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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Dateline: Sunday morning...11am. Just woke up, after FINALLY sleeping, 9 hours.

The plan today? Skip what I expect to be a very under-attended $1500 event...which probably has about an added juice of about $110. Tomorrow is Mega Satellite day...with one at noon, one at 4 and another at 7. The plan...as with every Mega-day, is to play and WIN the one at noon...then play the one at 7pm and try to win it to get me even for the trip and pay for my hotel and travel costs. That would pretty much accomplish that.

I won two out of three SNG's on Friday...despite the Mega flameout (for the $1k event)...then last night...after losing both the noon tourney ($1000 plus NINETY juice...sigh) and the 4pm PLO H/L ($294 + $56!)....I played two $125 SNGS...the first one I refused to take part in a $100 last longer with 5 other players. Big mistake. And I had a feeling when I didn't do it I would regret it. Something about it just felt fishy. The guys who wanted to do it were all buddies, and I just felt like I was being victimized. Whatever. I would get heads up with a guy...who had confessed to playing 24 hours of cash game before that SNG. Wow...he was pretty tough heads up. And when we got to 500/1000...I tried to turn the momentum my way...holding a slight 8500 to 6500 edge by raising on the button with 4d6d....he moves all in. I was priced in. Hoping to be up against just a big ace...he turned over 10-10. Yikes. But I flopped a wheel draw, picked up a diamond draw on the turn...and rivered a flush. Awesome.

Then went on to the next $125 SNG. Riding a streak of two in a row, going back to the night before. Winning three SNG's in a row is tough, and rare. And after, on the 2nd hand...getting AA...and raising to just $75..and getting 4 callers...figured I might have a shot. Flop came 3-5-7. I bet $250. Guy I got heads up with on the other table, just calls. Turn is a 9. I bet $350. He raises to $900. Shit. I'm smelling a set. But its early...and I could gamble and just move in...if I'm right I have an early double up. If I am wrong though...I am out first...and thus avoid a long gruelling session of playing shortstacked only to not win. I hate that. But so far this week, my 'hero calls' have NOT panned out...so I elect top put him on a set.
 I fold, face up. He looks at the guy next to him...and makes a facial expression that tells me I had him crushed. Couple people at the table make faces that say "What??? he folded ACES???? No way!!!"  Well, that is what I expect from these people. But in my little strategic world, I knew that showing that fold would benefit me later...and it would. If they watched me fold that right there...then later make a move...how can they think they're any good? It would serve me later indeed, as three bluff re-raises were all folded to me.  :)

[found out later he was just on a flush draw...oh well, and the face he made was in fact one of 'holy cow he laid down aces!!??']



I would end up getting heads up with a guy who was a local. He took out the guy from my previous heads up battle. A10 vs. KQ. So we got heads up with me holding a 3 to 1 lead at 500/1000. This guy was one of the worst heads up players I think I've ever been heads up with in a SNG...and I play a LOT of these. To his credit, he was a real nice guy. And he was solid as far as playing good A.B.C. poker and getting him into position to at least have a shot at winning.

I had Adam dealing to me...we know each other pretty well. You know when you are looking at someone you know pretty well in the eyes and just KNOW you are both thinking the same thing? Well, he is pretty intuitive, and I could tell that he knew what I had figured out. I have a pretty ironclad style of play when I get heads up. Try not to limp in very much...unless I have a BIG hand...try to either just raise or fold. Call small raises with playable hands and try to out play them after the flop...or, possibly out flop them. Go all in as little as possible. Unless, of course, there is no choice.

Well, this guy was SO bad, and SO tight...his range of hands never changed from the time we were 10-handed until we were heads up. A dream, heads up. I mean...this guy isn't calling ANY raise without a top 15 hand. So, in my head I knew I could just raise this guy 8 out of every 10 hands...work a preflop fold in a couple times just to give him the feeling that he had a chance. So that's what I did. Just raised with anything...8 out of 10 hands. And raised light. At 500/1000 I'm raising to 2200. That way if he shoved, I could still fold. If I raised like that 8 times, he might have shoved on me twice. And they were easy folds. He would get one lucky double up. He shoved on me with 108c...and I called with 88. He would flop the damn 10....then go ahead and make a flush. No big deal.

I just kept chipping away at him. These are the kind of heads up matches where you actually realize, and of course, enjoy...the years of playing and evolving, and appreciate the skill aspect of this game. When you can just sit there and systematically destroy your opponent. He is giving his verbal lip service to every fold... unfortunately, my iPod had gone dead...so I was growing increasingly annoyed listening to every reason why he was deciding not to put me all in as he was folding K10 to my 86...or A6 to my J5 suited....and snickering to myself. So when he decides to min raise me to 2000 and I look at 45...and him only having about 1800 behind now....I see a chance to outflop this guy and end it. Well, I got better than I expected.

No bullshit here...the flop comes out A-2-3!!!!!  Really??? He moves all in of course....duh, I call. He has AQ! Yeah...game over! Monkey wins! He says..."Wow, I guess I should have moved all in huh? Would you have called?"

Um....gosh, pal...probably not!

A bunch of them tried to get me to play another one...but I was really tired, wasn't drinking, was really hungry...and my iPod was dead. It was going to be another two hours of listening to people I didn't want to listen to...and I really didn't know if I could take down 4 in a row. Three in a row was a good place to just sit and feel good about for a day or so. Going back to the room riding a wave of success seemed like a good idea to me. So I said my good nights to everyone and went to the cafe/grill thing in the hotel by the front door and ordered some food.

As I sat there...eating and drinking my Sierra Mist...I listened to the Sammy Hagar wannabe tribute band that was playing in the back of the place. And watching the patrons stream in and mostly out of the place. And the night took on a more humorous twist. First of all...this band was so bad, that I at first thought they were having a Karaoke night. I asked the bartender if it was karaoke night..."No, thats on Friday." Oh...so, then the band I am hearing is just ...word? Terrible? Yes that must be the word. So I am sitting there on the barstool watching these people going in and out..and the ones sitting at the bar...and I am getting more and more motivated to leave this event...go home, get my wife...and drive straight to the gym and start working out and NOT stop until we get to looking like those couples in the workout videos always being pimped on late night TV.

I have never seen a cross section of this country that has more obesity than this place. I remember a news report from a few years back that said Mississippi led the nation in obesity rates, and also was #2 in the lowest SAT scores...which means...that the state I live in is considered FAT AND STUPID. Well, I don't know...I think that if Missouri is not in the Top 5 its a miracle, either that or everything outside of St. Louis is majorly affecting the curve. Like...rural Missouri consists of nothing but 99-pound weaklings or something. I mean...whether they are 20-28....30-35....40-50...there is no differentiation...people here are just FAT. And they do NOT make any attempt to hide it. Wearing clothes that almost screams out..."Hey check me out! I am HUGE...and I am PROUD!"

Then you have your enormity of trailer trash. Some of the women I am seeing...you kind of look at twice...you're like, "Is that a woman? Or a man that has let himself go?" Every so often you'll see a woman, that with the proper makeover, might actually be attractive...but is just so far gone in every way that I don't think that anyone would ever even make the attempt. Its just freaky.

And the hair? Wow...remember when girls, the cute little clubbing chicks were doing the hair where it was blonde but then had the black underneath? Know what I'm talking about it? It was kind of sexy there for awhile. Squirrel had it going on herself for about 8 or 9 months. This was about 2 or 3 years ago...and it was a trend that came and went pretty quickly. Not in St. Louis. It's alive and thriving. And looks stupid. So my question...what happens when these girls come up with enough money to take a trip to Vegas with their other fat friends with bad hair and bad clothes? Does the culture shock scare them into never leaving their rooms? Or...do they just never come up with the necessary funds to make it out of this place? These are frightening times we live in.

Now some of you may be saying to yourself...and its fair...'Monkey, why do you have to comment on how fat everyone is? How does it affect YOU?' 

I have a very good answer prepared for you:  Its called TEN HANDED PLAY at the poker table. Again...in my ultimate attempt to not upset the powers that be at Harrah's, thus putting into peril ANY attempt by myself to take part in this summers event at the Rio All Suites and Resort in Las Vegas...I will walk a very thin line here. But I will say this...there is a lot being said by a LOT of players here, the kind of players who travel to a LOT of events. The kind of players who cash on a regular basis. Basically, the kind of players who any poker tournament coordinator should value the opinions of. I am trying to avoid controversy...as I have discovered that its just sometimes not worth the headaches that it brings. Kind of a shame that I can't help these TD's (tournament directors) by sharing with them what people are saying about their events...which would seemingly lead to them putting on better events, with my voice here on this blog. When instead they villify me for what I write about...thinking it is just MY opinion, and that I am poisoning their well. Ya get me?

I know the solution to this problem...we will call it a problem, since the First Amendment does say something about "expression of opinion, freedom of speech, without the risk of persecution and/or prosecution" but which seems to be running a deaf ear in the things I like to participate in. The solution of course is to win a couple televised events, pocket a few million bucks, get signed by some Donkey poker site...and become a household name to the Wal-Mart crowd...then, like Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth, I can write whatever the hell I want without worrying about who is going to 'ban' me from their poker room.

Well, here in St. Louis it's the ongoing opinion that Harrah's had a GOLDEN opportunity to really put on a good event and build something that in the future would become a premiere stop on the WSOP circuit. And I have to say, to a man...we were ALL really rooting for it to be just that. I mean...who WOULDN'T root for a place to put out a really good event every year? But I have talked to...well, easily 20 of these regular players and the sentiment is pretty much universal.

1) No hotel rate/deal for players.  Now this one I can kind of sympathize with for Harrah's. I mean...if they are at 90 to 100% on occupancy, there is no real reason for them to cut into their revenue stream by reducing their regular rate to accomodate the poker players...especially when there is local hotels that we can secure for $49 a night. That to me isn't a deal killer for coming here. But one that a lot of people are talking about.

2) No comps. One that a lot of players are talking about. Now, from my perspective...and I don't put a lot of weight on mine on this one, I've never been heavily influenced over the whole $10 food comp with every tourney buy in. But I have to admit that while in Reno, it was pretty cool what they did with comps out there...and I ended up racking up about $300-$400 in comps that I used for a couple of nice meals and a good portion of my hotel room. Trust me, it was REALLY appreciated. Well, at this event, we are getting absolutely nothing. And a lot of people are really miffed about it. I don't know their reason for it. So I can't speculate. Maybe its another of those "Its a Missouri thing"

3)  "Its a Missouri thing"  That one is its own seperate issue I think. You know how sometimes...well, lets go back to our childhood. Remember when you would ask your Mother if you could have something, or do something...and they would say NO! And you would ask "why?" and be told...."Because I said so, thats why!"  OH! Remember that? Sure you do. Well, I think they get so used to telling people things are the way they are "because of Missouri Gaming" and people just accept it and walk away shaking their head. They get conditioned. So...after awhile, if you want to implement some kind of rule, or policy...you just sell it by using the "its because of Missouri Gaming" line to sell it. Make sense? Now I might be totally nuts here...but my common sense meter usually registers pretty well on these kind of issues. That, or I just hate being lied to. I mean, who doesnt? Actually I think some people either dont KNOW they are being lied to, or are too stupid to figure it out. Or some just don't really care that much. Which I don't get. To me...being lied to is like having someone spit in my face. If I was the Gaming Commissioner here in Missouri and I knew that this was taking place...and a lot of the things that were being pulled were NOT my Commission's doing, I would also be very pissed off.

4) The location of the poker tournament seating area. One thing I am hearing a lot of bitching about is the noise associated with all the slot machines (similar to what I hear at Venetian...but I actually don't mind it because it provides me with a lot to watch and observe...the human parade that goes on all day long...which really feeds my A.D.H.D. quite well! And the noise? Pfft...thats what my iPod and BOSE are for!) and the rampant amount of cigarette smoke...which does actually annoy the shit out of me too. I come back to my room every night, which I brought a Glade air plug in with me to keep my room smelling great...which I do for every poker trip. And I realize when I take off my shirt how gross it smells. Due to the contrast in scents. A couple people have taken to wearing smoke filtering medical masks while playing. Maybe a little over-dramatic...but still making a point. I was told by someone that the reason they don't have the tournament in a seperate convention-type room like I.P. does for their event...is because of something having to do with "Missouri Gaming" that forbids any gaming activity to take place NOT ON WATER...that if they moved it to a convention room, it would be on land. I'm puzzled, because I have seen no sign of a river the whole time I've been here. I'm wondering...did they dig a little ditch from the river over to this place and run it under the casino? One we can't see? Because this casino clearly is not FLOATING on a barge. I can't help but think it wouldn't take much for them to get this event into a big convention room. Who knows!???  Just sharing with ya'all what people are talking about.

5) Dealer downs. This is kind of the talk of the tourney. When I arrived, and we had around 700 players for the first tourney...the dealers were excited. They were really anticipating making a lot of money on this trip. Its always nice when the dealers are excited...because they are better dealers. They are more attentive to what is going on at the table, thus making fewer mistakes. They are in a better mood. And frankly, a lot of the dealers are people that I am friendly with, and genuinely care about. So I am happy for them when they are making money and enjoying their trip. Its tough being a dealer. They almost always...and it changes event to event...have to pay for their travel to the event...and a majority of the time, have to pay for their own lodging. That gets expensive. So when, after a few days here, it was told to them that their price per down (they get paid a 'down' for every half hour rotation they deal) was going to be capped at $14.50 per down...and that whatever was left over would be split between Harrah's and Missouri Gaming (thats not verified, but what has been reported by several sources) their attitudes quickly took a turn for the worse. Which, well...how can you blame them? Thinking you are about to make $20 to $25 a down...and then find THAT out? Some of these dealers pull anywhere from 10 to 18 downs a day. You can see how that really adds up. I feel bad for them.

But who I really feel bad for...is US! For a few reasons. In the paperwork on each tourney it tells you what you are paying for. On a $350 tourney...only $291 goes into the prize pool. It used to be they were doing a $10 'dealer appreciation' add on...giving you more chips. Venetian does that...and I don't have a problem with it. As long as the dealers are getting that money. But here? Its not the case. Its called a 'Bonus Chip Add On'...so I don't get it? Do we have the option of NOT taking it? No. Why do it? It makes no sense? Are you really going to run a $1090 tourney and give us 5000 chips to play with? So we are supposed to be excited about the $10 for 3000 extra chips? So...when figuring out the juice we are being charged for each tourney...it comes out to Harrah's and/or Missouri Gaming...getting money equalling between 1st and 2nd place for every tourney. That...in a word...is S-I-C-K! And all the regular players have figured this out. Not sure if the amateurs (aka Donkeys) are aware of this or even care. But the regulars do. And it will make an impact. Because now...no one wants to ever tip out at the end...which is further hurting the dealers. Because as it is...they are getting a very small percentage of what is already being collected...and now its just getting smaller. This is one of those occurences I have blogged about in the past, regarding tipping, where I will simply seek out those dealers I feel are deserving...and tip them on the side. Its a bad system...a very bad system...and as much as I want to stay in Harrah's good graces...and as much as I appreciate my relationship with a lot of the TD's and certain floor people, it just pains me to see.

But understand something. I am not HARPING on it. Hey...I give Harrah's a certain amount of credit for doing things how they do it. And it dawns on me as I am sitting at the bar and listening to a couple of these pathetic hicks talking at the bar, to me...which was annoying, as I really just wanted to be left alone: "So that World Series of Poker is here in St. Louis huh? Boy that is really cool! Is there a bunch of them famous people from TV here? Is this one gonna be on TV too?"

The  point? They are in business to make money. Right? And if they feel that they have grown this entity to a point where the ignorant are so enamored with it that they will pay any kind of  'fee' to play in a WORLD SERIES OF POKER event...and not care...then hell, why not charge them through the ass and collect as much as you can, right? I mean, I didn't go to business school, but I certainly understand the concept of Supply and Demand. And after all, no one is holding a gun to my or anyone else's head and forcing them to drive 700 miles to come play in this event, right? So...if I were to drive here...and then spend the whole time bitching about it...I am just making myself look like a dipshit, right?

So I am not here bitching today folks. Just sharing with you some of what is being talked about, and my observations of those views. I came here with a clear conscience...knowing what the structures were, knowing there was no hotel rate, knowing the players might be scary. I came here because I was excited to play at a new place, and because the fields were expected to be huge. That didn't exactly pan out as they had expected. But when you aren't making the money in every event its not exactly a major issue, either...is it?

I know, I know...this blog entry is getting super-long...and some of you won't read it all...some of you will. But this is healthy for me to talk about.

6) Ten-handed play. Yeah lets get to this. Because as a 'space-a-phobe' this is something that drives me freaking NUTS! Coupled with the fact that everyone up here is overweight it seems. Coupled with the fact that if you get here close to noon or slightly AFTER noon you have a 96% chance of drawing the 10-seat. And...add in the 'common sense factor' coupled with the 'Its a Missouri thing' and I am about to lose my ever-loving mind. The first event here...the 10-handed thing didn't bother me. Why? Because there were using almost all 94 of their tables. And expected much more than they got...like 1200+. So that was understandable. We haven't broke 400 in any event since. They brought a TON of dealers for this event. And every day there is more than 20 empty tables when the event starts. By forcing us to play 10-handed...in a field of, say 300...they are saving THREE tables. Taking that 10-seat from all 30 tables and giving them a seat on another table? 30 players. Or...right..27 of them. Whatever. So what would that mean? $14.50 times three...or $43.50 per half hour...$87 per hour. That is the cost to them. The price for my sanity. And I know I'm not the only one! Oh...this isn't just here. As much as I LOVE Venetian...and I do...they do it there too, but NEVER in their Main Event at least.

To me, it is the ultimate slap in the face. We pay very good money, and they are charging us a very FAT fee just to sit down there and play...the one thing we should be able to do is sit there and not have to be irritated with the person next to you, rubbing on you...stepping on your feet, tapping you incessantly with their knee...breathing on you. And what really sucks is when your dealer won't square up the table correctly, so as soon as I arrive...for my TEN SEAT assignment...and have the guy in the 9 seat sitting in the 9 and a half seat...and ask him to make room, and watch him as he scooches over about 2 inches...then noticing that the 5-seat is sitting right in front of the dealer...when him and 6-seat should be splitting that spot...now I have to be the bad guy...the asshole...who demands that this guy scoot the fuck over before I have a complete COME APART! 

"Hey dealer...could you please help me out and square up the table a little please, so I can sit down" I often times whisper in their ear.

"Uh...yeahhhh um...players...if you could all just slide over a little please...."

Which often results in almost NOTHING happening. You regular players know what I'm talking about....they kind of look at the floor, pretend to slide over but really don't slide over at all...and you're just standing there...watching this...and laughing under your breath at how incredibly pathetic these people are...and how much you want to just sit down and start going to work on busting all of their worthless asses! Right?

So yesterday...I sit down in the ten seat...and there is this cowboy...who's hat was basically taking up a large percentage of my space on its own...and he was sitting like he was riding side saddle on a horse, and oh yeah...DIPPING! Which...ugh...at the risk of completely losing my audience....lets go back in time:

8th grade. Grasslawn Park, Redmond, Washington. Playing basketball. Hot summer day. Me and my buddies all with Big Gulps from 7-Eleven. Run over to take a big healthy swig of my Coke. Only, I didn't grab my Coke. I grabbed my buddies Coke...which was no longer Coke. It was his 'spit cup'. I spent the next two hours throwing up. And now...whenever I catch even a whiff of that shit...it creates a gag reflex in me.

So this is what I sit down to. I ask him twice to please move over. I ask the dealer to help me. Dealer doesnt do shit. I am now about to crawl out of my skin. And then I just snap!

"Listen pal! You need to freaking MOVE over! And you need to stop dipping at the table! It is NOT allowed...and I will throw up all over you! Stop hitting my knee with your leg...you are about to see me freak the hell out!!!!!"

He finally moved over. I busted him 37 minutes later.  Dennis Phillips' girlfriend...maybe wife...replaced him...and she busted 39 minutes later. She moves all in....gets called by a guy priced in and unable to fold...with 9-10...and as soon as she turns over QQ and says "I'm not losing with THIS hand!" I knew she WOULD lose...why? Because that's how poker works. She black-catted herself. Dude hit a straight. Bye bye.

So, a few days ago...I approach the Tourney Director...and plead my case about the 10-handed situation. Tell him...I understand in the $350 tourneys that it might be necessary (even though it really isnt, but I am trying to play the understanding Monkey) but why on the larger buy ins at least...do we have to be subjected to being completely unnerved all day by being crammed into our table? Is it possible to at LEAST let us go 9-handed in the $550 and up tourneys? I was told that he would 'see what he could do about those, at least.'

[for the record...they DO go to 9-handed eventually...when you get to 6 tables. Which...well, we all know how long THAT takes!]

I won't lie. I was optimistic. A few days ago...I had come to the conclusion that the first break of the tourney only being 10 minutes long was a disaster. Granted, I usually HATE breaks...and 15 minutes is usually too long. But at this place...there is only one close bathroom, the other ones are so far away that you can't possibly pull it off in 10 minutes. And if you want to eat? There is ONE place to eat...there is always a LINE...and there is NO WAY you can get in and out of there in 10 minutes. So honestly...NO break would be better. So I ask an Floor Supervisor (if thats not his exact title I apologize) if there is any way we can get a 15 minute break for those first breaks. And since then....every day, the 1st break of the noon event has been a 15-minute break...and I know that all the players I have talked to about it are very pleased with that...so I know that there are at least SOME that genuinely care about what us players are asking for to make the tourneys a little better.

So...coming into Friday's $560...I was really hoping to see a 9-handed event. Forget it. And that was the tourney I mentioned where I wanted to roll a grenade under my table...Table 51. Remember pumpkin face I talked about? Kept seeing him yesterday...wanted to take his picture so bad and post it on here...but again...trying to fade the ban. NO PICS MONKEY! NO PICS! Also had Mullet Man at my PLO H/L table yesterday...and I DID take his picture! Had to! Its just too good to pass on. But more to just show my close friends, and Squirrel. NO! I will not put it on here! Don't even ask! No BANS MONKEY...NO BANS!!!!

Fast forward to Saturday. I arrive at 11:56. On time. (in my world) There is a line. Then a hold up...as some little old lady is having an issue with her check. *(!@^&!#)

I finally get registered. Table 64...seat.......TEN! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Son of a bitch!  That also happens to be in an area commonly known now to dealers and players alike as the 'IGLOO' as the A/C blows right down on your head....it is freezing! And its the latest breaking tables in the room. So you go there...you aren't leaving! Unless you run out of chips! Or freeze to death and on of the red-shirted EMT's who is always there (another weird oddity about this place...do they have lots of people regularly dying here on property?) has to carry your lifeless body out of the casino.

Harrah's events has this other rule...and it extends to the summer event, and it makes absolutely no sense to me, or anyone else, including dealers and floor supervisors. If you arrive...even 3 minutes late...and the button has just passed you...you cannot play a hand until your big blind. Why? What is the reason? Oh....but you get to still come in with a full stack. BIG EFFING DEAL! I wouldn't have lost anything ANYWAY. So I have to sit there....often times for an entire BLIND LEVEL...waiting for my big blind to arrive so I can play...missing out on the several early opportunities that exist when bad players give away chips early. None of us like it. And I just want to know WHY its a rule. So as I am approaching the table...I see my place is now the big blind....so I quickly get the dealers (a dealer I do not know...must be a local) attention and tell him as he is about to deal that I am in the 10-seat and please deal me in. Does he?

Oh no. He shoots me a quick glance...then continues dealing...completely passing my spot. I have a little mini-freak out...knowing he has just damned me to a 20 to 25 minute holding pattern. In a very important $1090 event. I was livid! Its bad enough I am in the 10-seat AGAIN...but now that? I was very, very close to just walking back to the cage and unregistering and just bailing on the whole tourney. But damn...there were almost 300 entered...around $60k for first...I HAD to take a stab at that! So I go over to talk to that same tourney director I talked to the other day about the 10-handed situation. I first told him what just happened with getting dealt out...and how much I hate that rule in the first place. Not that I expected any relief there...and predictably I didn't catch a break. But on the 10-handed question...I got a very interesting response.

"I tried...but was told it couldn't be done because it wasnt submitted to gaming"

Hmmm.....anyone?

I am completely leaving this one alone...but I will let you all do your own analytical breakdown on that one. Based on everything I have already told you. And your own level of common sense.

That tourney was a complete nightmare. I finally get in...in Level two. AQ. Raise. Get called 4 times. Flop A-10-2. Long story short...other guy has 22. Lose 2400 there. I would get super low after making a hero call against a reknowned bluffer when I had raised his 100/200 limp UTG with JJ to 700...he calls. Flop comes A-2-7. Two spades. He checks. I bet 850. He tanks. Then goes all in for 3500. I tanked. Smelled like another bullshit bluff. Maybe a flush draw. I make the call. He has AK. Sighhh. Damn. I blind all the way down to 750 chips. At 100/200 with 25 ante. Then move in with A10. No one calls. Puts me at 1250. UTG raises. I move all in with AsQs....get called by him with 1010. Flop a Q and it holds. Now have close to 3000. Then on the VERY NEXT hand I get AA. I am getting close to being back in this thing. But I decide, with the table being as aggressive as it's been, that limping here is the way to go...as 85% of the time when I have limped I have gotten raised.

Tim Vance is sitting in the 1-seat and wants to know how many chips I have. Good! I was hoping you'd ask, Tim. "I don't know...$2600 or something" The guy in the seat next to me then very inappropriately tells him exactly what I have. And as I am begging him to raise...he just calls. Which prompts everyone else to just call. And no one raises. Shit. Flop comes Jack high. Two spades. I bet out 700. Tim raises me all in. Everyone folds. I call of course. He has A10. Spades. Shit. Fade the spade, fade the spade...get me back to almost a starting stack...please....turn is an 8...no spade....river is a 7....no spade. Did I win?  The board was J-3-9-8-7.  Yeah. Straight. He claps his hands together..."Yeahhhhh...YEAHHHHHHH!!!!!!".....then makes an attempt at civility..."sorry Monkey."  Yeah...whatever Tim. Fuck. I calmly leave...cursing the poker gods as I make my way to the window to buy into the Omaha H/L tourney...which was the biggest mistake of all time.

I looked at the structure of this event the night before. Looked at it with some other players. We were howling. Starting stack? 5000 chips. Blind levels? 30 minutes.
25/50
50/100
100/200
200/400
300/600
400/800
600/1200
In a POT LIMIT tourney! This thing was designed to end in 3 hours! We went from 78 entries down to 40 in about 90 minutes. It was comical. But hey...who is the dummy for playing? (and losing) ME! Just me! No one else to blame.

Monkey: "hey that water is so blue...and so beautiful...and so warm....wow, I really like swimming...I think I will go for a dip."

Friend:  "Um, I know that water looks really inviting...but as your friend, I have to warn you...its totally infested with man-eating sharks dude. I would really advise you to NOT go in that water."

I really need to start listening to my friends.

I think I have pretty much run out of points. Did we end with #6 or #7? Not sure without scrolling up.

The bottom line is this:

I really LIKE what Harrah's is doing at a lot of their events. And I realize that there MIGHT be a lot of things about THIS event that are affected by the Missouri Gaming people. That's fair enough. I love this event that is coming up in New Orleans...the structures will be AWESOME...the turnout will be great, there will be comps available to a certain extent...special room rates (until they sell out, which they always do down there, and early!) and their will be great dealers and floor people. I am excited about what they have done to the structures for the Summer events at Rio. I really DO think they are listening to the players to a certain extent, and trying to give us better events.

What I do NOT get...is why they would completely shoot themselves in the foot sometimes when they don't have to. Why have super structures on these $560 / $1090 / $1590 and $5k Main events...and then have a lousy structure on the $350's? Why seat 10-handed and irritate everyone when they don't have to? Why not give a $10 food comp with their buy in for all the events and leave a good taste in everyone's mouth? (no pun intended) Why not figure out a way to make things up to the dealers if the $14.50 cap IS because of Missouri Gaming rules? To keep them in the fold as happy and productive employees?

WHY?

I would LOVE to see St. Louis become a regular stop that people flock to. It's geographic location is ideal...I mean...what ISN'T it relatively close to? The property is nice. It's very accessible. The valet here is great. Parking is free. There are lots of choices for food. I mean, its a great venue. And the people around here are clearly excited to have it here. So make it a great event. It doesnt take much. But based on what I have seen here...and what people are saying...I think they whiffed on this one. And it's too bad.

As far as my plan? Take today off. Play all the majors online...although...wow, Ive been writing this now for two hours and its almost 2pm now. Shit! Then play the Megas tomorrow...try to knock down that first one at noon, then play at 7 and win to get back to even, plus some...for the trip. Then play the Main Event on Tuesday...and hope to GOD they arent seating it 10-handed! If I don't Mega my way in...I am OUTA here....for that long ass drive home...to see my wonderful wife and dogs who I miss like crazy. Right after busting out with the AA vs A10 yesterday, she sent me a picture of both my dogs...looking up at her, one with the ball in his mouth, the other just ready to chase after him...and they were so cute. It was perfect timing, and got me 'out of my mood.'

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

I am about done...but I wanted to share something kind of amusing with you people, especially those of you who pride yourselves as being 'decent players.'

Some people consider me to be a 'Sit N Go beast' and wonder why I even bother with playing tourneys. And, well...after winning 4 out of my last 5 SNGs I can begin to see their rationale, but honestly, last year...I didn't do so hot in SNG's but kicked ass in MTT's. Well...this year has been about 50/50 on both.

The bottom line is that I am not in this business to win SNG's. I am in it to win big tourneys...and then a HUGE tourney...and get the hell out! Or at least...not be IN as much. That is the goal. SNG's are just a bankroll builder.

Well, these people up here play...badly. And it is nowhere more evident than in Sit N Gos. Here is your typical SNG here.

First of all the structure on these SNG's are AWESOME:

on the $65 ones...you get 1500 chips with 15 minute levels.
in the $125's you get the same 1500 chips but with 20 minute levels.

The structure?  25/25...25/50...50/100...100/200...200/400....300/600....skip the 400/800 for some reason...which to me is the ONLY hiccup...500/100 ....then 1000/2000 and armageddon! Still...a pretty nice structure for a SNG.

You can literally NEVER go to your table for the first two or three levels....and I promise you it will be 4 or 5 handed when you do come back to it. Patience is SO huge.

I can promise you that your players who are raising to 75 from 25/25 are limited to about ME and maybe 3 or 4 others. Your standard raise is anywhere from 150 to 400. STANDARD. Comical! So when I am getting hands like pocket 2's to pocket 7's I generally just limp. As I do with Ace anything, KQ-K10...QJ...you know...'THOSE' hands. Just limping. I will raise to 75 with ALL quality hands. Top Ten hands. Including AA. When I get that raise to 250...or 300 or even 400 I usually just chuckle and fold. But if I have AA or KK...well, pretty easy there....ALL IN! And laugh to myself again as they fold after having just raised 35% of their stack just to fold. Or I will call their stupid raise with say 99. And when the flop comes 8-10-J...and they C-bet $350 after having raised $250 with their AK...I just move in on them...and either giggle as they fold...or laugh even harder when they call with AK and miss.

There really IS a system to beating these morons...and it works a lot better in SNG's than it does in the tourneys. And I find that when I get 3 and/or 4 handed...they are like putty in my hand. And that might sound cocky...and maybe it is...but there is no more satisfaction in poker than finding out just how much better you are than your opponent. And being in these situations, with these players...you find out pretty quickly just how advanced you are compared to them. And as long as the deck doesnt fuck you...you are going to win some money. Which is what I have done in these last 5 SNG's. Its really pretty much saved my trip. And its that light at the end of the tunnel that I hope leads me to a Mega satellite win tomorrow and then a deep run in the Main Event Tuesday thru Thursday and ends with a pleasant drive home Friday to see my favorite creatures!

Okay....that's all for today! Just woke up to find Squirrel leading our Masters Pool!!! I was in 3rd...only two points out after Friday's round....but fell to 13th yesterday...while she went from about 20th to 1st. Sweet! And with 138 entries in this pool...a win today would be really kick ass for us!!!!

Hope at least 5 of you made it this far! And that you have a wonderful Sunday...wherever you are!

MONKEY

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