Monday, February 28, 2011

Windy City Weirdos

One of the things that sucks about writing a blog that a lot of people read, and apparantly rely on...is that if I let a couple days get by me without posting, and people start badgering me for a fresh one...I let a lot of good material slip by me due to how fast it piles up when I go to a place where lots of whack jobs reside. Feel free to lump Chicago into that category.

Oh before I forget...and I'm not going to include a link because I don't feel like re-directing you today...got to YouTube.com and in SEARCH...type in 'Randal's Animals' and watch what comes up. Kai sent me a link to one on the 'Nasty Ass Honey Badger' while I was at my Mom's last week. We were all playing a board game...like 8 of us. The result was complete laughter. There are other good ones too....a white shark one...a zebra one...mmmm one with flamingos and a baboon. Hilarious. Randal is gay...like, REALLY gay...and he is doing voice-over on top of a National Geographic video. What reminded me of that was the mention of the word 'badger.' Check it out.

Don't take that the wrong way, Chicagoans. I like the city. The people are very nice. Most of them, anyway. It's a real nice casino. Not sure why they don't have a hotel attached to it...that's a bit odd. Having to pay for drinks is kind of downer...not as much now as in October, since I decided to stop drinking to please the Tournament Directors and Floor Supervisors of America...not that it has appeared to do much good. Huh? What Monkey, you ask? Do you have something to tell us? Yes...I suppose I do. But...in a bizarre 'not like Monkey' open field reverse...I'm not going to. Sorry...some things need to remain in the clubhouse, ala Bobby Cox style.

When we last left off I was securing my seat in the Main Event. Ohhhh happy times, happy times. Lets see how good I have gotten at summarizing and cutting to the chase:

Showed up Saturday. On time. I know. Shocker. Field of 980 for the $350. Nice. Played 5 orbits. Established everyone's 'image' and on a limped pot for 50 each and 6 callers, I raise out of the big blind with AKh to 250. UTG guy insta-raises to 1k. The rest fold. Hmmm. AA or a 3-bet resteal? Totally capable of the latter, is this guy. So...with 15k in my stack, I decide to see a flop. I call.

Flop comes Kc-4h-7h. I check(raise). He bets 2000. I raise to 5000. He immediately shoves all in. Fuck. Has to be AA. Or could he be trying to rep AA and maybe have QQ? Could we have the same hand? And I'm freerolling the flush draw? Or does he just have AA like I think he does? I can't bring myself to fold. And so I don't, I call. He has AA like I thought. I fail (again....pretty sure I'm 0-2011 in that situation so far this year) to hit a flush....or God forbid, hit another K. OUT!

I go buy into the 7pm tourney. Then head downstairs to play some Sit N Gos. This will be REAL brief. I am pretty sure I made Monkey history in 1 hour and 37 minutes. In three sit n gos, I finished 8th, 9th, and 7th...and...ready for this?

NEVER....WON.....A.....SINGLE....FUCKING....HAND!!!!!! Thats right. Not ONE! Was I freaking out? Mmmmmm.....a little bit, can't lie.

Go upstairs and decide to play the $350 Mega Satellite at 5pm. AA gets cracked. KK gets cracked. AK gets cracked by AQ and I was out. Shit!

Just in time for the 7pm tourney. Honestly...I don't even REMEMBER what happened in that...other than I know I lost!

Go back downstairs. Meet up with some cool dudes I met in the nightly, guy named Tim...good player, wears a Notre Dame jersey. Bought me a drink. OOOppps. Ugh oh. No drinking in poker, Monkey. Don't do it. Well...its one drink. Its a SNG...there SNG area is IN their side lounge, for chistsakes...its like your playing in a saloon in the wild west. How can you NOT drink in THAT environment!??? I mean....really! So that one drink becomes 5. Captain and Ginger. Delicious. And amazingly...nothing bad happened!

Well, unless you consider losing ANOTHER two sit n gos bad...which, dont get me wrong, it was bad...but I was just having too good a time to get all worked up about it. I was 0-3 on the day in tourneys...and now 0-5 in damn SNGs. Tremendous run there Monkey you assclown. Then...not sure how...I win the final SNG of the night. For $700. And my deficit on the day went from $1800 to $1100. Almost acceptable. All day I just kept telling myself...its okay Monkey , its okay, you have your Main Event seat locked up. Don't worry about it.

Wake up Sunday. With all intention of going and playing the 8-game. Or maybe it was 7-game. Not sure. In any event, not my specialty. But wanting like hell to win that BMW...and figure it will be a small field. Or I can wait and play the $240 with $100 rebuys at 2pm. Hmmm. Oh. Or...I can do a total reversal and stay in bed, order room service and play all the big tourneys on Pokerstars. Because when I play online poker it's always a good place for me to go when my life is wrapped in insanity.

Combine those options with me erroneously thinking that THIS Sunday was the Sunday where the Sunday Million was a guaranteed $5m. And the $1m Turbo Takedown was taking place. There was a race on TV. My brain kind of hurt a little. Sold. Staying in.

30 minutes in I realize the Sunday Million with the big added money is NEXT weekend. Shit. Oh well. I play em all. I get deep in everything. And I min cash in all of them. Bought into the Sunday Million. Got up to 29,000 at 200/400. Cruising along nice. Then it happens. The standard Pokerstars assfuck.

In the BB. With KK. UTG just shoves 6000. Nice! Folds around to the button...who OVERSHOVES 28k. Wonderful. Smells like AK. Such a Pokerstars overshove. And as bad as I've been running with KK on Stars...I almost have myself convinced that I should folk. Then I realize...dude...no way in hell the guy has AA. The utg shover could have have AK/AQ..this guy might be drawing to two outs. Or even have JJ/QQ. Can't fold. I know I know...its $262,000 for first...but you aren't going to win folding KK in that spot. So I call. He has AQ. Offsuit. Nice play sir. UTG guy has 66. Clean flop. Turn....son of a bitch....ace. I go out a few hands later.

Just can't figure out why I can't EVER have a good run in a meaningful situation on that damn site. Why is it everytime I play deep on there I run into that shit? So annoying.

Next up? Nightly. Got punched out right at 7:10pm. Can just shower and get over there in time. Really? Think so? Fuuuuuuck that! At 7:28...and a full 32 minutes still to get there and get in....I get to these railroad tracks, which are being filled at the moment with a train. A long train. A very, very, verrrrrry long train. WTF. OMG. Then...at 7:34...it stops. Yup. Just stops. And sits there.

7:40pm...tick..tick...tick....7:45pm.....tick,tick,tick,tick....you gotta be kidding me. 7:55pm. Is this a sign? It must be. I text the floor guy...then another one. Tell him my plight. Whew...he's gonna keep registration open. Finally, at 8:10pm the damn train moves. Then spend another 15 minutes trying to find a parking spot. Jeezuz. Finally get in there for level 4.

Chip up rather quickly. Had a nice table. Everything going smooth. Couldn't be happier. Then my table breaks. Hmmmm. 28 left. Paying 18. Sitting on 25 bb's. New table has about five people at it I find to be, mmmm, distasteful. The guy next to me...old black guy, wearing the outfits that mechanics wear, wearing a huge puffy jacket OVER it...who just sat there mumbling incoherently. "Huh?" "Sir?" "Pardon me?" What in the hellllll???

Seated next to HIM...old guy...bad hair that is dripping dandruff from his head...reminds me of my old step dad Mark Magnuson...who I secretly hope goes to hell and is tortured by Satan's little helpers when he dies. Also sporting a long, gray mustache...which is especially perfect for NOT hiding the leftover crumbs from his dinner earlier. Sick.

And then....next to him...we have, 'The Woodchuck' and ohhhh how I wish I had snapped off his picture. This guy....ugh. I hadn't even really worked up any angst towards this guy. I was kind of off in my own little never, never land. But I was casually observing the table. In seat 2 (I was in seat 8) was I guy who I met at one of the events this fall, maybe here? Not sure. But he's real cool, and really seems to think I'm something. Since later he kept feeling the need to take up for me and tell people 'glittering' things about me and my accomplishments. I mean...it was nice of him, but at the same time...it was a little awkward. Regardless, I appreciated his intent.

'Chucky' was one of those guys...who I am 98.4% confident, is one of those dudes who all throughout junior high and high school watched as his buddies made varsity and he was stuck on JV...mainly because he was short. I mean..it HAD to be, because he was short last night...so obviously he was short BACK THEN too. Pretty sure he didn't SHRINK...and it is obvious he never GREW. I also suspect, based on his 'Ginger Kid' appearance, that he was also that guy who was just on the cutting edge of 'likeable' by the girls, but never quite able to get over the edge of mediocrity, and was forced to spend his adolescent years dating the girl no one really wanted.

Are you getting a picture of this guy? Well imagine that he is about 35-40 and has the misfortune of having the hair at the top of his dome defecting to the floor and other surrounding areas. Add to that his unfortunate dental situation. Wait! You remember that guy on 'Seinfeld' that borrowed Jerry's coat then didn't want to give it back? Was he maybe the dentist? Tim guy? Or was he a comedien? Not sure...but every time he talked, it was like he led with his incisors? Remember that joker?

Damn, battery is going dead. Gotta finish this later. In the middle of a sit and go right now that I'm chipleader in with a $100 and $20 last longer. Wouldnt mind winning this shit!!!!

Be back in a while!

Okay, I'm back. And I have to say...while I was away...a lot happened. See this guy up here? That is a piece of gum hanging out the side of his face. He has been talking me up since I got here. Knows my name. Seems to like me. Is fairly likeable himself. A relatively decent player...pretty sure he's a full timer at the cash table. Has a father who, I am told, looks like he is out of central casting for the role of 'mob boss.' And the way his kid acts...with the swagger and what-not, I wouldn't dispute that to be the case. He kept asking me if I was going to put him in my blog...and I kept telling him I didn't really have a good reason. Well...now I do.

He violated Pet Peeve #2 yesterday. In the first round of a sit n go, I limped with A10. Flop came A-x-x. I bet 200 on the flop. This crazy old woman with banana titties and chewing gum with her mouth wide open....calls. Then this guy raises to 500. I'm fairly positive he is making a play. I call. So does the seahag. Turn is something harmless. He just open shoves the turn. It smells like bullshit. And I really want to call. But its also early. Screw it. I fold. The crazy lady folds. He shows a 4. There is no 4 on the board. No straight draw. Nothing. Air. He starts doing this obnoxious gum chew/gum twirl on the outside of his mouth thing...that made me, mmmmm....irritated.

So stupid. No reason for it. Made no sense. I like the kid...a little bit...but that was just stupid. At any rate...he would bust out before I did...and that was my secret victory. My other victory would come later in that SNG when I would not only win the SNG for $575...but would also win all of the last longer for another $440. A nice 1k pull. Yesterday was a good day...I will get into everything else later.

For now we need to finish up by talking about these two fellas below, here.

I am also coming up against the clock...as I have registered for today's $1100 Heads Up Championship...which will be featuring 86 players who have acquired their place in the tournament by being in the cash room and getting high-carded by the floor. Can you imagine how many of these people are going to have ZERO experience playing heads up? I'm pretty excited for it. And it starts in less than an hour...so I need to hurry up.

I would like to introduce to you all...the Smack-Talkin Sandwich Crew from CollusionVille. There were 3, possibly 4 members of this crew. They signed up early...then decided to go play slot machines, and round up sandwiches. I can't say I hated their strategy...mainly because I liked it, endorse it, and do it often. Meaning...going nowhere near the table while all the lousy players bust each other and/or out. Coming back after about 45 minutes you usually discover there to be about 4 or 5 missing and your stack in adequate shape.

Through a little inquiring, I found out the deal with these guys. First of all they are the members of some kind of 'charity poker tournament' organization. Secondly, they had been running 'crew' on sit n gos all day already...having won their last two in a row. Third, after observing them for awhile it became very evident that they were the worst colluders in the world. Never was it so glaring as when the one guy....holding 1300 chips at 300/600....announces that he is going all in dark on the button. Which he does. I had about 6500 at that point...in the small blind, but had J3 and had no interest in doubling him up.

One of his teammates, however, had KQ suited...in the BB...and 2300 chips. For another 700...he folds. And folds face up. Huh? Me and the dealer exchange glances of 'what the fuck was THAT?' Pretty clear if it wasnt yet...what was going on here.

So at 4 handed, it was ME...against the three of them, with two winners...and I had 80% of the chips in play. Still, I didn't feel all that confident.

If you look real carefully you will see this guy wiping his face with his shirt...while holding his sandwich in his right hand. At no time did he let the presence of large bite of sandwich in mouth keep him from talking...and talking loudly...all while working on another mouthful of food. It was disgusting. I'm not sure there is ANYTHING grosser than someone shooting their mouth off with a hole full of food.

However, if you DID need something more annoying...it was this guy...and thank god he wasn't at the SNG the whole time. Everytime he came back, he commanded the space that three players would usually be able to take up. Then...he was white, however...if you closed your eyes, or were blind...and just listening to the table, you would think HE was the black one and the black one was the white one. Well...okay that might be a reach...but you get the point. And he also was eating his sandwich like he hadn't eaten in 12 days. And talking with his mouth full of food.

If you haven't put two and two together yet...I wasn't exactly having a great time. But now I was up against the Collusion Boys...four handed...so I was being very careful, and finding great places to three-bet shove to shut them down. These guys might be able to run crew on most of these people here...but me? Forget it. Way ahead of these guys...seen guys 10x better at running crew than these boys. They never had a chance. And when the dust settled, it was the Monkey sitting on all the chips. See that stack? the only thing missing from the 20,000 total chips in play was the 800 the other 'winner' was left with...as the other two somehow decided which one of them was going to officially finish as the 2nd winner. I'm guessing they all split the $575 three ways. Stupid.

Look, if you ARE those guys who try to enhance your chances of winning sng's by teaming up, it really makes no sense to have THREE of you playing in a 2-winner SNG. But I suppose you'll figure that out with a little more experience.

I ended the night with a nice win in my one and only SNG...to get me over losing the nightly in such ugly fashion.

Now that I think about it...I didn't even go into detail about how the nightly ended I don't think.

Now I'm running out of time so I will have to be brief. Old man dandruff/food in stache shoves the button on me...when I clearly saw him NOT look at his hand. I call with A10. He has K2. Hits a 2. Of course. It sticks. Long story short...I lose THREE consecutive hands where I am a 60/40 favorite (two live cards, both overs) and went down in flames.

In the course of losing...there was a minor 'flareup' when I observed the Woodchuck in an apparant tirade. I pulled back an earphone and asked what was going on. This guy was all pissed off that me, and/or anyone else was allowed to have "all of your little toys on the table (iPod's, iPad's, cell phones, etc) when we aren't even allowed to talk in the hand...like when we are heads up! Its bullshit!"

Huh? What exactly do those two have to do with each other? He went on and on about it. Old guy next to me....he calls floor and tells them there is a dispute and that we are slowing down the game. The dealer tells the floor guy that there is no dispute, and that no one is slowing down the game. Floor guy leaves. No warning is issued. I look at this guy wondering if he was that little shit in grade school who was always seeking brownie points by doing shit like going to the principal and ratting people out for stuff they may or may not have been guilty of, in an attempt to get on their good side. What a clown. A 60 year old clown.

I hate it when I go from one table of such cool people, and am having such a fun night...to a table of such complete douchebags...and especially when I watch my chips go down the tubes to donkey players who get lucky. Sucks so much. Then to find out from a local guy here who I've become pretty chummy with that after I busted, and he took my vacated seat, that they were all talking shit about me after I left the table.

I love the spineless weasels who won't ever say boo to you or about you when you are at the table...but leave the table and they all start to pile on. I guess its just like the same haters who act like they are my buddy when they see me...but then will turn right around and talk shit about me when I'm not around, or post anonymous comments on here. It doesn't even really bother me anymore. I have a lot more to say about the types of people who play the 'nightly' events...its a special kind of mutant...but I am really running out of time. It is now 20 til noon and I have to take the damn shuttle...and am hoping there will be a delay as they do the drawing for the heads up matchups.

GOOD BYE. Have a nice day. I won the nightly last night...details to follow later!!! Hopefully with more good news about the Heads Up tournament.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Let it snow, let it snow...let it snow!

I thought living in Montana for 8 years as a kid took all the 'snow thrill' out of me. Wrong. It's done nothing but snow since I got here, and I love it. Something about standing outside and having snowflakes land on your head that is invigorating. Got a picture from my Mother yesterday in Washington State...and her front yard has about two feet of snow on it. It's just dawning on me that its almost March...pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training...and its snowing all over the place. Global warming? Hmmmm....."hi, I'm calling for Al Gore? Al Gore, please?"

Day 1 in Chicago...despite showing a deficit of slightly over $1000, was a success. How is that possible? Let me explain.

Don and I arrived at the Horseshoe at about 12:15pm...not too bad. Then we walk into a line about 80 deep. Oh crap. Then we hear the news. Alternates. Double crap. I end up being alternate #194. Whoops. I never played a hand til the 3rd hand of Level 4. But I got off to a good start. Turned my 10k stack into 18k by level 7. Last year here...when I chose instead to go to Reno...which had very small fields, I was getting texts from my buddy Banger...who ended up making the money in Event 1...that was attended by over 800 players, which made me envious.

Yesterday...1206 players showed up for the first event...a $240 buy in. I can't even imagine how many will show up for today's $350...but I'm going to guess its going to be between 1200 and 1500. I was smart this time and bought in for today's tourney yesterday.

Somewhere in level 7 I raised UTG with QQ. One caller...another caller...here we go again; then the guy in the BB re-raises. Sigh. Queens...ugh. Should I just fold? I decide to just flat and see a flop. Big mistake. I should know better than to keep letting myself bust out of tourneys with QQ. Of course the flop comes J-high. With two hearts. Guy hems and haws...then bets out half his stack. Weird. My instincts are telling me he either has AA/KK or AKh. Back and forth, back and forth....fold? Or shove? Grrrr....we all know that shitty decision there right? I wanted to fold, I really did. But didn't. And of course, he had AA. And my day was over. If I had been right...I would have went to 37k at 200/400. That wouldn't have sucked.

I then walked out and registered for the 7pm tourney AND the nooner on Saturday (today). Then...as I was walking downstairs to play some cash game...I ran into Jason, the fella who runs the poker room here. We end up having a pretty long conversation that covered a lot of topics. He's a cool guy...really enjoyed talking to him. And in the course of talking to him...he convinced me that I was a dumbass if I went and played cash game and NOT the super satellite that started in 15 minutes. Why? Well...they are adding THREE $3125 seats to EVERY $240 mega with $100 rebuy satellites. That's a pretty sick incentive. So with that in mind...I turned around and went back in and signed up for it.

Thanks Jason!!!!!

I had guys at my table who were rebuying left and right...I avoided that horror until the middle of the last rebuy level...when I got my aces cracked by not only 66 but 2-4. Yeah...2-4. Yes, smart asses, I RAISED with AA...in fact...overbet....from 100/200 and three limpers...I raised from the SB to 800. I had three guys at the table were complete maniacs. They STILL called. Flop came 6-6-3. Bet 1200. First guy (66) calls (obviously)...next guy calls as well (with his gutshot, idiot). Turn is a 5...and I now have the 3rd best hand. But I didn't lose another penny. I checked and watched them both get it all in. REBUY FOR THE IDIOT! (not me, the one with the 2-4, I would get mine a few hands later)

I took a double rebuy...and turned that 4000 into 9000 by the end of rebuy...then took a double addon...so I was in for a total of $640. I won't bore you with the rest. Bottom line...with 46 players...we ended up playing for 12 seats...yeah! 12! I never had a lot of chips until we got down to 4 from the seat. Pretty much grinded my way through the whole thing. Meanwhile I was scampering back and forth in the 7pm trying to not let that $130 buyin end up being a total waste. Hung on for quite awhile there...and since there were 280 players in the nightly, I really was hoping to cash deep in that. Didn't happen. Ended up getting it all in with 6 BB's with AK...in a 4-way all in...against another AK, an AQ and JJ. Like my chances? Yah, me either. Guy with JJ flopped a set. See ya!

The bubble didn't last very long in the Mega. And with a late heater I put myself into position to not have to worry about blowing it. I wrapped it up around 11pm, and had my seat for the $3125 Main Event locked up on Day 1...which is about as good as it gets when you go on a trip like this and really want to play the Main. So now...all I need to do is pull down another seat or two and I will cover all my tourney buy ins, and my travel costs. This could end up being a really good trip.

I couldn't be happier with the set up. The floor staff here is great. Steve Frezer, Charlie Ceresi and Kurt Dau are super nice guys...their dealers all like them tremendously...and they are very organized. We didn't have a misdeal at any of my tables all day. And that is really saying a lot. The cocktail girls ALL remembered me from October. I had to inform them that their 'cashcow' had bad news for them! When I told them I no longer drank booze in poker, they pretended not to be upset. Hahahah! In case anyone thinks not drinking at the table has been a challenge, it hasn't. Not even a little bit. One good thing that has come of it...is that my wife is VERY happy that I'm not drinking. So that makes it worth it right there.

I had a lot of really nice guys at all my tables yesterday, and actually really enjoyed myself at the table. Didn't have to escape to my iPad too much at all. I like the people up here...they are pretty entertaining.

They have the BMW 650i convertible that we are playing for in the All Around Points Champion parked right in the middle of the poker room. It is gorgeous. I want that thing so bad. And that was my biggest disappointment at losing yesterday. I figure with this many players up here, its likely going to take two Top 5 finishes to have a shot at it. So I got my work cut out for me.

On another subject: What is the most annoying relationship on the planet? I have a candidate. The relationship between you and a taxi driver. Know what I'm talking about? Don was already back at the hotel, and I didn't want to burden him by making him come get me...plus I could tell he was asleep, well on his way to driving me to the cusp of insanity with his Keith Ezykowitch-like snorefest...claiming his sinuses were/are backed up and warning me to be ready for snoring. He has delivered on his promise...two nights in a row now. Fuck!

Oh, so yeah...I told him not to worry about coming to get me. And I climb into this guy's taxi. For a 4 mile 'journey' to my hotel. What is it with cab drivers and them wanting to ask you a million and one questions about yourself? What are you here for? What do you do for a living? Oh whats it like playing poker for a living? Do you have kids? Does your wife go Brazilian or Commando? Wait....what?

You get the point. Dude...I just climbed in your car for one thing and one thing only. I need a fucking ride to my hotel. This relationship between you and I? Its going to last about 12 minutes. TWELVE MINUTES! And then...unless I do the unthinkable and decide to swap numbers with you and make you my Facebook buddy, I will never, EVER see you again. So...why can't I just climb in a cab...say hello, give my destination, and ride there in peace? It just NEVER happens. Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, New York, Atlantic City, Atlanta....doesnt matter where you are. Same shit.

I wake up at 7am. After sleeping off and on for about 4 or 5 hours. And on TBS is one of the worst movies I have ever watched in my life. 'I Think I Love My Wife' with Chris Rock. Its annoying, the writing is horrible, the acting sucks...and the girl who plays the 'temptress' is so irritating. I hate her. I hate this movie. I hope after TBS is done airing this movie...they blow it up, and it disappears forever. Kill it...Kill it dead!

My good buddy and possible New Orleans roommate Tim Burt did it again. Playing down in West Palm Beach...which btw, Ive heard some pretty interesting stories about...he won another ring, his third in the past 6 months...in, I think, Omaha. Talked to him a little bit afterwards, he was pretty excited. Congrats to Tim. Solid player, nice kid.

I am up to 97 players now in the Pokerstars Private Homegame club called Monkey's Red Snapper Club...three openings remain. Sat in my hotel room here the first night, got into a little online poker room for a session...and actually had a decent turnout for a few events in our little club. One of the guys playing was telling us how frustrated he was when he went to play at the WSOP-CE in West Palm. Said he walked in and was immediately accosted by some mutant demanding to see his players card and ID before he would let him go another foot...then pointing him in the direction he needed to go to start the registration process...which he said is like a ridiculous 4-step process. Did I mention...he wasn't even there to register for a tourney? He had just got there and was just checking out the room.

I can only imagine what its like. As soon as I heard 'Dog Track' I immediately thought of my experience when I drove over to Pensacola a few months back to play their end of the month tourney over there. Holy shit. I walked into that place and it was just freaky. A couple of Cletus's at the front, poised to do, well...nothing. A wild goose chase to figure out how and where to register. Tourney chips that had more in common with stale english muffins than poker chips. Then while leaving the place...some old black guy who was either half drunk or half asleep plowed into the back of my 4Runner...and didn't even REALIZE he had drilled my car. If it hadn't been so utterly hilarious how oblivious he was, I would have been pissed.

Yeah...that whole dog track experience kind of scared me off of going to West Palm. That and a few other reasons that I don't feel are necessary to discuss on this, uh....blog.

Here is some interesting news. And I will let you folks come to your own conclusion about the reasoning behind it. In Oklahoma, there is a casino named Win-Star. Its about 45 minutes north of Dallas...and, well...I've never played there. They have one big tourney a year...'The River' which happens just after the WSOP.

The WSOP circuit events now number 13 and pretty much consume the entire calendar between Sept-May. These events are run by individual tournament directors. You would think they would try to kind of evenly split them up between the two or three talented, qualified people they have working for them. But instead, there is one guy going out of his way to land them all. I don't need to mention his name...you all know who it is. I don't get it. The players don't get it. And the dealers are frustrated by it. One of their biggest complaints, is that they are threatened with never being used again for his events if they dare go and work for one of the other tournaments. How fair is that?

Well, its one thing to put dealers in a spot like that. But to put the people who hire him in the same spot? Now that is just, well stupid. You know the expression "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?" If I am Harrah's, and the WSOP specifically, and I have 'the other guy' running the event in New Orleans...which should once again be a phenomenal event with a huge turnout...and the 'primary' guy, in a bit of a defiant act...goes and puts together a last minute event 300 miles or so up the road at Win-Star...and goes telling everyone he is going to offer them cheap hotel rooms and free food as an incentive to get them to choose that event over Harrah's New Orleans...well, I think I'd come unglued.

Can someone explain that to me? In a way that it makes sense? It's bad enough that our 'not-as-big-as-they-think-it-is' player pool is pulled in all different directions with casinos and tourney directors scheduling way too many tourneys all at the same time...which has diluted the numbers at all the tourneys. But then to just blatantly sabotage an event by running an event at the same exact time as a another event with a good track record and good reputation? Just up the road? What kind of message is that sending? If I'm Harrah's I would be PISSED at this guy...who doesn't happen to be an employee of Harrah's, but an independent contractor...who's company is hired to stage tourneys FOR Harrah's. But when Harrah's constitutes about 85% of your business...doesn't it seem like it would be a real bad move to go head-to-head with them?

Hell, what do I know? I'm just a stupid poker player. Gosh...wonder who this startling revelation will piss off today? Seems like everytime I sit down and write a blog I set phones off all over the country...emails flying, rumors swarming. And for what? Pointing out the obvious to those who live with their head in the sand and need a little clarity in their poker life?
The good news is that I don't care anymore. I'm sick of being screwed, I'm sick of watching other people get screwed, and I'm sick of sneaky, conniving con artists who go around ripping people off. This shit is going to change...and I predict it's going to change pretty quick. Players are getting smarter. Dealers are getting fed up. And if there are still morons out there who think 'dealers should quit their whining...they are lucky to have jobs...they have no leverage...they should just shut up and do their job' then you are all in for a big, eye-opening wake up call.

Hell, if you are that much of an idiot...I will simply invite you to spend a week playing poker in Atlantic City...take your pick of casinos...and consider that a glimpse into your future of sitting at a tournament table ANYWHERE in America if certain tourney directors are allowed to continue doing business they way they are. There is a HUGE difference between a GOOD dealer and a SHITTY dealer. And I don't know about you folks...but when I am paying $500 to $10,000 to play in a poker tourney, I take who is dealing to me pretty seriously. Its my job. If you get on a plane...do you want your pilot to tell you he got his training playing XBox360? Yeah...me either!

I don't think its even possible to sit down at poker tourney and have that dealer who informs you that he just got done taking 13 weeks of dealing school, and despite having NEVER played a hand of poker in their life, claim to have poker mastered....without standing up...walking outside, putting three bullets in a pistol, pointing it at your head...and pulling the trigger as many times as it takes before you fall on the ground and bleed all over their nice polished granite.

I rest my case. Moral of the story: Please start treating the dealers with respect. Please pay them what they are worth. Please quit lying to them about whatever you are lying to them about so you can squeeze a few extra bucks for yourself. Because if you don't...and I mean NO disrespect here to myself...we are going to be looking at a bunch of monkeys dealing to us in a year or so.

I'm almost exhausted after that rant. Whewwwwwwww.

10:12am. 1 hour and 48 minutes til kickoff. Time to go get my game-face on. Oh...by the way...how bout that Charlie Sheen!!!!


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Next up: Chicago

I know a lot of you are hot on the whole Dog club WSOP event...and I won't lie...it crossed my mind. Sure the fields willl be pretty huge. Some good payouts. And being down on the beach around spring break might have been fun. But I have also heard that those players down there are utter maniacs. And on top of that...

I kind of narrowed down my choices to Reno and Chicago. Reno because the Grand Sierra really takes care of its players...giving comp dollars on every tourney buy in....so much so that by the end of my trip there last year my hotel room was half paid for by comps. Pretty nice. And its a nice place, Reno...at least I like it. They are promising better structures, more added money...and bigger fields. But when I went to price airfare...I got hit with sticker shock. POW!

Next up...Chicago. While its not an associated circuit event...its a nice room. Big. I was turned off by the absence of free booze last time there, in fact...huge cost associated with drinks. But now...since I have quit drinking in poker...its irrelevant. Steve Frezer and Charlie Ceresi are running that event...guys I really like, and who do a great job, and who have awesome structures. But my main reason for choosing Chicago...and No! It's not because I love the cold, windy weather and the snow piling up around my hotel! Its the BMW 650i that goes to the overall points champion for the event. Their Main Event is a $3500 tourney...and they have been high carding the table in the cash room for the last week, once every 4 hrs or so...literally giving away entries into it. Like they did last fall for their $1600 Main Event that I took 6th in. You really can tell dead money when you see it...and it will be all over the place!!!!

I want a new car! I want to win that bad boy and drive it home to Biloxi! But if I don't win the car...I just hope I run 'okay' at the very least. And I wouldn't mind having fun while I'm there. Kind of hoping to go to the Chicago Blackhawks game on March 2nd against Calgary. There really isnt anything to play that day except Pot Limit Omaha with rebuys...which I dont screw with. The following day is Mega satellite day.

After this trip...I really don't know what I am going to do, or where I am going to go. There are always possibilities. Borgata spring event. San Diego circuit event. I do know I will play New Orleans in May. Might even entertain the thoughts of going to Europe and play at Bratislavia and/or Latvia if things go well in Chicago. A lot of my buddies (dealers) are working those events...and have been before, and it would be really cool to check it out over there. Maybe even take Squirrel if she can get it off.

My new Team Bustout teammate Don Norman will be joining me in Chicago as my roomate. Speaking of Team Bustout...I have been talking to Chad Brown quite a bit...and so far he hasn't heard back from his doctor about his overall prognosis. But he sure is being upbeat and positive about the whole thing.

Well...its 2am...and I'm going to try and get just a couple hours of sleep before I head out at the asscrack of dawn again. Ugh. For all of you playing in West Palm Beach.....GOOD LUCK! Same to you playing in Reno! And for those playing in Chicago...I will wish 2nd place to all of you!!! See ya soon!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

HAPPY SUNDAY! lets go racing boys!

When Squirrel and I met I had never been to a NASCAR race....then for my first race we kind of lucked/backed into an experience on the infield in Atlanta, on top of a RV...with pit passes. It was a killer experience, and I kind of fell in love with the sport. Got to meet the drivers...who were all really cool and see and hear the cars up close. It was cool.

As the years have passed, and the cars have become more and more like carbon copies, and my favorite drivers have moved from team to team...its lost some of its appeal to me. But every year...as the Daytona 500 approaches...there is that excitement that comes with the start of any season. But in NASCAR its extra special because they start out the season with their 'Super Bowl' which I have always thought was kind of strange...but still cool!

So this year...as we mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, they get things revved up to race around a track that was just totally resurfaced, at the cost of $20m! Dale Jr managed to win the pole...which would set him up for a nice run to honor his old man...but then crashing his car in practice sent him to the back of the starting pack. Regardless, its the kind of track that he can make up the margin if things go his way.

I am going to go ahead and predict that Dale Jr brings it home today...mainly because I think his Dad is going to make sure it happens!


Yesterday I told everyone about Chad Brown and his shocking news that hit him this week. I had a couple guys message me that they had JUST seen him at Commerce the day before. Yup! They had! That's Chad for you...not one to panic. "Oh! I have a tumor? Wow, that sucks! Well, guess I will just wait for the doctor to get here to remove it, and in the meantime...play a tournament or two!" And if you can't figure out why he wasn't letting everyone know that he was suffering from a stomach tumor the size of a volleyball...well, then you don't know Chad very well.

Well, yesterday I got a lot of messages from people who were pretty shocked. The whole BUSTOUT POKER team responded...and I heard from Chad this morning and he was very appreciative of everyone's support. I also got a couple of pretty encouraging emails from some players who have been through some similar challenges, guys I truly respect and admire, who I had NO idea had faced such adversity. In times like this, I think it is really important for people to pull together and let each other know we are here for each other. A few people contacted me, wanting to know how they could reach out to Chad and maybe send him something to let him know they are thinking about him. That is really cool of y'all.

I don't think posting his hospital room number is such a swell idea right here on my blog....but I will tell you he is at Ronald Reagan Medical Center (click here for information on the hospital) on the UCLA campus in LA....and if you get ahold of me....ThePokerMonkey1@aol.com....I will let you know his room number. But I'm guessing you can just contact the hospital and they will help you out.


For those of you grinding the big Sunday major's on either Pokerstars or Poker on Full Tilt...I wish you happy grindin! Myself, I will be taking Squirrel up to the Pass to check out SNOW! Yeah...this little hick from Alabama doesn't get too many chances to see snow, so we are going to go have us a snowball fight! Then maybe take my Mom by the local casino and play some blackjack with her! Then later on I will continue the assault on my delicious Washington State oysters...which I had 6 of yesterday...and they were INCREDIBLE!!!! Yes, Jenn.....SIX!!!!!!

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Seattle...Sunny and Delicious. And some SCANDAL!!!

Before I get started...there are a couple of things I need to call attention to. First off, my 2010 Summer in Vegas Roomie 'Smilin Don' Norman from Somewhere Near St. Louis but not REALLY St. Louis so he IS allowed to be my friend....is all up in arms because he has been added to TEAM BUSTOUT and the only one who hasn't given him the big ass kissing welcome email to the team like all the other team members have done, is me.

Don got to know our team leader, Jeff Griffith a few months ago, and since they are both good guys, they obviously got along. Well Don took down the $200 rebuy up in Tunica sporting the Bustout Poker apparel (a word I never spell correctly) and was subsequently added to the team. Congratulations Don. Welcome to the Team. Now please...quit your whining...and go win something. (else)

Secondly...Kai Landry and his return to blogging is crushing. Or Pwning, if your still one of those dorks who thinks Pwn is a word and still cool to use. Its not, and you aren't. But Kai's blog is ridiculously funny...unless you have the IQ of a hamster and the sense of humor of a chair. The person in this post who IS stupid, is me...because I should be shooting you his link at the END of my post...since once you click on his you're pretty much GONE from mine. But that's fine. Your loss, because there is some incredibly fun (slang for controversial) shiite about to present itself here. Just hang out and wait for it!

I must also welcome a gal to GCP who I recently became friendly with. I can't say we know that much about each other, but in the couple of times I have talked to her, I can tell 'she gets it' and that her sense of humor is as warped and demented as mine. And, in a strange twist, when she first sat down at a poker table with me, she thought I was an arrogant prick! Aha! I won over another one!!!! So welcome, please...
Jennifer Gay to the GCP and check out her blog, its also pretty hilarious, and offers a much-needed 'chicks view' on the poker world!

A little follow up to a comment from the other day. The little guy who I thought had 'crossed over from the dark side' into the circle of 'coolness' has in fact, only delved deeper into the pit of douchbagginess. Mr. 'refuse to scoot over and get his elbows out of my personal space' from Wisconsin (Green Bay he claims, but why WOULDN'T he, since the Packers just won the Super Bowl...kind of like how Danny Dorcey claimed to be from N'Awlins even though research showed him to actually to be from Chalmette, which is New Orleans' little red-headed step bitch) has taken his lunacy to a credibility-crashing new level.

It would appear he opened an account on Facebook for the sole purpose of harrassing me and sending a nasty message to my wife. Because after reading his comment to me, and then the one he shot to Squirrel, we noticed he was no longer able to be found. He just needed to sneak in long enough to make some stupid little comment about her asking me about the new $1500 hooker club at Venetian, then dumping his account. Ahhh...I see, the 'ol attempted 'drive the wedge' between the husband and wife. What a loser. For the record, I'm pretty sure there isn't a $1500 Hooker Club at the Venetian...but if there IS one...someone give me the details, and I will be sure to blog about it for all my single, degenerate poker pals.

As for the little joker in Wisconsin...I hope I see you at Venetian this summer you little ingrate. You can say whatever you want to ME...I can take it, most of it just makes me chuckle. But you start involving my family, my wife specifically...and you have yourself a war you won't win, buddy. So I would advise you to steer clear of me if you see me. I remember what you look like...kind of a combination of Eminem and Ren from the Ren and Stimpy cartoon.

Here is your controversy today. Actually its not even really 'controversy' as much as it is someone getting a bit nervous apparantly and singling me out as the reason for the information. For the sake of clarity, I have never posted a 'MESSAGE' to my message board, other than the ones where I am replying to some of your messages. And if I DO post a message, it always has my NAME attached to it. I would never, nor do I feel the need or urge, to post an anonymous message. I think those of you who know me...know that if I have something to get off my chest, you won't see me hiding behind an anonymous tag.

There is a new post today in the comments...this from Anonymous user who addresses me as 'Primate' and since there is only one person I know who addresses me as such, we will assume that it is the Tournament Director from the Beau Rivage, Mr. G. In the past month...there have been several posts from readers who appear to be employees in the poker world who have alluded that Hoyt Corkins was duped by Beau Rivage staff when he went to leave a $50k tip after his big win there last year...and was sidetracked to the 'Staff' tip box instead of the dealer tip box. I was told about this by a few 'staff' members last year...but never wrote about it. Nor did I look into it too deeply.

As a matter of fact, I can't confirm or deny this rumor. And have never posted on here that this actually occurred. But there are readers who are adamant that this, in fact, did occur. Some have asked that I present this to the folks at 2+2, to Pocket Fives, and to Cardplayer magazine. Look guys, I am not an investigative journalist. Do I care about people getting screwed over? You bet I do. Especially people that I see and interact with on a regular basis.

But I have a very firm belief that if there are people who are 'misappropriating' company funds...as in, redirecting finances intended for one group but making their way to another...or even circumstances where certain amounts of income arent being reported to the proper authorities, such as the I.R.S., that eventually those situations will work themselves out.

Let's be real. You can only screw dealers over so many times before they STOP caring about being blacklisted anymore as the 'big threat' against them and start wanting revenge against those they feel are oppressing them. Hey, I don't know...maybe the revolution in Egypt has finally inspired people to pull their heads out of their collective asses and finally start fighting for what's right in the world. I know that I heard no less than 8 dealers freaking out because they had to wait for about a week AFTER the Beau Rivage event ended before they finally got a check. And there was rumblings about how they did the final payouts...regarding taxes and a bunch of other elements that didnt used to exist when they dealt an event at the Beau Rivage.

It sounds to me...and I didn't dig very deep because I have been busy traveling and generally just not focusing on anything else...that the dealers have finally just reached a level of frustration that has them voicing their angst. And a lot of them find my blog a convenient place to do it. That's fine with me. Post whatever comments you want. I won't censor you. I'm an American.

I have been told in this comment that I should 'fact check' things before I post them. That I should pull the comment down. That Hoyt is pissed off about it because it isnt true. Then 'stongly suggests' that I pull it down.

(Well, should I 'fact check' all the disparaging comments people make about me too, that I post on here and address? Pretty sure that when I read those, they are 15% bullshit...but whatever, I let them have their voice! I'm not afraid of criticism. If you are logging on here to bash me...I might not love it, but HEY! It means your reading my blog! Thanks!)

So...this is his reaction? Really? Why? I think its humorous that the guy can make up whatever tale he wants about me...tell fellow players whatever he thinks sounds good to disparage me and my image as a poker professional...and go the extra step by calling another VENUE and crafting a story that causes them to call me and 'disinvite' me for an event based on what? Personal vendetta? A string of events within a week that would be pretty solid grounds for a defamation lawsuit...one complete with witnesses willing to testify against him.

Yes, I find this DEMAND to be laughable. Afterall, if he is completely innocent of these 'rumors' that a lot of people are tossing around, then why would he be concerned about comments on some poker players' blog wall? This, I think is where that little saying about 'where there's smoke there's fire' came from, right? That and the quacking duck. Quack Quack!!!
I know that when I hear or see shit being said or written about me...and its totally bogus, I typically ignore it, and know that people I give a shit about will laugh it off too. So who cares?

People walk around babbling about their little theories, spreading their rumors, and it does nothing but grow and grow. I don't mealy mouth anyone. If anything, I am complimentary to a fault. If I decide to bitch about something on my blog, generally, its a point of view shared by the masses in poker. And I don't sugar coat shit or hide behind anonymity. Anything you read on here in the comment section that is posted, is posted by readers. And now Mr. G wants me to start censoring THEM too!??? Nice try. You managed to censor me so that I could be allowed to play your events....oh, until you again pushed me out for what was proven to be nothing. Censoring my readers? Yeah....that's not going to happen. Sorry. In the year that these rumors have been circulating, I have never once voiced my opinion on it. How could I make any kind of an educated comment about the subject? When it occurred I was sitting on the same couch I am sitting on now, 2200 miles away from Biloxi in Snoqualmie, Washington.

And just curious...if Hoyt didn't get bamboozled into tipping into the wrong box...if everything was on the up and up...then why would he ever be 'pissed' that people were suggesting that he got fleeced? Makes no sense. If anything...it's only making him look good as a player who tipped an astounding 10% to 'someone.' No...I can't for one second imagine that he would be pissed at a blogger or his readers for suggesting that he was duped. If anything, he would be pissed that he might have been taken advantage of by a tournament staff member. I mean...this is all assuming that he is a person with 1% of common sense, and since I have met Hoyt several times, and even enjoyed drinks with him...I can confidently say that he has at least 1% of common sense.

Yeah...I think we know which person is pissed. For those of us who took Psychology 101 and/or higher in college, we understand what type of behaviour this is. I think its called Cognitive Transference or something like that. All I can say to Mr. G is...I hope your record keeping is all in line...not for my sake, I could care less, since I'm just a lowly poker player who galivants around the continent trying to scrape out enough wins to pay the bills and keep my wife and dogs happy. Who pays his taxes every year. No...I'm talking about for those guys in the cheap suits who have their head office in Washington, D.C. I hear they are a real pain in the ass! Persistent as hell!


The trip to Seattle so far has been wonderful. Our two legs on American were both jam packed. My luggage survived once more, a small victory for this traveler here. On Saturday, we went to Pike Place Market, Squirrel and I and my Mother. We got lots of fresh fruit and produce and I bought two dozen of Washington States finest oysters...which are out in the garage now soaking in ice water..waiting for me to shuck and devour later today.

Then we went to Kent and picked up my brother Jimmy, who is two years older than me and has Down's Syndrome. A year ago we picked him up and went to visit my father in prison. Jimmy fell in love with Squirrel...and was so happy to see her yesterday. He calls her Chipmunk. Well, my Mother came along this time...and though it was awkward...as her and my brother have never had a real solid relationship, they both worked through the tension, and we enjoyed a great afternoon. We took him to Wal Mart and bought him a new wardrobe basically. New sheets, pillow...Hannah Montana movies. He LOVES Miley Cyrus, and insists they will wed one day. So cute. He was like a kid in a candy store.

Then we took him to get a haircut. Jimmy has a thing about taking scissors to his own hair..and just massacres his 'look.' Well, we found this nice little Phillipino lady who was about to close up shop that took us in...and was so sweet to him while she was cutting his hair. Cheryl was also helping in the cutting phase...and keeping Jimmy from freaking out.

As I sit and watch my wife...how she is around special needs people, like my brother, and her Grandmother who is stricken with Alzheimers...I just realize how lucky I am to have found her. She is just, quite simply, the best human being I know. And I am married to her. There is no word to describe how lucky I feel to have her in my life. The amazing relationship that she has formulated with my Mom, my sister...and now even my Father...who is now just 5 months away from being released from prison, where he has been for 13 years. Now when his letters arrive, they are more directed to her than me. When he gets out...its going to be a happy day for our family, Jimmy will have his Dad back...finally. It falls around the time the World Series closes....so I am hopeful that I will just fly from Vegas to Seattle, meet everyone up there, and go see my Dad get out.

After he got his haircut we took him to Applebees...where he completely devoured his meal. Salad. GONE! Every bite! Ravioli with chicken. Poof! Might has well have licked the plate! Then had to have dessert, so it was a big bowl of ice cream.

But the biggest smile I saw on his face was after we took him back to his apartment, unloaded all his gifts...and when he sat down to watch his WWE Smackdown went on tilt when he discoverd his TV remote had dead batteries. Everything else stopped mattering. Even Cheryl's hug goodbye was lacking in sincerity. Wrestling was on...and this kid loves wrestling almost as much as he loves Hannah Montana! Then it dawned on me...I think I might have a couple batteries in my 'Man Bag' out in the car. I did! Two AA batteries...and when I came back into his apartment, and put them in his remote...he started to howl...unbridled glee! See...thats the thing with these 'kids' that are 'afflicted' with Downs. It doesn't take too much to make them smile. We should all be so lucky.

My Mom promised him that if he would stop taking the scissors and walloping his hair, that she would come pick him once a month or so and take him to get his hair cut...and maybe dinner and a movie. That made me and Squirrel so happy...because we are dying for her to be a bigger part of his life. Ever since Cheryl met Jimmy she has been sending him cards, and photos, and gifts, and money and letters. She talks about him all the time...about him being alone, and wishing my Mother would go spend time with him. So now...maybe we have crossed that barrier and she will start including him in her life.

It's the simple things in life, like family, that make you realize what is really important in this world. Being with Cheryl for ten years...and seeing the relationship that she has with her family...and how they have welcomed me into their lives...it has led to me having a better relationship with my own family. The older I get...and the less I care about things I thought were so important when I was in my 20's and 30's...the more I appreciate the things that are truly important.

I read a Facebook post from a dealer I know at the Beau Rivage...who Squirrel and I have known for years. She posted that she woke up to find negative $275 in her checking acccount this morning...but then went on to reflect on her wonderful husband, her beautiful child, and all her amazing friends...and talk about how 'lucky' she is. That really hit me. Yes...I'm talking about YOU Melinda Harvison...thanks for that inspiring post.


I have just been blindsided by some very disturbing news. There is a guy that I have known for over 20 years now. Who I used to hang out with when I lived in NYC back in the early 90's. Who I played baseball with. And who now I see on frequent poker trips...and am a fellow member of TEAM BUSTOUT with. This guy is one of the most positive human beings I have ever known. Never says ugly things about people. Never stirs up controversy. He would be a fantastic politician. He has always taken care of himself immensely, so much so that being around him makes me feel like I am neglecting my own body everytime I'm in his presence.

So 20 minutes ago...a fellow baseball teammate just called me, and told me that this friend of mine had asked him to forward me his phone number in his hospital room. Then told me the rest of the news. My buddy was having pain in his back and side...and went to the doctor last week. This resulted in an MRI...which revealed a gigantic tumor 25'" in diameter and weighing 10 lbs.. WHAT!??? In his stomach! Which needed to be immediately removed. So a top surgeon who deals with these kind of things was whisked in and performed the surgery on Friday...removing the tumor...as well as a kidney, and laying the groundwork for the ensuing radiation treatment.

When I heard this news, I immediately thought of his wife...who has also become a relatively close friend of mine. I sent her a message right away. Letting her know that Squirrel and I are praying for her and her husband.

Then I called my buddy, and we talked for awhile. And in his typical fashion, he sounded like a guy who had just experienced a little heartburn and went in to have the doctor give him a couple of Tums. I expected nothing less from him. I didn't hear any fear in his voice, only optimism. I tried to keep it light, comparing the discovery in his stomach to some of those discoveries fisherman make when cutting open Great White sharks. That got a little laugh out of him. But more than anything...I offered my support to him in any way possible, as I am sure he would do for me. As we get older, and people that are close to us start dying, or being hit with life threatening conditions, it really broadens our awareness of our own mortality. Really makes you focus on what is important in life.

Poker? This is just a hobby, or an occupation for some of us. But it means nothing in the grand scheme of life. There is a relatively small circle of people in my world who 'matter' to me, who I will do anything for. Chad Brown is one of those guys. Squirrel and I will pray for Chad to recover from this alarming news...and to stay strong as I know he will. If I know anything about Chad...I know that he doesn't want anyone's sympathy. I just want you all to know that a very good friend of mine who I care about immensely is sick, and that...as sunny and beautiful as it is in Seattle today, I need the sun to shine brightest today in Los Angeles. We love you Chad...get well soon buddy.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Another Year Older

I know I am way behind...on a lot of things. I never posted since my Final Table the other day at Venetian and I need to. Bottom line; I finished 6th. My QQ once again fell victim to the dreaded 'bad ace'...this time A9..and at the hands of the eventual winner of the tourney.

The next day I stayed in my hotel room and played nothing, mainly recovered...from a night where once again, I kicked it with a guy named Patron...and once again mysteriously found myself at a $25 blackjack table with some total stranger who ended up being my real-life brother. It was weird, and again I mysteriously won about $1200...and did/said things I don't remember. Also woke up to bruises all over my legs and a foot coated in blood. That guy Patron is a weird dude.

I played my last day there...Tuesday. Busted the nooner. Played the 4pm $100 turbo and got 2nd place for a little chump change. Then played the nightly, doubling up on the first hand...but then running AA into JJ and watching a guy hit quads. Ended up going out 15th in that...6 from the money, standard for my nightly's on that trip.

I spend all day yesterday travelling home. Coincidently, it was my 44th birthday. Also of note was that for the first time in months, I managed to take an entire trip on Delta Airlines, where my baggage wasn't destroyed. Amazing. Both legs of my trip were packed to the gills, and without the aid of pharmaceuticals don't think I would have ever made it home without losing my mind.

I can't even believe how many wall posts I got on Facebook for my birthday. Really appreciated that. People can be so nice. MMmmmm..quite contrarily, got a 'not-so-nice' message from the little bakehead who was sitting on my left that I blogged about earlier, who didn't want to move over in that tourney about a week ago. Seems my 'take' on him was wrong...that he actually really was a little shit bird. Oh well, just check him off on my list of people I will never invite to the Cause Celebre one day!

Today we travel to Seattle to visit my family for 5 days. Squirrel is in the shower right now, and I am supposed to be checking us in on American online...but instead I'm blogging. Whooops. Meant to do this yesterday, but all I could do when I got home last night was keep falling asleep on the couch while watching the repeat telecast of the Super Bowl. Contrary to what a lot of people said...I thought the halftime show by the Black Eyed Peas was really entertaining. And Fergie looked hot.

Got my Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue in the mail last night too. That should provide for some good 'reading' during my flight. Also was welcomed by a mountain of mail/checks from people who participated in my Super Bowl Squares pool...so for those of you who won money...rest assured, I will be figuring out all that in the next two days and money will be arriving to your mailbox very soon!

Got caught up on American Idol. Boy, once they got to Hollywood, J-Lo finally started figuring out how to be a little more direct and to the point when whacking people, didn't she?

Okay...I better wrap this up! Thanks everyone for your birthday wishes! Off to Seattle for a few days...then I have to figure out whether to go to Reno next....or Chicago for their Chicago Poker Classic. Tough decision!!!


Sunday, February 13, 2011


Well, how about this. Never thought it would happen in 2011? Well, guess what? I was starting to wonder, myself! But finally...I am going back tomorrow, wait, check that, TODAY...to play a tournament that started YESTERDAY! Day 2 of the Venetian $550 starts at 4pm. I happen to have $346k in chips...which I am pretty certain is in the top 3 in chips.

Last year...I was out here for this same event...except that last year it had the NAPT tie in with Pokerstars...which culminated in their 5k Main Event...and then two add-on events at the end. I had a pretty lousy trip then too, with the exception of a ridiculously profitable Super Bowl. Then...after going out 15 from the money in the NAPT Main Event...I played the last event...a $550 with about 110 players while sweating my buddy Joe Cutler, who got deep and cashed in the Main.

I ended up chopping that event with the two guys pictured up above...and it saved my trip, restored a little faith in my poker world..and sent me to LA (for the LAPC Main Event) and Reno with a little wind in my sails. Its ironic that I have run like ass this whole trip, and 3 days from heading home I finally make it into the money, with a chance to pull down $25,000 today. Man, how nice would that be? Not that I am running out of money or anything, I mean...the fall treated me REAL nice...and I am pretty good about not blowing up my bankroll...but the LOSING is what was driving me bananas!

I won't say I did ANYTHING different yesterday than I have been doing all trip. Its just that my hands were holding up. Period. I am running short on time...because I am going to go play the noon tourney today, a $350 and try to pull off the 'ol back to back maneuver. We don't start til 4pm so its a nice amount of time to try and chip up before heading back to play out the $550. And I think it will be a pretty nice field too.

I've been getting a lot of feedback/reports from people in Tunica. I find it interesting that there as many of you as there are who seem to find so much happiness talking badly about me. I don't get it. But what is so ironic, is that you all know exactly where I am, what I am doing and how I am running. So even though you apparantly can't stand me, here you are reading my blog...so I guess I will just say thanks. On the flip side, I know I have a nice legion of followers who ARENT haters, who really DO want me to succeed, who share the joy when I'm running good (without the jealousy) and the pain when I am running bad (without the pleasure). I feel it in the Facebook wall posts, the phone text messages...the comments on here. And wow...its the coolest feeling when I wake up and look on there and see all the awesome messages from y'all! Thanks!!!!!

I will give a brief rundown of yesterday. I showed up with 20 minutes left in level 3. First hand, KJ, I raise...get a walk. Second hand...I pick up AJ...raise again. I see the guy in the SB making a long face.

Okay...my read? "This guy just shows up and because he is down about 1800 in his stack is just gonna start raising every hand. No way. I'll show him..."

And he re-raises me from 600 to 2200. I had already figured out what I was going to do as soon as I looked at his chipstack of about 5500. Not sure what happened, but obviously his day hadn't started real well. He raises...and I just moved all in. He tanks...makes a caucophony of stupid facial expressions, then folds. It was on!

That first table had some real idiots at it. The main idiot was the clown who was raising a stupid amount whenever too many people limped in. On two occasions...I watch this bozo raise to 4000 (at 100/200) behind 4-7 limpers. So...when I got AQh...and was the 7th limper on the button...asshole makes it 4000 again in the SB. Folds around to me and I just shove about 18k all in. Oooops.

"I guess I should look at my hand, huh?" chuckle chuckle chuckle.

He folds 3-7 offsuit face up. Nice waste of 4000 chips you dipshit.

We had another clown who was raising with 2-6, Q-8, J-7....nice stuff. I was calling him Stuey Unger with Nose. Same glasses, same jaw...just, he had a nose, whereas Stuey blasted his off his face with all his cocaine abuse. I wanted this guy...and I would eventually get him...at a different table, when we were about 10 from the money...when my 66 held against his AQ. Peace out Stuey w/Nose.

Fat Turd 4k bet boy and I would get into it a little. I nearly fucked him up with a nut flush...but bricked the river...checked to him on an 8k pot...and he flicks 5k on the river. I actually misplayed that hand...really should have never gotten to the river, but I was certain I was going to get there and wanted to destroy this guy. Well after betting he does that stupid move people do where they simulate throwing their cards in after their opponent folds. Know the move? Well, for some reason...it annoyed me. So I just sat there. Doing nothing. Finally he starts chirping.

"I have all the time in the world pal," he says to me.

"No...you THINK you have all the time in the world. You don't," I replied...which had a couple guys on my side of the table laughing.

He then calls clock. Floor arrives. I let him count me all the way down to 1 second then fold. Yeah, it was a bit of a dick move on my part, but something about this guy just made me sick...and I was going to try and get this guy on tilt as much possible, then hopefully set him up later, and drop him.

The one really nice guy at the table was seated on my left. Nice Canadian guy who lives in Boston, who actually came to check on me later in the tourney to see how I was doing after taking him out. Real classy. I was going to raise UTG with 88 but decided instead to limp for 300. Well he raised to 800. It folded around to me, and I called. See, the thing about middle pairs...its true you don't want to fold them...but its also true that its not always a good idea to raise with them...because when someone re-raises you...it always seems to be an amount, that if you DO decide to call, you are really just calling for one reason. To go 'set mining.'

So yeah, I limp and call his raise. Flop comes 8-7-2. Yahtzee! I check. He bets 2500. I raise to 5100. He immediately goes all in. Guess he has an overpair. Yup. KK. No king shows up. He very classily shakes my hand and wishes me well. Felt bad. That was supposed to be one of the other three toads at the table I didn't like.

Our table would break a little while later. I would hover around 30k for a long time. Picking up a hand every once in awhile. I wore my Ray-Bans yesterday for the first time all year. I had kind of gotten away from wearing them. I don't know if there is anything to the theory that they help my table image...or if running good and making the money was just coincidence yesterday, but as a fairly superstitious player...I will be thinking hard about bringing them back out of retirement.

A very critical hand arrived when we were 5 from the money. With the previous night's 'out hand' still fresh in my head...also close to the money...my KK running into AA...a guy with about the same stack as mine, 56k...with the average at 90k...limps UTG for 2400. The guy behind me calls. I look down...and OMG holy shit...there it is again. KK. Oh boy. I decide to raise to 10,000...with about that much in the pot. I really just want to take the hand down and be over with it.

Sorry Monkey, thats not going to happen. Limper dude ships all in. Fuck. Guy behind me folds. Mumbles something about this guy doing this move all day. Hmmm...really? But as he limped, I looked at his stack...and had my own 'mumble' when I said "limping? Utg, with that stack? This guy must have aces." And that is exactly what I was feeling. I really entertained thoughts of folding. But then...I decided that if I had any respect for myself as a poker player...I HAD to make the call. So I did. He turns over AK. Ohhhhh shit. Then the guy next to tells me he folded A10. Nooooooooo! Don't tell me THAT!

I hid behind the dealer...looking over his shoulder. Flop came...J-J-2. Okay...okay...good so far. Turn.......8! Okay...one more to fade. Come on......river......YES YES YES...a 3. I quickly left the table...walked to a secluded area, thanked the poker gods...gathered myself....waited for my pulse to return...and went back to the table. I was now up to 120k. And feeling great!

Another key hand would come when I raised UTG+1 with AJ. This mousy little Russian chick, who spoke bad broken English and was literally here visiting from Moscow...decides to call my raise with Charlie "Smoke" Oliver's favorite hand...the 'Smokey Special'....10-8. Except her's wasn't suited. She only flops a full house. 8-8-10. She checks. I'm not betting. Turn is an ace. She checks again. I bet 12,000. She raises me to 25,000. Hmmmm. Better ace? Tens? I have the chips to make the call, with every intention of folding on the river if I have to. River is another ace....oh baby, thank you! She looks me in the eyes....and in this Russian accent tells me she is all in. I look at the board one more time...making sure I'm not missing something. Oh God...I sure hope she doesnt have quad 8's...that would SUCCCCCCCKKKKKKK!

But I honestly felt like either she had a better ace, or a worse ace...and one of us just got lucky and is going to split the pot now. So when I called, and she turned over 8-10...I was stunned. You know who was more stunned? Her! When the dealer pushed ME the pot. She thought she had won. The dealer had to explain to her that I had aces full of 8's...which beat her 8's full of aces. I don't know if she was tired...or what. I don't think she was a bad player...in fact she was pretty decent. I think she just had a mental meltdown right there.

A few hands later...she would shove all in...for a lot, too much really...but called by a guy who had managed to get to 400k before I had arrived...a guy from Munich, Germany who I have played against a lot...and is very aggressive, and who (by the end of the night) would lose over 70% of his stack, mostly by making calls (when ahead) and getting 75/25'd and/or sucked out on. Well, he calls her with AK. She was sitting on 9-10 offsuit...and rivers a 9. She was back in it...and at the end of the night...she was still in the tourney, so she made a nice comeback.

My next big hand was only good for 43k but it was a nice hit, and knocked out another player when we were close to the money. At 1500/3000...and after having folded AQh two hands before that would have seen me knock out a guy with AK...when I'd have made a flush...I get it again. I start climbing into the guy's soul and determine that he doesn't feel all that strong about his hand. Really, the only hand I DONT want to be up against is AK...and he doesn't have the look of a guy who is shoving with AK. I am feeling something more like AJ or KQ. So I make the call. The others fold. And he turns over...voila, KQ. Perfect. I hold there, too. Another one busted.

Earlier, right before dinner break...and with me sitting on 54k...I picked up JJ...and raised to 2500. A guy with 11k shoves all in. Then the guy in the BB...who had been overplaying hands all game...shoves all in for 23k. Hmmm...sidepot implications here. Jacks really shrink up there though. But after thinking it out...I decide there is a good chance I can at least beat the second guy and break even on the play. So I call. First shover has KQ offsuit. Ugh...overs. The other guy has 10-10. I'll take that one. The flop comes J-7-4 rainbow. Nice! But just as someone says they are drawing dead...which I just hate! People are so stupid. Turn card...TEN! Giving the other guy a set...and life. But it also made KQ guy open-ended...and when the dealer peeled off a 9 on the river...I just walked away from the table...taking off my hat...mumbling to myself about this trip...this year...and running my hands through my hair. The floor guy, who was there watching...walked over to me and told me, "Monkey...that really sucked. You do know though, right...that you still have chips?"

"Oh yeah...I know, I know...I actually broke even on the play...I'm just really dejected by that river and needed to walk it off."

I would have had 88k after that hand if that river doesnt hit. In the end though, it didn't kill me. Thank God!

I think the last significant hand I won before we bagged up our chips and called it a night was when this lady Erica, who I had met in the nightly the previous day...and who was from Chicago, and like my sister played college softball and now coaches....made a very unusual play on the button. Now, Erica was a really nice lady...and I was rooting for her to do well the previous night in the 7pm tourney. She ended up chopping it four ways. Good for her.

Well, she was nursing a shortstack for the last 3 hours of the tourney. She would get a lucky double up with A8 against, again...the German guy who had AQ. So...with a decent stack...not a lot, but at least enough to 'do work' with...she limps on the button for 5,000. The guy in the SB completes. I look at KJ...and with a lot of chips...feel the proper play is to raise...so I make it 20,500...my sole intent being to make her either fold or go all in...as she is sitting on about 38k. So when she shoves all in...I decide I was being trapped. SB folds. I call because I have no choice...and turn my hand over....

"well, I got some catching up to do....." she states.

HUH>? Then I see her hand. 8d9d. What in the hell is she doing? Weird, weird play. It didn't go her way. I won the hand, knocked her out...and added to my stack.

I saw a lot of really bad play yesterday. Then again, I've seen a lot of bad play this whole tourney trip. What happened yesterday, was that I managed to somehow dodge all the landmines for a change. Now, if I can just run good today...I can get this year back on the right track! I won't be greedy, at this point, I really just want to make the Final Table, and then go from there.

Per my doctrine, I finally got to order a Red Snapper after we got in the money. Not multiple snappers...just one! I had been waiting two weeks for a Snapper! Finally! So what happens? I order it, waitress claims to know what it is...and when it shows up...I drink it...and...pffffft OMG! What is that!??? It was like, Jager, Cranberry, Peach Snapps...and something else. Gross. So I right down the recipe for the waitress...she takes it to the bartender...he remakes it...and when I drink it, its ALMOST correct, but for some damn reason, he put Peach Schnapps in it AGAIN. Whats up with this bartender and his peach schnapps? Oh well...whatever.

Bagged up my chips, actually put my raising monkey in the bag with my chips...so not sure what I am going to use today in the noon tourney that is now 36 minutes old (not that I care about being late...but not TOO late, since this is the time I am supposed to be using to chip up before the 4pm restart!) but I will figure it out when I get there!

Okay...there ya go. Time to catch a shower and get outa here!