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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday Sapphire Sun Sluts

We could call this a fantastic day off poolside were it not for last nights $$$ debacle.

There was another huge-field $340 today (went out at 7pm lasþ night about 180th'ish) that I'd liked to have played but making the Final Table would screw up tomorrow's $1k at the Rio that I already signed up for.

Keith screwed up. Some VIP party at 9pm at ND Fuegos for Lacey Jones turned out to be tonight and not last night so at 10pm we were in the 'what the fuck to do now?' Mode.

So went down to Amazon to see my buddy Frank Kasella who was one from the money (and eventually cashed) in the 40k event.That got boring fast.

Then it began. "Let's go play a SNG." We take the last two seats on a $275. At 25/25 him and I both call a 100 raise. Me with AJ. Flop comes J-9-7 rainbow. I announce that I'm check-raising. Raiser bets 250. Idiot Keith goes all in. I call. Original raiser folds. Keith shows Q-7. Assclown rivers a Q. Out! Then doesn't even win it so I also whif on the buy-in refund.

I then play three more $125's and lose them all in about the same glorious fashion. Heed warning if you are coming. These players are fucking horrible. 95% of these faces I have NEVER seen in my life. This summer could be scary.

I've had enough. I go to my room. Or try. But I get intercepted by the Texas Hold Em casino game. Doh! Slap $200 on the table and spent 2 hrs creatively losing $200.

Two interesting things happened. Maybe ten. (1)a dealer,who I was TIPPING (the only player tipping him btw) rats me out to the floor when I tell him "dude if you put a 2 on the river I'm gonna kill you.'Floor Dork pulls me off the table to 'discipline' me for 'threatening' the dealer. Omg, realllly? Wow. (2) Next dealer sporting a 1985 Dee Snyder hairdo, who I nicknamed RuleBookBecky comes in and starts hen-pecking me on every little nit-picky rule. Then (3) I had to deal with the hooker who sat next to me and looked for reasons to like me despite my being as rude and mean as I possibly could. Maybe if I had been nice to her it would have resulted in her blowing me off instead hounding/pestering me to death. I finally told her "listen, I know what your deal is okay? I should just tell you...I'm gay. " That did the trick. Thought about going with "I'm engaged" but knew that would just bring the 'ol "what happens in Vegas" cliche so I went with Homo Boy. Ship it. Got to room. No Keith. Texts me..."Playing 50/100 HORSE come get me!" Screw that! Its about a 5 mile walk to that room. Plus I was too tired!

Wake up at noon. No Keith. Wow. Don't even want to know. Get my shit to go to the topless Saphirre Pool. Arrive. 25% hot women. 45% decent women. 30% fat, nasty skank, which probably includes ME! But there is SUN, pool, food, drinks...and of course...titties. And no poker! Will do that party at 9pm tonight and play the 1k Sunday at Rio.

Can I say something? Who likes Kanye West and why? His music comes on and it makes me jump in the pool and hide underwater. Sorry bout your Mom and all, dude...but your music SUCKS BALLS!

Went to Mark Ecko yesterday after busting out at Venetian and treated myself to 4 new pairs of jeans, 1 jacket and 8 t-shirts. That was fun!

Okay that's your daily update, all hen-pecked from poolside on my Blackberry...my new one...who's camera works (and already has 5 donkeys stored in it). Have a delightful weekend!
Monk-Zilla out!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Hangin around in the Venetian $340

Friday. 6pm. 700 started (compared to 120 at Ceasers for the $550! Ha!!!). 250 remain. Currently sitting with 21k with the avg 34k. Been as low as 5400 and as high as 32k. Very long aggravating day. Looking around the room on last break with 32k I was trying to find someone I could trade 10% with who I knew and who has chips. My gawd! I knew my table was a bunch of people I'd never seen before all possessing these spastic all in shoves to mask their tremendous fear of playing flops. But when I peruse the room I literally NOT ONE PLAYER I know to be decent. Forget not finding one with chips. There isn't even one HERE!!! We are now into waitress shift change. The Varsity has arrived! I am going to start in now. They have a terrific Pinot Noir by the glass. Did it last night in the mega and immediately caught fire. This thing is paying 63 but, uh...63rd gets only $405! Hilarious. Fter my backer's share I think I'd of walked with 20 bucks. Ugh. UTG just now at 600/1200 first card ACE. 2nd? Duh. 4. AK in SB just now. Raise BB. He nearly puts me all in with K10. But folds. WHEW! King Ten. The devil. I really need a double up. 225 left now. Dinner break looming. 120 at Ceasers! Heeeeeheeeeeheeee I love it. Morons!

Monkey.

PS: 3 pictures taken so far today. The barn will truly need a remodel/extnsion after this trip! Ya'all are gonna love this clown. Let me see if I can pull this off from my cell phone and get picture on here. Just look at this guys FACE! (If it worked).

DAY ONE ends on a very POSITIVE note!

Well, alrighty then!

I finally got outa Allie's house and picked up Keith and Eddie Pullins at the Rio at 12:28. Called Venetian and found out we only had until 12:30 to get in. OH SHIT. So I get the poker room manager to hold all three of us seats.

We get there, and I draw (coincidence?) their new 'feature table' which will be used for all Final Tables, elevated table on a small stage, pretty sweet. I get seat 5. Perfect. Early, a guy had just lost a big hand...and on the very next hand, at cutoff, he just shoves all in. Steam shove? I am in the SB with KQ suited. Hmmmm...I have 3800. Its 1725 to call. Gamble? Try to get up to over 5k? Seems like a good time to make a loose call, so I do. He has AK. Ugh. Don't improve. Now I am shortstacked.

No big deal...pick up a few hands and make a few plays...and in an hour I run that up to 9000. Then the wheels fall off. In two hands! I'm in the BB. Blinds are 200/400. Cutoff goes into this long pause....he has 3200 chips. Cant decide whether to raise or go all in. Finally goes all in. I look down at freaking QQ. I call. He turns over AA. Jeezuz. I don't improve. Takes a big chunk out of me. On the NEXT hand, in the SB....I look at AQh. Guy raises from cutoff (again, VERY aggressive player) to which I re-raise all in. Well, then the BB insta shoves. WTF>? Cutoff folds fast, like I KNEW he would. And ta-da! BB shows AA! Run into AA back to back. Awesome! And I am OUT of the 12pm Mega.

I sit in to a $80 SNG. Or should I say...Donk-N-Go. I would love to know where some of these people find the money to play poker. Dead relatives? Armored Truck fell over somewhere? Money tree in the back yard? You can't believe how many bad players I watched stack off to other players holding top pair only. I was on the recieving end of it three times myself. I raise UTG with KK in one. Guy calls in LP. Flop comes J93. Two hearts. I bet out 2/3rd of the pot. He raises me. Hmmm...I look at the board. "Sir, you either have AJ or KQhearts I suspect. Well, good luck, I will put you all in." What does he turn over? AJ. No hearts. Doesnt get lucky. Leaves.

Another hand...kind of funny because I will GIVE these clowns SO much info its stupid. TK Miles always teases me...saying to me "Hey Monkey, how's it going man? Still telling everyone what you have?" So this guy raises, two callers, I have 44...of course I'm getting in there. I tell the dealer I need him to flop me quads probably! He flops K-4-9, rainbow. First raiser bets out 500. Fold, fold, I just call. No one else calls. Turn is a J. Kind of concerning. Not too bad. He bets 1500. Now I raise it to...hmmm how much does he have in his stack behind? 3800. I raise to 3600. Requiring him to cough up another 2100...which should basically pot commit him. Good prediction. He goes all in. Turns over KQ. NO TEN DEALER! Nope. 3. He leaves. SO BAD. If he has been listening to me, it would have been pretty easy for him to figure out that I flopped a set. But they never listen, the bad ones.

Anyway, this SNG....I win the first couple hands. Then lose one. People are making horrendous preflop raises...then of course checking it to the river waiting on an A to hit. At 25/50 we get a 250 raiser. Then a call. Thats when my phone rings, its Squirrel. I look at my hand early...its AA. Oh! Hi there aces. Pretend to be talking to my phone whiles its still ringing..."Hey Sweetie, I would answer but I can't because I have a really big hand and I am about to re-raise this guy....so I will have to call you back...." as it continues to ring. Saying that....the next two clowns CALL the 250 anyway. It gets to me...and with almost 1000 in the pot...I raise it to 1000. I get called by the original raiser AND one of the other two. Wow. The flop comes K-9-3. First guy goes all in. Second guy calls. Whatever...I'm not folding there...not in a freaking $80 donkfest. The first guy (genius #1) has KQ. Offsuit. Brilliant. The second guy (genius #2) has 33. Hmmm...33 for 250, then 1000? Great play sir. But you win. See ya. Great start to the trip.

I decide right then and there to LEAVE....go unpack all my stuff into the suite at the Rio. Then come back and play the 4pm Mega. I get to Rio...get all my stuff outa the car...get upstairs...and WOW! What a killer room. 1600 sq ft. Amazing view of the city. Just a gorgeous room. Get all settled in, then back in time for the 4pm.

It was one of those megas where everything just went right. My reads were all SPOT ON. My good hands held up. I caught a couple donkeys SHOVING into my BB and waking up with 10-10 and AKc two times to felt them. The OPEN SHOVE for a ridicuously low pot seems to be the 'big play' out here so far. Guy shoved 12k into a 300 chip pot holding K5! I called his ass (holding 25k) with AKc. The dealer flops a 5. Turns him a flush draw...come ON! Ace of hearts on the river! Nice. See ya donkey! 5 people won $2300. 6th got $1100. We got to 6 at around 8:45pm...which sucked because it meant I couldn't play the 8pm mega (closed at 8:30) and try for a 2nd Mega win on the day. At 6 players we all decided to come off of $200 each so 6th could also win more...so we all won $2100. Which brought my first day total to a +1500 day. Not a bad way to start.

I found out that the $1k at Rio is Sat/Sun, not FRI/SAT...so my plans changed a bit. Instead of taking Friday off, and hitting the pool, which now...clearly would have been a bad idea, since I am looking out there and seeing overcast skies (which is one of the RAREST sites in Vegas you will ever see!) I instead decided to play the first Deepstack event, a $340, that they are expecting about 700+ players for...hopefully making the Final Table, on Saturday at 4pm....if not, take Saturday off...then play the $1k on SUNDAY at Rio. So I registered for both, drawing seat freaking 10 for the Venetian. Makes me so irritated when I sign up early and STILL get seat 10. Then walked (the MARCH of the PENGUINS man...the Trail of Tears!) from the hotel room all the freaking way to registration and signed into the $1k on Sunday. Got a better seat for that one. Did a lap of the tourney room, said hi to everyone. Saw Chris Moneymaker playing cash game....after JUST finishing for the night in the 40k..and him sitting 2nd in chips. We have gotten pretty chummy the last couple of years. Talked to him for awhile. He seemed to be in pretty good spirits. Saw my buddy Frank Kassella, who is from Memphis and got ZERO mention on the front page of notables still in the 40K....he is sitting on about 320k. Saw and talked to Adam 'Roothlus' Levy, Alex Jacobs, found Allie and E-tay at the 'SHUTTERS' bar...hung out with them for a little while...then finally went to the room to get some much needed sleep.

It's kind of a trip getting out here and seeing all the guys we all see on TV all the time. And then of course...all the EUROs everywhere. Its what makes you really realize where you are. And how serious these next 5 weeks are. I am not enamoured with any of these people, dont take that the wrong way. I am not one of those guys who thinks that knowing any of them means I am anything special. Cuz I am not. I just welcome the opportunity to get into the ring with these "PROS" and deliver my own special brand of Monkey Beatdown on some of them, and gain some respect in the poker world.

Had a very interesting conversation yesterday with a guy who knows almost everyone in Vegas, and knows all the behind the scenes shit. I won't mention his name. He was at one of my Mega tables, in fact, he would get whacked with KK against AQ only about two from the money. Asked me later if he should have folded to the lady (who I would later bust ONE from the money) when she SHOVED into his BB. HELL NO! I said. What is shoving with? Not AA! If you KNOW you are ahead...and you are below the average...you HAVE to make that call. No, you did the right thing. You just got unlucky. Welcome to MY world!

So anyway, we got to talking about Ceasers, and their hairbrained efforts at running their stupid Mega Stacks tourney. He agreed, as 99% of the players I have talked to have, with my viewpoints on it. Then he tells me something really eye-opening. Tim Mix...who is the pokerroom manager at the Venetian...literally went OVER THERE a few months ago and met with Jim Padula...who is their head poker room guy. About a year ago, he eliminated the Poker Tourney Director and just assumed the role himself. Good lord. So Tim goes over there with the hopes of working out a deal that will benefit everyone. The players, the casinos...everyone. Tries to get them to change their start time for the event. Padula completely shuns him. Clever. Real clever. Later in the day...Tim and one of his floor guys walks by my table and sees me using the Ceasers Palace card marker that I use for protecting my hand and for those 'coin flips' when I can't decide whether to call or fold. (it was 2--0 for me yesterday!). He immediately gets offended...picks it up and gives me a dirty look. "Hey Tim...I saw your guys' new ones...very nice! Get me one and I promise you will never see the Ceasers one as long as I'm playing here again." 5 minutes later he brought me one, and the Ceasers coin went right into my bag.

So...Venetian made the attempt...and Ceasers basically told them to get lost. How does that make you players feel? Should piss you off. And what is this guy Padulas deal? I kind of think I know. I think it goes a little something like this. Someone sits OVER the poker room, someone like the Marketing Dept. I get the feeling that Jim Padula has an incentive clause that sees him earn a bonus if they compete with Venetian on a competitive basis. He has to probably hit certain numbers in comparison to Venetian's to earn a bonus. So...if Ceasers were to do the smart thing (using common sense and logic here, an very under-appreciated skill these days) and start their tourneys at 3pm, like I keep suggesting....there would no longer be a COMPETING entity. Thus rendering his chance to make a bonus useless. So I get the feeling, this is being masterminded for one reason and one reason alone...the betterment of ONE PERSON. That or just Ceasers having too big of an ego to do whats best for poker.

AGAIN...I would ASK ALL OF YOU...STAY AWAY FROM CEASERS MEGA STACKS! Until they pull their heads out of their asses...and start doing what is right for the players...and putting a decent damn structure together...make them feel it. Skip it!

And as I mentioned yesterday...Venetian HAS fixed those holes that were present last year. Granted, they did remove the 25/50 opening round...which kind of sucks...but not that big of a deal. Because they have added a LOT of other good levels in. Its a great tournament, and I hope they get big numbers for all of their events. They have a great room, good dealers, great food service, they offer food comps with every tourney registration, the cocktail waitresses finally switched uniforms, to the ones being worn by the Palazzo waitresses, skirts 1.5 inches shorter than the old ones...so they are AWFULLY nice to look at. Try finding a decent looking cocktail waitress at Ceasers. HA!

Well, I pretty much expect now to be shot on sight if I try to walk into Ceasers. Whatever. I don't care. They give us a bad product, I will talk shit about it to anyone and everyone who will listen. At least their big brother, Harrah's is figuring it out. The N.O. tourney kicked ass, and the WSOP events all are going to be 5x better this year than last year...so I am starting to think there is a lot of seperation now between the two properties.

I guess that pretty much wraps up todays entry. In fact...wow, its 11:20am now...I have just about half an hour to get showered and over to the Venetian for todays big $340. Hope to see a big field and hopefully some of my readers! If I should happen to chip up big early I will slap a blog update on here from my cell phone!

MONKEY

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Monkey has Landed

Its the most amazing thing when you cross the Hoover Dam...then come up over the hill....at night time. You see the lights of Vegas...and its just incredible. You feel a certain sense of electricity run through you. I think its got to be the same feeling that people have when they fly in for the first time...seeing the manificent lights of the strip. They come excited, pumped, ready for the action.

It contrasts so often with the mood they are in when they leave. 8 times out of 10 people leave Vegas having lost their ass. Its what would make it a weird place to live. A lot of manic/depressive tendancies flying around this place. You can literally stand out by the front of the casino at 11/12 (checkout/checkin time) and guage people's moods. The happy excited, vs. the bummed out/broke/dejected. Would make it a hard place to live.

But for a poker player...like me, who knows all the ins and outs, the pitfalls, the highlights...where to go, what to avoid...what is here opportunity-wise, there is nothing to feel other than an anticipatory glee. We are all chasing certain things in poker. Mine are well defined. And I am ready to start the mission.

It was a pretty smooth road trip. I added a feature to my Facebook, based on, or inspired by my total disdain and irritation with Phil Hellmuth and all his name-dropping, impress us all with his VIP lifestyle status updates. I decided to "Be Phil for a Week" and leave updates on there throughout my road trip. If you happened to read any of them...they were all, of course, bullshit. Just me "Being Phil" for the trip out.

I left Biloxi at 3:30pm Tuesday. Arrived in Houston at 8pm. Visited a local housegame there that my friend ReVa Alexander was dealing. Bunch of good guy, some of whom I knew. Got down 300 when I got coolered twice. But I bought back in for $200 more, ran that up to $550...and after throwing maybe my biggest bluff of the year, called it quits and got back on the road at 2am.

I would never stop. Drove straight to Vegas. Met Allie Prescott and Esther Taylor and some other guys over at South Lake Casino, South Point? Whatever...they were bowling. Not me! No No..bad knee still. Waited them out....and came back to Allie's house to spend the night. Boy did it feel GREAT to finally sleep! Keith Ezykowich flew in this morning...so now our suite at the Rio is ready. I need to shoot over there after I do this and get unloaded...check out our digs for the next couple of weeks.

Then its off to Venetian to play the $225 Mega Satellite to kick off that event. We are playing for $2000 in tournament buy in chips. It would be a great way to kick off the trip, taking that down...and maybe another one on the late Mega. If I win one or two of those, I am taking the day off tomorrow, to get settled in, rested up, and spend some time sunning myself at the pool. Then on Saturday its the huge $1000 WSOP event that should have a HUGE turnout. (Should? No! It WILL!) I'm excited as hell to play that!

Today is my backers birthday...HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOSS!!!!! Lets hope I deliver you a gift today!

Got a speeding ticket in Phoenix. Or did I? Nope! The Silver Tongued Monkey and my Sheriff's Association Membership Card saved me from another one! Plus the cop was just really a cool dude. Shout out to PHOENIX PD!!!!

Oil is spiking! Monkey loves money sitting on his butt! Now, just one big hurricane in the gulf and I should be able to sell sell sell!!!! Not crazy about what its doing to gas prices, but I will take it!

Appreciate all the great emails and Facebook shout outs! Looked at the site meter this morning! WOW! On my page alone I have had over 2400 hits this month...which is a record, well except for that month when all the 2+2 crap with J.Little went down, not sure that month could EVER be topped...it was around 8000 hits that month! But I am up over 1000 from last month! So I guess some of you are actually reading this crap! But again...to those wishing me good luck and all this summer...THANKS! It means a lot.

Before I conclude this entry...I would like to BASH CEASERS. Hold on, let me call them first before I write this...just in case they changed something. Okay...just called. YEP. STILL SUCKS! First of all, when they told me last spring they were 'thinkin about doing their own event' I was like, "Well, I hope to God you don't run them at noon! That would be stupid! Not only competing against your own property (Rio) but diluting the field by cutting the numbers down at Venetian, and thus...here too." But did they listen? Hell no. So what happened? Instead of the fields of 600-750 that we had at the Venetian Deepstacks in 2007, last years fields saw only 450-600. A huge drop. And Ceasers' numbers were about the same. Stupid idiots!

If they had staggered their start time...made it 3pm...then they would stand to increase their numbers by about 35%...which would also increase Venetians by about 25%. For them to run at noon is just assinine. Think about it. There are only SO many poker players around, and only SO much money to be spent. You go play a tourney at noon at either Rio or Venetian. Things end badly at 1:30. You have options. Play the daily at Bellagio at 2? Or go play the Mega Stacks at Ceasers at 3? See what I am driving at? Instead they just cut the options in half. Thus reducing the total take for ALL the casinos. Just absolutely retarded. But they don't get it.

Then there are the structures...which are total SHIT! Today's event, for instance....is a $1000 buy in. Okay great you get 20,000 starting chips. Sounds like a lot right? Well, the levels are 50 minutes...which is also nice. Here is where the disaster ensues. Blinds START at 50/100. At the conclusion of that level, the GREEN CHIPS ($25) come OUT OF PLAY! Blinds go to 100/200...200/400!!!!...300/600....400/800...then, ya ready...??? 600/1200 with 100 ante! So, NO ANTES for the first FIVE levels...then BOOM! You go from 1200 a round in Level 5 to 2800 a round in Level 6. Levels 2 through 4 are a joke. Risking a raise of double the pot every time. They claimed their reason for taking out the antes from early rounds was that it speeds up the game for the dealers. Morons. What it does is SLOW DOWN the whole tournament...because its 3 levels of HIGH RISK/NO REWARD poker...so people a LOT fewer hands...they just sit around and get blinded down. So when Level 5 arrives, with antes...you have a LOT of people sitting around average...which then means...a couple of big raises gone bad...and your stack is fucked!

Plus when they take the greens out of play, it reduces your game strategy tremendously. Good players like to make action raises, not afraid to get callers...welcoming play after the flop. The donkeys, of course, probably LOVE this structure...becausee they are TERRIFIED to play flops...so when they are at 200/400 and are raising 2400 with JJ...they are pleased as punch to take down 600 chips. Good players...who are about stack average...might like to raise there to say, 1050. Get a loose call from a lot of mediocre hands...and then either outflop them or outplay them postflop...but increasing the pot size. Ceasers taking all the green chips out of play totally KILLS that option.

SO FOR THOSE THINKING OF PLAYING THE CEASERS EVENTS....I SAY THIS.....DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY! If I had thought about it, I would have lobbied for a time change and a structure change for a month or so...and when they refused, got a petition drive together and presented it to them. I would love to see NO ONE show up for that piece of crap event...so they might FIGURE OUT just how shittty it is. Meanwhile, I have HEARD that Venetian has fixed a couple of the holes (in my opinion) that they had in their structures from previous events. I hope so...and hope they are the ones I was thinking about...because if it is..then the Venetian event could just about be perfect, like New Orleans was. What a great event that was! I felt a lot of pride over that event, as I worked very hard with them to get those structures in place. Everyone loved it. Maybe, just maybe...these tournament directors are FINALLY starting to listen to us!

When will Ceasers figure it out??? Who knows. Doubt you will see me over there much this summer, if anything...to play their 11pm 'Monkeys Midnight Drunk Fest.' But not too much. I am going to keep a pretty strict regimen this summer...getting sleep, not drinking TOO much, being fresh for the noon tourneys.

Alright...time to get rolling...its 11:41am now, which means I will now DEFINITELY be late for the Mega....no biggie. Thats how I roll!!!!

MONKEY

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ready to Hit the Road....

You know it's official when the yard work is done and all the laundry is finished. Also, when you have grinded for 6 days on Stars and been forced to the verge of insanity, falling short of your goal to lock up a Main Event seat when KK loses to A4, AJ, A10, AQ and A3.....thats right, KK FIVE times in Step 4, the one you need to finish in the top 3 to win a seat into the $650 satellite that awards a seat to 1 out of every 18 players. Over 650 played yesterday. I am just now convinced that Pokerstars hates me. I must have taken over 50 bad beats (certifiable bad beats) online the last four days...the kind that leave you just wanting to rip your whole body in half.

Squirrel looks over at me at 5 a.m. on Friday night, err, Saturday morning, and with a look of disgust, says "Don't you EVER get sick of playing poker!??" To which I reply..."Yes sweetie, I do, but I have made it a goal to try like hell to win this freaking M.E. seat before I leave for Vegas, and I HAVE to get a win in this Step 4...that was after busting with KK vs. A3....then rallying from Step 1 win at 11pm, Step 2 win at 1:08am, Step 3 third place finish on a bad beat (at 3:14am) to get a 'do over' which resulted in a Step 3 win at 4:45am....all while I was making it down to 10 in the $33 Deepstacks MTT...only to call a min raise heads up in the blinds with 67d...flop comes J-6-7. Guy bets, I raise. He calls. Turn is a 7! He bets again. I smooth call. River is a 2. He bets. I raise. He moves in, I call of course...he flips over JJ. Unfucking real. Out 10th. TENTH! This occurred at 6:47am. At 6:53 am, and with 8 remaining...I raise with KK in the Step 4. Fuckbird smooth calls me with A4. The flop comes 9-7-4. Rainbow. Jackass bets out. I move all in. HE CALLS! River is an A. I cry myself to sleep.

I am just about ready to NEVER EVER play online poker again. I swear to God...if I have the good fortune to win, say....over 200k (thats AFTER my backers' share) I will most likely NEVER step foot online again. And mark my words...should I make it deep in a Rio event this year...and the online poker fucker-reps start swirling over me like a bunch of buzzards over a carcass...I swear on my life, I will pull out a Tazer and start zapping them, starting with the PokerStars rep.

Its Monday. Memorial Day. Watching this race on NASCAR that got rained out yesterday. First, the Indy 500 yesterday was great. It was nice to see Helio pull himself off the scrap heap made possible by the nice folks at the IRS (more to come on taxes, just read Gene's blog) and win that bitch yesterday. His joy was genuine, and refreshing. FUCK YOU IRS! On lap 165 today, at 3pm, as advocated by the President, all cars came to a halt and they took a moment of silence to honor all of your fallen heroes in uniform. Very classy. Another nice move by our new Prez, who I think is doing an OUTSTANDING job. He has me feeling proud again to say I am American. The economy appears to be on the way back...lets hope it continues. Anyway, on this Memorial Day, I would like to salute those who have served our country, thank them for the sacrafices they have made so knuckelheads like me can do what we do in relative freeedom and safety. To those of you who have lost loved ones, my heart and prayers go out to you.

Dan Walsh. That little fuckstick. I say little, ha! He's actually a pretty big boy. As you all know, he was responsible for FUCKING me out of the Main Event in April at the Beau Rivage. As a friend of mine for around 3 years I pretty much put him in the cold storage. Wouldn't talk to him. Wouldn't look at him. The little bastard is like my black lab though. After Jasper does something wrong, and I yell at him...he just sits there, looking at me with that sad face. I can't stand it. Dan is the same way. Fucker. Just too nice. I know he felt bad for how he played his JJ in that tourney. Kept badgering me on Facebook. Finally I caved in and started talking to him. Then in that early event in New Orleans, him, me, Tim Thompson and Jacob "Nocko" all traded a 15% pool share...me getting bad beat for 16th, Dan finishing the highest at 8th (or was it 6th?) and giving me another $350 to my winnings.

Then the Main Event rolls around. Kai and I went over early trying to find someone to buy their 5k chip on the cheap. Dan is over there, milling about, looking to sell his chip..for FULL PRICE. I laughed at him. Time kept winding down...getting closer and closer to 'go time.' Shit. No One. Dan was sitting with me, discussing the virtues of not playing vs. playing. That if he DIDNT play he would go home up for the trip still, after a brutal week following his final table finish. He walked with me over to the registration desk...still pondering...when I said "Dan, this structure is TOO good to NOT play this event. There won't be more than 200 players, so the Final Table will definitely NOT be a shove fest. We know almost ALL of these players. And you know as well as I do that we are better than at least 75% of the field. I think there is just TOO much value in this event not to play. But you can go ahead and scram if you want. Personally, I think it would be a bad move." So...for all these guys trying to take credit for 'talking Dan into playing' I will let Dan tell you himself who 'talked him into' playing. One move I forgot to do was a 10% save with Dan. Nice going Monkey.

So yeah...I was getting text messages from out west. Fish managed, somehow to make the Final Table in LA. (just kidding there DF). He went out 8th. Not sure how much money that was good for...but I'm sure it was decent. Nicely done, D.

On a quick side note. Did I see correctly, that some dude won...WON...three freaking online tourneys in the span of like a day or two? For like 140k total? Okay...NO FUCKING WAY. No one is that GOOD. This is what I am talking about when it comes to online poker being corrupt. There is no freaking way one player wins three big MTTS. Its impossible. I don't know this dude, I don't think. But I would love to have been sitting in the same room with him watching this 'amazing feat.' I would also like to play him LIVE, heads up...best of three. When people start realizing that 15% of the players out there have software that allows them to see other peoples' cards, and/or software that breaks the RNG code to allow them to predict the flops...then maybe the other 85% will finally say FUCK OFF to online poker. If I have to listen to one more online prick tell me "I looked at your stats dude, and you arent shit! You barely break even man! My stats crush you! I will play you heads up for any amount bro!" I think I will go on a killing spree! Yeah you're right you little asshole (probably not even old enough to ENTER a casino) all of my live tourney cashes are clearly a fluke. And when I get down to the last 10% of the field and consistently get my AA/KK/QQ (vs inferior hands) shoved up my ass...I must be doing something VERY wrong huh? FUCK OFF INTERNET POKER FUCKERS!

Wonder how TK's mission is coming on the 40k WSOP deal. Thats a lot of money to poney up for ANYone to play a poker tourney. I kind of tried to put his name out there with a few guys I knew had the money...but the timing was just kind of bad, being in the Main Event and all. But I hope it all works out for him...he's a good player and it would be fun to see how he fared against that field.

Regarding the GCP hats. Yeah, I got mine. See, I am weird about my hats. Hats have to have a certain look to them, they have to sit just right on your head. They can't look brand new. The logo on the hat is sweet. But the hat is a little too stiff, sits a little too high on the head, in a very Elmer Fudd-like way. So, its not that I don't like the hat...my reason for not sporting it after immediately getting it from Bill...and I told him this. Told him I would wear it a couple times while doing yardwork, sweat in it, maybe put it through the wash....rough it up, give it some character. I did the yard work yesterday in it. Sweated like a whore in church...got it dirty. Maybe even got some gasoline on it. Now its in the washing machine...about to get thrashed around in there. Maybe soften it up. Who knows...it could be ready for action by the time I get to Vegas.

Was just about to make this post when I noticed I had 18 messages that NEEDED TO BE MODERATED. Not sure how that works, I guess when someone posts a message it doensn't automatically post. I have to approve it first. I had no idea all of these messages were on there. Until just now. To those of you giving me your support...THANKS A LOT. For those asking questions about certain things...do me a favor, I am really good about answering emails. Any time you want to ask me something, or just shoot the shit...feel free to email me at ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com.

Just read Kai's latest blog entry...about whipped cream. The dude is a fucking riot. Spent half an hour talking to him on my cell phone at Sonic last night....after I had drove to KFC craving some damn chicken...only to find out they had closed 12 minutes ago. So I sat there talking to Kai, watching 16 year olds roller skate by my car...love that at Sonic you can wait as long as you want before ordering! I always freak out when you pull up to that speaker at McD's, Burger King, Taco Hell...where ever...and BOOM! CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER PLEASE!!!!??? !(*@#&(@!)(@#_ No, dammit, I am not ready, I just got here. And they immediately catch an attitude, because you aren't ready to fire off your order yet and keep their little factory wheels spinning.

By the way...Kai's blog is now on top of me. I see I have managed to, again, slide down the page. I hate that. Guess I have my motivation to get out to Vegas and start winning! My goal is to leave here tomorrow morning, Tuesday, before 10am. I have recieved travel advisories from several dealers who made the drive already...huge traffic delays along I-40...the usual route, due to lots of road construction...so I am entertaining the idea of taking I-10 the whole way, through Houston and Phoenix. Never went that way before. But I am not into highway stalls. NO way. I plan to arrive in Vegas Thursday...in time to play one of the 3 $225 Megas that Venetian is running to kick off their big tourney...to win over $2k in tourney buy in chips. It would be a good way to start the trip. I believe I am staying at the Rio with Keith Oreskevich (last name correct?) who won the Omaha tourney the day I final tabled the 1k (and took a cooler beat to finish 6th-dammit) and who I stayed with at Harrah's for 5 days in New Orleans. Guess right now he is just waiting to hear from his host to see if we are 'big pimpin' or 'little pimpin' on the room. I am rooting for BIG PIMPIN, of course!

Squirrel is coming out the 2nd week of June with a gaggle of her girlfriends. There is a rumor that we may be going to get married that week. We went so far as to start looking at wedding bands on the Zales site this week (great, and I just PAID them off for the engagement ring and birthday earrings last year!) and found a couple we might like. If it goes down I hope that (a) it happens after I have already made a big cash and (b) its a fun wedding with about 20 of my 'people', 10 of her 'people' and a night of club hopping and later some strip clubs. Might even be needing some 'happy pills' to assure her that I am indeed HAPPY to be married. In those moments she gets very weird, not BELIEVING me when I say I am truly happy.

Speaking of pills. This is freakishly strange. While in New Orleans...and running out of the very short supply of Aderol I had...my buddy (who will remain nameless) shows up from Indiana and has a fresh supply of 10 for me. His kids' prescription...so not very potent. But hey, I will take what I can get. Then in a conversation with another player...who I have known and played with for about 5 years now (great guy, good tourney player, from Mobile) he gives me a new one to try. And it was wonderful too. Man...Aderol is definitely something that was created for The Monkey. I will love to have this for the drive to Vegas. Well....check this out. I was in possession of my 'man bag' at all times. Somehow, between a 3 hour period of time...a bottle, with the label torn off...shows up in my bag. Inside are TEN pills, with 'Aderol XR' (the good kind!) written on the capsules. WTF? Where did these come from? Brainstorming produces no results! Someone trying to hook the Monkey up anonymously? Someone trying to KILL THE MONKEY anonymously. I have Kenneth Terrell on my left (in a Mega) when I make the discovery. I let him in on the mystery. He suggests using caution. Yeah! No kidding! I am scared shitless to even try one. Then, along comes the blonde haired Rounder chick...who has been pestering me for an Aderol all day. I keep saying NO...because I like to conserve that which is difficult to obtain. Well, here is an opportunity! A lab rat! I explain the mystery to her. She offers to be my guinea pig! Wow. Cool. I think about getting her to sign some kind of an affidavit where if she dies I am not on the hook for it. So she takes it. ONE. One to guarantee the other NINE is not a bad deal. Kenneth asks me "If that girl doesn't die, can you spare me one tomorrow for the Main Event, Monkey?" Hey man, you bet! She didn't die, and Monkey followed through with 'Dramallama' on my promise.

So...whoever put those in my bag, without me noticing....wow, thanks! Kind of spooky weird, but thanks anyway. And uh...if you have more...bring em on! Its going to be a very long summer!!!!

TAXES, and the IRS...then I have to wrap this up...as Squirrel is standing here demanding that I let her cut my hair..which she says "looks worse than at any time I have known you in 8 years!" Wow, really? Wouldnt she WANT me going to Vegas looking this bad???

The IRS is always on the hunt to FUCK us. I know this. Most of you watch me write my results in a black ledger book. I do this for online play, live play, both tourney and cash game. When I did my taxes this year, last year and the year before, I filed as a professional poker player...since, well, this IS all I do. SOME casinos will send you that tax slip you need. SOME WONT. But the IRS will always be following your results by looking on Cardplayer.com and/or PokerPages.com. So they KNOW what you have won. Sure, you can slip some by them...with small in-house tourneys like the ones at the Beau Rivage during the week. Unfortunately though, I write those in my book as well. So really, I am hiding NOTHING. But...when you go to do your taxes, you BETTER include EVERY cash that you made on those sites that report them, whether you got taxed or not when you won. It WILL catch up with you. And make damn sure you save EVERY tourney buy in reciept. When/if you play at the Rio, they even have those for all the Sit N Go's you play...so you should be able to generate a LOT of buy in reciepts. And of course you can off-set your winnings with expenses on travel and hotel and food. The only time you should ever really WORRY about paying a lot of taxes on poker winnings is if you happen to win over 250k and can't show buyins over 100k. Yeah...then...you are gonna get smacked down! But be very careful...these assholes are always looking to get you. I am extremely careful. I have no desire to go to jail, I love my freedom too much.

Thats it for now gang. I may blog from the road if something funny or interesting happens. But if not, I will catch you next from Vegas!

MONKEY

Monday, May 18, 2009

End of the Road.....

Special shout out to Ben King for taking a flyer on me and ponied up the full $5150 for me to play this years 2009 New Orleans WSOP Main Event. I appreciate ANYONE taking a shot on me. I tried everything I could to hold on as long as I could. But in the end I just couldn't get cards at the right time to put together a run. KK raise, AK raise, 10-10 raise...all got folds when I really needed double ups. Then I have to get it in with Q10d in desperation mode and run into AK. OUCH!

My little experiment to blog live from the event didn't go so hot either I see. I have no idea how everything got so broken up. Came out looking really bizaare. Don't know if that is a site issue or what. Would like to be able to do it when I am in Vegas...but not if its going to come out looking that screwy!

The bottom line...is that this was, overall, a really solid week for me. I played very well. I made EVERY dinner break except one. I probably played MORE hours of tourney play than any circuit event ever. Which resulted in me playing very few sit n gos, which is rare for me. This was a great, great tourney. Awesome attendance, compared to the rest of the events this year. Fantastic structures. The payouts were flattened out a little, so cashing meant at least a double up of the buy in. It was a lot of fun. I met a lot of new players too. I am, of course disappointed that I didn't get a win and ring...or get deeper in a few of them, and come out of here with between 50 to 100k, instead of about 10k...but hey, a lot of other players would like to say they are leaving town up 10k, right?

Good luck to all the players still in the Main Event. Thanks to all the dealers and floor people who did such a great job. I am in my room at the Hilton banging this out...just had the bellman take my bags down...all I can think about right now is how much I want to go home and see my dogs and spend some quality time with Squirrel. Hope she misses me as much as I've missed her. Next week it's off to Las Vegas...to hopefully have a KICKASS summer. Hopefully in this coming week I will figure out just where in the hell I am staying. Thanks to all of you for your constant support during these deep tourney runs, it means a ton!

SEE YA IN VEGAS!!!!

MONKEY

On the Eve of the Main Event

Where do I start?

Hmmmm....just left a very delicious Facebook status wishing death by knifing on the clown from New York...the one I mentioned last week, who was having that "only in Wal-Mart to sound important" phone call with quite possibly NO ONE....and on the heals of just finding out my place in the pecking order of the friend list of people I thought were my good buddies.

Was that a deep enough intro? Did I capture your attention? The last 49 and a half hours have been incredibly memorable. This trip is going to either end VERY good or VERY bad. This year is continueing to make me want to take a phone book and tear it in half....and then stand there and pose like the Incredible Hulk while screaming at the top of my lungs incoherently until I go hoarse.

Tick, Tick....tick......BOOOM! That was me...I just exploded.

Picture this. I am sitting in a raft. In the middle of a sea where there is no wind, no waves, no current...just sitting there. Up come all these talking fish. Surrounding me. Then all of a sudden they start talking to me. "Hey Monkey, great job in that tourney yesterday." "Hey Monkey...me and my friends would like you to come to dinner with us." "Hey Monkey...can I ask you a question about this hand I played today?" I start looking for oars. None. Is there a little inboard motor on this thing? Nope! FUCK! I am stuck here. Shit. They keep coming after me. Pestering me....

What is today? Sunday night? I've lost track. "I think I have set a record for cashes at one event! I have cashed 6 out of 8 on this trip." No. That is not me. ME? I have cashed 4 times. No. This is the fucking jackass from Brooklyn or whatever part of New York he claims as his hometown. I somehow managed to fade this fool all week, never having him at my table. Until tonight. In the Mega. My SECOND Mega. Kai and I made the decision on the break to go look at all the sheets that list the results to see if MAYBE this fuckbird is telling the truth. We only know that his name is 'Steve' and that he lives in New York. So we look at the results of EVERY event...and STEVE, which is a pretty common name...shows up ONCE! And that guy is from Texas. Busted. Total fucking liar. Just as we thought.

About ten minutes in to sitting at this waste of DNA's table, he says something that causes me to tell him that "I am not interested dude, nothing you say has any redeemable quality whatsoever, please pretend like I am not even sitting here."

I find myself sitting on 750 chips, down from the 4000 I started with, after a complete shitstorm to start the thing. Somehow I engineer an incredible comeback and get my stack (as I predicted I would) to a pretty amazing 6800. And then....2009 and its wicked head appear.

Dealer shoots me my first card in the BB. The second on he exposes. A six. I look at the hole card to see if its a 6. Its not. Its a Q. I dont look at card #2. UTG raises from 100/200 to 650. Thats when the imbecile MOVES ALL IN! For 9500! It folds around to me and I look at Q.....QUEEN. No freaking way. I start thinking. No way hes all in with AA or KK. Nope. He either has AK or JJ. I tell him this. Someone at the table says "He probably has QQ..." to which I reply, "Nope, he doenst have QQ...I know THAT for sure." Then he starts basically BEGGING me to fold. Okay, I'm right he has JJ....so I call. First guy folds, AK....he shows me. And our little guido turns over...shocking....JJ. The table expresses their amazement at my read (perhaps the easiest read of the trip) just in time for Curtis the dealer to put a Jack on the flop. It holds. Sighhhhhhhhhhh. Once again....JJ fucks me in the ass. Its 1:45am.

In the 1k I would end up making the final table. I played great that whole tourney. I could smell the 61k first prize. Down to 6 I was 3rd in chips...but it was 3 small stacks, and then us 3 big stacks. Big stack #2 raises my BB. I look down at 77. I call. The flop comes 7-4-3....two diamonds. I check. He bets. I raise. He asks me if "I am ready to gamble...." and I tell him "sure chase your flush....." and he goes all in with AJd.....I call of course...and on the turn we get the 5 of diamonds....which gives hime the damn flush,but also gives me the straight flush draw....6 of diamonds on the river? Do I fill up? Of course I don't. And I am out....6th, for $12k. All the excitement of the final table, and plans to go out with friends pretty much ceases to exist. I go into a 6 hour mourning period. This is when I am beating off people wanting to congratulate me for my finish. Its so awkward when you are just miserable...and sick at how things went down, and everyone wants to tell you how great you did. And you don't want to be rude...but jeezuz....LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!

Then I play the $550 on Saturday. The day starts horrible. I get down to 1800 chips. Then gradually build my stack up. Then I get the 'courtesy double up' with KK vs QQ....puts me at about 10k. Get moved to a table full of psychopaths. Literally, the first THREE hands saw either 3 way or 4-way all ins. It was a circus. But it was the next table to break, so I knew if I could just survive a couple of orbits, I just might have a chance. I somehow manage to do this. Get moved again. 88, I double up against K10. Yeah! I beat K10. Get moved again. New table. I see the guy I call 'Colbert' becuase he looks like Steven Colbert. Holding 22k (with the avg 36k) he raises my BB from cutoff.

Hmmm...dude knows me. Knows I am tight. I know he is tight. But he has been card dead for awhile, or so everyone says. I kind of thinking he is finding a place to steal blinds and antes...against me, MR. SuperTight. So when I look at A10, I think I have a hand to play back at him with. So I do. I reraise him.....ALL IN. He calls! I turn over my A10 to find he has AQ. Shit. No big deal, I flop a 10 and it holds. Wow. Nice double up. Hard to fast forward, since a lot of shenagins went down the next four hours....but I will. At two we concluded with 28 players, having paid 36. They all wanted to pay the bubble guy when we had 37 left, but I refused based on the fact that this asshole who was the SHORTEST stack in the tourney had called clock on me about half an hour before. FORGET IT! And what would happen? He would go out on the bubble. SWEEET!

We bagged up the chips. I had a date on Bourbon Street, with Kai Landry and some other guys...to celebrate Kai's win in that days $340. At Ric's Cabaret. I walked in at 3:10am. There was Brandon Jarrett, Allie Prescott and Frank Kasella....no Kai Landry. He has already left. Great. Brandon was hammered. Trying to get me to drink Jager shots. No thanks. After about 20 minutes everyone was ready to leave. Great. Glad I did that trip. Never saw a single naked girl. Oh well. We all pile into a cab and go to our respective hotels, Allie and Frank to W and me and the rest to the Hilton.

I sleep. By the way, my knee seems to be okay. Still a little sore, but I can walk. So I guess that means I'm fine, right? No one mugs me with the 12k I am carrying on me. I sleep well. Wake up. Shower. Kai and I go eat the buffet. Its awful as usual. Buffet exits my body approxiamately 13 minutes after I eat it. Arrive in the theater at 1:52pm. The womens tourney is in full effect. Those things frighten me. I go on stage, unbag my chips. The action begins. We start with 27. On the first hand the lady to my left goes all in after the UTG donkey raises to 18,000 (3k/6k blinds) for 48k. He calls, with K10s....and she shows AA. She flops a set of aces. Good? Nope. One spade. Runner runner spades. Flush for K10. Goooooood 'ol King Ten. The devil.

I go from 86k to 150k through some pretty good play. We get down to 18. I am feeling another Final Table in my future. Then I pick up AA UTG. I raise to 24k with the blinds 4k/8k. Button hems and haws and finally calls. Ughhhhh.....he is one of the ones who has me covered. The flop comes Jc10c4h. I check. Why? Because I know this guy is going to bet. He does. In fact, he goes all in. Hmm...what does he have I wonder? Set of 10's? Jacks? Like everyone else? Well...I call. He asks me if I have AA? Yes, I do. He has AK.....of CLUBS! Oh no! I start to gather my stuff...he has the flush draw AND the straight draw. The turn is the 8 of clubs. Great....I start to leave when I hear them all gasp...I guess the Q of clubs hit on the river, giving him a ROYAL FLUSH! Perfect! I'm out. 18th. Big deal. I go get paid my huge payout of $1800.

Then I go play a $240. It stars out like a typical assclown-fest, with raises of 350 and 450 into 25/50 blinds. Sweet. Donkey to my right sucks out on hand #2 to be chipleader. He would go out 5 hands later. Total idiot. I make a read on a guy a while later...totally correct, call his all in...and he sucks out. Of course. 225 chips left. Go on a total miracle comeback run....turn it into 8500 chips. Chipleader. 5 left. Then get sucked out on twice. Great. We get to 3. I propose a 3-way chop. They agree. Good. $750 each. Game over.

Go and buy into the $550 Mega. Things start well. End bad. Play back at the WRONG guy...a dipshit. Instead of just calling his gross overbet and moving in on him post flop...I decide to re-raise him all in preflop on his cutoff raise. He calls. He wins. I roll my eyes. I leave. And buy into the 10pm Mega. Which of course ends with me losing to the AssClown. A beautiful day.

So....now I have to fall back on PLAN B. My backer and I do not play in Events over $1k if we don't satellite in, so now I am resigned to sell myself off to someone willing to treat me like their little monkey bitch. Kickoff is scheduled for 12...high noon....at the O.K. Corral. There is a lot of talk about how many will play. There are also a lot of people trying to sell their 5k chips. I am hoping in the morning to find someone desperate enought to sell one for $4000 to $4400...which would be a nice fat discount.

But more importantly, I am intent upon arriving on time, sitting down to my $20,000 chips, with 1 hour levels and orchestrating my best tourney of the year. The Main Event that JJ (thanks Dan Walsh) fucked me in at the Beau Rivage is now in the rear view mirror. All the big hotshots showed up today. Screw them. One of them is the reason I won't, apparantly, be staying with my good (thought so anyway) friend Allie Prescott in Vegas this summer....leaving me scrambling for a place to stay out there. I have been playing lights out all week. A couple of bad beats the last couple of days, coupled with the arrival of the "Main Event ONLY" players are not going to cause me any trepidation. 2009 can bite me. Its time for me to go out and kick some asses.

What will be interesting to me...is when this happens, how certain people will act around me after it happens. Yeah, if you are reading this correctly, you ARE sensing a bit of bitterness coming from me. You win a big tourney and everyone wants to be around you. To claim you as 'their boy.' You finish in the money....a lot...but never for BIG money...your just 'that guy' who plays poker. You find out who your real friends are. I am just not like that. My friends are defined by things that are truly important. I go into tomorrow's tourney carrying a big ax. And I am looking for a place to grind it. I am secretly rooting to have certain 'people' at my table tomorrow.

And in conclusion.....I will present an open letter:

"Dear Poker Gods;

So far you have really been testing my resolve. I am not sure why. But I respect you for whatever reasons you may have. I would like to request that tomorrow, you just leave me the fuck alone. When I am ahead, and I bet out...let them either fold, or miss their horseshit draw. When I get a big stack...please oh please do not let me go card dead for 14 orbits. You have been tormenting me all of 2009 so far. I would just like to say....OKAY, enough already! Lets end it already. Let me win this motherscrewer!

Love,
Monkey"

Friday, May 15, 2009

SATURDAY 1K in the MONEY....continued....

Okay I am now awake!

Yeah...I slept a whole three hours. Guess I am just too fired up for today. And can't stand that I left you all in suspense. I wish we were back at 4 instead of 2. I know today's $340 is going to be huge and I want to attempt the famous Back-to-Back Cash and/or Final Table move. But I just don't know if I can chip up enough in two hours to weather the potentially 2 to 5 hour 'out period' that could ensue in todays continuation of the $1k event. Nevertheless, I like the challenge! And I am pretty much freerolling as I am guaranteed no less than $2500 right now.

So yeah....when we left off the guy I smacked with Quad 4's was pulling the magical min raise play on my BB....with QQ....when I called with K8c...behind a call by BJ McBrayer. I bet out 7500 into the guys' 17k stack on a k-7-J flop. He pauses then states...."I guess I'm all in." BJ folds...after pondering a bit and assuming I have him outkicked (which obviously I don't) I do some math, kick myself for calling the min raise, almost certain that he has AA or maybe AK....and make the boneheaded call (at least I thought it might be) and he tells me good call. Wow. And no two outer spikes. Nice pot there...and I was rolling.

We get it down to 36 finally and do a complete redraw. I get moved to a table with almost all new players to me on the day. But there is BJ again on my right. BJ McBrayer....ohhhhh boy. BJ is my friend, but I will say this, there is NO love coming from BJ at the poker table. If he has a chance to felt me, he is felting me. He has the killer instinct no matter who is in his way. Not exactly how I roll, unless and until we are at the Final Table. So I know I can count on him to sit there and drill me in the BB whenever he gets a chance.

We play for close to an hour and a half. Not sure but I think I raise 5 times during this period. Get folded to three times. Bet out on the other two (both times with nothing) and get folded to. On the last one, BJ was trying to exploit the bubble, raising from cutoff when I woke up with QQ on the button and raised him from 6k to 20k. "Ya ready to play for it all right here Monkey?" You aren't calling BJ and you know it. Nope. Fold. Keeping up with the average stack was a freaking race that kept getting harder and harder to keep up with.

Met a new player last night. Dwyte Pilgrim. Just looked him up on CardPlayer...and sure enough...he is as hot as he claimed to be. 37th in POY this year...this guy is destroying everything he's been playing this year. Now this is kind of funny....Dwyte is black. And buddies with another really cool dude that I have known for a couple of years...Mo, who's last name I don't know. Somewhere in the course of playing with Dwyte I decided he needed a nickname...and since I am kind of the master of the Nickname...I came up with "The Duke" as in.....'well, lookie here Pilgrim!' which if you know your American Movie History....will recognize this as a John Wayne one-liner. Pretty sure Dwyte loves it...and I hope to see Dwyte "The Duke" Pilgrim on a leaderboard soon!

Well, Dwyte had a lot of chips most of the night. Then he gets moved behind me...to the table with CHIPZILLA! This guy...forgot his name...but I'm sure I will remember it by the end of today, has, at the end of the day...FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND (450,000) chips! Well, 'THe Duke' decided to finally start drinking with the Monkey...thinking it would be helpful to his stack...it wasn't. He gets it all in on the button with AQ...vs the 44 of Chipzilla....and the 4's hold. That took us to 28. Right before him this kid who had started out on my first table...and who I KNEW would be very dangerous....and was glad to get away from when our table broke...would pull the FLAMEOUT of the DAY! BJ told me he bubbled the guy in a recent 5k somewhere and that he blew up the same way. It was utterly retarded. The guy had like 120K. Here is his brilliant move. Chipzilla raises him from the SB with AK. Dodo re-raises him with A5. The Chip Monster tells him....TELLS HIM...."I am going to re-raise you ONE more time...and if you shove, I am calling!" The Genius doesn't listen very well. He shoves. CALL! Dude is GONE! Sick.

Don't remember who the bubble was...but who cares. I was too busy finishing the delicious pizza that Birol Lemir had sent up here from his pizza joint, Pizza Fiesta down on Bourbon Street....thanks Birol...YOU ARE THE MAN! It was time to bag up our chips! In the money baby! Monkey has 86k. Average is 93k. But that average is majorly skewed due to THE MONSTER and his 450k. With 2.6 million in play that makes the average more realistically...about 83k per player. So I am right there with everyone.

Regardless, this is my 2nd consecutive cash in this event...getting 2nd last year. But its been a lousy year for me...I NEED to get deep today. Wow, I REALLY want to go over there and play this noon tourney...but I look at my clock now and its 11:52 right now. Havent showered. And Keith says we may have to vacate our room today. Yikes. Bad recipe there for going to play at noon.

Just called Steve Frezer...they have just over 400 right now. Wow. Surprising. Might not top the 572 from last week. Hmmmm. Ohhhh there is that itch! Should I scratch it? Side note. Usually in tourneys we play until 2am or Final Table, whatever comes first. We had one player...who shall remain nameless, but which rhymes with FANNY...bitching ALL night about how 'stupid' and 'idiotic' it was that they were making us play until the money...which didn't happen until 4am. I got real sick of listening to him bitch. Because frankly...who the hell wants to play a 14 to 16 hour day...go to bed...and STILL NOT BE IN THE MONEY? Unless its the Main Event in Vegas!?? NO one! How stupid, go home for the night with 35 players....which means you can't play at noon today (unless you are crazy like me!) and then you take a bad beat, go out 31st, miss the money....then how mad are you!?? So to the tournament guys I say this....GOOD JOB! You did the right thing, and just about EVERYONE agreed.

To that lady who called the State Police on me yesterday? I hope some very strange Karmadic thing happens to you today! To all my friends who have been Facebooking me and text messaging me their support all day and all week...THANKS a TON! It means a whole lot to me! You guys are the best 'family' I have! Now then....let's go get this done! Or go down fighting!

MONKEY

Saturday we play for BIG MONEY!

Been a few days since I blogged here.

And for good reason. I was playing poker. And sleeping, very little, but sleeping. New Orleans is the place where I always do and experience THE WEIRDEST SHIT on the planet, and again...it has not failed to disappoint.

Going to kind of cut to the chase because it is 6am and I am REALLY tired. However, I met about 5 readers today, a few of them who seemed 'let down' that I hadn't written anything in a few days...so I guess I felt somewhat obligated to slap something together. Again...to those of you who read this on a regular basis...THANK YOU! I am flattered, and its always great to meet you people! Thanks for coming up and introducing yourselves. Never too busy to meet y'all!

To summarize. I am playing a ridiculous number of hours in EVERY tourney with the exception of one. The 6-handed tourney. Wasn't even going to play. Kai and I were sitting out by the pool chillin. Then Steve Frezer tells me via text that he has around 180 in it. Then talk to Allie Prescott (via phone in Vegas) who tells me I would be a retard NOT to play this tourney...mainly because I am a spastic and should love the extra space at the table. Couldn't dispute that point. So with a minute left before registration closes, we decide to do it.

I would last 42 minutes. Kai would cash, like 18th I think. I had a complete shitstorm. Kept getting one good hand after another...only to get either outflopped, outkicked, outdrawn...whatever. It sucked, and I was out quickly. It was the first and only time I haven't made the dinner break on this trip...and a lot of that is due to the terrific structures in this event. A LOT of players (some for the first time) are making dinner breaks for every event.

Wednesday's $340 saw another good turnout, with 360 players. 36 getting paid. I played very solid all day, kept a stack around the average all day. I went to dinner with about 16k...with the average at 18k. A few hands after we got back...I wake up with AA. Sweet. Cutoff raises. Button re-raises, I smooth call the re-raise (who has a huge stack) and the first guy (short stack) goes all in....dude on button calls, I then ship...he calls with KK. Other guy has QQ. SHOCKINGLY....the aces hold, despite KK picking up a flush draw on the turn but missing. HUGE POT. I get to 80k (average at 34k) and am feeling like I will certainly cash.

Then I go, literally, 9 orbits without winning a hand. On those rare occasions that I thought about actually raising with mediocre to garbage hands to pick up a pot and regain some momentum...I get a raiser or shover behind me. UGH. So...I manage to drop 35k during this glorious period peering down at complete shit. Then....it happens.

But before I tell you the delightful ending to this tale, I must first tell you about "The Shithead." If you use your imagination you can most likely picture this twerp. Now work with me. Player in Seat 3 busts. In comes new player. "The Shithead". 22 years old. About 5'7 135. Old beat up ball cap. Scruffy hair. Probably never laid, and if so...most likely paid for it. Braces on his teeth. Has that 'poker doesnt have me, I have poker' cockiness found in a lot of these fuckbirds that live at home on their computers. Kind of imagine this kid could have been one of those little assholes posting threads on 2+2 that cause complete misery for actual human beings with a real purpose for existing. So...you have a picture of this kid now? He shows up. Likes to steal blinds. Likes to raise ANY time a player has limped behind him. Since I haven't played a hand in what felt like NINE MILLION HANDS...I had a hard time figuring out just HOW he arrives at this decision:

We have 41 left. 5 to the money. I have 40,500 now. He has 40,900. Blinds 600/1200. Player limps UTG for 1200. "The Shithead" raises to 5200. I look down at KK in the big blind. I look at his stack...ask if he has $40K? He smugly replies, "I don't know...one way for you to find out man"...I am now wanting to (a) bust this jackass (b) punch him in the face or (c) tie him up, and slowly...with pliers, remove his braces forcibly and use them to shove into his ears and nose. Oh...sorry, I digress...back to the action.

I raise half his stack. 20k. Limper folds. And the little moron does what every last player does on Pokerstars with AK...he shoves all in...and when he sees my KK after I call he declares, "I didn't think you had anything...thought you were making a move." Brilliant read there slappy. But hey...its all good, because Justina (dealer) delivers a nice little A-J-J flop...and Senor Monkey not only didn't win the hand...didn't become chipleader...didn't make the Final Table....no-no...didn't even CASH...after another 11 hour grind-fest!

So what do I do? I decide to storm out into the hall....to wrap myself up in that curtain out there and silently (as much as possible) scream internally and try to see if I can make myself internally combust! And of course curse the poker gods (again!) and question my plight on this miserable planet. But alas...on my way to perform these standard (lately) tasks....I encounter two chairs that have been lined up along the rail (and very much in the way) and for some stupid reason I decide it will be smart to punt on fourth and long instead of going for it. The chair flies about 5 feet (not a punt that will land me an NFL contract albeit)...and I immediately feel my knee 'explode.' Oh Shit. What did I just do? I nearly collapse, but manage to struggle to the hall...where I find a corner to roll up in, where I writhe in pain.

That is when a security guy shows up. Oh no. Not this again. He begins...I think...to toss me. Then Larry the poker room manager shows up. Side note. I had never really talked to Larry much until the other day...and we had a really nice 15 minute conversation. So he kind of had an understanding of what I was going through. He cut me some slack. Just told me to take easy and quit kicking chairs. No problem sir. Now I have to go crawl in a hole and die. Thank God for pain killers and alcohol. To ease my pain and suffering I would go play a couple sit n gos...winning one of them....as Kai kept sending me shot upon shot. Thanks Kai. Then at 4am I stumbled/limped/moonwalked to my hotel room. Where Keith..my current roomy...was again missing from. He has that cash game bug...the one that makes guys play till dawn. Tried to read my book. Read like..mmm...two sentences. Then spent the entire night waking up every time I turned my body even 1 degree. It felt like there were 12 of those little bastards from Gullivers Travel (the ones who tied him down) sticking knives in my knee all night. Every 5 minutes I would wake up in pain. It was not a good night.

Oh my God I am so tired...6:56am now....can I really get through this? Keith is laying over...SNORING. Oh no. Time to dig out the Ipod I guess. Is that the sun coming through that crack in the curtains? Please tell me its not. Keith, by the way...played the 5pm $340 PLO H/L tourney..that I would have surely played had I had the chance. He ended the day 2nd in chips out of 12...already in the money. Nice.

So being up for the trip a good amount...not a great amount...but good, I send a text to my backer asking for approval to buy into the $1k event. I never hear back. Great. Well...since I Final Tabled this thing last year...I feel obligated to play it. And when I hobble over there I see 250 players registered...OH HELL YEAH! Nice. Steve Frezer sees me right as I enter and is cool enough to send a dealer with my money way the hell over to registration to sign me up.

Tourney starts great. We get 10,000 in starting chips with 1 hour blind levels. KICK ASS! I pretty much win every hand I play....then move tables...where I continue to win every hand. By the end of the first session (3 levels) I have around 24k...with the average at 13k. Good start.

TK Miles comes by and we sit and chat about various things. A couple of them I can't delve into. We talked about that huge 40k WSOP event in Vegas and his desire to play it. He is trying to figure out a way to raise 40k from someone, anyone...to play the thing. I would have to say...if I had 1 million laying around, I would probably stick him in there for 65 to 70%....but that's me. We also talked....mused? About my buddy Brandon Jarrett and his, ahem (pausing so I don't start laughing) 'nomination' on Facebook for 'Poker Hunk of The Year.' Are you kidding me? How, exactly...does this deal work? I don't see it on the site. Who is eligible? WHo votes? What does THE HUNK win? Ohhhhhh Brandon....you cheeseball you.

Then...with me in the midst of my 'Period of Gloom' otherwise known as the requisite time that I will be required to sit there card dead...Larry comes to visit me again. Needs to talk to me. Oh boy. Starts with "I need you to take this serious...this is kind of a big deal." Great. Then I hear the first two words....STATE POLICE. Uh Oh...what now? Pretty sure I haven't robbed anyone or pulled any bank heists, sold drugs, killed anyone...so naturally...I'm very curious.

Apparantly some 'woman' has called the State Police and...wait. Lets stop right there for a second. Is it just me? Or when you think of the State Police of this place do you not picture those cops in the movie "Super Troopers?" Or, to an extent...Reno 911? Back to this major issue. Some woman has called and reported that some guy people call 'Monkey' (pretty sure this is me) is taking pictures of people against their wishes and ....well, that is kind of where the story fell flat. She explained that I was 'intimidating them' by taking their picture. Claimed that I took HER picture! At 1pm TODAY! Huh? Larry went on to explain all the various laws protecting patrons against being photographed on the property. That it is indeed a 'serious matter.' Okay. First things first. I first told Larry that I was "completely willing to honor whatever you guys order me to do....not here to cause trouble." To which he thanked me. Then I explained exactly WHAT the pictures were for. Told him that of all the players I have added to Monkey's Barn...that all of them were talked about kindly, that all of them were told by me that they would be appearing on my blog site...and that most of them loved it, loved the attention and had ZERO objection to it at all. That seemed to make it a little more acceptable to him. Then I buried the rest of this lady's accusations when I pulled out my camera from my bag and showed him the THREE pictures I have taken on this trip.

1) Joker from DAY ONE...who I encountered in a sit n go...who called two different all ins with ACE high then KING high...and mircle'ing his way to a suckout. I called him Wilford Brimley, because...well, he looks and talks like the old coot. Well, him and I would get into it last night because for some reason it was causing him great unrest that I had entered a SNG while still in another one (shortstacked in at the time but would eventually end up winning!). Not sure why exactly...just think he is one of those clowns who wakes up in the morning looking for something to belly-ache about. Well, now I kind of think it may have been him behind the phone call. I think he may have put his wife up to it. The gutless worm.

2) Some guy BJ McBrayer got donked by. Got the details on it later.

3) A guy who, with the blinds 25/25...raises to 125 UTG...only to be re-raised by me with 10-10...to 450...then stating "ah I'll gamble with ya..." and moves all in with 66....and flops a 6. His name is Ken Horn, and I got him at my first tourney table yesterday, and we ended up being good buddies. He is actually a helluva nice guy. Kind of hesitant now to add him to the barn. We'll see what happens.

But that was it! THREE PICTURES! No women. None taken today. He was convinced. Just another freaking hater out there trying to take down the Monkey. Oh and since we are on the subject of haters...not sure who the person was who left the comment about the Harrahs-Parking-Players Card snafu...but I'm not sure what you were driving at, unless you WORK for Harrahs. Look, if an EMPLOYEE recognizes me as a regular patron they want to satisfy by giving me a PLATINUM card...hey, am I supposed to turn it down? If my buddy who lives here...and is known by pretty much everyone...wants to give me a Seven Star card to use for nothing other than primo parking (and clearly NOT abuse it in other ways) I really don't see a victim here. ITS PARKING! I don't believe in paying money to turn my engine off. That's just me. I used to live in Atlanta..and when we would go out to Buckhead (back in the 90's) it used to drive me crazy to pay $10 or so to 'turn off my engine.' So I would park half a mile away sometimes and walk. It's not the money...its the principal. And yes, to answer your question...we DO get free parking for playing the tourney...it comes with your buy in ticket boner brain. Enough about that. Where was I?

Talking about the picture thing. Okay, so yeah...that was resolved. I go back to the table. I would literally hover between 15k and 24k for a ridiculous amount of time. We will call it 6 levels! Finally, with the blinds at 800/1600 and me holding 44 and 16k in chips...a guy limps in UTG. No one else calls. I call on the button. SB calls. BB checks. Flop comes J-4-3...two hearts. UTG bets out 3000. I decide to raise...thinking its very likely he has the J. He does. I make it 9000. He calls. Turn is...boinnnngggggg...a 4! Kaaaaaaaaaa wwwwaaaadddss! F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! I do all the necessary acting required to procure another 12k from him. Sweet!

A few hands later, the same guy MIN RAISES! to 3200. Oh....when will you people FINALLY learn WHY you don't min raise? Button calls, SB calls...and with K8c...I call (of course, call all min raises!) The flop comes out K-J-7. Hmmm...think I might be good. Look at his stack..he has 18k. So I bet 7500 into him. He tanks....and finally goes all in. WHAT!??? BJ is behind me...and decides to fold. I end up flipping my coin and it lands on heads...which means..."I call". So I do.

Thats it.....I cant keep my eyes open.....I will have to finish this tomorrow. Sorry.

MONKEY

Monday, May 11, 2009

Poker Gods have a Plan......

....they must, because this is becoming a cruel joke.

I don't even know how to start this. I came into my room last night at 2:30am, so deflated, wanting to write, to try and bleed off the feelings that I was carrying...but just couldn't bring myself to. So instead I laid here tossing and turning all night.

Couple of things before I get to the last 48 hours. The structure has turned out to be just amazing. A lot of good players are making it deep in all the tourneys so far. Sure, we are coming back the next day with a lot of players, but NO ONE seems to mind. The players in the SNG's are frighteningly bad, but lucky for me, I have only gotten a chance to play 3 SNG's so far (winning one).

I am having huge technology issues that are about to drive me nuts. Facebook continues to baffle me. I can't get any updates to load on my phone. I wake up yesterday and my wireless mouse for my computer just STOPS working. And the touchpad is LOCKED because my computer sees a wireless mouse. So I spend 2 hours on the phone with Dell, getting it to work. So either my mouse is dead and I need a new one...or I am just screwed. I cannot play online poker with the touchpad. Something about Vista that is so screwed up...if your cursor sits in one place too long, it AUTOMATICALLY clicks on it. Great, when you have it floating over 'CALL' when some dude moves all in for all of your chips and you are sitting there with 37 offsuit and leaning over to grab your bowl of cocoa puffs. Oh...lookie there, Vista/Microsoft/Dell just cost me the tournament. AWESOME! Is there someone I can call about that in India?

So, my Sunday plan to skip the $550 (On Mother's Day and grossly under attended with only 128 players) and play the Sunday Million, a few of the other big tourneys, and the $650 WSOP satellite went up in smoke. Meanwhile Squirrel was over in Pensacola celebrating her best friends birthday when she went out and lost her phone. Again. Squirrel gets drunk and things disappear. So she is back to square one on rebuilding her phone list. That sucks.

I have a few more people on my list that I would love to punch in the face. Tops on this list is GLENN BECK! Never had watched this clown before, until yesterday, while I was holed up in my broom closet (nice room Hilton, you pieces of shit!) talking to Dell on the phone. Wow, does anyone watch this guy? What a DOUCHEBAG! All I could think about was "wow, this is that guy in high school who was always a dipshit, who got beat up all the time, now he somehow (through some act of God) got a show on TV and thinks everything he says is witty and funny." Kai and I sat watching this joker and both had the exact same take on him. WHO enjoys this guy? I now have someone on TV who ranks right up there on the 'PUNCH ME LIST' with Nancy Grace. And add to that list ANYONE who claims to be in the Taliban. Are these not the biggest wastes of DNA on the planet? And of course any Somali Pirate. Three people I would like to repeatedly SLUG or wail on with a sock full of nickels.

I guess I will get to poker now. Saturday I went back excited and with 33 players remaining in Event 1. In our first 6 hands we literally lost 4 players on my table. And before the first level was half done we were already re-drawing to 27 and 3 tables. Not long after that we were down to 18. I floated around 100k for awhile. Then with 18 left I call a shortstacks all in with AK...he turns over AA. Lovely. I don't hit Broadway. Now have only 60k. Get NOTHING for cards for two orbits, and with 55k and the blinds at 6k/12k I have to move in with A8s. I run into 1010 and don't improve. Not much I could do. I didn't feel too bad. Of course it would have been nice to win...but I played well, outlasted 556 other players and got my trip started right. Then the next day I see their daily 'WSOP Daily News Update' flyer out in the lobby, and for 16th place they show 'William Carrey....hometown..N/A....$1165' isnt THAT nice? Thanks guys for getting that right. Whatever. Hopefully Nolan Dalla gets that fixed.

So once that ended I decided to play the 5pm $340 Pot Limit Hold Em tourney. Hadn't played a Pot Limit Hold Em tourney in quite a while. I loved it. Only 75 players played so it was a good shot at winning a ring, something I would REALLY like to go out to Vegas with this summer. And once again, I came close. The field was holding very firm...at 2am we STILL had 25 players. There are no antes in Pot Limit, so that kind of results in players surviving longer. Yesterday's litany of bad beats kind of have made me forget how I went out in this one. All I know is that I played 9 and a half hours...and with it only paying 9...I got knocked out 12th...shortstack I ran 66 into AK/QQ and 99. Nice. AK guy hit two kings. When that ended I shot over to my room that Kai had procurred for us earlier. It is tiny.

So yeah, Sunday...sit out of the $550. Get my computer working finally. Decide to go over and play a SNG or two then play the $340 at 5pm. The first SNG I lose early. Flop is K-7-7 with me holding K10d. Check. He bets, I call. Turn is Jd. Yeah...not going anywhere there. He bets, I go all in, he calls, with KQ. Yepppp...so, all I need is any A,10,K or 7 (to chop) or any diamond to win. BRICK! Next!

Sit down and on the FIRST hand...donkey raises UTG from 25/25 to 250! Herrrrre we go. Folds around to the clown on the button, who goes ALL IN! Ummm...nice start. First guy calls, with AA (nice value raise sir) and the tardo on the button turns over, ahem....AJ. Nice move sir. Have a nice day. This SNG would end up taking almost 3 hours. The guy with the AA would go out 6th. He was horrible. I was down to 600 chips with 5 left, then got 33 to hold up against AJ, 88 to hold up against 77 and before I knew it...we were 3 handed with the blinds 1k/2k. I had a 5 to 1 lead over both players in a two winner SNG. That is when I really HATE the two winner sit n gos. It would have been great to wipe both of these bozos off the map and pocket $1200 (as we had a $20 last longer with the WHOLE table in). But now its 5:30...the floor supervisor has had one of the dealers get me registered for the 5pm tourney so I don't get froze out...and I need this to end. If (yeah, if) I win...I stand to get $550 and then $100 of the last longer, for a total of $650. So I make them a deal...I mean after almost three hours, its kind of sad to think one of these players are going to leave with ZIP. So I offer them both $350. They jump at it. Fine. So I make $600. Tip the dealer $20, while the other two leave her $5. Five dollars. Thanks. Almost caused me to leave her another $10. Glad now I didn't after what she does to me in the 5pm tourney.

So I scoot over to my table in the $340. We started with 7k in chips. I was quickly down to 5k after missing a couple huge draws, and being outkicked on another hand. No big deal. still 5k and a great structure. No panic in this Monkey! I finesse my way back up to 8500 by Level 5. We started with 148 players and people were NOT losing fast at all. I had a great table draw, never got moved for 10 levels. Had a nice seat on the rail, good for yakking with rail birds and friends from other tourneys.

With 14k I get AA in the SB...no ACTION behind. Dammit. Whatever. I raise this lady in the BB. She calls. KKx flop (cant remember that card, doenst matter) I decided to check there, see if she bets...my luck she has K10, right? She checks. Hmmm, okay, should be safe here. Some spade card hits the turn. I bet the pot. She calls. What? Another spade hits the river, three on the board. Wonderful. I bet half the pot. She calls. 67s. Perfect. She apologizes. Whatever. AA no good, again.

A little while later, I have 9500. Guy with 5200 raises from 200/400 to 1200 UTG. I look down at KK. I reraise to 3600. Folds around to guy in the BB...who moves all in for 8800. First guy calls. I'm not folding. No way. I call. Me and the guy in the BB BOTH have KK. The idiot to my right, who thinks a raise and a re-raise means his JJ are definitely GOOD there decides to call also, and the dealer gives him a Jack on the turn. Come on! So now I am down to 4200 and just irritated.

Two hands later, in the BB and holding Q9s...the guy raises me heads up in the blinds. Alright buddy, I ship it! He calls..with A6d. Nice hand sir. Flop brings two diamonds, with a 9. I almost HOPE I lose, so I can go play in the 9pm $200 tourney that got a huge field last night. But nope, he misses a diamond and an ace...and I double up to 8500.

I go up and down between 12k and 8k for the next two levels then our table breaks. Sit at my new table and get KK first hand UTG...raise, get a walk and show KK. Find out in about 5 minutes that I have been moved to 'The Table From Hell.' Guy in Seat 9...wearing his hip hat...looks like he should be playing in a jazz band down on bourbon street, and from watching him play poker...I would have preferred a two drink minimum to watch him sing than the free drinks I was getting to watch him play poker. He was a nightmare. But a really nice guy. How do you force yourself to want to kill a guy when he is so damn pleasant? Its tough.

I get AQd. He limps UTG for 600. Someone else limps in. On the button I bump it up to 2800. He calls. Lord. Flop comes K-9-10. Nice place for a semi-bluff if he checks. Which he does. I bet out 4500. He ponders it for a while...then calls. Ughhhh. The turn is like a 4. He checks. Fuck it. I check. Then he starts nodding that "yep...thats what I thought...." nod. I basically HAVE to hit the straight or maybe an Ace here or I am done. The river is a blank..he checks to me...and I surrender. He shows A9. Offsuit. Dude.

A bit later, I raise in MP with 66. Guy in BB smooth calls. Flop comes K-4-5 with two spades. I have one spade. He checks to me. I bet out 3500. He goes all in. Shit. Another 5100 to call. I have around 16k. Start thinking about it. Part of me is thinking he is on a flush draw. So I ask where he is from. He won't answer me. I want to know if he is from the area...as I find everyone down here likes to gamble on the flush draw. Is he check-raising me with a flush draw? Very likely. I am thinking (and saying out loud to him and the whole table) that it doesnt make sense that he would check a hand like KQ,KJ...just too risky...so I decide I think he has a flush draw. So I am about 50/50 maybe. But since I can't really decide, I do my coin flip, to which the guy (spooky psycho guy that everyone was thrilled to see leave when he finally lost) on my right shouts out "Yes, I LOVE IT..the coin flip!" well it lands on heads...which means "I call." He turns over, ugh...KQ. Okay. Well...nice hand. Bad read by me. I turn the 3 of spades! Nice...open ended WITH a flush draw. I hit the 10 of spades on the river! Wow. Nice pot! Really nice. Puts me up to around 30k...and now I am really liking my chances to win this thing. I feel bad for the guy though. I take him aside, away from the table...so it doesn't come off sounding condescending...and talk to him about how he played the hand. Give him my opinion, on how he should have taken that pot down on the flop and just moved in on me. But he was intent on gambling there on a bigger pot. I could respect that. And he harbored no bad feelings. I told him if I got top 3 I would give him his buy in back. And I would have.

Kai, who is at the table next to me..and who has started sending me Red Snappers...grrrr..against my better wishes (don't like starting the Red Snappers before we are in the money...but oh well) trades 10% with me since we now have both got great stacks. His being greater. Mine would soon get even better.

Goofball on my right raises an UTG limper, to which Jazzman calls in the BB with...ya ready? Q-7. First limper folds. The flop comes...Q-7-4. He checks. Gooofy bets pretty large. BB raises. They get it all in. KK on this side of the table. No help on the turn, and another 7 on the river. Dude flips out. Granted, I would be pissed too...but I guess he had flipped out about 4 times before I got to the table and everyone was very glad he was gone. But this guy in the 9 seat was really scaring me. As was this lady in the 3 seat.

A guy who hadn't played a hand in FOREVER finally picks up a hand UTG and moves all in for 5300. This lady calls on the button. Calls, sitting on 9500 chips! They turn over their cards. He has KQ suited...she has KING NINE. Ya, Ya...I know, its my favorite hand...but not in THAT situation! They flop a K....and this wench rivers a freaking NINE! You gotta be kidding me. This lady was just horrid. In a later hand I would raise her with AK. She calls. THe flop comes K-10-8. She checks to me and I just moved in. I can't remember the conversation but she says something like "Yeah Monkey, when I grow up I wanna be just like you!"

I tell her..."no, you really don't lady. I have issues that you could never deal with!" Then she says "I have played with Monkey before in Tunica (ah! Ding! There ya go! Tunica! Figures!) and he is really, really intelligient, but he acts like he does because he is really insecure!" To which that whole side of the table starts laughing. THey all look to me for a reaction...and I just say "actually she's right...not sure why you all are laughing...."

I raise UTG again with AK. Derby Dude in the 9 seat looks me up again! Heeerrre we go. Everyone else folds. The flop comes A (thank God) X-X...two spades. I am not getting cute and letting this guy suck out on me. I had raised 4500 preflop...(600/1200)....I bet out 10k. He ponders for awhile....noooo....don't have a flush draw!....then folds. Shows me 1010. I show him AK. Mutual trust and respect with this guy is building now. Then in the BB the next hand I pick up A3c. He limps again. Someone else limps. The SB completes. The flop comes A-2-3. NICE. I decide to check raise. No one bets. DAMN. The turn is a Q. Of hearts. Flush draw now. No more dicking around. I bet out 7500. He stews again....and folds a gutshot. I show two pair. I am now accumulating a NICE stack of chips. I am up over 50k now. Kai over there has about 40 or 50 himself. Things are shaping up very nicely.

I take a kid out in the BB. I am in the SB with KQ. He is shortstacked. He does that thing where they push their stack up before you act...which to me, always MEANS they are fairly weak and are hoping they can scare you into giving them a walk. I tell him this. I do that a lot. Told this guy the night before he was doing that, when he raised me on the button, then pushed his stack up near the betting line. FEAR. Its one of the easiest reads in poker. I didn't look at my cards against that guy. I potted it for a huge raise in the BB. And he meekly folded. Yup. So against this kid I explained to him what he just did. Then put him all in. He called! Oh! Really? Expected to see something better than QJ. He lost. Up to 60k.

Then it happened.

The guy (name is escaping me now) who owns the Frat House here in New Orleans (a fun club) and a good player...limps in UTG for 1200. I look down at QQ...and because our favorite Donkette is in the BB...I decide to raise a little EXTRA...I make it 7,000. I'm 95% certain that Frat House is folding, he doenst limp with Aces, its not his style. Well, sweetie pie over there FLAT CALLS 7000. And leaves 21,000 behind. This should be good. Frat guy folds. The flop comes out AKQ! She goes all in! What? No way in hell she has J10. No way she flatted with AA or KK. I HAVE to be good. I call. She has KQ! Offsuit! What? Lucy...the dealer from the earlier Sit N Go...turns a MOTHER(*!@#@*&( KING! NO FUH-REAKING way! I'm drawing dead. Where I should be stacking a HUGE pile of chips...taking over the chiplead...and be sitting there with over 100k and coasting...I am now sitting on a meager 22k...with the average now being 34k. Son of a BITCH!

Then I pick up QQ on 2 of the next five hands. I win both. So now I am back up to 28k and have people encouraging me to keep it together. We are down to 3 tables. Okay Okay...I can still do this. Right? Still want to kill this lady. All year this is how shit has been going. Playing great...making good folds, good calls (except for that one with 66 that I got lucky on) good reads, just going along great...playing in a tourney with a great structure, having fun...keeping the table exciting....I mean everything going perfect...and then BOOM! Get completely ass raped by a donkey! 2009 to a T.

We go on break. After we come back I lose about half my stack. This old guy who has just been moved to our table has already shoved all in on my BB three times now. And now, with 12k he does it again. I look down at A9. Coupled with me being sick of him shoving on me...I also think I probably have him beat. WRONG. He has AJ. Shit. I miss the 9 or anything else helpful and now I have a woeful 14k. Well, a few hands later I get 10-10 UTG. Okay cool. I move all in to win a pot around 5k. I get INSTA-called by third guy down. Everyone else folds. He rolls over AK. Ugh. Good 'ol Sean in the box....flops all rags. Cool. keep it small Sean. KING on the turn. I sink. No ten on the river. And I am out. And seriously deflated. Its 2:45am. My God, a repeat of the night before. 9 and a half hours for NOTHING. Not upset with the AK guy. Not at all. But the lady and her KQ? If I have a normal stack there...I raise, AK guy just calls or re-raises, to which I just call. And on that flop, I put him all in, to which he folds, and I drag about another 20k.

Kai would come to the room about 4am after they played down to 17. Tells me that woman donked off a HUGE amount of her chips to him and others. She somehow got into a hand with Q8...yeah...Kai got a free flop in the BB with the suited 'JD', J9...and flopped Q-8-10! NICE! Thanks for the chips!

So he is here...with me sweating 10% of a possible $14k for first as the chipleader heading back today. I hope he wins! Obviously. I am going to head over there in a few minutes and do like yesterday, play a couple sit n gos, and then play the 5pm tourney, which again..is a $340 Pot Limit Hold Em tourney. Should be a decent field. Not sure why they decided to run a $550 today at noon, on a Monday...can't imagine too many showed up for that one.

So while I am not in disaster mode or anything, I mean I have that first cash deep, and am 1 for 3 in sngs, and got VERY deep in the other two I played...it hurts when I know in my heart that I should have cashed ALL THREE tourneys I have played so far...and should be going back today at least in the top 3 in chips in that one last night. Coming up on Vegas I NEED to be cashing big. But its still early, and the structures are great, and I am playing well, and feel confident. So I am hopeful that something will click here pretty soon. If I could JUST get my hands on Glenn Beck...I could work out some of this frustration I'm feeling from the last couple days!

MONKEY

Saturday, May 9, 2009

NEW ORLEANS...EVENT #1, In the Money and back at 2pm!

The trip is off to a great start.

Lets just say I am 'freerolling' going into today. I will explain later.

Left Biloxi Friday morning at 10am. Fully expected to hit that half hour of traffic on the bridge over Lake Pontchatrain (however its spelled!)...and thus be late, but it didn't happen! Wow. Got to Harrah's at 11:15am. There was a line about 50 deep at registration when I arrived. NICE!

Took about 20 minutes to get registered. When the dust settled there ended up being 572 players. Awesome! Everybody was thrilled with the structure. You talk about getting your monies worth. I knew this structure was going to be conducive to allowing for good players to get deep in these, so my immediate goal was to get to the second break (Level 6) and find no more than 3 players to form a 'save pool' alliance...which is, to me a great way to beat the ugly variance that exists in Tournament Poker for a Career. I figured if I could get 4 of us, all with decent chips, inevitably 1 or 2 of us would most likely take a bad beat or a cooler somewhere along the line....but that two of us would most likely make the Final Table. Its basically an insurance policy, an 'ace in the hole.' Ideally we ALL make the Final Table.

So at the end of our 3rd break yesterday, I had formed my alliance with 3 other players, and THANKFULLY none of us are/were at the same table. Nothing worse than trying to avoid whacking one of the other guys when we are at the same table and both have a huge hand. Just sucks!

So basically here is how it works. Four good players. All with decent stacks. We all agree to put 15% of whatever we end up winning into a pot. Currently ALL FOUR of us are in the money...which is nice...so everyone is pulling their own weight! Here is where it gets good. If we go out NOW...we get $583, which isn't jack shit. So a guy would put roughly $90 into the pot. If the next guy goes out...and wins $800...he would put $120 into the pot. Say the next two make the Final Table, one guy wins $7000. He puts $1050 into the pot. So now we have $1260 in there. The last guy gets 2nd place...for $25,000. He puts in $3250....leaving us with $4510. We then CHOP that money up FOUR WAYS....with each guy getting $1127 each. So the guy who put in the most ($3250) actually gets a third of that right back. The guy who finished 2nd in the group contributed $1050 but then gets $1127 back, and of course the other two guys more than double up what they won. This is a great system, especially for situations where you know you are going to be playing ALL the tournaments. Its a great way to potentially overcome a situation where your AA gets cracked deep, with a chance to be chipleader, and then going out 13th and being depressed. One of your Alliance is still alive...so you can now root for him to WIN and make you a nice amount that will heal your pain and suffering...and reduce your variance for the trip.

I would recommend this system for everyone. But inevitably you run into people who are selfish. A guy I thought would do it yesterday was concerned his 'backer' wouldn't approve. He ended up not making the money. His loss. If your backer fully understands the system he would be STUPID not to do it, or want YOU to do it. If I am backing someone, and my player has a plan in place to recoup some money if we take a beatdown late...I am ALL FOR IT! Hey, this is a tough gig, pick up crumbs wherever you can find them to keep yourself in the game. The only way you 'lose' is if you WIN the whole tourney....which today is $48k, and then yeah...my payout is going to be $7200! Sure that sounds like a lot. Granted, I get a large portion of that right back. But when the tables are turned....say I get coolered, and one of the other guys ends up winning??? I'm going to be pretty happy aren't I? What goes around comes around. And just think...if you have a core of 4 or 5 guys, and you are in Vegas, playing a tourney EVERY DAY...you have a simple agreement...whoever among us makes the SECOND BREAK, and has even a decent stack, the deal is ON. Now I have had some agreements with players, most notably Rooster (Rick Rudloff) where ANY tourney we both in we have a 10% share with each other...and that is fine, since he cashes almost as often as I do. But ideally it is smart to do deals with players like this only AFTER you have made it through 5 or 6 levels first.

So anyway....heading back today, we have 36 players left. We started with 572...a great field. 14 hours of play...a long, long grind. But a lot of fun, very stress-free poker....meaning, at no point did it become an all out SHOVE FEST...oh sure, there were your ridiculous all ins, sure...but it wasn't out of hand. And it seemed like the clowns who were shipping it for 15 to 20 big blinds were getting caught and busted. K3 shove lost to QQ. J8 shove lost to KK. A5 shove lost to AK. All were very nice to see! I actually picked up hands yesterday from Level 1 all the way through. I only really made three or four BIG PLAYS to take down pots where had they called I would have been probably OUT. The rest of the time I was usually way ahead. I had AA yesterday SIX times! I had KK once. QQ once. JJ three times, and won with them every time. 1010 three times, had to fold them twice. Folded AQ yesterday in crucial situations 7 times....yeah! SEVEN TIMES. AK won for me 3 times. Didn't flop a set all day. Didn't make a flush. Didn't even hit a straight. Pretty much won with big pairs, and pushing all in over the top of button raisers when I thought/knew they were button poaching. It was a great day. I gobbled an Aderol on the way here and it had me fully charged when I arrived. I was dialed in like a mother all day. So when we go back today at 2pm, we have still got FOUR tables left. Hey, thats just fine with me!

Last month at the Beau Rivage, Johnny Groomes and I had a lot of conversation over the structure, which I and many others thought was unfairly punishing good players with its accellerated levels. His argument was that the structure I was seeking would end up like this one just did. Playing until 2am, and only being down to 36 players. And he thought this was bad. I couldn't find one guy last night who was unhappy. The play was great, the blinds when we broke for the night were 2k/4k and the average stack size is 100k. So the average stack is what? 25 BB's? Pretty awesome I think. Steve Frezer is THE MAN. Let me tell you what else Steve did....I mean, this guy is HELL BENT on listening to the players and giving us whatever we ask for or want, within reason.

TK Miles found Steve early in the day and asked about the $550 single table satellites. He wasn't happy with the starting chips and 20 minute levels. So what did Steve do? CHANGED IT. RIGHT THEN AND THERE! Took the chips from 3000 to 5000! And from 20 min's to 30 min's! So I took it one step further, and talked to him about the $125 SNG's, my bread and butter usually. They were only giving 1000 starting chips, like it used to be...and THAT SUCKS! So what does he do? MAKES IT 1500! Just like that! FREAKING AWESOME!!!! STEVE FREZER FOR PRESIDENT!!!!

The floor did an outstanding job on the first day as well. The day was not without its wrinkles. Unfortunately. And I should call attention to it I guess. Getting a liscense to deal in the State of Louisiana is a nightmare. I wrote about the struggles Bobby had two months ago when getting his. So, inevitably, you are going to miss out on a lot of good dealers with past 'issues' that may or may not be what us normal (me, normal?) people would consider a 'big deal' and instead get a bunch of mutants with squeaky clean records, just out of dealer school, or ripped from Blackjack tables and asked to deal poker for the first time in their lives. Almost forgot to mention...I was involved in EIGHT table moves yesterday......yeah! EIGHT! That has GOT to be a record. Never ONCE though did I draw seat 1 or 10! Sweeeeeet! So lets just say I intereacted with a LOT of players yesterday! Back to the dealer thing. We had three dealers who were painfully awful. Slowwwwwww......incorrect on several occasions....it was all I could do on a lot of occasions to not rip all the hair out of my head. I tried very hard to be patient...but jeeezuz, you can only take SO MUCH sometimes! The good thing, I guess, is that they ADMIT to being new, ASK for patience, and don't try to cop an attitude and PRETEND like they know it all. So, you know....a little humility will get you a long way, I suppose.

Technology update. Ever since I scrubbed my Blackberry and reinstalled everything, I can't get any updates on my Facebook to come through. No idea why. Its making me nuts. I did, however just figure out a way to link my phone via mobile blogging straight to this blog site...so from now...through this event and into the World Series this summer, I will be set up to send mobile updates straight from my seat to this site. Pretty cool, and easy once I got it figured out.

Remember this name. TIFFANY BURKE. I am. I will be straight up about this. I have friends in this job I do. And occassionally I get lucky and get things I may not have earned. One buddy, who is a HUGE gambler...gave me a copy of his SEVEN STAR players card a couple years ago. Now, if I was a dick...I could abuse the shit out of it, use it to get food, and beverage, and hotel rooms...you know...fully exploit it. But I am not a dick. So really, the ONLY thing I use it for, is valet parking. Mainly here, in New Orleans, becuase they want $25 or $30 here. Which is a fucking joke. Additionally, I have a Platinum card, in my own name of course. Now, I did not EARN Platinum. But a good buddy in Vegas, at Ceasers decided to grace me with a Platinum players card, and with the name "Monkey" on it...which was very cool. Unbeknownst to me, this Platinum card entitled me to free valet as well. I didn't even know that.

So here I am last night. Its 3am. I do NOT have a hotel room YET! Well, Kenny Milam...an older guy I have played with a lot...who recently won an event somewhere, not sure where...but a really cool dude...appproaches me and says "Hey Monkey, did I hear that you didn't have a room yet? Well, I live here, and Harrah's gave me a comped room through Monday that I am not using tonight...if you would like to stay there tonight its all yours." Wow? No shit? Thanks Kenny...that is VERY COOL OF YOU MAN! So I took his room key and began my procession to the hotel.

So I give my ticket to this little bitch at the valet counter and she says..."That will be $25!, unless you have a Seven Star or Platinum card!" A what? Whoa huh? See, I am not going to present the 7 Star if I don't have to, especially if it might reflect bad on the guy who gave it to me. So when I hear her say Platinum, I think "Oh cool! I have that...no problem" and give it to her. What does she do? "Sir this players card expired in January. You are going to have to get a new card at the Rewards Center or pay $30. And I have to CONFISCATE THIS CARD!!!! I ripped it from her hand. "Like hell you are lady! This is how I register for tournaments. But I will go the stupid rewards center I guess...since I have no intention to pay you $30 for parking!"

I go the Rewards Center on the other side of the casino. CLOSED! What the hell. Gotta go to the OTHER SIDE of the casino to the desk that IS open. So I arrive and here is Tiffany Burke. Her job is to 'assist casino guests' in their attempts to get their players cards. You know...so they can GAMBLE. Which means...'donating' money to Harrahs 97% of the time. Right? You following me? So I explain my situation to her. Pffft! She takes my card, tells me I only rate for GOLD now...won't give the other back, and basically talks down to me like I am a peon. I tell her that I have been in and out of valet twice today already...and that if she thinks I am paying $30 she is out of her mind, not when I could have parked in the garage for free. "Do you want me to call a manager" she snottily asks? Well, I would say so since your only priority seems to be seeing how pissed off you can make me!

So I stand there waiting....5 minutes, 10 minutes....you kidding me? 15 minutes. COME ON! I ask her...I am waiting for a manager right? "Mmmmmhmmmmm." Is this person going to be here soon? "I don't know." I mean...just a total bitch. And no....we are/were not the same race. And when there were people of HER race at the counter, people who didn't even understand the situation...they of course ALL started giving me the stink eye look as well. As though I had TP'ed their houses or something. I need to start wearing a hat that says "I am NOT a southern REDNECK! I am from the PACIFIC NORTHWEST! It is OKAY to be NICE to me! My great great great granddaddy did not OWN any of your people!!!!!"

Manager finally shows up. She is....mmm...lets call it, a LITTLE more helpful. She gets me a comp for the parking. After another 15 minutes. So I basically spent 30 minutes just trying to leave! When I get back to the valet counter, that first bitch is like "Sorry for the inconvenience Mr. Souther, I hope you aren't still mad at me" to which I reply "I am very much still mad at you. The way you handled that was RIDICULOUS! You could have simply given me my damn car, and asked that I get my card updated the next day. Your actions would suggest that I was trying to STEAL $30 of parking from your beloved Harrah's. But instead you use the word CONFISCATE to tell me how Harrah's has DIRECTED you to take people's expired cards. It is a very humiliating way to treat a guest. Its like knowing you have a 10k spending limit on a credit card that has a balance of $1500, that you pay on time every month...and being out at dinner with 5 or 6 very important dinner guests, and having the waitress walk up in front of everyone and tell you your card has been declined! How would that make YOU feel!?? Or are you capable of feeling those thoughts? Maybe not! But yeah...I am still pissed off at you! Have a nice day!"

And that concluded my day at Harrah's! So, I am back to parking in the damn parking garage here, which I loathe! And when I get back to Vegas, I will find my buddy, and see about getting my Platinum status returned to me! And by the way, this is the first time I have ever stayed in a Harrah's room here, and it is very nice. Wish I could afford to stay here the whole time, and alone. I really kind of like having my own room. Even if I win this thing today I can't do it...my backer is getting too much of the pie! Not that this is a bad thing...my backer DESERVES SOME PIE!!!!! I'm just not going to spend a good portion of my winnings on a nice hotel room. Suppose today at some point I will find someone to room with and get a place. For now, everything is in my car!!!!

So on a scale of 1 to 10, I think I would have to give Day One an 8. I will try out the new mobile blogging thing during todays tournament. See if any of you actually follow it. Was this a long entry? I fear it might have been! Thanks for staying this long!!!!

MONKEY