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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jan 26, 2011...MARK IT...MONKEY QUITS!!!!

You heard me. I'm done. Finished. Kaput. Stick a fork in me! Yeah....whatcha think about that? Shocked? Amazed? Sad? Delighted?

Easy! Just when all you poker tournament directors and floor people were running to the phone to call your pharmacy and cancel your prescription of Xanax or Zoloft...I should encourage you to read the rest of this first.

I am not quitting poker. Pffft. That is just crazy. How dare you. But...the news I am about to drop on you...the bombshell I am about to going to make SOME people very happy, is going to make some people VERY irate...and will leave some feeling somewhere in between.

As you all know...the Monkey and Red Snapper have kind of become synonymous with one another the past 5-8 years. In fact...had I won anything televised, I am quite certain that I would be a spokesMonkey for Crown Royal probably. And there have, of course been those tourneys...where once in the money, you will watch me toss down...mmmm, we'll just play it conservative and call it 'several' dirty, skanky, scuzzzzzzy, dirtier the better, martinis...on my way to a deep finish. Or if you catch me on the right day...and my kidney stones aren't flaring up...possibly a lemon drop or 12. And where would I be if I couldn't start out my early day with a coffee and Baileys? And on those 'light' days...where I don't mind making a trip to the restroom every 17 minutes, because I'm getting old...and my bladder isn't what it once was...a bevvy of Coors Lites?

Of the 100's of you who know me...I would say 96.5% of you would all agree that when I am drinking I am very pleasant, fun...a bit of a smartass, but overall...a pretty entertaining guy who keeps the table interesting. Yeah?

However...there are 3.5% of you out there...and those are the ones who are making my life hell. And I will NOT go into deep, dark, slimy detail here...other than to say, I hate it for you that your life is so devoid of joy, that you have to find your happiness bitching to people to ruin the joy of those who ARE happy. I hope you know...when you die, its going to be very embarrassing when their are only 3 people at your funeral, and two of them will be there only out of familial obligation.

Now before I tell you this...I will say that there are going to be some people who WILL be happy about this news. One of them is my wife. Which...if I can make my wife happy, it's always good news for me. Another would probably be my Mother, for somewhat obvious reasons. Now whether or not it will make the 'Poker Mafia' happy or shall remain to be seen. Who this is NOT going to make happy are the cocktail waitresses of America. In fact, I am probably about to cut a few jobs and thus increase the unemployment rate with this breaking news. (sorry, Barack...and btw...'catchy' speech last night) The other people who aren't going to be happy with this news? Well, for me to list all of their names here would take...well, are you familiar with the list every year that rolls into Santa Claus' office up at the North Pole? Then you get the idea why I can't list them all.

Ya ready? Have you already figured it out? I am not an alcoholic. My father was. And my step father was. And they both paid the consequences for it, in many ways. I don't wake up craving booze. I rarely ever drink away from the table. I used to be a wine and liquor salesman (Yes, I was known as the Wine Monkey then) and still have a house FULL of the stuff, which I rarely touch. In fact, most of it is consumed by Cheryl's friends when they come over to play cards. About the only time I ever have a drink is when Squirrel and I are at dinner...or if I attend a nice dinner with friends...then its almost always wine.

I have spent the better part of a year trying desperately to jump through all the right hoops to please the 'Poker Mafia' as I try to circum-navigate my way back into the proper channels that will allow me to achieve poker greatness on the worlds largest stages....instead of catfishing my way round America picking up crumbs here and there. I have 'toned down' my act considerably. I have met, and fell in love with my iPad...who now has replaced all of my idle time to chit chat at the table with my fellow playmates. To the point that some of them now ridicule me for 'caving in to the man' and becoming something they don't recognize.

"Hey...gotta do whatcha gotta do...and frankly, I'm a bit tired of having to keep y'all entertained at every tournament...and there are some REALLY good movies and books out there I want to watch and read!"

This most recent 'episode' at the Beau Rivage...which...if you have been hanging around has produced more rumors, more 'he said this' and 'she said that' and 'I heard him say this, to him, about you....' and on and on...that its just left me feeling exhausted. Annoyed, frustrated, defeated, cynical...all of these words come to mind. One second someone says it had NOTHING to do with the last 'incident' at the last Survivor tourney....that it had to do with 'something that happened much earlier in the event' (of course this 'something' was never conveyed to me...simply added in to make the story more palpable later) then the next second I am told...that a 'tall, attractive floor guy with a wedding band' was quoted as saying (while standing next to Ken Lambert) that Monkey completely went off on the guy, attacked him verbally and threatened which I just started howling. I have literally had FOUR players from that table approach either Ken and/or Johnny and tell them that I did absolutely NOTHING wrong at that table. That it was the other player who went verbally ballistic, while I sat and just listened to him.

One of the players told me he was shocked that I didn't do or say ANYTHING...that if it were him...he would have went over the table and strangled the guy. Hey....what else do I need to say about that stupid night? I'm done talking about it. The bottom line? There is a very clear and present conspiracy taking shape to do anything and everything to see that I am kept on the outside looking in.

So...what am I to do about it? What is the answer? I went to lunch yesterday with Frank Kassela and his wife Piper at the Beau Rivage. Piper seems to think its a condition that calls for a 're-branding' of my persona. That the name 'Monkey' is creating problems for me. Well, while Frank and I both got a good chuckle out of that...and perhaps there is a wee bit of something to her theory, I am way beyond a name change that will allow me to fly under the radar of the mafia. Hell...long before I was the Poker Monkey.....I was the Pool Monkey (for all the various not-for-profit sports pools I run) and after that the aforementioned Wine Monkey. I would say close to half of the dealers on the circuit who simply refer to me as Monkey have no idea that my real name is Corey William Souther....or Will for short. Yeah....Jason Young...that is directed at you, ya punk! ;)

So ixnay on the Monkey re-branding. Do I simply quit writing this blog? Which has been the source of so much upheaval in my poker career? But which is also my avenue to vent my pleasures and miseries in poker...and other little places in my life...that give me an outlet to basically decompress? Which a lot of people have told me is already the solid foundation for the basis of a future book or two? That has opened up other opportunities for me away from the poker table? Which has caused more than handful of sleepless nights for my own wife? Sure, there is some valid reasons you could present for why I shouldn't keep writing this blog. the end of the day, my basic right to express my thoughts and opinions...without the risk of persecution, should be enough to motivate me to continue with one of the only things I truly enjoy doing in my life...WRITING.

The connections that I have made with you players...the relationships that I have built through this blog, which I whole-heartedly wish to thank Bill Phillips and Gene D for bringing me in and allowing me to present on their site, are invaluable. I have learned a lot about this business just by living it, and by sharing in the information that I have gleened from poker industry insiders, as well as players, dealers and floor staff. I will NOT quit writing this blog.

So...what is the ONE thing, the ONE excuse that these Poker Mafia people have to continue using against me? I think you know. Its one of history's greatest culprits used to attack people's characters, or their behaviour. Its that 'fall-guy' alcohol. Any time someone does something others deem to be 'out of line' or 'crazy' isnt there always a question asked?

"How much had he had to drink?????"

Right? Well, I have come to the conclusion...that with all the crazy shit I see go on at poker tourneys, the berating of dealers, the near fist fights I see break out...the swearing like sailors without ramifications (I use as a prime example, my lovely friend Claudia "The Claw" Crawford, who has sent many a 50+ year old man from the table looking like a little boy who has just wandered into the local Irish pub by accident) the players whipping their cards at dealers.....that I am no where near on the level of their insanity. So why do I keep getting 'in trouble?'

What else could there be? I have crawled into my shell with my iPad and my little entertainment venues to the point that people fear I have lapsed into a bout of depression. That I have had my soul torn from me by the very people who my 'entry fees' go to, to create a job for. I think of the crazy guy in the psycho ward who is constantly given that pill every day, until finally he is just...well, like a lizard, sitting there, on that rock...flicking his tongue out about once every 4 seconds. Occasionally, but not very often....blinking. That is what I imagine that if you let the 'Poker Mafia' condition you long enough...that this is what you turn into. I am not quite there YET...but oh....I am getting close.

So what is it that these people need from me before they will finally just back off and leave me the F*** alone? I think I've got it. I need to remove that convenient little crutch that they are able to fall back on. The 'ol alcohol crutch. Because without that...what do they have left? Nothing I can think of. Keep in won't ever (very rarely) see me drink in tourneys before 5pm...which coincidentally, is usually about the time the heads of the 'Poker Mafia' clock out and go home for the day. In fact, I really just drink when I am either close to, or in the money.

When I drink...I am a happy drunk. I am sociable. I engage anyone and everyone in conversation...and rarely does it have anything to do with poker. Could be politics. A show I saw. An interesting news item. The weather. Developing trends in International exchange rates. Hot new fashions. Randy Jackson's new hairdo on American Idol.

I am just genuinely enjoying myself at the table. A lot of times its in a late night sit n go. After just having lost a $500-$1000 tournament...I find the desire to 'cool off' and play a little $100 sit n go. And often times, I am surrounded by a lot of poker 'buddies' who just went through the same thing. We get together for a little 'decompression time' to play a sit n go, have some drinks...and attempt to ward off the evil we just experienced. And maybe, just, and recoup a small portion of our earlier day's losses.

In the course of these experiences, we occasionally get a bit 'loud' as some would state. Need I remind you...we are in a casino. Not church. Not a library. But a CASINO! Ever been downstairs in the craps pit, or NEAR it...say, within 50 yards...when someone is on a long roll? Pretty sure they get a little LOUD as well. Ever sat at the blackjack table and listened to the guy cussing the dealer who is doing nothing but killling his 20's with 21's and his 19's with 20's? I have. And I always just playfully smile. Like it's somehow the dealer's fault. C'mon. causes me to cringe when I find out I am in 'trouble' because a couple of players feel 'uncomfortable' or 'unusually irritated' when they have to play poker at my table...when I am drinking.

Because why? Because...OH MY GOD...I am having too much effing fun for their liking!!!!

Then...when asked by someone...of Johnny Grooms, 'What is your problem with Monkey? Do you not like him? Why do you make him leave?'

And his response was such:

"Don't get me wrong. I like Monkey. Always have. I think he's a good guy. But when I have players constantly coming to me, complaining about him...I just find that the easiest thing to do, instead of dealing with all those upset to just ask Monkey to leave. I find eliminating the ONE problem is a lot easier...even if he really hasn't done anything that is really WRONG. I just have to keep my players happy."

Okay...we can examine that statement. First of all, I have always liked Johnny. For the most part. Have never trashed him personally. Ever. Either on here, or out in public. I have expressed disappointment with how he has handled me. Sure. And he knows it. And I will say, with absolute sincerity, that I can kind of see where he is coming from with that point of view. Do I think I deserve a higher level of consideration due to what I bring to the event? Like playing EVERY tourney? Like blogging incessantly about it on my site? Like answering 50-100 Facebook and email messages from players all across the nation asking me if I think they should make the trip to Biloxi for the event? And me telling them...YES, by all means...get down here! Structures are good again, dealers are good, the room looks great, weather is fantastic, and we can go get a bite to eat while you're here! COME ON DOWN!!!! Do I think that should warrant me a little bit of consideration when some guy who barely plays here, and who is clearly bitter and hates life...goes to him and whines and bitches about me? I suppose I feel that it might be nice, sure.

But...I also can kind of see where it also puts Ken and Johnny in a tough spot, too. Because they have jobs to protect. Others...and their own. And God forbid, the right asshole gets into the wrong person's ear in management...and they end up losing their job over something Monkey either DID or DIDN'T do, but which resulted in a shitstorm that they couldn't repair. I get that. Maybe moreso that I've had a few days to mull it over....than I did right when this happened.

Look, I am not delusional. I know the haters are out there. And I know a lot of it has to do with me having some success in poker, and being a guy who commands a little attention. I am not looking to piss people off. Ever. I promise. And my table talk? Its not a weapon. Granted, my table talk has greatly diminished over the past year. But some think when I am talking I am plotting. I'm not. Trust me. I am just happy to be at a poker table. Happy to be among 'friends' and just making what I hope is considered interesting conversation. But to hear comments like this one, as shared with me by a good friend of mine whose name I won't publish for a variety of reasons:

He is at the table with this guy. My name comes up. "Oh that guy Monkey? I hate that guy. All he ever does is talk. Talk talk talk. Drives me crazy. One day, he was at my table...and I finally told him to shut the fuck up!"

To which my friend responds..."Really? You told Monkey to shut the fuck up? Yeah? I don't think so! I think you just want to sit here and make him look bad, and make yourself look cool. Did you REALLY tell him to shut the fuck up!???"

Guy looked like he just shit his pants. Looks at my buddy and says "What? must be one of Monkey's friends or something!"

"Yes...I am his friend. And you're an asshole. And I know, as well as YOU DO, that you NEVER told him to shut the fuck up...because guys like you don't have the balls. Plus Monkey would take you outside, or at least invite you outside...and beat the crap out of you!"

Well...I certainly appreciated my buddy telling me that. But what I really enjoyed was when he told me that this same guy...two days later...when we all sat down for a sit n go together...he was there...and immediately starts talking to me like we are old friends. My friend told me he just wanted to puke. Then goes on to tell me how many of those guys are out there...that want to bash me at the table, but then I walk in the room and they are wanting to say hi to me. What does that tell you about people? I know that I am NOT like that. Never have been. So it's kind of hard to figure out. If I don't care for you....I just ignore you. Period. My wife...she is kind of one of those who will pretend to like anyone, just to maintain peace and tranquility. Just to keep everyone liking her. And I don't hate that about her...not at all. Is she a bit phony? Of course she is. And I'm not.

Well, maybe I could learn to be a bit more phony, and she could learn to be a bit more honest with people. Or not. I don't know. I just know that I hate people who are two-faced. And wish they would go crawl off into a hole and die. Don't worry...I am pretty sure I know who my REAL friends are.

Is this blog getting too long yet? If it is I'm sure Piper Kassela will let me know! Well, I am coming to my point.

I am about to take away the last bullet the 'Poker Mafia' has to use against me. I am hereby announcing me retirement from the consumption of alcohol at the poker table. You heard me. I know...Jason Young has probably just taken me off his Facebook well as a few others. Duke Pilgrim? Sorry, more shots of Patron my brother. No more lemon drops, either. Maybe when we are out in Rincon, we can go to a club or something and live in the past. Kai? Sorry more Goose and cranberries for the Monkey.

I will make one very small concession. If I ever make it into the money, which I certainly plan on doing several times this year...I WILL enjoy ONE ceremonial Red Snapper with as many people as would like one...and will continue to cover the tip for everyone that will be enjoying an 'In The Money Red Snapper' with the Monkey.

So...there ya go. Starting today...January 26th, 2011, you will not see me consume ONE SINGLE alcoholic beverage at the poker table...thats cash game, sit n gos, tournaments...anything...for the rest of this calendar year. And come December 31st...wait, is there 30 or 31 days in December? We will revisit this, and see what kind, if any, progress has been made.

There are some things that I have NO control over, and yet somethings that I DO have control over...and with all the progress I feel I have made, and all the changes I think I have carried out...the only one I HAVENT done for the 'Poker Mafia' is to stop drinking. I think that somehow they have it in their heads that one of the reasons for my 'unmanageable behaviour' is because I drink and get crazy. Well...there you go 'Mafia'...the Monkey just gave that up for ya, too.

Funny little story, as related to a friend of mine...from a 'hater.' On the 2nd night of the Beau Rivage 8:20pm...and having had a grand total of 1 Coors Lites, my chair...snapped in half. Sending me tumbling to the floor. I did not manage to hurt myself. The table laughed. I am not below laughing along with them at I laughed too. In-house people scurried over to check on me, offering medical assistance...and presenting me with the famous 'Please dont sue us' incident report. Well, had I known then what I know now...maybe a bit of screaming and rolling around on the floor might have been a good idea. being me...I am not the type to fabricate an injury to chase a big payout, I gleefully told the guy I would be okay...but that they really needed to do something about the chairs.

All throughout the event, I was getting chairs that were either real sturdy, or really flimsy, like the one that collapsed and broke on me. And when I got those, I would find another chair and switch them out.

So...this hater...goes on to tell a friend of mine that "Monkey was totally shit faced drunk that he fell out of his chair and had to be helped to his feet!" Uhhhh huh! And so goes another 'story' that I find myself battling all the time. How do you even respond to that?

Well, I figure there are a lot of people out there who think I am a drunk, belligerent asshole when I am playing poker. Even though the grand majority of you know otherwise. I am going to give the 'Poker Mafia' the benefit of the doubt here...and just HOPE that MAYBE they think that is the reason, whatever reason they have...for why I am not FULLY welcome to their events. And quit....right now. Today.

So...there ya go! Face buried in iPad, watching movies, reading books (current book...'Dead or Alive' by Tom Clancy...a 964 page beast on iBooks!) or listening to music...drinking my Perrier with lime...or Cranberry juice with extra limes...or a big container of just water. What are you going to get me on now? A bad beat blow up? Nope sorry...Celexa has taken care of that one. Losing my mind at a guy who likes to show me bluffs? Naw...why bother? Look at him. Life could be worse, I could be THAT guy! Naw...I'll just blog about him. That will make me feel better, and a few of you folks laugh, too!

Batter up......



Anonymous said...

If you don't mind, I'm going to pick up the red snapper torch and carry it for a while. Them thangs is mighty good.

Steve B.

Anonymous said...

May not help much, CKSR at the Beau called the floor on me and told them i was acting to slow and must be on drugs. Then when we came back from break he calls them again and tells them he smells weed, all because this 1 f'n loser at the table thought i played to slow. Nobody else had said a word....they didnt do anything but it damn sure put me on tilt.

Paul said...

Good for you man. You will lose a bit of weight too without having all those sugary alcoholic drinks. lol
You seem like a regular dude like the rest of us just trying to make a living doing what you do. I think the adjustment is a good idea and it takes guts to want to change.
"F" the haters.