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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Las Vegas...Day 15...

One thing about being out here for 7 weeks, a lot happens. Every day. It's really easy to get behind on things, including this blog. I guess one GOOD thing about that is that you start to filter out the bad things, and focus on the good things.

First things first. Congrats to my buddy Jason Young...who ended up 5th at his Final Table that featured Tom "Durrr" Dwan, who, if he had won stood to rake in a huge number in prop bets...but he took 2nd, much to the pleasure of a lot of people NOT including Durr's Mom.

Second, a guy I became friends with through Allie Prescott 3 years ago has had numerous WSOP cashes throughout the past few years...but never won a bracelet, until this week. My first ever Kobe steak was bought for me by Frank Kassella, and my pallet has never been the same since. I've spent a lot of occasions at his beautiful home, golfed with him, and hung out with him when he came to Biloxi. Him and his wife Piper are two of the coolest people I've ever met...and I am so happy for him after watching him win the Stud tourney the other day, edging out Allen Kessler. Frank is one of those guys who is very successful in life...and poker is merely something he does for the pleasure of it...but I know he was really hungry for a bracelet. So congrats to him.

Its been a great summer so far for a lot of players from the Gulf Coast area. I've been telling people for a long time that I sincerely believe that some of the toughest players I go up against come from the Gulf region. Its pretty exciting to see so many of them succeeding out here.

The weather out here has been pretty nice. This week we had 102-108 degree days...mixed in with incredibly windy conditions. Very weird. I have failed to get out and some sun though. One thing I like to do when I am out here is stay tan and feeling good. I've been chasing my deficit every since I got out here...so I find it tough to take days off to just chill out at the pool.

Last night I went with Dan Walsh to Aria to play in their 7pm nightly. 52 players attended. Another small'ish field. We both got down to 2 tables. Then he lost. Kai Landry showed up on the scene...missing out on the tourney but sitting down in a 2/5 game, where he promptly got gut-shotted for a huge pot and was wearing his emotions pretty succinctly. Poor Kai...he is having a year almost as crappy as mine, but he has handled it about as good as you would ever hope to navigate through stormy seas.

Once again, I made the Final Table of the nightly at Aria...thats four times in 10 days. Only problem, they don't necessarily pay 9. Its always 10% of the field...which I am perfectly fine with. Since IF you cash you are actuallly making something. Well, last night...sitting with 14,500 and the blinds having just gone to 1k/2k...I shoved all in with AQ on the button...and got snap called by the BB with AJ. Holding the A of spades...the flop came 10 high with 3 spades. Nice. Turn was the 9 of clubs. River? Jack of hearts. Mother*(Q!^#*!!!!!  And instead of being right back in the thick of things with over 35k and a shot at over 2k for first...I was out, again...just shy of the money.

On hand to get a first-hand view of my bubble was John Abbondanza. This is a guy who I played baseball with, 20 years ago...on a an all-actor baseball team in NYC. Its the same team I played on with Chad Brown. I had not seen him since 1991. We recently caught up with each other on Facebook. I've recently caught up with several guys from that same team. One of the guys...our former shortstop, recently made a movie...."Faded Glory" chronicling that team, and the reunion of the team as it competed in the Over-40 tournament in Arizona. John tracked me down at Binions last week...and we finally managed to hook up and spend an afternoon together after I busted from a tourney. We went to the mall and I bought some new clothes, and a new bag. I've been dragging that same bag around for 3 years now...I was ready for a new one. Then we had lunch and caught up on everyone's lives, including our own.

Finally, we went to play cash game at O'Sheas. John is admittedly a novice poker player...so I tried to give him some impromptu tips on the fly before we went down to 'do work' at O'Sheas. He would end up fairing pretty well...making a decent $200 profit over 5 hours. Me on the other hand? I had another killer session...in for $400 and out with $1450. I am up almost $2,000 playing cash game at that place. It's quickly becoming clear to me that I should just be sitting down there every day playing cash game.

I almost won a tourney the other day. I went to Golden Nugget expecting to play the noon NL Hold Em event...but upon arriving discovered they had a Omaha 8 or better tourney that day. Sweet. So I played that. I was up and down all day...win a huge pot, lose a huge pot...get hot for a while, get cold for awhile. As soon as I started thinking I was heading for a final table cash...I would get blasted down to 5 BB's. Then I would go on a tear and get up over 80k in chips. I would end up eventually getting heads up for the win. On the 3rd hand in I got absolutely coolered on a hand that nearly wiped me out. This guy held a 12-1 lead on me. But the structure was still pretty good...and I was determined to make a big comeback. 1st was good for $5500, 2nd for $3500. I wanted that first place money. I would get it back to a 5-1 deficit...and started thinking I was going to pull it off. But then...after flopping 10-3-3 and holding K-Q-3-4...we would get all the chips in....and he was sitting on A-3-10-9. Damn.  He knocked me out with trip threes and an ace kicker. I was bummed...but at the same time, it was nice to replenish my dwindling bankroll. And get the taste of victory back in my mouth.

The day before that, I would get down to 16 in the NL tourney there...with them paying 9...and get it all in with 10-10...holding 8 BB's...and got snap called by Ad10d. One diamond on an aceless flop....then he goes runner runner diamonds for the flush...and I was out...and again, disappointed with another 10-hour+ day and no money to show for it.

There has been a lot of that on this trip. In one sense, I know that I am playing well. I know that the competition in these places is incredibly soft...and that my chances to win are probably a lot better than they would be if I was playing in these massive WSOP fields. Granted, I'm not going to go home a millionaire this summer...but I do feel like I have a good chance to get out of here with $15-$30k if things go right. And that would be perfectly fine with me, to be honest. Sure, its incredibly deflating to play all day and then bubbling...but I have to admit, this medication that Cheryl got me on...its really doing wonders. The bad beats are not affecting me anywhere near as bad as they used to. I am noticing that I am a lot less hostile at the table about stupid things that used to irritate me. When you are out here for 7 weeks, and you are playing every day...the propensity to drive yourself crazy or be driven crazy is a very real possibility. So you have to find a way to deal with it.

My roomie Don went home today for a week or so. I drove him to the airport at 5am. He had some business stuff and family stuff to take care of back home. And I'm pretty sure he was missing his wife and kids a lot, too. He isnt the 'veteran' of the road like I am. He has had a weird trip. He was getting deep in almost everything like I've been doing...only difference between him and I was that he was usually cashing, whereas, I have been bubbling. The bad thing is that he has been cashing light...before either getting coolered (running KK into AA in the $1500 at Rio) or sucked out on (QQ vs. A10 at Venetian in the $550). He has had a bunch of chances to make some great money...but came away dejected at the min cash. No one understands this better than I do. But as supportive as he has been of me, I've tried to be there to help talk him off the ledge as well! He's a helluva player, and he will make his big score before too long. He's also a great poker roomie...very considerate, doesn't snore, doesn't talk my ears off...and doesn't wake me up when he comes in. Occasionally brings me food...which is very cool!

Haven't done much socially in the last week. Probably would have hung out with Jason after his nice score, but he went home to New York for a week or so...and according to his Facebook update, hosted a big night out on him at one of his local hangouts up there. That's Jason...winning a bunch of money, then treating his friends to a night out. He flew home on Virgin Airlines...first class...and sat next to Floyd Mayweather...he was pretty psyched about that...and sent me this picture. I have to admit, when I looked at it, I had no idea who the guy was....he just sent me a message..."1st class back to NY...he's the man!"
Yeah....J-Young is having a great summer so far. Good for him. Hell, good for a lot of the people I have become friends with the past 5 years. 2010 has been really, really good to a lot of really good people in my life. I'm incredibly happy for them all.

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On another note...the left foot finally fell in the criminal investigation of the piece of shit who robbed our house in January. Thanks to the writer who followed up on his whereabouts. I got a call the other day from the detective, telling us that they had gone up to Birmingham to serve a warrant on the guy for the Biloxi PD's case against him. He had already been arrested and charged with multiple counts of Identity Theft...so Biloxi PD went up there and served a warrant for the Burglary charge and had him extradited down to Harrison County Jail...where JODY ERIC WHEELER now sits waiting trial for robbing my house. Its a weird deal. I mean, I am glad that he is no longer galivanting around terrorizing the innocent on his little crime spree. At the same time...it's kind of an empty feeling because I know he pretty much spent all the money he stole from us, and that our chances to get anything back are pretty slim. But yeah...I'm glad his ass is in jail finally.

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What else? Hmmmm....the World Cup started yesterday. The US plays England today. And while I am not a big soccer guy...I love watching the World Cup. These countries get so into it. The drama of the event is evident...you can feel the tension when you are watching every game. Our team is pretty good I think...here in Vegas, they have them as a 5.5-1 underdog against England today and a 15-1 shot to win the whole tournament...not too bad of odds, I don't think. Should be an exciting month.

USC just got bitch slapped like we all suspected they were about to get. Probation, loss of scholarships, no bowl appearances for two years. And all because of Reggie Bush while he was there. Guess now we all know why Pete Carroll took the job coaching my Seahawks. I wonder how Reggie Bush is feeling this week. I am guessing he isn't too shaken up about it. Meanwhile, the Big 12 conference is coming apart at the seems....losing Colorado to the Pac-10 and Nebraska to the Big-10. And next it looks like 6-8 of the other teams are going next. The Pac-10 looks like its about to become the premier conference in college football. I don't understand where this came from, or why? Besides the age-old reason...MONEY. But it just kind of came out of nowhere.

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Very sad news coming out of Arkansas, as a flash flood overwhelmed and killed 17 people with more missing. A lot of them children. And while that is going on...the oil spill, which killed 11 workers on that rig...continues to plague the entire Gulf of Mexico, and now has reached epic proportions. It just saddens me to watch the news and see the shots of birds covered in oil, and see the wetlands and marshes coated in oil. The fishermen, the oyster farmers, the hotels and restaurants along the coast...a LOT of people are being affected, and I just hate it for all of my fellow Gulf Coasters. I just hope to God they get that leak stopped, and then aggressively get their mess cleaned up.

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I think that's about it for today. I think I will go down to the pool and get 2 or 3 hours of sun...then go play the afternoon tourney at Aria. Again...to all of you who have come up to tell me you read my blog, I am flattered. I appreciate you checking in on me and taking an interest. It's really cool to put a face with a name. Hope to see more of you in the next month or so. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Monkey


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