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Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Politics of Poker

Sometimes...you wrestle internally with things. Things...like; is this something I want to discuss? Is this something I should just keep hush hush? You decide to ignore it. To let it go. But then...you hear a few things...a few things perpetuate, then you realize, that if you DON'T say something...those things will manifest into something even bigger. There are a lot of you out there who read this blog. I don't know what the percentage of you that read this are supporters of mine...or are just reading and waiting for the next bomb to go off so you can chuckle to yourselves and feel better about yourselves and your own life. No idea.

If someone told me one way I would be just as surprised as if they told me the other way. So I won't pretend to know for sure.

I underwent a bit of a 'personality makeover' last year. I got on medication to regulate my mood swings, and to control my inner rage that rears its ugly head every so often. As a poker player, we are put through things mentally that I doubt 85% of other professions ever deal with. After all, what job do you go to, perform at your absolute peak...then make one mistake, or have an 'accident' occur...at the 11th hour, and get sent home without the benefit of a paycheck? Or...to take it up a notch, not only do you NOT GET PAID...you actually have to PAY to endure that 11 hrs of hell.

As a professional poker player...we do this 100's of times a year! Try that schedule...and then get back to me and tell me you don't go a little nuts after awhile.

Well, I felt like in 2010 I really got on top of my major issues. I stopped berating players at the table...about 97% to where I was in 2009 and before. I quit blowing up at dealers when they dealt me the death card...at about a 92% improved rate. And those were really the primary things I needed to work on...as it was explained to me by a lot of people, most importantly, Jack Effel at Harrah's, who kind of holds the key to my future at the World Series. So...having to come on here and speak about something that occurred this week, something that might get the 'poker insiders' whispering and gossipping again about ME...took some major decision making on my part. But I already hear the whispers, and the rumors...and the ensuing garbage that comes with it is already starting to fester.

I do not have a doubt that I made a TON of progress last year. I have had more people than I can count...both players AND dealers...approach me and tell me they don't even recognize me these days because of how totally mellow and calm I am at the table nowadays. I know I have. It started out as a conscious effort...and then, after awhile, it just became a bit habitual.

CUE THE SHITSTORM! (I know...85% of you are reading the first 5 paragraphs and whispering to yourself..."Monkey...come on....get ON WITH IT!!!!)

In reading this...you are about to find out a few things about how poker, and the casinos work. Most of you won't even begin to be surprised. Some of you might be blown away.

I have built a reputation. I think we will all agree with that. Some of it deserved, some of it not. Some of it, I try hard to maintain...some of it, I try to dispell. Let me give you a little scenario:

Late one night...10 people sit down at a sit n go. 8 of us know each other. Really well. Half of us have had a few drinks. We make fun of each other. We jokingly criticize each other. One funny one-liner is matched by one that is even funnier. Mild cursing takes place. No one ever complains or objects. Things are going well. Everyone is having fun. It's a mere $100 buy in. We are playing for $500. Suddenly, there is some commotion coming from one of the 2 players no one recognizes. He has lost a big hand...and most of his chips. He is becoming edgy, agitated even. None of us are paying attention all that much, as we are too busy arguing about who the bigger donkey is at the table, and who's the last guy to win anything worth a damn.

This mystery guy loses the rest of his chips. He walks off, seemingly bitter...as the rest of us continue playing.

The next day...I get pulled aside. I am told that I was 'acting up' in a sit n go. That one of the players went to someone in 'management' to complain, specifically, about ME! That I was obnoxious, that I was berating the other players, that I was a smart ass. And this player doesn't feel its fair that he should have to be subjected to this type of behaviour.

You feel me? You see where I am going here? I have established a 'players relationship' with 100's of full-time poker players. When we are together, we cut up with each other. Some would say I am one of the best at the one liners. A relative unknown player sits at the table...he is sitting at OUR table. We have paid our $1000's of dollars, of rake, logged the hours that it takes to get to this level with each other...where we can talk like we do to each other...without someone's feelings being hurt.

Its like in high school, and for some of us, college...where certain teammates talked a certain way to each other...without repercussions. Then there were a few other guys, who tried fitting in, who tried 'talking the talk' and were just laughed at, or in some cases, had their asses kicked.

So when one of these newbies goes crying to the boss...its like in grade school, when the weasel went crying to the principal. The only difference, is that in our scenario...no one was even TALKING to that guy...not berating him, not clowning him, not making jokes about him. Nothing. But this certain someone...who already has self-esteem issues, but...oh my God..has a Seven Star card...or a Diamond card...or a Noir card...seeks redemption against others he wishes he could be like...by getting them in trouble. By squealing to the principal.

Yeah...see, I have my little sources all over the casino. Dealers, floor people, ladies in registration, players with excellent hearing.

I arrived on Thursday for the 4pm tourney. I was told that I 'needed to meet with Johnny before I could play. I sat, and waited...until finally, Johnny Groomes and Ken Lambert arrived. I looked into their faces..as the awkward announcement struggled to escape from Ken's lips. And I knew...here it comes; the railroad job.

And...then, I was lied to. Again. Why do I say I was lied to? Well, because I was. I was told...that due to a 'handful' of players coming to them, and complaining about my 'actions and behavior' at the table...that they had to act to protect the 'interests' of their customers, to protect the playing atmosphere...and that therefore...I was being asked not to participate in any more tourneys this event.

Oh...Ken wanted to stress that I wasn't 86'd. And for that, I guess...I say thanks? Not that I really...well, not sure exactly WHY I would have been 86'd. Since I didn't do anything that would have warranted it. But, then again, I got 86'd two years ago because Johnny didn't like what I wrote on my blog...where I literally echoed what a handful of regular players' opinions were on the structures up in Tunica...that I thought a change was desperately necessary. And I also touched upon a handful of dealers (not by name, mind you) who needed to get back to realizing how lucky they are to have a job...that their attitudes towards the players were totally uncalled for. And if I had a nickel for every player who totally agreed with BOTH of those points...well, I would have my Main Event buy in for tomorrow's tournament that I am not allowed to play in.

But instead...a tourney director, who has the benefit of a player who is pretty well dialed into the thoughts and opinions of 85% of the players in his casino...who writes a blog, who is always available to give him sound feedback on what the players are saying or asking for, decides, instead of using THAT, to help him grow a better product...to do the things that will set his poker room apart from the others, to kill the messenger instead.

So yeah, great...thanks for not 86'ing me from the casino...now I can go eat there, and visit my wife.

So...when I asked, point blank, if the 'moment in question' was from the Survivor Tournament two nights prior, which I had touched upon in this blog three entries ago...I was told NO! That was not what it was from at all. Which made me somewhat relieved, since I know exactly how THAT went down...with Mr. Bitter going SNAP CRAZY on me after busting me...a day after busting me and serenading me with "Thats for busting my wife yesterday!!!!"

Huh? Wtf did this guy put on HIS corn flakes this morning????

So...upon being told I couldn't play, I was afforded the opportunity to walk outside and 'vent' as it was put. To scream and yell. Why? So I can make them feel justified? I did NOTHING wrong. I told him I was fine...and when another player came outside and interrupted and insisted he wasn't going to play another tourney if I wasn't allowed to play, I told him to just go back inside and play...not to worry about it. Ken seemed surprised, and with what looked like genuine compassion, told me:

"Will, I will call you tomorrow, okay?" Okay.

And I went home. And did my phone ring the next day? Of course not. Did I pace the room waiting for it to ring? No...why would I?

So...the plot thickens. While I was dissappointed at this latest setback...I wasn't that upset about it. Because I know I have been acting just fine. And this...while running like total ass for 13 days. I mean...I had ONE min cash in a tourney...and won 3 or 4 sit n gos. That....is awful. So while I was busy forking over close to $2000 in 'juice/rake' and 'dealer tokes' during the week...what was being focused on more was that ONE guy who no one really knows...who happens into our playground...hears that Monkey is a guy who has been in trouble before....sits in on a SNG that I am in...hears how we all talk among ourselves, and decides he's got it out for me.

Then...I 'accidently' knock his wife out of a noon tourney when I re-raise half my stack with AQ and can't fold to her KK because I'm pot committed...and hit an ace on the river. This guy declares war on me. Takes my chips later on in the same tourney...and hollers out..."Hey Monkey...THAT was for knocking out my wife!" I didnt even know how to respond. Issues, dude.

So when he knocks me out of the nightly survivor, clearly making a move that was motivated by spite, I stood up...as I'm leaving...and just frustratingly asked him how he can even think about making that play (shoving 99 into my 12k raise...when we are two of the three biggest stacks at the table...with 5 winners, and only 8 players left...after I told him if he re-raised me or shoved all in I was snap calling) so close to the money...knowing that I wasn't going to fold? I didn't swear at him, didn't raise my voice. Nope...just asked the guy a question.

And he goes off on me. To the point that the floor guy...who apparantly, though I would have THOUGHT he would have actually supported me to the 'bosses', didn't it seems, came over and told us BOTH not to say another word to each other. Which I honored. But which he did NOT honor. No...instead, he began asking me how it feels "Now that I have all your FUCKING chips!!!??? What are you going to fucking do about THAT!????"

What I did was wait for the floor guy to reprimand him...which he...well, did? Told him, AGAIN...to be quiet, and reiterated to the guy that I wasn't saying a word. Now, were the roles reversed there...now raise you hands here kids, would Monkey be getting a penalty there? Uhhhh...yeah, I think we all know the answer to that one!

Anyway. I left. Upon leaving, a fracas broke out...not having anything to do with ME...but the hangup over a proposed chop deal. Somehow, their unruliness got the attention of a few more people in there...and had some coming to the conclusion that I had started it somehow.

Bored yet>? Probably. It's about to get better.

Last night I organized a dinner. We ended up having 8 of us. Myself. Chad Brown. Claudia 'The Claw' Crawford. Kai Landry. Two dealers/floor people who shall remain unnamed. And Jenn Gay and Scott Williams from Ante Up magazine, who traveled down from Memphis for the event...only to find out en route that I had been 'excused.'

Well it was at dinner that I found out some pretty 'interesting' information. For one...I was told that the reason for my getting bounced was due to a guy with a 'Noir Card' going to his host...and bitching about me...to the point that he DEMANDED I be removed or he would take his business elsewhere. Literally, word for word. Which kind of jibed with what I thought might have been the case. Which goes quite nicely with my earlier theory about the 'outsider' coming in, not understanding the human dynamic at the table, and rebelling against it. Using his 'elite status' at the casino to screw a guy over...who did nothing to him.

So...why do Johnny and Ken allow this to happen? I played all September...no issues. I played this whole event. No issues. But ohhhhh...a 'handful' of players came to them complaining and something had to be done. Really? So...all the positive 'run' I gave them leading up to the event...talking about the improved structures, the good dealers...even praising the floor guys, who basically just threw me under the bus...that all gets me tossed when ONE guy decides to declare war on me...and uses his NOIR CARD as his weapon? Its so laughable, and comical...that its enough to piss me off. As much as I just want to laugh it off.

So...we are at dinner. And at almost the same time...I hear the same, identical thing from Chad and Jenn. They both tell me, after having talked to Ken, that it was expressed to them that it was a 'simple misunderstanding, that we were just trying to get through to him to be careful about what he was saying to the other players...' and that if I were to 'come in, sit down, and talk to him/them about it...' that something could surely be worked out. Yeah! Not making this up. So the whole, "I'll call you tomorrow, Will" was supposed to be interpreted on my end as "if you know what's good for you Will, you will NOT expect us to call YOU...but you should take it upon yourself to come in here tomorrow, with hat in hand...begging us to let you play tomorrow and Sunday!"

Oh, well, gosh...MY BAD! I thought we were treating each other like adults. Adults who are up front, and honest with each other. This...right here...this little incident, is why I am SO EFFING sick of poker...and the people who run it. Because no matter how muchI do EXACTLY what I am told to do....no matter how much I tone it down, there are these people who are ALWAYS going to REFUSE to give me any benefit of the doubt when a 'situation' arises. And this is the advantage that people have against me....when wanting to fuck me! The only way I have to get around this? Win a damn WSOP bracelet. Create an identity, an image, that won't ever allow a tourney director to order me to leave because some asshole with a Top Tier players card has the 'power' to go to his host, or higher...and INSIST that I be killed!

Am I fed up? Yeah. You bet. Am I sick of having to come home and explain this shit to my wife, and expect her to believe me when I tell her I didn't do anything out of line, inappropriate, or against the rules? Am I expected to NOT flip out on here when she insists its 'not just everyone else, Will!'
Ever been in that situation? That feeling where the walls are closing in around you?

Well...cue today's juicy little morsel. I get a phone call from a source, who was present today when whatever tournament Captain Tom Franklin was playing in, and got down to two tables...and Tom asks Johnny this question:

"Hey what is going on with Monkey? Did I hear right? That he got tossed for something?"

Now keep in mind, Tom is a guy I had my share of differences with over the years...but as my level of success grown, he has given me more and more respect, and in fact, has swapped 5 or 10% with me in tourneys about 3 or 4 times last year.

There are some people, who when people are saying everything NICE about you...they want to be a part of the 'praise posse' but turn around...and let them being talking shit about you...and its amazing how those same people will jump right OFF the 'praise posse' wagon and right onto the 'trash monkey' wagon. Ever notice how some people do that? Well, those are the people you can be sure aren't your friends.

So Johnny tells him: "Yeah, you won't be seeing Monkey again! I mean...I don't how much rope you gotta give a guy before he just hangs himself with it." And goes into detail about one thing I did a year ago. This, mind you...was in front of two tables of players who ALL KNOW ME...who's opinion of me I kind of care about. When I heard that...well, I wasn't too pleased. I have no idea what his problem is with me. I've never done anything to him, or said anything disparaging about him. I'm clueless. But for him to just openly disrespect me in front of my fellow players like that? I will not ever forget that. Ever.

And then to have Tom pile on...like he had the same thoughts....
"yeah...you know...what are you gonna do? Ya give the guy enough rope, blah blah blah!!!" HUH? Wow.


And...this gets me back to...the more I learn about humans, the more I love my dogs!

So from what I can understand...Ken is the good cop, Johnny is the bad cop, and no one under that roof at the Beau Rivage is EVER truthful with me. I have done absolutely NOTHING that warrants my exclusion from that place. But you know what? I don't care anymore. I really dont. If I never step foot in that poker room again I won't give a shit. In the year I was kept out, I didn't miss it one iota. If they can't see the benefit that I provide to them as a promoter, as a player who brings other players to tourneys with him...then its their own shortsidedness.

My journey continues. I will continue to pursue a spot in the Top 100 Million Dollar Freeroll at the WSOP....I am still in 5th place. I will take the next two weeks and head to Tunica. Then I will go home for a week to Seattle to visit the family. Then I will go to either Chicago for the CPC or to Reno for their tourney out there...which is suppposed to be a lot better than the event there I attended last year. In March I'm going up to Delaware for a special event. In April...I will skip the Beau whether they let me back or not...and I will go to Rincon for the WSOP event. In May I will head to New Orleans...try to create a little magic over there....then head to Vegas, hopefully with a shot at about 300k locked up...and a green light to to get after the goal of winning a bracelet, a million dollars or more...and taking about 6 months to a year away from this game that is driving me insane...and just LIVE!

So...there ya go...people who are asking WHY Monkey isn't here. It's not because I did anything out of line. It's just another standard Beau Rivage railroad job at the hands of the same guy who pushed me out last time. It's a tired act. And if you people can't see through it...well, who can?

MONKEY

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry Will. Stuck between rocks and hard places. To give you some background, I have been arrested from a situation that arose from a floor personnel's "mistake". Standing up for myself, I was insistent upon an apology. Instead I got arrested for trespassing (when I wouldn't leave without the apology), spent a few hours cuffed in a paddy wagon with Las Vegas's finest, 30 hours in a holding cell, and then when I was released I was given $1500 of the $2500 I had when I was arrested. Upon pointing this out to the officer that escorts you through the release process I was told to "Sign the form (saying I was given all the money back that I was arrested with) or go back in the cell" My original thought was to continue fighting the injustice, call the officer's river bluff. Awake for 48 straight hours, 36 hours without eating, I made a decision that goes against everything I ever stood for up to that point. I signed the paper.
How did I get there? How/Why did those things happen to me? I was right, it was the floor personnel that made the
mistake. Yeah, but I realized something, some things don't need fighting for. The floor person was wrong, who cares? I make mistakes, they make mistakes. I could have avoided the entire situation by just allowing them to be wrong. Making that adjustment has allowed my life to be more
peaceful, it is ok to allow people to be wrong. Best of luck.

KTeller Inc™ said...

Sorry to hear monkey; That's just weak and another reason I am happy not to be wasting my money there. It shows when there are 800+ in multiple events in OK and you can't break 250 in Biloxi. The event got weak, the staff doesn't listen and people will go elsewhere.

Best of Luck
KTeller

Anonymous said...

Will is a very talented player and writer. I have played at tables with him and sometimes enjoyed his antics. I am an old man and will may be some day shortly. He may reflect back on his life and see nothing but a bully from grade school, or he may be accounted for as one of the great player from the coast. I hope that he achieves his greatness and wins a bracelet. Will is the Tony G of the Gulf coast and I hope he is allowed to play in future tournaments. People like will so , I hope he continues to tone things down and is allowed to play.

Anonymous said...

I really don't understand the suits at the beau... Do they want everyone to be robots? The thing that I like about live poker is the colorful people you meet at the tables. If I wanted to be bored, I 'd sit in front of a computer screen. The most fun I ever had at a poker tournament was when will was at the final 2 tables. He is a talented player, and I've watched many an opponent provoke, take shots, because of his controversial past. And if you think he hasn't tried to avoid trouble, you haven 't been paying attention. I am a senior citizen and he has always been courteous to me. I think certain people have an agenda, and the beau rivage should consider this. I don' t think they are being fair. Just keep winning will, it's the best revenge

Anonymous said...

I didn't intend tmy post to anonymous, I am new to this computer stuff, I would say the same thing to the managers to their face anytime. Linda k. New Orleans la