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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day One in Tunica....not goood, not good....

Well, I've had better days...and I've had worse days. Couldn't sleep worth a damn after getting in at 4am. But I made it over to Goldstrike 15 mins early...only to find a line running down the hallway. Dang. Oh well, I guess its good that they have a good turnout at least, right!!?? Better a long line than NO line! Ended up being a total of 262.

I started out hot. Got AK about 7 times. Once, I flatted in the SB with it on a 6 way limped pot. Flopped top pair and got a guy to stuff his whole stack in with a flush draw, that somehow missed. About a 12k pot there. On another I flopped a flush with a straight flush draw...got about 3500 in there trying to push them out, 400 on the flop and 1100 on the turn, that called by both...but a non-straight flush completing river club doomed my hand.

On another hand...I could have crushed my eventual nemesis if I had just called his heavy pre-flop raise UTG with what turned out to be 33 when I had AhQd...he did get one other caller in the SB. Flopped all hearts, turned a Q. Rivered a heart. Ugh...that one stung.

Had a pretty friendly table, though I am really sticking to my guns of doing as little chatting as possible with everyone. Though I have to admit, I had a lot of guys coming up wanting to talk, since I hadn't seen a lot of them in quite awhile. Some I remembered, some, not really. Always feel bad when a guy wants to recite a hand that we played against each other a year or so ago and I have no recollection of him or obviously the hand.

I grew my 10k stack to 45k by level 6 and was really starting to like my chances to at least cash and hopefully get deep. And then players started hovering around our table and seeing my stack and I could hear the buzz. However, everytime I get a healthy stack early, disaster always seems to be looming. But I tried very hard to dispell that trend.

And then right on cue...here comes Roz Jordan, who historically kills me. She knows it, I know it...its just one of those things, like the sun rising in the West and taxes making you want to kill yourself. She smiled as she sat down...and I went into my typical 'top three hands only' stance while she was present. So on the 5th hand, in the BB with the blinds 300/600...this guy raises to 3000! I look down at 99. Good bye! Fold! Nice try Roz. Now don't get me wrong...I love Roz...she's very cool! Hell, she IS on my Facebook! And she's a fantastic dealer. Just one of those things. Well, I played as tight as a guy can play while she was there for 30 minutes....and when she pushed out and I was only -2200 on her visit (blinds and antes) I felt pretty good about my chances!!!

But then...in Level 7...here it came. First ding I took was when I raised with Ad10d...and a guy who had one move and one move only....ALL IN...and had been jamming constantly...moves in on me. I had 45k in my stack. Had just raised 3500. With his all in there was 10k in the pot and it was 5k to call. Two to one odds, and a likely possibly that I was live and possibly even ahead. I made the call. He had AK. Damn. But the flop came 7d-8c-9d. Wow! Can't get much better than that. But would I hit a flush or a straight or a ten? Hell no. Strike one!

A while later a guy would move all in for 13,000 when the blinds were 1000/2000, and sitting on 28,000 and holding 99 I called. He had J9. The dealer flops him a JACK...but also puts three hearts out there, with me holding a heart. The turn brought a straight draw for us both....the river brought absolutely nothing. Wonderful.

I blind down. Shove all in with AQ and AK and then raise with KK and get no action on none of them but do get back to 20k. Then blind down some more....and fold hands like A5 suited, KJ suited and 77 to all in shovers. Then finally a guy shoves for 8500 and I have KQ...and decide to try and make something happen and call. He has A10. Flop comes J-10-7. Wow, again...open ended, with two live cards. Again...I miss them all. Damn.

Now I'm super short. End up getting all in with 5-6. Flop 7-5-6. Two guys in a side pot check the flop. Then they check the turn....which was a 2. Then the river brings another 7. Guy bets huge. Fuck! I just got killed I think. Yep. He has A-7. Awesome. Out. In level 8. 45th. Paying 27. But with this structure...it wasnt a 8 or 10-hour non-cash grind like most of them this summer. It was still only 6pm when I got zapped. But still it hurt, given my nice start.

While I was running good Frank Kassela showed up and hung out near my table for awhile making small talk. Not sure how many of the other players know who he is or what he accomplished this summer. I'm sure by November they will ALL know who he is! Not that it matters much to me, I know who he is, right?

While he was there I kept getting great hands and winning nice pots. Wish he could have stayed the whole time. He just got into town and came to play the $2500 Pot Limit Omaha tourney...which was delayed while they were waiting on another friend, Chad Brown to arrive. Chad finally showed up around 3pm and they got things going. They only ended up getting 11 players I think...half of which were buddies of mine, Frank, Chad, Tim Burt, Gabe Costner...it only paid 3 and it ended up being Frank, Chad and some young kid from Georgia, who after playing heads up with Frank for almost 5 hours, would finally win.

Frank was all bummed out, and I kind of had to laugh at him. Hell he just won 1.2 million this summer and he was all bent out of shape about a $13,000 for 1st and $8000 for 2nd tournament. But thats cool...I've always maintained that Frank doesnt play this game so much for the money as for the win...he's competitive, like I am...and just really likes to win. I respect that. He quickly got over the loss as we went over to Waffle House at 3am and met some dealers over there. It was pretty fun actually. The dealers all like to tease me about my current 'situation' that exists, and honestly, I'm perfectly fine with it. I try to be a good sport. And the food, as always at Waffle House...was awesome!

While Frank was playing heads up I was playing Sit n Go's all night. I played a total of 5. The first two went badly....finishing 8th and 9th. The 3rd one I finished 4th. The 4th one I finished 5th. But the last one, I finally booked a win...and it included a $200 last longer...so it was a nice way to end the day. And I even booked a little $105 profit in one hour of cash game earlier in the night. So the day wasn't a complete disaster by any means. And I'm not gonna lie, while my wife and I both agree that I should limit my drinking while up here, and I know they are ALL watching me to guage my behaviour, I did take the chance to enjoy a few Coors Lights and had a pretty fun evening playing with a lot of great guys, including my buddy Bobby Smith, who works the floor sometimes and deals other times and who I have known for 7 years now. He played in a couple of my SNG's and we had some good laughs. You know, one thing about SNG's...its always a completely different mindset than tourneys...and are usually so much fun. We had a good bunch of people last night and despite not winning as much as I would have liked to win...it was a whole lot of fun.

Today there is a $240 tourney at noon and then a $1k at 2pm. Frank is intending to play them both. Hilarious. I 'offfered' him a chance to put me in the 1k, since its not in my backers' and I budget right now. He wanted to see how many played first. I've put the over/under at 91 players. We'll see how that goes. For now I will just go play at noon, try to chip up...and see what happens at 2pm. I like the 15k starting stack and the longer blind levels in the 1k. Not sure if the blind structure is any different.

You have your usual crowd up here. The farmers, the numerous camouflague wearing guys. A mullet here and there. And they still like to chase their draws for any price. It's obviously frustrating. But I am keeping everything bottled up very well. I was very nice upon getting knocked out of the tourney, and even went by the table to see how they were doing later. I'm trying really hard to show everyone I've 'softened' up a little. I mean...I really feel like I have...it's not just being phony. But at the end of the day, it would still be awfully nice to book a decent win. It would be especially nice to do it up here. Preferably sooner than later!

They have a very good group of dealers for this event. And the poker room is great as always. The hotel has plenty of rooms. And they are giving out buffet comps if you make the dinner break. Red Bulls are free. The valet parkers were all very polite and timely. And my refridgerator in my room is COOOOOLD...the Gatorade at 5am was awesome! Okay....

Back at home...my wife's good friend had a baby last week. That Squirrel is amazing, she has been taking her over meals and stuff. And last night the girl spent the night at our house. Now...I have two dogs. Mollie, the younger one who is just half crazy, but so sweet and loveable. And Jasper, my older lab...who has started to get VERY attached to Cheryl and kind of hurts my feelings now when I'm home because its obvious my absence has caused him to grow a little more loyal to her. :( Well, when I'm gone he sleeps on the bed in MY spot. So last night, Cheryl was real curious to see how Mollie would react to this baby. A couple years ago when we were pregnant we were a little concerned how that would go with her. Well, fortunately we had her eagle-claws clipped before I left. So Cheryl texts me that Mollie is acting very freaked out by the baby...coming up...sniffing it...then running away! I bet it was hilarious. Then later she texts me that Jasper is acting all jealous...grunting and moaning and acting like a baby himself. I wish I was there to see that. My dogs crack me up. There ARE our kids!

Thats your Day 1 wrap up. Time to get back after it!!!!

Monkey

Monday, July 26, 2010

On the Road to Tunica.....

....a place I said I would NEVER, EVER again visit...and yet, here we are, sitting in the parking lot of Best Buy...having just bought a laptop 'chiller' to set my laptop on and keep it from overheating. (the damn thing doesn't set right, and I'm close to walking it back in there and swapping it out for another one! Is that my O.C.D. taking over?)

I also tried to get the new 'FLO-TV' handheld unit...which is a snappy new piece of technology that allows you to watch TV...literally watch TV...from, well...the poker table! And its pretty cheap, $150 for the unit...then $17 a month or something for the service. What could be better in my attempts at a 'new image' that involves me having NO involvement with people at the table than to have a TV to watch, along with my iPod to listen to? Well...my luck, neither store in Biloxi had it. So now I will be 'sans FLO-TV' on my trip to CottonLand. Wonderful.

Well, try as I did to never go to this place...some things in life just can't be avoided. And if getting back into the Beau Rivage is dependant upon me completing a 'rehab assignment' in Tunica, then so be it. I am literally taking $2000...and completely expect to come home on Saturday with none of it. We are calling this a $2000 'investment' on getting back into my home casino. Kind of pathetic...I know, but I am becoming 'The Conforming Monkey' these days...so I am biting the bullet and taking one for the team.

Took a quick tour thru the Verizon store and discovered I was eligible for a free upgrade to their newest wireless internet toy...so of course I took them up on their offer...so we shall see how much better this one is than my previous one...if at all. I am actually quite pleased with Verizon and their service over the 2 years I have used them. My effing Cable One signal seems to go out every night at some point...and usually after I've just raised with AA deep in a tourney on some online poker room ...so as well as being my 'on the road' internet provider that gets me away from the hotels and their $13.99 a day bullshit charge...it also saves me in home emergencies.


I was supposed to have left yesterday for Tunica...but a couple things stopped me. One: The yard again needed to be mowed, and it pretty much rained all day. Two: I wanted to try and pop something in the Sunday majors. I came close on a couple, finishing 14th in one and 30th in another...good for not much...and in the 1 Million Dollar Turbo Takedown, where 1st was good for $60,000....I finished 1325th out of like 19,000 or something for $130. Woo-hoo! I also won a satellite into another satellite for that new contest they have to win that kickass Lamborghini. Now my question...if someone normal (like me) wins this thing...how the FUCK are they going to afford to pay the insurance on it? I guess I'll worry about it after I win it!

So yeah, I pretty much broke even for the day. Which is about what I've been doing since I got home from Vegas. The 4 day respite from poker while we went to the beach with family was kind of nice, actually. The wife made some wonderful dinner, and we got a good night of sleep. I woke up and got after mowing the grass. Holy crap, it just keeps getting harder and harder. Mainly its the ghastly heat and humidity. But the yard looks awesome. And now, like I have the last few times I did the yard work, I am wrestling with a tremendous headache that I have figured out is a result of the intense heat and subsequent sweating I do.

Squirrel took Mollie to get her 9-inch nails of death clipped, and to cash a check I wrote her for some Tunica cash...only the bitches at the bank wouldn't cash it, and almost caused her to have a panic attack. Something about signatures not matching. Whatever. These banks can be such assholes about letting you have access to your OWN money. What I really love is how they only ALLOW you take out $500 a day from the ATM. I mean...it is OUR money, right? Just making sure. Or how about Bank of America? If you travel any significant distance...and try to make a charge...BOOM! Declined! Why? They are trying to 'protect you.' Because they see it as abnormalities on your account. Yeah...what it is is fucking embarassing when that waitress walks back over to your table with that fucked up facial expression on her face that we all know...I mean...since we were 18 right? Uh-oh...she has that 'your card's been declined sir' look on her face. WHAT NOW!???

I have yet to make a room reservation in Tunica. Yeah, its safe to say my heart isn't in this trip. Did finally hear from my backer this morning, in the form of an email. That was nice. Was getting a wee bit nervous...hadn't heard from her since Vegas. She was very encouraging. And actually had some good advice: Pretend like you are somewhere other than Tunica. Hmmm....I shall give that a shot!

I would have snagged a couple of movies from Redbox...except for two things: 1) I'm pretty sure I have seen just about every new title out there, including 'Green Zone' which we stopped and rented on the way back from Destin the other night. Pretty good movie. Thought Matt Damon was very solid in his role. 2) I highly doubt there is ANYWHERE in Tunica where I could drop the movie off at after I had finished it. So we will hope that the new modem has lightning fast connection speed and I will attempt to watch something on streaming video on NETFLIX.

Meant to give a shout out to Tim Thompson...one of my most avid supporters, both on this blog and in general. He snapped off a nice tourney on Pokerstars a couple weeks ago...for like $4k. Those are tough as hell to win...I think we all know that. So big props to Tim!

To Mrs Cutler! I know you read my blog. Your son, Joseph...who I thought was a good friend of mine? Ever since these marriage plans of his I and several of his other friends have ceased to exist in his world. In fact, he literally has failed to even return a phone call or text in the last 3 weeks. I would show concern for his well-being...but I just can't bring myself to think anything has befallen him, except the lovebug. So please...tell that little son of your to please contact me! And oh...thanks for reading my blog, maam. :)

Um...okay that's about enough. Time to get the hell on the road. According to my calculations...being 7:30pm now...I should be getting up there after midnight...which, I guess is okay, assuming I get a room!!! Hotel Toyota isn't as great as it was when I was about ten years younger!

Monkey

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ahhhhh....home at last!

I don't know what it is about being in your own bed that always seems to make you sleep better. I pulled into Biloxi at 9am...33 hours of non-stop driving that saw me fill the tank 6 times, watch 7 1/2 movies and lose $450 playing online poker. On the trip out I won $900. So I almost covered the cost of my gas on the drive. Lets see if I can remember the movies:

1. "The Grand". Poker movie. Pretty funny. Sclakky (sic) poker-term references, but some funny, deadpan humor. Multiple characters that are intentionally mocking real life players. Watch it and see if you can pin the actual player on each one.

2. "She's Out of Your League." Kind of a feel-good movie about the dork who somehow gets the school's hottie to fall in love with him. Now if only stories like this one really happened, it would be even more enjoyable. But there was just NO WAY this pairing would ever happen. Not in this lifetime.

3. "Unthinkable." Movie about an American-turned-Muslim who plants 3 nukes around the country then makes demands, gets arrested, gets the shit tortured out of him by Samuel L. Jackson until he gives up the location. Mix in the socially and Constitutionally protecting Helen Brody and you have a movie to make yourself ask the important question: Is the safety of 5 million Americans more important than the brutal torture of one psychotic terrorist?

4. "Hachi" I think that's what it was called. Richard Gere and his family find a stray dog. The dog changes their lives. Richard Gere's character dies. Family is sad. I got home. Its still in my car stereo. Would have watched the rest but I was too excited to go inside and see my own dogs!

5. "The Men Who Stare at Goats." Hmmm...this movie was a trip. I think its one of those films that if you watched it over and over you would pick up more and more. A special branch of the military is developed to basically 'mind-fuck' the enemy. George Clooney was actually really, really good in this. I think that ever since the day my Actor-roomie Bill Buehmiller took me to his 'buddy' George Clooney's house up in the Hollywood hills back in 1997 to shoot hoops on Clooney's kickass basketball court that was lined with those misters along the top of the fence...before misters became standard in every hot place...ever since that day...I think Clooney has become a much better actor. I am taking full credit for that.

6. "The Bounty Hunter." Quite possibly the most boring movie I have seen all year. I wanted to go see this at the theatre with the wife so bad...so glad I didn't. Jen Aniston pretty much plays the same exact character in every movie shes in. And I guess, so does Gerard Butler.

7. "Chloe." Now this movie was actually pretty good. Good cast...Amanda Siefreid...who we get to see in a pretty hot lesbo scene with Julianne Moore, and Liam Neeson who gets set up as a cheating husband by the little scheming skank. I have to admit, I spotted the conspiracy early on. The daft might have a harder time figuring it out. Pretty good flick.

8. "Invictus." Morgan Freeman is once again playing the role of a President..which he seems to do very well, this time as Nelson Mandela. Matt Damon plays a rugby player, who has to fight through the upheaval that takes place in South Africa after the old regime ended, apartheid was undone, and Mandela was freed from prison and elected President. It centers around the inspiring performance of S.Africa's rugby team in the World Cup, and their ability to bring the whole country together. It was a damn fine movie. And Matt Damon actually pulled off the accent pretty well.

I would like to thank RedBox, for coming up with a genius idea a couple years ago, putting a crippling death grip around the neck of WalletBuster Video, and conveniently plopping those red vending machines in just about every Wal-Mart and Wal-Greens around the nation...making driving cross country a joy. I wish I knew just how much ONE of those boxes costs them to manufacture, and how much they pay in overhead with the cost associated with servicing them. For the most part they run themselves. $1 a day for movies? Beautiful concept.

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I finally just unpacked my car. Got home at 9am yesterday. Squirrel was still here. Found out just outside of Dallas that she was leaving for home in the morning and would miss me. Huh!!??? So I stepped on the gas and made 95 the whole way home and caught her! We spent about an hour 'catching up' and then she was off to Florence for the weekend. I cuddled with my dogs for awhile then passed out. Woke up to my phone constantly buzzing...people were texting me about Gabe Costner...including Claudia, who was there in person sweating him. At one point his stack hit 10,900,000 and was chipleader. Wow.

I started thinking back to 2008, when we shared a house together. When he had a sick ass summer, getting deep constantly, final tabling the $2000 event, before playing bully and blowing up his stack and going out 8th. But he still won a lot that summer...should have won more. But then what he did win he managed to cake off, mostly in the big 50/100 cash game at Rio. It was making me sick. And Claudia was helping him. So all I could do yesterday was imagine what would happen if Gabe made the Final Table...which guaranteed a million (okay 811k for 9th), would he somehow manage to spend all that on other ventures? Or did losing everything make him see the light? I've had a few dealers whispering in my ear that the two of them have been at it again...since Gabe took 3rd a month ago for $278k...putting in long hours in the big cash game. I mean...it's not my money, so some might say..."Hey Monkey, what do you care? Mind your own business! He can do whatever he wants with his money, he won it! Fuck off dude!" Right? And I suppose they would be right. I guess it comes from caring about Gabe. About caring about what a nice chunk of money like that can do for your life. About being responsible with it. And I guess that when you see a friend make that kind of score, you are naturally a bit envious...and when you see them blow that money, it kind of pisses you off because you just sit there and think about how YOU would have protected that money, and made it last. Make sense?

Well, things went from the Penthouse to the Outhouse pretty quickly for Gabe yesterday. He came back from the dinner break and was out in about an hour or two. Guys were raising into him with AK...he was jamming, getting called by JJ and not hitting. I think that scenario happened twice. Could he have helped what happened? I don't know. Maybe. Maybe not. Its a tough call. Sometimes when you get deep in a tourney you get wrapped up in the moment...relationships (both good and bad) develop between certain players. This is what I know about AK...when I am deep in a tourney. If a player is raising that late, he generally has a good hand. If he is one of the shorter stacks, and he is raising me, and I am the chipleader at the table...I immediately think he might just have a pretty good hand. And if he is raising the chipleader, he probably is not going to fold if I re-pop him. Sometimes, yes...but usually, no. So...if I am raised in that scenario...holding AK...I like to flat the raise. If I should hit the A or the K...I am about 85% certain to be good, and can check raise the guy and put him to a major decision...or get coolered by a set, and be grateful that I am still in the tourney. But if I miss the flop completely, check to the guy, and he goes all in or bets huge...its a real easy fold. And it didn't cost me much. And having a controlling stack in that situation, I feel like I can raise with pretty marginal hands a couple times after that and recoup what I just gave up by calling that raise...and regain any momentum that I lost.

I am sure that there are those will disagree with me here. Those who think that getting 25-30% of your stack into the middle with overs against a pair is just fine. I just don't think its the best strategy. But I've been watching Gabe play for a long time...and this is his style, and you can't argue with his results. Hell, I've been braggin on him for years now, even tried to get some big boys to stake him last summer when he was just about stone broke. So don't take it as me baggin Gabe. Just exploring the situation, and what he might have done different.

So Gabe was put out 35th. For $255k I think it was. So add it all up and Gabe made about half a million bucks this summer. WOW! How awesome is that? I just pray to God that he will take care of that money. Gabe, if you're reading this...and would like to give me about 150k of that to protect for you...I would be happy to! I will stick it in my new safety deposit box and hide the key from you!

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A guy I have played with for awhile and just joined my Facebook list...and played some tourneys with this summer at Aria...had a nice finish as well, finishing 77th for 95k. Congrats to Adam Etter.

Then we have another guy...who hangs out with a bunch of guys who all think I'm a fucking nit. Who think I play too tight. And yet...here we are...down to 19 players...and he has been grinding a shortstack now for three days...playing the Short Stack Ninja Monkey style that I have perfected! So its safe to say that I am living vicariously through John Dolan's stack right now! As I just look at the chipcounts, he appears to have just doubled up...as he now has 9 million, which is the most he has had all tourney. Man...this will be exciting as shit if he makes the November Nine.

Then there is a guy I desperately do NOT want to see make the November Nine. Duheeeeee the Trophy Theif...who refuses to go away. I guess at some point I have to give the prick some credit for being a pretty fair player. After all, he was chipleader at my final table of that $350 tourney at Venetian with 959 players...and had the lead all the way til we got three handed and me and 'Drags' from Macedonia sliced and diced his ass up. Regardless, he took the trophy when he finished 3rd...and I just can NEVER respect a guy like that. So I hope he flops quads and gets rivered by a straight flush by a guy who has him covered by ONE CHIP!

Another guy I know, but not too well, is John Racener. He is friends with Allie Prescott and some of those other guys I don't hang out with much. He is kind of a spooky dude. I met a girl last summer, she was a waitress at Sapphire, who dated him for awhile...and she had some bizarre stories. He seems kind of introverted whenever I see him. But I do know this...he is a ridiculously talented player. He definitely has a great chance to win this thing. He has a couple of great scores already to his credit.

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After my little nap yesterday I got online and played a session. I kept getting deep and getting fucked. Big shock. But then, in that $5.50 Omaha H/L tourney that I seem to keep making the final table on...I went on another tear. I registered for it about an hour in...and had already faded 50 players...all bad I'm sure. It is inconcievable how bad the players are in Omaha H/L. On that site I just got turned onto...FeltStars? I have been playing only that game...and have tripled my buyin already. Well in this tourney last night...I was in the top 5 most of the game...then we got down to 14 players. I was 4th. This guy at the table had 400k and was a massive chipleader. I then noticed a trend. This prick was potting almost every hand preflop. And no one would stand up to him. And if someone called his raise...he would fire POT after the flop regardless. Hmmm. I decided it was time to stand up to this fucker. To make a long story short...His 400k and my 88k just about flip-flopped. In fact...they did. When we were down to 12...and I had 300k and he had 140k I literally typed into the chat bar..."you know guys...this might be the first time we see a guy with 400k, and 5 from the final table...not even make the final table." Guess what? He went out 10th! It was amazing. When we got to the final table...I had 500k in chips. There were only 1.5 million in play. I never lost my chiplead.

I did make a couple of bad/stupid calls along the way...but most of them I was priced into and holding a high hand and a low hand...so I was gambling on a chop pot. I almost lost my chiplead once...but recovered quickly. When I got heads up, I had the guy 1m to 500k. He had a chance. But the guy was absolutely horrible heads up. He was going to need a miracle. He almost got it. We managed to get all our chips in on a hand where I had him all the way to the river, but he hit a two outer on me and now he had me 1m to 500k. The difference in money was only $130...but that wasnt the point. I really wanted to win this damn thing. I caught up quick. He was a folding machine. Rarely raised on the button. Folded to almost every min raise by me. And eventually I just wore him down and finally buried him.

It felt good to go to bed a winner. And I thought it was 1am when I finished. Then realized the clock on my computer and cell phone were still set to Las Vegas time. Whoa! So it was 3am! Damn! Fell asleep immediately and didnt wake up until 3pm today!

I just played a mini-session and didn't cash anything...so I will try again after posting this. I witnessed the typical Saturday online bullshit...guys calling raises...the calling the C-bet...with overs...calling again on the turn...and then sometimes even calling the river with Ace high...or god forbid, hitting their ace on the river. If I was incarcerated, and was able to play online poker while I was in there....and only online poker...I think after about a year...I would ask the warden to strap me into the electric chair and kill my ass!

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This seems like a good time to return the movies back to RedBox...thus avoiding another whopping $4 charge.

Getting home I was made immediately aware of the difference between 108 and dry...and 85 and humid. Holy shit!

My lawn is in desperate need of a mowing. I will attempt to find the motivation to do that tomorrow.

Today I tried to watch a 'friendly' match between some soccer team from England's Premier League and the MLS's San Jose Earthquakes...seeing if I could feed off of the excitement from the World Cup. I made it about 7 minutes. See ya in about 4 years, soccer. It was fun.

Who do you think would win in a catfight between Lindsay Lohan and Miley Cyrus? I think its a pretty good question...one that I think about a lot.

My dog Jasper is still addicted to his ball...and chasing it and returning it. And my other dog Mollie is still addicted to playing with, then destroying, stuffed animals. Oh...and chasing that laser light all over the living room, determined to catch it and kill it. My money is on the laser light.

I spent 7 weeks in Vegas and never once got to take a hot bath while reading my book. I will be doing that tonight. Can't wait.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think Reba McIntyre looks like a frog? Ribbbit, ribbbit.

I think I'm done here.


Monkey

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Somewhere in New Mexico

It is 12:19pm. I am stopped at some gas station, about 60 miles from the Texas border. I decided to take I-40 home this time. Not sure why exactly. Maybe to avoid reminders of last summer's triumphant return home.

I've come to the conclusion that there must be as many SUBWAY's at 'along the highway' gas stations as there are McDonalds in most major cities. I am currently watching "The Bounty Hunter" which I rented at the REDBOX. I am finding it to be incredibly boring. I stopped for gas. Then was feeling tired, thought I would try to sleep, but just cant. Hate that.

Earlier in the trip...I watched "The Grand" on NetFlix...back when I had a solid connection on my Verizon Wireless and was still able to play online poker. Poker. Shit. I cashed a few times...but what I kept getting was two and three outed. Guy shoves with A3, I call with AK. Hits a 3. Guy shoves with K5. I call with AK. Why not hit a 5. I should be up about $500 on this drive. Instead I am stuck $150. Its pissing me off. But there is still nothing worse than being in 3 or 4 games with a decent stack...and BOOM...I lose my signal. Drive, and drive.....waiting for the damn signal to come back. Fortunately, I'm not playing in anything over $20.

Speaking of "The Grand," its a poker movie that was made a couple years ago. Never even heard of it. Hmmmm...or did I? Maybe I do recall that getting done around the time I was in the 2006 Main Event. At any rate....it was pretty funny. The typical bad poker references...but some funny ass characters.

I left Vegas last night around 10pm. Laid around the hotel all day sweating Christian Iacobellis and following the stacks of several other friends and acquaintances. Christian busted near the end of the night...when his 10's went up against A10...the guy rivered a damn ace. Allie Prescott took a pretty awful beat too....getting his KK in against AK and losing to a river ace as well. Such a bummer. Gabe survived and has a lot of chips. There are some fine players still remaining. But that little fucker Duy Le is still in the top 5. Ugh. Hate that guy.

Christian called Kaizen and ordered us a shit load of sushi...which I went and picked up and delivered to his kickass pad for the summer at Turnberry up by the Hilton. We wolfed it down while I watched him get heads up in the $109 nightly tourney on Full Tilt. He ended up getting 2nd for...something like 4k. That guy is pretty sick. He is a great guy too. Two nights ago, me, him..his buddy Matt and BJ McBrayer and I finally made a trip to the Spearmint Rhino. All summer...7 weeks, and I hadn't stepped foot in the place. Made sure to let the wife know we were going there. Well, Christian really treated us...paying for a table and multiple bottles to keep us entertained. And never once making me feel guilty about my limited contribution to the cause. I really wasnt looking forward to going there, but I actually had a really good time...and it was nice to just sit there and catch up with him and BJ and just talk about shit other than poker. And yes...as usual, the place was packed with beauties. But whatever, all I really did was think about how excited I was to get home and see my wife...who blows most of those girls away, anyway.

There are now, literally 4 guys in poker...who no matter how good I run, or how bad I slump, are always going to be the same guys. Its awfully nice to have guys like that in your life. Because this game is so depressing, and so humbling sometimes. Its funny how some people will just flee from you when your running bad. Taking this long drive cross country, it really gives me a lot of time to think about things. All kinds of things. Things like...what is really important in life. Things like...how lucky I am to have the people I have in my life. To have my health. To have a good marriage. To have a great family. I mean...its been an absolutely horrible year from a poker standpoint. And some of the people who control my ability to play at certain venues have brought a lot of anguish to my life...but you know what? Somethings, you just have to spend only a certain amount of time dwelling on things like that. And I think maybe this summer, I spent too much time worrying about things I have no control over.

I'm just really focused now on making the 2nd half of 2010 like the first half of 2009. I can't think of any reason why that would be impossible. I mean, honestly...I feel like I played exceptionally well this summer. I got deep in about 75% of the tourneys I played...and just couldnt get hands to hold up...or get people to fold when they were drawing tremendously thin. There is nothing I can do about that. I know the meds I got on before New Orleans in May are definitely helping me tremendously as far as dealing with the beats. I'm having a lot easier time keeping things in perspective. Trust me...if I suddenly go somewhere and snap off a $30 to $50k score...you won't see one ounce of cockiness out of me. Oh sure...I will be happy, and more than anything, relieved...and I will sure be happpy for my backer...who had a rough summer with me, similar to the one two years ago. But I'll say this: I am sure ready to experience that feeling again!

Well...since I don't seem to be able to sleep, this could turn out to be another marathon 'Cannonball Run-like' trip home...might as well pop and aderol, go get a Subway...pop in another movie...and keep it going.

Hey, thanks for all your comments. I love em. And thanks for all your guys' support this summer, both here and on my Facebook. Everytime I get close to giving up, it seems like one of you always brings me down off the ledge!

Monkey

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My Final Las Vegas Post...for real.

The template on my blog editor is all screwed up. And I don't know why...or how to fix it. I am unable to insert pictures...which is both good and bad. Good, in that it might keep me out of any trouble, bad in that I had some very funny/entertaining photos to share with you folks.

I am laying in my hotel room. It is 2:30pm. About two hours ago, my good buddy, Christian Iacobellis, who I hatched a % 'sweat fee' with while enjoying our first night out on the town this summer...has just busted out of the Main Event. His two 10's ran into a guy who couldn't lay down A10. Rivered an ace. How many times have I suffered THAT fate this summer? He still cashed for $27,500...not what he was looking for certainly, but more than this clown is going home with.

I was hoping that I would be staying here until Saturday morning...because that would have meant a SURE $50,000 for me. Wow...how NICE would that have been? Not to mention the enjoyable day off tomorrow while sunning ourselves and enjoying libations in a cabana at 'Surrender' at Encore on his day off? But just as nearly all of 2010 has gone for me this year...a nasty ace hit the river...and instead of him having $225,000 in chips and a very realistic shot at a deep run (he is OVERLY capable of such a performance) I will be packing up my shit, loading up the 4RUnner...accepting a small contribution from him, probably thru Full Tilt (thats...ThePokerMonkey...biloxi....)and starting my 1863 mile odyssey east, to go see my wife, who I have missed immensely this summer...and my dogs, who I always miss so much I can't stand it.

Squirrel wasn't too pleased to hear that I was extending my visit predicated on Christian's ability to get deep in the Main...but she took it in stride. After all, if that was what was going to turn our year around...so be it. But we fell short, again.

Yesterday, while following along with him online...since once again, the 'powers-that-be' at Harrah's, after a text message to their head honcho requesting the ability to come to the Rio and sit quietly offering support for my friend...was met with a return text message discouraging me from attending in person...I laid in my room all day, playing online. In a $11 MTT on P'Stars, the 20k Guarantee, with 2368 players...I cruised pretty much the whole tourney...then with 33 players left...I did the unthinkable. I posted on Facebook that I sure would like the trolls and switchmasters at PS to allow me to win for once...to NOT feed me a cooler or bad beat. To let me finish up with a nice little $3700 score.

Maybe 3 minutes after posting that...sitting 10th in chips, I raise with AK. A notorious 3-bettor does just that. I flat him. Flop comes K-3-7...rainbow. Sweet. (or was it?) I check. He bets out. I re-raise him. He tanks...then moves all in. Can't really fold now. Plus I just can't put him on AA. I call. He has KK. OMG. Wow. And I was out. 32nd. Good for $61.25. In five hours of play. Those are the tourneys where you just want to kill yourself.

I went downstairs...found Subway...amidst a sea of drunken beer pongers...and got a sandwich. The first thing I'd eaten all day. Went back to room, talked to the wife, took an Ambien, read about two pages of my book and crashed for 10 hours. Wow. At least I am now in good driving condition.

WestSide Bobby (smith) from San Francisco...is about to be done for the day at WSOP from his floor gig and wants to take me to dinner...has been all summer...but hes been working a very odd schedule so we havent made it happen. I might go join him...once I have the Monk-mobile all loaded up and ready to split.

Got a call from a guy who is involved pretty heavily with Felt Stars...a new poker site that is operating on the Merge network. Ive heard a bit about it...seen guys like Tyler Smith sporting their hats at poker tables. And heard how Tyler ran a small amount of coin into a large bundle on there. So I was contacted about becoming an affiliate with them, and maybe a pro, later. Might be a good idea if I get my ass out there and win something first! But this guy sent me $50, I set up an account...and by the end of the day ran that up to $124 by winning the only SNG I played and taking $15 at a Omaha h/l table and running it up to $75. I put $25 on a little $.10/.20 Hold'em table and had a guy all in on a ten high flop...him A10...me JJ....and he spikes an Ace on the river...or I would have won a lot more. Pretty decent site. Not too many glitches that I can see. The players seem to be incredibly soft. I was pitched a nice little rakeback deal, so I will futz around with it in the next couple weeks and see if I can make something out of it. I will also continue to figure out what I can do for my readers where it would be a good deal for them to get on there and get playing too. Maybe some kind of deposit bonus deal or a rakeback deal or something. If you get on there...and come looking for me...my username is BiloxiMonkey...tried all variations of ThePkrMnky, ThePokerMonkey....all of them were TAKEN! Who is out there stealing my mojo?

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The World Cup is over. Spain wins. Yippee. Pretty boring game. Hope no one gets killed for not winning. They take that shit pretty seriously. Lebron is off to Miami. Big shocker there. Some of you know about this, some don't. During the Boston series, it was uncovered that teammate Delonte West was caught having an affair with LeBron's mom. It caused a huge rift among them...and if you recall, LeBron was very distanced those last three games and just didn't seem to have the same passion. I think he was ready to get the hell out of Cleveland, and start a new chapter in his life. He is taking a lot of heat (no pun intended)...and Cleveland's owner really showed a lack of maturity with his 'jilted high school lover-like' letter...but I think people need to understand, the guy is 25. He has been a winner in Cleveland for 5 years now. They made the Finals, lost. East finals three times and lost. He is buddies with Wade and Bosh...and you know...as a former athlete, if I had a chance to join up with three of my buddies and try to have a dream season together, even if it meant making less in salary, I would have to do it. I think its going to make for a helluva fun season to watch. So you have MIAMI/BOSTON/ORLANDO/ATLANTA in the EAST.....and LALAKERS/SAN ANTONIO/ DALLAS/ PHOENIX in the WEST...with possible breakouts from Oklahoma City, Houston, Utah, Portland and Chicago...but doubtful. Should make for a pretty exciting season.

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A while back I mentioned some 'juicy shit' from the WSOP. While I attended a 4th of July party at Frank Kassela's beautiful home...and later a get together at Allie Prescott and Shaun Deeb's apartment, I pretty much played the role of fly on the wall. Present at both gatherings were some pretty big hard hitters in the poker world, Frank...this years Player of the Year for the WSOP, of course. Brandon Cantu. Liv Boeree. David Fox. Allie Prescott. Jeff Madsen. Jeremy McLaughlin. Michael Binger. Frank just busted the Main...but Allie and Brandon are still alive as I write this. Anyway...I heard a lot of things...gripes mostly, that I wasn't even aware was happening. Mainly because I havent stepped foot in the Rio all summer. Not by my choice, of course.

The consensus is that the people running the WSOP care very little about what the players want. That whatever they can do to make things more convenient for them, they will do. A couple of these players were incensed that it is the players and their money who pay the salaries of these people in charge, that our money is what makes their positions even possible. That somehow this is of little concern or consequence to them. But I have been saying these kind of things for years. And the bottom line is that if players keep showing up, paying their money...and only protesting to a level that generally subsides after a few minutes, nothing will ever change...and will, in fact, just get worse.

There is really only one solution. You get a core of players...and when I say players, I don't mean ME and my buddies. I mean a core of guys like PHIL IVEY, ERIC LINDGREN, TOM DWAN, BARRY GREENSTEIN, PHIL HELLMUTH...etc, etc...guys with clout. Both results, and money in the bank. You get them to establish an organization, to develop a tournament schedule...you hire effective staff...and you take on the WPT and WSOP head to head. You attract corporate sponshorship...who will add money to the prize pool. You set up tourneys as events that you have to qualify for by virtue of past results. Put an end to the 'anyone can plunk down money and play' world of tournament poker. Pay dealers a fair shake...so they arent pressed into that awkward give and take that happens with not being allowed to work overtime...or only getting a percentage of the players' tip out...which seems all too often to be getting divied up between the floor people and upper management. Players stop paying $550 for a tourney and watching only $475 of it make it into the prize pool. I could see a tourney where a buy in cost $500. And two big sponsors both add another $20,000 each to the prize pool. The dealers all make $20 per down. Everybody wins. The players. The dealers. The floor people, the management. And the sponsors. And you are likely to get good players winning the tourneys. Because you won't have so many jokers participating.

But will this dream scenario ever happen? Hell no it won't. Why? Because those guys I've mentioned? They are all doing quite well within the current framework. Why kill the golden goose? And what do they really have to gain? Other than the respect and admiration of the poker player community? And do they really care about that? Doubtful. There aren't enough players out there who are willing to put in the work necessary to bring about this change in the game. So they will keep showing up to events, bitching about the 'juice' while laying down their buy in money. Do some more bitching about having to pay for RedBull...complain about the fast structures....then finally, freak out when some idiot with a red-neck farmers tan cant get away from A7 (cuz it was suited!) and puts you and your AK suited on the rail when he rivers a 7 on you. But hey....as they say..."thatttttts poker!" Right? Pfffft. If you say so. Not in my world. Thats just part of the problem, when idiot assholes are allowed to sit down at the same table as us established players who DO know our asshole from our elbow, and who invest the 12 hours to winning enough to bring satisfaction to our lives for a month or two....only to be run down by some jackass who 'doesnt really care if I win or not, I just wanted to gamble and see if I get lucky!' Those are the guys who are ruining my passion for poker. Those are the guys who have KILLED my 2010 so far. And those are the guys who have driven my wife to get me on that wonderdrug, CELEXA...thank God...because it has saved me.

The ability to just sit there...unemotional, uninterested in anyone's lives at my table. Like a frog...waiting patiently for a fly to zap with my 9 inch tongue....ribit....ribit....stacking up chips.....ribit, ribit....just sitting there.....listening to music...observing, watching...trying to figure out which retard its going to be that will serve me my helping of 'get the fuck outa here Monkey' casserole. Occasionally changing a battery in my BOSE. "hey Monkey...whats your problem....You used to be so fun at the table, you depressed? Why aren't you chatting like always?" Sorry sir...no reason. I love you. I love all of you. I love poker. Greatest game on Earth. Ribit, ribit.......riiiiibbbbit. Miley signing in my ear...."movin my hips like yeaaaahhh....waving my arms like yeahhhhhh....its a party in the USAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" as I allow myself to almost sway in my seat. Then I see it, those pointed tips. Aces. Early position. Aggressive table. A guaranteed raiser in the BB. One limper behind me. Then another. One more. Lets not blow this....no, no...we can do this...we can do this.....DO IT MONKEY, DO IT.....I too limp. Another call. And then HIM. MR PSYCHOPATH. thinks...thinks some more....come on fucker....do it. DO IT you fucker!

"I raise."

YES!

$1200. (blinds 100/200)

Fold. Fold. Fold. ONE CALLER. Then ME. Ribbbbit, ribbiit............riiiiiiiiibbbbbbbbbiiiiiiit...a FLY.....thwwwwack! Got it. Mmmm...deliscious!

"RERAISE"....... "$3200"

Fold to the freak. Freak begins studying the frog. Ribit, Ribit. Good luck getting a read sir. I am nothing...nothing but an inanimate object to you. A house plant. A vase. A garden hose laying in the yard. Good luck reading me. This is the new monkey. The FrogMonkey.

"I'm All in!"

I don't even call. I just turn over my cards. And push my chips into the middle of the arena. They never come home. Because he has A8 off suit.

6-5-10-7-9

Freak proceeds to pound on the table, and holler...."Thats what I'm talking about! yeahhhhhh!!!! yeah baby! I knew I was good! I knew I was good! Ship those chips dealer!! Ship it!!!!!"

No one hears a word from me. Why? I have already left. Slithered, rather...from the area. This is the new Monkey. Do you like it? I hope so. Because it is what you will be getting from me from now on.

And oh...when I do WIN a big pot, or God forbid, even a tourney? You can expect nothing from me in the way of exuberance. I will merely sit back down on my lilly pad and assume my position. You will see no enthusiasm from me anymore. No desire to know anything about you new people at my table.

The people who run poker have stripped all of that out of me. I show any emotion, any happiness, I am always at risk of upsetting someone. I am watched by everyone...watched because they are sure if they look hard enough, I will do SOMETHING, or say SOMETHING that can be somehow used against me. So screw it. This isnt really as hard as I thought it might be. It just means that I have to grow a deeper and better relationship with myself...since that is who I now choose to spend most of my time with.

Maybe all these Monkey haters will let me come back to their casinos, and play in their poker tourneys. If so...wonderful. If not, life goes on. I like what Peter Eastgate did last week. Announced that he is DONE with poker. Just up and basically quit. Said there are other things he wants to do with his life. He had made the money to make those things possible. And now he is moving on. Good for him! I aspire to do the same thing. If anyone is under the impression that I do not possess either the desire or the ability to walk away from poker...you are terribly mistaken.

I just hope Jack Effel isn't jerking me around...when telling me that one year away from the WSOP (actually two now, but who besides ME is really counting)...and a year of 'keeping my nose clean' will result in me being allowed to return next summer. Because I will be coming in with a determination like no one has ever seen before. To do the kind of things in this game people will talk about for years...and then just vanish. Take my wife and dogs and disappear into a life of doing things WE want to do.

If I take my frog-like act to all these Harrah's circuit events in the next 9 months...and various WPT events...and my name is never even mentioned in the category of 'warning' or 'penalty' or 'expulsion' and I get turned away from the WSOP in Las Vegas again....well....I don't think I even need to finish that sentence. Do I?

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I want to say something about the bullshit that is going on in the Gulf of Mexico, my home. I have a rental property in Pensacola, off of the beach...and Squirrel and I both live off of the water in Biloxi. It is no secret that the oil spill is severely affecting her ability to make money at work. It is no doubt affecting my property value on my home in Pensacola. But none of that means as much to me as what it is doing to the environment, and to the wildlife of our home. And then, I get a letter from one of my most loyal blog readers..and it really sank in. For repercussions sake, he asked that I not use his name if I posted this. I have exchanged messages with this guy over the last two years...and he is a very good guy. This letter broke my heart. And it follows:

As someone who has been in the oil field for 30 years I cannot begin to tell you how embarressed and outraged myself and my friends are over what fucking BP has done in the Gulf.

I have not talked to one person in the field who does not feel this way.

I'm am no drilling eng. but I know enough about drilling wells to see what happened. So many mistakes were made to cut costs (no matter what lies they say, this is a fact). It did NOT have to happen and now 12 men are gone and their wives are widows and their children have no father. These were VERY brave men who died trying to save the rig and the other lives on board. I have been on blowouts on land, and I can tell you it is a very scary thing. I cannot imagine it offshore dealing with the pressure they encountered.

It's just such a travesty and we all hope the Gulf and you folks that live there can recover!

Just wanted to get that off my chest.

PS: time for an updated blog!

PSS; you can post this but no names please.



I think we should all say a prayer for the families who lost their brave men on that oil rig. And make sure to hold BP accountable for everything they have done to destroy our local way of life.

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Some of the bitching that was taking place around the house regarding WSOP were these issues:

For the first year ever...if you arrive at a tournament AFTER level 3...even if you paid in advance, they PICK UP YOUR STACK...you are given a refund, THE FIRST TIME. The next time it happens, they pick up your stack...you are NOT given a refund...and you are NOT ALLOWED to play any more events. This actually happened to a handful of players. Why did they do this? I guess one reason was due to the large number of players in the fields, and the difficulty attached to having to track down a stack after a table breaks and that dead/unattended stack has to move to another table. Once that player decides to show up...how do you tell him where his chips went? It's kind of a pain in the ass. I get that. But answer me this? When Phil Hellmuth shows up in Level 5 like he so often does...will he find out that his stack was taken out of play, and his money refunded to him? And oh...told that the next time it happens he will be DQ'd and not allowed to play any more events? You answer that one yourself.

Here's another one. If you arrive at Rio at 11:35am for a noon tourney...and are stuck in the line from hell? You finally get to the window and its 12:02pm. You buy into the $1500 tourney. You get an alternate seat and directed to an area...where you are forced to often times wait until 1pm before you can start playing. That was going on a lot. Register at 12:33pm. Gotta wait til 1pm. Register at 1:15pm...have to wait until 2pm.

One of the guys said, that in a direct conversation with a WSOP official, that he is trying to completely do away with late registration all together. Well, they are sure taking ways to implement that, arent they? I mean...a lot of us quit our regular jobs because we had a hard time getting to work on time? Right? So poker was/is perfect for us. Got a few errands to run today. Want to get them done so I can sit at my table for 12 hours and have nothing eating at me all day. Right? So instead...we get there late...and we get punished, have to sit around for up to an hour before we can play. Why? TO teach us a lesson? We are being punished by the people who a portion of our buyin goes to fund their mere existence. I find that almost comical. And yet, do the players fight back? Hell no. I find poker players to be the most lazy, uninspired bunch of people I've ever associated with.

Here is a floor call that happened during the WSOP this year. As witnessed by 'a very good player.' Ya ready? And NO...I am NOT making this up.

Player #1 raises from 200/400 to 1200. Player #2 re-raises to 3100. Before Player #1 can act...the dealer puts the flop out. Hmmmm. The usual craziness ensues. But we all know what is SUPPOSED to happen here, right? But guess what happens instead?

"FLOOR!" Floor arrives. Is explained the situation. Tells the dealer to pull back the flop, and the burn card. Allow the other player to call the reraise, fold, or reraise himself. Okay. Good so far, right? So Player #1 CALLS. Now then....the PROPER move after this.....is that the dealer is to reshuffle the deck, including the burn card (I think...almost 95% on that burn card) and the erroneously flopped cards, and then present a new flop. What happens instead?

The floor guy instructs the dealer to shuffle ONLY those FOUR cards! And then burn and flop the remaining three cards! No shit! This caused everyone as the table to freak out. Player #2 immediately lost his shit...and demanded another floor person be brought over before anything else happened. Another floor person arrived. The problem was fixed. Play continued.

There were about 4 stories like this one...but this one was the most unbelievable. On another one...a floor guy was going to let a player 'slide' on a hand where he had called what he thought was a calling of the blind, but was actually calling a raise he didn't see. When he pitched his case to the floor guy...the floor guy's 'take' was that no one at the table was going to seem to mind if he let him take his money back...when we ALL know that the rule clearly states that the money stays, no matter what. He had just decided to make an arbitrary thing. One player spoke up, and the rule was enforced, along with an apology from the floor guy to the affected player.

Nice. "I'm sorry sir. I tried to be a nice guy and let you break the rules, but one of the other players decided to be an asshole so I can't."

I also heard that there are things over there that are much better than in years past. But the sentiment that came with that...was that as much money as they are making off of my fellow poker players....MILLIONS...things SHOULD only get better. Not ever should things get worse.

Again...these aren't my gripes, and I wish none of this to reflect negatively on me. I am just reporting to you, my avid readers, what is being reported to me, from those who ARE allowed to walk into that poker paradise for degenerates and try their luck. I'm sure a lot of you have stories to share of your own. Feel free to post them here.

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I am starting a new SEGMENT on my BLOG...effective...well, TODAY. It will be called....hmmmm...snappy name.....

STUMP THE MONKEY? ASK THE MONKEY? BRING IT TO THE MONKEY?

One of those. THe premise? Ask me anything. Whether it be personal in nature. Or maybe you want to talk about a hand that you played...or that I played. Ask my my opionion on something, whether it be poker-based, or about something totally irrelevant. Try to prove that I am a fucking moron. Ask me a really tricky question...see how I respond. Anything. I like the intereaction with you people. And since I am now DONE talking up my table for the most part...I have to fall back on you folks. So from this point on...I am inviting you all to pick my brain! I promise to respond to ALL OF THEM!

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Three cheers to all the valet parkers of Las Vegas this summer. And MOST of the dealers and almost ALL of the cocktail waitresses. They are the true winnners of the "Get Monkey's Money" contest this year. Vegas continues to have the greatest valets on Earth. Free valet is huge. I usually give a $1 on the way in and $2 to $4 on the way out...depending on the day I had. The cocktail girls never get less than $2 from me. In the looks category, The best-looking has to go, hands down to the new Aria. They are just amazing. And most of them are nice too and have funny personalities. The Wynn still has some of the finest as well. The girls at the IP...my home turf...were slightly around average. O'Sheas? Scary. Golden Nugget...not good. Binions? Not good. Venetian? Above average. Bellagio...slightly above average. Orleans? frightening. Not sure who I am leaving out...but I think you all get the idea. But there is NO FINER COCKTAIL waitress than that little hottie who carries the tray at the Beau Rivage in Biloxi...they call her Squirrel...and I love her!

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SO what to do, what to do. I like driving at night...when there is less traffic, its not as hot outside, and I get better mileage, and can see the movies playing on my stereo screen a lot better. Plus...if I leave tonight around 7pm...it would get me home around Friday morning or so...so I could spend a few hours with my sweetie before she goes to work. Then I think we might be spending either this coming weekend or next weekend at Orange Beach, Alabama with her family before I swallow my pride and go back up to Tunica to play at Goldstrike and work hard to get my image back in good enough standing to allow me the chance to come back and play at the Beau Rivage in the following event. That is becoming more and more important to me. I desire to spend more time at home with my wife and dogs. If I can just play the local events...I can at least scrape out a couple nightly wins every now and then and just focus on making enough to make a living. I do plan on hitting the Chicago event in late October. But as for other events...I will play the WSOP circuit event in Biloxi in OCT/NOV. And likely the New Orleans event in December. I want to try and stay close to home the rest of the year. I'm tired of being gone from home. And I'm tired of that feeling of loneliness that comes from being all alone, and running bad...which in turn makes me hide from even the people who DO want to hang out with me. Its a really sick game, and a brutal way to live. And such a 360 turn from last summer at this time.

Just ask Gabe Costner how sick this game can be. Last year at this time he was sitting in a hole even deeper than mine, both financially and emotionally. But he battled and fought...and didnt give up...and after a 3rd place finish early this summer that won him $278,000...he sits around 1 million chips now as of this writing...in the main event, as he goes for 8.9 million bucks. Good Luck to him.

While I have been writing this they have literally lost 200 players...including some very good players and some good buddies of mine. Frank Kassela is out. Dwight Pilgrim is out. Brandon Cantu, gone. Shannon Shorr...done. I see John Dolan is still in there. As is Allie Prescott...who I would love to see make the Final Table. Lot of good players left, for sure. One guy who is still in the Top 4....who I badly want to see take about 9 bad beats and min cash...is Duh Le. Ya'all who have been reading my blog for awhile, remember this little fucker.

Last summer...with me 2nd in chips at the Final Table at Venetian...2.2m compared to Duh's 3.1m...no one else had more than 800k...we made a money deal...where he got 33k. I got 22k. The others each got 16k...and we left 10k on top to play for. Me and a guy from Macedonia...'Drags' ended up getting down to three with Duh...who had been an asshole the whole day. We finally managed to take him out...and watched in total shock when he left with the trophy. HUH? According to the floor guy, because he was signing for the most amount of money, he would be entitled to the trophy and would get 1st place points in the race for the All Around. WTF? What kind of shit was that? He became known as Duh-eeee the trophy thief for the rest of the summer. Who takes a trophy when they don't win? Well fortunately for me I got another chance in the $550 tourney, when I won it outright, no chops. But it still pisses me off that I didn't get that other one. And now he sits up near the top of the WSOP leaderboard. I am going to really be hating life if I have to watch that assclown on TV this fall. Ughhhhhh someone PLEASE knock him out!!!!!!

Alright...I think thats about it for me. I have got things to do, clearly!

MONKEY

Monday, July 12, 2010

Last Day In Vegas.......

Okay...I admit it, with everything else in my life falling apart, it would seem like the ONE thing I could keep on top of is my blog. After all, haven't I always been very timely with my updates? Through thick and thin? Admittedly, I have sucked this summer. I hear you folks. The emails, the posted comments, the Facebook reminders that I havent updated in days. I threw an impromptu quickie up a few days ago, promising big, juicy stories coming your way. I haven't forgetten this. And to add to that...more and more tales have piled up not just online poker ones either.

I woke up to an empty roomie bed this morning. Let me correct that. I didn't just wake up, as much as I was shaken from my sleep. Since we have been moved by the hotel from the 17th floor to the 10th floor...every day now between 9:30am and 11am I am jostled awake by the vibrating THUD that is music coming from the pool area. Quite possibly the most annoying sound/feeling every experienced. Don...who had a very frustrating summer himself...despite cashing numerous times...but never deep...caught a 6am flight home to the STL area. He satellited his way into both the Main at Rio and the Main at Bellagio, only to have super frustrating runs in both and losing in Day 1 both times.

My wife is on me to get my ass home...and trust me, I am ready to bolt this mass of flashing lights in the sand. But I have a few loose ends to tie up. One...I have a pocket full of chips from O'Sheas I have to cash in. Two...I have a $40 sports bet ticket in my pocket from Aria...which was given to me in lieu of cash by a buddy. Three...I need new windshield wipers...as the intense heat has split mine in half. Four...I need to hit the Buckle store in the nearby mall...in search of another pair of Big Star jeans...which are currently the most comfortable pair of jeans I have ever owned in my life. Five, I need to snap off one, huge...long ass, epic, wrap up blog to end this summer...which, btw, this is not it. This is another quickie...another "I'm still alive, and haven't forgotten about you all" blog. And six...my buddy, Christian Iacobellis...who is sitting on over 200k in chips in the Main...and who I have only seen once this summer, is demanding that I hang around one more night...and join him after Day 3 wraps up tonight...so we can catch up and enjoy one night before I leave.

As much as I loathe the Las Vegas club scene nowadays...I know that if he and I go out...it will be somewhere cool, and probably with a table...so it won't be so push and shove. Plus its Monday, so it won't be so crazy. And there are only a small handful of poker players that I like actually hanging out with...ESPECIALLY these days, as I am mired in a slump and a bit of depression...which generally drives me to my room to hide from the world. Well, Christian is one of those guys. So I think it might be to my benefit to spend some time with a good guy who genuinely gives two shits about me before I slither home.

The good news, is that after playing cash game ALL NIGHT on Saturday...despite having plans to go to a club with friends, that crashed and burned for a variety of reasons...and throwing my sleep schedule COMPLETELY off track...is that my sleep schedule is back on track. I got in at 6am Sunday morning. Slept a grand total of 3 hours. Woke up at 10am. Made it to Binions to play the Freeroll that I qualified for by winning their nightly a few weeks back. First hand...against 5 raises in BB...I call with 99. Flop comes 6-2-2. I lead out the pot. Everyone folds. Nice start. Next hand...this idiot to my left, who is showing his cards...min raises with A-4. Four callers, and my Q-9, I completed in the SB. Flop comes 9 high. He leads out for 500. (blinds were 100-200) He gets two callers. Well I know what HE has, but not the others. So I just call. Turn is a Q. I check. He bets 500 again. Other two call. I make it 2k. They all fold. Sweet. Nice start.

Then a few hands later a guy raises to 475. Gets two more calls. Yes...this table was chock full of calling stations. I look at AKh. Hmmm....why not? I move all in. First guy calls. Last guy folds 99. First guy has 10-10. It holds. Shit. So much for momentum and runnning this freeroll over! I get knocked down to 2k. Which I run up to 4k. Then the doofus on my left raises from 100-200 to 1000 with K10. Yeah, El Diablo. I have JJ. The guy who busted my AK calls the 1000. Yeah...just calls. Back around to me...I shove 3900. Idiot on my left calls...with 4000 total chips. Nice call. The other guy calls with 77. Wow. I'm ahead. Can I get it to hold? And chip up to 12,000? The way this summer is going?

What do YOU think? Dealer flops the guy a King. He smacks the table...complimenting himself for his awesome play...and the Monkey was Kaput...a victim to the dreaded El Diablo once again! Lucky for me my car was still in valet! Sweet, no long delays waiting to get the hell out of there!

I came back to my room, and alternated between sleeping all day and night and logging sessions playing online poker. I actually took 2nd in a $12/180 and then final tabled an $8 MTT in a profitable session online again. You know things are weird when I am running better online than in live play. Depressing actually. But during the last 24 hours I probably slept about 15 hours...so I feel back to normal...relatively speaking.

So, damn...now its 12:55. That went quick. The plan today is this. Go to O'Sheas...cash in my chips. Walk to Subway, buy a sandwich. Get in car...drive to Aria. Cash Sportsbet ticket. Buy into 1pm tourney, try to get run good for ONE day before I leave and win or cash a tourney there. After taking my bad beat there and busting short of the money...drive to the mall that contains the Buckle store...purchase my jeans. Drive to Wal-Mart...buy new windshield wipers...and in their lobby, locate a REDBOX and select 4 movies to watch on my drive home. Contact Christian, find out his whereabouts, and his chip count...to guage his mood. If he still wants to go out...make plans to join him. If he is depressed/pissed/steaming after an unexpected bust out...I will instead pack up my shit, load up the Monkey Mobile...and hit the road...after the sun goes down...which the ideal time for me to road trip. Hate driving in the middle of the day...when its hot as hell...and too sunny to see the screen on my stereo. Plus you get better mileage at night.

Okay...there ya go. Another quickie update. Trust me...I have a lot of good shit to write about later. Don't give up on me just yet. And by the way...I WILL be going to Tunica in two weeks to play at Goldstrike.

Monkey

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

IM SORRY! I KNOW! I SUCK...PROMISE...post coming soon!

Its been a very hectic week...and yes, I have a lot to write about. a LOT!

Thursday: Lost the Mega at Nugget

Friday: Lost the nightly at Aria. Went out with friends to a club (Vanity at Hard Rock).

Saturday: Played and lost the Main Event at Nugget. Was staked by a friend.

Sunday: Played no poker. Went to Tao Beach with Jason Young and friends. Took photos. See photos on my Facebook, along with photos from Aria

Sunday night: Went to party at Frank Kasella's house then later at Allie Prescott/Shaun Deeb's place...spent the evening listening to some very juicy stories...most of them regarding WSOP stuff. Sure to interest ALL of you. Had an entertaining exchange over the eating of a pizza that was intended to be for Liv Boeree's mother...but later was 'taken down' by Jeremy McLaughlin (and myself) with Dave Fox watching over him as a preacher would a sinner....all under the agreement that the pizza would be immediately replaced the next day.

Monday: Went to play at Aria in the 5pm poker event. Didn't go well. Then played the 7pm there...flopped top set of against a guy's middle set and another guy's wheel. No triple up for me. Just an early exit. Had hotel force us to move rooms for construction on our original floor. New room has busted TV. Don's laundry came back half missing. Spent night tracking it down, and moving rooms. Then abused myself at O'Sheas for two hours.

Tuesday (today) Spent 1 hour folding my clothes. 1 hour posting pictures on Facebook. 2 hours laying in the sun. And am about to go play the Omaha 8 or better at Aria. Hopefully, I will NOT be playing their 7pm tourney. Its limit...so getting knocked out in two hours could be tough!

The Main Event has started. I'm not there. It sucks. When the Playboy Playmate of the Year (Sara Underwood) is playing, and I'm not...that upsets me.

To those who commented about the deal with completing the SB for value...thanks. Most agree with me. Some don't. I respect all the opinions, and really dont disagree with any of them. As far as 'was Christina offended or put off' by my comment? No, I don't think so, not at all. I've known her for awhile...and it wasn't like I forced it down her throat. Merely asked her if she 'thought' it was a good decision. No, she was cool about it.

I'm giving some thought to leaving earlier than my original July 15th planned departure. Just not too many reasons to stay. And the wife is really missing me and kind of hinting that I should just wrap it up. Maybe not the worst idea. And Ken Lambert has invited me to attend the Goldstrike event up in Tunica that starts in a couple weeks. You all know my feelings on Tunica, I think. However, I really would like to get back into my home casino...the Beau Rivage...and if going to Tunica, and proving to them that I am 'worthy' of being allowed back into their place is what it's going to take...then I might have to bite the bullet, make the drive north for a week...and see what I can accomplish up there.

Looks about 99.5% that my friend Frank is going to win the WSOP Player of the Year. Pretty amazing. He is still so humble about it. Telling us that he doubts any deals will come his way, either Internet poker site-related or otherwise. He's funny. I'm pretty sure he will be blowing up, whether he likes it or not. Regardless...unbelievable summer for him, with over 1.2 million in earnings. Congrats to Frankie Boy.

Okay...dude is here swapping out our TV. And I have to get over to Aria. Really would like to win SOMETHING before I leave this place. Just wanted to throw you guys a brief little "Im still alive" blog. Trust me...there is more. A lot more.

Oh...like the fact that I was just told that the prick who robbed my house is now out of jail. He posted pictures over the weekend of him on his boat somewhere on July 4th. How nice. That made my day.

But the stuff from the WSOP I am going to tell you...that might really blow you away. Or just make you laugh. Who knows.

Till later,

MONKEY

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dry Hole at Binions.

Well that sucked! 10 hours....then splat!

But honestly, I really didn't have too many regrets. I had a table that would never break...so I knew I could settle in. I had a very likeable group of players too...and most of them were pretty skilled.

Christina Lindley was at my table. Made a few astute observations about her, about her game. Most of which I would never post here for obvious reasons. But one I will. On break I approached her about one little 'flaw' as I see it, in her repertoire. When I told her....she tells me she refers to a poker mentor for almost everything, and that he disagrees with my assessment. Hmmm. Tell me what YOU think:

Three or more people limp into a pot with the blinds at 150/300 or less...and you are in the SB. Are we completing the BB there with ANY two cards or not? I didn't think it was even much of a debate. When I first started playing poker tourneys in 2004, I was pretty naive. There would be hands at 100/200 when 5 or 6 people would limp in, and I would fold for 100. People would shoot me looks of disbelief. Some would even snicker. Some would even ASK how I can fold there.

"hey man...I have a lousy hand...and I value my chips!"

Nice comeback Noob Monkey. But wrong...as I would later find out. Or learn. I mean...when you are getting 8 to 1...or 12 to 1....sometimes, to complete...with upside being hitting a magical flop and winning a huge pot for that 100 investment...it makes ZERO sense to fold there. Anything. And I suppose after watching my 2-6 folded hand attract flops like K-2-2....or J-6-6...I started to come around. Now its just automatic. As I am pretty sure it is with most experienced players.

However, after tellling her this, she conferred via text with her 'mentor' and reported back to me that he says 'fold' in that spot. Hmm. Well, okay then. To each his own.

He has apparantly taught her another move...that a handful of players seem to be doing a lot of. It involves masking their physical tells. Moving like a slug when making their bets. Sloooowwwww....methodical....blinking in slow motion....showing the facial expression of a dead person....and for someone like me, with my O.C.D. issues...after about 5 hours of it...it becomes a real irritant. The guy sitting next to me...Steve something...Bramlett? He appeared on Poker After Dark last season...after winning the Howard Lederer Benefit Tourney at Golden Nugget...him and I became pretty chummy, and were both cognizant of the 'roboto' pattern. But it got really funny when this other kid came to the table, sat in the 10 seat...and started doing the same thing. He would later lose on a bad beat. Well, kind of.

I started really well. Got QQ early...raised light. Got smooth called by the German guy behind me with KK. Flop came Q-9-7. Led out. He called. Turned a boat. Led out. He called. River was not a K. Bet. He called. Nice pot. Then my AA held up. I turned my 30k starting stack into about 42k. Things were rolling along and looking good. Then I got clipped. Old, tight guy in the 4 seat raised from 150-300 to 850. I looked at KK. I decided not to re-raise. I flatted. All the others folded. The flop came Q-7-7. Should be a good flop. He bet 500. I raised to 1500. He just called. Hmmm. AQ? JJ? KQ? No idea. Turn was a 8. He checked. I bet 3000. He called again. Now this was maybe where I should have got a little cautious..but for some reason, I'm still thinking AQ. River was a rag. He checks AGAIN. Wow. I have to be good. I bet 4000. Now he min raises me to 8k. WTF? Now I get that sick feeling. Kind of hard to fold now. I pay him off. HE has a set of Queens! Almost a carbon copy of the hand against the German...only in reverse. That really stung...and sent me down to below the starting stack.

I would hover around 24k for several levels. Then I would have the level from hell, right before dinner break. Raise UTG with AQ. Get FOUR callers, including Christina. Flop comes A-Q-J. Two clubs. Rough board...kind of. With 5400 in the pot I lead out for 5200. Christina does her slow, robotic....staring at me...dramatic......smooth call.....great! All others fold. Turn is a 4...of clubs. Great. Flush draw? Got there. Set of Jacks? King freaking ten? I check. She fires...wait! Fires? That would suggest she acts quickly. She...gradually easessssssss....8500 chips into the betting zone. I have to be beat. FUCK! I fold.

Then on the last hand before dinner, it limps around to me in the BB. I look down at JJ and raise. I get called by the first limper...a notorious bluffer and over-bettor who would later get busted...by Christina...on a call that should have been an insta-call...but took her about 8 minutes to finally pull the trigger. Well this clown calls me with a weak ace. Flops an ace. Raises my C-bet...and I was done with that hand...and went to dinner struggling with an 11k stack. But the blinds were 400/800 when we came back, so I wasn't totally dead.

When we came back, I picked up AQ...raised. Got a walk. Then picked up 99. Raised, got a walk. Cool. Coming back. 14k now. Right about now...this guy in the 1-seat had worked my last nerve. I had slapped the nickname of  'Twitchy' because he twitched a lot. And talked really, really, annoying fast. And to top it off, he had a toothpick dangling from his mouth...which ALWAYS drives me nuts. Steve next to me was having a good time with it too. We both wanted to bust him so bad. He was sitting over there not-so-discreetly flirting with Christina the whole time he was there. He was...how do I explain him? Like one of those guys who gets all decked out in gear to go play softball. Know the guy I'm talking about? Ugh....die Twitchy....die!

I have to say...the turnout for the event was impressive. They only got 108 last year. Yesterday they got 214. I don't know if my promoting here and on Facebook helped, sure it did...since I got several inquiries from people about it....and saw a lot of good players that I know real well show up. It was a very talented field of players, which I always enjoy. We weren't busting anyone from our table...so our table was sitting there with about 35-40k average stacks...while mountains of chips were rising all around us.

I picked up AKs utg at 600/1200 and raised to 3300. I got called by the button. The flop came A-4-5. Rainbow. Decided to check raise the guy, because he is super aggressive...and regards me as super tight. I checked. He bet out 3500. I only had 12k behind. Rerasing to 8k and leaving 4 behind would look awfully fishy. So I went all in. He called and turned over AJ. Okay...cool. Then the dealer slaps a J out there...and before I can get the sentence out of my mouth...."there ya go...2010 in a nutshell" he puts a King on the river! Wow! Really? Could this be where we turn it around? Is this the start to a late charge this summer?

Nope! I would be at 33k after that hand...and felt pretty good now. But things would turn bad. A couple of raises with middle pairs would go up in smoke. Then a long period of being card dead. Then finally, sitting on 6 BB's...in the SB...I got raised for the millionth time by the same guy...and shoved. He had AJd...I had A2s. I didn't hit a 2 or a flush or a wheel. In fact, he made a flush. I told everyone good luck. And I left. At 10pm.

I had no regrets. Felt like I played well. Had a good table. Had a fun day. Met some cool people. Just didn't get the breaks when I needed them. Didn't get paid off on certain hands. Just wasnt my day.

Then I go to O'Sheas. Buy in for $200. And within two hours had run it up to $750. Then it all went south. Throw in a wacko black guy who showed up at our table...wearing these ridiculously dark glasses that he had to peak over every time it was his turn to act. His main priority was making sure he had a cocktail. He slowed the game down immensely. And then...he started getting lucky. A lot. And against me every time. Then he starts talking smack. A lot. I never said a single word back to him. Not a word. But the other players, you can tell they were getting uneasy. And I think some of them were expecting me to snap. But I didn't. I could care less.

"Hey bigshot! Mr. Chipleader! Look at you man. Your losing chips now! Where did your chips go!??? I knew you had nothing! I knew it! I'm gonna get all you chips! Your not so bad now are ya Mr. Chipleader!"

Oh boy. I was actually kind of just laughing inside...at how hilarious this place is. About that time a fight broke out. Over the singing of the Jimi Hendrix tribute band...which was actually pretty great...this Marine, who had just come in with his new bride...who was carrying a handful of roses...apparantly had one of those moments that I wish enlisted me would learn how to deal with a little more maturely...you know that type?

Marine: Hey man...what are YOU looking at?
Drunk Guy/Pervert: What do you mean what am I looking at? Whats YOUR problem!?
Marine: I'm about to be your problem!

Then one thing leads to another...fists start flying...guys get arrested...another gets thrown out...roses get shattered into a thousand petals...new wife is crying...Marine husband looks foolish...and their wedding night is essentially ruined. Welcome to a life of living with a raging maniac maam.

I love our military. I love what they do for us. But what I really love, are the soldiers who come home, and respect the uniform they wear enough to treat it with dignity and the honor it is supposed to convey. To look past the idiots, the hecklers, the assholes. To carry themselves with class. Instead...I all-too-often see these guys go into bars in their uniforms...and end up acting like complete wanna-be badass assholes, and making our military look shameful. It kills me.

So about 15 minutes after that happens...and without a single word from me...three security personnel show up, approach the crazy black guy in the Obama T-shirt...and tell him he is being 86'd from all Harrah's properties. Apparantly, this guy has a long history of causing shit at all their casinos.

"As a duly sworn representative, I am hereby letting you know that you are being trespassed from this establishment and all Harrah's properties...if you do not abide by this.........blah blah blah....."

See ya later psycho boy.

I would then go on to lose all the remainder of my chips to one of the most annoying little idiots I have ever met, who was sitting to my left, and thought we were buddies. He also thought everything he was saying to me was interesting, when in reality I was either not listening, or asking him to quit to talking so fucking loud. But then he goes on this ridiculous luck box run...which ends with him turning a full house to beat my made flush...with a straight flush draw to boot...and I was done for the night. Shit.

So this morning I spent two hours at the pool, and was going to give Don a ride up to Binions, where he actually made it back for Day 2...with a healthy stack...but when I got to the room he was already gone. Whooops. He's running damn good this summer. I hope he lands a big cash today.

Meanwhile, I am going to go over to Golden Nugget and play their Mega in hopes of satelliting in to their Main Event that starts...mmmm Friday I think. Okay...thats your update for today. Im outa here!

MONKEY