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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

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