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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MARDI GRAS RANDOMNESS

WOW!

Well, its Mardi Gras and I am contemplating whether or not I want to even GET online and try to play poker today. I was up till 5am getting 1 and 2 outed and driving my online balance down to $180. Sick. And Squirrel and I slept in til 2 today. Then I had to take her to work. Because of the parades they cant drive to work. We did this same exact thing last year. Me carting her and her friends to work. And then of course, I get to pick them up at 1am. Good times.

Prior to that I sat here updating my backers' spreadsheet. Ugh. Whoa. Worse than I thought it would be. And I took no percentage of any of the sit n gos I won up in Tunica. Would have been way worse. She had texted me this morning telling me she thought hanging out near home and skipping Reno would be the better idea. She is right. Mainly because of the hectic travel requirements, and the fact I can't get a ticket for under $600. Screw that. So I will stick close to home and play the daily tourneys at the Beau and wait on the Big tourney to get here. Gonna most likely skip Gold Strike as well.

So, I finally figured out how to post these things on my own. So in doing that I created an actual PROFILE! And now I know how to go in and maybe 'edit' something if me or someone else thinks it doenst sound 'right.'

I take Squirrel and her friend as close to the Beau as we can get. And it starts. This is where I have to question my place in this world. You know the old quote "every human is like a snowflake, all different from the other?" Well....that is the UNDERSTATEMENT of the decade! I am watching these people walking to wherever they are going...their car, their house, the underpass where they live in a cardboard box. I am taking this all in and asking myself "what on God's green earth are these people doing!??" I am witnessing my version of Sub-Culture on a very large stage.

A few years ago over in Pensacola I raised a bunch of money for charity, and on the heals of that won the title of Priscus King...which was kind of cool, I guess. I got to wear a crown and a cape and get free drinks all night. I was in the newspaper. We rode in a parade, throwing beads at people. I could not BELIEVE how many people came out to see this parade. A bunch of really stupid floats, with goofy people on them (me included) throwing beads to (in my case, AT) people. Beads. B-E-A-D-S. Plastic little balls on a string, that go for like 2 cents a piece. People fighting over them like they are actually WORTH something. I dont get it.

So today, as I am weaving through the back channels of Biloxi lookng for a 'shortcut' to get home (in what turned out to be a 2 hour odyssey) I am seeing some really strange shit. Young girls, both okay looking and super overweight walking around with yellow panties on the OUTSIDE of their jeans. Hmmmm. Okay. Old, broken down black dude carrying a six pack of Bud Light picking up every beaded necklace he can find on the ground. Old toothless couple sitting out on their front porch, with beads on just about every part of their body possible. Cars decked out in Mardi Gras theme.

Look. I am from Seattle. Grew up in Montana, back to Seattle, some time in NYC, some time in ATL, then Pensacola. So I have been in the 'South' now for 15 years. I dont consider myself a 'Southerner' really. I am TRYING to fit in. I am TRYING to adapt to you'alls traditions and everything...but some things, I'm sorry, I just can't hang with. Mardi Gras? One of those things. I just dont get it. Listening to Squirrel's friend Jessica tell me how over in New Orleans she had her ass grabbed about 4 times, her breasts grabbed twice, finally some black guy see's her with a piece of pizza and in what I guess was a come on (on what planet?) he says "Oh hey...yeah, PIZZA!" and goes to grab it. She backs up, looks at him, and says (telling us it was the FINAL straw for her) "Buddy, you TOUCH my pizza and I will BREAK YOUR FACE!!!!" He backed off! You Go! Jessica!

Enough about Mardi Gras. Glad its over. Watched the Oscars Sunday night. Pretty standard. Thought it was spooky that Best Supporting Actor went to a dead guy. Heath Ledger was amazing in that role, spooky scary. Kept Squirrel up for days after we saw that movie. Then he kills (basically) himself. Just weird.

This is a future random thought. They call it fast food right? So why is it...and maybe this only happens to ME....that when I am really in the mood for something FAST...and pull into, say Taco Bell, I get behind the minivan full of 27 kids whose total on the screen says $57.01 and I sit there for 22 minutes waiting on MY order! NOOOOO! And this is after driving around for 2 hours in Post-Mardi Gras Parade traffic. To make it worse, I order the FRESCO taco, thinking this is a healthier way to go on the fast food route, only to screw it all up by taking on a MEXICAN PIZZA! Which is pretty much the WORST thing on their menu I think!

I am almost positive that I have now seen EVERY episode ever made of SEINFELD, FRIENDS, EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, THE SIMPSONS, and FAMILY GUY. TBS has made sure of this. Yet, for some reason, I continue to watch them, over and over again.

If anyone knows of a softball league, preferably co-ed that Squirrel and I can get into, will you please let us/me know about it? I just want to (a) sweat once a week and (b) smack the shit out of a ball.

I think I have decided to try and win some money on Stars. Wish me luck....heeeeeeeererrreeeeee we gooooooooo!!

MONKEY

Monday, February 23, 2009

COUSHATTA COLLAPSE

I am coming to you from the couch.
Monday Morning.
Experiencing Pokerstars Big Sunday Withdrawals.
I am already OVER what happened at COUSHATTA.
Coushatta, a place I fully expect to NEVER return to.

Friday morning arrives. I pump out another blog to you guys...which makes me late for the Main Event, which is FINE, JUST FINE. And it was only 10 minutes late.
I go pay my entry....grrrr...which I hate paying full price for ANYTHING...but do anyway. Then I go to that basket where you get to draw your seat card.
I look down in there and see a TABLE 16, SEAT 7....YEP, that looks like a winner!
SNAG IT!

Get to table, count my 20K in chips and go to work. Had already taken an Aderol, so now I am fully dialed in! Got some sleep the night before, feeling GOOD! Discover right away that my table is AWFUL! I win the first couple hands I am in. Then I get into a hand where I win a HUGE pot when I should have only won a BIG pot.

Here it is. I have A3h. Its a multiple limped pot for $200. I get in there. Flop comes Qh-7h-4c. First guy bets out 400. Folds around to me. Hell yeah, I will call. But I have NOT been hitting flush draws. The next card is a 2d. OH...well, now I have a wheel draw don't I? He bets 1000. Ouch. That hurts. But damn....got a LOT of outs now don't I? He is CLEARLY putting me on the flush draw. And I am quite certain he has Q7. The river is a FOUR! Not a heart.

But completing the wheel. He bets 1000 again. I make the decision to value raise here, making it 2500. Only one problem. I grab the wrong fucking CHIP! I grab a 5000 chip instead of a 500 chip with my two yellow 1k chips. And as I throw it out there I curse myself. Thinking I had just screwed myself out of another 1500. Well, he took my performance as me projecting a false tell...you know, an OVERT overbet to try and get him to fold. He calls. And didn't even wait very long. I show the wheel. "Oh shit, I didn't even see the wheel out there, just had you on the flush draw." WOW! And thank YOU for the extra 4500!!!!

A little after that, a guy who had been at my table most of the day in the previous tourney...raises BIG...five times the BB. And I know this guy ONLY raises with big wired pairs. He literally limps with AK/AQ/ and every pair below JJ. So I know when I look at 99 that I am behind. I tell him "Well, I know you are ahead, and if I don't flop a set I will probably just check out." I flop a SET. He checks! Checks? Huh? Not sure if he is trying to check raise me? Or if maybe he DOES just have AK. Strange.

Well hoping that IS what he has, I check behind. The turn is a Q. I get a little sick to my stomach. Shit. What if he has QQ. I missed a bet and am about to get coolered. He bets $500. I will test the waters here. I raise to $1000. He calls. Hmmmm. Weird. The river is a blank. He checks again! WTF. I grit my teeth and throw 1500 out there. He calls. And shows AA. Whewwww. And another nice pot.

So early in this tourney and I am up around 40K! I am feeling VERY good about my chances in this thing, which attracted around 335 players. Not a bad turnout. And first place was around 85K. Definitely worth the drive up there if I could win. Brandon meanwhile was running over his table. He was up to 44K. But then he would lose half his stack when his KK got trampled by 10-10 on a runner runner straight shitstorm. SO he was starting to lose his mind!

We get a new dealer. I am raising every time I see a pair, or a strong ace. But these clowns give us NO green chips (50). We started at 100/100...and there were NO ANTES until they were 100. So when the blinds are 100/200 and I have a decent hand, but WANT some action...I would like to raise 450 there. Or maybe 525. But having nothing but black chips (100) takes that play COMPLETELY away from you. THAT I hate! Regardless, I am getting action on all my raises, and either missing flops or getting bet OFF the hand. I drop to 33k in ONE level and am starting to get slightly irritated.

THEN IT HAPPENS.

Someone busts the guy in Seat 2. A nice guy. But he ran QQ into AA and had to go meet some friends. Replacing him was a guy with one arm who reminded me of my dead grandfather. A grumpy, old asshole. And yeah...he was missing an arm, which I agree, would put ME in a bad mood. But hey...I didn't take your damn arm! Well, he was a real jerkoff from the time he sat down. And it was a real buzzkill because my whole table was really pretty cool, and we were all having a fun day. 4 hours into the thing and he has to show up and bring his bad attitude.

We had just come out of break and I had called Squirrel and got her voice mail. Odd. So about the time we were back from break she calls. The hand was just ending from the previous hand. I told her 'hey sweetie, we are back from break and I am about to be the small blind, let me call you on the next break, okay?" and I hang up as the dealer is beginning her wash. I see 'Righty' over there grumbling about something and I hear the word 'phone' slip from his lips. "What is he talking about over there!??" I ask.

He tries to say my hand is dead on the next hand because I was on the phone. Ugh....as you can all imagine....I go BALLISTIC on this guy. After trying to first CALMLY tell him he is wrong, that the hand hasn't even been SHUFFLED yet...but that even if it were, I have until the first card is dealt to end my call. Oh no...he insists I am wrong. This is where I stand up and start freaking out on him. I tell him if the ONLY way he feels he can beat me is for me to have my hand killed, that's fine, I WILL HAPPILY MUCK MY CARDS without looking, just to please his stupid ass....but I will not let him think he is right on this matter, so I CALL the floor! By this time, the whole tourney room has gone silent and is listening to what is going on at our table.

The floor comes over, and upon learning the situation informs 'One Arm' that he is indeed, WRONG. He bitches some more...and that is when I put a $200 bounty on his ass. About 75% of the room starts howling. He reacts by saying "oh yeah? A bounty? Bring it on!"

I would say about 15 minutes later, I walk over to Brandon's table..which is right NEXT to mine...and see that he is all in with QQ....the other guy has KK...the flop was all rags. I can see how this has happened. Shit. Brandon is OUT. With QUEENS.

I scoot back over to my table. I am under the gun. I get dealt...QQ. OH GOD! That is just spooky. Brandon walks by, and I peek my cards to him. He laughs. I raise from 200/400 to 1200. Guess who calls? You got it. Ol One Arm himself. Everyone else folds. The flop comes 8-7-5....two clubs. I have to feel like I am good here. Don't care for the flush draw. I bet out 3200. I was watching him on the flop.

And as I made my bet. I know this guy would love to bust me, as he is trying to save face after his little display a while ago. He raises 10K! What? I look at the board. Then I look at him. He is smirking. This miserable old fuck. Did I react on emotion here? Do I make the same play against someone else? I am not positive.

But I think the POKER PLAYER in me was telling me a couple things. (a) I know this guy hates me. (b) I think this guy is putting me on AK/AQ and thinks he can get me to fold by raising me. (c) I think he MIGHT have a flush draw, which if I am right, and I move in on his ass for another 22K he would have to fold. (d) I am also thinking, if this prick got so lucky as to flop a set, and I fold, it is probably going to EAT AT ME all day not knowing if I was right or not...and on top of it, just took a hit for 5k to my stack, which takes me down another notch, and would have to sit and watch this peckerhead talk shit over there for gawd knows HOW long.

So I shove on his ass. He insta-calls. He has flopped a set of 8's! Son of a BITCH! And I fail to catch another Q and am out. Me and Brandon...QQ...ten minutes apart...and now, both of us...OUT! After feeling SO good about our chances just 1 hour earlier.

Poker is SO brutal. This year so far has been just FULL of one and two outers. Its amazing how CLOSE you can be to greatness sometimes, and how equally close you are to the damn gutter. Right now I am in the gutter. A lot of good players I know who had great years last year are having total DOGSHIT years so far.

At least I feel good in knowing I am in good company! But I am so conscientious when it comes to watching my money...and right now its doing nothing but going downhill. Its giving me a bit of an anxiety attack. But I guess its nothing a nice score wont cure. I sure the hell hope its comes soon!

We make the decision to get the HELL out of that shithole! We shoot over to the hotel, load up our shit and LEAVE! I fire up Pokerstars. ON the drive home I cash the $27.50 MTT and the $33 MTT, but not deep so the score isn't great. I play 12 SNGs and don't cash ONE OF THEM! In keeping with the theme of the day I pick up QQ 9 times. I win with them ONCE! Yeah, you heard me....ONCE! I only end up -$100 for the drive so its not a big deal.

We move on to Saturday. I decide to go to the Beau Rivage and play the 15K guarantee with Brandon. I get seated at a good seat. Russ Bozeman's wife Andrea is at my table. Russ and Andrea are two of my favorite people. I do however recall a time in New Orleans when Russ and I and Andrea all sat in on a $150 SNG that HE staked me to play.

It would have been a good idea for us NOT to try and felt each other early. And she was going gangbusters to bust me, and did. So that thought was clear in my mind as I looked at her sitting there. I think Russ has told me how they gun for each other when they are playing at their local cash game...so I know with her that poker and friendship are two separate entities!

Our table is so-so. There is a good turnout and first is 5400. Nice. That would be a good lick. I kind of hang around the average. Have 79d...and like a dummy fold to a four way raise. Flop a flush. Would have won a ton. Then complete the SB with this guy limping in at cutoff with 79 again. The flop comes 789. Holy crap. I check with the intention of check-raising. The guy in the BB, who is a relatively decent player bets out 600. I am putting him on top pair.

Well, limpy back there makes it 1200. Min raises him. SHIT! I am sniffing out J-10. Plus there is a flush draw out there (which is what the guy on my left has). Like a moron, I fold. It goes to showdown...busted flush, against...ya ready? NINE DEUCE! SHIT! I would have dragged a HUGE pot there!

A bit later though...I raise UTG with KQ suited. I would proceed to go 5 and 0 with KQ in this tourney. It WAS my hand of the day! I get FOUR CALLERS! ShiT! THe flop comes K-10-J. Cant ask for too much better than that I don't think. Well, donkey boy (he of the 9-2) SHOVES all in...for 3250. The blinds BTW were 100/200. So there is already 2500 in the pot. ONLY because its this guy do I NOT EVEN hesitate to call.

But I don't call, I re raise...to eliminate the other two (hopefully!). They both fold. He turns over.....HAHHAAH...KING DEUCE! SO I guess in his case...its ANY DEUCE to go with a hand. Well, I fade the deuce and whack this clown. And now have some chips to work with.

We get a little deeper, and I get some more chips. Then Brandon's table breaks and he comes to my table, with about 45k. Wow. I have around 22k. We are both in pretty good shape. This could end up being a great day for both of us. He is doing his usual BJ moves at the table. Took me about 5 minutes to figure that out. Its so funny when you are friends with a good player, and know just HOW they play. You know what they are doing WHEN they are doing it, and usually have a pretty good idea WHAT they have in their hand. So I tried to take advantage of this, without being wrong and getting snapped! Of course!

Sitting in the BB the guy UTG limps in for whatever the blinds were. Cant remember. Maybe 300/600. The next guy calls. Well, Brandon being Brandon...he min raises to 1200. I decide in my head he is just 'making a play' and have every intention of just shoving all in when it comes around to me and hoping to Gawd he doesn't actually have a big hand, because I KNOW he wont fold if he does! Well, behind him...the clown who has gone from 425 chips 5 minutes ago to over 12K now (and still thinks he is shortstacked!) calls the 1200...so now we are looking at a very nice pot. A pot that I WANT! And my table image is pretty good. So when I look down at KQs...my lucky hand so far today...I insta-shove! And hold my breath. Fold, Fold...to Brandon, who gives me kind of a "you sneaky bastard you!!!! You caught me!" look and folds...as does the last guy, who SHOWS me AQ! Whoaaaaaa! That could have been disaster. And he is really loose too, kind of shocked that he folded there! But happy! At least for the time being!

Then Brandon gets horse fucked by two donkeys. The first one is the camouflaged moron they brought over with them. He is in the four seat. So far today I have busted both of the clowns from the 4 seat and was really hoping to make him number 3. He limps in for 600. Brandon, sensing weakness, raises it to 4000!

The moron calls, with A8 off. Nice call Hunter Boy. The flop brings two clubs. Just so happens BJ has 68c. Well, the flop also brings an ACE. Brandon puts the guy all in and he calls....misses his flush...and there goes 9k. Ouch. Then a few minutes later, he gets into a 5 way pot with K6d. (why? We aren't exactly sure) but the flop brings him a six (middle pair) and two diamonds. Lady UTG bets out. Donkey #2 calls. And Brandon moves in.

The lady folds. And....the donkey....well you have ALL heard this one before "Do I wanna fold and have no chips? Or gamble and try to chip up?" OH NO! He goes with option A and CALLS. With nothing but a 9. Top Pair. Kicker? 10. No draw. Just a nine. Nice call sir. It holds. Brandon ships him 8K. Brandon is now in bad shape. Then they break our table.

I go to a table and the first hand played, as I am walking up...is this lady calling a guys all in for 4250 with NOTHING BUT A TEN on a board of Q-10-J-J-2...three diamonds....holding K10. She says "I just wanted to see your hand!" It was only half her stack to call! Oh my God. This should be fun. Later, she limps for 1200 with 5c9c....yeah...you heard me. Four way action and the flop comes 5-9-7.....one club.

First guy bets 2200. Guy in BB calls. She goes all in...for like 45K! NICE PLAY! The first two fold, then the guy in the BB says "well, I have the nuts, I have to call" and he does. 6-8. Wow, this bitch is about to lose about 23K! Oh hold up.....never fear, runner runner is here!!! NO NO, she doesn't hit a 5 or a 9. She goes runner runner clubs! ARE YOU SHITTING ME!??? This hag now has about 65K and she is on my right! perfect.

Bit later she limps again! I have AK. FUCK THIS SHIT. I MOVE ALL IN FOR 18k! I am not losing like that guy just did. Either call and double me up or give me my stupid beat like you just did him! I will take my chances. I am not raising to ANYTHING cuz she will call ANY RAISE once she has entered a pot!

THEN IT HAPPENS. We are down to 23 players. I am sitting on about 19K, having been blinded down a bit. This kid at cutoff SHOVES 9800. I was watching him before he acted and I was 99% certain he had junk....either A-high or Q-high. I KNEW for a fact he did not have a pair. Too much apprehension before he made his move. He was simply trying to snag a 3500 pot without seeing a flop.

Well, Monkey Boy decides he is probably going to call with almost ANYTHING playable. Then I look down at KK. Yeah, that's playable. I ask him if he has A high or Q high? No response. Well, I hope you have Q high cuz I have Kings. I call! He has Ace High. ACE FOUR to be exact. UGH. hate seeing ANY ace in this situation. And what does he do? He flops not only the ace but the four. Lovely. MOTHER(*!*@&(*&!@

So now I am down to 10K. That quickly becomes 8K. Then that little punk raises 5K (with the blinds 800/1600)...which is about right I guess. I look down at AdQd and don't hesitate much. I have to jam it. I do. The BB...wakes up with KK and SHOVES ALL IN...its another 17K to the kid...and he calls (like a fucking donkey) with AK. Gee...I'm not in TOO bad a shape am I? Lets see, I need a flush basically, or god forbid, two queens. Or a very unlikely straight. I flop a QUEEN! I turn a FLUSH DRAW! The river? Pfffft! yeah right! You thought this story was going to end good? IM OUT!

I guess I will go to the Pile of Debris and try for that Bad Beat Jackpot, which is now up to 170K. I get there and the list is ridiculous, like 30 people ahead of me! SHIT! So I guess I will go play a little three-card poker, try to win some money. I talk to Rooster (on the phone) on my way down there and tell him I will 'probably lose 200 real quick, then get fed up of waiting for a table to open and go home and get on Stars and get slaughtered.' Guess what? ALL OF THOSE THINGS HAPPENED.

Lose 200 in 3 card poker. Take my name off the list for cash game. Go home, get on Stars and lose, lose, lose, lose, lose! Get deep in just about everything I play, and get goat-fucked. Run my account down about another $400. Squirrel gets home from work, she is towing THE CLAW with her...and we all go to bed, as they have to leave at 8am for Mardi Gras. NO! Nothing happened! You sick bastards!

Something DID happen though that was REALLY funny! Our dog Jasper, he is very protective of Squirrel and quite territorial. I was on my side of the bed, Squirrel was in the middle and The Claw on the other side. My bed is a California King, so really, I need a phone to talk to Claw over there. Well, Jasper likes to lay in our bed. And Squirrel is his momma. So when he saw Claudia in there he was like, 'what the hell!' He gets up on the bed, wedges himself between the two of them...has his back to Squirrel, and starts pushing, with all four legs...trying to push Claudia out of the bed!!!! It was hilarious! Squirrel laughed so hard she was crying. I hope Claw's feelings weren't hurt!

They got up and left. It came to me as a dream because I don't FUNCTION before 10am. So to those of you who like to call me before 10am....and expect a normal conversation!??? Please remember this!

They go to Mardi Gras and have a crappy time. Claim they will never do it again. Which actually brings me joy! I proceed to play on Stars in all the big Sunday tourneys, and get killed. I ran AK or KK into AA SEVEN times on the day. Bought into the Sunday Million. Got semi-deep, and ran AK into AA, of course. Didn't cash a damn thing until late when I made a little mini run. Was literally down to 150 bucks in my account (the lowest I have been since AUGUST!!!!) when I cashed in four SNGs in a row and then pulled a 3rd place in a $12/180 for $235 to get back up over $400 to end the day. It at least restored my faith in my abilities to play the stupid game!!!!

I am contemplating going to RENO. Although I haven't pitched it to Squirrel yet. And I haven't heard back from my backer, who leaves soon for Europe. And I am not wild about PACKING and FLYING again. Getting really tired of traveling. I want to win a few million bucks so I can charter a private jet for stuff like this. I HATE AIRPORTS. And those assholes who work there. I do need to make it happen quick though if I AM going to go...cuz it starts in a few days.

Of course that would put me there for the start of March Madness...which is a bit of a hassle as my March Madness Pool is about to begin. I had a record 351 entries last year. Try keeping up WITH THAT! Its a pain, but its worth it. I love doing the pools! I know one thing, I am NOT going to Tunica. SO to those of you who ARE...good luck! I will keep y'all informed of my next stop!

MONKEY

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day One: Coushatta

(Actually got two blogs in quick succession from Monkey, as this one is more recent about the current tournament he's in, I fired this one up. Next week, I'll parcel out his other entry which has some less timely but still great Monkey stuff).

Mercy!

Got to Tournament on time. Found room relatively full. Had a table full of old guys. Most of them locals. Most of them rednecks. Saw lots of fishing-themed hats, and lot of camouflage decor. Standard attire for this region.

In first two levels got AA twice, QQ once, AK once, and 10-10 once. Raised each time. Got NO ACTION. Not a good trend. Once with 5c-6c flopped 5h-4c-3c. SICK FLOP. Top pair, straight flush draw? Bet. Guy min raises. I call. Turns out he has 6-7. I am drawing to a chop on the straight, the nuts on the flush. I miss it all. Costs me $1200. Another time I have a nut flush draw and miss.

The day is a microcosm of every tourney that I either win, final table or cash in. I cant get paid off on big hands. Then I get lucky a couple of times and get paid off nicely when I flop two pair and get paid off by the donkey with top pair only. I get a nice near double up with AQ vs. JJ when I hit two pair. Then I give a bunch back with KQ vs. 10-10 when I flop a Q and the guy two-outs a 10 on the turn. DAMMIT!

Spend the late levels pulling the scary ALL IN MOVE shortstacked with marginal hands like A8, KJ, QJ, AJ.....and NEVER getting a call, but pulling in pots decent enough to just keep me healthy. These guys are running this $330 tourney with NO antes...so pulling a pot means simply pulling the blinds. A couple times I move in with AK and 1010 and am clamoring for a call and cant get one.

I am delirious all day after having only gotten 3 hours of sleep the night before. I had managed to get to sleep around 1am the night before, but then Squirrel called, wondering if I was here, why I hadn't called. Well, I guess its cuz I knew she was at work. Well, after she called I couldn't get back to sleep.

I watched Predator vs. Alien til 5am. THen read my new book, John Grisham's "THE APPEAL" til 6am until I FINALLY fell asleep. So I was in rare form at the table...and doing this without the aide of ANY alcohol. I was simply OUT OF MY MIND.

But it was working. I had my table pretty entertained. I worked on my 25 Random Things About Me all day, utilizing the VOICE NOTES on my Blackberry. Saw Wild Bill and Gene. Didn't even know they were up here. I'm not sure when they busted out, but I know they did. Then Wild Bill informs me that something went down on the home front and he had to go home. That sucks.

So...this tourney. They are using dealers who they pulled off of their blackjack tables. Awesome. Most of them were slower than a seven year itch. But they were all pretty pleasant. Nice to see dealers WITHOUT attitudes. Would just like to see them speed up a little. The floor guys were all pretty cool.

Three separate floor calls were made where a tremendous amount of discretion was used. They could have 'by the booked' the calls like Harrah's folks always seem to do, but they didn't. They used their good judgement, and made a decision that was more player friendly. I really liked to see that.

The breaks are weird. They say we are taking a 15 minute break...send us out of the room, and lock the doors. They always end up being more like 25 or 30 minute breaks! While we are out they go into our stacks and condense them, taking the big smaller chips and replacing them with larger chips.

Personally, I HATE THAT! I like my stack to be as big and imposing as possible. So when I leave with 18K, of which 4K is in 100's, 10K is in 500's and the rest is in 1000's...and come back and find 2 5000 chips, and the rest in 1000's, I freak out! So I simply color up from people around the table.

We never had a dinner break. At the end of level 8 Brandon had 40K and I had about 22K. We both decide to swap 10%. It was a grind the rest of the way. The average stack for the last four levels I played was always about 10% of whatever the big blind was...which made it turn into a damn Shove-Fest.

The worst kind of scenario. We got down to 28...Brandon was at the table behind me. I was sitting on 34K. I had a pretty good shot now to make the money, which was $650. First place was $19,000. Not a bad score for a $300 buy in. I was starting to feel it. We had gotten through most of the bad players. Of the 28 remaining, I would say 18 had a clue. Not a bad rate.

One guy at my table was all decked out in Poker Stars garb. He had the look of Scott Fishman. I think he THOUGHT he was Scott. He wasn't. He had these Faggy chanel-looking glasses on. His move was to stare down whoever was raising when he was in the SB or BB....going into this act....then moving all in with his rather large stack.

Everyone folded to him. I was about to either (a) throw up or (b) walk over and punch him in the throat. Another older guy...I asked him if he ever had a broken leg. He told that YES, he had...twice. He finally 'got it.' This guy was the master of the limp. I don't care if the blinds were 50/100 or 2000/4000. He limped in 85% of the time.

Cost me a lot of pots too, because I was always ambivalent about raising behind him...with hands like 88/AJ/KQ....because no matter what, if you raised, he would CALL! So it was almost better to just limp behind him and either try to outflop him or outplay him. He would eventually fuck off all his chips by using this "strategy."

Well, with 28 left, I turn to see Brandon standing up with his life in peril. He has moved in with A2...after getting down to 8K. Ugh. No choice. He runs into two bigger aces and goes out. Bummer. Earlier, he had moved in with KK...behind a raiser, and ran into 10-10. That clown goes runner, runner for a straight. Brutal.

Then has an all in vs. a guy with A3...who after seeing Brandon's 44, starts his Tiger Woodesque fist pump when seeing BJ's 44. Huh? Yeah...hey nothing like being up against a 3-outer right? Moron! The guy hits two pair. These idiots. They kill me!

Well with 23 left....and me sitting on the button with KK....and 31K....I announce that I am raising with a top 5 hand on the button, and make it 15K with blinds of 3000/6000 and kind of WANTING a call and/or shove. Cash game psycho boy in the SB...who is new to the table, and who I have already accurately depicted correctly to him AND the rest of the table as an ultra-aggressive, internet type....goes into this big Hollywood act before finally shoving all in with 44. I, of course call. Old man across the table tells me he folded a four.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Dont say that for chrissakes! Fade the flop. Fade the turn. River? MotherO*(&@*(#& 4! ONE OUTED! 4k left. Looking for a miracle. Get no miracle. In BB with J-7 vs. 88....catch nothing but air and go out 23rd, 3 from the money. NINE HOURS for NOTHING! RAILBIRD CITY!

I go to the cash room. Its pretty packed. Try to get into a sit n go. On the list. Sit down at a 2/5 game with $300. ON fourth hand Im in the BB with Ad10d. Some redneck with a hat that looks like its made from an alligator's ass raises to $25 in first position. Hmmm, KK or QQ I suspect. Get two callers. Oh I'm priced in. Flop comes Jd-8d-7h.

Not too bad a flop eh? Flush draw (which I have been missing all day) and a gut shot. I check. He bets $30. Strange bet into a $100 pot. Other two fold. I raise it to $90. HE just calls. I shove the remainder of my chips in the dark...and tell him I think he has KK. The turn is a Q. More outs. Its not a diamond however. He CALLS. Oh he definitely has KK...or god forbid QQ.

Don't worry about it, the river is the 4 of diamonds. Yahtzee! He has KK. FEED the MONKEY. He's hungry. Pick up AK the next hand and win another $45 pot. Then the SNG is ready to go. Rack up my chips and head out! NICE, just got my buy in back from the 10am tourney.

Sit N Gos do NOT go as well. First one, early in game, I flop (holding 2-3d) a WHEEL with a FLUSH/STRAIGHT FLUSH draw! Holy crap. Announce (with 6 limpers in there) that I am going to CHECK RAISE! Last guy bets 200. I raise to 600.

Everyone folds back to him. He goes to grab all his chips and I beat him in there with mine. He has...ahem...hold for effect....ACE EIGHT! One pair. The turn is another ACE...the river is, are you kidding me...and EIGHT. Oh how nice. A full house. OUT! Next.

About an hour later get into another one. Play forever with too many players. Have the one guy at the table, young, internet guy...doesn't raise, doesn't call, doesn't play flops...JUST SHOVES. Love this guy. My favorite type. I continue to fold hands like Q10 suited, A9, KJ.....because I am confident I or someone else will catch and snap him later. And I have too many chips to be stupid.

There is two winners. I also have 8 in the last longer. Just be smart Monkey. Two winners in this thing. Just survive. Well, we get to 5...blinds are 300/600 and he wont stop with it. 5 left and we are all pretty even. He does it again, and I look at 22. Fuck it. Time to take a stand against this prick. I call. He has 7-10. Mmmmhmmmm. He brow beats me for calling with 22. I almost tell him to go fuck his sister, but don't. He rivers a 7.

I am out. Whatever. I go find Brandon....we go drive around and find a Fake Waffle House...and eat a meal that has me clamoring again for a real Waffle House. We come back to the room and I am asleep about 2 minutes after my head hits the pillow. I wake up at 8 am.....just banged out this entry...and looking at my clock it is now 9:45am....leaving me 15 minutes to take a shower and go enter this $1k Main Event. Perfect.

We start with 20K in chips. 90 minute levels. Blinds start at 100-100. Should be an interesting day. Would really like to cash this son of a bitch. Especially after yesterday's disappointing finish. Hopefully my next entry comes with some good news.

MONKEY

www.gulfcoastpoker.net

Thursday, February 5, 2009

From the Peak to the Valley


I debated for the last few days on how to approach my next entry. Since I hadn't written anything since last week, when I cashed my first tourney...then went out close to the money in the next...I didn't know if I should pick up where I left off, and do it in segments, or just summarize the whole week.

It would be very hard to do that though and hold any kind of thrill in writing the first part, due to the last part. Let me sum up by saying that so far, 2009 has been a kick in the nuts. I swear...I do NOT understand, sometimes the way our lord operates. I really, truly don't.

Its funny how I can go from having SO much to say about something to having it being relegated to this, "made my first FEATURED EVENT final table of the year, where I won $3200 for 4th place." But that's about how meaningful its become to me in the matter of a week. Yeah...last Friday, played the $550 and had one of those damn tourneys where just NOTHING goes your way. Busted out at 3:55pm. With the blinds at 400/800...in the BB with 88....4 guys limp for 400, and the guy in the SB, who has been kind of tilting all day....moves all in for 5400. I have a paltry 3900. But I have a chance to turn that to 10K. Hmmm. I finally decide to flip a coin. Heads I will call, tails I will fold. Comes up heads. He has AQc. Dude across the table tells us he folded and ACE. With that I start to get up, knowing that to be the kiss of death. CORRECT. Doesn't hit one ace...hits two. Sweet. OUT! Quickly go sign up for the $230 event at 4pm.

Not much to say. I play good. I see my good hands hold up. Get one courtesy double up with KK. Later get a courtesy double up from the donkey who would eventually make a total donkey play against me at the final table and take me out 4th. It was a fun night. Lots of snappers were consumed. Took a fun picture that I have inserted for Bill to either use or ditch...its me and the Pokerstars Monkey, posing for our first photo in the 'contest' they are running.

Was hoping to be posing with it after WINNING...but that didn't happen. Yeah, 16K would have been nice. Real nice. But it didn't happen. Brandon Jarrett was there sweating me the whole last two tables, in between drinking to the point of ridiculous. Look, if you are 140 lbs dripping wet, do NOT try to out drink me. YOU WILL LOSE. And he did. Later, at Waffle House...with RON (fellow final tabler) and Glen aka "Ratchet" (fellow final tabler) and Greg aka "GMONEY" Cash he passed out at the counter...before I finally deposited him in my car.

BTW, nice freaking Waffle House experience! Its nice to see that racial tension is still alive and well in the south. My gawd. Can a Monkey just get a meal dammit!?? Half the place is black on one side, white on the other. The white side has a white waitress, the black side a black waitress. The white waitress is an old BITCH! I mean..total hag...should have been flying around on a broom! I decide to sit on the other side. Who cares!?? I just want to eat! Ya'all wanna have a race war? Do it on your own damn time. But what happens? The black waitress IGNORES US! Comes over ONCE to say "I'll be with ya'all in a minute" and 20 minutes go by before I ask the girl behind the counter who is, I guess, a busser or dishwasher or something...18 years old, if I can tip her $20 to just PLEASE WAIT ON US! She complies. THEN....all of a sudden the black waitress comes back and now has total attitude as to why someone else is waiting on us. I told her the next time I saw her I didn't want it to be in a funeral home after I died of starvation! It was not my BEST Waffle House experience.

This got us back to our hotel at 7:15am. Great preparation for someone looking to play in the $1070 at noon. Well, lucky for me, our power went out in the hotel...which meant our alarm clock didn't work. And for some reason, it canceled out our wakeup call we had left with the front desk. I still thought I had time to make it though...and was certain the levels in the $1000 would be an hour. I get there at 12:43. Go to register...."Sorry Sir, registration closed three minutes ago." Huh? You gotta be kidding me. You know what? GOOD! What I should have done next was go back to my room and fall back asleep. Because what would ensue...would be the biggest live game beat down of....maybe my poker life. I don't know though, nothing really matches that run I had in New Orleans in the fall of 2007. That was historic.

Before I forget. Lets talk about my wonderful lodging experience. Not only did I get this....but at least 15 others who just TOLD me what they went through. Gawd only knows how many OTHER players went through this crap. And I will say THIS...its not the FIRST time this has happened when playing at an event at this place. I was ready to KILL this guy at the front desk.

Friday. 11am. Brandon is not playing. He is staying in bed. Prior to my arrival, Brandon got a room for us. Was told we would have to change, on Friday, from the Main hotel at the Casino, to the Veranda, across the street. Hate that. But, whatever. I decided to make a stop in the lobby to attempt to tip someone in hopes of staying in our room and avoiding the hassle of moving. I had already heard horror stories from people about how they had been forced to moved once, twice, some people even THREE and/or FOUR times in the course of a week and a half. Due to Harrah's and their reservation system. That, in a word...is a JOKE! That is simply ridiculous and should NEVER, EVER happen. But it does, it did, and I suspect, WILL continue to as long as they attempt to run poker tourneys up there in that piece of mud on the banks of the Mississippi.

I speak to 'Howard.' Howard has no interest in my $50 tip/bribe/gift. Howard tells me we have to move today, but that there is a room waiting for us. Dammit! Fine! Whatever. Tell him I am in a tourney, that my friend is sleeping, but that at the first break I will try to get everything together and get moved. I give him my phone number to call me if there is some emergency that requires immediate vacating of the room. I go play. Or try to. This is the tourney where nothing goes my way all day. About one hour in I get a text from Brandon saying "We have to be out and they are saying they don't have a room for us until Saturday." W T F!!!??? I tell him to meet me in the lobby RIGHT NOW! I get up from the table...after I get to the button, and sprint over the to front desk. I get Howard out there...and as Brandon is coming out of the elevator, I lose my shit! This guy DENIES ever telling me that we had a room available to move to. I stop short of climbing over the counter and chewing the cateroid (sic) artery out of this weasel's neck. What do I do? The guy is completely LYING! He fucked up. He made a mistake. And instead of acknowledging this...he tries to cover his ass by saying he NEVER told me we had a room. Well, I make a few VALID threats, drop a few names (in upper management at Harrahs) to catch his attention, and tell him if he tries to put us out on the street without a room, I will press charges against him. I then run back to the table.

About 15 minutes later, I get a text from Brandon. "We have a room across the street at Veranda. Come help me get moved out of this room on your break." Hmmm...imagine that. So on our 15 minute break we move everything out of that room, into my car, and he takes it all over to the Veranda. And Howard? He was nowhere to be found. Shocking. Ya know, you just HAVE to love Harrah's, dontcha?

I will not bore you with Saturday. It was a nightmare. Nothing held up. SNGS, kept getting down to 4 and getting coolered. I lost a dime on the day. But was still feeling okay because of the $3200 I had won the night before. No biggie right? That's poker! Why cant you ever follow up a good day with another good day? Why not? Cuz that's just not how it goes, isnt it? Whatever! Lets have a good Sunday, and lets hope we have a great Super Bowl!

Sunday arrives. Show up for the noon Mega Satellite. Big field. 225 players. Nice. Start with 5000 chips. Get up to 6000 by level 2. Table is pretty soft. Some real bad players. Another one of these...6x/8x/10x blind raising fun-fests! Asian lady comes to our table, raising, literally, every other hand. I finally call her with A10c. Flop comes down 8c9c9h. She just open shoves 1700 into a 2000 pot. WTF? Two other people had called her preflop raise. The first guy folds. With only one person to act (the BB) behind me...I think about it and decide to flat call. SO what happens? The guy in the BB shoves all in! Jeezuz. Well, obviously he has a NINE! I cant put HER on a nine...no way, not shoving. She must have either an over pair, or maybe has a worse club draw. I have too much of my stack in there to fold. Dammit....semi-reluctantly I call. He has, of course 9..but a 10 kicker...crap...which kills my 10....she has J10...open ended, hmmm..yeah okay. Nice raising hand. Yeah, I pretty much need a club, and need to fade a boat. TURN CARD IS A 7 OF CLUBS! I am turning away from the table to silently thank the poker gods and do a silent fist pump...when I hear that sound we all know...."OOOHHHHHHHH!!!! @O*#@*( " I don't even want to turn around...but I do...and I don't see a boat. I SEE THE OTHER FREAKING NINE! Son of a bitch hit quads on the river! And I am out. And thus... would set the tone for Sunday.

I would go on to lose 6 out of 7 sngs. The only one I won, I actually chopped with the guy. I was finishing either 4th, or 8th. IN every one. It was freaky. Heads up. I min raise with AA. Guy insta shoves. Okay, I call. He shows K10. IM DEAD! We all KNOW I'm dead. Its K10. We know how that goes! FLOP? A-3-9. Wow, I flopped a set, should be good right? Turn? J. River? Q. Thanks for coming out MOnkey. That was only a small snippet of my day, but that was my favorite kick in the nuts. Maybe my second was one that involved Bruce Meyers, remember Bruce? That guy I just said all those nice things about in my last entry? Yeah with 4 left, I raise with AQ. He calls with K10. The flop comes Q-10-5. My only bet after the flop is all in, and its quite a bit. Bruce calls. "Bruce...what are you doing man!??" What hits the river? Another ten. Duddddddddde.

THen the Super Bowl Starts. Lets just say I REALLY needed PITTSBURGH (-6.5) and the UNDER (46.5) to have a REALLY nice day. I think you ALL watched the game. When PITT was up 20-7, lets just say I was feeling, um.....real good. As a side note, I was still in two Survivor Pools, both which had 3 left in them. They both were taking PITT, so I gambled, hedged if you will...and took Arizona. So either way...I had a good chance to be a big winner on this day. When Arizona took a 23-20 lead, my mood shifted some...but Arizona winning, and the UNDER coming in...would still make for a 'decent' day. But then Ben "RipMyFuckIngHeartoUt" Roethlisberger would do to me what he did in 2006 against my Seahawks. He would march his Steelers downfield on another unlikey drive that would culminate with Santonio "I knew I was gonna be the MVP" Holmes tiptoe-ing his way into the endzone for a game winning, but not point-spread beating, TOUCHDOWN. Oh...and did I mention? It also resulted in them hitting the OVER! Isn't that beautiful!??? In a strange twist of irony, as I sit here writing this, the mail man just came to my door, had something to sign...and OH...look, its this weeks issue of Sports Illustrated...with who else? Skank-tonio Holmes on the cover!

So....The Super Bowl....SUCKED! I did manage to win the 4th quarter on one of my $25 boards for $875. But considering I was IN for 44 boards at a total cost of $1600, it was a small victory.

I went against my better judgement and played the last Mega at 9pm. Another $550. Only 52 played. 4 winners. But the longer we played the more optimistic I was getting. Kept picking up hands when I needed them...but didn't get any action on them, so never could get a double up. Then, IT HAPPENED. My chance at a triple up, and to get right back into this...and hopefully, win my way into the Main Event! IN the BB, I look at 33. Blinds are 300/600. First guy raises to 1800. He has been raising my BB a LOT! It could mean ANYTHING. David Robbins, who always is pretty chummy with me...calls. Hell, I HAVE TO CALL...and hope to gawd I can spike a 3 or just a really good flop. Which is what I feel like I do when the flop comes 2-2-4. I shove all in for 3400. The first guy hems and haws...and finally folds. David Robbins: "Sorry Monkey, I was hoping that he would call so I wouldn't have to...there is just too much in the pot for me to fold" and calls with ACE QUEEN! Come on Dave..........give me a break man! What hits the river? Of course! Does it matter? I'm out! SON OF A BITCH!!!!!!!!!!
At about 8pm my throat started feeling scratchy. What the hell is that? Tried to cough it out. No good. Dammit. Grrrrr...that better be gone tomorrow.

I go sit on the wall. Fuming. Not knowing what to do next. Text Squirrel what had happened. She instructs me to go to my room, get some sleep, and come home in the morning. Yeah Yeah. On my way to the front door, I pass my favorite little casino table game...the WSOP HOLD EM BONUS POKER game. Ah what the hell....seems like a good place to unwind. Buy in for $200. Play for about three hours. Up, down, up, down....ARGH...enough. Cash me out. Lost $40. Big deal. Go to my room. Crash.

Wake up with THE FLU! OH HELL NO! Head feels like an anchor! Chest feels likes its filled with SOS pads. Cant quit coughing. NO! NO! NOOOOOO!!!!!! About 12 Squirrel calls asking me if I have left yet. Oh my god. I am in hell! I finally pull myself off the canvas at about 4. Get packed and get outa there. Check out. Somehow I don't get charged for that day. Might have had something to do with not having TV in our whole building for all of Saturday. Not sure. Drive over to Waffle House and have a little better experience than my last one there. Still not great. Just not as bad as the last. Go buy some cold medicine. The non-drousy kind. And hit the road.

One hour into my trip I get a phone call from Squirrel. She is with Claudia, who had spent the night from the night before when they all watched the Super Bowl and played cards til late. She is scared. She is cramping real bad. She calls her doctor and is told to come in the next morning. Hmmm...that sounds a bit scary. A half hour later...Claudia calls me! They are on their way to the emergency room! Cheryl has blood running all down her legs! OH MY GOD! I lose it. I pull over somewhere...having a panic attack. I don't know what to do. Who to call. This sounds like the worst case scenario. We are 12 weeks into our pregnancy and SHOULD be in the clear, we thought. But this cant be good.

I call my Mother. She freaks out. But tries to keep me calm. I am anything but calm. Now her family starts calling me. And her other friends. We are ALL just waiting to hear something from Claudia...who is in there with her. Finally, after about two hours...I get a text message from her...

"S H E L O S T T H E B A B Y"

I just started to cry. I cried for about 30 minutes before my phone rang. I don't even remember who it was. I don't remember the next few hours. Just sitting there, on the side of the highway...wondering what I did to deserve this. What Cheryl did to deserve this? Why this is happening? Realizing at that moment just HOW UMIMPORTANT POKER is to me at this moment. How unimportant EVERYTHING is. Was this God punishing me? Or was he saving our child from a dark, cruel world that our baby was going to enter unprepared for? I don't know....

I drove the last 4 hours in stunned silence. No radio. Just staring at the road. I got home and sat in the driveway for 15 minutes. I wasn't sure how to act. Do I try and be 'strong' and not break down? Do I break down and show how upset I am? Do I just take her and hold her? SHIT! Claudia was still there, in bed with her...comforting her. Thank GOD Claudia was there! Oh...I don't know what she would have done had she been home alone when all this happened. I thanked Claudia, wished her Happy Birthday, as she had just turned 24 at midnight...and she went home. I then laid in bed...and just held Squirrel. We fell asleep together.

The next three days would see tremendous support from our friends and family. I would finally kick this damn flu...after not MOVING from my bed for two days. I sent out a mass email to everyone on my list after she recommended I do so, since so many people know about our little 'Squirrel/Monkey' on the way...and to have to deal with constant reminders from people with comments like "how is the baby coming along?" "is going to be a girl or a boy?" "what are you going to name it?" would have just been way to painful for us both. So I sent out a very short letter on Tuesday to everyone. I have received over 150 emails from people in the last three days that have been so amazingly supportive and inspiring. I am amazed at how many people have had to endure this heart-breaking experience. I guess this is just another painful chapter in our lives that we have to grow from. Squirrel appears to be handling it as well as I could have expected her too.

Its kind of strange. We just saw that movie "Marley and Me" and in the movie, they get married, and before having kids, get this dog...this crazy dog...and finally she gets pregnant. And has a miscarriage. And it was terrible. But then they succeeded in having a baby. Then two more! I immediately started thinking about that when I saw the movie...praying to God that this wouldn't happen to us, and it DID. So strange how life imitates art sometimes.

So what is next? Well, I'm not sure. I have my airplane ticket to go to Vegas to play the Deepstacks at Venetian, set to leave this coming Tuesday the 10th. But if Squirrel wants me to stay home with her, I would be willing to scrub this trip. Its really up to her. Of course I want to go and play and win us some money...but I have to do whatever is most important to US. So I may be there, and I may not be. Its her call. I know one thing...there is a REAL good chance that I will NOT be going to Tunica again. Maybe ever! Last time I was up there in September, my dog Tuesday died. And now, on this trip...my first child. On top of every other reason not to go up there....I've just really had a stomach full of Tunica.

In another interesting twist...what the hell is going on in New Orleans? Jason resigned? And some gal no one has heard of is taking over? What does that mean? Can we expect the May event now to SUCK? As all the others have sucked? Nice that I have been talking it up for the last month. And is the Beau Rivage having the Spring Break tourney that they had last year or not? Cant find it anywhere on upcoming schedules. Tough to plan a schedule when you cant even find out what is on the board.

For now...I am sitting at home...comforting Squirrel and getting my ass handed to me on Pokerstars!