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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Home from Tunica...some regrets, but mostly a positive experience.

I went back for Day 2 of the Main Event with 68,000 chips. The average was 51k. I was feeling pretty good. And I was lucky to have avoided drawing Tyler Smith's table. We had 36 players left. Seated to my right was Vanessa Rousso. The last time her and I played at a table before was when we met, back in 2006, up in Reno. A couple of months later, in Vegas, I would introduce her to Chad Brown...a good friend of mine, while talking in the hall at Rio. The rest, as they say, is history...where they are concerned. Also at my table were Kenny Milam, Captain Tom Franklin, Dwyte "The Duke" Pilgrim, Earl Barron (a member of the NBA title Miami Heat team) and a couple of other very good players.

Within the course of one level we were down to 27 players. Wow. I really found that pretty surprising. A couple of goofy things were going on at my table. The first was when Capt. Tom completed in the SB but the BB thought he had folded and turned over his hand....AK. Whooops! Awkward. Which led to some crazy shenanigans. A flop of 2-4-5 caused quite a stir. Tom checked. At one point in the hand...the other guy looks back at his cards, which by now he had turned back over, not sure why. A couple people at the table quipped "Did you forget what you had!???" Everyone laughed. The turn produced another 2. Now Tom bet 5k. The guy is now in an awkward spot. He has Tom covered by a lot. He calls, just thinking Tom is playing him. The river was something like a 9. Didn't matter when I tell you the hands. Tom goes all in for 15k. Into like a 35k pot. This guy tanked forever...and there was a lot of mind tricks being employed.

One thing to note, and this was very unusual. As much as us players love to be able to talk to each other about our hands, our personal life and the weather when we get heads up with each other...we are finding it harder and harder to do this, right? All these casinos like to put the total kaibosh on ANY table talk...heads up or otherwise. Well before we started back for Day 2...the floor person LITERALLY TOLD our table that if you were heads up, you could say whatever you wanted. WOW! Really!??? How awesome. And I will not lie, it made for some very entertaining hands. Including this one.

Well, we all know Captain Tom is a master at poker mind games. So was he just playing off the fact that we all knew what the other guy had? (AK) Or did he actually have something? This other guy could NOT decide what to do...finally he calls. Tom turns over the nuts! He flopped a damn straight! At least the other player had the class to laugh it off. We actually had a fantastic table, and it was a great day of poker. My 68k starting stack fluctuated between 30k and 75k most of the day.

One one hand...Vanessa raised behind me, and I found JJ and re-raised. She had been pretty active all day...but was usually folding to my re-pops. Well here is where Earl Barron earned himself an Oscar. Everything he did before he moved all in told me he had a pair like 99 or 10-10. He roped me in. I called. He turned over AA. Ohhhhhh man. What a sucker. And I didn't hit a 2-outer. I gave him credit for such a fine performance. That hit didn't sting for long.

Dwyte would raise my BB. Vanessa called and I completed with A4c. I flopped a wheel. It got checked on the flop...and again on the turn, until "The Duke" finally bet 7500. I min raised him to 16k....and he folded. I showed him the wheel. I won the next hand as well, another nice pot...and I was back up to around 70k.

On one hand, Vanessa got involved with another player on an all in pot that she had been the initial raiser on. And for about the third time on the day she started in with the talk....

"Lets see, if there is (amount) in the pot, and I have (amount) outs to improve against what I think is maybe a (whatever the hand was) then I am getting 2.25 to call into a pot that is" ........blah blah blah....lost me somewhere.....

She was hitting us with the verbal calculator. Now, I know Vanessa is a pretty smart cookie, and of course she is a hottie too. And she even managed to humor us all with a cute joke...but she was cracking a bunch of us up with all this banter. I couldn't be sure if she was seriously basing (baseing?) what she was going to do on all these variables she was throwing out, or if it was just to try and impress us all, you know, that her brain could throw out such remarkable equations and such. Do players honestly sit there and put this much thought, from a math perspective, into how they are going to play a hand? I know that I don't. I mean it's one thing to base your decisions on math, but I find that mostly to be in cash game. In a tourney, you have to always arrive at your decision with one common element in mind...or conclusion if you will: That if you make the wrong decision, and commit 'x' amount of your chips during that decision, those chips are GONE! In cash game, if you make a decision based on pot-size and odds, and you can feel okay that you made the right call from a math perspective, but lost...knowing that you can reach in your pocket and reload. There is no reloading when you are playing in a poker tourney.

So when she was in the middle of a long, drawn out...what-to-do moment...she says to Dwyte..."Gosh Dwyte, I am just wondering what YOU would do right here with this hand." To which The Duke laid out a classic, that made the whole table laugh:

"I can tell you one thing for sure...I would have done SOMETHING by now for sure!"

Well played, Dwyte.

We finally got down to 18 and it was time for a redraw. Oh we go, moment of truth. The redraw. Who gets sent to wrestle with the beast...Tyler Smith? And who gets sent to Fantasy Island...AKA, the table with no Tyler?

I was one of the lucky winners. Or at least I thought I was. Drawing Ken Milam, Dwyte, Kathy Lehne (from Houston...good looking gal who only shows up for Main Events and is, I'm prettty sure married to one rich son of a bitch, gathering from the Rock of Gibraltor that lives on her left hand!) Also Jacob Bazeley. So it was a pretty good table.

I would make it to the dinner break. The Duke challenged me to a shot of chilled Patron before dinner...and I was only too happy to comply, enjoying my first and only alcohol of the day. (Thanks to Shaun Johnston for BUYING it for apparantly its a PAY FOR item in the poker tourney area...and not an item we could drink for free!) Then I went to my room and chilled out. Started focusing on what was at stake. A real shot at righting the ship...taking this lousy 2010 and making it something to remember.

I felt like the whole week up in Tunica had been pretty positive. Granted, I hadn't cashed in any noon tourneys, in fact only got deep in one...but I did win the last three nightly Survivor tourneys. Then won the Mega. Managed a couple of SNG wins...and really just had a great time. Met a lot of new players. Met a bunch of people who read my blog. Managed to control my emotions the entire time. Even squeezed in a little cash game and met some fun people there. All in all it was a very good trip. But the one thing that would close it out on a GREAT note, would be to cash this Main Event. And even if I went out 9th...hey! $12,000 would be nice to bring home right now. But I felt like if I made the final table, I would be more than happy to sit there and wait on AA or KK and sit idly while a few people went out ahead of me.

Sometimes you get in spots where you are playing to win the tourney...and playing to make a monetary score. And...last year, after winning a couple of Venetian events and having my bankroll in a place it had never been, I was playing every tourney to win! Taking gambles, making moves. Well, the way my year has been going, I felt it was more important to keep myself out of trouble. But still pick up a pot every so often. I didn't feel I needed to chase the chiplead. To get out of Tunica with about 25k would have been kick ass. And if I were to get 4 or 5 handed, then I would take off the brakes and let it fly...and try and take home the title and over 120k. And one of those cool Globe trophies they have up there. Always have wanted one of those!

I went back from dinner sitting on 60k. The average was 120k. But the blinds were still only 1200/2400 so I was just fine. Regardless, picking up a couple of big pots would be awfully nice. I would pick up AK and 99 early...raising once on the button (getting a walk) and once at cutoff (again a walk) and got my stack up around 75k. Things were feeling good. We lost a couple players...and now we were suddenly down to 14 and getting very close.

Then it happened. I raise from 1500/ 7500, with 88. The guy to my left flats me. Hmmm. Then in the BB, Ken Milam 15,000. Hmmm. Interesting. Now Kenny is pretty crafty. I can put him on a LOT of hands right there. We have a lot of history together. And another thing is that we are pretty tight, and he has a decent stack now, well over 150k. So if I can convince him that I have him beat...or God forbid flop the world, I feel like I can get him to fold to me. So I feel its worth it to call his min raise. The other guy calls himself a "stupid donkey" and folds. When the flop comes out 5s-6h-7h I find myself feeling like I just flopped the nuts. Wow. And yeah, I have the 8 of hearts. Kenny bets out 15k.

Now I think if I had instantly shoved all in, it might have been a lot easier for Kenny to fold here. Putting me on a set. But I really am thinking 're-raise' to make the point more I start counting my chips. And when I get to 47k and realize that any re-raise is going to look almost ridiculous...I tell him..."Yeah, Kenny I was gonna re-raise here but after counting my chips, I don't think its really possible. So I am all in I guess....47k total."

Another 32k to him. He got up and started pacing around. I honestly don't know if I want him to call or not. Then he gives me enough information to reveal to me that he DOES have an overpair.

"So Kenny, whatchu got man? KK or QQ?"

He gives me a look....pretty much tells me I am close. So now I kind of start rooting for him to fold. Plus...we're buddies, he has a lot of chips...folding here isn't going to really hurt him. But calling could KILL me. Or hurt him a lot and make me a huge stack....well over 160k. Getting into Tyler Smith territory.

He finally decides to call and turns over JJ. Ugh! Come on ZOE (the dealer) Ten outs here...I haven't sucked out all tourney yet....this would be the time....give me a 4 or a 9 or an 8. Come on! Turn blank. Please...come on!

River..........BRICK. My stomach hits the floor. I just walked from the table. Out into the hall. Sat in a chair. Covered my face. And let it sink in. No cash. No win. No turn-around to 2010. Oh.....damn. But I also didn't freak out. I didn't say anything ugly. I'm getting better. Nothing I could do. Kenny made a good call. Not mad at him. Show some class Monkey. Take it like a pro. Get back in there, gather up your shit, shake his hand, wish him well, and exit like a man. So I gathered myself...walked back in there, met Kenny, who was already out of his chair...and asked me if I was mad at him.

"No man, not at all. Did I want you to fold? Sure. But you made a good call. You had the best hand. I hope you win brother. Good luck."

Wished everyone else luck...and went upstairs to my room...where I broke out the chronic, filled myself with the medicine...and drifted off to sleep.

At 1am I woke up. For some reason got into an $11 MTT on Stars with 988 late night losers like myself. And proceeded to kill it. At 8am...and with 13 players I was going for $1800....I raised with reraised all in by one of only 4 guys who had me covered, called of course...and found myself up against JJ to become chipleader. But once luck in online poker tourneys continued like it has all year....get deep, be sitting on the doorstep to a nice score, and get two outed. Jack on the turn...and I was out. What did I win? $98! Yipppee.

I slept in til 1pm. Packed up my shit, got it down to my car. Then decided to go eat in the buffett. I had 3 comps...and saw a girl in her 30's sitting at a slot machine with her Grandma...asked if they would like some free buffet comps, that they expire today and I can't use them, and they acted like I just handed them each a $100 bill. Okay so I guess that constituted my one good deed for the day, at least.

Ate, went up to the poker room...observed the Final Table for a bit. Found myself shocked that Vanessa and Dwyte, despite big chipstacks when I got bounced failed to make the Final Table. Tyler still had a monster stack. Kenny was in pretty good shape. Kathy Lehne...who is SO FReAKING patient...managed to make it, good for her. Captain Tom had a decent stack...and for the 2nd time this year, I had a 5% swap sweat with Tom...after he made me $800 in Reno in that Main Event, I really wanted to get even with him...but it was him pulling the wagon again. I would later find out when Kenny called me that he went out in 6th. Which got me $1200. that was a nice going away present, right? And yet another nice score for Tom...who is quietly having a great year.

Its funny, I used to not be able to stand the guy...and I'm pretty sure he thought I was a little shit head. But now he is one of my favorite guys. His humor is very similar to mine. And he is very intelligient. And frankly, he's a helluva poker player. Obviously. One of these days I will be giving him that money back, I'm sure. I did lose a $100 side bet to him. I set the over/under at 9:24pm on when I thought we would get down to 9 players. Well, the dinner break of 1.5 hours kind of killed me!

I walked over and shook the hands of Ken Lambert and Eric Comer and thanked them for having me, and for making my week pleasant. Eric said he'd see me in three weeks, and Ken said he would be in does that mean I am going to be back in the Beau Rivage and see all of you for the Gulf Coast Poker Championship? Well...lets just say maybe, and I hope so. I have learned not to expect anything these days, or to get too excited about anything. But I do know that I have been making a conscience effort to become a better guy, and do things the way people expect and/or want me to do things to be the kind of player that they would like to have around. If they say no, well...I will just continue to hold my head up and look for the next place that WILL have me and try to do my best there, without being ugly and negative.

To all of you who sent me your good luck shout outs, and to those who continue to reveal yourselves as blog thanks go out to all of you. I am being sincere when I tell you that my efforts tend to get a lot more focused when I feel all of your presence with me. Knowing I have so many people rooting for me really makes me try harder, and really makes me want so badly to make the Final Table. And yeah, when I lose, I do feel like I am kind of letting you all down a little bit. And to my haters...who get excited when I miss the Final Table and go home broke?, I guess in a sick way, I am happy for you too.

I am home now. Yard work needs to be done. Bills need to be paid. Dogs need to be played with. Squirrel's birthday is tomorrow so I need to go out and find her a birthday present. Its so friggin hot out I just want to sit inside and hide! On the drive home, I downloaded and watched Daniel Tosh's standup act on know, the guy from Talk Soup? Although we don't get the E! Channel here in Biloxi....fucking CableOne sucks! It was one of the funniest things I have watched in years. I was literally wiping tears from my eyes. In large part due to the fact that half of what he said I have either said before myself, or think it on a regular basis. If you get the chance...go watch it...its stupidly funny.

Oh yeah...I never really got a chance to elaborate about Tyler Smith, mainly because it was late, and I wanted to get you guys some news but without costing me all my sleep, or being late for Day 2.

Let me just say this: I really like Tyler. Have liked him since the first time we played that Heads-Up 1k tourney together in New Orleans three years ago. One regret I have is that when I busted him with my AAA against his 999 and left the table and allowed him to catch back up from a miniscule stack and eventually get heads up with me? I wish I had stayed at the table instead of taking a walk. I wish I had made a concerted effort to bust him. I think I cost myself that ring by not doing that.

This without a doubt, the one player I absolutely fear the most in poker. I have never seen someone exude the kind of confidence he does. He gives NOTHING in the way of tells. There is NO HAND he won't play. He will, absolutely, win 10 million dollars in his poker career. Will he win a WSOP Main Event like John Dolan has a chance to? Who knows? Those are such mine fields and crap shoots. Is he capable? 100%. I typically LOVE sitting at a table of solid, talented players. It gives me hope for winning. Good players generally do NOT make bad plays to beat you. I almost feel good when I lose to a good player after he either made a good play, a good call or just coolered me. Its like...if you're Kentucky...and you lose to North Carolina for the title...doesn't that feel better than losing to Delaware State, after they just kept fouling your big man every time down court and heaving 3 pointers all game and making 60% of them? It has a different feel, right?

Tyler Smith is an absolute beast of a poker player. I have written about it before. And I talked to him at length when we were seated together at the end of Day 1. He makes people crumble. Can I play like that? Doubtful. I think the only way I could do if I didn't look at my cards. Just don't look, and if I have position to do it (like, no one has raised or gone all in behind me) just raise 2.25 the blinds. Every fucking hand. 7 out of 10 they fold. 2 out of 10 they call. And ONE time they either re-raise or go all in. So you look then. And probably usually fold. He has exposed the one thing, the one flaw...the easiest thing to figure out in poker, and made it work. Why isn't everyone else doing this? It's a legit question right? Something about when you look down at that 3-9 offsuit, you just cant find the balls to do it, huh? Not Tyler's problem. RAISE, RAISE, RAISE, RAISE, RAISE.......KEEP RAISING!!!!! FOLD, FOLD, FOLD, FOLD, FOLD....drag a pot, drag a pot, drag a pot.

The kid went from 55k when I got to his table the other doing JUST THAT. It's amazing. But there is no real shocking science to it. He is just willing to be that guy who is going to sit down, say FUCK YOU to the whole table, and challenge you to step up and shut him down. By raising about 85% of the time. It's awesome. So Tyler have my 100% respect sir. And yeah...I was a jackass for not doing everything in power to whack you in New Orleans and get that ever-elusive ring!

Hope this wasn't too lengthy and a few of you made it this far!!!



herb said...

Hey Monkey..good to see you in Tunica...did you know that lady Kathy that played with us on Day 1 is an awesome business person,pretty, seemingly pleasant...what a combo.


Boonie said...

Hi monk. So sorry to hear you busted the Main. Congrats for making it that deep even though you didn't get the cash.
I'm not understanding what happened in the heads up tourney you played with Tyler? You said you took a walk after stacking him? I don't understand this? U left the table even though he had chips. Please explain.

One other thing I'm confused about is that you always get mad at the "bad" players when they play poor starting hands. I remember you criticizing players for raising garbage hands. But how come when Tyler Smith raises with 93 it's acceptable. The bad players are trying to win too right? Aren't they allowed to raise with 93 too?

I've been learning a lot about the game lately. I read a book called Harrington on Holdem. Have you heard of it? It was very informative. I got 3rd in a $26 tourney on Fulltilt that paid me $1357. I lost it back 2 days later I
didn't cash in the $1,000 buyin on Monday on Fulltilt.

Anyways sorry for the long message. Keep blogging. It's awesome.
The wife and I both agree it's our favorite poker blog right ahead of Jason Youngs on (She thinks he's cute hehe)

I hope you go on a winning streak soon. Just keep
doing what you're doing and it will happen buddy.



Anonymous said...

Heads-up tournament play, players SHOULD be allowed to say anything they want to each other...that does NOT divulge the contents of their hand as their actions could affect overall outcome of tourney, I.E. all players are being affected by these players actions. In a cash game, two players can/should be allowed to say anything they want and show 1 or both of their holecards as their actions are affecting themselves and nobody else. Your TD made a bad decision to allow the players in your M.E. tourney say anything they want to, IMO. Danny W. "Lost in Kinder". p.s. Y'all should've chopped thursday nite for $1000 apiece so i couldve taken some money back to La. I'll still see ya at Beau later this peace.

Poker Monkey said...

okay...more replies to reader comments.

HERB: Yeah...Herb, good catching up with you. Thanks for getting on my Facebook, and thanks for the nice, genuine comments during the Main Event the other day. Very solid. And yeah, I did the research on Kathy...she is quite a whip, isnt she? Big time business lady. And attractive.

BOONIE: I think you might have thought that I was heads up with Tyler in a HEADS UP Tourney, won 90% of his chips then took a walk. No no no. It was the final table. We started day with him on 230k, me on 210k and no one else over 80k. On the 3rd hand my set of aces crunched his set of 9s and left him with 30k. And instead of staying at the table, I cruised the room, going back to play my SB and BB...while he was moving all in every hand and catching back up. I should have stayed and devoted myself to whacking him. In the past few years I've started to develop a much better 'killer instinct.' remember that song? "No More, Mr. Nice Guy" thats me now!

As for your question...regarding him playing bad cards and me getting mad at bad players who play shit cards? Hmmm...good point. Kind of tough to come up with a legit response to that one, huh? Maybe there is something to that one that I need to look deeper into. Thanks for the kind words and wishing me well in the future. Oh...and don't sweat the long messages...after all, look at MY POSTS!!!!!


Poker Monkey said...


Its funny that your wife likes my blog and Jason's. You know JY and I are good friends right? He was bitching at me on Friday to go read his blog about hating online I finally just went and read it...pretty funny. Even left some funny comments. Yeah JY needs help!!!