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Saturday, February 27, 2010

No $1.6 million for Monkey...or whatever 1st was....

Before I write a single word...just this one little mention; look to your right. Where the comments appear. Another jackass who needs a kick in the crotch has left another comment that is just asinine, made with absolutely NO clue of the arrangement that I have with my backer.

See, what MOST of you understand/realize, is that I am very honest, very up front, and not a lying, scheming, shady douchebag. But then, alas...there is the handful of you who still want to look and look and try as hard as you can to get me into some kind of a pickle. Keep trying, dickballs.

"Nice score, so someone puts you in the Mega, and if you score in that your backer gets screwed! Bet they'll be thrilled about that!?"

Okay...lets fill you in birdbrain. Just so you can sleep tonight. My backer and I have total trust between one another. And pretty much every GOOD friend I have. In the case of my backer, she isn't in this to go broke with 3 or 4 big buy-in tourneys. So where I can pick up big stakers, she is all for it. And in exchange for that...I do something that a lot of other players think is stupid. I give her (my backer) HALF of my action. In the NAPT at Venetian, I was staked by a guy for 60/40 his way. So my backer and I were in for 20/20. Which was just fine with me. I am playing big events for a few reasons...most of which is, of course, a big score. But also, and of equal importance, is exposure, and respect, and future opportunities that are outside of poker.

In the case of this event...this was a guy who I became friends with over the summer and again at Borgata. I actually lost a prop bet to this guy, and owed him $800. He wanted to put me in the Mega. I actually offered to just take $200 from him and call us even, and he refused. Due to the whole getting robbed thing, he really wanted to let me out of the bet. I refused. A bet is a bet. But he insisted I take at LEAST $700 from him...so that is what we settled on. And as for the deal if I won the Mega? Which I did...we had a 50/50 deal. Which is more than fair. So my backer was in for 25%...without investing a penny. And again...some may think that is stupid...and maybe it is, but I feel like my backer is there for me...always, through thick and thin...so it doesnt bother me to give that up.

It just amazes me how ridiculously scandalous some of you ingrates can be. Always looking for something negative to rally around. Well, I hate to continuously disappoint you by revealing to you that your insinuations are constantly falling flat. But no, oh no no....I'm not.

So moving on. As fate would have it...arriving in the middle of Level 2...and taking his seat at my table, was the guy who staked me in the 1k and had half of my action in the Main. Wow. 76 tables to choose from and he lands at MY table. So freaky.

Huge field. Great structure. Amazing player field. I started red-hot, got from 20k up to 29k early. Then for 3 levels I ran like total shit. Kept getting pairs, kept missing. Kept getting hands like A10 suited, KJ suited, 910 suited....and calling light raises...then either hitting, betting out and getting re-raised and folding...or completely missing. It was like Chinese water torture as my stack went from 29k down to 15k.

Then in Level 5, the last of the day, I caught fire. Tom Schneider, the 2007 (I think, maybe 2008) WSOP Player of the Year...came to our table. I got into two hands with him...winning both, for around 9k. Then had a couple chances to re-raise early raisers...and having them fold. It was a great level...got it back up to 28k...and honestly, could have just shut it down. We would be coming back on Day 2 with the blinds at 200/400. 70 Big blinds. A lot.

So what happens? I would say I got stupid...and maybe you could agree...but I just really think I made a good play and got called by maybe the only player on the table who calls me in the spot he called me in.

Before this happened though, the guy who staked me...who had been running awful all day, missing EVERYTHING...and just getting whittled away...finally gets a chance to get into the loosest guy at the table. This guy had been raising about 65% of the hands. The guy wasn't a bad player...just super aggressive, and very tough after the flop. Well, he raised, and my buddy re-raises a pretty sizeable amount with KK. The guy calls, with 10-10. Fair enough. The flop comes Q-high. Player A checks. My friend leads out pretty big. Other guy calls. Hmmm. Turn is nothing over a nine. Checks again. Another big bet. Another call. River....TEN! All the money gets in, my guy leaves. So fucked up. Hated to see him leave. Poker is so dirty.

So back to my hand. This squatty little pipsqueaky looking dude had been at our table for about an hour...having taken my buddies chair. I hadn't seen enough out of him to pass solid judgement yet...but he was wearing these stupid looking glasses that you might see on a welder, and had the voice of Andy Kaufman. And no one had ever seen him before, so that in itself was scary.

He had been raising at cutoff and/or the button a LOT...so I was losing a lot of respect for him as the time was going on. And we were almost done for the night...4 minutes left, to be exact. I could have just got up and left...and met Joe, who had busted out earlier...and get something to eat. But thats not me. So when this clown raised, again...from cutoff, and I looked down at KQd...I didnt feel like letting him steal my blinds again. But I didnt get stupid and re-raise or anything...just called. And between you and me, 8-8 is a hand that a lot of us might just flat with there. Right?

Flop comes out 10c-8d-2d. I decide to check-raise him huge. I check. He bets 1800. (blinds are 150-300, he had raised 750) I instantly raise him to 5000. He tanks for about 2 and a half seconds (yeah really thought it out) and calls. I then decide to do something that I like to do against people I declare to be, um...word here...retards. I go all in before the turn card is put out. Yes, I am trying to sell something here. A set. So with him sitting there with A10 off...and no diamond, its gonna be a little tough for the guy to call a 20k all in there, isnt it?

The turn doesn't help me unfortuately, nor does it help him. But he goes into the biggest tank of all time. I mean, literally. 18 minutes. He exhausted all but 3 minutes...which now makes me realize there must have been 22 minutes left when the hand started. Yeah, thats exactly what happened. He went between folding...to not folding, to folding...to calling...to...jeezuz. Come on dude. And the longer he took, the more I wanted him to call. I honestly FELT like if he called, I was going to hit. I had 15 outs. He first tried telling me he had KK, to which I told him..."If you have KK I can't believe you havent already called. What are you waiting for?" Then he asks me if Ace high is good? "Come on dude, if you have just ace high I think half the table wants this 12 minutes of their life back. I'm guessing you have Ace Ten....and hopefully a flush draw to go with it, hence your tank job here."

I have never seen anyone so completely baffled at what to do. It got to the point where I didn't know what I wanted him to do. He calls, and I hit, I go into Day 2 with almost 60k...which would have put me in the top tier of chipstacks. If he folded, I bag up about 35k, also very respectable. If he calls and I miss, well, I run the risk of missing 15 outs and being on the rail.

He finally calls. And turns over his A10, with no re-draw. Okay...well...just need the dealer to give me a King, a Queen or ANY Diamond. But did he? No. He didn't. And just like that...my LAPC was over. Did I overplay my hand there? Maybe so. Should I have just tried to play small pot poker there? Calling the 1800 and seeing the turn. Perhaps. But I really felt like I had the edge over this guy...and that I could take the pot from him, or put myself in position to double up right before the end of the night...which would have heavily impacted how I was able to play on Day Two.

But it didn't happen, so we move on. And I thank my friend for taking his shot with me. I hope he's okay with how I played that hand. People think I'm playing cautious/scared since the robbery. Yeah? Does that sound like how I played that hand?

So I went to dinner with Allie P and Liv B...as well as Matt Brady, Dave Fox and a guy named Mike Santoro...or Karate Mike...who I'd never met before. And oh yeah...Will "The Thrill" Failla. I didn't do a lot of talking. They all mostly talked about the hands they played that day. And they all debated over who had assembled the best 'fantasy team' of poker players in the current Main Event. This appears to be a popular new game. It got me to thinking about a few things...in between the barbs directed at me having to do with my inability to win a tourney over $550 on the buy in....exactly what does it take to ascend to the level where you are included in these 'fantasy' considerations? I see these special 'hi roller shootouts' and 'National Heads Up' tourneys...and 'Celebrity Invitational' tourneys...and never feel LESS relevant. One thing about this game...its humbling.

Not that I have ever gotten a big head over anything I have achieved in poker. But admittedly, there are days when I feel like I am better than most that I play against, where I allow myself to believe that I am among the top 10% of players. Then you walk in to Commerce...and they have a board, where they have posted the names of EVERY player in the Main Event. There I am....#545. Based on when you registered. And I start scrolling the names. And nearly all of them are names we have all heard of. All have made major scores at one time or another. And suddenly I start feeling more and more like a rookie. It's a weird feeling.

Now I know that when Joe and I walk into Reno tomorrow...thats right, Joe is now changing his plans and coming to Reno with me....him and I will likely be two of the biggest fish in the pond. And trust me, it won't be like either one of us will be prancing around like we think we are special. It's all relative! Know what I mean?

So after dinner...which was at Dal Rae's and quite enjoyable...we went back to Commerce...by limo, which I found out on the arrival became my turn to pay for. Oh. Okay. I had already chipped in $100 for dinner, despite only consuming about $65 worth of food and wine...but that was fine too. There goes another $20 for the limo. No big deal. Matt Brady actually did give me one nice, sincere compliment, as he conveyed his respect for my ability to continuously grind out these $300-$500 tourneys, staying within my bankroll, not going broke for over 5 years...in my quest for 'that big, defining, life-changing score' that we are all seeking. About half way through dinner, Allie looks over at me, sensing that I have disconnected from everything and everyone at the table...which, I suppose, he was right, and asks "Monkey, whats wrong with you?"

"Uhhhmmm, I suspect there will be a very long blog about this dinner experience Mr. Prescott, but since you never read anything I send you, I don't anticipate you reading it." But he insisted that if I directed it to him personally, he would read it. I changed my mind. Sometimes I do that, after I have a night and a day to reflect on things, and in this case...chat with guys like Joe a little bit. Sometimes, I think maybe I go a little deep into things. Or maybe not. Maybe its just that 24 hrs later I have other more pressing things to occupy my thoughts.

So sorry, Allie...nothing deep, dark and revealing to share here. Not that this will change your life much, or our friendship I assume. We are what we are...guys who see each other every once in awhile and try to share a few 'moments to catch up' without actually catching up.

I ambled around for a bit, looking in stunned amazement at the amount of money on the cash tables at Commerce. Good Gawd. The limits and the thousands of dollars on the tables were mind-boggling. Then I'm looking at the players and I have literally never seen ANY of them. Good lord, what could I do if i sat down with 25k at a 50/100 game here? I'm guessing I could go back home to Biloxi with easily 250k plus. When I managed to find a lowly 1/2 game to plunder, I was met with a very interesting aspect of their cash games. Most places have a $40 minimum buy in, right? Out here...its a $40 MAX buy in! Yeah! Hilarious.

So after watching this guy repeatedly raise everyone's $2 limps to $15 every hand...I looked at A2 and finally said..."Okay, someone needs to stand up to you, guess it'll be me" and I shoved my whopping $35 on the guy. This other guy calls...and this fool folds A9 for another $20. Hilarious. The other guy had KQ. It was a dry board...and A9 boy would have scooped $80 or so...if he wasn't a complete retard. Whatever.

I pick up AA the very next hand. On the button. So when I raise to $8 he gives me attitude. Whatever dude. The fourth limper goes all in for $55. Yeah, I call. He too had KQ. And it lost. Nice. I didn't play there long. It was just a stupid game...and everyone sitting there was just so bad that it wasn't even fun. And I was tired, and my cough was returning...after thinking earlier that it was almost gone. Nope. Not gone.

Walk outside...and, ahem...where are we? South Florida? Its like a freaking hurricane going on. Windy...rainy...and...wtf? LA? Weird. And when we woke up this morning, it was even worse. And as I am scratching my head wondering what is going on with this planet...I turn on the news and hear about another earthquake, this time in Chile. And again...a huge earthquake...with scores dead.

Not trying to be sappy, but these things make me really sad. I sank into a feeling that is hard to describe. I have a very vivid imagination, and I start picturing people just sitting around having breakfast with their family in their apartment, when suddenly the whole roof collapses on them. It tears at me. Then all the fears of a tsunami start...and we go on 2 hours of live coverage from Hawaii...waiting on this monster wave that, thankfully, never came. Things are getting very scary on this planet.

Joe and I went and had lunch. Then came back, I somehow managed to convince him to change his mind about going to Chicago and got him to buy into going to Reno. Wow. Well, that will make for a much funner trip for me. Much funner? Sue me. We were going to take Greyhound tonight. I even booked the tickets. Then...we snoop around their website, and the main reason I wanted to take the bus....'ride our new state of the art busses, with wi-fi, power outlets, and now 15 inches of more leg room' turned out to be a classic 'bait and switch' scam of sorts. They only have a small handful of those busses. And they operate in NYC and WASH. So when I try to call their 1-800 number, which I find myself on hold for 43 minutes, I am told that 'I think they have those busses in LA too' but told I need to call the LA terminal to find out for sure. So when I call the number she gives me...and push '5' for 'speak to a representative' which was 5 because the other dealt with finding someone who speaks English...I get this voice message...."The party you are attempting to reach is unavailable."  REALLYYYYY!??? Nice! Nice company. Nice customer service. So while these $70 tickets are non-refundable, I think I can find plenty of reasons to dispute this charge on my credit card...which I'll be doing.

So, we are now in the room, Joe has found us a couple of $170 fares to Reno in the morning...which will get us in at 10:30am...just in time to play the noon tourney, which we'd have been late for if we had taken the bus. So, everything works out great. We also called up there and booked a room. So sick...the poker player rate is $35 a night...which is AMAZING. Nice to see a hotel finally who takes care of the poker players...like they actually WANT us there. So we ask how much their suites are...just out of curiosity...as we are looking at them on the website...and they are NICE! Not like the Imperial Palace, sorry, IP! in Biloxi nice...but nice nonetheless. Price? $65! We both start giggling like little school girls and scream out in unison....BOOOOK IT!!!!!

So now we are very excited about tomorrow. Nice accomodations. A flight, a short flight. A tourney at noon, and several to follow, all at low buy ins. The fields I'm told have been decent. There is on little glitch...in looking at the structures...yikes, not very impressive. In fact, I won't say their 'awful' but they are pretty bad. But I am going with this knowledge in advance, so I can't bitch about it. Now if I had GOTTEN there and THEN seen them...well, I'd probably flip out a little bit. So I am going with the right attitude this time.

Well, I think thats about it. Just sitting around now playing some online poker with Joe watching a little TV. Catch up with you guys in Reno!!!!

MONKEY

Friday, February 26, 2010

End of Level 1. 685 players. 20k starting stack. I have 25k and a fairly soft table.

Sweeet! Nice intro to Commerce...a seat in the Main Event!

Hey Hey!!!!

Sure it was a long drive from Vegas to Los Angeles.

Yes...it was a cramped drive.

Yeah, it was kind of crazy coming all the way over here to take a one-time shot in the mega...albeit at 8pm...that wouldn't end til 3am.

And yes, I was staked by a very well known player who took an interest and was willing to put up the 1k. Thus saving me the disappointment if I made the trek over here and took some kind of sick beat and lost.

But...none of that happened. And since it's 3am...I won't be giving you a rundown of hands...but just know this...I WON! Yay! My first tourney of any kind in LA, period...never played poker here...and I won my entry into the 10k Main Event here at Commerce, and it starts at high noon. Yikes!

I started out pretty good. My 5k stack got up to 8, then 9, then 12....then a guy moves all in for 3200. I had 99. I called. He had 33. Flops a 3. I turn open ended...but miss. Got me bummed. Then I run KK into AA, held by a short stack. Lose that one...and now I was sitting on only 4500 at  200/400. Great. Looks like its not meant to be.

But then things started to turn around. And I started finding good spots to jam all in and get people to fold. The players here are pretty bad. And pretty easy to read. Not to say their werent good players here, because there are....everywhere. But most of them weren't playing in this Mega. There were around us...playing in the single table 1k's mostly. Saw Negreanu cruise by. And some others you may or may not know.

I managed to hang around until we were down to 30. We started with 209...and it was paying 20 seats...and $9000 for 21st. I get moved to a new table...and there are, I am not lying...7 Asians...and ME! I felt like I was playing in Macau, China.

I made a couple of huge plays...and made guys fold...but the big play that helped virtually lock things up for me, was when the SB decides to get retarded and move all in on me when I looked down at Ak in the BB. Sure, I might lose a coin flip here and be out...but I was sitting on around 12 BB's and needed to snare a double up so I could coast. I called. He had Jd4d. Moron. I flopped an ace...and had my fat double up.

Hovering nearby was my support unit, Joe Cutler...kind of coaching me through everything...which I always appreciate. Helping me stay calm. He was also keeping tabs on all the other stacks. Things were looking pretty good for the home team.

I pretty much played just two more hands from there on out....AK suited and JJ...just pretty much folded my way to the seat. When we ended I had 64k...with the average at 48k. It felt damn good when the last person went out. It took a bit longer than normal to get the seats all processed, but whatever...its a 10k seat right?

Very happy to be laying here in bed blogging to you all telling you that I am in the Main Event with a shot to win probably close to 2 million bucks! Now, time to get some sleep and hopefully kick this damn cold.

Monkey

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thru the desert we go...to LA!

Spent all day in bed Wednesday trying to kick my cold. Didn't work.

Got a text from a buddy wanting to buy me in to LAPC mega if I could make it over. Hmmmm. Enticing.

Joe and his buddy Chris Bonita rented a car to drive over so I hitched a ride. After a nice, slightly cramped little 4 hour drive, we arrived. The Commerce Hotel was sold out, so we found a decent price at Embassy Suites 5 miles away, and its a real nice room.

We just arrived at Commerce. Its the first time I have ever been here. I guess its about what I expected. Like a big 'ol Bingo Hall.

Just registered for the last $1050 Mega satellite into the 10k Main Event.

As I look around the room I see a lot of good players. Good! I like that. It would be nice to just blow into town and lock up a seat.

I really hope it doesn't take all night. It would be nice to at least be 'semi-fresh' for tomorrow, should I get in. Plus I'm still trying to shake this damn cold.

If I don't win the Mega, I anticipate just heading for Reno. Maybe take a day here and go hang out with my old NYC roomie/bud Chris Bruno.

Ya never know, maybe someone will fall out of the woodwork and put me in. But I never count on those kind of things.

Joe was talking about a possible invite to some party at the Playboy Mansion Saturday night. That might be worth hanging around an extra day for. Plus, what kind of friend would I be to make him go to that alone!???

Monkey

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At last...a reason to smile!

(My final table 3-way chop tablemates. On the left Cylus Watson, and in the middle Joe Kuether. Thats me, freshly shaven and happy at last! Yep...got rid of the goatee that morning...hoping to turn things around. Thats the second time I've shaved off the goatee and won the next tourney I played!)

The slump is over!

Finally.

Before I get into the poker stuff, I wish to send out my heartfelt congratulations to Dan Walsh and his wife Amanda for giving birth to little Rowan Olivia last night. Dan was there for us when we lost our baby last February...and shared with me the struggles that he and Amanda have had in having children. He was very supportive at a very tough time...so on this special day for him and his wife, I am very, very happy for them. Good job pal!



After playing, in my mind...very good poker all month, but being down almost 5 figures for the trip, I played an almost flawless Main Event against superior poker players...getting oh so close to the money, only to misplay two critical hands in late rounds and fall short of the money. It was a very crippling end to a promising start.

I spent all day Monday in my room fighting a cold. Meanwhile there was another $350 going on that I didn't know about. Due to the NAPT and Pokerstars presence, the Venetian had decided to 'add' in two more events, a $350 and a $550 tourney. So, with my buddy Joe Cutler making it down to the final 24 players in the Main Event...I decided to drag my sick ass over there to play the $550, while keeping tabs on him and lending my support.

After buying in, I was left with $180 in my wallet. Scary. I have a long history of winning when I am down to the bottom of the bucket. Granted, I am not OUT of money, it just would mean I would have to visit the ATM for the first time...and that stupid box only lets you remove $300 a day...so stupid, so you're almost forced to do 'casino cash'...a cash advance that charges a 10% fee, which is like highway robbery.

We started with only 138 players, which I was okay with. It meant a final two tables of 'good play' if I was fortunate enough to get that far. Well as you can tell from the picture up above, I would be that fortunate. Finally! But the journey getting there was something else!!!!

I started pretty good. I ran my starting stack from 15k up to 22k relatively early. Won a lot of hands. Then from Level 4 to Level 9 I really got pretty much nothing to play, nor situations to take down pots preflop. I was beginning to lose hope as I was falling further and further behind the average, until finally, at level 10, I was sitting on 12k with the blinds at 600/1200. Needing a double up like YESTERDAY.

So when I looked down at pocket 8's, the decision was immediate. BOOM! All IN! I get an insta-call from this super tight lady down river and had a bad feeling that I was dead. Oh boy, she turned over KK...oh well, another standard ending to this trip, right? Flop...nothing, turn nothing...and as I was getting up....KAPOW! An 8 on the river! Sweeeeet! Double up to 25k. But still sitting on HALF the average.

Two orbits go down...and I lose more chips. Blinds go up again. 800/1600. Now only 22k. Then 18k. What a nightmare. Then...I pick up Ad10d in middle position. Here we go. I shove. I get called by the BB with 77. Come on dealer. I flop an ACE and a TEN...cool. Now just gotta fade the two outer. It never comes! Nice! That gives me enough to survive another two levels of being card dead.

We go to dinner break...with 28 players remaining. And I am on life support, but hey, I'm still in. It's paying 13. I go back and a couple players comment at how I have been playing with a shortstack ALL DAY! "Yep, thats me...a shortstack ninja....waiting patiently."

And then...finally, things take off. I get AA UTG...and with 32k and the blinds 1k/2k...I raise to 5500. A guy two doors down asks me how many chips I have. "I started the hand with 31,700." He raises to 32k. I call, of course, and he turns over AQ. Perfect. The flop comes 4-7-4. Nice flop. Turn is a....QUEEN. Oh god, oh god...dont do it to me dealer. River........I see paint and flinch...but its a King. Awesome! Double up!

I get AA again a few hands later...raise...and no one calls. Bummer.

Then...in the biggest hand to date, I get them AGAIN about 9 hands later. I raise UTG+1....I get ONE call, from the guy in the black trenchcoat and black fedora...a guy who had shown me a bluff two weeks ago, deep in a tourney...and making me want to clobber him. Then...this guy from Russia, who was a sick, sick, nasty player who put several horrible beats on other players during the day....raises! Nice. When it comes back to me, I decide to play it safe/smart and move all in. Good thing too, because Trenchcoat Mafia Bluffer was sitting on JJ. Russian guys says..."I'm sure you have me, but I can't fold" and calls with QQ. Here we go again. The flop produces a Jack...wow...whewwwww....but no Q. I would end up winning a HUGE pot...and was now well over the average with around 180k.

We would get to the bubble...and the bubble would last FOREVER! I wasnt in too much danger of not cashing...but you never knew. Chip stacks were flip-flopping like crazy. And I just really wanted to avoid a situation where I ran a big hand into another big hand and got knocked out. So I was content to just raise once in awhile and take down a round of blinds and antes.

Everyone was now talking about how amazing my run was, from shortstack to bigstack. Patience. Thats all it was. That and the magical 8 on the river! And having my good hands hold up. Not that complicated.

While this was going on...my buddy Joe Cutler was getting deeper and deeper in the Main Event...and I was getting really excited for him. But then...while he was getting relatively low, he raised with Qd10d....got smooth called by the BB with JJ. The flop came 10 high...and when it ended up getting all in...and Joe missed another 10 or a Q...he was out, in 14th place...good for $28,000. He was disappointed, obviously, but handled it well. I was very proud of him. He had nothing to feel bad about. Now it was my turn to 'have a day.'

This guy at our table...who it turns out was a good buddy of Joe's from New York...was the chipleader at my table when we had 17 left. 4 from the money. Then he did something that I am sure he now regrets. He started trying to open too many pots near the money bubble. At this stage of the game, every raise you put out there was significant, so when he was raising...it seemed like 75% of the time, a shorter stack was moving all in on him. If he was priced in, he would call...and lose. If not priced in, he would meekly fold. What he did was turn himself into a shortstack. And then went card dead. I felt bad for him...could feel his frustration...but honestly, it didn't need to come to that. Thats why when I get fortunate enough to go on a heater and get to double the average, I really try to put my chips on lockdown and just play top 5 to top 10 hands only. So when he moved all in with Ah10h, it was his misfortune to run into JJ. The guy with Jacks flopped a set and turned a boat. Ouch. So he became the bubble.

I'm always happy to be in the money, but never at someone's expense. I remember how I felt two weeks ago when my QQ ran into AA and I went out 37th, THE BUBBLE. How they all celebrated around me. It sucks. So bad.

Shortly after getting in the money...I would pick up AQ in early position and raise to 24k...at 4k/8k. Folded around to the guy on the button...who was a very aggressive online player. He took a few moments, then shoves all in on me. Hmmm. Typically I can get away from AQ here. But a couple of thoughts were going through my head. For starters, this guy had come to the conclusion that I could be made to fold a lot of hands...as I had folded AK twice already, under circumstances where it proved to be good folds. I think he went all in not because he had me beat, but because he thought he could make me fold. In other words, he was playing good poker, based on the information that he had.

But in my mind, I thought he could have a worse ace...or a small pair, thus giving me a lot of outs with my overs. Plus...I raised 24k and left myself 80k behind. There was no difference in payouts from 10-13...and we had 12 left, so where was I going to be if I folded? Short again...and running out of time? Nope, I really think I could make a run to win this if I won this hand...so I called. His facial expression was encouraging when I called...then saw his A10. Nice! The whole table was like...."wow, nice call Monkey." And I took several minutes to make the call. My hand held up, and now I was in really good shape.

I would never be short again. We got down to 10. I would raise a shortstack with AJ. He flat called....flat called HALF HIS STACK...really strange. I flopped trip jacks. He checked, I checked. He turned a flush and straight draw and moved all in. I called. He rivererd his flush...but it paired the board. Good bye. A few hands later, the guy next to me...at cutoff, goes all in for 140k...with blinds at 5k/10k. Weird push. I look down at AK...and with 425k...decide its an okay call to make. So I call. He has 66. I flop two pair...then turn a boat. He gets up...stomps over to an empty table..and slams his fist on it...shouting out "Dammmit! 8th place AGAIN!!!!!! SHIT!" Sorry man.

Now I was wishing it was a bounty tourney!

Well...I wont try to get too boring, the bottom line is, it became a matter of just waiting for hands to play out and the small stacks getting sucked up by the big stacks. When we were down to 4...me, the two young guys, and the Trenchcoat guy...who actually was being very nice to me all day...but who I still wasn't able to forgive for that earlier bluff show a couple weeks ago.

We asked about the trophy. Trophy? Nope....no trophy. Oh come on! I guess since this wasn't a regularly scheduled Venetian Deepstack event...but an event that was added in as part of the NAPT Pokerstars event...it was merely being treated as a random tourney. There wasn't even an indication that they would submit this to Cardplayer for POY points...which was kind of a buzzkill. But you know what? As bad as my month has been here, I was just delighted to be in a position to get back all that I lost on this trip, and even finish up ahead!

We took a bathroom break and Cylus and Joe asked me if I was open to a chop deal. I said of course I was, given the circumstances, and that I was sick, really sick in fact...and now getting really tired. And with no trophy or POY points involved, what was the big deal? 1st place was 19k, 2nd place was 12k and 3rd was 8500. 4th was 5900. Their only stipulation was that they didn't want to do a 4 way chop. That's fine, because I didn't really want to either.

So when we returned...and on the FIRST hand...The Trenchcoat moved in on the button with A6. Joe called with 77. He flops a 7...but there was a turn card that gave Trenchie a gutshot draw....never mind....quad 7's on the river. Nice! And the action was paused while they worked out a chip chop. Joe now had 789k. Cylus had 780k. And I had 509k. The chip chop came out to something like 14k, 13,800k and then me at almost 12k. Very fair. I was totally okay with that.

We all got paid out, took a few pictures for fun. And yo! Mr. Anonymous who likes to poke fun at me for posting pictures after small wins and/or chops? You can suck it pal! Yesterday was very satisfying. The field was very tough...filled with a lot of great players who had just busted out of the Main Event. I felt incredibly satisfied to have finished where I did. And the boost to my bankroll, and my confidence, was badly needed. And while I am laying here in my hotel room sick is a dog, I am still ecstatic.

So whats next? Well, Joe Cutler has managed to get himself sold to various people for the 10k Main Event at LAPC and wants to go to LA for that. I am open to going over there with him...and maybe trying to satellite into the Main there. And if I don't, no big deal. The event in Reno starts in two days...on the 25th...and right now I am leaning towards hopping on a Greyhound, which after looking at their website...is now a pretty attractive thought...and riding it out to Reno. They now have lots of legroom, have electrical outlets, and have wi-fi on their busses. And I am in the middle of a really good book. And a nice long road trip is always good for me to do lots of deep thinking.

I'll say this...if I were laying in this bed right now...with just $180 still in my pocket, and having gone out near the bubble after playing for another 10 hours...I would be in a whole different place mentally. Its amazing how emotionally turbulent this game of poker can make your life. So where 48 hours ago I was in the deepest valley, I am now standing at...well maybe not the mountaintop..because that would be that day after winning a Main Event somewhere for around a million bucks...we'll call it the mid point of the mountain, or 'base camp'...with the peak in reach. The feeling has returned that I CAN BE successful in this game. After weeks of brutal beatdowns its normal to start questioning everything. Yep...this feels good.

Now I just need to shake this horrible chest cold.

And oh...by the way...I may be almost ready to tell the story about my house getting robbed. It's quite a story. I've been mum for weeks now, at the request of the cops. But as time goes by, and it becomes more and more clear that they arent going to do anything to assist me, I'm about fed up. But I will wait a little longer. The more I think about it though, the more pissed off I get. And trust me...when you go 3 weeks, and run like I was running before yesterday, it becomes awfully infuriating to even think about.

Monkey

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day Two…Promise…followed by sadness and despair.

Coming into Day 2 I was anything but over confident as I was around the average but still needing to win some hands to start feeling good about myself and my chances to win the tourney, or at least make a deep run.

My intial draw was short-liven. I had Greg Raymer at my table, and Steve Karp, a great online player who I met down in Aruba…one of Joe Cutler’s buddies. We wouldn’t be there but for about 8 hands before our table broke.

My next table was pretty sick. WSOP current champ Joe Cada, poker legend Barry Greenstein, Miami John Cernuto…and online beast Carter Phillips. Regardless of the lineup I quickly established myself…taking down several pots, some when actually holding something, and some with nothing but well timed bluffs. I have to admit, I was really hitting from about 2 to 5pm…and when that table broke I had over 100k. That was when the buzz was starting….the ‘wow Monkey might actually do this’ buzz. I was feeling confident, I was getting excited…for a brief amount of time I allowed myself to dream about what might actually happen if things kept up like this.


I kept looking up at that first place number. $827,000.and it was causing me to rattle off a lot of thoughts in my mind. One which involved, of course…a life changing score…one that would secure for me (probably) a long-term Main Event backer and some exposure that would secure some facet of endorsement deals.


My buddies were rolling along good as well, with Joe up over 200K and McLean around 200k himself. Tim Burt would bust two hours in…so that was kind of a buzzkill. A lot of goood players were still in. I was watching two, three and then four absolutely horrible beats…which put guys on the rail…and I was feeling a couple of things.

(a) Wow, I know how shitty that guy feels and I feel his pain.

(b) Please, please do NOT let that be me any time soon.


Then our table broke. My third table of the day was a total nightmare. Filled with internet psychopaths. I hadn’t even gotten my chips out of the rack when I looked down at KK in middle position. Raised.and everyone folded. Hmmm. Tight table?


Pffft. Hardly. This was the table from HELL! Guys with big stacks were calling other guys with big stacks just to play ‘Fuck You’ poker with them. Hand strength held little importance. Some of what I was seeing was very discouraging. I just wanted to hover around 100k and find some big hands to snap somebody off then fall back to sleep while they beat up on each other. But that little plan just didn’t come to fruition.


In fact…everything pretty much hit the fan at the end of Level 12. On the last hand, and the BB sitting out…the cutoff raised to 7k (at 1k/2k) and I look down at 99 and can only assume that this guy is trying to scoop the dead blind. So instead of three-betting the guy, or shit, flatting him maybe…I make the stupidest bet ever…raising him from 7k to 32k. Huh? 32k? What the hell is that? I will tell you…a stupid move. But I was simply trying to say…”Um, I know your stealing, I have a real hand….ahem…GOOD NIGHT NOW.”


But then…all of those plans went to hell when he instantly ships all in! What? Shit! And he happens to have me covered by about 10k. Wow. Whats this guy got? Is this just a re-steal. Later, after we had gotten chummier, he claimed KK. Maybe he did. Maybe he didn’t. But nevertheless, I had squandered a 1/3rd of my damn chip stack. But I wasn’t toast yet. I could do this…just snap into short stack ninja mode. Been here before. Patience.


So I go card dead for about 4 orbits. Loose cash game guy raises UTG. Another crazy internet dork calls the 3x raise. I look at AQ suited on the button. No way in hell I am flatting here. I am confident a shove will win because I am either (a) holding the best hand or (b) they will fold due to my table image. I was right. I move in. They fold. And I rake a much needed 18k pot…to start feeling a little better about my stack…and life in general.


Then comes the ugly hand. I pick up those damn QQ’s again. At cutoff. I raise 3x. The button re-raises me another 10k. Jeezuz. Once again…these damn Queens rear their annoying head. I smooth call the 10k. What I should have done was put my stack in this guy’s grill, and let the chips fall where they may. But no….I played them too cautiously. The flop came K-J-7. Great. I check. He moves all in. I fold QQ face up…and before I can even breath a sigh of disgust…this piece of shit, Oregon Duck garb-wearing mothereffer shows me 8-9. Total bluff. Dude. I just sat there. Didn’t say a word. But was glaring at this guy.


“What? Why are you mad at me? It wasn’t meant to be personal dude.” Oh…no? Really? If it wasn’t meant to piss me off or be personal why the fuck did you show me? Asshole. And I made it my secret wish to bust this fucker. So I am sitting there, watching these interent punks raise over and over…with garbage most of the time…and usually get there with whatever they had…and it just got stupid. I was feeling pretty hopeless. I was watching the tables as they were breaking around us.


Please…break us…get me the fuck away from these clowns. And finally…they did. And I scooted over to…oh no! No fucking way! Table 60! Not-so-affectionately known as my personal Bermuda Triangle…where Monkey’s chips go in and never return from. And to make it even more interesting, I happened to be seated in the 5 seat…right next to my buddy Joe Cutler…who was sitting there with over 200k. Well, maybe things can improve here. I sat there blinding down for two orbits……getting nothing.


Then…with around 30k and the blinds at 1500/3000…and in middle position I picked up A5 and decided….”its time to try and pick up some blinds….to wrestle back some semblence of momentum.” I moved all in. Much to my chagrine Justin "Boosted J" Smith goes all in over the top, on the button. Great! I turn to Joe and say “Guess I’m fucked!” Yeah pretty much. He flips over JJ. Great. Well, on the turn I had a double gutshot draw as well as the three aces. Quite a few outs…but do I hit any? No. Why would I?


And just like that…I was out. Done. No $7200 for cashing. No $827,000 for winning. Nothing. Just anguish. I walked around the casino…aimlessly, not even knowing where I was going. I was in a daze I guess. Didn’t want to talk to anyone. Didn’t want to call anyone. I was just miserable. And depressed. And maybe a bit pissed at myself. Why didn’t I just jam the QQ’s? Why did I stick A5 in there? Couldn’t I have just waited? I suppose I could have folded my way to day 3 and prayed that I would come back on Monday and get massacred with the deck…and make a huge comeback, get in the money…and then get after it.


So I stumbled into `Grand Lux’ and took a table out on the rail. The waiter was annoying and pestering me with “how are you today” and all that other nice guy BS that I wasn’t in the mood to listen to. Not his fault, but I just wanted to order something to eat so he would go away. So I am sitting there, gazing off into never never land…when all of sudden, you gotta be kidding me…this guy walks right by me. This guy…who three years ago, fell into a hole with me. Owes me $4000. Whoa. No freaking way. I call out his name. He turns, looks…and comes over to my table. He completely shocked me by telling me he had gone through some bad times…but that he was back up and solvent, and wanted to get right with me. Really? Can I possible have ONE GOOD THING happen to me this year? Really? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow or the next day. I’ll say this…as crappy as this trip was, it sure would make a huge impact on turning it all around if this kid pays me, as he seems sincere about doing.


So for the remainder of the night, not knowing what to do with myself…I simply elected to sit and drown my sorrows in the 1-2 game. My buddies were of no use, as they were in their rooms after bagging chips after day 2, as I would have been. I wasn’t about to bother them. Right now, as I write this I am sitting at this stupid table, stuck about $400, as this Asian chick at our table is hitting every single hand she plays. It is absolutely nuts. If I wasn’t sitting here watching it happen, I would think the shit was rigged. The really super annoying thing about her…is this dork of a boyfriend she has tagging along behind her. She is listening to music on her iPod too, and he is glued to her back…rubbing on her…and just generally looking like a complete man-bitch. I really want to just turn and slap this guy and tell him what a joke he is. And with every hand she wins she gets more and more cocky. Okay. Its official, I despise her. She bought in with $300 like an hour ago. She is now sitting on $1400. Unreal.


That’s about enough. Its 5am. I will sit here and play until I cant see straight. Or fall asleep!


Monkey

**********************************

Its the next day. Monday. I've left my room exactly ZERO times today. Room service is en route right now with my first meal in 24 hours. The mourning is over. But now I have added a chest cold to my list of misery-inspring ailments.

In the Main Event...my buddy McLean Karr went out around 60th...running KdQd into AA. Joe Cutler is still in...at dinner break, with 46 remaining, but he is really short. I need him to win. The whole thing. Why? No...I do NOT have a piece of him. I just want him to win a bunch of money. Trying to get him to go to Reno with me...and thinking about how much more fun that trip would be.

So...wanna hear how my night ended last night? That little Asian chick? Well after getting up to 1600, she started giving them all away. She was terrible. She only got them because she had a horseshoe up her tiny little ass. Well...about the time she managed to plummet to 1200...this hand goes down:

I was in for my THIRD $300 buy in. I took it up to $450 before taking a river blast that knocked me down to $180. Got that back to $275. Here we go:

UTG raises to $5. Monkey here looks down at AA...and makes it $15...being careful not to price chicky-poo out of the hand. She looks at her hand and does what she always does when she sees face cards. Grabs a handful of chips and scatters them all over the table. After the dealer gathered them up, she determined that the amount of her raise was 25. Making it 35 to go. Dude in the 1 seat...for reasons unknown to EVERYONE on the planet but him...and maybe a few hundred thousand bozos who play on Pokerstars...decides to call with his pile of shit hand. This is a $1/$2 game. He called $35. It gets better.

It folds around to me. I am pretty convinced that chickky likes her hand so much that she will never fold it preflop, no matter the price. Maybe for $1000 she would have. I decide to raise it another $75...now making it a bet of $110. Which I think should be at least enough to shake this guy off my stick. She snap calls. Of course. And he tanks...then agonizingly makes the call.

Cue the flop:  J-9-4...rainbow. Nice flop for me. I think. I lead out for $125. Yes...I have left about $40 chips behind...which will never have to worry about being left behind in the event of an all in. Dum Dum GetchaSum snap calls. Doesnt even hesitate. Hmm...which doesnt mean ANYTHING to me at all...not like the guy in the #1 seats all in shove does. Oh no. Set of 9's? Maybe even J's? Can't think he called $110 with 44.

I call. And she finally folds...and folds face up...ACE QUEEN. Off suit. NO Pair, NO draw. Nothing! Amazing. He turns over? Jack Nine. Offsuit. Yep. I just sat there looking at him...."dude...really? Come on man. You called $110 with J9 off?" "Well I already had $35 in there...and it was only $75 more to call."

You following? He called THIRTY FIVE with J9 off...and another ....ONLY.....SEVENTY FIVE....with J9. And was defending his play. I just sat there...quietly as the dealer failed to do a litttle runner runner magic for me. So instead of turning my  $275 into close to $850 and getting the hell outa there feeling okay with life...I instead walked (slinked) out the door....on another very long walk to Bally's. And to top it off, it was raining, and cold, about 45 degrees. Just like winter time in Seattle. I was, I can't lie...really feeling depressed.

I am watching CSI: MIAMI...and why the producers of this show can't figure out what everyone I know has...that David Caruso is completely unbearable to watch...is beyond me. Every thing about that guy is annoying. His stupid whispering voice, his squinty eyes...and his tough-guy bravado is a total joke. I think that show would be really good, if it weren't for him. I start trying to watch the show...get interested, and then as soon as he enters a scene...thats IT...I change the channel. UghhhhhhhH!!

Okay. I'm done.

Monkey

Sunday, February 21, 2010

End of Level 13. Couple of disasters I'll write about later. Struggling with 38k. Avg 145k. This last level NEEDS to be a good one.
Level 12 just ended. On last hand with BB sitting out, cutoff raises a LOT. I smell 'steal' then see 99 on button. I reraise 4x. He insta-shoves. Shit. I tank. Think. damn. And fold. Now have 55k. Ugh. Blinds 1200/2400 now. 2 more levels today.
End of Level 11. Avg is 92k. I have 104k. Keeping things in check. Had nice chat with Carter Phillips at break. Nice kid, solid player.
Sitting on 93k. Avg 74k. 377 remain. 1.5hr levels today, and 9-handed, instead of 1hr and 10-handed. Nice!
Hi Miami John Cernuto, welcome to the table, and thanks for that 16k pot. I'm getting close to 100k now!
New Table Big Hands! AA, QQ, 10's twice. Up to 84k. Just started level 10. Playing to level 14 today. Hope I'm still here!
He gets it in short (1300) with 10's. I just called with A8. Should have raised. His set loses to a 3c5c flush Ouch! 1 seat gets a book!
And Greenstein is gone. After flopping a set and losing to a super aggressive early raiser with Q9 who gutshots a straight...
Raised 3k UTG. Joe Cada reraises me 12k. Holds back 15k. I have 67k. I ship! He insta-mucks. Nice!
Won a couple hands then table broke. Moved to Table 71. Barry Greenstein on my right. Joe Cada in Seat 3.
Table 29, Seat 5 on Day 2. Have Steve Karp (met in Aruba) on my right and Greg Raymer two seats down!

Day One at NAPT...Observe and Learn

Wow.

What a day.

There is a distinct difference between $300-$1000 tourneys and Main Events. The players.

When I arrived yesterday there was a definite energy in the room. Not to mention a LOT of players, as well as cameras, reporters and reps from various poker sites. As I roamed around the poker room it was a 'who's who' of the poker world.

Intimidating? Mmmmm...I wouldn't say that exactly. But it was for sure a lot different than the feeling you have before a 'typical' tourney.

I stood looking myself in the mirror in the bathroom before we started, trying to convince myself that I was every bit as much on their level. "Monkey...you're the All Around Champ at this place. You know what your doing. Just play smart. Get dialed into your table. If you think you are making a bad call...don't make it."

Then the tourney started...and I quickly came to the realization that I am NOT the best player at my table. Not even close. Seated in the 4 seat was Carter "CKingUSC" King...a total monster on Pokerstars. Then in the 8 seat was Christian "CHARDER30"  Harder, who might be the best online player in the world...and final tabled the $25k at Bellagio last year. There were two or three other young, internet specialists. The style of play was very definitive. There was a lot of this:

Player limps in from early position...another player calls....and a late position player 3 bets. Which resulted almost ALWAYS in at least one of the players calling then playing after the flop, or trying to. Which usually became a huge shootout, a 'who's gonna blink first' contest. Or you would get an early limp...followed by a raise...maybe a call of that raise...followed by a late position guy who would RE-raise the raiser...thus setting up a huge decision for almost everyone.

And since we started so deep in chips, with 30k in our stacks...you were rarely seeing those moments where the final bet behind the raising was an all-in, so the ability to play after the flop became tantamount to your existence. It really had an effect on how I had to play. I am pretty well known as a tight player who sits around and waits for quality hands to bang with. And its true. I do like to play a lot of hands in the early rounds and try to make something happen...but in this event, we started at 50/100...went to 100/200 then 150/300...so if you played TOO many hands...you ran the risk of blowing out half your stack early if things didnt go right.

I sort of had that happen. I was getting a lot of middle pairs and limping in with them and calling the light raise, and went on about my way 'set mining' and trying to drill someone. Granted, these players, being as good as they are, are a lot tougher to 'felt' when you DO flop a set. I had one such moment against Harder not once, but twice. On a hand where I raised with 99 at cutoff, he flatted me (which he did a LOT, not only against me but other players...and he calls with a LOT of hands, not because he is loose, but because he is just an awesome fucking player...and has no problem or fear of playing after the flop) and when the flop came 8-9-10 I was feeling optimistic...but still, danger existed. I checked the flop. And for the first time checking to the guy...he didnt bet. Hmmm. Interesting. What are the chances this guy has QJ? Well, on the turn I binged an 8. Nice. I bet out pretty small...to which he called. The river didnt matter, maybe it was a 6 or 7....I bet out about half the pot...and he folded. Damn. Just a good player sniffing out danger.

Then on the following hand, literally, I decided, since I was on a bit of a heater, to raise in middle position with Ac7c....a hand that I had been folding all day...the suited aces, like A3, A8, A9...but for some reason I decided to try and sustain some momentum. He again called me. I flopped A-4-7, with two diamonds. I bet out. He called. I turned a 7 and announced "I'll check my full house." To which he checked behind. Then...in an attempt to confuse him and throw him off I bet 4k in the dark before the river. A flush was completed on the river...and I was secretly hoping he had hit one. But he folded quickly. Damn again. These guys arent rookies, donkeys or morons. They are solid, solid players...and getting all their chips will not be easy. Nope. Winning this tournament will require a LOT of skill.

So, even though we only played 8 levels yesterday, and didn't take a dinner break...when the day was over, and I bagged 51k in chips, I knew that I had been to battle. When you finish a Day 1 or a Day 2 of a Main Event, you are thoroughly exhausted, both physically and especially mentally, well...if you have been playing well. If you arent...then you either played like crap, or busted.

Prior to playing yesterday's Day 1 I read Danny Negreanu's blog and really took something from it. Basically it touched on pros needing to always try and get better. He was a little critical of guys like Hellmuth and Cloutier, who have been playing for years, their style, and insisting they are 'the best NL player on the planet' while failing to conform to the current players' style of play and refining their game. He talked about how he is always learning, how he learns from todays up and coming stars that mainly dominate online. I admire Danny's humble nature, and his desire to improve. I know for a FACT that there are a lot of players out there better than me. Not even a shred of doubt. I have my strengths, for sure...and I know what they are. But I also know I have some holes...and I am always searching for them.

One critical error I made yesterday, I actually announced I was making it when I made it. How effed up is THAT? After having just double up...on a hand where a guy who stole my blind every chance he got....had raised from 200/400 to 1100...and gotten not one, not two, but THREE callers....I look down at KK. Oh boy. Here we go again.

I decided that with a little over 20k in chips after an abysmal first 4 levels that I was going to try to just take this down preflop...with nearly 5k in the pot and me needing to get back some chips. So I raised a bit too much probably, but in a way that I wanted to announce that I was 'pot committing' myself with my raise. I made it 6000 to go. When the 1 seat started sizing me up I just stared right into his eyes. He looked at me for over three minutes before finally asking me "How much are you behind?" I told him..."I started the hand with 20,700 chips" and kept staring at him. Now it started to dawn on me...was this guy Jedi mind-fucking me with AA...and wanting to make sure every last one of my chips got in there? Or was he genuinely nervous that I actually had a monster and wasn't just squeeze-raising in late position?

Well, he re-raises it to $13k. The other three fold. I ask the dealer for the 'frisbee', the disc that indicates a player is all in. And I see his expression drop a bit, which is encouraging...and he turns over AK. Whew. Well, sort of whew...there are still those three troublesome aces out there. Okay, two...as the guy next to me does that thing we all hate....tells me he folded AQ. Yikes. But something that HASNT been happening on this trip, happened. I faded the ace! And I had a nice double up plus...to around 45k.

So after that I win 2 out of the next three hands and get up to over 50k when I make the stupidest play of my day yesterday. I'm in the BB with 6h8h...and there is another 1100 raise...followed again by three callers. And what do I do with that nice, live (most likely) hand? I fold! And announce "I can't believe I am folding here...but I suck." So what flop comes out? Why not 8-8-2? No!!!! And then two players start firing into the pot. The turn is a 2. Good gawd. Pretty much the nuts...assuming no one had 22. That would be sick. The loosest guy at the table, who seemed more concerned all day with his mountain of horse racing wagers...was just firing chips into the pot. Had I made that damn call for 700...it would have translated into a pot of at least 20k for me. And I would have likely bagged over 70k last night. That is a call I simply HAD to make there. It was a bad play, and I learned from it. It won't happen again.

Amazingly, we lost 200 players by Level 6. I find that astonishing. Being so deep in chips and having hour long levels, I just find it hard to believe that we could lose that many players. It took us 3 hours to finally lose a player at my table. Then in the next 4 hours we lost 3 or 4. One player we did NOT lose, which I found amazing was this lady in the 10 seat, from France, who spoke NO English at all. Nor does she have any idea what she is doing. I mean, its amazing to me that she is even IN this event. I had this hand where I raised her BB with AhQh...I seemed to get a lot of good hands when it was her big blind, which was a bit scary, since she was so hard to figure out. Anyway, the flop comes 8-high...with two clubs. And with 3200 in the pot she bets out 500. Huh? I mean...I can't find a good reason to fold there. So I call with air. The turn brough another club...and she checks? I guess thats my invitation to steal this pot. So I fired out 2200 and she was gone. Thanks, Mademoiselle.

It was a long day. I really did learn a lot. And I was also very, very patient. I folded a lot of hands that I think I might have played were it a $300 or $500 tourney.  A lot of my ambivalence to play hands was the players involved and my desire to avoid playing flops with them. Was that me being a chicken shit? Or just being cautious? I talked to Joe Cutler about it on a few breaks and he said, pretty bluntly, "Dude, you do not NEED to get into it with Charder...you have no reason to. Get through Day 1, get your redraw to another table and go to work on them." And I have to say...I think it was wise advice. The guy is just a beast post flop. And unless I flop a set or two pair, later making a boat...its a bitch playing after the flop against him and players like him.  It really impacts the way a player like me plays.

One thing I like to do...is to build an image throughout a tourney...and use it to my benefit when it matters most. One thing these internet guys all seem to do is mix it up early and often. You will see a lot of variance in their stacks. They arent afraid to go from 30k down to 10k, back up to 55k and down to 25k. They are fearless. They want to establish their presence. They want to build fear in the other players. If you are scared or intimidated by this, you shouldn't be at the table. I am neither of those. Just mindful of what I am up against, and what I have to do to avoid becoming a victim. I garner a certain amount of respect from these guys. When the monkey goes on the cards, and a raise gets put in...it carries a lot more weight than most of the players at the table. And sometimes that is good, sometimes bad. Which is why...in this field, if I pick up AA or KK in early position, you can bet I will be limping, as I did once yesterday...to find a caller, another caller...and my little internet buddy from Oregon making it 800 (at 150/300) in late position....getting one caller...and me sticking 2500 out there. They ALL folded. And folded quickly.  R-E-S-P-E-C-T. And hypothetically, a good fold by them...as I was sitting there with QQ. Which I was happy to see end there, if you recall my luck with QQ.

We return today with still around 500 players. A lot. Things are going to get sticky quick. I am pretty much going to wait to see who I have at my table before I decide how I want to play today. But I assume I am going to stay fairly tight. There is no reason to get crazy. Patience is the staple of my game...and has been responsible for every tourney I've ever won. There are very few examples of me winning where I just piled up chips all throughout the tourney. Stick around....win a few pots here and there...and then get to Level 12 and later and try to play 'flopless' poker...to me, that is the recipe for survival, and eventually, victory.

$800,000. That is the number. A little more actually, I think. EIGHT.....HUNDRED....THOUSAND....DOLLARS! Okay, well...I am staked...and I am only in for 40% of that. Whatever! Make a final table here, a televised final table...and a lot of my dreams in poker will be realized. Just have to stay focused. And play smart. And hope for some good breaks.

After we bagged up our chips, I met up with Dave and Stacy Kopacz and joined them for dinner at a steak house in Palazzo. We had a really good Pinot Noir...I had a smoked, fried octopus appetizer, which was incredible...and then a Bison Ribeye, which was phenomenal...along with some Shitake mushrooms, which were equally delicious. It was my first really 'good' meal on this trip. Dave picked up the tab, which was very kind of him. But he's a 'big baller' and that meal will surely be comped, but still, I'm appreciative all the same! We had a really fun dinner. They are a great couple...and a pretty good team when it comes to poker too. They both made it into Day 2. Dave had a helluva table himself...with Dennis Phillips, Barry Greenstein and Miami John Cernuto at his table.

All of my pals made it into Day 2. McLean Karr has a nice stack, Joe Cutler also...and my roomie Tim Burt has around what I have. I'm glad no one I know busted.

Today is the real day....we should be (but not definite) in the money by the end of the day. They are using a Pokerstars-based payout structure...so its paying 127 places...which is only $7200 I think to cash. Which for me will be a mere pittance. Yeah...once we make the money, if I am that fortunate to be around...I will have to adjust a bit, as I will need to get into the top 50 to actually make anything worth a shit. But honestly, all I am focused on is making the Final Table. I will need some luck, clearly. I am NOT the best player at the tourney, not even close. But I feel that I am good enough to put myself in position to get there.

So lets just see what happens!!!!!!

MONKEY
Day 1 is a wrap. Survived! Avg is 51k. And I have, yep...51k. Cool. Back at noon tomorrow!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fun Day....and some money finally!

Okay lets get this going.

We are on break of the 7pm...I have an obscene amount of chips, 26k...after busting a ladie's AA with my KK. She raised UTG. I re-raised her and she flatted. I flopped K-2-3. Check raised her all in. Wow. A good turnout too...this would be a really nice score. But disaster is always just around the corner.

So. Yesterday. Im on a 10 minute break and my battery is about to die, so I doubt I will finish this here in this sitting. I show up...wait. Honestly, oh yeah thats right...I was only 20 mins late yesterday. And I got a great table. Table 56, seat 6. A table that never breaks. And a good seat. Had a weird table. 4 solid players. 3 complete psychos. And 3 wild cards. And a guy next to me, who spoke some other language...never could figure it out...and for the first half of the day his SON was in the 1 seat. Every time his son won a hand there was this long gleaming look in his eye towards his father, seeking out acceptance. It was touching...but also kind of creepy. And dear old Dad had the WORST breath on the planet. Horrible. So bad that I had my whole end of the table taking shots at busting him just to spare me the misery. Thanks guys! But somehow he just refused to lose. Every time he doubled up it was like a Mega Bad Beat!

I would hover around the average all day for 4 levels, then came the big hand that catapulted me into contention. 423 players started...the biggest field since I got here. at 200/400, three players limped and I picked up QQ. The nasty QQ. I raised to 2200. First two guys folded. And this twerp who was at my table the previous day...I'm calling him a twerp now because of  how he played this hand...nearly whacking me from the tournament again in pure donkey-rific style like all these other assholes. He calls my raise with 6c9c. Yeah. 2200. The flop comes 6s-7c-10c. Not the worst flop for him. On a previous hand he had tried to 'outplay' me by betting 3k into a hand where I had A10 on a 7-9-6 board and I just shipped in his face. To which he folded. Punkass bitch.

So this time...he shoves all in for 15k. Fuck it. Im not folding to this clown. I called. Saw his hand...was incredulous, then turned my attention to the dealer and begged him not to fuck me. He didn't, shockingly...and I now had over 35k. Awesome. I would hover around 35k-55k for a long time....then we went to dinner. Joe Cutler, my buddy had managed to get to 90k after a sick heater...and then...got moved to MY TABLE! Wow, nice situation there. Plus we have never played a tourney table together...so it was just shaping up to be a lot of fun.

We went to dinner, hung out in his room, and discussed the makeup of the table. I was confident...but always a bit nervous at this stage. I have seen so many disasters late in these Deepstacks events. But one good thing I had going for me was with Joe on the button, there wouldn't be someone else stealing my BB, and if he did raise me and I had crap I would just dump it...but if I had a big hand, I was fairly confident he would fold to a re-raise. We didnt trade a percentage, so there was no 'deal' that would keep him from whacking me...and he is partially backed, so he wasnt going to lay down AA or KK probably...but we are friends, and somethings are more important in life than putting a buddy on the rail...and Joe is one of those guys who thinks like I do.

Well, one of those moments arrived, twice actually, after dinner. He raised me on the button and I looked down at 77. Now against another player, would I have re-raised here? I don't know. Maybe. But maybe not. Can't really say. So I just flatted. And when the flop came K-10-7...I was pretty happy. I wasn't about to check raise Joe. So I led out a healthy amount. He called. Oh boy. He has a K. And I don't really want to cripple him. But at the same time...if he has QJ...I really dont want to set myself up to get busted either...so when the turn produced an 8 I think I just grabbed a large stack of red chips (5k each) and hurled them....

"Ohhhh Monkey!!!!" And tells me he has a King. Is that it? Okay...well good then, you can fold. Which he did and showed the K. Glad that didnt get messy.

A little while later he lost a big hand to a guy who hit a one outer gutshot. It was sickening. Then he lost another race and was getting down around my stack. When the guy on his right raised...into two small stacks in the blinds, which he had been doing a lot of, Joe looked down at 88 and moved all in for like 80k. The guy tanked and finally called with KK. Holy shit. Well, just like Joe had been doing all day (having already snapped AA with KK earlier with a K on the river) he turned an 8...sick, again, a one outer, as the other 8 had been mucked by someone. And now he was back to over 150k. Sweet.

A bit later he raises in early position and I look down at KK. Wow. Well, I can't smooth call. And I just hope Joe doesnt have AA. I take his 12k raise and make it 45k. Everyone folds around to him, and he mucks quickly. Whew. He now had 140k and I had around 100k...and we were only about 6 from the money. Looking good!

I would find QQ 5 from the money. Oh God! Not this again. I raise...and luckily everyone folded. And then we got right down to the bubble pretty fast. We had this guy from, I think France, who was tanking every freaking hand...until it started to piss off the whole table. He was doing the 'stall to cash' manuever, and it was getting stupid. Joe finally called the floor to bitch about it. Someone had to. So he was now given a minute to act on EVERY hand...which he took his watch out and started timing himself. Pathetic. And while he was in the midst of one of his 'tank jobs' he lucked out...as the bubble bursted. Yeah...'Aqua-man' was in the money. You can climb out of your tank now, you FISH!

So the money was finally reached on this trip. I ordered up a round of red snappers, but the reception was lukewarm from the others. Whatever. I felt good. Relieved. But was also focused to get after it and try to grow a stack that I could come back to the next day and make a deep run with.

It was a pretty good money field. Dwight "The Duke" Pilgrim, just in from Foxwoods, where I think he won something else...was making a big run. He had only 27k at the dinner break when Joe and I talked to him...but like he's been doing all year, he went on a huge run. When we re-drew all the tables after getting in the money, he was at 250k. The guy is sick.

Another solid player from the Gulf area, Josh Palmer, was also in the money with a decent stack. He would eventually finish 10th, which he was upset about...after having just missed out on a botched chop deal.

Joe and I would get placed at the same table again. Not sure how I felt about that...but whatever, if nothing else, we were having a great time. I got this kid on my right, named Hayden, who claims to be a dealer in town. He was very nutso, calling with a lot of goofy hands...but getting very lucky at least three times, until he had around 300k. But he was being very careless...and I was hoping to go shopping at his chipstore in the future. He was also drinking Snappers with me...and they were having the opposite effect for him that they do for me. I play better, get sharper...more confident. This kid was falling apart. Playing every hand. Making loose calls in bad spots. But luck kept saving him. I have no idea where he finished overall, I'm very curious. He was not a good player. Nice kid. Bit of a spaz...but not a good player.

We quickly went from 45 down to 38, and the payline went up a small notch. Meanwhile, this guy in the 1 seat was raising my BB every time he had the opportunity, and it was getting old. I started feeling like if I didn't put my foot on his neck, it would never end. So at 3k/6k...he raises me to 18k. Crazy boy on my right flats. Hmm...checking out that pot....over 40k. I have 85k in my stack. And I look down at As10s. I hadn't played back at anyone once since the redraw. And I figured if the kid behind me was just calling, he couldnt be strong enough to call another 75k or so. And furthermore, if I could stick my stack in this guys face in the 1-seat, he might just quit raising me so much. Solve two problems. And who knows...if he calls light, I might just be ahead and win for a double up.

So I moved in. This guy tanked for over 5 minutes. I really felt like he was going to fold...which, honestly...as long as he was taking, I didn't care either way. The more he stalled, the better I felt about my hand. So when he finally DID call, he turned over 99. Hmmm...big call there for half his stack. And I don't mind the call, holding two overs and being suited. I feel awesome when the flop comes J-10-8...but not great, as he's open ended. When a 10 of clubs hits the turn...I now have trip tens...he still has his open ended straight draw...and now, he has added a damn flush draw to the mix. Shit. Fade it, fade it...hell PAIR THE BOARD! But Austin (the dealer, who has worked his way onto my shit list this trip for reasons I won't get into) puts a damn 4 of clubs on the river...for the sick river beat. Oh I just felt my innards leave my body. Tim Burt had just gotten there, as had McLean Karr...and the few people I was friendly with at the table all let out a collective gasp, and made that all-too-familiar face...the "Oh dude...that fucking sucks man!" face.

I went and got my payout. Wished Joe luck...and wormed my way over to the 1/2 game to decompress. Joe would come to visit me with bad news within half an hour. As he was now out! Oh jeeezuz, what? He had two big hands go wrong...and then jammed 4-5 shortstack into the BB's AJ...the same guy who whacked me with his 99...and the AJ was good. So Joe and I both failed to reach the final table. Sucks. NO idea who won the event. I know Dwight had a big chiplead going to the Final Table...and I heard they might have done a 4-way chop...but in talking to Dwight, I know he was wanting to win...as he has a good shot at taking over the #1 spot on the Cardplayer POY leaderboard...so I would assume he either demanded to play it out, or negotiated to sign for first. Well, good for him...he's having an awesome year.

I booked a little 1 hour profitable cash session, then walked back to Bally's.

*******************************************************

Joe made a pretty astute observation during the tourney that I hadn't really thought about, but which really hit home. About how circumstantial things can be sometimes. If I had rented that car...and drove to LA, and played there? Chances are I would have NEVER been back here on Tuesday night. I would have never played in that SNG with Lance Funston. I would have never gotten staked in the 5k...and right now, instead of laying in bed chilling out writing this...I would be at the Venetian, grinding, all stressed out...in the Mega Satellite, trying to get into the Main Event.

And then the next tourney I would again play well, and this time avoid landmines (like that putz' 69) and make the money, to restore a little confidence. Not getting deep was a bummer...but hey, bad beats happen.

But Joe was right, things could have been a whole lot different if I had gone to LA. One thing I do have to apologize for. To Lance. I probably should NOT have told so many people that he is staking me in the 5k. Why? Pretty simply. Poker players (a lot of them) tend to be pretty desperate. I only told a few people because I was excited. I had been running really unlucky all trip, and to have that happen was just very uplifting. But in telling people, I opened the door to some to approach him about staking THEM...even though they have NO relationship at all with the guy. I've already had a couple guys ask me if I could 'put in a good word for them and see if he would think about staking them.' Ugh. All I did by telling these people was endanger any possible future arrangement with Lance. So when I see him tomorrow, it will be the first thing I do...to apologize for opening the door to that crap.

I shared this with my current backer, and as always, she is 100% supportive of me on it. And to reward her for sticking by me through thick and thin...I am giving her half of my action. No matter how you slice it...this field will be huge, if I can cash...everyone wins. One thing I didn't discuss with Lance is if my take is after the buyin is pulled out...or just 60/40 on the total won. If its the former, and I cash light...well, I won't win much. Probably about $1000 or so. But hey...whatever, if it means I line myself up for more future buyins into big events...great! After all, that is my goal...to be playing all the 5k and 10k events in my pursuit of a 1million dollar score, a score that will allow Squirrel and I to have a 'real' life that doesnt involve me being gone 40 weeks of the year.

I love poker. But I love Squirrel more. And I want to get back to doing things that I miss, like going to races, and ball games and concerts with my wife. Getting back into coaching a little league team. Maybe playing on a co-ed softball team with Squirrel. Cut back to playing about a 1/3rd as much. It would surely make me enjoy it more. Right now I am finding little joy when I play. And that sucks. I still enjoy the human intereaction, and its always nice to see a lot of the people I really do like...but for the most part, its really making me crazy. And I just turned 43. Squirrel is coming up on 38...and if we are going to have a baby...we need to get after it. I do not want to have visited this planet and not procreated while I was here. Plus...I just really want to have a little SquirrelMonkey running around the house. And I want to be there to see him/her grow up.

*************************************************************

The 7pm nightly that I was writing about when I started this? It ended badly. A guy in the 10 seat who kept shove, shove shoving over and over....I would have taken out two different times if I had just clicked on CALL! But I folded....and kept getting blinded down. Then I raise with 55. 3500 on the raise. Lady moves in for less, and the BB moves in for another 3700. Damn. I had to call. I flopped a set of fives! Awesome. The lady had AQ. The BB had KK. The board goes runner runner...river was a K....I went in 3rd....was 1st on the flop...then 3rd after the river. She had a straight. Damn. That hurt...and it was all downhill from there. Got down to 28....paying 18...and I had to get it in with 10 BB's, holding Ad3d. Ran into the BB's AQ. Ouch. He hit the Q...didnt matter...I was out. Bummer.

But then I went and sat down in a $130 sng. Had a $100 last longer with two other guys. And a $25 last longer with 8 others. I started slow. But I am very patient in these. Then got a double up. Then got hit with the deck. Then lost a bunch. But hung around while the other two guys made bad shoves at 200/400 and got caught....and knocked out...and when the smoke cleared, it was me and the other guy left standing. A nice little $800 victory to end the night! Woo hooo!

From there it was off to Bally's to change, then quickly back to Venetian, where I went to Tao to meet Joe and McLean. It was typically crowded, packed with America's hottest females, all 20 years younger than me and with that 'I'm way hotter than you' attitude. I've kind of come to terms with the fact that I am now offcially TOO OLD to even talk to these broads anymore. Which is just fine. I was there to hang with my boys, anyway. We had a little fun, I stayed put at our table, had a couple cocktails...and around 4, called it a night. I think the only thing watching all these tight-bodied girls does is inspire me to get back to the gym. I guess the only thing I was wishing for was that my lovely wife was there. When she is in Vegas, and gets all dressed up for the clubs...she looks every bit as hot as these chicks...and she is 15 years older than most of them. I always feel very proud when I am out with her.  :)


So wow, I think I have finally caught up on everything. I am now laying here in my bed...at 4:42pm, plotting my next move today. Not sure if there is a 7pm tourney tonight. Wouldnt mind maybe playing that. Or a couple of SNG's. Or hell, maybe go hang out at O'Sheas...have a Subway sandwich, and play some sidewalk poker on a Vegas Friday night. Might be kind of fun and stressfree. Just want to make sure I am in bed by 1am...get my solid 8 hours of sleep, and come in tomorrow ready to play my 'A' game in the Main Event. The structure looks really nice. 30k in starting chips. Hour levels. Kind of weird...their is no 100/200 levels, but instead, a 150/300 followed by a 150/300 with 25...which I guess is just fine. There should be a LOT of pros...I am hoping to get Daniel Negreanu at my table. He is one guy I have never played at the table with. I'm pretty excited for tomorrow to get here. I will try to post live updates as often as possible.

Hope you all have a great weekend, wherever and whatever your doing!!!!

MONKEY

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Now for the "CASH" story!

Yeah sorry bout that...wasnt meant to be a tease! I just really have to get to this stupid tourney on time if I expect to have any chance. Due to the horrible structure you really need to get to over 20k by Level 5 or your into the shove it all mode. And this people are SO bad. I really have no idea where they come from. I'm not lying at my table right now is two people who don't understand the concept of the SB/BB. Whoa. Should be fun.

They have put up 15 new tables for the Main Event, and they came out with all the Pokerstars room decor today. The tables are the big ones...and they are using them for the 7pm tourney. Thats nice...at least we have leg/arm room for this joke. Ohhh...just flopped four to the flush...lets see what we can muster here. Bets 150. I call. No need to get silly yet. This early. Another caller.Turn 5. Spade. Ugh. River...BRICK. See ya. Not bluffing these fools. No river b luff. I WIN WITH KING HIGH!!!! One guy was open ended the other guy has absolutely nothing. And I'm chipleader!

Holy shit! We have the DUMBEST player I have EVER seen at my table. WOW! I just raised to 225 with AQ. Dodo calls. Flop comes AJ5. He announces raise. He is first to act. He bets 500. I raise to 1600. He calls. Turn is an 8. He checks I bet 2500. He calls. WTF? No idea. River is another 8. But a diamond. Flush would be good. He checks. I bet 2500. He calls again. I show. He mucks. Okay. Next hand. I limp with 9s10s. He calls. Flop comes 9-6-5. I bet 200. He calls. All others fold. Turn is a J. I bet 200. He calls. River is a 6. I bet 200. He riases to 500. Wow. Okay. I call. He turns over 25. Offsuit. No shit. Ya. Another winner. The table is now mad at me cuz I am getting all his chips. Holy shit. A guy just bet the flop...THE FLOP...and he folded. He has played every hand. I took that last one off. Here comes another one. Ahh...3-7 off. No good.

I think I will wait til our first break and try to bang out the rest of this....this is just too good to miss a single moment of!!!!!!

MONKEY

FINALLY! A cash...only took two freaking weeks!

But hold on...since we are getting current, lets start with today's debacle. I arrive in the middle of Level 2, standard. I have 8 good players at my table. All of whom I know fairly well. Okay, good! I like that. Unfortunately I am also at one of those tiny-ass stud tables. And its an early breaking table. Oh well.

I get 7 pairs early. 33, 44, 55, 77, JJ, 66, and 44 again. I lose with them all. I win two big pots. Both on semi bluffs. I fail to pull the trigger on two others. I get caught in one. Our table breaks...and despite all the ups and downs, I still have close to a starting stack. 11k. Get moved to Table 61. Oh god. I sit down. I see Dave Kopacz's wife, Stacy. Dave was just at my other table. Stacey is a very, very tight tourney player. And we are friendly. No one els at the table makes sense. And in the 7 seat is MR ASSHOLE. The guy from two weeks ago, the prick who decides to show me the bluff with a huge pot, deep in a tourney that I almost/should have cashed. The dick who would make the final table. Its safe to say that I despise this guy. And he is so ugly. Big, muscular, but just ugly. With a porn-stache. I am being told by guys to my right that he has already shown the bluff on three seperate occasions. Lovely.

You know who he is? he is that guy in high school who never, ever got laid. He tried, and he tried...but somehow, girls just found him repulsive. So what is doing now? He is finding joy in the things that anyone like me and my cool friends would never have to resort to. Why? Because he is a punk. A 40+ year old loser punk. I put a 'silent $50 bounty' on him with my end of the table. He starts telling the table "Dont worry, he'll give away his chips." The hatred festers.

Third hand at the new table. Me with 11,500 chips. Blinds 100/200. UTG limps. One caller. Two callers. Three callers. I have KK on the button. Think about making it 1000. But I'm tired of playing strong hands too heavy. I make it 800. Who calls? How about EveRYONE. Flop comes A-Q-8. Two spades. Great. Everyone checks to me. I'm frozen. I check. 7 on turn. Thug looking jackass with his straight-billed ball cap makes it 1600. Older guy in his brand new Texas A&M hat (Aggies suck!) calls. Monkey folds. And sighs. River is a spade. Mexi-Thug bets 2700. Aggie lover calls. Thug folds. I demand to see the cards. It went to showdown. I want to see his effing cards! He freaks out. Whatever. Sure, maybe its questionable poker decorum, but I want to see what these assclowns are calling 4x raises with. For my own information. And I am entitled. The floor is called. I win. I get to see his cards. 5-7 off suit. Holy shit. The other guy had Q9s. Not a gem either...but he was last in...so it could be argued that he was priced in. wonder if they'd have folded for 1k. Fucking sick how these people play.

So a few hands later, after the dust settles, I pick up KK again! Okay...lets get creative. I limp for 200. And super douche makes it 800. Sweet. I whisper to the guy next to me that I was laying a trap for the fucker. Mr. 5-7 calls the 800. How perfect. Folds around to me. I look at shitball's stack. He has about 7800. I raise top 4000. Why you ask? Because I think he might just call or ship. Which...to my non-amazement becuase he is JUST THAT BAD...he does. Turns over AQ. Ugh. Hate seeing the ace. Couldnt he just have KQ? Flop comes......5......6........9. Okay good so far. Turn comes........3....okay okay...just one more to go......and the river.............dont do it Stephen....dont do it.....just put like a J out  there buddy......come on....get this prick outa here....please.....FUCK! MOTHERF#*&(#@*(&$  Ace on the river. I literally felt like I just got kicked in the stomach. Stephen looks at me with a panicked look that says "Oh my god Monkey, I'm sorry, please dont kill me, please don't blog about me...." Don't worry Stephen, I like you, its not your fault. I know you were rooting for me there. Unreal. Just sat there....in stunned silence. And dickface over there was, for once...not cooing after winning a hand. I was just numb.

I would get some satisfaction. I sat there folding one shitty hand after another, sitting on only 1800...but not about to give up. French guy limps early for 200. It folds to Captain Cocksucker in the BB. He raises to 800. The Frog calls. The flop comes J-10-6. Two hearts. Dikky bets out 1500. Frenchy raises to 5000. Why, exactly I'm not really sure, but he does. And the fuckbird goes all in. Snap call...frenchy? 10-10-10. Dumbshit? AJ. Q on the turn gives him a sweat...and the table grumbles....but he misses the river...and is now down to about what I have. Stupid motherfucker.

Five hands later he goes all in with A5 and gets called, and felted by "The Aggie" with QQ. See ya later cockboy. Hope a bus hits you out on Las Vegas BLVD.

Uh oh...its now 6:46. I really want to be on time for this shit storm of a tourney. They like to give away chips early in this shitshow.

Oh...how did I go out? The blinds went to 200/400/. I was UTG...first card was an Ace...I was down to 1400. I chucked my stack before getting the 2nd card. It was a 2. Yikes. Whatever. I ran into, what else? KK. I flop a 2...just walked away...figured if I sucked out I would hear that sound...you know it.? That group.....OHHHHHHHH!!!!! To which I would have returned. That sound never came. I lose. Damn Kings. Damn Donkeys. Damn February. Damn 2010. Damn Poker. Dammit!

Okay you know what? Im taking this to the table. I'll finish it there!

Monkey

While in Vegas....try not to be any of these!

What would be great is if I were snapping quick pictures of these people when these 'situations' arise. In fact, I will try to be better about doing JUST that...because if i can't run good in poker, at the least, I should be able to be a good blogger for your reading entertainment, right?

Every day I am walking (which, thankfully, is good for my health) the half mile or so from Venetian to Bally's. I am witnessing some very interesting things. Some of which cause me to feel very good about my own life.

There are pedestrian bridges that go over the roads. One such road is Flamingo. Flamingo...this road that has been under construction now for, I shit you not, over three years now. Just what in the hell they are doing under that road, I would love to know. I am starting to think they are building a secret bunker the size of a city under there. It's just weird.

On these bridges, there are homeless people. I am guessing they congregate there because the casinos run them off from their doorsteps. There is 'Crazy Eyes Malone', there is 'Mopey Mary', of course 'Harry the Harmonica' and then 'Why Lie I Need a Beer Guy' the same people every day. With the same pitch. Mopey Mary might be the most pathetic and least inspiring of the professional moochers. Sitting there, up against the concrete wall, sitting indian style, in her dirty clothes, with her gritty hair...just looking down at the ground, and her cup. Never looks up. Never talks. Just sits there...moping. Every fucking day. Wow. You have to admire her consistency.

Walking home from Venetian last night...this is what I witnessed. I am NOT making this up. First up...husband and wife walking...well, HE was walking. He was about 5'11 165. She was about 5'10 220. She was shit faced. He was...well, we'll call him sober'ish. She could NOT walk. It was like he was wrestling an alligator. And she was hollering at him. What she was saying? No clue. Poor guy.

Next up. Pissed off Patty. Three girls walking towards me...all clearly trashed, but no where near as shitty as Patty. I hear this exchange..."we arent going there...its too late." "Fuck you Brenda...its MY BIRTHDAY!!!" "Fuck me? No! FUCKKKK YOUOOO you bitch!!!!" Good friends. Good times.

I duck into Denny's to have a double order of 'nowhere near as good or close as Waffle House's' hashbrowns and some milk. Dropping into a table behind me, two older ladies who looked like the sisters on the Simpsons. Sporting accents that I took for Upstate New York. They were excited about their tickets to go see the 'Price Is Right' show here at Bally's the next day. Then they start arguing over what the asterisk means on the menu next to each item. They go back and forth on this for at least 5 minutes before I can't take it any more and finally let them in on the little secret. "Its a Denny's recommended healthy choice."

I pay, I tip. I leave. 50 more feet down the sidewalk, two fat girls are coming in my direction...one looking VERY angry. Oh she is....or about to be. "I swear to God! if we get to McDonalds and its fucking closed...I am going to be fucking PISSED!!!!" Hmmm...yeah, I happen to know that this McDonalds that she was speaking of...is indeed closed at 2:20am. Someone was probably about to be dead. I started walking faster.

Finally arrive at Bally's. Make it to the elevator without incident. Uh oh...someone's arm is poking through the door. I press the 'OPEN' button. And in stumbles "The Woman". Oh boy. She starts talking. I can't understand her. She IS speaking english. And she has a noticeable Wisconsin accent. I ask her if she is from Wisconsin. Yes she is. Oops, I have now engaged her in conversation. Big mistake. Oh shit. She is also staying on the 22nd floor. Oh no. She is about 48. Not horrible looking. But clearly worn down by years of alcohol abuse. And she is loaded. I think she is bitching about her husband. Can't be certain. Im pretty much just nodding and mmhmmm'ing her...but its not slowing her down. Jeezuz. All I can smell is vodka. And bad perfume. Come on elevator...COME ON! We finally arrive. We get out. She is still talking. Please dont follow me, please dont follow me.........

Whew...she breaks right. Good night! Then...as I am approaching my room, I hear screaming. More screaming. Then...uh oh...crying. Then screaming. A demand for a passport and the desire to go to hell issued. Then...into the hallway...a short, fat woman of about 30...bawling. And now she wants to tell me why this person in the other room is an asshole. Oh no! So what do I do? I pretend like I am French! I started speaking in the only French I know. Pretty sure I said something like "I have only a pencil for the late night cinema that I would like for going to have breakfast with my sister, thank you." She bought it...and I was homefree. Ahhhhhh....the privacy/sanctity of my room. And Tim was nowhere in sight...for like the 4th night in a row. Not sure where he is or where he goes...but he is very good about staying gone. I am now convinced he is the best poker roomie EVER.  I attempted to read some more of my very exciting novel, 'HONG KONG' but was asleep before I even checked my email.

Couple other things before I end this one and  start the one that ends in me finally cashing a mothereffing noon tourney out here...which happened yesterday (Wednesday).  There needs to be a manual written for
people who visit Las Vegas. For 'How to Walk in a Casino." Or rather, how NOT to walk. There is nothing worse than always being in a hurry to get somewhere and never being able to get by people. There is the couple on the escalator who HAS to be side by side. HELLO! Excuse me! OUTA MY WAY! Me and Squirrel I know for a fact NEVER do that! She stands on one stair, and I stand on the one below her. Hence, allowing people in a hurry to pass by us.

Then there are the FAN OUT walkers. Usually its 3 or more of them. They travel in packs/herds. They are usually gawking at their surroundings, and walking very slow. Occasionally one of them has a camera, and wants to slow down to snap a photo of an inanimate object. At any rate, to get caught behind them is a pain in the ass. HELLO!!! Single file bitches! MOVE! Get the HELL out of the way! Please quit staring at the damn ceiling and watch where you are going! They have these intersections at Venetian...and its inevitable that major collisions occur at these crossroads for morons. I about flattened this lady today. But at the last second I hollered at her...'HEADS UP' and she just avoided getting hip checked into a blackjack table.

Okay thats it for this entry. Ahhhh...feel better about getting that off my chest. Now let me write the good one...before the battery on my Dell mini dies, and I have to go downstairs and play the scary 7pm DonkFest. Looks like I now have only 40 minutes til then.

Monkey

Birthday BuzzKill...with a happy ending.

The slump continues....

And I am now 43. Yikes.

Got some comments that I didn't publish over the 'flossing' episode. I think some of you missed the point. I immediately QUIT flossing as ordered by the little dictator. Not sure why or how some of you find it 'gross' as its not really interfering with anyones 'zone' or anything. And I'm not bleeding from the gums or anything. And the floor people/supervisors who 'matter' there told me to totally discount the admonishment that I recieved, even though I didnt. Next issue.....

Yesterday sucked. That would be Monday. I never left my room. I sat here and caught up on all the things I had to get caught up on. Mainly that included writing out about 23 checks to people who have won money in my pools...and mailed them out. I decided to hop on Pokerstars for one late session. 6 games. Got big stacks in 5 of them...only to get sucker-punched in each and every one of them. ZERO cashes.

I was going to drive over to LA last evening but it started getting too late, then I found out my buddy Chris Bruno was up in the mountains with his fiance and wouldnt be home til this morning. So the plan was to get up at 7am...wander down to the lobby, rent a car...and get out of here. Drive to Commerce, and play the 1pm $335 over there. Here is what happened instead:

Walk to lobby of Bally's. Find Hertz counter. Find sign that says, "For your convenience we have relocated our counter to Paris Casino." Oh...yeah, thats VERY convenient...that entails another 15 minute walk...in a sleep induced stupor. I get there. Wait in line for 20 minutes. "I need a car for two days, please?" She needs my lisense and credit card. I give her my ID and my credit/debit card. I am informed that on debit cards...they run a CREDIT REPORT! Yeah...a freaking credit report! Why? "That's just our policy." Huh? So, to rent a car I have to damage my credit with an inquiry? That's utterly ridiculous. Then I ask how much the rental will be. $89.99 a day, plus tax. So...we'll call it roughly $110 a day. Plus fuel. "How long before you have me in the car and out of here?" I am told about 45 minutes. Okay...you know what? Screw this. Screw going to LA today. I am marching back upstairs, getting another 3 hours of sleep and playing at Venetian.



Which is what I did. Then, waking up at 11:15 was a bitch. But I pulled it off. Cruising the sidewalk on the way to Venetian I ventured into O'Sheas...on my mission to secure a Subway. Passing the scruffy faced midget dressed up as the St Patty's Day Elf...hollering at everyone to come in and play one of their games, with a heavy emphasis on their 'World Famous Beer Pong'...I wandered to the back to find a line 15 deep in Subway. Dammit! Gotta pass. Not good at waiting in lines. Plus its 10 minutes to 12 and I have a real shot at being on time today.

Arrive at tourney. Draw early breaking table. It breaks early. Move to table 58...and wow, within ten minutes I was having it out with quite possibly the craziest player I have ever witnessed at a table. This guy was NUTTTTTS! I had sat, said hi to the 4 or 5 players I knew at the table, and joked about a few things. Had most of the table 'broken in' and was ready for a good day. Then 'IT' happened.

Black guy in the 1 seat...wearing some ridiculous glasses that made him look more like Urkel than anyone 'from the hood' which is what he kept trying to represent...suddenly snaps when I am on my phone and NOT away from the table...even though their rule there clearly states you have 'til the 2nd card hits the button to be off your phone' or your hand is dead. Well, the dealer hadn't even finished washing the deck and he was whigging out...demanding that my undealt hand be killed.

I really meant to take this guy's photo. You really needed to see this guy. After he was done jawing with me...he started in on the rest of the table. First it was the guy next to him...who, allegedly, kept stepping on his foot. Then...he couldn't stand that I knew so many people there, so he kept suggesting that there was a conspiracy. Then he started complaining that two of the players at the table were 'cheerleading' for me. Then he started openly telling the footstomper next to him that he 'hopes he loses' whenever he was in a hand. Then he starts hailing Obama...over and over...and accusing us of being McCain supporters. When I told him I actually supported Obama in the recent election, he was stumped. The guy would win a hand...and literally...state after winning the hand...."That is for Obama. Because Obama is great!" Whoa.

At one point, I suggested the irony in the fact that Obama's people would likely never let this guy within 100 yards of Obama. I asked him...because I really wanted to know if this clown had half a clue as to why he supported Obama, or if he was a fan simply because they shared the same skin color. His response? "Because he was smarter than McCain...cuz he went to Harvard Law School." Well, I can't disagree with him on that point...I think Obama definitely posseses more intelligience than McCain.

At any rate, this guy was 100%, certifiably insane...and the floor was getting really sick of having to come to our table on account of this guy. I am guessing that yesterday was a full moon. It HAD to be. On a later break one of the floor guys tells me, "Oh, I didn't doubt that HE was the problem when I came over to the table the first time...but I know how you feel nervous whenever you're involved, like you may be falsely accused, but when the first thing out of his mouth was 'those white guys' I knew right away who the problem was." Amen.

It would cease to be an issue for me in Level 5. I am in the BB with KQs. SB limps in for 200. I make it 600. He calls. Flop comes K-8-8 with one spade. He checks. I bet 1100. He just calls. Hmmm. Turn is....

THIS IS WHERE I FELL ASLEEP TUEDAY NIGHT. When I woke up on Wednesday, I wrote a very long conlusion to this....when I went to save it, I instead deleted it somehow. That is awesome. What sucks is I think it was very entertaining, and any attempts to duplicate it will surely fall short. It kind of ruined my day yesterday. Well, not totally. I will attempt to wrap it up properly. And there is MUCH more to add...so I will leave that, I suppose to the NEW POST...which will follow this one!

.....the turn is the Q of spades...now giving me a flush draw to go with my top pair. And honestly, I am really putting this guy on k10. So when he fires out 3000 on the turn, I move in...and when he snap calls...I am fearing A8. But no. He shows me 68off. Good gawd. And we all know I don't hit flush draws. So that was it for me.

Obama boys does his little wail, I don't say anything. I just walk over to an empty table, sit...and stew. Then waited...and waited, for a SNG to start up. There weren't any. So I went and played $4/$8 Omaha H/L...which I actually booked a nice little $180 profit before the SNG finally started. I play the SNG. There is a guy who doesn't fold. EVER. Did I say ever? What I meant to say was....EVVVVVVERRRRR!

4 handed I get him to double me up with A10 vs. his A8. Then I decide not to raise when he limps at 200/400 and I have AJ. Why bother? He wont fold. Flop comes J-2-2. Sweet. Or is it? Check. He checks. Turn? Ace. Nice! Or is it? I bet out 600. He calls. River. 4. I bet 2200. All in. He calls. Turns over a 3...um....okay? Then...finally, a 2. You fucking douchebag. I lose my mind. And retreat to another empty table.

Then my day gets better. My trip gets better. My whole world gets better. A $240 SNG gets started. I see a familiar face. Mr. Lance Funston. Mr. "I'll bet 4 red chips and 5 of these purple chips" dealer! You know who he is if you watched the USPC from Atlantic City about 4 or 5 years ago. He is the Chairman of a big company out of Philadelphia. When I first saw him on TV I was like "who the fuck is this clown" like most serious poker players must have. But then I got to know him a couple summers ago. He enjoys me at the table as much as I like him. He is so cool. First, he sits down and tips the dealer pregame. Then, he puts a $100 bounty on....HIMSELF! Yeah. And he will play any two cards. And just doesn't care. One day last summer...after I told him that Squirrel and I just got married, he offered us the keys to his home in Monte-Freaking-Carlo! Wow. He is also good friends with my long time buddy Chad Brown.

This is a guy who just gives the air of not having a care in the world. Must be a great feeling. I'm guessing he has more coin that I can ever hope to see in my life...so when you see him sitting in $100 and $200 SNG's its just kind of funny. He is there for one reason...he enjoys playing poker. Now how do you ever berate that guy if he puts a beat on you? You simply can't.

Well, he finds out its my birthday and demands to put me in the SNG. Wow. Well, okay. I am not real big on handouts/charity...as it makes me feel 'small' kind of, but I think saying 'no thanks' would have offended him, honestly, so I graciously accepted. But now I really wanted to win. Started slow. Table was super aggressive, so that boded well actually. Maybe get a bunch of people out early.

Then disaster. This guy to my left, whom Ive had several altercations with, the most recent in Biloxi. He is really tall, old, and wears all this JESUS garb. But he is anything but what you would expect from a Bible thumper. He's kind of a prick. And plays super-maniacal. So when 6 people limped for 50, and I looked at AK in the BB...I decided to make it 300, thinking it was a good place to scoop 300 chips, or get heads up with an inferior player with a dominated hand and either outflop or outplay them after the flop. But Jesus-Freak-Wannabe just ships all in. Everyone else folds. I am thinking about folding but I know how this jackass plays...so I call.

He turns over 55. Mmmmhmmmm. Bout right. Flop comes Q-10-6. Gee...only 10 outs there...plus any runner runner pair...so hypothetically, 16 outs, yeah? Yeah well, its 'run bad February' so I missed them all. I was left with 200. Wonderful. Waited two orbits before I got it in with 4c5c. Dickball raises over me, and Lance (my hero) calls (with 3s5s) in what I am assuming was an attempt to get the guy out after the flop and allow me a shot to win with a live hand. Pretty nice play. But it backfired. Lance flops 4 to the flush...and moves all in. The douchebag calls, as he hit his A with AQ....and loses on the river to Lance's flush. Sweet. But I was out.

Not two minutes after I bust, Lance asks me if I am playing Saturday in the Main Event. "I am if I satellite in, otherwise, doubtful." To which he responds..."I will put you in....for 60/40?" Holy crap. Really!? Great. And he reaches in his bag, pulls out a bundle of cash and tells me to count it. I tear a $100 bill getting the rubber band off, then count the money. I count $5000. I go to get the torn bill replaced and bring it back and tell him there is $5000 in there. He hands it to me. Jeezuz. Okay. I walk right over to registration and buy in. I print him a copy of my seat assignment, and write and sign our agreement on the back of it. Just to make it official. Not that I would ever dupe anyone...but you know how smarmy people can be these days. Well, when I was buying in I noticed that there was an extra $100. I let him know and gave it to him. He thought that was a big gesture I think...but jeezuz, why would I EVER keep that? Karma? Morals? Ethics? I'm not a douchebag?

So there it was...I was IN THE SHOW! Pressure on me...gone! Poof! Just like that. And now suddenly I felt ten times better about everything. The SNG's were done for the night, so I went and played a little $1/$2 cash game. I was in for $300 and had it up to $600...before I got AA and KK and lost with both to get down to $120. I started shoving then...with AK and 88...eventually getting a call and doubling up. Then with 45 I flop a wheel and get paid off...and decide with a $150 profit, and a tourney coming the next day, that I might as well call it a night. Which I did.


I think I have some things to write about but not sure if I posted them yet. So I will just publish this...and check...then come back and write some more.

MONKEY