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Monday, February 15, 2010

Birthday Eve.....and I'm searching for some 'run good'

Its been over a week since I touched base with you all.

I suppose there are reasons that go beyond the obvious. The obvious would be in that I am currently experiencing one of my worst runs ever. And it happens to be occurring while I feel I am playing some of my best poker ever. Which is what has me about to leap off a ledge.

There are a bunch of people who think, or surmise (in my attempts to use a bigger word that carries more emphasis) that due to my getting cleaned out by a certain somebody who might have spent my last dollar by now, that I would be playing more cautiously than usual. That the robbery would have me playing 'not to lose' instead of 'to win' and the overwhelming response that I have to that, is 'not at all.'

These people out here are SO bad, and SO easy to read. I have made very few bad reads. I have made almost 99% good laydowns, and about 95% good calls. And nearly everything is leading to disaster. 

Here are my stats on this trip. I am currently 0 for every noon tournament. I went out 37th on Friday night...paying 36. Yeah..I was THE bubble. I was short most of the day, then caught fire...to get over 100k (with avg at 85k) and thought I would cruise to at least the money. But then I got card dead as hell...playing 7-handed...and fell to 45k. At 4k/8k...I found QQ on the bubble...the dreaded QQ...and when I moved all in? I ran smack into AA. And I was out. And sick. And despondant. Sat out by those gondola rides for over half an hour. Just sat there. The first night here...in the nooner, I went out 8 from the money. Those are my two deepest runs. Had a nice start on Saturday...had my roomie Tim Burt and my buddy McLean Karr at my table...was chipping up nicely, then Kevin O'Leary showed up with his crazy style of play.

He limps in at 200/400...and on the button with KQ I decide not to raise...knowing that he will call with almost ANYTHING. So when the flop comes K-Q-5...I have to assume I am good when I reraise his 600 bet to 3000. He just insta-jams...and when I see the two spades on the board, and know how he plays...I immediately put him on a flush draw. Which was correct. He had Q-3 of spades. Nice hand Kevin. Ace of spades on the turn and I was out. Wonderful. 15 minutes later he whacked McLean. He now had over 80k. In under an hour...HE WAS OUT!

In the 7pm last night...I started good. Then got cold. Then was down to where I was committed in the SB. With 4d5d. Get a raise and 3 calls. Nice. The hands were KK, A10,A10 and me. The board goes 10-7-8. First raiser bets big. Next guy (huge over-bettor all game) goes all in, forcing the KK guy to fold (bad fold). I ask for a 6. I get a 6. Nice! I'm back. Two all ins with no calls...and Im up to 15k. Then this guy raises my BB from the button and I have Ad9d. I jam on him. He calls with KQ off. I make a nut flush on the turn! Now I am up over 40k. We get down to 2 tables. Things are looking good. 1st place is close to 3k. That would really help things out! We get down to 13. At one point I tried to pick up the blinds from cutoff, raising with 10d9d..and had a guy jam 50k back at me. Whoops. Shit. So I only had 28k now.

A guy UTG shoves, and I look down at AK. He has me covered. But he just lost a big hand...so given the circumstances, I have to think I'm good. I call. He flips over AJ. Nice! Til a jack flops. Son of a bitch. And I was out 13th. More heartbreak after another deep run.

Before that damn thing started I played another $130 SNG. On this trip I have won a grand total of 5....FIVE...out of the 27 SNG's I have played. Its not bad enough that SNG-Land has been anemic, with only 1 or 2 going at the same time. It truly has an effect on how you play the thing when you know that if you lose you may be sitting around for over an hour waiting for the next one to start. I mean...first hand of the game and you are sitting there with a middle pair and a flush draw to go with it...if its WSOP at Rio and there are SNG's popping up every two or three minutes you go for it there...but here? You may be inclined to possible fold. Sucks.

Well, out of those 27 SNGs I have played...of the 22 I have lost? I have gotten 3rd place (they pay two winners) SEVEN TIMES! Which translates to $4200. A pretty huge swing. And of those 7...I have had a sizeable chiplead three handed only to get repeatedly run down by shitty hands. The other night it was this lady jamming heavy and me finding AKh in the BB. I called...she had Q9 offsuit. Nice push lady. Q on the turn and I was transformed from a big stack into a small stack and was out the next hand. Last night...with a good chip lead...but at 500/1000...I raise this guy to 2500. He goes all in with 10-9. I had AQ. Flop comes A-Q-5. Nice! This should be over. Turn...J. River? K! Straight. FUCK! Now I am short! I get 88 the very next hand with him raising me. I call. He has AJ. Ace in the window. I am out. 3rd. Again!

Its been that kind of week. Hell its been two weeks now. If it werent for such a nice score on the Super Bowl...I would seriously be contemplating suicide. I have never been on a trip where success was so critical. And yet, I am finding nothing but bad luck.

Meanwhile, I am surrounded by success. My roomie, Tim Burt, took down the $550 Omaha H/L that I played. The trophy is sitting here in my room, taunting me. Joe Cutler final tabled the $550 earlier...taking 7th. Then last night, online..he wins a $33 MTT late night on Full Tilt, pocketing another $3500. Chad "Lil Holdem" Batista...who picked me up on the side of the road the other day while I was walking to Venetian, in his super pimped out Lexus of some sort that he was telling me they only made 350 of...sits down last night and ships the FTOPS for, ahem....only $250,000. Jeezuz effing christ! My boy Ali from Houston won the 7pm the other night. JJ, or Justin...from down in our neck of the woods, won the $350 nooner the other day, the one I bubbled. Michael Hallen from Houston...Ali's travel-mate...won the $350 a few days before that. I mean...damn. Then there is McLean...who is winning everything he touches online it seems. He's up about 200k on the year already. And then there is little 'ol me...getting coolered and sucked out on at every turn. Its getting not just frustrating, but damn depressing.

I really don't know what the answer is. I don't think there is one. And all the guys I respect just keep telling me 'don't worry Monkey, its coming bud...stay with it, don't get too down...it'll happen.' I want to believe them. But every night...I make that long, lonely walk back over here...passing by all the bars, looking in at the people who are either having the time of their lives or are going through the motions. This town is funny like that. You see some of the drunkest people you will ever hope to see, stumbling through casinos, in and out of elevators...down the sidewalks. Its really kind of fucked up. Like when they get off the plane, the drinking contest begins.

Joe Cutler...my buddy, he is a big fan of the strip clubs. I am kind of lukewarm to their presence. In honesty, I really have a lot better time at them when I am with my wife and her friends, or just her. Either way. But nevertheless, I decided to go with Joe one night, and then McLean another night. I won't say I was miserable, but I did not have a great time. The minute you sit down, they just besiege you. I hate it. It finally got so bad I just started telling them..."Look, I am only here because my buddy loves this place (Olympic Gardens), and I am being a good friend. I know you are here to make money, thats cool, and you are going to sit here and tell me how cute I am, pretent to want to get to know me, compliment me and and flatter me...but the truth is? I am having a shitty year, I miss my wife, I miss my dogs, and I would really rather be left the hell alone." Its amazing sometimes how the truth works. So employing that method has gotten me in and out of these places relatively unscathed financially.

Just found out my brother got married. How did I find out? My wife texted me, when she read about it on my brothers' wife's Facebook. Hmmm. How formal.

Just found out my mother joined a gym and has hired a personal trainer. Wow. Its official now. I am now the unhealthiest member of my family. And after almost a year without needing a Prilosec...I have been eating one, sometimes two a day for the last week. Stress? Ulcer? No idea...but I feel like shit.

This upcoming Main Event at the Venetian is going to be huge. And will feature almost ALL of the major pros. I will throw up if I am not in it. But the way I am running right now, despite playing great (I think) means it will be impossible to dump $5k of my backers dwindling bankroll into the event if I don't satellite in. But we are looking at a televised (exposure!) Final Table and a 1st prize that could approach a million bucks! Dammit...I have to get into this thing!

The event at the Venetian is clearly being hurt by the LAPC. The numbers are nowhere what I expected. I mean they are still decent...but not like the over 500 i was expecting for every event. Not that it really matters, right? Since I have yet to cash one of them! The structure is okay. But I really, really hate a couple of things. First, I hate the levels starting at 50/100. And I really hate the jump from 100/200 w-25 ante to 200/400. I really think a 150/300 level needs to be in there. I know that adding levels will stretch it out...but who cares? They have the players coming back at 4 now. Add a couple levels, which will enable us better players to trap and whack some of these bad players early. Then come back on Day 2 at 1 or 2. No big deal. And the whole 10-handed tables thing is driving me fucking nuts. Half the tables are big enough to accomodate 10 players...but still, not comfortably, and half are those little stud tables...when, with 10 players at them, you want to kill yourself. Or the person next to you. Its absurd.

I would understand if they were selling out the tourneys, but they aren't. And all three Main Events that I have played here, they make those 10-handed too. Stupid. I have never played ANY other Main Events where they seat them 10-handed. There is just no reason for it, and the players HATE it. I am a 'space-a-phobe' so it affects me worse than some others, I suppose. And there is always that guy who wants to spread-eagle all over the table...and I start with short bursts of breathing...then there is the nervous twitching...and finally, I just lose it. "DUDE! Will you please stay in front of your drink cup area! Move your friggin chair over, tuck in your damn arms...and quit touching me!!!! (*@&!(&*#@(*&@!!!!!!!"  That usually works.

And of course, the SNG's, still going from 200/400 straight to 400/800 and bypassing the 300/600 level is making me a mental case. Sure, I understand the need to hurry up and get them over..since there is always a line out the poker room waiting for SNG's to start up. Okay, no there aren't, that was sarcasm. They went ahead and started giving 2000 chips for the $80 SNGs instead of 1500. Okay. Nice gesture. But in the $130 SNGs...which also get 2000 chips? No change. I mentioned this to Tim Mix, the tourney supervisor, and he said he would look at it. That was a week ago. No change. I suggested either giving another 500 chips to the $130's or at least adding 5 minutes to the blind levels. Does it make sense that the $80 SNG's have the exact same structures as the $130's? I don't think it does. Whatever. If it was a perfect world, my 70/30 favored hands would hold up at least 50% of the time.

I can't bitch too much about anything at Venetian, mainly because I really like the staff. The dealers (most of them...there are THREE on this trip that I wouldn't mind never seeing again) the floor people (except for one guy...a little troll who works the cash room, and on the late shift, and who I learned got hired back, begrudgingly, after having left due to 'the stress of the job' months earlier...I won't mention his name here...but one night he decides to scold me for flossing my teeth while at the table, which I followed up with some mouthwash...just like to keep my breath fresh and minty for my fellow player. Wish they would all do this! But he seemed to have a huge problem with it. He threatened to kick me out if I didnt either stop immediately or take it to the bathroom. Wow, what a prick. When I told a couple floor guys about it the next day, they just laughed and told me not to worry about it. That the guy was a 'Napoleonistic asshole' who shouldn't even be working there. Okay, that made me feel much better!) and the cocktail waitresses. I love the room. The music on the other hand. Whoa. It used to be pretty good. But for some reason they have playing the most gawd-awful, make you put a gun-in-your-mouth array of drivel that you could ever imagine this trip. Thank god for my iPod.

Oh....my iPod. So this prick in the 7pm last night....wow. He has already made three or four stupid comments to other players at the table. I am still coming off the steam/rant from that 3rd place SNG finish...and am sitting there at Table 71, which has this one light that shines directly down on you like you are a member of the Taliban or Al Queda in an interrogation chamber...so I have on my baseball hat, my glasses, and my BOSE headphones listenting to my iPod. Not sure how the conversation got started, but I was holding either AQ or AK and again missing the flop agaisnt this very annoying guy in the 10-seat, who has single-handedly driven up the price of gold by purchasing everything you could imagine that has gold included in it....he is taunting me. I say something back...to which 9-seat fuckface throws out this beauty..."Look at this guy, he looks like he works at Radio Shack with all that stuff! And him and his fancy watch (yeah, Buckle...fossil watch, whopping $75) and silver bracelet (also Buckle...another grotesque $22)...this guy is a big shot."'

To which I respond...after pulling my headphones slightly away from my ear..."Yo, Hair club for men...are you in this hand? Did someone ask you to comment? Does your boyfriend know you are wearing his glasses? Nice shirt...did Bruce make that for you or did you buy it at a flea market back home in Temecula? Why don't you just order yourself a Pina Colada, continue to play your hands awful like you've BEEN doing, run out of chips...then go pester the lady at the Bingo parlor down the street? Okay? And when you actually save up enough money to buy a set of headphones like these, I will give you the name of the place where they came from...and it wasn't Radio Shack. If I go near a Radio Shack wearing these..they jump off my head and run away to the parking lot...like you oughta be doing right now!"  I busted him exactly 11 hands later.

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

O'Sheas on the strip. What a place. Joe Cutler sends me a text message yesterday after going out 3 from the money in the daily rebuy at Bellagio. It reads:

'You know Monkey, as much as I hate my life right now...I am sitting here at O'Sheas..actually at the Subway...eating a sub and watching these losers play Beer Pong, suddenly I feel a lot better.'

Pretty funny, and at the same time...ironic. That place is a trip. I walk by it every day. One night, I decided I would slip in and try my luck at some 1/2. I bought in for $200. Two hours later I cashed out for $1145. It was some of the worst play I had ever witnessed. But aside from the nice score, what it really did was to replace any doubts that I had about my ability to play this game. Sometimes when you are running horrible, you really start to doubt yourself. You really start to believe some of these Mr. Anonymous postings about how much you suck. But alas, you sit down at a table full of people who are truly clueless, and you see how easy this game really can be.

The other thing about O'sheas is the Subway sandwich store. And my desire to eat healthier and lose some weight. I've been hitting that place almost daily, which requires me to walk all the way to the back of the casino. Past the sub-culturous flim flam that frequents the place. It is truly a dump. Dingy carpet, smoky smelling inside. And people who look they rolled out of an episode of 'Cops.' And there, next to the area where I sit to eat my sandwich....is a place where people gather to play BEER PONG. I sit and watch, usually in amazement, at these people. One side, 15 cups, filled with beer. The other side, 15 cups, filled with beer. The object? Toss a ping pong ball into the cup. If you succeed, player from opposing team must pound that beer. And don't worry that the beer is now warm, and harboring a dirty little ball. Not a big deal. And oops...did it bounce onto the floor the three times prior to that? Whatever. Who's counting germs here?

I watch these people, and others like them everywhere I go while I am here, and I wonder...am I missing out on the 'simple things' in life? These people who act like they are having a great time. Maybe they are. Is it bad that I think they are ridiculous? Am I just getting old and not finding the pleasure in those things? Am I mired in some stage of depression? I really want to know the answers...but I am not sure where to find them. I just know that I am running like shit this year. Get robbed. And now can't get ANYTHING to hold up. My house in Pensacola has been vacant now for two months...hired a leasing company thinking they would get someone right in there...and still...nothing. I never, ever had a problem finding a tenant for that place. Its a great house. I just kind of feel like I am in a freaking whirlpool getting sucked down deeper and deeper.

Tomorrow is my 43rd birthday. Good lord. 43? How the hell did I get to be 43? 20 years ago my rooomate in NYC was Chris Bruno. We also played baseball on an all-actors baseball team. Chad Brown was on our team. Chris is still an actor, getting bit roles in movies and TV shows. Not a household name that you would know. But I saw him on NCIS a couple weeks ago, and he looks great. Not much older than when we were roomies. Bastard! J/K. Well, he has invited me to come over to L.A. to hang out, catch up on old times...and then tomorrow, on my birthday, I plan to play the $330 NL tourney at the Los Angeles Poker Classic at Commerce. I have never played over there and would really like to. This, of course requires me to rent a car, pack for two days...and make the 3 hour drive. I am trying to get you guys out a fresh Blog...which we are almost finished with here...then pay all of my people who won money in my pools...which is a LOT...then go to LA. Sounding like a late arrival time into LA right now!

About 2 from the money in the noon tourney yesterday, I saw Cheryl Skeen, who is on my Facebook, and reads this blog a lot. She is out here celebrating her 11-year anniversary with her husband. I met her in a tourney at the Beau Rivage over a year ago. She is a really, really nice lady, and pretty solid player. I hope she got deep or even made the Final Table of that tourney. She stopped to talk to me on a break of a tourney on Friday...yeah, the one I bubbled. She acted like she didn't think I would remember who she was. Come on!!!!! I remember you Cheryl! And thanks for saying hi!

Well, I think that is probably enough. I didn't want to bog this entry down with too much of the depressing poker talk. I think sometimes, when I am running bad like I am on this trip...just sitting down and putting everything down right here kind of clears my head of everything and gives me some fresh perspective on things. I know things could sure be a lot better right now...but at the same time, I KNOW they could be a lot worse. So I will try to focus on the good things I have going on for me right now...and just wait for the bad things to subside, as I am sure, if I'm patient, they will. For those of you out there who care about me and support what I do....thank you!

MONKEY

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