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Friday, January 28, 2011 just keeps getting better and better!

Here is one that is sure to cause you to say something like.....

"Wow, Monkey...really? Again? Why? What'd you do this time!!!???"

And my response to you would be..."Uh...if I knew, I would tell you. Seriously."

Let's review...and this is going to be a quickie blog, as I have taken my dogs to the vet this morning, visited the bank, and rented movies from RedBox for this little trek to Lafayette, La to play what I am being told is about to be the biggest donkfest I have ever in my life participated in.

I'm being urged to hold off on my self-imposed ban on poker drinking until AFTER I play this event. However, my point of view on that take is: what an excellent testing ground for my new experiment? I this not the ultimate challenge that I am walking into to? Sounds like it.

All I am imagining is a sea of camouflage, neon-collored hunting hats, LSU clad varmints running this way and that way...and lots of conversations I can barely understand, as they will be mumbled through the lump of chewing tobacco stuffed in between 'der cheek n gum.'

Yeah, so...I am about t-minus 74 minutes and counting on my departure from this nice comfy leather couch.

So...ya ready for this one? As you all know, I played the Chicago WSOP circuit event. Did fairly well up there. Final Tabled the $1600 Main Event. Almost won a nightly. I played the Biloxi-IP WSOP event. Faired real well there. Won my first WSOP circuit ring. Cashed deep in the Main Event. Tried to do something real nice for Breast Cancer, along with Kai honor of our good friend Cincere Mason at the Beau Rivage (who by the way, I saw and spoke with at the last event there...and she looked great, and is doing outstanding in her recovery phase!!!) and was originally green-lighted to play the ladies event in drag, all for charitable purposes, mind you...and which put Kai and out about $200 each for our outfits and whatnot. Then we show up and get bamboozled with some smoke and mirror excuses that 'registration was closed' even though Level 1 still had 4 minutes remaining in it. Fine. Whatever. Neither of us cared, for our own personal selves. What pissed us off was the time we wasted getting ready, the LSU-Alabama game we missed to do it, and the money that DIDN'T get raised by shutting us out.

What would have been interesting was if we had done the smart thing and registered the day before. What would they have resorted to then? Whatever, it was what it was...but it left a pretty bitter taste in both of our mouths.

I then went to Atlantic City to play online poker? No, for their WSOP event. Despite them really being off on a lot of things that we professional players who do this full time come to expect, and me writing about it...and basically getting a warning from 'the home office' to cool it with my criticism of the event or suffer the consequences; yeah, we can call it censorship I guess. But whatever, I did cool it...not that I was out of line with what I was saying, or that I was being overly critical or ugly towards any specific person...just expressed my level of frustration at coming to an event, paying exhorbitant registration fees, and get an inferior product for it in return. And when the 'big' pros showed up a week later, and encountered the same things I had...that I had written about...they went absolutely apeshit. Some blogged about it. Some spoke about it on their podcasts. It was the talk of the event. Pretty sure none of them got 'the warning' that I did.

See, I am special. For some reason. Not sure why. Will I be special in this way once I win a big million-dollar event? Who knows? Or will I then be untouchable? As in...good luck trying to tell me what I can and can't write about...or talk about. Guess time will tell. But I left Atlantic City on very nice terms with all of their managers and floor people and despite what ended up being a pretty crummy trip, left with a somewhat good flavor in my mouth.

Took about a month off for the holidays. Then this Beau Rivage event. And all the subsequent BS that has followed, which has left most to wonder to themselves 'just what to believe.' Well...maybe not most. We'll call it some. I think MOST of you KNOW the real deal.

So....I just got a phone call. From Bill Bruce. Who works for Jimmy Sommerfeld. Who is up in Tunica. I was half asleep when he called, so a lot of valuable questions that should have been asked, weren't asked. a nutshell, I was told this:

"Mr. Souther. Sorry to have to be the one to bring you this news. Trust me, I didn't want to be the one to call you. (which I know to be true!) But I was told to call you...and hopefully save you the inconvenience of driving up here to Tunica only to be turned away. Apparantly, a 'handful' of poker folks had a conversation regarding you and it was decided that you were not going to be allowed to play in this event in Tunica. I can't really tell you much more than that...but that was what I was told to tell you."

And there you go. So...let me see if I have this right? I have played the last 3 circuit events. No issues. Won a ring. Currently sit 5th in the $1m National Championship standings...with the top 36 earning a spot. Anddddd.....then I get a phone call telling me I am not allowed to come up there and play? Why? Snifff snifffff...anyone smell that? What does it smell like to you? Well, after I woke up, cleared the cobwebs out of my brain...and tried to make some sense of it...I started making some calls.

"Did you get any kind of letter from the casino telling you that you had been 86'd?" No. I didn't.

"Have you ever gotten into any kind of trouble at Harrahs Tunica...or even the Grand when it was called the Grand?" No. Never. Not once.

"Do you think maybe the guys from the Beau Rivage called up there and conspired to get you banned from that event, as retaliation for telling everyone about what happened at the Beau? " Um...well, I don't know. I would like to think I am not dealing with people with that little amount of character. But this IS the poker world, and I do know that a lot of petty bullshit goes on quite

"Don't you kind of feel like they are now discriminating against you? That you are getting closer and closer to having bonafide grounds for a lawsuit against someone?" Well, I don't know if I would use the word 'discrimination' to describe some of what is being done to me. And I am not a big 'lawsuit' kind of guy...and a lawsuit against someone like Harrah's would certainly spell the end of my career playing in any Harrah's sponsored events, such as the World Series of Poker. And that is definitely not a road I am looking to travel down. Do I think I may be getting closer to some type of lawsuit against individual parties who may be acting to sabotage my poker career? that may be something that I am getting more and more willing to take a hard look at. It is just getting ridiculous. I mean...anyone with a shred of intelligence and an ounce of common sense can see what these guys are pulling. And be honest, I know a LOT of really, really good people that work for Harrahs and MGM...and this is not reflective of their corporate mission. I think that what I am facing now is a pretty obvious personal bias against me that originates and perpetuates within a very small handful of tournament personnel.

"What do you plan to do about it? Are you going to fight them?" To answer that question quite bluntly? No. I'm not. I am going to continue to go and play at the venues where I am welcome to play...and the list of those is plenty long. I feel quite strongly about certain things working themselves out...over the long run. If I clinch a spot in the $1m Freeroll...with 99 others...and 1st place being close to $300,000 and for some 'unusual' reason, the people at WSOP find some 'mystery' reason to disqualify me from that event? Well...then yeah...there will be plenty of noise to be heard. And it won't just be coming from me. But would they even think about doing that? Hey...who knows? I hope not, because that will be the last straw, for sure.

I sent an email to Jack Effel at the WSOP...who after talking with in Atlantic City...was pretty confident I had convinced him that I was coming along quite nicely in my 'road to WSOP recovery.' I conveyed to him the phone call that I recieved from Bill Bruce...telling me I had been 'uninvited' from attending the event in Tunica...and asked him if he could provide me with a valid reason as to why. Since I am 99.8% positive that no decision like that would have been made without him and Jimmy Sommerfeld discussing it first. I have yet to hear back from him. He is a busy maybe he just hasn't seen it yet.

I am telling you guys all this news for a couple reasons. (a) I am tired of people asking me if I am going to Tunica and then feeling like I have to either make up some lame quickie story....or take a deep breath and tell them the whole damn reason. Frankly, it gets old repeating over and I figured, might as well just 'post up' and let you all know the reason I am not going up there! and (b) as this little situation with the WSOP plays out...I don't want there to be a whole lot of 'catching up' on the ins and outs and whys of how things went down. So I am trying to document things as they occur. And if there is to be legal ramifications later on down the road...I need to be preparing myself by building a case.

Hopefully, none of that will happen. Hopefully, I will play a couple of 'other' circuit events leading up to the World Series...I will clinch a spot in the National Championship, I will be welcomed to play (justifiably)...maybe even cash in it or win...and then go on to play in this summer's WSOP events, tear it up...and live happily ever after. I already got back my Venetian base to retreat to for when (if) I bust out early of a WSOP event and need something else to play with decent payouts...or to just have waiting for me in case I get the shaft for the third consecutive year by the folks at WSOP.

This little saga is slowly driving me insane. But my outlook is a lot brighter about it, because for the first time, maybe ever....I feel like I have all the right people in my corner for a change. So I will just go wherever I go, with my head held high...and try to stick to my game plan. I think as long as I do that...everything, and I mean EVERYTHING....will work out just fine! we go to Lafayette!!!!


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