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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poker Holocaust! Or is it???


First things first. Take a good hard look at this mushroom cloud. Do you see it? Do you? Do you see that face of what appears to be a clown...laughing hysterically? Or is it just my imagination? As I sit here thinking about the guys who pull all the magic levers at Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and all the other 'Fantasy Poker' sites who decide who is and isn't going to win and who now will sit there giggling to themselves as they decide to fuck over every American poker player with money still sitting on their accounts?


First it was Pokerstars deciding to screw me out of $300 because the 'process used' to transfer money from one player to another was deemed 'fraudulent' by them...the same guys who have been committing fraud, money laundering and a number of other felonies the past five years. Now its a crazy little situation that unfolded at approximately 12:39pm this past Friday as I sat in the $560 'freakfest' at the Isle at Pompano Park racetrack. That's where 'I was' when that fateful news hit the poker world like an atomic bomb. Will it end up being a 'where were you when' moment like 9/11? Or JFK being shot? Or the Space Shuttle blowing up? Or the first time you got laid? Maybe.

The first three hours could not have been any more annoying. Everyone was posting shit to my Facebook, or sending me emails and/or text messages. I have to say, I am a bit of an information whore. At the first indication of a problem, I dive deep into the issue...searching on everything. Reading up on anything I can get my face into. So anything that anyone had to tell me was already old news. Then I found myself having to correct half the people who were babbling at the poker table. Later that day, my wife's Dad calls..."Hey Will, not sure what's going on but when I logged onto Pokerstars...its saying something about not being able to play because I'm a US customer. Whats that mean?" Sigh.

Quick: What's better? Cocoa Krispies or Cocoa Puffs? Keep in mind...there are various qualifiers here...like the quality of the milk left over after all of the cereal has been consumed.

The initial panic seemed to originate not from the "oh my God where am I going to get my poker fix when I'm at home bored" sector...but from the "holy shit, how the fu** am I going to get my money out of my account and into my hands?" Now, you never know exactly how much people actually have in their accounts, and how much they are claiming to have. At my table there were two guys claiming to have over 150k online.

Now...first of all, I'm a bit cynical about that. But secondly...if you do have 150k online, how stupid are you? I mean...its not like this came out of nowhere. Plus...with the US Government on the brink of financial default, wouldn't your little alarms be going off, telling you that 'desperate days' by Obama's boys may be on the horizon? Not only that...these accounts are controlled by people who operate offshore, outside of US banking laws. Why would you EVER keep that kind of money online? Not that I've ever been one to book $25k wins and larger online...but I've never been one to keep more than $3k online...for the sole purpose of not wanting to be in a position to have them just seize my money. 'Get it off while I can' has always been my motto!

Quick: Anyone seen the new Direct TV commercial featuring A-Rod hitting a home run and running the bases, which through the magic of computers is actually A-Rod running through streets and parks with a big, goofy ass grin on his face? And the running...which is actually him running on a treadmill...I know this because back in 1992 when I was living in NYC, I did a commercial/in house video for Drug company Norvasc...where I did the same thing. Gotta say, as gay as mine was....A-Rod's was more ridiculous.

Currently watching Conan. A gaggle of females...I guess a choir? Are singing the song I don't know the name of...."what the hell am I doing here? I don't belong here...cuz I'm a freak....." you know the one. Half the girls were attractive, half looked like circus freaks...and the whole time they were singing I kept waiting for something funny to happen, like it was a spoof skit of some kind...and then...it just ended. It was serious. Wow. They got me!

Back to this poker mess. What does it mean? Am I happy? Sad? Miserable? Honestly...I think, if I really have to find an emotion to express how I feel...I don't care. I do care about the $1800 between the two accounts that I will probably never see again. But I know that I am in a lot better shape than a lot of other players. If I'm some of these guys with $100k or more online...I think I am flying to the Isle of Man with an entire arsenal of weapons...driving to the corporate offices of Pokerstars...and demanding my money before I go John Rambo on everyone.

There are some who think there is an above average chance that Full Tilt and Pokerstars might just say goodbye to the US market. And if that is the case...why would they give all of us our money back? What interest would there be in it for them? Who is going to sue them? They can't. And this prick from Australia? The guy who was finagling it for the online poker companies to get monies from the consumer to their site without running afoul of the American banking laws? Who then got into a shoving match with the online companies before screwing them out of millions and pulling up stakes? The online companies tipped off the authorities about him, and that he would be in Las Vegas...where they then swooped in and popped his ass, only to have him turn on the online companies, and rat them out to save his own ass?


Yes...there is a movie plot developing here kids. Well, now this is the guy being
credited with 'bringing down' online poker. (click to read the story about Daniel Tzvetkoff) I would also have to say that he might be the guy who has the hardest time staying alive...cue the Bee Gees hit from 'Saturday Night Fever.' If you participate in a 'Dead Pool' I would make this guy one of my Top Five picks next season, for sure.



What I found interesting was that last night...when I got back to my hotel room after finishing 4th in Sunday's WPT event down here...yes, I finally made a Final Table...details later, this is much more important...I decided to log onto Stars, which you can still do...and play for fake money...I looked at all the results of Sunday's tourneys...to see how large the fields were. First thing I noticed was that all the guarantees had immediately been reduced, which I feel is fucked up. I mean...to the people who satellited into tourneys like the Sunday million on Monday through Friday...they qualified for the 1.5m Sunday Guarantee. So when they lowered it to 1m...they are basically guilty of breach of contract, right?

Whatever, I think we all know that these clowns make their own rules, set their own policies and don't give a shit about anyone but themselves. And in looking at the field sizes, the Sunday Million had about 6700 players...and the rest of them had big fields as usual, so I have to really wonder just how much they care about losing the American market place. At first when this happened, I didn't think there was anyway the big poker companies could survive without the US market. Now I wonder if that is really the case. Whether or not the Big 3 or 4 companies will return to the US will depend a lot, I think, on what kind of pressure the US Government puts on them.

You have to think that the arrests that were made were made for one reason and one reason only. If anyone thinks any of the guys who got popped are going to see any real jail time, they are delusional. Those busts and the charges against them were made for one reason...to use as leverage when it comes time to negotiate the terms that will be set in how the US regulates and taxes the companies that offer online poker in our country. I would have to think that Barack's posse will be sitting there feeling like they have pocket aces...and will never fold to these guys pre-flop...that its going to take them convincing them after the flop that they have something that might convince the US of folding. This isn't going to happen overnight. In my opinion...there will be a full two or three months of posturing between the two sides before anything approaching negotiations actually happens.

Who stands to gain right now? Pretty easy answer to that one I think. First...can anyone tell me how in the HELL Ultimate Bet didn't get shutdown? The guys who were literally caught red-handed cheating their customers? They don't get named in the indictment? The indictment that I just spent twenty minutes digging for to slap on here for all of you to read...which I found and read on Friday...but didn't save, and now can't find it again. It's almost written in a language that the average uneducated moron can understand, which makes for very good reading by the average online poker player.


So...how many online pro's will decide to kill themselves? How many 16-21 year old squirts...the ones who sit there on their computer calling guys like me names because my ROI% online suggests to them that I have no clue how to play poker...what are they going to do now? Who are they going to talk shit to? Will they just end it all? Will there be a mass spate of suicides in the next 30 days? Unable to wait till they are 21 to step foot in a 'real' poker room...and unable to get their hands on their poker money...what options will they have? I get to walk into a casino, sit down with real people...the kind who won't open their yap and talk shit to me about my ROI or brag about their 'killer EV' and other terms they read in some book...and play for money!

How many established online pros who can't stand playing in just ONE tourney at a time...and have to actually leave their house to do it...will simply pack up their shit and move to a foreign country? You know that has to be going through some of their minds.

Another question. Barack Obama ran for President and talked about all the 'Change' we going to see, right? How we were going to 'Get Americans working again' right? So, unemployment is at about what, 9%? And I can't be sure of the number of full-time poker players who consider poker their living, but I know the number is at LEAST 1 million. So...how many people did we just throw into the chaotic world of 'looking for a job' in a time when there just aren't any? Instead of having 5-10 million Americans vying everyday for money that comes from the pockets of people all over the world, and using those winnings to keep our economy going...Barack and his gestapo decide to just cut that flow of income off? So...not only does he render a whole demographic unemployed, but he cuts off the flow of income from global financial sources and further hinders our economy.

WHAT THE FUCK is the goal of this administration? We are spending BILLIONS....yeah....BILLIONS...of dollars to fight cavemen in Afghanistan and religious zealots in Iraq, then dump another billion in support of a bunch of rebels, most of whom are obviously getting their weapons directly from Iran, and are rumored to be Hezbollah and Al Quaeda....to oust Moammar Quadaffi, who is a total insane maniac...but who has managed to provide stability to Libya over the last 30 years. Much the same way Saddam Hussein did in Iraq. Hate to say it...but our sweet little way of running a government here in the US of A just doesn't seem to be too effective in the Middle East...and dictators seem to be the only way to keep people in line over there.


So...hey, lets keep sending our 18-30 year old men and women over there to get either killed, maimed or mentally screwed up while bankrupting our country. And while we are at it...lets make sure we slowly take away the simple freedoms of our own citizens at the same time.

Slowly, wait check that. Not slowly at all...as the change seems to be pretty damn rapid, I see this country changing...for the worse. Yeah I'm loving this new CHANGE that Barack has brought us. Here is a question:

Back in 2008...when gas prices reached $4.00 a gallon, do you remember how much oil cost per barrel? Let me help you. It was at $145 a barrel when gas reached a high of $4.25 a gallon. That is just about what the national average is right now...and do you know how much oil costs today? $105 a barrel. That's a $40 disparity. Yet the gas prices are equal. And today, OPEC comes out and states that there is TOO MUCH supply on the market...that they are going to CUT production. Huh? Guess who is going to end up reporting another record sales quarter in a couple weeks? You know it....Exxon, Chevron, and BP. Watch.


What is Barack doing about any of this shit? Nothing! Does anyone see what is happening in this country? We are eliminating the middle class...in our slow road to Third World status...where we will be like Mexico...the ultra rich...and everyone else, who is dirt poor.


This is not my father's America. This country is slowly becoming a JOKE! You know what I hope to God happens? As much as I think he is an egotistical slime...I hope to holy hell that Donald Trump runs for President. Because I honestly think he gives a shit about our country...and he won't use the office for personal gain. He will get tough on a lot of issues, and won't be influenced by special interest groups like most of our scumbag politicians. You might be detecting that I am pissed off. Hell yes I am...the banning of online poker is just another in a long line of freedoms that we are having stripped from us.

Explain to me h0w people in nearly EVERY country in the world can log onto their computers and play online poker, but in the UNITED EFFING STATES OF AMERICA...the land of the free, home of the brave...its ILLEGAL????? When we have casinos now in just about every damn state....we can't stay at home and play online? I don't know...maybe it IS time to move to another country. I just can't think of any I would rather live in. I'm just going to bite the bullet and hope Barack is toast in another year. I mean...I'm pretty sure that all the blacks in this country...after getting so excited to have one of their own elected to the highest office in the country...have realized that they are no better off today than they were 3 years ago, that having Obama in office has done nothing to change their lives. If anyone thinks he is going to win in 2012, they are retarded.

I took today off. I needed to pay every single person who won money in the March Madness Pool, the Sweet 16 Pool, the Title Game squares, and the Masters Pool. It sucked, and took me all day, and after $24,000 left my account...and I got to see for the first time how much money I actually have to my name, it made me REALLY lament finishing 4th yesterday.

Yesterday was a $350 tourney. On Saturday, I got deep again..but it was a bit of a blur, since I was more card dead than I think I have been in a tourney all year. 276 players started. I got AA on my 5th hand, after arriving an hour late. I raise from 50/100 to 250. It folds to the guy in the BB, who looks just like one of the characters from that cheesy XBox360 version of WSOP poker. The latin guy, with short-cropped silver hair, and the mirrored glasses. Medallion, the works. He had just loose called a guy short stack shipping 3k holding KJ...and lost. So he was on tilt. He shoves all in on me...for 7800. I have 10,500 chips. Holy shit. Oh...sorry, pretty sure I need to call here. He has 22. Yeah...deuces. Do I win? Of course not. Does he hit a 2? No. He makes a flush. Of course. And now I'm on tilt. Not really, honestly.

I had spent the first five days here getting acclimated to the ridiculousness with which these people play poker down here. On the way back to the hotel the other night...in a discouraged tone while talking to Squirrel I managed to find the Nostradamus in me to tell her..."Sweetie, I know it sucks...but the structures are really good, and these people are so bad...that I know I will make at least one final table before I leave this place." So I have just readjusted my thinking to expect the worst from these clowns.

I scraped and clawed my way back into that one Saturday. Then, when I managed to get back to over 10k...this dude ships all in at 200/400 for 3200...with 55. I look down, again...at pocket aces. Oh boy. I flat call...everyone else folds...and he turns a five. Jeezuz. I then spent the next four levels hovering between 8-12 big blinds...card dead as shit. With 55 players left...paying 27....I finally get QJh...which looked like QQ after the hands I had been seeing...and shoved all in, getting called by 88. Could I win a coin flip? Double up...and be back in contention? Nope. I lost.

I went with Allie Prescott and a bunch of us ate dinner and had some drinks on the property. It was very crowded everywhere. While we were at this place called Murphy's Law...a fight broke out. We all stand on our stools to get a better look, and all of a sudden we see these two huge guys fighting...one guy picks up a stool, and starts beating this other guy in the head. That guy's girlfriend then jumps on that guy's back...and starts punching him in the head. When the dust settled, both guys were bleeding profusely from their heads...the one guy looked like he had been attacked by a chainsaw. It was pretty bad. Both were taken away in stretchers with cops in tow. Unreal. Welcome to Miami.

I went and played cash game. I sit down at a table full of drunk guys, making just stupid plays. Cool...figure I will make at least $1000 at this table. Flopping sets, turning flushes, making straights...but guess what? I was losing. Everything. I won't even bother going into detail. You have all been there. You know how those things go. Didn't matter what I did. What I bet. Slow play, over bet...nothing was working. 6 of the most annoying human beings ever. And the table talk was the kind that made you want to kill yourself. Ever been at a family picnic...and the people want to play poker...and the stuff they are talking about is like, lower than Poker 101? Where you find yourself asking yourself about 12 times..."Did I really just hear that?" That was this table. And yet...they were taking all my money!

I lost $600 before I finally just realized I was up against the Matrix of poker...and just got up and left. So...I am on my way to my car...which required me to walk across an elevated walkway, go up an elevator and then walk to my car. Only one problem. Another fight had broken out. This one between a scrawny looking punk of a guy about 26 years old and his attractive, yet obviously shit-faced girlfriend. I can only imagine how the first 15 minutes of this spat went. Well, cops and paramedics were refusing to let anyone go by...so I had to sit there for about 20 minutes, before finally, one of the cops let me go by. Welcome to Miami.

I had bought into Sunday's tourney before I left...because I had a feeling I was going to want to sleep in...and down here they only let you register for up to an hour after the tourney starts. So I went to my room and immediately crashed. I woke up around 12:30 feeling okay. Josh left about that time, asking if I was playing. "Yep, already bought in...see you in about an hour."

Josh calls me 30 minutes later. "Dude, I just got here and the blinds are 150/300. Did you know it was a turbo?" Fuck. No...I didn't. So then I scrambled into the bathroom to get ready. By the time I got there...they were on the first break. Blinds were about to go to 400/800 and my 15k was now 12k...and I was too late to buy the dealer add on of 3k extra chips. Wonderful. Felt like I was just donating $350.

I was wrong. 6th hand in I pick up QQ. Raise. No action. This after the kid next to me informs me that "you really missed some crazy shit man!" Yeah kind of like when the lady on his right limped in with K6...he shoved for 12k...with 77, and she calls because 'she is tired and kind of wanting to leave.' No king hit and she was off to take a nap. Lucky for me, because her seat was taken by a guy who though QJ was AA...twice getting it all in against me, once wtih KK the other time with QQ...and he left, having made me chipleader. Thanks bud.

I won't bore you with everything that happened between that time and the time we made the final table. Lets just say I found the right people to make well timed all in plays against, and managed to have my hands hold up when I needed to. We made the money at 18...and were at the Final Table about 30 minutes later.

First place was 14k. And they had this almost cool trophy that would look good in my little poker trophy room. But more importantly...14k. Since there aren't any SNG's being run down here...its become very important to book a 10k score or more to assure this trip is a positive one. So winning yesterday would have pretty much guaranteed that.

I was the chipleader with 650k and 8 players left...when this aggressive asian guy raises my button, AGAIN. I decide to smooth call with KQh, since he had about 480k and was in 2nd place. The flop comes K-Q-2. Perfect hand to check raise and hope he bets big. Bets big? The idiot ships all in. What the fuck? I'm think AK...maybe even AA? But why all in? J10? Draw? I can't fold there...no way...I call. He has A2. Yep. Bottom pair. Turn was an 8...one more card and I'm over 1 million and can pretty much cruise. River....A! Noooo! Felt just like I'd been kicked in the stomach! Knocks me down to 275k.

Back to work. I manage to work that 275k back up to 750k. Then this black lady...who was without a doubt one of the most annoying players I've ever had at a table, and also looked like the black lady avatar on Full Tilt...with the big afro, finally drove me to put on my iPod after not using it all day. Her favorite thing to say was...

"you know, I am the seniors champion." Someone would raise her blind..."You know, that's MY blind you are raising, right...you do KNOW that I won the seniors event, don't you?" This and other varieties of "I'm the seniors poker champ" had me about to kill myself. We came back from a break, 6 handed...and she starts chirping about a possible deal. With the shortest stack, and clearly, the worst talent level. I pretty much ignored her. So did everyone else.

She got down to about 3 big blinds...and pushes all in on me. The guy in the SB calls. I just call with J10. He checks in the dark. The flop comes JJ9...two hearts, and I do the right thing and bet out. He shoots me a nasty look, folds, then nods when he sees my hand. She starts shrieking that she is staying...huh? She turns over J-9. Come on!!! I don't pick up a ten.

On the next hand, she shoves all in again...for 158k. Blinds are 30k/60k...I have 580k...and hold A3c. Hmm...definitely an in betweener right? You could make an argument for folding or calling there...but my desire to get rid of her made me call I think. She had KJh. Ugh...hate that race. I flop an ace...turn a club..giving me a flush draw...then the 9 of diamonds on the river gave her a damn gut shot straight. Son of a ........

Finally, she got knocked out by one of the other players and we were down to 4. Or real money. I then proceeded to get drilled with the deck, but couldn't get a call. I am raising to 150k every hand with.....AKd, 88, 1010, AJ, KQ...and getting no action...but reassuming the chiplead. Then it happens.

The other Asian kid...who apparently had NO ability to play after the flop and had just one move...all in...kept doing it over and over...and it didn't really faze me because I didn't ever have much of anything. But now he shoves again, and I look down at A10. I ask the snotty dealer how much he has...

"he has you covered!"

Really? This is the same dealer, who, when she tried to push in with 1:06 showing in the level...snaps "NO!!!" when I asked the floor guy if we could have the current dealer get out the last hand before the blinds go up. When that happened, I just looked at her and told her that I was asking the floor guy, not her. The floor guy happily complied, and the guy dealt out the last hand of the level. It wasn't even me who was about to take the increase. Its just kind of a pet peeve of mine when they push out with under a minute left.

Well, I was almost positive that the kid did NOT have me covered...so when I ask her if she is sure, she just looks at me and says...."I don't know...its close."

Again....welcome to Miami. I finally ask her to count the guys chips. She sighs that sigh of 'how dare you inconvenience me' and got me a count. Oh...he had 795K? Interesting...and I have 875k. I guess that means I have HIM covered. Wow.

I can't decide what to do, so I flip a coin. It comes up heads. I call. He has...what else? El Diablo. K10.

"Oh wow, you have me dommmmmminated." yeah whatever, scrubby, what you don't know is that you couldn't possibly be in better shape...since you have the dreaded El Diablo. And just like every other dipshit who overplays K10...he flops a king...then rivers another one. FML.

Now its him with a shit ton of chips...the other Asian with a massive stack...and me and this old guy with about the same stack...and the difference in 3rd and 4th about $1300. Just my luck, I pick up A6 on the button and have to shove. Old man wakes up with A10. Asian in BB calls with Q8. He wins with a Q. We are both punched out. The bad news...the old guy had me covered by only 20k. Which means he backed into 3rd place for $4800 while I had to settle for $3500 and 4th place. I should have won that damn tourney going away. $3500 never felt so shitty. Oh well.

I didn't play today's $230 for obvious reasons. Monday...small field (ended up being only 76...Josh Palmer, my roomie, finished 4 from the money) and too much to do on my computer.

Well at least I followed up on my promise/prediction to my wife that I would eventually make a final table down here. Just wish I had closed that bitch out and managed to fade the two and three outers when I needed to. Would have been a nice feeling to have my bankroll down here over 20k. But thatttttt's poker, right?

Tomorrow is a $350 double stacks...which I expect they will only get about 125 for. The Isle at Pompano Park has been outdrawing them in a lot of the events. Truth is, its a really nice casino, with a very large poker room. But one thing they have is really uncomfortable chairs.

I had to get a chair massage while playing cash game there the other night because of what the damn chair did to my neck and shoulders. Its those chairs that kind of pitch your body forward...where you feel like you are about to slide out of your seat. Know what I mean? I hate those.


Josh is talking about playing there tomorrow because its a $200k guarantee...but from what I saw up there...I am terrified to play there. I was seeing the most ridiculous shit up there, and just am not in the mood to endure another day of that. Plus their structures are a little too speedy. The one at Hard Rock is a lot better...and if I win $15k instead of $25k that's fine. Plus I would like to take one of those trophies home with me!


I had a lot of other stupid shit to talk about...as its been a few days since I've blogged, but now this blog has gotten really long and I'm getting a bit tired...so it will have to wait until next time.

Hi Mom...I know its not until Thursday...but in case I don't blog before then....HAPPY BIRTHDAY....I LOVE YOU!!!!

MONKEY






1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are out of your mind!

I've never commented on here but after all the Obama bashing in this last post I figured I should.

First of all, I don't love Obama. While he may be the only adult in DC, he's not a good negotiator. He starts in the middle and moves right. All of his ideas for change get butchered by the right and he always compromises. Because of that, I think he could be serving the middle class much better.

Meanwhile, you, Monkey, are spouting off about the demise of the middle class and hoping that another republican, Trump, gets elected next time. Geeze man, do you know why the rich have gotten so much richer over the past decade? Talk about squeezing the middle class, take a look at the latest republican budget plan.

You complain about big oil companies making huge profits. Do you know which party is pounding the table to preserve the big oil tax breaks?

You complain about the environmental and economic disaster of the BP oil spill. Which party is on the side of BP and which party is no the side of the environment and the people hurt by this?

As for the poker thing and the FBI, I guess Obama may have had a say, but generally I think the FBI operates on their own. Besides, these poker sites were brazenly breaking the law by tricking and bribing bankers. It's not about the poker players, it's about the poker sites. These foreign companies were ranking in millions per day, billions per year, and none of it was taxed. If we do it, let's do it right, with American companies who are taxed and regulated by us. That's what we should all be rallying for.

So why are you blaming everything on Obama? You must be losing your mind.

Your friend and fan,
John C