killing someone. Quite possibly, yourself.

Not sure how many times you can watch a dealer slide the pot to the wrong player before you lose your mind. Not sure how many times you can watch them do that stupid move with their hands that blackjack dealers do after they have FINALLY shuffled all six decks (or is it 8 now?) and have the shoe ready for a new round of betting. You know? Hands held apart, then they clap?

These clowns were doing this in between EVERY hand. It was just awful. But the ultimate moment in MONKEY DONT KILL SOMEONE...came in the cash game. It was when we were close to going to the club. I had already cashed out the $750 I had won on my previous session...had gone to my room to shower and change. Came back, and we were all still waiting for everyone to get their shit together so we could leave. I had decided to leave almost all of my money in the safe, and only take about $250 to this club.

I had been warned that if we were going to go to this club that we should (a) not take a lot of money and (b) travel in a large group. Ahhhh...that's what you want to hear when you are off on a tropical vacation!

So, not one to sit idly by...I decide to buy into the $1/$2 game with $200 to kill time. I win the first few hands I play and run it up to about $325. Then...sitting next to this guy from South Africa, who was losing one hand after another....his JJ found a K on the flop, his AQ flops nothing...he is about to explode...well, he raises it to $10, and I look down at AA. Oh boy. I re-raise it to $30. AND THANK GOD THAT WAS THE NUMBER I CHOSE, and NOT, say...$35, or $40. The next guy...he has $53 left in his stack, and is holding AQ. He goes all in for $53. (a $23 re-raise!) The next player CALLS. And another player CALLS. Back to Mr. Psycho, who ALSO calls. Back to me...and now there is around $242 in the pot. I have around $180 in my stack. I decide to make a very interesting play here.

I announce raise, and the dealer...a Dominican, stops me. Tells me I cannot raise because this other guy is all in. WRONG, PEPE! His raise constituted a legal raise. I am still allowed to re-raise here. He refused to buy in. OH NO! THis is NOT going to happen. NO way in HELL I play AA vs. 5 other players. I call for the floor...and over comes a short little Dominican dude in a horrible suit, who I KNOW works in the casino, but to my best recollection doesn't know SHIT about poker.

Dealer gives him the 'mwha mwah waa waaaa' (charlie brown-teacher-reference there) explanation in Spanish...and Floor guy tells me "no sir, you cannot raise" and now I am trying everything I can not to get myself thrown into a 3rd world countries' local jail. I ask them to PLEASE get a person from WPT to overrule. Luckily they do. They pull over one of the dealers, who is sitting at another table with THREE OTHER WPT dealers killing time. Love how these guys were being used (like, not AT all!) on this trip. The guy comes over, is explained the situation, and IMMEDIATELY declares "he can ABSOLUTELY raise there" and so they finally relent and allow me to raise!

Thank God. I raise it another $120. The first guy is all in of couse. The second guy folds. The third guy...goes in the tank. And when someone finally calls clock on him, he goes nuts. Another fight almost breaks out. By this time I am preparing myself for the one-hitter. He finally...with his one minute to act running down....decides to SMOOTH CALL $120, knowing I only have $63 left behind me. Wow. The Angry South African tells me "I know you must have ACES, I will fold JACKS!"

I tell him he is right. Flop comes Q-10-4. First guy checks, I ship my last $63 and he mucks K-10. Yeah. He has to call $63 into a pot that now holds around $480 and he hits the flop and still has outs...and folds! Nice play sir. The turn is a JACK! South African guy starts pounding the table. And the river...is a TEN!!!! Hahahahaha I would have come out with the third best hand! Instead I drag the entire pot. And a few hands later we were ready to go to the club. Well......sort of.

NEVER MARRY A WOMAN WHO WOULD RATHER MAKE OUT WITH STRANGERS (male and female) THAN WITH YOU!!!!

THese guys I met from Atlanta were all pretty good guys. One of those guys was Mathew. He is about my age. Pretty good player. Earlier in the evening we had discovered that we were being hustled. The dealer was Dominican, and was sharing info with the other two Dominican clowns at the table. Telling them what hands we had folded and shit. But what were we going to do? When you are on their turf...you are pretty much fucked.

About that time I look over and see Matt's wife fondling and kissing on these other hot blonde who is from Russia, but lives in South Africa with her cash-game playing husband. Hmmm. Now dont get me wrong, I am all about the "my girl is drunk and now making out with another hottie." However, I can see this guys' point.

You are married, been married for 7 years, and there is a way to do things. Aparantly, two night before she was caught at the bar making out with another guy. YEAH! Making out! And then when he went up to yank her out of there, she had her head in the guys lap! He dragged her out by the hair, is what I was told by others. NICE!

Well, this all sounds about right. Because thinking back on Thursday night, I was about to go to my room for the night, and get myself well-rested for Friday's 2nd chance tournament. I told one of the guys I was going to smoke a bowl, read my book and fall asleep. This gal overheard me and asked if I could get her high? Huh? Oh...well, its in my room, but if you and your husband want to come by, I am in Room 495.

She whispers that her husband wouldn't approve and that she would have come alone. NO WAY! I tell her that not only am I engaged, and that SHE wouldn't approve, I would NOT being having another player's wife in my room alone. No way. So thankfully she didn't just show up anyway.

So we finally get everyone rounded up and ready to go to this club. Her and Matthew are now fighting. According to the other ladies, who have left their husbands at the cash game...she didn't want him coming. Well, I wouldn't have wanted to go with just those ladies either....so we had a situation. It was Matthew, that kid Mike, me and some other guy from Italy...and these four ladies.

Her and Matt fought the entire drive to the club. Awwwkkkward! The Club was very cool. It was called Imagine...but it was a cave. Not sure why it wasn't called THE CAVE. There were tunnels and three or four separate dance floors, then little areas with private tables. Very cool place. FYI. If you speak Spanish, you might only pay $50 per bottle, instead of $80 if you DONT speak Spanish. Also, if a pretty Dominican girl approaches you...its not that you are so handsome and irresistible, its more likely that you have been marked as a potential customer!

Yep, for just $40 you can take one of these princesses to some compound-like place down the road, have your way with them...and then hope that you don't wake up missing a spleen! I know this, because this is the experience Mike took. He got out alive and with all his internal organs. He borrowed $200 from me to leave the club with one of the tramps and left me there with the Speedy Sweden and his other buddies.

He needed the money remember because he had loaned the $350 he was going to take with him for the club to TJ the MOOCH. I knew he was good for it. After awhile I decide to leave and get the cab driver who thinks I'm a retard. We start on this scenic little journey before I finally tell him to let me out of his car. I pay him the $20 he is overcharging me.

Does anyone play Grand Theft Auto on Playstation/Xbox? If you do..then you might know what I am describing here. That part of town in Miami where the taxi station is? And as you are getting near it there are all those dudes in white tanks, with do-rags on their heads? You run one of them over and about ten come over and try to kill you? So you beat on your car until it explodes and takes half of them out? You steal a club from one of them....beat another guy to death with it...pick up his machine gun...and shoot the rest of them? You know that scene? THAT is where I got out of this guys cab!

Not having a gun, or a club...I sneak around until I find another cab. I get in and tell him to take me to Bavaro Princess Resort...and hopefully, am off. He does drive straight there..and as I am getting out he tells me $30. WHAT!??? It should have been NO MORE than $10. I tell him..."you're a crook buddy! Here is $10 and a $5 tip" and he tries to get the hotel security guard to have me arrested. OMG. You know what...fuck it. When in the den of Satan you have to play by a different set of rules. I give him another $20 and ask him to please hit a cement truck head on when he leaves.

Now pulling up in another taxi, is my buddy Mike...who is telling me about his hooker experience. I guess it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Big Shock there, eh? I guess he tried to bring her back to the hotel and they wouldn't let her through the gate without first collecting $200 or so from him up front. Wow, its just so funny how corrupt and stupid everything is in these little shitbox countries. So he's all pissed off. He wants to pay me the $200 he borrowed, and I am cool with collecting it, because right now all I can think about is getting off of this god-forsaken island and get home on the next available flight.

We walk to his room, along the dark path...having no idea where the hell I am. He gives me the $200 he owes me, we exchange Facebook info (I think) and I head back to my room. At least I thought I did. I walk around for an HOUR...not able to find my room. This place is a 96 acre resort. There are no lights to help you find your way. I am a little surprised I wasn't mugged, because it would be a great place to rob unsuspecting guests. I have reached my breaking point and call Squirrel to ask her to please get/find me a flight out as soon as humanly possible. Eventually I circle back around and see the neon lights of the casino!

Granted, its about 20 minutes on foot to my room, but at least now I know where I am! I get back to my room at 6:30am. Squirrel has booked me a flight for later that day at 3:20! THANK YOU!

THE SECOND CHANCE TOURNEY....and the REAL action that followed!

The second chance tourney that they ran on Friday was a joke. First of all, it started at 10am. Lets talk about this. These idiots that run these poker tourneys need to pull their heads out of their asses! First of all, we all know that us poker players will play at ANY TIME OF DAY, right? If I am going to spend a good amount of my (or my backers') money to go to an exotic location to play poker, how about letting me enjoy the actual location I am traveling to!?? A

ruba, Bahamas, Costa Rica, the various other places they are holding tourneys in...how about trying this idea. How about letting us players enjoy the beaches and the other attractions in the early part of the day? And then...at say 4 or 5 pm...start the tourneys and play til about 2am. They way they are running them, you start at 10am...and only play a maximum of 6 levels a day so they can stretch it out. So you finish at 8pm. You cant get a damn reservation in any of the restaurants. And if you can, they all close at NINE! So then, you really have NOTHING to do for the rest of the day but play cash game. So freaking stupid. But if I were frolicking all day, then playing poker in the evening...it wouldn't be such a bad trip! But I guess that probably makes way too much sense doesn't it?

We start the tourney. My table really, really sucks. I am pretty much winning every hand I am in. I turn 10K into 23K before we even get to level 3. I have a guy at my table who turns out to be a total asshole. Bitching about everything. Whining, whining...ahhhhh enough! I finally put a $100 bounty on him after ASKNIG the floor guy if I am allowed to put a bounty on players. He tells me I can. So I do. Now the guy wants me put in a penalty. HA! Nice try.

Well, I don't get to enjoy him getting whacked. I go to the bathroom in between hands, and when I get back I am told the guy next to me took him out. I pay the $100, shake the guys' hand, and get on with it. We are getting fairly close to the lunch break when I pick up 66 UTG. I raise from 200/400 to 1200. Guy on the button calls me. I flop nothing. With two diamonds. I bet out anyway. Button calls. SHIT! Well the turn is a 6. NICE! Of diamonds. Ugh. I bet big! The guy calls again! Dammit! The river is ANOTHER DAMN DIAMOND! Son of a bitch! I check. Fuck it.

He checks behind. He has 44. One diamond. Flush. Lose half my stack. This guy was calling me all the way down...with a K, a Q, and a 9 on the board...with a pair of FOURS! So now I go to the lunch break with only 12K and fuming!

I go to lunch break, which means a trip to the buffet. Oh no. The buffet. I avoid almost everything. I see death. The only thing I see that looks safe is a bunch of fruit. So I score some fruit, wolf it down...and go to my room to relax and change clothes. Go back to the tourney. Another of the CLOWNS makes another one of their clown moves and ships all in for 7K on 300/600 blinds with me holding 10/10 in the SB. I call. He is stealing with J2. Nice hand sir. Great play. Jack on the flop.

Didn't I just take this same beat online the other day? Yeah...pretty sure I did. Same guy I wonder? That would be wild. So now I am sitting on 6500 and ready to KILL SOMEONE. Again...maybe myself. On the VERY NEXT hand...Mr. 'take my ultra dark glasses from on top of my hat and put them on ONLY when I am about to raise' makes a 2500 raise. I look down at AA.

I start to ask him how much he has left...and then realizing that slow rolling this guy is probably just going to end up resulting in a bad beat with ACES for me...I say "oh never mind...I'm all in." I think he must think I am still fuming over the beat I just took against Jack Deuce boy...so he calls with QJ. Nice call sir. It holds up. I now go back to 13K.

I sit there card dead for a whole level...back down to 7k, when I pick up 99. I raise in early position, and the guy behind me calls. He is holding A7. Again, nice hand. I am not going to lie, this trip consisted of some of the most GOD AWFUL players I have ever seen. I will just tell you that not ONE 'name' PRO made either of the final tables...and upon watching them make their 'walk of shame' they almost all had the same look on their faces.

You know the one! The "wow, if I hadn't just seen that with my own two eyes, I would have never believe I just went out like that!" look! Another thought. I heard people saying..."no pros made the final table." It got me to thinking. With 10 final tables this year, 180K in winnings this year, $225 career, 17 cashes this year and about 40 overall...had I made the final table...would they have labeled me "a pro?" The term 'PRO' is very loosely used. A guy makes a final table that gets televised, and never cashes again...but got 3rd place for $224,000 in that ONE that he made...and everyone labels this clown a pro.

But accumulate more cashes and final tables than 85% of the other players out there and somehow you are still 'an amateur.' Whatever...I guess I don't really care that much. The bottom line is, this is my job, my chosen profession. It is my duty to win on a regular basis. If someone wants to recognize me as 'a pro' then fine, I guess that's lovely. If not..I guess that's fine too. As long as I know that my game is better than most and I have money to keep playing poker and not have to go get a job like the majority of these other schlubs. Where was I? Oh yeah...Im about to get knocked out of this tourney.

99. Flop comes K-K-2. Not the best flop in the world. I bet anyway. He calls. Hmmm. Jack on the turn. I check. He checks. Another jack on the river. Oh fuck! Well I have 85% of my stack in the pot now. I cant win if I dont bet...and I do NOT think 9 high is going to play. I move all in...he calls, with his ACE high...and I am out. I am not sure what inspired him to call preflop, or again...after the flop....but when I start trying to figure out how bad players play that is usually when I start looking around for a gun. So I just shake my head and leave.

Time to go make some money! I find a $120 SNG that is needing two more players. LOCK IT UP! I will bore you all the details. I end up getting heads up with this lady named Gretchen, who calls herself the "dragon lady" and has every kind of dragon-related schwag you can imagine. She is ...well, she's nice. But she is very annoying, and scary looking. Her and I end up chopping this SNG.

I then decide to play the $100 with $50 rebuy tourney. That was a mistake. Huge. After rebuying several times...losing with AA/KK/JJ/QQ/AK...and investing $480...I go out just after the rebuy period....and find a $1/$2 game to lick my wounds. I turn $300 into $550 quickly. Then I hear..."two seats open on a $240 SNG" come from behind me.....LOCK IT UP! I win the first hand. Then on the second I am in the BB and the old guy at the other end of the table makes the mistake of min-raising me. I look down at Js8c and I call. The flop comes Jc10c9c. NICE! I tell him "sir, I am going to check/raise you all in." I check. He bets 450 into a 275 pot. I move all in.

He looks stunned. I tell him "sir, if you can beat a straight flush you should call." Well, like so many before him, he fails to heed my warning and calls anyway. DAMMIT, I think to myself, until he turns over AKs. Huh? WTF is he thinking? No problem...the Q of hearts hits the turn..giving him the straight (GIVE ME A BREAK!) but then....just like I ordained, the 7 of clubs hits the river for the STRAIGHT FLUSH!!!!! HAHHAHAHAHA. The table now thinks I am MOSES! That little play pretty much helped me get away with murder the rest of the SNG. I get heads up with this guy who is clearly horrible.

I dominate him...winning 80% of the hands heads up. But every time I am about to put him away, he sucks out for a double up. We play for an HOUR AND A HALF...the blinds get to 1500/3000. We also have $400 in the last longer. We agree to take $850 each and play for the $400. I end up winning. A nice little $1250 score. I lose the next SNG, a $120 deal...on a river beat. But its early, so I wasn't really that upset about it. I go back to the cash game and tread water for awhile. Then get together with Matthew at the other side of the table for that little session I discussed earlier. And now, we have come full circle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Taking a break from our tale because of some big news and a response to a comment..

A BLOGGER REPLY HAS PUT ME ON TILT!!!

So, I am trapped at the house ever since coming home from Punta Cana. I have got my PS3 completely figured out. The damn thing connects with your wireless router connection. Amazing. I cleaned out and reorganized my "toy box," a cool wooden trunk-like thing Squirrel got me at some furniture store. And now I realize I have a PS2 and an Xbox that I will most likely NEVER use again, ever. And the controllers that go with it. Replaced with the XBox360 and PS3 60 gb. I feel like I am becoming one of the people they talk about living lives of excess. Hmmmm.....

Not sure where that came from. That is not why I sat down and decided to fire off another report this afternoon. I have some very exciting news, first of all. She is going to be thrilled when she finds out I listed the irrelevant PS3, XBOX 360 crap first....but, well, sorry sweetie. When I go to Vegas, Squirrel seems to miss me more than on any other trips I take. So on this recent trip, which saw me having to fly in and out of New Orleans...I came home after three weeks to a Squirrel who was very happy to see me. I am going to go low on the details here. Lets just say that somewhere around that NASA base on the border of MISS/LA...the Monkey Mobile pulled over and took care of some personal business that has led to the exciting announcement that we are now expecting a Little Monkey or possibly a Little Squirrel sometime around August 17th next year. That's right...this 41 year old child is about to be a father. Whoa! Nervous? Um...yeah. That goes without saying. Excited? Hell ya. Scared? A little bit. But on all the trips I make to places like Wal-Mart, where I see the worst kind of parents in the world, and all these awful shows on TV that showcase bad parents, I feel I am equipped to do a pretty good job. And Squirrel is great with kids. She will make a FANTASTIC Mother. One little issue. We got engaged last Christmas, in front of her whole family...and are still NOT married. I broke the news to MY Mom, and predictably, she went bananas...but Squirrel is a little nervous about telling hers. She wants to think about a quickie wedding before we go up there (Florence, Alabama) for Christmas. Hate that thought. Just feels so...contrived. I wish this summer when we were out with Gabe and Claudia that night...and made the attempt to go do a Vegas, middle-of-the-night wedding, that we had pulled that off. Because it would have felt special. You know? With friends. Spontaneous. Kind of crazy. Memorable. We didn't/don't want a big, expensive wedding. Instead, we want to have a really cool/fun reception, where ALL of our friends and family can come..dressed however they want...without the pressure of getting dressed up and spending a bunch of money on gifts and stuff. The other great thing about getting married is that I will go on her health insurance at the Beau Rivage. Kind of funny, they wont let me in there...but they WILL insure me!!!! HA!

Well, I reckon we will work all that out in the next week or so. It should be a very exciting nine months. In the meantime, I will try to win a crap load of money online...so I can spend as much time at home with her as possible. So how did that mission start out?

OH BOY! IN perhaps the single-worst beatdown in one day on Pokerstars...I literally started the day with $2450 in my online account. When I logged off at 5am...I had $1800. The day before wasn't a hell of a lot better. In fact, it was like everyone could either see my cards...or they knew exactly what was coming out. I wont go into individual hands and/or bad beats...but it was absolutely disgusting. It didn't matter HOW I played a hand. AA...I was losing. KK I was losing. Flop a straight. Forget it. I'm losing. Flop a set. Forget it. Get to the bubble...pick up AK...run into AJ....lose. TELL SOMEONE I have AA...and re raise them...they call the all in with Q10...make two pair. I was still holding that seat for STEP 6...the final step to the PCA trip...and for two days...it has failed to fill up. Geez...what the hell happens if you can NEVER get a game there? I also had a Step 5 ticket...that ended in disaster...didn't even get bumped down to Step 4 or 3....went out 7th. With AQ vs. A10. Guy flops broadway. How nice. So yesterday when I log on to get started...there is a software update! AWESOME...now maybe the cheaters will be thwarted for at least two days. I don't think so. Really, I think it was THE WORST DAY I HAVE EVER HAD online. But for some reason...I took it pretty well. I feel this pressure now...like I have never felt...to PRODUCE. But you know...if you are playing well, doing everything right...and you just get boned in the ass by either bad luck, bad players, cheaters, or all of them...what can you do? I guess you just have to laugh.

Cub got 3rd in New Orleans. Cool. He should have very firmly crushed me now for Rounder of the Year. I kind of regret not going over there and not trying to Mega my way into that Main Event. But I was busy trying to win the Sunday Million instead. I DID manage to cash...just not very deep...so big deal, right? Some guy Justin...a kid...won. Good for him. Must feel awfully good to be 21 and pocket that nice chunk of dough. Of course one of my online 'acquaintances' Bryan Lanoix texts me that 'His Boy' won the Main Event. It seems like every time I get a text from him one of 'his boys' is winning something. He needs to get a 2% 'one of my boys' sweat fee from all of his posse...he would be cleaning up!

A quick political note. All this crap with this Governor in Illinois has me freaked out. First of all...going back to the days of Al Capone...we all know just how corrupt Chicago area politics are. At least I hope we do. I wasn't completely on board with this Barack Obama Presidential deal...but it is what it is. He talks a good talk, he has assembled a good cabinet...and I am always willing to give someone a try before I throw them under the bus. But...and this is a mighty big BUT...does it strike anyone as odd that 'Barry' has quite possibly exhibited some incredibly bad judgement when it comes to the people he associates with? I mean in the last ten years, he has made very close ties with William Ayres (admitted domestic terrorist), Jeremiah Wright (radical, racist minister), Andrew Rezko (slimy, corrupt business man with ties to Muslim radicals) and now this jackass? Dude...I mean, at some point...a lot of things start to add up. Again...maybe he is just the victim of ...uh, coincidence. But let me say this, the same media who helped get Barry elected, will be the same ugly, fickle media who skewers his ass should things start to get ugly in the White House. I'm rooting for him to succeed, because this country needs it...but really, how can anyone with any common sense not be a little antsy?

I am very delighted to see gas down around $1.45 where it BELONGS! How does THAT make ya feel, ya damn Arabs!!!??? Sure the Exxon's and Mobil's are still making their ridiculous profits, just not AS ridiculous!

Also see where they finally found the body of Caylee Anthony. In a garbage bag near her home. With duct tape found wrapped around what is now just a skull. What must that chick Casey been thinking when she killed her own daughter? What demons live inside of HER? And what will become of her in prison? Wow. The great news is that we now get to listen to F*@#(&@ Nancy Grace go on and on about it for another two or three months. Every time I turn on the TV and see her, and hear her...I seriously want so badly to punch that woman in the face! And I have never struck a woman, nor thought about striking a woman in my life. I would have a REALLY hard time not slugging her!

Okay...I got some feedback from a blog reader. His username is RUTTDAWG...and he appears to be a fan of everything Louisiana based. He has a profile photo, but its Phil Gordon. He has called me out for 'name dropping' and for being too stupid to know when my start time was for Day Two down there in Punta Hella. I rolled his comments around in my head while cleaning up the patio from Destructo-Dog...and had a couple of ways to respond. First...I do not know this guy. So for me to respond in a personal fashion would be...well, just silly. let me tell you something...AND SHARE...I can take a lot of good natured ribbing. I can take being made fun of. In fact, one of my best friends IS one of my best friends because of his ability to make me LAUGH hysterically, and usually AT MYSELF based on what he has said to me or about me. In fact...he read my latest blog report...and emailed me in one of his 'middle of the night anything goes' rambling diatribes...I read it at about 8am...and laughed so hard my eyes started to tear up. Allow me to share....this is the email I received from ALLIE PRESCOTT two mornings ago:

Wow! Against my better judgement, in my sleep deprived and completely bored state (bc I have already gone through the entire TIVO list), I opened up this email from you to see if my good buddy had managed to secure himself one of the packages given by the bootcamp. What a fucking mistake! I am even more stunned and confused now than I was when you were staying out here that people actually take the time to read this shit. These people should be hunted down, tortured, and then murdered. They are using up valuable natural resources and contributing to the downfall of America and for that matter...the world. In fairness, I did not read the entire blog, so maybe in the parts I skipped over you included some pearls of wisdom that would have floored me and made me want to take back all of my insults, however...I doubt it. My reading came to an abrupt halt at the point where you were describing a cash game hand and labeled your Dominican opponents as "Villains". You, Monkey, are a fag, and no better than the 14 year old internet posters who jack off to 2+2 forums and run around talking non stop to their other loser fag friends about poker hero's and villain's. These are the same heterosexually challenged worthless fucks who rail the online $1/$2 NL games asking for five dollar donations. But at least they have an excuse. None of them had ever had a friend or companion before they joined the local dungeons and dragons club, then they advanced to Magic the Gathering, and when they finally reached a state of depression bc they thought they had grown too old to talk about wizards and elfs and dwarfs any more, they decided they could now refer to poker players as hero's and villains and keep the Fantasy World alive. This was all they had going in the worthless and pathetic lives, and so for them, i guess this terminology is OK........You however do not have any excuse. You are an unbelievable assclown. I see no further point or purpose in your life. And if I were you I would consider just ending it all. SERIOUSLY! But before I go I feel obligated to point out one more thing in hopes you will take this information and use it going forward as to not look like a total and complete idiot when talking poker to your cult following of mindless puppets. (Throat clearing sound) Here goes... The correct amount to raise/bet when you have pocket Kings and your opponent has pocket 5's (Or for that matter any other hand that is losing to pocket kings, and surprisingly enough there are quite a few of them bc KK is sort of a good hand) is...(wait for it)..."the largest amount possible that this other moron will call!" Did that register. If I were looking (and laughing) at you in person right now I would repeat that but I am way too lazy to type it again so just go back and reread it whenever you need to. The correct amount is not "an amount that they can call with a far inferior hand and then fold to a bet on the flop when they are way way behind, so that you make only half as much as you should have made in the hand." you are a disgrace. you are pathetic. And what's worse...You are now spreading your shocking stupidity to others and even finding a way to make a guy feel worse about busting when all he did was get the biggest poker degenerate on earth to put nearly his entire stack in almost dead...."Yeah, really stupid play Speedy Swede Guy" You should be ashamed of yourself. I am ashamed to call you a friend. So i will stop effective immediately. You are now officially only an "acquaintance" ANd a stupid one at that. Please reference the final 5 sentences of the previous paragraph and reread that until it sinks in completely. I will now try to fall asleep feeling dumber for having read your blog. Thanks for nothing. Allie

This and many other moments like this one, are what make Allie a great friend. Being able to laugh at oneself, I think...is very important. We sit up and pretty much have nothing but conversations like these when I am out there. Yet, at the end of the day, if there was anyone I ever needed to call for ANYTHING...Allie would be one of the guys I would call. Maybe I am not a normal person to label someone who would talk to me like this a GOOD FRIEND. I'm not sure. Maybe I am. I know Squirrel finds it bizarre. Maybe women just don't 'get us' like we get each other. So that being said...it brings me to this comment from this blog reader, RUTTDAWG.

Name dropping. Well, its funny, because I actually hate name droppers. And to be accused of BEING ONE...is a little, hmmm...humiliating (embarrassing??) I guess. Name dropper? Well, here is my defense. I pretty much use other people/players to make my stories more interesting. I use all kinds of people, some I call by name, some I just describe by what they are wearing, how they dress, their terrible hair do...you get the idea. And some happen to be people you or your friends may have heard of. If that is the case...fine. I live and play in a world where there are a lot of recognizable names. I find that stories involving them may just bring entertainment value to some of you readers. To those who find it insulting to your...um, sense of what really matters in the world, hey...sorry you don't find it entertaining. To further this point; IF....IF I were to become a NAME DROPPER...overnight...and look to garner attention for those who I might possibly be 'friends with' or 'know really well' let me tell you who those people would be. Maybe a really good author. A race car driver. A sexy actress. A supermodel maybe. A quarterback from my favorite football team. I used to actually run around L.A. about ten years ago with George Clooney when I was living out there for awhile. Met him through my roommate, who was a pretty successful actor, and we used to go to Clooney's house every Saturday to play basketball. That was actually a name I might have DROPPED had I been a name dropper. But I have always held true to the notion that WHO YOU KNOW does not define WHO YOU ARE. You are what you have made YOURSELF. Those around you who signal success may make you appear more likeable, or attractive to some...but at the end of the day, you are STILL the person you have made yourself. So...RUTTDAWG...my intention is NOT to drop names to impress you. Especially the names of freaking POKER PLAYERS! I am not the least bit impressed by ANY POKER PLAYER IN THE WORLD, other than I might respect his/her game. If you check out my FACEBOOK you will notice quite a few names you recognize. BIG FLIPPIN DEAL. It gets me nowhere in life. Its just people who are in the same line of work as I am. I like a lot of them. I am not crazy about some of them. These are just people I work with. PERIOD.

On the comment regarding my inability to know what time I was supposed to be back, that I am stupider than your 90 year old Grandfather. First...let me say, you are LUCKY to have a 90 year old Grandfather! I wish I still HAD a Grandfather who was alive. And second..yeah...I felt kind of stupid NOT KNOWING the start back time was 10am. But you know what? I wasn't the only one who didn't know. They NEVER announced the time at the end of day 1. It wasn't like a normal tournament where its published somewhere. The ONLY place where it stated the back time was on the back of our ID BADGE...which again, I DIDNT GET! So...am I blaming Ron Rubens? You bet I am! And unless you were there, and experienced what I did, how can you possibly sit in judgement about how things went down? The answer is, you can't. So...thank you RUTTDAWG for being a reader...and thank you for taking the time to chime in with feedback. I felt I owed you an explanation. And there you go.

Now then...I am about to do something earth-shattering. Me and my 245 lb. (20 to 25 pounds OVERweight) 300+ cholesterol having body are going to start on THE MISSION! Me and Squirrel are headed to our local gym to begin what hopefully will be the journey that gets me back in shape, prevents me from having a freaking heart attack (resulting in my first-born being introduced to this MESSED UP PLANET without a father to show him the ropes, or AHEM...HER) and maybe helps me deal with some of the angst I feel from certain things in my life!!!!

Have a nice day, everyone!

MONKEY

Part 2: TJ Cloutier and Missing Prize Money

T.J. CLOUTIER and the BAD BEAT SPECIAL (s)

Now if you are like me, and any other REAL poker player worth a shit...you get pretty F&*(@#*$&( 'in tired of hearing bad beat stories. So with that in mind, I will tell you this; this is a bad beat story that appeals to, well....everyone! Not just poker players. Actually there are three of them. TJ arrives with a pretty normal sized stack. It would not remain very normal.

Play #1. Now before I tell you this...let me tell you THIS. I have had a lot of opportunities to play with Mr. Degenerate. Im sorry, I meant to say...Mr. Cloutier. That slipped out. Back in last years 10K Main Event at the Beau Rivage (back when they still welcomed Senor Monkey in their beautiful establishment that I miss so much) I had the displeasure of having TJ and Captain Nightmare (Tom Franklin) at my table, sitting next to one another and raising my BB mercilessly.

So I have gained some insight into how the stylish (he of the Docker Slacks, 'never should be tucked in polo shirt', and tennis shoes) Mr. Cloutier plays in tourneys. In this hand, a fairly tight player raises in early position....blinds were 300/600...the guy made it 2500. TJ, that buzzard...makes it 10,000 to go. That's right. 10K. Well, our other favorite player....a guy I will call, simply...THE IDIOT...who has been Re-popping raise/re-raisers with stuff like 44/66/KQ....all game (TJ wasn't around for all that business) decides to move all in....for 80K. First guy folds immediately...guessing AQ/AJ probably. TJ thinks for about 2 seconds and folds. Well done TJ.

Play #2. A guy from Sweden, who I would get to know pretty well last night when a bunch of us went to this club (discoteq as they like to call it down there) last night...a guy who Gavin Smith had given the nickname of LITTLE SPEEDY GUY on Day 1 due to his ability to weave in and out of traffic very quickly on the way to the bathroom....would limp under the gun for 800. (he is sporting KK) Our boy "The Idiot" has made it 2500. One person calls. Then it comes to TJ. He calls the 2500. Back to TheSpeedySweden. He has 18,000 chips and in a play that I simply hated...HE SHOVES. I think all of us good players would have made a raise right there to about 7500.

Let everyone know JUST how screwed they were, unless of course the IDIOT happened to have AA (not likely). That way...if ANYONE does call (like a retard) and the flop comes like it did.....all rags... he is first to act....moves all in for 11K...they all fold. But....he moves in...and I have no freaking idea just what TJ is smoking, but he doesn't share..he keeps it all to himself...hems, haws, decides...."ah what the hell, I'll gamble with ya!" And calls off 75% of his stack with 55. He goes runner runner for a straight. Speedy is out. I went over and consoled him, gave him my advice on how he should have played it. He agreed. We kind of became buddies. Felt bad for him. But he DID misplay the hand. Cost him the tourney.

Play #3. The worst beat of the week. I met a bunch of guys from Atlanta...actually shuttled in with a guy, Phillip Jones...who is an absolute loon. Sober he is funny. Drunk he is funny as hell....but then gets too drunk, and turns...well, stupid. Still like him though. And he had a group of ten guys down there with him. We all decided to go to this club on Friday night, a place called Imagine. Its about 15 minutes from our resort. It is a CAVE..literally. You go under ground...and there are all these tunnels and everything. Very cool. Well, before we left, we floundered around the casino trying to round everyone up. I worked in a quick (32 minutes) cash session that would produce the most exciting moment of my trip (and biggest cash game pot =$650) more on that later.

I am standing around talking to Lee Child and Rick Fuller when over comes this guy Mike and I catch him saying "Yeah I might need to grab some more cash cuz I just loaned TJ $350." WHAT? What did you just say dude? Did I hear you correctly? About the same time....Rick and Lee start laughing. I said "Bro, did you just loan TJ money?" He claimed they were 'friends' but I'm guessing its one of those 'he talks to me and makes me feel special and important sometimes' kind of friends. Not bashing this kid cuz he was actually a really nice guy. But it took me and the other guys to convince him that he might as well have just taken that money and dropped it off the highest cliff he could find...then jump off and try to catch all the money before he hits the ground...and still have time to pull his parachute. Bad Beat....

More on TJ. I know that Squirrel hates it when I bash people on this blog. But some people just deserve it. TJ is an asshole. A straight up asshole. He thinks he knows it all. He wants everyone to know that he knows it all. When there is a dispute...he usually isnt even in the hand...and he wants to condescending break the whole thing down. He is mean to dealers. He is mean to the floor. He's loud. (a lot of you are going "wow Monkey, sounds just like YOU!" ) And his worst quality is that he is a degenerate bum. He will borrow money from ANYONE and EVERYONE..and if they get paid back they are lucky. He borrowed money from that kid...and I see him right there at the craps table. Five minutes later he is at the cage trying to get a marker.

.....picking up where I left off from here, and really feeling the pain, because there was some admittedly really funny shit that got zapped!

This business about TJ? Look...I know I have my own problems, my own issues to face. I might be a little manic/depressive. I might get a little over-emotional. I might hold grudges a little too long. However, one thing I am not...is a degenerate. When I win money, I park that money in a safe place. When I am running bad, I take it home. I get on line, grind a little there. You will never see me borrowing money from another player...then walking down and plunking it down on a craps table...or blackjack, or roulette, or a slot machine.

Talk about disrespectful. Have some freaking pride. TJ wants everyone to think he is the BIGSHOT, World Famous poker player...but he carries himself like a bum. I'm just glad the guy isnt related to me...I would probably have to quit poker.

I think this is where I shifted back to my Day Two action. So, back at my table I am seeing very few playable hands and slowly running out of chips. Karen and Mark continue going at each other. He raises her BB, she gives him this look, re-raises him and gives him this 'Yeah, that's right buddy!' look. I wonder about their sex life. I am gonna guess here that they dont get it on very often. But when they do, I am gonna go out on a limb and predict that its in that category of 'grudge fucks,' whereby they both come out of it feeling like they won.

I am folding a lot of hands that, had I played them...would have won. Don't you HATE that? ITs the worst, because you are sitting there dreaming/fantasizing about how many chips you would have had, were you a donkey. The blinds get to 600/1200 and I am sitting on 6500 chips. I pick up pocket threes and move it all in. I hide under the table. I hear Chip Jett tell me "your safe, monkey" and I come back up from hiding and drag a nice little pot. A few hands later I get KQ suited and pull the same stunt. TJ mumbles "all these guys have their different brand of bullshit!" but no one calls again.

Up to about 13K now and making a small charge. But the average stack is around 48k. I really need a courtesy double up here pretty soon. I think I am about to get it too. Sitting in middle position I pick up AQh. Nice. I have enough chips now that I can just raise. I make it 3600 to go. Folds to Super Lungs in the big blind. She looks down at something (stop it!) attractive and makes the call. Hmmm. The flop comes Q high. Sweet! She bets 4000. I move all in. She insta-calls and turns over Q-10. Hmmm..okay, I can see her calling that preflop, that is pretty much in her range. We never feel safe in that situation though do we? Not with two cards coming...and when the 10 of spades hits the river...I tell her "nice hand" and leave the table. So instead of doubling up to 29K...i am out. DAMMIT.

MISSING PRIZE MONEY, or is it just a MISALLOCATION!!!???

There was still something to look forward to. And this time, I KNEW that it started at 10am the following day. Now...this tournament was supposed to be capped at 250 players. When I was contacted back in September about it, I was told..."we have sold 232 seats already...there are only about 18 seats left." This, I would come to find out...was a total lie. Me and several other players were told the same thing. We all felt irritated by this.

Because how many ended up playing this event? 222. And we all know that 28 players didn't cancel. Well, the prizes were based on 150 players. So they told us that for every 50 extra players that joined, an additional SEAT ($10k Main Event entry) would be added to the prize pool in the Main tourney as well as the 2nd chance tourney. Well, me and another couple of 'campers' decided to do some math to figure out just where all this money was going. Cost for the camp was $4500. Unless you were alumni, then it was $4000.

And I am guessing all or most of the Dais-featured pros were given a freeroll for the event. We were informed that $3300 of the $4500 was directly applied to the tourney pool. So the lodging was around $900 for the week, which sounds about right. So, out of 222 players, lets subtract about 22 of those as being 'freerollers' leaving us with 200 paying $3300. That adds up to $660,000 in the prize pool. Based on the payout structure they announced for both tourneys...if they added ONE $10,000 seat to each event...it brings the total awarded to $232,000 in total prize value. That's it. Which leaves one wondering...where in the hell did the other $438,000 go to?

That is almost HALF A MILLION DOLLARS going into SOMEONES pocket! Hey, I am ALL ABOUT putting on a good show and making a little money...but TWICE what the players are making? That's just about criminal. And if you want to tell me, 'hey man...they had to bring down their staff, and instructors, and dealers..." I will tell you....THAT IS A BUNCH OF BULL! The instructors? Those are the players, who I am already told by more than one of them, get to come down for free and play in the tourney. That is their reward...getting a chance to secure (10) buyins for 10K events. No more money is paid to them. Staff? They had like three or four of them there. And Matt Savage was the tourney director. The dealers? This is the biggest joke of all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Part 1.

IF YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY OR LOVED ONES EVER THINK ABOUT TAKING A TRIP TO THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC...YOU MAY WANT TO READ THIS EXCITING EDITION OF THE MONKEY BLOG!!!!

[On Sunday morning, after writing for 1.5 hours, picking up where I left off when my battery died on the plane coming home on Saturday...I got to within a paragraph of being done....when my AOL crashed...freezing, and losing everything I had written. Do you know how HARD it is to replicate 1.5 hours of 'off the top of my head' ramblings? Its Tuesday morning now, and I am going to try my hardest...but I am just telling you...going into this, I am really feeling challenged!]

I am conflicted. Do I make this a one-time entry? Or do I make this a three or four part job? Do I leave it up to Wild Bill, our editor-in-chief ((let's try it in four-WB)if that isn't his title, I just gave it to him...YOU HAVE BEEN KNIGHTED, SIR WILLIAM!) to make the decision himself? Or do I just say...."Yo! Listen up blogger boy (or girl)! If you think you have what it takes to read ALL of what I am about to write on this three hour, FIRST CLASS (more on that later) flight from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic to Atlanta then Biloxi...then grab yourself a cold one, rip open some Doritos, maybe some beef jerky (just happens to be what I am totally craving right now!) and sit in your most comfortable leather chair/sofa...and lets get going. [Personally, I have no idea what kind of person it takes to read this crap that I put out, I really, truly don't!]

Day Two Demise

When we last left off, I was coming out of Day One with $26,750 chips..after starting with $20,000. Well, actually I started with 18,750 because while I was busy arriving late then getting stuck in a horrid baggage claim ordeal, shuttle search, long ass shuttle ride, and marathon wait at the hotel registration desk....I was being blinded off. I got in there though....started 'doing work' and had a pretty satisfying first day. Did not feel the least bit affected by the late arrival. I was promised my WPT BOOT CAMP 'bag' that contained (or was supposed to) my BADGE/ID, tourney/event schedule, T-shirt, Hat, towel, and all sorts of various coupons. Ron Rubens, who I think is the coordinator of this deal, had promised to get it to me by the end of the day. As I mentioned in my last entry....he didn't. So when we finished up on Day One...there was NO announcement made about when we were to return the next day. And since I wasn't sharing a room with anyone who might just KNOW...and since I didn't see anyone at dinner who I could discuss that sort of thing with....due to my INABILITY to get a reservation at ANY of the 6 restaurants on property...I was in my bed sleeping. At 8pm I was out like a light. I then woke up at 3am...wide awake. DAMMIT. What to do with myself? Ahhhhh....almost forgot, I have these two NETFLIX movies I haven't watched. Lets watch RAMBO! Sylvester Stallone and his 13 (maybe 14....15, TOPS) lines were riveting...as was his ability to invent new and exciting ways to kill Burmanese bad guys. Heads blown off, holes blown right through the middle of people, legs completely severed, more heads blown off....dudes cut in half and their innards falling out of their bodies, a guy having (literally) his THROAT ripped out of his neck. THROAT RIPPED OUT OF NECK? Is that ...does that.....make sense? Yeah...I'm going with that...its pretty much how I interpreted what I was watching! What I watched was about 94 minutes of blood and guts. Then I was tired again. Cool. Back to sleep.

I woke up at 9 am. Feeling VERY rested. Sat out on my porch, read a little bit of my new book. Had a glass of orange juice. I think it was orange juice. Not positive. Watched a lady try to pose for a picture with a flamingo before the flamingo started chasing her. That was funny. If it was me...and that pink monster was chasing me, I would have just done a drop/roll maneuver and taken that bastard out at the knees. Ever see their legs? Pencil thin. The flamingo would never recover. Those geese though...the big white ones? Like the one who tried to attack me later in the afternoon? They are much more scary...and dangerous. And the sound they make is very terrifying. If I had been packing heat, there would surely have been feathers everywhere and probably an animal cruelty charge being handed out to Monkey Boy. Glad I ran faster than the goose. I still have a little bit of my 'game day breakaway speed.'

Thinking our back time was probably at noon...but not being positive....I actually thought there could be a chance that it was at 2pm, and if it was it would have been nice to spend a little time at the beach, which I had yet to see. So I decided to brush my teeth, throw on a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and a hat...and looking very 'just outa bed' rolled on up to the casino to find out what time we were to start our Day Two. Walked in....Hmmmm...interesting, if I am not seeing things, that looks like a tournament clock. And it looks like it says 10:14. What IN the HELL? No way! No freaking way! Sure enough....they started at TEN A-freaking-M! I had missed the first FIFTY MINUTES of the level...which was 200/400 with a 50 ante. I missed THREE big and small blinds....so, lets do the math here....1500 in ANTES! And 1800 in BLINDS!!!! A grand total of 3300 chips...GONE! Because I had NO IDEA what time we were back. Why? Because I didn't have the schedule. Why? Because my boy Ron never got it to me. Thank God I didn't wait to go up there until NOON! I would have lost about another 5500! I looked for Ron...and of course, he was no where to be found!

MONKEY GOES PLATINUM.....YIPPPEEEE SKIPPPPPYYY!!!!

So I sit down and pick up AJh at the cutoff. I raise to 1200. This lady in the BB....nasty old hag with an awful red hair do and an even worse brown jogging outfit...looks me up. The flop comes 2-5-4. Hmmm...I might be able to fire out a continuation bet with that flop...ya never know when a 3 might greet me on the turn. CANCEL THAT...that bitch fires a 4000 bet at me! Great. Herrrrrre we go! This lady....two levels later...with the blinds 400/800 and holding 13,000 chips...calls a guy who has moved all in for 8400 (and who holds 88) with A2c. That's right...the always POWERFUL A2c! Hey...not a freaking problem...she makes a flush. Of course. I would win a couple, lose a couple and eventually limp to the dinner break with 14K. Which was NO WHERE where I wanted to be at this stage of the tourney...but I didn't really have a choice. I just never was able to catch any kind of a break.

At the dinner break I finally track down Rebecca Joy...who had been helping out with administrative things for the WPT Boot Camp. The day before she had told me she would try to 'work on' getting me that long sought after Platinum bracelet. The day before Ron tried to convince me that for him to get me one he would have to pay $400! Four hundred dollars. And for a few seconds...I actually believed him. That was until Rebecca was able to make it happen....for a cost of $30 per day for as many days as I would like to have it. Well, okay that would be THREE days please. $90. And boom! Just like that, I had my Platinum bracelet finally. No more getting clowned by Gavin, and Clonie, and Kenna, and Chip..and Matt Savage. Monkey was now a Platinum bracelet-wearing mother#@(*&#!@ like the rest of those guys!

It was later that I would find out that 'international' drinks (this is what they call ANYTHING that doesn't come from their island...so basically...EVERYTHING) come with a fee, usually 4 to 7 dollars. The bracelet? Sorry sir...that doesn't work in the casino, only in the hotel and hotel area. You gotta be kidding me. Nope. That's the deal. And this Platinum Club I was so hot to check out? An open air lounge...like one you would find at a tacky golf course...only open air...so it was really hot and humid, and lacking any people or any thing else you might find interesting. Wonderful. Platinum means you can order room service 24 hrs a day, and its complimentary. Sounds great...until you actually try to do it. Especially when your phone doesn't have any FREAKING BUTTONS ON IT! That's two days now without a phone where I could push any buttons! Incidentally...the phone NEVER did get switched out with one that HAD buttons on it. And after rigging the TV to work with my magical wiring job...the maid must have tripped over the cable or something, obviously, because she jammed the cable into the wrong input...which effectively shorted something out in the TV and it never again got a signal. Platinum bracelet also will NOT get you a new TV.

We come back from break and I have experienced a table change. Our whole table has broken WHILE we were on dinner break. Perfect...so while everyone else is playing...we are searching for our table...which, by the way are not marked with table numbers, like MOST poker rooms/tournaments. I finally get to my table...and there is Karen Lester...she of the over 50 age but under 25 dress, breasts (nice, dont get me wrong) hangin out...her CD with Kenna James (one song, a poker-themed song) laying on the table in front of her...and her husband Mark situated where she is in the BB when he is on the button. They would lock horns NUMEROUS times througout the day. Just a tiny little while after I sit down...I catch Karen raising 3x...and Rick Fuller moving all in for...yeah, lets call it about 12K! Karen calls...with AJ offsuit, Rick flips over 10-10 and says..."Ah....Karen...what are you doing Karen?" Karen turns a J and Rick is outtttaaa here. Nice call Karen. Your breasts still look nice, though. Seat open, Seat 1. Hey, lets bring in our longtime good buddy T.J. Cloutier. Why not?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Everything But the Drill Sergeant!

I am officially feeling very PROUD to be an American right now.
Oh my God...what a week. I was supposed to fly out on Sunday morning.
At precisely 3:18 am Sunday morning, while packing I discovered that my Passport had expired on May 18, 2008. No freaking way!

After making several calls and sending several emails, it became clear I was NOT going to be able to make my flight. I would have to go to the nearest government passport office, which happened to be in New Orleans...and get a renewal in time to fly out late and make it down to the Dominican Republic in time (or late) to play the Battle for the Season Pass tourney.

So I wake up extra early on Monday....and go to call the 'Automated Appointment Center' for the Passport agency. You cannot go to their office withOUT an appointment. Well, their system was EFFED up. I would make it to step 6 of a 7 step process and get disconnected. 11 times this happened. I was ready to destroy something in my house. From 8am til 9:30 I tried to make an appt. To no avail. I finally got a real-life human on the phone... and was told there was 'nothing we can do...we know the call center is down right now...but recommend you keep trying." You have GOT to be kidding me?!!!!

So I get in my car and race to New Orleans...without an appt! Somewhere around Slidell I finally get through and secure an appt. For noon. Which gives me 28 MINUTES to get to their office. I hit that traffic on that damn bridge....sit there, sit there....COME ON!!!!! Finally make it to the office by 12:10. They take me. Oooops no passport photo. Go downstairs.....to this place...and get photos ($20). Okay...done. Okay...come back at 2:30 to pick up your passport, sir.

So I go over to Harrah's across the street to check out the WSOP tourney. The first tourney is under way...a $220 buy in that has attracted 180 players. See a lot of the same people I always see at the local tourneys. They have a $65 SNG about to start, so why not? I jump into it. Then I see the old familiar thing I HATE about WSOP circuit SNGs...the starting chip count of 800 chips! I call an early raise...bet into on the flop...have to fold when the guy goes all in and am immediately shortstacked. Lovely. Get knocked out on the next hand I play. That was fun. Then go on to play a $125 SNG....1000 starting chips in that one. Still lousy. Start the game hot. Become chipleader fast.

Then crack AK with AQ to chip up some more. Down to 4... call a raise with 9-10c....get three way action and flop 7-9-10...first guy bets 1000. Next guy (original raiser) goes all in for 1800. I go all in. First guy folds. I tell the guy I think he has like JJ/QQ. He turns over QQ. I show my hand...but before he cant feel the pain, he turns a 7 to counterfeit my two pair.

Great! It holds. All four of us swap chips for the next two levels, and finally decide to do a 4-way chop. I take $300. Whatever. I don't care....its 2:45 and I have got to go get my passport. Which I do. Sweet. I'm legal now!

Then I spend two hours on the phone with airlines trying to find a way to get to Punta Cana in time for this tourney. FINALLY get a flight. Start driving home. Fire up a $12/180 sng on Pokerstars. I got to Long Beach and was heads up with this guy for the win. Had him 3 to 1...for the longest time but never could put him away.

He sucks out twice in a row...and beats me. But still, won $396 for 2nd. Coupled with a $100 net profit on the SNGS...and it was a $500 day. Made up for the $155 passport ordeal and the $225 airline change fee.

Had nothing to do on Tuesday so played a bunch online. Then took Squirrel to Outback for steaks and went and saw the movie 4 Christmasses. It was pretty hilarious. Spent the night getting all of my pools all organized and squared away, as well as my fantasy leagues. Got my College Bowl Pool all set up and the announcement/invite sent out to everyone. Then paid my bills for the month. Celebrated making the FINAL payment on Squirrel's engagement ring...and thus, avoiding a ridiculous amount of interest that had piled up over 12 months. SWEET!

Then we rented HANCOCK and watched it in bed. It was a good movie. By midnight I already had 65 players signed up for the college Bowl Pool...wow, this is going to be a huge year! Saturday my NCAA SURVIVOR POOL ended...with me NOT winning it. With 5 of us left....4, including me...took MIZZOU to beat Kansas, while the other guy took Va Tech over Virginia. Well...thanks MIZZOU....as dude with Va Tech wins the pools and we all go home empty handed! Decided NOT to try and sleep.....just left for the airport at 4:30 am.

Get to airport on time. Have to show the lady the credit card that I used to make the ticket change. Lady drops my card...it falls into some crack behind her computer...and VANISHES! Can't find it anywhere. Come on! You serious? So...I board my plane with no credit card. Perfect. I get a pretty cool bunch of people in my row and the row in front of me. There is maybe 4 inches of leg room.

Oh my God! I offer the girl in front of me $20 if she will NOT recline her seat after we take off. She agrees not to, but doesn't take $20. Instead I pay for her drinks during the flight. Took a muscle relaxer...had a couple drinks...and had a pretty enjoyable flight. Got to the airport at 3pm their time. The tourney had started at 2:30.

There was supposed to be a guy there to pick me up. No guy. Look all over. Nothing. Its hot as shit...about 94...and I am wearing a winter-type outfit. Dying. FINALLY see a guy with a WORLD POKER TOUR sign. That's gotta be my guy. It is.

There is another guy who is in the same mess I am...not passport, just MISSED his flight Sunday. Whoops. It takes us 20 minutes to get the hell out of there. Then....the 10 minute drive that I was quoted from the airport to the hotel...turns out to be more like 45 minutes. MERCY!

After I discovered my passport expiration on Sunday morning...I sent an email to the girl who runs this WPT BootCamp and told her what had happened. I asked if I was unable to get down to the event if me, or rather...my backer would get any of our money back. I was told NO. Nothing. Out of luck.

No freaking way! I went a little nuts. I think she thought I was trying to weasel out at the last minute. When I told her I would scan my passport and email it to her, she softened a little bit. I think she REALLY thought I was simply trying to back out at the last minute. That really pissed me off. I kept her in the loop all through my Monday New Orleans Odyssey.

Back when we decided to sign up for this deal, we were going by the flyer/invite that I was emailed by their guy Ron, who runs the thing. It was my understanding that we paid $4000 for an ALL INCLUSIVE package that included a ride from the airport, ALL MEALS and ALL DRINKS, tournament entry and a bag full of goodies (hat/tshirt/etc) and my ID badge.

We arrive at the hotel. Finally. On the way to the hotel it was like driving through Beirut or a bombed out neighborhood in Baghdad. It was scary. The drivers were a nightmare. On the narrow road we came in on...we nearly got head-on'd twice!

Very nerve-wracking. And our driver spoke NO ENGLISH...so that made it even worse! I kept thinking about Lisa 'Left-Eye' Lopez...who was killed down here a while back in a car accident!

Getting checked in was a nightmare. Two guys who barely speak English...every task was a 15 minute ordeal. Really thought I was about to NOT get a room. Meanwhile the tourney is into hour number two. I finally get my room...and get an escort to the room...which I would have NEVER found on my own. They give me a GREEN bracelet which is supposed to be my pass to everything in the resort. I will find out later it is NOT!

I get to the casino...which is about 500 yards from my hotel room...which OH! By the way, did I mention my room? I walk in and the first thing I am presented with is the overwhelming smell of MOLD! Then I notice the TV. HA! A 15-inch job that sits on table about 40 feet from the bed! Great, nothing like watching TV with binocluars! The phone in the room is missing all of its buttons. Nice. The lights don't work.

Find out later the TV doesn't work because the cable going into the back of it is all screwed up. A guy comes by later that night and 'jerry rigs' the thing. I end up moving the TV to a place closer to my bed and have to re-do his bad wiring job. Internet....cant get the special $100 for week 'card' that I am told I can get. So instead I log onto my Verizon Wireless account....and I guess am roaming. I cant wait to see how much I spent for THAT! At any rate...I dropped all my shit, dug out the 'raising monkey' from my luggage...made a quick wardrobe change and scooted over to the casino.

I get a seat after about 10 minutes. Find out Matt Savage is the tournament director...which is good news, actually. He usually runs the tourney down in Aruba...and does a great job. Always has a great structure. I don't have my badge...because I somehow missed their WPT Welcome Center. Great. But they get me going anyway. As of this writing I STILL haven't gotten any of that stuff. I am writing this at 3 am. Just woke up after passing out at 8pm...right after we broke for the night.

I sit down and FIRST HAND...with the blinds at 50/100 for another 3 minutes....look at AJh. I raise in late position, to 325. Guy in the BB...Jersey Jim something or other...who I will spend the day jousting with...busting on...and who finally, at the conclusion of the day comes over and asks me my name, and proceeds to tell me he enjoyed my table banter and thought it added a lot to the experience. I thanked him for not HATING me. Any way...he re-raises me to 1000! Right OUT OF THE GATE! What in the hell? I have no idea what to make of this....so of course I do what we should all do with AJ suited there, and I fold.

At the table behind me is Gavin Smith, sober and looking very tired and admitting to me later he feels sick The table next to me I see Clownie Gowen, and we immediately begin fucking with each other back and forth. Then behind me at another table I see my old buddy Chip Jett (from Stevie Vegas' house party this summer, and he of Karina Jetts husband...who I sat with in that Mega at the WSOP this summer) who has asked me why I am not drinking.

Hmm...this is where the GREEN BRACELET nightmare begins. Meanwhile, back in tourney play...I am getting outflopped on every hand I enter into. Until finally...with A8 offsuit in the SB....four limpers (one with AQ) come into the pot for 200 each. I complete for 100. The flop is A-2-8. Nice. I check. Lady bets 500. I smooth call. Kind of risky. But I lost some chips early and need to gamble on her not hitting her kicker and trying to get a bunch back. The turn is a 10. She bets 500 again. This time I raise it to 1500. She insta-calls. Hmmmm...river is like a 7. I bet 1700 feeling confident that she has something like AJ. She calls. Nice pot.

A little while later...I lock horns with Jules Leyser...the wife of Krispin Leyser...the guy who had that big tiff with Jamie Gold when Gold won the WSOP a couple years ago. I've played with her for a few years now...she's tough. She is also very good looking and has this british accent that I love listening to, so I always love having her at my table.

Well at 100/200 25 ante...she raises to 600 in early position. I look down at my WSOP 'death hand' QQ. I have 20K. I am not going to FUCK MYSELF with QQ. So I flat call. Well, crazy Swedish guy...who has already made three 'what the fuck did I just see there?' plays earlier...calls our raise. The flop comes K-K-8. First guy checks. Jules bets out 1100. Hmmmm...that feels like a continuation, probe bet to me. I cant put her on a king. Still...it worries me. I tell her...."I think I have you...but I am just going to call."

The next card is the 7 of diamonds. Now three of them on the board. Hmmm. She now bets 3000. Wow...here we go again. I just CANNOT put her on a King. And tell her that. I talk it out...think it out. I can still smooth call here. I tell her I wont bet the river...no matter what the card...(a) because I think I am good but (b) because I really don't want to lose any more chips if I am wrong! And HOPE she doesn't bet any more. I tell her I am 93% sure I have her beat...and call again. The river was a blank. A two I think. I tell her...."you don't have to bet here Jules. If you check, I wont bet!" And I wont.

One nice thing....unlike Venetian two weeks ago...where they were RIDICULOUS about the talking in the hand thing...these guys are letting us pretty much do whatever the hell we want...which is how I LIKE TO PLAY POKER!!!! This talking helped me get through this hand. She checks. I check I show QQ. She mucks I ask her if she had JJ? She nods, yes. Okay...cool. Nice pot, good read. Everything in Monkey Land is working correctly.

By the way. The dealers are a nightmare! Absolutely horrible! I was told they were just trained to deal poker 3 weeks ago. I totally believe it. I always expect when I am in the Caribbean to run into horrendous dealers. Another reason to LOVE AMERICA. Misdeals, rewarding pots to the wrong player. Not having a clue how to split up pots with multiple all ins.

Taking forever and a day in between hands to wash/shuffle and deal. And none of them speak English. OMG. SHOOT ME. I swear to God...if I somehow fade this Donk-filled field and make the Final Table...there BETTER be a competent dealer working that thing!!!!

Now I have some chips to work with. I decide to start drinking with Chip. I order a Jack and Coke. Now I find out just how powerless this stupid green bracelet is. "$4 sir" WHAT? I thought drinks were all included!??? Only on well drinks. Unless you have a PLATINUM BRACELET! Huh? A what? Why don't I have one of those? We paid full price.

Find Ron....talk to Matt....I started out sort of joking about it. They tell me it was another $400 to get the Platinum bracelet, which apparently entitles you to the ACTUAL all-inclusive experience, including admittance to the ONLY cool place to hang out here...the Platinum Club. I ask, in light of the BS I have been through the last four days...if I can get a damn Platinum bracelet. Ron tells me it will cost HIM $400 to give me a bracelet. Bullshit. Who's kidding who here? I spend the rest of the day paying $4 a drink.

And Matt Savage spends the rest of the day clowning me with Gavin, Clownie (notice I am calling her Clownie and not Clonie? yeah...that's on purpose) and Chip because they have a bracelet and I don't. On one front...it was funny. But on another I was getting pretty pissed off. Because no where in their flyer or any corresponding emails did it EVER mention any kind of upgrade to PLATINUM to get what ANYONE normal would want who was taking a trip like this.

Hell, I was probably even willing to PAY for the upgrade. But when we got to the end of the day...Ron was NOWHERE to be found...which meant I wasn't getting my bag of goodies and/or my ID BADGE. Me and a bunch of other green-bracelet bandits decide to all go eat together. We have to make a reservation. No walk ins. We call FIVE different restaurants...and are told that EVERY ONE OF THEM was full. RealllllY?

And that was AFTER telling them we were here with the WPT Boot Camp. So now our only option is the buffet. FUCKKKKKK that! I don't do buffet. Especially in a third-world rathole like this place! So I grab a bag of trail mix...and go to my room. Which takes me about an hour because I get LOST! It is literally a maze of bungalows here. If you have a compass, and a GPS..you stand a pretty good chance of finding your room. If not...well, good luck!

Towards the end of the day, in which we played a total of 5 levels, Hoyt Corkins was moved to our table. He was NOT wearing his cowboy hat...so I didn't recognize him at first. He somehow gets a clown to double him up. He had 66. Flop comes 996. This other idiot had 22...and tries to muscle the Alabama Cowboy out of the hand. Hoyt shoves on the turn...about 6600 into a 2200 pot! And this joker pays him off...WITH DEUCES! WTF???

That same idiot would go out on this douzy of a play. Old lady moved to our table with only about 7500 chips. FIRST hand she raises. I predict our table is about to get VERY exciting. Prediction correct! Old lady is raising with AK. The donkey is calling with A8. Hoyt calls out of the BB. The flop comes K high. She bets 2000. The donkey asks how many chips she has left. 4400. That might be a sign that she is NOT folding. Doesn't stop him. He ships it. Hoyt folds. She insta calls. He is drawing pretty much dead. He leaves.

Meanwhile, me and Jersey Jim are at each other all day. I am raising with AQ, AJ, KQ, 66....and having NO luck against him. I raise late in the day with JJ. He reraises light. I call. Flop a damn K. I check. He bets 3000. Shit. Fold. One TIME I beat him. This lady ships it for 2300 with the blinds 100/200. I look at KQh and think...hmmm...lot of people to act behind me...scary, but I think she has AJ/A9 suited....something like that. I think, with 25,000 chips I might be willing to give action on this hand.

But instead of isolating with a re-raise I decide just to call...that way if someone wakes up with a REAL hand I can still escape the KQ sucker hand. Well, Jersey Jim decides to get in there. Lovely. Flop is all rags. I check. Jersey Jim checks. THANKS BUDDY. Turn is a K! Nice. He tells me 'careful' which in poker circles means one of two things.....either (a) the guy really is telling you to be careful, because maybe he likes me or (b) he really wants to get one more free card for cheap and thus is giving you false warning. "No Jim...I'm NOT going to be careful...I'm betting 3600!"

Which I do. He folds. She has a look of disgust on her face. I tell her "okay now we are heads up I can talk about what I think you have....I feel like you have AJ/A10/A9"...and she nods and turns over AJ. She doesn't improve and I take down a nice little pot. And get my first "it feels like we have Danny Negreanu at our table" accusation.

The Day One Shenanigans come to a halt. I have survived the first day. I bag up...in ZIPLOCK BAGS!!!!!!....my $26,500 chips, and feel like I am about right where I want to be. We will come back tomorrow to 200/400 blinds. Perfect. Hopefully the chip fairy doesn't break into my highly secure ZIPLOCK bag and take any of my chips.

Maybe at some point on this trip I will get to enjoy a freaking meal. Maybe I will get my bag of 'stuff' and my ID badge. Maybe I will win the war of the GREEN vs. PLATINUM bracelet. IF I do lose on Day Two...they have a Second Chance tourney that starts on Friday. THe prize of that winner is a 15K buyin plus $1000 cash. 2nd place is a 10K buyin and $1000 cash. Hopefully, I am NOT playing that thing.

Hopefully, I make it out of Day 2...then Day 3...and play the Final Table on Saturday....win this damn thing...secure my TEN 10K buyins for this next year....play those ten tourneys....FINAL TABLE at least TWO of them...become a millionaire...and live happily ever after.

OR.....I can lose tomorrow. Lose on Friday. Call Delta...change my flight to get the hell out of here...and leave this shithole. Go home...catch the last few events at New Orleans WSOP event...maybe satellite into their Main Event on Monday...and play for one more major score in 2008. If I lose, I will do everything to get the hell out of this place. But I am HELLBENT on winning this damn thing!

All Inclusive! What a joke! Before I left...I got a tongue-lashing from Squirrel who complained that I spend too much timing going off about every other thing. That they aren't that big of a deal. One thing I really enjoyed about my two weeks in Vegas with Allie Prescott. We both are on the same level when it comes to how we see the rest of the world. Everything I find stupid, he finds stupid.

Everything I find irritating, he finds irritating. Everything that annoys me, annoys him. That is who I like being around. I know if he were here with me right now...he would be very close to wanting to blow this entire place up. And that would make it a whole lot more tolerable for me. And even a little bit fun!

If Squirrel were here...she would be constantly telling me to calm down. NO! I will not CALM DOWN! My backer paid for what was supposed to be a product that they are NOT representing. Not even close. It pisses me off...and I think I have every right to be PISSED! I can honestly say...if I had paid for this...I would be just as equally pissed as I am now.

I'm not like the guy who doesn't bitch when he is on a 'free roll.' That's BS. I treat every dollar spent like its mine. Just like with my tourney buy ins. I am no more upset when I lose my backers' money as I am when I lose my own money. Its one and the same.

Squirrel just got off work and called. 2 minutes. $1.69 a minute. $3.38. Can't wait to see my cell phone bill from this trip. Text messages are .35 cents per. Not as bad. Ya'all are two hours behind us. Not sure why...looks from the map like we are on the same longitude. Guess not. Its 3:45am here now. I am starving! Maybe I will use this trip to just fast and lose the 20 lbs I can afford to lose.

One thing I may get that I didn't plan on getting...a tan! I plan on going out to the pool at 9am and getting my 'tan on' with my new book...."The Traitor" from Stephen Coonts...a spy novel. Finished 'Extreme Measures' yesterday...that Vince Flynn novel. What an awesome book. Knocked that thing out in under a week.

OH MY GOD...almost forgot. Did my online Christmas shopping. For both Squirrel and ME. Hers...she will be very happy with....should arrive while I am here. Hope she doesn't open it! Mine..for myself....finally tracked down a Playstation 3 60gb system. Found it on eBay...bid on it...and WON...for $400! It should be arriving in Biloxi any day. Squirrel is getting me a Gaming Chair for Christmas...all I could think of that I really wanted/needed. I plan on going home...buying 'World at War' and getting after it!!!!

Okay...another excessively long blog from the Monkey...but we are pretty much caught up now. Good luck to those of you playing over at Harrah's New Orleans. I will hopefully be writing a POSITIVE update after today's upcoming Day Two.

MONKEY