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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Strange things man....strange things.





Not exactly sure how to start this blog. Right now I am watching maybe the most nauseating show I have ever placed my eyes on. A cross between American Idol and that stupid 'GLEE' that is on Fox....called 'The Sing Off' on NBC. Hosted by Nick Lachey, who...in his defense, is a lot easier to take than Ryan freaking Seacrest. However...what I see is a lifetime of blackmailable performances by people who, if they ever find success at anything in life, will be haunted by the existence of video evidence of this nightmare. I was asked by someone....isn't there something else on TV to watch? Well...duh, of course there is. But I am the consumate glutton for punishment. Had I been a soldier and been taken as a POW...I would have likely not even tried to escape, due to my festooning curiosity at the next day's form of torture.

'Name, rank, serial number....now let's get on with the daily torture session dammit!'

See that picture up above? Of course you do. And as you first laid eyes on it, I'm sure the thought that crossed your mind was...."what the hell is the point of Monkey showing us his chip stack, his raising monkey, his pocket bankroll, his tournament buy in ticket, and a can of Red Bull!???"

That picture...sums up the total ridiculousness with Atlantic City. I have never seen so much incompetence in my life. Rules change on an hourly basis. Often times...when a floor person is called to the table, the decision is based on who makes the most compelling argument. It's almost comical. On Saturday's first tourney...we had the same dealer for the first 12 levels. No shit. On the first day...we got into the money at around 10pm. Half of us were listening to iPods. We finished at 2am. The very next day...when we came back for Day 2 with 92 players...after about 20 minutes, this guy comes over to our table with the expression on his face of someone who is about to try and disarm a hostage taker.


"Players!!! There is NO iPods allowed once you are in the money!!!!"

When another player at the table...a guy I see at a lot of tourneys, you know? A regular. A guy who knows better...tells him that he's pretty sure that is only a rule at WSOP-RIO...which I also think to be the case. Especially considering I played the Final Table in the Main Event in Chicago with my iPod on. I also informed this guy that we spent four hours in the money the previous night being able to use our iPods...with no resistance.



"Well, I will call someone and find out what the actual rule is, then."

He comes back...tells us its DEFINITELY a rule, and that we can't listen to our music. And that 'someone last night wasn't doing their job!'

It's funny...because I have found the people who work at night to actually be as close to competent as it gets. So while the day shift belittles the night shift, the night shift is equally adept at dumping on the day shift. It's a joke.

During the first tourney...we had 64 players remaining showing on the board...but there were clearly only 5 tables. When we asked how many players were left...we were finally told '44.' Really? Gee, think maybe SOMEONE could update the player count on the Bravo system? Finally, someone did.

Then, about two hours later...and with us at that point where the next money climb was about $800...most of us players like to have some kind of an idea where we are, player-wise, before we make decisions, especially if we are hovering around 10 BB's. So I look up, and it says 24 players...but I'm almost positive there is 21 or less. So I ask this guy how many are left. He tells me 20. Wow. Then I ask him if he could PLEASE update the player count on the Bravo.

He looks at me like I just asked him to come over to our table and wipe my ass for me. At this point, I felt like it was necessary to explain to him why this was important, not only to me but the rest of the players. It was later shared with me that this guy, along with a handful of other 'floor' people aren't even 'poker people' but that they were pulled from their positions downstairs as Pit Supervisors for games like blackjack, craps, and roulette. So I guess our asking them to do anything is just a nuisance for them. Really uncool of the casino to do this to the players.

Then this beauty...and yeah, yeah...I know, I still haven't explained the can of Red Bull. I will get to that. But first...this one. We all know that the juice on these tournaments are way out of control. Well, just to put it in perspective...the buy in on the first tourney was $300 plus $50. FIFTY! Thats about 18%. Oh...and let's not forget the other 3% they hold out for the dealers. 21% juice. First place in Event 1 was right at $64,000. Guess how much Harrah's made off the $50 juice? $62,500! Then take out another $11,250 with the 3%...and you're telling me that we just paid 11k to dealers who are either temps without any real experience, or if we get lucky, a regular dealer who we are fortunate for them residing in the State of New Jersey and being eligible to work in Atlantic City. There are about three of those such dealers here.

Now, I have always been a big advocate of tipping, in every walk of life. But in the poker world, it is getting to the point where you almost feel like the village idiot now if you are tipping after getting paid out. I mean, how much MORE can they milk out of us? Hey...its one thing if you are going to rape us...but at least send us flowers later on.

Okay, that is an analogy, obviously. On top of it all...they are all paranoid about losing their jobs. So whenever I had a dealer bring me a miraculous double up via some crazy suckout...and tried to tip him $20 at the table, he looked at me like I was trying to hand him a live grenade!

"Ohhhhh no, sir! I can't take that! I'm not allowed to!!!!!" Huh? I was getting low on chips in Monday's tourney...and had 7 minutes to get into the 3pm tourney...so I found a floor guy who was willing to take my money and go register me for it. When he did that, I tried to tip him $10 for the nice gesture. He also freaked out the same way. Tells me he can take it, but that it has to go into the tip pool.

"Tip pool? I'm not trying to tip everyone else...you did me a favor, I want to tip YOU." No? Can't do that? Okay then.

So...the Bravo system. It is a tournament software program that most casinos use. There are two versions of it. Most places have the 'full version' which allows it to be set up on multiple monitors and run more than 1 or 2 tourneys at once. It also does fun things like posting payouts.

They don't have the full version here. They are only able to provide tourney clocks for TWO tourneys. These guys are running an 11am tourney, a 1pm tourney, a 3pm tourney, another one at 5pm. There is no nightly tourney like at most events. Also weird. Well, if you happen to be in the 1pm, 3pm or 5pm tourney...guess what? You have NO tournament clock! You have no idea how many players there are, how many remain, what the payouts are...NOTHING. It's insane. Because they only have the ability to put TWO tourneys on the monitors...so that is the 11am tourney, and the tourney from the previous day that comes back at 1pm. Despite the fact that they have about 12 to 15 TV monitors set up along the two sides of the room, you get a maximum of two clocks. Period. Because someone wouldn't write the check for the extra amount on the Bravo system. They make $62,500 off of us, in ONE tourney...and can't provide us with a suitable tournament clock. Very unacceptable.


It almost started a riot at my table in the 5pm tourney yesterday. I had a weird situation where my chipstack was such that if the blinds were going to remain where they were for another 15 minutes or so I thought I might fold, but if the level was about to change, I felt compelled to play the hand and maybe even shove all in. So when I asked how much time was left...we first had to get the dealer to find a floor guy. So now the guy on my left starts getting all pissed off, because he is sitting on a very short stack...and just thinks I am wasting time. Coupled with him not being a regular player, he couldn't be made to understand why I was wanting to know how much time was left. So finally, when the floor guy appears, and lets us know that there are only 5 minutes left...I complete my action. And now this other guy is freaking out.

This is when the other two at the other end of the table start chirping...the one guy lets fly with a 'he thinks he is the center of the universe' comment and I decide it is time for me to bust this prick. [and yes, about 7 hands later I would bust his ass!] And its like, as much as you want to try and explain to the guy your reason for wanting them to just leave the clock on the table...since by that time we were down to the Final Table...and there was NO REASON not to just have the clock on the table, much the way they do it in SNG's...it just became obvious to me that trying to explain ANYTHING to that whole side of the table was just going to be a waste of time.

That is one of the MOST frustrating things about being an actual professional poker player. Sometimes, no matter HOW RIGHT you know you are about something...some of these people don't KNOW ANY BETTER...so whatever you are saying comes off as arrogant to them. I don't think these people are bad people...they are just ignorant, so what are you supposed to do? How are you supposed to react? I just react by ceasing all conversation with them. Then saying another silent thank you to Steve Jobs of Apple, Inc.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Red Bull controversy. Okay...I preface this with making sure you all know I used to be in the food and beverage business for years. Then I was a liquor salesman for another three years. So I understand how promotions work in that line of business. So, for this poker event the folks at Amp Energy drink decide they want exclusivity for the event. So what does that mean? It means we all get to suffer like a POW in DaNang. Have you ever tasted that shit? It is really, really awful. I had never had it before...but figured it couldnt be THAT bad if Dale Jr. was willing to drive a car with it posted all over the hood. I was wrong. The stuff is shit. Pure shit.


So on Saturday...after asking for a Red Bull, the waitress gives me the bad news. Dammit! They pulled this same shit at the WSOP-RIO two years ago when Johnny Chan and his garbage brand, 'All In' energy drink tried the same move. The only way you could get a Red Bull was to get up, go out into the hall, and buy one for $5. I'm not sure which one is worse, the ALL IN or the AMP ENERGY drink. So what happens on Sunday? Red Bull everywhere! Every waitress had about 6 bottles of water and 5 cans of Red Bull on their tray! Ahhhhhh yes! Thank god!

Ask for a Red Bull. Get a Red Bull. And just in case...because you just never know...I decided to take a picture so that if they tried to go with the whole 'we aren't allowed to serve Red Bull during this event' speech in the future....I would have photographic evidence to the contrary.

So that is exactly what happened yesterday. I order a Red Bull....and I get 'the speech.' Here we go again. Request the beverage supervisor. He arrives. We talk. I show him the photo. He blames whoever it was that was working on Sunday for the confusion. Apologizes. Sticks to his guns. I ask if he has tasted Amp Energy. He agrees that it tastes like ass. I ask him how many cases of 'free goods' they provided to get the deal. He looks me in the eye and says:

"Okay, yeah...I can see you know how it works. And I'm not exactly sure what the number of cases were...but if you personally want a Red Bull, let me know. Sorry for the pain in the ass."

At least he was pretty cool about it. And at least its kind of satisfying when the other side of a situation knows that YOU know why things are the way they are and sympathizes with you. I guess thats good for something at least.

Moving on.




Guess we can talk poker. I finished 19th the other day out of 1250 in event 1...the $350 buy in. I was disappointed not to make the Final Table...but hell, I busted KK with my 44 the day before, so I was kind of already freerolling. And then...with about 30 left I was forced to go all in with 6 BB's when a guy raised my BB and I held 55 only to run into 88. We both flopped a set...but I went runner runner for a flush to double up. So I realistically had no reason to feel glum about finishing 19th for $2877. I'll tell you one HUGE reason for being glad I cashed in my first event. The fact that there are NO SNG's being run here. ????? Yeah...I really just said that. I am absolutely dumbfounded by that one. They have this GIGANTIC tournament room...and all kinds of available tables...and yet, NOTHING. When you ask about SNG's they tell you, "Oh they are running SNG's downstairs."

But they aren't. Its kind of like at the Mirage, if that place is even still open. They run SNG's every day...except its just by request....10 people manage to get on a list, and they call a SNG. Its a joke. I mean, in 7 years of playing tourney poker, I have NEVER, NOT ONCE...been to a major event, hell even a MINOR event...where they weren't even making an attempt to run SNG's. So by cashing early, I at least have buy in money for a handful of events. But I am just thinking of how drastically their numbers are going to drop off by not offering players with small bankrolls a chance to satellite into tourneys. Makes zero sense.

So...Monday was a disaster. I played at 11am. Lost. I played at 1pm. Lost. I played at 3pm. Lost. I played at 5pm. Lost. Then I went downstairs...to the poker room. Played a little cash game. Walked into McCormick and Schmicks and ordered a great meal. Steak, lobster, fried oysters. Awesome. Only good meal, only COMPLETE meal I've had since I've been here. In fact today I have yet to eat at all. Then I play the goofy little 8pm tourney they run in the poker room. Get a double up early. Then...I get coolered. Flop middle pair. Call a bet. Turn 2nd pair. We get it in. He has El Diablo...I have 9-10. He wins, two better pair. I leave. Deep sigh. FML.

They have another tourney at 12:15am. Do I play it? And go for the all-time record of 5 tourney losses in one day? Or would it even count? Since officially it would be starting the next day? Technicality, schmecknicality. I decided to blow it off. Instead I played 2/5. For quite awhile. I lost $500 quickly...making a move, actually thinking I was good...and then watching this fat cow with her sloppy breasts hanging out all over the table go into another one of her performances where she sat up....paced around the table....ran her hands through her dirty hair....sat back down...propped up on her feet....jeezus. By this time I didn't care if I won or lost...I just wanted to play ANOTHER hand!

This lady was so annoying. My whole side of the table was gunning for her. Only problem? She kept winning. And she won that hand too...finally turning over KK on a board featuring Q-10-6-6-2 and me holding AQ. Whatever. I lose. Rebuy.

I grew that next $500 to about $1250 and was starting to get tired. And thank god I had my new iPad to keep me from going totally nuts listening to the COW and her guido boyfriend, or husband or maybe just FTF sitting next to her. This was that guy who knew all the rules. He literally says at one point...

'There is NOBODY in this room that knows the rules of poker better than I do. Nobody!'

I ask him what he thinks qualified him to be the most knowledgable in the room. I don't remember his answer. But it was as asinine as he was. Nice tattoo sir. And that shirt is awesome. Shop much?

Then along comes a floor guy. And another magic Atlantic City moment.

"Hi sir, I know you have been here for quite awhile (yeah, 7 hrs to be exact) and have been watching your thing there...but surveillance just called down and said you weren't allowed to have that at the table. They wouldn't tell me why...just that you couldn't have it. I'm really sorry."

Great. No problem. I put it away. Then listened to 'Tony and Tina' for about another 3 minutes and couldnt take it. Outa there!

Went to bed. Woke up late. Made it to noon tourney in level 3. Started out pretty good. Established that my table was full of morons. Raise with 99. Get called by 6 people. Flop comes 8-9-10 rainbow. Good flop. Not great. Checks to me. I bet a fair amount. One guy calls. He has long hair, has been confused for a girl by the dealer who just pushed in, when he requested that "you post your blind maam" and also was wearing some very silly gloves without fingers. So when I asked why he was wearing the gloves...and he told me it was because he was cold, I thought it was even funnier.

He is the caller. The turn is a 4. He goes all in. Which tells me pretty immediately that he doesnt have a straight. And that he is trying to push me off of whatever his feable mind has come up with as to what I may be holding. I call. He turns over Q-8 offsuit. Really? Nice hand sir. Go ahead dealer...give him a Jack. River. Jack. Awesome. Leaves me with 675 chips at 50-100.

I fold about 8 hands then get KJs. I shove all in. Get called by two. One of them is a guy who looks like what I expect Slim Shady to look like in about 30 years. He of course ends up beating me. I flop the K and am actually hopeful that I can chip up to over 2000 and make another famous shortstack run. But when they check the flop and the turn and Old Eminem bets the river when a third diamond hits the river, my hopes fade...and then he turns over 58d. Flush. Yep. Called 675 all in...behind ANOTHER caller for the same 7x amount...with 58d. Okay. Nice call. Good game. See ya.

This allows me to go play the $200 Satellite for the $1600 Main Event that started at 1pm. There are 21 players. There will be two winners. I chip up early. I have a lot of chips the whole day. This thing takes 7 hours just to get to 6. I am sitting on 24k when this guy goes all in for about the 7th time...4 on my big blind. I have 88. Its 8k to call. I decide to call. He has AJ. I flop a set. Nice. He goes runner runner straight. He doesnt even see it. Nor does the dealer (big shock there). Nope, takes another player to point it out for her to shove him the pot. Dammit. Then with 5 left, the guy on the button raises me. I have JJ in the BB. Sweet. Right? Not when I shove all in, he calls and turns over QQ. Good gawd. I'm out. 5th.

Time to go play the 7pm version of the same tourney. That one gets 15. It was actually pretty fun. We had a good table. And it was only paying one winner, but 2nd place recieved $1200. So in essence, two winners. I would end up getting heads up with this guy...who is kind of a maniac, but also kind of entertaining...calls himself 'Billy from Philly.' I told him..."dude, you are that guy who I end up being buddies with...and we go to a bar...and you hear some stranger say something to me...that isnt really that big of a deal, but you feel compelled to get my back and beat the fuck outa the other guy...and in the process get us both kicked out of the place forever. And when I try to get pissed at you I am met with a diatribe about respect and all that other shit. Right? You are that guy, arent you?"

He admitted to being that guy. Pretty funny. So yeah...we get heads up. Not sure how...whether he sucked out on me, or I made a hero call. Oh wait...I do remember what it was. He min raised me. I called with Q5 suited. The flop came J-5-7. He bet. I called. I turned a Q. He bet, I raised him all in. He did the Phil Hellmuth move...jumping up out of his seat...shouting CALL! and shoveling his chips forward and turns over a set of Jacks. Ouch. Oooops. And now I was down 9 to 1.

Meanwhile, Jason Young is still in the 11am tourney and is coming by to visit occassionally. Well, earlier, Billy was wanting to do a chop deal. But I didn't want to. Granted it wasnt really about the $400 difference. I just really like playing heads up. That and I think its smart to take every opportunity you can get to play heads up, to improve that part of your game. There are too many chops these days...tourneys don't seem to play out much anymore.

So Jason starts calling me a dumbass for not taking the chop deal. Pffft. whatever! I tell him I am still going to win. Now he really starts calling me a dumbass...and they have just bagged up chips for the night...so there are five other guys there with him. I ask him if he wants to make a friendly wager, with odds, of course...that I come back and win. Sure! He gives me 3.5 to 1 odds for $100 that I will lose.


So what happens? Well duh...I wouldn't be telling you this story would I if I lost? So yeah that picture up there is me posing with the winning cards. Ready for the good part? But the 'right up Atlantic City alley' part? When you cash here...they don't just pay you at the back table. You stand there waiting for them to fill out a bunch of paperwork...and then when that is done, they get you an escort to walk you (not sure why) to the main cashier where they pay you there. So I am expecting them to give me a seat in the Main Event. Instead, they handed me $1600 cash. Well....okay. That works too I guess. So I could tell you I won my seat into the Main Event...but...mmmm...technically I didn't. But what I did do was get back to even for the last two days! And remain profitable on the trip.




So...someone has informed me that it's 'change your profile to a cartoon character' week on Facebook. So, as soon as I saw my wife change hers to her favorite cartoon character, Mickey Mouse...I decided I would follow suit. So this is now my profile picture on Facebook. Yep...good 'ol Cornholio, a.k.a. Beavis. I have been spending a lot of time watching the old Beavis and Butthead episodes on NetFlix lately. Without a doubt...it had to be the greatest cartoon ever. I heard a report somewhere that Mike Judge was going to bring it back with new episodes. I hope so. That'll rule!

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Texted 'The Duke' the other night asking him why he wasn't here. Told me he was in Vegas still, playing at 5 Diamond Bellagio...but that he was coming in a few days. Well...last night I was coming back from a 10 minute break...and there in the hall was Dwyte Pilgrim. So its ON!!! I hear Vanessa Rousso and Racener both are at the Final Table at Bellagio. Dude is running pretty good this year, eh?

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Big wins for my football teams this weekend. My Huskies might not be that great, but hey...we beat WSU (barely) and have locked up our first bowl bid in quite awhile. And its a good bowl too...the Holiday Bowl. The bad news? They have us pitted against Nebraska...a team that clobbered us in Husky Stadium earlier this season. Might not be such a great day in San Diego! And my Seahawks...who were my pick in two different $100 Survivor Pools...were losing to Carolina 21-3 early, at HOME...and I was losing my mind. But then they staged a big comeback and won going away...and are now tied for 1st place with the rebuilding and resurgent STL Rams.

My 15th Annual College Bowl Pool is about to start. Did my big mail out invite for that today. $50 to play. If you are interested in getting into that shoot me an email at ThePoolMonkey@aol.com

I think that is enough for today. I have to eat before I die. And my Atlantic City roomate, after many delays...is about to arrive any minute too. No more privacy for Mr. Monkey. Oh well. No big deal.


Monkey





1 comment:

Glenn said...

Nice write up Mr Monkey, but don't make it worse for the Hawks than it was. They were only down 14-3 before they rattled off 31 unanswered. Almost the exact score of the 2005 NFC Championship (which of course was the las real football game of the 05 season).

Really enjoying your blog.