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Monday, March 15, 2010

Falling Short in Reno and a trip to Disney World....

Fighting a trend is a bitch!

That trend that I speak of is my ability to accumulate chips early in almost every noon tourney on this trip, only to run into bad luck or some form of disaster and fail to cash.

It happened again Saturday, much to my chagrine.

One GOOOD thing happened Saturday: My Washington Huskies defeated Cal in the Pac-10 Championship game, thus earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament for the 2nd year in a row.

It took me a day and a half to write this basically because I wasn't ready to talk about it yet. There was a silver lining. I took a 5% with 3 players. 2 of them made the Final Table...finishing 7th and 4th, which resulted in me getting a decent little refund on my buyin. And then, in the 7pm tourney that night, I staked a player for $120...someone I thought has some holes in their game, but who has demonstrated an ability to get deep a lot. They didn't disappoint. With 5 left, the same guy who busted me the other night raised with A3...and my horse woke up with JJ. Nice. Horsey went all in, got called and "Any Ace is Good" guy hits an ace on the damn river. That sucked. First was $2k...would have been nice to have scooped another 1k there!

Its Monday morning. 3:30am. I fly out of here at 6:25am. I slept in yesterday til 2pm. Then went downstairs and collected my various pieces. Then figured out how much in comp dollars Joe and I had accumulated. Then talked to Charles Williams about maybe getting a few days shaved from our 15 days on our room. A couple years ago, Charles and I had an 'incident' at the table up in Tunica...that resulted in some bad blood between us. Charles was, as still is, a good buddy of Jimmy Sommerfeld, and when the spat occurred, I kind of became the victim of their friendship, getting a tourney-costing two-round penalty for something that was clearly very unfair. I was bitter about it for a long time. But through time, Jimmy and I have developed a strong relationship...and I have kind of toned down my 'act' a little bit. So when I got up here and saw Charles was back running this poker room, I was hesitant.

But he was very nice to me from the I took that as a good sign. And when he got them to shave 3 days off of our bill? Well, that just really put a good taste in my mouth. On this little 6 week western poker trip, my cost on hotels ended up being really, really cheap. And that is HUGE in this business of being a full time poker pro. Not only that, I spent very little on food up here. I think these guys really did a magnificent job with this tourney. And then...right on cue...that dopey dealer, the son of another dealer up here, approached me as I was cashing in chips and extended his hand to me.

"Mr Monkey...hey, I just wanted to tell you that I am sorry about what I did at the table that one day. I am new and just didn't know what the rules were about that. I felt bad. But also, thanks for not trying to get me fired. I know a lot of people probably would have."

Wow, well, not sure but he might have been encouraged by his Dad to do that. I told his Dad on one dealer down that I would completely let it go if he would just apologize for it. I am big on people apologizing for things. I am not one to hold a grudge unless you give me reason to.

So I told him "You know Chuck, I appreciate you doing this. I wish you would have done it 10 days ago, but hey...I understand you probably felt uncomfortable. And no, I do NOT ever try to cost people their job. I know times are tough. And I can only assume you will get better at dealing. Good luck to you in the future, bud."

And that was that.

So....what happened to me in the Main Event?  Ugh.

The day started very, very well. I had a good table to start, but with 4 horrible players. One such horrible player was seated to my left in Seat 2. He admitted to me that "I haven't even played poker in 3 years. This is just an excuse for me to get away from my wife for the day." Great. And if you had seen him would never have doubted his story! On an early hand...I raise on the button with A9...which is about the bottom of my range to raise on the button with. He calls in the SB with A4. The flop comes A-9-2. He checks. I bet. He calls. Turn is a 8. He checks I bet bigger. He calls. River is a J. He checks...and feeling like a milk cow by this point...I just check behind. Oh. A-4. Guess I missed a bet on the river. No biggie.

He would get into some other hands with some absolute awful hands...and get into showdowns against other players where he would end up calling at the river with ace-high! And winning! And you would maybe think..."wow this guy is good! And making straight up soul reads!" unless you really were watching him play. He was just terrible.

Well, I had managed to chip up from the starting stack of 15k to around 35k through a series of hitting flops, or just outplaying people after the flop. I threw a couple of nifty bluffs to take down nice pots. Then...on a hand right after this guy busted Shawn Van Asdale, who had the day from hell!!!! with 66 vs Shawn's KK....having flopped a set on an 8-high board...I pick up 66 myself. I limp and call this guy's light raise. The flop comes K high, ALL clubs. Ugh. I'm done with this flop. I check. Old guy checks. Hmmm. I turn a 6. Nice. And I have the 6 of clubs. I check again. He checks again. The ace hits on the river. Perfect. And a non-club.

I do something I did TWICE in this tourney...something I almost never do! Earlier, against a guy who was so easy to read, he might as well have been playing his cards face up....I min-plus raised in early position with KJ. This guy calls, along with 4 others. The flop came K-J-9. Two diamonds. I led, he called. The others folded. The turn was a non diamond 6. I bet relatively light...knowing this guy was on a diamond draw...and knowing he would call a large bet. I didn't want to get myself into a pot that I couldn't get away from on the river if I had to. Well, the river was the 'ol Yahtzee card...the Jack of diamonds. Now, the old me would probably have bet the river here. But I am entering a new age of playing better. If I bet there, chances are...if he is even KIND of decent, he might fear that I filled up...and just call. Or maybe not even call at all. But if I check...I have a shot at making him think his flush is good. Or plant a seed in his mind that I might have just been open-ended there with Q10 maybe. So I CHECKED to him on the river. And he fires out a big bet. I tank for a bit...knowing full well that he has a flush. Obviously there is NOTHING beating me, I have THE nuts. I raise him...not too much...just a little over a min-raise. To his credit, he actually let it go. Damn. I asked him how high his flush was. Queen high, he told me.

"Good lay down sir."

So with this other guy...knowing he hit that ace...I checked to him as well, and predictably he put out a pot sized bet. I raised him...and he called. When he saw my set of 6's he cringed. After having just busted the other guy with 6's....yeah, I said to him..."sucks doesnt it?"

Cue the matchup vs. the fish in seat 2. I get Ac9c under the gun. I am contemplating a min/plus raise from 200/400 to like 950...but I see him grabbing chips. He is coming in. There is no reason to raise here. If this guy decides he is going to play a hand...he doesnt fold.

Earlier...when I had 17k, and he was sitting on 6k...he limped UTG...and got a caller in late position. Blinds were 150/300. I had seen him call raises...example, he had limped for 200 TWICE and then called raises to 1200! With junk. And got there, and left the other player shaking their head and rubbing their temples incessisantly. I had decided I was not going to let this bozo put an ugly beat on me. So when I saw AK suited in the BB...I just made a decision...if this guy is going to keep calling big raises, I will just let him play for his stack. I moved all in. And he actually moaned and groaned before folding what he said was J10. I was perfectly fine to take an 800 pot an avoid this freak.

So when I pick up the Ac9c...and know he is coming in...I decided there was NO reason to raise here. I would kick this hand to the curb if I didn't hit anything. I call. He calls. No one else but the blinds call. 1425 in the pot. The flop comes 8-high, with two clubs. Nice. I decide to play this with an eye on trapping him. I check. He bets out 600. By the way, he has J9, of hearts. He has flopped pretty much nothing. I decide to just call. I turn a gutshot...but still have my flush draw. Here I decide to check and see what he does. He bets 1200. Hmmm. Now its interesting. I can't really check-raise him he now has just 7500 after that bet...and has displayed NO ability to fold once he has chips in a pot for any reasonable bet. So I decide to gamble. I think if I shove on the guy, he MIGHT just fold...and if he DOES call, I obviously have outs. Of course, I would prefer him to fold if I shove on him.

So I announce 'raise' and...taking some advice I gleened from Joe on this trip...after he shared with me some potential holes in my of which involved the amount of time I take to act, and how I bet...something I won't get too in depth on here, since I don't want ALL of you getting too into my game...I announce a $6000 re-raise.

It stops him in his tracks. "Wow...that pretty much puts me all in. Gee....whoa.....well, I have outs (which is music to my ears) so just in case....I guess I'll go all in (which threw me for a loop, since I thought his earlier statement meant he would fold!) and hope I get lucky!" Wow. He turns over his J9h...which is kind  of he has a flush draw now with the hearts...AND a straight draw. Of course, his nine is dead. Dealer puts an Ace of spades on the river! Sweet! And I kill two birds with one stone...I erradicate the dangerous donkey from the table...and I chip up big. I could feel the air leave the lungs from most of the guys at the table...hating to see ME get all of the fish's chips. But they have to be a little relieved that he is gone.

We would have our table break in Level I think 400/800. I get moved to a table that is very tough. Captain Tom Franklin and this guy whose name on Pokerstars is, I think...Retchy...and is very, very tough. I played with him down at Commerce a couple weeks ago. He would lock horns with Tom...after Tom limped in UTG with QQ...I limped behind with KJ suited. Retchy makes a 3x raise on the button. Back to Tom...he re-raises him to 10k. Wow. Uh...I'm gone! Obviously. Retchy tanks....stares....and SHOVES. Tom calls. Dude has AQ hearts. Ooooof. And misses the Ace. And Tom chips up huge.

A couple hands later, Tom riases early again. I look down at AA. Ya know, the blinds must have been 600/1200, because Tom raised to 3500. I re-raised to 7500. The shortstack behind me goes all in for 9200. Which closed off the betting...which didn't do me much of a favor. So knowing this...Tom calls with his smaller pair. And I complete. The flop comes Ace high...awesome. Tom checks...I decide to play it safe and throw a bet out there. He folds. All in guy has AK...still outs...with a Q out there...but on the turn he was drawing dead...and I pull in a pot of over 30k and am NOW in really, really good shape!

On the very next hand...I pick up AdQs UTG and raise to 3500. Retchy goes all in for 18,500. Oh boy. Hate this. Right after winning a huge seems like the poker gods always give you something to take a bunch back, doesnt it? It folds back to me...shit. I decide to count my chips. I've got him telling me I HAVE TO CALL...geezuz, how strong IS this guy? Damn...Tom is telling me I have to call. Ugh...come on guys. I count up my stack...68k. I guess I kind of do probably do have to call. So I do. He has 99. Nice hand. The flop produces TWO aces....great. But he still just needs that one nine to kill me. It doesnt come. Now I have around 95k and am coasting. And feeling REALLY good...and liking my chances now to win this thing!

Shit! Alarms just went off. Joe has found a flight half an hour earlier than I have to get ready, get packed and get to the airport. I will continue this from the plane probably. But I will tell you this...its ALL downhill from here!



Okay, so its been a few days. I am now home from Reno. With a two-day stopover, followed by an 8-hour drive home from Orlando...where I met my Mom, sister and her softball team...for a little Disney World action. Some thoughts on that in a while.

Back to Reno, and the Main Event....

Right after chipping up huge, and having everyone's attention as maybe the 'one to beat' I got moved from the BB to a table right behind me...and smack into the BB. Seated at this table were a bunch of freaks I had NEVER seen before. Always scary. The blinds were 800/1600.

The minute I sit down, the button raises me. The SB squirms in his seat and calls the 4000 raise. I look down at As10s. Ughhhh, great. Have no idea what this guy's raise means. As I would later meant nothing. Other than...he is the cutoff or button and that means he HAS to raise. Had I known then what I knew later, I would have re-popped this clown to like 15k. They would have both folded...and I would have (a) set the tone and (b) had another 11k in chips, and been well over 100k. But not knowing this, I elected to play it safe and see a flop, hoping to flop gin. Did not flop gin. Simply wasted 4k in chips.

Very next hand, in SB...I pick up 57. Suited. Irrelelevant. 5 players limped. Yeah! Limpfest at 800/1600. Only a retard=o folds there. The flop comes....ta-da! K-5-5. How nice. I check of course. As does everyone except the last guy...who decides to bet 4500, I guess because he thought he could steal it there. I look at his stack. He has about 27k more. I start thinking it would be nice to get clever and try to get them all. The turn is a Q. I check, intending to raise this time. But he fails to bet. The river is an Ace. Hmmm...I am now hoping he has an ace...but not A5, of course. I decide to bet now...betting 5k. And he does this stupid body language that I never did figure out...and just shoves all in. WTF? For another 27k. Yeah. I start running the hands through my head that he might have. J-10? Really? And if so, why all in? I mean...what if I have a boat? Not leaving himself much room to get out alive is he? All in because he thinks that is the only bet that will make me fold?

I am so close to folding. But it just feels like a bluff. I count my stack if I call and lose. 49k. I count it if I call and win...around 145k. I could simply cruise to the Final Table if I win this hand. I call. The fucker has J10. I get out of my seat and walk over to the rail, cursing myself for playing it the way I did. For callling that shove. And just then...this idiot, who has been wearing a stuffed frog around his neck all day...and who is friends with that clown I talked about the other day, that KIMO guy? He suddenly starts hoopin and hollering and celebrating as though he were the one in the hand. What the hell? I had yet to have ONE word with this guy. Ever. he is openly rooting against me. Um.....yeah, okay.

So now I am fuming. Cue the very NEXT hand. The guy who loves to raise, raises again. I call the 4k raise with 77. Flop comes 7-5-2. And I officially hate the way I play, at least. I suppose I was partially kicking myself for allowing that doofus to suck out a few hands earlier. So when the guy fires out 7k on that flop...instead of just calling and allowing him to hit one of his face cards...I decide to convince myself that he has an overpair and simply WONT fold to me. Especially since I think the whole table THINKS I'm on tilt. So I raise it another 10k. He thinks for about 7 seconds and folds. Dammit. But I do pick up a nice pot and get it back to around 74k.

Then we go to dinner. Joe is asleep in the room. I end up eating at the steak house with a bunch of relative strangers. The meal is excellent. The company was good.

We go back. Time to get after this. Things go badly. First, I raise with KK at cutoff and get called by this total assclown, in the SB...with 10-8. Flop comes Q-4-8. He checks, I bet 3/4 of the pot. He calls. I'm sniffing out a set of 8's or something. Turn is a 2. No flush draw out there. He checks again. I bet again. He calls again. What the hell!??? The river is a 10. He leads half the pot. It really feels like a set...but I can't fold for that price. Then I see his hand. You gotta be kidding me. I just look at him...and he is smirking. I hate this guy.

This is the same prick who spent the first 17 minutes after the dinner break freaking out and accusing the floor guys of ripping him off. He bought up the green chips during the color up, then left. Most people stick around and make sure they got their correct change after they finish. But he left. Then comes back and starts trying to claim that they stiffed him on the 6500 chips they owed him. I don't really know one way or the other...but I find it highly improbable. Jason and Bruce handled it pretty well...but after about 5 minutes of it, I was just annoyed as fuck over it, as was most of the table I think.

So this shitbird takes about a quarter of my chips on this one hand. Maybe more. Then a few hands later...remember the Old Clown guy from about 4 entries ago? He was back. And at my table. And when I raised from cutoff with KcQc...his stupid ass does the 'ahhh shit, I'm ready go...I'm all in!' Hmmm..yeah, the 'ol, "Im ready to go" BS line. yeah....its the Main Event, we are playing for 57k and you're ready to go. Right. I had raised from 600/1200 to 5100. He was all in for 17k. The simple fact of the matter was, there was too much in the pot now to fold. And of course...he had AA. Of course he did. I did flop 10-9-9. How bout a Jack dealer? No? Okay.

The stack continued to plummet. Raise with AQ. Get a call. Bet the King-high flop. Guy moves all in. Sigh. Raise frog-boy in the BB from the SB with K10. Flop comes K-8-4. I bet. He shoves all in for 40k. Come on! Everything was going wrong. Call a raise holding 88. Flop comes A-K-3. Guy bets out. Bye bye. More chips leave my stack. This continued until...all of a sudden, I had 16k. Yeah, ten big blinds. I pick up Ah9h on the button and shove. No callers. Up to 20k. Then I get JJ. at 1k/2k. Do I bother raising to 5500? Or just jam it? Lets just jam it. I get called by SB...who only has 9500...but also has AA. Lovely. But on the river I spike a JACK! Really? Maybe this isnt over quite yet! Back up to 39k.

Then everyone limps for limpers...including the 10-8 jagoff. I shove all in with a pair of 5's. They all fold. Nice. 12k more. Up to over 50k. Frog boy thinks he's raising UTG...or maybe it was a move, not sure...but he then has a call in play, the SB completes, and I have 10-10. I raise to 6k. Froggy insta-folds, as does the SB. Now almost back to 70k.

Then we break the table as we get down to 27 players. At the new table...on the 3rd hand, I pick up A-K. I raise. Only caller is the BB. The flop comes A-4-K. Sweet. He checks. I bet light. He calls. Hmm...weaker ace? I should be okay here I think. Turn is a 10...making a flush draw and a straight draw....really don't want to mess around here and get sucked out on. He checks again. I move in for 42k. that I know his hand...was stupid! But this was a bi-product of that earlier 5-7 debacle...because this guy just happened to be sitting on a set of 4's. And I was pretty much fucked. When he said..."I call" my stomach fell out of my body, knowing what I had run into.  And then...that horrible feeling that overcomes you when you are leaving a Main Event. On a good note, that kid at least was one of the remaining three players. And I know when they got 3-handed they did a $30,000 he had a good weekend thanks in part to me!

That was my tourney. A lot of things I wish I had done different, looking back on it. But I was very pleased that the two guys I swapped 5% with both Final Tabled the thing. Coming home with more money than I left with was a great thing. And I had a good time for the most part. I'm glad Joe decided to come to Reno with me. I bet he is too...having made a nice score while he was there. Not just for the entertainment aspect...but I just enjoy being around good players, as I feel like I am always growing as a player when I surround myself with quality players. Plus, Joe is just a funny guy.


My flight out of Reno was nice. In fact my flight from Salt Lake to Orlando was about the same. On both flights I got the front bulkhead seat...nice legroom. Flying over Nevada and Utah...the view of the snowcapped mountains is just amazing. I can't ever get over how incredibly beautiful our country is. And evertime I start thinking we are over-populated, I fly or drive across this country and realize just how much land we have that is just sitting there, unused or unoccupied.

I got to Orlando...and there was Squirrel waiting on me. With my smiling Mom. She has lost all this weight, gotten a new knee...and is generally just so much happier. Its really nice to see. And the relationship she has with my wife makes me feel good too. They talk about everything. Sometimes when I need to know whats going on with my Mom now, I just ask Squirrel. And sometimes, even vice versa!

Well I was pretty tired from flying all day...and obviously was excited to spend some alone time with Squirrel, after not having seen her in 7 weeks. So we turned in early.

Up at 8am...we got ready for the day's nightmare. Some people call it the Happiest Place on Earth. Pffft! Good one! Yeah...I'm guessing if you work in the accounting office and get a piece of the action...then YEAH...that place IS the happiest place on Earth! Without a doubt!

But if not? That place is hell on Earth! $14 to park your car. Get on a long shuttle train...after being herded by a guy who's job it is to make you feel inferior to him. Take that to a monorail, or a ferry, if you like really taking a long time to get to the front gate. Purchase your day pass. $78! Yeah. Proceed through the gates. Prepare for the biggest mob scene you have ever seen.

What I saw I was honestly not prepared for. I was last at an amusement park...mmm..probably 15 or 20 years ago, I think. I think I took my girlfriend at the time...Monica Bechtold to Disneyland the year the Huskies played Michigan in the Rose Bowl for the National Title...back in 1991. I cant decide which was better, but I'm pretty sure Disneyland is way better. But not sure. You know how things just change from a point of perspective the older you get? It might just be a case of that.

This place was PACKED. Every ride took over 45 minutes of waiting in line. After the 2nd ride though, I started figuring out who to 'work' the 'Fast Pass' line. This is a line they have set up where you get a ticket for a time in the future....usually 2 to 5 hours...and when you go in the express line. Well, if you pitch your case, or just make small talk with attendant...they often times just slip you passes for that time. We did that the last 3 rides we took. Thank GOD! Or we would have only done about 3 rides in the 9 hours we were there.

Everywhere you looked there were people I can only describe as...well, fun to look at! Some of the outfits we saw people wearing, the hairdos....its like they were from another planet. The longer I live on this planet, the harder I am finding it to believe that I am the same species as some of these mutants.

Everything inside of that park costs an arm and a leg. I don't have any idea how your average family visits that place without taking out a  second mortgage on their house first. Its borderline criminal. I can't see how they justify what they charge people to visit that place.

I am trying, all figure out what it is that people find entertaining about the place. Am I just a fuddy-duddy? I don't want to think I am. I really don't. And when/if Squirrel and I have kids...I just KNOW she is going to want to take them to that place. I can't do it. I can't bear to live that experience again. Ever, if I can help it. I started wondering to myself...hmmm "if I vow to take the kids hunting, and camping...and fishing...and stuff she might not want to do, is it possible to get HER to take them to this human shit storm?" Squirrel is pretty reasonable, I suppose through proper channels of communication and reasoning, anything is possible. She was pretty well aware of just how miserable I was. But two things kept me from completely losing my shit.

I was in the throes of medication...which, had I not thought to take 20 minutes before arriving through the gates of the most 'Ridiculous Place on Earth' I would have never made it.

And I was there for my sister's adopted kid Chase...who I had earlier in the week discovered was in awe of me, ME! Uncle Will. Yeah. So I had to suck it up...and take one for the team. Which I think I did. Later, on the ride home...the kid fell in love with my little blue Pokerstars Monkey, which has made some final table appearances with me...and been seen taking a shot once or twice, and even pounding a bloody mary one day. Well, Squirrel suggested I let him have it. It was hard to part with. I let him have it. And reports from the home front say the monkey hasn't left his side. That's pretty cute. The morning we left...yes, I drove that whole damn thing...popped an aderol...and BOOM! 8 hours stops! Squirrel slept the whole way. But anyway...the kid was crying when he woke up and we were I had to call him and give him a little pep talk. Sister thanked me later...saying it was just what the doctor ordered.

See, I'm not such a bad guy!!!!

So yeah...we are home. I am unpacked! I have reunited with my dogs...I love them so much. And they will not leave me alone!

And today is Day 1 of March Madness...and already we have upsets!  Old Dominion, who I actually liked, and picked in a few of my 25 total brackets...yeah...I kind of over-did it this year...knocked off Notre Dame in the first game. Then Villanova had to fight like hell to hold off Robert Morris. Man, how much would THAT have screwed up everyone's brackets!?? And in this game I'm watching right now...Murray State is making Vandy look very ordinary. Could be a pretty exciting tourney. My Huskies play later tonight...against Marquette. I think Isiaih Thomas, our starting point guard is banged up. That isn't good news. But I still have high hopes.

My March Madness Pool has broken another record. 417 total entries. Beat last year's record of 384. Crazy! And my squares $25 a square...for the title game? FULL! I will be doing a second board...this one for $50 a square, I think. And last night I decided to do a Fantasy Baseball League...havent participated in one of those in several years. I think I am ready to try one again!


As far as the next two weeks go...going to get on top of a few things. Like all these hospital bills I have piling up...from the Kidney Stone thing, and the MRI's for my knees...its so hard to figure out what exactly I owe. All these different bills, some covered by insurance, some not. Ugh! I hate that whole industry!

My taxes need to get done. I am really not looking forward to that. At all! I have to pay my property taxes on the Pensacola house still. The house that finally got rented last week. And yet...for some reason, I am not recieving any of the money until the middle of next month? From the leasing company. How does THAT make sense? Whatever. I'm just glad that house is rented finally.

I suppose I will find sometime to play online. Maybe I will get lucky and actually win something.

As far as future poker tourneys? I feel myself leaning towards going to St. Louis. It just sounds like those fields are going to be really good. The $300 tourneys are the only ones that are going to have lousy structures. The $500, $1000 and Main Events are all going to have awesome structures. That is April 1st to the 15th. Then I will come home and play the IP event from the 18th to the 5th I think. I really hope they attract some players from that event. They have really been doing a great job lately over there...just missing the player fields. Then after a week off, I will head over to New Orleans and play what promises to be another great event over there. The last couple years I have had a history of making good scores over there before heading out to Vegas for the summer and all the World Series events, and Venetian Deepstack events.

I am about to get started with looking for a house in Vegas to rent, with 5 of my good poker buddies. McLean Karr was originally going to be one of the guys in the house with us...but due to his recent success, and a blossoming relationship with a girl who lives out there (name not being revealed here!) I think we are going to lose him! Oh well...we understand!

So...I have a very busy couple of months coming up. But I think I will just lay here and do absolutely NOTHING but watch hoops, and love on my dogs and my wife!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your life, but you know, most fuckers reading this blog want to see some monkey-fied controversy. let us know what you have planned for the pricks that ripped you off; also, what about the wimp from the Beau that was busting your balls.... revenge!!! we demmand it !!!
oh, and gl with the pokerz.