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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lets Do This!!!

Its 10:52am. Saturday.

Just got a call from the front desk here at Pelham Hotel. I am finally running good this week! The whole town is sold out...due to the Saints/Cowboys game and some convention....but after three requests...they called to tell me that I can stay in my room. Yeah!

Which means, that after bagging up my chips at 3am last night...61,300 of them (avg 58k)  at the conclusion of Day 1...and coming back here and literally falling asleep with my laptop on top of me...I was going to have to wake up before noon, pack up my stuff...get my car, fill it up...then go play at 2...not knowing if I make the Final Table and have to play Sunday...or bust out and thus, get to drive home to Biloxi.  So this takes the stress out of it. Oh wow, as I typed that last paragraph, all the channels on my TV just turned to snow. Hmmmph.

So, yesterday was quite an adventure. It started with a bit of disappointment as we only got 80 players. So, of course...they are only paying those who make the Final Table...which should make for a very painful 10th place finish for someone...who will get to the Final Table of 10...but then bubble.

I would start pretty good. I had a pretty solid table. 3 very conservative/tight players. 3 wild/aggressive players...and 3 middle of the road types. I tried not to do a whole lot of bluffing. I either had the hand, or crushed it and tried to extract value...or I just got away from it. The reason? The structure. It was beautiful. And very conducive to a player with patience and cunning.

Rodney Corr would be my biggest contributor in the first two levels. Both times he had A9. Both times he made two pair. Only problem? I had two bigger pair. AQ and A10...and Rodney would lose over 20k to me. We started with 20k in chips. By the first break, end of Level 2, I was sitting on 38k. Then in the next two levels...it was a total shitstorm. I lost almost everything I played. AK three times, lost them all. 88. Lost. QQ. Lost. AQ twice, lost both. I made a straight...other guy had a flush. I went all the way down to 26k...but at least I was STILL ahead of the average.

Then...I go back for Level 5 and am greeted by my MVP for the week, Neal the Wonder Dealer. This guy...every time he shows up, there are double ups coming. And once again, he did NOT disappoint. The first big pot came when I checked out of the BB with 10c8c. Flopped two clubs. Check called, three way action. Turn was nothing and the first guy bet 1600. (150/300 blinds). Second guy called. Hmmm..you know what? Its Neal, and I need to turn the momentum back in my favor somehow. So I called. 5 of clubs hit the river. Awesome. Now typically I would bet out here...but three handed, that other guy could easily have been calling with a flush draw also, bigger than mine...so my strategy here was just to check and call anything reasonable.  Which is exactly what I did, and discovered my flush to be good. NICE! Sweet little 8500 pot to start off the new level.

Then IT happened. Guy on my right, in the cutoff...raises to 1000. I look down at JJ on the button. This guy is semi-tight, but has made some goofy moves. So I decide re-raising is probably not the play here. I flat call. Both blinds fold. Flop comes 10-2-7 with two hearts. He bets 2000. I raise to 5000. He just calls. Hmmm. Interesting. The turn is a 2. Hmmm. He checks. So I do the same. I plan on trying to keep this pot as small with as much reduced risk as possible. Well, when a Jack hits the river I feel a lot better. I don't think he was raising with two deuces (quads) or 8h9h (straight flush) so I have to assume I am good. He bets out 5k. I Hollywood it a little and make it 15000. He painfully decides to finally push all in. I am not folding, no way. I call. He flips over AA...and I rake a gigantic pot. As I stack my 66k in chips I can feel a mood settle over the table....hard to describe...but if I could have been able to read minds....I'm guessing it was something like "oh great...now Monkey has a shit load of chips...."

I had John Dolan at my table...and he remarked "Monkey, I hate that you have a lot of chips. Not that I don't want you to make the Final Table...I just hate it because you are the guy who won't punt away your chips. You've just put those chips in deep freeze." And he was right. With this structure being as great as it is...there was just NO reason to get stupid now. At  the levels without antes (which came in at 150/300) it just didnt make any good sense to be raising a bunch just to pick up pots that didnt even amount to 1% of my stack. Not that it stopped these other guys. I don't know their names...but they are your classic internet guys, feeling like they have to raise every other hand...and raise light...so when someone re-pops em they autofold. I don't know...there are a few ways to play. Some disagree with me, some agree with me. I just happen to have a proven track record to support the theory that if you have twice the average, you can sit there...and fold, fold, fold and fold some more....let these guys bounce back and forth between 15k and 45k all day....and just sit and hover around 60k. Every once in awhile you're going to get that moment when a guy who, despite have 20 big blinds or more, but who gets all caught up in feeling small stacked due to the piles around him....shoves all in, the desperation heave, and you look down at AA/KK/QQ and call his ass, and maybe it holds...and you pick up another nice pot.

At dinner break I had 60k. I went to my hotel room, took a shower, and just chilled out. Didn't eat anything. Didn't want to go back tired and sluggish. The last four levels of the night I didn't get any big huge double up hands or anything. In fact, the only real monster I got was KK...on the button...and with Maria Ho in the BB and shortstack (she would later bust out about 32nd) I raise and get no action from either blinds, and of course the two Hyper-Aggressive guys behind me somehow forgot to raise that time.

So I more or less just kind of auto-piloted my way to the end of the night. And with the average at 58k and 27 players left, I bagged up 61,300. When we go back the blinds are going to be 500/1000 with 100 or 200 ante. Having 60 BB's with 27 left....pretty good spot to be in.

Bowl season starts today. And the Saints play the Cowboys. The town should be pretty fired up. Especially if the Saints go to 14-0. And it will REALLY be a good night if I happen to make this Final Table. Squirrel is going to wait around for me to finish this tourney before heading to North Alabama. Thats good, I really didn't want to make this drive alone. Plus I would love for her to be here if everything goes well today and I pull off a Final Table appearance tomorrow. It would be such a great way to close out this poker year, right before Christmas. And probably assure that I will be in a great mood and be acting very cheerful when we get around her family.

My  night ended in a weird way. I was starving...and on my way out the door hit Fuddruckers. I guess I was the last customer who got served. A near riot ensued when they refused to serve anyone else. And they could NOT have been ruder. As I finished my meal, a big ass hamburger...I walked up to the counter...where there was this large black woman yelling back and forth with two or three other black workers behind the counter. So I am just standing there, about to ask the lady if I can get my cup filled with ice...to take back to my room and have for my Coke later.  Apparantly, this lady wanted something, I don't know what. And they weren't giving it to her. And this comes flying out of her mouth..."I bet if I were white you would do it for me! Watch...go ahead white boy...tell her what you want, I'm sure you'll get it!" Huh? Now THAT is a new one! Does that even make sense? I think what she did was fuck me. I told her..."Maam, I don't really need anything other than ice, and I was going to politely wait until she asked me what I want." Then I see the...mmm..lets just call her BITCH...behind the counter shoot me this glance that told me she didn't appreciate my attempts to butter her up. I really was just trying to be the opposite of psycho-lady there.

So when I finally get the chance to ask her for the ice...she looks at me coldly and just says "we closed." Yes, maam, I understand that...I did just spend $15 on a burger, fries and soft drink...and I really just need some ice to take back to my room, and since your ice machine is RIGHT THERE and full...could you not please just fill up my cup? "We C-L-O-S-E-D!" Sigh. Thanks lady! Ya...that whole being white thing really helped me a ton. People and their racial biases are so irritating.

So as I am walking back to my hotel...my stomach starts grumbling. What the hell? Oh no...don't even tell me. As I am walking along the sidewalk, I start seeing these homeless people, all wadded up in cubble holes, and some with cardboard boxes over them to protect them from the cold. It made me really sad. Here I am going to try and play for $70,000 today...and these people are sleeping on the damn street, freezing their ass off. Started getting me to thinking that I would like to get them a couple of rooms and just give them a warm bed to sleep in for at least a night. Of course, everyone in town is sold out...and its not like I am Warren Buffett. I just hate seeing people suffer, and am usually willing to at least TRY and help people in need. Anyway...it sucked, and its all I could think about when I got to my room. That is...until the burger started destroying the insides of my stomach. Great. That would end up killing any chance I had of getting any solid sleep.

Well, its now 11:37am. And thank god I don't have to be out of this room in 20 minutes. We go back at 2pm. I am tempted to try and sleep another hour maybe. Just wouldn't want to run the risk of not waking up. Of course, Steve Frazer would surely call me and ask me where the hell I am!!!!

Really looking forward to December 19th being a great day. If I can just make it out of today, this will have been at least a profitable trip...as 9th place pays around $8k. But I really, really want to win this thing. It would put me in the Top 100 in POY points, give me 10 Final Tables for the year I believe...and 4 total victories. And again...win some respect. Oh...and a 10k buy in to the Main Event in Vegas next summer, along with a ring.

Dear Poker Gods:

Please let me run good today. And if I do FINALLY get AA in this tourney...please let it hold up. Give me the strength to make good folds, the ability to make good reads and good calls to go along with it. Let me get that one magical suckout that we all need to have happen at least ONCE to win a tournament. And if a short stack moves all in to me three times...and I am ahead on every hand, can I please win at least 2 out of 3 of them? I've really been a good little Monkey this week, and feel like I am deserving of your divine intervention. And oh yeah...I did say P-L-E-A-S-E!!!!

Sincerely,

Senor Monkey

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