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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Forget Poker...this is Life and Death



On April 26th, I woke up at 10am. At 10pm the previous night...in the $1k Mega Satellite to hopefully get into the $10k WPT Main Event in Hollywood, Florida at the Hard Rock Casino...I woke up with AA, and with Andrew Liporace sitting on my left, and a super aggressive Asian guy raising 3000 at 300/600, while leaving only 3200 behind (obviously pot committed)...it dawned on me that my little comeback from only 1500 chips...up to 7200...were about to receive a huge shot in the arm, and likely lead to me pulling off another one of my 'last minute mega wins' and getting a shot at $1.1 million for first place this weekend.

That's when the guy behind him re-raised to 7000. So much for getting creative in the SB and flatting the 3000. I shoved all in for 7500 and called by both. The Asian guy had 99. The second guy holding 77. It didn't take long for the stomach punch...as the dealer put out a 9-9-8 flop. Now effing way! And just in case I had another short stack miracle still on my mind with a miniscule 'side pot' still in play...he put a 7 on the river. Kaboom! Out! No Main Event.

I slipped over and played a $235 SNG...with a $200 last longer...and just when it looked like I had a good chance to win close to $2500...with 5 left, and beginning to surge, I ran AQ into a guy who was big on three-betting...with KK...and was out, with zilch. That was how my trip ended, poker wise. There was another $1080 mega, two actually...one at 11pm, and one at 8am...both terrible start times for me...and both Super Turbos...aka, CRAP SHOOTS. I didn't feel like wasting my backer's money in either of those. When I bubbled that Super Satellite last week, with 'The Known Colluder' getting a seat, I kind of felt at that moment that it was my lost opportunity that night that sealed my fate for this trip.

What a frustrating trip. Two final tables...one that I surely should have won going away for $14k....the other that I could have gotten much deeper with my stack, but flopped the world and couldn't improve, which would have made me chipleader with 8 left....were nice, but when you don't finish in the Top 3 in this game, it's pretty pointless. Then to finish within 5 of the money SIX times...all in one event? That is almost unheard of. In the Omaha Hi/Lo I really thought I was going to come back and make the final table...then on two horrendous river beats...I never quite recovered, and finished 12th, again, 5 from the money.

I could have easily won $20-$30k on the trip, and been sitting in the Main Event right now striding towards $1.1 million and a whole new life. For me, for my wife, for my family. For my backer. For my peace of mind. And instead...I sat in my car yesterday, driving that long ass 12-hour drive. Stopping every 4 hours to put $80 worth of gas into my car. Renting another 3 movies from Red Box at Wal-Mart to get me through the boring drive.

12 hour drives give you a lot of time to think about a lot of things. Like what is important in life. What you cherish. What you loathe. What you want to improve on. Who you would like to make amends with. Who you would like to remove from your life...people you thought were friends, only to discover they are more concerned about their own lives and not yours, in the least.

My wife did something that again has absolutely amazed me, and made me realize what a wonderful woman I married. After another horrible chain of emails from Mr. Burns in Houston...I forwarded them to her. She insisted that I completely STOP with the communication back and forth with him. That it was utterly childish, pointless...and bringing myself to his level. I think I mentioned this already. Well, she sent him a pretty long message. And when I read it I was very proud of her. Turns out, he actually responded to her...with a large degree of humility. He was actually apologetic in his tone. He apologized for the awful names he called her. At first his message that he sent to her was designed as an attempt to inflict damage on my marriage. But she is above that. And her response to him made that clear.

The things he said to me, the stupid accusations he tried to offend me with...were just comical. And I guess responding to him was nothing but a form of entertainment for me. But my wife is right...it was stupid. So, for those of you were loving the ongoing rhetoric between Chad and I...I am sorry to inform you that I have turned the page on my open conflict with The Orange Beast from Houston. Squirrel wins again...and I am only to happy to lay down my arms.

I walked in the door of my home at 5:25am. Waiting there at the kitchen/garage door were my two dogs, Jasper (7 year old Black Lab) and Mollie (3 year old We're not sure!) anxious to welcome me home. Mollie is like a jumping bean...and can reach 5 to 6 feet sometimes in her leaps...and she was bouncing all over the place...little tail wagging. Jasper, for once, didn't have his ball in his mouth...just wanted to lick my face...which seldom happens with him. He usually just wants you to throw him the ball. After a disappointing poker trip...and a brutal 12 hr drive...this was just what the doctor ordered. Squirrel was sound asleep, and I tried hard not to wake her...but as both dogs climbed into bed with me...and started to attack me, it was impossible for her not to be waken up. We both fell asleep shortly after that.

Then I woke up. I logged on to Facebook. And that was when I saw the news. Oh My God! We had a lot of tornadoes in the midwest last week...and they were terrible. So when at first, I heard 'violent tornadoes across the south' I figured it was just a follow up to those storms. But when Cheryl came in telling me about her sister-in-law's Grandmother, who's house was completely wiped off of its foundation in North Alabama...that's when I realized this was a new outbreak of tornadoes.

So...me being the information whore...I turned to CNN, and logged on to my news sites...and that's when I was hit by the absolutely tragedy that has fallen on Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and other states as well. Over 285 people are dead today. DEAD. Others have lost everything. EVERYTHING. And while I am sure a lot, hopefully a majority, of them have/had homeowners insurance, and will be able to at least get back on their feet...I think of those who either died, or who lost a loved one or friend. I think of those who lost those things they spent a lifetime accumulating, photos, mementos...things that make up who they are....I don't care what anyone says: They are just fortunate to be alive? Sure. I guess so. But at what cost? Everything they have is gone.

What must it be like for that husband and wife and their 8 year old kid...who hid in the basement under a steel workbench...only to come upstairs after three hours...to see what looked like Japan after the Tsunami hit last month? To see their entire house gone? Perhaps they had pets...who too are gone. Their cars are destroyed. Their neighbors are either missing or dead. Their phones are dead, with no way to get information.

Cheryl and I have both lived through a natural disaster...having witnessed Hurricane Ivan from 1 mile from the eye of the storm...in what was maybe the most exhilarating, yet frightening nights of my life. Then came Katrina...which a lot of us lived through. Either during or after. The thing about a hurricane, is that we know its coming. We had time to prepare, to take precaution. In the case of tornadoes...the warning is very brief, sometimes not at all. There certainly is no chance to pack up and get out. If anything, the warning is enough to allow people to get to a tornado shelter and pray that it does its job.

Any feelings of disappointment and sadness at my recent poker trip...and the ensuing bullshit that is going on with the Poker Mafia and Harrah's have been nearly forgotten, as I am sitting here watching...as my friend's and family's communities have been ravaged...devastated by a record setting rash of tornadoes that spent the night wreaking havoc on the entire southeast. All while I was driving home. My heart is breaking for these people. I called each and everyone that I know in those areas...to make sure they were safe, and thank god, no one close to us are known to have been killed or injured. But knowing that 280 people (and counting) have lost their lives today...does little to ease my heartbreak.

I am sitting here in my home...all safe and sound, on a beautiful sunny day here in Biloxi, and to be honest, I feel guilty. So I just called the City of Tuscaloosa's Mayor's office, Walter Maddox (click here for info on his office) and spoke to Vicki. I told her I write a blog that a lot of people read, and have 1000+ people on my Facebook page...and do not have a job that I have to report to everyday...and that I am only 4 hours away. I told her I want to do anything I can to help...as Mayor Maddox suggested there was an immediate need for men, materials and money. I felt like I could maybe lead a contingent of people to the Tuscaloosa area to put on our boots, slip on our gloves and go to work helping out our friends any way possible.

Vicki expressed her appreciation, told me that all phone lines are down right now, making attempts to organize relief efforts very difficult. In fact, she says that the American Red Cross's office in Tuscaloosa has lost phone service also. She asked for my name and number...to pass along to the Mayor...and said that if there was anything I can do to help, that I would be contacted. I pray that they call back, and tell me "Bring anyone you can...report to _____ location at ______ and prepare to spend 5 days or more helping out." I feel totally useless sitting around my house doing nothing. And watching the news and looking at the photos of something that is occurring just up the road from us is killing me. There is a magnetic pull drawing me....

It was different with Japan. That was half a world away. All we could really do to show our support was to raise money, which I did, along with a lot of wonderful poker players and pool participants. Getting on a plane to head for Japan, to a country where they don't speak our language just didn't make much sense. But this is happening right here...at home. I could care less about poker right now. Or really anything else. I'm almost glad I didn't make it into the Main Event down at Hard Rock, now.

Everyone...please pray tonight for everyone affected by these storms. Continue to pray for those in Japan. And say your prayers for those folks living along the Mississippi River who are about to lose everything as the River is about to crest to epic heights, already closing casinos along its shores and putting those we all know and work or play with out of work for what is being rumored at a month or longer. The world, and mother nature...is going crazy right now. We are not the most powerful inhabitants of this planet...by now it should be pretty obvious, we are merely inferior guests.

Maybe people like professional athletes in sports like football and basketball, who are sitting in legal offices right now fighting over how to split up billions of dollars in revenue will sit in front of their TV set today...watch the news, see what kind of hardship people are experiencing, and realize what in life is actually IMPORTANT...and feel embarrassed by their ridiculous bickering.

Maybe the assholes who run companies like Exxon, who just reported (as I predicted two weeks ago) a record 11 billion dollars in profit in Quarter 2, will figure out their place in the human race...and stop ripping everyone off, and making the resources that fuel our entire existence affordable to everyone, not just the wealthy. It's bad enough that Mother Nature is kicking our ass, without having our nations business and political leaders punching us in the face in the same time.

April 27, 2011 is a real lousy day. May God take mercy on all of us. Dead or Alive.

Monkey

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, your heart is in the right place, i predict a big win for you in the near future.
Any news from F---stars?
I bet the three J-holes hit your blog about 500 times per month each. So, traffic may be driven by a few pricks as well as regular readers; regardless, good luck with sponsorship.

AlBrian said...

I am heading to Tuscaloosa in the morning. If you want to help out, they need people to clean debris and pass out supplies. I have a friend who works with the EMA and he's gonna place me as soon as he gets a spot for me!