Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Big Weekend Coming....

I have fallen into a disturbing pattern. Sleep until my dogs wake me up to feed them (and throw him the ball!)...sometimes go back to sleep, but more times than not, sit at my desk processing all the pool payments, and updating them on the website, which...if you've never run pools, qualifies as a full time job almost.

Then Squirrel finally gets up, gets ready for work...and leaves. And instead of getting this list of errands done that have been staring me in the face now for 4 days, I find myself taking a 'nap' that usually ends around 10pm. Great. So now I am up at 10pm wide awake.

This is usually where I dial up a session online. Why? Because I like chaos and to be punished by people I can't stand. So I usually end up breaking even right about the time Squirrel comes home from work. I quickly sign off...listen to her talk about how much she hates working in nickel slots (who wouldn't?) then read myself to sleep with my latest Vince Flynn novel. Then I wake up and do it all over again.

Yikes. Where is the working out I promised myself? Well, I better find it, because I have just been talked into taking 'The Trip!' The one where I will catch up with the guys I played baseball with up in NYC almost 20 years ago. Chad Brown is the one you all know. Then there are others...who you may or may not have seen on TV. I've remained in touch with a few of them. This little trip to Phoenix Oct 9-16th will be for, officially, an Over-40 baseball tourney pitting some very good teams. I have a very small chance of actually playing. Which I am fine with. I am not in good shape. This much will not be denied. But I will get a uniform, and get to work out in an MLB park...and for that, I am psyched. I will attempt to find a batting cage around here somewhere, so as not to TOTALLY shame myself. It will be a good time, I'm sure. I had some wonderful memories of time spent with those guys, and I miss the comraderie that comes from doing things together as a team. I just hope I don't kill myself!

This weekend, there is a certain game coming up in Tuscaloosa. As you may know, my wife is a diehard Alabama fan. As is the rest of her family. Well, I have a good buddy, BJ McBrayer, who lives up there and had invited us to come up one weekend back in August. Well, this seems like the only weekend where I will be available to make this trip, so I got after it, found us two tickets (for what Super Bowl tickets used to cost...whoa!) and set things up with BJ. So when Squirrel gets off work Friday night...we will catch a few hours of sleep then make the 4.5 hr drive to Tuscaloosa for the ESPN 7pm game against the hated Gators. She is really excited...and frankly, I am too. I love the atmosphere of college football. And her brother and sister-in-law will be there, as well as, I'm sure...a lot of other people she knows. Should be a fantastic weekend.

As if that wasnt enough...in digging around, I discovered that on the day I arrive in Chicago (Oct 16th) for the Hammond WSOP event...a certain football team that I pull for will also be arriving in the Windy City for a clash with the hometown Bears. Thats right...my Seattle Seahawks...who just happen to be sitting in 1st place (yeah yeah, I know...quite precariously and in a weak-ass division) right now...and could be 3-1 coming into Chicago if they can handle St.Louis on the road this week. They then get a bye week to get healthy before taking on the 1st place Bears. Well, there is no way I am missing that game. So I guess I will be missing the Sunday tourney in Hammond. I've already gotten interest on attending the game from 'The Duke' and Kai Landry has already self-invited...which is always a welcome addition. My sister, up in Milwaukee is making noise about coming down as well, and since its her birthday, I offered to treat her. Well, now the Squirrel is not wanting to be left out...so we may have us another big football get together up there too.

However it shakes out...October is shaping up to be a month of lots of fun...and needless to say, I will be spending some of that September loot I won. Maybe a bit more than I would like...but hey, life is short, and once in awhile you need to enjoy the rare spoils that come with this business. So I hope at the end of October we are all able to sit back and reflect on a great month...like I am currently doing about September!

Okay its 1pm..and I swear to GOD...I am leaving this house and running these errands...right NOW! And dragging myself to the gym today.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ohhhh okay, lets peel off a lil blog....

Suppose I can scrape together a few things to write about. First of all, my buddies at the website have reported some erroneous info. For starters, they mispelled Dwyte's last name. Its PILGRIM. Now, usually people mispell DWYTE, this was a first, seeing PILGRAM. Whoa. Secondly, never, ever did I mention that Dwyte and I had a 'piece' of each other. Not sure how that got bandied about. I had a piece of Christian Iacobellis...and Mike 'Carwash' Schneider. I paid one, and the other paid me. I came out slightly ahead on that deal. I wish like hell I had a piece of 'The Duke.' Oh and 'The Duke' is a nickname I tagged Dwyte with when we first met and hung out a little bit down in New Orleans two years ago. I felt like with a last name like Pilgrim, it was a natural. Now for those who are too young to remember John Wayne, forget you read this and just move on to the next topic.

Anyway, Christian took 10th. Lee Childs, another guy I am pretty friendly with and who I really like a lot, went out in 9th, so my only rooting interest left was 'The Duke.' Maybe that was the confusion...people thought when I said 'rooting interest' it meant I had a piece of him. Nope. Just wanted him to win cuz I like that fool.

I got knocked out when I got locked into one of those terrible 'under 10 bb' shoving situations. Where I screwed up was earlier...trying hard to make good folds, convinced that my big cards and big double ups were on the horizon. A guy with half my stack shoved on the button against my SB when I had KQ...I had 85k and he shoved 47k. I labored over it before folding. He told me he had 78d later. Damn! Then when the two maniacs at the table got into another shooting match, I folded AQ behind all their raise, re-raise action. Last year's Borgata champion, Olivier Busquet eventually (after the 4th re-raise) showed a QJ bluff (assuming the other guy had that beat!) before raking a huge pot...and I was kicking myself for not getting my stack in against the guy.

So I ended up shipping pocket 6's...and the guy in the SB...who was drinking with me, shoves all in...with KJ...and makes (not sure how) the guy in the BB fold AK suited. Wow. So, even if KJ guy had folded, I'm sure the BB would have called me. One of the two remaining Kings hit the flop...and I was out. But with the cameras running on us, I made sure to handle it with as much class as possible.

Speaking of drinking...this is something you will all be able to share in my anger over. You all know that when I make the money its what? You got it. Red Snapper time! Correct? So when I get the waitress' attention (finally) when we got inside of 100 players, I requested 3 red snappers for me and two other players at the table. Turns out, as she told me 20 minutes later...they didn't have amaretto and thus couldn't make them.

We have crossed this little path once before. In New Orleans 3 years ago. It doesnt happen anymore down there. Its kind of a systematic thing that is usually easy to repair. Its like this:

The poker tournament bar is set up with a limited menu of items. Fair enough. We get that. If you want something outside of that menu, you are either (a) fucked, (b) forced to go onto the gaming floor, or (c) needing to be in possession of a 7-Star card if you are at a Harrah's property. But as someone who worked in the beverage industry, as well as the restaraunt industry, I have insider knowledge. First, I know that a bottle of Amaretto di Saronno is around $30 a bottle. And we call that a call brand, or even a premium. However, a bottle of well amaretto, tends to go for about $6.50. Sometimes even less. This is not a liquor cost-killer.

So in past experiences with casinos that didn't happen to be carrying any amaretto in their 'poker room setup' I usually just ask for the beverage manager. And they always seem to pop right out. And when I calmly and politely explain the importance of the amaretto to the situation, and its bearing on my ability to win, and the abundance of gratuities about to come the way of their staff...they are usually only too pleased to make a bottle of amaretto appear. A lot of the time, the missing ingredient has been Crown Royal. The same speech has usually resulted in the same outcome when its the Crown, also. I mean...it all seems so simple, right?

Well, apparantly, the guy from The Borgata was inpenetrable. I hope I spelled that right, and if not...I don't care. he could NOT be penetrated! I made my presentation, very calm, cool and collected-like...and he looks me in the face and tells me:

"I am sorry, but we are unable to accomodate you. We have a limited bar up here, and amaretto is not on it. We can offer you other items, but nothing with amaretto in it."

I was kind of stunned, but at the same time pissed. We had cameras all over our table watching this. I did an impromptu plug on camera for Crown Royal. I then politely, but sarcastically explained that I had been stymied in my attempts to get an 'in the money' Red Snapper.

It was at that time that I got a sinking feeling. Things just weren't going the way they were supposed to. No, I didn't let it get into my head...so hold your comments...yes I'm talking to YOU John Abbondanza! But when things interrupt the flow of victory, you can't help but notice it. And to that guy who runs the Borgata beverage department? You're an imbecile. I tipped your waitstaff over $500 during the week...and here we are in the money of the Main Event...where the winner will pocket $750,000...and you can't make a freaking $5 bottle of well amaretto appear? Nice customer service pal! I guess they can't all be Robbie Oster (who used to be Bev Manager at Harrah's New Orleans) or Bruce McAllister (Beverage Manager at Beau Rivage) who just happen to GET IT!

In an effort to stave off the imminent disaster, Mike Hallen...from Houston and a regular reader and fellow 'deep runner' hustled downstairs and procurred two rounds of Snappers...the first one at his cost, which I had to inform him was much appreciated but stupid. Simply sit at a slot machine and 'go thru the motions' for a freebie, or slip $5 into a video poker game at the bar. At any rate...thanks for the attempted 'Mariano Rivera-like' save Mikey!

I also managed to figure out another huge reason for why the dealers at the Borgata suck so bad. Yeah...we investigated and discovered that the full-time dealers were making $16 an hour...and that the 'blue-shirt part timers' were making $10 an hour...and we all loved how they milked as many hours from them as possible, before a near revolt from the pro players resulted in nothing but brown-shirted dealers working Day 3 and beyond. Wow. That was maybe the longest sentence ever, right?

Last year, there was no 3% withheld. After a lot of lobbying, they got New Jersey Gaming to approve it this year...so this year it represented $100,000 and change that was withheld, and on the payouts it said 'Dealer share' even though we know that the dealers didn't really get all of that. When you lost...they handed you a number...which you would take to the back counter...where they would fill out a form, and a tax statement...but not give you any money there. Nope...you had to carry that all downstairs to the Main Cage...where THEY would pay you out. Never were we asked for a tip for the staff, not at the back desk where all the paperwork was done, or at the cage where we got paid. And from playing poker for 7 years now, I know that poker players are some of the cheapest bastards around. Most of them tip when confronted with it...more out of guilt than generosity. Granted, there are some who feel we are already getting raped with the rake and the automatic dealer 'appreciation tip' for extra playing chips and just WON'T tip anymore at payout...but the majority WILL tip if confronted with 'The Box!'

But at Borgata? No box. No confrontation. And most likely a big fat ZERO for the dealers...which, if you know anything about 'trickle-down' economics, results in nothing but a diminishing product, aka...good dealers. The less they make, the worse you get. The more they make, the better they get.

And in a last shot...I decided to play a farewell nightly tourney after getting busted, one in which I would put a bounty on myself, and take heads up last longers with 5 seperate players...two of whom I outlasted, and three of whom I paid. When I went to register, for a tourney that started at 7pm...it was 7:30 and there were exactly 36 people in line...and ONE woman working the registration desk. A near riot broke out...with screaming and yelling. I was just laughing at the ridiculousness. Finally, I went back to the back counter to talk to someone I knew, and tipped them off to the situation out there in the hall. They promised to get someone else out there...and after about 15 minutes, finally, someone did show up. So now there were 2 people. I finally got to my table in the middle of level 3. Fantastic.

Gosh...almost forgot this one. No wait. There is actually a lot more. How silly of me to forget. Carwash left the morning after I was put out. I gave him his piece he was due from me. But our room reservation was up...so I had to go down and get it renewed for two more nights. Found out something pretty sick. For every day you stay there, they charge you $150 a DAY for what they call a 'security deposit'...so for a stay of 10 days...yeah, $1150 in advance. I have been home now for 4 days, that $300 is still not back in my account. Safe to say, these people are running a little money hedge scam...where they are using customers money the way banks do on 3 to 5 day holds on checks. Its bullshit. Its just another reason to hate New Jersey.

I was unable to find a reasonable flight out of Atlantic City...so I started looking into flying out of Philly. Found a good fare and booked it. But I booked it only after asking the Concierge at Borgata how I go about getting to Philly airport.

"Oh, very simple. There is a van service (called TROPIANO...avoid them at all costs!) who you simply call and schedule your trip with. They require a 12-hour advance notice. Cost is $40."

So I was excited. The taxi to the airport in AC was $20...but to get to Phillly was only $40? Awesome.

Or was it? When I booked my plane ticket, I then called to book my shuttle. It was 18 hours prior to my flight. Some guido answers the phone and tells me:

"Uhhh...yeah, its kind of too late. And I don't have any other passengers going there, so its not possible for us to take you."

"I thought I only needed 12 hour notice? And how many people do you need to make it 'worth it' to you guys?"

"Yeah...I guess you are okay on the time...but we don't have anyone else going. We need to have at least 3 passengers to make that trip."

So I offered to pay for 3 tickets for the ride. Pretty common sense answer coming to that one, right? Nope. Wrong. He still refused. I couldn't believe this buffoon.

So how did I get to the airport? Well, I only had one option. Hire the Borgata's limo to take me. Cost? $217. Wonderful. It was kind of nice though, since the driver was an older gentleman, very cool guy...and after sleeping only three hours after staying out with the boys for drinks and then ordering enough room service to feed a family of 17 starving Ethiopians...I was dead tired. I laid out in the back seat and slept all the way to Philly. The flight to Atlanta SUCKED. Fucking Delta and their little sick joke on us passengers is about to make me lose my mind. I mean...do they think that all their passengers are 5'4 and 135 lbs? I shouldn't have to go to the chiropractor every time I de-board a Delta flight. Or have to go buy new luggage. But I do. I hate you Delta, I hate you...I hate you so much I imagine that if I ever end up going to hell when I die...there will be a Delta flight attendant there explaining to me where all the un-exitable exits are located.

I did get a really nice lady on my plane who was in the Air Force...who's husband had just suffered a heart attack and she was rushing home to see him. She ended up giving me a ride home from the airport, as Squirrel had to work that night. I paid for part of her parking and fillled her gas tank...yeah, it cost me more than a cab would have...but hell, I felt like helping out someone who obviously appreciated it. And I got to avoid another hellacious experience with a cab driver. Any of you who know me, know that I hate cabs. HATE THEM. Almost as much as flying Delta.

Hmmm...what else? Played some online poker this weekend. It did not go well. Why would it? Its amazing just how badly the players get it in online. And why I keep going back to keep trying. I mean...you play live tourneys for a month, and find success, and feel good about your game, and spend two or three weeks accepting praise from everyone...then you go online, lose all your confidence, and get rattled over what you know is probably a 15 year old telling you how bad you suck. Then those words from my wife start rattling around in my head:

"If it's so bad...why do you keep playing on there?"

And in one word...I respond to her. "The Value" and only that reason. And I don't care how much I win in live tourneys...I will NEVER take my limits to stupid heights online. I can't. I just have no faith in it. I then went and made a Facebook status update...that got quite a response from people.

"Playing online poker on Sunday is sort of like being invited out to a night of partying with your wife and her hot friends. You have all these dreams and expectations of where it might end up, but at the end its just one gigantic buzz kill."

I think, in my opinion, that we can almost all agree with this line, no?

Nice blown chip shot FG Garrett Hartley. I think your luster is beginning to wear off. Thanks Seahawks for not blowing another late lead. It feels good to see you in 1st place again. Thanks KC Chiefs for blasting the 49'ers and their asshole coach, Mike Singletary. Anyone see the interview with him last week? The interviewer ended up getting re-assigned over it. While doing nothing wrong. Singletary is just a prick, and I hope he loses every damn game this season! Great game between Bama and Arkansas yesterday, had Squirrel on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Thank you Arizona State for that late night, back-door cover too...can't tell you how much I appreciated that one!

I wasnt there to watch her freak out...because I decided to take up Mike Teller's offer and drive over to Pensacola and play their end of the month 20k Guarantee at the Pensacola Greyhound Track...which now has poker. The highlight of my trip was watching my first dog race. It was hilarious...watching them chase a sock around the track for one lap. The tourney? I was dedicated to trying to at least make it 6 levels...didn't want Mike to feel bad for deciding to stake me in the thing. Did I need a stake? No, obviously, but Mike has had a lousy year, getting ripped off by a guy and trying hard to recover from it, and nothing would have made me happier than snapping off a nice little score and handing him half of it. But things would not go my way. And honestly, after watching just 10 hands, I had a bad feeling that my fate was already decided when I got in my car back in Biloxi.

At 50/100...the normal play was to raise to anywhere from 600 to 1000 preflop and then check all the way to the river and still win with their AK. Ridiculous. So when I looked at AQ in the SB on a limped pot 6-ways, I figured raising would be stupid. The flop came A-3-Q. Nice flop. Decided to check raise one of the idiots. The last idiot bet. I raised. They all folded except him. The flop carried one spade. The turn was the 3 of spades. Well, if this guy called me with A3 he was getting all my chips. I now bet big. He just calls. Hmmm...lovely. River was the 5 of spades. I shipped my last 2500. (we started with 7500 chips). He called and turned over AJ. I thought I had just doubled up when I heard the dealer say "Flush" and did a double take. Oh fuck! Wow...backdoor flushed me. Awesome. And I was done.

Sat down at a 1/2 game, next to Ben Chan...and won enough to pay for my gas over there before I became so bored I couldn't stand it anymore. Saw a lot of guys over there I know...but, and not to sound like a jerk, most of them were people I remember for all the wrong reasons. I don't think I will be going back over there. Just makes no sense to make that drive to try and win a shade under 10k.

So I am in the parking lot, getting my laptop ready for the drive home...finding a college football game on XMRadio...and BOOM! I get knocked into my dash. What the fuck!

Oh...this older guy...African American...and appearing slightly drunk...thought he was going to make it into the parking spot, only he didnt. He took a chunk out of the back corner of my car. Seriously? Nice trip. We exchanged information...although his was a bit sketchy, and I totally expect none of it to check out when I call on it tomorrow or the next day. Whatever.

Went on a shopping spree Saturday...first to Wal-Mart for groceries (yeah...I went YARD!) and then to Best Buy. Got some goodies over there, both for me and the Squirrel. Let me just say...if I am smarter than most of the people who work there, why do they even bother trying to pretend they are offering people assistance? More than anything, they are just getting in the way.

I am very happy for my backer. Her faith in me is renewed. And when she is happy, I am happy! She has had a pretty rough year..dealing with lots of family crap. And my up and down bad year. So she is rewarding herself with a trip to Florence, Italy with her girlfriend for a month. Thats pretty awesome.

Okay...I think that is probably enough for now. We are over at Gabe and Claudia's right now, where Claudia made everyone dinner (and I must say, it was delicious) and now they are all playing cards while Gabe and I have been sitting on the couch watching the Jets beat Miami and dicking around on our computers. Yeah, we are the introverted ones at this party. It's 1am and I am ready to go home to my dogs. Good luck pulling Squirrel outa here!

Talk to y'all later!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Drunk and Completely Irrelevant Thoughts....by Monkey

Welcome. It's 5:20am.

I just ordered enough food from room service to feed a family of 17 in Nicaragua. Why? N0 idea. It all looked good.

This will be a post containing...I'm almost certain...NO poker references.

Just spent 4 hours enjoying beverages of alcoholic content with my friend...yes friend...after a trying period of 52 minutes where I was questioning that label...Christian...in which I was presented with the challenge of dealing with 2 guys I kind of like and 3 complete strangers from today's final table who wanted to do nothing but talk about poker hands...while Christian and I stayed off to the side talking about stuff in life that is actually, for a lack of a better word....INTERESTING...and/or thought provoking.

Question number 1. When you eat French Onion soup...and that cheese is melted and then stuck to the side of the bowl; do you do everything you can to erradicate all of that cheese from the side of the bowl and eat it?

Question Number 2. Am I the only one who finds the only woman in America to be more annoying, in a political sense...than Sarah Palin...is this Christine McDonnel from whatever state she is from? Or is it O'Donnel? She is like that cute little 8 yr old, who stands up and reads her essay, and some teacher tells her..."you are going to be something really amazing. Don't let anyone try to kill your dreams. You can be anything you want, Christine."

Um Christine? I have news for you. You are a joke. Watching you struggle through your horribly written speech...and stumble all over it and mispronounce words only makes you more pathetic than you already are. I don't care if you are a MILF...that yeah, if I was stranded in space and you suddenly appeared in my capsule that I would do everything imagineable to make sure you didnt walk straight for a week...you are not a political leader. You are not even KIND OF qualified to make or influence governmental policy. Which one was it? Drill team or cheerleader? Please....marry rich and leave us all the fuck alone. The nation demands it.

And Sarah? Please run for President so you can lose in a landslide, go back to college, lose your stupid Alaska/Wisconsin accent and come back 4 years later and get slaughtered again. The real joke is on all those 50-s0mething, 40-90 lbs overweight perverts paying $1000 a plate to show up to your stupid fundraising dinners featuring oil-tainted shrimp, salmonella-infested devilled eggs, and ecoli ravaged tuna tartare . For $11.25 I can take you to Waffle House, my treat, and fill you will the inspiration and hope that only a Monkey can bring to a politically charged debate. Tea Party? I would like to introduce to America the Red Snapper Party.

One of the sponsors of this poker tournament was Red Bull. They had a big, gigantic logo being projected up on the wall of the poker room. So we all got free Red Bull. Today, they relocated all poker tourney activities downstairs to the cash poker room. Why? Because the WPT was building their always incredibly impressive Final table 'arena' in the convention room. So downstairs...when you ordered a Red Bull...guess what they told you?

"we don't have Red Bull. It's not available to the poker room."

Hmmm.....if I am the CEO of Red Bull who decided to invoice the Borgata with 50 to 100 free cases of Red Bull for the right to promote their event...and my players in the last three tables are told that by a waitress with an attitude, I pretty much wash my hands of any future involvement.

Anyone see that asshole President from Iran on the Larry King show tonight? It was like I was watching Pee-Wee Herman in an adult theatre trying to explain to the usher why his pants were down. " No-no...I got these new boxer briefs today, and I wasn't used to the tight fit."

The Democratic candidate from the state of Delaware? His name is Chris Coons. I think that is funny. He is the guy running against Punky Brewster all grown up.

How many games out of 1st place are the Pittsburgh Pirates?

If you get on a city bus headed for downtown...and you got on the wrong bus, how long after you realize it do you think it will take before you get on the right bus heading in the right direction? I'm guessing you will be late for your job interview at Denny's.

I have a safe in my hotel room if anyone would like to come rob me. You still have 4 hours.

Why would anyone EVER buy grapes that have seeds when there are a more than adequate supply of seedless grapes?

Why did the rainbow become the official symbol of gay people? I don't get it.

How does Ben Affleck keep getting serious acting roles?

Was Keanu Reeves not available?

It's 5:49am...how many inches is that ball away from Jasper's mouth right now, do ya think?

Three things I am going to purchase/procure when I win my first million. A share of a personal jet. A full time on-call massage therapist...and a person to pack all my shit for me. Both before I leave home...and when I have to leave to come home. Packing sucks. And so does flying coach. And knots in the neck and shoulders.

I would like to thank Borgata for doing business with Coca-Cola and NOT Pepsi.

Here we go...an attempt at 3 hours of sleep. I hate you Glenn Beck!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Borgata Outcome

Yea...I got busted 63rd, for $9300...and it was a bummer, but I had no regrets. It was a good tourney for me. I had a great time, met some great new players, watched some outstanding poker played at my table...and still have a rooting interest in my friends Christian 'Da Professional' Iacobellis, Dwyte 'the Duke' Pilgrim, and Lee Childs. I will give y'all more details on how yesterday played out in a later post.

For now, I just woke up after a very refreshing 8 hour night of sleep. Carwash caught an early morning flight and is outa here. That is my 3rd excellent roomie experience in a row. Mike is a great guy. I played $1/$2 last night while waiting for Christian to end his night. I thoroughly abused my table...buying in for $300 and cashing out for $1350. Some would think I wouldn't want to leave it, especially since no on on the table had more than $400 when I left...but after a while I get so freaking bored with cash game.

So Christian and I and his friend Mike went to B-Bar and had two drinks, talked about the night...and about today when he goes back, and called it a night.

There is a $230 tourney today that I am going to go down and dabble in while I shuttle back and forth and check on my buddies.

Once again...to the huge number of you who sent along your best wishes to me yesterday during the event, I really really appreciate it. It was a great run, made all the more enjoyable by you readers who 'had my back!'


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Okay Monkey Nation, your donkey here is IN THE MONEY in Atlantic City! Time to go to work now! Thanks for all the love!
BOOM!!! Down to 37k. UTG raises. Chipleader re-raises, I have KK. 3 way all in vs QQ and AK. I hold! 122k. 3 til money!
End of 1st level. Got a lucky double up on the river and now have 112k. Goin to 2500/5000. 135 remain.

Good Morning....seat assignments

Not sure why it takes them so damn long to get this posted, but it does. I tossed and turned all night. Anxiety I guess. Turns out there aren't 175 left...but 165...which only drives up the average stack even more! Oh then realized I misreported by stack. Isn't 88,500 but 84,500...so I don't have 22 BB's, I have 21!

CLICK HERE FOR the seat assignments and chip counts.

I have a most interesting table draw. First off, I am in seat 5, which I DO love! Seated in the 3 seat...or the button to my BB, is my good buddy Christian, which should make things very, very interesting! Also at my table is a guy I've gotten pretty chummy with, and who has an excellent game, Steve Karp. And then...we have last year's defending champion, Olivier Busquet. So there should be a lot of cameras buzzing about.

To my immediate left is a guy who is even shorter than I am on chips.

I am not feeling hopeless, not at all. Just have to go in, relax...be patient, and find a double up. One double up and I am good to go. And hey, if I lose...I lose. I have had a pretty great trip. This is the third consecutive Main Event in the last month that I have gotten deep in and outlasted 85% or more of the field...so I feel real good about my game right now. But am I dying to final table this sucker? Oh hell yes, you KNOW I am.

Look down the list...there are some damn fine players left in this thing. I love it! Nothing gets me fired up like playing with world class poker players! This should be a very exciting day! Keep your shout outs coming....I love 'em!


Monday, September 20, 2010

End of Day 2 Recap....

Okay...lets do this, before I fall asleep from exhaustion. One thing is for sure about these Main Events...by the time you get to the end of the day, you are incredibly exhausted, mentally. More so than in regular noon tourneys.

[and my kneecap is still throbbing from slamming it into that damn pole that we have all drilled about 100 times in our poker career!]

There is more pressure, there is more thinking, the stakes are higher...the players are usually better. Every move is critical. One big mistake can be so costly. And then there is that critical moment when you have to decide to make a HUGE call...or those times when you have to decide whether to throw that monster bluff.

Today was very, very long. I came in with 108k. I had a very good table for chipping up. Mike Beasley was the only player I had any real experience with...and frankly, whom I was worried about. And he was the only one close to me in chips. I really don't want to get into a lot of hand talk...but I will just say that I hovered between 110k and 130k for 4 levels. Would it have been nice to get up to 200+? Sure. But the situation just didn't present itself, and frankly, to stay above average was kind of my goal. The last thing I wanted to do was try to force the action and screw myself in the process.

On the last hand before dinner break, Mike Beasley raised to 5200 UTG. (blinds at 800/1600). I looked down at AK....grrrrr, hate that spot. But I called, on the button. Nancy Tyner also called in the BB. The flop comes out A-K-Q...and Mike fires out 11,500. Hmmm. Screw around here, get cute and run the risk of getting drilled? Or play it safe and raise big? I decide to raise to 32,000. Nancy folds. And Mike deliberates, and tells me he thinks I must have QQ...and folds AQ. I show him AK...drag the pot, chip up to 146k and went to get some sushi with Christian Iacobellis, who I have a 10% save with on a cash and 5% save with on a final table...and who started pretty low and went on a monster tear to finish with almost 400k.

We only played two levels after dinner break, just like in Day 1, which I was grateful for...since I was super tired from staying out way too late last night. I won't make that stupid mistake again. Granted...there were about 40 other players doing the same thing...so at least I wasn't alone in stupid-land.

I really liked our table...had some good players, and some very cool people at it, so when they broke our table with less than an hour in the night...I was kind of bummed. I took my 155k to a new table. And on the second orbit, the shit would hit the fan.

This guy in the 2 seat...who I won't disparage, but who I kind of had a negative feel for, raises to 7500. He gets called by the 3 seat who is sitting on 400k and who seems like he is getting involved in a LOT of hands. Then...it happens. This guy just shoves 75k. What the hell? And in the small blind, guess what I look down at? AKs. Shit.

What to do, what to do? I think we can all assume this guy does NOT have AA or KK. He has been mumbling about being short...although short is not even close. But people get obsessed with the average, and think they MUST catch up to it. The one thing that was bugging me...was that the other two raisers could be using up my outs. Another thing that was bugging me was giving up half of my hard earned stack to a guy who just happened to be wearing a damn STL baseball cap. Yep...a friggin 'Louie!!!!' I mean, on the basis of that alone, I should have just insta-mucked.

Then I started thinking about what beating this guy would do for my stack. Putting me around 250k at the end of the day, with a great shot a deep run. Plus...having just made a great score two weeks ago...my mind isn't really on cashing for $6700, but for putting myself in position to win $750,000 and changing my whole life. So in the end, I decided to go for it. I called.

After the other two folded, he flipped over JJ. Damn. Really...I honestly felt like I might have seen AQ. Nothing on the flop...and he turned a Jack, which sealed that deal...and now I was sitting there with 68k and hating my call. And hating my stack. And suffering with that feeling we all know too well...when you watch half your stack fly away. And all the self-loathing begins.

[that guy would end up donking off almost all the chips he took from me, raising UTG once with 22...nice...and having to fold when I re-popped him with AKc...then overbetting 66 and running into a guy with KK]

But I kept it together...picked up a couple of big hands after that...and managed to get 20k back...so that when we were all finished, I had 88k. I think back to Biloxi, how I lost more than half of my stack when the guy rivered a flush on me...which crushed my spirit. But on the drive home that night I decided to really commit myself to grinding back my small stack and doing something special, which inevitably, I ended up doing. So you know what? With 88k...and 20 BB's (a little more) I have just as good a chance to come back as I did in that one. I just need to go back focused, well-rested, and hope I get a decent table draw. Then be patient, and smart...and hope for a little luck.


Want to know what kind of pisses me off? You look on www.worldpokertour.com and they list the live updates. And chip counts. I don't even show up. When I was in the top 30 in chips...I was nowhere to be found. And yet, you will see these people who have under 10 career cashes, but then there they are. I don't know what the qualifiers are to be mentioned. Oh well...whatever, I guess all it will take is a televised final table...and I won't ever have to sweat it again. The other thing I can't stand is how they insist on listing you as your name appears on your Borgata player's card. And oh...to the reader who left a comment 'clueing me in' as to Tiffany's 'real' last name...dude, obviously I figured that out....GRAHAM...since I told y'all how many chips she went back with. :)

Another thing that is really pissing me off is that they are still using these fucking moron dealers who have absolutely NO BUSINESS dealing in a Main Event. TEMPS. Who are working over more experienced dealers because they can pay them less. Where they are now allowed to deduct 3% of the prize pool, and they weren't a year ago...shouldn't we be rewarded with their best dealers.

Couple of incidents from today:

Guy raises to 2250. Another player calls. The Big Blind decides to re-raise and puts 7200 out. The dealer says to him...."Sir that is too much, the bet is only 2250."

It's time to color up the green chips. I have bought up the table's chips. Everyone has left for break. I am waiting for this bozo to do the race off so I can leave too. But this clown is breaking down his decks...counting his cards. I ask him if he can please do the race off. "We don't do it, I have to wait for the floor to come and do it."

Now I look around the room and see three other dealers doing the race off.

"Um, dude...I really don't think so, especially since these other dealers are doing it. Also...there are 55 tables...you really think the floor is going to EACH freaking table and conducting the race off? It will take 2 hours!"

On top of it, he admitted he had no idea what 'the race off' was or how to do it.


Luckily, another dealer pushed him and conducted the race off, and I got to enjoy 3 minutes of my 15 minute break.

85% of the dealers think its standard when a player raises to immediately announce the AMOUNT of the raise...instead of just announcing 'RAISE' as they are supposed to do.

A couple of the dealers like to immediately put their hands on the stacks of all-in players, and give an instant amount...huge no-no...until the player whose turn it is, asks for a count.

Its just one thing after another, and you try to be patient...but hell, we are playing for $750,000 and we deserve better. It is very, very frustrating, and it doesnt have to be like this.


Okay, I know you are all waiting for this: The Tiffany Michelle encounter that everyone was talking about last night. Prior to her arriving at the B-Bar last night, I was talking to Maria Ho and Esther Taylor about her. And it was an interesting conversation. And to sum it up, they admitted that there are things about her that are, well...you know, undesireable, but that she is 'not a bad person and is just misunderstood' and that I should give her a chance.

Even though, technically, I already have before. So she arrives. Maria mockingly introduces her to me.

"yeah, unfortunately I know who he is!"

But it wasn't ugly...and I decided, okay, I am going to attempt to bridge the gap with this girl. Even if my 'take' on her is totally negative, and I have very little respect for her. But the fact that two girls that I do actually like and care about asked me to cut her some slack...I thought I would take the high road, and try, at least.

So we talked. Or tried to. I made her an offer. Granted, I don't consider myself to be the messiah of building a good image...so please, hold the comments that might suggest that I think I am something amazing in that department. However...I was, or am, pretty certain that a little private sit down with her...with her actually paying attention, would, or could result in her maybe changing her act a little bit.

So I told her..."If you would let me lock you up in a room for one hour...I think I could seriously help you repair your image!"

"Why would I trust you to lock me up in a room?"

"Um...Tiff, first of all, I am not the least bit attracted to you. Secondly, pretty sure you remember my beautiful wife from Vegas. You aren't threatening to replace her in any way. My offer to you...is simply predicated on your friends asking me to give you a chance. I, as a player who travels to a LOT of events, and has pretty good relationships with a LOT of the players...just happen to know people's true feelings about you. What you probably aren't able to get through your thick head, is that people will act a certain way around you...say all the right things around you...then bash you behind your back. Is it fair? Maybe. Maybe not. People say shitty things about me all the time...or used to at least. I've been seriously working on my own self image this year...so I kind of know a few things about this topic. And I think the way you act at the table and some of the things you do and say away from the table just rub people the wrong way. And like I said...an hour or two with me, alone in a locked room so you can't get flustered and bolt out...and I could change you!"

{please understand, I wasn't suggesting literally locking each other in a room, it was more a figure of speech, to get my point across, and we were also drinking lots and lots of Patron....uh oh...that evil Patron again!!!}

Well, she wasn't too crazy about this idea. And furthermore, she refused to acknowledge that people don't like her. That ANYONE dislikes her. I think, or got the impression that she truly thinks that she is the most adored female poker player on the planet. What do they call that? Oh...wait...its coming to me....mmmmm....DELUSIONAL? Yeah I think that's the word. And when she tried vigorously to sell this idea to me, I just gave up. Fortunately I was in the company of others who heard her, and the reaction from them was pretty much the same as mine.

"Well...okay then. I am OUT!!!!"

She busted early in Day 2 today. So we won't be seeing her on TV on the final table...calling clock on someone when she's not in the hand...citing her dwindling stack despite having 50 BB's....or rolling her finger around in a circle over her chips when an opposing player asks for a count of her chips while they are heads up in a hand. Or watching her savagely root against the sole remaining female in the tournament so that she can be numero uno chicaroo still standing. Nope, we will miss all of those things. Dammit!

Yeah....everyone loves you Tiff. Maybe someday you will pull your head out of the sand and figure it out.


I am now going to pass out. If you heard the story about the fighting and shenanigans that took place today...they were all true. The guy running up and down the aisles screaming and hollering "SHIP IT, SHIP IT...SHIPPPP IT" really happened. Matt Stout and Allan Bari were at each other's throats all day. Confirmed by each of their Twitter posts. Which...speaking of which, Carwash...who had a torturous day, losing with KK numerous times...just running terribly in general, and finally busting right before dinner break...made a pretty good point about players and their Twitter posts. A lot of times you can search for their posts...and find out a lot about how they are playing, the hands they are playing, how they are betting....etc, etc. etc. Giving out a lot of information for all of us to read, that maybe they shouldn't be. I started scanning those, and found it was pretty interesting, if not necessarily helpful.

And then there was 'THE LADY.' I first noticed this lady yesterday...when around 6pm, she came strolling into the poker room, cursing like a sailor with her female friend. Just walking up and down the aisles swearing about this, that and the other thing. Very thick NY accent. It was gross. Then look over and see her chatting with another player...who was sporting a bit of a guido look. Nice. Well...she ends up down at B-Bar last night...and was clamouring around the people I was with. Hmmmm...one of the guys told me she was just kind of poker-groupie, not married or dating one of the players. At one point last night she invited someone to grab her big, gigantic breast. Um, I should add....she is a bit, ahem...heavy, so it wasn't like a big treat for that person.

Well...I didn't really have anything against her per se, other than she is not the kind of 'people' that my wife and I would ever, ever want to hang out with. So a fracas breaks out in the middle of Level 4 today. And guess who was involved? I got the details later. Something that started with two players...the 'SHIP IT' screamer and the victim of that hand...argueing about the guy being a jerk...her happening along, asking one of the guys if he was Jewish, then having an actual Jewish player at the table getting up and blasting her about it...which then prompted her to yell right back. The whole room stood up and watched the shouting match between this guy and this lady. It was insane. Eventually she was evicted from the building by security. Good riddance. And Mr. "Ship It' would get busted before the night was over. Crazy day.


So...here we go. Day 3. Half the average. No idea of my table draw yet. 75 to go to the money, though $6700 is obviously NOT my goal. I want a house for my wife and I. I want to start a family together. I want a little freaking poker respect from the mainstream poker community that will come with a deep, deep run in the WPT event. Not that I don't LOVE the respect I get from all of you who follow my play and my antics and this blog...because I totally do. And the ridiculous number of hits in the last 48 hours? Unreal! I truly appreciate it. Also, thanks a ton for all the incredibly supportive Facebook shout outs and the text messages I've recieved. I am obviously excited for tomorrow, but in a way that I was down at the Beau Rivage...in which I am now the underdog, unlike last night, when I went to bed in the top 30 of around 700 players or so. Did that feel good? Sure. But I wasn't embracing it with any real sense of accomplishment. What I WILL relish, is if I go in tomorrow, catch some breaks, play smart...and chip up, cash, and make another deep run.

Its months like this one that really make me love what I do for a living. And furthermore...its been another really fun trip, in which I have met a lot of really great people. I hope I can report back some great news for y'all tomorrow!


And the disaster. With 40 mins left in the night, UTG raises, gets called, shortty shoves. Me AsKs. Him JJ. Holds. Shit. 68k now.
Another level in the book, one more tonite. 200 players left and I'm right at avg with 155k. No disasters!
Last hand before dinner won a long overdue big pot to get to 146k with avg at 125k.
End of 3rd level. Smooth sailing so far. 130k. Loudmouth just moved in to my left. Thanks BOSE!


Sorry....not a whole lotta time to write this morning, as they make us start at 11am and I had kind of a late one. I posted on my Facebook that I was down at 'B-Bar' with a table and to come meet me for a drink...and whether they showed up as a coincidence or saw that post...we had about 40 of us down there til pretty late! It was really a great night. Got to meet a lot of new really great people/poker players and then caught up with some from up here that I already know but hadnt hung out with in a while.

And guess who showed up? You got it. Tiffany Michelle. And since I was already deep in conversation with E-Tay (Esther Taylor) and Maria Ho, it made it all the more interesting. There are some fun details to follow but I simply do not have the time to elaborate. Remember two summers ago when we had dinner together (in the company of BrandonJarret.com) and she wouldn't 'give up' her real name? Well...Borgata simply refuses to place anything but your FIRST name on your damn players card...so yeah, you all get to see the first name I loathe...COREY...on my chip count list. But guess who else's name you get to see? You got it. The princess!

I will give you a little hint....she comes into today with $20,450 chips....see if you can find her! CLICK HERE FOR ALL CHIP COUNTS and TABLE ASSIGNMENTS. I only have one person at my table that I recognize by name...Mike Beasley, who I am pretty friendly with and who is having a damn fine year. I am officially 27th in chips. Not bad...and yes, there are a lot of stories from yesterday...but again, I have to get going. Just wanted to give you all a little something this morning. Okay...I think in writing this I have at least cleared the cobwebs from my brain!

Lets go get this!!!!


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Live, from Table 25...in the Borgata Main Event

How bout we start with what just took place here in Level 5 and me sitting around 40k and just kind of operating in cruise control.

Walking behind us is what appears to be the 5pm Dealer Coordinator...with a gaggle of floor people trailing behind her...in that all-to-familiar 'Jersey-ish' or maybe 'South Philly-ish' way she is hollering to them to "Get rid of all the dealers that are making $16 an hour and keep all the ones that are making $10!!!"

Can I translate that statement for all of you who are currently not up here and know exactly what she just said, excuse me, HOLLERED, in front of all of us $3500 Main Event players?

"Um. Hi. Even though you all have paid $3500 to play in this tourney for the chance at close to a million and a chance to change your miserable lives for the better...I don't care. Because I am trying to make sure I save us as much money as possible, even though you all have more than adequately rewarded us with the $200 entry fee each and every one of you has paid. So...instead of getting our in-house, experienced, professional poker dealers sitting at your table and increasing your chances to play in a 'clean' game...you will get our scrubs, our temporaries that we had to hire to accomodate the onslaught of players who showed up for this event. The ones who only make $10 an hour...while the 'real' dealers will be ordered to clock out!"

I wish to God I had taken out my camera and taken the picture of every players'
face at my table. It was pretty amazing. And I still cannot believe I had just witnessed that.

I mean, how many different things this lady violated by doing that...I have no official count. Pretty sure the tournament directors, the casino managers...you name it...didnt want one of their supervisors announcing to the whole room what they are paying staff members. Then to openly admit to running off the good ones and keeping the 'blue shirts' do to budgetary concerns? Un-fucking real. I am pretty positive you are going to read about, or hear about this from someone else somewhere. Just astounding.

I mean...from a professional poker player's perspective...it really does NOT get any more disrespectful than that. I'll tell you one thing...if I make a deep run and cash for a sizeable sum, they will likely be getting the worst tip I have ever handed out.

Meanwhile....I am in the room on dinner break. Things were going very smooth for the first 3 or 4 levels. I had gotten up to about 43k at one point...then got on one of those streaks.....raise, raise, raise.....get called every time.....airball the flop and have to fold. Or raise...get called, called, called and have some dude put a GIGANTIC re-raise out that we all fold to.

I got down to 32k and was getting very irritated and annoyed. But I stopped myself when I was getting close to tilting.

"Monkey! Chill the fuck out! You have PLENTY of chips. Structure is AWESOME! Relax. Patience. We need this. This is a house. This is a baby. This is a vacation with your wife. This is respect from a WPT cash. CHILLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!"

So I chilled. Then...I sort of thawed out. It was getting real close to dinner break...and I wanted to win a pot to change my momentum a little. I pick up Ac3c in early position. Screw it. I raise. To 750 (at 150/300). I get called by the guy who ALWAYS calls me. Then the BB makes it 2000. DAMMIT! Again! Okay, I'm calling this time. The other guy calls as well.

FLOP...... Qc-10c-5h. BB's face tells me he is not wild about the flop. He bets out 2k. I tank. Count stack. Tank some more. Make it a raise to 11k. Yep...I have decided to hitch my horse to this hand. First guy folds. Now this guy tanks. Forever. No doubt in my mind he is likely folding...and if not...he's jamming. Either way...I'm not folding. My bet should have told him that.

What does he do? HE SMOOTH CALLS! Oh...you're maybe asking..."how many chips did he have?" Very, very close to what I had. Which is what has made his flat call so freaking bizaare!

But he does. And the turn is......come on......a club! Thank god....cuz I had no freaking clue what I was going to do if it wasnt. Jack of clubs hits the turn...he shoves all in, I call of course...and he shows JJ. Wow. Weird play calling the flop raise. But now I just have to avoid the board pairing.....which, thank god, I do! Why? Cuz its September...the Month of The Monkey!!!!! And now....with 8 minutes left in the dinner break...I have over 70k!

We only have to play two more levels tonight then we bag up and call it a day. I am on the button right now so I'm not panicking to get back on time. I will try to update tonight.

Just went on 1st break. 2 levels in. Over starting stack (30k). Huge field. Well over 1000 players.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

3rd time is a charm! Won 3rd mega at 3am. Sweet, let's keep this September rollin!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Atlantic City Update...and Tiff Mich Shows her Ass.

Ya like that headline? Eye catcher huh? Now...for those of you who actually find Miss Michelle (not her real last name) attractive and think this is a golden opportunity to see her pale, flat, can...Im sure sorry to disappoint you. No, it was a figure of speech.

I managed to draw a pretty lively, fun table in the $1650 yesterday. The poker wasnt going too hot. I got a lot of good hands and just about ALL of them blew up in my face. I would eventually go out in about level 5 when I flopped top pair (Ace on an A-8-4 flop with two clubs and me holding A7c) with a flush draw...but ran into a guy with a set of 8's and didn't improve.

But before that happened, I had just coincidentally been telling a story from a couple summers ago at Tao in Las Vegas as it related to Tiffany Michelle and her friends basically crashing our table and drinking all our booze. Then nearly getting her ass whooped by my wife. They all got a kick out of it...and most of them at the table had nothing but disdain for the girl.

Well, then she goes and does something that left the entire room in stunned silence. Kind of...well, one of those moments when you all just look at each other....and someone finally utters:

"uhhhhh what the FUCK was THAT all about????"


Let me set the stage for you. Her friend and "Amazing Race" co-star Maria Ho...who was dating my buddy McLean Karr for the first part of this year (is no longer) and who I actually think is pretty nice (and had just talked to a bit earlier in the day) was at the table right behind us. Miss Tiff suddenly was lurking behind us...no one was sure why. But something was up.

Then...all of a sudden, we hear...on the freaking house microphone...our little stick figure in designer jeans shouting out, with a shreaking/shrill hiss coming from the microphone....

"Yahhhhhh girlfriend.....YOU'VE BEEN ICED!!!!"


{okay...I found it...and if, after watching this...or in the process of watching this...you don't throw up all over yourself...please don't ever talk to me again. CLICK HERE!}

Yeah....see apparantly, Tiff 'got her' friend by somehow getting her? Forcing her? To drink a shot of smirnoff vodka or something. All we know is that it was alcohol related. And as we are all sitting there looking at each other with stark astonishment, you began to wonder to yourself...

'Does this girl have ANY humility? Does she even have that little alarm in her head that starts going off when its clear what she is doing is being recieved by all the other players in the room as you would react to that guy getting up at your wedding, drunk...and start babbling on and on about all the hookers you banged when you were in Vegas together on your batchelor party. Yeah...it was that awkward! And she just kept right on babbling into the mic...and I guess she really thought there were people, hell, ONE person in the room that wasn't in shock that anyone could be so enamored with themselves and lack any sense of what a fool they were making of themselves.

It is pretty clear to most of us that this girl is going to milk every last second of her 15 minutes of fame until finally there will be nothing left but a ring of dust around herself. The fact that she still identifies herself by the label of 'Professional Poker Player' is maybe the funniest thing of all. Interested to see how amazing this 'Poker Pro's' list of cashes are? CLICK HERE>>>>

Pfffft. Right!??? So...how did we finally get them to wrestle the microphone away from her? I'll tell ya how. A very well respected poker player, not me, who was at my table...sent a text message to the tourney director that read...

"What the FU** is that stupid CU** doing with the microphone!??"

In about 22 seconds one of the floor guys came and took it away from her. And a smattering of applause from the players ensued. And all this on the heels of my story.

CASE CLOSED. Court adjourned. State rests. Thank you your honor. Peace out. Please.....please.....expire you nagging 15 minutes of ridiculousness.


Wanna quick recap on my poker accomplishments thus far? This will be quick and painless. As I mentioned, the $1650 went terrible. Then I bought into the $550 Survivor tourney. It also went terrible, and I was out fast. I went on to play a total of 4 sit n gos. The third one I would win. Out right. With a fat last longer. Which...after picking up a nice little chunk in some late night 10/20 limit Omaha H/L...put me at just about even for the day.

During the SNG I won...we had one of the weirdest tables ever. Carwash was in the 1-seat, I was in the 8-seat...and about half way through he texts me....

"I seriously think I hate every single player at this table."

He was not too far off the reservation. It was guido central. Then you had the guys who think the recipe for winning poker is to just shove all in ...regardless of the pot size. Then...kapow, it happened, and it also signalled to us experienced players, just who the 'table teams' were. Not that I didn't think I already had it figured out. This place is notorious for teams that come in here to take down SNG's together. And there is usually three of them. Which...if you have an ounce of common sense...would realize that this is an assisine approach to start with. THREE players...in one SNG...that are trying to do what? They are almost guaranteed to lose money. Well, this guy...we will call him 'Teammate #1" is the first person knocked out. I ask the others if they wouldn't mind sliding down a little bit. But this clown decides he wants to stay seated there.

"Um, sir, I'm sorry, but if you have been knocked out you can't stay at the table."

This is when the prick on my right...who we will call 'Teammate #2, or just...to make it easy to remember...'Mr. 145lb dripping wet, wanna be tough guy but only when his 5 buddies are around him, who challenges people to fight him, then cries wolf when the floor comes over, who has zero muscle tone and looks like a fucking bobble head doll." I know that name is a little long...but that is his name. I'm not going to repeat it. Oh....anyway, that is when he says..."What the fuck is your problem man? He can stay there if he wants! What are you going to do about it pal!???"

Oh boy. I just looked at the dealer, waiting for him to do his job. But alas, he was one of the famous 'blue shirt' dealers. These are the dealers who have been brought in off the ....uh....lets keep it clean here, these are the temp dealers, the part timers, the 'just out of dealing school' crew who you have heard everyone chirping about. {more about these folks later, and why the dealer situation is as bad as it is up here} Well, blue shirt just sat there, looking baffled. Luckily the floor was nearby, heard the conversation and ordered the player to leave the table.

Thats when he goes 'Jersey Shore' on me. And keep in mind here...I am wearing my sunglasses, and my iPod and headphones...and literally have not said a single thing, except asking if everyone can slide down a little bit. Even said please.

"Yo...what is your problem man!??? You got a problem?"

I didn't hear him....I just saw him looking at me...his mouth moving, and his face showing me that I had done something to upset him.

I quickly walked over, shook his hand, and explained that all I was trying to do was gain some elbow room. No intent to upset him. He shook my hand, and that was that. I guess.

But then jackass on my right takes his jackasseness up a notch. Now he won't move over. "I'm comfortable right where I am. " Lovely, so me in the 8, the guy in the 9, and the 10 seat all got to continue being jammed together, while the 5 and 6 seat were empty. What a prick. Oh and he never let up. He was the guy who wanted to tell the dealer how to do everything, although you could tell just by observing him play that this bozo had been playing for a maximum of 2 years. Just a fucking moron. And at one point, I tried to defend the dealer and he jumps down my throat...again challenging me to a fight. I just looked at him....dead in the eye...with Carwash looking on...and said to him:

"Listen, scarecrow...I want you to know that I am terrified of you and all the horror that I'm sure you would bring to my world. You seem very eager to get the shit kicked out of you. See, I am 43, and this is officially my office. I won't give you the satisfaction of getting myself in trouble over someone as irrelevant as yourself. It's just not worth it. However, it has been a while since I have been in a scrap...and honestly, I kind of miss the feeling...so here is my offer. I will give you my room key (and I did take it out and offer it to him...with the sleeve it came in with the room number written on it) and when this sit n go is over...I will meet you...just you...up in my room. And one of us isn't coming out. So unless you take this room key from me...dont say another fucking word."

He didn't take the key. And he actually did shut the fuck up. And then...when he raised my big blind 4-handed and I looked down at 10-10...and moved in on him...he snap called with AJ...missed the board...and was sent packing. Goodbye dickhead. And as classy as I could possibly be, I said NOTHING to him. But did it feel good? Hell yes. Saw him on the rail today watching everyone play...and glaring in my direction. I ignored him. Talk about irrelevant. What a fucking loser.

OH...I would get one more satisfying moment in that SNG. The guy in the 4-seat...who we shall call Teammate #3...goes all in when we are 3-handed...for 2200....at 600-1200 and me and the BB holding about the same amount of chips. I have A8 and decide to just call. THe BB completes, and this guy starts hollering 'Collusion!!! Their Colluding!!!!'

Talk about the coffee calling the kettle black. I had sat and watched the three of them chip dump to each other about 2 or 3 times during the sit n go, and then put on the most pathetic display after folding to their teammate. It was a joke.

So when this guy starts chirping, I just had to laugh. Yeah...I am colluding with this other player, who is from Israel, barely speaks English, who I have never seen before. Yep...we gotta deal! Holy shit. So I flop 8-high...and bet out big...BB folds...and this guy was drawing dead. Bye bye now....all three of you are done. Nice!

Me and Israel played heads up for about 15 minutes before I beat him. He was actually a pretty nice kid. Didn't talk a lot...but was a nice kid. Decent player.

Today has sucked so far. Played the noon Mega. It went bad. Made two terrible reads...and it was over.

Then played a $120 SnG that lasted two freaking hours. We got to 600-1200 and still had 8 players left. We also had two dealers who were flip flopping with each other throughout the game who were absolutely dreadful. Nothing like a dealer who sits there staring at the two hands after the hand has played out, trying to figure out where to push the pot. Or mucking one of the player's hands after an all in bet is made, the other player calls...they both turn over their cards and wait for a flop. ???? Where did my cards go dealer?

"Oh I thought you folded." Really? Yep...this is a regular occurence here.

I am sitting in my room now, where I was told by the Dell rep who called me this morning...that they would be coming by my hotel to fix my laptop...which is not responding to my charger. Says "plugged in, not charging." Yet it doesnt go dead as long as its plugged in. Weird. I was told they would be here between 4 and 6. It is now 5:20. The next mega starts at 6pm. Wanna guess what time I predict this person will arrive? I'm gonna ball park it and say 5:58pm. Sigh.


So...I promised to get to the bottom of the dealer situation here in the good 'ol State of New Jersey. There have been a lot of myths and opinions and some stated facts bantied about in the last week, both here, on my Facebook and just between other players.

Well yesterday, I actually took the time to go and talk to one of the tournament directors about it...and they were extremely forthright and didn't duck any of my questions...some of which were pretty direct. It was a great conversation. So lets share it.

1. Does a dealer who works at a casino in New Jersey have to live in New Jersey? There are some who think they only have to live in the 'area', say in Philly, or Delaware. The answer? They MUST be a New Jersey resident. No exceptions.

2. Does New Jersey have a dealers union...and is that why the WPT and WSOP events arent permitted to bring their own circuit dealers?
The answer is NO...there is NOT a dealers union. In fact that was kind of laughed at. I was told that some dealers from Ceasers tried some number of years ago..but got nowhere with it. Guessing that was inspired by their cocktail waitress' union. We all know how wonderful that has worked out for us who like to look at attractive cocktail waitresses! Yikes! Ceasers.........ooooof!

3. Do casinos here take 3% out of the prize pool, and does it go to the dealers if so? The answer? Yes. They do. And yes...it does. But did they always? No...they did not. What it required was for them to introduce a bill to the gaming commission to get it approved, and they fought for three years to get it approved before they finally got approval.

4. What are the dealers paid, in terms of downs? For those who don't know what a 'down' is...its a 30-minute session that they serve at our table...for each one of those downs, they usually recieve a set amount per down. Well, in New Jersey...they are NOT paid by the down...but by the hour. I didnt ask what that rate was.

5. Why do they not allow outside dealers? And would they like to, if they had their choice? They would absolutely welcome circuit dealers. However, this is where it gets really sticky. Because of the Gaming Commission's requirement for all dealers to be state residents, it would present a conflict of interest to allow non-residents to come in and deal for specific events. Could it somehow be ammended to only allow for events that are sanctioned by the WPT and/or WSOP? Sure. But it would take another bill to be introduced, probably a ton of lobbying for it...and finally, a lot of money to fuel the effort. So while we all look at it as a no-brainer, something that should be able to be rectified over night...you are staring into the face of the stark reality of the way things are done in this state.

Does it suck? Ohhhh yes it does. We all come to this place. We pay a nice chunk of money to stay in their hotel. We pay our substantial buy ins. We pay a higher percentage of juice here than most casinos I play at. And what we get in return is a very shoddy representative in the box dealing to us. To me, there is nothing more disrespectful than to provide us with incompetent dealers. Its a slap in the face. But what sucks...is there is no ONE PERSON to be pissed at about it. The floor people do the best with what they have to work with. They need dealers...and they go out and find them wherever they can. So who are you supposed to be mad at? In the end...you need to be mad at the New Jersey Gaming Commission. And no one else. The TD's and the floor staff completely share in our frustration. Its like...if you were having a bunch of people over to your house...and your toilet suddenly stopped working, and your landlord flat out refused to send a plumber to have it fixed...and you were stuck with that situation with company. Its embarrassing. I get it.

So that...my friends, and readers...is the situation with the dealers here. Did I say....'The Situation?' Boy...do I hope I see that idiot while I'm here.


Should we talk about the cocktail service? Why not. It is horrible. Not in the looks category. That is fine. Most of the girls who work here are from somewhere in Russia. Thats how it was last year too. Not sure what the connection is with all the Russians being here...but they are. Most of the girls are tall, with nice legs, small breasts...and pretty faces...and talk in those rich, Russian accents. Very exotic. But there is no way to allow yourself to even begin to start to like them...because getting a drink here...and by drink, I mean ANYTHING. Water, a beer, a soda...a cocktail....you are almost always going to wait a minimum of 25 minutes.

As someone who is the husband to a cocktail waitress in a casino, I am sensitive to what these girls endure. It is clearly NOT the fault of the waitresses here. It is the fault of the management. I've figured out that each girl is responsible for 20 to 30 tables each. Yah! That is nearly impossible to provide even marginal service to.

{Dell tech just arrived....it is now 5:42pm. I was pretty close}

Anyway....with all the tables in this huge tourney room...and 2 or 3 girls to work the whole room...its just irritating. Its a very hot topic of conversation.

Alright I'm wrapping this very long entry up...hopefully getting my laptop fixed...and going down to hopefully win my entry into tomorrow's Main Event in this $550 Mega satellite!

See ya soon!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ouch! Bad beat! Line is 50+ deep for the $1650. Half an hour after it started. Damn!

Good Start in Atlantic City!!!

Great flight! I am becoming a huge fan of Air Tran...with exit rows like business class, and a $40 upgrade to 1st class from Atlanta to A.C. I couldn't have asked for a better way to start the trip!

Got checked into my room...and in front of my elevator stood Jason Young! tada....and since I have been carrying a little personal debt with Jason around (and not liking it!) for a while, the first thing I did was settle up with him. Even tried to give him interest, but he just wasn't having any of that. What a guy! He called it an early night....but I was itching to see if I could maybe satellite my way into today's $1650 event.

Got to the poker room, and BOOM! There was one seat left on the last $540 of the night. Now, I typically do NOT like to start my trips by playing in $540 SNG's...but two things were at work here. (a) I'm running good and (b) it was the last one of the night. Oh...and (c) the structure on their SNG's is ridiculously great! Plus they pay out 3 spots.

We got a $200 last longer going with 7 players...so there was another $1400 on the side. About halfway through it, they were awarding the winner for the $2000 Heads Up tourney...and low and behold, it was ANOTHER friend of mine...Jeremy "Ears" McLaughlin...one of the absolute nicest guys in the game. I'm telling you...what a year for all these players I'm chummy with this year! This is definitely going to go down as a memorable year for a LOT of guys...AND gals!

There was some very, very aggressive play taking place in this SNG...with people wanting to get their whole stacks in when it didnt really warrant that. I hope I see a lot of that today! I just kind of sat around and let the action come to me. Make a long story short here. We got down to 3 and me and the other guy left in the last longer both took $700. FREEROLL! Then him and I got heads up...and even though I had a sizeable chip advantage...it was now well after 3am...yeah, a 3 hour sit n go...and I wanted to get some sleep, so I was okay with taking a chop for $2250 each...with the $700....hey $2950 was a good way to start the trip.

Feeling pretty good on Day 1 at Borgata...and very excited for today's $1650. Saw a lot of my Northeastern buddies last night...and its amazing how word travels around the poker community when you make a good score. It felt really good to get congratulated by guys who I KNOW genuinely felt happy for me. That is one of the most rewarding elements to this game...the 'real' players out there. Hell, even Gavin Smith shouted across the room to me about it. We then walked out together, after he had min-cashed the nightly and was grumbling about it.

Well, alright...lets get after it!!!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just landed. Upgraded to 1st class for $40! Awesome flight! Nice start to the trip!

Off we go to Atlantic City

I did not play one hand of poker for a week...and then last night...decided, against my better judgement, to log on for a little online poker. The first five games I got throttled. But in the last one...a little $5 with two rebuys and one add-on, and 831 players, I ended up making the Final Table. I went out 7th, when my AK couldn't improve against QQ...but at least it felt good to get that deep before heading off for AC today and the Borgata.

Got all my errands around the house done. Finished (finally) my backer's spreadsheet and shot her off the good news. And some money! Ordered my fall wardrobe online...then made all the returns and exchanges at the mall yesterday. I feel like I am set for Fall. Now all I need to do is lose some freaking weight so all my other stuff will fit in spring!

I've been hearing a lot of horror stories from Atlantic City...mostly about how attrocious the dealers are. I kind of already know that from my trip there last year...but from what I am hearing, it is worse. I shall get myself in the right mental mindframe for that, then.

I will be sharing a room with Mike 'Carwash' Schneider...a guy I have always liked a lot but never roomed with. Should be interesting. I plan on meeting up with, and partying a little bit with my buddies Jason Young and Christian Iacobellis while I'm there. I would say Joe Cutler...but I have no idea what the hell is going on with him. He just suddenly went incommunicado on me. Then I find out he got married this weekend. Hmm. No invite. No nothing. Very weird. Starting to think I did something to piss him off, with no clue what it might be. Hopefully we will get a chance to sit and talk about whatever it is.

I'm gonna miss my dogs like crazy. Love being home with them. And with Squirrel. She is back to begging me not to go...but damn, with over 1.5 million for first last year...and that structure? And being on kind of a hot streak...its kind of hard NOT to go. I booked a one-way on Air Tran...so I can pretty much come home whenever I want. Would love to get up there, Mega my way into the Main...play on Day 1a, Saturday....get out of Day 1...then hang out with Christian on Day 1b, Sunday...and grind online all day and maybe have dinner...then go back and get deep for a nice cash. Then leave! Sounds like a plan!

I will keep you all updated. I arrive late tonight, about 11pm.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Great Weekend in Milwaukee with the Family....

What do we do after winning a bunch of money and putting an end to one of the worst runs of 'no decent cashes' in recent memory? Most poker players would likely book a flight to Atlantic City and get after the always-inflated fields at Borgata, right? And true...had this weekend not already been planned several weeks ago...that is likely what I would have been doing.

But we had made plans...and so that is what our weekend plans called for. And honestly, after all the bullshit that Delta and the idiots who work at Gulfport/Biloxi put us through (and that was on our DEPARTURE flight, no telling what awaits us tomorrow when we go home) I have almost ZERO desire to book a flight and hotel and all the other stuff that goes along with planning a poker trip...which will end up only being about a week long. But my buddies Jason Young and Christian 'Da Professional' Iacobellis are counting on me to come...and I keep thinking about last year's Main Event paying out like 1.7 million for first...and more and more I'm thinking, "Damn, I really probably need to get my ass up there."

First of all, I would like to extend my gratitude to the folks at the Beau Rivage for letting me return to their poker premises. As I had mentioned before the dealers did a magnificent job all throughout the event. I managed to get all of the Main Event dealers taken care of through my personal channels, and I appreciated all the ones who sent me thank you messages. Thanks to Johnny Grooms, Ken Lambert and Eric Comer, as well as floor guys like Troy, Amanda, Kurt Dau, and Brannen...who made the trip very pleasant. Even though I pulled a pretty ridiculous 2 for 14 in SNG's, I more than made up for it in tourneys. Obviously. :) And for two or three days I did nothing but return all the messages people sent me, not wanting for one second to be that guy who people said things about like "see, now he gets a big score and he's too cool to respond." I'm pretty paranoid about that stuff.

So here I am in Milwaukee. Squirrel and I started the journey in very annoying style. Getting to GPT 45 minutes before our flight...we get stonewalled by a bitch named Kimberely Williams and an old lady with the poise of a raccoon with a firecracker up her ass. Oh, I would have provided you her name...but when Squirrel made a move for the front desk to get her name (which is something usually only I would pull...very out of character for her...should tell you how pissed off she was) she had disappeared. This was the bitch who had accused Cheryl of not having any common sense.

This on the heels of Cheryl standing in line...being waved over to the kiosk by this bitch...then after going through all the prompts and having it say "You Are Too Late to Check Baggage at Kiosk" she goes into this speech about how we are supposed to be here 2 hours before the flight. Huh!??

"Yes maam, you have to be here 2 hours before the flight because the gate takes control from us 30 minutes before the flight."

Again. HUH????

Squirrel: "So which one is it? I have to be here 2 hours before the flight? Or 30 minutes? And by the way, I was here 45 minutes before my flight...and right now its 35 minutes before my flight...and your telling me I can't check in? And if I have to be here 2 hours before the flight...WHY? So I can sit around for an hour and a half? You make no sense lady."

This is when the common sense BS started. This is when I got involved. This is where the old bitch starts trying to cite some psycho babble bullshit about FAA regulations.

"Really lady? Here is the problem...I am not an idiot. I am not one of these people who travel once or twice a year and will buy whatever crap you are trying to feed them. See, I know that works 98% of the time for ya...but not with me. Why don't you just be honest and tell us you oversold the flight...and don't know what the hell to do...so as a stop gap measure, you are turning away semi-late arriving passengers. Think maybe you're capable of that?"

So...what does she do? What they always do at the freaking airport when they have no clue how to respond.

Old Bitch: "Sir, I am going to get someone who can help you!"

Translation....Old Bitch is calling the cops or security, then telling them I am causing a disturbance. Oh yeah...Ive been down this path before with these ingrates. The last time was when they destroyed my luggage and I simply wanted to know who to go through to get some kind of help. That day, they called the cops, then told them I was making threats. Yeah, I was threatening the lady with calling customer service for Delta and filing a complaint about her.

I have no idea how someone hasn't walked into that airport and shot one of those assholes that works those counters. And they can just cool it with the whole 9/11, terrorism crap....trust me, terrorists are not plotting to wreak havoc in Biloxi, Mississippi. Give us all a break. That is specifically reserved for hurricanes!

As I find out, these clowns aren't event airline employees, they are contracted as an outside collection of bozos to wake up every day, drive to the airport, and dedicate themselves to making us traveler's lives a living hell!

Well this little bitch Kimberly was seemingly thrilled that she was going to force us to leave for two hours...then come back, just to find out if we were going to get to travel 3 hours later, for a mere $100 change fee...or, if someone out there was stupid enough to purchase those last 5 seats on the plane for $1000+ per ticket. Well, I one-upped her. I called customer service. Spoke to a gal named Wendy Springer out in Seattle, who could not have been nicer or more helpful, and actually gave me hope for this trip. I told her what had happened. She agreed we had been bamboozled. I told her of my numerous issues with this airport. She demanded (okay, heavily encouraged) that I write a letter to Delta explaining all the crap I've endured at this airport. And then she booked us both on that flight...and in an exit row (leg room) and of course waived the $100 change fee. So when we went to check in, that little troll Kimberly could not have been snottier. Upon pulling up our names you could tell by the look on her face that she noticed I had gotten around the $100 fee and had gotten myself booked before she could.

When she handed Squirrel our boarding passes, she said nothing. Cheryl says "Your welcome! Have a nice day!" While going through security Cheryl told the TSA guy what we'd just put up with...and his comment was "Really? You wouldn't believe how many stories I hear about those people down there. I mean...every day its something." So, I guess the problem really isn't so much Delta and the other airlines as it is those misfits of society they find out on the street to check us in and take (and destroy) our baggage.

First leg of the trip...to Memphis, perfect. The flight from Memphis? Holy crap. What is a CRJ200 and how did they ever decide to make this a commercial aircraft. First of all, the windows are down around my stomach, so you can forget trying to look out of them. But the real douzy was the 7 inches of leg room, which disappeared when the person in front of me reclined on my lap. OMG OMG OMG OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!! And of course, no Xanax! I started to freak out. And then all of a sudden, the flight waitress saved me..."we have a whole row in back that is unoccupied sir, if you would like to take it."

Oh thank God!!! Granted, it was still two of the smallest seats ever! I got myself contorted into this pretzel-like ball, as though I were going for some super-bonus Twister manuever in attempt to win the game...and by the time we finally arrived in Milwaukee I was ready for a deep-tissue massage.

{as a little side note, there was only one row behind me...then the back of the plane. It was occupied by a young couple. And halfway through my terribly attempted nap, I was awoken by sounds...yeah...THOSE sounds...and after looking between the seats, I see the girl performing fellacio on her boyfriend. I didn't know whether to feel jealous or disgusted.}

Thursday...not sure what we did. Not much. Friday, we took a cool tour boat ride around Milwaukee. It was a beautiful sunny, breezy day. Had never seen Milwaukee before. Its a pretty cool town. The ballpark is gorgeous. We went and had dinner at Ryan Braun's (he plays for the Brewers) and had a decent meal. The food was good. I'm pretty sure our waitress had just finished training last week. Friday night, the projects started to prepare for the big party my sister was having at her house.

She recently adopted a 3 year old who happens to be the little brother of the 9 year old they adopted a few years ago. This kid is maybe the cutest little kid I've ever seen. Obviously I'm not going to get into the whole story of how he came to be in this situation...for fear of losing whichever ones of you still remain. But they were having what amounted to a shower/birthday party for him.

So I mowed her lawn and did most of the work disassembling her patio that had partially washed away, and then rebuilding it. While this was going on Squirrel was whirlwind-cleaning like she does...whipping her way through their whole house. We were all nervous that rain was going to ruin the day, since the forcast was calling for it. Well it did rain last night, and all morning...but then, finally around 1pm, here came the sun. And it was a perfect day. I was the Grill Master...Squirrel played cocktail waitress! Over 50 people showed up... and watching her work the crowd was amazing. I've never seen anyone like her. People she has never met before, and who...odds are, won't ever see again, she managed to immerse herself in conversation with.

She showed the same energy when we had to fly out to Montana a few years ago and get my Grandfather's house (who'd passed away) for sell. Also when we went out to Seattle to help my Mother move into her new house. Where most people in her situation would be backing off of getting involved in all of that, or at least showing the least amount of assertiveness possible...this woman I married just throws 100% of her effort into helping people and getting to know them, and making them feel special.

You know that thing that exists between you, your family, and your significant other? When they are all together, and one of them says something 'snippy' to you...and the family immediately comes to your defense? It's almost the opposite with us...that's how much my family loves my wife. If they hear me snap at her, or say something deemed 'offensive' they jump all over ME! Phewwwww....tough crowd! Kind of makes it hard to sit on the couch watching college football while the Squirrel is flying around the house doing anything and everything to help!

So yeah...I'm pretty exhausted. The party was a success. Lots of gifts were brought. And, I was presented a surprise cake...a 'Congratulations Monkey' cake...with a big dollar bill on it and a monkey in the circle. Very thoughtful. They were all very happy for me. During the Final Table, my family, as well as Squirrel's family, were all huddled around their laptops watching the minute-by-minute updates that Brian was putting up on the Beau Rivage's Facebook page.

I have to say, I am awfully proud of my sister. She is the Athletic Director at Mt. St. Mary's College...which is an all-girl's college. We got to go to her school and meet all her co-workers and see the school. It was very nice. She has done wonders with these kids. I sat here listening to them scream and yell and bang on toys...and wonder "Wow, if Squirrel and I have a kid, am I going to be able to deal with this?" It's tough. I mean... I know that I would never be the kind of father that my step dad was, alcoholic, abusive...just an asshole. I would never strike a kid. I would never allow myself to drink around them to excess. But my problem is the patience to deal with the things that drive me crazy. They say its different when they are yours. I can only hope that is true.

It was nice to see my family. My Mother is always happy to see us. And her and Squirrel have a better relationship than any girl I ever dated. She just loves Cheryl to death. I'm so glad I had the week down there I did, if I hadn't I might have been a total stressed out mess all weekend.

Great day of college football. Alabama beat the crap out of Penn State. Minnesota loses to South Dakota? A 29 pt underdog! Virginia Tech loses to James Madison!?? Very exciting Michigan-Notre Dame game. Florida State got trounced by Oklahoma. And hey, hey...my Huskies got a win...I know, Syracuse sucks...but still, its a win. And it was nice!

My football pools have a record number of entries in all four of them. Georgia Tech losing to Kansas whacked a bunch of people from the NCAA Survivor Pool. Tomorrow is Week One of the NFL and I am pretty fired up. Except that I am going to be spending all day flying home. Anxious to see how all four of my Fantasy teams do in Week 1.

In the last 5 days I have played exactly ZERO hands of poker. And I have not missed it one bit. But I know its coming. I have to figure out what I am going to do when I get home tomorrow....Squirrel really wants me to stay home. And part of me wants to. But I feel like I am on a hot streak right now...doing well in Tunica, doing well in Biloxi...and to go up to Borgata and do well there? Damn, I could really put this year of misery to rest. I really, really want to get us out of our rental house and into a house of our own. And eliminate ALL of my remaining credit debt. Those are the two goals...then we can think about trying again to have a baby. One step at a time. Last week was just the first step in this plan...and yeah, it was a great step!

I guess thats about enough. Fear this has gotten too long already. Hope you all have, or had...a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September 6, 2010...a day to remember!!!

In this year of reasons to be disappointed with almost everything that has come my way, I finally found a reason to wake up, walk outside with my dogs...throw my dog the ball, and just smile. And keep smiling. To open my mail box, pull out bills, and laugh at them. To take all the overdue bills on my bulletin board and promptly pay them off.

Then I sat down....and spent four hours answering each and every text message, email, and Facebook shout out that came my way. I've never felt such an outpouring of support both before I made the 'big score' I kept waiting for this year...or after. And all from people I know aren't 'coming out of the woodwork' looking for something from me, or cutting some angle. Nope...it was all people who are friends, family or fellow players who have felt my pain all year, or even been there suffering with me. I wanted to make sure I responded to all of them.

I am not a better poker player than I was last month. I am not a cooler person. I am not better than anyone. I might be a little better behaved! I might be 'cooling my act' a little...both due to the need to, and the medication I'm on...and maybe just a little bit of maturity! Nope...nothing really has changed THAT much. What did happen, was I managed to have my hands hold up. I managed to pull a few very well timed bluffs. And I managed to pull off a couple of monster suck outs. All requirements to win a tourney or finish very high.

Joining me in the final four yesterday was a very old friend of mine...who I had NEVER played a hand against at the poker table. Chad Brown and I played baseball together some 20 years ago. And in fact, there is a baseball tourney/reunion for that team in Tempe this fall that Chad will be going to...and which I've been invited to, and just might attend, even though I havent played in a baseball league for about 4 years now. Might just be fun to catch up with the guys. It was fun to watch Chad play. We had some great conversation.

Pretty much every guy at that Final Table was a class act. I got Facebook messages and friend requests today from Ron Romano in the ONE seat. Got one from Mark Rose...the eventual 'winner' in the TWO seat. Got one from Jonathon Stanton in the THREE seat. Chad is already on there. And got one from Mike Bradford and his wife. Along with a nice message. After I cracked Mike's AA with my KK...hitting a king on the river...he quickly left the table...and I am pretty sure he did what I did up in Tunica last month when I went out 14th, 5 from the money...and went out to the hall to gather himself, decompress and curse the poker gods. Then he came back in, shook my hand, wished everyone luck, and got paid. Good guy.

Yesterday was a great day. When Chad got knocked out on a ugly three-outer against Kai Landry...it was just me, my friend Kai...and Mark Rose...another good dude. It then dawned on me just how freaky this was. Two days ago...when I had only 14k at the end of Day 1, I got a call from my good buddy Charlie "Smoke" Oliver, who I guess has been conferring with a psychic lately. Between that and a dream he had...he told me I was going to make a comeback, and get down to either heads up, or close to heads up with a friend of mine. I can't make this up. To make it even better...Kai has had a personal nightmare of a 2010, even worse than mine. And he has handled that adversity with so much poise, and such dignity than I ever could come CLOSE to. To know that he walked away with such a nice, fat lump of cash gave me such a great feeling of happiness for him. Almost as happy as I felt at receiving mine!

The first thing I did after answering all of you...was take that money straight to the bank, putting some in checking, sneaking Squirrel a little gift in her account and putting the rest in my safety deposit box! Lesson learned! No money in this house folks!

Kept trying to decide what I would write about today. I've gotten several messages from you guys telling me you want to see the post! Kind of tough one to write. I mean...do you guys really care about all the hands? Bottom line...is I didn't really get into a lot of showdown hands at all. 75% of the hands I raised with...I got walks. I went in with 452k. When we were down to 4 I had 459k. My plan was to go in...and play very tight, very cautiously...hang around and let other shorter stacks get knocked out and try to pick 5k here, 10k there...til I got to a point where I could sort of feel like I was now freerolling on the payouts....and start getting after it.

The blind structure was so good that I was never in danger at all. Its the most amazing feeling when you can just sit there and let the action come to you. Kai and I started up with the Red Snappers right away. And Mike Bradford would join us as well. I was content to sit and watch Chad Brown and Mark Rose fire at each other constantly. Early in the action Mark raised from cutoff. Chad re-raised from the small blind. To which Mark tanked...then re-raised huge. Chad finally surrendered...."I'm really laying down a big hand to you here" but didn't show. Mark rolled over 10-4 offsuit.

"ohhhh okay...nowwww we're playing poker!!!" said Chad.

On the first hand of the day Ron Romano shipped all in UTG with KJ and was called by Ben Chan...another guy I'm pretty good buddies with. You all might know his brother Charles, who is a very good and established dealer, as well as a solid player (and watch out! his favorite hand is 4-7 and he will GETCHA with it!). Ben...as well as Kai, swapped 5% with me on Day 2...on a pretty smart play I thought. I figured ONE of us would certainly make the final table. Its always a good insurance policy to have that in place just in case things go terribly awry. Of course, we ALL made the final table...so none of us had to sweat that anymore. I also think its a bad idea to have 'live saves' when you are at the Final Table because it could really affect how you play against that guy. Kai and I are good buddies for sure...but there was no love lost yesterday. We both wanted it just as bad as the other guy. And in our case...NEEDED it! So it was nice to not have all that hanging over our heads.

Anyway, Ben decided to call with 33. And despite Ron having a ridiculous number of outs going to the river...he missed them all, and Ben won a much needed pot. And we had all made a quick $5k more.

The next three or four punchouts came pretty rapidly. I, of course hit the K to knock out poor Mike with his AA. Johnathan attempted a squeeze play with J10 and ran into Mark's QQ...and had Mark flop a set. Chad went out when he got into a heads up all in vs. Kai with AKs vs. Kai's AJ. Kai flopped a Jack and it held. The final table went a lot faster than I thought it would.

The dealers were awesome. Collins, Danielle, Danny...think it was just those three....did a super job. We had every 'head guy' hovering around...Johnny, Ken Lambert, Eric Comer...all of them...so I was being extremely careful not to do anything 'controversial.' I was actually in a pretty mellow mood all day. Not my usual wild, final table self. We had a nice crowd on hand most of the day. It was fun.

And now its over. Wow. I did not play a single hand of poker today. Just getting ready now for our trip to Milwaukee tomorrow...where we are joining my family at my sister's house to celebrate her adoption of a new little boy. They are all very excited for us to arrive, and were following along with the Final Table action yesterday and shooting me text messages. My Mom called me this morning, and it was obvious how happy she was, knowing what a terrible year its been for us. It will be nice to just go be with family and relax...and not even think about poker.

And when I get home Sunday...voila! Its right back to the drawing board! As I say...you're only as good as your last tournament right? When I go buy into the next tourney, they are only going to give me 6000 or so chips, right? Not half a million! But it is days like September 6, 2010 that make me come back wanting to do it all over again. That make me not lose hope. That make me feel like maybe I do know what the hell I'm doing in this game. And all the support I get from you guys...makes me feel like maybe I do matter a little bit to some people.

Thanks to all of you...for making this day, and this week so special!!!