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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!!!



Monkey

3 comments:

Ross Leitz said...

Congratulations Will!

H2Ronnie said...

Monkey Mania 2010 ROLL Monkey ROLL

Stephanie said...

I followed the action on Beau Rivages page on Facebook and each time someone was knocked out I was cheering for you. Congragulations Monkey !!!! See, karma does eventually come back around!