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Thursday, November 26, 2009

From the 6 feet under.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Or more. It's Thursday. Thanksgiving. I just pulled myself out of bed and finally unpacked my bags from Vegas. Well, the ones that weren't stolen from right out under my nose. I am sitting here on the couch, still fighting off the flu/cold (hopefully not Swine Flu) that I caught and have been battling the last 5 days. A football game that I don't care about just ended, and another one I don't care about just started. There is no Turkey dinner to dine on. My wife has to go to work, to serve drinks to ungrateful assholes. Last night she had to deal with a casino packed full of Asians...with their 'hot wha-tah with leh-mon' and subsequent lack of tip. There was some kind of concert featuring an Oriental flair...that and they don't celebrate Thanksgiving. Tonight she gets to work nickel slots. So she should be in a stellar mood when she gets home. I don't have any idea how she does that job. I would KILL someone.

I don't even know where to begin. It's safe to say I am mired in a pool of depression so deep I am not sure how I will get out of it. I think the only thing I have is the hope that a miracle phone call comes telling me my bag was mistakenly taken from the plane and has been returned. Lets review:

I always check in two bags...that contain just my clothes. Then I carry on one of those smallish sized suitcases...that contains my laptop...which has more important information than you can even imagine. The most important being my Ledger/Spreadsheet between my backer and I. Also on there is my mailing list...for running my pools. The pool payment spreadsheet for all my pools. All my letters, documents, pictures...just a lot of stuff. And yes! My computer just fell apart the other night...and I did order a new one...but the old one was required to transfer all of the info over to my new one. Also in my suitcase, my  favorite hats. My passport. My checkbook. All my various chargers. My prescription meds, my supplements. And finally, all of my poker 'stuff' including my crystal monkeys, my Final Table beads...and the famous Raising Monkey. trademark monkey. Gone!

When I fly, as I have stated on here many times...I always wait til the end to de-board the plane. I hate the hussle and bustle of people trying to force their way off the plane. So I patiently wait til the coast is clear. My carry on bag was right next to my seat, in clear site. When we first got to the gate, and everyone did the mad 'bolt out of their seat' move that they always do...I saw my bag up there. But I didn't feel any great need to snag it. It would be there when I got up. Right? Well...finally everyone was off...and I get up...and go to grab my bag...and the fucker is GONE! Holy shit! Okay...calm down. Just calm down. Sure someone just mistakenly grabbed it, right? I alert one of the flight attendants. We search all over for it. There wasn't a lone bag left on the plane...which might have indicated that someone grabbed the wrong bag. I was feeling 'theft' in the pit of my stomach. At the gate I tried to get the guy to get security involved. I mean...they have every passenger's name...and surveillance cameras. How hard could it be to find the culprit? I crimes go, wouldn't this one be a slam dunk to solve? And yet...I was getting no where. I decide to run  down to baggage claim. Thinking if the person discovered their mistake after going through the doors...they couldn't have gotten BACK to the gate. So I get down to the baggage office, with only 20 min's til my connecting flight leaves for Biloxi...and NOPE, nothing.

They advise me to go to the baggage counter in Gulfport when I get in, and place a missing bag claim with them. Oh great...we know how things go at that airport. That should be fun. And, of always, it was. So I barely make my connecting flight. We arrive in Gulfport. I stand in line. And wait. Then wait some more. Working the line is some dumpy, fat little black girl. When its finally my turn in line, I tell her my issue. She informs me that someone else handles that and to wait to the side. Wonderful. This person finally arrives. I give him my story. He asks me to fill out a statement. Then he runs off to tend to someone else's disaster. I finish filling out the statement. Squirrel is out circling the airport. She is about to be late for work. I really need to go. I ask the girl, "Is that guy going to back soon, I really need to get out of here." "Hold on please, until I am done helping this passenger." Growing irritated, I agree to wait. She finishes helping that guy. Then calls on the next. My blood is starting to boil. I wait til she is done with THAT one. Then she calls YET another. Now I snap. "Okay lady, you told me to wait til you finish with the first guy...but now its been two more. All I want to know is when this guy is coming back. My wife is about to be late for work, I have to get out of here. If you could at least make me a copy of this statement, I will leave and contact him later." She tells me they don't have a copier. Really? How do you not have a copier. "We don't." So I ask her again if she has a radio that she can call this guy. She doesn't respond. Now I ask her name...because I completely intend to make this bitch's life hell. Know what she does? She tucks her ID tag into her shirt pocket. And fires a look of indignation at me. Oh my God...I want to kill this bitch.

Then she starts with the 'over the top' customer service for every other customer. Suddenly she is smiling and acting as helpful as possible. They call this over-compensation. No one is fooled. Mainly because everyone in line is a bunch of white army soldiers who have been listening to the whole exchange and are smart enough to know that she is being a complete bitch.

Well, the other guy finally returns. I explain to him that she would in know way try to contact him, that she told me they didn't have a copier. Oh really? No copier? "We have a copier sir...let me go make you a copy of your statement." And he did. Now I was about to explode. I walk over to her and say "No copier huh? Did you notice your co-worker just went and made me a copy? How did that happen? Is there a secret copier they decided not to let you know about lady?" I hope you like working at McDonalds!

I don't know what the fuck the deal is with this piece of shit airport. Every damn time I fly in here its something! Ruined luggage. No luggage. Asshole front desk people. Assholes at the gate. Retards running the security checkpoints. Did I ever tell you guys the story about arriving for my flight 2 hrs early one morning...then falling asleep waiting on the flight...RIGHT in front of the gate agents...litereally 6 feet from the gate...and them NOT waking me up...and when I did wake up...the plane was still there, but they had closed the gate...and wouldn't let me board the flight? That one almost got me a free ride in a police car. I HATE THIS DAMN AIRPORT! Frankly, I hate domestic air travel. Please God, quit cracking my freaking ACES at crunch I can get on the road to a few million and a lease on my own personal jet.

So. The Main Event. Day Two. If you are on my Facebook, you pretty much know what went down. If ya go.

I started out the day giving you guys a pretty in-depth rundown on who had what. I pretty much played the same style in day 2 as I did in day 1. Only, instead of getting AA over and over I was getting QQ a lot, four times. Which was scaring the hell out of me...considering I go out of every main event with QQ. On one, the french guy who would serve me my eventual bad beat to end my tourney, raised behind me in early position...and I re-raised him with QQ. He called. The flop came A-10-Q with two hearts. Not the worst flop. But certainly not one that was asking to be slowplayed either. I fired out about 3/4 of the pot and took it down. I started the day with 100k and would hover between 70k and 120k most of the day.

We dropped from 82 down to 40 relatively quick. You know,  I really saw what a good structure could do for your tournament life in this one. A lot of players who don't play a lot of tourneys fell victim to the syndrome of worrying about their stacks compared to the relative stack size at their table. At the table behind us...Brandon Cantu, Jason Koon and Justin Young were making gigantic stacks...and had their table panicking. On  a regular basis they were making pots over 200k. Out table was rarely seeing pots over 20k. I would get as low as 50k. But the blinds were 2k/4k so I knew I had no reason to panic. In three levels I only had one chance to raise...and did, UTG with AQ. But then, on the button Nick Ceci re-raises all in, and it was all but 20k of my chips to call. I felt in my gut that he had either JJ or AK...both of which I didn't want to risk all my chips against. I told him this and folded. He showed me AK. Thanks Nick! One thing I had going for me at this table was a LOT of respect. That and this kid Mike next to me...a very good player, who final tabled one of the $1500 events at the WSOP this summer, him and I were both equally in tune to putting people on hands. On several occasions throughout the day I was calling hands dead on...and at least four times he did the same. Very talented kid.

Honestly, we had some very, very good players in the final 3 tables. We would be stuck on 30 for two freaking levels....3 hours. We had one guy at our table who took an eternity every time it was his turn. It was making me a basket case, until finally I made it a sport. Mike and I started betting over/under lines on how long it would be until he either folded or raised/called. I would set the line...and he would take over and/or under. Each time for a dollar. Three times it ended as a push. Pretty fucking tight line I was setting there huh!?? Those two levels were a little nerve-wracking...but still, not that bad. I just stayed really patient and hoped against some disaster like picking up KK or QQ and running into AA. Finally...on the bubble...I get JJ. I have 44k. Blinds are now 2k/4k. I am not going to raise to 12k then fold. So I just shove all in. ANd hold my breath. But before anyone can do anything, we hear..."Thats it! We're in the  money!" and see the guy on the next table making his exit. Everyone folds to me. I show the Jacks. We all breathe a semi sigh of relief. WOW! many Main Events have I played without ever cashing? I don't even know. Let me try to think here....I'm going to ball park it and say 10. So yeah, its only $2500....but its just as big as far as I'm concerned, and the $148k for first place could go a long way in really changing me and Squirrel's life. And the respect from my fellow players would be great.

So we were down to 27 and it was time to re-draw for seats. I got Table 36, seat 4. Nice. I thought I liked my draw...until Jason Koon and his 900,000 chips plopped down to my left. Oh shit! But then a funny thing happened. He turned out to be pretty tight actually. Expected him to be ravaging the table but he just wasnt. Things would get exciting pretty fast. There was a guy to my right who had announced that 'he had had enough....and was ready to go.' What? You play for 14 hours on Day 1. Then another 12 hours on Day 2...finally make the money...have a shot at 148k...and NOW you're done? So when Justin Young raises with A7...yikes...and this guy goes all in with KQ for like 120k....Justin claims 'he cant fold' which I didn't really understand one bit....but calls anyway. He hits an ACE...and now the old weirdo is down to 22k. And Justin is back to having a bunch of chips. Well, the dude goes all in dark UTG....great, I look at A5...and fold. Guy on the button goes all in. And Justin again goes all in. What the hell is going on. Guy on the button has A6h. Justin has 77. And the psycho has Q8 off with his 'dark hand.'

The only thing that hit the board was a Queen. So freak-a-zoid triples up. Justin whacks the other guy...and actually wins more than he loses. On the very next hand...with me in the BB....bozo limps in...and I look down at 'ol reliable, K9! Suited! Sitting on only 52k with the blinds now at 5k/10k....I push all in. He SNAP CALLS! Uh oh...I'm scared. He turns over 37. Yep. THREE-SEVEN! Everyone at the table is like....WTF? He flops a 7...but I flop a 9! 7, no 7, no 3....I hit a K on the river! Sweet! And now I have over 120k! Awesome. I pick up another pot with JJ. And a few minutes later we are down to 18. Time to re-draw again.

They announce that, despite wanting to play down to the Final 9, its just not going to happen. So we are only going to play one more level...which will take us to 2am. I get another nice 5. Got Mike on my right, and Brandon Cantu on my left. Brandon lost a lot of chips but still has well over 200k...and is still playing super aggressively. He was playing his usual style. He was also in a pretty bad mood. Mixed with feelings of self loathing he was feeling like the poker gods were somehow dishing him a raw deal all day. I told him he was starting to sound a bit like Hellmuth, and to please stop! He smirked. Although BC and I havent spent much time at a table together, I think he must respect my game a bit...that or just didn't want to either go down to me or beat me...because on a couple of hands, he would insta-fold to me when I played back at him. On one, I limped into the blind against him with KJ suited... he is saying..."just save it Monkey...fold..." "Nope, can't fold this one..." as I limped in. So when he raised I just shipped all which he flung his cards at the dealer.

Then on another hand...a big one...and a continuation of my success with 88 this week, I would raise on the button with 88. He calls. The BB folds. The flop comes Jc8c3h. He checks. I bet 14k into a pot of about 32k. He raises to 56k. Well, since I only had 120k didnt leave me much room to do anything but move in. I asked the dealer for the 'red frisbee' (the all in button) and when the dealer flung it at me BC flung in his cards. I showed him the set. And he just rolled his eyes. I was now on a major heater. I was REALLY starting to feel it. Things were breaking perfectly. And now we were down to only 2 minutes left in the night...and I was up over 200k now! Wow! Guess I would be changing my flight! And going to bed with a realistic dream of coming back the next day and playing for 148k.

Even though the cold/flu I had was kicking my ass...and I was tired...I was excited, and the adenaline rush was taking over. So many times during that 3 hour bubble ordeal...I would lower my head...and close my eyes...and re-focus...telling myself what was at stake. What a Final Table here would mean. Not to panic. Not to make a mistake I was going to regret later. Stay on course. Be smart. Make it happen. Take it down. The cards will come. Don't force things. Let it come to you. Be a short stack so many times in the past. Use that works, just don't worry about the huge stacks around the table. They will make mistakes, or take bad beats. Just protect what you have. Everything was going according to plan...and now, here I was...sitting with 200k, and table respect. A chance to go upstairs and sleep another 8 hours to battle this cold. Just one more hand to play and we are outa here!

Then I hear the words....'Raise' and see the French guy throw in a raise of 14k. Yeah I guess the blinds here must have still been 2k/4k. Because that was definitely what his raise was. I peel my cards and look at AA! Oh my God. No way. Again!?? Or finally? Since I hadn't seen them all day. Wow. What to bet here. Find the perfect price. Don't price this guy in and let him flop a set with a middle pair. No. No way. But let him hang himself if he has something like AK suited and thinks I am making a play. I raise it to 41k. It folds back to him. Everyone suddenly gets very interested in the hand. Back to him...he looks over at me...and waves his hands and says..."All in." Music to my ears...I think. I call. He turns over KK...sees my Aces and gets that look of disgust we are all familiar with. Then it happens.

The guy next to me says it. "I folded an Ace." Um...not sure WHY he said this...since I didn't exactly NEED an ace...but as soon as I heard those words, I just KNEW that a KING was going to hit. And BOOM, right on the you can see by looking at the photo above...there it was. And I was left praying for a miracle one outer that would never come. The turn was a diamond, givving me a flush draw...but it also paired the him a damn boat....leaving me with ONE LONELY OUT on the river. Not coming. Brandon gave me the sickest look. Three other players came over to console me and shake my hand. I just sat there, paralyzed with shock. I didn't say anything. The other players started bagging up their chips.

I finally went over to get paid out. But I was still reliving the hand. And after signing my name...I walked away...and plopped down at an empty shock. Thinking of all that had been lost. Or what HADNT been gained. This terrible, terrible week...that had taken such a promising turn for the better in the last 4 hours....had just was like a piano had been dropped on me. As I was sitting there Anthony Chester walked over and asked me if I wanted my prize money. I guess I had left it sitting on the counter. Wow. $7700 and I didnt even think about it. Couldn't have cared less. Then I almost forgot to tip. I was just off in a whole different world. I finally walked over and gave $200 to the floor and $400 to the dealers. Probably way too much. In fact I know it was. But whatever.

Later Kai and I were lobbying with Joe the late night shift manager to get our room discounted. The other day Tommy, one of the floor guys, came by and asked for my players card because Rich, the poker room manager, wanted it. For what? Something about my room. But when I checked out room balance, nothing had been done. So Kai and I thought presenting all of our close to 12k in tourney buy ins over the last 10 days might get us some consideration. Joe seemed to indicate it might. So we went to the front desk...settled up and checked out...and now we wait to see if an adjustment gets made to our bill, which is on my credit card. The Venetian isn't exactly the greatest at handing out freebies. I would hope that all the good P.R. I give them and the abundance of gratuities and rake they get from me would result in me getting some kind of relief from our rather robust final tally on our bill.

Kai and I had flights around the same we just stayed packed, and made our way for the airport. He got checked in. I returned the rental car...which I drove a total of about 25 miles in the 10 days I had it...and I got to my gate. Then the 2nd layer of hell began.

So here I sit. Depressed. Still sick. The Christmas decorations are up though, and they are pretty. We have a new hole in the garage ceiling, and the garage door is now completely effed up. And I am missing everything that is important (materially) in my life. I don't know what to do. Squirrel leaves on Saturday for 5 days with her brother and sister in law and their 3 boys at Disney i will just be sititng here, alone. And most likely bummed. Tomorrow I will call the Atlanta Airport...try to get their security/police involved to track down the person who took my bag. Or who knows...maybe it was an innocent mistake, and they will track me down. I am praying for that.

I'm not sure I can ever play another hand of poker without the monkey to raise with. I mean...who is going to be afraid of me without my monkey?


Oh by the way...sorry to bring sadness and glumness to your world today. To those of you with families...I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know that I have a lot to be thankful today...I do...I'm just having a really hard time focusing on whatever it is today.


Gary J. said...

Well did you manage to get the discount afterall?

Nice run in the main event

yardjob24 said...


Hang in there brother. Obviously things are looking up as you made your first Main cash. Incredible how aces can take the life out of you, and as a poker player, thats really the only hand you should feel safe with.
Don't stay home while the wife goes to FL. Make a trip to New Orleans and come play some cash game. The games are juicy now that they opened up the buy ins. Gonna be a bunch of donkey tourists there this weekend!!

Anonymous said...

my gawd. if it aint one thing it is another. broken laptop, aces cracked, stolen luggage. Geeze cant someone help this brotha out? Sheeeet. makes me feel real bad for you. one thing to run good in poker, then bam one bad beat and your out... then the luggage, but shit, man when you gonna catch a break??? When you do I hope it is three folds!
Good blog entry monk, sorry though for all the misfortune.


Anonymous said...

nice racism in this post. Where should i send the KKK application?


Defender of the Internets

Poker Monkey said...


Gary...did I get the discount? I didn't. Other than the standard rate for Deepstacks players, which pretty much sucks. My over-the-top tip after busting from the Main had something to do with THINKING I had gotten a deeper discount. Oh well.

Thanks for the props on the Main Cash. IN retrospect, its satisfying. As for going to N.O. to play cash game. Tempting. But no. I might, however try to get my hands on a Saints/Pats ticket!

Racism? I've made some references in the past...and just been WAITING for someone to call me a racist. Thanks. Now its finally been achieved. I am the furthest from a racist. I grew up in Montana and Seattle, about as far from that environment as it gets. Secretly, as a child, I always WISHED I was my childhook idols were Dr. J, Walter Payton and Magic Johnson. It wasnt until I moved to Atlanta in the 90's and then later down to the Gulf Coast when I discovered just how much a majority of the black population in the south loathes white people. If there is every a chance to make our lives difficult, it seems they take the opportunity every time they get it. They lack any desire to co-exist or get along with us for the most part. It makes me sick. I am nowhere near racist, just fed up of trying to get along with people who have a preconception that 'all white people are the devil.' I love though, how anytime a white person has an 'issue' with a black person, and writes or talks about it...they are suddenly labeled a 'racist.' Its total bullshit.